First Aid Responsibilities for Hotels and Resorts


The United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) reports that international tourist arrivals (overnight visitors) worldwide exceeded the 1 billion mark for the first time ever in 2012, with 1,035 million tourists crossing borders. Long term forecasts suggest that international tourist arrivals worldwide will increase by 3.3% a year to reach 1.8 billion by 2030. Travel medicine studies show that between 20 and 70% of these international tourists may experience some form of illness during their time away from home. Most of these illnesses are not life threatening, but they can severely disrupt a vacation or business trip. The most frequent are: travellers’ diarrhoea (accounting for up to two thirds of health problems), upper respiratory tract infections, skin diseases and fever.

Among the current 1 billion plus travellers worldwide, of particular concern are those who have pre-existing medical conditions and who may be relying on accommodation providers at their destination to render first aid and emergency assistance should it be required. These ‘hidden’ conditions include diabetes, epilepsy, pregnancy, food allergies, respiratory problems,
psychiatric conditions and immunocompromised travellers. Cardiovascular conditions are the main cause of tourist death from illness, while road accidents and drowning lead the injury fatalities.

While not necessarily preventable, many of these illnesses and injuries will respond to appropriate and timely first aid. Survival rates for out-of-hospital cardiac arrest, for example, are significantly improved if appropriate first aid assistance is rendered in the first four minutes following the arrest.

Jeff Wilks
Travel Law Quarterly


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