Highlighting the environmental credentials of coach travel in the UK coach tourism offer was one of the big messages at the Growing Domestic Tourism session that took place on the second day of the Bus and Coach Conference, 26 January.
The point was made by Phil Smith, CPT Coaching Manager, who agrees that sustainability is “the next big thing” from the point of view of coach destinations which can capitalise on encouraging coach travellers as a means of easing congestion at peak times.
The point was also made by Chris Owens, Managing Director of Alpine Travel and part of CPT’s recently created Zero Emission Coach Taskforce. But Mr Owens also warned that the biggest threat to a promising future season of coach tourism was rising prices. “Anyone who is involved in domestic tourism at the moment will be fully aware that… prices throughout the hospitality trade have absolutely rocketed.” That, he suggests, risks turning people away from domestic tourism towards cheaper continental holidays.
Local and central government must therefore embrace coaches and give them priority, the panel urges. Suggestions coming from CPT include schemes such as coach friendly status and sustainable coach parking pricing policies. “These are the things that I see as being the stuff that will take our businesses, our members forward in the next two to three years to help capitalise on some of the gains that have been made sadly because of the pandemic – with every great price comes some opportunities.
“There is a marketing opportunity for coach operators to start pushing environmental
credentials – in similar ways we’ve seen bus operators do – in that we can tap into people’s consciousness by saying if you take a UK coach holiday it’s much more sustainable.”