Airbnb hosts who advertise properties for self-isolation purposes during the Coronavirus pandemic have been labelled “dangerous and irresponsible” by the government’s tourism chief.

A number of listings have appeared on the holiday letting website claiming to offer “perfect places” to stay during the disease outbreak. 

However, tourism minister Nigel Huddleston said the Government would write to companies like Airbnb to remind them of their responsibilities during the lockdown - amid fears they are encouraging people to travel for non-essential reasons.

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He said: “Our advice is clear. Essential travel does not include holidays, leisure travel and visits to second homes, and people must remain in their primary residence.

“Those not taking these steps put additional pressure on communities and services that are already at risk and I call on the tourism industry to support this important work and not to encourage people to book holidays or staycations within the UK during these uncertain times.”

Last month, The Herald reported how one landlord on Skye had listed his entire portfolio of properties as ‘isolation lets’.

Similar listings have appeared for flats in Edinburgh, with one described as “a perfect place for isolation and security”.

Another featured a dome built in the garden of a home in Hertfordshire in England.

“It is incredibly irresponsible, and dangerous, for some property owners to be marketing themselves as ‘isolation retreats’. We are writing to companies today to remind them of their responsibilities at this time,” Mr Huddleston added.

“As soon as it is safe to do so we will be encouraging people to book a great British holiday and show our support to the UK’s travel industry, but at the moment people need to stay at home, protect the NHS and save lives.”

Airbnb said had it tightened its rules around bookings during the pandemic, including blocking spare room and shared space bookings to adhere to social distancing measures and removing its “instant book” tool for entire homes.

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“We want hosts and guests to follow the rules and we have no tolerance for listings that ignore health or travel advisories,” a spokesman for the company said.

“The Government has set out clear guidance on the limited conditions under which necessary travel is permitted and we have taken a number of steps to support these measures, including blocking private room bookings and switching off our ‘instant book’ function for whole properties.

“Hosts in the UK are also opening their homes to NHS and other healthcare providers as part of a global initiative that has seen more than 100,000 places to stay made available so far.”