Coach Tour Operators Gloomy About 2022

16 Sep 2021 | 10.10 am

Coach Tour Operators Gloomy About 2022

Substantial decline in forward bookings

16 Sep 2021 | 10.10 am

More than four-fifths of private coach tour operators do not expect to recover financially in the next year, following a period of near-negligible activity over the last 18 months, according to a survey by the Coach Tourism and Transport Council.

Every single respondent to the survey noted a substantial decline in bookings for next year compared to 2019, a finding which is likely to alarm operators and thousands of retail, hospitality and visitor attraction businesses throughout the country. 

Some of the headline results from the survey are:

  • 93% of tour operators say their business has been significantly affected by travel restrictions on international visitors 
  • 93% believe that low levels of consumer confidence are damaging their business 
  • 100% of operators say that more needs to be done to improve confidence levels in public transport following the pandemic 
  • 73% of Ireland’s leading operators will be forced to reduce their workforce in 2022, which could lead to considerable job losses.

Chair John Halpenny commented: “For many industries, the partial resumption of international tourism marked the light at the end of the tunnel, but this is not the case for our operators.

“The average lead generation time for international tourist bookings is at least 12 months, if not longer. Realistically, we are facing a scenario whereby most coach tour operators will not be able to meaningfully resume their services until June 2022.

“Such a dramatic drop off in activity is likely to result in decreased connectivity to the rural tourism destinations in Ireland and significant job losses, situations that must adamantly be avoided.

“I would urge the government to provide supplementary support for operators this year so they are best placed to take advantage of the 2022 season. Looking to next year, a  resumption of the Business Continuity Scheme on a contingency basis would provide a safety net for many.”

The CTTC is the largest representative body for coach tour companies and private bus operators in Ireland, whose members provide their services in normal times to more than two million visitors a year.

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