Tour operators 'taking travellers for a ride'


Tour operators in the UK are seducing consumers with big discounts that often turn out to be misleading and bad value, according to a new survey.

In its fourth annual survey, travel agent Travelcare said that while tour operators were keen to offer discounts, the practice was complex and difficult for consumers to understand and determine the real value of a holiday, a report said.

Travelcare, part of the Co-operative Group, and the Institute of Trading Standards, have now joined forces to call for more information to be given to holidaymakers.

Finding the best deal for a holiday can be more difficult than you think, the survey found.

There can be wide variations in prices for holidays, even if they fly from the same airport and offer the same accommodation.

There is also no standardised ratings system which can help consumers compare the quality of accommodation and costs, the report said.

Research by Travelcare showed that people are very confused by the current system of discounts.

The Association of British Travel Agents, an industry body, defended the price discounts offered by tour operators.

It said that it was understandable that prices changed between brochures because supply and demand changed.

Frances Tuke, a spokesman, also said that people were wise to the practice of discounting.

But Travelcare and the Trading Standards Institute are urging consumers to be sceptical about holiday prices.