Guidance on how to drive on single track roads and reminders to dispose of litter properly and respect the natural environment should be issued to all AirBnB guests staying in the Highlands, a leading MSP has said.
Kate Forbes MSP believes the move could be one of several measures to encourage responsible and sustainable tourism in popular rural areas in her constituency, particularly at hot spots like the Morar Sands near Mallaig, the Fairy Pools on Skye, and Chanonry Point on the Black Isle.
With tourism in the Highlands growing, more local people are embracing the economic and social opportunities of home-sharing through AirBnB, which enables hosts to generate extra income in areas with fewer employment opportunities.
Kate Forbes, MSP for Skye, Lochaber and Badenoch, explained: “AirBnB boast hundreds, if not thousands, of hosts across the Highlands as figures released last month made clear.
“This is a unique platform with the unusual opportunity of being able to reach thousands of tourists relatively quickly and easily.
“It’s clear to me that local people get frustrated with the kind of tourism that ignores the fact that real people live, work and raise families in the Highlands all year round. Most visitors to the Highlands are respectful, but it goes without saying that there has also been an increase in litter, confused driving on single track roads and certain types of unhelpful behaviour.
“I am calling on AirBnB to use their platform to distribute clear guidelines to all guests about what is, and isn’t, appropriate in rural areas like the Highlands.
“In particular, there is a need to make it crystal clear that rural communities are very hospitable, but the environment and the people deserve respect.
“I would like to see AirBnB enabling all hosts to distribute guidance to guests on the importance of protecting the natural environment by taking litter home, how to drive on single track roads and show respect to other drivers, and finally, a reminder that local residents are here all year round.”