New report shows Family holidays could boost economy and quality of life

A report by the All Party Parliamentary group on social tourism wants there to be more money spent on encouraging families to take holidays together. Though much of the backing comes from airlines and travel firms like Thomson who want families to travel abroad, there is much support for badly off families to use spare holiday accommodation out of season within the UK for inexpensive holidays, thus also boosting UK tourism.

Family holidays could boost economy and quality of life

Financial Mail

31st October.2011

More families holidaying together could provide tourism with a £5 billion boost, an all-party parliamentary report has said. Entitled Giving Britain a Break, the report said quality time spent on holiday could help families as well as the economy.

[Press Association] More families holidaying together could provide tourism with a £5 billion boost, an all-party parliamentary report has said.

Entitled Giving Britain a Break, the report said quality time spent on holiday could help families as well as the economy.

The report called for holidays to be placed high on the political agenda in order to make the prospect of quality time away a reality for every family in Britain.

The report was supported by the Family Holiday Association and by holiday company Thomson which published survey results today showing that 42% of families do not spend enough quality time together.

The survey, of families with children aged 8-12, also revealed that 49% of youngsters in this age bracket felt they missed out on quality time with their fathers.

Also, 27% of parents said they spent less than a hour a day with their children in an average week, while two in five said that when they did set time aside, their children were busy doing other things.

David Burling, UK and Ireland managing director of Thomson’s parent company Tui, said: “We believe everybody needs quality time together. For many people, the easiest way to secure that time is to go on holiday, to give ourselves the chance to reflect on what’s really important and valuable.”

John McDonald, director of the Family Holiday Association, said: “We fully support the Parliamentary Group’s call for greater recognition of the advantages of more families getting a break.

“This would not only deliver real benefits for those families but provide a boost to the British tourism economy too.”



see also

Britain a Break report launched

All Party Parliamentary Group launch report

31 October 2011

The All-Party Parliamentary Group on social tourism launched their report “Giving Britain a Break” on Monday 31 October 2011 at a reception in the House of Commons. 

Paul Maynard, MP for Blackpool North and Cleveleys and chairman of the group urged that holidays form part of an “early intervention” agenda to tackle social problems.

He also commented “I suspect that there will be those who read this report who are as unaware of the concept as I was before I met the Family Holiday Association who prevailed upon me to seize the idea and run with it.

“This general lack of awareness has to make those of us who participated in this inquiry humble in our aims. We are but a starting point. We aim to build the foundations on which much will subsequently be erected. There must be recognition that raising awareness of what we are talking about, and placing it on the political agenda, are crucial objectives before we can go any further.”


This launch of the Report marks a milestone moment for our charity

Director of the Family Holiday Association, John McDonald, paid tribute to Paul Maynard’s leadership of the inquiry, “I would like to both thank and pay tribute to Paul Maynard who has shown truly outstanding leadership and energy with his chairmanship of the All-Party Group and Inquiry.

click here to download a copy of the report“The Inquiry received over 25 written submissions and 17 organisations gave oral evidence to the Group and at the end of the inquiry Paul had the remarkable ability to remember so many detailed points from across all the different submissions we received.

“I want to thank all those organizations who participated in the inquiry, many of whom are here today.

“This launch of the Report marks a milestone moment for our charity.  A year ago I had the honour of standing before many here today to celebrate our first ever reception in the Commons and the establishment of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Social Tourism.

“A year later the All-Party Group has produced a remarkable report.  I want to highlight, and I know that many within the Parliamentary Group will agree with me, that this is the first step on a long journey of raising awareness about social tourism and the benefits it can bring.”

VisitEngland’s Chief Executive, James Beresford, issued the following statement :

“VisitEngland is delighted to support the All Party Parliamentary Group on Social Tourism report, ‘Giving Britain a Break’. We think this publication is an important step towards a better understanding of what we mean by the term ‘social tourism’ and will help people to recognise that providing greater holiday participation not only generates clear social benefits to everyone involved- it is also an important driver of economic growth with real opportunities for tourism businesses to benefit as well. We welcome further study into this area and recognise that it offers an opportunity for everyone to enjoy the England tourism offer.”


Download the report here



Page 22 states

Many tourism sector organisations mentioned in their evidence that the issue of seasonality is a perennial barrier to the growth of the tourism market in the UK. Blackpool Council, Bournemouth Borough Council, the British Hospitality Association, East of England Tourism, VisitEngland and many others recognised that there was huge potential for destinations to exploit social tourism to fill the spare capacity of accommodation experienced in the off or shoulder season. Andy Jasper from the Eden Project explained the problems for the typical tourist destination:
“The traditional model for tourist attractions would be to close immediately after the October half‐term and open just before the Easter holiday period, and that causes huge social problems in itself. If you took a snapshot of unemployment in Cornwall in the mid‐1990s, in the winter you would get about 12% unemployment and in the summer, with exactly the same population, you would get about 2%. That is entirely due to the dependence on the tourism economy.”
The British Hospitality Association highlighted that in the UK 39% of holiday nights away are taken in the third quarter of the year, with 26% in the second quarter, and just 17‐18% in each of the two other quarters. Steve Weaver, Chief Executive of Blackpool Council, suggested how social tourism could help to ease the problem:
“We have got 58,000 beds [available] in Blackpool, and spare capacity is a significant issue. Our low season is not just outside July and August, the main holiday period, it has been increasingly during the week. Even in the high summer season there are issues of spare accommodation on weekdays. Some of our smaller hotels and guest houses have found it not commercially viable, and have been converted into private rented houses, with multiple occupation, which creates all sorts of other problems. If there is a potential for filling our empty beds [through social tourism], with the infrastructure that already exists, that would be a great benefit for the town.”
The Tourism Alliance, Tourism For All and the Universities of Surrey and Westminster all agreed that filling spare capacity would benefit more than just the accommodation sector, extending to transport, attractions, natural environment, hospitality, retail and cultural industries. East of England Tourism suggested that social tourism could be a positive catalyst for the redevelopment of existing holiday destinations, as well as the creation of new ones. And ISTO highlighted social tourism’s potential to foster sustainable regional and local development by bringing fresh resources to new areas.