About 1 million British passengers travel every year via Geneva airport with the British winter holidays being a particularly busy period. For the weekend of 14-15 February 2015 the Geneva Airport expected about 30,000 passengers arriving from the UK. For the first time, banners at the airport warned tourists that losing their passports will cause frustration and inconvenience as they miss out on valuable holiday time whilst they visit the Embassy and pay for an Emergency Travel Document to get home.
Arriving passengers were greeted by banners with the message “Lose your passport, lose your holiday” as they headed for passport control. They were again reminded of this message when they got the train at the airport railway station. At Geneva railway station employees from the British Embassy and the SBB Transport Police distributed flyers to British tourists giving them tips on how to travel safely and protect themselves from pickpockets. The British Ambassador accompanied the SBB Transport Police officers on the train from Geneva airport to Lausanne to inform British travellers about how pickpockets operate and how they can easily protect themselves.
Every year, the British Embassy in Berne issues around 650 Emergency Travel Documents at a cost of £95 each. It’s a number that British Ambassador, David Moran, is keen to reduce.
Ambassador Moran explains that his team wants to prevent British nationals from getting into difficulties in the first place. Everyone arriving in Geneva is being reminded to think about where they’re going to keep their passport for the duration of their stay. He advises “lock it away somewhere safe and, if you have to take it with you, keep it in a zipped bag or pocket to ensure a hassle-free holiday.”
Partnership is key in preventing consular cases and Ambassador Moran is very grateful to the airport and SBB authorities for agreeing to collaborate with the British Embassy on this important topic and to display the banner and distribute the flyers free of charge.