Month: August 2019

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165 million rand security upgrade for South African Airports

first_imgAirports Company South Africa has spent 165 million rand upgrading security across the country’s international airports in the lead up to the FIFA World Cup. The new security measures, which include electronic baggage scanners, have been put to the test this week as 300,000 World Cup fans begin arriving in South Africa. Tebogo Mekgoe, the assistant general manager at Johannesburg’s OR Tambo International Airport, said the security upgrade would help South Africa’s airports lose their notorious reputation for baggage theft.”Three years ago, we used to have about 40 cases of theft reported per day.”  He also acknowledged the fact that international travellers are often warned of baggage handlers’ sticky fingers. The US embassy website has described theft at OR Tambo as a “serious problem” and encourages travellers to use locks on their luggage, while Britain’s embassy recommends vacuum-wrapping checked bags in plastic. Despite these recommendations, Mekgoe said the airport authority has been able to reduce luggage theft to “almost nothing.” According to Mekgoe, they have achieved this by hiring all new baggage handlers, creating a “baggage reaction team” and switching to electronic scanners that track bags from check-in to loading on the plane.”This new technology has remarkably reduced cases of pilferage,” Mekgoe told reporters. He said OR Tambo had not received a single baggage theft complaint during the 2009 Confederations Cup, which was seen as a warm-up tournament for the World Cup. However, the problem has not been completely resolved. South African Airways, the country’s largest carrier, reports theft from two out of every 1,000 bags, a problem the airline has blamed on organised crime. But the airport authority insisted its security measures are solid.”The technology we use is world-class and our security staff undergo regular, highly specialised training. As a result, well over 700 prohibited items are detected on a daily basis at our airports countrywide,” spokesman Solomon Makgale said.”The reported breach is therefore a rare occurrence,” he added. <a href=”http://www.etbtravelnews.global/click/292ce/” target=”_blank”><img src=”http://adsvr.travelads.biz/www/delivery/avw.php?zoneid=10&amp;cb=INSERT_RANDOM_NUMBER_HERE&amp;n=a5c63036″ border=”0″ alt=””></a> Source = e-Travel Blackboard: C.Flast_img read more

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14 killed in blazing Venezuelan plane crash

first_imgAt least 14 people were killed when a domestic passenger plane carrying 47 passengers and four crew crashed Monday in southeastern Venezuela.Thirty-three people miraculously survived the plane crash, en route to the resort city of Isla Margarita, the AFP reported. The plane burst into flames and almost split in half as it crash landed in the state of Bolivar.”A total of 33 people are being cared for at different clinics,” Bolivar governor Francisco Rangel Gomez said.”We have 14 bodies that are being identified and we are searching for four people [in the wreckage].” The scene was quickly tended to by rescuers, with medical helicopters on hand to transport the wounded to nearby hospitals on alert. A burns unit was also present to treat victims of the wreckage.”Unfortunately we do have deaths but… given the condition of the plane, I think that we were lucky,” Transport and Communications Minister Francisco Garces said. The Conviasa Airlines ATR-42-300 plane went down about six miles (10 kilometres) from Puerto Ordaz. The cause of the crash was not immediately apparent, the report said. A spokesperson for ATR, the aircraft manufacturer, said the firm was investigating the accident. Preliminary investigations suggest that the pilot “lost control” of the plane, having radioed into a control tower to warn of technical difficulties onboard, the governor said. According to satellite data from AccuWeather.com, a thunderstorm was in the vicinity of the airport at takeoff, with lightning data yet to be made available. Venezuela last encountered an air disaster in February 2008, also involving an ATR-42-300, which crashed in the Andes and killed 46 people. In 2005, human error on a Venezuelan plane crash killed 160 people in what was one of the world’s deadliest. Source = e-Travel Blackboard: C.Clast_img read more

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Tourism Qld postpones campaign launch

first_imgSource = e-Travel Blackboard: D.M Tourism Queensland has decided to postpone its major marketing campaign for the year, saying it would wait for the “dust to settle” following the spate of natural disasters which ravaged the State recently.An additional $10 million has been pumped into the tourism body by State and Federal Governments, to be used in both domestic and international marketing campaigns to lure visitors back to the State.Speaking at AIME, Tourism Queensland CEO, Anthony Hayes launched a five year strategy for its incentive market, which will promote the state to the world as a top destination for business travellers. “Tourism Queensland is partnering with Queensland’s convention bureaus on a collaborative global incentive strategy which aims to position Queensland as the region’s leading incentive travel destination,” Mr Hayes said.“The campaign aims to increase the understanding from incentive houses and companies about Queensland’s unique destinations and diverse, quality experiences.”The campaign will include a new trade website, www.queenslandincentives.com which will feature information on key destinations including Gold Coast, Brisbane, Sunshine Coast, The Whitsundays, Mackay, Townsville and Cairns. “Tourism Queensland has now taken the initiative to create this collaborative strategy which will enhance the great work already undertaken by the convention bureaus and industry to promote Queensland,” Mr Hayes said.“The primary goal of the strategy is to further raise consumer, trade and industry awareness of Queensland’s multitude of quality incentive offerings in Tourism Queensland’s key international markets and in emerging incentive markets.“By engaging with key influencers and those who organise incentive travel programs, Tourism Queensland will aim to trigger broad levels of awareness and, in turn, generate sales leads.”With direct engagement with both consumer and trade, the strategy according to Mr Hayes is to pass on leads generated by the campaign and its tools onto the convention bureaus.”We really need to get into this space as aggressive as we can,” he said.Representing between $300 to $400 million for the State in trackable business, Mr Hayes said the incentives market was both lucrative and more reliable than the leisure market.last_img read more

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Google unveils new flight search feature

first_imgGoogle has launched a new airline schedule feature named ‘flight search’ it is the company’s first travel product since its USD700 million acquisition of ITA software this year.In a Google blog post the internet giant advised that their engineering departments have been working carefully to develop new travel tools that offer faster, more flexible and more productive results to online travel searches.A “flight” link appears on the left side that leads to the new Flight Search feature, the user types in a query for flight information and obtains access to flight options for a selected destination organised by departure time and date, airport, price and airline.The feature is currently limited to some US cities and shows results for round-trip economy-class flights only, however Google has advised that they will be adding more cities and options soon.In a Google blog post the company said that the selection of flight results is not influenced by any paid relationships.“Airlines control how their flights are marketed, so as with other flight search providers, our booking links point to airline websites only.”Some online travel sites had tried to block the Google ITA deal saying it will provide Google control over the online travel market and could lead to a rise in prices. Source = e-Travel Blackboard: S.Plast_img read more

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New York City on track to 55 million

first_imgDue to the growing demand, the hospitality industry is booming at a rapid rate, with the current number of 98,000 hotel rooms currently expected to reach 100,000 rooms by the end of 2014. Moreover, New York City currently has the highest share of overseas travel to the US, growing from 28 per cent to 33 per cent in the past seven years, with each increase in share point representing USD $750 million in direct spending. Last year alone, New York City welcomed a record 54.3 million visitors, which generated USD $39.4 billion in visitor spending with an overall contribution of USD $58.7 billion to the country’s economy. Currently, more than 370,000 people are employed New York City’s tourism industry, the fifth largest industry in the city. For more information and to plan your New York City visit, head to www.nycgo.comcenter_img As the nation’s number one port of entry and the highest receiver of international visitors, New York City is well on its way to achieving its goal of 55 million visitors for 2014, one year ahead of its original deadline. Source = ETB News: Lana Bogunovich With its world famous attractions, impressive skyline and dynamic night life, its no surprise New York City continues to rake in the visitors in astounding numbers each year.last_img read more

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TravelManagers end 2017 on a high note

first_imgChief Operating Officer – Grant CampbellTravelManagers end 2017 on a high noteTravelManagers spent 2017 building on the successes of previous years, delivering another year of record sales in the process. Chief Operating Officer, Grant Campbell, has described the company’s achievements as “further cementing our position as Australia’s premium travel network”.“In all areas of the business, we are thrilled with the successes of 2017,” he says. “In sales terms, we achieved a new record high in monthly sales, we’ve achieved more than nine percent growth year on year and we’ve picked up a significant array of awards from our preferred suppliers.”Campbell is quick to emphasise that the company’s success in 2017 is due to the achievements of each of the 500-plus individual personal travel managers (PTMs) who each work within their own home-based businesses and are supported by TravelManagers’ National Partnership Office (NPO) team with its seven state-based Business Partnership Managers (BPMs).“Our PTMs already represent an incredible wealth of knowledge and experience when it comes to selling travel, but all are strongly focused on further improvement,” Campbell says. “In 2017 our PTMs took part in more than 300 webinars, including both internal webinars that covered systems, marketing and product updates, and more than 110 further webinars run by partner suppliers.”Famils represent one of the most significant and popular aspects to product training, with record numbers of PTMs taking up famil opportunities in 2017: close to 300 in total, including 96 places on eleven exclusive TravelManagers famils.Support from TravelManagers’ NPO takes many shapes according to Campbell, including 692 individual one-on-one meetings between PTMs and their BPMs and 514 cluster meetings, held in metropolitan suburbs and regional centres.“It’s really important that all of our PTMs have access to the same support, regardless of their geographical location,” adds Campbell. “In addition to the regional meetings, our state-based BPMs spent a significant part of their time in 2017 visiting PTMs in rural or country areas in their home states: this has been key to another successful year.”He says PTMs with a focus on corporate travel also receive support from TravelManagers’ NPO which is tailored to the nature of their business.“Last year we held 26 dedicated corporate webinars, supported by five dedicated corporate classroom workshops, in Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide and Brisbane throughout the year and at the National Conference in September.”TravelManagers’ annual National Conference, which was held in Darwin in 2017, has been hailed by all involved as one of the great successes of the year, with a total of 394 attendees representing a new record for the company.“We place great importance on ensuring that our PTMs have lots of opportunities to get together with the combined objectives of communicating, educating and learning, strengthening relationships and having fun, through a variety of events that link them with their fellow PTMs, members of the NPO support team and partner suppliers,” says Campbell.Despite the work that took place in constantly improving and building their businesses, Campbell says many PTMs also allocate time in their working life to taking part in community-oriented activities.“It’s become a tradition and a highlight of each annual National Conference that we allocate time to supporting a local community event,” explains Campbell. “In 2017, we worked with “Helping People Achieve” (HPA), a unique, Northern Territory-based, not-for-profit organisation that provides services to people with physical and intellectual disabilities in the Darwin and Palmerston regions.”In addition, TravelManagers also successfully ran its third Annual Charity Golf Day, which was attended by 100 PTMs, PTM clients and suppliers in support of the ‘Love Your Sister’ cancer charity and raised more than $10,000 in the process.Each PTM is encouraged and supported to strive for excellence in all areas of their business, and Campbell says their efforts are particularly pleasing when an individual receives national industry recognition for their success.“We were thrilled to have two finalists in the 2017 Avis Travel Agent Scholarship of Excellence, which celebrates travel agents who conceived and implemented new or novel approaches to delivering customer service,” says Campbell. “We were even more delighted when Nakita Byrne, representative for Mount Arthur, NSW, was announced as the ultimate winner.”Campbell says Byrne’s achievement, and those of many other award-winning PTMs, are a good indication of another successful year and describes Byrne’s award as “an apt reflection of the spirit of innovation and dedication to providing excellent customer service that thrives within the TravelManagers culture.”“We’ve rolled out all sorts of new initiatives throughout the year: a streamlined system for distributing daily supplier initiatives and updates; centrally-produced e-Newsletters that were able to be personalised and centrally dispatched to each PTM’s client base; and an increase in Facebook followers of almost eighteen percent.”Campbell says he’s confident that none of TravelManagers’ competitors are as active in terms of training, cluster-type meetings, one-on-one business reviews, organisation of events and social occasions.“2017 has been another record-breaking year for TravelManagers in many areas of our business. With more major enhancements and innovations planned for 2018, we can only wait to see what successes this year will bring!”For more information or to speak to someone confidentially about TravelManagers please contact Suzanne Laister on 1800 019 599.Source = TravelManagerslast_img read more

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AccorHotels continues partnership with National Rugby League

first_imgSimon McGrath, Chief Operating Officer, AccorHotels Pacific and Andrew Abdo, Chief Commercial Officer, NRLAccorHotels continues partnership with National Rugby LeagueAccorHotels is pleased to confirm an extended four-year agreement with the National Rugby League (NRL).The partnership will see AccorHotels continue as the official accommodation partner of the NRL, supporting NRL Clubs and Holden State of Origin teams with their accommodation requirements across Australia and New Zealand.AccorHotels will also continue to play a pivotal role as part of the NRL’s Indigenous ‘School To Work’ program, offering high school students the opportunity to work across the Group’s various hotels.Chief Operating Officer of AccorHotels Pacific, Simon McGrath, said “we have thoroughly enjoyed our partnership with the NRL over the last four years and we are thrilled to be signing on as the Official Accommodation partner of the NRL until 2021.“There is no doubt that this partnership brings together two iconic brands and through the executive leadership of Todd Greenberg and Andrew Abdo it gives us the confidence to further our commitment to the NRL for another four years. The Executive team has done an excellent job of securing major corporate partners and raising the profile of the game over the last 12 months, and we are proud to once again be a major sponsor.“Outside of the game, the NRL is doing a tremendous amount of work to support Indigenous students through their School to Work program. It is an incredibly inspiring program and it aligns with what we are doing to grow Indigenous employment in Australia and we are proud to be working alongside the NRL in this space.“With the 2018 season now underway, we wish all of the teams a strong start to the season and we look forward to hosting players and officials throughout the year.”NRL Head of Commercial, Andrew Abdo thanked AccorHotels for their continued partnership and investment in the game and importantly, their support in the challenging logistics required to keep travelling teams well rested throughout the season.“It doesn’t matter which hotel our NRL staff, players or officials stay in, the AccorHotels employees always ensure that we’re well looked after and they have set the standard for football team accommodation in Australia,” Mr Abdo said.“Outside of a great place to stay, AccorHotels has invested in enabling our School To Work program, taking on a number of Indigenous students finishing up high school and wanting to gain employment experience across the hospitality and hotel sectors.“It’s a great outcome to have the NRL and AccorHotels in partnership for another four years and I encourage our fans to enjoy any number of AccorHotels’ accommodation options across Australia, New Zealand or further abroad, either when following their teams on the road or simply heading on holiday.”AccorHotels’ partnership extension with the NRL has commenced this year (2018) and runs through to 2021.Accor Hotels and the NRL have enjoyed a partnership together since 2014.Source = AccorHotelslast_img read more

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Burning the Midnight Oil at TravelManagers

first_imgTravelManagers’ PTMs can take their office anywhere – in this case, for PTM Ian Long it’s breakfast at historic Thirroul Beach Pavilion, NSWBurning the Midnight Oil at TravelManagersFor many business owners there is an ongoing challenge to balance the demands of work with the pleasures of life outside the office. For personal travel manager (PTM), Ian Long, who is based on Queensland’s Sunshine Coast, becoming a home-based consultant with TravelManagers has given him the freedom and flexibility to pursue his interests and passions, most recently flying by corporate jet to Wollongong in order to attend a surprise Midnight Oil gig.Long, who joined TravelManagers in 2014, says the TravelManagers model makes it easy to take his work with him wherever he goes, so that he is free to seize upon opportunities when they arise such as the Midnight Oil gig, which was billed as a warm-up show prior to their current European tour.“It was easy to arrange my work commitments around the trip,” he explains. “A laptop, cell reception and a phone are all I need to keep in touch with my clients and manage their needs, wherever in the world I happen to be.”Long’s wife, Shani, is also a PTM with TravelManagers, and together they have just had their first baby, a little boy called Hudson. They agree that the systems and support provided by TravelManagers have made it possible to juggle the demands of a young family with those of building a successful business together.“The flexibility of being a personal travel manager on top of the TravelManagers’ remuneration and all-encompassing support package has been the key to a great work-life balance,” Long says. “It gives me the power to commit to these types of opportunities.”TravelManagers’ Executive General Manager, Michael Gazal, says Long’s experience demonstrates the opportunities that are available to PTMs thanks to the technology and support provided by the National Partnership Office (NPO).“Building a business that is financially and professionally rewarding is obviously an important part of the equation, but we want our PTMs to develop their businesses in a way that is personally satisfying as well.”Long agrees, noting that this was a priority when he decided to join TravelManagers nearly five years ago.“I feel very fortunate to have the freedom to catch up on work at a beachfront café, having flown by corporate jet to attend a music gig, more than 1,000 kilometres from my regular office location. That’s the beauty of not being tied to an office location because my office can travel wherever I do.”For more information or to speak to someone confidentially about TravelManagers please contact Suzanne Laister on 1800 019 599About TravelManagersTravelManagers is Australia’s market leader and biggest home-based travel business operating in all States & Territories. A wholly owned subsidiary of House of Travel, Australasia’s largest independent travel company which has a forecast turnover of $2 billion for 2019, TravelManagers is a sister company to Hoot Holidays, also owned by House of Travel. TravelManagers is solely dedicated to providing the best possible support to its network of more than 570 personal travel managers throughout Australia, through a dedicated team at the company’s National Partnership Office in Sydney. TravelManagers places all customer funds in a dedicated and audited Client Trust Account which is separate from the general business accounts, ensuring client funds are secure and only used for client purchases. This is supported by a Trust Account Fidelity Risk insurance policy to protect all clients’ funds in the unlikely event they are missing from, or not paid into the Insured Trust Account.Source = TravelManagerslast_img read more

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India aims to become world capital for Spiritual Tourism

first_imgTo promote the significance of Spiritual Tourism in India, PHD Chamber of Commerce and Industry recently organised a conference on Spiritual Tourism for Sustainable Development – ‘India: The Land of Gods’ in New Delhi.During the conference it was established that India must acquire the status of world capital for spiritual tourism. It also appeared that spiritual tourism can be seen at different levels and that other countries have also focused on spiritual tourism, like Bolivia, Czech Republic, Bulgaria and Romania, whose representatives also spoke at the event, apart from Ladhak, dancer Sonal Mansingh, and the founder of Sjoham Babaji Missions, spread in many parts of the world.According to the speakers, if the attractions are marketed well and infrastructure is improved more and more seekers of spiritual bliss will come to India. They also added that many Buddhists wanted to come to India for peace.Some of the objectives of the conference were to provide complete tourism experience by enhancing tourist attractiveness of the religious destinations in a sustainable manner; to promote sustainable pilgrimage tourism in the country; enhancing the tourist attractiveness by developing world class infrastructure in the religious destinations, etc.last_img read more

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IATA signs declaration to protect wildlife

first_imgOn behalf of the aviation industry, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) signed a declaration aimed at reducing the illegal trafficking of wildlife and underlining the aviation industry’s commitment to sustainability.The interconnected air transport network is being exploited by criminal gangs to smuggle animals or their products from the killing field to the market place. The air transport industry can help stop this trade by providing additional intelligence to enforcement authorities about suspicious shipments.“I can think of few other causes that galvanise more interest and support across the global transport and logistics sectors than the challenge of wildlife trafficking,” said Tony Tyler, IATA’s Director General and CEO.The ‘United for Wildlife’ initiative, created by the Royal Foundation of The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry , invited representatives of the transport industry to Buckingham Palace to pledge their support. IATA, Airports Council International, the African Airlines Association and a number of individual airlines signed commitments aimed at raising awareness of the trafficking issue among passengers, and training staff to recognise and report suspicious packages and behaviour. The initial focus of action will be on the trafficking of high-risk protected animals, specifically certain big cats, pangolins, and ivory products, on high-risk routes, particularly originating from or transiting through East Africa.“Today marks a step forward for environmental protection—a commitment that we take very seriously. In the 1990’s the industry came together to address noise. More recently we joined forces to manage our impact on climate change—committing as an industry to carbon-neutral growth from 2020 and to cut net emissions to half the 2005 levels by 2050. We now extend that commitment to playing an active role in reducing illegal trafficking of wildlife. We will collaborate in support of government enforcement authorities to put an end to this evil trade,” added Tyler.last_img read more

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Tourism Ireland hosts Ireland Specialist Fam for Indian tour operators

first_imgTourism Ireland is running an e-learning travel trade training programme, Ireland Specialists to educate the international travel trade about the island.Agents must study six modules and complete quizzes in an attempt to obtain a perfect score and the prestigious gold Ireland Specialists certificate. This certificate, displayed on the operator’s website, symbolises an expert knowledge on holidays on the island of Ireland.Since 2013, over 11000 agents across the world have signed up for the programme with 25% of the users having earned a gold certificate.Ireland also hosted the second annual Ireland Specialists Mega Fam trip from August 21-16, 2016. 12 top performing agents from six markets, Australia, China, India, GCC, South Africa and New Zealand, had travelled to Ireland and battled it out in daily challenges to be crowned the 2016 Emerald Ireland Specialist 2015. From India Thomas Cook and Vacations Exotica participated in this Fam.The agents also visited many of the key tourist attractions like the city of Belfast, the mystery of the Giant’s Causeway and the heart-racing experience of walking on water at The Gobbins Cliff Path. Further, they got a chance to explore Ireland’s newest tourist trail, Ireland’s Ancient East and the world’s longest defined coastal route, the Wild Atlantic Way. Finally, they had experience Dublin, from the delicious food scene and vibrant city life to the historic and iconic walls of Trinity College and the Guinness Storehouse.last_img read more

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Belgian delegation meets Gujarat CM to explore new business avenues

first_imgSince March 2017, Brussels Airline has commenced connectivity from Mumbai’s Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport to Brussels Airport five times a week with a direct flight. From Ahmedabad, smooth connections are possible to Belgium, via Mumbai, through a code share partnership with Air India. In regard to the same, the delegation of Belgian companies led by Secretary of State for Foreign Trade, Pieter De Crem was on an economic mission in Mumbai and Ahmedabad recently.The delegation visited the GIFT City in Ahmedabad and met the Chief Minister of Gujarat Vijay Rupani to underline the importance of Brussels Airlines flight to Belgium, via Mumbai and the relations between India and Belgium. The goal of the mission was to stress the economic importance of a connection between Belgium and India.“Belgium and India are close economic partners. I am convinced that the new direct Brussels Airlines flight between Mumbai and Brussels will make the trade partnership even stronger. This is why I am leading an economic mission to Mumbai to celebrate this new flight and to open up new opportunities for Belgian companies exporting to India,” said Pieter De Crem, Secretary of State for Foreign Trade.Speaking on the occasion, Bernard Gustin, CEO, Brussels Airlines, said, “India, is an important economic partner for Belgium and has a large leisure potential. The demand for direct flights for passengers as well as for cargo is high. With our new service, we offer the diamond- and travel industry direct flights, which are an important investment in our network expansion, but also in the economic relations between India and Belgium.”last_img read more

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Legally Blonde A musical staged at The Keegan Theatre in Washington DC

first_imgThe Keegan Theatre closes out its 22nd season with the award-winning musical Legally Blonde, which opened on August 3. Based on the hit movie, Legally Blonde is a fabulously fun and energetic musical, wrapped up with a snappy pink bow. It features music and lyrics by Laurence O’Keefe and Nell Benjamin and a book by Heather Hach. The DC premiere production at Keegan is directed by Ricky Drummond with music direction by Helen Hayes Award-winner Walter ‘Bobby’ McCoy and choreography by Ashleigh King.During the run of the musical, ticket holders are invited to neighbouring restaurant Firefly for a 20% discount off lunch, dinner or happy hour. The Firefly bar team will also offer a special rotating flight of pink cocktails inspired by Elle Woods’ fearless love of pink. Playful tributes to the show’s fearless heroine include the ‘Bend and Snap’, ‘Gemini Vegetarians’ and ‘Valley-dictorian’. The collection of three 3oz cocktails will be available exclusively through September 1 for $22.last_img read more

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Zillow Bipartisan Policy Center Discuss Secondary Market Reform

first_img In the latest of its consumer education videos, “”Zillow””:http://www.zillow.com/ recently sat down with the “”Bipartisan Policy Center’s””:http://bipartisanpolicy.org/ (BPC) Barry Zigas to discuss the center’s ideas for GSE reform and how they compare to current legislative efforts.[IMAGE]In an interview with Zillow chief economist Dr. Stan Humphries, Zigas–director of housing policy for the Consumer Federation of America and a commissioner on BPC’s Housing Commission–described how the group’s plan came together, a process that involved 16 months of research, hearings, and meetings with industry stakeholders.””What we emerged with was a plan that was very true to the principles that the commission agreed to use to guide its work,”” he said.BPC’s plan shares similarities with those introduced by Sens. “”Bob Corker””:http://www.corker.senate.gov/public/ (R-Tennessee) and “”Mark Warner””:http://www.warner.senate.gov/public/ (D-Virginia) and by “”Rep. Jeb Hensarling””:http://hensarling.house.gov/ (R-Texas) in that it calls for the unwinding of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac over several years and the institution of a limited government guarantee on securities.Where it differs is in the details; for example, the Corker/Warner bill puts a hard number on the amount of loss that must be absorbed before a federal backstop is trigged (10 percent), while the BPC plan allows for more wiggle room to adjust to market dynamics.””For instance, if the insurer saw a housing bubble beginning to inflate, like we saw recently … they could basically make what we call the capital call on the insurers and say, ‘You need to put more capital in the pot,'”” Zigas explained.On the other hand, Hensarling’s PATH bill removes the government guarantee from the equation–a move that BPC regards as going too, though Zigas acknowledged that a federal guarantor should only be involved in a “”catastrophic”” situation.””We came to believe through the work we did that the private market is not prepared to provide the levels of capital that are going to be necessary to meet homeowners’ needs unless they know there’s a federal guarantee behind those securities,”” he said. “”I think we agree with Congressman Hensarling on this one point, which is that the government should not be the guarantor of first resort. The government should be the guarantor of last resort.””Asked about the probability that a bipartisan effort could even be achieved–especially at a time when political squabbling has brought the country to a standstill–Zigas said he is encouraged by the dialogues that have taken place so far and expects the left and right will be able to come together on the matter in the future.””How near that future is? That depends on a lot of factors that are very, very difficult to assess right now,”” he said. “”I think the momentum is in the right direction.””The full interview can be seen on Zillow’s “”blog””:http://www.zillowblog.com/ or at its “”YouTube page””:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1aDCN-qZ9yQ&feature=youtu.be. Zillow, Bipartisan Policy Center Discuss Secondary Market Reform October 7, 2013 431 Views Sharecenter_img Agents & Brokers Attorneys & Title Companies Fannie Mae FHFA Freddie Mac Investors Lenders & Servicers Service Providers Zillow 2013-10-07 Tory Barringer in Secondary Marketlast_img read more

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Risky Business—Fed Agencies to Alter Bank Compensation

first_imgRisky Business—Fed Agencies to Alter Bank Compensation April 26, 2016 481 Views In an attempt to prevent banks and other financial institutions from the excessively risky practices that led to the financial crisis and Great Recession, financial industry regulators are seeking comment on a proposed rule that would implement Section 956 of the Dodd-Frank Act and change compensation structures and align banks’ incentives.The new proposed rule is a revision of a rule that was proposed in April 2011 and is developed jointly by six federal regulatory agencies: the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, the FDIC, the Federal Reserve Board, the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA), the SEC, and the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA).Section 956 of the Dodd-Frank Act requires that federal regulating agencies jointly issue guidelines “(1) prohibiting incentive-based payment arrangements that the Agencies determine encourage inappropriate risks by certain financial institutions by providing excessive compensation or that could lead to material financial loss; and (2) requiring those financial institutions to disclose information concerning incentive-based compensation arrangements to the appropriate Federal regulator,” according to the proposed rule.Under Dodd-Frank, financial institutions covered are any of the following types of institutions that have $1 billion or more in assets:Depository institutions or depository institution holding companiesBroker-dealers registered under section 15 of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934Credit unionsInvestment advisersFannie Mae and Freddie MacAny other institution the regulators jointly decide should be covered“By requiring proper alignment of compensation incentives with an organization’s risk appetite, the rule calls on lending officers and other employees to put the interests of their institution above their own,” Comptroller of the Currency Thomas J. Curry said. “The rule will play an important role in helping safeguard financial institutions against practices that threaten safety and soundness, or could lead to material financial loss for the institution. It will also complement the OCC’s Heightened Standards guidelines, which address risk governance at large national banks and federal savings associations.”Representatives from JPMorgan Chase, Citigroup, and Bank of America all declined to comment on the new proposed rule.Comments on the proposed rule must be received by July 22, 2016.Click here to view the proposed rule. Banks Incentive-based Compensation Regulators 2016-04-26 Seth Welborncenter_img Share in Daily Dose, Government, Headlines, Newslast_img read more

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Top Lenders Market Share at Decade Low

first_img in Daily Dose, Data, Featured, News Top Lenders’ Market Share at Decade Low October 12, 2016 628 Views Market Share Mortgage Lenders 2016-10-12 Seth Welborncenter_img Since the combined market share of the top 10 first-lien mortgage originators hit one-third five years ago, it has been declining and has now dropped below pre-crisis levels.Analysis from CoreLogic showed that 23 percent of mortgage dollars originated were concentrated in the top 10 first-lien originators as of August 2016, which is down from 33 percent in 2011 and from the bubble years share of 28 percent in 2006.The analysis showed substantial movement among the top 10 first-lien lenders as far as highest market share; in all three years analyzed (2006, 2011, and 2016), Wells Fargo had the highest share. But the rise and fall of Wells Fargo’s market share has somewhat mirrored that of the top 10 first-lien lenders overall during that span. Wells Fargo’s share was 6 percent in 2006, then it had doubled up to 12 percent by 2011. By 2016, it had fallen back down to 6 percent.Mortgage originations are up by approximately 22 percent from last year due primarily to the low interest rate environment but they may be inching upward. The MBA’s most recent data for the week ending on October 7, 2011, showed that refinance activity was down by 8 percent and mortgage applications were down by 6 percent from the previous week.“Total originations year to date have been roughly even between purchase mortgages and refinances, but refinancing is expected to decrease over the next year,” CoreLogic Senior Economist Molly Boesel said. “Details from the top 10 lender list may give a preview of which lenders would gain market share when rates rise and purchase mortgages dominate again.”Also of note, there were five nonbank lenders among the top 10 first-lien originators in August 2016 (Quicken Loans, Freedom Mortgage, loanDepot.com, Caliber Home Loans, and Guaranteed Rate), compared with four in 2011, according to CoreLogic.So far in 2016, the top 10 first-lien lenders own 18 percent of the national purchase share and 27 percent of refinance share, down from 25 percent and 27 percent in 2011, respectively, and 28 percent in both categories for 2006, CoreLogic reported. Sharelast_img read more

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OCC Bank Trading is Up Credit Risk is Down

first_imgOCC: Bank Trading is Up, Credit Risk is Down Bank Trading Revenue Banks Credit Risk Exposure OCC 2017-01-04 Seth Welborn in Daily Dose, Data, Featured, News Sharecenter_img January 4, 2017 646 Views The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC), in its Quarterly Report on Bank Trading and Derivatives Activities for Q3 2016, found that trading revenue for commercial banks and savings associations declined over-the-quarter but rose substantially over-the-year in the third quarter last year.The OCC reported that bank trading revenue dropped by nearly 9 percent from Q2 to Q3 in 2016, from $7 billion down to $6.4 billion—but at the same time, which “reflects a decline in combined interest rate and foreign exchange revenue,” according to the OCC. At the same time, bank trading revenue shot up by nearly 20 percent from Q3 2015 to Q3 2016, an increase of approximately $1.1 billion.According to the OCC, bank trading results in the second and third quarters were the second-highest since 2000 for each quarter.While trading revenue was way up for banks, net current credit exposure (NCCE), the metric the OCC uses to evaluate credit risk in bank derivative activities, was way down over-the-quarter. The OCC reported that NCCE for banks and savings associations in the U.S. declined by 4.7 percent (approximately $24 billion) over-the-quarter in Q3, down to approximately $481.7 billion at the end of the quarter.NCCE is down substantially from its peak of $804.1 billion at the end of 2008 in the midst of the financial crisis at a time when interest rates were very low and credit spreads were very high, according to the OCC.“The significant decline in NCCE since 2008 has largely resulted from declines in the gross positive fair value (GPFV) of interest rate and credit contracts,” OCC reported.Also according to the OCC, 1,438 commercial banks and savings associations in the United States held derivatives in the third quarter while four banks held almost 90 percent of the notional amount of derivatives, defined by the OCC as the “nominal or face amount that is used to calculate payments made on swaps and other risk management products.”Click here to view the OCC’s complete report.last_img read more

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Adapting Metros for an Aging Population

first_img People are living longer and spending more time in the city, a report by the Milken Institute says. The Institute’s “Best Cities for Successful Aging” report and index is a collaboration between the Institute’s Center for the Future of Aging and its Research Department. The report evaluates 381 U.S. metropolitan areas to determine how well they serve the needs of the nation’s growing population of mature adults.”Cities are on the front lines of the largest demographic shift in history,” said Paul Irving, Chairman of the Center for the Future of Aging. “Lifespans are extending into eight, nine, and ten decades, and older adults increasingly are seeking lifelong engagement and purpose. They expect their cities and communities to support their changing needs.”Over 80 percent of American aged 65-plus live in metropolitan areas, and almost 90 percent want to age in their homes and communities, so the report is not intended to identify where to retire. The goal of the report is to identify the nation’s most livable metropolitan areas by determining which areas enable an optimal quality of life for aging citizens.The Milken Institute utilizes several categories to determine quality of life, including general livability, health care, wellness, financial security, living arrangements, employment, education, transportation, and community engagement.Coming in a number one on the Institute’s ranking of best large metros for successful aging is Provo-Orem, Utah. The ranking of small metros is topped by Iowa City. The Milken Institute’s Mayor’s Pledge encourages mayors and other public officials to support a healthy environment for aging residents, and nearly 200 mayors have signed the pledge.”The policies, programs, and features that we highlight in ‘Best Cities for Successful Aging’ are not just important for older adults,” said Irving. “Throughout our lives, we seek meaning and purpose. A vibrant economy, efficient transportation, effective health services, learning opportunities, and accessible housing enable all individuals and communities to prosper.” Adapting Metros for an Aging Population in Daily Dose, Data, News, Uncategorized March 20, 2017 573 Views center_img Demographics Study 2017-03-20 Staff Writer Sharelast_img read more

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Who Deserves a Little More Credit

first_img Credit Default loans mortgage Risk Urban Institute 2018-10-25 Radhika Ojha in Daily Dose, Featured, News, Origination Who Deserves a Little More Credit? The Housing Finance Policy Center with Urban Institute has released its Q2 2018 Housing Credit Availability Index (HCAI). The HCAI tracks the amount of mortgage credit available as well as the percentage of home purchase loans likely to go into default after missing payment for more than 90 days. The report released along with the index further distinguishes between the sources of the default risk: whether it stems from borrowers’ inability to pay or the products that service their loans.Overall, the HCAI indicates a decline to 5.7 percent from a peak in Q1 2018 of 5.9 percent, the highest the index has climbed since 2011. This small dip quarter over quarter is a consequence of a shift in the market’s composition: while the government channel saw a loss in market share, the portfolio channel grew, and because the government channel has looser lending standards, this has had consequences on the total amount of credit available.A higher HCAI signifies that lenders are willing to take on a greater risk of default and so also how easy it is to acquire a home loan. The credit available to homebuyers remains far tighter than it was prior to the housing bubble burst—at least half of what it was in pre-bubble years.But because the index also gauges risk from borrowers contrasted against risk from services, it reveals more than just how much credit is available. Because product risk remains negligible, the index indicates that if credit were made more readily available to homebuyers, the risk posed would be slight. Just compare the current total risk posed in the index, or 5.7 percent, with the pre-crisis standard: 12.5 percent from 2001 to 2003. The report makes a subtly compelling argument that the stress felt in the market today from a gauntlet of forces (including rising mortgage rates, affordability issues, and a general lack of supply) could find reasonable respite in an expansion of credit available to prospective homebuyers. This would cause a corresponding increase in default risk, but presumably said risk would remain far below, and outside the perimeters, of the percentages that preceded the crisis of 2008.The government channel today—which as mentioned above recently opened up its credit accordingly—represents the only segment of the market today servicing less-than-pristine borrowers.center_img October 25, 2018 591 Views Sharelast_img read more

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A listeria outbreak in Europe linked to frozen veg

first_img A listeria outbreak in Europe linked to frozen vegetables produced by Belgium-based multinational Greenyard (Euronext Brussels: GREEN)  has led to nine deaths, but the company said more time is needed to establish a connection. The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) said on Friday that frozen corn and possibly other frozen vegetables are the likely source of the outbreak that has been affecting Austria, Denmark, Finland, Sweden, and the U.K. since 2015.It said that as of 15 June 2018, 47 cases including nine deaths had been reported.The same strains of L. monocytogenes have been detected in frozen vegetables produced at a Greenyard plant in Hungary in 2016, 2017 and 2018, it said.But Greenyard said: “Further investigation on the causal medical link between the above cases and the contamination in the production facility is required.” Greenyard profits at upper end of guidance followi … Greenyard’s fresh sales struggle in Q3 amid “fierc … You might also be interested in Greenyard to unlock “untapped potential” with tran … center_img On June 29 the Hungarian Food Safety Authority issued a resolution to Greenyard Frozen Hungary Kft to stop all marketing and to recall from its customers and consumers all frozen products that had been produced in the plant between August 2016 and June 2018.”Immediately following this resolution, Greenyard has taken all possible additional measures to preserve food safety, among others recall of the products, closure of the Hungarian plant and additional tests and analyses,” Greenyard said.”The recall is a precautionary measure and does not imply that recalled products are contaminated.”The company’s share price fell by as much as 30 percent when the stock market opened on Monday, The Brussels Times reported.Trade in the Greenyard share resumed on Monday morning, opening at 8 euro, it said. In the afternoon the stock even dropped to 7.5 euro: a loss of 35 percent. The publication reported the share is at its lowest level since the summer of 2012. Greenyard in “full swing” to implement recovery pl … July 16 , 2018 last_img read more

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