Collapse in coach tourism adds to unemployment crisis across UK says RHA Coaches

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The RHA has released the results of its research into the impact of Covid-19 on unemployment in the UK’s top 40 towns and cities with the highest proportion of tourism employees in 2019, including popular coach holiday destinations such as the Lake District, Derbyshire Dales and Devon.

Using figures from the Office of National Statistics, it showed that nationally, the number of unemployed people rose by an average of 115% from February 2020 to February 2021, with the areas containing the UK’s top 40 coach tourism employment hotspots seeing unemployment rising by an additional 26% to, on average, 141%.

This includes increases of:

  • 153% in Arun, the home of Butlins and Arundel Castle;
  • 212% in South Lakeland, the area around Windermere;
  • 163% in the Derbyshire Dales and 174% on the Cotswolds, and;
  • 145% in Staffordshire Moorlands, the home of Alton Towers.

Commenting on the figures, Operations Manager for RHA Coaches Andy Warrender said: “This clearly demonstrates the critical role of coach tourism across so many communities in the UK, many of which are almost totally reliant on the visitor economy. We know demand is there, our members are telling us that people want to travel, but the coach industry desperately needs to be in a position to come back strongly if support for these communities is to be sustained. After more than a year with virtually no income, the industry has been structurally weakened and with the prospect of continued social distancing measures restricting capacity to some degree, it still faces great uncertainty.”

The RHA is calling for the Government to introduce a bespoke Covid-19 financial support package which supports the long-term viability of the coach tourism industry, to help the sector get back on its feet after a ‘tumultuous’ year.