Recently, a parent lost a court case concerning fines and taking children out of school for family holidays. Of course, what is important, is that children are in school all the time in order to get the best education.
To my mind, this is rubbish. As long as a child is not taking exams or at a critical moment in their educational career, then a week in some foreign climb (especially in the darker months) will work wonders.
But that is not what I am on about.
Tour operators do nothing to help themselves, save for wittering on like some maniac, running around, saying: "Well, it's supply and demand..... innit, Bruv?" this same mantra being invariably picked up by ABTA and others, who really should know better.
How much is the difference? I looked at a large tour operator who offers the "Family Life Kyra Golf" hotel in Corfu. Actually, quite a good hotel for a family holiday. If I were to travel on the 11th May, I can have a week's holiday for two adults and two children, all inclusive, with sensible day flights from Gatport Airwick for a grand total of £1,717.50 and that is on an "All Inclusive" basis. The same hotel on the same board basis, if I travel on the 14th August, will cost me £3,082.90. And the flights are silly timed night flights. So, getting on for twice the price. Even in July, just before school finishes, I would have to pay £2,661.70. The old saying of: "Child discounts apply at any time as long as it is not at a time when you can take a child" still seems to hold true.
It is no wonder, then, that parents are not happy. What may be done?
It is accepted that periods of high demand can and do command higher prices. Everyone knows that. What sticks in most parents throats, however, is the constant promotion of the off-season prices and discounts which are visible almost every time one turns on a television (or should I say: "your chosen screen viewing device"). One simple solution is not to ram the cheap price message down people throats.
There also needs to be an flattening of prices. Instead of offering what is really quite a good hotel for half the price, perhaps it would be better to raise low and shoulder season prices to balance out price fluctuations.
Another aspect is not to punish parents; the UK approach to many issues is, basically, to hit whatever the issue is, with a large stick. As I have mentioned before, any child may actually benefit from a trip to a new country, as long as parents agree to make sure the child does any required homework and parents undertake to visit, say, one site of geographical or historical importance per week.
Above all, though, it is the vast differential between on and off peak holiday prices that needs to be addressed. Off season prices are far too low. A flight to Spain would cost, say, £250 and would anyone say that £65 a night, for a quite a good quality hotel is not unreasonable? Add in some transfers and (in all fairness) some profit, then anything under about £500 a week per person is too low.
That parents may have lost this particular battle, is unfortunate; further, it does not solve anything.