Travel industry lashes out at Scottish government for lack of financial support

The prime minister said the councils are now working “to get money into bank accounts as quickly as possible”.

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Speaking at a special Holyrood session to discuss the latest Covid situation, Ms Sturgeon said: ‘Last week I confirmed the allocation of over £ 200million out of the 375million British pounds of business support we make available.

Photo: Ian Georgeson

“Today I can confirm the allocation of an additional 55 million pounds.

“Up to £ 28million will be allocated to private hire and taxi drivers and operators. £ 19million will support services such as beauticians and hairdressers.

“£ 5million will be allocated to sport and a further £ 3million to tourism.”

Joanne Dooey, President of the Scottish Passenger Agents’ Association (SPAA), the professional body for travel agents and the travel industry, said:.

“The travel industry in Scotland appears, once again, to have been completely ignored by the Scottish Government’s business support program.

“In today’s announcement, the Prime Minister announced millions of pounds in business support for everything from tourism to beauticians. Yet not a word on support for the travel industry.

“Travel agents have faced very limited trade – with many stating that they negotiate at less than 10 percent of pre-pandemic rates in our members’ survey – with minimal support.

“Travel agencies have been forced to stay open to handle refunds, new bookings and repatriations. Most have had little income since March 2020. We urgently need sector support.

“Foreign travel represents £ 1.5 billion to the Scottish economy.

“What seems to be systematically overlooked is that without travel abroad, there is no inbound tourism.

“What is the point of supporting Scottish tourism businesses with £ 3million in business support if the travel industry, which brings them all here, has been wiped out for lack of support.

“Roads take decades to develop and secure for Scotland.

“If we are not able to keep these flights, Scotland will lose its valuable inbound visitors as well. [and] the benefits they bring to the economy. And it could take us decades to restore that.

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