Press release

Holiday Brits risking their lives on balconies

This was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

The Foreign & Commonwealth Office and ABTA urge British nationals to take care on balconies in popular holiday hotspots

Balcony Safety

One British national has died and three more have been injured this month alone after falling from balconies while on holiday. The Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO) and ABTA – The Travel Association, have renewed calls to young Brits heading off on holiday this summer to take extra care on balconies.

The latest incidents take the total number of reported cases this year so far to seven. Last year there were 14 incidents, many of which involved young people and alcohol. This prompted the FCO and ABTA to launch a campaign warning of the dangers and providing advice and tips on staying safe.

With the summer holiday season barely underway the latest incidents highlight the need for continued vigilance on balconies, particularly in popular destinations such as Sunny Beach (Bulgaria) and Majorca (Spain) where recent cases have taken place.

Jon O’Shaughnessy, British Consul in Sofia, said:

Last year we had to deal with several deaths and injuries from balcony falls, and unfortunately we are already experiencing balcony accidents again. Our staff have seen the devastating effects a momentary lapse in judgement can have on the victim and their family and we are working hard to ensure people understand the risks. Accidents can and do happen and climbing from balcony to balcony, jumping off them or drinking excessively while on one only increases your chances of something going wrong. All too often these incidents cost lives but the risks can be avoided if you take a moment to just think about the possible consequences.

Last year Jake Evans and his family gave us a harsh reminder of just how wrong things can go when he shared his story of falling seven floors after slipping over the edge of his balcony while trying to reach for something on the balcony below. Read Jake’s story.

Nikki White, ABTA’s Head of Destinations and Sustainability, said:

As we head into peak summer season, we are again urging young holidaymakers to think about the potential risks of balconies. We see too many people permanently injured or worse because they’ve tried to climb over or dive off their hotel balcony. We want people to enjoy their holidays but would advise them to think about the ramifications of their behaviour abroad. Incidents such as these have devastating consequences for holidaymakers and for their families. By working with the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, tourist authorities and ABTA Members in resort we hope to help holidaymakers stop and think about how they use their balconies to prevent more of these tragic and avoidable incidents.

For more information, please visit the FCO’s Know Before You Go page. To keep informed of the latest travel advice on the move you can follow: www.facebook.com/fcotravel or twitter.com/fcotravel.

For further information or interviews with an FCO spokesperson please contact the Know Before You Go team on 0207 478 7840 or fcoteam@grayling.com.

Notes to editors

  • The FCO’s Know Before You Go campaign encourages British nationals to prepare for their foreign travel so they can avoid preventable problems. The campaign targets a number of audiences, from gap year students to package holidaymakers; sports fans to older travellers and people visiting friends and family abroad. The campaign works with around 550 travel industry partners to communicate its messages. For more information visit Know Before You Go.
Published 28 June 2013