Excite Holidays has announced today, two key appointments to its international leadership team, which follow suit to its continued global expansion.Director of sales and marketing Joe Karbo, will now be relocating to Excite Holidays’ European headquarters in Athens to take up his new role as head of distribution.This new and exciting role will see him responsible for all international sales channels, he will be leading the way in instilling Excite Holidays commitment to innovation and service excellence in the international market.Working closely with head of sales (Europe), Adrian Marpole, he will also be responsible for increasing the company market share throughout the UK and across the European continent.Heading up sales, marketing and customer service teams at Excite Holidays’ Sydney head office will be Joana Bonto.Joana has been a key member of the Excite Holidays family for three years as the head of HR and her extensive market experience, dedication and achievements have seen her rise quickly into the international leadership team.Excite Holidays chief executive officer George Papaioannou, said that the two staff members have proven themselves to be committed to the Excite Holidays mission.“Both Joe and Joana have proven themselves to be committed to our mission of empowering travel agents with the largest selection of competitive travel products and, as a company, we are confident that these changes will yield extremely positive results for Excite Holidays, both here in Australia and throughout our global network,” Mr Papaioannou said.Source = ETB Travel News: Lewis Wiseman Joe Karbo and Joana Bonto
New research highlights what Chinese guests want from Australian hotelsThe sixth annual Chinese International Travel Monitor released by Hotels.com™ has revealed that Chinese travellers are spending a whopping 28 per cent of their income on average on international travel. They also intend to spend 10 per cent more on travel in the next 12 months, with Australia topping the list as the most desired destination in Asia-Pacific.Regardless of many key indicators showing signs of a slowdown in the Chinese economy, this year’s CITM found spending on travel increased across all age brackets, with Chinese travellers spending US$3,600 in the last 12 months – more than a quarter of their income and an increase of 4 per cent compared with the previous year. 90s millennials are the biggest spenders, allocating 35 per cent of their income to travel.93 per cent of Australian hoteliers surveyed in the Hotels.com research said they accommodated Chinese travellers, with 55 per cent observing growth of the market over the last 12 months. According to the Hotels.com data, Australia was deemed the third most welcoming country to Chinese travellers, up one place from 2016.Despite this, the Hotels.com report revealed a gap in what Chinese guests want versus what hotels are providing, highlighting that, by making some adaptions to accommodate Chinese tourists, there is huge potential for Australian hotels to further tap into this market.While Australian hotels are focusing their efforts on social media and marketing programs in a bid to attract Chinese travellers, the investment in on-site services for Chinese guests has decreased according to the Hotels.com data, with only 5 per cent spending more than US$10,000.The report identified key areas where hotels could improve their services, according to Chinese travellers: Chinese payment facilities at hotels, such as UnionPay, rank second for consumers in importance, yet only 18 per cent of AU hotels currently offer these facilities. Indeed, only 15 per cent intend to offer them in the next 12 months. In-house Mandarin speaking staff was ranked number one by travellers but was low on the list for hoteliers, with only 16 per cent currently offering the service and 11 per cent planning to in the next 12 months.On-site Chinese restaurants were ranked fifth by travellers however only 3 per cent of hoteliers currently offer this service. Only 5 per cent intend to provide it in the next 12 months.Translated travel guides were ranked number four by travellers but are a low in priority for hoteliers; 14 per cent currently offer this and only 17 per cent plan to in future.Hotels.com Marketing Manager for Australia and New Zealand, David Spasovic says both the perception of Australia as a welcoming destination, and willingness of accommodation providers to cater to Chinese travellers is critical to ensuring sustainability of the local tourism industry.“As Australia’s second largest inbound tourist market, there’s no doubt that Chinese travellers offer huge economic benefits to our country. It’s fantastic to see Australia continues to deliver quality and friendly hospitality and Hotels.com is proud to partner with accommodation providers who work hard to ensure Chinese travellers feel welcome in our beautiful country. Despite this, Australia has fallen two places since topping the wish list of countries to visit last year.“The CITM report notes that Chinese travellers have entered a new phase in their evolution and are demanding more of everything – more time travelling, more locations and more diverse experiences. With Tourism Australia estimating up to AU$13 billion in total expenditure by Chinese travellers by 2020, it’s vital that hoteliers adapt to these evolving needs and develop tailored hotel services that tap into their enormous spending power.”The rise of the ‘more generation’The Hotels.com survey reported all age groups traveling more often and for longer, with the number of trips and number of days per trip increasing in the past year from 3 to 4 and from 5 to 7 days, respectively. Chinese travellers are also visiting multiple cities per trip, with over 80 per cent saying they would not just stay in a single city.The average amount spent per day also increased – up 8 per cent from 2016 – with dining, sightseeing and rest and relaxation activities proving most popular. Interestingly, shopping took a dive from last year – dropping from 68 per cent in 2016 to 33 per cent in 2017, and indicating the increasing diversification of Chinese travel preferences.Independent travel, including backpacking, is well and truly in for this increasingly discerning, experience-hungry group of travellers, with 50 per cent saying they are interested in this type of travel. Only 37 per cent said they will take part in group tours in the future, according to the research.Source = Hotels.com
SALT Of Palmar in Mauritius officially opensSALT of Palmar in Mauritius officially opensNewly launched hotel brand, SALT, has now opened the doors to its first resort, 59-key SALT of Palmar located on the east coast of Mauritius. It is a restful base conceived to champion sustainability, connect with the local community and introduce culturally curious, style savvy, modern travellers to the real, unvarnished Mauritius.Its distinctive look is born out of collaboration between local Mauritian architect Jean-François Adam of JFA Architects, an award-winning visionary behind notable contemporary spaces in Mauritius and abroad; and French artist, Camille Walala, whose vivid murals adorn buildings across the globe. Camille’s first foray into the hotel world brings a stunning new addition to Mauritius’ design landscape that reflects the progressive spirit of SALT.Devoted to the wonder of all things local and sustainable, the unconventional new hotel brand is committed to taking guests to people – not just places – and unearthing the beating heart of destinations. So, at the core of Jean-François’ designs is a desire to bring the natural environment and local Mauritian way of life to the forefront, giving every visitor a real sense of what his homeland has to offer. Taking an incredible existing geometric, riad-like building on the fringe of Palmar beach’s pure white sand, he carefully repurposed the standing structures to accentuate the hotel’s proximity to the sea.As part of this, he orientated all beds to face the water and redesigned the pool to better its connection with the beach. In addition, he played to the island’s warm tropical light, allowing the location’s natural colours to shine. Fauna and flora have been protected throughout this project; adding a sense of timeless serenity to the scene. Jean-François’ explained,“Everything about the hotel is designed to bring people together. From the communal tables in the bakery, restaurant and beach bar, to Mauritius’ first roof-top bar and the inviting spaces in the SALT equilibrium spa, it is all about gathering and sharing stories of travels and enjoyment of this incredible location.”With the energy of doing things differently living at the heart of the SALT brand, it is fitting that the interiors were realised by an artist instead of an interior designer. Camille Walala’s uninhibited approach to colour married with her passion for the island of Mauritius made her the perfect choice.Paul Jones, CEO of The Lux Collective says“Camille Walala’s relationship with colour is precisely the same as most Mauritians’ – for both, colour is a vehicle for joy and a means of expressing positivity. She is the ideal artist for SALT of Palmar; I must have been in the hotel 100 times as it developed over the last few months but, whenever I see them, her designs still make me feel happy.”Detailing throughout the hotel is authentic, artisanal and unique. Local ceramicist Janine designed and crafted the hotel’s tableware – a beautiful set of 950 individual pieces for SALT of Palmar; each one made entirely by hand. Janine shared,“I wanted to deliver something really special, so we worked with a specially formulated charcoal clay combined with a grey glaze base to create an effect that showcases the Mauritian savoir-faire.”With the support of Jean-François’ and his team, Camille met an array of local characters, such as 74-year-old basket weaver Reotee Buleeram who has crafted the beautiful beach bags at SALT of Palmar. And father and son duo, Mawlabaccus and Said Moosbally, who are the masterminds behind the rattan ware chairs throughout the resort. The result is a showcase of local talent and an authentic expression of island style. Jean-François recalls,“visiting artisan workshops with Camille to collaborate on the intricate details was very special. These experiences were the most rewarding moments of the project.”The culmination is a hotel that looks unlike any other on the island. Where most resorts take their own design template and transplant it into their setting, SALT has done the reverse, channelling the character of its surroundings to shape its look and feel.SALT of Palmar connects modern explorers with communities and their way of life, which makes for meaningful travel experiences. SALT guests have the opportunity to bond with locals via the Skill Swap programme, exchanging their time and talent with local producers, designers and artisans such as fisherman, potters, basket weavers and more. The food philosophy at the restaurant is fresh, local, homemade, home-grown, seasonal and zero-waste, with the majority of the produce coming from the SALT Farm that cultivates hydroponic fruit and vegetables (opening end of first quarter 2019) and local bio-farms. Recognising the strong connections between people, plate and planet, and the fact that food choices have a major impact on the environment and on the health of its guests, SALT is committed towards Good, Clean and Fair food.Whilst the resort’s chefs are committed members of Slow Food International and part of Slow Food Chefs Alliance, SALT of Palmar is working closely with Earth Markets Mauritius, its local official representative. SALT adheres to Slow Food Travel promoting ecotourism and providing all our guests a culinary journey, full of stories, traditions, flavours and craftsmanship. Guests can also be confident that sustainability and environmental consciousness is at the core of the hotel. Simply by staying, they contribute to empowering local communities as the hotel sources everything it can locally, creates employment, and preserves the environment by going single-use plastic free, supporting bio-farming and causing zero-waste.All of this has positioned SALT of Palmar as a practising advocate of sustainability. Its partnership with Positive Luxury means that it proudly carries the butterfly mark awarded to brands that balance luxury with mindful, responsible actions. The team behind SALT ensure guests have truly luxurious stays in destinations they take real strides to protect.To follow Camille’s colour safari, please view our short film here. Rates start from $200 USD per double room per night on a bed and breakfast basis. For more information, visit www.saltresorts.com Source = SALT Of Palmar – Mauritius
STUBA explores beautiful Japan Source = STUBA.com Stuba explores beautiful JapanWith thousand years of civilised culture, and magnificent history, Japan is one of the most popular places to visit for those interested in history.Japan has two dominant religious traditions: Shinto (神道) is the ancient animist religion of traditional Japan, and Buddhismofficially arrived in 552 CE. For much of its history, the two faiths were not clearly differentiated, but there was a schism when Buddhism lost favor with the fall of the Shogun and the subsequent modernization of the country in the late 19th century. Today, the two faiths are clearly separated, most Buddhist elements have long since been removed from most Shinto shrines, and the ceremonies are clearly separated.Karaoke (カラオケ) was invented in Japan and can be found in virtually every Japanese city. Pronounced kah-rah-oh-keh it is abbreviated from the words “Empty orchestra” in Japanese – many natives won’t have any idea what you’re talking about if you use the English keh-ree-oh-kee. Most karaoke places occupy several floors of a building. You and your friends have a room to yourself – no strangers involved – and the standard hourly rate often includes all-you-can-drink booze, with refills ordered through a phone on the wall or through the karaoke machine itself. The major chains all have good English-language song selections. Old folks prefer singing enka ballads at small neighborhood bars.The most important holiday in Japan is New Year’s (お正月 Oshōgatsu), which pretty much shuts down the country from December 30 to January 3. Japanese head home to their families (which means massive transport congestion), eat festive foods and head out to the neighborhood temple at the stroke of midnight to wish in the New YearThe longest holiday is Golden Week (27 April to 6 May, but varies slightly), when there are four public holidays within a week and everybody goes on extended vacation. Trains are crowded and flight and hotel prices are jacked up to multiples of normal prices, so it can be a bad time to travel in Japan, but the weeks immediately before or after Golden Week are excellent times.Spring is one of the best times of year to be in Japan. The temperatures are warm but not hot, there’s not too much rain, and March-April brings the justly famous cherry blossoms (sakura) and is a time of revelry and festivals. For the southern half of the country, cherry blossom season typically starts towards the end of March and peaks in early April. The northern half has its season in mid to late April, up to Hokkaido which is in early May. For all of your hotel needs, head to Stuba. The best accommodation world wide at the most competitive rates.
The Chhattisgarh Tourism Board (CTB) is planning for the provision of integrated Adventure Tourism facilities at various locations of the state. The facilities would be developed in Mainpat (Surguja), Sirpur (Mahasamund), Kabirchabutara (Amarkantak), and Sarodhadadar.New architecture firms will now be empanelled for setting up fresh tourism infrastructure projects. The Board is also seeking professional consultancy for executing its ongoing and new infrastructural works.Integrated recreation facilities are also being developed at the Gangrel dam in Dhamtari district and Hasdeo Bango dam in Korba district. Besides, a new state-of-art building for CTB has been proposed to be constructed at the premises of state-owned Hotel Johar, Chhattisgarh, near GE Road in the Telibandha locality of Raipur. Apart from this, a new state-of-art Convention Centre will also be constructed in the premises. The Central Government has recently approved Rs 99.94 crore based on a Detailed Project Report (DPR) submitted by CTB for development of the Tribal Tourism Circuit in the State under ‘Swadesh Darshan’ package. The tourism circuit aims to highlight the rich tribal culture and environment of the tribal dominated regions in the state. To be developed under the tribal tourism circuit are Jashpur, Kunkuri, Mainpat, Ambikapur, Maheshpur, Ratanpur, Kurdur, Sarodhadadar, Gangrel, Nathiyanawagaon (Kanker), Kondagaon, Jagdalpur, Chitrakoot, Teerathgarh. In this circuit, Jashpur, Ambikapur and Sarodhadadar would be developed as an ethnic tourist village and Mainpat, Kurdur, Gangrel, Kondagaon, Jagdalpur, Chitrakoot and Teerathgarh are to be developed for eco-ethnic tourism while work for sight amenities will be carried out in Kunkuri, Maheshpur and Nathiyanawagaon.Taking the state’s tourism a step forward, the government now also plans to undertake measures for developing ‘Highway Tourism’ in the state. As many as 7,777 foreign tourists visited Chhattisgarh during financial year 2014-15, as per latest data released by the Central Government.
Ethiopian Airlines recently announced that it has rolled out stopover packages without any additional airfare that cater for all leisure needs with a view to promote tourism into Ethiopia, which started from August 1, 2018.Passengers travelling through Addis Ababa and continuing their journey to one of the destinations on Ethiopian network can now take advantage of stopover offerings from Ethiopian Holidays, the tour operator wing of Ethiopian Airlines, enabling them to discover and experience the many historical, cultural, religious and natural treasures of Ethiopia, Land of Origins. An online e-visa service for processing stopover visa is available for all international visitors to Ethiopia at www.evisa.gov.et.The packages range from sightseeing in Addis Ababa to visits to the pre-Christian era obelisks of Axum, medieval rock-hewn churches of Lalibela, ninth century mosques of Harar, castles of Gondar, source of the Blue Nile, Simien Mountains, lake side resorts of Hawassa and Arba Minch, or coffee farms of Kaffa.Tewolde Gebremariam, Group CEO of Ethiopian Airlines said, “Ethiopian is working with all stakeholders in the tourism chain to make Ethiopia a tourism destination of choice. With its many riches, the world has yet to truly discover Ethiopia and tourism has the potential to become the main foreign currency generator for the country and a mass job creator for the youth. With the stopover packages, we aim to attract a significant portion of our transit customers in Addis as tourists and to considerably enhance the flow of tourism into the country.”The stopover packages are easily accessible on the airline’s website (www.ethiopianairlines.com), and will pop-up as an option when passengers book flights transiting through Addis Ababa, or can directly be accessed at Ethiopian Holidays website (www.ethiopianholidays.com).
May 7, 2014 446 Views in Daily Dose, Data, Featured, Headlines, News Housing Optimism Climbs as Job Worries Ease Consumer Confidence Credit Availability Fannie Mae Home Prices Mortgage Rates 2014-05-07 Scott_Morgan With concerns about employment easing, Americans are increasingly optimistic about the housing market, reports Fannie Mae in its April National Housing Survey—and, according to the mortgage giant, this climbing optimism may foreshadow an upswing in housing activity through the summer months.The results of the survey, released Wednesday, show that 42 percent of Americans believe now is a good time to sell a home. This is the third straight month that the percentage of respondents saying it’s a good time to sell has increased, bringing that percentage to an all-time survey high.Fannie is taking it as a good sign that buying activity will increase in the coming months, as potential buyers may look to shed their homes in order to buy new ones.Half the respondents to Fannie’s survey believe home prices will increase in the next 12 months, while 52 percent said they expect mortgage rates to go up in the same time period.In related findings, respondents were generally split regarding their ability to get a mortgage. About 45 percent said they would expect no trouble in getting one, while 52 percent expect it would be difficult to do. A little more than a third of respondents feel the economy is on the right track, despite their optimism for the housing market lately.The encouraging thing, however, is that fewer people are concerned about losing their jobs, which, according to Fannie, may encourage potential homebuyers to enter the market. Also, nearly 90 percent said their household incomes have remained stable or improved over the past year—though an increased share also said their expenses have ticked up.”Concern about job loss among employed consumers has hit a record survey low,” said Doug Duncan, senior VP and chief economist at Fannie Mae. Duncan also said that consumer attitudes are at the most favorable level Fannie has seen in the survey’s four-year history and that “consumer confidence is moving in a positive direction.”Fannie’s April report largely mirrors the results of an April Gallup Poll, which showed that more than half of Americans surveyed feel confident about the housing market. According to that survey, American attitudes toward buying, selling, and home values are up to their highest levels since 2007.”These more positive views of the housing market may help foster a situation in which home buying activity increases and home values continue to rise over the next year,” the Gallup report stated. Almost exactly what Fannie found. Share
Senator Says Recent HUD Appointments Give Appearance of ‘Circumventing Nominations Process’ in Daily Dose, Government, Headlines, News Senator Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) has written a letter to U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Secretary Julián Castro asking a series of questions regarding the duties of two individuals recently appointed as “principal deputy assistant secretary” with HUD.Grassley was referring to the March 26 appointment of Edward Golding as principal deputy assistant secretary for the Office of Housing to essentially fill the duties performed by the office of FHA commissioner, and the February 27 appointment of Lourdes Castro Ramirez to the position of principal deputy assistant secretary for the Office of Public and Indian Housing (PIH) at HUD. Ramirez will essentially perform the duties of the assistant secretary for PIH but carries the title of principal deputy assistant secretary.The principal assistant deputy secretary positions did not require confirmation from the U.S. Senate to fill, but will essentially be performing functions of the assistant secretary positions in their respective offices that require Senate approval.The Senator contends in his letter that only Congress can create government officers and that Congress has not given HUD the power to bestow an assistant secretary’s responsibility onto a principal deputy assistant secretary. Grassley pointed out in his letter that Congress passed the Vacancies Reform Act in 1998 that provided several mechanisms to fill vacancies in government offices, and “[c]reating new job titles is not among the allowable mechanisms listed.”Ramirez was nominated by President Obama for the position of assistant secretary with PIH in August 2014, a nomination that was approved by the Senate Banking Committee but blocked by Grassley in November and was never confirmed by the Senate. Regarding the appointment of Ramirez to principal deputy assistant secretary with PIH, Grassley wrote, “the Department appears to be evading the Senate confirmation process by creating a new leadership title.”Similarly, regarding Golding’s appointment, Grassley wrote, “[a] nominee for the assistant secretary of FHA was never sent to the Senate. Instead, HUD once again created a new leadership title.””Advice and consent by the Senate is a check required under the Constitution,” Grassley wrote. “If HUD and the White House are purposely circumventing the nominations process, that is unacceptable.”In the letter, Grassley asked Castro to address five questions with regards to the appointments of Golding and Ramirez to the positions of principal deputy assistant secretary: Under what legal authority the principal assistant deputy secretary positions were created; what specific duties and responsibilities have been assigned to the principal deputy assistant secretaries; how those duties differ from the vacated assistant secretary positions; when the nominations for assistant secretary of those offices will be submitted; and how the duties and responsibilities of the assistant secretary positions will be filled if those positions remain vacant.Grassley requested a response from Castro on or before May 15. HUD did not immediately respond to a request for comment. April 28, 2015 504 Views FHA HUD Julián Castro Senator Chuck Grassley 2015-04-28 Seth Welborn Share
in Daily Dose, Data, Featured, News Uptick in Second Mortgages May be a Sign of Economic Stability Given that most of the news about the homebuying market these past few years has focused on violate financial markets, up and down home sales, and fluctuating interest rates, it may seem easy to overlook a basic question—is anyone diving into the housing market for a second time?The National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) estimated Thursday that the total count of the second home stock was 7.5 million in 2014, up 600,000 from 2009, based on data from the Census Bureau’s 2014 American Community Survey. In addition, the share of second homes among the total housing stock also increased from 5.4 percent to 5.6 percent over the same time period.NAHB reported that their estimates are based on the definition used for home mortgage interest deduction: a second home is a non-rental property that is not classified as taxpayer’s principal residence. This could include:A home that used to be a primary residence due to a move or a period of simultaneous ownership of two homes due to a moveA home under construction for which the eventual homeowner acts as the builder and obtains a construction loan (Treasury regulations permit up to 24 months of interest deductibility for such construction loans)A non-rental seasonal or vacation residence.”It is worthwhile to understand the patterns of second homes because they could have a significant economic impact on local housing markets and thus have important policy implications,” said Na Zhao, Ph.D. and Housing Policy Economist at NAHB.The NAHB analysis found that the counties with the largest share of second homes are mostly tourist destinations.Hamilton County, New York had the largest share of second homes at 79.3 percent. Forest County, Pennsylvania (74 percent) and Rich County, Utah (72.7 percent) had the second and third largest share of second homes.In 913 counties spread over 49 states, second homes made up at least 10 percent of the local housing stock, with Connecticut and Washington D.C. as the only exceptions. NAHB reported that 357 counties, or 11 percent of all counties in the U.S., had at least 20 percent of housing units that were second homes.Click here to view the complete analysis. March 10, 2016 555 Views Share Homebuying National Association of Home Builders Second Mortgage 2016-03-10 Staff Writer
U.S. Bancorp Escapes Most Banks’ Q1 Fate in Daily Dose, Data, Headlines, News April 21, 2016 482 Views Q1 Earnings Statement U.S. Bancorp 2016-04-21 Seth Welborn Share It has largely been a dismal first quarter for banks as far as profits go. Last week, JPMorgan Chase, Wells Fargo, Bank of America, Citigroup, and PNC all reported substantial year-over-year declines. In the area of investment banking, Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley both reported significant over-the-year declines in net earnings.U.S. Bancorp went against that trend, however. In the bank’s Q1 earnings statement released on Tuesday, U.S. Bancorp reported a first quarter net income of $1.386 billion, down by only 3 percent from Q1 2015’s net income of $1.43 billion. The price per diluted common share, $0.76 percent, remained unchanged over-the-year in Q1. The bank’s average total loans grew by 5.8 percent over the first quarter up to $14.3 billion, and ROE and efficiency ratio were reported at 13 percent and 54.6 percent, respectively.According to the announcement, lower mortgage revenue was partially behind U.S. Bancorp’s 3 percent year-over-year decline in net income. The lower mortgage banking revenue was due to lower production and higher noninterest expense. Other factors that drove the slight decline in net income were a higher provision for credit losses driven by energy-related commercial loan downgrades. The bank experienced a 6 percent decline over-the-quarter in net income that was driven by, among other factors, seasonality in some of the bank’s business lines and a higher provision for credit losses driven by energy-related loans.“U.S. Bancorp is off to a solid start in 2016 as we once again delivered industry-leading performance metrics against a backdrop of global concerns driving long-term interest rates lower and continuing pressure in the energy sector,” said U.S. Bancorp Chairman and CEO Richard K. Davis. “We continued to produce strong loan and deposit growth which combined with a stable net interest margin, resulted in growth in net interest income. Our payments-related businesses remain strong and we continue to invest in those businesses, as demonstrated by the acquisition of the $1.6 billion retail card portfolio at the end of 2015. Although the pressures from the energy industry negatively impacted the quarter, we took appropriate measures and remain confident that we are well positioned to continue delivering industry-leading returns throughout the year.”Residential mortgages partially drove the 5.8 percent over-the-year increase in average total loans; residential mortgages at U.S. Bancorp grew by 5.4 percent over-the-year in Q1 and by 2.3 percent over-the-quarterClick here to view the entire earnings report.
Black Knight Rich Gagliano Shane Patnoi Washington Trust Bank 2019-03-19 Donna Joseph March 19, 2019 953 Views Black Knight, Inc., a provider of integrated software, data and analytics to the mortgage and real estate industries, announced that Washington Trust Bank, a privately held commercial bank in the Northwest, went live on Empower—Black Knight’s loan origination system (LOS). Washington Trust Bank leveraged the Empower Now! implementation model–a deployment designed specifically for mid-tier financial institutions. “Washington Trust Bank is now using Empower to support our organization’s growth strategy,” said Shane Patnoi, VP, Consumer Lending at Washington Trust Bank. “Replacing our legacy technology with Black Knight’s system will provide advanced functionality, system scalability, and flexible configuration to increase the effectiveness of our expanding lending efforts.”The Empower Now! implementation model gives lenders a base set of capabilities from Empower, which have been pre-configured based on the industry’s most common lending practices. Lenders can then add functionality and additional components, enabling them to remain on the same LOS as their business grows and to adjust system parameters to meet their specific compliance needs.Empower is a comprehensive LOS used by lenders to electronically capture, process, underwrite and close loans in support of their retail, wholesale, consumer direct, correspondent, and home equity channels. Empower also provides Web APIs for easy access to data and documents, which are needed to provide consumers with digital user experience. By selecting the Empower Now! model, lenders such as Washington Trust Bank receive the same Empower functionality and integrations, and enable the system to be implemented faster and at a lower cost. “We are pleased to support Washington Trust Bank with advanced origination capabilities that will scale as the bank’s loan volume increases,” said Rich Gagliano, President, Black Knight Origination Technologies. “With an accelerated implementation timeline and a cost structure that aligns with mid-market lenders’ needs, Washington Trust Bank will be able to quickly and cost-effectively take advantage of Empower’s ability to help the bank’s customers buy new homes and refinance existing mortgages.” Share in Daily Dose, Featured, News, Origination, Technology Moving Beyond Legacy Lending Technology
Are Tango mandarins ‘bee-friendly’? Not according … NZ horticultural export value grows to NZ$5.5B … The impact of digital marketing in the avocado ind … California citrus: “A lot of unusual dynamics” in … You might also be interested in South Africa has hit back at Donald Trump who recently twitted about the country’s land reform policy and the “large-scale killing” of farmers.On Wednesday Trump said he had asked Secretary of State Mike Pompeo “to closely study the South Africa land and farm seizures and expropriations and the large scale [sic] killing of farmers.””The presidency has noted Trump’s tweet, which is misinformed in our view,” South African President Cyril Ramaphosa’s spokeswoman Khusela Diko was quoted as saying on Thursday.”South Africa totally rejects this narrow perception, which only seeks to divide our nation and reminds us of our colonial past,” a tweet by the president’s office said. “South Africa will speed up the pace of land reform in a careful and inclusive manner that does not divide our nation.”Diko said South Africa’s foreign minister will ask the U.S. ambassador for clarification.Land reform in South Africa has recently emerged as a dominant and potentially explosive issue. A South African cabinet minister reportedly said Trump’s message will not affect future relations between the two countries.”The tweet has not determined our approach to the United States on our current relationship and future relationship,” communications minister Nomvula Mokonyane told reporters.Ramaphosa on August 1 announced the ruling African National Congress (ANC) is forging ahead with plans to change the constitution to allow the expropriation of land without compensation.South African grower association last week called for ‘meaningful and sustainable’ land reform, while farming organization Agri SA said it was “deeply concerned” about the issue. August 23 , 2018 I have asked Secretary of State @SecPompeo to closely study the South Africa land and farm seizures and expropriations and the large scale killing of farmers. “South African Government is now seizing land from white farmers.” @TuckerCarlson @FoxNews— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 23, 2018
Beaches The second much-anticipated list of Australia’s Best Beaches, compiled by Australia’s leading beach expert Brad Farmer, has just been released – Australia’s Best 101 Beaches for 2017 – gleaned by Farmer from 11,761 Aussie beach candidates.Farmer, who is endorsed by Tourism Australia as an expert Aquatic and Coastal Ambassador, and who has been researching beaches since 1985, spent the past five months clad in little more than boardies, hat and sunnies, and “comprehensively assessed thousands of kilometres of coastline around Australia” in his quest to name the best.“We can boast 11,761 beaches and 8,222 islands over a vast and amazing 59,736kms of diverse coast,” he said.The key decision maker, among a raft of independent and scientific criteria, in selecting best beaches in consultation with Professor Andy Short OAM, was that the location had to possess ‘authentic and compelling’ attributes, along with a beach ‘one would recommend to a friend’ …Cossies Beach Image: Rik Soderlund… and taking out top spot on the list is an isolated beach that most Australians have never heard of – a small strip of sand on the Cocos (Keeling) Islands in the Indian Ocean off the coast of Western Australia – “as near to perfect as a beach can be” – which has now been dubbed ‘Cossie’s Beach’.“I named this little slice of paradise after [General] Sir Peter Cosgrove, who like me – and even naturalist Charles Darwin – was so impressed by its absolute natural beauty,” said Farmer.John O’Sullivan, managing director of Tourism Australia added, “Australia’s extensive coastline means we are literally spoilt for choice when it comes to nominating the best beaches and we know that 70 per cent of our international visitors enjoy an aquatic or coastal experience as part of their trip to Australia.Christmas Island“In fact, as part of our latest global campaign push we are telling the world why ‘There’s nothing like Australia’ for the breadth, depth and quality of aquatic and coastal experiences our country has to offer – and 101 Best Beaches is another way for us to share these experiences in a very authentic and compelling way.”THE ‘TOP 10’ BEST AUSTRALIAN BEACHES 2017#1 Cossies Beach, Cocos (Keeling) Islands INDIAN OCEAN#2 Nudey Beach, Fitzroy Island, FAR NORTH QUEENSLANDNudey Beach Image: James Vodka#3 Moonee Beach, Coffs Coast NEW SOUTH WALESMoonee Beach#4 Turquoise Bay, Coral Coast, WESTERN AUSTRALIATurquoise Bay Image: Vertical Project#5 Burleigh Heads, Gold Coast, QUEENSLAND#6 Maslin Beach, Adelaide, SOUTH AUSTRALIA#7 Dolly Beach, Christmas Island, INDIAN OCEANDolly Beach Image: Chris Bray#8 Shelly Beach, Nambucca Coast, NEW SOUTH WALES#9 Boat Harbour Beach, North West Coast, TASMANIA#10 Apollo Bay, Great Ocean Road, VICTORIASee the full list here
Visit Seattle has appointed GTI Tourism to drive its sales, marketing and PR activities, for the city and Washington state, in Australia and New Zealand, effective 1 July 2017. “We are consistently seeing stronger visitor arrivals from Australia and New Zealand to the USA and understand that a large percentage are now repeat visitors looking for travel experiences beyond the traditional gateway cities,” said Visit Seattle’s President and CEO, Tom Norwalk. “We know the experiences on offer in Seattle, whether it be the arts and culture; café and coffee scene; music; or the exceptional outdoor adventures, will resonate well with Aussies and Kiwis. By partnering with GTI Tourism, we plan to undertake both trade and consumer marketing to ensure Seattle is positioned as a compelling destination to visit.”GTI Tourism founder and managing director, Sarah Anderson said GTI Tourism looks forward to growing awareness of Seattle among the key target audiences travelling to North America.“We are excited to be working with Visit Seattle to position this great city as a must visit destination for Australian visitors to the USA. Through a targeted multifaceted strategy, our aim will be to educate the market about the diverse and exciting experiences on offer to encourage visitation and generate bookings.“We look forward to welcoming Visit Seattle and partners to Australia and New Zealand later this year to introduce them to all key trade and media partners.” IMAGE: Seattle Great Wheel – Visit Seattle/Stuart Mullenberg USAVisit SeattleWashington state
Outrigger Resorts’ newly-launched range of nine honeymoon packages in some of the most desirable honeymoon destinations in the world – Maldives, Mauritius, Hawaii, Fiji, Guam, Phuket and Koh Samui – is available for all of its Pacific, Asian and Indian Ocean beachfront resorts.Each Outrigger “Honeymoon Getaway Package” is customised to the host location; standard inclusions typically feature breakfast in bed, romantic flower decorations and a selection of rich chocolates or a chilled bottle of sparkling wine. Newlyweds visiting Outrigger Konotta Maldives Resort would enjoy a dreamy sunset cruise with cocktails and canapés or at Outrigger Mauritius Beach Resort an extraordinary honeymoon dinner on the beach and a 30-minute couple’s massage; at Fiji’s Castaway Island a sundown cruise and Swedish massage are included; VIP Mercedes-Benz airport transfers to and from Outrigger Laguna Phuket Beach Resort.Newlywed honeymoon couples can also join Outrigger Resorts’ beachfront vow renewal ceremonies at each Outrigger Resort. For the “Honeymoon Getaway” and “Ultimate Honeymoon” packages, each Outrigger resort requires a minimum stay between three to five nights, depending on the destination. The travel period for the honeymoon packages at all Outrigger Resorts is through December 31, 2018. Guests must provide proof that their marriage date occurred less than one year prior to arrival.Full details, terms and conditions are available HERE. honeymoonMaldivesmauritiusOutriggerPacificthailand
Author and historian, Peter FitzSimons, will return to the Seine with Scenic on 27 June 2018, following the success of his inaugural cruise in 2017. Peter will host a river cruise on board Scenic Gem, sharing his extensive knowledge of the war history of northern France during his time on board. The Seine river cruise includes visits to some of the country’s most renowned war history sites – the Somme Battlefields, Villers-Bretonneux and the Normandy beaches, site of the D-Day landings. Scenic also offers a range of Freechoice activities in ports such as Les Andelys, Honfleur, Caudebec-en-Caux, Vernon and Conflans.The Somme excursions take place on the 102nd anniversary of the battle’s commencement. The first half day tour includes a visit to the Australian National Memorial and the Franco-Australian Museum, while a full day excursion the following day begins with a visit to Le Hamel and the Peronne Museum before lunch in a local restaurant. That afternoon, guests will stop at the Newfoundland memorial, where they can walk through a number of preserved trench lines used by soldiers during World War I, as well as Lochangar crater, and witness the sheer scale of the destruction caused by war.Guests will also enjoy two of Scenic’s signature offerings, a Scenic Sundowners cocktail event at Manoir d’Appreval and a once-in-a-lifetime Scenic Enrich experience at the impressive Château de La Roche-Guyon.Fares on the cruise are priced from $7,895 per person* including return flights to France.*subject to availability cruiseScenic
fijiNanukuResort Fiji’s Nanuku Auberge Resort has released pricing for its 13-new luxury one and two-bedroom ‘Auberge Beach Villas’, on schedule for the official opening to guests in October 2018.Pricing leads in at FJD3,350 per night for a one-bedroom Garden villa inclusive of a la carte breakfast and all taxes*. Per night rates for a two-bedroom ‘Garden Villa’ start from FJD4,100, again inclusive of a la carte breakfast and all taxes*.“The beauty of a stay in our Auberge Beach Villas lies in the fact our guests can enjoy their very own, very private environment or if they wish, take full advantage of a full resort offering literally just a short walk away,” said Nanuku Auberge Resort GM, Sascha Hemmann.When complete the new Auberge Beach Villas will offer state-of-the-art kitchens, private swimming pools and private open terraces offering the very best in both indoor and outdoor living fronted by a pristine, three kilometre-long white-sand beach and the resort’s own pristine house reef.*Conditions apply.
What an MLB source said about the D-backs’ trade haul for Greinke if the seahawks actually seek to trade tarvaris jackson, i can tell you one place he definitely would be welcomed by players: arizona.— Jim Trotter (@SI_JimTrotter) August 15, 2012 Top Stories D-backs president Derrick Hall: Franchise ‘still focused on Arizona’ Jackson, 29, has had a solid-but-unspectacular career since being taken in the second round of the 2006 NFL Draft by the Minnesota Vikings. He’s completed 59.4 percent of his passes and thrown 38 touchdowns against 35 interceptions, tallying a QB rating of 77.7 in the process.At any rate, while Jackson wouldn’t necessarily be a bad option for the Cardinals, it’s hard to see the Seahawks being amenable to the idea of trading him within the NFC West. Besides, as of now the Cardinals have four QBs on the roster, and adding someone like Jackson would likely mean parting with someone like Kolb.And as bad as things seem now, it’s a little tough to see that happening. Comments Share Nevada officials reach out to D-backs on potential relocation The Arizona Cardinals do not yet have a starting quarterback, which leaves room for people to speculate who should get the job.With Kevin Kolb and John Skelton in the midst of a battle of mediocrity, some feel like the team may look elsewhere for an answer at the position. One of the QBs supposedly on the trade block is Tarvaris Jackson, who is currently with the Seattle Seahawks. Would he be a good fit in Arizona? Hard to say, but according to Sports Illustrated’s Jim Trotter players on the Cardinals players wouldn’t be opposed to bringing him in. Cardinals expect improving Murphy to contribute right away
Former Cardinals kicker Phil Dawson retires Arizona Cardinals quarterback Carson Palmer (3) is hit by Buffalo Bills defensive end Kyle Williams (95) during the second half of an NFL football game on Sunday, Sept. 25, 2016, in Orchard Park, N.Y. (AP Photo/Bill Wippert) Grace expects Greinke trade to have emotional impact The Arizona Cardinals were upset by the Buffalo Bills last Sunday, 33-18.It was an all around forgettable day for the Cardinals, but there are many things to learn from in the wake of this disappointing game.Former Dallas Cowboys fullback Daryl Johnston was the analyst for the game on FOX, and he joined the Doug and Wolf show on Arizona Sports 98.7 FM on Tuesday and talked about what happened.“I saw a performance that does not correlate with the talent they have on the team, I don’t know what happened to the guys,” Johnston said. There are many things to point at, such as the Cardinals’ inability to contain dual-threat quarterback Tyrod Taylor. On the very first option play of the game, he ran for 49 yards.“He prepared you for all the potential pitfalls in that matchup on Sunday, and it seemed like it made no difference,” Johnston said. “Not to have your assignments down, knowing that you could not only get zone read but you could also get straight down the line option with quarterback and pitch, you had to have that covered.”The defense gave up 202 rushing yards, as they struggled to corral the shiftiness of Taylor and LeSean McCoy. The offense struggled as well, as Palmer was sacked five times and knocked down numerous others. He couldn’t get into any rhythm, as he threw four interceptions in the fourth quarter. The veteran quarterback knew what he was going to get with Bills head coach Rex Ryan, but there was nothing he could do about it.“We talked to Carson Palmer on Saturday, he knows Rex’s defense, he’s played against Rex when he was in Cincinnati,” Johnston said. “He was well aware of the style, and as you pointed out, for whatever reason they were not able to pick that up in the combination of pass protection with the offensive line, running backs and tight ends.” – / 22 Top Stories Derrick Hall satisfied with D-backs’ buying and selling The 5: Takeaways from the Coyotes’ introduction of Alex Meruelo LISTEN: Daryl Comments Share The Cardinals’ early struggles are a concern given the high expectations they entered the season with, but Johnston does not believe their issues are tied to feeling too good about themselves.“I don’t think they were complacent,” Johnston said. “Bruce Arians is never going to allow that to happen. I just think this was a team that went up to Western New York and executed very, very poorly.”The Cardinals are sitting at 1-2 and tied for last place in the division with the San Francisco 49ers. It may be too early to start worrying, but when the Los Angeles Rams come to town Sunday, the result of that game may tell who the 2016 Arizona Cardinals really are.“Arizona right now has to identify what the problem is, remedy that problem, and not just individually and small things, it seems to me that there might be something larger there,” Johnston said. “Identify that, sort that out and start moving forward.” Your browser does not support the audio element.
Top Stories (AP Photo/Ryan Kang) 4 Comments Share Todd Graham may not be the head coach of the Arizona State Sun Devils anymore, but he’s still up at 9 p.m. watching film.That is what the former coach told Doug and Wolf on 98.7 Arizona’s Sports Station on Thursday morning.“I want to be a head football coach. I want to run a program,” Graham said.Graham, who was fired by ASU in December following a 7-6 season, said he has had opportunities as a coordinator and as an analyst on TV. LISTEN: Todd Graham, Former ASU Football Head Coach Your browser does not support the audio element. Ballage is ranked as a top-100 prospect by ESPN’s Mel Kiper Jr. Former Cardinals kicker Phil Dawson retires Grace expects Greinke trade to have emotional impact The 5: Takeaways from the Coyotes’ introduction of Alex Meruelo “I’ve been very selective. I’ll only get involved with people who have the same philosophical belief that I have. I’m chomping at the bit to be back on the sideline and impacting young people,” Graham said.Graham said that part of his time off was spent at the NFL Combine with New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick. Through his time at the combine and coaching against several of NFL Draft prospects in the Pac-12, the coach has developed some opinions on the projected picks, especially at the quarterback position.“Hands down the most talented player is Josh Rosen,” Graham said.But that doesn’t mean he would pick Rosen if he had the choice.“If I was a team and I was drafting, out of all the quarterbacks, I would choose between (Sam) Darnold and (Baker) Mayfield. I think Mayfield has a lot of Drew Brees in him,” the coach said.Related LinksESPN’s Kiper ranks ASU’s Ballage inside top-100 of NFL DraftThe former head coach also had some high praise for running back Kalen Ballage, who Graham coached from 2013-2017 at ASU.“He is a very, very uniquely talent young man. His ability as a receiver, he is probably as natural of a route runner as any back,” Graham said. Derrick Hall satisfied with D-backs’ buying and selling