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Travel Advice

Volume 448: debated on Monday 3 July 2006

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what (a) information her Department provides and (b) grants it makes available for the purpose of advising gap year students on personal safety issues when travelling overseas. (81471)

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) has run the travel safety campaign, “Know Before You Go”, since 2001. Its aim is to help British travellers prepare for their trips and stay safe while they're abroad.

Gap year students are one of the key target groups for this campaign: they are both less likely to prepare for their trips and more likely to get into trouble while away. We work closely with partners from the travel industry and related groups to promote the FCO's travel website ( and call centre (0845 850 4849) which give detailed travel safety information on specific countries as well as important general tips.

Over the last year this activity included

the publication and distribution of 500,000 copies of a “Travel Safe Guide” jointly produced with Lonely Planet. This is being distributed through partners including Millets, Snow and Rock, Ellis Brigham (adventure travel shops) and through the Lonely Planet website, so as to reach the target audience;

a sixth-form schools tour conducted by the FCO's Consular Communications Team jointly with a number of noted travel writers, including Simon Calder of the Independent;

FCO Student Ambassadors in 15 universities across the UK. Articles placed in university publications by the student Ambassadors have reached 467,000 students over the past year. We will be appointing new students in new universities over the course of the coming year;

a dedicated FCO gap year website ( which will be re-launched in July this year with many new features.

The Department has close working relationships with a number of organisations promoting the safety of gap year travellers. We do not make any direct grants for this activity, preferring to work through partnerships with relevant organisations—for example, promoting each other's information materials, co-branding.