Builder confidence for consumers looking to purchase newly built, single-family homes dropped two points to a level of 54 in May, according to the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB)/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index (HMI) released today. Although confidence fell two points this month, this is an increase of nine points from May 2014.“Despite this month’s slight dip, builder confidence in the new home market remains above the 50-point benchmark,” said Tom Woods, NAHB chairman and home builder from Blue Springs, Missouri. “Overall, the second quarter of 2015 is shaping up to be very solid.”The NAHB/Wells Fargo HMI results are taken from a monthly survey that the NAHB has been doing for 30 years. The index is able to determine builder perceptions of current single-family home sales and future sales for the next six months ranked “good,” “fair,” or “poor.” Builders are also asked to rate traffic of prospective buyers as “high to very high,” “average,” or “low to very low.” These scores are then used to find a seasonally adjusted index where any number over 50 means that more builders are rating conditions as good.According to the index, the component that measured future demand rose one point to 64, the highest level so far this year. Buyer traffic dropped by one point to 39, and the component measuring current sales dropped two points to 59 but remained well above the tipping point of 50. Low rates and pent up demand can be credited as the main reasons that these numbers are pushing builders’ future forward. Home inventories are up since the bottom in mid-2012 and are at their peak since spring 2010.Looking at three-month moving averages for regional HMI scores, the South and Midwest each rose one point to 57 and 55, respectively, the index notes. The West dropped three points to 55 and the Northeast fell by one point to 41.“Consumers are exhibiting caution, and want to be on more stable financial footing before purchasing a home,” said David Crowe, NAHB chief economist. “On the bright side, the HMI component measuring future sales expectations has been tracking upward all year, mortgage rates remain low, and house prices are affordable. These factors should spur the release of pent-up demand moving forward.”View the full index results here: NAHB.org Builder Confidence National Association of Home Builders Wells Fargo Housing Market Index 2015-05-18 Staff Writer May 18, 2015 451 Views in Daily Dose, Data, Headlines, News, Origination Builder Confidence Down for May Share
in Daily Dose, Featured, News, Servicing JPMorgan Chase residential mortgage backed securities Settlements 2016-09-21 Seth Welborn Paid in Full: Chase Satisfies Settlement Obligation Early JPMorgan Chase has satisfied its $4 billion consumer relief obligation under the terms of a November 2013 settlement over the sales of toxic residential mortgage-backed securities to investors leading up to the crisis, according to a report from independent monitor Joseph A. Smith, Jr., released Wednesday.The report released by Smith on Wednesday was the ninth and final report from his office on the progress of Chase toward fulfilling its settlement obligation. In that report, Smith credited the bank with providing a total of more than $4.06 billion in consumer relief to 168,960 borrowers as of March 31, 2016. Chase paid off its settlement obligation a year and nine months early—under the terms of the settlement, the bank had until December 31, 2017, to pay it off.“Chase has satisfied its consumer relief obligation,” said Smith. “The servicer has provided more than $4.06 billion to more than 168,000 borrowers before the deadline specified in the settlement.”The consumer relief was administered in three categories—modification or forgiveness/forbearance ($2.02 billion to 44,500 borrowers), rate reduction ($874 million to 34,700 borrowers), and low- to moderate-income (LMI) and disaster area lending ($1.17 billion to 89,700 borrowers). In the latter category, $476.5 million of the relief came in the form of lending to 41,400 first-time LMI homebuyers.“We are pleased to have fulfilled our requirements under the settlement,” Chase said in a statement. “The $20 billion in consumer relief we’ve provided to customers over the last several years is part of our ongoing efforts to help families and communities that may be struggling.”Chase settled with the government in November 2013 for a then-record $13 billion amid claims that the bank, along with Bear Stearns and Washington Mutual, sold faulty residential mortgage-backed securities to investors prior to the financial crisis. Chase was required to make $9 billion in direct payments to government agencies and five states and provide $4 billion in consumer relief under the settlement.Click here to view the monitor’s complete report.Click here to view a fact sheet on the consumer relief Chase has provided through the settlement. September 21, 2016 624 Views Share
Freddie Mac Homeownership Rate 2016-10-12 ScottMorgan1 October 12, 2016 742 Views in Daily Dose, Data, Headlines, News The national homeownership rate has been dropping for more than a decade, and the future is not looking much brighter for some housing insiders. The U.S. Census puts the national homeownership rate at about 63 percent, half a percent lower than it was last year and the lowest point since the Census Bureau began tracking the data in 1965. And according to Harvard’s Joint Center on Housing Studies and Urban Institute, homeownership rates below 60 percent are not out of the question.But Freddie Mac’s October Insight report posits that such projections are overly grim and “ignore potential macroeconomic influences that might arise that are likely to have a significant impact on the homeownership rate.”First, Freddie Mac reported, the future of housing finance has yet to be sorted out. The GSEs are in their eighth year of conservatorship, which is “a tenure that was not foreseen by anyone when they entered conservatorship in September 2008.” Second, Millennials are at the age at which people tend to marry, start families, and buy homes, and they may do it at a faster pace than previous generations. Third, “the factors accounting for the lower homeownership rates of non-white demographic groups may be overcome,” Freddie Mac reported.Sean Becketti, chief economist at Freddie Mac, put the uncertainty of crystal-ball projections this way: “Twenty years in the future, today’s Millennial 35-year-olds will not act exactly like today’s Baby Boomer 55-year-olds. Or perhaps they will. And this is where experts from the Joint Center on Housing Studies and the Urban Institute begin to part ways in their projections of the homeownership rate.”Applying “some fancy arithmetic to current conditions,” Becketti said, does not incorporate future macroeconomic disruptions, significant policy changes, or shifts in social attitudes in their calculations.”In either case, we believe their projections may be overly pessimistic,” he said. “The income and education gaps that are responsible for some of the differences may be narrowed or eliminated as the U.S. becomes a ‘majority minority’ country. And as these types of potential home buyers comprise a larger and larger share of the population, it will become increasingly expensive to overlook them.”Profit-oriented financial institutions, he said, will be motivated to find better ways to serve these populations. The Homeownership Outlook is Bleak—Or is It? Share
HouseCanary Announces Partnership November 6, 2017 591 Views Share in Featured, Headlines, News, Servicing, Technology HOUSING mortgage Movers and Shakers 2017-11-06 Nicole Casperson HouseCanary recently announced a partnership with an appraisal management company PCV Murcor. The partnership will further the expansion of HouseCanary’s Agile Appraisal Management Platform, a fast, flexible valuation platform with full USPAP and FIRREA compliance. PCV Murcor will leverage their appraisers and HouseCanary’s software to fulfill Agile Appraisal orders, accelerating Agile’s industry-leading appraisal completion time.“We are thrilled about partnering with PCV Murcor to continue modernizing the appraisal landscape,” said Alex Villacorta, Ph.D., HouseCanary’s EVP of Analytics. “With the Agile Appraisal platform, appraisers can efficiently spend their time and attention on the key aspects of the valuation, especially when utilizing our integrated tools around comp selection and adjustments.” Villacorta continued, “Agile Appraisal also provides quality rule checks at time of completion, thereby reducing revisions and saving time for all parties. Our partnership will bring efficiency and consistency to property valuation clients through this innovative bifurcation process.” In addition, PCVMurcor’s SVP of Operations Cindy Nassar said, “We are very excited to partner with HouseCanary to provide leading-edge valuations to our customers, and software to our appraisers. The industry desperately needs appraisal software and the expertise of a local appraiser to deliver best in class valuations quicker and lower cost to the consumer.”
Magnetic IslandMantra GroupPeppersSeaLink Peppers Blue on Blue Resort on Queensland’s Magnetic Island will be welcoming sailors by the boat-load for the week-long events of the 11th annual SeaLink Magnetic Island Race from 31 August through to 6 September.The resort, which overlooks the marina and has been the event headquarters since the race’s inception in 2006, is offering guests the opportunity to be a part of the fun and festivities with an earlybird 15% discount on bed and breakfast rates for bookings made before 30 June. Magnetic Island Race WeekFor bookings and enquiries call 07 4758 2400 or email firstname.lastname@example.org and quote ‘MIRW early bird special’.For more information on the SeaLink Magnetic Island Race Week, including entry details click here .*Conditions apply, subject to availability.TOP IMAGE: Peppers Blue on Blue Resort, Magnetic Island/©Roslyn Budd
Golfers from around the world are set to meet up at Thailand’s historic Centara Gradn Beach Resort and Villas for Asia’s biggest and richest amateur week of golf at the Centara World Masters Golf Championship.Historic Centara Grand Beach Resort & Villas Hua Hin has just released a 6-night golf package to the event that includes four rounds of golf at some of Thailand’s best courses.Originally known as the “Railway Hotel”, the Centara Grand Beach Resort & Villas Hua Hin first opened in the early 1920s, just as the cosy fishing village of Hua Hin was being discovered by the world via the opening of a new railway line to Malaysia.Sensitively extended and renovated, the Centara Grand retains the old Railway Hotel’s air of a bygone age of elegance. Set on the beachfront, the resort features a wide expanse of topiary gardens perfect for strolling and enjoying the sea breeze and its prime town centre location makes it the ideal location for shopping and exploring the seaside town of Hua Hin.A 6-night package consisting of accommodation, 4 rounds at Banyan, Black Mountain, Lake View & Springfield Royal golf clubs is offered from 55,500 Baht. Prices are nett and include return transfers from Bangkok, accommodation in a deluxe room, daily breakfast, welcome dinner with wine, beer, soft drinks and entertainment, one caddie per golfer, and round-trip shuttle service between the resort and golf courses.To register for this tournament head to www.thailandworldmasters.com. Click here for more information on Centara Grand Beach Resort & Villas.<span data-mce-type=”bookmark” style=”display: inline-block; width: 0px; overflow: hidden; line-height: 0;” class=”mce_SELRES_start”></span>
The Travel Corporation (TTC) has will launch a new series of exclusive and unique events – World of Thanks – to recognise and celebrate the pivotal role that agent partners play in the success of its Family of Brands. “Our individual Brands have long recognised their top achievers with fantastic trips and events. As we continue to work closer as a Family of Brands, we realised there was an opportunity to recognise those consultants who support a number of our Brands and say thank you on behalf of TTC. Our World of Thanks events will be fun celebrations, bringing to life our shared passion for travel and showcasing just a taste of the amazing experiences and destinations that our guests experience every day,” said TTC CEO John Veitch.Between April and August, top consultant supporters across TTC’s Family of Brands will be invited to one of five events, the first of which kicks off in Sydney on 13 April at The Island, a unique floating pontoon venue boasting panoramic views of Sydney Harbour and the city skyline. Events will follow in Perth (25 May), Adelaide (8 June), Brisbane (22 June) and Melbourne (3 August) with details to be released soon. Look out for the pink envelope for your exclusive invitation to one of TTC’s World of Thanks events. agentseventsTTC
0 Comments Share While in Cincinnati as a defensive backs coach (2003-2010), the Bengals collected 150 interceptions, the fifth most in the league during that time. Top Stories What an MLB source said about the D-backs’ trade haul for Greinke Cardinals expect improving Murphy to contribute right away Nevada officials reach out to D-backs on potential relocation D-backs president Derrick Hall: Franchise ‘still focused on Arizona’ The Arizona Cardinals announced Tuesday that they’ve hired Louie Cioffi as defensive backs coach.Cioffi comes to the Cardinals after 14 seasons with the Cincinnati Bengals where he spent the last eight years as an assistant defensive backs coach. He joined the Bengals staff in 1997 as the the youngest assistant coach in the NFL at the age of 23. He started his coaching career with the New York Jets when he was 20 as a staff assistant from 1993-94 prior to leaving to be the wide receivers coach at C.W. Post University for two seasons.
What an MLB source said about the D-backs’ trade haul for Greinke Comments Share Cardinals expect improving Murphy to contribute right away Nevada officials reach out to D-backs on potential relocation Normally NFL players would be roughly a week into training camp, possibly already getting tired of monotonous practices.This year is different, though, as players who are with new teams have not been allowed to practice. While that is not a good thing, especially for a team with new players who figure to play key roles, Cardinals offensive coordinator Mike Miller says the guys have stepped up, even if they have yet to step onto the field. Top Stories “You can feel the frustration with those players, but to their credit they’ve kept their head in it and they’re staying into it mentally,” he told Sports 620 KTAR’s Doug and Wolf Thursday. “There’s been a whole different focus to this camp, and I think there had to be.“The guys have accepted that challenge; they’re working hard in the meeting rooms, working hard together away from us.” D-backs president Derrick Hall: Franchise ‘still focused on Arizona’
Cardinals expect improving Murphy to contribute right away In Monday’s game between the Green Bay Packers and Seattle Seahawks, Seattle faced a 4th-and-10 from the Green Bay 24 with eight seconds remaining in the game.Seattle quarterback Russell Wilson threw a pass into the end zone. Several players, including Seattle wide receiver Golden Tate and Green Bay safety M.D. Jennings, jumped into the air in an attempt to catch the ball.While the ball is in the air, Tate can be seen shoving Green Bay cornerback Sam Shields to the ground. This should have been a penalty for offensive pass interference, which would have ended the game. It was not called and is not reviewable in instant replay. A forward pass is complete (by the offense) or intercepted (by the defense) if a player, who is inbounds:(a) secures control of the ball in his hands or arms prior to the ball touching the ground; and(b) touches the ground inbounds with both feet or with any part of his body other than his hands; and(c) maintains control of the ball long enough, after (a) and (b) have been fulfilled, to enable him to perform any act common to the game (i.e., maintaining control long enough to pitch it, pass it, advance with it, or avoid or ward off an opponent, etc.).When a player (or players) is going to the ground in the attempt to catch a pass, Rule 8, Section 1, Article 3, Item 1 states:Player Going to the Ground. If a player goes to the ground in the act of catching a pass (with or without contact by an opponent), he must maintain control of the ball throughout the process of contacting the ground, whether in the field of play or the end zone. If he loses control of the ball, and the ball touches the ground before he regains control, the pass is incomplete. If he regains control prior to the ball touching the ground, the pass is complete.Rule 8, Section 1, Article 3, Item 5 states:Simultaneous Catch. If a pass is caught simultaneously by two eligible opponents, and both players retain it, the ball belongs to the passers. It is not a simultaneous catch if a player gains control first and an opponent subsequently gains joint control. If the ball is muffed after simultaneous touching by two such players, all the players of the passing team become eligible to catch the loose ball. Top Stories Nevada officials reach out to D-backs on potential relocation D-backs president Derrick Hall: Franchise ‘still focused on Arizona’ When the players hit the ground in the end zone, the officials determined that both Tate and Jennings had possession of the ball. Under the rule for simultaneous catch, the ball belongs to Tate, the offensive player. The result of the play was a touchdown.Replay Official Howard Slavin stopped the game for an instant replay review. The aspects of the play that were reviewable included if the ball hit the ground and who had possession of the ball. In the end zone, a ruling of a simultaneous catch is reviewable. That is not the case in the field of play, only in the end zone.Referee Wayne Elliott determined that no indisputable visual evidence existed to overturn the call on the field, and as a result, the on-field ruling of touchdown stood. The NFL Officiating Department reviewed the video today and supports the decision not to overturn the on-field ruling following the instant replay review.The result of the game is final.Applicable rules to the play are as follows:A player (or players) jumping in the air has not legally gained possession of the ball until he satisfies the elements of a catch listed here. Rule 8, Section 1, Article 3 of the NFL Rule Book defines a catch: What an MLB source said about the D-backs’ trade haul for Greinke 0 Comments Share
0 Comments Share “Yeremiah is the kind of guy you love to have on your football team,” said Cardinals coach Bruce Arians in a press release. “He’s a guy with experience as a starter who has been very productive. He’s also been incredibly durable, starting every game but one over the last five years. Team-wise he’s exactly the type of player you want in your locker room — a football junkie who loves the game.”In his career, Bell has combined to make 651 tackles and has picked off six passes to go along with 12 sacks. He made the Pro Bowl in 2009 when he was playing for new Cardinals defensive coordinator Todd Bowles in Miami.Earlier Wednesday the Cardinals released safety Kerry Rhodes. Bell, 35, is a nine-year veteran who played last season with the New York Jets. He finished third on the team with 103 tackles (83 solo) to go along with three fumble recoveries, one sack and four passes defensed. Derrick Hall satisfied with D-backs’ buying and selling The 5: Takeaways from the Coyotes’ introduction of Alex Meruelo Top Stories Grace expects Greinke trade to have emotional impact Former Cardinals kicker Phil Dawson retires The Arizona Cardinals added veteran safety Yeremiah Bell to their secondary.The news was first reported by AZCardinals.com’s Darren Urban. The @azcardinals add RB R Mendenhall, QB D Stanton, CB J Powers, LB L Alexander and S Yeremiah Bell as free agents. Cut Rhodes #free agency— Darren Urban (@Cardschatter) March 13, 2013
The 5: Takeaways from the Coyotes’ introduction of Alex Meruelo Mike IupatiOGAnkleLimitedFullFull— Ed StinsonDTToeDNPLimitedDNPOut Kam ChancellorSGroinDNPDNPDNPDoubtful Quinton JeffersonDTThumbFullLimitedDNPOut PlayerPositionInjuryWednesdayThursdayFridayGame Status Top Stories Grace expects Greinke trade to have emotional impact Carson PalmerQBHamstringDNPLimitedLimitedQuestionable Jimmy GrahamTEKneeFullDNPFull— Friday Status Designations:Out-Definitely will not playDoubtful-At least a 75% chance will not playQuestionable-A 50-50 chance will not playProbable-A virtual certainty of being available for normal duty Thomas RawlsRBFibulaDNPDNPDNPOut Luke WillsonTEKneeDNPDNPDNPOut Gabe MartinLBKnee—LimitedDNPDoubtful Derrick Hall satisfied with D-backs’ buying and selling Jaron BrownWRKneeDNPDNPLimitedQuestionable Russell WilsonQBAnkle/KneeFullFullFull— C.J. ProsiseRBWristFullFullFull— Kevin Pierre-LouisLBAnkle—DNPDNPOut PlayerPositionInjuryWednesdayThursdayFridayGame Status Justin BethelCBFootLimitedLimitedFull— Former Cardinals kicker Phil Dawson retires Frank ClarkDEHamstringFullFullFull— 0 Comments Share Michael BennettDEKneeFullFullLimited— Brad SowellOTBackFullFullFull— The Arizona Cardinals (3-3) host the Seattle Seahawks (4-1) for Sunday Night Football. For Arizona, a win would help them play catch-up to the NFC West leaders.Below is the official Week 7 injury report for both teams. John BrownWRHamstringDNPDNPDNPDoubtful Daily Practice Designations:Out-Definitely will not playDNP-Did Not ParticipateLimited-Limited Participation (Less than 100% of normal repetitions)Full-Full Participation (100% of normal repetitions)
Go back to the e-newsletterCathay Pacific Airways hosted a preview of its new Business Class Lounge at The Pier at Hong Kong International Airport (HKIA), following a comprehensive refurbishment. Located adjacent to Gate 65 in the North West concourse of HKIA, the new Business Class Lounge occupies a space of 3306 square metres – approximately 1000 square metres larger than the previous lounge – and is now the largest among all Cathay Pacific lounges, with seating for 550 people.Designed by Studioilse, the London-based design studio led by Ilse Crawford, The Pier Business Class Lounge aims to create an environment that makes passengers feel relaxed and refreshed, engaging the senses and focusing on wellbeing. Aligning with the airline’s brand ethos and reflecting the airline’s commitment to a Life Well Travelled, the overall concept has been designed around imaging the space as a street with a distinctly Hong Kong identity, enabling passengers to enjoy the facilities according to their preferred pace.The lounge experience starts from the street which is divided into ‘fast’ and ‘slow’ lanes. Entering the fast lane, passengers will find an array of food and beverage offerings. Among the various dining options are The Food Hall, a fun and vibrant space with self-service kiosks,and The Noodle Bar – an iconic feature of Cathay Pacific’s lounges. The Food Hall features a coffee cart, with a design inspired by street food carts found around Asia, offering freshly brewed coffee prepared by professional baristas. The Noodle Bar provides a variety of signature noodles, including the popular Dan Dan and Wonton noodles, in addition to Asian style noodles and Chinese dim sum and buns throughout the day.The slow lane features extensive lounge seating with views out of the big glass windows and glazed timber screens. The space is anchored by Cathay Pacific’s bespoke Solo Chairs, each equipped with a built-in reading lamp and an individual side table for those looking for a quiet space to enjoy the view over the airport runway and beyond, or to catch up on their work.Beyond the bustle of the street, passengers enter the Tea House – a brand-new feature developed specifically for The Pier Business Class Lounge. This is a quiet space which marks the transition into the wellbeing area. A wide selection of teas is served by a tea specialist, allowing passengers to relax with a soothing drink after a shower or before returning to the buzz of the airport.Fourteen shower suites and a relaxation room, featuring low upholstered loungers and footstools, form the wellbeing area at the end of the lounge, offering passengers a calm and stress-free environment in which to freshen up and wind down.Aligning with Cathay Pacific’s brand ethos, which emphasises contemporary Asian elements alongside a focus on warmth and simplicity, the lounge makes use of high-quality natural materials to give a sense of generosity and permanence to the space. Warm, tactile and timeless materials such as limestone and cherry wood are used in the refurbishment; acoustics are softened where possible and a considered approach has been adopted in the lighting. An abundance of natural plant-life adds a more natural and healthier look, while the airline’s support for Hong Kong artists is highlighted through the extensive use of local artworks.The Pier Business Class Lounge is accessible to First and Business Class passengers, Silver and above Marco Polo Club members, members of all tiers who earned lounge passes and/or their friends and family members, and Emerald and Sapphire oneworld members who are departing or transiting in Hong Kong. The opening hours will be 5.30am until the last departure.Go back to the e-newsletter
Since Hurawalhi Island Resort‘s highly anticipated opening in December 2016, guests are eagerly taking the 40-minute seaplane flight from Male and seeing firsthand what this luxurious and eco-friendly sanctuary has to offer. The resort has 90 villas (60 overwater ocean villas, 15 with private pools, and 30 beach villas, 15 with private pools) nestled among the spectacular coral reefs of the Lhaviyani Atoll, a world-class site for snorkelling and diving. The spacious villas feature clean lines, earthy colours and natural materials that harmonise beautifully with the lush, tropical surrounds.Hurawalhi Island Resort welcomes guests over 15 years of age, and caters particularly well for couples. The scene-stealing 5.8 Restaurant, so named because it sits 5.8 metres under the sea, sets the scene for romance with every table a table for two. The menu concept is a multi-course tasting extravaganza and is available with sommelier-recommended wine pairings.The best place for cocktails before or after dinner is the Coco Bar on the beach, while the Champagne Pavilion is just the spot for a toast (or a proposal). The overwater Aquarium Bar is another tantalising option.As for other dining destinations, the Aquarium Restaurant (above water, this time) has a contemporary menu with a strong emphasis on fresh local seafood and top-quality prime beef – the delectable sushi, sashimi and tempura is a highlight. Guests can enjoy sumptuous breakfasts and fine dining of an evening at Canneli, overlooking the tranquil Indian Ocean, while private beach dining under the stars is just the excuse guests need to savour the signature lobster and wagyu beef cooked to order by their personal chef.The overwater Duniye Spa uses chemical-free organic compound products from Healing Earth. The Signature Maldivian Island Paradise Ritual Treatment is the ultimate indulgence, pampering guests from head to toe over the course of two hours. There are also three decadent spa rituals for couples.The resort was built and operates with sustainability in mind – protecting the natural environment is as high a priority as the comfort and luxury Hurawalhi provides. The 4243 square metres of solar panels have been seamlessly integrated into the architecture by New York-based architect Yuji Yamazaki, who successfully turned power generation into a stylish design feature. There’s also a water bottling plant to substantially reduce the island’s plastic consumption, a food recycling programme, and a collection of greenhouses producing fresh produce for guests.
Go back to the enewsletterResearch commissioned by the Australian Federation of Travel Agents (AFTA) and conducted by FiftyFive5, a global research agency, has revealed that awareness of ATAS (AFTA Travel Accreditation Scheme) drives usage, influencing where a consumer books their travel.“In the research, consumers clearly told us that they want to know when a business is accredited,” AFTA Chief Executive Jayson Westbury said.“60% of all respondents said that ATAS is relevant to their travel plans and more than half of all travellers worry when a business fails to articulate their accredited status. This is in line with the calls AFTA takes on a daily basis where consumers are validating if a business is accredited or not,” Westbury added.The research also revealed 82% of overseas travellers will actively look to book with an ATAS accredited travel agent.Westbury said one-third of overseas travellers will speak to a travel agent “but for various reasons not book through that agent. The research says travel agents are missing out on business by not telling the consumer they are accredited.”According to the research just 4% of AFTA’s membership base are actively discussing ATAS with their clients.“4% of members discussing ATAS is not enough, we need everyone working together.” AFTA Chief Executive, Jayson Westbury“AFTA reinvests every available dollar into promoting the value of travel agents and educating the consumer about ATAS. We are doing our bit and I’d like to encourage our extensive network of accredited members to join us in the crusade. Think how wide and deep and powerful our message would be if all 3,000 travel agent locations right across Australia shared the ‘ATAS’ message,” Westbury said.“As a result of the research findings, throughout August AFTA will be undertaking an industry-wide education campaign to help ATAS agents realise the full potential of the value of being accredited and look to increase the awareness among travel consultants who need to talk about the scheme with their clients more often,” he added.AFTA has produced a short video which summarises the research results and explains why ATAS-accredited travel agents are missing out on potential business by not telling consumers that they’re ATAS-accredited. Agents can learn more about boosting the profile of ATAS at www.afta.com.au/awareness.Go back to the enewsletter
Go back to the enewsletterVirgin Voyages is returning to its Virgin brand roots and creating an incomparable music experience on its first ship, Scarlet Lady. Due to set sail for her inaugural season in 2020, Scarlet Lady will be equipped with an on-ship record shop called Voyage Vinyl; The Groupie, a private karaoke and gaming lounge; and curated music and performances by up-and-coming artists as well as music trendsetters for Virgin Voyages’ Sailors to enjoy.Virgin Voyages’ residency program will feature performances by world-class talent on the ship, at in-port destinations and at The Beach Club at Bimini. Last month, Virgin Voyages announced that the Grammy and Oscar-winning DJ, songwriter and record producer, Mark Ronson, has committed to four performances at The Beach Club at Bimini in 2020. Based on Sailor demand, the company has expanded the star-studded residency music line-up to include the multi-platinum chart-topping artist, DJ, producer/ remixer, MK (Marc Kinchen), who has committed to one performance in 2020. The Grammy-nominated electronic music duo Sofi Tukker, known for their smash-hit ‘Best Friend’ , will also join the Virgin Voyages residency program.The GroupieWith the Virgin brand’s deep-rooted history in music, Virgin Voyages’ sonic identity will come to life aboard Scarlet Lady. Each space on Scarlet Lady will have a unique energy, thoughtfully developed by industry tastemakers and brought to life by up-and-coming talent and special guest performances. The Virgin Voyages sonic identity will have a home in electronic music, but will also incorporate other music genres, ensuring that all Sailors will find a sound they love. The brand defines electronic, as not solely a traditional EDM sound, but will incorporate all electronically programmed sounds, even those of more classic eras, and the early innovators of the sound from rare disco tracks, through to ’80s sounds and other important periods of electronic sound. That means timeless classics from varying genres will be artfully blended with new and rising artists. Calming sounds will be incorporated at the appropriate times, to ensure moments of relaxation and rejuvenation are in ample supply.As part of Virgin Voyages’ fierce approach to music, the brand also announced the expansion of its Creative Collective from design, food and entertainment to now include music. Virgin Voyages’ new music Creative Collective will include WhiteLabel Creative, a group of music industry insiders that specialise in sensory branding and cultural programming for hospitality and lifestyle experiences. WhiteLabel Creative is responsible for developing the background sonic palettes across the ship and securing DJs for The Beach Club at Bimini’s residency program.Leaning into Virgin’s history in music, something old is new again with Voyage Vinyl, the record shop aboard Scarlet Lady. Voyage Vinyl will be the go-to spot on board for Sailors to experience music from all eras and genres. Voyage Vinyl features personal listening stations for Sailors to enjoy their favourite albums both current and classic. Sailors looking for something unique can also shop for limited-edition curated albums and special editions of classics. Sailors can also purchase music magazines, headphones and record players.Voyage Vinyl will also double as a performance spot for live sets mixed by Scarlet Lady’s resident DJs.Sailors can let loose at The Groupie, Virgin Voyages’ bookable karaoke, gaming and movie lounge. Designed by Roman Coppola, The Groupie was designed as a modernist take on a Japanese-style karaoke room for Sailors to enjoy singing along to their favourite tunes with friends.Lead image: Virgin VinylGo back to the enewsletter
British Airways has unveiled plans to launch a new subsidiary airline called Open Skies, which will begin flying to the United States out of Brussels or Paris from June.The off-shoot borrows its name from the Open Skies deal struck between the European Union and the US – the culmination of nearly three decades of moves by airline groups to open up transatlantic travel. Until now BA has only been allowed to fly to the US directly from UK soil, meaning it and countless other international operators have been banned from running service on numerous key international routes.Commenting on the launch of Open Skies, BA chief executive Willie Walsh said: “This is an exciting new venture for us and we’re confident that it will be a great success as we build on the strength of BA’s brand in the US and Europe.”The Open Skies agreement aims to scrap domestic monopolies at major international hub – with London Heathrow, for example, no longer granting exclusive rights to BA, Virgin, United Airlines, and American Airlines.ReturnOne wayMulti-cityFromAdd nearby airports ToAdd nearby airportsDepart14/08/2019Return21/08/2019Cabin Class & Travellers1 adult, EconomyDirect flights onlySearch flights Map RelatedBA launches new Amsterdam to NY routeBA launches new Amsterdam to NY routeOpenSkies gains US approvalOpenSkies gains US approvalBritish Airways and Iberia merger approved by ECBritish Airways and Iberia merger approved by EC
San Francisco International Airport’s (SFO) International Terminal is the top facility of its kind in the US, Dwell has said.According to the magazine, the terminal has a quiet ambience and “instils confidence and calm in the traveller”.Dwell also highlights the airport’s effective design, which it says is undervalued and “easy to take for granted” when passengers’ travel plans run smoothly.San Francisco mayor Gavin Newsom said that “great efforts” had been made to ensure that the airport is the “premier international gateway” to the west coast of the US.”SFO strives for excellence at all levels, and has been recognised over and over again for setting the highest standards,” he commented.A number of cheap flights carriers will launch their summer schedules from San Francisco this week, with the airport currently being served by 25 international airlines.Emirates recently launched flights to Dubai from SFO, which are operated using a Boeing 777-200R aircraft.The airline, which is planning a 14 percent expansion over the course of this year, is due to add 18 new passenger aircraft to its fleet.ReturnOne wayMulti-cityFromAdd nearby airports ToAdd nearby airportsDepart14/08/2019Return21/08/2019Cabin Class & Travellers1 adult, EconomyDirect flights onlySearch flights Map RelatedJetBlue increases flights from SFOUS carrier JetBlue Airways is increasing the number of flights to Boston’s Logan International Airport.Flights to Dusseldorf welcomed by SFO directorDirector of SFO has welcomed the planned launch of flights to Dusseldorf, which will be operated by Air Berlin from next summer10 airports which make long layovers a breezeToday’s airports are no longer people-packed holding cells. They’re all-singing, all-dancing affairs, with the world’s finest restaurants alongside libraries, clubs and spas. And if your flight gets cancelled or your plane’s delayed, these are the airports where you’ll want to get stuck!
Vancouver flight searches up 71% With the Vancouver Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games coming up in February (12th-28th 2010), Skyscanner can report a 71% increase in flight searches to Vancouver compared to last year.Hosting the Olympics is a big boost to any city; investment in new infrastructure, lift systems and hotels, plus global publicity means that host cities can expect to remain high on skiers’ lists for a long time, as the Olympic legacy lasts for many years.Skyscanner takes a look at Winter Olympic cities of the past, present and future.Vancouver, Canada2010Vancouver itself is a ski city, with three ski areas within the city limits: Grouse, Seymour and Cypress Mountains. Those looking for more can make the two hour journey to Whistler Blackcomb, which is consistently rated as one of the best ski resorts in the world. With over 3000 acres of terrain, and an average snowfall of over 10m per year, Whistler is a very worthy host. Find cheap flights to VancouverTurin, Italy2006Several different Italian ski resorts played host to winter Olympians in 2006; Bardonecchia was the site of the snowboarding competitions, Cesana San Sicario held the biathlon and alpine skiing, but the best known to UK skiers was Sauze d’Oulx which hosted the freestyle skiing events. Situated at one end of the lift-linked Via Lattea (Milky Way), Sauze d’Oulx is one of the largest, most popular resorts in the area, offering access to over 400km of pistes. Find cheap flights to TurinSalt Lake City, USA2002Salt Lake prides itself on having some of the lightest, driest powder in the ski world, with an average of 13 meters of the stuff falling each winter. With four world class ski resorts – Alta, Brighton, Snowbird and Solitude, all just minutes from the international airport, Salt Lake is one of the USA’s premier ski cities. Find cheap flights to Salt Lake CityNagano, Japan1998Japan has fast become one of the world’s most alluring winter sports destinations, and with over 400 ski areas, huge volumes of powder snow and a fascinating cultural adventure to boot, it’s not surprising. The land of sumo and sushi has hosted the winter Olympics twice and there are ski areas all over Japan’s four main islands, but the most well known are on Hokkaido, and in Nagano and Niigata. Find cheap flights to JapanLillehammer, Norway1994One of Norway’s oldest and most prestigious winter destinations, Lillehammer is packed with ski and snowboard opportunities. Nordseter and Sjusjøen have developed into two of Northern Europe’s best cross-country skiing destinations with approximately 350km of prepared trails, including both forested and mountain terrain. The wide variety of alpine slopes at Hafjell (just 15km from Lillehammer itself) makes this the place for downhillers, with 40km of runs and 15 lifts on offer. Find cheap flights to OsloAlbertville, France1992The Albertville Olympics were the third time that France had held the games, and some of the country’s best known ski resorts were used as venues, including Les Arcs, Courchevel, Meribel, La Plagne, Tignes and Val d’Isère. These continue to attract huge numbers of British skiers each winter and are known for their extensive skiing, good snow conditions and lively nightlife. Find cheap flights to GenevaCalgary, Canada1988Calgary’s 1988 games are remembered for the appearance of novice Olympians, Eddie “The Eagle” Edwards, and Jamaica’s bobsleigh team (as dramatised in the film Cool Runnings). Despite being heavily outmatched by their competitors, they won the hearts of the spectators and the world’s media, much to the annoyance of many superior athletes. Venues for the downhill events included Nakiska which was built especially for the games and remains a popular ski resort to this day. Find cheap flights to CalgarySarajevo, Yugoslavia (now Bosnia and Herzegovina)1984Though Yugoslavia as a country no longer exists, Sarajevo’s ski areas are attracting increasing numbers of adventurous UK skiers. Bjelašnica was the venue for the men’s alpine skiing, whilst Jahorina held the women’s alpine events. Both ski areas are just a short drive from the Bosnian capital, meaning visitors can ski the slopes by day and explore the vibrant city by night. Find cheap flights to SarajevoLake Placid, USA1980Lake Placid has actually hosted the Winter Olympics twice (the first time was in 1932) and is well known for both its alpine and Nordic skiing opportunities. The ski resort of Whiteface claims the ‘greatest vertical drop east of the Rockies’ and with 85 trails and 314 acres of skiable terrain, there’s certainly plenty of snow. Real thrill seekers can even join a professional bobsleigh driver and brakeman and ride the Olympic bobsled track. Find cheap flights to AlbanyInnsbruck, Austria1964Sitting in the scenic Tyrol region, the city of Innsbruck offers oodles of outdoor fun, and lively nightlife. Surrounded by snow capped mountains, there are several ski areas in the area to choose from including Axamer Lizum, Igls and the Stubai Glacier. Nordpark is the closest to Innsbruck itself; go from city centre to ski slope in just 20 minutes by taking the funicular railway then cable car, but be warned – the ski area boasts one of the steepest runs in the Alps. Find cheap flights to InnsbruckSochi, Russia2014Russia remains fairly uncharted territory for the average non-Russian skier, but Sochi’s hosting of the winter Olympics in 2014 will change all of that. Krasnaya Polyana is a two hour drive from the city of Sochi and is known for being a favourite of President Putin’s. The terrain is excellent for off piste skiing, with bowl upon bowl of powder and plenty of widely spaced birch forest, meaning Krasnaya will appeal most to adventure skiers looking for challenging slopes. Find cheap flights to SochiImage © VANOC/COVANReturnOne wayMulti-cityFromAdd nearby airports ToAdd nearby airportsDepart14/08/2019Return21/08/2019Cabin Class & Travellers1 adult, EconomyDirect flights onlySearch flights Map RelatedBargains of the week: Oslo | Chamonix | Garmisch-PartenkirchenBargains of the week: Oslo | Chamonix | Garmisch-PartenkirchenTop 10 Ski Jumping CompetitionsTop 10 Ski Jumping CompetitionsTop 15 attractions and things to do in VancouverGlass-fronted skyscrapers are crowned by the peaks of the North Shore Mountains in this feel-good Canadian city. Enjoy laidback life in ‘The Couve’, with our tips on what to do and see in Vancouver.
Glasgow Airport has been named the Best Airport at the annual Airport Operators Awards ceremony.The Scottish airport scooped the award for Best Airport With Over Six Million Passengers, beating off competition from the likes of Manchester and Birmingham.Recognising excellence in a number of areas, the award was voted for by representatives of UK airlines that are members of the British Air Transport Association.Amanda McMillan, Glasgow Airport’s managing director, said that receiving the award is a “great honour”.”The award is testament to the fantastic effort that our terminal and airfield teams put in when they come to work,” she commented.”We have faced some difficult operational challenges this year such as the prolonged cold snap and volcanic ash disruption, but the response from our people was exceptional.”Newcastle Airport scooped the prize for Best Airport With Up To Six Million Passengers.Last month, cheap flights carrier Jet2.com named Glasgow Airport as its eighth and newest base, which will see the launch of services to nine new destinations.ReturnOne wayMulti-cityFromAdd nearby airports ToAdd nearby airportsDepart14/08/2019Return21/08/2019Cabin Class & Travellers1 adult, EconomyDirect flights onlySearch flights Map RelatedManchester named best airport in EuropeManchester Airport has been named the best airport in Europe.Manchester secures ‘airport of the year’ titleManchester Airport has been named “airport of the year” at a national awards ceremonyHong Kong International named world’s best airportHong Kong International Airport has been named the best airport in the world by passengers