Fancy a coach holiday?

By | Category: Travel tips & opinions

Perhaps the most difficult changes for future holiday travellers will have to come from those operating coach tours.

tourist buses
Will people want to take bus and coach tours?

How do you social distance people on a 54 seat or even 18 seat coach?

How worried will people be at the thought of taking a coach holiday?

Nova Tours, based in the Derbyshire town of Chesterfield, went bust last week after trading for over thirty years. The company said that it was “inundated” with panic cancellations at the start of the coronavirus outbreak with about 40% of bookings for the year cancelled.

To add misery for the company on top of the cancellation problems came a complete drying up of new business.

It probably won’t be the only coach company to go under – at least until a vaccine is found that is efficient and safe to use.

Specialist Leisure Group, the owner of the most well-known coach tour company, Shearings, is in discussions about saving the firm. Other coach companies might be in similar discussions> What value is a £100,000 coach as an asset now?

Yet escorted tours prove to be one of the most popular type of holidays.

Coaches, be they big or small, converted landrovers and other 4×4 vehicles carried holiday makers across deserts, moved them to see wild animals on safri expeditions, channelled cruise passengers into local attractions and made small tours a profitable exercise.

How can they survive unless and until a successful vaccine is produced? Until that time occurs will holidaymakers want to travel in such a small space with other people?

What is the future for long distance services like National Express and Megabus?

Social distancing is just not possible on a coach or bus so if governments enforce this rule you can kiss good-bye to coach and bus travel. It could be that masks will be mandatory in these vehicles and that one person per seat becomes the norm. But, if the bus fills up, then what? Calling for another bus is not an economically viable option.

Most coaches are air-conditioned so changing the air so that it isn’t recycled so frequently might help. Having windows that opened next to where you were sitting might also be an advantage.

Coach operators are probably playing with all sorts of solutions but whatever they come up with they will have to be very reassuring to get some people to travel on coaches, at least in the short term.

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