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Gov. DeSantis Backs Lifting Airbnb Sanctions

May 28, 2019

While traveling in Israel this week, Gov. Ron DeSantis has twice said Florida should lift economic sanctions on the home-sharing platform Airbnb after the company reversed course on a move to delist about 200 West Bank properties.

The Florida Cabinet is planning to hold its next meeting in Israel next month.

 

Gov. Ron DeSantis said the trip’s main purpose is to promote investment in the state.

An Airbnb sign.
Wikimedia Commons

Lawmakers in Tallahassee are closer to enacting statewide regulations on short-term rentals. But local governments, which have set their own rules, are opposed to the proposal.  

If you look for vacation rentals in the Florida Keys, you may notice a lot of boats offered as lodging. Now Monroe County has brought a code compliance case against one of the owners.

Michael Dewitt says he's put $130,000 into fixing up his 40-foot sportfishing boat, docked behind his house on Little Torch Key.

So when a property manager approached him about renting it as a vacation rental on Airbnb, he agreed.

"It sat behind my house empty, I had a couple of neighbors that were doing the exact same thing - that are still doing the exact same thing," he said.

Florida’s Cabinet voted Tuesday to place Airbnb on the state’s Scrutinized Companies List. 

The move comes after Airbnb announced plans last November to remove roughly 200 listings in the West Bank, Israel because of safety concerns. 

Gov. Ron DeSantis threatened on Tuesday to sanction Airbnb over what he called the home-sharing platform's anti-Semitic move to cease its operations along Israel's West Bank. The company has removed more than 200 listings in Israeli settlements in recent months, due to the dispute the homes have fueled with Palestinians.

Flanked by South Florida Jewish community leaders at the Jewish Federation of South Palm Beach County in Boca Raton, DeSantis said Airbnb's decision violates a state law that prohibits Florida from working with companies that boycott Israel.

Tourists at Clearwater Beach.
WUSF Public Media

Pinellas County, a popular travel destination in Florida, will be receiving more tax dollars from tourists as the Pinellas County Tax Collector’s Office partners with various travel agencies.

FGCU Athletics/WGCU

Florida used to be the premier spot for Major League Baseball’s spring training, but a growing number of professional teams are heading to Arizona instead of the Sunshine State for their preseason workouts.

Flickr

Like a bear waking from hibernation, Major League Baseball teams are emerging from their cave-like dugouts to start a new season.

A measure looking to preempt local ordinances regulating vacation rentals cleared its first hurdle today in the Florida Legislature. The Senate Community Affairs Committee passed the bill by a vote of 4-2.

Airbnb.com hosts in the Jacksonville metro area can now offer free stays to people displaced by Hurricane Irma.

A proposal to halt local regulation of vacation rentals passed in committee Tuesday after a heated debate over private property and community rights.

Airbnb.com

Airbnb says Floridians who rented out their homes to visitors earned collectively $273 million in 2016.

Hillsborough County Tax Collector

After a yearlong impasse, the Hillsborough County Tax Collector's office and Airbnb are nearing an agreement that would require the peer-to-peer rental company to collect taxes on each night booked through its online portal.

NPR's Audie Cornish talks with Ted Henken, professor of Latin American studies at Baruch College, CUNY, about Airbnb's entry into Cuba. Henken sees it as a brilliant move by the company, one that benefits both the U.S. and Cuba.

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Less than three months after the U.S. announced it will ease travel to Cuba, home rental site Airbnb is listing properties in the island nation. The average price for a room or home in Havana is currently $43. The company says it's starting out with more than 1,000 listings.

A look at the offerings Thursday morning found everything from "beautiful colonial rooms for rent in the heart of Havana" for $27 a night to a "a holiday sanctuary" chalet on the outskirts of Havana that can accommodate 10 guests for $1,000. It includes a pool.