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Report - Safest Cities Revealed

Press release   •   Mar 09, 2015 13:49 GMT

  • UK cities headed by York perceived to be safest for short breaks
  • Cairo heads list of cities UK travellers consider most risky to visit
  • Almost half of people fail to take out travel insurance for city visits
  • But up to 10 per cent fell victim to crime costing hundreds of pounds

York, Bath and Edinburgh head a list of cities regarded as safe to visit on a short break. Around seven-in-10 people surveyed about 42 city break destinations by Post Office Travel Insurance rated the three UK cities as safe choices while Venice and Vienna achieved the highest overseas ratings of 59 and 58 per cent¹. All five of these cities performed well when respondents were asked to rate the risk factor of visiting individual cities, achieving scores of only 1-4 per cent.

However, respondents did have concerns about a number of overseas cities. Based on their personal experience or what they knew about them, Cairo (56 per cent), Bangkok (47 per cent), Istanbul (39 per cent), Marrakech (35 per cent), Moscow (34 per cent) and Miami (23 per cent) topped the poll of cities surveyed that respondents believed to be risky².

But the research revealed that people’s perceptions of risk do not always match reality. For example, although respondents expressed the view that Moscow and Miami were ‘risky’ cities, none of those who had actually visited the two cities experienced problems normally covered by travel insurance.

By contrast, while Athens and Hong Kong emerged as the cities where visitors had most often encountered difficulties – with 10 per cent of people reporting problems – fewer respondents rated them ‘risky’3. Only 11 per cent believed Athens to be high risk and 15 per cent rated Hong Kong as risky.

More positively, Bath scored a clean sheet as none of the 251 survey respondents who had visited the city reported any problems. And although visitor numbers were smaller, nor did any of those who had visited Riga, Singapore and Stockholm.

Nick Kennett, Post Office Director of Financial Services said: “City breaks are now the most popular type of holiday4 and, while bad things can happen, our research shows that most people will have a trouble free experience.

“However, some people will be unlucky and that is why getting a reliable insurance policy is so important, irrespective of how short the break is. This will ensure you are looked after if you do fall victim to crime and will be able to avoid the high cost of replacing items.”

In fact, the Post Office research revealed that one-in-15 were victims of crime during their last city visit. Yet, while 55 per cent of respondents said the possibility of crime against them was an important factor when deciding whether to visit a city, nearly half (46 per cent) of those who had been on a city break failed to take out travel insurance.

Nick Kennett said: “The numbers not taking out travel insurance for a city break was far higher than expected and three-in-10 of the 46 per cent of people who failed to get cover for their visit said it never occurred to them to do so. Yet the research suggests that the numbers experiencing crime are not insignificant and the cost of replacing stolen items runs into hundreds of pounds.

  • The most common occurrence was having a wallet and the money in it stolen (24 per cent). Between 14 and 19 per cent suffered from the theft of a credit card, passport, electrical device, mobile phone, clothing, handbag/briefcase, luggage, sunglasses and jewellery.

Over three-in-five of respondents who had been victims of theft paid to replace stolen items because they were not covered by travel insurance5. The Post Office research found that the average cost incurred by uninsured people varied from £302 for a wallet, £414 for an electrical device such as an iPad and £429 for a mobile phone to £645 for items of clothing, £770 for a handbag and £1,472 for jewellery.

The Post Office Travel Insurance research also established that over a quarter of respondents (26 per cent) felt they had been ‘ripped off’ on city visits – rising to 43 per cent of younger people, aged 18-24.

  • The biggest culprits across all destinations were thought to be taxi drivers. Eight per cent of people complained of being overcharged and six per cent said they were taken on a longer route than necessary, which increased the cost of taxi journeys. Other complaints included being overcharged in shops, restaurants and bars (seven per cent) and being made to pay a service charge they did not think was justified (seven per cent).

Post Office Travel Insurance has been voted top travel insurance provider in the annual British Travel Awards for the past eight years. More information about the comprehensive level of cover provided by Post Office Travel Insurance can be found at postoffice.co.uk/travelinsurance or at a Post Office branch.

Ends

For more information, please contact:

Carmel McCarthy Post Office Press Office 0207 250 2268 / 07717 2940529

Carmel.mccarthy@postoffice.co.uk

Christine Ball CBPR 01798 874177 / 07976 285997 cball@cballpr.co.uk

Note to editors:

¹ Post Office omnibus research by Populus among 2,075 UK adults of whom 88 per cent (1831) had been on a city break. Based on their personal experience or what they knew about them, respondents were asked to rate 42 cities as safe, risky or to give no opinion. The following cities were rated most favourably – based on having the highest percentage of ‘safe’ ratings and ‘risky’ ratings of below 10 per cent:

City Safe Risky No view
York 72% 1% 26%
Bath 69% 2% 29%
Edinburgh 69% 3% 27%
Brighton 62% 6% 32%
Venice 59% 4% 37%
Vienna 58% 2% 40%
Dublin 58% 6% 35%
Florence 56% 3% 41%
Stockholm 56% 3% 42%
Copenhagen 54% 3% 43%
² Post Office omnibus research showing the cities with the highest percentage of ‘risky’ ratings combined with low ‘safe’ scores:
City Risky Safe No view
Cairo 56% 7% 36%
Bangkok 47% 10% 43%
Istanbul 39% 13% 49%
Marrakech 35% 13% 52%
Moscow 34% 18% 49%
Miami 23% 32% 45%
New York 23% 40% 37%
Los Angeles 23% 35% 42%
Dubai 21% 32% 47%
Las Vegas 20% 36% 44%
3 Comparison of cities where the greatest number of respondents experienced travel insurance-related issues with ‘risk’ perceptions
City % experienced problems % viewed as risky cities
Athens 10% 11%
Hong Kong 10% 15%
Dubai 9% 21%
Las Vegas 8% 20%
Seville 8% 4%
Bangkok 7% 47%
New York 7% 23%
Istanbul 5% 39%

4 ABTA Consumer Holiday Trends Report (September 2014) found that 42 per cent of holidaymakers had taken city breaks over the previous 12 months compared with 38 per cent who took beach holidays.

5 Post Office omnibus research revealed that over three-in-five who suffered theft paid out to replace lost items because they were not covered by travel insurance and the average amount it cost them was:

Item % Average replacement cost

Money/wallet 71% £302

Clothing 69% £645

Jewellery 66% £2,288

Electrical device 65% £414

Handbag/briefcase 64% £770

Sunglasses 62% £1,219

Mobile phone 62% £429

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