“Portugal’s COVID status is that the country is in a ‘state of calamity’ – which is one step below their ‘state of emergency’ level" says SPAA president Joanne Dooey.
“This phrase also describes the position for travel agents this week. With around 60 hours to go until we expected to be able to be sending travellers to Portugal, we are wholly unclear whether they will be able to enter Portugal. If the restrictions remain in place, travel agents across the country will be working with their clients to move their booking for them – for some people this may be up to the sixth or seventh time their booking has been moved since March 2020.
“The first flights from Scotland to Portugal are due to depart on Monday 24 from Edinburgh and Glasgow to Faro with a Lisbon flight from Edinburgh on 3 June. If Portugal does not lift the restrictions for UK travellers, it will mean that there are no green light countries to which Scots can fly direct.
“We’d also like to reiterate than the only guarantee of being protected if the Portuguese restrictions – and indeed any restrictions - remain in place is if you have bought a bonded travel package. If travellers have bought and paid for a flight and accommodation separately, then they will not necessarily be entitled to a refund. The airlines may still choose to operate, even if the passengers would be denied entry and in this case, passengers may not be entitled to a refund. It’s the same story with paying your hotel directly.
“It’s not illegal to travel to an amber light county at the moment as long as you abide by the isolation rules on your return and take into account the cost of the PCR tests required. We urge anyone considering travelling overseas to book with a travel agent who will guide your through the options and ensure that you are well protected against future short or long term changes.
The SPAA, founded in 1921 is celebrating its centenary and is the world’s oldest organisation representing travel agents. It currently has 120 member companies, all their associated agencies across Scotland including many home workers, and 92 associate members across the travel and transport industry. www.spaa.org.