Pandemic aftermath is still haunting Scottish agents

Published on : Tuesday, August 10, 2021

The Scottish Passengers Agent’s Association (SPAA) carried out a survey on its members which revealed that the majority of travel agencies have been functioning at a revenue of what it was before the pandemic.

However, this statistic does not bring out the true picture for the outbound travel sector.

Since travel agents have not been receiving any income until the customer actually travels, they had to face refund bookings that are were made pre-pandemic. Once the credit card charges are considered, agents have had to meet with negative income since autumn 2019. 

Travel agents who have worked diligently to keep their clienteles travelling and their businesses afloat, have been continuously promoted by the SPAA for sectoral support.

A third of members have taken up a secondary source of earning since March last year to help their business and seven percent of these members have taken over three jobs. 

About 70 percent of travel agency owners who have been surveyed have practically had no income since the onset of the pandemic.

The organization is approaching MPs and MSPs once again in the current week to present the facts about the industry and to highlight the special measures in place of other nations of the UK such as Wales where disruption grants are available to travel businesses. 

In a statement by the President of the SPAA, Joanne Dooey stated that even changes in the green list announced last week would have made little impact on their ability to generate revenue.

She also said that the traditional summer ‘take-off’ in Scotland is earlier than that in England due to different school holidays.

Changes are too late to help the Scottish travel agents with summer revenue. Therefore, they need financial support.

Dooey asserted that the travelling mass of Scotland need much clearer traffic light system with a simple green for go ad red for stop. She also emphasised on the need of a far more profitable testing regime without a Scottish government directed monopoly to be in keeping with other UK nations that do not economically penalize Scots who are on travel.

The survey on SPAA members also underscore the fact that about 72 percent of travel agencies still have staff on leave.

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