Concern over the lack of clarity over potential changes for passengers following Brexit were raised with Scottish MPs last night by the Scottish Passenger Agents’ Association.
The SPAA told MSPs that outbound tourism supports around 26,000 jobs in Scotland and that the industry is facing huge levels of uncertainty over how it will operate in a post-Brexit landscape.
Brexit and its impact for the outbound travel sector was the main topic at the parliamentary round table event.
Bob Schumacher, managing director of sales for the UK and Ireland for United Airlines, was the keynote speaker, sharing his views on what Brexit may mean for the aviation sector.
Topics under discussion included possible changes to consumer protection post-Brexit, Air Passenger Duty and Air Departure Tax, and how leaving the EU could impact on Scotland’s incoming business travel and leisure tourism sector.
SPAA president Ken McLeod wants to ensure that any legislative changes will have a minimal impact on both the trade and the millions of Scottish passengers who travel to the EU each year.
He said: “With under a year to go until the UK leaves the EU, there is still no clear strategy or indication of what may or may not change in terms of how we travel.
“Abta research shows that outbound tourism sustains more than 26,400 jobs in Scotland, with a further 169,000 supported indirectly. Outbound tourism is worth £1,446 million every year to the Scottish economy.
“It’s estimated that around 75% of outbound travel by UK residents last year was within the EU – a figure up by around 10% on 2015 – representing more than 53m journeys. The EU is the single largest destination market for the UK in aviation terms.
“We are very grateful for the opportunity to discuss this with MSPs, and hope that going forward we can work together to ensure travel to and from Scotland can continue to make a substantial contribution to the Scottish economy.”
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