Industry makes its appeal at Stormont
Northern Ireland’s bus and coach industry has called on the Northern Ireland Executive to support them financially as a priority. Over 30 coach providers from across Northern Ireland have attended Stormont from Titanic Quarter to take their appeal to the heart of the Executive.
Without immediate financial support, the industry representative body, Bus and Coach NI has said the industry will be decimated with thousands of jobs at risk. It says the situation because of COVID-19 is worsening by the day.
Chief Executive of Bus and Coach NI, Karen Magill, said: “Time is running out to save our industry which is on its knees right now. Without immediate and ongoing financial support, thousands of jobs could be lost and our once thriving coach industry could disappear overnight.
“Coronavirus has had a devastating impact on the whole tourism ecosystem, and it is difficult to see any light at the end of the tunnel for our members. As each day passes, more and more businesses are becoming unviable which unfortunately means job losses. Despite benefiting from the furlough scheme, significant overheads remain which is making it impossible to continue trading.
“The loss of coach providers would have a significant knock on effect – without these coaches how will visitors and customers who rely on us to travel to hotels, restaurants and tourist attractions make their way? These reduced numbers would ultimately have a negative impact on the wider tourism and hospitality industry and economy which needs visitors to survive and thrive again post COVID-19.
“It is not just our tourism sector which relies on the coach industry. We are a key part of communities right across Northern Ireland whether that is through transporting school children, sports teams, or those in rural communities. This factor must be recognised and acknowledged with financial support now.”