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Beware holiday hustlers

first_imgAustralian travellers warned of confidence tricksters traits. Image: Travel Guides 101 Australian travellers should be wary of scams, tricksters and cons when venturing overseas this summer.Cheap Flights travel expert Ben Rosier warns scammers will often abuse the kind and trusting nature of Australian travellers.“In a foreign country people let their guard down, relax, and often behave in a way they never would back home – leaving them open to highly-organised tourist scams,” Mr Rosier said.SureSave executive director Michael McAuliffe said travellers may not realise they’ve been had until it is too late and often are too embarrassed to report the incident.“All it takes is a momentary lapse of judgement to fall prey to scammers, and yet you might regret it for a very long time,” Mr McAullife said.Australians are told to learn from past travellers’ mistakes and, if in doubt, call the police.Common cons include counterfeit cops, un-genuine gems, taxi troubles, devious distractions and bar bilks. Source = e-Travel Blackboard: P.Tlast_img read more


August 17, 2019 0

Australian travellers vote Ibis best affordable hotel brand

first_imgSweet victory for Ibis at Australian Traveller Magazine Readers’ Choice AwardsAustralian travellers have crowned Ibis the Best Affordable Hotel Brand, announced at the 2012 Australian Traveller Magazine Readers’ Choice Awards last night, Tuesday 4th December. In the only consumer nominated awards for tourism in Australia, Australian Traveller readers voted for their all time favourite travel destinations, experiences and accommodation. Ibis was the clear winner ahead of runners up including Best Western, Mantra and Travelodge.The overall consensus from Australian Traveller readers is that Ibis offers great value accommodation, combining cleanliness, comfort, contemporary decor and friendly service.  The win for Ibis, Accor’s pioneering economy hotel brand, has come during the same year of exciting evolution for the brand.  Ibis has now become a triple-tier brand with the addition of Ibis Styles (formerly All Seasons) and Ibis Budget (formerly Formule 1).  The new era for Ibis also comes on the 20th anniversary in Australia with Ibis Melbourne, and moving forward all existing and new hotels will introduce ‘Sweet Bed by Ibis’, designer uniforms, new signage and interior designs.Sweet Bed by Ibis features a plush 7cm topper – which in the past would normally be associated with a luxury hotel brand – to provide budget-conscious travellers with a 5-star sleep experience at a 3-star price tag. Ibis Brisbane and Ibis Sydney Darling Harbour are already trialing the tailor-made Sweet Bed with outstanding guest reaction.Adding to makeover of the Ibis brand in Australia, a new range of designer uniforms will be unveiled in the hotels early next year.  In an industry first, Ibis worked with renowned fashion designer Charlie Brown and students from the Whitehouse Institute of Design to create new staff uniforms for each of the Ibis brands. In early 2014, South Australia will welcome Australia’s largest new-build Ibis hotel with the opening of Ibis Adelaide on Grenfell Street. The hotel will be the first Ibis in Australia to showcase the new global interior design which has been set out for all new Ibis hotels. To cap off the major brand overhaul, Ibis has launched a new-look website www.ibis.com where guests can book accommodation at all Ibis, Ibis Styles and Ibis Budget hotels worldwide. Accor’s three revolutionized economy brands, Ibis, Ibis Styles and Ibis Budget are set to increase the strength of Ibis in Australia which will now grow to over 70 hotels and 1600 worldwide, making it the largest global economy hotel brand. Source = Ibislast_img read more


August 17, 2019 0

Cobham Aviation flight problem

first_imgThe plane, due for Western Australia’s Barrow Island, set alight shortly after takeoff and had to land at Perth Airport after a suspected engine fire, The Guardian Australia reported. The airport’s engines and flight infrastructure are being assessed for damage at Perth Airport. A spokesperson for Cobham Aviation said that a further statement would be made today.  Source = ETB News: Tom Neale Cobham Aviation, a sub-contractor for QantasLink, has suffered an embarrassment because one of its planes had a mid-air engine incident. Some witnesses who saw the plane said that they flames coming from the flight engine. Pictures have emerged on social media but it is not confirmed whether they are of the Cobham Aviation flight or not.last_img read more


August 17, 2019 0

Ride the never ending wave with Voyager of Seas

first_imgLeft to right – Sean Treacy, commercial director Royal Caribbean International; Adam Wildman, FlowRider champion; Gavin Smith, regional vice president Asia- Pacific, Royal Caribbean International. At a lavish cocktail ceremony held at the stunning Bondi Ice Bergs in Sydney yesterday, Royal Caribbean announced the new features on board its Voyager of the Seas, including the installation of Australia’s first FlowRider surfing simulator at sea, after a multimillion dollar investment in a bow-to-stern makeover.Due to start her cruising season from Australia this November, Voyager of the Seas will be able to show off her new features to guests, including real-time virtual balconies, a 3D cinema, three new signature Royal Caribbean speciality dining options, and of course, the thrilling new FlowRider.“As the world’s largest cruise brand, Royal Caribbean International is renowned for its first at sea facilities and we can’t wait to be able to offer our cruise guests the chance to catch a wave onboard Australia’s biggest cruise ship after her revitalisation in October 2014,” Royal Caribbean International regional vice president Asia Pacific, Gavin Smith said.The 12 meter long surf simulator will be perched on the top deck of the cruise liner, overlooking the ocean as surf, boogie board and wake board enthusiasts catch the perfect wave and impress the audience with their skills.Providing plenty of enjoyment for the whole family, there will also be private lessons available and if you would rather watch the action than be a part of it, the nearby stadium style seating provides plenty of great viewing opportunity.Champion flowboarder, Queenslander Adam Wildman, has been appointed as the official FlowRiding Ambassador for Voyager of the Seas, and in the coming months will share his tips on how to master the sport.Since discovering flowboarding on board Freedom of the Seas in 2009 while holidaying on the cruise liner with his parents, Mr Wildman’s talent and passion has come a long way since then, now ranking fifth in the world.“My dream is to see flowboarding take off in Australia and I couldn’t be more excited that a Royal Caribbean ship complete with a FlowRider, which I used to have to travel to different parts of the world for, is going to be right here on our doorstep,” Mr Wildman said.Fresh off the back of her multimillion revitalisation, Voyager of the Seas will arrive in Australia from Singapore, for her third local season when she enters Darwin on 30th November and commences her 2014/2015 summer season, cruising popular itineraries around Australia, New Zealand and the South Pacific.To see more photos from yesterday’s event, check out our photo gallery here. Source = ETB News: Lana Bogunovichlast_img read more


August 17, 2019 0

NSW continues to lead in the domestic tourism stakes

first_imgNSW has continued to record higher numbers of nights, visitors and expenditure than any other state, according to the latests International Visitor Survey.The latest IVS for the year ending June 2014 shows that NSW received 26.6 million visitors (up 6.1 per cent) who stayed 86.8 million nights (up 2.7 per cent).Domestic visitors to NSW also spent AUD $15.3 billion, a AUD $837 million increase year on year, representing the highest expenditure increase nationally.NSW Tourism Minister Andrew Stoner said that the new survey shows that NSW continues to outclass all other Australian states in terms of domestic and international tourism.NSW continues to outperform all other States in both domestic and international tourism,” Mr Stoner said.“Over the past 12 months, we have attracted 26.6 million domestic visitors, well above Victoria with 19.6 million, and Queensland with 18.1 million.“These results show that NSW is on track to meet our target of doubling overnight visitor expenditure in NSW by 2020.“While visitation from people in Regional NSW continues to be our largest source market, growth in visitation from interstate was more than double the national average of 2.4 per cent in the year ending June 2014, demonstrating the strength of our attractions and events calendar in enticing visitors from further afield.”Source = ETB News: Tom Nealelast_img read more


August 17, 2019 0

PO Cruises makes first stop in Margaret River

first_imgP&O Cruises’ superliner Pacific Jewel, will make the cruise lines first visit to Busselton tomorrow, anchoring in Geographe Bay at around 8am.The 70,310-tonne ship is due to make its maiden call with its 1950 guests transferring to the town for a full day of dining, sightseeing and shopping in the local area.Pacific Jewel is visiting the area during a three-night cruise from Fremantle, as part of her first ever season of Western Australian cruises.The ship will also enjoy a second call to Busselton on May 9, with each visit injecting around $200,000 into the local community.P&O Cruises senior vice president Sture Myrmell, said Busselton’s spectacular location and diverse offerings made it an ideal addition to the cruise line’s itineraries.“Margaret River has long been a popular holiday spot for local and interstate travellers thanks to its spectacular natural beauty,” Mr Myrmell said.“Our three-night SeaBreak cruises to Margaret River will provide a new perspective on all the area has to offer and are a great alternative to a weekend road trip with guests arriving relaxed and ready to explore.”The addition of two new ships to the P&O Cruises’ fleet in late November will pave the way for more itinerary options for Western Australian cruisers, with the 1500-passenger Pacific Eden to be based in Fremantle for a record three month season next year.Source = ETB Travel News: Lewis Wisemanlast_img read more


August 17, 2019 0

Norwegian Cruise Line unveils Feel Free brand campaign

first_imgNorwegian Cruise Line unveils ‘Feel Free’ brand campaignNorwegian Cruise Line has revealed the company’s new global brand campaign, “Feel Free.” Rooted in the line’s fundamentals of freedom & flexibility, Feel Free is an invitation for guests to experience Norwegian’s philosophy of what a vacation should be, free from rigid schedules with the freedom to make their vacation their own.The integrated campaign, launched January 4, is inclusive of national television spots, online video, digital units, and various social media activations. One social media initiative encourages usage of the campaign’s #FeelFree hashtag by asking consumers to share their New Year’s resolutions for a chance to win a 7-day cruise with Norwegian.  The high-energy campaign conveys the brand’s passion for delivering outstanding vacation experiences and showcases Norwegian’s fun-loving, bold personality.  It further provides an opportunity to speak to guests in new markets via new formats, including various social platforms. The new campaign was created and developed with partner agencies BBDO Atlanta and OMD.“The concept of ‘Feel Free’ transcends the idea of traditional cruising and speaks to the experience that is uniquely offered and delivered aboard Norwegian ships: our promise that guests should be free to vacation on their terms,” said Meg Lee, Norwegian Cruise Line’s senior vice-president and chief marketing officer.The launch of “Feel Free” works hand-in-hand to communicate Norwegian’s new promotional offer Free at Sea. Norwegian’s Free at Sea promotional offer allows guests to choose from four free offers: free unlimited beverages, free specialty dining, free shore excursions or free wifi, delivering a very high value for their vacation dollar. Norwegian Cruise LineSource = Norwegian Cruise Linelast_img read more


August 17, 2019 0

Travel Counsellor wins prestigious Growing Business of the Year Award

first_imgTravel Counsellor wins prestigious Growing Business of the Year AwardTravel Counsellor wins prestigious Growing Business of the Year AwardTravel Counsellors is celebrating after being announced as Growing Business of the Year at the 2016 Amazon Growing Business Awards this week.The company was revealed as winners of this significant award, recognising the impressive growth of the business in the category of ‘Larger Company’, awarded for demonstrating market leadership, continued global growth, industry-leading standards of service, and innovation around the customer experience. The company now has 1,600 Travel Counsellors, operating across seven countries and has experienced year-on-year growth, posting a turnover of $283 million for its last financial year.Simon Shaw, Chief Finance Officer collected the award and said: “I’m absolutely thrilled Travel Counsellors has been recognised for continued global expansion and commitment to our people. As a business we always put people first, doing the right thing by our customers to make their travel experience special and unique every time. It’s this approach to customer care, along with supportive technology such as the myTC app, that has enabled Travel Counsellors to grow at a rapid pace since it was founded 22 years ago.”The Amazon Growing Business Awards are the UK’s most established and respected recognition of SME and entrepreneurial success. Bringing together a guest list of over 500 trailblazing business owners and managers, the awards were hosted by comedian Rob Beckett in London and added some stand-out companies, including Travel Counsellors, to an illustrious alumni. The award for Growing Business of the Year for Larger Company (turnover $85m+) was one of the final and much coveted awards of the evening. become a Travel Counsellor todayclick hereAbout Travel CounsellorsTravel Counsellors Australia was established in 2007 and currently has 150 Travel Counsellors. Our head office in Australia is in Melbourne. Travel Counsellors Australia is accredited with ATAS. Travel Counsellors is the world’s largest home-based travel company. Founded in 1994 it currently has 1,500 travel consultants who work from home with the support of over 350 staff at the company’s UK headquarters and overseas offices. The company operates in Australia, UK, Ireland, the Netherlands, South Africa, UAE and Belgium.Source = Travel Counsellorslast_img read more


August 17, 2019 0

Frontier Airlines brings low fares and nonstop flights

first_imgFrontier Airlines brings low fares and non-stop flightsToday low fare carrier, Frontier Airlines, announced new air service at Branson Airport. Beginning in June, the Denver-based carrier will offer nonstop flights to/from Denver International Airport. Flights are available for purchase now at flyfrontier.com with introductory fares as low as $29* each way.“We are thrilled to help reduce the cost of flying to and from the Branson area and the Ozark region via the convenient Branson Airport,” said Daniel Shurz, Senior Vice President, commercial for Frontier Airlines. “We are proud to be the only airline to offer ultra-low fares to and from Denver. We look forward to serving the Branson community and introducing our unique brand of Low Fares Done Right.”“Having Frontier Airlines provides visitors the ability to conveniently and affordably get to Branson from Denver and beyond,” said Jeff Seifried, President of the Branson Lakes Area Chamber of Commerce and CVB.  “We appreciate Frontier Airlines’ confidence in the broad appeal of the Branson tourism market.”“The entire Airport Team is thrilled to welcome Frontier Airlines and their Ultra-Low Fares Done Right service to our community,” said Jeff Bourk, Branson Airport Executive Director.  “This announcement today will make it easier and more affordable than ever for people to visit our area.”Tickets are available for purchase now at flyfrontier.com and service begins June 13, 2018.Frontier flies one the youngest fleet in the industry of Airbus A320 Family jet aircraft. With nearly 200 more new aircraft on order, Frontier will continue to grow and modernize its fleet to deliver on the mission to provide affordable travel across America. By 2026, the company will be in a position to deliver Low Fares Done Right to more than 50 million passengers a year. Frontier’s young fleet also ensures that the company will continue to keep fares low and that customers will enjoy a pleasant and reliable experience flying with the airline.Frontier is focused on offering customers real choice and the ability to customize their travel to their needs and budget. For example, customers can purchase travel options like bags and seat selectons either a la carte or in one low-priced bundle called the WORKSsm. The Works bundle is considered one of the best values in the industry and offers customers full refundability, a carry-on bag, a checked bag, the best available seat (including exit rows and Stretch seating), waived change fees and priority boarding for as low as $59 each way.About Frontier Airlines:Frontier Airlines is committed to delivering ‘Low Fares Done Right’ to nearly 90 cities in the United States, Canada, Dominican Republic and Mexico on more than 300 daily flights. Headquartered in Denver, Frontier Airlines is the proud recipient of the Federal Aviation Administration’s 2016 Diamond Award for maintenance excellence and was named the industry’s most fuel-efficient airline by The International Council on Clean Transportation (ICCT) as a result of superior technology and operational efficiencies.*About Intro Fare Offer:Fares must be purchased by 11:59 pm Eastern time on Feb. 12, 2018 for nonstop travel on select days.  Travel is valid Apr. 8 through Jun. 13, 2018, for markets with a service start date prior to May. 15, 2018. Travel is valid May. 16, through Aug. 11, 2018 for markets with a service start date after May. 16, 2018.Fares are one way and do not require roundtrip purchase.Discount Den fares are only available at FlyFrontier.com to members of Discount Den.Source = Frontier Airlineslast_img read more


August 17, 2019 0

Hayman Island prepares to welcome guests

first_imgHayman Island by InterContinentalHayman Island prepares to welcome guestsThe most anticipated hotel opening of 2019 is almost here.Reservations are now open, and the excitement is building as Hayman Island by InterContinental prepares to welcome guests to Australia’s most iconic island resort from 1 July.Located on a pristine 400-hectare private island, the 166-room luxury resort has undergone a spectacular, multi-million-dollar refurbishment to ensure guests will experience a truly immersive stay in one of the world’s most unique and iconic destinations.Managed by InterContinental Hotels Group® (IHG), one of the world’s leading hotel companies, the resort will introduce a fresh concept of immersive luxury to travellers, offering a truly unique stay experience for those who will touch-down on Hayman’s unforgettable shores. It will feature new, world-class restaurants and bars alongside a plethora of bespoke experiences for guests including a new spa and unrivalled meetings and event spaces.Nestled in the world-renowned surrounds of the Whitsundays, Hayman Island by InterContinental will invite guests to enjoy stunning on-island experiences and all the private oasis has to offer: from secluded beach coves and jet ski adventures, to iconic seaplane rides boasting breath-taking views of the Great Barrier Reef. Hayman Island by InterContinental is guaranteed to have something to suit all travellers, from the adventurer to the luxuriously laid back.Mark Eletr, Resort Manager at Hayman Island by InterContinental says: “Opening our unique paradise in the Whitsundays to the world under InterContinental’s trusted brand is a true privilege. Hayman Island continues to capture the hearts of domestic and international travellers and we are thrilled to announce that on 1 July our doors will open and a new chapter of immersive luxury awaits”.The resort has announced that five innovative dining experiences will be revealed for guests to enjoy and experience on-island, inspired by fresh Queensland flavours with a contemporary menu design.From poolside, luxurious fare to to exciting and bold evening dining, the new offerings will delight and surprise guests, catering to a range of ages and lifestyles.The room configurations will encompass 166 stylish accommodation options across three distinct wings, spanning from luxurious suites and beachfront villas to lagoon and poolside rooms. The newly built Beach House is an exquisite addition to the accommodation selection, offering guests a private slice of Hayman heaven with three suites and multiple private pools. In addition to the hotel, a new collection of once-in-a-lifetime, luxury private residences will be available to rent for those who want to experience a more private piece of paradise on Hayman Island. Perched on the hilltops of the island overlooking its iconic bay the stunning properties, whilst being fully private, will also have full access to all the resort has to offer, ensuring each guest is fully immersed into island life.Hayman Island by InterContinental will also be a meetings and events paradise, offering exceptional meetings and events options in its idyllic Whitsundays location. For corporate events there is a selection of stunning indoor and outdoor spaces that can house meetings for 10 to 300 delegates. For weddings, Hayman Island has an on-island chapel and bespoke experiences will be crafted utilising the property’s stunning ceremony and reception locations.Completing the immersive on-island experience is a brand-new luxury spa with 13 treatment rooms, an all-new resort boutique, world-class kids club and state-of-the-art fitness centre.Located on the northernmost point in the Whitsunday Islands, Hayman Island by InterContinental is accessible via either luxury vessel, helicopter or seaplane.#ImmerseIntoHayman@intercontinentalhaymanisland Source = Hayman Island by InterContinentallast_img read more


August 17, 2019 0

India rises by 13 places in Travel Tourism Competitive Index 2015

first_imgAs per the Travel & Tourism Competitiveness Index (TTCI) 2015, of the World Economic Forum, rank of India has improved significantly to 52nd in 2015 from 65th in 2013. Improving ranking of India from 65th to 52nd position in travel and tourism competitiveness index had been set as a target in the Result Framework Document (RFD) of Ministry of Tourism for the year 2014-15.The measures taken by the Government to improve India’s tourism competitiveness, particularly regarding infrastructure and restrictive visa policy are as below:Infrastructure Development and promotion of tourism is primarily responsibility of the respective State Government/Union Territory (UT) Administration. The Ministry of Tourism provides Central Financial Assistance (CFA) for tourism projects that are complete as per existing scheme guidelines and sanctioned subject to availability of scheme/funds and utilisation of funds released earlier.Pursuant to the announcement made in the Budget 2014-15, the following two new schemes were launched in 2014-15 under Central Sector:(i) Swadesh Darshan – Integrated Infrastructure Development as Theme-Based Tourist Circuits.Swadesh Darshan were launched for development of theme based tourist circuits in a way that caters to both mass and niche tourism in a holistic manner. 12 Circuits namely North-East India Circuit, Buddhist Circuit, Himalayan Circuit, Coastal Circuit, Krishna Circuit, Desert Circuit, Tribal Circuit, Eco Circuit, Wildlife Circuit, Rural Circuit, Spiritual Circuit and Ramayana Circuit have been identified for development under this Scheme.(ii) National Mission on Pilgrimage Rejuvenation and Spiritual Augmentation Drive (PRASAD).In the first phase, 12 cities have been identified for infrastructure development.  The cities identified are Amritsar, Kedarnath, Ajmer, Mathura, Varanasi, Gaya, Puri, Dwarka, Amravati, Kanchipuram, Vellankanni and Guwahati.Visa policy(i) The Government of India has introduced e-Tourist Visa facility with effect from 27.11.2014. This facility is presently available to nationals of 77 countries. This is a major step taken to ease the visa regime as the e-Tourist Visa would enable the prospective visitor to apply for an Indian Visa from his / her home country online without visiting the Indian Mission and also pay the visa fee online.(ii) The restriction of two-month gap on re-entry of foreign nationals coming to India on Tourist Visa has been lifted with effect from December 4, 2012.last_img read more


August 16, 2019 0

NIMA launches its mobile application Lets Connect

first_imgAlso announces its ‘Destination Showcase’ to be held at Andhra Pradesh on April 17, 2017During a recent networking evening organised at Le Meridien, Gurgaon by Network of Indian MICE Agents (NIMA), the association officially launched its first ever mobile application ‘Lets Connect’. NIMA also announced its ‘Destination Showcase’ that will take place on April 17, 2017 at Andhra Pradesh. The evening was supported by Andhra Pradesh Hotels Association (APHA) and Matrix.Gajesh Girdhar, National Coordinator, NIMA, said, “Our objective has been to bring more visibility and outreach for Indian MICE agents and we find technology to be the best available resource to connect and educate.”The mobile application is currently supported by the Android operating system and will soon get operational for iOS. It features a set of 50-60 outbound destinations along with the states and cities of India. The mobile application has been designed under the stewardship of Jagdeep Bhagat, Coordinator Branding, NIMA.“This application is the smallest way to take forward NIMA in the times of technology. Through this application, we have set a benchmark in the travel industry. We want to ensure that connecting and networking gets more convenient and feasible. The application can be considered as the next level of Whatsapp, which will cater majorly to MICE related information and activities for Indian travel trade,” said Bhagat.The destination workshop will be held at Four Points by Sheraton, Visakhapatnam. “It is a great opportunity for us to associate with NIMA for this workshop. Visakhapatnam is an unexplored destination and through this collaboration, Indian travel agents can learn more about this place that holds the potential for MICE and exhibitions,” said Aditya Shamsher Malla, General Manager, Four Points by Sheraton Visakhapatnam.NIMA will also be conducting four city workshops for Indian MICE travel agents in Raipur, Guwahati, Baroda and Delhi in 2017. These workshops will be headed by Vikas Khanduri, CEO, Holiday Merchants and Advisor for NIMA. He said, “Training is the ultimate way to churn out more ideas for innovation and creation. Through these four city workshops, my intention is put in the extra effort of training within the organisation and the trade and build a platform for our Indian trade partners to utilise the potential in the MICE segment.”Girdhar mentioned that the association looks forward to opening a research centre for MICE and exhibitions with support from other significant tourism associations and tourism boards. “The functioning of our association is absolutely based on our interest to drive MICE in India with like-minded individuals from the travel industry,” he said.last_img read more


August 16, 2019 0

Hilton sets foot in Guadalajara with its second property

first_imgHilton announces the opening of Hilton Guadalajara Midtown, the Hilton Hotels & Resorts brand’s second hotel in Guadalajara and eighth property in Mexico. This opening is also a celebrated addition to Hilton’s expanding portfolio in the country, where the company has more than 60 hotels across seven brands welcoming travellers. Situated in the heart of the city’s financial and business district, the 225-room vibrant hotel in Guadalajara features a swimming pool, fitness centre, signature restaurant, two bars and more than 11,500 sq ft of flexible event space.“As we continue to expand our presence across the Caribbean and Latin America, Mexico remains a priority as one of our fastest growing and most developed hospitality markets in the region,” said Jorge Giannattasio, Senior Vice President and Head of Operations, Caribbean and Latin America, Hilton. “The debut of Hilton Guadalajara Midtown reinforces our commitment to providing innovative products and exceptional services to meet our guests’ evolving needs around the world.”As part of Midtown Jalisco – one of the city’s most anticipated mixed-use developments, Hilton Guadalajara Midtown is set to transform the destination with the debut of its dining, entertainment and proximity to Expo Guadalajara, one of the largest convention centres in Latin America located just four miles away. Bursting with a multitude of innovative culinary options, Hilton Guadalajara Midtown features the signature restaurant, Härth Kitchen Bar Market Guadalajara, which is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner. For conferences and events, Hilton Guadalajara Midtown boasts 11,500 sq ft of flexible event space, including 10 meeting rooms and artfully designed ballrooms. The hotel provides ample space to create events at any scale and accommodate up to 550 guests.“As we introduce the brand’s second in-market property, the opening of Hilton Guadalajara Midtown is a testament to the city’s development as well as Hilton’s regional growth,” said Vera Manoukian, Senior Vice President and Global Head, Hilton Hotels & Resorts. “The debut of this property has allowed us to further expand our portfolio within a quickly emerging business and leisure market – setting a new benchmark for hospitality in the region.”last_img read more


August 16, 2019 0

New Acquisition for PurchaseHappy PSMH

first_img Agents & Brokers Attorneys & Title Companies Company News Investors Lenders & Servicers Processing Service Providers 2011-08-26 Abby Gregory August 26, 2011 464 Views in Data, Government, Origination, Secondary Market, Servicing, Technology New Acquisition for Purchase-Happy PSMHcenter_img Another acquisition for “”PSM Holdings, Inc.””:http://www.psmholdings.com/ is in the works, with the company’s announcement that it has established a letter of intent to purchase “”Iowa Mortgage Professionals, Inc.””:http://www.iowamortgagepro.com/ This transaction is at least the third big move for PSMH over the summer; previous deals include a June “”merger””:https://themreport.com/articles/psm-holdings-brookside-sign-merger-2011-06-13 with Brookside Mortgage, LLC, and the August “”acquisition””:https://themreport.com/articles/fidelity-and-psmi-make-merger-official-2011-08-10 of Fidelity Mortgage, Inc.[IMAGE][COLUMN_BREAK]PSMH will buy Iowa Mortgage Professionals via its United Community Mortgage Corp. arm, and the deal is expected to close on October 1. Iowa Mortgage Professionals’ shareholder, Randy Stevens, will gain common shares of PSMH stock in the acquisition, though additional negotiations are expected to ensue prior to the date of closure. Des Moines-based Iowa Mortgage Professionals operates a local platform that is similar to that of national entity, PSMH, as both offer banking and brokerage services in the mortgage sector.Jeffrey R. Smith, the president and CEO of UCMC and vice president of PSMH, said of the purchase, “”What a pleasure it is to be associated with such a high quality operation like Iowa Mortgage Professionals. Randy Stevens and his entire team will bring tremendous value to our organization. We look forward to a long and mutually beneficial relationship.””PSMH and its wholly owned subsidiary PrimeSource Mortgage, Inc., conduct mortgage brokerage and banking services around the U.S., boasting more than 30 operational branches. Sharelast_img read more


August 15, 2019 0

August Mortgage Mail Volume Hits Highest Level Since 2008

first_imgAugust Mortgage Mail Volume Hits Highest Level Since 2008 Agents & Brokers Attorneys & Title Companies Federal Reserve Investors Lenders & Servicers Mortgage Rates Service Providers 2012-10-12 Tory Barringer Mortgage direct mail may be down, but it’s not dead and buried, marketing firm “”Mintel Comperemedia””:http://www.comperemedia.com/?__cc=1 reported.[IMAGE]A release from the company showed 62 million acquisition offers for mortgages were mailed to customers across the country in August, the highest monthly mail volume since May 2008. While the figure is still far below its peak├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├óÔé¼┬Øan average 238 million in 2005├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├óÔé¼┬ØMintel Comperemedia says the increase may provide a look at an optimistic future.With the “”Federal Reserve””:http://www.federalreserve.gov/ committing to keep mortgage rates low until mid-2015 and demand for home loans improving, the environment is right for lenders to go full force with their direct marketing efforts, the company said.Another driving force behind the increase in mortgage mail volumes is “”Discover’s””:https://www.discover.com/home-loans/ arrival on the origination scene following its purchase of Tree.com’s Home Loan Center. Mintel Comperemedia SVP Andrew Davidson said the move is “”in line with the company’s strategy to reduce its reliance on credit cards and to cross-sell other financial products.”” With demand ramping up and more competitors entering the marketplace, we may start seeing direct mail volume increase further, Davidson added.””As lenders such as “”Mortgage Investors Corporation””:http://www.mortgageinvestors.com/, “”Quicken Loans””:http://www.quickenloans.com/, and Discover ramp up their refinancing activity, other lenders may be forced to respond to counter the threat, fueling an increase in competitive activity in the mortgage market,”” he said. October 12, 2012 415 Views center_img Share in Originationlast_img read more


August 15, 2019 0

Denver Woman Sentenced in Mortgage Fraud Case

first_img October 11, 2012 468 Views Share Denver Woman Sentenced in Mortgage Fraud Case Denver resident, 32-year-old Vicki Dillard Crowe was sentenced to 60 months in federal prison followed by three years of supervised release and a restitution payment of $2.4 million for mortgage fraud. [IMAGE]””This sentence demonstrates that perpetrators of this type of crime will be held accountable,”” said Adam P. Behnen, inspector in charge at the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, which investigated the case along with the FBI.Crowe devised a scheme to defraud financial institutions and obtain mortgage loans for 19 properties in the Denver area. [COLUMN_BREAK]To qualify for the mortgage loans, Crowe “”made and caused to be made at least one materially false representation.”” She or someone on her behalf misrepresented her and her husband’s income and assets, her job title, and her financial liabilities. She also did not disclose all of her recent property purchases and falsely claimed properties as primary residences that were not, according to the indictment. Crowe also persuaded the property seller to inflate the sale price and then claimed the “”up front”” money she received was a payment to the broker or remodeling company. Crowe was indicted by a federal grand jury in April 2010, found guilty in December, and sentenced at the end of September 2012. She was ultimately charged with “”mail and wire fraud in connection with a mortgage fraud scheme,”” according to the “”Justice Department.””:http://www.justice.gov/usao/co/press_releases/2012/October2012/10_5_12.html “”The FBI is fully committed to protecting our economy by aggressively investigating those who commit mortgage fraud,”” said James Yacone, FBI Denver Special Agent in Charge.””Mortgage fraud hurts borrowers, the public, and the financial system as a whole,”” said U.S. Attorney John Walsh. “”We will continue to prosecute mortgage fraud aggressively and effectively.””center_img in Data, Government, Origination, Secondary Market, Servicing, Technology Agents & Brokers Attorneys & Title Companies FBI Investors Justice Department Lenders & Servicers Mortgage Fraud Processing Service Providers 2012-10-11 Krista Franks Brocklast_img read more


August 15, 2019 0

Default Rates on First and Second Mortgages Fall to New Lows

first_img Agents & Brokers Attorneys & Title Companies Defaults Investors Lenders & Servicers Processing Service Providers 2012-10-16 Esther Cho Share in Data, Government, Origination, Secondary Market, Servicing The default rate for first mortgages now stands at a post-recession low, and the default rate for second mortgages is at the lowest level in its more than 8-year history, according to data through September from the “”S&P Dow Jones Indices””:http://www.spdji.com/ and “”Experian””:http://www.experianplc.com/ for the “”S&P/Experian Consumer Credit Default Indices””:http://www.standardandpoors.com/indices/sp-experian-consumer-credit-default-indices/en/us/?indexId=sp-experian-consumer-credit-default-indices. [IMAGE] The first mortgage default rate fell to 1.36 percent in September, the lowest level since the end of the 2007/2009 recession. The rate dropped from 1.40 percent in August and 1.99 percent in September 2011. At the same time, the second mortgage default rate bottomed to 0.64 percent, down from 0.72 percent in August 2012 and 1.32 percent a year ago. [COLUMN_BREAK]S&P/Experian indices also assessed the delinquency rate for other consumer loans, and found the bank card default rate declined in September to 3.70 percent while the auto loan default rate moved up to 1.11 percent. “”Bank card, first and second mortgage and composite default rates hit new post-recession lows. The first mortgage default rate has been down or flat for nine consecutive months, another positive housing market statistic,”” said David M. Blitzer, managing director and chairman of the Index Committee for S&P Dow Jones Indices, in a release. In New York, Chicago, Dallas, Los Angeles, and Miami, which are the five cities covered by the S&P/Experian indices, credit default rates were down. Three cities reached post-recession lows in September: Chicago (1.82 percent), New York (1.28 percent), and Los Angeles (1.45 percent).Blitzer noted that Miami, with a rate of 2.48, may not have reached a new low, but its rate is still “”an incredibly good number when you compare it to the 18.89% rate witnessed in May 2009.””””There is no doubt that from a borrowing perspective the consumer is in a much better place than two or three years ago,”” added Blitzer. “”We have seen broad-based declining trends in default rates through all of 2012, and all markets and loan types are at or near pre-recession lows.””center_img October 16, 2012 409 Views Default Rates on First and Second Mortgages Fall to New Lowslast_img read more


August 15, 2019 0

October Jobs Report Exceeds Expectations May Nudge Fed to Raise Rates

first_img Bureau of Labor Statistics Employment Summary Federal Reserve Housing Market Jobs U.S. Economy 2015-11-06 Seth Welborn October Jobs Report Exceeds Expectations & May Nudge Fed to Raise Rates October’s healthy job gains of 271,000 reported in the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ (BLS) October 2015 Employment Summary released Friday make a December liftoff by the Fed an extremely likely possibility.The number of jobs added in October beat analysts’ expectations of 180,000 by about 50 percent. With revisions to the weak job gains in August and September, employment growth in those two months was 12,000 more than originally reported, and the average three-month job gain for August through October is 187,000.The unemployment rate and number of unemployed persons were virtually unchanged from September to October at 5.0 percent and 7.9 million, respectively, but are down by 0.7 percentage points and 1.1 million.The report follows the announcement earlier this week by Federal Reserve Chairman Janet Yellen before Congress that a short-term rate hike is likely in December if the October and November jobs reports were strong.“As disappointing as last month’s jobs report was, this one more than makes up for it,” said Curt Long, Chief Economist of the National Associations of Federal Credit Unions (NAFCU). “Job gains surged past analysts’ expectations, while the unemployment rate dropped even as 300,000 workers joined the labor force. Meanwhile, year-over-year wage growth hit its highest mark since mid-2009. Barring catastrophe, everything looks set for the Fed to raise rates in December.”The better-than-expected October jobs report could drive a demand for household formation in the next year as well as an increase in mortgage rates to higher than 4 percent, according to one economist.“We should see continuing strong demand for housing in the months ahead if today’s strong jobs report reflects a true return back to a strong growth trend we’ve seen over the last few years,” Realtor.com Chief Economist Jonathan Smoke said. “The healthy strong employment results for the past two years created an uptick in household formation, which has driven increased demand for home purchases and rentals. Today’s job report will influence the long-term bond market, so mortgage rates will increase in response. The average 30-year conforming rate was 3.99 percent yesterday, having increased 9 basis points in one week due to the consensus view of a strong, but not this strong, employment report. The 30-year conforming rate will likely top 4 percent as a result of this news.””Barring catastrophe, everything looks set for the Fed to raise rates in December.”Curt Long, NAFCU Chief EconomistOne notable aspect of October’s employment summary is that the U-6 unemployment rate, which is defined as the total number of unemployed, plus all persons marginally attached to the labor force, plus total employed part time for economic reasons, as a percent of the civilian labor force plus all persons marginally attached to the labor force, fell below double digits in October at 9.8 percent. It has not been under 10 percent since May 2008. It was 11.1 percent in October 2014, which calculates to a year-over-year decline of 1.3 percentage points, according to the BLS.Average hourly wage gains jumped by nine cents in October up to $25.20 and have increased by 2.5 percent year-over-year.“The headline unemployment rate edged down for the right reasons, and more importantly, the broader U-6 unemployment rate also ticked down to a nine-handle, the lowest since May 2008,” Fannie Mae SVP and Chief Economist Doug Duncan said. “Another piece of good news is the outsized jump in average hourly earnings, sending the annual gain to the best showing since July 2009. Recent comments from the Fed chair appear to prime the market for a December rate hike, and today’s report serves to fuel market expectations that a hike this year is very likely. We see the jobs report as a positive for housing for several reasons, including the reported biggest gain in construction payrolls since February 2015 and rosier wage prospects. Our expectation of a gradual pace of Fed moves in the coming months does not suggest a dramatic change in mortgage rates in 2016, and the housing market should continue to improve with a stronger overall economy.”To view the complete October 2015 Employment Summary, click here. November 6, 2015 513 Views center_img Share in Daily Dose, Data, Government, Headlines, Market Studies, Newslast_img read more


August 15, 2019 0

How Could Mortgage Rate Upswings Impact Housing

first_imgHow Could Mortgage Rate Upswings Impact Housing? Share February 26, 2018 763 Views Freddie Mac Freddie Mac Insight Interest rates Mortgage Interest Rates 2018-02-26 David Whartoncenter_img in Daily Dose, Government, Headlines, journal, Market Studies, News Freddie Mac has released its February Insight report, which “looks into the effects of higher mortgage rates on home buyers, homeowners wishing to refinance, mortgage lenders, home builders and real estate agents.” For this latest Insight report, Freddie Mac economists have looked at how rising mortgage interest rates could impact the housing market, as well as what ripples past increases have caused.To begin, Freddie’s Insight Report looks back at a historical period when mortgage interest rates were at their highest in recent memory: the years between 1977 and 1981. In 1977, the interest rate for a new 30-year fixed-rate mortgage was 8 percent. Four years later in 1981, that same mortgage would have included an 18 percent interest rate. As the Insight report explains, “This was the most dramatic increase in mortgage rates in the last 50 years.”What impact did this skyrocketing of mortgage interest rates have on the housing sector? Per the Insight report, new mortgage originations fell nearly 40 percent, from $162 billion in 1977 to $98 billion in 1981. Annual single-family home sales dropped 36 percent, from 4.5 million to 2.9 million. Finally, housing starts for single-family homes dropped by over 51 percent, from close to 1.5 million to 705,000 by 1981.“History has shown that periods of rising mortgage rates can be challenging for U.S. housing and mortgage markets,” said Len Kiefer, Deputy Chief Economist, Freddie Mac. “In historical episodes of rising rates, home sales slipped, housing starts stalled, and mortgage originations swooned. Home builders are doubly affected by increasing mortgage rates because they use financing to fund construction costs. When interest rates on funding for new construction and mortgage rates rise simultaneously, home builders are squeezed by a fall in demand and an increase in costs. However, though rates have moved higher recently, mortgage credit is still historically cheap if borrowers can get in while the getting is good.”So where does Freddie project mortgage interest rates to go in 2018, and what would the impact of those changes be? The Insight report says that if rates continue to hover between 3.5 and 4.5 percent and inflation remains low, originations, home sales, and housing starts should each increase by 5-10 percent this year.If, on the other hand, rates spike by 1.5 percentage points, Freddie forecasts originations to fall by 30 percent, with home sales and starts also dropping between 5-11 percent.Kiefer asks, “If rates rise, will housing markets follow the historical precedent, or will they buck the trend and maintain momentum? It’s uncertain, but with a solid labor market, rising household incomes, and a demographic tailwind from a large young adult population coming of age, U.S. housing markets could show modest growth this year even with higher mortgage rates.”You can read all of Freddie Mac’s Insight reports by clicking here.last_img read more


August 15, 2019 0

The farm is located in Tucumans Chicligasta distr

first_imgThe farm is located in Tucuman’s Chicligasta district and during the harvesting period employs around 2,000 workers.Macri also spoke with Estrada about blueberry production, how the harvests are carried out, and the current state of the industry.Estrada said that at this moment there are four farms ready to export to the Chinese market, including Kingberry, Early Crop and Hortifrut Expofresh.During the visit, the challenge of the 30% tariff going into China was brought up with Macri, who promised to work on lowering the duty.The first exports to China are expected to take place following a visit from Chinese officials in September. The industry gained market access in December last year. Argentine President Mauricio Macri recently visited a blueberry farm in Tucuman, as the industry prepares to make the first export to the Chinese market this coming season.Juan Manzur, Mauricio Macri and Francisco Estrada (from left to right)The president was accompanied during the tour by Governor Juan Manzur and Francisco Estrada, president of the Producers of Blueberries of Tucumán Association (APRATUC).The ‘El Molino’ farm grows blueberries for both the fresh and frozen markets in several destinations including the U.S., Canada, China and Europe. Argentine fruit industry welcomes export tax reduc … August 29 , 2018 Brazil blocks market access for Argentine pome fru … center_img Argentina’s citrus crop still “paralyzed”, light e … You might also be interested in Argentine lemons: “Tough” second U.S. export seaso …last_img read more


August 13, 2019 0