Fifty-six Czech holidaymakers die abroad in month and half

31-07-2008

The number of Czechs who meet their deaths while on holiday every summer is on the increase. In fact, more than 50 people have lost their lives abroad since the middle of June, according to figures just released by the Czech Foreign Ministry. The reason for the high fatality rate could well be that Czechs are inclined to take unnecessary risks while on holiday.

Between mid-June and mid-August last year 52 Czechs died on holiday outside the countries borders. This year two weeks short of the mid-August mark the number is 56, according to numbers released this week by the Czech Foreign Ministry. In fact, dealing with the deaths of the country’s citizens is among the most common tasks of diplomats at Czech embassies and consulates, the ministry says. That despite the fact that it issues warnings every year, calling on Czechs not to overestimate their ability to manage situations at the sea, in the mountains, and on the roads.

Croatia has for many years been the number one foreign destination for Czech holidaymakers, so it is hardly surprising that state has seen the highest number of Czech deaths this summer – 13. Ten Czechs met their deaths in neighbouring Slovakia. Nearly four dozen have been hospitalised in other states, and four have been reported missing.

As for why so many Czechs die on holiday, the reason given by some is that they tend to take unnecessary risks. Tomio Okamura of the Association of Czech Tourist Agencies offered one illustration to the newspaper Mladá fronta Dnes: he said whereas in Croatia the locals swim parallel to the shore-line, Czech visitors will swim straight out from the shore.

Meanwhile, a Foreign Ministry spokesperson told Mladá fronta that the main causes of death were road accidents, heart attacks and strokes either behind the wheel or on the beach, and injuries suffered doing extreme sports.

One reason for the increase in holiday deaths is simply that more Czechs are now going abroad on their vacations. In 2006 some 3.9 million foreign holidays of four nights or more were purchased in the Czech Republic – last year’s figure was 600,000 higher.

31-07-2008