Tag: Agree

Airbnb and Expedia agree to help Honolulu crack down on illegal vacation rentals

The city has reached an agreement with Airbnb and Expedia Group on the enforcement of short-term vacation rentals, Mayor Kirk Caldwell and the two online platform giants announced today.

The agreement is expected to make it easier for the city to track and regulate vacation rentals and ensure operators are properly taxed.

“We’re going to be able to address problems that have never addressed before,” Caldwell said at a video press conference this afternoon.

Under the agreement, Airbnb and VRBO, an Expedia subsidiary, will provide the city Department of Planning and Permitting with monthly reports detailing information about the operators advertising on their platforms, allowing the agency to more easily verify if a rental is permitted.

The information to be disclosed would include Tax Map Key and Transient Accommodations Tax numbers for each property. If found to be unpermitted, the two companies have agreed to take the ads down.Agreeing to allow ads to be removed “permanently” is a feature unique to Oahu, Caldwell said. In other jurisdictions, “you have to go back and keep scrubbing the lists every so often,” he said.

Kauai County reached a similar agreement with the two companies during the summer. That agreement, however, does not include a permanent removal provision.

Deputy Corporation Counsel Brad Saito, the city’s lead attorney on the vacation rentals issue, said the companies have also agreed to provide education to their advertisers “about what is and what is not allowed in the City and County of Honolulu.”

Max Sword, Expedia’s Hawaii policy advisor, said the agreement “will help the responsible, short-term rental owners and the City and County of Honolulu.” Short-term rentals work well during the pandemic because it allows for better social distancing, he said.

The agreement is beneficial to both operators, who want fair and clearly defined rules, as well as “neighborhoods around Oahu who want to see clear guardrails around the use of vacation rentals in their community,” said Matt Middlebrook, Airbnb Hawaii policy manager.

After years of debate, the Honolulu City Council in 2018 adopted a new ordinance cracking down on illegal vacation rentals.

Under the plan, the city was supposed to allow up to 1,700 new permits for bed and breakfast operations across the island starting Oct 1. But in September, the Council adopted Bill 50 pushing the start-up date to no earlier than April 30.

Saito said DPP is in the process of drafting rules which it hopes to take out for public hearing during the first quarter of next year.

Since the new law has been in place, the city has issued 181 violation notices, Saito said.

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Japan, China Agree to Restart Two-way Travel by End November

(Bloomberg) — The foreign ministers of China and Japan agreed at a meeting in Tokyo to lift some virus-related travel restrictions by the end of the month, while also re-stating their differences over disputed islands in the East China Sea.

a room filled with luggage: Passengers rest next to social distancing signs displayed on seating at Haneda Airport in Tokyo, Japan, on Sunday, Oct. 25, 2020. The global airline industry is facing a painfully slow recovery from the ongoing effects of the pandemic as carriers slash jobs and secure funds to ride out the crisis.

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Passengers rest next to social distancing signs displayed on seating at Haneda Airport in Tokyo, Japan, on Sunday, Oct. 25, 2020. The global airline industry is facing a painfully slow recovery from the ongoing effects of the pandemic as carriers slash jobs and secure funds to ride out the crisis.

Foreign Minister Wang Yi is the first senior Chinese official to visit Japan since Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga took office in September. The two men are set to meet Wednesday, as China seeks to recalibrate its ties with key American allies ahead of U.S. President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration next year. Wang then travels to South Korea for high-level talks in Seoul.


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Suga, who has little experience of diplomacy, must strike a delicate balance between the U.S., Japan’s only formal military ally, and China, its biggest trading partner. That task could be made more difficult by the pandemic, which forced the postponement of a state visit to Japan by Chinese President Xi Jinping earlier in the year.

China Reaches Out to Key U.S. Allies After Biden Election

At the meeting Tuesday, Wang and his Japanese counterpart, Toshimitsu Motegi, agreed to restart some travel for businesspeople and residents before the end of November. Both ministers agreed that stable Japan-China ties are important for the region and the world, Motegi said.

How a Few Tiny Islands Put Japan and China in Dispute: QuickTake

Motegi also said he had pressed Wang for forward-looking action on the disputed islands known as Senkaku in Japan and Diaoyu in China. Wang responded that China would continue to defend its rights over the isles. Tensions around the islands have worsened in recent months, with ships and planes from both countries frequently chasing one another.

The two ministers said they had also agreed on the following:

Setting up a defense hot line by the end of the yearRestarting a high-level economic dialogue at the appropriate time next yearCooperating on the Tokyo and Beijing OlympicsSharing expertise on the coronavirus, and establishing a framework for talks on climate change and a mechanism for agricultural tradeBringing the RCEP trade agreement into force quickly; moving forward on a trilateral trade deal with South Korea

(Updates with Wang trip to South Korea.)

For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com

©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

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Israel, UAE Agree To Visa-free Travel As Ties Deepen

Israel and the United Arab Emirates agreed to visa-free travel on Monday, an unprecedented arrangement between Israel and an Arab state, signed as the first ever official UAE delegation landed in Tel Aviv.

The visit, hailed as a “glorious day for peace” by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, came after Israel and the UAE agreed to normalise ties in a deal inked at the White House last month.

With their economies hard-hit by the coronavirus pandemic, the UAE and Israel are hoping for rapid dividends from the normalisation deal — which broke years of Arab consensus that there should be no relations with the Jewish state until it makes peace with the Palestinians.

The UAE became the third Arab state to establish ties with Israel, followed shortly by Bahrain.

While Israel has peace deals with neighbouring Egypt and Jordan, it requires citizens of both countries to obtain visas before entry.

The United Arab Emirates is only the third Arab state after Egypt and Jordan to have normalised ties with Israel The United Arab Emirates is only the third Arab state after Egypt and Jordan to have normalised ties with Israel Photo: AFP / KARIM SAHIB

Shortly after greeting the UAE delegation at Ben Gurion airport near Tel Aviv, a mask-wearing Netanyahu vowed that visa-free travel will “offer a huge boost for business (and) tourism”.

Israel and the UAE also signed accords on investment protection, and science and technology, and a civil aviation deal authorising 28 flights a week between the two countries.

“Today, we are making history in a way that will stand for generations,” Netanyahu said at the opening of the one-day meeting.

The UAE and Bahrain have faced criticism from within the Arab and Muslim world over their decision to forge ties with Israel.

US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin is travelling to Israel with the UAE delegation after holding talks in Abu Dhabi Monday on the "promising opportunities" opened up by the US-brokered normalisation deal US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin is travelling to Israel with the UAE delegation after holding talks in Abu Dhabi Monday on the “promising opportunities” opened up by the US-brokered normalisation deal Photo: WAM / –

The head of the Emirati delegation to the Tel Aviv meeting, minister of state for financial affairs Obaid Al Tayer, said the UAE was committed to being a “regional leader in terms of economic reform… international trade, political stability and peacemaking.”

In return for formal ties with the UAE, Israel agreed to freeze plans to annex Palestinian territory in the occupied West Bank, although Netanyahu has said that annexation remains on the table.

The right-wing premier has claimed that more Arab states want relations with Israel as regional priorities have shifted, with economic opportunities now valued above a resolution to the Palestinian conflict.

Israel’s agreements with the UAE and Bahrain, known jointly as “The Abraham Accords”, were brokered by US President Donald Trump’s administration, seen by some experts as a move to secure a foreign policy achievement before the US presidential election in two weeks.

US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin travelled to Tel Aviv with the UAE delegation.

“The Abraham Accords signed by the UAE and Israel built and improved upon the agreement by transforming the regional security environment as well as driving economic prosperity for all the nations involved,”

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Singapore and Hong Kong agree to set up a travel bubble, and other news from around the world.

Officials in Singapore and Hong Kong said Thursday that they had reached a preliminary agreement to establish a travel bubble between the two Asian financial centers, allowing travelers of all kinds to bypass quarantine.

Under the agreement, travelers must test negative for the virus and fly only on designated flights. Officials did not say when the bubble, which was first reported by The South China Morning Post, would begin.

Travelers from Singapore would be the first allowed to enter Hong Kong since the semiautonomous Chinese territory barred all nonresidents in March; residents returning to Hong Kong are required to quarantine for 14 days. Singapore currently requires travelers from Hong Kong to quarantine for seven days after arrival.

“Both our cities have low incidence of Covid-19 cases and have put in place robust mechanisms to manage and control Covid-19,” Singapore’s travel minister, Ong Ye Kung, said in a statement.

Hong Kong’s secretary for commerce and economic development, Edward Yau, called the agreement “a milestone in our efforts to resume normalcy while fighting against the long-drawn battle of Covid-19.”

Singapore and Hong Kong have both been reporting daily new cases in the single or double digits since late August.

Efforts to establish reciprocal travel bubbles in Asia and other parts of the world have been halting as case numbers fluctuate and new outbreaks emerge. Starting Friday, Australia will waive quarantine requirements for travelers from New Zealand, which recently stamped out the virus for a second time, though New Zealand will still require quarantine for travelers arriving from Australia.

Singapore has also lifted restrictions on general visitors from Brunei, Vietnam, New Zealand and Australia except for the state of Victoria, the center of the outbreak there. But all four of those countries are still closed to almost all foreigners, and in the case of Brunei and Australia residents must apply for permission to leave the country as well.

In other global developments:

  • The European Parliament announced on Thursday that it would cancel a meeting scheduled to be held next week in Strasbourg, in northern France, as the outbreak widens. The meeting would have been its first in-person session in Strasbourg since the start of the pandemic. Belgium, where most parliamentary staff and members are based, is also seeing a sharp rise in cases.

  • Ursula von der Leyen, the president of the European Commission, went into quarantine for a second time in two weeks after being exposed to the virus. She tweeted on Thursday that she had tested negative, but a member of her office had tested positive. She wrote that she was leaving a European Council meeting in Brussels that was being held with strict social-distancing measures.

  • Portugal announced new virus restrictions on Thursday, including a five-person limit on public gatherings, after a rise in new cases. In Spain, which is seeing an even sharper increase, the city of Salamanca, famous for its 12th-century university, became the latest area to be cut off from the rest of the country, under new

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Hong Kong, Singapore Agree ‘Travel Bubble’

Hong Kong and Singapore on Thursday said they had agreed “in principle” to set up a bubble allowing residents to travel freely between the two financial hubs as long as they test negative for the coronavirus.

The announcement is a rare moment of good news for a tourism industry battered by the pandemic and offers a glimpse into how places with less severe outbreaks might be able to safely restart some travel.

The two cities released joint statements announcing the deal which they said would be implemented within weeks.

“This milestone arrangement will help revive cross-border air travel between the two aviation hubs, in a safe and progressive way,” Hong Kong’s government said.

“I think it’s a significant step, a small step but a significant one because both Hong Kong and Singapore — we are regional aviation hubs, even global aviation hubs,” Singapore transport minister Ong Ye Kung said.

Ong said he hoped the travel bubble could be “a model and a template for us to forge more such relationships and partnerships”.

Shares in Hong Kong’s flagship carrier Cathay Pacific which, like all airlines, has been hammered by the coronavirus closed more than six percent up on Thursday. Singapore Airlines was trading up a more muted 0.5 percent.

Singapore is one of major source markets of Hong Kong’s tourism industry with over 450,000 visitor arrivals recorded in 2019, according to the Hong Kong Tourism Board.

Under a new travel bubble agreement those travelling between Hong Kong and Singapore will need to have a negative coronavirus test result and travel on dedicated planes Under a new travel bubble agreement those travelling between Hong Kong and Singapore will need to have a negative coronavirus test result and travel on dedicated planes Photo: AFP / May JAMES

The joint statement said there would be no limit on what type of travel will be allowed between Hong Kong and Singapore, meaning tourists will be as welcome as business travellers.

Those travelling between the two hubs will need to have a negative coronavirus test result and travel on dedicated planes.

They will not need to quarantine for a period of time on arrival. No transit passengers will be allowed on board the travel bubble flights.

Both governments “look forward to the resumption of travel between both cities, with the necessary safeguards in place to ensure that public health concerns of both sides are addressed,” the joint statement said.

Industry groups welcomed the announcement and said they hoped similar bubbles would be formed.

Jason Wong, Hong Kong’s Travel Industry Council, said the arrangement — though welcomed — wouldn’t save the city’s tourism industry that has been largely paralysed by the epidemic.

“We would most love to have similar schemes with destinations like Japan, Thailand and South Korea,” Wong told AFP.

“Hopefully having the first one would help Hong Kong to convince more partners.”

Public health experts cautiously welcomed the Singapore Hong Kong travel bubble but cautioned corridors only worked for those places that have got a handle on the disease.

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