SPAA discusses Brexit impact with MSPs

On Tuesday 19 June, a leading travel trade organisation met to discuss the possible impact of Brexit on tourism jobs at a round table with Members of the Scottish Parliament (MSPs). The Scottish Passenger Agents’ Association (SPAA) also raised concerns over the lack of clarity over potential changes for passengers once Britain leaves the EU.

The SPAA – the world’s oldest travel organisation – informed MSPs that outbound tourism supports around 26,000 jobs in Scotland and that the industry is facing huge levels of uncertainty over how it will operate in a post-Brexit landscape.

Ken McLeod, president of the SPAA, says the organisation wants to ensure that any legislative changes will have a minimal impact on both the trade and the millions of Scottish passengers who travel to the EU each year. He said:  “With under a year to go until the UK leaves the EU, there is still no clear strategy or indication of what may or may not change in terms of how we travel.

“ABTA research shows that outbound tourism sustains more than 26,400 jobs in Scotland, with a further 169,000 supported indirectly. Outbound tourism is worth £1,446m every year to the Scottish economy.

“It’s estimated that around 75% of outbound travel by UK residents last year was within the EU – a figure up by around 10% on 2015 – representing more than 53m journeys. The EU is the single largest destination market for the UK in aviation terms.

“We are very grateful for the opportunity to discuss this with MSPs, and hope that going forward we can work together to ensure travel to and from Scotland can continue to make a substantial contribution to the Scottish economy.”

The SPAA represents Scotland’s major leisure travel agents and corporate travel management companies and was set up to address the issues and challenges of a constantly changing travel marketplace. Brexit and its impact for the outbound travel sector will be the main topic at tonight’s parliamentary round table event.

Other topics under discussion will include possible changes to consumer protection post-Brexit, Air Passenger Duty and Air Departure Tax, and how leaving the EU could impact on Scotland’s incoming business travel and leisure tourism sector.

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