5 Things for Jan. 20
5 Things for Jan. 20
20 JANUARY 2021 10:30 AM

Today’s Headlines: Expectations for Biden Administration; Biden Proposes Immigration U-Turn; Eagle Hospitality REIT Nears Bankruptcy; UK Inflation Rises; Scotland Extends Lockdown

1. Expectations for Biden Administration Include Strides for Inclusion
During a recent online panel discussion, real estate and travel industry leaders shared their hopes for federal policy, particularly related to advancing diversity and inclusion in their workforces, under the administration of U.S. President Joseph Biden, Hotel News Now’s Bryan Wroten reports.

“People of color are playing a game of catch up in an industry that, by definition, was exclusive or exclusionary that way,” said Ken McIntyre, CEO of the Real Estate Executive Council, a professional trade organization comprising minority men and women in the commercial real estate industry. “For the past 30 or 40 years, we’ve made strides.”

Federal policy that can help advance those efforts, speakers said, include an expansion of the definition of diversity, clarification on opportunity zone legislation, a far-reaching vaccination program and lifting bans on travel to the U.S. from other countries.

2. President Biden proposes immigration U-turn
As president, Joseph Biden will put into play new legislation as soon as the ink is dry on his inauguration to allow the 11-million undocumented immigrants living in the U.S. to become citizens in as little as eight years, which The New York Times reports is “part of an ambitious and politically perilous attempt to undo the effects of President Trump’s four-year assault on immigration.”

Biden is expected to send to Congress on his first day in office legislation aimed at a citizenship solution for recipients of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals and “others in temporary programs that were set up to shield some undocumented immigrants from deportation.”

3. Eagle Hospitality REIT inches closer to bankruptcy
Singapore-based Eagle Hospitality Real Estate Investment Trust has moved another step closer to bankruptcy, according to news source Mingtiandi, as it files for bankruptcy of 27 entities in its portfolio in the U.S. via bankruptcy court in Wilmington, Delaware. The 27 entities appear to be linked to all 18 of the REIT’s hotels.

Those properties are mostly mid-market hotels in second-tier locations. The properties include the Queen Mary Hotel in Long Beach, Calif., in the famous former transatlantic liner; the Westin Sacramento; the Hilton Atlanta Northeast; and Holiday Inn Resort Orlando-Waterpark.

4. UK inflation rises on back of Brexit
The rate of inflation in December rose 0.6% in the United Kingdom and is expected to grow even more as costs rise on the country’s full exit from the European Union, according to the government’s official statistician, the Office for National Statistics.

The rate of inflation in November rose 0.3%. Increased use and cost of transport has been cited as the cause of the uptick, with the ONS stating that “in December 2020, the 12-month inflation rate for (transport) rose to 1.9%, the highest rate since February 2020.” There was a rush in transport bookings in December as people travelled to see friends and family before renewed, tightened COVID-19 restrictions came into force.

5. Scotland extend hospitality lockdown to mid-February
Nicola Sturgeon, the first minister for Scotland, has said the country would remain in lockdown until at least mid-February, a decision that has many hoteliers and other businesspeople fearing for their futures, according to the BBC.

According to newspaper Scottish Daily Record, the Scottish Government is considering the use of hotels for people coming to the country from outside the U.K. who are required to self-isolate on arrival. The national government last weekend extended the scope of travel closures into the U.K., which essentially means everyone now needs to isolate or face fines.

Compiled by Terence Baker.

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