Tourism leaders have called on First Minister Humza Yousaf to postpone new licensing laws amid a wave of "hate and division" around the issue.

The new push for a “more workable, fair, proportionate and agreeable solution” to short-term let regulation in Scotland came after support emerged from an unlikely quarter.

As the deadline for small tourism businesses such as guest houses to register for “onerous” new fees and planning regulation approaches, a “final plea” was made to the First Minister.

It came as one of the architects of the short-term lets licensing legislation, Cammy Day, leader of City of Edinburgh Council, voiced support for postponing the October 1 going live date, sparking uproar. He also called for a halt to online abuse over the issue, saying that “personal attacks at me and other people is unacceptable”.

One business owner said the Scottish Government should “fix the division and hate they have caused through STL legislation” as another faced a "barrage of harassment, abuse and vitriol” for supporting a delay.

The Scottish Bed and Breakfast Association wrote to the First Minister this week calling for his intervention, echoing concerns across other organisations including the Association for Scotland’s Self-Caterers.

The Herald: Edinburgh council papers showed this week that it expects an 80% reduction in available self-catering tourism accommodation as a result of short-term let and tourist tax legislationEdinburgh council papers showed this week that it expects an 80% reduction in available self-catering tourism accommodation as a result of short-term let and tourist tax legislation (Image: Getty)

David Weston, SBBA chairman, said if the projected number of closures – with estimates ranging from 60% to 80% - is realised it would be “catastrophic for Scotland’s tourism industry and those who depend on it including hosts, local shops, restaurants, entertainment venues and many more Scottish businesses”.

He added: “While many associate ‘short-term lets’ with just Airbnb and other major global platforms, the actual impact of these plans is far greater, with the flawed and inequitable legislation hitting small businesses including B&Bs and self-catering units in the pocket.”

EXPLAINER: Scotland versus the rise of Airbnb-style holiday homes

Marc Crothall, chief executive of the Scottish Tourism Alliance, said while “several thousand” businesses across Scotland had successfully submitted applications for a licence, numbers remain low.

He said: “To overcome this significant shortfall in applications to date a more workable, fair, proportionate and agreeable solution has to be found soon in these authority areas and importantly more time must be also given to businesses to submit applications.”

A Scottish Government spokesperson said: “Scottish Government ministers have engaged frequently with the holiday and short-term lets sector over a lengthy period and listened carefully to points raised.

“Existing hosts have had 20 months since the legislation was passed to meet licence conditions and thousands have already applied for a licence.”

READER'S EDITOR: Scotland's crackdown on Airbnb-style short-term lets

The measures are aimed at broaching concerns around Scotland’s housing squeeze and to tackle the impact of the rise of unregulated Airbnb-style short-term lets and anti-social behaviour.

It comes as the Herald business team this week shines a light on problems all across the Scottish homes market.

The Herald:

In day one of our special series on the Housing Crunch, business correspondent Kristy Dorsey focused on mortgage rates.

First-time buyers are increasingly turning to "the bank of mum and dad" to secure a mortgage, she wrote.

Business editor Ian McConnell wrote that “there is clearly no shortage of challenges ahead for households and businesses” as he pointed to “another contentious issue” - that of rent controls.

On day two, deputy business editor Scott Wright, compiled a deep dive into "a Scottish rental market in turmoil" as the housing shortfall widens.

He reveals that rent controls are “causing landlords to quit the industry and investors to walk away”.

Read the final part in today's Herald.