Attractions industry news
16 Jul 2012
Family Action claims UK families are being 'priced out' of short breaks
Family Action has claimed that high prices charged by attractions and service providers in the UK are preventing families from poor- and middle-income backgrounds from enjoying short domestic breaks and days out.
Breaking the Bank, Summer on a Shoestring - the charity's report published ahead of the school holidays - surveyed 2,200 families across the UK and also looked into the cost of some of the UK's most popular days out.
In its conclusions, Family Action states that the average cost of a day out is around £80 and, as a result, 61 per cent of respondents are planning to cut back on family days out this summer.
One example cited by the report was Alton Towers theme park, with the cheapest available price for a one-day visit for a family of four living in Birmingham ranging between £156 (by car) and £187 (by public transport). Family Action has now called for attractions operators and holiday companies to reassess their pricing policies.
The report states: "Holiday companies and attractions need to address the fact that in the present economic climate many low income and disadvantaged families, children and young people are being excluded from their holidays and day trips by inflexible family ticketing, high admission prices coupled with poor concessionary structures and restrictive policies on consuming refreshments."
Merlin Entertainments, which owns and operates a number of leading UK attractions, including Alton Towers, responded by pointing out that it already offers family discounts and has set up a charity to help disadvantaged families.
A spokesperson said: "Our experience shows that, even during times of economic hardship, people will still want to treat themselves to days out - however, they also become more discriminating, visiting less places but those that they know will not let them.
"To this end we offer attractive early booking online discounts - up to 40 per cent - and low season/midweek offers, attraction annual passes which are used for regular trips during the school holidays.
"Also, our charitable trust - Merlin's Magic Wand - brings thousands of disadvantaged children to our attractions every year providing both tickets and help with travel. In 2011, more than 35,000 children came to our attractions through Merlin's Magic Wand."