The Coach Tourism and Transport Council of Ireland (CTTC) is calling for a loan freeze on repayments for coach tour buses due to coronavirus restrictions.
Due to government policy on international travel, aviation and quarantining, operators businesses have been “decimated” with “no hope” on the horizon, according to CTTC Chairperson John Halpenny.
“These businesses urgently need direct support in the shape of a sectoral-wide loan freeze which would go some way to assisting members for the foreseeable future,” he said.
In light of current Government restrictions, the group contends a sectoral-wide loan freeze is essential in order to give its members a chance to recover and be ready for tourism seasons post-pandemic.
“The impact of the pandemic has been unprecedented and like nothing the industry has ever experienced in its trading history,” Mr Halpenny said.
“The seriousness of the situation is reflected in the fact that over 90% of bus and coach operators have been in touch with their banks and financial institutions because of COVID-19. Of those, 90% have sought to change the terms of vehicle loans.”
On an average year, coach tour operators transport two million tourists around the country.
“Coach tourism supports not only frontline jobs, but also a significant supply chain including retailers, manufacturers, food producers and distributors, event practitioners and organisers, performers, artists, cleaners, carpenters, chefs and so many more,” Mr Halpenny said.
“We are crucial to regional and local economies and we hope Government and the CEOs of the national banks have the foresight to see the importance of the sector for our once prospering, now diminishing economy."
The CTTC is Ireland’s largest representative body for coach touring companies and private bus operators.
There are over 1,700 bus operators in Ireland, carrying over 75m passengers per year, supporting over 11,000 jobs and contributing €600m to the economy.