Special Report: SPAA Annual Travel Awards

Special Report: SPAA Annual Travel Awards

The association held its 25th awards last week. Harry Kemble reports from Glasgow

The outgoing president of the Scottish Passenger Agents’ Association is disappointed that APD has not been cut by 50% during his two-year term.

Alan Glen’s stint as president ends next month and he will be succeeded by vice-president Ken McLeod.

Glen, owner of Glasgow-based Glen Travel, had hoped to see the air tax – described as one of the highest of its kind in the world – halved before he stepped down.

The Scottish government voted in June to replace APD with a new Air Departure Tax (ADT) in Scotland from April 2018.

It believes it would boost the economy by increasing the number of flights to Scotland.

However, SPAA members were told last month that Holyrood’s proposal had been hit by a legal problem after it emerged that plans to continue exempting journeys from Highlands and Islands airports required EU approval under state aid rules.

Glen told Travel Weekly: “To cut APD should be good for business and should be good for Scotland, so, yes, I am disappointed.

“I don’t know whether it is because the SNP feel they won’t be able to get it through parliament with a majority, or whether it is because they don’t have the money because it will come off the other end of the block – the payment they get from Westminster.

“It is something out of my control and it is up to the Scottish government [to make a decision].

“We were just trying to advise and hopefully talk them into it.

“We have done our job. The fact the political process has taken longer is not any reflection on us.

“We have pushed for it and we want it.”

Hogarth celebrates 25 years at SPAA

SPAA secretary Janice Hogarth is celebrating 25 years with the association. She was elected the first female council member at the first awards ceremony a quarter of a century ago.

During her time she has held various roles including president from 2004 to 2005. Hogarth (pictured) said: “The SPAA is seen as a very important vehicle for many people. It is seen as a voice of travel. It is about making progress and being relevant. We have never been afraid to take on the big issues – we do an awful lot.

“We will always work through a situation together to try and get the best results.”

Hogarth said it had been her aim for the association to remain relevant and respected.

She said: “We have expanded into all areas. Our members are not just the agents on the street. We have a real mixture, including homeworkers.”

Stewart honoured as Super Break scoops three gongs

Scotland’s top agents and suppliers were honoured at the Scottish Passenger Agents’ Association 25th annual awards ceremony last week.

The biggest event in the Scottish travel calendar, attended by 650 people, was hosted by Super Break national sales manager Graham Balmforth, alongside Love to Travel owner Joanne Dooey and Travel Weekly Group managing director Stuart Parish.

Drew Stewart, who became an honorary member of the SPAA in March, was awarded the lifetime achievement award in his 50th year in the industry.He also secured the leisure representative of the year award.

Super Break picked up three accolades in the hotel and short‑break categories.

If Only scooped two awards: luxury tour operator of the year and independent long-haul operator of the year.

Celebrity Cruises picked up two gongs, in the cruise and ferry categories, while Jet2.com claimed holiday airline of the year and British Airways won domestic airline of the year.

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