I heartily endorse Brian Hordon's comments (see also Travel Weekly letters, 18 May) that agents are missing out by not doing more to sell coach holidays. They are easy to sell, have good rates of commission and attract customers who are loyal and also prefer to book with an agent.
Short breaks and holidays by coach are big business. A recent Mintel report predicted the market would increase by 23 per cent at current prices to be worth an estimated £2.93 billion by 2011 with passenger numbers rising to 8.8 million, fuelled by the demand for more costly overseas holidays.
Coach operator members of the Coach Tourism Council (CTC) would love agents to help meet this demand and sell more coach holidays, By tradition most sell direct to their customers but they appreciate there is a huge untapped market that agents have access to.
All our coach operators recognise the need to adapt and move with the times and there has been multi-million pound investment in new coaches, door-to-door collections, new product and huge improvements in service levels with use of higher quality hotels.
And as well as selling tours operated by national coach companies, all travel agents will have a locally based bonded coach operator offering a wide range of UK and European holidays.
Agents can also sell the environmentally friendly credentials of coach holidays. They are not just safer to travel in than planes, trains and cars but pro rata use less fuel. While every gallon of fuel will take two car passengers about 30 miles, a gallon of coach fuel takes the same two people 200 miles.
So let's see more agents join us in selling coach tourism.
Christopher Wales, chief executive, Coach Tourism Council