‘Fear factor’ over international must stop, Scottish travel agents demand
The “fear factor” surrounding international travel must stop and Covid vaccines trusted, the Scottish Passenger Agents Association has urged.
President Joanne Dooey called for Scottish and UK government backing, with simple and affordable safety measures to get the industry back on its feet.
She told a dinner in Glasgow celebrating the SPAA’s centenary as the world’s oldest travel agents’ body, said: “We need to see a return to international flying.
"The fear factor driven by people in power now needs to stop.
“We need to trust in the vaccine and allow freedom of movement.
“We need to get Scotland back to business with safety protocols in place which are simple, and more importantly do not cost a fortune, to allow our industry to get back to some normality.
“We need to remove complexity and bring in simplicity with clear consistent communication and processes to support travel and not to hinder it or prevent it.”
The SPAA has said Scots should not be “demonised” for going on holiday.
It said the travel sector, which supported 26,000 jobs in Scotland and contributed nearly £1.5 billion to the economy annually, had been the worst-hit industry by the Covid pandemic, with passenger numbers falling by more than 90 per cent.
It said travel agents were not paid until customers made their trip, and been given “little tailored support”, with 70 per cent receiving virtually no income since the coronavirus crisis started.
In its latest changes from August 30, the Scottish Government added Canada, the Azores, Denmark, Finland, Liechtenstein, Lithuania and Switzerland to its green “traffic light” list, where travellers do not have to quarantine on arrival in Scotland.
However, Montenegro and Thailand were added to the red list, where travellers have to pay to stay in quarantine hotels for ten days after arrival.
Red list countries also include Brazil, Chile, Cuba, Egypt, Indonesia, Maldives, Mexico, Pakistan, Peru, Philippines, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Thailand and Turkey.
Amber list countries, from where travellers must self isolate for ten days and take a series of Covid tests if they are not fully vaccinated, include Belgium, China, Cypris, Czech Republic, Estonia, France, Greece, Greenland, Hungary, India, Italy, Japan, Luxembourg, Malaysia, Spain, Sweden and the United States.