Irelands STR is Crumbling due to Government Legislation

Press Release from Irish Self-Catering Federation


For Release Thursday 04/07/2023 11am



Irelands STR is Crumbling due to Government Legislation


Link to Blog Post with Social Media links



The Self-Catering sector in Ireland is crumbing due to the Government legislation, the prices of hotels has gone through the roof and due to Government contracts most economy hotel beds, Guesthouses and many BnB are not available in the 2023 tourism season * . The Short Term Tourism (STR)  Eco-System* is seriously under threat, with downstream businesses such as activity providers, visitor attractions, restaurants, shops, markets and every rural tourism related business under threat. The Irish Government brought in the Rent Pressure Zones Legislation in 2019*, first in 4 electoral districts of Dublin to deal with the housing crisis. The RPZ areas now cover 76% of the housing stock in the country in over 50 electoral areas, urban and rural* Guidelines for Planners and Owners of STR were not introduced at the same time, so that planners are obliged to refuse planning permission for all STR, no matter how long they are in business. The Self-catering units on hotels grounds have planning permission as STR, but are now gone to Government contracts. The ISCF considered these to be be no longer part of the STR offering as they provide longterm accommodation  and will need to re-apply to be registered again as STR accommodation.  Details provided by the Department of Integration showed that 13% of all Registered tourism beds stock is contacted to the state, with a large grey market also housing refugees.* OF the STR Beds on contract 85% are on hotel grounds, with only 15% being in small group accommodation. Fáilte Ireland estimates that of 46,588 beds that are in use in unregistered properties, up to 24,000 are in establishments which could be tourism related but are not obliged to be registered with the tourism body*. This indicates the real need for a register for all short term rental beds, whatever the source, allowing for a clear view of the economic value of the sector.



First Annual Eurostat Data for  2022

Eurostat has just published its first full year data for 2022 on the Self-Catering industry. Data from pre-pandemic 2019 as the baseline.  This data is collected from four private collaborative economy platforms as part of the agreement with the EU Commission in March 2020*. The largest platforms in the EU market are Booking, Expedia (VRBO), AirBnb and TripAdviser. Eurostat are providing an overview of the year, as well as quarterly data results on STR bookings with the ‘big 4’ platforms.  The ISCF has stated that in Ireland this data only deals with approx 50% of the bookings, as many are direct with others or via local marketing agents.



The Eurostat Results


Ireland has one of the greatest decrease in Self-Catering bookings with Dublin performing worst and down almost 60% since the pandemic.

Southern Ireland ( Wild Atlantic Way South) bookings are down -10%, while the Wild Atlantic Way area is preforming better with up to 10% increase in bookings.

The number of bookings in Prague were down -52% as the Checz government banned Short Term Rentals completely in 2020, and have only stated to ease restrictions in 2022.



The Future for STR

*  The Eurostat Data shows the future of STR is growing since Covid with people preferring to travel in family bubbles rather than to large hotels. In the first quarter of 2023, guest nights at EU level exceeded the previously highest levels (2020 for January and February; 2022 for March) in all three months via platforms, with most benefit to France Spain and Italy* Image

*  Rural Short term rental is in much higher demand with a reduction in demand for accommodation in urban areas across the EU. The ISCF has worked in collaboration with Teagasc to bring information to Farmers who want to Diversify their business and include a tourism offering in their family business. A conference was held in Dublin in May for farmers who want to diversify

*  There is a serious demand for Self-Catering in rural areas, due to Government contracts. For this to happen clarity is needed urgently from the Department of Housing on Guiudelines for Planners and STR Owners. We need clarity for rural /coastal areas as serrated from urban areas. The size of areas covered by the present RPZ legislation need to be re-visited to allow rural accommodation to continue, especially on family farms.

*  There needs to be much more marketing of STR related to outdoor activity, local food experiences and wellness events. This development needs Government support and backing.

*  The STR industry is not the cause of the housing crisis in Ireland, has revived little Government support during Covid and with the introduction of an EU wide Register development funding is needed to allow the sector in Ireland to catch up with other EU countries. We may have increased connectivity in Ireland, but without a choice of accommodation at all price points and size of business, we cannot flourish.

*  Sustainability will be at the heart of all future elopement in tourism, and Self-catering in all its forms from renovated old houses, to glamping and Eco-lodges is much more sustainable as an offering that a hotel, which uses a lot more energy to maintain it.


About the Irish Self Catering Federation 

The Irish Self-Catering Federation is a non-profit national organisation representing owners  of self-catering properties in Ireland, providing a quality assurance system for all members. ISCF member operators have over 6,000 units of self catering accommodation across Ireland.


Contact ISCF Office, Durrus, Co Cork – 086178 5654

Chairperson – Máire Ní Mhurchú, Chair ISCF.IE on 0873306306