Leaders from across Scotland’s tourism industry have called on the Scottish Government to delay its plans for regulations that threaten to cripple short-term letting.
The group of 38 prominent figures from across the industry has written to Minister for Local Government, Housing, and Planning, Kevin Stewart, and his ministerial colleagues, warning him that licensing poses a significant threat to the £723million sector at a crucial time.
Signatories include the ASSC, UKHospitality, Scotland Food and Drink, Airbnb, the Federation of Small Business, the Confederation of British Industry, and the Scottish Chamber of Commerce.
The letter argues that the changed circumstances since the hastily cobbled-together ideas were first proposed mean that they are even less fit for purpose than previously thought.
Self-catering, a key component of Scotland’s tourism offering, has played a vital role in the country’s fight against COVID-19.
ASSC members shut down their properties early and worked to develop strict, government-backed, cleaning protocols in order to reopen safely and get Scottish tourism moving again.
The proposed licensing scheme, and other regulations, has sent a chill through the industry, causing self-catering operators to consider their futures and think about them much more negatively.
The ASSC, which represents the self-catering industry in Scotland, has worked closely with the Scottish Government for some time and is now calling on ministers to listen to its expert advice and that of the other organisations signing the letter.
Furthermore, all signatories to the letter have expressed a sincere interest in working productively with the Scottish Government in the future to ensure that the tourism sector works for everyone who depends on it.
ASSC Chief Executive, Fiona Campbell, said:
“The regulations that self-catering is facing may well inflict the kind of damage on our vital sector, key to creating the memory-making holidays Scotland is famous for, from which it will never recover.
“That is why our friends, peers, and colleagues from across Scottish tourism have joined with us to send this clear, unambiguous, and direct message to Mr Stewart and his ministerial colleagues – rethink this or you’ll hurt us irreversibly.
“COVID-19 has done a lot of damage to Scotland’s economy, the last thing we need is to compound it with this poorly thought out, ham-fisted, and counterproductive act of sabotage”