The collapse of the coach travel sector this winter could wipe almost 10% off the value of UK tourism, the CPT has warned. CPT has written to Tourism Minister Nigel Huddleston calling on him to ensure the sector is supported through the winter in recognition of the critical role it plays in the tourism industry.
CPT says that coach travel results in over 23 million tourism visits a year and contributes £14bn to the UK economy. It has calculated that without support 27,000 jobs from the sector and 4 out of 10 operators could be lost by April 2021. The letter warns that the collapse of the coach travel sector will have a wider impact on the UK tourism industry with jobs across the country that depend on tourism being placed at risk as visitors struggle to visit attractions across the country.
Commenting, CPT Head of Policy Alison Edwards said: “Allowing the coach travel sector to collapse would be a dereliction of duty from the Government. The sector is vital to the continued growth of UK tourism by ensuring that millions of people can visit attractions across the UK each year. “Without support for coach travel, we are risking not just the future of the sector but jobs across the tourism industry as people struggle to travel to days out.”
In order to help operators get through this winter CPT is calling for:
- Extensions to finance holidays by 12 months to ensure that no coaches are repossessed during the winter;
- The coach travel sector to be treated as part of the leisure sector and able to access any support available to leisure businesses; and
- A moratorium on the loss of family homes as a result of the failure of coach businesses.
Alison continued: “As current Government support winds down operators will be effectively entering their third winter in a row, which without support many will struggle to survive. To ensure UK tourism as a whole can bounce back from Covid-19 we need to have a thriving coach travel sector.
It’s time for the Government to pick up the challenge and provide the support the industry urgently needs.”
Director of the Tourism Alliance Kurt Janson added: “Coach operators are a large and vital component of the UK’s world-class tourism industry.
Whether it be taking overseas visitors on tour, students on educational trips, transferring conference delegates, bringing sports fans to games or providing day trips for people to visit attractions or see a West End show, they bring revenue and jobs to every destination they visit.”
The Coach Tourism Association has also given its backing to the CPT in its new call for government support and stressed the need for coach holidays be reclassified into the leisure sector in order to open access to greater support.
CTA Chair, John Wales said: “The CPT is absolutely right highlighting the risks that are now facing coach operators, and the CTA supports its call on the Government for support. Crucial to this is the position of the holiday companies who, for some unexplained reason are not classed as part of the leisure sector. I fail to understand how businesses taking coach loads of holidaymakers to hotels and attractions all-round the country and providing the bulk of those 23 million coach visits, are not ‘in the leisure sector.'”