Source = e-Travel Blackboard: J.L An increase in travellers has helped boost Eurostar’s revenues, the train operator reporting this week a five percent increase in sales revenue for the first three months of the year.Eurostar said sales revenue for the first three months of 2010 reached £178 million, a 5 percent jump from £168 million for the same period in 2009.The growth has been attributed to higher passenger numbers which have increased from 1.9 million in Q1 last year to 2 million in the first quarter of this year.Among the passengers, those from international markets jumped up by 22 percent while the number of leisure passengers travelling between the UK and the continent went up by 6 percent.Eurostar is currently undergoing a restructure, transforming from a partnership to a single unified corporate entity with London & Continental Railways, SNCF and SNCB.The train operator is also currently trialling a service with SNCF whereby Eurostar passengers can travel between the UK and Provence, connecting through Lille, in special reserved coaches on connecting TGVs. <a href=”http://www.etbtravelnews.global/click/2a498/” target=”_blank”><img src=”http://adsvr.travelads.biz/www/delivery/avw.php?zoneid=10&cb=INSERT_RANDOM_NUMBER_HERE&n=a5c63036″ border=”0″ alt=””></a>
Source = e-Travel Blackboard: C.C A new kind of normal The future of online travel agents (OTAs) is a difficult one to predict, but gateways and personal communication are sure to play a decisive role moving forward. As one of the seminars in the ‘TRAVELtech: New Kind of Normal” media conference held in Sydney on Tuesday 31 August, a panel of three travel and hospitality experts discussed the future of online travel agents. Importantly, OTAs need to position themselves in the value chain, said CEO of TravelTainment – Amadeus Leisure, Andy Owen-Jones. The three aspects of this positioning are: (1) understanding their customer proposition; (2) knowing their intrinsic capabilities and (3) monitoring their environment. The fourth criterion, not yet tapped by OTAs, was the ‘Inspirational’ sphere which inspired a site’s visitors to want to travel. Instead, OTAs currently play a reactive role, having prospective clients referred to them by gateways such as Google, Apple or Amazon, he said. Mr Owen-Jones hypothesised that the dominance of these gateways would lead to a growth in travel packaging, a larger role for recommendations, and increased segmentation. “But the core competency that every OTA will need to realise over the next five years is data management,” he said. OTAs currently don’t target gateways because travel is not a regular purchase, said Managing Director of Expedia Asia Pacific, Dan Lynn. This is in contrast to the constant use of gateways, where shopping purchases, for example, are year-round events. When users decide to do seasonal travel, they naturally tend to use their gateway. The panel progressed to discuss how OTAs were overcoming their inherently impersonal nature. “We’re seeing the use of chat and phone to help users through the purchasing process,” President of HotelClub.com, Jeremy Bellinghausen said.Whilst some OTAs still shun ‘offline service’, many are realising its value in retaining customers. “It’s a convergence with traditional lines,” Mr Bellinghausen said. “You want to see the dependence on offline?” asked Mr Owen-Jones. “Look at the recent volcanic ash crisis: everyone turned to their call centre. If the large [OTA] players were okay, the small players certainly struggled.” The importance of call centres was certainly important to OTAs such as Expedia in providing “the whole experience”, agreed Mr Lynn, “especially in a market where loyalty is defined by whoever’s cheapest.” The discussion panel also noted that the future of OTAs is difficult to predict, citing the success of small car manufacturer Fiat in a context of financial crisis. The modern challenge for technology providers to package sites, such as TravelTainment, is to spot the unusual companies and predict their success in a particular zeitgeist, said Mr Owen-Jones. The same concept applied to websites, he said, citing one of TravelTainment’s most successful clients, German site ab-in-den-urlaub. “Ab-in-den-urlaub was formed by a bunch of weird-looking uni kids but did extremely well because they understood the back-end of Google. “They knew how to maximise searches based on Google’s criteria, eventually allowing them to outspend Expedia by four to one.” In response to the identical layouts of OTA websites, Mr Lynn said that the lack of differentiation came down to “a lot of A-B and multivariate testing”, which lead OTAs to the “most effective layout”. “If a customer goes to a site and doesn’t see a search bar in the usual top left-hand corner of the screen, then they’re not going to know what to do and the site will lose them,” he said.So, can we expect to see the same brands in five years’ time? “Yeah,” said Mr Owen-Jones emphatically, “because someone will crack the ‘Inspirational’ sphere. TripAdvisor came close – they succeeded on content, but they failed on presentation.”The ‘TRAVELtech: New Kind of Normal’ seminar day was held at Dockside, Cockle Bay Wharf in Sydney and covered topics relevant to travel in 2010; from changing consumer patterns to advancing technology to strategies for the future.
Amadeus, today announced a partnership with Business Information Services (BIS), a local provider of expense management solutions to Australian organisations.The partnership agreement will see the integration of BIS’ expense management automation tool, Expense8 with Amadeus’ leading online booking tool, e-Travel Management.Corporations will benefit from improved efficiency and compliance by managing their travel approval, booking and expense management as an automated end-to-end process.For the first time, users see real-time travel costs in the pre-booking approval process, rather than basing itineraries on estimates that can change.Expense8 managing director Zoran Grujic, said that it is very exciting to partner with Amadeus.“We are very excited to partner with Amadeus, a global travel technology leader. It is an important strategic partnership for us and helps us to deliver an end to end solution for our expense management clients,” Mr Grujic said. Amadeus IT Pacific managing director, Tony Carter, commented said that Amadeus is always striving to improve booking solutions and this will help make the process smoother.“Amadeus is focused on investing in the corporate online booking experience to provide end to end value for customers. That’s why we are so pleased to be partnering with an innovative partner like BIS to deliver the Expense8 expense management solution integrated within Amadeus e-Travel Management,” Mr Carter said. Amadeus collaborates with expense management solutions in a number of markets, as well as a worldwide partnership with global market leader SAP.Source = ETB Travel News: Lewis Wiseman
Australia’s largest hotel operator, AccorHotels is pleased to announce it has signed an agreement with the Australia India Travel & Tourism Council (AITTC) to further strengthen the opportunities for promoting tourism between Australia and India.As part of the new partnership, AITTC will endorse AccorHotels market-leading Optimum Service Standards program for Indian visitation.AITTC will facilitate a service training program to help AccorHotels staff better understand cultural practices and learn basic greetings so they can respectfully serve these guests. Training is expected to commence in Sydney and Brisbane this August and AITTC will issue hotels with a certificate of accreditation once completed.AccorHotels launched its Optimum Service Standards for Indian visitation program to better cater to the specific cultural needs and growing numbers of Indian travellers to Australia and New Zealand.Accredited hotels have adopted services to meet the needs of this emerging travel market including the translation of hotel welcome kits, menus and business cards, Indian meals in the restaurant, Indian adaptor plugs, TV channels and newspapers to make guests travelling from India feel at home.In addition, AITTC and AccorHotels will be working together on promoting both inbound tourism from India as well as outbound opportunities to India.AITTC plays an important role in the industry by presenting a suitable platform for interested parties to connect, communicate, consult and collaborate on matters related to Australia – India travel and tourism.“Our goal is to see growth in bilateral tourism and this partnership with AccorHotels, which has strong presence in both India and Australia, so it will be win-win for both organisations,” says Sandip Hor, Chairman of AITTC.Chief Operating Officer, AccorHotels Pacific, Simon McGrath said, “We have been very fortunate to develop a great relationship with the Australia India Travel & Tourism Council, and look forward to working with them to better equip our hotels with the skills and knowledge to welcome visitors from India.“Since the launch of the Indian Service Standards our hotels have experienced an increase in growth from this market, and in particular incentive groups have been on the rise over recent months, a trend we expect to continue,” concluded Mr McGrath.Source = AccorHotels
TAA responds to NSW Government review of short term lettingAustralia’s peak accommodation body, Tourism Accommodation Australia (TAA), said that the NSW Government’s response to the Parliamentary Review into short term letting was an acknowledgment that unregulated short-term letting in residential communities was a complex issue where the benefits had to be carefully weighed against the far-reaching and potentially negative consequences.TAA CEO, Carol Giuseppi, said the accommodation industry had no issues with the Government relaxing regulations for property owners who provided genuine share stays by offering a room in their house or apartment on an occasional basis.However, existing regulations needed to be enforced to prevent commercial operators exploiting the new online distribution system and operating ‘quasi hotels’ that didn’t comply with the fire safety, disability access, employment, insurance and taxation requirements required of other commercial accommodation operators.“Research shows that 35% of Airbnb listings in Sydney are available 365 days a year and being operated as fully commercial property businesses, with an increasing proportion operated as multi-property businesses – this is not ‘sharing’,” said Ms Giuseppi. “It is essential that adequate regulations be imposed on non-resident commercial property investors who rent out full properties for short term stays.“We have also recommended a specific time limit to be placed on short-term letting of properties, which would allow owners to rent out their property while on holidays – but not as a commercial business. This needs to be supported by a register of properties to improve transparency and compliance and better inform government and industry planning.“TAA welcomes the opportunity for further consultation with government to ensure a resolution is reached that ensures the sustainability of the commercial accommodation sector which currently injects $2.3 billion directly into the economy, contributes $4.5 billion in consumption, and directly and indirectly employs over 80,000 people across NSW.“It is important that investor confidence is sustained as Sydney is currently undergoing the largest-ever expansion of its hotel sector, with the 40 hotels and 8000 rooms under development or in planning set to inject over $4 billion into the local economy and create thousands of sustainable jobs.“Sydney and regional areas need to be differentiated in the new regulatory framework. Holiday houses in regional areas are not the main issue. It is the prospect of houses and apartment blocks being turned into quasi hotels and impacting residents, communities and legitimate operators that should be the most pressing issue for Government to address.“The Government can learn from cities around the world that have recently introduced strict regulations to counter the negative effects – particularly for housing and rental affordability – caused by the unfettered growth of unregulated commercial short-term stays, and we would encourage the Government to develop a new regulatory environment that allows the tourism sector to grow, but not at the expense of residents and legitimate operators in the industry.” Tourism Accommodation AustraliaSource = Tourism Accommodation Australia
Last year, Oman relaxed its visa rules to attract more tourists by granting Visa on Arrival (unsponsored tourist visa) for the citizens of India, China and Russia who reside in or who hold an entry visa to one of these countries – United States of America, Canada, Australia, United Kingdom and Schengen States to enter the Sultanate of Oman. To further facilitate the process, the Royal Oman Police (ROP) has announced that effective March 21, 2018, visas will only be granted electronically via the URL: https://evisa.rop.gov.om and there will be no more hand-processed visas at the airport.A spokesperson from the Royal Oman Police, Sultanate of Oman said, “The migration to electronic visas will save the time for travellers. The system has been thoroughly tested and more than 12,000 users have already benefited from it. It is considered to be one of the safest and most confidential in the world, having achieved an ISO certification.”The application clarifies the visa formalities for various groups of countries. In addition, specialists at ROP are available 24 hours a day to provide support. There is an official account of the e-Visa system on twitter@OmanEvisa where one can seek assistance.
Gran Hotel Costa Rica, Curio Collection by Hilton recently re-opened in San José, Costa Rica. As the first hotel designed for international visitors in Costa Rica, the newly redesigned 79-guest room property fuses history with cutting-edge modern design and features indoor gardens and a rooftop piano bar overlooking the National Theatre and city.Originally opened in October 1930 and declared a historical architectural monument in 2005, the highly acclaimed hotel joins the National Theatre, Las Arcadas, Plaza de la Cultura and Gold Museum as some of the most iconic buildings in San José.“Surging in tourist arrivals from the previous year, Costa Rica continues to be a top choice destination for travellers, and Curio Collection by Hilton is pleased to provide these travellers with an authentic new hotel experience with the opening of Gran Hotel Costa Rica,” said Mark Nogal, Global Head, Curio Collection by Hilton. “We recognise the demand for unique accommodations in key markets across the region, and our first property in the country allows us to provide this to the growing number of travellers seeking elevated, unexpected experiences while visiting the capital city.”Travellers can enjoy international flavours, Costa Rican cuisine and panoramic views of San José at on-property Cultura 5 restaurant. Guests can also take advantage of the 24-hour business centre and gym and access to the 890 sq. ft. event space with modern A/V equipment and catering.Located on Avenida Central and less than 15 miles from Juan Santamaría International Airport, Gran Hotel Costa Rica overlooks the National Theatre and is surrounded by the city’s top museums, plazas, shops and cafés. From the hotel, travellers can also take day trips to popular destinations, including Braulio Carrillo National Park or the Poás Volcano.
Obama Highlights Recovery in State of the Union Share in Daily Dose, Featured, Government, News During his State of the Union address Tuesday evening, President Barack Obama did not make any substantial announcements regarding the housing market, government mortgage-backed securities, or the GSEs. However, “lower mortgage premiums” were mentioned, alongside “child care and sick leave and equal pay” as “ideas [that] will make a meaningful difference in the lives of millions of families.”Obama said his budget proposal is aimed at “middle-class economics,” with goals of “helping folks afford childcare, college, health care, a home, retirement.”However, in addition to mentioning the need for lower mortgage premiums, Obama also spoke of one American family who spends more on childcare than on their mortgage, prompting Jed Kolko, chief economist and VP of analytics at Trulia, to tweet in response, “Not a hard sell for lower FHA premiums.”Wall Street Journal journalist Joe Light tweeted during the speech, “Not much on housing in #SOTU but not much there could be. Housing needs stuff like wage growth to get going rather than legislation.”Obama did mention wage growth as he spoke of the overall progress of the national economy. “Today, thanks to a growing economy, the recovery is touching more and more lives,” Obama said. “Wages are finally starting to rise again.””The shadow of crisis has passed, and the state of the union is strong,” the president said early in his speech.The nation has experienced “the fastest economic growth in over a decade, our deficits cut by two-thirds, a stock market that has doubled, and health care inflation at its lowest rate in fifty years,” Obama said.Obama touted the past year as “a breakthrough year for America” as job growth outpaced any year since 1999 and unemployment fell below pre-crisis levels.However, not all agree with this rosy portrayal. “If only we could get more people to leave the labor force, the unemployment rate could fall some more,” tweeted Mark Calabria, director of financial regulation studies at the Cato Institute, a public policy research group. Barack Obama Politics 2015-01-20 Krista Franks Brock January 20, 2015 538 Views
June 20, 2017 672 Views Mortgage lenders are taking increased credit risks similar to those of the early 2000s, according to the Q1 Housing Credit Index Report released by CoreLogic on Tuesday. The level of credit risk taken by lenders in Q1 of 2017 was about the same as the average risk taken between 2001 and 2003.According to the report, the shift toward riskier lending standards is a result of declining refinances.“The slight loosening in the credit index during the past year was partly due to a shift in the mix of purchase versus refinance originations because purchase loans exhibit higher risk attributes than refinanced loans,” CoreLogic reported.According to Frank Nothaft, CoreLogic’s Chief Economist, increasing mortgage rates also played a role in the looser lending practices over the last quarter.“Mortgage rates during the first quarter of 2017 were up about 0.5 percentage points from a year earlier,” Nothaft said. “Since 2009, for every one-half percentage point increase in mortgage rates, the average credit score on refinance borrowers has dipped by 9 points, and this pattern will likely continue if mortgage rates move higher. That is because when rates rise, applications drop off and loan officers spend more time with the applicants that have less-than- perfect credit scores, require more documentation or have unique property issues.”CoreLogic’s Housing Credit Index, or HCI, takes into account borrower credit score, loan-to-value and debt-to-income ratios, investor-owned status, condo/co-op share of purchases, and level of documentation. According to the report, credit scores have increased over the year, rising 7 points between Q1 2016 and Q1 2017. Debt-to-income ratios were stable, LTV ratios dropped by 1.7 percent over the year, and investor share of purchase loans inched up just 1 percent.Condo/co-op share rose 2 percentage points over the year—another factor that, according to Nothaft, played a role in the riskier credit standards as of late.“Overall credit risk for purchase loans was slightly higher compared with a year ago as the investor share and condo/co-op share increased,” Nothaft said. “These increases offset lower-risk signals from the credit score, DTI, and LTV attributes to result in an uptick in overall riskiness. Still, overall risk is similar to that of the early 2000s.”The HCI came in at 105.6 for the quarter; the average between 2001 and 2003 was 105.9 The 2001 to 2003 period is considered the “normal baseline for credit risk,” according to CoreLogic’s methodology. Risk Standards Hits Early-2000s Levels in Daily Dose, Data, Headlines, Market Studies Share CoreLogic Credit Risk HOUSING lending risk mortgage risk standards 2017-06-20 Aly J. Yale
Fed Stress Test Results: Near Unanimous Bank Approval The Federal Reserve announced the results of its Comprehensive Capital Analysis and Review, or Stress Test, on Wednesday. Thirty-four bank holding companies took part in the stress test, which is now in its 7th year. The Stress test operates in two parts: the quantitative, and the qualitative, according to an official statement by the Fed. “When considering a firm’s capital plan, the Federal Reserve considers both quantitative and qualitative factors. Quantitative factors include a firm’s projected capital ratios under a hypothetical scenario of severe economic and financial market stress. Qualitative factors include the strength of the firm’s capital planning process, which incorporate risk management, internal controls, and governance practices that support the process.”Out of the 34 banks, 13 were subject to both the quantitative and the qualitative portion of the test, while the remaining 21 were rated only on quantitative factors. Out of the total test group, the Fed did not object to a single banks’ capital plan. One bank, however—Capital One Financial Corporation—will be required to resubmit its capital plan by the end of 2017, although they were still given a pass. The Fed found that U.S. firms’ common equity capital ratio has more than double, rising to 12.5 percent at the end of Q1 2017 from 5.5 percent in Q1 2009, a total increase of $750 billion to $1.25 trillion. As a result, most major banks, including Wells Fargo, Bank of America, SunTrust Banks, JPMorgan, American Express, and Discover Financial Services are raising their dividends. CitiBank doubled its dividends. After hours trading barely slowed down once the market closed—Fifth Third Bancorp showed a 3.10 percent increase, while SunTrust boasted a 2.51 percent increase and Discover’s percent change was at 2.38 percent. Read below to find a complete list of the banks that participated in the stress test:Ally Financial, Inc.; American Express Company; BancWest Corporation; Bank of America Corporation; The Bank of New York Mellon Corporation; BB&T Corporation; BBVA Compass Bancshares, Inc.; BMO Financial Corp.; Capital One Financial Corporation; CIT Group Inc.; Citigroup, Inc.; Citizens Financial Group; Comerica Incorporated; Deutsche Bank Trust Corporation; Discover Financial Services; Fifth Third Bancorp; Goldman Sachs Group, Inc.; HSBC North America Holdings, Inc.; Huntington Bancshares, Inc.; JP Morgan Chase & Co.; Keycorp; M&T Bank Corporation; Morgan Stanley; MUFG Americas Holdings Corporation; Northern Trust Corp.; The PNC Financial Services Group, Inc.; Regions Financial Corporation; Santander Holdings USA, Inc.; State Street Corporation; SunTrust Banks, Inc.; TD Group US Holdings LLC; U.S. Bancorp; Wells Fargo & Company; and Zions Bancorporation. Share Banks Fed Federal Reserve Stress Test 2017-06-28 Joey Pizzolato June 28, 2017 674 Views in Daily Dose, Featured, Government, Headlines, News
in Daily Dose, Data, Featured, News Share With the national economy on cruise control, it might be easy to forget that some markets are clearly hotter than others. The latest look at “sizzling” markets from John Burns Real Estate Consulting finds seven high-demand, high-potential markets in the U.S. at the dawn of Q2. All but one are west of the Mississippi. Escalating home prices aside, Seattle is the hottest market in the U.S. right now, according to the report. For one thing, there’s Amazon; for another, there’s Microsoft. For a third, there’s business in general. Thirty-one publicly traded companies in Seattle have seen their shares increase 51 percent, year-over-year. Homes in the Emerald City have gained 15 percent on resale, year-over-year as demand and competition remain high. “Seattle also possesses less than one month of supply, the lowest of all markets,” the report found.A close second is Dallas, with a pro-growth attitude, no income taxes, and 2.4 percent year-over-year job growth. Competition for houses in Dallas is so high, Burns reported, that demand has “helped push home prices 65 percent above prior peak levels.” A number of new builders have entered the market, increasing competition too. Currently, Dallas builders are working on 734 active projects, second only to Houston’s 1,000 active communities and 15 percent above where Dallas was last year.But, a word of caution for these two cities: Seattle and Dallas have the most long-term risk among top markets right now, Burns reported. On the West Coast, Riverside-San Bernardino proved a survivor of the crash and has become a hub for commuters who work at coastal job centers. It’s also the market Burns says that will be the strongest for home growth over the next two years. The region’s tendency towards oversupply, the report states, is likely to not be an issue.“Rising Asian buyer appeal that has recently been fueled by nonstop China Airlines flights between Taiwan and Ontario,” Burns reported. The “Silicone Slopes” of Salt Lake City has become such a tech hub that Burns ranked the market the fourth-hottest in the country. Tech giants like Adobe are growing alongside smaller startups, and a strong jobs market fuels equally strong household growth. According to the report, Salt Lake employs 17 percent more people than it did pre-recession. “Strong demand has pushed home prices up 10 percent, year-over-year, and we project another strong year in 2018,” the report said.The only sizzling market east of the Mississippi, Nashville, is especially a hit for millennials and people looking for smaller homes. Unemployment in Nashville is a well under average at 2.6 percent, and jobs are 23 percent above their prior peak, the report stated. “This ‘it’ city has become a hipster and tourism mecca, given the countless honky-tonks and foodie hot spots,” the report said. “Builders and local municipalities have struggled to keep up with the growth. Cost creep remains a concern for local builders as fees and labor costs continue to rise.”Another California hot spot is San Diego, where an extremely tight supply has resulted in robust price gains for both new and resale homes. Double-digit employment growth for higher-income segments ($120K–$200K) helps offset some of the affordability issues. The city remains a draw for its growing biotech sector, San Diego’s diverse economy, and benefits from a large military presence. The final sizzling market on the list is, fittingly, where the sun rarely goes down. Phoenix, once one of the country’s foreclosure depots, now has a two-month inventory and sales totals second only to Atlanta, at 124,000 homes (new and resale). Permits are down two-thirds from their peak, but this, Burns reported, makes Phoenix easily the most affordable top market in the country. March 22, 2018 787 Views The 7 Hottest Housing Markets in the U.S. Affordable builders Construction Growth High-demand High-potential Home Prices homes HOUSING Housing Supply 2018-03-22 Radhika Ojha
Share in Daily Dose, Data, Headlines April 26, 2019 733 Views Good News for GDP Growth, But Will Housing Benefit? 2019 Housing Market Economy GDP GDP Growth 2019-04-26 Mike Albanese The Bureau of Economic Analysis announced Friday that “advance” estimates reported the GDP increased annually by 3.2% in the first quarter of 2019, building upon the 2.2% increase in the fourth quarter of 2018.The Bureau’s first quarter estimates are based on data that is incomplete, or subject to further revision. A second estimate for the first quarter, based on more complete data, will be released on May 30.“While early projections suggested that first quarter GDP would weaken from the third quarter (3.4%) and fourth quarter (2.2%) of 2018, today’s data show that GDP growth was 3.2% in the first quarter,” said Danielle Hale, Chief Economist for Realtor.com. “This is a very strong pace of growth, and suggests that most of the economic loss from the government shutdown was also made up for in the first quarter.”As it pertains to real estate, Hale said fixed investment continued to slip, registering the lowest year over year growth rate since 2011 as builders struggle to build housing at the most in-demand, lower price points. And while growth from net exports, government spending, and private investment boosted GDP this quarter, the contribution from consumer expenditures, while positive, was half that of the fourth quarter.”We think housing could be a bright spot for the economy in 2019, and it’s one that most economists are sleeping on,” said Brett F. Ewing, Chief Market Strategist for First Franklin Financial Services. “With the Fed out of the picture and growth moderating, mortgage rates should stay around four percent for the remainder of 2019 and there is obvious appetite from prospective buyers at these levels. Specifically, we think new home sales could surprise to the upside and get to near double-digit growth this year.”Ewing added that “REITs are also attractive in this low interest rate environment—their balance sheets have never been stronger and despite a recency bias that continues to cause investors to call for a real estate crisis around every slowdown in the economy, we think real estate fundamentals are strong enough to weather a storm.”According to the report, increases in the GDP during the first quarter reflected positive contributions from personal consumption expenditures (PCE), private inventory investment, exports, state and local government spending, and nonresidential fixed investment. Imports, which are a subtraction in the calculation of GDP. These contributions were offset by a decrease in residential investment.The current-dollar GDP jumped to $197.6 billion, an increase of 3.8%, in the first quarter to a level of $21.06, continuing increases from the fourth quarter of 2018 when the current-dollar GDP increased 4.1%, or $206.9 billion.Also seeing increases were the price index for gross domestic purchases, which grew by 0.8% in the first quarter, and the current dollar personal income increased $147.2 billion in the first quarter. Current-dollar personal income increased by $229 billion in the fourth quarter of 2018.The reports add that disposable personal income increased by 3% ($116 billion) after a 5.8% increase in the fourth quarter of 2018. Real disposable income increased 2.4% following an increase of 4.3% last quarter.Personal savings grew from $1.07 trillion to $1.11 trillion in the first quarter of 2019.
U.S.: First storm hits California, more heavy rain … You might also be interested in Successful International Blueberry Summit “raised … T&G ships U.S. blueberries to Vietnam for the … U.S.: California Giant predicts “milestone” volume … “We anticipate great blueberry growing weather for the region this season. The Duke, Blue Crop and Elliots varieties all look and taste excellent,” said Koukoulis.The Leduc family has been growing blueberries in Paw Paw, MI since 1955. When Roger and Jackie Leduc started their 20-acre farm, they had no idea it would blossom into the 400-acre operation it is today, complete with a popular retail store.Their son, Joe, who is now the owner-operator, said: “We are excited to market 100% of our crop with Wish Farms. The fact that they are also a family-operated business is just icing on the cake for us.”Wish Farms, founded in 1922 and third-generation owned, is a year-round supplier of strawberries, blueberries, blackberries and raspberries, growing both conventional and organicwww.freshfruitportal.com U.S. berry company Wish Farms has expanded its relationship with Michigan grower, Leduc Blueberries, and is now expecting a 30% volume boost from the state this season.”This five-year agreement is fantastic because we are now completely aligned,” said Teddy Koukoulis, director of blueberry operations.”This deal speaks to our team’s continuing effort to work with exceptional grower-packers that adhere to our rigorous food safety standards, quality guidelines and core values.”The Michigan season kicked off this July and will last through mid-September. Coming off record highs, more moderate temperatures are expected in the region this summer. The company’s volume is projected to reach 2 million pounds, and Koukoulis is optimistic that number could flourish to 3 million over the next five years. July 05 , 2018
Westin Hotels & Resorts has unveiled its first global brand campaign in more than five years, with a $30 million dollar, integrated advertising campaign – Let’s Rise – that the brand says communicates Westin’s commitment to the wellbeing of its guests before, during and after their stay.The campaign is inspired by wellness travel trends, articulated in a new global study conducted in partnership with StudyLogic that surveyed travellers in North America, Mexico, the United Kingdom, Germany, the United Arab Emirates and China. The results showed a shift in the way today’s travellers prioritise their wellbeing. With less time and more disruptors on the road, the study says travellers are reinventing business and leisure travel to put things like fitness first, as they pursue mindfulness and adventure. Nearly 3 in 4 travellers report they have trouble maintaining their routine on the road, over 60% say they sleep less, 65% say they exercise less, and 15% report increased stress levels on holidays.Thirty percent of those surveyed in Germany and more than 20% in U.A.E. say wellbeing enables them to feel more in control, while nearly 15% globally say it reduces their stress levels. Almost one in four of those surveyed in Germany and North America say wellness allows them to be better in business; in Mexico and the U.K., 1 in 4 say wellness enables them to feel happier.The Let’s Rise campaign will be featured in broadcast, digital, radio and out-of-home channels, with print placements to follow later this year. The Let’s Rise mantra will also serve as an anchor for the wellness programmes and partnerships that roll out for guests and associates throughout the year.Westin continues to evolve its programs with the increasing global demand for wellbeing and the holistic role it plays in peoples’ lives. This year, hotels around the world will unveil updates to the signature 24/7 WestinWORKOUT® fitness studios, reflecting how people are exercising today with more stretching, strength and core equipment.The brand will continue to grow its Gear Lending partnership with New Balance, giving guests access to workout gear without the hassle of packing it, and introduce additional RunWESTIN™ Concierges, who encourage runners of all levels to grab a running map and join them on scenic routes through cities, along beachfronts and amid rural landscapes.Westin will also introduce a complimentary Sleep Well Lavender Balm bedside amenity, infused with the calming essential oils of lavender and chamomile. This is the latest in a series of sleep offerings that promise a better slumber for travellers, including the iconic Westin Heavenly® Bed.Image: Westin Mumbai Garden City wellnessWestin
Event Hospitality & Entertainment Limited has announced it has entered into a management agreement with Visy Dior Pty Ltd, to manage the hotel currently branded as Novotel Norwest in Sydney’s Hills District.From 2 April 2019, the hotel will relaunch as Rydges Norwest Sydney, alongside EVENT’s current stable of hotels and resorts across Australia and New Zealand that include the Rydges, QT and Atura brands.Plans are well underway for a major upgrade of the 132 room, 4.5 star hotel, including enhancing the hotel’s restaurant, bar and conference facilities.Nick McLaughlin has been appointed as General Manager. McLaughlin has previously been General Manager of two other EVENT managed properties; Sails Port Macquarie by Rydges and Thredbo Alpine Hotel. RydgesSydney
• Larry Webster, Bloomsburg (Private workout) • Howard Jones, Shepherd (Private workout)Shazier is the most dynamic athlete at linebacker in the 2014 draft class, and offers positional flexibility and scheme versatility that the Cardinals and defensive coordinator Todd Bowles love.Shazier is a name that could be available when the Cardinals are on the clock at 20.Webster and Jones are two fantastic small school athletic linebackers who have off-the-chart measurables. But like Duvernay-Tardif, both need time and work to make an impact at the next level. The Cardinals could be enticed by their athleticism.Defensive backs• Jason Verrett, CB TCU (Private Workout)• Ahmad Dixon, SS Baylor (Senior Bowl)• Nevin Lawson, CB Nevada (East West Shrine Game)• Lonnie Ballentine, FS Memphis (Private Workout)Quite the mishmash of talent here, but Dixon, Lawson and Ballentine are the type of long, athletic defensive backs defensive coordinator Todd Bowles and general manager Steve Keim are looking for.Verrett is interesting because he may be the best cover corner in the draft, but at only 5-9, he’s much shorter than what the Cardinals have talked about looking for. Tight End• Arthur Lynch, Georgia (Senior Bowl)Excellent inline blocker who can double as an H-Back/fullback. Lynch has good hands, but isn’t a great athlete.He’s a late day-two, early day-three-type.Offensive line• Laurent Duvernay-Tardif, McGill (Canada) (Private Workout and East-West Shrine Game)Interesting that the only offensive lineman the Cardinals have lined up so far is a Canadian college prospect that struggled with everything at the East-West Shrine Game. However, he did show unbelievable athleticism and foot speed.Duvernay-Tardif is a day three prospect with untapped upside, but he needs a lot of time and work.Defensive line• Ra’Shede Hageman, Minnesota (Private Visit)• Cassius Marsh, UCLA (East-West Shrine Game)Hageman is the embodiment of the younger, longer, faster mantra that the Cardinals are looking for on the defensive side of the ball.He may be the best pure 3-4 defensive end in the draft, and has Calais Campbell like upside.An undersized 3-4 defensive end who needs to add weight in order to become a legitimate player, Marsh has an unbelievable work ethic and a drive to do well.Linebacker• Ryan Shazier, Ohio State (Private visit) Top Stories 0 Comments Share With the draft a month away, the Arizona Cardinals are revving up their private workouts with prospects.The Cardinals have met with numerous players at the Senior Bowl, East-West Shrine Game and the NFL Scouting Combine, but only get to have 30 private interviews with potential draftees.The Cardinals’ list is interesting thus far as they have met with the following.Quarterbacks• Logan Thomas, Virginia Tech (Campus meeting) The 5: Takeaways from the Coyotes’ introduction of Alex Meruelo • Zach Mettenberger, LSU (Combine meeting)It’s pretty obvious that the Cardinals are looking for big, strong-armed pocket passers. Thomas is still all potential at this point and is much more athletic in and out of the pocket than Mettenberger is, while the LSU signal caller has shown excellent growth from year to year on the field. Running Backs• Tre Mason, Auburn (Combine meeting) • Terrance West, Towson (Private Workout)Both running backs are short, compactly built, between-the-tackle-type backs in the Ray Rice/Frank Gore mold, but Mason seems like a day-two lock at this point and West seems to be the rising small school-type who will go early on day three.Wide Receivers• Bruce Ellington, South Carolina (Private workout)• Ryan Grant, Tulane (Senior Bowl)• Robert Herron, Wyoming (Senior Bowl)• Bernard Reedy, Toledo (East-West Shrine Game)Each of these prospects is what Bruce Arians seems to like in his wide receivers: six-feet tall or under, shifty, good route runners and can take a top off the defense, with the possible exception of Grant.Ellington and Herron are day-two receivers, while Reedy and Grant likely will be available late on day three. Verrett would offer an interesting fit in the slot with the ability to slide outside when needed, but he’s a guy who would be in play at 20, while Dixon is a day-two type, and Lawson is a day-three player.Ballentine is a priority free agent, late-round flyer whose size/length combination is very enticing.With those names, we know of seven of the 30 possible Cardinals workouts. The names are interesting, because outside of Verrett who is a sure-fire first-round corner, and Ellington, a day-two receiver, the names are mostly day-three, smallschool-types with high upside.Keep checking back as we update the private workout list and add scouting reports for the Cardinals pre-draft prospect visits. Derrick Hall satisfied with D-backs’ buying and selling Former Cardinals kicker Phil Dawson retires Grace expects Greinke trade to have emotional impact
0 Comments Share Elsewhere in the NFC West, the Seahawks were given an A-minus, the Rams earned a B and the 49ers were given a C-plus. Derrick Hall satisfied with D-backs’ buying and selling The Arizona Cardinals were very active in the first couple days of free agency, signing six players.The headliner, of course, was guard Mike Iupati. The Cardinals lured the three-time Pro Bowl left guard away from the San Francisco 49ers to help fill out their revamped offensive line. It was a big move, both literally and figuratively. But the team’s free agency period will not be judged on the Iupati signing alone; the team added and lost other players. Overall, ESPN’s Mike Sando, in an Insider piece, gave the team a B-plus for its efforts. He consulted with Bill Polian, Louis Riddick, Matt Williamson and Field Yates for their thoughts. Top Stories Key re-signings/additions: DT Corey Peters, OLB Sean Weatherspoon, DE Cory Redding, G Mike Iupati, C A.Q. Shipley, LB LaMarr WoodleyKey subtractions: CB Antonio Cromartie, DT Dan Williams, DT Darnell Dockett, OLB John Abraham, RB Jonathan Dwyer, ILB Larry Foote, C Lyle Sendlein, OLB Marcus Benard, G Paul Fanaika, TE Rob Housler, QB Ryan Lindley, OLB Sam Acho, WR Ted Ginn Jr., DT Tommy KellyThe Cardinals set out this offseason to add speed on defense. They set out to upgrade their running personnel on offense. They seem to have succeeded on both fronts.“They are high on my list of teams in free agency,” Williamson said. “My worry is that Iupati is more of a run-blocker while Bruce Arians’ offense has a lot of deep drops. I do really like the Weatherspoon pickup. If Daryl Washington comes back, they are suddenly very athletic and versatile there with linebackers who do not come off the field — something the 49ers enjoyed for years. Woodley was worth a shot. Peters is a decent player. Redding is decent. Shipley is OK. They got noticeably better and they were able to keep Larry Fitzgerald, which was good.” The 5: Takeaways from the Coyotes’ introduction of Alex Meruelo Grace expects Greinke trade to have emotional impact Former Cardinals kicker Phil Dawson retires
Top Stories Derrick Hall satisfied with D-backs’ buying and selling Arizona Cardinals wide receiver John Brown (12) scores a touchdown as Green Bay Packers strong safety Morgan Burnett (42) defends during the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Dec. 27, 2015, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri) Carson Palmer threw for 265 yards and two touchdowns in the win, which clinched a first-round bye for the Cardinals. Arizona enjoyed that bye this past weekend, while the Packers went on the road and beat the Washington Redskins 35-18 to move on to the Divisional Round.The point spread for Saturday’s game is the biggest in the Divisional Round. In the other NFC matchup, the Carolina Panthers opened as a 3-point favorite over the Seattle Seahawks. In the AFC, the New England Patriots are 5-point favorites over Kansas City and the Denver Broncos are favored against Pittsburgh, although many sportsbooks don’t have odds due to injuries to Steelers stars Ben Roethlisberger and Antonio Brown. – / 36 The 5: Takeaways from the Coyotes’ introduction of Alex Meruelo Grace expects Greinke trade to have emotional impact The Arizona Cardinals will host the Green Bay Packers in the NFC Divisional Playoffs Saturday night at University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale.Bruce Arians’ team is a prohibitive favorite, opening as 7-point favorites in the contest, which will kick off at 6:15 p.m.The two teams met in Week 16 in a game dominated by the Cardinals. Arizona’s defense terrorized Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers, sacking him eight times in an easy 38-8 win. The defense also scored two touchdowns on fumble returns by Cory Redding and Jerraud Powers. Comments Share Former Cardinals kicker Phil Dawson retires
Former Cardinals kicker Phil Dawson retires Top Stories What a honor to meet one of the greatest to ever do it on and off the pitch. We are blessed to have you here in the valley. Looking forward to supporting the club this season! pic.twitter.com/MpVQTPnfoj— Larry Fitzgerald (@LarryFitzgerald) April 9, 2018 3 Comments Share Derrick Hall satisfied with D-backs’ buying and selling What do the two have in common beyond wearing the No. 11 on the back of their jerseys and playing for Valley teams?Not a whole lot other than a lot of respect in their respective sports and then some.One is from the Ivory Coast, another from Minnesota. One has played for eight different teams as a professional, another just one.Drogba, the Ivory Coast’s all-time leading scorer best known for his career with Chelsea FC, has six years on the 34-year-old Fitzgerald, the 11-time Pro Bowler.But they’re both bringing a sense of community to Phoenix’s sports scene. Grace expects Greinke trade to have emotional impact Name a better duo of No. 11s. We’ll wait.During the Phoenix Suns’ game against the Golden State Warriors on Sunday night, Arizona Cardinals receiver Larry Fitzgerald greeted Phoenix Rising FC star Didier Drogba courtside.Legendary No. 11 on the pitch meets legendary No. 11 on the gridiron.@didierdrogba x @LarryFitzgerald #RisingAsOne | #AllAZ pic.twitter.com/k83tjpEGY8— Phoenix Rising FC (@PHXRisingFC) April 9, 2018 The 5: Takeaways from the Coyotes’ introduction of Alex Meruelo
The Arizona Cardinals released cornerback Marcus Williams on Monday, just more than a month after signing the fifth-year player to a one-year deal.The team signed Williams, 27, on April 19.Arizona has since filled in the void at its second starting cornerback position by trading a 2020 sixth-round pick to the Cleveland Browns in exchange for starting cornerback Jamar Taylor on Saturday.Williams, a fifth-year NFL veteran, has played for the New York Jets and Houston Texans. He’s started 14 games and has compiled 10 interceptions, 20 passes defensed, two forced fumbles and 107 tackles in 49 games played. Related LinksArizona Cardinals trade for Browns cornerback Jamar TaylorThe Cardinals return All-Pro Patrick Peterson at one starting cornerback position but have a list of relative unknowns behind Taylor.Taylor reportedly restructured his contract that had two years remaining to facilitate the trade to Arizona. In his last two years with the Cleveland Browns, Taylor has recorded 119 tackles, three interceptions and 23 passes defensed.The 27-year-old out of Boise State was a second-round draft pick in 2013 and played for the Miami Dolphins during his first three NFL seasons. 9 Comments Share Derrick Hall satisfied with D-backs’ buying and selling Top Stories Grace expects Greinke trade to have emotional impact Houston Texans cornerback Marcus Williams (40) before an NFL football game against the San Francisco 49ers, Sunday, Dec. 10, 2017, in Houston. (AP Photo/Michael Wyke) Former Cardinals kicker Phil Dawson retires The 5: Takeaways from the Coyotes’ introduction of Alex Meruelo