The Scottish government’s move to follow England in ending quarantine for fully vaccinated travellers returning from amber list countries on 19 July has been welcomed by the travel trade.
Scotland’s first minister Nicola Sturgeon confirmed the move during an announcement on the country’s easing of Covid-19 restrictions on Tuesday (13 July).
Jacqueline Dobson, president of Barrhead Travel, said she was “really pleased” with the decision by the Scottish government.
“It is particularly encouraging to see this move in time for the last few weeks of the summer school holidays,” said Dobson.
“At this crucial stage in recovery, it is vital that the UK continues to adopt a four-nations approach, and we hope that future decisions about outbound travel are not as fragmented and disjointed as we have seen over this last year.
“Relieving travellers of the need to quarantine will undoubtedly help build back confidence. The two key areas of concern were quarantine on return and cost of testing. Breaking down the barriers of one of these issues is therefore a step in the right direction to restoring consumer confidence.”
Several agents have complained about the high cost of Covid tests in Scotland, which have generally been more expensive than in England.
Joanne Dooey, president of the Scottish Passenger Agents’ Association (SPAA), said the decision was “undoubtedly good news”.
“We expect that enquiries will increase now for summer holidays, but operators and airlines will require time to rearrange packages, so it’s unlikely that the travel agent tills will be ringing later today,” added Dooey.
“This is good news, and not just for the travel industry. Our recent survey showed that, for every single summer flight which was grounded, the Scottish economy lost £38,000 in retail spend on holiday items, not including taxi fares, duty free, and food and drinks at airports on departure day.
“The whole Scottish economy needs the boost that international outbound travel brings.”
Dooey also called for a “comprehensive plan” to help Scotland’s travel sector to fully recover, including the vital
inbound market to the country.
While Abta emphasised that Sturgeon needed to “urgently review” the current advice against non-essential international travel from Scotland.
“It sends mixed signals to people who need a much-deserved break or who long to see their friends and family abroad,” said an Abta spokesperson.
“While this advice remains, confidence to travel from Scotland will remain low, and further financial support must be given to travel agents and tour operators, who continue to face the toughest trading conditions of all sectors.”