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Czechs should mind terrorism risks on holiday, minister says

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Prague, June 7 (CTK) – Foreign Minister Lubomir Zaoralek called on Czechs to be careful on holiday due to the risk of terrorism and not to overestimate their strength to avoid tragedies at a press conference today.

Czechs must be cautious not only in the conflict areas, but also during their trips in Europe, he added.

A consular rapid reaction team will be prepared at the Foreign Ministry. It can be sent abroad to help Czech tourists and local diplomats in emergency situations, Zaoralek (senior government Social Democrats, CSSD) said.

He pointed out that Czechs often overestimated their strength in the mountains or on the sea in the past few years. About ten Czechs annually die in Croatia, their most popular tourist destination, since they do not manage the situation in which they find themselves due to their own ill-considered decisions, he said.

Zaoralek also pointed out that some resorts, for instance, in Egypt, Tunisia and Turkey, lie close to conflict epicentres. Though local authorities try to provide security in these resorts, tourists must realise that they might end up in a dangerous zone if they leave them.

“Unfortunately, one must be cautious in European countries as well,” Zaoralek said, pointing to the recent terrorist attacks in Britain.

In view of security risks, the ministry recommends that Czech tourists register in the DROZD database of citizens travelling abroad. The Foreign Ministry uses this application to inform Czechs abroad about emergency situations.

The Foreign Ministry will also open consular agencies in some popular seaside resorts in Bulgaria, Croatia and Spain. Besides, mixed patrols of Czech and local police will operate in Croatia and Bulgaria.

If the Czech Republic has no diplomatic mission in the country where Czechs are spending their holiday, they can turn to the embassies and consulates of other EU member states that are obliged to help them, Deputy Foreign Minister Martin Smolek said.

Zaoralek pointed to a stricter security regime at the Schengen border since April. This may cause complications mainly to tourists travelling to Croatia as there might be queues at the border. Despite stricter border checks, Czech still need their IDs only and not passports for travelling to Croatia, he added.

The number of Czechs who died or were hospitalised abroad slightly dropped in the past tourist season, Smolek told reporters. However, he said this was a coincidence rather than a long-term trend.

The number of traffic accidents in which Czechs were involved abroad last year decreased as well by six to 125, compared with 2015.

A total of 108 Czechs died abroad during last year’s tourist season, which is nine fewer than in 2015. However, the death toll in 2016 was the second highest in the past seven years. The lowest was in 2012 when 93 Czechs died abroad.

The number of Czechs hospitalised abroad dropped by six to 139, which has been the second lowest figure since 2010.

On the other hand, the Czech diplomatic missions had to issue more substitute passports last year. Their number has been rising since 2010. In the past season, 1379 persons needed substitute travel documents, which is 83 more year-on-year.

“The steep rise is caused by the fact that Czechs have been travelling abroad more often of late,” Smolek said.

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