Rip Off Britain: Simon Calder issues advice about passports
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The proposed system would require holiday accommodation providers to register their property. It is hoped the scheme would make tourists safer and combat overtourism.
But could it end up putting some tourists off? Malcolm Bell, CEO of Visit Cornwall, spoke to Express.co.uk to explain the plans.
He said: “I was brought up in Cornwall in the 70s and 80s. At that time, all of a sudden we were very popular, every road into any resort, there were B&B signs shoved in hedges.
“So then a lot of things like fire regulations were brought in as people got involved without thinking about the consequences.”
Malcolm said that a new compulsory registration system would ensure guest safety as providers would have to comply with legislation.
He said: “The most important thing is the safety of the guest. With platforms like Airbnb it makes it very easy for people to put their property on the market as a holiday let without fully or even marginally understanding what they’ve done.
“There’s a lot of people that have started putting properties on particularly in the last two years during the pandemic.
“That’s resulted in people entering the market and buying houses without realising the safety responsibilities.”
Malcolm thinks the plan will protect guests from threats such as Legionnaires’ disease which can be transmitted in unclean hot tubs.
As Cornwall was overrun with visitors during 2021, many residents complained that local infrastructure couldn’t cope.
Some local residents have also been priced out of areas as house prices surge to meet the high demand for holiday lets.
Malcolm thinks registration could ease the issue. He said: “I think some people, when they realise what’s involved in a holiday let, might decide not to do it and return to residential letting.
“We’ll also have absolute knowledge of how many rooms are let out so I would hope residents think it’s a positive thing.
“It’s been welcomed on social media by people who normally have a go at us. But most probably think it’s too little, too late.”
Malcolm told Express.co.uk it could cost people as much as £5,000 to bring a property up to standard for holidays.
He said: “I think a lot of the entrants entering the holiday market last year were the worst examples of people exploiting the price issue.
“People heard they could get £3,000 for a week’s rental but in a normal year they’ll realise they can’t charge that.
“There’s the cleaning of the property every week and the checking of the property, and then they’ll think it’s not worth it.”
Malcolm said if the plan goes ahead it will take holiday let owners around 15 minutes to register their property.
They’ll then be invited to relevant webinars and awareness sessions as well as educated on the regulations.
The plan is also supported by the South East Cornwall Tourism Association, Penzance & District Tourism Association, We are Bude, Tamar Valley, Visit Falmouth and Land’s End Accommodation.
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