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The more things change, the more they stay the same
… yet our travel sector rises to the challenges!

It’s Autumn, and the 2019 SPAA Awards Dinner is just around the corner - and it certainly doesn’t seem like a year ago that we were celebrating the achievements of 2018.

In that time we have lost Thomas Cook and Superbreak; had a name change for FlyBe; the Airline Insolvency Review was published but came too late; there’s been a rise in concerns over climate change; we’ve had drone disruption at a variety of airports around the world; and the Boeing 737Max was withdrawn and is still not cleared to fly.

Some things though, don’t appear to change much. Strike action like the BA pilot’s strike, and even just the threat of strikes, knocks passengers’ confidence; the ATOL scheme is not fit for purpose - but we have been saying that for years, and of course to top it all we still have the rolling saga of Brexit.

However, there are many good news stories as well, with Hays Travel rescuing much of the Thomas Cook estate and more importantly, the jobs that were seemingly lost. A brave and ambitious move which offers a huge amount of faith in the retail travel industry. Travel Leaders’ investment in the Barrhead Travel network expansion is no less ambitious, and with a plethora of new home-workers emerging, and a resurgence in customers wanting the personal touch, our sector is doing fine despite the shocks.

Glasgow, Edinburgh, Aberdeen and Inverness Airports continue to progress in both infrastructure and route planning, with our country now having more direct services than ever before, LNER has done a good job on the East Coast rail line so far, and we’ll see how the new operators of the West Coast line - First Trenitalia - fare when they take over from Virgin Trains on the 8th December this year. TUI and Jet2 will ensure the gap left by Thomas Cook will partly be filled, and no doubt when Easyjet Holidays establish themselves over the next year, they will have a considerable impact. The package holiday in its current form is not dying, but it is changing, and we have to be very aware of how those changes continue to affect the industry.

So, the SPAA Awards Dinner will continue to celebrate success in the Scottish travel industry, and with over 600 guests attending the event it is sure to be a great night. 

See you there!

Ken McLeod
President - SPAA
28 October 2019