The travel industry has welcomed news from Nicola Sturgeon that Scots who have been double-jabbed against Covid-19 will not have to self-isolate if they are coming back from an amber list country.
The first minister made the announcement during a Scottish government statement on lockdown across the country, with the change to come into effect on July 19th.
Sturgeon said: “From next Monday, self-isolation will no longer be required for people arriving from countries on the amber list, provided they are fully vaccinated through a UK vaccination programme and take a PCR test on the second day after arrival.”
She added: “Notwithstanding this change, we continue to advise against non-essential overseas travel at this time.”
The line, which brings Scotland into line with plans in England, was welcomed by ABTA.
A spokesperson said: “It is welcome that self-isolation restrictions will ease on July 19th for fully vaccinated individuals returning to Scotland from amber list countries, but the first minister must urgently review the ongoing advice against ‘non-essential’ international travel.
“It sends mixed signals to people who need a much-deserved break or long to see their friends and family abroad.
“While this advice remains, confidence to travel from Scotland will remain low and further financial support must be given to travel agents and tour operators, who continue to face the toughest trading conditions of all sectors.”
Joanne Dooey, president of the Scottish Passenger Agents’ Association (SPAA), also cautiously welcomed the news.
She said: “The announcement is undoubtedly good news.
“We expect that enquiries will increase now for summer holidays, but operators and airlines will require time to rearrange packages so it is unlikely that the travel agent tills will be ringing later today.”
A recent SPAA study found that, for every single summer flight which was grounded, the Scottish economy lost £38,000 in retail spend on holiday items, not including taxi fares, duty free, food and drinks at airports on departure day.
Dooey added: “However, we still need a comprehensive plan for how the travel sector can return fully.
“Outbound tourists may be worth £1.5 billion to Scotland, but inbound visitors are far more valuable to our whole country, especially to some of our remotest communities which depend on seasonal visitor spend.”
At the same time, CLIA has welcomed the decision to move the country to level zero restrictions, a move which should allow domestic cruises to resume calls at Scottish ports.
The Scottish government had imposed a ban on cruise calls, throwing a number of lines’ plans into chaos and resulting in a series of changed itineraries.
Andy Harmer, CLIA UK & Ireland director, said the move to level zero indicated the lifting of the ban, as Scottish guidance states that “domestic cruises with more than 12 passengers will be allowed when all of Scotland reaches level one”.
Harmer said: “We are pleased that today’s announcement indicates that cruises on domestic itineraries can now visit Scottish ports from July 19th.
“Domestic sailings have safely and successfully restarted in England, and the effective measures that are in place both on and off ships will similarly be used on cruises visiting Scotland.
“We look forward to cruise ships calling at Scottish ports this summer, with guests able to explore some of the beautiful destinations.”
The current rules have also led to the repositioning of ships and the cancellation of Riviera Travel’s Scottish programme.