Best of Scotland Holidays calls on Government to safely reopen international travel and provide more financial support

23rd June

Best of Scotland Holidays based in Kirkcaldy, Fife is taking part in the Travel Day of Action to highlight the ongoing challenges facing the sector, including inbound tourism, and the risks to businesses and livelihoods.

The Travel Day of Action is a pan-industry event – bringing together people and businesses from across the aviation and travel industries - including those who operate and organise overseas and inbound holidays, visits to family and friends and business trips.

Best of Scotland Holidays was founded in 1983 by the present owner Duncan Dewar. They are an inbound tour operator, who custom build tour packages for people from around the world, but predominately American, into the UK and Ireland and currently have five staff.

The pandemic has been a catastrophe for the wider travel industry, closing borders, and even making most travel to and from the UK illegal for months on end.

Without a meaningful summer season – a crucial period of the year for travel businesses – many thousands of livelihoods are at stake, as well as the ability of the travel sector to recover and reconnect the UK to the world.

While other sectors have received tailored support, such as specific grant schemes, the story is quite different for travel, with many travel businesses excluded from the general grant support available and others only able to access the bare minimum. As a result, many businesses are struggling to survive.

Despite international travel being significantly curtailed, meaning businesses still have little opportunity to generate income, companies will be subject to the 10% rise in furlough costs at the end of the month.

Duncan Dewar, Chief Executive of Best of Scotland Holidays said:

“Travel businesses have suffered more than most companies in this crisis. International travel has been severely restricted for almost 18 months now and, while other businesses have been opening their doors in recent weeks, the Government has been telling people not to travel.

“The lack of international travel puts businesses under enormous pressure. We have no other means of generating income. If people don’t travel then we don’t make any money, it is as simple as that.

“The summer season is such a critical time for our business, so we desperately need Government to safely open up overseas travel.

“Government also needs to give some tailored support to the travel sector. We haven’t had anywhere near the financial support that other businesses have had, yet we have less opportunity to generate income. The situation is beyond desperate. We need the Government to urgently help us.”

The Travel Day of Action has support from the UK’s major airlines and tour operators as well as hundreds of small independent travel agents and leisure and business travel agents. Collectively they are calling on the UK Government to:

  • Allow international travel to return safely and in a risk managed way by properly implementing the Global Travel Taskforce’s plan for a traffic-light system, by expanding the green list in line with the evidence and making restrictions more proportionate, whilst keeping a strong red list to guard against variants. Government should also capitalise on the success of the vaccine rollout by removing testing and quarantine requirements for fully vaccinated individuals travelling from green and amber countries.
  • Bring forward a package of tailored financial support, including extension of furlough support until April 2022, recognising that the travel sector’s ability to trade and generate income is much slower than first anticipated and more gradual than for businesses in the domestic economy.

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