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Scottish agents still suffering pandemic hangover

Scottish agents still suffering pandemic hangover

A survey of its members by the Scottish Passenger Agents’ Association (SPAA) has revealed that the majority of travel agencies have been operating at ten per cent or less of their pre-pandemic revenue.

However, this statistic hides the true financial picture for the outbound travel sector.

With travel agents not receiving any income until the customer actually travels, agents were faced with refunding bookings made pre pandemic meaning that, once credit card refund charges are considered, agents have had negative income since autumn 2019.

The SPAA continues to lobby for sectoral support for travel agents who have tirelessly worked to keep their customers travelling and their businesses afloat.

A third of members have taken a second job since March last year to help their businesses survive and seven per cent of these members have taken over three jobs.


Almost 70 per cent of travel agency owners surveyed have personally had virtually no income since the pandemic start. 

The organisation is approaching MPs and MSPs once again this week to present the facts about the industry and to highlight the special measures in place in other UK nations such as Wales where disruption grants are available to travel businesses.

Joanne Dooey, president of the SPAA, said: “Even changes to the green list announced last week will have made little impact on our ability to generate revenue.

“The traditional Scottish summer ‘take off’ is earlier than in England due to the different school holidays.

“Changes are too late to help Scottish agents with summer revenue.

“Scottish travel agents need financial support.”

She added: “The Scottish travelling public needs a much clearer traffic lights system; with a simple green for go and red for stop.

“We also need a far more cost-effective testing regime, without a Scottish government mandated monopoly to bring parity with other UK nations and which doesn’t financially penalise Scots who want to travel.”

The SPAA members’ survey also shows that 72 per cent of travel agencies still have staff on furlough.