Collapse in Coach Tourism creates unemployment crisis across UK. Are we facing a similar crisis in Ireland?

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The newly established passenger transport division at the Road Haulage Association (RHA) in the UK has released new research into the impact of COVID-19 on unemployment in Britain’s top 40 towns and cities with the highest proportion of tourism employees in 2019, including popular coach holiday destinations such as the Lake District, Derbyshire Dales and Devon.

Nationally, the number of unemployed people rose by an average of 115% from February 2020 to February 2021 with the constituencies containing the UK’s top 40 coach tourism employment hotspots seeing unemployment rising on average by 141%, an additional 26%.

This includes increases of:

·                153% in Arun, the home of Butlins and Arundel Castle

·                212% in South Lakeland, the home of Lake Windermere

·                163% in the Derbyshire Dales and 174% on the Cotswolds

·                145% in Staffordshire Moorlands, the home of Alton Towers

Commenting, Operations Manager for the RHA Coach Sector, Andy Warrender, said: “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 demand is there, our members are telling us that people want to travel, but the coach industry desperately needs to be in a position to come back strongly if support for these communities is to be sustained. After more than a year with virtually no income, the industry has been structurally weakened and with the prospect of continued social distancing measures restricting capacity to some degree, it still faces great uncertainty”

Coach tourism is a crucial part of the UK tourism industry and vital to the local economies of towns and communities who rely on domestic and international visitors.  Over the last year, restrictions have meant that coach tourism has been at a virtual standstill leading to significant levels of redundancies, leaving many businesses facing a precarious future.

The RHA is calling for the Government to introduce a bespoke Covid-19 financial support package which supports the long-term viability of the coach tourism industry, to help the sector get back on its feet after a tumultuous year.

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