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Gastrointestial infections are the most common problem faced by tourists when they travel abroad

MAPFRE Asistencia presents the second edition of the Travel Insurance Observatory (TIO) with the support of the World Tourism Organization.

49 percent of the health problems affecting tourists and travelers when they visit other countries are related to the country of destination, such as gastrointestinal or respiratory infections. 26 percent of the problems faced by travelers have to do with trauma, especially fractures. This kind of problems are more associated with seasonality than others. For example, they are more frequent in seasons and areas where winter sports are practiced. However, the other 25 percent of the cases affecting travelers have nothing to do with the destination or with trauma, but are related to chronic conditions or diseases that manifest themselves during the trip with no direct link to it.

These are some of the conclusions of the Travel Insurance Observatory (TIO), a report prepared by MAPFRE Asistencia that examines the cases of medical assistance reported by tourists from several countries in Europe, Latin America and Asia-Pacific who travel around the world.

The prolog of the second edition of this publication has been written by the Secretary-General of the World Tourism Organization (WTO). Taleb Rifai has congratulated MAPFRE, an Affiliate Member of the WTO, for generating “quality information as a key element for tourism, supporting travelers in their preparation and providing management elements to the public and private tourism authorities at the countries of destination”.

The 2014 edition is the first global report published by the company and presents an overview of MAPFRE Asistencia’s travel insurance claims and their breakdown throughout the world.

“With this report we share our experience with as many travelers as possible to turn our slogan into reality: To contribute to a positive experience for tourists at their destination”, explained Rafael Senen, MAPFRE Asistencia’s President.

Another conclusion of the study is the existence of a correlation between the traveler’s age and the type of problems. For example, the younger the traveler, the greater the probability of experiencing a health issue related to the specific circumstances of the country of destination, such as allergy, diarrhea, infections, sunburn, etc. However, travelers over the age of 65 are more affected by conditions unrelated to the destination, but which manifest themselves during the trip, such as pre-existing chronic illnesses, cardiovascular disease, anemia, tumors, etc.

Another interesting aspect of the TIO is the numerical value called Country Risk Rate, which is assigned to each country based on its accident rate. Cross-referencing the volume of health accidents in each country with the number of travelers and overnight stays in the same country, it is possible to determine whether its accident rate is higher or not than the level it should have.

If the Country Risk Rate is greater then one, it means that the number of health problems exceeds what should be expected considering the number of travelers and the nights they spend in that country.

Spain has a Country Risk Rate of 0.5. This means that visitors have a very low level of health problems, which is especially relevant taking into account that it is one of the world’s major tourist recipient countries.

Annex Presentation Travel Insurance Observatory 2015

Theodore Koumelis
Co-Founder & Managing Director - Travel Media Applications | Website

Theodore is the Co-Founder and Managing Editor of TravelDailyNews Media Network; his responsibilities include business development and planning for TravelDailyNews long-term opportunities.