ONYX is more than just Amari

first_imgSource = e-Travel Blackboard: K.W The ONYX Hospitality Group held an evening in Sydney last night to showcase the full portfolio of ONYX hotels and resorts beyond the most recognised Amari hotels, including Saffron, Shama and OZO in an effort to bolster brand awareness. In conjunction with Tourism Authority of Thailand and Thai Airways International, ONYX Hospitality Group senior vice-president M.L Suravut Thongthaem and some of the groups leading general managers networked with industry members. During the evening of entertainment hosted by comedy hypnotist Rodney Pattison, Mr Suravut Thongthaem and the general managers showcased the groups 31 properties and Thailand as a destination. ONYX operates four diverse yet complementary hotel brands – Saffron, Amari, Shama and OZO – each catering to the distinctive requirements of today’s business and leisure travellers. Reaching beyond its Thai roots to offer innovative management solutions across the Indian Ocean, Arabian Gulf and Asia-Pacific regions, the Bangkok-based hotel management company is now set to conquer new markets, opening its first Amari properties in the Middle East and India, and plans to enter Sri Lanka in 2014 with new select service brand, OZO. By the end of this year the Group will have 34 operational properties with an additional eight contracts signed for the future and plans to extend its portfolio of 51 operating properties by 2018.“I look forward to working closely with you all,” Mr Suravut Thongthaem concluded.last_img read more

Female solo travellers on the rise

first_imgWith today’s women being more independent than ever, it’s no surprise that solo female travellers are on the rise.According to lastminute.com.au, 50% of Australian women have already taken advantage of their opportunities and have travelled alone, with almost two-thirds even venturing overseas.Gustytraveler.com have found that 84% of women travelling alone were between 31 – 55, and that women will spend $125 billion on travel in 2013.Increased financial assets and more luxurious ‘girls weekends’ away are said to be some of the driving forces for this booming market, as well as women extending their business trips with a holiday at the end of the trip.This lucrative market has seen an increase of 230 per cent in women-only companies in the past six years.Will you be taking a solo trip this year?Source = e-Travel Blackboard: A.N Enjoy a hot stone massage in the serenity of Bali.        Image: Bliss Sanctuary for Womenlast_img read more

Good value Japan tempts Australian tourists

first_img“There are still plenty of places both close to home and further afield that provide great value. While it’s great to see Japan is still offering the best value for money, it’s exciting to see other destinations like Indonesia, Brazil and Canada becoming more affordable.” The findings also reveal that the best time to travel to Japan is now and that the dollar will likely stay around the 92 Yen range for the foreseeable future. The Index, which rates the buying power of different exchange rates in relation to each other, shows that Australian Dollars have increased 2.3 per cent against the Japanese Yen. Interest in the Japanese islands of Hokkaido and Okinawa also grew by 50 per cent in 2013, indicating organised Australian tourists have been taking advantage of the exchange rate. “However, Aussies need to be smart as their purchasing power is impacted,” Expedia Australia and New Zealand managing director, Georg Reubensal said. Japan is offering Australians the best value for the second year in a row, according to the 2014 Expedia Foreign Exchange Index. Source = ETB News: T.N.last_img read more

MTA nominated CLIA Agent of the Year

first_imgMTA Mobile Travel AgentsMTA nominated CLIA Agent of the YearMTA – Mobile Travel Agents has achieved a ‘clean sweep’ with one of its Members guaranteed to win a Cruise Lines International Association award  following Maxine Adams, Caroline Ferguson and Tracey Flower’s taking all three spots in the 2016 CLIA ‘Home Based/Mobile Cruise Agency of the Year Award’ nominations.Don BeatieCEOMTA – Mobile Travel AgentsCongratulating all three Members on their success, MTA CEO, Don Beattie said the triple nomination demonstrated the depth of quality and expertise within the MTA membership.“MTA has always been able to attract travel experts who are dedicated to satisfying their customers with the best products from our wonderful cruise partners,” Mr Beattie said.“Added to this we have a fantastic, very dedicated Head Office Cruise Support Team which we have continued to expand due to the amount of business growth we have experienced over a number of years.“To say we are delighted with this year’s CLIA result would be an understatement.“This recognition builds wonderfully on the CLIA result MTA achieved last year when two of our Members were nominated in the final three, with the eventual winner being MTA’s Wendy Allen.”The CLIA Cruise Supplier nomination category is based on sales volume, sales growth, marketing efforts, attendance at training and overall product support throughout the year.MTA Travel AgentsAdding even further weight to the company’s ever-growing strength in the cruise sector, five MTA Members – Wendy Allen, Douglas Trenham, Michelle Connolly, Rachael Chartres and Rhona Rogers – have also recently achieved CLIA Cruise Master Accredited Cruise Consultant status.Acknowledging this further achievement, Mr Beattie said this was a further validation of how MTA Members continue to demonstrate the company’s cruise credentials and how MTA fully supports its members to achieve these meaningful industry accreditations.“We strongly believe in ensuring that we provide a continuous learning environment to supplement our Members travel expertise to ensure cruise customers only ever receive the highest level of cruise travel advice.“We would like to thank everyone involved with CLIA for their assistance to MTA.” MTA – Mobile Travel Agentsdiscover more hereSource = Mobile Travel Agents – Mike Parker-Brownlast_img read more

Vanuatus Bauerfield Airport repairs made top priority

first_imgPort Vila’s Bauerfield International Airport. Image via WikipediaEmergency repairs of Vanuatu’s Bauerfield International Airport are set to be completed in April this year with the country’s new Prime Minister, Charlot Salwai, making it a top priority and awarding the contract to New Zealand civil contracting company, Fulton Hogan, following an emergency procurement process meeting held on Wednesday last week.Fulton Hogan is due to sign the contract over the coming days with immediate mobilisation of equipment and experts to follow by 15 March, 2016.The emergency repairs are expected to be completed within 56 days of signing the contract moving towards a 6 April, 2016 completion date.Vanuatu Tourism Office (VTO) general manager Linda Kalpoi said the announcement of the contract and impending repairs, which are stated to cost VT139 million (AUD$1,770,428), has been welcomed by VTO.“Ensuring all airlines are fully satisfied with the standard of the runway giving them the confidence to reinstate their flights is imperative to the success of Vanuatu’s tourism industry,” Ms Kalpoi said.“We are very happy the new Prime Minister has acknowledged the importance and urgency of this matter and has addressed the issue promptly.”The repairs will resolve the issues that caused Air New Zealand and Virgin Australia to suspend their flights to Vanuatu’s Bauerfield Airport in mid-January this year.Air Vanuatu, Fiji Airways, AirCalin and Solomon Airways have continued flights as normal to Port Vila during this time after conducting their own independent assessments which confirmed the safety of the runway.Following the emergency repairs another assessment of the runway will be conducted and each airline will confirm when they will be beginning flight services again. Virgin Australia is currently taking bookings to Port Vila from 2 April, 2016 with Air New Zealand yet to confirm when it will re-instate its services.According to the General Manager Operations, Airports Vanuatu Limited, the second phase will be a total upgrade of the runway, apron and terminal with industry consultation for feedback and awareness of the upgrade, beginning in June.  Contracting tenders for the next phase will begin in July.VTO will regularly update the industry, media and stakeholders on progress of the works over the coming months. Stay up-to-dateSource = Vanuatu Tourism Officelast_img read more

The Remarkables is ready for the winter

first_imgSealing work on The Remarkables road has included improvements made to key cornersThe Remarkables is ready for the winterThe highly-anticipated improvements to Queenstown’s The Remarkables ski area access road and car parking are complete.The roading improvements include sealing to the 9.5km mark together with safety and drainage works, all designed to make for a safer, more comfortable trip to this much-loved alpine playground.As part of a $45 million investment over the past three summers, the road has been widened in places, improvements made to key corners and 14 new culverts installed to help manage storm water.The safety of the road has also been improved with additional and upgraded barriers and signage.At the top of the mountain, 150 new car parks have been added to Car Park 4 alongside the existing Homeward pick up, offering skiers an additional 45.5 hectares of lift-accessed skiable terrain from the Shadow Basin chair.The new improvements further enhance The Remarkables’ appeal as a favourite ski destination for domestic and international visitors, offering more comfortable and quicker access for self-drivers and those jumping on NZSki’s Snowline transport for the ultimate hassle-free trip to the snow.The Remarkables ski area manager Ross Lawrence says he’s delighted that planned improvements to the ski field have all been given a big tick well ahead of the scheduled season start on June 18.“There’s a real sense of excitement up at The Remarks as winter approaches and the first dump of snow arrives,” he says.“We’re thrilled that this year’s road sealing project is now complete and couldn’t be happier with the result.  This is an improvement that everyone will benefit from.“The trail network now provides more options for all levels of skier and rider ability.”The striking new base building was a massive hit with guests during the 2015 season. In particular, guest feedback focused on how close the building is located to the slopes, the increased convenience of rentals, ticketing and snow sports, as well as the fantastic restaurant and café menus offered on the upper level.The Remarkables ski area is scheduled to open June 18, 2016. Passes, lessons and rentals can all be booked at www.nzski.com which also features detailed daily updates and live webcams showing snow and weather conditions. The Remarkables Queenstownbook your ski holiday here Source = NZski.comlast_img read more

What why and how a travel merger

first_imgWhat, why and how a travel mergerThe personal side of why the roomsXML merger really means “ business as usual but better”About nine months ago I sat with the Bang Family of roomsXML for a few days of working through sales figures, customer service issues, plans for the future and  “so what else is news”?“Well Mark, we are investigating a merger with a UK travel company.”Not the expected answer, but an interesting change of direction in the conversation! It was an intense period of legal, accounting, finance and business structuring, whilst maintaining “business as usual” and preparing for significant changes in our medium to longer term future.There’s a distinction between “takeover” and “merger” which varies in every interaction. This merger was about two companies, roomsXML and getabed, both seeing an opportunity and having the courage to bring it to each other. In the UK we were competitors but always regarded one another highly.Imagine the moment when you meet with a company you admire, who are still a competitor and find the guts to say “err, we could do great things together if we stopped competing”.  Gutsy move!“Getting along”, “shared ideals”, “shared industry perspectives” and “shared moralities” were the cornerstones of coming together.  Everything else gets analysed, negotiated, compromised, discussed and dissected. That’s business. Having a basis of admiration and respect generated the trust to work through the challenges presented when two proud companies seek to come together.getabed are a proven company with a proud history. Matt and his family have a 27 year long reputation of solid, reliable and trustworthy business in the UK.  As “humans” they have a genuine triple bottom line focus in what they do;  great indicators for a partnership.What was the attraction in merging?Coming together will significantly improve what we do and how we do it. We identified that both companies had strengths which the other sought and weaknesses which the other could help fill. This included hotel contracts, policy and procedure, customer service processes, technology as well as access to different companies in different markets.By merging we get a “leap frog growth spurt” to become one of the biggest global online hotel aggregators in  size and turnover. That gives us better bargaining power with our combined supply chain which in turn means more competitive prices in more locations.The net result is a lower operational cost base reflecting in a more powerful company with an even stronger value proposition. It’s a pretty exciting future.The great thing for the Australia and New Zealand is that apart from those business and pricing improvements it’s still the same interface, the same payment terms, the same attentiveness to customer service and the same people on the phones who I love having work with me doing the same fantastic job.Business as usual, but better.roomsXML – More Suppliers, Hot Deals www.roomsxml.com learn more about roomsXML.com here Source = roomsXML.comlast_img read more

The most luxurious ship ever built set to sail local waters

first_imgSeven Seas ExplorerThe most luxurious ship ever built set to sail local watersLeading luxury cruise line Regent Seven Seas Cruises (RSSC) is excited to announce that The Most Luxurious Ship Ever Built™, Seven Seas Explorer, will cruise Australian and New Zealand waters as part of her 2020/21 season for the first time since debuting in 2016.With over USD $450 million spent on building the exclusive, 375 suite ship – including over an acre of marble, an enviable US$7 million art collection, and one of the biggest suites at sea – it is no surprise that Seven Seas Explorer has been hailed as The Most Luxurious Ship Ever Built™.“Seven Seas Explorer was built for the 1-percenters, with no expense spared every detail was meant to create an everlasting impression on her guests” said Lisa Pile, Vice President Sales, Australia & New Zealand at Regent Seven Seas Cruises.“We are incredibly excited to be able to share her unrivalled elegance with local Australian and New Zealand travellers as part of her inaugural season, and to give them a taste of what a truly all-inclusive, luxury cruise ship offers. What sets Seven Seas Explorer apart from the rest is her spacious, all-balcony and all-suite accommodation, free gourmet dining across all her restaurants, free fine wines and premium spirits, free unlimited shore excursions in every port of call – and not to mention her near 1 to 1 staff to guest ratio and unrivalled personalised service – which are all part of Regent’s all-inclusive fare,” said Ms Pile.Sophisticated, Spacious SuitesSeven Seas Explorer boasts all-suite, all-balcony accommodation featuring sublime European beds, marble bathrooms, luxury amenities from L’Occitane, Bvlgari, Guerlain and Hermes, some of the biggest verandas at sea and a mini-bar that is replenished daily free-of-charge.For those truly wanting to experience the ‘suite life’, the crown-jewel of Seven Seas Explorer is her one-of-a-kind Regent Suite which features two bedrooms, a living room and a dining room, 2 rare Picasso lithographs, a USD $250,000 custom Steinway piano designed by Dakota Jackson, an in-suite spa retreat – including heated tile loungers, sauna, and a hot tub on the veranda – unlimited in-suite treatments from the ship’s Canyon Ranch spa and a private car with driver in every port.Sumptuous CuisineTo ensure every meal is not only delicious, but entirely fuss-free, Seven Seas Explorer offers seven speciality restaurants allowing guests to dine whenever, wherever and with whomever they choose, each with no additional cover charges. From laidback al fresco lunch at the Pool Grill, to savouring succulent steaks in the sophisticated Prime 7, to the zen-like surrounds of Pan-Asian newcomer Pacific Rim and more – RSSC’s expert culinary team, attentive wait staff and knowledgeable sommeliers will ensure a memorable experience at every meal.Better still, guests can improve their culinary prowess as they learn from top chefs in Seven Seas Explorer’s exclusive Culinary Arts Kitchen – a new onboard offering for RSSC – or savour the authentic local flavours onshore during one of the bespoke Gourmet Explorer Tours.Personalised Service and Intimate shipsAt 56,000 tonnes and carrying only 750 guests, Seven Seas Explorer boasts one of the highest space ratios of any cruise ship, and offers unrivalled personalised service with a crew of 542 serving each guest – an impressive ratio of 1:1.4.A Superior All-inclusive Experience Unlike Any OtherGuests sailing aboard Seven Seas Explorer enjoy The Most Inclusive Luxury Experience™ at sea. RSSC is the only cruise line offering unlimited shore excursions in every port, as well as free dining in speciality restaurants, free pre-paid gratuities, free unlimited wi-fi, free open bars in all lounges including fine wines and premium spirits, free 24-hour room service with in-suite dining, a complimentary in-suite liquor and mini bar replenished daily – and a raft of spa, fitness and wellness activities at its legendary Canyon Ranch Spa.Australasian 2020/2021 seasonSeven Seas Explorer will be entering Australian waters for the first time on the 28th December 2020, visiting Darwin before she sails down to Sydney on the 6th January 2021.Offering nine entirely all-inclusive itineraries exploring regional waters throughout Australia, New Zealand, Asia and The South Pacific from November 2020 until April 2021, Seven Seas Explorer will deliver a level of luxury never seen before in the region.Several of Seven Seas Explorer’s voyages will depart from, or disembark in Sydney during her inaugural local season, including: the 17-night Singapore to Sydney ‘Balinese Celebration’ sailing; the 15-night Sydney to Auckland ‘Majesty of Milford’ cruise; the 14-night Auckland to Sydney ‘Grandeur of New Zealand’ sailing; the 18-night Sydney to Bali ‘Koalas to Komodos’ cruise; and a 15-night sailing from blissful Bali to lively Hong Kong ‘Radiance Of Thailand’.Select sailings also offer a free three-night pre- or post-cruise land programme to deliver guests an even more immersive experience.For more information on Seven Seas Explorer’s Australasian itineraries, visit:  www.rssc.com/explorer2020-21For an exclusive video on Seven Seas Explorer’s Australasian season featuring Lisa Pile and Steve Odell, visit: https://ncl.box.com/s/mzi3ybgjx4ml0gi7p7bmrrblx5pyr0zpFor more information about Regent Seven Seas Cruises® or to receive a brochure, guests can call 1300 455 200 (AU) or 0800 625 692 (NZ), visit www.rssc.com or contact your preferred Travel Agent.About Regent Seven Seas CruisesRegent Seven Seas Cruises is the world’s most inclusive luxury experience with a four-ship fleet that visits more than 450 destinations around the world. The cruise line’s fares include all-suite accommodation, the largest collection of free, unlimited shore excursions, unlimited internet access, highly personalised service, exquisite cuisine, fine wines and spirits, prepaid gratuities, and one-night, pre-cruise hotel package for guests staying in Concierge-level suites and higher.For the latest news, please visit www.RSSC.com/news; like the line’s Facebook page; and follow @RegentCruises on Twitter. Regent Seven Seas Cruises is a brand of Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd. (NYSE: NCLH). Regent Seven Seas Cruises is a brand of Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd. (NYSE: NCLH), a leading global cruise company which also operates the Norwegian Cruise Line and Oceania Cruises brands. With a combined fleet of 26 ships with approximately 54,400 berths, these brands offer itineraries to more than 450 destinations worldwide.Source = Regent Seven Seas Cruiseslast_img read more

Thailand highlights seven venues to discover Thainess culture of Loi Krathong Festival

first_imgThe Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) is encouraging local and international tourists to experience Thainess culture presented through the legendary Loi Krathong Festival.Visanu Jaroensilp, TAT Deputy Governor for Tourism Products and Business said, “The Loi Krathong Festival has been practiced in Thailand for centuries, so it is a precious cultural heritage of the kingdom. Loi Krathong takes place during one of the best times in Thailand when there is a full moon in the sky, water in the river, and the weather is nice and cool, which is the perfect time for a lovely celebration. We have listed Loi Krathong among Thailand’s most impressive cultural events under plans to raise their profile into world events.”This year, TAT has listed seven venues from different regions, each of which has its own distinctive style of Loi Krathong celebrations, including Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Sukhothai, Tak, Ayutthaya, Samut Songkram and Ratchaburi.In Bangkok, the Chao Phraya River is the centre of the Loi Krathong celebration. TAT in cooperation with the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration and several public and private agencies would stage the grand Loi Krathong event, at several venues along the Chao Phraya River.The River Festival 2015, hosted by Thai Beverage, would be held at seven unique spots along the Chao Phraya River, including four temples – Wat Arun Ratchawararam, Wat Chetupon Wimonmangkhlaram, Wat Prayurawongsawas, and Wat Kalayanamit Woramahawihan – and three riverside attractions – Tha Maharat, Yodpiman Riverwalk, and Asiatique the Riverfront. Each venue would feature the Thai way of life and cultural performances.In addition, eight hotels on the riverside are joining hands to host an extravagant fireworks display over the Chao Phraya River between Sathon Bridge and Phra Pokklao Bridge.Loi Krathong is a nationwide celebration and visitors would be able to experience the festivals at any destinations across Thailand.last_img read more

Tourism INDABA 2016 Bringing Africa under one sky

first_imgBy June Mukherjee, Durban, South AfricaIf tourism is a sector of progress for the people of Africa, then INDABA was its embodiment. With exhibitors from 17 countries like Egypt, Madagascar, Botswana, Mauritius, Seychelles, Namibia, Tanzania, Benin, Lesotho, Burkina Faso, Ghana, Kenya, Swaziland, Malawi, Congo, Rwanda, Uganda, Zambia, Mozambique and of course South Africa – Indaba showcased more exhibitors from the continent under one roof than ever, with over nine of the continent’s Tourism Ministers present. INDABA, the premier African travel and tourism show in the world concluded with 14,000 business meetings, 1,050 exhibitors, 1,856 buyers and 724 media.The theme for INDABA this year was ‘Putting you at the forefront of business success’ and it was South African Tourism’s promise to its exhibitors on show at the Inkosi Albert Luthuli International Convention Centre, Durban from May 7 to 9.Derek Hanekom, Tourism Minister, South Africa, said, “INDABA expresses what the soul of Africa is all about. We are bound together by our common past, and our future is intertwined. We feel a powerful sense of belonging when we come together to move tourism forward. It starts with the people who partner with SA Tourism to put on this great show. And after the stands have been packed away, it will be about how our governments throughout the continent partner with industry and communities, and how we join forces to receive the next wave of tourists. All indications are that 2016 will be a bumper year for tourism in South Africa. Tourist arrivals in Africa are expected to reach 130 million by 2030. This is more than double the 50 million arrivals we are currently receiving. In South Africa, we are investing in our key sites, and training our people to enhance the visitor experience at these destinations. As we build our destination, we are also adjusting our marketing efforts to keep pace with global trends. A successful Indaba contributes to the success of tourism in all our countries.”Indaba 2016 delivered better business results and more meaningful interactions with key buyers from across the globe – again demonstrating the growth and potential of African tourism sector. For established companies Indaba offered the opportunity to connect with loyal existing clients and the potential to develop new business.Sthembiso Dlamini, Acting Chief Executive Officer, South African Tourism, said, “As South African Tourism we are delighted to once again to bring the latest edition of INDABA. This is where all our delegates experience some of the best of what Africa has to offer in the travel and tourism industry under the same roof. We showcase new products and services that attest to the variety of experiences that we have.”About 40 Tanzanian tourism stakeholders, including national conservation agencies, Ngorongoro crater and Tanapa led by the Tanzania Tourist Board, participated at INDABA. “While we expect a significant growth of International arrivals this year, regional markets remain a potential segment that we are happy with the response of the Indaba trade show,” said Devota Mdachi, Managing Director, Tanzania Tourist Board.“INDABA is where we finalise contracts with our clients and consolidate our brand with operators we’ve developed relationships with over the year,” says Belinda Pedersen, General Manager, International Sales, Tsogo Sun.“Our primary objective is to showcase the significance of Freedom Park (Pretoria) as liberation heritage product at this prestigious event whilst keeping abreast with global trends and new developments within the tourism and travel industry,” says Jane Mufamadi, Chief Executive Officer, Freedom Park, the heritage destination of South Africa.Last year, the Travel and Tourism Competitive Report, presented by the World Economic Forum, confirmed that tourism constitutes nine percent of Africa’s overall economy and that some African nations were well positioned to benefit from the projected 4.9% growth in the continent’s travel and tourism business. Tourism arrivals to the continent are projected to reach 130 million travellers by 2030, over double the current 50 million arrivals.Open skies, interdepartmental collaboration and trust between government and industry were some of the topics discussed at the Ministerial Media Talk facilitated by CNN anchor Richard Quest.Hanneli Slabber, Country Manager – India, South African Tourism, added, “INDABA 2016 was one of the most successful trade engagements for us. This year saw a total of 7,292 delegates in attendance with 17 countries from across the African continent who exhibited. In total 14,000 quality meetings were held over the three days of the show. INDABA is the largest platform for our trade partners to learn about the great products and iconic experiences that South Africa has to offer. As more and more Indians put South Africa on their itinerary, it is essential that our travel partners have access to resources that will enable to deepen their destination knowledge and hone their expertise. South Africa offers visitors numerous activities and experiences, and there’s something for everyone, right from wildlife to adventure, culture & lifestyle to indulgent luxury. INDABA is really the best place for our partners to witness the breadth and depth of our offerings. We’re certain that INDABA will equip our partners to better sell South Africa by providing tailor-made packages to Indian tourists.”No other initiative gives South African travel and tourism exhibitors the most lucrative platform, to sell their products and services to buyers from across the world than INDABA’s speed marketing sessions. In just five minutes, exhibitors demonstrated to between 170 and 200 global buyers, that as entrepreneurs they understand, how to operate, market and package, their offerings in line with local and global trends. Three days were dedicated to three themes – a) World Heritage Sites & Culture, b) Safari and c) Adventure.For the first time, INDABA had a Hidden Gems Zone, built to showcase products and services from South African Small, Medium and Micro-sized Enterprises (SMMEs). For three days of the exhibition, SMMEs enjoyed networking opportunities with buyers from around the world; attended workshops facilitated to provide knowledge and tools on how to access the market and shared their stories with global media.South African Tourism India office took the initiative to take an Indian delegation with a good mix of travel agents, tour operators working in African sector, mainline as well as travel trade media and bloggers. The delegation was given a taste of African wildlife with pre and post familiarisation tours that included select property inspections, private safaris and game drives.last_img read more

Brand USAs international marketing initiatives yield 3 billion boost for US economy

first_imgA study released by Oxford Economics revealed that Brand USA generated more than 3 million incremental visitors from around the globe during the past three years. Those international visitors accounted for $9.5 billion in incremental spending, which injected more than $21 billion into the U.S. economy.Christopher L Thompson, President and CEO, Brand USA, said, “Everything we have accomplished has hinged on the steady support of our ever-expanding partner network and a globally coordinated marketing program that brings together our collective efforts.”A driving force of Brand USA’s marketing efforts, Thompson said, is the goal of welcoming 100 million international visitors to the U.S. in a single year by 2021. This is a target President Obama set in 2012 with the release of the National Travel and Tourism Strategy, an initiative that is helping to create more U.S. jobs through the expansion of the tourism sector.“Our direct-to-consumer marketing continues to expand to new markets and is now playing globally through valuable media partnerships. Our cooperative marketing opportunities are adding value and creating all-new platforms to showcase U.S. destinations and experiences to the world. Our travel trade outreach is forging new and exciting relationships with the travel trade around the world,” he added.last_img read more

Cabinet approves exchanging of land for widening of road at Biju Patnaiak

first_imgThe Union Cabinet, chaired by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi, has approved the exchanging of Airports Authority of India’s (AAI) land measuring 1.6 acres with an equivalent land area of 1.6 acres offered by the Odisha Government.The state government has offered 1.6 acres of land in lieu of 1.6 acres land of AAI and agreed to undertake and relocate all the existing infrastructure of AAI on the subject land on its own cost. Further, the land offered by the state government is contiguous to existing airport and it will be used by AAI for the construction of Parallel Taxi Track. The exchange of land is not only beneficial to the state government and AAI but also to the people.Odisha Government wants to widen the state government road near Bhubaneswar Airport (known as Ekamara Marg/Palashpalli Road) for streamlining the security arrangements of the VIP movements and creating a buffer zone for public use. For this purpose requires 1.6 acres land of AAI is required by the state government.last_img read more

Address Downtown welcomes hotel guests

first_imgAddress Downtown, the flagship hotel under Emaar Hospitality Group’s premium lifestyle Address Hotels and Resorts brand, has opened its doors to hotel guests, marking the arrival of Dubai’s much-loved destination, popular among visitors from across the world. Address Downtown has opened with several innovative features including new restaurant concepts, additional rooms and suites, The Spa at Address Downtown, and a brand-new interior design. With 220 guest rooms and suites, several of them opening to spectacular views of the iconic Burj Khalifa and The Dubai Fountain, Address Downtown will add additional features in the coming days. Olivier Harnisch, Chief Executive Officer of Emaar Hospitality Group, said, “Address Downtown holds a very special place in the hearts of all discerning travellers and guests. Defined by its central location overlooking Burj Khalifa, the hotel has consistently secured the world’s leading tourism and hospitality awards.” “With the opening of Address Downtown, Emaar is bringing to life a crowning glory in its hotel assets. Working with world-leading designers and consultants, the all-new Address Downtown ushers in an exceptional lifestyle choice and set new standards in luxury hospitality. The hotel will continue to uphold its distinctive positioning of ‘where life happens’,” added Harnisch.last_img read more

Obama Congress Raise Conforming Loan Limits for FHA

first_img in Government, Origination, Secondary Market, Servicing November 18, 2011 474 Views Agents & Brokers Attorneys & Title Companies Barack Obama Fannie Mae FHA First-Time Homebuyers Fixed-Rate Mortgage Freddie Mac Housing Affordability Investors Lenders & Servicers National Association of Home Builders National Association of Realtors Processing Service Providers Treasury Department Underwriting Standards 2011-11-18 Ryan Schuette Obama, Congress Raise Conforming Loan Limits for FHAcenter_img After several weeks of intense deliberation, with backers and supporters on both sides, Congress again raised limits for “”Federal Housing Administration””:http://portal.hud.gov/hudportal/HUD?src=/federal_housing_administration (FHA) conforming loans to $729,750, which “”President Barack Obama””:http://www.whitehouse.gov/administration/president-obama/ signed off on Friday.[IMAGE]House lawmakers included an amendment to raise the limits in a stopgap spending measure cobbled together by both houses to keep the government running through December this year. The House voted for the bill by a 298-121 margin, which the Senate followed with 70 yeas and 30 nays.The limits previously fell back to $625,500 in October for “”Fannie Mae””:http://fanniemae.com/portal/index.html, “”Freddie Mac””:http://www.freddiemac.com/, and the FHA. Lawmakers purposefully excluded the GSEs from a hike in their conforming loans, with House members citing “”questionable business practices”” and widely criticized multibillion-dollar bonuses for 10 senior-level executives with the companies.All manner of trade groups ├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├óÔé¼┼ô previously critical of Congress for allowing the limits to expire in October ├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├óÔé¼┼ô rushed to extol the raised threshold in statements.””[W]e applaud members of Congress for restoring FHA’s previous loan limits, which will help reduce consumer cost burdens, stabilize local housing markets and allow [COLUMN_BREAK]qualified, creditworthy borrowers to access affordable mortgage financing,”” “”Moe Veissi””:http://www.realtor.org/about_nar/fullbio_veissi, president of the “”National Association of Realtors””:http://www.realtor.org/, said in a “”statement””:http://www.realtor.org/press_room/news_releases/2011/11/congress_reinstates_fha_loan_limits. Said Bob Nielsen, chairman of the “”National Association of Home Builders””:http://www.nahb.org/, in a “”separate statement””:http://www.nahb.org/news_details.aspx?newsID=14032: “”Restoring the higher FHA loan limits will help to stabilize home values, provide constancy while private investors re-enter the market, and enable millions of creditworthy consumers to get home loans with the best mortgage rates and lowest fees and down payment requirements.””Others stanched their praise, with “”LeFrancis Arnold””:http://www.car.org/aboutus/carleadership/lefrancisarnold/?version=2, president of the “”California Association of Realtors””:http://www.car.org/, saying in a “”statement””:http://www.car.org/newsstand/newsreleases/2011newsreleases/fhaloanlimits/ that the trade group felt “”disappointed that the Senate and House could not agree on increasing the loan limits for Fannie Mae- and Freddie Mac-insured loans.””He cited a provision in the Senate bill that failed to make it, describing it as one with “”a premium on high-cost loans that protected U.S. taxpayers from footing the costs.””Largely absent in the cascade of praise from trade groups: discussion of the FHA’s reportedly precarious capital position, which some say may require a $50-billion bailout at some time in the next few years.The FHA recently came under scrutiny over reports that it continues to fall below the 2-percent capital reserve required by federal law, with only $2.6 billion in cash reserves available to meet $1.1 trillion in loan guarantees.An actuarial annual report by the FHA posted a 50-50 chance that it could require a cash infusion from the “”Treasury Department””:http://www.treasury.gov/Pages/default.aspx in the billions.Carol Galante, FHA acting commissioner, now the nominee for commissioner, defended her agency by claiming that it estimates that it will have enough on hand to survive any continuing drag in home prices.The newly returned threshold for conforming loan limits will hold for the FHA through 2013. Sharelast_img read more

Nationstar Signs Deal to Buy 63B in Auroras Servicing Rights

first_img Agents & Brokers Investors Lenders & Servicers Mortgage Servicing Rights Processing Service Providers 2012-03-06 Ryan Schuette New,Nationstar Signs Deal to Buy $63B in Aurora’s Servicing Rights March 6, 2012 409 Views “”Nationstar Mortgage LLC””:https://www.nationstarmtg.com/ seized a deal Tuesday with “”Aurora Bank””:https://www.aurorabankfsb.com/, formerly Lehman Brothers Bancorp, for a handover of $63 billion in residential mortgage servicing rights (MSRs).[IMAGE][COLUMN_BREAK]A statement ascribed about $268 million and $210 million in cash value to the MSRs and servicing advance receivables, respectively.It said that Nationstar will likely enter into about $1.45 billion of advance financing facilities to pay for the receivables.The company will amass a portfolio made up by 75 percent in non-conforming private-label securitizations and 25 percent in conforming GSE-backed mortgages.Nationstar will sell 65 percent of the rights to MSRs to Newcastle, with the former set to retain 35 percent of the excess.According to the statement, Nationstar expects to close the transaction during the second quarter this year.It quoted an _Inside Mortgage Finance_ report that rates Aurora as the nineteenth largest lender for residential mortgages in the United States.center_img in Government, Origination, Secondary Market, Servicing Sharelast_img read more

Initial Jobless Claims Jump to 372K to End 2012

first_imgUnemployment,Initial Jobless Claims Jump to 372K to End 2012 Agents & Brokers Attorneys & Title Companies Bureau of Labor Statistics Confidence Investors Jobs Labor Department Lenders & Servicers Processing Service Providers Unemployment 2013-01-03 Mark Lieberman in Data, Government, Origination, Secondary Market, Servicing, Technology January 3, 2013 406 Views center_img Share First-time claims for unemployment insurance rose 10,000 to 372,000 for the week ending December 29, the third-lowest level of the year, the “”Labor Department””:http://www.ows.doleta.gov/press/2013/010313.asp reported Thursday. Economists expected claims to increase to 363,000. [IMAGE]The previous week’s report was revised upward to 362,000 from the originally reported 350,000, an unusually large revision but reflective of intervening holidays, during which state processing offices were closed.Continuing claims–reported on a one-week lag–shot up 44,000 to 3,245,000 for the week ending December 22. The previous week’s initial report of 3,206,000 continuing claims was revised downward to 3,201,000. The continuing claims data series tracks the number of longer term unemployed who qualify for regular state jobless benefits. The report closed the books on claims data for 2012, when weekly initial claims filings averaged 370,076, the lowest since 2007 (when initial claims filings averaged 320,750 per week). In 2009, the average number of new unemployment insurance claims filed each week was 574,173.This week’s report will have no impact on Friday├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├óÔÇ×┬ós monthly Employment Situation report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), which is expected to show the unemployment rate crept up to 7.8 percent in December from 7.7 percent in November.Payroll processing firm “”ADP””:http://www.adp.com/ reported Thursday–just ahead of the initial claims data–the private sector added 215,000 jobs in December, up from a revised 148,000 in November and ahead of economists├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├óÔÇ×┬ó forecasts of a gain of 150,000 jobs.The total number of people claiming benefits in all programs for the week ending December 15 was 5,402,987, a decrease of 68,727 from the previous week. There were 7,223,309 persons claiming benefits in all programs in the comparable week in 2011. Extended Benefits were not available in any state during the week ending December 15. The Labor Department said reported 2,065,706 persons claiming EUC (Emergency Unemployment Compensation) benefits for the week ending December 15, a decrease of 30,537 from the prior week. There were 2,932,561 persons claiming EUC in the comparable week in 2011.Both the extended and emergency benefit programs were tied up in the “”fiscal cliff”” negotiations and would expire next Tuesday without congressional action.According to the BLS, unemployment was 12,029,000 in November, which means that of those individuals counted as unemployed, 6.81 million were not receiving any form of government unemployment insurance, up from 6.39 million one week earlier.States have been borrowing from the federal government to cover shortfalls in those funds which will eventually have to be repaid–unless Congress intervenes–with higher assessments on employers. Since those assessments are a percentage of payrolls, they discourage employers from adding new workers. As of December 31, 20 states have an aggregate $27.1 billion in outstanding loans to cover shortfalls, up from $26.9 billion one week earlier. California accounted for 37.9 percent of the borrowing.According to the Labor Department detail (also reported on a one-week lag) the largest increases in initial claims for the week ending December 22 were in Ohio (+8,795), Michigan (+6,641), Pennsylvania (+5,530), Kentucky (+4,745), and Massachusetts (+4,330), while the largest decreases were in California (-11,789), West Virginia (-473), Florida (-450), Arizona (-192) and South Dakota (-186)._Hear Mark Lieberman Friday on P.O.T.U.S. Radio, Sirius-XM 124, at 8:45 a.m. Eastern time._last_img read more

New President to Lead First American Mortgage Services

first_img Agents & Brokers Attorneys & Title Companies Investors Lenders & Servicers Movers & Shakers Processing Service Providers 2013-08-15 Tory Barringer New,New President to Lead First American Mortgage Services August 15, 2013 457 Views In Santa Ana, First American Title Insurance Company announced it has hired Kevin Wall as president of its “”First American Mortgage Services””:http://www.famortgageservices.com/ (FAMS) division.[IMAGE][COLUMN_BREAK]Wall joins FAMS with more than two decades of experience in the mortgage and settlement industries. Throughout his career, he has held marketing, business line operations, and portfolio management and retention positions at Norwest Financial, Wells Fargo Financial, Centex Home Equity, Saxon Mortgage, and Morgan Stanley.In his most recent position, he worked as EVP for Solutionstar, a wholly owned subsidiary of Nationstar. Prior to that, he was SVP of business and information services at CoreLogic.””We’re pleased that Kevin, an experienced leader with a demonstrated record of success, is joining our residential mortgage services division,”” said Sally French Tyler, EVP and divisional president of centralized businesses for First American Title Insurance. “”His background in mortgage lending and servicing further strengthens our alignment with national customers and strategically positions us to offer remarkable and relevant solutions for the industry.””center_img in Data, Government, Origination, Secondary Market, Servicing Sharelast_img read more

Black Knight Welcomes VP for Emerging Products

first_img Black Knight Financial Services named a new addition to its Data and Analytics division: Chip McAvoy has joined the team as VP of emerging products and technology.McAvoy has a long history working in real estate software, serving in both development and management positions for a number of firms, including CoreLogic and First American Title. His product experience includes multiple listing service (MLS) platforms, agent and broker websites, customer relationship management applications, data sharing, and more.In addition, McAvoy served on the board of directors for the Real Estate Standards Organization (RESO) and has been involved in MLS data aggregation and Real Estate Transaction Services (RETS) for years.”The addition of a real estate industry technology executive as talented and well-respected as Chip is a real ‘feather in the cap’ for our team,” said Rich Lull, SVP of MLS Systems for Black Knight. “Chip will be an invaluable resource as we continue investing in product development to expand beyond MLS systems and offer more capabilities to our customers.”Working at Black Knight, McAvoy will support the company’s current MLS offerings and will develop and deliver additional products and services to support the real estate industry.”I’m looking forward to working with Black Knight’s MLS division as we work to deliver innovative new products to help customers strengthen their businesses,” he said. Share in Headlines, News, Technology Black Knight Financial Services Movers & Shakers 2015-01-26 Tory Barringercenter_img January 26, 2015 493 Views Black Knight Welcomes VP for Emerging Productslast_img read more

Better Credit Scores Driving Loan Market

first_imgBetter Credit Scores Driving Loan Market Compared with a decade ago, single-family home-purchase originations have been cut in half. Actually, more than half. In 2005, there were 11.7 million loan applications for single-family. In 2014, there were 4.6 million‒‒up a full million from the 2011 nadir of 3.6 million applications.During that same time frame, the number of loan originations to purchase a single-family home dropped from 7.4 million to 3.2 million, yet the denial-rate for home-purchase loan applications has improved greatly, dropping from 18.7 percent denial in 2007 to 13.2 percent in 2014.These statistics come from CoreLogic’s June MarketPulse report, as does a reminder that credit availability these days is still relatively tight, even if standards are loosening. At the same time, credit scores for applicants are much higher than even five years ago. According to CoreLogic, the average credit score of borrowers has increased from roughly 690 in 2001 to almost 750 in 2015, which could explain why, given still-tight standards, loan applications are on the rise and denial rates are down.“By just gazing at the borrowers’ credit scores, one could conclude that mortgage originations were constrained as a result of tight underwriting standards,” wrote CoreLogic economist Archana Pradhan in the report. “The share of applications and originations with less than a pristine credit score has declined. The share of credit scores below 700 for applications has declined and has been offset by a greater share of credit scores above 740.”The greater truth, then, according to Pradhan, could be that riskier applicants simply haven’t tried for credit the way they did in the barnstorming pre-recession years.“Consumers are cautious more than they have been in the past and thus self-sidelining of cautious/discouraged consumers makes it appear as if credit is tightening,” she wrote. “The decline in originations could, therefore, be a result of potential applicants being either too cautious or discouraged from applying, more so than tight underwriting as the culprit in lower. June 23, 2016 542 Views Sharecenter_img in Daily Dose, Foreclosure, News, Origination CoreLogic Credit Scores Loan Originations 2016-06-23 Seth Welbornlast_img read more

Home Prices Approaching New Peak

first_img The average price of a single-family home reached $265,000 in June, which is 32 percent higher than the market bottomed out in 2012 and only 1.1 percent off from a new peak, according to Black Knight Financial Services’ Home Price Index (HPI) for June 2016 released Monday.Home prices were up by 5.3 percent year-over-year and 0.8 percent month-over-month in June, marking the 50th consecutive month of home price appreciation, according to Black Knight.Out of the 20 largest states and 40 largest metros (by population), only Missouri and the St. Louis Metro area experienced year-over-year declines in home prices. Six of the 20 largest states hit new peaks in June: Indiana ($149K), Massachusetts ($372K), New York ($359K), Tennessee ($186K), Texas ($226K), and Washington ($337K). Out of the 14 largest metros, 14 hit new peaks for home prices in June, Black Knight reported.The markets that have seen the most appreciation for the first half of 2016 are Portland, Oregon; Seattle, Washington; and Denver, Colorado, all with greater than 9 percent.Carson City, Nevada, was the metro with the greatest rate of home price appreciation in June at 2.4 percent, followed by Cleveland at 1.9 percent, according to Black Knight. Two cities in Washington, Walla Walla and Longview, were next at 1.8 percent each.The five states out of the largest 20 with the highest home price gains were Michigan (1.6 percent), Wisconsin (1.5 percent), Oregon (1.4 percent), Washington (1.4 percent), and Ohio and Colorado tied for fifth at 1.3 percent each.The San Jose metro area, which saw the average home price peak at $920,000 in May 2016, experienced a decline of 0.3 percent down to $917,000 in June 2016. Even with the slight monthly decline, San Jose’s June average price of $917,000 is still up by more than 81 percent from its trough. The only other metro in June with a higher gain from its trough wasSan Jose and Naples, Florida (0.4 percent), were the only two metros to see negative movement in home prices over-the-month, according to Black Knight.Click here to view the entire Black Knight Home Price Index for June 2016. August 28, 2016 652 Views Black Knight Financial Services Home Prices 2016-08-28 Seth Welborn Home Prices Approaching New Peakcenter_img in Daily Dose, Data, Featured, News Sharelast_img read more