Ticking Timebomb in Tourism Accommodation for this Summer

Thursday, February 22, 2024. 10:24am

Ticking Timebomb  – Máire ní Mhurchú, Chair of Irish Self-Catering Federation

The Irish Government is planning to bring in a Register for STR this summer for all Self-catering properties, to be managed by Failte Ireland on behalf of the Department of Tourism. At the same time the Department of Housing plan to issue updated Guidelines for Planners and Owners of Short-term Rental (STR) properties, which will be a pre-requisite for all STR to have within 6 months of the Register being approved. 

As owners of micro family self-catering businesses all over Ireland the ISCF is very worried about the timing of the 2 pieces of legislation arriving at the same time. Most of our members are micro family businesses. This income is very important to families and the local economy in rural Ireland.

The ISCF has repeatedly warned the Government that the 2 pieces of legislation at the same time would be catastrophic for the tourism industry. The EU Commission has also flagged in a document this week that the that issues may arise with its implementation if other factors such as planning is deemed a prerequisite without bilateral agreement. 


The Government will be forcing many small tourism businesses in Rural Ireland to close down or take their tourism offering into the black market. This will have a detrimental effect on accommodation offerings in rural Ireland, at a time when Government contracts are taken up more and more hotel beds.

The knock-on effect on restaurants and activity providers can be seen with the many business closures this year already. In the town of Kenmare which has 2500 residents, there has been a loss of self-catering with 796 beds lost and a total of 1384 beds in total (including hotels). This is detrimental to the town, with a conservative economic value of €11 mil local economic value to the town. This is detrimental to a tourism town all over Ireland. 

The Minister for Tourism Catherine Martin revised downed the figure for self catering she expect to close down from 12,000 to 10700 in 2024. The lack of support for existing self-catering businesses is staggering, and at the same time Government contracts for HAP accommodation by local authorities for STR registered properties, and the loss of accommodation due to Government Contracts. In the UK the Government stated that all existing Self-catering beds will be reclassified in planning terms, with new businesses needing planning permission. This has not been indicated in Ireland to date. 

At a time when the Green Party want us to fly less for holidays overseas, they are also closing down the more economical self-catering sector. New businesses cannot enter

The market and farmers who want to diversify into Glamping cannot get planning permission at present. This is a ticking time bomb for tourism in 2024.


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