The SPAA says it will continue to lobby for homeworkers, agency directors and others who may have ‘fallen through the cracks’ after the opening of the Scottish government’s travel support fund.

The government’s Support For Travel Agents Fund allows agencies to apply for grants of up to £25,000 per premises, which will be issued by local councils.

Joanne Dooey, SPAA president, said: “We are pleased that the opening of the support fund for travel agents today means that our leisure and business agents with physical premises who have had sizeable ongoing running costs will now be contacted by their local council regarding grant funding.

“However, for the industry as a whole, this is just a first step.  The travel sector has a unique structure which includes an army of homeworkers. Not all of these homeworkers have been able to access self-employment grants and some remain in serious financial difficulty.”

She added: “We are continuing to engage with both [UK and Scottish] governments for homeworkers and travel agency directors who have may have ‘fallen through the cracks’ to help them to gain some financial support.

“The support launched today recognises the specific challenges which the travel sector has faced since March last year. We will continue to take an active role in securing further funding for the travel sector, especially following the announcement yesterday that hotel quarantine is to be introduced.”

Dooey said: “Travel agents are now effectively facing another year with no income. Much of their income from 2019 was refunded during 2020, income was virtually zero for many in 2020 with much of that being refunded too and now they face a further year when Scots are actively being told, if not instructed, by their government, not to travel abroad.

“We remain committed to public health as a priority and continue to repeat our message that the whole of the travel sector needs a roadmap out of this devastating position for our industry.”