Blow to Scottish travel industry as Spain is left off list of quarantine-exempt countries
Published on Wednesday, July 8, 2020
Scottish holidaymakers who travel to Spain will still have to go into quarantine when returning home, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has announced.
Scottish travel agents’ trade body the SPAA described the decision of ‘disappointing’.
The Scottish government has approved almost all of the ‘air bridge’ travel destinations set out by UK ministers.
From Friday July 10, Scots can travel to 57 other countries without having to quarantine when they return home.
But Spain, the Spanish islands and Serbia have been omitted from the list due to concerns about their levels of coronavirus.
The First Minister said this was a ‘very difficult decision’ to make, but that it was needed to ‘protect Scotland as far as possible from a resurgence of this virus in the weeks ahead’.
Scotland has an estimated 28 cases of coronavirus for every 100,000 people, but Spain has 330.
Sturgeon said ‘we cannot in good conscience lift restrictions’ for people arriving from Spain or Serbia.
Warning of job losses
SPAA president Joanne Dooey said: “Spain is such a popular and accessible destination for Scottish travellers, and this is a huge blow to those who are keen to travel and to our members who have clients wanting to book now.
“The announcement does not just cover mainland Spain but also the Balearic and Canary Islands too with some of Europe’s most popular holiday hot spots such as Majorca and Ibiza & Tenerife.
“The announcement would have been better for the travel industry if a regional approach had been taken to Spain rather than the blanket ban we’re been given.”
Dooey said the exclusion of Spain from the list of quarantine-exempt countries could lead to ‘significant’ job losses.
“Without a consistent flow of passengers, airlines and travel companiesmay decide that it is not worth them having a flight route to and from Scotland,” she said.
“This is the height of the Scottish holiday season and once we lose flight routes, we are looking at significant loss of jobs and serious detriment to the Scottish economy.
“Airlines and travel companies work well into the future and if there remains confusion about whether/when Spain is open to Scots without the requirement for quarantine, then we’re putting these future flights in jeopardy.
“It’s been stated today that travelling across the border to fly from English airports does not allow Scots to avoid quarantine, but Scottish travellers have always flown from English airports to some destinations.
“It now seems that travellers who had their holidays and trips booked from an English airport well before lockdown will have to quarantine for 14 days, but an equivalent English traveller will not have to do this.”
Dooey said she hoped the First Minister will reconsider the omission of Spain during the next phase of recovery and at least permit flights to the Spanish islands.