The first ever National Coach Week has drawn to a close after a week of celebrating the industry and highlighting the importance of its role in society.
National Coach Week, organised by the RHA, took place from 1 to 8 April, with the RHA’s branded Irizar coach travelling 1876 miles across the country as part of a national roadshow.
This is the first campaign of its kind following the challenging 24 months the industry faced over the course of the pandemic and received significant backing from Tourism Minister Nigel Huddleston, who met with the RHA’s Andrew Warrender in Westminster at the beginning of the campaign.
Also offering their support at campaign events were Kevan Jones, MP for North Durham, Mike Amesbury, MP for Weaver Vale and Welsh Economy Minister, Vaughan Gething.
Mr Huddleston was keen to highlight the National Coach Week message and offer his support in rebuilding the much-needed industry after the struggles it faced over the pandemic. He said:
“[The coach sector] was one of the first and hardest hit sectors, but I can also say it can play such a key role in the recovery, because people love their coach holidays.
“There is a huge affinity, there is a huge repeat business, such shows just how much people love them. So, I’m here to support them as this sector comes back.
“The coach sector is great for contributing to all the goals we’ve got for the environmental agenda. This is because by large numbers of people travelling by coach that means we’re not having all these people in cars creating pollution and causing all the congestion on the roads.”
Tourism in England contributes £106 billion to the British economy and supports 2.6 million jobs. With coaches contributing £14 billion each year alone, it is a vital part of the country’s tourism landscape and National Coach Week set out to spread this message far and wide.
Key RHA staff visited coach operators, tourist destinations, training facilities and important transport infrastructure sites, where topics of discussion included the revival of the industry, the role coaches play in tourism and the challenges facing the industry.
More than ten events took place across the nation at locations including the Beamish Museum, The Royal Mint Experience, Rhondda Heritage Park, Hensol Castle Distillery, RHA’s training facility in Bathgate, DAF Apprenticeships in Bristol, Eurotunnel and M6 Toll.
Concluding the week’s roadshow, the #NationalCoachWeek vehicle set up base at the 66th UK Coach Rally in Blackpool, the first one to take place since 2019.
Andrew Warrender, Operations Manager at the RHA, said:
“National Coach Week and the UK Coach Rally have been some of the first coaching events to take place since the pandemic and showed us that operators are raring to get out and about again. It was great to see so many old friends.
“Confidence is returning and whilst industry still has to tackle rising costs and challenges of recruitment, most will have come away last week feeling more enthused as it’s another step along the road back to normal service.”
The campaign also attracted attention from further afield, gaining backing from notable figures including Tranmere Rovers player Jay Spearing and world-famous boxers Tony Bellew and Carl Frampton, further highlighting the importance of coaches in sport.
The RHA plans to make National Coach Week an annual event, alongside National Lorry Week and the Commercial Vehicle Show.
To find out more, please visit: www.nationalcoachweek.co.uk