Brussels, 11 February 2013
Digital Agenda: Tour operators and travel agents join '112' emergency number campaign
The European Commission and The European Travel Agents' and Tour Operators' Associations (ECTAA) are asking tour operators, travel agents to promote the pan-European emergency number '112' on their websites, on e-tickets, and at major tourist destinations.
European Commission Vice President for the Digital Agenda Neelie Kroes said: "Transport companies are already helping raise awareness, now it's the turn of tour operators and agents to step up and help. European citizens should know that help is only one call away, wherever they are in the EU."
President of ECTAA, Mr. Boris Zgomba said: "ECTAA supports the Commission's campaign to raise awareness of the 112 emergency number. We are happy to be associated with this campaign, as a single emergency number applicable across the EU is of great benefit for travellers - our customers - who may not necessarily know which local number to dial in case of emergency when travelling outside of their home country."
Knowing the 112 number helps people in difficulty. For example, a group of Belgian scouts were lost in the woods around Ghioroc Village in Romania. One of them knew and phoned the 112 emergency number. The emergency operator determined the exact location of the group and alerted intervention agencies who found them. A member of the group suffered from hypothermic shock, but thanks to prompt reaction, the patient was saved.
112 is the European emergency number, reachable from fixed and mobile phones, free of charge, everywhere in the EU. 112 links the caller to the relevant emergency service (local police, fire brigade or medical services) and allows them to speak to an operator in a choice of European languages. It is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. 112 is now operational in all EU Member States alongside existing national emergency numbers (like 999 or 110). Denmark, Finland, Malta, The Netherlands, Portugal, Romania and Sweden have decided to make 112 their sole or main national emergency number. 112 is also being used in countries outside the EU, such as Switzerland, Croatia, Montenegro and Turkey.
From findings of a recent Eurobarometer survey, it is estimated that 5 million more people are aware of the 112 emergency number than was the case a year ago.
One year ago European Commission Vice Presidents Neelie Kroes and Siim Kallas called on transport companies to join an initiative to raise 112 awareness amongst travellers. More than 30 Companies and Associations participated in the campaign. As a result, 112-relevant information was publicised on e-tickets, in on-board magazines, on participating companies' websites and through direct contact of their staff with travellers. The image below shows an example of how the information was provided through the in-flight magazine for Brussels Airlines.
Brussels Airlines example of how 112 emergency number can be advertised:
According to a report on how each Member State is implementing 112:
51% of all EU citizens say that they would call 112 in the event of an emergency in their own country, up from 47% in 2012;
In five countries, 50% or more respondents spontaneously identify 112 as the number to call for emergency services from anywhere in the EU: Poland (57%), Slovakia (55%), Finland (54%), Luxembourg (53%) and the Czech Republic (50%).
The proportion of respondents who would call 112 in their own country ranges from 96% in Sweden to 2% in Greece.
English can be used in 25 European countries besides UK, Ireland and Malta;
14 countries (besides Belgium, France and Luxembourg) can deal with calls in French: Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Finland, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Lithuania, The Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Romania, Slovakia and Spain;
German can be used 12 countries: Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Finland, Hungary, Italy, Lithuania, The Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Slovakia, Spain and Romania (in addition to Austria, Belgium, Germany and Luxembourg);
In the UK, emergency call centres can rely on interpretation services covering 170 languages, while in France a similar service can deal with 40 languages.
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Linda Cain (+32 2 299 90 19)