Travel comparison site Skyscanner named Quebec City in Canada the most popular emerging destination for UK travellers. Data released from the site showed Quebec searches increased by 137 percent last year, with the majority of travellers seeking the city’s adventure thrills such skiing, hiking and biking, BusinessWire reported. Beirut in Lebanon was the second most searched destination, with a 137 percent rise. According to the sites data, the Middle Eastern city’s new “must see” image with its Parisian architecture and its location over the Mediterranean peaked traveller’s interest. Other cities including; Macau in China followed Beirut with a 107 percent increase in search hits, Seoul in South Korea received a 104 percent search rise while Doha in Qatar received a 67 percent increase in search hits. Quebec city receives highest search hits on Skyscanner Source = e-Travel Blackboard: N.J
With DFAT and PATA having just downgraded their travel advisories to Japan, Experience Japan founder Mihoko Hirashima called the establishment of the venture “extremely timely”.As well as having a strong focus on skiing, the new brand will offer Japan-bound Australians a range of travel products comprising various accommodation options, culture oriented and special interest programmes and by the end of August, a vast selection of fully escorted tours. Popular domestic air passes, JAL Air Pass and One World Yokoso Visit Japan, and Rail Pass product will also be handled by the business. Ms Hirashima gained her reputation as a Japan travel expert during her time as business development manager with Travel Japan by HIS. Australians interested in travelling to Japan have a new offering following the launch this week of ‘Experience Japan’, a company dedicated to promoting and providing travel to the country. Experience Japan’s Mihoko Hirashima Source = e-Travel Blackboard: M.H
Source = e-Travel Blackboard: N.J AirAsia has announced a new supplemental collaboration agreement (SA) with Malaysia Airlines that will see the two airlines explore collaboration to increase savings and boost efficiencies.Announced today, AirAsia said the carrier and its subsidiary AirAsiaX will work with Malaysia Airlines to not only translate cooperation into benefits for shareholders, consumers and Malaysia in general but also counteract challenges brought by the Asean Open Skies arrangement launching in 2015.The carrier’s chief executive Tony Fernandes said the agreement provides the carrier with “focus and prioritisation” to target “enormous growth potential” in the low-cost sector.“The MOUs also provide a platform for the three airlines to move towards the implementation phase,” Mr Fernandes said. In regards to the ASEAN Open Skies agreement the airline’s chief added, “We are very conscious of the increasingly more competitive environment, given ASEAN Open Skies, and have been heartened by the meeting of minds between the three airlines in progressing the collaboration efforts which will set us in good stead for the future”.As well as targeting savings and growth, the airlines said they will also look at cost of fuel, insurance, IT, communications and aircraft support and repair services.In line with the agreement, Mr Fernandes’ airline Tune Air announced it will also support the agreement by revoking a share swap with Khazanah Nasional Berhad announced last year.The airline’s director Dato’ Kamarudin Meranun explained the airline continues to “believe in ability of the collaboration” and expects the three companies to create a sector that will be “better prepared in facing” competitive environments. “In the eight months since the CCF was launched, we have seen good progress in furthering the collaboration,” he concluded. “Even with the unwinding of the share swap, which is to remove any distraction from ongoing efforts at the three airlines, we expect the collaboration initiatives to continue and we will do everything in our capacity as major shareholders of AirAsia to support this. “Although the share swap has to be unwound, the collaboration over the past eight months has brought MAS and AirAsia closer together. “Ten years of non-collaboration and unnecessary struggle between us had come to an end and we are now able to focus on our markets and core competencies.”
Philippine Airlines 777 Source = e-Travel Blackboard: P.T Philippine Airlines (PR) will employ Boeing 777-300ER aircraft for all Australian flights from 30 June, enhancing in-flight quality and comfort. Departing Sydney and Melbourne bound for Manila, the airline’s flagship aircraft are fitted with avant-garde features such as lie-flat beds in business class and back-of-seat entertainment systems throughout the plane. The B777’s offer more cabin space and greater fuel efficiency than the current aircraft being used on Australian routes. New flight schedules will accompany the improved flight experience; with services from Sydney and Melbourne to Manila on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. According to a release by the airline, there will be departures throughout the week and the ability to fly non-stop from both Sydney and Melbourne. The B777 have a pax capacity of 370 across two classes; 42 seats in Mabuhay Class (business) and 328 in Fiesta Class (economy). The cabin interior is presented in a coastal theme reflecting the oceanic scenery of the Philippines.
Finnair has announced its intent to codeshare with American Airlines (AA), British Airways (BA) and Iberia (IB) on the trio’s transatlantic joint business agreement.As part the partnership, Finnair will adds its AY code on selected AA, BA and IB flights between North America and Europe, while AA, BA and IB will also add their codes to Finnair’s daily flights between New York and Helsinki.Together, the group will operate up to 102 daily round trips between North America and Europe to up to 42 gateways on either of the Atlantic.As well as additional codeshare services between the two regions, the group will also allow members of the four airlines’ frequent flyer programs to earn points or miles on the new codeshare flights and dedicated support teams for customers transferring at seven of the airlines’ hubs: New York JFK, London Heathrow, Madrid, Chicago, Miami, Dallas and Los Angeles.Finnair senior vice president of commercial Allister Paterson said the carrier’s participation in the group would increase its portfolio of destinations and open the US to “a new network of potential travellers”.The transatlantic joint business was established by AA, BA and IB in October 2010.Source = e-Travel Blackboard: N.J. L-R: IAG CEO Willie Walsh, Finnair Senior Vice President Commercial Allister Paterson and American Airlines CEO Tom Horton.
The military junta ruling the country said that move would help create a “favourable climate for tourism. The decision was made after complaints from the tourism industry that the curfew negatively impacted on the country’s economy. The military previously imposed a nationwide curfew from midnight to 5am, after it overthrew the government last month, the ABC reported. Source = ETB News: Tom Neale The curfew remains in Bangkok and the rest of the country. Thailand has ended a curfew in the major resorts in Pattaya, Phuket and Koh Samui.
To utilise Parramatta City’s development boom, Pan Pacific Hotels have announced plans for a multi-million dollar extension of PARKROYAL Parramatta in Sydney.The redevelopment will cost AU$25 million, and it will commence in March this year and make PARKROYAL Parramatta the largest hotel in Parramatta, boasting 286 guestrooms by June 2016.With Parramatta City set for an AU$8 billion building investment over the next five years, the city’s skyline will be dramatically reshaped by over 32 new residential, commercial and key public features.PARKROYAL Parramatta’s extension is a timely response to growing business demands in the city, with the 15-month project involving the construction of a new seven-storey tower.The addition of four meeting rooms will bring PARKROYAL Parramatta’s total number of conference and meeting spaces to 12 rooms, making it the largest meetings and events hotel in Parramatta.Pan Pacific Hotels Group area general manager Oceania Craig Bond, said that there has been great reception for all three PARKROYAL properties in Sydney and Melbourne.“The development of PARKROYAL Parramatta is in line with our strategy to grow our brands in key destinations across Asia Pacific. The multi-million dollar investment also highlights PARKROYAL’s contribution to Parramatta City Council’s Economic Development Strategy,” Mr Bond said.Elsewhere in Sydney, Pan Pacific Hotels Group owns and manages PARKROYAL Darling Harbour, Sydney which was named ‘Redeveloped Accommodation Hotel of the Year” at the 2013 Tourism Accommodation Australia NSW Awards for Excellence.Source = ETB Travel News: Lewis Wiseman
Hawaiian Airlines unveils new uniformsHawaiian Airlines unveils new uniformsHawaiian Airlines, Hawai’i’s largest and longest-serving carrier, has unveiled new uniforms for more than 5,000 front-line employees including Airport Customer Service, Cabin Service, Cargo, In-Flight, Line Service, Maintenance, Ramp, and Supply.The new designs are a collaboration among Affinity Apparel, renowned Hilo-based design firm Sig Zane Kaiao, and a committee of 40 front-line Hawaiian employees representing a variety of job functions. Employees from each work group revealed the uniforms on Nov. 11 at the airline’s Runway to Runway fashion show during Honolulu Fashion Week Presented by Hawaiian Airlines at the Hawai‘i Convention Center.The print’s theme, Ku Makou or Together We Stand, was inspired by “talk-story” sessions between designers and committee members. Principals Sig Zane and Kuha’o Zane explored the concept of working together to reach one’s common destination in the context of voyaging, community and family to create a narrative print holding deep resonance for employees.“Ku Makou means we stand together as one – one family, one team, one movement together,” said Sig Zane. “It’s an honour to embark on this journey with Hawaiian Airlines as they enter a new chapter of unifying the company with a common thread.”The print’s lehua blossom and ‘ohe kapala (bamboo stamps) comprise a design story carried through every piece of each work group’s uniform, as applied in different scales and tonalities to prints, linings and woven elements.“It was very important for us to create something that would represent Hawai‘i wherever we fly,” said Avi Mannis, senior vice president of marketing at Hawaiian Airlines. “Our committee and designers spent countless hours contributing their ideas and values, and we’re excited to share that with our guests from around the world.”Hawaiian Airlines unveils new uniformsIn-Flight The Ku Makou print comprises two main elements: ‘ohe kapala (bamboo stamps encompassing intricate designs often used to create repetitive patterns in traditional kapa decoration), and the lehua blossom (a native Hawaiian plant with many culturally symbolic meanings that is often used as adornments in hula or other ceremonies). Colours incorporate the distinctive purple associated with Hawaiian Airlines as well as the pacific blue of the current uniforms, which have been in place since 2008.“The lehua truly is the symbol of the Hawaiian people,” Sig Zane said. “In all of our legends, myths and chants, the lehua is strong and prominent.”In keeping with Hawaiian’s unique design practice, the uniform design marries cultural tradition with bold contemporary lines and cutting edge, high-performance materials. Affinity Apparel worked with the uniform committee closely to understand employees’ work needs and pick high-performance materials to complement each uniform piece.“We were honoured to work alongside talented designers and passionate employees to outfit Hawaiian’s front-line staff with fashionable and functional garments,” said Marcia Hischke, vice president of product development at Affinity Apparel.The next phase of Hawaiian’s uniform program includes on-the-job fit and wear testing by uniformed employees beginning in January, followed by a full roll out in late 2017 to coincide with the entry into service of Hawaiian’s first A321neo long-haul aircraft. Hawaiian Airlinesbook your flights here Source = Hawaiian Airlines
Source = Crowne Plaza Christchurch Crowne Plaza Christchurch wins silver in national awardCrowne Plaza Christchurch wins silver in national awardThe design team behind the stunning new Crowne Plaza Christchurch has won a silver award in a national competition.New Zealand design agency Designworks received the silver accolade in the Best Design Awards for its innovative and fresh design approach for the hotel.The company was a finalist in the hotly-contested Hospitality Spatial Design category.Designworks architect Naomi Rushmer said there was an extremely high standard of entries in the category.“Our entry for Crowne Plaza Christchurch was in the notoriously tough hospitality category with large entry numbers,” she said.“To win a silver award on the night was a great result.”The Best Awards are run by The Designers Institute of New Zealand, and Ms Rushmer said Designworks had a “very successful” night with wins across Spatial, Graphic, Best Effect, Product and Ngā Aho categories.“The awards are a wonderful opportunity to showcase the new hotel design to a wider audience and we’re delighted with the end result,” she said.Designworks focused on delivering a creative guest experience for Crowne Plaza Christchurch based around being welcomed into the property, and how that flowed into relaxation, eating and working across the entire hotel.“As the city’s largest hotel, attracting locals and those from across the globe, the design needed to deliver an exciting and unique experience maximizing the 360-degree views of the Port Hills, Southern Alps and Pacific Ocean,” said Ms Rushmer.Eye-catching features around the 204-room upscale hotel include a lobby space featuring timber slats wrapping the walls and a large freeform mesh ceiling feature, inspired by the winding Avon River, glowing over the reception pods.The space connects to the adjacent lobby bar through a striking doubled-sided central fireplace, and a grand open staircase connects to first floor dining, library and meeting rooms.Full-height windows flood the ground floor with natural light during the day, and dramatic lighting brings the spaces to life at night. The design detail even drills down to feature carpets and rugs drawing inspiration from the braided rivers and topography of the South Island.Standout design features in rooms include glazed bathrooms (with privacy blinds) that are open to the rooms and changing vistas, and large window seats in every room framing expansive views.Crowne Plaza Christchurch General Manager Reinier Eulink said the hotel team and owners were “delighted” with the world-class design and congratulated Designworks on the silver award.
British Airways reveals Top 18 for 2018British Airways reveals Top 18 for 2018British Airways has revealed its annual travel predictions for the year ahead selecting the top 18 must-see destinations for 2018.Highly-anticipated sporting events, new routes and TV programmes all influence the top travel predictions. The latest season of Game of Thrones has put Croatia firmly on the map, and a number of far-flung destinations rank among the top picks, including Barbados and Muscat.As one of the most desirable holiday destinations, the Seychelles is a must-see for 2018. Famed as some of the most idyllic islands on the planet, the Seychelles has something for everyone, whether you’re a sun-seeker looking for serious relaxation, or a thrill-seeker wanting to scuba dive or trek through the jungle. From March 24, British Airways will be the only airline to offer direct flights from the UK.The ever-evolving and constantly innovative Toronto also features as a hotspot to watch. Canada celebrated its 150th anniversary in 2017 and, with Toronto leading the celebrations, more people are thinking of the city as one of Canada’s best destinations.Noella Ferns, British Airways’ regional general manager, Greater China and the Philippines, said: “Savvy holiday-makers are always looking for top tips to explore the latest and coolest destinations. We’ve built up years of experience to offer deals to suit all travellers, from city breaks, to fly drives to multi-city tours.”Customers can use British Airways Holidays to tailor-make their itinerary; stopping off at cities around the globe, adding car hire where needed and booking accommodation from a huge choice of hotels.1.SEYCHELLESA paradise for honeymooners, families and sun worshippers, the Seychelles is famous for its beautiful beaches, crystal clear waters and colourful coral reefs. Made up of 115 diverse individual islands, there is something on offer for holidaymakers seeking ultimate relaxation or adventure, from snorkeling and scuba diving to wandering through exotic markets or relaxing on the blissful shores of the numerous white beaches. From March, British Airways is the online airline to fly directly to the Seychelles from the UK.2.MALTADiscover remarkable history, glistening hidden coves and timeless villages by visiting Malta, one of the smallest counties in the world and a melting pot of Mediterranean culture. Made up of three tiny Islands on the southern edge of Europe, a must-visit is Valetta, Malta’s capital and a 2018 European Capital of Culture. This remarkable city is small and easy to explore on foot, bursting with ancient palaces and baroque churches.3.RUSSIAFrom party capital Moscow to culture capital St Petersburg, Russia is a brash, exciting and fascinating place to visit blessed with so many cultural and national treasures that it would take several trips to see them all. Take advantage of British Airways flights to Moscow and St Petersburg, which are both proud host cities for the 2018 Fifa World Cup.4.CROATIACroatia’s rare blend of glamour and authenticity have made it one of Europe’s hottest holiday destinations. Customers can fly British Airways to the fashionable setting of Game of Thrones, Dubrovnik, to the coastal city of Pula and to the capital Zagreb. Festival fans will be delighted to know that, with no Glastonbury happening in 2018, British Airways flies directly to Split. Situated at the heart of the Dalmatian coast, this city is bursting with energy and a charming Mediterranean vibe set against a backdrop of pine-fringed coastline and mountainous landscape, and is a convenient driving distance to Hideout festival, a leading European music festival.5.INVERNESS, SCOTLANDA small and compact city, Inverness is the gateway to the Scottish Highlands, a diverse and spectacular region of wilderness renowned for its lochs, sweeping glens, imposing mountains and rugged coastline. Ideal for adventurous holidaymakers, the highlands offer mountaineering and climbing during the summer, and skiing at Aviemore in the winter months. For a more relaxing day trip, Speyside is located just south of Inverness and has the largest concentration of whisky distilleries in Scotland. With British Airways offering direct daily flights to Inverness, customers can be in Scotland in no time.6.TALLINN, ESTONIA2018 will mark the 100th Birthday of the Republic of Estonia, with celebrations aplenty across the country. These will be lead by the capital, Tallinn, a vibrant city whose historic centre has a UNESCO World Heritage status. Fusing modern and medieval with its ancient cobbled streets, glass skyscrapers, baroque palaces and trendy cafes, Tallinn is a fairy-tale city which is perfect for a weekend break.7.LISBON, PORTUGALThe Portuguese city of Lisbon sits on several hills rising from the northern banks of the Tagus river. A beautiful and historic city, a mini-break to Lisbon offers traditional colourful culture and beautiful beaches alongside a modern foodie scene and busy nightlife amid picturesque, pastel coloured surroundings.8.MYKONOS, GREECEA firm favourite amongst sun seekers, Mykonos is a must-visit due to its picture perfect beauty, fascinating history, spectacular beaches, cultured old town and white-washed villages. By day, holidaymakers enjoy snorkeling, diving and exploring the hidden coves and beachfront bars whilst waiting for night to fall, when some of Europe’s best nightclubs come to life. British Airways offers both flights and holidays to this designer island.9.COPENHAGEN, DENMARKBudding explorers must take a visit to Scandinavia’s coolest capital. Innovation is the theme here in Denmark’s capital city, which is home to a thriving design scene, new and old architecture, quirky bakeries and pop-up bars. Perfect for a long weekend, visitors should take a stroll into Tivoli Gardens, stop by and see The Little Mermaid by the coast and relax by the harbour.10.SANTIAGO, CHILEStretching 4,300km from the driest desert in the world to massive glacial fields, few countries can boast the rich contrast of Chile. Santiago provides the perfect base, a colourful and cultural feast for the senses. By day the sights, vineyards, coastline and mountains are all within easy reach of this city, where by night the streets are thronging with partygoers. British Airways now offers direct flights to Chile’s leafy capital.11.BARBADOSDiscover the best of Barbados with British Airways direct flights. Ringed by glittering azure waters, white-sand beaches fringed with palm trees and lush greenery, this genteel island makes for a truly special holiday. Those looking for action will find exhilarating watersports, whilst those looking for relaxation will love the sandy shores and gentle surf. Soak up the history in Bridgetown, enjoy a spot of afternoon tea at a 17th-century plantation before heading to the legendary Fish Fry for dinner. Wander the scene with a Barbadian rum whilst enjoying the energetic Calypso background music.12.TORONTOTreat yourself with a trip to Toronto, the biggest city in Canada and a metropolis with fantastic art, culture, sightseeing, restaurants and nightlife. Time your visit during the star-studded Toronto Film Festival, which draws global crowds and is one of the largest publicly attended film festivals in the world attracting over 480,000 people annually. With direct flights from London to Toronto year round, find your way to a vibrant city which is perfect during sunny summer days or snowy winter evenings.13.NASHVILLE, TENNESSEEA brand new route to Music City will be music to travellers’ ears, as from May 2018 British Airways will be travelling directly from Europe to the home of country music and good living. Discover Nashville through its streets, stories, and the stars on its pavements. Must see’s include the famous Bluebird Café and The Country Music Hall of Fame, whilst must do’s include a whiskey tour of Jack Daniel’s distillery followed by a huge traditional Southern meal of delicious crispy fried chicken and shrimp.14.NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANAIt has never been easier to get to New Orleans; the birthplace of jazz, rock ‘n’ roll and R&B. Famous for its Mardi Gras, make the most of the city by visiting during the historical celebrations to catch the popular parades and electric atmosphere. Plan a visit to the architecturally fascinating French Quarter, followed by an evening out on the monumental Bourbon Street.15.NEW YORKWake up in the city that never sleeps by treating yourself to a long weekend in New York in 2018. With an iconic skyline, energetic nightlife, bounty of museums and endless shops, a trip to the Big Apple is guaranteed to leave you dazzled, and you’ll find it easy to see why it’s been voted The Best City in the World.16.MUSCAT, OMANThose seeking out the modern face of Arabia while still wanting to sense its ancient roots will enjoy the magic of Muscat, Oman’s charming capital city. The balance between tradition and modernity is well established, with medieval forts, palaces and bazaars sitting beside modern malls and opulent resorts. Visit the Mutrah Souq where Muscat comes to life with in clouds of incense, glittering gold jewelry and precious Omani artefacts.17.OAKLAND, CALIFORNIAOakland’s booming tourism this year, particularly among millennial travellers, has raised its profile and helped it hit the hotlist for 2018. The city offers museums and historical sites, a vibrant arts scene, innovative restaurants and bars, and boutique shops. Catch the train for a short journey to San Francisco, a small city which is big on food, eclectic sights and history.18.SEOUL, SOUTH KOREAThe futuristic capital of South Korea, where modern skyscrapers and pop culture meet Buddhist temples and street markets, is a must-visit for 2018. Explore the fascinating culture of Seoul in one of the most authentic ways possible – through its local cuisine. For those who prefer an activity holiday, hiking is a popular activity in Seoul, and there are world-class golf course and ski resorts within driving distance. Snow sport lovers should plan to visit in February to tie in with the Winter Olympic Games being held in PyeongChang.Source = British Airways
Christchurch nominated as top destination in New ZealandChristchurch has been nominated in an annual consumer poll conducted by Experience Oz + NZ for the title as one of New Zealand’s Top 10 Destinations. ‘New Zealand’s Top 10 Destinations to Experience,’ a major international and domestic poll now in its fifth year, receives thousands of votes with the aim of highlighting ideal travel destinations. Speaking on the nomination, Christchurch Mayor Lianne Dalziel is delighted that the city has been nominated for the ‘New Zealand Top 10 Destinations to Experience’. “Christchurch is re-emerging as a destination in its own right.There are plenty of exciting things happening here, the central city is really coming back to life and the internationally renowned Christchurch Adventure Park is set to reopen next month after the Port Hills fires. “It really is a place that has something for everyone. As the international gateway to the South Island of New Zealand, we know that it’s the iconic imagery of the South Island that encourages most visitors to come to New Zealand in the first place!” If you’ve visited Christchurch in the past, be prepared to get blown away. With an immense amount of change already underway visitors can take full advantage of the new dining, accommodation and cultural opportunities on offer. Experience Oz Marketing Manager Matt Hobbs said ‘ Top 10 Destinations to Experience’ consumer poll is great for highlighting the best kept secrets of different regions, past entries of the poll have helped put some of New Zealand’s smaller destinations on into the international travel consciousness. “As it stands today, Christchurch is something of a dining mecca, with a strong coffee culture and numerous 5-star dining opportunities to delight the culinary aficionado,” Mr Hobbs said. In all, the city’s positive vibe and ability to pick itself up and get on with things while re-branding itself creatively in the process coupled with its plentiful surrounding adventure and natural highlights makes Christchurch one of the truly more unique destinations to travel. To view all of New Zealand’s nominated destinations visit: https://www.experienceoz.com.au/en/nz-top-destinations-2017 Experience Oz is the leading source for travel experiences in Australia and New Zealand, providing detailed travel advice and a comprehensive catalogue of over 3,000 tours, attractions and activities across both countries.Source = Experience Oz + NZ
A new mascot will join the DOREMI family on MSC SeaviewMSC Cruises award-winning family offeringNew Family Explorer Club brings a fun new twist to discovering destinationsBrand new DORE SUMMER Mascot premieres aboard MSC SeaviewExclusive Chicco MSC Seaside ship toy for young guestsFamily holidays can be a challenging time for parents travelling with children. Planning a holiday around the needs and preferences of different generations comes with a host of complications, from varying interests to differing energy levels. This is why many parents opt for cruise holidays, which offer a range of options for them to personalise their travels to fit individual needs. MSC Cruises has further enriched the family offering including new activities for the Company’s new flagship, MSC Seaview, that launches this June.As a family-owned company, MSC Cruises has always put the needs of families at the heart of the cruise experience and the award-winning family offering has plenty to keep the whole family entertained this summer.NEW: Must-See Sights Designed With Families in MindThe Family Explorer Club was conceived as a way to involve both kids and parents equally in discovering the sights ashore with tailor-made excursions to meet the needs of the whole family. These interactive tours are designed to keep children entertained whilst also providing an enriching experience for adults. The tours are not simplified versions of existing excursions; they are a brand new way of discovering destinations together. Acting as detectives and explorers, children play a key role in accomplishing a unique mission on each tour, inspired by the history of the destination and featuring an iconic historical character, symbolic of the city or location. Equipped with interactive explorer maps, parents help read the instructions and start the mission, where kids receive stickers for every task they accomplish, serving as a great souvenir at the end of the trip.Children and parents are given the opportunity to unleash their imaginations and enjoy solving games and riddles together, while experienced staff, trained guides and Storytellers will lead each tour and be available for any assistance needed.Kids benefit from half-price tickets in tour groups made up entirely of families. The excursions typically start later in the morning and last no longer than 3 to 4 hours.The Family Explorer Club will be available on ships sailing in the Mediterranean and Northern Europe.NEW: The Ship of the SummerFor the launch of MSC Seaview in June 2018, MSC Cruises is unveiling an ever-expanding repertoire of activities for children of all ages to enjoy. This will be the ‘ship of the summer’ and will dedicate its onboard programme to this theme through interactive games and new characters. This new next-generation ship will welcome approximately 1,300 children on each cruise this summer.A new mascot will join the DOREMI family on MSC Seaview, the aptly named DORE SUMMER, an 11-year-old surfer mascot who will feature prominently in a new exploration game for kids called ‘Find Dore Summer’ around the ship, promising lots of prizes for young guests.Other summer-themed games include a social media challenge for teens to participate in and a Summer Selfie Contest ,which will see juniors aboard MSC Seaview compete to complete a list of 30 must-have selfies around the ship.Joining the extensive list of existing MSC Cruises children’s activities, MSC Seaview will also offer a new live family show for parents and their kids to participate in, the DOREMI Summer Game, where they can challenge each other to name popular songs and videos, as well as the DOREMI Summer Parade, which will take place every sea day around the pool.Another addition will be brand new episodes of “Kelly & Kloe on board … a Seaview vacation,” the popular web series filmed on MSC Seaview during Summer 2018. All young guests on board will be given a chance to audition to become the next star of the series.MSC Seaview will be great for the family holidays as it offers MSC Cruises biggest kids and youth areas, totalling more than 700m2, featuring both a Chicco baby room with all the facilities needed for younger guests and two LEGO rooms with an island-themed room for kids 3-6 and a pirate-themed room for kids 7-11.NEW: Souvenirs of an unforgettable cruise experiencePartners LEGO® and Chicco have been bringing their experience to the forefront of the Kids Club experience for many years now and 2018 sees not only their return on board MSC Seaview, but also the launch of the recent Chicco MSC Seaside ship toy for babies and toddlers. The Chicco MSC Cruises ship toy comes complete with realistic ship horn sounds and lively Caribbean-inspired music, suitable for ages 2-6. This new Chicco toy joins the previously launched MSC Meraviglia LEGO ship toy, a hugely popular souvenir.LEGO and Chicco offer a range of Chicco’s outstanding products available to families across the fleet, with the Chicco Baby Club reserved for the youngest cruise guests under the age of three, making it easy for parents with young babies to still enjoy a holiday. The partnership with LEGO means families can enjoy playrooms and entertainment from the world’s favourite toy producer and children can even get a LEGO® Master Builder Diploma after participating in a LEGO Experience Day.For more information hereSource = MSC Cruises
Street food is an essential part of an authentic journey in Thailand and Bangkok’s Chinatown is one of the best places to try unique local delicacies.SALA Hospitality launches ‘SALA Journeys’ guide seriesTravellers invited to explore three sala boutique neighbourhoods through the new “12 hours in…” experiential seriesDesigned with the independent traveller in mind, SALA Hospitality launches SALA Journeys – neighourhood guides to age old traditions, authentic dining establishments and lesser-known sights, offering a window to the true heart of the destination.SALA Journeys invite guests to explore the locale of three sala boutique destinations – Wat Ket in Chiang Mai, Rattanakosin in Bangkok, and Ayutthaya – in a “12 hours in …” experiential series compiled by the SALA team.“The sala boutique experience is reflected in SALA Journeys which showcase the destination through personal recommendations,” said Volkert Geertsen, Cluster General Manager of sala boutique.All three guides have been tried and tested by team members of the respective properties, many of whom are local to the area.Explore the flower market in Thailand, open around the clock and situated just 10 minutes from sala rattanakosin Bangkok.Starting in the current capital city, 12 hours in Rattanakosin explores Bangkok’s old town, inviting guests on a self-guided walking tour starting from sala rattanakosin Bangkok. The itinerary includes some of the classics – such as Wat Po, Wat Arun, and the legend behind their respective giants – as well as some local secrets including an unassuming roadside cart which has been selling soy milk pudding and grass jelly desserts for over 50 years.Best kept secret: hungry visitors jostle for a seat on plastic chairs to try this uncle’s desserts which he has been selling for more than half a century.SALA Journeys continues upstream and back in time to an ancient capital. In addition to highlighting the must-sees of the historic town’s 500-plus temples, the 12 hours in Ayutthaya guide starts at sala ayutthaya and includes a stop at the quirky Million Toys Museum, as well as providing helpful suggestions on Ayutthaya’s culinary symbols – roti saimai, boat noodles, and giant river prawns.Travellers may be more familiar with the ruins of UNESCO Historic City of Ayutthaya, but a toys museum promises a journey back in time, through borders and across galaxies.Further north still, 12 hours in Wat Ket unearths cultural and culinary treasures in sala lanna Chiang Mai’s riverside neighbourhood. From dinosaur-shaped dough sticks and herb-packed sai oua northern sausages to a famed young coconut pie and khao soi chicken noodle curry, travellers are in for a delicious adventure. Guests will also learn about the love story that built a bridge, as well as have the opportunity to delve into the local arts scene.An art collector and a great source of information on the local art scene uses his café, located steps from sala lanna Chiang Mai, as a platform to showcase local talents.“We are excited to let our guests experience the destination as we do – SALA Journeys are designed by our team for guests to see, hear, smell, and taste the best of the destination,” said Nicolas Reschke, Group Director of Business Development, SALA Hospitality Group.Plans are underway to expand the SALA Journeys series to include interviews of local personalities, detailed reviews of local shops, and curated lists of recommended activities for different travellers.The launch of SALA Journeys follows the hospitality group’s efforts to bring guests closer to the destination, allowing them to discover the cultural and culinary nuances that surround them. Last year, signature bicycle tours were launched at sala rattanakosin Bangkok, sala ayutthaya, and sala lanna Chiang Mai. In addition, a “Taste of Place” culinary programme across SALA properties celebrates the unique flavours and cultural heritage accompanying the dishes.To stay updated with SALA news, as well as to download the SALA Journeys, visit www.salahospitality.com/en/blog-sala.12 hours in Rattanakosin (Bangkok)12 hours in Wat Ket (Chiang Mai)12 hours in AyutthayaFor more information, email email@example.com or visit www.salahospitality.comSource = SALA Hospitality Group
In order to boost tourism in the state, J&K Tourism Department is organising road shows and participating in travel marts across the nation, for interacting with stakeholders like Travel & Tour operators as well as media persons. In this direction a high profile delegation of J&K Tourism officials consisting of Secretary Tourism Farooq A Shah, Director Tourism Jammu, R K Verma, and Director Tourism Kashmir, Mahmood A Shah, CEO Yousmarg Development Authority, Bakshi Javid Humayun, and Financial Advisor, J&K Tourism, Manav Gupta, among others are in New Delhi to attend TTF. They also participated in a J&K Tourism Roadshow at The Lalit where leading travel and tour operators, travel association heads, and representatives of the media attended.The Secretary Tourism Farooq A shah while interacting with the travel & tour operators announced that an aggressive 360 degree promotional campaign is being launched to create awareness about the mesmerising destinations of all the three regions of the state – Jammu, Kashmir & Ladakh. The Secretary Tourism, who is also MD JKTDC, had comprehensive brain storming session with the travel trade representatives wherein he announced that as part of an aggressive marketing campaign 10 food festivals, travel trade roadshows & golf road shows are being organised in prominent and important leisure and MICE markets. The Secretary said that in all these cities road shows will be held in order to boost tourism in J&K state in upcoming summer and prevailing winter season by showcasing the immense tourism potential of the state. Prominent citizens, media and relevant travel trade bodies will be invited to these road shows. The Secretary also said that the department is organising different events to attract tourists to Gulmarg, Pahalgam, Patnitop & other destinations. He said that Hon’ble former Chief Minister, Late Mufti Mahammad Sayeed’s vision and dream to see J&K as one of the best tourism destinations in the world can be realised only when all in Government and private sector in the state co-ordinate and co-operate for providing best service, safe atmosphere and traditional hospitality to the visiting tourists, in keeping with the culture of hospitality inherent in the people of J&K.Announcing the new slogan of J&K Tourism – See J&K in a new light, Farooq Shah invited Media, Travel & Tour operators & general people as a whole to see J&K in a new light – as a paradise for trekking with some of the best trekking circuits in the country, a shopper’s paradise with world famous products like Pashmina Shawl, Carpets, Dry Fruits, Saffron, Paper Mache & beautiful wood carvings, and as an ultimate natural destination which can offer the domestic tourists an experience better than any European destination. The state also has some of the best pilgrimage sites – famous Mata Vaishno Devi shrine and other popular temples in Jammu region, Muslim shrines, Gurdwaras and ancient temples in Kashmir valley, and countless monasteries in Ladakh.Stressing upon the slogan See J&K in a new light, the Director of Kashmir, Mahmood A Shah gave a mesmerising pictorial presentation on the high altitude lakes of Kashmir which are a whopping 2106 in number. Mahmood Shah said that these high altitude lakes offer an out of the world experience to the travellers & said that the state has many beautiful lakes other than Dal & Wullar to offer an unforgettable experience to the travellers.Farooq A shah further added that in the water bodies like Nageen Lake, Dal Lake and Jhelum river possibility of sustainable water cruise is being explored. The Secretary Tourism elaborated on the huge potential for Golf Tourism, especially when combined with conferences, conventions and events, as the state has excellent golf courses as well as convention facilities.Farooq Shah also launched J&K Tourism/JKTDC Calendar for 2016, highlighting the beautiful tourism destinations of the state.J&K Tourism has a big delegation at TTF New Delhi, with more than 50 private stakeholders, along with the Tourism Department, JKTDC, and SKICC.Next week J&K Tourism is participating in an even bigger way at OTM Mumbai, the biggest travel tradeshow in the country, with over 150 stakeholders from the state expected to participate.
The Union Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi has given its approval for the much awaited Civil Aviation Policy, the first integrated policy that has been brought out by the Ministry of Civil Aviation.The National Civil Aviation Policy 2016 was released by P. Ashok Gajapathi Raju, the Minister of Civil Aviation. The policy is comprehensive, covering 22 areas of the Civil Aviation sector. Speaking on the occasion, Raju said that the centre-piece of the policy is to make regional air connectivity a reality. The policy also aims towards affordable and convenient flying for the masses while establishing an integrated ecosystem which will lead to significant growth of the civil aviation sector to promote tourism, employment and balanced regional growth, enhance regional connectivity through fiscal support and infrastructure development and also the ease of doing business through deregulation, simplified procedures and e-governance.Rajiv Nayan Choubey, Secretary, Civil Aviation (MoCA), Government of India, informed that MoCA has capped one-hour flight at a subsidised rate of Rs 2500. Moreover, the MoCA has replaced the decade-old 5/20 rule with 20 aircrafts to fly internationally. The government has also assured its stand on Open Sky Policy for countries over destinations to 5,000 km from New Delhi on reciprocal basis.The policy aims at the following:a. India to become third largest civil aviation market by 2022 from ninthb. Domestic ticketing to grow from 8 crore in 2015 to 30 crore by 2022c. Airports having scheduled commercial flights to increase from 77 in 2016 to 127 by 2019d. Cargo volumes to increase by 4 times to 10 million tonnes by 2017e. Taking flying to masses- enabling Indians to fly at Rs 2500 per hour under Regional Connectivity Scheme at unserved airportsf. Requirement of five years of domestic flying for starting international operations removedg. Flexible and liberalised ‘open skies’ and ‘codeshare’ agreementsh. Incentives to MRO sector to develop as hub for South Asiai. Ensuring availability of quality certified 3.3 lakh skilled personnel by 2025j. Development of green-field airports and heliportsk. Enhancing ease of doing business through deregulation, simplified procedures and e-governancel. Promoting ‘Make in India’ in Civil Aviation sectorIndustry Reactions:Palash Roy Chowdhury, Chairman, FICCI Civil Aviation CommitteeIt is outstanding that the Cabinet has cleared the National Civil Aviation Policy (NCAP). It’s a progressive policy-framework towards ensuring a safe and sustainable development of the aviation sector in India. The comprehensive, well thought out policy will pave the way for a balanced aviation growth in the country.Kousik Bhattacharya, Head-Marketing and B2C Business, VIAThe extra baggage allowance will be an extra cushion for travellers, especially for family segment travellers. The reduction in flight cancellation fees should help boost the trust of consumers and facilitate more airline booking, especially for short-haul destinations where the gap between railway cancellation fees and air cancellation fees has been extremely high till date. The reduction in flight cancellation fee will help in mitigating the gap and thus, get traction from the high-end railway users who were earlier sceptical about the high cancellation charges in flights.Indiver Rastogi, President & Country Head – Corporate Travel, Thomas Cook (India) LtdWe applaud the Government’s new Aviation Policy, truly a game changer on multiple levels: expanding the market by extending access/connectivity, affordability and opportunity for the airline, travel and tourism industry. The Rs 2500 cap on one hour flights and carrier incentives ensures affordability, making last mile connectivity a reality for Regional and Middle India. The move from 5/20 to 0/20 is a focussed initiative aimed at encouraging fresh entrants and infusing fresh blood into the aviation industry, ensuring a catalysing effect for travel and tourism as a whole. Focus on airports and infrastructure creates a strong and invaluable base to build on – clear intent of the Government’s long term focus on the sector- clearly music to all key stakeholders in our Travel and Tourism Industry!Amar Abrol, CEO, AirAsia IndiaThe National Civil Aviation Policy is a progressive one and as a nation we are one step closer to strengthening and growing aviation in India. As far as our strategy goes, ours is an ‘India first’ strategy. The various changes that have been proposed to the policy will enable us to live up to our promise “Now Everyone Can Fly’. The objective of taking flying to the masses by making it affordable and convenient is well thought through by the government.We look forward to welcoming many first time fliers as we grow our footprint in India. Though a 0/0 or 0/10 would have been more than welcome, the amendments that have been made to the policy are encouraging. The NCAP gives us clear direction to ramp up our operations in India and grow our business in the domestic segment before we scale our operations to fly international. We will now focus on aggressively investing in India and increasing the fleet size from 6 at present and achieving the target of 20 aircraft. The growth in Aviation has a cascading effect on the economy and AirAsia will contribute to this economic growth in India.
Agents & Brokers Capital Economics Census Bureau Department of Commerce Existing-Home Sales First-Time Homebuyers Home Sales Housing Affordability HUD Jobs Lenders & Servicers Processing Service Providers Unemployment 2011-10-26 Ryan Schuette October 26, 2011 450 Views in Data, Government, Origination, Secondary Market, Servicing New single-family home sales snagged a September updraft to crest at their highest perch in nearly half a year, but remain below sales seen during the same period last year.[IMAGE]The “”Commerce Department””:http://www.commerce.gov/ reported that new residential home sales ticked up to an annual rate of 313,000 on a seasonally adjusted basis, reflecting a 5.7-percent revision above the 296,000-unit rate from August.The median sales price for a new house sold over September came out to $204,400, with the average for the same cresting at $243,900.Regionally, the South saw home sales rise again, climbing above a seasonally adjusted rate 161,000 to hit 179,000. Numbers in the West stopped short of stealing the show but moved a few notches above annual estimates from the previous month. The Midwest and Northeast meanwhile felt the most trouble for their home sales numbers over last month.[COLUMN_BREAK]Analysts commenting on the new home sales numbers framed even the September uptick as unpromising given the historically weak housing market. “”The September headline estimate was not statistically significant,”” “”Patrick Newport””:http://www.ihs.com/capabilities/experts/patrick-newport.aspx, U.S. economist with “”IHS Global Insight””:http://www.ihs.com/, wrote in a widely circulated note, adding that the new home sales numbers suggest “”[t]his is shaping up to be the worst year for housing on record for the single-family housing market.””He cited low job growth, still-tight credit, and a foreclosure glut as reasons for home-sales annual rates from the five quarters, which he dubbed “”the five lowest quarterly readings on record”” since 1963.””Paul Ashworth””:http://www.capitaleconomics.com/staff/global-economics/paul-ashworth.html, chief U.S. economist with consultancy “”Capital Economics””:http://www.capitaleconomics.com/, differed by calling “”the excess supply in the market for new homes├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├é┬ª nowhere near as bad as it was a couple of years ago.””Even so, he said, still-low home sales figures correspond with a bottom seen at the time of the expiration of the federal homebuyer tax credit, and bank-owned properties persist in creating problems for homebuilders.””Eventually we would expect to see new home sales and construction rebound, simply because both are lagging behind the growth in the population,”” he wrote, adding that a “”turnaround in new home sales and construction may still be a couple of years away.””The final word for home sales figures that churned up otherwise positive headlines? Wrote Newport: “”Bottom line: Conditions in this market are really bad.”” Share New Home Sales Strike a 5.7% September Stride
Share “”CoreLogic””:http://www.corelogic.com/, a leading residential property information, analytics, and services provider headquartered in California, announced its acquisition of Case-Shiller from Fiserv, Inc. The acquisition closed March 20.In addition to offering the Case-Shiller Indexes–which will be renamed the “”CoreLogic Case-Shiller Indexes””–CoreLogic will continue to offer its own Home Price Index (HPI), the company announced. The S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Indices will retain their brand name, and all reports will continue to be published and distributed on their customary time schedules and in their current formats.Dr. David Stiff, chief economist for Case-Shiller, will continue to supervise the preparation of the CoreLogic Case-Shiller Indexes and will comment on the findings of those indexes. Dr. Mark Fleming, chief economist for CoreLogic, will continue to supervise the preparation of the CoreLogic HPI reports and will comment on those.[COLUMN_BREAK][IMAGE] in Data, Government, Origination, Secondary Market, Servicing April 25, 2013 498 Views Agents & Brokers Attorneys & Title Companies Company News CoreLogic Investors Lenders & Servicers Processing Service Providers 2013-04-25 Tory Barringer CoreLogic Acquires Case-Shiller
Mortgage Insurance Costs Catch Home Shoppers Unaware A new survey released Thursday reveals a growing number of homebuyers have to purchase mortgage insurance (MI) along with their home—and many aren’t prepared for the additional cost.According to research results put out by TD Bank, 37 percent of homeowners who purchased within the last decade required MI. Looking at just the last two years, that number is up to 43 percent, reflecting the troubles buyers are having meeting normal down payment minimums as home prices march up.Of those who have had to go with insurance, 65 percent said the additional premium left them paying a higher monthly payment than they had originally anticipated, and 53 percent reported experiencing a negative impact because of that additional cost, which averages about $100 per month, the bank estimates.”PMI [private mortgage insurance] has had a definitive impact on many home buyers—including making them rethink or delay the purchase of a home in light of not being able to meet monthly mortgage payments,” said Michael Copley, EVP of retail lending at TD Bank.The effects of MI costs are felt the most among Millennial homeowners, 43 percent of whom were not able to make the normal 20 percent down payment and required insurance. Among Gen X-ers, 37 percent of recent buyers have needed MI, while less than a quarter—23 percent—of Baby Boomers have needed it.Millennials were also more likely to say insurance requirements impacted their homebuying decisions, with 30 percent either delaying their purchase or going with a smaller home. Meanwhile, nearly half of that age group said they’ve had to cut back or delay purchases of other items in order to handle the higher cost.With the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) now requiring mortgage insurance for the entire life of its loans, Copley urged would-be buyers to explore all avenues available to them if they’re unable to make a 20 percent down payment.”While FHA loans may be available, home buyers, especially first time buyers, may not realize the options available to them that don’t require PMI insurance,” he said. “Prospective buyers should meet with a lender or financial institution to find a loan solution that meets their needs and monthly budget.” Down Payments FHA Housing Affordability Mortgage Insurance TD Bank 2014-05-30 Tory Barringer Share in Daily Dose, Data, Featured, Headlines, Market Studies, News, Origination May 30, 2014 601 Views
HUD Julián Castro Late Night with Stephen Colbert Vice President 2016-01-11 Staff Writer Castro Adds Fuel to VP Speculation Fire Share HUD Secretary Julián CastroHUD Secretary Julián Castro raised his public profile with an appearance on the Late Show with Stephen Colbert Monday night on the eve of the State of the Union address, furthering speculation that he could be running for vice president on the Democratic ticket.Castro sat down with Colbert to discuss a number of housing-related topics and address VP rumors just one night before President Barack Obama will deliver his final State of the Union Address. Many in the mortgage industry are wondering if the President will address housing policy at all in his speech.In October, Secretary Castro announced his endorsement for former U.S. Secretary of State and Democratic presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton, according to multiple media sources.Castro, 41, has been HUD Secretary since July 2014. Prior to becoming the country’s top housing official, Castro served as mayor of San Antonio from 2009 to 2014. His twin brother, Joaquin, a Democratic U.S. Congressman from Texas, has already endorsed Clinton and done some campaigning for her.A dinner with Clinton in 2014 stirred rumors of Secretary Castro’s VP candidacy, according to the Washington Post. Castro has always deflected conjecture that he would be on the ticket for VP in 2016, and again denied that he would run alongside Clinton to Colbert. Monday on Colbert’s show, after the comedian discussed several HUD housing initiatives, the comedian/talk show host told Castro that he “sounded a little bit like he was running for something” to which the audience responded with applause.Colbert jokingly asked Castro if he and his twin brother ever traded places, to which the Secretary responded that they cannot impersonate each other because everyone can tell the two apart since “I’m a minute uglier than he is.” (Julián is the older twin by one minute).”Now, someone who finds you attractive on a certain level is Hillary Clinton, because she has floated your name,” Colbert said. “When asked if she got the nomination, who she would consider for vice president, she said, ‘Well, certainly Julián Castro would be someone that we would consider.’ There are rumors that you are in ‘vice president training camp.’ What does that involve other than staying awake behind someone giving a State of the Union address?”Colbert asked the Secretary how likely is it “on a scale of one to ‘Stephen, that’s flattering to even be mentioned, but I have to concentrate on the job I’m doing now'” that he would run on a presidential ticket with Clinton. Castro responded, “Stephen, that’s flattering to even be mentioned, but I have to concentrate on the job I’m doing,” which elicited laughter from the audience.”So she asked? She’s already talked to you about it?” Colbert asked amidst audience approval.”Not at all. Not at all,” Castro said, smiling.Colbert then seemed to change the subject by engaging in a flash card exercise, presenting Castro with a series of flash cards featuring a Spanish phrase to test his knowledge of Spanish, since English is Castro’s first language. After correctly identifying “la biblioteca” as the library and “el corazon” as the heart, the third card read “Yo soy el vicepresidente,” to which Castro laughed and intentionally incorrectly translated as “You are the vice president” while the audience laughed.”No, I’m sorry, it says ‘I am the vice president,’ sir. You have to work on that one,” Colbert said. in Daily Dose, Government, Headlines, News January 11, 2016 555 Views
January 2, 2017 635 Views in Headlines, News Company News The Appraisal Institute 2017-01-02 Staff Writer Jim AmorinJim Amorin, MAI, SRA, AI-GRS, was announced President of the Appraisal Institute. The Appraisal Institute, a professional association of real estate appraisers with nearly 20,000 professionals in almost 60 countries headquartered in Chicago, Illinois, elects a new president each year. Amorin is Vice President of Atrium Real Estate Services in Austin.Amorin will lead The Appraisal Institute’s elected officers and Board of Directors in continuing its strategic plan, which includes enhancing its reputation and thought leadership abroad; advocating against over-regulation of the profession; and helping attract the next generation of valuation professionals.Before being elected president, he has served on the Appraisal Institute’s Executive Committee, National Nominating Committee, Finance Committee, Audit Committee, Strategic Planning Committee, General Appraiser Council Admissions Committee, Qualifying Education Committee and the AI Relief Foundation Board of Directors, in addition to region and chapter roles. Amorin was the 2009 Appraisal Institute President, and also has served as national President-elect, Vice President and immediate past President. Amorin is honored to be elected President and is looking forward to his tenure. “I look forward to helping guide the Appraisal Institute at this critical time for the real estate valuation profession,” he said. “It’s a privilege to advocate on behalf of valuation professionals around the world.” Share Appraisal Institute Elects New President