In its pre-Budget 2022 submission, the Coach Tourism and Transport Council of Ireland (CTTC) has urged the Government to reconfigure its national transport strategy, and recognise the crucial economic and social value of the sector.
The representative body believes that as the economy and society re-opens, now is the opportune time to leverage the strategic value of the industry. It has warned that this will only be possible with increased Government support, as the sector remains hugely damaged as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.
In its submission to the Government, the CTTC has requested the following:
- A resumption of the Business Continuity Scheme, with increased funding, ring-fenced for coach tourism – a sector responsible for attracting two million tourists to Ireland every year
- A sustainability fund and incentives for carbon neutral alternatives
- Reconfiguration of Ireland’s transport strategy
- Increased funding for driver training
- Insurance reform.
Supporting 11,000 jobs
Given that the private coach sector currently supports 11,000 jobs and contributes more than €600 million annually to the Irish economy, it is imperative that any threats to its survival are directly addressed as part of Budget 2022.
The role of the sector in supporting Ireland’s economic recovery post-pandemic has to be recognised, and its role in providing vital regional connectivity must also be acknowledged.
As the climate crisis intensifies, an efficient, reliable public transport system is the only way to encourage a modal shift away from private cars. The CTTC contends that with Government support, the private coach sector can help to facilitate this.
Speaking today, Chairman of the CTTC, John Halpenny said: “It is crucial that the Government acknowledges the strategic importance of the private coach sector in Budget 2022 and implements the recommendations outlined in our submission. While the industry has endured an extraordinarily difficult last eighteen months, the membership is keen to play a role in providing sustainability solutions while driving the popularity of Ireland as a tourist destination.”