£14bn and tens of thousands of jobs at risk if sector collapses

Protestors at last month’s ‘Honk for Hope’ in London which aimed to highlight the plight of the coach sector

The collapse of the coach travel sector this winter could wipe almost 10% off the value of UK tourism, the Confederation of Passenger Transport (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. Coach travel results in over 23 million tourism visits a year and contributes £14bn to the UK economy.

The spring and summer is the traditional peak period meaning coach travel operators have seen bookings collapse and they are not expected to return to pre-pandemic levels until summer 2021. CPT 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.

“Allowing the coach travel sector to collapse would be a dereliction of duty from the government,” said Alison Edwards, CPT’s head of policy.

“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.

Edwards 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.”

Get the latest news delivered to your inbox. CLICK HERE to subscribe to our e-newsletter.