Families Claim They’re Held To Holiday Ransom


Travel and teaching associations are proposing a shake-up of the school calendar so that holidays are more evenly spaced, to relieve the demand for holidays during peak times. Pic: VisitBritain.

Families Claim They’re Held To Holiday Ransom

Holiday providers have been accused of ‘holding parents to ransom’ in a flurry of media controversy surrounding the higher cost of holidays taken during school holidays.

In a price check survey, Holiday Park Scene compared the costs between ten leading holiday parks for a family of four on a week’s break in the first week of July and the first week of August. All of the breaks Holiday Park Scene looked at were more expensive during the school holidays, with most costing between 17 per cent and 78 per cent more when taken in August.

James Silvertone of Bourne Leisure comments: “We offer a very different experience on our school holiday breaks, compared to our term time breaks. It is misleading to compare the price of a school-holiday break and term-time break without understanding that two break types are very different,” he explains.

“We design our school holiday breaks around families with school-aged children which means we can offer a greatly expanded and enhanced range of entertainment and activities. We also pride ourselves on making sure that on every break we provide a range of options to families with different budgets.”

Dismayed consumers are less than happy about the out of term increases with many taking to social media and online blogs to vent their frustrations. A complaint from Paul Cookson, a father to three, drew masses of support on Facebook earlier this year and an e-petition calling for the rule on term time holiday fines to be reversed attracted more than 200,000 signatures.

Parents trying to save money by travelling in term time have faced hefty fines from education authorities for removing their children from school. Justine Roberts CEO of online family resource Mumsnet told Holiday Park Scene: “Three quarters of our users told us they think holiday companies are exploiting parents who have no other choice about the dates they travel.

“Obviously it’s hard to refute the laws of supply and demand but equally looking at it from a cost plus basis, holiday companies seem to be happily making extraordinary profits out of families and not surprisingly many feel they are being ripped off as a result.”

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