News article

British Embassy Sofia launches a summer prevention campaign

The Take Your Pic campaign encourages responsible behaviour among young British tourists in some of the most popular destination countries – Bulgaria, Spain, Greece and Cyprus.

On 14 July 2015, the British Ambassador Emma Hopkins, Her Majesty’s Consul Simon Tucker and the Deputy Minister of Tourism Irena Georgieva launched the #TakeYourPic prevention campaign in Sunny Beach. The campaign in Sunny Beach is run by leading UK holiday companies, local partners and the British Embassy to influence the behavior of young Britons travelling to Sunny Beach this summer.

Take Your Pic has been running digitally on Twitter @TYPSunnyBeach and Tumblr hellotakeyourpic.tumblr.com since 2 June 2015, and will continue until the end of September 2015. It is also run in Spain, Greece and Cyprus.

The campaign sets a number of typical scenarios for young travellers and encourages them to choose between a #holidaywin or a #holidayfail. A #holidaywin might involve partying with friends and having an amazing night whereas a #holidayfail means being hospitalised after drinking too much.

The #TakeYourPic campaign highlights the valuable holiday time and money that young British holidaymakers could lose by failing to make the right choices. The campaign aims to maximise the number of #holidaywins and help young Brits to be more aware of choices they can make to have an amazing holiday or the exact opposite. A classic example that can easily be avoided is the loss of a passport: few realise the hassle and money involved in getting an emergency replacement if it is lost or stolen.

@TYPSunnyBeach and the #TakeYourPic Tumblr channel also provide tips on currency, healthcare, language, travel insurance, responsible behaviour and documents and valuables safety.

Along with engaging young travellers on social media, the campaign uses merchandise such as wristbands, posters and selfie sticks to help young travellers think through the choices they are making. The merchandise is distributed in the resort through the Embassy local partners.

Emma Hopkins, British Ambassador to Bulgaria, said:

Bulgaria has been a very popular tourist destination among British nationals in the last decade. More than a quarter of a million British nationals visit the country every year and possibly 100 000 come to one of the most exciting summer resorts, Sunny Beach. As a result we have decided to launch and run the #TakeYourPic campaign digitally and creatively remind young British holidaymakers that in order to have a good holiday they have to behave responsibly. The campaign aims at making young British people aware of how their holiday can go – will it be a #holidaywin or a #holidayfail? After all hassle free holiday is happy holiday.

Simon Tucker, British Consul to Bulgaria, commented:

We are committed to take the necessary measures to help young British tourists have an enjoyable and problem-free holiday. Moreover, we are delighted to see holiday companies, local authorities and business working together on this campaign. #TakeYourPic is an industry-led campaign supported by Club 18-30, ABTA, Thomson “Scene”, the Foreign Office and the Post Office in partnership with the regional and local police, local bars, events organisers and hotelier associations.

I am also pleased that the Consular team at the Embassy is working closely with local authorities, communities and businesses in Sunny Beach in order to provide the best assistance and advice to British holidaymakers.

Between May to September last year the British Embassy in Sofia dealt with 4 arrests, 2 deaths, 7 hospitalisations, 4 mental health cases, 4 rape and sexual assaults cases and 11 lost or stolen passports all involving Britons aged between 15 and 30 in Sunny Beach.

The #TakeYourPic campaign is run jointly by with local partners in Sunny Beach – local authorities, regional and local police, tour operators, bars and hoteliers. They play an important role in encouraging responsible behaviour; improving customer service and ensuring the events and activities available in Sunny Beach are professionally managed.

The #TakeYourPic campaign is a follow up of the Embassy’s prevention campaign Holiday Hangover that was run in Sunny Beach in 2013 and 2014 and the FCO’s Know Before You Go campaigns. They encourage people to check foreign travel advice and health risks; get a comprehensive travel insurance; research destination and check whether their documents are valid or if they need a visa.