Scottish tourism chief: Evidence points to significant loss

The Herald

Scotland’s short-term let sector represents a significant part of the tourism economyand contributes directly to local communities.

The Scottish Tourism Alliance, along with colleagues from a number of businessorganisations within in Scotland have consistently highlighted the unintended consequences of the STL legislation directly to the Scottish Government and evidenced a picture of irreversible damage to Scotland’s tourism offering and future competitiveness.

The evidence which we see unfolding points to a significant loss of availability of the variety of accommodation that visitors of today and tomorrow seek.

Insights from the major global and sectoral booking platforms highlight that there is a significant and increasing level of demand by today’s traveller, both business and leisure, who are searching for a wide range of accommodation options.

Scotland can ill afford to diminish its blend of accommodation in the context of today’s travel trends in a market where global competition has never been tougher.
We already know of several tour operators trying to book accommodation for 2024 and experiencing the growing loss of available short-term lets available as a result of this impending policy.

It is vital that we have the right blend and sufficient volume of accommodation on offer to attract business and leisure visitors who spend money in local communities – our shops, restaurants, pubs, bars, visitor attractions and in the night-time economy.  All those businesses, now more than ever rely on there being a sustainable growing level of trade.

A conservative estimate of the economic impact, according to the Association of Scotland’s Self Caterers, should legislation proceed in its current form suggests that 7,000 jobs will be lost with a potential £133m hit to the economy. That is the direct impact on self-catering operators; the actual figure is likely to exceed this in relation to the impact on activity providers (cleaners/laundry providers), attractions and hospitality.

The tourism sector is still recovering from the effects of the pandemic and Brexit and can ill afford to have any barriers or the introduction of economically damaging policies which compromise its ability to recover to a sustainable level and be competitive both on price and available tourism product offer, particularly when so many other nations are investing heavily in their tourism proposition financially and with supportive policy.