17
August
2019

Garuda considers flying back to the NT

first_imgSource = e-Travel Blackboard: N.J The Indonesian airline is inspecting a possible commercial return to Darwin, with a team travelling to the Northern Territory to examine the local market.Suspending flights to the NT in April 2009, local Chief Minister Terry Mills said the NT government wants Garuda to return but was now facing the challenge of “persuading airline executives there is a sound business case to do so”.Expecting the Garuda team to arrive early next year, Mr Mills explained the group would be briefed on upcoming activity in the region including plans for proposed upgrades at Darwin Airport. According to the Chief Minister, an estimate 81,000 Australian resident movements left Darwin for Indonesia in 2011.last_img read more

17
August
2019

Hotelbeds continues to grow in Asia Pacific

first_imgAccording to Hotelbeds’ latest statistics, the Middle East and Asia Pacific region is consolidating its position as a top global tourist destination.Visitors are mainly travelling from the United Kingdom, South Korea, United Arab Emirates, China and Indonesia.At the same time, the top growing source markets for the region are China, Indonesia and the Philippines due to their size, scale and market opportunities.The signing of new agreements was a key driver of growth for Hotelbeds in the region, Hotelbeds has signed 225 new key partnerships and preferential partnership agreements (PPA) in 2014 with relevant hotel chains and independent hotels.Urban destinations in the region attract a higher number of visitors each year and this is shown in Hotelbeds’ figures towards the region’s most vibrant cities, which are consolidating as top global tourism and business hubs.Dubai, Singapore, Bangkok, Hong Kong and Kuala Lumpur were the most visited destinations within MEAPAC and the fastest-growing destinations were Taipei, Seoul and Tokyo.Hotelbeds managing director Carlos Muñoz said that Hotelbeds always strives to innovate their business.“MEAPAC is our largest geographical region, as well as one of our fastest-growing markets both in terms of source markets and destinations, our commitment to constant innovation will undoubtedly continue to be key drivers for further growth,” Mr Muñoz said.Source = ETB Travel News: Lewis Wisemanlast_img read more

17
August
2019

PARKROYAL hotels report full occupancy over long weekend

first_imgPARKROYAL Sydney Darling Harbour and PARKROYAL Parramatta have both recorded full occupancy over the October long weekend, for Saturday 3rd and Sunday 4th October, 2015.This is an increase of 13.1% on last years October average occupancy for PARKROYAL Sydney Darling Harbour and 10.3% for PARKROYAL Parramatta.Craig Bond, Area General Manager, Oceania, Pan Pacific Hotels Group says the NRL grand final definitely boosted numbers, “As soon as the Broncos and Cowboys made it into the grand final we instantly saw pick up in bookings at both PARKROYAL’s Sydney properties for the NSW long weekend.“The fact that the grand final was being held in Sydney and both teams were from Queensland meant that a lot of fans needed to travel from interstate to watch the game”.Leisure bookings led the way accounting for approximately 62.65%* at PARKROYAL Sydney Darling Harbour and 82.4%* at PARKROYAL Parramatta.The average time between booking and stay over the long weekend at PARKROYAL Darling Harbour was 15 days and at PARROYAL Parramatta it was seven, indicating that many stays were planed just 1-2 weeks in advance.Another influencing factor on the high occupancy rates is the falling Australian dollar, which is seeing many Australian’s choosing to holiday domestically.Approximately 85% of PARKROYAL Sydney, Darling Harbour bookings over the long weekend were from domestic travellers.This also makes Australia an attractive holiday destination for international travellers with PARKROYAL Sydney, Darling Harbour recording YOY increase in international travellers, with the main source markets being New Zealand, UK and USA.Strong occupancy is forecast for both hotels throughout October and November.*based occupancy for Saturday 3rd and Sunday 4th October, 2015. PARKROYAL Hotels & ResortsSource = Pan Pacific Hotels Grouplast_img read more

17
August
2019

Australia maintains top number of visitors to Fiji in 2015

first_imgHilton Fiji Beach Resort & SpaGenuine collaboration amongst tourism industry stakeholders and an enabling economic environment to invest in the growth and development of the Fijian tourism industry are the key reasons behind the record 754,835 visitor arrivals to Fiji in 2015.Tourism Fiji’s visitor arrivals target for 2015 was set at 714,000.Tourism Fiji executive chairman Mr Truman BradleyThese sentiments reverberated strongly from Tourism Fiji executive chairman Mr Truman Bradley following the release of the provisional 2015 visitor arrivals figures from the Fiji Bureau of Statistics (FBoS). This means that the current visitor arrival number is a nine per cent increase compared to the 2014 record.“2015 is a milestone year for the tourism industry in Fiji. The growth of the industry is unparalleled. We have well and truly surpassed all expectations and we should all be proud of it,” Mr Bradley says.“We were quite confident of achieving this target towards the latter half of 2015, and thus evaluated what was working for us and what we can improve on. Tourism Fiji is ardently supporting the industry to continue to raise the bar. We must also acknowledge the efforts of the Fijian government without whose support achieving this goal would have been impossible,” he adds.Mr Bradley emphasises that the hard work and dedication of all stakeholders involved, whether as an individual or an organisation, to attract more visitors to the country does not stop here.“Tourism Fiji will continue to strategically market and brand destination Fiji by working with industry partners to maintain this positive trend. The increase of existing routes seat capacity to our short haul markets and the inclusion of new routes by Fiji Airways such as Singapore and San Francisco provides us the much needed boost to contribute significantly to our 2016 visitor arrival targets,” he adds.The FBoS provisional visitor arrivals for December reached a record 65,951, an increase of 10.8 per cent compared to 2014, and increases were recorded from all of Tourism Fiji’s key source markets, with traditional markets Australia and New Zealand making 67.1 per cent of the total.Australia maintained its position at the top with 367,273 visitors, making 48.7 per cent of the total arrivals. New Zealand followed with 138,537, accounting for 18.4 per cent.The North American Market (United States and Canada) sits on third place with 79,540 visitors (10.6 per cent), Europe had 31,195 arrivals (4.1 per cent), United Kingdom had 16,716 (2.2 per cent), China had 40,174 (5.3 per cent), India had 3,352 (0.4 per cent), and South Korea had 6,700 (0.9 per cent).Others countries, including Japan, Rest of Asia, Pacific Islands, and Others made up 71,348 arrivals (9.4 per cent). Visit FijiSource = Tourism Fijilast_img read more

17
August
2019

London is the most talked about travel destination on Twitter

first_img Fans of LondonSource = London & Partners London is the most talked about travel destination on Twitter, according to new research from London & Partners, the Mayor of London’s official promotional company.The data, which has been released to coincide with the launch of a campaign celebrating ‘Fans’ of the city, was compiled by Spredfast for London & Partners and reveals the words ‘London’ and ‘travel’ were tweeted together more than 630,000 times in 2015, which is 200,000 more than the next most popular cities, Paris, New York, Rome and Tokyo.In fact, the word London on its own was tweeted more than 81 million times in 2015, which is more than Sydney, Tokyo and Rome combined.Some of the top words used in association with London include, ‘art’, ‘travel’ and ‘fashion.’The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson commented: “With our unbeatable cultural attractions, outstanding dining and top notch shopping, it’s no wonder that London is the most talked about travel destination on social media. Even better, this online chatter is translating into record breaking visitor numbers and our museums, galleries and other attractions continue to top the charts.“With another fantastic year of world-class events in store, we look forward to welcoming even more fans of London throughout the coming months and the years ahead.”Yesterday, VisitLondon.com, in partnership with the GREAT Britain Campaign, British Airways and Hilton, launched ‘Fans of London’, a new initiative to celebrate the blockbuster events, exhibitions and anniversaries taking place across the capital this year.Highlights include: the Queen’s 90th Birthday, the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s legacy, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, and the world’s first exhibition of the Rolling Stones.Fans of London launches with a series of four special “super-fan” films, the first of which follows the journey of Christine Meer, a dedicated American fan of the British Royal family who was hand-picked to visit the capital for the first time, for a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Christine was given VIP access to London’s Historic Royal Palaces, as well as a Royal makeover. Christine is a speech therapist for adults.Royal super fan Christine Meer from Columbus Ohio said: “I have been a huge fan of the British Monarchy ever since I can remember, and have always loved learning about their rich history, as well following the legacy of the younger Royals. To come to London for the very first time and experience the palaces as an insider was like a dream come true for me.”Chris Gottlieb, Chief Marketing Officer for London & Partners said: “Fans of London was born out of a desire to shine a spotlight on the unmissable events happening across the city this year, and each of these from The Queen to Harry Potter, has truly dedicated followers around the world.“Fans of London features something for all, from cutting edge exhibitions to Shakespearean performances. By promoting these events together we can attract new international audiences to experience and share the very best that London has to offer this year.”Additional research from Spredfast highlights that many of London’s top visitor attractions are also generating huge amounts of Twitter traffic. The Coca-Cola London Eye was the most tweeted about attraction in the capital (over the past 12 months) followed by the British Museum and the Natural History Museum in second and third place.Separate research has also shown that:London has been Googled more than any other capital city since 2004*London is the most ‘selfied’ city on Instagram**Social media has an increasing influence over holiday choices, and 89% of those recently surveyed had used social media at some stage of their holiday***Sara Dunham, British Airways’ Head of Marketing, Retail and Direct, said: “This campaign will showcase some special moments, as fans travel to one of the world’s greatest cities for a once-in-a-lifetime experience. At British Airways we love to make amazing things happen, and with dozens of daily flights connecting people between 21 US cities and London, we look forward to flying hundreds of fans to follow in their footsteps.”last_img read more

17
August
2019

MTS Globe joins forces with GTA

first_imgMTS Globe joins forces with GTAGTA has signed an agreement with MTS Globe to acquire its hotel distribution, destination management services and IT businesses. The deal represents a key strategic decision for both companies whose complementary portfolios will enable growth and an improved market offering in sun and beach, city and long-haul destinations. Under the agreement, MTS Globe´s partner network and management team will remain unchanged and continue to trade under its MTS Globe, OTS Globe and Axis Data brands.MTS Globe has long held a strong presence in sun and beach destinations and is the preferred partner for many European tour operators. Its successful and unique business model offers 12,000 hotels and customised destination services. In 2015, MTS Globe generated Gross Sales of EUR 500 million. GTA has traditionally focused on city and long haul destinations, establishing itself as one of the leading distributors of accommodation and destination services worldwide. In recent years it has been successful in growing a solid base in beach destinations.“With this transaction GTA takes an important step towards fulfilling its vision to be the world’s easiest travel distribution partner to do business with. MTS Globe’s large portfolio in the Mediterranean beach destinations ideally complements GTA’s global accommodation and destination services offering. GTA will become a one stop shop for city and beach products worldwide and the increased portfolio will mean our customers can offer greater choice to travellers,” said Ivan Walter, CEO of GTA.Rembert Euling, CEO of MTS Globe said: “Under the new ownership, MTS Globe’s clients and suppliers will benefit from a clearer focus and distinction between our Destination Management Services and Hotel Trading business. GTA´s global distribution network and investment will enhance growth opportunities for all business partners. The management team at MTS Globe, OTS Globe and Axis Data will remain the same and continue to drive value to our customers, while I will stay fully committed in supporting the further development of the new entity.”Together, the partners will leverage their competencies to continually expand their beach offering worldwide. With the combination of the two companies’ distribution networks, MTS Globe’s suppliers will gain access to new markets.The two parties have agreed to not disclose the purchase price or contract details. The transaction is subject to the approval by the relevant competition authorities.GTA is an industry pioneer and a highly experienced, leading global distributor that provides travel companies with easy access to hotel accommodation and destination services. It sells approximately 40,000 room nights per day online. More than 40% of its turnover is sourced from fast-growing markets in Asia, the Middle East and Africa.MTS Globe is Europe´s largest independent incoming agency operating in 15 countries. Recently it has moved into long haul destinations, opening destination management services in the Caribbean and UAE. MTS Globe supports European tour operators with customised, high-quality destination services. Together with OTS Globe, the firm´s hotel trading division, MTS Globe has established a strong market position in sun and beach destinations and, through Axis Data, provides leading technology solutions to partners in more than 60 destinations.Source = GTA – MTS Globelast_img read more

17
August
2019

Taveuni Palms Resort Fiji wins two awards

first_imgTaveuni Palms Resort Fiji wins two awardsTaveuni Palms Resort Fiji wins two awardsTaveuni Palms Resort Fiji has won ‘Best Family Resort in Oceania’ and ‘Best Honeymoon Hideaway Resort in Fiji’, at the prestigious 2017 Haute Grandeur Global Hotel Awards held last night at the Sofitel Bangkok Sukhumvit in Bangkok, Thailand.The Haute Grandeur Excellence Awards were established in 2014 as an independent and unbiased initiative to honour the very highest achievements from across the global hotel industry.  This prestigious awards system assures unbiased results are guaranteed by placing emphasis on quality feedback from guests, rather than the quantity of votes by a panel of judges or general public.According to Colleen O’Neill, Owner of Taveuni Palms Resort, Fiji, “We are honoured to be recognised and to win not just one but two awards at the Haute Grandeur Excellence Awards.”“These awards believe their winners provide the much-needed inspiration that other hotels look for and are constantly raising the bar of excellence. To exceed our guest’s expectations is something our team aims to achieve every day. Whether it be for a family on vacation or a couple on a romantic holiday, we aim to provide an opulent, unforgettable and first-class experience.”“It is truly humbling that our efforts have not gone unnoticed and have been rewarded on a worldwide level.” Continues Mrs. O’Neill.Since opening in 2005, Taveuni Palms Resort has become one of the most sought-after resorts for total exclusivity, winning accolades around the world.In recently years Taveuni Palms has won the “Signum Virtutis”, the Seal of Excellence 2017 and “Best Resort and Hotel in Fiji 2016” at the Seven Stars Luxury Hospitality and Lifestyle Awards; won ‘Best Private Luxury Hotel of the Year – Fiji’ at the 2017 Luxury Travel Guide Asia & Australasia Awards and at the World Travel Awards won ‘Australasia’s Leading Boutique Island Resort 2017’,  ‘Australasia’s Leading Luxury Boutique Island Resort 2016’ and ‘World’s Leading Luxury Boutique Island Resort 2015.’ In 2016 they were also awarded the ‘Best Luxury Private Pool Villa’ at the World Luxury Hotel Awards.The five stars Taveuni Palms Resort, situated on Taveuni Island, Fiji is the ultimate in boutique luxury boasting two opulent villas, the Beach Villa and Horizon Spa Villa.Villas are set amongst swaying coconut palms, with their own pool and private acre of absolute beachfront, personal staff of seven and two bedrooms and two bathrooms. The Horizon Spa Villa also features a luxury Spa Pool and an additional one bedroom and bathroom in a separate air-conditioned bure.Dining at the resort is an experience to remember with each villa featuring five special private dining locations and a personal chef who designs breakfast, lunch and a four-course dinner based on guests likes and dislikes.At Taveuni Palms there is always something magical to experience. From hiking to waterfalls, coastal walks, horseback riding, pearl farm tours and snorkelling to island beach picnic’s, dolphin watching, paddle boarding, kayaking, diving trips or taking part in a traditional Fijian cultural ceremony.From the privacy of each magnificent villa, Taveuni Palms offers a variety of relaxing spa treatments, using only the finest “Pure Fiji” products and designed to rejuvenate the mind, body and soul.Prices start from USD$1500 per day for two people per villa, excluding tax, and includes champagne upon arrival, all meals and non-alcoholic beverages (breakfast, lunch and a 4 course dinner), all day complimentary room service, a personal staff of seven, resort activities including kayaks, paddle boards, snorkelling gear, bikes, and cooking lessons with your personal chef, Fijian LOVO feast at the local village, Grand Fijian welcome with “salu-salu’s” and “bula-drinks” upon arrival, 1 hour after flight recovery massage upon arrival, roundtrip transfers from Matei airport to Taveuni Palms and unlimited wireless internet usage.For further information visit: www.taveunipalms.com/ Source = Taveuni Palms Resort Fijilast_img read more

17
August
2019

Conserving Baby Turtles at The RitzCarlton Bali

first_imgConserving Baby Turtles at The Ritz-Carlton, BaliConserving Baby Turtles at The Ritz-Carlton, BaliImagine watching a baby turtle as it crawls and slides over the sand until it reaches the ocean and with a splash of its tiny flippers begins life in the ocean. Witnessing a creature in that magical moment when it finds freedom is a joyful experience and guests at The Ritz-Carlton, Bali are invited to participate in our ongoing turtle conservation program.Turtle Release events are particularly popular with the resort’s younger guests and a buzz of excitement infuses Ritz Kids Club during hatch season, with turtle themed decorations and the opportunity to learn about the importance of protecting sea turtles and the environment. Helping to save a life by being an active participant in the turtle release is a memory they will never forget.Each year, nesting sea turtles flock to the pristine white sand beach of The Ritz-Carlton, Bali to lay their eggs. The hatchling turtles face many predators, and the resort is dedicated to protecting these incredible creatures that are critically endangered. Working in conjunction with the Bali Sea Turtle Society, the Ladies and Gentlemen of the resort watch out for the arrival of sea turtles on the shore. Once the eggs are laid a fence is erected around the nest, and when the baby hatchlings emerge they are transferred to a safe “temporary home” where they are guarded from predators around the clock. When they are deemed strong enough, they are then released to the nourishing waters of the Indian Ocean. Guests of all ages are invited to participate in this inspiring and heartening experience. Children are given unique ‘front row’ privileges as they race to the ocean alongside the turtles, witnessing first-hand the wonder of nature and the positive results of conservation projects.“The Ritz-Carlton, Bali is dedicated to protecting the natural environment for generations to come and guests are welcomed to join us in conservation efforts. The turtle release is one of our most loved activities, giving guests a unique and wonderful opportunity to experience that incredible moment when baby turtles swim to their new habitat,” says General Manager, Karim Tayach.The conservation program is run in tandem with the Ritz-Carlton Community Footprints program, a brand-wide social and environmental responsibility strategy. Sea turtle hatching season in Bali is from March to September each year and guests are invited to participate whenever there is an active hatch, a memory that will last a lifetime. About The Ritz-Carlton, BaliLocated on a stunning beachfront combining with a dramatic clifftop setting, The Ritz-Carlton, Bali is a luxurious resort offering an elegant tropical ambience. Featuring tranquil views over the azure waters of the Indian Ocean the resort has 279 spacious suites and 34 expansive villas, providing the sheerest of contemporary Balinese luxury. Along the foreshore are The Ritz-Carlton Club®, six stylish dining venues, an indulgent and exotic marine-inspired Spa, and fun, recreational activities for children of all ages at Ritz Kids.  A glamorous beachfront wedding chapel, makes an idyllic setting for destination weddings, while a range of outdoor event venue and extravagant spaces provide the perfect scene for celebratory events and wedding reception in Bali. Well-appointed conference venues, luxurious meeting spaces, customizable residential packages and experienced organizers also entice those looking to create inspired MICE Tourism events in Bali. Whether work, pleasure or romance is on the agenda, The Ritz-Carlton, Bali is the place to make memories that last a lifetime. Follow us on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Youtube, LinkedIn.last_img read more

17
August
2019

Globus family of brands joins Chimu Adventures

first_imgGlobus family of brands joins Chimu AdventuresGlobus family of brands joins Chimu Adventures to support farmers through RuralAidGlobus family of brands has today announced that they will join Chimu Adventures to support Australian farmers by donating a bale of hay via Rural Aid for every booking made throughout August.Following the announcement of their ‘A Bale A Booking’ initiative last week, Chimu Adventures called on other tourism operators to join them and do the same.Globus family of brands’ marketing manager Chris Fundell said it was an easy decision to support the cause and he hopes that the rest of the industry will follow suit as the severity of the Australian drought takes hold.“Australian farmers and rural communities are doing it tough in one of the longest droughts the country has seen. Globus family of brands is proud to show our support and chip in to help Australian farmers feed their livestock,” Mr Fundell said.All bookings under the Globus family of brands’ – Globus, Cosmos, Avalon Waterways and Monograms -will be included in the Buy a Bale initiative.Rural Aid’s Buy a Bale program supports farmers and rural communities throughout Australia by providing essential support in the form of hay deliveries and other essential items to farmers who are otherwise unable to feed their livestock.For more information: www.globus.com.au/deals/au/bale-a-bookinglast_img read more

16
August
2019

BeMyGuest launches B2B platform online

first_imgA new B2B platform for travel agents has been launched by BeMyGuest, its latest among a series of initiatives taken to expand its distribution reach.The Asian online travel company’s new Agents Marketplace features a booking engine through which agents can access industry rates for BeMyGuest’s global inventory of more than 10,000 tours and activities.“We have created Agents Marketplace as a result of numerous requests from our current tours and activities providers who want to sell to other providers already working with us,” said Clement Wong, CEO of BeMyGuest.The accessibility to net rates at Agents Marketplace will be one of the key benefits, enabling agents to collect gross payments from clients, allowing for immediate commissions. Once a booking is made, the system sends e-vouchers to the agent.The platform is currently available in English and Mandarin, with more Asian languages expected to be rolled out in 2016.last_img read more

16
August
2019

Morocco to bring about cultural tourism development in the Medina of Fez

first_imgThe Morocco Minister of tourism, the Wali of the Fez-Meknes region, the President of the Fez-Meknes region, and the Mayor of Fez chaired a meeting to focus on local tourism development programme integrated with culture and the inclusion of handicraft sales, with special attention to the Medina of the city of Fez.Listed as a world heritage site, the Medina of Fez boasts of a unique architectural heritage, combined with an ancient social etiquette. Therefore, as part of the tourism, handicrafts, housing, and culture sectoral strategies, several measures have been taken with a view to developing Fez’s tourism and cultural assets, particularly by establishing thematic tours, restoring monuments, and improving the urban environment.The cultural tourism development programme follows the lines established by the Government as regards regionalisation, decentralisation, and developing local expertise. It aims mainly at strengthening the attractiveness of Medina’s tourism potential with regard to Improving tourist facilities (tourist information kiosks, etc); Heritage interpretation (markers, ICT, scenography); Developing architectural heritage (night lighting, models, etc); and Cultural events equipment (exhibitions, etc).The Agency will also provide technical assistance to better implement projects and will oversee the programme’s various design and implementation stages.The programme aims at developing 31 Medinas between 2016 and 2025, and that the commitments of the different stakeholders were materialised by the signature of the framework partnership agreement between the Ministry of Interior, the Ministry of Housing and Urban Policy, the Ministry of Handicrafts and Social and Solidarity Economy, the Ministry of Culture, the Ministry of Tourism, and the Moroccan Agency for Tourism Development in December 2015.last_img read more

16
August
2019

2016 promises to be a strong growth year for tourism in South

first_imgDerek Hanekom, South African Minister of Tourism said that the country’s tourism sector expects strong growth in 2016 after some strict new visa rules that reduced the number of arrivals in the previous year were lifted.South Africa last year relaxed some of the visa rules it introduced in October 2014, dropping a requirement for visitors to apply for visas in person at South African embassies, following a backlash from tour operators and tourists.“In January, over one million tourists arrived in South Africa, 15% more than in January last year. February brought an incredible 18% increase,” said Hanekom, adding that while the Chinese market was showing signs of recovery, obtaining visas in India still took too long.South Africa’s tourism sector is considered as one of the main drivers of employment and economic growth in Africa’s most industrialised economy. According to the National Treasury, tourism’s direct contribution to GDP was 103.6 billion rand ($7.15 billion) in 2013, about 2.9% of GDP, while directly employing 655,609 people or 4.4% of total employment.“Tourism is recovering rapidly from last year’s decline. 2016 promises to be a year of strong growth for tourism in South Africa,” Hanekom said.last_img read more

16
August
2019

Bangladeshs SMART approach for forest conservation to boost tourism in the country

first_imgThe Government of Bangladesh has expanded the scope of its current protection efforts through its Forest Department at the world’s largest mangrove forest- the Sundarbans.Central to this effort will be the adoption of SMART (Spatial Monitoring and Reporting Tool) patrol management. Patrolling data from SMART will strengthen the ability of conservation programs to combat wildlife poaching and other illegal activities. SMART empowers managers to plan a strategic response to forest crime and protected area enforcement.The World Bank is providing support for implementation of patrolling efforts under the Strengthening Regional Cooperation for Wildlife Protection (SRCWP) Project.Dr Zahangir Alom, Sundarbans Project Manager for WCS (Wildlife Conservation Society)— Bangladesh, who is jointly leading the training exercises said, “The SMART approach will allow managers to quickly understand where patrol efforts are being made, and where gaps exist that require additional attention from the frontline staff. It is also a means by which patrol teams can demonstrate their efforts and results by meeting patrol targets set within the SMART system.”“SMART patrolling is particularly well suited for implementation in the Wildlife Sanctuaries for Freshwater Dolphins in the Eastern Sundarbans due to the greater human impact from tourism and fisheries in this area,” said DFO Wildlife, Jahidul Kabir.The SMART Partnership includes WCS, CITES-Monitoring Illegal Killing of Elephants (MIKE), Frankfurt Zoological Society, North Carolina Zoological Park, Panthera, Peace Parks Foundation, World Wildlife Fund, and Zoological Society of London. The tool was launched in March 2013 and has been implemented at 140 sites across 30 countries worldwide. Bangladesh is one of the first countries to pilot SMART in a World Heritage Arealast_img read more

15
August
2019

HomeStreet Bank Expands Hometown Home Loan Program

first_img June 21, 2012 477 Views HomeStreet Bank Expands ‘Hometown Home Loan Program’ in Data, Government, Origination, Secondary Market, Servicing, Technology “”HomeStreet Bank””:https://www.homestreet.com/index.aspx is expanding its employer-assisted benefit options to a new region of Washington state. The community bank has announced the extension of its “”Hometown Home Loan Program””:https://www.homestreet.com/programs/index.aspx to the Spokane area.[IMAGE]Established in 1994, the Hometown Home Loan Program offers participating companies the chance to make the dream of homeownership more accessible for their workers. [COLUMN_BREAK]The program gives potential homebuyers free education, significant savings on purchases and refinancing, and access to downpayment assistance.According to a statement from HomeStreet Bank, which operates as a subsidiary of HomeStreet Inc., nearly 10,000 individuals and families have used the employer-provided assistance to buy homes. The bank also estimates that those using the program have collectively saved more than $12 million in closing costs and fees.””The Hometown Home Loan Program was originally developed to help employees qualify for home loans in neighborhoods closer to their work, with the goal of reducing traffic and retaining valuable employees,”” said Andy Slipper, Spokane-area relationship manager for HomeStreet Bank’s Affinity Lending program.””Homeownership is important to the health of our city. Through employer-assisted housing, we can help make homeownership more affordable for working people, as well as provide educational resources to help them prepare for homeownership,”” added Slipper.center_img Agents & Brokers Attorneys & Title Companies Company News Investors Lenders & Servicers Processing Service Providers 2012-06-21 Abby Gregory Sharelast_img read more

15
August
2019

New York AG Threatens Action for Alleged Settlement Violations

first_imgNew York AG Threatens Action for Alleged Settlement Violations Share “”New York Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman””:http://www.ag.ny.gov/ revealed plans Monday to take legal action against Bank of America and Wells Fargo for allegedly violating terms under the national mortgage settlement “”reached””:http://www.dsnews.com/articles/robo-signing-settlement-finalized-2012-02-09 in February 2012. [IMAGE]Schneiderman’s office is accusing the banks of 339 servicing violations since October 2012 related to the timeline for processing mortgage modifications. More specifically, the office named four servicing standards mandated under the settlement that the banks allegedly violated, one of which requires the servicer to make a loan modification decision within 30 days of receiving a complete mod application. Another requirement allows the borrowers 30 days to submit missing documents or correct issues found in the loan modification application. Borrowers must also receive written acknowledgement regarding receipt of a loan modification application within three business days, and servicers must notify borrowers of all missing documents in the submitted mod application within five business days of receipt. Last year, federal and state officials negotiated a landmark $25 billion mortgage settlement with the two banks and three other large servicers–JPMorgan Chase, Citigroup, and Ally Financial. “”The five mortgage servicers that signed the National Mortgage Settlement are legally required to take specific, rigorous, and enforceable steps to protect homeowners,”” Schneiderman said in a release. “”Wells Fargo and Bank of America have flagrantly violated those obligations, putting hundreds of homeowners across New York at greater risk of foreclosure. I intend to use every tool available to my office to hold these companies accountable under the terms of the National Mortgage Settlement.””The AG’s office also revealed Schneiderman sent a “”letter””:http://www.ag.ny.gov/pdfs/Letter%20to%20Monitoring%20Committee%20NYS%20AG%205%206%2013.pdf last week to the settlement monitor Joseph Smith and to each member of the Monitoring Committee, notifying them of his intention to sue the banks if the committee does not act. According to a release from the office, Schneiderman plans to ask the court to impose injunctive relief and to require strict compliance under the mortgage settlement.Bank of America issued a statement in response to Schneiderman’s intent to sue. “”Through March we have provided relief for more than 10,000 New York homeowners through the National Mortgage Settlement, totaling more than $1 billion. Attorney General Schneiderman has referenced 129 customer servicing problems which we take seriously and will work quickly to address. This agreement has been good for New York, and we continue using these beneficial programs to assist troubled homeowners in New York and nationally,”” a BofA spokesperson stated in an email. A Wells Fargo spokesperson said the bank did not have a comment at the time of publication. May 6, 2013 412 Views center_img Agents & Brokers Attorneys & Title Companies Bank of America Compliance Investors Justice Department Lenders & Servicers Service Providers Wells Fargo 2013-05-06 Esther Cho in Servicinglast_img read more

15
August
2019

E Michael Rosser Honored with Lifetime Achievement Award

first_img Share in Data, Government, Origination, Secondary Market, Servicing E. Michael Rosser Honored with Lifetime Achievement Award MBA Education, an educational initiative launched by the “”Mortgage Bankers Association””:http://mba.org/default.htm (MBA), presented E. Michael Rosser, CMB, with its inaugural MBA Education Lifetime Achievement Award.[IMAGE]Rosser has had a long and storied career, having attended his first industry event with his parents in 1948 and working most recently as national account VP with United Guaranty until his retirement in 2011. Throughout his career, he has served MBA as the former chair of its political action committee and as the head of the Colorado Mortgage Lenders Association, among other roles.Among his many achievements is his accreditation as a Master Certified Mortgage Banker, the highest professional honor within the real estate finance industry.Rosser was presented with the award in a ceremony held at MBA’s “”100th Annual Convention & Expo””:http://events.mortgagebankers.org/100th_Annual/default.html. The association will also continue to honor Rosser by naming the award itself after him.””Mike has received more awards and recognitions than even he can probably remember. I could not be more pleased to add one more to his mantle, the first ever ├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├ï┼ôE. Michael Rosser MBA Education Lifetime Achievement Award,'”” said MBA chairman E.J. Burke. “”I believe it will carry with it the same excellent reputation and pedigree as its namesake long into the future.””center_img Agents & Brokers Attorneys & Title Companies Investors Lenders & Servicers Mortgage Bankers Association Movers & Shakers Processing Service Providers 2013-10-30 Tory Barringer October 30, 2013 467 Views last_img read more

15
August
2019

February Data Indicates Continued Gains in New Home Sales

first_img March 13, 2014 507 Views Homebuilders Mortgage Bankers Association New Home Sales 2014-03-13 Tory Barringer Builder application data from February suggests another increase in new home sales, the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) reported Thursday.According to MBA’s Builder Applications Survey (BAS), which tracks application volume from mortgage subsidiaries of homebuilders, applications for new home purchases increased 12 percent in February, pointing to a seasonally adjusted annual sales rate of 533,000 (up 1 percent from January).On an unadjusted basis, the association estimates there were 43,000 new home sales in February, up 13 percent from the prior month.While MBA overshot the mark with its initial January estimate of 543,000 new home sales, its prediction of a spike was correct: The Census Bureau estimates sales in January ran at a seasonally adjusted rate of 468,000, a monthly increase of 9.6 percent.By product type, MBA reports conventional loans made up 65.1 percent of February applications. Loans backed by the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) composed 16.5 percent; loans backed by the Department of Veterans Affairs accounted for 13 percent; and rural loans composed 5.3 percent.The average loan size of new homes was up, meanwhile, rising more than $5,000 to $295,008. in Daily Dose, Headlines, News, Originationcenter_img Share February Data Indicates Continued Gains in New Home Saleslast_img read more

15
August
2019

Despite Financial Security More Americans Cutting Spending

first_imgDespite Financial Security, More Americans Cutting Spending Share in Daily Dose, Data, Headlines, News October 14, 2014 441 Views center_img Stagnant income growth and uncertainties about the economy’s future have spurred more Americans to putting a tight lid on their monthly spending, according to a new poll.In survey findings released Tuesday, Bankrate.com reported that two-thirds of American consumers are now limiting how much they spend each month. Of those who have had to draw their purse strings tighter, 32 percent cited stagnant income as the main reason, while 29 percent said they need to save more. Sixteen percent cited worries about the economy in general.”Sustainable growth in household income is the missing ingredient from this economic recovery and the leading culprit for why consumers are holding back on monthly spending,” said Greg McBride, CFA, Bankrate’s chief financial analyst. “Worries about the economy have dissipated somewhat over the past year while consumers’ desire to forego additional spending in order to save more has increased.”Americans between the ages of 30 and 49 are the most likely right now to limit their monthly spending, according to Bankrate. The company notes Americans in that age range are in their prime years for buying a house or a car or starting a family.What’s more, millennials—whose population makes up the majority of first-time homebuyers—were the most likely to cite the need to save more money as their primary reason for spending less.Bankrate also reported Tuesday the results of its Financial Security Index, which increased for a second month in October to 101, its highest reading since June. Readings above 100 indicate improved financial security compared to the year prior.Survey respondents indicated improvement in four of the five index components over the past year, with their job security, net worth, comfort level with debt, and overall financial situation all coming up.The only indicator to see a decline was consumers’ comfort level with their savings, with one-third now saying they’re not happy with how much they have saved. Bankrate Confidence Consumer spending Jobs 2014-10-14 Tory Barringerlast_img read more

15
August
2019

Is Getting a Mortgage Loan Becoming Easier

first_imgIs Getting a Mortgage Loan Becoming Easier? Credit Standards Federal Reserve loan officer Mortgage Loan 2016-02-02 Staff Writer Share February 2, 2016 777 Views center_img Perhaps the most important aspect of obtaining a mortgage loan is the borrower’s credit score, but credit standards among mortgage lenders tend to change with overall economic conditions.The Federal Reserve’s January 2016 Senior Loan Officer Opinion Survey on Bank Lending Practices shows that credit standards may be easing among lenders, but will this change be in the best interest of the industry?According to the Fed survey, credit standards have eased moderately on some categories of residential mortgage loans, while demand for these loans weakened. During the fourth quarter of 2015, 11 of the 63 banks surveyed noted that credit standards on GSE-eligible loans had eased somewhat, while two banks said lending was tight somewhat. Government residential mortgages eased somewhat for four of the 59 banks questioned and tightened for four banks.”During the fourth quarter, a moderate net fraction of banks reported having eased while a modest net fraction of banks reported having eased standards on QM jumbo and non-QM jumbo residential mortgage loans,” the Fed stated. “Meanwhile, banks left lending standards basically unchanged for all other categories of residential real estate loans on net.”In terms of mortgage demand, a moderate net fraction of banks reported weaker demand across most categories of home-purchase loans.The banks were also questioned about their expectations for lending practices and conditions for the rest of 2016, assuming that economic activity progresses in line with consensus forecasts.”Modest net fractions of domestic respondents expect to ease their standards for GSE-eligible and nonconforming jumbo residential mortgage loans,” the Fed said. “A majority expect interest rates to rise, and a moderate net fraction expects spreads over their cost of funds to increase. A small net fraction of respondents expects the volume of originations of GSE-eligible mortgage loans to decrease, while respondents expect the volume of originations of nonconforming jumbo residential mortgage loans to remain basically unchanged on net.”Click here to view the Fed survey. in Daily Dose, Data, Featured, Government, News, Originationlast_img read more

15
August
2019

10 Hottest Housing Markets of 2018

first_img January 9, 2018 663 Views Share Forecast homes hot Housing Market North Carolina Raleigh salaries San Jose Zillow 2018-01-09 Staff Writer 10 Hottest Housing Markets of 2018center_img The U.S. housing market is getting hotter in 2018 with 52.6 percent of all homes across the country worth as much or more than they were at the peak of the national housing boom in April 2007, according to a survey on the 10 hottest housing markets of the US released by Zillow on Tuesday.The survey says that U.S. housing markets with healthy income growth, abundant job opportunities and above-average housing appreciation are likely to get hotter in 2018. These include technology hubs like the silicon valley markets of San Jose and San Francisco and markets in the Southeastern part of the U.S such as Raleigh and Charlotte in North Carolina and Nashville, Tennessee.With a median household income of $110,000 and a Zillow Home Value Forecast of 8.9 percent, San Jose tops Zillow’s list as the hottest housing market in the U.S. The survey said that home values in this Silicon Valley hub gained 17.4 percent over the past year, showing the fastest growth among the 50 largest metro areas as high-paying tech jobs continued to keep pace with climbing housing costs.The survey also ranked two North Carolina markets – Raleigh and Charlotte, second and fourth respectively. With a median household income of $71,7685 in Raleigh and $59,979 in Charlotte, both these areas according to the survey, show strong income and population growth. Raleigh is growing as the Research Triangle and is getting known for innovations outside its life science base, while Charlotte is building on its reputation as a financial center where the Bank of America is headquartered.Tech hubs Seattle ranked third and San Francisco ranked fifth rounded out the top five. The top 10 list also included Nashville, Denver and Austin – which have the lowest unemployment rates among large metros, even as Austin’s population grows faster than other major metros (at 2.8 percent between 2015 and 2016), the survey indicated.The survey also reported on housing markets that would continue to face challenges in 2018. They include former industrial giants such as Cleveland, Buffalo, and Milwaukee. The survey indicated that the population of these three metros was falling, and unemployment in Cleveland was well above the historically low national rate of 4.1 percent at 6.2 percent.To read the complete survey click here. in Daily Dose, Data, Featured, Newslast_img read more