Scotland’s travel sector is facing "imminent decimation" unless a solution to the UK’s two-week quarantine on arrival policy can be found, the Scottish Passenger Agents’ Association (SPAA) has said.
The SPAA on Thursday (20 August) made an urgent call for all overseas arrivals to be subject to mandatory Covid testing, which the association says could cut the current 14-day quarantine requirement to a "more manageable" eight days.
"We’re calling for testing at airports because of the importance of travel to the Scottish economy," said SPAA president Joanne Dooey. "Outbound travellers are worth £1.7 billion to Scotland, and outbound travel sustains more than 26,000 jobs for our country.
"We understand that there is a cost associated with testing. However, the cost to the UK and Scottish governments of the failure of the travel sector in Scotland with the associated job losses would dwarf the investment in airport testing."
Heathrow on Wednesday (19 August) said it was ready to set up a coronavirus testing facility, and called on government to help it set up an inbound testing regime.
Dooey said in Scotland, it was "paradoxical" that the majority of the country’s drive-through Covid testing centres were based at airports, yet there was no provision for passenger testing.
"Other countries, such as Germany, have managed to introduce well-managed testing programmes at airports, and are reporting minimal wait times with, for example, no one in Hamburg waiting more than 30 minutes to be tested," said Dooey.
"Even Jersey, which is part of the British Isles, has a testing operation for all arrivals at the airport. We can’t understand why testing does not appear to be being considered in Scotland and seems to be a low priority.
"A testing regime could potentially reduce the requirement for a 14-day quarantine to a more manageable to eight days. Without that, the travel sector in Scotland faces imminent decimation."