Canadian Olympic head to back Toronto to make 2024 bid

first_img TORONTO (AP) — The head of the Canadian Olympic Committee said Sunday he would push Toronto to bid for the 2024 Olympics.Marcel Aubut, head of the COC, told a press conference he wants to see Canada’s largest city be an official candidate by Sept. 15, the deadline set by the International Olympic Committee.“It’s time to make it crystal clear,” Aubut said. “I am officially declaring that I will use the full power of my office to lead and advocate for Toronto’s candidacy to hold the 2024 Olympic Games. This is it.” Get a lawn your neighbor will be jealous of Ecuador’s Andres Chocho wears his gold medal earned in the men’s 50km race walk at the Pan Am Games, Sunday, July 26, 2015, in Toronto. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez) Mesa family survives lightning strike to home Sponsored Stories Canada last hosted the Summer Olympics in 1976 in Montreal. Those games ran up debts of $1.5 billion, which took the city 30 years to pay off.Aubut focused on successful Winter Games in Vancouver and Calgary, and downplayed Montreal. He said new IOC president Thomas Bach was emphasizing “cost efficiency” in the Olympics.“It’s 40 years since Montreal 76,” he said. “It’s time that we do it.”As Toronto gets into the mix, Boston’s bid is floundering with local approval falling below 50 percent. The United States Olympic Committee was to meet Monday to discuss the Boston bid with Los Angeles a possible alternative.Toronto could suit some interests in North America, which has not hosted a summer games since Atlanta in 1996. From the American perspective, Toronto could be considered like “home-country games” with Canadian governments picking up the bills.Aubut emphasized Toronto’s diversity. About 50 percent of residents were born outside Canada, and city hall figures say 45 percent speak a first language other than English or French.Toronto Mayor John Tory told The Associated Press this week the city must move “very quickly.” Comments   Share   New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies Top Stories “We have to sit down right after these games and prepare every bit of analysis — on the finances, on the benefits to the city, on the amount of publicity it will give us,” Tory said.Tory may have a difficult time. The economic development committee of the city council has already rejected an Olympic bid by the cash-strapped city.Rio de Janeiro, the host of next year’s Olympics, is spending about $12 billion to organize the games. Russia spent about $51 billion to organize the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi.The 2024 winner will be named in 2017 in Lima, Peru, with Paris often viewed as the early favorite.Aubut is to travel to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, where the IOC this week will announce the venue for the 2022 Winter Olympics. One of his first meetings will be with Bach, who was in Toronto when the Pan Am Games opened.“This is the moment. This is the time to go forward especially with the success we have had with these Pan Am Games,” Aubut said. “We are going to work very seriously starting tomorrow.”___Stephen Wade on Twitter: http://twitter.com/StephenWadeAPCopyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Here’s how to repair and patch damaged drywall So far five cities are already bidding: Boston; Budapest, Hungary; Hamburg, Germany; Paris; Rome. Toronto lost recent bids to Atlanta for the 1996 Olympics, and to Beijing for 2008.“This is working for the candidacy,” Aubut clarified. “We are not working to get the games as such, but to bring Toronto into the process of being an official candidate by Sept. 15.”Toronto has built several Olympic-grade venues including a pool and cycling velodrome for the Pan Am Games, which end Sunday. It lacks a centerpiece track and field stadium, and would need to build an athletes’ village.The city spent $2.5 billion Canadian ($2 billion) to organize the games, 90 percent public money. This is 10 times what Winnipeg spent on the 1999 Pan Am Games, and three times what Guadalajara, Mexico, spent four years ago.“The Pan Am Games paved the way, and Toronto deserves the next opportunity to go further and further in the games,” Aubut said. “It’s the biggest show on earth, the Summer Olympic Games.”Canada finished second to the United States in the Pan Am Games medal count and won a record number. Officials hope to use the short-term public euphoria as a springboard to the Olympic bid. Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility 5 things to look for when selecting an ophthalmologist The vital role family plays in societylast_img read more

Bayview Chateau Tongariro Earns Gold Environmental Award

first_imgBayview Chateau Tongariro has gained a Qualmark Enviro-Gold Award, recognising its high standards in environmental practices.To earn New Zealand Tourism’s official environmental award, Bayview Chateau Tongariro had to show effectiveness in energy efficiency, waste management and water conservation, with community activities and conservation initiatives also considered under Qualmark’s environmental criteria. Maree Surrey, Marketing Manager, said “we are very proud to be the first business in the Ruapehu Region to be awarded enviro-gold.  The location of the hotel in a Dual World heritage site inspires us to be committed to the environment and sustainable practices in not only the hotel, but also in supporting the surrounding community in which we are located.” All businesses carrying the Qualmark logo must meet standards for environmental practices, says Qualmark chief executive, Geoff Penrose, with the awards recognising top performers in this area. “Environmental practices are evaluated as part of our quality assessment process and Enviro Awards are granted to businesses showing a high degree of commitment to caring for the environment and their community,” says Mr. Penrose.Over 470 businesses have achieved Enviro Award status – recognising their commitment to Qualmark’s responsible tourism criteria and environmental practices.Qualmark® is New Zealand’s trusted guide to quality travel experiences – helping travellers identify over 2,300 great places to stay, things to do and ways to get around.Accommodation, activities and transport businesses carrying the Qualmark® logo have been independently assessed to meet tough quality standards and environmental criteria – earning New Zealand tourism’s official quality mark Qualmark is jointly owned by Tourism New Zealand and the New Zealand Automobile Association. The programme is run as an industry service, on a not-for-profit basis. <a href=”http://www.etbtravelnews.global/click/20308/” target=”_blank”><img src=”http://adsvr.travelads.biz/www/delivery/avw.php?zoneid=10&amp;cb=INSERT_RANDOM_NUMBER_HERE&amp;n=a5c63036″ border=”0″ alt=””></a> Source = Central Parklast_img read more

Act now for Sydneys second airport IATA warning

first_imgSource = e-Travel Blackboard: G.A The date and location of a second airport for Sydney needs to be decided now, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) boss said yesterday.Arriving in the middle of Australia’s “government uncertainty”, IATA Director General Giovanni Bisignani issued a warning to the new government advising them to take urgent action after half a decade of studies on the issue.”The clock is ticking,” he told the National Aviation Press Club in Sydney, before heading to a meeting with Labor Minister for Transport Anthony Albanese.“Even 20 years is a tight timeline,” he said.“Kingsford Smith will reach a point where it will not be able to handle Sydney’s needs. “Whether you believe that will happen in 10 years or in 20 years, a decision on the next airport is now critical,” he said, highlighting the urgency of the issue due to its associated road and transport infrastructure.A spokesperson from Mr Albanese’s office told e-Travel Blackboard that a taskforce set up to “develop a strategic plan for meeting the future aviation needs for the Sydney region” was due to announce its results in 2011, but is dependent on the outcome of the recent election.“Should the Liberal Party come to power it’s likely the issue will be put on the back burner…the Liberal Party think Sydney Airport will be fine for another 30 years,” they said.The IATA boss also slammed Sydney Airport’s charges given the recent state of the aviation industry.According to Mr Bisginani, Sydney Airport’s earnings jumped 82 per cent last year, while airlines lost $10 billion.Mr Bisignani pointed to a report that ranked Sydney’s airport as the 9th most expensive airport in the world last year, jumping from 34th place in 2000.”Logically airlines and airports should be profitable, but airports are also monopolies that must be effectively regulated,” Mr Bisignani said, supporting a decision by the Labor government to instate a Productivity Commission review of airport regulation. Mr Bisignani’s statements coincided with the MAp Group, the majority owner of Sydney Airport, announcement of an 18 per cent increase in earnings to $205 million for the year to June.last_img read more

Toga Hospitality CEO stars on Undercover Boss

first_imgSource = e-Travel Blackboard: C.F Toga Hospitality CEO, Rachel Argaman has revealed that she worked incognito for the upcoming Australian version of the hit television series, Undercover Boss.Argaman made the revelation to over 200 Toga Team Members who then discovered that their boss has been ‘scrubbing, cooking and cleaning’ at Vibe Hotels, Medina Apartment Hotels and Travelodge Hotels to find out how their company could be improved.A familiar face among Toga Hospitality’s 51 hotels, Argaman had to be heavily disguised during her time as an Undercover Boss.The experience gave Argaman the unique opportunity to get to know more about her staff and to hear some home truths about the business.Argaman said: “Companies don’t succeed; people do – at Toga Hospitality, we follow this as our mantra.“The reason I wanted to be involved in Undercover Boss was to look at our business through the eyes of our Front Line Team.“This was a true learning curve! I had lots of fun and have learnt vital lessons which will translate into real solutions for our business and our people so that we can better serve our guests, and our team!”Network Ten’s Chief Programming Officer, David Mott said: “I’m delighted with the local production of Undercover Boss…Our CEOs have been extraordinary in giving of their time.“I know this has been a life changing experience for them. What we have here is something quite special that Australians will love and embrace.”A number of other companies are set to take part in the new Australian series including: Domino’s Pizza Enterprises, Boost Juice and Veolia Environmental Services Australia.Undercover Boss Australia starts on Monday 18 October at 8.30pm on TEN.last_img read more

Tunisian recovery efforts have UNWTO support

first_imgTunisia is a leading tourism destination: UNWTO boss Taleb Rifai Source = e-Travel Blackboard: M.H The United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) has backed a plan by the Ministry of Tourism of Tunisia to revive the nation’s struggling tourism industry, following a recent visit to the country by UNWTO Secretary-General Taleb Rifai. During his visit, Mr Rifai held discussions with Interim President Fouad Mebazaa and the Minister of Tourism Mehdi Houas, addressing such issues as travel advisories, public and private partnerships, and the latest tourism advertising campaign. “Tourism is not in crisis in Tunisia, rather it is living the natural impact of the significant changes that have occurred in the country,” Mr Rifai said in a joint press conference with Mr Houas. Expressing his full support for the sector, Mr Rifai said it was now time to “show the world the real situation of Tunisia”, adding the country was “ready to receive its visitors”. “The new environment … can create new open and transparent conditions for investment in tourism, namely foreign investment, and unlock significant local business potential,” the UNWTO boss said, warning against short term recovery measures such as lowering prices. The Tunisian ‘Recovery Plan’ comes at a time when tourist arrivals into the country continue to decline, with the first quarter of 2011 recording a 44 per cent year-on-year decrease in international visitor numbers. The tourism industry in Tunisia accounts for 6.5 per cent of the country’s GDP, providing for some 450,000 jobs.Tunisia recorded some 7 million international visitors in 2010.last_img read more

Cape Town Awarded World Design Capital 2014

first_imgÓ Guto Bussab: Low cost housing in Mitchell’s Plain (Architect: Luyanda Mpahlwa) Ó Sydelle Willow Smith: Cape culture in the City of Cape Town Mandela Wall art: Mandela Rhodes Place Ó Shaen-Adey: Graffiti Art South African Tourism is proud to announce that Cape Town has beaten the other shortlisted finalists, Dublin (Ireland) and Bilbao (Spain), in being awarded the title of World Design Capital 2014 at the International Design Alliance (IDA) Congress.“Cape Town’s status as World Design Capital 2014 is a major boost for South Africa’s credentials as a major international lifestyle destination and a big boost for the country’s tourism industry,” says Lalie Ngozi, Country Manager, South African Tourism Australasia.“This is wonderful news for Cape Town and our country’s entire tourism industry and South African Tourism congratulates everyone involved with the Mother City’s successful World Design Capital 2014 bid,” continued Ms Ngozi.The prestigious World Design Capital award is made every other year by the International Council of Societies of Industrial Design (ICSID) to a city that is dedicated to using design for social, cultural and economic development. The Mother City is the first African city to be given the honour, joining former World Design Capitals Torino, Italy (2008), Seoul, South Korea (2010) and Helsinki, Finland (2012).“Australians know all about our country’s qualities as a leading adventure and wildlife destination, but through our involvement this year with events such as Design Indaba in Cape Town, the Cape Town International Jazz Festival, the Joy of Jazz and Macufe Festivals, the Joburg Art Fair, the Joburg, Cape Town and Africa Fashion Weeks and the Designing South Africa project, we have made a concerted attempt with our cities and provinces to position South Africa as a major international lifestyle destination.” “Cape Town specifically already has a world-renowned reputation as an amazing city to visit amongst Australian travellers, not only because of its acclaimed natural beauty, but because it is home to creative, inspired people who are building an innovative future,” continued Ms Ngozi.Previous Award winners have seen increased visitor numbers following their awarding of the title, with Torino reporting higher visitor numbers in their title year than in the year the city hosted the Winter Olympics in 2006.“From our consumer research we know that travellers want to engage with South Africa’s design, art, fashion and music offering when they visit our country and we’re responding to that demand. This award gives us all a considerable boost and even more compelling reasons to entice visitors to our exciting destination,” Ms Ngozi concluded.The World Design Capital title is awarded well in advance, allowing winning cities sufficient time to plan, develop and promote a year-long programme of World Design Capital-themed events for their designated year and also the opportunity of two years of pre-publicity to showcase its design and creativity. Cape Town officials are looking to use the title to celebrate the role design has played in taking a previously divided city and transforming it into a more integrated one and to address the issues of growing urbanisation. center_img Image courtesy of South African Tourism Source = South African Tourism Kevin Brand sculture installation – District Six in the backgroundlast_img read more

Italian hotels favourable

first_imgSource = e-Travel Blackboard: K.W Hotels in Italy have shown a generally favourable view in October 2011, compared to last year according to data compiled by STR Global, the leading provider of market data to the world’s hotel industry.Significant growth in the number of Italian hotels sampled by STR enabled more detailed reporting, with over 600 hotels across Italy that looked at key performance indicators such as occupancy, average daily rate and revenue per available room.Some markets however are still reporting a decrease, such as Rome Airport Eur-Fiumicino and sub-market of Milan Linate – San Donato – Assago.STR Global reported new markets in Italy comprise further subdivisions of the Rome market including Rome Central Station and Rome Villa Borghese – Quirinale.  Italy’s fourth largest metropolitan area Turin saw the market split between Turin City Centre and Turin Surroundings.Milan had the biggest movement with the addition of five new sub-markets, Milan Fiera City, Milan Garibaldi – Centrale – BuenosAires, Milan Linate – San Donato – Assago, Milan North and Milan West – Rho Fiera, joining the Milan City Centre market. Salento, the ‘heel’ of Italy, is a new destination that’s been split into Lecce City and Salento Excluding Lecce City.  Managing director of STR Global Elizabeth Randall said the growth of the sample of hotels in Italy allows STR Global to provide data at an even more detailed level, benefitting all existing and future customers.last_img read more

SIA axes Abu Dhabi Athens services

first_imgSource = e-Travel Blackboard: N.J Singapore Airlines has announced it is pulling its three times weekly flights to Abu Dhabi and twice weekly Athens services after experiencing weak performances on both routes.Despite serving Athens since 1972 and Abu Dhabi from 2006, the airline announced this morning its last flight to both cities would depart Singapore on 26 October this year.Describing the decision as a “difficult one”, the airline said travellers could still utilise its Dubai service to reach the UAE and its Star Alliance partners to fly into Greece.Meanwhile customers holding confirmed tickets issued prior to today on flights to and from Abu Dhabi and Athens after 26 October will be eligible for refunds without admin fees. Singapore Airlines B773last_img read more

Top Tourism Award winners

first_imgRottnest Island Visitor Centre has been honoured with the 2012 GWN7 Top Tourism Award, recognising the contributions made to tourism and the local community.Tourism Minister Kim Hames was supportive of the awards, which were co-ordinated by the Visitor Centre Association of Western Australia. “As the winner of the Top Tourism Award, Rottnest Island will receive a AU$25,000 advertising package from GWN7 to help with their marketing,” Dr Hames said.“I would also like to congratulate all the finalists and winners, and thank them for their contributions to making the State’s tourism industry truly extraordinary.” Denmark, Western Australia was awarded the Top Tourism Award for a town with a population under 5,000. Listed winners in the West Australian regional newspaper special category awards;Heritage Award – Fremantle Cultural Award – Christmas Island Website Development Award and Management/Staff Training Award – Busselton Community Relations Award – Esperance Environment Award – Denmark Special Events Award – KununurraYvonne Bradfield from Armadale Visitor Centre won the 2012 West Australian Golden i Award, while Dunsborough took out the Vanguard Press Judges Award, and Margaret River won the RAC Travel Services Business Planning and Marketing Award. Source = e-Travel Blackboard: P.Tlast_img read more

Air NZs oldiesinspired safety video

first_img“Air New Zealand has a global reputation for creating unique in-flight safety videos,” Ms White said. Check out the new video below. Air New Zealand has created another unique in-flight safety video featuring former US sitcom star Betty White. The unique video was the first of its kind filmed outside New Zealand, set at the fictional ‘Second Wind Retirement Resort’ in the United States where residents live ‘life to the full’. “We had a lot of fun on set and I think we’ve shown that it doesn’t matter what age you are, it’s important to live life to the full.” Source = ETB News: P.T. In the past, Air New Zealand has released a slew of unusual safety videos; the most popular being the airline’s Hobbit-themed clip, which has racked up more than 10 million view on YouTube. Betty White is considered a veteran in the world of show business, with over 74 years’ experience and six Emmy Awards. The 91 year-old actress/comedienne is supported by a cast of elderly actors, including Gavin MacLeod who played Captain Stubing on The Love Boat and Jimmy Weldon, the voice of Yakky Doodle Duck in the Yogi Bear Show, the Sydney Morning Herald reported.last_img read more

Kata Group proudly partners Phuket Kings Cup Regatta for 17th consecu

first_img Kata Grouplearn more Kings Cupdiscover more Kata Beach Resort www.katagroup.comKata Group proudly partners Phuket King’s Cup Regatta for 17th consecutive yearPhuket – One of the standout international sporting events in the South-east Asia region, the Phuket King’s Cup Regatta Under Royal Patronage prepares to set sail again, swelling Phuket visitor numbers and making a contribution to overall Thai tourism performance. The classic race is pleased to announce that Kata Group Resorts Thailand will continue its longstanding role as Host Sponsor for the 17th year for this, the 29th competition. The Phuket King’s Cup Regatta 2015 will be held at Kata Beach Resort and Spa from 5th December to 12th December, and will host international racing classes across which around 150 boats and 1500 sailors will compete for one of sailing’s most prestigious trophies.Kata Beach Resort and Spa, one of six properties owned and managed by Kata Group, is the long-established home of the Phuket King’s Cup Regatta, serving as race control center, the sailor’s briefing point, media center, party venue and also temporary home of the Phuket King’s Cup Regatta Organizing Committee and its support teams, as well as providing high quality accommodation to sponsor representatives and VIP attendees. Kata Beach Resort and Spa will also host the Regatta opening ceremony on Sunday 6th December and the Closing Royal Award Ceremony on Saturday 12th December at Kata Beach Resort and Spa.Pramookpisitt Achariyachai, President of Kata Group Resorts Thailand, said, “We are proud to continue to support the Phuket King’s Cup Regatta for the last 17 years as it is one of the most internationally significant regattas in the world of yachting. This event is a great opportunity to support Phuket’s policy to make this province a ‘World Sports Paradise’ through which it attempts to attract notable sporting events such as golf, tennis and beach volleyball. Also, it gives us the opportunity to present our Kata Group brand to a worldwide audience via a superb sponsorship platform.”Kevin Whitcraft, President of Phuket King’s Cup Regatta Organizing Committee, said, “On behalf on the Phuket King’s Cup Regatta Organizing Committee, we are delighted that Kata Group has decided to continue its sponsorship into its 17 consecutive year. Kata Group has an exceptional reputation for supporting tourism in Phuket, and has made a massive and ongoing contribution to Phuket becoming one of Asia’s leading sporting destinations. We’re pleased that Kata Group is so readily able to realise the benefits of association brought about through sponsorship of Asia’s classic yacht race.”Consisting of five days of racing on challenging, scenic courses held amidst the beautiful Andaman Sea islands, the Phuket King’s Cup Regatta brings some of the world’s fastest independent racing teams, in addition to its famed beachside party series.The Regatta offers sponsorship/media engagement opportunities and premier networking opportunities hosted at the party venues each night following the day’s racing. The regatta also supports tourism in Phuket and Thailand as a whole with an expected economic contribution of around 300 million Baht. Source = Kata Group – Phuket King’s Cup Regattalast_img read more

HNA Tourism Honored as the Worlds Leading Integrated Tourism Group

first_imgHNA Tourism Honored as the World”s Leading Integrated Tourism GroupHNA Tourism Group (“HNA Tourism”), the strategic tourism business conglomerate of HNA Group, has been crowned as the World’s Leading Integrated Tourism Group at the World Travel Awards (WTA) Grand Final hosted in El Jadida, Moroccoon December 12, 2015 . In doing so, HNA Tourism becomes the first ever Chinese company to receive the award and is the only company to hold the award at all three levels, China , Asia and the World.Award Winners announced at the Grand Final were selected by a judging committee made up of tourism industry insiders from more than 180 countries and regions around the world. In addition to HNA Tourism, more than 100 other leading tourism companies were nominated and attended the event.The World Travel Awards, the highest honor for the global tourism industry, have been hailed as “The Oscars of the Travel Industry” by The Wall Street Journal. Annually, a number of outstanding companies within the travel sector are recognized and awarded after strict review and examination by the judging committee.HNA Tourism, a company “born and bred” in China is in the midst of a period of rapid global expansion as it establishes itself as a leading global brand. This global growth has coincided with increased recognition from leading industry bodies such as WTA. When presenting the award to HNA Tourism, WTA President and Founder Graham E. Cooke said: “Only last month, in November, I presented two awards, China’s Leading Travel Management Company and Asia’s Leading Integrated Tourism Group, to HNA Tourism. I had been wondering to myself whether the name HNA Tourism would come up again today. Winning these three major awards in 2015 signifies that HNA Tourism’s strength and development potential have been noticed by the industry’s global community. We look forward to HNA Tourism continuing to make outstanding achievements and delivering more excellent travel experiences.”This latest award comes near the end of a landmark year for HNA Tourism that has seen them secure notable investments and strategic partnerships with top-tier international hospitality and tourism groups including NH Hotels, Tsogo Sun Hotels, Red Lion Hotels, Swissport, Kuoni Travel, Hawker Pacific, PVCP Group and Tuniu. HNA TourismSource = HNA Tourismlast_img read more

Scott Barber to lead Travelport in Australia and New Zealand

first_imgScott Barber to lead Travelport in Australia and New ZealandTravelport (NYSE: TVPT), a leading Travel Commerce Platform has announced the appointment of Scott Barber as Managing Director for Australia and New Zealand with effect from 5 February. He replaces Kaylene Shuttlewood who has held the role for the past three years.This is Scott’s tenth year with Travelport, with his most recent role being the Director of Commercial Strategy Asia Pacific based in Singapore. Since 2015, he has played an instrumental part in defining the team strategy driving the growth of the Asia Pacific region for Travelport. Prior to that, Scott was based in Sydney having held roles managing a number of key customers in the region.With this new appointment, Scott will be responsible for managing operations and reinforcing Travelport’s business in Australia and New Zealand. Scott will continue to report to Mark Meehan, Managing Director Asia Pacific for Travelport, based in Singapore.Commenting on the announcement, Mark said, “Scott’s return to Sydney will allow him to fulfill a key regional leadership role. With our highly differentiated travel commerce platform Scott will be well-positioned to further accelerate the recent successes that we have seen in the region, from new customer acquisitions to the growing strength of our online business.”He added, “I would also like to recognize the great work done by Kaylene during her time with Travelport. Her passion and energy for the business and our customers has made her a fantastic ambassador for the company as she strengthened Travelport’s priorities in the region. On behalf of the team, I would like to wish Kaylene all the best for this new phase in her career.”Scott, on his new appointment, remarked, “This is an exciting time for Travelport as we continue to see significant growth in Asia Pacific. With Travelport’s recent announcement of reaching over 250 airlines utilizing our Rich Content and Branding product and being the first travel commerce platform to achieve an IATA NDC Level 3 accreditation, it is crucial for us to support the industry in embracing open and innovation-driven technology solutions in delivering travel choices. I am happy to embark on this new opportunity to lead a key market for Travelport and look forward to working with the travel community in the region.”Scott’s appointment is backed by further investments from Travelport’s Air Commerce team in the appointment of a new Commercial Director, Pacific. Sue Carter, a seasoned executive in the airline technology space, started her new role on 15 January and is responsible for driving Travelport’s commercial strategy for airlines in the Pacific region. Also based in Sydney, Sue reports to Chris Ramm, Travelport’s Senior Commercial Director for the Indian Subcontinent, North Asia and Pacific in Singapore.Source = Travelportlast_img read more

Hollywood actor Robert Redfords ultimate New Zealand Paradise

first_imgNew Zealand is set to star in a new movie fantasy, this time as the home of Disney’s Pete’s Dragon which released worldwide in August 2016.A reimagining of Disney’s cherished family classic Pete’s Dragon is the adventure of an orphaned boy named Pete and his best friend – a lovable dragon named Elliot. The film is directed by David Lowery and stars Bryce Dallas Howard, Oakes Fegley, Wes Bentley, New Zealand’s own Karl Urban, Oona Laurence and Robert Redford. In Pete’s Dragon, New Zealand plays Millhaven, an American Pacific Northwest logging town.The film was shot over both New Zealand’s main islands, the North and the South, showcasing diverse landscapes. The four regions showcased were Rotorua, central North Island; Wellington, lower North Island; Queenstown, southern South Island and Tapanui, lower South Island.“New Zealand is a country with a smile on its face,” said Robert Redford.Superstar actor and Sundance founder Robert Redford spent several weeks in New Zealand while filming Disney’s Pete’s Dragon, shooting many of his scenes in the fishing town of Tapanui in the South Island.The Redford family stayed for a long weekend enjoying New Zealand’s most sought after scenery and the luxuries of a fine contemporary New Zealand home.“It was a very attractive place to be, you couldn’t help smile when you were there and it was a wonderful experience for that reason,” Robert Redford said.A short helicopter flight west from Tapanui is a place called Paradise. Some say it was named for its stunning scenery; others argue that it’s all to do with the paradise ducks that live in the area. Either way, what everyone agrees on is that Paradise is exactly that – so, it’s no surprise that Robert Redford elected to enjoy a luxury escape here with his family.Immersed in a landscape that has captured the eye of many filmmakers, Wyuna House is a luxury villa set in a private natural reserve. Perched on the northern end of Lake Wakatipu, the schist and timber lodge has been designed to blend harmoniously into its beautiful alpine setting. Just across the road from Wyuna House, the Redford family dined at New Zealand’s celebrated Blanket Bay Lodge. The 13-room lodge has panoramic lake views and an award-winning kitchen – both of which have helped gain many awards, including being named as the ‘World’s Ultimate Escape’ by the UK Sunday Times Magazine.“I love being in New Zealand and the fact I was able to be in a helicopter with a great pilot that took you up to the glacier, up the valley, and to the sea – he took you everywhere you could possibly be so you could see all of what New Zealand had to offer. That was a big moment for me, it was just mesmerising,” Robert Redford said.Visitors who make it to Paradise Valley enter a very special place where glorious isolation, natural grandeur, and a magnificent palette are combined in perfect balance. Robert Redford and family spent a lot of their time outdoors exploring the native forest and quiet green pastures on horseback at Dart Stables – one of the star’s long-time passions.The region is one of New Zealand’s most popular destinations for hikers and nature lovers, with more than 19 day walks to explore. The Redford family went on several local trails including the Diamond Creek walk.“It’s a country that appreciates itself as a country, as a landscape. Making the film was one thing, but experiencing New Zealand outside the film was another and I really loved it,” Robert Redford said.Alpine resort Queenstown – the nearest main centre to Paradise – is a lively year-round tourist destination, rated internationally as one of the world’s top holiday spots.Adventure and indulgence go hand-in-hand in Queenstown, which boasts some of New Zealand’s best luxury accommodation, world-class golf courses and thrilling activities set in dramatic alpine landscapes.Glenorchy, a 45-minute drive from Queenstown, is on the road to Paradise and along a route that has been lauded as one of the ‘Top Eight Scenic Drives’ in the world.last_img read more

FDIC Institutions Report Increased Earnings

first_img February 27, 2013 411 Views Institutions insured by the “”Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC)””:http://www.fdic.gov/ recorded their second-highest annual earnings ever in 2012, according to the “”FDIC’s Quarterly Banking Profile””:http://www2.fdic.gov/qbp/2012dec/qbp.pdf for the fourth quarter of 2012. High noninterest income and declining loan loss provisions contributed to the increase, according to the FDIC. [IMAGE]Net income for all FDIC-insured institutions over the year was $141.3 billion, a 19.3 percent increase from net income recorded in 2011. The factor contributing most to this increase was a 24.9 percent reduction in loan loss provisions, according to the FDIC. Rising noninterest income–up 8 percent from 2011–also contributed to increased earnings in 2012. Earnings in the fourth quarter alone were 36.9 percent higher than their year-ago levels. Total fourth-quarter earnings reached $34.7 billion for the fourth quarter. [COLUMN_BREAK]In fact, 60 percent of the 7,083 institutions insured by the FDIC reported a year-over-year increase in earnings in the fourth quarter. Fourteen percent reported losses in the fourth quarter, down from 20 percent in the fourth quarter of 2011. Average return on assets at the institutions is also up from last year, now standing at 0.97 percent, up from 0.73 percent a year ago. Increased gains on loan sales, rising trading revenues, and diminishing losses on foreclosure sales all contributed to the rise in noninterest income in the fourth quarter, according to the FDIC. While more institutions added to their reserves than reduced them in the fourth quarter, total reserves at FDIC institutions declined by $5 billion in the fourth quarter, marking the 11th consecutive quarter of reserve declines at FDIC banks. At the same time, a little more than half–53.6 percent–of FDIC-insured banks lowered their loss provisions. The $15.1 billion recorded in the fourth quarter is 24.6 percent lower than the amount recorded a year ago and marks the 13th consecutive quarter of loss provision declines. Delinquencies at FDIC-insured institutions are declining. The number of loans 90 or more days past due fell 5.5 percent in the fourth quarter. At the end of the year, 3.6 percent of loans held by the institutions were noncurrent, down from 2.86 percent a year earlier. The total number of institutions insured by the FDIC decreased from 7,181 to 7,083 in the fourth quarter as 88 banks merged with others and eight failed. FDIC Institutions Report Increased Earnings in Data, Government, Origination, Secondary Market, Servicingcenter_img Agents & Brokers Attorneys & Title Companies FDIC Investors Lenders & Servicers Processing Profits Quarterly Earnings Service Providers 2013-02-27 Krista Franks Brock Sharelast_img read more

Fannie Downgrades Forecasts in Response to Consumer Sentiment

first_imgFannie Downgrades Forecasts in Response to Consumer Sentiment October 17, 2013 407 Views Agents & Brokers Attorneys & Title Companies Barack Obama Fannie Mae Home Prices Home Sales Investors Lenders & Servicers Politics Service Providers Unemployment 2013-10-17 Krista Franks Brock On the heels of Thursday’s announcement that the federal government shutdown is coming to a close, “”Fannie Mae””:http://www.fanniemae.com/portal/index.html released its “”outlooks””:http://www.fanniemae.com/portal/research-and-analysis/emma.html for the economy and the housing industry. The outlook, prepared prior to Thursday’s announcement, cited fiscal threats and the government shutdown as dampers on the economy and cause for some uncertainty. [IMAGE]Overall, Fannie’s outlook is “”largely unchanged from the previous forecast,”” although “”fiscal uncertainties associated with the federal government shutdown, the protracted negotiations to raise the debt ceiling, and the timing of the Federal Reserve’s tapering of its asset purchase program, pose significant downside risks to economic activity in the current quarter,”” said Doug Duncan, chief economist at Fannie Mae.The government shutdown and surrounding uncertainty have shaken consumer confidence and led to declining consumer spending, according to Fannie Mae. As such, the GSE is revising its forecasted GDP growth for this year from 2 percent to 1.9 percent. As Fannie Mae’s economists predicted the shutdown would not last more than two or three weeks and the United States would not default on its debt, they did not anticipate a more significant decline in GDP growth for the year. In line with Fannie Mae’s predictions, President Obama signed a bill to end the government shutdown and raise the debt limit after midnight Wednesday night. [COLUMN_BREAK]Over the second quarter, GDP grew at an annualized 2.5 percent, driven largely by consumer spending, according to Fannie Mae. Fannie Mae expects third-quarter data to relay growth at about 1.9 percent in the third quarter but expects the economy to pick back up in the fourth quarter, ending the year with annualized growth of about 2.5 percent. Unemployment will continue to decline with an anticipated rate of 7.3 percent in the third quarter before dropping again slightly to 7.2 percent in the fourth quarter, according to Fannie Mae’s forecast. While fiscal policy issues are weighing on consumer confidence, they “”have had only minimal effect on the housing market to date, which continues to improve overall,”” according to Duncan. “”Notably, the rapid appreciation of home prices during the past year has contributed significantly to household net worth gains and may help to cushion some of the fallout from the fiscal policy debate,”” Duncan said. Third-quarter home sales are expected to come in at about 5.8 million, according to Fannie Mae’s estimation, up from 5.5 million in the second quarter. Mortgage loan originations are falling off somewhat and are expected to decline further in the fourth quarter. Fannie Mae estimates $457 billion in originations in the third quarter and about $387 billion in the fourth quarter. Refinances are declining their market share, but Fannie Mae expects them to continue to make up more than half of loan originations into the new year. The GSE estimates refinances made up 55 percent of the originations market in the third quarter. While Fannie Mae did not anticipate the Fed’s continuation of its asset purchases, Duncan says, this “”will likely keep mortgage rates low, enabling more homeowners to take advantage of refinance opportunities.”” “”[W]e now expect the Fed to start tapering next year and end its asset purchase program in the second half of 2014,”” Fannie Mae stated in its report. With Janet Yellen–current vice chair of the Federal Reserve–likely to replace Ben Bernanke as chairman, Fannie anticipates “”continuity”” in the Fed’s fiscal policy moving forward.center_img in Data, Origination, Secondary Market Sharelast_img read more

CFPB Investigation Uncovers Servicing Violations

first_img Share in Daily Dose, Headlines, News, Servicing Some mortgage servicers have violated the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB)’s new servicing rules by continuing to use failed technology that has harmed consumers, according to a special edition supervision report issued by CFPB on Wednesday.The Bureau reported violations due to deficient technology and process breakdowns as a result of numerous examinations of mortgage servicers since the CFPB’s new servicing rules went into effect in January 2014. The Bureau’s examiners found specific problems regarding loss mitigation and servicing transfers, according to the CFPB.“Mortgage servicers can’t hide behind their bad computer systems or outdated technology. There are no excuses for not following federal rules,” said CFPB Director Richard Cordray. “Mortgage servicers and their service providers must step up and make the investments necessary to do their jobs properly and legally.”According to the CFPB, mortgage servicers were experiencing problems due to bad practices and sloppy recordkeeping even before the crisis. The problem was exacerbated by the crisis as millions of borrowers fell behind and servicers were unable to keep up, according to the CFPB.To address this problem, the CFPB enacted new mortgage servicing rules two and a half years ago that require servicers to keep accurate records, allow distressed borrowers access to servicing personnel, credit payments promptly, and to correct errors in the servicing file at the request of the borrower.  The new rules also contain protections for struggling homeowners. A servicer’s ability to comply with the CFPB’s new requirements are largely dependent on the servicer’s policies related to technology.The report released on Wednesday includes supervision work completed by the CFPB’s supervision program between January 2014, when the new servicing rules were put in place, and April 2016. The CFPB’s examiners found that while some investors have made some investments as far as compliance with the new rules, those investments have not been sufficient across the marketplace. Consumers continue to be plagued as a result of this insufficient investment, according to the Bureau.“Mortgage servicers can’t hide behind their bad computer systems or outdated technology. There are no excuses for not following federal rules.”Richard Cordray, Director, CFPBThe examiners found that many servicers used outdated or deficient technology that posed risks to consumers—and that many servicers lacked the proper training to properly use their computer systems and software platforms.The CFPB’s examiners reported that technological breakdowns or malfunctions resulted in servicers sending loan modification notices late, or resulting in those notices containing incorrect or deceptive information; and that the transfer of loans to servicers with incompatible computers systems sometimes resulted in the servicer getting the runaround or the servicer failing to identify and honor a modification that was already in place.CFPB alerts institutions to concerns and outlines necessary remedial measures where the Bureau’s examiners found violations of the law or other significant violations or weaknesses.Click here to view the CFPB’s complete supervisory report. CFPB Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Mortgage Servicers technology 2016-06-22 Seth Welborncenter_img CFPB Investigation Uncovers Servicing Violations June 22, 2016 503 Views last_img read more

Colombian Hass avocado industry scores market acce

first_img Colombian Hass avocado industry scores market acce … For tomatoes, it said rounds and Romas were still coming out of Tennessee, Virginia and Western North Carolina. Although volumes are light compared to product out of California’s Central Valley, Michigan and Mexico, supplies will “definitely be affected”.It also believes that sweet potatoes may be “greatly affected”. “The new crop out of North Carolina is just about to begin and this rain will most likely affect the harvest and quality of the product. Could be serious damage to the 2018 crop,” it said.Meanwhile, vegetable greenhouses in Virginia may experience damage. Winds and rain in this area are expected to be intense and could lead to structural damage.  “Southern Georgia and Northern Florida at this time do not expect to receive any heavy rains which could affect Fall productions but this can change during the course of the week,” it said. Global Grape Summit wrap-up part one: Internationa … You might also be interested in NZ: New method doubles Envy apple yields, boosts S … center_img Hurricane Florence is set to impact agricultural production in numerous U.S. states when it hits the East Coast later this week, according to Weathermelon.On Tuesday the National Hurricane Center said it is growing in strength and due to come ashore somewhere along the North Carolina coast midday Thursday.Sustained Major Hurricane force winds (greater than 110 mph) are being reported at the center of the storm while Hurricane force winds (74-110mph) extend 40 miles out from the center.Weathermelon, which consolidates weather information for the produce industry, said heavy rains and wind were expected in North Carolina, Virginia, West Virginia, and South Carolina, with the greatest rainfall in the former two.”Although shipments from these areas are winding down as seasons come to an end there is still some product that will be affected,” it said. September 11 , 2018 U.S.: Fire at Washington warehouse causes US$8M in …last_img read more

Luxperience 2017 currently underway in Sydney ha

first_imgLuxperience 2017, currently underway in Sydney, has announced dates for next year with exhibitor early bird deals on offer for 2018 at 2017 rates, when booked before 31 December 2017.Luxperience 2018 – with the theme “The Blueprint – a world redesigned” – will run between 16 to 19 September 2018 in Sydney, with the venue to be confirmed soon. The theme is anchored round creativity and inspirational planning, encouraging out of the box concepts and personalised experiences offered through the premium travel and events industry.Exhibitor rates start from $7340 inclusive of GST for an individual suite, with involvement in over five networking events, up to 55 pre-scheduled appointments, access to the Thought Leaders Forum, the opportunity to participate in the Luxperience Awards, and media opportunities. All enquiries: beinspired@luxperience.com.au earlybirdsLuxperience 2018last_img read more

Viking Cruises will launch two pre and post cruise

first_imgViking Cruises will launch two pre and post cruise extensions exploring the treasures of China on the 9-day Beijing, Xian, Tibet & Chengdu and the 5-day Xian & Beijing, applicable on the 15-day Far East Discovery itinerary departing in October 2018.5-day Xian & Beijing extensionExplore more of China with two nights each in the ancient cities of Xian and Beijing, the nation’s capital. Explore Beijing’s imperial palace of the Forbidden City, which once served as home to emperors from the Ming Dynasty to the end of the Qing Dynasty. In Xian, tour the ancient City Wall, standing almost 40m high. Visit the great Terra Cotta Army Museum, part of the remarkable mausoleum of Qin Shi Huang containing more than 8,000 life-size clay warriors. Priced from $2,399 per person.9-day Beijing, Xian, Tibet & Chengdu extensionDiscover the rich culture and ancient history of China in Xian, one of the country’s oldest cities; Lhasa, the spiritual centre of Tibet; Chengdu, the ancestral home of the giant panda; and the nation’s bustling capital of Beijing. Explore Tiananmen Square, surrounded by the granite Monument to the People’s Heroes, the Great Hall of the People and Mao Zedong’s mausoleum. Visit Lhasa’s Jokhang Temple, the most sacred Buddhist temple in Tibet and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Wander through Barkhor Square and browse the locally produced cheeses, butters and candles at the local market. Priced from $5,339 per person.The 15-day Far East Discovery itinerary sails from Hong Kong to Beijing on 7 October 2018 and from Beijing to Hong Kong on 21 October 2018. Priced from $7,995 per person. This ocean cruise features eight guided tours across China and Japan. Pricing includes a saving of $1,000 per couple if booked by 31 December 2017. ChinaViking Cruiseslast_img read more

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