120 crew of the Queen Mary II assembled yesterday to witness the first Australian photo of the cruise ship crew. The photo profiles all of the crew including gentlemen dancing hosts and housekeepers to the kennel master. The photo was taken to celebrate the cruise liner’s tenth birthday. In the boat’s ten year lifespan, it has sailed the equivalent of three times to the moon and back and served 2.7 million scones. “Australia has become Queen Mary 2’s home away from home and I can’t think of anywhere more special than Sydney to celebrate her tenth birthday and in such spectacular fashion,” Queen Mary II Captain Kevin Oprey said. Source = ETB News, T.N.
Travellers departing Sydney Airport will now be able to access tailored information about hotels, restaurants and attractions at their flight’s destination through the airport’s new partnership with TripAdvisor.The partnership is the first of its kind for an international airport and allows travellers to access destination guides and a booking widget on the airport’s website, mobile website and departure gate lounge screens.The destination guides feature editorial content as well as TripAdvisor user reviews to enable travellers to plan and book the perfect trip.Sydney Airport managing director and chief executive officer Kerrie Mather said technology is vital in driving a great customer experience at Sydney Airport.“We’re thrilled to partner with TripAdvisor to offer a world-class airport experience and help travellers plan their journey from Sydney Airport to destinations around the world,” Ms Mather said.The partnership also utilises the airport’s modern digital signage technology at gate lounges enabling departing travellers to sort and select the most relevant information for their trip.TripAdvisor director of partnerships, APAC, Aaron Hung said the company is delighted to be partnering with Sydney Airport.“TripAdvisor offers trusted advice from travellers, and a wide variety of travel choices and planning features to accompany a traveller through the entire travel cycle,” Mr Hung said.“This collaboration with Sydney Airport employs innovative technology to deliver highly relevant information to help travellers plan and book the perfect trip.”The booking widget on the airport’s website will feature TripAdvisor’s hotel price comparison to help travellers compare hotel rates and book suitable accommodation.Source = ETB Travel News: Brittney Levinson
Star Cruises, the leading cruise line in the Asia Pacific, announced today that its flagship vessel, SuperStar Virgo, will embark on an epic 48 day voyage, visiting a number of exotic ports throughout Southeast Asia and Australia. Scheduled to set sail on 13 November 2015 from Hong Kong, SuperStar Virgo will take advantage of summer in the southern waters before returning on 31 December 2015.“As a pioneer in the Asia Pacific cruise industry, we have seen the appetite for longer cruise itineraries grow in popularity with our Asian and Australian cruisers in recent years and have responded by offering larger scale journeys for our guests,” said Mr. Braydon Holland, Vice President, Sales, Star Cruises. “We are thrilled to have Australia play such an important role in this inaugural itinerary with more than half the schedule showcasing some of her best cities. Marking her first visit back downunder in 10 years, we want to reacquaint Australia’s seasoned cruisers with our flagship SuperStar Virgo and our acclaimed Asian hospitality again.”In addition to local Australian destinations, passengers aboard SuperStar Virgo will be able to visit favourite locales as Cambodia, China, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam with stops in over 20 ports including Bali, Bangkok, Jakarta, Krakatoa, Ho Chi Minh City, Singapore and more during the full 48 day tour.For those without the luxury of time, the voyage can also be broken up into various shorter segments such as Hong Kong/Singapore/Fremantle, or Fremantle/Sydney via Adelaide, Melbourne and Tasmania, or Sydney/Hong Kong, to provide even more holiday choices.Whichever itinerary chosen, guests will have the opportunity to savour the myriad flavours, sights and sounds of the region though exciting land excursion experiences during this exceptional voyage of discovery.Operating in the Asia Pacific since 1993, Star Cruises also has the experience to deliver the best “home away from home” environment on board SuperStar Virgo.Guests can indulge in an extensive selection of dining, retail, and lifestyle facilities to satisfy their every need. With over 13 restaurants and bars serving Chinese, Japanese, Italian, Indian, local and international cuisines and beverages, culinary highlights will include special, local signature dishes skillfully prepared by award-winning chefs to reflect the multi-cultural bounty of the various destinations dotting the itinerary.A variety of entertainment, leisure, recreation and retail options will also provide guests with a rich assortment of activities to enhance their journey across the open waters.Accommodation options on board SuperStar Virgo range from a dazzling selection of premium suites to staterooms with balconies and ocean views, and budget friendly inside cabins – all spaciously laid out and furnished to offer total comfort with a touch of elegance and luxury.Star Cruises Source = Star Cruises
APT owner Geoff McGeary at Magellan Members DinnerThe Magellan Travel Group’s National Conference continued on Friday with a full day of workshop and showcase sessions before delegates kicked up their heels at the Magellan Gala and Awards Dinner at the Sofitel Melbourne on Collins.The day began with a presentation by the Australian Federation of Travel Agents (AFTA) chief executive officer Jayson Westbury who addressed key issues and topics including the AFTA Travel Accreditation Scheme (ATAS), which launched 1 July 2015.Mr Westbury said AFTA deliberately chose to communicate the brand in a more cost effective way through social media.AFTA CEO Jayson Westbury“I’ve been taken aback at just how powerful the process of marketing through social can be and how incredible you can take a brand like ATAS and have the impact on consumers the way in which we have so quickly, so readily and not for anywhere near the sort of money you might think we need to spend,” he said.Roy Morgan Research CEO Michele Levine spoke about current trends in travel and tourism, describing the 21st century as “new era for tourism powered by globalisation, disrupted by technology”.“Technology we’ve always seen as the enabler, we now recognise that it’s a major disrupter – it’s taken on a life of its own,” Ms Levine said.“We’re actually seeing fragmentation of the [tourism] industry. The organisations that used to have a big broad coverage are now breaking up into little pieces and recombining in different ways. And what that means is that the profit margins are going in all sorts of directions.”However, she warned the audience not to get trapped into thinking everything is digital.“The real dollars are now with the older age group, the baby boomers…and we all know they’re still well, and they are still where the dollars are.“We have to be absolutely focussed on who is our target audience…really understand them.“And if that means you talk to them through the Herald Sun travel pages, that’s where you should put your money.”“Now is the right time,” Ms Levine continued.“It’s time to put all of our efforts behind tourism from an Australian economy perspective and I very much see tourism and travel as about the economy and jobs for Australia.”After a workshop session, delegates attended Magellan’s first ever Preferred Suppliers Showcase where at least 60 suppliers had the opportunity to exhibit and meet with Magellan member agents.Magellan CEO Andrew Macfarlane said the showcase was created in response to Members’ feedback.“After our last conference there was overwhelming feedback that both our Member Agents and our Supplier Partners wanted more interaction at conference – the Preferred Suppliers Showcase was designed to facilitate that and our members relished the opportunity of one on one time with our key suppliers,” Mr Macfarlane said.The event culminated in the Gala and Awards Dinner held in the Sofitel’s Grand Ballroom, where a range of awards were presented.Brooke Crees of Champagne Travel in WA was named Rookie of the Year, Diane Rawlings of where2travel in VIC was named Leisure Travel Consultant of the Year and Belinda Ward of Spencer Travel Group in NSW was named Corporate Travel Consultant of the Year.It was also announced that the Magellan National Conference will be held in Auckland next year. Magellan Travel GroupSource = ETB Travel News: Brittney Levinson
Artist Room Geisha GoldfishIn the midst of Shidome, Tokyo’s media city, is a hidden gem of a hotel that sets itself apart by incorporating contemporary art and design throughout the entire property.After two successful art exhibits in the Atrium, Park Hotel Tokyo took its ART (Atrium, Restaurant, Travel) concept to another level with a new initiative: Artist in Hotel.Artist Room SumoOn level 31 of the hotel are 18 unique Artist Rooms, each designed and decorated by talented artists from all over the world.The Artist in Hotel project launched in 2013 and is a take on the popular ‘artist in residence’ concept.Park Hotel Tokyo invites an artist to stay in the hotel to absorb the atmosphere of a particular room before transforming it into a work of art.The artist paints directly onto the walls and ceiling with an incredible level of detail and artistic flair.Each art room portrays a particular Japanese theme, including ‘sumo’, ‘zen’, ‘bamboo’ and ‘dragon’, which is explained in a small plaque inside the room.The art continues into the bathroomOne of the most striking, colourful rooms is Geisha Goldfish, the 12th room in the series painted by Aki Narita.Over seven months, Ms Narita hand painted red goldfish on the walls and ceilings, creating the illusion that the guestroom is an aquarium.“When I looked out of the window, I felt like I was inside an aquarium,” Ms Narita said.The hotel’s fusion of art extends beyond level 31 to the Atrium, which spans from the 25th to the 34th floor and is flooded with natural light from a skylight above.Currently, during Japan’s autumn season, the Atrium is home to a unique exhibit titled ‘The world of Koji Nakano – kneading, molding, dusting and laying down’.Artist Room ZodiacPark Hotel Tokyo describes the exhibit as “somehow charming, somehow absurd, somehow crazy” and invites not only hotel guests but the public as well to enjoy lunch, tea, or a cocktail surrounded by Koji Nakano’s original artworks.After receiving very positive feedback from guests, Park Hotel Tokyo has decided to turn the entire 31st floor into an Artist Floor.By 2016, the floor’s 33 rooms will be uniquely designed Artists Rooms and two of these will be set aside to become an executive lounge; a special benefit to guests staying on the Artist Floor.Additionally, the hotel also plans to host private viewing sessions of the Artist Rooms and hotel art fairs to further embrace and showcase Japanese aesthetics to the world.It is no surprise Park Hotel Tokyo is affiliated with Design Hotels, a collection of 270 independent hotels that each incorporate genuine hospitality, cultural authenticity and though-provoking design.Artist Room Geisha Goldfish Book your stay at Park Hotel TokyoSource = ETB Travel News: Brittney Levinson
Source = Emirates Emiratesbook and fly here Fly with Me Animal Travel Buddy range of toysEmirates launches new toys for young travellersEmirates has released its newest range of toys, the Fly with Me Animals for infants and toddlers and specially designed Fly with Me Lonely Planet activity bags for those aged between six and 12 years old. The new toys are now available on board, ahead of the upcoming holiday season.Emirates’ Fly with Me Animals is a new take on its signature kid’s products, replacing the popular Fly with Me Monsters. The toys are designed for infants and children up to eight years old and are meant to be both entertaining and educational. Each character represents a specific region and will help children learn more about its habitat.The first four animals to make their debut on board are: Lewis the Lion from Africa, Peek U the Panda from China, Enrico the Monkey from Latin America, and Leila the Camel from the Middle East. Four new Fly with Me Animals will be introduced every six months.The animals will be featured across three product lines: the Travel Buddy which comes with a plastic toggle allowing the toy to be hung in the car, on a pram or in the cot; the Carry Buddy, a dual purpose toy and blanket; as well as the Magnetic Sketcher for young ones to express themselves creatively.The Fly With Me magazine on board has also been revamped to feature the animals. The activity-filled publication is produced exclusively for Emirates’ young flyers.Fly with Me Lonely Planet bags“Over 4 million children travel with us each year, which makes young travellers among our most important customers. We know how challenging it can be for parents to keep their children occupied and happy on flights. We’ve ensured that every aspect of the travel experience is catered for, from toys and kids’ entertainment to special meals on board, and even family check-in areas. We are committed to ensuring a smooth travel experience for families,” said Adel Al Redha, Emirates’ Executive Vice President and Chief Operations Officer.In addition to the Fly with Me Animals, Emirates has partnered with Lonely Planet to create activity bags containing travel content tailored for children. The Fly with Me Lonely Planet products come in four variations – two specially designed Kid’s Retro-Style Rucksacks, and two Kid’s Cool Bags. These products will be refreshed every 12 months.Each bag features different content to encourage a sense of adventure in young travellers. These include fold-out world maps, travel journals, plastic drink bottles, cards with world facts and various educational books exclusive to Emirates.Families can look forward to even more enhancements by the end of the year. This includes a new range of kid’s greeting cards to celebrate special occasions on board, and refreshed photo cards for cabin crew to capture special moments with an instant Polaroid camera.Meal times on board have also been given extra attention. The special meals offered to children aged between two and 12 years old will be served on newly designed meal trays featuring the iconic Emirates cabin crew and pilots.Children travelling on Emirates will be kept occupied with its award-winning inflight entertainment system, ice Digital Widescreen, which features over 25 dedicated kids TV channels and over 40 classic Disney movies. They will be given specially designed smaller headphones that are comfortable and colourful with great sound quality.On the ground, Emirates continues its exceptional family offering including a dedicated family check-in area in Dubai and priority boarding for families across all airports. In Emirates lounges across the network, the Fly with Me Animals will also be featured in two other unique product lines. The Cuddle Buddy, a soft comfort blanket for infants, and Fly with Me Animal Tin Cases with magnets and activity sheets for toddlers. Unique Fly with Me Lonely Planet cases will also be given out to older children. These toys and activity kits are in addition to the dedicated kids play area which feature arcade quality games and playstation terminals in both First Class and Business Class lounges in Dubai.
Finishing stretch of the Ironman at MooloolabaA new campaign promoting the Sunshine Coast as the major events capital of regional Australia was unveiled yesterday by Visit Sunshine Coast and Sunshine Coast Council.“The World is Coming…” promotional campaign, will showcase the massive calendar of events coming to the Sunshine Coast in 2016 and into 2017, the 50th anniversary of the naming of the Sunshine Coast.Over the next year, the Sunshine Coast is scheduled to host 60 major sporting, music and lifestyle events, estimated to attract 150,000 visitors from over 40 countries and contribute about AU$100 million to the region’s economy – almost double last year’s figures.“This year the Sunshine Coast is set to host the largest ever portfolio of events held in the region,” said CEO of Visit Sunshine Coast, Simon Ambrose.“World-class sporting events such as the Ironman 70.3 World Championships and World Outrigger Sprint Championships will place the focus on the Sunshine Coast’s magnificent aquatic attractions, while the Queensland Garden Expo, Caloundra Music Festival, Maroochy Music and Visual Arts Festival, Wanderlust, and a new-format Noosa Food & Wine Festival, will highlight the diversity of our events calendar.“Research shows that 69 per cent of people who come to a destination for an event return for a holiday, so events and meetings are a fundamental component of the Sunshine Coast’s tourism growth strategy.“’The World is Coming…’ campaign is the perfect lead-up to our 50th anniversary celebrations in 2017, and Visit Sunshine Coast is working closely with the Sunshine Coast Events Board to attract a series of major events to the region throughout the anniversary year.”Geoff Meyer (CEO Ironman Asia Pacific), Caroline Steffen (world champion triathlete) and Simon Ambrose (CEO Visit Sunshine Coast) Major Events 201611 to 13 March: Mooloolaba Triathlon Festival (est. 11,300 guests)16 to 24 April: Australian Surf Life Saving Championships (est. 22,000 guests)5 to 15 May: Va’a World Outrigger Sprint Championships (est. 5000 guests)8-10 July: Queensland Garden Expo (est. 18,000 guests)4 September: Ironman 70.3 World Championships (est. 9600 guests)8 to 15 October: Australasian Police and Emergency Services Games (est. 7400 guests)30 September to 3 October: Caloundra Music Festival (est. 16,000 guests)Throughout year: 10 Cruise ship visits: (est. 6000 guests) Visit Sunshine CoastSource = Visit Sunshine Coast
Marriott Executive Apartments named Thailand’s leading serviced apartment brandMarriott Executive Apartments named Thailand’s leading serviced apartment brandMarriott Executive Apartments have been named as Thailand’s Leading Serviced Apartment Brand for 2016. The annual award was voted by worldwide travel and tourism professionals and established to recognize, acknowledge and reward excellence in the travel and tourism industry, which the organization has demonstrated throughout the year.Marriott Executive Apartments is a luxury serviced apartment brand with premier hotel services designed for travelers staying in the city for a day, a month or more and provides upscale residential living combined with personalized hotel services all backed by the confidence and assurance of Marriott.Everything at Marriott Executive Apartments is designed to ensure all guests maximum comfort and convenience. Every day, the travelers are catered with a sumptuous breakfast from all over. The guests can order lunch in or contact our concierge to plan an evening excursion. Other services include a grocery delivery, laundry service and housekeeping. The team of responsive and alert associates is at your service around the clock, seven days a week.With 4 Marriott Executive Apartments in Bangkok, each in a unique location, we are ideally located to make your stay in Bangkok perfect. Each of the four properties in Bangkok, feature large 1,2 and 3 bedroom suites, with separate living areas, fully equipped gourmet kitchens, washing machines, dryers and large bathrooms with separate bathtubs and rain showers.Located in Langsuan-Chidlom district with convenient access to famous shopping malls, hospitals, embassies, local restaurant, and BTS Skytrain Stations, the Marriott Executive Apartment Mayfair – Bangkok was opened in 2003 with 160 suites ranging from 54 – 186 sqm. The rooms feature hard wood floors, high ceiling and natural lighting. Facilities include a restaurant, bar, fitness center, spa, kid’s corner and rooftop saltwater pool featuring outdoor seating and panoramic city views.Located in the center of Bangkok’s vibrant business district Sathorn, Marriott Executive Apartments Sathorn Vista opened in 2008 offering 186 all-suite units from 1 to 3 bedrooms. Guests can enjoy the convenience of a full service Bangkok 5-star hotel, with facilities including MoMo Café, outdoor saltwater pool, fitness, games room and more.Situated near major offices, department stores and most famous landmarks, Marriott Executive Apartments Sukhumvit Park is the 3rd property in Thailand which opened in 2009. With 300 suites, facilities include Bistro M, the award-winning restaurant, 25m outdoor saltwater pool, onsite spa, onsite David Leadbetter Golf Indoor Academy with the worlds most advanced golf-simulator technology as well as a free tuk tuk shuttle to the BTS sky train station. In addition to this, 6 meeting rooms are available with a professional Event Manager to serve your needs.The Marriott Executive Apartments Bangkok Sukhumvit Thonglor was opened in 2013 with 74 suites, complemented by 24-hour service and security. Located in the trendiest side of Bangkok and next to Thonglor BTS sky train station, this Marriott Executive Apartments is within the Bangkok Marriott Hotel Sukhumvit tower, offering full service 5-star hotel amenities including 4 restaurants outlets with an award-winning Octave Rooftop Lounge & Bar, an outdoor swimming pool, kids club, fitness, spa, grand ballroom, full fledge meeting rooms and many more. Marriott Executive Apartmentsclick here to book an apartmentAbout Marriott Executive ApartmentsMarriott Executive Apartments (MEA) are international, upscale serviced apartments designed for executive expats staying 30+ nights when traveling to key international gateway cities on a temporary assignment or relocation. The brand offers studios to three-bedroom apartments, all with complete gourmet kitchens and fully furnished with plenty of space for living, working and relaxing. Marriott currently offers over 20 properties in 16 countries outside the United States with a strong pipeline in the Middle East and Asia.Source = Marriott Executive Apartments
TravelManagers’ Charity Golf Day raises $10,000 for Love Your Sister The TravelManagers charity golf champions! First place winners (left to right) Wolfgang Wicher, PTM Mark Devers, Samuel Johnson (Love Your Sister), George Lowrie, Ben TaplinTravelManagers’ Charity Golf Day raises $10,000 for Love Your SisterNow in its third year, the TravelManagers’ charity golf day was without doubt, it’s most successful yet. The spectacular Mornington Golf Club on Victoria’s Mornington Peninsula was again centre stage, showcasing another fantastic event this year with just over $10,000 being raised in support of Samuel and Connie Johnson‘s charity Love Your Sister.The Globus team getting into the spirit of the day at their sponsored holeLove Your Sister is a not for profit organisation founded by the Johnson siblings in support of breast cancer research. Connie is 35 years old and has terminal cancer. Driven by Samuel for the love of his sister, he has a goal to raise ten million dollars to support the funding of the Connie Johnson Breast Cancer laboratory at the Garvan Research Foundation and general cancer research.TravelManagers’ Kellie Browning, Business Partnership Manager for Victoria has organised the charity event from its inception and was completely overwhelmed by the amount of funds raised at this year’s event.“The funds raised from the day well and truly exceeded all expectations – our last years’ donation was $4,350 to Cancer Council which we thought was fantastic. To raise over $10,000 this year is simply incredible.”Personal travel managers, their clients, preferred suppliers and the national partnership office team all participated in the golf day.“We are so lucky to have such a supportive TravelManagers family and strong relationships with partner suppliers who were happy to support and raise money for a great cause. Unfortunately cancer touches so many lives, everyone knows someone who has been affected by cancer. It was such an amazing day, full of emotion as this event provided a way for everybody to feel that they were able to give something back and also have fun networking with clients, suppliers, colleagues and family and friends.”Personal travel managers Carolyn Pitt, Andrea Friend, Naomi Liss and Luky Wilson manning the ‘betting hole’The tournament consisted of teams of four playing Ambrose style golf over 18 holes. The golf day was very relaxed and enjoyed by 76 participants – 19 teams of four.With players mainly from Victoria, there was a national partnership office team and personal travel managers’ golfing enthusiasts Ken Simpson, representative from Caloundra in Queensland and Neil Saunders, representative from Glengowrie in South Australia again took part.“The TravelManagers golf day is such a highlight and something I genuinely look forward to each year. Playing a good game of golf is appealing but it’s the opportunity to chat to our local industry suppliers and spend quality time with clients in a relaxed and informal setting that I find most enjoyable. Raising significant funds to an extremely worthwhile charity is just the icing on the cake,” says Saunders.TravelManagers with the help of Allianz Global Assistance provided egg and bacon breakfast rolls, which were a huge hit especially for the early 9am shotgun starters.Members from the national partnership office, Victorian based personal travel managers as well as Melanie Whyte from Tasmania spent the day supporting the sponsored holes, driving golf carts selling refreshments and raffle tickets. In addition there was a betting hole on the 10th hole with four to one odds, a swear jar at every drinks station and Chirping Bird Winery again provided wine tasting. All funds raised went directly to the charity.“For something new this year we included breakfast and lunch into the ticket price and catered refreshment stations on four supplier sponsored holes where players could buy water, soft drink, beer and champagne. This created a great opportunity for suppliers to network with PTMs and their clients and I think the refreshments really helped to improve some players’ game!” says Browning.Samuel Johnson congratulates second place winners Stewart Edgar, Michael Gazal (NPO), Roger Aldons (Ben Vercoe had to leave before presentation)A real highlight for many was meeting Samuel Johnson.“Samuel attended part of the golf day where he spent time mingling with guests and captivated everyone talking about his love for his sister and their charity goals of raising ten million dollars.”Johnson was involved in the prize draws and ironically drew out the name of an extremely deserving winner of the major prize raffle, a trip for two to London courtesy of Royal Brunei.“Chris Pasin was planning to play in one of the golf teams but unfortunately he had to withdraw as the week before he himself was diagnosed with cancer. Chris, on medication and attached to an IV drip managed to come for a short time, where he had the chance to chat to Samuel. Chris had already left when Samuel pulled out his winning raffle ticket but Samuel was able to relay his story and there simply wasn’t a dry eye in the house. Everyone thought Chris was a truly deserving winner,” says Browning.Although no one won Wild Earth Travel’s 12 night Melanesia Cruise for hitting a hole in one, there was significant support from suppliers providing on the day prizes.Along with prizes for first and second in the competition, sponsors also provided prizes for raffles and in categories that included nearest the pin, straightest drive and longest drive.Special thanks go to Garuda Indonesia, Driveaway Holidays, Nexus Holidays, Amadeus, Allianz Global Assistance, APT Luxury Touring & Cruising, Insider Journeys, Lufthansa Group, Sunlover Holidays, Cox and Kings, Short Stays, Collette Tours, Scenic Luxury Cruises & Tours, Silversea, Drummond Golf, Fiji Tourism, Chirping Bird Winery, Royal Brunei Airlines, Jetstar Airlines, Parker Travel Collection, Parkroyal Melbourne Airport Hotel, Mornington Golf Club, Royal Caribbean Cruises, Holland America Line, On the Go Tours and Wild Earth Travel.It is well known that business is often done on the golf course and for Michael Gazal, TravelManagers Executive General Manager their annual charity golf day proved no exception.“We are so grateful to our partner suppliers for their generosity with prizes and also their support of TravelManagers and our personal travel managers. It is these types of events that allow our personal travel managers and clients to spend time with suppliers in a relaxed and informal setting. Without this support, the day would not have been the success it was.”Browning says planning for the 2018 annual golf event is already well underway.“We’ve had such fabulous feedback from everyone who attended and we already have people putting their hand up to take part next year. With an increase in participants and the ability to raise significant funds for Love Your Sister made this a really rewarding and a win-win event.”For more information or to speak to someone confidentially about TravelManagers please contact Suzanne Laister on 1800 019 599.About TravelManagers TravelManagers operates in all Australian States and is a wholly owned subsidiary of House of Travel, Australasia’s largest independent travel company which has a forecast turnover of $1.5 billion for 2015. TravelManagers is a sister company to Hoot Holidays, also owned by House of Travel, and has more than 500 personal travel managers throughout Australia with a dedicated support team at the company’s national partnership office in Sydney. TravelManagers places all customer money in a dedicated and audited Client Trust Account which is separate from the general business accounts, ensuring client funds are only used for client purchases. Source = TravelManagers
All proceeds go toward saving lives.FIRST PRIZE – valued at $3,920A holiday to Bali for a family of four (2 adults and 2 children under 12), staying at one of four LUXURY, private ‘Kid Friendly Villas’.SECOND PRIZE – valued at $600Apple iPad Air 2, 32GB Wi-Fi.THIRD PRIZE – valued at $250Coles/Myer voucher Heard the news? Senator Derryn Hinch has supported legislation to stop convicted child sex offenders from leaving the country. See the story below. How did he do it? With the help of Project Karma. Who helped Project Karma?The PEOPLE of the Australian Travel Industry. You helped enact legislation which will help rescue vulnerable children and change their lives for the better because you have supported Project KarmaAs a director of Project Karma, I’d like to extend my personal thanks, and to see if I can help you help us.We are running a Project Karma Raffle; buy some tickets and roomsXML will buy you more tickets to the same value to double your chances to win a prize. Double the Karma with roomsXML Project Karma & roomsXML Support Vulnerable Children & Win Big Double the Karma with roomsXML Step 1. Simply visit: https://www.rafflelink.com.au/karmaTickets are priced at $10 each OR 5 tickets for $30 10 tickets for $55 15 tickets for $75Step 2. Send your receipt to firstname.lastname@example.org and they will double your chance of winning by buying on your behalf tickets to equal value and assigning those tickets over to you.You buy 10 tickets for $55, email the receipt, they will logon, buy 10 tickets for $55 and send them to you.They win… You win. Go on, double the Karma, buy a raffle ticket, get on board !To Educate yourself on the amazing work done by Project Karma visit http://www.projectkarma.org.au/ On behalf of Project Karma and the kids from South East Asia we are trying to save, thank you. Mark Luckey MD, roomsXML roomsXML.comconnect today roomsXML.comdiscover more here Source = roomsXML
Cairns secures landmark year-round China flightsChina Southern Airlines will operate three flights a week direct from Guangzhou to Cairns following a landmark agreement set to pump $90 million into the Tropical North.Tourism Minister Kate Jones said the new flights were the first secured through the Palaszczuk Government’s Connecting with Asia fund.“With the support of the Palaszczuk Government, China Southern Airlines will fly the first-ever year-round service by a Chinese airline into Cairns,” Ms Jones said.“In the first year we expect these flights to bring more than 33,000 Chinese visitors to Tropical North Queensland, which in turn flows on to the local economy and supports jobs across the region.“In fact the tens of thousands of new Chinese tourists coming into Cairns are forecast to be worth more than $30 million in overnight visitor expenditure in our region in the first year alone.”Treasurer and Member for Mulgrave Curtis Pitt said the new flights were a game-changer for the region.“This is great news for tourism and jobs in the Far North,” Mr Pitt said.“This is the first time we’ve ever been able to offer direct access to Cairns and the Great Barrier Reef from mainland China.“The extra visitation to our region will help grow the economy and jobs and support our tourism businesses.”Member for Barron River Craig Crawford said it could be the start of even bigger things.“We know Chinese visitors love the tropical north and the unique tourism experiences on offer, especially the Reef, but flights have been a hassle,” he said.“These direct flights into Cairns remove the complexity of connecting flights, which puts Cairns on a competitive pegging with destinations like Hawaii and Bali.“Word of mouth is the best form of advertising and once these visitors have seen the spectacular offerings of our region, they’ll be telling all their friends and colleagues that Cairns is a must-see destination.”Cairns Mayor Bob Manning welcomed today’s announcement.“This is what we’ve been working toward for a long time,” he said.“Cairns Regional Council has partnered with the Queensland Government to secure year-round direct flights, which will have a substantial impact on the local Cairns economy.“China is our largest and fastest growing tourism market, with the number of visitors last year almost triple that of 2010.“The introduction of year-round flights will increase Chinese access to Cairns the Great Barrier Reef.“With the imminent opening of the Cairns Aquarium and significant private investment in accommodation development, our city is particularly well-placed to capitalise on this great opportunity.“I’d like to thank Minister Jones and everyone involved in delivering this great boost for Cairns’ and Queensland’s tourism industries.”Cairns Airport Chief Executive Officer Norris Carter said China Southern’s direct flights to Cairns would create more opportunities for visitors to experience the reef and the rainforest.“Whether as a standalone visit, or as part of a longer Queensland and Australian itinerary that takes advantage of our extensive domestic connections, visitors will be able to spend more of their time enjoying their holiday rather than travelling.“We welcome the Queensland Government’s support through its Connecting with Asia fund, and we look forward to rolling out the red carpet for China Southern’s first flight in December.”Source = Tourism and Events Queensland
OsakaVietjet is offering 1 million promotional ticketsVietjet has kicked off a new three golden-day promotion offering 1,000,000 promotional air tickets priced from only VND0(*) in celebration of its two new international routes; Hanoi – Osaka and Nha Trang – Siem Reap.As part of Vietjet’s “Free Up Your Summer with Vietjet” campaign, the three day promotion which runs from 20 to 22 June 2018 is available for booking on www.vietjetair.com between the golden hours of 1pm to 3pm (Malaysian time).The promotional tickets are applicable on all domestic and international routes to Osaka (Japan)/ Seoul, Busan, Daegu (South Korea)/ Hong Kong/ Kaohsiung, Taipei, Taichung, Tainan (Taiwan)/ Singapore/ Bangkok, Phuket, Chiang Mai (Thailand)/ Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia)/ Yangon (Myanmar)/ Phnom Penh, Siem Reap (Cambodia). This applies for travel between 14 August to 31 December 2018 (**) for all routes stated, excluding Nha Trang – Siem Reap which starts on 21 September 2018 and Hanoi – Osaka which starts on 8 November 2018.The Hanoi-Osaka route will be operated on a daily basis with a flight time of 4 hours per leg. The flight departs from Hanoi at 1:40am (local time) and arrives in Osaka at 7:50am (local time). The return flight takes off in Osaka at 9:20am (local time) and arrives in Hanoi at 1:05pm (local time).Angkor Wat (Campuchia)The Nha Trang – Siem Reap route will operate on a daily basis with a flight time of 1 hour and 20 minutes per leg. The flight will depart from Nha Trang each day at 7:25am (local time) and arrive in Siem Reap at 8:45am (local time). The return flight will take off from Siem Reap at 9:25am(local time) and land in Nha Trang at 10:45am (local time).Modeling itself as a ‘Consumer Airline’, Vietjet will continue to meet the growing demands of consumers by introducing new routes, expanding its fleet, investing in modern technology, and offering greater value-added products and services. The airline also prides itself in offering diverse promotional programs on tickets and entertainment especially during the festive seasons.With its high-quality services, special low-fare tickets and diverse ticket classes, Vietjet offers passengers enjoyable flights with a dynamic and friendly flight crew, comfy seats, amazing hot meals and special surprises from the airline’s inflight activities.(*) excluding taxes, fees(**) excluding national holidaysSource = Vietjet
MSC Cruises announces new cruise terminal at PortmiamiMSC Cruises announces new cruise terminal at Portmiami MSC Cruises and Miami-Dade county announced the signing of an agreement for extended preferential berthing rights as well as of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) for the construction of a new Cruise Terminal AAA at PortMiami.Pierfrancesco Vago, Executive Chairman of MSC Cruises, commented: “The new agreement and expanded partnership with PortMiami and Miami-Dade County is another key step forward in the business growth of MSC Cruises, as we continue to strengthen our global footprint, with a strategic focus on North America.”PortMiami is the Company’s exclusive home-port in the U.S. The new agreement extends MSC Cruises’ existing Saturday preferential berthing rights also to Sundays. Additionally, the new terminal — which is projected to be completed by October 2022 — will be able to accommodate MSC Cruises’ next-generation, still under construction MSC World Class cruise ships carrying up to 7,000 guests.Currently the revolutionary MSC Seaside, which debuted only a few months ago in late 2017, sails year around from Miami to the Caribbean from the recently completed Terminal F. MSC Divina also sails seasonally to the Caribbean from October through March, and MSC Armonia will join MSC Cruises’ North American-based fleet beginning year-round cruises to Havana, Cuba in December 2018. In addition, as of November 2019, MSC Meraviglia, the Company’s largest ship at 171,598 GRT with the capacity to carry 5,714 cruise guests, will join the other three ships at PortMiami.“Investing in PortMiami’s infrastructure positions Miami-Dade County as a global destination for visitors,” said Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos A. Gimenez. “The construction of a new cruise terminal AAA with the capacity to berth an additional 7,000-passenger cruise ship represents thousands of jobs and increased opportunities for our community. We are grateful for MSC Cruises continued partnership.”“We are proud and extremely honored by MSC’s commitment to PortMiami and Miami-Dade County,” said Chairwoman of the Miami-Dade County Economic Development and Tourism Committee Rebeca Sosa. “MSC’s continued partnership is a big win for the growth and expansion of tourism in Miami-Dade County.”About MSC CruisesMSC Cruises is the world’s largest privately-owned cruise company and the number one cruise line in Europe and South America. A game-changer in the world of cruises, the Company has achieved 800% growth in its first ten years, building a global reputation in the industry and one of the youngest cruise fleets at sea. MSC Cruises is headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland.The MSC Cruises fleet currently comprises 15 ultra-modern, highly innovative and elegantly designed ships, offering an unparalleled holiday experience with always delicious and authentic food, award-winning entertainment, plenty of relaxation, comfortable accommodation, as well as impeccable service and expertise.Under its ambitious industry-unprecedented €11.6 billion investment plan, the fleet is set to expand to 25 mega-cruise ships by 2026. To date, MSC Cruises has designed six new ship classes, all prototypes that push the boundaries of marine architecture and design.MSC Cruises feels a deep responsibility towards the physical and human environments in which it operates. The Company operates with the greatest respect for the world’s oceans and is on an ongoing journey to further develop innovative ways of lowering the environmental impact of its cruise passages.MSC Cruises’ holiday experiences are sold across the globe through a distribution network in 70 countries. The Company employs over 23,500 people worldwide, both ashore and on board its ships. MSC Cruises is part of MSC Group which is comprised of leading transport and logistics companies.ABOUT PORTMIAMIPortMiami is among America’s fastest growing ports and recognized as the Cruise Capital of the World and a Global Gateway. PortMiami contributes more than $41.4 billion annually to Miami-Dade County and generates 324,352 direct, indirect, and induced jobs. For more information please visit www.PortMiami.biz.Source = MSC Cruises
WelcomHeritage, a heritage hotel chain by ITC Hotels announced its expansion plans in the South and North-east India. The brand already has hotels in Sikkim and Tamil Nadu and is looking for new properties to strengthen the presence further. Additionally, WelcomHeritage has eight new properties in the pipeline for evaluation this year. These will help the brand expand its footprints all across India.The next property to be flagged off will be WelcomHeritage Ashdale in Nainital, which is an old Manor from the British Era owned by the Royalty of Sahaspur followed by two nature resorts, one in Tadoba, Maharashtra and the other in Coorg, Karnataka. Both these properties are in the advanced stages of finalisations and will be launched within the 2018-19 financial year.Talking about the plans going forward, Sunil Gupta, CEO, WelcomHeritage shared, “There is a lot of potential in South and North East and we are eyeing to expand in both the regions thereby bringing values and rich hospitality to these regions. We have already identified properties and are in discussion with the properties owners. Very soon, we will be making announcements of new properties on the board.”
Recently, the Ministry of Tourism in collaboration with Google India launched a 360° virtual reality (VR) experience video on the Incredible India campaign. KJ Alphons, Minister of State for Tourism (I/C) stated the project was aimed at showcasing the country as an “iconic destination.”“India is an iconic destination that offers unique experiences of climate, geography, culture, art, literature and food,” he said.The function was also attended by Rashmi Verma, Secretary, Ministry of Tourism, Chetan K, Director, Policy Planning and Government (Google India), and Google representatives.The minister said the centre wanted to give the people in India and across the world an opportunity to immerse in the country’s rich heritage. And through the partnership with Google, it wants to engage new and global audiences, and offer them immersive content in a never seen before manner.“Taking virtual reality to the common man at a low/free cost will further enable an increase in the tourist footfall in iconic monuments and other tourist destinations with a focus on museums. Incredible India in 360 degrees, as never seen before, takes one through a journey across Hampi, Goa, Delhi and Amritsar. One can explore the places and people that make each of these iconic sites incredible,” Alphons added.
February 28, 2012 442 Views FBC Strikes Agreement With Justice Department in Data, Government, Origination, Secondary Market, Servicing, Technology The “”Justice Department””:http://www.justice.gov/ has reached a deal with “”Flagstar Bancorp, Inc. (FBC)””:http://www.flagstar.com/[IMAGE]The agency recently announced that the two entities have struck an agreement that pertains to underwriting practices related to loans insured by the “”Federal Housing Administration””:http://www.fha.gov/ and “”HUD””:http://www.hud.gov/. FBC will revise its fourth quarter and full year financial results for 2011 as per the terms of the transaction. Additionally, FBC will reaffirm its forward looking statements for 2012, made by the company during its earnings call for fourth quarter findings in 2011. Other key aspects of the Justice Department’s deal encompass FBC’s continued compliance with all FHA and HUD rules, establishment of a $15 million initial payment within 30 business days of the agreement’s effective date, conditional obligations to make payments of up to $118 million pending “”the occurrence of certain future events,”” and a comprehensive monitoring period by an independent third party as chosen by FBC and approved by HUD.Commenting on the nature of the agreement, FBC’s chairman, president, and CEO, Joseph P. Campanelli, said, “”Flagstar Bank is one of the leading originators and servicers of FHA-insured loans, and we remain committed to continuing in that capacity. This agreement with the Department of Justice allows us to move forward, and to continue to focus on core operations and on serving our customers.””The agreement elaborated on the specific nature of “”future events,”” and such potential instances were described in detail. Related events covered by the deal include allowances for FBC’s possible generation of “”positive income for a sustained period, such that part or all of its Deferred Tax Asset (DTA) is likely to be realized as evidenced by the reversal of the DTA Valuation Allowance in accordance with US GAAP””; the ability to apply “”capital derived from the reversal of the DTA Valuation Allowance in its Tier 1 capital””; and the adjustment of the company’s repayment obligation of “”$266.7 million in preferred stock held by the “”Treasury Department””:http://www.treasury.gov/ under the TARP program, which can now be extinguished or excluded from Tier 1 capital for purposes of calculating the Tier 1 capital ratio.””The Justice Department went on to add that, “”Upon the occurrence of each of the future events described above, and provided doing so would not violate any banking regulatory requirement or the “”Office of Comptroller of Currency (OCC)””:http://www.occ.treas.gov/ does not otherwise object, FBC will begin making additional payments provided that (i) each annual payment would be equal to the lesser of $25 million or the portion of the additional payments that remains outstanding after deducting prior payments; and (ii) no obligation arises until FBC’s call report as filed with the OCC, including any amendments thereto, for the period ending at least six months prior to the making of such additional payments, reflects a minimum Tier 1 capital ratio, after excluding any un-extinguished portion of TARP, of 11 percent (or higher ratio if required by regulators).”” Agents & Brokers Attorneys & Title Companies Company News Investors Lenders & Servicers Processing Service Providers Treasury Department Underwriting Standards 2012-02-28 Abby Gregory Share
Massachusetts-based “”Mortgage Master, Inc.””:http://www.mortgagemasterinc.com/, is extending its industry footprint. The company recently announced the opening of a new operations center in Maitland, Florida, as well as the expansion of its current operations centers in Sea Grit, New Jersey and its corporate headquarters in Walpole.[IMAGE]Citing the company’s “”rapid growth,”” Mortgage Master’s operational maneuvers follow the organization’s strong projections for the remainder of 2012. Currently, Mortgage Master is forecasting an increase in lending, predicting that originations will rise to over $7 billion this year versus $5.5 billion in 2011.[COLUMN_BREAK]To facilitate its expansion plans, Mortgage Master has appointed Candy Burke-Robertson as its operations manager for the Southeast region. And Burke-Robertson won’t be the only addition to the company’s leadership line up, with Mortgage Masters stating that it “”continues to hire in all departments;”” during the past 12 months, the organization has already hired more than 120 new employees.””Mortgage Master is making the necessary investments in its operational infrastructure, from talent to technology to geographic expansion, to ensure the right people, processes, and procedures are in place to enhance our lending value chain,”” stated Paul Anastos, CEO of Mortgage Master. “”Central Florida has a great deal of operations talent and this new center will offer tremendous support to our production professionals. The addition of Candy and her entire team will help position Mortgage Master as a more dynamic service company as we to continue to grow in Florida and throughout the southeastern market by offering high-quality borrowers the lowest interest rates in the mortgage industry and best-in-class service.””Mortgage Master is committed to providing the right mortgage solution through our dedicated employees, superior product and pricing, and unparalleled customer service. We are focused on becoming the premier service business, not only in the mortgage industry, but in the Country,”” added Anastos. in Data, Government, Origination, Secondary Market, Servicing, Technology August 16, 2012 382 Views Agents & Brokers Attorneys & Title Companies Company News Investors Lenders & Servicers Processing Service Providers 2012-08-16 Abby Gregory Mortgage Master Initiates Operations Expansion Share
London Home Breaks World Record for Most Expensive Listing in Data, Government, Origination, Secondary Market, Servicing, Technology Agents & Brokers Attorneys & Title Companies Celebrity Homes Investors Lenders & Servicers Processing Service Providers 2012-09-17 Abby Gregory In London, a home that’s considered to be the largest single-family residence in the city has hit the market for a mind-blowing $484 million. “”According to Curbed””:http://curbed.com/archives/2012/09/14/listing-of-londons-largest-mansion-tops-charts-at-483m.php, if the home “”achieves anything close to its ├âÔÇÜ├é┬ú300 million ($484 million) list price,”” it will become the most expensive property ever sold in London.The palatial 60,000-square-foot mansion was comprised of four single-family homes, and the house now includes 45 bedrooms, 68 bulletproof windows with views of Hyde Park, and an indoor pool. The estate of the late Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia, Sultan bin Abdulaziz, currently owns the posh pad, and to break the previous London sales record set by the Park Place estate, the luxurious property would have to sell for more than $226 million. [COLUMN_BREAK][IMAGE] September 17, 2012 420 Views Share
Share April 8, 2013 447 Views in Data, Government, Origination, Secondary Market, Servicing “”Class Appraisal, Inc.””:http://classappraisals.com/ appointed a former mortgage banking executive to manage sales in the middle market. [IMAGE] [COLUMN_BREAK] Tim Perkins was selected to lead the company as a consultant and business developer. Over the years, Perkins has held key positions with large mortgage banking companies such as Citigroup and JP Morgan Chase. Perkins earned his MBA in finance from the University of Wisconsin. “”Most lenders are not familiar with the front end processes that allow them to close more loans, be fully committed to all of the compliance requirements and receive the industry’s highest level of support,”” said Mark Backonen, CEO of Class Appraisal. “”Tim brings tremendous value in seeing the process through the lender’s eyes.””Class Appraisal also announced its mobile app and underwriting software are scheduled for release in June 2013. New,Class Appraisal Names New Sales Manager Agents & Brokers Attorneys & Title Companies Investors Lenders & Servicers Movers & Shakers Processing Service Providers 2013-04-08 Esther Cho
Housing Starts Show Modest Gains After the worst month for housing starts in years, overall starts rose modestly in March, though multi-family starts and permits still struggled, according to new findings by the National Association of Homebuilders.NAHB chief economist David Crowe said Thursday that total housing starts increased 2 percent last month, to an annual rate of 926,000. Single-family starts fared best, improving 4.4 percent to 618,000, from a “virtually unchanged 592,000 in February.”The uptick in single-family starts, however, belies a continued drop in multifamily starts. According to the NAHB, multi-family starts in March dropped to their lowest annualized monthly figure since September 2013‒‒308,000. Virtually all of this decline occurred in the West, though there was a small downturn in the South as well.Permits were also down overall in March, though not everywhere. Overall, permits dropped 5.7 percent, driven by a 15.9 percent loss in multifamily that was evenly spread across the West, South, and Midwest, Crowe said. However, multifamily permits in the Northeast rose 55 percent to 90,000, their highest level since the late-bubble days of June 2008, “when a code change caused a one-time jump,” Crowe said. “The remaining three regions accounted for a 108,000 fall, offsetting the 48,000 increase in the Northeast.”Single-family permits rose 2.1 percent to 636,000, with the only decline happening in the West, according to the NAHB. That region dropped 2 percent (about 3,000 permits) to 146,000 in March.Though the gains in starts and permits are modest‒‒not to mention multi-faceted‒‒the upturn is certainly more welcome news to industry pundits than the numbers that came from February. That month, the U.S. Census Bureau and U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development reported that privately-owned housing starts had hit their lowest rate in years. Housing starts were down 17 percent from January and 3.3 percent below the February prior.“The meager rise in single-family starts and permits reflects builders’ caution as the recovery continues to move in a positive, but relatively slow, forward direction,” Crowe said.Still, rising costs for building lots, contracting, labor, and materials have put pressure on home prices at a time when buyers are still shaking off the aftereffects of the recession and wages are showing only modest gains, he said. “Tight underwriting has removed some potential buyers, further limiting the pool of those able to buy.” April 16, 2015 511 Views in Daily Dose, Headlines, News, Origination Housing Permits Housing Starts National Association of Home Builders National Association of Homebuilders 2015-04-16 Scott_Morgan Share