NEW data shows there are hundreds of homes newly registered as holiday lets in Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole, despite concern over the impact of increased tourism on local communities.

The coronavirus pandemic has led to a boom in "staycationing", with prices for holiday accommodation rocketing in tourist hotspots, and many seeking to capitalise by converting their second homes into holiday lets.

New figures from the Government’s Valuation Office Agency, provided by property experts Altus Group, show there were 637 holiday lets in Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole trading as businesses as of the end of May, 294 more than in mid-March 2020, before the onset of the coronavirus pandemic.

The figures cover second homes which are registered as commercial premises, meaning they must be made available for at least 140 days each year, but does not include other second homes used for private holiday lets.

Groups have highlighted the increased pressure of the uptick in tourism on some communities, particularly those in rural and coastal areas, such as increased rent and stretched local services.

Generation Rent, a charity that campaigns for fair housing, said there were “countless” stories of tenants being evicted to make way for a holiday let.

The charity's deputy director, Dan Wilson Craw, said: “The popularity of domestic holidays last year, combined with the lack of regulation and tax advantages, has fuelled the appetite for holiday homes and deprived renters of places to live.

“Taking homes out of the residential market prices out people who want to settle down in the place they grew up.

"That destroys communities and starves local businesses of workers."

Records from the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities from September 2021 show there were 5,147 properties registered as second homes for council tax purposes in Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole.

Secretary of state for levelling up Michael Gove said the Government wanted to encourage “responsible” short-term letting.

He said: “We will not stand by and allow people in privileged positions to abuse the system by unfairly claiming tax relief and leaving local people counting the cost.

“The action we are taking will create a fairer system, ensuring that second homeowners are contributing their share to the local services they benefit from.”