The simple answer is yes. This week the plight of families who have to take holidays during the school holidays has come to the fore and was highlighted in an interview on Good Morning Britain between Piers Morgan and Sean Tipton, an ABTA spokesman. It wasn’t easy for Mr Tipton!
Following the interview, ABTA’s chief executive, Mark Tanzer, has offered advice to travel agents as the school holiday debate gets ‘more aggressive and emotive’. Mr Tanzer told travel agents that the media attention was not likely to go away, in his guidance note. And he added that the most immediate and practical thing for travel agents to do was ‘encourage parents to plan in advance and book early’, as well as advising them of the expertise agents offer.
The advice follows agents’ anger over an interview on Good Morning Britain where they said presenter Piers Morgan was ‘rude’ and ‘a disgrace to journalism’ over his approach to ABTA spokesman Sean Tipton. Tipton had tried to argue that school holidays should be staggered by region to ease the pressure on families, but Morgan was dismissive and accused travel companies of being greedy. Piers Morgan then responded to the uproar in a patronising Twitter response saying, ‘stop being so damn greedy then’.
ABTA chief, Tanzar warned in his guidance: “Our team has taken this opportunity to explain pricing but the debate continues to become more aggressive and emotive, with the simple economic model of supply and demand condemned as greed. “ABTA has long argued that one way to even out the peaks and troughs in travel pricing, is to spread demand more equally across the year and we have made this point to parents, journalists and Government.
“It is likely that this issue will continue to attract media attention and the most immediate, practical thing we can all do is to encourage parents to plan in advance and book early, as well as reminding them of the expertise and assistance that a travel company can offer them in finding their perfect holiday”.
Whilst not trying to score too many points, I have to say that all our accommodations in Turkey are priced evenly throughout the season. It is only the flight price that changes and as this is beyond our control there will be peaks, usually over the bank holidays and in the school holidays. Our margins remain absolutely the same throughout the summer because our hotel costs and transfer costs do not differ from say June and August. We don’t load higher premiums in July and August, we simply add the variable flight costs to our standard prices. So please don’t think that because our prices differ in high season we are trying to make more money…..we are not! It’s simply the airlines that are putting their prices up.