He said, after a consultation, anyone who has been a resident in the U.K. for more than 15 of the past 20 years will now pay full British taxes on all worldwide income.“Most fundamentally, it is not fair that people live in this country for very long periods of their lives, benefit from our public services, and yet operate under different tax rules from everyone else,” he said.While the decision is a significant change it’s not complete surprise, said Jeremy Franks, Head of Wealth Planning Advisory, UBS Wealth Management. Franks said he did not expect a vast exodus of the super-rich from Britain because other concerns come into play, such as the quality of life, good schools and stability.“They are considering the broader picture,” he said.Osborne also said a levy on banks would be gradually reduced over the next six years, while a new 8 percent surcharge on bank profits will be introduced beginning in January 2016.Starting in January 2021, the bank levy will only be charged on the U.K. balance sheets of lenders based in the U.K. — as opposed to their worldwide operations.That seemed directed at HSBC, which has announced it is considering a move out of London. The global banking giant has cited increased regulatory concerns and the potential that Britain will leave the European Union as a cause for concern. Prime Minister David Cameron has promised to hold a referendum within two years on whether Britain should leave the 28-nation bloc.In a move certain to cheer the U.S. military, Osborne also made a commitment to meet the NATO pledge of spending 2 percent of national income on defense spending for every year of this decade.Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. 3 international destinations to visit in 2019 Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility Top Stories “The greatest mistake this country could make would be to think all our problems are solved.” he said. “You only have to look at the crisis unfolding in Greece, as I speak, to realize that if a country’s not in control of its borrowing, the borrowing takes control of the country.”Osborne pledged that British workers should get a pay raise and he created a new minimum wage, dubbed the National Living Wage, for working people aged 25 and over. He rewarded Conservative voters with tax relief for those inheriting family homes and pledged to bolster plans for a so-called Northern Powerhouse, pushing for the creation of another major economic center besides London.But it was on tax policy that some of the boldest moves were made. Osborne abolished special privileges for so-called permanent non-doms, or people who live in the country but don’t claim legal residence. The highly criticized practice has allowed some of the world’s wealthiest people to live in Britain and pay no tax on earnings and capital gains outside the country.Osborne said the changes might cost the country money, but an issue of fairness was at hand.“It is not fair that non-doms with residential property here in the U.K. can put it in an offshore company and avoid inheritance tax,” he said. “From now on they will pay the same tax as everyone else.” LONDON (AP) — Britain’s Treasury chief pledged Wednesday to crack down on tax avoidance and evasion as he delivered the first budget put forward by an all-Conservative government in nearly two decades.Freed from the constraints of his previous government’s Liberal Democrat coalition partners, Treasury chief George Osborne also announced major cuts to welfare spending in a budget that pledged to “put economic security first,” in a country still struggling with the aftermath of the 2008 financial crisis. New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies Mesa family survives lightning strike to home Parents, stop beating yourself up Here’s how to repair and patch damaged drywall 4 ways to protect your company from cyber breaches Comments Share Sponsored Stories Artist Kaya Mar poses for photographs with his painting of British Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne on budget day outside Downing Street in London, Wednesday, July 8, 2015. It is the first economic budget since Britain’s Conservative party won the general election with an overall majority. (AP Photo/Matt Dunham)
InterContinental Melbourne The Rialto exterior InterContinental Melbourne The Rialto’s chef (chief) concierge James Ridenour and executive chef Nick Reade have been named top of their respective fields in this year’s Australian Hotels Association’s Victorian awards – and to celebrate, they have collaborated to create a new accommodation package.Awarded Front Office Services Employee of the Year and Food and Beverage Services Employee of the Year respectively, James and Nick have combined their local and culinary knowledge and expertise to produce the hotel’s new Through the Lens experience.Inviting guests to take a closer look at Melbourne, the package includes a luxury overnight stay at InterContinental Melbourne The Rialto in a Club InterContinental guest room, access to the exclusive Club InterContinental lounge, breakfast for two, evening canapés and drinks, and a visit to a local photographer’s studio, from $450* per room per night.Available only to Club guests, the Club InterContinental lounge offers complimentary daily buffet breakfast, all-day refreshments, afternoon tea and extensive twilight drinks and canapés, including chefs’ tasting plates of fresh local produce sourced by Nick and his culinary team, from as near as InterContinental Melbourne’s own rooftop garden.To enhance the local experience, the package includes a visit to the Flinders Lane studios of renowned Melbourne photographer, Matt Irwin. At James’ suggestion, guests can get a glimpse into the city’s local arts scene and explore the surrounding laneway precinct, before touring the gallery and taking home their own Matt Irwin signed canvas print.Matt Irwin’s Flinders Lane studio is open 12:00noon-6:00pm Monday to Friday and 11:00am-5:00pm Saturdays (closed on Sundays) and tours need to be completed during opening hours. *Rates are per room, per night and available until September 30, 2011. Subject to availability. Terms and conditions apply. Source = InterContinental Melbourne
Dana Air takes off seven months after crashing into a residential area. Source = e-Travel Blackboard: N.J A Nigerian airline has resumed flights, seven months after one of its aircraft crashed into a residential area, sparking an inferno in the region and killing up to 153 passengers.Although still awaiting official explanation for the incident, Dana Air took off late last week, with 67 passengers on board its return flight between Lagos and Abuja, Reuters reported.A local Aviation Ministry spokesperson said the cause for the crash will not be known until the investigation is complete, however, an audit into the airline found the rest of its fleet is still “airworthy”.Dana Air will utilise its five remaining McDonnell Douglas MD-83s on flights, but for the moment is restricted to only flying on flights between Lagos and Abuja.
The snake battles with the flying kangaroo. Image: Fairfax Media Vision: Robert Webber Source = e-Travel Blackboard: A.N There are some films that will never be shown for your in-flight entertainment; movies that involve a plane crashing or in a hostage situation are quite high on the list and ‘Snakes on a Plane’ is undoubtedly not too far behind.Yet when some passengers were able to finally explore their selection of channels 20 minutes into a Qantas flight from Cairns to Port Moresby, others took a look to the left and discovered that nature had defied all laws that govern what is appropriate to watch at 35,000 feet.The QF191 passengers were treated to a rare battle between man’s creation and snake as a three-metre python took to the skies on its wing.Originally being nestled behind the wing for what surely began as an innocent Queensland nap, the snake was soon taken on an unexpected journey as it battled with 400km/h winds and minus 12 degree weather.The front row viewers described how they watched the snake struggle throughout the 1.5 hour flight, along with the pilots who took turns in monitoring the effort of the snake who was whipped around the wing.As the white Qantas wing began to see splashes of red, it was clear that the snake’s battle was all but over.A Qantas spokesperson later stated that they had “never heard of this happening before”, whilst the president of the Australian Licensed Aircraft Engineers Association, Paul Cousins, said that for the snake to be able to reach the cabin, would have been impossible, which perhaps explains the lack of panic on the early morning flight.
The Accor Group have released the entire 2014 year results today and the figures show that it was a strong year for Group, recording a growth in revenue of 3.8 per cent, up to €5,454 million.Net profit sat at EUR €223 million, which was helped by a solid operating performance in the second-half of 2014, thanks to a steady business level.Accor chairman and chief executive officer Sébastien Bazin, said that the in-depth transformation being carried out by Accor started to pay off in 2014.“The Group posted excellent results in both its businesses – HotelServices and HotelInvest – and strengthening its leadership position. In 2015, the economic environment is expected to continue to vary significantly from one region to another,” Mr Bazin said.“Accor is a robust company with strong brands, dedicated teams and clearly defined objectives. This year, we will demonstrate once again our capacity to deliver on our objectives with determination and discipline – driving further progress in our strategy and our operating and financial performance.”The hotel group had a number of highlights in 2014, some of those are the complete reorganization of the Group around the HotelServices and HotelInvest businesses and also various refinancing transactions carried out in support of the Group’s strategy, for a total amount of EUR €3.7 billion.Accor also invested a total of EUR €1 billion in the Group’s property portfolio and launched the new Digital Plan, valued at EUR €225 million.Growth in the Group’s hotel portfolio picked up pace during the year and as a result, a total of 29,556 new rooms or 208 hotels were opened. Source = ETB Travel News: Lewis Wiseman
Image by Shaun Jeffers via London & PartnersQueen Elizabeth II has become the UK’s longest serving monarch – surpassing Queen Victoria’s reign of 63 years, seven months and two days.To mark this momentous milestone, many of the capital’s attractions, hotels and retailers are getting into the royal spirit with themed afternoon teas, special displays and citywide festivities.A flotilla of historic vessels, leisure cruisers and passenger boats took part in a procession on the River Thames. The ‘Royal River Salute’ is part of London’s annual Totally Thames Festival, which takes place throughout September.Visitors to Buckingham Palace enjoyed a special outdoor photographic display, shown in the inner Quadrangle of the official residences – an area that is not normally included in the visitor route.Kensington Palace is also marking this special occasion with a new film installation celebrating the reign of Her Majesty The Queen, and of her predecessor as longest serving monarch, Queen Victoria.Madame Tussauds have also unveiled a new dress for their waxwork of the Queen, a replica of the gown worn by Her Royal Highness in 2012 for her official Diamond Jubilee photographs, whilst the Thames Rib Experience provided Royal novelty masks and played Rule Britannia amongst other patriotic songs on board their speedboat voyages throughout the day.No London royal celebration would be complete without afternoon tea and there are plenty of opportunities to indulge, including a Royal-themed afternoon tea at InterContinental London Park Lane, which is located on the site of 145 Piccadilly, the former childhood residence of Queen Elizabeth II. St James’s Court, a Taj Hotel also offered a lavish afternoon tea which includes scones prepared according to Her Majesty’s own instructions.Those wishing to purchase their own special tea to mark the occasion need look no further than Fortnum & Mason, which will be launching a Queen’s Blend Tea in celebration of Queen Elizabeth’s reign.Chris Gottlieb, Chief Marketing and Communications Officer at London & Partners, the Mayor’s official promotional company for London said: “This very special milestone wasn’t going to go unnoticed in the capital and it’s fantastic to see the range of festivities on offer for visitors and Londoners in honour of our longest-serving monarch.“In 2014 London welcomed a record 17.4 million international visitors, many attracted by the capital’s royal heritage and cultural landmarks – particularly those from North America. We envisage that historic milestones such as these, along with the spectacular programme of blockbuster exhibitions and theatre on offer this autumn, will continue to drive London’s momentum.”For more inspiration on royal-related activities in London, see below:Royal London: www.visitlondon.com/things-to-do/sightseeing/royal-LondonRoyal attractions: www.visitlondon.com/things-to-do/sightseeing/tourist-attraction/royal-attractionsRoyal Attractions itinerary: www.visitlondon.com/things-to-do/sightseeing/one-day-itineraries/london-day-out-royal-attractionsKate Middleton’s London: www.visitlondon.com/things-to-do/sightseeing/tourist-attraction/kate-middletons-LondonSource = London & Partners
Source = New Caledonia Travel Connection NEW CALEDONIA TRAVEL CONNECTION is thrilled to announce the launch of its new 38-page brochure dedicated to the French Pacific territory.Here is what the newly expanded team has to say about the news:“Our 2017 brochure is a very handy and light guide to the essentials of New Caledonia, as well as the best accommodation options we have on offer. Let the vibrant photos captivate you with the projected tropical relaxed vibe of New Caledonia. Inspire yourself or your clients to visit French paradise at your doorstep.”THE ESSENTIALS:Good To Know’ tips and information from the team of destination specialists Divided by region:Noumea, Bourail, Isle of Pines, Loyalty Islands, West Coast, East Coast, Far North Coast Each region has a map,Things To Do, any tours available followed by dedicated accommodation pagesNEW! Self-Drive Holidays offering the flexibility to explore and discover the variety or landscapes that New Caledonia has to offer.The new brochure can be downloaded HERE.Delivery commenced on 21 March and order is now available through TIFS in Australia.For full details and bookings contact New Caledonia Travel Connection on 1300 108 625, email email@example.com or visit www.newcaledoniatravel.com.au
THAI Opens New Royal Orchid LoungesTHAI Opens New Royal Orchid LoungesMrs. Phakkhra Ruangsiradecho (fourth from left), Executive Vice President, Aviation Business Unit, Thai Airways International Public Company Limited (THAI), presided over the opening ceremony of the Royal Orchid Lounges at Phuket International Airport that are used by passengers who fly THAI, Star Alliance member airlines, and customer airlines. Also present at the opening ceremony were Sub Lieutenant Thanee Chuangchoo (third from left), Executive Vice President, Deputy General Manager of Phuket International Airport (Business Support Group), and Mrs. Manusnunt Sitthijirasin (fifth from left), Managing Director, THAI Ground Customer Services Department, along with members of THAI Management and Ground Customer Services Department. The new Royal Orchid Lounges are located on the fourth floor of the International Terminal, in the North and South areas at Phuket International Airport, were designed based on THAI’s corporate identity as well as the orchid flower and sea wave concept. The passenger lounges feature different experience zones for the maximum comfort of First Class and Business Class passengers. Each lounge offers a high quality experience including wider seats, a selection of newspapers and magazines, high speed Wi-Fi, USB power ports, and an array of freshly-cooked foods and pastries, as well as vegetarian and Halal food. Flight information display system and entertainment channels are also operational. THAI, as a national carrier, continues to deliver high quality of products and services for better customer satisfaction.Source = Thai Airways International Public Company Limited (THAI)
Korean Air Celebrates Inaugural Flight to Zagreb, CroatiaKorean Air Celebrates Inaugural Flight to Zagreb, CroatiaKorean Air celebrated its inaugural flight from Seoul, South Korea to Zagreb, Croatia on September 1, marking the first regular service connecting Croatia and Far East Asia directly.The airline’s maiden flight KE919 from Seoul, which took 11 hours and 40 minutes, was welcomed with a water cannon salute upon landing at Zagreb (Franjo Tuđman) International Airport on Saturday. An inaugural flight ceremony was held at Zagreb Airport, with government and industry officials, Mr. Park Won-sup, Korean Ambassador to Croatia, Mr. Damir Kušen, the newly appointed Croatian Ambassador to Korea, Ms. Olivera Šarić, Assistant Minister of Tourism, Ms. Martina Bienenfeld, director of Touristic Board of Zagreb, Mr. Jacques Feron, CEO of the Zagreb International Airport attended.“We are delighted to launch our first regular service to Croatia, the fast-growing country in tourism in South East Europe,” said Mr. Byung-Ryool Park, Korean Air’s Managing Vice President for Europe. “Taking this opportunity, Korean Air will support in reinforcing trade and tourism relations between Croatia and Korea.”Mr. Jacques Feron, CEO of the Zagreb International Airport said “We are extremely proud that our efforts in connecting Zagreb with Asia all year round and in continually enriching the overall offer of flights show results. Almost half a million South Korea’s tourists visited Croatia last year and therefore we believe that this line will strongly contribute to the continued positive results recorded at Franjo Tuđman Airport, as well to the tourist results and the image of Zagreb.”Korean Air commenced the three-times weekly non-stop service between Incheon and Zagreb, utilizing Airbus A330-200 aircraft. The flight departs Incheon, Seoul at 11:00, arriving in Zagreb at 15:45. It then departs Zagreb at 17:20, arriving back in Incheon at 11:30 the next day. The airline’s new service provides a convenient schedule for travel between Seoul and Zagreb. Those passengers arriving in Seoul and wishing to travel onwards enjoy easy connections at Incheon International Airport, with access to a wide range of destinations in Asia and Oceania for both business and leisure travel.With the addition of the new route, Korean Air will operate international flights to 112 cities in 43 countries. About Korean AirKorean Air, established in 1969, is one of the world’s top 20 airlines carrying more than 26 million passengers in 2017. The airline operates over 460 flights per day to 125 cities in 44 countries on six continents; it has a modern fleet of 175 aircraft and employs over 20,000 professional employees. Korean Air’s core business includes passenger, cargo, aerospace, catering and in-flight sales. The airline’s main hub is at the newly-opened Incheon (ICN) International Airport Terminal 2.Korean Air is a founding member of the Sky Team airline alliance, which together with its 20 members annually welcomes 730 million passengers worldwide, on more than 16,609 daily flights, covering 1,074 destinations in 177 countries. The airline recently launched a joint venture partnership with Delta Air Lines in the trans-Pacific market.In 2019 Korean Air will celebrate its 50th anniversary. With a vision to be a respected leader in the world airline community, Korean Air is dedicated to providing excellence in flight.More on Korean Air’s programs, routes, frequencies and partners is available at koreanair.com, facebook.com/KoreanAir, Google.com/+KoreanAir_KE, and Twitter@KoreanAir_KE. Source = Korean Air
About Travel CounsellorsFounded in 1994, Travel Counsellors is the world’s largest home-based travel company with over 1,800 self-employed travel consultants and a global support team of over 400 staff. The company is headquartered in Manchester U.K, with operations in Australia, Belgium, Ireland, the Netherlands, South Africa and the United Arab Emirates. Travel Counsellors Australia Pty Ltd. was established in 2007. Today, nearly 150 Travel Counsellors run their own travel business from home with the support of a Melbourne based Head Office. Travel Counsellors Australia is proud to be a full member of IATA and AFTA and is accredited with ATAS and CLIA.Travel Counsellors light up GlasgowSource = Travel Counsellors Travel Counsellors light up GlasgowTravel Counsellors light up GlasgowTravel Counsellors star-studded Annual Conference was held in Glasgow, Scotland, this month, with a record guest-list of over 1700 delegates, including 16 Australian Travel Counsellors, Regional Managing Director Kaylene Shuttlewood and members of the Melbourne-based support team.During the action-packed three-day event, conference guests were entertained by celebrities, inspired by motivational speakers, and networked with nearly 300 suppliers including headline sponsors Emirates, Celebrity Cruises, APT, Rocky Mountaineer, Rentalcars, Club Med and Travelport.Travel Counsellors enjoyed a glittering awards ceremony themed with Scottish thistle and tweed, plus special guests over the weekend included six-times Olympic champion and track cyclist Sir Chris Hoy MBE, who left delegates feeling energised and inspired to reach their goals in 2019.Travel Counsellors and travel suppliers were entertained by Scottish stand-up comedian Des Clarke, wowed by an intimate performance from singer/songwriter Marti Pellow, and danced the night away to a DJ set and performance provided by multi-number one selling artist, Craig David.The theme of the weekend, ‘TC Experience’ (TCX), focused on the experiences that Travel Counsellors provide for their corporate and leisure travel customers, as well as exploring the business growth opportunities that individual Travel Counsellors can enjoy with the support of the tools, technology and community that the company provides.Travel Counsellors CEO Steve Byrne confirmed that the TC Experience means putting people first, creating personal, positive memories for travelling customers and selling travel in a human-to-human way.Byrne said: “Customers buy based on the experience they had, and we are committed to making people feel special during every interaction with us. We’re continuing to invest in recruiting talented people who are passionate about creating great experiences for their customers and their colleagues, expanding our training and coaching programmes, and maintaining the human touch whilst enhancing the travel experience through continually developing the latest technologies.”During the weekend, delegates also heard about the latest developments including an advanced marketing system that enables Travel Counsellors to create and send highly personalised communications to customers, further enhancement of the company’s ‘myTC’ app, and an updated, more user-friendly version of the in-house quote and booking system Phenix, that includes automated, daily reminders for Travel Counsellors to contact their clients – from sending a Happy Birthday message to reminding them of their travel itinerary close to departure. Byrne added that Phenix has received over £6m in investment in the last 12 months alone.Individual Travel Counsellors were recognised with awards and prizes totalling over $212,000, including two Audi cars for those achieving top customer satisfaction scores. Victorian-based Travel Counsellor Matt Schmitz won Top Performing TC Australia in recognition of his annual sales figures and commitment to customer experience.Kaylene Shuttlewood said, “What a thrill to be able to attend the annual global conference, along with the Travel Counsellors and support staff from Australia. I am so proud of our Travel Counsellors and it was fantastic to see our award winners recognised on the global stage. Travel Counsellors Australia is going from strength to strength and I am really looking forward to what the next 12 months will bring”.
Kiwi Link India, Tourism New Zealand’s annual travel trade event is scheduled to be held from July 13 to July 16, 2015 in Mumbai and Delhi.The event serves as a medium for New Zealand operators to interact with Indian tourism product managers, planners and owners through full day workshops and frontline training.Kiwi Link India 2015 will see participation from 36 operators from New Zealand along with four airlines and 80 Indian delegates. In the wake of a new format this year, Tourism New Zealand will also be hosting key buyers from around India in Mumbai for the first three days of the event.Tourism New Zealand, through Kiwi Link India 2015 aims to highlight the destination’s unique range of offerings to the various segments of Indian travellers. The event will also serve as an opportunity for operators from New Zealand to educate their travel and trade partners in India about the new products and services that are available at the destination.Speaking about the event, Kevin Bowler, Chief Executive, Tourism New Zealand, said, “Kiwi Link India is one of Tourism New Zealand’s biggest trade shows and is very important to us as India continues to be one of our priority emerging markets. The trade event serves as an ideal platform for us to strengthen relations with our stakeholders in the Indian travel trade industry.”Tourism New Zealand’s Regional Manager – South and South East Asia, Steven Dixon said, “We have seen a great response from the Indian market in the past financial year. With the ICC Cricket World Cup 2015 and our initiatives in India around the event, we have seen a huge increase in Indian travellers visiting New Zealand. We hope to continue this momentum through more activities in the market and will be making some exciting announcements soon.”
Mumbai’s Nehru Centre is playing host to TTF, India’s oldest travel show. Over 150 participants from India and abroad have set up colourful pavilions to woo the travellers from the city in the high season ahead.Goa, Rajasthan, Gujarat and Bangkok Metropolitan Administration have set up the largest pavilions in the show.The festival of Diwali marks one of the high seasons for leisure travel for domestic, as well as outbound sectors. As the festival is closely followed by the winter season and the New Year period, there are multiple opportunities for Indian travellers to take a break, ranging from the long haul, to short haul, and even weekend gateways.The Diwali season travel is somewhat unique in Western India.That is the reason the TTF has had blockbuster shows in Ahmedabad and Surat in last two consecutive weekends, before opening in Mumbai this week. It will be held in Pune next weekend (Oct 2, 3, 4).Mumbai is the largest travel market in the country generating approximately a third (33%) of travellers. According to a market survey conducted by the organisers, Mumbai is not only the leading travel market in the country, but its tourists are also the highest-spenders and their trips are also the longest.TTF offers a great networking opportunity for the travel trade in and around the city, to interact with their counterparts from India and abroad.The first two days of the show (Thursday & Friday) are kept reserved for travel trade and the last day of the show (Saturday) is open for all.Participants from 7 countries and 18 Indian States & Union Territories have come to sell their destinations, tour packages, and accommodations at TTF Mumbai.The star attraction Bangkok Metropolitan Administration is promoting authentic Thai food, Bangkok’s world famous shopping malls, and traditional Thai medical treatments, and value for money deals to tourists. Live performances, art and handicraft demonstrations and sampling of dried fruits etc will be additional activities that are expected to draw huge crowd to Bangkok city pavilion. The Culture, Sport and Tourism Department of the Bangkok city, who is organising all of these activities, are very enthusiastic to meet Indian travel trade as well as consumers. Another attraction is the Street Food Bangkok app that has just been launched this week. The app provides information on street food from 121 vendors and stalls across Bangkok, encompassing 25 mouth-watering menus. The app also assists with direction to each outlet and opening times.Other than Thailand, countries represented are Bhutan, China, India, Maldives, Nepal and Turkey eyeing for the lucrative outbound market from Mumbai and Western India.Among Indian States, eye-catching displays have been put up by Andaman & Nicobar, Delhi, Goa, Gujarat, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Karnataka, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Punjab, Rajasthan, Sikkim, Tamil Nadu, Tripura, Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand and West Bengal.TTF is supported by Incredible India, OTOAI, ATOAI, ADTOI, IATO and IAAI. Travel News Digest is the official trade publication of TTF.TTF is the largest network of travel shows in India, with over 50% market share.Later this year, TTF is scheduled in Guwahati (Nov’15), and next year in Chennai, Bengaluru and New Delhi (Jan-Feb’16), in addition to the grand finale in OTM Mumbai (Feb’16) at Bombay Exhibition & Convention Centre.
The Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) has recently published the forecasts of international visitor demand across a range of destinations within the Asia Pacific region. Not every Asia Pacific destination is included, mainly because of data limitations or timing. However, the destinations that are covered by these forecasts account for around 98% of the total inbound foreign arrivals into Asia Pacific destinations, as reported by PATA.Based on year-to-date data and the forecasts for 2016, current estimates are that the destinations as covered in the forecast report will return a combined inbound count in excess of 595 million foreign inbound arrivals. This would represent an annual growth rate of 3.4% on 2015 results and an annual volume increase of more than 19.6 million additional foreign arrivals.Over the five-year forecast period to 2021, foreign arrivals into the Asia Pacific destinations are expected to grow at an average rate of five percent per annum, reaching a combined foreign inbound count of close to 758 million.Dr Mario Hardy, Chief Executive Officer, PATA, said, “The importance of the Asia Pacific region, both as a receiver and a generator of international arrivals has been evident for some time and the momentum certainly appears to be holding over the next five years. With the maturing of many Asian source markets, destinations beyond the Asia Pacific region are also being increasingly explored. However, these destinations need to be ready to deliver a service that the increasingly sophisticated Asian traveller has already experienced in Asia and is now seeking in destinations further afield.”The official report is to be released in April 2017 and will contain forecasts for international visitor arrivals to 39 destinations within the region for the period 2017 to 2021.
“”PNC Financial Services Group””:http://www.pnc.com/ has announced the appointment of William S. Demchak as the company’s president of the corporation. [IMAGE][COLUMN_BREAK]The board of directors elected Demchak, who will also serve as PNC’s president for its principal banking subsidiary, “”PNC Bank””:http://www.pnc.com/.Demchak has served as PNC’s senior vice chairman since 2009, and he acted as the supervisory leader for all PNC businesses since 2010. Prior to joining PNC in 2002 as the company’s chief financial officer, Demchak was the head of structured finance and credit portfolios for “”JPMorgan Chase & Co””:http://www.jpmorganchase.com/. “”Bill set the standard for delivering the entire company to our customers…I believe he will further enhance PNC’s position as a national financial services leader,”” said PNC’s chairman and CEO, James E. Rohr. April 26, 2012 447 Views in Data, Government, Origination, Secondary Market, Servicing, Technology Agents & Brokers Attorneys & Title Companies Company News Investors Lenders & Servicers Movers & Shakers Processing Service Providers 2012-04-26 Abby Gregory PNC Financial Elects New President Share
Mortgage Builder Acquires GCC Servicing Systems in Data, Government, Origination, Secondary Market, Servicing, Technology May 18, 2012 412 Views Loan origination software provider “”Mortgage Builder””:http://www.mortgagebuilder.com/ announced Tuesday that it has reached an agreement to acquire “”GCC Servicing Systems””:http://www.gccservicing.com/, a leading loan servicing software provider.[IMAGE]GCC is the creator of G/Serv, mortgage servicing software that automates servicing administration function. It is commonly used among mid-tier lenders and mortgage companies, a market [COLUMN_BREAK]sector it shares with Mortgage Builder.The acquisition of GCC will allow Mortgage Builder to offer a platform for lenders who would rather retain servicing rights without the use of a subservicer.├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├àÔÇ£More lenders need servicing software now than at any time in recent history,├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├é┬Ø Mortgage Builder President and CEO Keven Smith said in a statement. ├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├àÔÇ£With the acquisition of GCC, Mortgage Builder now offers a complete lending system that empowers lenders to control all aspects of the process. And with their common DNA, the platforms work extremely well together, making it far simpler for lenders to make smooth transitions into loan servicing.├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├é┬Ø The GCC staff will join Mortgage Builder. GCC will operate as a separate division with Jeff Augenstein, vice president of GCC, responsible for the day-to-day operations. Mortgage Builder provides loan origination software to mortgage banks, credit unions, and other financial institutions. GCC Servicing Systems, known as Glenn Computer Corporation until 2003, is a mortgage servicing software provider. Both companies are based in Southfield, Michigan. Share Acquisitions Agents & Brokers Attorneys & Title Companies Company News Investors Lenders & Servicers Mortgage Servicing Rights Processing Service Providers 2012-05-18 Tory Barringer
Michigan Attorney General “”Bill Schuette””:http://www.michigan.gov/ag/ and State Treasurer Andy Dillon announced Tuesday that a federal judge granted preliminary approval to the state’s proposed national class action lawsuit against Bear Stearns and “”Deloitte & Touche””:http://www.deloitte.com/view/en_US/us/index.htm. [IMAGE]Bear Stearns and Deloitte & Touche have agreed to settle the securities fraud suit. Under the terms of the settlement, the two firms will pay $294.9 million to investors nationwide who bought Bear Stearns stock and other equity securities and options between December 14, 2006 and March 14, 2008. The State of Michigan Retirement Systems (SMRS) will also receive an as yet unsettled amount.[COLUMN_BREAK]The final settlement hearing will be held September 19, 2012 at noon. “”Robert W. Sweet””:http://nysd.uscourts.gov/judge/Sweet, U.S. District Judge for the Southern District of New York, will oversee the hearing.””I am pleased we have reached a settlement agreement with Bear Stearns and other defendants in this matter,”” said Dillon. “”Through this settlement process, the State has demonstrated its obligation not only to thousands of employees, retirees, and their beneficiaries who depend on these pension funds for their retirement, but also to all class members.””The settlement is meant to compensate investors – including SMRS – who were misled about the value and risks of Bear Stearns’ mortgage-backed assets. The State of Michigan acted as court-appointed lead plaintiff in the suit and argued that Bear Stearns and their auditor Deloitte and Touche misled SMRS and other investors about risky exposure to the nation’s housing market and reductions to its assets, which led to a collapse of Bear Stearns and its stock.SMRS, which invests on behalf of Michigan public school employees, state employees, Michigan State Police and judges, holds one of the largest pension systems in the country with combined assets of approximately $50.3 billion.””This is good news for Michigan taxpayers,”” said Schuette. “”This settlement demonstrates our commitment to holding accountable any bank or investment firm that violates the public trust.”” Agents & Brokers Attorneys & Title Companies Company News Investors Lenders & Servicers Mortgage Debt Mortgage Fraud Mortgage-Backed Securities Processing Service Providers 2012-06-12 Tory Barringer in Government, Origination, Servicing Michigan Settlement Approved for Investors Over Bear Stearns’ Bad MBS June 12, 2012 525 Views Share
November 12, 2012 408 Views Administration Reports Continued Housing Improvement Share Agents & Brokers Attorneys & Title Companies FHA FHFA Home Prices Home Sales Investors Lenders & Servicers Loan Modification Processing Service Providers 2012-11-12 Krista Franks Brock The state of the housing market continues to improve though recovery remains “”fragile,”” according to the October Housing Scorecard released Friday by the “”Obama administration””:http://www.whitehouse.gov/. Along with the scorecard, the administration released special instructions for those administering the “”Making Home Affordable Program””:http://www.makinghomeaffordable.gov/pages/default.aspx in areas affected by Hurricane Sandy. [IMAGE]Signs of improvement include rising home prices, rising home sales, and ongoing efforts through the Making Home Affordable Program. About 1.3 million previously underwater homeowners are now above water due to rising prices. “”As the October housing scorecard indicates, our housing market is continuing to show important signs of recovery–with the “”FHFA””:http://www.fhfa.gov/ housing price index posting its largest annual gain in five years and new home sales at its [COLUMN_BREAK]fastest pace since April 2010,”” said Erika Poethig, acting assistant secretary for policy development and research at the “”Department of Housing and Urban Development””:http://portal.hud.gov/hudportal/HUD. So far, the administration’s Making Home Affordable Program has helped almost 1.3 million homeowners. More than 1 million of these homeowners have received loan modifications through the Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP). Of those who start the program, about 86 percent have received permanent modifications over the past two years. Additionally, the “”Federal Housing Administration””:http://portal.hud.gov/hudportal/HUD?src=/federal_housing_administration has helped more than 1.5 million struggling homeowners through loss mitigation. “”To help families in the Northeast recover from the devastation caused by Hurricane Sandy, we are directing servicers to make special efforts to ensure that homeowners eligible for assistance through Making Home Affordable have the extra flexibility and relief they need,”” said Tim Massad, assistant secretary for financial stability at the Treasury. In areas directly impacted by Hurricane Sandy, servicers must offer at least three months forbearance to any homeowners eligible for Making Home Affordable who request forbearance. If a homeowner receives help through Making Home Affordable or is in the application process for a program and misses one or more payments, services are directed not to “”take any action that would adversely affect eligibility for the program unless there is contact with the homeowner.”” in Data, Government, Origination, Secondary Market, Servicing
May 21, 2014 558 Views To its credit, Fannie Mae did not expect soaring growth in the 2014 housing market in the first place. But even its hopes for modest growth have cooled as the lingering effects of a harsh winter and a combination of reduced affordability and consumer reticence regarding mortgages weigh down the national housing market.In its latest economic forecast, released Wednesday, Fannie reported that housing remains the weakest link in the national economy. Through the first three months of 2014, existing-home sales, new single-family home sales, single-family housing starts, and multifamily housing starts all declined year-over-year.Fannie found that existing-home sales, which comprised roughly 90 percent of sales activity in March, edged down 0.2 percent to 4.59 million—the slowest sales pace since July 2012. Sales of lower-priced homes also showed a dramatic year-over-year decline, which Fannie attributes to less demand from investors.The new homes market plunged 14.5 percent in March, an eight-month low. However, this sharp decline in sales amid slowly growing supply pushed the months’ supply nationally up to six months, in line with the historical average and a marked improvement for an inventory that just a few months ago was less than four months in some areas.Still, Fannie is hanging on to its cautious optimism. Resales, for example, edged up by 0.2 percent in March, only the second time in nine months that an uptick occurred there. Fannie is also pinning hope for slow-but-steady growth on the results of its April consumer survey, which showed that 42 percent of those polled think it’s a good time to sell. “As consumers become more confident in the selling environment and more supply enters the market, it will help to boost housing turnover,” Fannie reported.Fannie is also optimistic—if guardedly so—that the spring and summer buying seasons will bring modest gains in the housing market. The agency’s tempered optimism is a slight backpedalling from its beginning-of-the-year predictions that spring itself would usher in a steady rebound in housing.Standing in the way, however, is the impending rise in mortgage rates, which are expected to end the year above 5 percent, and tightening lending regulations that, while designed to keep Americans from overspending, make it tough for many banks to write mortgages.On the plus side, Fannie found that pending home sales, which record contract signings on existing-home sales and typically lead closings by one to two months, broke a streak of eight consecutive monthly declines in March by rising 3.4 percent. This was their highest level since November. And purchase mortgage applications continued to trend up modestly from the nearly two-decade low they hit in February, but were still down more than 20 percent from the previous April.A main constraint for potential homebuyers remains banks’ willingness to lend. The Federal Reserve Board Senior Loan Officer Opinion Survey, released quarterly, has shown continued tightening in subprime and nontraditional mortgages. However, Fannie believes recovery hinges on people more than regulations. “Given the current regulatory landscape, we believe rising employment and income are more likely to bolster housing demand rather than easing credit conditions,” Fannie reported. in Daily Dose, Data, Headlines, News Fannie Trims Growth Forecast in Wake of Q1 Disappointment Existing-Home Sales Fannie Mae Forecast New Home Sales 2014-05-21 Scott_Morgan Share
Despite an easing underwriting standards for commercial and retail loans for the third straight year, standards for residential real estate are holding mostly steady, according to the federal Office of the Comptroller of the Currency’s (OCC) 20th Annual Survey of Credit Underwriting.According to the OCC survey, 92 percent of surveyed banks originated residential real estate loans in 2014, and a full 20 percent reported tightening their standards regarding who can attain these loans. Seventy percent reported no changes in their standards, leaving a comparatively slight 10 percent of institutions claiming they eased their standards for residential mortgages.Federal examiners found that the level of risk inherent in these portfolios remained unchanged or decreased at 88 percent of the banks—a growing trend since 2010.Since the 2013 survey of the four banks that originated HLTV home equity loans, one bank has exited the business. Two of the remaining three banks reported unchanged underwriting standards and one bank reporting moderately tightened standards. Examiners expect the level of risk over the next 12 months to decline or remain unchanged at all banks.Standards on loans for residential construction remained overwhelmingly unchanged on the OCC survey, but offer a notable distinction from 2013. A full 88 percent of reporting banks said they neither eased nor tightened their standards on such products and none tightened their standards in 2014. In 2013, 8 percent tightened their standards and none eased them.This trend is definitely one federal watchdogs are keeping an eye on. Forty-five percent of examiners expect risk to increase over the next 12 months, based on concerns with the economic environment, collateral values, and easing underwriting standards. Underwriting standards for CRE products (other than construction) have increasingly eased since 2010.The OCC’s findings, in regards to residential products, support a November report by the Federal Reserve, which found that mortgage credit standards remained largely unchanged between August and October. The Fed’s Senior Loan Officer Opinion Survey reported that credit standards on prime mortgages remained basically steady at 83 percent of reporting banks, while most of the 14 percent that reported easing their lending criteria were institutions with assets of $20 billion or more.Despite the continued diligence in the residential sphere, federal authorities are growing increasingly concerned with the overall easing of retail and commercial loan underwriting standards in the face of rising competition to win loan customers.”As banks continue to reach for volume and yield to improve margins and compete for limited loan demand, supervisors will focus on banks’ efforts to maintain prudent underwriting standards, monitor portfolio credit risk, and reduce exceptions to policy,” said Jennifer Kelly, senior deputy comptroller for bank supervision policy and chief national bank examiner. She added that 2014’s trends in eased standards echo those seen between 2004 and 2006, just a few years before the crash. December 17, 2014 563 Views Credit Standards Federal Reserve OCC Risk 2014-12-17 Scott_Morgan Share in Daily Dose, Data, Featured, Government, News Survey: Credit Loosening Everywhere Except Mortgages
Competitive Market Forces Buyers to Consider Options Share The competitive homebuying market brought on by short inventory supply is causing potential buyers to keep their renting options open, according to the latest Zillow Group Report.Zillow found that on average renters spend about 10 weeks looking for a new place. Buyers spend about 17 weeks. Add to that the fact that at almost half of all buyers are first-time buyers, and 54 percent of buyers do not get the first house they bid on, and suddenly it forces house hunters to consider staying in rental properties longer, Zillow reported.The times only get longer the lower the income of the buyer. Low-income renters spend on average 12 weeks looking for a rental, Zillow found. And for many renters, buying is not a financial option. The median income of homebuyers is $87,500 a year, while renters make, on average, $37,500.“The line between renting and buying is blurry, and that’s a sign of the times,” said Zillow chief marketing officer Jeremy Wacksman. “It’s difficult and time-consuming to find a home to move to, especially in competitive housing markets. Savvy shoppers have a Plan B, hoping to buy if it works out, but willing to sign a lease for a home if they don’t make a deal by the time they need to move.”According to Zillow, among those who bought a home in the last 12 months, 66 percent of millennials considered renting as well. Just over half (54 percent) of Generation X buyers considered renting, as did 32 percent of Baby Boomer buyers.Younger renters are also more flexible when looking for a home to rent—63 percent of Millennials and 59 percent of Generation X renters considered buying while looking for a rental. Among renters over 50, most did not consider buying at all.Renters, once an afterthought to many in the housing industry, have become a significant pool. Last week, the U.S. Census Bureau reported the homeownership rate hit 63.5 percent in Q3. While that’s an improvement over Q2, it’s barely about a half-century low. Homebuyers Renters Single Family Rental Market 2016-10-31 ScottMorgan1 in Daily Dose, Data, Headlines, News October 31, 2016 533 Views