With February half term approaching, the holiday price hike during school term breaks is on parents’ minds.
An image displaying evidence of the soaring prices during half term at Center Parcs, originally posted on Facebook in 2014, is being re-shared on social media by thousands.
Mark Lowndes, who posted the photo, took a screenshot of the £680 difference in price listed in the week before half term and half term prices in 2014.
And after a quick search, HuffPost UK can reveal it’s no different this year.
Lowndes said he is pleased the photo is being re-shared.
“It’s a complete rip off. Centre Parcs should be named and shamed for it,” he said.
“To get away with being able to increase the price by as much as 250% for exactly the same package is just a joke.
“You couldn’t get away with it in any other industries. I’m self-employed and would never think of increasing my prices just because of the time of year.”
Many people have commented how it would be cheaper to take their children out of school during term time and pay the fine.
“Something should be done to stop these holiday companies from doing this. It really isn’t fair,” one mum wrote.
The post has more than 144,000 shares, with new comments being added throughout January 2016.
HuffPost UK compared the May 2014 half term prices to the May 2016 prices and unfortunately, nothing has changed.
For February 2016 half term, the prices are very similar albeit £100 cheaper.
Left: February 2016 prices. Right: May 2016 prices.
In a statement to HuffPost UK Parents , a spokesperson for Center Parcs said: “Our breaks are more popular than ever and we are almost full, all year round.
“As with many other businesses, not just within the travel sector, demand increases during certain times of the year and decreases at others. During periods of lower demand we actually reduce our prices significantly.
“We offer a unique family short break experience in the UK and we re-invest tens of millions of pounds each year at our Villages, in order to maintain the high quality and standards for which we have become famous over the last 28 years.”
In September 2013, a law was introduced in England (but not Wales) stating parents could be fined for taking children out of school during term time.
In January 2016, Welsh Education Minister Huw Lewis insisted Local Education Authorities must comply with the law in Wales, which gives all headteachers statutory powers to authorise leave for family holidays during term time. Previously, some schools had been fining parents.