End of the road for the Blue Mountains tourist transport company
One of Australia’s oldest tourism businesses, the internationally renowned Blue Mountain Explorer bus fleet, is the latest commercial victim of COVID-19 with operations disrupted and its fleet of buses for sale.
One of the distinctive red double-decker hop-on hop-off sightseeing buses has already been sold, and five more are on the market.
Predicting that the fleet is not sustainable without international visitors, Jason Cronshaw, general manager of fleet owner Fantastic Aussie Tours (FAT), says the national tour and coach company cannot afford to maintain the floats without government assistance.
Warning that the indefinite closure of the Blue Mountains Explorer Bus followed several closures during the coronavirus closures and the 2019/20 bushfires before that, had made the fleet become untenable, Cronshaw said âalthough we are of course grateful for the recent government bailout of NSW package, this will not save us.
âWithout international tourists, it’s just not sustainable.
âWe use a 77-seat bus with one or two people. It costs us $ 3.50 per kilometer on a 26 km circuit and tickets cost $ 49 for a day pass.
FAT has operated the Blue Mountains Explorer Bus fleet around Katoomba and Leura since 1986 and has been providing tours and charters in Australia for two generations since 1974.
It was forced to close its Blue Mountains Explorer Bus sightseeing tour for 27 days during the period of December 2019 and January 2020 due to the bushfires and reported a 60% drop in passenger numbers as a result.
Over the weekend of March 14 and 15 of last year, numbers fell another 50% almost overnight because of the coronavirus.
Four days later (March 19, 2020), Explorer bus services were reduced from 15 per day to seven, with 2.5 drivers per day to one.
Recently, the double-decker fleet has only operated on weekends and holidays, and the 350-hour average weekly driver list has dropped to 78.
Meanwhile, parent company FAT suffered an 85% drop in charter work and early cancellations of schools and businesses and other group travel through October. Work had resumed recently but came to a screeching halt with the latest foreclosure order.
Images: Decals removed from one of the Blue Mountains Explorer bus fleets (top) and the company in pre-COVID times (below), Credit: David Hill, Deep Hill Media.
June 30, 2021 – United Nations report says impact of COVID-19 on tourism could deal a $ 4 trillion blow to the global economy
June 29, 2021 – New South Wales lockdown sees snowy Mountains school holiday visits drop by 70%
June 27, 2021 – Rising coronavirus cases see NSW government introduce two-week lockdown for Greater Sydney and surrounding areas
June 23, 2021 – GlobalData predicts Australian domestic tourism to hit record high by 2025
June 22, 2021 – Australia’s export tourism industry asks for clarification on reopening plans
June 11, 2021 – Tourism operators in New South Wales call on federal government for targeted support to survive coronavirus crisis
June 10, 2021 – National outdoor education conference takes place in 2021 in the Blue Mountains
June 9, 2021 – The Tourism and Transport Forum warns against the complacency of states vis-Ã -vis tourism spending
June 9, 2021 – TTA Chairman highlights need for Australia to review other countries’ approach to post-COVID tourism
May 12, 2021 – Uncertainty for Australian tourism following Treasurer Frydenberg’s federal budget
May 10, 2021 – Clarity on government support requested by exporting tourism companies
March 8, 2021 – ATEC highlights the impact of the decline in inbound tourism on regional communities
December 23, 2020 – The Blue Mountains region reflects on the 20th anniversary of the granting of World Heritage status by the United Nations
August 6, 2020 – Bushfires and coronavirus impact Australian tourism with no looming respite
May 12, 2020 – Flora and fauna affected by bushfires to receive $ 150 million in funding
February 25, 2020 – New research highlights impact of coronavirus and bushfires on Australian businesses
February 8, 2020 – NSW Tourism to Receive $ 10 Million Salvage Program
January 19, 2020 – Federal government announces $ 76 million bushfire recovery program
January 9, 2020 – Bushfires have a huge impact on Australia’s tourism industry
December 20, 2019 – Bushfires see luxury resort NSW Blue Mountains suspend arrivals
June 10, 2019 – Project to raise the height of the Warragamba Dam in New South Wales sparks concerns and protests over the Blue Mountains Wilderness Area
June 4, 2019 – Sculpture at Scenic World Boosts Economy for Visitors to Blue Mountains
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