Joanne Dooey, president of the SPAA

THE Scottish Passenger Agents’ Association (SPAA) has welcomed the decision from the UK and Scottish governments to require international passenger arrivals at airports and ports to present a negative COVID-19 rest result on arrival into the UK.

However, the organisation which is the voice of the travel industry in Scotland, believes that this is only the first step to stimulating travel, and that the quarantine period which is still required on arrival needs to be addressed.

President of the SPAA Joanne Dooey says, “Our members have been lobbying for a robust, effective testing regime and this will undoubtedly be an excellent first step towards this and will hopefully help to prevent the transmission of any new variants of the virus within the UK.  However, this new test requirement does not remove the mandatory 10-day self-isolation period for all international travellers arriving here from countries without a travel corridor.

“What world travel needs is agreed international standards and protocols. There needs to be a list of internationally acceptable tests which can be adopted in UK as well . This new requirement is due to be brought in next week [w.c. 11 January], but at the moment there’s no indication from the Transport Secretary Grant Shapps of which tests are valid and acceptable.

“Importantly, over and above this short-term measure, the travel industry needs a comprehensive, internationally-agreed, strategic plan for how we can return to travelling both in the period before the vaccination programme is complete and in the period beyond this.

“We need to see a blueprint for how we return to travelling for business and leisure reasons because currently the sector has been devastated and is in need of significant support.  The Scottish economy needs its travel industry in order to drive economic recovery.”