An Expedia company, Egencia completed its purchase of Australian and New Zealand travel company, Travelforce this week.After more than 30 years in the industry, Travelforce’s management team has moved into Egencia, to form the new brand Travelforce, an Egencia company.Expedia’s subsidiary is expecting its partnership with a company established in capital cities across Australia and New Zealand could build Egencia’s presence in the Asia Pacific region.“This acquisition is proof of Egencia’s commitment to expansion in the Asia Pacific region and leadership around the world,” Egencia Asia Pacific managing director Cecilia Routledge said. “Going forward, we will combine the power of Egencia and Travelforce into one strong brand, leveraging the talent and assets of each company.” Meanwhile, Travelforce founder Andrew Ross said the acquisition would now offer the company’s clients access to “leading online bookings”. “This will complement Travelforce’s already outstanding team, strong travel management, meetings and leisure offerings and will enable us to take our client services to the next level,” Mr Ross said. While details of the purchase have been withheld, Travelforce, an Engencia company will commence its partnership focusing on expansion and development of mobile technology.Ken Pfaffmann has been selected to take on the role of managing director. Source = e-Travel Blackboard: N.J
Existing members and franchisees can switch to the helloworld network. Jetset Travelworld Group will launch a new retail brand, helloworld, creating an extensive network of more than 1000 travel agents.The new retail network will be supported by a long-term strategic partnership, utilising US-based online travel company Orbitz Worldwide’s (OWW) global technology.Existing members and franchisees will have the opportunity to adopt helloworld.“With more than 40 years of travel industry experience behind our agencies, the goal of helloworld is to offer travellers unparalleled convenience, industry-leading service and the best value, tailor-made travel experiences,” JTG chief executive Rob Gurney said.“JTG will consolidate its marketing spend to focus on helloworld and provide franchisees with a greater share of voice through digital channels, TV and radio, print and in partnership with our suppliers.”The consolidation was formed due to customers increasingly requesting the ability to research and book their travel through both online and offline channels.The first helloworld stores and online platform will launch during the second quarter of the financial year ending 30 June 2014, paired with a consumer campaign.“Our long-term store fit out program will transform the retail network and make the in-store experience truly interactive and collaborative,” Mr Gurney said.“Over the next 18 months, we will focus on implementing the most substantial changes.” Source = ETB News: P.T.
“The recently extended Tasman Alliance with Virgin means we can confidently work to provide a strongly competitive, Australasian and international airline network,” Air New Zealand chief executive Christopher Luxon said. Virgin Australia’s other major shareholders are the Virgin Group and Singapore Airlines. The Kiwi carrier has received approval from Australia’s Treasury to grow its share in Virgin from approximately 23 percent in June to 25.9 percent, Reuters reported. Air New Zealand will increase its share in Virgin Australia to boost competition in the region. Source = ETB News: P.T.
Travelport has announced its acquisition of leading B2B hotel distribution technology provider, Hotelzon, from former owner Esa Karppinen for an undisclosed amount.The investment forms part of Travelport’s ongoing strategy to redefine and strengthen its “Beyond Air” offering to both corporations and travel management companies, by providing more hotel content and a more user friendly booking tool.In a statement released by Travelport, it mentioned that only 30 percent to 50 percent of business hotel bookings are managed by corporate travel agencies and many corporate travellers prefer to book on their own, reducing the need to use an agent.“As part of our Beyond Air vision, Hotelzon is the perfect complement to our existing capabilities with the large, global chain hotels which we are progressively connecting to our system via direct XML capabilities and our aggregation of unmatched retail rates through our Rooms and More offering based on meta search technology,” Travelport president and chief executive officer Gordion Wilson said.“With Hotelzon, we will now be able to offer special corporate negotiated rates and other offerings from independent hotels to corporations and their travelllers as well as ensure a broader capability in the hotel distribution space for our TMC partners.”The acquisition will see 30,000 hotels added to Travelport’s platform, especially small chain and independent properties in Europe.Hotelzon will continue to operate under its existing brand.Source = ETB News: Lana Bogunovich
A summit of over 160 Asia hotel professionals has concluded that online booking channels are to grow by more than 20% by 2016.The ‘Driving Hotel Revenue – Malaysia Summit’, organised by IDeas Revenue Solutions, a provider of pricing and revenue management software to Asian hotels sector, hosted the summit, which attracted hotel owners, general managers, revenue managers and sales directors from across Asia for educational sessions.As part of the summit, research interviews were conducted which found that social media can greatly influence the hospitality industry.Ninety-four percent of hoteliers surveyed stated that a hotel’s online reputation could determine whether guests chose that hotel or not.Sixty-six percent of attendee’s believed that a hotel’s online reputation can have a ‘large’ impact room pricing and services.And eighty-three 83 percent of hoteliers at the summit believed the regional hotel sector would grow by more than 10 percent in two years, with business travellers overtaking leisure travellers. Source = ETB News: Megan Tran
Vail Resorts Closes on Acquisition of Perisher, AustraliaVail Resorts today announced that the Company has closed on the acquisition of Perisher Ski Resort (“Perisher”), in Australia. Perisher is now officially included in Vail Resorts’ line up of world-class mountain resorts and its industry leading season pass program. Perisher’s 2015 Freedom Pass, now with Epic Benefits, provides all Freedom Pass holders with ski access at the Company’s North American resorts for the 2015-2016 ski season in addition to Perisher, the largest and most popular Australian mountain resort. Likewise, Vail Resorts’ industry leading Epic Pass now includes unlimited and unrestricted skiing at Perisher. The Freedom Pass and Epic Pass allow for year-round skiing and provide value that remains unmatched in the ski industry. Now is the time to capitalise on the best early-bird deals for a white Christmas or January school holidays ski trip. Australians looking for the best deals in the U.S. for the 2015-2016 ski season should visit www.snow.com/australia.“The acquisition of Perisher by Vail Resorts, the world’s preeminent mountain resort company, is a big win for local communities, the broader Snowy Mountains region, state of New South Wales and all Australian snow-sports enthusiasts” said John Barilaro, MP for Monaro and Minister for Regional Development, Minister for Skills, and Minister for Small Business. “Families in New South Wales are in a most enviable position having access to high-alpine areas with amenities such as those offered by Perisher. Married with the industry expertise and proven record for driving tourism that Vail Resorts brings with it, our community will gain tremendously from this acquisition.”“Closing on the acquisition of our first international mountain resort is a significant milestone for our Company. We’re thrilled to officially welcome the guests and employees of Perisher, Australia’s largest and most iconic resort, into the Vail Resorts family and deepen ties with one of our most important international markets,” said Rob Katz, chairman and chief executive officer of Vail Resorts. “We see this as a ground-breaking acquisition that will dramatically enhance the connection between our Company and Australian skiers and riders, creating a true year-round skiing opportunity. Australians can now enjoy unlimited skiing and snowboarding in their own backyard as well as free access to our world-class ski resorts in the U.S., a value and experience unmatched in the ski industry.”The Freedom Pass with Epic Benefits provides unlimited, unrestricted access to Perisher for the 2015 ski season, as well as unlimited skiing and snowboarding at Breckenridge, Keystone and Arapahoe Basin in Colorado; Park City and Canyons in Utah; and Heavenly, Northstar and Kirkwood in Tahoe during the 2015-2016 ski season. The Freedom Pass with Epic Benefits also includes 10 days of skiing and riding at Vail and Beaver Creek during the 2015-2016 ski season. All U.S. resort access is subject to certain traditional holiday restrictions. All purchasers of the 2015 Freedom Pass receive the same Epic Benefits in the U.S. during the 2015-2016 ski season. Likewise, Vail Resorts’ industry leading Epic Pass now includes unlimited and unrestricted skiing at Perisher. Purchasers of the Epic Pass, who paid in full prior to 2 June, receive unlimited, unrestricted access to Perisher throughout the 2015 ski season, as well as unlimited, unrestricted access to 12 of the best resorts in the U.S. All purchasers of the Epic Pass after Tuesday, 2 June, 2015, will have unlimited access to Perisher for the 2016 Australian ski season, in addition to unlimited, unrestricted access to Vail Resorts’ U.S. resorts throughout the 2015-2016 ski season. Book a Ski holiday here!Source = Vail Resorts
TravelManagers Australiajoin here TravelManagers’ personal travel managers Kerrin Poupos, Debbie Bean, Andrew Barton and Robbie Barrett celebrating their Global Achiever’s status at the Qantas Holidays’ Global Achievers event in Darwin with House of Travel Australia’s Chief Operating Officer Grant Campbell (third from left) and Qantas Holidays Head of Sales Fiona Dalton (right).Qantas Holidays recognise Personal Travel Managers Global AchieversFive TravelManagers’ personal travel managers were awarded Global Achievers Gold status at the 1940’s themed Qantas Holidays’ Gala Award Dinner on Saturday 17th October in Darwin.Achieving the record number of TravelManagers’ recipients of Global Achievers in the one year were Victoria based Kerrin Poupos, representative for Warragul and Debbie Bean, representative for Tarneit, Andrew Barton, representative for Ashburton; New South Wales based Robbie Barrett representative for Dubbo and Deahann Urqueza, representative for The Ponds (who did not attend the event).Qantas Holidays & Viva Holidays’ Head of Sales Fiona Dalton was quick to congratulate TravelManagers’ achievements.“It takes an amazing sales performance from each individual to reach Global Achievers and that both the standard and the revenue required to achieve this year was higher than ever before.”In addition as one of Qantas Holiday’s Global Achievers for 2015, Poupos has reached the upper echelon in joining the ‘500 Club’ recognising her as an elite performer who provides in excess of $500,000 revenue to Qantas Holidays in a single year.“It’s such an honour to be part of the elite ‘500 Club’ and knowing that less than 20 consultants achieved the status this year, I am simply thrilled to be recognized in this way. I was spoilt with a special ‘Tiffany’ gift which was certainly a surprise and delight,” says Poupos.Michael Gazal, TravelManagers’ Executive General Manager says supporting our partner supplier products is absolutely key to our business model.“TravelManagers is privileged to have exceptional, strong and effective relationships with key suppliers such as Qantas Holidays at both national and State levels. We are thrilled to see our personal travel managers recognized for their dedication and sales focus of the Qantas Holidays product and their commitment to customer service.”Qantas Holidays celebrated in style with their top 170 high performing travel agents hosted in conjunction with Tourism Northern Territory, rewarding agents with an adventurous trip discovering the culture and history of Darwin and the best of the Australian outback, with the highlight being the prestigious annual Global Achievers Gala Event.House of Travel Australia’s Chief Operating Officer Grant Campbell also flew to Darwin to join TravelManagers Global Achievers for Saturday’s Gala Award Dinner held overlooking Darwin Harbour at the SKYCITY Beach Pavilion.“It was a spectacular setting and the night kicked off in style with a fireworks display and emcee Hugh Sheridan arriving on a Harley Davidson! The 40’s theme was a real hit and it was such an honour to celebrate our personal travel managers’ achievements at such a prestigious event.”The night culminated with a bit of a 40’s dance off with four males and four females being chosen from the audience to dance with professional dancers.Barton in the words of the judges “owned the dance floor” as he took the opportunity to showcase his dance skills by taking out the top male dancing award and winning a holiday to Hawaii.“It was such a great night a fantastic way to end our time discovering the Northern Territory and celebrate with Qantas Holidays. I feel so honored to be representing TravelManagers. To be one of Qantas Holidays’ top producers really shows how much I love the Qantas Holidays product. It’s consistent, great value for money and the back up support from the Qantas Holidays team is fantastic, making it so easy to sell. I know my customers will be well looked after and that’s a real priority for me” says Barton.The 2015 Global Achievers had the opportunity to experience the Northern Territory with pre and post famils. Itineraries included visiting Australia’s largest national park Kakadu, an opportunity to swim in the beautiful waterholes of Litchfield National Park, or to adventure to where the outback meets the tropics in Katherine.For more information or to speak to someone confidentially about TravelManagers please contact Suzanne Laister on 1800 019 599.About TravelManagersTravelManagers operates in all Australian States and is a wholly owned subsidiary of House of Travel, Australasia’s largest independent travel company which has a forecast turnover of $1.5 billion for 2015. TravelManagers is a sister company to Hoot Holidays, also owned by House of Travel, and has more than 480 personal travel managers throughout Australia with a dedicated support team at the company’s national partnership office in Sydney. TravelManagers places all customer money in a dedicated and audited Client Trust Account which is separate from the general business accounts, ensuring client funds are only used for client purchases. Source = TravelManagers Australia
LivingWell Health Club at Hilton Sydney is excited to announce the appointment of fitness influencer, personal trainer and extreme athlete Rebecca Wilcock as an official ambassador. Rebecca will come on board for a twelve-month period effective from July 2016.“We couldn’t be happier to welcome Rebecca as an official ambassador for LivingWell,” LivingWell Health Club at Hilton Sydney general manager Jerome Boadu said.“She’s an incredible athlete and an exceptional role model for fitness enthusiasts. With her on board as our official ambassador, we look forward to inspiring others on their own health and fitness journeys and to continue elevating the LivingWell brand.”As part of her role, Rebecca will attend and run classes and special fitness events and also help develop LivingWell’s personal training and exercise offerings together with the clubs experienced team.A seasoned fitness professional Rebecca commenced her career with a qualification in Exercise Science. Since then, her career has spanned over ten years and has seen her ‘fitness travel’ the world extensively – from surfing in the Maldives to running volcanos in Java, Indonesia. Rebecca is now based between Sydney and California.“Working with my new Hilton family is inspiring and fun! At LivingWell, we always have an energising environment to work in and the ability to adopt a holistic approach to health and wellbeing. I’m excited to be a part of this talented team,” Rebecca Wilcock said.For more information about LivingWell Health Club at Hilton Sydney, including classes and specialised personal training opportunities, please click the link below: LivingWell Health ClubSource = Hilton Sydney
Sofitel Sydney Darling Harbour unveiledAccorHotels launches Sydney’s first new build luxury hotel since OlympicsSofitel Sydney Darling Harbour was officially launched on 3 October 2017 by The Hon. Adam Marshall MP, Minister for Tourism and Major Events making it the first new build, international luxury hotel to debut in Sydney’s CBD this millennium. It is also the first new Sofitel property to be built in Australia.The launch of the Sofitel has broken a 5-star accommodation drought that stretches back before the Sydney Olympics, with the last internationally-branded luxury hotel opened in 1999.The opening of the Sofitel heralds a renaissance of new hotel development in Sydney, with over 40 hotels scheduled to open over the next five years to support the city’s record breaking tourism growth.For such an auspicious launch, the hotel’s owner, Dr Jerry Schwartz, and Chief Operating Officer of AccorHotels Pacific, Simon McGrath decided to offer the whole hotel to 33 charities to support in their fundraising. As a result, $508,000 was raised by the charities supporting a range of causes including medical research, disadvantaged children and families, education, Indigenous development and homelessness.“Being the most important hotel opening since the Olympics, we wanted to once again involve the whole of Sydney by supporting charities that do so much for communities across the city and the State,” said Dr Schwartz.“This hotel launch will also help cement Darling Harbour as one of the world’s most dynamic tourism and events precincts, and power future international and domestic demand for the city.”Simon McGrath said, “Sofitel Sydney Darling Harbour will be a landmark hotel for Sydney and with its proximity to the International Convention Centre, the hotel will help bring major conferences and events to the city and will be a significant contributor to the tourism sector.“Sofitel is now the largest luxury hotel brand in the Pacific and coupled with the strength of AccorHotels’ distribution and loyalty platform we are confident Sofitel Sydney Darling Harbour is going to lead the luxury hotel market in Australia.”The Hon. Adam Marshall said, “Since 2011, the NSW Government has overseen record growth for the State’s visitor economy and this has led to huge investment in Sydney’s accommodation sector.“The accommodation sector plays a key part in our visitor economy and I congratulate AccorHotels on this wonderful new asset, and with another 4,800 new Sydney hotel beds in the pipeline between now and 2024 I look forward to seeing even more investment in our city.”Centrally located in the vibrant, newly transformed city precinct, opposite the International Convention Centre, the $500 million Sofitel Sydney Darling Harbour offers 590 guestrooms including the hotel’s 35 coveted suites, boasting some of the best views in Sydney.For more information, head to www.accorhotels.comSource = AccorHotels
British Airways invests in substantial new cateringBritish Airways invests in substantial new cateringBritish Airways is today announcing a multimillion pound investment in its World Traveller economy class catering, introducing anexciting and expanded new menu, which provides more quantity and quality to both meals and great snacking options throughout the flight.Options now include:Pretzels with the welcome drinkFour-course meal with starter, main, dessert, cheese and biscuits, accompanied by abread roll and bottle of waterSecond meal or substantial snack depending on the length of the flightRegional meal options served according to destinationMagnum ice-creamsTuck box with chocolates and crispsHot breakfast on longer overnight flightsGraze movie-snack box on longer* flightsComplimentary drinks from the barPreviously customers travelling in the cabin were served a complimentary snack, a threecourse-meal or a light meal, depending on the time and length of their flight as well as a complimentary bar service of hot and cold drinks.The new catering arrives from January 17, and the menus will change every six months.Carolina Martinoli, British Airways’ director of brand and customer experience, said: “Our customers tell us that when they’re taking a long-haul flight, great food and beverages make a real difference to them. It’s a huge driver of customer satisfaction so we want to make sure we deliver a great experience. With this multi-million pound investment we’ve focused on introducing more quantity and quality to the catering, delivering tasty meals and great snacking options throughout the flight.“Our new four-course main meal has been developed by our team of chefs to be full of flavour at 35,000ft and we’ve created regional options depending on the route. The second meal option is either a tasty sandwich or a more substantial pizza wrap, both served withadditional snacks, depending on the length of the flight.” “Our customers have also told us they want to be able to save some items for later in the flight, so we’ve replaced the water cup with a bottle of Highland Spring on the first meal, and added Graze snack boxes on our longest flights. We’re also offering Magnum icecreams on daylight flights from London and a Tuck Box on inbound and overnight flights.”The airline’s customers will be welcomed with pretzels and a drink. Once they are settled in, they will be served a four-course meal such as a starter of couscous salad, followed by a main course of chicken casserole with an ale sauce, colcannon mash and seasonalvegetables, or a vegetarian tomato, farfalle and vegetable dish. Dessert will be a Potts & Co salted caramel and chocolate mousse, followed by biscuits and cheese. The meal will be accompanied by a bread roll and a bottle of Highland Spring water.On the shorter daylight long-haul flights to destinations such as New York and Dubai, fliers will also receive a sandwich such as egg and cress with a chocolate or Nutri-Grain bar. Those on longer daylight flights to destinations such as Cape Town and Hong Kong willreceive a hot meal, such as a pizza wrap or a regional option, with a pot of pasta, a chocolate brownie and a drink as well as a smokehouse BBQ crunch Graze movie-snack box. A hot English breakfast will also be served on these longer flights that operateovernight.Customers on daylight flights from London will be offered a range of Magnum ice-creams, while those on night flights will be offered a tuck-box with options such as Dairy Milk Buttons, Twix, Kit-Kats and Mini Cheddars, which will also be available in the galley for them to help themselves to.The airline is also serving regional main meal options around its network, such as chicken in spicy cheng du sauce on flights to and from to China, Hong Kong, Japan and Korea, Kathirikai Milagu Seeragam and Chana Dal on flights to and from Chennai, Hyderabad and Mumbai and Achari veg and Dal Palak on flights to and from Bangalore and Delhi. On flights to the Middle East (Abu Dhabi, Bahrain, Dubai, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar and Saudi Arabia,) customers can enjoy chicken in spicy Arabic sauce.Regional breakfasts will also be served including Chicken Congee for Far Eastern routes and an Indian option featuring: Idli Shanna, Sambhar, upma and Dosa.The popular meal options for customers with special dietary requirements will continue to be available to book on ba.com/managemybooking more than 24 hours ahead of their flight departing.Travellers looking for a special treat can also pre-order meals on flights from Heathrow up to 24-hours before their flight. Options include a Gourmet Dining meal for £18.00, Taste of Britain and Taste of the Far East for £16.00 and a Great British Breakfast, a Healthy Choice meal or a Vegetarian Kitchen option all for £15.00.British Airways is investing £4.5 billion for customers over the next five years, covering the installation of the best quality WiFi and power in every seat, fitting 128 long-haul aircraft with new interiors and taking delivery of 72 new aircraft. The airline is also investing £600m specifically in Club World, including outstanding catering and luxurious White Company bedding – plus, from 2019, a new seat with direct aisle access. This year British Airways will start services to six new routes including Nashville and The Seychelles.Source = British Airways
Credit Card ScammedIt’s not quite as bad as a Nigerian Scammer, but it still hurts business. What do you need to know?Over the years we have supplied a number of sites with XML feeds for their B2C website. Some have taken security short cuts and paid the price. Here’s how it happens in Australia.It starts with a letter from a bankClients set up a B2C website, jump through the hoops with the bank and go live with their new and exciting travel business online…What seems like legit transactions suddenly takes a different colour. Most customers first see the issue when a bank sends snail mail raising alerts to inconsistencies.The problem is in most countries, snail mail is getting unpopular, losing funding, and is much slower. The banks digital services issues templated letters with a request for further details about online transactions which have been reported. As our client recently said “The same team who set up our digital gateway were the same team who were requesting a paper copy proof of a signature. By time the first latter arrived, over 20 transactions had taken place.”For a start up B2C, that can hurt.Legal protection? Not really.In short, when these things happen, unless there is a miracle, the merchant cops the loss. Credit cards bought for $22 each on the Dark web which will work on low security portals. Its often Indonesian scammers or a militant terrorist group raising funds, selling holidays and not paying any bills. Or rather paying with someone else’s card. They also play on the stigma associated with getting ripped off as no one wants to admit they got scammed.A bank manager said the cleverness was that it’s similar to those scams on “erectile dysfunction” because people wont admit to a sensitive issue and no one shares the experience. It proliferates.What do banks do?For a bank, it’s all care, no responsibility as it’s all in the fine print. A local business manager said “You need to ensure your security is good, understand the patterns, be vigilant and know your exposure.” Combined with feedback from customers, he shared some internal memo’s from their experience that would be relevant for anyone looking to set up a B2C website in travel. What to look out forHigh volume, low value transactions, in a burstSudden pattern of bookings you haven’t seen beforeContact details which don’t connect, or do, but with lots of delay from a foreign voiceAll short check in/non refundable Finally, the last piece of advice is “Anything that seems to good to be true usually is. Customers are looking for growth and welcome the sales without considering why.” Source = roomsXML.com roomsXML – More Suppliers, Hot Deals www.roomsxml.com learn more about roomsXML.com here
THAI Introduces New Customer Travel ExperienceTHAI Introduces New Customer Travel Experience with Thai Airways Mobile AppThai Airways International Public Company Limited (THAI) has launched a new “Thai Airways” mobile application, with a new look that makes the customer travel experience more comfortable and convenient. The new mobile application increases channels for more customer reach as well as customer service.Mr. Wiwat Piyawiroj, THAI Executive Vice President, Commercial, said that THAI has developed a new application under the name “Thai Airways,” which improves the customer travel experience, making it more convenient for return customers as the new application will save information from previous searches and the passenger’s past travel itineraries. The application makes it easier for customers to make reservations, payments, check-in, and check other information before and after the journey, as well as other THAI promotions and special offers.The new Thai Airways mobile application offers new capabilities, such as flight information and travel itinerary, travel reminder, Royal Orchid Plus membership services, E-Boarding Pass within the application, displaying flight details on smart watches that are linked with the application, and other services such as hotel reservation, car rental, and travel insurance.Passengers who apply for Royal Orchid Plus membership from today onward, then log-in, make flight reservations through the Thai Airways mobile application, and travel with THAI will receive 3,500 miles. The Thai Airways mobile application may be downloaded through the App Store (iOS operating system) and through Google Play (Android operating system).Source = THAI
Europe, Asia and the Pacific and the Middle east all recorded five percent growth in international arrivals and the Americas four percent. Limited data available for Africa points to an estimated six percent decrease in the number of international tourists in the region. At the sub regional level, the Caribbean and Oceania (both +7%) were the best performers, together with Central and Eastern Europe and Central America (both +6%).In spite of this overall growth, results by destination are rather mixed. Safety and security remain a global concern while the economic scenario is comparatively more volatile with the recovery of advanced economies contrasting with the slowdown of emerging economies. Tourism demand has also been impacted by lower oil prices and currency fluctuations.“These results show that, despite increased volatility, tourism continues to consolidate the positive performance it has had over the last five years and to provide development and economic opportunities worldwide,” said UNWTO Secretary-General, Taleb Rifai.“As UNWTO prepares to meet in Medellin, Colombia, for its 21st General Assembly, this is the appropriate moment to call for a stronger support to tourism as the sector has the potential to deliver on some of the most pressing challenges of our time, namely job creation, economic growth and social inclusion,” he added.
The Royal Thai Government recently approved the extension of the visa fee waiver and reduction for tourist arrivals from 21 countries. The original scheme, established on November 30, 2016 will now be extended until August 31, 2017.Yuthasak Supasorn, Governor, Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT), said, “Thailand’s tourism sector is thriving but with extra government support such as this visa waiver and reduction scheme means we can remain the top destination in the region. By continuing, this policy will help motivate visitors from these countries to discover amazing stories in Amazing Thailand.”The extension of the visa incentives for tourists for a further six months was proposed by the Ministry of Tourism and Sports and was approved at the weekly cabinet meeting. The new period, lasting until August 31, will mean that travellers applying for tourist visas at Royal Thai Embassies or Thai Consulates abroad will not have to pay any fees for entry visas, while the fees for Visas on Arrival (VoA) have been reduced from 2,000 Baht to 1,000 Baht per person till the aforementioned date.The new regulation will be effective for passport holders from 21 countries and territories including Andorra, Bulgaria, Bhutan, China, Cyprus, Ethiopia, Fiji, India, Kazakhstan, Latvia, Lithuania, Maldives, Malta, Mauritius, Papua New Guinea, Romania, San Marino, Saudi Arabia, Taiwan, Ukraine and Uzbekistan.
India Tourism Development Corporation (ITDC), the public sector undertaking under the aegis of the Ministry of Tourism, posted a robust performance for the financial year 2016-17. Total turnover stood at Rs 495.14 crore as compared to Rs 465.69 crore in the last financial year, clocking a growth of 6.32%. Revenue from operations stood at Rs 473.15 crore as compared to Rs 437.13 crore in the last fiscal. Corporation posted profit before tax (PBT) of Rs 17.52 crore and profit after tax (PAT) of Rs 12.05 crore in 2016-17 against Rs 32.42 crore and Rs 22.55 crore respectively in the previous year.Speaking on the occasion, Piyush Tiwari, Officiating CMD & Director (Commercial & Marketing), ITDC Ltd, said, “FY 2016-17 has been a motivating year for ITDC as it was the golden jubilee year for the organisation. The profit is result of several proactive initiatives taken by the organisation to improve productivity and efficiency at the beginning of the year. Besides posting continuous profit year after year, ITDC has maintained its status of Mini Ratna and its commitment towards the shareholders through announcing consistent dividends for last four consecutive years.”Hotel The Ashok, Ashok International Trade division and Ashok Events division of ITDC were other contributors to the profit for FY 2016-17. The Ashok Hotel posted its highest ever turnover amounting to Rs 152.91 crore.
Travel Agents Association of India (TAAI), the main representative body of the travel and tourism industry and the Nodal association of India, has partnered with TPConnects (www.tpconnects.com) to roll out its “Digital Travel India” initiative – digitally empowering travel agents to compete in the global marketplace. Through the TAAI initiative, India’s travel agencies will be provided with their own websites, mobile applications, corporate booking tool and B2B platform. This will all be powered by TPConnects’ robust and scalable NDC standard full backend and internet booking engine with the payment gateway. TPConnects will also provide technical support. There will be no upfront charges, just a nominal per passenger transaction fee.TAAI connect in partnership with TPConnects IATA NDC standard B2B and B2C platform will help travel agencies and online travel agencies to service their customers better. The platform enables travel agencies to have access to rich content as well as ancillary options. Travellers will be able to have their preferences recognized when shopping via a travel agency or online travel site in the same way that they are available on an airline’s website – a service that may not be directly available to agents today owing to technology limitations.Sunil Kumar R, President of TAAI said, “Glad to announce “TAAI-Connect” an exclusive tie-up with TPConnects, an IATA NDC Dual Level 3 Certified IT Provider and Travel Aggregator. TPConnects is committed to supporting TAAI’s “Digital Travel India” initiative. It will ensure that all travel services are made available to customers electronically and accessible through individual travel agency websites and mobile applications, along with IATA NDC standard booking engine.”Many travel agencies currently lack a proper website and mobile application. This partnership will enable them to be online and visible within the next two years, with tailor-made travel offers to provide more choices to end-customers.Rajendran Vellapalath, CEO of TPConnects said. “This partnership will create a wealth of new opportunities for India’s travel agents. To compete in today’s market travel agencies, need to have access to the advantages that a digital operation provides. This initiative will create those opportunities for travel agencies, not just locally but on a global scale. We will see big changes in India’s travel industry over the next two years.”
February 21, 2012 431 Views Share in Government, Origination, Secondary Market, Servicing Agents & Brokers Investors Lenders & Servicers Mortgage Fraud Processing Service Providers 2012-02-21 Ryan Schuette Ex-Linebacker, Realtor, Many Others Nabbed for Fraud A Realtor and mortgage broker, his wife, and several others found themselves in the crosshairs of prosecutors Tuesday, along with a former Dallas Cowboys linebacker and nine co-conspirators.[IMAGE]MReport sourced the two stories from the “”Courthouse News Service””:http://www.courthousenews.com/2012/02/21/44025.htm and the “”San Diego News””:http://www.utsandiego.com/news/2012/feb/21/realtor-8-others-charged-mortgage-fraud/.From 2002 to 2007, according to the San Diego News, Realtor Eric Elegado allegedly committed conspiracy, fraud, and money-laundering activities that led to $50 [COLUMN_BREAK]million in mortgage fraud.The news outlet said that Elegado, his wife, and seven others went after low-income immigrant homebuyers to secure $50 million from numerous lenders, ultimately leaving these with $15 million in losses from fraudulently filed loan applications.The alleged co-conspirators are held on bond for an amount between $35,000 and $75,000, according to the San Diego News.The Courthouse News Service meanwhile offered up the tale of an ex-linebacker with the Dallas Cowboys who received his conviction along with nine others for approximately $20.5 million in mortgage fraud.According to the news outlet, William Tisdale worked with Eugene Lockhart, plus others, in order to lock up 54 single-family homes for sale in Dallas, which they then sold for substantially more than fair market value.Each defendant convicted of conspiracy to commit wire fraud may see 20 years in prison, plus $250,000 in fines; or 30 years in prison and $1 million in fines for bank fraud; or anywhere up to 20 years and $250,000 in fines for wire fraud, the News Service reports.
Agents & Brokers Attorneys & Title Companies Company News Investment Investors Lenders & Servicers Mortgage Bonds Mortgage-Backed Securities Processing Service Providers Subprime Loans 2012-07-23 Ryan Schuette Walnut Place Drops Suit in Countrywide Settlement A major player in the ongoing Countrywide settlement dropped its suit against the defunct mortgage unit on Monday.[IMAGE]According to “”_Reuters_””:http://in.reuters.com/article/2012/07/23/us-bankofamerica-mbs-walnut-idINBRE86M12020120723, Walnut Place, otherwise known as “”Baupost Group””:https://www.baupost.com/, withdrew objections to a proposed $8.5 billion settlement currently under way with Bank of America, which bought Countrywide in 2008.The news service said that a tentative deal had been reached by institutional investors last year to settle allegations that the mortgage unit systematically misrepresented junk mortgage-backed securities in the lead-up to the financial crisis. Walnut Place reportedly sought buyback claims from the lender for roughly $1 billion in soured mortgage bonds. According to “”_Bloomberg News_””:http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-07-23/walnut-place-seeks-to-withdraw-from-bofa-case.html, the New York Supreme Court threw out the suit, a move that an appeals court upheld in March.Speaking with _MReport_, a spokesperson with “”Bank of America””:https://www.bankofamerica.com/ declined to comment on the story._Reuters_ quoted Dan Reilly, an attorney representative of American International Group Inc., as remarking that Walnut Place will stay with the case despite dropping claims.””We’re still going forward,”” he told the news service. “”We’ve got a hearing next week and all the issues that have been raised are still in play.””””Barclays””:http://group.barclays.com/home researchers responded to the withdrawal by saying they expect the Countrywide settlement will wrap up in early 2013. July 23, 2012 436 Views Share in Data, Government, Origination, Servicing
Agents & Brokers Attorneys & Title Companies Company News Investors Lenders & Servicers Processing Service Providers 2013-02-20 Krista Franks Brock “”Lenders One Mortgage Cooperative””:http://www.lendersone.com/, a national alliance of mortgage bankers, lenders, and suppliers, announced Tuesday its members will benefit from access to “”Motivity Solutions'””:http://www.motivitysolutions.com/ Movation technology at a discounted rate. [IMAGE]Denver, Colorado-based Motivity Solutions has agreed to be a preferred vendor for the alliance of more than 240 members. Jeff McGuinnes, CEO of Lenders One touts several benefits of Motivity’s Movation software. “”Our members will gain invaluable insight from Motivity’s software into whether their staffs are meeting operational and compliance goals,”” he said. Additionally, “”[s]enior executives will benefit from the necessary information afforded by business intelligence to make strategic, tactical, and operational decisions to increase productivity and profits, originate better quality loans, and mitigate compliance risks,”” McGuinnes said. Tyler Sherman, CEO of Motivity Solutions stressed the importance of a system like Movation in the current industry environment. “”As lenders face the possibility of lower originations in months and years ahead, they will need to run as efficiently as possible,”” Sherman said. The industry is expected to experience a decline in originations over the next couple years, according to recent data from the “”Mortgage Bankers Association””:http://www.mbaa.org/default.htm (MBA).The MBA anticipates originations falling from $1.75 trillion in 2012 to $1.4 trillion this year, followed by another decline in 2014 to $1.06 trillion. The driving factor in this scenario is rising mortgage rates and declining refinance volume, according to MBA. In fact, after totaling $1.25 trillion last year, MBA expects refinance volume to reach a total of $818 billion this year. Sherman suggests efficiency is the key to survival in this market, and he says Movation can help. “”Movation drills down into a lender’s data and applies analytics to forecast and monitor how employees are performing in line with corporate goals,”” Sherman said. February 20, 2013 396 Views in Data, Government, Origination, Secondary Market, Servicing, Technology Motivity Solutions Becomes Preferred Vendor for Lenders One Share
Agents & Brokers Attorneys & Title Companies Bankrate Federal Reserve Freddie Mac Investors Lenders & Servicers Mortgage Rates Service Providers 2013-07-25 Tory Barringer in Data, Origination July 25, 2013 396 Views Mortgage Rates Fall for Second Straight Week Mortgage rates backed down for the second consecutive week, according to reports from “”Freddie Mac””:http://www.freddiemac.com/ and “”Bankrate.com””:http://www.bankrate.com/.[IMAGE]Freddie Mac’s Primary Mortgage Market Survey put the 30-year fixed-rate average at 4.31 percent (0.8 point) for the week ending July 25, down from last week’s 4.37 percent. A year ago at this time, the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage (FRM) averaged 3.49 percent.The 15-year FRM this week averaged 3.39 percent (0.8 point), down from 3.41 percent last week.[COLUMN_BREAK]Adjustable rates also eased, but only slightly. The 5-year Treasury-indexed hybrid adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) averaged 3.16 percent (0.7 point), down from 3.17 percent, while the 1-year ARM averaged 2.65 percent (0.4 point) compared to last week’s 2.66 percent.Freddie Mac chief economist Frank Nothaft said this week’s decline should “”help to alleviate market concerns of a slowdown in the housing market,”” noting that June data–including existing- and new-home sales and inventory–were promising.Meanwhile, Bankrate’s weekly national survey showed the 30-year fixed falling to 4.54 percent and the 15-year fixed dropping to 3.61 percent. The 5/1 ARM also declined, dipping to 3.54 percent.The downward trend may not last, however.””Mortgage rates settled down over the past week, following two months of volatility,”” Bankrate said in a release. “”The tame movement in mortgage rates may prove to be only a brief reprieve however. With next week bringing a Federal Open Market Committee meeting and a new report on the job market, this week may have been the calm before the storm.”” Share