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Business travel pricey in Australia

first_imgSource = e-Travel Blackboard: S.P The strength of the Aussie dollar coupled with a robust business environment has placed Australia amongst one of the most expensive for business travel a recent report has found.According to a report conducted by Concur on corporate travel and entertainment spend, found that four Australian cities made the top ten most expensive cities for business travel.Perth came in at third place, followed by Sydney in fourth, Brisbane seventh and Melbourne was ranked as the 9th most expensive Australian city to conduct business travel.Concur executive vice president and general manager Asia Pacific Michael Eberhard said the high Aussie dollar and strength of Australian business sector has most likely attributed to the result in the T&E report. “Concur’s significant volume of transactional data provides us the unique opportunity to report on the state of corporate T&E spend, Mr Eberhard said. “This in turn sheds light on ways Australian customers can drive down costs and better manage their bottom line by providing higher visibility and benchmarks on T&E spending.”Additionally, the report found Sydney ranked 14th in the list of the 25 most visited international cities for business travel which was measured by hotel nights, and the average amount spent.The report revealed that the top three global T&E categories airfare, lodging and dining encompassed over 60 percent of total spend compared to 50 percent total spend in 2010.Australia proved to be one of the most expensive cities to dine in with the average dining coming in at A$62.17.Hong Kong had the highest average airfare cost at A$1,064.19 while the United States had the least expensive average lodging cost at A$85.17.Internationally, airfare and lodging showed the highest increase from 2010 to 2011, while average dining spend decreased by over four percent during the same period. The report found Australia had the costliest average in diningImage source: APTClast_img read more

REVEALED This years top destination

first_imgHead over to Myanmar before Western fast foodbecomes the local cuisine. Image: flickr.com Myanmar – This result is an echo of many industry reports that are urging travellers to visit Myanmar and enjoy its unspoiled culture and nature before efforts are made to make the site attractive to tourists aka millions of people and Western shops on every corner. Morocco – It’s closeness to Europe makes it an easy country to visit, whilst it’s diversity and interesting sites keep it high on traveller’s ‘to visit’ lists.Bhutan – A joint third place with Morocco, Bhutan was chosen especially for its range of luxury properties as well as beautiful scenery and culture. South America – Major events such as Brazil hosting the 2014 FIFA World Cup and the 2016 Olympic Games are making interest in travelling to South America more prominent and improved accessibility from Australia is making getting over there easier. The value for money is quite an incentive too!center_img What’s on your 2013 ‘to visit’ list?Source = e-Travel Blackboard: A.N. As Australia starts heading into its hibernation period with the colder seasons just around the corner, the rest of the world begins to wake up to sunny mornings – which is as good an excuse as any to start planning a trip to some of the top destinations in 2013.Virtuoso surveyed 48 of it highly experienced travel agents to find out where travellers are likely to be making their way to this year with the results highlighting destinations that are high in culture, events and scenery:last_img read more

Marriott International appoints new COO

first_imgMarriott International, Inc. has announced the appointment of Raj Menon as the new Chief Operations Officers, Southeast and Pacific effective 1 March 2015.In this position, Mr Menon will be a vital member of the Southeast Asia and Pacific senior leadership team and will serve as the operational business leader for the region.For the last seven years, Mr Menon has been the Marriott International Area Vice President for South Asia and over this time he has received several best employer awards.Through Mr Menon’s leadership Marriott International has expanded significantly and has been acknowledged as one of the best performing international hotel brands in India.Marriott International president and managing director Asia Pacific Simon Cooper says Mr Menon is perfect for the role.“He is an admired business leader and trusted colleague, both at Marriott and in the hospitality sector,” Mr Cooper said.“We needed someone who knew Asia Pacific inside-out to continue our regional expansion plans.“Raj’s superb track record in India, where he led our growth from six hotels in 2007 to 27 Marriott managed hotels operating under seven brands today, speaks for itself.”Mr Menon began working for the Marriott brand in 2001 as the General Manager of Renaissance Mumbai Hotel and Convention Center and Marriott Executive Apartments, Mumbai.Marriott International, a leading global lodging company, aims to more than double its size in Asia through 2019, expanding from over 170 hotels to 340 across 18 countries.Source = ETB Travel News: Brittney Levinsonlast_img read more

Tourism Australia and Expedia join forces to promote tourism

first_imgTourism Australia and Expedia join forces to promote tourismTourism Australia and the Expedia group have signed a multi-million dollar three-year marketing partnership aimed at developing campaigns and content to increase international travel to Australia.The three year Memorandum of Understanding represents the first formal agreement which Tourism Australia has entered into with a global online travel agency.Tourism Australia Managing Director, John O’Sullivan, said the new commercial agreement was a deliberate move to focus on strategic partnerships which increased travel bookings and drove yield.“Expedia is one of the world’s leading travel companies with 20 years’ experience of generating travel sales. It’s this expertise and impressive track record we are excited to be tapping into through this exciting new partnership.“Our research shows that our target customers are increasingly turning to online travel agencies when it comes to booking travel which makes Expedia an ideal conversion partner, particularly from our recently revamped australia.com website,” Mr O’Sullivan said.“Partnerships are critical to Tourism Australia in terms of us increasing our customer reach, providing cut-through for our destination messaging and, ultimately, making it easier for consumers to plan, book and buy quality Australian tourism products.”“Through our strategic co-operative partnership with Tourism Australia, we look forward to creating collaborative campaigns with our Expedia brand around the world to raise awareness and inspire more visitors to experience the natural beauty, unique cuisine, wonderful wine and so much more that Australia has to offer,” said Noah Tratt, global senior vice president, Expedia Media Solutions.The first year of the agreement will focus on major campaign activity in the USA and UK, two of Australia’s highest volume and highest spending markets. Marketing activities will be extended to additional markets over the course of the three year deal.Mr O’Sullivan said that the partnership would extend beyond marketing to also include shared reporting on consumer insights and data analytics.Source = Tourism Australialast_img read more

ITB Asia Extends Collaboration with Marina Bay Sands from 20172019

first_imgITB Asia Extends Collaboration with Marina Bay Sands from 2017-2019ITB Asia, the ‘Trade Show for the Asian Travel Market’, has announced the extension of its collaboration with Marina Bay Sands for another three years from 2017 to 2019. The show first signed an agreement with the integrated resort from 2014 – 2016, where Marina Bay Sands was announced as the official venue and official hotel.The next four editions of ITB Asia will therefore continue to take place at the Sands Expo and Convention Centre, Marina Bay Sands, from 19 – 21 October 2016, 25 – 27 October 2017, 17 – 19 October 2018, 16 – 18 October 2019.“This extension demonstrates our ongoing commitment to take ITB Asia to the next level. Marina Bay Sands is renowned for creating extraordinary experiences by providing superior service, amenities and state-of-the-art conference facilities and we have forged an excellent working relationship over the past few years. We will continue to harness the expertise and synergies to create an optimal business environment for our delegates and lift the overall offering of our show to exhibitors, buyers and attendees,” said Katrina Leung, Executive Director of Messe Berlin (Singapore), the organisers of ITB Asia.The eighth ITB Asia came to a close today with 760 exhibitors from 73 countries, with close to 880 buyers and attracted more than 10,300 attendees over the three days. Organisers expect to expand the show in 2016 and will continue successful elements such as the on-floor Travel & Technology Showcase. ITB Asia will also be introducing new features such as a Destination Showcase where destinations can highlight their unique offerings to attendees.Over the last two years, ITB Asia has also worked closely with Marina Bay Sands to help reduce the show’s carbon footprint. For example choosing food items sourced regionally, utilising newly activated in-room motion sensors to ensure maximum lighting efficiency in the meeting rooms, and setting the room temperature to 24 degree Celsius for optimal energy usage.“It has been our privilege to work with the organisers of ITB Asia over the past few years. The synergy, mutual understanding and rapport we enjoy has built a strong foundation for the travel trade show, and contributed to successful editions, year after year. We are humbled and encouraged by their strong support and look forward to scaling new heights together in the next three years,” said Mr. George Tanasijevich, President and CEO of Marina Bay Sands.As a hybrid show, ITB Asia attracts delegates from across all sectors of the travel industry, including MICE, corporate and leisure companies. It acts as a platform for delegates to network and identify new business opportunities. The show’s powerful line up of conference programme also helps to provide a holistic and comprehensive view of the latest trends, issues and opportunities in the sector. ITB AsiaSource = ITB Asialast_img read more

Globus 90th birthday celebrations

first_imgGlobus’ 90th birthday celebrationsGlobus’ 90th birthday celebrationsLeading escorted tour company, Globus, will celebrate its 90th birthday on 28 March this year and to mark this milestone, agents are being given the opportunity to go live it up with the chance to win a trip for two to Switzerland – where it all began forGlobus back in 1928.Fast forward 90 years since the company’s founder first started transporting guests across Lake Lugano, and Globus is now offering travellers more than 480 holidays across 82 countries.To be in the running for this crafted Swiss adventure, agents simply need to visit www.goliveitup.com.au, correctly answer three multiple-choice questions and say in 25 words or less why they want to ‘Go Live It Up’ with Globus in 2018. Submissions must be in by 28 March, 2018 to be considered.Furthermore, for every Globus booking made by this date, agents will earn a bonus 9,000 Passport-To-Rewards points, which can be redeemed for gift vouchers, travel goods and more. Visit www.passporttorewards.com.au for further information. Globus National Marketing Manager Chris Fundell said they’ve seen the world from the window of a coach come a long way since the company’s inception and this is an extremely exciting milestone for the brand. “Globus’ nine decades of success stems from its ability to adapt and evolve its offering to the ever-changing market – nowadays, Globus is all about crafting more adventurous, tailored and engaging itineraries,” said Mr Fundell. “We want everyone to be able to celebrate this landmark anniversary with us and hopefully toast to another 90 years.” In conjunction with this competition, Globus is also offering consumers AUD$900 (per couple) off any Globus tour booked before 28 March, 2018. With escorted tours worldwide,Globus customers will be spoilt for choice: marvel at the ‘big five’ on safari in South Africa; savour a traditional meal in the 13th century castle in the historical Swiss town of Gruyères’; create a bespoke fragrance in one of Paris’ famous perfume factories, or partake in a traditional tea ceremony in Japan.To book or for more information visit www.globus.com.au. Terms and conditions apply. Travel must be in 2018.Source = Globuslast_img read more

Santiburi Koh Samui launches floating breakfast

first_imgThe unique selection of culinary adventures adds fun, romance, relaxation and interaction into every meal at Santiburi Koh Samui.Santiburi Culinary ExperiencesFor Pool Villa GuestsFloating Breakfast – Ultimate Champagne Breakfast 1,990 THB ++ Per PersonFloating Breakfast – Sparkling Breakfast with Prosecco 1,390 THB ++ Per PersonPrivate BBQ 1,290 THB ++ Per PersonFor All Resort GuestsKick Start Breakfast 2,900 THB++ Per Person (min 4 pax)6.15am – 12pmSmoothie Express 240 THB ++ / Smoothie11am – 10pmBe Your Own MixologistIndividual Cocktail Ingredients from 220 THB ++Spirit Bottles from 450 THB++Private DinnerInformation on enquiry.Private Thai Cooking Class 2,350 THB++ Per Person (max 2 pax)12-1.30pm DailyFamily Thai Cooking Class 1,750 THB++ Per Person (max 4 pax)12-1.30pm Wednesday & FridayTo learn more about dining at Santiburi Koh Samui click here. Santiburi Koh Samui launches floating breakfast & private poolside dining experiencesSantiburi Koh Samui launches floating breakfastExclusive in-villa culinary treats add to the indulgence at Koh Samui’s leading luxury beach resortSantiburi Koh Samui has created a choice of Exclusive Culinary Experiences for guests staying in one of the resort’s Grand Reserve Pool Villas or Grand Deluxe Pool Villas, as well as introducing more personalised in-room dining options for all resort guests.Those staying in a Grand Reserve Pool Villa or Grand Deluxe Pool Villa can indulge in the ultimate resort lifestyle by starting the day with a Floating Breakfast, complete with Champagne or Prosecco served on a specially designed floating wooden tray in their private swimming pool. A choice of six breakfast items – including pancakes, Israeli-style baked eggs, and eggs benedict – is served with a fresh fruit juices, bread rolls, Danish pastries, croissants, house-made jams and tropical fruit.Later in the day, for a relaxed and private poolside dining experience, villa guests can also book a Private Barbecue for up to six people with a personal chef on hand to prepare a sumptuous platter of choice meats and fresh seafood.“We wanted to personalize the dining choices for our pool villa guests, while also adding to the choices for our guests who enjoy more exclusive culinary attractions,” explains Sabine Gabrielle Lamberts, General Manager at Santiburi Koh Samui.“In addition to the private villa options, twice a week we have introduced a Santiburi Kick Start Breakfast, which includes a refreshing morning run, restorative yoga session, nutritious detox drinks, and a healthy beachside breakfast followed by an energising Ayurvedic massage. Guests can also enjoy a selection of freshly made, customised smoothies served in the privacy of the suite or villa,” she adds.Those keen to create their own memorable meals as part of a memorable holiday at Santiburi Koh Samui can take a private Thai cooking class, or even arrange to cook a special Thai meal as a family. Meanwhile, cocktail aficionados are invited to ‘Be Your Own Mixologist’ with a professional cocktail kit and recipes provided with ingredients delivered on-call for each of the resort’s signature drinks.Couples looking for an intimate, romantic dining experience can book a Private Dinner with a candlelit table set up on their private terrace, or right the soft sands of Mae Nam Beach with a personal chef on hand to orchestrate an unforgettable feast. Source = Santiburi Koh Samuilast_img read more

The Mulia Bali received honours

first_imgThe Mulia Bali received honoursThe Mulia Bali received honoursThe Mulia ranked sixth among the Top 100 Hotels in the World by Travel + Leisure’s 2018 World’s Best Awards, marking a milestone in six years after its launch in 2012. The all-suite beachfront resort also received another two accolades by ranked second in categories Top Resort Hotels in Asia and Indonesia.As the first-time honouree in one of the most prestigious awards in travel industry, The Mulia scored 97.81 out of the hundredth of a point, based on the characteristic of its 111 suites, integrated facilities between the three properties in one compound including eight restaurants and bars, beachfront location, impeccable service as well as quality of food and value that the Resort has to offer.The Resort’s address, Bali island also ranked in The 15 Best Island in the World and Asia, second to its neighboring Java island that is home to Resort’s sister property Hotel Mulia Senayan in Jakarta, which makes a perfect itinerary for a visit to Indonesia.This stunning resort also serves as a serene sanctuary, offering distinct experience among the three properties; The Mulia with its beachfront suites, elegant rooms at Mulia Resort and the secluded Mulia Villas with private hydrotherapy pool. For more information and reservations, please call +623613017777 or e-mail to reservation@themulia.com. Source = The Mulia, Mulia Resort & Villas – Nusa Dua, Balilast_img read more

Israeli Tourism hits record high in the first six months of 2017

first_imgDuring the first six months of 2017, Israeli tourism has surged to a record high with 1.74 million visiting tourists, 26% more than the same period in 2016 that saw 1.38 million tourist arrivals and 24% more than the same period in 2015.As per Israel’s Central Bureau of Statistics, compared to the same period in 2016, tourism from China in the first half of 2017 jumped 76% and increased 30% from Russia. Additionally, tourism from the U.S., Israel’s largest source country, jumped 20%.Meanwhile, Israel’s total revenue from tourism in the first half of 2017 hit 9.4 billion shekels.Israel welcomed 303,000 tourists in June 2017, representing a 28.4% rise from the previous year. Of June’s tourist entries, 275,000 were via air, representing an increase of 26% from June 2016 and 27% from June 2015. 28,600 tourist entries were recorded via Israel’s land crossings: 24,000 via Jordan, and 4,500 via Egypt.“The June tourism statistics bring us to record levels for incoming tourism in the first six months of the year,” said Tourism Minister Yariv Levin (Likud). “Our policy continues to prove itself and to bear fruit and we can see that the right marketing strategy can bring Israel to new heights.”“The significant increase in incoming tourism numbers makes an exceptional contribution to the Israeli economy and workforce. I am convinced that, with the correct activities, we will see continue to see good results in the coming months,” Levin said.For day visitors, the numbers were 19,300 in June 2017, versus 8,700 in June 2016.last_img read more

Taj Rishikesh Resort Spa Uttarakhand opens its doors in the spiritual and

first_imgThe Indian Hotels Company Limited (IHCL) is introducing the iconic Taj brand in Rishikesh with the opening of Taj Rishikesh Resort & Spa, Uttarakhand. This will be the company’s third hotel in the state.Puneet Chhatwal, Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, IHCL said, “We are honoured to partner with Arjun Mehra for Taj Rishikesh Resort & Spa, an exciting new addition to IHCL’s expanding resort portfolio. With its idyllic setting and unrestricted views of the Himalayas, the resort is well positioned to tap into the growing potential of the wellness and spiritual tourism market. This is consistent with our commitment to offer global travellers new and unique experiences in hospitality.”The resort located 30 km away from Rishikesh, is spread over 12.5 acres of terraced gardens on the banks of the Ganges in the shadow of the mighty Himalayas. Each of the spacious 79 rooms have panoramic views of the Ganges with its white sandy banks against the backdrop of the majestic mountains. The property is an architectural tribute to the Garhwal region in the Himalayas where it is located.“Rishikesh is an extremely popular destination across the world. We are delighted to partner with The Indian Hotels Company Limited. We look forward to working with them to bring the legendary Taj brand to this unique location,” said Arjun Mehra, Managing Director, Darrameks Hotels & Developers Pvt Ltd.“Taj Rishikesh Resort & Spa is ideally located to enjoy nature while also staying connected to the pulse of Rishikesh. I am looking forward to welcoming our guests to this spectacular new resort with its exclusive villas and secluded beach,” said Devraj Singh, General Manager, Taj Rishikesh Resort & Spa, Uttarakhand.Guests can also partake in a private Ganga Aarti on the resort’s Pebble Beach or indulge in adventure-filled activities like white-river rafting, rock climbing, rappelling, kayaking, local village visits and hiking.Located in the foothills of the Himalayas in the northern Indian state of Uttarakhand, Rishikesh is known as the spiritual and yoga capital of the world.last_img read more

The Londoner Macao to offer classic British design and luxury reveals global

first_imgLas Vegas Sands and Sands China Ltd executives along with international businessman David Beckham revealed more details about The Londoner Macao, the British-themed reimagining of the company’s existing Sands Cotai Central – Cotai Strip integrated resort.The new project, which will open progressively over 2020 and 2021, will join The Venetian Macao and The Parisian Macao as the Cotai Strip’s ‘must-see’ properties.Exuding classic British luxury, The Londoner Macao will incorporate four world-class hotel brands: the new The Londoner Hotel (previously Holiday Inn Macao Cotai Central), alongside existing properties Conrad Macao, Cotai Central, Sheraton Grand Macao Hotel, Cotai Central and The St. Regis Macao, Cotai Central.“We could not be more excited about the development of The Londoner Macao,” said Las Vegas Sands President and Chief Operating Officer Robert Goldstein. “Sands have invested heavily here because we believe wholeheartedly that Macao’s complete arrival as one of the world’s greatest tourism and business destinations is just on the horizon. The Venetian and The Parisian have each become ‘must-see’ destinations on the Cotai Strip and we have every confidence that The Londoner will be every bit their equal. The power of these three iconic integrated resorts working in tandem will create a combination of leisure and business tourism amenities unrivalled in Asia and Europe and on par with the success of Las Vegas,” he concluded.The Londoner Macao represents Sands’ latest collaboration with David Beckham, who will be working with the interior design team to bring his vision and style to the very exclusive top floor suites at The Londoner Hotel, representing his first foray into this design field. Beckham, who is known around the world as a British sporting icon and international businessman, has been a Sands Resorts Macao global ambassador for some time, hence was also the ideal choice when it came to The Londoner Macao.Sands also unveiled a new micro-movie for social media starring David. The first in a series of short vignettes shot in and around London, the movie features Beckham suggesting classic British icons that should be present in new The Londoner Macao.The Londoner Macao will feature authentic recreations of classic British landmarks, with an exterior facade modelled on the world-famous Palace of Westminster and the Houses of Parliament complete with 96 metre Elizabeth Tower and iconic clock face.Interiors will offer a combination of grandeur and comfort, with luxurious British design extending to the spacious Crystal Palace atrium centrepiece, restaurants, retail offerings and entertainment. These include more than 20 dining options, with several new restaurant concepts including an authentic British style gastro-pub by Gordon Ramsay and a new Thai restaurant – The Mews. Guests and visitors can enjoy 200 stores at Shoppes at The Londoner (previously Shoppes at Cotai Central), 34,300 sq m of meeting and convention space, three spas and four health clubs.New entertainment at The Londoner Macao will include an exciting whole-body, fully immersive live virtual reality experience suitable for all ages. In addition, visitors can also enjoy British-themed Streetmosphere shows such as the famous Changing of the Guards and daily retail parades featuring much-loved characters from British history, culture and literature.When fully completed, the integrated resort will also offer a new 6,000 seat arena versatile enough to accommodate everything from live entertainment to popular sporting events and conferences.“The Londoner Macao, with its world-class luxury suites, new dining and spectacular entertainment, will offer guests and visitors alike another reason to visit Macao. The launch marks yet another milestone in the company’s efforts to support Macao’s development as a world centre of tourism and leisure and it also shows that Sands is fully committed to supporting Macao’s vision as a leader in the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area,” said Dr Wilfred Wong, President of Sands China Ltd.David Beckham commented, “London is an incredible city and one that I am proud to call my home. To be able to work so closely with the Sands team to bring the elements of London that I love to the city of Macao is a wonderful opportunity. Interior design is a real passion for me. To be involved in the design process and help shape this project is another important step in our long-standing partnership with Sands Resorts Macao. I can’t wait to welcome everyone to come and experience what we are creating here – a little bit of London in Macao.”last_img read more

Mortgage Rates Mixed to End February

first_img February 27, 2014 473 Views Share Mortgage Rates Mixed to End February Bankrate Freddie Mac Mortgage Rates 2014-02-27 Tory Barringercenter_img in Daily Dose, Headlines, News, Origination, Secondary Market Mortgage interest rate readings came out mixed this week amid a pile of recent and upcoming economic reports.Freddie Mac’s Primary Mortgage Market Survey, released Thursday, has fixed-rate mortgage (FRM) products rising over the week ending February 27, with the 30-year fixed coming up to 4.37 percent (0.7 point) from 4.33 percent previously. A year ago, the 30-year FRM averaged 3.51 percent.The 15-year FRM this week shifted up similarly, landing at 3.39 percent (0.7 point) from 3.35 percent.“Mortgage rates edged up with new home sales exceeding expectations and rising to a seasonally adjusted pace of 468,000 units in January, the strongest annual rate since July 2008,” said Frank Nothaft, chief economist and VP for Freddie Mac. “The S&P/Case-Shiller 20-city composite house price index rose 13.4 percent over the 12 months ending in December 2013.”Adjustable rates in Freddie’s survey were down, meanwhile. According to the company, the 5-year Treasury-indexed hybrid adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) averaged 3.05 percent (0.5 point) this week, down from 3.08 percent, while the 1-year ARM averaged 2.52 percent (0.4 point) from 2.57 percent.At the same time, finance site Bankrate.com reported opposite movements in its own national survey: The 30-year fixed average moved down very slightly to 4.48 percent, while the 15-year fixed was down to 3.52 percent, the site reported.At the same time, the 5/1 ARM shifted up slightly to 3.30 percent.“Mortgage rates have been in a docile state over the past few weeks, as uncertainty regarding global markets has receded,” Bankrate said in its report. “While the pace of the U.S. economic recovery is still an open question, things have transitioned to a wait-and-see mode that translates into tame movements in mortgage rates.“The surge of monthly economic releases over the next ten days may answer some of these economic questions, and be a catalyst for renewed volatility in the bond market, and ultimately, mortgage rates.”last_img read more

ExistingHome Sales Continue to Lose Ground

first_img April 22, 2014 420 Views in Daily Dose, Data, Featured, Headlines, News Existing-Home Sales First-Time Homebuyers Home Sales Investors National Association of Realtors 2014-04-22 Tory Barringer Existing-home sales slid back in March, and price improvements continued to moderate, according to transaction data released Tuesday.According to estimates from the National Association of Realtors (NAR), total existing-home sales in March came in at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.59 million, a 0.2 percent slip from February’s downwardly revised pace of 4.60 million and hitting a nearly two-year low. Compared to March 2013, the sales rate was down 7.5 percent.Removing figures for co-ops, condominiums, and townhouses, single-family existing-home sales were at a rate of 4.04 million last month, flat from February but down 7.3 percent compared to a year prior.Though the group remains optimistic for activity in the coming months, NAR chief economist Lawrence Yun admitted sales at the moment are underperforming by historical standards.“There really should be stronger levels of home sales given our population growth,” Yun said. “In contrast, price growth is rising faster than historical norms because of inventory shortages.”Still, Yun added, “With ongoing job creation and some weather delayed shopping activity, home sales should pick up, especially if inventory continues to improve and mortgage interest rates rise only modestly.”By NAR’s measure, the median existing-home price for all housing types in March was $198,500, an increase of 7.9 percent year-over-year. While high in historical contexts, the increase is a step down from February’s reported 9.1 percent annual gain.The rise may in part be attributed to a 4.7 percent improvement in total housing inventory, which was estimated at 1.99 million existing homes as of March 31.On the other hand, contributing to the ongoing—albeit slower—growth in home prices was a drop in distressed home sales, which accounted for 14 percent of total March transactions compared to 16 percent in February. With home equity on the rise, Yun expects distressed homes to decline to a single-digit market share by the end of the year.While the latest report showed continued softening in home sales, there were a few bright spots: According to NAR, first-time buyers accounted for 30 percent of home purchases in March, up from 28 percent in February, though still weak overall.“There are indications that the stringent mortgage underwriting standards are beginning to ease a bit, particularly regarding credit score requirements, but they remain a headwind for entry-level and single-income home buyers,” said Steve Brown, NAR president.Meanwhile, all-cash sales—typically investors, though not always—comprised one-third of March transactions, down slightly from February. Individual investors made up 17 percent of purchases.center_img Existing-Home Sales Continue to Lose Ground Sharelast_img read more

Lawmakers Urge Fed to Rein in Bailout Powers

first_img August 19, 2014 503 Views Lawmakers Urge Fed to Rein in Bailout Powers Bailouts Federal Reserve House Politics Senate 2014-08-19 Ryan Schuette Fifteen Senate and House lawmakers called on Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen on Monday to strengthen a proposed rule checking the central bank’s ability to lend vast sums of money to large banks in a crisis.In a rare show of bipartisanship, Sens. Elizabeth Warren (D-Massachusetts) and David Vitter (R-Louisiana) joined four other senators and nine House members in a letter that warned against a weak proposed rule that signers said would fail to place “meaningful restrictions” on its ability to bail out financial institutions.”If the Board’s emergency lending authority is left unchecked, it can once again be used to provide massive bailouts to large financial institutions without any congressional action,” lawmakers wrote.If the Fed finalizes it, the current proposed rule would implement language under the Dodd-Frank Act designed to increase the number of banks eligible for emergency capital in a crisis and prevent the kind of widely criticized infusions to a few institutions that took place in the Great Recession.Critics—like the group lawmakers—believe it doesn’t go far enough.The letter cited a lack of penalties and time limit, with Warren, Vitter, and other signers calling for penalty rates, more procedures, and broader definitions to accommodate more than just large financial institutions.Another complaint is that the rule would allow Fed governors to sidestep elected officials. Under the current rule, the Fed would only need a vote from five board members in order to authorize bank loans.”The Board’s proposed rule fails to strike the appropriate balance between promoting financial stability and mitigating moral hazard among the largest financial institutions,” signers added.Criticism persists after the 2008 financial crisis, which saw the Fed, under then-Chairman Ben Bernanke, dole out trillions of dollars to large financial institutions in danger of collapsing from the subprime loan contagion.Monday’s letter cited a study that traced more than $29 trillion in emergency loans back to the Fed. The largest borrowers included “too-big-to-fail” institutions like Citigroup, Goldman Sachs, and Morgan Stanley.Lawmakers wrote and passed Dodd-Frank in response, but some four years in, federal agencies continue to lag in drawing up all 398 required rules, which are subject to long commentary periods and consultations.According to law firm Davis Polk, by 2014, regulators have passed and finalized just more than half of those rules.Rule-makers missed just less than half of the deadlines for the same rules and still need to propose about a quarter more for Dodd-Frank to completely take effect.center_img Share in Daily Dose, Government, Headlines, Newslast_img read more

Lower Down Payments Make Homeownership More Accessible

first_img June 12, 2017 603 Views Although DownPayment Resource is reporting in their Down Payment Report for June that homeownership is struggling—63.9 percent of the population and falling—newer “super low down” loans are starting to become more popular with millennials to get their foot in the home-ownership door. The standard 20 percent down payment is becoming less likely to be possible for first-time homebuyers. DownPayment Resource estimates that, on average, it takes nearly a decade to save for a traditional downpayment. In some places, such as Los Angeles and San Jose, California, it can take up to 24 years to save for a downpayment. Young people aren’t interested in waiting that long. There are a number of “super low down” loans that allows buyers to own a home at a fraction of the cost. Quicken Loans, Guild Mortgage, Guaranteed Rate, LoanDepot, United Wholesale Mortgage, Chicago Infrastructure Trust, Movement Mortgage, Fifth Third Mortgage, and Bancorp South all offer some variation of a three percent equity mortgage. In most instances the buyer is responsible only for 1 percent of the downpayment. The remaining 2 percent is acquired in the form of a grant from the lender, which, usually, does not have to be repaid. The remaining 97 percent of the loan amount is taken in the form of a 30-year conventional loan. In other cases, such as Movement Mortgage’s zero down loan for first-time homebuyers, as defined as someone who has not owned a home in at least three years, the buyer would be supplied the entire three percent equity through a grant that would not have to be paid back. Fifth Third Mortgage and Bancorp South also have a zero down loan program. Mary Ann McGarry, President and CEO of Guild Mortgage, spoke on the reasoning for creating their 1 percent down purchase loan. “We wanted to make home-buying more attainable for more people, including millennials who are entering the housing market in increasing numbers … [w]e were able to create this breakthrough national program because we are a direct lender with many decades of strong investor relationships and first-time homebuyer expertise.” Share Lower Down Payments Make Homeownership More Accessiblecenter_img in Daily Dose, Featured, Headlines, News, Origination Down Payment Resource Guild Mortgage United Wholesale Mortgage 2017-06-12 Staff Writerlast_img read more

The One Time Cost of Buying a Home

first_imgThe ‘One Time’ Cost of Buying a Home in Daily Dose, News, Origination Costs Home Prices Payments 2018-10-02 Seth Welborn On average, homebuyers can expect to spend around $40,000 in one-time fees on the typical U.S. home, according to a recent report from Zillow and Thumbtack. This includes not only the down payment, but also the closing costs and additional move-in projects.”Buying a home, especially for the first time, is an exciting but stressful experience,” said Justin LaJoie, RealEstate.com General Manager. “Some of that stress can be eased by making sure you know all of the costs that come with buying and owning a home, so you can budget appropriately and not get caught off guard well into the buying process.”The average down payment for a first time homebuyer is 15 percent, or $32,700 for the typical U.S. home, worth $218,000 in July. Additional closing costs can add up to about $6,250, including an origination fee, appraisal, transfer taxes, the first year of homeowners insurance, title insurance.Additional costs can be added on before move-in from general maintenance and installation fees, such as moving companies, new locks, and cleaning. According to thumbtack, these additional fees can add around $1,130 on average.”It’s imperative first-time homebuyers do their research around unexpected homeownership costs, including projects that help them prepare for the big move,” said Thumbtack Lead Economist Lucas Puente. “While there may be some initial sticker shock, these projects can help get a house move-in ready.”According to Zillow, these one time costs are highest in the San Francisco Bay area. In San Jose, for example, with a median home value of $1,292,600 buyers may be expected to pay $203,000 on average in one-time payments alone, more than the median home value of 11 major markets. In San Francisco, one time costs are $152,059 on average.While in most cities, including San Jose and San Francisco, the closing costs and moving costs stay in the $6,000 and $7,000 range, closing costs are $11,232 on average in New York City. Additionally, New York homebuyers can be expected to pay $64,455 in down payments.center_img October 2, 2018 3,987 Views Sharelast_img read more

Read all of JOY DODDS previous Mediterranean Musi

first_imgRead all of JOY DODDS’ previous Mediterranean Musings – from Italy to Spain, and including gastronomic delights … Medieval decor becomes the height of elegance inside Hotel El Emperador, Plaza de Armas, HondarribiaStaying in paradores across España Verde, northern Spain, added a unique new dimension.With Spain marking the 90th anniversary of the first parador, now a network of government-owned historic and cultural estate hotels, it was a perfect opportunity to join the celebrations and experience something different, the equivalent of staying in a stately home.In 1928, King Alfonso XIII of Spain came up with the idea of restoring Spain’s palaces, fortresses, manor houses, convents and monasteries, many at the time run-down, by converting them into state-owned hotels, promoting the historical and cultural heritage of the nation. He chose the site for the first parador in the Sierra de Gredos, near Madrid.Today there are 94 paradores in the network of Paradores de Turismo de Espana, including Moorish Alcazars and some new buildings. More than half of the paradores are located in monumental settings or in the most beautiful natural parks in the country, one, Parador Canadas del Teide, located in a natural crater more than 2000m above sea level. Historic paradores are decorated with tapestries, antiques, paintings, coats of armour and the like to reflect and preserve their past. The hotels also offer excellent gastronomic experiences, reflecting the traditional regional cuisine.reservas@parador.esAmong the finest and most emblematic of Spanish paradores is Santiago de Compostela’s Hostal de los Reyes Catolicos (15th century), located in the famous Plaza do Obradoira. One of the oldest continuously-operating hotels in the world, it includes four stunning cloisters, elegant bedrooms and sitting rooms and two fine restaurants.Our first parador experience was at Ribadeo, the hotel overlooking the River Eo which separates Galicia and Asturias. This exceptional setting is spellbindingly beautiful, outlooking to tiny Asturian villages on the far shore, with mountains in the distance. The hotel estate also overlooks a local timber loading operation on the tidal waterfront, offering fascinating viewing of the loading operations of one of Galicia’s prime industries from its forested mountain regions.Riverside dining and lounge areas at Ribadeo paradorThe elegant Art Deco mansion featured an elegant décor with dark timber, polished floors, high ceilings and great ambience. Our suite’s nclosed verandah overlooking Rio Eo and frontier with Asturias – perfect for lunchOur bedroom was spacious and elegant, with panoramic views offered from the spacious glassed-in verandah over the river and environs, not to mention being an idyllic setting for enjoying the odd tapas and glass of Rioja wine. The sleeping quarters were huge, with a particularly large bed and comfortable sofas to sink into after a day’s Galician explorations, together with a deep bathtub in which to soak tired legs.Art Deco decor reflects maritime location and regional delicaciesIn classic Spanish tradition, the parador restaurant does not open until 8.30pm but it’s well worth the wait. Local delicacies included shoulder of pork and suckling veal with Cebreiro cheese sauce, seafood including Bay of Biscay lobster, Galician broths, a variety of empanada (savoury pies) and the sweetest of sweet desserts. A table for two overlooking the Rio Eo only enhanced the enjoyment of the evening.From Galicia, we drove through Asturias into Cantabria and a different estate house, Parador de Santillana Del Mar, inland from Santander. Located in a medieval jewel of a town declared a National Monument, its origins dating back to the 8th century, the parador sits in the main square, surrounded by noble houses embellished with coat of arms. The cobblestone streets and alleys of the preserved town are open only to pedestrians.Rear view of Santillana parador showing dining rooms and garden areaThe superb Santillana Del Mar parador was built in the 17th century, complete with exposed beams, forged metal lamps and paintings, some illustrating the animals depicted in the prehistoric caves of Altamira nearby. Santillana, CantabriaEverything is well-appointed with lofty spaces, wooden furniture, oil paintings and a thoroughly genteel ambience. The impressive restaurant, open to members of the public as well through a separate entrance, specialised in regional cuisine including a bean and pork stew (cocido montañés), turbot steak, baked cheese mustard and Cantabrian cheeses, including quesada pasiega.Even more historically striking was the parador in our next destination, Hondarribia, close to the French border in Spain’s Basque region. The grand building, the Castle of King Carlos V, was originally a fortress built by the King of Navarre. The fortress dates back to 980AD, complete with thick stone walls and arches. Both a castle and a palace, it had six floors for troops’ rooms, warehouses, depot for ammunition and gunpowder, dungeons and stables. Later it boasted among its house guests Felipe II of Spain ad Mary of Austria. In 1968, it became a Parador de Turismo.Today Hotel El Emperador dominates Plaza de Armas on the hill overlooking the town and the Bidasoa Estuary, with views of beaches in nearby France (and any would-be modern-day invaders.) It’s a four-star hotel in every sense of the word, its magnificent interior a mix of medieval adornments, mainly suits of armour and spears, side-by-side with designer themes. Particularly impressive is the inner courtyard with its naked stonework fortifications and wrought iron. The outdoor terrace and elegant bedrooms offer panoramic views out to the French coast and the river estuary.Outdoor terrace commanding views to the French coast – Hotel El Emperador, Plaza de Armas, HondarribiaThere are 22 paradores throughout Galicia, Asturias, Cantabria and the Basque Country. A good way to become acquainted with these unique buildings is through “the Parador Routes”, which offer exciting week-long cultural itineraries through Spain. Currently there are 28 routes available that allow the tourist to explore attractions such as the great Spanish wines, the Muslim legacy in Andalusia, Green Spain, monasteries or the World Heritage cities, staying at paradores along the way.El Emperador parador dominates Hondarribia’s Plaza des ArmasAll hail to Alfonso XIII for introducing the Parador concept 90 years ago. No visit to Spain will ever be the same again until a search for the local parador, in whatever region, has been completed, to highlight the experience of Spain’s historic, cultural and natural attractions. historyJoy DoddsMediterranean MusingsparadoresReviewsSpainlast_img read more

Connecting Hong Kong to Chinas 25000kilometre t

first_imgConnecting Hong Kong to China’s 25,000-kilometre trans-national high-speed rail network, the Guangzhou-Shenzhen-Hong Kong Express Rail Link (XRL) will open on 23 September, 2018 offering direct trains to 44 destinations across the mainland, including six short-haul destinations in Guangdong Province, and 38 long-haul destinations such as Beijing, Shanghai and Changsha.sky100 Hong Kong Observation Deck (sky100) is getting into the action to celebrate the new rail network, launching its “Turn Your High Speed Rail Ticket into Cash” promotion running between 23 September and 30 December 2018 and offering visitors a HK$50 discount simply by presenting their High Speed Rail ticket when purchasing a Published Price Ticket at HK$188 from sky100’s Ticketing Centre. Terms and conditions apply. Sky100 is located just 10 minutes’ walk from XRL’s Hong Kong West Kowloon Station, and only two stops from Hong Kong International Airport via the Airport Express Link. ChinaHong Kongrailsky100last_img read more

Agents can register now for the upcoming Pitcairn

first_imgAgents can register now for the upcoming Pitcairn Islands Tourism trade webinar and learn more about this fascinating destination.Located halfway between New Zealand and Panama, the journey to Pitcairn is as much a part of this unique travel experience as the Island’s famous Bounty history and pristine natural environment. You will also learn about the world’s newest dark sky sanctuary and our all new Explorers Voyage.WHEN0900 Friday 28 June 2019 (Australia Eastern Standard Time – AEST)Spaces are limited, so register now.For further information email pitcairn@tropicsmarketing.com.au agentsPitcairn IslandsPitcairn Islands Tourismtrainingwebinarlast_img

The Star Sydney has revealed the menu for its newe

first_imgThe Star Sydney has revealed the menu for its newest signature dining outlet, CHUUKA, with award-winning chefs Chase Kojima and Victor Liong, offering a unique blend of Chinese flavours, Japanese precision and Australian produce. Opening 3 July 2019 at Sydney’s iconic Jones Bay Wharf waterfront, CHUUKA is “… designed to defy expectations with a menu that delivers unique delights and combinations.” In addition to a dedicated raw menu and roe service, guests can choose from a selection of shared plates that offer a variety of tastes, textures and techniques, bringing the CHUUKA concept to life.“I’m passionate at exploring technique and detail, and Victor has an explosive creative energy, which is evident in dishes such as the CHUUKA ‘ISE-EBI CHILLI’ – stir fried Spiny Lobster, chilli miso butter and Japanese milk buns, or the Bang Bang Chicken – with silken chicken, yuzu kosho, shiso salad, peanuts and aromatic Sichuan chilli oil.” Kojima said.“Victor and I set out to curate something new and cool; we challenged each other to reach new creative heights. Our menu depicts what ‘CHUUKA is to us – a respectful synergy of our opposing cultural heritages and culinary skills – and we’re thrilled to be launching it into the Sydney food scene.”The restaurant will also house an indulgent private dining room and an outdoor bar, setting the standard for after-work drinks across the city. The cocktail list has been inspired by the 5 Chinese Elements; Wood, Fire, Earth, Metal and Water. Combinations of these cocktails include – Wood (Barrel-aged & hickory-smoked shiso umeshu, Bulliet rye, Campari), Fire (Hong kong Baiju, mango & chilli oleo, Dom Benedictin) and Water (Suntory Roku gin, black tea blend with ginger, lemongrass & Sichuan) – paired with unrivalled panoramic views across the harbour. It’s one more reason why CHUUKA is set to be such an exciting and unique restaurant in Sydney.Dino Mezzatesta, Chief Operating Officer at The Star Sydney, said: “As the first off-property investment for The Star Sydney, we wanted to challenge expectations. This is an all-round sensory experience.“When we think of CHUUKA, we think of two opposing characters – think signature fine dining with harbour views, meets industrial tattooed interiors and synthpop music. These contrasting elements are deeply rooted in the menu itself and we wanted it relayed in every aspect of the restaurant. We’ve curated something new and we’re proud to be leading this exciting new addition to Sydney’s nightlife.” food & wineThe Star Sydneylast_img read more