The SPAA has created a manifesto call for proper support for the travel industry ahead of the Scottish Parliament election in May.

The association sent the eleven-point manifesto for travel to cross-party MSPs, outlining “key pillars which are fundamental to saving the Scottish travel industry”.

It also argued there was “very little understanding on how the travel business works” within government and called for outbound travel to be added to a single travel and tourism portfolio which would cover inbound and outbound travel, aviation and airports.

The requests outlined in the manifesto, which can be read in full here, include:

  • An absolute commitment to engage on a four nations’ approach to travel
  • Urgent moves to explore acceptable forms of testing other than just PCR and the prioritisation of a means to lower the cost of testing
  • Acknowledgement and acceptance of the contribution that travel makes to the Scottish economy
  • Recognition that a lack of inbound tourism will have a serious impact on the country’s economy and the importance of travel for Scottish businesses to enable their recovery
  • The human rights of Scots to visit family overseas and the mental health issues raised by the denial of this right
  • The suspension of APD and taxes directly or indirectly levied in the travel industry to allow for recovery
  • The urgent need for long term support for travel agencies to rebuild and continue to play a role in the high streets of Scottish communities including extension of the Travel Agency fund

Joanne Dooey, SPAA president, said: “Scottish travel cannot recover without a joined-up and cohesive approach within its own ecosystem and the newly elected Scottish government must open its ears and listen to businesses of all shapes and sizes across the industry. Travel is far more than just aviation and airports.

“We need a Scottish government which will liaise with the travel sector and travel agencies to ensure that there is a robust framework in place for information sharing. Travel businesses must have sufficient representation in every relevant working recovery group.”

She added: “We need a Scottish government which delivers on the human right to family life for those who have not been able to travel to see family for over a year.”

Dooey also called for progress on vaccine certification proposals, calling for an initial paper health certificate to be introduced, followed by a globally accepted digital accreditation such as Iata’s Travel Pass.

She added: “International collaboration and agreement of these schemes is imperative.”