Gay pride revelers in Brazil pack Copacabana Beach

first_img New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies Milstead says best way to stop wrong-way incidents is driving sober Comments   Share   5 ways to recognize low testosterone Arizona families, Arizona farms: working to produce high-quality milk RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) – Rio de Janeiro’s famed Copacabana beach has been packed with tens of thousands of revelers taking part in the city’s gay pride parade.A hot tropical sun beamed down on Sunday’s flamboyant and loud procession.Participants in Carnavalesque outfits danced as trucks outfitted with enormous speakers blasted driving electronic music.Rio’s pride parade isn’t Brazil’s largest. That distinction belongs to the event held in Sao Paulo. But the gathering arguably the country’s wildest, taking place in a city that throws its arms open wide to any event offering a glitzy show. Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facilitycenter_img Top Stories Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement 4 sleep positions for men and what they mean Organizers say it’s not just a party, though. They want to raise awareness about violence committed against gays and to reinforce lessons about safe sex among those taking part in the parade.(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) Sponsored Stories last_img read more

Rise of Netflix met warily at Cannes Film Festival

first_imgNetflix hasn’t announced any purchases at Cannes yet, but it is shopping. The company has already had a large impact at other festivals, acquiring Cary Fukunaga’s “Beasts of No Nation” at the Sundance Film Festival for a reported $12 million. At the Berlin Film Festival, it reportedly snagged Richie Smyth’s “Jadotville” for $17 million.Those acquisitions point to Netflix’s deep pockets — not a common quality in the largely tight-fisted independent film market. That, plus a reputation for allowing the creators to have creative control and the chance for a global audience, has made Netflix a very appealing option for filmmakers.Netflix, Sarandos said, will increase its push into original movies and continue in its attempt to revolutionize the movie industry.“Everything about how we consume entertainment has been changed by the Internet,” said Sarandos, “except windowing for movies.”___Follow AP Film Writer Jake Coyle on Twitter at: © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Sponsored Stories Netflix has inked deals with the Weinstein Co. for a “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon” sequel, a new Pee-wee Herman movie with Judd Apatow, and a series of comedies with Adam Sandler. Other plans include a movie with Ricky Gervais, a documentary deal with Leonardo DiCapiro and a four-picture deal with Mark and Jay Duplass.Two documentaries (“The Square” and “Virunga”) have earned Netflix Oscar nominations in the last two years. Its growing prominence in the movie industry is now seen everywhere from the Academy Awards to Cannes.On Friday, Sarandos insisted that Netflix wasn’t “anti-theaters,” but “pro-movies.”“If you don’t want to put on your shoes, nothing in the theaters can compete with Netflix,” said Sarandos.Theater owners, however, have pushed back. All the major North American chains have refused to play “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon: The Green Legend” on Aug. 28 when it’s to be released day-and-date, both online and in theaters.Sarandos said that movie budgets for Netflix range from below $10 million to more than $50 million, though TV shows still make up about 2/3 of its programming. Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility 4 sleep positions for men and what they mean Top Stories 0 Comments   Share   Milstead says best way to stop wrong-way incidents is driving sober A sign for the 68th international film festival inside the Palais des Festivals, Cannes, southern France, Wednesday, May 13, 2015. The festival opens on Wednesday and runs until Sunday, May 24. (AP Photo/David Azia) CANNES, France (AP) — In Netflix’s first official visit to the Cannes Film Festival, the streaming service’s ambitions have been met warily at the Cote d’Azure cinema capital, a 68-year-old movie palace reverential to the theater-going experience.Ted Sarandos, chief content officer of Netflix, appeared Friday as part of Cannes’ NEXT conference to tout Netflix’s global strategy and its desire to upend the traditional window release schedules of movies. Sarandos drew a packed theater in the Palais des Festivals, but not all in attendance were swayed by his prognostications. One French reporter shouted that Netflix will “destroy the film ecosystem in Europe.” Sarandos protested that Netflix would benefit European film. Weinstein Co. co-chairman Harvey Weinstein, a collaborator with Netflix who was sitting in the audience, also came to his defense, calling Netflix “a visionary company.”The confrontation illustrated the unease felt by some at the Cannes Film Festival about the encroachment of digital operators into an art form seen as hallowed in France, the birthplace of cinema.Cannes is a place where a trailer for Quentin Tarantino’s latest film, “Hateful Eight,” drew applause when it advertises itself as shot “in glorious 70mm.” On the first day of the festival, jury co-presidents Joel and Ethan Coen were cheered for their disinterest in television.“How do we feel about people watching ‘Lawrence of Arabia’ on their iPhone?” Joel Coen said, pointedly rephrasing a question about digital media. “There’s something special about sitting with a big crowd of people watching a movie on a big 80-foot screen.”But Netflix’s inroads into original movies has been celebrated by many viewers, has helped increase the streaming service’s 60 million-plus subscribers and has drawn a lineup of major names in Hollywood. New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies Arizona families, Arizona farms: A legacy of tradition embracing animal care and comfort through modern technology Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement How do cataracts affect your vision?last_img read more

Afghan official 11 soldiers killed in Taliban ambush

first_imgThe western region has seen increased insurgent activity since the Taliban launched their warm-weather offensive in late April.Attacks across the country since then have forced Afghan security forces to spread ever thinner, leading to an increase in the number of casualties suffered by army and police, who also fight on the front lines.In Parwan province north of Kabul on Monday, U.S. forces destroyed munitions “that we believe could have been used to conduct attacks against Afghans and coalition forces,” said U.S. Army Col. Brian Tribus, a spokesman for NATO’s mission in Afghanistan said. Parwan police chief Gen. Mohammad Zaman said Afghan troops were part of the operation as well.The operation took place in Charikar, the provincial capital, where insurgents have long been active.Local residents held a demonstration in Charikar to protest the operation, which included ground and air forces, Zaman said. “They were complaining that if there was a weapons cache that needed destroying it should have been destroyed far away from the residential areas,” he said.President Ashraf Ghani and Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah were expected to send a delegation to Charikar to investigate, said Sediq Sediqqi, spokesman for the Interior Ministry. Early signs of cataracts in your parents and how to help Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Comments   Share   Sponsored Stories New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies How do cataracts affect your vision? Mesa family survives lightning strike to home Here’s how to repair and patch damaged drywall How men can have a healthy 2019 Top Stories Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility HERAT, Afghanistan (AP) — Eleven Afghan soldiers were killed in an ambush by Taliban insurgents in a western province that borders Iran, an official said Monday. Meanwhile, U.S. and Afghan forces destroyed a munitions cache in a volatile region close to the capital Kabul.An Afghan army convoy in Herat province was traveling to neighboring Bagdhis province on Sunday when it came under attack by a large group of insurgents, said Hesanullah Hayat, spokesman for the Herat governor.last_img read more

German Auschwitz trial Justice system criticized by lawyers

first_img Sponsored Stories Mesa family survives lightning strike to home Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility Comments   Share   Top Stories Groening has testified he guarded prisoners’ baggage after they arrived at Auschwitz, and collected money stolen from them. Prosecutors say that amounts to helping the death camp function.Nestler said Groening could have been prosecuted anytime over the past decades, and accused the justice system of being more interested in avoiding such cases than bringing them to trial.“Proceedings of this kind only materialize anymore where a willing, dedicated and fast-working prosecutor happens to encounter a willing court and where the accused is still able to stand trial,” he said.Prosecutors have asked for 3 Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Parents, stop beating yourself up Arizona families, Arizona farms: providing the local community with responsibly produced dairy Former SS officer Oskar Groening waits in a courtroom in Lueneburg, northern Germany, Wednesday July 8, 2015. German prosecutors sought a 3 Here’s how to repair and patch damaged drywall BERLIN (AP) — Attorneys representing dozens of Auschwitz survivors and their relatives criticized the German justice system Wednesday, saying it moved far too slowly in bringing to trial a former SS sergeant who served at the death camp.In closing arguments at Oskar Groening’s Lueneburg state court trial, attorney Cornelius Nestler questioned why it took 70 years after the end of World War II to try the 94-year-old on 300,000 counts of accessory to murder. New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies How do cataracts affect your vision?last_img read more

AP PHOTOS Italys cowboys show off their skill

first_img Get a lawn your neighbor will be jealous of Some 1,200 people take part in team penning across Italy. Some are full-time farmers, others townies who take to the saddles in their spare time.“Age doesn’t really matter,” says Carla Conversi, secretary of the Italian association. Children compete from age 10, and 60-year-old penners are not uncommon, she says.Next month Italy is hoping to make its mark in the World Team Penning and Ranch Sorting Championship in Montarnaud, southern France.“There’s no doubt that the difference between us and other European teams is substantial,” said Piero Coviello, a food industry entrepreneur and head of the Italian federation. “We will certainly do very well.”Because of the lack of common regulations between countries, U.S. cowboys don’t take part in competitions abroad, but that doesn’t stop the Italians dreaming of taking them on. In 2010 a squad of 10 Italian penners traveled to Fort Worth, Texas, to take part in the U.S Team Penning Association world championship. They came home with a silver in the under-16 individual ranch sorting competition and a bronze in the under-16 team penning.“The dream of every one of us is to compete in the U.S. against the masters,” said Marco Sterbini, who’s on his horse when he isn’t making a living in the automobile industry. “And who knows, there might be some surprises at the next USTPA World’s in October.” 4 must play golf courses in Arizona Top Stories Sponsored Stories Mesa family survives lightning strike to home Comments   Share   Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facilitycenter_img Here’s how to repair and patch damaged drywall New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies Tonino Mastrostefano sorts cattle during the team penning Masseria Cup in Piane Vomano on the outskirts of Notaresco, central Italy, Saturday, June 20, 2015. Italy may be better-known for its soccer skills, but on ranches across the country, cowboys are honing their skills of horsemanship and cattle management, and dreaming of taking on the Americans at their own game. Team penning and ranch sorting is believed to have started as a competitive sport in California in the early 1940s. Since then it has spread to countries with long traditions in cattle breeding throughout South America and Europe. (AP Photo/Domenico Stinellis) PIANE VOMANO, Italy (AP) — Italy may be better-known for its soccer skills, but on ranches across the country, cowboys are honing their skills of horsemanship and cattle management, and dreaming of taking on the Americans at their own game.Team penning and ranch sorting is believed to have started as a competitive sport in California in the early 1940s. Since then it has spread to countries with long traditions in cattle breeding throughout South America and Europe. Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Natural spring cleaning tips and tricks for your homelast_img read more

Japan Airlines denies liquidation claims We arent bankr

first_imgSource = e-Travel Blackboard: C.F Japan Airlines (JAL) has slammed bankruptcy rumors, which have been circulating the industry since last week. A JAL spokesperson told e-Travel Blackboard that a number of other media organizations have published erroneous reports that JAL is bankrupt. “The facts are that the revitalization plans for JAL are presently being formulated by the ETIC (Enterprise Turnaround Initiative Corporation of Japan) in cooperation with JAL. “A decision will be made mid to late January regarding what form of assistance will be offered to JAL.”JAL has experienced financial difficulties for quite some time and currently owes more than $US5.8 billion ($6.5 billion).JAL shares plunged to a record low in Tokyo trading last week, however the airline is still positive that it will experience a turnaround with the support of the Japanese government. “There have been no changes whatsoever in the full backing of the Japanese government of JAL.”A JAL spokesperson also denied reports that JAL was planning to cut all of its international routes to cut costs, claiming that the story was 100% false. “JAL will not be changed to a domestic carrier… We can assure you that it is business as usual for JAL.” <a href=”” target=”_blank”><img src=”;cb=INSERT_RANDOM_NUMBER_HERE&amp;n=a5c63036″ border=”0″ alt=””></a>last_img read more

Listen up Rudd Australians should be encouraged to holiday at

first_imgSource = e-Travel Blackboard: C.F <a href=”” target=”_blank”><img src=”;cb=INSERT_RANDOM_NUMBER_HERE&amp;n=a5c63036″ border=”0″ alt=””></a> Shadow Tourism Minister Steven Ciobo has said that the Rudd Labor Government should encourage Australians to holiday at home.Recent figures reveal that an increasing number of Aussies are choosing to travel overseas instead of spending their much-needed holiday dollars at home. Official statistics show the number of Australians holidaying overseas increased by 20 per cent in November compared with November 2008.“Tourism Minister Martin Ferguson has presided over a complete turnaround in domestic tourism numbers, despite all his noises about boosting domestic tourism,” Mr Ciobo said.“International visitors in November 2008 exceeded departures by 39,800, so we’ve basically seen a negative turnaround of 75,200 visitors (for November) in just one year.“These figures are part of a general trend, are of great concern and are evidence Minister Ferguson continues to fail the industry.“Already we have seen around 30,000 jobs axed in the tourism sector on the watch of Minister Ferguson who is clearly too busy with his other portfolios to focus on tourism. “This industry cannot afford to lose any more jobs,” Mr Ciobo said.Mr Ciobo said the tourism figures were also proof the Rudd cash splash had not buoyed domestic tourism as the Labor Government had boasted. “Australians have clearly taken their $900 Rudd sugar-hits and spent them in the beach bars of Bali and the markets of Hanoi – that is money that could and should be flowing into the tills of Australian tourism operators,” Mr Ciobo said.Mr Ciobo said, “If the Rudd Government wants Australia to be a net importer of tourism, not an exporter, it must capitalise on the increased flight capacity and promote Australia to lure more visitors here.”last_img read more

Caravan RV and camping industry showcase best at Awards of Excellence

first_imgMore than 250 guests attended the annual Caravan and Camping Industry Association of NSW (CCIA) Awards of Excellence Gala Dinner at The Sheraton on The Park in Sydney on 28 July 2010 to recognise caravan, RV and camping businesses for industry excellence across 24 categories.Barry Baillie, CEO of the CCIA said that the CCIA Awards of Excellence is a prestigious annual event for the industry which recognises caravan and holiday parks, manufactured home villages and estate, caravan and RV manufacturers and dealers as well as industry suppliers for business excellence.“The Awards of Excellence is the industry’s highlight event which recognises business excellence in the caravan and camping sector and is the highest accolade that a caravan, RV or camping business can achieve.”In addition to Awards of Excellence, 27 Gumnut Awards were presented to park and trade businesses who have demonstrated outstanding commitment to environmental sustainability. 2010 CCIA Awards of Excellence winners include: The CCIA Awards of Excellence was staged with a ‘Rum Rebellion’ flavour to mark the 200th anniversary of the appointment of Lieutenant Colonel Lachlan Macquarie as Governor of New South Wales. Brad Blaze an extremely talented speed painter entertained guests and Andrew Klein was the masters of ceremonies for the evening.The CCIA Awards of Excellence served as a grand finale to a two day conference (27-28 July) titled “Responding to the Market” at the Sheraton on the Park Grand Ballroom in Sydney. Source = Caravan and Campinglast_img read more

Intl visitors flock to Melbourne Airport

first_imgSource = e-Travel Blackboard: N.J Attracting visitors from around the globe, Melbourne Airport welcomed 11 percent more international travellers last year compared to the same period 2010.According to figures released, the airport saw its international passenger count escalate from 5.9 million in 2010 to 6.6 million last year.Taiwan’s passport holders increased the largest for the 12 months by 22.5 percent followed by travellers from China with 20.7 percent.Despite natural disasters halting travel into Japan, Japanese travellers visiting Melbourne increased 11.7 percent last year compared to 2010 while visitors from the USA jumped 13.7 percent. Attracting a domestic market proved to be a challenge, with local visits falling two percent from 21.7 million in 2010 to 21.3 million last year.Melbourne Airport chief executive Chris Woodruff described the domestic situation as “tough” and cited weather and airline events for the decline.Looking ahead, the airport plans to focus on improving a new domestic terminal, which will be located adjacent to the existing terminals.During 2011 the airport welcomed one percent more travellers than 2010, up from 27.7 million to 28 million. last_img read more

Travellers planning to spend more on the next holiday

first_imgTravellers are likely to loosen the reins on their wallets on their holiday, according to a new study.Visa’s Global Travel Intentions Study 2013 revealed an average of five percent of holidaymakers are planning to spend more on their next vacation, with some even hoping to double what they spent on their previous trip.Among the top spenders this year include; Saudi Arabian travellers, forking out an average of US$6,666 per trip followed by Australians with US$4,118 and Chinese travellers at US$3,824 per vacation.Meanwhile, travel budgets are especially high amongst Asian markets, with travellers from Hong Kong, Singapore and Thailand predicted to increase their budget by at least 46 percent increase compared to their last trip.The barometer indicated that in addition to spending more, budgets are no longer among the top three reasons behind why travellers choose their next destination, but rather attractions, scenery and rich culture have emerged as stronger reasons for travel.Visa Singapore and Brunei country manager Ooi Huey Tyng said understanding changes in budgets and the way people travel will help facilitate “collaboration, encouraging informed engagement, and promoting growth across the travel industry”.Meanwhile, the United States remained the top choice destination for attractions, scenery and culture with 17 percent of the votes, followed by the UK and France with 12 percent and China, Singapore, Thailand and Hong Kong with ten percent. Source = e-Travel Blackboard: NJ Budgets no longer a top reason behind choosing a destination.last_img read more

Travelport Air India renew full content agreement

first_imgTravelport has announced the renewal of its full content agreement with Air India, with the latest Star Alliance member becoming the 50th airline and first carrier in India to sign up for Travelport’s leading industry merchandising technology.Effective immediately, the agreement renewal will enable Travelport connected agents worldwide access to all of Air India’s fares and inventory, including web and group fares, as well as selected ancillary offerings.Air India has also opted-in to a number of Travelport’s services, including Sponsored Flightsand Rapid Reprice, which will further promote the carrier’s offering to Travelport’s 76,000 agency customers globally.Moreover, Air India has become the 50th airline to sign up for Travelport Rich Content and Branding technology – a key component of the Travelport Merchandising Platform, which, once its launched later this year, will allow Air India to manage how its flights and ancillaries are visually presented and viewed on travel agency screens, enabling the carrier to tailor and differentiate its offering from competitors.“We very much look forward to this new chapter in our ongoing partnership with Travelport and we are excited about leveraging their innovative technology to help set us apart from other airlines in front of travel agents and consumers,” Air India general manager revenue management Meenakshi Mallik said.This new development in our long-standing relationship with Air India is a significant achievement and demonstrates the high level of interest and support we have received for our innovative technology,” Travelport vice president of global distribution sales and services Asia-Pacific Damian Hickey said.“Complementing on Air India’s recent membership in to the Star Alliance, we believe our merchandising platform will bring tremendous opportunities for them during an exciting time of growth and expansion.”Source = ETB News: Lana Bogunovichlast_img read more

China Southern recruits Australian pilots

first_imgChina Southern Airlines has welcomed 10 new Australian pilots to its international ranks in recent months, joining eight compatriots in a growing contingent of international aircrew.The airline now has 14 serving Australian pilots and a further four in training, just some of about 90 China Southern pilots enlisted from outside China.Each has been recruited as part of a program to increase the diversity and international experience of the airline’s pilots, coming from countries including Australia, New Zealand, Japan and Canada.China Southern regional general manager Australia and New Zealand Henry He said the introduction of Australian pilots highlighted the growing importance Australia played in the airline’s success.“Australian pilots are very highly regarded internationally and we consider Australia a key part of our international network, it’s important to us that Australian experience and expertise is represented in the crew we have aboard China Southern aircraft worldwide,” Mr He said.In addition to recruiting Australian pilots, China Southern Airlines has invested heavily in pilot training at the China Southern West Australian Flying College at Jandakot Airport in Perth.From its hub at Baiyun International Airport in Guangzhou, China Southern flies to almost 200 destinations in 35 countries including more than 150 Chinese cities on the world’s most extensive domestic network.China Southern is a proud member of the SkyTeam Alliance, which offers passengers a worldwide system of more than 19,000 daily flights spanning more than 1000 destinations in 187 countries.Source = ETB Travel News: Lewis Wisemanlast_img read more

Travel Counsellors agent gets a taste of South America

first_imgNew South Wales-based Travel Counsellors agent Elizabeth Bridges is now an expert on Chile and Argentina after recently experiencing two of South America’s hottest destinations on an action-packed famil trip with Eclipse Travel.Elizabeth swapped sleepy Diamond Beach, New South Wales for two weeks in sizzling South America where she experienced everything from the atmospheric tango clubs of Buenos Aires to the dramatic glacial beauty of Patagonia, the coastal charms of Valparaiso and the urban buzz of Santiago.As expected, the cuisine of the region was a major focus of the trip, with Elizabeth experiencing a range of food-related activities designed to showcase the top quality produce and famed culinary traditions of the region. From feasting on gourmet empanadas and succulent steaks in Buenos Aires to sipping on fine wine in Chile’s Casablanca Valley, South America’s food and wine scene was centre stage on the itinerary.Elizabeth counts visiting the Torres del Paine National Park in central Patagonia as a highlight of the journey. “I was blown away by the natural beauty of the Torres del Paine National Park – it’s easily one of the most beautiful places in the world,” comments Elizabeth.“Having said that, we visited so many incredible spots in Chile and Argentina, it’s hard to choose a favourite. The cities are full of energy, life and culture, while the national parks and rural regions offer stunning scenery and a more relaxed pace.“Because there’s such a diversity of experience on offer, I’ll be recommending Chile and Argentina to a wide variety of my clients, from retirees hoping to experience a trip of a lifetime to young couples looking for an adventure,” adds Elizabeth.David Hughes, Managing Director of Travel Counsellors Australia believes that South America’s star is on the rise. “Chile and Argentina are two inspiring destinations perfect for Australian travellers with a sense of adventure, and with direct flights from Australia to Santiago being available, South America has never been easier or more affordable to get to.“Famils like this really allow our agents to get under the skin of a place, so that they can sell the destination with enthusiasm and confidence, and I expect Elizabeth will be keen to share her positive experience of South America with both her clients and the rest of the Travel Counsellors network,” comments David. About Travel Counsellorslearn more here Join Travel Counsellorsjoin today here Source = Travel Counsellors Travel Counsellorslast_img read more

ITB Berlin sets new records with increase in trade visitors

first_img175,000 visitors during the five-day show – an increase in trade visitors from abroad – the convention attracts more visitors – trade visitors and exhibitors remain longer at the show – exhibitors report higher turnover – falling energy prices and good economic prospects mean people are keen to travel – ITB Berlin 2015 cements its position as the world’s leading travel trade showDespite international crises and the risk of political conflict around the world, as the 2015 holiday season begins the economic prospects for the global travel industry could not be better for the months to come. As ITB Berlin, the world’s largest travel trade show, closes its doors the conclusion is as follows: boosted by falling energy prices, reduced interest rates, low inflation and positive economic forecasts for the Eurozone and North America, the travel industry has high expectations as the 2015 travel season beckons. In Germany in particular consumers are keen to travel. Wage increases and a consistently stable employment market coupled with the falling cost of living have significantly increased spending. More than ever, this is why people are willing to spend their money on holidays. The luxury travel segment in particular stands to benefit.ITB Berlin, which came to an end on Sunday, was able to cement its position as the world’s largest travel trade show. From 4 to 8 March 2015 10,096 exhibitors from 186 countries, more than two-thirds of whom were from abroad, were represented in 26 display halls which were fully booked. Overall, some 115,000 trade visitors (2014: 114,000) travelled to Berlin. The share of trade visitors from abroad increased to 43% (2014: 40%). These visitors also remained longer at ITB Berlin because they did good business, with the average duration of a stay rising to 2.4 days (2014: 2.1 days). According to estimates by Messe Berlin the volume of sales at the world’s leading travel trade show increased from around 6.5 billion euros in 2014 to 6.7 billion euros.Dr Christian Göke, CEO of Messe Berlin said, “More than ever ITB Berlin fulfils the function of the world’s leading think tank and a shop window for the travel industry. This is where the opportunities and risks are debated and the potential impact of the sharing economy on the international travel industry is analysed. Over the past few days ITB Berlin has provided further evidence of how important personal exchanges and meetings between people are for an industry that is increasingly dominated by the digital transition.“Trends at ITB Berlin 2015 included the massive rise in the use of mobile devices to book trips, a phenomenon that has now become the norm. Improved software means that travel websites are becoming more attractive and easier to use. Hotels are also witnessing the impact of digital trends. Smartphone functions are increasingly taking over from room keys. Travel apps are developing rapidly and becoming ever more widespread with the use of latest-generation smartphones. At the eTravel World numerous experts debated the latest developments in digital marketing, social media and mobile travel services. The 40% increase in papers and discussions held on the eTravel Stage and at the eTravel Lab showed how important these topics have become for the travel industry.Despite the internet having brought about lasting change to the travel world with new travel apps and meta search engines, tourists continue to entrust the task of booking the time of the year they enjoy most with their local travel agency. With their ability to offer personal assistance travel agencies are quite capable of positioning themselves as important sales channels in the face of online travel portals and social media and their relentless rise.According to Messe Berlin all the main travel destinations will benefit from the prevailing positive mood: big European cities, Mediterranean countries and faraway destinations. A fact particularly worth noting is that Germany as a travel destination continues to break all records. The tourism market in Germany has grown for the fifth year in succession in every single federal State, and this positive trend is set to continue in 2015. For North Americans the cost of travelling to Germany has fallen to unprecedented low levels due to the strength of the dollar. Other popular destinations include Egypt and Greece. Whereas Egypt’s economic revival has been slow, Greece reported double-digit growth for the third year running and despite the controversy surrounding its national debt continues on the path to recovery.23,000 visitors (2014: 22,000) attended the ITB Berlin Convention, another new record. Decision-makers and opinion-formers debated the key topics concerning the travel industry at a total of 200 events which took place in eight auditoriums. This year the focus was on the sharing economy which was the subject of numerous panel discussions and exclusive surveys. Marking its tenth anniversary, the ITB Hospitality Day had a success story to celebrate.Despite the warm spring weather around 60,000 members of the general public flocked to the display halls on the weekend to find out about the wide range of information available from exhibitors.Oyunkhorol Dulamsuren, Minister of the Environment, Green Development and Tourism of Mongolia said, “I would like to congratulate and thank you for a great ITB. I am very happy that ITB Berlin 2015 is wrapping up with full success.As the official partner country of ITB this year, we succeeded in showcasing Mongolia’s unique tourism products, destinations and nomadic lifestyle to the world. Also we showed you that Mongolia is an enigmatic, dynamic country with many natural and cultural resources.I am very positive that the results of ITB will bring Mongolian tourism a new boost.Mongolia will greet you with open arms when you come to explore its culture and nomadic way of living. As Mongolians say: ’Seeing once is worth more than hearing about it a thousand times’. Welcome to Mongolia to see and discover your roots as global nomads.”Taleb Rifai, Secretary-General of UNWTO said, “ITB Berlin is an increasingly important meeting point for the tourism sector. An occasion to foster businesses connections but more and more to learn about the changes shaping our sector and exchange knowledge and experiences on how to adapt to such changes. We, at UNWTO, are very happy to have ITB Berlin as a strong partner and trust our cooperation will go from strength to strength.”Dr Michael Frenzel, President of the Federal Association of the German Tourism Industry (BTW) stated, “Once again, ITB Berlin was an all-round success and fills us with optimism for the coming months. For German citizens travel is and remains a favourite pastime and, if the surveys are to be believed, many will have already packed their bags and be waiting to go. We are therefore confident that the 2014 record of 1.6 billion days of private holidays undertaken by Germans will be surpassed this year. We are also certain that Germany will be even more popular as a travel destination, as it is extremely diverse, offers good value for money and great hospitality. As regards the aviation tax, minimum wage, the toll charge for foreign vehicles and other burdens, we appeal once again to political decision-makers: do not hamper the positive developments and destroy the positive image that Germany enjoys as a travel destination by imposing massive financial burdens and bureaucracy. Create conditions that do not leave a sour taste with holidaymakers and that make it possible for our industry to remain a strong economic factor and a driving force for employment.”Norbert Fiebig, President of the German Travel Association (DRV) informed, “The tourism industry got off to a good start in 2015. Accordingly, this year’s ITB Berlin went very well and once again proved itself to be an indispensable platform for tourism professionals from around the world. From the tourism industry’s point of view ITB 2015 went according to plan. Everything was perfect – the exhibitors present at the show, the quality of trade visitors, and the exceptionally high attendance by exhibitors and visitors from abroad.The stage is set for the travel industry to do good business in 2015 and for it to expand even further. The high numbers of early bookings taken by travel agencies in recent weeks for this year’s summer holidays are proof that Germans remain keen to travel. Sales are five per cent higher than they were this time last year. Destinations will benefit that are traditionally favourites with German citizens, including Greece, the Balearics and Egypt, which has risen in popularity again.”In addition to 127 foreign delegations three royal highnesses and 95 ambassadors travelled to the event. 47 ministers from foreign countries, 11 deputy ministers from abroad and a number of foreign state secretaries were also present. Federal Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier, Federal Minister of Justice and Consumer Protection Heiko Maas, and Governing Mayor of Berlin Michael Müller came to find out what the travel industry had to offer.The next ITB Berlin will take place from 9 to 13 March, 2016. Maldives will be the official partner country of the show.last_img read more

Atout France organises the French Ambassadors Travel Awards Soiree in Mumbai

first_imgFrance Tourism Development Agency, Atout France, under the high patronage of the Ambassador of France to India had recently organised the annual Ambassador’s Travel Awards Soirée at the exclusive Chambers Terrace at the Taj Mahal Palace and Towers in Mumbai. The awards aimed at further strengthening France’s ties with the Indian travel fraternity and encourage their endeavours in showcasing France as a premier tourism destination.France and its capital welcomed the highest number of tourists in the world, with 84 million visiting in 2015. It was France and its capital welcomed the highest number of tourists in the world, with 84 million visiting in 2015. It was also a leading outbound destination for the Indian traveller, with half a million Indians visiting France as their holiday destination in 2015.The Ambassador’s Travel Awards, which was launched in the form of a contest in October 2016, invited travel agencies to submit their published travel itineraries showcasing France as either a standalone destination or included a minimum four night stay in the country. Close to 100 itineraries were received, out of which 15 were shortlisted and judged by an eminent panel of jury members, including His Excellency Ambassador of France to India, Alexandre Ziegler. A selection of six winners was then made with awards divided into the following categories:1. Best Promotion of France through Travel Itineraries –• Platinum Award: Best Showcase of France as an Experiential Travel Destination; Winner – Destination Globe• Diamond Award – Best Showcase of France as a Family-friendly Destination; Winner – Sol Trips• Gold Award – Best Showcase of France as an Incentive Destination; Winner – Blue Moon Travels Pvt Ltd2. Exemplary Achievements in Visa Issuances-• Diamond Award – Thomas Cook India Ltd for registering the highest number of visa deliverances.• Gold Award – Cox and Kings Ltd for registering the best growth in French visa issuances.This year’s edition also had a special award for the recipient of the 1,50,000th French Schengen visa, who won a stay in France as a family. The lucky recipient was Usha Nadar and her family. Nadar and her family will travel on Air France and will enjoy a seven-night/eight-day stay in France in Paris, the Hauts de France and the Pays de la Loire regions courtesy Accor Group of Hotels. Sheetal Munshaw, Director, Atout France India, shared her thoughts, “This dynamic initiative endorsed by our Ambassador has given an impetus to our efforts of showcasing France as a leading travel destination. We believe these awards will further reinforce France’s positioning as a preferred destination across segments and will motivate our travel industry partners to create many more innovative handcrafted French travel experiences for their clientele.”last_img read more

South Africa bids to increase intraAfrica travel

first_imgDerek Hanekom, Tourism Minister of South Africa revealed an ongoing process to revise the country’s visa regime in order to increase the intra-Africa travel.Hanekom, speaking on the sidelines of the Africa Travel Indaba Conference held in Durban, said the government has already divided countries into two categories: those that need the visa and the ones that do not need. Hanekom highlighted that government might introduce e-visas from the next financial year in Kenya. The people, applying from the countries that require the visa will have to apply for the document online and then they will be issued with the visa on their landing or arrival. Henkom said while the decision to lift the visa requirement for some countries may seem arbitrary, it is usually justified by the relationship between the two countries and the benefits South Africa could gain.Tourism Minister Hanekom said South African President Cyril Ramaphosa has taken keen in the visa issue as previously, he was the chair of the committee that was tasked with coming up with revisions to the country’s visa regime. Hanekom further noted that African nations should not just count on the visa changes to increase intra-Africa travel rather they should purpose to open up their skies with direct flights which will boost trade and tourism.last_img read more

Fannie Maes Book of Business Shows August Growth

first_imgFannie Mae’s Book of Business Shows August Growth in Secondary Market October 1, 2012 455 Views Sharecenter_img “”Fannie Mae””: didn’t spend the end of its summer lounging ├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├óÔé¼┼ô the GSE released its Book of Business for August 2012, showing off another month of growth.[IMAGE]According to Fannie Mae’s monthly summary, its Book of Business grew at a compound annualized rate of 1.9 percent in August, bringing its year-to-date growth to 0.4 percent.[COLUMN_BREAK]The growth comes despite drops in the GSE’s gross mortgage portfolio, which was brought down by slippage in sales and purchases. The portfolio’s negative growth in August was 10.5 percent, while year-to-date growth shrank to negative 9.9 percent.The gross mortgage end balance in August was $660.8 billion, a considerable year-over-year drop from $725.5 billion in August 2011. While Fannie Mae’s portfolio shrank, new business acquisitions helped keep the Book of Business active. Fannie reported 86,038 new acquisitions in August, nearly double that of August 2011. Acquisitions fell dramatically from 95,310 in March to 52,470 in April and have experienced a shaky climb back up.The GSE was also helped up by decreases in delinquency rates. The conventional single-family serious delinquency rate fell six basis points to 3.44 percent in August, the lowest rate seen all year. In addition, the multifamily delinquency rate fell to 0.25 percent, continuing 2012’s trend of month-to-month delinquency improvement.Fannie Mae completed 15,213 loan modifications in August, bringing the year’s total up to 108,626. Acquisitions Agents & Brokers Attorneys & Title Companies Fannie Mae Investors Lenders & Servicers Mortgage-Backed Securities Service Providers 2012-10-01 Tory Barringerlast_img read more

The Week Ahead An Eye on Supply and Demand

first_imgThe Week Ahead: An Eye on Supply and Demand Share On Thursday, Zillow will release its Real Estate Markets Report for March 2017.  The report covers several data points, including demand, home prices, inventory, and sales numbers. One thing to keep an eye out for in March is inventory levels.The previous report, from February 2017, showed declining inventory overall, a problem further developed by high demand. Zillow reported that many homes are being bought nearly immediately after being listed in some markets, and new construction has been faltering for decades.Additionally, negative equity has been pushing inventory down. Although the national negative equity rate has fallen consistently over the past few years, it still remains high at 10.5 percent. Zillow reported that in February 5.1 million homeowners were underwater, and would list their homes for sale if they could, but being underwater has held them back, making it near impossible to sell.”Negative equity is one of the most persistent reminders of the long-term losses suffered when the housing market collapsed,” said Zillow Chief Economist Dr. Svenja Gudell. “Accelerating home value appreciation over the past few months was a blessing to owners who have been underwater since the housing bubble burst, but not all underwater owners were able to ride that wave to positive equity. We are in for many more years of elevated levels of negative equity. Even as median home values close in on peak levels reached during the housing boom, some people still face a long wait before returning to a positive balance on their home loans.”Zillow also reported that homeowners themselves may have contributed to the lack of inventory by just not listing their homes for sale. Sellers can expect to receive their asking price relatively quickly, but then they would have to turn right around and become buyers themselves in the limited market. This leads many potential sellers to reconsider.Zillow’s report will release at 8 a.m. EST on Thursday. April 16, 2017 526 Views This Week’s ScheduleHousing Starts Report, Tuesday, 8:30 a.m. ESTFreddie Mac Webinar: Learn About the New Servicer Success Scorecard Tuesday, 1:30 p.m. ESTMBA Mortage Applications, Wednesday 7 a.m. ESTFreddie Mac Weekly Mortgage Survey, Thursday, 10 a.m. EST Demand Inventory week ahead 2017-04-16 Seth Welborn in Daily Dose, News, Origination, Servicinglast_img read more

Prioritizing a Personal Touch

first_imgPrioritizing a Personal Touch in Commentary, Daily Dose, Headlines, News, Technology Believe it or not, there are still some consumers who remember a time when getting a home mortgage started with a friendly conversation with a local lender who knew them well and ended with a firm handshake and an approved loan.A New Lending LandscapeToday, the highly competitive housing market, frequently changing regulatory requirements, unforgiving timelines, and the sheer number of steps involved have made obtaining a mortgage not only more complicated but also less personal than it once was. Noncompliance penalties, which can quickly eat into a lender’s already-thin profit margins, and the high risks of buyers losing their dream homes have pushed many mortgage lenders to prioritize process over the people they serve.Not only is this an unsustainable model, but perhaps more importantly, it’s not what either homebuyers or lenders want. Borrowers obviously need their mortgages to be completed quickly and in an error-free manner. And, of course, borrowers—especially millennials—also expect a high-tech experience with the ability to research and seek education online, all while gaining transparency into the process in a way that is automated and accessible to them anytime, anywhere, and on any device. These borrowers, even millennials, do not expect or want these needs to be addressed by technology alone.It is important to remember that nobody sets out in life to get a mortgage. Rather what we all dream of is owning a home. Buyers want someone to help alleviate the anxiety that comes along with the responsibilities and commitment of a mortgage. They want someone to walk them through all of their options and take the time to answer their questions. They want an expert to guide them through their choices and help them make smart financial commitments.Though it’s true, they may search for a home online and even look up potential loan rates on the web, but when it comes time to make decisions, today’s borrowers want a high-touch experience. They want the friendly conversation and firm handshake of decades past.Preferring a Personal TouchInterestingly, despite their comfort and familiarity with technology, millennial homebuyers are driving the demand for more personalized service. Earlier this year, the inaugural Ellie Mae Borrower Insights Survey found that 44 percent of millennial homebuyers completed their mortgage application entirely in-person with a lender. Another 30 percent started the process online but finished in-person. Surprisingly, one-quarter of millennial homeowners said more face-to-face interaction with their lender would have improved their mortgage experience.This generation has grown up accustomed to ordering anything they want online or from a smartphone. In their minds, getting a mortgage should be as fast and convenient as placing an order on Amazon, so in addition to the high-touch, they do also expect high-tech. The difference? It needs to be high-tech with purpose. Borrowers want information and updates that are relevant to them and their specific situation.How can residential mortgage lenders, already feeling squeezed for time and profit, meet these demands for higher-touch customer service, while finding origination efficiencies in this hyper-competitive, zero-tolerance industry? Many who have struck the right balance rely on mortgage automation technology.Automating the American DreamThe good news for lenders is that many of the workflows needed to take a mortgage from origination to closing have been automated, including CRM, point of sale, processing, underwriting, closing, funding,  post-closing, and shipping. Using this automation allows the lender to focus more of their efforts on engaging and interacting with the borrower. In addition to reducing complexity, by removing the likelihood of human error, lenders are better able to ensure loan quality, compliance, and efficiency. For example, these technology solutions can automatically flag loans that could violate ATR/QM, HOEPA, HMDA, FHA, TILA, and NMLS requirements. Catching potential violations early means they can be resolved before they jeopardize closing dates, which will really negatively impact the borrower’s experience and satisfaction. Some automation solutions also provide electronic document management capabilities, which can make it easier for a lending firm to demonstrate regulatory compliance in the event of an audit.Another advantage that automation provides to lenders is cost-savings. According to the Mortgage Bankers Association, origination costs are more than $7,000 per loan. That makes efficiency closely linked to profitability. The faster a loan can be processed, the fewer costs are incurred, the more money flows to the lender’s bottom line, and the fewer mistakes in the manufacturing process. This leads to faster delivery to investors and more liquidity for the lender to help the next homebuyer reach their American Dream.But, what many lenders are finding is that by leveraging automation to manage the parts of the process that are data-centric or routine, there is more time freed up for lenders to have the meaningful face-to-face interaction that homebuyers want. For the homebuyer, new, simple solutions are now available to enable the entire loan application to be completed online, regardless of device.Opening the GatesWhile some mortgage automation has existed in pockets of the process, it has barely scratched the surface of what is possible. The real opportunity is a move toward open platforms that provide lenders, loan officers, brokers, third-party investors, technology developers—really, anyone involved in the mortgage business—greater flexibility to innovate and to incorporate automation throughout the entire origination process.Rather than be constrained by what technology providers develop, with open application programming interfaces (APIs), any lender or partner connected to the platform can build whatever tools they want to become more competitive. These new tools are supported by the core system of record, the lending operating system, which assures their compliance with the vast list of state, federal, and investor regulations, as well as ensures a seamless integration with other automated workflows which they can leverage. Everything is consistent and compliant.As platforms evolve, developers will be able to fully leverage data, using machine learning, artificial intelligence, and other cutting-edge technologies to configure workflow automations to increase pull-through rates, improve cycle times, and increase efficiency and profitability.It’s All About the CustomerWhile many lenders may dream of a day when compliance is not all-consuming for their business, the reality is that whether they are faced with new regulation or de-regulation, change is a constant in the mortgage business. By embracing mortgage automation technology, lenders can prevent these changes from becoming a problem for the homebuyer or for their bottom line. It is through the proper use of data and automation that lenders can close more loans, more efficiently, more compliantly, and with the value-focused outcome of helping borrowers get from interest, to application, to their dream homes faster. May 29, 2017 1,104 Views center_img Share Ellie Mae Homebuyers HOUSING Millennials mortgage technology 2017-05-29 Aly J. Yalelast_img read more

Frank Nothaft The Impact of Harvey

first_imgFrank Nothaft: The Impact of Harvey In the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey, and the looming threat of Hurricane Irma and Jose, CoreLogic’s Chief Economist Frank Nothaft discusses from an economist’s perspective the implications of natural disasters on the housing market.According to Nothaft, the effects are going to be lasting while homeowners wait for aid. Undamaged properties, however, could experience a rise in both home prices and rent, due to limited inventory and a growing number of displaced families.See Nothaft discuss these factors, damage estimates, insurance considerations, and a timeline for reconstruction in this Video Spotlight. September 7, 2017 728 Views in Daily Dose, Featured, Headlines, News, Servicingcenter_img CoreLogic Hurricane harvey 2017-09-07 Joey Pizzolato Sharelast_img read more