The news that holiday let firm Airb&b is to block properties from accepting bookings has been welcomed.
Fears were growing among communities in Tayside and Fife over the increased threat of coronavirus spreading from people travelling to use the holiday accommodation.
The online holiday rental site had come under huge public pressure to cease operations after it was found that properties were still being advertised as suitable for guests to use to self-isolate during the coronavirus pandemic.
The firm said it has now stopped properties from receiving new bookings up to at least April 18 when it will reassess the situation.
Airbnb director of public policy Patrick Robinson confirmed hosts across Scotland and the UK would continue to allow the housing of NHS staff and other frontline workers as they continue their critical work.
“Restricting bookings on Airbnb to key workers and other essential stays will allow hosts to continue supporting front-line workers while following Government guidance,” added Mr Robinson.
The move has been welcomed by representatives of community across Tayside and Fife, where there are high numbers of holiday lets.
Councillor Ronnie Proctor, Angus Council Provost, said it was imperative people adhere to the Government’s rules on non-essential travel.
“Airbnb’s decision will come as a relief to many in communities across Angus where there are high numbers of holiday businesses and other holiday businesses.
“We all need to recognise the seriousness of the situation we are currently facing and the part we can all play.
“I do feel however that there will a newfound appreciation for holidaying in the UK at the end of all this and from our part, Angus Council will look to help and support, in whatever way possible, those across the holiday industry in Angus to prosper.”
One Perthshire holiday home owner with nearly 20 years of rental experience across Scotland, who asked not to be identified, also agreed Airb&b’s decision was the right one.
“Airb&b’s announcement is certainly late but welcome as public health in this ongoing crisis must come first,” said the owner.
“For many this is their business and their livelihood so I do think there need to be a level of support from the government regarding loss of earnings certainly to help get people through these unprecedented times.
“However, he said he felt the UK holiday home market will see a spike in demand in the months after the crisis.
He said: “People may not feel confident in travelling abroad in the immediate coronavirus aftermath, depending on what restrictions on foreign travel may or may not continue.
“But people will feel the need to get away after such an unprecedented ordeal and with the right backing, the Scottish holiday industry is in a strong position.”
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