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Pictured at the Launch is (l-r) Lisa Kennedy, Chief Executive of ITAS, Lord Mayor Naoise Ó Muirí and Dick Bourke, Chairman of ITAS. Photograph by Martin McChree
ITAS, the Irish Tourist Assistance Service launched its annual statistics of tourist crime at its annual meeting in the Mansion House Dublin.
- The number of tourist victims receiving assistance from the Irish Tourist Assistance Service rose by 10% in 2012.
- The most common crimes against tourists are theft from the person and theft from cars.
Last year the Irish Tourist Assistance Service received 433 incidents of tourist crime and traumatic incidents involving 739 tourists. This was the third highest number of referrals recorded since the service’s inception in 1994. The main crime against tourists was theft from person which accounted for 50% of the cases referred.
Dublin Garda Stations continue to refer the majority of the cases (84%) to ITAS followed by Garda Stations in counties Wicklow, Galway, Kerry and Louth.
There were 12 cases of violent crimes against tourists referred in 2012. These included aggravated thefts, assaults and robberies.
Crimes mostly occurred when tourists were sightseeing, shopping and generally relaxing in restaurants and cafés. The majority of crimes referred to the service occurred between the hours of 2-6pm in Dublin City Centre. The victims tended to be female and aged between 17-25yrs.
44 different nationalities were assisted by ITAS in 2012. German nationals (131 tourists) made up the largest category referred to the Service. This was followed by Italian (111 tourists); French (94 tourists); British (76 tourists); American (72 tourists) and Spanish (69 tourists).
Speaking at the launch, Lord Mayor Naoise Ó Muirí said:
‘Being a tourist victim of crime can be an extremely traumatic experience. Tourists have specific needs that must be met. It is reassuring to know that ITAS are on hand to respond to these needs with staff and volunteers being on hand 7 days a week to support tourists in these stressful situations’.
Lisa Kennedy, Chief Executive of ITAS believes the organisation has a valuable role to play within the tourism industry. She said -
‘ITAS is in a position to offer immediate support to tourist victims of crime. The shock and panic they initially feel is replaced with a sense of calm. By being on hand to assist them during this distressing time, ensures they return home with a more positive perception of Ireland and may consider returning one day’.
Commenting at the event, Dick Bourke, Chairman of ITAS urges the industry to support the Service –
‘Ireland is leading the way in terms of the support it provides to tourist victims of crime. We are the only country in Europe that has a dedicated service to assist tourists in these situations. With prompt intervention and support, 89% of victimised tourists continued with their holiday plans in 2012, which is a good indication of the level of assistance that is provided by ITAS. I’d like to thank our sponsors for their continued support and I’d like call on all sectors of the tourism industry to support ITAS. It is in everyone’s interest to help’.
The Irish Tourist Assistance Service (ITAS) offers immediate support and assistance to tourists who are victimised while visiting Ireland. The ITAS team consists of staff and volunteers who speak a variety of languages. ITAS acts as a base where problems facing the tourist in the aftermath of a crime can be addressed promptly with the view to getting holiday plans back on track.
Sponsors of ITAS include - Commission for the Support of Victims of Crime (through Dept. Justice, Equality and Law Reform), Fáilte Ireland, Dublin City Council, Irish Hotels Federation and Vintners Federation of Ireland.
The Irish Tourist Assistance Service is open seven days a week and can be contacted on 1890 365 700.