THE tourist bus crash in Thailand, in which two people were killed and 21 injured, has evoked considerable sympathy, alarm and even shock in Hong Kong. People sympathise with the victims and their families are alarmed by the dangers of travel in Asia and are shocked to know there is no clear entitlement to compensation for such a tragedy. Pictures of the injured being removed from the crushed coach were certainly distressing, and while such crashes happen all over the world, the drivers of some countries seem to display a particularly innovative approach when it comes to road safety. In Bangkok, drivers must feel a rush of excitement if they ever get into top gear, but there are many cities in the region where driving speeds are faster than in Hong Kong and standards are even lower. There are also many countries with limited medical facilities and a cavalier approach to risk in general. Any traveller is wise to get travel insurance, and unwise to assume a tour operator will meet additional costs, or pay compensation, if things go wrong. The fact that less than a third of those in the coach crash had taken out insurance suggests that most travellers are either unaware of the risk they face or willing to take that risk. As there is little support in Hong Kong for compulsion in such personal matters as deciding whether to take out insurance, the risk-takers are likely to continue to take their chance. However, an effort should be made to educate travellers about possible risks they face, and to increase the percentage of travellers buying insurance. In the face of public reluctance to take out travel insurance, the industry council should move towards an opt-out scheme that puts the onus on travellers to refuse insurance. Few families would risk everything for the sake of a $100 insurance premium if they gave the matter serious thought, and the travel industry is better placed to assess the risks people face than individuals euphoric at the thought of going on holiday.