Douglas Ross has warned that a Scottish government crackdown on short-term lets could spell trouble for self-catering operators in Moray and dampen hopes of a post-Covid recovery for tourism.
Visit Moray Speyside has said the “huge” number of self-catering properties means the area is “ideally placed” to benefit from visitors seeking socially-distanced breaks next year.
New legislation being brought forward by the Scottish Government to regulate short term lets could land many small operators with hefty bills.
Online giant AirBnB says the cost of obtaining planning permission and paying licensing fees could run to nearly £5,000 for each host in Scotland.
Scottish Conservative MP for Moray Douglas Ross said:
“Tourism will be vital to re-building our local economy in Moray after the pandemic.
“I completely agree with Visit Moray Speyside who believe the large number of self-catering properties here could be a benefit as visitors consider a break next year and will be conscious of social distancing rules.
“Self-catering accommodation would clearly be ideal for anyone who wants space, privacy and fewer interactions with others.
“There is a risk, however, that the changes coming down the road on regulating short-term lets could dampen any recovery for the sector.
“Anyone who has accommodation that falls into the short-term let category will face extra costs that could run to thousands of pounds.
“I understand the thinking behind the legislation, but there could be unintended consequences for areas like Moray where self-catering properties are a big part of the local tourism offering.”