Coach tourism operators need urgent support, argues CPT

CPT is urging the government to provide a support package worth £65million a month to help the coach tourism industry. CPT warns that the industry is in a fight for its future because of the Covid-19 pandemic with only 2 per cent of coaches that are normally involved in a range of tourist trips during the spring and summer currently being used and bookings are not expected to return to pre-pandemic levels until summer 2021.

Operators have mothballed coaches and put the majority of staff on furlough, but are still facing costs on average of £1,900 per day, according to CPT. 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.

“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,” says CPT chief executive Graham Vidler.

“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.”

CPT is calling for a tapered grant per vehicle for operators starting at £65million a month to help the industry cover its costs for the rest of 2020, as well as more flexibility in the job retention scheme to allow staff to remain on furlough until business levels return to normal, and confirmation that coach tour operators are to be treated as leisure businesses for the purposes of Covid-19 support.