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The Motorcoach, Group Travel and Tourism Industry Needs Help

| March 16, 2020

The COVID-19 pandemic is having a devastating impact on the travel and transportation industries

The COVID-19 pandemic is having a devastating impact on the travel and transportation industries. Congress needs to provide dedicated funding and loans for motorcoach, tour and travel industry businesses and their employees, to help these industries and ensure the viability of these small businesses. If these businesses fail, currently and soon to be laid off workers will have no job to return to once we enter recovery mode.
 
Motorcoach operators are a vital component of the national public transportation network, providing intercity scheduled service, commuter and shuttle operations, school bus transportation, charter operations, and in some cases contract services for public transit authorities. The motorcoach industry provides nearly 600 million passenger trips annually, a statistic on par with the domestic commercial airline industry.  
 
Additionally, tour operators, destinations, and other tourism-related organizations (including local and regional government partners), along with product and service suppliers, all support the travel industry and are being significantly hit by the pandemic. Collectively, the motorcoach, tour and travel industries provide nearly 2 million jobs and create more than $236 billion in economic impact nationwide.  

These are industries dominated by small entrepreneurial businesses, many of which are multigenerational family businesses. Unlike larger corporate interests, these companies cannot withstand such a significant economic downturn.  
 
Our industry is suffering significant declines in business because of COVID-19 pandemic, and the situation is deteriorating by the hour. The spring tourism season is when these businesses make 90 percent of their income for the year. But now we are hearing of $500,000-$600,000 in lost revenue because of cancellations, and 40 percent drops in bookings.  Companies are reporting losses of $60,000 in business in one day alone; and 200 hotel room cancellations, along with loss of transient business; and student travel down by 80 percent, with collegiate athletics cancellations daily. Not surprisingly, we are also hearing companies report that they cannot make it beyond a few more weeks.
 
Likewise, for motorcoach operators providing public transportation, i.e. scheduled service providers, they are being forced to make unbudgeted investments running into the hundreds of thousands of dollars to clean and disinfect buses (whereas public transit authorities are told to use their government subsidies to meet costs), while public reporting is telling customers to refrain from taking public transportation. Major schedule service providers like Greyhound, Megabus and Academy are seeing significant drops in ridership, particularly in the northeast corridor. 
 
Rather than just focus on bolstering unemployment benefits, Congress and the Administration should focus on keeping businesses in business. Any economic package should include dedicated funding for motorcoach, tour and travel industry businesses and their employees, to restore the industry and ensure the viability of these small businesses.

Category: Driver Stuff, Featured, General Update, News, Transit News

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