We only hear of the high-profile cases, but the number of Australians who die, are hospitalized, or simply go missing, whilst overseas is significant, and growing.
According to a new Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade report, around 1,615 Aussies died overseas in 2016-17, a near double-digit (9%) year-on-year increase.
Thailand experienced the most Australian deaths, 203, although this number was slightly down on the year prior. The Philippines and Indonesia had the next highest numbers, 126 and 107 respectively, with each recording a slight rise (2%) in mortalities.
Although the United States and Vietnam experienced marginally lower totals, at 99 and 87 respectively, both countries saw large rises in deaths, with the US recording a whopping 25% increase and the Southeast nation 13% growth.
According to the Consular State of Play 2016–17 report, most deaths occurred as a result of illness (446) or natural causes (340), possibly due to an ageing population that is travelling more and retiring overseas. But a significant number (211) are dying from accidents and suicide (68). There is also on average nearly a murder a week of an Australian abroad, with 49 intentionally killed.
A figure much higher (24%) than five years ago, the federal government helped in 1,701 cases of Australians hospitalized overseas. The most admissions were experienced in Thailand (195, +11%), Indonesia (155, +1%), USA (117, -4%), New Caledonia (103, +37%) and Vietnam (71, -1%).
There was also a sizeable increase in the number of Australians who went missing abroad in the past year, with Thailand (42, +76%), USA (59, +26%), Indonesia (43, +8%), China (35, -52%) and The Philippines (28, -18%) recording the most cases.
The number of victims of assault on foreign land was 317, a small increase (2%) on the year prior but a significantly higher figure (by 39%) than in 2012-13. Sexual assault accounted for 45% of total crime, but no destinations stood out as particularly risky.
In 2016-17, the government assisted in 1,851 cases to trace Australians potentially caught out in international emergencies including terrorist attacks in Nice and London, as well as civil unrest in Turkey and South Sudan.
When considering these figures, it is important to note that more Australians are travelling abroad (10,039,700) than ever before, while there are an estimated one million Australian citizens residing overseas at any given time. The Australian government isn’t informed of all cases either.
According to the DFAT report, the most visited international destinations in 2016-17 were New Zealand (1.3 million visitors), USA (1+ million), Indonesia, UK, Thailand, China, Singapore, Japan, Fiji and India.