When booking a holiday we all expect our accommodation to be safe and to have been checked out by the tour operator that we are travelling with. However, the deaths of Robert and Christianne Shepherd in 2006 from carbon monoxide poisoning in their holiday bungalow in Corfu has shown that this is not always the case.
So how can we ensure that our holiday accommodation is safe?
Tour operators do have a legal obligation to make their own safety checks when selecting accommodation providers. The fear of legal action being brought against them should these not be up to scratch should be enough to ensure that standards are met. The tragedy of the Shepherd family, if nothing else, should have provided a warning to all tour operators.
However, if booking accommodation directly with an owner then how can you be sure that the safety standards of the country in which you are staying are being met? Many countries now insist upon regular safety checks in all accommodation that is to be rented out with the necessary documentation, especially for gas and electrical appliances, made available. The owners should be happy to show you these documents but a reliable translator would be essential since these documents are usually in the native language. You should also ensure that the documents or certificates are up-to-date.
There are no cast iron guarantees that your holiday accommodation will be 100% safe. Ensuring that the necessary documentation and licences are in place is certainly a good starting point. Researching the various travel review websites will reveal other holidaymakers’ experiences which may show up any areas for concern. We have to hope that all accommodation owners have now become more vigilant where safety standards are concerned following the tragic experience of the Shepherd family in Corfu and that events like this aren’t ever repeated.
Following the inquest the coroner said he would deliver recommendations later this year to relevant organisations which he hoped would influence British and European law and practices in the holiday industry.