Scottish Islanders Launch Airbnb Alternative to Fight Against Second Homes Crisis

Scotland

Scottish Islanders launched a holiday lettings website called IsleHoliday.com to ensure that more of the island’s tourism revenue stays local. During the first lockdown, Rhoda Meek, one of the founders, created a website for more than 360 businesses from Arran to Ulva to sell their products while the pandemic prevented visitors. 

Meek and other neighbors launched a holiday lettings website to ensure that more of the revenue generated from tourism on the island stays local. The profits generated by tourism will be reinvested in small businesses, community, and housing projects.

I was increasingly aware of the challenge posed by the lack of affordable housing for islanders and the proliferation of short-term lets, and the difficult balance between the need for tourism and the damage that can be done.

– Rhoda Meek

According to statistics, 40% of the houses on the island of Tiree sit empty during the winter. This solution will allow homeowners to still generate income.

People have sunk money into houses they can’t afford to let them on a long-term basis. And with short-term lets now the money is leaving the islands, and often leaving the UK. Our goal is to use the current market to generate revenue that can be used to benefit our communities, particularly in relation to affordable housing and long-term rental options for residents.

– Rhoda Meek

Although IsleHoliday is a platform built mostly to respond to this situation, Meek hopes that by encouraging islander hosts, the new platform will transform the dynamic between locals and tourists. 

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