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ASSC – Representing and Supporting Self-Catering in Scotland for Forty-Five Years

The Association of Scotland’s Self-Caterers (ASSC), the only trade body representing the interests of the traditional self-catering sector in Scotland, is celebrating its 45th anniversary.

The Association was founded in 1978 by a handful of self-catering operators including Jimmy and Isobel Nairn, parents of renowned chef Nick Nairn, to push the government to recognise self-catering operators as ‘businesses’. From its inception, the ASSC has been committed to the principles of quality, and to promoting high and consistent standards in self-catering. These founding principles continue to guide the ASSC today.

Since it began in 1978 with just twenty founding members, the ASSC has grown to over 1600 members, bringing together thousands of self-catering properties across Scotland. Those properties, operated by ASSC members, range from modern apartments at the heart of Scotland’s busiest cities to rural cottages, lodges, glamping pods and castles. All members sign up to the ASSC Commitment to Quality, which is ‘to maintain the principles of “quality, integrity, cleanliness, comfort, courtesy and efficiency” to ensure visitors to Scotland consistently receive high standards within their self-catering properties.’

Throughout, the past four decades, the ASSC has been pivotal in promoting links between self-catering in Scotland and across Europe. It is a founding member of the European Holiday Homes Association (EHHA) and is extremely proud of the links that have been established across the UK and in Europe making the ASSC a globally recognised organisation.

Throughout these 45 years there have been many challenges for Scotland’s tourism sector, such as Foot and Mouth in 2001 to COVID 2020-2022, and ongoing challenges such as the visitor levy and EPC legislation. Perhaps the biggest challenge facing the organisation in its many years has been the Scottish Government’s onerous Licensing Scheme for ‘short-term lets’, a definition that now encompasses the traditional self-catering and B&B sectors. The full impact of this legislation has yet to be seen, but the fight for our members will continue as we push for the Scottish Government to amend the legislation, so that it is fit for purpose and benefits all stakeholders: businesses, communities, and local and national government.

While our work to improve the standing of self-catering in Scotland continues apace, we can celebrate this major milestone as well as some other wins along the way. In the last four years our membership has increased threefold and our first CEO, Fiona Campbell, who has been at the helm for almost 9 years, was recently recognised for her and our wider organisation’s efforts by winning the CEO of the Year at the fifth Scottish Women’s Awards.

Fiona Campbell, Chief Executive, ASSC said:

“What an honour it is to celebrate such a significant milestone of 45 years of the Association of Scotland’s Self Caterers. From the very beginning, the goal has always been to improve the already high standards in self-catering in Scotland, and our work will continue on into the future.

Our small, dedicated team has put in a herculean effort over the years to improve our standing, and we have also been blessed with some truly excellent Chairs over the years, such as Len Sculthorpe, David Smythe MBE and Adrienne Carmichael who have helped immensely in moving the organisation forward.

“Today we celebrate our anniversary and our proud history, while we ready ourselves for the undoubted battles we have to face in the future. Aside from representing our membership to national and local government, our principal goal has always been to ensure visitors from near and far have the best possible experience and make special memories when staying in and around Scotland. That we will continue to do with enthusiasm as we look forward to another 45 years.”

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