09 December 2022, Mumbai – International SOS, the world's leading security and health services company, is putting a focus on female travellers' health, safety and security, as travel ramps up again following the pandemic. As part of this initiative, International SOS will be organising a series of livestreams that address the growing issues and challenges that women face when travelling and help female travellers make informed decisions about their destination and how to stay safe while travelling abroad.
According to a recent survey, 88% of women say they were somewhat threatened or felt unsafe while travelling; and 12% of women have been physically attacked or threatened. Female traveller concerns are once again coming to the forefront as worldwide business and leisure travel bounces back.
The first episode – "Holiday Special: Health and Safety Tips for Women" will be taking place on 13 December 2022 at 11 AM (India time) and will feature International SOS' experts, including Dr Chan Yanjun, Medical Director, Singapore & Malaysia, International SOS; Pei-Lynn Foo, Certified Clinical Psychologist, International SOS; and Noriko Takasaki, Security Director Assistance, Asia, International SOS. The panel will be providing advice and guidance that is essential for any traveller, but specifically tailored for female travellers and their employers. There will be 10 livestreams in the series and they will be available to view on the International SOS LinkedIn page and Facebook page. For more information or to register for episode one, visit the International SOS events website.
Dr Chan Yanjun, Medical Director, Singapore & Malaysia, International SOS, shared, "Travel, either domestic or international, poses risks for anyone, but particularly women. All travellers should plan carefully to ensure their health and safety while away, but this is especially important for women, particularly those travelling solo. It is important that travellers are well informed when making decisions on where and when to journey. In addition, employers need to assume a greater responsibility under their duty of care for female employees who are undertaking business related travel."
Another survey from the Global Business Travel Association (GBTA) highlighted that for women business travellers' safety is a widespread concern. The survey of 503 female business travellers discovered that 83% of respondents have experienced a safety-related concern or incident, and that 90% indicated that safety concerns influenced how they spent free time on business trips. Similarly, a SAP Concur survey of 7,850 business travellers in 19 markets revealed similar findings, with 75% of female business travellers suffering harassment while travelling and 58% changing their plans because of safety concerns.
Dr Chan continued, "We recognise that in addition to the safety, medical and security needs of all travellers, women may also have a few extra concerns they need to be mindful of, which is why we have developed this empowering series in a bite sized and easily digestable format. Through our series, we hope to raise awareness of women's health, safety and security issues while travelling to help ensure their trips are safe and successful. Make sure to bookmark our LinkedIn and Facebook pages so you don't miss any of the upcoming livestreams."
Topics that will be covered during the series will include how to stay safe as a female traveller; how to deal with extreme weather conditions or natural disasters; what to do if you get sick or injured while travelling; how to research a destination before travelling; tips for reducing risks of violence, harassment and accidents during international travel; mental well-being; pregnancy and unforeseen risks; self-defence tips; hotel safety tips; holiday shopping safety tips and more.
Pei-Lynn, added, "Moreover, the challenges and stressors experienced by women travellers can contribute to a decline in their mental health. Hence, awareness, preparation and proactive management go a long way not only in ensuring safety and security, but in sustaining women's mental wellbeing."
"Security environment is evolving dynamically. Although female travellers can face unique security risks when abroad, it is about mitigating those risks prior to departure as much as possible that is key. It is important to properly research travel destinations and become familiar with local laws and customs to help avoid adverse situations. You should also be aware of the current geopolitical situation, weather conditions, ongoing crisis, etc., as well as potential increased risks during the holiday period, such as petty crime, online/Christmas scams and crowd safety, to be fully prepared. We hope following the information and tips shared will help women travel more confidently and keep safe," Noriko concluded.
International SOS have provided some travel tips to help minimise risks and assist women to make their journey safe and enjoyable include:
· Be aware of cultural norms and laws – Researching all travel destinations prior to arrival is crucial, even if it is just for a night or a quick layover. The most important information to know about a location is what the cultural norms are, this is often shaped by the religious majority in the country.
· Be culturally sensitive to dress codes – Many countries have different ideas about how women should dress and behave. People will make assumptions about you based on what you are wearing. Even if you don't agree with particular customs, it will make your trip more enjoyable if you respect local expectations.
· General safety advice – There are some general safety suggestions that travellers can employ including, travelling during daylight hours; don't wear expensive jewellery on obvious display; remember that handbags, clutch purses and bum bags can be easily stolen; and last but not least, if you are feeling particularly nervous in an unfamiliar city, make sure to maintain contact with a friend or relative who can keep an eye on you is crucial when travelling alone. Keep that individual informed of your location and give them a broad rundown of your plan.
· Health concerns when travelling – Take enough regular medication, feminine hygiene products and contraceptives to last the entire trip.
· Trust your gut instinct – One of the most important tools we all have is our instincts. Your gut instinct is the one thing, when travelling, is your most useful tool. If something feels not quite right, listen to that little voice and remove yourself from the situation.
 Source – JourneyWoman: Women's personal safety is an issue at home and abroad
 Source – Global Business Travel Association: 83 Percent of Female Business Travelers Report Safety Concern or Incident in Past Year
 Source – SAP Concur: New Research Reveals Top Concerns Among Business Travelers
About the International SOS Group of Companies
The International SOS Group of Companies is in the business of saving lives, protecting your global workforce from health and security threats. Wherever you are, we deliver customised health, security risk management and wellbeing solutions to fuel your growth and productivity. In the event of extreme weather, an epidemic or a security incident, we provide an immediate response providing peace of mind. Our innovative technology and medical and security expertise focus on prevention, offering real-time, actionable insights and on-the-ground quality delivery. We help protect your people, your organisation's reputation, as well as support your compliance reporting needs. By partnering with us, organisations can fulfil their Duty of Care responsibilities, while empowering business resilience, continuity and sustainability. Founded in 1985, the International SOS Group, headquartered in London & Singapore, is trusted by 9,500 organisations, including the majority of the Fortune Global 500 as well as mid-size enterprises, governments, educational institutions, and NGOs. 13,000 multi-cultural security, medical, logistics and digital experts stand by you to provide support & assistance from over 1,000 locations in 90 countries, 24/7, 365 days.
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