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Cornwall councillors bid to save coach tour industry

Cornwall councillors bid to save coach tour industry

Published by Helen Down at 6:38pm 3rd July 2020.

Cornwall councillors have launched a campaign to try and save the coach tour industry which is under "severe threat" due to the coronavirus pandemic.

A motion is set to go before Cornwall Council’s full meeting on Tuesday (July7) urging councillors to lobby the government to help coach tour operators.

The motion states that coach tour operators employ 42,000 people and contribute £6billion to the UK economy.

In addition many of the operators also run hotels where their passengers stay when on the tours.

The motion says: "In Cornwall and many other parts of the country this industry has maintained many hotels completely. A typical holiday coach operator is thought to provide some 50,000 customers a year and day trips often for the elderly and vulnerable feeding into the retail economy."

It notes that several coach tour operators including Caledonian, National and Shearings have already collapsed due to a complete loss of income during the pandemic.

The motion has been tabled by Liberal Democrat councillor Jackie Bull and seconded by colleague Joanna Kenny.

They want the council to recognise that the coach tour industry is "highly important both economically and socially".

Councillors are also asked to "express extreme concern that some hotels in Cornwall which rely on visitors on coach tours to keep them going outside the main holiday season have already been forced to close with the risk that many more may follow".

If approved the motion would see the council working with Visit Cornwall to lobby the Government "to take appropriate measures in a bespoke package supported by adequate funding to reinforce the coach tour industry".

It calls for an extension to the furlough scheme, a relaxation of rules around the release of bonding and refund times, a VAT holiday, and a broader tailored package as necessary.

"Many hotels and other parts of the tourism industry in Cornwall rely on the coach tour industry for their livelihoods. The coach industry faces unique challenges which require a bespoke solution.

"Coach holidays provide elderly and vulnerable people with an affordable holiday to enjoy. The coach tour industry provides a vital social link that we can’t afford to lose."

Cllr Bull, who represents St Austell Poltair

St Austell Fore Street

"Newquay has already been badly affected. The collapse of Shearings has led to the closure of two of our major hotels around Narrowcliff, with the coach trade having formerly brought in very welcome out of season visitors to our resort.   

"There is no news yet that these will be taken on as a ‘going concern’ – and we fear like other lost hotels, that they will be replaced by blocks of flats, changing the look of Narrowcliff for ever.

"Having taken advice from coach industry professionals, we have put forward a motion to gain central government support for an important industry within Cornwall. We’re calling on all our councillor colleagues at Cornwall Council to support the motion."

Cllr Kenny (Newquay Pentire) 

Cornwall Council is due to meet on Tuesday (July7) at 10am. The meeting will be held online.

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