Source = EC3 Global Saving the tourism industry millions of dollars in operational costs each year and reducing the planet’s energy, waste and water consumption has earned environmental management consultants EC3 Global a prestigious World Wildlife Fund (WWF) Earth Hour Award.EC3 Global, an Australian owned, international environmental management and advisory group, won the WWF Sustainable Small Business award last week, for their work in encouraging the tourism industry to take action to measure and reduce its environmental footprint.The award recognises the efforts of EC3 Global’s EarthCheck programme which adheres to the United Nation’s Agenda 21 principals for sustainable development.This year Agenda 21 celebrates its 20th birthday. Agenda 21 was established as a global call to action to protect and safeguard our environment. EarthCheck is now used by tourism operators in over 70 countries worldwide and has become the world’s leading scientific benchmarking and certification program dedicated to meeting the sustainability principles laid down in Rio De Janeiro.EarthCheck’s certification and benchmarking gives the travel and tourism industry a science-based approach to increase efficiencies, maximise guest experience and minimise their environmental footprint.EC3 Global CEO Stewart Moore said if the environmental footprint made by the world tourism industry was compared to the footprint of a country then tourism would be the fifth biggest polluter worldwide.“Tourism provides about 9 percent of the world’s income and employs more than 10 percent of the world’s workforce. CO2 emissions generated directly from the tourism sector account for approximately 5% of global carbon emissions which is greater than the emissions generated by some countries,” said Mr Moore.“For the past 12 years, we have worked with both enterprises and communities in Australia and across the world to help them to address the twin challenges of climate change and reducing their environmental footprint. We are amazed every day by the innovative solutions our clients are achieving. WWF CEO Dermot O’Gorman said the WWF Earth Awards recognise the inspiring environmental contributions of Australians.“When you consider the profound challenges the planet is facing, it can occasionally seem overwhelming but here we have individuals taking action every day of the year to ensure a better future for our planet,” said Mr O’Gorman.
On the whole, the fight for market share has resulted in list price discounting, and Boeing at its end shall need to avoid delivery delays as in the case of the B-787 Dreamliner to keep the pressure up on Airbus, according to NASDAQ. Boeing is beating out Airbus when it comes to orders received for 2012, with 700 aircraft receipts awaiting delivery. Xiamen Airlines, a subsidiary of China Southern Airlines has placed orders for 40 Boeing Next-Generation 737-800s; while SilkAir, Singapore Airlines’ regional carrier has signed on for 31 737-MAXs and 23 Next-Generation 737-800s. Airbus has received 270 orders this year, compared with Boeing’s 700; an absolute turnaround from the last decade which saw Airbus dominate Boeing in sales. Globally speaking, both companies are competing for greater market share and are competitively locked. This has resulted in aircraft price reductions and increased discounts. Source = e-Travel Blackboard: P.T
Source = Regal Airport Hotel Ms. Renee Kim, Deputy General Manager of Regal Airport Hotel received the Best Airport Hotel in Asia-Pacific 2012 award from Ms. Frances Yip Lai-yee, famous Cantopop singer and the guest of honour of Business Traveller Asia-Pacific awards ceremony held in the Conrad Hotel Hong Kong on 28 Sep, 2012. Regal Airport Hotel was again awarded the Best Airport Hotel in Asia-Pacific by Business Traveller Asia-Pacific for the twelve consecutive year and the Best Airport Hotel in the World by Business Traveller UK edition for the fifth consecutive year. Every year, Business Traveller Magazines invited the most discerning and experienced travellers worldwide to vote for their favourite performers in the travel and hospitality industries. As such, the awards are considered as one of the most recognised among travellers and travel industry around the world. Between April and May 2012, Business Traveller UK dispatched 25,000 polling forms to their magazine subscribers while Business Traveller Asia-Pacific sent out polling forms to their subscribers from April to June this year, the response rate of the Business Traveller UK polling was 16% and the results were compiled by market research leader Business Intelligence Partnership. “The award is a recognition for our dedication to providing outstanding service has been recognised again. The hotel attributes this outstanding achievement to the joint efforts by hotel management team, associates and partners’ support to the success in our growing business.”, said Mr. John Girard, Area General Manager (Hong Kong) of Regal Hotels International and General Manager of the Regal Airport Hotel, Meeting & Conference Centre. Mr Girard added, “The continuing growth and development of the MICE management team is a strong testament to the success of our MICE business segment. This year and have just completed the renovation of additional two floors of Regal Club Rooms as well as the hotel ballroom that will be completed this fall. With access to the Regal Club Lounge, our guests will continue to benefit from a variety of exclusive privileges. Newsreader, presenter and journalist Sir Trevor McDonald presented the Best Airport Hotel in the World 2012 award to Mr. John Girard, General Manager of Regal Airport Hotel, in London on 17 Sep, 2012.
Source = East Hotel EAST Hotel has won in four categories at the 2013 AHA ACT Hospitality Awards. In it’s inaugural year and the year the Awards celebrated 100 years of hospitality in Canberra, EAST took the top prize for Best Superior (4.5 star) Accommodation, Best New/Re-developed Venue (Accommodation), Best Suite/Apartment Hotel and Best Environmental Practice.“The whole team is overjoyed with our success at the Awards,” said Todd Handy, General Manager of EAST Hotel. “These Awards are a testament to the strong culture we have built at EAST and the incredible team we have on board. To have won four Awards after opening our doors in August last year, really reflects the hard work of my team and I couldn’t be more proud. This achievement will not only raise the bar for Canberra as a destination but also for ourselves as we continually strive to be the best in Canberra. We are also holding our hopes high as we compete against our colleagues nationally at the AHA National Hospitality Awards.”EAST Hotel has quickly established itself as Canberra’s premier four and a half star design and lifestyle hotel. With its focus on providing a memorable Canberra experience and its premium location between the fashionable retail and restaurant hubs of Manuka and Kingston, EAST Hotel ups the ante for local guests and visitors to the nation’s capital.“We could not be more proud of the entire team at EAST for winning these Awards,” said Dan Bisa, owner of EAST Hotel and Director of Bisa Hotels. “We are bringing something fresh to the Canberra market at EAST Hotel, with great, memorable service and an atmosphere that ensures our visitors and guests feel comfortable, relaxed and inspired and winning these categories at the AHA ACT Hospitality Awards means that we are genuinely succeeding in our vision.”
The 2014 Chinese New Year celebrations will kick-off at Belmore Park, which will be transformed into a bustling night market teeming with food stalls and entertaining live performances. The revelries are expected to attract more than 600,000 international and domestic visitors, featuring over 80 events between 24 January and 9 February 2014. Dragon boat races, art exhibitions and lunar feasts will also be a part of the programme. The annual Twilight Parade will take place on 2 February, snaking its way through the city from Sydney Town Hall to Chinatown, featuring more than 3,000 performers. Sydney has revealed the largest-ever programme of events, celebrating the Year of the Horse, as part of the city’s 2014 Chinese New Year festivities. “Festival favourites like the Twilight Parade, Belmore Park markets and Dragon Ball are back, but we’ve also got plenty of new events from film festivals and world premiere dance performances to brand new food highlights,” Lord Mayor Clover Moore said. Source = ETB News: P.T.
Already so early in the New Year, Macau is showing positive signs for a strong year filled with plenty of growth as a vital Asian centre for the MICE market.Since its establishment as a Special Administrative Region 15 years ago, the former Portuguese enclave has seen the rise of a vast number of contemporary additions – without losing sight of its five fascinating centuries of Chinese-European history.By the end of 2015, Macau’s Cotai area would have also seen the opening of the highly anticipated $US3.2 billion Hollywood-inspired Studio City, to be promoted in a new short film starring Leonardo DiCaprio, Robert De Niro and Brad Pitt.Nearby, Galaxy Macau will be extended to include three new international hotels including a 250-room all-suite Ritz-Carlton and Asia’s largest JW Marriott with over 1000 rooms and Broadway Hotel with a further 320 rooms.To complement the additional hotels, a new vibrant street, aptly named Broadway, will open complete with hawker style stores, bars and restaurants, live entertainment and world class performances inside a 3000-seat Broadway Theatre.Also due to open at the end of the year is the Parisian which will feature a smaller version of the Eiffel Tower, complete with observation deck and 200-seat restaurant.The prestigious Forbes Travel Guide also recognised Macau as the number destination in the world for five-star properties.Source = ETB Travel News: Lewis Wiseman
New direct flights between Newcastle and Canberra and a new arrivals hall at Newcastle Airport that will boost business tourism in the Greater Hunter region.Sydney-based Pelican Airlines will launch direct flights between Newcastle and Canberra on April 27, 2015, under its Fly Pelican brand, using 19-seat BAE Jetstream 32 turboprop aircraft.The airline will offer a morning service from Newcastle to the national capital and a late afternoon return flight plus a Sunday afternoon service.The announcement is in line with the completion of stage one of an AUD$14.5 expansion of Newcastle Airport which will see a 50 per cent bigger terminal increase capacity, and facilitate the growth of domestic flights.Stage two of the airport expansion includes a full refurbishment of the existing terminal and improvements to the departures area, and is expected to be completed by late 2015.Serving nearby Newcastle, Port Stephens and the Hunter Valley, Newcastle Airport is the second busiest airport in NSW and the 12h busiest in Australia.The Business Events and Conventions Developer for the Newcastle Convention Bureau, Georgia Lazzari, said the new-look Newcastle Airport will enhance the appeal of business events in Newcastle.“As the base for many government departments, Canberra is obviously a key source of business for conferences and meetings in our region and when corporate groups arrive here, Newcastle Airport is now able to personally welcome them so we see expect to see more corporate travelers,” Ms Lazzari said.Source = ETB Travel News: Lewis Wiseman
Today SiteMinder, cloud platform provider for hotels, announced it has acquired Asia-based online reservations system provider Globekey.It is expected the acquisition will see an increase in direct bookings to SiteMinder from the Asian market, particularly in Indonesia and Thailand where the majority of Globekey’s hotel customers reside.SiteMinder co-founder and managing director Mike Ford said Globekey will continue to operate as its own brand.“Globekey is a trusted company with a 15-year track record of operating successfully and establishing relationships as experts within the strategic Asian market,” Mr Ford said.“Globekey is an excellent business with a loyal customer base and immense potential, providing us with the opportunity to accelerate the growth of the SiteMinder business through new insight into the Asian market.”Since it began in 2000, Globekey has built a significant presence in the direct bookings market, with its services extending to properties across Asia, Europe, Middle East, Africa and the Americas.Globekey founder and technical director Rod Wilkinson said the change is a win for both parties.“Globekey is excited to be a part of a dynamic organisation that is founded on innovation and success, and we cannot wait to see even greater success with SiteMinder in the future,” Mr Wilkinson said.Source = ETB Travel News: Brittney Levinson
Qantas announces new country manager in ChinaQantas has announced the appointment of Alan Chang as Country Manager China, based in Shanghai.Alan Chang will steer the commercial, financial and operational performance for Qantas across its Chinese markets.He joins Qantas’ team in Asia at an exciting time, with the airline last week having received regulatory approval for its joint business with China Eastern. The airline is also continuing its progressive rollout of the refurbished international A330 aircraftonto key Asian routes, including between Shanghai and Sydney. The new A330 features Marc Newson designed Business Suites with the world’s first gate-to-gate recline, new model Recaro seats in Economy, and larger, more advanced screens to support Qantas’ upgraded inflight entertainment offering.Qantas’ new Economy dining experience launched on flights between Shanghai and Sydney in March, offering customers more choice, larger meals and improved service, and has since seen customer satisfaction in the Economy cabin increase month on month.In taking up the new position, Mr Chang says he is looking forward to maximising Qantas’ presence throughout China.“China is an incredibly important market for Qantas, as well as Australia’s most valuable inbound tourism market,” said Mr Chang.“Together with Qantas’ ongoing commitment to delivering outstanding product and service, our joint venture with China Eastern will also allow us to boost connectivity between China and Australia, deliver expanded services and increased frequent flyer benefits. There is certainly a lot to look forward to for Qantas customers in China.”Alan Chang brings extensive experience working internationally in Taiwan and Canada across the aviation and travel sectors. Most recently, Mr Chang was the Regional Sales Manager for Emirates in Taiwan, which included the establishment of the airline’s local office and operations and the launch of their first A380 aircraft into Taipei. Prior to that, Mr Chang served as General Manager for Holiday Tours and Travel (HTT) for five years, representing Qantas and Jetstar as General Sales Agent in Taiwan. He is an alumnus of the Royal Roads University in Canada and Aletheia University in Taiwan.Qantas operates daily return services between Shanghai and Sydney with its A330 aircraft. Together with its codeshare partners, China Eastern and China Southern, Qantas also offers customers the choice of an additional 61 flights per week between mainland China and Australia, as well as onward travel to Qantas’ extensive domestic network around Australia.Alan joins the broader Qantas team in Asia and along with Wyn Li, General Manager for Qantas in Hong Kong, will jointly manage the South China market. Wyn will meanwhile take up additional responsibility of the Taiwan market as General Manager – Hong Kong, Taiwan and South China.Wyn has more than 29 years’ experience in the travel and tourism industry in Hong Kong, Macau, China, Singapore, Australia and USA. Having worked in aviation for 20 years, Wyn was Country Director of Continental Airlines and General Manager of United Airlines in Hong Kong, area and regional managers in Singapore Airlines and KLM Royal Dutch Airlines, and Marketing Director of Metrojet, Asia’s largest business and private jet management company. Prior to that, Wyn was Area Trade Manager and Regional MICE Manager for the Australian Tourist Commission, promoting leisure travel from Asia to Australia. Fly QantasSource = Qantas
Source = Norwegian Cruise Lines Norwegian Cruise Lines Pictured left to right are Nicole Costantin, Lisa Pile, Harry Sommer, Steve Odell, Ben Angell and Liz KrstevskiNorwegian Cruise Lines Holdings LTD opens office in AustraliaNorwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd. (Nasdaq: NCLH) today marked the opening of the company’s first office the Pacific Region, with a new sales and marketing centre based in Sydney, Australia. The new office signifies the further international expansion of the company to support a growing worldwide demand for cruise travel.The office represents the company’s three brands: Norwegian Cruise Line, Oceania Cruises and Regent Seven Seas Cruises. Industry veteran Steve Odell is leading the office as Senior Vice President and Managing Director Australia & New Zealand for Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd. and is joined by a leadership team with broad travel industry experience including: Lisa Pile, Vice President of Sales Australia/New Zealand for Oceania Cruises and Regent Seven Seas Cruises; Nicole Costantin, Vice President of Sales Australia/New Zealand for Norwegian Cruise Line; Ben Angell, Vice President Marketing Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Australia; and Elizabeth Krstevski, Operations/Contact Centre Manager Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Australia.“Today marks an exciting day in the history of our company, as we further expand our global team to serve the greater Australasia region,” said Odell. “With this new office, we can now better support our travel partners as they serve their guests across the spectrum from contemporary to luxury cruising, offering sales and marketing support and a dedicated Sydney based call centre for our three brands.”Odell will be responsible for the continued growth of the company’s presence in Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific Islands and differentiating each brand’s unique offerings.He has played a key role in the establishment of the luxury cruise segment in Australasia since 2000, with various positions in the luxury cruise sector and CLIA in the region.Pile, most recently the Executive Director of Global Luxury Sales for Fairmont Raffles Hotels International, brings a strong base of knowledge from the luxury sector, managing more than 600 high-yield accounts across the globe in her previous role. In her new position, she will offer sales and marketing support within Australasia for upper premium line Oceania Cruises and luxury line Regent Seven Seas Cruises, with a focus on the line’s newest ship, Regent Seven Seas Explorer, the most luxurious ship ever built, debuting next summer.Costantin brings a wealth of knowledge from her seven years leading sales and marketing efforts for Star Cruises and Norwegian Cruise Line in the region to her new role as Vice President of Sales. In this new role, she will focus on providing travel partners with the tools and education necessary to be successful in selling Norwegian Cruise Line’s unique proposition of offering freedom and flexibility to guests during their cruise holiday.Angell joins NCLH from Virgin Australia and will bring more than seventeen years of award-winning experience. He will support the company’s three brands with strategic planning, marketing and engagement campaigns for both trade and consumers.Krstevski, joins from The Cruise Team with previous key positions in product management and operations. She brings more than ten years of cruise industry experience to the company and will be responsible for managing the call center for the three brands and ensuring the highest levels of customer service.For further information contact Leeanne Aubrey, email@example.com.About Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings LtdNorwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd. (Nasdaq:NCLH) is a diversified cruise operator of leading global cruise lines spanning market segments from contemporary to luxury under the Norwegian Cruise Line, Oceania Cruises and Regent Seven Seas Cruises brands.These brands operate a combined 21 ships with approximately 40,000 lower berths visiting more than 420 destinations worldwide. The Company’s brands will introduce six ships through 2019.Norwegian Cruise Line is the innovator in cruise travel with a history of breaking the boundaries of traditional cruising, most notably with the introduction of Freestyle Cruising, which revolutionized the industry by giving guests more freedom and flexibility on the most contemporary ships at sea. Oceania Cruises is the market leader in the upper-premium cruise segment featuring the finest cuisine at sea, elegant accommodations, impeccable service and destination-driven itineraries. Regent Seven Seas Cruises is the market leader in the luxury cruise segment with all-suite accommodations, highly personalized service and the industry’s most inclusive luxury experience featuring fine wines and spirits and unlimited shore excursions among its numerous included amenities.
Embry-Riddle Researchers Study Ways to Reduce the Spread of Infectious DiseasesEmbry-Riddle Researchers Study Ways to Reduce the Spread of Infectious DiseasesWhen Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University professor Sirish Namilae travels for pleasure or for work, his eyes are focused on how people are boarding the plane and move through security and other areas of the airport.It has become second nature for the Daytona Beach Campus assistant professor of aerospace engineering and his PhD student Pierrot Derjany as part of research that could have a worldwide impact on reducing the spread of infectious diseases in congested places such as airplanes, airports and other gathering venues.Recently published reports, which have received international attention, initially show that the way passengers board a plane and the size of the plane could have an impact on their health. Boarding planes in three sections from the front to the back, for example, may pose more of a risk, compared to randomly boarding a plane in two sections.With billions of passengers passing through the world’s airports each year and the numbers rising, Namilae, the lead investigator on the ongoing studies, believes it’s important to find solutions.“The research we are doing will affect people on a broad scale,” Namilae said.Derjany, 30, who also has two master’s degrees, including one in aerospace engineering from Embry-Riddle, is honored to be doing this type of research for his PhD.“Human life is priceless,” Derjany said. “I hope it will have an impact and be a breakthrough in the field.”The concern over Ebola and plane travel dominated the airways in 2014 and 2015 with cases of people being diagnosed soon after flying commercially, putting an unknown number of people at risk.In September 2014, a man who flew from Liberia to New Jersey was soon found to have Ebola, marking the first case in the U.S. A nurse who cared for him also flew on two commercial flights shortly before she was diagnosed with the deadly virus.Namilae and Derjany’s research shows changing the way people board planes could reduce the transmission of such viruses. They are also expanding their research to include analyzing pedestrian density and movement in areas such as ticketing and security; boarding at the gate and baggage claim.“We want to determine if there is anything we can do in terms of pedestrian flow that will reduce the spread of infection,” Namilae said.The Embry-Riddle researchers are looking at various perimeters such as the size of waiting areas at the gate and how they are designed. The concern is real considering the International Air Transport Association predicts 7.2 billion passengers travelling in 2035, almost double the 3.8 billion air travelers in 2016. International passenger traffic rose 6.7 percent in 2016 compared to 2015, while domestic air travel rose 5.7 percent.Namilae, the primary author on the two initial research papers that included professors from Arizona State University and Florida State University, studied the transmission of Ebola and other viruses using a multiscale, hybrid computer model. By applying mathematical models used in materials science such as molecular dynamics, passenger movement and boarding and deplaning was analyzed around a hypothetical infected passenger along with transmission rates and incubation periods for diseases.The research, funded by a $240,000 National Science Foundation grant and also included touring various airports, found that the standard boarding scenario of passengers boarding a plane in three sections presented a 67 percent chance that more than 20 new air-travel-related infections could occur per month. The findings were based on data from the 2014 Ebola epidemic in Africa.“Because of this pattern, the passageway is filled with passengers waiting to get to their seats, resulting in clustering,” the report states.However, using a two-section strategy, which divides the plane into two sections and passengers randomly board, the risk is less because passengers may be in seats that are wider apart from each other which prevents clustering. The probability of 20 new air-travel related infections in this scenario drops to less than 40 percent.The research found that smaller planes, like 50 seaters, would reduce the infection probability even further because of fewer passengers, a lower number of susceptible individuals within a given area and less time spent moving on the plane.“These problems have inherent uncertainty, and significant computing capability is needed to address this uncertainty,” Namilae said.In collaboration with professor Ashok Srinivasan of Florida State University, Namilae used the Blue Waters supercomputer at the National Center for Supercomputing Applications at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, which allows accessing 100,000 processors at a time.Namilae and Derjany are gearing up to use the new Cray supercomputer at Embry-Riddle to understand how small changes in travel policies could also impact the spread of infectious diseases on a global scale. The studies include ensuring that any changes to reduce passenger contact doesn’t disrupt travel or cause an economic impact to airlines.“We’re trying to find the best strategy so any changes don’t effect turn time, which is the amount of time the airplane spends on the ground loading and unloading passengers and cargo,” Derjany said.Source = Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University
THAI launches daily Bangkok-Busan FlightsTHAI launches daily Bangkok-Busan flightsThai Airways International Public Company Limited (THAI) officially opened its flights on the route Bangkok-Busan at Gimhae International Airport, Republic of Korea, which was presided over by Mr. Tirawatt Thongpurk (fifth from left), THAI General Manager, Busan, Republic of Korea, at a ribbon-cutting ceremony to launch THAI’s new flight TG650. Ceremony participants Mr. Lee Sang-Haeng (eighth from left), Asiana Airlines Station Manager, Airport Officer, Busan, Mr. Cherdchai Penpian (seventh from left), THAI Airport Service Manager, Gimhae International Airport, Captain Ditthanop Chulagasyena (sixth from left), THAI Commander, joined in the ribbon-cutting ceremony to officially open new flight TG650.THAI recently increased its flight frequency to Busan from 6 to 7 flights per week. THAI also operates flights 32 flights per week to and from Seoul (Incheon), Republic of Korea.Source = Thai Airways International Public Company Limited (THAI)
Qantas Frequent Flyer launches new shopping destinationQantas Frequent Flyer has launched a new shopping website – Qantas Shopping – making it easier for members to earn Qantas Points when they shop online and instore.It’s the first time members have been able to visit one shopping destination to:o Earn points – by shopping online and instore at over 150 retailerso Use points – on 8,000 products through the Rewards Storeo View and shop – with over 600 brands.To celebrate the launch of Qantas Shopping, more than 60 retailers are currently offering bonus points of up to 10 points per $1 for purchases made through Qantas Shopping.The new ‘Earn points’ site includes new features like the ‘Categories’ menu, making it simpler for members to find the retailers they want to shop and earn points with, and ‘Shopping history’ so they can see where they’ve earned their points.While the Online Mall rewards members when they shop online, Card Offers gives members the opportunity to earn Qantas Points when they shop online and instore too. Card Offers shares targeted offers with members based on their previous spending behaviour. To receive these offers, members can opt-in by linking any of their Australian Mastercard details to their Qantas Frequent Flyer account. They then simply pay instore or online with one of those Mastercards and Qantas Points will soon be transferred to their accounts.“Shopping is a really easy way for Qantas Frequent Flyers to boost their points balance and reach their next reward faster, especially if they use their Qantas Points-earning card to pay.“Whether they’re purchasing everyday items like groceries or indulging in a luxury buy, when they shop at Qantas Shopping, Frequent Flyers can earn points across a wide range of categories with some of Australia’s most well-loved brands.”Source = Qantas Frequent Flyer
Tourism Australia’s brand campaign, ‘Restaurant Australia’ has won the CMO Asia Award for Brand Excellence in Services, Hospitality and Travel & Tourism sector. The sixth edition of the awards was held recently in Singapore. The tourism board also collected a Certificate of Merit for promoting the ‘Best of Australia’ experiences amidst the ICC World Cup 2015 through its ‘Straight Drive to the WONDERS DOWN UNDER’ campaign. Additionally, the ‘Inspiring Million Aussie Holidays’ campaign was awarded for the Best Use of LinkedIn and Best Use of Social Media Marketing. The awards were presented to the representatives of OMD Worldwide, the global creative agency for Tourism Australia, who were responsible for planning and executing all three campaigns in India.Mamatha Morvankar, Managing Director – West, OMD said, “Winning any award is a testament to the fact that the work produced has struck the right chord with our consumers. For the Restaurant Australia launch, on media we leveraged the most relevant tent pole property, Masterchef Australia and layered it with multiple renditions across various media. Also, the partnership with LinkedIn was based not only on strong consumer insights, but the platform itself was most suitable to reach out to our affluent corporate consumers. The fact that more and more Indian tourists are now travelling to Australia is testimony to our efforts that we have been able to connect with the right audiences in an engaging manner.”With India climbing to the eight spot among inbound source markets to Australia, Indian tourist’s contribution to the Australian economy has boasted too. “The total spend that Indian tourists contribute to the Australian economy has increased by 35%. Indian tourists, in all, contribute close to AUD 960 million to the Australian economy. The travellers’ spend needs to grow by at least 15-16% over the next five years. India’s ranking has significantly improved from being the 11th inbound market to Australia to being the 8th,” said Nishant Kashikar, Country Manager, India & Gulf, Tourism Australia.
Europe’s Costa Cruises has launched the most anticipated Costa neoClassica in India.Indians now onwards can look forward to embarking from Mumbai and going to enchanting destinations within India such as Goa and Cochin and also to the very popular Maldives and Colombo.Costa neoClassica will perform a series of weekly sailings from Dec 16 to March 18. This will be the very first large cruise ship that cruises between Mumbai and the Maldives.“We are delighted to bring cruising to Indians at their doorstep. For many travellers, the holiday often starts after some sort of a long journey. Now like never before, Indians will have the opportunity to start holidaying right from their door-step from India’s largest metropolis, Mumbai,” said President of Costa Group Asia, Buhdy Bok.“It is a proud moment for us to have Costa neoClassica to be home-ported at India’s premier Mumbai Port. The Mumbai Port has long been the principal gateway to India, playing a crucial role in sea trade and the development of the national economy, trade and commerce and the prosperity of Mumbai city in particular,” said Chairman of Mumbai Port, Sanjay Bhatia.
MakeMyTrip will launch new features to boost app user engagement. As part of strategy to drive app usage, the company has put all other development work on hold and asked its engineers to focus on ‘Tap’, a project aimed at improving mobile experience.Anshuman Bapna, Chief Product Officer, MakeMyTrip, said, “We put all our other work on hold, like making changes to the desktop, for two weeks to create a new user experience.”In the last few months, the company has launched an on-trip assistant, Jeeves, named after the uber-efficient valet in PG Wodehouse’s books.MakeMyTrip gets more than half of its traffic through its mobile site, up from 21% a year ago. Hotel bookings through the MakeMyTrip mobile app rose 1,021.9% year-over- year in the fourth quarter and by 694.8% in FY16. The company is also looking at launching new features to boost engagement.
Agents & Brokers Investors Lenders & Servicers Processing Service Providers Unemployment 2011-08-05 Ryan Schuette Share Fresh on the heels of a 512-point nosedive by the “”Dow Jones Industrial Average””:http://www.google.com/finance?client=ob&q=INDEXDJX:DJI, the U.S. economy added 117,000 jobs over July, beating less ideal estimates and soothing markets anxious about a recession repeat. Construction, leasing, and financial sectors roped in a marginal number of new hires, reflecting still-slow growth in housing.[IMAGE] According to the “”Bureau of Labor Statistics””:http://www.bls.gov/news.release/empsit.t17.htm, which bases jobs reports on payroll information it collects, the number of unemployed people and the unemployment rate moved ever so slightly over July, as joblessness hovered at 13.9 million nationally and the latter continued at 9.1 percent. The total labor force stayed somewhat static at 153.2 million last month.””I think the tagline really is that it diminishes fears that the U.S. falls into the recession,”” says Paul Dales, a senior U.S. economist at “”Capital Economics””:http://www.capitaleconomics.com/. “”But the big news is that the labor market hasn’t recovered at all really. The outlook remains pretty weak.””Among major sectors of the workforce, the private sector brought on 154,000 over July, with the “”Labor Department””:http://www.dol.gov/ attributing much of the surge to a handful of industries that include health care, manufacturing, mining, and retail trade. Government workers saw the way out of employment, with some 22.085 jobs over June declining to 20,858 by July as wobbly state governments trimmed their budgets and vacated social services.[COLUMN_BREAK]The number of unemployed people dipped by 387,000 over July, even as 6.2 million, some 44.4 percent of the jobless, stayed unemployed over the long haul.Still reflecting a limping industry, gains in construction new hires nonetheless amplified last month’s National Association of Home Builders report on improving home builder confidence. The construction industry as a whole added 5,814 jobs, up from 5,734 in June, with 3,639.4 specialty trade contractors going home with paychecks over 3,582 from the past month. Heavy and civil engineering picked up jobs to the tune of 908.9 over July, up from 898.8 from June.The financial sector also stayed flat, with real estate, rental, and leasing services revealing only marginal gains in new hires. Some 1,973 hires in real estate crept forward to about 1,983, with new faces in rental and leasing services dropping by 0.6 percent and 1.3 percent, respectively.””Construction has been relatively flat over the past 12 months,”” says Catherine Wood, a current employment statistics economist at the Bureau of Labor Statistics. “”Finance has also been relatively flat all year. Over the past 12 months they lost 15,000 jobs and that’s not statistically significant.””Real estate rental leasing was all flat or all slightly downward and has been fairly flat over the past year,”” she says.Dales underscores the supply-and-demand dynamics at play.””There is simply no need for new homes to be built,”” Dales says. “”The fact is that household formations are low, the current excess supply of unsold homes is high, and there are plenty of foreclosed homes that need to be resolved first before new ones can be built. That’s impacting employment in the construction sector and anything related to housing.””His bottom line: “”Anything in housing will continue to remain sluggish for the next two years.”” in Data, Government, Origination, Servicing Housing Sectors Add Few New Hires in July August 5, 2011 457 Views
Alliant Credit Union Selects New Lending Technology June 27, 2012 498 Views Share “”LenderLive Network Inc.””:www.lenderlive.com/ is welcoming a new client for its loan fulfillment program. The company recently announced that Illinois-based “”Alliant Credit Union””:www.alliantcreditunion.org/ has selected LenderLive’s end-to-end mortgage servicing platform, eOriginator.[IMAGE]In choosing LenderLive, Alliant will enable the credit union’s loan officers and correspondent lenders to directly upload loan applications, for automatic submission to the technology company’s underwriting review process. [COLUMN_BREAK]In an official statement, LenderLive noted that Alliant will now be “”able to focus on growing their mortgage business without having to assign internal resources to process fulfillment and provide regulatory updates.””Alliant’s mortgage production manager, John Sweitzer, said of the credit union’s decision, “”Partnering with LenderLive was an easy decision to make. The company has the sophisticated technology we needed, as well as established key relationships with many of our business partners which is paramount to our success. “”When considering a company to do business with, we knew what we did not want based on previous experience. LenderLive has the key ingredients that made the company a natural fit for us,”” he added.Echoing Sweitzer’s positive commentary, LenderLive’s CEO, Rick Seehausen, stated, “”Community-based lending is vital to the financial industry’s future, and credit unions continue to emerge as valuable mortgage market players. LenderLive is uniquely qualified to work with credit unions, such as Alliant, because we understand and compliment the relationships they have with their members, and we also have deep mortgage process expertise as evidenced by our tenure in the industry.”” Agents & Brokers Attorneys & Title Companies Company News Credit Unions Investors Lenders & Servicers Processing Service Providers 2012-06-27 Abby Gregory in Data, Government, Origination, Secondary Market, Servicing, Technology
Share in Daily Dose, Government, Headlines, News Analyst Reviews Housing’s Progress Under Obama Auction.com Barack Obama FHA HAMP 2015-01-12 Tory Barringer One of the main points in President Barack Obama’s speech about housing in Phoenix on Thursday was how far the housing industry has come since the bust of 2008 and particularly since he took office in January 2009.The president reported in his speech that the housing market has not come all the way back yet and there is still work to be done. But according to one analyst, the president may have overestimated how far the housing market has come back and the administration’s role in the recovery.”We have come back off the bottom of one of the worst housing busts in the country’s history,” said Rick Sharga, EVP at Auction.com, the largest online real estate market in the United States. “But we’re still closer to the bottom than we are to the peak of the market during the housing boom. Prices have recovered, but are back to 2004 levels, meaning that we’ve still essentially lost a decade of equity. So there’s still quite a bit of room for expansion, and most people (myself included) are predicting that 2015 will be flat compared to 2014, and that 2016 may not be much better. So the market has gotten better, but it’s hardly robust.”Sharga said that the progress the housing market has made so far was mainly brought about by several factors.”And it’s important to note that this ‘recovery’ was facilitated by unprecedented action by the Federal Reserve; several years of historically low interest rates; and government-backed lending that accounts for about 96 percent of all loans being issued,” he said. “In a lot of ways, housing is still on life support; in stable, rather than critical condition, but hardly ready to fend for itself.”The president was in Phoenix to officially announce the lowering of Federal Housing Administration (FHA) mortgage insurance premium rates by 50 basis points down to 0.85 percent in order to allow more first-time homebuyers to enter the market. The lowering of MIPs by the FHA has been widely praised by government officials and housing executives alike. While Sharga said he believes that lowering the insurance premiums will result in only a “miniscule” risk to taxpayers due to the profitability of FHA, he said the impact that the recent lowering of the premiums will have on home sales will be minimal if the administration’s estimates come to pass.”The administration estimates that 250,000 people may be able to buy a home due to the reduction over the next three years,” he said. “If they’re correct—and frankly, this administration has always overestimated the impact of its mortgage and housing-related policies—those extra homebuyers will add approximately 1.6 percent more home sales than what’s already being projected. More likely, we’ll see the FHA’s share of loan volume go up a little bit, as their offerings will now be competitive versus conventional loans, especially for sub-729 FICO score borrowers.”During his speech on Thursday, the president encouraged the audience not to buy things they could not afford, saying the new lower FHA insurance premium rates are for “responsible borrowers.””Overall, I thought the President made some good points [Thursday]. I was pleasantly surprised to hear him urge people to not buy a home that they couldn’t afford,” Sharga said. “Most of the rhetoric coming out of Washington over the past few years—and from this administration in particular—have painted borrowers as helpless victims and lenders as evil predators. It was refreshing to hear a clear message encouraging people to take personal responsibility for their personal finances.”Sharga was skeptical that the Obama Administration’s Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP) has had the effect on housing recovery that the administration is touting, however.”HAMP was intended to save 4 to 5 million borrowers from foreclosure,” Sharga said. “The last time I checked, there were about 750,000 modified loans in the HAMP program, and there are lingering concerns that many of them may re-default when their rates begin to reset this year. I believe that the HAMP program did have a role in pushing servicers toward better-designed loan modification programs, but to give HAMP credit for all the proprietary loan modifications made by servicers and lenders seems somewhat disingenuous, or at least too optimistic.”While the Obama Administration created the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) as part of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform Act, the impact of the Bureau on lenders and housing as a whole may not be all positive, Sharga said.”And the CFPB, with its QM and ATR rules, along with some of the regulatory uncertainty the administration has fostered with its record financial penalties to lenders, has essentially caused lending to all but the most qualified borrowers to seize up,” he said. “This might be one way to define ‘stability,’ but it’s not doing much for the housing market, or for the broader economy.” January 12, 2015 471 Views
February 2, 2015 471 Views Construction Spending Climbs 0.4% in December in Daily Dose, Data, Government, Headlines, News Construction spending advanced slightly from November to December, aided by increases in outlays for residential projects.The Commerce Department said Monday that construction spending rose 0.4 percent month-over-month throughout December to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $982.1 billion. November’s spending rate was revised slightly upward to a seasonally adjusted $978.6 billion, still reflecting a decline from the month prior.For the entire year, the Commerce Department estimates spending on construction came to a total of $961.4 billion, an increase of 5.6 percent over 2013.Residential construction spending in December turned in a mixed performance, rising 0.4 percent over the previous month to a rate of $355.0 billion but falling short of year-ago levels by 3.9 percent.In the private sector, spending on construction was estimated at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $698.6 billion, a 0.1 percent improvement above November’s revised estimate. Private residential construction gained 0.3 percent month-to-month to climb to an annualized rate of $348.4 billion.Spending was up all around for private residential projects, led by a 1.2 percent month-over-month increase in spending on single-family homes to a rate of $202.5 billion. Spending for new multifamily projects picked up 0.3 percent to a rate of $46.6 billion.In the public sector, residential outlays came to an annualized $5.5 billion in December, up 2.3 percent from November. Commerce Department Construction Spending 2015-02-02 Tory Barringer Share