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Just in time for Christmas, the scare stories have started to emerge about problems the travel industry and those who wish to travel will encounter should there be no deal over Brexit by the 29th March.

The 7 euro fee being introduced, from 2021, for visa-free travel over a three period, seems to be more like the conclusion of pragmatic negotiations to limit the impact on travellers in both directions, rather than penalising them. There had to be something in place, and the fee not only applies to the UK but will be introduced to other countries as well. It may well be a pain for day trippers to remember to apply for visa free travel, but at roughly £2 each year, it’s not going to break the bank.

The more dangerous suggestion which came out in the Sunday Times last weekend, was the inference that advice may be given for people not to book holidays after 29th March. This is either a rogue journalist being allowed to spread rumours in a normally non-sensationalist publication, or the government has actually gone mad! It doesn’t matter what industry we are in - any government department would be irresponsible in issuing advice which actually stops a particular part of the economy from performing, and to suggest to people not to travel is simply ludicrous.

However, the scare stories won’t go away, and the arguments and disarray over Brexit will no doubt roll on through the festive period, but the travel industry has been here before. There is always something that has an impact on our business, and whilst this is a bit bigger than most, we’ll navigate our way through it based on the knowledge we have at the time.

Hopefully, Santa in his wisdom, will dispense with all the toys and sweets this Christmas, and deliver a huge helping of common sense to those in charge and who have our future in their hands. Maybe the festive break will allow some time to allow those same people a degree of reflection on how they got us into this mess, and how they are going to get us out.

And if Christmas doesn’t work we Scots always have New Year to fall back on. Many is the time I’ve woken up on the 1st January not knowing what year it is. That seems a particularly cheerful prospect this time around!

However, we are moving into the New Year with great news from Emirates as they announce the introduction of the A380 to Glasgow from April, one of the world’s most iconic aircraft. This is a huge boost for Glasgow Airport when it needs it the most, and shows the current strength of the market, and Emirates’ commitment to the Scottish market.

I wish all my colleagues and your families in the SPAA membership and in the travel industry in general, a very happy festive period and prosperous (and positive) 2019.

Ken McLeod
SPAA President