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Who Should Take Responsibility for Tourist Health?

While ultimately tourists themselves are responsible for their own health (the biopsychosocial view — Sarafino, 1998), local communities (including the local health facility), the tourist industry and governments, can play a role in accident prevention. A national campaign regarding preventable travel health problems would make this public health issue more visible and give key stakeholders in the industry the impetus to act in this area.

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At the local level, health facilities can provide sound data and advice to the community and local government regarding the types of accidents and their location. Such information allows the local community to ‘design out’ accidents when providing new facilities and allows warnings via signage on natural physical attractions that are associated with higher rates of injuries/accidents.

The potential health risks to the tourists when travelling are well documented, and there are many ways to reduce and in some cases eliminate the risks (for example, vaccination prior to travel). To be able to achieve this, there needs to be a concerted effort by the host community, local authorities and potential tourists (Organization of American States, 1997).

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