As an association, we back all moves to keep individuals – and the wider country – safe.
However, we’re hugely concerned about the lack of support for the travel sector throughout this pandemic.
Travellers who are abroad in one of the newly-removed ’safe list’ countries, or who have a forthcoming booking, are relying on their travel agents to aid their return home or to process the cancellation of their holiday.
France is not a major package holiday destination for Scotland generally, but as city break destinations, Paris and Amsterdam will cause immediate issues for travellers, [while] Malta is a very popular destination for Scottish package holidays.
Customer confidence in any form of travel is negligible at the moment. We’ve effectively seen an entire year of travel wiped out.
Few, if any, are willing to travel with such uncertainty about which countries are on the ’safe list’ at any given hour.
Without some form of urgent support for the travel sector, the whole industry is at threat.
We need a credible system of regulated testing for those arriving in the country to help rebuild customer confidence.
A robust testing process will reduce the length of time required for quarantine for those arriving at all UK airports.
Outbound travel contributes £37.1 billion in gross value added (GVA), which amounts to around 1.8% of UK gross domestic product (GDP); it directly sustains 221,000 jobs according to Abta.
These quarantine decisions are having a significant impact on the economy.
Because of the unique business model on which travel is based, where the initial point of the contact for the customer is the last link in the chain to be paid, we’re urging the Scottish government to consider sector-specific support urgently."
Joanne Dooey is president of the Scottish Passenger Agents’ Association (SPAA), and owner and director of agency Love To Travel.