Many hotels, hospitality services and shops in Lytham St Anne’s benefit greatly from the influx of visitors brought into the area by coaches. However, many coach operators are now seeing their long-established businesses struggle because of the impact of the coronavirus pandemic. Some well-known names, including Shearings and National Holidays, have already become insolvent. Next Tuesday, 14th July, sees a ‘Honk for Hope’ demonstration, which aims to draw attention to the plight of the coach travel industry, heading towards the Fylde coast.
The Confederation of Passenger Transport UK, which represents 1,000 bus and coach operators, says that more than 40,000 jobs are currently under threat.
Chief Executive Graham Vidler said: ‘There is no doubt the coach travel industry feels forgotten by government – it has suffered from unprecedented cancellations and is now facing an 18 month winter of low bookings.’
Organisers say that the ‘Honk For Hope’ is a peaceful demonstration designed solely to gain awareness and hopefully, make the government sit up, listen and help.
A spokesperson says: ‘On Tuesday 14th July, Honk for Hope is heading to Blackpool and it would be great if any of our industry partners and friends could get outside of their hotels, offices and homes to show this movement some support. Many of the hoteliers, services, businesses and attractions in this region rely on the groups of people visiting Blackpool, Lytham St Anne’s, Cleveleys and Fleetwood, but there is a serious risk that many coach companies won’t be around to keep bringing people here, if something is not done soon! Starting at 11.00 a.m., a convoy of coaches will head along the M55, down Squires Gate Lane to Starr Gate, along Blackpool Promenade to Gynn Square and then back again. All of the coaches present, with their owners / drivers, will then congregate at Fox Brothers Haulage (Behind the B&M Warehouse) on Squires Gate Lane Industrial Estate and remain there until early afternoon. Hoteliers and business owners reliant on Coach Tourism are welcome to speak to the press at Fox Brothers, tell them how much our industry means to your business and how much it will suffer without it!
On Tuesday 14th July, if you see our demonstration from your car then please ‘Honk for Hope’, or get onto the Promenade, wave banners, flags, clap, cheer, ANYTHING, but please help support our industry so it can continue to support yours…’
A recent Honk for Hope rally at Lightwater Valley, near Ripon saw 60 operators from across the Midlands, the North and Scotland driving 91 vehicles to the tourism hotspot. There they were welcomed with open arms as the theme park acknowledged the critical importance of coach tourism to its business.