Australia’s largest online payment provider joins AFTAThe AFTA Insolvency Chargeback Scheme (AICS) is pleased to announce that SecurePay has become the newest payment partner for AICS through its Secure Online Payments service.AFTA CEO Jayson Westbury said; “AICS is proud to welcome our newest payment partner SecurePay, who has unprecedented experience in providing safe and efficient payment products to all businesses in the Australian economy.SecurePay General Manager, Michael Luddeni said SecurePay was delighted to partner with AFTA and its members to facilitate AICS payments.“SecurePay has provided online payment processing services to Australian businesses since 1999. SecurePay offers ATAS-accredited travel agents easy access to a wider choice of payment methods, improved payment processing and the protection provided by AICS,” said Mr Luddeni.“We understand that reliability, security and the ability to offer a broad range of payment options and features specific to a given travel agency’s own needs is important. We are really excited about deepening our relationship with the Australian Travel Agency community and partnering with AFTA to add even more value to its members,” said Mr Luddeni.ATAS Travel agents are encouraged to apply to participate in AICS by completing the form on www.afta.com.au/AICS.Source = AFTA
Don’t miss your chance to inspect Ovation of the SeasDon’t miss your chance to inspect Ovation of the SeasRoyal Caribbean’s Mega ship, Ovation of the Seas, ignites the imagination about what is possible on a cruise holiday. From skydiving in the middle of the ocean, robot bartenders, to North Star, an observation capsule that transports you more than 90 metres above the sea providing stunning 360-degree views.Other delights guests look forward to include bumper cars, a circus school, spectacular shows in the entertainment venue, 18 different dining options including Jamie’s Italian by Jamie Oliver, Broadway shows and more.Guests choose from 18 unique restaurant concepts, including Jamie’s Italian, Michael’s Genuine Pub, the enchanting Wonderland, and Royal Caribbean favourites including Chops Grille steakhouse and Izumi Japanese.On Tuesday 9 April Ovation will be in Sydney. Come and inspect this stunning ship followed by a lunch in one of her restaurants.Book HERE nowHosted by Skal International Sydney.For more information on upcoming Skål events across Australia CLICK HERESource = SKAL Sydney
Air India has launched a new service connecting Ahmedabad with London. The inaugural flight departed the Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel International Airport, marking the start of a new daily service.The outbound flight, AI131, will now depart Ahmedabad daily at 0430 and arrive in Mumbai at 0545. After a brief stop, the flight will take off from Mumbai at 0705 and arrive at London’s Heathrow Airport at 1130.The return flight, AI130, will leave the UK capital at 1330 and arrive in Mumbai at 0400 the next morning. The flight will then leave Mumbai at 0530 and arrive in Ahmedabad at 0645.Air India will operate the new route using its 256-seat Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner aircraft, which features 18 seats in business class and 238 in economy.“We are introducing this direct flight service after two years of extensive research and deliberations. We are confident of getting very good response,” said Mukesh Bhatia, Air India’s General Manager of commercial for the Western region, adding that from mid-January 2016, Air India plans to operate the service direct, without the stop in Mumbai.
Tourism in Greece has directly generated 125 billion Euros to the economy, while 230 million people have travelled to the country since the start of the financial crisis in Greece informed the President of the Greek Tourism Confederation (STE), Yannis Retsos.Speaking during the closed session of the confederation’s 27th General Assembly in Athens recently, Retsos underlined the value of the tourism sector for the Greek economy and said tourism has started to gain a positive experience.“Greece has been rising over the last nine years from an unprecedented economic crisis. Greek tourism remained the spearhead of the wounded economy, the primary sector of contribution to national GDP and a major sector for jobs,” he said.According to STE’s data, the tourism sector in 2018 directly contributed 22 billion Euros to the Greek economy.“During Greece’s peak tourism season, the sector contributes almost 20% of the total employment of the country,” he added, also mentioning that in the last three years, private investment in Greek hotels worth of 5.6 billion Euros was carried out.“Tourism is a unique, valuable asset for our economy, for Greece, for all,” he added.Retsos also commented that during the pre-electoral period of the recent local and regional elections in Greece, tourism was high on the agenda in many parts of the country in a more meaningful way than it had ever been in the past.
Lower unemployment figures and higher GDP growth continue to help stabilize home prices amid a still-steady recovery, “”Fitch Ratings””:http://www.fitchratings.com/web/en/dynamic/fitch-home.jsp said Monday.[IMAGE]The ratings agency found in a report that home prices may plunge 9.1 percent nationally but that the figures remain below estimates [COLUMN_BREAK]of 13.1 percent from the fourth quarter.Fitch said that declines may contract by around 6 percent in lieu of inflation and benefit from improvements in macro-economic indicators, such as unemployment and GDP growth.Still, Fitch said, “”there remains a long and difficult road to get back to pre-recession levels. Though home prices are falling nationally, price movement in some regional markets is still quite volatile due largely to the volume and pace of distressed sales being processed.””The report said that still-anemic mortgage volume remains a problem even in an era of all-time highs for housing affordability, with tight underwriting, qualification standards, and credit access restricted to borrowers with healthy equity and sizable down payments.Fitch said that markets in Arizona, Nevada, and Michigan continue to follow “”steeper corrections”” while home prices in the Northeast follow slower declines as a result of foreclosure delays and fewer liquidations for homes in distress. Share in Data, Origination, Secondary Market, Servicing Home Prices Expected to Continue Stabilizing: Fitch Agents & Brokers Home Prices Housing Affordability Investors Lenders & Servicers Processing Service Providers 2012-03-05 Ryan Schuette March 5, 2012 440 Views
in Daily Dose, Data, Featured, Headlines, News June 2, 2014 434 Views Early housing demand indicators suggest buyer interest weakened in April due to a slowdown in new stock.In its latest Real-Time Demand Pulse, national brokerage Redfin recorded a 2.1 percent month-over-month decline in customers taking home tours in April. At the same time, tours were up 15.8 percent year-over-year, indicating the demand is there—if supply can keep up.”New listings get the attention of would-be buyers, prompting them to go on home tours,” said Nela Richardson, chief economist at Redfin. “However, new listings increased just 8 percent in April, compared with 25 percent growth in March, and that slower growth had a dampening effect on home tours.”With single-family construction still subdued and the weakened economy offering few incentives for homeowners to move, Richardson expects “this absence of new supply will be keenly felt in the demand numbers and by consumers who may be frustrated looking for a home to purchase.”Further evidence of that frustration was seen in the number of signed offers, which ticked up 1.5 percent in April compared to a 5 percent increase the same time last year. As an early predictor of future home sales, the drop in offers indicates the pace of home sales heading into the summer months may increase slower than the expected surge many market-watchers had anticipated.”Thus far there is little indication that there is going to be a huge pickup in sales in the second quarter to make up for the lethargic housing market endured in the first three months of the year,” Richardson said. “Even with the polar vortex behind us, low inventory and rising prices continue to be significant headwinds to housing demand.” Demand Housing Starts Housing Supply Redfin 2014-06-02 Tory Barringer Home Shoppers Cool on Limited Housing Stock Share
Homebuyers Housing Affordability Zillow 2015-03-30 Samantha Guzman Low housing supply is causing affordability to decrease in U.S. cities, according to a report from Zillow. Affordability is worst in fast growing cities that have fallen behind in building homes to keep up with population growth. Currently the average U.S. homebuyer can expect to spend 15.3 percent of their monthly income on a mortgage payment.Affordability is best in places with slow population growth, like Detroit, or places who have met new growth by building new housing units. Chicago permitted 906 new housing units in 2013 and 2013 for every 1,000 new residents. This has made the city more affordable, with homebuyers paying a slightly lower percentage on their mortgage than the national average. Chicago residents can expect to pay about 13.9 percent of their income on a mortgage.”As the economy continues to improve, more Americans are slowly moving off of their buddies’ couches and out of their parents’ basements into homes of their own, first likely as renters and then eventually as homebuyers,” said Zillow Chief Economist Dr. Stan Humphries. “Unfortunately, the supply of affordable homes, especially affordable rentals, is insufficient in many areas to meet this growing demand. As a result, the competition for those homes that are available can often be fierce, driving up prices and contributing to worsening affordability. More construction will help ease the crunch, and getting a mortgage is also getting easier, which will help more current renters transition to homeownership and further ease rental inventory shortages. But these fixes won’t happen overnight.”Detroit had the most affordable housing on the list. Homebuyers living in this city will pay about 10 percent of their income on a mortgage. St. Louis and Pittsburg tied for a close second. Homebuyers in either of those cities will pay about 10.8 percent of their income on a mortgage. Houston, Virginia Beach, and Tampa were all more affordable markets, while San Diego, San Jose, and Sacramento were less affordable.San Francisco has become one of the country’s least affordable housing markets. For every 1,000 new residents, there were just 193 new housing units permitted. Residents of San Francisco pay 39.2 percent of their income on a monthly mortgage payment, more than double the national average. Los Angeles has the highest rate, with a mortgage in that city costing a homebuyer 40 percent of their income.Policy makers have been trying to combat the short supply. The mayor of San Francisco has pledged to add 30,000 housing units by 2020, and a Boston city report made a similar recommendation to meet demand with 53,000 new housing units by 2030.Since 2000, rents have grown at roughly twice the pace of incomes. Partially as a result, the percentage of Americans citing “cheaper housing” as a reason they moved to a different home has almost doubled since then, from 5.6 percent to 9.6 percent currently, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.Over the past several years, renting – historically a budget-minded choice – has become increasingly less affordable. Meanwhile, recovering home prices, along with historically low mortgage rates, have made buying more affordable than it was historically, on a monthly basis. Zillow’s February Real Estate Market Reports showed home values up 4.9 percent year-over-year to a Zillow Home Value Index of $178,700. U.S. rents rose 3.4 percent to a Zillow Rent Index of $1,355. Low Housing Supply Impacts Housing Affordability in Major Cities March 30, 2015 520 Views in Daily Dose, Data, Featured Share
in Daily Dose, Headlines, News Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation Loan-to-Deposit Ratios Office of the Comptroller of the Currency The Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System 2015-07-02 Staff Writer Share The Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), and the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) recently issued the host state loan-to-deposit ratios that the agencies will use to determine compliance with section 109 of the Riegle-Neal Interstate Banking and Branching Efficiency Act of 1994.The agencies reported that Utah had the highest loan-to-deposit ratio at 101 percent, while Delaware had the lowest ratio at 47 percent. Maine came in with the second highest loan-to-deposit ratio at 100 percent, with New Jersey not too far behind at 94 percent. Hawaii (57 percent), New Mexico (59 percent), Wyoming (59 percent), and South Dakota (65 percent) round out the bottom five with the lowest loan-to-deposit ratios.According to the agencies, section 109 prohibits a bank from establishing or acquiring a branch or branches outside of its home state primarily for the purpose of deposit production, and also prohibits branches of banks controlled by out-of-state bank holding companies from operating primarily for the purpose of deposit production.The agencies gauge compliance with section 109 by comparing a bank’s estimated statewide loan-to-deposit ratio to the estimated host state loan-to-deposit ratio for a particular state, the release says. If the bank’s statewide loan-to-deposit ratio is at least one-half of the published host state loan-to-deposit ratio, the bank is considered in compliance with section 109. However, if the bank’s estimated statewide loan-to-deposit ratio is less than one-half of the published ratio for that state or if data is unavailable the appropriate agency must determine whether the bank is actually helping to meet the credit needs of the communities served by the bank’s interstate branches. If the bank fails both compliance tests is in direct violation of section 109 and is subject to sanctions by the appropriate agency.Click here to view the Agencies list of Loan-to-Deposit Ratio list. Federal Agencies Find Utah has the Highest Loan-to-Deposit Ratios and Delaware has the Lowest July 2, 2015 668 Views
Share Has Homeownership Finally Found its Balance? in Daily Dose, Data, Government, Headlines, News, Origination First-Time Homebuyers Homeownership Rate U.S. Census Bureau 2016-01-28 Staff Writer As the employment situation continues to improve, more buyers made their way into the housing market for the second quarter in a row.The homeownership rate increased marginally over the last two quarters, but was fairly unchanged year-over-year, especially compared to the all-time high in 2004, the U.S. Census Bureau reported Thursday.This has left many in the industry questioning if homeownership has bottomed out.”Today’s Census Homeownership and Vacancy Survey release also provides optimism that the homeownership rate may have hit bottom in 2015,” said Ralph B. McLaughlin, Chief Economist at Trulia. “Many Gen Xers lost their homes during the recession, so this is a positive sign that we may be seeing boomerang buyers coming back into housing market. However, the increase was not statistically significant from a year ago.”According to the report, homeownership rate rose 0.1 percent to 63.8 percent in the fourth quarter of 2015, compared to 63.7 percent last quarter. Despite the rise however, the homeownership rate is 0.2 percent below the rate of 64.0 percent last year during the same period.In addition, although the homeownership rate, while up from a 48-year low in the second quarter of 2015, is still below the peak of 69.2 percent in June 2004.After suffering a major drop in November 2015, existing-home sales rose 14.7 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.46 million in December, up from 4.46 million in November. Year-over-year, existing-home sales are up 7.7 percent, and December’s jump will mark the largest increase ever.According to the National Association of Realtors (NAR), the first-time buyers share was at 32 percent in December, up from 30 percent in November and 29 percent a year ago. For the year, first-time buyers made up 30 percent of homebuyers, up 1 percentage point from 2014 and 2013.”First-time buyers were for the most part held back once again in 2015 by rising rents and home prices, competition from vacation and investment buyers and supply shortages,” said Lawrence Yun, NAR Chief Economist. “While these headwinds show little signs of abating, the cumulative effect of strong job growth in recent years and young renters’ overwhelming interest to own a home should lead to a modest uptick in first-time buyer activity in 2016.”The Bureau found that homeownership was highest among those 65 years and older at 79.3 percent int he fourth quarter of 2015, down slightly 79.5 percent in the previous quarter. However, the only age group to increase their homeownership rate was the 35 to 44-year olds, from 58.8 percent in the fourth quarter of last year to 59.3 percent in the fourth quarter of 2015.Capital Economics Property Economist Matthew Pointon added, “That gradual rise in the homeownership rate should continue over the next few years. On the demand side, there are large numbers of young adults who are currently living with their parents. And many of them would like to form their own household. The financial crisis locked them out of homeownership, as they lost their jobs and/or banks refused to provide them with a mortgage. But both factors are now steadily improving. Jobs are being created at a rapid pace, and we expect earnings growth will finally start to rise this year. As well as allowing more households to access homeownership, that will also cut down on mortgage delinquencies and keep more families in their homes.”The Bureau reported that the homeownership rates were highest in the Midwest at 68.1 percent in the fourth quarter, and lowest in the West at 59.0 percent. All regions, except the West experienced a year-over-year decline in homeownership.Rental vacancy rates in the fourth quarter were 7.0 percent in the fourth quarter, unchanged from last year and down 0.3 percent from the previous quarter. The homeowner vacancy rate was 1.9 percent for the quarter, also unchanged from last year and last quarter.”An improving labor market and easing credit conditions are finally leading to a gradual rise in the homeownership rate. But the rental vacancy rate has yet to rise, and that will put upwards pressure on rents over the coming months,” Pointon stated.Click here to view the full report. January 28, 2016 687 Views
Automation Fiserv Lending Solutions HMDA technology 2016-06-10 Staff Writer A Look Inside HMDA in Daily Dose, Data, Government, Headlines, News, Print Features, Technology June 10, 2016 499 Views Today’s Lenders are Learning How to Navigate the Rules’ Changes, as Cost and Compliance Issues Arise By: Harvey FosterThe Home Mortgage Disclosure Act came about shortly after I started in the industry in 1973. Since that time, many have asked how lenders can remain profitable and compliant in the face of HMDA. These questions have only ramped up with the new reporting requirements that were announced at the end of 2015.The majority of added HMDA-related costs lenders see stem from the additional staff needed— which, in turn, raises the cost of originating and servicing loans as well. At the same time however, we also know that it’s more than just staff that’s costing lenders—it’s also price of automation.Why Automation is Key Today, there’s quite a bit of borrower information being passed between systems. Operational effectiveness helps manage the internal cost of origination and servicing a loan. Using standardized data formats, such as MISMO, allows lenders to manage both incoming and outgoing data effectively, and a key driver for automation is being able to do so without slowing down business operations while still managing it in real time for errors and issues.Such automation effectively reduces the workload many have in dealing with the day-to-day processes of originating and servicing loans. Automation of both data exchange and the review of the data—thus converting the process to an exception-handling workflow that is also tracking all activity for audit purposes—is what we see as the main lever to control costs.Good Data is Accurate Data Clients we’re listening to and collaborating with today are telling us their main concern is the accuracy of the data. In particular for HMDA, most lenders are concerned with being able to ensure they’re collecting the right information and that it’s accurate, but also that they’re doing so in a cost-effective way.There is also concern in the industry about whether lenders will be able to collect all of the new data elements HMDA changes demand during the loan origination process.Looking Into the Crystal BallLooking into the future, the new HMDA rules call for changing the frequency of reporting. However, at this time, that doesn’t seem to be as big of a challenge for most of our clients today; they’ll deal with that in the future, since that’s coming about more in the 2020 timeframe. Instead, clients are focused on the present and their ability to collect and deliver accurate information under the new HMDA rule now.As much as the industry would like to be able to look into the crystal ball, what the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau may do in the future is up in the air— and it’s not easy to make predictions about.To prepare for future changes, it’s crucial to engage industry stakeholders, associations and different workgroups, as well as collaborate with clients.One thing beginning to take shape is the significant convergence in regulatory rule-making with industry trends spearheaded by the Federal Finance Housing Agency (FHFA). The industry is also moving to more a frequent data exchange.The future is about modernizing the lending industry in this 24/7 Internet world. Lenders need to be able to provide transparency, to bring information quickly to the process, and to track data integrity. It’s that frequency and real-time data exchange that will not only help the borrower, but also the lender, the service provider, the investors, and the insurers.Editor’s note: This select print feature appears in the June 2016 edition of MReport magazine. Share
Share Diversity and Inclusion VRM Mortgage Services 2016-07-20 Seth Welborn July 20, 2016 619 Views VRM Mortgage Services, an outsourcing solutions provider for residential and commercial assets, has received multiple awards from DiversityBusiness.com for the third consecutive year, according to an announcement from VRM.DiversityBusiness.com has identified the nation’s most successful entrepreneurs in a variety of categories for 16 years, and they continue to recognize VRM as one of the top African-American and diversity-owned and privately held businesses in the country.“This is the third consecutive year we’ve been honored by DiversityBusiness. The recognition from these awards renews our efforts to strive for even greater excellence as company,” said Keith Murray, president and CEO of VRM Mortgage Services. “More importantly, I believe it is also a result of our efforts in our industry. In this past year we’ve contributed a number or diversity & inclusion initiatives including introducing a new self-assessment tool for our industry to advance this cause as a whole.”VRM ranked 47th on the list of “Top 100 African American-Owned Businesses in the United States” category and 158th in the “Top 400 Diversity-Owned Company in the United States” category out of a pool of 1.5 million businesses.In addition to the national rankings, VRM placed 17th on “Top 100 Diversity-Owned Company in Texas” list and 21st on the “Top 100 Privately-Held Company in Texas” list.VRM’s training division, VRM University, introduced its Diversity & Inclusion Self-Assessment toolkit in 2015 to provide financial service businesses with a free alternative to benchmark, document, and report their compliance with section 342 of Dodd-Frank.Also, VRM’s leadership serves on multiple industry boards for diversity and inclusion, including the Five Star Institute’s American Mortgage Diversity Council (AMDC) and the NAWRB’s Diversity and Inclusion Leadership Council (NDILC). VRM continues to be a strong supporter of the industry’s diverse real estate organizations through grant programs and specialized training opportunities through VRM University.Editor’s note: The Five Star Institute is the parent company of MReport and TheMReport.com. VRM Mortgage Services Receives Multiple Diversity Awards in Headlines, News
in Daily Dose, News, Origination With the economy sending mixed signals, average mortgage interest rates—which have been hovering right above historic lows for weeks—may be a little confused on which way to go.Weak GDP growth (1.2 percent in the advance Q2 estimate) contrasting with a strong jobs report for July (255,000 jobs added, nearly 3 percent wage growth, unemployment rate still under 5 percent) presents a mixed picture of the country’s economic health.The result for mortgages is that the average 30-year FRM was little changed from the previous week for the week ending August 11. Depending on which analysis you look at this week, the average 30-year FRM either held steady or inched downward—but reports agree that the rate is near 3.5 percent. HSH.com reported the average 30-year FRM was unchanged over-the-week at 3.52 percent, while Freddie Mac reported in its Primary Mortgage Market Survey (PMMS) a dip of 2 basis points from 3.45 down to 3.43 percent.The average 30-year FRM remained near its historic low of 3.31 percent set in late 2012. Last year at this time, the average rate was 3.94 percent.“It’s not clear how the economy is performing, so mortgage rates don’t know which way to go at the moment,” said Keith Gumbinger, vice president of HSH.com. “A weak report covering second quarter Gross Domestic Product growth two weeks ago gave way to a very solid July employment report. The drag of one report is being offset by the push of the other.”The average 15-year FRM bumped up by 2 basis points from 2.74 percent to 2.76 percent but is down over-the-year from 3.17 percent, according to Freddie Mac.Sean Becketti, chief economist with Freddie Mac, said of this week’s PMMS, “A surprisingly strong July jobs report showed 255,000 jobs added and 0.3 percent wage growth from last month, exceeding many experts’ expectations. In response, the 10-Year Treasury yield rose to its highest level.”The Fed could raise the federal funds target rate as soon as September if the economy is accelerating; according to HSH, futures markets after the July jobs report estimate the chances of a September rate hike by the Fed at 18 percent. Prior to the report, futures markets reported the likelihood of liftoff for the Fed in September at 12 percent. One more employment summary (the August jobs report) will come out before the next Federal Open Market Committee meeting on September 20 and 21; if the news for that report is good, combined with July’s solid report, it may be enough to convince the Fed to raise rates.“More data covering July and fresh August reports will come in the next few weeks; if solid, they could push mortgage rates a little higher as we go. With that said, we will remain far closer to the year’s lows than highs, so opportunities for cheap home financing will continue to persist for a good while yet,” Gumbinger said. Mortgage Rates Confused on Which Way to Go August 11, 2016 558 Views Share Mortgage Interest Rates 2016-08-11 Seth Welborn
Blueberries In Charts: Higher market volumes lead … December 05 , 2018 Successful International Blueberry Summit “raised … You might also be interested in Chile expecting U.S. to lift blueberry fumigation … Dave BrazeltonU.S.-based Fall Creek Farm & Nursery has announced succession of its top leadership, with co-founder and industry innovator Dave Brazelton to step aside as CEO to assume a new role as executive chairman of the board of directors.Effective Jan.1, Amelie Brazelton Aust and Cort Brazelton will assume the roles of co-CEOs. In addition, Oscar Verges, who joined Fall Creek as COO in 2016, recently was promoted to president and COO of the blueberry breeding and nursery company. The three executives will lead the company’s strategy and growth, and the team of functional and regional directors will continue to report to Verges, the company said in a release.“We have experienced tremendous growth at Fall Creek during the past years. Our ‘go where our customers grow’ strategy has led us to new geographies and has required us to continually reinvent the way we do things,” says Dave Brazelton.“This transition of leadership is really about commitment to our customers. It gives us a top-level leadership platform to launch the company’s next chapter of growth and to serve the industry in the transformative way our mission calls on us to achieve.”This unique leadership model was recommended by Fall Creek’s board of directors after assessing the company’s growth plan, internal talents and team-based corporate culture, the company said.“I’m looking forward to seeing each member of the new leadership team work together while they also develop their individual areas of focus: Cort, on global business development and key relationships; Amelie, on strategy and company culture; and Oscar, on the management of a growing global entity,” says Roland Wolfram, the newest member of the Fall Creek board.(L-R) Oscar Verges, Amelie Brazelton Aust and Cort BrazeltonAmelie Brazelton Aust said: “When the board of directors recommended this leadership structure, Cort and I were both surprised.”“A co-CEO model had never occurred to us, but it should have. As we have spent most of 2018 diving into what this will look like, studying the pitfalls, and gaining vision into how this has worked well for other global companies, we are excited. Cort and I are as different and as similar as can be.”We challenge each other and hold each other accountable to focus opportunities, manage risk, and protect our company values. At the same time, Oscar brings decades of global corporate experience that is essential for us to enrich strategy and to bring what’s most special about Fall Creek to the entire organization and the people we serve, everywhere in the world.”Cort Brazelton said: “Our industry is on the verge of enormous change. We’ll have to continually renew our strategy and preserve what is most valuable in our culture to serve our customers.””The three of us will share that responsibility. Our father didn’t do it alone. He fostered a team atmosphere with shared decision-making, recognizing where others could fill knowledge and technical gaps. The three of us serve the organization – especially the team of directors that is empowered to run and grow the company – and our job is to clear the way forward.”Oscar Verges said: “Only eight years ago, Fall Creek was a nursery in the U.S. Pacific Northwest with some exports, licensing and business relationships abroad.”Now, true to our commitment to serve our customers and the industry, Fall Creek has bricks-and-mortar throughout the Americas and Europe.”As the company grows, maintaining our company culture and values becomes ever more important. Collaborative decision making, serving each other and our customers, and shared leadership are principles Amelie, Cort and I vow to maintain and plan to model throughout the organization.” Blueberries in Charts: Finding opportunities in th …
Star Clippers will be offering a taste of Morocco on its Portugal to Spain itineraries in 2018. The Royal Clipper will carry 227 pax on 23 April 2018 from Lisbon to Malaga, experiencing the quintessential Western Mediterranean.The Spain and Morocco cruise is priced from $1,790 per person, double occupancy including port charges, gratuities and 30% Early Booking Saving when you book before 31 January 2018. cruiseMoroccoSpain
ACABroomeconferencecruiseTourism WA The Australian Cruise Association (ACA) has chosen Broome in WA as the host destination for its annual conference and AGM in September 2018. The conference, AGM and associated functions will be held at the award-winning Cable Beach Club Resort & Spa, situated on the world-famous 22km-long Cable Beach. Making the announcement, Jill Abel, CEO of ACA said: “We are seeing the regional ports becoming increasingly critical to the growth of the cruise tourism sector in Australia. We wanted to recognise that in our selection of the destination for our 22nd annual conference next year and look forward to working with Broome on creating a highly successful event.” It is anticipated that around 120 people will attend the Conference to be held from 12-14 September 2018. This includes leading national and international cruise executives and representatives from the supply side of the cruise sector – shore excursion operators, port authorities, providores, shipping agents and tour businesses. Tourism Western Australia Chief Executive Officer Steve Wood said the State’s popularity as a cruise destination meant it was fitting for Broome to host this important national conference in 2018. Broome welcomed 18 cruise superliners carrying more than 20,000 guests and 10,000 crew in 2016/17, and there are currently 15 scheduled visits for 2017/18, including a maiden call by Crystal Symphony in February 2018.“Broome offers the opportunity for conference delegates to engage with colleagues in an enticing destination with unrivalled, natural beauty. Affectionately known as the ‘Pearl of the North’, Broome is the home of South Sea pearls. Their discovery in the 1800s fueled a mass migration almost as epic as the gold rush, creating a melting pot of cultures that makes Broome the multicultural town it is today,” said Wood.Broome is rich in Aboriginal history and famous for its unique heritage, pristine beaches and its many pearl showrooms and galleries to be found in the Chinatown precinct. Broome is also the gateway to the magnificent Kimberley region of Western Australia, renowned as one of Australia’s last frontier wilderness areas. Peter Taylor, President of Broome Chamber of Commerce and Industry (BCCI), said: “In 2016 the BCCI formed ‘Cruise Broome’, a committee of local business representatives with the Kimberley Ports Authority focused on the future development of Broome as a destination for cruise ships. Cruise Broome works closely with local partners to help provide high quality services and amenities for cruise visitors and I am delighted to learn that the 2018 ACA Conference bid has been successful.” Taylor said Federal Government funding has been secured to purchase an all-tide gangway system for the port that will enable more efficient passenger disembarkation. In addition, the Western Australian State Government is currently working toward solutions that will improve access to the ports of both Broome and Exmouth.With multiple airlines servicing the region, Broome can be accessed by several Australian capital cities; during the peak season (April-October) direct flights are available from Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane as well as from Perth all year round.IMAGE: L-R: Renata Low Tourism WA; Shayne Murray Cruise Broome; Christine Cole Tourism WA.
The newest ship in Viking’s fleet, Viking Orion, will home-port in Australia for three months every year from December 2018. Viking Orion will arrive in Darwin on 4 December as part of Viking’s Komodo & the Australian Coast Bali to Sydney itinerary, and will then spend the next three months sailing between Sydney and Auckland on the new Australia & New Zealand cruise route. Viking Orion will depart Sydney in early March 2019, recommencing the Komodo & the Australian Coast itinerary. Following her first visit to Australia in February this year, Viking Sun will also be travelling back Down Under again in March 2019 on Viking’s 128-day 2019 Viking World Cruise itinerary. Viking Sun’s journey includes stops in Sydney, Hobart, Melbourne, Adelaide and Perth – and it will be the first time a Viking ship has visited the latter two cities. Viking will be hosting a number of ship inspections for travel agents at each Australian port. To gain access, travel agents will need to register in advance and Viking will confirm their attendance closer to the inspection date.IMAGE: Viking Sun in Sydney agentsaustraliahome portViking OrionViking Sun
Ovolo Woolloomooloo in Sydney has taken top honours in Australia in the TripAdvisor Travellers Choice Awards for 2019.Travellers’ Choice award are based on the millions of reviews and opinions collected in a single year from TripAdvisor travellers worldwide.“Our Travellers’ Choice Hotel awards showcase exceptional accommodations around the world that are recognised for their value, service, amenities and overall experience, as reviewed by travellers worldwide on TripAdvisor,” said Grant Colquhoun, TripAdvisor spokesperson. “Be it a stylish urban retreat, a scenic beachfront resort or simply a place to unwind and escape, travellers can get inspired by these award winners when choosing the ideal hotel for their next getaway.” Queensland has the greatest number of hotel winners in OZ with 75, New South Wales had 55 properties recognised, and Victoria featured 28 award winners. Globally, the United States has the greatest number of hotel winners with 165, Italy had 164 properties recognised and Spain featured 163 award winners.The Top 10 Traveller’s Choice Hotels in Australia for 20191. Ovolo Woolloomooloo – Sydney, New South WalesTripAdvisor average annual price of $434 per night.Stretched along Sydney’s Woolloomooloo Wharf, the longest timber-piled wharf in the world, Ovolo Woolloomooloo boasts a picturesque Sydney Harbour view and is a stroll away from some of Sydney’s best waterfront restaurants. The hotel marries heritage with modern luxury, and features contemporarily designed loft rooms. 2. Pinetrees Lodge – Lord Howe IslandTripAdvisor average annual price of $1,387 per night.Sitting on World Heritage site Lord Howe, Pinetrees Lodge as their name suggests, is nestled amongst pine trees, faces one of the world’s most pristine lagoons, and surrounded by lush forests and a rich biodiversity of flora and fauna. Pinetrees Lodge offers a range of activities for all ages and traveller types, from surfing, snorkelling and diving to bird watching, fishing, golfing and day spas.3. Ovolo 1888 Darling Harbour – Sydney, New South WalesTripAdvisor average annual price of $338 per night.Steeped in history, Ovolo 1888 Darling Harbour was constructed in 1888 and originally a wool factory and warehouse. Overhauled into a thoughtfully designed hotel with “shutter-happy Instagrammers in mind”, the hotel melds Sydney’s old-world charm with contemporary design. Each room features three-metre high ceilings, recycled timber work stations and bespoke furniture. 4. Peninsula Boutique Hotel – Port Douglas, QueenslandTripAdvisor average annual price of $405 per night.Offering a boutique style, adults only hotel experience, Peninsula Boutique hotel overlooks the Four Mile Beach and is the only hotel in Port Douglas with beach and ocean views. 5. Korte’s Resort – Rockhampton, QueenslandTripAdvisor average annual price of $157 per night.Located near the heart of Rockhampton, Korte’s Resort is a luxurious, tropical oasis that is value for money and suitable for any traveller and occasion– from weddings, business conferences to a restful weekend escape. 6. COMO The Treasury – Perth, Western AustraliaTripAdvisor average annual price of $645 per night.Residing within a beautifully restored 19th century state building yet still retaining their original government office layout, COMO The Treasury is situated at the heart of Perth’s central business district. Designed by renowned local architect Kerry Hill, no two rooms are alike, and every aspect of the 48-room modern luxury hotel features handcrafted European furnishings, high ceilings, large windows and travertine stone tiles. 7. The Langham, Sydney – Sydney, New South WalesTripAdvisor average annual price of $523 per night.Situated along the quaint cobble stoned streets of Sydney’s Historic Rocks district, The Langham, Sydney faces stunning Western Harbour views. With a focus on providing a grand residential experience, every room features high ceilings, bespoke furnishings amidst soft panelled walls, Juliette balconies and/or signature terraces. 8. Qualia Resort – Hamilton Island, QueenslandTripAdvisor average annual price of $1,508 per night.Latin for ‘a collection of deeper sensory experiences’, Qualia Resort sits on the secluded northern-most tip of Hamilton Island, surrounded by the splendour of the Great Barrier Reef. Exquisitely designed and promising privacy, each pavilion faces the water with breathtaking views; some even inclusive of a sundeck or a personal infinity edge plunge pool. 9. Meriton Suites Southport – Southport, QueenslandTripAdvisor average annual price of $236 per night.At 55 levels high, Meriton Suites Southport is located in one of the city’s tallest buildings and all 208 suites are between levels 25 and 55. Soak up the magnificent sights from any suite—of stunning hinterland and surrounds, and pristine surf beaches from the Pacific Ocean coastline. The suites’ contemporary features, open living spaces and luxury inclusions such well-appointed gourmet kitchens and full-sized bathrooms, provide a new level of hospitality experience. 10. Freestyle Resort Port Douglas – Port Douglas, QueenslandTripAdvisor average annual price of $264 per night.Located a short walk away from tropical paradise Four Mile beach and main shopping and restaurant district Macrossan Street, Freestyle Resort Port Douglas sets the standard for boutique accommodation in the Port Douglas region. While the resort features an award-winning spa and heated swimming pool, the highlight for most travellers was still the personalised service by resident managers Jason and Anne. To view the full list of 2019 Travellers’ Choice award-winning hotels, including the top hotels in the world, CLICK HERE. IMAGE: Ovolo Woolloomooloo – #1 Australian hotel in TripAdvisor’s Travellers Choice Awards 2019 hotelsTravellers Choice Awards 2019TripAdvisor
The only mention of Missouri quarterback Blaine Gabbert was by a fan who said, “NO! Don’t let it be Gabbert and don’t trade down, not at this point.” What about Ken Whisenhunt?After the pick, Whiz said he could see Peterson lining up as a kick returner in the NFL right now — and being one of the best.“Obviously he has a tremendous combination of size and speed,” Whisenhunt said.Not to mention a new shut-down partnership with Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie that will have every NFL quarterback thinking twice about going deep.Did Peterson get what he wanted? “Definitely want to get [the Cardinals] back to the Super Bowl and win it this time,” Peterson said on NFL Network moments after being drafted.One has to wonder if Peterson knew his chances of becoming a Cardinal were good — I mean really good. Peterson certainly played the part as if he knew. He was decked out in a bright red tie. It went well with the red and black Cardinals hat he put on. Peterson told Deion Sanders on the NFL Network moments after being drafted, “I really didn’t,” when Sanders asked him if he knew anything and why he was wearing red. Top Stories 0 Comments Share Patrick Peterson, the highly touted cornerback from LSU, is coming to the desert. Arizona Cardinals fans got exactly who they wanted. At least that’s what the fans at the place I was at said. Small sampling? Sure. But it was unanimous. Walking around the headquarters of Sports 620 KTAR’s 2011 NFL Draft Extravaganza Thursday evening moments before the pick was made, every person in a Cardinals jersey said they wanted Peterson. Nevada officials reach out to D-backs on potential relocation I’m not so sure about that. What I am sure about is the Cardinals drafting a sure thing. After months of grades, scouting, interviews and watching tape — Peterson seemed to be a can’t-miss sure-thing for the Cardinals at number five. The speedster will have the chance to be a cornerback and returner right away for the Cardinals. If you can turn your top draft pick into an impact player right away, then that’s what you do. While Ken Whisenhunt and the Cardinals make their draft picks based on what their team needs are, on Thursday night it seems they drafted for everyone — themselves, the player and the fans — and won at every level. It’s definitely only one night in April, but the Cardinals got a victory. D-backs president Derrick Hall: Franchise ‘still focused on Arizona’ What an MLB source said about the D-backs’ trade haul for Greinke Cardinals expect improving Murphy to contribute right away
Cincinnati (9-6) can clinch the final AFC wild card berth by beatingBaltimore at Paul Brown Stadium next Sunday. The Bengals moved agame ahead of the Jets, who fell to 8-7 with a 29-14 loss to the Giantson Saturday.“It’s been a big year for me and for this team,” rookie quarterback AndyDalton said. “It’s something we believed we had a chance to do. Weweren’t getting much credit from outside. We’ll find out next week.”Dalton threw two more touchdown passes, becoming only the fourthrookie to have 20 in a season, and Cincinnati got a break when the NFL’stop comeback team tripped itself up in the closing minutes.Wide-open receiver Early Doucet tripped at the goal line and went down,letting a fourth-down pass fall incomplete with 1:12 left. The Cardinals(7-8) got the ball one more time, but the clock ran out after acompletion.A few minutes later, the Jets’ loss put the Bengals in position to reach theplayoffs. New York would have won the tiebreaker if both teams won out.“We started this quite a while ago – seems like just yesterday,” coachMarvin Lewis said. “But now we’re right where we want to be at the end.” What an MLB source said about the D-backs’ trade haul for Greinke D-backs president Derrick Hall: Franchise ‘still focused on Arizona’ Their rookie quarterback put them in position.Dalton threw an 11-yard touchdown pass to Jermaine Gresham and a19-yarder to Jerome Simpson, who did a somersault over a defender andlanded on both feet in the end zone.Dalton joined Peyton Manning (26), Charlie Conerly (22) and Dan Marino(20) as the only NFL rookies to throw 20 touchdown passes.Down 23-0 heading into the fourth quarter, the NFL’s best comebackteam nearly pulled off its most improbable one yet. Arizona tookadvantage of Cedric Benson’s two fumbles, getting a pair of touchdownpasses by John Skelton and Jay Feely’s field goal with 3:16 left.The Cardinals then had their chance to pull even. The Bengals ran an all-out blitz on fourth down from the Cincinnati 17-yard line, and Doucetwound up uncovered at the goal line. Skelton lofted the ball into the endzone, but Doucet tripped and fell.“It was a blitz and nobody was there,” Doucet said. “It was one of thosedeals where I hadn’t hooked it up and my feet got tangled. It’s a play Ishould’ve made. It was my fault. That’s a play I normally make.”The Cardinals had their four-game winning streak snapped and wereeliminated from playoff contention. Simpson got open for a catch-and-run to the goal line. With DarylWashington between him and the end zone, Simpson jumped and twirledpast the linebacker, landing on both feet in the end zone and raisingboth arms like a triumphant gymnast.“One of the key parts for me was I stuck the landing,” Simpson said. “Istuck the landing like a gymnast. That was probably one of the mostsurprising of all the plays in my career. It was pretty awesome, Ithought.”For most of the game, the Cardinals couldn’t do anything right. Rookiecornerback Patrick Peterson picked off a Dalton pass in the third quarter,but the interception was nullified by Arizona’s second roughing-the-passer penalty of the game.Worse, Peterson hurt his left hamstring on the play, pulling up on thereturn. The first-round pick left the game and didn’t return. He wore aprotective boot after the game.“He’s got a strain, it’s not a tear,” coach Ken Whisenhunt said. “We’refortunate that it doesn’t appear to anything long term.”Notes: Beanie Wells became the first Cardinal to run for 1,000 yards and10 touchdowns in a season. … After the game, the Bengals made a buy-one, get-one-free offer to season ticket holders, trying to fill thestadium for the final game. … A.J. Green, playing with a strained rightshoulder, had two catches for 25 yards. He passed Cris Collinsworth’sclub record for a rookie with 1,013 yards on the season. Nevada officials reach out to D-backs on potential relocation CINCINNATI (AP) The stadium was only two-thirds full again. TheCardinals were on another one of their incredible comebacks,threatening to derail the Cincinnati Bengals’ surprising playoff surge.A pair of tangled up feet made the difference.The Bengals moved one win away from the playoffs Saturday, holding onfor a 23-16 victory over Arizona that secured only their third winningrecord in the past 21 years. Cardinals expect improving Murphy to contribute right away Cincinnati’s defense dominated the first three quarters. Arizona didn’tcross midfield until Skelton completed a pass with 13:25 to go, but piledup 208 yards in the final quarter.Skelton started for the second consecutive week in place of Kevin Kolb,who hasn’t fully recovered from a concussion. Skelton was 23 of 44 for297 yards with three interceptions and five sacks that helped the Bengalsget the 23-0 lead.It could have been worse. Mike Nugent, the NFL’s most accurate kicker,missed field goals of 35 and 48 yards in the first half.Arizona has rallied from fourth-quarter deficits six times this season,one shy of the NFL record. The Cardinals have won three games inovertime, tying the league record.They couldn’t do it one more time.“Yeah, we’re a second-half team,” Skelton said. “That’s how it has beenall year. But in the end, it was too little, too late.”Dalton was 18 of 31 for 154 yards and two touchdowns on a sunny, 39-degree afternoon in front of only 41,273 fans. The Bengals have sold outonly one of their seven home games, when the Steelers broughtthousands of fans.Dalton’s second touchdown pass had a highlight finish. Top Stories Comments Share