A holiday firm with its head office in Hemel Hempstead has defended school break price hikes as politicians prepare to debate the thorny issue.
The discussion, scheduled for later this month, was tabled after a father posted a video rant on Facebook about being ‘sick and tired of being ‘ripped off’ by holiday companies.
Prices for trips away traditionally rocket during the school holidays, and with teachers coming down hard on parents who pull their little ones out of classes to enjoy cheaper deals, mums and dads are being hit in the pocket.
But Naomi Woodstock from Haven – part of the Bourne Leisure Group – said: “We do feel that our holidays offer extremely good value for money.
“The prices are always going to be a bit more expensive during school holidays than they are off peak.
“This isn’t anything new. Prices are and have always been higher in the school holidays and lower off the school holidays because of the demand – a little bit like train fares, it is exactly the same thing.
“Flowers are going to be more expensive on Valentine’s Day, if you try and get a flight to Australia at Christmas time it will be more expensive than if you are going at the height of UK summer.”
A trip to Haven’s Caister caravan site, near Great Yarmouth, will cost £318.46 for a family of four for seven nights from June 23. The same package on August 18 costs £622.78.
Haven says government pressure on schools to crack down on parents who take their children out of lessons for holidays is causing the problem.
Naomi said: “The problem has occurred because of the restrictions the government has put around taking children out of school.
“We are hoping when they debate in parliament they will relax the rules a bit.”
Butlins, also part of Bourne Leisure, has also defended its price rises. A seven night stay at a standard apartment in Bognor Regis rises from £460 in June to £996 in August.
Spokesman James Silverston said: “We offer a very different experience on our school holiday breaks, compared to term time breaks. It is misleading to compare the price of a school holiday break and term time break without understanding that the two break types are very different.
“We design our school holiday breaks around families with school-aged children which means we can offer an expanded and enhanced range of entertainment and activities.
“For example, our free fairground and Splash Waterworlds are both open for longer hours, plus we put on more than double the amount of shows, sports and activities during the summer holidays.”
He said a family of four can holiday in August for four nights for less than £500 and added that some school holiday breaks are cheaper than term-time breaks.
“For example, a three night weekend during February half term in Minehead costs £180 for a family of four in a silver self-catering apartment. The same accommodation on an October term-time weekend costs £205,” he said.
“In July, a family of four can enjoy a school summer holiday break in Minehead for £353 whereas the equivalent break during the school term in July costs £384.”