Norwegian takes cruisers on Breakaway

first_imgSource = e-Travel Blackboard: Natalie Aroyan ‘Project Breakaway’ started taking shape earlier this week with Kevin Sheehan, CEO Norwegian Cruise Line, presenting the first look of balcony and mini-suite staterooms for their two new ship builds.More than 1,000 travel partners were privy to the designs at’s annual conference in Las Vegas with thousands more observing via a webcast. Norwegian’s two new next generation ‘Freestyle Cruising’ ships are scheduled for delivery in April 2013 and April 2014 and will offer capacity for up to 4,000 passengers. Dubbed ‘Project Breakaway’, the ships are set to incorporate the best of the best from Norwegian’s current fleet of ships. “The overall design theme for Project Breakaway’s staterooms is ‘modern boutique hotel meets the sea’. We strongly considered the overall needs of our guests when designing these staterooms and wanted them to be greeted with an ambience that is warm and inviting and have a very contemporary feel with clean, modern lines,” said Mr Sheehan.“We also wanted to maximize the use of space within the staterooms, so that our guests are as comfortable as possible and storage space is well planned throughout.”Each ‘Project Breakaway’ ship will offer 1,024 balcony staterooms and 238 mini-suites accented with a hint of colour, rich paneling and warm tones. Balcony staterooms will feature a king-size bed complete with pillow top mattress and leather tufted headboard along with a sofa bed. Storage is paramount in the designs presented with touches such as lighted recesses above each bed conveniently sized to fit books for those still reading the ‘old fashioned way’ or even electronic reading devices for those hi-tech aficionados.Additional storage is also available beneath the 26-inch built in flat screen television, in the vanity area and via the full-size wardrobe accessibly via sliding doors. Ambience is created via the LED lighting surrounding the ceiling perimeters and energy efficiency is ensured with key cards controlling lighting in each stateroom. Balcony bathrooms are generously spaced with ample shelving and an enclosed vanity beneath the sink offering an additional storage option. Mini-suites will offer passengers a more spacious version of the balcony stateroom with a larger bathroom incorporating a double sink, additional storage space and an oversized shower complete with rain shower head, multiple body spray jets and separate handheld shower head. Norwegian Cruise Line has clearly been listening to their fans in regards to the changes with many complaining of such features as the clouded-glass bathroom doors on their newest liner, Epic. UK design group Priestmangoode will be working alongside Tillberg Design of Sweden to design the staterooms after they won several awards for their design of the first staterooms designed specifically for solo travellers on Norwegian Epic. View the complete gallery of the ‘Project Breakaway’ stateroom impressions herelast_img read more

Tourism a doubleedged sword for Myanmar

first_imgSource = e-Travel Blackboard: G.A As Myanmar’s Aung San Suu Kyi prepares to formally take her seat in Parliament next week, ready to welcome tourists to the country, some are asking if Myanmar is ready (and willing) to accept the almost inevitable ‘bad’ tourist for the good.The region is well-known for tourism, with Thailand consistently ranking high on travelers’ bucket lists and Myanmar’s own tourism revenue doubling to US$319 million last year compared to 2008, the International Herald Tribune reported.However, according to Tourism Transparency founder Andrea Valentin, Myanmar must tread carefully if following in the footsteps of its neighbors. “The lessons to learn are pretty straightforward: If Burma wants to have more prostitutes than monks in the country, then they should follow Thailand’s tourism development approach,” Ms Valentin told online news site The Irawaddy.Last year, the National League for Democracy, Ms Aung San Suu Kyi’s party, said they would welcome tourists “keen to promote the welfare of the common people and the conservation of the environment”.This is a long way from Ms. Aung San Suu Kyi’s protest in 1999 when she said, “Burma will be here for many years, so tell your friends to visit us later. Visiting now is tantamount to condoning the regime”.Things have changed in the thirteen years since, with the United States this week easing restrictions on the operation of non-governmental groups in Myanmar and with international wholesalers itching to bring tourists to the country.Meanwhile, the world is watching and advocacy and rights groups remain vigilant.Chicago Alliance Against Sexual Exploitation executive director Rachel Durchslag wrote in the Huffington Post of the dangers of sex tourism, stating that “many of those being purchased for sex are victims of human trafficking or individuals with extremely limited life options”.The travel industry too is more aware of the sometimes subsequent evils of tourism and the industry’s unique role to identify practices such as human trafficking.Non-profit Airline Ambassadors Incorporated (AAI) and its staunch supporter International Tour Management Institute (ITMI) have come together to bring about an industry-specific human trafficking awareness program.“ITMI is proud to be working closely with AAI, to provide tourism industry professionals with the tools to recognize suspicious behavior and report it to the Transportation Security Administration or other law enforcement authorities,” ITMI chief executive Ted Bravos said.At the recent ITMI symposium, ITMI together with the tour directors in attendance raised enough money to build a safe house, which will be dedicated in Haiti later this year. Myanmar’s stunning temples, beaches and landscapes are luring tourists from across the globe. last_img read more

Solar causes eclipse in Cairns bookings

first_imgSource = e-Travel Blackboard: N.J Wednesday’s solar eclipse has travellers eyeing out hotel and accommodation bookings in Cairns, according to new data.Transpiring on 14 November this year, the event referred to as a total eclipse, will completely obscure the light of the sun and occurs somewhere on earth every 18 months but will not return to that location for another 360 to 410 years. Giving Aussies an once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to witness it on their home turf, online searches for Cairns picked up by 25 percent for around the 14 November eclipse, according to figures, while searches more than doubled the seasonal average for check-ins two days before the event.The online booking site’s insights and analytics expert Paul Hayden added that other regions within the path of the eclipse, including Port Douglas were being eyed, gaining “unusually high hotel interest for a weekday period”.“The eclipse is obviously an event that’s generating lots of interest in the area and that will likely prove quite lucrative for the local tourism community,” he explained.Meanwhile hotel prices picked up by 11 percent during the week of the eclipse, with an average nightly rate of $152.22 compared to the average rate of $136.91 the week before. last_img read more

Singapore approves Virgins Skywest acquisition

first_imgThe acquisition is expected to fast-track Virgin’ presence in the growing regional markets. Image: AviationWA Source = e-Travel Blackboard: N.J Virgin Australia has received Singaporean approval on its proposed acquisition of Skywest.Last month, the carrier revealed plans to fully-acquire Skywest and merge the airline into the Virgin Australia brand.Receiving approval from the Securities Industry Council of Singapore for the proposal last week, the airline said it has since moved into an implementation agreement to launch the takeover and mergers scheme. Virgin expects the acquisition to fast-track the carrier’s presence in the growing regional markets and increase competition. The purchase is still subject to Australia Competition and Consumer Commission, High Court of the Republic of Singapore and the Australian Foreign Investment Review Board’s approval.Virgin Australia is also still awaiting regulatory approval on a proposed acquisition of a 60 percent stake in Tiger Airways. last_img read more

Its all about Myanmar in 2013

first_imgSource = e-Travel Blackboard: N.J International flights to and from Myanmar doubled in the last nine months of 2012, a growth rate that is expected to persevere in 2013. Myanmar’s “breakneck speed” travel growth could see international capacity to the destination double this year, according to a new study.A CAPA Aviation Analysis found that following the Democratic Party’s election in April 2012, international flights to and from Myanmar doubled in the last nine months of 2012, a growth rate that is expected to persevere in 2013.On the domestic front, local carriers are expanding, which will result in domestic growth and the likely launch of at least one new carrier and possibly the carrier’s first low-cost airline.Lao Airlines, is also likely to experience more growth, according to the report, particularly with its growing A320 fleet.Despite ongoing growth, the destination has been warned to tread carefully, with concerns more tourism could have Myanmar following the footsteps of its Asian neighbours.Click here for more information. last_img read more

Webjets new Wego deal

first_imgWego’s CEO expects the agreement to save users time and money. Online search engine, Webjet has announced a new commercial agreement with Asia Pacific and the Middle East’s travel metasearch company, Wego.Unveiled this week, the agreement will integrate Webjet’s 150,000 properties into Wego, allowing its users to compare Webjet’s properties with the 750,000 other accommodation options in its sites.Meanwhile, Webjet will receive brand exposure and bookings from Wego’s database.Wego Australia and New Zealand general manager Dean Wicks expects the arrangement will help users save time and money.Late last year, Webjet further expanded its online presence, acquiring online company, Zuji.Click here for more information. Source = e-Travel Blackboard: N.Jlast_img read more

Construction company bulldozes Mayan pyramid to ruins

first_imgIt’s like being punched in the stomach: archaeologist. A construction company has essentially destroyed one of the largest and most ancient Mayan pyramids after extracting rock from the mountain for the development of a road-building project.Local authorities announced this week, the company had used backhoes and bulldozers to extract the rock from the pyramid at the Nohmul complex in northern Belize, leaving the ancient structure in ruins, The Australian reported.  Dating as far back as 2,300 years, Belize Institute of Archaeology Jaime Awe said the pyramid was one of northern Belize’s most important sites and considers the incident a punch to the stomach.Located in the middle of a privately owned sugar cane field, Mr Awe added workers would have known the pyramid was of historical value because it was a well-known structure with a pyramid mound standing 100 feet tall in a naturally flat area.”These guys knew that this was an ancient structure,” Mr Awe added.“It’s just bloody laziness.“It’s a feeling of incredible disbelief because of the ignorance and insensitivity.”Local authorities said they have commenced an investigation into the incident and stressed criminal charges were possible.Source = e-Travel Blackboard: NJlast_img read more

Spirit of Tasmania has launched a micro web site

first_imgSource = Spirit of Tasmania Spirit of Tasmania has launched a micro web site ( to provide information about the refurbishment of its vessels.The site features an updated concept video that takes visitors on a journey through the stylish new facilities, updated images and information on the new dining and entertainment options.The microsite also reveals the names of these dining and entertainment options:Top Deck Bar & Lounge (deck 10)The Terrace Lounge Bar (deck nine)TMK – Tasmanian Market Kitchen (self-service dining on deck seven)Bar Seven (the main bar on deck seven)The Pantry (deck seven)A children’s play area and teen zone area have also been included on decks nine and 10 but are yet to be named.Designer Richard Nillson, of Figura, said his overall aim when presented with the brief was to develop a contemporary design that was “long lasting and not short-lived”.“For example, TMK Tasmanian Market Kitchen is a contemporary version of a market hall,” he said.“On decks nine and 10 we have used the idea of designing ‘indoor areas’ with an outdoor look and feel – deck nine will be more like a summer terrace bar while deck 10 will have a beach club lounge feeling.“And in the deluxe cabins we have worked to crease a hotel character, light and comfortable within the existing cabin space.”Mr Nillson said passengers would appreciate a more “contemporary and comfortable” interior when travelling on the vessels.last_img read more

Malaysia The place to be this July

first_imgIn need of a break from the winter chill? Somewhere you can be sure of sunny weather, delicious food, sensational shopping and friendly locals? Then it’s hard to go past Malaysia. And this July is definitely a great time to plan your trip to one of South East Asia’s favourite holiday destinations. There are some great events and attractions taking place right around the country, sure to appeal to every taste:7TH ANNIVERSARY UNESCO WORLD HERITAGE SITE CELEBRATION Celebrate Malaysia’s rich colonial history in Penang and Melaka state. This July marks the 7th anniversary of the listing of twin-cities, George Town and Melaka City as UNESCO World Heritage Sites. At the start of the July a huge array of memorable events and activities will take place in and around the historic centre of each city including cultural performances, heritage tours – and of course a chance to sample some of the amazing local cuisine for which both are rightly famous.Penang – 4 to 7 July. Visit www.heritagecelebrations.infoMelaka – 7 July. Visit MUSEUM IN IPOH:Ipoh’s latest museum pays homage to Malaya’s colonial tin mining history. Han Chin Pet Soo, the Hakka tin miner’s club, was established in 1893 as a recreational club for tin miners to relax after a hard day’s work at the mines, with opium smoking and gambling among the key benefits of membership. Today, this historic building has been restored to its former glory, with many original exhibits dating back 100 years or more. Spend an afternoon here taking many fascinating artifacts from a bygone era and learn about Malaya’s glorious tin mining past.Visit BON ODORI FESTIVALOver centuries, Penang has emerged as veritable melting pot of peoples from all over the world. This July the Island state acknowledges the heritage and culture of its Japanese community. The Bon Odori Festival is a traditional summer event where the Japanese honour their ancestors. Also known as Obon, this year’s event features Japanese food and refreshments, Taiko and martial arts performances, craft exhibits as well traditional music and dancing in and around the streets of Georgetown. A highlight is the colourful display of exquisite Japanese Kimono, Yukata and Happi coats worn by many of the festival-goers.25 July 2015. Visit 2015Those harbouring more ghoulish desires, should head to Putrajaya.  BloodRunner is Asia’s first, werewolf-themed urban obstacle night race that is ready to take Malaysia’s Garden City by storm. Held over an especially designed 10km urban course, BloodRunner is sure to thrill and excite contestants. Expect obstacles that will cater to runners of all levels – from seasoned athletes, to first-time runners to weekend gym warriors. Food trucks featuring delicious Malaysian Hawker cuisine and a post-race party featuring up-and-coming local bands are an added attraction.31 July 2015. Visit www.bloodrunner.comBARIO FOOD FESTIVAL For food lovers, the 10th Anniversary Bario Food & Cultural Festival will be held from 30 July until 1 August this year. The 3-day festival celebrates the unique food, farming, forest and cultural heritage of the Bario Highlands – one of the last surviving traditionally farmed and forested highland watersheds in Sarawak and East Malaysia. Enjoy delicious organic food cooked by the various longhouse communities of the Kelabit Highlands as well as traditional games and dances. Plus there are plenty of trekking trails to keep your adventure spirit high.30 July to 1 August. Visit  Source = Tourism Malaysialast_img read more

The first Park Inn by Radisson hotel makes its debut in China

first_imgThe first Park Inn by Radisson hotel makes its debut in ChinaThe first Park Inn by Radisson hotel makes its debut in ChinaPark Inn by Radisson Libo, marks the successful global brand’s first hotel to debut in China. Set to deliver on its brand promise and set new hospitality standards, the property is also the first international chain hotel in Libo, China.“We are extremely pleased to debut the Park Inn by Radisson brand into China for the first time. The opening of Park Inn by Radisson Libo befits the market for travelers seeking a trusted international hotel brand that delivers on both, product and service. With its unique brand concepts and renowned Yes I Can!SM service philosophy, the hotel is poised to cater to both business and leisure travelers,” said Thomas T. Hagemann, vice president, Future Openings and Special Projects, Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group, Asia Pacific.Libo is in the southwestern part of China, in the capital city of Guiyang approximately three hours’ drive away. The highway access from Guiyang makes a convenient self-drive travel experience to the magnificent national parks’ sites. Park Inn by Radisson Libo is strategically located at the east entrance of Xiaoqikong National Park, a national scenic area that exemplifies the rich karst heritage and natural beauty. The hotel is a convenient 40-minute drive from Libo airport and a 30-minute drive to downtown Libo.The hotel features 182 modern and contemporary guest rooms boasting picturesque views of the Zhangjiang River. Guests can enjoy complimentary high-speed wireless internet access and a fitness center.Libo county is known for its karst heritage and multiple minority cultures including Buyi, Miao, Shui and Yao nationalities. Guests can experience and tantalize their taste buds with these local cuisines, or enjoy international fare when they dine at Ly Café, the all-day dining restaurant. For drinks and some light bites, Lobby Lounge is the ideal gathering area for family, friends and business partners.Catering to the meeting needs, the hotel features a 181 square-meter ballroom and flexible meeting spaces of four additional smaller function rooms ranging from 21 to 94 square-meters. Comprehensive audio visual services and a team of on-site professional event management specialists, provide more compelling reasons for meeting organizers to bring their events to Park Inn by Radisson Libo.Park Inn by Radisson is a bright, bold, fresh and energetic mid-market hotel brand that provides great value. Park Inn by Radisson hotels are set apart by its warm and friendly Adding Color to Life guest service, designed to make stays fun, comfortable and uncomplicated. From check-in to the moment of departure, the Park Inn by Radisson experience is committed to being uncomplicated and hassle-free. Park Inn by Radisson Libobook your stay hereAbout Carlson Rezidor Hotel GroupCarlson Rezidor Hotel Group is one of the world’s largest and most dynamic hotel companies and includes 1,400 locations in operation and under development with more than 220,000 rooms and a footprint spanning 115 countries and territories. The Carlson Rezidor portfolio includes a powerful set of global brands: Quorvus Collection, Radisson Blu®, Radisson®, Radisson RED, Park Plaza®, Park Inn® by Radisson and Country Inns & Suites By CarlsonSM. Guests can benefit from Club CarlsonSM, a program that redefines hotel rewards with a collection of exceptional benefits, services, and privileges at more than 1,000 hotels worldwide. Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group and its brands employ 90,000 people systemwide and is headquartered in Minneapolis, Singapore, and Brussels.About Park Inn by Radisson LiboPark Inn by Radisson Libo, is a colorful, dynamic, midscale hotel brand providing a hassle-free and easy hotel experience. The hotel offers 182 modern and contemporary guest rooms with comprehensive meeting facilities, restaurants and bars. The contemporary hotel is strategically located at the east entrance of Xiaoqikong National Park, with picturesque views of the Zhangjiang River. Park Inn by Radisson hotels are set apart by its warm and friendly Adding Color to Life guest service, designed to make stays fun, comfortable and uncomplicated. It is the ideal choice for family, friends and business = Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group –last_img read more

Putting the Sex Back in Travel

first_imgSource = roomsXML Putting the Sex Back in TravelTravel is romantic, exciting….sexy….is that how you think of it?“Seriously, there’s just something sexy about travel.”When you are having a discussion about pricing, allocation and contracting, dropping a gem like this one is bound to make people sit up. A few drinks often helps.It makes sense. People are going places, disconnecting from the usual reality, even if it’s the same flight the make 12 times a year, it’s just something that little bit different. Eyes open a little wider, smiles are more plentiful, a sense of adventure emerges.Maybe it’s Sydney for the day, that trip of a lifetime to Paris, maybe it’s a quick trip to Hobart  for a quickie.Whilst taxis are seldom sexy, they get you from airport to hotel and suddenly you’re standing in a beautiful foyer.“Welcome Sir/Madam” says the fresh faced, hot, mid 20s staff member who speaks four different languages and is the gateway to a room upgrade with a view. The day-to-day dissappears ; your bed is made, your dishes put away as you step out onto the balcony and watch the sunset in Positano, hand-in-hand with the one you love .I didn’t expect a Middle Eastern airline to pioneer double beds (and the surest fire way to legal mile high club entry) in business class. The marketing shots showed a mum and her young daughter having a cuddle. I imagine it’s not in most people’s minds.Fresh eyes on travel of the inspiration we need for those new ideas . For many of my friends outside of travel, there is palpable excitement at the prospect of travelling. When they say “wow, when are you going to India next” they day dream of temples, spice markets, the  sunset in Goa. My first thought is six hours waiting at two different airports for connections and the personal space adjustment and sweaty arm pits.But if someone said to me they were going to Paris (a close friend said he and his wife went for 10 days and had sex every day… Best holiday he ever had… can’t remember any of the art galleries) I’m thinking “How cool”.You can’t make those promises but when building the dream,  consider building some of that love and affection into your travel talk with customersLadies make a lot of decisions, see use keywords such as “romance”, “intimate” and “great for couples”Get a room with a view, and most definitely a balconyRecommend booking a great restaurant before they go and popping it in the diaryFind some safe babysitting networks your customersFor travel professionals it’s a never-ending procession of peak periods, lulls, changes, contracts and chasing bonuses. But for the person at the other end it can be something very, very different. learn more about herelast_img read more

Vietjet bags Best Vietnam Deal award

first_imgVietjet bags ‘Best Vietnam Deal’ awardVietjet bags ‘Best Vietnam Deal’ awardVietjet Aviation Joint Stock Company (HOSE: VJC) was recently presented the ‘Best Vietnam Deal’ award in recognition of its successful IPO held in early 2017 by Finance Asia, Asia’s leading finance publication.A true testament to Vietjet’s well executed IPO as well as the airline’s subsequent accomplishments throughout the year, the award successfully lifts Vietjet and other Vietnam based companies’ position in the global capital market.The Finance Asia Awards, one of the world’s leading awards in the regional finance industry, recognises the region’s most significant transactions and the financial institutions that advised on them. Mr. Chu Viet Cuong, a member of Vietjet’s Board of Directors, received the award on behalf of the airline.Valued at a total of US$164 million, Vietjet’s IPO was executed under the guidance of widely acclaimed law firms and financial institutions over a period of nearly 800 days (listed on HOSE on 28 February 2017) and followed all international Regulation S IPO standards.Earlier last year, Vietjet was also honoured at the M&A Awards 2016-2017 as “The IPO Deal of the Year 2017” and “The Company with the Best M&A Information Disclosure” as part of the Vietnam M&A Forum 2017.Furthermore, Vietjet’s 2016 annual report also received the Platinum Award at the Vision Awards 2016 held by the League of American Communications Professionals (LACP) in the beginning of 2017. The airline ranked fourth amongst the nominees in the Asia Pacific region and 11th out of 100 worldwide participating businesses. Entitled ‘The Flight to the Future’, the 150-paged annual report, was graded with top scores under the criteria for First Impression, Letter to Shareholders, Report Financials, and sustainable development programs.Source = Vietjetlast_img read more

Serene greenery in Galway attracts tourists

first_imgA visit to Brigit’s Garden, just outside Galway City, will show that serenity and introspection are also part of the Irish experience, as Ireland is known around the world as a place of fun, with pubs, singing and dancing.Brigit’s Garden is a perfect stop for those who are venturing out to explore the fabled Hills of Connemara or Ireland’s ‘Wild West’ Coast. Located in the village of Roscahill, County Galway, it is about a 20-minute drive north of Galway City. The 11 acres of beautiful landscaped gardens are not only visually stunning, they also provide insight into the history and development of Ireland’s Celtic heritage.Mary Reynolds, winner of the gold medal at the 2002 Chelsea Flower Show in London, designed the gardens which provide a journey through the four cycles of the ancient Celtic calendar. The first is the Winter Garden, reflecting the Celtic feast of Samhain, which corresponds to our present feast of Halloween. In the next cycle, the Imbolc, or Spring Garden, celebrates the stirrings of spring on St. Brigit’s Day, which also corresponds to an ancient Celtic festival that celebrated the season of new life. The Summer Garden celebrates the ancient fire festival of Bealtaine, which corresponds to the modern May Day and the coming of warm weather. The Autumn Garden reflects the legend of Lughnasa, start of the cycle marking the harvest and the transition of summer to fall.Though the four gardens carry the theme of the site, there are additional attractions that will interest the visitor as well.last_img read more

Tourism Fiji to appoint a full time Regional Manager in India this

first_imgKathryn Kannampuzha / MumbaiTourism Fiji participated in OTM 2018 and in an exclusive interview with Travel News Digest, revealed Fiji’s growth percentage and upcoming plans for this year.Vaijayanthi Kari, India Representative, Tourism Fiji averred, “Year ending November 2017, Fiji received more than 5000 Indian nationals and it’s definitely a milestone for us. Its almost 28% increase over last year i.e. 2016. We are hoping for a steady double-digit growth in 2018, anticipating 20-25% increase in numbers of tourist arrivals from India this year.”India is one of our key emerging markets, not just for the trends that Indians are showcasing, but also for the long history between India and Fiji. There are Indians who have gone to Fiji in the 18oos and settled there so we relate to Indians, be it food or culture. 40% of Fiji’s population is of Indian origin, so there are many points of connections between India and Fiji, added Kari.In terms of destination, Fiji has a lot of new products that have come up in 2017l. The new Fiji Marriott Resort Momi Bay has opened. Fiji also introduced the world’s first island beach club called Malamala.Talking about the future promotional activities of Fiji Tourism in India, Kari stated, “Our approach in India is to maintain our relations with the travel trade fraternities here. We have increased our focus on the consumer segment. We had Ileana Dcruz, Bollywood Actress as our brand ambassador travel to Fiji as part of our campaign in May – June last year. Her visit has boosted a lot of conversation on social media. Tourism Fiji is also appointing a full-time Regional Manager in India in 2018.”One of the key steps for Tourism Fiji is the Tourism Fiji India roadshow which takes place every year in India. It is a 5-6 city roadshow and is scheduled to take place in August.We are hoping for a good response at the Tourism Fiji India roadshow 2018 and we also have the Fijian Tourism Expo in Fiji scheduled to take place from April 10-12 in 2018, said Kari.last_img read more

Wells Fargo Establishes Commercial Real Estate Office in London

first_img The top commercial real estate lender in the United States, “”Wells Fargo & Company,””: recently announced plans to carry its commercial real estate division overseas to the United Kingdom to fill what the company says is a gap in the U.K. market. [IMAGE]A new team in London will serve both United Kingdom-based clients and current U.S.-based clients with operations in the U.K. “”With the current void in capital providers in the U.K. commercial real estate market, we see a tremendous opportunity to support our clients doing business in the [COLUMN_BREAK]U.K. and to expand the delivery of these services to both U.S. and U.K.-based real estate companies,”” said Chip Fedalen, head of the Commercial Real Estate Institutional and Metro Markets Group at Wells Fargo. The London team will offer various debt products, hospitality financings, portfolio acquisitions and financings, and will assist customers with its experience in real estate investment trusts. Eastdil Secured, owned by Wells Fargo, will also offer “”a full range of asset sale, debt placement and advisory services”” in the U.K., according to Wells Fargo. Mike Marino, former head of the Commercial Real Estate Institutional Metro Markets Group in southern California, will lead the London group beginning early next month. He will be joined by Robert Maddox and Cullen Powell, who will head client development, underwriting, and loan production teams. Jimmy Gray, former head of the U.K. Commercial Real Estate division, will remain in London as the office’s senior credit officer. “”With the addition of these three seasoned senior leaders in London, we are well positioned for growth and anticipate an increase in lending volume in the U.K. this year,”” Fedalen said. January 24, 2013 478 Views Wells Fargo Establishes Commercial Real Estate Office in London Agents & Brokers Attorneys & Title Companies Company News Investors Lenders & Servicers Processing Service Providers Wells Fargo 2013-01-24 Krista Franks Brockcenter_img in Data, Government, Origination, Secondary Market, Servicing Sharelast_img read more

StoneHill Group Recruits Business Development Manager

first_img Movers & Shakers StoneHill Group 2014-12-02 Tory Barringer December 2, 2014 516 Views in Headlines, News StoneHill Group Recruits Business Development Managercenter_img Share The StoneHill Group, a mortgage solutions firm headquartered in Atlanta, recently named mortgage industry veteran Patricia Hamilton as business development manager.Hamilton has more than 30 years of industry experience, 20 of which were spent at Freddie Mac, where she gained experience working with lenders of all sizes as national account manager. During her time at the GSE, she earned numerous company awards and oversaw the accounts of a diverse customer base that included some of the country’s top mortgage firms.More recently, Hamilton managed sales in the western territory for HomeBridge Funding, where she ranked as the company’s top salesperson for six straight months. Working for the StoneHill Group, she’ll operate in a similar position, managing sales and client accounts throughout the U.S. West.”With the mortgage industry’s need for domestic loan quality help growing by the day, we’re thrilled that Pat is joining our team,” said David Green, founder and CEO of the StoneHill Group. “Besides having experience working closely with many different mortgage bankers, she is gifted at both sales and providing excellent customer care, which fits perfectly with our company culture. We are confident that current and future clients will be in great hands.”Commenting on her new role, Hamilton praised the StoneHill Group’s reputation for helping businesses develop stronger, safer, and more profitable mortgage operations through its range of offerings.”I look forward to helping West Coast mortgage lenders achieve improved loan quality, so they may find increased success in 2015 and beyond,” she said.last_img read more

The Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta Announces New President

first_img Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta President Raphael Bostic 2017-03-13 Mirasha Brown in Government, Headlines, News March 13, 2017 687 Views Sharecenter_img The Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta Announces New President Raphael BosticThe Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta announced today that Raphael W. Bostic will become the bank’s 15th president and CEO effective June 5. Bostic will succeed Dennis Lockhart, who retired from the Atlanta Fed on February 28. Bostic is currently the Judith and John Bedrosian Chair in Governance and the Public Enterprise at the Sol Price School of Public Policy at the University of Southern California (USC). Per the Atlanta Fed, Bostic served as assistant secretary for Policy Development and Research at the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) from 2009 to 2012, where he was a principal adviser to the secretary on policy and research, with the goal of helping the secretary and other principal staff make informed decisions on HUD policies and programs, as well as on budget and legislative proposals.Bostic looks forward to his tenure as President and plans to address pertinent issues that the Federal Reserve will face in the evolving economic landscape.”The Reserve Banks are vital contributors to our nation’s economic and financial success. I’m excited about the opportunity to work with the Bank’s well-respected staff in advancing the excellent reputation this organization has built over many years,” he said. “In my role as president of the Atlanta Reserve Bank, I also look forward to confronting the challenges the Federal Reserve faces in today’s increasingly global and rapidly changing economy.”He began working at USC in 2001, where he served as a professor in the School of Policy, Planning and Development. He was also the director of USC’s master of real estate development degree program and was the founding director of the Casden Real Estate Economics Forecast.  He served the Lusk Center for Real Estate as the interim associate director from 2007 to 2009 and as the interim director from 2015 to 2016.Bostic worked at the Federal Reserve Board of Governors from 1995 to 2001, serving as an economist and then a senior economist in the monetary and financial studies section, where his work on the Community Reinvestment Act earned him a special achievement award. While working at the Federal Reserve, he served as special assistant to HUD’s assistant secretary of policy development and research in 1999, and also was a professional lecturer at American University in 1998.He currently serves as a board member of Freddie Mac, the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy and Abode Communities. He is a fellow of the National Association of Public Administration, VP of the Association of Public Policy and Management, a member of the board of trustees of Enterprise Community Partners, and a research advisory board member of the Reinvestment Fund.Bostic earned his bachelors degree in economics and psychology at Harvard and his doctorate in economics from Stanford University.Thomas Fanning, President and CEO of Southern Company, expressed his approval of Bostic’s new position.”We are very pleased that Raphael will join the Atlanta Fed as its president and chief executive officer,” he said. “He is a seasoned and versatile leader, bringing with him a wealth of experience in public policy and academia. Raphael also has significant experience leading complex organizations and managing interdisciplinary teams. He is a perfect bridge between people and policy.”last_img read more

Freddie Mac Board of Directors Elects Grace A Huebscher

first_img Share Company News Freddie Mac freddie mac board of governors grace huebscher job hires MCrowd 2017-12-03 David Wharton Freddie Mac Board of Directors Elects Grace A. Huebscher December 3, 2017 560 Views center_img On November 27, Freddie Mac announced that Grace A. Huebscher was elected as a director on the company’s board of directors. Huebscher, 57, is an executive with decades of experience in the real estate and capital markets industries.”We are very pleased that Grace is joining the Freddie Mac Board,” said Christopher S. Lynch, Freddie Mac’s non-executive chairman. “She is a seasoned executive with a deep understanding of the multifamily business and the capital markets. We look forward to the valuable insights and entrepreneurial spirit Grace will bring to the Board during a crucial period of GSE conservatorship.”Huebscher served as President of Capital One Multifamily Finance, LLC, a subsidiary of Capital One Financial Corporation, from 2013 until March 2017, and served as an advisor of Capital One Commercial Bank from April 2017 until November 2017.Prior to that, Huebscher was CEO of Beech Street Capital, LLC, a company she co-founded in 2009. From 1997 to 2009, she held a variety of positions at Fannie Mae, including VP, Capital Markets. Huebscher currently serves as a director of The Kenyon Review. She is a former member of the Commercial Board of Governance of the Mortgage Bankers Association.Huebscher earned a bachelor’s degree from Kenyon College. in Daily Dose, Government, Headlines, journal, Newslast_img read more

Fannie Mae Announces Leadership Changes

first_img September 20, 2018 508 Views in News Share Fannie Mae 2018-09-20 Seth Welborncenter_img Fannie Mae,Fannie Mae Announces Leadership Changes Fannie Mae recently announced that Manuel “Manolo” Sánchez Rodríguez has been elected to the Board of Directors. Mr. Sánchez served as Chairman and CEO of Compass Bank, Inc., a U.S. subsidiary of Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria, S.A., and is a banking, financial services, and technology expert. He joins a broadly experienced and diversely skilled Board that is focused on the company’s continued stability and mission to provide access to safe, affordable mortgage financing in the United States.“We are extremely pleased to welcome Manolo to the Fannie Mae Board of Directors,” said Egbert L.J. Perry, Chairman of the Board. “We will benefit greatly from his vast banking and financial services experience, technology innovation track record, and deep business strategy expertise.”“Manolo is another strong addition to our exceptional Board of Directors,” said Timothy J. Mayopoulos, CEO. “His extensive banking experience, financial services and technology expertise, and strong leadership qualities are a great complement to those of his peers on the Board. He will help guide us as we continue to deliver against our strategy, improve as a company, and look for ways to provide our customers the innovative tools and solutions they need to address the needs of both today’s and tomorrow’s homebuyers and renters.”Mr. Sánchez has been appointed to the Strategic Initiatives & Technology Committee and the Nominating & Corporate Governance Committee.This news comes as Fannie Mae announces the departure of Brian Brooks, EVP, General Counsel, and Corporate Secretary. Brooks will be leaving Fannie Mae on September 21, 2018 to join Coinbase, a digital currency exchange, as the company’s Chief Legal Officer.“We are extremely grateful for Brian’s four years of strong leadership, insightful counsel, and critical contributions to Fannie Mae’s transformation, and we wish he were staying,” said Timothy J. Mayopoulos, CEO, Fannie Mae. “This is a loss for Fannie Mae, but also a great opportunity for Brian to pursue his longstanding interest in financial technologies and the FinTech community.  Fortunately, our company’s bench of legal talent is strong and deep. Stephen McElhennon will serve as interim leader of our legal functions while Fannie Mae conducts a search for a permanent replacement.”last_img read more

The State of Housing Finance

first_img Fannie Mae FHA FHFA Freddie Mac Government GSE Home HOUSING HUD Legislation Mark Calabria Urban Institute 2019-01-02 Radhika Ojha Share The State of Housing Finance The change in direction at the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) would be one of the most important things to happen in housing finance this year, according to experts at the Housing Finance Policy Center at the Urban Institute. “I’ll be watching to see if whatever changes are made will bring more private capital into the market,” said Laurie Goodman, VP, Housing Finance Policy Center at the Urban Institute.These experts will closely follow the actions of Mark Calabria, who was nominated by President Trump to lead the FHFA. “Though he would be in a uniquely powerful position” to do “something” about the government’s role in the housing finance system, Jim Parrott, Non-resident Fellow at the Urban Institute said, “But we’ll be heading into an election year and possibly an increasingly weak housing market, so it will be interesting to see how that tension between ideology, politics, and economics plays out.”Some of the other questions that these researchers would be seeking answers to during the year include, the future of the government-sponsored enterprises (GSEs) as well as the actions being taken by the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) to mitigate risks related to the risk profile of its book of business.That, apart from how the “various proposals and policies that are being introduced legislatively and administratively, will affect housing affordability,” would be the key issues that the market will have its eye on in 2019, according to Alanna McCargo, VP, Housing Finance Policy Center at the Urban Institute.Ed Golding, a Non-resident Fellow at the Urban Institute and former Head of the FHA, said that 2019 could well be the year when home price appreciation “comes back down to earth.””They can’t continue to go up at 7 percent a year in an environment where interest rates and inflation rates are in the 2 percent range,” Golding said. “The tax code increased the user cost of housing in some (upper-end) markets by as much as 30 percent but created little discernable change in house price momentum.”In 2018 the housing market showed early signs of a slowdown in home price growth, softening of the housing markets, and rising inventory in even the hottest markets, like San Francisco and Seattle, according to Bing Bai, Research Associate at the Urban Institute who said that he was interested in seeing the shifting trends in the housing  and mortgage market. “Rising interest rates cut down the refinance volumes, and a slowdown in the purchase mortgage market would put further volume pressure on the mortgage industry,” he said.Senior housing would be another focus area that will be on their radar. “Not only are we about to have more senior renters (many on fixed incomes), but also fewer senior homeowners with any significant home equity (and some with large mortgages, especially compared with their incomes), more in need of structural modifications to be safe in their homes,” said Ellen Seidman, non-resident Fellow at the Urban Institute.To read all the views of these experts, click here.center_img in Daily Dose, Data, Featured, News January 2, 2019 952 Views last_img read more