“Could you organise us a trip to South Africa?” is just one bizarre request the British consulate in Portimão has received from holidaymakers in the Algarve.
The foreign office has said that British Embassies around the world have spoken out about their frustration at crazy requests they are receiving from tourists.
Staff at the British consulate in Portimão have received calls from tourists asking for money, to fix pavements in a village in the Algarve and had numerous phone calls regarding what the weather is like in the Algarve so they know what to pack for their holiday.
It appears that tourists are unaware of the services the consulate can actually provide for them.
The aim is to ensure British travellers stay safe when travelling abroad and provide support if anything goes wrong.
Being inundated with calls from tourists with requests which they cannot help with takes focus away from the work they need to do and which they can provide.
The British Consulate’s services include:
• issuing replacement passports
• providing information about transferring funds
• providing appropriate help for tourists who have suffered an assault, are a victim of crime or are in hospital
• helping people with mental illness
• details of English speaking doctors, lawyers, interpreters and funeral directors
• contact people within 24 hours if they have been detained
• offering support and help in a range of cases such as child abductions, death of relative overseas, missing people and kidnapping
• making special arrangements in case of terrorism, natural disaster or civil disturbances
The UK law states that the consulate must charge for some of the services that are offered and consulates always display their fees and the service that can be expected.
Before travelling, the consulate also advises tourists to make a note of the nearest British consulate to where they are staying just so they are prepared.
For more information about the services the British consulate can provide, please visit www.ukinportugal.fco.gov.uk