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12 JULY 2021
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Joanne Dooey, President of The Scottish Passenger Agents’ Association (SPAA), is again up in arms over the way Nicola Sturgeon and the Holyrood Parliament is treating the travel trade north of the border.
Following the UK Government’s announcement over travel restrictions, and for England only, she issued a very strong statement.
“It would be churlish not to say that any moves towards the reopening of travel regulations are welcome, however, Scottish travel agents and travellers still need to know that Scotland will swiftly follow suit.
“We continue to raise the question of travel certification and how Scotland will deliver a scheme to allow the public to provide proof of vaccination status in order to fly to other countries. Currently English travellers can use the NHS app to prove their certification status and this integrates with the EU Digital Covid Certificate (EUDCC) which gives digital proof of a traveller’s vaccination, testing and recovered from Covid-19 status.
“The Scottish Government needs, as a matter of urgency, to tell us what stage, if any, the development of a Scottish app is at. Currently, Scots who wish to travel, have to apply for a paper certificate and we need to be operating at the same level as the other countries which have developed and are already using this technology.
“While Scotland faces more expensive testing than in other UK nations, we persist in lobbying for the cost of testing to be at least equitable across the UK.
“However we look at it, 2021 has followed 2020 as a second catastrophic year for our industry and the news last week that TUI has withdrawn from its Scottish base and also is cancelling a raft of holidays to some of the most popular holiday destinations up to 31 July only supports this view.
“Travel agents have been forced to remain open for 16 months now to help their clients rebook – sometimes for the sixth or seventh time – yet are still receiving no income.
“There is little, if any, customer confidence in travel at the moment and whole sector needs the Scottish Government to get behind a restart to international travel and boost the Scottish economy".
The Scottish trade has also been strongly supported by a very high level consortium from the travel industry led by Airlines UK. They have written to the First Minister, this paragraph summarising.
"As you know, connectivity is vital for Scotland, with current restrictions causing further ongoing damage to Scottish aviation and Scottish businesses, jeopardising tens of thousands of jobs up and down the country that depend on Scotland’s air links. We urge you to support travellers and Scotland’s aviation sector by bringing a quarantine exemption into effect for fully vaccinated UK residents from 19th July, and would be very happy to provide any further information or data on how the sector can support and enable implementation, if this would be of assistance."
All comments are filtered to exclude any excesses but the Editor does not have to agree with what is being said. 100 words maximum
Alex McStewart, Dundee
As a Scottish supporter of the United Kingdom what I donít understand is why the devolved health authorities get involved with the border. Each area of Scotland should be dealt as part of the UK. If a ban is needed so be it but not one policy for the whole of the country. The borders are the UKís.