A few things you might not know about coach tourism

Key Points

  • There are just over 20,000 coaches in the United Kingdom
  • Coach operators buy more than 1,000 new coaches each year – an investment of more than £200 million
  • New coaches cost as much as £250,000, with many costing even more
  • The majority of new coaches come with air conditioning, double glazed windows, on board toilets and drop down entertainment monitors. Many have fewer seats to offer increased leg room and comfort, better than on an aircraft
  • Coach market: 5.8 million people took a coach tour in the UK in 2004 and 2.1 million took one in Europe and overseas. Another 1.6 million visitors to the UK took coach tours


Coaches are seven times safer per mile than a car. They each get a maintenance check every day and a full examination every four to six weeks.

Green Credentials

A gallon of fuel will take two passengers about 30 miles by car – the equivalent for a coach will take the same two people 200 miles.

Lower Costs

Coach passengers do not pay APD (Air Passenger Duty). Another reason to go by coach and save money.

Coach Value

  • £1.55 billion is spent by passengers domestically on tours by coach and £776 million overseas
  • Tourists on coach holidays spend an estimated 40 percent more money than any other tourist
  • More than 36 million day trips per annum are by coach
  • About 5 million people travel by coach on ferries and through the Channel Tunnel each year. Another 650,000 passengers go on a coach via ferry to Ireland
  • Overall, the market is forecast to be worth £2.8 billion by 2009
  • Coach tourism supports 80,000 jobs in the UK economy, 38,000 of them directly in carrying tourists
  • Coach tourism contributes almost £300 million to London’s economy, carrying 2.8 million visitors


In a 2005 Holiday Which? Survey, coach holidays got the best ratings for customer satisfaction, with 69 percent of readers questioned saying they would recommend one to a friend – outscoring holidays which are generally perceived to be more popular such as cruise and long-haul holidays, while going to the seaside/beach attracted a recommendation of only 46 percent.

Sources: Department of Transport, Mintel, Confederation of Passenger Transport, Transport for London

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