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This is a summary of the findings from a study of the role of the coach in the economy, carried out for the Confederation of Passenger Transport UK by David Simmonds Consultancy and Cambridge Policy Consultants.
Much of our study has concentrated on the role of non-scheduled coaches in carrying people on day trips and holidays. These are provided by a very large number of firms, predominantly small firms which mix regular contract and other private hire operations with some trips and tours which they promote themselves. The industry does however include some large-scale operators specialising in tours. Coach tours are also offered by tour companies which contract the coach element from other firms.
We estimate from national surveys that in 1998 British residents made
In addition, 1.6 million overseas visitors arrived in Britain by coach, staying a total of 13.1 million nights and spending £396 million. The total expenditure associated with UK travel on these non-scheduled and overseas coach operations in 1998 was at least £1883 million. 20% of this was spent on travel (mainly on the coach travel itself).
Other tourism activities for which we do not have expenditure figures include:
Adding expenditure associated with just the first of these would almost certainly take the total to over £2000 million.
We estimate that the more directly measured £1883 million supported at least 79,000 full- and part-time UK jobs, equivalent to over 58,000 full-time jobs. Of these
We have examined a sample of Case Study areas where non-scheduled coach tourism was thought to be significant. This confirmed that such tourism is a major source of jobs in resorts such as Blackpool (over 2500 jobs, nearly 2000 full-time equivalent) or Bournemouth (nearly 1,800 jobs or 1,300 full-time equivalent).
The dependence of coach tours on hotel accommodation means that non-scheduled coach tourists spend more per visit or per night than the average for all tourists - despite many coach tourists being retired, and most coach holidays designed to offer low prices. The economic impact of coach tourists who stay overnight is greater than that of day visitors.
The benefits of coach tourism are further increased by the fact that it is less seasonal than the majority of tourist activity. It therefore creates hotel and catering jobs in many resorts at times of the year when staff would otherwise have to be laid off. Some resorts resent their dependence on the coach industry, but the underlying problem here is the diversion of traditional family seaside holidays to overseas destinations in warmer climates. Without the coach industry, many British resorts would be in even greater difficulties.
In principle, most local authorities favour the use of coaches because they reduce dependence on private cars, and so help to reduce atmospheric pollution and provide access to leisure opportunities for those who are unable to use cars. In practice, their attitude to incoming coaches is prejudiced by their perception of a very large vehicle, blocking the traffic, the view or both. They also perceive coach passengers as spending very little money. Operators surveyed complained of unsympathetic attitudes from many authorities (and scheduled operators made similar points); most were also resentful of any arrangements involving charges for parking, booking of spaces or similar requirements. Certain authorities complained in return of drivers who refused to observe restrictions on dropping off or picking up passengers, on parking, and so on.
We found that:
With regard to provision for non-scheduled coaches, we suggested that CPT should press for
1 December 1999
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