The collapse of Shearings has highlighted a "crazy" gap in government support for hundreds of vital British travel and tourism businesses, the Coach Tourism Association (CTA) has said.
The CTA believes around 300 coach touring businesses, supporting 40,000 jobs and generating £6 billion a year, could be at risk as they are not classified as part of the leisure industry.
This means they cannot seek certain elements of government financial support during the coronavirus crisis, such as those available to the rest of the hospitality sector.
CTA chairman John Wales told the Guardian coach operators should be reclassified. "We are aware many of our coach operator members are being denied support that is being made available to other tourism businesses in terms of rates relief, which is crazy; our members whole business is about tourism and leisure," said Wales.
Wales added coach operators would likely play a key role in facilitating any domestic tourism boom this summer, with restrictions on overseas travel likely to encourage holidaymakers to look closer to home.
Shearings’ parent Specialist Leisure Group collapsed on Friday (22 May), citing the effects of coronavirus on the 117-year-old brand. Around 2,400 roles are understood to be affected.
It comes after David Urquhart Travel earlier this month announced plans earlier this month to fold its coach tour operation.