Travel agents have slammed Government-backed plans by some
tour operators to make special school-holiday reductions but only
sell them direct to holidaymakers.

Kuoni, Thomas Cook, Thomson, Virgin, Airtours and First Choice have
agreed school-holiday discounts and offers with the Department for
Education and Skills. The deals, which include reductions of up to
£400 as well as free child places, must all be booked by March
28 for school holidays during July and August.

Although the scheme is a pilot – 80 local education
authorities have joined up – Virgin, Airtours and First
Choice are only making the discounts available direct rather than
selling them through travel agents.

Midconsort boss Charles Eftichiou questioned whether the Government
should back a scheme that will drive more business away from
agents.

Meanwhile, Spicer Bureau Travel owner John Spicer said: “It
is sad we are always shooting each other instead of working
together.”