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Canadian Journal of Public Health

, Volume 95, Issue 2, pp 142–145 | Cite as

Travel Counsellors and Travel Health Advice

  • Caroline D. McAllister
  • Margaret L. Russell
Article

Abstract

Background

Travel Counsellors may be a source of health advice to travellers and might influence travellers’ decisions to seek consultation from health professionals. We examined the travel health advice that Alberta travel counsellors currently provide their clients and assessed their health knowledge and practices.

Methods

Cross-sectional postal survey of travel counsellors who book international trips identified from a random sample of Alberta travel agencies in 2000.

Results

The response rate was 54.4%. Over 80% of respondents routinely provide clients with general health advice, and approximately 70% advise on malaria risk and vaccines required for travel. The risk of malaria was correctly identified by 72% of the respondents who frequently book clients to malarious destinations. Most respondents (79%) thought they should be involved in promoting the health of international travellers. Their preference was to provide health advice to their clients (90%) rather than refer them to a health professional (67%).

Conclusions

A large proportion of Alberta travel counsellors provided travel-related health advice to clients. Their preferred role of counselling rather than referring conflicts with the recommendations of the International Society of Travel Medicine.

Résumé

Contexte

Les conseillers touristiques peuvent être une source de conseils de santé pour les voyageurs, qu’ils peuvent encourager à consulter des professionnels de la santé. Nous avons examiné les conseils que donnent actuellement les conseillers touristiques de l’Alberta à leurs clients en matière de médecine des voyages, afin d’évaluer les connaissances médicales et les pratiques de ces conseillers.

Méthode

Enquête postale transversale auprès de conseillers touristiques qui réservent des voyages à l’étranger, choisis à partir d’un échantillon aléatoire d’agences de voyage albertaines en 2000.

Résultats

Nous avons obtenu un taux de réponse de 54,4 %. Plus de 80 % des répondants donnaient systématiquement à leurs clients des conseils de santé généraux, et environ 70 % leur donnaient des conseils sur le risque de contracter la malaria et sur les vaccins requis en voyage. Le risque de malaria a été correctement souligné par 72 % des répondants qui faisaient souvent des réservations vers des destinations où cette maladie est endémique. La plupart des répondants (79 %) considéraient qu’il était de leur devoir de promouvoir la santé des voyageurs internationaux. Ils préféraient cependant donner des conseils de santé à leurs clients (90 %) plutôt que de les aiguiller vers un professionnel de la santé (67 %).

Conclusions

Une grande proportion des conseillers touristiques de l’Alberta donnent à leurs clients des conseils de santé liés aux voyages. Le fait qu’ils préfèrent conseiller les voyageurs plutôt que de les orienter est cependant contraire aux recommandations de la International Society of Travel Medicine.

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Copyright information

© The Canadian Public Health Association 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Community Health and Family MedicineUniversity of TorontoCanada
  2. 2.Department of Community Health SciencesThe University of CalgaryCalgaryCanada

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