Travel agents have hailed a rebound in bookings after the Scottish Government relaxed Covid rules for people flying into the country.
The changes – announced by Transport Secretary Michael Matheson yesterday (January 6) mean the immediate removal of pre-departure tests for fully vaccinated adults and those aged under 18.
And from Sunday these travellers will no longer be required to self-isolate on arrival until they have received a negative result.
In addition, fully vaccinated adults can use lateral flow tests instead of the more expensive PCR method on day two after their return to Scotland,
Unvaccinated passengers will need to continue to take a pre-departure test, PCR tests on day two and day eight, and self-isolate for 10 days.
Meanwhile, the government has agreed to approve vaccine certificates for a further 16 countries and territories from 4am on Monday (December 10) to allow quarantine-free travel to Scotland.
Mike Tibbert, president of the Scottish Passenger Agents’ Association, the professional body for travel agents and the travel sector in Scotland, said: “Even at this early stage, with the announcement only being made late in the afternoon yesterday, our members are telling us inquiries are up over 100% on the previous week and bookings are showing similar levels of growth.
“Travel agents across Scotland are looking forward to a busy weekend as customer sentiment towards travel increases in positivity.
“These changes are good for our whole sector.”
But Mr Tibbert warned: “It should be remembered that, although figures of a 100% increase in inquiries and bookings looks significant, the base figures were very low after two years of incredibly poor trading.
“The 100% increases which our members report are in fact around 60% of the levels they were trading at in a similar period in 2019.”
Our members are telling us inquiries are up over 100% on the previous week and bookings are showing similar levels of growth.”
Mike Tibbert, president , Scottish Passenger Agents’ Association.
Murray Burnett, managing director of Munro’s Travel, of Aberdeen, said: “We welcome the news that the Scottish Government has now aligned with England and Wales, and will remove pre-departure testing for fully vaccinated international travellers arriving into Scotland.
“It is also positive the costly day two PCR testing upon arrival into Scotland is being replaced with the cheaper lateral flow test.
“Going forward, it is critical the UK and devolved governments align and develop a robust plan for dealing with future variants and keeping our borders open.”
Mr Burnett added: “Travellers need the confidence of a structured future for international travel where they can be certain the regulations won’t change overnight, and this should be done on a four nations’ basis.
“This can only be good for the Scottish and wider UK economy.”