Airbnb Calls For Public To Petition For Home Sharing As A New Regulatory Category
Hong Kong – Nov 13, 2018 – Airbnb today announced that it is calling on Hong Kong residents to sign a petition urging lawmakers and the government to reconsider the HAGAO amendment bill and launch a new round of public consultation on home sharing.
The petition comes at a time when the Legislative Council hosted the first Bills Committee meeting to discuss the Hotel and Guesthouse Accommodation Ordinance (HAGAO) Amendment Bill on November 6.
Outlined based on public consultation back in 2014, the Amendment Bill neglects the need to visit a regulatory framework for home sharing, which has grown rapidly in Hong Kong in recent years, generating HK$ 2.6bn in economic activity in 2017.
As home sharing industry has grown around the world, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development suggested earlier this year that there is an “urgent need” to review the regulatory framework on new business models and technological innovations such as home sharing, making it “more flexible and adaptable”.
In October, the Legislative Council Secretariat issued a comprehensive research report on home sharing, recognizing the lack of policy adjustment on home sharing in the amendment bill, despite the Audit Commission’s suggestion to look into creating a new category of license for home sharing in October 2017.
“The amendment bill has in many aspects been overtaken by advances in technology and visitor expectations, risking Hong Kong’s global standing against its regional counterparts,” said Mike Orgill, APAC Public Policy Director of Airbnb.
The petition (http://abnb.co/HKPetition) seeks public support in urging the government to launch a new round of public consultation on home sharing. Airbnb will collect feedback from now until December 31, 2018. The results will then be submitted to legislators and the Home Affairs Department.
The research report took a deep dive into how regulators globally are striking a balance between policies that embrace innovation, while addressing local needs. Airbnb has reached over 500 partnerships with local governments across the world towards home sharing regulation, with major cities such as Berlin, Tokyo and Sydney passing through fair, sustainable and safe regulations suitable for local community. (see Appendix 1)
Airbnb has continuously shared detailed home sharing policy options (see Appendix 2) with the Hong Kong government, including a proposal submission to the 2018 Policy Address Public Consultation. However little progress has been made, despite the objectives set out in last year’s Policy Address – to “review outdated laws” and promote “balanced, healthy, and sustainable development of the tourist industry”.
Orgill concluded, “It is time for Hong Kongers to urge the government to take real action, maintaining the competitiveness of Hong Kong as “Asia’s World City” and provide opportunities for travelers to experience the true beauty of Hong Kong.”