By Oliver Farrimond
A FORMER Scottish Minister has claimed that major holiday firms are ripping off Scots holidaymakers.
Stewart Maxwell, former SNP sports minister, carried out a nationwide survey and found that Scots were being made to pay hundreds of pounds more than their English counterparts for package holidays.
Mr Maxwell carried out a survey of holiday costs for Scots, and compared them to the same breaks organised by families from England.
He found that a Scots family break organised through First Choice and flying from Glasgow airport cost more than £1,000 more than the same break flying out from London.
He also found that a holiday for a family of four to Reykjavik organised through Thomas Cook would cost a Scots family more than £300 more – despite the fact that Scotland is closer to Iceland than England.
He said: “It’s ludicrous that a family of four flying from Glasgow to Reykjavik with Thomas Cook on July 17 for a two-week stay in the Hotel Reykajavik, will pay £304.58 more than a family of four flying from London to stay there – yet Iceland is closer to Glasgow.
Mr Maxwell, MSP for West of Scotland, added: “It is clear to me that Scots pay more for their well-earned holidays than people in the south of England, and is one more example of the way in which Scotland is poorly served by these travel operators.
“I’ll be contacting all operators and the airports and asking them to justify the additional costs charged to Scots passengers, and to bring prices in Scotland into line with those elsewhere.”
All of the prices of holidays quoted were for a family of four, with two children aged eight and 12, and researched using travel agents’ websites on May 18th of this year.
A spokesman for the Assocation of British Travel Agents explained that the cost difference was due to the “load factor”.
A spokesman said: “Planes flying from Stansted or Heathrow are more likely to have a higher load factor than planes from Scotland and other airports.
“So it’s not just Scotland, but applies to other airports outside London.
“And the simple fact is that profit levels from Scotland and other airports outside London tend to be lower.”