Multi-million pound boost welcomed for hard hit travel sector

Barrhead-based travel agency chiefs have welcomed news that a £3.5 million support package has been earmarked for the sector.

The travel industry was badly-hit by the coronavirus pandemic, which saw international travel halted and tough restrictions on holidaymakers introduced.

But talks with the Scottish Government resulted in the package for Scotland’s outbound travel sector – which has suffered severe trading difficulties since early 2020.

The aid for the industry was confirmed by Minister for business, trade, tourism and enterprise Ivan McKee.

Travel sector leaders have given the move their backing.

Mike Tibbert, president of The Scottish Passenger Agents’ Association (SPAA) said: “Travel agents in Scotland are greatly revived.

“The Scottish Passenger Agents’ Association today held a meeting with the Minister for business, trade, tourism and enterprise Ivan McKee, as part of our ongoing efforts to gain sectoral support for our members.

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“This was a constructive meeting, and the minister took on board the points we were making about the negative income which had faced travel agents due to the financial model for outbound travel. Mr McKee understood the pressures which these businesses have faced.”

Mr Tibbert added: “We are delighted that, after two years of fighting the corner of travel agents and the travel industry in Scotland, our efforts have paid off with the announcement of £3.5 million in direct business support for travel agents.

“The funding will assist businesses to recover from two years of negative income and to plan for a more secure future for their business. We also hope that this positive message from the Scottish Government will reach skilled travel professionals, who have been leaving the industry due to the challenges the sector has faced and encourage them to return.

“After the travel turmoil of the last two years, the traveling public will need the advice and knowledge of travel agents more than ever.”

The SPAA the professional body for travel agents and the travel sector in Scotland.

Jacqueline Dobson, president Barrhead Travel, also welcomed the package, saying: “After months of lobbying the Scottish Government, the confirmation that financial grants will finally be forthcoming for the outbound travel industry is excellent news.

“It is a timely announcement: while travel businesses are enjoying high demand for holidays, the industry is still feeling the pain from the last two years and will continue to do so until the actual departure volume mirrors close to pre-pandemic levels.”

Jacuqueline, who is also Vice President of the SPAA, added: “For many travel businesses – particularly independent agents who form the backbone of local high streets – these grants will give breathing space and allow them to turn their attention to working towards a strong summer recovery.

“There are certainly sunnier days ahead for the travel industry as the world continues to reopen. Restrictions are easing, global economies are healing and tourism communities are preparing to welcome a wave of holidaymakers back to destinations this summer.

“We’re looking forward to helping our customers realize their dream holidays this year as confidence grows and bookings continue to rise.”

We told just weeks ago how Barrhead Travel bosses say confidence in the holiday market is growing as eager customers look to jet off for some much-longed for sunshine.

The owner of Glasgow Airport recently said it will take until at least 2025 for the sector to bounce back.

But aviation bosses at Glasgow Airport warned it will take until at least 2025 for their decimated sector to bounce back. AGS Airports recently said although signs of improvement are there, they anticipate a long recovery will be needed.

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