Highland Council position on self-catering licenses welcomed by tourism organizations

Simon Ovenden, Scottish Land and Property Policy Advisor.

Three major Scottish tourism organizations have welcomed a motion passed by the Highland Council in support of the self-catering industry in Scotland.

The Association of Scotland’s Self-Caterers (ASSC), Scottish Land and Estates (SLE) and the Scottish Bed and Breakfast Association (SBBA) all expressed thanks to councilors who passed the motion, which urges the Scottish Government to drop its licensing scheme for autonomous catering.

The council motion calls on the Scottish government to adopt instead the compulsory registration scheme proposed by the ASSC, with the SNP’s licensing scheme being dismissed as ‘not suitable for the Highlands’.

The motion was adopted by 20 votes to 18 in the full council.

Leaders of the three organizations gathered to congratulate the council for a lively debate and for showing its support for Scottish tourism.

Association of Scotland’s Self-Caterers Managing Director Fiona Campbell said: ‘At a time when businesses across Scotland, especially those of us in tourism, are focused on recovering from Covid -19 and people returning to our doors, it is completely laughable that the Edinburgh administration would consider trying to hinder our recovery with such a punitive and restrictive regime.

“Fortunately cold heads seem to be in charge in the Highlands and I am delighted to be able to thank the Highland Council for passing this motion which shows their support for us.

“Independent properties in the Highlands offer some of the best vacation experiences in the country and it’s good to know that the local government in the area is supporting us in what we do.”

The short-term rental and tourism industry at large has repeatedly called on the Scottish Government to listen to the concerns of industry experts and opt for a more flexible, proportionate and user-friendly registration system for companies.

These concerns include fears that if licensing is introduced, particularly in the context of the Covid-19 pandemic, there is a real possibility that many small businesses will see their livelihoods threatened.

Scottish B&B Association President David Weston said: “Family-run B & Bs and guesthouses are the backbone of Scotland’s tourism offering and a vital contributor to the fragile economies of our communities. rural and coastal, highlands and islands.

“We therefore warmly welcome the support of the Highland Council for our call, alongside ASSC and others, on the Scottish Government to abandon the licensing regime as currently proposed and instead adopt a low cost or no cost hosting registration scheme as we suggested. since 2017.

“This would allow the Scottish Government to meet its goals of protecting consumer safety, leveling the playing field between compliant businesses and new operators on the platforms, while avoiding the costs and burdens for micro-businesses that represent the current proposals. “

Scottish Lands and Estates Policy Advisor Simon Ovenden added: “We are pleased to see a practical and proportionate response from the Highland Council on the issue of short-term rentals legislation.

“We hope the Scottish government listens to the Highland Council as it is local authorities across Scotland who will be responsible for the implementation of national regulations.

“Although we have recently welcomed the Scottish Government recognizing the collective call from stakeholders, including SLE, for a serious reassessment of its short-term rental proposals, there remain unresolved issues and we look forward to meeting the Secretary cabinet soon to find a viable solution. for all and to ensure that rural needs, including those in the Highlands, are fully met. ”

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