• Cyril McAree

ISCF Warns Ireland Faces Tourism Crisis


Irish politicians are travelling the world this week to cement old relationships and build new ones for the benefit of Ireland’s tourism economy however 1 million tourists may not be able to visit Ireland as a result of having less accommodation to choose from, according to the Irish Self Catering Federation. 2,000 tourism jobs are under threat as a consequence of the new legislation proposed for self-catering accommodation units.

On the 25th October 2018, Minister for Housing, Mr Eoghan Murphy TD, issued a press release detailing proposed changes to self-catering tourism accommodation. The press release was titled ‘Bringing homes back into the long-term rental market’ and outlined his aim to introduce new regulations governing the letting of self-catering units.

Peter Downey, President of the Irish Self Catering Federation is extremely concerned about the implementation of the new legislation and commented “These proposals will result in the potential loss of 2,000 jobs and will not solve the current housing crisis – but will cause a major crisis in the tourism accommodation sector. The proposed legislation is based on initiatives that have failed throughout Europe and do nothing to address the longer-term rental issues arising from the ‘surge’ in house sharing.”

To highlight this impending crisis the Irish Self Catering Federation states that “each and every one of these units will be affected by the planning proposals and it will result in an estimated drop in self-catering supply of 20% – 30% countrywide. This will result in a loss of over 350,000 room nights across the country and at least 1 million less tourists visiting Ireland. This will cost the exchequer in excess of €15million and the loss of 2,000 jobs.”

Mr. Downey states “the Irish Self Catering Federation utterly opposes these proposals. Both the Department of Housing and the Department of Tourism have ignored these facts and propose using this blunt instrument to virtually destroy a fully functioning self-catering tourism accommodation sector. Minister Murphy’s proposals indicate a total lack of understanding of the current rules and standards which the majority of holiday home providers work within.”

“Despite numerous requests neither Department have produced any reports to support their decision to introduce this legislation. Recklessly they use hearsay and quote fabricated statistics from sites such as AirDNA to support this legislation. Currently in Ireland there are 8,000 self-catering units actively available to rent. Less than 10% (780) of these are available in Dublin, not 5,000 as is regularly referred to, again a stat acquired from AirDNA.”

To highlight this impending crisis the Irish Self Catering Federation states that “each and every one of these units will be affected by the planning proposals and it will result in an estimated drop in self-catering supply of 20% – 30% countrywide. This will result in a loss of over 350,000 room nights across the country and at least 1 million less tourists visiting Ireland, costing the exchequer €15million and a loss of 2,000 jobs.”

The ISCF opposes the current proposals for the following reasons:

The current proposals are proven to not be fit for purpose. They are based on legislation which failed in cities such as Berlin, Paris, London and Amsterdam

  1. The Department of housing incorrectly states that all those running self catering tourism lets have planning to do so – 80% of units, do NOT have planning for change of use.

  2. Permission will be in the hands of each county council. This is unworkable and will allow bias and lack of clarity to creep in to a sector as decisions are made on a case by cases basis.

  3. The proposed regulations target established operators who now must apply for change of use planning whilst owners of principal primary residences do not.

  4. The ripple effect will be felt by restaurants, bars, retailers and tourist attractions across Ireland who will see a decline in business. Guests who use self-catering accommodation are shows to use more local services.

The Irish Self Catering Association proposes a set criteria for property standards and tourist service in our sector that all operators must achieve to receive an operating license.

  • Launch a register for self-catering units across Ireland. Operators will be issued with a licence number. Only licensed operators can be listed on distribution platforms

  • Operators of self catering tourism lets must achieve minimum property standards, prove insurance and tax compliance.

  • These proposals will help maintain the high level of tourism product and alleviate the problem of rogue operators.

The Irish Self Catering Federation are calling on both the Ministers for Housing and Tourism to engage in meaning discussions with us. As professional operators we have the expertise and know how this industry works and operates, knowledge which to date the government has failed to listen to.

#IrishSelfCateringFederation #IrishTourism

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