Travel agencies in Scotland currently closed under level 4 restrictions are being urged to apply for grants from the Scottish government.
SPAA and Abta have both received clarification that agencies in level 4 areas, which include Glasgow and 10 other council areas, will be entitled to receive grants from the Strategic Framework Business Fund, as they have been forced to close as non-essential retail businesses.
Level 4 restrictions were imposed in parts of Scotland from 20 November and are due to stay in place until 11 December.
Travel agencies were not specifically mentioned in the original guidelines on support for businesses within level 4 areas in Scotland, with both SPAA and Abta lobbying for clarification on members’ eligibility for grants.
Scottish business minister Jamie Hepburn has confirmed in letters to both associations that agencies in level 4 areas should be able to apply for grants.
“I can confirm it is our intention that travel agents would come under the requirement for retail businesses to close at level 4, and that they should be able to access the relevant Strategic Framework funding, provided they meet the other eligibility criteria,” wrote Hepburn.
Abta said it was still seeking clarity on the availability of grants to travel agencies from the other devolved administrations in Wales and Northern Ireland.
Luke Petherbridge, Abta’s director of public affairs, said: “After so much uncertainty, it is good news that the Scottish government has confirmed travel agents in level 4 areas should receive support under the Strategic Framework Business Fund. We encourage members to let us know if they are experiencing difficulties.”
SPAA president Joanne Dooey added they were “relieved” the Scottish government had confirmed travel agencies in level 4 areas could apply for grants.
“We are now anxiously awaiting news on the recent proposals we have made to them for additional tailored support to enable our members to survive until March 2021,” she added.