The Exhibition and Event Association of Australasia (EEAA) has celebrated the end of the trade and consumer exhibition season with the announcement of the 2015 Awards for Excellence winners at Doltone House – Jones Bay Wharf.The event was attended by almost 300 people representing Organisers, Association Organisers, Venues and Suppliers from across Australia and New Zealand and was hosted by SBS news presenter, Janice Petersen.EEAA Chief Executive, Joyce DiMascio, said the Awards attracted a broad range of entries reflecting the diversity of events, venues and services in our important industry.“These were judged by 29 independent volunteer judges from around Australia and overseas.” Ms DiMascio said.EEAA 2015 Richard Geddes Winners“It is clear from the judges’ feedback that our Members have worked very hard to deliver outstanding results. It is this drive to constantly excel that we celebrate tonight.”EEAA President, Domenic Genua, said he was honoured to present the Trevor Riddell Award for contribution to both the Association and the Exhibition industry to Jim Delahunty of ExpoNet.“Jim Delahunty has been a strong advocate for our industry across his whole career. He has always been one of those trusted, “go-to” people in our industry who gives pragmatic, unbiased, intelligent and strategic advice. He has built a significant organisation that has employed and developed the careers of many people in our industry.” Mr Genua said.Among those also honoured were the two winners of the Richard Geddes Young Achiever Award –Stephanie Bleakley of Diversified Communications Australia, and Daniel Condon of Designteam.The Best Australian Show was awarded to PAX Australia, organised by Reed Exhibitions Australia. The Best New Zealand Show was awarded to buildnz | designex & The National Safety Show, organised by XPO Exhibitions.EEAA 2015 Best New Zealand Show winnerMr Genua said that in 2015 the Association had introduced some changes to the Awards for Excellence program as part of a commitment to a process of continual improvement, and also to ensure the Awards reflect the evolution and innovation in our industry.“New Awards categories were introduced, particularly to recognise the contribution of venues, suppliers and contractors to the success of our industry. The Best Green Initiative award was replaced with a more holistic award for Corporate Social Responsibility.“These refinements were overseen by our 2015 Chair of Judges, John Trevillian, who has shared his outstanding events expertise with us. We thank John and all our judges for supporting the EEAA in this endeavour.“We salute all those who entered the EEAA 2015 Awards for Excellence – and we salute our finalists and winners and also say thank you to all our partners and sponsors for supporting this special night.” he said.THE EEAA 2015 AWARDS FOR EXCELLENCE WINNERS ARE:Best Australian ShowWinner: PAX Australia – Reed Exhibitions AustraliaBest New Zealand ShowWinner: buildnz | designex & The National Safety Show – XPO ExhibitionsEEAA 2015 Best Australian ShowTrevor Riddell President’s AwardWinner: Jim Delahunty – ExpoNetRichard Geddes Young AchieverThe judges awarded two winners in this category:*Stephanie Bleakley – Diversified Communications Australia*Daniel Condon – DesignteamCategory Winners:Best Consumer Show over 10,000 m2 PAX Australia – Reed Exhibitions Australia*Best Trade Show over 10,000 m2Winner: Integrate – Diversified Communications Australia*Highly Commended: Australasian Oil & Gas Exhibition & Conference – Diversified Communications AustraliaBest Supplier Team – EventWinner: G20 Leaders’ Summit – ExpoNetBest Supplier – Services or ProductsWinner: Harry the hirerBest Venue TeamWinner: IUCN World Parks Congress Team – Sydney ShowgroundEEAA Executive Board MembersBest New Product or ServiceWinner: Conrad System – Reed Exhibitions AustraliaBest Corporate CitizenshipWinner: Good Friday Appeal 2015 – Melbourne Convention and Exhibition CentreMost Outstanding Marketing CampaignWinner: Integrate – Diversified Communications Australia*Best New Initiative – VenueWinner: Dockside Pavilion – First Year of Operation – Dockside Group*Highly Commended: Aerial – Food & DesireBest Consumer Show under 10,000 m2Winner: Dog Lovers Show – Sydney – Event Management InternationalBest Trade Show under 10,000 m2Winner: DesignBUILD – Diversified Communications AustraliaBest Custom Stand Winner: Cisco Stand at Cisco Live – Exhibit SystemsBest Show Team Winner: 26th World Gas Conference – Exhibition Team – Exhibitions & Trade FairsBest New ShowWinner: The Australian Triathlon, Endurance & Cycling Expo – Informa Australia Learn more about EEAASource = Exhibition and Event Association of Australasia
The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) is spearheading both its global marketing initiatives, including the redesigned Amazing Thailand campaign’s logo, to boost the positive image of Thailand, positioning the country as a quality leisure destination, and domestic marketing initiatives; such as, the creation of regional value proposition to entice Thai and foreign tourists to discover the many amazing stories in Thailand.In 2015, the Thai tourism industry hit the highest record in its history, receiving tourism revenue of 1.4 trillion Baht or a 23 per cent year-on-year increase, and attracting 29.8 million international tourist arrivals or an increase of 20 per cent over 2014. The number of domestic trips reached 138.8 million, generating revenue of 790 billion Baht.Building on this success, TAT announced the repositioning for the country’s tourism branding, replacing it with a new strategy to focus on promoting the kingdom as a “Quality Leisure Destination through Thainess” to enhance traveller expenditure, the average length of stay, and the overall quality of the traveller experience rather than the number of tourists.Dr. Yuthasak Supasorn, TAT Governor said, “As the Thai government’s official body that has been promoting Thailand as a tourist destination to international and local travellers while supporting the development of the country’s tourism industry for more than 55 years, it’s now high time for us to realign our strategy.“Our target for the next 4-5 years will be in line with the government’s policy that highlights the importance of tourism in a 360-degree dimension for economic development, job creation, income distribution, and the role in enhancing social integration and preserving the environment.”A core part of TAT’s global marketing initiatives is Amazing Thailand, a well-established integrated campaign that puts the spotlight on Thailand’s plethora of charming attractions, diversity of destinations, the uniqueness of Thai culture and traditions, the simple ways of life, and the warm, welcoming friendliness of the Thai people.To enhance the appeal of Thailand as a quality leisure destination, TAT has launched a new logo of the Amazing Thailand campaign, incorporating the attraction and charm of that most well-known characteristic of Thailand – the Smile.Ornate details of the traditional Thai Kanok pattern have been adjusted to create the ‘Smile’ symbol. It also represents friendship, enjoyment, happiness and hospitality.The letter ‘A’ in the word ‘Thailand’ has been re-designed to look like a pair of smiling eyes, which, when accompanied with the ‘Smile’ symbol, perfectly form a person’s smiling face. The colour schemes have also been specifically chosen to underpin the image of softness.Through the new Amazing Thailand campaign’s logo, TAT has outlined strategies to strengthen the appeal of Thailand as a quality leisure destination. Among the initiatives is a content marketing tactic to entice travellers to discover the many amazing stories in Thailand and gain memorable experience.Another key initiative is to better balance the country’s domestic and international tourism sectors. This year, TAT announced its intention to do more to boost domestic tourism by encouraging Thai people to travel within Thailand. Local tourism destinations will be developed to inject income to the local economy. This is aiming to support the government policy of creating the “Strength from Within.”TAT has created a value proposition for each of the five major regions – North, South, East, Central, and Northeast – across the nation to boost domestic tourism. The regional proposition are the North: A Million Inspirations, A Thousand Charms; the Northeast: Spicy Isan; the Central: Happiness Within Reach; the East: Simply Colorful, and the South: Wonderful Hideaway.Under this concept, the ideas underline the outstanding assets of each region including the individual culture and way of life together with the unique experiences to offer tourists.This would shape the new dimension towards domestic tourism and inspire local tourists to explore the new journey or revisit those destinations with changing experiences. Also, foreign travellers are invited to embark on this journey and venture into this diversity of fascination. Visit ThailandSource = Tourism Authority of Thailand
Tourism boom pays off for New Zealand hotels2015 was an exceptional year for New Zealand hotels which collectively recorded their best results in five years, according to new Tourism Industry Aotearoa research.TIA has almost 140 member hotels which enjoyed an average 78.8% occupancy in 2015, up 3.1 points on 2014, TIA Hotel Sector Manager Sally Attfield says. This was the highest occupancy rate in five years.The average daily rate (across all star grades) rose to $157, up $12 on the previous year, and also a five year high. This generated total revenue of $1.17 billion, up from $1.05 billion in 2014.The strong performance is a result of improvements in the New Zealand economy and an increase in international visitor arrivals. New Zealand welcomed more than 3.1 million visitors in 2015 – 9.6% more than in 2014, Ms Attfield says.The results were boosted by strong events calendars around the country, including ICC Cricket World Cup, the FIFA U-20 tournament, and a range of concerts and other events.“Every region saw record results last year. Summer 2015/16 and the months of March, April and May 2016 have provided further increases in both occupancy and average rates,” Ms Attfield says.“The increased revenue performances are allowing for reinvestment in both properties and people. We are also seeing investors responding to demand with more hotel developments around the country than we have seen for quite some time.”The hotel sector is contributing strongly to the Tourism 2025 goal of growing total annual tourism revenue to $41 billion.Highlights from the TIA Hotels Annual Operating Survey 2015:The national annual occupancy rate was 78.8%, up 3.1 points on 2014, and the highest in the last five years. Auckland achieved the highest annual occupancy rate of 84%, followed by Queenstown (78.6%) and Wellington (77.9%).The national average daily rate across all star grades was $157, up $12 on 2014, and the highest daily rate in the last five years. Queenstown has the highest average daily rate of $166 followed by Auckland and the Central Park region (Taupo, Tongariro, Napier and Gisborne) on $164.Total room capacity was static at 17,900, with increases in Christchurch offset by the temporary closure of an Auckland property for refurbishment.TIA hotel members generated $1.17 billion in revenue, up from $1.05 billion in 2014. They contributed $815 million (up $41 million) to the economy through wages and salaries (over $360 million), food and beverage purchases, council rates (over $19 million) and other expenditure.TIA hotels employ 10,800 staff nationally, up from 10,500 in 2014. Tourism 2025Source = Tourism Industry Association NZ
American Express Global Business Travel appoints new Chief Financial OfficerAmerican Express Global Business Travel (GBT) has appointed Martine Gerow as its new Chief Financial Officer (CFO). She formally assumes the role on June 5 and will be based in London.Martine brings a wealth of industry experience to the organisation. She was previously CFO of Carlson Wagonlit Travel where she led a large global team overseeing all functions within the finance division. Martine will join the American Express GBT operating committee and report to Chief Executive, Doug Anderson.Anderson said: “Martine has vast experience in the multinational business environment. Her expertise in the field of finance combined with a deep knowledge of the business travel industry will be crucial to the future growth of our company.”Martine has held CFO positions at French media services company Solocal Groupe and Spanish multinational food company, Campofrio. Earlier in her career, she was a strategy consultant for the Boston Consulting Group, before moving to PepsiCo and then Danone, where she held Division CFO and Group Controller roles.She said: “I am joining GBT at an exciting time. The business has a clear strategic vision backed up with significant investment. I look forward to working with Doug and the team.”Martine received a business degree from HEC Paris and an MBA from the Columbia Business School in New York. She has been a member of the audit committee and board of directors for HSBC France since 2012 and BPI France Investment since 2015. American Express Global Business TravelSource = American Express Global Business Travel
Cut in two: The lengthening process of Silversea’s Silver SpiritCut in two: The lengthening process of Silversea’s Silver SpiritA great spectacle of naval engineering, Silversea’s Silver Spirit has been cut in two at Fincantieri Shipyard in Palermo as part of her planned lengthening. A prebuilt 15-metre (49-feet) segment has been inserted and the ship is now being reconnected. With the aim of amplifying guests’ on-board experience, the rare lengthening project will create more space in public areas and will enhance Silver Spirit’s facilities. Leoluca Orlando, the Mayor of Palermo welcomed the ship, and members of the international press, representatives of Silversea and Fincantieri, and other VIP guests were in attendance at two celebratory ceremonies, as the ship’s transformation got underway in Sicily on 10 and 11 March.An air of excitement was cast over the shipyard as those present witnessed the dissection of the 36,009-ton ship, as well as the manoeuvering of the vast new mid-section into place. These important stages of the project ran with military precision, which pays testament to the quality of operations at the world-leading Fincantieri Shipyard. A rarely performed feat of maritime architecture, this type of lengthening has never before been employed for the extension of a luxury cruise ship.“Witnessing these breathtaking phases of the Silver Spirit lengthening project has filled us with pride and excitement,” said Barbara Muckermann, chief marketing officer of Silversea. “This ambitious project will amplify the on-board features that matter most to our guests. We are taking our flagship, Silver Muse – which was delivered by Fincantieri in April last year – as the point of inspiration for a fleet-wide renovation programme. The lengthening and refurbishment of Silver Spirit will replicate the modern elegance of our latest vessel to make for a more luxurious travelling experience. We are eager to share the new and improved layout of our cherished ship with our valued guests.”Over 500 skilled workers will spend approximately 450,000 man hours completing the ambitious project, which is due to conclude on 5 May 2018, and will see Silver Spirit lengthened to 210.7m (691.3 ft.). Approximately 846 tons of steel, 110,000m (360,892 ft.) of cabling, and 8,000m (26,247 ft.) of piping will be put to use in the lengthening, as Silver Spirit’s capacity increases by roughly 12 percent, resulting in an overall dining capacity increase of 15 percent and a 20 percent increase in outdoor seating (from 200 to 266).A new 8-restaurant configuration will replace the existing culinary infrastructure, with varying dining concepts introduced: Atlantide, Indochine, Silver Note, Spaccanapoli, will complement the pre-existing Seishin, La Dame, La Terrazza and The Grill.Outside, the pool area on the sky deck will increase in length (from 30 to 45m / 98 to 148 ft.) to offer additional space for relaxing under the sun and a new aerobics area will also be created. Inside, the Zagara Spa concept will be installed, as will a new free weights room which will complement the upgraded fitness centre. The Arts Café and Dolce Vita – two new, sophisticated public spaces – will improve the on-board entertainment options. All suites will be refurbished to ensure the trademark Silversea level of quality is maintained.Prior to Silver Spirit’s arrival in Palermo, the ship docked in Chania, Crete, where Silversea made a charitable donation of used furniture to a number of the island’s worthy causes. As a destination visited by Silversea’s cruises and as an island in need, Chania was identified as a deserving recipient of the donation. In total, 11 containers were filled with 4,652 items from the ship – including sofas, chairs, curtains, computers, and more. The donated articles will be put to use for social welfare purposes in hospitals, nursing homes, schools and other institutions across the island. Impacting on the lives of many, the gesture from Silversea will strengthen relations between the cruise company and the island’s authorities at a time when Chania’s social structures need all the help they can get.Not only will Silver Spirit increase in length, but she will also increase in comfort. From an enhancement and a re-imagination of the ship’s public spaces to an increase in the number and quality of suites, each aspect of the lengthening project has been designed with guest enjoyment in mind. Based on the chic décor found aboard Silver Muse, Silver Spirit will benefit from beautiful interior design upgrades throughout.Departing on 6 May, 2018, Silver Spirit will recommence her service with a seven-day cruise between Civitavecchia (Rome) and Barcelona. Fares start at AUD$9, 100* per person, based on double occupancy in a Deluxe Veranda Suite with special savings available for those booking before 31 March.– View the itinerary here– Discover more information about the refurbished Silver Spirit– Watch the video here*Voyages and special offers are subject to change and may be withdrawn at any time. Terms and conditions apply. For more information contact your travel professional or Silversea Cruises on +61 2 9255 0600 or 0800 701 427 (New Zealand), or visit www.silversea.comSource = Silversea Cruises
Oceania Cruises launches new ‘Agent Bring Client’ event seriesOceania Cruises launches new ‘Agent Bring Client’ event series– Commissions on all bookings to be credited back to agents-Oceania Cruises, the world’s leading culinary and destination-focused cruise line today announced its next ‘Explore the World 2019 Cruise Events’ series – to be hosted in Sydney, Brisbane and Melbourne this July.“We are delighted to extend invitations to our valued trade partners to bring their qualified VIP customers to one of our popular ‘Agent Bring Client’ events,” said Mr Steve McLaughlin, Vice President of Sales for Oceania Cruises.“These events are specifically structured to showcase Oceania Cruises’ unique style of casual, upper-premium cruising, intimate ships and The Finest Cuisine at Sea™ – just a few unique selling points our partners are able to promote when introducing the brand to their discerning cruising customers.“The presentation will feature our collection of 2019 itineraries right across the fleet. Visting over 460 destinations spanning Europe, Alaska, Asia, the South Pacific and beyond – we will particularly highlight the beautiful boutique ports we visit simply inaccessible to larger vessels.”“Working collaboratively with our trade partners, these events really help bring Oceania Cruises to life for key customers, and any bookings agents make on the day will have all commissions fully credited back to them, with exclusive offers made available to those in attendance,” added Mr McLaughlin, who will host the events in each city and share stories from his over 30 years in the luxury cruising sector.Depending on what suits their clients best, travel agent partners can choose from 2pm or 6pm event start times at each location. Agents interested in attending can register themselves and their clients here. To learn more about the events, agents can call Oceania Cruises’ dedicated local Australian contact centre on 1300 355 200.About Oceania CruisesCelebrating its 15th anniversary in 2018, Oceania Cruises is the world’s leading culinary and destination-focused cruise line. The line’s six intimate and luxurious ships which carry only 684 or 1,250 guests offer an unrivalled holiday experience featuring The Finest Cuisine at Sea™, and destination-rich itineraries that span the globe. Expertly crafted voyages aboard designer-inspired, intimate ships call on more than 450 ports across Europe, Alaska, Asia, Africa, Australia, New Zealand, New England-Canada, Bermuda, the Caribbean, Panama Canal, Tahiti and the South Pacific and epic Around The World Voyages that range from 180 to 200 days.Source = Oceania Cruises
Korean Air recently launched cargo flights between Incheon and Delhi. Korean Air is currently operating direct passenger flights from Incheon to Mumbai and Delhi, three and five times a week respectively. The decision to introduce the cargo flight accompanies the South Korean government’s new diplomatic strategy to strengthen partnership with India and rapid growth of the Indian market. Korean Air operates with its Boeing 777F freighter three times a week (Tuesday/Thursday/Saturday).The flight departs at 11:10 PM from Incheon, makes a stop at Hanoi and arrives at Delhi at 6:15 AM the next day. From Delhi to Incheon, there are two stops at Vienna, Austria and Milan, Italy.“Demand for air cargo from Asia to India has shown a sharp boost recently; an average of 6.5% annual increase in the last three years,” a Korean Air spokesperson said. “We are anticipating new demand and improved profitability through optimised cargo routes.”Meanwhile, Korean Air is preparing to take a new leap forward in the air cargo business, celebrating its 50th anniversary next year. The airline will be using its next-generation freighters such as Boeing 777F and Boeing 747-8F, as well as its new air cargo system ‘iCargo’ to improve customer services.
in Government, Origination, Secondary Market, Servicing September 15, 2011 477 Views Agents & Brokers American Enterprise Institute Attorneys & Title Companies Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Dodd-Frank FDIC Federal Reserve Investment Investors Lenders & Servicers Mortgage Disclosures Processing Service Providers TILA 2011-09-15 Ryan Schuette As “”Rep. Barney Frank””:http://www.house.gov/frank/ (D-Massachusetts) made waves this week with legislation to curb voting rights for Fed governors, key provisions under his namesake law, the Dodd-Frank Act, manifested themselves in decisions by major federal regulators. The “”FDIC””:http://www.fdic.gov/ and “”Federal Reserve””:http://www.federalreserve.gov/ rubber-stamped a rule that require the nation’s largest banks to send up blueprints for bankruptcy, while the “”Consumer Financial Protection Bureau””:http://www.consumerfinance.gov/ (CFPB) steadily moved forward with the uniform mortgage disclosure form.[IMAGE]New rules and developments for the provisions, underway at the two agencies, arrive amid chatter from candidates for the Republican presidential nomination who remain uniformly opposed to Dodd-Frank. The FDIC started off Tuesday by “”announcing””:http://www.fdic.gov/news/news/press/2011/pr11151.html the adoption of a final rule that requires financial institutions with more than $50 billion in assets to develop plans for bankruptcy and liquidation. The idea: assess the strength or weakness of bank holding companies and others deemed systemic by regulators well before the start of a bankruptcy proceeding.Implementing Section 165(d) of Dodd-Frank, the rule tasks larger companies to undertake reviews and map out “”a rapid and orderly resolution├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├é┬ª in such a way as not to cause a systemic risk to the financial system,”” according to a statement from the FDIC.If the Fed votes to also adopt the rule, companies delineating their plans for insolvency will need to assemble a strategic analysis of their resolution processes, devise a plan of action, and develop a review of vulnerabilities possible for other financial institutions.The final rule specifies that companies must submit their resolution plans at various intervals contingent upon asset strength and financial size. Those institutions with $250 billion or more in non-bank assets must report to the “”Financial Stability Oversight Council””:http://www.treasury.gov/initiatives/Pages/FSOC-index.aspx by the stat of July 2012, while others with $100 billion or more are required to offer up their resolution strategies by July 2013.A 60-day comment period awaits the rule as Fed regulators mull over it.Meanwhile, the CFPB started the third round of public commentary for the simplified mortgage disclosure form, a uniform document that Dodd-Frank mandated moving forward for separate documents under the Truth-in-Lending Act and Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act.[COLUMN_BREAK]””Blogging””:http://www.consumerfinance.gov/know-before-you-owe-go/ for the CFPB in a “”Know Before You Owe”” post, “”Patricia McCoy””:http://www.consumerfinance.gov/author/pmccoy/, the agency’s assistant director for mortgage markets, announced the third step in a review process for the uniform disclosure agreement following public commentary periods for front-page designs and second-page closing costs.She asked consumers to compare two existing forms to help the CFPB “”make sure the disclosure actually helps consumers understand features of competing loan products, from the overall loan amount to estimates of taxes and insurance costs.””McCoy explained that the CFPB is “”shifting gears for a simple reason: Comparing two versions of a form is useful, but in the real world, consumers should be able to use disclosures to compare different loan offers, not different forms.””She also wrote that the bureau plans to gauge public reaction to two sample forms in Springfield, Massachusetts, next week.The Dodd-Frank requirements find a place for discussion on the campaign trail, where candidates for the Republican nomination clamor for a repeal of the law.Speaking at business roundtable in August, former Massachusetts “”Gov. Mitt Romney””:https://www.mittromney.com/donate/ad?sc=INTADS&cct_info=1|25219|7946991837|100810534|4464305614|b|14208661774|tc||g|||&cct_ver=3&cct_bk=mitt%20romney&gclid=CLehhu-SoKsCFYjt7QodwgGKIQ pledged to repeal Dodd-Frank, calling it “”extraordinarily burdensome”” for businesses, according to “”_The Boston Globe_””:http://www.boston.com/Boston/politicalintelligence/2011/08/romney-would-repeal-dodd-frank-law/FrxSh5Jqsdveyjy5tgKzxK/index.html.””Writing””:http://blog.american.com/2011/09/gop-candidates-united-against-dodd-frank/ for a journal of the “”American Enterprise Institute””:http://www.aei.org/home, “”Peter Wallison””:http://www.aei.org/scholar/58, an Arthur F. Burns Fellow in financial studies for the conservative-leaning think tank, describes an array of presidential candidates ├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├óÔé¼┼ô former House speaker “”Newt Gingrich””:http://www.newt.org/get-involved-now, “”Rep. Michelle Bachmann””:http://bachmann.house.gov/ (R-Minnesota), Romney, and former Utah “”Gov. Jon Huntsman””:http://www.jon2012.com/welcome/home.html, among others ├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├óÔé¼┼ô as uniting in opposition to the legal framework.””For a long time after the act was adopted, there was silence among Republicans, even those who voted against it,”” he said. “”To oppose the act publicly was to link oneself to Wall Street and the big banks ├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├óÔé¼┼ô and thus politically deadly,”” he added.Wallison ascribed the loss of fear among complaining politicians from the right to three reasons. He said that it had become clear that the Dodd-Frank Act “”would spell the end of the dynamic and innovative financial community in the United States,”” new and unwanted changes for the housing finance industry, and concern over what he calls “”the enormous power”” provided to a single director at the CFPB.””The regulations that will flow from this agency will add significant costs to doing business,”” Wallison wrote, saying that such a realization continues to motivate candidates for the GOP presidential nomination. Dodd-Frank Chugs Forward for Feds Despite Political Hay Share
in Origination, Secondary Market, Servicing February 20, 2012 476 Views A onetime candidate for mayor of a city in Georgia and woman in New Jersey recently found themselves in the hot seat with various courts for mortgage fraud.[IMAGE]MReport sourced the two stories Monday from “”WDEF News””:http://www.wdef.com/news/state/story/Ex-mayoral-candidate-sentenced-for-mortgage-fraud/8CyFE8cWHkumIh7DUvfFVA.cspx and “”The West Virginia State Journal””:http://www.statejournal.com/story/16962304/virginia-woman-pleads-guitly-to-mortgage-fraud.The first news outlet offered the account of Gregory Cordell, a 46-year-old man and onetime candidate for [COLUMN_BREAK]mayor sentenced to more than two years in the slammer and ordered to pay $1 million in restitution.Cordell made his way as a real estate agent and developer before vying for the office of an incumbent mayor of Cartersville, Georgia, in 2006, according to WDEF News.The news outlet said that he received his sentence over $1.25 million in mortgage fraud for a property n the area.In the next case, Janet Damewood saw her name in print for pleading guilty to mortgage fraud in February, according to the State Journal.The 60-year-old woman bilked CitiFinancial, the lending unit for Citigroup, in filing an application to secure a second mortgage for her property, for which she failed to disclose a federal tax lien, the news source reports.The State Journal said that Citi lost out on $37,000 in funds provided to Damewood for the mortgage.Damewood could spend the next 20 years of her life in prison and pay $250,000 in fines when sentenced in June, according to the news source. Fraud,Ex-Mayoral Candidate, Woman Sentenced for Mortgage Fraud Agents & Brokers Attorneys & Title Companies Investors Lenders & Servicers Mortgage Fraud Processing Service Providers 2012-02-20 Ryan Schuette Share
Agents & Brokers Attorneys & Title Companies Demand For-Sale Homes Home Prices Home Values Housing Supply Investors Lenders & Servicers Processing Service Providers 2013-02-15 Tory Barringer in Data, Government, Origination, Secondary Market, Servicing Report: Conditions Indicate Home Value Growth in 2013 Conditions are “”ripe”” for home values in 2013, according to data collected by “”Realtor.com””:http://www.realtor.com/.[IMAGE]Realtor.com’s national housing data for January 2013 shows last year’s trends are set to continue this year, creating opportunities in certain markets for both buyers and sellers.At the national level, listing inventories decreased 16.47 percent year-over-year in January, dropping to their lowest level since January 2007, when Realtor.com began collecting this data. On a monthly basis, the for-sale inventory was down 5.63 percent.””The significant year-over-year decline in homes for sale shows that the real estate market has worked through much of its excess inventory and, if these conditions continue, sellers are more likely to receive their asking price,”” Realtor.com said in a release.Sellers don’t appear to be taking advantage just yet, however: According to the data, the national median list price for single-family homes, condos, townhomes, and co-ops in January was $187,000, up only 0.80 percent year-over-year.The low inventory did apparently have an effect on the average amount of time that homes spent on the market. [COLUMN_BREAK]The median age of inventory of for-sale listings was 108 days in January, down 2.70 percent month-over-month and 9.24 percent year-over-year.These factors all point to continued gains in value for the next year, said Steve Berkowitz, CEO of Realtor.com operator “”Move, Inc.””:http://www.move.com/?source=web””If inventories remain low and list prices begin to rise over the next few months, as they did last year, conditions will be ripe for additional markets to appreciate in 2013,”” Berkowitz said.At the local level, Realtor.com also forecasts a continuation of 2012’s trends–for better and for worse.””States that were once at the center of the housing crisis, including Arizona, California and Washington, are continuing on upward trajectories. In several markets, particularly in California, home sellers are seeing a dramatic advantage when putting their homes on the market with some of the best prices in recent years,”” Realtor.com said.However, “”markets in the older industrialized parts of the Midwest and the East will likely continue to struggle without a significant turnaround in their local economies.””Realtor.com added that the recovery will continue to hinge upon a number of factors, including economic strength, cost and availability of financing, consumer expectations regarding price growth, and the success of loss mitigation efforts.In terms of market balance, sellers appear to have the greatest advantage in the West, with Sacramento, San Jose, San Francisco, and Phoenix taking four of the five top spots in Realtor.com’s 2013 Best Sellers Markets. The one outlier was Washington, D.C.Buyers, meanwhile, have it made in Asheville (North Carolina), Peoria (Illinois), Charleston (West Virginia), Philadelphia, and Cleveland. February 15, 2013 415 Views Share
October 31, 2013 508 Views “”Senate””:http://www.senate.gov/index.htm Republicans blocked on Thursday a vote on the nomination of Rep. “”Mel Watt””:http://watt.house.gov/ (D-North Carolina) to head up the “”Federal Housing Finance Agency””:http://www.fhfa.gov/ (FHFA).[IMAGE]Watt’s nomination was stopped in a 56-42 vote to end the debate over his confirmation. Sixty votes were needed to invoke cloture and move forward.Edward DeMarco has led the agency as acting director since August 2009 following his appointment by President Obama. Throughout his tenure, he has attracted criticism from Democrats and consumer advocates who say he hasn’t gone far enough to help distressed homeowners. One of the bigger controversies surrounding DeMarco is his steadfast opposition to the use of principal forgiveness by the GSEs, which he believes would be too costly to taxpayers.While he has said he would have to further investigate before making a move as FHFA director, Watt has in the past urged for principal reduction. (He asserted at a Senate Banking Committee hearing in June that he was advocating for his constituents in North Carolina at the time and not necessarily the country at large.)The topic of principal forgiveness isn’t the only point where Watt and DeMarco diverge, however.””A Watt-led FHFA would be a considerable departure from DeMarco’s tenure,”” said “”FBR Capital Markets””:http://www.fbr.com/ in an analysis released before the vote. “”He would be less likely to lower the loan limits at Fannie and Freddie and would be unlikely to make aggressive changes to their multi-family lending programs. We believe that Congressman Watt could change the course of some of DeMarco’s strategic goals and could be more accommodative to lender concerns on clarity for representations and warranties.””FBR also noted that Thursday’s failed vote could throw a wrench in Watt’s plans, with February 28, 2014, being the deadline for the congressman to file for re-election should his nomination not work out.””Practically speaking, he would likely need to make a decision well before the deadline,”” the firm said.Should Watt take his name out of the hat, FBR has its eye on Sandra Thompson, who is currently FHFA’s deputy director of housing mission and goals, as the next potential nominee. in Government, Secondary Market Republicans Block Watt Nomination for FHFA Head Agents & Brokers Attorneys & Title Companies Edward DeMarco FBR Capital Markets FHFA Investors Lenders & Servicers Politics Senate Banking Committee Service Providers 2013-10-31 Tory Barringer Share
July 31, 2014 474 Views Ocwen Profits Quarterly Earnings 2014-07-31 Tory Barringer Ocwen Reports Second-Quarter Income of $67M Share Second-quarter profits at Ocwen Financial fell short compared to last year as costs came up.The company reported net income of $67.0 million last quarter, a decline of nearly $10 million from the year ago period.While revenue was up 2 percent year-on-year to $553.1 million, normalized pretax earnings took a 7 percent hit, which Ocwen chairman Bill Erbey explained was the result of higher regulatory and compliance costs and interest expense.The firm’s origination numbers improved over the first quarter, owing in part to a pickup in demand for mortgages after a slow winter. Ocwen reported originating $1.2 billion unpaid principal balance in forward loans, with business growing 26 percent over Q1.Meanwhile, the company’s reverse mortgage business came to a balance of $145 billion, delivering a pretax loss of $2 million—a $5 million improvement from the first quarter.”We continue to believe that the loans originated by our Reverse Lending business during the past two quarters will generate significant future profits as homeowners utilize their available credit lines,” Erbey said.Overall, lending operations delivered $7.1 million in pretax profit, up from the first quarter but down from a year ago.Meanwhile, servicing net income (pretax) was $91.5 million, down from $137.7 million in Q2 2013 as higher expenses wiped out a small gain in revenue.At the same time, Ocwen reported an increase in modification offers, possibly indicating stronger servicing results in the future.In the area of new business, Erbey said the company expects to begin investing in residential mortgage-backed securities where Ocwen is the service in the third quarter of this year. He also hinted at the launch of a second new business platform that will be revealed in the coming quarters.Ocwen is one of the nation’s largest mortgage servicers, falling only below some of the biggest banks.As a non-bank operating in an increasingly regulated field, the company has drawn scrutiny in recent months over its quick growth and business practices. Earlier this year, New York’s Department of Financial Services halted a servicing rights agreement between Ocwen and Wells Fargo as the department reviewed possible conflicts of interest between the company and its vendors.In response, Ocwen pledged to cooperate to resolve any potential problems, and president and CEO Ron Faris said Thursday the company is continuing its efforts to help the housing industry.”We continue to work closely with national and local non-profit consumer advocacy groups to better serve our customers, neighborhoods and communities,” Faris said. “Our ability to continue to lower delinquencies, lower losses and keep families in their homes, benefits all stakeholders including our shareholders, lenders, loan investors and consumers.” in Daily Dose, Headlines, News, Origination, Servicing
Appraisals MCS Valuations Valuation Operations 2015-05-27 Staff Writer Share MCS Valuations Selects Rebecca English to be Assistant VP of Operations Rebecca EnglishMCS Valuations, LLC (MCSV), a nationwide provider of appraisals, broker price opinions, and other valuation-related products to the financial services industry, has named Rebecca English assistant VP of operations in Sandy, Utah, according to a recent press release.MCSV is a full-service valuations provider in the industry, the release says. They perform property valuations in all 50 states and surrounding territories with a product suite that includes BPOs, appraisals, and evaluations.Ms. English’s new role will require her to help oversee MCSV’s valuation operations, according to the company. Prior to this position, she led several key client account teams while serving as director of business operations for CoreLogic Inc., which was acquired by MCSV in 2014. She was the assistant VP of default and REO at Boston Federal Savings Bank in Massachusetts, before her CoreLogic position in 2006.“With more than 20 years working in the appraisal, banking, and mortgage industries, Becky is an exceptionally talented and dedicated leader,” said Caroline Reaves, MCSV CEO. “That experience will be invaluable in her expanded role with our judgment-based valuation solutions group.”The company also noted that English is a faculty member for the Mortgage Bankers Association School of Mortgage Servicing. She also is affiliated with The Appraisal Foundation Industry Advisory Council, the Real Estate Valuation Advocacy Association, and the Collateral Risk Network. She has a bachelor’s degree in business management and a master’s of business administration from Bentley University. in Headlines, News, Servicing May 27, 2015 647 Views
Guardian Mortgage Lenders Mortgage Market 2016-02-26 Staff Writer February 26, 2016 555 Views Share in Daily Dose, Headlines, News, Origination Russell Anderson, Guardian Mortgage President and CEO, explains how lenders must be swift to adapt and change their business strategies to fit the ever-changing housing market in order to reach and keep customers.MReport: Many economists and analysts have predicted that 2016 will be a year of slow growth for the housing market—some of which we are already seeing within new housing data numbers. How can lenders overcome this forecast and still prosper in the housing market?Anderson: The funny thing is that many of those same economists have been predicting this “slow growth” for the last five years. Fortunately for economists, the longer you stay on the same message, eventually you will be right. It’s just general business. When you think about how to overcome a shrinking market, lenders can develop new product lines, increase geographic footprint, expand the population of consumers, grow the sales force, and lastly much of the mortgage industry is adding new channels (wholesale, correspondent, or consumer direct channels).One of the things we are working on at Guardian is growing and training our sales force. My view is that the best-in-class provider, the one that provides a great customer experience, is going to continue to prosper. The marketplace will continue to find the organizations and individuals that do a good job. Lenders can bolster all of these other areas, but ultimately, it comes down to doing good work. Lenders have to be best-in-class and viewed as the one that can provide a high-quality, transparent, and predictable customer experience so customers will continue to come to them.Russell AndersonMReport: Costs to originate mortgage loans are rising at a rapid pace in the current mortgage environment. How are lenders faring with the rise in costs? How can they streamline operations and cuts costs?Anderson: Regulation certainly has ramped up and to be in compliance with new rules, lenders and other participants in the mortgage industry must increase their investment in technology, back-office personnel, and compliance with much of this investment having been over a short period of time. It has taken a great deal of time, investment, and resources, which are both a dollar and a productivity investment. That has translated into a much higher per loan cost, which has really been born by the industry as a whole. Many of these changes are fixed-costs, like investment in technology, but it’s necessary to be in compliance with rules. The loss of productivity stems from changes in workflows, expectations, and double checks that we must go through. This has been experienced by everyone in the industry and to deal with this, most companies are forced to be much more financially precise. Costs have gone up. Everybody is trying to do the right thing, but the size of the investment has certainly driven some parties out. I wouldn’t be surprised if we started seeing more consolidation in the industry because of the change in the cost structure and the precision that it takes to continue to make money and be successful in light of the shift in cost and the change in productivity.MReport: Regulation is such a hot-button topic in today’s mortgage industry, how are lenders faring with new rules, the CFPB, and compliance matters?Anderson: It’s a really lively and interesting topic throughout the industry. Unfortunately, there seems to be too much finger-pointing going on, which is not particularly helpful. When you think about the bodies involved in the process (regulators, legislators, business owners and operators), we all want to do the right thing. The majority of lenders are trying to create an environment that provides a transparent, predictable process for consumers. There are varying opinions on how to do that, but I think that’s where the conversation takes place. There has been a great deal of work and change, but the one thing I can say is that customers tell us is that the mortgage process is still frustrating and confusing. Lenders must address what the marketplace is telling us. We are doing things better and we are doing things right, but we are not finished until we respond to this feedback. That’s what we are grappling with and that’s the thing we will begin to see take place more over the upcoming years.A consumer can go to a car dealership and buy an $80,000 car within 30 minutes. If that same customer wanted to buy a $150,000 house, it’s a 400-page file and will take at least 30 days. It’s inherently misaligned. Legislators, regulators, and business owners are all grappling with this issue inside of their paradigms to try and find solutions to that customer feedback. We have to come together collectively and talk about what those solutions are and how to implement them.MReport: With the Fed “gradually” raising rates in 2016, should lenders be worried? What will several small increases mean for the mortgage industry moving forward?Anderson: A rise in interest rates has a far more dramatic impact on refinances than it does on purchase loans. What we’re seeing is purchase inventory/real estate inventory growing, and many consumers have recovered from negative equity situations. There are all these new consumers that are back in the marketplace, there’s inventory available for move-up buyers and first-time homebuyers, supported by growing builder activity. If consumers look at the equity in their home, and their ability to buy more home, their ability to get a loan, and the cost of the loan, more people are going to be attracted to the market. As for refis, rising rates do reduce the financial impact of refinancing. The good news is that most experts are talking about modest increases, therefore, the value of refi to help homeowners is still likely to be positive and provide a valuable tool to help families manage their financial success. How Can Originators Flourish in an Evolving Mortgage Environment?
The Next Wave of Single-Family Rentals September 13, 2016 596 Views One theme stressed in the Investment and Single-Family Rental Lab on Monday at the 13th Annual Five Star Conference and Expo is that the single-family rental market is not a niche—it is an asset class.And it is an asset class that is evolving, according to Lab Host Greg Rand, CEO of OwnAmerica. Rand’s portion of the lab discussed the “Third Wave” of single-family rentals, which is expected to be even more strategic, more lucrative, and include more participants for an asset class that has been around since the 18th century but seen some unprecedented innovations in the last decade.“I think the industry is going to continue to mature and evolve,” said Kevin Ortner, CEO of Renters Warehouse and a speaker in the lab. “What I think we’re going through now in the SFR space is what the apartment and multifamily world went through in the late ‘80s. Before the late ‘80s, apartment buildings were owned by individual owners. They weren’t owned by institutions and REITs. The opportunity presented itself in the late ‘80s, and multifamily was determined to be a legitimate asset class. I think we’re seeing that now in the SFR space. We’re going to see the industry mature, and we’re going to see larger national players and more sophisticated regional players in the space but just more tools and technology to deliver that consistency that we want.”The large funds bought Class A and B and C properties and are culling through and getting rid of B and C properties because they want to operate A properties, according to Lab Director Tim Herriage, CEO of 2020 REI Companies.“(With Class A properties), vacancy rates are less, maintenance costs are less, turnover is less. . .it’s just like an A-Class multifamily. What I’m seeing in the market is that some of the smaller, mid-cap funds and partnerships are buying up some of the Bs and the Cs, and so the little guys, for example, over here in Dallas are going out to Tyler. Because you can buy even a Class A out there and get a 9 or a 10 cap. We’re already seeing cap rate compression in single-family rentals, and that’s probably the thing that confuses the market the most right now. You see a portfolio of Class A properties trade at an 8 cap, and then the next person puts out a portfolio of half As and Bs at and 8 cap, but then trade at that.”Ortner believes that the SFR space is going to grow, and more opportunities within that space are going to present themselves to investors. The homeownership rate, which is currently at a five-decade low even though the market is hot and people are buying homes, indicates that “people are buying more than one house. We’re seeing ordinary mom and pop investors that live in a home but then decide they want to get into this and they buy one or two more houses.”In addition, Ortner said the country is shifting toward becoming a “renter nation” with the growing number of people renting single-family homes (currently about 13 million and expected to increase by another three and a half million by 2020).Speakers at the lab included Herriage, Rand, Ortner, Michael Calhoun of RentMoji, Wally Charnoff of RentRange, James Easley of Truly Noble Services, Mike Hayward of Auction Operations, Xome, John Helmick of Gorilla Capital, Keith Hemmer of Alacrity Services, Alex Hemani of Alna Properties, Glen Mather of NuView IRA, Sommer Myers of First Team Real Estate, Shea Pallante of Civic Financial Services, Jeff Pintar of Pintar Investment Company, Keith Ramsden of Main Street Renewal, Randy Robertson of Blackrock, Jeremy Sicklick of HouseCanary, D’Arcy Young of Residential Recovery Partners, and Nathan Vannatter of ASONS.The Five Star Institute is the parent company of MReport and TheMReport.com. Single Family Rental Market 2016-09-13 Seth Welborn in Daily Dose, Headlines, News Share
Chief Strategy Officer Hired at United Wholesale Mortgage Elezaj has received several industry awards, including distinction as one of National Mortgage Professional’s “40 Under 40” honorees and Mortgage Professional America’s “Hot 100” selection. April 30, 2018 602 Views UWM finished as the No. 1 wholesale lender in America for the past three years in a row. In 2017, UWM grew its loan volume by 29 percent. Through the first quarter of 2018, UWM continued trending upward, increasing production by 85 percent while the industry overall declined by 10 percent. in Headlines, journal, News, Servicing Under Elezaj’s three-year tenure as CEO of Class Appraisal, the company more than tripled its annual revenue and built strategic business partnerships with more than 300 mortgage lenders and over a thousand of the nation’s top-performing appraisers. “What UWM has done over the last several years, growing at such an impressive rate despite market declines and entrenching itself as the run-away best wholesale lender in the country, is insanely impressive,” Elezaj said. “You can see UWM’s momentum and still-massive growth potential everywhere you look. I am excited to join such a great group of people and industry powerhouse, and play a role in its continued efforts to grow the mortgage broker channel.” “We are thrilled to have such an amazing leader join our team, and his main focus will be aligned with UWM’s which is to help our mortgage broker partners grow,” said Mat Ishbia, President and CEO of United Wholesale Mortgage. “He is in total lockstep with our company from a leadership vision and culture standpoint, as he believes mortgage brokers are the best place for loan originators to work and for borrowers to get a mortgage.” United Wholesale Mortgage (UWM), a Troy, Michigan-based wholesale lender, has announced the hire of Alex Elezaj as its Chief Strategy Officer. Elezaj most recently served as CEO of Class Appraisal, a nationally recognized leader in residential real estate appraisal management. Share 2018-04-30 Staff Writer
Charity Operation Homefront veterans VFSAC VFSAC Golf Classic 2019-05-20 David Wharton VFSAC Charity Golf Classic Supports Military Veterans’ Housing Needs May 20, 2019 703 Views Last week, representatives from a broad array of companies representing the mortgage industry and beyond gathered at the Stonebriar Country Club in Frisco, Texas, for the first annual Veterans Financial Services Advisory Council (VFSAC) Golf Classic. Hosted by VFSAC, an organization that helps veterans and their families in search of support related to housing and critical services, the day’s events raised more than $200,000 to benefit Operation Homefront, a national 501(c)(3) that partnered with VFSAC to address the ongoing housing needs of veterans and their families.Sponsors for the 2019 VFSAC Golf Classic included ALAW; Aspen Grove Solutions; Auction.com; Carrington; Five Brothers Asset Management; Ginali Associates; Goldman Sachs; Google; LoanCare; National Field Representatives; Novare National Settlement Service (A Division of Fidelity National Title); Prominent Escrow Services, Inc. and FIN Title; RSMA Law; Rushmore Cares; Safeguard; ServiceLink; Xome; and York-Jersey Underwriters.After attendees spend the day on the green, they reconvened inside the clubhouse for a silent auction and presentations that included a brief welcome from VFSAC Chairman and Rushmore Loan Management Services CEO Terry Smith.”We have the opportunity to do a lot of great things through VFSAC,” Smith said.VFSAC Founder Ed Delgado brought up an earlier discussion with Operation Homefront President and CEO John Pray, Jr., Brig. Gen., USAF (Ret.), in which they discussed the nature of the sacrifices that veterans make in service of their country. Delgado recalled Pray telling him that he never viewed his time in the military as a sacrifice, but rather as “an honor, a privilege, and a duty.”Delgado then discussed one particular veteran’s case he had encountered: a former service member who needed $1,100 to fix the transmission on his truck. That may not have seemed like much, Delgado explained, but it was about more than just transportation. This veteran wasn’t just using the vehicle to get around at the time—he was living in it.”When we talk about honoring those who have given us so much,” Delgado said, “think of that veteran.”Delgado then introduced U.S. Army Specialize Erica Corley, a seven-year veteran who served as a medical lab tech and had spent one year in Kuwait.”When I came home,” Corley said, “I didn’t have a home to come home to.”Through Operation Homefront, Corley, a mother of two, is to be the recipient of a mortgage-free home in Mesquite, Texas. Speaking before the group, Corley laid out the process required to go from application to receipt of the home, a process designed to ensure that the chosen veteran is capable of keeping that home in the long run.”They show you how to be a homeowner,” Corley said.Founded by Five Star Global President and CEO Ed Delgado in 2016, VFSAC’s Executive Council includes leaders from Auction.com, Alacrity Services, Aspen Grove Solutions, Five Brothers Asset Management, The Five Star Institute, Home Depot, Operation Homefront, Rushmore Loan Management Services, Safeguard Properties, and ServiceMac.Editor’s note: Although VFSAC was founded by Five Star Global President and CEO Ed Delgado, it is an independent working group and is not affiliated with Five Star Global, Five Star Institute, or any of its companies. Share in Daily Dose, Featured, journal, News, Origination, Servicing
Monograms has expanded its 2017 program to include South America for the first time, featuring 11 different South America holiday options, including single city getaways in some of some of the region’s most well-known destinations, as well as multi-city combinations within countries such as Ecuador, Panama and Colombia. Also on offer is a multi-country package, taking in the highlights of Brazil, Argentina and Chile.Ranging in duration from four to 12 days, Monograms city stays are a fantastic option for independent travellers to see the sights of this fascinating region or a perfect extension to a Globus or Cosmos tour of South America.Each Monograms holiday offers the services of a local host who can provide assistance and advice throughout the visit, and guided city tours are included in each location to showcase the must-see sights and provide an insight into the local history and culture.As part of the Globus family of brands, Monograms draws on more than 89 years’ experience in touring, with premium hotels and a network of the best qualified guides and local hosts. Monograms TravelSouth America
Mantra Group The Mantra Group’s latest addition is one of Australia’s few certified 100 per cent carbon-neutral hotels and is just a 400-metre stroll from Port Macquarie town centre and its eateries and shops. Mantra the Observatory at Port Macquarie is the Group’s fourth property on the New South Wales North Coast and is to be proving popular with families, couples and corporate travellers.Overlooking Port Macquarie’s main Town Beach, the property boasts a total of 85 spacious hotel rooms, one, two and three bedroom apartments. Many rooms feature ocean views with large private balconies, gourmet kitchens and coffee pod machines.Leisure facilities include an indoor a heated lap pool, sauna and heated spa, barbecue entertainment area and restaurant and cafe. There’s also an endota day spa offering a full range of spa treatments and secure undercover car parking.Special opening rates start from $162* per night for two people staying in a Hotel Room (minimum two night stay – total cost $324*) and include free in-room Wi-Fi.*Conditions apply, subject to availability. Valid for sale and travel until 31 August 2017. Block-out dates and minimum night stays apply.
Virtuoso has announced 20 outstanding destination, cruise and lifestyle Award winners at three events during the 29th annual Virtuoso Travel Week conference this week, held at Bellagio Resort & Casino, ARIA Resort & Casino and Vdara Hotel & Spa in Las Vegas. The awards highlight partners who have adapted their product offerings to best fit the needs of Virtuoso’s advisors. Best Curated Travel Partner: Made for Spain and PortugalBest Escorted Tour Partner: TauckDestinations & Experiences Ambassador of the Year: The Pinto Family/Micato SafarisDestinations & Experiences Partner of the Year: Classic VacationsBest Multi-Generational Program – Cruise: Royal Caribbean InternationalBest Culinary Experience – Cruise: Crystal CruisesMost Innovative Itinerary – Cruise: Silversea CruisesMost Luxurious Guest Experience – Cruise: Regent Seven Seas CruisesBest Virtuoso Voyages Experience: Decouvertes – Bordeaux, France: French Cooking Experience in BordeauxTourism Board of the Year: Tourism New ZealandThe Virtuoso Active and Specialty Travel Awards recognise advisors and partners involved with VAST, the network’s popular and enduring adventure community. Top Producer – VAST: Michelle Bemis, McCabe World TravelMost Innovative Advisor – VAST: Natasha Rhodes, Vision Travel SolutionsMost Innovative VAST Experience: Natural Habitat Adventures – Classic Polar Bear AdventureBest VAST Partner: Micato SafarisThe Alliance Partner Awards acknowledge outstanding preferred destinations and lifestyle suppliers.Most Engaged Tourism Board – North America: Tourism AustraliaMost Engaged Tourism Board – Global: Visit CaliforniaMost Innovative Tourism Board: Auckland Tourism, Events and Economic DevelopmentMost Comprehensive Advisor Program: Argentina National Institute of Tourism PromotionHottest Destination of the Year: Tourism FijiTop Destination of the Year: Mexico Tourism BoardAmbassador of the Year: Ina Rodin, Croatian National Tourist BoardMost Innovative Lifestyle Partner: El Corte Inglés agentsawardsluxurytourismVirtuoso