1. ITV Report

South West tourist industry calls for staggered summer holidays

Many holiday villages lose business when the weather is poor. Photo: ITV West Country

Leaders in the South West tourism industry are calling on the Government to change the school holidays system in the UK.

The South West Tourism Alliance says by staggering school summer holidays the season will be extended.

They say it will also allow people to travel abroad without paying increased flight and accommodation costs.

Poor weather has affected traditional 'staycations'. Credit: ITV West Country

Many South West campsites rely on last minute bookings and these are affected by poor weather.

The campsites say more families could have come on holiday in May and June when the weather was better but parents do not want to be fined for taking children out of school in term time.

Children aren't allowed out of school outside the school holidays and that has made us a lot quieter. We've had to react to that with a lot of marketing, encouraging young families without school age children to come away. It's just very tricky really. I find that rule a very harsh one.

– Helen Scott, Cofton Holidays
Campsites want people to come earlier in the year when weather is good. Credit: ITV West Country

Several other countries use staggered summer holidays.

France splits into three regions which take winter and Easter breaks at different times to reduce crowding on the transport system and holiday resorts.

The South West Tourism Alliance says the UK should look at other models and work together to solve rising holiday costs.

We can make it more affordable, we can actually reduce congestion if everyone actually just gets together and tries to work out something that works better for the tourism industry, for visitors, for schools, for teachers, for families who cannot go away in some of the peak months. There are better solutions that other countries have come up with. This country sadly has not yet got all the various heads together and keeps going on little tangents that have a negative effect on others. There are better solutions out there.

– Robin Barker, South West Tourism Alliance

Some schools in the South West have experimented with cutting a week off the summer holiday and adding it to the October half term.

This benefits tourists who can go abroad during the extended autumn break.

Several South West tourist businesses disagree with the change and say it shortens the summer even further which costs them business.