Female holidaymakers fly in the face of danger

Female Holiday destinations with Sheilas' Wheels
  • Three quarters of a million British women are planning a ‘girly holiday’ to Turkey, India, Egypt or Kenya in the next 24 months
  • Yet these four destinations rank among the top 10 most dangerous countries in the world for female travellers
  • Travellers four times as likely to check the temperate of a country than local safety statistics

According to research by travel insurer Sheilas’ Wheels, over a quarter (27%) of women are planning to travel either on their own or as part of a female group in the next two years, with more than three quarters of a million (764,709 ) visiting one of the world’s top ten most dangerous destinations for women as defined by the International Women’s Travel Center .

While two fifths (40%) of female travellers are actively avoiding Tunisia, almost half a million (486,633 ) women are planning to visit Egypt or Turkey on a ‘girls only’ holiday in the next two years. Yet Egypt remains a dangerous place due to terrorism and ranks fourth in the list of 10 most dangerous countries for female travellers. Turkey is also the sixth most dangerous country for women to visit.

Plus more than 200,000 women are planning a ‘girls only’ holiday to India this year or next – despite it ranking the worst country in the world for women to visit, as well as the FCO warning against travel to a number of areas in the country because of terrorism and insurgency concerns.

These ratings come from a list of the 10 most-unsafe countries for women to visit due to incidents of harassment and sexual assault among other things. Other inclusions are Jamaica, Colombia and Saudi Arabia and many women are unaware of the dangers they could face in certain countries.

While most trips are trouble free, one in 10 UK women travelling abroad have had money or belongings stolen, one in six have been shouted or leered at, one in 10 (9%) have suffered from sexual harassment and 14% have either encountered local hostility or intimidation.

More than nine in 10 (93%) female travellers now rate the general safety and security of a destination as the most important factor when deciding where to go on holiday. The problem though is that four in 10 (41%) are confused about where is safe to go — and as a rule, female holidaymakers are far more likely to check the temperature of a destination than the local crime statistics (64% versus 15%). 
In fact only a very small proportion of women are actually planning to visit female-friendly destinations, such as Scandinavia (1%), New Zealand (1%) and Switzerland (1%) despite all featuring in the top 10 safest destinations for women.

Nikki Sellers, Head of Travel Insurance at Sheilas’ Wheels, said: “Crime can, of course, happen anywhere, but women are more likely to fall victim in some places than others. We’re not saying that women shouldn’t visit these destinations but women travelling in these areas should do so with caution and knowledge of the culture. It’s also important to ensure you have a travel insurance policy in place should you become a victim of crime.”

Turkey (347,595 UK women planning to visit) 
India (208,557 UK women planning to visit) 
Egypt (139,038 UK women planning to visit) 
Kenya (69,519 UK women planning to visit)

Research was conducted by Opinium among 1,027 online interviews with UK women aged 18 and over in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. Research was carried out from the 3 May to 6 May 2016. According to Opinium 9% of women are planning a holiday alone and 21% are planning a ‘female only’ holiday. There are 25,747,771 UK adult women in the UK according to ONS Population Estimates Analysis Tool . According to Opinium, 27% of women are planning a female only holiday equating to 6,951,898. Of these 11% are planning a holiday either alone or with other females to India, Egypt, Turkey, or Kenya and 7% of women are planning a female only trip to either Egypt or Turkey in the next two years — equivalent to 486,633 (7% of 6,951,898 — number of women planning a female only holiday).