Editor’s letter: Real travel is back on TV – but let’s drop the pricing cliches

TWgroup editor Lucy HuxleyJudith Chalmers’ appearance at this year’s UK Cruise Convention prompted me to reflect on how much her show “Wish You Were Here” is missed by the industry.

These days all we seem to have on mainstream British TV are shows that are either mostly about flogging trips or the all-too-predictable “Holidays From Hell!” genre.

And the many travelogs fronted by Billy Connolly, Michael Palin and Ewan McGregor et al make for great viewing but are impossible dreams for most people.

A recent Office for National Statistics survey found that, in any given year, 53% of the adult UK population will not take a single flight, despite the rise of low-cost airlines. Travel, even to places as commonplace for most British holidaymakers as the Spanish Costas and Greek islands, remains overwhelmingly aspirational.

So I wish Kirsty Allsop the best of luck with her new Channel 4 show, although doubt she’ll have much success in her campaign against inflated prices outside of school term times.

Along with holiday disasters, this is another stick the media likes to beat the travel industry with. But it misses the point.

Unacceptable profiteering ought to be exposed, but no one can honestly accuse most travel companies or airlines of it, given the huge losses and skinny margins they survive on.

The fact is most holidays firms only make money during the six weeks of the year when the schools are out. So you could argue holidays outside of this period are unusually cheap.

Maybe the previous government’s idea of staggering school term times should be revived to solve the cause of this common complaint.

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