How Important is a Holiday?

By | Category: Travel rumblings

Recent evidence seems to suggest that a holiday is almost essential and one that we are loathe to give up. If numbers of people taking holidays didn’t substantially drop in the recession when would they? People say the reason is that it gives them a break from everyday routine and the work. People returning to work are said to perform better. Is this true? Are their “medical” benefits in taking a holiday?
The Family Holiday Association has (FHA) suggested to the government that it launch a voucher scheme so that the 2.5 million people who never take a holiday each year can be assisted to take a break. France and Spain both operate such a scheme meaning that 1.9 million people across those two countries can take a break. Belgium also has a scheme and Italy and Greece have just introduced similar ideas.
The idea is that families can buy holiday vouchers out of pre-taxed income, a bit like the current childcare voucher scheme. John McDonald of the FHA says that this wouldn’t be a drain on the economy because it brings social (work better on their return, are happier etc) and economic benefits. It adds money back into the economy and he says that in Spain €1.5 is brought into the economy for every €1 spent.
The travel trade has mixed feelings. Some wonder whether it will just be more grist to the “benefit scroungers” line and others wonder how you would tackle fraud ( as fraud there will undoubetdly be) and wrongful claims. Others say it will be a boost for tourism. But it seems that the vouchers may not only be redeemable in this country. You could take your holidays abroad in which case our economies probably wouldn’t benefit.
So a parliamentary commitee led by a tourist area MP, Paul Maynard the MP for Blackpool North, is going to see how it operates in other countries and report back in July.
We’ll keep you posted.

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