More than 500 coach travel operators have written to the chancellor to warn that without urgent support many of their businesses will go under as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, costing thousands of jobs.
The letter, which was co-ordinated by industry body the Confederation of Passenger Transport (CPT), warns that thousands of family businesses are at risk because, despite mothballing coaches and furloughing staff, coach operators are still facing costs of on average £1,900 per day with no income or support from the Government.
Sidmouth, Devon last summer
The CPT said that despite the spring and summer being the traditional peak period only 2% of coaches that are normally involved in a range of tourist trips are currently being used.
Bookings are not expected to return to pre pandemic levels until summer 2021, placing over 40,000 jobs at risk.the CPT said.
Chief executive Graham Vidler said: ‘Without question the industry is in a fight for its future and feels forgotten by government.
‘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 will go as operators will have no choice but to lay off staff. Attractions will also see reduced footfall as customers find it impossible to reach destinations.’
Operators are calling for a three-point support package:
- A cash injection into the industry worth £65m a month, backdated to the beginning of the pandemic, to help the industry cover its costs for the rest of 2020.
- An extension to the furlough scheme beyond the current October end date
- Confirmation that coach tour operators are to be treated as leisure businesses for the purposes of Covid-19 support.
Mr Vidler added: ‘Without this support and the recognition that coach travel is a leisure business many operators will go under as a result of the 18-month winter they are facing with little to no bookings.’