More than half of Scottish travel agents made new bookings for clients in April, while 90% rebooked clients.

A survey by the Scottish Passenger Agents’ Association (SPAA) found 60% of its agent members made bookings for new holidays for clients last month.

More than half (55%) of SPAA agents making new bookings made a beach holiday booking, 41% booked a flight-only trip for clients, 28% said they’d booked a cruise and 17% a city break.

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European destinations were booked by 83% of SPAA agents making a new booking while 40% made new bookings to the Caribbean; 37% to North America and 20% to the Far East and Australia and New Zealand respectively.

Summer 2021 was the most popular time to travel, with 59% of agents having made a new booking for the period, while 52% had booked winter 2020-21 and 30% for this summer.

Rebookings followed a similar pattern, with 35% of SPAA members rebooking clients on holidays in summer 2020; 63% for summer 2021, 35% for winter 2020-21 and 40% for spring 2021. One in ten (10%) had made a rebooking for beyond summer 2021 last month.

In terms of rebookings, 73% of SPAA agents rearranged beach holidays for customers, 44% made replacement cruise bookings; 33% city breaks and 35% flight-only bookings.

Joanne Dooey, president of the SPAA and owner of three-branch agency Love To Travel, said: “The customers who our member agents are dealing with have remained optimistic about travel. We’re finding that, after a period of enforced lockdown, travellers want something to look forward to and are looking to their ‘bucket list’ of destinations for the holiday of a lifetime as a ‘reward’.

“We are also seeing customers paying balances for their holidays in July and August 2020. People very much still wish to travel, if they can, this year.”

Dooey predicted travel will look different to how it did before the pandemic when it does return.

“Whatever measures are put in place in airports, onboard flights and cruise liners and at hotels, travel will take longer,” she said. “Whichever measures are adopted, time to travel through airports will be considerably increased which will impact on travellers.

“Whichever measures are put in place they will need to be designed to give passengers confidence to fly and at the same time to keep the cost of flying affordable. Whatever this looks like in practice, Scottish travel agents will be there with their clients every step of the way to support and assist them to navigate any new procedures.”

The SPAA has 120 members and 92 associate members.