News article

British Embassy Sofia launches Holiday Hangover 2014 campaign

The prevention campaign encourages safe behaviour in Bulgaria’s most diverse and popular summer resort Sunny Beach.

On 24 July 2014, British Ambassador to Bulgaria Jonathan Allen and Her Majesty’s Consul, Simon Tucker launched the Holiday Hangover prevention campaign in Sunny Beach, Bulgaria. The campaign, targeted at young tourists, aged 16 to 30, aims to engage those with risky behaviour and help them have a safe and enjoyable holiday. The campaign is being run for a second consecutive year by the Consular team at the British Embassy and is a result of the team’s observation that many of the consular cases the team deal with are preventable.

The campaign relies on simple messages with strong impact and high potential to engage young people. The messages are delivered using information materials (wristbands, lanyards and beer mats) giving the international emergency number 112 and basic advice how to stay safe. The Holiday Hangover campaign is mainly run digitally, i.e. via Twitter, Facebook, TV and radio fillers. The official hashtag is #HolidayHangover.

The campaign is supported by local partners in Sunny Beach such as tour operators, local police, Sunny Beach AD, the Union of Hotel Owners in Sunny Beach, Business Association Sunny Beach, the Municipality, and owners of bars and clubs.

Jonathan Allen, British Ambassador to Bulgaria, said:

In the last decade, Bulgaria has been a very popular tourist destination among British nationals. The Holiday Hangover messages don’t seek to stop them from having fun by any means. We want people to enjoy their holiday, but we also wish to remind them what the consequences are when they go over the top. I am glad that the Consular team are working closely with local partners in order to provide the best assistance and advice to British holidaymakers. It was no surprise that the Holiday Hangover campaign was a big success last summer, a result which I hope will be exceeded this season.

Simon Tucker, British Consul to Bulgaria, commented:

With Sunny Beach receiving over 100,000 British visitors in the summer, we are committed to taking steps to help them have safe and problem-free holiday. I am proud that team workings hard to reach out to young British holidaymakers and delighted with the close partnership between the Embassy and the local authorities, communities and businesses.

During the campaign in 2013, British Embassy Sofia saw a significant decrease in the number of reported serious consular cases:

  • The number of reported hospitalisations reduced by nearly 1/3 from 25 cases in 2012 to 14 in 2013

  • There was one balcony death in 2013 against three in 2012

  • The number of arrests of British tourists in 2013 dropped by four times in 2013 compared to 2012 – from nine to two cases

  • 71% of the tourist surveyed in Sunny Beach in 2013 said that the campaign provided them with useful information during their holiday

Notes to editors

  • Bulgaria has a busy consular workload, with active summer and winter seasons. Over 300,000 British tourists come to Bulgaria in the summer and winter every year, as Sunny Beach is Bulgaria’s most diverse and popular resort.

  • The Holiday Hangover campaign was successfully run in Greece and Cyprus in previous years. This inspired the Consular team at the British Embassy Sofia to also run the campaign in Sunny Beach.

  • The in-resort campaign is part of wider communications and engagement with stakeholders, on both national and local level, in Bulgaria and the UK, on consular services.

  • The Holiday Hangover campaign is largely related to the messages communicated in the FCO‘s Know Before You Go campaign. These are: check the foreign travel advice and the health risks, look at the travel checklist before planning a trip, get comprehensive travel insurance, research the destination, and check your passport is valid and you have the necessary visa.