The report, carried out by the specialists at Frontline and commissioned by the Association of Scotland’s Self-Caterers (ASSC), also found that short-term letting in Scotland supports 23,979 full-time equivalent jobs.
Figures were taken from 2019 in order to understand how the sector, which has been battered by the COVID-19 pandemic, performs under normal circumstances.
Self-caterers have faced significant financial problems throughout the pandemic, with many operating at hugely reduced capacity and others facing the prospect of having to close their businesses entirely.
In 2020, due to Covid-19 restrictions, there was a £253 million plunge in guest spend and a drop in the total economic contribution the sector made of around a third (29%).
This underlines the need for government to support small businesses as they seek to recover from Covid-19.
Frontline also partnered with the Professional Association of Self-Caterers and SuperControl to produce similar figures showing the state of self-catering across Great Britain.
Their in-depth research discovered that the self-catering sector is worth £2.6billion to the British economy and supports 69,635 jobs across the United Kingdom.
The new figures cast further doubt over the Scottish Government’s plans for a licensing scheme, which threatens to irreparably damage the vital sector and hamper its ability to help Scotland’s tourism offering recover from COVID-19.
Rather than introducing licensing, which would jeopardise the £867million contribution self-catering makes to the Scottish public coffers, as well as many of the tens of thousands of jobs, the Scottish Government should consider listening to the sector’s exemption proposal.
Association of Scotland’s Self-Caterers Chief Executive, Fiona Campbell, said:
“We already knew that self-catering is an essential part of Scotland’s vital tourism industry, but this report goes to show how significant our contribution is.
“Our £867million contribution to Scotland’s economy is indicative of the professionalism, entrepreneurial ethos, and drive that has made our sector a key pillar of Scotland’s world-renowned tourism offering.
“These figures make the Scottish Government’s continued willingness to thrust a damaging, counter-productive, and badly designed licensing scheme onto our businesses even more baffling.
“One thing is for sure, if the government is to rely on our huge contribution to the Scottish public purse, the last thing they should do is cripple our sector in this way.