Scottish Passenger Agents’ Association seeks Brexit clarity

The Scottish Passenger Agents’ Association has raised concerns over the lack of clarity over potential changes for passengers once Britain leaves the EU at a round table with members of the Scottish parliament.

The SPAA – the world’s oldest travel organisation – told members that outbound tourism supports around 26,000 jobs in Scotland and that the industry is facing huge levels of uncertainty over how it will operate in a post-Brexit landscape.

Ken McLeod, president of the SPAA, said the organisation wants to ensure that any legislative changes will have a minimal impact on both the trade and the millions of Scottish passengers who travel to the EU each year.

He added: “With under a year to go until the UK leaves the EU, there is still no clear strategy or indication of what may or may not change in terms of how we travel.

“ABTA research shows that outbound tourism sustains more than 26,400 jobs in Scotland, with a further 169,000 supported indirectly.

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“Outbound tourism is worth £1.4 billion every year to the Scottish economy.”

It is estimated that around 75 per cent of outbound travel by UK residents last year was within the EU – a figure up by around ten per cent since on 2015 – representing more than 53 million journeys.

The EU is the single largest destination market for the UK in aviation terms.

“We are very grateful for the opportunity to discuss this with members of the Scottish parliament, and hope that going forward we can work together to ensure travel to and from Scotland can continue to make a substantial contribution to the Scottish economy,” added McLeod.

The SPAA represents Scotland’s major leisure travel agents and corporate travel management companies and was set up to address the issues and challenges of a constantly changing travel marketplace.

Brexit and its impact for the outbound travel sector was the main topic at the parliamentary round table event.

Other topics under discussion included possible changes to consumer protection post-Brexit, Air Passenger Duty and Air Departure Tax, and how leaving the EU could impact on Scotland’s incoming business travel and leisure tourism sector.

The SPAA was founded in 1921 and currently has 120 member companies and 92 associate members representing a wide cross section of the travel and transport industry.