It is no understatement to say that Britain’s coach industry is in crisis, with company failures now into double figures nationally, including Seaview Coaches of Poole locally. Nationally, David Urquhart Travel, Scotland’s biggest coachholiday operator (who run tours to Bournemouth), failed last night and Shearings, the UK’s biggest coach tour operators has been on the brink of administration for the last week.
The Confederation of Passenger Transport (CPT) is calling on the Government to provide a support package worth £65m each month for the coach tourism industry.
CPT has warned that the industry is in a fight for its future because of the Covid-19 pandemic. Despite the spring and summer being the peak period only 2% of coaches that are normally involved in a range of tourist trips are currently being used and bookings are not expected to return to pre pandemic levels until summer 2021.
Despite the mothballing of coaches and the majority of staff on furlough operators are still facing costs on average of £1900 per day. These costs have been compounded by unprecedented cancellations and the failure of government to classify coach tourism as a leisure business making operators ineligible for a Covid-19 business rates holiday and grant.
Commenting CPT Chief Executive Graham Vidler said:
“Coach tourism is in a fight for its future with the complete collapse of bookings for the summer period and the expected quieter winter period to come.
“The industry directly employs 42,000 people with many more jobs dependent on the sector to get people to attractions and destinations. Without support these jobs are under threat as operators have to lay off staff and attractions see reduced footfall as customers, many of whom rely on coach to travel, face fewer choices and difficulties in reaching destinations.
“The collapse of coach tourism will mean a significant increase in the carbon footprint of tourism as people revert to carbon heavy car journeys to visit attractions and destinations.”
The three point support package set out by CPT includes:
Graham Vidler continued:
“This injection of cash into the industry along with the continuation of the furlough scheme is vital. Without it many operators will go under as a result of the 18 month winter they are facing with little to no bookings.
“The failure to classify the sector as leisure is deeply disappointing and shows a worrying lack of understanding from government about its role, this must be reviewed immediately.”
Contact your local MP to voice your concerns and support passenger transport.