Review Tourism Strategies with Residents in Places with Over Tourism

While we are in lockdown we need to look at the areas of Scotland, e.g. Skye and Edinburgh where over tourism is causing problems for residents. This cannot just be a consultation, it must be co-production where residents are in at the start shaping the agenda.

Why the contribution is important

For too long tourism has been dictated by the idea of continuous growth at all costs. Strategies and plans have been drawn up by the tourism industry bodies and businesses who are not using a wellbeing economy or public health approach to the industry. This needs to change. Never before has there been a better time to review these plans and involved residents in shaping them from the start. The lived expertise of residents is an untapped resource for building more cohesive communities, while still welcoming a better model of tourism. More tourists doesn't always mean more money. We also have a responsibility to address the climate emergency which is not helped by the current model of short term tourists where they don't have time to experience Scottish culture, but rather instead move from place to place a day at a time, taking a series of selfie shots for showing online. In Edinburgh and Skye short term lets have displaced residents and raised living costs beyond what people can afford on average wages. The legislation must be brought forward urgently to enable Councils to control short term lets in their areas. This will also address the very serious problems of homelessness in the long term. Such stability will support better mental health for the residents and manage social distancing better. In Skye the over provision of short term lets has affected the ability of public services to recruit and maintain their essential staff workforce, and young people have been forced to leave their community. In Edinburgh, the pandemic has shown up the decimated resident population in the city centre and other hotspots around the city, and the lack of essential shops that have changed to tourist shops. This has meant fewer neighbours to call on in this pandemic and people travelling longer journeys to get essential items. Short term lets have a well documented history of issues around anti-social behaviour from the customers of the short term lets that have been operating with the appropriate planning permission. As these short term let companies do not share their data the tracking of the virus has been hampered, with travellers being able to stay in tenements with people who are at high risk of serious consequences from the virus, with no one being sure who they are.

by DHenderson on May 11, 2020 at 05:49PM

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