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Asia Pacific leads industry recovery

first_imgSource = e-Travel Blackboard: N.J Cities in the Asia Pacific region will play a major role in the industry’s recovery this year, leading travel growth for the year with eight cities in the top twenty cities predicted to welcome high inbound figures. While European cities London and Paris topped the MasterCard Index of Global Destination Cities with arrivals expected to reach over 20 and 18 million, Bangkok ranked in third with arrivals projected to surpass 11.5 million this year.Singapore and Hong Kong also topped the list in fourth and fifth place with 11.4 million visitors and 10.9 million travellers. Asia Pacific cities also made a strong appearance in visitor spending with Bangkok ranking in third with travellers expected to spend up to US$14.4 billion, followed by Sydney in sixth place with an expected spending income of US$13.8 billion.“This kind of growth pattern strongly suggests that destination cities in emerging markets in Asia will continue to grow in importance,” MasterCard Worldwide global economic advisor Yuwa Hedrick-Wong said. “Growth of outbound travel and expenditures is clearly a resilient secular trend that will continue to shape the future of globalization.“As the global center of economic gravity shifts inexorably to the dynamic emerging markets in Asia, Latin America, Central and Eastern Europe, and Africa, cities there will correspondingly play ever bigger roles in knitting the world together.”   London topped the list for expenditure with the Royal Wedding expected to push up spending to exceed US$25.6 billion while New York reached second place with incoming spending of over US$20.3 billionlast_img read more

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Profit growth spurs CTM guidance upgrade

first_imgCTM expecting further contribution from US operations. …. Corporate Travel Management (CTM) has reported a 26.3 percent increase in first half EBITDA compared to same period FY2011/12, citing organic growth and productivity efficiencies.During the first six months of the current financial year, the group’s EBITDA increasedto AU$9.225 million, while its total transaction value (TTV) jumped 36.5 percent to AU$431 million.CTM managing director Jamie Pherous said numbers were pleasing despite an ongoing tough economy, and was contributable to organic growth through new and existing clients as well as productivity efficiencies, which has resulted in “better revenue per full-time employee.Looking ahead, the group has increased its guidance for FY13 EBITDA to 20-25 percent to up to AU$21-22 million.Although results for the six months excluded contribution from the group’s recent USA acquisition, Mr Pherous expects greater contribution from the US in the second half.Source = e-Travel Blackboard: N.J.last_img read more

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China Southern Canton Trade Fair go further down under

first_imgSource = ETB News: T.N. Travelers who go online to register for the Fair before March 31 will instantly receive a discount on China Southern Airways flights.  The code can be redeemed by booking on China Southern Australian and New Zealand call centres.  Since 2000, more than 120,000 people from Australia have attended the Fair. “Our hope is to offer even greater discounts and travel incentives in time for the 116th Canton Trade Fair which runs from October to November this year.” “This is the beginning of a concerted new marketing effort to attract more business people from Australia, New Zealand and the Oceania region to visit the Canton Trade Fair,” Canton Foreign Trade Centre, vice president Wang Yanhua said.   China Southern and Canton Trade Fair have deepend their alliance in order to promote the Fair to Australian and New Zealand business travellers. last_img read more

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Hong Kong joins Helloworld Global Instagram RELAY

first_imgHong Kong joins Helloworld Global Instagram RELAYOn Sunday 27th September, Hong Kong will join up to 60 countries around the globe to participate in the Helloword Global Instagram Relay.In each destination, the lead influencer will post 12 images- (1 per hour of daylight), in their location. During the day, each influencer will host an instameet with up to 10 other grammers to join them in their destination.Our lead instagramer- fellow  Australian and Hong Kong resident, Geneva Vanderzeil, blogger and lifestyle guru of @apairandasparefame,  will take us on special journey to some of her favourite parts of Hong Kong, taking in the best places to shop, eat, explore and enjoy the stunning views across Victoria Harbour.Geneva’s amazing day will culminate in an extraordinary instameet gathering where she will catch up with other influential Hong Kong instagramers to experience the Fire Show and the Tai Hung Fire Dragon Dance as part of the Mid Autumn Festival celebrations in Victoria Park.Hong Kong looks forward to being a part of the first ever global instaRelay and showcasing our exciting destination through the eyes of our key instagramers.Source = Hong Kong Tourism Boardlast_img read more

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IBTM Arabia celebrates 10 years of events in the Gulf region

first_imgibtm eventswww.ibtmevents.comIBTM Arabia celebrates 10 years of events in the Gulf regionibtm arabia 2016 is this year celebrating its ten year anniversary as the leading international exclusive event for the Arabian meetings, incentives, conferences and events industry.Since opening as the Gulf Incentive, Business Travel & Meetings Exhibition (GIBTM) in 2006, ibtm arabia and it’s hosting city, Abu Dhabi, have undergone major growth. Shinu Pillai, Exhibition Manager, ibtm arabia, commented, “Over the past decade ibtm arabia has transformed into one of the Gulf region’s most exclusive and high-profile shows, providing a unique opportunity for top-level buyers to meet leading industry suppliers from the middle east and around the globe.When we first opened our doors in 2007, the regional MICE industry outside of Dubai was only in its infancy. ibtm arabia was the first such event to help establish and build the industry in the Gulf region, and throughout the last decade it has served as a catalyst for expanding and developing the Arabian MICE industry.”Mubarak Al Shamisi, Director of Abu Dhabi Convention Bureau commented, “Having recently undergone a significant enhancement in its tourism infrastructure, Abu Dhabi is now better placed than ever to meet organisers’ highest expectations. With headline attractions, stunning new resorts, a re-energised commitment to service and delivery excellence, the destination has entered a new era of maturity.”A report from Alpen Capital suggests that international association meetings in the Middle East have more than tripled over the past 10 years. Supporting this, the last Amadeus report shows the GCC meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibitions (MICE) industry is seeing continuous growth and that the Middle East is set to expand even further while attracting high-profile global events and state-of-the-art infrastructural investments.MICE visitors to Dubai currently equate to 0.9 million, this is estimated to double to between 1.7 and 1.9 million by 2020. TCA Abu Dhabi suggested that the MICE sector is currently generating $US1.4billion per annum for Abu Dhabi and is expected to reach $US2.4billion by 2020.Guy Hutchinson, COO of Rotana, which has been exhibiting at the show since 2008, commented, “ibtm arabia has worked out to be a great platform for bringing together key industry players from the MICE industry and also helped the development of MICE tourism in Abu Dhabi and the region. Abu Dhabi has successfully secured high profile events such as concerts with renowned artists, FIFA World Cup and FIFA under 17s, Abu Dhabi Film Festival, Formula 1, Judo Championship, Jujitsu Tournament, WWE, Abu Dhabi Gourmet, Volvo Ocean Race, Redbull Air Race, HSBC Golf Championship and F1 Powerboat.”Stuart Deeson, General manager of the Park Hyatt Abu Dhabi Hotel and Villas commented, “ibtm arabia has been an excellent vehicle for bringing an increasing number of key decision makers to the city and getting them to experience the wonderful range of facilities and services the city has to offer.”This year ibtm arabia will take place at the exclusive 5-star Jumeirah at Etihad Towers in Abu Dhabi from 9th – 11th February. ibtm arabia is run with the support of Abu Dhabi Tourism and Culture Authority, Abu Dhabi Convention Bureau and Etihad Airways. IBTM ArabiaSource = IBTM Eventslast_img read more

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AFTA reveals the 2017 NTIA nominees

first_imgAFTA reveals the 2017 NTIA nomineesAFTA reveals the 2017 NTIA nomineesThe best of the Australian travel industry were recognised today, as the Australian Federation of Travel Agents (AFTA) revealed the 2017 National Travel Industry Award (NTIA) Nominees.A record number of 1,076 nominations were received across the 38 award categories.The calibre of nominees grows each year and AFTA encourages industry to get behind their nominated travel agent or supplier and give them the support they need as they proceed through to the rigorous process of voting and judging.Popular nominee categories this year were the Best Travel Agency categories, Best Sales Executive Industry Supplier, Best Agency Support Service, Best Specialty Wholesaler and Best Travel Writer – Consumer.The full list of nominees is available on the AFTA website – CLICK HEREVoting in the 2017 AFTA NTIA will commence tomorrow, Tuesday 14 March at 9:00am (AEDT).AFTA congratulates all those nominated and wishes you the best of luck through the voting and judging process.Source = AFTA – NTIAlast_img read more

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Celebrity sends off Solstice following biggest season on record

first_imgCelebrity sends off Solstice following biggest season on recordCelebrity sends off Solstice following biggest season on recordCelebrity Cruises is toasting a spectacular cruise season as Australia’s favourite cruise ship, Celebrity Solstice, prepares to farewell Sydney for the final time this summer today.The award winning cruise ship hosted more than 50,000 guests during her fifth Australian season – her biggest season to date – and injected an estimated $35 million into the local economy in passenger spend alone. Of those guests, more than half were Aussies and Kiwis.“It’s been a wonderful cruise season for Celebrity Solstice. The modern luxury ship continues to be the Berlitz Guide’s highest rated locally based ship and drew a record number of passengers this season, representing an 11 per cent increase on our previous biggest season,” said Adam Armstrong managing director, Celebrity Cruises Australia & NZ.“And it wasn’t just a record season for Aussie passengers, we also saw a huge number international guests, from countries including the US, UK, Canada and Germany, exploring our spectacular region in Celebrity’s sophisticated style.”“The ship’s recent revitalisation also meant new touches were added to craft an even more relaxing and luxurious experience for guests onboard. Fresh additions include the first Tiffany and Co store at sea for the region; a new Japanese dining option, Sushi on Five; beautiful cabanas on the famed real grass Lawn Club, and an outdoor movie screen that is used to host a film and gastronomic experience for guests.  It’s been a great few months for Solstice, and we’re thrilled the ship is coming back to Australia for an even bigger cruise season next summer,” Adam said.Following a spectacular six months, Celebrity is celebrating by holding a special Farewell Sale to mark the ship’s final Sydney call this cruise season. Guests who book an Oceanview cabin or above by 28 April 2017 will save up to $200 per person*, plus the offer is combinable with Celebrity’s New Zealand sale, which sees Oceanview bookings and above made by 30 April 2017 onboard voyages to New Zealand receive a free Classic Beverage Package for two, as well as USD$300 onboard credit per stateroom.Celebrity Cruises will return for her sixth local season in October 2017 for another grand season. Sailings on offer include a 12-night Auckland to Sydney voyage departing 9 December 2017. Fares start from just $1,699 per person twin share for an Interior stateroom, or $2,399 per person for an Oceanview. Sailing from Auckland, this amazing itinerary includes calls to the Bay of Islands, Tauranga, Wellington, Akaroa, Dunedin, Melbourne and scenic cruising through the spectacular Sounds.For more information, visit www.celebritycruises.com.au, phone 1800 754 500 or call your travel agent. About Celebrity CruisesCelebrity Cruises‘ iconic “X” is the mark of modern luxury, with its cool, contemporary design and warm spaces; dining experiences where the design of the venues is as important as the cuisine; and the amazing service that only Celebrity can provide, all created to provide an unmatchable experience for holiday makers’ precious time. Celebrity Cruises’ 12 ships offer modern luxury holidays visiting all seven continents. Celebrity also presents incredible cruise tour experiences in Alaska and Canada. Celebrity is one of five cruise brands operated by global cruise company Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. (NYSE: RCL). For more information, visit www.celebritycruises.com.au, phone 1800 754 500 or see your local travel agent.About RCL Cruises Ltd AustraliaRCL Cruises commenced operation in December 2008 as the Australian arm of global cruise holiday company Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. The company offers three cruise brands in Australia and New Zealand: Royal Caribbean International, Celebrity Cruises and Azamara Club Cruises.  In the 2016/2017 cruise season Royal Caribbean International will increase the local fleet to five ships with the introduction of Australia’s biggest, newest and most technologically advanced cruise ship, US$1 billion Ovation of the Seas, joining Explorer of the Seas, Voyager of the Seas and Radiance of the Seas home porting in Sydney and Legend of the Seas homeporting in Brisbane. Australia’s highest rated cruise ship Celebrity Solstice will also sail her fifth local season out of Sydney, while Azamara Club Cruises’ boutique Azamara Journey  will  make her Australian debut during the 2016/2017 summer season. Source = Celebrity Cruiseslast_img read more

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Discover these Top Five North American Island Escapes with Collette

first_imgDiscover these Top Five North American Island Escapes with ColletteDiscover these Top Five North American Island Escapes with ColletteVery few travellers think of North America as an island escape destination, but Collette has announced its top five picks to surprise and enchant travellers and show them that when it comes to the perfect guided holiday, there is an ocean of possibilities.Ideal for the first and second time visitor, these islands include some destinations made famous by films and television shows, as well as being popular holiday spots for American Presidents.Collette is a family-owned business established in the USA with 100 years of experience in crafting holidays around the world, and in particular, in North America. A regional specialist, the company’s tours include visits to lesser known parts of the US which feature pristine, wildlife-abundant islands which are not well-known outside of North America.1.     Islands of Martha’s Vineyard and NantucketFrom exploring exquisite coastline to marvelling at mansions, Collette’s Islands of New England tour has something for every traveller. Guests on this 7-day itinerary will have the chance to walk in the footsteps of America’s Presidents, artists, writers and celebrities with a ferry ride to famous Martha’s Vineyard. On this beautiful island, a local guide will show guests the highlights of the Vineyard, including quaint gingerbread-styled cottages and the old whaling port. Cruising back to Cape Cod, travellers will indulge in a traditional New England seafood and lobster feast.In Cape Cod Bay, guests can choose between a whale watching cruise or a scenic adventure through the iconic sand dunes of the Cape. Next on the itinerary is a panoramic ferry ride to the idyllic island of Nantucket, where picturesque beaches and lighthouses await.Other highlights of this tour include the chance to explore Providence, “America’s Renaissance City”, with its prestigious Brown University and vibrant cultural scene, a trip down Ocean Drive to mansion-lined Bellevue Avenue, and leisure time in Boston to wander the Freedom Trail.2.     Bay of IslandsNature lovers will be in their element with Collette’s 12-day Newfoundland and Labrador Discovery tour.  Exploring Canada’s Bay of Islands, Collette will offer guests on this tour the chance to visit the stunning Butterfly House where they can admire thousands of diverse and vibrantly-hued butterflies, and take a scenic cruise of Witless Bay Ecological Reserve. Here, travellers will be joined by a local specialist who will give a talk on the spectacular marine life in the region, featuring wildlife encounters with majestic humpback and minke whales, as well as some adorable puffins.After meandering the quaint fishing and coastal villages of Clarenville, travellers will explore Tableland Mountains in Gros Morne National Park and uncover hidden fjords, stark peaks and highland tundras.This tour also offers travellers ferry rides across the Straits of Belle Isle and around the pristine waters of Newfoundland and Labrador, with visits to the UNESCO World Heritage site of Red Bay and a stop at the Bay of Islands on the way to idyllic Lark Harbour.Culinary highlights of the tour include a traditional Newfoundland gathering known as a “Jiggs dinner” in Twillingate, a Newfoundland “Screech-In” ceremony that includes a shot of rum, followed by a dinner overlooking the Gulf of St. Lawrence and later in the tour, a visit to an economuseum to learn how to make jams, sauces and vinegars out of the local partridgeberry and bakeapple.3.     Cape Breton Island, Prince Edward Island, Oak IslandCollette’s 11-day Maritime Coastal Wonders tour begins in Halifax, the capital of Nova Scotia province coined ‘Canada’s Maritimes’, celebrated for its rugged and pristine beauty and fun-loving Acadian and Gaelic culture. In Peggy Cove, travellers will visit historic lighthouses overlooking the vast Atlantic Ocean, before embarking on a charming tour of the Halifax waterfront featuring the Public Gardens, Spring Garden Road and the Victorian-Era fortress, the Halifax Citadel.Travellers on this tour will trek the craggy Cabot Trail and take a ferry ride to the ‘Land Cradled on the Waves’ and the filming location for Netflix’s Anne with an E; Prince Edward Island. Here, guests can reignite their own sense of adventure and imagination, journeying along the sea-sprayed shoreline and visiting the Anne of Green Gables Museum. After a day of exploring, guests will arrive at the Hopewell Rocks and savour a traditional Maritimes’ lobster feast.Maritime history aficionados will be in paradise as they head down the striking Lighthouse Route, board a fishing boat at the Fisheries Museum of the Atlantic and learn to shuck scallops. Taking in views of stunning Cape Breton Island and Oak Island, guests on this tour will uncover the magic and wonder of this spectacular seafaring destination.Maritimes Coastal Wonders featuring the Cabot Trail4.     Mackinac Island  After three nights getting familiar with ‘the Windy City’ of Chicago, travellers board a ferry to Mackinac Island; a place where the neighs and clip-clops of horses replace the roar of engines and the accommodation is two nights nestled in the glorious Victorian-era Grand Hotel. A National Historic Landmark, Mackinac Island is a wooded paradise accented with limestone formations, all set against the picture-perfect Lake Huron.Travellers will experience a horse-drawn carriage ride for a tour of the island that includes stops at the Surrey Hills Carriage Museum and Arch Rock. There is ample time for guests to stroll around the island at their leisure and enjoy the brilliant views, visit the downtown shops and buy some delicious fudge – a specialty of Mackinac Island. Later, a menu of tasty delicacies awaits with a dinner at the elegant Salle à Manger dining room, featuring exquisite chamber music played by the Grand Hotel’s orchestra.Mackinac Island is a must-see for history-buffs and those interested in anthropology. Archaeologists have carried out excavations at sites on the island since the 1960s. These digs have revealed traditional fish hooks, pottery and other artefacts which tell the story of the island’s earliest Native American inhabitants, the Anishinaabe, who consider it to be home to the Gitche Manitou – the “Great Spirit”. The Island was a significant spiritual gathering place for the local tribes where their offerings were made to the Gitche Manitou, and it became the burial place of tribal chiefs.5.       Jekyll Island and St. Simons IslandCollette’s 7-day Southern Charm itinerary offers travellers a window into the past, with the chance to soak up some Southern hospitality in Georgia and South Carolina.The tour begins in Charleston, known as the ‘Holy City’ – a place which has survived the Civil War, major fires and natural disasters including an earthquake and hurricanes, and still exudes old-world elegance. A guide will escort guests along Charleston’s cobblestone streets, lined with stately, historic homes and restored buildings – some built before the Revolution.Next up is a trip to the exclusive Jekyll Island Club Hotel, grandly situated in the midst of the fabled Golden Isles – former winter retreat of prominent Gilded Age families like the Rockefellers and the Vanderbilts. St. Simons Island offers travellers views of its strikingly tall lighthouse, a visit to the Museum of Coastal History and leisure time to wander the unspoiled Georgian coastline of marshlands, winding rivers and beaches to historic Savannah.Other key highlights include a visit to one of America’s oldest working plantations, Boone Hall Plantation, or the Patriots Point Naval & Maritime Museum and a cooking demonstration featuring regional specialties in Savannah.For details of the full tours or to book a trip:Contact your local travel agentCall Collette on 1300 792 195 or visit www.gocollette.com About ColletteTouring for today’s traveller…Featuring the luxurious Collette Chauffeur return airport transfer service, award-winning tour managers, and superior accommodation, Collette has been a pioneer in guided touring since 1918.With classic tours, small groups, river cruises and ‘spotlight’ city stays, there are over 150 tours which go to more than 55 countries offering customers exceptional choice, value and superior 4 star+ quality.Collette is a third-generation, family-owned worldwide tour operator. With headquarters in Rhode Island, Collette’s Sydney office (opened in 2014) adds to the company’s global presence which includes offices in Vancouver, Toronto and London.Renowned for connecting guests with cultural experiences which go far beyond those of an ordinary holiday, Collette prides itself on providing real value to its guests and agent partners.Expert tour managers, an industry-leading travel protection plan and inclusive touring are just part of the top-quality Collette experience.Private Chauffeur ServiceCollette’s private chauffeur service is included on all Collette tours for customers within 40km of an Australian international airport. For more information visit gocollette.com/chauffeurSource = Collettelast_img read more

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Panama City tourism leader outlines goals for the unknown gem

first_imgAs the first Director of the Panama City Community Development Corporation (CDC), Jennifer Vigil has been entrusted the task of promoting what the city has to offer using revenues drawn from the new Tourist Development Tax, a five percent fee tacked on to short-term rentals.“Panama City is an unknown gem right now,” Vigil said. “You’ve never had a bed tax before and concerted efforts to market the city. I feel like it is the first opportunity Panama City has to introduce itself to the world.” The CDC will use those revenues to promote tourism by marketing to potential visitors, supporting local events and launching other efforts aimed at putting more “heads in beds” at city hotels.The agency is now in the process of determining Panama City’s target visitor markets through a professional study, which will analyse where, when and who to reach. The $134,500 tourist development study will be crafted by a team of consultants and serve as the CDC’s ammunition during its inaugural years.The study will also include a rundown of the city’s assets as they relate to tourism, ways to better utilise those assets and potential new assets that could be developed.last_img read more

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Sushma Chauhan IAS

first_imgThe experience at TTF has been absolutely amazing. TTF is a great platform for many states and countries to showcase their tourism potential and as a participating state, we see this as a great opportunity to attract a lot of people from not only different parts of the country but also from different countries and invite them to my state of Jammu & Kashmir. We are very hoepful that on one hand we will be able to promote Jammu & Kashmir as a top tourist destination and we will be able to invite a lot of clients to the state.last_img read more

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MTDC to strengthen Student Exchange programmes between India and Japan

first_imgOn the second day of the tour in the Wakayama Prefecture in Japan, Tourism Minister of Maharashtra, Jaykumar Rawal was welcomed by the Mayor of Tanabe City Mitsutoshi Manago to visit Tanabe City.The Tourism Minister along with the Maharashtra Tourism Development Corporation (MTDC) team visited The Toyo Junior High School where the school children made an excellent presentation on the World Heritage sites in Japan. MTDC also introduced children to various destinations, festivals and food culture in Maharashtra.Jaykumar Rawal, stated, “Our discussion with the Mayor focussed on several issues among the proposal by the President of Municipal Council, Dondaicha for sister city relationship with Tanabe City. We were overwhelmed with the efforts put in by the students of Toyo Junior High School and we look forward to continuing cultural, tourism and other bilateral exchanges through student exchange programs between Tanabe and Dondaicha.”Toyo Junior High School Principal Satake appreciated the efforts put by MTDC and promised to strengthen the ties further through the student exchange programmes.Managing Director, MTDC, Dr K H Govinda Raj in his address to the Toyo Junior High School committee emphasised on the endeavours made by the students in presenting the show and that too in English and appreciated the efforts one has to make in mastering a foreign language like English, both to the Japanese and Indians.last_img read more

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New Risk Management Initiative for Collingwood

first_img Agents & Brokers Attorneys & Title Companies Company News Investors Lenders & Servicers Processing Service Providers 2012-01-27 Abby Gregory New Risk Management Initiative for Collingwood January 27, 2012 398 Views “”The Collingwood Group””:www.collingwoodllc.com/ launched a new risk management and compliance division, established with the January 2012 acquirement of “”GWN Consulting, LLC””:www.gwnconsulting.com/ (GWN), a firm specializing in Federal Housing Administration (FHA) and Ginnie Mae risk management and quality control. [IMAGE]With the launch, Collingwood is promoting their introduction of a series of industry conference calls. The first will take place in February and the focus will be directed on FHA enforcement, quality assurance, the Mortgagee Review Board, and inspector general reviews. Additional calls will cover potential topics like “”FHA””:www.fha.gov/ Loss Mitigation tools, “”Ginnie Mae””:www.ginniemae.gov/ compliance reviews, and compliant and effective quality control plans. The calls are offered at no cost to participants.The Collingwood risk management and compliance division staff brings forth extensive FHA and Ginnie Mae knowledge and experience. They plan to share ongoing information with Collingwood clients and industry colleagues. The call is to be [COLUMN_BREAK]held by Brian Montgomery, the Collingwood Group chairman and former FHA commissioner. Montgomery will moderate discussion between Karen Garner, the Collingwood Group managing director, and former HUD compliance manager and GWN Principal, and David Hintz, the former Secretary to the HUD Mortgagee Review Board. These are calls are also meant to serve the multipurpose of introducing the array of services offered by the new Risk Management and Compliance Division. “”The experience, insight, and relationships of our new Risk Management and Compliance Division staff can provide substantial information that will be helpful to these organizations in developing proactive, preventative activities in their compliance efforts,”” says Montgomery in the statement. Montgomery went on to add, “”This is a critical time for lenders and servicers struggling with compliance, litigation and claims management issues related to their FHA and Ginnie Mae operations.”” FHA is currently reinforcing its standards; the goal of Collingwood’s Risk Management and Compliance Division is to assist their clients. This assistance can range from FHA and Ginnie Mae lender/issuer applications and re-certifications, origination or servicing compliance and best practices, claims management and recoveries, program manuals, operating guides and development of written and program training. Garner elaborates, “”With our upcoming conference call series and new services, we are confident that we can provide substantial assistance to lenders and servicers as they focus on quality control activities that will enable them to proactively monitor performance and mitigate risk.””center_img in Data, Government, Origination, Secondary Market, Servicing, Technology Sharelast_img read more

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FirstQuarter GDP Growth Slows to 22 With Spending Drop

first_img Agents & Brokers Attorneys & Title Companies GDP Investors Lenders & Servicers Service Providers 2012-04-27 Mark Lieberman April 27, 2012 433 Views in Data, Government First-Quarter GDP Growth Slows to 2.2% With Spending Dropcenter_img The U.S. economy grew at a disappointing 2.2 percent rate in the first quarter, the “”Labor Department””:http://www.dol.gov/ reported Friday, down from the 3.0 percent growth rate in the fourth quarter and below expectations. [IMAGE]Economists had expected GDP to grow at 2.5 percent in the first quarter. A drop in government spending was the biggest factor in the slowdown in growth.Friday’s Labor report was an “”advance estimate”” based on incomplete data subject to revision or in some cases data that has not yet been reported.[COLUMN_BREAK]In dollar terms, GDP increased $73.4 billion, most of which was an increase in personal consumption – $68.1 billion. A slowdown in government spending subtracted $19.0 billion, most of which was a $15.0 billion drop in federal spending in the first quarter from the fourth.Government purchases fell an annualized 3.0 percent, following a 4.2 percent decline in the fourth quarter. Labor also cited slower growth in inventory investment “”due to reduced inventory investment in manufacturing and wholesale industries”” and slower growth in fixed investment “”mainly due to slowdowns in industrial equipment, in computer and related equipment, and in power and communication structures.””Residential fixed investment contributed $14.9 billion to the change in GDP, up from $9.1 billion in the fourth quarter. Overall, total residential fixed investment grew 19.1 percent in the first quarter, up from 11.6 percent in the fourth quarter. Non-residential fixed investment dropped 2.1 percent in the first quarter after growing 5.2 percent in the fourth quarter.Inflation according to the GDP price index increased to a 1.5 percent annualized rate from 0.9 percent in the fourth quarter.Labor issues three GDP reports for each quarter: An “”advance”” report one month after the quarter ends and revisions in each of the following months as more data are received. Sharelast_img read more

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October Purchase Loan Share Crosses 60 Line

first_imgOctober Purchase Loan Share Crosses 60% Line Only months after crossing the 50 percent threshold, purchase loans in October made up more than 60 percent of the market, “”Ellie Mae””:http://www.elliemae.com/ revealed in its most recent “”Origination Insight Report””:http://www.elliemae.com/origination-insight-reports/EMOriginationInsightReportOctober2013.pdf.[IMAGE]According to Ellie Mae’s data, which draws from a sampling of the loan applications flowing through the company’s network, purchase loan share was 61 percent in October, the highest since the company began tracking in August 2011 and nearly double the 31 percent share recorded the same month last year.””This has been the ninth consecutive month that the purchase loan percentage has either increased or stayed steady,”” said Jonathan Corr, president and COO of Ellie Mae.[COLUMN_BREAK]As purchase share climbed, however, the closing rate fell for the second month. Ellie Mae calculated a closing rate of 56.9 percent for purchase loans closed in October, while refinances had a closing rate of 44.6 percent (compared to 59.6 percent and 45.2 percent, respectively).Overall, October’s loan closing rate was 51.4 percent, down from 52.3 percent.There was also a greater delay between application and closing. The average time to close for all loans in October was 45 days, an increase from 42 in September. Both refinances and purchase loans saw their closing times rise by the same amount–three days–averaging 43 and 46 days, respectively.Credit standards remained the same on closed loans last month, with an average FICO score of 732 and an average loan-to-value (LTV) ratio of 81 percent. For denied loans, the average FICO was 689, down from 696, and the average LTV was 83 percent, down from 84 percent.On the refinance front, Ellie Mae noted a cool-off in activity under the Home Affordable Refinance Program (HARP). Conventional refinances with an LTV of 95 percent or greater have been cut nearly in half over the last several months, falling from 13.4 percent of all of refinances in August to 7.3 percent in October. November 21, 2013 397 Views Agents & Brokers Attorneys & Title Companies Credit Standards Ellie Mae HARP Investors Lenders & Servicers Mortgage Applications Purchase Loans Refinance Service Providers 2013-11-21 Tory Barringercenter_img in Data, Origination Sharelast_img read more

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Mortgage Application Volumes Pick Up

first_img Mortgage Applications Mortgage Bankers Association Mortgage Rates Purchase Loans Refinance 2014-07-23 Tory Barringer July 23, 2014 463 Views Share After experiencing a post-holiday decline, applications for home mortgages picked up again last week, the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) reported.MBA’s Market Composite Index, a weekly measure of mortgage loan application volumes, bumped up 2.4 percent on a seasonally adjusted basis for the week ending July 18, the group said.Unadjusted, the index performed slightly better, climbing 3 percent week-over-week.Most of the uptick came from an increase in refinance application activity, which was up an unadjusted 4 percent from the previous week. That bump brought the refinance share of mortgage activity up to 54.4 percent of total applications, the highest share since March.Meanwhile, the seasonally adjusted Purchase Index rose 0.3 percent. Removing seasonal adjustments, the index ticked up 1 percent and was 15 percent lower than the same time last year.For the week, MBA’s measure for the average 30-year fixed-rate mortgage interest rate remained more or less unchanged at 4.33 percent, with points increasing to 0.23 for 80 percent loan-to-value ratio loans, the group reported.center_img Mortgage Application Volumes Pick Up in Daily Dose, Headlines, News, Originationlast_img read more

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Fannie Mae Freddie Mac Q2 Earnings Reach 88 Billion

first_img October 5, 2015 728 Views The combined second quarter 2015 earnings of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac increased $2.4 billion from the first quarter to a total of $8.8 billion, according to the Quarterly Performance Report of the Housing GSEs from the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA).FHFA says the major drivers of the increase were net interest income and gains on derivatives as increases in swap rates contributed to earnings. The report also added that “earnings during the quarter also benefited from rising house prices, combined with the continued decline in the number of delinquent loans guaranteed by the Enterprises.”The Enterprises also reported a combined $5.6 billion gain on derivatives in the second quarter, mostly due to an increase in medium- and longer-term swap rates.The report also showed credit quality of new single-family business remained high during the first six months of 2015. The weighted average credit score was 750 for Fannie Mae and 751 for Freddie Mac, up from 744 reported for both Enterprises in 2014.In addition, the average loan-to-value ratio for new business declined at both Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac as refinances outweighed purchase-mortgage originations.Refinances made up 61 percent of  single-family new business volume at Fannie Mae and 63 percent at Freddie Mac. Meanwhile, HARP volume was steady at 31,600 refinances for the first and second quarter of 2015.The Enterprises and Ginnie Mae accounted for $258 billion or 67 percent of mortgage-backed security issuance volume in the second quarter, up from $207 billion recorded in the first quarter.FHFA also issued a conservator’s update on Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, noting that by the end of 2007, the Enterprises had $71 billion of combined capital. However, the Enterprises have $254 billion in combined charges against capital from 2007 to the second quarter of 2015.To put this into perspective, the Treasury must support $187.5 billion of these charges through the Senior Preferred Stock Purchase Agreements.The Federal Home Loan Bank (FHLBank) System reported a total net income of $669 billion in the second quarter of 2015, down $355 million from $1.023 billion in the first quarter.”Net income was primarily lower due to lower net interest income and higher operating expenses related to the [FHLBanks of Seattle and Des Moines] merger,” the FHFA said. Share Fannie Mae & Freddie Mac Q2 Earnings Reach $8.8 Billion Click here to view the full report. Fannie Mae FHLBanks Freddie Mac Q2 Net Income 2015-10-05 Staff Writer in Daily Dose, Data, Government, Headlines, Newslast_img read more

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Obstacles Dont Deter Optimism Toward Housing

first_img Housing Market Nationwide 2016-06-28 Seth Welborn The national U.S. housing market is sustainable, despite slower-than-expected household formations and the slowdown in energy sector jobs, according to the latest Health of Housing Markets report from Nationwide Insurance.Much of the reason for the optimism lies in the fact that delinquency rates are down nearly across the board and are zeroing in on pre-bust levels, Nationwide reported.  Though the report did not cite specific numbers, graphics indicate heartily decreasing delinquency rates in almost all markets eat of the Mississippi, with notable declines in the Northeast and Florida.Steady declines in delinquency in the western half of the U.S. were also generally good, though delinquency rates were on the rise in that far southwestern ends of Arizona and California.Regionally, however, the housing markets in the vast majority of metropolitan statistical areas were deemed sustainable, suggesting that most local housing markets are unlikely to see declines in the near term.  Job and mortgage market conditions steadily improved as well, helping to boost housing sustainability in much of the country, the report stated.”We are seeing positive signals for homeowners, as well as local economies, in most metro areas.”David Berson, SVP and Chief Economist, NationwideHowever, there are some job concerns. Energy sector slowdowns are weighing on job growth and housing sustainability for a number of metros in energy-intensive areas, especially in North Dakota, Wyoming, and Texas. Nationwide’s assessment matches very closely to stats released by Arch Mortgage Insurance Tuesday that housing markets in these areas are at higher risk for seeing price declines over the next two years.Overall, though, the health of the U.S. market remained steady at just north of 100 on Nationwide’s index. The current value of 104.3 is the lowest level in two years, but an index value over 100 suggests “that the national housing market is healthy, with lower chances of a housing downturn over the next year as the index moves increasingly above the 100 break-even value,” the report stated.”We are seeing positive signals for homeowners, as well as local economies, in most metro areas,” said David Berson, Nationwide’s senior vice president and chief economist. “The drop in serious mortgage delinquency rates supports sustainable home price gains and housing activity. The more sustainable housing markets should allow for positive feedback loops in local economies, with strengthening job and income gains for residential real estate agents, mortgage bankers and home improvement workers.” June 28, 2016 495 Views in Daily Dose, Data, Featured, Newscenter_img Obstacles Don’t Deter Optimism Toward Housing Sharelast_img read more

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Freddie Mac Details 307M NonPerforming Loan Sale

first_img Freddie Mac announced the completion of its auction of 1,789 non-performing residential first lien loans (NPLs) from its mortgage-related investments portfolio on Tuesday. The loans totaled around $307 million, and are currently serviced by NewRez LLC, doing business as Shellpoint Mortgage Servicing. The transaction is expected to settle in July 2019.The winning bidders across the three pools include InSolve Global Credit Fund IV, L.P. for the first pool, and Elkhorn Depositor LLC for the second and third pool.Freddie Mac’s NPL sale is part of the FHFA’s three strategic goals as conservator of the Enterprises, including maintaining foreclosure prevention activities and credit availability, reducing taxpayer risk, and building a new single-family securitization infrastructure.As part of the Federal Housing Finance Agency’s (FHFA) effort to build a single security platform, Common Securitization Solutions, LLC along with Fannie and Freddie are to implement the Single Security Initiative on the Common Securitization Platform for both Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac in the Q2  2019. As part of this implementation Freddie Mac recently announced that its Investor Reporting Change Initiative (IRCI) will revise Single-Family investor reporting requirements, beginning in May 2019, including moving the investor reporting cycle from mid-month to end-of-month and updating remittance cycles. The FHFA’s 2018 Scorecard Progress Report details these major GSE activities.Freddie Mac states that it is making the changes to promote alignment and industry standards for the Uniform Mortgage Backed Security. In March, the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) issued a final rule that requires Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to align programs, policies, and practices that affect the cash flows of “To-Be-Announced” (TBA)-eligible Mortgage-Backed Securities. The agency statement indicated that this is a major step forward. “This rule demonstrates FHFA’s commitment to the success of the UMBS, which will promote liquidity and efficiency in the secondary mortgage market,” said Joseph Otting, FHFA Acting Director. Share Freddie Mac Details $307M Non-Performing Loan Sale in Daily Dose, Featured, Government, News, Secondary Marketcenter_img Freddie Mac Non-Performing loan 2019-05-14 Seth Welborn May 14, 2019 562 Views last_img read more

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The Best States for Homeowners

first_img in Daily Dose, Data, Featured, News, Origination June 11, 2019 723 Views The Best States for Homeowners While Iowa may have the lowest housing costs, and West Virginia has the highest homeownership rate, Massachusetts is ranked as the best place to live overall, according to a recent study from WalletHub. Based on five main indicators: affordability, economy, education and health, quality of life, and safety, Wallethub determined which states were the “best places to live.”Massachusetts is ranked low in affordability, at 43, but between second and fourth in every category, making it WalletHub’s “best place to live.” Iowa, with the lowest housing costs in the country, is ranked eighth. WalletHub’s top five cities by housing prices were Iowa, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Kansas. North Dakota also experienced some of the highest income growth in the country.The highest homeownership rate in the country can be found in West Virginia, along with Maine, Minnesota, Delaware, and Iowa again. West Virginia is also ranked second in overall affordability, behind Alabama.CoreLogic reported that affordability continues to improve across the nation, and home buying power has reached 2017 levels after an 11-month slowdown. Fleming states that the declining mortgage rates and rising income have led to boosted home buying power, overcoming the drag on affordability from rising nominal house prices.Affordability has been on the rise through the first several months of 2019. The Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) reported that average interest rates on all mortgages fell 24 points from March to 4.20% in April.The FHFA stated home prices rose in every state, but First American’s Real Home Price Index states affordability also increased for the first time since March 2016.“In March, two main components of the RHPI swung in favor of increased affordability – continued strong household income growth and declining mortgage rates,” said First American Chief Economist Mark Fleming. “Nationally, affordability improved on a year-over-year basis for the first time since 2016.”center_img Affordability Home Prices Quality 2019-06-11 Seth Welborn Sharelast_img read more

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From the pages of Produce Business UK Plantbased

first_img From the pages of Produce Business UKPlant-based eating in all its guises has developed into a firm fixture that is here to stay on eating-out menus across the UK, driven by consumer conscience for their own health as well as global sustainability. That was the stand-out message from the late morning sessions of The Foodservice Forum 2018, held 7 June as part of The London Produce Show and Conference.Rob Kirby (left), Chef Director for Lexington Catering, talks to the audience at the Foodservice Forum.During the second-annual edition of The Foodservice Forum, speakers and panelists representing prominent companies from across the UK eating-out industry highlighted the increasing opportunities to sell more fresh fruits and vegetables as they discussed the growth in the flexitarian, vegetarian and vegan movements as well as the response from UK-based foodservice operators. Referring to the MCA Menu & Food Trends Report 2018, Simon Stenning, Executive Director for MCA Insight, pointed out the important and continued growth of vegetarian and vegan meal offerings across the spectrum of the UK food-to-go market; from chain and fast-food restaurants to managed pubs. “Regarding the consumption of food products, there has been a slight growth in chicken as a main protein group eaten out of the home and a growth in vegetarian of 6 percent,” Stenning explained, as he opened the one-day programme with a deep-dive analysis of the UK foodservice industry. “When we look at the labeling on menus (how dishes/recipes are labeled), we’re seeing an increase in the number of dishes labeled as vegetarian. And there are more than double the number of dishes labeled as vegan.” The growth increments for central London caterer Vacherin are “two-to-three-fold” of those highlighted by Stenning, claimed Dan Kelly, the company’s Director of Food. “Certainly, vegetarianism and veganism is the hot topic at the moment […] we’re seeing huge amounts of demand,” he noted, adding that operators must react.On chairing a panel of chefs gathered to examine the topic further, marketing director for contract caterer bartlett mitchell and longtime vegetarian Lin Dickens described the flexitarian movement as really having been “borne.”In particular, Dickens quoted a 2017 Mintel’s Meat-Free Foods UK Market Report, which found that more than a quarter (28 percent) of meat-eating Brits reduced or limited their meat consumption in the six months to March 2017. She also pointed out the spike in search interest for the word ‘vegan’, according to online search engine Google. As the panel discussion got underway, the millennial generation was singled out as the consumer group at the forefront of the flexitarian movement by both Rob Kirby, Chef Director for contract caterer Lexington Catering, and Andrea Waters, Creative Director & Executive Chef of Redemption Bar, a plant-based and alcohol-free dining concept in London.“We’re seeing in the business that from Monday to Thursday, they [customers] are super healthy – really clean – then it gets a bit ‘dirty’ by Thursday [onwards],” regaled Kirby.Waters agreed, adding that most vegans fall into the younger audience bracket of 15- to 35-year-olds. “From Monday to Thursday, they want to fill up with nutrition; they want to get their health fix and lessen the impact of what they want to eat at the weekend,” she noted. As for the biggest driver of vegetarian and vegan diets, the panel was divided in its opinion as to whether health or sustainability was the single-most reason, with many choosing both as fundamental to the growing appetite. When asked whether veganism is here to stay, Waters replied wholeheartedly. “Absolutely,” she asserted. “Youngsters are a lot more aware than we were of global issues, their health and sustainability. They’re all talking about it, and that’s going to continue. These are our customers of the future, and companies need to sit up and take notice.” Kitchen responseSo, with the trend for plant-based meals firmly established, Dickens questioned the panel of chefs on how this has impacted their kitchens. Across the board, the chefs described a shift towards offering more plant-based food offerings on their menus, together with broadened training and outside support. Lloyd Mann, Global Culinary Director for Sodexo – one of the world’s largest contract caterers with operations in more than 80 countries across the globe – detailed his company’s sustainable food initiative with WWF, Green & Lean, which has placed plant-based food at the core of Sodexo’s offer globally. June 15 , 2018 “We started piloting over 80 recipes and we’ve got to the point where we have created a strategic global food offer,” Mann said. “The early feedback is that it’s been a massive success. We are pushing WWF to support us in other countries where there’s big demand.”Describing as “huge” the volume of vegetarian and vegan options now offered by the hospitality industry at large, Kirby from Lexington Catering used as an example the launch of its Grains & Greens vegetarian and vegan range, which he said has performed “really well” across Lexington sites.“We’re trying to get to 95 percent vegan, up from about 80 percent at the moment,” Kirby said. “We don’t tend to use meat substitutes though, we prefer plant-based foods – we all prefer fresh. “We’re doing a tasting menu for vegetarian foods too […] people are getting whipped up about it.”Andy Craig, Head of Fresh Food, Field Team & Food Service at Sainsbury’s, detailed the steps being taken at the UK’s second-largest supermarket chain.“Flexitarianism is a massive trend,” Craig confirmed, explaining that retail food counters also have to remain relevant to today’s consumers. “It’s exciting for us; it’s about providing a combination of products. Our NPD [New Product Development] team are working on products like a mixed sausage with meat and veg.”Even the UK stadia hospitality industry – where meat pies have long been the staple dish – is witnessing a changing client base that is more conscious of its eating habits, according to Thomas Rhodes, Executive Chef at Twickenham Stadium in southwest London. “We used to cater for 8 percent vegetarian meals and 1 percent vegan meals; now it’s 30 percent vegetarian and 5-6 percent vegan,” Rhodes noted. “We’re constantly adapting our menus, and we’re beginning the process of developing sole vegetarian and vegan menus for each restaurant [at Twickenham]. Everyone wants something completely different now than just two vegetarian [dish] choices.” In terms of educating chefs to enable them to deliver a broader, plant-based offer, Rhodes explained how many of his produce suppliers have visited to talk with the stadium’s kitchen teams about how to get the best out of each product, and how to incorporate more flavour into dishes rather than the traditional method of using meat.“Also, I encourage my team to visit new restaurants and to try new things they’ve never had before,” Rhodes added. “And, we’re introducing a development chef to help on that side; we’re growing our team to develop new dishes.”Similarly, Simon Price, Chef Director for ISS Food & Hospitality, pointed out the importance of responding to the meat-free demand by starting from scratch. “It’s not just about a load of new recipes; it’s about going back to basics,” he suggested. “It’s inviting chefs to forums to really understand what is vegetarian or vegan currently […] it’s handing over to a tomato grower to understand the value of produce.”Of course, the rise in demand for plant-based dishes ultimately elevates the opportunity for fresh fruits and vegetables to be celebrated as they garner a larger share of the plate, as pointed out in the previous session by James Greetham, Business Director for event caterer Levy Restaurants UK (part of the Compass group). “We’ve just opened a restaurant at Somerset House with [chef] Bryn Williams, which really puts fruit and vegetables at the heart of its dishes,” he said. “It’s been really successful. The protein [on the plate] comes in second or third place, but it’s really worked.”Importantly, Greetham pointed out that diners who aren’t necessarily vegetarian or vegan do not appear to miss the absence of meat on offer. “They just thought it was great food. There’s a mindset that at an event [the catering] should be meat, then vegetc. and that is definitely not the case.”Celebrated vegetarian chef and UK Culinary Master Paul Gayler MBE (left) demonstrated live a couple of dishes that respond to the plant-based movement, sponsored by LifeWorks Restaurant Group.First was a fennel tartin with roasted and pickled beetroot, Granny Smith apple ketchup and chive flowers; followed by a Moroccan B’stilla (or Pastilla) made from seitan (a ‘faux meat’ also known as wheat gluten) served with jewelled cous cous, aubergine houmous and roasted root vegetables.Regarded as one of the pioneers of vegetarian haute cuisine, Gayler agreed with the speakers before him that plant-based eating is both here to stay and growing at a foodservice and also a retail level thanks to the rise of flexitarianism, vegetarianism and veganism.“Produce has been my love and life for many years,” Gayler explained. “Produce makes a dish. […] You eat with your eyes, and produce brings a lot of colours. If you make the plate sing, you make people want to eat it.“Vegetarian food should be healthy, fresh and enticing for the palate. If you make good vegetarian food, you don’t miss meat.” www.freshfruitportal.com Q&A: Hana Group’s Danciger talks foodservice … center_img You might also be interested in Q&A: Reynolds executive development chef prov …last_img read more

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