Rant Warning! and The Tourists, ‘So Good To Be Back Home Again’

Every now and again we like to have a little rant on our blogs. These rants don’t tend to be about music (although we usually find an appropriate song to tag onto the end) but instead are about something in our day to day lives that is really hacking us off.

Over the last few weeks I have been totally preoccupied with the new legislation around the letting out of holiday accommodation. I don’t tend to mention my little holiday hideaway around here any more, as I’m acutely aware the owners of such premises are being blamed for pretty much all of society’s ills at present. The housing shortage, the hollowing out of communities, noisy party flats full of stags and hens…!

In my defence, the little terraced cottage we took over from our friends a few years back is only seven years old and has never been anything other than a holiday cottage since it was built. It’s just a two-minute walk away from my own house so I’m always there to greet guests and am available to help them with whatever they might need during their stay. Before accepting the booking, I can find out a bit more about the reason for their stay and so am always able to make sure the cottage is a good fit for their needs. No stag or hen parties have ever happened on my watch. In the last year I have had three sets of guests mention in their review that mine is the best holiday let they have ever stayed in, and that I’m a great host! Sounds as if I’m blowing my own trumpet doesn’t it, but despite it being very tying (as I am in effect a 24-hour concierge service), and hard work, I have learnt the ropes and feel as if I’m now pretty good at this hospitality malarkey.


‘So, what’s the problem Alyson?’ I hear you ask.

As of April 2023, Scotland will become the most heavily regulated country in the world when it comes to holiday/short-term lets. The success of the big booking platforms has meant that in places like Edinburgh’s Royal Mile, around 80% of the flats are short-term lets. This has understandably upset many of the locals and those who can’t find affordable long-term rental accommodation, so change was badly needed. Sadly, the legislation which came about as a response, is going to apply to the whole of Scotland, so even those little B&Bs, chalets and cottages on the West Coast which have been very efficiently and safely operating for decades, find themselves caught up in a welter of rules and red tape that would challenge even the most astute business brain.

At this point I just want to make it clear that I am in no way complaining about the new rules and regulations, as lord knows they were needed – it had become like the Wild West with anyone and everyone offering up a decidedly dodgy spare room with no checks being done whatsoever. My issue is this – I have been working on getting the appropriate certificates and adaptations for the cottage for over two months now and still have a long way to go. It has been very expensive, and will continue to be so, as it seems my beautiful glass doors are now going to have to be replaced too. My wee place is going to look like a miniature chain hotel with ugly signage, fire doors, and fire extinguishers in every room. It’s going to scream, ‘Are you sure you want to stay here? There is almost certainly going to be a fire what with the need for all this apparatus everywhere.’

That in itself is bad enough, but for me, and most of my other rule-abiding friends in the business, the biggest concern is that it’s not going to be policed, as no budget has been put in place for the manpower you would need to do so. As ever, those of us who jump through all the hoops and do the right thing are going to have to co-exist with those who will ignore all the new legislation and more than likely, get away with it. Anecdotally, more than half the people who offer up accommodation are still unaware of the new legislation or think it doesn’t apply to them, and that’s where we are with only a few months left to get everything in place.

But we’re going to make it really hard for you…

At the moment I am in two minds about whether I want to carry on, despite having done so much of the work needed already. I had thought the new legislation would make things better, and safer, for guests to our little country but from what I’m hearing, most of those small-scale hosts who have always followed the rules and operated in a really professional manner are going to give up, leaving only those who give the holiday letting business a bad name. Tourism in Edinburgh, which has specifically been designated a planning control zone, will fall off a cliff as very few of the properties there will be allowed to keep operating. I think we can say farewell to the Edinburgh Festival which has been the world’s largest arts gathering for decades now. I also fear for those crofting communities in the far-flung corners of the Highlands, where renting out rooms to tourists over the summer months is the only way they can get by over the tough winter months.

But I am aware this is a First World problem, and in the midst of a cost-of-living crisis this rant is perhaps verging on being tone-deaf. For those of us in areas where tourism is seasonal however, and who rely on the income from their budget range accommodation to see them through the rest of the year, it is causing real anxiety. It will take a year or two to truly filter through, but I fear all that will be left will be expensive hotel rooms, luxury homes, and corporate aparthotels. Morag from Ross-shire will have to shut the door of her wee holiday cottage for good, as it seems we can no longer trust families to spend more than five minutes in our places without setting fire to themselves, interlinked fire-alarms notwithstanding. It’s going to change the face of tourism in Scotland which makes me really sad. If you want to come and stay in some really poor unregulated accommodation however, I’m sure it will still be on offer, as no-one is going to make the effort to police it.

As for the song, I had a bit of an epiphany earlier – I was thinking…, tourists, Scots returning home to visit from elsewhere… and I remembered a concert I went to in Aberdeen many years ago when local girl Annie Lennox was lead singer with the band The Tourists. It was 1980 and they had just reached the No. 8 spot in the UK Singles Chart with this song, So Good To Be Back Home Again. Annie was indeed delighted to be back in Aberdeen that night in front of a home audience, so apt indeed. Luckily for her she could get a bed for the night at her parents’ house. For newbie bands travelling around the country in 2023, I fear they will find it nigh impossible to find any reasonably priced accommodation. Tighter rules were definitely needed but I suspect they have gone just too far, and tourists will find it really hard to visit our lovely country from next year.

So Good To Be Back Home Again by The Tourists:


Not looking for any feedback on this one as I am aware this topic is a controversial one. I’m just sad that I’ve put so much effort into my place only to have been faced first with a pandemic when we all had to stay at home, and now this. I am by nature an abider of ‘the rules’ and certainly don’t want to risk getting a criminal record for having missed a tick box on my licence. It’s a big worry for many of us. The real casualty I fear is going to be one of our most celebrated industries, Scottish tourism.

Until next time…

So Good To Be Back Home Again Lyrics
(Song by Peet Coombes)

It’s so good to be back here again
Having fun with all my friends
When everybody says hello
You know there’s nowhere else to go
It’s so good
(Ooh, ooh, ooh)
Yeah, it’s so good
(Ooh, ooh, ooh)
It’s so good to be back home again

Baby, I’ve been so far away
Been so lonely
Every night and day
There’s only one thing I wanna do
I wanna get back home to you

It’s so good
(Ooh, ooh, ooh)
Yeah, it’s so good
(Ooh, ooh, ooh)
It’s so good to be back home again

It’s so good
(Ooh, ooh, ooh)
Yeah, it’s so good
(Ooh, ooh, ooh)
It’s so good to be back home again

Baby, I’ve been so far away
Been so lonely
Every night and day
When my baby holds me tight
You know I want to stay the night

It’s so good
(Ooh, ooh, ooh)
Yeah, it’s so good
(Ooh, ooh, ooh)
It’s so good to be back home again

It’s so good to be back home again

It’s so good to be back home again

Author: Alyson

Whenever I hear an old song on the radio, I am immediately transported back to those days - I know I'm not alone here and want to record those memories for myself and for the people in them. 50 years ago the song "Alfie" was written by my favourite songwriting team Bacharach and David - The opening line to that song was "What's it all about?" and I'm hoping that by writing this blog, I might find the answer to that question.

12 thoughts on “Rant Warning! and The Tourists, ‘So Good To Be Back Home Again’”

    1. Yes Neil, once tourism has been decimated by the really strict new legislation, they will have to loosen the rules again. Sadly, most of us by then will have either spent the thousands of pounds needed to fulfill all the requirements only to find them become ‘advisory’ or we’ll have given up totally never to return. Change was needed but my goodness, it’s really gone too far.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m sure you would Graeme but sadly if I can’t tick all the boxes on the licence checklist I’ll have to shut up shop! As I said there will of course be lots of unregulated and unsafe places still available, but they will hike their prices up due to the lack of competition (if caught however they might end up in jail).

      I’ve heard of many hosts in Orkney giving up. Not easy to get all the certificates done up there or get the various bits of work carried out to fulfull the licence requirements. How we have managed to run our places all these years quite successfully without killing off our guests I have no idea. The shadow of Cameron House looms large.

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    1. Just in Scotland at the moment but no doubt the rest of the country will follow. Legislation was sorely needed and I was in favour of it but I have an awful feeling it’s going to kill one of our biggest industries.

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  1. As Rol says – argh, so disheartening – and it all seems a bit OTT what with signage, fire doors and extinguishers, etc – when cottages such as yours are meant to be more of a home from home, and therein lies their appeal. Also, I really dislike the attitude of the regulators that somehow adults can no longer be trusted to be responsible for themselves and their own safety generally in any situation it seems. Different if you’re staying 8 floors up in a room with unopenable windows and long corridors in a massive Premier Inn, but in a little cottage?! I remember once some years ago guest fell in the little pond in the garden of the holiday cottage next door to us, and another time an over exuberant child tripped on the narrow stairs – accidents happen, no-one was sued. But you wonder now if that’s a factor too – litigation. Really hope your efforts and the expense you’ve gone to will pay off; in the meantime, good on you for having a rant, sometimes we just have to! – and good luck…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I really shouldn’t have written about this around here but sometimes you just need a good rant…!

      I totally get why there had to be legislation put in place and I was at first really glad as I thought oh good, it will get rid of the really poor providers and those places that have been overrun with holiday lets can be controlled a bit better. It has gone just too far though and is so strict that it’s making the really good established hosts decide to give up. My place is always described as a ‘home away from home’ but with all the ugly signage, emergency lighting and fire extinguishers everywhere, it looks anything but now. The awful thing is that there is no way it can be policed, so just like with many other new bits of legislation, the steep fines will probably never materialise and the regulations will become ‘advisory’ – by then we will probably have few nice places left for tourists to stay. I really do fear for the Edinburgh Festival and I’m glad our summit was last year, otherwise our reasonably priced accommodation would have been impossible to find. Big decisions to be made.

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  2. Give me a bothy in the middle of nowhere!

    I’d tell folks the digs are free of charge; no money changes hands whatsoever – people are just living in your second home gratis. However, before they leave each guest gets to name a flower in the garden – for a sum very similar to what they could expect to stay in a holiday cottage in a delightful part of Scotland…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Sounds like a plan but couldn’t happen up here as even the humble yurt, pod, and bothy is going to need a licence before you let people inside and there are even rules for the free gratis thing. For those of us who are by nature law-abiding, we are struggling with all the bureaucracy and red tape. We even need architectural site plans of the area, and floor plans – should be easy for a bothy or yurt to be fair.

      I was only going to keep going for another couple of years anyway, but this might bring it all forward.

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  3. This can’t possibly be good news for an industry already struggling to get back on an even keel following the pandemic. As Grahame so rightly said, the new regulations do seem to be like using a hammer to crack a nut. I feel for you Alyson and don’t blame you for ranting one bit.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Sometimes our blogs are the best places for a rant, as we can’t keep moaning in the real-world – Sorry blogging buddies! I really do fear for Scottish tourism and have already heard that people are not booking a holiday in Scotland for next year in case it is cancelled when their accommodation doesn’t get a licence. What a big mess.

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