Have Heart Will Travel: Collette’s Impact Tours offer travellers the chance to make a differenceFollowing the success of its 2017 inaugural Impact Tour to South Africa, leading global tour operator Collette has announced two new itineraries: the 2018 South Africa Impact Tour and the 2019 Costa Rica Impact Tour, which offer travellers the chance to experience the highlights of these exotic destinations, while giving back to communities.“Celebrating 100 years of guided travel this year, Collette is committed to giving its guests more flexibility and choice on tour,” said Alison Mead, General Manager, Collette Australia. “Impact Tours enable travellers to immerse themselves in the culture of a destination while also making a real contribution and engaging in ethical and responsible travel. Travel gives us so much, so it is very special to be able to give back.”The 9-day Costa Rica Impact Tour runs from January 24 – February 1, 2019 and includes the opportunity to give back through Collette’s partnership with the Culture Education and Psychology for Infants and Adolescents Association (CEPIA) of Costa Rica, a not-for-profit organisation which promotes culture, health and education for children and their families in the local communities of Guanacaste.Have Heart Will Travel: Collette’s Impact Tours offer travellers the chanceTravellers can participate in hands-on projects and activities such as beautification of schools or parks where children learn and play, help at the local community centre while on tour or take part in ‘Going Local’, a sustainable volunteering initiative created by the local youth, which highlights the town of Huacas during a walking tour.Guests will also enjoy the rich backdrop of Costa Rica’s lush rainforests, stunning waterfalls, rumbling volcanoes and endless coastlines – a paradise overflowing with biodiversity and wilderness. Highlights of the tour include the chance to explore one of the world’s largest butterfly gardens in Monteverde, a dazzling gallery containing more than 100 beautiful hummingbirds, before joining one of Collette’s expert tour guides for a ‘Hanging Bridges’ walking tour, to learn about Costa Rica’s dynamic ecosystem and the conservation efforts in the region.Nature enthusiasts and adventurers can also tack on a 3-night Jungle Adventure Extension and discover the wonders of Tortuguero National Park. A spectacular boat cruise offers magnificent wildlife encounters with macaws, toucans, sloths, green turtles, howler monkeys, falcons, the rare ocelot and other native species.With a guaranteed departure from November 9 – November 20, 2018, Collette’s South Africa Impact Tour brings together the highlights of vibrant South Africa and the opportunity for travellers to make a meaningful contribution to the local community.In Knysna, visitors will be able to undertake volunteer work at a local school through the Knysna Education Trust. Volunteer activities include taking part in a reading activity, assisting with a lesson plan, helping the children with an educational craft, painting a school mural, or assisting with maintenance in the gardens.One of the special experiences includes a visit to a village to present ‘Hippo Rollers’ (specially designed devices for making water-gathering more efficient and less labour-intensive). In Stellenbosch, travellers have the opportunity to volunteer in one of the region’s youth programs.Have Heart Will Travel: Collette’s Impact Tours offer travellers the chanceOther highlights include a picturesque lagoon cruise to Knysna Heads and a cable car ride to Table Mountain to enjoy breath-taking views of the coastline and a visit to Kruger National Park to marvel at the sight of roaming wildlife. Travellers can extend their trip, if they so choose, by adding Dubai or Victoria Falls extensions to their package.Impact Tours allow Collette to deepen its positive global impact through responsible tourism, and engage travellers in the mission as well. Collette is dedicated to supporting select not-for-profit organisations and projects across the globe through the Collette Foundation, which primarily focuses on education and nutrition initiatives. Additionally, every employee receives four hours of paid volunteer time each month, where they can get involved directly in Collette’s Corporate Social Responsibility mission.About ColletteTouring for today’s traveller…Featuring the luxurious Collette Chauffeur return airport transfer service, award-winning tour managers, and superior accommodation, Collette has been a pioneer in guided touring since 1918. With classic tours, small groups, river cruises and ‘spotlight’ city stays, there are over 150 tours which go to more than 55 countries offering customers exceptional choice, value and superior 4- star+ quality. Collette is a third-generation, family-owned worldwide tour operator. With headquarters in Rhode Island, Collette’s Sydney office (opened in 2014) adds to the company’s global presence which includes offices in Vancouver, Toronto and London. Renowned for connecting guests with cultural experiences which go far beyond those of an ordinary holiday, Collette prides itself on providing real value to its guests and agent partners. Expert tour managers, an industry-leading travel protection plan and inclusive touring are just part of the top-quality Collette experience.Private Chauffeur ServiceCollette’s private chauffeur service is included on all Collette tours for customers within 40km of an Australian international airport. For more information visit gocollette.com/chauffeurSource = Collette
Source = Tourism Solomons PR – Mike Parker-Brown Tourism Solomons pre paid Visa cards winnersTourism Solomons pre paid Visa cards winnersTourism Solomons has announced the winners of its Australian and New Zealand ‘Solomons Is.’ Hapi Isles Specialist Program competition.The winner of the $100 prepaid Visa card is Linda Gardiner of Helloworld Lithgow in NSW.The winners of the two $50 pre-paid Visa cards are Ashley Copping, The World @ Braeside Travel, Braeside, Victoria, and Cassie Prescott, House of Travel, Upper Riccarton, Christchurch.The ‘Hapi Isles Specialist’program equips key front-line sales staff with product knowledge via a series of online modules designed to help them learn about the Solomon Islands and the destination’s vast array of niche product.To date 398 Australian and New Zealand consultants have joined the program since its launch last year completing a series of modules covering culture, reef and wreck diving, snorkelling, WWII history, sport fishing, weddings/romantic travel, trekking, surfing and bird watching.
Source = Essence Suites Taringa Essence Suites Taringa was officially openedEssence Suites Taringa was officially opened by the Hon Kate Jones MPLeading the way for the medical tourism sector, Essence Suites Taringa’s 63 luxuriously appointed suites are situated directly above the Westside Private Hospital in Brisbane’s west.With the brand-new building now complete, the hotel forms part of the $65-million 10-storey development and is managed by Essence Apartments and Suites’ parent company UniLodge Australia.UniLodge CEO Tomas Johnsson said while the hotel’s convenient location is perfect for outpatients, who have discharged from the hospital below, Essence Suites Taringa is also ideal for short and long term business and leisure stays.“As a uniquely integrated hotel and hospital building, Essence Suites Taringa is a fantastic new addition to our growing portfolio of healthcare accommodation properties and cements our role in the tourism space,” said Mr Johnsson.“The offering is ideal because patients will come in early, settle into the hotel, have the operation or treatment they need and rather than go straight home, they can rest and recover in the hotel with their loved ones, which is ideal for those living in both regional as well as metro locations.”UniLodge is hoping to open more integrated developments in the future because recent research from the accommodation provider shows Australia’s hospitals are currently experiencing a shortage of beds with studies suggesting the need for approximately 3,000-10,000 more beds.“This new concept frees up hospital beds for other patients, and creates further demand for more integrated hotel and hospital developments.“UniLodge and Essence have a number of live projects we are exploring; we are looking at major capital cities and other high-demand areas, with a selective approach to working with health partners alike.”The Hon. Kate Jones today said: “This is what we think is a first in Australia. It shows that innovation is real and it’s happening right here in Brisbane. This really does provide a seamless welcoming experience for people that come to Brisbane with a world-class facility.“When you couple a world class hospital with all of the allied services that are also here as well as a wonderful stay, I am sure it will be absolutely booked out.“I am very confident that this brand new product will absolutely put Essence on the map. I am very proud as a Queenslander that this is happening in our backyard.“When you listen to what consumers want, that is when you drive growth. We know that around 2 million Australians every year travel for surgery so to be able to provide them with a real seamless and world-class experience is something that the market has been crying out for, for a real long time.”
Thailand’s Ministry for Foreign Affairs (MFA) has confirmed that a new six-month multiple-entry tourist visa (METV) has been launched from November 13, 2015.The visa, costing Rs 10,000 (5,000 baht) will grant travellers multiple entries during a six-month period, for up to 60 days per entry. All foreign nationals are eligible to apply for METV.There has been speculation about the METV since August this year with travellers and travel trade in India excited about the prospective added convenience. Soraya Homchuen, Director, TAT Mumbai office said, “I expect that frequent travellers from India as well as Indian travel agents, will be very happy with the news of the METV. Of late, Thailand has gained popularity for weekend getaways, especially on long weekends, in addition to already being India’s favourite for family vacations and annual holidays. I am certain that the convenience of already having a visa in-hand will encourage more impromptu trips to Thailand.”Under the current rules, tourist visas are valid for just 60 days, after which visitors must leave the country or apply to a local immigration office for an extension. The new visa will allow visitors to enter and leave the country as often as they want over the six-month period; provide they leave the country every 60 days.Indian travellers must be able to show a proof of funds in excess of Rs 400,000, 12-months’ validity on their passports and must display an intention to travel to Thailand at least twice during the six-month period in order to be eligible for the METV.One can only apply for an METV at a Royal Thai Consulate. It is not available on-arrival. Travellers should keep a buffer of two days, after submitting a completed visa form with all documents for the processing of an METV.“I am optimistic that this will go a long way in meeting our year-end target of 1,050,000 travellers by the end of 2015,” said Homchuen.
With a remarkable diversity of wildlife and the seemingly infinite swamp waters of the Okavango Delta, a horseback safari through the African nation is an adventure all its own.Source: BBC
Dubai Parks and Resorts (set to open on October 31, 2016) has successfully concluded its first three-city trade roadshow in India. The last leg of the event in Mumbai was also personally attended by the Minister of Tourism of the State of Maharashtra, Jaykumar Jitendrasinh Rawal. Dubai Parks and Resorts organised this roadshow with the objective of officially introducing the destination and highlighting its distinctive offerings.The three-day roadshow targeted the top Indian trade agents in New Delhi, Bangalore, Mumbai and focused on asserting Dubai Parks and Resorts position in the Indian tourist market as the next ultimate family entertainment destination that is only a three to four-hour flight away.Vinit Shah, Chief Destination Management Officer, Dubai Parks and Resorts, said, “We’re extremely pleased to have introduced the region’s largest integrated entertainment destination to India. With the expertise of hundreds of professionals all over the world, Dubai Parks Resorts will be one of the region’s biggest entertainment destinations.”Nevil D’Souza, Head of Sales, Dubai Parks and Resorts, said, “It has been an absolute pleasure to have opened up the world of Dubai Parks and Resorts to our potential partners in India. We look forward to welcoming our guests to the largest multi-themed leisure and entertainment destination in the region.”Dubai Parks and Resorts will feature MOTIONGATE Dubai– a movie based theme park showcasing some of Hollywood’s most beloved characters from DreamWorks Animation, Sony Pictures Studios and Lionsgate as well as the region’s first LEGOLAND Park and a LEGOLAND Water Park. Dubai Parks and Resorts will also feature Bollywood Parks Dubai, the first theme park based on the sights and sounds of Bollywood. The entire destination will be connected by Riverland Dubai– a uniquely themed retail and dining destination at the heart of Dubai Parks and Resorts and guests can stay at the Lapita Hotel, a Polynesian-themed resort catering to families as part of the Autograph Collection of Marriott Hotels.
Tourism industry leaders in New Zealand seek to maximise the sector’s economic benefits and will be addressing the Tourism Leaders Forum- titled ‘Being Future Ready’. The forum is presented jointly by Auckland Tourism, Events and Economic Development (ATEED) and the Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) on September 28, 2017 at the Lysaght Building in Auckland.Chris Flynn, Regional Director- Pacific, PATA, said, “This Tourism Leaders Forum brings together an important and influential group to address issues, threats, challenges and opportunities for New Zealand’s tourism sector in line with the Tourism 2025 Plan and beyond. Our role, at PATA is to encourage responsible and sustainable development that delivers tangible economic benefits, particularly for local communities. I’m sure that the views expressed at this Forum will influence the direction of our Global Insights Conference taking place during the course of the following day.”Speakers during the panel session will include Nick Hill, CEO, ATEED; Chris Roberts, CEO, Tourism Industry Aotearoa (TIA); Stephen England-Hall, CEO, Tourism New Zealand and Cam Wallace – Chief Revenue Officer, Air New Zealand.The programme is designed as an important forerunner to the annual PATA Global Insights Conference (PGIC) taking place for the third consecutive year on September 29, 2017 at the SKYCITY Grand Hotel in Auckland.
February 1, 2013 490 Views in Data, Government, Origination, Secondary Market, Servicing Bank Brand Values Higher Than Ever, Wells Fargo in the Lead Bank brand values across the globe are on the rise, charting their highest values ever and double their values in 2009, during the financial crisis, according to the results of an “”annual study by Brand Finance.””:http://www.brandfinance.com/images/upload/the_banker_brand_finance_banking_500_full_results.pdf[IMAGE]Following a $100 billion decline in brand values last year, this year’s study found a 15 percent increase in bank brand values worldwide to a total of $860.7 billion. U.S. banks hold the top five spots on Brand Finance’s list of most valuable bank brands. The most valuable bank brand worldwide is “”Wells Fargo””:https://www.wellsfargo.com/, with a $26 billion brand, according to the study. “”CEO John Stumpf has spearheaded an impressive recovery from 2012,”” according to Brand Finance. [COLUMN_BREAK]Emerging markets are showing strong growth in bank brand values, particularly in Russia, the Philippines, and China. “”Chinese banks are still leading the charge in terms of the largest increases in brand value, but they are now being joined by leading US banks such as Chase, Citi, Bank of America, and Wells Fargo,”” said Brian Caplen, editor of _The Banker_, magazine, owned by “”Brand Finance.””:http://www.brandfinance.com/ Chinese bank brand values increased a total of 335 percent since last year. “”Only UK banks continue to lag behind the global recovery in both reputation and brand value,”” said David Haigh, CEO of Brand Finance. In fact, the United Kingdom, which is home to last year’s most valuable bank brand, “”HSBC,””:http://www.hsbc.com/ is the only top 10 country to experience a decline in bank brand value over the past year. The country’s bank brands experienced a 2 percent decline in value. HSBC fell two spots to the No. 3 brand this year. “”Chase””:https://www.chase.com/ took the No. 2 spot, and “”Bank of America””:https://www.bankofamerica.com/ and “”Citi””:http://www.citigroup.com/citi/ claimed the No. 4 and No. 5 spots on the list of most valuable brands. “”This year’s results show that globally the banking crisis is nearly over as both brand ratings and values are rising,”” Haigh said. Agents & Brokers Attorneys & Title Companies Bank of America Citigroup Company News Investors JPMorgan Chase Lenders & Servicers Processing Service Providers Wells Fargo 2013-02-01 Krista Franks Brock Share
March 18, 2013 432 Views Share A coalition of nine state attorneys general is petitioning the national government to replace “”Federal Housing Finance Agency””:http://www.fhfa.gov/ (FHFA) Acting Director Edward DeMarco. The coalition charged DeMarco with positioning Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac as a “”direct impediment to our economic recovery”” and called for his replacement in a joint letter to the president, the Senate majority leader, and the Senate minority leader Friday.[IMAGE]””The time has come for the President and Congress to work together to install a new, permanent leader at FHFA that will be a partner, not an impediment, in the national effort to comprehensively address the foreclosure crisis,”” said New York Attorney General “”Eric T. Schneiderman””:http://www.ag.ny.gov/, one of the coalition members.The attorneys’ general complaint stems from DeMarco’s refusal to allow the GSEs to engage in principal reductions for struggling and underwater homeowners.The issue of principal reductions has led to a contentious and lengthy debate between DeMarco and other government officials, with DeMarco remaining firm in his stance that principal reductions are not in the best interest of the GSEs.The attorneys general argued that principal forgiveness is beneficial to homeowners, financial institutions, and the economy overall. They pointed out that this strategy is a key part of last year’s National Mortgage Settlement and assert that the FHFA’s aversion to the practice “”is inconsistent with its combined goal of asset preservation and foreclosure prevention.””The attorneys general suggested a portfolio of $200,000 loans that are performing is “”far more profitable”” than a portfolio of $250,000 non-performing loans.DeMarco’s insistence that principal forgiveness does not support the goal of asset preservation “”is not supported by reality,”” the attorneys general stated in their letter.The coalition includes Schneiderman, one of the leaders of last year’s National Mortgage Settlement, along with Massachussetts Attorney General “”Martha Coakley””:http://www.mass.gov/ago/ and California Attorney General “”Kamala D. Harris””:http://oag.ca.gov/, who have also been outspoken about the foreclosure crisis.Attorneys general from “”Delaware””:http://www.beaubiden.com/, “”Illinois””:http://illinoisattorneygeneral.gov/, “”Maryland””:http://www.oag.state.md.us/, “”Nevada””:http://ag.state.nv.us/, “”Oregon””:http://www.doj.state.or.us/Pages/index.aspx, and “”Washington””:http://www.atg.wa.gov/ also participated in the coalition and signed Friday’s letter.””We believe that until new, permanent leadership is named to FHFA, [the GSEs] will continue to stand as a roadblock to comprehensively addressing the foreclosure crisis,”” the letter stated in its closing line. Attorneys General Call for DeMarco’s Replacement in Data, Government, Origination, Secondary Market, Servicing Agents & Brokers Attorneys & Title Companies Edward DeMarco Fannie Mae FHFA Freddie Mac Investors Lenders & Servicers Principal Reduction Processing Service Providers 2013-03-18 Krista Franks Brock
HUD Grants Appraisers a Reprieve Home appraisers received a reprieve in the form of a clarification of a requirement issued earlier this year in HUD’s recent updates to FHA’s Single-Family Housing Policy Handbook.When published earlier this year, the handbook contained a new requirement for appraisers to physically observe and operate appliances in a home while an appraisal was being conducted. Subsequently, realtors and appraisers expressed concerns that this requirement effectively turned appraisers into inspectors and exceeded the previously understood appraiser duties—and that it would ultimately hurt the consumer, resulting in longer and more costly appraisals.The new guidelines clarify the requirement; in most cases, appraisers are now only required to make sure that certain appliances that contribute to a property’s market value are physically present.“Appraisers have a lot on their plate, and their work is important to ensuring buyers, sellers, lenders and everyone else involved in a transaction has a credible source to turn to when determining the value of a property,” National Association of Realtors President Tom Salomone said. “Requiring appraisers to perform duties that are better left to a home inspector only slows the process while potentially adding unnecessary costs. FHA did appraisers and consumers a big favor by clarifying appraiser duties and specifically listing the appliances to which this new guidance applies. While there are still improvements to be made, FHA’s announcement provides our realtor members with additional certainty as they continue playing a critical role in the home buying and selling process.”The update to the requirements alleviates other problems as well. In some cases, appraisers were being blamed when homeowners reported after the appraisals that appliances were either broken or malfunctioning.“The greatest impact of the revision to the HUD Protocol requirements relating to operational verification of appliances and fixtures is the relief for FHA panel appraisers from concerns of testing a malfunctioning appliance or fixture or being blamed for having broken an appliance or fixture as a result of testing during the inspection of the property,” said Greg Stephens, Chief Appraiser/Compliance with Metro-West Appraisal Co. “To ensure compliance with the previous guideline, some lenders were actually requiring the FHA panel appraisers to provide photographs of the actual operation of each fixture and appliance within the property being appraised.”The new guidelines provide a clear definition of what constitutes an appliance: “Appliances refer to refrigerators, ranges/ovens, dishwashers, disposals, microwaves, and washers/dryers.”Ernie Durbin, Chief Valuation Officer with Valuation Vision, noted that, “The handbook actually states that appraisers still have to confirm that remain and contribute to the market value opinion’ are operational. So the appraiser is not fully off the hook for inspecting appliances. That being said, many times appliances do not contribute to the market value and therefore do not need to be confirmed as operational. A high-end built in appliance such as a subzero refrigerator would necessitate operation by the appraiser. Most freestanding appliances are not considered as contributing significantly to the value of a property, therefore they would not require operation. It is probably a good idea for appraisers to note all appliances that are on premises and simply state whether they contribute to value or not. Those that in fact contribute to value should be noted as functional and operated by the appraiser.” October 5, 2016 768 Views Appraisers FHA HUD Single-Family Housing 2016-10-05 Seth Welborn in Daily Dose, News, Origination Share
Share On Wednesday, January 24, at 10 a.m. EST, the National Association of Realtors will release its data on existing home sales for December 2017. The NAR report tallies the number of previously built homes that sold during a given month. Since existing home sales account for a large percentage of overall home sales, the NAR report is an important snapshot of the state of the housing market at any given point.In November 2017, existing home sales were up 5.6 percent month-over-month, spiking for the third month in a row and showing the strongest performance in almost 11 years. The West was the only national region that didn’t see a significant increase in existing home sales during November.Here’s what else is scheduled for The Week Ahead:Chicago Federal Reserve Bank President Charles Evans to speak at Chicago Council of Global Affairs conference on “The Future of Monetary Policy: Embracing the Unconventional” in Chicago, Illinois, Tuesday, 6:30 p.m. ESTMBA Mortgage Applications, Wednesday, 7 a.m. ESTFHFA House Price Index, Wednesday, 9 a.m. ESTJobless Claims, Thursday, 8:30 a.m. ESTBloomberg Consumer Comfort Index, Thursday, 9:45 a.m. ESTNew Home Sales, Thursday, 10 a.m. ESTFed Balance Sheet, Thursday, 4:30 p.m. ESTGross Domestic Product, Friday, 8:30 a.m. EST in Daily Dose, Featured, News The Week Ahead: Checking in on Existing Home Sales January 21, 2018 559 Views Existing-Home Sales NAR National Association of Realtors The week ahead 2018-01-21 David Wharton
Trelix Adds Closing Services Solution May 25, 2018 563 Views in Headlines, News, Origination Share Company News mortgage Trelix 2018-05-25 David Wharton Trelix, a St. Louis-based provider of licensed fulfillment, quality control, and other due diligence products and services across the loan origination and securitization lifecycle, announced the launch of its closing services solution that helps mortgage lenders efficiently and properly execute and settle their loans. With the addition of closing services, Trelix now provides a full suite of end-to-end fulfillment services for its customers.In today’s evolving mortgage industry, Trelix offers innovative technology and services to help mortgage bankers and mortgage purchasers mitigate risks, increase efficiency, and reduce costs. With the addition of closing services, the Trelix platform helps its clients streamline the start-to-finish closing experience from disclosure and document preparation to compliance review and closing coordination. The NMLS-licensed Trelix employees communicate regularly with all stakeholders and help improve closing cycle times—reducing timing uncertainty for originators, borrowers, and realtors.“As our customers work to minimize origination and underwriting costs and become more efficient, they can now turn to Trelix to provide an end-to-end experience for their borrowers,” said Jon Gerretsen, President of Trelix. “We offer a seamless process for our customers and their borrowers to ensure we are putting their needs first so that lenders can stay competitive within the industry. With the end-to end fulfillment services we offer, our customers can use Trelix as the single vendor for all their mortgage fulfillment needs.”The Trelix suite of industry-leading mortgage fulfillment offerings includes:Processing: Timely and accurate file preparation from application to closing.Underwriting: Financial profile evaluation against lending guidelines and loan criteria to better inform loan request decisions.Closing Services: Fast and accurate closing experience, including disclosure and document preparation and compliance review.Loan Due Diligence: Full correspondent performance analysis and Ratings Agency Due Diligence (RADD) to help meet industry standards.Quality Control: Independent review of applicable loan files and associated documents to help determine and maintain compliance with agency and lender requirements.Advisory Services: Identification of process inefficiencies and provide clear, actionable recommendations to drive improvement to help meet unique client objectives.CastleLine Certification: Execution of the CastleLine proprietary risk management process to help clients obtain Certified Loan insurance.
in Daily Dose, Featured, Government, News With the Department of Housing and Urban Development celebrating National Housing Month in June, HUD Secretary Ben Carson recently appeared at the Bipartisan Policy Center to discuss initiatives tied to health and housing. The Bipartisan Policy Center “is a non-profit organization that combines the best ideas from both parties to promote health, security, and opportunity for all Americans. BPC drives principled and politically viable policy solutions through the power of rigorous analysis, painstaking negotiation, and aggressive advocacy.”Here’s how the BPC website described the topic of Dr. Carson’s recent discussion:The advantages of a more integrated approach to the health and housing needs of our country are significant. By more tightly linking the two, policymakers can work to improve the health outcomes and quality of life for vulnerable Americans, while more efficiently allocating limited federal resources. There are many promising collaborative opportunities at the intersection of health and housing as federal departments confront a host of pressing challenges, from combating opioid addiction to recovering from natural disasters.You can watch the full video of Dr. Carson by clicking the image below. June 30, 2018 690 Views Ben Carson Department of Housing and Urban Development HUD video spotlight 2018-06-30 David Wharton HUD Secretary Carson Discusses Healthy Homes Initiatives Share
The digital mortgage application platform, which brings speed and flexibility to the application process by a collaborative online portal that provides:Web-based document collection and validation of asset, income and tax data through secure sign-on;A responsive checklist and task reminders to keep you organized and on track;Real-time co-browsing with your loan officer to assist with filling out the application. Bank’s New Digital Tools Aims to Make Home Buying More Efficient The Citizens One mobile app, available on iOS and Android devices, which makes managing your loan and understanding the value of your home more convenient and accessible. Through the app customers can:Manage their mortgage loans by making payments, calculating equity impact, and viewing loan statements and tax and insurance information.Stay up-to-date on their area with access to neighborhood data, price trends, school statistics and listing alerts. in Headlines, News technology 2019-06-21 Mike Albanese The digital mortgage loan platform, mobile mortgage servicing app and the Your Home Reward program were launched in partnership with Blend, Black Knight and HomeStory Real Estate Services (Vast), respectively. Share Rhode Island-based Citizens Bank launched digital tools that aimed to make the home-buying experience seamless and efficient. The new Your Home Rewards from Citizens Bank program, digital loan platform and Citizens One loan servicing mobile app collectively bring new capabilities to bear at each step of the home buying journey, from house hunting to loan repayment.“Buying a home is one of life’s biggest financial and personal decisions, and it can also be one of the most stressful,” said Eric Schuppenhauer, President of Home Mortgage at Citizens Bank. “Creating a digital experience that simplifies the home buying process enables us to alleviate some of its most challenging aspects so our customers can focus on what matters most – finding a place to call home.” Creating more choice for customers as they determine the “when, where and how” that best meets their needs, the suite of solutions allows for a digital or blended human-digital experience. Elements of the solutions suite comprise:Your Home Rewards, an online home shopping portal, which allows customers to browse home listings across the country and matches them with a local real estate agent, integrating shopping for a home and applying for a home mortgage for a more streamlined buying experience. Qualifying customers can earn up to $6,500 in rewards. June 21, 2019 320 Views
Many think of Japan as a technologically advanced country, but, as the case tends to be elsewhere around the world, the agricultural industry is lagging behind.”Sorting process is automated in Aomori, but in Nagano it is not,” said Naito. “When it comes to production there is no fancy technology, but we use sprayers for fertilizers and pesticides. I think it is similar to ordinary farmers in China.”A shrinking labor pool is another factor that has driven up fruit prices.”In Japan, quality is everything in the domestic market, so all the farmers really look at how to enhance the quality (of the products). For example… Japanese farmers do pruning three times for each tree, so it takes a lot of time,” said Naito.”We thin usually three to four times to control the condition of the fruit. And because Japanese apples are very matured, they are handpicked and we carefully pack them in the orchards.”Future opportunitiesHowever, Naito firmly believes that there are more chances for automation in the Japanese apple industry.”If we see the components of technology, I think there are a lot of high-tech companies in Japan for example DOCOMO or even Toyota, who is now very interested in the agritechnology area,” he said, noting his company has received offers for partnership from some technology companies.Naito also sees an opportunity to expand Japanese fruit exports beyond Asia – but not with apples.”When it comes to only apples, I think it is a tough market outside Asia because U.S. and Europe are also big producing countries,” said Naito.”But if we think about specific types of grapes which are only harvested in Japan, there should be opportunities all over the world,” he added.The company has started branching out to other fruits this year such as grapes and peaches and will look to expand to even more products in the future.Other than being a producer and exporter of Japanese fruit themselves, Nihon Agri also partners with foreign players such as Freshco in New Zealand to export their apples to Southeast Asian markets during summer – bearing the Nihon Agri brand name. Japanese apples in an Indonesian retailerJapan is not a country known for its fruit exports, but a weaker domestic demand is now forcing its apple industry out onto the world stage.Shohei Naito, CEO of Tokyo-based fruit export company Nihon Agri, told Fresh Fruit Portal that with an ageing society coupled with a shrinking population has squeezed local demand.He said that unlikely many other countries, “Japanese agriculture has been largely focused on the domestic market, where demand has been decreasing due to the aging society and shrinking of the Japanese population.”These conditions drove Naito to set up a business in 2016 focused on fruit export. After just a couple of years, the company is now shipping to various Asian countries such as Thailand, Indonesia, Philippines, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Malaysia, Singapore and Vietnam.Export challengesHowever, when it comes to export, Japan – which last year produced around 850,000 metric tons (MT) of apples – faces its own set of challenges.”The cost of freight is high, especially for 40-foot containers. More than 30 tons of Chinese apples can be loaded in one container, but only 10 tons of Japanese apples can be loaded,” said Naito, adding that the company had to make changes to box and pallet sizes so as to fully utilize loading capacities.”In Thailand or Indonesia, importers, distributors and retailers who import U.S. or Chinese apples have really hard and strong fruit because those apples are harvested in very early stages … Japanese apples are harvested maturely so that makes apples sweeter, but on the other hand as a tradeoff, they are really sensitive.”The high prices of Japanese fruits also complicate the task of grabbing hold of a significant global market share.Shohei NaitoFor Nihon Agri, the bigger focus lies in new markets in Southeast Asia – where Japanese fruit is almost unheard of and where the company reduces prices of apples by exporting smaller sizes. “Japanese apples, for example, can cost US$5 per piece, while Chinese apples are US$0.50 per piece and U.S. or New Zealand apples are US$1 to $2 per piece,” said Naito. “Typically the size of Japanese apples is big, but we focus on the smaller-sized ones so the price per piece will be decreased, allowing us to tap into more mass segments.”According to Naito, the retail price of his company’s apples is around US$1.40 per piece across all their export markets, and varieties exported include Orin, Fuji and Shinano Gold.Around 80% of volumes come from the country’s Aomori Prefecture in the north, and the remaining 20% from Nagano Prefecture. You might also be interested in August 27 , 2018 Report: U.S. fresh apple holdings down 12% on last … NZ horticultural export value grows to NZ$5.5B … Could early sweet apple ‘Posy’ herald rosy future … Argentine apple campaign off to a positive start …
As far as how the season’s later timeline might affect market conditions, Sanders notes: “everybody’s a little bit delayed”. He clarifies: “Mexico’s a little delayed, so their season is running into ours, and if we’re a little delayed, our season runs into Oregon, you know everybody’s just kinda pushed back a little bit.”Meanwhile, he says blueberries across the state are beginning to “color up” in huge quantities and warmer weather is likely to hit California this week, with temperatures forecasted to rise above 32°C. As a result, growers are “going to see all these fresh high-quality blueberries coming off, not all at once, but at significant volumes. So, movement of the fruit is going to be paramount.”He emphasizes that organic blueberries are going to reign supreme this year, with the category’s expected volume to be “almost double” its total in 2018.”I think you’re going to continually see the organic category grow, to what level that is sustainable I’m not sure, but it’s going to continually grow just as the market, especially domestic and especially in California demands it.”According to Sanders, part of this can be attributed to a new method of blueberry cultivation – substrates. Rather than wait years for soil to be suitable enough to earn the “organic” label, many Californian growers are planting blueberries in substrates, which are above ground. This allows farmers to grow organics quickly to meet the rising demand for the commodity.While Sanders says this demand in nationwide, he adds: “California is really driving that organic category and it’s only going to continually grow…the Californian consumer is definitely geared towards wanting more and more organic food and this is something that is filling that need.”Sanders believes other categories will do well, though, remarking: “We’re looking forward to a positive and a strong season this year. I know that the berries that have initially started coming off…are good quality, good color, good size, and so I anticipate that trend to continue”. You might also be interested in April 23 , 2019 Mexico: Berry association says industry not affect … Shipping companies drop British flag to avoid Brex … Argentina: Northeastern orange, mandarin exports t … With California’s blueberry season kicking off, the California Blueberry Commission’s executive director Todd Sanders looks forward to a promising season.”We’re expecting a significantly larger crop than last year,” he says, adding the reasons for this are twofold.”One, that it’s just a larger crop in general, I think a lot of the commodities, not just blueberries, but cherries, apples, everything in the state of California is going to be a little bit larger than normal – also, last year, we had about a 25% crop loss due to frost, maybe 30%,” he comments.Yet, Sanders anticipates 2019’s volumes to not only exceed last year’s, but to surpass a typical season’s, explaining: “Compared to last year, we’re going to be 30% larger, but on average, we’re probably about 10-15% larger than we normally would be.”He predicts California will see this increased production despite its late start to harvestings. Speaking on the delay, he says: “This year we’re running a little bit late…There’s been a little bit cooler weather…so we’re running about seven to ten days later than normal.”Normally harvest in the south, southern California, would be starting to ramp up about a week or so ago, but… we’re just now starting to get our blueberries,” He adds. Q&A: Westfalia Fruit on EU avocado market’s i …
Australian Cruise AssociationcruiseNorwegian Cruise LineQueenslandSteve OdellSunshine CoastViking Cruises The Australian cruise industry seems unstoppable, and the latest CLIA figures show incredible growth. With more and more cruise lines home-porting their ships downunder each season, industry attention has turned to destination development and, critically, our Aussie ports.It’s timely then, that with the theme “Together Towards Tomorrow”, the Australian Cruise Association’s annual conference, which will take place in Mooloolaba on the Sunshine Coast from 6-8 September 2017, has a focus on the state of the industry in Oz and the immediate future, and celebrates the importance of regional ports.Hosted by Business Events Sunshine Coast (BESC), four keynote speakers have already been secured, and preparations are well underway for the event which is expected to attract around 140 people, including leading national and international cruise executives and representatives from the supply side of the cruise sector. “We are thrilled with the calibre of speakers already confirmed for this year’s conference who will undoubtedly deliver some thought-provoking insights. In addition to hearing from our guest speakers, we will also be holding a panel discussion to address plans for the future around this critical issue. Panel participants will be announced shortly,” said CEO of Australia Cruise Association, Jill Abel. Norwegian Cruise Line’s Senior VP and MD Asia Pacific, Steve Odell, will kick off the event, speaking on Opportunities, Challenges and Brand Diversity, and drawing on his extensive experience with NCL, and his previous work with Silversea, to provide observations on what’s ahead in the next few years for the cruise industry.Supporting destination development is a key platform for the ACA and second speaker, Matt Grimes will offer valuable insights gleaned from his responsibilities across itinerary, development and deployment at Viking Cruises, and in anticipation of Viking’s first ocean cruise from Australia, in early 2018. Chair, Asia Pacific for Ponant Yacht Cruises and Expeditions, Sarina Bratton, will present Delivering the Expedition Experience. Sarina’s visionary approach to the cruise business, evidenced as founder of Orion and now special adviser to Ponant as they set an aggressive course for growth in APAC, will no doubt be of high interest to the audience.Sarina BrattonRounding out the keynote presentations will be Tammy Marshall, founder of innovation and change management consultancy, The Bhive. Tammy will be delivering a Demand Study, commissioned by ACA, which addresses trends and future projections for the industry. She has driven change in Australia for major organisations such as Carnival and TFE. The welcome function will be held on the pool deck at host hotel, Mantra Moololooba, and the Gala Dinner will take place at highly-renowned Thai favourite, Spirit House, set in lush tropical gardens in the hinterland.The conference agenda will be supported with a fabulous line-up of activities designed to showcase our host venue to attendees. Half day and full day networking programs will kick the conference into gear on the first day with Paddock to Plate experiences and visits to Noosa, Australia Zoo and even sea-kayaking on the agenda. For further information on the conference or to register click hereTOP IMAGE: Steve Odell ACA Keynote Speaker
Amadeus has announced the creation of a taskforce dedicated to leading its new Smart Cities offer in Asia Pacific, enabling ‘Smart Mobility’ – how people travel into and move around a city – for the world’s most densely populated cities. The company says it is uniquely positioned to be at the heart of the development of Smart Cities, and that its offer will leverage the IT backbone of Amadeus, to enable true mobility across the entire travel journey, creating seamless door-to-door travel experiences. Led by Simon Akeroyd, Vice President, Corporate Strategy and Business Development, Asia Pacific at Amadeus, the Smart Cities offer will help cities best use existing infrastructure and new technology in order to improve tourism as well as residents’ daily commutes.“As urbanisation increases and governments are faced with challenges around traffic congestion, pollution, inadequate energy and resources, it will be vital for cities to harness technologies to solve complex problems,” says Akeroyd. “The future of travel will be driven by multi-modal journeys and data to deliver more personalised and smart experiences. The rise of Smart Cities will boost travel and tourism, and so the public and private sector must collaborate to share data and use technology. When done successfully, we believe that this will enable the immersive travel experiences and services that citizens and travelers expect in the future.”Amadeus will collaborate with the public sector and governments to deliver solutions that enable the Smart Cities of the future. In 2017, Amadeus committed US$800 million to research and development for innovation globally, half of which was directly linked to technologies that furthered its Smart Mobility initiatives – including biometrics, traveler identification, IoT, massive data platforms and passenger handling solutions. In addition to this investment and to further its commitment to Smart Cities, 2016 and 2017 saw Amadeus invest a total of US$1.5 billion across strategic focus areas including Airport IT and Hotel IT through acquisitions. Asia is a strategic focus for Amadeus’ Smart Cities solution, given 22 of the 39 megacities worldwide are in Asia Pacific, and 11 alone are in China. Additionally, Asia’s large population and emerging middle class means the next billion Asian travelers are just around the corner, with half of global air passenger traffic expected to come from Asia by 2030.Amadeus is currently working on a number of key projects in Asia Pacific that support Asia’s Smart Cities’ initiatives. Some of these include:· Smart Tourism – Amadeus is working closely with National Tourism Boards in Asia to help cities attract more inbound travelers and have a better understanding around their preferences. This is done through both Travel Intelligence and Digital Advertising, using big data to help cities make better decisions.· Hong Kong International Airport (HKIA) and Amadeus worked together to deploy the world’s first hot-swappable battery powered movable check-in kiosks, called iCUSS, with both a self-service and full-service mode, reinventing the entire check-in experience. The versatile cloud-based mobile kiosks are powered by Amadeus’ common use technology and can be rapidly deployed and relocated for use by the traveler to check-in themselves or by the airport staff to provide full-service operations. The airport can now say goodbye to different systems and fixed locations, meaning greater freedom and flexibility to serve passengers throughout their journey to and around the airport.Amadeus’ new Smart Cities taskforce builds on existing mobility projects across Amadeus’ global business. One example is the European Union (EU)’s ‘The Shift to Rail (S2R) Innovation Program 4,’ which uses Amadeus’ IT solutions to deliver fully integrated, multimodal passenger services for long and short trips in Europe. Another example of innovation in this field from Amadeus’ Airlines team is a partnership with Lufthansa, where the airline is using Amadeus’ facial recognition technology to vastly reduce passenger boarding times at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX). Amadesfuture of travelITmobility Smart CitiesSmart Mobilitytechnologytravel
Entire Travel Group is celebrating the launch of Maldives Travel Connection by offering travel agents the chance to win a seven-night trip for two to the ‘Jewel of the Indian Ocean’.The prize will be awarded to the travel agent who books the highest number of passengers through Maldives Travel Connection before 30 November 2018. But there is a twist – every booking made with any of the incentive’s three partner resorts will receive a double entry.One lucky travel agent will get to experience three of the Maldives’ leading properties: Centara Ras Fushi Resort & Spa Maldives (two nights in an Ocean Front Beach Villa, all inclusive), Centara Grand Island Resort & Spa Maldives (two nights in a Beach Suite, ultimate all inclusive) and Sheraton Maldives Full Moon Resort & Spa (three nights with daily breakfast).Launched last month, Maldives Travel Connection offers Australian travel agents an unparalleled range of products and services, with its debut brochure* featuring more than 40 four- and five-star hotels and resorts spread throughout the Maldivian archipelago.As with all Entire Travel Group brands, agents working with Maldives Travel Connection will also receive the full support of specialist consultants with first-hand experience of the destination.IMAGE: Centara Grand Island Resort & Spa Maldives Entire Travel GroupIncentiveMaldives
Top Stories The 5: Takeaways from the Coyotes’ introduction of Alex Meruelo Comments Share Former Cardinals kicker Phil Dawson retires Grace expects Greinke trade to have emotional impact Fight Night: Week 6.NFL.com writer Adam Schein broke down some of the top feuds in the NFL entering the 2015 season, placing the rift between Arizona Cardinals head coach Bruce Arians and the Pittsburgh Steelers sixth.No matter how you spin it, Mike Tomlin and the Steelers let Arians go. And now, Arians is a two-time Coach of the Year and arguably a better head coach than Tomlin. In fact, personally, I’d take Arians over Tomlin.Arians is in a fantastic position in Arizona, but you know he still holds a grudge — and he should. Don’t think that it won’t be personal when the Cardinals visit the Steelers in Week 6. And you know what? The Cardinals are in better shape than the Steelers heading into 2015.Arians was with the Pittsburgh Steelers from 2004-11, serving as the offensive coordinator starting in 2007. He then “retired,” eventually taking over as offensive coordinator (and later interim head coach) of the Indianapolis Colts in 2012. He was hired as head coach by the Cardinals that following offseason.He led Arizona to an 11-5 record and a playoff berth in 2014.Tomlin has taken the Steelers to the Super Bowl twice in his tenure as head coach, winning Super Bowl XLIII against the Cardinals with Arians as his offensive coordinator.Pittsburgh went 11-5 last season before being eliminated in the Divisional Round of the playoffs by the Baltimore Ravens. Derrick Hall satisfied with D-backs’ buying and selling