Skift Travel News Blog

Short stories and posts about the daily news happenings around the travel industry.

Online Travel

South Africa to Launch Short-Term Rental Register

10 months ago

South Africa’s ministry of tourism and Airbnb have announced a partnership to regulate the country’s short-term rental industry.

This agreement will include the introduction of a voluntary national registration system to help the South African government understand the rental business better. The country’s tourism minister Patrcia de Lille said, “Insufficient information is available about the unregulated Short Term Rental subsector, and this hampers informed policy decision making. Access to the Airbnb data can only assist in informing better decisions.”

The registry would also look to “protect hosts and clamp down on property speculators who damage communities,” added Velma Corcoran, Airbnb Regional Lead Middle East Africa.

Airbnb has long been calling for rules to distinguish between professional and non-professional activity and a framework for public-private cooperation to help promote inclusivity in the country’s sector, added Corcoran. Airbnb said it will further give South Africa’s tourism ministry access to its City Portal—a tool it says has been “rolled out to over 300 jurisdictions to date and helps governments develop and manage fair short-term rental policies and regulations.”

This call for regulation is in contrast to the crackdown underway in New York, in which Airbnb hosts must register and comply with STR rules specific to the city. In New York’s new registration requirements, hosts with shared rooms need to obtain registrations from the city to accommodate a maximum of two guests legally, and the hosts need to be present during the stay.

Corcoran added that international best practices regarding the short-term rentals sector will be a focal point for the Airbnb Africa Travel Summit, slated for 23rd to 24th October in Johannesburg.

Skift reached out to SA’s Tourism Minister Patricia de Lille to confirm when the registry would take effect, what information would be required, and how the data would be regulated and protected but has yet to receive a response. 

Airlines

United Airlines to Leave New York JFK, Again

2 years ago

United Airlines is leaving New York’s JFK International Airport again just 20 months after it returned to the New York City gateway.

“Given our current, too-small-to-be-competitive schedule out of JFK — coupled with the start of the winter season where more airlines will operate their slots as they resume JFK flying — United has made the difficult decision to temporarily suspend service at JFK,” the Chicago-based carrier told staff in a memo on Friday viewed by Skift. United will operate its last flights to and from the airport on October 29.

The move comes despite pressure by United on the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration to ease capacity constraints at JFK so the airline could operate more flights. The carrier says that its four daily flights — two to Los Angeles and two to San Francisco — are not enough to offer a competitive alternative to the likes of Alaska Airlines, American Airlines, Delta Air Lines, and JetBlue Airways that all operate the routes.

United resumed flights to JFK in March 2020 five years after it first suspended flights to the airport. In 2017, the airline’s then-president Scott Kirby (now CEO) called the move the “wrong decision,” even as he took responsibility for it in his prior role at American.

United continues to fly between Newark Liberty airport to the west of Manhattan and both Los Angeles and San Francisco.