IRISH SELF-CATERING CONFERENCE
The Annual Conference of the Irish Self-Catering Federation took place on 10th November, online this year once again, and live on Facebook. The Theme for this year’s event was “Recovery and connectivity in 2022”.
There was an impressive line-up of speakers, with an opening address delivered on behalf of Minister for Tourism, Catherine Martin TD. During this address, she thanked
ISCF’s Máire Ní Mhurchu, Peter Downey, and Jacinta Doolin for their collaborative work with the Department of Tourism spoke of the need for regulatory controls to balance the short-term rental sector against long-term accommodation requirements based on best international practice. She announced that the record tourism budget for 2022 includes €4 Million set aside for the new register, along with record funding for Tourism Ireland’s overseas marketing, including the Green Button campaign.
Introducing speakers and chairing the panel discussion was travel writer and journalist, Eoghan Corry. He spoke of the ISCF marking out the professionals from the amateurs and congratulated the Executive Council on their Covid Lockdown projects – a new website, and a Quality Assurance Framework.
1. Launching of Website and Quality Assurance System
Howard Knott, Vice-Chair ISCF, launched a national listing website for members LetsGoSelfCatering.ie with direct booking with owners. This will allow owners to get direct bookings to properties as well as using international portals such as Airbnb, Booking.Com, and TripAdvisor. The website presents a selection of member’s properties throughout Ireland and showcases the best Irish self-catering accommodation.
2 Launch of Quality Assurance System
All properties advertised carry ISCF’s own 3rd Party Quality Assurance mark, the framework for which was outlined by Jacinta Doolin who has been instrumental in forming this simplified self-assessment system, recognized by Failte Ireland, and operated by the Federation.
3. The EU Perspective
Discussion with Viktorija Molnar, General Secretary EHHA;
Eduardo Miranda CEO Portugese Federation ALEP.PT
Peter Downey, ISCF Planning Committee.
Peter Downey, Chair of ISCF planning subcommittee, spoke of the self-catering sector “heading back to the tourism family”, and welcomed the planned introduction of a register next year so that members will be recognized as professional operators, and not subjected to the uncertainties of Rent Pressure Zones. “We are not landlords but tourism businesses.”
Panellist Viktorija Molnar, Director General of European Holiday Homes Association, stated that the European Commission will publish its work on the regulation of the sector in the first quarter of 2022, including the entire STR sector in the debate. Registration is open for the European Commission’s online workshop on the subject on 19th Nov.
He advised the conference to get involved with the process of registration “If you don’t move first, they will do the anchoring”
4 Recovery and Connectivity in 2022.
Niall McCarthy of Cork Airport, and Eoghan O’Mara Walsh, CEO of Irish Tourism Industry Confederation, discussed tourism recovery projections for the coming years and stressed the need for international connectivity before the tourism market can recover to
2019 levels. Irish tourism is reckoned to have lost €13 Billion in the past 20 months, but projections for 2022 are strong.
Weldon Mather, Head of Accommodation Development with Fáilte Ireland stated that self-catering accommodation throughout the country is an important part of the overall tourism product in Ireland. “Fáilte Ireland continues to work with this sector in assisting both the Irish Self-Catering Federation and individual business owners to develop and promote their product. In Budget 2022 funding has been allocated to FáiIte Ireland to develop a register of short-term and holiday lets as outlined in Housing for All (HFA) – a new housing plan for Ireland. FáiIte Ireland and the Department of Tourism are engaging with the Department of Housing and the RTB regarding the respective roles and are developing plans, including legislative changes required, resources, and detailed requirements for the implementation.”
4. A Professional Self-Catering Offering
– Speakers from Supercontrol, Dolmen Insurance; Book Direct Show, the Irish Self-Catering Federation.
Winding up the conference Máire Ní Mhurchu announced the Irish winner of the European Holiday Home of the Year award for Best Family-Friendly Holiday Home: Abhainn Ri, a family-run Agri-tourism enterprise owned and managed by Joseph and Niamh Byrne, Hollywood. Co Wicklow, which can be viewed on the LGSC website, and a copy of the video is available on request.
During her closing address, Máire made the point that the new disruptors in tourism are the direct booking sites where the owners take full control. Although the sector is sometimes overlooked, self-catering is increasingly seen as the safe accommodation alternative, and the ISCF is optimistic for the future of its members.
The Portuguese model for regulation of the short-term rental sector, or “local accommodation” as they prefer to call it, was outlined by Eduardo Botelho Miranda, Chair of ALEP, Portugal. Registration has worked well there, with cities divided into neighborhoods for the purpose of deciding what level of tourist accommodation can be added.
Benefits of Membership
Direct Booking Website in Ireland for members to list properties;
3rd Party Quality Assurance Scheme for Self-Catering;
Bi-monthly Newsletter and Networking for members;
Education and Training For Self-Catering Owners – S.M.E. or Agents;
Membership of the EHHA, ITIC ;
Discounts with Suppliers, Service Providers, and Technology Companies.
Information on the Irish Self-Catering Federation Membership or contact the office on firstname.lastname@example.org .