Source = ETB Travel News – Peter Gollagher Book and Fly Vietnam Airlines here Europe and Vietnam strengthen tourism relationshipIt has been a busy week for the tourism relationship between Europe and Vietnam after the delivery of new aircrafts to Vietnam Airlines and a lift on visa requirements for some European citizens to Vietnam.Vietnam Airlines has become just the second airline in the world to fly Airbus’ latest NextGen aircraft the A350 XWB.The aircraft aims to bring a new level of comfort to long haul travel with wider seats and new in-flight entertainment systems.The first aircraft has been leased from AerCap, with a total of 14 ordered, 10 from Airbus and four from lessors.The handover ceremony occurred on Tuesday morning (European time) at Airbus’s Headquarters in Toulouse, France.Trinh Ngoc Thanh, Vietnam Airlines executive vice president for commercial said in a statement “We are proud to be the second airline in the world to receive the A350 XWB aircraft which is a step forward that helps us to fulfill our commitment to ‘reach further’.”The aircraft is expected to begin servicing the Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh route by the end of the week.In time this will be extended to meet demand in Europe with the Hanoi-Paris and Ho Chi Minh-Paris routes.Vietnam Airlines has also ordered 19 Boeing 787-9 Dreamliners to further promote travel between Europe and Vietnam.The handover comes after the Vietnamese government lifted visa requirements to citizens of France, Germany, Italy, Spain and the United Kingdom for the period of 1 July 2015 until 30 June 2016.This is in addition to the unilaterally exemption visas for citizens of Belarus, Denmark, Finland, Norway, Russia and Sweden.
SWISS dedicates its first Boeing 777 to its employeesAs an expression of its new “employer value proposition” and a sign of its appreciation of all their work, service and commitment, Swiss International Air Lines (SWISS) is dedicating its first Boeing 777-300ER to all its employees: from today onwards and for the next 12 months, the new SWISS fleet flagship will sport a special livery featuring the portrait pictures of over 2,500 SWISS personnel.As part of its “Next-Generation Airline of Switzerland” strategy, SWISS is further strengthening its commitment to being an attractive and appreciative employer, not least to raise its appeal to prospective new personnel. The company’s new “employer value proposition” aims to make SWISS the employer of first choice within the European airline industry, and to enhance its employer credentials beyond the air transport sector, too.First SWISS-777 now in special livery It is to underline this commitment that the company has launched its “Faces of SWISS” action, under which its first Boeing 777-300ER, which was delivered last week, will carry a special livery featuring the faces of over 2,500 SWISS personnel for its first year of operation.The photos used to create the new livery were all personally submitted by the employees concerned; and every one of them has found its place on the fuselage.The employees depicted reflect and represent the entire SWISS workforce – as is further emphasized by the 12 bigger portraits selected from all the photos submitted to highlight the company’s various personnel groups. Cabin crew, pilots or ground personnel: they all contribute each and every day to SWISS’s continued success.The “Faces of SWISS” project got fully under way last November with a number of photoshoots and it ended last weekend with the application of the special-livery film to the aircraft’s fuselage.Source = SWISS Airlines
Emirates has announced its seventh daily service between Dubai and Bangkok starting from 1 July.The additional service, which will be operated by a Boeing 777-300ER aircraft, will help meet growing passenger demand, affirming Thailand’s position as a popular destination for business and leisure.It will make Bangkok one of the most served destinations on the Emirates network, on par with Kuwait and Doha.The new service joins the existing four daily A380 and two daily 777 flights that currently operate between Dubai and Bangkok, and enhances the weekly services on the route to 49, adding another 2,520 seats and up to 134 tonnes in cargo capacity per week in each direction between Bangkok and Dubai to further facilitate travel and trade opportunities between Thailand and Emirates’ global network.Passengers on Emirates flights enjoy the renowned hospitality of its multi-national Cabin Crew, as well as gourmet cuisine and Emirates’ award-winning iceentertainment system. With up to 2,500 channels including movies, television programmes, games, audio books, and music, ice has been named the world’s best inflight entertainment system by Skytrax for 11 consecutive years.From July 1, the new service operating daily as EK350 will depart Dubai at 1950hrs and arrive at Suvarnabhumi International Airport at 0510hrs the following day.This flight provides an attractive departure time for travellers from the UAE and Middle East with an early morning arrival in Bangkok enabling a full day ahead for business or leisure activity. Furthermore, it would allow numerous connections to regional points with our codeshare partner, Bangkok Airways.The return flight, EK351, will depart Bangkok at 0635hrs and arrive in Dubai the same day at 0950hrs from July 2**. This flight will connect seamlessly with a number of destinations in Europe such as London, Frankfurt, Lisbon, Istanbul, Madrid and Barcelona.As with all Emirates flights, passengers on the new service will benefit from a generous baggage allowance of 30kg in Economy Class, 40kg in Business Class and 50 kg in First Class. Fly EmiratesSource = Emirates
Cruise Whitsundays will make some major changes to its Great Barrier Reef pontoon infrastructure next month, providing new opportunities for a range of visitors to the Whitsundays to experience the famous Hardy Reef ‘River’.The 45metre/150 foot pontoon currently at Knuckle Reef will be relocated to the Hardy Reef River, to be permanently moored just over 300 metres south of the other large ‘Reefworld’ pontoon.The ‘Reefworld II’ pontoon (currently located 300m south of Reefworld) will be towed back to the mainland for a refurbishment and exciting relaunch in the new year.Cruise Whitsundays CEO Nick Hortle said the changes presented exciting opportunities for visitors to the Great Barrier Reef.“Having two large pontoons in the spectacular Hardy Reef River will mean that the demand on the infrastructure will be better managed, enhancing our guest experience,” Mr Hortle said.“Along with the relocation of the Knuckle Reef Pontoon, we will be installing 130m of new snorkel swim lines at its new site, giving guests an entirely new location to explore the Hardy Reef River coral wall.“We are also taking the opportunity to install new moorings for the relocated pontoon which are anchored only to the sea bed – not the coral wall – which will aid in further protecting the precious environment of the Great Barrier Reef.“Hardy Reef offers the best combination of reef, coral and fish life for visitors to see, and is in the best condition in living memory.“The two pontoons both have underwater viewing chambers and full facilities for guests, which will mean we can better service the combination of our guests arriving on day tours, by helicopter or by Cruise Ship.”Cruise Whitsundays is undertaking all infrastructure changes and upgrades with approval from the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority and above and beyond best practice environmental guidelines.The changes will occur in the first two weeks of August. Cruise WhitsundaysSource = Cruise Whitsundays
Highest international expenditure for NoosaHighest international expenditure for NoosaThe latest international visitor survey (IVS) data for the year ending September 2016 continues Noosa’s positive tourism growth with visitation and spend both at unprecedented highs.Tourism Noosa CEO Damien Massingham said that the international results revealed not only a record number of visitors but more importantly, a continued significant increase in international visitor expenditure.“Noosa’s international visitor spend was up 73% to reach $105.9 million, with annual increases in spend across all of Noosa’s major inbound markets”.“New Zealand spend increased by 104.6% to $31.5 million, the USA up 31% to $4.3 million, the UK up 13.1% to $16.2million and Germany up 7.2% to $5.5miion”.“This is the 3rd quarter of spend growth from our international markets this year with the March quarter up 27.8% and the June quarter up 13.4%”.“We also saw a record number of overseas visitors choosing Noosa, with total visitation up 7% to 147,000, the USA up 33% to a record of almost 10,000, while New Zealand increased 39.5% to 255, 000 visitors”.“This continued international growth is testament to the work that Tourism Noosa has been doing with our international partners for some years and highlights Noosa’s strengthening appeal to the international market.”“It’s also a clear indication that the Noosa Global Market Strategy, which we launched just over a year ago, is delivering outcomes. While Noosa is benefitting like many other destinations from a national lift in inbound visitation, the increases that have been achieved for Noosa across key markets are exceeding many comparative results at the regional and state levels and that’s a great accolade for our local tourism businesses” Mr Massingham said. Source = Tourism Noosa
Wyndham introduces Ramada Encore brand to New ZealandWyndham Hotel Group today announced the introduction of a new brand – Ramada ENCORE – to New Zealand, reflecting the hospitality giant’s intent to broaden its portfolio in the country.The soon-to-be Ramada ENCORE Christchurch Colombo Street is being developed under a franchise agreement with Lepdon Holdings and is slated to be completed in late 2017. Once finished, it will bring Wyndham’s portfolio in New Zealand to nine hotels and resorts spanning 446 rooms.Located in the Christchurch CBD, the $15 million development is ideally located near heritage attractions, the historic Canterbury Museum and the Arts Centre. Tourism hot spots like the Cardboard Cathedral, Re:START (the temporary shopping mall built from shipping containers), the Town Hall, funky restaurants and bars are all within walking distance.Christchurch is the nation’s heritage heart and the gateway to the South Island. A range of unforgettable experiences are available inside a two-hour drive, including hiking, mountain bike riding, rafting, surfing, golfing, bungee jumping, skiing and whale, dolphin and seal watching.The city’s tourism revenue grew five per cent to NZD $2.2 billion in the year ending January 2017 and the result made Christchurch the nation’s second largest tourism market, even ahead of booming Queenstown.Wyndham Hotel Group South East Asia and Pacific Rim President and Managing Director, Barry Robinson, said this development signifies the company’s desire to have a diverse presence in all New Zealand’s major cities.“Wyndham Hotel Group has achieved outstanding portfolio growth in New Zealand in the past two years, going from five hotels and resorts to nine existing or planned properties, with more on the way,” he said.“Ramada ENCORE is a unique brand, different from any other lifestyle brand in New Zealand. It appeals to international and savvy domestic travellers alike through its modern features such as vibrant social spaces, contemporary bathrooms, wooden floors and bright colours. Ramada ENCORE will be the perfect fit for this trendy part of the city.”The hotel’s facilities include meeting rooms, a gym and a restaurant. Managing Director of franchisee Lepdon Holdings, Erin Hindmarsh, said the hotel will have a positive impact on Christchurch, including the employment of at least 12 staff once operational.“This will be a significant development for Christchurch that will not just benefit travellers, but also those working in the food and beverage industry,” she said.“This announcement today – and the involvement of a global hospitality giant like Wyndham – is a sign of confidence in the long-term future of tourism in Christchurch.”Throughout South East Asia and the Pacific Rim, Wyndham Hotel Group currently has more than 100 hotels operating under its Ramada, Ramada ENCORE, Wyndham Hotels and Resorts®, Wyndham Grand®, Wyndham Garden®, Days Inn®, TRYP by Wyndham® and Microtel Inn & Suites by Wyndham® brands. Wyndham Hotel GroupSource = Wyndham
Centara breaks into the Middle East with opening of Centara Muscat HotelCentara Hotels & Resorts, Thailand’s largest hotel operator, continues to expand internationally with the opening of the four-star, 152-room Centara Muscat Hotel, the first of three planned for the Middle East.The Centara Muscat Hotel is ideally located in the Omani capital’s bustling Ghala Heights business district, close to the convention centre, Royal Opera House, and the Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque. It is conveniently located midway between the airport and historical district, about 15 minutes from each.The hotel is a modern new building featuring three restaurants, a spa, and a rooftop pool and terrace with views out over the Gulf of Oman. Its premium lounge, banquet and meeting facilities, complimentary Wi-Fi, plus proximity to Muscat’s shopping and historical sites, are designed to serve both business and leisure travellers.Centara is known for combining appealing Thai qualities, such as graceful service and pampering spa treatments, with expertly-prepared Thai and international cuisine. The new Muscat hotel follows this blueprint. Akdeniz, an authentic Turkish restaurant, features fine coffees, Middle Eastern snacks and mezzes, plus meats and fresh fish seared on a traditional Ocakbasi grill. Tiptara restaurant serves Thai dishes and international choices, while The Roof offers a relaxed venue for barbeques and private events.Centara’s signature SPA Cenvaree offers a variety of therapies and treatments, plus Thai herbal spa products. The rooftop pool is complemented by a children’s pool and fitness centre.Centara is planning additional openings in Doha, Qatar later this year and Deira Island off of Dubai in the UAE in 2020. Source = Centara Hotels & Resorts
UTracks 2018 ‘Active Europe’ Brochure out nowUTracks 2018 ‘Active Europe’ Brochure out nowFeaturing more than 420 walking, cycling and boat-based itineraries, the 2018 UTracks brochure provides travel agents with everything they need to help the Australian traveller plan their next active European holiday.New walking trips along the rugged Irish coastline, a family cycling trip in Tuscany, bike & barge trips in Luxembourg and a Mary Moody Food Lovers’ journey along the Way of St James are amongst the exciting new range of holidays in UTracks’ 2018 ‘Active Europe’ brochure.UTracks General Manager, Kate Baker, says the 2018 ‘Active Europe’ brochure has options to suit everyone; families, food and wine lovers, people with an interest in history, culture or architecture as well as travellers seeking a sense of achievement by walking the Camino or hiking around Mont Blanc.“As always, we have worked hard to develop itineraries that are accessible, achievable and affordable for the Australian traveller,” she said.“This commitment, combined with the support of travel agents in the past decade has helped cement our place as Australia’s leading active European holiday specialist.“Whether it’s cycling or walking, small groups or self guided, two-star or four-star, on land or water, travel agents can be assured that there is a UTracks itinerary for everyone.“UTracks offers active holidays in more than 38 European countries with inclusions such as accommodation, most meals, luggage transfers on self-guided trips, experienced local guides for guided trips, electric bike options on 80% of our cycling itineraries and complete back up and support for all itineraries.”Exciting new trips for 2018 include:A spectacular self-guided walk through the “Spanish Grand Canyon”A Five Countries Cycle through Holland, Belgium, France, Luxembourg and GermanyA Czech Castle Cycle following the Vltava River from Cesky Krumlov to PragueNew walking and cycling itineraries along the Via Francigena including a 50-day self-guided walk along the entire pilgrim route through Italy.A “Footsteps of Dali” guided walk through Spain and FranceA Food Lover’s journey along the Way of St James with Mary MoodyNew walking trips along the dramatic Irish coastlineA gourmet and cycling experience through northern Spain’s Rioja wine regionA Tuscany Cycle for Families · Mainz to Strasbourg by Bike and BargeA guided cycle from the Macedonia to Meteora in GreeceMs Baker said that walking the scenic tracks of the French Alps, hiking the Camino de Santiago and Via Francigena, cycling along the Danube and the Croatia Cycle and Sail continue to be UTracks most popular trips.UTracks’ 2018 ‘Active Europe’ Brochures are available at Brochure Flow.Source = UTracks
Mantra Hotels launches biggest ever global saleMantra Hotels launches biggest ever global sale!Mantra Hotels is set to launch its biggest ever Global Sale with massive savings on more than 130 Mantra, Peppers, BreakFree and Art Series Hotels, booked between 13 – 21 February 2018.With rates starting from $99* per room per night at selected properties, there are deals perfect for couples, families or groups of friends available at hotels across Australia, New Zealand, Bali and Hawaii.Here is a sneak peek at some of the deals on offer during the sale, featuring a selection of beach getaways, city breaks or country escapes.To book any of the below or to check out the other fantastic offers available, visit www.mantrahotels.com or call our 24-hour Reservations Centre on 1300 987 603. Don’t delay – the deals are on sale for the next nine days or until sold out!QueenslandPort Douglas: Discover the magic of Port Douglas with a stay at the popular Mantra PortSea. Offering spacious accommodation, a swim-up pool bar and a range of leisure families, the resort is perfect for couples and families alike. Stay from $99* per night in a Hotel Room including 2-for-1 continental breakfast (minimum two night stay – total cost $198*). Valid for travel until 22 June, 2018.Sunshine Coast: Mantra Mooloolaba Beach, One Bedroom Apartments start from $149* per night (Sunday to Thursday) (minimum two night stay – total cost $298*). Valid for travel until 21 September, 2018.Gold Coast: Enjoy the sun, surf and sand of the Gold Coast by staying at Mantra Legends Hotel in the heart of Surfers Paradise. Stay in a Hotel Deluxe Twin Room from $109* per night (Sunday to Thursday) (minimum two night stay – total cost $218*). This deal includes a two-for-one seafood buffet dinner voucher (valid at the hotel’s Fables Restaurant) and a 20% off beverage voucher. Valid for travel until 27 September, 2018.Brisbane: The Johnson from $149* per night in a Studio Suite including plated breakfast for two and WiFi. Valid for travel until 7 May, 2018.New South WalesKingscliff: Cool off and kick back in the sensational nearby surf and facilities of Mantra on Salt Beach. This is Kingscliff accommodation at its very best. Stay in a Hotel Room from $119* per night (Sunday to Thursday) (minimum two night stay – total cost $238*). This deal includes 2 for 1 buffet breakfast and a 25% off Season restaurant dining voucher, Wi-Fi and parking. Valid for travel until 27 September, 2018.Sydney: The new Mantra Hotel at Sydney Airport offers travellers contemporary and stylish accommodation within a short stroll of their Sydney Airport domestic departure gate. Stay in a Studio King Room from $149* per night (Friday to Sunday) including 1GB of Wi-Fi daily and a 12pm late check-out. Valid for travel from 1 April, 2018 until 27 September, 2018.Australian Capital TerritoryCanberra: Mantra MacArthur Hotel was the only hotel to have opened in Canberra in 2017 and is modern, contemporary accommodation centrally located in the heart of the city. Stay in a Studio Room from $119* per night (Thursday to Monday). Valid for travel until 14 September, 2018.VictoriaMelbourne: Enjoy a city escape at Mantra on Jolimont located in the heart of Melbourne’s sport and entertainment precinct. Stay in a 1 Bedroom Apartment from $109* per night (Sunday to Thursday). Valid for travel from until 30 September, 2018.Melbourne: The Blackman from $170* per night in a Studio Suite Balcony. Valid for travel from 26 March, 2018 until 30 September, 2018.TasmaniaTamar Valley: Enjoy the seaside views of Tamar Valley at Peppers York Cove and experience one of Tasmania’s most sought after tourist destinations. Deluxe Hotel Rooms start from $149* per night. This offer includes a welcome bottle of house wine and a midday checkout. Valid for travel from until 30 September, 2018.South AustraliaAdelaide: Located in Adelaide’s thriving West End, the heart of the city’s thriving arts, dining and entertainment precincts, BreakFree Adelaide has Studio Rooms from $99* per night including Wi-Fi and a 12pm late check-out. Valid for travel from 23 March, 2018 until 31 May, 2018Adelaide: The Watson from $139* per night in a 1 Bedroom Balcony Suite including Wi-Fi, late check-out and parking. Valid for travel until 30 September, 2018.Western AustraliaPerth: Mantra on Hay provides a comfortable experience and a perfect retreat when exploring the Perth CBD. Stay in a spacious One Bedroom Apartment from $119* per night. Valid for travel until from 30 March, 2018 until 30 September, 2018.Nothern TerritoryDarwin: Mantra Pandanas is just minutes from the Smith Street Mall and offers fantastic views over Darwin Harbour and the city. Stay in a Hotel Room City View from $109* per night (Thursday to Monday). Valid for travel until 30 April, 2018.New ZealandChristchurch: Slow down after a busy day and enjoy all that BreakFree on Cashel has to offer, centrally located within the Christchurch culture hub. Stay in a City Urban Double Room from NZ$99* per night, including WiFi. Valid for travel from 1 May, 2018 until 31 August, 2018.HawaiiHonolulu: Ala Moana Hotel by Mantra is the perfect location to relax alongside Ala Moana Beach Park and shop-till-you-drop at the neighbouring Ala Moana Shopping Centre, the world’s largest open-air shopping mall. Stay in a City Mountain View Room, Kona Tower from US$149* per night (minimum two night stay – total cost US$298*). Valid for travel until 30 September, 2018.*Conditions apply, subject to availability. Valid for sale from 13 February, 2018 to 21 February, 2018. Block-out dates may apply. From rates advertised only available at selected properties.About Mantra GroupMantra Group is the leading Australian-based hotel and resort operator. Mantra Group’s portfolio consists of 136 properties with more than 23,000 rooms in properties under management, across Australia, New Zealand, Indonesia and Hawaii. Operating four well-known and trusted brands – Art Series, Peppers, Mantra and BreakFree – Mantra Group operates the second largest network of accommodation properties in Australia (by room number). The Group is positioned to offer both leisure and business style accommodation ranging from full-service city hotels and self-contained apartments to luxury resorts and retreats. The Group successfully listed on the ASX in June 2014 and in its first year as a public company was elevated to the ASX 200: www.mantragroup.com.au; www.mantrahotels.com; www.artserieshotels.com.au; www.peppers.com.au; www.mantra.com.au; www.breakfree.com.auSource = Mantra Group
In a move to boost tourist inflow to the state, Uttarakhand’s State Transport Authority (STA) has granted licences to five private players under ‘Rent a Motor Cycle Scheme’, which was launched by the Centre in 1997. The licences will allow the private players to rent bikes to travellers who wish to ride the vehicles on the hilly roads. Travellers can choose daily, weekly and even monthly rental plans.Additional Transport Commissioner, Sunita Singh, said, “Five applicants have been granted licences to run the business of renting motor cycles. The licences have been issued for Dehradun, Mussoorie, Rishikesh and Tehri. Along with boosting tourism, it will also increase the range of last-mile connectivity.”The permit will allow the rental service to offer two-wheelers, including high-end bikes such as Royal Enfield and Harley Davidson. The bikes available for rental will be commercially registered. It is not clear what the rental charges will be and whether they would vary depending on the service provider.According to Sandeep Saini, Assistant Regional Transport Officer (ARTO) Administration, Dehradun, under the scheme, two-wheelers will have a commercial registration but anyone with a private driving licence will be able to drive unlike in case of commercial vehicles for which a commercial driving licence is mandatory. Certain conditions have to be fulfilled by a permit holder before starting the business of renting of motor cycles for self-driven trips.
Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) India Chapter recently concluded its 4th Update & Outlook Meeting with the Ministry of Tourism for its members. Held at The Claridges, New Delhi, the meeting was addressed by Vinod Zutshi, Secretary and Suman Billa, Joint Secretary, Ministry of Tourism.Zutshi provided an exhaustive update on the progressive strides made by the Ministry to build on FTAs to India. FTAs in Q1 2016 were 10% higher than the previous year with forex earnings growing by 15.9% for the same period.As a game changer for Indian tourism, 300,000 Electronic Tourist Visas (eTVs) were issued in Q1 2016, much higher than the number last year. An average of 100,000 eTV arrivals is further expected every month. The eTV policy and procedure has undergone several reforms on an inter-ministerial platform. These include new dimensions which would cover eMedical Visa, increase in permissible stay from 30 to 60 days, eTV for MICE and eTV for Business Travellers.The events calendar for the current financial year that was shared with the membership was dotted with significant events related to tourism arrivals and infrastructure- the proposed Investor Summit in September, 2016 will be followed by the Buddhist Conclave in October. WTM will herald India as a Partner Country in 2016. 2017 will commence with The Global Travel Mart followed by the 1st DRV Convention in India and India will forge a partnership with ITB Berlin for 2018. A Visit India year might also be considered in the near future.
The Wahiba Sands in Eastern Oman, also called Sharqiya Sands, are a huge swathe of uninhabited land. Taking up 12,500 square kilometres the copper coloured dunes, where you can jump into a 4×4 and tear around them, provides a thrill of a lifetime. It is s an exciting way to plummet down the 300 feet high sandy hills.Source: BBC
Financial Exchange brand – EbixCash announced the launch of the Biggest Online Travel Sale (BOTS) on its Online Travel Agent (OTA) – Via.com. The eight-day sale will feature cashback on domestic and international airlines, special offers on top hotel chains and attractive deals on holiday packages from December 10-17, 2017 across Via.com’s desktop site, mobile site, Android and iOS app.Bhavik Vasa, Chief Growth Officer, EbixCash said, “This is the third edition of BOTS and we expect this to be the largest travel sale ever in terms of scale and bookings. The Christmas holiday period is traditionally a period of vacationing and travel for people across the country, and thus our holiday sale is targeted to maximise savings on travel and accommodations for our customers.”Via.com had previously run holiday sales offer in 2015 and 2016, both of which were hugely successful with the company registering 10x increase in traffic and 8x surge in transactions. This year, Via.com expects a 20x to 30x surge in traffic during the sale period.BOTS 2017 will be actively promoted through television ads on a number of creative mediums including Star Sports Television channel during the India-Sri Lanka one day and T20 cricket matches beginning this Sunday. It will be promoted on social media with the hashtag #VIABOTS.With over 110,000 distribution outlets and 8000 corporate clients, Via processes over 24.5 million transactions every year and is growing at a CAGR of 45% over the last three years.
Expedia group, in association with CAPA India, the region’s aviation advisory, research and knowledge practice, developed the latest ‘The inflecion point for India outbound travel’ report. It reveals that India has a huge latent market for leisure travel owing to the burgeoning middle class, rising disposable incomes, higher need and awareness around travel being pushed by millennials.The findings also reveal that India contributes to only 4.8 million leisure outbound trips. However, it is expected that by 2025, India will account for 13.9 million leisure departures, leading to 19.4 million Indian visitor arrivals overseas, with a major contribution from tier-II and III cities.Some measures like introduction of more non-stop connecting flights, delivering value for money and simplifying the visa registration processes are a few key steps which can encourage the outbound leisure market to reach its true potential in India, shared Simon Fiquet, General Manager, Southeast Asia and India, Expedia said.The report suggests that India has a promising potential, as only 30% of the total departures from India account for leisure travelling, which stands too small as compared to a global average of 53%The research indicates that there is significant and rapidly rising interest in overseas holidays from India. Also, the market is far more diverse and includes sophisticated segments with an ability and willingness to spend than most destinations realise. Similarly, there will be large numbers of first time travellers entering the international holiday market every year.“India comprises multiple and varied markets. This points to the need for airlines, tourism boards and travel companies to invest much more in understanding the Indian travel landscape, and to pursue a more segmented approach to product development and marketing in order to grow volumes,” said Binit Somaia, Director, South Asia, CAPA – Center for Aviation.
in Data, Government, Origination, Secondary Market, Servicing Share FHFA: HARP Volume for 2012 to Total 1M Fannie Mae First-Lien Mortgages Fixed-Rate Mortgage Freddie Mac HARP Home Equity Investors Lenders & Servicers Loan-to-Value Ratio Mortgage Debt Mortgage Rates Prepayments Refinance Service Providers 2012-10-17 Carrie Bay October 17, 2012 461 Views Nearly 99,000 homeowners refinanced their mortgages in August through the Home Affordable Refinance Program (HARP), according to a report released by the “”Federal Housing Finance Agency””:http://www.fhfa.gov (FHFA) this week.[IMAGE]The federal government’s HARP initiative, which is applicable for borrowers with loans owned by “”Fannie Mae””:http://www.fanniemae.com or “”Freddie Mac””:http://www.freddiemac.com, has put 618,217 homeowners into new mortgages with lower interest rates since the beginning of this year, when a broader group of borrowers were made eligible for the program.According to FHFA, HARP is on target to reach a million borrowers in 2012. The agency attributes the continued[COLUMN_BREAK]high volume of HARP refinances to record-low mortgage rates and program enhancements that included the elimination of its maximum loan-to-value (LTV) ratio limit.Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac loans refinanced through HARP accounted for nearly one-quarter of all refinances in August, 24 percent to be exact. In states hard-hit by the housing downturn├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├óÔé¼┼ô-Nevada, Arizona, and Florida├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├óÔé¼┼ô-HARP refinances represented nearly half or more of total refis during the month.HARP refinances for borrowers with LTV ratios greater than 105 percent accounted for more than 70 percent of HARP volume in Nevada, Arizona, and Florida and more than 60 percent of the HARP refinances in Idaho and California. Nationwide, LTV ratios above 105 percent characterized more than half of new HARP loans made in August.FHFA also noted in its report that nearly 18 percent of HARP refinances for underwater borrowers were for shorter-term 15- and 20-year mortgages in August. By reducing their mortgage terms, these borrowers will be able to build equity faster.Since the program’s inception in 2009, FHFA reports, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have financed more than 1.6 million loans through HARP.
While the March jobs report delivered disappointing numbers, the strength in construction employment offers encouragement, “”Freddie Mac””:http://www.freddiemac.com/ explained in its economic and housing outlook report for April. [IMAGE] In March, the economy “”added””:https://themreport.com/articles/economy-adds-88k-jobs-in-march-unemployment-rate-down-to-76-2013-04-05 just 88,000 jobs, while the unemployment rate remained stubbornly high at 7.6 percent. Adding to the dismal report is the fact that the decline in the unemployment rate was largely driven by a decrease in labor force participation, not employment growth, the GSE noted. However, construction jobs have been “”accelerating”” in recent months, with net construction job growth representing 15 percent of all job gains over the last six months, the report stated. [COLUMN_BREAK] “”Until aggregate unemployment decreases substantially we will not experience robust growth. Construction employment is showing signs of life, which should help to improve the overall macroeconomic picture,”” said Frank Nothaft, Freddie Mac VP and chief economist.The latest “”report””:https://themreport.com/articles/multi-family-boosts-march-housing-starts-permits-slip-2013-04-16 on housing starts showed starts were up 47 percent year-over-year in March, pointing to further growth in construction employment. Starts also rose above the 1 million mark for the first time since June 2008. Adding to that are record low mortgage rates, which are expected to reinforce the growth in starts. “”Supported by low mortgage rates we expect more homes to be built in 2013 than in any year since 2007. This increased construction employment should continue to help bring down the overall unemployment rate,”” Nothaft added. Low mortgage rates also support a forecast for stronger originations. Freddie Mac projects residential originations, including single-family and apartments, to be nearly $2 trillion in 2013. Refinances are expected to increase by $100 billion in 2014 as a result of the extension of the Home Affordable Refinance Program to 2015.Freddie Mac’s outlook was issued on the same day as “”Fannie Mae’s””:https://themreport.com/articles/fannie-mae-housing-only-beacon-as-economy-grows-dark-2013-04-18, which took a negative view of economic growth in the face of March’s difficulties. in Data, Origination Freddie Mac Sees Strength in Construction as Other Sectors Flounder Agents & Brokers Attorneys & Title Companies Freddie Mac HARP Homebuilders Housing Starts Investors Jobs Lenders & Servicers Mortgage Rates Service Providers Unemployment 2013-04-18 Esther Cho April 18, 2013 426 Views Share
Resurgence in Refinances Lifts Application Volume Share The “”Mortgage Bankers Association””:http://mba.org/default.htm (MBA) reported on Wednesday an increase in mortgage application volume to start October.[IMAGE]According to data in MBA’s Weekly Mortgage Applications Survey, loan application volume increased 1.3 percent [COLUMN_BREAK](seasonally adjusted) for the week ending October 4. On an unadjusted basis, applications rose about 1 percent.After tumbling for most of the summer, MBA’s Refinance Index increased 3 percent week-over-week, rising to its highest level in almost two months. The refinance share of total mortgage activity was 64 percent, up from 63 percent.While refinances picked up, the Purchase Index slipped, falling 1 percent (both adjusted and unadjusted) from the week prior. Compared to last year, the Purchase Index was down 6 percent–the second straight week of yearly declines.At the same time, mortgage interest rates fell with the start of the still ongoing government shutdown. The average contract interest rate for a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage was 4.42 percent compared to 4.49 percent a week earlier. Points increased to 0.44 from 0.34 (including the origination fee). Agents & Brokers Attorneys & Title Companies Investors Lenders & Servicers Mortgage Applications Mortgage Bankers Association Purchase Loans Refinance Service Providers 2013-10-09 Tory Barringer in Origination October 9, 2013 444 Views
Unemployment,Full Housing Recovery Hinges on Young Adults Getting Jobs While the housing market is showing some signs of promise, a few major indicators continue to lag, according to the latest “”Trulia Housing Barometer.””:http://trends.truliablog.com/2013/12/housing-barometer-winter-2013/ Prices and sales are working their way back to “”normal,”” while employment among young adults and housing construction remain sluggish. [IMAGE]””Trulia””:http://www.trulia.com/ tracks five market indicators as part of its re-launched Housing Barometer: home prices, home sales, delinquencies and foreclosures, construction starts, and employment among young adults ages 25 to 34. Trulia added young adult employment to its barometer because the demographic is “”a key age group for household formation and first-time homeownership””–and it is this indicator that is furthest from normal, presenting a major obstacle for the housing recovery. At 74.9 percent, the employment rate for those ages 25 to 34 is just 23 percent of the way back to its normal rate of 79.3 percent, according to Trulia. “”The housing market cannot fully recover until young adults get back to work,”” said Jed Kolko, chief economist at Trulia, in his report. New home starts are doing a little better in terms of normalization than young adult employment, but they are still lagging–just 36 percent of the way back to their normal level. From August through October, new home starts totaled 870,000, compared to a normal level of 1.5 million. The good news is that construction permits are on the rise, pointing to a future pickup in housing starts, according to Trulia. [COLUMN_BREAK]Home prices “”win the ‘most improved’ award over the past year,”” Trulia stated in its Housing Barometer report. After an ├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├àÔÇ£astounding recovery├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├é┬Ø this year, prices are 71 percent of their way back to their normal level from their bottom during the recession, up from just 16 percent a year ago, according to Trulia. Home prices are 4 percent undervalued as of the fourth quarter of this year.Home sales have made even more improvement overall, now 79 percent back to normal, up from 51 percent last year. Trulia no longer includes distressed sales in its existing home sales measure but notes, “”While existing and pending home sales have slipped in recent months, distressed sales–foreclosures and short sales–account for much of the drop.”” Delinquencies and foreclosures stand in the middle of Trulia’s Housing Barometer at 59 percent of the way back to normal. The delinquency and foreclosure rate is 8.92 percent as of October, according to Trulia. Florida and “”several other states with long foreclosure processes,”” account for much of the nation’s foreclosure and distressed inventory. In addition to its national barometer, Trulia observes the nation’s 100 largest metro markets. Ten markets are now all the way or almost all the way back to normal, meaning prices are less than 2 percent undervalued and permits are less than 10 percent below normal. Those markets include: Austin, Dallas, and Houston, Texas; Orange County, San Francisco, and San Jose, California; Denver, Colorado; Seattle, Washington; Nashville, Tennessee; and Bethesda, Maryland. It is notable that these are not the markets with the highest price gains over the past year. “”[T]he markets with the biggest price increases in 2013 are those that suffered the biggest price declines after the housing bubble burst,”” according to Trulia, and many of these markets are still undervalued. Instead, the 10 markets that are normal or nearly normal did not suffer the worst of the housing crisis and have experienced “”relatively strong job growth”” recently, Trulia stated. in Data December 13, 2013 466 Views Agents & Brokers Attorneys & Title Companies Delinquency Home Prices Home Sales Housing Starts Investors Jobs Lenders & Servicers Service Providers Trulia 2013-12-13 Krista Franks Brock Share
Florida Housing Resists First-Quarter Freeze May 13, 2014 455 Views Florida Realtors Home Prices Home Sales Housing Supply 2014-05-13 Tory Barringer While this year’s first quarter was a chilly one for much of the country, the same can’t be said for Florida, where temperatures—and housing market conditions—remained fair.“The first three months of 2014 show a strong housing market in Florida, with diminishing distressed property sales,” said Sherri Meadows, 2014 Florida Realtors president. “More jobs are being created, putting more Florida residents back to work, and our population continues to increase. All of these factors are bolstering the state’s economy and providing a solid foundation for a strong housing market.”True to its name, the Sunshine State saw home sales continue to warm throughout the first few months of 2014, coming to a total of 50,251, up 2.3 percent over the same time last year.Sales were helped in part by a recovery in single-family inventory levels, which were up 12 percent from Q1 2013, according to Meadows. With the boost, single-family months’ supply came to 5.7, just under the six month level experts largely regard as a balancing point between buyers and sellers.Meanwhile, the statewide median sales price for single-family existing homes was $168,000, an increase of 9.1 percent year-over-year. Sellers—whether in the single-family or townhouse market—received on average more than 92 percent of their original listing price, Meadows said. Share in Data, Headlines, News
Go East For the Nation’s Hottest ZIP Codes Share Days on Market homes Listing Prices Realtor.com ZIP codes 2018-07-30 Radhika Ojha in Daily Dose, Data, Featured, News July 30, 2018 748 Views From homes gone within a week of listing, to home prices that command upward of $800,000, some of the hottest housing markets in the second quarter are in ZIP codes that one wouldn’t traditionally associate with a hot market and they’re all out east. According to Realtor.com’s data, six of the top 10 hottest ZIP codes in Q2 were in cities on the East Coast of the country.Every quarter, Realtor.com analyzes data of 16,000 ZIP codes on its Market Hotness Index. It tracks the time it takes for properties to sell and how frequently homes are viewed.In Q2, 49505 in Grand Rapids, Michigan topped the list. With a median listing price of $160,000 homes in this area flew off the market within seven days of being listed, the data indicated, while properties in this ZIP were viewed 4.25 times more than the national average. Of the top five markets, this ZIP was the only one seven days on the market. The days on the market for the other four ZIPs in the top five was at 12 days, Realtor.com said.With a median home price of $874,000, the ZIP code 02139 in Cambridge, Massachusetts was among the most expensive markets among the top five, but with properties here viewed 4.64 times more than the national average, it came in second on the list. 76022 in Bedford, Texas; 14223 in Buffalo, New York; and 04103 in Portland, Maine rounded off the top 5.Only two western cities featured among the top 10 in this list. One was 94546 in Castro Valley, California, which was ranked seventh with homes in this area costing an average of $816,000 and remaining for an average of 15 days on the market. 80922 in Colorado Springs, Colorado was ranked ninth on the list with homes here costing $301,000. They remained on the market for an average of 14 days and were viewed 3.17 times versus the U.S. national average.Other ZIP codes among the top 10 were based in Rochester, New York; Overland Park, Kansas; and Boise, Idaho.Click here to view the complete listing of the hottest ZIP codes in the second quarter.