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CTA’s National Coach Tourism Survey

Once you’re a coach traveller you’re hooked to stay a coach traveller – 92 per cent of existing coach travellers say they will continue to book coach tours over the next five years. Even people who have never been on a coach tour are keen to do so – from a poll of 5,870 – 43 per cent of all ages said they were likely to consider booking a coach holiday in the next 5 years.

Just two of the findings in the first ever nationwide CTA Coach Tourism Survey based on the views of more than 25,000 people, including 20 per cent who are non coach travellers. The survey was sent to their customers by more than 20 CTA coach tour operator members, while magazines such as Choice and Mature Times, Silver Travel Advisor also issued to their readers. In addition Visit Kent, Bournemouth Tourism and CalMac Ferries issued to their web users.

Further details were revealed by Peter Stratton, MD of ICT, when he spoke to delegates at the 2017 Coach Holiday Conference.

He said the response rate of around 6 per cent was significantly higher than the usual return for surveys of this kind, which were between 1 and 2 per cent. Around 65 per cent of recipients were aged 55 to 74, reflecting the core coach tourism market, while around 10 per cent were aged 45 to 54.

Eighty per cent had taken a coach holiday during the last five years, leaving 20 per cent who had not. Of those who hadn’t, the perception was positive in several areas, he said. They like coach tours for offering value for money, taking the hassle out of travel, being comfortable, sociable and safe. A significant minority even agree that coaches are a luxury form of travel.

The survey also reveals what is termed as the Net Promoter Score which evaluates perceptions among coach passengers. This came out at a creditable 27 – the same as hotels and various High Street brands – but it could be higher, said Peter. Interestingly those aged 45-64 gave a higher score of 31. But while there are a lot of ‘Promoters’ there are also a high number of ‘Passives’ – especially a lot of people in the mature age bracket – who just aren’t enthusiastic enough about the concept to recommend coach travel, yet they themselves love travelling by coach.

Summing up, Peter said it was important for operators to look at what they do and identifying ways to do it better. “We’re all familiar with the often negative view that coach holidays are for older people. What’s clear from the figures is that far from being a negative, it’s actually a positive. But what’s also clear is that with the growth in the number of older people, the market opportunities are there for the taking. The key benefits of coach holidays identified in this survey: good value; sociable; comfortable; safe; and less hassle than air travel, are likely to prove even more attractive. However, this new so-called baby boomer generation have higher expectations. To capture this new business, the product needs to improve.”

Explore the best of the UK & Ireland by coach

Going by coach is the best way to enjoy and discover some of the great sights and attractions to be found across the UK – without the hassle of organising travel bookings, hotels and visits to attractions. There’s no driving, worrying about speed cameras or finding somewhere to park. And no filling up the car with fuel costing upwards of £60.

With more people expected to holiday at home in 2017, there is a big increase in the choice and number of short breaks and holidays by coach being run across England, Wales, Scotland and to Ireland in 2017. Whether you like to see our dramatic coastline, the beauty of the countryside or prefer the bright lights of a city tour, there is something to appeal to all. The great vantage point above the hedgerows and other traffic gives the best view of the passing landscape.

Coaches are also the perfect choice for day trips to attractions, summer garden shows and major events across the country, while visits to see a top show in London’s West End or in the regions, are more popular than ever. More than two million people travel to the capital by coach to see a show each year.

In a 2017 nationwide poll of more than 25,000 people by membership organisation, the Coach Tourism Association, coach travellers confirmed the appeal of going by coach with 92 per cent saying they will continue to book coach tours over the next five years. And among those who had never been on a coach tour, more than 40 per cent said they were keen to do so.

Value for money, hassle free travel, on board comfort, friendship and the safety of travelling by coach were all judged to be key reasons for going by coach. A significant minority said they would choose a coach tour because they offered a luxury form of travel.

After all, the days of the seaside charabanc are long gone. New coaches now cost upwards of £250,000 and feature reclining seats, air conditioning, double glazed windows and on board facilities. Unseen elements are quiet cabins and a smooth ride. Many operators now have coaches that cost much more and feature club class style leather seats with extra legroom, drop down DVD screens, toilet facilities and even kitchens. That’s why Premiership football clubs and international sports teams now travel to matches on their own special coaches.

Coaches are the cleanest form of transport and reduce congestion. A coach carrying 50 passengers takes the place of more than 20 cars, freeing up space in car parks. Their passengers help the local economy too – they spend as much as 30 per cent more £s per head than other visitors.

With the number of people aged 65 and over in the UK projected to increase from 10.3 million in 2010 to 12.7 million in 2018 – and 16.9 million by 2035 – demand for coach travel is expected to carry on growing, especially as the baby boomer generation – those born between 1946 and 1964 – own 80 per cent of the wealth of the UK. They are healthier than ever before and 75 per cent of them say their holidays are essential.

Note: The Coach Tourism Association, set up 27 years ago, exclusively promotes coach travel for around 140 UK coach companies via its consumer facing website

Issued on behalf of the Coach Tourism Association by
Paul Ovington
Tel: 020 8398 8786.
Mobile: 07889 874889

Contact Us

You can contact the Coach Tourism Association at its administration offices:

Coach Tourism Association Ltd
Unit 4 Marshbrook Business Park
Church Stretton
Shropshire SY6 6QE

Send us an email:
Telephone: 01694 781283

Journalists wanting to find out more about coach tourism, to go on a tour or join a press trip please contract us.