Holidaytravelwatch Calls For Tougher Standards In Holiday Childrens Clubs
Since October 2006, HolidayTravelWatch has written articles about the standards found in holiday Children’s Clubs.
We have highlighted the story presented to us by one children’s representative, whereby he and his girlfriend were appointed as children’s reps on the basis of a telephone interview. We then discovered that the majority of children’s reps in this organisation did not possess either any childcare background or qualifications or a certificate proving that they are conviction free from the Criminal Records Bureau (CRB). Alarmingly we found that whilst there was no requirement to have a CRB certificate, it was nonetheless ‘best practice’ if one was obtained.
In our article, ‘Are Kids Clubs Safe?’ (02/07), we discovered that whilst the promise of care free days were made, the reality was that parents should read very carefully the clauses in their holiday contracts which govern the use of kids clubs. We discovered that where kids clubs were not operated by tour operator staff, parents were being encouraged in terms and conditions to ‘check the club out’ before they put their children into that clubs care!
Does however, the operation of tour operators kids club provide any comfort? Our concern has not been dampened, particularly after we heard the story of Mr Y and his young daughter.
Mr Y purchased a ski holiday with an ABTA & AITO tour operator.
He had been with this operator on previous holidays, and preferred the more exclusive club environment of the holiday.
It was the first holiday whereby his 4 year old daughter could take part in the skiing activity, and she was duly enrolled into the resort ski school, through the combined service of the children club in the hotel.
Mr Y already had some concerns as to the operation of the club for two reasons. The first concerned the lack of play facilities; this was a club that appeared to rely heavily on the use of a TV and video recorder. Secondly, there was an issue of security. The kids club backed onto a back door running adjacent to a main road. One evening, the kids club was broken into and a number of ski items were stolen. Mr Y’s concern as to security was not eased when he discovered that this was not the first time that this ‘kids club’ had been broken into.
It was however that management of his daughter’s care which led to him expressing anger at how his daughter was treated. Morning was spent in the kids club, followed by lunch. The children’s representative then asked another hotel guest to take charge of this little girl, and deliver her to her ski school. The lady was stunned by the request, but nonetheless agreed to take he into her care.
This holidaymaker was so concerned by this lack of foresight, she informed Mr Y.
He was shocked to discover what had happened, particularly as he had witnessed the children’s rep snowboarding down the mountain that afternoon.
Mr Y complained to the hotel manager who apologised profusely, and this was followed by an apology from the children’s rep.
Mr Y was so concerned about this lapse in judgement, he wrote to the tour operator. He wrote in March 2007, and is still at this time waiting for a response. However, he has been advised that the Managing Director is travelling around various resorts/countries, and will review the issues at the end of the season!
Frank Brehany, MD of HolidayTravelWatch states, “This incident occurred before the McCann Family tragedy. It is unthinkable that a tour representative should be so cavalier with the care of a young child for whom she was responsible. Fortunately, everyone was able to make their apologies, but this lack of foresight has been compounded by the response from the Managing Director of the tour company”.
He concludes, “How many more yellow ribbons will tied up before the travel industry recognise that child protection is vitally important? I have no doubt that there are very many honourable people, many of whom are Mom’s and Dad’s, working in the Travel Industry. It is therefore vital that the Governing Bodies of the Industry, and Governmental Bodies, act to stem this laissez-faire attitude to kids clubs. There can only be one direction; clear statements in holiday brochures as to the constituency of kids clubs (not hidden in terms and conditions); proper vetting of all staff, whatever their nationality and a resolve to stamp out poor responses to holidaymakers complaints”.
All holidaymakers affected by any of these issues should call the National Helpline 01217478100 or make contact through the Organisation’s website –
- Contact Information
- Frank Brehany
- Managing Director
- Contact via E-mail
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