With the notable exception of the past six months, motorcoaches do not necessarily stay within one state. Motorcoaches take groups all over within their region and all over the country, too. UMA Member Jason Briggs of VIP Tour and Charter Bus Company in Portland, ME has used that point to reach out to Senators from other states to ask for support.
“I have been writing to every U.S. Senator that has not signed on to the CERTS Act,” Jason posted on Facebook. With both of Maine’s U.S. Senators on board, he targeted Senators from other states, working through the alphabet. When Sen. Chris Murphy’s(D-CT) office told him he should contact his own Senators, Jason quickly wrote back explaining, “we took almost 5,000 people from Maine to Connecticut in 2019; some day trips, some overnight trips to casinos, the shore line, to theaters, meal stops while traveling through Connecticut to other locations like NY and DC; all of these people spending dollars in the great state of Connecticut, including for meals, lodging, sales tax.”
Crossing state lines
“So even though we are from Maine,” Jason said, “we do help support businesses in CT.” As part of his follow up, Jason reached out to his contacts at casinos in Connecticut that rely heavily on bus tours and asked them to advocate for the CERTS Act “since they’ve got the clout in Connecticut to get Senator Murphy to sign on more than we do.”
“We really need the destination people to focus on this,” Jason said. “Whatever communities the destinations are in, if their Senators are not co-sponsors, they need to make some calls, too.” He encourages operators to contact destinations they have established relationships with and get their support. “It’s not just about you,” he said, “it’s about the people that get the motorcoaches that bring visitors and dollars to your states.”
Motorcoaches bring more than tourists, they bring revenue
States promote tourism precisely to bring in revenue from other places, so explaining to Senators from other states what is in it for their state’s coffers can make a big impact. Perhaps, because Maine is known as “Vacationland” there is a better understanding of this concept there, but Jason Briggs believes it’s a powerful message that other operators can play up. “It’s not just about the six of us motorcoach operators in Maine, it’s about the tax dollars that are spent here,” he said.
Editor’s note: Sen. Chris Murphy has signed on as a co-sponsor to the CERTS Act as of September 23.