Source = e-Travel Blackboard: N.J Tourism leaders gathered in Wellington yesterday to talk tourism after recent natural disasters shook up the industry. The one-off national industry forum attracted up to 70 operators looking to discuss effects of tourism post-Christchurch and Japan as well as how tourism is shaping up for the next season, NZ Herald reported.”[We’re] having to get a grip on the situation and what we’re confronted with,” Tourism Industry Association chief executive Tim Cossar said.”There’s no question that Christchurch was on a lot of itineraries for Japanese, you can’t say it’s not going to have an impact in the marketplace.” According to the source Japan is New Zealand’s fifth biggest market by capacity but fourth largest in terms of spending. Following the Christchurch quake and additionally with the Japan earthquake and tsunami, tourism in NZ is facing uncertainty Mr Cossar said and expects challenges particularly from Japan for the rest of the year.”It’s going to be incredibly difficult to get any growth out of that market given the situation there.” Earlier this month Tourism New Zealand announced that it is preparing to launch a marketing campaign, built to promote South Island tourism. The ad will be targeted at Australia and will highlight destinations including Kaikoura, Hanmer Springs, and Mackenzie County.
The new domestic fares and frequent flyer enhancements announced by Qantas last month were launched yesterday, with the carrier promising customers ‘greater simplicity and flexibility’ when travelling with the airline.As reported by e-Travel Blackboard a fortnight ago, the new fare structure has done away with the airline’s ‘Super Saver’ option, with the carrier’s four economy fares replaced by a three tier structure. Applicable across the flying kangaroo’s domestic mainline and regional networks, the new fares comprise the Red eDeal, Flexi Saver and Fully Flexible options. “Regardless of which fare type you book for Qantas domestic travel we offer a meal or refreshment, inflight entertainment (except on QantasLink services) and a checked baggage allowance of one piece of luggage up to 23 kilograms,” Qantas commercial group executive Rob Gurney said.As part of the domestic fare restructure, the Qantas Frequent Flyer program has also been enhanced, with all new fares eligible for Domestic Flight Upgrade Awards to Business (when using points) and improved Status credit points earn and upgrade rates for members on more fares. Source = e-Travel Blackboard: M.H Qantas launched its new domestic fares this week
Source = e-Travel Blackboard: N.J The Australian Tourism Export Council (ATEC) unveiled a new three year strategic Roadmap to the Future which will assist members by taking goals “back to basics”.Speaking at the ATEC’s 2011 Meeting Plan Conference in Sydney yesterday, the Group’s managing director Felicia Mariani explained the 2012-2015 initiative encompassed five key initiatives to; increase member satisfaction, build industry capability, enhance recognition for members and ATEC, achieve membership growth as well as sustain the organisation through strategic relationships.Ushered in by economic uncertainty and challenges of the future, Ms Mariani explained ATEC set out a “mission” to assist, support and enhance its members’ businesses through targeted advocacy, partnerships, services and initiatives.The three year plan “reflects our commitment to get back to basics and to more fully reflect our responsibility to our members”, the company’s head said.Developing the plan through research gathered from ATEC members, Ms Mariani highlighted that among the key concerns in the industry include a shortage of skilled employees as well as lacking products that cater to travellers seeking “real” experiences.She noted that the Group would look at creating an easier process for accommodation builders and tour operators to access “sensitive” parts of Australia that meet the travel desires of the ‘new traveller’“We set out to define the key challenges that are affecting the growth of our industry and with consultation we defined those very broadly as being creating and delivering quality tours and experiences that match the changing customer demand for customised and authentic experiences,” she noted.“And it is difficult to build accommodation and experiences in what people call sensitive parts of the country but that’s exactly the type of experiences people want to come and find we need to find a way to make that easier.”The new plan will also see the Group focus on ensuring Australian tour operators and equipped and implement new and traditional technology to engage customers as well as redefine its relationship with partners through delivering customised services that still match their base core programs. “We want to ensure ATEC is at the forefront of all of the debates on issues that are affecting the growth of our industry and in order to do that we also want to enhance the recognition of ATEC and our members on a national level,” she added. “And of course we want to grow our membership but we want to do that in a way that is sustainable and in a way that allows us to continue to service the needs of our members.”Ms Mariani also told attendees at the conference yesterday that the Group had teamed up with Qantas to undertake new research to explore various options of enhancement to the Aussie product.
Although more travel companies are moving their business and bookings online, Sabre Pacific chief executive Gai Tyrell says agents are not going anywhere.Speaking last night at the TIME Graduation Ms Tyrell told guests that despite chatter, numbers confirm that agent figures are not reducing, with travellers unlikely to trust online sites when booking trips that cost thousands. “They’re such an important place for the agent and they’re not going anywhere,” the company’s head said.“People need you to take care of their terms and conditions.”Having worked in Qantas sales for the first 13 years of her career in the industry and eventually working her way through FCm Travel, the Jetstet Travelworld Group and finally to her top spot at Sabre Pacific, Ms Tyrell also told graduates last night that getting ahead requires patience and effort.“If you want to get somewhere, you have to put in the time and the effort,” she stressed.“Don’t get distracted by the dumb stuff just focus on the wisdom.”Last night five or six graduates walked the red carpet to receive their graduation papers after six months of teaming up with industry experts to gain first hand knowledge.TIME representatives also told attendees that the TICA/TIME scholarship entries close on 1 May this year and the mentor organization has now launched its first Facebook page. Angelya, Dubai Tourism with Gai, Sabre Pacific Source = e-Travel Blackboard: N.J
Etihad Aviation Group announces President and CEO transition processThe Etihad Aviation Group Board of Directors today announced that James Hogan will step down as President and Chief Executive Officer of the company in the second half of 2017. The Board and Mr. Hogan first initiated the transition process last year with the formation in May of the Etihad Aviation Group, a diversified global aviation and travel organisation.Commenting on Mr. Hogan’s time at Etihad, H.E. Mohamed Mubarak Fadhel Al Mazrouei, Chairman of the Board of the Etihad Aviation Group said: “We are very grateful to James. In just ten years, he has overseen the growth of the company from a 22 plane regional carrier into a 120 aircraft global airline and aviation group, with seven airline equity partnerships which together serve more than 120 million guests every year. It is a business which has set new benchmarks for service and innovation. Under his leadership, the company has provided new opportunities for thousands of Emiratis and has been a critical element in the remarkable progress of Abu Dhabi and the UAE. We look forward to James’ continued association with Abu Dhabi in new ways.”James Hogan commented: “Along with the Board and my 26,000 colleagues, I am very proud of what we have built together at Etihad and of the company’s substantial contribution to the UAE and to the development of Abu Dhabi. The last decade has seen incredible results but this only represents a first chapter in the story of Etihad.”Commenting on current priorities for the business, H.E. Mazrouei said: “To position the company for continued success in a challenging market, the Board and management team will continue an ongoing, company-wide strategic review. We must ensure that the airline is the right size and the right shape. We must continue to improve cost efficiency, productivity and revenue. We must progress and adjust our airline equity partnerships even as we remain committed to the strategy.”Last month, Etihad Airways unveiled plans to create a new European leisure airline group in a joint venture with TUI AG. A new codeshare agreement with Lufthansa and an aircraft leasing agreement between airberlin and Lufthansa were also announced. As a minority shareholder, Etihad is actively participating in the next phase of Alitalia’s restructuring plan.H.E. Mazrouei added: “Etihad is a great business with strong fundamentals and a deeply experienced aviation and airline management team. These assets, along with a realigned organisation, provide more agility and added focus as Etihad enters the next phase of its development.”Mr. Hogan will join an investment company along with Etihad Aviation Group CFO James Rigney, who will also leave the company later this year. A global search for a new Group CEO and a new Group CFO is already underway.The Group has developed a senior management structure with strength in depth, led by a highly-regarded senior team. This team includes Peter Baumgartner, CEO, and Richard Hill, COO, of Etihad Airways; Bruno Matheu as CEO of Airline Equity Partners; and Jeff Wilkinson as CEO of Etihad Airways Engineering. Darren Peisley is Acting Managing Director of Hala, the company’s destination marketing and global loyalty unit. A further strengthening of the Group structure was announced earlier this month with the creation of Etihad Airport Services led by Managing Director Chris Youlten.In addition, the Group Chiefs leading the core corporate functions include Kevin Knight, Strategy and Planning; Ray Gammell, People and Performance; Rob Webb, Technology and Innovation; and Harsh Mohan, Executive Affairs.Notable Highlights: 2006–2016Mr. Hogan took the helm at Etihad Airways in 2006, with a mandate to develop a safe, best-in-class airline, operating on a sustainable commercial basis and contributing to the future economic success of Abu Dhabi.The Group operates on a core commitment to safety. The airline has had a 100 per cent safety record under Mr Hogan and was recognised in January 2017 as one of the ten safest airlines in the world.Its core airline operation today serves 18.5 million guests, reaching 112 destinations with a fleet of 120 aircraft, with another 178 on order. It has been named WTA’s World’s Leading Airline for each of the last eight years and was recently recognised by Skytrax as one of just nine five-star airlines in the world. It won the prestigious Air Transport World Airline of the Year award in 2016.Its strategy of minority equity investments in key strategic partners – Air Serbia, Air Seychelles, airberlin, Alitalia, Etihad Regional, Jet Airways and Virgin Australia – has created the world’s seventh largest airline grouping, serving more than 120 million passengers a year, with a fleet of more than 700 aircraft reaching almost 350 unique destinations.The airline’s codeshare and equity partnerships are a core element of its growth, delivering 5.5 million passengers onto Etihad Airways’ flights in 2016.Etihad Aviation Group’s diversified operations now cover a range of businesses, each of which is significant in its own right. They include Etihad Cargo, Etihad Engineering, Hala Abu Dhabi, Etihad Airport Services, Etihad Flight College and the Global Loyalty Company, which is bringing together a range of frequent flyer programmes, in addition to the core Etihad Airways operation.The Group now has more than 26,000 employees. Its award-winning Emiratisation programmes, for roles including Cadet Pilots, Technical Engineers and Graduate Managers, have helped increase the number of Emirati employees from less than 100 when Mr Hogan joined to more than 3,000 today.It is estimated that during 2016, the Group delivered a core economic contribution of more than $9.6 billion to Abu Dhabi; this is expected to grow to $18.2 billion by 2024. It works closely with the Tourism & Culture Authority, as well as other key stakeholders, in developing Abu Dhabi and the UAE as a world class destination for business and leisure travellers.About Etihad Aviation GroupEtihad Aviation Group (EAG) is a diversified global aviation and travel group comprising five business divisions – Etihad Airways, the national airline of the United Arab Emirates, Etihad Airways Engineering, Etihad Airport Services, Hala Group and Airline Equity Partners. The group has minority investments in seven airlines: airberlin, Air Serbia, Air Seychelles, Alitalia, Jet Airways, Virgin Australia, and Swiss-based Darwin Airline, trading as Etihad Regional.From its Abu Dhabi base, Etihad Airways flies to, or has announced plans to serve, more than 110 passenger and cargo destinations in the Middle East, Africa, Europe, Asia, Australia and the Americas. The airline has a fleet of over 120 Airbus and Boeing aircraft, with 204 aircraft on firm order, including 71 Boeing 787s, 25 Boeing 777Xs, 62 Airbus A350s and 10 Airbus A380s. For more information, please visit: etihad.comSource = Etihad Aviation Group
Air Canada unveils new livery inspired by CanadaAt three events held simultaneously across Canada in Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver, Air Canada today unveiled for its customers and employees a bold new livery inspired by Canada for its entire fleet, elegant new uniforms for its employees, and a taste of some of the new onboard menu offerings that its customers can look forward to. A descriptive guide with illustrations is available here.“Air Canada’s new livery signals a pivotal inflection point in our 80-year history,” said Benjamin Smith,” President, Passenger Airlines at the event in Toronto, where the airline’s largest hub is located. “On the occasion of Canada’s 150th anniversary year, with our new livery, new uniforms for our employees, the award-winning international cabin standard introduced with the launch of our Boeing 787 aircraft, and enhanced onboard offerings, the future Air Canada represents the strength of our nation and the future-looking spirit of our airline. On behalf of our 30,000 employees world-wide, it is a privilege to fly Canada’s flag, and we are proud to showcase some of the best of this nation’s talent as we continue to expand Air Canada’s horizons to fly to more than 200 destinations on six continents.”Air Canada’s fleet of 300 mainline and regional aircraft are being repainted in a bold black and white design that highlights its iconic red maple leaf encircled ensign, or “rondelle,” that returns to the tail of the flag carrier’s fleet after an absence of 24 years. Reflecting Canada’s vastness and contrasting seasons, with references to its wildlife and First Nations heritage, the new fleet livery was designed by international design firm Winkreative, headed by Canadian entrepreneur Tyler Brûlé. Following today’s events, the first three aircraft sporting this new livery will enter service immediately.With the new livery providing a sleek, contemporary backdrop, Air Canada premiered elegant charcoal grey and black employee uniforms with red accents and accessories by Canadian designer Christopher Bates. The stylish uniforms combining urban chic and international flair complement the charcoal greys, natural tones and red accents featured in the new interior cabin design of Air Canada’s international fleet. The airline’s pilots, flight attendants, airport customer service agents and other uniformed personnel comprising approximately two-thirds of its 30,000 global workforce will start wearing their new uniforms later this year.On hand at the event at Air Canada’s main hub in Toronto were Tyler Brûlé and Christopher Bates to celebrate with customers and employees, together with the airline’s award-winning culinary partner, British Columbia-based chef David Hawksworth, and world renowned Quebec-based sommelier, Véronique Rivest, both actively involved in developing Air Canada’s premium menu choices. Air Canada’s selection of Signature dishes, created by Chef Hawksworth, showcases the finest Canadian ingredients from across the country available since it was launched in October 2015 for Air Canada’s International Business Class customers. Air Canada’s new sommelier, Véronique Rivest, will expertly pair the dishes and develop Air Canada’s wine program with a selection of Canadian, old and new world wine that are changed seasonally to highlight the best wines to be enjoyed at 30,000 feet.In addition, guests were treated to a sampling of some of the new onboard menu choices that will be available for Air Canada customers starting this April, including Lavazza premium Italian coffee that becomes the airline’s new coffee offering among its complimentary beverage selections for all customers, and Toronto-based Dufflet Pastries’ pumpkin spice loaf which will be featured on flights to Europe in Premium Economy and Economy Class cabins. Guests also sampled a selection of Quebec fine cheeses including Oka, camembert and cheddar, alongside freshly baked bread from Quebec artisanal bakery Première Moisson, paired with a Vineland Estates Winery white wine from Ontario’s Niagara region and Les Athlètes du Vin, a French Pinot Noir, both selected by sommelier Véronique Rivest, which will debut for Air Canada’s International Business Class customers in April.In 2016, Air Canada significantly increased its global footprint with the launch of 28 new routes including 15 new international and 12 U.S. trans-border routes. With new service to Morocco, the airline joined the elite club of global carriers serving all six continents. In 2016, Air Canada and Air Canada Rouge started new services between Toronto-Seoul, Toronto-London Gatwick, Toronto-Prague, Toronto-Budapest, Toronto-Warsaw, Toronto-Glasgow, Montreal-Casablanca, Montreal-Lyon, Vancouver-Delhi, Vancouver-Brisbane and Vancouver-Dublin.In 2017, Air Canada and Air Canada Rouge will continue its global strategic expansion and will launch new international services between Toronto-Mumbai, Toronto-Berlin, Toronto- Reykjavik, Montreal-Shanghai, Montreal-Algiers, Montreal-Marseille, Montreal- Reykjavik, Vancouver-Taipei, Vancouver-Nagoya, Vancouver-Frankfurt, and Vancouver-London Gatwick. Air Canada will also receive its first Boeing 737 MAX aircraft at the end of 2017, marking the start of its narrowbody fleet renewal program, to be followed in 2019 with the delivery of its first Bombardier C Series aircraft.To date, Air Canada has taken delivery of 23 new Boeing 787 Dreamliners with 14 more planned by 2019 – all offering the new international cabin standard. In addition, the airline completed the reconfiguration of its entire Boeing 777 fleet of 25 aircraft with the state-of-the-art Dreamliner cabin configuration and inflight entertainment systems.Air Canada continues to receive top honours, including being named the fastest growing brand among Canada’s largest companies and being recognized by Skytrax as the only Four Star international network carrier in North America. Air Canada, was also named in 2016 among Canada’s Top 100 Employers for a fourth year in a row.Source = Air Canada
New CanBorder eDECLARATION app saves time for travellers to CanadaAustralian travellers to Canada now save time when they arrive at Vancouver airport using the new eDeclaration (Beta) mobile app, created by Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) in conjunction with on-screen Primary Inspection Kiosks.The app allows you to create a declaration for up to five travellers with the same place of residence and reduces processing time by up to 50 per cent upon arrival.After creating your traveller profiles on the app, simply select ‘My Declaration’ and answer the questions to create your Quick Response (QR) code. Scan your QR code and travel document at a Primary Inspection Kiosk, take your photo and confirm your declaration on-screen.From there, travellers take the kiosk receipt to a border services officer.The eDeclaration app operates entirely in airplane mode and can be used safely during flights. Designed with privacy and security in mind, the app limits data collection and identifies users only through a nickname. Upon arrival, your declaration is reconciled with your legal name at a Primary Inspection Kiosk.Most travellers, including returning residents and foreign nationals, can use the eDeclaration app. Unaccompanied minors and travellers with a non-machine-readable travel document will be directed to a border service officer for processing.The Primary Inspection Kiosks are available at Vancouver International Airport and Ottawa International Airport, with Toronto International Airport to follow suit shortly.Australian and New Zealand travellers passport holders flying or transiting through a Canadian airport must apply for an Electronic Travel Authorisation (eTA) before flying to Canada, with the easy online application process costing just $7 Canadian.The eTA is electronically linked to the traveller’s passport and is valid for five years or until the passport expires, whichever comes first.Dual Canadian citizens cannot apply for an eTA and will need a valid Canadian passport to board their flight. Even if the Australian government needs them to enter and exit Australia using their Australian passport, they will still need a valid Canadian passport to board a flight to Canada.This means that people with dual Australian/Canadian citizenship must ensure they carry both passports when they travel.Entry requirements for other methods of travel, such as land and sea, have not changed. Travellers are urged to use the official website to register for an eTA. There have been reports of ‘scam’ websites charging up to $122 for the application. Destination CanadaLearn more hereSource = Destination Canada
THAI serves OTOP Pan Thong Peanuts on BoardTHAI serves OTOP Pan Thong Peanuts on BoardPrime Minister General Prayut Chan-o-cha (fourth from left) delivered 112,000 packs of Pan Thong peanuts to Mr. Chalermpon Kaewchinporn (fifth from left), Vice President, Inflight Services, Thai Airways International Public Company Limited (THAI), which will be served to Economy Class passengers on roundtrip flights from Bangkok to Chiang Mai, Krbai, Phuket, and Samui throughout December 2017. The Pan Thong peanut is a One Tambon One Product (OTOP) product developed by Farm Women Group in Roi Et province. Mr. Wanchai Kongkasem (third from left), Governor of Roi Et, also attend the hand-over ceremony at the Government House.THAI has a longstanding policy to promote OTOP products, whereby selected OTOP items are sold on board and are publicized in various channels such as on THAI’s inflight entertainment system, and orders OTOP food products and other items to provide inflight and ground passenger services. THAI also participates in OTOP product exhibitions, whereby any OTOP product that is selected will be available for sale on board THAI flights free of charge.Source = Thai Airways International Public Company Limited (THAI)
The 47th Skal Asia Area Congress opens with a bang in MacauThe 47th Skal Asia Area Congress opens with a bang in MacauOpening the Congress Skal Asia President Robert Sohn took the opportunity to acknowledge the presence of Mr Alexis Tam, Secretary of Tourism, SASC; Dr Maria Helena de Senna Fernandes, Director of MGTO; and Mr Perry Yuen, President of the Macau Culinary Association.He went on to say, “It is a great pleasure to welcome you all, on behalf of the Skal Intl Asian Area. From Skal Intl, World President Susanna Saari and CEO Daniela Otero, also two SI past Presidents, Uzi Yalon and Richard Hawkins, SI Director, Peter Morrison, two SI past Directors Jason Samuel & Andrew Wood and SI past Asia President Gerry Perez.“On behalf of the Asian Area Committee, I thank all delegates who have taken their time to be at this Congress. I especially thank Mr Antunes, President of Skal International Macau and his team who have worked very hard to make this Congress the most successful and memorable one, in view of its quality program and the number of participants. As far as I know, this Macau Congress has recorded the highest number of international delegates in recent years. This is the result of the hard work put in by President Antunes and his team.“We are eagerly looking forward to hearing the speeches to be made by renowned keynote speakers and industry professionals like Dr Mario Hardy, PATA CEO; Dra. Maria Helana de Senna Fernandes, Director of MGTO, Khun Chattan Kunjara Na Ayudhya, Deputy Governor of TAT, Mr Grant Bowie, CEO and Executive Director of MGM China Holdings, and our very own Young Skal Members and Director Dushy Jayaweera. Their valuable words will go a long way in making this 47th Asian Congress all the more enriching.Skal Asia President Mr Robert Sohn“Among the regional areas of Skal International, the Skal Asian Area commands the largest area, stretching for more than 10,000 km from Guam in the Pacific region to Mauritius in the Indian Ocean.“Asia is the only area in the world where Skal Intl is experiencing strong growth. In the Asian region, we achieved an increase of 14.7% in the number of members, compared to one year ago and currently there are about 2,400 members in 41 Clubs in Asia. This should be noted, since especially the number of members worldwide has decreased. The newest Club No 726, Trivandrum from India is also a part of the Asian Area.”He went on to add, “If you look at the Skal statistics one year ago and today and compare the progress of Skal International and Skal Asia, you will find that in the World, the number of countries that have a Skal Club decreased by one, from 84 to 83 while there was no change to the 19 countries in Asia that has Skal clubs.“Club wise Skal International lost four clubs going down from 359 to 355 clubs while Skal Asia increased its number of clubs from 40 to 41 and in terms of membership Skal Asia increased its numbers by 311 going up from 2,114 to 2,425.“We are also proud to mention that Skal International Delhi took over the mantle of the largest Skal Club in the world. Skal Asia has the potential to grow even further. There are initiatives taking place to open Skal clubs in other countries as well. Lebanon, United Arab Emirates and Vietnam are some of the countries that are interested to join Skal Asia. Also, with the help of President Antunes and the Macau team, I hope that opening of many clubs in China will be a reality soon.“Skal Intl Macau has already organised the Skal Asia Congress on three previous occasions, initially in 1981 which was co-hosted by Skal Intl Hong Kong, then in 1996 and in 2007. With this Congress, Macao will become one of the five cities which has held that Skal Asia Congress 4 times or more, the others being Manila, Singapore, Bahrain and Colombo.“All delegates attending this Congress are encouraged to explore the wonderful attractions of Macao, enjoy the diversity of its culture and heritage, experience the hospitality of its people and, above all, indulge into its cuisine in the 2018 Macao Year of Gastronomy,” he concluded.During the opening ceremony there took place the historic signing of an MOU between PATA and SKAL INTERNATIONAL pledging increased co-operation between both associations.SKÅL ASIA: With over 2,425 members in 41 Clubs, 26 grouped in five national committees and 15 affiliated, the Skål Asian Area is the most diverse Area in the world of Skål, reaching from Guam in the Pacific Ocean more than 10,000 km to Mauritius in the Indian Ocean with clubs in 19 fascinating countries in between.Source = Andrew J WOOD
According to the Minister of Tourism and Entertainment, the Dr Wykeham McNeill, 2014 was Jamaica’s best year ever for cruise shipping as the island welcomed 1.4 million cruise ship visitors, a 12.5% increase over 2013.“Already this year we are up 8.5% and again we have had increases in all three ports,” said Minister McNeill. “This year for the first time we have a record breaking three cruise ships home porting in Montego Bay – the Louis Cristal, Thomson Dream and AIDA Bella – with all the concomitant goods and services required to tender these vessels,” the Tourism Minister added. Next year Jamaica will welcome a fourth cruise ship to its shores for home porting.“In Ocho Rios, we have completed phases one and two of the JD400 million resort upgrading project. This year we will commence phases three and four of the project, which will see the total reconstruction of the promenade as well as work on the Ocho Rios Main Street, including areas that are to be pedestrianised,” said Minister McNeill.In addition to upgrades to the Elegant Corridor, Minister McNeill also announced a new transformational project to put the ‘hip’ back in the second city’s Hip Strip. Over the last few months, the Ministry of Tourism and Entertainment has held a series of consultations with stakeholders and community leaders from the public and private sectors.
The Tourism Ministry has cleared projects worth Rs 20 crore for Varanasi. These include sound and light show, a Buddha theme park in Sarnath and conservation of two temples — Gurudham and Markandey Mahadev temple. The ministry’s Central Sanctioning and Monitoring Committee (CSMC), headed by Vinod Zutshi, Secretary-Tourism, Government of India, met recently to approve the infrastructure projects.Varanasi is one of the cities that comes under the Tourism Ministry’s PRASAD (Pilgrimage Rejuvenation and Spirituality Augmentation Drive) scheme.Zutshi said, “The project has been sanctioned seven crore rupees and will be executed in the next 12-18 months. The show will trace the history of Sarnath with the stupa as the backdrop.”Plans are also afoot to develop the Sarangnath pond at Sarnath. Sarnath is a place of high tourist interest in light of its significant place in Lord Buddha’s life. The tourism ministry has been working towards promoting Buddhist tourism and this has been a special focus for Prime Minister Modi on his visits to China and Japan in the last few months.
According to Álvaro Nadal, Minister for Energy, Tourism and the Digital Agenda, Spain, in terms of its tourism sector is predicted to witness a prosperous summer season with a rise of about 8.9% in the number of overseas tourists between the period of May and August.This implies that as much as 38 million tourists would be visiting Spain over the next four-month period out of which 21.5 million would be doing so in July and August.Nadal said that Spain had closed the initial five months 2017 with a figure close to about 28 million inbound tourists as per the Frontur – Inbound Tourism Survey that was conducted by the Spanish National Statistics Institute. The figure marks a rise of 11.6% on the same period of 2016.Out of the main target markets, the United Kingdom remains prominent with the arrival of more than 6.4 million tourists that represents an increase of 10.9%.This is followed by Germany with over four million tourists (up 7.6%) and France with nearly 3.9 million tourists. Catalonia had occupied a leading place in terms of inbound visitors with over 6.6 million tourist arrivals in these five months representing a rise of 10.5% followed by the Canary Islands with more than 5.9 million inbound tourists (up 9.6%) and Andalusia with more than four million tourists marking a rise of 9.6%.As of May 2017, Spain had welcomed 7.9 million inbound tourists representing a rise of 11.7% on the same month of 2016.
HBI Names New President and CEO November 10, 2011 488 Views Share The “”Home Builders Institute””:http://www.hbi.org/ has named a new president and CEO, with the announcement that John A. Courson will take over leadership of the non-profit organization. Capitalizing on his extensive industry experience, HBI will utilize Courson to target new revenue opportunities and program development.[IMAGE]Previously the president and CEO for the “”Mortgage Bankers Association””:www.mbaa.org/ from 2008 through this year, Courson is recognized as a housing industry spokesperson and government affairs expert. He will take over as head of HBI from Frederick Humphreys, who is retiring at the end of 2011 after serving the group for 11 years. HBI is tapping Courson to identify new streams of revenue, create new programming, and boost the organization’s core competencies including training, mentoring, curriculum development, and job placement services. Courson is well prepared for the job thanks to his long history of leadership positions throughout the mortgage and real estate industries. Courson’s prior roles have encompassed acting as the MBA’s chairman in 2003; performing as president for the MBA’s California, Dallas, and Michigan branches; and heading up three different mortgage companies including Central Pacific Mortgage Company, Fundamental Mortgage Corp., and Westwood Mortgage Corp. He has also been the chairman of the “”California Housing Finance Agency””:www.calhfa.ca.gov/, as well as a participant in international housing initiatives led by the White House and the U.S. Department of Treasury.Bob Nielsen, chairman of the “”National Association of Home Builders””:www.nahb.org/, spoke out about Courson’s appointment, saying, “”John Courson is the right man for the job. He’s a recognized and respected force in the building industry who has the talent and energy required to bring HBI to the next level of success. These characteristics are especially important at a time when major changes are occurring in the marketplace with regard to the availability of government funding opportunities and other evolving conditions.””Commenting on his acceptance of the position with HBI, Courson noted, “”I look forward to the opportunity to help HBI successfully meet the challenges that it faces in the current and future marketplace. I can’t think of a more important goal than ensuring that this highly respected organization continues to thrive and grow while preparing tomorrow’s workforce to meet the needs of an increasingly sophisticated and quality-driven home building industry.””HBI is an affiliate of the NAHB, and the organization operates as the workforce development arm of the NAHB. Serving the real estate community for more than 40 years, HBI prepares youth and adults for careers in residential construction through diverse training and resource initiatives. Agents & Brokers Attorneys & Title Companies Investors Lenders & Servicers Movers & Shakers National Association of Home Builders Processing Service Providers 2011-11-10 Abby Gregory in Data, Government, Origination, Secondary Market, Servicing, Technology
in Data, Government, Origination, Secondary Market, Servicing, Technology January 25, 2013 415 Views In New York, “”Ernst Publishing Company””:http://www.ernst.cc/default.asp announced that the firm’s technology development team has “”begun leveraging the power and capabilities presented by the communities of Open-Source software.””[IMAGE][COLUMN_BREAK]The “”Open Source Initiative””:http://opensource.org/ (OSI) defines open source as “”a development method for software that harnesses the power of distributed peer review and transparency of process.”” The intention of open source development is to create higher quality, more reliable technology at a lower cost.According to a release from the company, Ernst is already using open source software in some of its servers. Now, the company is giving back by contributing code to and documentation improvements to other projects.””The pursuit of constant innovation requires us to develop technology faster and more economically than ever before,”” said Ernst president and CEO Gregory Teal. “”OSI has emerged as the most effective way to meet that mandate. Our new technologies will make it to market faster, our tools will be more affordable and our engineers will have the opportunity to give something back to their communities. Everybody wins.”” Ernst Publishing Contributes to Open Source Initiative Agents & Brokers Attorneys & Title Companies Company News Investors Lenders & Servicers Processing Service Providers 2013-01-25 Tory Barringer Share
March 4, 2013 389 Views Agents & Brokers Attorneys & Title Companies Federal Reserve Home Equity Investors Lenders & Servicers Mortgage Debt New York Fed Processing Service Providers 2013-03-04 Esther Cho Mortgage debt for U.S. households was roughly unchanged quarter-over-quarter, according to the “”Federal Reserve Bank of New York’s Household Debt and Credit report””:http://www.newyorkfed.org/research/national_economy/householdcredit/DistrictReport_Q42012.pdf. Mortgage debt stood at $8.03 trillion in Q4, making up the largest component of household debt. [IMAGE] At the same time, overall consumer debt increased by $31 billion to $11.34 trillion, a slight 0.3 percent increase from the third quarter. The increase is mostly due to “”a rise in non-housing debt and the stabilization of mortgage debt,”” the New York Fed stated. Non-housing debt increased 1.3 percent to $2.75 trillion. The rise in consumer debt also breaks a downward trend that first began in Q4 2008, according to the report. Despite the growth, the report noted consumer debt has still seen a significant decline after peaking at $12.68 trillion. [COLUMN_BREAK]””Since the third quarter of 2008, its peak, household debt has fallen by $1.3 trillion-about 10 percent-mostly because of declining mortgage balances,”” said James McAndrews, EVP and director of research at the New York Fed, in a “”speech””:http://www.ny.frb.org/newsevents/speeches/2013/mca130228.html. In Q3 2012, mortgage debt saw a decrease of $120 billion, representing a 1.5 percent decline from Q2. While mortgage debt was mostly flat, home equity lines of credit (HELOC) saw a significant decline, falling by $10 billion, or 1.7 percent, to $563 billion.Fourth quarter delinquency rates for HELOCS fell to 3.5 percent, a decrease from 4.9 percent in the previous quarter. According to the report, the decline can largely be attributed to “”high charge-offs of delinquent HELOCS.””A smaller percentage of mortgages were in the seriously delinquent category, or 90 days or more past due, after falling to 5.6 percent in Q4, down from 5.9 percent in Q3. Fewer individuals also had foreclosure notations added to their reports. During the last quarter of the year, the total was about 210,000 individuals, representing a 13.3 percent decrease. New mortgage balances in Q4 also increased, according to the report, with originations growing to $553 billion, The Fed report says the level of originations has been on the rise after bottoming out in Q3 2011. Consumer Debt Increases in Q4 2012, Mortgage Debt Flat in Data, Government, Origination, Secondary Market, Servicing Share
Title Insurers Warned to Stay Vigilant as Credit Metrics Loosen in Daily Dose, Headlines, News, Origination February 24, 2014 483 Views Credit Standards Fitch Ratings Title Insurance 2014-02-24 Tory Barringer As banks adapt their practices to fit the shifting marketplace, Fitch Ratings warns title insurers in a new report to keep an eye on their own operations—or risk another uptick in claims.“Looser financial institution credit standards on residential and commercial policies could lead to an increase in title insurance claims if the insurers fail to maintain rigorous underwriting procedures,” Fitch said in a release put out Monday.Noting that “several credit metrics for 2013 vintage deals have deteriorated, including expansion of interest only loans, higher use of subordinated debt and higher LTV [loan-to-value] ratios,” the ratings agency urges all title insurers to conduct thorough search and examination processes to head off future losses.As far as title insurers working in lower credit metrics are concerned, Fitch anticipates the initial effects “will likely be minimal;” however, the agency notes future deterioration in underwriting, claims processes, and reserves practices may lead to a reassessment.“Poor underwriting quality during peak demand was a source of increased title insurance claims activity in the previous property market downturn,” Fitch said. “Maintaining underwriting discipline will mitigate large losses for title insurers regardless of any changes in mortgage lending standards.” Share
Indecomm Global Services, a firm offering business process outsourcing, learning, and technology solutions to financial services companies and other businesses, appointed Linda Bomar as VP of sales for the mortgage industry.In her new position, Bomar will lead Indecomm’s sales efforts in outsourcing, risk management, and software services to mortgage-focused clients.Bomar has 20 years’ experience in mortgage sales and marketing. Her last position was at AllRegs, where she was responsible for marketing and managing sales to national accounts and leading her team to achieve sales targets.”Linda has a long and distinguished career in the mortgage industry. Her stellar reputation and solid relationships complement her sales management experience,” said Rajan Nair, CEO of financial services for Indecomm. “These skills will be instrumental in building out Indecomm’s sales organization as Indecomm gears up for growth in the new environment.” in Headlines, News Mortgage Marketing Vet Joins Indecomm January 15, 2015 458 Views Indecomm Global Services Movers & Shakers 2015-01-15 Tory Barringer Share
Aspen Grove Promotes Ron Briggs to SVP of Business Development Ron BriggsAspen Grove Solutions (AGS), founded in Boston, Massachusetts, recently announced in a press release the promotion of Ron Briggs to the position of SVP of business development, effective immediately. Aspen Grove is a leading enterprise provider of property related technology solutions for REO, short sale, asset management, inspections, property preservation, vendor management, and compliance.Briggs has been with AGS since earlier this year, the company reported. He brings 25 years of experience from the real estate industry, specifically the mortgage servicing and default space.“Ron has been a great asset since he joined, his rapid promotion within the company is a reflection on his unquestionable ability and shared values,” said Ed Buckley, president of AGS. “We are ready to continue with the success of Aspen Grove Solutions and further deepen relationships with our clients by understanding, predicting, and reacting to their needs better than anyone else.”In his new position, the company says that Briggs will support clients to ensure AGS delivers purpose fitting solutions in a timely and cost effective manner, that are easy to use and quick to implement with the assistance of his business development team.As the head of AGS business development, Ron Briggs will report to AGS’ president Edmond Buckley and becomes a member of the senior leadership team, AGS reported. Share Aspen Grove Solutions Business Development REO 2015-06-02 Staff Writer June 2, 2015 553 Views in Headlines, News, Origination, Servicing
December 5, 2016 451 Views 2016-12-05 Seth Welborn What’s on the Horizon for 2017? Share Editor’s note: This select print feature originally appeared in the December 2016 issue of MReport magazine.Lawrence Yun has been Chief Economist and SVP of Research at the National Association of Realtors since 2008. In this position, Yun oversees and is responsible for a wide range of research activity for the association, including NAR’s Existing Home Sales statistics, Affordability Index, and Home Buyers and Sellers Profile Report. He regularly provides commentary on real estate market trends for 1 million Realtor members. Yun spoke with MReport about some of his predictions for housing in the coming year.M // What do you predict for 2017?YUN // We’ve had a shortage in housing supply this year. We had it last year. The shortage intensified this year based on the months’ supply or inventory availability. Going into 2017, I think there will be just a slight improvement in inventory, but nothing dramatic, which means that the market will still favor sellers over buyers in 2017.M // Do you think that the demand is going to stay strong?YUN // The demand increases have been moderate, so it has not been a very robust recovery in home sales. I think that existing home sales should be able to crank out another gain in 2017—a very low single-digit percentage. New home sales will possibly reach a double-digit percentage gain in 2017 just because builders have the incentive to build more, given the inventory shortage. I don’t foresee builders having any problems selling the new inventory. New home construction could experience anywhere from a 5 to 10 percent increase in single-family housing starts. That will alleviate some of the supply problem. It’s not going to be a total return to a balanced market condition, but certainly moving in the right direction.Lawrence YunM // What role do you think first-time buyers will play in the market next year?YUN // I hope we see a meaningful increase in first-time buyers in 2017. The latest monthly report shows some encouraging signs, but I hope that is the trend in 2017. The consistent job creation and the pickup in wages should set the basis for first-time buyers picking up in 2017, but from a broad social point of view, we have had a 50-year low homeownership rate recently, and the only way to stop that bleeding is for first-time buyers to step in. They have been stepping in at a faster rate in the last month. Is it a one month thing or this is the beginning of an upswing? That remains to be seen.M // You have been with NAR for 16 years now and Chief Economist for eight years. Since this is our diversity and inclusion issue, what has been your experience as a minority man in this industry?YUN // People may have certain perceptions that may not be visible at the first meeting, but once we go into the discussion of the numbers, the Realtors or the people in the real estate industry have been very receptive and open to hearing the analysis that I provide. So I feel very fortunate.M // Do you have a mentor or mentors that helped you get where you are in your career?YUN // My many colleagues. We have a constant discussion about economic issues, and our CEO at NAR, Dale Stinton, certainly provides vision. Regarding technical application or expertise, they rely on me to crank that out, but at least regarding the vision, it’s the CEO that provides it. Having very good colleagues just to discuss what’s happening in the economy, or asking or discussing why the housing market is moving a certain way just facilitates a new insight and a new angle to look into. So I feel very fortunate to have a talented group of colleagues and economists on my staff. in Daily Dose, Headlines, News
September 11, 2017 581 Views Share To say it’s been a rough year for Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Chief Richard Cordray may be somewhat of an understatement. Back in April, Cordray found himself defending the purpose of the Bureau on Capitol Hill and his ability to lead it.At the time, Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R-TX), didn’t hold any punches when asking for Cordray’s dismissal, “For conducting unlawful activities, abusing his authority [and] denying market due process].”Now, months later, Cordray is still finding himself having to defend both himself and the role of the CFPB, amid speculation that he may soon be leaving his post to run for Ohio Governor, according to a report by CBS News.Though Cordray, has remained mum on the validity of his leaving office before the end of his five-year term, that doesn’t mean he has been quiet on defending his maligned Bureau.In a Sunday interview with CBS News’ Erin Moriarty, Cordray spoke of the pride he has in his job. “I’ve been given a job to do,” Cordray said. “It’s a great job. It’s a great way to serve my country.”Looking back at a time before the CFPB existed, Cordray spoke about how there was a “blind spot” that “cost this country terribly” during the financial crisis.Cordray reaffirmed the role of the CFPB plays in the financial market ensuring “people are treated fairly.” CFPB corday HOUSING mortgage 2017-09-11 Nicole Casperson In Defense of the CFPB in Daily Dose, Featured, News