18 October 2013 – Some 140 representatives of the tourism and travel industry, politicians, national competent authorities, European Commission officials, bus and coach manufacturers, researchers, and specialised journalists took part in the 8th European Bus and Coach Forum today, to discuss the potential of group tourism by coach to drive seniors’ and off-season tourism, and ensure that enhanced senior citizens travel contributes to the joint objective of achieving sustainable mobility for all, notably by doubling the use of buses and coaches by 2025.
IRU Vice President and President of the IRU Passenger Transport Council, Yves Mannaerts, said, “High bus and coach flexibility has enabled operators to develop customised programmes to meet the various requirements of their customers, including criteria such as age and physical condition. Yet, to further unleash the potential of our industry to better serve these customer profiles, specific requirements of the bus and coach sector at European, national and local levels, as recommended by the Smart Move High Level Group, must be duly integrated in transport policies. It is also crucial that cities and tourist destinations guarantee accessibility of sites of interests throughout the year, including out of the high tourist season.”
Industry-specific requirements notably include:
- the requirement for authorities and tourist resorts and hotels to work together to provide necessary infrastructure for coach tourism;
- a call to recognise coach tourism as a full part of the multi-modal collective transport chain;
- working out an EU framework for traffic restrictions and Low Emission Zones in European cities, and;
- increase the maximum authorised weight for two-axle coaches in international travel to 19.5 tonnes.
The Forum was organised by the IRU, in cooperation with the International Social Tourism Organisation (ISTO), the European Tour Operators’ Association (ETOA) and the Belgian Federation of Bus and Coach operators (FBAA), within the framework of the largest global exhibition of buses and coaches, Busworld Kortrijk.