While Congress deliberates its third stimulus package, it is time to understand the importance of the motorcoach, group travel and tourism industry to the U.S. economy. To reinvigorate the economy, you need to ensure this industry will continue moving Americans between cities and states for work, leisure and mass evacuations during natural disasters. Here are the facts, according to American Bus Association Foundation:
The Role of Motorcoaches: Connecting cities; connecting rural areas to urban centers, serving as the only means of intercity transportation in many parts of America; serving workers in every part of the country including commuters in urban environments and business campuses, mines, oilfield workers, etc.; serving the security and strategic needs of the country by moving troops and taking people out of harm’s way during hurricanes; connecting families and friends; bringing travelers to tourist destinations and generating more than $ 237 billion in transportation, travel and tourism revenue.
Companies: nearly 3,000, the majority are family owned, small businesses.
Employees: nearly 100,000. Workforce includes owners, drivers, dispatchers, maintenance and repair, safety, cleaning crew, finance, administrative personnel, etc.
Buses Sitting Idle: 36,000
Annual Passenger Trips: nearly 600 million, which is inline with domestic airlines’ trips.
Motorcoach Group Tourists Trips: 236 million
Who Takes Motorcoach Tours? All generations enjoy motorcoach travel because it is economical, eco-friendly, convenient and bags ride free.
Number of Motorcoach Tours: 6 million
Employees: 2 million
Hotel Room Nights: nearly 80 million
Overall Sales Impact: $101.68 billion
Total Economic Impact: $237 billion
Industry Ask to Congress: While Congress is considering a $50 Billion bailout for the airlines, they have completely overlooked the motorcoach industry, which provides the same services to the same Americans, serving rural communities, providing schedule services from city to city, taking people to work, taking students to schools and learning destinations, connecting them with friends and loved ones and most importantly helping to get them out of harm’s way. In many instances motorcoach travel is the only way to connect to other modes of transportation like trains and planes and they serve those who can least afford other modes of transportation.
We are not asking for a $50 billion bailout. We are asking for grants and loans that will save this industry from collapse. As an essential portion of the nation’s transportation network, if the motorcoach companies do not have a dedicated line of funding in the stimulus package, and are forced to apply for Small Business Administration grants with the tens of millions of other businesses across the country, many will close their doors permanently, which will deliver a devastating blow to an already shaky U.S. economy and leave out millions of Americans who do not have the ability or the funds to pay airline and Amtrak fees.