Home Builders Remain Optimistic Despite Market Stumbles in Daily Dose, Data, Featured, Market Studies, News October 28, 2015 649 Views Share Housing Market National Association of Home Builders New Home Sales 2015-10-28 Staff Writer New home sales declines and a weak jobs report in September may have some a bit skeptical about the future of the housing market, but despite September’s stumbles, home builders maintain their market confidence.The National Association of Home Builders’ (NAHB) Eye on the Economy biweekly survey of their economic and housing analysis by Chief Economist David Crowe showed new home sales contracts fell 11.5 percent from 529,000 in August to 468,000 in September and job numbers were weak. However, home builders are exuding unwavering confidence in the market.Homebuilders’ confidence in the market for newly constructed single-family homes rose in October, returning to a level not seen since the end of the housing boom in 2005.According to the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB)/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index (HMI), builder confidence increased three points to 64 in October. Any value over 50 means builders see more improvement in the housing market than damage.NAHB Chairman and a home builder from Blue Springs, Missouri Tom Woods noted that the single-family housing market is “making lasting gains as more serious buyers come forward” as builder confidence has floated above the 60s since June.“With October’s three-point uptick, builder confidence has been holding steady or increasing for five straight months, ” Crowe said. “This upward momentum shows that our industry is strengthening at a gradual but consistent pace. With firm job creation, economic growth and the release of pent-up demand, we expect housing to keep moving forward as we start to close out 2015.”Although housing starts rose 6.5 percent to an eight-year high of 1.206 million units in September, the increase was all in the multifamily sector, according a report from the U.S. Census Bureau and HUD.The report showed that in September, single-family housing starts reached a rate of 740,000, up 0.3 percent from the revised August figure of 738,000.Crowe noted that the rise in starts “provide a clearer picture of the steady increase in housing construction that we have been experiencing for several years.”National Association of Federal Credit Unions Chief Economist Curt Long said that the housing starts is “encouraging, but reconfirms that much of the recent strength in the market is focused in the multifamily segment. This speaks to the inability of many potential borrowers to afford to purchase housing due to high prices, steep down payment requirements and tight inventory.”The NAHB reported that worker access is a supply headwind that is pushing against sector growth as the number of jobs in home building and remodeling increased by only 3,900 positions on a seasonally adjusted basis, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.Industry hiring has also slowed in 2015, with the average monthly employment gain at just over 5,500 over the last six months, but as hiring has slowed, construction jobs rose.
Borrower Paid Mortgage Insurance Premium Genworth Mortgage Insurance Corp. 2016-03-09 Staff Writer Genworth Mortgage Insurance, a subsidiary of Genworth Financial, Inc., recently announced that it has standardized and simplified its Borrower Paid Mortgage Insurance (BPMI) premium structure.The company stated that the new BPMI rate card provides the clearest path forward for mortgage originations that require mortgage insurance.The new BPMI pricing takes effect April 4, 2016.“We took a hard look at recent pricing trends and realized we needed to recalibrate,” said Rohit Gupta, President and CEO, Genworth Mortgage Insurance. “In doing so, we’re able to provide greater granularity on our pricing while at the same time generate returns that are expected to be in the low to mid-teens in aggregate and to align with the risk-based capital requirements under the Government Sponsored Enterprises’ Private Mortgage Insurer Eligibility Requirements.”Genworth’s updated rate card features reduced rates across all loan-to-value ratios for borrowers with credit scores of 740 or higher and results in weighted-average rates that are consistent with its existing card given the current mix of business. The changes also enable Genworth to remain competitive with government-backed insurance provider, the Federal Housing Administration (FHA).“We were very thoughtful with our new pricing approach so as to not considerably disrupt the amount of loans insured by our business versus the FHA. Our goal today is, and always has been, to encourage the use of private capital and ensure balance in the government’s role in the housing market,” Gupta noted. “This move makes it easier for customers to do business with us. Growing our customers’ business, as well as our own, is what we aim to do.” March 9, 2016 716 Views Genworth Adjusts Borrower Paid Mortgage Insurance Premium Share in Headlines, News, Origination
in Daily Dose, Data, Headlines, News Share September 21, 2016 559 Views Housing Inventory Housing Supply Trulia 2016-09-21 Seth Welborn While a lack of inventory has been a major headwind for housing nationwide, there have been signs recently that the lack of supply is easing, according to data released by Trulia on Wednesday.The bad news is that inventory continues to fall—in fact, in the second quarter, housing inventory fell for the fifth straight quarter, the longest streak of inventory decline since 2012 when the housing market bottomed out.The good news, according to Trulia chief economist Ralph McLaughlin, is that nothing lasts forever—not even housing inventory shortages.“Despite the decline, there are some signs housing supply is easing. Inventory in a few California and Florida cities is on the rise,” McLaughlin said. “What’s more, many of these markets have seen consecutive quarterly increases in available housing, suggesting an upward trend rather than a one-time blip.”The latest edition of Trulia’s Inventory and Price Watch, analyzed the supply and affordability of starter homes, trade-up homes, and premium homes currently on the market in the largest 100 U.S. metros from July 1, 2015, to July 1, 2016, found that the number of starter and trade-up homes continues to fall at or near double-digit rates over-the-year. Inventory declines have been less for premium homes, which have seen a drop of less than 3.2 percent.The ongoing inventory shortage is having an adverse effect on affordability; buyers of starter and trade-up homes need to spend 1.7 percent and 0.9 percent (respectively) of their incomes on housing compared to this time last year. Meanwhile, housing will cost premium homebuyers only 0.6 percent of their income.“Low inventory has been the talk of the real estate world for much of the year, and rightly so,” McLaughlin said. “Inventory nationally, and in many of the largest markets, has been on the decline over the past several years, dropping by over 8 percent nationally since the third quarter of 2014. But there are signs that relief may be on the way for homebuyers in some markets.”Twenty-one of the 100 largest markets analyzed experienced increases in inventory over the past year, and many of those posted double-digit gains.Approximately half of those 21 markets are located either in Florida or California, with Cape Coral-Fort Myers leading the way at 36.7 percent and 33.1 percent, respectively. Other Florida markets with sizeable income gains over the last year include West Palm Beach (17.8 percent), Fort Lauderdale (15.9 percent), and Sarasota (23.4 percent).Meanwhile, the two least affordable housing markets in the country, San Francisco and San Jose, saw inventory jump by 19.3 percent and 8.7 percent in the last year, respectively. Other California markets with noticeable gains in housing inventory were San Diego (9.4 percent), Bakersfield (10.6 percent) and Fresno (24.4 percent).“This is cautiously optimistic news for frustrated buyers in the Golden State, who have seen prices soar whilst inventory remained flat over the past few years,” McLaughlin said. “While prices aren’t likely to fall anytime soon because of healthy demand, growing inventory may help moderate the strong price gains that these markets have experienced since market bottom in 2012.”Increasing inventory combined with a 5 percent increase in real incomes during 2015—the largest increase on record, according to the U.S. Census Income and Poverty report, may help break what has been a gridlocked housing market, McLaughlin said.Click here to view the full report. Inventory is Making a Comeback in Some Markets
Share According to Projections and Implications for Housing a Growing Population: Older Adults 2015-2035, by the Harvard Joint Center for Housing Studies (HJCHS), by the year 2035, more than one in five people in the U.S. will be at least 65 years old as the over-65 population increases from 48 million to 79 million. Further, the report shows that one in three households will be headed by someone in that age group, which increase the demand for affordable, accessible housing that is well-connected to services beyond what current supply can meet.HJCHS adds that this growth will increase the demand for properties with design elements such as zero-step entrances, single-floor living, and wide halls and doorways. Despite this desire, the report notes that currently, only 3.5 percent of homes offer all these features.“The housing implications of this surge in the older adult population are many,” said Chris Herbert, Managing Director of the Harvard Joint Center for Housing Studies, “and call for innovative approaches to respond to growing need for housing that is affordable, accessible and linked to supportive services that will grow exponentially over the next two decades.”Data from the report indicates that in coming years, many older adults will have the financial means to pay for appropriate housing, but many others will be faced with financial hardships do to declining incomes in retirement. In total, the report estimates, by 2035 8.6 million people will be paying more than half their income for housing.“Right now, more than 19 million older adults live in unaffordable or inadequate housing, and that problem will only grow worse in the next two decades as our population ages,” said Lisa Marsh Ryerson, President of AARP Foundation, which provided funding for the report. “This important follow-up study to Harvard’s ground-breaking 2014 report on housing America’s older adults not only calls attention to important trends but also helps point to the kind of solutions—requiring cross-sector collaboration between the housing industry, policymakers, and public, private and philanthropic organizations—that will fulfill older adults’ ardent desire to continue living independently at home with security and dignity.”The report notes that data indicates that older adults express a desire to live at home for as long as possible, but HJCHS adds that this will require public and private action to support modifications to existing homes and take steps to address the affordability challenges for homeowners.“Today, however, we only serve one-third of those who qualify for assistance,” said Jennifer Molinsky, Senior Research Associate at the Joint Center and lead author of the report. “Just continuing at this rate—which would be a stretch—would leave 4.9 million people to find affordable housing in the private market.”To read the full report, click HERE. December 13, 2016 630 Views Housing Needs Changing with Aging Population Housing Market Seniors 2016-12-13 Seth Welborn in Daily Dose, Data, Featured, News
Looser Underwriting is the Name of the Game in 2016 Banks OCC Underwriting Standards 2016-12-20 Seth Welborn Share The vast number of poorly underwritten mortgage loans leading up to the crisis caused banks to tighten up their standards and generally make loans only to those borrowers with pristine credit.In the last few years, however, those tight post-crisis underwriting standards put in place by banks are beginning to relax a bit. The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency’s 22nd Annual Survey of Credit Underwriting Practices, released Tuesday, found that underwriting standards had relaxed for banks and federal savings associations for the fourth consecutive year.Much like in 2015, residential real estate loans, conventional home equity, commercial real estate loans, and direct consumer loans were among the areas that experienced the greatest amount of change, according to the OCC.The survey covered the 12-month period ending June 30, 2016, and covers aggregate total assets of $10.2 trillion and $5.2 trillion in gross loans—approximately 90 percent of the loans in the federal banking system (across 93 national banks and federal savings associations), the OCC reported.“During the 12-month survey period, underwriting practices remained satisfactory. But an increasing tolerance for looser underwriting has resulted in a continued movement from more conservative to more moderate underwriting practices,” said Grace Dailey, Senior Deputy Comptroller and Chief National Bank Examiner. “While this movement is consistent with past credit cycles at a similar stage, credit risk is expected to increase if the trends we see today continue.”According to the OCC, the easing underwriting standards indicate that banks have a greater risk appetite and a greater desire for loan growth.“Examiners reported that the leading reasons for eased underwriting practices since the 2015 survey are increased competition, higher credit risk appetites, and perceived improvements in general economic conditions,” the report stated. “Banks generally tighten underwriting practices when the economy contracts and ease underwriting practices when the economy expands. Since 2012, examiners have cited these reasons, along with the existence of abundant market liquidity, for the eased underwriting practices.”Click here to view the OCC’s complete survey. December 20, 2016 623 Views in Daily Dose, Data, Government, Headlines, News
President Trump’s Housing Focus in First 30 Days in Featured, Headlines, News Share The 30-day mark for President Trump Administration has come and gone, TheMReport decided to take stock of what has been accomplished in the areas that affect our readers the most—housing and mortgage.First and foremost, during his first 30 days President Trump implemented an Executive Order that calls for the review of Dodd-Frank. This is his first step in fulfilling his campaign promise to peel back the banking law.Also during his first 30 days, President Trump saw his Treasury Secretary pick confirmed. Steven Mnuchin, a former executive at Goldman Sachs, is now the 77th U.S. Secretary of the Treasury, assuming the position from Henry Paulson.However, Trump has not yet had equal success seeing the confirmation of his HUD nominee. The president first proposed Dr. Ben Carson on December 5 but his nomination still needs to be approved by the Senate.Carson is considered a wild card choice for HUD Secretary due to his having no background in government or housing.Senate Banking Committee Chairman Mike Crapo (R-Idaho) however does not feel this should be an impediment, saying “HUD will benefit from having a Secretary with a different perspective and a diverse background, and I’m excited to support Dr. Carson.”“Throughout my life, I have done things that many deemed impossible,” Carson said in his confirmation hearing two weeks ago, “I pledge to work with this Committee and the dedicated career staff at HUD to solve difficult, seemingly obstinate issues and address the needs of those who rely on the services provided by HUD.”During his time in office, the Bureau of Labor statistics reported an unemployment rate of 4.8 percent with 227,000 jobs added. “President Trump is inheriting an economy on its way to full employment, but there is still more work to do,” Elise Gould, an economist at the Economic Policy Institute said.“While 30 days doesn’t provide an entirely clear picture for predicting and projecting with any real accuracy, the very positive messages coming from leaders like Steve Mnuchin, Gary Cohn, and Ben Carson suggest that we may see the return to a government that embraces the role of stimulating and supporting the housing sector of the economy, rather than one that works hard to suppress and supplant private market lending activities,” said Meg Burns, Partner with The Collingwood Group. “Americans could certainly benefit from a shift in tone and tenor in D.C.; citizens and businesses alike would be well served by a renewed emphasis on home ownership as a powerful economic driver and recognition of the role of government in making that possible,” concluded Burns.In these areas alone it is clear that Trump’s first 30 days have been impactful and we will be following closely what the next 30—and the following 1,398—bring. Administration Dr. Ben Carson First 30 Days President Trump Unemployment 2017-02-21 Staff Writer February 21, 2017 587 Views
June 25 , 2018 Excitement is building for the U.S. cherry season that is seeing high-quality fruit being harvest in the Northwest, after an underwhelming start to the domestic campaign due to low California supplies. David Nelley, vice president of categories and global exports for North American fruit trader Oppy, also said that U.S. retailers now were “eager” for a summer crop to promote.The domestic season got underway in April with the California crop, which was greatly reduced due to weather-related issues. Nelley said the crop reached only around three to four million cartons compared to around 9 million last year.”It was frustrating for the growers and also for the retailers who couldn’t really hit competitive prices for things like Memorial Day,” he told Fresh Fruit Portal.”So cherries got off to a muted start – compared to the flourish that they did last year out of California – but since then production has moved to Washington and Oregon and things have gone actually really quite well.”The Northwest crop – which is pegged at around 23 million cartons, compared to over 26 million last year – is seeing larger sizing than in previous years, with good pressure and Brix levels, Nelley said.”In a nutshell, we’ve got larger, firmer and sweeter cherries than we’ve had in the past,” he said in a phone call last week, speaking from one of Oppy’s Oregon-based partner farms that grows cherries for the Orchard View label.”I’m looking out the window today and it’s near perfect cherry weather. We’re now starting to see the transition into Bings – with that comes bigger sizing.” U.S.: California cherry season to arrive later tha … NA: Heatwave, thunderstorms to affect grape, berry … You might also be interested in He added: “We have crop here that’s extremely marketable.”May was a challenging month for retailers as the low California volumes meant growers needed to charge high prices, limiting promotion opportunities. Some retailers skipped Memorial Day cherry promotions entirely, according to Nelley.But he said that there’s “a lot of excitement” now as retailers build toward Canada Day and Fourth of July promotions. He also explained that with the lower California cherry crop and lower Mexican grape deal during May, retailers were now eager for “something exciting and tasty to promote”.”On the flip side of that, the crop’s eating quality is there, so they can put these cherries out and they will fly off the shelf,” he said.Nelley also predicted the domestic season would remain strong throughout July, in contrast to last year when the market became somewhat saturated with supplies.”So far we’re seeing really great weather – we’re not seeing too many hot days over 100 degrees – so the cherries aren’t baking, and we’re not seeing some of the issues with widespread rainstorms,” he said.”There’s been a little bit of rain here and there but nothing serious and nothing that the fruit hasn’t recovered from really well, so right now it’s looking pretty positive toward July.”At the beginning of the year Orchard View created a partnership with its neighbor Omeg Family Orchards, with fruit from both farms now being sold under the Orchard View label. Nelley said that everything has been going great this season.”Mike [Omeg] is on board working at the production end, working with new varieties and new growing techniques. It’s great to have a guy at the cutting edge – I wouldn’t be exaggerating – of new variety development. So it’s going really well and we’re grateful to have them alongside us,” he said, adding the partnership was helping to “fill a great gap with ideal varieties.”www.freshfruitportal.com Chilean cherry report analyzes 2018/19 campaign, d … Always Fresh Farms, Giddings Fruit to offer 52-wee …
MTA – Mobile Travel Agents Fiona Snell, Jennifer McCullough, Jo Gonzalez and Dianne Russo recently returned from an exclusive study tour of Vietnam, as guests of MIA Resorts Vietnam, staying at the company’s sister properties in Binh Thuan and Na Trang – the multi-award winning MIA Resort Mui Ne and MIA Resort Nha Trang.A busy program of experiences on the tour included sampling MIA Resort signature activities – from yoga and spa sessions to Vietnamese language lessons – and going kitchen-side to learn how to cook the local cuisine.IMAGE: L-R -Fiona Snell, Jennifer McCullough, Jo Gonzalez and Dianne Russo Event & Famil photosMobile Travel AgentsMTAVietnam
Travel agents all over the world will now be able to view Agoda’s content – available at the same price as Agoda’s website – and compare it to other content through a single screen, and book the content in one PNR with other content, in a new partnership between Amadeus and Agoda.Christian Lukey, Head of Hotels, Mobility & Insurance, Asia Pacific, Amadeus said: “This is our first partnership with a B2C company in Asia, and an important one because it will enable travel agents to offer a competitive and seamless service, while reducing costs and increasing efficiency. We are privileged to be the first company to globally distribute Agoda’s diverse selection of hotels to agents and travellers.”Having access to this hotel content through Amadeus will be especially important for business travel agents, as they will now be able to book Agoda inventory for travelling employees that complies with all the employer’s Duty of Care requirements, and add it to a single PNR with the employee’s other travel arrangements. In addition, Agoda’s content is pre-paid, making it a great option for employees that don’t have a company credit card.Ernst Hemmer, Senior Director for Agoda said: “This partnership with Amadeus gives Agoda access to the global travel agent market and specifically the business travel sector, which is forecast to grow 5.8 percent annually to reach $1.6 trillion in 2020. Agoda customers enjoy access to a huge variety of hotels, apartments or villas for their holidays and leisure use, and through this partnership will now also be able to access these properties for business travel too. We look forward to working closely with Amadeus in the future and building on this partnership to offer more benefits to travel agents and their customers.” agentsagodaAmadeushotels
Former Cardinals kicker Phil Dawson retires If the two cornerbacks, themselves, would have voted, it’s pretty clear who they would have voted for. Comments Share The 5: Takeaways from the Coyotes’ introduction of Alex Meruelo Top Stories Derrick Hall satisfied with D-backs’ buying and selling Every day, ArizonaSports.com asks readers a question. It’s the Sanderson Ford Poll Question of the Day, and it can be found midway down the right side of our home page.On Thursday, we asked you about a hot topic — Richard Sherman vs. Patrick Peterson. Our question was simple: Who’s better?A total of 685 votes were submitted, and it seems the local fan base has faith in their player.While 16 percent of voters felt that the two player were equal, a whopping 61 percent of fans felt that the Arizona Cardinals cornerback was better than his NFC West counterpart. Sherman garnered just 154 votes, good for 22 percent. Grace expects Greinke trade to have emotional impact
Derrick Hall satisfied with D-backs’ buying and selling When asked how he felt having that play drawn up for him as a rookie, Brown said, “Once I heard the play called, it’s like, ‘Okay, it’s crunch time. It’s time to do something.’ I wasn’t too worried about it. I just knew I was going to make something happen with my teammates.”Brown credits his teammates’ blocks for his ability to score on that play. “Once I made the catch, those guys, they set up great blocks and it led me to the end zone easily.”The Chargers’ defense made it difficult for the Cardinals to score early on in the game, but Brown also said the team was making mistakes they shouldn’t have before improving their play in the final quarter.Looking towards Sunday’s game at New York, Brown knows that the Giants will want to prove themselves after their Week 1 loss.He said the offense’s aim Sunday is to take advantage of every opportunity given throughout the entire game.“The goal is that every time the defense makes a good play or stops the other team, we need to take advantage and put points up on the board.” Former Cardinals kicker Phil Dawson retires Your browser does not support the audio element. Grace expects Greinke trade to have emotional impact Top Stories Arizona Cardinals’ rookie John Brown had a NFL debut game to remember.Brown scored the go-ahead touchdown with 2:25 left in the game to complete the Cardinals’ fourth-quarter comeback against the San Diego Chargers, resulting in an 18-17 victory.“It was just a great feeling, going out there with my brothers, my teammates that never gave up,” Brown told Bickley and Marotta on Arizona Sports 98.7 FM. “We believed that we could come back and win that game and we just did what we had to do, and it was really exciting and fun.” The 5: Takeaways from the Coyotes’ introduction of Alex Meruelo LISTEN: John Brown- Cardinals wide receiver 0 Comments Share
0 Comments Share The 5: Takeaways from the Coyotes’ introduction of Alex Meruelo Top Stories Derrick Hall satisfied with D-backs’ buying and selling Grace expects Greinke trade to have emotional impact Former Cardinals kicker Phil Dawson retires BirdGang, the time has come. The NFL Draft is finally here! We decided to ask someone who knows a thing or two about football who might be selected as the next Arizona Cardinal. Paige Dimakos sat down with Bertrand Berry (Btrain) to get his take on all things NFL Draft and Arizona Cardinals.
The 5: Takeaways from the Coyotes’ introduction of Alex Meruelo GLENDALE, Ariz. — Trust is a backstage worker in the NFL: unseen and underappreciated, yet vital to the success of the actors.Trust is the reason Drew Stanton followed Bruce Arians to Arizona. Trust is the reason Carson Palmer heeds every word Stanton tells him. Trust is the reason Stanton will be Arians’ backup quarterback when the regular season begins on Sept. 10 in Detroit, one of Stanton’s prior stops. Former Cardinals kicker Phil Dawson retires Stanton is entering the final year of his contract. With Palmer still here and Gabbert showing promise for the future, his time in Arizona may close with less than a season’s worth of starts. If that’s the case, he insists he’ll still take pride in what be brought to the franchise.“I was young and stupid like everybody else coming into this league,” he said. “I dealt with some difficult times early in my career so I appreciated it but it made me work that much harder to get in this position. When it’s all said and done, being able to look back at my career, it’s something I’m going to be very proud of.”Follow Craig Morgan on Twitter Grace expects Greinke trade to have emotional impact Arizona Cardinals quarterback Drew Stanton (5) runs drills during the team’s NFL football training camp, Saturday, July 22, 2017, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Matt York) Like any player, Stanton still wants to start in the NFL, or at least hold onto his current rank, but it is not an all-consuming fire that blinds him to his other duties, including that of Palmer’s trusted advisor.“I know how hard that [position] is and when I’ve been in that position, how vital it is to have somebody that you can lean on, that you can go to, that can be an extension of you,” Stanton said. “That’s the value that I try and bring with that. I’m not worried about getting credit for it. That’s not why I do it. It’s more so how is it going to help us win football games?”Stanton said that duty extends to his relationship with Gabbert and fourth-string QB Trevor Knight.“I’m an open book,” he said. “At this point in my career, I’m trying to help everybody else out here reap the benefits of what this offense, what this team, this organization can provide for people.“You have to break down those barriers sometimes on both sides and being able to do that, at the end of the day, I truly feel that part of my calling in being here is trying to help Blaine prolong his career and Trevor’s career.” Palmer’s trust in Stanton developed a year later, in unusual fashion.“When he started letting me pick the wine out,” Stanton said of their first season together in Arizona. “Wine is one of the hobbies that I really enjoy. He started talking to me about, ‘wow, I love Opus One.’ And I’m like, ‘geez that’s a really expensive wine.’ I had it in my head that I can get three bottles of Cakebread for the same price as I can get a bottle of Opus One. It just opened up this dialogue for us.”It also opened up a friendship wherein it’s doubtful that Palmer trusts anyone on the team more than he trusts Stanton.“He’s extremely, extremely bright aside from football, but he sees the game just brilliantly,” Palmer said. “I doubt he would ever do it, but he could be a phenomenal coach. He’s helped me a ton just over the last years from fundamentals to technique to seeing certain pressures to film study.”Stanton and Blaine Gabbert both took more reps this offseason due to Palmer’s decreased workload. Arians sees the benefits in camp, and he also believes Gabbert’s presence and starting experience have pushed Stanton to compete a little harder for his backup role after a lackluster 2016 season. Top Stories Derrick Hall satisfied with D-backs’ buying and selling 8 Comments Share “He knows this offense in and out,” Arians said.Arians always cites that knowledge and their history as sources of comfort, but Stanton’s value to the Cardinals runs deeper. When asked Wednesday how Stanton helps him, Palmer paused to consider the enormity of the question.“How doesn’t he help me?” he said. “In every way, almost like a psychologist. Sometimes, when you’re going through a certain play, certain protection or whatever it may be, he’s a sounding board.“I don’t trust easily and he’s earned it. This is going on five years now. There’s times you play with somebody and it’s in one ear and out the other because you don’t quite have that history together. I know if he has something to say on the sideline, in a game whatever it may be — on a Wednesday as we’re preparing — there’s a reason for it and it’s something I need to really look at and think about.”Arians developed that trust in Stanton when the two were paired for the 2012 season in Indianapolis. The Cardinals coach said Wednesday that Stanton has nothing more to prove to him.“No, just play at the consistent level that he does in practice,” he said. “He had a great spring, probably the best spring he’s ever had and it’s carried over to camp.”
Go back to the e-newsletterIn December 2015, three Michelin star chef Andreas Caminada opened his second restaurant, IGNIV by Andreas Caminada, at the Grand Resort Bad Ragaz. A new offer at the five-star resort combines dinner at the Graubünden chef’s new restaurant with lunch at his gourmet establishment in Fürstenau – and includes a limousine service.Culture for the palateAt IGNIV, Silvio Germann invites guests to enjoy a new and fresh fine-dining sharing experience in the form of a four-course dinner. The young chef from Lucerne and his team surprise diners with perfectly presented courses, served in bowls and on platters and designed to be shared. Chef de service and sommelier Francesco Benvenuto selects the perfect wine to accompany each dish, which are included in the package, from over 600 different wines in his cellar. These include 54 champagnes, delicate regional wines that perfectly complement the local cuisine and international highlights.Guests of the Leading Wellbeing & Medical Health Resort in Europe can enjoy the complimentary IGNIV limousine service, with an Audi Q7 available to take them to the nearby Schauenstein Schloss Restaurant Hotel. Here, a six-course lunch prepared by Andreas Caminada and his team, including aperitif, wine and coffee or tea, awaits them. In the historic castle, the Graubünden chef presents exquisite cuisine with creations that bring out the pure flavour of the products and invite guests on a culinary journey of the senses.Two restaurants – one promiseThe package promises guests the very finest in savoir-vivre and costs CHF 1200 per person (CHF 600 per person and night in a double room). It includes two nights including a breakfast buffet, a welcome drink at the bar, the 36.5° wellbeing package, a four-course dinner including wine and coffee or tea at IGNIV by Andreas Caminada, a six-course lunch including aperitif, wine and coffee or tea at Schauenstein Schloss Restaurant Hotel, limousine service from the Grand Resort Bad Ragaz to Schauenstein Schloss Restaurant Hotel and back and a gift from Andreas Caminada.Overview of the offerTwo nights including a buffet breakfastWelcome drink at the bar36.5° wellbeing package1 × four-course dinner including wine and coffee or tea at IGNIV by Andreas Caminada1 × six-course lunch including aperitif, wine and coffee or tea at Schauenstein Schloss Restaurant HotelLimousine service from the Grand Resort Bad Ragaz to Schauenstein Schloss Restaurant Hotel and backGift from Andreas CaminadaGo back to the e-newsletter
Go back to the e-newsletterNestled on the top floor of the InterContinental Sydney Double Bay, The Rooftop is this summer’s chicest bar destination, offering panoramic views of Double Bay and the harbour.The Rooftop will reopen for the summer season to both hotel guests and visitors from Saturday 1 October 2016.Open daily from midday until one hour past sunset, The Rooftop is a relaxed poolside bar by day and a stylish Mediterranean-inspired lounge in the early evening, offering guests a unique place to soak up the sun or enjoy a refreshing after-work aperitif. With its splitrock sandstone walls and lounges overlooking the pool, The Rooftop is the perfect place to chill out and enjoy the Sydney sunset while taking in the picture-perfect vistas of Double Bay.Visitors can unwind over a glass of champagne, or choose from one of Sydney’s best summer cocktail lists, featuring summer classics such as the Rooftop Mojito and the signature Bayside Martini. There is a summer bar menu with small plates such as citrus-marinated olives, oysters with champagne mignonette, a charcuterie plate and pulled pork sliders. And for those with a sweet tooth, there are treats such as strawberries with vanilla bean cream and a warm, salt caramel-filled doughnut.Guests will be seated on a first come, first served basis (reservations are not available). Children under 18 must be accompanied by an adult and the space may be closed at certain times due to inclement weather. There is no minimum spend for The Rooftop.Go back to the e-newsletter
Go back to the enewsletterBritish Airways has revealed The White Company will be available to customers flying in Club World Business Class between London Heathrow and Sydney from next week. The new product will be introduced on flights departing London on 24 May and from Sydney on 26 May. The partnership will give customers travelling in Club World a great night’s sleep in the sky with a range of quality bedding.The announcement forms part of the airline’s investment plan of more than $1 billion in Club World Business class which includes the arrival of a new restaurant-style premium dining service, with display trolleys allowing customers to select dishes from a choice of freshly prepared starters and desserts, served on beautiful new table settings.Through BA’s partnership with The White Company, the British retailer is supplying bedding and amenity kits in the airline’s Club World Business class cabin. The new bedding includes a luxuriously soft, large pillow and white cotton pillowcase to enhance customers’ comfort and help them sleep better in the sky. Customers will also receive a super-soft woven blanket with satin trim, a luxury duvet and a padded mattress cover to provide them with an extra layer of comfort and improve their quality of sleep.The new Club World Business class amenity kits come in an elegantly designed bag from The White Company and contain products from the retailer’s ‘Restore & Relax Spa Collection’, as well as a super-soft jersey eye-mask, offering a further touch of luxury in the sky.Nicole Backo, British Airways’ regional GM, South West Pacific, said she was pleased to be able to roll out The White Company bedding on the route between London and Sydney.“The much-anticipated arrival of this bespoke bedding will give our Club World customers a better night’s sleep in the sky. The White Company is renowned for quality and style and is the perfect partner for British Airways. This partnership will hold particular appeal for any business travellers who rely on being able to get a good night’s sleep before arriving ready for a busy day,” Backo commented.All flights from Australia land at British Airways’ award-winning home at London Heathrow Terminal 5. All Premium customers can enjoy the facilities at the Arrivals lounge, which includes showers, breakfast and complimentary Elemis spa treatments. Customers can also enjoy bubbling champagne at the exclusive Galleries Club lounges on their departure.The oneworld carrier is investing £4.5 billion for customers over the next five years, covering the installation of the best quality Wi-Fi and power in every seat, fitting 128 long-haul aircraft with new interiors and taking delivery of 72 new aircraft. In January, the airline rolled out a multi-million-pound investment in its World Traveller Economy class catering, introducing an exciting and expanded new menu, which provides more quantity and quality to both meals and great snacking options throughout the flight.Go back to the enewsletter
Go back to the enewsletterHawaiian Airlines is enhancing the check-in experience for guests departing from its hub at Honolulu’s Daniel K. Inouye International Airport (HNL) by assigning dedicated lobbies for international, North America and Neighbour Island flights.Hawaiian’s international check-in operations at HNL are moving from Lobby 3 in Terminal 1 to the nearby Lobby 4 in Terminal 2.The relocation, which will happen in two phases, begins Wednesday (19 December) when all guests travelling to Japan on Hawaiian’s non-stop flights to Narita and Haneda (Tokyo), Kansai (Osaka) and New Chitose (Sapporo) international airports will be directed to check in at Lobby 4. On 9 January, all guests flying to any of Hawaiian’s international destinations, including Japan, South Korea, Australia, New Zealand and Tahiti (as well as American Samoa) will check in at Lobby 4.Also effective 9 January, the check-in for Neighbour Island flights moves to Lobby 3 from Lobby 2, while guests on North America departures will continue to check in at Lobby 2, both located in Terminal 1.Lobby 4 at Honolulu Daniel K. Inouye International Airport receives a blessing“This change will improve international passenger flow throughout our lobbies in time for the busy holiday travel season and we expect greater benefits in the new year as we continue to invest in our guests’ airport experience,” said Jeff Helfrick, Vice President of Airport Operations at Hawaiian Airlines. Hawaiian, which welcomes roughly 32,000 guests each day on over 250 flights systemwide, accounts for more than half of all passenger traffic at HNL. To help make the Lobby 4 transition as smooth as possible, Hawaiian’s Team Kōkua employee volunteers will be positioned at Lobbies 2, 3 and 4 from 19–21 December and from 9–11 January to assist guests. Go back to the enewsletter
4. Trinidad & Tobago, 27 to 28 February 2017The beautiful islands of Trinidad & Tobago throw a huge two-day bash for Carnival that is well known for showcasing the best of Caribbean cuisine and Calypso music, with plenty of joyful steel drums, or ‘pans’ as they’re locally known. The main celebrations happened on larger Trinidad, with ‘Carnival Monday’ seeing the start of the Parade of the Bands in which musicians compete for the carnival crown. If the excitement all gets too much, just head across the water to Tobago, an island ringed with gorgeous beaches, seafood shacks and laid back bars.Find flights to Trinidad & Tobago5. Basel, Switzerland, 6 to 8 March 2017Fasnacht, Switzerland’s version of Carnival, is not only a raucous affair, but also takes place a week after most Mardi Gras celebrations, so if you’ve only just cottoned onto Carnival, Basel’s annual event perfect for a last-minute break. Don’t be fooled by this comparatively short, three-day event, either: there are plenty of masked balls, parades and medieval rituals to experience. Try to catch an outdoor Gugge concert in Marktplatz, Barfüsserplatz or Claraplatz, where marching brass bands congregate to play this unusual local music – dressed as harlequins or toy soldiers, of course. Can’t get enough of the party? Basel made our list of top clubbing cities in Europe.Find flights to Basel Want more heart-pumping events and festivals? We’ve got you covered:World’s best food and drink festivalsFrom juicy BBQ ribs to organic macrobiotic munchies; celebrate all things delicious at any of these international feasts.Five unmissable festivals in ThailandPlanning a trip to Thailand? Time your visit to coincide with one of these incredibly fun festivals and events. Don’t forget your camera!How to do the Edinburgh Fringe FestivalRead our ultimate Edinburgh Fringe guide on everything from where to book your tickets to how to survive the Scottish weather!Skyscanner is the world’s travel search engine, helping your money go further on flights, hotels and car hire. Related10 of the world’s craziest carnivalsCheer up! Yes it’s winter, but this week is officially the start of party season. We celebrate with ten of the world’s craziest carnivals.15 of the world’s best carnivalsBeat the winter blues and get the party started! Carnival season is here so go crazy with 15 of the best carnivals in the world.5 places to party like Prince HarryBy royal decree, we bring you five places where you can party like a prince. Billiards optional. 2. Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, 24 February to 1 March 2017A thoroughly risqué affair, the world-famous Rio Carnival must be seen to be believed. From creative costumes and amazing samba dancing, to mouthwatering street food and drink, Rio knows how to celebrate. Even better, the festivities go on for an extra day, ending on Ash Wednesday, plus there are ‘winner’s parades’ on Saturday 4th March to celebrate the victors of the local samba schools competition. So if you’re having a touch of FOMO, there’s still time to cut yourself a slice of the action. Sticking around after carnival? We’ve got some local tips for great things to do in Rio.Find flights to Rio de Janeiro When is Mardi Gras?Mardi Gras 2017 falls on Tuesday 28th February, though there are usually festivities throughout the week or weekend leading up to the day, and sometimes the week after. Early birds might want to note that Mardi Gras 2018 takes place on February 13.Where to go for Mardi GrasCheck out these famous (and not-so-famous) Carnival destinations around the world.1. New Orleans, Louisiana, 6 January to 28 FebruaryThis is the big one. With carnival traditions dating back to the eighteenth century, and a rich French heritage, New Orleans is a fantastic place to jump headfirst into the party. An estimated 1,000,000 visitors come to New Orleans to celebrate every year, adorning themselves in traditional Mardi Gras costumes of purple, green and gold, throwing long strings of beads over each other and, er, having a lot of picnics. The streets get taken over by more than 50 local groups known as krewes, who put on various floats and parades featuring the best in local Creole and Cajun music. All in all, it’s an exuberant atmosphere that you’d be hard pressed to find anywhere else.Find flights to New Orleans 6. Santa Cruz, Tenerife, 19 February to 5 March 2017Tenerife may be more synonymous with Brits abroad sunning themselves on the beach, but don’t miss the chance to take part in true Canarian culture. The Carnival of Santa Cruz de Tenerife is the biggest celebration on the island and lasts for a whopping three weeks, but you’ll also find Mardi Gras festivals in Puerto de la Cruz and many smaller towns and villages. The parades begin with the election of a Carnival Queen, and go on until the Saturday after Fat Tuesday, so there’s plenty of chances to watch a murga (satirical musical theatre) or dress up in drag alongside the locals. Don’t miss the ‘Burial of the Sardine’, a bizarre ritual taking place on Ash Wednesday, in which a crowd of mourners follow a papier mâché fish through the streets, signifying their abstinence from eating meat during Lent. Take a holiday from the holiday, with our guide to making the perfect island-hopping trip round the Canaries. It may well be necessary after a hectic Mardi Gras.Find flights to Tenerife 7. Mobile, Alabama, 10 to 28 February 2017Though New Orleans is synonymous with Mardi Gras, the city of Mobile, Alabama is considered the birthplace of Mardi Gras in the United States, starting way back in 1703 (before the US was even a country). It’s also one of the longest, going on for a good two weeks before Lent. Amongst the (mostly) family-friendly revelry, make sure you get the chance to throw a Mardi Gras Moon Pie – a local tradition. These marshmallow-filled cookies now come in every flavour under the sun (if you manage to catch one) and there’s even a giant one that’s lit up on the last few nights of the Mobile carnival.Find flights to Mobile 3. Venice, Italy, 11 to 28 February 2017Everyone should attend a Venetian masquerade once in their lives, and 2017 sees the usual Grand Balls take place on the weekend leading up to Mardi Gras (24th to 26th February). The Carnevale di Venezia came into its own back in the seventeenth century, when the Venetian Republic was booming, which explains why costumes from this time are still worn today. It gained notoriety in the best way by being banned until 1979, and nowadays takes over the city in style, but it’s as the sun sets and the candles are lit that this romantic city really comes to life during Carnival. So don your Baroque ball gown and a sequinned Mardi Gras mask and twirl the night away. If after the ball your pockets are feeling a bit light, here are some tasty restaurants and cafes in Venice that won’t eat into your budget.Find flights to Venice ReturnOne wayMulti-cityFromAdd nearby airports ToAdd nearby airportsDepart14/08/2019Return21/08/2019Cabin Class & Travellers1 adult, EconomyDirect flights onlySearch flights Map But first, a quick Mardi Gras A&A…What is Mardi Gras?Mardi Gras means ‘Fat Tuesday’ in French (that’s Shrove Tuesday, or Pancake Day, to you and I) and according to Catholic tradition, is the last day of celebrations before the fasting period of Lent begins. Carniva – or the Italian Carnevale as it’s also known – originally meant ‘farewell to the flesh’ (as many people give up meat for Lent), but has taken on a new meaning over the years: namely wild parties, street parades, flamboyant Mardi Gras costumes and lots of good food. Famous carnivals in Rio, New Orleans and Venice have made Mardi Gras a popular event for travellers from all over the world, and a great excuse for a post-Christmas holiday. 8. Malta & Gozo, 24 to 28 FebruaryOne of our top trending travel destinations for 2017 these small Mediterranean islands have been showing their neighbours how to party for many a year now. Malta Carnival is a boisterous family affair, with most festivities taking place in capital Valletta. Watch out for local bands playing to the crowds from the back of giant fluorescent gorillas and other wacky floats. Looking for a hyper-local and an (even more) off-the-wall Mardi Gras festival? Try the city of Nadur on smaller island of Gozo, where the carnival celebrations are unregulated, so have a reputation for being a little more spontaneous. Expect grotesque Mardi Gras masks and costumes to rival Halloween, eerie parades of silent figures in masks and a festival which goes on until the locals say so.Find flights to Malta
4. Helsinki Design MuseumIf there’s one thing the Scandinavians are famous for, it’s beautiful modern design, and the Helsinki Design Museum provides an in-depth overview of how Finnish design has evolved over the years. The exhibition includes examples of Finnish furniture, clothes, ceramics and glassware from the past 100 years or so, and what’s striking is just how revolutionary the simple, smooth lines of the modern Finnish style were in comparison to the more ornate, traditional designs that came before. After a visit to the museum, it’s all too easy to get carried away and find yourself buying hideously expensive new chairs from the famous Artek store just down the road. You have been warned.*Opening times:** (Sept to May) Closed Mon, Tues 11am – 8pm, Wed to Sun 11am – 6pm; (June to Aug) Mon to Sun 11am – 6pmLocation: Helsinki Design District, Korkeavuorenkatu 23Price: Adults €10, Concessions €5-8 7. Take a culinary tour on Restaurant DayThe first Restaurant Day happened on 21 May 2011. Antti Tuomola, Olli Sirén and Timo Santala, frustrated with the bureaucracy involved in setting up a restaurant, instead decided to create pop-up restaurants for one day only and encouraged others to do the same. The first Restaurant Day featured 45 pop-up restaurants, but since then the idea has exploded, and an estimated 1,000,000 customers have now been served in Helsinki and other cities that have taken up the idea. Helpfully, the Finnish authorities tend to turn a blind eye to the flouting of the bureaucratic rules that would normally prohibit this sort of thing, and instead actively promote the Restaurant Days, which take place four times a year. If you can time your visit for one of these celebrations, you might find yourself eating tapas from the back of a bike, or tucking into freshly baked bagels in someone’s living room. Find out the next dates on the website, or plan your city break for the third Saturday of May, when there’s an especially big food carnival every year to celebrate Restaurant Day’s birthday.8. Senate SquareSenate Square is one of the oldest parts of the city, and this huge piazza is home to a checklist of the most important buildings so it’s a great place to start exploring if you’re just on a short break in Helsinki. Among them are the University of Helsinki, the Government Palace and Helsinki Cathedral, the latter topping the square like an enormous white wedding cake. In the centre is a statue of Czar Alexander II, which became a site of protest during the reign of Nicholas II in the early twentieth century. In response to Nicholas’s attempted ‘Russification’ of Finland, locals protested by laying flowers at the foot of Alexander – the czar who re-established the Diet of Finland in 1863. Senate Square also plays host to concerts and various events throughout the year. 3. See Finnish Art NouveauHelsinki is a thoroughly pleasant city to walk around thanks to its clean, uncrowded streets, but chiefly because it’s packed full of beautiful buildings. Much of the city (around 600 buildings) and pretty much all of the Katajanokka district was built in the Art Nouveau style in the early twentieth century. But Finnish Art Nouveau differs in that buildings tend to be almost fortress-like, yet in pastel colours and with splashes of surprising and intricate decoration – a sculpted balcony here, or an ornate door there. Take a stroll around Katajanokka and keep your eyes peeled for these wonderful architectural flourishes. How to get to HelsinkiThere are direct flights to Helsinki from UK airports like Manchester, and 9 different non-stop routes operate from London everyday in under 3 hours flight-time. Finnair and British Airways run the service from Heathrow, while low-cost airline Norwegian Air flies from Gatwick.Helsinki Vantaa Airport is located 20km from the city centre, with a direct rail connection, public buses and hotel shuttles from nearby airport hotels like Holiday Inn Helsinki-Vantaa Airport and Best Western Airport Hotel Pilotti.Start planning your trip now! Here’s the first step to finding the cheapest flights to Helsinki:ReturnOne wayMulti-cityFromAdd nearby airports ToAdd nearby airportsDepart14/08/2019Return21/08/2019Cabin Class & Travellers1 adult, EconomyDirect flights onlySearch flights Map 5. Hotel KatajanokkaHotel Katajanokka makes for an unlikely place to stay and is a Helsinki attraction in its own right – until 2002 it was a prison. Then Best Western took over the building and knocked the cells together – each of the resulting hotel rooms was originally two to three cells. But otherwise the prison décor remains, so rooms have enormous metal doors and the gantry that was once patrolled by prison guards is now stalked by holidaying families. The enormously thick walls certainly keep the cold and noise out and give you a snug, protected feeling (mostly because you have a key to get out, unlike the previous residents). 9. Eat at SoppakeittioSoppakeittio, which has branches in all three of Helsinki’s market halls, makes arguably the best soup in Finland, if not further afield. The menu for this restaurant changes daily and usually offers just a couple of soups with bread, but they’re always exceptionally tasty, particularly the seafood varieties. Opening times: 11am – 5pm, except SundaysLocations: Hakaniemen kauppahalli, Hietalahden kauppahalli & Vanha kauppahalli (Old Market Hall)Price: Soups from €9 15. Take a trip to TallinnTallinn, the capital of Estonia, is only two-and-a-half hours away from Helsinki by ferry, and it’s easy to get there and back in a day. With its fairy-tale good looks, soaring church spires and medieval buildings, Tallinn makes for a fascinating contrast with the relatively modern buildings of Helsinki. You should have around four hours to explore (unless you opt to stay overnight), which is enough time to admire the colourful buildings of the old town and scamper up Toompea Hill for the view, then grab some dinner before you leave – try Sfäär for a modern contrast to the historic architecture. Read more about what to see and do in our travel guide to Tallinn. 10. Helsinki MarketsOnce you’ve had your soup, take some time to wander around the beautiful wooden stalls of the food markets – the recently refurbished Old Market Hall is probably the highlight, but the Hakaniemi and Hietalahti market halls are almost equally as charming. Round the corner from the Old Market Hall is Helsinki’s Market Square next to the harbour, which is where you’ll find some of the best souvenir and handicrafts shopping in the city.11. Temppeliaukio ChurchOtherwise known as the Rock Church for its unusual design built into, and out of the rockface, this unique building in the quiet Toolo neighbourhood was constructed in 1969 using existing rock as its walls and a copper dome as the roof. It’s not only a House of God, but an incredible concert venue; check for choral and classical shows during your visit.*Opening times:** According to weekly activities; tel. +358 (0)9 2340 5940 to hear the scheduleLocation: Lutherinkatu 3, TooloPrice: Adults €3, Under 18s free 6. Uspenski CathedralWant to see Helsinki from on high? Head to this Eastern Orthodox Church set on a hilltop overlooking the city, harbour and the Baltic Sea beyond. It’s a pretty sight itself, decked out in the ornate architectural style and capped with gold domes that give more than a hint of Finland’s past as a Russian outpost. Look inside to admire the richly decorated and colourful vaults, altars and cupolas, and Byzantine detailing, unlike anything you’ll see in Western Europe.Opening times: Mon to Fri 9:30am – 4pm, Sat & Sun 12pm – 3pm, closed on Mondays between Oct and AprilLocation: Pormestarinrinne 1, Katajanokka peninsulaPrice: Free 12. Seurasaari Open-Air MuseumOne of many islands that make up Helsinki’s archipelago, Seurasaari is a gorgeous oasis of green in the Baltic Sea. Though it’s a beautiful spot to explore on your own, visitors tend to come for the open-air museum dedicated to preserving traditional Finnish life, featuring farm and cottage buildings taken from all over the country, and demonstrating architectural styles spanning four centuries. *Opening times:** (15 to 31 May & 1 to 15 Sept) Mon to Fri 9am – 3pm, Sat & Sun 11am – 5pm. (June to Aug) Mon to Sun 11am – 5pmLocation: SeurasaariPrice: Adults (summer) €9, (May & Sept) €6. Children 7-17yrs €3 Search for flights to Helsinki1. Eat a reindeerReindeer have been a staple part of the traditional Finnish diet since time immemorial, along with fish, game and berries. And they’re delicious, too. In fact Finnish cuisine is delicious full stop, and the standard of food in restaurants across the city is top-notch… along with the prices. That said, it’s generally no more expensive to eat out here than in an upscale London restaurant; a particular recommendation is Ravintola Aino, which serves traditional Finnish food, including reindeer, with a modern twist. 14. AteneumThis elegant white building on Rautatientori Square houses part of the Finnish National Gallery’s collection of national and international art. The Ateneum is the best place to get a handle on the accomplished back catalogue of Finnish art, often overlooked in European art circles, with more than 4300 paintings and 750 sculptures, as well as special exhibitions on graphic artists, architects and designers.*Opening times:** Tue/Fri 10am – 6pm; Weds/Thurs 10am – 8pm, Sat/Sun 10am – 5pm; closed MondaysLocation: Rautatientori Square, Kaivokatu 2Price: Adults €15, Concessions €13, Under 18s free 2. Suomenlinna FortressSuomenlinna is a UNESCO World Heritage Site that makes for a fun day trip. For a start, it’s a sea fortress, spread across five islands and only reachable by ferry (don’t worry, it’s only ten minutes from the city!). Construction on the fortress was begun in 1758 by the Swedes (who occupied Finland at the time) as a defence against the Russians. Nowadays, it’s a popular picnicking spot for Finns, as well as the location for a number of artists’ studios, an arts centre and even a theatre. Clambering around the canons, tunnels and fortifications is enormous fun for the young at heart…and did we mention that there’s a WWII submarine you can go inside? Guided walks are offered in English on Saturday and Sunday so it’s perfect for weekend breaks in Helsinki. See the website for opening times of individual museums. 13. Sibelius MonumentHelsinki’s unusual attractions continue, with this abstract sculpture dedicated to Finnish composer Jean Sibelius, created in 1967. It’s worth a look to marvel at more than 600 steel pipes constructed in a light, organic form by artist Eila Hiltunen, mirroring the nearby trees in Sibelius Park.
Singapore — Aerion is evaluating preliminary results of a new global market survey indicating strong appeal of the Aerion supersonic design. The study is the first by the company in five years and was undertaken as part of its ongoing dialogue with potential OEM partners, according to a press release received by Elite Traveler.“It was time to take a fresh look at the potential for the Aerion supersonic jet, taking into account the globalization of the business jet market,” said Aerion Vice Chairman Brian Barents. “The Asian market, for example, was barely considered in our last study five years ago. Today, the region is a major source of demand for long-range jets.”The new study is being conducted by Alden & Associates, a respected firm in the area of business jet market research. Preliminary data confirms Aerion’s earlier research which projected a ten-year market for about 300 supersonic jets.“The preliminary data validate our business assumptions,” said Barents. “Considering the effects of the global economic downturn on purchasing psychology, these results, coupled with our current backlog, demonstrate the strong desire for supersonic transportation.”Alden & Associates will make a fuller report to Aerion in the coming weeks. Aerion Chairman Robert Bass commented: “As we move forward in our discussions with potential OEM partners they are encouraged and we are encouraged by this clear indication of pent-up demand for supersonic transportation as defined by the Aerion jet.”