The ongoing restrictions to travel are “appropriate”, but they have left travel agents in a “horrendous” position. That is the claim of Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath MP, Neale Hanvey, who is today calling on the Scottish Government to put in place targeted financial support for travel agents.
In a letter to the Finance Secretary, Kate Forbes MSP, Mr Hanvey has highlighted the plight of Kirkcaldy-based Travel Your World. The company has operated over the last seventeen months with no income, all the while rescheduling bookings, arranging new holidays and paying staff.
Travel agents are the engines that power the travel industry. Without them, there simply won’t be a full recovery for this sector.
According to the local MP, this is a story replicated across Scotland, with the Scottish Passenger Agents’ Association (SPAA) and the Association of British Travel Agents (ABTA) pointing out that it is a different story south of the border. In England, travel agents can apply for an Additional Restrictions Grant which provides financial assistance directly to businesses facing the most severe restrictions.
Now Mr Hanvey wants to see a similar commitment from the Scottish Government of funding at least “equal to that available” in England.
The Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath MP has been a vocal supporter of the aviation and travel industries throughout the pandemic, and he sits on the Westminster All Party Group for Aviation.
Commenting, Neale Hanvey MP said:
“Travel agents are the engines that power the travel industry. Without them, there simply won’t be a full recovery for this sector.
“And while there has been some support available, it is not nearly enough to see Scottish travel agencies through the continued restrictions.
“That is why I’m calling on the Finance Secretary to at least match the funding that is available in England, to join me in calling for the burden of transaction charges to be covered by large tour operators – not travel agents – and to provide assurances to travel agents that they will be supported by the Scottish Government.
“A personal commitment from the Finance Secretary would go a long way to reassuring travel agents that they will be supported to drive the recovery of Scotland’s travel industry.”