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Position Paper – European Coach Business – December 21st 2016

Variation in GTL and diesel combustion (Foto: Shell)

The large European Bus & Coach Manufacturers support the European Alliance for Coach Tourism (EACT) and their national coach organizations to utilize environmental fuels GTL/HVO for all coaches EURO III and onwards.

The European Coach Industry is a sizeable one with over 65,000 companies operating 270,000 coaches with a turnover in excess of €270 billion.

The European Alliance for Coach Tourism (EACT) represents the interests of coach tourism operators in Germany, France, Italy, Ireland, Hungary, Belgium, Sweden and the United Kingdom.

The coach tourism industry across Europe directly employs a substantial number of people in the tourism sector through, coach drivers, tour guides, and sales advisors to administrative and engineering employees. All of these jobs are solely dependent on the success of the coach tourism sector which carries millions of customers every year. The total number of persons employed in this sector is in excess of one million. The coach tourism sector is directly responsible for the creation and sustainability of up to 7 million jobs in related hospitality, hotels and tourism sectors. The coach tourism sector is therefore a vital contributor to the European social, health and employment of its citizens.

Currently across the EU there are a number of artificial barriers which contrive to limit the sustainability and expansion of tourism by coach. The main fields are:

  • Fuel
  • Access to Cities
  • VAT-rules
  • Working hours
  • Minimum wages
  • Waybill
  • Marketing

With regards to fuel – Coaches are an extremely environmental friendly mode of transport, although there are still concerns at the levels of CO2, PM and NOX emissions. The development of alternative synthetic types of fuel like GTL/HVO could play an important role for the European Coach Operators helping them reduce their CO2, PM and NOX emissions when compared to straight diesel usage. This may assist in improving access to cities for all coaches, as part of a cleaner air zone, as coaches would be more environmentally friendly compared to older Euro-classes with diesel only. The coach fleet will of course gradually be updated to newer EURO VI and alternative powered coaches, but this transition will take some time, due to manufacturers high cost of investment in developing the next generation of coaches.

Access to cities, tourist attractions and the provision of suitable coach parking arrangements has continued to become a greater problem for the coach tourism industry as European Cities implement their Clean Air strategies by 2020. Negotiations with city politicians and key stakeholders are extremely important in putting forward the green credentials for the coach and its overall contribution to the tourism economy.

The different VAT rules, which apply in different member states artificially restrict the development of the coach tourism market. EACT, along with the IRU and all other transport bodies, supports the introduction of 0% rate of VAT on tourism mileage throughout the EU.

Coach business is substantial for European Bus & Coach Manufacturers and it is in their interests to support any activity that will lead to an increase in the number of coaches being operated. It is now agreed between the European Bus Manufacturers to start a long-term collaboration with EACT to discuss, support and to be active in various matters that could improve and develop European Coach business. A first line of support is an acknowledgement that GTL/HVO fuels (according to EN15940) can be used in all buses and coaches from EURO III onwards (EURO III to EURO VI).

EACT and the European Bus Manufacturers will now start to schedule meetings to investigate, understand and explore how to support and develop the coach tourism sector so that it continues to make an economic contribution and provides employment throughout Europe.

For further information from EACT representatives - please contact:
Chairman EACT - Stephen Smith, UK - London +44 (0)20 7240 3131
Vice Chairman EACT - Richard Eberhardt, Germany, 0049 708 27 90 70
Member of Board - Toni Schonfelder, Sweden - +46 31 301 70 30
EACT General Secretary - Dieter Gauf, Germany -  +49221 912 7720

Brussels, December 21st 2016

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Annette Heinemann
Phone: +49 2244 90 33 33
Facsimile: +49 2244 87 74 22

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