A survey carried out last year by the Coach Tourism Council found that 10 per cent of us don’t want
to fly, while more than a third of Brits who have flown now claim the airport
experience is more stressful than the working week. Even driving holds little
appeal for many as the cost of motoring increases – a survey by the AA of
20,000 car drivers found that 10 per cent would be taking fewer car journeys in
2012 as they look for alternative ways to travel.
This is all helping coach tourism to win a new generation of
fans especially in the current economic climate when household budgets are
stretched and all of us – young and old – are looking for better ways to get
While market conditions continue to be tough people are also
looking to take shorter breaks and especially day trips for visits to the
theatre, shows, local attractions and shopping centres. It’s estimated that 266
million people take a day excursion each year.
This figure may dwarf the annual numbers of people taking a
coach tour holiday – seven million in the UK with getting on for two million
heading for the continent and further afield – but together they underline the
importance of coaches to the UK leisure industry. Trade association, The
Confederation of Passenger Transport, calculates that coach travel contributes
£2.35 billion to the UK economy, with consumers spending £1.2billion on UK
coach tours – that’s around £189 per coach traveller.
London’s theatres have enjoyed a massive boom in the last
decade, in no small way thanks to the number of people coming in by coach as they
account for 15 per cent of the 14 million seats. Stately homes, gardens and
theme parks report that at certain times more than half their visitors arrive
by coach. In the regions, Tourism South East estimated that in 2008, 3.96
million visitors travelled to (or within) the South East region as part of an
organised coach trip or tour, and the local economy benefited from
approximately £253.7million direct visitor spend. Historic cities also get the
benefit of coach tourism without the cars. A survey in Bath revealed that 17
per cent of all visitors arrive at the city on a coach – that’s around 11,000
coaches carrying as many as 450,000 people.
These figures underline the strength of coach tourism but
other statistics help reinforce the benefits of going by coach
Environmentally friendly: Coaches
are the cleanest form of transport – they are six times less polluting than an
aircraft, four times cleaner than a car and twice as clean as a train. They
also take up less road space – a coach carrying 50 passengers takes the place
of 20 cars on the road.
Safety: Coaches are seven
times safer than travelling by car.
Comfort: Today’s new
coaches cost upwards of £250,000 and come with air-conditioning, tinted
windows, on-board facilities and often club-class seating with increased
Coach tours are all inclusive: Travel, hotel on a half-board basis and visits to attractions
are all included in the price making them cheaper than most other holidays.