“We’re seeing a positive change in our visitor mix – away from group shopping tours towards a more independent, higher spending Chinese visitor, enjoying higher quality visitor experiences,” Mr O’Sullivan said. Source = ETB News: Tom Neale Tourists from China and the UK, US were the biggest contributors to the AUD $28.9 billion spent in Australia in 2013, offsetting drops in spending from Japanese and Korean tourists. Chinese visitors spent AUD $4.8 billion in 2013, up 16 per cent since new laws came in October cracking down on cut price shopping tours. Tourism Australia managing director John O’Sullivan said that Australia was witnessing a changing demographic of tourist visiting. The tourism industry is lobbying hard for the Abbott government to commit more money to promoting Australia overseas before the budget is handed down on May 13. Chinese visitors coming to Australia are wealthier than ever before and are now Australia’s most lucrative visitors. “Increases in independent travelling visitors means more Australian tourism businesses are getting to welcome Chinese, as they go farther and experience more of our country.” The latest international visitor survey shows a fall of 4 per cent in the numbers of Chinese tourists to Australia but an increase of 17 per cent of the amount each tourist spent, The Age reported.
Regent Seven Seas Cruises announces new grand voyageRegent Seven Seas Cruises announces new grand voyageLuxurious all-inclusive cruise line, Regent Seven Seas Cruises®, has enhanced its circumnavigating of Australia itinerary aboard the recently refurbished Seven Seas Mariner®.Now part of their ‘Grand Voyages’ collection, the 36-night itinerary departs Sydney on 15th December 2018 aboard the intimate, all-suite and all-balcony Seven Seas Mariner®. Grand Voyages allow extra time for leisurely exploration of one particular region and spend more time at each port with many overnight stays and extra amenities.Bespoke amenities include one night’s accommodation and dinner in a luxury hotel pre-cruise, phone time in each suite, unlimited laundry services, a commemorative gift, an exclusive ashore New Year’s Eve party in Bali and an exclusive shore side experience. Guests will also enjoy the benefits of all-inclusive cruising, with unlimited shore excursions, meals in specialty restaurants, premium fine wines and beverages, in-suite mini bar replenished daily, open bars and lounges, unlimited WiFi and pre-paid gratuities.Visit a wealth of diverse destinations ranging from sophisticated capital cities to tropical islands and idyllic beaches to wine country, culturally-significant indigenous locations and 11 UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Beyond Australia, the cruise will also visit Papua New Guinea and the remote island of Komodo in Indonesia, famed for its rare dragons.“Our new Grand Voyage will give local travellers a unique opportunity to experience our country’s diverse destinations with up to 64 shore excursions included in the fare. From the sails of the iconic Opera House to the balmy beaches of Broome and the wonders of the Great Barrier Reef. And then further south the rugged coastlines and rare wildlife of Kangaroo Island and a chance to experience the sophistication of Melbourne,” said Senior Vice President and Managing Director Asia Pacific, Regent Seven Seas Cruises, Mr Steve Odell.Deluxe Veranda Suites start from AU$33,120 per person twin share.About Regent Seven Seas CruisesCelebrating its 25th anniversary in 2017, Regent Seven Seas Cruises is the world’s most inclusive luxury experience with a four-ship fleet that visits more than 450 destinations around the world. Regent Seven Seas Cruises is currently undergoing a US$125 million fleetwide refurbishment that will elevate the level of elegance found throughout the fleet to the standard set by Seven Seas Explorer, which entered service on July 20, 2016, and has since been recognised as the most luxurious ship ever built™. The cruise line’s next industry game-changing ship Seven Seas Splendor will launch in 2020. A leader in luxury cruising, the line’s fares include all-suite accommodations, , highly personalised service, exquisite cuisine, fine wines and spirits, unlimited internet access, sightseeing excursions in every port, gratuities, ground transfers and one-night, pre-cruise hotel package for guests staying in Concierge-level suites and higher.To book a cruise with Regent Seven Seas Cruises, please call 1300 455 200 (AU) or 0800 625 692 (NZ), visit www.rssc.com or contact your preferred Travel Agent.Source = Regent Seven Seas Cruises
Emirates implements new strategy designed to support customer needsEmirates is implementing a new strategy in Australia to provide a continued superior level of customer service and adapt to market changes. The changes will come into effect from April and will see the creation of new roles with greater responsibility in order to best serve their customer’s needs.“Emirates has been a major player in the Australian market for over 20 years. This kind of longevity is achieved by having the right strategy and team in operation, who are best placed to implement them,” said Barry Brown, Emirates Divisional Vice President for Australasia. “We’ve made these changes keeping in mind what’s most important to our business which is our people. The people who work in our offices, the people who fly our aircraft and the people who trust us to get them safely and seamlessly where they need to go,” said Mr Brown.As part of the new strategy, Emirates will close its Melbourne ticketing office as well as its Perth, Brisbane and Adelaide Town Offices, with sales executives working remotely. However, Emirates will continue to provide a superior customer service with new focus areas for teams based on customer needs.“The changes we’re implementing will see our team expand their skillsets and take on greater responsibility so that they can better meet our customers’ needs, focus on the areas that matter most to our business and remain professionally challenged. We remain committed to the Australian market and will be working closely with each office to ensure that this transition period is as seamless as possible,” said Mr Brown.The Emirates Group employs around 5,600 team members across Australia, and last financial year the airline directly contributed over AUD$790 million to the Australian economy by purchasing goods and services such as fuel, ground handling and inflight catering services. Emirates also supports hundreds of Australian businesses through the provision of crew accommodation and meal services, and products from food and wine companies to augment its inflight offerings.Since the commencement of services in 1996, Emirates has carried more than 36 million passengers while investing over $97 million in Australian arts, community and sports sponsorships.Over the years, Emirates has grown from three weekly flights between Dubai and Melbourne, before expanding to Sydney, Brisbane, Perth and Adelaide, now operating thousands of flights each year.For more information on Emirates, including how to book flights, visit emirates.com/au, contact your local travel agent or call Emirates on 1300 303 777.Source = Emirates
A country of history, beaches and amazing natural beauty, Portugal is one of Europe’s gems.Portugal shares the Iberian peninsula at the south-western tip of Europe with Spain. Geographically and culturally somewhat isolated from its neighbour, Portugal has a rich, unique culture, lively cities and beautiful countryside. Although it was once one of the poorest countries in Western Europe, the end of dictatorship and introduction of Democracy in 1974, as well as its incorporation into the European Union in 1986, has meant significantly increased prosperity. It may now be one of the best value destinations on the Continent. This is because the country offers outstanding landscape diversity, due to its North-South disposition along the western shore of the Iberian peninsula. You can travel in a single day from green mountains in the North, covered with vines and all varieties of trees to rocky mountains, with spectacular slopes and falls in the Centre, to a near-desert landscape in the Alentejo region and finally to the glamorous beach holidays destination Algarve. The climate, combined with investments in the golfing infrastructure in recent years, has also turned the country into a golfing haven. Portugal was recently named “Best Golf Destination 2008″ by readers of Golfers Today, an English publication. Fourteen of Portugal’s courses are rated in the top 100 best in Europe. If you want a condensed view of European landscapes, culture and way of life, Portugal might very well fit the bill. As well as sedate golfing, Portugal is THE epicentre of the finest surfing in Europe, its pristine beaches during autumn/winter time attracting surfers with the massive waves rolling off the mighty Atlantic.Especially popular with tourists from Northern European countries such as England, Germany, Holland, Norway and Sweden, Portugal’s great draw is the same as it has been for over 40 years, a country blessed with a magnificent coastline, warm climate and some of the most majestic beaches in the world.If you are into visiting beautiful monuments and enjoy remarkable views, then Lisbon, Sintra, and Porto are the top three places, and all of them are well worth a visit. But don’t overlook Viana do Castelo, Braga, Guimarães, Coimbra, Tomar, Aveiro, Amarante, Bragança, Chaves, Lamego, Viseu, Vila Real, Lagos, Silves, Évora, Angra as they also have wonderful monuments and places of interest. Although in Portugal most of the monuments in existence are somewhat neglected from a tourist point of view, one can easily find very old romanic churches, some with almost 900 years and still quite unchanged from that time. Old monasteries like Alcobaça or luxurious palaces like Mafra (one of the biggest palaces in Europe) or Queluz are not to be missed either. In most of these places you will have no queues.The most popular beaches are in the Algarve, which has stunning coastlines and gobs of natural beauty. The water along the southern coast tends to be warmer and calmer than the water along the west coast, which is definitely Atlantic and doesn’t benefit of the Gulf Stream. For surfing, or just playing in the surf there are great beaches all along the west coast, near Lisbon and Peniche. Don’t forget also some of the almost deserted beaches along the Costa Vicentina, in Alentejo.For nightlife Lisbon, Porto and Albufeira, Algarve are the best choices as you have major places of entertainment.If you want to spend your holidays in the countryside, you might want to visit Viana do Castelo, Chaves, Miranda do Douro, Douro Valley, Lamego, Tomar, Leiria, Castelo Branco, Guarda, Portalegre, Évora, Elvas or even Viseu.And even if you wish to observe wild life in its natural state, Madeira and Azores Islands are places to remember, not forgetting of course the Natural Reserve of Peneda-Gerês, the Douro Valley and Serra da Estrela.Some of the most popular beaches are (from north to south):– Espinho, near Oporto, in Costa Verde/Green Coast, northern region.– Figueira da Foz, near Coimbra, in Silver Coast/Costa de Prata, central region. Peniche– Praia das Maçãs and Praia Grande[Sintra], Carcavelos and Estoril[Cascais], near Lisbon, in the Costa de Lisboa.– Zambujeira do Mar, in the Alentejo region/Costa Alentejana e Vicentina.– Salema, Praia da Rocha, Praia da Oura, Praia dos Pescadores (Fisherman´s beach), Praia de São Rafael, Praia do Castelo in the Algarve. Hit the road in Portugal with STUBA Thanks to Wikitravel.org for the tips ! Source = STUBA.com
An air strip will soon be connecting the Bekal Fort in Kerala. A Detailed Project Report (DPR) has almost been finalised by the Cochin International Airport Limited (CIAL) for the construction of the airstrip.A meeting between the stakeholders and the Bekal Resorts Development Corporation (BRDC) is awaited. The government has already granted administrative sanction and allocated Rs 35 crore for the first phase of the project proposed in Uduma panchayat. The airstrip will occupy as much as 120 acres, which will come up close to the notified area, of which 40 acres are already in the possession of the government and BRDC.The airstrip will benefit the six resorts that have come up at Bekal to attract upmarket holiday makers. Airlines can directly operate to Bekal or can offer air connectivity from international airports in the state.This strategic move comes at a time when K M Muhammed Anil, Managing Director, BRDC, is gearing up to market the destination with the backing of the Kerala Tourism Department. The government is also aiding BRDC in creating the necessary infrastructure to cater to the rising tourist inflow in Bekal.
Avid Bengali travellers can now enjoy distinctive curated itineraries with Thomas Cook (India) Ltd’s recently launched exclusive international packages-‘Sharod Shubheccha’.With this launch, Thomas Cook will incorporate a unique festive spirit into its tours exclusively for its Durga Puja tours.Tapping the important markets for the Durga Puja holidays Kolkata and West Bengal, as also Bhubaneshwar and Orissa have been earmarked, accounting for 10% of the overall leisure travel business. Customers are booking their holidays two months in advance, resulting in an uptake of 27% in bookings year-on-year.Thomas Cook has introduced special packages to some of the top favourite international destinations like Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, Egypt, China, Dubai, Hong Kong, Macau, France, Germany, Italy, Switzerland, UK and others. Prices start from Rs 35000 onwards (per person on twin share basis) giving more than one reason to Bengali travellers to celebrate an auspicious occasion in a foreign locale.Commenting on the Durga Puja special packages Rajeev D Kale, President & Country Head – Leisure Travel & MICE, Thomas Cook (India) Ltd. said, “Durga Puja is one of the most significant festive occasions and is widely celebrated in West Bengal. Marked by grand celebrations, the nine-day festive extravaganza is one of the biggest holiday seasons in the state. Keeping in mind the strong support received from our discerning Bengali travellers, also considering their evolving preferences and demands, we at Thomas Cook India have designed special packages at exciting price points, to enable Bengali travellers celebrate their favourite festival at their dream destinations- with their loved ones.”
As a strategy to grow cross-nation multi-destination tourism, Jamaica has announced to sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Mexico.Previously a MoU with Cuba was signed last May as part of a wider collaboration between the three countries and the Dominican Republic to boost marketing activity and encourage airlines to offer multi-stop routes within the region.“With bigger aircraft and larger capacity, it’s attractive to airlines to be able to make multiple stops,” Minister of Tourism, Edmund Bartlett said that the island nation hoped to finalise the deal next month.Bartlett claimed that Jamaica, Mexico, Cuba and the Dominican Republic account for 70% of all international visitors to the region, making it an attractive area for tour operators. “Airlines already do it a bit in the eastern Caribbean but now we want to offer it in the western Caribbean,” he added.He also stated that neighbours such as the Cayman Islands, the Bahamas, Haiti and Turks and Caicos could join the agreement in the future which can be beneficial to all.
Higher asking prices drove off foreign homebuyers and investors over the last year, with real estate firm citing a 10 percent decline in foreign interest for the U.S. housing market.[IMAGE]Releasing its International House Hunter Report Thursday, “”Trulia””:http://www.trulia.com/ found that asking prices rose 0.3 percent year-over-year, nixing helpful influence from still-falling home prices.The housing bust attracted a number of foreign and cash buyers interested in low prices and the safe haven of U.S. real estate investment.””Foreigners attracted to real estate bargains get turned off when prices increase,”” “”Jed Kolko””:http://www.trulia.com/about/people/jed-kolko, chief economist with Trulia, said in a statement. “”Investors want to buy when prices are at their bottom, but they’ll start to lose interest when prices rise 15 percent, as they have in Miami and Phoenix. Demand by people looking to scoop up bargains can dry up quickly when prices rise.””[COLUMN_BREAK]The decline in overseas buyer and investor activity ran steep year-over-year. In Miami, a traditionally popular area among foreign buyers, international house hunters fell from 16.3 percent in June last year to 15.7 percent this year.Other places in Florida likewise saw dips in their overseas buyer activity. Fort Lauderdale observed a drop from 14.2 percent last year to 12.9 percent this year, while West Palm Beach saw declines that ran from 12.2 percent to 10.3 percent.Los Angeles, another hub of foreign buyer activity, came in just behind Miami for year-over-year declines in international house hunters, slumping from 13.4 percent last year to 13.7 percent this year.Other areas saw a climb in activity. House-hunting activity picked up in tourist destination Orlando, increasing from 10.7 percent to 10.8 percent. The Trulia report made a nod to the ongoing debt crisis in Europe, a helpful influence on housing activity that kept Treasury yields and interest rates for mortgage loans correspondingly low this year.””Although Europe’s financial troubles have been a global economic threat, the Eurozone crisis had a silver lining for U.S. housing in 2011 as Europeans looked to American real estate as a safer investment,”” Kolko added.””Last year, the share of searches from Greece, Spain and Italy increased, bucking the international trend. Now, however, the foreign search share is declining even from those Eurozone crisis countries,”” he said. July 27, 2012 428 Views in Data, Origination, Secondary Market, Servicing As Asking Prices Rise, Foreign Buyer Activity Falls Agents & Brokers Asking Prices Confidence Debt Crisis Euro European Union First-Time Homebuyers Fixed-Rate Mortgage For-Sale Homes Home Prices Housing Affordability Investors Lenders & Servicers Mortgage Rates Processing Service Providers Treasury Yields 2012-07-27 Ryan Schuette Share
“”FHFA””:http://www.fhfa.gov/ issued a notice Wednesday to warn of the controversial use of eminent domain recently proposed in San Bernardino County. [IMAGE]In San Bernardino County, officials are considering the use of eminent domain to seize underwater mortgages. The mortgages would be taken at fair market value, and then restructured into new loans with terms reflecting the current market. Chicago and Berkeley are also exploring the proposed use of eminent domain.[COLUMN_BREAK]In the notice, which was sent to the Federal Register, FHFA stated it had “”significant concerns about the use of eminent domain to revise existing financial contracts and the alteration of the value of Enterprise or Bank securities holdings.””FHFA said that in relation to the Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the use of an eminent domain program could result in a cost to taxpayers. FHFA also stated it had significant concerns regarding a “”chilling effect on the extension of credit to borrowers seeking to become homeowners and on investors that support thehousing market.””As conservator for the GSEs and as a regulator for Federal Home Loan Banks, FHFA stated it may need to take action “”to avoid a risk to safe and sound operations and to avoid taxpayer expense.””Along with concerns, the agency also raised several questions, including the constitutionality of the proposed use of eminent domain; the effects on holders of existing securities; and the impact on millions of negotiated and performing mortgage contracts. FHFA said it is accepting input on topic through its Office of General Counsel no later than September 7, 2012. in Data, Government, Origination, Secondary Market, Servicing FHFA Processing 2012-08-09 Esther Cho August 9, 2012 445 Views Share FHFA Pushes Back on Eminent Domain Policy in California
in Data, Government, Origination, Secondary Market, Servicing May 22, 2013 397 Views Agents & Brokers Attorneys & Title Companies Company News Investors Lenders & Servicers Processing RE/MAX Service Providers 2013-05-22 Tory Barringer Share RE/MAX Creates Luxury Listings Website “”RE/MAX””:http://www.remax.com/ announced the launch of the “”RE/MAX Collection””:http://www.theremaxcollection.com/, a new luxury resource website offering high-end U.S. listings.[IMAGE]The site features a clean, simple look, marked by a distinctive onyx and silver logo. Beyond that, it focuses on homebuyers and sellers’ needs with simple search functions, breathtaking photography, and easy navigation. The program also provides RE/MAX luxury [COLUMN_BREAK]specialists with exclusive training and marketing tools that allow them to deliver premier service to their clients.””The unparalleled tools and resources available to our clients confirms our dedication to customer service and allows for an exclusive experience,”” said Mike Reagan, SVP of RE/MAX Business Alliances. “”Visitors to The RE/MAX Collection website can easily find local RE/MAX agents who have the Certified Luxury Home Marketing Specialist training, as well as fine homes and luxury properties.””In addition to launching the website, RE/MAX named Anne Miller, an experienced and respected luxury real estate expert, as brand manager of the RE/MAX Collection. Miller comes to her position with a well-rounded background in real estate and luxury development, including the grand opening and marketing of Spire Denver and the Four Seasons in downtown Denver.””I am thrilled with the opportunity to work for the industry’s leading real estate brand,”” she said. “”RE/MAX has been successful because of its high level of service. My job is to help deliver a powerful marketing program that complements RE/MAX agents’ commitment to excellence.””