Published on Thursday, May 28, 2020

SPAA: 'Quarantine will devastate entire travel sector'

Agents in Scotland are urging the Government to scrap the 14-day quarantine plans for UK arrivals, saying it would be devastating for the whole travel industry.

The Scottish Passenger Agents' Association is asking the Foreign and Commonwealth Office to remove the indefinite blanket ban on foreign travel start allowing travel in Europe, opening up travel to carefully-monitored destinations.

It is also calling for the introduction of 'air bridges', starting with Spain and Portugal and other countries with low coronavirus levels who would be exempt from the quarantine.

Joanne Dooey, president of the SPAA said: "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.

"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.

"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."

It comes after a group of 70 travel industry bosses wrote to the Home Secretary Priti Patel asking her to drop the quarantine plans. 

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