ECONOMIC IMPACT OF COACH TOURISM REMAINS HIGH
Of all transport means, the bus and coach industry contributes most to the environment, mobility and tourism but was and still is hardly heard by policy makers at all levels. That is what we learned from the International Coach Conference. Concrete, unambiguous and indisputable figures are urgently needed to convince politicians of the economic impact of coaches
Due to the repeated lack of accurate figures, the Bundesverband Deutscher Omnibusunternehmer (BDO) calculated the economic impact of coach tourism, intercity bus services and the use of public transport services by tourists. In total, Germany accounted for 14.275 billion euros in 2015. That is to be supplemented by another 6.55 billion euros of indirect sales through VAT, concessions and the like. Employment in the coach tourism industry yields a sixfold multiplicative effect. Travel by bus and coach should therefore not be regarded as a problem but as a solution for economic and sustainable perspectives to be pursued.
If cities focus on coaches, they should rather look at how they generally deal with tourism, events, sport events and congresses. When you go for tourism, people always need transportation so it must be provided. In that light, it was suggested to work more closely with local public transport companies. For example, the German research revealed that 70 to 80% of the intercity bus passengers switch to local public transport upon arrival at the city centre. When you move the intercity stop to the periphery, up to 60% switches to their own car to make the trip.
What also plays a role at the local level is the underlying idea among politicians that tourists are not among their potential voters. In large cities, the impact of coach tourism is much more difficult to calculate than in villages where the result is often easier to measure.
The panel called for professional associations to get inspired by the German study to carry out similar studies and take these to regional and local policy makers. Only irrefutable figures can convince them of the actual impact of coach tourism and can help in encouraging them to take coach-friendly measures. Today, coaches are too often driving around in circles in the cities because there are no parking facilities or because bus parking spaces are too far away from the centre.