Published on Friday, November 20, 2020

Advantage braces for Scottish agency failures

Advantage Travel Partnership is bracing for the collapse of most of its 48 Scottish agents before the end of the financial year.

The alarming prediction followed the announcement that 22 local authorities in Scotland are being placed in the highest level of restrictions for three weeks.  

It means all non-essential shops will have to close until December 11.

Advantage Leisure Director Kelly Cookes said travel bans associated with the tier 4 lockdown will further damage the already fragile state of the industry north of the border.

The result could see four out of five members going to the wall by May if the government continues to ignore pleas for financial help.

"Whilst we absolutely support measures to keep us all safe, the reality of the new lock-down means many of our travel agency members in Scotland will not last the year without a financial support package from the Government," she said.

"50% of jobs from our members have been lost since March and 80% will run out of cash by May.

"We urge closer collaboration between the administrations of the devolved nations and the UK Government to take into consideration the huge impact further restrictions will have on the travel industry across the country."

Barrhead Travel President Jacqueline Dobson described the lockdown as frustrating.

"A number of our stores are based in the affected areas so we have had to make plans to close these locations back down and move our teams to homeworking again," she said.

"We do understand that these decisions are being made in the interests of public health but it's frustrating when guidance on travel remain convoluted and confusing for many of our customers."

Dobson said the lockdown followed 'encouraging signs for future bookings' after positive vaccine news.

But she warned a vaccine was not the immedlate answer to the industry's woes.

"A vaccine is still a long way off at this moment in time and we believe more has to be done by both the UK Government and each administration to implement a rigorous testing regime at national airports in order to get international travel up and running as soon as possible," she said.

Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has said the tier 4 measures are close to a full lockdown and would not be used 'unless absolutely necessary'.

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