It goes without saying that the coach industry is being affected worse than many other businesses in the country due to the effects of coronavirus COVID-19, and I believe it will be some time before we see any signs of recovery.
Unfortunately, as in the past, the bus industry is getting more attention than the coach industry, and in particular the tour operators.
Our trade associations have offered confusing reports to their members, and in my view (as a tour operator and operator of incoming tours) it is upsetting to continually read updates of incoming millions proposed for clean air, hydrogen buses and carbon neutral districts in Glasgow.
I accept that we need them, but surely there are other priorities now. If there is any spare money, then please support the coach tourism industry. All bus companies and cities will, in due time, rely on the passengers we bring to them.
Moving onto another subject, we as a company have taken the quiet time to try and prepare for our 2021 tour season.
What we have found across all parts of our industry, and from venues and hotels across the country, is a general trend to increase prices, more than we would usually expect.
Therefore there will hopefully be demand from clients, but they will have to pay more.
When in the process of this, you will understand my dismay when we were approached by one of our incoming tour operators to reduce our rates and to consider holding 2021 rates.
Surely my colleagues in the industry would not consider such a business proposal. It is my view that there should be a considerable increase in rates for 2020/2021, though I suspect there will be operators prepared to undercut (should there be any left after coronavirus COVID-19 has been defeated).
Having said all this, the most important outcome will be for all my friends and colleagues in the coach industry – and all the tour operators and their families – to overcome this terrible virus, so that we can all return to our jobs providing the joy and experiences that our clients look forward to.
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