CAIRO (AP) — An Egyptian court on Thursday convicted and sentenced a police officer to 15 years in prison over the killing of a female protester during a peaceful demonstration in Cairo in January — a slaying that shocked many Egyptians.The Cairo Criminal Court ruled against 24-year-old police lieutenant Yassin Hatem Salah Eddin, charged with manslaughter over the death of 32-year-old activist Shaimaa el-Sabbagh. The ruling can be appealed. Comments Share In subsequent trials, almost all of the over 100 policemen involved and charged with the killings were acquitted, with judges citing shoddy investigations or lax evidence in the cases, which were largely probed by the police themselves.The uproar over el-Sabbagh’s death prompted Egypt’s President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi to urge an investigation. He suggested at the time that individual mistakes should not undermine public confidence in the police.Egypt’s interior minister was subsequently replaced in a Cabinet shuffle.The verdict comes against a backdrop of a state-orchestrated campaign to silence dissent. An anti-protest law punishes demonstrations staged without police permits and courts dispense heavy sentences against both Islamists and secular-minded activists over charges mostly related to violence.The campaign escalated following the military’s ouster of Islamist President Mohammed Morsi in July 2013 after mass demonstrations accusing him of abuse of power.A lawyer representing the slain woman said the ruling was fair.“The ruling achieves justice and retribution,” said the lawyer, Amir Salem. “The soul of Shaimaa will can now rest in peace.” 5 ways to recognize low testosterone Milstead says best way to stop wrong-way incidents is driving sober Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. The killing struck a nerve with many Egyptians and stoked anger over perceived brutality of the police. El-Sabbagh family members, lawyers and friends welcomed the verdict, many clapping in approval inside the court room on Thursday.Video footage of the incident showed el-Sabbagh collapsing in a colleague’s arms with her head, chest and back soaked in blood after a masked policeman fired birdshot in her direction. A voice was heard in the videos, commanding: “Fire.”Authorities initially denied that police had any involvement in her death. Lawyers had repeatedly demanded that the manslaughter charge be changed to premeditated murder.Salah Eddin addressed the court before the verdict was handed down, denying responsibility for el-Sabbagh’s killing and saying he had no gunshots in his weapon.“We had no gunshots. We were there for security, not to kill anyone,” he said. “This is our job.”Rights lawyers and witnesses have said the police hampered efforts to save el-Sabbagh’s life by preventing an ambulance from passing through the cordon.El-Sabbagh and a small group of demonstrators were marking the anniversary of the Jan. 25, 2011, uprising that toppled longtime autocrat Hosni Mubarak. During the uprising, nearly 900 protesters were killed by police. Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility Arizona families, Arizona farms: working to produce high-quality milk Top Stories Here’s how to repair and patch damaged drywall New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies Arizona families, Arizona farms: A legacy of tradition embracing animal care and comfort through modern technology Sponsored Stories
A competitive market and deal-oriented consumers has seen Creative Holidays get ‘creative’ in presenting product, interacting with agents and developing destination strategies.With 14,000 products in 58 destinations, Creative Holidays is now looking to the Cook Islands, Samoa and Mauritius, a move spurred by the company’s entry into the New Zealand market, Creative Holidays managing director Paul McGrath said.According to Mr McGrath, Creative Holiday’s Hawaii and US product is booming, however, other destinations are “okay, but aren’t firing”.“The market we’re in is very competitive,” he said.“In any one segment there’s probably five to seven competitors.”Mr McGrath said that consumers have come to expect deals since the global financial crisis and accordingly this year has been tough.In response to this, Creative Holidays is making changes, including getting ‘creative’ in the presentation of product.“We’re trying to put innovation into how to sell product,” Mr McGrath said.“We’ll also start being creative in the way that we engage and interact with agents.” Part of these changes to agent interaction will take the form of an agent specific Facebook page, and meetings with the agents directly.“We’re not reinventing the business but moving the business forward.” Source = e-Travel Blackboard: G.A.
Jetset Travelworld franchisees will soon have access to a customised wholesale product range branded as Jetset Holidays and Travelworld Holidays respectively, JTG Group General Manager Wholesale, Simon Bernardi revealed at last weekend’s national conference in Adelaide. Each brochure is expected to be tailored to the needs of JTN members with differentiating product, the first of which focussing on UK / Europe to be released in time for the earlybird season in December, for sale from January 2012. Other destinations to follow include Bali, Thailand, Fiji, Singapore, Malaysia, and Canada/Alaska. “We’ve been working on a brand strategy for a while, and we really support the retail changes so it made logical sense to launch this initiative,” Mr Bernardi told e-Travel Blackboard. “The initiative provides positive benefits for our membership and increases the reach and investment in our retail brands,” JTN, General Manger, Retail, Julie Primmer said. JTG Wholesale are also looking to tap into the lucrative cruise market which grew 27 per cent in 2010 with a dedicated Cruise Holidays range to be released in 2012, with plans to phase a roll-out to JTN and other JTG retail networks in the first quarter. Cruise Holidays will feature some 30 cruise lines combined with land and air product across the globe.www.railtickets.com.au was also announced to be launched in coming weeks allowing agents to make and retrieve bookings online, print itineraries and earn TRIP points. Mr Bernardi said overall market share for the wholesale division has continued to grow, reporting a 6.45 per cent increase in sales across all brands this year. In 2010, JTN agents attributed some 64 per cent of the total transactional value within a $26.8 billion retail travel market, according to Mr Bernardi. With almost 60 per cent of sales in agencies toward packaged holidays, Mr Bernardi said the “doomsday theory that the web will make agents irrelevant validates that the consumer is shifting back to agents”. Source = e-Travel Blackboard: D.M
Source = e-Travel Blackboard: N.J The gateway into New South Wales’ capital city says more SmartGate infrastructure announced by the federal government will improve the processing and facilitation of inbound passengers.Unveiled this morning, Sydney Airport’s chief executive Kerrie Mather said allowing New Zealand and Australian passport holders to clear customs through a self-service type system will not only cut the waiting time but deliver a better passenger experience. The SmartGate process was originally introduced to the airport in 2009 and according to the airport takes up to 90 seconds for passengers with microchipped e-passports to pass through. “We have been working very closely with Customs on implementing this new technology because it improves passenger facilitation and delivers a better passenger experience,” Ms Mather said. “We already have a high number of passengers who opt to use SmartGates at Sydney Airport and we expect this to increase as Australian passports are replaced with microchipped e-passports by 2015.“Sydney is Australia’s international gateway and with nearly half of Australia’s international passengers travelling through Sydney Airport, improving the customer experience is a priority for us.”
Image Source: SriLankan Airlines Source = e-Travel Blackboard: P.T SriLankan Airlines (ALK) will become a oneworld alliance member by late next year, with Cathay Pacific sponsoring and supporting the airline through its alliance implementation programme.The accord was announced during IATA’s 2012 World Air Transport Summit in Beijing this week.SriLankan Airlines already has code-sharing agreements with oneworld affiliate Malaysia Airlines and now plans to code-share with oneworld partners Royal Jordanian and S7 Airlines.SriLankan Airlines chairman Nishantha Wickremasinghe said oneworld was the obvious option for the island nation’s flagship carrier.“With the world airline industry increasingly focused on alliances, SriLankan has carried out in-depth analysis of the options open to the airline as we enter this latest phase of our development,” the chairman said.“Joining the alliance will help put SriLankan more firmly on the global aviation map and vastly improve Sri Lanka’s connections with the rest of the world, with all that means for our country’s vital tourism industry.”American Airlines chief and chairman of the oneworld Governing Board Tom Horton was pleased to have SriLankan Airlines partner with the global alliance.“Today’s agreement with SriLankan Airlines adds even more value for our customers who have made oneworld the first choice airline alliance for the world’s frequent international travellers. We look forward to welcoming SriLankan to oneworld.”ALK’s alignment will bring three new southern India destinations to oneworld’s expanding network.
The weak economic environment is likely to have an impact on Virgin Australia’s earnings, with the carrier expecting its underlying profit before tax for FY13 to be below FY12.According to an update, the airline is expecting a positive underlying profit before tax for the fourth quarter this year, however, it will not cover the losses from introducing the new Sabre system in the third quarter.“Given the slower trading conditions and competitive and weakening economic environment, it is not possible at this time for Virgin Australia to provide any further profit guidance for FY13,” the update read.Virgin also expects capacity growth for the second half of FY13 to be around four percent, down from five-seven percent in its previous guidance.Despite the drop, Virgin stressed its strategy will enable the airline to achieve maximum benefits from a recovery in market and economic conditions through; sustaining and building on yield improvements, higher penetration in the corporate and government market as well as growth in interline and codeshare revenue.As part of the carrier’s regional expansion, Virgin Australia unveiled its new regional airline, which will operate 800 services per week to nearly 41 local destinations.Click here for more information.Source = e-Travel Blackboard: NJ The carrier prepares for a downturn in profits.
The latest Unisys Security Index has found that Australians support the extension of biometrics (use of DNA and fingerprints for identification) to passengers boarding planes. “This may be because immigration and customs processing are mandatory and recognised as core security processes which already have systems and processes in place to protect personal data,” Mr Kendall said. “This issue will gain scrutiny as retailers make more use of big data analytics to collect, combine, interrogate and use information about their customers.” Source = ETB News: Tom Neale The Index, which provides a glimpse into the attitudes of consumers on variety of cultural, economic and security issues found that 8 in 10 Australians surveyed would be willing to provide biometric information before boarding a plane. “Whereas retailers may not yet have earned that level of trust in their ability to protect data, or shopping convenience is simply not seen as a serious enough reason to give up personal biometric data, However, only 33 per cent of those surveyed would be willing to provide biometric information in order to receive customised retail offers from airport stores. Mr Kendall said that this was likely due to customers’ wariness of giving away their personal data for anything other than security. “We have seen longstanding support for biometrics in immigration and customs processing, but these new findings show that there is a willingness to extend this level of identity verification throughout the passenger’s airport journey to confirm that only approved passengers are boarding flights,” Unisys security program director, John Kendall said.
Etihad Airways and Italy’s national carrier AlItalia have signed a €1,758 million transaction implementation agreement designed to recapitalise the Italian carrier and set up Etihad further in the European market.The deal will see Etihad become a minority stakeholder at 49 per cent in the airline with an equity injection of €560 million with a further contribution of €300 million to come from existing AlItalia shareholders.Financial institutions and existing bank shareholders have also provided €598 million in short and medium term debt and €300 million of new loan facilities have also been extended by Italian financial institutions.This financial restructuring remains conditional on the achievement of certain benchmarks by AlItalia and regulatory approval by Italian authorities.Etihad Airways president and chief executive officer James Hogan said that Etihad made a strategic investment in AlItalia because it believes the airline has growth potential.“With the right level of capitalisation and a strong, strategic business plan, we have confidence the airline can be turned around and repositioned as a premium global airline once again,” Mr Hogan said.“Alitalia is the perfect ambassador for Italy and all that it represents,“As we revitalise the brand, the airline will increasingly embody all that we recognise as quintessentially Italian – the history, culture, food and fashion. It must be an airline of which Italians can be proud,“However ultimately it has to work as a business and the goal is for sustainable profitability from 2017.”The new business plan for AlItalia focuses the airline on long haul flights from Rome and Milan international airports and increased connectivity between Italy and the UAE including between Venice, Catania and Bologna and Abu Dhabi.Five new routes to Rome will be launched over the next five years while long haul flights to Milan will double to 25 by 2018.Source = ETB News: Tom Neale
Choice Hotels Asia-Pac CEO Trent FraserChoice Hotels Asia-Pac (Choice Hotels), representing the Econo Lodge, Comfort, Quality and Clarion hotel brands, has celebrated its best year ever on record across New Zealand.The hotel franchisor released the New Zealand business highlights for 2015 which included a RevPAR increase of 13 per cent year on year and an increase in business delivery of 53 per cent.This has resulted in an additional 34,000 room nights delivered to the 30 plus local properties. Increases driven by Choice (via its website and contact centre) has seen revenue more than double for some properties.The forecast for the year ahead is also positive, with Choice Hotels Asia-Pac CEO Trent Fraser revealing that for January 2016 the hotelier has experienced similar double digit RevPAR growth.“We’ve seen an increase in domestic travel across New Zealand likely due to the buoyant and stable economy ultimately driving an increase in leisure and corporate travel,” Fraser said.“In addition, inbound travel from China in particular continues to perform strongly, with more free-independent travellers choosing to travel to regional areas rather than staying only in Auckland.“As a result, we’ve been able to contribute an additional 34,000 room nights to properties in the last year through all of our different programs.”Choice Hotels last week announced the rollout of a series of bold changes to its Choice Privileges (CP) guest rewards program.Fraser anticipates that these changes will result in increased travel and higher use of the program.“The Choice Privileges changes will ensure that our loyalty program remains relevant and important to our guests. Customer service is our highest priority, and these changes provide more value to our existing members,” he said.The company also recently launched its new brand identity, Choice Hotels Asia-Pac, and a new direction as a result of a global rebrand by Choice Hotels International and after recognising a need to establish a new identity in an already crowded market.The new brand better reflects its position and expansion plans in the Asia-Pacific region and focuses on the reasons why people travel and encourages more offline connections.Fraser is pleased with the new direction the brand is taking and highlights the importance of offering that each customer ‘always has a choice’ in their accommodation experiences.“From extensive research we’ve learned that a lot of the reasons why our guests travel is to connect with people, not just travel to places. We want to empower them with choices that help them more easily connect in person and offer them an environment that encourages them to spend more time making their face to face connections,” he said.To further build on its own offline connections and as part of its commitment to charity partner Cystic Fibrosis New Zealand, the hotel franchisor has also bolstered its fundraising efforts. Choice hosted its first Corporate Golf Day at Titirangi Golf Course in November, raising $5,000 through donations and silent auctions.Paired with its annual dedicated Cystic Fibrosis Week, where hotels contributed $2 from any night stayed throughout a one week period, this saw Choice Hotels give a total of $25,000 in donations in 2015 to Cystic Fibrosis New Zealand.The appointment of Brendon Smith as Development Manager for New Zealand has likewise led to exciting growth opportunities for Choice Hotels, with a number of new properties opened in 2015 and some exciting announcements planned for early 2016.With more than 20 years of experience within tourism, hospitality and events, Smith has a proven background in business development.Fraser is optimistic that Choice Hotels will experience a strong 2016 following its 2015 business success.“We’re kicking off with two new properties coming on board in Christchurch and Timaru and an exciting new luxury offer to be announced in the first quarter,” he said.“The prognosis for 2016 is on par to match – if not exceed – that of 2015. We’re very happy with how things are tracking.” Choice HotelsSource = Choice Hotels Asia-Pac
Cruises steal business from hotels….why?As a hotel man (seriously, what else was I going to say) the whole cruise thing is something I still can’t really get my head around. But where I say I can’t stand the idea of being locked into place for eight days, advocates say “one unpack and waking up every morning in a new destination.”It eats into the hotel business and it’s one of the most commonly discussed topics when we meet with agents. It’s not surprising as The Cruise Ship Industry is the fastest growing segment in tourism and is projected to continue on an upward growth path in the coming years.My research identified not only the growth but emerging trends which seem to be prominent.Growth in Bundling ExperiencesThere has been a growing demand for bundling cruise vacations . This allows the client to get a good deal on these options through bundling, therefore reducing his overall cost of travel. For agents it grants the opportunity to be a little more opaque on pricing, making it harder for customers to go direct to the source to deconstruct your itinerary.But annoyingly for agents, an increasing number of cruise ships are now booking these package deals for clients because of the value add generated and margin retained by the cruise company. There is a real danger of giving away your clients details after the first cruise and the cruise company becoming their default travel agent.River cruisesWhen Trevor Jones from Hawthorn travel first mentioned this to me years ago, I could think of nothing less exciting… Walking pace …as River cruising boats lineup down the canals of the world. Full of people. Me wrong again.It’s almost cruising for the active traveler as there is the opportunity to get off the barge and get on the bike, ride around town and meet up later on, giving a much more fulfilling experience than just taking a bus or taxi. Hence, it is more popular among Millennial’s constantly seeking adventure. There are several cruise lines offering river cruises now, such as Avalon Cruises, Amawaterways and Uniworld.Growth of themed cruises Unsurprisingly Richard Branson has launched a Virgin product with a difference – adults only. Cruise Lines are actively seeking ways to attract more clientele by offering themed cruises. The theme could be wellness, music or arts as opposed to alcohol and trying to pick up someone new every second night.It creates new opportunities for engagement with clients about the things they love as opposed to necessarily a desire for them to go cruising.Actually a wellness cruise could be pretty cool… roomsXML – More Suppliers, Hot Deals www.roomsxml.com learn more about roomsXML.com here
Kirsty LucasScoot appoints National Sales & Partnership ManagerKirsty Lucas has been appointed National Sales and Partnership Manager at Scoot, Singapore Airlines’ low cost airline, reporting to Jared Simcox, Country Manager Australia, effective immediately.Kirsty joins Scoot with over ten years travel and tourism industry experience, including an extensive background in sales, marketing and media, originally based in Perth, before relocating to Sydney in 2015.Prior to her new appointment, Kirsty was the Regional Manager, Australia at TravMedia and has previously held positions in a variety of tourism based businesses, including TFE Hotels and Rottnest Fast Ferries in WA.Kirsty will be based in Sydney, and in this newly created role Kirsty will work closely with the General Manager, Australia Jared Simcox and Scoot’s head office, to manage exisiting key trade accounts and develop new partnerships as Scoot continues to step up their growth in Australia.Scoot General Manager Jared Simcox says, “It’s a an exciting time in Scoot’s journey being able to welcome Kirsty to the team, as a direct result of a huge growth in trade sales across the region. We’re in an accelerated phase of development and I’m thrilled to have someone with Kirsty’s expertise, passion and inventiveness on board, and to take the reigns on a number of key initiatives.”Scoot is gearing up to launch its new services to Berlin via Singapore on 20 June 2018, and has also introduced several new initiatives recently. Scoot is now fully on KrisFlyer, the frequent flyer programme for the Singapore Airlines (SIA) Group portfolio of airlines. Scoot customers can directly earn KrisFlyer miles when they purchase and travel on Scoot’s flights, as well as redeem their KrisFlyer miles for Scoot flights.Corporate members of SIA’s HighFlyer programme, for small and medium enterprises, can also now earn HighFlyer points when flying on SIA or SilkAir itineraries with connections onto Scoot.About ScootScoot is the low-cost arm of the Singapore Airlines Group. Scoot took to the skies in June 2012 and merged with Tigerair Singapore in July 2017, retaining the Scoot brand and positioning it well for a new chapter of growth. Scoot has carried over fifty million guests and now operates a fleet of 16 state of the art, widebody Boeing 787 Dreamliners and 24 young and modern Airbus A320 family aircraft, with four more Boeing 787 Dreamliners and 39 Airbus A320neo aircraft on order. Scoot’s network presently encompasses 63 destinations across 17 countries and territories with Berlin, Nanchang, and Pekanbaru to join the network soon. Scoot provides – in addition to fantastic value airfares – a safe, reliable and contemporary travel experience with a unique attitude – Scootitude. Offering amenities including on-board Wi-Fi Internet connectivity and in-seat power on selected flights as well as the ability to redeem and accrue Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer miles, Scoot was voted 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2018 Best Low Cost Airline (Asia/Pacific) by AirlineRatings.com and ranked in the Top 10 of the World’s Best Low-Cost Airlines in 2015 by Skytrax. Scoot is passionate about changing the way people travel long distance. Book your tickets at FlyScoot.com or contact our Call Centre. Find out more on FlyScoot.com, Facebook.com/FlyScoot, Instagram.com/FlyScoot, and Twitter.com/flyscootSource = Scoot
Green Globe has congratulated Mövenpick Resort & Spa Tala Bay Aqaba on its recent re-certification for the fourth year running in acknowledgement of its dedication to sustainable practices.Mövenpick Resort & Spa Tala Bay Aqaba is a 5-star resort on the shores of the southern Red Sea in Jordan. The resort has its own private beach for guests to enjoy water sports or go diving and check out the coral reefs teeming with marine life. Cultural and historical sites including the ancient city of Petra are situated nearby.Beat Peter, General Manager at Mövenpick Resort & Spa Tala Bay Aqaba said, “Our successful re-certification by Green Globe is an honour that underlines our full commitment to sustainability.”The property features the Hotel Optimizer management system designed by Green Globe’s Middle East Partner FARNEK, to record and monitor all energy and water consumption. There are a total of 400 solar panels installed that heats the water partially in the pools and spa. Other energy saving initiatives includes motion sensors which are utilised for outdoor lighting and at parking lots. Also, air conditioning units in guest rooms automatically switch off when balcony doors are open.The resort also has a unique ‘backwash process’ that re-uses the water of the swimming pools and Jacuzzis for irrigation. Also, native plants such as cactus are used in landscaping to minimise water usage. Furthermore, dual flush toilets and low flow aerators on faucets and showers are installed in guest rooms and public areas. While kitchens also have low flow water taps installed.To contribute to regional economic development, high demand produce such as bread, dairy products, vegetables and fruits, eggs and olive oil are locally sourced. Souvenirs are given to guests to support community based businesses and craftspeople. Jordanian tourism, culture and arts are promoted through the Info Channel in guest rooms and the Concierge Brochure.
In the recent cabinet shuffle by the Modi Government, Satyajeet Rajan has been appointed as the Director General – Tourism, Government of India.The IAS 1987 Kerala cadre official was previously Principal Secretary of Personnel & Administrative Reforms – Government of Kerala; Managing Director of Kerala State Industrial Development Corporation (KSIDC) and worked in the portfolio like Ministry of Defence and the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) in the past.
Marking first for the Indian travel industry, Yatra.com has launched ‘Smart Watch Wear App’ for Android devices. By this, the app will allow users to access the booking flow of flights, hotels, buses, trains, homestays, activities and cabs along with various ongoing offers.Users need to create their profile in the app and then they will be updated about their upcoming trips, flight details and other bookings.The application is curated in sync with the growing demand of travel industry to inculcate technological advancement. It also enables users to do web check-ins and keep a track of real-time flight status. Additionally, it will also direct travellers to their accommodation location via maps. Commenting on the development, Sharat Dhall, COO (B2C), Yatra.com, said, “With the ever evolving landscape of technology, the Android smartwatch wear app will be an easy to use solution for all travellers. Catering to the needs of the modern day traveller, the app is built to literally help them wear their travel schedule on their sleeves. We believe that this app will help Yatra in reaching out to a wider and more diversified audience, and are confident that it will be well received by all.”
The Korea Tourism Organisation will be organising a two day Korea Festival showcasing Korea’s rich art, culture and heritage on November 25-26, 2017 at Ambience Mall, Gurugram, Delhi-NCR in a bid to give a glimpse into the rich Korean culture.With this initiative, the Korea Tourism Organisation aims to acquaint the Indian tourists with famous South Korean tourist destinations, delicacies, local culture and the country’s legacy. The festival will also feature Korea’s specialities like face and mask painting, hangeul calligraphy, video gallery displaying Korean history and cultural assets. A live stage performance by Korean Pop groups and non-verbal artists is scheduled to enthral the audience. The tourism booths will promote Korean tourist attractions at the festival.Speaking on the Korea Festival 2017, Jong Sool Kwon, Director Korea Tourism Organisation said, “The bilateral relationship between Indian and South Korea is based on a long history of friendship and it has grown in various aspects. There needs to be a mutual understanding of each other’s legacy, history and culture. Such festivals help in a great way to fortify and deepen the understanding.”He further added, “Indian outbound travel to South Korea has risen to three-fold in the past decade. In 2016 approx two million Indian travellers visited South Korea and the numbers are growing with an average rate of 10-15% year on year. We hope to reach a large section of aspiring Indian travellers and tap into exponentially growing Indian tourism sector through the Korea festival. We are positive that the endeavour will highlight Korean splendour in its true spirit to our Indian friends.”The festival will witness participation from regional tourism boards and related organisations such as Gyeonggi Tourism Organization, Gimhae City, Busan Metropolitan City, Busan Tourism Organization, Jeollabuk Do, Gwangju Metropolitan City, Gwangju Convention & Visitors Bureau, Incheon International Airport Corporation and Visit Korea Committee showcasing different aspects of the country and facilitating on the spot purchase.
JetPrivilege, Jet Airways’ award-winning frequent flyer and Loyalty rewards management programme, won nine key accolades at the 11th Customer Loyalty and Customer Experience Awards held at the Taj Lands End in Mumbai. The wins highlight JetPrivilege’s continued success in providing all its members including the airline’s frequent flyer guests with the most unique and rewarding lifestyle experiences as well as engagement opportunities.The frequent flyer programme of the country’s premier international airline was bestowed as the winner in the following categories: Best Use of Innovation in Loyalty Marketing, two Best Use of Contests/Promotions in a Loyalty Program, Best Promotional/Shopper Marketing Campaign, Best Use of Gamification to Enhance Loyalty, Best Use of Data Analytics in Predictive Modelling, Best Use of Direct Marketing in a Loyalty Program, Best Customer Experience Award of the Year: Banking and Best Use of Innovation to Enhance Customer Experience.Commenting on this occasion, Manish Dureja, Managing Director, JetPrivilege, said, “At JetPrivilege, our goal is to consistently deliver a rewarding experience for our members, keeping in mind their needs and expectations. We are both humbled and proud by these recent recognitions bestowed on us at the renowned Customer Loyalty and Customer Experience Awards. These wins are a reflection of our efforts towards creating an enduring bond with our members through customised and innovative offerings.”The Jury for the judging process comprised renowned business leaders from the field of customer loyalty and marketing. Nominations submitted by different companies were evaluated by the jury members with the final winner per category being adjudged basis an overall consensus.
Agents & Brokers Attorneys & Title Companies Company News Investors Lenders & Servicers Processing Service Providers 2013-06-13 Tory Barringer in Data, Government, Origination, Secondary Market, Servicing Share “”Mortgage Master””:http://www.mortgagemaster.com/corporate/, one of the nation’s largest privately owned mortgage companies, announced the opening of a new retail branch location to serve Connecticut’s Greater Hartford area.[IMAGE]The new branch is Mortgage Master’s seventh office in the state, joining Fairfield, Greenwich, Hamden, Southington, Glastonbury, and West Hartford.[COLUMN_BREAK]In addition, the company named Dan Rosenfeld as branch manager of the new office, where he will work alongside all Mortgage Master partners with real estate agents, accountants, lawyers, and other referral partners to provide service to borrowers.””Simsbury is the perfect location to open our newest location in Central Connecticut,”” said company president Paul Anastos. “”Dan Rosenfeld, who is a well-respected leader, and the Simsbury branch will increase our already significant presence in Hartford and the surrounding communities.””Rosenfeld has two and a half decades of real estate and mortgage lending experience and holds an MBA in finance from the University of Hartford. He has also consistently been ranked among the leading mortgage professionals in Greater Hartford and Connecticut, according to a release.””The opening of the Simsbury branch is very exciting, and I look forward to serving Simsbury and the Greater Hartford communities,”” Rosenfeld said. “”Finding the best loan program that is suited for a family or individual’s needs is my first priority. As a lifetime resident of the area, I am eager to help borrowers with the greatest financial decision of their lives.”” Mortgage Master Opens 7th Connecticut Branch June 13, 2013 416 Views
Share May 10, 2016 582 Views Department of Justice DOJ Mortgage Fraud Quicken Loans 2016-05-10 Staff Writer in Daily Dose, Government, Headlines, News Quicken CEO Won’t Budge on DOJ Mortgage Allegations Quicken Loans, the largest Federal Housing Administration (FHA) lender in the country, is standing its ground in a government lawsuit for allegedly knowingly submitting claims for hundreds of improperly underwritten FHA-insured loans.This is not the first time that the online mortgage lender has pleaded its case against mortgage fraud allegations from the Department of Justice (DOJ) and will likely not be the last.CEO of Quicken Loans, Bill Emerson, came forward this week to let the DOJ know that it will not settle and admit to committing fraud.According to an interview with CNBC’s “Squawk Box,” Emerson said, “For us, that’s not something we can even begin to stomach,” he told ” saying he welcomes a jury trial. “[To] look our 12,000 team members in the eye and say, ‘guess what, we committed fraud against the United States government’ … we didn’t. We won’t say it.”Bill EmersonEmerson also admitted to CNBC that Quicken did make “simple mistakes,” but the DOJ is “dead wrong” in its accusations of mortgage fraud against them.The lender filed a suit in April 2015 in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan against the U.S. Department of Justice and the Department of Housing and Urban Development, claiming the agencies have been trying to bully the company into making “blatantly false” statements and demanding the company pay “an inexplicable penalty or face legal action,” according to a statement released by Quicken.The Justice Department followed in less than a week with a suit against Quicken Loans accusing them of submitting or causing the submission of claims for hundreds of improperly underwritten loans insured by the FHA from September 2007 to December 2011. On the same type of issues, the DOJ has gone after many other lenders, which resulted in more than $100 million in mortgage settlements.The Detroit-based lender claims the government has enjoyed “extraordinary profitability for FHA’s insurance program” through its efforts, saying the company’s participation in FHA’s program will earn the government more than $5.7 billion in net profits “from the insurance premiums collected above and beyond claims made from over $40 billion in FHA home loan volume closed by Quicken Loans during the 2007 to 2013 timeframe.””After three years of struggling to understand the DOJ’s position and methodology,” Emerson noted in a previous statement, “it is time to ask the court to intervene. It’s a shame the DOJ would choose to attack the country’s largest and highest quality FHA lender … at the very time our nation needs expanded access to credit for middle-class Americans who benefit most from the FHA program.”
September 2, 2016 489 Views in Daily Dose, Featured, News Lower-Credit Borrowers Heading for Outer Suburbs Share Rebound in U.S. cities is being driven more by wealthy buyers, whereas suburban growth is being driven by those who can’t afford to buy into urban neighborhoods, said Sam Khater Deputy Chief Economist at CoreLogic on Friday.According to Khater, the return of solid sales and growth in American cities is, from the mortgage industry perspective, “something of a head-fake.” Since 2000, housing prices in cities and suburbs have flipped; where once a home in the suburbs priced newer and credit-strapped buyers out of the market, today’s urban residential landscape is returning the favor.“While the urban rebound has been well documented,” Khater said, “there is a countervailing trend in the suburbs. Higher prices in cities and inner suburbs has caused purchase applicants, and especially lower-credit borrowers, to seek affordability farther out.”During the boom years of the mid-2000s, 38 percent of low credit purchase mortgage applicants applied to the outer suburbs, he said. But as the crash and its fallout hit, lower-credit buyers navigated waves in the mortgage system, trying to find cheaper houses at first in the suburbs and then the cities.Now, Khater said, nearly half (48 percent) of lower-credit purchase applicants were applying to the outer suburbs, farther from job centers and city amenities. The number is 10 percentage higher than it was in 2004.“Higher-credit borrowers are also increasingly applying to live in properties in the outer suburbs,” he said, “but the rate of increase is less than half of lower-credit borrowers. There is a clear sorting of lower-credit and -income borrowers to the outer suburbs.”Khater said the combination of an improving economy and jobs outlook is driving purchase demand higher.“The increased sorting has economic and policy implications for spatial risk and increased concentration of lower credit borrowers in America’s outer suburbs. Lower-Credit Borrowers 2016-09-02 Seth Welborn
While consumer confidence rose in December to its highest point since 2001, confidence in homebuying dipped for the fifth consecutive month.Fannie Mae’s latest Home Purchase Sentiment Index was only down a half-percent from December, to 80.7. According to the index, the number of consumers expecting mortgage rates to go down over the next 12 months dropped 4 percent compared to a year ago. Fannie Mae stated that the continued downward arc could be a reaction to rising interest rates.“Despite the post-election bump in general consumer attitudes, a rapid rise in mortgage rate expectations has tamped down home purchase sentiment, at least in the near term,” said Doug Duncan, SVP and Chief Economist at Fannie Mae. “A spike in economic optimism in the immediate aftermath of an election is typical. Whether consumers will sustain this level of optimism into 2017 remains unclear.”Duncan said that the spike in interest rates reflects, in part, the market’s anticipation of pro-growth policies from the incoming administration.“If this optimism comes to fruition,” he said, it should translate into stronger income growth and increased job security for consumers—the two HPSI components that could help support housing sentiment this year.”The percentage of Americans who said now is a good time to buy a house rose by two percentage points, to 32. An additional percent in December felt the economy was in better shape compared to those surveyed a year ago, while the net share of consumers reporting confidence in not losing their job rose four percentage points. Both the net percentage of those who believe it is a good time to sell and the net share who believe that home prices will go up remained unchanged in December.According to the National Association of Homebuilders, consumer confidence increased in December to the highest level since August 2001. And while assessments of current conditions dropped, consumers held more positive views of the near future.The Conference Board’s Consumer Confidence Index hit 113.7 in December, higher than an upwardly revised 109.4 in November. The present situation index declined from 132.0 to 126.1 and the expectations index rose from 94.4 to 105.5. The index itself has been almost entirely on the upswing since 2009.Jing Fu, Senior Economist at NAHB, said that expectations of employment over the next six months were mixed. The share of respondents expecting more jobs in the coming six months increased from 5 percent, to 21, but “the net 5.4 percentage point decline in the share of respondents expecting job availability to be the same was partially offset by a net 0.5 percentage point increase in the share of respondents expecting fewer jobs.” Consumer Confidence Up, Homebuying Confidence Down Consumer Confidence Fannie Mae Housing Sentiment 2017-01-09 Seth Welborn in Daily Dose, Data, Featured, News January 9, 2017 744 Views Share