In support of the beleaguered coach tourism industry, which has been badly impacted by the pandemic, leading supplier of coach parts, Imperial Engineering, is lending its weight to a new campaign from the Confederation of Passenger Transport (CPT) called Backing Britain’s Coaches.
Ahead of what it anticipates will be a busy summer season for domestic holidays as lockdown restrictions are eased, CPT believes that the industry can play a crucial role in reviving the UK economy, while helping to ease traffic congestion in tourism hotspots. According to CPT, the coach industry has 2,500 operators in the UK, employing more than 40,000 people. It says that three million coach visits contributed £14 billion to the UK tourism sector in 2019, but stated that many operators now face significant financial challenges with some already having closed permanently through being unable to trade.
The new campaign calls for a £150 million grant-based scheme to support English and Welsh operators in building back their services, complementing schemes already designed to assist the sector in Scotland and Northern Ireland and for the Chancellor to extend repayment terms for Coronavirus Business Interruption Loans.
CPT chief executive, Graham Vidler, said, “The coach industry has suffered as much as any other during the pandemic and has inexplicably been treated differently to other areas of the leisure and hospitality industry. We need to see coaches treated in line with other leisure and hospitality businesses and this must include a grant scheme to help operators get holidays up and running, generating income for local economies across the UK. Without this, many operators will find it unviable to open their doors, meaning attractions and places across the country will see less footfall, placing jobs and businesses at risk.”
Mr Vidler also highlighted the need for governments to promote the benefits of coach travel to help encourage places and attractions to welcome coach trips this summer.
“Passengers are keen to return but are looking for reassurance that it is safe to do so. We need to see a coordinated effort to restore confidence in coach travel and governments across the UK alongside the industry must champion its benefits to places, attractions and customers.”
Lending its support to the CPT’s campaign, John Dwight, Imperial Engineering’s Sales Director, said:
“The coach tourism sector has been hit extremely hard over the past year, so it’s important for its survival that this summer sees the prospect of services resuming, in accordance with the lifting of lockdown restrictions. As a market leader in the supply of brand new parts to the coach sector, Imperial Engineering remains sharply focused on supporting operator customers with our expert service on providing the highest quality parts to keep fleets safe and fully operational.”