£14bn at risk if coach industry goes this winter, CPT warns

The Confederation of Passenger Transport (CPT) has issued a stark warning to government that, should the coach industry collapse this winter, it could wipe almost 10% (around £14bn) off the value of UK tourism, plus tens of thousands of jobs.

In a letter to Tourism Minister Nigel Huddleston, CPT Head of Policy Alison Edwards called for support through the winter months to recognise the coach industry’s role in the tourism industry.

The trade body has calculated that four out of ten operators face being lost by April 2021 if no support is granted, which puts around 27,000 jobs at risk. This would also threaten attractions which are dependent on coach tourism for visitors.

CPT has requested extensions to finance holidays by 12 months to ensure that no coaches are repossessed during the winter, and that coach travel be treated as part of the leisure sector to access existing support to leisure businesses. It also calls for a temporary prohibition on the loss of family homes as a result of the failure of coach businesses.

The letter highlights the struggle of operators to access support packages. Says Ms Edwards: “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 government to pick up the challenge and provide the support the industry urgently needs.”