Whale watching in Hervey Bay off Fraser Coast is one of the top 100 things to do in Australia, according results from a magazine poll.Watching the whales that can be up to 15 metres long and weigh up to 45 tonnes, ranked at number 38 on the Australian Traveller list, Fraser Coast Chronicle reported. According to the source, there are up to seven charters that specialise in whale watching in Hervey Bay that guarantee spectators will see at least one whale as well as bottlenose dolphins, turtles and dugongs. While tourism has not experienced growth this year in the area, Hervey Bay has a two decade history with whale watching that has boosted the city’s tourism profile. Whale watching peak is between July and November every year. Source = e-Travel Blackboard: N.J
Interest in Thai islands products booming: Contiki Experiencing double digit growth for their Asia offerings, Contiki Holidays is looking at increasing capacity on its popular Asian product, managing director Fiona Hunt told e-Travel Blackboard.“Asia for us has been sensational”, she said.“So much so that we’re looking at increasing departures on our Thailand product – essentially doubling our capacity.” Ms Hunt attributed the rise in consumer demand to the fact that Contiki Holidays fits a “a niche that isn’t covered”, claiming that Contiki’s demographic-based segmentation was distinctive compared to some of the more attitudinal or lifestyle-based offerings in the market.“We’ve realised there’s a real need for the Contiki style of travel in Asia for that young group market so it’s really hitting a nerve that the consumers have got.”Looking at current trends, Ms Hunt said that the demographic for Contiki’s Asian tours has seen bookings from a slightly older age group than European tours.“The European trip is very much that rite of passage trip; it’s something that everybody loves to do in their early twenties,” she said. “We think that Asia is the ‘what’s next?’. ‘What’s the next exciting destination that still has that style that we loved in Europe’.”Going forward Contiki Holidays are looking to manage the demand for existing product. Source = e-Travel Blackboard: G.A.
Perth city will welcome a brand new luxury hotel, The Westin Perth, following the development approval of BGC Development’s 480 Hay Street project.The City of Perth’s Local Development Assessment Panel’s approval means construction of AUD$500 million development will commence immediately.The five star luxury hotel and 22-storey office tower, anchored by The Westin Perth, is scheduled to open in 2017.Located in Perth city’s eastern heritage precinct, the project will deliver a range of creative spaces and public retail spaces whilst preserving the area’s heritage listed buildings through adaptive reuse and refurbishment.BGC Development has built on their existing partnership with Starwood Hotels & Resorts as part of the State Government’s Hotel Development Incentive Scheme.BGC Development director Julian Ambrose says their partnership with Starwood Hotels & Resorts aims to further boost Perth’s growth as a capital city and says this new development will offer Perth a new level of sophistication.“Perth’s hotel accommodation shortage is well documented, so realising the vision to bring The Westin Perth to 480 Hay Street will go a long way toward resolving this issue in the immediate term,” Mr Ambrose said.“The Westin Perth, combined with BGC Development’s proposed commercial building and other significant precinct attractions will see the evolution of Perth’s next inner city destination.”Starwood Hotels & Resorts Pacific director acquisitions and development Andrew Taylor says 480 Hay Street is the ideal location for this development and provides a great opportunity for the Westin brand to enter Western Australia.“Perth is emerging as a popular and progressive destination for the next generation of global travellers, and The Westin Perth will help meet the need for high end accommodation in a city which has the higher occupancy rates in Australia,” Mr Taylor said.Mr Ambrose says BGC Development is now looking toward finalising the design of the precinct and commencing construction and hopes that The Westin Perth will leave “a strong and lasting legacy for Perth”.Source = ETB Travel News: Brittney Levinson
Mt Hutt extends ski seasonMt Hutt has announced today the extension of its ski season by a further week, a timely announcement with the imminent arrival of more new snow this weekend.Mt Hutt will now enjoy one of the longest ski seasons in the South Island this winter by closing at the end of the school holidays on October 11.The new snow looks set to time its arrival perfectly, with Ski Area manager James McKenzie saying staff are “thrilled” to extend the season.“Snow conditions have just got better and better as the season has gone on, and looking ahead it’s no longer a question of ‘if’ more snow will arrive but ‘how much’,” he says.“Between 10 and 20cm of new snow is forecast on Saturday and this will further complement our already impressive snow base of 1.8m.“It’s been a number of seasons since we’ve had all terrain open at this time of year; we even saw guests heading out into remote areas like the Rakaia Saddle Chutes last weekend for the first time since early 2013.”Mt Hutt ran a Facebook campaign two weeks ago to test the appetite of its followers for a longer season. The Facebook post reached its target of 1000 likes in less than an hour. Click to see the video here.McKenzie says “everything stacks up”.“We’ve had awesome support from Cantabrian skiers and riders, we’ve got an amazing snow base and with our Spring deals there’s been no better time to get out and enjoy the white stuff”.Subject to conditions, all lifts, rental, retail and food outlets and the snow sports school will remain open until October 11 with only the Skiwiland crèche and Hubers restaurant closing for the final week. Learn more about Mt Hutt Source = NZ Ski – Mt Hutt
The Sunshine Coast attracted 2.9 million visitors in the year up till September 2015, with a near-record expenditure of $1.8 billion, according to the latest National Visitor Survey (NVS) released by Tourism Research Australia.A highlight of the result was growth of 11.1% for Noosa during the year, while resorts and attractions across the Sunshine Coast are predicting a record summer season due to good weather forecasts, new airline services and the dip in the Australian dollar.The positive figures continue two years of strong growth with the Sunshine Coast growing visitation by 280,000 (10.6%) since 2013.This summer season is expected to break all records, on the back of increased air services by Jetstar and Air New Zealand, and the re-launch of direct Qantas services from next Monday. The Qantas flights are predicted to run at near capacity throughout the holiday season.The NVS figures follow the release of record Sunshine Coast Airport statistics. The Bureau of Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Economics (BITRE) reported that Sunshine Coast Airport was the fastest growing airport in Australia during the year to September 2015, with 13.8% growth in passengers. That trend continued in November, with Sunshine Coast Airport reporting growth of 10% to 79,905 passengers during the month.Sunshine Coast will also benefit from the first ever arrival of luxury cruise liner Azamara at Mooloolaba on 10 January, and a bumper events schedule starting with the Woodford Festival and continuing throughout January with the Color Run, Ginger Flower and Food Festival, Queensland Oztag Junior State Cup and Noosa Summer Swim.“We have enjoyed an incredibly strong two years of growth, and all the figures suggest that 2016 will be another record-breaking year for tourism on the Sunshine Coast,” said Visit Sunshine Coast CEO, Simon Ambrose.“Our positioning of the destination as a premium resort destination with a diverse range of attractions such as food, adventure and nature has paid rich dividends for all local areas of the region.“In fact, the growth in arrivals at Sunshine Coast Airport has directly benefited neighbouring regions such as Fraser Coast, with whom we have successfully marketed the Australia’s Nature Coast campaign. That has resonated not just with international visitors, but also Australians who have been attracted to the Great Beach Drive.“With our new identity, some dynamic marketing campaigns, and great support from our partners – such as Sunshine Coast and Gympie councils, Sunshine Coast Airport and the airlines, Tourism Events Queensland and all our members – we believe that we can attract even greater numbers to the region in 2016, which will provide a major stimulus to the local economy.” Visit Sunshine CoastSource = Visit Sunshine Coast
Australia bound travellers staying for the long haulTravellers spreading their wings to Sydney are making the most of their long-haul flight by staying for an average of 23.7 nights per visit. This places Sydney second only to Bangkok in the list of countries where tourists spent the highest number of nights visiting.Research from the first MasterCard Asia Pacific Destination Index, shows Australian cities claimed four of the top 20 spots of destinations in this list. The Index takes an in-depth, focused look at tourism trends ranking 167 destinations. The destinations are drawn from 22 countries in Asia Pacific, representing 90.1% of all international overnight arrivals.Melbourne makes the grand slam as the second Aussie city and eighth overall when it comes to the longest amount of nights stayed by international visitors, followed by Brisbane (ninth) and Perth (13th). Out of all the Australian cities, Sydney was the only one to make the list according to expenditure, ranking in 10th position.The top ten Asia Pacific destinations ranked by total nights stayed by international tourists:BangkokSydneyKuala LumpurTokyoBaliSeoulSingaporeMelbourneBrisbaneTaipeiThe top 20 destinations of Asia Pacific represent around half of all international overnight arrivals to the 167 Asia Pacific destinations covered by the Index.Andrew Cartwright, SVP and Country Manager at MasterCard said,“It’s great to see our four Australian cities featuring high on the list against other Asia-Pacific destinations. With so much on offer for visitors including festivals, sporting events and some of the greatest shopping destinations in the world, it’s little wonder that visitors want stay as long as possible.“In addition to great experiences, the evolution of payment technology and international networks has helped make travel easier than ever before. Today, no matter the destination, travellers have access to safe and secure payment methods.”Asia Pacific’s tourism industry is the largest in the world by total contribution to GDP, having overtaken Europe in 2014. Tourism contributed US$2.27 trillion to Asia Pacific economies and 153.7 million jobs in 2015. MasterCardSource = MasterCard
Hang 10 and save 5% with roomsXML in Hawaii roomsXML has over 96,000 properties worldwide . If you are unsure about which property to book, always check for the ‘Preferred’ logo next to the hotel; that means its been recommended by other Travel Agents. Hang 10 and save 5 percent with roomsXML in Hawaii One of the worlds most popular destinations, Hawaii, the 50th state of the U.S.A conjures up images of sun, beaches and cocktails; but it is much more than that. Nature lovers will enjoy hiking tracks, waterfalls, rainforests, an aquarium, and of course volcanoes. The wet season in Hawaii runs roughly from October to March, and the dry season from April to September. There is therefore a higher probability of rain if you book during the peak of tourist season in late December or January.Overall, Hawaii is warm and balmy — when you step out of the plane you’ll immediately notice that the air is soft and humid — and during the summer months the tradewinds provide a pleasant breeze. Daytime temperatures generally range from the high 20’s in “winter” to the low 30’s in “summer”.The Big Island (Hawaii): largest of the islands, and contains one of the worlds biggest volcanoes, Mauna LoaroomsXML has 47 Properties on The Big IslandKauai Island: The Garden Isle and home to natural wonders such as Wailua River, Waimea Canyon, and the Na Pali Coast.roomsXML has 45 Properties on the islandLanai Island: previously entirely a pineapple plantation, now home to severalroomsXML has 2 Properties on the islandMolokai Island: The least developed of the islands.roomsXML has 4 Properties on MolokaiOahu: The Gathering Place, most populated and most developed of the islands and home of Honolulu, and home to the resort centre of Waikiki. Surfing heaven.roomsXML has 73 Properties in Oahu roomsXML.comconnect today roomsXML.comdiscover more here Source = roomsxml.com
Calling out Uber for what it isDisruptive technology or destructive disruption? What is Uber and what does it say about us??My suggestion of “we should hail a cab” was met with derision by my younger brothers who said they would pick me up. 10 minutes later a black 7 series BMW pulled up with them hanging out the back window saying “get in”.What?What is Uber to us and what does it say about us?The illegal originsConveniently swept under the carpet, the 7 series demonstrated the provision of an illegal service. A limo driver should not be hailed by the public. If it wasn’t Uber black, it was outright illegal.In Australia, our convict origins love the slap in the face to the law. In France, the slap in the face was more like teargas fired at taxi drivers looking at losing their livelihood.Political correctness, convenience and reformWhether it’s the global marketplace or the proliferation of drugs on the dark web, it is tough for the law to keep up with emerging technologies. With the taxi industry pressuring the government, an illegal ruling seemed possible as the value of those taxi licenses headed to zero. The taxi industry fined drivers, Uber paid the fines. A big company with deep pockets beating law. We clapped and said “taxi man – you have been ripping us off for years”. The law and politicians, now under weight of a public saving money and having jobs created through Uber, used it to drive reform and state by state legalisation. We partied in progress and common sense. It all seemed good.“Greyballing” – we were being dupedUber went through a period of marketing driven normalization, paying fines and sheer weight of numbers to drive reform.In a number of global posts, we learned Uber had created software “greyballing” software which sent false results to government regulators trying to prevent the company from operating and places they were not allowed. Software posting false results. Uber admitted it.Our opinion was swayed by deception. They admitted it. It was used in Australia. They admitted it.The laws remained. We still clapped, but only if the person next to us did. Employment below the poverty lineI love talking to drivers as they meet lots of people and can be a great wealth of knowledge and information about what’s going on in the world.Drivers absolutely loved Uber with religious fervor. They could work when they wanted it. They could earn extra cash. The pay was good. Then the commissions went down. Fees went up. Too many drivers.One UK judge said “Uber resorted to “fictions, twisted language, and even brand new terminology,” in its contracts.”Now worth $80 Billion, Uber was starting to look like another company just ripping off its workers.Awkward smiles replaced the claps. Awkward times at HQComplaints against the CEO, troubling accounts of alleged sexual harassment in workplace, allegations they had stolen valuable IP from competitors.To offer balance, this sort of stuff is regularly levelled at emerging disruptive companies.A lot of smoke obscuring the hand clap. Just a little bit of fire? Uber 2.0 – cars without humansNew technology, disrupt the world, create jobs en route to a fleet of driverless cars and make humans redundant to drive profit. Drivers of today are offered freedom, flexibility and control, working for a company who plans to take away their future. What does Uber tell us about ourselves?What is it we love about Uber? The cool factor, that it’s a little bit disruptive and the short-term convenience and cost savings.$10 and 10 minutes saved getting to the airport.By using a service that started off illegal, made legal through disruption and openly stating it plans to take jobs away from those people filling its coffers.Disruptive or destruction? Progress or powershift?Care factor, I can save $10. learn more about roomsXML.com here Source = roomsXML
National Geographic Quest departs on inaugural voyageLindblad Expeditions’ National Geographic Quest, the line’s first new build in the history of the company, commenced her inaugural voyage on Saturday 29 July, as she set sail from Juneau. The most state-of-the-art expedition ship designed and purpose-built in the US, she departed with very excited guests for an 8-day expedition exploring Southeast Alaska.Sven Lindblad, CEO and President of Lindblad Expeditions, commended the team on the achievement, “You all must feel a deep sense of pride and accomplishment, you have all worked tirelessly to make this possible, and are a part of history having played an important role in the building and launch of the most sophisticated and beautiful ship built in the US in decades.”The 100-guest National Geographic Quest will operate on the popular “Exploring Alaska’s Coastal Wilderness” expedition through August 26, and will finish off the Alaska season with a “Treasures of the Inside Passage: Alaska and British Columbia” departure on September 2, 2017.The ship will then remain in the Pacific Northwest for a series of new voyages between Seattle and Vancouver, with stops in the San Juan Islands, Victoria, Alert Bay, and more far reaching stops in British Columbia’s channels and fjords. Beginning in December 2017, she will reposition and operate expeditions in Costa Rica and Panama before kicking off a series of new voyages in Belize and Guatemala starting in February, 2018.Lindblad Expeditions is an expedition travel company that works in partnership with National Geographic on its ship-based voyages to inspire people to explore and care about the planet. The organisations work in tandem to produce innovative marine expedition programs and to promote conservation and sustainable tourism around the world.The partnership’s educationally oriented voyages allow guests to interact with and learn from leading scientists, naturalists and researchers while discovering stunning natural environments, above and below the sea, through state-of-the-art exploration tools.Source = Lindblad Expeditions
Source = Collette Explore Greenland and Iceland on board Collette’s New Nordic Voyage tourExplore Greenland and Iceland on board Collette’s New Nordic Voyage tourCollette has launched an exciting new tour of Greenland and Iceland inviting travellers to experience the unique culture and spectacular world heritage-listed landscape, whilst cruising on board the MV Ocean Atlantic.The nine-day Greenland & Iceland: A Nordic-Inspired Voyage tour starts in Iceland’s capital, Reykjavik, where guests can take a dip in the warm mineral-rich waters of the Blue Lagoon, and journey to the Golden Circle – three stunning locations in south west Iceland: Thingvellir National Park – including the Mid-Atlantic Ridge, a UNESCO world-heritage site where the North American and Eurasian tectonic plates meet, the Geysir Geothermal area and Gullfoss Waterfall.The tour boards the MV Ocean Atlantic in Greenland, starting with a cruise through the frosted blue waters of the Kangerlussuaq fjord and explores the historic town of Sisimiut and Qeqertarsuaq, nestled in picturesque Disko Bay. The cruise includes a visit to the magnificent natural highlight – the Eqip Sermia Glacier, one of the most active glaciers in Greenland renowned for its jaw-dropping beauty, and Ilulissat, the “Iceberg Capital” where massive icebergs surround the natural marvel, the UNESCO world-heritage listed Ilulissat Icefjord.Throughout the tour, guests are encouraged to try local cuisine and immerse themselves in local cultural experiences, including the unique traditions of Greenland’s native Inuit during a visit to a remote fishing village, and partaking in a traditional Greenlandic kaffemik ceremony. In Iceland, the tour also visits a family-run greenhouse to learn how geothermal energy is used to grow vegetables.Departure dates for the Greenland & Iceland: A Nordic-Inspired Voyage tour include 16, 21 and 26 August 2019 and start from $7,074 per person.The tour complements Collette’s suite of popular polar tours to Iceland, including the 7-day Northern Lights, 9-day Fire & Ice and 10-day Icelandic Adventure tours, Finland 7-day Northern Lights tour and 13-day or 16-day voyages to ‘the white continent’, Antarctica.Visit www.gocollette.com.au for further information and bookings.
The Juyongguan section of the Great Wall near Beijing was successfully scaled by (L-R) TravelManagers’ Kieran Betts and Cassandra Zayonce, accompanied by KJ from China Travel Service Source = TravelManagers A day in the Chinese city of Qufu included a visit to its famous Confucius Temple for TravelManagers PTMs: (front row L-R) Cassandra Zayonce, Martine Gautier, Sandra Bucknell, Samantha Harman, Alison Johnson, (back row L-R) Connie Adams, Kellie Marshall-Milton, Patty Poutanen, Cheryl John, Doug Harman, Kate Bevan, Kieran Betts and China Travel Service’s KJ SlaterPersonal Travel Managers Experience Fine ChinaTravelManagers’ personal travel managers are renowned for their extensive travel experience – with an average of twenty years’ industry experience and a healthy addiction to travelling themselves, for many there are few parts of the globe they are not familiar with. However, always happy to further extend their knowledge, twelve PTMs from around Australia eagerly signed up for a twelve-day famil to China, hosted by China Travel Service and flying with Air China.Although the famil itinerary began in Beijing and ended in Shanghai and included quintessential Chinese experiences such as climbing a section of the Great Wall, visiting a silk-spinning mill and taking a night cruise in Shanghai, the focus was on leaving behind the larger cities and exploring China’s Shandong province.“Our experiences, especially in places not usually visited by Western tourists such as Qingdao and Qufu, were amazing,” reports Kellie Marshall-Milton, who is TravelManagers’ representative for Coleraine, VIC. “The weather was perfect, the streets were so clean and often lined with gardens or trees on both sides and up the middle, there was space for everyone on the streets, and the people, despite the massive language barrier, were so friendly and happy.”After visiting key Beijing sites including the Great Wall, a jade-carving factory and the Olympic stadiums, the group headed southeast to the seaport city of Weihai, where they encountered the first of many unique highlights: visiting a Seagrass Tribe whose houses are constructed using seaweed for their roofs, and dining at a local restaurant in which they were the first group of westerners to have visited.“Everywhere we went, the meals were served banquet-style, which meant there was always something suitable for even the least adventurous of diners,” says PTM Kate Bevan. “You should be prepared for some new culinary delights – no one wanted to try the donkey or pigs’ hoofs, but even the vegan in our group was always well catered-for.”Bevan, who is representative for Croydon, VIC, went on the famil with few preconceived ideas about what to expect, and says she was surprised and delighted by how much she enjoyed her time in China, a view shared by her fellow famil participants.Cassandra Zayonce, representative for Holland Park West, QLD, agrees that she had no idea what to expect before she went.“China was very different to what I expected – it was clean, organised and green. I really enjoyed myself and think it has a lot to offer Australian tourists.”Zayonce also recommends travelling with a local tour guide as they did, explaining that it was much easier to get around the language barrier with their assistance – “there’s also a lot of knowledge you would miss out on without the guide.”Throughout the famil, the group were treated to many authentic and unique experiences, ranging from a Taishan-Fengzen ceremony performed in an outdoor theatre on the side of a mountain, to a visit to Qufu’s Confucius Temple – the largest and most famous of its kind, constructed in memory of the sage himself.“For me, Taierzhuang was my top pick – the “Venice of the East” is simply spectacular,” says Martine Gautier, representative for Jindalee, QLD. “Walking through this beautifully-restored ‘water town’, every turn was a better view, and the pictures did not do it justice.”Zayonce agrees with her colleague: “I had never heard of this place and after visiting, I can’t understand why – it was stunningly beautiful. Picture a canal winding through the pedestrian-only town with walking bridges, willows hanging over the water and magnificent buildings to rival anything in Europe. And then, when you think it can’t get any more stunning, night falls and everything is lit up – it’s truly a photographer’s paradise.”TravelManagers’ Executive General Manager, Michael Gazal, says the famil, which was escorted by China Travel Services’ Business Development Manager, K J Slater, was a valuable opportunity for PTMs to form an understanding of this destination whose popularity with Australians is constantly growing.“Being able to share first-hand knowledge, experiences and travel tips with clients makes a huge difference to those clients’ own experiences in the destination,” he explains. “These PTMs now have confidence in selling the destination and can offer advice on everything from currency to local etiquette.”For Gautier and her fellow participants, the famil has sparked an enthusiasm for venturing further into China’s various and varied regions: “I would love to explore more of the unknown parts of China, as I feel they offer far more of a local, authentic experience which you cannot beat.”For more information or to speak to someone confidentially about TravelManagers please contact Suzanne Laister on 1800 019 599About TravelManagersTravel Managers operates in all Australian States and is a wholly owned subsidiary of House of Travel, Australasia’s largest independent travel company which has a forecast turnover of $1.5 billion for 2017. TravelManagers is a sister company to Hoot Holidays, also owned by House of Travel, and has more than 500 personal travel managers throughout Australia with a dedicated support team at the company’s national partnership office in Sydney. TravelManagers places all customer money in a dedicated and audited Client Trust Account which is separate from the general business accounts, ensuring client funds are secure and only used for client purchases.For PTM Connie Adams, the innovative architecture in the Chinese city of Qingdao became even more eye-catching by night TravelManagers’ Alison Johnson was able to tick off a major bucket list item by visiting the Great Wall
Source = Cebu Pacific Cebu Pacific to receive 12 new aircraft this yearCebu Pacific to receive 12 new aircraft this yearThe Philippines’ leading airline, Cebu Pacific (PSE: CEB), is set to receive 12 brand new aircraft to support its expansion plans for 2019. The aircraft deliveries include six Airbus A321neo; five A320neo; and an ATR 72-600.The A321neo boasts of 236 seats, with 56 seats or 31% more capacity than the A320. This will enable CEB to offer more seats and maximise airport slots. The aircraft is capable of operating routes in excess of 5,000 kilometres or fly up to seven hours, allowing the carrier to explore new destinations such as India, Russia, northern Japan and other cities in Australia.“2019 is the year we accelerate growth. On average, we will be receiving one brand-new aircraft per month, which we can use to increase capacity in key markets or even launch new routes. For 2019, we expect capacity to grow from low to mid-teens,” said Lance Gokongwei, President and CEO of Cebu Pacific.The CEB fleet is currently comprised of an Airbus A321neo, 36 Airbus A320, seven Airbus A321ceo, eight Airbus A330, eight ATR 72-500, and 12 ATR 72-600 aircraft.CEB boasts of one of the youngest fleets in the world, with an average fleet age of five years.“Cebu Pacific is expanding rapidly and plays an important part in the transformation of the Philippines’ aviation sector and has played a key role in supporting tourism, trade and business links between the Philippines, Asia-Pacific and the Middle East,” said Jean Francois Laval, Executive Vice President for Sales in Asia of Airbus.CEB is aiming to fly 200 million passengers by 2020, as it expands its route network and upgrades its fleet to bigger and more fuel-efficient aircraft. In late 2017, the carrier hit the milestone of flying 150 million passengers since its inception.CEB and subsidiary Cebgo fly to 36 domestic and 26 international destinations, with over 107 routes spanning Asia, Australia, the Middle East, and USA.
The Parisian Macao was delighted to welcome its first guests, Kim Ga Heung and Jung Min Ju, along with their baby Ji Hong, from Korea. The integrated resort, the newest addition to Sands Resorts Cotai Strip Macao, offers 3,000 guestrooms and suites, convention and meeting space, international restaurants, kids’ club, health club, pool deck with themed water park, and 1,200-seat theatre, among other amenities.The jewel in the crown is the authentic, half-scale recreation of the world-famous Eiffel Tower, a truly magnificent representation of Paris.Kim and Jung were officially welcomed to the hotel by Mao Miyazawa, Executive Director, Hotel Operations, The Parisian Macao, serenaded by The Parisian Macao’s talented Streetmosphere performers and presented with a bouquet of flowers, champagne, and a beautiful Eiffel Tower souvenir. They said that they were thrilled and honoured to be the first official guest at Sands China’s newest integrated resort.“We are so excited to welcome Kim and Jung as our first guest at The Parisian Macao,” said Miyazawa. “It is a truly unique new property providing an unparalleled guest experience and we are sure they will have a wonderful and unforgettable time with us. We look forward to welcoming them again in the near future.”
Wendy Wu Tours, the U.S. specialist tour operator to China, Japan and Southeast Asia has announced the appointment of Holidays On Tracks, as their in-market representative for India from April 2017.Within India, Holidays on Tracks will be tasked with creating market awareness, educating agents and handling reservations for Wendy Wu Tours. Focus will be on selling fully inclusive land-only packages through the Indian travel agency network whilst creating the opportunity for agents to add the air component.Upon signing the agreement, Leslie Peden, President, Wendy Wu Tours, said, “I am delighted that through our newly appointed partner, Holidays On Tracks we can introduce Wendy Wu Tours award-winning escorted groups and private tours, as well as custom itineraries to the Indian market. With their unique experience, strong trade relationships and proven track record of success launching new international products from India, we are confident that Holidays On Tracks, a B2B sales and marketing organisation will springboard and accelerate our entry into the Indian outbound market to Asia.”Ashish Saran, Director & Founder, Holidays On Tracks, said, “There is a major chunk of agents, especially in Tier II & Tier III cities looking at newer destinations and newer product formats and this will reach out to them and give them a brand to associate with, creating a unique distinction for them in their markets.”
Expects 10% increase in tourist arrival On July 25, an indoor theme park- Warner Bros. World will welcome the public in Abu Dhabi. The highly-anticipated Warner Bros. World Abu Dhabi will feature six immersive lands including DC’s Metropolis and Gotham City, as well as Cartoon Junction, Bedrock, Dynamite Gulch and Warner Bros. Plaza. Mohamed Khalifa Al Mubarak, Chairman of Miral Asset Management, the Abu Dhabi-based developer behind Yas Island’s main leisure attractions, said, “It gives us great pride to have partnered with Warner Bros. Consumer Products to launch the world’s largest Warner Bros. branded indoor theme park right here in Abu Dhabi. The launch is yet another milestone in the Emirate’s journey to further enrich its tourism offering.”Mohamed Al Zaabi, Chief Executive, Miral, stated that last year we achieved 27 million visitors and this year, after the launch of the theme park, they are expecting a 10% increase in tourists arrival. Pam Lifford, President, Warner Bros. Consumer Products, stated that their primer goal is to continue the brands’ storytelling and reach to a wider audience as much as possible. He pointed out, “We have worked tirelessly with our partners at Miral to faithfully bring iconic franchises such as DC Entertainment, Looney Tunes and Hanna-Barbera to life in a truly immersive and authentic environment,” Warner Bros. World Abu Dhabi will complement Yas Island’s destination offering of entertainment and leisure, includes iconic attractions such as Ferrari World Abu Dhabi, Yas Waterworld Abu Dhabi, Yas Marina Circuit – home of the Formula 1 Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, Yas Mall, as well as a wide variety of world-class entertainment venues, restaurants and hotels. The 1.65 million sq ft park promises to deliver guests with captivating experiences, bringing together some of the world’s most iconic characters and stories under one roof for the first time in the region. Featuring a total of 29 state-of-the-art rides, interactive family-friendly attractions and unique live entertainment, as well as a variety of authentically themed dining and shopping outlets, the park’s incredibly immersive environments, unique thrill rides and fan-favourite characters will create a truly unparalleled experience for all who visit.
The Transportation Security Administration (TSA), working collaboratively with American Airlines, is demonstrating a new computed tomography (CT) scanner at the Terminal 8 security checkpoint at New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK).State-of-the-art CT checkpoint technology is an enhancement to today’s two-dimensional (2D) X-ray technology platforms scanning equipment, which is used at the majority of security checkpoints worldwide. Because CT technology is three dimensional (3D), this new checkpoint technology has the potential to provide better visibility and allow the operator to rotate the bag’s image 360 degrees to show the contents of carry-on items at every angle. CT provides the capability to virtually see beyond unwanted clutter and greatly enhances the ability to visually inspect the contents of carry-on bags for explosives and other prohibited items.“Use of CT technology substantially improves TSA’s threat detection capability at a checkpoint,” said David Pekoske, TSA Administrator. “This partnership will allow us to deploy new technology quickly and see an immediate improvement in security effectiveness.”“At American, we are always looking at ways to invest in technology that raises the bar on global aviation security while improving the customer experience,” said José Freig, Chief Security Officer, American Airlines. “Our partnership with Analogic Corporation and the TSA will continue to transform aviation security by bringing state-of-the-art CT technology to the security checkpoint.”CT technology is also being tested at airport security checkpoints in Phoenix and Boston.
Share in Government, Origination, Secondary Market, Servicing Agents & Brokers Attorneys & Title Companies Barack Obama Fannie Mae FHA Fixed-Rate Mortgage Freddie Mac HARP Housing Affordability HUD Investors Lenders & Servicers Mortgage Applications Mortgage Rates Politics Processing Refinance Service Providers Underwriting Standards 2012-05-11 Ryan Schuette The Obama administration made another push Friday to expand refinancing opportunities for homeowners, with HUD Secretary “”Shaun Donovan””:http://portal.hud.gov/hudportal/HUD?src=/about/principal_staff/secretary_donovan behind the effort to adopt any one of three bills currently in Congress.[IMAGE]Officials told reporters in a teleconference Friday that President “”Barack Obama””:http://www.whitehouse.gov/administration/president-obama would appear with a family in Nevada later that day to tout the need for a wider refinance net.””At a time when we literally have the lowest interest rates ever in this country, what you would expect from these interest rates is a macroeconomic boost,”” Donovan said in the call. “”That will help families save $1,000 to $2,000 a year.””The HUD secretary outlined three bills before Congress that seek [COLUMN_BREAK]to streamline the refinance application process, increase servicer competition by reducing barriers, and do away with manual appraisal costs in neighborhoods with fewer home sales than others nationally.The legislation includes bills sponsored separately by Sens. “”Barbara Boxer””:http://boxer.senate.gov/ (D-California) and “”Robert Menendez””:http://www.menendez.senate.gov/ (D-New Jersey); “”Diane Feinstein””:http://www.feinstein.senate.gov/public/ (D-California); and “”Jeff Merkley””:http://www.merkley.senate.gov/ (D-Oregon). The three bills share several differences. The Boxer-Menendez proposal offers to eliminate upfront fees for refinance borrowers and would require mortgage insurers who “”unreasonably fail”” to provide coverage to new refi loans to restitute taxpayers, while the Merkley bill allows borrowers to trade their existing loans for GSE-backed ones at the same rates without closing costs.The Feinstein bill addresses federal housing agencies by creating a refinancing fund under the Federal Housing Administration and extending guarantee fees for both the agency and the GSEs.Some speculate whether the new refinance initiatives aim to curry favor with independent voters in a general-election year. During their phone call with reporters, officials cast the three bills as ways to stimulate job creation and save homeowners thousands of dollars in a still-nascent recovery.The moves come on the heels of a “”to-do list”” that Obama offered Congress. In it, the president called for refinance expansions that echo modifications he proposed for the Home Affordable Refinance Program in his State of the Union address in January. Obama Administration Pushes for New Refinance Expansions May 11, 2012 474 Views
June 5, 2013 456 Views “”Total Mortgage Services, LLC””:http://www.totalmortgage.com/, a leading mortgage lender headquartered in Connecticut, announced it has been approved as a Ginnie Mae issuer for the GNMA I and II single-family mortgage-backed securities (MBS) program.[IMAGE][COLUMN_BREAK]The approval allows Total Mortgage to pool and securitize government-backed mortgages and to retain Ginnie Mae mortgage servicing rights. Total Mortgage will also be able to expand its Ginnie Mae product offerings to better serve borrowers. To maintain its Ginnie Mae Issuer status, the company must submit annual and quarterly financial reports to demonstrate its continued financial stability and meet several other requirements.””Total Mortgage is proud to have completed this rigorous approval process and now be included on the exclusive list of Ginnie Mae issuers,”” said Total Mortgage president John Walsh. “”This approval not only confirms the strength of our business and responsible lending model, but is another proof point of Total Mortgage’s best-in-class operational infrastructure.””In order to become a qualified issuer, the company had to undergo a rigorous screening process to determine its sustainability. In addition, Total Mortgage needed a quality control plan in place for underwriting, originating, and servicing mortgage loans as well as for secondary marketing. Total Mortgage Services Approved as Ginnie Mae Issuer/Servicer Agents & Brokers Attorneys & Title Companies Company News Ginnie Mae Investors Lenders & Servicers Processing Service Providers 2013-06-05 Tory Barringer Share in Data, Government, Origination, Secondary Market, Servicing
in Daily Dose, Data, Headlines, News Lower interest rates have a powerful impact on home price appreciation, according to a report released by John Burns Real Estate Consulting. Home prices have increased 29 percent faster than incomes in the past 15 years largely due to falling mortgage rates. Each 1 percent drop in interest rates in the last 15 years has allowed home sellers to raise prices 12 percent. According to the report, a typical family earning $60,000 per year can afford a mortgage payment of $1,800 per month, and would have qualified for a $245,000 mortgage in the year 2000 when mortgage rates were 8 percent. This same family qualifies for a home priced at $377,000 when rates are 4.0 percent.“We learned last year that rates above 4.0 percent suppress some move up buyer activity, not because they can’t afford the new payment but because they have to give up their very low rate loan and get a more expensive loan. It is too bad people can’t take their mortgage with them, like they do their credit card and other debt,” CEO of John Burns Consulting John Burns said. “ETrade tried this ‘portable mortgage’ product in 2003, with little success, because the interest rate is higher since the loan is less likely to payoff for a very long time.”Burns said sellers have to realize one of the reasons why their home is worth more money is because of mortgage rates have been falling for the past 30 years. Rates have fallen 0.7 percent since last March, which has stimulating home prices by 9 percent. He said this, “means that historical price appreciation is probably higher than future price appreciation.” Interest rates John Burns Real Estate Consulting mortgage appreciation 2015-03-02 Samantha Guzman March 2, 2015 531 Views Low Interest Rates Create 12 Percent Home Price Appreciation Share
August 17, 2015 585 Views Builder Confidence National Association of Home Builders Single-Family Housing Market Wells Fargo Housing Market Index 2015-08-17 Staff Writer Progress among the single-family housing market is moving at a slow but sure pace. According to the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB)/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index (HMI), builder sentiment in the market for newly built, single-family homes in August rose one point to a level of 61, the highest reading since November 2005.“The fact the builder confidence has been in the low 60s for three straight months shows that single-family housing is making slow but steady progress,” said Tom Woods, NAHB chairman and a home builder from Blue Springs, Missouri. “However, we continue to hear that builders face difficulties accessing land and labor.”The NAHB/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index gauges builder perceptions of current single-family home sales and sales expectations for the next six months as “good,” “fair” or “poor.” The survey also asks builders to rate traffic of prospective buyers as “high to very high,” “average” or “low to very low.” Scores for each component are then used to calculate a seasonally adjusted index where any number over 50 indicates that more builders view conditions as good than poor.In August, the NAHB reported that two of the three HMI components posted gains. The index measuring buyer traffic increased two points to 45 and the component gauging current sales conditions rose one point to 66. Meanwhile, the index charting sales expectations in the next six months held steady at 70.Looking at the three-month moving averages for regional HMI scores, the West and Midwest each rose three points to 63 and 58, respectively. The South posted a two-point gain to 63 and the Northeast held steady at 46.”Even with the slow rise in confidence, builders continue to face difficulty obtaining lots to build on and labor to build the homes,” said David Crowe, NAHB chief economist. “Prices are rising for both inputs putting some profit squeeze on builders and making it more difficult to build affordable homes for first time buyers. While existing home prices have risen, they have not risen enough to compensate builders for the added supply costs, particularly land. While actual sales prices of new homes have been rising because of the compositional shift, quality constant new home prices have risen less than quality controlled existing home prices. This trend is likely to shift to higher new home prices in order to induce more builders to build.”Source: NAHB in Daily Dose, Data, Featured, News Builder Confidence Reaches Highest Level Since 2005 Share