Industry appeal

Time to call a halt to ‘fear factor’ says travel chief

Travel protest

Travel workers demonstrating outside the parliament in June (pic: Terry Murden)

A travel industry leader last night called for the “fear factor” to be drawn to a close so that the industry can get back on its feet.

Joanne Dooey, president of the Scottish Passenger Agents’ Association (SPAA) said that with Covid safety protocols now in place it was time to get back to business.

“We need to see a return to international flying. The fear factor driven by people in power now needs to stop,” Ms Dooey told an audience of 200 travel professionals attending the SPAA’s centenary dinner at the Crowne Plaza in Glasgow.

“We need to get Scotland back to business with safety protocols in place which are simple, and more importantly do not cost a fortune, to allow our industry to get back to some normality.  

“We need to remove complexity and bring in simplicity with clear consistent communication and processes to support travel and not to hinder it or prevent it.”


Passenger numbers have fallen to below 10% of previous years, with many travel agents not receiving any income during the pandemic.

The SPAA has been lobbying the Scottish government to get behind an industry which supports 26,000 jobs in Scotland and is worth £1.5 billion to the economy annually.

Ms Dooey added, “We need to trust in the vaccine and allow freedom of movement.”

A recent SPAA survey revealed that a third of members has taken a second job since March 2020 to help their businesses survive and 7% of these members had taken more than three jobs. Almost 70% of travel agency owners surveyed have had virtually no income since the pandemic start.   

“We at the SPAA have lived up to our mission to be the Voice of Travel in Scotland in our centenary year – and we will continue to do so. Loudly. We will keep up the fight for sector specific support for the travel sector,” said Ms Dooey.

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