Thailand. It's beautiful, it's fun, and if you're an Australian tourist, it's also pretty dangerous. The reality—that you suspected already based on tales from your eternally sunburned cousin's bucks trip—has been officially confirmed in the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade's annual Consular State of Play report.
The report found that despite being the 4th most visited location by Australian tourists in the last financial year, Thailand topped the lists for highest rates of death, hospitalisation, and missing person's reports for Australian citizens. Making it the most dangerous destination for Aussie travellers.
Of the 529k individuals who travelled there, 203 died (a one percent drop from last year), 95 were hospitalised (an 11 percent rise) and 74 went missing. The reports of missing Australians rose by a staggering 76 percent in 12 months. During that period the Consular Emergency Centre fielded 893 calls from Australians in trouble.
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While the numbers are high, they're also very likely underreported. As the DFAT pointed out, most of the time when people get into trouble overseas they reach out to family, friends, travel agents (or their travel insurance company) rather than going straight to the consulate.
"Only one in one thousand Australians who are overseas at any given point during a year need the Australian Government's assistance when they get into trouble," the report notes.
The numbers are unsettling, but it's important to note that the most common causes for deaths overseas were illness and natural causes, rather than violent crime or accidents.
Credit where it's due though, people are at least appearing to do their homework before they head overseas. Thailand was the most visited country page of the Smart Traveller website, which offers advice on staying safe overseas.
Don't let this stuff put you off a trip to Thailand. Just don't be a moron about it. Check the Smart Traveller website for alerts, don't do anything illegal, and seriously, get travel insurance.
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Remember, there is a lot more to Thailand than tourists getting hurt.
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