Source = Alila Villas Uluwatu Super stylish Balinese hideaway adds RIBA award to its collectionAlila Villas Uluwatu has been awarded a Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) international award for architectural excellence. One of just 13 international buildings selected, the all-villa resort on Bali’s Bukit peninsula is also the only hotel amongst the winners, described as a ‘star studded cast of imaginative and breathtaking buildings’.Since opening in late 2009, Alila Villas Uluwatu has gained international attention for its contemporary style, striking cliff-top location and innovative combination of design and eco-credentials, as the first resort in Bali to achieve EarthCheck (formerly Green Globe) certification for building, planning and design.Designed by Singapore based architects WOHA, who were also recognised by RIBA for their work on the School of the Arts in Singapore, the accolade is the latest in a string of awards for Alila Villas Uluwatu, following a much-coveted World Architecture award for ‘Best Holiday Building’ and Gold Key award for ‘Best Hotel Design’ last year.Set in a stunning cliff-top location on southern Bali’s Bukit peninsula, high above one of the world’s best surf breaks, Alila Villas Uluwatu’s striking contemporary style extends throughout the one, two and threebedroom villas with private pools, dramatic dining locations, and world-class spa offering a truly remarkable resort experience.
Source = Shamwari Group Shamwari Game Reserve, Sanbona Wildlife Reserve, Jock Safari Lodge and Nkomazi Game Reserve, all part of Shamwari Group have been presented with a 2013 Certificate of Excellence Award by tripadvisor®.Shamwari Group’s, Group General Manager, Joe Cloete commented, “It’s great to be recognised and we hope this also confirms that the very many new guest offerings at each of the lodges are proving successful such as education, conservation awareness and family travel aside from the given luxury element.” This esteemed award is rewarded to businesses that constantly obtain high ratings from tripadvisor® travellers. By receiving this prestigious award, it has placed Sanbona Wildlife Reserve in the top-performing 10% of all businesses worldwide via tripadvisor®.
Prime Minister Tony Abbott is non-committal on the idea of Australia’s first completely privately funded and built airport in Toowoomba.John Wagner, the owner of concrete business Wagners, has invested more than AUD $100 million in to creating the airport in Queensland on top of an old cow paddock.The airport will be known as the Brisbane West Wellcamp Airport and will include one runway 2.87 km long and an adjacent business park.Mr Wagner is trying to invite Michelle Obama to cut the ribbon for the opening in November but the airport is yet to receive national government support.Prime Minister Tony Abbott has reportedly declined to visit the airport declined to visit the airport and said that it is curious that the airport does not seem to have gone through a community consultation.However, Mr Wagner said that this claim is not the case.“Wagners had to submit two environmental impact statements to CASSA as well as a more than 500 page development application,” Mr Wagner said.“We have also undertaken extensive community consultation including door knocking all our neighbours within a five kilometre radius and community presentations.”Mr Wagner said that in 2001 the land on which the airport is being built was zoned as heavy industrial which meant that the development application for the airport did not have to inform surrounding neighbours.The airport is set to be finished by the end of this year, the terminal structure is now complete and is currently undergoing a fit out and the runway is currently being sealed.“It’s going to be a very impressive building with a contemporary design using lots of glass and light, simple clean lines and a mix of timber, polished stone flooring and exposed concrete features,” Mr Wagner said in a statement.In comparison, Badgery’s Creek will not be finished until 2019 and will cost AUD $2.5 billion.Source = ETB News: Tom Neale
Khazanah Nasional, the Malaysian government institutional majority owner of Malaysia Airlines will privatise the airline, following the loss of MH370 and a fatal terrorist attack on MH17 and is subsequent explosion over Ukraine.Khazanah Nasional will offer 27 sen per share in the company it does not already own, which will cost it 1.4 billion ringgit (AUD $470 million) in share buybacks, The Sydney Morning Herald reported.The investor will also undertake a wide ranging review of the airline which will look at whether it has the capital stocks to meet its operating requirements and enough money to service existing debt.The carrier will lose more than 1 billion ringgit in 2014 as it has to deal with an exodus of passengers and a plunging share price.Khazanah has previously said that the airline has enough funds to last for a year without before it would go bankrupt. Source = ETB News: Tom Neale
The InterContinental Double Bay has released a number of prominent new design features including a gin bar and an open rooftop retreat, following the collaboration of Royal Hotels Australia and design firm Bates Smart.The centrepiece of the new design is the revamping of the pool with limestone split rock walls and striped day beds.Guests can also stay in the Hotel’s most luxurious room, The Royal Suite, and with multiple private balconies overlooking the sparkling waters of the bay, a dining room, entertaining lounge, study, walk-in wardrobe and marble ensuite.The Grand Ballroom has also been restored, along with six function rooms for MICE tourism.Royal Hotels Australia managing director Peter Wilding said that the hotel will be a hub for new experiences and intimate gatherings.“In redeveloping the original building, it was vital to reinstate and celebrate its legacy, while heralding in a new era for the contemporary and stylish sanctuary,” Mr Wilding said. The hotel will be a hub for authentic local experiences and intimate gatherings, with the look and feel creating an elegant yet relaxed setting for guests to retreat to.”Source = ETB News: Tom Neale
Mr Zhou Tao, General Manager of Luneng Group Hotel Management Company (middle left) and Mr. Wayne Li, Vice President Development & Executive Director of AccorHotels Greater China (middle right).AccorHotels, a leading international hotel operator, is further strengthening its presence in northern China with the announcement of the signing of three hotels in Beijing with Luneng Group.The three projects, two of them new build hotels, are expected to add a total of 525 rooms to AccorHotels’ network in Greater China when they open in 2017 and 2018.The three hotels include the 300-room Pullman Beijing Luneng, a 150-room MGallery Beijing Luneng both of which are set to open in Q4 of 2018 and the 75-room Mercure Beijing Luneng, a renovated project slated to open in Q4 of 2017.“We are very excited to collaborate with Luneng Group, one of the leading real estate developers in China, for a batch of three projects in the metropolitan city of Beijing,” said Paul Richardson, Chief Operating Officer, AccorHotels Greater China.“This unprecedented, strategic partnership in the city involves three distinctive brands that will enable us to better cater to our guests’ needs while further strengthens our presence in the luxury and upscale segment which continues to be one of the key growth engines for AccorHotels’ expansion in China.”Located in northeast Beijing’s cosmopolitan Shunyi district, Pullman Beijing Luneng forms part of a mixed-use project that blends a combination of residential, retail and office development.The newest member to join the upscale Pullman family, the hotel is a short walking distance to the Golf Country Club and Olympic Water Park and is just five minutes’ drive away from the Qiaobo Ski Stadium, making it a perfect option for leisure travelers.MGallery Beijing Luneng, meanwhile, is located in the exclusive district of Grasse Town, an upscale villa development in Tongzhou. Nestled in high-end villas and an old canal with several golf and saddle clubs in close proximity, the hotel is a 15 minute drive to the Beijing International Airport, Tongzhou New Town, Beijing New National Exhibition Center and the Oriental Universal Studio.Also located in Shunyi district is the Mercure Beijing Luneng, a stunning renovation project adjoining to a shopping mall and the International School of Beijing. The hotel features two restaurants, a lobby lounge as well as several meetings and events spaces for corporate functions and meetings.The addition of these three hotels highlights AccorHotels’ solid growth pace in Beijing where its portfolio currently stands at 14 hotels across 6 brands. Notably, the signing of Pullman Beijing Luneng and MGallery Beijing Luneng, in particular, serves as the latest testament to the company’s commitment to bringing the most authentic and highest-standard French hospitality to travelers visiting the China capital.A wholly-owned subsidiary of the State Grid Corp of China, Luneng Group is among the country’s Top 100 real estate companies tapping both residential and commercial property development. AccorHotelsSource = AccorHotels
Diamond Cliff Resort & Spa www.diamondcliff.comDiamond Cliff Resort and Spa successful sales mission to OZPhuket is Australia’s preferred and most travelled to destination in Thailand and it is little wonder when you consider the high standard of accommodation on offer combined with an impressive array of facilities and service standards second to none.Executive Assistant Manager – Sales & Marketing, Ms Usa Chiraphadanakul has just completed a highly successful sales mission in Australia last week visiting key partners for the five star luxury resort located at Patong Beach in Phuket. Diamond Cliff Resort and Spa is a landmark property for the Australian and New Zealand markets, offering eight restaurants, an impressive spa facility, four wings of upmarket luxurious and spacious accommodation and three swimming pools. Boasting one of Phuket’s finest and most sought after locations, this five star resort offers sea views from each and every one of their spacious rooms.Diamond Cliff Resort & Spa DiningWhether the discerning traveller is with the family or a couple, Diamond Cliff Resort and Spa will not disappoint. With it’s envious location at the northern end of Patong Beach, the resort and spa is a haven of tranquility perched high in a lush mountainside environment. Ms Chiraphadanakul took time out from her busy schedule last week to discuss with ETB Travel News and explain that apart from the impressive facilities and services, Diamond Cliff Resort and Spa was in an enviable location as it was close enough yet far enough from all that Patong Beach has to offer. Further commenting, she said that the resort offered a scheduled bus service to Patong for those wishing to avail themselves of the vibrant entertainment and shopping within the area.Travel Agents should check with their preferred wholesaler for current special offers at the luxury resort as some of these include bonus nights, food and beverage discounts and free sale through to October. In the coming weeks, there will be additional special packages being made available to the trade as well as special opportunities for the Travel Agents to experience a stay at this luxury resort first hand.Below are just some of the available facilities at Diamond Cliff Resort and Spa:Mini GolfKids HouseFruit ShopFitness CentreTennisThai Orchid RestaurantKIKO Japanese RestaurantFranco Roma Italian RestaurantKorean HutOcean View Coffee ShopDiamond SpaThree Swimming Pools Diamond Cliff Resort & Spadiscover more luxury here Source = Diamond Cliff Resort & Spa
kayak.sgKAYAK.com reveals searches for flights to the UK on the riseFlight searches from Hong Kong, and other countries, to the UK, and from the UK to EU destinations, soared the day the results of the referendum were announced. These are the key findings fromKAYAK.com.hk – the travel search engine – who analysed the data surrounding the UK referendum to see how it might impact travellers as well as the UK as a destination.Increase in flight searches from Asia Pacific to the UKOn June 24th, the day on which the referendum results were announced, there was a surge in flight searches from Hong Kong to the UK – an increase of 52% when compared to any other Friday in June. Similarly, flight searches from Australia and Singapore to the UK also saw a sharp increase of 68% and 44%, respectively.Increase in flight searches from EU countries to the UKOn June 24th, EU countries also saw a spike in flight searches to the UK – an overall growth of 42%. Flight searches from France to the UK were among the highest with an increase of 61%. On the day prior to the referendum results, there was a significant increase of 39% in flight search from EU countries to the UK. The Czech Republic (117%) and Belgium (92%) saw the highest upturn.Growth in flight searches from the UK to the EU countriesOn June 24th there was also a massive surge in searches for flights going to EU countries from the UK; an increase of 42% when compared to any other Friday in June. The largest increase in searches was observed when flying from the UK to the Netherlands (69%), Poland (54%), and Finland (52%).On 23 June – the day before the referendum, there was a general increase of 35% in flight searches from the UK to EU countries. Sweden had the highest increase of flight searches (77%) followed by Portugal (66%), and the Netherlands (57%). Only Hungary saw a drop with a 25% decrease.The USA: a particular casePossibly due to the value of the pound to the dollar dropping, searches from the US to the UK were up by 54% when compared to searches on any other Friday in June. There was also an increase in flight searches from the UK to the US of 42%.Regarding cost, KAYAK.com.hk observed a 31% price increase in fares from the UK to the US on June 24th compared to the previous Friday (June 17th)Debby Soo, Vice President APAC at KAYAK comments. “Here at KAYAK.com.hk we wanted to investigate the initial impact the results of the EU referendum had on searches to and from the UK – and also to investigate any significant differences in prices before and after the vote. The results seem to show a substantial increase in interest for flights both to and from the UK. The global impact is also seen by a sharp increase in searches to the UK from the US – perhaps as a response to the pound falling against the US and Hong Kong dollar, and travellers wanting to see if a holiday to the UK would represent better value for money.” Kayak.comSource = Kayak
(In photo, front left) Mr. Tanes Petsuwan, TAT Deputy Governor for Marketing Communications; Mr. Yuthasak Supasorn, TAT Governor; Mr. Robert Wu, Managing Director, Sharp Thai; and Mr. Yoshihiro Hashimoto, Executive Managing Officer and Head of President Office, Sharp CorporationTAT and Sharp Corporation sign MOUThe Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) and Sharp Corporation recently signed a two-year Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to jointly promote TAT’s ‘Amazing Thailand’ campaign, utilising Sharp’s latest Aquos 8K series technology to produce a cutting-edge HD video of Thailand’s diverse tourism destinations, attractions and events.TAT Governor Mr. Yuthasak said the new initiative, co-branded ‘Amazing Thailand Amazing 8K’, is based around Sharp’s latest Aquos 8K full HD televisions that are being imported into Thailand for the first time this year.“‘Amazing Thailand Amazing 8K’ is an important step in the cooperation between the government and Thai private sector to elevate the country’s tourism image in line with the Royal Thai Government’s ‘Thailand 4.0’ initiative.“It represents yet another important tool to present the beauty of Thailand to new generations of potential travellers, whilst highlighting various aspects of TAT’s new marketing concept ‘Open to the New Shades’.”See more at TAT NewsroomSource = Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT)
Wyndham RewardsWyndham Rewards and La Quinta Returns 1:1 Point Transfer and Status MatchFollowing its recent acquisition of the La Quinta® hotel brand, Wyndham Hotels & Resorts® (NYSE: WH)—the world’s largest hotel franchising company with nearly 9,000 hotels and 20 powerhouse brands— announced exciting new benefits for members of its award-winning Wyndham Rewards® loyalty program and members of La Quinta Returns, specifically 1:1 point transfer between the two programs and complimentary status match. Available from 4 June 2018, the move enables members of both programs—more than 56 million in Wyndham Rewards and more than 13 million in La Quinta Returns®—to take advantage of a wide range of benefits at a combined portfolio nearly 9,000 hotels around the world as Wyndham works to integrate La Quinta and its La Quinta Returns members into the Wyndham Rewards program by the second quarter of 2019. “The addition of a brand like La Quinta carries tremendous benefit for all Wyndham Rewards members, not the least of which is expanded access to approximately 900 high-quality, midscale hotels across the globe,” said Eliot Hamlisch, vice president of worldwide loyalty and partnerships at Wyndham Hotels & Resorts. “As our teams work diligently to ensure a smooth integration of the brand into the Wyndham Rewards program, we felt it critically important to enable members of both programs to feel the benefits of the acquisition right away. That starts today with 1:1 point transfer and status match, and in the coming months, will continue as members start seeing La Quinta hotels in their search results on WyndhamRewards.com.” To take advantage of point transfer and status match, members of both programs should first visit www.wyndhamrewards.com/LQ. Wyndham Rewards Gold members may match to La Quinta Returns Gold status, while Wyndham Rewards Platinum and Diamond members may match to La Quinta Returns Elite status. Similarly, La Quinta Returns Gold and Military Rewards Gold members may match to Wyndham Rewards Gold status, while La Quinta Returns Elite and Military Rewards Elite members may match to Wyndham Rewards Platinum status. For more information on Wyndham Rewards, visit www.wyndhamrewards.com Wyndham Rewardsreward yourself hereSource = Wyndham Hotels & Resorts
Silver OriginSilversea unveils the most elegant ship to sail the GalapagosSilversea unveils new details of Silver Origin, the cruise line’s first ever destination-specific ship, which will unlock deep travel experiences for guests in the Galapagos Islands from winter 2020. One of the most environmentally friendly cruise ships ever and designed entirely with these unique islands in mind, Silver Origin will combine Silversea’s local destination expertise with the cruise line’s trademark level of luxury to offer guests the ultimate destination experience.From winter 2020, the 100-passenger, all-suite Silver Origin will build on Silversea’s accrued know-how in the Galapagos Islands to form deeper connections between guests and the destination. In addition to the ship’s pioneering design and guests’ unique experiences ashore – which will be led by Silversea’s Expedition Team, who are certified by the National Park of the Galapagos – this immersive concept will see guests enjoy Ecuadorian culture on board, through insightful content, including daily briefings, lectures, videos, and scientific information; authentic local cuisine, prepared by expert Ecuadorian chefs; and various other luxurious enhancements. Offering the highest Zodiac®-to-guest ratio in the region, at 1:12.5, Silver Origin will be a luxurious outpost from which guests will enjoy personalised experiences throughout the Galapagos Islands. Every aspect of guests’ cruise experiences will be tailored to take them closer to the authentic beauty of the Galapagos Islands in luxury.Perfectly crafted and with the utmost attention to the comfort of guests, the interior design of Silver Origin will whisper luxury, inspired by the understated Italian elegance that pervades Silversea’s fleet of intimate ships. It will also take influence from the Galapagos’ unique natural environment to strengthen guests’ engagement with the destination, with each space enhancing the experience. Bright, colourful motifs and regional materials will accentuate the design. Silver Origin’s public spaces were designed by HBA Miami, while GEM – Design for Cruise Ships, the team behind the interior design of Silver Muse, oversaw the interior design of the ship’s suites.Basecamp, an elegant lounge in which guests can socialise before and after excursions, will be among Silver Origin’s most innovative spaces. Connecting with the ship’s Zodiac® embarkation area to represent the synergy between destination and ship, it will host educational activities, through which guests will be able to interact with the onboard Expedition Team to learn more about the rare wildlife, amazing landscapes and captivating history of the Galapagos Islands, before and after experiencing these attractions first-hand. Basecamp will feature a large, interactive digital wall—through which guests will be able to access destination-related content, including pictures, videos, excursion previews and scientific presentations.With floor-to-ceiling windows for sweeping views of the destination, Silver Origin’s Explorer Lounge will host daily briefings and lectures from the ship’s Expedition Team. The elegant venue will feature a large video wall and wide HD screens in different seating areas to optimise guests’ destination experience. It will also be a sophisticated space in which guests can relax, with a bar and piano. With Silversea’s all-inclusive approach, guests will enjoy complimentary drinks throughout the ship, including spirits, champagne, and many varieties of wines.Located at the very front of the ship, the beautiful Observation Lounge will offer an elegant hideaway to guests, benefitting from incredible views on the destination. It will be the ideal place for guests to relax with a book from the library, which will be carefully curated by Silversea’s destination experts and will be the most extensive destination-focused collection the cruise line has ever had on one ship.Silver Origin will feature eight different suite categories to offer guests superlative comfort—the largest of which, the Owner’s Suite, will offer an unprecedented view on the destination. Guests in every suite will enjoy the use of a private balcony, while certain suite categories will feature an innovative Horizon Balcony, which can convert to enclose the balcony with a floor-to-ceiling window for added space and better shelter from the elements. Plus, a first for Silversea, selected suite categories will incorporate an ocean-view bathtub, as well as an ocean-view shower that is accessible from the balcony for guests’ convenience and comfort.With culinary immersion offering a means to travel deeper into Ecuadorian culture, expert local chefs will take guests on a journey of culinary discovery in Silver Origin’s two dining venues: The Restaurant and The Grill—each of which will be able to accommodate all guests at full capacity. Authentic flavours; fresh, local ingredients; and regional wines will complement international cuisine to inspire the palates of diners, showcasing the best of Ecuadorian culinary heritage in refined settings. In The Restaurant, guests will enjoy an abundance of natural light and far-reaching views as they dine; in The Grill, a sophisticated open-air venue that can be partially enclosed for comfort, Silversea’s signature Hot Rocks concept will enhance guests’ dining experiences, with Ecuadorian twists enhancing the offering further still.Silver Origin will be one of the most environmentally friendly cruise ships ever built, thanks to state-of-the-art technology and solutions designed specifically for sailing the Galapagos Islands: the ship’s dynamic positioning system will allow Silver Origin to automatically maintain position to protect the sea floor; freshwater purification systems, installed in each suite, will enable the ship to reduce the consumption of single-use plastic bottles; an advanced Waste Water Treatment System will meet or exceed the strictest regulations in the market; and Silver Origin will meet the highest standards of energy efficiency in the segment. The technological innovation of Silver Origin will complement Silversea’s significant efforts to make a positive impact on the natural and economic environment of the Galapagos Islands, including the cruise line’s contribution to the Floreana Island Ecological Restoration Project.“Silver Origin will elevate our industry-leading offering in the Galapagos Islands, unlocking meaningful experiences for guests, as they travel in ultimate luxury,” says Roberto Martinoli, Silversea’s CEO. “Ever since the early planning phases, every decision on Silver Origin has been made to strengthen the connection between our guests and this spectacular, unique destination.”“The natural beauty of the Galapagos Islands makes it one of the world’s best cruise destinations,” says Fernando Delgado, Silversea’s Vice President and General Manager of Canodros C.L. “Silver Origin will enhance Silversea’s award-winning cruise experience here, raising it to an even more incredible level for guests’ enjoyment. I am excited to personally welcome Silver Origin to the region, and to introduce the ship to our valued guests and trade partners.”Silver Origin will see the highest crew-to-guest ratio (1:1.16) and the highest ratio of qualified guides per guest (1:10) in the Galapagos Islands, enabling unparalleled levels of personalised service. This will extend to the in-suite experience, as Silver Origin will be the only ship in the Galapagos Islands to offer butler service to all suites. For more than five years, Silversea has taken guests closer to the authentic beauty of the Galapagos Islands with the best luxury cruise product in the archipelago; the cruise line’s Silver Galapagos, which will be replaced by Silver Origin, recently garnered the top spot among small ships in four award categories at the 2019 Cruise Critic’s Cruisers’ Choice Awards, including ‘Best Overall Ship,’ ‘Best Shore Excursions,’ and ‘Best Value’ for the second consecutive year.Please note: Images representing Silver Origin® reflect current design concepts and may include artistic renderings and/or images of other Silversea Ships. All ship features, experiences, and itineraries are subject to change without notice.Source = Silversea Cruises,
Travel Advisor? On safetyAn agent purely sells, can an advisor offer more with safetyWhat is safety when we travel?Should you be the one to advise your customers on how to “stay safe”? Will that open the door to potential blowback if the advice you offer doesn’t keep someone safe ?This distinction is academic unless you can find a way monetise the differentiation from agent to advisor.Begin with basic things like food safety. Some think street food in India is awesome, but bland and safe is better, unless you want to embark on a rapid weight loss program. 22 trips, I’ve suffered minor embarrassment through to near hospitalisation. It’s not only uncomfortable, but when I being relied upon for several days of meetings which cost a small fortune to get me to, I need to perform.Premium hotels now filter water and publicise food safety for western visitors. Having spoken to the chef and manager, its safe now to eat fresh salad and vegetables and a diet which is closer to home. Half the battle is avoiding the creamy and fatty delights that would make you sick at home. Showering with Listerine in your mouth – that one is gold.Beyond bad guts is the more common sense advice of keep your hands out of your pockets, don’t walk down dark streets at night, carry minimal local currency and no flashy jewellery, if you need to get hammered, do it in your own hotel, don’t walk home.But sadly, recent terrorism events in both Christchurch and Colombo, safe havens for travel, suggest safety, or less of a guarantee of it, is now a trade off of travel. How do you advise on that? AFTA has its standard warning process which in turn has implications on travel insurance policies. But they have not caught up – even after Sri Lanka, it was apparent cancelling your holiday now would result in no refund and no protection.Travel advisers might consider subscribing to online security services and incorporating them into the travel plans for customers. Google “travel safety intelligence group” to find a ton of different companies who provide information from reputable security sources around the world. In other words, tapping into security networks.But this is a highly emotive topic and different people have different feelings about what is in fact safe. My recommendation would be that the week before someone travels out, incorporate this into your pre trip columns the message like “just letting you know, we’ve reconfirmed all the details of your booking including validating the current safety green light for destination….”A nice little safety card and maybe even some Listerine with your logo on it could be the right way to keep connected and remind them that you are keeping them safe.Travel safe!www.stuba.com learn more about stuba.com here
The Development of North Eastern Region (DoNER) Ministry has mooted commercial helicopter service within Northeast in order to improve intra-regional connectivity.At a meeting of senior officers of the Union Ministry for Development of North Eastern Region (DoNER), Dr Jitendra Singh said that the biggest hurdle in attracting investments, tourism and entrepreneurship in Northeast is the lack of adequate connectivity, even though the rail network expansion has started on a fast track in the last one year or so. The first-ever rail link to Meghalaya was flagged off by Prime Minister Narendra Modi within six months of the taking over of the present government, he said. He also said that most parts still remain unconnected by rail. Similarly, road connectivity also gets adversely affected due to weather conditions, he added. In such a situation, improvement in air connectivity is the only immediate viable option, the Minister said.Ameising Luikham, Secretary DoNER and other senior officers of the Ministry were also present.Dr Jitendra Singh said that the DoNER Ministry is taking up with the Civil Aviation Ministry, the prospect of developing Guwahati Airport as regional hub for the entire Northeast. The helicopters can be grounded there overnight and can be put to use for commercial sorties for civilian passengers at frequent intervals to different destinations in all the eight states of Northeast. He said that this will give the civilians, the freedom to plan their movement as per their requirement and priority, and not be constrained by the availability of a routine aircraft flight.Dr Jitendra Singh said that discussion can be held with different helicopter companies like Pawan Hans and issues related to equity can be worked out to the mutual advantage of all. Guwahati Airport is connected by regular flights to a number of destinations including Delhi, Kolkata, Jaipur and Bengaluru, and therefore, when regular commercial helicopter service gets initiated, passengers from any part of the country or abroad who land at Guwahati airport by a civil aircraft will have the option to take a connecting helicopter flight to a further destination in the region.
Yatra.com will now provide greater value additions to travellers, through its new mobile application Yatra Mini, featuring bus, train and budget hotel bookings.The new app Yatra Mini weighs approximately 4.5 MB and is fast loading even in poor network areas. What adds to its accessibility is that it is multi-lingual comprising several regional languages apart from English and Hindi.This app has been built to majorly cater to the tier II and tier III cities which have lately shown a higher growth in online travel bookings. A large chunk of these travellers travel by bus and train and choose budget hotels for their stays on these trips. Yatra.com, through Yatra Mini, is targeting such customers for whom it features only relevant product lines in a lightweight app that works well even in poor network – a strong mix of elements that appeal to these customers who typically have limitations on memory space on their phones and are extremely focused on keeping their data usage to a minimum. Yatra Mini offers help to travellers to view their upcoming, completed and cancelled trips. All details of trips will be available like journey date, passenger details, bus operator details, boarding point details, cancellation policy, fare & payment details etc.Sharat Dhall, President, Yatra.com, said, “By offering this app in regional languages, we are also tapping into the non-English traveller who is looking to shift to the convenience of online booking. We also researched the needs of this traveller and based on the findings, limited the product offerings to bus, train and budget hotel bookings so that the app is sharply focused on the needs of this segment.”
Nigeria has always displayed a warm and loving hospitality to any that come to explore its lands. Many however remain unaware of this but for those who want to know more, one can find out more here.Source: CNN
June 4, 2013 500 Views in Data, Government, Origination, Secondary Market, Servicing Agents & Brokers Attorneys & Title Companies Investors Lenders & Servicers Movers & Shakers Processing Service Providers Title Insurance 2013-06-04 Tory Barringer Share “”Alliant National Title Insurance Company””:http://www.alliantnational.com/home.aspx, a title insurance underwriter headquartered in Longmont, Colorado, announced the hiring of Tim Tillman as VP, Tallahassee and Northwest Florida agency manager.[IMAGE]Tillman’s 26-year career started when he was a courier and advanced to perform search, exam, and mapping with an independent agent in South Florida. Following that, he worked as senior examiner and assistant manager for American Pioneer and also as senior examiner for Attorneys Title Fund. [COLUMN_BREAK]His most recent position prior to Alliant National Title Insurance was operations manager and then business center manager for Fidelity National Title Group’s Tallahassee operation, where he managed title production and trained and managed other personnel.””Tim Tillman’s breadth of experience and wide-ranging business relationships are phenomenal in the industry,”” said Dave Ginger, Alliant National President. “”We are extremely pleased to bring him aboard our company.””In his new role, Tillman is responsible for building Alliant National’s footprint in Northwest Florida and the Tallahassee area.””Joining the Alliant National team presents me with some new challenges and opportunities, and I’m really looking forward to helping Alliant National’s Independent Agents serve their customers more fully and stand out from the competition,”” Tillman said. “”I’m grateful that, throughout my career, I’ve been able to foster excellent business relationships along some of the best beaches in the world and around the State Capital.”” New,Alliant National Title Insurance Names VP, Agency Manager in Florida
Applications for mortgage loans fell for the second straight month in July, kicking off the third quarter with their second biggest monthly drop so far this year.According to data reported by the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) and compiled by Capital Economics, mortgage application volumes slipped an additional 3.4 percent in July following June’s 0.1 percent decline.So far, applications have fallen on a monthly basis in four of the year’s seven months.Declines were nearly even in both purchase loan volumes, which fell 3.6 percent, and refinances, which were down 3.3 percent.Matthew Pointon, property economist at Capital Economics, said the drop in refinancing is the easier movement to explain, with mortgage rates stopping their slow descent over the year and flattening at 4.32 percent, the same as in June.”That will have made refinancing a less attractive proposition, particularly after the 2012 refinancing boom has left many homeowners on very low rates,” Pointon said.The fall in purchase applications, meanwhile, came as “more of a puzzle” to the firm. While the apparent end of the downward trend in mortgage rates may have given some potential buyers pause, Pointon notes that rates still remain historically slow, and mortgage affordability still looks very favorable, even as home prices rise.Adding to that, growth in the labor market and the larger economy has regained some of the ground it lost in the first quarter, driving down troubled loans and negative equity rates.On the credit side, “It is possible that very tight lending criteria are preventing a broader based recovery in the mortgage market,” Pointon acknowledges, “but the MBA’s Mortgage Credit Availability Index showed conditions had eased slightly in July.”Given the current state of mortgage lending and the economy, “there seems little reason why applications for house purchase cannot start to stage a recovery over the second half of the year,” he concludes.In its latest index tracking volumes for the week ending August 1, MBA reported a seasonally adjusted 1.6 percent jump in mortgage applications, even as mortgage rates climbed to an average 4.35 percent for a 30-year fixed-rate loan.All of the recent increase came from refinance activity, which rose 4 percent week-over-week. Meanwhile, purchase applications fell an adjusted 1 percent, the association reported. Capital Economics Mortgage Applications Mortgage Bankers Association Mortgage Rates 2014-08-06 Tory Barringer Mortgage Apps Down for Second Straight Month in Daily Dose, Data, Headlines, News, Origination Share August 6, 2014 559 Views
Existing Home Sales Flattened by Low Supply Levels & Tight Credit Auction.com Existing-Home Sales Residential Real Estate Nowcast 2015-12-03 Staff Writer Share in Daily Dose, Data, Headlines, Market Studies, News, Origination December 3, 2015 492 Views Homebuyers are being stopped in their tracks by tightening credit standards and the low amount of homes for sale on the market.Existing home sales in November 2015 are expected to come up pretty flat compared to the previous month.According to Auction.com’s Residential Real Estate Nowcast, existing home sales are projected to come in between 5.16 and 5.54 million annual sales, with a targeted number of 5.36 million. This number is nearly the same as October, but still up 8.4 percent from last year.“People looking to buy a home today face dual constraints—extraordinarily low inventory and extremely tight credit,” said Rick Sharga, Auction.com EVP. “But demand may be weakening as well, since the number of first-time homebuyers continues to be lower than normal, and purchases by investors—especially investors from China and Europe—appear to be slowing down a little bit as well. It will be interesting to see what happens to demand if the Fed raises rates in December and lenders respond by hiking mortgage interest rates.”Auction.com’s predicted in October that existing home sales would fall between 5.26 and 5.51 million units, while the National Association of Realtors (NAR) reported earlier this month that October’s sales fell 3.4 percent to 5.36 million units.Auction.com Chief Economist Peter Muoio says that the halt in exiting home sales is no shock to the industry, as it aligns with a “soft spot in the economy, some downshifting in job growth, and the financial market turbulence experienced in late summer.”“The renewed strength of the labor market, including accelerating wage gains, should be good news for the housing market heading into 2016,” Muoio explained. “We continue to look for higher home prices to coax more sellers into the market. Along with wages, this could be an important new ingredient to the 2016 housing story.”On the up side of things, existing home prices continue to soar higher and are creeping up on the pre-bust all-time high of $229,875 recorded in July 2011. Auction.com suspects that exiting home prices will continue on their upward pattern in November, reaching $225,323, an increase of 8.7 percent year-over-year.
December 9, 2016 634 Views in Headlines, Technology LRES Celebrates 15-year Anniversary LRES, a national residential and commercial real estate services company headquartered in Orange County, California, is celebrating 15 years of providing managed business services for the origination and servicing markets. LRES has evolved over the last decade to accommodate the needs of the changing mortgage industry. Formerly known as the Lighthouse Real Estate Solutions Company, the company started as an appraisal and REO asset management company and grew its service offering to also include evaluations, proprietary technology solutions and specialized HOA services. LRES has experienced a number of milestones within its 15 years in business that contributed to the success of the company today. Since 2012, the company has completed migration to a new virtual infrastructure and developed SSAE Type II/SAS70 certified data center to achieve MISMO 3.1 compliance, opened an operations facility in Phoenix to accommodate continued growth, introduced hybrid valuation products to help its clients meet evolving property valuation requirements, and Inside Valuation, which brought to LRES its current network of more than 25,000 field agents and its customer support team. Roger Beane, CEO of LRES, is looking forward the company’s progression, stating, “LRES has grown exponentially in the past 15 years through its additional diverse service offerings, experienced team, increased technology enhancements, improved internal processes and successful acquisitions. We look forward to the next successful 15 years of serving the mortgage industry and making it easy to do business with LRES.” LRES 2016-12-09 MirashaBrown Share
LERETA, a national real estate tax and flood service provider, recently announced it is providing new automation to the tax industry—something that has not been done in decades—with the release of its Total Tax Solutions (TTS).LERETA is providing a new, web-based platform designed to integrate loan servicing and tax service data, for use by standard tax reporting servicers. The platform features dashboards, reporting, workflow management and built-in servicer guidelines for tax payment processing activities.According to the announcement, TTS allows servicers to efficiently process a pre-cycle mini-audit, automate tax payments, open items, conduct tax research and review delinquencies and payments. The five modules on the platform are Pre-Cycle Audit Manager, Tax Cycle Manager, Escrow Open Item Manager, Delinquency Manager and Task Research Manager.“Existing loan servicing systems have limited capabilities when it comes to managing the functions required for taxes,” said LERETA CEO John Walsh. “This causes an increase in servicing costs and the potential for mistakes that can frustrate borrowers. Total Tax Solutions make it easier for servicers to process tax payments, research tax-related inquiries from borrowers or internal departments, manage delinquency reporting and risk and substantially improve customer service.”Walsh continued, “The platform has allowed LERETA to deliver extraordinary service in an industry where the standard for outsourcing servicing is abysmal. We are proud to now offer our standard tax clients a tool that effectively merges siloed systems and produces a more efficient and secure process. Until now, servicers have been forced to work around system shortcomings by depending on spreadsheets and disparate local databases. These “Band-Aid” solutions did not identify data integrity issues, which could cause reporting events that produce more exceptions, causing manual work for a loan servicer.”LERETA’s TTS have been in use by LERETA’s outsource tax division to manage more than 2.5 million loans. The platform has been a driver in LERETA’s ability to meet over 99.6 percent of customer SLA’s during that time and 100 percent over the last six months.During that same period, TTS also helped LERETA to reduce its penalties from claims and interest down by 70 percent, refunds processed by 30 percent and calls from borrowers down by 30 percent.“An example of the platform’s capabilities was when we used TTS’ the Escrow Open Items manager module to audit/clean-up all payee codes prior to tax season for Washington State,” said Teresa Oates, Escrow Supervisor at Alabama Housing Finance Authority. “This provided accurate information on the TARS for a match and pay, which in turn provided true open items under the beta test. We spent less time doing clean up and were able to process and pay all bills in a more efficient manner.” in Daily Dose, Headlines, News, Servicing LERETA Launches New Tax Platform flood HOUSING lereta mortgage tax 2018-02-11 Nicole Casperson February 11, 2018 698 Views Share