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Thursday July 16, 2015

Britons are right to carry on holidaying abroad

Britons deserve a holiday in the sunshine

In the wake of the recent terrorist attack in the resort of Sousse in Tunisia, there has been much hand-wringing in the media and online forums about the risks of holidaying overseas, even in European zones previously considered a safe bet.

Every year thousands of Britons take to the sunny beaches of countries such as Greece, Turkey, Spain and Italy in search of a little sun and relaxation, hoping to cast aside the stresses of every day life for a week or two. Few, until the massacre in Tunisia, would probably have ever contemplated that a lone gunman might target and indiscriminately kill defenceless sunbathers in a seemingly secure and well established holiday resort.

It’s therefore easy to understand why some have had a knee jerk reaction. We live in perilous times and yet the summer holiday to a far off clime or sun-filled corner of Europe, has always been a joyous affair and a way of forgetting problems back home. Now, one man’s actions in Tunisia have created insecurity and brought the fear of terrorism to many a sandy shore.

All the same, perspective is needed. We can no longer take safety and security for granted in Europe or further afield and yet neither can we allow ourselves to become fear-filled. Life is full of hazards but despite that, we must go about our business, including enjoying sunny holidays abroad because to do anything else would be absurd. Tragic events – natural or man-created – can happen anywhere in the world and so unless one is bubble-wrapped and stuck in a cupboard, there will always be risk.

As a teenager living in London I remember the constant threat of IRA attacks on British streets. It became the norm to keep a wary eye out, to give public bins a wide berth and to have bags searched. Every new atrocity created a small frisson of fear and sense of dread and yet life had to go on.

I got talking with a group of newly arrived British holidaymakers in Majorca last week, some of whom recalled those jumpy times in London’s past. Although all were agreed that the latest terrorist threat was greater – and more indiscriminate – than back then, none was prepared to give in to fear. The generally held view was that life was for living and that included getting on a plane and making the most of a holiday in Spain or other European destination because any risk of terrorism, quite frankly, existed back home in the UK too.

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