Cruises killing coaches, says Parry

MD of West Midlands based Parrys International, Dave Parry, has warned the future of continental coach holidays is being put at risk by the huge numbers of regular coach passengers now taking cruises from the UK. He said that since the introduction of cruise ships based in Southampton for the summer season there has been a ‘distinct decline’ in continental coach passenger numbers.

Dave said, ‘Cruises offer some great deals with unlimited food, many with all-inclusive drink packages and weekly departures sailing to Europe and the Canary Islands. Their prices are so competitive because of the thousands of places available every week, and the fact that cruise staff are often paid a pittance and have to work for up to six months at a time – without a day off! On the other hand, coaches are heavily regulated. We operate with our hands tied behind our backs as our crew can normally only work six days before a legal one or two day break and of course we have to pay substantial wages.’

Dave commented that the regulations and European laws, taxes, tolls and tourism charges are also ‘becoming nearly impossible’. He said his company has lost almost half of its regular continental clients to cruising and cheap flights. He believes there is a danger that many coach companies will withdraw from continental holidays altogether. Parrys has already planned to slash the number of continental tours next year and increase holidays in the UK.

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