Joanne Dooey, president of The Scottish Passenger Agents’ Association (SPAA), the professional body for travel agents and the travel sector in Scotland says, of the First Minister’s Covid update in parliament today (5.1.22);
“Scottish travel professionals are wholly at a loss to understand why we seem to be the Cinderella sector of business support.
“The travel industry in Scotland seems, once again, to have been wholly ignored by the Scottish Government’s business support package.
“In today’s announcement, the First Minister announced millions of pounds of business support for everything from tourism to beauticians. Yet not a word about support for the travel sector.
“Travel agents have faced highly restricted trading – with many reporting trading at less than 10% of pre pandemic rates in our members’ survey – with minimal support.
“Travel agencies have been forced to remain open to handle refunds, rebookings and repatriations. Most have had little revenue since March 2020.We urgently need sector specific support.
“Outbound travel is worth £1.5 billion to the Scottish economy.
“What seems to be consistently overlooked is that without outbound travel there is no inbound tourism. What is the point of supporting Scottish tourism businesses with £3million of business support if the travel industry, which brings them all here, has been decimated through lack of support.
“Routes take decades to develop and secure for Scotland. If we are unable to retain these flights, then Scotland will also lose its valuable inbound visitors and the benefits they bring to the economy. And it could take decade for us to restore this.”
The SPAA, founded in 1921 is celebrating its centenary and is the world’s oldest organisation representing travel agents. It currently has 120 membercompanies, all their associated agencies across Scotland including many home workers, and 92 associate members across the travel and transport industry. www.spaa.org.
Working with our members and associate members, our principals, we’re here to ensure that the voice of the Scottish travel professional is heard.