LGBT find friends at Preferred Pride

first_imgLGBT Source = e-Travel Blackboard: M.H Preferred Hotel Group has launched Preferred Pride, a collection of nearly 100 independently owned and operated hotels catering specifically to the needs of the gay and lesbian traveller.With LGBT travel booming, Preferred Pride aims to offer the extra level of reassurance the discerning gay and lesbian traveller seeks, whilst standing for equality in employment practices and supporting the LGBT community. “Preferred Pride is more than just another LGBT seal of approval; the program was created to unite Preferred’s diverse community of independent hoteliers around the world who are committed to the LGBT community,” Preferred Hotel Group executive director, leisure sales Rick Stiffler said. “It is a global initiative that enables hoteliers to learn about and better understand the needs and preferences of the LGBT traveller.”To better serve the gay and lesbian market, the Preferred Pride program offers diversity training on industry best practices, with participating properties able to choose a qualified ‘internal ambassador’ to work within the hotel. Properties must be either TAG Approved (Community Marketing’s Travel Alternatives Group) or belong to IGLTA (International Gay & Lesbian Travel Association) to qualify as a Preferred Pride hotel. last_img read more

Visit USA recognised for efforts by US Ambassador

first_imgSource = e-Travel Blackboard: K.W The United States Ambassador to Australia, Jeff Bleich, presented an official Certificate of Appreciation to the Visit USA Organisation (Australia) for their dedication and commitment to promote tourism to the United States, at an event in Sydney to mark Visit USA Week.Mr Bleich said the number of Australian visitors to the US was “remarkable”, hitting the one million visitor milestone and staying longer in the country than ever before.Visit USA Australia President Geoffrey Hutton has described 2011 as “the most amazing year for the USA” from the local market.  “They are also the only international tourists to visit more than two states,” Mr Hutton concluded.Also revealed on the day was Brand USA (formerly called the Corporation for Travel Promotion), the public private partnership formed to promote America.  Expected to visit Australia later this year to invest in the local market, Brand USA will match dollar for dollar spending from local companies. Visit USA recognised for efforts by US Ambassadorlast_img read more

SAA introduces new country manager

first_imgSouth African Airways new Country Manager – Tim Clyde-Smith South African Airways new Country Manager – Tim Clyde-Smith with Ian Robinson Source = e-Travel Blackboard: K.Wcenter_img New country manager in Australasia for South African Airways (SAA) Tim Clyde-Smith was introduced to industry and SAA partners at a function in Sydney last week.  Fresh from his recent role in the passenger sales development area at Emirates Airlines, Mr Clyde-Smith has 20 years experience in the travel and tourism industry under his belt.He brings with him a broad cross-industry record of achievement and an in-depth knowledge of the airline industry. Mr Clyde-Smith’s enthusiasm for the appointed new role was evident as he discussed with e-Travel Blackboard his focus on increasing revenue and passenger yield for the airline’s operations in Australia.SAA and Qantas code share agreement to South Africa will not be extended beyond December 2012, with the current agreement in place until then.  SAA is still review its options but assures its clients of the airlines long term commitment to the Australian market. last_img read more

Bali in Aus demand

first_imgTripAdvisor has revealed the most popular travel destinations Australians are researching online, with Bali topping the list as the most sought after holiday escape.Internationally, Bali is the standout winner with the region of Seminyak taking the number one spot and neighbouring cities Kuta, Ubud, Legian and Nusa Dua all appearing in the top 20 destinations.Although Bali is one of the closest international hotspots, distance is not an issue as New York, Paris and London all ranked within the top five most-researched destinations.The interest in the Olympics and Paralympics could have helped London secure the fifth spot, according to TripAdvisor.   The only New Zealand city to make this list was the resort village of Queenstown, coming in at 17.Melbourne beat out Sydney as the most searched city in Australia, while Queensland recorded the highest number of destinations researched online. Australia’s wine regions have begun to intrigue domestic travellers with two NSW Hunter Valley towns – Cessnock and Pokolbin – ranking in the top 20 and Western Australia’s Margaret River making the list. Source = e-Travel Blackboard: P.T Resort Pool in Kuta, Balilast_img read more

Thai flight hits turbulence

first_imgTropical Storm Kong-Rey affects local weather. A Thai Airways flight from Bangkok experienced rough turbulence before landing in Hong Kong, injuring 20 passenger and crew. The Airbus A380, carrying 500 people, was knocked around upon descent and those injured in the fray were sent to three different hospitals in the surrounding area, the Telegraph reported. Source = ETB News: P.T. The National News Bureau of Thailand said one crew member aboard the flight suffered a broken collarbone. Hong Kong Airlines reported a similar incident, when three passengers and three flight attendants were hurt after a flight from Phuket hit “sudden turbulence” as it neared the airport. Turbulence is the most common cause of injury to air passengers around the world, however, extreme turbulence is quite rare. Flight TG600 departed Thailand on the morning of Friday 30 August 2013. Hong Kong has been experiencing uneasy weather as Tropical Storm Kong-Rey passes nearby. “Despite the turbulence, the pilots safely landed the aircraft, with the Thai’s ground customer services staff at Chek Lap Kok Airport and Hong Kong International Airport Authority staff immediately transporting the injured to hospital,” Thai Airways senior executive vice president commercial Chokchai Panyayong said. “Thai regrets this unforeseen weather occurrence and will tend to medical expenses of all passengers and staff who were injured.”last_img read more

Cruise tourism reaches new depths in Dubai

first_imgWelcoming more than 407,000 cruise tourists last year, numbers will increase to around 420,000 for the new season with Dubai’s Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (DTCM) expecting that number to reach one million by 2020. With Dubai featuring on most of the world’s leading cruise liners’ international itineraries, it continues to reinforce its position as a popular cruise destination, firmly cementing its reputation as the Arabian Gulf’s “cruise hub of the region.” New to the region, MSC Cruises has proudly announced Dubai as its newest home port for their 2013-2014 season itinerary, with the MSC Lirica arriving in November and bringing over 60,000 passengers in its 20 turnaround call. Dubai’s cruise industry continues to flourish with the announcement of MSC Cruises becoming the hub’s newest home porting partner and two Cunard cruise liners due to make an appearance as well. “A combination of careful and strategic planning, marketing initiatives, infrastructure development, targeted investment and Dubai’s appeal as a popular destination, has allowed Dubai to experience robust growth in cruise tourism,” DTCM general manager Veronica Rainbird said.center_img Cunard Line has announced in addition to their overnight Dubai calls in April 2014, both Queen Mary 2 and Queen Elizabeth will be returning once again to Dubai as part of their world cruise in 2015. Source = ETB News: L.B. “Dubai has the largest, state of the art facilities for cruise tourism in the Middle East and has consistently kept up with the industry’s growth and demand, enhancing the facilities and services of its ports to cater to the growing number of cruise lines and visitors.”last_img read more

NEXT Hotel Brisbane redesigns guest experiences

first_imgNEXT Hotels brand is redesigning the guest experience with technology giant DOCOMO interTouch, offering guests freedom and control with an integrated solution available on the NEXT App.Using the latest technology, the NEXT Hotels property in Brisbane’s Queen Street Mall is the first hotel in Australia enabling guests to bypass the front desk and go straight to their rooms using their smartphones as room keys.The hotels chain governed by SilverNeedle Hospitality is committed to assisting time-crunched guests with optimising their hotel experience by removing any obstacles that could delay them in getting to their destination.DOCOMO interTouch is a wholly-owned subsidiary of NTT DOCOMO, a global leader in mobile telecommunications technologiesSilverNeedle Hospitality managing director and group chief executive officer Iqbal Jumabhoy, has said that the project is all about giving travelers the freedom to choose their own experience.“Our NEXT Hotels® brand is dedicated to providing the ultimate guest experience, and that requires us to effectively combine the use of space, technology and service to ensure that every moment is memorable and stress-free,” Mr Jumabhoy said.SilverNeedle® Hospitality will launch the NEXT App, into which the Mobile Key is embedded, the app will be available in both Android and iOS stores.The app allows travelers to make a room reservation, enter their room, control in-room gadgets, order room service and check out of the hotel.Prior to arriving at NEXT Hotel® Brisbane, guests can check in using the NEXT App; select their preferred rooms or accept the pre-assigned rooms; and receive their own room key codes on their smartphones, bypassing the conventional check-in process to get to their rooms if they wish.The new technology is an Australian first, and SilverNeedle Hospitality are planning on implementing the technology in all of their NEXT Hotels in Australia.Source = ETB News: Lewis Wisemanlast_img read more

Tourism Australia brings the best Australian business events to IMEX F

first_imgTourism Australia brings the best Australian business events to IMEX FrankfurtAustralian business events industry partners will today join Tourism Australia on the Australia stand at IMEX Frankfurt, showcasing the latest developments in incentive and association offerings from across the country. Providing even more opportunities to showcase Australia, Tourism Australia is also sponsoring the media centre and the Associations Day program at IMEX Frankfurt.Commenting on the importance of business events to the visitor economy, the Minister for Tourism and International Education, Senator Richard Colbeck said, “International business events contributed over $3.8 billion in visitor expenditure and over 800,000 visitors in 2015. Business events also generate closer people-to-people links and drive our knowledge economy”.This year, 18 Australian business events products and destinations (up from 15 at IMEX 2015), with 30 delegates in total, will give buyers an excellent opportunity to discover why there’s nothing like Australia for business events. The Tourism Australia team will be conducting business appointments as well as group training sessions and networking opportunities on the stand.“Tourism Australia hosts the Australia stand at IMEX Frankfurt because it provides the platform for Australian industry to meet qualified buyers, do business and network,” said Penny Lion, General Manager Business Events Australia. “It’s great for Australia that we’re joined on the stand by such a high calibre of stand partners, as buyers are always looking for new ideas and information”.Four Points by Sheraton Sydney, Ovation Australia, and Shangri-La Hotel Sydney are all new exhibitors on the Australia stand, adding even more for buyers to discover.In order to bring association buyers at IMEX Frankfurt all the latest news on Australian innovation and innovators, Tourism Australia has also developed a new, bi-annual publication, “Australia Innovates”, which features selected content originally created by Austrade.“It’s a great way to continue to build on our work in showing the world that not only is Australia a stunning destination for business events, it also has a depth of knowledge that can really help associations deliver on their event objectives,” said Ms Lion.“Having recently finalised new research on association delegate behaviour, we know that Australia is strongly perceived as a quality destination for business events. We look forward to sharing further insights from this research in the coming months, to provide industry with a competitive advantage when it comes to developing delegate acquisition strategies,” said Ms Lion.“There is so much happening in Australia right now and visitors to our stand at IMEX Frankfurt will benefit from the wealth of business events knowledge and experience being shared. We can’t wait to help buyers discover why Australia should be their next event destination,” said Ms. Lion. Business Events AustraliaSource = Tourism Australialast_img read more

Ministry of Tourism decides to promote Rural Tourism in India

first_imgThe Union Ministry of Tourism sanctioned 15 Rural Tourism sites for an amount of Rs 436.29 lakh during the year 2012-13. Similarly during 2013-14, 17 Rural Tourism sites for an amount of Rs 9.44 lakh were sanctioned and for 2014-15, four Rural Tourism sites received fund of Rs 131.05 lakh. The states in which the sites of Rural Tourism sanctioned are Arunachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir, Maharashtra, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, Uttarakhand, Punjab and Tripura.The Union Ministry of Tourism has launched a new Scheme namely Swadesh Darshan for Integrated Development of Tourist Circuits around Specific Theme pursuant to the Budget 2014-15 Announcements. One of the circuits which have been selected for development is Rural Tourism Circuit.Ministry of Tourism has a Rural Tourism Scheme which is the part of ‘Product/Infrastructure Development for Destinations and Circuits (PIDDC)’ Scheme. The main objective of this scheme is showcasing rural life, art, culture and heritage in villages that have core competence in art and craft, handloom, textiles, natural environment etc. Under this scheme, Central Financial Assistance (CFA) up to Rs 50 lakh for infrastructure development and up to Rs 20 lakh for capacity building is provided to State Governments/Union Territory Administrations for each identified site by them. However, an amount of Rs 20 crore has been allocated under UT Plan for PIDDC during 2015-16.last_img read more

The Park Hotels goes international with The Sahara Palace

first_imgThe Park Hotels, operating luxury properties across India, has acquired its first international hotel in the Moroccan city of Marrakech.The Sahara Palace Marrakech features 108 rooms and suites, plus an outdoor pool, gardens and a 3,800 sq m spa with an indoor heated pool, 14 treatment rooms, two Turkish hammams, a fitness centre and a “yoga temple”. There are four restaurants and two bars, including the Bombay Veranda and Bombay Bar.Priya Paul, Chairman of The Park Hotels, commented, “We are delighted to be managing this beautiful palace hotel in Morocco. Along with the strong Moroccan accents throughout the property, there are a number of Indian design influences, making the hotel a great fit for us as hoteliers from the subcontinent.”last_img read more

Indians preferred to travel domestically in 2016 says Skyscanner

first_imgA study has found that the year 2016 witnessed a huge rise in Indians planning travel on the go and showed an increased preference to travel domestically.According to the study by Skyscanner, mobile web is instrumental in travel planning. The data revealed an eight percent Year-on-Year leap in searches made on smartphones, indicating a growing preference to plan travel on the go.Skyscanner reports also suggest a 13% growth in searches for domestic destinations, due to a rise in a number of new routes and flight choices. New Delhi took the major share of domestic searches in both 2015 and 2016, achieving a steady 15% both years.Additionally, in terms of international destinations, the U.S. achieved most searches in both 2015 and 2016, with the searches accounting for eight percent and nine percent of all searches in the respective year.Budget airlines continued to be the preferred mode of air travel in both domestic and international travel. There was an eight percent increase in searches for budget airlines tickets compared to 2015.Indians made the most of the festive season in October, which is usually plush with holidays. Occasioned by Durga Puja or Diwali and Bhai Dooj, October turned out to be the favourite month for travel for the second year in a row.Commenting on the findings of this analysis, Reshmi Roy, Growth Manager- India, Skyscanner, said, “The insights we have drawn from this review of Skyscanner’s data are key to understanding travel patterns and will help us to continue building products that solve problems for Indian travellers. With increased connectivity, travel planning can become very simple.last_img read more

Mortgage Applications Surge Forward by 103

first_img Share Adjustable-Rate Mortgage Agents & Brokers Confidence Debt Crisis Euro European Union First-Time Homebuyers Fixed-Rate Mortgage Housing Affordability Investment Investors Lenders & Servicers Mortgage Applications Mortgage Bankers Association Mortgage Bonds Mortgage Rates Processing Refinance Service Providers Treasury Department Treasury Yields 2011-11-09 Ryan Schuette More refinance loan applications inspired a 10.3-percent leap forward in mortgage applications last week, according to the “”Mortgage Bankers Association””: (MBA).[IMAGE]The MBA released a weekly survey responsible for tracking mortgage application volume.The trade group’s Market Composite Index recorded a seasonally adjusted 10.3-percent uptick from the week earlier, while loan volume went up 9.9 percent on a seasonally unadjusted basis from the week earlier.The Refinance Index offered up a 12.1-percent surge in loan application volume, as the Purchase Index similarly noted an increase along the lines of 2.7 percent ├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├óÔé¼┼ô a contrast with figures from last week but still lower than the same week seen last year.””As has been the case all year, many refinance applicants are opting to deleverage by choosing 15-year mortgages,”” [COLUMN_BREAK]””Mike Fratantoni””:, MBA’s VP of research and economics, said in a “”statement””: on a seasonally adjusted basis, the four-week moving average fell by 0.37 percent but went up by 0.89 percent on a seasonally adjusted basis for the Purchase Index.The refinance share of activity shot up by 78.6 percent in total application volume, an increase from 77.1 percent from the week before, while adjustable-rate mortgages (ARMs) remained unchanged from last week.The surge in mortgage loan application volume follows a shortfall in contract interest rates on average for fixed-rate mortgages, with the 30-year loan seeing a drop from 4.31 percent the week before to 4.22 percent last week.The same for the 15-year loan fell from 3.63 percent to 3.54 percent, while interest rates for 5-year and 1-year ARMs declined from 3.09 percent to 3.01 percent last week.””Treasury rates dropped last week, as renewed turmoil in Europe once again led to a flight to quality, and 30-year mortgage rates dropped to their second lowest level of the year,”” Fratantoni added. “”Refinance applications jumped more than 12 percent to their highest level in a month and some lenders experienced even larger increases. Trouble in Europe reached a boiling point last week when Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou announced his resignation following a ratification by his parliament of a bailout package worth trillions of euros. November 9, 2011 432 Views center_img Mortgage Applications Surge Forward by 10.3% in Data, Government, Origination, Secondary Market, Servicinglast_img read more

Servicers Pick Up Pace on Loan Modifications in Q3

first_imgServicers Pick Up Pace on Loan Modifications in Q3 November 6, 2012 433 Views In the third quarter of this year, servicers increased the pace at which they completed proprietary modifications and short sales, “”HOPE NOW””: data revealed Monday. [IMAGE] In Q3 2012, proprietary modifications, or non-government mods, stood at 186,057 compared to 161,764 in Q3 2011, representing a 15 percent annual gain, according to the alliance. Quarter-over-quarter, proprietary mods were up 41 percent compared to Q2 2012, when there were 131,556 completed mods. In addition to the 186,057 proprietary mods in Q3, mortgage servicers also completed 33,276 mods through the Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP), bringing the quarterly total for completed mods to 219,333. HOPE NOW noted HAMP figures for September have not yet been reported.When including all modifications, year-to-date, 604,301 homeowners have received permanent loan mods in 2012. In Q3, short sales, another solution to prevent foreclosures, totaled 110,153, up 16 percent from Q3 in 2011 when there were 94,560 completed short sales. [COLUMN_BREAK]Quarter-over-quarter, short sales were up 3 percent. However, completed short sales were actually down month-over-month by 13 percent in September. While mods and short sales were up in Q3 2012, foreclosure starts were down, falling to 503,995 compared to 597,447 in Q3 2011, representing a 16 percent decline. Foreclosure sales saw a slight 1 percent decline in Q3, falling to 197,937 compared to 199,383 a year ago. In a statement, Faith Schwartz, executive director of HOPE NOW said, “”The combination of loan modifications and short sales solutions completed by mortgage servicers, in the third quarter of the year, totals over 329,000. That compares to approximately 198,000 foreclosure sales during the same time period.””Delinquencies past due 60-plus days also fell in Q3 2012, numbering 2.45 million, down 12 percent from the same quarter last year. For just the month of September, HOPE NOW also provided data on characteristics of proprietary loan modifications. Among the 60,595 completed proprietary loan mods in September, 87 percent included reduced principal and interest on monthly payments. In addition, 76 percent of those mods had reduced principal and interest payments exceeding 10 percent. Since 2007, the servicers have completed 5.82 million permanent loan modifications. Of those loan mods, 4,739,109 were proprietary and 1,076,747 were completed under HAMP. HOPE NOW–an alliance of mortgage servicers, investors, mortgage insurers, and non-profit counselors–offers a free hotline for struggling homeowners at 888.995.HOPE. in Government, Servicingcenter_img Agents & Brokers Attorneys & Title Companies Delinquency Investors Lenders & Servicers Loan Modification Processing Service Providers 2012-11-06 Esther Cho Sharelast_img read more

Accurate Group Announces Support for Fannie Maes CU

first_img In Ohio, Accurate Group announced its support for the imminent release of Fannie Mae’s Collateral Underwriter (CU) in the form of enhanced appraisal processes, updates to the company’s Valuation Compliance Report (VCR), and training and certification of its appraisal review team.In a release, Accurate Group said it has been in close communication with Fannie Mae ahead of CU’s release to lenders and appraisal management companies (AMCs) to ensure the company and its clients are ready.”Our clients rely on us to stay ahead of the compliance curve, so we’ve been proactively planning for the Fannie Mae CU changes,” said Paul Doman, president and CEO of Accurate Group. “We have the processes, technology and team in place to help lenders adhere to the new Fannie Mae requirements and are prepared to make this change a smooth transition for them.”In addition to putting its appraisal review team through a series of Fannie Mae training and certification sessions, Accurate Group has also modified its review processes to incorporate CU in the workflow, the company said.The firm’s Accurate VCR product has also received an upgrade and now includes new rules necessary to ensure all hard-stop proprietary messages are addressed before appraisals are submitted.”This is one of the benefits our clients gain by choosing an appraisal management and compliance company such as Accurate Group, over just a standard AMC,” Doman said. “With Accurate Group, compliance is never an afterthought—it is engrained in our business and in every product and service we offer.” Accurate Group Announces Support for Fannie Mae’s CU Share in Headlines, Newscenter_img January 22, 2015 471 Views accurate group Collateral Underwriter Company News Compliance Fannie Mae 2015-01-22 Tory Barringerlast_img read more

NMSA Calls for Clarification of the Definition of Robocalls

first_img Share NMSA Calls for Clarification of the Definition of Robocalls in Daily Dose, Featured, News, Servicing The National Mortgage Servicing Association (NMSA) issued commentary on Monday to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) on a Notice of Proposed Rule Making and Notice of Inquiry in regard to preventing illegal Robocalls.In its official statement, the NMSA applauds the FCC’s desire to prevent Robocalls made by servicers, but urges the commission to go one step further by clarifying the definition. Currently, the FCC defines Robocalls by referring to a previously proposed description set forward by the “Robocall Strike Force,” which was established at the request of former Chairman Wheeler in 2016:“…an ‘illegal robocall’ is one that violates the requirements of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act of 1991, the related FCC regulations implementing the Act, or the Telemarketing Sales Rule, as well as any call made for the purpose of defrauding the customer, as prohibited under a variety of federal and state laws and regulations…”It is the position of the NMSA that ambiguity in the language and lack of defining terminology leaves open the possibility of inconsistency. The organization further urges the FCC to adopt language that clearly defines a Robocall as:“Any telephone call to a telephone number using and artificial voice or prerecorded message where a live person is not on the line and available to communicate with the intended recipient of the call at the time of connection to the telephone number called.”Currently, mortgage servicers are not considered exempt from the laws outlined in The Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA), despite efforts to petition the FCC otherwise back in June of 2016. The FCC ruled that the importance of dissemination of information about delinquencies to consumers did not warrant setting aside privacy concerns. Further, because consumers could revoke consent so easily, mortgage servicers could be at risk for hefty fines for each call. A standard definition of a Robocall would be in the interest of both the industry and the consumer.“We applaud the FCC’s active engagement in protecting consumers,” said Ed Delgado, President and CEO of the Five Star Institute. “It is this shared interest that drives NMSA to continue to work towards shaping the American housing industry for the benefit of homeowners, and while there is more work to be done, this continued dialogue between concerned members of the industry and regulatory institutions is a step in the right direction.”To view the letter, click here.center_img NMSA Robocalls 2017-08-01 Joey Pizzolato August 1, 2017 710 Views last_img read more