Developing a tourist accommodation registration scheme in England: call for evidence

16 Sep 2022

Developing a tourist accommodation registration scheme in England: call for evidence

Ministerial foreword

Last year’s Tourism Recovery Plan sets out how the UK government will support a swift recovery from the pandemic and help the tourism industry move toward a more accessible, innovative, resilient and sustainable model. We are determined that tourism — vital for driving growth, creating jobs and enriching lives — can reach its full potential in every region.

We want to ensure England continues to provide a safe and competitive guest accommodation offer. We have long been able to boast about the quality and range of England’s guest accommodation, from world-class offerings like the Ritz through to the quintessential English bed and breakfast and country cottage. Yet the shape of England’s guest accommodation landscape has changed over the last fifteen years.

Most notably, the rise of digital platforms such as Airbnb and have led to significant growth in the range and volume of guest accommodation on the market, particularly short-term and holiday lets. These platforms have brought many benefits, including new routes to market for many forms of accommodation business, expanded consumer choice and access to new income streams for homeowners. We recognise however that some have raised concerns about compliance with existing regulations and the impact on local communities.

In the Tourism Recovery Plan, we set out our intention to consider a Tourist Accommodation Registration Scheme in England. The purpose of this call for evidence is therefore twofold. First, we want to get a better understanding of the benefits and challenges of the increase in short-term and holiday letting we have seen in England in recent years. In particular, we want to focus on the size and shape of the market; the application, awareness and enforcement of regulations regarding the health and safety of customers; and on the impact on the housing market and local communities. Second, we want to gather initial evidence on the potential impact of a range of possible policy responses in this space. Both will help us to consider whether there are options we should pursue further through consultation.

Some countries and cities — including Scotland and Northern Ireland — have introduced measures in recent years to respond to concerns about short-term lettings, such as registration and licensing schemes. The government would like to better understand the impact of such schemes before deciding whether further regulation is necessary in England.

We go into this call for evidence with an open mind. Your views will ensure we develop proportionate proposals, addressing the challenges whilst preserving the benefits. We intend to consult on specific options later in 2022, and we are keen to get the views of all parties and work collaboratively across the industry to find the right solution.

See here

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