The vital role family plays in society 5 things to look for when selecting an ophthalmologist Top Stories Comments Share New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies FILE – In this April 11, 2015, file photo, U.S. President Barack Obama, right, and Brazilian President Dilma Vana Rousseff shake hands during their bilateral meeting at the Summit of the Americas in Panama City, Panama. Rousseff visits Washington and will meet with Obama on June 29 and 30. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais, File) Rather than rehash the spying controversy, officials from both countries say the leaders want to delve into talks on trade, investment and climate change.“They are putting behind the Edward Snowden affair,” said Michael Shifter, president of the Inter-American Dialogue, a Washington think tank. “The meeting is to create good atmosphere, a good mood, establish communication and get the relationship back on solid footing.”Upon Rousseff’s arrival at the White House, Obama took her on a tour to the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial. Obama described the “Stone of Hope” into which King’s statue is carved and pointed out some of King’s famous quotes along the memorial wall.The leaders reunited Monday evening over a dinner of grilled lamb, spinach salad and coconut banana cake, the White House said. They were to hold more formal talks and a joint news conference on Tuesday.The meeting comes six months before a United Nations-sponsored conference in Paris in December to finalize a climate treaty. Obama has argued that a gradually warming planet could worsen social tensions and political instability worldwide, in addition to harming the U.S. Mesa family survives lightning strike to home ___Licon reported from Rio de Janeiro.___On Twitter, follow Darlene Superville at http://www.twitter.com/dsupervilleap and Adriana Gomez Licon at http://twitter.com/agomezlicon.Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility Here’s how to repair and patch damaged drywall Countries are making their positions on climate change clear ahead of the Paris talks. The U.S. already has announced a 2025 deadline to reduce emissions of heat-trapping gases by 26 percent to 28 percent below 2005 levels.Brazil, the seventh largest economy, is one of the top emitters that has not presented pollution-control targets. Environment Minister Izabella Teixeira, who is traveling with Rousseff to Washington, has said that developed nations bear more responsibility than the developing world because of their emissions track record.Brazil’s first female president started her second term in January — Vice President Joe Biden attended her inauguration — but she since has been weighed down by low approval ratings, her country’s poor economic performance and a massive corruption scandal involving Petrobras, a state-owned oil company. Tens of thousands of Brazilians filled streets across the country earlier this year to protest her leadership.Snowden’s disclosures showed that in addition to spying on Rousseff’s communications, the NSA had hacked the oil company’s computer network. Rousseff served on the company’s board but has not been implicated in the scandal. WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama and Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff will aim to show they have smoothed over tensions sparked by a spying scandal, as they open two days of talks at the White House Monday.The meetings come nearly two years after Rousseff canceled a rare state visit to Washington following revelations that Brazil was a target of American spy programs. The disclosures by former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden deeply strained relations between the two hemispheric powers. With Brazil bracing for recession, officials are emphasizing the economic agenda for the Obama-Rousseff meeting. The U.S. is Brazil’s second-largest trading partner after China, exchanging $62 billion in trade flows. The U.S. announced Monday that it will allow imports of fresh beef from 14 states in Brazil, which the South American nation had long sought.Carlos Eduardo de Freitas, an economist and former Central Bank executive director, said the White House meeting may invigorate Brazil as it seeks to reduce government spending to avoid being shunned in credit markets. Rousseff is traveling with 11 cabinet members and met with Brazilian businessmen and U.S. investment fund managers and government officials in New York to discuss infrastructure before arriving in Washington.“The government needs to unshackle its economy,” Freitas said.The timing of Rousseff’s trip was settled months ago; Obama announced it when the two met on the sidelines of a summit in Panama in April. But for Rousseff, being seen warmly received by an American president coming off one of the best weeks of his time in office could help her back home.Obama rejoiced last week after the nation’s highest court upheld a key aspect of his sweeping health care law and granted gay couples the right to marry nationwide. Congress also cleared legislation critical to his ambitious trade agenda, measures that days earlier were given up for dead. Sponsored Stories Arizona families, Arizona farms: providing the local community with responsibly produced dairy
Anil (Swiss Air), Rayomand (Titlis Rotair), Mark (Luzern Tourism), Evelyn (Switzerland Tourism), Richard (Rail Europe), Francois (Lake Geneva Region Tourism), Daniela (Jungfrau), Markus (Swiss Consulate General) Australian visitor numbers to Switzerland in January 2011 were up 13.4 per cent on the year before, as more and more Aussie travellers discover the delights of the central European nation. Speaking at an exclusive lunch held at the private residence of the Swiss Consulate General yesterday, Switzerland Tourism Australia and New Zealand director, Evelyn Lafone, pointed to many reasons for the growth in numbers from Australia. “We opened a marketing office in Sydney [in] June last year, focusing on promoting the Swiss summer and winter seasons, as well as the major cities,” Ms Lafone said. “Also the Australian dollar is extremely favourable against the Franc at the moment, making Switzerland better value than ever.” Echoing this sentiment was the Titlis Rotair regional director of sales, Rayomand Choksi, who said that business from Australia had grown “two-fold in the past four years”. “With the exception of Japan and Korea, Mt Titlis is the number one mountain destination for Asian travellers … and we are confident that our success in Asia can be replicated here [Australia]” Mr Choksi told e-Travel Blackboard. “We are very successful with the younger generation in Australia, especially now through Contiki.” Lake Geneva Region’s vice president and marketing director, Francois Michel, told e-Travel Blackboard that Australian travellers to the Lake Geneva region usually stayed an ideal three to four nights, longer than tourists from other parts of the world. “Lake Geneva is often called a small piece of Switzerland because you have everything here … and it is year-round destination,” Mr Michel said. Mr Michel also alluded to the increase in the number of bed and breakfasts opening in the region. “20 years ago they didn’t exist,” Mr Michel said. Jungfrau director of sales, Daniela Fuchs, said that there were a lot of younger people from Australia coming to the region, telling e-Travel Blackboard that the Jungfrau was now the “mecca of Europe, in terms of outdoor activities”. “We will also be celebrating the centenary of the Jungfraujoch on 1 August next year, which is the Swiss National Day,” Ms Fuchs said. Following the formalities, guests of yesterday’s event, including Swiss Consulate General Markus Meli, were treated to a Swiss buffet lunch prepared by top Swiss-Italian restaurant Bei Amici.Click here to view photos from the Switzerland roadshow Source = e-Travel Blackboard: M.H
Treasurer Mike Baird delivered The O’Farrell Governments historic first budget confirming the expenditure of AUD133 million to develop tourism and events this financial year.Tourism Industry Council executive officer Andrew Jefferies said, it was the first step in the right direction for New South Wales tourism.The council welcomes the Government’s commitment to encourage business across the sector and emphasized the importance to tourism’s employment sector stating that tourism supports 160,000 jobs in NSW and any measure in reducing the high cost of employment will be beneficial to the present state of the economy.“This is a clear incentive to grow the state economy and help to rebuild our sector given the tough economic conditions faced by businesses in our industry,” Mr Jefferies said.The council welcomes the Government’s commitment to provide payroll tax relief and recognizes the Government’s plans to provide brand new infrastructure to allow better access for visitors to travel around Sydney and New South Wales. Through the new plan Sydney will be set to gain an additional 261 new buses and an extension of its light rail system and the commitment to provide extra express train services and an upgrade of the Pacific Highway.In addition the Government has also confirmed it will provide an additional AUD5 million for regional tourism destination marketing and development purposes, making the total funding for regional tourism AUD10 million. Source = e-Travel Blackboard: S.P
Source = e-Travel Blackboard: N.J Everything is back to normal in Japan and at the Peninsula Tokyo with local stay and corporate sustaining business since the quake and tsunami deterred leisure arrivals earlier this year.Speaking to e-Travel Blackboard late last week, the hotel’s general manager Malcolm Thompson said the hotel’s location was key to keeping capacity up.“Because of the big population, locals enjoy using hotels for leisure, so that’s a great source for us on weekends and combined with corporate business over focus now is develop the lack of leisure business,” Mr Thompson said.He said a lot of people around the world are still “a little bit scared” of travelling into Japan but as time passes the situation become less terrifying for travellers.Among the top visitors since the devastation in March this year include strong support from the Aussie market as well as Singapore and Taiwan.Mr Thompson stressed that Australian travellers continued to show support for Japan and the hotel while people from China and Europe remained sensitive.“The strong Yen doesn’t help the leisure situation,” Mr Thompson added.“What a lot of people have been doing of course because of the disaster is offering tremendous deals that have attracted quite a bit of the budget traveller.”During the interview, The Peninsula general marketing manager Jean Forrest revealed to e-Travel Blackboard that the company was planning an in-room makeover of its Hong Kong property and taking its first step into Europe.For more information click here.
NYC & Company, welcomed media and travel agents with a breakfast New York style to kick off the start to promoting America’s number one city during the Visit USA Expo’s, taking place nationwide this month. With a specially designed New York City menu created by celebrity chef Michael Moore, delegates from New York City including Empire State Building Observatory, Hotel Beacon, Marmara Manhattan, Marriott & Renaissance Hotels of New York City, Circle Line Sightseeing Cruises, American Best Getaways and Wellington Hotel sat down to a delicious breakfast in the Summit restaurant as it revolved displaying Sydney city. The City’s official marketing, tourism and partnership organization, NYC & Company Vice President of Tourism Development, Makiko Matsuda Healy told e-Travel Blackboard that Australia is the fifth largest source of overseas travel to the US and remains a key market for NYC tourism. When talking about the Australian market, Ms Healy revealed, “once Australian’s have a taste, they come back to get more of New York City.” “We look forward to building increased business from every corner of Australia and welcoming more visitors from this key market to New York City in the year ahead,” Ms Healy concluded. New York City met its goal of 50 million visitors in 2012, with a new goal now set at 55 million visitors by 2015. Approximately half a million Australian’s visited the city, representing an 11.3 per cent increase on last year’s visitor figure, which has been attributed to the strong Australian Dollar. Based on last year’s data, a majority of travellers visited for leisure purposes spending on average of $2,679 per visit, while only 10 per cent of travellers were there on business.Agents can extend their knowledge on the destination by registering for the NYC Travel Training Academy to become a certified NYC Specialist. Registration will allow access to regular industry updates and insights about the City’s diverse neighbourhoods, culture, dining, nightlife, shopping and more. In addition, agents will be eligible for exclusive special offers when visiting New York City. Registration can be completed at nycgo.com/training. Source = e-Travel Blackboard: K.W NYC delegation with celebrity chef Michael Moore Travel trade and media enjoying a New York breakfast at the Summit, Sydney
“There is a global travel revolution underway, and the secular trends of rising wealth, rapid urbanisation and increasing digital interconnectivity make us as confident as ever about demand for high-end travel,” Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide president and chief executive Frits van Paasschen said. Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide opened 74 new properties last year, expanding its reach, particularly in developing markets, while forecasting strong global growth for 2014. These new hotel management and franchise agreements represent a 16 percent increase in the number of signings, while contract renewals rose almost 34 percent, compared to the previous year. Almost 75 percent of Starwood’s development pipeline and 60 percent of all 2013 signings were in fast-growing markets, such as Bangladesh, Colombia, Indonesia, Malaysia and Saudi Arabia. Starwood signed 152 new hotel agreements in 2013 – the fourth consecutive year of increased signings and the highest number of new deals signed since 2007 – across all nine of its brands. Source = ETB News: P.T. “Globalization continues to spur economic growth, infrastructure development and, for us, footprint expansion,” Mr van Paasschen said.
Hawaii’s destination carrier curates a preeminent premium leisure experienceHawaii’s destination carrier curates a preeminent premium leisure experienceHawaiian Airlines, Hawaii’s largest and longest serving carrier, today revealed a distinctive cabin design for its new A321neo fleet arriving later this year. Signature features of the interior concept and enhanced service evoke the natural splendor of Hawai‘i through color and form, bringing the outdoors in and extending “island time” from the moment a guest steps onboard.“We are a unique destination carrier that caters to the needs of guests traveling to, from and between the beautiful islands of Hawai‘i,” said Avi Mannis, the airline’s senior vice president of marketing. “With an 88-year legacy of authentic Hawaiian hospitality, we are rooted in a sense of place and culture that guides the sensory design elements across our fleet. Together with JPA Design, we have created an emotionally satisfying, aesthetically rich inflight experience that will transform guests in every cabin of our A321neo aircraft.”Mannis joined Tim Manson, design director of UK–based global transport and hospitality design firm JPA Design, in making the joint design announcement on Monday at the 6th annual Passenger Experience Conference in Hamburg, Germany. They spoke at a session titled “Rethinking the Passenger’s Journey,” addressing the configuration of products, systems and processes that enable airlines to create the most comfortable customer-centric journey.The medium-haul, single-aisle A321neo aircraft will usher in Hawaiian’s next growth era when they enter the carrier’s Western U.S. network. The A321neos will complement Hawaiian’s fleet of long-haul, twin-aisle aircraft used for flying between Hawai‘i and the U.S. Mainland and 11 international destinations, and its narrow-body Boeing 717 fleet flying short, interisland routes.Hawaiian’s recent B717 and A330 aircraft cabin redesigns further differentiate its premium leisure product, creating a contemporary design language of “Earth, Sea and Sky” that is interconnected throughout the fleet. The new interior of the mid-range A321neo completes the evolution of that design philosophy, with each interior carefully tailored to the emotional journeys and ergonomic needs of a variety of travelers.“Hawaiian presented JPA Design with a very unique proposition and set of creative challenges,” said Manson. “Collaborating closely with the team at Hawaiian, we crafted a cabin interior that draws inspiration from Hawaii’s rich past and contemporary present. Symbolism from Hawaii’s story is woven throughout the cabin interiors, subtly immersing guests in an environment that brings an elevated authentic premium leisure experience.”Guests will enjoy the choice of three cabin products, with intuitive and comfortable seating provided by B/E Aerospace. The Premium Cabin will be luxuriously appointed with leather recliners, thoughtful design details and a custom lighting fixture incorporating Hawaiian’s signature ‘wave’ motif. The 45 Extra Comfort premium economy seats will offer five more inches of legroom, priority boarding and other perks. Seats in all cabins will be equipped with complimentary high-power USB outlets for device charging, while guests in the Premium Cabin and Extra Comfort seats will enjoy access to an additional AC power outlet. Pivoting overhead bins maximize the amount of space available for carry-on luggage.Textiles and other materials throughout the cabin pay homage to traditional Hawaiian crafts, from bark cloth (kapa) to fishing nets. Guests will discover many details as they experience the cabin, from Hawaiian language used in signage, to unexpected textures, to custom floor and wall laminates in each lavatory. The full LED mood-lighting system has been programmed to evoke Hawaii’s unmatched sunrises and sunsets, enhancing the guest’s mood at each stage along their journey.“With each cabin, we try to integrate a sense of identity and place, while remaining fresh and modern in our design language,” said Mannis. “In that sense the A321neo has provided a superb canvas on which to project a sense of modern Hawai’i.”New to Hawaiian’s guest experience, the A321neo will feature wireless streaming inflight entertainment. Guests will be able to download an application on their personal devices before they board to enjoy a wide selection of complimentary movies, TV shows, and Hawai‘i content available exclusively through the airline’s Hawaiian Skies channel. Holders for personal hand-held devices and tablets will be integrated into the tray tables of the Premium Cabin as well as the first row of Extra Comfort, and built into the backrest of all other seats in the aircraft.The core of the A321neo experience will remain Hawaiian’s award-winning service. The cabin has been designed to enhance the carrier’s signature onboard hospitality program, Mea Ho‘okipa (translation: I am host). All guests are treated to island-inspired complimentary meals and made-in-Hawai‘i snacks to go along with the airline’s engaging presentation of the islands’ culture, people and Aloha Spirit throughout the flight.Hawaiian expects to take delivery of 18 new A321neo aircraft between the fourth quarter of 2017 and 2020. Considered the most fuel-efficient aircraft of its type, the plane will seat 189 passengers with 16 First Class, 45 Extra Comfort and 128 Economy class seats. Sales for flights served by the new aircraft and the first dedicated routes will be announced later this year.For a virtual tour of Hawaiian’s new A321neo design, please visit About Hawaiian AirlinesHawaiian®, the world’s most punctual airline as reported by OAG, has led all U.S. carriers in on-time performance for each of the past 13 years (2004-2016) as reported by the U.S. Department of Transportation. Consumer surveys by Condé Nast Traveler and Travel + Leisure have ranked Hawaiian the highest of all domestic airlines serving Hawai‘i.Now in its 88th year of continuous service, Hawaiian is Hawai‘i’s biggest and longest-serving airline, as well as the largest provider of passenger air service from its primary visitor markets on the U.S. Mainland.Hawaiian offers non-stop service to Hawai‘i from more U.S. gateway cities (11) than any other airline, along with service from Japan, South Korea, China, Australia, New Zealand, American Samoa and Tahiti. Hawaiian also provides approximately 160 jet flights daily between the Hawaiian Islands, with a total of more than 200 daily flights system-wide.Hawaiian Airlines, Inc. is a subsidiary of Hawaiian Holdings, Inc. (NASDAQ: HA).Source = Hawaiian Airlines
Qatar Airways Renews its Partnership with Orbis UKQatar Airways Renews its Partnership with Orbis UKQatar Airways has renewed its sponsorship as Official Airline Partner to Orbis UK for a further three years. The airline has been a proud supporter of Orbis and its blindness prevention programmes since 2012.Orbis is a global charity that brings people together to fight avoidable blindness through access to quality eye care. Together with its partners, Orbis trains eye teams, strengthens eye care services and works on the ground to provide lasting solutions to communities in need.Orbis’s pioneering Flying Eye Hospital spearheads the charity’s global efforts to transform lives. The world’s only accredited eye hospital with wings is equipped with a state of the art operating theatre which is connected to a class room at the front of the room with a 3D screen, enabling those learning to get a very real view of the surgery taking place. The aircraft also features pre and post-op spaces for patients to recover.Qatar Airways Group Chief Executive, His Excellency Mr. Akbar Al Baker said: “Qatar Airways strongly believes in giving back to the global community and to making a difference. As an airline that connects communities and people around the world, we are delighted to continue our support for Orbis for another three years as Official Airline Partner. This initiative is of great importance to the global communities served by this state of the art flying medical facility, providing crucial eye care to people around the globe.”Orbis UK Trustee, Dr Robert Walters said: “We are so thankful for Qatar Airways’ trust, friendship and support since 2012. Together we have already hosted the Flying Eye Hospital in Doha three times and facilitated the royal visits, enabling us to gather the support required to launch Qatar Creating Vision. It is only through the power of partnerships that we are able to proudly celebrate the millions of eye tests provided to children and the thousands of people trained to help find those struggling with low vision in communities.”The renewed sponsorship this week also coincided with a visit from Her Royal Highness, Sophie The Countess of Wessex, to a ‘Qatar Creating Vision’ programme in Dhaka and Chittagong, Bangladesh. There she watched as patients bandages were removed, spoke withthe Orbis volunteers transforming lives and the local medical teams undertaking brilliant work.The Royal Visit concluded in Doha, where Her Royal Highness Sophie The Countess of Wessex also met with H.E. Mr. Al Baker, to celebrate the achievements of Qatar Creating Vision, which has undertaken 2.4 million eye tests for children and provided over 27,000 training sessions to doctors, teachers and community workers, to reach those living with unnecessary blindness.In 2013, Her Royal Highness Sophie The Countess of Wessex, in her role as the Ambassador for the International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness (IAPB), visited Doha with the Orbis Flying Eye Hospital to discuss the devastating impact a lack of access to eye care can have on people across the world. In October 2015, the Qatar Fund for Development and Orbis launched Qatar Creating Vision, an initiative that brings together the people of Qatar in the fight against preventable blindness.Earlier this year, the aircraft returned to Doha to bring together key stakeholders from across the ophthalmic medical community in Qatar to share knowledge of preferred practices and approaches to eye care.The national carrier of the State of Qatar, Qatar Airways is one of the fastest-growing airlines operating one of the youngest fleets in the world. Now in its 20th year of operations, Qatar Airways has a modern fleet of more than 200 aircraft flying to business and leisure destinations across six continents.Source = Qatar Airways
Vail Resorts offers worldwide access to 61 mountain resortsNew for 2018-19, Epic Pass holders receive limited access to Telluride in Colorado, Hakuba Valley in Japan and Resorts of the Canadian Rockies across Canada, bringing the worldwide resort access total to 61.In celebration of the 10th Anniversary of the Epic Pass, Vail Resorts is honoring its heritage with the U.S. Army’s 10th Mountain Division with a $99 Military Epic Pass and a $1 donation for every 2018-19 season pass sold to Wounded Warrior Project.Vail Resorts season passes offer a number of unique advantages over other industry passes, from direct to lift access to discounted tickets for family and friends.United States. Canada. Australia. Japan. France. Switzerland. Italy. Austria. No other season pass gives skiers and snowboarders access to so many celebrated resorts around the world than the Epic Pass, including unlimited, unrestricted access to 15 mountain resorts and limited access to 46 more. Priced at $899 for the 2018-19 winter season, the Epic Pass remains unmatched in the mountain resort industry for the variety and value it offers skiers and snowboarders.New for next winter, the Epic Pass will feature access to Telluride in Colorado; Hakuba Valley’s nine ski resorts in Japan; and Resorts of the Canadian Rockies across Canada, including Fernie Alpine Resort, Kicking Horse Mountain Resort and Kimberley Alpine Resort in British Columbia, Nakiska in Alberta, and Mont Sainte Anne and Stoneham in Quebec, all in a long-term alliance.Unique Advantages of a Vail Resorts Season Pass $49 Down Now, Pay the Rest Later. For a limited time only, a $49 down payment now guarantees the lowest price for Vail Resorts’ season pass products with the remainder due in the fall.Put Your Ticket Towards a Season Pass Purchase. New guests can also benefit from the Turn in Your Ticket program, allowing skiers and snowboarders to apply the cost of their day lift ticket toward the price of an eligible season pass for the 2018-19 season. Guests can bring their same-day lift ticket to a season pass office at any of the Vail Resorts owned mountains and put the value of the ticket towards an eligible season pass product.12 Total Discounted Tickets for Family and Friends. Purchasing a 2018-19 season pass by Sunday, April 15 ensures that skiers and snowboarders will lock in the lowest price, combined with the best benefits, such as 12 total benefit tickets for friends and family to use: Six “Buddy” tickets at a flat discounted rate for friends and family to use and six “Ski With A Friend” discounted tickets are offered with eligible season passes.Bypass the Ticket Window and Go Direct to Lift. No stopping at the ticket window at Vail, Beaver Creek, Breckenridge, Keystone, Arapahoe Basin, Telluride, Park City, Whistler Blackcomb, Heavenly, Northstar, Kirkwood, Wilmot Mountain, Afton Alps, Mt. Brighton and the Resorts of the Canadian Rockies. With a Vail Resorts’ season pass, skiers and snowboarders go direct to the lift to enjoy their day on the mountain.Track Your Ski Day and Share with Friends. Access to EpicMix, Vail Resorts’ award-winning app, allows guests to track vertical feet, check lift line wait times, share free photos, earn digital pins for on-mountain achievements, race against the clock and track progress in Ski and Snowboard School lessons.Following are ideal season pass options for skiers and snowboarders next winter whether they intend to only ski four days or all season with no restrictions.Epic Pass™: Ski or snowboard unlimited and unrestricted from opening day to closing day for only $899. The Epic Pass pays for itself in just over four days of skiing or snowboarding. Enjoy full access to Vail, Beaver Creek, Breckenridge, Keystone and Arapahoe Basin in Colorado; Park City in Utah; Heavenly, Northstar and Kirkwood at Lake Tahoe; Stowe Mountain Resort in Vermont; Afton Alps in Minnesota; Mt. Brighton in Michigan; Wilmot Mountain in Wisconsin; Whistler Blackcomb in Canada; and Perisher in Australia for the 2019 season. New for the 2018-19 season, Epic Pass holders will receive seven days of skiing or snowboarding with no blackout dates at Telluride in Colorado and at Resorts of the Canadian Rockies (Fernie Alpine Resort, Kicking Horse Mountain Resort and Kimberley Alpine Resort in British Columbia, Nakiska in Alberta, and Mont Sainte Anne and Stoneham in Quebec), and five total consecutive days with no blackout dates at Hakuba Valley’s nine ski resorts in Japan. The Epic Pass also grants limited access to Les 3 Vallées, Paradiski and Tignes-Val D’Isere in France; 4 Vallées in Switzerland; Arlberg in Austria and Skirama Dolomiti in Italy. A child pass (ages five to 12) is $469.Epic Local Pass™: For $669, receive unlimited and unrestricted skiing or snowboarding at Breckenridge, Keystone, Arapahoe Basin, Wilmot, Afton Alps and Mt. Brighton with limited restrictions at Park City, Heavenly, Northstar, Kirkwood, and Stowe, plus a combined total of 10 days at Vail, Beaver Creek, and Whistler Blackcomb with holiday restrictions. New for the 2018-19 season, Epic Local Pass holders will receive five total consecutive days with no blackout dates at Hakuba Valley’s nine ski resorts in Japan. The Epic Local Pass pays for itself in just over three days. A child pass (ages five to 12) is $359.Epic 7-Day Pass™: For $669, receive a total of seven unrestricted days at Whistler Blackcomb, Vail, Beaver Creek, Breckenridge, Keystone, Park City, Heavenly, Northstar, Kirkwood, Stowe and Arapahoe Basin, plus seven additional free days at Afton Alps, Mt. Brighton or Wilmot Mountain. New for the 2018-19 season, Epic 7-Day Pass holders will receive up to seven days of skiing or snowboarding at Telluride and at Resorts of the Canadian Rockies with no blackout dates as part of their seven total days on the pass. After the seven days, regardless of the resort at which they were redeemed, pass holders can get 20 percent off additional lift tickets at Telluride. A child pass (ages five to 12) is $359. The pass pays for itself in just over three days.Epic 4-Day™: A convenient option for a short ski trip as the pass pays for itself in just over two days and includes a total of four unrestricted days valid at Whistler Blackcomb, Vail, Beaver Creek, Breckenridge, Keystone, Park City, Heavenly, Northstar, Kirkwood, Stowe and Arapahoe Basin, plus four additional free days at Afton Alps, Mt. Brighton or Wilmot Mountain. New in 2018-19, Epic 4-Day Pass holders will receive up to four days of skiing or snowboarding at Telluride and at Resorts of the Canadian Rockies with no blackout dates as part of their four total days on the pass. After the four days, regardless of the resort at which they were redeemed, pass holders can get 20 percent off additional lift tickets at Telluride. The Epic 4-Day Pass is $439 for adults and $239 for children (ages five to 12).In celebration of the 10th anniversary of the Epic Pass on March 18, 2018, Vail Resorts is honoring the epic service of the Company’s founders from the U.S. Army’s 10th Mountain Division, and the men and women of the U.S. Armed Forces, Canadian Armed Forces and Australian Defence Force with the introduction of a new $99 Military Epic Pass for active and retired military personnel and their dependents – an almost 90-percent discount to the regular Epic Pass price. Additionally, as the first of its kind in the mountain resort industry, all other U.S., Canadian and Australian veterans and their dependents are eligible for a $499 Military Epic Pass, which offers more than a 40-percent discount off the regular price ($269 for children under 18 years of age). Vail Resorts will donate $1 for every 2018-19 season pass sale to Wounded Warrior Project® to benefit wounded veterans and their families, which would exceed $750,000 based on last year’s sales. Visit www.epicpass.com/military for all details on military pass options.Season Pass InsuranceVail Resorts encourages guests to purchase pass insurance, which ranges from $10 to $25 depending on the type of pass purchased. All of the Company’s season pass products are non-refundable and non-transferable; however, pass insurance covers pass holders in the event of unexpected circumstances including sickness, injury and job loss. Find out more at www.EpicPass.com.About Vail Resorts, Inc. (NYSE: MTN)Vail Resorts, Inc., through its subsidiaries, is the leading global mountain resort operator. Vail Resorts’ subsidiaries operate 11 world-class mountain resorts and three urban ski areas, including Vail, Beaver Creek, Breckenridge and Keystone in Colorado; Park City in Utah; Heavenly, Northstar and Kirkwood in the Lake Tahoe area of California and Nevada; Whistler Blackcomb in British Columbia, Canada; Perisher in Australia; Stowe in Vermont; Wilmot Mountain in Wisconsin; Afton Alps in Minnesota and Mt. Brighton in Michigan. Vail Resorts owns and/or manages a collection of casually elegant hotels under the RockResorts brand, as well as the Grand Teton Lodge Company in Jackson Hole, Wyo. Vail Resorts Development Company is the real estate planning and development subsidiary of Vail Resorts, Inc. Vail Resorts is a publicly held company traded on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE: MTN). The Vail Resorts company website is www.vailresorts.com and consumer website is www.snow.comSource = Vail Resorts
Record year for U.S. visitors to Abu DhabiAccording to statistics from the Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi (DCT Abu Dhabi), the number of hotel guests staying in Abu Dhabi increased by 4.9% during the first five months of 2018 compared to the same period last year, with key international target market the United States, leading year over year growth at 25.7% with a total of 82,300 guests and a whopping 42% increase in the numbers of visitors in May 2018 compared to the same month last year. Overall, DCT Abu Dhabi reports 162 hotels, resorts and hotel apartments offering 31,236 rooms across the emirate welcomed 2,073,586 guests during January to May. “These results are very encouraging and demonstrate steady growth. They also prove Abu Dhabi’s ability to realize its strategic goals of positioning the emirate as a leading global destination, through forward-looking marketing and promotional campaigns that seek to sustain growth,” said HE Saif Saeed Ghobash, Undersecretary of DCT Abu Dhabi. “We continue to promote awareness of Abu Dhabi’s tourism and leisure attractions and authentic cultural heritage, as well as its highly-developed business and convention infrastructure.”Occupancy rate averaged 75% during the same period (January to May), with a 1.4% increase, while the average length of stay was 2.7 nights, an increase of 2.4% compared to the same period in 2017, with China topping the number of visitors, recording 192,500 visitors, an increase of 19.9% . India came in second with 166,700 guests and a 22.2% increase, followed by the UK with 119,900 amounting to a 12.7% increase, the United States with 82,300 guests and a 25.7% increase, and Germany with 71,300 guests at a 20% increase.Abu Dhabi continued its outstanding performance across most of its target markets in May 2018, compared to the same month of last year, with a 7% growth in the number of visitors from India, followed by the UK at 7.9%, the United States at 42% and Germany at 35%.Domestic tourism rose by 7.9% during the first five months of 2018 with 1,489,154 hotel guests received, compared to 1,371,327 during the same period in 2017.Growth indicators included the three regions of the emirate, with an 8.6% increase in Al Dhafra at a total of 63,471 guests, 5.3% in Abu Dhabi with 1,833,348 guests received and 1% in Al Ain with 176,767 guests.DCT Abu Dhabi also works in cooperation with local and international entities from Abu Dhabi’s tourism sector to participate in the most prominent conferences and exhibitions held throughout the year. Such participation allows DCT Abu Dhabi to communicate directly with leading international travel and tourism agencies, promote cooperation efforts, and encourage the development of vacation packages and tourism programs in the emirate.“We expect to see significant momentum across the tourism sector in the forthcoming months with Abu Dhabi Summer season having begun and the anticipated the opening of new leisure establishments and resorts such as Warner Bros. World Abu Dhabi on Yas Island and Jumeirah’s luxurious Saadiyat Island Resort this fall,” Ghobash added.While the Abu Dhabi Summer Season will run until 18 August, the second half of 2018 will witness prominent events such as the Formula 1 Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi Grand Prix and Abu Dhabi Art in November, and the Abu Dhabi Food Festival in December.Abu Dhabi’s tourism and hospitality sector is booming following the Executive Committee’s approval of DCT Abu Dhabi’s proposal to cut tourism and municipal fees, implementing a reduction from 6% to 3.5% for tourism fees; a drop of 4% to 2% for municipality fees, and lowering the municipal fee for each hotel room from AED15 to AED10. Effective as of July 1st, this amendment is a result of the continuous efforts to further tourism infrastructure development and encourage investors to build tourist and cultural attractions, and organize events, elevating Abu Dhabi’s status as a leading tourist destination.“This decision encourages investments across Abu Dhabi’s tourism and hospitality sector and enhances its competitiveness by bettering the economic value we offer our visitors for our quality services and attractions,” Ghobash added.“It will also help us attract more visitors and increase occupancy rates, revenues and the average length of stay, and thus increase the tourism sector’s contribution to the UAE’s GDP and reach economic diversification targets. We are dedicated to conveying a clear message to visitors in our target markets, inviting them to explore Abu Dhabi and enjoy the exceptional recreational, cultural and family experiences it offers.” About The Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu DhabiThe Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi conserves and promotes the heritage and culture of Abu Dhabi emirate and leverages them in the development of a world-class, sustainable destination of distinction that enriches the lives of visitors and residents alike. The Department manages the emirate’s tourism sector and markets the destination internationally through a wide range of activities aimed at attracting visitors and investment. Its policies, plans and programs relate to the preservation of heritage and culture, including protecting archaeological and historical sites and to developing museums, including the Louvre Abu Dhabi, the Zayed National Museum and the Guggenheim Abu Dhabi. The Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi supports intellectual and artistic activities and cultural events to nurture a rich cultural environment and honor the emirate’s heritage. A key role played by the Department is to create synergy in the destination’s development through close coordination with its wide-ranging stakeholder base. http://tcaabudhabi.ae/enSource = The Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi
Chimu Travellers donate a truck load of hay to drought stricken areasChimu Travellers donate a truck load of hay to drought stricken areasLatin America and Polar specialists, Chimu Adventures, have donated a truck load of hay to rural communities in New South Wales, Australia, through Rural Aid after pledging to donate ‘a bale a booking’ for all Chimu bookings made in August. This coincides with the United Nation’s International Day of Charity on Wednesday 5th September which celebrates and encourages charitable endeavours to relieve poverty worldwide.As we are all aware, farmers across Australia are facing one of the worst droughts in history. The price of grain has risen while the price of stock has fallen and rural communities have been majorly affected. The severity of the drought led Chimu at the beginning of August to investigate ways in which they could help and they chose to support the charity Rural Aid. Chimu encouraged the travel industry to join forces with them and this resulted in companies such as Globus, Wendy Wu Tours, Entire Travel Group and Helloworld following suit with their own efforts for Rural Aid.Rural Aid/Buy a Bale is a registered charity established in 2013. After reading about Queensland farmers who were being forced to destroy their cattle and abandon their land due to the conditions, Charles and Tracy Alder felt compelled to do something. Conversations with agriculture industry groups and a background in marketing led them to establish the fundraising campaign ‘Buy a Bale;’ a tangible way for Australian’s to help. Since September 2013, the campaign has delivered over 160 000 bales of hay across four states in Australia. The current drought is so acute that it has been necessary for the charity to draft hay supplies from Western Australia. Donations at a time like this are thus vital.Chimu can report that the bookings their travellers made in August have resulted in a truck load of hay being sent to some of the places feeling the worse effects of the drought in New South Wales in time for World Charity Day. Chimu co-founder Greg Carter reflects on this: “We work with many regional Australia travel agents and clients living through this drought so finding a way to support them was something we felt compelled to do. World Charity Day reminds us that we should be helping because we can, not just because it is convenient to. The result of our ‘A Bale a Booking’ campaign is heartening.”As Polar and Latin America specialists, Chimu have supported hundreds of local communities in Latin America through their MAD Project which aims to empower local communities and help them develop their own infrastructure for the future. They have also run fundraising voyages to the polar regions to raise much needed cash for Australian not-for-profit organisations such as the Mawson’s Huts Foundation, Love Your Sister and The McGrath Foundation so being able to help their travellers to donate to another local charity such as Rural Aid/Buy a Bale is something they are proud to announce.Source = Chimu Adventures
The 2016-2017 Dubai Cruise season officially concluded with the departure of the season’s final ship, the C.S. Sea Princess, from Port Rashid.This marked the end of a successful season for Dubai Cruise Tourism, which saw over 625,000 cruise tourists visit the city via a total of 157 ship calls, reflecting an increase of 15% and 18% respectively when compared to the 2015-2016 season. The season also saw Thomson Cruises, the first UK-based cruise line home porting in the region, in addition to inaugural visits from TUI’s Mein Schiff 1 Norwegian Cruise Line’s Norwegian Star and MSC’s MSC Fantasia among the eight other maiden ship calls.Commenting on the success of the 2016-2017 season, Jamal Humaid Al Falasi, Director of Dubai Cruise Tourism, said, “We are very pleased with the success of our 2016-2017 cruising season, and with the city’s sustained popularity as a winter cruise destination. We are grateful to DP World, Dubai Airports, Dubai Immigration, Dubai Customs, Emirates Airlines and our other key public and private sector stakeholders for their continued cooperation which has led to an ever-increasing number of cruise operators looking to anchor in the emirate. Bolstered by our recent success and our upcoming partnerships over the coming seasons, we are confident we will achieve our strategic goal of welcoming one million cruise tourists to Dubai by 2020-21 cruise season.”The Dubai Cruise 2017-2018 season is set to commence on October 25, with the arrival of cruise ship Seabourn Encore. More recently, Dubai Cruise also announced that P&O Cruises would be home porting in Dubai for the first time during the 2018-2019 season.
Gulf Air, the national carrier of the Kingdom of Bahrain has signed a partnership with VFS Global to launch Bahrain tourist visa service which will be available exclusively for the airline’s passengers flying across its global network to Bahrain.Waleed Abdul Hameed Al Alawi, Deputy Chief Executive Officer, Gulf Air, said, “We are delighted to, in partnership with VFS Global, launch the Bahrain Tourist Visa Service making the process of obtaining a visa to enter Bahrain easier and more convenient.”Expressing his delight over their partnership with Gulf Air, Vinay Malhotra, COO-Middle East and South Asia, VFS Global, cited, “Our partnership with Gulf Air and the Government of Bahrain is to develop a convenient, next-generation visa service for Gulf Air passengers visiting Bahrain. A dedicated online platform not only makes applying for a visa to Bahrain quicker and more convenient than ever before, but also provides passengers with 24×7 accessibility and online tracking of their visas, amongst other advantages.”
The progressive perspective of any country depends upon the cultural and historical roots. The promotion of the country revolves around the route to reach the destination. I traversed through the route to reach the roots of Uzbek at a stupefying ambience of the vibrant Surajkund Crafts Mela 2018 with immersive cultural ethos. The location of Uzbekistan in the centre of Eurasian continent allowed it to play a key role in the trans-continental system of the Great Silk Roads. As a matter of fact, main routes of the Great Silk Roads uniting East and West passed through the territory of present-day Uzbekistan, which was one of the places, where the first civilisations emerged and developed.A historic trade route was used from the second century BC through 14th century AD that went from China to the Mediterranean. The Silk Route is so named because of the popularity of trading silk during that period. This valuable fabric originated in China, which initially had a monopoly on its silk production, until the secrets of its creation spread. The Silk Route traversed China, India, Persia, Arabia, Greece and Italy. In addition to silk, the route facilitated the trade of other fabrics, spices, grains, fruits and vegetables, animal hides, wood and metal work, precious stones and other items of value.The Silk Route served as a means not only to exchange goods but also to exchange cultures. Both the travellers of the road and the residents of the cities along the route benefited from learning each other’s language, religion and ideas, in addition to the increased material wealth that the trade generated. These interactions, in turn, boosted the development of science, technology, literature, the arts and other fields of study. Specifically interactions along the Silk Route helped to lead to the development of the printing press and irrigation.Uzbek cities such as Samarkand, Bukhara, Khiva, Tashkent, Termez, Urgench and Fergana served as land beacons along the Silk Road. The blossoming oasis cities growing along the Silk Road became international trans-shipment points and were considered the vital centre of trade, crafts, and cultural exchange. The advantageous position of the cities made them attractive. The territory of modern Uzbekistan with caravan roads were revived, and the settlements and cities along them were built with well-groomed gardens and arable fields; the memory of that is stored in the ancient walls of Samarkand, Bukhara, and Khiva. The ancient cities rich in fine architectural monuments preserve the memory of many centuries. The 33-member states participated in UNWTO Silk Route Programme which works in a collaborative manner to raise the platform of Silk route in a sustainable and responsible way. Various measures are taken by the ministry and embassy to enhance the branding of tourism. Keeping in mind the culturally active potential of the country, the President of the Republic of Uzbekistan, Shavkat Mirziyoyev, is attaching high importance to issues of improving the effectiveness to increase the flow of foreign tourists and further aid in the development of domestic tourism, improvement and expansion of tourism services in the country. To integrate the technology globally, the National Television and Radio Company of Uzbekistan, the Ministry for Development of Information Technologies and Communications will organise an international television channel with round-the-clock broadcasting, which will promote the tourism potential of Uzbekistan and transmit various interesting travel programs.Tourism season has been extended and services relating to the improvement of tourism infrastructure are on the top priority basis. The hotels are developed in such a way that their quantity is increased but at par with the quality. Importance is also given to creation of sanitary-hygienic stations along the highways.For the promotion of Sustainable Silk Route Tourism:Cohesive Branding Collaborative approachCapacity building programmesCommunity-based tourism Showcase of culture and craftsUzbekistan has a great potential in the sphere of pilgrim tourism. For this, the Department is supporting the idea in a structured format where a Committee for Religious Affairs under the Cabinet of Ministers of the Republic of Uzbekistan, a visa-free regime has been introduced for countries such as Malaysia, Turkey and Indonesia.To conclude as Robert Frost rightly said: “Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—I took the one less travelled by, and that has made all the difference.”Responsibly yours by A. Lajwanti Naidu
SWISS has earned first place in this year’s World Travel Awards in the ‘Europe’s Leading Airline – Economy Class’ category. The prestigious annual distinctions are based on polls of both travellers and travel industry specialists all over the globe.Swiss International Air Lines (SWISS) has earned first place in the 2019 World Travel Awards in the ‘Europe’s Leading Airline – Economy Class’ category, retaining the title which it won last year. The prestigious annual distinctions are based on polls of both travellers and travel industry specialists all over the globe.The World Travel Awards’ assessment criteria include comfort, service quality and the overall travel experience in all seating classes. “We are delighted to earn this distinction,” said Tamur Goudarzi Pour, SWISS’s Chief Commercial Officer. “It confirms to us that our recent product initiatives such as the new culinary concept for our flights from Geneva are truly appreciated by our customers.”SWISS Economy travellers on long-haul services have been able to design their in-flight food experience in line with their tastes and preferences for some time now. In addition to the regular on-board meal choice, guests can pre-order from a range of further exclusive dishes up to 24 hours before departure, for an additional fee.In the event of an irregularity, SWISS travellers can now also count on the assistance of Nelly, the new SWISS chatbot, via Facebook Messenger. As well as making rebookings, Nelly can help with various further inquiries such as whether a flight is still on time, what gate it is leaving from or what carry-on baggage provisions apply. Nelly is available to all SWISS customers 24/7 and provides a welcome further addition to SWISS’s existing customer services.
Share Agents & Brokers Attorneys & Title Companies Bank of America Citigroup JPMorgan Chase Lenders & Servicers Processing Service Providers Wells Fargo 2012-08-09 Ryan Schuette Settlement Monitor Chooses Secondary Law Firms August 9, 2012 432 Views in Data, Government, Origination, Servicing The “”Office of Mortgage Settlement Oversight””:http://portal.hud.gov/hudportal/HUD?src=/mortgageservicingsettlement recently chose five new firms to serve as its eyes and ears on the ground as the $25 servicer settlement grinds forward.[IMAGE]The new secondary professional firms ├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├óÔé¼┼ô including BKD, LLP; Baker Tilly Virchow Krause, LLP; Crowe Horwath, LLP; Grant Thornton, LLP; and McGladrey, LLP ├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├óÔé¼┼ô will assist settlement monitor Joseph A. Smith, Jr., over the next three and a half years.[COLUMN_BREAK]According to a release, each firm will assist BDO Consulting, a division of BDO USA, LLP, and the primary professional firm responsible for evaluating servicers Ally Financial, Bank of America, Citigroup, JPMorgan Chase, and Wells Fargo.””Each secondary professional firm has a high level of expertise that will bring the detailed, independent attention we need to monitor this settlement,”” Smith said in the release.He said that he worked closely with BDO to select the final list of firms.””I am confident that these six accounting firms make up the blend we need to fully implement the settlement,”” he added.Appointed by state attorneys general, Smith leads the office as it oversees compliance by the servicers with terms under the historic settlement from earlier this year.He had said in past interviews with _DS News_ and _MReport_ that his office would select and appoint the primary and secondary professional firms later this year.
Share in Government, Origination Agents & Brokers Attorneys & Title Companies Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Investors Lenders & Servicers Mortgage Disclosures Processing Service Providers 2013-01-03 Tory Barringer The “”Consumer Financial Protection Bureau””:http://www.consumerfinance.gov/ (CFPB) announced it has “”finalized a rule””:http://files.consumerfinance.gov/f/201212_CFPB_Home-Mortgage-Disclosure-Adjustment-Asset-Size-Exemption-Threshold.pdf adjusting the asset-size exemption threshold for banks, savings associations, and credit unions under Regulation C, which implements the Home Mortgage Disclosure Act (HMDA).[IMAGE][COLUMN_BREAK]Based on the adjustments, institutions with assets of $42 million or less (as of the end of 2012) are exempt from collecting HMDA data in 2013. That exemption does not apply to data institutions are supposed to report for 2012.The adjustment is based on the 2.23 percent increase in the average of the Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers (CPI-W) for the 12-month period ending in November 2012, according to the CFPB. The previous exemption threshold was $41 million.HMDA and the CFPB’s Regulation C requires most mortgage lenders located in metro areas to collect, report, and disclose data about applications and originations for purchase loans, home improvement loans, and refinances. Data reported include the type, purpose, and amount of the loan; the race, ethnicity, sex, and income of the loan applicant; the location of the property; and loan pricing information for some loans. The collected data are used to determine if lenders are serving the needs of their communities and to assist in identifying discriminatory practices. January 3, 2013 439 Views CFPB,CFPB Raises Exemption Threshold for Disclosure Act
Vertical Capital Fund Fares Well in First Year Share Vertical Capital income Fund (VCAPX), a fund that invests in mortgages and deeds of trust, outperformed its benchmark in its first fiscal year, according to a release from Irvine, California-based “”Vertical Capital Markets Group.””:http://verticalus.com/[IMAGE]Vertical Capital Markets Group has been underwriting and servicing mortgages since 2004 and created VCAPX at the end of 2011. In the fund’s first fiscal year, which ended December 2012, it reaped a 12.95 percent return, well above [COLUMN_BREAK]Barclays’ mortgage-backed securities index, which brought in a 2.59 percent return. Bayard Closser, president of Vertical Capital attributes some of the fund’s success to the “”Goldilocks effect.”” “”The housing market is recovering, but at a pace where lenders are still willing to sell whole mortgage notes at a steep discount,”” Closser said.The result is a “”‘just right’ environment that we believe will continue for at least three more years,”” he added. When the fund’s maximum 4.5 percent sales charge is added to the equation, the fund incurred a return of 7.91 percent for the year. VCAPX also earned a dividend of 4.01 percent in its first year. Closser suggests VCAPX might be ideal for older investors who “”should look for some participation in income-generating investments that are tied to a real asset–like real estate or precious metals.”” “”However,”” he adds, “”there is no assurance that any investment strategy will achieve its objectives, generate profits or avoid losses.”” Agents & Brokers Attorneys & Title Companies Company News Investment Investors Lenders & Servicers Processing Service Providers 2013-01-17 Krista Franks Brock in Data, Government, Origination, Secondary Market, Servicing January 17, 2013 453 Views
in Data, Origination May Home Sales Keep Up Pace in Southeast Agents & Brokers Attorneys & Title Companies Federal Reserve For-Sale Homes Home Sales Homebuilders Housing Supply Investors Lenders & Servicers Service Providers 2013-07-01 Tory Barringer Share A monthly poll of brokers and builders shows sales in the Southeast rising once again in May.[IMAGE]According to a survey conducted by the “”Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta””:http://www.frbatlanta.org/, a huge majority of brokers in the region observed an increase in sales in May, with 40 percent saying numbers were up “”slightly”” over last year and another 44 percent saying sales were up “”significantly.”” May was the third straight month in which the share of brokers reporting significant year-over-year sales gains increased.Builders also indicated sales were stronger than last year, with 38 percent reporting slight increases and 33 [COLUMN_BREAK]percent reporting significant improvements. However, builders noted that sales growth had slowed from April, when nearly half of respondents reported significant yearly gains.””Once again, shortages of home inventory were a theme that repeated among May’s reports. Brokers in particular complained that the lack of inventory was restraining home sales, while builders remained frustrated at their inability to secure construction financing, which they felt was holding back the new home market as well,”” said Whitney Mancuso, a senior economic analyst for the Atlanta Fed’s research department.The shortage of for-sale homes also had respondents reporting continued upward pressure on home prices. At the same time, most builders indicated increases in labor and material costs, with labor costs rising between 1 percent 4 percent over May 2012.On the positive side, brokers and builders were both upbeat in their outlooks for sales in the coming months. Eighty-three percent of brokers said they expect sales to rise in the next three months (60 percent answering “”slightly”” and 20 percent answering “”significantly””). The builder outlook was a bit more tempered, with 63 percent anticipating slight sales improvements and none expecting significant growth. July 1, 2013 452 Views
in Data, Government, Origination, Secondary Market, Servicing Report: Market Health Looks Different for Investors, Builders Agents & Brokers Attorneys & Title Companies Home Prices Homebuilders Housing Starts Investment Investors Lenders & Servicers Processing Service Providers Trulia 2013-09-05 Krista Franks Brock When looking at the housing recovery through the lens of prices, we appear to be well on our way. However, according to economists at online real estate marketplace, “”Trulia,””:http://www.trulia.com/ prices are only half of the picture. [IMAGE]””A full housing recovery requires rebounds in both prices and new construction,”” Trulia stated Thursday with the “”release””:http://trends.truliablog.com/2013/09/trulia-price-rent-monitors-aug-2013/ of the “”Trulia Price Monitor””:http://info.trulia.com/trulia-price-and-rent-monitor and the “”Trulia Rent Monitor.””:http://info.trulia.com/trulia-price-and-rent-monitorWhile prices are up 11 percent year-over-year in August, according to Trulia, which monitors list prices, construction activity is lagging. Construction permits for the year are between 60 and 70 percent of their historical averages from 1990 through 2012, according to Trulia. Additionally, when it comes to price gains and increases in construction, markets tend to be experiencing one or the other. Markets that have experienced rapid price growth are experiencing meager construction activity. “”Investors and builders have bet on different local markets,”” said Jed Kolko, chief economist at Trulia. “”Investors have bought in the boom-and-bust metros,”” according to Kolko. On the other hand, “”[b]uilders, however, are betting on markets that avoided the worst of the crash, like Boston, much of Texas, and the expensive California coast,”” Kolko said. [COLUMN_BREAK]Las Vegas, for example, topped the charts with a 33.6 percent increase in asking price year-over-year in August. However, the level of construction permits year-to-date in Las Vegas is just 39 percent of the market’s historical norm. Sacramento, California; Oakland California; and Riverside-San Bernardino, California, demonstrate similar trends with annual price gains above 25 percent but construction activity ranging between 38 and 60 percent of historical norms. Two exceptions to the current either/or trend are Orange County, California, and San Jose, California. Both of these markets posted annual price gains above 20 percent in August, and construction permit activity in both markets is higher than historical norms. In the rental market, Trulia identified a continuation in rising rents with a wide discrepancy in growth among apartment rents and single-family home rents. Overall, rents rose 3.5 percent annually in August. However, apartment rents rose 3.9 percent, while single-family home rents rose just 1.6 percent, according to the Trulia Rent Monitor. Among the 25 largest rental markets in the nation, Seattle, Washington, experienced the greatest increase in rents year-over-year in August–a 9.8 percent increase. Apartment rents in the market increased 10.5 percent, while single-family home rents rose just 2 percent, according to Trulia. Portland, Oregon, ranked second with an overall rent increase of 8.2 percent year-over-year in August. Miami, Florida, followed with a 7 percent increase in rents. Houston, Texas, posted the fourth-highest rent increase in August, but it was an exception to the general trend. Rents increased 6.7 percent overall in Houston, but single-family home rents posted a higher increase than apartment rents–7.4 percent and 6.6 percent, respectively. September 5, 2013 433 Views Share