Devon’s Local Dilemma: The Tourist Takeover

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Devons Local Dilemma The Tourist Takeover

Devon’s Local Dilemma: The Tourist Takeover

The debate around second home ownership and the impact on small countryside towns has dominated national and regional/local news since the double council tax announcement on 18 October, peaking in mid-November. Locally, the conversation has been driven by the ‘Airbnb has ruined my village’ headline which reached its highest syndication on 4 November. This article followed a high profile Telegraph op-ed by a village resident which claimed that ‘fewer than 11 people now live in some of our villages’ and that the arrival of holiday lets has ‘ripped the heart out of these once thriving communities’.

The story was picked up by finance and property publications and is still an ongoing debate in both regional/local and national media. Devon’s Local Dilemma: The Tourist Takeover issue has also been a hot topic in town hall meetings and in the community, with groups like the North Devon and Torridge Housing Crisis campaign sharing stories of ‘heartbreak as families lose their homes to Airbnb landlords’.

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In busy tourist areas of Devon, it’s not uncommon to see employers – particularly restaurants and cafes – paying taxi fares for staff who travel in from other parts of the county to work. This is a significant cost and can be especially challenging for smaller businesses with few employees. To help support them, Devon Growth Hub is working with Federation of Small Business to host two in-person events for hospitality and leisure businesses to discuss the challenges they face and how they can best recruit and retain staff. More information can be found on the Growth Hub website.