MSP calls on Airbnb to issue driving and litter guidelines

Airbnb should tell Highland visitors how to drive on single track roads and urge them to stop dropping litter, a MSP has said.

Kate Forbes MSP

The SNP’s Kate Forbes said the online accommodation platform should issue guidelines on appropriate behaviour for the region.

Half of the top ten Scottish Airbnb destinations are in the Highlands and more than 2,200 active hosts provided accommodation for more than 148,000 visitors in 2017, figures released last month show.

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Inverness ranked third in Scotland, followed by Skye and Oban, with Kyle of Lochalsh in ninth place and Broadford on Skye in tenth.

Ms Forbes, who represents Skye, Lochaber and Badenoch, said: “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.”

An Airbnb spokesperson said: “Airbnb is built on the principles of making communities stronger and helping guests live like locals.

“It’s why we are already preparing various guides for visitors to Scotland, having presented the idea to policymakers earlier this year, and following the production of similar guides in cities across the world.”