A Travelzoo online petition to government calling for ways to reduce to cost of family holidays in the summer has achieved over half its 10,000 signature target in just two weeks.

The crusade for family holidays was launched by the deals publisher’s European managing director Richard Singer at the end of July.

The petition has been signed by 6,808 people and needs to reach 10,000 to get a government response. Travelzoo says it has not seen a response like it before.  

Singer claimed a number of factors including APD and price hikes mean that many families are caught in a ‘Parent Trap’ when schools break up and cannot afford a holiday.

As well as urging the trade to look at what it can do to help families, he also called on the UK government to consider a suspension of APD during the summer.

He also called for a more flexible approach to restriction on parents taking their children out of school, although a more stringent regime is poised to be implemented for the next school year.

Shortly after the campaign kicked off Singer said: “We have never seen a reaction like it. Some key themes which are interesting are most view the price increases as the devil of the holiday company, some see APD as an additional cost that goes to the airlines, not the government and people are really passionate about this topic.”

The campaign came after a survey by Travelzoo and online community MyFamilyClub revealed that more than 70% of families would be put off booking their summer holiday during the peak summer months as the cost is on average 40% higher than at other times of the year.

The poll of 2,000 people also revealed that 80% of families feel they are being penalised by the travel industry through the annual price hikes during peak season.

A facebook post on Travelzoo’s page to promote the petition sparked a vigorous debate with over 150 comments and 1,176 shares.

Many of the posts were from people who put the blame on hiked holiday prices fairly and squarely on the industry, accusing it of profiteering.

However, other comments defended the industry and many came from teachers themselves who are forced to travel during the peak time due to their jobs.

Alison Boorer, of HF Holidays, said: “As a tour operator of many years it’s not us that inflate the prices.

“We buy in accommodation, flights etc which the suppliers charge more for during school holidays.

“It’s basic economics of supply and demand which signing this petition cannot change. I would (and have) signed a petition against the amount of APD we pay departing from the UK.

“You only need to take a look at the posts on here to see that it’s deterring people from travelling, both into and out of the UK.”

Diane Batten wrote: “What about travel agents reducing prices as well. They are just as bad as the government, along with flight operators. They all hike the price up during July and August.”