Agents urged to educate public to counter ‘fleecing’ accusations

Agents urged to educate public to counter 'fleecing' accusationsBy Lee Hayhurst

Travel agents have been urged to do their bit to explain to customers why holiday prices rise during peak periods to counter claims the industry is fleecing the public.The issue of price hikes in school holidays was debated on Monday by MPs in Westminster in response to an e-petition that has 170,000 signatures.

There was cross-party agreement that capping price increases was unnecessary and would be counter-productive as overseas suppliers would simply shift product to competing source markets.

But MPs said increasing numbers of constituents were angry about what Travelzoo calls the ‘parent trap’: high school holiday prices and a new crackdown on term-time school absence.

Aito chairman Derek Moore, who has called for school holidays to be staggered, said: “Tour operators are, in fact, at the mercy of suppliers.

“They put prices up because suppliers put prices up. If they refused to pay those prices, those hotel rooms would 
go to people in France or Germany.

“The travel industry needs to try to get this across so the public better understand why prices rise.

“We need to persuade agents that by explaining this they will not be tarred with the same terrible brush tour operators are being tarred with.”

During Monday’s backbench debate brought by Liberal Democrat MP John Hemming, calls from Travelzoo for an APD ‘holiday’ for families were dismissed.

Hemming said this would not work for domestic holidays and would be a “non‑flyer” with the Treasury. The e-petition was sparked by outrage over 
a price rise at Center Parcs.

Damian Hinds MP said the issue was not just about family holidays, citing peak price increases for Ibiza Rocks and Thomson Couples resorts.

Richard Singer (pictured), Travelzoo Europe managing director, who was at the debate, said: “Prices are going to remain elevated and people are going to say that’s not very good. There is still an educational job to do.”

Sourced from Travel Weekly

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