East Anglia: Larking Gowen survey reaveals tourism firms’ fears over change in school term dates

Chris Scargill of Larking Gowen.

Chris Scargill of Larking Gowen. - Credit: Colin Finch

Businesses within East Anglia’s £4.2billion tourism sector have sent a clear message to the Government to think again over legislation that could lead to schools’ summer holidays being cut from six weeks to four.

The Deregulation Bill would give schools across England extra freedom to decide term dates.

However, concerns among tourism firms about the likely changes – a reduced summer break with extra weeks being added in February and October – have been strongly voiced in the latest quarterly VisitSuffolk, VisitEssex and VisitNorfolk, tourism surveys by chartered accountants Larking Gowen.

With many tourism-related business achieving half their annual income during the six weeks of the school summer break, 41% of businesses surveyed said the changes would have a negative impact, compared with 25% anticipating no impact and 33% which were unsure.

A similar percentage believed a reduced summer break would mean a rise in the cost of holidays during that time and 66% said longer breaks in February and October would result in more families holidaying abroad, in pursuit of better weather.

More than 80% of businesses surveyed believe the Government should conduct an economic impact survey before making any changes.

Amanda Bond of Visit Suffolk said: “There is a real concern that the proposed changes to school holiday arrangements will negatively impact on the tourism industry at large.”

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Chris Scargill of Larking Gowen, added: “There is already an issue for families with higher prices in the peak season. Worryingly, the survey highlights the proposed changes will make things worse.”