As the 2021 Senedd election approaches, the coach industry in Wales has set out its plan for an ambitious recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic, including grants to help tours get underway as soon as next month and kick start the Welsh tourism economy.
Confederation of Passenger Transport (CPT), a body representing UK coach and bus operators has outlined it’s proposals to capitalise on lockdown restrictions gradually easing.
A survey by Visit Britain in March showed that a majority of UK residents are planning a domestic break between now and September. CPT hope that coach travel can help fulfil those plans while relieving the traffic pressure on tourist hotspots from Cardiff Bay to Snowdonia.
The trade body says coach operators face numerous challenges in getting back up and running including an unclear timetable for the easing of restrictions and a lack of funding to invest in new products and services. Despite this, they say coaches offer a sustainable way to grow the Welsh economy, supporting tourism, helping our children to get to school safely and leading Wales’ contribution to a cleaner, greener transport system by getting people out of their cars.
As Wales goes to the polls, CPT Cymru’s is urging all election candidates that with the right support the coach industry can recover and grow.
Their plan Backing Wales’ Coaches calls for:
- A £7.5m grant-based scheme to support Welsh operators to get up and running. Similar schemes are already available in Scotland and Northern Ireland.
- Developing the coach offer as a key component of Wales’ tourism strategy
- A national clean air fund to help coach operators to invest in new vehicles or retrofit older ones.
CPT Cymru Director Joshua Miles said: “As the people of Wales go to the polls to elect the next Welsh Government, we’re calling for an ambitious agenda that looks to not only help the coach sector recover, but to prosper and grow in the years ahead.
“Like many other sectors, the coach industry has suffered much during the pandemic, with 8 in 10 UK coach operators seeing a 50% reduction in turnover. Indeed, for some operators this has placed their entire future in doubt, with 2 in 10 operators reporting 90% reductions in turnover.
“Along with uncertainty around when the sector will fully reopen in Wales, this has placed enormous strain on coach operators. However, we know there is an appetite for recovery and growth as enquiries begin to pick up for the summer.
“All candidates in the election should be clear that they can make a positive difference to the people of Wales by supporting coach travel in the next Welsh Parliament which will help protect and generate jobs across Wales as we recover from the pandemic.
“Passengers are keen to return but are looking for reassurance that it is safe to do so. We need to see a coordinated effort to restore confidence in coach travel and the next Welsh Government, alongside the industry, must champion its benefits to places, attractions and customers.”