Joanne Dooey, president of the SPAA says, “Grant Shapps’ announcement today is positive first step for travellers and travel agents alike and is to be welcomed. However, we now await Scotland’s position on this before we can be confident of the restart of international travel for the Scottish travel sector.
“The final meeting of the Scottish government Aviation Working Group was a constructive one, with positive news that the chief medical officers in Scotland were in agreement that that all four nations should move forward together. We now fervently hope that Scotland’s first minister will follow suit next week, giving the green light to travel, for all reasons, to the countries unveiled by Grant Shapps, and that the Scottish restart will be concurrent with that across the rest of the UK. The SPAA has always, and continues to, lobby for a four nations approach to international travel as we believe this is essential for the whole sector.
“Our position remains that the cost of testing – particularly the requirement for a PCR test for each traveller on return to the UK – is too high and that affordable testing in the form of antigen and lateral flow is needed. However, travel agents, who have had nothing to sell and no one to sell to for over a year now, will be in a position to advise and guide their clients to where and how they can travel.
“We anticipate that those travelling to visit family, for business purposes or for a long-awaited holiday will welcome today’s news and will have confidence to book trips. However, it’s important that travellers understand that the green light countries may have their own specific requirements for travellers in addition to the UK’s testing requirements. We look forward to the forthcoming announcement in three weeks’ time of which new countries will be added to the green list. We recommend that travellers use an SPAA travel agent for all bookings to give then the reassurance of professional advice and support. From booking to returning to the UK.”
“We’re very keen to hear how the vaccination pass will work in practice in Scotland. With less than a fortnight to go until the ‘take off’ outlined by Grant Shapps today, travel agents and travellers do need to know how this will be implemented and what this will mean for anyone in their group who has not been vaccinated, for example due to age or underlying health conditions.”