RESPONSIBLE coach travel is Covid-secure and many people depend on its income, the boss of Visit Isle of Wight has said.

There has been recent criticism on social media channels about coach companies bringing tourists to the Isle of Wight during the coronavirus crisis.

There has been concern about whether the tourists are from high or very high tier areas and whether they should be travelling out of their area, to a medium tier area like the Island.

Many coach companies have the Visit Britain Covid-secure marque, Good to Go, and are temperature-checking passengers before travel, with reduced capacity to ensure social distancing.

Will Myles, managing director at Visit Isle of Wight, said: "Coach travel, carried out responsibly within the current climate, is deemed to be safe.

"Tourism is one of the main economic drivers for the Isle of Wight and many people depend on the income from it, from staff at the hotels, to the shops and cafes, the suppliers and of course the staff of the coach company itself.

"Businesses in all areas of hospitality pride themselves on acting responsibly at this time, and rightly so.

"The safety of everyone is our concern and I am reassured by the measures that Isle of Wight businesses have put in place.

"Public health is the number one priority here and there must be a balance between and the health and well-being of the population and the economy, managed by the processes put in place by regulatory services to ensure the safety of all.

"The sad demise of Isle of Wight Tours, a nationally award-winning company and highly respected within the industry, demonstrates how difficult the situation is at this time, and I know how hard Shirley Winn and her team fought to keep the business going.

"The industry will be facing some tough challenges ahead."

Some of the larger coach companies serving the Island state on their websites:

  • Daish's: Coaches only carrying a maximum of 37 passengers on a 53-seat coach. Passengers temperature-checked using a non-contact thermometer prior to boarding. Those with a high temperature will be denied travel. Passengers required to wear a face covering for the duration of the time onboard the coach unless there is a medical exemption.
  • National Holidays: Not operating coach tours to or from Tier 3 Zones. Complying with the Good to Go marque.
  • Alfa Travel: Has achieved the Visit Britain Good to Go accreditation and the Leisureplex Hotels have achieved the AA Covid confident accreditation. For full list of its Covid rules click here
  • Robinsons: Will work closely with all transport providers and property managers to follow government guidelines and all safety measures will be in place and be adhered to in the strictest manner at all times. Temperature checks before boarding.

The government advice for travelling out of very 'high risk' areas is: "try to avoid it, other than for things like work, education or youth services, to meet caring responsibilities or if you are travelling through as part of a longer journey.

"You should avoid staying overnight in another part of the UK if you are resident in a very high alert level area, or avoid staying overnight in a very high alert level area if you are resident elsewhere."

For 'high' tier areas, the advice is: "You can continue to travel to venues or amenities that are open, for work or to access education, but should look to reduce the number of journeys you make where possible."

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