|Inadequate safety management for leisure activities and vehicles during overseas package tours|
Inadequate safety management for leisure activities and vehicles during overseas package tours
- It is required to make it mandatory for Korean travelers abroad to use local leisure facilities and transportation means that meet domestic safety standards -
With the increase in national income and the expansion of leisure culture, the number of Korean people travelling overseas has been on the rise every year. Safety management for the local leisure facilities and vehicles, however, has been found to remain inadequate.
This fact has been found as a result of the safety checkup conducted by the Korea Consumer Agency on water sports and underwater activities (37) and local transportation means (17) offered by nine (9) overseas package tour programs,* following the sinking of a river cruise ship in the Danube in Hungary.
*Two(2) Eastern Europe tour programs(Hungary, Czech, Croatia, Austira, Slovenia), seven(7) Asia tour programs(Hanoi in Vietnam, Bangkok and Phuketin Thailand, Boracay Island and Cebu in the Phlippines, Kota Kinabalu in Malaysia, Bali Island Indonesia)
□ Inadequate safety management for overseas water sports and underwater leisure activities increases the risk of injuries when an accident occurs.
In Korea, it is compulsory to wear a life jacket* when enjoying water sports and underwater activities, and to wear a safety helmet** and possess an operator’s license for leisure equipment** depending on the type of leisure activity.
* Article 17 of the Water-related Leisure Activities Safety Act, Article 6 of the Enforcement Rule of the Act on Prevention of Accidents at Coastal Sea, Article 35 of the Standard of Ship’s Life Saving Facilities
** Article 14 of the Enforment Rule of the Water-related Leisure Activities Safety Act, Article 3 of the Enforcement Decree of the Water-related Leisure Activities Safety Act
However, among 37 facilities for leisure and experience activities offered by overseas package tour programs, 11 facilities (29.7%) did not have life jackets for children, and two (2) facilities (5.4%) did not have life jackets for adults. In particular, all four (4) facilities (100.0%) for banana boat rides did not provide safety helmets, and one (1) (20.0%) out of five (5) facilities for jet boat rides allowed unlicensed tourists to operate their jet boats, showing that their safety management is inadequate.
In addition, 28 facilities (75.7%) out of 37 safety checkup subjects did not have first-aid kits, indicating that it would be difficult to provide proper emergency medical care to tourists when accidents occur.
□ Safety education by travel agencies (local tour guides) needs to be provided.
As a result of the safety checkup, since most of the leisure activities were operated by local tourism companies, safety education for tourists was not provided before enjoying the activities (51.3%) or the education was carried out in foreign languages (33.3%), indicating that it would be difficult to prevent safety accidents in advance.
In particular, water sports facilities for parasailing (three (3) out of four (4) facilities), jet skiing (four (4) out of five (5) facilities), and banana boats (three (3) out of four (4) facilities) have rarely provided prior safety education for tourists despite a high risk of safety accidents, and therefore, improvement measures (safety education by local tour guides who can speak Korean, etc.) through travel agencies need to be prepared.
□ Inadequate safety management for local transportation means increases the risk of injuries in a large-scale accident.
The safety checkup showed that unlike Korea*, nine (9) out of the 17 vehicles did not provide instructions on the use of safety seat belts for passengers. It was also found that the vehicles were not fully equipped with safety devices including fire extinguishers (58.8%) and did not have a user guide for the emergency escape hammer (45.5%). As such, it is concerned that a large-scale accident will result in a higher risk of injuries among the Korean tourists.
* Article 26(3) of the Passenger Transport Service Act, Article 58-2 of the Enforcement Rule of the Passenger Transport Service Act
Based on the findings of the safety checkup, the KCA will request the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism to include information on safety rules for leisure and experience activities in ▲the Standardized Scope of Information on Overseas Travel Programs*. Furthermore, it will recommend major travel agencies (association of travel agencies) ▲to provide a guidebook on safety rules for leisure activities, ▲to use leisure and experience facilities and vehicles that meet safety standards, and ▲to make it mandatory to provide Korean tourists with safety education by local tour guides who can speak the Korean language.
* A project to standardize information on overseas travel programs, and the KCA, the Korea Tourism Organization and the Korea Association of Travel Agents have proceeded with the project since 2013, in order to protect the rights and interests of consumers travelling overseas and promote a sound growth of the travel industry.
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