The Scottish Passenger Agents’ Association (SPAA) has launched an 11-point “manifesto for travel” in a bid to safeguard the sector ahead of Scottish Parliament elections next month.
The trade body said it believed ministers in Holyrood had “very little understanding” of how travel businesses work and set out a list of “key pillars” to cross-party MSPs to protect livelihoods and secure the industry’s future.
The full manifesto can be read on the SPAA’s website, and some of its pillars include:
- An absolute commitment to engage on a four nations approach to travel and urgent moves to explore acceptable forms of testing, other than just PCR, and the prioritisation of a means to lower the cost of testing
- Acknowledgement and acceptance of the contribution travel makes to the Scottish economy
- Recognition that a lack of inbound tourism will have a serious impact on the Scottish economy, and the importance of travel for Scottish businesses to enable their recovery
- The human rights of Scots to visit family overseas and the mental health issues raised by the denial of this right
- The suspension of APD and taxes directly or indirectly levied in the travel industry to allow for recovery
- The urgent need for long-term support for travel agencies to rebuild and continue to play a role in the high streets of Scottish communities including extension of the Travel Agency fund
SPAA president Joanne Dooey said it would be "beneficial and make more sense" if outbound travel was added to the government’s travel and tourism portfolio – covering not only outbound and inbound travel but aviation and airports too.
“Scottish travel cannot recover without a joined-up and cohesive approach within its own eco-system, and the newly elected Scottish government must open its ears to listen to businesses of all shapes and sizes across the industry. Travel is far more than just aviation and airports,” she said.
“We need a Scottish government that will liaise with the travel sector and travel agencies to ensure there is a robust framework in place for information sharing. Travel businesses must have sufficient representation in every relevant working recovery group.
“We need a Scottish government that delivers on the human right to family life for those who have not been able to travel to see family for over a year.”