How States Can Beat the Recession and Encourage Job Growth

While the economic scenario within the United States continue to exhibit discouraging figures, States are looking for ways to change this situation by taking matters into their out hands.

With initiatives such as tax incentives to attract businesses and developing a sustainable business infrastructure for new businesses, various states are optimizing innovative techniques to stimulate business growth and enhance the job market.

After conducting various studies, economists have been able to identify the following areas that can be focused on to facilitate a faster growth of economy –

  1. Livability and overall productivity
  2. Development of sustainable trade infrastructures
  3. Overall infrastructure with respect to transport and urban development
  4. Lighter tax Structures and  regulatory compliance requirements
  5. Ways to encourage innovation and entrepreneurship.
  6. Education and Talent Development

With an aim to acquire a competitive edge, it is essential for states to get proactive, identify their limitations and find ways to eliminate them. It is highly crucial that states take on initiatives to foster talent and create business communities where technology is appropriately leveraged for long-term growth and sustainability.

A number of states have been able to employ relevant strategies to optimize their strengths and minimize their weaknesses for overall economic growth and enhancement of job markets. Louisiana jobs, for example, have been able to successfully leverage opportunities through their thriving export sector.

Here is how various states have been able to tread on the path of long-term economic success by focuses on one or more of these key areas –

  1. Livability and Productivity – With abundant availability of natural recourses, the states of Nevada and Wyoming have been able to create productive business environments that foster creation of new jobs.
  2. 2.      Development of Sustainable Trade Infrastructures – Agriculture and Energy are among the most thriving sectors in the state of Louisiana. As the only port in all of the United States that is in the position of handle ‘super ships’, the jobs in LA have been highly dependent on the trade industry here. In addition to this, in spite of being land-locked, Utah has been able to lead as an exporter of a myriad of products to the United Kingdom and Hong Kong.
  3. 3.      Infrastructure – By offering reliable roadways, sophisticated utility services and other urban infrastructure, states such as Florida and Nevada have been able to attract a myriad of businesses into their states. Nevada is known to have over 9% of the residents connected to high-speed internet.
  4. 4.      Tax and Compliance – With the help of a ‘Better Government’ initiative, South Dakota has been able minimize red-tape and create a highly business-friendly environment. Additionally, sales-tax exemptions for specific industries have allowed Wyoming to attract a range of businesses into their state.
  5. 5.      Entrepreneurship – With a strong infrastructure for R&D in Maryland, the state has been able to offer well paying jobs in science and technology. Colorado is also a highly preferred state to set up tech businesses and startup ventures.

Finally, talent development with the help of high-achieving educational institutions and efficient placement methods has suggested major contribution to the economy of Florida. Jobs in LA and even Massachusetts are highly organized with the help of full-service career centers and other such initiatives which hone the work force and channel them to the correct opportunities.



Source by America

Derivatives Market in Zimbabwe & Economic Development

The Zimbabwean economy is now on its way to economic recovery, and therefore it has to welcome and introduce some economic recovery tools which encompass the whole economy and interlink various economic sectors. There is need to introduce derivatives markets in the economy (also strengthening the entire Financial sector) which previously have managed to pave a way into the economy, but due to some reasons Barbican bank was suspended from operations. The Zimbabwe Stock Exchange is the second largest after Johannesburg Stock exchange in Africa, and hence its development should not be stagnant rather it should be taken to the next level. Modern derivative markets have their intellectual roots in the research of Black, Scholes, and Merton in the early 1970s. The World Bank and IBM were among the first institutions that in 1981 developed derivatives and swapped loans of different currencies. Derivatives are products whose values are derived from one or more basic variables called bases. These bases can be underlying assets (for example forex, equity, etc), bases or reference rates. Remolona (1993), defined financial derivatives as the instruments that derive their prices from the performance of underlying cash markets, specifically money and bond markets, the foreign exchange market and stock markets. For both the organized exchanges (e.g Chicago Board of Trade) and over-the-counter markets, financial derivatives have grown strongly. Financial derivative markets seem to have grown much the way any financial innovation might be expected to grow as it has increasing acceptance among investors, however the speed and direction is governed by particular demands for liquidity enhancing and risk transferring tools.

There is a common relationship between financial market development and economic development despite that many researchers have been debating on the causal relationship of the two.  However, as far as investment is concerned, financial markets should be well developed and transferring to economic development, since excess funds will be channeled towards capital goods rather than consumption goods. The steady state path that a normal economy should follow comprises of a reasonable trade off between capital levels and consumption level, as explained by the Ramsey’s Rule. For the Zimbabwean economy rate of consumption of non-capital goods is far greater than the growth of capital. Hence as long as investment opportunities are limited, then development of capital is slow. Since the 1980s, international capital markets have undergone unprecedented changes and this growth of capital markets has been spurred by the pressing need for capital, which is now viewed as an essential tool for long-term economic growth.

As supported by Professor Philippe Jorion (1995), derivatives markets are an integral part of the economy’s financial system and hence economic development. Their important role can be expressed through three key economic functions they bring in namely; risk management, price discovery and transactional efficiency. Risk management is brought in as investors, corporations and even countries hedge themselves against financial and future risks. Derivates operates just the way insurance does, thus through hedging individuals and corporation will manage to control themselves against business and economic factors that are beyond their control.

Price discovery is enhanced due to the ability of derivatives markets to provide information about market clearing prices and hence bringing in economic efficiency in the overall economy. Economic efficiency is promoted by futures and options exchanges which widely distribute equilibrium prices that reflect the supply and demand conditions prevailing. If all stakeholders have the knowledge of these, they will be in a position to make informed decisions. Transactional efficiency comes because with derivative markets the cost of transacting in the financial market is eventually lowered, leading to investments becoming more productive transmitting to a higher economic growth rate. Thus, derivatives have both social benefits and economic benefits.

The Asian derivative markets currently account for almost a third of worldwide foreign exchange and over 40% of equity derivatives are trading, with Korea hosting the world’s largest derivatives exchange and India has the world’s fastest growing exchange. Asian capital markets have been made more competitive by derivative products yielding some developmental benefits. To minimize potential threats to financial stability, policy makers should learn to emphasise good governance, regulation, risk management through central counterparts and also monitoring of FX and credit derivatives, especially at public sector banks and corporations.

Derivative markets have spread globally in the last quarter century from just 2 only to about 50 in 2007, Baluch and Ariff (2007). This made it interesting to research on their contribution to economic growth. A research by Baluch and Ariff (2007) indicated that the risk transfer function of the derivative markets is a contribution to economic growth. And it is crucial to note that the liquidity level of underlying spot market is a crucial factor for the success of derivative markets. Other economic functions that derivatives market performs include that they help in transferring risks from risk adverse people to risk oriented people, discovery of future as well as current prices, they catalyze entrepreneurial activity, they increase the volume traded in markets because of participation of risk adverse people in greater numbers and they increase savings and investment in the long run.

Generally the major driving force behind growth of financial derivatives include the increased volatility in asset prices in financial markets, increased integration of national financial markets with the international markets, advanced cheap communication facilities, more sophisticated risk management tools development, providing economic agents a wider choice of risk management strategies. As financial innovation continues performance of derivatives increase so as the benefits, the Indian financial system developed very much from innovation since 1980’s.

In conclusion, it has to be noted that bank failures have often arisen from excessive credit exposure to particular borrowers or groups of borrowers that were vulnerable to the same shocks. The further development of markets for transferring credit risk could, therefore, improve the stability and efficiency of the financial system, and hence the economy.



Source by Bonga Wellington Garikai

Analysis of Governance Issues in the Housing Market in Sierra Leone

MACRO-ECONOMIC AND POLITICAL ENVIRONMENT 

The sluggish financial and economic progress of 2008, under the Koroma administration, nevertheless holds the possibility of strong and broad-based economic growth as the economy struggles to rebuild from the war years, together with moderate inflation levels. Over the medium term, any improvement in key sectors will offer hope that the economy will bottom out of aid dependency, given credible internal reform, strong policy-making and institutional investment. The country’s macroeconomic and financial policies devised and put to work within the context of the Poverty Reduction Growth Facility (PRGF) arrangement show the potential to accelerate trends that are promoting broad-based economic recovery.

The current democratic dispensation has created an enabling opportunity for the administration of Koroma to make a significant step in advancing economic and social development. Even better is the concept of “public value” and the “strategic triangle” approach adopted by the British international agency, Public Administration International, to have each Ministry and Department of the new administration in Sierra Leone to address and align questions of strategic goals and priorities in terms of public value outcomes to be achieved (Public Administration International). But the pervading deficiencies in the public administration are not a positive indication of good governance.

An aggressive effort, however, to involve the Diaspora resource in national development is gaining significance with the administration—a strategy likely to be more helpful. The current Diaspora engagement has opportunities to it for the economy and businesses. In addition, the PRGF recovery tool used by the Government of Sierra Leone—monetary and fiscal stimuli—will be relatively effective under the circumstances. This strategy of engaging the Diaspora has put the Koroma administration model of a free-market economy in the public interest.

With this new development in Sierra Leone’s political environment, the financial system is seen to be promising; and the regulatory framework, as having the potential to be fixed to curb widespread corruption. Now, searching for growth, the Koroma administration is opening up to ideas from the Diaspora to a degree that differentiates it from previous administrations. The government is turning a historic corner and heading into a period in which the role of the Diaspora will be formidable. The Office of Diaspora Affairs which has literally been recognized as an official agency of the government and is working “towards linking Sierra Leoneans from the Diaspora to different business opportunities, agencies, ministries, and departments in Sierra Leone” (Office of Diaspora Affairs) can be made to work better. The Office of Diaspora Affairs’ Diaspora Trust Fund, for instance, as a development vehicle for Diasporans to make an impact can be sufficiently used with specific terms of reference to mobilize Sierra Leoneans in the Diaspora to pool their remittances to buy into state-owned enterprises (SOEs) in Sierra Leone that are slated for privatization.

As it is the case, President Koroma has been quite open-minded, as well as the appeal of his style of democracy, appears to be restorative. Although Sierra Leone is fortunate that her governance problems have now being assumed with the promise inherent in the election of this insurance broker as president, historical forces—and the endemic nature of corruption in society—will pose a serious threat to his presidency regardless.

Indeed, the macroeconomic outlook is promising. The country shows the promise to benefit economically from the PRGF arrangement but only with unwavering commitment by the APC administration. The real estate sector is a growth market in Sierra Leone if given the attention it deserves. The export markets have the potential to grow as well and the overall growth rate of the tourism market and the service industry can also do very well with good governance. But the country is still rather stressed by unwilling cabinet ministers and public servants.

The balance of payments with higher merchandize imports is seemingly showing an increase accounted for mainly by an increase in imports of machinery and transport equipment, chemicals and manufactured goods; and mineral fuel and lubricants constituting the largest share of total imports look encouraging. Exports growth shows potential with diamond and gold exports forming by far the largest share of total exports. This relatively promising balance of payments position gives the country the opportunity to solidify its strategic advantages as the government struggles to rebuild. At the same time, this PRGF arrangement and the growing balance of payments may lead to a stable economy. Corruption minefields may be diminished, which may quicken the growth of the economy. And it is likely that, with Koroma less distracted by a corrupt cabinet, his administration will see more clearly than its predecessor that strengthening the economy by addressing corruption head on should become his government’s most important good governance strategy. The administration should now truly show commitment to lead efforts to improve Sierra Leone’s Human Development Index rating and expand the benefits of sound economic management to be felt at the household level in the form of improved income and job prospects as well as improved basic services that support the growth and productivity of the informal sector on which 80% of the active working population survive.

UNDERUTILIZED HOUSING MARKET SECTOR

Sierra Leoneans are squeezed by a confluence of pressures, especially those with low incomes and uncertain formal access to secure land. There are images of famished existence seen in many places. Kroo Bay, for instance,is one of Sierra Leone’s largest informal settlements, with an estimated population of about 10,000 inhabitants. It is also the most impoverished and neglected area, with no supply of drinkable water, no electricity and lacking all public services. Kroo Bay is part of the urban core, located on the coastline in central Freetown. Informal settlements are also present in the Bormeh, Government Wharf and Susan’s Bay easements and on both private and public lands. The characteristics of these settlements share common features that are more evident in some areas than others. They are located on marginal land (including under bridges and flyovers) with poor drainage and extremely poor housing conditions with few foundations, makeshift roofs and impermanent building materials.

The government has a lot of work to do to make the housing sector in Sierra Leone viable. The country’s housing market crisis portends a combination of a much disorganized land tenure system and poorly developed mortgage market. The disorganized land tenure system reflects the Ministry of Land’s overly corrupt handling of land estates. The poorly developed mortgage market reflects, among other factors, a weakness in housing and nonresidential construction in Sierra Leone. Policy makers apparently lack appreciation for a stable mortgage market and has not created the enabling environment to encourage banks to reform bank business models and practices to accommodate the intricacies of commercial and mortgage banking. But it is obvious that access to land and housing for most Sierra Leoneans is still tantamount to the ultimate form of social security. It is for this reason that most urban and rural Sierra Leoneans would sell their houses only under the direst of circumstances, and they are generally comfortable with customary ownership of land. In reality, widely shared social values affect attitudes towards the marketability of land and housing.

Escalating prices on land with legitimate titles on the one hand, and multiple disputed sales of land with phony titles on the other, are especially inconvenient risks, especially in urban areas. A general lack of security, whether social, legal, or economic, is inimical to financing housing, and land problems in Sierra Leone represent the highest risk to the development of a vibrant housing system. Land banking by developing an integrated management information system with detailed property information for property development is essentially one critical response to the current inefficient land management system. Fundamentally, this requires also a sophisticated construction management and loan product development program in place.

Sierra Leone does not have a source of home loan money. Even though the Sierra Leone Housing Corporation (SALHOC) as a parastatal (semi official) body that “follows government housing policies is designed to create partnerships with the private sector, NGOs and the public sector to make housing services accessible to all sectors of society, particularly the poor” (Report on Country of Return Information), it does not have a matured mortgage operation that provides borrowers with major mortgage loans.

Facing the underutilized housing market in Sierra Leone, the government can act responsibly by promoting the growth of home ownership and facilitating the provision of a secondary mortgage market. This is how Fannie Mae succeeded to help millions of Americans achieve the dream of home ownership. A secondary mortgage market exists in the buying and selling of a mortgage from one lender to another. A bank or mortgage company that provides a loan turns around and sells that mortgage to the government parastatal that has to be properly set up to handle such purchases. This frees up their cash to make another mortgage loan. And the cycle of growth is expanded and sustained in this manner. The idea and concept worked for Fannie Mae, SALHOC can therefore adapt some features of the Fannie Mae concept to set up its mortgage operation in Sierra Leone as a privately held, stock ownership company that will promote the growth of the housing industry by making it possible for many low-to-middle income Sierra Leoneans to own homes. Investors, especially Sierra Leoneans at home and in the Diaspora can purchase stock in the Sierra Leone Housing Corporation, and this will not only increase their own wealth, but will also help to fund the home ownership possibilities for a new generation of Sierra Leoneans. Through the issuance of mortgage backed securities, for instance, the reformed Sierra Leone Housing Corporation can guarantee investors a return on their investment, and at the same time, providing a source of funding for issuing further mortgages. This provides the nation’s lenders with a steady stream of cash to continue to make mortgages available to the consumer thus supporting a steady and continual cycle of growth.

With a sustained flood of mortgage money, there will be a growth in residential and commercial real estate. Most Sierra Leoneans are squeezed by a variety of pressures, especially low income individuals and those with uncertain access to secure land. Urbanization has been a contributing factor to poor housing with more than 60% of communities in metropolitan Freetown, for instance, living in informal housing. There is sufficient evidence, however, to suggest that communities are able to become sufficiently organized to drive settlement upgrading in partnership with government and the private sector.

ROUGH-AND-TUMBLE OF SIERRA LEONE’S ECONOMIC POLITICS 

It is increasingly evident that the government has to work to stave off a sustained slump in Sierra Leone’s economy. The healing wounds of war are still being used by politicians to justify Sierra Leone’s rating in the Index of Economic Freedom which remains significantly below the world average in seven areas. The judicial system is riddled with corruption (as is virtually all of the civil service). The labor market is highly inflexible and Sierra Leone is one of the world’s least free. Liberalization of the trade regime is progressing, but import taxes and fees, non-transparent regulations, inefficient customs implementation, inadequate infrastructure, and corruption add to the cost of trade. Sierra Leone has relatively high tax rates. The budget deficit has been somewhat reduced, but better spending management is needed as reiterated by the president himself that “it is no secret that due to … poor management of national resources, Sierra Leone has lagged behind in the areas of social and economic development” (Sierra Leone Web).

Inflation is high, averaging 10.6 percent between 2004 and 2006. Unstable prices explain most of the monetary freedom score. Corruption is perceived as pervasive. Sierra Leone ranks 142nd out of 163 countries in Transparency International’s Corruption Perceptions Index for 2006. International companies cite corruption in all branches of government as an obstacle to investment. Official corruption is exacerbated by low civil service salaries and a lack of accountability. Inflexible employment regulations hinder overall productivity growth and employment opportunities. Sierra Leone’s labor freedom is among the world’s 20 lowest. (Source: 2008 Index of Economic Freedom).

The Koroma administration has a responsibility to clear up the clouds of economic gloom and despair which have gathered over Sierra Leone’s economy for decades. The administration has to propel the engines that could pull the nation out of her chronic gloom. Even though some fear the worst: that “the real GDP growth for Sierra Leone is forecast to slow from an estimated 6% in 2008 to 4.8% in 2009, as post-war recovery tails off and the global financial crisis reduces demand for Sierra Leone’s exports” (Economist Intelligence Unit) as reported by the Economist Intelligence Unit, a division of London’s Economist Group; all is not lost.

The pessimism may be overdone. Sierra Leone is still one of the most resourceful parts of the world in terms of natural abundance. Even though the country faces such daunting economic difficulties that do not seem to go away, Koroma only has to prove the pessimists who see the regime change as all mouth and no trousers—that much of it made up by old budget commitments, double-counting and empty promises—wrong. He has to prove that it was not mainly propaganda; and to convince Sierra Leone’s own people and the outside world that his government is serious about stimulating development and is ready to take radical steps to spend infrastructure money and providing a decent social safety net for Sierra Leoneans, especially in housing, education and health care.

FINANCIAL SECTOR AND THE HOUSING MARKET 

Sierra Leone’s financial sector holds promise for reaching broader and deeper into the housing market. The vast majority of Sierra Leoneans evidently do not have access to asset-backed finance or mortgage finance, but low and moderate income households are beginning to participate broadly in the maturation of the microfinance industry. The (PRSF), initiated in 2002, is one indication of the commitment of the government, the Bank of Sierra Leone, and the donor community to support financial sector development. The PRGF project was undertaken primarily to support concessional lending practices and debt relief under the joint Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) Initiative. The targets and policy conditions in a PRGF-supported program are drawn from the country’s PRSP.  “Key policy measures and structural reforms aimed at poverty reduction and growth are identified and prioritized during the PRSP process” (IMF).

There is apparent need for improved housing conditions in Sierra Leone, especially for lower income Sierra Leoneans. There are potentials for the sector if the government could commission the Sierra Leone Housing Corporation and interested investors with substantial microfinance experience to assess trends in public and private sector delivery of affordable housing in the country and to make strategic recommendations for tangible, replicable and sustainable interventions that would enhance the amelioration of housing conditions for the majority of Sierra Leoneans. A technical assessment to broadly examine the trends, risks and opportunities to meet the critical challenge of affordable housing in Sierra Leone is critical at this point in time. The specific objectives for such an assessment is to:

* analyze the strategies, experience and roles (public and private) for the delivery of affordable housing in Sierra Leone;

* determine the main reasons for any constraints in the delivery of affordable housing solutions (including costs, appropriate construction approaches and materials, finance and land);

* understand the extent and the characteristics of the potential market for affordable housing in Sierra Leone; and

* recommend tangible strategies to the Government of Sierra Leone and other potential key players to meet current demand for affordable housing, focusing on the appropriate housing typologies, financing, and the legal and regulatory framework.

The government should be open-minded in terms of understanding of the optimal factors that comprise an “enabling environment” in which a vibrant and equitable housing sector may develop. A stable macro-economic and political environment in which low and moderate income people are able to create effective demand for housing finance and other inputs into the housing improvement process is a necessary condition for such an enabling environment. The right policies to ensure efficient and equitable land markets will promote a sense of security for all sectors of society and therefore spur household investment. Such supportive legal and regulatory frameworks will also promote broad community and private sector participation in housing development and upgrading processes.

The way out of the current economic woes of Sierra Leone is to have a macroeconomic policy designed to accelerate the process of growth and transformation of the economy under competitive conditions. A stable political environment has already been created with the successful democratic dispensation of 2007. In spite of some economic risks due to increases in oil prices, Sierra Leone possesses the potential for a stable macro-economic and socio-political environment under which an affordable housing sector could take off. The government only has to embark on a comprehensive macroeconomic stability strategy. The main thrust is to create wealth and reduce poverty as defined in the government’s PRSP, which was introduced to ensure the country benefited from debt cancellation. The PRSP supposed to be a demonstration of the government’s long-term commitment to reduce poverty and enhance economic and social growth in both rural and urban communities. Therefore, a developer-driven and household-led incremental housing or community-led settlement upgrading should be aligned with this strategy which seeks to protect the vulnerable segments of society. Improving public expenditure managementandfiscal resources mobilization; and pursuing price and exchange rate stability are measures needing to be put in place by the government. The administration has to keep trends in the key economic parameters stable in order to grow the economy and to keep fiscal position in line with budget projections and revenue generation by the responsible agencies.

The bottom line is that the economy has to create jobs in order for people to afford a range of housing opportunities. Positively, Sierra Leone’s major exports of bauxite, diamond and gold enjoyed favorable prices in 2007 and 2008 which, together with inflows from both foreign donors and private remittances, have helped to improve the country’s import cover and reduced exchange rate volatility. The impact of remittances is equally phenomenal. Official private remittances are growing according to an International Monetary Fund (IMF) report on remittances (IMF).  Even though, therefore, Sierra Leone’s financial system has been a shadow of itself for many decades and the depreciation of the Leone has been dramatic, the potentials for growth exist. There are possibilities of investment opportunities with predictable inflation, exchange and interest rates to impact the housing market in Sierra Leone.

Reducing inflation to single digits thus has to be one of the corner stones of the present government. For this to happen, Koroma and his government must seriously commit to creating a dynamic private sector to fuel economic growth and improve people’s living standards. This commitment should be expressed in terms of closer collaboration and partnership with the private sector and the privatization of many state-owned enterprises (including the Sierra Leone Housing Corporation (SALHOC), the Sierra Leone Airport Authority, the Sierra Leone Telecommunications Company (SLTC), the Sierra Leone State Lottery Company, the Guma Valley Water Company Limited, the National Power Authority, the Sierra Leone Ports Authority, Sierra Leone Postal Services, the Sierra Leone Commercial Bank (SLCB), the National Insurance Company (NIC), the Rokel Commercial Bank (RCB), and the Sierra Leone Road Transport Corporation (SLRTC). In line with this vision, the mandate of the Sierra Leone Investment and Export Promotion Agency (SLIEPA), which now replaces SLEDIC, in addition to providing a range of services that aim at assisting exporters to source market and penetrate overseas markets, should be expanded to facilitate the development and growth of a competitive and vibrant private sector and also to help reduce the cost of doing business in Sierra Leone.

The land ownership system in Sierra Leone which is governed by a complex operation of customary, statutory, and common law also needs to be given considerable attention. Corruption and landdisputes, especially involving public lands in urbanizing areas, have been experiencedby significant majorities. The lack of uniformity, complex codes,administrative requirements, and the dualism in land tenure is a risk to an effective housing finance market due to the uncertainties and litigation potential. What could be an interesting response to the current inefficient land management system is to manage a comprehensive land banking system for an efficiently coordinated property development program. It is not clear at this time what the relationship is or will be between the government’s inventory-taking exercise and the current land banking efforts. Asignificant development within such a program is the National Social Security and Insurance Trust (NASSIT) and its underlying interests in the country’s housing sector.

The National Social Security and Insurance Trust (NASSIT) is a quasi-public entity involved in the government’s inventory-taking exercise and the current land banking efforts.  “It is a Statutory Public Trust set up by the National Social Security and Insurance Trust Act No. 5 of 2001 to administer Sierra Leone’s National Pension Scheme. The trust was established to provide retirement and other benefits to meet the contingency needs of workers and their dependants” (NASSIT). It is the sole legally authorized institution that manages a pension scheme for workers in Sierra Leone, in accordance with Act No. 5 of 2001, which requires Sierra Leonean employees of companies operating in Sierra Leone to be members of the scheme. In addition, to collection of contributions (30% of the insured’s average earnings for the first 15 years of coverage, plus 2% of the insured’s average earnings for each additional 12-month period) and administration of benefits. It also manages the assets of the scheme.  These assets include real property of various forms, including the development of a housing stock of formal rental units in the country in a joint venture with the American firm ‘Regimanuel Gray Constructors’ which has a plan of investing over 50 Million US Dollars in the country’s housing market in five years.

POLICY RECOMMENDATIONS 

One is tempted to deliver a whole host of recommendations for improving affordable housing policy and processes in Sierra Leone. A policy that stimulates more innovative and more intensive use of land in or nearby urban centers or in built-up environments can help the housing market in Sierra Leone. The national housing market should be understood and analyzed according to various market segments to enable more people to benefit from housing investment, whether personal or institutional.  A developer-driven housing conventional strategy for the supply of separate and semi-detached housing can be geared toward the formally employed professionals—a segment that could be served rather efficiently by the real estate development industry and the commercial banks, with mortgage finance. The majority of Sierra Leoneans are building, extending and improving their houses as circumstances and household resources warrant. Financing incremental housing may therefore be facilitated through forging a link with commercial banks.

The government should also facilitate informal settlement upgrading for areas like Kroo Bay, Bormeh, Susan’s Bay, and Government Wharf by the different groups that reside there with technical support from specialists in this field. Such a decision will release an enormous amount of good will. The ensuing results will be striking.  The country needs a well managed settlement upgrading and “de-densification” or resettlement of families program.

Wholesale financing arrangement between mainstream commercial banks and other qualifying private institutions that will ensure sustained funding for the market segment of incremental housing is also strategic. Such an arrangement takes advantage of the proportional benefits of each level in the finance system as well as the strengths of government. Market-related interest rates that will be charged at both the wholesale and retail levels, and accompanied by sound financial and risk management, will permit the possibility of an enabling financial sector integration. The use of market-related interest rates will enable the wholesale operation to gear additional private savings from other private institutions and develop a sound secondary market. Likewise, more low-income households will have the opportunity to establish sound, transferable credit histories and become repeat borrowers.

Also, a privatized Sierra Leone Housing Corporation can be very instrumental in institutionalizing the modern mortgage system in Sierra Leone. The Sierra Leone Housing Corporation can be transformed to a leading home loan supplier in lending to underserved populations in Sierra Leone. If done well, the reengineered Corporation can be a darling of socially responsible investing with lending policies that should not be a barrier to home ownership in Sierra Leone.

The problem, however, of urban households lacking sustainable access to finance and appropriate financial arrangements to improve their housing and shelter-related environments cannot be ignored. Because many households are generally financially challenged, lending institutions must understand that this incipient market is high risk. Taking on greater risk may therefore require wholesale financial institutions to undertake sophisticated risk management practices and investment strategies to protect stock holders and end-user clients.



Source by Kenday Samuel Kamara, Ph.D.

Information To Help You Start Online Marketing

 Your marketing strategies online are your compass in directing your business. As the opportunities arise or your business environment changes, the objectives and your online marketing plan should direct you to take the best action.

 In the absence of marketing strategy, you are exposing your business to risks. You become unfocused and unsure of what is best for your business. Sometimes you will not know what to do next. To be effective in your online business, your website and promotional marketing should be a component of your overall online marketing plan.

 Online marketing strategy is the cornerstones of your online business. It outlines the requirements to make your business a success. The ideal marketing strategies online consist of different elements.

 Before you devise your website marketing strategy, you need to initiate an in-depth marketing analysis. You have to ask yourself questions such as what do you offer? Why would they buy from your site? What would you do to make your offer irresistible?

 After answering those questions, you need to consider your customers. What do most of the online consumers need and look for? You need to understand the market demands, and be able to empathize, and know what they need. You have to put yourself in their shoes and try to give them a solution to their problem.

 Doing an online research is only the first step to your business plan. Know who your competitors are. You must know their strategies to enhance their online business. Are they using pay per click, search engine optimization, affiliate marketing, press releases, and develop their own product? You want to know how many back links they have and who is linking to them.

 An important part of your research and marketing strategies online is finding their weaknesses because that can be your best tool. Are their products really good? Are their offers guaranteed? Do they constantly create back links?

 Many experts at creating online marketing plans recommend knowing what sites your customers frequently visit, so that you can be there too. If your customers are at YouTube, MySpace, Facebook, Twitter, and LinkED, you have to establish your online presence there also.

 Making use of the social networking is a great medium to channel your online marketing strategy. By using these social networking sites, you are able to glimpse at the kind of customers you have. Are they fond of freebies, bonuses, discounts and other premium items? Know what compels them to make a purchase.

 After your online research, it is time for you to make a data analysis. Document the information you have gathered during your research, particularly the strengths and weaknesses of your competitors and the strategies they use. From this information, you can devise your own marketing strategies online, and a plan that will put you ahead of your competition.

 You should also analyze the information you have about your customers. You make a list of the sites that they frequent and know their concerns. It is best to understand the factors that they are looking for. Maybe you can offer something better?

 Consider all the information you have gathered about your competitors and customers in making your strategic planning. Choose the advertising strategies that you can afford and are best for your online business. Marketing strategies online may come with a price, while others are for free.

 There are many marketing strategies that you can pick. If you have a good budget, start with PPC to get a quick feel about whether you have a product or service that will sell. If you are a small to medium company, maybe you want a SEO agency to handle your marketing strategies. You can also start collecting an email list with very little cost. You can also use social networking, hosting a blog site or writing articles to promote your website, product, or service.

 Starting an online business is not easy. You need a lot of information to succeed. If you need training, you need to find a good marketing training program or membership site. Many beginner and even experience marketers choose the wrong programs to study and waste time and money. Take your time to look for a good online marketing training program.



Source by Rudy Silva

A Few Online Business Ideas

Nowadays, many people would want to establish their own business to earn extra income. In this case, a lot of new entrepreneurs are asking the professionals about some business ideas. And because of the boom of online businesses, it’s most likely the recommended business today.

Furthermore, the global economic crisis that’s hounding many countries has raised the number of people who are looking for possible business online. Many liked the idea of doing online business at home rather than getting an 8 to 5 pm job. Fortunately, there are at least, a thousand profitable online business ideas. But you need to have perseverance and business skill to achieve success.

If you’re in search for home-based business prospect, here are a few online business ideas that you can do to earn additional steady income. Your earnings may come in cents in the beginning, but if you’ll continue to persist, you will end up having an online business that can produce unlimited money even while you sleep.

•    Online research
•    Taking online paid surveys
•    Copy-writing for webmasters
•    Opening a Yahoo store
•    Starting an eBay business
•    Doing a data entry job
•    Article submissions
•    Online marketing
•    Affiliate marketing

There are still many kinds of businesses which you can do online, but you can start with these business ideas and then move on or add more as you progress.
Some tips on starting your online business:

1.    Don’t be afraid of failures.

2.    There are over fifty percent of would-be online businesses that were never started. Having a feasible online business idea is the first step to become successful in online business.

3.    Don’t be intimidated by news of high ratio of failures in online businesses as all business has its own threats.

4.    You must acquire enough knowledge about operating your business online. This will help you deal with problems that may arise in the future. And of course, that will help you in many other ways such as knowing how your business exactly works.

5.    Ensure that there is a market for your online business ideas.

6.    Seek advice or online business tips from other more experienced online entrepreneurs or from your friends and family.

7.    Keep in mind that not all the business idea that you have thought of will turn you into a millionaire, but you’ll never know which of those will unless you give it a try.

8.    Pay extra attention to the happenings around you. Try watching new trends and know what most people are currently talking about, watch TV shows which might be helpful on giving you different ideas for your business. And remember, there are numerous money-making opportunities out there, so, don’t limit yourself to just one business idea.

In conclusion, how successful your online business idea can be is hard to foretell. But it will all depend on your experience and knowledge. The harder you work online with the right set of people and appropriate business tools, the more your chances of earning unlimited income.



Source by christina gruble

Growing Television Market in India

On the brick of rapid economic growth, India has witnessed the dynamic change in country’s consumer electronics industry. In last few years the industry has been witnessing significant changes in retail boom, growing disposable income and availability of easy finance schemes. One electronic gadget that has brought new revolution in Indian Electronic Industry is Television Set. Today, India is fast emerging as the key driver in the global television market both as a manufacturer and consumer.

In recent years, the market for televisions in India has changed rapidly from the conventional CRT technology to Flat Panel Display Televisions (FPTV). Currently, the split between CRT and FPTV is around 97% and 3% respectively. In addition to this, one of the most striking changes sweeping across the colour television market in Indian market is the exponential growth of the flat panel television (FPTV) market, in common parlance called the liquid crystal display (LCD) and plasma televisions . Moreover, as per recent research data available, the global market for FPTV is expected to grow from 51 million units in 2006 to 127 million by 2009.

Looking at the present scenario, over the last couple of years, the LCD prices have even dropped by around 30 per cent annually. Some of the important factors that boasted this growth also include the increasing awareness of the advantages of LCD televisions, the growing availability of the product across dealer counters and the finance schemes in the market.

Besides this, as a manufacturing hub, the television industry is improving more and more. There are many domestic and MNC companies that have increased their production bases in the country. Easy availability of low-cost skilled labor and the emergence of SEZs, which are tax-free zones are some of the key factors that have resulted in growth of these manufacturing units. In fact, encouraged by tax-breaks, new manufacturing units are coming up in less-developed regions now. Today, India is one of the few emerging countries to have an excellent component supply base in terms of manufacturing facilities for glass and color picture tubes, so it helps it a good choice for all those companies who are looking to take benefit of this emerging market.



Source by Frank Solan

Income Taxes and Economic Growth

     Do higher taxes on the wealthy lead to slower economic growth? Conversely, do lower taxes on the wealthiest Americans create untold new wealth which can trickle down to the masses?

      Consider these facts: During the 1960’s the highest federal income tax rate, applicable to only the wealthiest of Americans, averaged 89.4% while real GDP per capita grew an average of 3.5% per year. In the ‘70’s the maximum federal tax rate was lowered to an average of 70.2%, yet the real GDP per capita only grew an annual average of 2.3%.

     1980 brought us Ronald Reagan and his solution to the slower economic growth of the 1970’s was, you guessed it, lower taxes on the wealthiest Americans. However, real GDP per capita dipped slightly to 2.28% on average during the ‘80’s even though the top federal tax rate was slashed to 48.4%. During the 1990’s the maximum tax rate was lowered to an average of 36.7% and the economic growth that had been promised time and time again? Real GDP per capita only managed to grow a paltry 1.99% annually.

      President George W. Bush spent a great deal of time and political capital lowering taxes on the wealthiest Americans and what did it bring us? From the beginning of 2001 to the end of 2006, growth of real GDP per capita slipped to an annual average of 1.53%. That’s less than half of the rate of real economic growth experienced in the ‘60’s when federal income taxes on the wealthiest Americans were over twice as high.   

      We currently hear a renewed cry out of Washington that the tax rate paid by the wealthiest Americans once again must be lowered to stimulate our economy and bring us out of the current recession. But, as history shows, lower taxes on the wealthy won’t automatically lead to an expanding economy.



Source by Peter Van Schaik

Poverty in Peru

Despite Peru’s economic performance being among the best in Latin America poverty remains high and widespread. Peru had the fastest growing economy in the region in 2002 but unemployment was still very high and poverty reduction strategies have not had sustainable results. Peru’s poverty levels are above those of Argentina and Brazil based on US$2/day poverty line.

Crecer (Grow) is the latest government initiative which focuses on child malnutrition.

25 percent of children under five years have stunted growth in relation to their age and this rises to 66 percent in the seven poorest regions. The aim is to reduce the average to 20 percent by 2011.

Almost half the population is poor, significantly higher in the rural areas, and 20 percent are classed as extremely poor. In the urban areas poverty is the most unequal.

More than 39 percent of the total population and two thirds of the rural population in Peru live below the poverty line.

Inequalities in human development can be seen between urban and rural areas, Spanish and non-Spanish speakers and across the climate zones. Most of the extreme poor live in rural areas in the highlands and the rural jungles and have Quechua, Aymara and other languages as their native tongue rather than Spanish. They have fewer opportunities to progress through life due to the obvious discrimination caused by language barriers.

Despite National trends showing a reduction in child mortality and an increase in school enrolment since the mid 1990s chronic rates of under – nutrition prevail in rural areas. Children’s growth and development are affected by poor nutrition. Despite progress in access to services for the poor, disparities between urban and rural areas and across different regions mortality remains high. A quarter of the populationin Peru has no access to health services despite free health care since 2002.

Children are the most vulnerable and unprotected. Of the 3.8 million people living in extreme poverty 2.1 million are children. Of the 10.2 million under 18 population 6.5 million live below the poverty line. Poverty remains high and the proportion of children who live in poverty is much higher than figures for the population as a whole often indicates.

Socio – economic disparities and exclusion continue to affect children and adolescents who are not benefitting from the economic growth. Enrolment for school declines with age due to the expense of keeping a child in school. Child labor is a factor here as nearly 90 percent of children help out at home or work on the family farm.

Levels of poverty, mortality rates and malnourishment among indigenous groups are twice as high as national averages. Peru has one of the highest levels of income inequality and the gap between the rich and poor is widening.



Source by Kadmiel

MUGHAL EMPIRE, a great government of subcontinent

 INTRODUCTION

Mughal Empire, Indian empire that ruled the subcontinent for more than 300 years from 1526 to 1858, except for a brief period under the Sur sultans (1540-1555). During its reign, the empire flourished for about 150 years from 1556 to 1707 under Akbar and his immediate successors, Jahangir, Shah Jahan, and Aurangzeb.

Mughal Empire The Mughal Empire was founded in 1526. At its height, about 1700, it encompassed most of the Indian subcontinent. Mughal rulers developed a stable, centralized form of government that served as a model for later Indian rulers. The empire declined in the 1700s and was officially abolished by the British in 1858.

II  FORMATION AND EXPANSION

The Mughal Empire was founded in 1526 by Babur, a Central Asian Turk, after he had defeated the Lodi ruler of Delhi, Ibrahim, and occupied the capital at ?gra. Babur went on to conquer much of the northern Indian subcontinent, but died in 1530 before he could consolidate his empire. His son, Humayun, faced difficulties from the Afghans, the sultan of Gujar?t, and above all, in his own camp from his brothers and some of his father’s nobles. He was defeated by the new Afghan leader, Sher Khan Sur (later known as Sher Shah), wandered in exile in Persia, and finally settled in K?bul. After 15 years, by which time the Sur regime was in a shambles, Humayun recaptured Hindustan just before his death in 1556. His young son Akbar soon recovered the lost empire, expanding its frontiers almost to the entire upper India. Akbar, who is often considered the true founder of the Mughal Empire, laid the grounds for the significant economic growth and the fabulous art and building activities of his successors. He died in 1605 and was succeeded by his eldest son, Jahangir.

Under Jahangir, who ruled until 1627, and Shah Jahan, who ruled from 1628 to 1658, the Mughals made significant gains in the Deccan Plateau region. The Mughals gained control over the Marathas, although on northwest borders they lost Kandah?r to Persia and had difficulties against the Central Asian Uzbeks. In 1648 the Mughal capital was shifted from ?gra to Delhi. The empire achieved its greatest physical extent under Aurangzeb, who ruled from 1658 to 1707. By the time of his death in 1707, nearly the whole subcontinent was under his rule, however, the symptoms of the demise of the Mughal Empire had also surfaced.

III  ADMINISTRATION AND THE NOBILITY

The imperial organization that sustained the empire through the years it flourished was the outcome of a long process of historical evolution. The roots of this evolution lay in the West and Central Asian Turko-Mongol traditions that the Mughals brought with them to India, as well as in the political organization in India under their predecessors. Babur introduced some Central Asian institutions. Humayun made a classification of the nobility and attempted to gain the favor of local chiefs. Under Akbar an imperial principle evolved that organized the ruling class and coordinated the interests of the state with local, powerful Hindu merchants.

The Mughal ruling class was complex and varied, although integrated into a single imperial service. At higher levels this noble class comprised mainly Central Asians, Persians, Afghans, Indian Muslims, and Rajputs. No single ethnic or religious group, however, was large enough to challenge the supreme authority of the emperor. The key officials in the central government and the provinces were all appointed by imperial orders and were accountable directly to the emperor. The emperor was thus placed in a position of supreme power, which in turn was sustained by elaborate laws of court etiquette and royal prerogative.

The tax demand in each region was stated in cash, its magnitude depended on the quality of soil and the level of cultivation. The peasants duly entered the market economy and tried cultivating high-value crops. The system encouraged a cash nexus, bustling bazaars, and an increase in the number of towns. All this coincided with India’s expanding commerce with the outside world, in the wake of the establishment of European and non-European trading companies during this period.

IV  DECLINE AND COLLAPSE

By the beginning of the 18th century, symptoms of a crisis appeared in the Mughal system. The Marathas had shaken the empire to its foundations by inflicting defeats on Mughal armies in the Deccan and the west. In northern India the Jat landlords and peasants had repeatedly challenged the imperial authority, while in the Punjab region in the northwest, rebellious groups embracing Sikhism emerged as a significant hostile force. Aurangzeb’s policies and the increasing association of his government with a narrow Islamic orthodoxy dealt a serious blow to the empire, as he reversed the time-honored tradition of Mughal rulership accepting indigenous culture.

Despite Aurangzeb’s actions, the setback to the empire was only temporary, as his successors abandoned his policies. There were, however, several other factors that contributed to the final collapse of the empire. The terms on which the zamindars’ relations with the Mughal state were worked out depended on the strength or weakness of the people and the areas under zamindar control. In time, as the regions experienced economic growth, rulers in these regions felt strong enough to stand on their own. They not only refused to cooperate with the Mughals, which in turn affected Mughal military strength and ability to collect taxes, but were often up in arms.

The nobles, on the other hand, had their own problems. They depended on the emperor for position and power and had no hereditary estates to bequeath to their successors. The principal means of tax collection, which required local Hindu gentry to collect revenue from peasants while keeping part for themselves and paying the rest to a treasury, was cumbersome for the nobles. Its enforcement was thus resisted by the nobility even in the 17th century. Under the conditions of the 18th century, many nobles sought to carve out power bases of their own in league with the local magnates, throwing the interests of the empire overboard. The empire collapsed within 40 years of Aurangzeb’s death. However, while there was chaos in some regions, a kind of autonomous regional political order emerged broadly within the Mughal institutional framework. The symbols of the empire therefore outlived the demise of its de facto power.



Source by Mian Afaq Tariq

Scenario of Tourism Industry

Tourism is now recognized as the driver of the economic growth. It’s also reckoned as the best tool to promote sustainable development and address the inclusive growth concerns.
Tourism has the potential to stimulate other economic factors through its linkages with a host of sectors like agriculture; manufacturing etc .Another unique aspect of the tourism sector is that it provides employment even to the unskilled and semi skilled manpower. The Travel and Tourism industry is moving forward on a very positive note. There are plenty of opportunities in India for it to be sold as a destination, bestowed with incredible travel offerings that have plenty to satisfy the needs of all segments of travelers.

According to the United Nations World Tourism Organisations (UNWTO), one billion tourists have travelled internationally in 2012.This is equal to one in every seven people on the planet travelling the world in 2012 ,up from just 25 million in 1950
India is believed to be one of the top most tourism spot from 2009-2018, having the highest ten year growth potential, according to the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC).

The country’s travel and tourism industry is one of the most profitable industries in the country, and is credited with contributing a substantial amount of foreign exchange. Indian tourism offers a potpourri of different cultures, traditions, festivals, and places of interest.
India was ranked fifth in the world for hotels with the best business outlook, according to a report by TripAdvisor. The country showed optimism with the highest proportion of businesses in Asia-Pacific (APAC) region. It displayed unbridled optimism with the highest proportion of businesses in APAC that expect the economy to improve in the second half of 2012. India was also ranked highest globally, among all countries surveyed for staff turnover, based on increased staff levels.
Moreover, India has also emerged as one of the world’s most cost-efficient medical tourism destinations. Medical tourism in the country is a sunrise sector valued at more than US$ 310 million. Currently, India receives more than 100,000 foreign patients a year. It is expected that the Indian medical tourism market will register a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 27 per cent during 2011-15, according to a RNCOS report titled ‘Booming Medical Tourism in India’.
Hotels are an important component of the tourism product. They contribute in the overall tourism experience through the standards of facilities and services offered by them.
Market Size

Foreign Exchange Earnings (FEEs) from Tourism during the year 2012 showed an increase of 21.8% as compared to FEEs of 2011. Foreign Tourist Arrivals (FTAs) in the country also registered an increase of 5.4% during the year 2012 as compared to FTAs of 2011.
FTAs in India during 2012 were 66.48 lakh with a growth of 5.4% as compared to the FTAs of 63.09 lakh during the year 2011. FEEs from tourism in rupee terms during 2012 were Rs.94, 487 crore with a growth of 21.8% as compared to the FEEs of Rs.77, 591 crore with a growth of 19.6% during the year 2011 over 2010. (As per Ministry of Tourism, India Report 2012)
The Ministry of Tourism, Government of India, endeavors to position India as a preferred tourism destination to promote various Indian tourism products vis-à-vis competition faced from various destinations and to increase India’s share of the global tourism market.                                                                
The coming year 2013 looks positive:-
The year 2013 looks optimistic for the travel industry. This is primarily because of various economic reforms introduced in the second half of the year 2012.Intitiatives like FDI (Foreign Direct Investment) in retail and aviation are likely to boost the Indian economy growth thereby increasing discretionary spending on services like travel.

There is a tremendous scope for expansion and evolution in the market. The incoming foreign tourist arrivals in India registered a growth of 5.9 percent and this is primarily due to a collective bag of positive forces. The government has recently eased restrictions on tourist’s visas which had earlier mandated a two month gap between consecutive visits by foreign nationals. So the coming year looks positive for tourism industry.

The ever growing importance of tourism sector internationally is reflected in the fact that in about 150 countries of the world, tourism is one of the five top export earners. It is the number one export earner in 60 countries. Tourism plays a key role in socio –economic progress through creation of jobs, enterprise, infrastructure and revenue earnings. The Planning Commission has identified tourism as the second largest sector in the country in providing employment opportunities for low skilled and semi –skilled workers. Women make up nearly 70 percent of the labour force and nearly 50 percent of tourism manpower comprises of persons who are 25 years or less in age.  

Tourism plays an important role in economic development and creation of jobs in India. The planning commission estimates inform that 78 jobs per million rupees of investment are created by tourism sector. Based on the Tourism Satellite Accounts of India the contribution (direct and indirect) of tourism in GDP is 9 percent in the year 2012.
In 2013 there will be increased emphasis on skill development and capacity building for bridging the huge gap in demand and supply in skilled manpower in the hospitality sector. According to UN World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO), the contribution of tourism to worldwide GDP is estimated to be in the region of 5%. For diversified economies, the contribution of tourism to national GDP ranges from 2 % for countries where tourism is comparatively a small sector, to over 10 % for countries where tourism is a main driver of the national economy. Tourism’s contribution to employment is estimated to be 6 – 7 % of the overall number of jobs worldwide (direct and indirect).

Tourism is one of the largest sectors of the service industry In India. It is capable of providing employment to a wide spectrum of job seekers from the unskilled to the specialized, even in the remote parts of the country. Compared to other modern sectors, a higher proportion of tourism benefits (jobs, petty trade opportunities) accrue to women. Hence, growth of the tourism sector is more inclusive than other sectors.
Manpower Requirement in Tourism Sector:-
As per the study commissioned by Ministry of Tourism, the total employment in Hospitality Sector (Hotels- classified and unclassified, eating outlets, Tour Operators, Travel Agents and Medical & Wellness units) in selected years -are estimated to be as follows:
                         Year                Employment (Lakhs)
                  2011-2012                     43.84
                  2012-2013                     47.26
                  2016-2017                     63.79
Report of the working group on tourism for 12th five year plan
Travel and tourism is one of the fastest growing sectors of the Indian economy. Recognized by both local and central governments as a major employer and contributor to the wealth and economic stability of the country, the travel and tourism industry offers a wide range of career opportunities. The opportunities arise in the commercial sector (tour operators, hotels, theme parks, airlines etc) the public sector (national governments and agencies, local government regulatory bodies. The range of levels at which travel and tourism employment can be found is vast. This range extends from ‘front –line ‘staff (reception, travel agency consultants, and call center operatives, Food and beverage staff.)  The most important qualities are communication, teamwork and customer service skills. Whatever the location, position or technical skills, to make it in travel and tourism one needs to enjoy challenges and have the ability to work well with people.

Travel and tourism students must have the following skills:-
•    Leadership;
•    Problem-solving skills
•    IT skills
•    Confidence
•    Good communication and listening skills
•    Presentation skills
•    Teamwork(the ability to work in a team)
•    Ability to work to deadline
•    Good general knowledge
•    Good selling skills
•    An outgoing personality
•    The ability to create a rapport with people of different ages and different cultures
•    Strong attention to detail, because a little mistake could mean a major disaster.
•    A strong customer service ethic and a desire to help people
•    Good organisational skills

Job opportunities in Tourism Industry:-
Profile:-Travel Agent-Provide travel arrangements, giving advice on travel matters. Marketing holidays and travel packages
Profile: – Tour Guide- The role of guides in the tourism system distinguishes itself by its potential to manage the tourist experiences, enhance destination image and implement the goals of responsible tourism.
Profile:-Holiday Representative- Looks after holidaymakers at resorts.organises excursions and entertainment
Profile:-Tourism Information Centre Manager-Provides information to tourists about local attractions, events, and accommodation. Deals with enquiries face to face, by phone, and post profile
Profile: – Ticketing executive- Attend to travel enquiries and recommend appropriate flight routings and itineraries. Ensure timely processing of travel documents, including quotations, ticket issuance.
Profile:-Tour Operation Manager-Handle of daily documents, liaising with coach operators, airlines, hoteliers and resort. Handle customers’ enquiries on Travel arrangement.
Profile: – Tour Consultant- Attend to walk-in, phone, fax and email travel enquiries by clients professionally. Propose appropriate travel products and services in accordance to client’s requirement.
Future Trends in Travel and Tourism Industry: –
2013 is more about developing instant, personalized & bookable services. For destinations and tourism companies, what matters is offering customized and relevant information by gaining access to large amounts of data from multiple sources.
Consumer technology is changing traveler behavior and expectations. Organizations and companies try to keep up with the latest advancements focusing on cost optimization and performance enhancement while they also need to increase their focus on how technology can better meet their travelers’ needs.
The global travel industry is experiencing a continuing upward trend due mainly to an economic boom in Brazil, Russia, India, and China and in other developing countries. More and more organizations worldwide are adapting their business models to take advantage of opportunities in emerging markets.2013 is expected to be another good year for the all inclusive and luxury sectors. With continued economic uncertainty and low consumer confidence, families are expected to continue to put faith in the destinations they know best. Spain, Greece, Italy, USA, France, Cyprus and Turkey are expected to continue to be the most popular destinations for holiday makers in 2013.While demand for city breaks and beach holidays is expected to hold steady, there is an increase in demand for more independent tours and differentiated holidays that include niche tourism.

Key Trends in Tourism:-
Tailor Made Experiences:-
While tailor made tours used to be just for the luxury end of the market there are now many tour operators offering more affordable options due to the growth in popularity of this kind of holiday.
The rise of multi centre holidays where holiday makers may combine two or more destinations in their trip are also growing in popularity and fuelling the trend for tailor made holidays.
In search of Adventure:-
Tourists are expected to take an adventure or challenge holiday in 2013.Wheather its hot air ballooning in Turkey or White water rafting in Rishikesh(India) tour operators are offering more options to cater for holidaymakers ‘growing sense of adventure.
Luxury-return of the big holiday:-
The luxury market has performed remarkably well in recent years. 2013 is expected to be a particularly good year for luxury tour operators with some tour operators predicting that those who have held back on a big, long haul holiday in recent years will take that trip in 2013
Train, Coach and Cruise:-
It’s expected that in 2012 more UK passengers than even before will have taken an ocean cruise holiday, with the figure rising to 1.72 million -20,000 passengers more than 2011.There is a slight increase in demand for train and coach holidays, with 9% of consumers saying they plan to take a coach holidays in 2013, compared to 8%who took one in 2012 and 9%planning a train holiday compared to 6%who took one in 2012
Space Tourism:
2013 will be a historic year for space tourism with the first consumer flight into space being launched by Virgin Galactic. It is certainly a landmark event in travel a industry.
Independent travel:-A new trend among young
These days, younger and more adventurous are taking off more time to travel and most of the time; they do it with friends of their own age, or even on their own. Every day, more and more young people are taking time to travel with their friends.

Global market trends indicate that long-haul travel, neighboring country tourism, rural and ethnic tourism, wellness and health holidays, cultural tourism, spiritualism, ecotourism, sports and adventure holidays, and coastal tourism and cruises are a few emerging areas of tourist interest. From a geographic viewpoint, there has been a remarkable rise in Asian tourists, particularly from China and East Asian countries. Further, the average age of the international tourist has also been reducing representing a growing segment of young tourists who would typically travel to take a break from increasingly stressful professional lives. In India trends of people travelling more frequently became more pronounced. Category of travelers has been widened with travelers travelling with friends, family, in groups, etc. Travelers in Indian nowadays cut down their number of travelling days, opting for short haul destinations and selecting domestic itineraries.

Further, world tourist arrivals in Asia are likely to grow faster than arrivals in Europe and the Asian market share of world tourism would steadily increase until 2020.The shifts in key trends thus represent greater opportunities for developing economies (since tourism brings with it key benefits of boosting foreign exchange while creating jobs). It also creates avenues to develop niche areas such as coastal tourism, medical tourism and rural tourism to enhance the tourist value of destinations.

The travel and tourism sector creates more jobs per million rupees of investment than any other sector of the economy and is capable of providing employment to a wide spectrum of job seekers from the unskilled to the specialized, even in the remote parts of the country. Tourism Sector is a major generator of employment. As a highly labour intensive activity, tourism and tourism support activities create a high proportion of employment and career opportunities for low skilled and semi-skilled workers, particularly for poor, female and young workers. Women make up 70% of the labour force in tourism sector and half of all tourism workers are 25 years or under. The tourism sector can be an important source of employment for many of the unemployed youth and consequently reduces the poverty in the society. As observed, tourism trends around the world are likely to remain robust and the growth of the T&T industry worldwide will significantly impact tourism flows towards the subcontinent.



Source by itftindia