2024-02-22T17:35:00Z By Keeley Rodgers
Chair of the Coach Tourism Association, Robert Shaw, shares his thoughts on the coaching sector ahead of the new year.
Forecasts indicate that 2024 is set to be another year of growth in the number of trips and tours by coach. On the one hand, there have been rising living costs, combined with specific challenges such as the delays witnessed at the Port of Dover. On the other, demand to travel has never been higher. Unsurprisingly, travel by coach remains the preferred choice to get groups to where they want to go, when they want. It’s this flexibility that is crucial.
The enduring popularity of coach travel is largely thanks to its sheer convenience – especially for group organisers. With door-to-door collection and drop off typically provided, group travellers are chauffeured directly to the destination of choice, whether that’s a city hotel or a rural setting, and their luggage is carried for them. And, today’s state of the art, luxury coaches, used by most Coach Tourism Association member coach operators, provide a superior travel experience than even first class rail carriages can provide.
“Travel by coach is six times greener than by car, and it’s a significantly lower emission way to travel than by train or aeroplane.”
But now, many groups are seeking even more: green credentials increasingly matter too. A significant advantage of coach travel is that it is the most environmentally sustainable way to travel among all the forms of motorised transport. Most UK coaches today are powered by low emission, high efficiency, Euro 6 engines. Most importantly, a single coach carries a high volume of passengers - usually up to 49 seats, with some capable of carrying over 80 people.
It’s this efficiency that makes coaches far more environmentally friendly, even than car sharing. In fact, travel by coach is six times greener than by car, and it’s a significantly lower emission way to travel than by train or aeroplane. In short, if your group is concerned about sustainable travel, then go by coach.
In the not too distant future, this environmental standard is set to raise even further as the coach tourism sector is exploring the transition to zero emission vehicles. In the UK, some operators are already running electric battery-powered coaches. These vehicles have a range of around 300 miles with the potential to recharge in just a few hours.
“Most UK coaches today are powered by low emission, high efficiency, Euro 6 engines. Most importantly, a single coach carries a high volume of passengers - usually up to 49 seats, with some capable of carrying over 80 people.”
In 2023, the Coach Tourism Association staged its first zero emission coach seminar, with operators and manufacturers coming together to discuss the future. Unlike regulations impacting the car market, the UK government is yet to set a date to end the sale of non-zero emission coaches. Meanwhile, as an organisation, we will continue to explore the most sustainable technology options. This means we will support our member coach operators in optimising their sustainability credentials, giving the group travellers they carry the lowest environmental impact.
But not all coach operators are the same. To ensure your group chooses a reliable coach operator, that combines luxury and sustainability with a wide and flexible range of destinations, visit welovecoaches.com. Here, you will be able to search all the Coach Tourism Association coach operators, local to your area, that provide the service you need.
About the Coach Tourism Association
The Coach Tourism Association was set up 30 years ago to bring the coach tourism industry together and to promote travel and tourism by coach.
Today the CTA has a membership of more than 300, nearly half of whom are coach tour operators and tour wholesalers. The other half of the membership is made up of industry supporters who help make up the coach tourism package – they include hotel groups, Tourist Boards and major visitor attractions, ticket agencies and ferry operators, as well as professional advisers and B2B companies.
This column was published in the 2024 Coaching Venues & Excursions Guide, which provides an array of ideas and inspiration for coach trips and holidays across the whole of the UK. You can read it here.