The Scottish Passenger Agents’ Association (SPAA) has called on Scotland’s government to react quickly to travel rule changes which are expected from Westminster today.
The warning came before the the UK government confirmed widely trailed changes to its travel rules – which currently apply to England only – that will see the amber list scrapped, eight countries moved off the red list and the testing burden on arrivals reduced.
As of 6pm on Friday, the Scottish government was yet to comment on the travel restriction changes.
Joanne Dooey, SPAA president, said: “If the traffic lights system is simplified as it’s being reported, then, at last, the UK can release the handbrake on travel.
“The traffic light system ought to have been simple, but the endlessly changing meanings of the traffic lights and the additions of sub-categories meant that no one could keep up with the constant modifications and variations. Traveller confidence has been at rock bottom.”
She added: “What we in Scotland need is for the Scottish government to follow suit and make a speedy announcement that it will also streamline the traffic light system.
“We also need the removal of the requirement for costly PCR tests.
“We would like to see the PCR test replaced by a lateral flow, with those testing positing at this stage having a PCR test which can then be used for sequencing to identify any emerging variant.
“And we need them to make this announcement now so that hard-working Scots have time to book holidays for the October schools’ break.
“We don’t want Scotland to be perceived as being asleep at the wheel when the traffic lights change.
“We don’t want Scots travelling across the border to England to fly in order to avoid any stricter controls in Scotland.”
She also sounded a note of caution for consumers.
“People should be aware that there are still many regulations for each global destination, so we certainly don’t advise self-booking,” she advised.
“In particular, people should not book a flight online and then accommodation in a separate transaction in order to protect themselves if things change again here in the UK or in their overseas destination.
“Travel agents have all the most current information about all requirements for travellers and can book the most effective package to give as much flexibility as possible in case of future amendments.
“The travel sector has been running on fumes for more than 18 months now. With these changes, which will give confidence to travellers, the industry can now step up a gear.”
After the announcement was made, Abta urged the devolved administrations in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland to update their international travel policies “as soon as possible.”