How safe is your holiday? Popular destinations including Turkey, Egypt and France examined as ISIS threaten UK ships


Million of Brits are flocking to UK airports this summer in search of dream holidays abroad.

While many will head to different countries in Europe, others will look further afield – but central to many people’s minds will be the threat of terrorism and unrest.

After heavily armed troops and police have been drafted in to French ports to prevent an Islamic State terror attack on a UK-bound ferry, the growing threat of ISIS and other terror groups leaves many people fearful of travelling.

Dozens of reinforcements have been moved to Calais after intelligence warnings that ferries sailing to Britain are at heightened risk of an ISIS atrocity.

At home, the threat level is currently “severe” – meaning an attack on UK soil is “highly likely”.

Terror Risks
The countries in red are at ‘high’ risk of terrorist attacks, while those in orange are at ‘general’ risk

But is this the same case when travelling abroad? Are Brits safe going on their holidays?

We looked at some of the main tourist destinations and their current threat level according to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.

The Foreign Office uses four ratings when judging the threat of a terrorist attack in its travel advice: High, General, Underlying and Low.

France

Risk level: High

France is the most popular tourist destination for British people with a staggering 17 million of us travelling to our European neighbour each year.

While the vast majority of visits are incident free and with pick-pocketing the major source of crime against Brits, the nation is under high alert from the threat of terror attacks.

Three separate but shocking attacks have rocked France in the past 18 months.

84 people, including 10 children, died in the terror attack on the Bastille Day celebration in Nice on 14 July 2016.

People visit the scene and lay tributes to the victims of a terror attack on the Promenade des Anglais on July 15, 2016 in Nice, France
People visit the scene and lay tributes to the victims of a terror attack in Nice

130 people were killed when suicide bombers and gunmen carried out a series of horrific attacks in Paris last November .

During the massacre, the attackers struck the capital’s Bataclan theatre, cafés and restaurants, injuring a further 368 people.

At the time, France was already on a ‘high’ alert following the shooting at the Charlie Hebdo offices in January last year.

Medics evacuate people close to the Bataclan Theater
Medics evacuate people close to the Bataclan Theatre

The nation remains at a ‘high’ risk of terrorism and a state of national emergency has been declared.

The FCO says on its website: “Due to ongoing threats to France by Islamist terrorist groups, and recent French military intervention against Daesh (formerly referred to as ISIL), the French government has warned the public to be especially vigilant and has reinforced its security measures.”

It also advises motorists to keep car doors locked in slow moving traffic in and around Calais in case migrants try to stow away in your vehicle.

Turkey

Risk level: High

More than 2.5 million Brits visit Turkey each year and while it is generally considered safe to travel, the nation has recently experienced an upsurge in terror incidents

At Ataturk International Airport in Istanbul on June 28 2016, 41 people were killed after an attacker sprayed the departures hall with an automatic rifle, sending passengers diving for cover and trying to flee, before all three blew themselves up in the arrivals hall a floor below.

Then on July 15 2016, an attempted coup saw reports of gunfire and explosions in Ankara and Istanbul, with military on the streets. There were also reports of gunfire between the resorts of Marmaris and Icmeler. Brits were advised to stay indoors and avoid public places.

There were previous terror attacks this year in January, February, April , May and June.

Advice about where to travel in Turkey
Advice about where to travel in Turkey

The UK’s Foreign Office also warns against all but essential travel to parts of Sirnak, Mardin, Sanliurfa, Gaziantep, Diyarbakir, Kilis and Hatay provinces as well as Siirt, Tunceli and Hakkari.

It strongly advises Brits elsewhere in Turkey to stay indoors, avoid public places, in particular demonstrations, and remain vigilant.

Avoid areas of conflict and take sensible precautions if you are in the vicinity of any military or security forces. Roadblocks are in place in some areas.

If you are due to travel to or from Turkey over the next few days, you should monitor developments and check with your airline or tour operator before travelling.

British nationals requiring assistance in Turkey can contact the Foreign Office on 0207 008 0000.

Check our latest Turkey travel advice from airlines.

Is it safe to travel to Turkey now? Latest travel advice for 2016 holidays

Egypt

Risk level: High

Egypt’s tourist economy has been rocked by a number of terror incidents – including the horrific attack on a passenger jet flying out of Sharm el-Sheikh.

The plane, carrying 224 passengers and crew, was brought down by a bomb and crashed in the Sinai desert, killing everyone on board.

As a result of this, the British Government has advised against all but essential travel, by air, to or from Sharm el-Sheikh.

This does not include the resort itself – which has increased security in place – but only air travel to or from it.

Aside from bomb or machine gun attacks, there is also the threat of kidnapping in Egypt – particularly in remote desert areas.

Last summer, a Croatian man was kidnapped and murdered in the country.

A terrorist group has claimed responsibility for his murder and the FCO has warned that Britain does not negotiate with hostage-takers.

The Foreign Office has warned against travel to certain parts of Egypt

It says on its website: “The long-standing policy of the British government is not to make substantive concessions to hostage-takers.

“The British government considers that paying ransoms and releasing prisoners increases the risk of further hostage-taking.”

It adds: “There is considered to be a heightened threat of terrorist attack globally against UK interests and British nationals, from groups or individuals motivated by the conflict in Iraq and Syria.

“You should be vigilant at this time.

The most active terrorist group in Egypt is Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis.

Spain

Risk level: High

More than 12million Brits visit Spain every year, with many heading to the beautiful, sandy beaches of Menorca, Ibiza, Majorca and the Costa Del Sol.

Despite suffering from terrorist attacks in the past, the country has recently managed to avoid the troubles of other Mediterranean countries.

More than 12million Brits visit Spain every year, with some heading to Cantabria (pictured)
More than 12million Brits visit Spain every year, with some heading to Cantabria (pictured)

However, the FCO still deems the terror threat in Spain ‘high’, with a suspected ISIS collaborator arrested by police in Majorca earlier this year .

The Moroccan-born man – who was detained by officers in Palma – is accused of promoting terror attacks in Europe.

The FCO warns: “In 2015, Spanish police disrupted a number of groups suspected of recruiting individuals to travel to Syria and Iraq.

“Some of them expressed an intention to carry out attacks in Europe. Several further police operations have taken place in 2016.

“Spanish authorities believe that a number of Spanish nationals have successfully travelled to Syria and Iraq.”

On its website, the FCO remarks that there has been a number of deaths as a result of people falling from balconies while on holiday, noting: “Don’t take any unnecessary risks, especially when under the influence of drink or drugs.”

Germany

Risk level: High

Germany is the latest European country to have its terrorism risk rating upgraded to ‘high’ by the FCO.

Around two million Brits visit the nation every year, with many heading to Berlin to visit historic sites and the iconic Brandenburg Gate.

But now, increased security has been put in place at German transport hubs, public buildings and major events ‘as a precaution’.

Berlin's landmark Brandenburg Gate is popular with British holidaymakers
Berlin’s landmark Brandenburg Gate is popular with British holidaymakers

The FCO says on its website: “There’s no requirement to carry your passport with you, but the police are currently carrying out more frequent ID checks.

“If you’re asked to show your passport and you don’t have it with you, the police may escort you to wherever your passport is being kept so that you can show it to them.”

Belgium

Risk level: High

Up to 1.8 million Britons visit Belgium each year but the nation has been hit with visitor number recently with a spate of horrifying terror attacks.

Belgium is now ranked as a “high” risk from terrorism following bombings at aBrussels airport and metro station .

Carnage at the check-in desk at Brussels airport following last month's suicide bombing
Carnage at the check-in desk at Brussels airport following a suicide bombing

The explosions, which were the deadliest act of terrorism in the country’s history, claimed the lives of 32 victims.

A further 300 people were injured in the attacks, which occurred at Zaventem Airport and Maalbeek metro station on March 22.

The FCO warns on its website that terrorists could target Belgium indiscriminately.

It adds that attacks could take place ‘on public transport and transport hubs and in other places visited by foreigners’.

“There is considered to be a heightened threat of terrorist attack globally against UK interests and British nationals, from groups or individuals motivated by the conflict in Iraq and Syria,” it says.

“You should be vigilant at this time.”

Tunisia

Risk level: High

A state of emergency is currently in effect in Tunisia following a suicide attack on a police bus last November.

There was also a terrorist shooting at a hotel in the tourist resort of Port El Kantaoui, near Suisse, last June, killing 38 people

Thirty of the victims were British.

The FCO advises against all travel to the Chaambi Mountain National Park area, the Tunisia-Algeria border crossing points at Ghardimaou, Hazoua and Sakiet Sidi Youssef, the militarized zone south of, but not including, the towns of El Borma and Dhehiba, and within 5km of the Libya border area.

It also advises against all but essential travel to the rest of the country.

A terrorist shooting at a hotel in the tourist resort of Port El Kantaoui last June killed 38 people – including 30 Brits

It adds: “Further attacks remain highly likely, including against foreigners. “Security forces remain on a high state of alert in Tunis and other locations.

“You should be vigilant, avoid crowded places and follow the advice of the Tunisian security authorities and your travel company.”

USA

Risk level: General

Almost 4 million Brits visit the USA each year and aside from a “general” threat of terror, holidaymakers are also warned to wary of the weather and crime.

The FCO says: “Crime associated with the illegal drugs trade is a major issue in Mexican states bordering Arizona, California, New Mexico and Texas.

“Some foreign nationals have been among the victims of crime in the border regions, but there is no evidence to suggest they have been targeted because of their nationality.

“Research your destination before travelling, be vigilant, and follow the advice of local authorities.”

Italy

Risk level: General

A popular destination with Brits, Italy has a ‘general’ threat from terrorism.

However, the FCO says most attacks are carried out against ‘official Italian targets’.

It writes on its website: “There are isolated cases of domestic terrorism.

“Attacks carried out by the extreme left-wing and secessionist groups have generally been aimed at official Italian targets, mainly in the form of small bombs and incendiary devices.”

A popular destination with Brits, Italy has a 'general' threat from terrorism
A popular destination with Brits, Italy has a ‘general’ threat from terrorism

Denmark

Risk level: General

Last February, two civilians were killed in two shootings in the Østerbro and Krystalgade areas of Copenhagen.

Five cops were also wounded in the shocking attacks, which are both thought to have been linked and ‘terrorist-related’.

The country is ranked as having a ‘general’ threat from terrosim.

“You should be vigilant at this time,” the FCO says on its website.

Greece

Risk level: General

There is a ‘general’ threat from terrorism in Greece, with Brits warned that attacks could happen in tourist hotspots.

The FCO says: “British nationals aren’t normally considered a specific target, but attacks could happen in places visited by foreigners.”

There is a 'general' threat from terrorism in Greece, with Brits warned that attacks could happen in tourist hotspots
There is a ‘general’ threat from terrorism in Greece, with Brits warned that attacks could happen in tourist hotspots

In recent years, there have been a number of explosions and shootings at Greek shopping malls, public buildings and government offices.

Croatia

Risk level: Underlying

Croatia has been given an “Underlying” risk level.

The FCO says: “Attacks, although unlikely, could be indiscriminate, including in places frequented by expatriates and foreign travellers.”

More than two million Brits visit Portugal every year, with most trips 'trouble-free'
More than two million Brits visit Portugal every year, with most trips ‘trouble-free’

Portugal

Risk level: Underlying

More than two million Brits visit Portugal every year, with most trips ‘trouble-free’.

However, the FCO warns there is an ‘underlying’ risk of terrorism.

It also advises holidaymakers to be aware of street thieves looking to steal money and passports.

Authors: Alex Wellman, Sophie Evans
Source: www.mirror.co.uk

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