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European Holidaymakers Reveal Smartphone Worries

Smartphone use is not as widespread among people on holiday as might be expected. A recent survey has discovered why.

Although they are fast conquering every other sphere of public life – or at least that’s how it seems – smartphones have yet to make a big impact on cheap holidays. There are certainly many apps for the iPhone and its numerous imitators that can offer guides to popular holiday destinations, navigation assistance, cultural tips or even a real-time translator, but many tourists who own such mobile devices are still loath to use them while on their cheap holidays, especially with regard to their local services, recent research has uncovered.

The poll by ITB Berlin, Hochschule Heilbronn examined smartphone use among tourists from the UK, France, Germany and the Netherlands and asked what factors put them off taking advantage of their devices. The main reason given was high or unpredictable roaming charges, which meant that people felt unsure when it came to including smartphone charges in their holiday budget. Of all respondents from all countries, an overwhelming 66 per cent cited this as the main reason for not using local smartphone services on their trips abroad – although 55 per cent of respondents did not believe their device was able to access local services and could not afford to upgrade to one that did.

A further 41 per cent were concerned about data protection issues and said this put them off using smartphones locally on holiday. Of all the different countries surveyed cost – of both the devices themselves and their local roaming charges – was of the greatest concern among holidaymakers from the UK.

ITB Berline boss David Ruetz commented: “The survey does however show that people’s use of smartphones on holiday is determined by costs and not by a non-availability of service apps. In order to achieve broader smartphone use charges must become more transparent. At the same time users’ data protection concerns must be taken seriously and online services must be made as secure as possible.”