While the Coach Tourism & Transport Council (CTTC), welcomed the Government’s allocation of financial support to coach tour sector, the national body says it “falls short” on expectations. Coach tour operators need a more substantial stimulus to stay afloat and keep them in business until the market comes back to any level of normality.
The CTTC described the Government’s decision to grant a €10 million Business Continuity Fund for Coach Tourism Operators in the July Stimulus Plan as welcome but “falls short” of what is required to help coach tour operators to stay afloat. Over the past number of months, the organisation had continuously expressed the need to directly support the sector which is facing financial peril. The coach tour sector is responsible for transporting two million tourists around Ireland every year.
CTTC members are leading providers of private scheduled services, international tours, school transport and private hire. In total there are 1,721 coach operators in Ireland, carrying over 75 million passengers per year, supporting 11,457 jobs and contributing €400 million to the economy.
Chairman of the CTTC, John Halpenny, commented on the development: “It is welcome news that Government saw the merit in delivering direct support for coach tour operators in the July Stimulus Plan. However, the amount announced represents only a fraction of what is required to help businesses survive. Many operators suffered a colossal drop-off in bookings and cancellations which means they are haemorrhaging millions in overheads every month and this is threatening the very survival of the sector.”
“While the support will help operators in a small way, unquestionably there will be business and job casualties which will have a knock-on impact on scheduled services and school transport provision. It also presents real challenges to the tourism sector because the reduction in the numbers of operators will mean less visitors when fears surrounding the pandemic alleviate.”
John Halpenny concluded by saying: “We now urge Government to move to the next stage of this process and ensure the timely delivery of the €10 million to our sector so operators can be supported without delay.”