VA pins success to staff focuses on profitability

first_imgSource = e-Travel Blackboard: P.T Staff support is key to Virgin Australia’s success, according to the airline’s chief operating officer Sean Donohue, who said the company was focused on employee maintenance and engagement as well as profitability over market share. Speaking at the 2012 Aviation Outlook and Airports World Australia Pacific Summit in Sydney, Mr Donohue told delegates that the company’s success has never been concerned with gaining market share but rather its employee satisfaction.“Providing the proper tools and training for our employees is a very important part of our culture and we will continue to focus and engage with our staff into the future,” Mr Donohue explained.  “We are not focused on market share. We are focused on profitability. We’re not focused on load factor, we’re focused on yield.”Profitability has been achieved through offering consumers variety and a range of travel options.  “For the first time since Ansett collapsed back in 2000, customers in Australia flying domestically now have a choice when it comes to business class,” Mr Donohue said.Virgin Australia has a new E190 business class cabin due to be operational by FY 2013.“It’s not just the on-board product; it’s the whole customer experience. From the airport, to the lounge to the airplane, we’re investing in all three.”According to Mr Donohue, Virgin Australia chose to undertake a bi-lateral strategy in regards to airline alliances, instead of joining a worldwide network.“We’ve been successful in partnering with Air New Zealand, from an alliance perspective for the Trans-Tasman routes… we have a partnership with Etihad where we fly into Abu-Dhabi and continue the flow of traffic to Europe… Our US partner is Delta and our beyond traffic through LA has grown by 60 percent… and finally Singapore Airlines, which provides the feed and traffic to our customers in Asia.” Mr Donohue also emphasised Virgin Australia’s commitment to developing services and bases in Australia.“We continue to want to grow our employee base in Australia. We have a hanger in Brisbane, a hanger in Melbourne and will be building a hanger in Sydney,” he added.  “You’ll continue to see us grow Australian jobs; that’s a focus of ours and we think it’s a great opportunity.”When considering profitability, Mr Donohue was confident in Virgin Australia’s direction and attitude to business development.“We’re very confident in the strength of our strategy. When you look at the measurement of how we are doing, our revenue performance is well ahead of our plan,” he said. The guest feedback we’re getting is positive and our customer ratings are better. From an operational perspective we continue to improve our performance, from both an on-time perspective and a reliability perspective and we will continue to make progress in this area.” last_img read more

Daydream Island Spa recognised for Customer Service

first_imgSpa entry sign Daydream Island’s Rejuvenation Spa has added another award to its list, winning the Hotel Resort Spa Customer Service Excellence category of the Pevonia Botanica Awards.The awards, run by leading international spa and skincare company Pevonia Botanica, acknowledge the most outstanding spas, salons, therapists and managers in Australia.Daydream Island Rejuvenation Spa Manager, Joanne Enslow said the spa offered a luxurious spa program tailored to guests’ every need.“Our focus has always been on our clients’ individual needs and this award is testament to our dedication to providing only the very best tailored beauty and well-being programs,” Ms Enslow said.“Our aim is for guests to leave the spa feeling refreshed, relaxed and of course totally rejuvenated, and we are thrilled to be recognised as among Australia’s best spas.”Located at the northern end of Daydream Island in Queensland’s magnificent Whitsunday Islands, the Rejuvenation Spa is an award-winning facility that combines an extensive array of health and beauty treatments with panoramic views of the Pacific Ocean and pool to pamper and reinvigorate the mind, body and soul.The Rejuvenation Spa provides a holistic approach to wellbeing, offering the time-tested health benefits of naturopathy, aromatherapy, hydrotherapy and massage, along with beauty therapies using products such as Pevonia Botanica and Eles Mineral Make up. Spa facilities include 16 individual treatment rooms, vichy showers, thermal tables, hydrotherapy tubs, steam effusion showers, dual treatment rooms, dual spa baths and private relaxation areas.  Unique to the spa is one of Australia’s most advanced naturopathic testing and treatment clinics, offering clients a complete and comprehensive analysis of entire body systems, from full blood analysis to monitoring and measuring fat and muscle mass. Daydream’s Rejuvenation Spa took out the Performance Excellence category of last year’s Pevonia Botanica Awards. It also clinched the Specialised Tourism Services award in the Whitsundays Tourism Awards 2009. Dual massagecenter_img Source = Daydream Island Resort & Spalast_img read more

Accor targets emerging markets with 100 new hotels

first_imgAccor plans Latin America, Middle East and APAC expansion. Accor has its eye on the 400 mark, with plans to add an extra 100 hotels on its current 300 properties over the next two years.Speaking at ITB Berlin, the group revealed plans to add an extra 6,500 rooms by 2015 across its Sofitel, Pullman, MGallery and Grand Mercure brands.Focusing on emerging markets, Accor revealed new properties would be built mainly in emerging markets, including; Latin America, Middle East and Asia Pacific.“One can now count on a strong European voice in the luxury and upscale market. Our brands combine the best of international standards with French style,” Accor president Yann Caillère said.“Our ambition for our brands and their networks are immense and we are ready to expand rapidly in this market.”Currently, 42 percent of Accor’s luxury/upscale hotels located in the Asia Pacific region and 35 percent in European cities.Source = e-Travel Blackboard: N.Jlast_img read more

Futurist Brian Solis to speak at WTM London

first_imgSource = World Travel Market London 2016 Futurist Brian Solis to speak at WTM LondonFuturist Brian Solis to speak at WTM LondonWorld Travel Market London 2016, the leading global event for the travel industry, is delighted to announce award-winning author, digital analyst and futurist Brian Solis as a keynote speaker.Solis studies the influence and effects of emerging technologies on business, marketing and culture and advises companies on marketing strategy and change management in his role as Principal Analyst at Altimeter Group.He has published many books on business including X: The Experience When Business Meets Design, What’s the Future of Business, The End of Business as Usual, Engage and Putting the Public Back into Public Relations.Brian will share with WTM London delegates his vision and experiences on the rise of digital transformation, innovation, connected consumerism and digital lifestyles when he takes to the WTM Global Stage on the afternoon of Monday 7 November.World Travel Market London, Senior Director, Simon Press, said: “Brian is a well-renowned speaker so I am delighted he is presenting at WTM London 2016.“The travel and tourism industry has been overhauled by many disruptive companies in recent years.“The pace of change within the travel industry is only going to get faster so Brian will help delegates understand how such change may affect them.”WTM London is the event where the travel and tourism industry conducts its business deals. Buyers from the WTM Buyers Club have a combined purchasing responsibility of £22.6 billion (£15.8bn) and sign deals at the event worth $3.6 billion (£2.5bn).WTM London 2016 will be revamped as a three-day event from Monday 7 – Wednesday 9 November, with opening hours extended from 10am – 7pm for all three days. World Travel Market Londondiscover more herelast_img read more

Personal Travel Managers discover Doha

first_imgSource = TravelManagers Australia Relaxing at the end of a busy day exploring Doha. From left Darren Olsen – CT Connections, Alexandria Cullen – Travel Beyond, Victoria Woolnough – Egencia, Stella Vlahos – Qatar Airways, Amber Hawkins – Travel Edge, Vicki O’Dea – TravelManagers, Ric Pattaro – TravelManagersPersonal Travel Managers discover DohaTo celebrate Qatar Airways commencing flights from Doha to Sydney, personal travel managers Ric Pattaro, representative for Haberfield and Vicki O’Dea, representative for Lane Cove joined an exclusive famil dedicated to members of CT Partners, to experience Doha the capital of Qatar. Qatar Airways and Shangri-La Hotels and Resorts hosted the whirlwind two night, three-day famil.Rich in history, Islamic traditions and architecture, Doha with its blend of international influences and constantly changing skyline is a fascinating city to visit, as O’Dea discovers.“It’s extremely rare to see a city in the making but Doha is very much a modern developing destination. Doha is a dynamic city that offers a new and unique holiday experience for travellers en route to Europe.”Pattaro was awed by the incredible city architecture.“A visit to Doha wouldn’t be complete without seeing Museum of Islamic Art, it’s a shining example of how Doha is modernizing its city yet retaining the heritage and character, a blend of old and new. Rising from its own purpose-built island the museum is shaped like a postmodern fortress with minimal windows to reduce energy use and houses the largest collection of Islamic art in the world.”Qatar’s skyline is spectacular at nightFor O’Dea the night visit to the traditional Qatari Bazaar of the Souq Waqif was most memorable.“Known as the social heart of Doha, the Souq Waqif is a wonderful place to explore. With its labyrinth of narrow streets and traditional architecture we had an absolute ball exploring and bargaining with the street traders.”A significant amount of construction work is currently underway as the city prepares for the 2022 Soccer World Cup.“Doha doesn’t currently offer any public transport although a light rail system is currently being build. Taxis are aplenty and very inexpensive, as are the boats across the harbour. I highly recommend taking a boat ride at night to view the city lights, it is a spectacular must do,” says O’Dea.O’Dea discovers Qatar Airways is an airline with a real commitment to service.“Travelling on Qatar Airways was an absolute pleasure. The aircraft are new, clean and very comfortable which proved invaluable on the long-haul flight. The friendly crew providing unfaltering service combined with its modern features and amenities ensure I will now recommend to airline to my clients without hesitation.”The group stayed at the luxurious Shangri-La Doha.“I can highly recommend this hotel. It’s central location and being connected to the City Centre Mall provides easy access to a wide range of dining and entertainment options. The pool area is simply stunning and a great place to relax and unwind after a day of exploring,” says O’Dea.The outdoor cafes at the Souq Waqif are a great place to enjoy a drink and watch the world go by!Pattaro from his personal experience offers some valuable and practical advice for travellers looking to visit Doha.“A visa is required on arrival at a cost of 100 Qatari Riyal, it will be processed on your credit card. The currency of Qatar is the Qatari Riyal and is not available to purchase in Australia. Take some Australian dollars and recommend you change currency at one of the shopping malls. The malls are incredibly huge and offer the all of the international brands, Doha is truly a shoppers dream. Its travel tips like these that I know will make my clients’ travel the absolute best it can be.”The TravelManagers’ personal travel manager educational programme is backed up by strong state and national support, which includes a national partnership office and seven state-based business partnership managers.“TravelManagers national partnership office provide access to virtual office technology, training, marketing, fares and ticket as well as 24/7 access to all mid and back-office processes. Combined with local business partnership managers and valuing key preferred supplier relationships, personal travel managers have access to the broadest and most in-depth support nationwide. This type of behind the scenes central and local state-based support is crucial,” says Michael Gazal, TravelManagers’ Executive General Manager.For more information or to speak to someone confidentially about TravelManagers please contact Suzanne Laister on 1800 019 599.About TravelManagers TravelManagers operates in all Australian States and is a wholly owned subsidiary of House of Travel, Australasia’s largest independent travel company which has a forecast turnover of $1.5 billion for 2015. TravelManagers is a sister company to Hoot Holidays, also owned by House of Travel, and has more than 490 personal travel managers throughout Australia with a dedicated support team at the company’s national partnership office in Sydney. TravelManagers places all customer money in a dedicated and audited Client Trust Account which is separate from the general business accounts, ensuring client funds are only used for client purchases.last_img read more

New Tank Stream Hotel offers great value accommodation for Sydney

first_imgOne of Sydney’s newest hotels, The Tank Stream Hotel, located in the heart of the city’s heritage area, is offering great value accommodation during January for visitors wanting to explore the city and attend the Sydney Festival between 7 and 29 January.The 4.5 star Tank Stream Hotel is one of the best located hotels for the Sydney Festival, being just a short walk from the main Festival event venues in Hyde Park, Sydney Town Hall, The Domain, Barangaroo and Sydney Opera House. With train transport at the hotel’s front door, even venues such as Carriageworks at Redfern and Riverside Theatres at Parramatta are easily accessible.This year’s Festival is promising an ‘exuberant, exciting and effervescent’ line up of international and Australian concerts, theatre, circus, art, workshops and children’s shows, including many free events.Contemporary meets heritage at Tank Stream HotelAccommodation rates at the Tank Stream Hotel are available from just $199 per night through much of January, and include the Tank Steam’s unique ‘all-inclusive concept’, which provides guests with free high speed wi-fi and in-room movies, complimentary non-alcoholic mini bar items and Nespresso coffee.There is a variety of room styles and sizes, all offering high-class bedding, in room facilities, work areas and ensuite bathrooms.The Tank Stream officially opened in 2016, providing much needed high-class accommodation in the heart of the city.The hotel is named after the stream that runs underneath the hotel. It had been a life source for the local Gadigal Aborigines for thousands of years, before Captain Arthur Phillip also saw the benefits of a fresh water source and established the first European colony at Bennelong Point in 1788.The stream in those days was open, running from a swamp in Hyde Park, down through waterfalls across Bridge Street then out to what is now Circular Quay. While the Tank Stream is now fully covered, a historic Tank Stream walking tour is available to visitors to retrace the development of Sydney through the ages.A perfect base for short and longer stays in Sydney, the Tank Stream Hotel is surrounded by many of city’s most celebrated restaurants, along with theatres, entertainment venues and the city’s finest shopping.The hotel’s restaurant Le Petit Flot offers relaxed contemporary bistro style dining with an emphasis on share plates and local produce, and a laneway wine bar is the ideal spot to catch the vibrancy of the city and enjoy classic wines from around the world and light meals. The hotel can also arrange discounted access to nearby fitness centres and parking.The Tank Stream Hotel is part of the international St Giles Premier Hotel collection, with the Sydney hotel joining St Giles’ hotels in cities such as London, New York, Kuala Lumpur and Manila.Further information & reservations:; T:+61 2 8222 1211 e: Source = Tank Stream Hotel – Sydney New Tank Stream Hotel offers great value accommodation for SydneyNew Tank Stream Hotel offers great value accommodation for Sydneylast_img read more

THAI hosts Gala Event to launch flight to Vienna

first_imgTHAI hosts Gala Event to launch flight to ViennaTHAI hosts Gala Event to launch flight to ViennaMrs. Usanee Sangsingkeo, Acting President, Thai Airways International Public Company Limited (THAI), and Mr. Gerhard Gotz, Consul General of the Austrian Embassy in Thailand, recently presided over a gala event to introduce THAI’s new direct route from Bangkok to Vienna, Austria at Royal Orchid Sheraton Hotel.Opening new flights to Vienna, Austria, which is located in Central Europe and is the gateway to the Eastern Europe, will help connect passengers to other cities in Europe and from Europe to Thailand through THAI’s route network. As a new destination, Vienna will make the customer’s journey even better and increase Austrian tourist arrivals into Thailand which help strengthen the economy by creating revenue for the country.Source = THAIlast_img read more

Discovery Parks relocates its Headquarters

first_imgDiscovery Parks relocates its HeadquartersDiscovery Parks relocates its HeadquartersDiscovery Parks, Australia’s largest owner and operator of holiday parks, relocates its headquarters to Level 7, 60 Light Square, Adelaide effective immediately.On 24th August, the Discovery Parks team welcomed over 150 guests to celebrate this joyful occasion including key Executive team at Sunsuper, Chief Executive at Southern Australian Tourism Commission Rodney Harrex and Vice Chair of Variety SA Rob Kerin.“This inspiration for the new office was founded in the idea of bringing the park inside. It is designed to encourage interaction and facilitate a cross-functional approach to all aspects of the business. So this is more than just an office opening party, we’ve invited you here today to celebrate the next stage of our business,” CEO of Discovery Parks, Grant Wilken’s said at the event.“Our new business structure will focus on further investing in our people, place and process and support us for scalable growth to 2020 and beyond.”Founded in Adelaide, Discovery Parks is a great South Australian success story and has over 1,200 staff nationally and this support office has created work opportunities for 80 people in Adelaide.“As an Adelaide based company, we proudly invest in South Australia with plans to spend $15 million in three years across our South Australia portfolio. The goal is to build the best accommodation business in Australia and help our guests ‘discover what matters’ with a customer focused strategy.”This relocation follows a string of exciting developments. Last month, Discovery Parks acquired Coolwaters Holiday Village at Yeppoon in Queensland and inked a 15-year management contract for Streaky Bay Foreshore Tourist Park in South Australia.Source = Discovery Parkslast_img read more

Evergreen launches new ship on the Mekong

first_imgMezzanineEvergreen launches new ship on the MekongEvergreen Cruises & Tours is set to shake up the lucrative Asia river cruise market with the launch of its first Star-Ship on the Mekong river – the Emerald Harmony –  backed by its winning exceptional value price promise: luxury river cruising at great value prices.Citing demand from its growing Evergreen Explorer loyalty database, Angus Crichton, Director Sales, Marketing and Product for Evergreen Tours advises: “Our guests are keen to explore new rivers but want the comfort of a brand they know and trust. As part of making the decision where to build our next Star-Ship, we spent a lot of time talking with our Explorer members, to find out where they would like to travel with us next”.The new Star-Ship, with a beautiful contemporary design, will fuse cleverly with Asian-inspired luxury, to create an on-board perfect harmony. Features will include signature pool, an Asian-themed Horizon Bar & Lounge with luxurious soft furnishings plus, the Reflections Restaurant which will have a locally-inspired menu that showcases native cuisine from the region.New and exclusive to Emerald Harmony is the beautiful Lotus Lounge, situated at the aft of the Star-Ship. This relaxing area will feature stylish, comfortable seating with low, small tables – the perfect place for guests to recount the day’s activities with new found friends.Boasting just 42 Staterooms and Suites, on board accommodation is similar to Evergreen’s  European Star-Ships, with four lead-in Emerald Staterooms, 32 Emerald Panorama Balcony Suites, four Grand Balcony Suites and two Owner’s Suites, each boasting a wrap-around terrace featuring a hot tub.Another innovative feature is the Star-Ship design itself. Unlike most similar sized Mekong river ships, the Emerald Harmony will be built to allow access to the centre of Ho Chi Minh City, meaning guests will not be required to be coached in from outside the city. Allowing for a unique experience that none of Evergreen’s competitors are currently able to offer.In the dedicated Evergreen South East Asia brochure to be launched in Australia in September 2018, Evergreen will offer three unique itineraries including the 13-day Majestic Mekong Discoverer Cruise, taking in Ho Chi Minh City to Siem Reap, the 17-day Treasures & Temples of Vietnam & Cambodia river cruise and tour, from Hanoi to Siem Reap, and the 21-day Grand Tour of Vietnam & Cambodia river cruise and tour, which includes stops at Hanoi, Halong Bay, Hoi An, Hue and Siem Reap.Source = Evergreen Cruises & Tourslast_img read more

Title Insurers Bring in Increased Premiums in Third Quarter

first_img The American Land Title Association (ALTA) “”reports””: continued improvements for title companies. Each of the three quarters the association reported on so far this year have registered increasing volume for title companies. Premiums rose 28 percent year-over-year in the third quarter. [IMAGE]The industry produced $3 billion in title insurance premiums over the third quarter, up from $2.4 billion during the same period in 2011. “”Title insurance premium volume is highly dependent on real estate sales and mortgage-refinancing activity,”” said ALTA CEO Michelle Korsmo.The Fidelity Family of title insurance underwriters claimed the greatest portion of market share with 33.7 percent. First American Family took the second-largest share with 26.1 percent. [COLUMN_BREAK]Next in line were the Old Republic Family with 13.7 percent and the Stewart Family with 13.6 percent market share. Regional underwriters stepped up to claim 13 percent of the market during the third quarter, an increase from the third quarter of last year when they claimed 11.9 percent. The five states where insurers produced the highest dollar volume in title insurance premiums during the third quarter included California ($440.7 million), Texas ($382.1 million), Florida ($241.9 million), New York ($213.8 million), and Pennsylvania ($130 million). In five states, insurance premiums increased by at least 45 percent in the third quarter when compared with the same quarter last year. Leading this category was North Dakota with an increase of 94.2 percent. The remaining four states include Louisiana (52.9 percent), North Carolina (51.4 percent), Idaho (51 percent), and Nebraska (45.3 percent). The industry as a whole experienced an operating gain of $114 million, up sharply from $16 million in the third quarter last year. This was the result of rising operating income and expenses and falling loss expenses. With $8.7 billion in assets, Korsmo said the title industry is in a “”strong financial position.”” in Data, Government, Origination, Secondary Market, Servicing December 6, 2012 430 Views Title Insurers Bring in Increased Premiums in Third Quartercenter_img Agents & Brokers Attorneys & Title Companies Investors Lenders & Servicers Processing Service Providers Title Insurance 2012-12-06 Krista Franks Brock Sharelast_img read more

Leading Indicators Point to WarmWeather Recovery

first_imgLeading Indicators Point to Warm-Weather Recovery March 20, 2014 489 Views in Daily Dose, Data, Headlines, News Conference Board Housing Permits Unemployment 2014-03-20 Tory Barringercenter_img Leading economic indicators for the United States experienced a jump in February, lending credence to arguments that sluggishness earlier in the winter was largely due to weather.The Conference Board reported its Leading Economic Index (LEI) increased 0.5 percent last month to 99.8, inclining steeper after a 0.1 percent gain in January.“The U.S. LEI increased sharply in February, suggesting that any weather-related volatility will be short lived and the economy should continue to improve into the second half of the year,” said Ataman Ozyildirim, economist at the Conference Board.According to Ozyildirim, the strengths and weaknesses in the LEI were mostly balanced against each other in February, “with large increases in housing permits and the interest rate spread more than offsetting decreases in the workweek in manufacturing, consumer expectations and rising initial claims for unemployment insurance.”The group also reported improvements in the Coincident Economic Index (CEI)—a measure of current conditions—to 108.2 and the Lagging Economic Index (LAG)—a measure of indicators that follow major economic changes—to 122.1, though those improvements were minor compared to headline index.“While the CEI shows the pace of economic activity remained slow at the start of 2014, the trend in the LEI remains quite positive,” said Ken Goldstein, another economist for the Conference Board. “The biggest challenge continues to be weak consumer demand, pinned down by weak wage growth.“These conditions were still in evidence the first two months of the year, but will likely improve as spring arrives.” Sharelast_img read more

Job Gains Weaken But is the Labor News All Bad

first_img The labor market was the strong point of the U.S. economy in the last quarter of 2015, with an average of 284,000 jobs added in the last three months of the year.The January 2016 Employment Summary from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) released on Friday indicated a bit of a slowdown, however, with 151,000 jobs added in the first month of the year—close to half of the previous three-month average.“The January jobs report reflected a labor market that is slowing. While the addition of 151,000 jobs was enough to reduce the unemployment rate slightly, it is a marked decline from the payroll gains of the fourth quarter,” NAFCU Chief Economist Curt Long said. “Turbulence in the stock market and fears for the prospects of global growth are likely taking a toll, but the overall picture is one of a labor market that is drawing near to full employment.”The good news for the labor market is that the unemployment rate dipped to 4.9 percent, the first time it has been below 5 percent since before the recession. Wage growth, which has lagged in recent months, jumped by 12 cents over-the-month in January up to $25.39 and by 2.5 percent since the previous January. The ADP Employment Report for January 2016, released on Thursday, reported much better numbers than the BLS, with 205,000 private sector jobs added. The labor participation rate, which had fallen to its lowest levels since the 1970s, ticked up slightly to 62.7 percent in January.“Following outsized gains during the fourth quarter of last year, the consensus expectation was for job gains to moderate in January,” Fannie Mae Chief Economist Doug Duncan said. “Though the headline nonfarm payroll increase came in somewhat weaker than market expectations, details pointed to a solid labor market, with a jump in average hourly earnings and a longer average workweek. In addition, the unemployment rate fell below 5 percent for the first time in nearly 8 years as the labor force participation rate edged up for the second consecutive month. Despite the equity market crosscurrents, it appears that labor market conditions remain healthy.”While wage growth was solid over-the-year in January, and the wage growth that many analysts have stated is desperately needed for the economy is predicted to happen in 2016, just how much of a benefit will the wage growth be if it happens?“As the labor market tightens, we should continue to expect strong gains in wages in 2016,” Trulia Chief Economist Ralph McLaughlin said. “However, while wage growth is good news for households, price and rent increases of 3 to 4 percent during the same period have completely offset these wage gains.”Long stated, “While nominal wage growth is still slightly below historical norms, it is still outpacing inflation by a decent margin. Moreover, we have seen meaningful improvements in the participation rate over the past six months which suggests that more sidelined workers are being brought back into the labor pool.”What is the outlook for another Fed rate hike after January’s employment summary? According to Duncan, “The fed funds futures market apparently wrote off a March rate hike before this report. However, we feel today’s report offers little clue about near-term Fed actions, nor does it alter our expectation for only modest increases in mortgage rates during 2016, which is a positive for a housing market challenged by affordability constraints.” According to Long, “This report is neither strong enough nor weak enough to materially impact the Fed’s rate decision in March, which at this point still looks like a decision to hold.”Click here to view the BLS January 2016 Employment Summary,Click here to view the ADP Employment Report for January 2016. in Data, Government, News Job Gains Weaken, But is the Labor News All Bad? February 8, 2016 591 Views center_img Employment Jobs Wage Growth 2016-02-08 Seth Welborn Sharelast_img read more

Voters Believe Housing in America Needs Serious Fixing

first_imgVoters Believe Housing in America Needs Serious Fixing Douglas Schoen Fannie Mae Freddie Mac Housing Policy Investors Unite 2016-07-15 Seth Welborn A little more than half of Americans think it is too difficult to buy a home, especially for non-whites, and they don’t trust banks will help them achieve the American Dream, according to a new poll conducted by New York-based consulting firm Douglas E. Schoen.Schoen’s latest report, which polled 1,000 potential voters for this November’s presidential election, highlights a broad unrest in the perception of the American housing market, where would-be buyers distrust banks and feel like the system is rigged. According to the numbers, 53 percent of Americans surveyed said a home was too difficult to buy. Broken further, 69 percent of “all people of color” said they couldn’t buy a home. The largest single group feeling left out of the picture was Hispanic respondents, 78 percent of whom feel that homeownership is out of the picture for them.Forty-one percent of respondents agreed with the statement, “Banks don’t want to provide mortgages to people like me.” Fifty-one percent blame banks for the lack of access to home ownership, while about 30 percent blame Congress and the GSEs. At the same time, 45 percent of those surveyed said it is up to banks to fix the problem. Less than 35 percent said it should be up to governments or the GSEs.Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, in fact, were in slight favor for respondents. According to Schoen, 55 percent of those surveyed had a favorable view of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, while 37 percent held an unfavorable view. Seventy percent said they would like to see Congress and the federal government do something to make mortgages more widely available. Interestingly enough, reports have surfaced this week that a draft of the Republican platform calls for the elimination of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac while scaling back the government’s role in the housing market and implementing tougher underwriting standards for mortgage loans.When asked about the net worth sweep of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac (the federal policy that diverts all GSE profits to the government’s revenue stream) in the Schoen survey, 47 percent of likely voters said the sweep “is a violation of shareholder rights, and takes funds that could be used to increase the availability of mortgages,” Schoen reported. “Further, black voters are the most likely to consider the net worth sweep part of a rigged system.”According to Schoen, 52 percent of black voters said the sweep is unfair to Fannie Mae’s and Freddie Mac’s shareholders; and 71 percent of black voters support shareholder rights over government interests, the highest of any group, the report stated.Despite the obvious disillusionment in Schoen’s findings, voters still believe that homeownership is both a good investment with financial benefits. In fact, 58 percent of those surveyed said so, while 57 percent said owning a home is still a hefty piece of the emotional promise of owning a home.Click here to view Schoen’s complete survey. Sharecenter_img in Daily Dose, Foreclosure, News, Secondary Market July 15, 2016 594 Views last_img read more

Where to Buy a Home This Winter

first_imgWhere to Buy a Home This Winter Share November 1, 2018 610 Views For a few years, housing markets have been defined by rising prices, competitive bidding wars, and tight inventory, but these trends are beginning to soften. In fact, a few of the nation’s hottest housing markets are now listed as some of the “best places for buyers this winter,” according to analysis from Zillow.The top five metros for buyers this winter, according to Zillow, are Orlando, Florida; Boston, Massachusetts; Seattle, Washington; Las Vegas, Nevada; and Charlotte, North Carolina.In determining the metros for its list, Zillow considered three major factors: changes in the percentage of listings with price cuts, expected rent price appreciation for the next year, and current affordability relative to the past in each market.Price cuts for listed homes generally signify that the home has been sitting on the market for some period of time without competitive bids. In other words, it means “more options for buyers, less competition for homes and more room for buyers to negotiate,” Zillow said.Some of the nation’s hottest housing markets are now experiencing significant jumps in the percentage of listings that undergo price cuts. Seattle tops this list with 11.6 percent of listings experiencing price cuts, followed by San Diego with 10 percent, and Las Vegas with 9.8 percent of listings with price cuts.Another market recently notorious for high prices that experienced a jump in listings with a price cut was San Jose, California, with price cuts on 8.8 percent of listings.At the top of the list of places to buy this winter, Orlando experienced price cuts on 6.8 percent of its listings.Projected rent change over the next year varied in the top five markets with 1.4 percent growth expected in Orlando. Boston and Seattle are poised for 3.1 percent and 3.3 percent price growth over the next year, respectively. On the other hand, rental prices are expected to drop 0.1 percent in Las Vegas. Charlotte is expected to see rents rise 2.9 percent over the next year.For its third measure, Zillow assessed mortgage affordability by calculating the amount of monthly median household income spent on mortgage payments for median-priced homes in each market with a 20 percent down payment on a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage.All of the top five markets had an affordability percentage under 30 percent. In Orlando, 20.2 percent of a monthly median income would be spent on mortgage payments for a median-priced home. In Boston, that percentage is 25.8; in Seattle, 28.6 percent; in Las Vegas, 22.5 percent; and in Charlotte, 15.1 percent.The least affordable markets, among those tracked by Zillow, are San Jose, California; Los Angeles, California; and San Francisco, California. In each of these markets, the amount of median income spent on a mortgage payment for a median-priced home is approaching or more than 45 percent.“The housing market always lets up a little in the fall, when the kids are back in school and the home shopping season wraps up for the holidays,” said Aaron Terrazas, Senior Economist at Zillow. “But this fall and winter are shaping up to be more favorable for those buyers who have struggled to get into the housing market for several years amid red-hot competition.”center_img in Daily Dose, Data, Featured, News Affordability Home Prices Homebuying New Homebuyers 2018-11-01 Krista Franks Brocklast_img read more

Colombia is gearing up to host the worlds premier

first_img Colombia is gearing up to host the world’s premier avocado industry event next year, the World Avocado Congress, which will take place in Medellin from Sept. 23 – 27, 2019.The 2019 installment of the event, which is hosted by an avocado-growing country every four years, will cover a range of topics including phytosanitary issues, genetic resources, and growing practices.The Colombian avocado industry has exploded onto the global stage over recent years, registering rapid growth and an average annual increased in planted hectarage of more than 10%.Data from trade promotion agency ProColombia shows that production volumes peaked last year at 376,000 metric tons (MT). The main varieties it produces are Papelillo, Choquette, Santana and Hass, the latter of which has grown in volume by 126% over the last five years.Meanwhile, Colombian avocado exports grew by 51% in 2017 year-on-year, making it the world’s twelfth-largest exporter.Industry expectationsWithin the Colombian avocado industry, expectations for the future are high. NZ: ‘Serious pest’ affecting avocado trees discove … September 28 , 2018 You might also be interested in Mexico forecasts record-breaking avocado exports t … center_img Peruvian avocados: Greater early-season volumes ma … U.S. ag secretary tours California avocado grove, … Jorge Restrepo, executive director of CorpoHass told Fresh Fruit Portal that the industry is excited to host the World Avocado Congress, highlighting that it is the only country with avocado production in the tropics.”No other country produces there, creating a range of challenges and differences in respect to the other countries which have seasons, which also makes the technical aspects different,” he said.Many Colombian avocado growers have traveled to Chile and Mexico – two of the world’s top avocado-producing countries – to learn about best practices, he said.Restrepo added that representatives of many foreign companies have visited Colombia to learn about the avocado sector.”When foreigners come they really value what they see in Colombia. They feel that the country is on a very good path,” he said.He also mentioned that as part of the World Avocado Congress next year there will be a series of ‘AvoTours’, which will visit nurseries, farms and facilities.Jose Luis Gonzalez, commercial director of Hasspacol added the event would look at both the past and future of the Colombian avocado industry.He believes that within a few years the South America country could become the world’s number-two or three avocado producer.last_img read more

The US imported a total of US539 billion from C

first_imgThe U.S. imported a total of US$539 billion from China in 2018. If implemented, this latest tariff threat would therefore mean that all Chinese imports will face tariffs. — Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 1, 2019 Tariff increase on Chinese imports to raise input … Kenya’s avocado exports to China to rise 10% annua … U.S. President Trump announced on Thursday the U.S. will implement 10% tariffs on an additional US$300 billion worth of Chinese goods, effective Sept. 1.The surprise move comes after trade talks in Shanghai ended with little progress being made.In a series of Tweets, Trump said the new tariffs would be in addition to the 25% tariffs on US$250 billion of imports already in place.He also said that China had not followed through on its offer to buy more agricultural product from the U.S.Our representatives have just returned from China where they had constructive talks having to do with a future Trade Deal. We thought we had a deal with China three months ago, but sadly, China decided to re-negotiate the deal prior to signing. More recently, China agreed to… Russia bans some Chinese fruit imports … …during the talks the U.S. will start, on September 1st, putting a small additional Tariff of 10% on the remaining 300 Billion Dollars of goods and products coming from China into our Country. This does not include the 250 Billion Dollars already Tariffed at 25%…— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 1, 2019 You might also be interested in August 01 , 2019 Chile scores access to Chinese pear market … “We thought we had a deal with China three months ago, but sadly, China decided to renegotiate the deal prior to signing,” Trump said.”More recently, China agreed to buy agricultural product from the U.S. in large quantities, but did not do so.”last_img read more

ACCFlight Centre

first_imgACCFlight Centre The ACCC has won its High Court battle with Flight Centre and today the case was ordered to return to the Federal Court to determine the penalties.Flight Centre was accused of breaching competition laws over international airfares between 2005 and 2009.The company was fined $11 million after an initial finding in the Federal Court, but that was overturned on appeal.last_img

The Travel Industry Exhibition

first_imgThe Travel Industry Exhibition She spent 19 years as presidential aide to Nelson Mandela and now Zelda la Grange will be sharing her experiences with visitors at this year’s The Travel Industry Exhibition & Conference, in Sydney on 19-20 July @ Crystal Palace Luna Park, and in Melbourne on 25-26 July @ the MCEC, as headline speaker for both cities.Zelda served Mandela for 19 years in different capacities until his death on 5 December 2013, and in 2014 she published her memoirs, entitled Good Morning, Mr Mandela. She will share anecdotes and reminiscences at the 2017 TIE in both cities.Born in Apartheid South Africa, Zelda started her career in 1992. She was soon promoted to become one of the three private secretaries in President Mandela’s personal staff, and the President himself requested that she remain in his services beyond retirement.In 2016, Maven Pictures obtained the rights for the movie adaptation of her book.Tickets for the 2017 TIE will be on sale soon with conference program to be announced later this week.last_img read more

Nevada officials reach out to Dbacks on potential

first_img Nevada officials reach out to D-backs on potential relocation What an MLB source said about the D-backs’ trade haul for Greinke There’s one former Arizona Cardinal turned NFL Network analyst who thinks Marc Bulger is the perfect fit as the team’s new quarterback. It’s not who you’d think though.Jamie Dukes, an offensive lineman who played for the Cardinals in 1995, said on the NFL Network Monday he thinks that Bulger gives the best chance to win similar to the way his co-worker, Kurt Warner, did when he arrived in Arizona. Top Stories D-backs president Derrick Hall: Franchise ‘still focused on Arizona’center_img Cardinals expect improving Murphy to contribute right away Comments   Share   “The team with the most glaring need, and is the most playoff ready, is the Cardinals,” said Dukes. “The guy who I think best suits what they want to do is Bulger. He’s a guy who can spin the ball and get the ball down the field. That’s what they’re looking for. Larry Fitzgerald wants a veteran guy who can come in there … and just try to catch lightning in a bottle, again, with an older quarterback.” It’s quite impressive how every analyst and pundit seems to think they know exactly what Fitzgerald thinks, needs and wants. While the thought of Bulger makes sense, there are a lot of question marks about his game. Most of which play off the same theme of ‘Can he still play football?’.Until Fitzgerald comes out and directly tells the media what he wants and how he’d like to see the Cardinals accomplish it, everything is pure speculation.The only certain thing is that most ‘experts’ feel keeping the star wide receiver happy is most important when deciding who the team’s next quarterback will be. Regardless of who you want to see under center next year for the Cardinals, that’s a sentiment we can all agree on.last_img read more