If The Minister Wants Sustainable Tourism, He Needs The Coach Sector
If we’re to see the step change in our tourism industry Minister Nash wants to see, there needs to be a well-functioning coach sector supporting it, say the Bus and Coach Association.
Acting Chief Executive, Alex Voutratzis, supports the Minister’s ideas for more sustainable tourism, “we’ve all seen the negative impacts tourism can have on our unique hotspots and the wider environment, it makes sense for us to pivot towards a more sustainable tourism approach.”
But to achieve this, there needs to be a partnership between the Government and businesses across the entire tourism industry.
“Let’s move beyond picking pre-determined winners and support the wider tourism eco-system. It’s not the fault of tourism businesses they’ve found themselves in a precarious financial position due to COVID-19. As the Government have rightly supported employees, we need to see more financial support for businesses.
“We are a sector that is often taken for granted and underappreciated for the services we provide. With 1.5 million tourists using a coach in the year prior to COVID-19, our sector is essential for tourism to rebound.
“Our members seem to have fallen between the cracks with the Government’s Business Support Package, they are now selling their coaches and in some cases the roof over their heads to keep their businesses afloat.
“After 12 months of no international tourism, the Government has not recognised our sector. Without financial support for our members the Government will unnecessarily drag out the tourism recovery, at the expense of livelihoods, business certainty, and economic growth.
“Coaches bring the added advantage of being a bubble for COVID-19 contact tracing. Coaches also keep an in-depth record of all passengers along with the detailed itinerary of each trip. Our members can appropriately control who tourists meet and where they visit too.
“Let’s not forget the environmental benefits of tourists travelling by coach fit nicely with the Minister’s agenda. Coaches are the most sustainable and environmentally friendly means for tourists to travel New Zealand. They have a significantly lower carbon emission in comparison to airplanes, with the added benefit of reducing congestion on the roads.
“Would you rather have a coach carrying 40 couples traveling together as a group or 20 additional cars on the road driving to the same tourist hotspot? Now imagine the 1.5 million tourists that coaches normally carry all driving across the country and adding to the congestion and emissions at our hotspots and urban areas.
“If the Government is serious about sustainable tourism, they need a strong coach industry to support them.”