Travel survey finds 96% of Scots ‘feel safe’ when traveling abroad during coronavirus pandemic
A survey found that 96% of Scots who traveled abroad between March and June this year felt ‘very or somewhat secure’ despite the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
The poll, carried out by the Scottish Passenger Agents’ Association, also found that more than half of those polled would go abroad within the next 12 months if allowed.
More than two-thirds are said to feel “devastated, disappointed, confused or upset” by the current travel restrictions which will be protested outside the Scottish Parliament on Wednesday.
SPAA is calling on the Scottish government to trust its vaccination and testing program so the struggling industry can restart.
Joanne Dooey, chair of the group that represents travel agents, said: âWe hope the Prime Minister will come and meet with us to explain why, despite a global vaccination program and easily accessible, albeit expensive, tests, we are no longer far behind in opening trips than 12 months ago, when we didn’t have a rapid test or vaccination.
âOur survey of ordinary Scots shows that almost two-thirds of Scots feel devastated, disappointed, confused or upset by current travel restrictions and more than half (57%) would travel abroad in the next 12 months if they could – with 17% of all respondents saying they would be ready to travel within the next 3 months or sooner.
âWe want the Scottish government to show us their data, trust the vaccine and make testing more affordable. “
She added: âTwelve months ago, we never envisioned having such easy-to-use, fast and robust tests.
âSo why don’t we use it cost-effectively to boost travel and all the economic benefits that travel abroad brings?
âThe travel industry will be in force to keep the pressure on the Scottish government to support travel agents during this disastrous ordeal for our entire industry.
âWe challenged the Prime Minister to come and meet with us so that we can explain why we think our companies and the great people we employ seem to be sacrificed.
âToday’s group will include travel agents who have had to stay open since March 2020 to handle refunds, cancellations and new bookings, so we haven’t been able to take advantage of the time off program that others have. managed.
âAs we do not receive any income before a traveler leaves – even if they initially paid us for their trip – we operate on negative income from refunds.
âWe used up our savings, dipped into our pensions, re-mortgaged our homes, took out business loans and took a second job.
âThe Scottish government keeps telling us that we have received support in the form of rate relief, but it is not paying wages, rent, bills and loan repayments.
âThe Sector Support Fund did not support all agents and was entrusted to us to support us until March 2021. Fresh air does not support us, nor Scotland’s future connectivity.â
Jacqueline Dobson, President of Barrhead Travel, which has 50 stores, added: âMillions of people who work in the travel industry have lost their jobs, millions more fear for the future and suffer every day as governments continue to restrict travel without constructive engagement or support to the industry.
âAt the same time, by constantly entering and exiting policies, they have created enormous confusion and inflicted even more economic suffering on the travel industry and our customers without really caring about the consequences.
âThis is not an unnecessary warning – the UK travel industry is at risk.
âFinancial distress, uncertainty, cancellations and job losses across the industry are wreaking havoc beyond mere professional capacity.
âI have daily conversations with colleagues, peers and business owners whose mental health has deteriorated rapidly due to the predicament our industry finds itself in.
âI have listened to stories of depression, marriage breakdown, financial ruin and people who really feel like they can’t go on because of the stress and worries they face day in and day out.
“Colleagues in our industry are suffering tremendously because of the uncertainty they face.”
The SPAA protest, which is part of Travel Across the UK Day of Action, takes place outside the Scottish Parliament building on Wednesday 23 June from 12:30 to 1:30 p.m.
All participants were asked to take a lateral flow test before joining the event and to follow all Scottish Government guidelines on distance etc. during the demonstration.
Don’t miss the latest news from across Scotland and beyond – Sign up for our daily newsletter here .