Welsh Government’s Visitor Accommodation Registration Scheme a ‘Positive Step’

Plans to introduce a statutory registration and licensing scheme for all visitor accommodation in Wales have been announced by the Deputy Minister for Arts, Sport and Tourism, Dawn Bowden today with legislation expected to be introduced to the Senedd before the end of the year.

The registration and licensing scheme is intended to deliver a register of visitor accommodation types and to enable providers to demonstrate compliance with safety and quality requirements.

It is intended to enhance the visitor experience and visitor safety expectations in Wales by ensuring anyone who lets out visitor accommodation meets a relevant set of standards.

This follows a public consultation, extensive engagement with the sector, as well as a recently published survey that found 89% of visitors considered it important the accommodation they stay in is operating safely.

Deputy Minister for Arts, Sport and Tourism, Dawn Bowden said: Tourism makes an important contribution to the Welsh economy and to Welsh life so this information will be crucial in helping us better understand the sector, as well as helping to inform future policy decisions at a local and national level.

The visitor economy is changing rapidly, and while the growth of online booking platforms has brought many benefits, there are concerns around compliance with existing requirements and the impact of short-term lets on housing stock and our communities.

I’d like to thank businesses across the visitor economy for the enormous resilience they’ve shown through the unprecedented challenges of recent years. The input from the sector, visitors and communities has been invaluable to our work so far. We will continue this engagement as we develop the scheme.

Trade body UKHospitality Cymru has long been campaigning for a scheme that will bring short-term lets up to the standard of the established accommodation sector.

Today’s announcement from the Welsh Government to first introduce a registration scheme, followed by a licensing scheme, will go a long way to achieving that.

David Chapman, Executive Director of UKHospitality Cymru, said: “The Welsh Government is absolutely right to create a level playing field and require all visitor accommodation to operate safely and to appropriate standards.

“I’m pleased that short-term lets will be brought up to the standards of the wider accommodation sector and the introduction of a registration scheme is a positive step to develop a proper understanding of where these businesses are.

“Not only will it demonstrate just how important our sector is to the Welsh economy, it can also provide additional information and data that may be useful to tackle wider issues, like housing and planning.

“The eventual move to a licensing scheme to ensure short-term lets are compliant with safety standards is something we support, provided there is no additional red tape or cost placed on well-established and already heavily regulated businesses such as hotels and holiday parks.

“These businesses are already subject to rigorous health and safety inspections, so the focus of the scheme should be on ensuring short-term lets are complying with regulations.

“The Welsh Government has listened closely to the thoughts and concerns of UKHospitality Cymru on the development of this scheme and I look forward to working with them to move this forward.”