11 weeks after Germanwings crash victims remains head home

first_img“We get treated very well,” he said. “What’s done is done for us — we just sort of want it to end.”___Keaten reported from Paris. Kirsten Grieshaber in Berlin and Kristen Gelineau in Sydney contributed to this report.Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. How Arizona is preparing the leader of the next generation Milstead says best way to stop wrong-way incidents is driving sober Arizona families, Arizona farms: providing the local community with responsibly produced dairy Here’s how to repair and patch damaged drywall New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility Top Stories center_img 4 sleep positions for men and what they mean DUESSELDORF, Germany (AP) — After more than two months of waiting, families of the 150 people killed when a Germanwings plane smashed into the French Alps in March will finally start burying their loved ones as the airline’s parent company begins sending home victims’ remains.Lufthansa sent coffins with the remains of 44 victims by cargo plane Tuesday night from Marseille, France, to Duesseldorf, Germany, where Germanwings flight 9525 from Barcelona was supposed to land March 24. Comments   Share   Instead, authorities say, the co-pilot purposely slammed the plane into a mountainside.“The families are in denial. They cannot and do not want to realize that their children are dead,” said Elmar Giemulla, a lawyer for families of 34 of the victims. “It will be brutal when they see the coffins tomorrow, but it is necessary, because they need closure and that’s only possible if they accept that their children are dead.”Giemulla’s clients include relatives of 16 students from one high school in Haltern, Germany, who were on their way home from a school exchange program when they died.“Now, if the coffins are returning, the parents will know: This is really a fact, it’s not just news,” he said.An MD-11 jet carrying the coffins touched down in Duesseldorf as night fell on Tuesday, and parents and relatives will be allowed to visit the coffins inside a hangar on Wednesday. A convoy of hearses will then head for Haltern, passing Joseph-Koenig-Gymnasium, the school the teens attended.Most of the families in Haltern and beyond have been trying to cope with their pain in private, and many of the burials expected in the German town and nearby villages over the next few days and weeks will be family affairs. Remains of the rest of the victims, who had 19 different nationalities, will be sent back over the coming weeks. Nearly half of the victims were German and 47 others were Spanish. Sponsored Stories It has taken a long time to return the remains in part because of errors on official death certificates that rendered them invalid. There were also challenges finding and identifying the remains in the remote area where the crash happened because the plane was travelling so fast that its tail slammed into the mountainside a split second after the nose did, vaporizing much of the aircraft and its contents.Prosecutors in France and Germany believe Germanwings co-pilot Andreas Lubitz intentionally crashed the Airbus A320. They say he had been hiding psychological problems from his employer.The office of Marseille prosecutor Brice Robin, who is leading a French investigation into the crash, said he will meet with victims’ relatives Thursday in Paris to go over the discovery of DNA evidence and explain the details of handing over remains.Robin expects 300 to 400 people to attend the closed-door meeting.The family of two Australian victims, Carol Friday and her son Greig, won’t be there, said her brother, Malcolm Coram. Coram visited the crash site about a month ago, and told The Associated Press it was simply too far to return again so soon.Coram said he wasn’t sure when his sister’s and nephew’s remains will be returned to Australia, but he expects it will be sometime before August. He said family members have been happy with the way that Germanwings and authorities have communicated with them.last_img read more

Putin vows to further strengthen Russian military

first_imgRussian President Vladimir Putin speaks during a meeting of the presidential council on science and education at the Kremlin in Moscow, Russia, Wednesday, June 24, 2015. (Sergei Karpukhin/Pool Photo via AP) MOSCOW (AP) — Russia needs a mighty military to fend off threats near its borders, President Vladimir Putin said Thursday, in a stance that reflects soaring tensions with the West over the crisis in Ukraine.The Russian leader, whose approval ratings reached an all-time high this month despite a bruising recession, said a “powerful army equipped with modern weapons is the guarantor of sovereignty and territorial integrity of Russia.” Top Stories Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility Speaking at Thursday’s Kremlin meeting with graduates of Russian military academies, Putin also vowed to continue a sweeping military modernization effort that envisions the purchase of large numbers of new weapons.Despite the fact that oil-rich Russia is now in a recession, Putin’s plan aims to spend 22 trillion rubles (over $400 billion) through 2020 to give the armed forces dozens of navy ships, hundreds of new planes and missiles and thousands of tanks and other weapons.Putin added that Russia has no aggressive intentions and aims to “settle any disputes exclusively by political means with respect to international law and interests of other nations.”Relations between Russia and the West have sunk to post-Cold War lows after Moscow’s 2014 annexation of Ukraine’s Crimean Peninsula and its support for a pro-Russian insurgency in eastern Ukraine.The United States and the European Union have responded with sanctions that have sharply limited Russia’s access to Western capital markets and curtailed the transfer of military and energy technologies.Russia retaliated by banning the import of agricultural products from the EU, U.S., Australia, Canada and Norway. The Cabinet formally extended the ban by one year after the EU agreed this week to keep its sanctions in place through January. Coupled with plummeting prices for oil, Western sanctions helped drive the Russian economy into recession, resulting in a drop in incomes for the first time since Putin took the helm in 2000. But despite the economic woes, Putin’s popularity has soared.The president’s approval rating reached an all-time high of 89 percent this month, according to a nationwide poll conducted by the Levada Center, a leading independent opinion research firm. The survey, based on interviews with 1,600 people, had a margin of error of no more than 3.4 percentage points.Many observers attribute the solid support for Putin to blanket positive coverage of his activities by state television stations and other Kremlin-controlled media that have described the Ukrainian crisis as part of Western efforts to weaken Russia.Levada head Lev Gudkov called the TV propaganda as the main factor behind Putin’s popularity.“This is a very aggressive and false propaganda,” he said. “All alternative channels, therefore all alternative points of view, assessments are pushed out of the public sphere.”Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. 3 international destinations to visit in 2019 Here’s how to repair and patch damaged drywallcenter_img Check your body, save your life Sponsored Stories Mesa family survives lightning strike to home Comments   Share   New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies Arizona families, Arizona farms: working to produce high-quality milklast_img read more

DEA chief confident escaped drug lord will be found again

first_img 4 must play golf courses in Arizona Here’s how to repair and patch damaged drywall Natural spring cleaning tips and tricks for your home Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility Mesa family survives lightning strike to home Top Stories WASHINGTON (AP) — The Drug Enforcement Administration’s top agent hasn’t really slept since he got word Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman had sneaked out of maximum-security prison in Mexico though a mile-long tunnel that opened beneath his cell’s shower nearly a week ago.DEA’s deputy administrator Jack Riley said Thursday that the last week has been a flurry of work speaking with his Mexican counterparts and helping direct U.S. efforts to capture one of the world’s most prolific and violent drug lords for the third time in 15 years. New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies “This guy caused me one of the best days and worst days of my life in a span of a year,” Riley told The Associated Press. “We are doing everything we can to track him down, much like we did a year or so ago when we hooked him.”Guzman was arrested in February 2014, more than a decade after his last escape from a Mexican prison in 2001.Before taking over as DEA’s operations chief in Washington last year, Riley spent four years in Chicago tracking Guzman and continuing to build a growing criminal case against the drug lord. After Guzman’s arrest in February 2014, authorities in Chicago, including Riley, called for his extradition to the United States to face trial on a litany of drug trafficking and other charges.The Mexican government said late Thursday that the U.S. had filed an extradition request to Guzman about 2 Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Sponsored Stories Comments   Share   In this July 16, 2015, photo, a Federal Police shows a reward notice for information leading to the capture of drug lord Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman, who made his escape from the Altiplano maximum security prison via an underground tunnel, in Almoloya, west of Mexico City. The Drug Enforcement Administration’s deputy administrator says he is confident one of the world’s most-wanted drug traffickers will be captured again after a brazen weekend escape from a maximum-security Mexican prison. (AP Photo/Marco Ugarte) Top ways to honor our heroes on Veterans Daylast_img read more

3 prison workers face charges in escape of Mexican drug lord

first_img Comments   Share   Mesa family survives lightning strike to home New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies FILE – In this July 16, 2015 file photo, a Federal Police shows a reward notice for information leading to the capture of drug lord Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman, who made his escape from the Altiplano maximum security prison via an underground tunnel, in Almoloya, west of Mexico City. (AP Photo/Marco Ugarte, File) Sponsored Stories Here’s how to repair and patch damaged drywall New Year’s resolution: don’t spend another year in a kitchen you don’t like Check your body, save your life MEXICO CITY (AP) — A federal judge in Mexico has opened a court proceeding against three prison employees on charges they aided in the escape of drug lord Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman, authorities said Friday.In a statement, the Federal Judiciary Council said the legal process would advance in the cases of three of the seven originally arrested in relation to Guzman’s July 11 escape from a maximum-security prison. Quick workouts for men Top Stories Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility It said prosecutors showed there was sufficient evidence that the employees favored Guzman’s escape through a one-mile long tunnel.It described the employees as the person in charge of the prison’s video surveillance control center and two guards. There were inconsistencies in the supervisor’s statements and there was no explanation for why the guards did not answer the telephone in their module.The Council also said that, at least for now, it was determined there was no cause to hold for prosecution the other four people detained in connection with the escape.An official at the Federal Prosecutor’s Office who was not authorized to discuss the matter and insisted on anonymity said prosecutors were considering their next step, including a possible appeal.Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.last_img read more

V Australia pulls out of South Africa and Phuket

first_imgVirgin Blue Group has announced plans to remove V Australia flights from South Africa and Phuket to focus on Los Angeles and Middle East routes.The change comes after Virgin announced a partnership with Middle Eastern airline Etihad to launch nonstop flights to Abu Dhabi, Business with the Wall Street Journal reported.Travelling to South Africa has not proved to be profitable said the Sydney based airline while the Phuket service has also failed to peak.Virgin Blue Group Chief Executive John Borghetti said the partnership with Etihad would provide V Australia with a platform to launch longer flights to the UK, Europe, Africa and the Middle East.Australia’s second largest airline has also decided to include A330-200 places to its domestic routes “as a game changer that would allow it to grow its fleet and network capabilities”.“The first A330-200’s will operate services between Perth and the east coast of Australia, enabling Virgin Blue to grow available capacity, especially at peak times, extending the airline’s appeal to business travellers,” Mr Borghetti said.Earlier this week Virgin Blue released financial reports demonstrating the company’s successful year earning a net profit before tax of $34.3 million as well as a 13.1 percent growth in underlying earnings. Source = e-Travel Blackboard: N.Jlast_img read more

Report finds earlier Qantas A380 issue

first_imgQantas A380 Investigations into the Qantas A380 incident have found the Trent 900 engine that failed midair last month had been removed from the aircraft earlier this year. The Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) report released last week said the number two engine was originally intended to fly as the aircraft’s number four engine but was removed after metal was found in the engine’s chip detector, The Australian reported. Rolls-Royce engineers completed repairs in December 2009 and the engine was refitted in February this year. According to the report the aircraft had only executed 3419 flight hours and performed 416 landing and takeoff cycles before it disintegrated over Singapore. The report also found “damage to the fuselage structure from a small piece of turbine debris”. The ATBS report also said it is satisfied with Qantas’ response to the incident and praised the airline’s pilot for maintaining control of the aircraft and performing a safe landing. “The ATSB is satisfied that the action taken by Qantas adequately addresses the immediate safety of flight concerns in respect of the operation of its A380 aircraft equipped with Trent 900 series engines,” the report said.The carrier recently returned two of its A380’s into service and expects to release further aircraft before Christmas. Source = e-Travel Blackboard: N.Jlast_img read more

Middle East edition editor sales manager joins ETB Travel News

first_imgThe Middle East travel sector is a bustling market, however largely untapped.   ETB Travel News has appointed the services of Mr Basil Naimet who will take on this lucrative market to oversee editorial and sales activities.Mr Naimet will identify marketing opportunities within the sector, establish relationships and embrace that which encapsulates the Middle East for ETB Travel News clients and subscribers alike.ETB Travel News director of sales, Mr Andrew Marin, says Mr Naimet will complement the already thriving global reach that ETB Travel News had on many sectors across the globe.“As ETB Travel News continues to establish solid relationships with crucial markets around the world, including the Asian and European markets, Basil comes to us with many years of media experience,˝ Mr Marin said.“It is exciting to have Basil on board as he will utilise his skills in client management to meet the needs of the Middle Eastern market, and he will no doubt add value for our clients and subscribers alike.”Mr Naimet will be keep subscribers abreast of the Middle East market with the first weekly ETB Travel News Middle East edition to be released on Wednesday, 5 November.Letter from the Editor, Basil Naimet:Dear subscriber,It gives me great pleasure to be able to provide you with a newsletter that encompasses everything that is happening in the Middle East travel market.I will endeavour to provide you with the latest news from airlines, hotels and tourist operators especially as we move towards the end of the year which travellers particularly look forward to.I encourage you to send through your preferences for destinations and attractions to explore, as well as your own company news.  At ETB Travel News, we’ll bring you the news you need and want to know and provide up to date information on happenings within the industry.This Middle East is a largely untapped market, and ETB Travel News is going to unravel opportunities for everyone; be it business or leisure travel.Until next week, bon voyage!Basil NaimetSource = ETB Travel Newslast_img read more

Hyatt wins DestinAsian Readers Choice Awards 2015

first_imgFour of Hyatt’s properties have been chosen by DestinAsian readers as ‘Best Hotels’ in the tenth annual DestinAsian Readers’ Choice Awards.For the tenth year running, Hyatt attained the most best-hotel titles of any hotel brand, with three Park Hyatt hotels winning awards, the Park Hyatt Tokyo, Park Hyatt Sydney, and Park Hyatt Saigon.Along with one Grand Hyatt hotel, the Grand Hyatt Jakarta, the hotels were all awarded the coveted title of ‘Best Hotel’ in their respective cities.Park Hyatt Tokyo has now won this estimable award for ten consecutive years, every single year since the awards’ inception, while park Hyatt Sydney, Park Hyatt Saigon and Grand Hyatt Jakarta have received the award for nine consecutive years.Hyatt Hotels & Resorts Asia Pacific senior vice president of brand and commercial strategy Carina Chorengel, said Hyatt is honoured to have achieved the most best-hotel titles in the DestinAsian Readers’ Choice Awards.“The fact that all four of these hotels have maintained the number one position in their respective cities almost every year since the awards’ inception, is testament to the hard work and dedication of our associates, who continue to strive every day to care for our guests,” Ms Chorengel said.“I would like to take the opportunity to congratulate all four hotel teams and also to thank the readers of DestinAsian for their trust and loyalty and for voting for us repeatedly these past ten years.”The DestinAsian Readers’ Choice Awards recognises hotel brands that ‘provide consistent and unsurpassed standards in excellence and service.An award ceremony will take place in Hong Kong on March 11 and the full results will appear in the February/March 2015 print issue of the magazine.Source = ETB Travel News: Lewis Wisemanlast_img read more

Starwood announces Four Points by Sheraton debut in Indonesia

first_imgStarwood announces Four Points by Sheraton debut in IndonesiaStarwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc. (NYSE: HOT) today announced the debut of the Four Points brand in Indonesia, with the opening of Four Points Bali, Kuta. Located on Jalan Benesari Banjar Pengabetan in a serene area of Kuta—just minutes away from the renowned Kuta Beach and its nightlife, shops and restaurants—Four Points Bali, Kuta marks Starwood’s seventh property on the island of Bali.Owned by PT. Umah Benesari, Four Points Bali, Kuta features 185 spacious and contemporary guest rooms. Guests will enjoy full-service dining at The Eatery, a 24-hour fitness centre and kids club, all of the brand’s popular amenities including fast and free WiFi throughout the hotel, complimentary bottled water, and a chance to sample authentic local beers as part of the signature Best Brews™ program.“We are proud to debut the Four Points brand in Indonesia with the opening of Four Points Bali, Kuta, adding to our rapidly expanding list of dynamic destinations across the globe,” said Brian McGuinness, Global Brand Leader, Specialty Select Brands for Starwood. “With this significant opening, we are confident that Four Points will continue to reinvent travel across the globe with its emphasis on stylish comfort and genuine service at an honest value.”“The opening of Four Points Bali, Kuta is set to meet the increasing demands for mid-market accommodations especially in Bali, given its approachable brand positioning of travel that suits your style,” said Charlie Dang, Regional Vice President, Southeast Asia, Starwood Hotels & Resorts Asia Pacific.“We look forward to welcoming guests at Four Points Bali, Kuta,” said Masri, General Manager of Four Points by Sheraton Bali, Kuta. “With an ideal location for both business and leisure, our enthusiastic team is all set to ensure a great stay with all the extras that guests will love.”Four Points is experiencing incredible growth momentum. With 50 new hotel deals signed in 2014, the most in Starwood’s company history, the brand will surpass 200 hotels in 2015, with more than 25 planned hotel openings this year. The Four Points brand boasts Starwood’s largest and fastest growing development pipeline. Across Asia Pacific, Starwood operates more than 40 hotels under the Four Points flag with more than 45 additional hotels in the pipeline. Stay at the hotelSource = Starwood Hotels & Resortslast_img read more

Amadeus reveals how airlines can boost top and bottom line

first_imgThe airline industry faces a number of challenges when it comes to financial management, including revenue leakage, complex income streams, and tax reporting and compliance across multiple markets.Coupled with an often-traditional approach to financial processes, it’s clear that financial management remains an area for innovation.Against this backdrop, a new report published today, written by Frost & Sullivan and commissioned by Amadeus, highlights a ‘window of opportunity’ for airlines to boost their top- and bottom-line by integrating financial processes, increasing automation and exploiting predictive analytics.Key findings from the report include:Airline CFOs today face a number of challenges, such as revenue leakage, which can cost airlines as much as 3% of revenueGreater integration of financial processes could boost revenues by up to $1.5 million per annum for a medium-sized airlineAdapting to new payment methods such as Bitcoin will be a competitive imperative. More fundamentally, Blockchain technology could have a revolutionary impact on accounting by offering a single, secure, transparent global ledgerInterline settlement improvements could save the industry $500m annually, if airlines embrace tools and standardsBetter financial management will ultimately prove an enabler for the development of the airline product, in turn improving the customer experience and delivering increased customer loyaltyAlexander Michael, Director, Digital Transformation at Frost & Sullivan, the author of the report, said: “In certain circumstances, airlines today may not even be able to know the exact revenue numbers for a specific flight. It is imperative that airlines now focus on integrating and streamlining financial processes, not only to eliminate revenue leakage and other inefficiencies, but also so they can benefit from predictive analysis, becoming truly customer-centric and improving the top and bottom lines.”Patricia Simillon, Head of Strategic Marketing in Airline IT at Amadeus, said: “This report reveals a significant opportunity for airlines. Streamlining financial processes will enable airlines to achieve optimization and efficiency. This is a strategic priority for us at Amadeus and we are committed to working with our airline partners to transform the industry’s approach to financial management.”Alexander Michael, Director, Digital Transformation at Frost & Sullivan and the report’s author, will be presenting the report’s findings on Thursday 17th September 2015 at the IATA World Financial Symposium in Barcelona, Spain. Download the report hereSource = Amadeuslast_img read more

Iconic luxury hotel brand debuts unforgettable island escape

first_imgSource = Waldorf Astoria Hotels & Resorts Waldorf Astoria Maldives IthaafushiIconic luxury hotel brand debuts unforgettable island escape Hilton’s (NYSE: HLT) iconic luxury hotel brand, Waldorf Astoria Hotels & Resorts today announces the highly anticipated opening of Waldorf Astoria Maldives Ithaafushi — setting a new standard of luxury in the Maldives. The 122 all-villa resort spans across three interconnected islands, including an independent private island for those seeking an exclusive enclave equipped with a dedicated staff and luxury amenities. A short 30-minute yacht journey away from Malé International Airport, the iconic resort paradise boasts 11 world-class, specialty dining venues, a plethora of activities for guests of all generations, and a personal concierge service giving guests the freedom to create memories that last a lifetime.“Asia Pacific is enjoying a golden age of travel, and the launch of Waldorf Astoria Maldives Ithaafushi is part of the growing momentum of Hilton’s Luxury and Lifestyle portfolio throughout the region,” said Alan Watts, president, Asia Pacific, Hilton. “This is especially significant as the Maldives becomes an increasingly popular destination for global travelers. As the first international hotel brand to have opened in the Maldives over 21 years ago, it is especially fitting that this opening takes place as we celebrate Hilton’s 100th year milestone as a leader in global hospitality.”Exclusivity and SpaceEach luxuriously appointed beach, reef and overwater villa opens onto either a white sand beach or an expansive deck, and features a private infinity pool with uninterrupted views of the Indian Ocean, allowing guests to bask in the island’s natural beauty in the privacy of their villa.The resort also features two Stella Maris Ocean Villas, accessible only by boat. These villas feature floor-to-ceiling windows and direct ocean access, providing unmatched views of the sunlit paradise and celestial charm of the night-time Maldivian sky.At the height of exclusivity is the Ithaafushi Private Island. Accessible only by yacht, the 32,000-square-meter sanctuary features a four-bedroom residence, three-bedroom beach villa and a two-bedroom overwater villa, giving guests a transcendent sense of space. The private island comes complete with a dedicated chef and personal concierge team, an overwater spa and gym, five swimming pools, an entertainment centre and pristine beaches, providing endless options in which guests can indulge.“The Waldorf Astoria brand has a long-standing legacy of setting the standard for luxury and for providing personalized, graceful service,” said Martin Rinck, executive vice president and global head, Luxury & Lifestyle Brands, Hilton. “The debut with our flagship brand in the Maldives is no exception, and we will continue to redefine what it means to provide luxury escapes and deliver memorable experiences for the discerning traveller.”World-Class Dining ConceptsContinuing the brand’s legacy as a pioneer in culinary innovation, Waldorf Astoria’s landmark opening in the Maldives will feature an unparalleled array of choices for its guests with 11 celebrated specialty-dining venues — many of which are brand new concepts developed with the Waldorf Astoria guest in mind.World-renowned chef Dave Pynt, mastermind behind Singapore’s Michelin-starred restaurant Burnt Ends, offers his expertise to the island’s barbeque grill restaurant, The Ledge. The restaurant features his signature, custom-built, four-ton, dual-cavity oven and elevation grills, enabling the use of techniques such as smoking, slow roasting, baking and grilling. Bringing culinary theatre to the Maldives, The Ledge allows guests to witness the preparation of their dish, including favourites such as the Dry Aged OP Rib, a 45-day dry-aged beef rib, and the signature Lobster Roll, a brioche bun stuffed with freshly grilled lobster and lobster aioli.Other dining highlights include Terra, located on the island’s highest point and providing a unique gastronomic dining experience in private dining pods crafted from natural bamboo. Nestled among boulders, The Rock is a rustic wine cellar and dining experience set in a carved-out space, where guests can indulge in wine pairing meals or an elevated dining experience with a menu that pays homage to renowned wine regions around the world.Yasmeen offers guests the chance to savour authentic Middle Eastern cuisine. Hot pitas and puffed breads baked in ovens based on centuries-old designs, charcoal-roasted meats, and hot and cold mezzes are served in dining rooms filled with decorative artefacts and antiques, creating an unforgettable sensory experience. The immersive journey continues at Glow, which is set in a greenhouse-like structure shaded by lush greenery. It celebrates the concept of interactive garden-to-table dining by serving healthy and holistic cuisine made from fresh ingredients harvested from the on-island garden.Exceptional ExperiencesWaldorf Astoria Maldives Ithaafushi offers guests an endless number of remarkable experiences designed for both couples and families alike. The calming ambience of the Waldorf Astoria Spa invites guests to indulge in a range of invigorating treatments — all from the tranquillity of an overwater or garden villa. Nearby, soft white sand beaches provide the perfect backdrop for a day spent in the sun, while the 40-meter Mirror Pool is an ideal place to cool down.In the Ocean Pavilion, guests will find a fitness centre, along with a range of energizing wellness activities. For those seeking adventure, the water sport and PADI dive centre have a wide variety of thrilling options available, while the Waldorf Astoria Young Discovery Park and Lagoon Pool provide exciting opportunities for younger guests and their families to play and explore. From sunrise meditation to private sunset dining on one of the two sandbanks, guests can create bespoke experiences and everlasting memories.“We aim to surpass the expectations of today’s luxury traveller with the introduction of our fifth Waldorf Astoria property in Asia Pacific,” said Dino Michael, global head, Waldorf Astoria Hotels & Resorts. “Our guests are searching for new and extraordinary experiences during their travels, and we are confident that this latest luxury destination in the Maldives provides the perfect setting for our guests to Live Unforgettable.”This latest addition to Hilton’s Asia Pacific luxury portfolio is part of Hilton Honors, the award-winning guest-loyalty program for Hilton’s 17 distinct hotel brands. Members who book directly through preferred Hilton channels have access to instant benefits, including a flexible payment slider that allows members to choose nearly any combination of Points and money to book a stay, an exclusive member discount and free standard Wi-Fi. An exclusive opening offer is also now applicable for new bookings*.Waldorf Astoria Maldives Ithaafushi is located at Ithaafushi Island, South Malé Atoll, Republic of Maldives. For more information or to make reservations, please visit www.waldorfastoriamaldives.com or call +960 4 000300. For more information on Waldorf Astoria, visit news.waldorfastoria.com.last_img read more

MTPA organises FAM trip for Indian travel trade media

first_imgMauritius Tourism Promotion Authority (MTPA) wants to step up from its honeymooner’s paradise image to a complete holiday destination for Indian families. This image makeover is being planned keeping in mind to meet the expectations of travellers among families, wedding groups, sports and adventure, culture and heritage centric segments. Not only attracting new travellers to Mauritius, the target is to get returning individuals as well as group travellers.“Mauritius is an ideal place where you can find happiness. There are combinations of elements – we have the natural beauty, people, services, attractions, good hotels, good services, new golf courses, attractions, events, etc. We thus keep reinventing the tourism sector in Mauritius,” said Dr A Karl Mootoosamy, Director, MTPA speaking to a group of Indian media recently.MTPA (India) recently organised a six-day FAM trip for travel trade journalists. The group flew by Air Mauritius and arrived at the Maritim Crystals Beach Hotel, situated on the east coast of Mauritius, to enjoy fun-filled beach activities. They visited the Pamplemousses Garden, the National Botanical Garden of Mauritius and the Sugar World, once a sugar factory, now converted to a museum, and learned the process of sugar making and tasted differently flavoured sugars and rums. The group also stayed at the InterContinental Mauritius, overlooking the Bay of Balaclava,one of the hotels with banqueting facilities for big weddings and MICE events. The media also enjoyed the undersea walk at Grand Baie and diving 35 meters deep inside the blue Indian Ocean aboard a real submarine operated by Blue Safari. The group also stayed at Bluemarine Attitude, Mauritius, where Segway, a unique two-wheeled vehicle, with a self-balancing system was an object to experience. They were taken to Casela World of Adventures, speedy sea-kart ride at Mauritian Lagoon, rum tasting at the Rhumrie and visiting Chamarel – the seven coloured earth and the Curious Corner – a place full of interesting illusions. Before returning the team visited the Outrigger Mauritius Beach Resort, a beachfront location alongside the turquoise lagoons of the Indian Ocean, followed by a visit to Chateau de Labourdonnais to discover the 19th Century Mauritian lifestyle. Before flying out of the island the media group indulged in abundant shopping at the Caudan Waterfront and stopped by the Crocodile Park.Commenting on its future promotional activities, Vijaye Houlder, Deputy Director, MTPA said, “This year, we are expecting a year-on-year growth of 10% in the number of travellers coming from India. Various promotional activities have been lined up to ensure that we provide a complete experience to the discerning Indian traveller. Besides creating new and exciting attractions for the traveller, like the Mauritius Shopping Festival, we are promoting our cultural diversity, historic offerings, adventure sports activities, wildlife tourism, and golf tourism.”The entire media FAM trip was organised by OM Tourism which handles sales, marketing and media relations of Mauritius Tourism Promotion Authority in India.last_img read more

Travel guide for Morocco

first_imgMorocco is a North African country which has a coastline on both the North Atlantic Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea. It borders with Western Sahara to the south, Algeria to the east and the Spanish North African territories of Ceuta and Melilla on the Mediterranean coast in the north.Source: World Travel Guideslast_img

Trinidad and Tobago to become a major cruise line destination

first_imgAt the recently held Florida Caribbean Cruise Association Conference and Trade Show in Puerto Rico, Randall Mitchell, Minister of Tourism, Trinidad and Tobago had discussions with the executives of various cruise lines.Barbados Prime Minister Mia Mottley, St. Lucia Prime Minister Allen Chastanet, Puerto Rico Governor Ricardo Rosselló and several regional ministers of tourism were present at the event. About 100 cruise executives, who are the decision makers in the cruise industry and 30 regional government officials attended the event.“The cruise sector is one in which ship itineraries are often booked long in advance, so attending conferences like these and understanding what the decision-makers value is essential not just for short-term gains, but to lay the groundwork for sustainable, consistent growth in arrivals,” said Mitchell.last_img read more

Thailand gets ready for Songkran Festival

first_imgSongkran Festival, which takes place nationwide in Thailand, is an event where boisterous fun and ancient traditions go hand-in-hand. For tourists, the event offers a chance to enjoy a huge celebration where water parties break out in the streets of Thailand’s towns and villages. For locals, it is a time when they can spend precious time with families and visit the temples to observe ancient rites and make merit. Songkran Festival 2019 will take place from April 13 to 15.Songkran is one of Thailand’s major festivals and the best time to visit as a tourist. From the water sports to the events and contests to the religious ceremonies, every city has its own share of fun-filled experience and food and drinks to offer to you. On your visit in this time of the year, be ready to be soaked and hogging on food all through the three days of Songkran. Do not be surprised seeing the activities beginning a day or two before Songkran. Do not miss out on the experience of a Thai-style Holi and Thai street food this April.Apart from the water festivities, the major cities of Thailand have their own ways of adding to the liveliness of the celebrations. Bangkok brings its revelry to the streets where locals and tourists all come together for the merrymaking. Be prepared to be drenched from the moment you step into the streets and be found in some other spot altogether from where you began. The biggest of the many parties in Bangkok is held in Silom, hosting the biggest and craziest water festival. The entire 5 km long stretch of the street is overly-populated with people geared up with anything that sprays water.When in Krabi, armour yourself with water balloons, water guns and buckets for the huge water fights. In Krabi, do not miss out on the extravagant beach parties on these days where each person attending has just one agenda – to have fun.Pattaya adds to the festivity with their Miss Songkran contests where the contestants compete in the traditional Thai dresses. Phuket adds its own charm to the carousing with cultural events and crafts and clothing exhibitions.The people of Chiang Mai begin the first day of the festival by cleaning around the city besides their houses. These activities are followed by religious ceremonies.The Thais begin their celebrations with the blessing and cleansing ceremonies by pouring herbed water on Buddha statues at the temples. As a tourist, you must visit the major monasteries and temples when Thailand, especially during Songkran. The visit to the temple is followed by paying respect to their elders in the format of their family traditions. In some places, people add herbs to the water that they play with, as a sign of purity. If you have an opportunity, do not miss out on visiting the small villages and towns. These places have their own traditions and ways of celebrating and these cultures are worth witnessing.last_img read more

Mortgage Applications Rose 45 Last Week MBA

first_img Adjustable-Rate Mortgage Agents & Brokers Capital Economics Debt Crisis European Union FHA First-Time Homebuyers Fixed-Rate Mortgage Housing Affordability Investment Investors Jobs Lenders & Servicers Mortgage Applications Mortgage Bankers Association Mortgage Rates Processing Refinance Service Providers Underwriting Standards 2012-01-11 Ryan Schuette Mortgage applications shot up 4.5 percent on a seasonally adjusted basis last week, above averages seen year-over-year but far below gains in overall volume that occurred over the last several months. [IMAGE]Releasing the figures in a weekly survey Wednesday, the “”Mortgage Bankers Association””:http://www.mbaa.org/default.htm (MBA) reported mortgage application volume expanding 34.4 percent on a seasonally unadjusted basis. A spokesperson for the trade group could not immediately respond to requests for comment.The refinance share of mortgage activity contracted to 80.8 percent of application volume, with figures for the MBA’s Refinance Index climbing to 3.3 percent from the week earlier.[COLUMN_BREAK]The Purchase Index leapt forward by 8.1 percent on a seasonally adjusted basis and by 41.9 percent on a seasonally unadjusted basis, 17.9 percent lower than figures seen during the same week in 2011.The share of activity for adjustable-rate mortgages reached 5.4 percent of application volume, up from 4.7 percent from the week before.Interest rates for 30-year and 15-year fixed-rate mortgages ├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├óÔé¼┼ô including those with conforming balances and others backed by the Federal Housing Administration ├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├óÔé¼┼ô encountered only modest changes as mortgage rates remain static on the whole.Investors fleeing Europe to the safe haven of U.S. Treasury debt continue to increase downward pressure for mortgage rates, experts say, making homes historically more affordable than ever.Even so, homeowners ├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├óÔé¼┼ô concerned by and large with job growth and a still-brittle economic recovery ├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├óÔé¼┼ô continue to stay on the sidelines despite all-time highs for affordability in the market.””Paul Diggle””:http://www.capitaleconomics.com/staff/property-economics/paul-diggle.html, a property economist with “”Capital Economics””:http://www.capitaleconomics.com/, said in a note that “”the slightly weaker tone of the activity data is a reminder of the headwinds still facing the housing market. “”Strict credit scoring standards and widespread negative equity among existing borrowers mean that up to half of all households are effectively shut out of the mortgage market,”” he added. Mortgage Applications Rose 4.5% Last Week: MBA in Data, Government, Origination, Secondary Market, Servicingcenter_img January 11, 2012 467 Views Sharelast_img read more

Equifax Market Set for Growth as Home Equity Credit Balances Rise

first_img Agents & Brokers Attorneys & Title Companies Delinquency Equifax Home Equity Home Values Investors Lenders & Servicers Mortgage Debt Service Providers 2012-10-09 Carrie Bay in Data, Origination Equifax: Market ‘Set for Growth’ as Home Equity Credit Balances Rise Sharecenter_img October 9, 2012 444 Views Home equity installment balances rose 0.3 percent in August├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├óÔé¼┬Øthe first monthly increase since November 2007, according to “”Equifax””:http://www.equifax.com. The company says its findings signal “”a possible turning point in mortgage demand.””[IMAGE]This newly developed trend in home equity credit is highlighted in Equifax’s newest National Consumer Credit Trends Report and bears noting after the home equity credit market plummeted along with property values during the housing downturn. The total number of home equity installment loans fell 43 percent in a span of four years├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├óÔé¼┬Ø-from 7.7 million in August 2007 to 4.4 million in August 2012, Equifax reports. Home equity installment balances contracted even further, declining 49 percent from their $278 billion peak in September 2007 to just $143 billion in August 2012.[COLUMN_BREAK]But according to Amy Crews Cutts, Equifax’s chief economist, recent trends seem to indicate the residential real estate market has finally found solid ground. “”We’re seeing signs that the contraction in mortgage debt is slowing and delinquencies continue to trend down at the same time that mortgage rates set new record lows on almost a weekly basis,”” Crews Cutts explained. “”The environment has been set for growth for a while├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├óÔé¼┬Ø-now it looks like it may finally be happening.”” While delinquency rates on home equity accounts have been stable in a narrow band in recent months, Equifax says write-off rates accelerated their declines in August. Home equity installment loans were written off at a rate of just 2.69 percent during the month, down 16 percent from July’s write-off rate and the lowest level Equifax has recorded since February 2008.Looking at home equity credit developments at a more granular level, New Mexico led August’s growth with both the largest monthly gain in loan balances (+2.3 percent) and in the number of loans outstanding (+1.7 percent). Rounding out the top five states with the greatest percentage growth in loan balances were California (+2.3 percent), Nevada (+2.1 percent), Colorado (+2.0 percent), and Florida (+1.9 percent). The same states topped the charts for percentage growth in number of loans, but in different positions. Coming in behind New Mexico and the No. 1 spot was Florida (+1.6 percent), Nevada (+1.5 percent), California (+1.35 percent), and then Colorado (+1.3 percent).last_img read more

Mortgage Rates Plunge to PostSummer Lows

first_img in Data, Origination October 24, 2013 398 Views Mortgage Rates Plunge to Post-Summer Lows Though Capitol Hill’s gridlock over the debt ceiling was resolved–for now, at least–last week, mortgage rates this week took a spill as market uncertainty spooked investors.[IMAGE]””Freddie Mac””:http://www.freddiemac.com/ released Thursday its Primary Mortgage Market Survey, which shows the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage (FRM) falling to an average rate of 4.13 percent (0.8 point) for the week ending October 24, down from 4.28 percent and the lowest level in about four months. Last year at this time, the 30-year FRM averaged 3.41 percent.The 15-year FRM this week averaged 3.24 percent (0.6 point), down from 3.33 percent.[COLUMN_BREAK]Adjustable rates were also impacted. The 5-year Treasury-indexed hybrid adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) averaged 3.00 percent (0.4 point) for the week, declining 7 basis points, while the 1-year ARM averaged 2.60 percent (0.5 point), down 3 basis points.””Mortgage rates slid this week as the partial government shutdown led to market speculation that the Federal Reserve will not alter its bond purchases this year,”” explained Frank Nothaft, VP and chief economist for Freddie Mac.””The “”weak employment report””:https://themreport.com/articles/september-unemployment-rate-at-72-job-growth-still-weak-2013-10-22 for September added to this expectation. The economy added just 148,000 jobs, which was below the market consensus forecast and less than the 193,000 jobs increase in August,”” he added.””Bankrate.com’s””:http://www.bankrate.com/ weekly measure of interest rates also showed them declining to a post-summer low, with the 30-year fixed averaging 4.42 percent and the 15-year fixed averaging 3.37 percent.Bankrate’s measure for the 5/1 ARM was down to 3.27 percent.””Worries about the damage inflicted on the economy by the circus in Washington, and a disappointing jobs report, drove investors into the haven of government bonds, driving yields lower,”” Bankrate said in its release. “”As we play catch-up on economic data, and get a read on the economy over the next month or so, this uncertainty should keep a lid on mortgage rates.””center_img Agents & Brokers Attorneys & Title Companies Bankrate Freddie Mac Investors Lenders & Servicers Mortgage Rates Service Providers Unemployment 2013-10-24 Tory Barringer Sharelast_img read more

Home Sales Steady in October as Prices Keep Climbing

first_img Agents & Brokers Attorneys & Title Companies For-Sale Homes Home Prices Home Sales Housing Supply Investors Lenders & Servicers RE/MAX Service Providers 2013-11-18 Tory Barringer Home Sales Steady in October as Prices Keep Climbing “”RE/MAX””:http://www.remax.com/ is the latest company to report an expected seasonal slowdown for housing in October. The real estate network reported a month-over-month decline in sales figures and prices as the market began to chill.[IMAGE]””What we’re seeing now are predictable seasonal cycles, which is just another sign that the housing recovery is bringing us back to a more normal market,”” said RE/MAX CEO Margaret Kelly.Based on data reported for 52 metro areas nationwide, RE/MAX recorded a 2.8 percent decline in home sales from September to October, though transactions were still up 2.2 percent compared to last year.[COLUMN_BREAK]Of the markets surveyed in October, 35 posted higher sales than October 2012, and 19 reported double-digit increases, including: New York, New York (+32.6 percent); Trenton, New Jersey (+32.5 percent); Anchorage, Alaska (+24.2 percent); Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (+18.2 percent); and Wilmington, Delaware (+18.1 percent).The median price of all homes sold across those markets was $179,950, a 2.7 percent drop from September’s price. Compared to October 2012, prices were up 11.9 percent.As usual, the markets that suffered worst in the fallout of the crash continue to post the biggest annual gains. In October, they were led by Detroit, Michigan (+45.2 percent); Atlanta, Georgia (+37.1 percent); Las Vegas, Nevada (+31.8 percent); Orlando, Florida (+26.5 percent); and San Francisco, California (+23.8 percent).It was the 21st consecutive month in which home sales and prices experienced year-over-year improvements, RE/MAX reported.Prices keep seeing boosts from diminished inventory. For October, RE/MAX reported a 5.1 percent month-over-month and 12.2 percent year-over-year decline in the number of homes for sale–leading to a 4.9 month supply of homes at the current selling pace. However, the company noted that inventory declines have slowed, with October’s drop coming in at about “”half of the annual loss seen as recently as June.”” Sharecenter_img in Data November 18, 2013 420 Views last_img read more

The Housing Industry May Have the Rental Picture Totally Wrong

first_imgThe housing industry has become so accustomed to believing that renting is a popular trend and option among the millennial generation. However, research shows that picture is distorted and younger consumers are not as big on renting as we believe they are.The Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University released research Wednesday to set the record straight about exactly who makes up rental households in the market and how they are faring with affordability issues.According to the research, in mid-2015, 43 million families and individuals live in rental housing and the share of all U.S. households that rent rose from 31 percent to 37 percent, its highest level since the 1960s.Now, here’s where things get tricky.The millennial generation (under age 30) have added nearly 1 million renters over the last decade, while the Gen-X generation (born 1965-1984) added 3 million. The largest increase to the renter rankings comes from those in their 50s and 60s, adding 4.3 million people.So while the market likes to believe that those in their 20s occupy the largest share of renters, the Harvard research shows it’s really those over 40 that make up the majority of the rental market.“Record-setting demand for rental housing due to demographic trends, the residual consequences of the foreclosure crisis, and an increased appreciation of the benefits of being a renter has led to strong growth in the supply of rental housing over the past decade both through new construction and the conversion of formerly owner-occupied homes to rentals,” said Chris Herbert, Managing Director of the Joint Center For Housing Studies at Harvard.With the growing number of renters and increased demand comes higher pricing on rental properties, the report showed. Renters’ incomes have fallen 9 percent since 2001, pushing the number of cost burdened renters from 14.8 million in 2001 to 21.3 million in 2014. Overall, 49 percent of renter are cost burdened, while 26 percent are severely cost burdened.Herbert noted that the crisis among renters that spend a large portion of their income on housing persists because “the market has been unable to meet the need for housing that is within the financial reach of many families and individuals with lower incomes. These affordability challenges also are increasingly afflicting moderate-income households.”The study also outlined that housing policies are not sufficiently addressing affordability issues, often overlooking gaps and enduring a reduction in funding.“In 2015, rental housing in America is a tale of two markets, where upper-income renters are finding a healthier supply of housing choices and landlords and private sector investors are benefiting from higher rents, but too many families earning less than $50,000 per year are having to make trade-offs between putting a roof over the their heads and food on the table,” Herbert explained. “These negative trends are poised to go from bad to worse, as the most cost-burdened populations–minorities and the elderly–grow, and incomes continue to grow more slowly than rental costs.”Click here to view the complete research data.A live webcast will broadcast their findings in the release event for “America’s Rental Housing: Expanding Options for Diverse and Growing Demand” Wednesday from 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. in Washington, DC.The webcast will feature a panel that will be moderated by Emily Badger of The Washington Post, with housing experts Ellen Seidman of Urban Institute, Paul Roldán of Hispanic Housing Development Corporation, Toby Bozzuto of The Bozzuto Group, and Chris Herbert of the Joint Center for Housing Studies at Harvard University.Click here to watch the live webcast. December 9, 2015 561 Views Affordabilty Millennials Rental The Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University 2015-12-09 Staff Writer The Housing Industry May Have the Rental Picture Totally Wrongcenter_img in Daily Dose, Data, Headlines, Market Studies, News, Origination Sharelast_img read more