It just got easier to turn a room or apartment into accommodation for travellers in Japan. Well, sort of. Under revised rules that went into effect on 1 April, individuals will no longer need a reception desk or a minimum of 33 sq m when taking in visitors for money. Good news for Airbnb? Not quite. The government still requires a licence, bans rooms-for-payment in exclusive residential areas and lets municipalities and ward offices set their own rules. With more tourists streaming into Japan, prime minister Shinzo Abe needs a solution to the country’s hotel shortage if he’s serious about reaching his new target announced last week: 40 million foreign tourists a year by 2020.
Travelling to Honduras by plane is soon to become significantly safer. President Juan Orlando Hernández has announced that the country will be building a new international airport to replace its current treacherous transport hub. The Toncontín International Airport, located 5km from the centre of capital city Tegucigalpa, is notorious for its short runway – coming in at less than 2km – and mountainous surroundings, which have led to hairy landings and fatal crashes of both commercial and private aircraft. The new airport is expected to open in 2018, complete with a runway 2,440 metres in length. Announcing the new airport at a press conference, President Hernández stated that it would mean “passengers can land in an airport that does not put their lives at risk".
Ride-sharing apps such as Uber have faced numerous criticisms since their first appearance – particularly when it comes to safety. Now a new taxi-app service in Perth is attempting to address any concerns you might have over security – and some you might not have even considered. Shofer, which officially launched last week, offers panic buttons, in-car security cameras, an option to choose a female driver and built-in breathalyser devices for drivers. The service even promises upfront fares so detours or lost drivers won’t result in price hikes. There is one issue, however, that could prevent the service from really hitting the road in Perth. The Western Australia small charter vehicle licence, under which Shofer operates, states that a minimum fare of AU$60 (€40) must be charged for all trips – far more than the company’s stated AU$6 (€4) minimum.
The most popular art museums in the world last year were found in New York, Paris, London – and Taipei. Recent figures gathered by The Art Newspaper on the number of attendees at art institutions around the globe found that along with the usual suspects – such as the Louvre in Paris, the National Portrait Gallery in London and New York’s Moma – millions of people stopped by the National Palace Museum in Taipei in 2015. A total of 5.3 million, in fact, which helped the museum take sixth place in the ranking of most-visited art museums. The institution in Taiwan’s capital city is home to one of the largest collections of Chinese art in the world. An exhibit of paintings by 20th-century Taiwanese artist Chen Cheng-po proved its most popular. Want to check it out this year? Look for the permanent exhibits on public art and Qing furniture before visiting the Sanxitang Teahouse on the top floor.
With a mission to track down, restore and share images of day-to-day life in the region, Beirut-based Arab Image Foundation is chronicling a valuable social history of the Arab world. Monocle Films travels to Lebanon to visit a photographic archive and memory bank.
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