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Dozens of representatives of Scotland’s travel industry gathered at the Scottish Parliament on Thursday to call for the government to Save Scottish Travel.

About 100 protestors called for tailored support for the country’s outbound and inbound travel sector, in addition to an affordable Covid testing system to be introduced by Christmas and an end to quarantine regulations on return from overseas travel.

SPAA0010 WIDE

Agents, operators and travel associates, some of whom wore Save Scottish Travel face masks, brandished placards and hazard-tape bound passports, while waving flags of the world.

They argue that Scotland’s 26,000 travel sector jobs are at risk without a clear strategy and action plan for how the Scottish and UK governments will get travel moving again.

SPAA0019 WIDE

The 120-member SPAA estimates that there are 5,000 travel agency staff in 250 high street premises in Scotland and several hundred homeworkers.

Association members indicate that at least 500 jobs have already been lost since March and the rate of job losses will accelerate rapidly as the industry enters a second year of zero revenue.

Joanne Dooey SPAA president WIDE

SPAA president Joanne Dooey (pictured, above) said: “The travel industry showed what a committed, professional and colourful sector we are today, turning out to make our message heard that the travel industry is being slowly and painfully strangled by the total lack of support for us.

“We have had a year of zero income, we’ve had to refund all our income from work we undertook last year and we’re facing another year with zero income on the horizon.”

She added: “The extended furlough to spring 2021 announcement today certainly helps our employees but our businesses still have all of our fixed overheads to pay every month.

“We were all encouraged to take out business loans at a time when it looked as though the ‘closure’ of travel would be short term and now we’re faced with no income to repay these loans and banks who refuse to support us further as there’s no income on the horizon.

“I hope that politicians have listened to our message today. We need urgent, tailored help and a strategic plan for Scottish travel which includes a swiftly implemented and comprehensive testing programme at airports.”

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