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Chief Executive’s Report

October 2018

Introduction

I had a vague aspiration this time last year, after a year of frenetic activity and pro-active engagement on a number of key issues, that 2018 might just be a little calmer…How foolish of me! While it has been a year of undoubted success for the Scottish tourism industry as a whole, we have continued to face significant regulatory threats to the short-term rentals, which have been incredibly time-consuming and challenging. Here is a non-exhaustive run down of the key issues we have faced as a sector in 2018.

The Importance of Evidence-Based Data – Far from Just Houses: The Benefits of the Short-Term Rental Sector to Scotland

We continue to believe that any policy decision is underpinned by data, and as an Association, working with other tourism bodies – including the Scottish Tourism Alliance and UK Hospitality – and we will continue to deliver as much data as possible to inform local authorities and Scottish Government. Given that we live at a time in which wrong or inaccurate information is easier than ever to spread and truth is at a premium, we continue to try to address some of the inaccuracies surrounding our industry and set the record straight.

In order to challenge some of the prevailing narratives, the ASSC commissioned Frontline Consultants to produce an evidence-base to investigate these criticisms head-on and demonstrate the sector’s impact on key areas across Scotland in 2018. Far More Than Just Houses: The Benefits of the Short-Term Rental Sector to Scotland brings together serious research to demonstrate the real impact of the industry in Scotland.

This comprehensive piece of work also looks into other areas of short-term rental in Scotland, including its impact on housing supply, tax, and society. Frontline’s research has shown that:

•STR is a major component of Scotland’s growing tourism offering, making a substantial contribution to the tourist economy. Any regulations pursued by the Scottish Government should be arrived at through negotiation and dialogue with platforms and traditional operators, learning from best practice elsewhere in Europe

•STR cannot be blamed for exacerbating the housing crisis as other longstanding issues are of far greater signi cance (i.e. the number of empty properties in Scotland, or the failure of governmentsto build suf cient levels of affordable housing)

•Traditional STR operators do not have an incentive to avoid tax and all survey respondents con rmed paying some form of tax. Airbnb data suggests a similar lack of incentive for hosts who have average earnings below the tax thresholds

•The STR sector is not a driver of anti-social behaviour in Scotland as the number of recorded complaints are negligible in comparison to the number of self-catering units/properties let

• The STR Sector has seen a similar level of growth in other European cities and many countries are embracing STR, implementing systems and legislation to make it simpler for their citizens to operate in this sector.

Information exchange across all parties, policy-makers, businesses and collaborative economy platforms is crucial and this study confirms this is occurring and should continue to ensure the sustainable growth of the tourism economy in Scotland.

Read the Full Report HERE:

Chief Executives Report 2018

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