Last month, the Federal Reserve raised short-term interest rates for the first time in nearly a decade as the unemployment rate continues to decline. While the move demonstrated a vote of confidence in the U.S. economy, Americans are still feeling the effects of the Great Recession, says Politico Magazine. With global economic risks ranging from China’s slowing growth to terrorism threats in the Middle East and beyond, some of the country’s leading economic thinkers share their predictions as to whether the economy could tank in 2016. One of the greatest challenges facing the U.S. is a lower trend economic growth rate, one expert says. To find out what else to expect in the U.S. and global markets this year, click here.
Following a closer look at immigration policies after the mass shooting in San Bernadino, Calif., it has come to light that the U.S. Department of Homeland Security has only a rough estimate of how many foreign travelers have overstayed their travel visas. Officials claim that the insufficient data stems from a lack of advanced data collection technology, resistance from airline and tourism industries, and questions regarding how useful tracking people exiting the country is as an anti-terrorism measure. For more information, click here.
A recent patent application suggests Uber might try to delve into the online travel booking business. CNBC reports that a mobile app that would link real-time airplane landings and the availability of Uber cars could be in development, according to a recent online application to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. The app, Uber Travel, would include information similar to the company’s current app, but would also provide recommended flights and a way to book lodging. Uber has not commented. To read more, click here.
Hotel performance across the country wasn’t as merry as last year, according to STR. New York City in particular experienced a notable drop in occupancy, ADR, and RevPAR over the Christmas holiday. During the week of Dec. 20 to 26, occupancy declined by 4 percent, ADR by 1.7 percent, and RevPAR by 5.6 percent year-over-year. Everything from the strong dollar to short-term online rental sites like Airbnb contributed to the slump, though the crazy weather also didn’t help matters. Meanwhile, across the Atlantic, Paris experienced a 30 percent drop in hotel bookings over New Year’s weekend due to lingering concerns over terrorist attacks. At this point 2016 can only get better. Read more here.
According to new data, 23 percent of U.S. travelers this year (up from 21 percent last year) stayed in a vacation rental as an alternative to the traditional hotel resort during the past two years. It is now a $25.8 billion industry in the U.S. and a $100 billion industry globally. Growth in the segment is evidenced by VRMA’s rising membership, now with 769 members.
The conference also revealed that more than 50 destinations and 25 states are reviewing or introducing regulations to address the vacation rental landscape. A major initiative for the VRMA is to created an advocacy system to fight anti-vacation rental legislation as the segment continues to grow.
WASHINGTON, D.C.—The H-2B Workforce Coalition, an alliance of more than 40 various industry associations focused on protecting American workers by ensuring American small and seasonal employers have access to legal short-term temporary employees during peak business periods, issued the following statement supporting H.R. 3918, the Strengthen Employment and Seasonal Opportunities Now Act, which was introduced by Small Business Committee Chairman Steve Chabot (R-Ohio), House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.), Congressman Andy Harris (R-Md.), and Congressman Charles W. Boustany, Jr., MD (R-La.). The legislation would reform the H-2B temporary non-agricultural visa program and provide business owners with the certainty they need to hire seasonal workers in high demand. The House bill was introduced on the heels of similar legislation introduced in the Senate earlier this week by Senators Tillis, Mikulski, Cassidy, and Warner.
“The SEASON Act is balanced and common sense legislation that will restore clarity and predictability for the landscape industry and others relying on the H-2B program. Our national association, AmericanHort, my colleagues across Maryland, and I join in thanking Representative Andy Harris, and Reps. Chabot, Goodlatte and Boustany, for their leadership,” said Alan Jones of Manor View Farm, Md.
To read more, click here.