Ireland’s representative body for coach operators, the Coach Tourism & Transport Council of Ireland (CTTC) has commissioned economist Jim Power to report on the deep economic damage suffered by the sector during the COVID-19 pandemic and the acute need for targeted State support.
A completed economic analysis is expected to issue in the coming week.
With the private bus and coach sector involved in a low margin activity in most cases, the shock from COVID-19 threatens to push many operators out of business. Many coach tour operators in particular have had no coach tours booked in with them for over 18 months and counting. While last year operators could help cover some parts of their costs with resources from the 2019 tourist season, in 2021 businesses in the sector no longer have such reserves.
A collapse of the bus and coach sector would have a particularly adverse impact on regional and rural economies and the strategic transport services they provide to many towns and the cities around the country. Aside from this, and focused on the government’s ambitious emission targets expected to be announced for the sector soon, there are strong environmental reasons for ensuring the survival of the sector.
Private bus and coach operators, remain pessimistic about the sector’s prospects in the near future. A recent survey by the representative body found that 70 % of operators believed the outlook for their industry is bleak. It is in this context, the executive of the CTTC moved to seek an evidential basis for their planned lobbying campaign in the run in to Budget 2022 which will be announced in October.