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So what is this brand new year going to bring us?

2018 had its fair share of ups and downs, and no doubt this year will have its own challenges, especially where Brexit is concerned. However there is a lot to look forward to in the next twelve months. For example, at the moment there appears to be a lot less new regulation specifically related to travel on the horizon, compared with the last couple of years. On the high seas up to thirty new cruise ships are due to sail in different parts of the world this year. Scotland’s airports have the Emirates A380 appearing in the skies over Glasgow for the summer, whilst Edinburgh continues its remarkable journey of expansion with more destinations, and Aberdeen’s refurbishment improvements providing a new experience for passengers.

However, it’s not all sunshine and ice cream for certain areas. There are some retrograde steps as well, with Thomas Cook ending price parity for agents; increased financial agency criteria requirements from IATA starting in February, plus the various challenges that will come after the 29th March - such as whether your customer has a valid passport with 6 months validity or not, and other seemingly small issues.

One thing that we can be sure of is that the SPAA, during 2019, will continue to not only fight for our members’ and associates’ rights, provide huge networking opportunities for all throughout the year, and continue to lobby in the political arena to create as much positive news for the Scottish travel trade as possible -  but also, along the way, have a few parties as well with our unique social calendar.

The first of these is on the 28th February when we hold our 89th Annual SPAA Dinner at the Crowne Plaza in Glasgow, and I am delighted that we will be welcoming Pieter Elbers - President and CEO of KLM as our guest speaker in this, the 100th anniversary year of the founding of the Dutch airline on 7th October 1919, and celebrating its long history of flying into Scotland. We are very privileged to welcome him to our unique dinner.

Our speaker from the outside, in this year of the Brexit saga, is Scottish political commentator and comedienne Ayesha Hazarika, so by the time the end of February comes round, no doubt she will have a lot to comment on! For now, it’s time to book your place at one of the biggest events of the year in the Scottish travel calendar. Tickets are available from Janice Hogarth on [email protected]

Ken McLeod
President  - SPAA