The Australian Federation of Travel Agents (AFTA) has launched a national roadshow to brief agents and the industry on the formation of the new accreditation scheme.Lead by AFTA chief executive Jayson Westbury and the Accreditation Scheme general manager Gary O’Riordan, the workshops aim to explore the draft criteria for the TCF replacement as well as provide attendees with an update on the implementation and timing.The dates for the Industry Consultation Workshops are as follows:Adelaide – 6 August, Canberra – 8 August, Brisbane – 12 August, Gold Coast – 13 August, Melbourne – 20 August, Hobart – 21 August, Sydney – 22 August, Darwin – 27 August and Perth – 29 August.Mr O’Riordan said the focus over the coming months was to ensure that there is communication and engagement with the industry so that “we end up with an accreditation scheme that delivers for the industry, as well as for consumers”.Source = ETB News: N.J.
Plans for Sydney’s International Convention Centre (ICC) twin towers have been scaled down to a single structure by construction company, Lend Lease. Lend Lease has not yet announced a buyer and operator for the hotel. The new development application outlines 31 levels of accommodation, with a five-level podium including a lobby, ballroom, bar, restaurant, gym and a top-level club louge for loyalty guests. Construction is due to begin at the close of 2014, with plans to open in late 2016. Initially a dual tower, 900-room hotel complex was to be built near to the new ICC, however, Lend Lease has lodged a development application for a 38 storey, 656-room single tower, The Australian reported. Community concerns of over-shadowing and obstruction of water views were said to be the primary reasons for the change in plans. Source = ETB News: P.T.
Six leading accommodation industry events will participate in Megameet 2014, a suite of co-located events for senior industry executives, investors, lenders, suppliers and professionals in Australia and New Zealand. • Hotels World Australia New Zealand – the pre-eminent event for CEOs and other industry leaders, with the highest level of decision-maker support for any event in the region. Last year, Hotels World attracted 400 delegates and over 50 sponsors, exhibitors and supporters; “In 2014, Megameet will again enable executives to efficiently and selectively participate in leading industry events over only a three day period, whilst also being able to meet up with peers and colleagues from other Megameet events in the same city, during the same week,” he said. “Our participating event goals are ‘Insight, Ideas and Networking’ and Megameet will deliver on those goals as no other events in the region can.” Held in Sydney over three days between 16 and 18 July 2014, the partnering events at Megameet 2014 will provide attendees with diverse insights into the state of the accommodation industry and its future direction, whilst also providing a unique ‘all industry’ networking opportunity. Source = Megameet 2014 Topics to be covered over the three days will range from investment and finance issues, through to development, ownership, technology, management and operational issues. Industry excellence will be recognised through the announcement of major awards and attention will also be directed towards future industry leaders. • Luxury Hotels World – another first-ever event for the region, designed to explore the exciting and rapidly evolving world of luxury accommodation and travel; • Future Leaders Forum – an inspiring event for up and coming, under 35 year old future industry leaders, that will provide career-related topics and unique access to industry leaders. • Tourism’ Accommodation’ Australia’ (NSW)’ Awards’ for’ Excellence’ 2014 – the most prestigious awards in the hospitality industry, honouring the achievement of excellence in accommodation, dining, entertainment, marketing, training, community service and talented employees; and the Megameet 2014 will comprise: • Hotels Investment World – a first ever event for the region, designed for accommodation industry owners, investors, operators and lenders, that will provide insight into the world of hotel investment in Australia & New Zealand; Bryon Merzeo, the founder of Future’ Leaders’ Forum’ added “Our event will again focus on the issues most important to identifying and developing future industry leaders, as well as providing a forum for them to meet during Megameet 2014, the industry’s pre-eminent executive gathering.” Commenting on the initiative, Carol Giuseppi, NSW Director of Tourism Accommodation Australia, said “TAA is again delighted to be involved with Megameet, the premier series of accommodation industry conferences. Positioning the TAA (NSW) Awards for Excellence under the Megameet umbrella will ensure that industry leaders have the opportunity to attend the most prestigious accommodation awards in this market and support excellence in product, staff and service delivery”. • Ted’s Conference – the region’s leading technology event for industry leaders, created by industry IT guru, Ted Horner; Ted Horner, Managing Director of EHorner & Associates said “Helping hoteliers to get a handle on where technology is headed and what is needed to stay ahead is the focus of Ted’s Conference, where CEO’s talk tech and we are delighted to again be part of Megameet.” The creator of Megameet 2014, Horwath HTL Australia CEO Mr John Smith said that it was a concept that provides busy senior executives with a practical means of knowledge sharing and networking.
The campaign comes as the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) shows increased domestic travel with a growth of 3.4 per cent in 2012 – 2013. STA Travel and Tourism Australia have united to inspire Aussies to put Australia on top of their dream travel list. Moreover, STA Travel and Tourism Australia have also teamed up with Virgin Australia to offer an AUD $100 travel voucher with any return domestic flights between 15 May and 31 December 2014. Bloggers and Instagrammers can use #wanderaustralia to spread the word and inspire Australians to share the beauty of their homeland. STA Travel’s marketing and e-commerce director, Natalie Placko Thornoton, says STA Travel expects the number of Australians exploring destinations closer to home will continue to grow in 2014. Using the View-Master concept, the STA Travel WanderAustralia website allows people to create their own WanderAustralia reel from a series of great Australian images recently captured by STA’s Insiders and ‘Best Job in the World’ winners, for their chance to win AUD $5,000 as well as other daily prizes.
Australian Luxury making the mark on International scaleTwo Australian luxury resorts have been nominated in one of the most prestigious industry awards, the Virtuoso Best of the Best awards, which recognise the world’s top properties and hoteliers across 100 countries.“Australian properties are really meeting the mark when it comes to offering exceptional quality and luxury, so it is no surprise these properties are stand outs in such a strong international field,” Virtuoso Asia Pacific Managing Director, Michael Londregan said today.“Australia’s strength as an international luxury destination is undeniable, we offer an unrivalled experience which ticks the boxes of what now defines ‘luxury travel’ – authenticity, natural experience, quality food and experiential engagements.“That two of our best luxury products have been chosen in a short list of 50 hotels, resorts and spas for a total of 5 major awards, is testament to Australia’s ability to meet the travel needs of the most discerning visitor.”Gaia Retreat & Spa on the NSW North Coast has been in nominated for ‘Best Spa’ category, while newly opened Lizard Island Resort on the Great Barrier Reef has been nominated in the ‘One to Watch’ category. Both properties will compete in a field of five and have been nominated from a list of more than 1000. “Words cannot express how thrilled we are to be a nominee for Virtuoso Best of The Best 2015, we feel incredibly blessed and honoured,” Gaia Retreat & Spa Directors, Olivia Newton-John & Gregg Cave said.“It is a true testimony to our wonderful team who come to work with heart, giving our guests the distinction of tailored personalised attention.”Executive Director Delaware North Parks & Resorts Australia, Greg Magi, was equally delighted to have their newly refurbished Lizard Island recognised as ‘One to Watch’ amongst the worlds best resorts.“We are thrilled that Lizard Island has been shortlisted as one of the world’s top luxury destinations. It recognises there truly is nowhere else like it, and confirms it is a key property to watch this year,” Mr Magi said.“Following a $50million renovation and refurbishment, Lizard Island is delighted to welcome guests from all over the world. We are confident Lizard Island’s new Saltwater Restaurant, Driftwood Bar and Wine Cellar, and fully refurbished suites will delight both new and returning visitors to the island.”Mr Londregan will join representatives from the two nominated resorts, along with more than 80 other Australian products and luxury travel advisors at the annual Virtuoso Travel Week event which will be held in Las Vegas’ Bellagio Resort and Casino in August.“Virtuoso Travel Week is a truly amazing event that brings together the best of the high end in luxury travel from across the globe for a number of industry forums including more than 400,000 face-to-face meetings, inspiring destination showcases and the final night’s Hotels & Resorts Dinner where the Best of the Best winners will be announced.”The 27th annual Virtuoso Travel Week will take place from 8-13 August and brings together thousands of member travel advisors who are industry leaders in creating luxury travel experiences, and the world’s best travel providers. See all the nominees hereSource = Virtuoso
Carnival FreedomCarnival Cruise Line took top honors in two categories in USA Today’s 10 Best Readers’ Choice Awards, earning accolades for “Best Cruise Line” and “Best Cruise Ship For Dining” (Carnival Breeze).The awards were based on nominations from a team of cruise industry experts and the winners were determined by an online vote by USA Today readers.Carnival earned “Best Cruise Line” honors for its affordable, high quality vacation experience that offers a variety of onboard features and facilities, from the exclusive Seuss at Sea program in partnership with Dr. Seuss Enterprises to luxurious spas and hilarious comedy shows at the Punchliner Comedy Club presented by George Lopez.Carnival Breeze was named “Best Cruise Ship For Dining” for its wide range of tantalizing culinary options, including Bonsai Sushi, the elegant Fahrenheit 555 steakhouse, the Cucina del Capitano family-style Italian restaurant, and hand-crafted burgers and fries at Guy’s Burger Joint developed in tandem with Food Network star Guy Fieri.“Receiving this recognition is a wonderful validation of all the hard work our shipboard and shoreside teams put into providing our guests with fun, memorable vacations, which, of course, includes offering an array of delicious dining choices that are considered a highlight of a Carnival cruise,” said Christine Duffy, Carnival’s president.“We would also like to thank our valued travel agent partners for their support in sharing the myriad benefits and exceptional value of cruise vacations with their clients,” she added. Carnival Cruise LineSource = Carnival Cruise Line
Southern Laos wins PATA CEO ChallengeSouthern Laos wins PATA CEO ChallengeSouthern Laos has won the PATA CEO Challenge Top Destination 2016 award. The prestigious award, presented by the Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA), recognises the region as a top emerging tourist destination displaying unique and diverse cultures and heritages.With a wealth of natural, cultural and historical attractions, Southern Laos is an ideal destination for tourists searching for an enchanting and stimulating place that offers something that can be found nowhere else. Whether enjoying the natural beauty of the maze of islands in Si Phan Don, leisurely floating down the Mekong River, trekking and zip-lining through dense jungle or exploring the UNESCO World Heritage temple complex of Vat Phou, Southern Laos delivers a tourist destination unlike any other. However, until very recently Southern Laos was relatively undiscovered by all but the most adventurous of tourists.Travel and hotel branding specialists QUO were hired to create a fresh destination brand that would reflect the region’s diversity, serenity, charm and relaxed approach to life. The result was the creation of a destination where tourists don’t just find a place but find life-changing new experiences.Source = PATA
PTMs Nicole Edgar, Rosa Frigel, Michelle Hohenberg, Michelle Smith, Ryan O’Connell (Rocky Mountaineer), Kerstin Rheinlander make the most of their last night in CanadaTravelManagers’ Global Rocky Mountaineer FamilThe Rocky Mountaineer is one of the world’s greatest rail journeys, so when Tourism Vancouver announced a sales incentive in which five personal travel managers (PTMs) would earn a place on an upcoming super famil, there was no shortage of willing participants.Kerstin Rheinlander was one of the PTMs who qualified for a spot on the famil, and says the trip confirmed her suspicion that Canada should be on everybody’s bucket list, explaining that there is something for everyone, from families to couples; seniors to adventure and thrill seekers.“For me, it’s definitely worth another visit,” she adds, “as I have yet to discover the food and craft beer scene and I’d love to spend more time in nature and exploring areas further off the beaten track.”TravelManagers’ PTMs rated the Sulfur Mountain gondola as one of the highlights of their Rocky Mountaineer famil (L-R): Michelle Smith, Kerstin Rheinlander, Rosa Frigel, Michelle Hohenberg and Nicole EdgarThe group began their Canadian journey with a full day to explore the highlights of Vancouver, starting with a virtual flyover experience that gives visitors a bird’s eye view of some of the country’s most spectacular landscapes. The experience with Flyover Canada with its state of the art technology was a highlight for many in the group, including Rheinlander, who says it was the best place to learn more about Canada.“The simulated flight over plains, mountains, valleys and rivers etc was spectacular, and the added effects of icy mist and water droplets made you feel like you were actually flying – it was just amazing.”Participants spent the rest of the day enjoying a sightseeing tour that took in the historic districts of Gastown, Yaletown and Chinatown, tranquil Stanley Park and the foodie heaven of Granville Island, before departing from Vancouver on the first leg of the Rocky Mountaineer journey the following morning.For Nicole Edgar, representative for Narre Warren South, VIC, one of the main benefits of taking part in the famil was the chance to experience both SilverLeaf and GoldLeaf service onboard the Rocky Mountaineer train, which she says has made it much easier to explain the differences to her clients.“Details like in-seat heating, dome carriage views and an outdoor viewing platform are all highlights of the GoldLeaf service,” she says, “but regardless of which class you choose, the onboard service was outstanding.”Edgar adds that the train was given an impressive fanfare and farewell when it left Vancouver: “there was a pianist playing a grand piano in the railway station, a bag-piper to provide a formal send-off, a farewell toast aboard the train and the Rocky Mountaineer ground staff lined up to see us off as the train rolled out of the station.”PTM Kerstin Rheinlander finds the Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise is impressive from any angleAfter spending the first night of the journey in Kamloops, the rail journey continued through the spectacular Rocky Mountain scenery to its final destination: Banff. From here, participants had to choose between visiting either the Columbia Icefield or the Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise, or they were free to spend the day exploring the town of Banff.Those who opted to explore Banff describe taking a gondola to the top of Sulfur Mountain, despite beginning the ride in fog.“Once we got above the cloud, we were treated by a winter wonderland, thanks to the ten centimetres of snow that fell overnight,” says Rheinlander. “Combined with a vivid blue sky, the views were just priceless.”The final leg of the famil’s itinerary saw them travel from Banff to Calgary by coach, with time to visit the famous Calgary Stampede Area, the city’s Chinatown district and enjoy a little shopping in its popular shopping area: Eau Claire Market.TravelManagers’ Executive General Manager, Michael Gazal, says the famil gave PTMs the chance to join 90 top agents from the USA, the UK, Ireland and Scandinavia in experiencing some of the highlights of a very popular destination for TravelManagers’ clients.“Being able to experience this journey first-hand is a great opportunity for our PTMs to find out for themselves what all the excitement is about,” he says. “It means that they are able to provide their clients with their personal recommendations, tips and favourite spots: from a fun club in which to try their hand at line dancing in Calgary to which side of the train offers the best views.”The seven-day, six-night famil concluded with a farewell dinner at the Fairmont Palliser Hotel, a historic landmark hotel in downtown Calgary, which the PTMs agreed was a fitting place to mark the end of a grand journey.For more information or to speak to someone confidentially about TravelManagers please contact Suzanne Laister on 1800 019 599.Source = TravelManagers
TripAdvisor recognises the best restaurants in AustraliaNew “Everyday Dining” award category added this year, with Opera Bar in Sydney named as top Everyday Dining restaurant and Friends Restaurant in Perth as top Fine Dining restaurantTripAdvisor, the world’s largest travel site, today announced the winners of its Travellers’ Choice® awards for Restaurants.This year, the awards recognise 10 Australian restaurants overall across the first-ever Everyday Dining category, classified by restaurants that provide great meals for any occasion, as well as the Fine Dining category.Award winners were determined using an algorithm that took into account the quantity and quality of reviews for restaurants around the world, gathered over a 12-month period.“It’s no secret that Australians love their food and this award celebrates the restaurants that consumers have rated as some of the best for their culinary experiences across the country,” said Janice Lee Fang, Communications Director for TripAdvisor in Asia Pacific. “Exceptional food, service and ambience are the hallmarks of our 2018 Travellers’ Choice restaurant winners and with the addition of a new ‘Everyday Dining’ award category, Australians can look forward to even wider list of great places to dine at for any occasion.”2018’s Best Australian RestaurantsTop 10 Restaurants for Everyday Dining1. Opera Bar – Sydney, New South WalesSituated right by the water’s edge, Opera Bar is famous for its panoramic views of the Sydney Opera House, Harbour Bridge, CBD and beautiful harbour. With a menu curated by renowned Chef Matt Moran, diners can watch chefs shuck fresh oysters at the Raw Bar, indulge in locally sourced cheeses and meats sliced to order in the Meet & Cheese Room, or simply choose a meal from their All-Day Menu. “This venue is a must-do, and naturally the place everybody would want to be for corporate lunches, Friday night drinks and weekend catch-ups,” noted a TripAdvisor diner.2. Grill Steak Seafood Restaurant – Melbourne, VictoriaIncorporating the best of Italian, Australian and other international cuisines, Grill Steak Seafood offers one of the most diverse and exciting menus on the iconic Hardware Lane in Melbourne CBD. “The steak was melt-in-the-mouth sensational,” one TripAdvisor diner reviewed, and on the seafood platter, another commented, “it was amazing, especially the oysters.”3. Macchiato Wood Fire Pizza & Coffee Roastery – Sydney, New South WalesOffering a new take on the Italian staple, Macchiato serves delectable pizzas with slow-rise crusts, a variety of innovative gourmet toppings along with perennial favourites, well as fortifying and creamy coffee, top-quality wines and beers. “Highly recommend a trip to Macchiato. Looks and smells great… Tastes even better,” raved a TripAdvisor diner.4. The Meat & Wine Co Circular Quay – Sydney, New South WalesLocated in the lobby of the iconic InterContinental Sydney at Macquarie Street, The Meat & Wine Co is a contemporary steakhouse with an interior design incorporating subtle African influences of rustic wooden walls, arched windows and stone features. “These people are the steak experts. I have enjoyed good steak in many places, but this was of another level… the steaks were perfectly cooked, full of flavour and so tender,” a TripAdvisor diner praised.5. George’s Paragon Seafood Restaurant Brisbane – Brisbane, QueenslandSituated at the Eagle Street Pier along the Brisbane River, George’s Paragon is a Mediterranean-styled restaurant acclaimed for its Seafood Paragon platter for one, barramundi, baby octopus, and its half-price lunch and dinner (from 5:30pm to 6:30pm). “Great seafood that’s always in large quantities no matter what the order. There is a large variety to the menu, so vegetarians and meat lovers are also well catered for,” noted a TripAdvisor diner.6. Chin Chin – Melbourne, VictoriaMore than just food, Chin Chin’s mission is to democratise dining by creating a social hub for guests. In addition to its highly raved Kingfish Sashimi, Caramelised Sticky Pork and Massaman Curry of Coconut Braised Beef, the restaurant also serves up a curated playlist by one of Australia’s most respected DJs, and exhibits artworks by established and emerging artists. “Had an enjoyable dinner here, loads of flavours, vibe and friendly service,” commented a TripAdvisor diner.7. Prawn Star – Cairns, QueenslandLocated at the picturesque Cairns Marlin Marina, Prawn Star offers fresh, “no frills” seafood off the trawler, from prawns to mud crabs and even seafood towers. A TripAdvisor diner noted, “Wonderful ambience, feels like a lesser-known gem and a fantastic value for money. Best seafood I’ve had in ages in a great location.”8. The Pantry Manly – Manly, New South WalesEnjoy the beautiful views of Manly Beach at The Pantry Manly, a European Brasserie style eatery with a menu offering of fresh, local and seasonal produce covering all meals in a day. Ranging from succulent meat dishes to freshly caught seafood, tapas and sharing plates, it is no wonder a TripAdvisor diner wrote, “The food itself is scrumptious with fresh ingredients and expertly prepared. A wonderful place to dine and read the paper on a Sunday morning, with a view designed to pamper.”9. Alfresco Italian Restaurant – Surfers Paradise, Gold Coast, QueenslandBoasting “amore” as its key ingredient, Alfresco Italian Restaurant is family-owned and serves up Italian classics. “The food has that home cooked feel and the Maître D keeps the place buzzing with positive, feel good vibes!” a TripAdvisor diner remarked. To top it off, the restaurant is also known for its excellent seafood on the Gold Coast.10. Blue Eye – Hobart, TasmaniaLocated on Hobart’s waterfront at the end of Salamanca Place, Blue Eye offers a great harbour view and specialises in fresh and tasty seafood, grilled and baked fish dishes, seafood platters, and fish and chips. “Amazing location, great seafood, great little set up in the restaurant. The menu offers quite a wide variety of dishes suitable for everyone,” a TripAdvisor diner reviewed.Top 10 Restaurants for Fine Dining1. Friends Restaurant – Perth, Western Australia2. Muse Restaurant – Pokolbin, Cessnock, New South Wales3. The Stunned Mullet – Port Macquarie, New South Wales4. fermentAsian – Tanunda, Barossa Valley, South Australia5. Circa 1876 Restaurant – Pokolbin, Cessnock, New South Wales6. Bacchus – Brisbane, Queensland7. Sails Beach Restaurant – Noosa, Sunshine Coast, Queensland8. Pee Wee’s at the Point – Darwin, Top End, Northern Territory9. Sono Japanese Restaurant – Brisbane, Queensland10. Locale – Noosa, Sunshine Coast, QueenslandTo view the full list of 2018 Travellers’ Choice award-winning restaurants, including the top restaurants in the world, visit: https://www.tripadvisor.com.au/TravellersChoice-Restaurants.Source = TripAdvisor
Source = Centara Hotels & Resorts Iconic Samui resort to benefit from major renewal projectIconic Samui resort to benefit from major renewal projectCentara Hotels & Resorts, Thailand’s leading hotel operator, announced it will completely upgrade and refurbish one of its most popular properties, Centara Grand Beach Resort Samui, starting this June. The classic resort on Chaweng Beach will retain its colonial-style charm but benefit from major improvements before re-opening in 2020.“Even a hotel with the fabled history of this one benefits from refreshed design and innovative additions,” said Centara CEO Thirayuth Chirathivat. “When you are one of Samui’s most famous properties, you don’t rest on your laurels. Delighting our guests requires creative thinking and continuous improvement.”The resort will stay open only until 1 June 2019, then close for the renovation work. Centara plans to redesign all rooms and suites, add luxury villas, and introduce exciting new dining concepts and services. The objective is to retain the unique, classic charm of the existing hotel, but transform it to a new level of luxury.Centara Grand Beach Resort Samui has been welcoming and delighting guests for 23 years, during which time it has witnessed the development of the surrounding town and island into one of Thailand’s most popular holiday destinations. Thanks to its prime location, first class Thai style hospitality and exceptional facilities, it has stood the test of time consistently winning a host of international awards and proving one of the true Grande Dame hotels of Samui.
In a bid to enter the lucrative Indian market, Israeli hospitality chain Dan Hotels begins its global journey from Bengaluru. “When we wanted to expand globally, we noticed that Bengaluru, as India’s Silicon Valley, has a lot in common with Israel, known as the Silicon Valley of West Asia. Bengaluru’s booming growth, which is faster than other Indian cities, attracted us to open our first hotel ‘The Den’ outside Israel in Bengaluru,” Dan Hotel’s Chief Executive Ronen Nissenbaum said.Dan Hotel was co-founded by brothers Yekutiel and Shmuel Federmann as a luxury hospitality chain in the year 1947 and has 14 properties across seven cities in Israel. With the launch of its first international property in Bengaluru, Dan becomes the first Israeli hospitality group to own a five-star luxury hotel in the subcontinent.“Our hotel chain is about creating luxury spaces, particularly for millennials. We wanted to see if our 70 years of success in Israel can be replicated in Bengaluru,” Nissenbaum said at the official opening of The Den in the garden city.
Agents & Brokers Attorneys & Title Companies Bureau of Economic Analysis Bureau of Labor Statistics Confidence Consumer spending GDP Investors Lenders & Servicers Mark Lieberman Personal income Processing Service Providers 2013-06-27 Mark Lieberman June 27, 2013 472 Views With a boost from the calendar, personal income rose 0.5 percent in May–faster than economists had forecast–while personal consumption went up an unsurprising 0.3 percent the “”Bureau of Economic Analysis””:http://bea.gov/newsreleases/national/pi/2013/pdf/pi0513.pdf (BEA) reported Thursday. [IMAGE]Data for April was revised to show income grew $18.3 billion instead of the originally reported $5.6 billion decline. Data on spending for April was unchanged.Government transfer payments–primarily Social Security–accounted for $19.2 billion of the $69.4 billion monthly increase in spending. Since June 1 fell on a Saturday, Social Security payments were distributed on Friday, May 31. Social Security payments can fluctuate in months that begin on a weekend, with payments accelerated to the last business day of the previous month.Compensation–including wages and salaries–went up $24 billion in May after a weak $9.1 billion increase in April. Farm income, which had been a drag on personal income in April, dropped again in May, down $6.7 billion as farmers struggle with crop-destroying heavy rains following a crippling drought. The April decline in farm income–revised to $6.7 billion–was the first month-over-month decline in farm income since December, when it fell $1.0 billion. Farm income in May 2012 grew $0.6 billion.Unemployment insurance payments–which were affected by the sequester cuts that took effect at the end of March–were down $23.6 billion from May 2012 to $60 billion.Disposable personal income (essentially after-tax income) rose $57 billion in May month, but with consumer spending up $28.5 billion, personal savings increased to $387.6 billion–or 3.2 percent–of disposable income compared with 3.0 percent in April.Personal consumption fell $49.6 billion in April, which means for the first two months of the quarter, spending–which represents about 70 percent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP)–was down a net $10.6 billion, suggesting a weak GDP report for the second quarter.Personal spending on goods increased $22.3 billion in May after dropping $5.1 billion in April. Spending on services fell $4.3 billion in May after falling the same amount in April.Spending on durable goods–a sign of confidence because they are usually financed with borrowing–rose $14 billion in May after increasing just $2.5 billion in April. Spending on non-durable goods rose $10.2 billion in May after dropping $6.3 billion in April.With interest rates remaining low, personal interest payments on non-real estate related debt fell $0.5 billion in May.The personal consumption expenditure (PCE) price index–the Federal Reserve’s preferred measure of inflation since it measures actual spending, not prices–rose 0.1 percent in May compared with a 0.3 percent decline in April. The year-over-year PCE inflation rate was 1.0 percent in May compared with 0.7 percent in April.The core PCE price index (excluding food and energy) rose 0.1 percent in May after no change in April. The core PCE inflation rate was 1.1 percent in May, unchanged from April._Hear Mark Lieberman next Friday on P.O.T.U.S. Radio, Sirius-XM 124, at 6:20 a.m. Eastern._ Personal Income, Spending Rise in May in Data, Government, Origination, Servicing Share
in Data, Government, Origination, Secondary Market, Servicing Share In the Dallas area, “”Matt Martin Real Estate Management LLC””:http://www.mmrem.com/ (MMREM) welcomed Jo Ann Kruse as COO of MMREM and its subsidiaries.[IMAGE]Kruse brings three decades of experience to her new post, coming to MMREM from her most recent position at the Impac Companies in California, where she served in several senior positions over the past six years. Under her [COLUMN_BREAK]guidance, mortgage production quadrupled to more than $3.6 billion in annual run rate.Prior to that, she held senior and executive risk management positions at Countrywide, Wells Fargo Home Mortgage, and KPMG.Matt Martin, chairman and CEO of MMREM, said Kruse’s experience in managing and growing organizations “”will be invaluable as MMREM continues to expand.””””MMREM has experienced tremendous growth over the last few years, and as we continue to grow in size and business offerings, we need an executive of Jo Ann’s caliber to keep the operations running at optimal levels,”” Martin said.For her part, Kruse said she’s excited to work with MMREM, “”a very dynamic company with a tremendous future.””””I look forward to bringing my experience to this energetic team and managing the operations as MMREM grows to serve the private and public sectors with the industry’s most effective real estate services,”” she said. New,Matt Martin Real Estate Management Appoints COO Agents & Brokers Attorneys & Title Companies Investors Lenders & Servicers Movers & Shakers Processing Service Providers 2014-01-08 Tory Barringer January 8, 2014 479 Views
Share in Daily Dose, Data, Headlines The risk of mortgage application defects has dropped across the nation, but in the states ravaged by hurricanes, it seems that trend has gone out the window. According to the September 2017 Loan Application Defect Index released this morning by First American, defects are on the rise in both Florida and Texas.At the national level, the total frequency of “defects, fraudulence, and misrepresentation in the information submitted in mortgage loan applications is down,” dropping 1.2 percent from August to September. It’s also down 18.6 percent since its high point in October 2013, but up more than 20 percent since September of last year.September marked the second month this year that defects did not rise, according to Mark Fleming, First Am’s Chief Economist.”In July and August, we reported that the Loan Application Defect Index didn’t rise, which was good news given that loan application defect, fraud and misrepresentation risk had risen throughout 2017,” Fleming said. “In September, the overall risk of defects, fraud, and misrepresentation declined for the first time this year, although there are regions with higher defect risk due to recent natural disasters.”In Florida, the risk of defect rose 2.2 percent for the month, and in Texas, it jumped by 1.2 percent over August. Rates of defect had been on the decline prior to Hurricanes Harvey and Irma. According to Fleming, this uptick was to be expected.”Unfortunately, historical data indicates that natural disasters and loan application defect risk go hand-in-hand,” Fleming said. “Our defect, misrepresentation and fraud risk index identified signs of this risk trend in Texas and Florida this month and particularly in Houston, where risk increased the most among all the major markets we track.”Houston, in particular, experienced a big rise in risk, with the frequency of fraud, misrepresentation, and other defects jumping 7.2 percent for the month. This was the largest month-over-month uptick in all the nation’s top 50 markets and is likely due to severe flooding in the area.“Flooding is associated with elevated risk for misrepresentation of collateral risk condition,” First Am reported.See the full Defect Index at FirstAm.com. October 31, 2017 571 Views Defect Risk Drops—But Not in Hurricane-hit States defect risk Florida HOUSING hurricanes mortgage texas 2017-10-31 Aly J. Yale
You might also be interested in Speculation mounts over Dole corporate office move … Total Produce’s 2018 revenues rise 18% on back of … U.S.: Dole inks deal for executive office in uptow … Dole’s third-quarter financial results were hit by challenges in its Fresh Vegetable segment, according to Ireland-based Total Produce.In July this year, Total Produce completed a 45% acquisition of Dole’s issued share capital for US$300 million.In an announcement today, the company said that Dole’s adjusted EBITDA for the quarter was registered at US$45.4 million compared to US$50.1 million last year. It said this reflected a US$7.4 million EBITDA reduction in Fresh Vegetables. “Dole Fresh Vegetables has been affected by an industry-wide safety notice, not directly linked to Dole, and an oversupply resulting in lower pricing,” Total Produce said.”As previously announced, this also reduced Dole’s first-half EBITDA by c.US$30m, prior to the investment by Total Produce.”However, Total Produce said that Dole’s fresh fruit division performed “strongly”.In addition, during the third quarter, Dole sold its corporate headquarters for US$50 million and recognized a net gain of US$7.3 million, which is not included in the above adjusted EBITDA.Local media reported the sale of the 10-acre headquarters in September. The California corporate campus, located in Los Angeles County, was sold to the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation, according to the LA Business Journal. November 19 , 2018 Dole trucks attacked in Honduras as protests build …
West LondonPortobello Road Market, Notting Hill: An unmissable London shopping experience and one of the most famous street markets in the world. It’s easy to spend hours browsing along this mile of shops and stalls selling vintage clothing, rare antiques, gifts, souvenirs, and street food. The market is in full swing on Saturday – arrive by 11:30am to avoid the crowds.Top shops:Saddle up in Wild West style at Jessie Western – a visual feast of cowboy boots, Stetson hats, fringed suede jackets and Navajo turquoise jewellery sourced by its sister owners. Just a few shops down is Alice’s antiques, with rare, out-of-the-ordinary vintage finds.Knightsbridge: This glitzy area of London is synonymous with luxury.Shoe Heaven, HarrodsTop shops:World-famous Harrods is a spectacular emporium of prestigious brands and all things luxury, including its dedicated Shoe Heaven department, and Toy Kingdom for little shoppers.North LondonCamden Market:A series of adjoining markets, you’ll find a maze of stalls and some of the most unusual shops in London here, with punk clothing and tattoo parlours aplenty. Full of atmosphere, the markets are open every day and busiest at the weekends. Browse home decor, boho fashion, crafts and trinkets, jewellery, books and vintage in the original Camden Lock Market. The adjoining Stables Market, a former horse hospital, has 700 stalls selling wares ranging from antiques to alternative fashion.High Street, CamdenTop shops:Clothing clubbers for over 20 years, Cyberdog is a Camden institution. This neon-lit, three-floor wonderland specialises in dancewear and fluorescent futuristic fashion. You can’t miss it – two giant robot statues flank the large doorway. East LondonShoreditch: Now a shopping destination in its own right, Shoreditch is renowned for vintage outlets alongside big brands, designer boutiques, indie labels and eclectic gift shops.Top shops:After browsing indie labels like Wondaland and Knowledge Cotton in Aida, shoppers can get their hair and make-up done at the store’s vintage beauty salon. insider guidelondonshoppingtravel tips Box Park: This ‘pop-up shopping mall’ housed in shipping containers is a mix of contemporary lifestyle stores and cafés.The Gift BoxTop shops:Pärla is a curated selection of beautiful jewellery by various designers, chosen by the store’s owner. Be inspired by quirky, bright home accessories, creative books, artwork and funky stationery at The Gift Box. Brick Lane: This buzzing area has become as famous for its shopping as its curries! Sunday UpMarket in the Old Truman Brewery is a mélange of 140 creative traders, and lauded as one of London’s best markets for new designers.Top shops:Pam Pam caters for ‘girls who aren’t girly girls’, with a room dedicated to women’s trainers. Rough Trade East on Dray Walk is arguably London’s best independent music shop and stages in-store gigs. Just off Brick Lane on Hanbury Street is Blitz, the world’s largest vintage department store, with racks of classic rock tees, Japanese kimonos and pastel denim.Spitalfields: Old Spitalfields Market is a vibrant hub for creative traders. On Saturdays and Sundays it’s packed with stalls, including new designers and mouth-watering street food.Top shops:Inspitalfields is a colourful shop for humorous gifts, cards, and unique homecare, while stylish independent boutique The Mercantile London sells selected pieces from affordable European labels– and even has a cute shop dog called Robert!Columbia Road Market: A short walk from Spitalfields, Columbia Road becomes an oasis of foliage and flowers every Sunday, and has 60 independent shops – from art galleries to garden shops – as well as pubs, delis and cafés to refuel in.Columbia RoadHackney Walk: A large new discount fashion district featuring savings of up to 70 per cent on brands including Burberry, Nike, and cult shoe brand, UGG.Oxford Street – Light Up Christmas for Children Campaign/ oxfordstreet.co.uk Pre-Christmas London is charming. The streets, the lights, the bustle, and the shopping – nothing like escaping a chilly London street in December for the warmth inside a shop … and another shop … and another shop.Visit Britain has produced an Insider Guide to London Shopping, just in time for pre-Christmas visitors to the city.Central LondonOxford Street: This iconic retail hub is home to more than 300 shops and flagship stores.Oxford Street – Light Up Christmas for Children Campaign/ oxfordstreet.co.ukTop shops:Beloved British department store John Lewis, legendary Selfridges near Marble Arch, and the huge flagship Primark store near Tottenham Court Road is heaven for bargain hunters. Trend-conscious shoppers flock to the colossal Topshop/Topman Oxford Circus, famous for its extensive collections of up-to-the-minute fashion.Regent Street: Arching from Oxford Circus to Piccadilly Circus, this elegant street is home to some of London’s oldest, most famous shops.Top shops:Luxury British heritage brand Burberry’s four-floor flagship store is visually stunning. Britain’s most famous toy shop, Hamleys, has been trading for more than 250 years and sells every toy or game imaginable over its six floors. Founded in 1875, one-of-a-kind artsy department store Liberty, just behind Regent Street, is famous for its floral prints and large selection of pieces by young British designers.Iconic LibertyCarnaby Street:Step under the iconic arched Carnaby Street sign to this funky area between Regent Street and Oxford Street with over 100 shops – a mix of boutiques, shoe and denim brands and heritage brands like Dr Martens.Carnaby Street, LondonTop shops:Get expert make-up advice or a makeover at the Benefit Store. Check out distinctive ‘Rock & Roll Couture’ jewellery at The Great Frog, where every piece is hand crafted on site and niche clientele since 1972 include actor Johnny Depp, rock legends Metallica and supermodel Kate Moss.Covent Garden: One of London’s prettiest, most diverse shopping areas. Check out arts and crafts at Covent Garden Market and King Street for classy brands like Sandro and Jo Malone London. Deviate from the mainstream in bohemian Neal’s Yard, a brightly painted courtyard lined with vegan cafés and home to ethical beauty brand Neal’s Yard Remedies for the last 30 years. Seven Dials is a network of seven atmospheric streets lined with international fashion brands stores, boutiques and beauty salons.Neal’s Yard, Covent GardenTop shops:In Seven Dials, Beadworks Bead Shop has a huge range of unique beads from all over the world. Check out British jewellery brand Tatty Devine’s playful, kitsch acrylic statement pieces – in the Seven Dials store you can design your own personalised Name necklace and have it made on the spot!
DriveAway has announced the asset purchase of one of its competitors, GlobalCARS, with the acquisition closing on Wednesday night and operations and team transferred to DriveAway’s head office in North Sydney.“DriveAway’s acquisition provides a niche opportunity to further improve the company’s position as the leading self-drive operator in Australia and New Zealand,” said DriveAway managing director, Chris Hamill. “We continue to look for competitive advantages and opportunities and I am delighted with the purchase and the opportunity for our business.”Founded in 1999, GlobalCARS provides car and motorhome hire, European Car Leasing and accommodation options to the independent traveller heading overseas. car leasingdriveDriveAwayGlobalCarsself-drive
Comments Share Nevada officials reach out to D-backs on potential relocation What an MLB source said about the D-backs’ trade haul for Greinke Top Stories D-backs president Derrick Hall: Franchise ‘still focused on Arizona’ It’s been a full week since Indianapolis Colts owner JimIrsay and Peyton Manning held their emotional pressconference announcing that the future Hall of Famer wasdone in Indy.Since then, Manning has embarked on a whirlwind tour ofvisits that’s taken him from Miami to Denver to Phoenix toIndianapolis to Raleigh-Durham, where he’s set to meetwith the Tennessee Titans. And in that week, the group of the likeliest cities forManning to call home has changed a little bit, at leastaccording to ESPN’s Adam Schefter. Cardinals expect improving Murphy to contribute right away
Nevada officials reach out to D-backs on potential relocation “That’s the kind of person he was, and that’s the way heplayed the game. He loved the game and he competed everytime he stepped between those white lines. I relished theopportunity to compete against him because I knew what I wasgoing to get, I knew who I was playing against every time.” Top Stories Cardinals expect improving Murphy to contribute right away Wednesday was a sad day for all in the National FootballLeague as news spread that 12-time Pro Bowl linebackerJunior Seau passed away at the age of 43, the victim of anapparent suicide.Former Cardinals quarterback Kurt Warner joined ArizonaSports 620’s Burns & Gambo Wednesday, and remembered hisfellow All-Pro.“He was a special player and individual. I got a chance toknow him over the course of my career, and he was one of myfavorite guys,” Warner said. “So many times, I rememberseeing him at the Pro Bowl and he was one of those guys whowas always playing with his kids, was always interacting,was always happy to engage with the fans. D-backs president Derrick Hall: Franchise ‘still focused on Arizona’ What an MLB source said about the D-backs’ trade haul for Greinke Comments Share
The Cardinals finished the season ranked 12th in the NFL in total offense, with their 23.7 points per game placing them 16th. They scored at least 20 points in seven of their last eight games, and tallied 27 or more in six of their last nine.As to the quarterback specifically, Palmer completed 65 percent of his passes for 2,361 yards and 14 touchdowns with just eight interceptions over the second half of the season, posting a QB rating of 95.3 over that stretch. Was it simply a matter of him getting comfortable? That’s what the coaches seem to think, so assuming Palmer plays at least to the level he did last season and can remain healthy, the Cardinals may not need to find a new signal caller for a couple more seasons after this one. In fact, the coach believes Palmer has plenty of football left in him.“He’s in great condition, he’s always in great condition,” Arians said from the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis Friday. “So I would think he could be playing up to 36, 37 easily.”Palmer is still under contract with the Cardinals, and as of now there does not seem to be an heir apparent on the roster. Of course, that could change in May’s draft — where the Cardinals select 20th in the first round — but from the way it sounds, Arians and the team don’t view quarterback as a big-time need. And with how the offense fared last season, especially in the season’s second half, the coach has reason to believe big changes are not needed. “I thought the last eight games we were real close,” Arians said of the offense being where he wanted it to be. “We were running the football much better, and it helped our offensive line so much. Our receivers and quarterbacks got on the same page. Third-down efficiency improved, red zone started to improve.“So we were playing the way we want to play the second half of the season. I was extremely pleased with where we were offensively.” The 5: Takeaways from the Coyotes’ introduction of Alex Meruelo Carson Palmer is a 34-year-old quarterback coming off a season in which he threw for 4,274 yards and 24 touchdowns. He was also intercepted 22 times and fumbled six times, but for the most part, he was a solid quarterback who gave the Arizona Cardinals a chance to win each week. And win they did, finishing the season with a 10-6 record.Though Palmer is a veteran who just finished his 10th NFL season, Cardinals coach Bruce Arians sees no reason to think the former number one pick is nearing the end of his career. Comments Share Top Stories Grace expects Greinke trade to have emotional impact Former Cardinals kicker Phil Dawson retires Derrick Hall satisfied with D-backs’ buying and selling