Travel companies back parents against Gove's term-time fines for holidays
- 85 per cent of companies see a financial impact due to new restrictions on family holidays -
Travelzoo, the UK's top travel and entertainment deals provider, has surveyed travel companies across the country to find out their stance on amended government regulations under which parents face fines for taking their children on holiday during term time*.
85%** of travel companies surveyed have already seen a financial impact on business since the alterations in the legislation became enforceable in September 2013. 66% of companies reported that they will have to take measures to mitigate losses, such as making staff cuts and/or cancelling departures.
Seven in ten companies feel that the government shouldn't meddle with the process of taking a family holiday, and 67% of companies commented that it was unacceptable that the travel industry wasn't consulted ahead of the legislative change.
"We've seen cases in the media recently where parents have now been fined for taking their children out of school for holidays during term time, and a quarter of the travel companies we surveyed said that they might have to put prices up during the summer holidays to counteract the drop-off of families travelling during term time," comments Travelzoo's European managing director, Richard Singer.
"We want to bring the industry together and are taking steps to form an alliance of operators and travel companies who want to work with the government to ensure that the situation improves for parents and the industry alike," he continues.
Singer urges the travel industry to sign up to the e-petition here to join the 38,504 people who want to see the government address the issues which he is calling the "Parent Trap". Singer has proposed a reduction or suspension of APD over the schools' summer holidays to alleviate the financial pressures on family travel without impacting the bottom line of UK travel companies.
* The Education (Pupil Registration) (England) Regulations 2006, which had previously given headteachers the power to grant children up to 10 days' leave during term-time for the purposes of taking a family holiday. In September 2013, Michael Gove removed the reference to family holidays, allowing headteachers the option to grant term-time leave in exceptional circumstances only. Parents taking their children out of school for family holidays are now subject to fines of up to £120 per child enforced by the local authorities.
** This survey was conducted by Travelzoo and the Chartered Institute of Marketing Travel Industry Group (CIMTIG) and 54 travel companies were polled.
Steps to solve the Parent Trap
Singer's three steps to helping solve the Parent Trap are:
1) A more realistic and flexible approach from the UK government to restrictions around when parents can take their children out of school for family holidays. A blanket ban on all family holidays during term time is unworkable, and some leniency for parents of young children with good attendance should be considered.
2) The suspension or reduction of APD during the school summer holiday weeks to help lessen the cost of flights during this peak period.
3) A review by the travel industry -- especially the leading tour operators -- of what can be done to help families during school holiday periods.
Travelzoo is a global media commerce company. With more than 28 million members in North America, Europe, and Asia Pacific and 26 offices worldwide, Travelzoo® publishes offers from more than 2,000 travel, entertainment and local companies. Travelzoo’s deal experts review offers to find the best deals and confirm their true value.
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