Lucinda Cameron reports from Scotland for PA Media that the travel sector is calling for answers from the Scottish government over why it feels it has been “sacrificed” amid the coronavirus pandemic.
More than 250 members of the Scottish Passenger Agents’ Association (SPAA) and their associates, including airlines, tour operators and pilots, will protest outside the Scottish parliament today as part of a UK-wide Travel Day of Action.
They will demand sectoral support for travel, clarity over the data being used to ground travel, a plan for a safe return to international travel and a low-cost, easy-to-access testing regime.
It comes as a survey for the SPAA found that more than nine in 10 (96%) Scots who travelled overseas between March 2020 and today felt very or fairly safe. Only 4% of overseas travellers felt “not very safe”, with no travellers reporting that they “did not feel safe at all”.
I should note here this is somewhat cherry-picking the data by the SPAA to try and push that as a headline stat. Saying that most of the people who were willing to take the risk of making an international journey were comfortable in that risk isn’t the most earth-shattering insight.
The OnePoll survey of 876 adults in Scotland was carried out this week. It found that since March 2020 only 10% of those surveyed have been overseas, while 35% have cancelled at least one holiday, 28% have postponed and 17% have rebooked.
Joanne Dooey, the SPAA president, said: “We’re hoping that the first minister comes to meet us to explain why, despite a world-beating vaccination programme and easily accessible albeit expensive testing, we’re further behind at opening up travel than we were 12 months ago when we had no rapid testing and no vaccination.
“Our survey of ordinary Scots shows that almost two-thirds of Scots feel devastated, disappointed, confused or upset at the current travel restrictions and more than half (57%) would travel overseas within the next 12 months if they were able – with 17% of all surveyed saying they would be willing to travel in the next three months or sooner.
“We want the Scottish government to show us their data, to trust the vaccine and to make testing more affordable.”