History made as Singapore Airlines launch Capital Express service

first_imgHistory made as Singapore Airlines launch Capital Express serviceHistory made as Singapore Airlines launch Capital Express serviceSingapore Airlines new ‘Capital Express’ service has officially begun amid a host of celebrations across three countries today after touching down in Wellington this afternoon following its flight from Singapore and Canberra.After departing Changi Airport at 11:00pm on Tuesday 20 September following a special celebratory event, SQ291 landed at a wet Canberra Airport this morning at 08:03am to rapturous applause from all in attendance. More than 200 people watched from inside Canberra Airport’s main atrium, while around another 500 watched this historic landing from within the terminal.Following the historic landing, Canberra Airport’s Aviation Fire Rescue welcomed the Boeing 777-200 with a ceremonial water cannon salute before passengers disembarked and were greeted by a traditional Indigenous welcome party.Those entering the country in Canberra were met by VisitCanberra and provided with a welcome gift, while those travelling on to Wellington joined other travellers in the departure lounge to continue celebrations.After a short stop of just an hour and 50 minutes, SQ291 welcomed those making the maiden trip from Canberra to Wellington before taking off at 09:53 for the second part of the historic flight.History was made just three hours later when SQ291 touched down in Wellington marking the first time Australia and New Zealand’s capital cities have been connected and completion of the inaugural ‘Capital Express’.Singapore Airlines Executive Vice President Commercial, Mr Mak Swee Wah said the commencement of the new ‘Capital Express’ marked an exciting new chapter in Singapore Airlines long history in Australia.“Today’s launch of the ‘Capital Express’ is also a reinforcement of our commitment to Australia and the entire South West Pacific region,” Mr Mak said.“The opportunities that flights SQ291 and SQ292 will provide government, leisure and corporate travellers alike is exciting.“We are proud to be adding Canberra and Wellington to our network, and today as we begin our operation we look forward to making the ‘Capital Express’ a success.”The historic service is the first regularly scheduled international flight to operate from Canberra airport and holds the honour of also being the first to connect the Australian and New Zealand capitals.Flights will be operated four times weekly with a 266-seat Boeing 777-200 aircraft fitted with 38 Business Class seats and 228 Economy Class seats.The new Canberra services will add to Singapore Airlines’ already extensive Australia network, which includes flights between Singapore and Adelaide, Brisbane, Melbourne, Perth and Sydney. Regional armSilkAir also serves Cairns and Darwin, while low-cost subsidiary Scoot serves the Gold Coast, Melbourne, Perth and Sydney.The new Wellington services will complement existing services between Singapore and both Auckland and Christchurch.Singapore Airlines’ network in Australia and New Zealand is further enhanced through its extensive partnerships with Virgin Australia and Air New Zealand. Fly Singapore Airlinesbook hereSource = Singapore Airlineslast_img read more

Giant Pandas begin a giant trek around Australia

first_imgSource = China National Tourism Office Giant Pandas begin a giant trek around AustraliaA fleet of ten giant panda-themed campervans today began an epic journey which will see them circumnavigate the Australian mainland promoting China as a tourist destination. Over eleven weeks the fleet of “pandavans” will cover more 30,000 kilometres around the entire Australian coastline from North Queensland to Darwin and inland from Adelaide, past Alice Springs across Central Australia and through outback Far North Queensland to Townsville.Organised as part of a joint Australian-Chinese tourism cooperation initiative, the panda-themed vans will also promote Australian tourist destinations to a Chinese audience well in excess of 100 million people.“The giant panda is a national treasure of China and a great symbol of friendship between our nations, this promotion is a first for China Tourism anywhere in the world,” says Mr. LUO Weijian, Director of the China National Tourist Office.“Of the more than one million Chinese visitors to Australia each year most will visit cities and popular tourist destinations but few will have the chance to experience life right throughout the continent. The Panda Explorer Trek fulfils two roles, taking China to hundreds of towns and regional communities; and giving millions upon millions of Chinese people an insight into the diverse landscapes and cultures of Australia.”Organisers are hoping to make one of the most significant stops in South Australia where Adelaide Zoo is home to Australia’s only giant pandas Wang Wang and Fu Ni. The Panda Explorer Trek was launched today in Sydney by Mr. Luo, Chinese Ambassador to Australia H. E. CHENG Jingye and, Tourism Australia Chairman, Mr. Tony South. They were joined by leading China-Australia tourism stakeholders including the General Managers of key Chinese airlines, Air China, China Eastern, Hainan Airlines and Xiamen Airlines and a number of Australian-based tour operators.The trek is part of the 2017 China-Australia Year of Tourism (CAYOT2017), a year-long promotion of tourism cooperation between Australia and China, which will see the implementation of a number of joint initiatives aimed at strengthening tourism exchange and cooperation.Along its 30,000 kilometre route the Panda Explorers will act as travelling information booths on China and its many wonders, as well as handing out panda-themed giveaways. Images and video captured by the Panda Explorer teams will be to multiple Chinese online and social media platforms, as well as mainstream media outlets. Says Mr. Luo, “Our media partners in China will offer great exposure to Australia, given that reach, we expect well over one hundred million Chinese people will view images, video and read great stories from the Panda Explorer Trek.“However, this trek is just as much about promoting Chinese tourism and the many incredible experiences China has to offer Australian tourists, from spectacular mountains and rivers, to ancient wonders, the finest cuisine from the many rich and diverse regions of China, and our modern and vibrant cities.”There are currently direct flights between Australia and 14 mainland Chinese cities encompassing major hubs such as Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou. In recent years a number of other routes have been added, opening up hugely popular tourist destinations such as Xi’an and Sichuan province, home to China’s giant panda sanctuaries and world famous for its spicy food.last_img read more

Radisson Hotel Group aims for 200 hotels

first_imgRadisson Hotel Group aims for 200 hotelsRadisson Hotel Group aims for 200 hotelsRadisson Collection added, raising India’s portfolio to seven global brandsThe newly rebranded Radisson Hotel Group announced its expansion plans at Hotel Investment Conference South Asia (HICSA) 2018. The company aims to expand its portfolio to more than 200 hotels in operation and under development by 2022 in South Asia, where it is already a dominant international player.The group has already signed Radisson Blu Resort Visakhapatnam, Radisson Panipat City Centre and Country Inn & Suites by Radisson Agra in the first quarter of 2018. Radisson Gwalior opened last month and the group is on track to open another eight more hotels in India this year.“This is a most exciting period in our company’s long history,” said Katerina Giannouka, President, Asia Pacific, Radisson Hotel Group. “With the rebranding of our company and many other initiatives in the pipeline, we are positioning Radisson Hotel Group for a bright future. One of the new giants of the global economy, India has been a key market for us for many years. We look forward to working with hotel investors, owners, developers and other stakeholders across the country as we accelerate the expansion of our portfolio and introduce exciting brand concepts such as Radisson Collection to India,” added Giannouka.“We excitedly continue the momentum on our growth and signings in 2018. With a robust performance, ahead of industry average and continued investment in technology and revenue driving platforms, we are optimistic of meeting our five-year goals. I am delighted that India is leading the way in Asia Pacific with a total of seven global brand offerings which will further strengthen our business in the region,” said Raj Rana, Chief Executive Officer, South Asia, Radisson Hotel Group.Anchored on growth and improvement plans for three main levers vis-à-vis business performance, people and owner relationships, Radisson Hotel Group has developed robust plans for each area whereby the operating structure has been realigned and investments are being made into strategic areas of marketing, revenue generation and procurement to drive desired outcomes. The group is focused on enhancing profitability, ensuring brand standard compliance and uplifting guest experience while aiming to open landmark hotels in strategic locations and growing its mid-scale brand footprint. It saw healthy occupancy and average rates ahead of industry performance in 2017 and has continued the momentum in the first quarter of 2018.The group has also recently added Radisson Collection, a premium collection of exceptional hotels to its brand portfolio. Radisson Collection Agra, located on Taj East Gate Road, with 239 rooms and suites, will join a global list of 13 other hotels to be launched as Radisson Collection. This takes the group’s brand portfolio to a total of seven brands in India where it already operates Radisson Blu, Radisson, Radisson RED, Park Plaza, Park Inn by Radisson and Country Inn & Suites by Radisson brands.There are 90 hotels operational under Radisson Hotel Group across the country which is expected to reach 100 hotels by the end of 2018.Source = Radisson Hotel Grouplast_img read more

Stuba now provides direct contracts to Dubai hotels

first_imgStuba now provides direct contracts to Dubai hotels Dubai – Home to the biggest, fastest, and bestest of everything Dubai: Home to the biggest, tallest, fastest and most unbelievable sites on the planet. Barely a couple of buildings and a few trees only 30 years ago, Dubai itself is a world wonder. Now boasting the worlds tallest building, one of the worlds biggest water parks, and one the best aquariums, Dubai is certifiably family friendly, and a destination in its own right.Stuba has negotiated direct contracts with many of the leading properties in Dubai, providing superb rates for agents and their clients. Happy clients equal repeat business. In a tough and always changing industry, repeat business is the holly grail.Stuba has compiled some of the top family friendly things to do and see in Dubai:Aquaventure Waterpark – With over 17 hectares of water fun, the Aquaventure Waterpark is a destination in its own right. Waterslides, sand pools, zip lines and great food and drink, the park is a multi award winner, winning the Leading waterpark award at the World Travel Awards. Its not super cheap (approx. $105), but your clients will thank you for helping occupying their kids for hours on end.Burj Khalifa – Recognised as one of the most famous buildings in the world, and the worlds tallest building, the Burj Khalifa is over 820 metres tall, including 160 habitable levels. Known as a Vertical City, A Living Wonder, the building took 22 million man-hours to build. An engineering marvel, don’t miss it.Dubai Aquarium – not just an aquarium, but an underwater zoo ! Situation at Dubai Mall, the aquarium is one of the largest in the world and showcases a massive array of sea life. Home to King Croc, one of the largest reptiles on earth, at over 5m long. Kids will love this.  Ski Dubai – located near the Dubai Aquarium in Dubai’s Mall of Emirates, is a genuine, although artificially stocked, ski slope. Ride the toboggan, the bobsled track, and even a chair lift. The Ski Centre has numerous food options to keep the pax well fed and ready for action. NB, Did we mention there is giant snowball ride ? …..and real penguins…… With all that activity, the entire crew will be ready to eat. Some of the best Family oriented restaurants are Al Sarab Rooftop Lounge (medium priced) with top T.A ratings. The Talk Restaurant is another medium priced eatery kids are encouraged to visit. For some adult time and fine dining,  Amaseena is the place to go. Serving Mediterranean / Barbeque / Arabic style, the food is amongst the best in Dubai. Its not cheap…..but then the best rarely is.. Source = STUBA.comlast_img read more

Arianas Persian Kitchen to open at The Royal Atlantis Resort

first_imgThe Royal Atlantis Resort and ResidencesAriana’s Persian Kitchen to open at The Royal Atlantis ResortThe Royal Atlantis Resort & Residences and Ariana Bundy are thrilled to announce that the popular Iranian–American celebrity chef’s debut restaurant, ‘Ariana’s Persian Kitchen’, will launch at the destination property late 2019.An award-winning TV chef and cookbook author, Ariana Bundy is on a mission to bring Persian cuisine to a wider audience. Following the success of her ground-breaking book “Pomegranates and Roses: My Persian Family Recipes”, she went on to write, produce and present the cookery and travel series, ‘Ariana’s Persian Kitchen’. The eight-part TV show launched on NatGeo People and has aired in over 40 countries.The upcoming restaurant, with Ariana’s modern and refined take on this ancient and sophisticated cuisine, promises to be a compelling addition to the Dubai culinary scene. A rare female-led celebrity establishment, Ariana’s Persian Kitchen is set to put Persian cuisine firmly on the map with a revolutionary and enticing menu, inspiring decor and next-level hospitality.Served family style, Persian classics will be given Ariana’s refreshing modern twist in terms of textures, ingredients and presentation. Guests can sample signature dishes such as Ariana’s Caspian-style filet kabab, rose-scented sea bass, a colorful array of mezze dishes and her take on classic Persian ice cream with saffron, pistachios and rose water. Meals will be complemented by a range of specially created cordials and drinks as well as traditional Persian tea and baklava.An elegant, light yet relaxed and intimate setting, the restaurant will seat more than 140 guests offering sea views over the Dubai skyline from wooden ‘day beds’ in a beautiful garden terrace.  Features of note include a romantic cordial bar, majestic vaulted domes and a masculine private dining room. At the heart of the restaurant is an extensive show kitchen featuring a massive charcoal grill and fire pit tandoor serving fresh breads.“The stunning design of the resort, combined with the professionalism of the Atlantis and Kerzner teams, convinced me that this was the ideal time and place to open my first restaurant,” commented Bundy, “Ariana’s Persian Kitchen will bring to life the untold stories of Persian culture through plentiful and beautifully presented dishes. Complex, yet comforting flavours will work alongside an interplay of textures, spices and tastes, all served with charming and generous hospitality.”.Martin Chung, SVP, Global Development at The Royal Atlantis Resort and Residences comments: “We have big expectations for ‘Ariana’s Persian Kitchen’, there is really nothing in the region that fuses a contemporary dining experience with the authenticity of the Persian cuisine. Joining the likes of Gordon Ramsay, Nobu Matsuhisa, Heston Blumenthal, Giorgio Locatelli and José Andrés, Ariana Bundy is another iconic addition to the Atlantis family.”Ariana was first exposed to the food business by her restaurateur father, who owned innovative French dining establishments in pre revolution Iran and later Beverly Hills. After learning her craft at Le Cordon Bleu and Le Notre in Paris and training at Fauchon Patisserie, Ariana became the head pastry chef for the Mondrian Hotel in Los Angeles, catering for the Oscars and Golden Globes as well as movie premieres. Shortly after, Ariana published her first book titled ‘Sweet Alternative’ featuring deserts using alternatives to dairy, gluten, or soy, inspired by her own food intolerances. In 2012 she published ‘Pomegranates and Roses: My Persian Family Recipes’, which received a Gourmand Cookbook Award in 2012 and shortlisted as the best cookery book at the 2013 Writer’s Guild Awards. In 2015, Ariana became the host of the cookery and travel series ‘Ariana’s Persian Kitchen’.The Royal Atlantis Resort & Residences will deliver sky high guest rooms and homes with architectural and design masterpieces that have never been seen before, conceived by the world’s leading architects, designers and artists. With the contemporary living and hotel spaces offering uninterrupted views of the ocean and the Dubai city skyline, residents and guests will also be able to enjoy a variety of unique amenities including, soaring private gardens and terraces with their own pools. The resort and residences will feature over 90 swimming pools including an awe-inspiring rooftop infinity pool suspended 90 meters above The Palm, relaxing private beaches and world-class restaurants with award-winning celebrity chefs.About The Royal Atlantis Resort & ResidencesThe Royal Atlantis Resort & Residences are redefining the concept of international luxury living. Located on the crescent of The Palm, next to the iconic Atlantis, The Palm resort, The Royal Atlantis will deliver sky high homes with architectural and design masterpieces that have never been seen before, conceived by the world’s leading architects, designers and artists. With the contemporary living spaces offering uninterrupted views of the ocean and the Dubai city skyline, residents will also be able to enjoy a variety of unique amenities including, soaring private gardens with their own pools, an awe-inspiring rooftop infinity pool suspended 90 metres above The Palm, relaxing private beaches and world-class restaurants with award-winning celebrity chefs.About Kerzner International Holdings Limited,Kerzner International Holdings Limited, through its subsidiaries, is a leading international developer and operator of destination resorts, ultra-luxury hotels and residences and innovative entertainment and gaming experiences. Kerzner’s flagship brand Atlantis, includes Atlantis, The Palm, Dubai, a 1,500-room, water-themed resort on The Palm, overlooking the Arabian Sea and mainland Dubai and Atlantis, Sanya Hainan in China; and in development, The Royal Atlantis Resort & Residences in Dubai and Atlantis Ko Olina in Hawaii in the United States. Under the One&Only brand, Kerzner manages some of the most top-rated ultra-luxury resorts in the world, located in Mexico, Mauritius, the Maldives, South Africa, Dubai, Rwanda and Australia.  Additionally, Mazagan Beach & Golf Resort, mazaganbeachresort.com, a 500-room destination golf and casino resort in Morocco, is also operated by Kerzner.  For more information on our brands, please visit: atlantis.com or oneandonlyresorts.com.  For more information on Kerzner International, please visit Kerzner.com. Source = The Royal Atlantis Resort & Residenceslast_img read more

Blue Square Consultants to represent Best Travel Armenia

first_imgBlue Square Consultants has been appointed as the sales and marketing representative for Best Travel, a leading DMC in Armenia. With this new addition, Blue Square Consultants has once again achieved its objective of representing clients from ‘unique’ destinations in India.Best Travel is a premier tour provider and licensed Armenian travel agent dedicated to providing the best travel experience to Indian travel operators. The DMC offers a wide range of customised and exclusive tours along with a team of highly experienced and knowledgeable guides. Their expertise lies in organising tours with a flavour of Armenian culture for groups and MICE. From discovering ancient cultural heritage to amazing natural attractions, Best Travel will help in making Indian travellers trip to Armenia a memorable one.Lubaina Sheerazi, COO, Blue Square Consultants said, “At Blue Square Consultants, our emphasis has always been to associate with reputed and quality clients and we have achieved this once again with our recent alliance with Best Travel. Best Travel offers excellent ‘value for money’ packages to Armenia and their services are unmatched. We are confident that our association will not only be beneficial for Best Travel but also for Armenia as a destination. In the future, we look forward to acquiring more clients with whom we can have fruitful associations and sustain excellent relations with our existing clients. ”last_img read more

Air India to launch direct flights from Ahmedabad to London

first_imgAir India announced that it will introduce a direct daily flight connecting Ahmedabad with London from January 15, 2016, instead of December 15, 2015.A senior Air India official said, “Our Ahmedabad-London connection will be via Mumbai initially and we will convert it with a direct flight only from January 15, 2016, when we have the adequate crew required for the flight.”While addressing to 60,000 wildly cheering British Indians at the iconic Wembley Stadium in London, Modi had said, “From December 15, there will be direct flights between London and Ahmedabad.”The new service AI-131 will be operated by a Boeing B-787 Dreamliner. The plane will be operated on the Ahmedabad-Mumbai-London sector.The daily flight will be a boon to the 1.5 million-strong Indian diaspora living in Britain, catering to the strong demand of more than 6 lakh Indians from the state of Gujarat. The passengers travelling by the direct flight will not need to change aircraft at Mumbai.It will take off from Ahmedabad at 4.30 a.m. to reach Mumbai at 5.45 a.m., depart Mumbai at 7.05 a.m. and reach London at 11.30 p.m. (local time).On the return sector, flight AI-130 will leave London at 1.30 p.m. (local time), arrive Mumbai at 4 a.m. the following day and land in Ahmedabad at 6.45 a.m.last_img read more

Get that adrenaline rush as adventure awaits in Dubai

first_imgThere is no other destination that takes tourism as seriously as Dubai does. There is nothing that cannot be found in Dubai, be it food, drinks, nightlife, desert life, adventure, technology, infrastructure and so on. The list is endless. A part of all these was included in the itinerary of the recently organised FAM trip by Dubai Business Events for selected Indian travel agents and trade media to position Dubai as a MICE destination.In this issue, Travel News Digest will take you through some of the adventure activities that were done by the delegates who were a part of this FAM trip.Seawings Seaplane ToursSeawings offers seaplane air tours which take off from the sea to takes you through a scenic view of landmarks like Burj Khalifa, Burj Al Arab, Atlantis The Palm, World Islands and of course the widespread desert.Indian travel agents and trade media were a part of the FAM trip got an opportunity to experience Dubai from the sky.Seawings has access to over 24 destinations in the UAE and offers customised charter flights to MICE and corporate groups.IMG Worlds of AdventureDubai’s first themed entertainment park, IMG Worlds of Adventure is an indoor amusement park. It is divided into five epic zones – Cartoon Network, Marvel, Lost Valley – Dinosaur Adventure, IMG Boulevard and Novo Cinema.Opened in 2016, IMG Worlds of Adventure is the world’s largest temperature-controlled indoor themed entertainment destination.IMG Worlds of Adventure is open year-round and every segment of visitors can include it in their itinerary as IMG offers something for every age group. Hence, MICE and corporate groups can include IMG in their itinerary.IMG Worlds of Adventure was one of the places included in the itinerary during the FAM trip and everyone enjoyed this amusement park thoroughly and got memories which will stay with them for a long time.Dubai AutodromeAnyone who likes driving would love to visit Dubai Autodrome not just once but every time you travel to Dubai. There are high chances of getting addicted to driving and racing at the Dubai Autodrome.FAM trip delegates experienced karting and one session is of 15 minutes. They provide karting suits, helmets, balaclavas and gloves for safety. Before going karting, one of the experts at Dubai Autodrome will conduct a small session on how to go about karting.Dubai Autodrome also offers customised events for companies and group as per their requirements.Located in Dubailand, Dubai Autodrome is FIA sanctioned 5.39 km motorsports circuit.last_img read more

Mortgage Rates Slightly Up Ahead of Fed Meeting

first_img June 12, 2014 460 Views in Daily Dose, Data, Headlines, News, Origination Signs of an improving economy boosted fixed mortgage rates this week, market reports show.According to Freddie Mac, the average rate on a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage (FRM) was 4.20 percent (0.6 point) for the week ending June 12, an increase of 6 basis points from last week’s report. Last year, the 30-year FRM hovered just below 4.0 percent.The 15-year FRM averaged 3.31 percent (0.5 point), up from 3.23 percent in the last report.The increases followed last week’s release of the May jobs report, which showed payrolls performing more or less as expected.”Mortgage rates continued to climb for the second week in a row following the increase in 10-year Treasury yields,” said Frank Nothaft, chief economist at Freddie Mac. “Also, the economy added 217,000 thousand jobs in May, following a 282,000 surge in April and a 203,000 increase in March. Meanwhile, the unemployment rate in May held steady at 6.3 percent.”In adjustable-rate mortgages (ARMs): The 5-year Treasury-indexed hybrid ARM climbed 12 points this week to 3.05 percent (0.4 point), while the 1-year ARM remained flat at 2.40 percent (0.4 point).Reporting its own national survey results, Bankrate.com pinned the 30-year fixed at 4.34 percent and the 15-year fixed at 3.43 percent, both up 2 basis points from last week. The 5/1 ARM moved up slightly more, climbing 6 points to 3.37 percent.With a week left to go before the Federal Reserve’s next policy meeting, 86 percent of experts surveyed by Bankrate expect rates will remain essentially flat in the coming days. Only two weeks ago, long-term fixed rates stood at their lowest in more than half a year. Bankrate Fixed-Rate Mortgage Freddie Mac Jobs Mortgage Rates 2014-06-12 Tory Barringercenter_img Mortgage Rates Slightly Up Ahead of Fed Meeting Sharelast_img read more

First Mortgage Origination Balances Way Up In 2015

first_img Equifax First Mortgage Origination Balances New Loans Origination 2016-04-06 Scott_Morgan in Daily Dose, Data, Featured, News, Origination First mortgages totaled $1.82 trillion in 2015, which represents a 43 percent increase over 2014 originations, according to the latest Equifax National Consumer Credit Trends Report, released Wednesday.The report, looking at March numbers, also found that the total number of new first mortgages last year was 7.71 million, an increase of 31.6 percent over 2014. Amid these increases was a strong showing in lending to borrowers with subprime credit (those with credit scores below 620).According to the report, there were more than 83,000 new loans originated for borrowers with subprime credit in 2015, a year-over-year increase of 31.2 percent. In that same time, the total balance of new loans was $1.73 billion, an increase of 6.5 percent. Also, in 2015, 10.5 percent of all loans were issued to subprime-credit borrowers, a slight increase from the previous year’s share.The total number of new loans originated 2015 also was the highest level in more than seven years, and according to the report, 2014-2015 showed the third-highest percentage increase, for a calendar year since 2008.”We saw a nice jump in mortgage lending in 2015 that was driven by both rising home-purchase activity and solid refinancing volumes,” said Amy Crews Cutts, SVP and Chief Economist at Equifax. “While low interest rates are helping, continued gains in employment and consumer confidence are key.”That said, Cutts acknowledged that credit scores are still a major factor in lending.“What we are not seeing is any meaningful loosening of underwriting, at least with respect to credit scores,” she said. “The median credit score on new first mortgages in the fourth quarter of 2015 was 750 and 90 percent of first mortgage borrowers had a score in excess of 646. These values are essentially unchanged for the past three years.”Click here to view the full report. First Mortgage Origination Balances Way Up In 2015center_img Share April 6, 2016 587 Views last_img read more

Fannie Mae Reports Strong Q4 and 2016 Earnings

first_img Data Fannie Mae GSE Q4 2016 2017-02-17 Scott_Morgan in Headlines, News, Secondary Market Fannie Mae Reports Strong Q4 and 2016 Earnings Fannie Mae reported an annual net income of $12.3 billion and annual comprehensive income of $11.7 billion in 2016. Those figures come from the GSE’s Q4 report, in which Fannie Mae also reported a net income of $5 billion and comprehensive income of $4.9 billion for 2016.The company reported a positive net worth of $6.1 billion as of the end of 2016, meaning Fannie expects to pay Treasury a $5.5 billion dividend in March. Fannie Mae paid $9.6 billion in dividends to Treasury in 2016. Counting the expected March payment, Fannie Mae will have paid a total of $160 billion in dividends to Treasury.Timothy Mayopoulos, President and CEO of Fannie Mae, said the company’s 2016 numbers “reflect a multi-year drive to improve Fannie Mae’s business model, strengthen the housing finance system, and deliver innovation and certainty to customers.”Fannie also reported $637 billion in mortgage financing last year, stating it was continuing to lay off risk to private capital in the mortgage market and reduce taxpayer risk through its credit risk transfer transactions. At year’s end, nearly a quarter of the loans in the company’s single-family conventional guaranty book of business, measured by unpaid principal balance, were covered by a credit risk transfer transaction, the report stated.Fannie reported $1.5 billion in credit-related income in 2016, up from $834 million in 2015. Credit-related income in 2016 was driven by a benefit for credit losses “primarily resulting from an increase in home prices,” the report stated.Fannie’s net fair value losses of $1.1 billion in 2016 were down 39 percent from 2015.“We recognized fair value losses for 2016 primarily as a result of a decrease in the fair value of our risk management derivatives in the first half of 2016 due to declines in longer-term swap rates during the period,” the report stated. “These losses were partially offset by an increase in the fair value of our risk management derivatives in the second half of 2016 due to an increase in longer-term swap rates during the period.”Fannie’s 2016 mortgage portfolio declined by 21 percent to $272.4 billion at the end of Q4. Its single-family guaranty book of business was $2.8 trillion.center_img February 17, 2017 577 Views Sharelast_img read more

Interest Rates Fall in March

first_img April 27, 2017 568 Views According to the Federal Housing Finance Administration on Thursday, interest rates on conventional purchase-money mortgages decreased nationally from February to March. The FHFA Index showed that the average interest rate on all mortgage loans decreased 13 basis points to 1.12 percent in March, from 4.25 in February.The National Average Contract Mortgage Rate for the Purchase of Previously Occupied Homes by Combined Lenders Index was 4.12 percent for loans closed in late March, down 15 basis points from 4.27 percent in February.The average interest rate on conventional, 30-year fixed-rate mortgages fell 17 basis points in March to 4.24 percent, below February’s 4.41 percent.The average loan amount for all types of loans was $392,700 in March, up from $301,600 in February by $11,100.March is the first month in several months to see a decline in mortgage rates. January and February both saw an increase in rates nationally, though application rates are on the rise. The Mortgage Bankers Association’s Builder Applications Survey has shown applications rising throughout March and into April.According to the Survey, year-over-year new home purchases for March 2017 increased 6.7 percent compared to March 2016. Month-over-month, applications grew 23 percent. Average loan size decreased in March, from $330,208 in February to $328,192.The largest percentage of loan applications were conventional loans. 67.5 percent of loan applications were for conventional loans, while RHS/USDA loans composed 1.0 percent and VA loans composed 12.8 percent.As interest rates dropped, prices have been on the rise, as shown in the FHFA’s last House Price Index for February, which released on Tuesday. House prices rose an average of 6.4 percent that month year-over -year, and up 0.6 percent month-over-month. These are the highest prices in several months.Read the FHFA’s Index report here. FHFA interest Prices rates 2017-04-27 Seth Welborn in Daily Dose, Data, Government, Headlines, News, Originationcenter_img Share Interest Rates Fall in Marchlast_img read more

State of the Servicing Industry

first_img in Daily Dose, Featured, News, Servicing Altisource FHA Foreclosure HOUSING Huzu loans mortgage Patrick McClain Servicing Travis Britsch Vendors 2018-12-20 Scott_Morgan State of the Servicing Industry December 20, 2018 753 Views center_img Delinquencies and foreclosures are about to make a comeback and single-source vendors are poised to become the future of servicing, according to Altisource.In “The State of the Servicer Industry in 2018,” the firm sees the combination of high home prices and oft-risen interest rates as a sign that servicers will soon see an increase in delinquency and foreclosure rates in their FHA portfolios.And servicers seem to be aware of this “inflection point.” Nearly three-quarters of servicers Altisource surveyed said they expect their FHA portfolios to increase within the next two years.FHA loans already have increased, after a wave of interest early this year from buyers with lower credit who capitalized on the FHA’s Claims Without Conveyance of Title, or CWCOT, program’s more lenient downpayment requirements.With the upswing in FHA loans, though, comes the increased risk of defaults in FHA portfolios, especially as rates continue to climb. And while price escalation has been slowing down in the latter half of 2018, values remain out of reach for average and below-average earners in many markets, where wage growth has not necessarily caught up.With the possibility of more defaults looming, servicers say they are overwhelmingly likely to take a single-vendor approach to managing multiple services. Nine in 10 servicers, in fact, told Altisource that they are strongly leaning towards a single-source vendor, with two-thirds citing efficiency and compliance management as the main reasons.Single-source vendors are also an increasingly appealing option simply because of their prevalence. The sector grew as the housing market recovered from the crash and the glut of properties once maintained by small networks of vendors gave way to consolidated resources.If there’s a hangup for servicers, it’s that they’re having a lot of trouble finding single-source vendors they feel comfortable working with. Altisource says more than half of the servicers surveyed said they had trouble finding good vendors for trustee and auction services.That said, 73 percent of servicers said they are using third-party as part of their CWCOT program, mostly because those vendors provide end-to-end services. But 57 percent say they wish the data analytics these vendors used were not as efficient or effective as they could be. Sharelast_img read more

LuxperienceTourism New Zealand

first_imgLuxperienceTourism New Zealand Tourism New Zealand has committed to another year as a key partner for Luxperience, the forum for high-end tourism and premium business events in the southern hemisphere, which runs from 17-20 September 2017.“The strength and longevity of our partnership with Tourism New Zealand truly embodies the Luxperience philosophy and brand values of commitment, innovation and transformation,” said Luxperience luxury brand strategist Michelle Papas.Tourism New Zealand manager business events and premium Lisa Gardiner said “Luxperience is a key event on the luxury travel trade calendar that we have supported since its inception five years ago. Returning this year will see us continue to maximise opportunities to connect with global luxury travel sellers and media to grow the number of high-value visitors to New Zealand.”As part of the event, Tourism New Zealand will again run the popular limited-edition familiarisation program with the support of Air New Zealand. There are three five-day options: Volcanoes, Hobbits and Lodges; A Bird’s Eye View of the South Island; and Southern Explorer – Alps and Oceans.last_img read more

The South African Tourism Roadshow kicked off this

first_imgThe South African Tourism Roadshow kicked off this week in Perth with almost 200 local travel agents in attendance. This year’s roadshows are being hosted by South African comedian and South African Tourism ambassador, Urzila Carlson.Throughout Australia and New Zealand 1000 agents are expected to take part in the roadshow this year when it heads to Brisbane (10 October), Sydney (11 October), Auckland (16 October) and Melbourne (18 October).Urzila Carlson will take attendees on an interactive and educational journey of South Africa, as they travel across the provinces to learn about the country’s food and wine, culture and experiences including going on safari to spot the Big 5 amongst the unique South African wildlife.Destination highlights will be showcased through a series of videos featuring Urzila following her recent trip to South Africa. South African operators ranging from local tourism boards to hotels and 10 Australian and New Zealand wholesalers will also be on hand to provide agents with their insight and product knowledge.South African Tourism partnered with airline partner, South African Airways (SAA) to facilitate the travelling roadshow.At Perth’s opening event, two lucky agents won a spot on a familiarisation trip to SA to ‘Meet South Africa’ for themselves.Agents who join one of the remaining Australian and New Zealand roadshow events will also have the opportunity to win a spot on the familiarisation simply by attending the night. Those who don’t win on the night will also get another chance to win one of six spots on the familiarisation trip by entering the South African Specialist Competition here. Image caption: Famil winners- Maddy Kirk Helloworld Travel and Chloe Breeze Flight Centre with Vicki Gordon SAA, Melyne Hovasapian SAT and Urzila Carlson.  South Africa TourismUrzila Carlsonlast_img read more

agentscommissionNCLNorwegian Cruise LinesPride of

first_imgagentscommissionNCLNorwegian Cruise LinesPride of America Norwegian Cruise Line is offering all Australian and Kiwi travel agents a bonus 3% commission on Pride of America bookings as a thank you for their continued support. The bonus commission is valid for bookings made between 1-14 December 2018, for Hawaii sailings departing from 5 January 2019 onwards.The bonus 3% commission is combinable with Norwegian’s long-standing Free at Sea program, with free beverage and Wi-Fi packages now available for the first time on Hawai’i sailings departing from 5 January 2019 onwards. Norwegian guests booking an oceanview, balcony or mini-suite stateroom will now receive three Free at Sea options – increasing from two offers.Norwegian Cruise Line stands firmly behind its commitment to travel partners and has further strengthened this with the announcement of this new offer. Norwegian also offers agents access to a dedicated local call centre, easy payment options and a highly commissionable product, to name but a few. “As we celebrate three years since the opening of our local office, we are excited to announce a bonus 3% commission to all our travel partners on Pride of America bookings. We are committed to a continued investment in these partners, who are an integral part of both the last three years and our ongoing shared success,” said Nicole Costantin, Vice President Sales Australia and New Zealand, Norwegian Cruise Line.Voted the Best Hawaii itinerary 13 years in a row by Porthole Cruise Magazine, Pride of America is the only ship offering an itinerary taking in four Hawaiian islands in seven days. Norwegian guests also enjoy overnight stays in breathtaking Maui and Kaua’i, as well as having more time to explore with nearly 100 hours ashore and no sea days.IMAGE: Pride of America, Nawiliwili, Kauai, Hawaiilast_img read more

Accor has announced that Raffles Jaipur and Raffle

first_imgAccor has announced that Raffles Jaipur and Raffles Udaipur “…will deliver a palatial experience in an extraordinary setting along with the famously discreet and personalised Raffles service.”“It is with immense pride that we announce the arrival of the Raffles brand in India, a hallmark of luxury and sublime service in a country that is famous for delivering luxury at the highest level,” said Sébastien Bazin, Chairman and CEO Accor. “With our strategic partners, we look forward to providing an oasis of calm and charm in two of the most incredible destinations in India. We thank Mr. Ratankant Sharma and our partners for entrusting us with these landmark properties and we look forward to delivering the distinctive Raffles experience to travellers in India. We also thank Mr. Sharma for bringing the first Fairmont to India in Jaipur and extending this partnership to the Raffles brand.”About Raffles UdaipurThe Raffles Udaipur will be located in the historic Udaipur, one of the most romantic cities in India. The hotel is set on a 21-acre private island in the midst of Udai Sagar Lake, one of the five prominent lakes of Udaipur. The 101 lake-facing rooms are surrounded by spectacular hill scenery with views of the 400-year -old temple in the background. The suites additionally boast of private pools. It will provide a rare and authentic experience of one of India’s most scenic destinations. Expected to open by mid-2020, the Raffles Udaipur is truly set to be an oasis for the well-travelled, at a short 15-20 minutes’ drive from the Udaipur Maharana Pratap Airport, followed by a short boat ride.About Raffles JaipurThe Raffles Jaipur is being built at Kukas in the city of Jaipur as a set of secluded private residences and courtyards adjacent to the larger hotel complex that presently houses the Fairmont Jaipur. The development is planned as a discreet destination for guests to “be themselves”. The hotel is anticipated to commence operations in 2022 and is located close to key tourist destinations in Jaipur including the Amer Fort, Jaigarh Fort, Nahargarh Fort and Jal Mahal palace.IMAGE: Signing agreement for two Raffles hotels in India April 2019 – Sébastien Bazin, Chairman and CEO Accor with Ratankant Sharma AccorhotelsindiaRaffleslast_img read more

Everyone seems enamored with the idea of the Arizo

first_imgEveryone seems enamored with the idea of the Arizona Cardinals landing wide receiver Braylon Edwards to play next to Larry Fitzgerald if it’s for the right price. That last phrase may be what keeps a deal from getting done.It seems that Edwards is valuing his services a little — OK a lot — more than most teams — including the Cardinals — will be willing to pay. As a matter of fact, the Washington Post is reporting he’s demanding Santonio Holmes type money. Nevada officials reach out to D-backs on potential relocation Cardinals expect improving Murphy to contribute right away Top Stories What an MLB source said about the D-backs’ trade haul for Greinkecenter_img Multiple teams are rumored to be in the mix for Edwards including the Arizona Cardinals, Washington Redskins, Tennessee Titans and Minnesota Vikings. But so far, no one has landed the mercurial wideout who will likely demand something close to the five-year, $50 million contract former teammate Santonio Holmes got in New York.While Edwards may sound like a bargain on a one or two year deal for four or five million, the idea of the Cards giving him a five-year contract is almost laughable. Especially when said five-year deal would pay him roughly $10 million a season.As they always say, it can’t hurt to ask. Let’s just hope when Edwards does, the Cardinals answer is a resounding no. That, or it’s met with just laughter on the other end of the line. Comments   Share   D-backs president Derrick Hall: Franchise ‘still focused on Arizona’last_img read more

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first_img 0 Comments   Share   Top Stories Your browser does not support the audio element. Derrick Hall satisfied with D-backs’ buying and selling “I went back and looked at that tape and clearly Todd Bowles owned Mike Shula, the Carolina offensive coordinator.”The Panthers did amass 353 yards of offense, but the Cardinals sacked Carolina quarterback Cam Newton seven times and forced four turnovers. “In that game, Todd Bowles blitzed Cam Newton on 27 of 47 dropbacks — that’s over 50 percent of the time,” Jaworski said. “On those 27 blitzes, Newton went 10-of-20, was sacked seven times and threw three interceptions.“Clearly, Todd Bowles had the number of Cam Newton, Mike Shula and the Carolina offense. That’s why I think Carolina will lose this game, because of the blitzes.”This season against the blitz, Newton has been decent. The fourth-year quarterback has completed 57.5 percent (84-of-146) of his passes for 1,074 yards, six touchdowns and six interceptions. LISTEN: Ron Jaworski, ESPN NFL analyst center_img The 5: Takeaways from the Coyotes’ introduction of Alex Meruelo Grace expects Greinke trade to have emotional impact Former Cardinals kicker Phil Dawson retires The last time Arizona and Carolina met on the football field, the Cardinals beat the Panthers 22-6.However, that was 453 days ago. It shouldn’t have much of a bearing on what happens when the same two teams meet in an NFC Wild Card playoff game Saturday in Charlotte, should it?ESPN NFL insider Ron Jaworski thinks it does.“I went back to the game last year played between the Cardinals and the Panthers. I know the players are different, but the coaches are not,” he told Burns and Gambo Friday on Arizona Sports 98.7 FM. “I’m a big believer that coaches coach against coaches. They don’t change a whole lot, coaches don’t. Other coaches know what to expect and how to line up and play them.last_img read more

They may have fought for it but Tony Jefferson ca

first_imgThey may have fought for it, but Tony Jefferson came up with the interception!#CardsCamp pic.twitter.com/Sw1osCdZZT— Arizona Cardinals (@AZCardinals) August 13, 2015 The 5: Takeaways from the Coyotes’ introduction of Alex Meruelo GLENDALE, Ariz. — Thursday’s practice was the last time we’ll see the Cardinals before their first preseason game of 2015. The team was in shells once again, and also without quarterback Carson Palmer, who was being rested by the coaching staff.The GoodCornerback Cariel Brooks intercepted a Logan Thomas pass after it bounced away from the receiver. Safety Tony Jefferson also came down with a pick, as did Tyrann Mathieu (on a ball that was batted away at the line of scrimmage). Grace expects Greinke trade to have emotional impact The Cardinals seemed to get pretty good pressure throughout the day, with rookies Rodney Gunter and Markus Golden each spending some time in the backfield.John Brown came down with a touchdown catch on a Drew Stanton pass, out-timing Jerraud Powers on the play.Stanton also hit Andre Ellington for a touchdown on a third-down play.Phillip Sims found Jaxon Shipley on a nice deep ball during 11-on-11 play. Logan Thomas hit Ifeanyi Momah for a 30-yard touchdown strike along the sideline.The BadThough he threw a nice touchdown pass, Thomas also seemed to struggle. He threw one screen pass at the running back’s feet and missed on a handful of other throws.While it was nice to see the Cardinals get a pass rush, that also means the offensive line was having protecting issues.Early in practice, penalty flags were flying pretty regularly. Offsides on the defense was a common infraction.The InjuredMatt Shaughnessy landed himself on the “did not practice” list, though the reason is unknown. Here is the full list of non-participants, who also will not be playing Saturday.WR Michael Floyd (hand)RB Marion Grice (hamstring)CB Darren Woodard (groin)S Chris Clemons (groin) Comments   Share   RB David Johnson (hamstring)CB Jonte Green (hamstring)LB Shaq Riddick (hamstring)LB Sean Weatherspoon (hamstring)LB Darryl Sharpton (hip flexor)DE Matt Shaughnessy (unknown)OT Rob Crisp (knee)LB Zack Wagenmann (foot)NotableWith Shaughnessy out, Ed Stinson received some reps with the first-team defense. Josh Mauro did, too.Arizona’s quarterback depth chart remained the same without Palmer. Drew Stanton was first up, and he was followed by Thomas and then Sims.Powers saw an increased workload, but still ceded most of the first-team reps to Justin Bethel.Though out with a hand injury, Floyd spent time after practice going through exercises with conditioning coach Roger Kingdom.Quotable“I’m just going to make sure I show that I can rush the passer. Just know what I can do and do my job. Do my assignment and do whatever I’ve got to do to help the team win and help the defense get better.” – Markus Golden on his goals for Saturday’s game“About 20 of them. It’s hard to name. All those inside backers, a couple of tight ends, all the young receivers, that whole second and third defensive line, a couple of young corners — there’s so many battles going on that it would hard to just name one or two.” – Bruce Arians on if there is anybody in particular he’s looking forward to seeing play Saturdaycenter_img Top Stories “We’ve been putting in a lot of work, and getting in this week I feel a lot more comfortable with the offense and I feel a little bit more a part of the team since I’ve been practicing, so I’m real excited to get out there.” –Troy Niklas on being ready for Saturday’s gameNot video, but cool pictures Derrick Hall satisfied with D-backs’ buying and selling Former Cardinals kicker Phil Dawson retires ICYMI: @Jwalk_back12’s leaping TD grab#CardsCamp pic.twitter.com/RWTV81lC3C— Arizona Cardinals (@AZCardinals) August 13, 2015Up NextThe Cardinals (and I) have Friday off before getting back at it Saturday. I’ll be on the air co-hosting Arizona Sports Saturday on, well, Saturday from 11-1 p.m. on Arizona Sports 98.7 FM. The team will be hosting the Kansas City Chiefs with kickoff scheduled for 6 p.m. – / 53last_img read more