THE case for getting Isle of Wight coach travel back up and running has been made by Isle of Wight MP Bob Seely.

The issues specific to the coach tour industry were first highlighted in an exclusive front page story in the County Press, following an interview with Isle of Wight Tours.

Read more: Coach industry gloom

In a letter to Transport Secretary, Grant Shapps, Mr Seely has asked for support for the UK coach travel and tourism industry.

Mr Seely highlighted the contribution that the coach travel industry makes to the UK – and Isle of Wight — visitor economy and asked for a tailored support package to assist them to recommence their operations.

Drawing on input from the coach industry, including from Shirley Winn, managing director of Isle of Wight Tours, Mr Seely asked specifically for separate guidance for the coach industry which he said was more akin to guidance produced for aircraft flights than buses – where all passengers embark and disembark at the same time making it easier to manage infection control measures.

He said: “New guidance specific to the coach industry will help ensure the future viability of this industry. Without this, many coach operators will struggle to continue and this will have knock on effects for our attractions, hotels and the wider hospitality and tourism industry that the coach industry serves.”

Mr Seely asked for clarification over the current restrictions on gatherings of more than 30 people, and whether this applied to coach travel, which could make journeys unviable.

He asked the Transport Secretary, and the Department for Transport, to work with industry representatives including the Coach Tourism Association, Confederation of Passenger Transport and individual operators, such as Isle of Wight Tours, to develop the guidance.

Read more: Shirley Winn talks with Rishi Sunak about Isle of Wight coaches

Ms Winn said: “As Mr Seely’s letter sets out, the coach industry is a key part of the Isle of Wight’s tourism offer, and it is essential that the Government recognises its distinct nature with some specific guidance to allow it to operate safely.

“I have appreciated the opportunity to provide our MP with detailed input, based on our experience in the industry, to support his representations.

"We are ready to get back on the road, but we need the Government to listen to MPs like ours here on the Isle of Wight.

"I will be urging coach companies across the UK to get their local MPs to back Mr Seely’s request, and hope we can see some guidance put in place as soon as possible to allow us to get coach tours underway to support a resurgence of domestic tourism over the coming months and beyond.”