The RDA-Workshop is also an occasion for cementing industry relations. A significant example of this was the foundation of the European Alliance for Coach Tourism (EACT) on 18th July 2012 in Cologne. Leading European federations and organisations have joined in an alliance to hinder fiscal, taxation and administrative barriers to coach tourism and to promote the image of coach holiday travel. The EACT goal is to develop and engage in joint initiatives and measures and to share expertise, know-how and experience. The EACT also invites active participation and co-operation with related organizations and industry federations.
RDA and IBV President Richard Eberhardt: “Coach travel fulfils important social and economic functions. It brings people of varying cultures and backgrounds together and enables all sections of society to partake in memorable travel experiences. Coach travel is a significant contributor to the comprehensive development of tourism destinations and to the opening-up of new tourism markets and regions. Coach companies and their contract supplier partners are primarily small- to medium-sized enterprises who independently create and secure millions of jobs in Europe. Unfortunately, based on the facts, coaches and coach tourism do not receive adequate recognition either from the realm of politics or from the public at large. This is something which we plan to tackle as an alliance”.
Richard Eberhardt: “The coach sector has achieved some political successes, e.g. a modified revision of the “12-day” rule for coach drivers’ hours. Engaged federations have achieved this working in concert. This, however, is not sufficient. We can achieve far more“. Numerous federations have considerable political contacts and have established sound organisational structures. They also have experts in many fields and can access specialist knowledge. The coach manufacturing sector also possesses strong networks and is not short of political influence and has specialist knowledge in the areas of technology, ecology and safety. The goal of the new EACT alliance is to successfully bundle and employ this joint competence for the European coach tourism sector as a whole.
The EACT will take up its work in an uncomplicated manner and structure. It will consist of a steering group and presidium and its administration will be based at the RDA head office in Cologne, Germany. Richard Eberhardt: “The EACT alliance is by no means a ‘closed shop’ but is very much open to new member federations and organisations”.
Founding members of the European Alliance for Coach Tourism are:
• B.A.A.V. Busworld, Luc Glorieux
• CONFARTIGIANATO Autobus Operators, Willy Della Valle, President
• CTC Coach Tourism Council (UK), Seán Taggart, Chairman
• CPT Confederation of Passenger Transport: Stephen Smith, Operations Director
• F.B.A.A. Jean Wyns, President
• FNTV ALSACE Fédération Nationale des Transports de Voyageurs d’Alsace, Paul Royer, Co-President
• RDA and IBV, Richard Eberhardt, President
• Swedish National Coach Operators Organisation, Toni Schönfelder, President
The EACT alliance foundation was preceded by two working meetings on 26th April 2012 in Graz, Austria, and on 26th June 2012 in Vicenza, Italy.