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Chief Executive’s Report 2022

This has been another year of challenge, change and progress.

As Chief Executive, I wish to convey my thanks to the ASSC team for their continued dedication during these unprecedented times and for continuing to go the extra mile, working very long days over an incredibly long period to support our members.

Despite the challenges that we face, as an association, our vision is that the ASSC takes the leading role in supporting and promoting a vibrant and prosperous self-catering sector that is recognised as pivotal to the future of Scotland’s Tourism Economy. Our purpose is to empower our diverse and professional membership, enabling them to deliver exceptional experiences to guests. Our focus is on supporting individuals, businesses and communities in the promotion of Scottish self-catering as a sustainable, inclusive and responsible form of accommodation, at the heart of Scotland’s tourism offer.

This report highlights just some of our achievements over the past 12 months, many of which have been achieved in partnership with others. This is something we take great pride in.

The most significant challenge that we have faced over the last twelve months results from the decision made by the Scottish Government to introduce Short-Term Let Licensing. It has been a long journey since the regulatory discussion ramped up around five years ago when the Scottish Government began to examine the issue through their Expert Panel on the Collaborative Economy. Throughout that period, the ASSC has been proactive and constructive in its relationship with government, offering up alternative solutions but challenging when necessary; and in more recent times, we worked tirelessly to try and persuade government that licensing was the wrong approach. All of this involved hundreds of meetings with Scottish Government Ministers and officials, MSPs, councillors, and industry stakeholders. It included the circulation of briefings and evidence-based reports, not to mention attendance at endless workshops and working groups, as well as near constant press activity.

The ASSC maintain that the Licensing Order is unfit for purpose, lacks an evidence base and is based on groundless fears, anecdote and hearsay. The self-catering sector has been used as a convenient scapegoat for wider policy failures by government, especially on housing. In contrast, our proposal for a mandatory registration scheme with health and safety provisions had cross-industry and cross-party support and would have provided a robust and legally effective regulatory regime.

Right now, businesses offering short-term lets are facing a perfect storm: first, the looming imposition of licensing at a national level; second, planning control areas at a local level; third, the spectre of ongoing Covid-19 uncertainty and changes to consumer behaviour and fourthly, the significant challenges to business as a result of the Cost of Living Crisis. To compound matters, the recent Programme for Government made reference to the resumption of work on a Transient Visitor Levy. Those who have been treading water now fear being totally submerged.

It was not the most auspicious of starts to the year but the ASSC, as ever, have continued to keep fighting on these issues of such importance to our sector.

Read the full report: 2022_CEO

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