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Revealed: The Travel Hotspots That Could Be Damaging to Your Health

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Nearly two in five (38%) of the 50 countries Brits visit most often for holidays, have levels of ultraviolet radiation that pose a ‘high risk of harm’.

 

Sri Lanka and Thailand have been named among the most dangerous holiday destinations in the world in terms of UV radiation.

New research by Tic Watches, the watch and sunglasses specialist, has revealed that nearly two in five (38%) of the 50 countries Brits visit most often for holidays[1], have levels of ultraviolet radiation that pose a ‘high risk of harm’[2].

The UV Index scale runs from 1 to 12, with anything over 6 meaning that your skin and eyes can be damaged if you’re not wearing the correct suncream and eyewear. The average level in the UK is 3.08, however in June this year, it rose to almost 9 – nearly hitting a national record[3].

Out of the 50 holiday hotspots, Sri Lanka has the most dangerous radiation level, with an average score of 11.75[4]. The UV Index does not drop below 11 at any point in the year, which means that there is a constant and extreme risk of harm. Unless protective clothing and sunglasses are worn, skin and eyes can be damaged in minutes, with symptoms including blurred vision, light sensitivity and potentially permanent sight loss[5].

Sri Lanka is followed on the list by Nigeria (11.67), Thailand (11.33) and Barbados (11.33). The latter two were recently added to the UK’s quarantine-free travel list[6], so could be popular for Brits this summer.

In contrast, the safest countries are found in Scandinavia, with Finland boasting the lowest average (2.17) and Sweden (2.25), Norway (2.25) and Denmark (2.67) not far behind. Bar Sweden, they are all on the quarantine-free list, so could be good options for people with sensitive skin.

 

The UK’s 10 favourite holiday destinations with the worst UV levels are:

#

Country

Average UV Index

UK visitors in 2019

1

Sri Lanka

11.75

94,000

2

Nigeria

11.67

23,000

3

Thailand

11.33

389,000

4

Barbados

11.33

166,000

5

Mexico

11.08

653,000

6

Brazil

10.83

73,000

7

Jamaica

10.75

224,000

8

Hong Kong

10.08

102,000

9

United Arab Emirates

9.75

846,000

10

India

8.33

411,000

UK

3.08

N/A

 

When it comes to the top European destinations, Cyprus is the highest ranking country on the continent, with an average UV Index of 6.33, followed by its Mediterranean neighbours Malta, Greece and Turkey.

 

The five European holiday hotspots with the highest UV levels are:

 

#

Country

Average UV Index

UK visitors in 2019

1

Cyprus

6.33

878,000

2

Malta

6.08

725,000

3

Greece

5.75

3,087,000

4

Turkey

5.58

1,756,000

5

Portugal

5.42

2,676,000

 

Danny Richmond, Managing Director of Tic Watches, said: “While most people will consider weather and temperature when choosing their holiday destination, few will think about UV levels, despite their potentially dangerous impact on our health.

 

“Our research has highlighted the countries that have particularly high scores, but they can all be enjoyed safely if you follow some basic guidelines.

 

“Always wear sunscreen, protective clothing and UV-blocking sunglasses, and try to avoid sun exposure in the middle of the day, as this is when the radiation is most intense.”

 

To see the full list of UV levels of the 50 most popular holiday destinations for Brits, visit: https://www.ticwatches.co.uk/blog/2020/07/uv-levels-of-the-uks-50-most-popular-holiday-destinations/

 

Footnotes:

[1] https://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/leisureandtourism/datasets/ukresidentsvisitsabroad

[2] https://19january2017snapshot.epa.gov/sunsafety/uv-index-scale-1_.html#:~:text=A%20UV%20Index%20reading%20of%206%20to%207%20means%20high,%2C%20and%20UV%2Dblocking%20sunglasses.

[3] https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/explainers-53178988

[4] https://www.weather-atlas.com/

[5] https://www.caringvillage.com/2017/07/19/top-5-eye-problems-resulting-from-uv-exposure/

[6] https://www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-countries-and-territories-exempt-from-advice-against-all-but-essential-international-travel

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