first_img<a href=”” target=”_blank”><img src=”;cb=INSERT_RANDOM_NUMBER_HERE&amp;n=a5c63036″ border=”0″ alt=””></a> Over 13 million travellers took a cruise in 2009, the Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) estimated last week.CLIA said despite a dismal year for the travel industry, its 25 member lines were able to fill its ships, carrying a record13.445 million passengers.It said average occupancy was 104.4%, with the average length of cruise at 7.2 days.The record numbers have been attributed in part to the arrival of new ships according to USA Today.Major lines such as Royal Caribbean, Norwegian Cruise Line and Cunard are collectively spending $6.5 billion this year to launch 12 new ships.A surge in the number of non-American cruise passengers is also a contributing factor with ships comprising of 23.5 percent of international passengers in 2009 compared to less than 10 percent a decade ago.”CLIA’s member lines and travel agents responded amazingly well to the economic crisis and have put themselves in a very strong position to succeed in 2010″ said CLIA chief executive Terry Dale, said in a statement.CLIA forecasts that member lines will carry 14.3 million passengers this year, an increase of 6.4 percent over 2009. Source = e-Travel Blackboard: J.Llast_img read more

first_imgSource = e-Travel Blackboard: J.L <a href=”” target=”_blank”><img src=”;cb=INSERT_RANDOM_NUMBER_HERE&amp;n=a5c63036″ border=”0″ alt=””></a> Figures released today have revealed Australia is experiencing a solid recovery in international arrivals.Released today, Tourism Research Australia’s International Visitor Survey (IVS) showed that the country welcomed three percent more foreigners for the for the twelve months to March 2010 compared to the same period last year.Visitor nights were up five percent while international tourism expenditure figures rose four percent to $661 million.In the 2010 March quarter, international visitor numbers were up 6 percent year on year, with visitor nights up 8 percent, representing the biggest increase since 1999.International tourism expenditure figures rose 3 percent to $186 million in the quarter.Of Australia’s top 10 international markets, Korea rose by 15 percent, USA and China were up seven percent, UK was up two percent and Japan rose by three percent. The business travel market also rebounded with a 10 percent increased compared to a 14 percent decline the year before.The Minister for Tourism Martin Ferguson welcomed the figures, attributing the increases to the successful marketing and presence of Australia.He said the Australian Government would now invest $5.5 million over four years to implement and operate the National Tourism Accreditation Framework to strengthen Australia’s tourism industry. “Assuring the quality of Australia’s tourism products through accreditation is essential to providing tourists with confidence and will position Australian tourism for long-term health and success” he said.“The Australian Government is also investing a further $4.1 million in Australia’s international tourism trade between China and Australia. “The China Approved Destination Status Scheme will ensure inbound tour operators continue providing a quality service to leisure tour groups from China.”last_img read more

first_imgWolgan Valley Resort & Spa team at the 2010 HM Awards. L-R: Dwane Goodman, Rosanna Barthelot, Andrew Adams-Smith, Maryann Romeo, Joost Heymeijer. Source = Wolgan Valley Resort & Spa Wolgan Valley Resort & Spa Heritage Suite living room With a one year anniversary just around the corner, Wolgan Valley Resort & Spa has even more reason to celebrate, after receiving the most hotel awards at the 2010 HM Awards for Hotel and Accommodation Excellence. As Australia’s first conservation-based luxury resort, Wolgan Valley was honoured with six awards including Winner in Unique Accommodation, Best New Hotel, Regional Property, Hotel Chef, and Environmental Program with a Highly Commended in the Resort category.Now in its eighth year, the annual HM Awards recognise the leaders in hospitality and honour the achievements of excellence in a wide range of categories in the accommodation industry.With a record 1,300 entries received this year, the highly competitive awards span across Australia, New Zealand and selected South Pacific nations. Joost Heymeijer, General Manager, Wolgan Valley Resort & Spa said: “This is an outstanding achievement for a resort that has been in operation less than one year. These awards recognise the efforts of the entire Emirates Wolgan Valley team who strive for unparalleled service and superior standards every day.” “To date Wolgan Valley has been a great success and has introduced a new era of luxury to Australian and international travellers. Now as we reach our first anniversary we look forward to continuing setting the benchmark for excellence within the industry,” said Mr Heymeijer. A scenic three-hour drive from Sydney, Wolgan Valley Resort & Spa is nestled between two of Australia’s most prominent national parks and borders the Blue Mountains World Heritage Area. Occupying just two per cent of a 4,000-acre conservancy reserve, Wolgan Valley combines the expectations of the high-end traveller with a commitment to conservation of threatened and endangered wildlife, ecological and environmental sustainability. Since its opening in October 2009, Wolgan Valley Resort & Spa has also been awarded the following accolades: Conde Nast US and Conde Nast UK “Hot List” (Spa and Resort categories). National Trust Heritage Awards – for its work in restoring the original 1832 farmhouse.  Luxury Travel Magazine – Gold List Awards. (Voted by readers “Most desired new resort to visit in the world“)Australian Hotels Association (NSW) Accommodation Awards for Excellence for Best Environment Initiative, Regional Deluxe Accommodation of the Year and Outstanding Contribution to Tourism.Conservation Award Winner, with Emirates Hotels & Resorts, in the World Travel & Tourism Council’s 2010 “Tourism for Tomorrow” Awards Travel + Leisure’s “It List 2010″ 2010 Blue Mountains, Lithgow and Oberon Tourism Awards for New Tourism DevelopmentThe resort was the first hotel in the world to achieve carbon neutral certification from CarboNZero, an internationally accredited greenhouse gas certification scheme. Wolgan Valley is also a proud member of Leading Hotels of the World, the world’s largest luxury hospitality organisation, representing more than 450 of the finest hotels, resorts and spas around the world; and is a founding member of Luxury Lodges of Australia, an association launched in May to promote the uniquely Australian breed of luxury experiential lodges, domestically and internationally. Wolgan Valley Resort & Spa Main Homestead and Main Swimming Poollast_img read more

first_imgTasmania should focus its tourism efforts on visitors from the Middle East, a growing market to Australia. According to NRG Tourism chief executive Nicole Randall, Australia attracts up to 30,000 visitors from the Middle Eastern region every year and a hidden treasure city like Hobart could help boost those numbers, The Mercury reported. “A lot of my clients are from the Middle East and have, therefore, done many of the traditional parts of the world,” Ms Randall said.”They are now looking further afield and this is the next big city for them.” Ms Randall said the state should promote itself through its nature and outdoor activities.”They have come from a desert, they want the lush and the green and the nature-based activities,” Ms Randall said.”What they are after is something completely different to what they have got at home.” Ms Randall added that although 30,000 visitors was a relatively small number in tourism, the spending that comes from Middle Eastern visitors is high.NRG Tourism was among 20 other companies from around the country in Hobart late last week to discuss marketing and promotional tools to increase the state’s tourism. Source = e-Travel Blackboard: N.Jlast_img read more

first_imgBreakaway Aviation Services has been selected to represent a third international carrier in Australia and New Zealand, with its appointment as the general sales agent (GSA) for Olympic Air (OA).Effective 1 August this year, Breakaway Aviation Services will add OA to its airline portfolio currently made-up of Air Malta and Brussels Airlines.General manager Tony Wilson told e-Travel Blackboard that the company was “proud” to be appointed to the GSA position for the carrier.“[We] will provide quality and professional representation within the region,” Mr Wilson explained.He added that Breakaway Aviation Services is always looking to add airlines to its portfolio and will “continue to strengthen and build on that [GSA] side of the business”.The Sydney-based company will represent the carrier in Australia and New Zealand, including its 14 weekly code share service with Etihad Airlines on flights between Sydney and Melbourne to Athens OA also announced this week that it has added ‘Premium Economy’ cabins to its fleet of Bombardier Q400s.“Olympic Air presents to its passengers a modern and flexible proposal, specifically designed for people who want to stand out, while keeping costs low,” a statement from the carrier read.The airline currently carries 10 Q400 Bombardier and flies to up to 170 flights per day to over 40 destinations worldwide. Source = e-Travel Blackboard: N.Jlast_img read more

first_imgTen of Travellers Choice’s top agency members will depart Australia today on an exclusive educational to San Francisco and the Napa Valley courtesy of Trafalgar Tours and Qantas Airways.All of the Travellers Choice agents taking part on the unique trip are winners of the national retail network’s annual Silver Choice Awards, presents to members based on their support for key preferred partners.Led by Travellers Choice General Manager Christian Hunter, the Silver Choice Award winners will take part in a Trafalgar Tours eight-day ‘San Francisco and Wine Country Delights’ coach journey. Highlights will include a visit to Golden Gate Park, a tour through the legendary hippy district of Haight Ashbury, and the chance to experience some of Napa Valley’s world-renowned restaurants and vineyards. Agents will also have the opportunity to experience Alcatraz, Monterey and Yosemite National Park.Travellers Choice members compete each year for a total of 30 Choice Awards across three categories – Gold, Silver and Bronze. This year’s Gold Choice Award winners travelled to Europe in April for an eight-day ‘Springtime Along the Rhine’ cruise on Uniworld’s River Empress, while Bronze Choice Award winners travelled to New Zealand in May for an eight-day AAT Kings ‘Northern Experience’ tour of the North Island.The 2011 Choice Awards will be presented at the group’s Annual Shareholders’ Conference, which will take place from 28-30 October at the Marina Bay Sands in Singapore. Source = Travellers Choicelast_img read more

first_imgQantas’ commitment to excellence in wine service has resulted in six top awards at the internationally prestigious Cellar in the Sky Awards, held in London last night.Qantas has scooped the pool with a number of awards, including Best First Class Cellar and Best Business Class Cellar for the second year running.Qantas has also won the award for consistency of wines across the First and Business Class Cellars and Best Presented Wine list.In the individual wine categories, Qantas won Best Business Class Red for Mount Langhi Ghiran Cliff Edge Shiraz 2008 and Best First Class Sparkling Wine for Comtes de Champagne Taittinger 1999.The Qantas wine program is led by an expert panel of wine industry judges and respected winemakers, Tom Carson (Yabby Lake), Vanya Cullen (Cullen Wines) and Stephen Pannell (S.C. Pannell).The program showcases the diversity and quality of the Australian wine industry and the Qantas list is one of the world’s most prestigious with over 250 specially selected local wines.Qantas Executive Manager Customer Experience, Alison Webster said the Qantas Wine Panel continue to deliver an exceptional cellar for Qantas customers.“The Qantas Wine Panel ensures the best selection of Australian wines is delivered to Qantas customers in their seat. We pride ourselves on developing a selection of wines, from the latest wines made by boutique winemakers to the iconic drops that form the very base of Australia’s great winemaking legacy,” Ms Webster said.“Qantas also goes to exceptional lengths to ensure customers are provided with detailed information about what they are drinking through our Sommeliers in the Sky cabin crew training program, in which cabin crew are trained extensively in all aspects of wine service.“It is becoming an increasingly competitive industry however Qantas is continuing to shine by showcasing the best Australia has to offer.”Qantas invests over $25 million dollars in the Australian Wine industry every year through the Qantas Wine Program.In 2005, Qantas became the first airline to be awarded both the Cellars in the Sky Best First Class and Business Class Wine Lists and has continued to win awards, also collecting six awards in 2011.The Cellars in the Sky Awards have been running since 1985. The internationally esteemed competition recognises the best red, white, sparkling and fortified and dessert wine served in the air. Source = Qantas Airwayslast_img read more

first_imgThe president of AGC Aerospace and Defense is now out of a job after being charged for allegedly slapping a toddler on a Delta Air Lines flight.According to reports, the executive was travelling from Minneapolis to St Paul International Airport earlier this month when he allegedly slapped a two-year-old boy sitting in the seat next to him, Minneapolis Business Journal reported.Although pleading not guilty, the boy’s mother, Jessica Bennett said her son was crying shortly ahead of landing, when the business man slapped the boy on the face and left a scratch under his right eye.The executive’s boss, AGC chief executive Al Haase has described his behaviour as “offensive and disturbing” and stressed he was “no longer employed with the company”.It is still unclear whether the executive resigned or was terminated.Source = e-Travel Blackboard: N.J.last_img read more

first_imgOnly a week before Luxperience 2015 opens and diaries are fullOne week today the Australia Technology Park will be bursting with exhibitors and buyers at the start of the business component of the leading luxury and experiential travel trade exhibition, Luxperience. The Luxperience proprietary on-line appointment system, coordinating over 30,000 meetings across the 3.5 day event, has filled everyone diaries to almost overflowing.The highly anticipated opening event is the Thought Leaders Forum and Welcome Cocktail Party kicking off Luxperience 2015 at the Sydney Town Hall on Sunday, 06 September. Respected journalist, author, columnist, news presenter, blogger and mother (what can’t she do!), Jacinta Tynan will be the Master of Ceremonies.Jacinta is introducing a galaxy of keynote speakers from Anouche Newman, the passionate and fascinating customer experiences expert from the Customer Service Institute of Australia and award-winning cinematographer Corey Baudinette from LUXHD, to Dr Matthew McDougall, CEO of Digital Jungle, the renowned digital marketing expert advising organisations on how to the work through and succeed in the often perplexing social media platforms.There will be a panel discussion on the paradoxical perceptions of high cost events. Is there a backlash on this perceived overt consumerism in events and incentives? And is this perception of materialism stifling innovation in events?  On the panel will be luminaries of the meetings and conventions arena: Anne Candy, from Signature by Anne Candy; Renita Collins, from Directions, and Melissa Bajugi, from Sydney Town Hall.Also presented at the Thought Leaders event will be the initial findings of the latest trends, opportunities and challenges facing the luxury travel industry uncovered in the research initiated by Luxperience with respected market research specialists, Not to be forgotten at Luxperience 2015 is the world premiering of the LUXE Concierge App. Everyone attending Luxperience will be given access to their own travel itinerary and appointment schedule through the App, along with access to LUXE’s insightful, comprehensive yet playful guide to Sydney including maps and up-to-the-minute recommendations.Luxperience 2015 is the place to be this September.Source = Luxperiencelast_img read more

first_imgSource = Travel Money NZ Rhine River, GermanyNew report identifies best value holiday spots in UK & EuropeIn the wake of the Brexit vote the spotlight has been on the UK and Europe and many Kiwi holidaymakers are wondering just how far their money will now go due to the fall of the Sterling.While the Euro and other currencies within the European Union haven’t been affected like the British Pound, many travellers have recognised that now is a good time to be travelling to this part of the globe. Travel Money NZ reports the question many of their customers are asking is what destinations offer the best value for money.Released today, the latest edition of the Travel Money NZ Holidays Costs Index (UK/Europe edition) answers this question. Monitoring the price of 10 tourist items in 13 destinations popular with Kiwi travellers, the easy to read index shows how potential destinations measure up, comparing on-the-ground costs such as bottled water, a local meal out and transport from the airport to the city centre.Key findings include:As far as best value destinations go Eastern Europe comes up trumps with Poland a good option for budget conscious travellers, a taxi into the city centre will only set you back $3NZD, compared to $135NZD in London,Croatia also tops the list of inexpensive destinations, particularly for a night out with a meal and beer costing $18NZD per person, on the flip side a night out in Norway might set you back $45NZD,Surprisingly Germany comes out as one of the more affordable destinations, one nights accommodation in a 2/3 star property will cost around $115NZD, that’s compared to $280NZD in Amsterdam,Coffee lovers should head to Italy where a cappuccino will only cost $1.90NZD, Norway on the other hand will set you back $6.70NZD,McDonald lovers might want to re-consider visiting Sweden where a Big Mac will cost $8NZD,Budget-conscious travellers who like a night out should consider the Czech Republic or Poland where a beer costs between $2-3NZD, andThanks to the fall in the Sterling the UK no longer sits at the higher end of the scale, in fact the UK is the cheapest destination for buying a bottle of Coke, $1.10NZD compared to Norways $5NZD.The destinations in order from best value:PolandGermanyCroatiaCzech RepublicSpainGreeceUKIrelandPortugalNorwayItalySwedenNetherlandsScott McCullough, general manager Travel Money NZ, says that since the Brexit vote the demand from customers purchasing Sterling has been phenomenal.“Since the result, our Travel Money NZ stores around the country have had record numbers through the doors with Kiwis wanting to buy large quantities of Sterling. After the initial announcement we nearly ran out of physical cash.”At today’s exchange rates, a traveller converting $5,000NZD into British Pounds would receive approximately £2,800GBP, 10 years ago in July 2006 this would have only bought around £1,600GBP.Mr McCullough says many Kiwis make the mistake of foregoing to pay attention to exchange rates, however this latest movement has really shone the spotlight on the savings that can be made if travellers do their homework.“We know that most of our customers book their flights months in advance but wait until the day they travel to purchase their foreign currency, this can cost in the long run. Exchange rates can see a lot of movement so it’s a good idea for travellers to monitor the market and purchase in advance when the rates are in their favour.” Travel Money NZlast_img read more

first_imgHawaiian Airlines’ new lie flat seats take off from Sydney todayHawaiian Airlines’ new lie flat seats take off from Sydney todayAustralian travellers flying Hawaiian Airlines from today on flights between Sydney or Brisbane and Honolulu will step on board the airline’s newly redesigned Airbus A330 aircraft featuring an elegant new Premium Cabin and expansion of the airline’s popular Extra Comfort product.New Premium CabinIncorporating flowing curves evocative of the winds and the ocean, Hawaiian’s spacious Premium Cabin features 18 lie-flat leather seats that fold into 180-degree beds at a roomy 20.5 inches wide and 76 inches long.  Aligned in a 2-2-2 configuration, the seats are ideally tailored to leisure guests such as couples, families and honeymooners, while offering superior functionality to the business traveler.Hawaiian has also partnered with renowned local designer Sig Zane on a new line of complimentary amenity kits, a cotton quilt and a lounging pillow all fashionably adorned in a ‘Auli‘ilani lehua flower pattern. Premium Cabin guests will receive a selection of soothing products, including a hand and body balm, lip balm and hydrating mist, dental kit, a bamboo comb, and socks with a playful slipper design that invites travelers to “E Hiamoe Maika‘i” (Sleep well). An eye mask, plush mattress pad and pillow are also provided for restful sleep.Hawaiian’s Executive Chef Chai Chaowasaree will delight guests with world-class cuisine presented on custom-crafted dinnerware, linens and trays, and showcasing delicious regional food by Hawai‘i’s top local chefs. A premier cocktail and full beverage bar service will offer specialty drinks such as a signature Mai Tai, wines selected by Hawaiian’s Master Sommelier Chuck Furuya, local craft beer and Hawai‘i-made spirits.Guests will enjoy intuitive seat controls and access to multiple power ports, including two USB connections and one A/C outlet. An advanced in-flight entertainment system with over 100 hours of movies and TV is powered by a 13-inch wide-screen tablet resting on an adjustable telescoping arm for optimal viewing angle and comfort.68 Extra Comfort SeatsThe airline’s popular Extra Comfort seating introduced in 2014 has proven a hit with Australian travellers and is now expanded from 40 to 68 seats per aircraft. Extra Comfort offers 36 inches of seat pitch, priority boarding at the gate, complimentary on-demand in-seat entertainment, and a personal power outlet.In the new configuration, Hawaiian’s A330 aircraft seat 278 passengers, with 18 Premium Cabin Lie Flat seats, 68 Extra Comfort seats and Main Cabin seating for 192 guests with a roomy seat pitch of 31 inches. From the moment travellers board a Hawaiian Airlines flight, the airlines’ signature mea ho’okipa (translation: I am host) on-board hospitality is offered – a warm and friendly celebration of the culture, people and Aloha Spirit of the Hawaiian Islands. Hawaiian Airlinesbook your flight hereSource = Hawaiian Airlineslast_img read more

first_imgAustralian pilots launch innovative appAustralian pilots launch innovative in-flight entertainment & flight-tracking appInflighto Pty Ltd, an Australian-based company, today announced the launch of their new in-flight entertainment and flight-tracking app, Inflighto, in the Apple App Storeand the Google Play store. The Inflighto app is the first in-flight entertainment app designed by pilots for use by airline passengers while in-flight. It combines highly-accurate ADSB flight-tracking technology and premium content to give passengers an elevated perspective of the world from the air. The Inflighto app supersedes the traditional ‘moving-maps’ currently used by airlines.Inflighto is one of the most sophisticated flight-tracking apps available. It’s the first flight-tracking app to feature geolocated points of interest, tourist destinations and events information so airline passengers can easily see flight-path highlights and identify key landmarks as they fly. This information, from premium content providers, is displayed on highly-detailed ‘moving-maps’. Furthermore, Inflighto is the only flight-tracking app to incorporate live marine vessel tracking, live weather radar, satellite images and in-flight chat. For aspiring pilots, the Inflighto app provides live flight data such as; altitude, ground-speed, vertical speed, heading and geographic location coordinates – which further uplifts the flying experience.The founders of Inflighto are two Australian pilots who are passionate about heightening the flying experience of passengers. Co-founder and commercial airline pilot John Hopkins said that the Inflighto team wanted to create an app that answered the questions most often asked of pilots from passengers; “Where are we?” and “What are we flying over?”. He said that what differentiated the Inflighto app from other flight-tracking apps was the combination of super-accurate tracking technology, premium content and unique features like live marine tracking. John said that the Inflighto team wanted to provide passengers with a better, more informative and inspiring in-flight entertainment experience than the traditional ‘moving-maps’ most airlines currently provide.Inflighto’s co-founder, Christopher Smyth said that the Inflighto app allows airlines to transition traditional, seat-back moving-maps to passengers’ own mobile devices. He said that many airlines are replacing seat-back, in-flight entertainment systems with ‘bring your own device’ solutions to reduce the cost of expensive technology installation and to save weight and fuel costs. Chris said; “The Inflighto app provides a cost-effective moving-map solution to airlines that is fully autonomous and doesn’t require integration with aircraft systems. Inflighto uses ADSB flight-tracking technology so it remains super-accurate on large airliners, at any altitude, anywhere in the world”. The Inflighto app is designed for use with in-flight Wi-Fi which is being rolled-out on commercial airlines globally, and tracks over 90,000 flights and 7,000 airlines world-wide.The Inflighto app is available on the Apple App Store and Google Play as a free download. Inflighto also offers a number of paid ‘upgrades’ for users who want premium features such as live weather radar overlay – so they can see where the clouds are on the flight-path and at their destination. Co-founder John Hopkins said; “Passengers can access live weather information so they can better understand why an aircraft may be placed in a holding pattern due to severe weather or anticipate when to expect turbulence during their flight. It’s like the weather radar pilots have in the cockpit but in the palm of your hand!”.Another unique feature of the Inflighto app is In-flight Chat. This innovative feature allows passengers to chat with flight crew and fellow passengers in an open chat-room dedicated to their flight. Chris Smyth said; “Inflight Chat provides the potential for pilots and cabin crew to communicate with interested passengers about flight path highlights without using the PA system. This doesn’t disrupt other passengers who may be resting”. Inflighto also integrates with the major social media platforms to allow passengers to share flight-path images and accurate flight schedule information. Passengers can let family know their actual arrival time and even their gate number with the tap of a button.Response to the launch of the Inflighto app has been very positive with very strong downloads in both the Google Play and Apple App Store and a fast-growing user-base. “Inflighto is helping window-seat aficionados and passengers of all ages engage more with their flying experience by providing them with super-accurate information on aircraft position and key features and landmarks along their route” said John Hopkins, airline pilot and Inflighto co-founder. “If we can help passengers enjoy flying as much as we do, then our job is done!”.About Inflighto Pty LtdInflighto Pty Ltd is an Australian-based technology company formed in 2017 by two Australian pilots, John Hopkins and Christopher Smyth. John and Chris are available for media interviews. Contact Chris Smyth on +61417298598 or More information and images for media use can be found on the Inflighto website and on the Inflighto app store pages. App Store promotion codes are available on request for parties wishing to review Inflighto premium features.Source = Inflightolast_img read more

first_imgSource = Destination Southern Highlands The Southern Pie-lands warming up for Pie Time 2018The Southern Pie-lands warming up for Pie Time 2018The Southern Highlands is donning its chef’s hats, rallying their many star bakers and bakeries, taste testing some amazing pie fillings, and heating up the pie warmers for what promises to be an even bigger and better Pie Time this June.“Off the back of our National Award-winning short breaks destination marketing campaign for Pie Time 2017 at last month’s Qantas Australian Tourism Awards, the region –  where there is a large saturation of quality pie producers –  is super excited to become The Southern Pie-lands once again for the month of June,” said Steve Rosa, Manager Tourism and Events, Destination Southern Highlands.“June definitely is the time the entire region celebrates the great Australian pie with a series of mouth-watering pie themed events and festivals,” Steve continued.Mr. Rosa revealed some big changes planned for Pie Time 2018 at an industry briefing held last week in Bowral.“This year sees the expansion of the Best Pie Competition to become the NSW and ACT Best Pie Competition. On from 13-15 June, it is this year held further ahead of the Pie Festival allowing bakers from near and wide throughout NSW and ACT to pit pie against pie in five categories, and to be able to keep up with the baking demands to have the pies available for the public at the festival later in the month,” Mr Rosa said.He continued by saying that both Destination Southern Highlands and their Pie Time Events partner, The Big Event Group, have really listened to feedback from both industry and consumers for how Pie Time 2018 could improve upon last year.“Our two-day pie festival has been re-located to the Bong Bong Picnic Racecourse in Bowral this year to accommodate a greater number of stallholders and activities and to make access and parking easier for patrons. Taking place 23-24 June, the newly branded PieFest will celebrate all things pies, wine, beer, cider and spirits from the Southern Highlands and further afield,” Mr Rosa continued.He said the local pie makers, bakers and producers from the Southern Highlands will once again take part in the other pie related events which were highly successful at last year’s Pie Time including Dine with a Pie, where visitors can sample the region’s signature pies at hotels, cafes and restaurants available only for the month of June;  a locals’ pie night; and the Pie Trail where visitors can tour and sample locally made pies from over 30 local pie outlets and pie cooking classes.“We’ll also have a range of brand new pie themed experiences in 2018 including Pie Trike Tours, Pinot and Pie tours and Pie-cycle, a cycling tour which takes in several famous pie stops throughout the Highlands,” Steve continued.For more information on Pie Time visit read more

first_imgMövenpick Hotels & Resorts strengthens its Thailand portfolioMövenpick Hotels & Resorts strengthens its Thailand portfolio with takeover of iconic Bangkok HotelMövenpick Hotels & Resorts has expanded its Thailand portfolio to nine properties Kingdom-wide after signing an agreement to rebrand and manage the renowned Nai Lert Park Hotel in Downtown Bangkok.The iconic upscale urban resort strategically located on Wireless Road in the Central Business District, yet nestled in an oasis of lush landscaped gardens set back from Bangkok’s bustling streets, will re-open under Mövenpick’s management in early 2019 after a comprehensive refurbishment programme.Offering 294 stylish guest rooms and a wide range of business and leisure facilities, it will be the hospitality firm’s third property in the Thai capital, joining Mövenpick Hotel Sukhumvit 15 Bangkok and Mövenpick Residences Ekkamai Bangkok.Close to major attractions, malls, embassies and corporate offices and within walking distance of Ploenchit BTS skytrain station and Phetchaburi MRT metro station, the property offers guests convenient access to the entire city.“Opportunities to manage legendary hotels do not arise often, and we’re delighted to bring Mövenpick’s signature style to the Nai Lert Park Hotel, which has been a Bangkok landmark for more than three decades,” commented Andrew Langdon, Chief Development Officer for Mövenpick Hotels & Resorts.“We look forward to moving this captivating property into an exciting new era as we introduce a health-conscious generation of guests to Mövenpick BDMS Wellness Resort Bangkok and further provide world-class wellness facilities in association with the adjoining BDMS Wellness Clinic,” he added.Bangkok Dusit Medical Services Public Company Limited (BDMS) was established on 30th October 1969.  Through business expansion, the Company was listed on the Stock Exchange of Thailand on 2nd October 1991 and registered its conversion to public company limited in 1994.BDMS is ranked in the top five private hospital groups globally in terms of revenue, one of the most prestigious hospital networks in the Asia-Pacific region with a total of 45 hospitals across the network that have been accredited by the Joint Commission International (JCI). BDMS offers world-class medical care and treatment to both local and international patients, complemented by the latest medical technology.Dr. Poramaporn Prasarttong-Osoth, COO of BDMS group, says, “We are excited to work with Mövenpick to introduce a Wellness Resort with world-class hospitality as well as specialised in-house wellness programmes that are designed for prevention and the achievement of a healthy lifestyle.”All rooms and suites will feature contemporary designs and high-tech amenities while resort facilities will include a large freeform outdoor swimming pool, fitness centre and wellness spa. The hotel’s restaurant will serve all natural, organic Thai and international cuisine, the lobby lounge will offer all-day health-conscious refreshments and the pool bar will provide the perfect spot for informal gatherings.Mövenpick BDMS Wellness Resort Bangkok will also become a preferred meetings and events destination with its ballroom and function rooms featuring natural light and direct garden access, able to cater to groups of all sizes, from intimate social occasions to large-scale corporate conferences, while the hotel’s garden provides a romantic setting for al fresco events and weddings.The Nai Lert Park Hotel originally opened in 1984 but closed its doors at the end of 2016 to undergo a complete refurbishment. When it opens next year, it will offer guests the high-quality international standards and facilities for which Mövenpick Hotels & Resorts is known.For more information on BDMS please visit About Mövenpick Hotels & ResortsMövenpick Hotels & Resorts is a modern, international upscale hotel management firm with a we make moments business philosophy, recognising that small gestures make a big difference to its guests, business partners and its workforce of more than 16,000 team members. The company manages more than 83 hotels, resorts and Nile cruisers across Africa, Asia, Europe and the Middle East and is on track to meet its target of operating 125 properties by 2020. Headquartered in Baar, Switzerland, Mövenpick Hotels & Resorts’ values reflect its Swiss roots and rich culinary heritage and it is passionate about delivering gastronomic excellence and intuitive service – all with a personal touch. Committed to sustainable practices and caring for local communities in the destinations where it operates, Mövenpick is the most Green Globe certified hotel company in the world. For more information, please visit www.movenpick.comSource = Mövenpick Hotels & Resortslast_img read more

first_img Adjustable-Rate Mortgage Agents & Brokers Debt Crisis Euro European Union Fixed-Rate Mortgage Freddie Mac Investors Lenders & Servicers Mortgage Rates Origination Points Processing Service Providers Treasury Yields 2012-07-12 Tory Barringer July 12, 2012 447 Views Mortgage Rates Tumble on Disappointing Jobs Report “”Freddie Mac’s””: latest Primary Mortgage Market Survey showed average fixed mortgage rates finding yet another record low.[IMAGE]The 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 3.56 percent (0.7 point) this week, down from 3.62 percent the previous week. At the same time last year, the 30-year loan averaged 4.51 percent. This week marks the fourth month that the 30-year average has stayed below 4 percent.[COLUMN_BREAK]The 15-year fixed-rate mortgage also fell, averaging 2.86 percent (0.7 point), a drop from 2.89 percent last week. A year ago, the 15-year fixed averaged 3.65 percent.The same took place for the 5-year adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM), which averaged 2.74 percent with a 0.6 point, down from 2.79 percent from the week before. The 1-year ARM inched up a bit, traveling to 2.69 percent from 2.68 percent a week ago.””Frank Nothaft””:, VP and chief economist with Freddie Mac, attributed the falling rates to Treasury bond yields, which eased on the heels of a disappointing jobs report in June.””’s””: findings showed that the jumbo 30-year fixed fell to 4.44 percent, while the 15-year fixed drop to 3.05 percent-both record lows. The popular 5-year ARM also fell to a new record low of 2.95 percent.””Between the European debt crisis and evidence of weaker economic growth both in the U.S. and around the globe, investors have had plenty to worry about,”” the finance website said in a statement. “”And when investors worry, they gravitate toward secure investments like U.S. government bonds, to which mortgage rates are pegged.””center_img Share in Data, Government, Origination, Secondary Market, Servicinglast_img read more

first_img June 7, 2013 515 Views Agents & Brokers Attorneys & Title Companies Bank Failure FDIC Investors Lenders & Servicers Processing Service Providers 2013-06-07 Tory Barringer Vegas Bank Rolls Snake Eyes, Failure Count at 15 “”FDIC’s””: failed bank tally rose to 15 as an institution in Las Vegas shut down, the agency announced.FDIC’s board of directors issued an order to close 1st Commerce Bank in North Las Vegas. As receiver, FDIC entered into a purchase and assumption agreement with “”Plaza Bank””: (Irvine, California), which will assume all $19.6 million of 1st Commerce’s deposits and purchase “”essentially all”” of the collapsed bank’s $20.2 million.FDIC also announced it has entered into a loss-share transaction with Plaza Bank on $12.2 million of 1st Commerce’s assets. Plaza Bank will share in the losses on the asset pools covered under the agreement.The estimated cost to the Deposit Insurance Fund will be $9.4 million. 1st Commerce is the first FDIC-insured bank to fail in Nevada since April 2011.[COLUMN_BREAK][IMAGE]center_img Share in Data, Government, Origination, Secondary Market, Servicinglast_img read more

first_img in Data, Government, Origination, Secondary Market, Servicing The “”American Land Title Association””: (ALTA) recognized three land title experts with “”National Title Professional””: (NTP) designations Monday.[IMAGE][COLUMN_BREAK]Shari Foster (Fidelity National Title Group, Dallas, Texas); Carol Kirby (American Title & Escrow, Billings, Montana); and Isidore Teitelbaum (Title Services of New Jersey, Inc., East Brunswick, New Jersey) each received the professional designation from ALTA.The NTP designation recognizes land title professionals who demonstrate “”the knowledge, experience and dedication essential to the safe and efficient transfer of real property,”” according to a release from the association. The designation has several elements, including industry and compliance prerequisites and training requirements.””I congratulate this highly dedicated group of land title insurance industry professionals,”” said ALTA president Frank Pellegrini. “”Their talent, knowledge and experience more than qualify them for this prestigious designation. I appreciate their hard work and encourage many more members of the land title industry to apply for the NTP designation.”” Share Agents & Brokers American Land Title Association Attorneys & Title Companies Investors Lenders & Servicers Movers & Shakers Processing Service Providers 2013-07-23 Tory Barringercenter_img ALTA Awards Three National Title Professional Designations July 23, 2013 471 Views last_img read more

first_imgU.S. Home Flipping Drops to Five-Year Low in Daily Dose, Data, Featured, News Share Home flipping sales declined nationwide both quarter-over-quarter and year-over-year, hitting their lowest level since the second quarter of 2009, according to RealtyTrac’s Q3 2014 U.S. Home Flipping Report released Thursday.The number of home flipping sales, or those in which a home is purchased and sold within 12 months, represented 4 percent of all single-family home sales in the United States in the third quarter, a decline from 4.6 percent in Q2 2014 and from 5.6 percent in the third quarter of 2013, according to RealtyTrac.The average gross return on investment for flipped homes in Q3 was 36 percent, a slight increase from 35 percent in Q2 but a slight decline from 37 percent from the same quarter last year, according to RealtyTrac. The average gross profit per home flipped for investors was $75,990 in the third quarter, RealtyTrac reported.”Flipping returned to its historic norm of 4 percent in the third quarter as home price appreciation cooled in many of the hot flipping markets across the country,” said Daren Blomquist, VP of RealtyTrac. “Meanwhile, the record-high average profits per flip in the quarter demonstrate that flippers are still filling an important niche in an aging housing market with historically low levels of new homes being built. The most successful flippers are buying older, outdated homes in established neighborhoods and rehabbing them extensively to appeal to modern tastes.”The top five metropolitan areas with the most home flips were Miami (1,190), Los Angeles (1,170), Phoenix (1,147), New York (1,070), and Tampa (789), with Tampa being the only one of those five that saw a year-over-year increase in home flips in Q3, according to RealtyTrac. The top five metros that saw the highest year-over-year increase in home flips were Louisville, Kentucky (117 percent), Kansas City (66 percent), Boston (40 percent), New Orleans (38 percent), and Indianapolis (35 percent).Metro areas with the highest return on investment for home flips in Q3 were Baltimore (88 percent), Pittsburgh (79 percent), Detroit (61 percent), Richmond, Virginia (60 percent), and Mobile, Alabama (59 percent), according to RealtyTrac.San Francisco, San Jose, Los Angeles, New York, Seattle, and San Diego posted the highest average gross profit among metros per home flip, all with more than $125,000 per home flip.”The markets with an increase in flipping tend to be those with older, distressed inventory still available that flippers can often buy at a discount and add value to,” Blomquist said. “Those discounted distressed properties have become harder to find, but a recent jump in scheduled foreclosure auctions could provide more fodder for flippers in the next three to six months.”The national average amount of time it took to complete a home flip in the third quarter was 185 days, a slight decrease from 187 days in Q2 but an increase from 133 days from the third quarter of 2013, RealtyTrac reported.center_img November 19, 2014 488 Views Home Flipping Investment Investors RealtyTrac 2014-11-19 Seth Welbornlast_img read more

first_img Credit Score Federal Housing Administration FHA PMI U.S. Private Mortgage Insurers 2016-05-03 Staff Writer in Daily Dose, Government, Headlines, News May 3, 2016 864 Views The recent reduction in private mortgage insurance fees has made getting a mortgage loan a lot easier and may begin to pull high quality borrowers from the Federal Housing Administration (FHA).Urban Institute researchers Bing Bai and Laurie Goodman found in a recent report that borrowers that can afford a monthly mortgage but do not have the 20 percent down payment, have two options: 1. A FHA loan or 2. A conventional mortgage guaranteed by the GSEs. While both programs allow borrowers to put as little as 3.5 percent down, one may be better than the other.”For the past 15 months, the answer has been the FHA loan,” the authors wrote. “But for those with nearly perfect credit, a change to PMI fees in April 2016 made the GSE guarantee more affordable. This new pricing could pull some of the highest-quality borrowers out of FHA and into GSE loans.”Urban Institute reported that under the old PMI pricing, FHA loans were the better deal. When this price cut occurred, private mortgage insurers were faced with tough competition.The White House in January 2015 that the FHA will reduce mortgage insurance premiums in an effort to boost U.S. homeownership. FHA cut its mortgage insurance premiums to 0.85 percent, a 0.5 percentage point reduction.In 2015, PMIs lost market share to FHA, Urban Institute found.Low FHA premiums drove market share to 40 percent of all mortgage insurance in 2015, up from 34 percent the previous year. Meanwhile, PMI’s share declined from 40 percent to 35 percent in the same period. From 2010 to 2014, PMIs were picking up most of the market share as FHA premiums rose several times prior to the cut.The report determined that the better deal depends on the credit score of the borrower.”For borrowers on the lower end of the credit spectrum, the higher PMI rates make conventional loans even less attractive than before,” the authors noted. “This preference could add to FHA’s adverse selection, in which  borrowers with lower FICO scores disproportionately gravitate to FHA financing over conventional loans with PMI.”The authors continued, “The new private mortgage insurance pricing will likely increase the GSE share of low down–payment, high-credit borrowers. The overwhelming majority of FHA borrowers make down payments between 3.5 and 5 percent. Of these, 32 percent have FICO scores above 700—the range where the PMI premium is decreasing. Nearly 12 percent have FICO scores above 740 and may now find GSE execution to be more attractive. While the number of borrowers who will now choose the GSE mortgage over the FHA mortgage remains to be seen, we would expect it to be small but noticeable.”center_img Why the New PMI Reduction Will Reel in FHA Borrowers Sharelast_img read more