Trade slams Cameron over ‘ignorant’ pricing comments

British prime minister David Cameron

Cameron accused travel companies of”deliberately” increasing prices during school holidays

The trade has slammed the prime minister for his “ignorance of the travel industry” following comments he made on the ongoing debate over the price of holidays outside of school term time.

In an appearance on the West Midlands’ Free Radio on Friday, David Cameron said that while prices can “go up because of the demand”, companies “sometimes seem to deliberately put up prices at holiday time”.

Aito and the ITT have reacted angrily to the news, which both bodies said showed a failure to appreciate how the industry works.

“It clearly shows a lack of understanding of the laws of supply and demand and indeed an even greater ignorance of the travel industry,” said Steven Freudmann, chairman of the ITT.

“We work in partnership with our other suppliers, hotels and destinations, and clearly he misunderstands if he thinks that we’re profiteering.”

Derek Moore, chairman of Aito, said that the prime minister had not listened to a recent parliamentary debate on the subject.

“Unfortunately this shows that David Cameron has not absorbed some of the details that came out during the debate as it was made clear there by many contributors that the major problem for tour operators is an increase of costs by their suppliers, primarily hotels and airlines,” he said.

“It seems a shame Cameron hasn’t understood this and has gone for the easy kill by blaming tour operators.”

The prime minister also suggested that staggering of school holidays could help ease the burden. He said that schools should be encouraged to adopt more flexibility over dates, which could help parents cope. However, he added that children should not be taken out of school during term time.

Both Moore and Freudmann agreed with Cameron on this point. Freudmann said he had “always been supportive” of removing some of the peaks and troughs from the school year, while Moore said this could mean “that some school holidays are outside of the peak weeks or months, during which European suppliers put up prices”.

Abta has chosen not to update its position in light of the prime minister’s recent comments. “We would welcome a serious review of the options of staggering by school or by region,” it said in a statement.

The ongoing furore over holiday pricing during the peak period was kicked off by a father who wrote on a social media site that he was “sick to death” of being ripped off by travel companies.

This helped ramp up the number of signatories on an existing e-petition, eventually prompting MPs to debate the issue.

Sourced by TTG Digital

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