Scottish islanders set up rental site to benefit local communities
Scotland: Scottish Islanders have created a new vacation rental website to generate income for local island communities and invest in affordable housing.
IsleHoliday.com was put in place to ensure that the profits generated by tourism are reinvested in the local communities they serve as a social enterprise project.
Meanwhile, Rhoda Meek, a resident of Tiree Island and founder of Isle Develop CIC, which exists to build innovative and profitable island businesses, has created an online directory – Isle.com – which features around 600 small businesses on 26 islands that depend on tourism to keep doing business. The directory received seed funding from the Scottish Islands Federation.
IsleHoliday will accept vacation rental listings from all Scottish Isles, ensuring visitors can book and make payments, but it will also directly help fund housing surveys, projects and campaigns to maintain island accommodation affordable in the long term for residents.
Many islanders fear that the proliferation of global platforms such as Airbnb has reduced the supply of housing for locals. This sentiment is all the more heightened when one looks to the mainland, where the Scottish government is seeking to enforce stricter regulations and to make council licensing mandatory for short-term rented properties.
According to the latest proposals, properties used for short-term rentals will require licensing by 2024 at the latest.
It follows the Scottish Government’s publication of a report on short-term rentals in which it bolsters its focus on tackling rental growth in tourist areas such as Edinburgh, and calls on various authorities to fix the conditions necessary for the granting of a permit, while allowing uncapped fees to cover the costs incurred.
The Scottish Independent Association [ASSC] denounced the proposals tabled as “heavy” and “reckless”.
Discussing the launch of IsleHoliday.com and Isle.com, Meek said The Herald Scotland: “The housing problem on the islands is complex and cannot be solved overnight. It will take time to change this situation and involve action at the level of local and national governments.
“The short-term rental market both attracts people to the islands and pulls properties out of the local market.
“This translates into a lack of affordable housing and long-term rentals. Isle20.com has shown me that there is both an appetite to support the Scottish Islands – because people feel a real affinity with them – and that there is enormous power in working together as communities. islanders.
“By working with accommodation providers and local organizations, we can offer rich information about island life before visitors arrive; from driving on single track roads to public facilities, events and large local businesses to visit during their stay.
“Visitors will have a better experience if we set their expectations correctly. Our islands are not empty deserts to be discovered. They are full of heritage and history, present and hopefully future. These are gems to discover.
“We want to put faces to the scene and start changing the narrative from destination first to community first,” she added.