Source = e-Travel Blackboard: N.J A Virgin Blue aircraft made an emergency landing in Melbourne airport after the captain detected fumes in the cockpit less than 30 minutes into the flight.The Boeing 737 en route from Melbourne to Sydney returned to the airport when the pilot picked up a foreign scent in the cockpit, The Sydney Morning Herald reported. Virgin Blue spokesperson Colin Lippiatt said Flight DJ 807, its 122 passengers and six crew members landed safely early this morning. “It [the aircraft] is already back at the airport, it landed without incident,” Mr Lippiatt said. “Passengers were disembarked and engineers are now checking out the aircraft.” According to Mr Lippiatt emergency crews including up to 11 fire trucks and two paramedic teams were awaiting the aircraft’s return to Melbourne airport. Passenger on board the aircraft Andrew de Ridder said the crew kept everyone informed and said the smell could be from the installation of a new engine. Mr Lippiatt said the airline is working on placing all passengers on alternative flights for Sydney today.The carrier is investigating the cause of the odour.
The Association of Corporate Travel Executives (ACTE) is preparing to send some of the best travel students around the world as part of an initiative to drive younger talent into the business travel market.Speaking at the inaugural ACTE forum down under since it announced Australasia as its newest region, executive director Ron DiLeo said the Group was preparing to launch its first Around the World in 80 Days program, commencing in Sydney from 10 to 16 March next year.Mr DiLeo explained contenders will spend the first week of the university accredited program in the NSW capital city before moving onto other cities across the globe and will be offered the opportunity to immerse themselves in everything there is to know about travel in that market.Spending up to three months on the road, the executive director noted that the course resembles a semester abroad with a two week internship as well as visits to buyers recognised for having best practises, go behind the scenes at relevant travel companies and behind the front desk of hotels and convention bureaus.“We did it because there’s five generations of leadership in business travel today,” Mr DiLeo noted.“The largest is the group that’s above 55 years of age, and the smallest is the under 30s group because they’re just not necessarily coming out of university and wanting to come into travel for whatever reason. “So we thought we needed to formalise a way to attract talent to the travel industry, we just want to get them into the industry and get them going.”While students benefit from high visibility among suppliers and multinational corporations, Mr DiLeo said businesses can also get involved with the option to sponsor a fellowship.He explained that corporations are able to buy talent before graduation by sponsoring a student to undergo the training.Sponsors have the option to chose from up to 30 universities around world involved in the program and from there provide students in a travel course that meet the appropriate criteria a top for their submission papers.From there the business then holds interviews with prospective students.Once a candidate is selected they agree to undergo internship with the corporation as well as agree to work with them after they graduate the program. During the forum the Group also reaffirmed its commitment to the Australasia market, announcing the appointment of several key personal down under.For more information click here. Source = e-Travel Blackboard: N.J
Source = e-Travel Blackboard: P.T NZ tour operator thl has announced plans to merge its New Zealand rental business with KEA Campers and United Campervans, in a bid to advocate tourism and deliver financial benefits. Although acquisition and implementation costs totalled $1.7 million, thl’s operating profit has been forecast rise to $19.3 million from $16.3 million during the 2012 financial year. “This merger is logical, strategic and the best response to the challenging realities of the current New Zealand market,” thl chairman Keith Smith said. “thl is the industry player that already has the scale to market New Zealand tourism and New Zealand campervan vacations to a broad international audience and therefore the best placed to make the most of the additional brands.” Debt reduction of $19 million is expected in the first eight months after the merger. In the first full year following the merger, operating earnings are forecast to rise to $28.8 million. “The merger is an appropriate response to the challenging macro-economic factors facing New Zealand tourism and the campervan industry,” thl chief executive Grant Webster said. United Campervans principal Kay Howe will join the thl board as an executive director to assist with the merger, while KEA Campers principal Grant Brady is poised to lead thl’s New Zealand vehicle sales operations. “thl, combined with United and KEA, has a great future and will be a powerful advocate for New Zealand tourism particularly in high-value international markets such as the United Kingdom and Europe,” Ms Howe said.thl recently posted high operating profits, despite global instability and economic uncertainty. The merger is scheduled to be completed on 31 October 2012.
The International Air Services Commission (IASC) has decided to grant Qantas’ application for an allocation of seven services per week on the South Africa route and codesharing capabilities for South African Airways.The IASC determination was issued this month and is valid for five years, while South African Airways is permitted to codeshare on Qantas’ flights to and from South Africa until 31 December 2014.The Commission noted that on this occasion, Virgin Australia had not made any submission.“The Commission takes the view that it is not likely that a third direct carrier would enter in competition with Qantas on the Sydney route or SAA on the Perth route within the next two years,” the Determination said.The codesharing agreement excludes the carriage of freight. Source = e-Travel Blackboard: P.T IASC grants QF, SAA codesharing capabilities. Image: M. Torres
It is expected that travellers from up to 180 countries will be able to apply and receive confirmation within a few days when considering travel to India, if new reforms are approved this week. India already issues visas on arrival to visitors from about a dozen countries, including Japan and Indonesia, however, visitors from countries such as the United States, Britain and France are currently unable to enjoy these privileges. Currently, tourists must queue up at local consulates to obtain visas and are often not informed of the success of their submissions for several weeks; a key deterrent for lots of travellers. If the reforms are approved, tourists would receive confirmation that their visa has been processed and accepted within three days of submission and be able to obtain them on arrival at any airport. Source = ETB News The proposed reforms have been backed by India’s major intelligence agencies and a final decision will likely be made at a meeting later this week, the India Express reported.
Asian travellers seeking more adventureAsian travellers are planning to expand their horizons this year, according to findings in the latest TripBarometer study published by TripAdvisor. These findings are summarised in the new PATA Connected Visitor Economy Bulletin, highlighting six key travel trends for 2016.The TripBarometer study, conducted on behalf of TripAdvisor by independent research firm Ipsos, shows that 76 percent of Asian travellers want to ‘try something new’ this year (compared to 69 percent of global travellers). One in four Asian travellers will travel solo while 21 percent will opt for a cruise and one in five will look for adventure travel experiences.Indonesian travellers are the biggest thrill-seekers, according to the TripBarometer study, with 30 percent planning to book an adventure travel holiday in 2016. Indian and Thai travellers (each 29%) are also set to take a more adventurous trip.Global economic uncertainties appear to be having minimal impact upon travel budgets. The study finds that one in three global travellers is planning to spend more on leisure trips this year. Although inflation contributes to rising travel costs for some, nearly half of those planning to spend more (49%) state that it’s because they and/or their family members deserve it – for Asian travellers, the proportion is higher with 52 percent saying they will spend more because they feel they deserve it. Thirty one percent of travellers globally believe that such spending is an important contribution to maintaining good health and wellbeing.This year Baby Boomers (65 yrs+) will spend, on average, US$8,700 on travel; Generation X travellers (35-64 yrs) are budgeting US$5,700, and Millennials (18-34 yrs) will be allocating a more modest US$2,900. Other key trends extracted from the study:A rise in ‘TV tourism’ with travellers increasingly influenced by what they have seen on their TV screensThe need to stay cool and connected has never been greater and travellers questioned placed air-conditioned rooms and in-room WI-FI at the top of their ‘must-have’ requirements. Globally, 63 percent state that aircon is essential when choosing leisure accommodationTravellers to South America could face increases in room rates as property owners seek to recoup investment and refurbishment costs. However, travellers will welcome the finding that only 39 percent of Asian hoteliers plan to charge more in 2016Accommodation owners will continue to monitor closely traveller reviews published on review websites such as TripAdvisor with 59 percent globally (69% in Asia) planning to invest more in online reputation managementThe PATA Connected Visitor Economy Bulletin is published regularly by the Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA).The TripBarometer study, by TripAdvisor, surveyed 34,026 consumers who are TripAdvisor website users or members, and 10,756 representatives from accommodation properties in 32 separate source markets. PATA Connected Visitor Economy BulletinSource = PATA
The Consulate General of Canada is urging travellers to use the official website to register for an electronic Travel Authorisation (eTA), after reports of ‘scam’ websites charging up to $122 for the application.Starting March 15, 2016, Australian citizens visiting Canada require an electronic Travel Authorisation (eTA) before flying to Canada, with the simple online application process costing just $7 CAD.The initiative, introduced by Citizenship and Immigration Canada, requires Australian travellers, who do not require a visa to enter Canada, to apply online at canada.ca/eTA, providing basic personal information similar to what is currently collected when they arrive in Canada.The simple application process, live since August 2015, is convenient and paperless, with most eTAs approved within minutes. In addition, the new eTA system means travellers to Canada can expect a faster service upon arrival at the border.The eTA is electronically linked to the traveller’s passport and is valid for five years or until the passport expires, whichever comes first.Last minute applications can be made on any device with an internet connection, including mobile phones. Most applicants can expect an email response within minutes of applying.The eTA, designed to protect the integrity of Canada’s immigration system, costs just $7 Canadian per individual and will be valid for up to five years from the date of issue. More info hereSource = Destination Canada
Pictured from left to right Front Row Linda Pellaers Air France/KLM BDM, Adam Ferraro Club Med BDM Vic & Tas Back Row Jennie Marsden – where2travel Malvern, Lee Forster – Orba Travel, Jennifer Gibbons – Helloworld Bunbury, Dana Michael – Executive Edge, Ria Hilderink – Reho Travel, Sophie Anderson – Destination HQ, Marcelo Buccella – Travel Extra, Nui Jirasakstaporn – Club Med, Melanie Golin- Taking Off Tours, Julie Kite – Helloworld Marion, Toni Bardsley – Global Travel Solutions Famil at Club Med Peisey Vallandry, FrancePerched 1,600 metres (5,250 ft) high in the Tarentaise valley with its torrents and lakes, larch and spruce trees, the Resort embodies the authentic spirit of France’s Savoie mountains. Peisey VallandryDiscover the resortClub Med and Air France recently hosted our top agents on an all-inclusive ski famil to Club Med Peisey Vallandry in the French Alps. Flying in style with Air France to Geneva, it was then only a 2.5 hour transfer to this resort – so easy!Everyone enjoyed the ski or snowboard lesson in one of the most beautiful ski domains in the world. On the way home, a quick stopover in the center of Paris , thanks to Novatel Les Halles, to see the sights and enjoy the spectacular Lido Show. Source = Club Med Australia
Centara Bids Farewell to Chris BaileyCentara Bids Farewell to Chris BaileyThe Centara family is sad to announce the departure of Mr. Chris Bailey, Chief Operating Officer. Early last week, staff, industry partners and friends gathered to celebrate the amazing 12.5 years that Chris spent with the company. It was a well-attended and fun-filled industry party that gave people an opportunity to express their good wishes and to thank Chris for his significant contributions to Centara and the tourism industry. When Chris joined Centara the company was much smaller, with just eight properties in the portfolio. Now the group boasts over 65 properties – a significant expansion in which Chris played an instrumental role. Thirayuth Chirathivat, Chief Executive Officer of Centara Hotels & Resorts noted “Chris has been a key figure in the growth and success of Centara Hotels & Resorts over the past 12.5 years. His commercial acumen and enterprise, coupled with his passion, dedication and leadership have driven the business forward year after year. Today we say a fond farewell not only to a colleague but to a friend as well. We wish Chris all the very best in his next chapter”Centara will make an announcement on Chris’ successor in due course and expects to enter the coming year in as strong a position as ever, amid an ongoing strategy of growth and with several new hotel openings on the horizon.Centara Hotels & Resorts is Thailand’s leading hotel group, with 45 deluxe and first-class properties across Thailand, as well as 22 hotels and resorts in the Maldives, Vietnam, Bali, Sri Lanka, Qatar, Laos, Oman, Turkey and China. Centara also operates 24 branches of Spa Cenvaree, an award-winning spa brand, together with 8 branches of the value brand ‘Cense by Spa Cenvaree’. The company’s Kids’ Clubs are available at all their family-friendly resorts. Centara also operates three state-of-the-art convention centres in Bangkok, as well as two in north-eastern Thailand. Centara Hotels & ResortsSource = Centara Hotels & Resorts
Source = Grand Hotel Marriott Resort, Golf Club & Spa Grand Hotel Marriott Resort, Golf Club & SpaNew Year New LookOpened in 1847, the Grand Hotel Marriott Resort, Golf Club & Spa in Pt. Clear, Alabama, will be transformed in the next 16 months during a major renovation. “From redesigning meeting space and guest rooms to enhancing the resort’s legendary service and culinary options, this historic legend will take Southern hospitality to a higher level,” said Tony Davis, CEO of the Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail Resort Collection. The transformation is schedule to be complete in Spring 2018.“The Grand Hotel has played a major role in the region historically, socially and financially,” said Davis. “After much research and planning, the next chapter in the Grand’s history is being written. Over the coming months, buildings will be transformed one at a time to minimize guest disruption during the process,” he said. “In April 2018, the Grand Hotel will reach an even higher pinnacle of hospitality excellence when the resort joins the Autograph Collection of hotels.”The Autograph Collection properties are high end and remarkably independent while still benefitting from Marriott’s expertise. These international hotels focus on great design, are located in preferred locations and are beacons of good taste.Guest Rooms and Meeting SpaceTotal number of guest rooms at the Grand Hotel: 405Number of unique guest room designs – 3. This does not include suites.Design One: 225 rooms in South Bay/North Bay/Marina HouseDesign Two: 126 rooms in the Spa BuildingDesign Three: 54 rooms in the Grand’s Main Historic BuildingMeeting facilities: The Grand has 37,000 square feet of meeting space. All of this space will be renovated during 2017.General Transformation SchedulePhase 1 – South Bay, North Bay, Marina House construction planned for completion Spring 2017 Phase 2 – Conference Center – Complete in phases by the end of 2017 Phase 3 – Main Building and Spa Building complete in Spring 2018GolfThe Grand Hotel opened a new golf practice facility in 2016. The Grand Golf Experience features three acres of tee surface, 22,000 sq. ft. of USGA greens surfaces, today’s most advanced teaching technology, club fitting services, a two-acre short game area and a 1,500 square foot range house. The Experience is a destination for the avid golfer as well as families looking to enjoy the great game of golf. Individual and group lessons are available from the Lakewood Club professionals. Renovations to the Lakewood Club’s Azalea and Dogwood courses are planned in the future.RestaurantsThe Grand currently has multiple restaurants both in the resort and at the Lakewood Club. These offerings are being reviewed in preparation for the next chapter of the Grand’s exceptional culinary history.SpaThe rooms in the Spa Building will be renovated with a design inspired by the spa experience. While services and protocols will transform as the Grand becomes an Autograph Hotel, the Spa at the Grand will maintain its current design and world-class offerings.OwnershipThe Grand Hotel and the other seven properties in the Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail Resort Collection are owned by the Retirement Systems of Alabama. The Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail is celebrating its 25th year in 2017.About the Grand Hotel Marriott Resort, Golf Club & SpaSince 1847, The Grand has maintained a gracious tradition of Southern hospitality on historic Mobile Bay. The Grand Hotel is a family-friendly historical hotel that is 170 years young. The resort has received national honors from USA Today, Travel + Leisure, Conde Nast Traveler, Tennis Magazine, Successful Meetings, Meetings Today and other national publications. A schedule of activities and special weekends is particularly attractive to families. Groups appreciate the superlative meeting facilities. With 405 luxurious guest rooms and having some of Marriott’s best spas, golf courses and pools, the Grand Hotel is now grander than ever. Once private, these golf courses are now open to Grand Hotel guests and the general public.The resort has 37,000 square feet of meeting space that was completely renovated. The Grand’s 550 acres feature giant live oak trees, multiple beaches and lush landscaping. A military salute and cannon firing takes place each day at 4 p.m. and is followed by afternoon tea in the hotel lobby. In addition to world-class golf and the 20,000-square-foot spa, the resort has a variety of activities including eight rubico tennis courts, a croquet lawn, horseshoes, bikes, kayaks, sailboats and other watercrafts for the guests’ enjoyment. The Grand Hotel is a member of the Historic Hotels of America was named their top historic hotel in 2013.
Source = Southern Ocean Lodge Southern Ocean Lodge offers bonus staySouthern Ocean Lodge offers bonus stayAward-winning Southern Ocean Lodge on Kangaroo Island’s remote south coast is offering event organisers a bonus two-night stay* on confirmation of an ‘Exclusively Yours’ special events package.Ideal for corporate retreats or special celebrations, the exclusive-use package offers a range of experiences to create a tailor-designed group stay at Australia’s acclaimed luxury retreat. Event planners will be able to test the itinerary first-hand and in advance with the new two-night stay bonus deal.Available for sole-use bookings over two or three nights between May 1 and September 30, 2018, the ‘Exclusively Yours’ packages include savings and bonuses for corporate incentives and meetings, and celebratory events such as special birthdays and intimate weddings.A minimum booking of 15 suites is required, giving guests access to the full range of accommodation at the 21-suite retreat, at the entry-level Flinders suite rate. Event organisers can tailor their own bonus inclusions, in addition to the superb local dining, South Australian wines and signature experiences already provided. Special bonus events include:A two-night Exclusively Yours stay includes a bonus five-course ‘Taste of KI’ degustation dinner, providing a showcase of the fine artisan foods produced on Kangaroo Island. It also includes a complimentary sunset drinks and canapes event at Remarkable Rocks, with its sculpted rock formations and endless horizons creating an unforgettable outdoor dining experience.A three-night stay on the package includes complimentary return flights between Adelaide and Kangaroo Island, an eight-course ‘Feast of KI’ degustation dinner and a complimentary sunset drinks event at Remarkable Rocks. It also includes Kangaroo Island wine tasting with a local winemaker as well as a credit of $50 per person to use towards treatments at the Southern Spa or any of the bespoke experiences on offer such as quad biking, kayaking or guided wilderness hikes.Baillie Lodges Managing Director James Baillie said the Exclusively Yours packages offered the perfect tools to tailor-make an unforgettable event at one of Australia’s most spectacular locations.“The package offers a superb opportunity to have Australia’s most renowned luxury lodge all to yourself. We hope event planners will enjoy their own free two-night stay at Southern Ocean Lodge and experience the itinerary they’ve created first hand,” Mr Baillie said.*Conditions apply, details available on enquiry.For full details and bookings contact Baillie Lodges by phone 02 9918 4355 or email email@example.com.See also www.southernoceanlodge.com.au
The Spa at Grand Park Kodhipparu, Maldives wins big at awardsGrand Park Kodhipparu, Maldives has performed a hat-trick scoring three awards at the World Luxury Spa Awards 2018.The luxury resort which is a part of Park Hotel Group was awarded ‘Luxury Destination Spa’, ‘Luxury Spa Retreat’, and ‘Luxury Resort Spa’.Having only opened in mid-2017, it’s an impressive achievement for the young resort in the Indian Ocean continent.General Manager of Grand Park Kodhipparu Raffaele Solferino says the awards reflect the excellent spa experiences guests receive at the luxury resort.“Winning the triple awards at World Luxury Spa Awards this year attests to the excellent wellness and spa experiences that guests can expect at Grand Park Kodhipparu, Maldives,” says Mr Solferino.“Credit truly goes to our team members at The Spa for their dedication and skills to deliver exceptional revitalizing moments for our guests.”Situated on its own private jetty just metres from the villa accommodation, The Spa features seven spacious treatment rooms overlooking crystal clear waters.A subdivision of the long-established World Luxury Hotel Awards, World Luxury Spa Awards are considered the pinnacle of achievement for high-end spas across the globe, setting the standard for quality, innovation and service.The accolades are the result of a month-long voting process, all carried out by guests with this year’s edition seeing more than 100,000 votes cast for the 1000 qualifying spas. Grand Park Kodhipparu, The Spa Source = Grand Park Kodhipparu, Maldives
Celebrating success for MTA high achievers in WACelebrating success for MTA high achievers in WAPictured enjoying an epicurean treat at Perth’s landmark Balthazar restaurant last week, MTA – Mobile Travel Agents CEO, Don Beattie and several of the company’s management with a group of MTA’s Western Australia-based high achievers.Company recognition to one side, the event gave the Members the opportunity to meet with Clare Kearns and Georgia Traill, the two MTA business development managers now responsible for the company’s Western Australia activity.Pictured (from left to right): Debbie Andrews; Val Burman; Maria Lombardi; MTA training manager, Kirsty Tate; Deb Johnston, MTA BDM, Clare Kearns; Emma Poultney, Megan Walsh, MTA ticketing support, Prem Halama; MTA CEO, Don Beattie; Jodie Everett, Carine Griffiths and MTA BDM, Georgia Traill.Source = MTA – Mobile Travel Agents PR – Mike Parker-Brown
Source = MSC Cruises MSC Cruises 2021 World CruiseMSC Cruises 2021 World Cruise an all New Itinerary of Discovery on the Far East and MoreMSC Cruises, the Swiss-based world’s largest privately-owned cruise line and market leader in Europe, South America, South Africa and the Arabian Peninsula, announced that sales for its much-awaited 2021 World Cruise will open today.This once-in-a-lifetime experience – a follow-on to the now nearly all sold-out 2019 and 2020 MSC World Cruises – will see guests embark on board MSC Poesia on a 119-day journey around the globe departing on January 5th, 2021. With an all-new itinerary featuring a significant focus on unique Asian destinations, the 2021 World Cruise has been designed to allow guests to really discover some of the region’s most inspiring destinations and more.Gianni Onorato, MSC Cruises’ CEO, commented: “At MSC Cruises, each time we bring a new itinerary to our guests we are committed to making that part of a unique and unforgettable holiday experience. Our newest World Cruise itinerary for 2021 – which features one of our most charming ships, MSC Poesia – will offer guests not only an incredible number of different destinations and overnight stays in iconic cities but a rich array of on board entertainment and music, enrichment activities as well as dining experiences that are sure to make this a voyage of discovery both while on board and ashore.”Brand New Itinerary for 2021 World Cruise featuring an enriched Asian segmentThe 118-night voyage sails roundtrip from Genoa and Civitavecchia (Rome) in Italy, Marseille in France and Barcelona in Spain and takes guests literally across the globe in one single voyage of discovery. Going westwards, the first leg crosses the Atlantic to the islands of the Caribbean and through the Panama Canal, sails the west coast of the continent (Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Guatemala and Mexico) to San Francisco. The second leg visits the scenic Maui and then volcanic Hawaii, Samoa, Fiji, Auckland in New Zealand, Sydney and the Australian Coast together with Cairns and the incredible Great Barrier Reef, Papua New Guinea and the Philippines. It then arrives in Japan during its most beautiful season: the cherry blossom.After visiting Kyoto, Tokyo and Shanghai in China, the third leg cruises to Hong Kong, Vietnam, Singapore and Malaysia allowing guests to really discover this part of the Asian Continent. Finally, crossing the Indian Ocean to Sri Lanka and Dubai guests can explore Oman and Jordan (Petra) and travel through the Suez Canal, back to the Mediterranean.Guests will travel in style and comfort on board MSC Poesia – MSC Cruises’ “poem to the beauty of the sea.” On board, guests will enter a refined world of comfort, created to surprise and delight. There’s so much to delight in from the spectacular foyer waterfall to the Zen Garden, authentic Japanese Sushi bar and opulent MSC Aurea Spawellness centre with steam room, sauna and divine massages to pamper body and mind – it’s the perfect place to unwind. For the more active, there are even a basketball and tennis court, shuffleboard, state-of-the-art gym and mini golf area. Plus 3 swimming pools, 4 whirlpools and a giant poolside cinema screen, to name only some of the features of MSC Poesia.2021 World Cruise HighlightsSome of the highlights include:Puerto Limon, Costa Rica – the stunning beaches and lush rainforest are a haven for any nature lover. Here guests will have the unique experience of interacting with native sloth species or discovering the rich history that the 2nd largest city in Costa Rica has to offer. One of the best ways to take in the landscape is through the ‘VERAGUA RAINFOREST & AERIAL TRAM’ shore excursion, offering guests a comfortable and convenient way to adventure deep into the rainforest, to encounter myriad butterflies and breath-taking waterfalls.San Francisco, USA – Guests will not want to miss a chance to get a look at the iconic Golden Gate bridge, visit the famous penitentiary-turned-prison Alcatraz, or taste the local California wines in one of the United States’ most famous cities. The ‘SAN FRANCISCO & GOLDEN GATE BRIDGE’ shore excursion, one of the many unique shore excursions featured on the cruise – is the ideal way to take in these landmarks during your stay, offering a plethora of can’t-be-missed sites in one trip.Honolulu, USA – Hawaii is renowned for its sandy beaches, crystal clear waters and looming volcanoes. On Oahu, the Hawaiian capital is home to all three of these treasures, where guests can partake in a luau or simply say ‘aloha’ to a day of sunbathing on the famous Waikiki Beach. To discover the city, as well as learn some of its most moving history, the ‘PEARL HARBOR & CITY TOUR’ will usher guests from sunken submarine and battleships, to pearls of the ancient Hawaiian kingdom.Sydney, Australia – Sailing by the Sydney Opera House and towering Harbour Bridge, guests will have two days to explore the iconic Australian city. Whether they choose to visit the famous Taronga Zoo for a chance to see real-live kangaroos or learn to surf at Bondi Beach, this is a destination for everyone. To truly experience the city, customers may join the ‘SYDNEY HARBOUR BRIDGE CLIMB’ shore excursion, where they will ascend the 134-metre tall bridge for a panoramic view of the city, while their climb leader details the history from 1932 until now.Tokyo, Japan – The bright lights of Tokyo are one of six Japanese cities the MSC Poesia will visit during the world tour. With a plethora of uniquely Japanese activities to experience, guests may choose between traditional tea ceremonies, observing Sumo wrestlers’ morning practice sessions and discovering the restaurant offerings that make Tokyo the most Michelin-starred city in the world.Shanghai, China – One of China’s most iconic cities will give guests an opportunity to immerse themselves in the Far East, visiting the Jade Buddha Temple, walking along the Bund waterfront or taking a day trip to the Zhujiajiao water town, where the historic homes and bridges will have guests feeling they’ve stepped back in time.Hong Kong – This vibrant metropolis is where East meets West, where guests will be amazed by the many modern skyscrapers that paint the city’s skyline and delighted by the rich history, such as the Tian Tan Buddha.Da Nang, Vietnam – Vietnam’s 5th largest city is one of the country’s most beautiful. Guests may opt to climb the one-of-a-kind Marble Mountains, bask in the sun on My Khe Beach or discover the many stunning pagodas that the city is known for.Singapore – Framed by the unmistakable Marina Bay Sands Hotel and the city’s symbol, the Merlion, Singapore is a paradise for shoppers, with breath-taking malls that are as beautiful as they are well-stocked. The historical Raffles Hotel and eye-opening Gardens by the Bay make this small island a taste of the best of both worlds, modern meets classic. The ‘HIGHLIGHTS OF SINGAPORE’ shore excursion, for example, mixes classic coach and walking tours and will allow guests a chance to take in the many neighbourhoods of the city, starting with the exotic Little India.Aqaba, Jordan – This city rests on the Red Sea coast and is a haven for divers and history buffs alike. From snorkelling in the Aqaba Marine Park to Mamluk Castle and the Aqaba Archaeological Museum, this destination has something to satiate everyone’s interests.Booking Information:The MSC 2021 World Cruise sales will initially open to MSC Voyagers Club members only for one month, with sales opening to all guests on 10 January 2019. Cabins will start at AUD$27,599 per person, NZD$29,549 per person. Each cruise ticket comes with a set of 15 included shore excursions, as well as a mealtime package.For more information, visit here msccruises.com.au or msccruises.co.nzTo explore remaining availability for the much-sought-after 2020 MSC World Cruises see msccruises.com.au or msccruises.co.nz, phone 1300 028 502 or call your local travel agent.
Coral Expeditions Float out, Coral AdventurerCoral Expeditions officially launches new flagship Coral AdventurerCoral Expeditions officially launched their new vessel, Coral Adventurer, into the ocean on 8th December 2018.The float out ceremony, which involved two days of relocating the vessel from yard onto the floating dock, was a key milestone for Australia’s pioneering cruise line, Coral Expeditions.“Excitement was at a real high with Coral Adventurer now officially in the water and her delivery drawing nearer,” says Mark Fifield, Group General Manager Coral Expeditions.“To date, the construction project has involved expertise from across the world with over 800 workers involved. We were delighted to be joined by over 200 shipyard staff who celebrated this special moment with us, for whom Coral Adventurer build has been a labour of love over the past 11 months.”Also at hand were specialists and designers involved in the installation of all interior furnishings including the wood panelling, feature stonework, stateroom fit out and the ship’s public areas.With her build firmly on track and on time, Coral Expeditions expect no delays preparing their fourth vessel for her sold-out maiden voyage in April 2019.Sea trials will commence in February, handover in late March, followed by shakedown cruises in April. Her official launch will be celebrated in Singapore on April 23rd 2019 before she enters service on her first 18-night departure ‘In the trail of Tasman’.The vessel will then arrive for the first time in Australian waters for an official welcome in Darwin on May 13th 2019.The 120-passenger Coral Adventurer has been specially designed by Coral Expeditions, marrying the company’s 34 years of experience building and operating expedition ships with latest advances in marine and environmental technology. The ship’s lightweight dual Xplorer expedition tenders, a trademark feature of all Coral Expeditions vessels, will extend the capabilities of the ship by allowing fast transit for all passengers with open views on shore excursions and deeper exploration into rivers and beaches. A new multi-purpose space, theBarralong Room, will host interpretive activities and projects that connect guests in an engaging format throughout their voyage experience.Fifield continues: “Coral Adventurer has received a positive response from the market with extremely strong forward bookings and charter interest,” said Fifield. “We have had an overwhelming response to the recently launched 60 day 35th Anniversary Circumnavigation of Australia, whiSource = Coral Expeditions
United Arab Emirates (UAE) is eyeing big on India’s outbound tourism potential. Thanks to the increasing emphasis of all the seven States in the UAE on India to promote ‘within the country’ destinations under one umbrella of its extensive tourism offerings. Highly placed representatives of the UAE’s travel and tourism industry under the umbrella of National Council of Tourism and Antiquities (NCTA) announced its India-specific tourism promotion plans during India’s biggest Outbound Travel Mart – OTM 2016 in Mumbai. The UAE has the largest pavilion at the OTM.H.E. Sultan Mohamed Bin Khadin, Acting Consul, the UAE Embassy in India, who was present on the occasion, said, “The UAE has trade and cultural ties with India since ages. We want to strengthen these ties further and foresee a substantial growth in the number of tourist footfalls in the near future.”The UAE is positioning itself as a unique country where all the seven states like Dubai, Sharjah, Ras-Al-Khamaiyah, Abu Dhabi, etc. have different tourism varieties to showcase to India. Unlike other tourist destinations, where tourists need to travel long distance, the UAE has a long expanse from the North to South, which has a wide variety of tourism offerings like terrains, mountains, beaches, desert, etc.Khalid Jasim Al Midfa, Chairman, Sharjah Commerce & Tourism Development Authority, who is part of the delegation representing the UAE, said, “The UAE has been promoting its tourism potential globally and we find India as a great opportunity to expand relationships with India’s outbound travel and trade fraternity. In the UAE, Dubai is a commercial hub, Sharjah is a cultural hub and that way all the seven states have different offerings. Sharjah alone contributes about 8.5% of GDP from tourism, which is bound to grow further. We are expecting a manifold increase in tourism footfalls from Tier I and Tier II countries of India.”In Sharjah alone, the number of hotel guests from India has seen a 23% per cent growth. Adding further, Kahlid Jasim Al Midfa, said, “There are 110 flights per week just for Sharjah from India. We will achieve a double-digit growth in footfalls in the near future.”
The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) has launched a new shopping campaign, ‘Give Me 5’, to entice an additional 200,000 visitors from India and six ASEAN countries during the off-peak season of July-September.The campaign will target families, women and incentive groups from 19 cities in India, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Vietnam, Myanmar, Malaysia and Cambodia, which are served by TAT’s campaign partner airlines, Thai Airways International and Thai Smile Airways.Visitors travelling on the partner airlines on any of their flights between now and September 30, 2019, will be eligible to receive discounts of 5-50% on a broad range of products and services along with many other privileges at the campaign’s partner retail shopping outlets, The Mall Group, Central Group and the Ratchaprasong Business District Association in Bangkok.To overcome the baggage weight restrictions, the partner airlines will give the shoppers an extra allowance of five kilograms per person on the return sector to their home cities.The countries chosen for the campaign generated a total of more than 10 million arrivals and 337 billion Baht in tourism earnings in 2018. All are growing strongly this year, compensating for what is expected to be a temporary slowdown in arrivals from China.The retail outlets included in the campaign are all the 13 Bangkok malls and shopping centres of the Central Group including Central World, Central Embassy and Zen, all the outlets of The Mall Group including The Emporium, The Emquatier and Siam Paragon and exclusive upmarket outlets of the Ratchaprasong Business District Association such as the Gaysorn Village, Erawan Bangkok and Tabtim Dreams.
July 19, 2012 420 Views in Data, Government, Origination, Secondary Market, Servicing, Technology Share Agents & Brokers Attorneys & Title Companies Company News Dodd-Frank Investors Lenders & Servicers Processing Service Providers 2012-07-19 Abby Gregory New Survey Reveals Voters Prefer Dodd Frank Act A new study from “”Lake Research Partners””:www.lakeresearch.com/ is revealing the popular perspective on the controversial Dodd Frank Act. The poll, which was commissioned by “”AARP””:www.aarp.org/, the “”Center for Responsible Lending””:www.responsiblelending.org/, “”Americans for Financial Reform””:ourfinancialsecurity.org/, and the “”National Council of La Raza””:www.nclr.org/, showed that voters are generally in favor of the legislation.[IMAGE]Generally, voters participating in the survey supported Dodd Frank by a 53-point margin. Republican respondents favored the bill by a 20-point margin, while Democrats displayed a stronger preference with an 83-point margin. Independents weighed in, showing a 50-point margin in favor of the act.Lake Research also asked those responding to evaluate the “”Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB)””:www.consumerfinance.gov/, and voters sided with the CFPB by a 40-point margin. [COLUMN_BREAK]Additionally, 66 percent of participants and 69 percent of independents agreed that the “”CFPB is needed.””Commenting on the report, Lake Research’s David Mermin said, “”This poll shows that American voters broadly and strongly support both Wall Street reform and the CFPB. And they strongly favor specific components of the CFPB. After hearing arguments in support and in opposition, voters across party lines solidly favor the reform law.””Specifically, the poll found that tougher rules and enforcement for Wall Street’s financial companies was top of mind for voters, with 73 percent supporting the regulations targeting the sector. A large majority, 92 percent, also favored policies that would mandate more transparent information on rates, terms, and fees from banks, mortgage lenders, credit card companies, and student and auto loan providers.Lisa Donner, executive director of Americans for Financial Reform, noted, “”The message for Congress is unmistakable:├âÔÇÜ├é┬áVoters across the board are intensely supportive of stronger consumer protections. Strong majorities of voters across party lines say we need tougher rules for Wall Street and they do not want Congress to override a state’s ability to enforce stronger consumer protections at the state level.””Gary Kalman, director for the Center for Responsible Lending’s federal policy division, spoke out as well, stating, “”Bipartisan support among voters should be no surprise: Who hasn’t been hurt by the economic downturn?├âÔÇÜ├é┬áPeople get that common sense oversight could have prevented it.””
Virginia Reaches Settlement With 11 Big Banks Over RMBS Fraud Claims Big Banks residential mortgage backed securities RMBS Fraud Claims virginia 2016-01-25 Staff Writer in Daily Dose, Government, Headlines, News, Secondary Market It is now more than seven years since the housing crisis hit, and settlements over claims of residential mortgage-backed securities are still alive and well.Earlier this month, Goldman Sachs settled for $5.1 billion with U.S. Department of Justice, the New York and Illinois Attorneys General, the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA), and the Federal Home Loan Banks of Chicago and Seattle. The Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) has a lawsuit pending against Royal Bank of Scotland over sales of toxic RMBS to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac which some analysts expect will reach a settlement this year in the multibillions.The latest RMBS settlement occurred in Virginia when the Commonwealth’s attorney general, Mark R. Herring, announced that 11 financial institutions have agreed to collectively pay more than $63 million to resolve claims that the banks misrepresented the quality of certain RMBS they sold to the Virginia Retirement System (VRS). The case is a landmark one for the Commonwealth of Virginia—it is the largest non-healthcare-related recovery ever obtained in a suit alleging violations of the Virginia Fraud Against Taxpayers Act.“This case breaks new ground for Virginia, recovering millions for Virginia taxpayers from banks that we alleged had misrepresented the products they sold to the Commonwealth,” Herring said. “Today’s settlement, which represents significant relief to VRS, taxpayers and pensioners of the Commonwealth, is one of the largest of its kind in the nation.”The attorney general alleges that the misrepresentation of the quality of the RMBS sold by the 11 financial institutions to the VRS harmed not only the VRS but the taxpayers and pensioners of the Commonwealth. As part of the settlement, the defendants admitted no liability, and the claims were dismissed with prejudice.One of the 11 institutions was Royal Bank of Scotland, which agreed to pay $10 million to the Commonwealth of Virginia as part of the settlement. Last year, RBS was a defendant in the FHFA’s lawsuit against Nomura in which Nomura was found liable for deceiving the GSEs in the sale of $2 billion worth of mortgage-backed securities. Nomura was ordered to pay $839 million.In June 2014, RBS agreed to pay $99.5 million to settle a separate FHFA suit claiming that the bank sold more than $2 billion worth of faulty mortgage-backed securities to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac between 2005 and 2007. Several large financial institutions have settled with the U.S. Justice Department and state regulatory agencies to resolve claims of mortgage-backed securities fraud: Citigroup for $7 billion in July 2014, JPMorgan Chase for a then-record $13 billion in November 2013, and Bank of America for a record $16.65 billion in August 2014.Below is a breakdown of the 11 institutions to settle with VRS and the Commonwealth of Virginia and the amount each agreed to pay as part of the settlement:Countrywide Securities Corporation and Merrill Lynch, Pierce, Fenner & Smith, Inc. (combined): $19.5 million in totalRBS Securities Inc.: $10 millionBarclays Capital Inc.: $9 millionMorgan Stanley & Co. LLC: $6.9 millionDeutsche Bank Securities Inc.: $5.6 millionCitigroup Global Markets Inc.: $4.75 millionGoldman, Sachs & Co.: $2.9 millionHSBC Securities (USA) Inc.: $2.5 millionCredit Suisse Securities (USA) LLC: $1.2 millionUBS Securities LLC: $850,000 January 25, 2016 624 Views Share