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News : International Last Updated: May 12, 2011 - 10:08 AM


Markets News: New Visa Waiver Scheme seen as boost for Irish tourism; Hedge fund billionaire guilty of insider trading in US
By Finfacts Team
May 11, 2011 - 5:47 PM

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Tourism Ireland chief executive Niall Gibbons, Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Leo Varadkar and Minster for Justice and Defence at the launch of the visa waiver scheme for travellers with UK visas, Dublin, May 11, 2011.

Irish Tourism: The Irish Hotels Federation (IHF) today welcomed as a key piece of the tourism jigsaw the decision by the Government to introduce a visa waiver scheme for travellers with a UK visa who wish to visit Ireland. It states that, by eliminating the difficulty and expense associated with a separate Irish visa application, the programme offers a welcome marketing opportunity to attract visitors from important emerging markets planning to visit the UK.

On the back of the newly announced visa waiver scheme, a tourism trade mission departs this weekend for a five-day sales blitz overseas. The mission’s purpose will be to encourage tour operators and travel agents from the Asia-Pacific region to include the island of Ireland in future holiday programmes.

The Tourism Ireland-led delegation will participate in Destination Britain & Ireland (DEBI), the biggest B2B travel trade event in the region, and meet with 120 top-producing tour operators, travel agents and travel media from 15 emerging markets including India, China, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, South Africa and the United Arab Emirates.

Commenting on the opportunity, Tourism Ireland chief executive, Niall Gibbons, said:
“With the Government’s recently announced imaginative tourist visa waiver scheme making it easier for tourists from emerging economies to visit Ireland, the time is right to step up promotion in markets in the Asia-Pacific region.

“The Asia-Pacific region offers exciting possibilities for tourism to the island of Ireland in the medium-to long-term. The United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) has forecast that the Asia-Pacific region will be one of the fastest-growing regions for outbound travel in the next ten years.

“While we are working hard in the traditional markets of GB and the US to capitalise on the huge international interest arising from the visits of Queen Elizabeth and President Obama, Tourism Ireland is also very active right now in markets like India to raise the profile of the island of Ireland as a premier holiday and Business Tourism destination. Promotions like DEBI are an invaluable part of that marketing effort”.

Internships: The Minister for Social Protection, Joan Burton, has announced a new National Internship Scheme for 5,000 people who are currently on the live register. The Scheme will provide work experience opportunities for jobseekers in the private, public or community and voluntary sectors.

The 5,000 places are part of 20,900 new and additional places in training, education and work experience programmes announced as part of the Government’s Jobs Initiative. They give effect to commitments contained in The Programme for Government to give priority to getting unemployed people back into work.

Participants will receive €50 in addition to their existing social welfare payment and they will retain all of their secondary benefits. The Scheme will not displace existing workers.

Speaking today, Minister Burton said “the National Internship Scheme will provide 5,000 people who are currently on the live register with valuable, and meaningful, employment experience when it is launched on July 1st.”

Developed Countries 'In Trouble': "The countries that are in trouble right now are developed... that is to say when Ireland comes out and says we're going to cut the budget people believe them... that's not the case when Argentina restructures," Mark Dow, portfolio manager at Pharo Fund told CNBC:

UK Inflation: The Bank of England today raised its medium-term forecast for inflation to just under 2% today and said it could soon rise to 5% before falling back, potentially paving the way for a rate rise this year.

The Bank of England based its quarterly forecasts in its May inflation report on the assumption that market interest rates would rise to 0.8% in the last three months of this year and reach 1% in early 2012.

Insider Trading: Bloomberg reports that Raj Rajaratnam, the Sri Lankan-born hedge-fund tycoon and Galleon Group co-founder at the centre of a US insider-trading crackdown, was found guilty of all 14 counts against him in the largest illegal stock-tipping case in a generation.

A jury of eight women and four men in Manhattan returned its verdict today after hearing evidence that Rajaratnam, 53, engaged in a seven-year conspiracy to trade on inside information from corporate executives, bankers, consultants, traders and directors of public companies including Goldman Sachs Group. He gained $63.8m, prosecutors said.

US Markets

In New York Wednesday, the Dow tumbled 157 points or 1.23% to 12,603.

The S&P 500 slid 1.27% and the Nasdaq slipped 1.17%.

Live US Indices

Rajaratnam Guilty on All Counts (16mins):

European Markets

The pan-European Dow Jones Stoxx 600 rose 0.29% Wednesday.

In Dublin the ISEQ has gained 0.68%.

Elan is up 2.69%; Kenmare Resources has risen 9.09% or 5 cent.

European benchmarks

Irish share prices

Euribor Interest Rates

Commodities

Crude oil for June delivery is currently trading on the Chicago York Mercantile Exchange (CME/Nymex) at $99.85 per barrel down $4.03 from Tuesday's close. In London, Brent for June delivery is trading on the International Commodities Exchange at $113.96.

Currencies

The euro is trading at $1.4235 and at £0.8689.

Gold

Gold is trading at $1,497.80 per oz in New York.

The Finfacts Gold Page

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