Scotland’s beleaguered travel agency sector is making a plea to the UK Government to reconsider the imposition of a 14-day quarantine period for travellers returning to the UK amid the coronavirus crisis, warning this may “devastate” the industry.

The Scottish Passenger Agents' Association is asking the Foreign and Commonwealth Office to remove the “indefinite blanket ban on foreign travel” and to “start allowing travel in Europe, to carefully monitored destinations, giving advice to travellers to be vigilant”.

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Outlining its proposal, it says: “This travel would be to countries with low infection rates. The SPAA is also calling for the introduction of ‘air bridges' so that travellers coming into the UK from countries with low coronavirus levels would be exempt from the quarantine, starting with countries such as Spain and Portugal.”

The SPAA, which represents 120 members and 92 associate members, says it “considers that the outbound travel industry will be devastated if any holidaymaker who goes abroad is forced to observe quarantine for 14 days on their return from 8 June”.

It adds: “As it stands, returning travellers will be unable to go to work or school or to visit public places or use public transport. They should also have no visitors during the 14 days.”

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Joanne Dooey, president of the SPAA, said: "The outbound travel industry in its entirety is facing virtually unsurmountable hurdles to getting back up and running. The sector is already facing the loss of virtually the whole of the Scottish schools' main holiday season.”

She added: "There is an appetite for Scots to travel as soon as they are able to, and our recent survey shows that 60% of our members have made new bookings during the lockdown period for their clients for the summer 2020 season. If travellers have to take a whole month off work in order to take the two-week holiday they have booked and paid for, it's highly unlikely that they will be able to take these holidays.”