Source = e-Travel Blackboard: C.F Cruise West announced that it would cease all operations effective immediately over the weekend. The Seattle-based small-ship operator has struggled to stay afloat over the past 12 months by aggressively pursuing a number of options to maintain operations. These different options, which have not managed to come to fruition, included investment, selling assets and selling the company. “I have never given up hope that we might be able to find a way to survive by working with the various interested parties.“I am absolutely heartbroken that this family legacy has come to an end,” said Dick West, Cruise West’s Chairman and Managing Director. “We have a product that appeals to the type of traveler who wants to experience the destination, not the inside of a ship.“We have a passionate following of repeat guests and I am particularly distressed that our most loyal guests who booked with us will now not be able to travel. “We have done absolutely everything to maintain operations, but with limited resources and current tight financial market, we simply cannot continue.” Cruise West has cancelled all future cruises in 2010 and beyond with the exception of this week’s Danube Cruise (Wednesday, September 22).The company has now in the process of contacting guests via phone, email, and through media outlets. “It is with a heavy heart that we close our doors, knowing that guests, travel agents, and partners will not receive the personal attention that they have grown to expect from us,” said Mr West. “I want to extend my most sincere thanks to our local employees, many of which have been here for decades.“I am devastated that, though they have given abundantly of their time and energy, we will unable to continue delivering memorable experience,” continued Mr West. Cruise West’s Galapagos partner, Canodros, operator of the Galapagos II, is working with the operator to provide an alternate program for booked guests. Director of the Small Ship Adventure Company, Maryann Anderson said the future of Small ship cruising worldwide is optimistic despite the end of Cruise West. “It is sad to see a family company like Cruise West collapse after nearly 64 years. “Cruise West forged the way for small ship cruising in Alaska and should be credited for being true pioneers in developing and defining the small ship cruise market as it is today.” She continued, “We have seen the Small Ship Cruise Market grow to become an important niche market for cruise specialist travel agencies over the past decade and we want to urge travel agents to feel confident in the positive outlook of the small ship cruise market.” Ms. Anderson said her company would work with agents to find an alternative small ship cruise to replace any Cruise West cruise in 2010 / 11.
IMEX – the worldwide exhibition for incentive travel, meetings and events – and its Chairman Mr. Ray Bloom were awarded the Corporate Order of Skål Merit by the former President of Skål International, Mr. Nik Racic, Director of the Croatian Congress and Incentive Bureau, during the recent Skål World Congress which was held in Sydney, Australia, last month. In announcing the award, Nik Racic wanted to recognise Mr. Ray Bloom and the IMEX Trade Show for their pivotal role in developing a close cooperation with Skål International which is an IMEX Supporting Association. Source = Skal
Source = Constellation Hotels Constellation Hotels is toasting their success after winning the Silver award for Hotel Chain of the Year at the Accommodation Association of Australia’s 2011 National Accommodation Industry Awards for Excellence which took place at the Hilton Sydney on Friday 24th June.The black-tie event was attended by over 300 leaders and representatives from the tourism and accommodation industries.“The National Accommodation Industry Awards for Excellence are all about achieving and maintaining the highest standards in the accommodation industry,” said the Chief Executive of the Accommodation Association of Australia, Lorraine Duffy. “The awards represent a wonderful opportunity to celebrate the thousands of businesses that make up our accommodation industry and provide great service to millions of domestic and overseas visitors.”Constellation Hotels Managing Director, Jonathan Wooller said, “Bringing home the Silver Award for Hotel Chain of the Year shows our commitment to innovation, excellence and leadership within the vibrant accommodation sector”. “It provides magnificent recognition for all of the properties within Constellation Hotels’ extensive network, across Australia and New Zealand”.Constellation Hotels was also well represented across a wide range of individual hotel award categories, with Chifley Apartments Newcastle winning Bronze for 4 ½ Star Luxury Accommodation, Chifley Penrith taking up Bronze in the 3 ½ Star Superior Hotel Accommodation category, and Australis Mariners North Holiday Apartments winning Bronze for Self Contained 4 Star or Deluxe Accommodation.The following hotels have also been recognized as finalists in Accommodation Award Categories; Australis Diamond Beach and Spa (4 ½ Star Luxury Self Contained Accommodation), Chifley Eastern Creek and Chifley Wollongong (4 ½ Star Luxury Hotel Accommodation). In addition restaurants were recognized in the Restaurant or Catering Service of the Year category including; C Grill – Chifley Wollongong (finalist), and The Three Nippers Restaurant – Australis Diamond Beach and Spa, who took home the Bronze.Properties were judged in equal parts by a written submission and a mystery assessment. The Accommodation Association of Australia’s Awards for Excellence are one of the only annual accommodation awards to incorporate a true mystery guest component in their judging process. Constellation Hotels – AAAAwards Director of Operations Cameron Stewart Managing Director Jonathan Wooller
Convenient high-speed connections between Hong Kong and several Chinese border cities assist the facilitation and drive the increase of mainland tourists. Transport is becoming more efficient and accessible for Chinese travellers to Hong Kong, the Hindu Business Line reported. Convenient transport links and shopping boost mainland arrivals. With an absence of sales taxes and strict regulations enforcing the sale of genuine brand-name products, Hong Kong has also become a popular shopping destination for many Chinese tourists. Increasingly fast rail connections between Hong Kong and Shenzhen run every 10 minutes, with similar connections from other major Chinese cities, such as Guangzhou. Hong Kong Tourist Board spokesperson Alice Chu said the hi-speed train link with China will be operational by 2016, with travel time between Hong Kong and Shanghai significantly reduced. Ms Chu said some Chinese travellers make the journey to Hong Kong for their weekly groceries. Source = ETB News: P.T.
Youth Hostels Australia (YHA) celebrates 75 years since it was established in Australia, today.The milestone celebrates the same day in 1939 when a group of young people established the youth hostel movement in Australia at the Warrandyte, on Melbourne’s fringe.YHA runs a network of Youth Hostels across Australia -from the Daintree Rainforest in Queensland to eco-lodges on the Great Ocean Road.The first permanent youth hostel begun in Germany in 1912 at Altena Castle and still operates today.YHA is membership based, not-for-profit and is part of Hostelling International.Source = ETB News: Tom Neale
Technology provider Amadeus IT Holding has released its financial results for the first quarter of 2015, revealing a strong start to the year.The company’s revenue saw an increase of 14 per cent to €989.4 million and its EBITDA grew by 10.9 per cent to €389.6 million.As a result, Amadeus’ adjusted profit grew 9.7 per cent over the period to €209.9 million.Amadeus president and chief executive officer Luis Maroto said several changes attributed to the growth.“Our consistent market share growth and successful entry into new areas, combined with organic growth and contributions from recent successful acquisitions, has allowed us to report further increases in revenue and profitability,” Mr Maroto said.In the Distribution aspect of the company, revenue increased 10.7 per cent to €721.6 million and air travel agency bookings grew by 11.4 per cent.In the IT Solutions business, revenue grew by 24 per cent to €267.7 million and Passengers Boarded, the number of passengers boarded onto flights using Amadeus technology, increased by 8.4 per cent.Mr Maroto said he is confident this growth will continue.“We remain confident that our portfolio of innovative travel solutions and strong customer relationships will allow steady growth across our business throughout the remainder of 2015,” Mr Maroto said.In the New Businesses area, the company took a step forward with the recent announcement of their partnership with InterContinental Hotels Group to build its Guest Reservation System.In Airport IT, Amadeus contributed to reducing runway waiting time at Munich Airport by 50 per cent and inbound delays were reduced by 24 per cent.Source = ETB Travel News: Brittney Levinson
Thailand Convention and Exhibition Bureau (Public Organisation) or TCEB today signed a partnership agreement with Amsterdam Light Festival to create a world-class light festival in Thailand.The partnership is tipped to impart new vigour to the Thai economy and restore the confidence in high level of safety that international visitors and event organisers can expect from Thailand as a top destination for tourism and events.Mr Rogier van der Heide, a world-renowned lighting designer and the Artistic Director of Amsterdam Light Festival, also surveyed Ratchaprasong as the first area to be lit up under this new partnership.Mr. Nopparat Maythaveekulchai, Director of Thailand Convention and Exhibition Bureau (TCEB) said, “TCEB has a mission to promote and facilitate development of international events, mega events and world-class festivals in Thailand. Strategically, we are focused on pooling in events from our bidding targets and increasing arrivals of international visitors by hosting international events and mega events, as well as profiling Thailand as the destination of international events and mega events through strong exposure in international media, and developing a network of public-private partnerships that will reinforce supportive role of TCEB in every step to increase Thai chances to win in world-class events.”“By positioning Thailand as Asia’s premier destination for international events within our strategic direction to drive Thailand as the hub of mega events, we are paving way for more arrivals of quality visitors and event-goers,” he continued. “In our most recent move, TCEB and Amsterdam Light Festival have entered a partnership for knowledge sharing and collaborative creation of a world-class light festival in Thailand. The partnership not only enables an interchange of knowledge in lighting innovations, light arts, as well as public relations, marketing and promotion planning for light festivals, etc., but will also bring magnificent artworks of Amsterdam Light Festival on show in Thailand for the first time.”Mr Rogier van der Heide said, “My Thai visit this time is for the signing between TCEB and Amsterdam Light Festival, which will set about a long-term partnership for exchange of information and collaborative development of international light festivals. In addition, I had a chance to deliver a talk on “How to Create Impact for International Light Festival – Trends & Sustainability”.”Mr Rogier van der Heide has previously completed numerous lighting design projects for well-known places all over the world, including Louis Vuitton World Wide Lighting Design, Swarovski Crystal Palace (Milan – German), Forcefield (London), YAS Marina Hotel (Abu Dhabi), Library Boekenberg (MVRDV, Rotterdam), Beijing Olympic Stadium, Herzog & De Meuron (China), Stedelijk Museum (Amsterdam – Netherland), Het Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam (Amsterdam – Netherland) and The Amsterdam Light Festival 2013.The light festival to be held late this year is an important project to drive forward Thai MICE industry in 2015. It will expectedly attract interested visitors around the world to Bangkok and Thailand about 1,036,300 international MICE visitors and generate a turnover of 106,780 million baht. Thailand Convention and Exhibition Bureau Source = Thailand Convention and Exhibition Bureau
Bangkok claims top spot in MasterCard’s Asia Pacific Destinations IndexBangkok has increased its lead over the pack as the region’s most popular destination, with international overnight visitors breaking the 20 million mark for the first time, according to the results of the inaugural MasterCard Asia Pacific Destinations Index released today. Second place was a close fight between Singapore and Tokyo.The inaugural index provides a ranking of 167 destinations across Asia Pacific.Thailand dominated the top ten destinations, taking three of the top ten rankings, with Phuket securing fifth place (9.3 million) and the coastal city of Pattaya coming in at eighth place (8.1 million).Half of the top 10 destinations saw 10 percent growth or more in international overnight visitor numbers between 2014 and 2015 – Osaka (54.0 percent), Tokyo (53.2 percent), Bangkok (28.6 percent), Phuket (15.5 percent) and Pattaya (10.0 percent).The top 20 destinations of Asia Pacific represent around half of all international overnight arrivals to the 167 Asia Pacific destinations covered by the Index.The top ten Asia Pacific destinations ranked by international overnight visitor numbers:Bangkok – 21.9 millionSingapore – 11.8 millionTokyo – 11.8 millionKuala Lumpur – 11.3 millionPhuket – 9.3 millionSeoul – 9.2 millionHong Kong – 8.3 millionPattaya – 8.1 millionBali – 7.2 millionOsaka – 6.5 million.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 20152.Bangkok also ranked number one in total expenditure at US$15.2 billion, with Seoul (US$14.4 billion) coming in second place, followed by Singapore (US$14.1 billion), Tokyo (US$11.9 billion) and Kuala Lumpur (US$10.5 billion).The top ten Asia Pacific destinations by total expenditure:Bangkok – US$15.2 billionSeoul – US$14.4 billionSingapore – US$14.1 billionTokyo – US$11.9 billionKuala Lumpur – US$10.5 billionBali – US$10.3 billionTaipei – US$9.5 billionPhuket – US$8.0 billionHong Kong – US$6.7 billionSydney – US$6.0 billion.Of the top 20 destinations by total expenditure per day, Shanghai (US$269 per day) welcomed the biggest spenders,followed by Beijing (US$262 per day), Seoul (US$258 per day), Singapore (US$255 per day) and Hong Kong (US$240 per day).Matthew Driver, Group Executive, Global Products & Solutions, Asia Pacific, MasterCard, commented, “The tourism industry in Asia Pacific is continuing to show robust growth with an increasing number of destinations receivingwell over five million visitors a year, driven by increased consumer wealth, particularly from China.Our Asia Pacific Destinations Index (APDI) 2015 reveals the continued resilience of the Thailand market for tourism led by a resurgent Bangkok, as well as the return to popularity of Japan for visitors as demonstrated by the more than 50 percent growth year on year in its top four destinations.Providing in-depth analysis of overnight arrivals in 167 Asia Pacific destinations, the APDI can help businesses and governments better understand the underlying components of in-bound tourism demand, so they can plan investment to ensure the sustainable development of the tourism industry.This is becoming increasingly important as tourist numbers continue to rise, as at current growth rates, Asia Pacific will have more than 500 million tourist arrivals by 2020.” Download the full report hereSource = MasterCard
New York City forecasts 59.7 million visitors in 2016New York City is expected to welcome a high of 59.7 million visitors in 2016, making it the seventh consecutive year for record-breaking tourism. The announcement was made by NYC & Company at ITB Berlin.“Every corner of New York City is full of diverse cultures, art, entertainment and performing arts,” said New York City Mayor, Bill de Blasio. “It is not surprising – but still exciting – to know that 2016 will be yet another record breaking year for tourism. I thank the businesses, artists and all New Yorkers who continue to make our city an attractive place for people around the world to continue visiting.”“New York City is experiencing an exciting moment in its history, with unprecedented developments and openings debuting across the five boroughs this year and beyond,” said Fred Dixon, NYC & Company president and CEO. “We are pleased to announce during ITB Berlin that 2016 is slated to be another record year for tourism in New York City, its seventh consecutive year of growth, with 59.7 million visitors anticipated by year’s end.”Visitation for 2016 is forecasted to comprise of 47 million domestic and 12.7 million international visitors, both all-time highs.New York City has the nation’s most active hotel development pipeline, with 107,000 hotel rooms this year, and a total inventory of 133,000+ rooms expected by the end of 2019. Noteworthy hotel openings in 2016 include Renaissance New York Midtown Hotel (April 2016); The William Vale (May 2016); InterContinental New York Barclay (Spring 2016); The Beekman(Spring 2016); Four Seasons New York Downtown (Mid 2016); Whitby Hotel (Fall 2016); and 1 Hotel Brooklyn Bridge (Late 2016).New York City is more accessible than ever, with extensive infrastructure improvements throughout the five boroughs. From the recent opening of the 34 St-Hudson Yards subway station on Manhattan’s Far West Side; to the Summer 2016 debut of theWorld Trade Center Transportation Hub (whose Santiago Calatrava-designed ‘Oculus’ opened last week); to the December 2016 opening of the Second Avenue Subway’s first phase; it is easier than ever to get around the City. By July 2016, 500 state-of-the-art LinkNYC kiosks will come to New York City’s five boroughs, offering free high-speed Internet, phone calls, and device charging for residents and visitors, with another 4,500 coming online by mid-2019.On March 18, the City will see the opening of The Met Breuer, The Met Museum’s new contemporary art wing in the former home of the Whitney Museum of American Art on Manhattan’s Upper East Side.The City’s retail industry is thriving, with the recently-opened Barneys New York Downtown flagship in Chelsea; Westfield World Trade Center debuting in Lower Manhattan this summer; CityPoint opening in Brooklyn this year; and Nordstrom, expected to open in 2019. In years to come, New York City will see the openings of the New York Wheel and Empire Outlets in St. George, Staten Island (2017); Pier 17 at the South Street Seaport (2017); and extensive upgrades on Manhattan’s Far West Side, with the Hudson Yards development (2018).In 2015, New York City welcomed a record 58.3 million visitors, the City’s sixth consecutive year for record-breaking tourism. Visitation for 2015 comprised 46 million domestic and 12.3 million international visitors, both all-time highs. NYC & CompanySource = NYC & Company
Source = HotelsPro HotelsPro announced the most preferred destinations for New Year’s EveHotelsPro announced the most preferred destinations for New Year’s EveHotelspro, a global travel wholesaler which offers tailor-made technologies and booking solutions for travel professionals, announced the most preferred cities for the New Year’s Eve.Paris is the favorite city for New Year’s EveAccording to HotelsPro’s insights, Paris ranked first among the cities that travellers all over the world prefer this year for New Year’s Eve. While London is the second most preferred city, the capital of Czech Republic, Prague followed London in the list. “Big Apple” New York and the “Eternal City” Rome is following Prague according to traveller choices.“New Year comes once a year, so travelers all around the world wants to get most out of it. Some prefer to celebrate it where they live, while some prefer travelling to interesting and joyful destinations. Speaking of travelling, Paris ranked first when we were looking at the most prefered destinations for New Year’s Eve. London, Prague, New York and Rome followed Paris on the list. Wherever people are celebrating the New Year, as HotelsPro family we wish everyone a happy, healthy and peaceful 2017!” said Nevgul Bilsel Safkan, Managing Director of HotelsPro.About HotelsProHotelsPro, one of the strong players of tourism industry in global market, offers attractive options for the most exclusive demands of its customers with more than 342.000 hotels in more than 205 countries. Aiming to continue to expand its hotel inventory worldwide, HotelsPro has local offices in more than 40 countries.
Expedia India has launched its loyalty programme, Expedia+, where members of Expedia+ can join the programme for free and will earn points on all of their hotel or holiday activities bookings. The loyalty programme provides additional benefits such as exclusive member-only deals and bonus offers. Expedia+ has three tiers: +blue, +silver and +gold.Manmeet Ahluwalia, Marketing Head, Expedia India said, “With the growing acceptance of e-commerce and evolution of the Indian travellers, the consumer has now started looking for value based programmes that not only offer them great rewards but also exclusive benefits. Our survey on loyalty programme discovered that 47% Indians are a part of 2-3 travel loyalty programs while 38% participate in at least one programme. This clearly reflects that there is an appetite for loyalty programmes as the Indian consumer is growing smarter and wants to accumulate and avail benefits on every purchase. The Expedia+ programme offers exclusive deals for its consumers not only in India, but across the globe.”Expedia+ focuses on the needs of the Indian consumer when considering a travel loyalty programme. Members will be able to redeem their points whenever they want, with no blackout dates for high season holidays and space capacity. Free membership automatically gives the consumers a +blue status, followed by +silver status after staying seven qualifying hotel room nights and +gold status after staying 15 qualifying hotel room nights. The +gold and +silver members enjoy additional benefits such as extra bonus points on every booking, plus free amenities or room upgrades if they book one of Expedia’s 1,800 VIP hotels in over 200 destinations globally. Travellers also get triple the amount of points for booking via Expedia‘s mobile application.
Over 2000 appointments scheduled between the Sellers and Buyers prior to the show– 50 Seller Booths and Destination Pavilions with 150 Individual Sellers– 150 qualified Hosted Buyers from all over India– 150+ Invitees from travel trade associations and members of the media– India’s first MICE CLUB to be unveiledBusiness & Luxury Travel Mart (BLTM) at Hyatt Regency Gurgaon on 24-25 October 2016 is all set to change the face of MICE-focused travel shows in India. BLTM has been very well received as India’s first full-fledged travel mart focused on Sellers from Business, MICE and Luxury Travel all over the world, in its first year itself.There are over 150 qualified Hosted Buyers attending the BLTM from all over India. In addition, international Hosted Buyers are also being flown in from countries like South Africa, Thailand, USA, Taiwan, France and Malaysia.Each Hosted Buyer is committed to conduct 30 meetings with Sellers every day. The 1:1 Hosted Buyer to Seller ratio at BLTM is in line with global standards of shows in this category.There are 150 individual Sellers from 50 organisations from India and abroad, in their colourful booths and pavilions.Nepal, Taiwan and Korea are the largest international participants, while China, Fiji, Dubai and South Africa are participating as the Feature Countries. There are Sellers from Liberia, Thailand, Turkey and United Kingdom as well.Byungsun Lee, Director of Korea Tourism Organisation- India Office, said, “The main reason for our participation is to capture the MICE business from North India. BLTM belongs to a reputed travel trade brand and KTO expects a good first inaugural show. We are positive that the event will have healthy participants of buyers and sellers.”Among Indian states, Bengal Tourism has supported BLTM in a big way, by hosting the networking lunches and dinners for the Buyers and Sellers. Goa, Himachal Pradesh, Gujarat and Jammu & Kashmir are Feature States participating in a big way. Sellers from all parts of India are represented.Premium hotel chains at BLTM include FRHI Hotels & Resorts showcasing Fairmont, Raffles and Swissotel, Ottila International, Royal Orchid Hotels and InterContinental Hotels Group. Other leading hotel brands like Taj Hotels Resorts & Palaces, Starwood Hotels & Resorts, Radisson, Lemon Tree, Banyan Tree Hotels & Resorts and several others are present.Hyatt Regency Gurgaon is the Venue Partner for BLTM and Hyatt Hotels has a corporate pavilion at the BLTM, with participation from several properties.“At BLTM, we are looking forward to good networking opportunities with the large hospitality, travel and MICE brands in the sector. It will be worthwhile to know international trends being followed by global MNCs in MICE,” mentioned Kaushik Sinha, Hosted Buyer from Magma Fincorp Ltd.Hosted Buyer Gary Pillai, CEO, Africa Vision Tours, said, “What attracted me to BLTM was its focus on Business and Luxury Travel, which I am keen to explore and implement in our business.”The online meeting diary of BLTM for making appointments between the Buyers and Sellers has registered over 2000 confirmed appointments prior to the show and an additional 1400 meeting requests have been received.Tanmay Khare, Hosted Buyer from Infrastructure & Services division of Mahindra & Mahindra Financial Services Ltd, said that BLTM is a single stop solution provider with a forum which is highly interactive and market oriented.Amol Prasadi, Hosted Buyer from Red Bull commented, “Our participation at BLTM is motivated by an ongoing search to provide new destinations and experience to internal & external stakeholders. With many of the decision makers confined to their offices mostly, such platforms as BLTM offers opportunities to explore the world around plus the changing dynamics of travel and MICE industry.”Hosted Buyer Jayesh Ashar, Managing Director, Pearl Travels is expecting something different at BLTM in comparison to other popular trade shows that happen in India. While Ali Ankleshwaria, Administration, Adani Wilmar Ltd, feels that it is a privilege to be associated with India’s first full-fledged business travel mart, BLTM.“Our expectations from BLTM are very high as Fairfest Media is very well known for its TTF and OTM which are the biggest platforms for travel agencies to market their products,” said Arjun R Doshi, Hosted Buyer from Classic Holidays.In addition to the Hosted Buyers, there are an equal number of invitees from travel trade associations like Society for Incentive Travel Excellence (SITE) India, Outbound Tour Operators Association of India (OTOAI), Network of Indian MICE Agents (NIMA), Indian Association of Tour Operators (IATO), Travel Agents Association of India (TAAI), Travel Agents Federation of India (TAFI), Enterprising Travel Agent’s Association (ETAA), Association of Domestic Tour Operators of India (ADTOI) and members of the media.Anup Nair, President, SITE India Chapter, said, “The SITE India Chapter is very pleased to have been asked to be the Knowledge Partner of BLTM in October 2016. SITE has curated an interesting discussion, which we hope will encourage and help more of our fraternity.”Akbar Holidays is the official Travel Partner of BLTM and Eco Rent A Car is the Transportation Partner.Institutional Partners include SITE, OTOAI, NIMA, IATO, TAAI, TAFI, ETAA, ADTOI, The Film & Television Producers Guild of India Ltd and WedWise.Gajesh Girdhar, Founder Member and National Coordinator, NIMA, commented, “BLTM is a MICE oriented event and therefore supported by NIMA. We expect India to be in Top 5 MICE markets by 2020 and we anticipate BLTM to raise the bar to next level in terms of a quality and productive business networking. NIMA strongly believes that BLTM will be the most sought MICE show parallel to any other MICE event in the world.”“The concept of BLTM, being organised by Fairfest Media Ltd is very important. India’s business and luxury travel industry is maturing and increasingly seen as a specialised market with differentiated needs, in keeping with global trends,” said Rajan Sehgal, Chairman, TAAI Northern Region.In another first, the MICE CLUB is being launched at BLTM, with an objective to facilitate interaction and networking among a community of Buyers and Sellers from Business Travel and MICE segments. The missions and objectives of the club include organising the Buyer and Seller communities serving the Business Travel and MICE markets in India, facilitating ongoing interaction and networking, sharing knowledge and creating standards and accreditations.In addition to buying and selling opportunities at the show floor, there is an equally interesting line up of Panel Discussions (details enclosed), to be conducted on the sidelines of the exhibition. The eminent panelists at the sessions will deliberate on the latest issues related to Incentive Travel, MICE, Luxury, Wedding and destination promotion through films and film shoots.The session on Incentive Travel is being organised by SITE, followed by that on MICE by NIMA. Back-to-back discussions will be conducted on the emerging opportunities and destinations in the wedding market by WedWise. Another interesting session will be dedicated to destination promotions through film shoots, to be curated by The Film & Television Producers Guild of India.“BLTM fills a vacuum in the evolution of travel trade shows in India, by introducing a sustainable large-format show focused on Business Travel and MICE Buyers in a format where fully Hosted Buyers meet Sellers based on pre scheduled appointments. Smaller table-top shows have been organised in the past,” remarked Sanjiv Agarwal, Chairman of Fairfest Media Ltd.The show dates of 2017 have already been announced as enquiries have started pouring in. There are plans to replicate this show in other major markets of West and South India.For more information on BLTM 2016, visit http://bltm.co.in/
Cinnamon Hotels & Resorts has launched its much-awaited service ‘Cinnamon Island Weddings’, specially curated luxury wedding experiences for destination weddings in Sri Lanka. This announcement was made at the World Travel Market 2017, a leading global event for the travel industry that took place earlier in London.As part of the campaign, Cinnamon Hotels and Resorts has launched a contest with Sri Lankan Airlines wherein the winning couple will get an all expense paid dream wedding for 50 people including the couple and their friends and family in Sri Lanka organised by Cinnamon Island Weddings.Applicants can participate in the competition by sending across an image, written piece or a one-minute video clip that creatively describes why they should be the winners of Cinnamon Island Weddings competition.The lucky couple will receive two business class air tickets and 48 economy class tickets for their friends and family, end-to-end local transportation covered in Sri Lanka, full board accommodation at 4 and 5 star Cinnamon resorts in Sri Lanka, a wedding reception with complete décor, entertainment, bridal attire, a 5-karat sapphire ring and an exotic location to host the wedding.Photography for the entire wedding will be done by award-winning wedding photographer David Stanbury. The couple will also have an opportunity to explore more of Sri Lanka’s diversity with a 7 nights honeymoon package courtesy of Cinnamon Hotels & Resorts.Commenting on the initiative, Dileep Mudadeniya – Head of Brand Marketing, Cinnamon Hotels & Resorts stated, “Cinnamon Island Weddings is a novel online concept that will help to create immense hype and excitement around Sri Lanka and strengthen the island’s position as a world-class wedding destination. The wedding tourism industry is a high potential market that is on a rapid growth trajectory as travel trends show that more and more travellers are leaning towards romantic destination weddings. This initiative will help to showcase Sri Lanka’s offering as a vibrant, beautiful and captivating destination for weddings and will highlight how well the islandand its hotels are geared to host tailor-made weddings, receptions and honeymoons.”
In a bid to showcase the potentiality of the state as an ecotourism destination, Kadakampally Surendran, Tourism Minister of Kerala recently unveiled a microsite on ecotourism. The website contains details of about 47 popular ecotourism spots, 75 videos, 200 photographs, 10 e-brochures and information on 100 ecotourism programmes, a release said. The site also contains information about the packages for the travellers who love to explore nature.Some of the ecotourism spots are Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary (north Kerala), Silent Valley National Park (Palakkad), Parambikulam Tiger Reserve (Palakkad), Chinnar Wildlife Sanctuary (Idukki), Periyar Tiger Reserve (Idukki), Shenduruney Ecotourism (Kollam), Eravikulam National Park (Munnar) and Chembra Peak (Wayanad), it said. PP Pramod, Director of Ecotourism was also present during the launch of the microsite.
October 9, 2012 409 Views Hayden Christensen, most famous for his role in the modern interpretation of the _Star_ _Wars_ films, is selling his Los Angeles abode. The actor’s posh pad, located in the Studio City area, sits on three-quarters of an acre and is listed for $2.65 million.The _Los_ _Angeles_ _Times_ “”reports””:http://www.latimes.com/business/realestate/la-fi-hotprop-hayden-christensen-20121004,0,48335.story that Christensen’s 6,302-square-foot “”modern-style house features . . . three fireplaces, five bedrooms, and five bathrooms.”” The newspaper went on to note that the mansion includes an elevator, saltwater pool, and a three-car garage. Christensen is believed to have purchased the property in 2003 for $1.425 million.[COLUMN_BREAK][IMAGE] Share in Data, Government, Origination, Secondary Market, Servicing, Technology Agents & Brokers Attorneys & Title Companies Celebrity Homes Investors Lenders & Servicers Processing Service Providers 2012-10-09 Abby Gregory Star Wars Actor Lists Studio City Estate for $2.65M
The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) reported in a recent press release that FDIC-insured commercial banks and saving institutions aggregate net income was $39.8 billion for Q1 2015, a 6.9 percent or $2.6 billion increase from the previous year.”On balance, results from the first quarter reflect an improving banking industry with stronger community banks,” said Martin J. Gruenberg, FDIC chairman.The $4.3 billion rise in net operating revenue (net interest income plus total noninterest income), is mainly responsible for the earnings increase, the company said. The FDIC listed their financial results for the first quarter in their latest Quarterly Banking Profile.Of the 6,419 FDIC-insured institutions, 62.7 percent reported year-over-year growth in quarterly earnings for Q1 2015, the company reported. Banks that experienced no profit during Q1 dropped to 5.6 percent from 7.4 percent a year earlier.According to the report, stronger loan growth helped raise revenue at most banks, increasing net operating revenue by 2.6 percent to $168.4 Billion compared to last year. Meanwhile, net interest income rose $1.5 billion or 1.5 percent compared to Q1 2014. Noninterest income came in at $2.8 billion, as trading income increased $1.5 billion. Income from the sale, securitization, and servicing of 1-4 family residential real estate loans rose 15.6 percent to $545 million.The report also noted, quarterly earnings at community banks increased by 16 Percent. The 5,946 community banks reported $4.9 billion in net income for Q1, an increase of 16 percent from last year. Net operating revenue saw an increase of $1.7 billion to $21.5 billion at community banks.”Community banks reported improved performance during the quarter that outpaced the overall industry,” Gruenberg said. “Their earnings were up significantly from a year ago, and their loan growth was appreciably higher than the rest of the industry.”Asset quality indicators showed further improvement with net loan losses dropping year-over-year for the 19th consecutive quarter, while noncurrent loan balances declined for a 20th consecutive quarter, the report says. Net interest margins remained under pressure, declining to 3.02 percent in Q1.”The banking industry continued to show gradual but steady improvement during the quarter,” Gruenberg said. “Revenue, earnings, and loan balances were up; asset quality continued to improve; and the number of banks on the ‘Problem List’ declined to the lowest level in more than six years. Nearly two-thirds of banks reported higher earnings than a year ago.”Asset yields dropped quicker than funding costs as higher-yielding assets matured and were replaced by lower-yielding investments in a low interest rate environment.”The current interest-rate environment remains challenging for banks. Revenue growth remains subdued, and net interest margins have continued to decline,” Gruenberg concluded. “Many institutions have responded by reaching for yield, which is a matter of ongoing supervisory attention.”View the full report: FDIC.gov in Daily Dose, Featured, News, Origination, Servicing May 28, 2015 500 Views Share FDIC-Insured Banks Earn $39.8 Billion for Q1 2015 Commerical Banks and Savings Institutions Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation First Quarter Net Income 2015-05-28 Staff Writer
Share in Headlines, News, Origination May 25, 2017 540 Views CBCInnovis, a provider of credit reporting and data validation services to the mortgage lending industry, announced Thursday its alignment with the data and analytics company LexisNexis Risk Solutions to offer the LexisNexis Riskview Liens and Judgments Report. When the National Credit Reporting Agencies cease offering access to most liens and judgment data in July, the new FCRA product will enable lenders to fill the gap according to CBCInnovis.As part of this July change, 50 percent of tax liens and data and 96 percent of civil judgments will be removed from the three Nationwide Credit Reporting Agencies reports. CBCInnovis said this change has created an environment of uncertainty for mortgage lenders, who have relied on this data for more than two decades to evaluate consumer home loan applications.“CBCInnovis recognized our customers’ need to address the imminent information gap that will be created in the marketplace with this change,” said Ken Viviano SVP of CBCInnovis. “Subsequently, we proactively aligned with industry leader LexisNexis in seeking a solution to fill that void. As a result, CBCInnovis is pleased to deliver our customers a FCRA product that will be fully integrated into their current credit report format, to more completely assess consumer credit worthiness.”According to LexisNexis Risk Solutions, borrowers who have a judgment or tax lien are 5.5 times more likely to end up in pre-foreclosure or foreclosure, as compared to borrowers who don’t have judgments and tax liens, making this information essential for lenders. LexisNexis explained that the new RiskView Liens & Judgments Report delivers technology advancements that strengthen the reliability of lien and civil judgment content with greater than 99 percent reliability and full compliance with Fair Credit Reporting Act regulations.“CBCInnovis approached us early in our development effort and recognized the importance of liens and judgments data for their customers,” said Tim Coyle, Senior Director, Real Estate and Mortgage at LexisNexis Risk Solutions. “The report will assist a lender’s ability to assess an applicant’s ability to pay, minimize related closing delays and comply with investor requirements. CBCInnovis’ extensive integrations with customers and leading industry platforms will make it simple for customers to adapt and protect themselves from the upcoming credit report content change.” Ken Viviano LexisNexis mortgage National Credit Reporting Agencies Tim Coyle 2017-05-25 Brianna Gilpin CBCInnovis Partners with LexisNexis
Share Credit Loosening Up Mortgage Credit Availability 2017-07-14 Staff Writer in Daily Dose, Data, Featured, News July 14, 2017 760 Views A report from the Mortgage Bankers Association, which analyzes information based on several factors related to borrower eligibility from Ellie Mae’s AllRegs Market Clarity tool, revealed that mortgage credit loosened slightly in June.The index was benchmarked to 100 in March 2012, when credit was especially tight. The Conforming and Jumbo indices were benchmarked as well. Meanwhile, the Conventional and Government indices have adjusted base levels to better represent where those indexes might have fallen in March 2012, relative to the benchmark.Compared to tightening mortgage credit in May, the overall credit availability showed improvement in June with an increase of 0.1 percent to reach 178.5, as three of the four components in the MCAI gained ground.A decline in the MCAI indicates that lending standards are tightening, while increases in the index are indicative of loosening credit, according to the report.“Credit availability slipped in May, primarily driven by investors consolidating their offerings for government insured loans,” said Lynn Fisher, MBA’s VP of Research and Economics. “These decreases were partially offset by the continued expansion of jumbo loan programs. The jumbo MCAI has increased in 13 of the last 15 months.”However, what implemented decreases in May did the opposite for June. The report indicated that the increases in June are due to, “an expansion of jumbo loan programs and additional availability of affordable conforming loan programs,” Fisher said.Of the four indices, the Conforming and Conventional components of the MCAI each increased by 0.9 percent and the Jumbo MCAI rose 0.8 percent. However, these gains were offset by the Government index, which showed a decrease of 0.4 percent.The methodology behind the data examines different factors that have been shown to influence a borrower’s ability or willingness to repay a loan. The main dimensions the Mortgage Credit Availability Index takes into consideration are credit scores, loan types, and loan-to-value ratio.
On Wednesday, the National Mortgage Servicing Association (NMSA) sent a letter to the FCC requesting clarifications and guidance regarding implementation of regulations imposed by the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA).Back in March, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit issued a ruling in the case of ACA International v. FCC, clarifying several issues with regard to consumer and industry rights pertaining to robocalls and texts sent to consumers. While industry groups hailed this as a step in the right direction, there are still many questions that need answering with regards to how TCPA regs apply to servicers and the financial services industry.The NMSA is a nonpartisan organization driven by senior executive representation from the nation’s leading mortgage servicing organizations, formed for the purpose of effecting progress and change on the key challenges that face the mortgage servicing industry. The NMSA’s letter is in response to a call for comment solicited by the FCC after the court’s ruling in ACA.“Current TCPA regulation, while admirable in motivation, is the product of an outdated regulatory response to concerns from a bygone era,” said Ed Delgado, President and CEO of the Five Star Institute. “One need look no further than the lessons gleaned from the recent natural disasters to see that mortgage servicers and consumers alike have a vested interest in ensuring that the most up-to-date information regarding the status of the largest investment that many Americans will ever make—their home—is readily available via channels that are convenient and accessible. The industry is requesting a common-sense regulatory response to the realities of 21st-century technological capabilities.”The NMSA letter notes that the TCPA’s original intent to protect consumers from unwanted telemarketing calls was admirable. “Recently, however, the TCPA has been expanded far beyond its intended purpose and is in need of reform,” the letter states. “The TCPA, as construed now, actually harms both consumers and businesses attempting to comply with the law. Consumers are harmed because businesses face barriers in communicating vital and often legally required information using forms of communication (text, email, cell phones) that are impacted by TCPA restrictions.”As such, the NMSA’s letter lays out several suggestions as to how the TCPA regulations should be modified. First, it suggests that the FCC clarify the definition of an “auto dialer.” The NMSA recommends that dialing from a list should not automatically constitute an auto dialer. Furthermore, the NMSA suggests that “to be considered an [auto dialer], the technology needs to generate a phone number in random or sequential order AND call the number generated.”The NMSA recommends that the type of device used to contact the consumer should be less of a concern than the means in which that technology is used.“The consumer doesn’t know or care how they are called; they only care whether telemarketing calls are unwanted,” the letter reads. “Discussion should shift from the technology being used to the purpose of the call and whether a caller has a legitimate business relationship with the consumer. As businesses attempt to reach out regarding an account, the consumer should be able to receive their messages via their preferred manner of communication.”The NMSA letter also requests further clarification regarding how businesses should deal with reassigned phone numbers, pointing out that the caller has no way of knowing who will pick up the phone if they haven’t been informed that the number has been reassigned.Another key area in need of clarification is the ways in which consumers may grant or revoke consent to be contacted. As the NMSA letter explains, “The TCPA states that a consumer needs to provide ‘express written consent’ to receive calls from a company, and, at the same time, gives the consumer the option to opt out of the consent by ‘any reasonable means.’ While the court upheld this aspect of the regulation, ‘any reasonable means’ is problematic and overly broad.”The NMSA letter thus recommends that the FCC provide a more concrete definition of “any reasonable means” as: “(1) a company establishing and following procedures for revoking consent; or (2) not using intentionally deceptive options of opt-out.”The topic of robocalls/auto dialers was also the subject of a recent Senate hearing. Scott Delacourt, Partner, Wiley Rein LLP and a representative of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce who testified at the Senate hearing, said: “Unfortunately, the Commission’s implementation of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act over many years has fostered a whirlwind of litigation. Interpretations by courts and the FCC have strayed far from the statute’s text, Congressional intent, and common sense, turning the TCPA into a breeding ground for frivolous lawsuits brought by serial plaintiffs and their lawyers, who have made lucrative businesses out of targeting U.S. companies.” National Mortgage Servicing Association Seeks Clarity on TCPA Regs June 13, 2018 640 Views autodialers FCC National Mortgage Servicing Association NMSA Robocalls TCPA Telephone Consumer Protection Act 2018-06-13 David Wharton Share in Daily Dose, Featured, Government, journal, News, Servicing, Technology
NextGen Fruit Group launches at The London Produce … October 05 , 2018 California-based robotics company Iron Ox is aiming to develop a fully autonomous indoor farm where software and robots fill the place of human agricultural workers, Technology Review reported.The start-up is opening its first production facility in San Carlos, near San Francisco. The 8,000-square-foot indoor hydroponic facility will be producing leafy greens at a rate of roughly 26,000 heads a year.The farm uses a series of robotic arms and movers, which individually pluck the plants from their hydroponic trays and transfer them to new trays as they increase in size, maximizing their health and output.Big white mechanical movers carry the 800-pound water-filled trays around the facility. U.S. Senators introduce bill to hire more ag inspe … You might also be interested in Argentina’s citrus crop still “paralyzed”, light e … Argentine lemon export season delayed significantl … At first, making sure these different machines worked together was tricky.“We had different robots doing different tasks, but they weren’t integrated together into a production environment,” cofounder Brandon Alexander was quoted as saying.So Iron Ox has developed software—nicknamed “The Brain”—to get them to collaborate. Like an all-seeing eye, it keeps watch over the farm, monitoring things like nitrogen levels, temperature, and robot location. It orchestrates both robot and human attention wherever it is needed.Although most of the operation is automated, it still does require a bit of human input. Currently, workers help with seeding and processing of crops, but Alexander says he hopes to automate these steps.Alexander sees it as solving two problems in one: the shortage of agricultural workers and the distances that fresh produce currently has to be shipped.