Volcanic Ash crisis now greater than 911″

first_imgSource = e-Travel Blackboard: C.F <a href=”http://www.etbtravelnews.global/click/2ab40/” target=”_blank”><img src=”http://adsvr.travelads.biz/www/delivery/avw.php?zoneid=10&amp;cb=INSERT_RANDOM_NUMBER_HERE&amp;n=a5c63036″ border=”0″ alt=””></a> The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has criticised European governments for their handling of the volcanic ash crisis. “This volcano has crippled the aviation sector, first in Europe, and is now having worldwide implications. “The scale of the economic impact is now greater than 9/11, when US airspace was closed for three days,” said Giovanni Bisignani, head of IATA.”We must move away from this blanket closure and find ways to flexibly open air space, step by step,” he told a news briefing in Paris. “Risk assessment should be able to help us reopen certain corridors, if not the entire airspace.”We are far enough into this crisis to express our dissatisfaction at how governments have managed the crisis…It took five days to organise a conference call with the ministers of transport.”Mr Bisignani said: “This is a European embarrassment and it’s a European mess”.Mixed Results from Test Flights  Desperate to take to the skies once again and recoup heavy losses, many European airlines – including Air France and Lufthansa – have conducted test flights without apparent problems from the ash cloud. However, safety concerns were renewed when a senior US official confirmed that build-up of glass was found in the engine of a Nato fighter plane which flew through the cloud. Airline Aid The unprecedented airspace shutdown, which has now entered its sixth day, has cost the aviation industry over 200 million dollars per day. The European Union said it was ready to authorise the same exceptional public aid that it had allowed for airlines in the wake of the September 11 attacks to prevent financial disaster. The post-9/11 rules allowed for “state aid given because of exceptional events,” EU Competition Commissioner Joaquin Almunia said. Travellers finally come homeAirports in northern England, Scotland, Northern Ireland, Belgium, France and Germany are slowly grinding back into action and will allow planes back into the air from this afternoon.This morning three flights left Amsterdam airport bound for Shanghai, Dubai and New York and German flag carrier Lufthansa said it was “immediately” resuming flights on its long-haul routes after special permission from German authorities.Scottish airspace re-opened at 7am, followed by Manchester Airport at 9am, the Midlands around midday and airports in the South from 6pm.Three Royal Navy ships in Britain have also been sent to help transport holidaymakers home from France and Spain. British Airways have also confirmed that they will be resuming a select number of flights to and from London from 7pm.That means some of the estimated 150,000 Brits stranded abroad could finally start to make their way home.But travel experts warned most airports would only operate a skeleton service and a “controlled re-opening.”QantasQantas has extended its European flight cancellations into at least midday tomorrow and warned travel would remain difficult due to a backlog of flights. The airline said that it would waive refund penalties for tickets issues prior to 17 April 2010.It is estimated that one million passengers have been grounded globally, with 12,500 Qantas passengers stranded in various locations around the world. ConTgo’s SMS services ConTgo has seen unprecedented usage of its Mobile Travel Assistant (MTA) as a result of the flight chaos caused by the ongoing volcanic eruption in Iceland.A record 35,000 messages were delivered last Friday, while more than 65,000 messages have been delivered during the last three days compared to the daily average of about 5,000 messages. “Travel companies who provide the Mobile Travel Assistant to their travellers have been able to reduce some of the pressure caused by the sheer number of phone, internet and email enquiries they have received as a result of tens of thousands of flight cancellations,” said CEO Johnny Thorsen. last_img read more

Win 300 Hotel room nights sweepstake

first_imgQueenstown is giving away 300 hotel nights in September and October as operators encourage visitors to the Rugby World Cup (RWC 2011) to also attach a side trip to Queenstown.Although the city will not be hosting any games, Destination Queenstown is running a week-long spring sweepstake to give potential visitors the chance to win 300 free hotel room nights. Destination Queenstown chief executive Tony Everitt said the promotion is a good opportunity for international visitors to ‘bag a bonus’ for their big trip and relax in Queenstown during Spring whilst New Zealanders will can enjoy a great value getaway.“We’re aware that some people might be putting off a trip because they think accommodation may be expensive or hard to find.  In fact here in Queenstown there’s still very good availability in our hotels and across all accommodation types and price ranges, from budget to five-star, during September and October,” Mr Everitt said. Destination Queenstown encourages anyone from around the world to enter the sweepstake which will open on the 01 August until the 08 August 2011, all accommodation prizes are being contributed by 19 local members of the New Zealand Hotel Council.Each winner will receive two consecutive nights for two people at their respective hotel, therefore 150 lucky winners and their partner will have the opportunity to experience Queenstown’s warm hospitality.Full details on the spring sweepstake are available on the Destination Queenstown website and Air New Zealand’s Twitter followers and Facebook pages. Queenstown Source = e-Travel Blackboard: S.Plast_img read more

Brits going for gold in Greece vs Games

first_imgSource = e-Travel Blackboard: K.W Despite British Airways advertising to keep holidaymakers on British soil during the London Olympics, Brits are keen to swap their local streets for a spot of sunshine on beaches abroad.Experiencing a surge in holiday bookings to sunny locations, Greece in particular, online travel agent, On the Beach, suggested Brits are using the period as the perfect time to escape the London Olympics and go back to where the Games began.According to the site, the Greek Islands proved popular across a diverse range of travellers from couples to families, offering more than just the beaches, with mythology surrounding the origins of the Olympic Games.On the Beach marketing director Alistair Daly said he expects many British holidaymakers to head to Greece this summer despite the country’s tough few months.“The diverse and varied choices of islands are home to some of the best beaches, hottest nightlife and serene, luxurious retreats,” Mr Daly commented.Not missing out on the essence of the Games, Mr Daly suggested Brits can learn about the heritage of the games with the added bonus of “sipping a cool margarita whilst soaking in the Med heat and sporting a glowing tan”.last_img read more

Wendu Wu adds extra Yangtze cruises in 2013

first_imgCatering to growing demand, Wendy Wu Tours has announced additional river cruises in its 2013 brochure, with particular focus on cruising along the Yangtze River.Unveiled this week, the company’s general manager, Alan Alcock said 2013 additions follow” requests” from previous passengers and were designed to offer travellers tours through China in five star style and comfort.“Due to the popularity of our Deluxe China Holiday group tours in our China 2013 brochure, we knew there was a potential market that we could tap into with cruise passengers looking for a deluxe product,” Mr Alcock explained.”Our deluxe range still focuses on making the planning process easy for passengers, with all flights, transfers, touring, guides, visas for Australian passport holders and tipping included, however with the added flexibility at dinner time and deluxe hotels.”Cruising itineraries range from four to eight nights and will operate in smaller group sizes.Passengers will also have the option to upgrade deck and cabin type on the ships as well as the choice to upgrade to premium economy on tours flying with Cathay Pacific. New itineraries designed to offer travellers tours through China in five start style and comfort. Source = e-Travel Blackboard: N.Jlast_img read more

The worlds most affordable city is…

first_imgTripAdvisor breaks down the cheapest and most expensive cities. Australians seeking the most affordable evening out abroad, need look no further than the Bulgarian capital of Sofia, according to new research.TripAdvisor’s TripIndex Cities 2013 released its third annual cost comparison findings for an evening out and overnight stay for two in key tourist cities around the world.An evening of cocktails, a two-course dinner with a bottle of wine, one night’s stay in a four-star hotel and a return taxi trip will cost you AU$153.21 in Sofia, Bulgaria.Oslo, Norway ranked as the most expensive city, with costs totalling AU$561.26.Europe features heavily throughout the most expensive city list, claiming six of the ten top spots, while Asia comprises four of the least expensive.Hanoi, Bangkok, Kuala Lumpur, Warsaw and Cape Town are some of the cheaper options, while New York, London, Cancun, Stockholm and Paris are the most extravagant financially.“The list shows that Asia is the most affordable continent, while Europe is the most expensive, but some European cities – like Sofia, Warsaw and Budapest – are bucking this trend,” TripAdvisor spokesperson Jean Ow-Yeong said. “Sydney is ranked as the sixth most expensive of these worldwide cities this year, compared to its ninth position in 2012.”Source = e-Travel Blackboard: P.T.last_img read more

Sutera Harbour Resort appeals to Australian MICE market

first_imgThe Magellan Sutera Resort has a Grand Ballroom, 10 multi-purpose/multi-sized meeting rooms and a conveniently-located Rose Garden for outdoor functions. Sutera Harbour Resort Malaysia is focusing on Australia’s Meetings Incentive Conferences and Events (MICE) market, aiming to provide corporate travellers with more than just a fly and flop destination. The Malaysian lifestyle resort is located just outside Kota Kinabalu in the northern state of Sabah, Borneo and encompasses a high-rise hotel complex (Pacific Sutera Hotel) and marina-adjacent accommodation (Magellan Sutera Resort). “The resort is currently undergoing refurbishment, yet given the size of the fully-integrated complex and the way in which the works are being conducted, guests will rarely be disturbed by the construction,” 4 Corners Travel director Richard Skewes said. Sutera Harbour Resort has yielding relationship with Tourism Malaysia in promoting the destination. Sutera Harbour Resort also own Sutera Sanctuary Lodges on Mount Kinabalu and The Manukan Island Resort, offering tranquil and eco-friendly options for MICE and accommodation. With facilities including a 27-hole Golf & Country Club, 15 restaurants and bars, 28 meeting rooms and large auditoriums, Sutera Harbour Resort aims to capture the attention of Australia’s growing MICE market.   Source = ETB News: P.T. Catering for corporate travellers, the Pacific Sutera Hotel has a split-option ballroom, 10 multi-purpose/multi-sized meeting rooms and a sprawling outdoor lobby area with Hibiscus Garden. “Sutera offers Australian corporate travellers a creative meetings experience; pairing luxury with the wilds of Borneo’s incredible landscape, vistas and unique exploration opportunities.” “The resort is located in such an accessible area, however, the area is still relatively untouched in terms of tourism – providing travellers a real place to explore,” Tourism Malaysia marketing manager Peter Power said. The resort also runs the North Borneo Railway; with a capacity for 180 passengers, the attraction is tailor-made for theme events hosted by the five-star tourism complex. “Sutera offers Australian corporate travellers a creative meetings experience.”last_img read more

Cruise Industry maintains global growth

first_imgSource = ETB News: Jessica Handyside The Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) released a new report showing a 77 per cent increase in the demand for cruising around the world over the past decade. Passenger numbers rose from 12 million to 21.3 million.For the first time, the global cruise industry expenditure produced AUD $117 billion in total contributions, generating the employment of more than 890,000 full-time equivalent employees with total wages of over AUD $38 billion.“The cruise industry is truly global, bringing together a diverse mix of international passengers and crew to experience exciting itineraries, multiple destinations, and exceptional holiday value on every continent,” CLIA president and chief executive officer Christine Duffy said.“With so many fun and great value options, it’s not surprising that the popularity of cruise holidays continues to grow. This inaugural study shows that the cruise industry’s growth is also generating increased jobs, income, and revenue in all regions of the world.”According to the report, the Asia Pacific region accounted for 10 per cent of the cruise industry’s global activity (13.5 million bed days), with Australia being the source of almost half of this total (6.6 million bed days) in 2013.CLIA Australasia General Manager Brett Jardine said the new report offered a great summary of the size and value of the cruise industry worldwide as well as additional information on Australia’s contribution.“The figures published today underline that Australia is an integral part of the global cruise industry,” Mr Jardine said.“While we already know that 833,348 Australians cruised worldwide in 2013, this new global report gives us another piece of the picture by showing us that our region is a sought after cruise destination for passengers from all over the world.”The report, carried out independently, is the first to present an overview of the global economic impact of the cruise industry. Commissioned by CLIA from Business Research and Economic Advisers (BREA), The Global Economic Contribution of Cruise Tourism 2013 highlighted the following:21.31 million cruise passengers embarked from ports around the world55 per cent of global passengers originated from North America (11.82 million, with 10.92 million from the United States30 per cent of passengers were sourced from Europe (6.4 million), with 1.73 million from the UK and Ireland, and 1.69 million from GermanySubstantial passenger numbers were also accounted for in Australia (833,000), Brazil (732,000), and China (727,000)The average length of a cruise was seven days, with three or four port callsThe cruise industry generated nearly 115 million passenger and crew visit days at ports around the globe; cruise ship passengers and crew spent an average of AUD $126.93 each port day.CLIA Australasia is due to release a separate report on the economic value of cruising in Australia in the coming weeks.last_img read more

Brisbane CBD to welcome another Mantra hotel

first_imgBrisbane CBD to welcome another Mantra hotelMantra Group has further increased its footprint on the Brisbane market having acquired the Management and Letting Rights for the M on Mary apartment hotel.The property will rebrand as Mantra on Mary on 1 November 2015 and become Mantra Group’s eighth property in Brisbane and its largest with 367 generously sized one and three bedroom apartments.“This opportunity allowed us to substantially increase our room numbers in Brisbane and complement our existing network,” said Michael Moret-Lalli, Mantra Group Director of Acquisitions.“Underpinned by a buoyant construction industry and approved key infrastructure projects, Brisbane is in a strong position for future growth. This acquisition speaks to our confidence in the city’s future and the importance of securing well positioned product in market.”Well positioned on Mary Street, in central Brisbane, the 43-storey property was constructed in 2007 and offers well-appointed, four star apartments offer stunning river or city views with most apartments refurbished in the past 12 months.Facilities include outdoor pool, BBQ, gym, sauna, on-site parking, health spa and free Wi-Fi in lobby.Appealing to leisure and business markets, Mantra on Mary is conveniently located within walking distance of Queen St Mall, Botanic Gardens, Brisbane Convention & Exhibition Centre, Treasury Casino, and QPAC. Mantra GroupSource = Mantra Grouplast_img read more

Lufthansa Group Airlines welcome around 129 million passengers on boa

first_imgLufthansa Group Airlines welcome around 12.9 million passengers on boardLufthansa Group Airlines welcome around 12.9 million passengers on boardNumber of passengers up 11 percent year-on-yearCapacity utilization increases slightly by 0.4 percentage points to 79.4 percentStable currency-adjusted sales environmentOffer in Munich expanded by 11 percent year-on-year in May, Frankfurt by 1.8 percentIn May 2018, the airlines of the Lufthansa Group welcomed around 12.9 million passengers. This shows an increase of 11 percent compared to the previous year’s month. The available seat kilometers were up 7.8 percent over the previous year, at the same time, sales increased by 8,3 percent. The seat load factor increased by 0.4 percentage points compared to May 2017 to 79.4 percent.The currency-adjusted sales environment remained stable in May compared to the previous year.Cargo capacity increased 6.8 percent year-on-year, while cargo sales were up 0.4 percent in revenue tonne-kilometer terms. As a result, the Cargo load factor showed a corresponding reduction, decreasing four percentage points in the month to 63.7 percent.Network AirlinesThe Network Airlines Lufthansa German Airlines, SWISS and Austrian Airlines carried 9.3 million passengers in May, 7.8 percent more than in the prior-year period. Compared to the previous year, the available seat kilometers increased by 5.1 percent in May. The sales volume was up 4.8 percent over the same period, decreasing seat load factor by 0.2 percentage points to 79,2 percent.Lufthansa German Airlines transported 6.2 million passengers in May, a 6.4 percent increase compared to the same month last year. A 4.4 percent increase in seat kilometers in April corresponds to a 3.1 percent increase in sales. Furthermore, the seat load factor was 79.2 percent, therefore one percentage points below the prior-year’s level. Lufthansa has grown particularly at its Munich hub, where Lufthansa has expanded its offering by 11 per cent compared to the same month last year. At the Frankfurt hub, supply increased by only 1.8 percent in the same period. The number of passengers increased by 8.1 percent in Munich in May compared to May 2017, and by 5.2 percent in Frankfurt.Eurowings GroupThe Eurowings Group carries with the airlines Eurowings (including Germanwings) and Brussels Airlines carried around 3.4 million passengers in May. Among this total, 2.6 million passengers were on short-haul flights and 248,000 flew long-haul. This amounts to an increase of 20.1 percent in comparison to the previous year. May capacity was 21 percent above its prior-year level, while its sales volume was up 26.4 percent, resulting in a decreased seat load factor by 3.4 percentage points of 81.2 percent.On short-haul services the Airlines raised capacity 17.4 percent and increased sales volume by 27.2 percent, resulting in a 6.3 percentage points decrease in seat load factor of 82.7 percent, compared to May 2017. The seat load factor for the long-haul services decreased by 3.2 percentage points to 74.7 percent during the same period, following a 29.8 percent increase in capacity and a 24.5 percent rise in sales volume, compared to the previous year.Source = Lufthansa Grouplast_img read more

No more plastic straws on VOMO Island Fiji

first_imgNo more plastic straws on VOMO Island FijiNo more plastic straws on VOMO Island FijiEnjoy your cocktails at Vomo Island Fiji with a sip of eco friendly.Stylish designer bamboo-look paper straws are now served with VOMO Island‘s cocktails and environmentally nasty plastic straws are a thing of the past.VOMO Island strives to protect and preserve the environment and introducing paper straws is one positive step towards helping achieve this.VOMO Island is also a proud member of the Mamanuca Environment Society (MES), an organisation founded in 2001 to protect the pristine marine environment of the Mamanuca Islands in Fiji.To support this initiative guests are asked to donate FJD$5 per stay.VOMO Island Fiji resort in the Mamanuca Islands is on its own private island just 15 minutes north of Nadi International Airport by seaplane or helicopter.VOMO promises to become your personal paradise the moment you arrive.Luxuriously appointed beachfront villas sit amongst the lush tropical gardens. Enjoy world-class cuisine, golf, scuba, snorkelling – VOMO is everything you want it to be, plus a little bit more. Source = VOMO Islandlast_img read more

Vietnam Tourism promotes heritage tourism in India

first_imgIndia now has become a very big outbound tourist market, while Vietnam has become a very attractive tourist destination. In order to increase the flow of Indian tourists to Vietnam, Vietnam Embassy in coordination with Vietnam National Administration of Tourism and Vietnamese tourist companies are intensifying promotional activities in India. The Embassy is also committed to make the visa application easiest, fastest and most convenient for the Indian tourists.At a recent event held in New Delhi, a delegation of 15 leading Vietnamese travel agents showcased travel products of their country to the Indian audience. Headed by the Vice-Chairman of the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism, the Vietnam Tourism pavilion was themed ‘Viet Nam – Land of Heritage’.This promotion event was motivated by the huge potentials for tourism cooperation between the two countries. The two countries had long historical cultural links and are now expanding bilateral strategic partnership, thus creating very favourable conditions for tourist exchanges. Over the last three years, the number of Indian tourists to Vietnam increased more than 300% from 18,000 in 2011 to 55,000 in 2014.last_img read more

Indias biggest travel show network TTF 2018 series kicksoff from Chennai

first_imgFacilitating the travel trade to meet and market their travel products, TTF, the biggest travel show network in India for 29 years, is all set to provide the right opportunity for the travel industry from across India to connect and conduct business under one roof at Chennai.Inaugurated at the Chennai Trade Centre, the 3-day TTF Chennai 2018 edition promises strong participation of close to 150 exhibitors from 8 countries and 21 Indian states and union territories.The dignitaries present at the inaugural included Shreevats Sanjay, Deputy Director General / Regional Director (South) India Tourism Chennai, Ministry of Tourism, Govt. of India,  Ashok Kumar Singh, IAS, Director-Tourism, Government of Bihar and Rob Peck, Director of Client Services at O3M Directional Marketing (Google Premier Partner).More than 700 trade visitors have pre-registered for TTF Chennai. Over 10,000 trade visitors and end travellers are expected to walk-in at this edition.The domestic tourism sector continues to extend strong support to TTF as the most effective and countrywide platform for marketing and promotion of travel and tourism.  The show has official participation from the State Tourism Boards of Andaman & Nicobar, Bihar, Delhi, Goa, Gujarat, Himachal Pradesh, Jharkhand, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and Uttar Pradesh.Many other Indian states and union territories such as Haryana, Jammu & Kashmir, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Odisha, Puducherry, Punjab, Rajasthan, Telangana and West Bengal are represented through travel suppliers.Nepal has a big presence as the Partner Country with a number of private stakeholders, to showcase the country’s diverse tourism offerings to the trade visitors. Other countries such as China, Dubai, Iran, Maldives, Singapore and Thailand are represented through Destination Management Companies (DMCs), travel operators and hotel brands.Google Premier Partner – O3M Directional Marketing has also joined hands with TTF Chennai to conduct a session on “How digital is shaping the travel industry.” The workshop was be conducted by Rob Peck, Director of Client Services at O3M Directional Marketing (Google Premier Partner) on the first day.Rob will highlight how digital and mobile has changed the traveller’s buying journey, types of digital campaigns which are currently generating results for travel players and online tools that can enable digital marketing success.The travel trade can also gain from insights on how digital can assist in scaling up business and enhance visibility to digital consumers at the key moments of their purchase decision. O3M Google AdWords Analysts will also be sharing personalised tips with attendees based on their unique businesses.Placing their best foot forward with a good presence are exhibitors like Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC), Showcase Munnar Association For Responsible Tourism, JMD Heritage Lawns (Sadda Pind), Southern Travels, Vythiri Village, The Tamara Coorg, The Royal Adventure Ladakh, Yeti Airlines Domestic, etc.TTF Chennai provides a platform for the travel trade from the Chennai city and the state of Tamil Nadu as a whole, to network and do business with national and international travel and tourism organisations. It also facilitates an opportunity for travel enthusiasts and holidayers to check out the best destination options and deals in tour packages, hotels etc., and book on-the-spot for their next holiday.TTF Chennai is supported by travel industry bodies like Travel Agents Association of India (TAAI), Outbound Tour Operators Association of India (OTOAI), Adventure Tour Operators Association of India (ATOAI), Association of Domestic Tour Operators of India (ADTOI), Indian Association of Tour Operators’ (IATO), IATA Agents Association of India (IAAI), SKAL International and Enterprising Travel Agents Association (ETAA). Travel News Digest is the Official Publication of the event.Post TTF Chennai, the 2018 series will be followed by TTF Bengaluru from February 23-25, TTF Kolkata from July 6-8 and Hyderabad from July 13-14 respectively. The series will conclude with West India editions of TTF covering Ahmedabad (September 7-9), Surat (September 14-16), Pune (September 28-30) and Mumbai (October 5-7) in 2018.Fairfest Media Limited, the organiser of TTF, OTM and BLTM branded travel shows has strengthened its unparalleled lead as India’s No. 1 Travel Show Organiser, with about half the market share.While OTM is the largest travel show in the Asia-Pacific region; BLTM stands out as a one-of-its-kind travel show specialising in Business, MICE and Luxury travel segments.For more information on TTF visit – http://www.ttfotm.com/last_img read more

IndiGo announces new appointments

first_imgIndiGo announced the appointment of Rahul Bhatia as its interim Chief Executive Officer and Gregory Taylor as Senior Advisor to the Company reporting directly to Bhatia. Bhatia will continue as the Director of the Company. The airline also announced the resignation of Aditya Ghosh from the post of President of IndiGo effective July 31, 2018, and as a Director of the Company with effect from April 26, 2018.In the coming months, the Board will consider the appointment of Greg as President and CEO of the Company, subject to receiving the necessary regulatory approvals and paperwork.Gregory Taylor has more than 40 years of experience in large, world-class airlines. During 2016 and 2017, Greg was the Executive Vice President of Revenue Management and Network Planning at IndiGo. Prior to that, he held various senior management roles at United Airlines and US Airways in the areas of Corporate Planning, Strategy, Network Planning, Fleet Planning, Finance, Cost Management and Airline Express Operations. Greg holds an MBA from the University of Chicago.Bhatia, welcoming Taylor, said, “We are delighted at Greg’s decision to rejoin the IndiGo team. His enormous and varied experience and understanding of the complexities of the airline industry will be invaluable to our future plans. At the same time, we thank Ghosh for all his hard work and contributions and for the successes that the Company has enjoyed.”Ghosh stated, “For the last ten years, it has been a relentless, exhilarating and a most satisfying task building IndiGo. I wish all my colleagues at IndiGo the very best as they move on to the next phase of growth.”last_img read more

Wingspan Portfolio Advisors Named Servicer of the Year

first_img Dallas-based diversified servicing company “”Wingspan Portfolio Advisors””:http://www.wingspanportfolioadvisors.com/ was named the 2012 recipient of the “”Servicer of the Year”” award by _Mortgage Technology Magazine_, the firm announced.[IMAGE]Wingspan received its trophy at the Mortgage Technology yearly event on the opening day of the “”MBA””:http://www.wingspanportfolioadvisors.com/ Annual Convention & Expo. [COLUMN_BREAK]The award “”recognizes a servicer using technology to optimize management of performing and/or distressed mortgage portfolios and ensures efficient communication with borrowers, investors and the mortgage servicing support industry.”” The company previously received the same honor in 2009.””Our team has worked hard to bring new techniques and exemplary results for our clients and their borrowers, and technology has been an integral part of our success,”” said Wingspan CEO and president Steven Horne. “”Chief Information Officer E.J. Kite and his team of professionals have put together the means of delivering key information where it is most needed for high performance results. It has made a tremendous difference.””When you combine great processes with great technology, good things happen,”” Horne continued. “”We are most grateful to be recognized with this prestigious award.””””Technology plays a key role as the importance of special and component servicers continues to grow,”” said COO Ed Delgado. “”Circumstances have created a need for strategic servicing partners with Wingspan’s dynamic, high tough capabilities, and technology is an essential ingredient in our winning formula.”” Wingspan Portfolio Advisors Named ‘Servicer of the Year’ in Technology Agents & Brokers Attorneys & Title Companies Company News Investors Lenders & Servicers Service Providers 2012-10-22 Tory Barringercenter_img October 22, 2012 416 Views Sharelast_img read more

As August Inventory Sinks Demand Remains Strong

first_img Late-summer housing market trends point to an “unusual twist” in sales activity for the fall, national brokerage Redfin said Wednesday in its latest Real-Time Housing Market Tracker.Examining August activity in more than 30 markets nationwide, the company reported a 1.4 percent month-over-month dip in home sale prices to a median $281,000, reflecting a gain of just 5.1 percent over last year. Meanwhile, home sales weakened to 134,143, down 5.1 percent from July and 8.3 percent from August 2013.More interesting, Redfin said, was the shift in supply and demand dynamics: Even as new listings plunged 9.3 percent—nearly triple the average July-to-August decline—numbers of customers touring homes and making offers rose, demonstrating buyers aren’t backing off.At the same time, fewer homes are being sold above their list price (2 percent less than July and 7 percent less than a year ago), meaning that same group of buyers is willing to take a slow approach in a market where high demand would normally drive up prices.”Our take is that the seemingly incongruous August numbers reflect the mindsets of buyers and sellers,” said Redfin Chief Economist Nela Richardson. “Buyers want to buy, but they’re patient, and more careful not to overpay. At the same time, sellers are adjusting to having less power, which seems to have put a damper on some listing their homes.”With the groundwork of strong demand and short supply in place, Richardson said the company expects a fall selling season marked by slower price growth and stronger sales than last year.”A surprising drop in newly listed homes combined with strong homebuyer demand could suggest that home prices will spike upward this fall as they did much of last year. Not so,” she said. “We actually expect prices to continue to soften in the next few months as investors and all-cash buyers continue to retreat from the market.” September 24, 2014 483 Views Demand Home Prices Home Sales Housing Supply Redfin 2014-09-24 Tory Barringer in Daily Dose, Data, Headlines, Newscenter_img As August Inventory Sinks, Demand Remains Strong Sharelast_img read more

Economists Brighten Up on Labor Housing

first_img A survey conducted among economists by the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia on economic growth in the United States released on Friday revealed that predictions have been revised upward for the labor market—which means good news for the economy and for housing recovery.The Philadelphia Fed surveyed 39 economic forecasters, and though their predictions regarding GDP and overall economic growth were little changed from the same survey conducted three months earlier, the forecasts for job gains and labor markets were much improved.”It’s got to be positive for housing, because all your consumer numbers are going in the same direction,” said John Silvia, managing director and chief economist with Wells Fargo, who was one of the 39 panelists to participate in the survey. “With more jobs, higher wages, and income growth, you always see an increase in consumer confidence.”The panelists predicted an annual growth rate for the GDP of 2.7 this quarter, 3.0 for the next quarter, and 3.2 percent for 2015 on an annual-average over annual-average basis (0.2 percentage points higher than the previous estimate). Real GDP is expected to grow at an annualized rate of 2.9 percent in 2016 and 2.7 percent in both 2017 and 2018.The projections for the national unemployment rate for this year and the next two years were below those reported last survey—the panelists predicted this year it will be an annual average of 5.4 percent and will tick downward for the next three years. It is predicted to be below 5.0 percent (4.9 percent) in 2017.The original estimates for job gains for the next four quarters were revised upward from the survey of three months earlier, however. The panelists said they expected jobs to grow at a rate of 269,300 jobs per month this quarter. Though job gains are predicted to be somewhat less for the next three quarters, they are still forecasted to be above 200,000 per month. Forecasters predict an average monthly job gain of 252,500 for this year and 213,600 for 2016.”If you’re going to get 200,000 jobs per month, you’re probably going to get 2.5 to 3 percent GDP,” Silvia said. “That’s pretty much trend economic growth.”The predictions for the declining unemployment rate for the next three years in the Philadelphia Fed survey came despite a recent announcement from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) that the national unemployment rate actually increased slightly from December to January (5.6 percent to 5.7 percent) despite a solid job gain of 257,000 for January. In reaction to that report, Fannie Mae chief economist Doug Duncan said he believed that “stronger hiring and firming income growth will be the primary catalysts for a faster pace of housing recovery in 2015.”Analysts believe that the economy has recovered enough for the Federal Reserve to begin raising interest rates—but they do not believe it will happen overnight. Fed officials have stated they are not in a hurry to raise the rates.”They won’t be very aggressive,” Silvia said. “They might raise the rates 50 basis points this year and 50 to 75 points next year.” in Daily Dose, Data, Featured, News Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia Forecast 2015-02-16 Seth Welborn Economists Brighten Up on Labor, Housingcenter_img February 16, 2015 497 Views Sharelast_img read more

Stewart to Offer Title Agencies Additional Compliance Safeguard

first_img Stewart Title Guaranty’s operations group, which supports the company’s growing network of independent title agencies, has announced in a press release that Deloitte & Touche LLP (Deloitte & Touche) will now offer its compliance attestation to Stewart’s independent title and settlement agents.Deloitte & Touche will be able to perform an examination on the independent title agency’s management assertion on their compliance with the American Land Title Association (ALTA) best practices guidelines, according to the release. Deloitte & Touche’s examination procedures are based on American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) attestation standards leveraging ALTA’s best practices guidelines.The ALTA best practices guidelines were developed to assist lenders in satisfying their responsibility to manage third-party vendors pursuant to new standards established by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), and to use as a benchmark for the real estate settlement and mortgage lending industries to help highlight policies and procedures within the industry. The goal of these guidelines is to protect lenders and consumers, while maintaining a positive and compliant real estate settlement experience.“We hold our network to the highest standards and put each title agency and attorney agent through a rigorous vetting process before they’re welcomed into our network,” said Pat Beall, Stewart Agency Operations group president. “By having the optional ALTA Best Practices Compliance Attestation as part of our process, Stewart further validates the high-quality standards of our network, which lenders and consumers will find of value.”As a part of Stewart’s Trusted Provider program, an agency or attorney agent must pass an intensive initial due-diligence screening, conduct business according to Stewart’s stringent Trusted Provider Standards, and undergo strict ongoing monitoring, the company said. Stewart to Offer Title Agencies Additional Compliance Safeguard American Land Title Association Compliance Safeguard Deloitte & Touche LLP Stewart Title Guaranty Company 2015-06-15 Staff Writer June 15, 2015 558 Views center_img Share in Headlines, News, Uncategorizedlast_img read more

Mortgage Interest Rates Fall in October With No Help From the Fed

first_img in Daily Dose, Data, Featured, Government, Market Studies, News Federal Housing Finance Agency Interest rates mortgage Zillow Mortgages 2015-11-24 Staff Writer November 24, 2015 478 Views Share “Mortgage rates remained fairly flat last week,” said Erin Lantz, VP of Mortgages at Zillow. “There is a risk of short-term volatility this holiday-shortened week due to lower than normal market participation and several important data releases.”But those within the mortgage industry and consumers should beware because these historically low mortgage rates may not last very much longer.The elusive interest rate hike that the mortgage industry has anticipated for quite some time may finally happen in December 2015.After convening in late October in their second-to-last meeting of the year, the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) placed yet another hold on the rate hike, leaving the federal funds rate at the current 0 to 1/4 percent target range.This decision left one question on everyone’s mind in the mortgage industry: When will the Fed raise rates? But the answer to this question may come next month, pending that economic data proves to be promising.Minutes from the FOMC’s October meeting showed that most of the members appear to be on-board for a December rate increase.”Most participants anticipated that, based on their assessment of the current economic situation and their outlook for economic activity, the labor market, and inflation, these conditions could well be met by the time of the next meeting,” the minutes explained.One of the key pieces of information that was presented in the FOMC’s minutes was the fact that members alluded to a rate hike at their “next meeting.””Members emphasized that this change was intended to convey the sense that, while no decision had been made, it may well become appropriate to initiate the normalization process at the next meeting, provided that unanticipated shocks do not adversely affect the economic outlook and that incoming data support the expectation that labor market conditions will continue to improve and that inflation will return to the Committee’s 2 percent objective over the medium term,” the minutes said. Mortgage Interest Rates Fall in October With No Help From the Fed The Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) announced Tuesday that interest rates on conventional purchase-money mortgages fell even further below 4 percent in October.According to the FHFA, the National Average Contract Mortgage Rate for the Purchase of Previously Occupied Homes by Combined Lenders Index reached 3.89 percent in October, down 4 basis points from 3.93 percent in September.For all mortgage loans, the average interest rate was 3.90 percent, down 5 basis points from 3.95 in September, the report showed. For conventional, 30-year, fixed-rate mortgages of $417,000 or less, the interest rate was 4.12 percent, compared to 4.17 in September.The FHFA found that the effective interest rate on all mortgage loans was 4.04 percent in October, down 6 basis points from September. Meanwhile, the average loan in October amounted to $308,600, up from $307,700 in September.National Average Contract Mortgage Rate for Previously Occupied HomesZillow Mortgages also reported a similar, but much lower trend, with the 30-year fixed mortgage rate ringing in at 3.75 percent as of Tuesday this week. This number is down four basis points from last Tuesday. Meanwhile, the 15-year fixed-rate is now 2.93 percent, and a 5-1 adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) rate is 2.92 percent.last_img read more

Prepare for Takeoff Mortgage Rates Set to Climb

first_img October 13, 2016 611 Views Fed Federal Funds Rate Freddie Mac Mortgage Rates 2016-10-13 Seth Welborn Share Prepare for Takeoff: Mortgage Rates Set to Climbcenter_img in Daily Dose, Data, Headlines, News In anticipation of possible action by the Fed on short-term interest rates before the end of the year, the already near-record low mortgage rates nudged up from the previous week, according to Freddie Mac’s Primary Mortgage Market Survey (PMMS) for the week ending October 13, 2016.The minutes from the Federal Open Market Committee’s September 21 meeting released earlier this week said that the decision not to raise rates in that meeting was a “close call” with three out of the 10 policymaking voters dissenting from the consensus not to raise rates. In those same minutes, the Fed cautioned that a rate hike would come “relatively soon.”“The current upward movement in (mortgage) rates is a reflection of financial markets globally expecting less quantitative easing from the European Central Bank and another hike by the Federal Reserve this December,” Realtor.com Chief Economist Jonathan Smoke said. “It is tough to predict exactly where rates will be in any given day, week, or month, but the general consensus from here is that we are likely to see a gradual movement upward.”And mortgage rates are likely to continue their gradual increase over the near term, according to Smoke: “We may see rates pull back again if the economic data point to differing views of monetary policy or strength, but the most likely outcome in the weeks and months ahead is moderately higher rates.”While the Fed generally watches the way the economy flows, in particular the labor market, in their determination to raise the short-term interest rates, there is another factor to consider: the presidential election, which will take place on November 8. If the election of the new president throws the economy into turmoil, the Fed may pull back from a rate hike in December.Still, the mortgage rates moved up this week, with the average 30-year fixed-rate mortgage climbing by five basis points up to 3.47 percent and the average 15-year FRM rising by four basis points up to 2.76. Both rates are down from 3.82 and 3.03 at this time last year, respectively, according to the PMMS. The record low for the 30-year FRM was 3.31 percent, set in November 2012.“This week the 10-year Treasury yield continued its climb as an increasing number of financial market participants foresee a December rate hike after a series of positive economic data releases,” Freddie Mac Chief Economist Sean Becketti said. “The 30-year fixed-rate mortgage moved up five basis points to 3.47 percent in this week’s survey, the first increase in one month. Even though we’ve seen economic activity pick up, consumer price inflation and implied inflation expectations remain below the Federal Reserve’s 2 percent target.”last_img read more

Some Markets Go from Hardest Hit to Healthiest

first_img Economy Home Price Appreciation Housing Demand 2017-01-06 Seth Welborn Some Markets Go from Hardest Hit to Healthiest in Daily Dose, Data, Featured, News Sharecenter_img Eight years has made all the difference in several single-family housing markets that were affected most by the recession. Many of those markets now rank among the nation’s healthiest in Ten-X’s Top Single-Family Housing Markets Report for the Winter.Florida, which featured many of the areas hardest hit by the crisis, took each of the top four spots on the list of the nation’s 50 largest single-family housing markets when ranked by Ten-X according to strong demand, home price appreciation, and economic and demographic growth. Orlando, Palm Beach County, Fort Lauderdale, and Tampa placed first through fourth, respectively, and Dallas, Texas, ranked fifth on the list. Florida ranked one more market in the top 10 with Jacksonville and No. 8.“While most of the cities at the top of the list share common traits like job growth, population growth and economic expansion, many of the cities showing the greatest potential were among those hardest hit during the Great Recession,” said Ten-X EVP Rick Sharga. “The top 20 cities in our report include many that were devastated during the foreclosure crisis—especially in states like Florida—and as home prices continue to recover, they still represent buying opportunities for homeowners and investors alike.”The only market out of the top five that experienced positive year-over-year sales growth was Orlando at 0.2 percent, though the declines in the remaining top four markets were slight . All of the top five experienced robust home price appreciation year-over-year, however; the lowest rate among the top five markets was 8.8 percent (Fort Lauderdale) and the highest was Palm Beach County (12.1 percent), according to Ten-X. The demand in Florida has been largely driven by improved economic and demographic trends, as was the case in Dallas. Another one of the hardest hit areas, Las Vegas, ranked ninth on the list primarily due to strong demand for single-family housing.“The U.S. economic expansion is continuing despite turbulence abroad,” said Ten-X Chief Economist Peter Muoio. “The labor market in particular remains a bright spot, adding an average of 180,000 jobs per month this year. U.S. home sales have bounced around at a high level throughout 2016 because of tight inventories, resulting in a zig-zag pattern of sales that has persisted. Nonetheless, solid job gains, low unemployment, budding wage growth and low mortgage rates are all contributing to elevated housing demand.”Click here to view the complete list of top 50 single-family housing markets as ranked by Ten-X. January 6, 2017 537 Views last_img read more