Unemployment in constituencies that include the UK’s top 40 coach tourism hotspots rose on average by 141% between February 2020 and February 2021, research conducted by trade body RHA has shown. That is 26 percentage points above the national average of 115%.
RHA says that unemployment figures highlight the economic impact of the collapse in coach tourism since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. In South Lakeland, which includes Lake Windermere, unemployment has increased by 212% over the period in question. The Cotswolds has seen joblessness grow by 174%. In the Derbyshire Dales the figure is 163%, and in Arun, home of Butlins and Arundel Castle, it is 153%.
RHA Operations Manager for Coaches Andy Warrender says: “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 that demand is there. Our members are telling us that people want to travel. But the coach industry desperately needs to be able to come back strongly if support for these communities is to be sustained. After more than a year with virtually no income, the sector has been structurally weakened, and with the prospect of continued social distancing measures restricting capacity to some degree, it still faces great uncertainty.”
RHA is one of several bodies that is calling for a bespoke support package for the coach industry to ensure its long-term viability.
A recent survey carried out by VisitEngland shows that 55% of respondents plan to take a day trip, a short break or a longer holiday in England within six months of being allowed to travel again. For those living in large cities, the figure is 63%.