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November 6, 2019

Out of control

The concept of overtourism – when there are too many visitors in one destination – appears to sit hand in glove with the exponential growth of the accommodation behemoth, Airbnb.  The extent to which this phenomenon has captured the market is remarkable – almost 20% of all properties on Skye now sit on Airbnb and one in ten properties in central Edinburgh are listed on the site (with 80% listed as whole properties). With many of these properties effectively operating as unregulated hotels, the situation is spiralling out of control. A recent Scottish Government commissioned report will hopefully lead to some much-needed reform.

Anna Evans etal

To read full report – The impact of short term lets on communities across Scotland

Executive Summary

The aim of this research was to assess the impact, positive and negative, of short-term

lets (STLs) in Scotland, with a focus on communities, particularly on neighbourhoods and

housing. It explores the impacts of STLs from the perspective of residents, hosts,

community actors, and local businesses. The Scottish Government appointed The Indigo

House Group (Indigo House) to undertake this independent research. A case study

approach was adopted with five areas selected to demonstrate different types of

communities including urban and rural, and different experiences of STLs. In the urban

context these were Edinburgh’s City Centre ward including the world heritage site (Old

Town, New Town and Tollcross), and Glasgow’s City Centre including the central business

district and residential areas close to the Scottish Exhibition Centre (Merchant City,

Anderston and Yorkhill). In the rural context the areas explored were the East Neuk of Fife

(excluding St Andrews) as an established coastal holiday home area, Fort William with its

expanding Highland tourism centred around outdoor activities, and Eilean a’ Chèo (Skye)1

as an established tourism area based around its landscape and island experience. The

research involved a mixed method approach of secondary data analysis, short surveys of

residents and hosts, and in-depth interviews involving residents, hosts, community actors

and local businesses.