Scottish Passenger Agents’ Association calls for 14 day quarantine to be reconsidered

Joanne Dooey, president of the SPAA

THE travel agents’ sector in Scotland is making a plea to the government to reconsider the imposition of a 14-day quarantine period for travellers returning to the UK.

The Scottish Passenger Agents’ Association (SPAA), which represents 120 members and 92 associate members, considers that the outbound travel industry will be devastated if any holidaymaker who goes abroad is forced to observe quarantine for 14 days on their return from 8 June. 

As it stands, returning travellers will be unable to go to work or school or to visit public places or use public transport. They should also have no visitors during the 14 days.

The SPAA is, instead, asking that the Foreign and Commonwealth Office remove the indefinite blanket ban on foreign travel and that they start allowing travel in Europe, to carefully monitored destinations,; giving advice to travellers to be vigilant. This travel would be to countries with low infection rates.

The SPAA is also calling for the introduction of ‘air bridges’ so that travellers coming into the UK from countries with low coronavirus levels would be exempt from the quarantine, starting with countries such as Spain and Portugal.

Joanne Dooey, president of the SPAA says:  “The outbound travel industry in its entirety is facing virtually unsurmountable hurdles to getting back up and running. The sector is already facing the loss of virtually the whole of the Scottish schools’ main holiday season already

“There is an appetite for Scots to travel as soon as they are able to, and our recent survey shows that 60% of our members have made new bookings during the lock down period for their clients for the Summer 2020 season. If travellers have to take a whole month off work in order to take the two-week holiday they have booked and paid for, it’s highly unlikely that they will be able to take these holidays.

“Our members are wholly supportive of public health measures , but we feel there are low risk countries where the ‘air bridge’ concept could work and would be of more benefit to the UK travel industry and the UK economy than a blanket quarantine edict.

“If international travellers are unwilling to travel if they are to be quarantined for 14 days on their return to the UK the knock-on effect to the travel industry will be enormous as this will also include any potential inbound travel.

“Airlines won’t restart flight routes and the impact on the hundreds of thousands of jobs which the aviation and travel industry support will be devastating.

“According to ABTA the value to the UK economy from outbound travel is £37.1 billion or 1.8% of GDP which has risen 36% from the value of the sector in 2014. It is estimated that tourism contributes £106 billion to the British economy and supports 2.6 million jobs.

“It’s clear to us from conversations with our clients that most are willing to travel if health checks such as temperature controls are in place at airports and the Foreign Office amends their advice not to travel anywhere. However, many will choose not to travel in the face of an enforced quarantine on their return.”

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