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Cole-Hamilton writes to FM over Edinburgh air-bridge

July 8, 2020 6:00 PM
Originally published by Scottish Liberal Democrats

Edinburgh Western MSP Alex Cole-Hamilton has written to the First Minister to ask when visitors to Edinburgh will be able to arrive without quarantining.

Mr Cole-Hamilton's letter is as follows:

Dear First Minister,

I am writing to ask that you expedite the decision on the designation of 'air-bridges' to those countries from where we will be able welcome international visitors to Scotland without a quarantine order. Furthermore I'd be grateful if you could clarify which countries might subsequently be included into the air-bridge scheme in the latter half of the summer tourism season.

Like my fellow MSPs, I have sought to work constructively with the Scottish Government in tackling this virus to ensure it claims as few lives as possible. I continue to do this, whilst also fulfilling my duties in representing the people of Edinburgh Western and their interests. I have been concerned in recent days by the distress shown by the operators of Edinburgh Airport, to the continuance of a full quarantine order on all international visitors into Scotland.

The Airport is not only a major employer in my constituency, but also a source of pride. It is of matchless economic value to the city of Edinburgh and Scotland more widely. Under normal circumstances Edinburgh Airport is worth over £1 billion to the Scottish economy and approximately half of this directly fuels Edinburgh's economy. They have signalled that a protracted delay in the air-bridge policy will harm Scotland far beyond the summer.

I am sure that you will agree that it is in the best interests of the Scottish economy, and the people who rely on its buoyancy for Edinburgh airport to be up and running for the both incoming and outgoing international travel as soon as is safe to do so.

I fully understand that the reopening of Scotland to international visitors is not a decision to be taken lightly, but with schools set to open fully in just over a month, I urge you to provide the people of Scotland with a clear and cohesive plan which will address the following:

• When Edinburgh Airport can begin to welcome international visitors without a quarantine order.

• A list of countries that can be traveled to and from without enforced quarantine

• A plan for recovery within the aviation industry

The Edinburgh economy has already suffered enormously as a result of the current pandemic, having been forced to cancel the Royal Highland Show and the Edinburgh Festival, and the suspension of international tourism for any longer than necessary threatens to cause even more damage to the already fragile economy.

I look forward to hearing your response.

Yours sincerely,

Alex Cole-Hamilton

Edinburgh Western MSP