REPORT

Airbnb's economic
impact in
Scotland

The beating heart of tourism

Travel on Airbnb boosted the economy by almost £2 million a day

Scotland's rugged beauty and vibrant culture draw visitors from across the globe and millions of guests have chosen to enjoy its world-renowned hospitality in the homes of local residents. This is good news for Scottish families and locals with tourism pounds spreading beyond the usual hotspots and into further afield communities. Guests who stay in short-term lets such as Airbnb also stay longer, spend more, and are more likely to return to Scotland than other visitors.

Key figures

At the end of 2020, BiGGAR Economics carried out a detailed analysis of the impact of activity on the Airbnb platform on jobs and spending in the Scottish economy.

Graeme Blackett, Director of BiGGAR Economic, said: “Airbnb users are making a substantial contribution to Scotland’s economy by spending money in local communities and the study has also provided insights on how the economic impact is distributed across the country. The contribution that travel on Airbnb makes to the Edinburgh tourism economy was no surprise, but we were struck by the significant contribution that is being made to the most tourism dependent economies such as the Highlands.”

Supporting jobs and growth

Guests who stay in short-term lets such as Airbnb stay longer, spend more, and are more likely to return to Scotland than other visitors. Last year alone, travel on Airbnb boosted the Scottish economy by almost £2 million a day, supporting around 34,000 jobs.

And while the pandemic has forced many to temporarily close their doors, short-term let hosts have been dealt an additional blow as new rules proposed by the Scottish Government risk permanently pricing thousands of hosts out of tourism for good.

Supporting jobs and growth

Guests who stay in short-term lets such as Airbnb stay longer, spend more, and are more likely to return to Scotland than other visitors. Last year alone, travel on Airbnb boosted the Scottish economy by almost £2 million a day, supporting around 34,000 jobs.

And while the pandemic has forced many to temporarily close their doors, short-term let hosts have been dealt an additional blow as new rules proposed by the Scottish Government risk permanently pricing thousands of hosts out of tourism for good.

The impact of proposed rules

New rules proposed by the Scottish Government, according to economists' analysis, could take £1 million a day out of the Scottish economy and put 17,000 jobs at risk – the same as boosting unemployment by 0.6%.  Under the new proposals, hosts may have to pay almost £2,500 just to comply with new regulations, the most expensive short-term lets regime in Europe, by far. Hosts might also face costly home alterations, such as replacing wooden floors with lino.

The impact of proposed rules

New rules proposed by the Scottish Government, according to economists' analysis, could take £1 million a day out of the Scottish economy and put 17,000 jobs at risk – the same as boosting unemployment by 0.6%.  Under the new proposals, hosts may have to pay almost £2,500 just to comply with new regulations, the most expensive short-term lets regime in Europe, by far. Hosts might also face costly home alterations, such as replacing wooden floors with lino.

Guests on Airbnb boost spending far beyond accommodation

In Scotland, economic activity connected to the Airbnb platform generates a total of £676.9 million GVA per annum, with the greatest impact in the City of Edinburgh (£284.3 million per annum) and Highland (£129.9 million per annum). The Airbnb platform generates economic benefits as a result of listings on Airbnb, Hosts on Airbnb spending in local communities and guests spending in the wider local economy. In fact, for every £1 spent on accommodation, visitors spend £2 in other parts of the tourism economy. 

Guests on Airbnb boost spending far beyond accommodation

In Scotland, economic activity connected to the Airbnb platform generates a total of £676.9 million GVA per annum, with the greatest impact in the City of Edinburgh (£284.3 million per annum) and Highland (£129.9 million per annum). The Airbnb platform generates economic benefits as a result of listings on Airbnb, Hosts on Airbnb spending in local communities and guests spending in the wider local economy. In fact, for every £1 spent on accommodation, visitors spend £2 in other parts of the tourism economy. 

Understanding the disparities across Local Authorities

A reduction in Airbnb nights will have a differential impact on each Local Authority area across Scotland. To learn more, download the Local Authority data to view the key findings.

Understanding the disparities across Local Authorities

A reduction in Airbnb nights will have a differential impact on each Local Authority area across Scotland. To learn more, download the Local Authority data to view the key findings.

All figures mentioned above are extracted from the BiGGAR Economics Report “Scottish & Local Tourism Economic Impact Assessment” dated October 2020 commissioned by Airbnb.

All figures mentioned above are extracted from the BiGGAR Economics Report “Scottish & Local Tourism Economic Impact Assessment” dated October 2020 commissioned by Airbnb.