Are France and Spain Risky Vacation Spots?

Aon just released its 2013 Terrorism and Political Violence Risk Map. Interestingly, reports Business Insider, the risk levels in summer vacation favorites France and Spain are “actually equivalent to China and Russia, presumably on the basis of the former countries’ recent, heated demonstrations protesting austerity.”

Denmark, Finland, Japan, Australia, Iceland, Uruguay and Botswana, meanwhile, are all pretty safe bets.


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  1. danny says:

    guess my summer vacation in paris should be scaled back then.

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  2. James says:

    Would think it would depend on what part of the country you choose to vacation in. Paris, certainly. The Alps or the coast of Brittany, maybe not so much.

    Just like there’s a lot of difference between Los Angeles and Alturas, even though they’re both in California.

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  3. Brant says:

    I recently returned from 5 days in Barcelona. My brush with “political violence” was a mass of 100 or so fire-fighters on bicycles riding through the streets of the city center. They were wearing spandex cycling shorts, fire-fighter jackets/helmets and carrying signs about pension cuts. We cheered them on and took pictures as they rode by. It was a terrifying experience.

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  4. Victor says:

    I grew up in Spain and although I don’t live there any more, my family alerted me about car hijackings happening frequently in the last few months. Apparently they steal your plate while you are stopped somewhere, and then while driving they show it to you saying that you just dropped it to get you to stop. Guess what happens next.

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  5. Phil says:

    Denmark, Finland, Japan, Australia, Iceland, Uruguay and Botswana, meanwhile, are all pretty safe bets.

    You forgot NEW ZEALAND from that list too.

    We’re a wonderful little country to visit – great food, beautiful scenery, delightful people. Come on down!

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  6. MW says:

    Unless I’m going to somewhere like Syria, I think a traffic fatality risk map would be vastly more useful.

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  7. Jaime says:

    Having lived in Spain for the greatest part of my life, and having experienced ACTUAL terror attacks on two ocassions (one from the Al’Quaeda bombings and one from the ETA bombing in Guzman el Bueno). I have no clue how these people can justify that some peaceful protests in the last years offset the fact that ETA has laid down their weapons in the last 18 months (lets not forget they used to love to plant bombs at the tourist hotspots in the summer) and that we are no longer involved in middle easter wars (rather prominently taking us off a lot jihadi’s sights).

    Would love to see what raw data they use but I strongly doubt the moral integrity of those making that chart as the facts as I see and know them to be, from the ground, do not give that picture at all.

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  8. Shane L says:

    The Europol Terrorism Situation and Trend Report each year shows that separatist nationalist groups are responsible for the majority of attacks in Europe. Many of these are based in France and Spain because of Basque or Corsican nationalist groups.

    Yet these attacks, while relatively frequent, tend to have low casualty rates; many involve property destruction only.

    Of course terrorism is a low threat in most developed countries anyway and one is much more likely to be victimised by ordinary criminals than political criminals. So don’t change your vacation plans in Paris, Danny! Terrorists often target high-profile events and venues in gruesome attacks because they lack the conventional power to force through political changes so rely on shock tactics. They hope for dread and anger; perhaps our best response is to shrug them off as criminal thugs and carry on going about our business and booking our holidays regardless.

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