Labour shortage a major concern for tourism


first_imgSource = e-Travel Blackboard: S.P A recent survey has found there has been a significant increase in concern from tourism operators about the shortage of skilled labour in the tourism industry.The TTF MasterCard Tourism Industry Sentiment Survey conducted by the Tourism and Transport Forum (TTF) revealed that the shortage of skilled workers is the second biggest concern among tourism operators.The survey found behind the strong Aussie dollar 25 percent of respondents rated the lack of skilled workers among the top three business hindrances.TTF chief executive John Lee said that sourcing and maintaining good staff can be very challenging.“Tourism cannot compete with the wages being offered by the mining sector, and there are thousands of unfilled tourism jobs around the country as a result,” Mr Lee said.Mr Lee said as of the 1 July 2012, tourism operators would be able to employ seasonal labour from Pacific countries and East Timor, which should help the situation.The survey also reveals that 90 percent of tourism operators predict that Asian business will become increasingly important to their business.“Tourism businesses must continue to develop products and service standards to meet the demands of Asian visitors, who account for 41 percent of all international visitors and 49 percent of spending in Australia,” Mr lee said.“It is also vital that we deliver a great experience for first time visitors from Asia, as they are the repeat visitors of the future, and repeat visitors account for almost two-thirds of international visitation to Australia.”last_img read more


Events push Sydney hotel occupancy up


first_imgSydney accommodation businesses have enjoyed high occupancies as the city’s events activity increases.Increased occupancy from the domestic leisure market as a result of the recent City-to-Surf run and the AFL match between Sydney Swans and Collingwood saw hotel chains like Accor and Best Western report full capacity across their Sydney properties.Due to event times there has been a strong demand for Saturday night occupancy, which continued to grow in August, according to the Accommodation Association of Australia (AAA).The Accommodation Association of Australia CEO Richard Munro is optimistic the domestic short-break leisure travel is still a very healthy market, evident from these figures.Despite the perception of the high Australian dollar, the CEO said “low airfares mean that leisure travellers are open to taking more short breaks, allowing them to experience the large-scale events that Sydney – as well as other destinations –has to offer.” Accor’s regional general manager, NSW & ACT, Scott Boyes agrees, pointing out that unlike ten years ago when people would only fly interstate once a year, the trend now is people fly interstate about five times.“Today people may fly to another city for a football game, a party, a show, or just to catch up with friends and family,” Mr Boyes said.The short-term outlook for the accommodation sector in Sydney is positive as other events like the NRL and AFL grand final and the Sydney Fiesta are looming. Source = e-Travel Blackboard: K.Wlast_img read more


Velocity Frequent Flyer and BP announce partnership


first_imgVelocity Frequent Flyer and BP have announced an Australian-first partnership that will see an award-winning airline loyalty program enter into a direct partnership with one of Australia’s largest fuel retailers.The multi-year partnership will allow all members of Velocity Frequent Flyer to earn Points on fuel and retail spend at BP by simply swiping their Velocity card in store.This is the first time an airline loyalty program in Australia has brokered a direct partnership with a fuel provider and will close a gap in the market.Velocity Frequent Flyer chief executive officer Neil Thompson, said that buying fuel is an easy way for customers to earn frequent flyer points.“We recognise the importance of rewarding our members on everyday spend and we are thrilled to announce a direct partnership with one of Australia’s leading fuel retailers,” Mr Thompson said.BP Australia and New Zealand president Andy Holmes, said that the partnership is exciting for BP in Australia.“BP’s partnership with Velocity Frequent Flyer is an exciting new direction for BP in Australia, and is part of our commitment to grow our retail business in the Australian market,” Mr Holmes said.The ability to earn Points through BP retailers will commence in early 2015 and to support the partnership, BP will also launch a mechanism for customers to participate instore and earn Points through Velocity Frequent Flyer on same day purchases.The partnership follows Velocity Frequent Flyer program reaching more than 4.5 million members.Source = ETB Travel News: Lewis Wisemanlast_img read more


Qantas employs new GM in Asia


first_imgSource = ETB Travel News: Lewis Wiseman Qantas has announced this week that Benjamin Tan has been appointed as regional general manager Asia, and will be based in Singapore.Benjamin Tan has previously been the Group’s head of sales at the Jetstar Group, will now steer the commercial, financial and operational performance for Qantas across its Asian markets.In taking up the new position, Mr Tan said he is looking forward to progressing Qantas’ commitment to Asia.“Asia is an incredibly important market for Qantas. Over the last two years, we’ve redesigned our Asia network to strengthen our position in the region,” Mr Tan said.“We’ve opened new lounges in Hong Kong and Singapore, are introducing a new inflight dining experience in Economy, and continue to expand our reach with our airline partners, providing greater access across Asia than ever before.”Benjamin Tan brings extensive experience working internationally in Beijing and Tokyo, across the technology and aviation sectors.Most recently, Mr Tan was responsible for worldwide revenue, market share and business expansion across the Jetstar-branded group of airlines.Nick McGlynn, former regional general manager Asia, has returned to Australia to take up a new role as head of global sales and network at Qantas Freight.last_img read more


Royal Plaza on Scotts awarded Top 3 Singapores Best Workplace


first_imgSource = Royal Plaza on Scotts Royal Plaza on Scotts awarded Top 3 Singapore’s Best WorkplaceRoyal Plaza on Scotts awarded Top 3 Singapore’s Best WorkplaceRoyal Plaza on Scotts (RP) is Top 3 Singapore’s Best Workplace, awarded by Great Place to Work® Singapore. This award follows the hotel’s Watch Out World (W.O.W.) Special Mention Award by Great Place to Work Singapore 2015, Top Six Best Companies to Work For by Great Place to Work Singapore 2016 and Asia’s Best Small & Medium Workplaces by Great Place to Work 2017.The hotel has embarked on the journey to “see people as people” as part of the Spirit of RP™. The Spirit of RP™ encapsulates the brand values (S.E.R.V.I.C.E – Seamless, Empowered, Refreshing, Versatile, Individualised, Charming and Emotional) and Employee Value Propositions (EVPs) (Trust and Respect, Celebrate, Fun, Passion and Making a Difference) which form the foundation of the organisation’s culture.All talents are referred to as Chief Experience Officers (CEOs) in the hotel. The designation recognises the key role of each position in orchestrating the guests’ experiences and empowers individuals. CEOs of Royal Plaza on Scotts are recognised as the hotel’s Human Capital instead of Human Resource. It is a shift from seeing people as a resource for expensing, to treating them as capital assets that are part of the investments to grow with the organisation, playing an essential role in the business development.Seamless communication is the key to changes which lead to success. CEOs have the assurance that they are able to talk to department heads and peers freely at any time, when they are met with challenges. The hotel is committed to “trust and respect” CEOs, and has omitted the standard clock-in and clock-out practice as well as the submission of medical certificates. This demonstrates the level of trust that the organisation places in them. In turn, they feel empowered to be responsible for their own work. With trust in place, the management also advocates a high level of empowerment to all CEOs by putting it in practice every day.Based on Great Place to Work’s audits for the past three years, Royal Plaza on Scotts was able to recognise its areas of weaknesses. Working on them as a team helped to close the gap between departments and organisation as the goals and directions are more closely aligned.“This award is especially important to the hotel. Having a great work environment will give CEOs more reasons to stay with the organisation. This is in sync with the hotel’s mission statement to create great guests’ experience, with a great place to work for all,” said Mr Patrick Fiat, General Manager and Chief Experience Officer (CEO) of Royal Plaza on Scotts.last_img read more


AccorHotels opens new hotel in the heart of Gangnam SK


first_imgSource = AccorHotels Club Limit Rooftop BarAccorHotels opens new hotel in the heart of Gangnam, SKLocated in trendy Gangnam district, the 108-room Alcove Hotel Seoul is set to open its doors this October. Designed by SungGahun, Alcove Hotel Seoul Managed by AccorHotels & Ambassador is an urban hideaway for business and leisure travellers featuring seven room types with large private outdoor spaces and a stunning rooftop bar that overlooks the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Seolleung and Jeongneung (Seonjeongneung) Royal Park.“Last year we celebrated 30 years of our partnership with Ambassador Hotel Group, and today, we are excited to embark on a new chapter together. The opening of Alcove Hotel Seoul offers travellers to the city a design experience with personalized service and an individual charm that are hallmarks of the property,” said Patrick Basset, Chief Operating Officer of AccorHotels, Upper Southeast and Northeast Asia.Overlooking the verdant Seonjeongneung park views, Alcove Hotel Seoul strives for a leitmotif of peaceful ambience with its guest rooms featuring solid wood furnishings with warm decor complemented by premium Simmons bedding and French Nuxe branded bath amenities.The element of peace extends to the culinary offerings at its restaurant, café, and two bars. Styled like a comfortable neighbourhood bistro, Salmanazar Restaurant serves a range of American classic dishes which can also be enjoyed at the restaurant’s private garden while Salmanazar Café offers all-day-and-night dining with gourmet coffees, freshly baked pastries and a selection of wines. For an intimate get-together or gathering with friends, the exclusive members-only Bluewood House lounge and bar is the perfect social club venue for an evening wine down. Perched on the rooftop of the hotel, Club Limit is a metropolitan oasis where creative dishes and mellow music come together against the panoramic backdrop of the city.For guests looking to keep up with their fitness regime while on the road, the state-of-the-art Bluewood Fitness & Pilates gym and fitness centre is fully equipped with the latest Technogym and Balanced Body Pilates equipment. Guests can also book a private session with professional trainers to maximize their workout time. Other on-site facilities include a 24-hour laundry room and a self-service business corner.Guest staying at the hotel can visit the royal tombs of the ninth King Seongjong and the 11th King Jungjong of the Joseon Dynasty at the serene forest park. Also within a short walking distance is COEX Mall, Asia’s largest underground shopping centre, which houses the country’s largest COEX Aquarium with over 180 display tanks and Kimchi Museum. Hotel guests can also book free car services to visit these nearby attractions.“Alcove Hotel Seoul Managed by AccorHotels is perfect for guest looking for a short getaway. The hotel is located in the heart of Gangnam which is well-known for its underground shopping centres and malls. We look forward to welcoming guests that appreciate creative design with a touch of personalized service in Seoul’s most hip and stylish district,” said Jae-Yeon Kang, General Manager of Alcove Hotel Seoul.Special Opening PackageEnjoy a weekend getaway from KRW 193,000 net per night for two from now until November 30, 2018. Please e-mail ha0f8-re@accor.com or call +82 2 6230 8801 for reservations.Alcove Hotel Seoul is located at 428 Bongeunsa-ro, Gangnam-gu, Seoul, South Korea. Seonjeongneung subway station is a 10 minute walk from the hotel while the airport limousine bus stop is located nearby.For more information, please visit www.accorhotels.com, www.ambatel.com, www.thealcovehotel.co.kr or email info@thealcovehotel.co.kr and call +82 2 6230 8800 for general enquires.last_img read more


Your Guide to Rugby World Cup Japan 2019


first_imgYour Guide to Rugby World Cup Japan 2019Your Guide to Rugby World Cup Japan 2019With the 2019 Rugby World Cup just around the corner, it’s no surprise that the Land of the Rising Sun has been on the minds and bucket lists of travelers all over the world. Whether you’re traveling to Japan in 2019 for the Rugby World Cup or just crossing this incredible destination off of your bucket list, there are endless experiences to be had. Dive in for the ‘where to go,’ ‘what to see,’ and ‘what to do’ in these Ruby World Cup host cities and be sure to visit https://visitjapan2019.com/ for in-depth destination information for all of the fabulous RWC host cities!SapporoThe capital of Japan’s northern most island of Hokkaido, Sapporo boasts an eclectic variety of sights and activities to entice any kind of traveler. The foodie traveler will enjoy a stroll through Sapporo’s bustling Susukino area, specifically the narrow avenue known as Ramen Yokocho where nothing but delectable ramen shops line the way. Beer lovers can visit Sapporo’s eponymous brewery where they can sample classic drafts as well as some exclusive brews only available in Hokkaido. The brewery museum’s adjacent Biergarten serves up mouthwatering “Genghis Khan” style BBQ that pairs gloriously with – you guessed it – Sapporo beer. Don’t forget to walk through the beautiful Odori Park where one can see iconic Sapporo landmarks such as the Sapporo TV Tower.For more information: https://visitjapan2019.com/sapporo/ToyotaLocated roughly 90 minutes from Tokyo, the city of Toyota is most synonymous with the automobile brand that has made it a household name. Although the Toyota factory is a highlight and a definite must visit for any automobile enthusiast, Toyota and neighboring capital city Nagoya are important centers for art and history in this region of the country. Once the seat of the powerful Tokugawa Shogun, the restored Nagoya Castle is a national treasure and must-see, as is nearby Tokugawa Garden with its beautiful greenery, serene koi ponds, and stereoscopic rock garden. The Aichi Triennale, one of the largest contemporary art festivals in Japan, will be returning in 2019 and will feature artwork from over 80 different artists in exhibits in both Toyota and Nagoya cities and is not to be missed.For more information: https://visitjapan2019.com/toyota/KobeJust 30 minutes west of Kyoto on the bullet train route, the energetic port city of Kobe offers so much more than just the succulent beef that made it famous. The lively Motomachi district located right near the port of Kobe is a shopper’s paradise and is connected to the city’s roughly 150 year old Chinatown, where some of the best Kobe beef restaurants can be found. A short train ride to the east will take you to the Nada district, Japan’s top producing sake region. Travelers can tour and taste their way through the Napa Valley of sake, visiting the breweries of sake giants like Hakutsuru as well as some smaller yet more venerable establishments like 350 year old Kikumasamune which doubles as a sake museum. Visitors looking for a stunning nightscape can take a ride up the Shin-Kobe Ropeway for a breathtaking panoramic port view. Sightseers in search of more verdant settings will enjoy hiking Mt. Rokko’s many trails which pass alpine botanical gardens and waterfalls along the way.For More Information: https://visitjapan2019.com/kobe/OitaLocated on the eastern coast of Japan’s southernmost main island of Kyushu, Oita prefecture is known as hot spring heaven, which is ironic considering that it is also home to the iconic Seven Hells of Beppu – a name given to a tour of seven unique hot spring pools of varying mineral compositions and colors. When not luxuriating in the hot spring baths of famous resorts such as Beppu and Yufuin, you might try a bath of a different sort – sand bathing. For this popular spa treatment, guests don yukata robes and lie down in warm mineral rich sand which they are then buried in up to the neck for 15 minutes as the sand soothes aching muscles and increases blood circulation. Be sure not to miss the beautifully preserved castle towns of Usuki and Kitsuki for a walk back in time to the Edo period more than 200 years ago.For More Information: https://visitjapan2019.com/oita/ Information is provided as a courtesy to users of this website. Though the JNTO endeavors to ensure the information is accurate, users of the information are to act on such using their own judgement and at their own risk. Neither the JNTO nor any holder of copyright to the information shall be held responsible in any way whatsoever for any loss or misunderstanding, either direct or indirect, that is incurred as a result of utilizing the information.Source = JNTOlast_img read more


French President visits the Louvre Abu Dhabi


first_imgFrench President Francois Hollande, accompanied by H.H. Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Co-operation, toured the Louvre Abu Dhabi site and reviewed the progress in construction of the cultural landmark.The French President’s tour was part of his visit to the UAE to attend the Conference on Safeguarding Endangered Cultural Heritage, jointly organised by the UAE and France under the patronage of UNESCO from the December 2 to 3, 2016, in Abu Dhabi.The visit was aimed at updating the French President on the latest construction work on the striking and innovative museum. A number of French officials, delegates and representatives of Abu Dhabi Tourism and Culture Authority, accompanied the French president on the tour.H.H. Sheikh Abdullah said, “Through the Louvre Abu Dhabi, the UAE and France are seeking to highlight the deep cultural exchange and interaction between civilisations, look at the future and convey a message to generations about the importance of intellectual and knowledge exchange.”Hollande also expressed his thanks and appreciation to the curators, developers, artists and architects including the designer of the museum Jean Nouvel. He termed the Louvre Abu Dhabi as an embodiment of the strong ties between the UAE and France.Some of the masterpieces from the Louvre Paris collections and from other major French museums will be displayed at Louvre Abu Dhabi, he added.At the end of the visit, the French President and Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed unveiled a memorial plaque marking the visit of the Louvre site where the president wrote ‘In culmination of the deep friendship bonds that bind our countries, the United Arab Emirates presents the Louvre Abu Dhabi to the whole humanity to stand as a ray of hope for the unity of the world and to serve as a centre for human heritage, a message for mutual respect among peoples.’The Louvre Abu Dhabi is scheduled to welcome visitors in 2017 and will feature loaned paintings from 13 French cultural institutions, including Leonardo da Vinci, Van Gogh, and Henri Matisse.last_img read more


Cox Kings initiates school for underprivileged children in Pune


first_imgAs a part of the systematic efforts to provide education to the underprivileged kids, Cox & Kings Foundation- the philanthropic arm of Cox & Kings Ltd along with The Mamta Trust has set up a new pre-primary school for underprivileged kids in Mahadev Nagar, Manjari Road, Pune. The school is set to offer quality education, nutrition and care to the youngest and most vulnerable children in the area. The new school was recently inaugurated by Thomas C Thottathil, Vice President- Corporate Communication & CSR, Cox & Kings Ltd.Speaking about the project, Karan Anand, Head, Relationships, Cox & Kings, said, “Cox & Kings Foundation, through various CSR initiatives, has touched over 30,000 lives across India. We have been supporting Mamta Trust’s school in Hadapsar since the past few years. This new school has further expanded the scope of our work in Pune. Primarily, our focus is on providing quality education with the mix of warmth and an upbeat learning environment.”Swati Phulpagar of Mamta Trust said, “Our research on Pune’s slum kids indicates that most of the children between the ages of three and six don’t go to school as most of the parents can’t afford early education for their kids. Those who go to school, most of them are at near illiteracy level even after 2-3 years of schooling. Since the backbone of education is missing, the children are unable to clearly understand their lessons as they start their primary education. We are trying to fill in this gap through our pre-primary schools.”last_img read more


JNTO aims high with Year of IndiaJapan friendly Exchanges


first_imgUnder the leadership of Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and PM of India Narendra Modi, the countries have announced 2017 to be the ‘Year of India-Japan friendly Exchanges.’ In regard to the same the Embassy of Japan in India organised an event which was co-hosted by Japan Tourism Agency and Japan National Tourism Organisation (JNTO).Speaking on the occasion, H.E. Kenji Hiramatsu, Ambassador of Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary, Japan to India, said, “Throughout the year 2017 both the countries will have a number of cultural and tourism related activities. It will allow a great opportunity to introduce various facets and charms of Japan to the people of India. Japan in India has a long standing cultural heritage taking us back to sixth century. We foresee the future of Japan-India growing stronger, given the fact that both the countries share a lot in common in regard to its tradition, heritage, culture and much more.”The government of Japan has also introduced a new feature in relaxing the student visa for Indian students commencing from February 1, 2017. “We hope this will encourage younger generation to discover Japan. We also plan to have 13 more offices in all over India by the end of March 2017. We believe that it will further amend the visa laws for Indians to apply for Japanese visa,” added Hiramatsu.JNTO President, Ryoichi Matsuyama had informed that in 2016 the number of inbound visitors from India to Japan reached 1,20,000. The number of outbound travellers from Japan to India was 2,30,000. Union Minister of Railways, Suresh Prabhakar Prabhu, said, “We have a very long standing relationship with Japan. On different levels we are working together, and through a historic agreement signed between these two countries, we have entered into a strategic relationship. It will not just be a relationship on economic, strategic or business level, but a relationship between two societies that are so culturally intact.”Amitabh Kant, CEO, NITI Aayog, said, “Japan is the only country which combines progress, modernity, with its very unique credible culture and heritage. Once JNTO gets effective in tier II & tier III cities of India, soon people will start flying from India to Japan. On the other hand it is important for Japanese tourists to explore our Buddhist circuits, while they explore unique Indian heritage, wildlife, traditions, mountains and much more.”Under the recent Indo-Japan collaboration JNTO, Embassy of Japan and Japan Tourism Agency has announced the ‘Indo-Japan Film Project’. It will soon begin under Imtiaz Ali’s production house ‘Window Seat Films’ along with Japan’s theatre and film company Shochiku. The movie is named after the famous 1966 blockbuster Hindi film named ‘Love in Tokyo’. The movie will star a Japanese female protagonist and Indian male lead. The movie aims to highlight Japan’s heritage, cuisine, culture, and tourist attractions.last_img read more


Envoy Mortgage Expands into Homebuilder Market


first_img “”Envoy Mortgage””:http://envoymortgage.com/ is expanding its business with the launch of its new National Builder Division platform.[IMAGE]The independent, full-service mortgage banking firm wants to get in on the resurgence in the homebuilder market segment by offering targeted products and services to meet their specific needs. To that end, Envoy seeks to capitalize on the company’s core strengths to develop relationships with homebuilders and developers across the country.””Everyone knows the economy has been struggling, and that pain was especially felt in the new home construction segment,”” said Suzanne Schakett, SVP of Envoy’s new division. “”Those struggles did not necessarily have to do with homebuilders mishandling their business in any way, but rather with cash flow constraints from the banks and their inability to acquire interim construction financing, among other factors.””Today, however, there is a renewed energy being felt in the industry, and homebuilders are excited for the first time in several years,”” Schakett added.The National Builder Division will partner with large and small homebuilders, using construction market research and expertise to focus on helping clients expand their footprint in new construction communities. Through the new division, Envoy hopes to provide the best and most competitive loan products and to serve as an extension of their clients’ sales teams through on-site coverage, co-branding, and customized solutions to help generate traffic.Schakett said the company wants to avoid offering “”vanilla mortgage products”” and instead wants to help builders get everything they need to sell homes.””With this new platform, Envoy Mortgage is able to effectively leverage all of our tools and resources to help homebuilders and developers ell homes and deliver a best-in-class home buying experience,”” Schakett said. “”It is important that we offer a variety of products to aid builders and their buyers in making their dream of owning a new home a possibility.””Headquartered in Houston, Texas, Envoy Mortgage operates a network of retail branches, offering origination in 47 states. Envoy Mortgage Expands into Homebuilder Market Agents & Brokers Attorneys & Title Companies Company News Homebuilders Investors Lenders & Servicers Service Providers 2012-10-09 Tory Barringer October 9, 2012 420 Views center_img Share in Origination, Servicinglast_img read more


FHFA Gains Support for Single Security Proposal


first_imgFHFA Gains Support for Single Security Proposal Following the Federal Housing Finance Agency’s (FHFA’s) recent request for input on its proposal for a single security for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the Urban Institute expressed support for the idea but concern that FHFA may be unnecessarily slow in implementing such a plan.”FHFA’s single security proposal is well-thought out and worthy of serious consideration and support by all key stakeholders,” stated the Urban Institute on its Metro Trends Blog.However, the institute is “concerned that FHFA may be contemplating a slower pace in the project than it warrants.”The securities “would combine the best features of each of the current securities,” such that “the security would have the superior pooling features of the current Fannie Mae securities and the superior disclosure features of the Freddie Mac securities,” according to the Urban Institute.Under FHFA’s proposal, Freddie Mac securities could be placed into Fannie Mae securitizations, and vice versa.The Urban Institute supports the idea of single security for three main reasons, the first of which is that it has the potential to save the Treasury between $400 million and $600 million per year. These savings would take place as Freddie Mac would no longer have to subsidize its guarantee fees to originators to remain competitive and maintain its market share.Second, the Urban Institute suggests a single security would lead to more competition in the mortgage market. A single security would remove some of Fannie Mae’s advantage, leading it to rescind some of its market dominance. Ultimately, the institute suggests this could lead to greater access to credit in the mortgage market.Lastly, a single security “could help pave the way for GSE reform,” according to the Urban Institute. Fannie Mae FHFA Freddie Mac Mortgage-Backed Securities 2014-09-07 Krista Franks Brock September 7, 2014 458 Views center_img Share in Daily Dose, Government, Headlines, News, Secondary Marketlast_img read more


California Forecast Rising Sales Flattening Prices


first_img Home sales in California are expected to rebound in 2015 following a step backward this year, according to a forecast from the state’s Realtor group.In its 2015 housing market forecast, the California Association of Realtors (CAR) calls for existing-home sales in the state to reach 402,500 next year, an increase of 5.8 percent from 2014’s projected sales figure of 380,500.Even with the increase, home sales are still expected to fall short of last year’s total of 414,300, demonstrating how much California’s market has slowed down in 2014.”Stringent underwriting guidelines and double-digit home price increases over the past two years have significantly impacted housing affordability in California, forcing some buyers to delay their home purchase,” said CAR President Kevin Brown. “However, next year, home price gains will slow, allowing would-be buyers who have been saving for a down payment to be in a better financial position to make a home purchase.”The median home price in the state in 2015 is forecast to rise 5.2 percent to $478,700, less than half the 11.8 percent increase expected for this year. The forecast appreciation rate is the slowest in four years, CAR said, reflecting improvements in housing inventory and investors’ diminishing market presence.The slowdown in price appreciation, coupled with an expected minor increase in mortgage interest rates to an average 4.50 percent for a 30-year fixed-rate loan, are anticipated to help boost sales.”While the Fed will likely end its quantitative easing program by the end of this year, it has had minimal impact on interest rates, which should only inch up slightly and remain low throughout 2015,” said CAR VP and Chief Economist Leslie Appleton-Young, who will present the association’s forecast at the California Realtor Expo this week. “This should help moderate the decline in housing affordability we saw occur over the past two years.”Continuing a trend recorded over the last few years, the San Francisco Bay area is expected to outperform the other regions of the state, owing its growth to a more vigorous job market and tighter supply conditions. in Daily Dose, Data, Headlines, News Share October 8, 2014 554 Views center_img Forecast Home Prices Home Sales Realtor Association 2014-10-08 Tory Barringer California Forecast: Rising Sales, Flattening Priceslast_img read more


EXCLUSIVE Barney Frank Dismisses Trump Executive Order


first_img February 3, 2017 743 Views in Featured, Government, News EXCLUSIVE: Barney Frank Dismisses Trump Executive Order Sharecenter_img Dodd-Frank Act Executive Order Government 2017-02-03 Phil Banker President Donald Trump’s executive order demanding an official review of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act is his first real step toward fulfilling a promise he made in his campaign to overhaul the banking rule. The executive order, which President Trump signed Friday, will direct the Treasury secretary to consult members of different regulatory agencies and the Financial Stability Oversight Council, and report back on potential changes.Former House Representative Barney Frank (D-Massachusetts) spoke to MReport on Friday, saying Trump’s latest executive order confirms his suspicions that Trump has no intention of maintaining strong regulatory controls over the financial industry.”He’s not worried about a repeat of 2008,” Frank said. “I think this is just confirmation that he believes we shouldn’t regulate the financial industry. Instead, he’s going to make people in business very happy.”Frank first introduced the Act into the House of Representatives in 2009, which passed in the Senate with the help of co-author Sen. Chris Dodd (D-Connecticut). It was signed into law by President Barack Obama on July 21, 2010.Frank said the executive order itself is no real threat to Dodd-Frank itself, as it only orders the Secretary of the Treasury to prepare a report.”The executive order doesn’t do anything. Literally it doesn’t do anything,” he said. “The reason is, he can’t change the provisions of the law by executive order. These are specific statutes, I think we were very careful about adopting them. He would like to get Congress substantively to weaken the bill legislatively.”Frank expressed his skepticism that repeal of financial reform will succeed in Congress.”Financial reform is very popular,” Frank said. “When the Republicans were in power under President Obama, they kept voting to repeal the healthcare bill entirely but they never put the vote to the floor to repeal financial reform because the public supports financial form.”He’s not going to get this through the Congress, I believe,” Frank said.Several members of the industry voiced their approval for the president’s order, while others expressed concern and called for caution.“It’s promising that President Trump is taking a proactive stance on re-examining regulations,” said Ed Delgado, President and CEO of the Five Star Institute and former Wells Fargo and Freddie Mac executive. “Dodd-Frank as it stands was well intended, but is complex and overbearing upon implementation and execution.”Trump also signed a presidential memorandum instructing the Labor Department to delay an Obama-era rule requiring financial professionals to put their clients’ interests first when giving advice on retirement investments.Brian Montgomery, former FHA Commissioner and Vice Chairman of the Washington D.C.-based think tank The Collingwood Group, echoed Delgado’s sentiment on potential changes to Dodd-Frank.“During the campaign, I am fairly certain candidate Trump didn’t say he supported fewer consumer protections, however he did make clear that changes were needed to Dodd-Frank and his recent comments signal that it’s time for a common-sense approach to regulation,” Montgomery said. “For one, the barrage of rules targeted at mortgage bankers has required them to spend hundreds of millions in technology upgrades most of which have nothing to do with improving the actual customer experience.”Montgomery said one independent banker told him he spends 75 percent of his IT budget on Dodd-Frank mandated changes alone.“The new regulatory regime has also driven up the cost to originate a mortgage loan to $7,046 in 2015 up from $4,500 in 2008,” he said. “This creates two major problems—lenders remain fearful of loan defaults and the heavy-handed government intrusion that follows and will only lend to borrowers with pristine credit, and it’s now uneconomical for them to originate smaller balance mortgages.”However, not all responses to a possible regulatory reduction were positive.Wade Henderson, president and CEO of The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, took an opposing stance on the president’s order.“Making the financial system more fair and transparent is essential to providing low-income and minority communities with more economic stability,” Henderson said. “Over the past decade, our country has learned hard lessons about what happens when the game is rigged and regulators turn their backs to reckless subprime mortgages, payday loan debt traps, and shady bank account fees. President Trump seems bent on forgetting those lessons and on betraying the people he professed to represent when he talked about a ‘rigged’ system.”Many of the Act’s supporters point to the billions of dollars returned to U.S. consumers through regulatory actions mounted by the Consumer Finance Protection Bureau, an agency created by the Act whose future is currently in doubt.Lisa Donner, executive director of Americans for Financial Reform, agreed with Henderson, calling the order a “betrayal” of Trump’s campaign promises to keep Wall Street in check.“Wall Street titan Goldman Sachs seems to be taking over financial regulation in the United States, trying to make it easier for them and other big banks like Wells Fargo to steal from their customers and destabilize the economy,” Donner said. “If they succeed it will have painful consequences.”Dan Berger, President and CEO of the National Association of Federally-Insured Credit Unions (NAFCU) said they welcome regulators reviewing Dodd-Frank but also that they would continue to support and press the CFPB to use its authority to exempt credit unions from the regulations created to address abuses in which they did not engage.“Ultimately, we look forward to the administration, Congress and the regulators working together to reduce regulatory burden,” Berger said. “We will continue to advocate for credit unions’ best interests as this review moves forward.”last_img read more


July 31 2018


first_imgJuly 31 , 2018 Colombia has been working hard in recent years on its mission to become a world-class blueberry exporter – an effort that is reaching a key phase with the upcoming inaugural exports to key Northern Hemisphere marketsAndrés Duque of Blueberries Colombia spoke with Fresh Fruit Portal about the work they have been doing, planting expectations and future exports to the U.S.For the last few years the company has been working with the Biloxi variety in the highlands around the capital Bogotá. Duque described the cultivar as “one that grows exceptionally well, large and with the Brix degrees demanded by the market”.They plan to begin exporting it later this year to the U.S., Europe and Hong Kong, with between 1,000 and 1,500 metric tons (MT) due to be shipped over a year and a half. Peru expects 20% uptick in produce exports this ye … Blueberry uptick drives Camposol’s strong performa … You might also be interested incenter_img Blueberries in Charts: Mexico sends record volumes … While Duque that blueberries can be produced year-round in Colombia, the company is going to concentrate its efforts between late-August and mid-December to take advantage of the lucrative marketing window.In the future, he said they will work with different varieties that will allow them to position themselves within the world’s largest consumers and markets, particularly the U.S., Europe, China, Japan, and Korea, among others.Future expectationsDuque said there are other blueberry projects under development and that “Colombia has initiatives that can easily reach one thousand hectares in the next three years”, but they just need to find the right growers.He pointed out that the market evaluation of the fruit will be crucial but is optimistic for the future, expecting thousands of hectares to be planted over the next five to 10 years.By using high-density plantations the expect to eventually achieve yields of 20MT per hectare, as long as all the technology is used to get the most out of the crop, he said.In the future, they plan to include Eureka, through an alliance with Sabana Blues, and some other varieties in their exports. Blueberries In Charts: Higher market volumes lead …last_img read more


The US tariffs will apply to almost 6000 items


first_imgThe U.S. tariffs will apply to almost 6,000 items, making them the biggest round of trade tariffs yet from Washington. Included are some 200 agricultural items such as berries, mushrooms and mangoes.The Asian country has already increased tariffs on key U.S. import imports like cherries, apples, citrus, grapes and almonds from 10% to 50% since April, greatly limiting exports of these items to China.The incoming tariffs mean that the U.S. will have implemented tariffs on half of the total of around US$500 billion of imports from China, while China will have put tariffs on all US$130 billion of U.S. imports. U.S., China revive trade talks ahead of Trump-Xi G … Chinese companies have stopped buying U.S. agricul … You might also be interested in September 20 , 2018 center_img The U.S. says it will refuse conditions on tariff … China and the U.S. will next week hit each other with the latest round of tariffs, as the trade war between the world’s two largest economies continues to escalate.The U.S. said it would slap 10% duties on US$200 billion of Chinese imports on Monday (Sept. 24) – which is the Mid-Autumn Festival in China – with the rate due to increase to 25% from Jan. 1.China immediately hit back by announcing plans to implement 5-10% duties on US$60 billion of duties, targeting a little over 5,000 products. It says it will target goods such as liquefied natural gas, produced in states loyal to U.S. President Donald Trump. U.S.: Trump threatens to raise tariffs on Chinese …last_img read more


You might also be interested in


first_img You might also be interested in “The Pacific Northwest cherry deal is an uncut diamond”. Stated Ramon Arrau, CEO of Giddings Fruit USA, LLC., and Giddings Cerasus S.A. in Chile. He went on to say, “Grower and buyer feedback is positive; both are excited to see our program expand”. He continued “We are very pleased with Stadelman Fruit, their disposition and company culture – they are an integral part of our success”.“Growers in our program are excited about our business model and our results – they want a change, they want to diversify”. Stated Ryan Durow, Director of Operations for Giddings Fruit USA. He also noted “Our program allows growers to have an active role in the outcome of their cherry harvest”. Giddings Fruit Holding operates worldwide as a fresh fruit producer, packer and exporter aimed on achieving produce with high value through the development of genetically stronger varieties and nutrition programs focused on post-harvest quality. Giddings Cerasus S.A. with offices and packing facility located in San Fernando, Chile, grows, packs and exports high standard cherries and other fruits from all the Chilean productive areas. PRESS RELEASEThe Dalles, Oregon – Giddings Fruit USA, LLC., based in The Dalles, Oregon, and part of the Giddings Fruit Holding company that operates in Chile, Mexico, and Peru, is excited to be part of the Pacific Northwest Cherry deal. Giddings Fruit USA specializes in the growing, handling, packing and exporting of NW cherries into China and Asia. For the past two cherry seasons, Giddings Fruit packed cherries (under their ‘Cerasus’ label) for export at Stadelman Fruit in Zillah, WA. The Giddings Fruit export program is designed to bring added value to the current business model.Giddings’ export program and Stadelman’s domestic program (Yakima Fresh) combined, prove the added value proposition and have gained grower attention. The program allows growers to hedge some risk against the volatile Northwest cherry season. They achieve this through a quality-based ‘non-pooled’ export program and a ‘pooled’ domestic program. This model compliments grower ambitions of producing large, high-quality cherries and supports the current volume-based domestic business. Giddings’ Technical and Production Department provides nutrition, fertilization, chemical and horticultural support year-round to ensure grower and program success.center_img March 07 , 2019 last_img read more


airlinesDanangJapanOsakaVietnamVietnam Airlines


first_imgairlinesDanangJapanOsakaVietnamVietnam Airlines Vietnam Airlines will launch a new seven times weekly flight between Danang and Osaka commencing 28 October, 2018. This is the 11th route opened by Vietnam Airlines that connects Vietnam and Japan, following services between Hanoi/Ho Chi Minh City/Danang and Tokyo/Osaka/ Nagoya/Fukuoka.The service will be operated by Airbus A321 and depart from Danang Airport at 00:20 and from Kansai Airport at 09:30 (local time) with a flight time of around 4 hours and 30 minutes. Until 30 September 2018, the airline will launch a promotional program with Danang – Osaka round-trip fares starting from AUD$249 (excluding taxes, fees and surcharges) for departures between 28 October and 31 December 31 2018. For each non-stop flight between Danang and Osaka from 28 October, 2018 to 31 January, 2019, LotuSmile members are eligible to receive a bonus of 2000 miles when flying on Business Class and 1000-1500 miles on Economy class. The promotion applies to all LotuSmile members whose tickets are issued at agents and official website of Vietnam Airlines.last_img read more


hotelsIHGInterContinental Hotels GroupS P Dow Jo


first_imghotelsIHGInterContinental Hotels GroupS & P Dow Jones Sustainability Indicessustainability For the second consecutive year, InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) has been listed on the S & P Dow Jones Sustainability Indices in the Hotels, Resorts & Cruise Lines category. IHG achieved first place in RobecoSAM’s Hotels, Resorts & Cruise Lines industry group, with the highest score for the industry on our Corporate Sustainability Assessment.The S&P Dow Jones Sustainability Index is widely regarded as one of the most prestigious benchmarks for corporate economic, environmental and social performance. Our achievement means that we retain our listing on the 2018 S&P Dow Jones Sustainability World Index, and S&P Dow Jones Sustainability Europe Index.Yasmin Diamond, Executive Vice President, Global Corporate Affairs, IHG, commented: “At IHG, our purpose is to provide True Hospitality for everyone, and this is central to our long-standing commitment to operating our business responsibly in all aspects of our work. As the gold standard for sustainability performance, we are very proud to be listed on the Dow Jones Sustainability Indices for the second year running. This serves as recognition for the hard work and dedication of our people, owners and partners around the world.”In RobecoSAM’s Industry Leader Report, IHG scored highly in areas relating to our culture of responsible business, including environmental criteria, human rights, and risk and crisis management. We were also recognised for our stakeholder engagement, which has been key to identifying the four areas where we feel we can have the most positive impact: Environmental Sustainability, Community Impact, Our People and Responsible Procurement. These form the basis of IHG’s 2018-2020 Responsible Business targets, which launched earlier this year, and are designed to support several of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals.last_img read more


Pettitts India Tours has appointed Elite Represent


first_imgPettitts India Tours has appointed Elite Representation Asia Pacific to complement its sales activities in Australia and New Zealand. Elite will service the separate and different needs of these growing markets for India and develop new opportunities for the DMC services within all travel segments.Commenting on this important step in the international sales and marketing growth, Mr Sandeep Madhavan, Director of Pettitts India Tours said: “For three decades, we have been bringing to our clients the most germane, rewarding and audacious travel experience. Our clients are not numbers, but stories, experiences and friends we have managed to sustain over the three decades. India is experiencing growing interest for Australians and New Zealanders looking for unique travel experiences. These are either Adventure, Wildlife, Safaris, Spiritual, Cruises, Gourmet, Rail, Trekking, Textile, Archaeological and Historical tours. We are also seeing interest for Medical, Ayurveda, Yoga and Wellbeing tours from Australia and New Zealand. Under the guidance of Elite Representation Asia Pacific’s Executive Director and Founder, Pat Monneron, a well respected industry professional very familiar with India, we look forward to working with the Elite team to raise the awareness of our services and to key trade partners for Pettitts.” Pat Monneron, Executive Director for Elite Representation Asia Pacific said, “I am pleased to be representing Pettitts India Tours in the Australian and New Zealand markets in a period of growing visitor numbers to India. Pettitts’ specialisation will ensure high level of customer service to trade partners for leisure and MICE segments, something all agents are looking for when partnering with a DMC. The Elite team look forward to working with Tour Operators, Retail Travel Agents, Group Buying, MICE segments of – PCOs, Event Planners, Corporate, Incentive Market for the Sub Continent.”Incorporated in 1989, Pettitts India Tours Pvt. Ltd. is recognised by the Ministry of Tourism, Government of India and participates actively as a member of IATO, ATOA, PATA, TAAI, ICPB as well as various other travel organisations. The company specialises in destination management services, MICE repertoire and outbound travel services. A team of tour planners, guides and advisers facilitate the clients throughout the duration of the trip. IMAGE: Virupaksha temple view from Hemakuta hill at sunrise in Hampi, Karnataka, India/PETTITTS INDIA TOURS< ?em> appointmentsElite RepresentationindiaPettitts India Tourslast_img read more