Scottish tourism bosses have warned that the First Minister’s ‘managed quarantine’ plans could “pull the plug” on the country’s tourism industry.
Mike Tibbert, vice-president of the Scottish Passenger Agents’ Association (SPAA), said that while the organisation “supported a stance which guard[s] our borders”, the industry “urgently needs a plan for how our country will return to travel”.
Inbound tourism brings £11 billion to the Scottish economy, while outbound tourism provides £1.7 billion – and supports more than 26,000 jobs. “We can’t just pull the plug on all of this economic activity without a plan for how to reinstate it,” said Tibbert.
“It’s not enough to assume that what we stop now can, or will, resume automatically when we want it too. Routes are a valuable and vital ‘commodity’.”
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon announced on Tuesday that all international arrivals into Scotland must undergo “managed quarantine”, as the UK’s current proposed hotel quarantine measure – which will apply to arrivals from 33 countries – “does not go far enough”.
This morning, Health Secretary Matt Hancock also suggested that hotel quarantine rules should be “strengthened”.
Hancock told Sky News: “You keep reading out that Sage wanted mandatory isolation for those that arrive, and that’s what we’ve got. I’m up for strengthening that further.”
Scroll down for more of today’s breaking travel news.
Health Secretary now ‘optimistic’ about great British summer
Health Secretary Matt Hancock said he is “optimistic” about the prospect of people being able to enjoy a holiday in the summer.
“I’m optimistic that we will have a great British summer,” he told ITV’s Good Morning Britain today. “The challenge we all still have is we have to keep control of the virus, so we have got to monitor progress.
“But the vaccine rollout is going well, the vaccines clearly work and so this is really, really good progress.”
This morning, Hancock also suggested to Sky News that he supported the strengthening of hotel quarantine rules – which were announced last week but are yet to be implemented.
Trailfinders boss: Travel bargains will ‘evaporate’
The executive chairman of Trailfinders, Mike Gooley, has warned that “costs will soar and holiday choices [will] become very limited”, once leisure travel restrictions are lifted.
Writing in a blog on the company’s website, Gooley urged customers to book before bargains “evaporate”:
When this pestilence passes, as all have in the history of mankind, and restrictions are removed, there will be an almighty rush of pent-up demand. However, the stricken and shrunken aviation and cruise industries will simply not have the capacity to cope at first. It will take many months, if not a year or two, for them to fully recover.
Price is driven by availability and the unprecedented bargains bookable now will evaporate in short order. Costs will soar and your holiday choices become very limited, if you have not already secured them in advance.
So the only risk is not getting that holiday in your diary. The worst that can happen is it may need to be amended, with advice, to a later date.
Ryanair’s “jab and go” ad banned
Ryanair’s “jab and go” ad has been banned after it was deemed “irresponsible” by the regulator.
The advert, two versions of which appeared on TV in late December and early January, showed an image of a vaccine while the voiceover said “vaccines are coming” and suggested travellers should book Easter and Summer holidays.
It added: “So you could jab and go.”
It led to the third highest number of complaints about a single ad ever filed to the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA), with more than 2,000 viewers raising concerns.
The ASA said the ad could be considered misleading for suggesting that people would be able to go on holiday this easter without restrictions if they had been vaccinated and also irresponsible by encouraging people who have had the vaccine to act irresponsibly.
Read more: Ryanair ‘jab and go’ ad banned by regulator
Matt Hancock: Hotel quarantine should be ‘strengthened’
Hotel quarantine rules should be “strengthened” to stop new variants entering the UK, the Health Secretary has suggested.
Matt Hancock told Sky News: “You keep reading out that Sage wanted mandatory isolation for those that arrive, and that’s what we’ve got. I’m up for strengthening that further. We do work very closely with these scientists.
“Measures are already in place to require the isolation of every single passenger who comes into this country. Further enforcement of that of course can always be introduced and strengthened, but the advice is clear that everyone coming through should isolate.”
Heathrow trials Covid testing for staff‘
Just not practical’ to completely close borders, says Sage scientist
Forced hotel quarantine for all UK arrivals labelled ‘unfeasible’
‘Endless summer’ predicted as autumn holiday bookings surge
Dubai shuts bars for a month Emirates resumes outbound flights from UK
Now, on with today’s headlines.