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Why Travel Insurance is Important for Festivals Abroad

For people heading overseas for a festival, it is important that you protect yourself with travel insurance in case of an accident.

The organisation of a large public festival must take into account all possible eventualities. A major part of this is a proficient risk assessment and the various – perhaps obvious – outcomes that could result in any of the population in attendance coming to harm.

Twenty-nine people were killed and 60 injured in an accident at a festival overseas in India. The sustained injuries in Rajahmundry were a result of a stampede during the Godavari Maha Pushkaram, in which tens of thousands of people pushed toward the Godavari River to bathe. In attendance were vulnerable people, including disabled and elderly people as well as children. Because of overcrowding that resulted in blocked roads, emergency services were unable to get to those in need in a timely manner.

The concern here is not related to religious practice, but that organisers did not take such an incident into account following years of repeating this tradition. This same tragic scenario could be exchanged for any event wherein vast numbers of people are expected to attend. Let’s take, for example, a music festival, where tens of thousands of people are pushing for prime position at the front of the stage. Were it not for the proficient security measures, risk assessments and consideration for health and safety, an event like the Glastonbury festival, with an attendance of over 100,000 people, may suffer similar accidents as those reported from the Godavari Maha Pushkaram festival in India.

In 2010, at least 19 people were killed in a stampede at the Love Parade dance festival in Germany. Though reports suggest organisers made proficient security measures, overcrowding was cited as the cause. Police German President, Christian Wulff, stated, "It is terrible that such a catastrophe brought death, suffering and pain to a peaceful festival full of happy young people from many countries."

Public liability insurance covers the cost of damages sustained by anyone in attendance at a festival. It is reported that organisers ignored a suggestion for an insurance policy for the Godavari Maha Pushkaram by Prasanna Kumar, Professor of Climate and Disaster Management at the Marri Channa Reddy Human Resource Development Institute.

Faisel Illyas, Assistant Professor at the Institute of Land and Disaster Management in Thiruvananthapuram, commented, “Public liability insurance for religious festivals has not received due attention in India till now. There are some isolated instances of temple authorities or organisers covering their prestigious religious functions but at the national level there are no specific instructions by the central government or the National Disaster Management Authority to cover every major mass gathering or religious event.”

At any festival, public liability insurance both protects organisers in the event of a compensation claim, and encourages attention to the health and safety of attendees in avoiding a personal injury claim.

If you are planning to attend a festival abroad – religious or otherwise – it is important that you purchase travel insurance so that you are covered in the event of an accident. This can be specified for attending a festival, or any other activities abroad.

If you are injured in an accident at a festival overseas, specialist Travel Litigation lawyers can help you to pursue a compensation claim for any damages.

At Slater and Gordon Lawyers, we have Travel Litigation Solicitors who specialise in Travel Law Claims across the UK. If you or a member of your family were injured in an accident whilst travelling on commercial or public transport call us for a free consultation on freephone 0800 916 9046 or from abroad on +44 20 7657 155 or contact us online and we will call you.

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