Denarau Island resort development in final stages

first_imgRe-opening of Wyndham Resort set for October 2013. Other new resort features include a new reception area, boardwalks, a Mexican bar and restaurant and Karma beach bar with new adults retreat pool and upgrades to the resorts main oceanfront swimming pool. “The fact we have spent over a million man-hours on Phase III of the development tells you just how big this project is,” Wyndham Vacation Resorts Asia Pacific chief executive and managing director Barry Robinson said. Wyndham Resort Denarau Island’s multi-million dollar refurbishment is in the final stages, with the re-opening planned for October 2013. The AU$30 million expansion and revitalisation project was undertaken by Pacific Building Solutions in 2011 and is set to be unveiled to the public on 21 October this year. “It is not just the scale of the project which is exciting, the new facilities now on offer and accommodation choices, which will soon be available, have truly taken this resort to a new level.” The construction included a total of 63 new apartments; one and two-bedroom deluxe apartments, three-bedroom grand suites and three and four-bedroom oceanfront presidential suites, with private plunge pools and entertainment decks.last_img read more



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Tourism Malaysia joins in first global relay on Instagram

first_imgTourism Malaysia is excited to announce that it will be taking part in the first global relay to be hosted on Instagram.The Global Relay has been organised by helloworld to help celebrate and acknowledge, World Tourism Day.On September 27, 2015 sixty countries will take part in helloworld’s InstaRelay and Malaysia is thrilled to be involved and showcase its diverse offering as a holiday destination.For 12 hours, nominated travellers will guide us through their country by taking a snap of their surroundings every hour and posting it to Instagram.The relay will begin in Samoa, the Western most point of the planet at sunrise, and finish at sunset twenty-four hours later in the Cook Islands, with another seventy-five destinations in between.Tourism Malaysia is collaborating with one of Australia’s favorite Instagrammers, Annette Widitz. Widitz is a Sydney girl with a passion for all things travel and photography. Her supreme ability to capture the beauty of a country in photographs is appreciated by more 33k followers.On the itinerary for Widitz during her 12-hour tour of Malaysia begins with one of the world’s top shopping cities, Kuala Lumpur and later she will travel to Malaysia’s food capital, Penangand to end her adventure she will finish up in Sabah where she’ll admire the majestic, Kota Kinabalu.To ensure you don’t miss out on the action of this exciting race around the world, make sure you tap the follow button (@dawa_lhamo) – you will be treated with some seriously jaw-dropping and inspiring imagery of nature, mouth-watering food and plenty of unique Malaysian beauty. You’ll see it all!With its rich culture and world-class nature scenery, Malaysia is made for Instagram. After immersing yourself with 12 photos over 12 hours during helloworld global relay, you will sure be saving your pennies to see and experience more for yourself! Visit MalaysiaSource = Tourism Malaysialast_img read more



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Robots in travel slowly gaining Australian approval

first_imgRobots in travel slowly gaining Australian approvalRobots in travel slowly gaining Australian approvalAustralian travellers are divided on how much a robot could add to the holiday experience, according to a global study by travel deals company Travelzoo. The study reveals that two thirds of Australians are open to the idea of a robot working in roles such as a receptionist in a hotel, however almost half admitted they find robots quite frightening.The Travelzoo Future of Travel project includes a poll of over 6,000 people in Asia, Europe, North America, South America and Australia to understand if consumers are ready for robots and artificial intelligence to play a major role in travel and hospitality.Robots are already being used in many international hotel chains such as Marriot International, Holiday Inn and Hilton and some cruise lines have put robot bartenders and guides into their ships. Industry reports cite the total spend on robots will exceed USD40 billion by 2020, with Asian countries Japan, South Korea and China leading the market in both spend and development.As a global average the Travelzoo research reveals nearly 80% of consumers expect robots to play a big part in their lives before 2020, with three quarters believing they will make their lives significantly better. Almost two thirds are comfortable with robots being used in the travel industry.In Australia opinions were mixed. Notably 93% of respondents have concerns that robots could be weak in softer skills such as showing emotions and the same number are worried about robots taking away jobs from humans. Australians are also concerned that robots will be unable to understand informal language such as slang, irony and the Australian sense of humour.Those in the Australian pro-robot camp highlight the unlimited energy levels of robots and eight in ten respondents believe robots can handle data faster than their human counterparts. The majority of perceived benefits are around data handling, memory and skills like communicating multiple languages.Australians also prefer their robots to look like machines rather than humans, however their voice should sound human rather than robotic. Chinese respondents by contrast prefer their robots to look human – with 76% saying they prefer this.Commenting on the survey findings, Cemlyn Jones, said, “Right now is a very exciting moment in the history of the travel industry – ground breaking technology is revolutionizing what is possible from the perspective of customer service, entertainment and personalization. Robots and artificial intelligence are making their debut on the tourism stage, and our research into global acceptance of robots working in the travel industry is largely positive.”“It is fascinating to see some cultural stereotypes emerge from the research into global acceptance of robots. The UK and Australian participants worry the most about humour and irony being lost on robots, and the French and Spanish are completely unaccepting about replacing their waiters with robots – even if a human waiter is much less efficient than a robot!”Jones concluded, “While the advent of technology such as robot butlers and bartenders is hugely exciting, it’s also very clear from our research that consumers from all markets surveyed see the combination of robots and humans working in tandem in customer-facing roles in travel as the ideal solution.” TravelzooSource = Travelzoolast_img read more



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Big hearted MTA reaches out to Fiji

first_imgMTA – Naqalimare District School FijiBig hearted MTA reaches out to FijiBig hearted MTA reaches out to FijiMTA – Mobile Travel Agents’ co-managing directors Roy and Karen Merricks have personally delivered more than 250 kilos of clothing, toys and school materials donated by the Merricks and MTA Members to the children of Naqalimare District School in Sigatoka on Fiji’s big island of Viti Levu.The area was one of many regions of the destination severely affected by the ravages of Tropical Cyclone Winston which smashed into the Fijian archipelago with deadly effects in late February.The Fijian people’s plight was very much in focus at the recent MTA National Conference on the Gold Coast in March when high profile Fiji-based celebrity chef Lance Seeto, a close personal friend of the Merricks, addressed the members and called on them for their help.The result, 250 kilos of clothing, toys and school materials collected at an MTA family fun-day on the Gold Coast where Chef Seeto, accompanied by MTA ambassador Jessica Watson OAM manned the BBQ for MTA Members and their families attending the ‘Power of Community’ national conference.Pictured, Naqalimare District Schoolchildren and just some of the 250 kilos of clothing, toys and material donated by MTA. MTA – Mobile Travel Agentsdiscover more about MTA hereSource = Mike Parker-Brown, MTA – Mobile Travel Agents PRlast_img read more



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Choice Hotels extends its upscale offering to New Zealand

first_imgChoice Hotels extends its upscale offering to New ZealandChoice Hotels Asia-Pac (Choice Hotels) has expanded its global upscale offering to New Zealand, with the launch of the boutique Ascend Hotel Collection and its newly signed partnership with Nugget Point Hotel in Queenstown.The upscale offering will complement Choice Hotels’ four existing brands – Econo Lodge, Comfort, Quality and Clarion – across its 32-strong New Zealand presence.The Ascend Hotel Collection is unique in its offering in that it allows a property to retain its local brand identity whilst taking advantage of Choice Hotels’ powerful distribution channels, strategic sales and marketing programs and operational support.Following the announcement of a successful year for Choice Hotels in 2015 and after hints at new upscale hotels to be introduced in New Zealand in 2016, CEO Trent Fraser is thrilled to introduce the new Ascend Hotel Collection to New Zealand and welcome this one of a kind property to the Choice Hotels family.“The Ascend Hotel Collection is an exciting new direction for the Choice Hotels brand in New Zealand. Each Ascend Hotel Collection property will offer guests a blend of unique characteristics – an established local presence, intriguing heritage, and boutique character. With consistent superior service and an impressive array of distinguished rooms, we believe Nugget Point Queenstown Hotel is a shining example of this and more,” says Fraser.Fraser sees the Ascend Hotel Collection as providing many growth opportunities for the Choice Hotels brand.“Growing the Ascend Hotel Collection is a priority for Choice Hotels in New Zealand. We have an aggressive expansion strategy in place with multiple properties in our pipeline,” he said.Set at the base of Coronet Peak, Nugget Point is the perfect escape for holiday-makers looking for an authentic Queenstown experience. With 40 well-appointed guest rooms, this definitively boutique hotel offers guests peace and tranquillity perched high above and overlooking the famed Shotover River and nearby mountain ranges. It’s also just a short drive from the heart of the alpine town’s action and its surrounding ski fields.Steeped in rich gold-rush history, the property includes a restaurant with river views, Roman bath-style spa, hot tub, sauna & steam room, heated indoor pool, squash court, movie theatre, fully equipped gym and on-site spa offering massages.All guest rooms within the hotel are open plan and spacious with a balcony (some with river views available), kitchenette, flat screen TV and complimentary WiFi.Choice Hotels has 32 hotels dotted across New Zealand. Conveniently located in city centres, metropolitan areas and regional centres, Choice offers a variety of options ranging from the economy Econo Lodge, to the convenient Comfort, the superior Quality, the premium Clarion brand and now the boutique Ascend Hotel Collection.Source = Choice Hotels Asia Pacificlast_img read more



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Tourism is true winner of this weekends Battle of Brisbane

first_imgTourism is true winner of this weekend’s Battle of BrisbaneTourism will be the real winner of this weekend’s ‘Battle of Brisbane’ bout, Australia’s largest-ever boxing match between Brisbane’s own Jeff Horn and world champion Manny Pacquiao at Suncorp Stadium on Sunday 2 July, as most hotels in the city near capacity.The event, which is expected to attract tens of thousands of boxing fans from across Australia and the world, has generated a strong spike in bookings at Mantra Group’s nine hotels in Brisbane, which are already boasting a combined average occupancy of more than 92% this Saturday and more than 84% on Sunday.Mantra Group Executive Director of Sales, Revenue and Distribution Luke Moran said the Group is anticipating all of its remaining rooms in Brisbane for fight night will be sold between now and the event.“Major events like this play an important role in unlocking the city’s true tourism potential, contributing millions of dollars to Brisbane’s growing economy and, together with our wider tourism industry, supporting local jobs,” said Mr Moran.“It will also place Brisbane firmly in the international spotlight and re-affirms the city’s ability to host world-class events.“For those yet to secure their accommodation, there are still some rooms available for event-goers at Mantra Richmont Hotel, Mantra on Queen and Mantra Midtown.” Source = Mantra Hotel Grouplast_img read more



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Kulm Hotel St Moritz is named Switzerlands Gault Millau Hotel of the

first_imgKulm Hotel St. Moritz is named Switzerland’s Gault Millau Hotel of the Year 2018Kulm Hotel St. Moritz is named Switzerland’s Gault Millau Hotel of the Year 2018Gault Millau Switzerland and sponsor Carl F. Bucherer have named the legendary Kulm Hotel St. Moritz (www.kulm.com) “Hotel of the Year 2018”. In an official ceremony held on Monday 28th August, the luxury hotel was awarded the prestigious title by Sascha Moeri, CEO of Carl F. Bucherer, and Urs Heller, chief editor of Gault Millau Switzerland. The Kulm was praised by the judges for its exceptional culinary offerings, outstanding service standards, stunning location with breathtaking views of the Engadine Valley, striking new rooms by Pierre-Yves Rochon and its wide-ranging health and fitness offering, including its spectacular modern spa.Gault Millau, founded in 1969 by two French restaurant critics, is among the most influential restaurant guides on the international gourmet scene and places great emphasis, therefore, on the cuisine offered by hotels when making its annual award selection. The Kulm Hotel stood out in 2017 for a variety of reasons including the opening in January of the Kulm Country Club, which had an innovative launch concept that saw different Michelin starred chefs from around the world, such as Daniel Humm, Nenad Mlinarevic and Mauro Colagreco, “pop up” to cook in the restaurant.Planning is already in place for more guest chefs to visit the Kulm in the upcoming winter season, including Germany’s two-starred Michelin chef Tim Raue with his Asian-inspired food who will be at the K – the Kulm’s fine dining restaurant.The last year also saw the F&B operations at the Kulm Hotel taken over by a new head chef, Mauro Taufer, who came to the property with excellent experience gained at the Hotel Gritti Palace and Hotel Danieli, both in Venice, as well as a warm and welcoming professional style, and an aptitude for hiring the right talent for the right job.Taufer oversees the Kulm’s varied culinary concept, which includes five restaurants (the half-board Grand Restaurant, the Gourmet Restaurant the K, the Italian Pizzeria, Chesa al Parc serving local Engadine specialities and the Sunny Bar, which plays host to Peruvian chef Claudia Canessa in the evenings), in addition to the newly-opened Kulm Country Club. Furthermore, the Kulm’s “Dine Around” programme operated in conjunction with sister property Grand Hotel Kronenhof (www.kronenhof.com) means that guests have access to another three restaurants. Two of these restaurants, the Grand at the Kulm and the Grand at the Kronenhof, provide half-board meals of an exceptional standard for guests.The ongoing investment in the Kulm Hotel was also an important factor in choosing the property as “Hotel of the Year”.  Some of the major innovations of the last decade are the 2000 square metre Kulm Spa St. Moritz, which was unveiled in 2012 following a CHF12 million investment; the refurbishment of the NeuKulm building with interiors by internationally renowned designer Pierre-Yves Rochon and, of course, the opening of the Kulm Country Club, created from an historic Ice Pavilion that had lain unused since the 1980s.And last but by no means least, Gault Millau recognised the enormous input, energy and friendly nature of the Kulm team, led by Heinz E. and Jenny Hunkeler, who are the only General Managers ever to pick up the coveted Hotel of the Year award twice. The Hunkelers have been at the helm of the Kulm Hotel since March 2013 and were previously at sister property Grand Hotel Kronenhof, when it was named GaultMillau Hotel of the Year in 2009.On accepting the award, Heinz E. Hunkeler said, “We are delighted to receive this outstanding award on behalf of the entire team at the Kulm Hotel St. Moritz, who work tirelessly alongside us to ensure that our guests have an outstanding stay with us. From the moment they arrive to the moment they depart, the concierge desk, the house-keeping team, the kitchen and restaurant staff, and the spa team, do their utmost to look after the guests, a fact that is reflected by the hotel winning the highly respected Gault Millau “Hotel of the Year” title.”For more information, visit the website www.kulm.com or contact the Kulm Hotel St. Moritz team by phone on +41 (0) 81 836 80 00 or by e-mail on info@kulm.comSource = Kulm Hotel St. Moritzlast_img read more



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Odisha Tourism to develop 40 new ecotourism spots

first_imgIn a bid to promote eco-tourism, the state government of Odisha has decided to develop 40 new eco-tourism spots.This decision was taken at a high-level meeting under the chairmanship of Chief Secretary A P Padhi. He further directed the Forest and Environment Department to develop suitable facilities including a waste disposal provision at eco-tourism spots.A target of five years has been set for developing the new destinations into eco-tourism sites, said SC Mohapatra, the Forest and Environment Secretary. He further revealed that the investment made for this project is around `100 crore. Accommodation facilities for 15 to 20 families will also be developed in every major eco-tourism spot in the state.Available data shows a constant increase in tourist footfall in eco-tourism spots over last three years. The government has decided to put in place a centralised online system for advance booking of accommodations at these spots.last_img


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Zakir Ahmed

first_imgOTM is a great event which the travel trade look forward to every year! It is an event which specialises on outbound market, as Indian outbound travel is growing at a very fast pace and every country is looking to get the pie. It is a platform where lot of business is exchanged. On behalf of TAFI, we wish OTM the very best for all its future activities.last_img



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Bollywood celebrity Diana Penty unveils the latest campaign Awestralia

first_imgIn order to increase enthusiasm among Indian tourists to take a vacation ‘Down Under’, Tourism Australia along with MakeMyTrip have developed a series of promotional campaign videos termed ‘Awe-stralia’. The project was undertaken in partnership with the Australian State Tourism Offices of Visit Victoria, Destination New South Wales & Tourism and Events Queensland.The videos have been launched on YouTube and have been promoted across MakeMyTrip’s social media platforms, thereby reaching out to a large set of travel enthusiasts. Distinctive itineraries, in line with the themes of the videos, have also been designed for audience.Nishant Kashikar, Country Manager- India & Gulf, Tourism Australia, said, “Visuals are the strongest communicators and the videos created by the MakeMyTrip team are indeed sending out a strong message about Australia as the ideal destination for Indian travel enthusiasts. We are confident that our collaboration will help us reiterate Australia as a preferred holiday destination and encourage the loyal fan base of both MakeMyTrip.com and Diana Penty, to head Down Under this summer.”The videos showcase Bollywood actress Diana Penty visiting iconic attractions while undertaking unique Australian activities and indulging in exceptional food and wine experiences. The videos feature a splendid montage of iconic experiences such as the Sydney Harbour Bridge climb, visit to the Melbourne Cricket Ground, trip to the Penguin Island, Bondi Beach and the Sydney Harbour Cruise. Diana undertook some soft adventure activities such as the hot air ballooning and jetboating in Gold Coast, and a helicopter ride to view the magnificent 12 Apostles by the Great Ocean Road in Victoria.For the month of December 2016, Australia welcomed 29,500 visitors Indian visitors, recording a growth of 13.5% hereby registering the highest ever visitation in any given month. Total arrivals for the year ended December 2016 stood at 260,000; an increase of 11.3% over the previous year.The Tourism Forecasting Committee (TFC) has predicted 265,000 visitors from India for the July 2016-June 2017 period, a 9.6% increase over 2015-16. Arrivals from India are expected to perform well with an average annual financial year growth rate of 6.4% through to the financial year 2021-22.last_img read more



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Rejuvenating the Mumbai to Goa experience

first_imgMumbai and Goa are hight crowd pullers in India. Both the places have cemented their position as the most visited destination of the country. While Mumbai is regarded as the fast pace city Goa, on the other hand, is laidback backpackers paradise. Source: Lonely Planetlast_img



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December Unemployment Rates Down in Most Metro Areas

first_img in Data, Government, Origination, Secondary Market Unemployment,December Unemployment Rates Down in Most Metro Areas January 30, 2013 432 Views Agents & Brokers Attorneys & Title Companies Bureau of Labor Statistics Investors Jobs Labor Department Lenders & Servicers Payrolls Processing Service Providers Unemployment 2013-01-30 Mark Liebermancenter_img Lincoln, Nebraska recorded a best-in-the-nation 3.4 percent unemployment rate in December as unemployment rates dropped in 290 of the 372 metropolitan areas in the county, the “”Bureau of Labor Statistics””:http://www.bls.gov/news.release/archives/metro_01302013.pdf (BLS) reported Wednesday. [IMAGE]Three other metro areas reported unemployment rates of 4.0 percent or below: Lafayette and Lake Charles, Louisiana, at 3.7 percent each, and Sioux Falls, South Dakota, at 4.0 percent. Forty-seven metro areas reported unemployment rates of 10.0 percent or higher, down from 70 metro areas one year earlier.The highest unemployment rates in the country, according to the BLS report, were in Yuma, Arizona, and El Centro, California, at 27.3 percent and 25.5 percent, respectively. The unemployment rate in Yuma was up from 25.4 percent one year earlier, while the rate in El Centro represented an improvement from 28.1 percent in December 2011.The BLS report reflected an uneven pattern of unemployment with metro areas, with unemployment rates above the national average generally clustered on the coasts while areas with unemployment rates below the national average dotting the midsection of the country. There were, according to the monthly report, exceptions to the distribution. Four of the seven metro areas in Colorado, for example, had unemployment rates above the national average of 7.6 percent–led by Pueblo, where the unemployment rate was 10.5 percent–up from 9.8 percent in December 2011. On the other hand, four of California├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├óÔÇ×┬ós 26 metro areas had unemployment rates at or below the national average: San Francisco-Oakland, San Jose, San Luis Obispo, and Santa Barbara. At the other extreme, 15 metro areas in California had double digit unemployment rates in December, though all were down from one year earlier.The unemployment rate is not necessarily the optimum measure of an area’s economic strength since it is dependent on changes in the labor force. As discouraged workers re-enter the labor force as ├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├àÔÇ£unemployed,├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├é┬Ø the unemployment rate would increase, though those re-entrants were likely encouraged by an improvement in the job outlook. Indeed, BLS also reported Wednesday 283 metro areas recorded year-over-year increases in non-farm payrolls, while 83 reported declines, and six had no change. Unlike the unemployment rate which, is based on where members of the labor force reside, the report of payroll jobs is based on where the jobs are located. An unemployment rate for suburban communities depends largely on the jobs picture in the nearby urban area within commuting distance.Payroll growth, BLS said, was strongest in the New York metro area, which added 118,700 jobs from December 2011 to December 2012, followed by the Houston metro area which, added 84,500 jobs, and Los Angeles-Long Beach with 83,200 new jobs.BLS will report on national payroll jobs and the national unemployment rate for January on Friday._Hear Mark Lieberman Friday on P.O.T.U.S. radio, Sirius-XM 124, at 8:45 a.m. and again at 11:45 a.m. Eastern time._ Sharelast_img read more



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First American Strikes Deal to Acquire Interthinx

first_imgFirst American Strikes Deal to Acquire Interthinx Share in Data, Technology “”First American Financial Corporation””:http://www.firstam.com/, a company specializing in title insurance, settlement services, and risk solutions for participants in real estate transactions, announced the signing of an agreement to acquire “”Interthinx, Inc.””:http://www.interthinx.com/, a provider of loan quality analytics, decision support tools, and loan review services.[IMAGE]First American struck the deal with Verisk Analytics, Inc., agreeing to pay $155 million. The transaction is expected to close by March 31, pending closing conditions.[COLUMN_BREAK]First American CEO Dennis Gilmore said the purchase comes in response to customers’ desire “”for a tighter integration between loan origination activities, loan quality verification processes, and title and settlement services.””””The added capabilities of Interthinx will allow us to leverage our central role in real estate transactions to offer our customers further assurances in areas that present risk, including fraud; identity and income validation; collateral adequacy; and compliance,”” Gilmore said. “”This puts First American in a unique position to provide the industry’s most robust loan-quality assurance solutions–from application to closing.””The acquisition also represents a “”significant step”” in the company’s effort to capitalize on its unique data assets to enhance its offerings, he added.For Interthinx’s part, president Jeff Moyer said the firm is “”delighted by the opportunity to combine our expertise with that of First American, a company known for its integrity, innovation and solid commitment to the real estate community.””center_img Acquisitions Agents & Brokers Attorneys & Title Companies Company News Interthinx Investors Lenders & Servicers Service Providers 2014-02-10 Tory Barringer February 10, 2014 568 Views last_img read more



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5 Reasons Financial Reporting Problems Persist in the Mortgage Industry

first_img The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is cracking down on those involved directly with the financial reporting processes, which is causing a number of issues in the mortgage industry.Andrew Ceresney, Director, Division of Enforcement recently spoke at the SEC’s Directors Forum 2016 Keynote Address to highlight the importance of financial reporting misconduct and how the government agency plans to address this problem moving forward.”The importance of aggressively pursuing financial reporting deficiencies cannot be overstated.  Comprehensive, accurate, and reliable financial reporting is the bedrock upon which our markets are based,” Ceresney stated. “Materially false or incomplete financial reporting saps investor confidence and erodes the integrity of our markets.  The Commission is committed to holding accountable those whose actions prevent investors from receiving timely and reliable information that enables them to make informed investment decisions.”Ceresney identified 5 causes of today’s financial reporting problems, which include: Significant pressure to meet earnings and other performance expectations;Excessive focus on short term performance rather than longer term success;Poor oversight in units and subsidiaries;Growth outpacing the reporting and accounting infrastructure; andManagement’s over-reliance on processes and poor “tone at the top.”The SEC also pointed out some popular areas of wrongdoings among those that work closely with financial reporting including revenue recognition, valuation and impairment issues, earnings management, missing or insufficient disclosures, internal accounting controls, and clawbacks of bonuses and incentive-based compensation.Ceresney pointed to “gatekeepers,” or audit committee members and external auditors, in the financial reporting area for being the ruling hands during this process.  “Gatekeepers are critical to helping ensure that issuers make timely, comprehensive, and accurate disclosure,” he said.”Our markets depend on comprehensive and accurate disclosure to investors.  As the Commission’s actions in this space over the past several years show, companies and their executives will face enforcement action if they mislead investors,” Ceresney concluded. “We hope this aggressive posture will deter misconduct and ensure that companies report accurate and reliable financial information.” January 27, 2016 692 Views 5 Reasons Financial Reporting Problems Persist in the Mortgage Industry in Daily Dose, Featured, Government, Newscenter_img Financial Reporting Mortgage Industry U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission 2016-01-27 Staff Writer Sharelast_img read more



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Home Price Index Hits 30month High

first_img CoreLogic Case-Shiller Home Price Indices Home Prices mortgage S&P 2017-02-28 Staff Writer Home Price Index Hits 30-month High Share Home prices have hit a 30-month high, jumping 5.8 percent annually, according to the most recent S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller U.S. National Home Price NSA Index released today.The Index, which covers data for December 2016, revealed a 5.6 percent jump from the previous month, and an almost 6 percent gain year-over-year.“Home prices continue to advance, with the national average rising faster than at any time in the last two-and-a-half years,” said David M. Blitzer, Managing Director and Chairman of the Index Committee at S&P Dow Jones Indices.There’s no cause for alarm, though, Blitzer said.“In comparing current home price movement to history, it is necessary to adjust for inflation,” he said. “Consumer prices are higher today than 20 or 30 years ago, while the inflation rate is lower. Looking at real or inflation-adjusted home prices based on the S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller National Index and the Consumer Price Index, the annual increase in home prices is currently 3.8 percent. Since 1975, the average pace is 1.3 percent; about two-thirds of the time, the rate is between -4 percent and +7 percent. Home prices are rising, but the speed is not alarming.”The 10-City Composite, a value-weighted average of the top 10 metro area indices, saw a 4.9 percent year-over-year increase, while the 20-City Composite, a value-weighted average of the top 20 metro area indices, jumped 5.6 percent. Overall, the highest annual gains were seen in Seattle (10.8 percent), Portland (10 percent), and Denver (8.9 percent).Month-over-month, both the 10-City and 20-City composites jumped .3 percent. With seasonal adjustment, all cities in the 20-City Composite saw prices increase.“One factor behind rising home prices is low inventory,” Blitzer said. “While sales of existing single-family homes passed five million units at annual rates in January, the highest since 2007, the inventory of homes for sales remains quite low with a 3.6-month supply. New home sales at 555,000 in 2016 are up from recent years but remain below the average pace of 700,000 per year since 1990.”Historically low mortgage rates are also pushing home prices up, according to Blitzer.“Another factor supporting rising home prices is mortgage rates,” Blitzer said. “A 30-year fixed rate mortgage today is 4.2 percent compared to the 6.4 percent average since 1990.”center_img February 28, 2017 558 Views in Daily Dose, Featured, Market Studies, Newslast_img read more



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Famils

first_imgFamils Byron Cruise & Travel’s Jessica Milford had a close encounter with a friendly camel after a 4WD joinery across Wahiba Sands to 1000 Nights Camp, when she travelled to Oman on an exclusive Travellers Choice famil, hosted by Peregrine Adventures and Etihad Airways.“When we got there I decided to take a selfie with a camel and before I knew it he came right up behind me and licked half my arm and half my face,” said Jessica of the event she cites as ‘a highlight’! It wasn’t the only memorable moment on the famil, which saw seven Travellers Choice members experience Peregrine’s ‘Taste of Oman’ tour. With a local leader, the agents wove their way through bazaars and souks, visited spectacular mosques, toured Oman’s forts, took a sunset cruise along Muscat’s coast, and swam in the crystal clear waters of the tranquil oasis, Wadi Bani Khaled.Less authentically Arabian, but just as entertaining, says Jess Black from Capricorn Travel in Perth, was Autobahn, one of the city’s more unusual nightclubs.“It is a wonderfully tacky car-themed bar at Al Falaj Hotel in Muscat, which has a painted road running through the middle and guests sit in a white stretch limo which has been converted into booths,” says Jess.The agents also experienced Etihad’s award-winning business class, spent a night at the luxurious St Regis Abu Dhabi and took the controls of a flight simulator at the EY Training Academy.Image:Travellers Choice members storm Niswa Fort, Oman. Top row (L-R): Jessica Black (Capricorn Travel), Chanelle Hetherington (Intrepid Group), Fiona Tianudom (iLuv2travel & Cruise), Jessica Milford (Byron Cruise and Travel) and Peregrine Tour Leader Said. Bottom row (L-R): Shayne Williamson (Select World Travel), Cathy Barton (Canadian Bay Travel), Rebecca Dewhirst (Maryborough Travel & Cruise) and Fleur Brenkley (Savenio Adelaide).last_img read more



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The Board of Directors of Choice Hotels Internatio

first_imgThe Board of Directors of Choice Hotels International has appointed Patrick Pacious as President and Chief Executive Officer, effective 1 January, 2018. Pacious currently serves as President and Chief Operating Officer, and will succeed Chief Executive Officer Stephen Joyce. Joyce will continue in his role as CEO through the end of the year, after which he will assume the role of Vice Chairman of the Board. Pacious is expected to join the Board of Directors in September.The appointment of Pacious is part of the company’s long-term succession plan focused on maintaining leadership continuity, while driving new ideas that result in continued positive business growth now and into the future. Over the past several years, Joyce has collaborated with the Board of Directors to identify and prepare his successor. The Board and Joyce identified Pacious as the right person to lead Choice into the future.Pacious joined Choice in 2005 and has created significant value for shareholders and franchisees. Under Pacious’ direction, Choice built industry-leading global technology platforms that resulted in improved profitability and efficiencies for the company’s franchised hotel owners. He has led strategies and innovative growth initiatives around brand, marketing, development, franchise services, revenue management and performance analytics. IMAGE: Patrick Pascious appointmentsChoice Hotelslast_img read more



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agentsAzamaraAzamara Questcruisefamilhelloworld

first_imgagentsAzamaraAzamara Questcruisefamilhelloworld IMAGE: Chef’s Table Group (below): Layla Salman (host), Jennifer Marr, Darlene Howden, Christina Hunt, Susanne Lampitt, Tanya Van Angeren, Richard Liddicoat, Vera Liddicoat, Renee Markwick, David Markwick, Grant Horrigan, Darren Baker, Barbara Hunt and Kylie Hill A group of Helloworld agents have sailed from Sydney to Cairns onboard Azamara Quest, – with stops at Airlie Beach and Townsville. The cruise kicked off with dinner at Prime C, Azamara’s specialty dining steakhouse and, the next evening, a buffet feast, with lobster on the pool deck and fun and dancing at the White Night party. On day one at sea, the agents completed an Azamara training session at sea that included a visit from the officers of Azamara Quest, and Captain Magnus Davidson.The second sea day included a sneak-peek behind the scenes of the Galley Tour, followed by an exciting Bridge Tour. Port time was enjoyed by all in Airlie Beach, Townsville and an overnight in Cairns. The week finished with a sensational seven-course meal and wine pairing at Chef’s Table.TOP IMAGE: White NightBack row: Christopher Mason, Ethan Henshaw, Darren Baker, Grant Horrigan, Gary Wells, Tanya Van Angeren, Carli Fergusson, Chloe Franklin, Robyn Stevens, Renee Markwick, David Markwick, Adam PopeMiddle row: Susanne Lampitt, Jennifer Mason, Richard Liddicoat, Vera Liddicoat, Anne Graham, Jennifer Marr, Learni Whitehead, Darlene Howden, Kay Franklin, Natalie    Schembri, Martin Schembri,Front row: Christina Hunt, Barbara Hunt, Kylie Hill and Layla Salman (host)last_img read more



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Although the Cardinals are in desperate need of a

first_imgAlthough the Cardinals are in desperate need of a quarterback, ESPN’s Mike Sando does not think the team needs a franchise quarterback to win the NFC West.The Arizona quarterback debate, which seems to revolve around Kevin Kolb and Kyle Orton, is something the Cardinals need to settle as soon as the lockout is ended.For the Cardinals to have any success in the 2011-12 season, the offense needs to work with their new quarterback as soon as possible. Comments   Share   Kolb and Orton both have their own personal pros and cons, but the Cardinals may be fine with either one.As Sando writes in his story, “gaining long-term security at the position would be nice, but there is no reason to force the issue in the absence of such a solution.”If the Cardinals do not feel that the long-term answer at quarterback is available, they should not give up too much to acquire either Kolb or Orton.A sufficient quarterback is all the Cardinals need to compete in a division with less talent than American Idol audition shows.Despite finishing with the second worst record in the NFC, the Cardinals only finished two games out of the divisional race.Arizona may not be the most talented team in the NFC, but they do not need to be. If the Cardinals can get competent quarterback play, they have enough pieces to compete for a division title. D-backs president Derrick Hall: Franchise ‘still focused on Arizona’ What an MLB source said about the D-backs’ trade haul for Greinkecenter_img Nevada officials reach out to D-backs on potential relocation Top Stories Cardinals expect improving Murphy to contribute right awaylast_img read more



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Cardinals expect improving Murphy to contribute ri

first_img Cardinals expect improving Murphy to contribute right away Coach Whisenhunt also said he has great respect for what it takes to play that position and he’s always tried to have great relationships with the quarterbacks. Kevin Kolb has only been here for six weeks but it didn’t take long for Coach Whisenhunt and Kolb to click. “Doesn’t take long with Kevin from my perspective to have a trust in what he’s going to do and to be able to communicate things with him. He’s very open. He wants to do it the right way. One of the things we’ve always done around here is we’ve been open to listening to that. Working together and trying to get a beat on what we all do well.” Sunday will be the first true test for QB Kevin Kolb, Head Coach Ken Whisenhunt and the rest of the Arizona Cardinals. The Cardinals 2011 season officially gets underway on Sunday and so much has already been made about the chemistry and relationships between teammates, but what about the relationship between head coach and quarterback? Head coach Ken Whisenhunt thinks the relationship he has with Kevin Kolb can make a difference with the team’s success. “I think communication and trust to me are the two most important things. You know you gotta get a feel for what your quarterback likes, what he doesn’t like. You gotta communicate that. But I think there also has to be a trust. They have to know that you want to put them in the best situation to win. I think we have a very good relationship with Kevin.” Nevada officials reach out to D-backs on potential relocation What an MLB source said about the D-backs’ trade haul for Greinkecenter_img D-backs president Derrick Hall: Franchise ‘still focused on Arizona’ Top Stories Comments   Share   last_img read more



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