Travel Extra’s Sunday Supplement: Ryanair Throws the Kitchen Overboard, but Will Sleepless O’Leary’s Shopping Spree in Seattle REALLY reduce fares by 40pc?




Rendering of Ryanair’s Boeing 737-MAX-200

The headlines this week:

*Ryanair’s Kitchenless Aircraft

*Lufthansa showcase Premium Economy

*Highlights of the coming ski season

*Restoring Dublin-Madeira  is top of Antonio Padeira’s list

*Dominick Chilcott hosts the trade

*Wannabe WAW by bus and a tour of Eden

Travel Extra TV

volcano-youtubeOur video of the week was captured by Philip McNamara, an Australian tourist taking a boat trip off the coast of Papua New Guinea. He filmed Mount Tavurvu sending an explosion of ash and smoke into the air. Watch out for the shock, it’s coming, Philip says off-camera. Then, kaboom! Watch here.

Dutch graphic design student Zilla van den Born duped her Facebook friends into thinking she was on a five-week holiday to South-East Asia by Photoshopping herself into holiday snaps. Zilla posted fake pictures of herself at the beach, eating exotic food and sitting next to a Buddhist monk in a temple. She did visit a temple and restaurants in Amsterdam, and she went snorkelling in the pool in her apartment complex, but used Photoshop to capture everything else. Speaking to Dutch media, she said: “I did this to show people that we filter and manipulate what we show on social media, and that we create an online world which reality can no longer meet…My goal was to prove how common and easy it is to distort reality. Everybody knows that pictures of models are manipulated. But we often overlook the fact that we manipulate reality also in our own lives.” Watch here to see how Zilla pulled it off. uploaded a video of City of Culture’s 25ft Granny making her way to Limerick City. Watch here.

Can you spot true love? invites you to take the Love Dublin ‘Kiss Me I’m Irish’ Challenge: See if you can spot the real couples in this video of eight kisses across eight Dublin landmarks. Watch here. And see if you can tell the difference between a vintage photograph and a smartphone app in the Picture Belfast Photo Challenge. Watch here.


Santa has apparently put Michael O’Leary on his 2014 list as nice rather than naughty. What did Michael want for not-yet-Christmas-but-this-is-Ryanair? Throw out the kitchens, add a mid fuselage door and give me an extra eight seats. This week, when he got what he wanted, the 197-seat Boeing 737-MAX-200, he responded:  “I feel like a child who has woken up on Christmas morning to find Santa has given him exactly what he was asked for.

michael O'leary kevin connerHe came back from the elf workshop in Seattle with an order for 100 of them and options for 100 more. The much-headlined list price for these aircraft is $11bn. It is unlikely Michael paid more than five, although he told a press conference in New York’s Palace HotelIt is the first time in the history of Ryanair we have paid a higher price for a new aircraft. He said the seven extra seats are worth a million extra dollars per aircraft per year.

The 737-MAX has not even flown yet. Test flights are due 2016, deliveries start in 2017 and Ryanair’s first aircraft will arrive in 2019. He returned to Dublin on the first of the 175 Boeing 737-800s he bought when he last went shopping in Seattle. Michael’s new target is 150m passengers by 2024 instead of the 120m he previously targeted. Understated as always, Michael told his return press conference in Dublin that it would mean fares reduced by 20pc by 2019 (after 175 of his 737-800s have arrived, they were ordered last year) and 40pc by 2024 (after the last of this week’s order of 737-MAX 200s). The Michaelmathematics are simple: reduce operating costs by 40pc and fares will go down 40pc, but Ryanair’s business model is changing by the week, so the reductions will come off what base? We’ll return to the subject in 2024.

SkyMichael is the third big customer from Ireland to come shopping for the Max. Tony Ryan used to ask his potential salesmen if they were capable of selling a calf at Cahermee fare. Michael’s trip to the fair showed that the spirit of Tony Ryan is alive and well. The Irish have been buying 737-MAX in bulk in Seattle. Dómhnal Slattery’s Avolon have already ordered 15 and GECAS has ordered 95. Kevin Conner must love to see the Irish coming, in the same way that the guys in Century 21 used to love to see the women of Ireland arrive during the Tiger-boom (remember when the average party of four wimmin spent an average of €2,400 each).

michael o'leary caroline corvi2 copyNegotiating leasing company terms is central of Ryanair’s success. If you were to go to your local aircraft showroom to buy a new 737-MAX you would pay $104m. But that is not how Ryanair operate. We don’t know how much they paid this week, but from the accounts we know that they were paying $26m for each 737-800 they bought in a famous deal concluded in the aftermath of 9/11, at the time when the list price was $60m (O’Leary waited until the 24th delivery before going to Seattle in November 2002, he is pictured with Caroline Corvi of Boeing). It meant that Ryanair could sell on aircraft second-hand for more than they paid before they worked them for a couple of years on their incessant 25-minute turnarounds. It leads to a whole new way of doing business and a whole new approach to running an airline. Don’t leave it in the aviators. Get a second-hand aircraft salesman to do the job. Look again at Michael O’Leary and ask: would you buy second-hand aircraft from this man?

Eoghan Corry said on Adhmhaidin on Raidió na Gaeltachta that it is still not clear where all these extra passengers will come from. Éist anseo le Eoghan Corry eagarthóir Travel Extra ag caint faoi Ryanair ar Adhmhaidin ar Raidió na Gaeltachta. Watch here Michael O’Leary’s interview on Bloomberg. Listen here to Michael on The Business on RTÉ Radio One last week.

Annette mann seatsLufthansa showcased their new Premium Economy product. The seats will have a pitch of 38 inches and will be fitted in eight across 2-4-2 configuration across all of Lufthansa’s long haul aircraft. Starting December 10, flights operated by the German flag carrier’s Boeing 747-8 jumbo jets will all have the new seats and eventually 10pc of all of Lufthy’s long haul inventory will be premium economy. eoghan lufthansa premium economy_5041

The jury is still out on premium economy. BA did it ten years ago and Air France in 2009 so why the rethink? “Comfort,” said product manager Annette Mann (pictured above with a sample of the seats, second pic shows Travel Extra‘s Eoghan Corry sampling the seat). “The seat is the important thing, and customers get better food and can buy lounge access for €20.” “Consistency” said European sales manager Florian Astor. We will offer a consistent product across all the fleet. The Middle Eastern carriers do not do thatWe needed to upgrade our business class product first to make it totally flat. Now we can better differentiate premium economy from both business and economy. We aim at business travellers who are not permitted to fly in business class and golden agers who want more comfort but will not pay for business class.” He said competition varies in the different markets in which Lufthansa operates (listen here) but it was only now that the investment made economic sense (listen here). Annette Mann said that the new product would create another premium seat, the front rows of economy would have extra legroom (listen here).christian annette florian_4982

Premium Economy will launch on 11 routes from Frankfurt from December 10, launch route Bangalore is available for €1,241. Singapore which gets PE when the A380 joins the route in April is also on sale now for €1,241. Helen Fyfe of Lufthansa sees great potential in the Irish market for leisure and cruise customers as well as the business passengers forced into economy by corporate budget restaurants. “They are already paying a higher fare for flexibility, so the step up to premium economy may not be that large.” Picture shows Christian Schindler, Florian Astor and Annette Mann of Lufthansa at the launch. See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.

IMG_5101British ambassador Dominick Chilcott hosted members of the travel trade and media (including Travel Extra) among his business and cultural guests for his summer party in Glencairn, to celebrate the 450th and 100th anniversaries of the births of William Shakespeare (listen here) and Dylan Thomas (listen here, a roasting pig and a shed were involved). Actors entertained the guests with quotes from both writers as they arrived (listen here). Amid his tributes to Ian Paisley and reflections of President Higgins’ visit to England last summer (listen here), including a quote from President Higgins (listen here), Ambassador Chilcott announced that the grave of iconic racehorse Orby has been moved to a more prominent place in Glencairn (listen here).

IMG_5062Ambassador Chilcott took “a moment to reflect on Scotland‘s referendum.” The moment turned out to be a tribute to the two Scottish bagpipers who serenaded the guests as they arrived (listen here). Should they vote YES to independence on Thursday, Scotland  would immediately be propelled into the top ten tourist destinations in Europe, their current figure of 2.2m international visits would jump to about 17m, as they get an estimated 15m visitors from England each year. This could put them ahead of Greece in tenth position in Europe, pushing Ireland back to 17th. See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.

Kelly O'Mahony 4710One of the surprise successes of the summer is the new whiskey academy at Midleton. The Jameson Centre added training programmes to their visitor experience in repsonse to demand from training groups and 1,600 people have come through since the centre opened in February, according to Kelly O’Mahony (pictured) from the centre.  Courses range from a €59 two hour lesson to one and two day courses from €295. A three day bartenders course includes a trip to Ballymaloe. See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.

Travel Extra oct 2014 300With the print edition due for delivery to agencies this week, prepare for an uphill task getting through the issue. The upcoming ski season is featured in the October issue of Travel Extra (view online here). We put the goggles over the main ski destinations out of Ireland, the Austrian Skiwelt, points out which resorts are most accessible under revised air schedules, examines the controversy over the measurement of the big European ski areas, and looks at what extras tour operators have thrown into the mix to entice more customers to don boots and skis.

Destination reviews include the logistics of skiing Espace Killy using Tignes as a base rather than Val d’Isere, staying in a chalet to overcome La Plagne’s ten-villages dispersal issue, and Europe’s best kept ski secret the Sierra Nevada, the southernmost and sunniest ski resort,

There is an update on Asia’s destinations with the addition of 100,000 extra seats through middle Eastern hubs Abu Dhabi and Dubai this winter. With Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai already on the tourism map Eoghan Corry went to check out the third Chiang, the untouristed Chiang Khan and the Loei region in north eastern Thailand on the banks of the mystical Mekong, as well as the hidden historic quarter of Bangkok, 4km away from the familiar shopping and nightlife areas but it might be on another planet.2014-08-04 13.00.07

Ida Milne writes about her walking trip to La Chaise Dieu in the south of France, compares it her experience in Wicklow and reflects on the growth of organised walking (there are 190 walking clubs in Ireland and 168 walking festivals in 22 counties). Travel Extra went on the trail of two of the most influential Irish writers of the 20th century, the east Belfast homeland of CS Lewis and South Derry landscapes that inspired Seamus Heaney. We look at the worrying trend towards imposing more tourism taxes by cash-strapped governments, Aer Lingus business class changes for next winter and Ryanair’s family proposition, we review Emirates business class service which includes chauffeur pick-up and drop-off, the results of the latest air traffic rights report, recent hotel sales, the plans for a combined technology and aviation workshop day in Citywest next April, and a comprehensive guide to Royal Caribbean’s game-change cruise ship Quantum of the Seas which will host the Irish travel trade conference on its inaugural cruise out of Southampton on October 31.

eoghan corry anthony padeira

Restoring the direct flight from Dublin to Madeira is a priority for the new Director of Portuguese Tourism in Ireland Antonio Padeira (listen here). In conversation with Travel Extra he said his priority is to grow the market to Portugal in the shoulder season (listen here), concentrating initially on the Algarve (listen here) through promotion of couples breaks, walking and cycle trails (listen here) and eventually boosting winter tourism with more flight access either direct to Faro (listen here) or through Lisbon using coach and hired car product (listen here). He said he was aware of pricing issues in golf tourism in Portugal (listen here) but was confident of keeping its position as a quality golf destination. He said that Alentejo will never be mass market destination but would attract a different kind of tourist (listen here), outlined developments in Lisbon (listen here) such as the new coach museum (listen here), its Arco Triunfal da Rua Augusta (listen here), the waterfront and beach with recreated caravels (listen here), walking product (listen here), events (listen here), open air theatre (listen here) and citybreak potential. He nominated Odeceixe as probably the best beach in the world (listen here). He also detailed marketing plans for Oporto (listen here) and the Azores (listen here), which he conceded would never be a premier destination from Ireland, despite the fact Sunway ran two successful seasons to the islands with direct flights. He talked about innovative product such as the new cork hotel and Stargazing and Vineyard Hotels (listen here). Antonio came to the job after heading up the Portugal tourism marketing department (listen here).

Seamus Breslin_4763Travel Extra called to see some of those hotels which are near Bus Éireann stops taking in two of the most interesting Ballycotton Bay View Hotel (website here) and Lawlor’s Hotel Dungarvan (website here) on the food coast tail of the WAW beyond Kinsale Wannabe Wild Atlantic Way. The mackerel were leaping from the water when we passed and the food in Bay View (GM Seamus Breslin is pictured) was worth the bus journey. Bus Éireann recently put free Wi-Fi on all their coaches, and with 30 new modern coaches on order they are marketing itself as a tourist experience, led by the Gobus partnership coaches that ply their trade between the big cities, complete with power supply that prevent tablets, phones and laptops from dying. Sometimes it was hot and crowded, but many of the 8.3m tourists who will arrive on the island this year heading for the coastline, the potential is there to do something interesting with the schedules.

conor-kilkeeTravel Extra’s Conor McMahon (pictured) is visiting three Eden sites this weekend with Ellie McMahon (no relation). First stop: Loop Head Peninsula and Kilkee (2010 Aquatic Tourism winner). Conor and Ellie stayed in The Old School B&B in Cross with Ian & Teresa Glendinning. They enjoyed the views of the Atlantic from Loop Head Lighthouse and the Bridges of Ross before popping in to have a chat and coffee & cake with Ailish and Liz of Kilbaha Gallery and Café (which opened eight weeks ago and is doing a roaring trade by all accounts). Ailish and Liz are just putting the finishing touches to the Henry Blake Heritage Centre, a mini-exhibition dedicated to Kilbaha’s most famous story teller and master craftsman. Conor and Ellie ate in The Long Dock in Carrigaholt. You can cook your own catch in The Long Dock when Seafood in September festival kicks off next Friday (Sept 19-21): those who take part in the evening mackerel trip with’s Luke Aston (€25) are invited to bring their own catch to the restaurant have it cooked with a choice of sides for €10. More info here. Conor and Ellie took Laura Foley’s Victorian walk of Kilkee before being treated to a relaxing seaweed bath in Kilkee Thalassotherapy Centre. After exfoliating like they have never exfoliated before, the two had lunch and coffee & cake in The Pantry café and bakery run by Imelda and Pat Bourke. Imelda is running baking and cookery classes throughout October and November from €60. See here for more. Next stop on the Eden trip is Clonakilty District (2007 winner for Tourism & Rural Destinations). The couple are staying in Celtic Ross Hotel and dined in An Súgán last night – the fresh Union Hall hake was much needed after the long drive from Tarbert. They will be taking a lesson with Inchydoney Surf School and walking the Long Strand with Michael O’Neill today. The last stop is Sheep’s Head on Monday (2009 winner for Tourism & Protected Areas) where they will take a half-day sailing with Carbery Sailing.

Travel Tradebeatrice speaks

IMG_4459Having gone double daily this year Etihad’s sponsorship of the hurling championship has also gone double. For the third year in a row, their entertainment budget for the All Ireland final in Croke Park has to stretch to a replay. What are the odds of three replays in a row? 1573/1 according to Paddy Power. Aubrey Tiedt,  Etihad’s Dublin-born Abu Dhabi-based vice president of Etihad’s guest services, was home for the occasion and talked about the suites in the sky and upgrades to other Etihad products (listen here), Ireland manager Beatrice Cosgrove (pictured above, listen here), talked about the new double daily services and the relationship with the GAA, GAA President Liam O’Neill tara kelly joe tully(listen here) detailed the role of Etihad’s sponsorship in enhancing the global reach of the GAA, and guest speaker Alan Quinlan talked about how, having dreamed of playing hurling in Croke Park as a youngster in Tipperary, he eventually got to play there for the Irish rugby team and it did not end well (listen here). Picture shows Etihad cabin crew Prenisha Naidoo, Rebecca Young, and Alma McCabe with Barry Barker of Dublin Airport Authority at the match. See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.

kuala lumpur group

Etihad’s full forward line of Irish-born managers were home from abroad, slitters in hand; Kerry born Tara Kelly was here from the Seychelles (pictured with Joe Tully of Tully Travel). Dave Walsh had a group of corporate customers from Kuala Lumpur (he is pictured with  Juane Jones, Jo English and Karen Morgan).  He says overall air ticket sales have not been adversely affected by Malaysia Airlines’ twin tragedies. Etihad has become a bit of a mini-shamrock airline, with Alan Glover in Melbourne and Fiona Lawless having one of the largest agency sales parishes on the planet: each week she oils the chain of her bicycle and sets out from Brisbane to Cairns and Port Douglas, a distance of 1,700km. Will Beatrice’s ever get Etihad CEO James Hogan over for the replay? A former Essendon AFL player, he has Tipperary ancestry but has never been to the final.

The travel trade is reporting a very good month in August, well ahead of last year’s deflated figures. Advance sales for summer 2015 are running well ahead of last year, with most agencies reporting figures of around30pc and one online agency, Clickandgo, saying advance bookings are ahead by 300pc.

The ITAA skillnets programme is asking agencies to supply them with their best estimate of what training their organisation hopes to participate in over the coming year.

agents in New yorkPicture shows prize winners from the Irish Travel Trade and their hosts on a FAM to New York City headed by Teresa Murphy of Delta Air Lines and Reginald Charlot of NYC & Company: Janet Cahill of O’Leary Travel, Denise Reid of Roscrea Travel, Kay Cunningham of Corrib Travel, Caitriona Dempsey of Dempsey Travel, Miriam Gannon of Gannon Travel, Teresa Murphy of AF/DL/KL, Ciara Mooney of Freedom Travel, Rachel Dempsey and Audrey Headon of both WTC, and Lisa Cusack of Midlands Travel. The competition was organised by WTC, in conjunction with Delta Air Lines and NYC & Company. The participants stayed in the Wellington Hotel, went sightseeing on Big Bus Tour (choosing the Downtown loop), visited some of New York’s MoMA, Top of the Rock Observation Deck, The Empire State Building, Discovery Times Square and a show Blue Man Group. They dined in Lanagan’s, Carmine’s, Hurley’s and Fogo de Chao, shopped at The Shops at Columbus Circle and cooled off in the Minus 5 Ice Bar, in the Hilton New York, sporting parker coats and gloves, while sipping cocktails from a sold ice glass.

  • British Airways launched a trade competition to celebrate the move to Heathrow T5: Win six tickets to see One Republic at Dublin’s 3Arena on October 19. Prize included access to the Audi Club, centre stage seating, private entrance and complimentary car parking. To enter, make a booking through your GDS before September 27 for travel after October 26 on any BA flight and email your entry. Winner will be announced on September 29. BA is also offering upgrades to First one-way (inbound or outbound) for customers booked on eligible Club World flights from September 4. Semi-flexible flights D or R class are available to book until October 1 and semi flexible C class or fully flexible J class can be booked until December 12. Travel by December 31, inbound travel by January 7, 2015. See here for more.
  • The ITAA says customers have reported having difficulties at airports in reading codeshare flight information when the codeshare has not been flagged for them. Whilst travel agents in Ireland do not have quite the same exposure that travel agents in the US have for failing to provide information in relation to Code Shares, the provision of information in relation to Code Shares seems to becoming a greater issue for clients than was previously the case. Members should use best endeavours to advise clients that the flight that they are booking operates as a Code Share and are informed of the names of the carriers who operate the Code Share.
  • The venue for the 2015 Topflight Today FM Ski Trip with the Ian Dempsey Breakfast Show will be Bad Hofgastein on January 24 (see website).
  • john cassidy tony collinsJohn Cassidy and Tony Collins (pictured) were first and second at the Virgin Atlantic  golf day at Druids Glen hosted by Holly Best of Virgin Atlantic.
  • World Travel Market 2014 is inviting WTM Buyers’ Club members to register for the WTM Speed Networking programme and the new WTM Bloggers Speed Networking session.Suzanne Sheldon-Browne joined Blue Insurances as Britain Business Development Executive
  • Travelport Enett, headed by Brian Staunton, is hosting Redefining Travel Payments webinars on Tuesday Sept 30 10.00am – 10.45am and 2.00pm – 2.45pm. Click here to register.
  • The ITAA has launched a new Redress Scheme which will be administered by CEDR Ireland.
  • moncef awardPicture shows Moncef Battikh and Deputy Director Mounira Derbel-Ben Cherifa of the Tunisian National Tourist Office in London, which was awarded the Best London based Tourist Office at a Gala Dinner which at the Landmark hotel in London.
  • French rail operater Voyages-sncf is offering agents the chance to win €100 of Love2Shop vouchers.
  • Hertz and Live Nation Entertainment are offering Ticketmaster Ticket Cash when renting a Hertz vehicle.
  • Travel Department’s Christmas and New Year offers are now online: 7 nights in Montecatini from €899 for Christmas or from €999 for New Year, depart December 22 and 29; 7 nights in Lake Garda from €869 for Christmas or from €799 for New Year, depart December 23 and 30; 7 nights in The Algarve from €679 for Christmas or New Year, depart December 23 and 30; 5 nights in Feichten, Austria, from €999, depart December 22; 7 nights in the Costa Brava from €799, depart December 22; 7 nights in Antequera, Spain, from €799 for Christmas or New Year, depart December 22 and 29.
  • Celtic Horizon Tours is offering Christmas shopping packages to Manchester. 3-day packages incl. ferry & coach, two nights B&B from €159pps; departure dates November 14, 21, 28. Packages to Birmingham from €199pps.
  • is offering chartered trips from Dublin to Tromsø, Norway, to see the Northern Lights on board Hurtigruten’s MS Finnmarken for 4 nights and 5 days from €995pp (incl. flights, transfers, 3-day half-board voyage, one-night B&B), depart February 16, 2015.
  • Falcon is offering 7 nights self-catering to Algarve, Janelas Do Mar, Montechoro from €239pp, depart Dublin on September 28 and 7 nights self-catering to Algarve, Alvorferias Club, Alvor from €249pp for two sharing, depart October 5.
  • Thomson is offering 7 nights all-inclusive couples’ trip to Ibiza, Fiesta Don Carlos, Santa Eulalia from €859pp, depart Dublin on May 27,2015, and 7 nights half board couple’s trip to Lanzarote, H10 Timanfaya Palace, Playa Blanca from €679pp, depart Dublin on November 9.
  • Project Travel is offering trips to northern Norway to see the Northern Lights. Land-based deals start at €745pp. Hurtigruten coastal voyages are also available, ranging from the Arctic Highlights 3-day mini cruise (from €1,595 per person sharing, travel between November 2014 and March 2015) to the full board Class Round Voyage 12-day cruise (from €935 pps if booked before Oct 31, depart Dublin Feb 16-20, 2015).
  • Travelport worldwide limited announced the launch of their initial public offering. The estimated price range for the initial public offering is $14 to $16 per common share.
  • The ITAA is setting up panel to monitor illegal trading that will report back to the Commission of Aviation Regulation.
  • A refund of the IATA trust is expected in October.pat dawson alan lynch crop
  • Alan Lynch’s Citiescapes has joined the ITAA. Picture shows Pat Dawson CEO of the ITAA with Alan Lynch.
  • Agents and holiday makers who would like to receive alerts directly from DFA can register to receive tweets by clicking on the link
  • Pat Dawson CEO of the ITAA will be representing the irish travel trade at the funeral of Martha, the wife of Gonzalo Ceballos, Director of the Dublin Office of the Spanish Tourist Board, who sadly passed away last week.
  • ITAA’s over 50s offers this week: 7 nights half board in Astoria Hotel, Lake Maggiore, Switzerland, from €1,109pp, depart October 14; 7 nights B&B in Sana Sesimbra Hotel, Portugal, from €449pp, travel October 2014; and 2 nights at Birmingham Craft Show from €211pp, depart November 7.
  • Travel Indochina launched a new preview brochure.


Dalata group bought the three-star Tower Hotel in Derry for €5.5m. The hotel will be re-branded under the Maldron label. Pat McCann of Dalata told Gavin McLoughlin the group intends to buy a further 20 to 25 Irish hotels over the next three years. Group sales are up 31pc for the first half of 2014.powercourt national geographic

Powerscourt celebrated their third place award from Naiontal Geographic in their list of the world’s top ten gardens. Picture shows Sara Waldburg, Marketing Manager of Houses, Castles and Gardens, Aoife O’Driscoll Marketing Manager of Powerscourt Estate, Ruth Andrews CEO of the inbound Irish Tour Operators Association and Eoghan O’Mara-Walsh of O’ Mara Consultancy.

Sapphire Falls Rendering_1Universal Orlando announced a new hotel, the destination’s fifth. The 1,000-room Sapphire Falls (pictured), including 77 suites, will bring the number of on-site hotel rooms at Universal Orlando to 5,200.

  • The nominees for best international hotel at the European Hospitality Awards to be held in London on Nov 7 are Waldorf Astoria, JW Marriott Seoul: Grace Cafayate in Argentina, and the W Bangkok.
  • posted the ten cheapest last-minute luxury destinations for autumn, based on average prices for four- and five-star hotels.
  • Globe Hotels is offering last-minute stays for 7 nights half-board at Chandris Resort Dassia Corfu from €125 per person sharing, travel Sept 26. Call 01-2569529 or email to book.
  • Marriott said it plans to expand its global portfolio by 1,300 new hotels by 2017.
  • The defunct London Trocadero arcade and shopping centre on Piccadilly Circus is to be developed into a 583-room Ibis hotel by French group Accor. Ibis Styles Piccadilly Circus is expected to open in 2017.
  • Tenerife’s adult-only Colon Guanahani reopened after a €3.5m refurbishment.
  • Guaranteed Irish. 30th Anniversary Celebration Lunch. Herbert PaPicture shows Tom Rea Executive Director of Guaranteed Irish, Taoiseach Enda Kenny, Frank O’Boyle of Guaranteed Irish and Ewan Plenderleith GM of the Herbert Park Hotel at the Guaranteed Irish 30th Anniversary Celebration Lunch in the Herbert Park Hotel.
  • is hosting a free webinar for hoteliers on the importance of images in your online profile on Tuesday Sept 16 at 15:00: How images influence the traveller’s decision. Sign up here.


The newly revised 20th anniversary edition of Where to Ski and Snowboard 2015, was launched b by NortonWood Publishing, and is available online at a discounted price . Editors Chris Gill and Dave Watts say Kitzbuhel, Tignes-le-Lac, Val Gardena and Verbier are the most improved in their regions.

  • CSO Q2 figures show the biggest growth in outbound travel from Ireland for five years: trips were up 2.2pc to 1.79m; expenditure overseas up 7pc to €1.17bn; and the average trip lengthened from 7.3 nights to 7.4.
  • SkiWelt say a newly created slope gives the Westnderf-Soll ski region 280 interconnecting kilometres of ski runs, 85pc of which will have snowmaking facilities.
  • Amnesty International criticised Thailand’s military government for outlawing minor forms of dissent like eating a sandwich in public (once a symbol of peaceful protest) or reading George Orwell’s dystopian novel Ninteen Eighty-Four.
  • So-called armchair tourists can now “visit” the pyramids of Giza in Egypt thanks to new Google Street View images.
  • A holidaymaker in France was killed and another seriously injured after a bomb exploded on an island off the coast of Brittany. Early reports suggested that an unexploded bomb dating back from World War II had washed ashore and detonated on the beach. Police found a metal object believed to be a piece of ammunition from WWII.
  • English car rental trade-only specialist Flexible Car Hire rebranded itself as Flexible Autos.
  • The seventh Legoland will open in Dubai as part of the Dubai Parks and Resorts complex, the first phase of which is due to be completed by 2016. The project is part of a broader push to ramp up Dubai’s hotel and tourism offerings ahead of the 2020 World Expo.
  • Bicycling Magazine listed its top ten cities for cycling in the US: 1 New York, 2 Chicago, 3 Minneapolis, 4 Portland, 5 Washington DC, 6 Boulder, 7 San Francisco, 8 Seattle, 9 Fort Collins, 10 Cambridge.
  • Australia’s terror threat level was raised from medium to high for the first time since the threat level system was introduced in 2003. Visitors can expect tighter security at airports, ports, military bases, government buildings and large public events.
  • Tunisia confirmed that it will introduce a departure tax of 30 dinars per person from October 1. The tax must be paid in cash by all departing passengers and can be paid at the airport, port or local tax office. The charge applies to infant, children and cruise passengers as well. No information on Come To Tunisia’s website yet.
  • Visit Scotland is asking visitors and potential visitors to take a survey. Those who take the survey will be entered into a draw to win one of five luxury hampers. Click here to enter.
  • Skål World Congress opened in Mexico City
  • PATA is to become the premier media partner with BBC Global News.

Food & Wine

  • The National Organic Food Fair takes place at Marlay Park today (Sept 14) from 10.30am to 4.30pm. Admission is free. Clodagh McKenna will host cookery demos at 12.30pm and 2pm.
  • The inaugural Dublin Coffee & Tea Festival took place in the RDS this weekend. The event closes today.
  • USA Today reported water harmonisation is the trend in Milan as more restaurants introduced water and wine pairings.
  • New Zealand will host a number of food festivals over the coming months: Food and Wine Classic summer series, Hawkes Bay, October 31-November 9; Gisborne Wine and Food Festival, October 25-26; Taste of Auckland, November 13-16; Hokitika Wildfoods Festival, March 14, 2015; Bluff Oyster Festival, May 23, 2015; Welly On A Plate, August 2015, date TBC; and Whitianga Scallop Festival, Coromandel, September 2015, date TBC.
  • Lonely Planet posted a gourmet tour of Ireland. Restaurants in Dublin, Cork, Galway and Belfast feature, along with a host of food festivals, farmers markets and distilleries.
  • Longueville House in Cork will run a mushroom hunt with mycology expert Maria Cullen on Sundays from September 21 to October 5. Meanwhile, Bill O’Dea, another mushroom expert, will host a mushroom hunt at Killruddery, Co Wicklow on October 5 and a mushroom weekend in the Park Hotel, Kenmare on October 17-19. See for more.
  • The first sod of the €25m Walsh Whiskey Distillery and Visitor Centre at Royal Oak, Co Carlow was turned this week. The distillery is expected to produce 6m bottles a year and will create over 55 jobs.


guiomard copyThe Commission for Aviation Regulation Cathal Guiomard indicated in a draft report that it wants to cut airport charges by 22pc over five years. DAA responded with its most strident statement to date on the issue, claiming the reductions would affect mandatory investments in new security screening equipment needed to comply with new European regulations and criticising the regulator’s failure to allow essential investments aimed at improving facilities at Terminal 1, growing transfer passenger numbers, expanding the use of the main runway, and delivering additional aircraft parking areas, which affected directly the Government’s emerging National Aviation Policy, which supports the development of Dublin Airport as a secondary hub,

deirdre cluneDespite a news report that negotiations are at an advanced stage to re-introduce the Cork-Dublin flight from the Spring of 2015 (according to Fine Gael’s Deirdre Clune), Aer Lingus Regional say there is a long way to go on this: All we committed to was to meet with the business community in Cork to assess if there’s sufficient demand for purely a connecting service to the US for next Summer. We’ll run the numbers over the next two months and see where it goes. Aer Lingus Regional confirmed it is axing its Shannon-Manchester service on October 27 in the face of competition from Ryanair.

  • British Airways flights to Heathrow from Dublin will be arriving into Terminal 5 from Oct 26, moving from Terminal 1.
  • Aer Lingus Regional carried 143,943 passengers in August, up 19pc on August 2013. Simon Fagan, chief commercial officer of Stobart Air, credits the growth to British passengers transferring to Aer Lingus’s transatlantic services from Shannon and Dublin, and the return of the English Premier League.
  • Finnair announced a 6w seasonal Dublin-Helsinki service (every day except Tuesday) from March 30 to be operated by Flybe with 100-seat Embraer190 to feed Asia connections. The airline, which is part of the Oneworld alliance, withdrew its previous Dublin – Helsinki service in 2005.  Flybe also signed a codeshare agreement with Finnair. Flybe signed a codeshare with Finnair, which will take effect on Sept 15. Finnair and Finavia will host ‘A Match made in HEL’ skateboarding event at Helsinki Airport on October 12 and 13. Finnish pro skateboarder Arto Saari will hold the Arto Saari Invitational where Asian and European skaters will exhibit their skills at a pop-up skate park on the airport grounds.
  • bardrabungaThe sulphur cloud from Bárðarbunga passed over Ireland causing some dramatic readings in Ennis and Dublin. The caldera has subsided by 20 meters and fears linger of a major eruption. Watch this video of the Holuhraun eruption from The Icelandic broadcaster RUV describes it as “like breathing from the exhaust pipe.
  • Aer Lingus described as “premature” speculation that the will add a fourth daily rotation from Belfast City to Heathrow, as well as services to Manchester and Birmingham; an extra daily flight to Gatwick, and further direct services to Europe. Availability of slots is an issue and there is a long way to go on this.
  • Dublin Airport launched a one-stop shop allowing passengers to pre-book book services such as fast track security (€5.95), lounge access, concierge assistance (€39.95) and car parks online from a single point.
  • Etihad - Abu Dhabi Arrivals Lounge - PHOTOEtihad opened an Arrivals Lounge in Abu Dhabi Airport (pictured) located immediately after Customs in Terminals 1 and 3.
  • Dubin Airport’s passenger survey indicated 51pc of airport users are female, 14pc are under 24, 54pc are 25 to 49 and 32pc are fifty plus, the distribution is Dublin 45pc, Leinster 24pc, Connacht 15pc, Munster 9pc, Ulster 7pc, while 38pc are traveling on holiday, 19pc on business and 43pc for other purposes,
  • On the week Michael O’Leary wore Thomas Earls’ shirt Seattle Seahawks fans were granted early boarding on Alaska Airlines.
  • United Airlines took delivery of its first 787-9 Dreamliner.
  • British Airways is to refresh its Boeing 747s with an enhanced inflight entertainment system doubling the choice of TV programmes and films.
  • SAS moved to Heathrow Terminal 2 this week. The next T2 move will be by Singapore Airlines on Wednesday (Sept 17).
  • Ryanair ranks fifth among the world’s airlines for ancillary revenue generation according to Jay Sorensen’s IdeaWorks Car Trawler Yearbook of Ancillary Revenue which said the passenger spend rose to $16 over and above the ticket price in 2013.
  • Boeing claimed that the documentary by Will Jordan of Al Jazeera (watch here) on the 787 gave a false impression of Boeing South Carolina and the quality of work performed there. The manufacturer claimed the documentary appears to have ignored the factual information provided by Boeing and instead based the majority of its reporting on unnamed sources pursuing their own agendas and a disgruntled former employee engaged in a legal dispute with Boeing. 
  • Air Canada is highlighting their Cuba Air Canada mainline flights to Havana, Varadero, Sana Clara and Holguin with easy connections through Toronto form the Air canda Rouge daily Dublin service.
  • pr87406_[2]_059 copyPicture shows DAA CEO Kevin Toland with delegates from Oman Airports Management Company attending the aviation academy at Dublin airport with the training arm of DAA. In total 100 OAMC will travel to Dublin for training over the next 18 months.
  • Chief Executive of Dubai Airports Paul Griffiths says the first phase of the Dubai plan to build the world’s biggest airport will be complete by 2020. Al Maktoum International say the $32bn expansion plan for the city’s second airport. Backers of the airport will enable it to handle 200m passengers per year. The first phase of expansion will see a runway and 120m passenger terminal with capacity for 100 A380 double-deckers at any given time.
  • Travelport renewed its full content agreement with Alitalia.
  • extended its free admission with every receipt to selected dog tracks until Dec 31. Participating venues: Shelbourne Park, Harold’s Cross, Waterford, Cork, Tralee, Limerick, Galway, Mullingar and Newbridge.
  • Travelport announced the launch of its initial public offering, which is expected to be priced at $14-$16 per share, valuing the company at $1.9bn at the top end of the range. At expected pricing, IPO will raise up to $480m, the company said.
  • Connect announced that the 12th International Aviation Forum will take place in Killarney from June 3 to 5, 2015. The event will be hosted by Destination Kerry and Kerry Airport. Over 400 aviation professionals are expected to attend.
  • Richard Branson said that the first Virgin Galactic space flights are hoped to launch early next year, rather than at the end of 2014 as previously predicted.
  • Aer Lingus was named the ‘Fastest Airline in the World’ after beating off other airlines, airports and aviation companies in a race down Budapest Airport’s Runway 13R-31L as part of the annual charity bud:runway run race. View a photo slideshow of the event here.
  • The King came out on top as Irish passengers’ most ideal travelling companion, according to a survey by London City Airport. 20pc of the 500 Irish respondents said they would most like to sit beside Elvis on a flight. The top ten: 1 Elvis (20pc), 2 Barack Obama (12.5pc), 3 Nelson Mandela (12.5pc), 4 George Clooney (12.5pc), 5 Albert Einstein (11pc), 6 Brad Pitt (10pc) 7, Johnny Depp (9pc), 8 Princess Diana (8.5pc), 9 Marilyn Monroe (8pc), 10 Stephen Fry (8pc). Evidently, the Irish like to keep company with the dead. Oddly the survey also found that a person with strong body odour is the most undesirable passenger to sit beside (53pc of respondents), which doesn’t sit well with the fact that half the top ten celebrities are dead. Meanwhile 20pc of Irish passengers rated a child kicking their seat as their top pet hate on flights. Other findings: 37pc would like sleeping pods made available at airports, 2pc would like to see a gym at an airport, 50pc won’t travel without their smartphone, 40pc won’t travel without painkillers, 5.4pc do not like strangers trying to make conversation.
  • American Airlines load factor for August was 84.6pc, down 0.9pc on August 2013, capacity was 23.7bn (up 1.1pc), revenue passenger miles flat at 20bn.
  • Air France-KLM is to invest €1bn in its low cost subsidiary Transavia. CEO Alexandre de Juniac said up to 250 new pilot jobs will be created by 2019 and Transavia’s fleet will grow by over 100 aircraft.
  • Dubai International Airports predicted 45 aircraft arrivals an hour by 2016, up from 33.
  • Aer Lingus Regional will add extra seats for the Ryder Cup, the Scotland v Ireland Euro 2016 Qualifier and next year’s Six Nations fixtures.
  • Qatar Airways will introduce non-stop flights on the Doha-Phuket route on October 26.
  • The Dutch Safety Board interim report on the MH17 tragedy conluded: “The pattern of damage to the aircraft fuselage and the cockpit is consistent with that which may be expected from a large number of high-energy objects that penetrated the aircraft from outside.” The final report due to be published before July 2015.
  • Booking is still open for ERA General Assembly in Barcelona Sept 30-Oct 2.
  • Latvian airline airBaltic has concluded a code-share agreement with British Airways.
  • Happybags launched the Allrounder series, what they call their most stylish yet, 40cm x 55cm x 25cm, holds 15kgs in weight and 49 litres in volume, considered suitable as hand luggage on most airlines. As well as the stowaway pull handle it has webbing carry handles and a separate shoe compartment at the bottom of the case. In addition to the shoe pocket the interior boasts four pockets in addition to the main compartment and an outside pocket.
  • 200211576-001Michael O’Leary proposed switching Ryanair’s current “garish” yellow interior for a softer, more golden colour with pictures of smiley people. Perhaps “cuddly Michael” is the inspiration for the new look?
  • DFW airport launched its new app.
  • American Airlines is to use electronic flight attendant manuals.
  • Aer Lingus CEO Christoph Mueller said: Michael O’Leary is without any doubt one of the best airline executives in the last 100 years of aviation.
  • Air France-KLM is to invest €1bn in its low cost subsidiary Transavia. CEO Alexandre de Juniac said up to 250 new pilot jobs will be created by 2019 and Transavia’s fleet will grow by over 100 aircraft.


Irish Ferries Haven HolidaysStena Line: Adults travel and stay with Stena Line from €85* per night and KIDS GO FREE

  • Norwegian Cruise Line introduced All-Inclusive Packages.
  • Irish Ferries is offering Haven Holiday 2015 bookings for 2014 prices. A €50 deposit secures accommodation. Offer closes Oct 31.
  • Celebrity Cruises is offering instant onboard credit of up to $500 on bookings made at sea: agents benefit too with full credit and commission from the booking
  • Hurtigruten announced a Northern Lights promise, If the lights are not visible from your ship, we will arrange another voyage for free. Flights are not included. Flight and transfer packages start from £600 per person from Dublin or £660 from Belfast.


The Northern Lights could be seen overnight and again tonight (Sunday) in many parts of the country, after an explosion on the Sun occurred at 6.45pm on Wednesday and sent a cloud of radiation hurtling directly towards Earth at an unusually high speed.

  • Some surprises from the CSO Q2 figures: the average visit to Ireland is getting longer, up from 7.0 nights to 7.1. We have lost two days in the duration of inbound visits in the past decade as short breaks became more frequent. This reflects disproportionate growth in the American and Canadian markets. The industry had much to celebrate, trips up 12.3pc to 2.13m; earnings up 18pc to €1.3bn, England up 15.2pc, Mainland Europe up 9.4pc, North Americans up 12.8pc and long haul up 10.9pc, holiday visitors up 8.0pc, business visits up 11.2pc and VFR up 26.2pc, overseas nights up 13.4pc; holiday nights up 4.8pc, business nights up 11.3pc, and VFR nights up 30.9pc. January-June holidaymakers were up 7pc, England up 13pc and North America up 9pc.
  • Wednesday sees Fáilte Ireland host the first in a series of workshops to connect Irish tourism partners with 140 international tour operators. Canadian tour operators will be hosted in the Clontarf Castle Hotel this week, followed by British Coach and Group Tour Operators Workshop (September 22); a New and Emerging Markets Workshop (October 16) and an American Expo (October 21). Famils for international buyers in coming weeks include the Fab Food and Le Cool Walking Trails, Experience Gaelic Games, a tasting session at Skelligs Chocolate Company, at the 1m visitor attraction at the Cliffs of Moher, Foynes Flying Boat Museum and Kenmare Seafari Cruises.
  • Tourism Ireland launched its €11m promotional campaign to boost late season travel in England, North America, mainland Europe and Australia and Developing Markets, highlighting festivals and events around the island.
  • Ierland evenementPicture shows Karen van der Horst of Tourism Ireland, David Cleary of Manor House Hotels, Carmel Flynn of Parknasilla and Finola O’Mahony of Tourism Ireland, at the Ireland and Britain B2B workshop 2014, in Amsterdam attended by 40 Dutch tour operators
  • Fáilte Ireland released a shortlist of six of Ireland’s Best Tourism Small Towns: Ardmore, Carrick on Shannon, Glengarriff, Kinsale Lismore, Portmagee and four large towns Cobh, Killarney, Kilkenny Westport.
  • Australia tour operator Trafalgar is offering seven new itineraries featuring Ireland in 2015, making a total of 15 different Irish trips.
  • Highlights of the north’s culture night programme of over 250 free events on Sept 19 include the Exotic Fruit Orchestra, The Big Gigantic Drum Circle, local music star UNKNWN in St Anne’s Cathedral, RampRage Freestyle BMX Demonstration Belfast Roller Derby with the Belfast Banshees, and the chance to take part in a flashmob with Boys v Girls Swing.
  • NITB highlighted pet friendly hotels, restaurants and pubs that are available around the six counties: pets and their owners will enjoy a whole new leash of life.
  • Michael Cusack Centre 05 09 14 14Picture shows a group of international travel writers sampling Gaelic Games with all star hurler Podge Collins and Clare inter-county camogie player Maire McGrath at the Michael Cusack centre in Clare. The group attended the All ireland hurling final, visited a hurley makers and also had a Gaelic football clinic.
  • The Wild Atlantic Way will feature in a one-hour special called Explore Ireland on Australian travel show The Garden Gurus and will also appear in The Garden Guru Magazine. The show will air on Nine Network and GEM in Australia in January and autumn 2015. Tourism Ireland Sydney invited the TV crew to tour WAW this week. Kayaking on the Killary Fjord, golfing, a visit to Garnish Island and a baking demo at the Firehouse Bakery & Bread School are on the itinerary.
  • Launch of Lough Derg websiteMinister for Environment Alan Kelly launched, a website promoting the Lakelands Lough Derg region. Picture shows  Áine Mc Carthy, Tourism Marketing Coordinator for Lough Derg, Minister Kelly and Joe McGrath, chief executive of Tipperary Co Co.
  • TV channel Sky Sports was in Cobh this week to film an episode of fishing programme Tight Lines. The episode will air on Sky Sports in spring 2015 to an estimated audience of 120,000.
  • Ireland secured the hosting of the World Amateur Team Golf Championships 2018, the Espirito and Eisenhower Trophies for Ladies and Men, calculated to bring 1,200 people visitors for six nights, an estimated 7,200 bednights.
  • Titanic Belfast attracted 100,000 visitors in August and is on track for 657,000 visitors in 2014, putting its second year of operation well ahead of the projected 450,000pa when the project was being planned.
  • London City Airport included Dublin and Belfast in its recommended autumn weekend breaks options

Email to have your say or it is @TravelExtraIre on Twitter if that’s your bag.

Travel Extra’s Sunday Supplement: Ryanair’s 8 extra seats & some warming winter airfares



Picture by Thomas Leuthard via Flickr

The headlines this week:

*Drum-roll for double-daily Dublin-Dubai distension

*Winter fares on sale

*Ski brochures straight from the slopes

*Ryanair seeks 200-seaters

*Heaney-boppers head north

*Travel agents avoid the bunkers twice in one week


Travel Extra TVParachutist lands in Dublin

Our video of the week shows parachutist Colin Curran jumping into Croke Park for the Croke Park Classic last weekend (watch here). The jumper before him wasn’t so lucky: he got caught in a gust of wind and landed on the nearby railway track instead. He did manage to land on Fox News though. Watch here.

  • YouTube footage of a Grenadier Guard doing a little dance outside Buckingham Palace was picked up by the English press this week. It was reported that the guardsman – who is seen pirouetting and performing a jig for onlookers – is under investigation by the Ministry of Defence: “Anyone who is found to fall short of the Army’s high standards can expect to face appropriate action,” a spokesperson told The English Daily Mail. Watch here.
  • Another week, another GoPro video. And if heights aren’t your thing, look away now: These three friends took the selfie to the next level by capturing an 18-second clip of themselves posing on top of a skyscraper in Hong Kong. Watch here.
  • Primark/Penney’s posted their Adventure Awaits promo video which was shot in West Kerry. Watch here.
  • Take a look at the view from the European Space Agency’s International Space Station filmed in July. Watch here.
  • Watch the Icelandic Met Office’s flyover of the Holuhraun/Bárðarbunga eruption Watch here.
  • RT spoke to Sergey Shevchik, a pilot who travelled across Russia with his son in a home-made aircraft. Watch here.
  • BBC travelled to Crosshaven, Co Cork to cover the Irish Redhead Convention. Watch here.
  • Découvrez Dublin avec Luxair: Luxair posted a video promoting Dublin. Watch here.
  • Take a look at YouTube user Scott McCain’s video of two swimmers casually making their way back to shore at Destin beach – with a hammerhead shark only a couple of feet away. Onlookers are heard shouting warnings from Silver Beach Towers resort urging the two to get out of the water. Eventually the swimmers spotted the creature themselves after it attacked a sting ray. Watch here.


Margaret Shannon and Enda Corneille and Crew 2Emirates started their double daily Dublin-Dubai flights, using a three class 8-42-310 B777-300ER on both daily flights (a B777-200LR had been originally proposed for the second flight). The new flight EK0164 departs Dublin at 22.20, arriving in Dubai at 08.50. The return EK0163 departs Dubai at 16.00, landing in Dublin at 20.50. Emirates second flight opens connections to 146 destinations worldwide. The airline launched a global sale on Economy return fares from Dublin: Dublin to Dubai is available from €499, Perth from €821, Sydney or Melbourne from €824, Brisbane from €875, Cape Town from €689, Hong Kong from €599, Sri Lanka from €635 and Seychelles from €705. Book before September 18, travel between September 15, 2014, and March 15, 2015. Picture shows Margaret Shannon, outgoing country manager for Ireland who set up the double daily schedule and Enda Corneille, who succeeded her as Ireland country manager from Monday last.

Ski brochuresIs that snow on your brochure shelves? Crystal launched their 2014-15 snow brochure and Topflight are to launch theirs in the coming days. As well as the traditional seven-day holidays, the emphasis is on the new chalet offering from Topflight and their weekend ski breaks to European destinations such as Austria, France and in particular Norway. Most of the Austrian and French ski resorts can be selective on the dates on which they will offer a short ski stay, but Norway (especially the town of Lillehammer) offer families and first time ski clients an excellent opportunity for weekend or short stay ski breaks. Italy for 2015 is on sale with Topflight, especially honeymoon requests.

Barney Devlin who featured in the Seamus Heaney poem, the Forge.

Barney Devlin who featured in the Seamus Heaney poem, the Forge.

A year after his death, Seamus Heaney’s literary legacy is being matched already by a growing tourism legacy. In advance of the Celebrating Seamus Heaney On Home Ground festival next weekend (Sept 11-14), a packed programme of events curated by Marie-Louise Muir, one of the organisers of the festival Eugene Kielt hosted Travel Extra last week for Heaney Country Experience, a tour of the landscape of the Heaney imagination, the river borders, bogs, marshlands and the road on which his younger brother was killed lading to one of the most poignant poems in Irish literary history: Midterm Break. The signpost to the grave has already been erected (before the headstone) and a small archive installed in the Bawn in Bellaghy. A visitor centre is on its way. The best time to sample Heaney’s childhood scenes may be now. The highlight of the trip? Barney Devlin’s forge, his demonstration of the sound of the ancient anvil against the new one, and how the water used for cooling the molten steel was useful for another purpose, curing warts (listen here). Download the Seamus Heaney On Home Ground Programme here.

eoghan-corry-icebucketBuckets of coverage, and no sign of the charity ice bucket challenge craze cooling off. Participants this week included ITAA president Martin Skelly (watch here). The Ice bucket Challenge has raised over €1m for charity in Ireland. The challenge started as a fundraiser for the ALS Association and was directed to the Motor Neurone Disease Association in England and Ireland, while individuals have opted to donate their money from their challenges to other organisations. Among this week’s icily challenged were Martin Skelly (watch here), President of the ITAA, who took the challenge outside his Navan Travel agency and Volker Lorenz of Amadeus who took the challenge at the Travel Industry Golf event in Bray (watch here). He was nominated by Peter O’Hanlon (watch here) who also nominated Travel Extra’s Eoghan Corry (watch here): he sung the Parting Ice Bucket for the occasion: good ice and joy be with you all. See our nominee Sharon Jordan take the challenge with her colleagues at TTC (watch here).

Bárðarbunga’s pre-eruption activity is now larger than Eyjafjallajökull in 2010, but there is no threat to aviation. The clouds you see on the webcams are steam and sulphur, not ash. Listen here to Travel Extra‘s Eoghan Corry on RTÉ’s Morning Ireland speaking about how the approach to ash alerts has changed radically since 2010. There WAS one delay because of Bárðarbunga, but it was intentional: an Icelandair flight took a detour so passengers could get a better view of the eruption site. No complaints from the passengers, if Twitter is anything to go by.

ITAA CEO Pat Dawson and President Martin Skelly.The Irish Travel Agents Association is to host a major two-day golf day and trade event around its annual AGM in Citywest, Saggart next April 24-25. The weekend will feature sessions for woner-managers, separate briefings and showcase events focussed on airlines and on technology, an exhibition area with stands from 60 suppliers and will culminate a barbecue and disco for 400 travel trade staff. Transport will be provided from venues around the country. The event was agreed by the board of the ITAA last Wednesday. Picture shows ITAA CEO Pat Dawson and President Martin Skelly.

Reise Service Deutschland’s low price trips to Istanbul have been causing quite a stir through the industry. There have been some suggestions that a new retail-based model for tour operators has been found.

mirates croppedThe Emirates mega fam to Dubai cleared for take-off in Dublin Airport. Picture shows: Ciara Cummins of Tully’s Travel, Gillian Purser of Marble City Travel, Emma Leahy of Travelnet, Katerina Landeka of BCD Travel, Carmel Hayes of Strand Travel, Geraldine Leonard of World Travel Centre Dublin, Sharon Sheridan of Navan Travel, Sharon McGillicuddy of Tropical Sky, Sandra Smith of Malahide Travel, Caroline O’Toole of Fahy Travel Marie O’Sullivan of Emirates airport staff Dublin, Siobhan Durkin of Emirates airport staff Dublin, Sarah Duncan of Atlas Travel, Filippo Rocchi of Emirates, Rose Kane of Kanes Travel, Anne Martin of FCM Travel, Jacinta Mullen of Abbey Travel, Nivil Abraham of 747 Travel Jennifer Keith of World Travel Centre Belfast David Gray of Barrhead Travel and Haarish Mithra Bharathan of Club Travel.

It was end of summer sales week for many airlines as they discount their woolier winter inventory, with some more planning to wheel their discount barrows on the the web next week: Aer Lingus (book by Sept 15, travel Oct 1-Mar 1), Air France (book by Sept 30), British Airways (book by Sept 23, travel before June 21), Emirates (book by Sept 18, travel Sept 15-Mar 15), Lufthansa (book by Oct 6, travel Oct 15-Mar 22) and Virgin (book by Sept 23, travel dates vary by destination).

Travel Trade

Pat Reede, Massimo Larini, Yvonne Muldoon and Aoife Gregg of United Airlines with the United Cup at the presentation of prizes for the United Cup, north v south, at Carton House September 2 2014Team South won the United Airlines Cup for the third year in a row by 6-3, captained by John Cassidy and vice captained by Jimmy Lennox. United hosted 36 agents at the annual event, regarded as the most competitive on the travel industry’s golf calendar. Picture shows Pat Reede, Massimo Larini, Yvonne Muldoon and Aoife Gregg of United Airlines with the cup. See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.

msc-residenceRebecca Kelly, Neal Baldwin, Rose Darby and Sabine Ficek of MSC cruises held an appreciation night for 70 agents in The Residence, Dublin, to thank them for their support in a period of rapid expansion in the Irish market, and transition to their new three tier and their new three-package Bella-Fantastica-Aurea offering and “Serving You” initiative for travel agents. Picture shows Niki Stanford of Clickandgo, Rebecca Kelly of MSC, Dawn Conway of Sunway and Julie Hanna of Travel Broker, all ex Thomas Cook. IMG_4067Listen here to Rebecca Kelly’s speech at the event and listen here to ITAA president Martin Skelly’s reply on behalf of the trade. See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.

  • Lowcostbeds launched their City Break trade promotion: book a city break with lowcostbeds and travel agency staff can earn a €5 one4all voucher for bookings over €250 made before September 30.
  • golf-brayThe Travel Industry Golf Society sent 64 golfers into the field for the captain’s prize at Bray Golf Club, hosted by Volker Lorenz of Amadeus. The competition winners were John Spollen and Audrey Headon. Picture shows the team from event sponsors Travelport: Robbie Smart, Joanne Madden and Tara Hynes. See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.
  • Affordable Car Hire is offering €10 per booking in shopping vouchers as part of its free lunch Fridays offer.
  • TIGS captain Volker Lorenz of Amadeus playing at this week's captain's prize in Bray

    TIGS captain Volker Lorenz of Amadeus playing at this week’s captain’s prize in Bray

    Disney GSA’s Neenan Travel and Abbey Travel are offering two extra days and nights free for arrivals from November 13, 2014, right up to November 2, 2015, (excludes 20 December, 2014 – Jan 3, 2015, and March 27-31, 2015). Abbey is offering Aer Lingus flights from Dublin/Cork to Charles De Gaulle in conjunction with the offer; book before September 30, travel October 26, 2014, to June 30, 2015.

  • Agents booking their Hertz car hire through Travelport Galileo or Travelport Worldspan can win a €50 one4all voucher each week from now until November 30 with the an overall prize of a 2-night break for two including an evening meal at a hotel of their choice. Paul Manning asked agents to email weekly reservation IDs to him.
  • The Commission for Aviation Regulation published its Air Passenger Rights Complaints Report for January- June 2014 (view here). The Commission has granted Irish travel agency licenses to two English-based agencies, all inclusive China specialist Wendy Wu Tours, the Wimbledon based Broadway Travel Services and Blue Sea Holidays and a tour operator licence to Sindaco Ltd trading as Fanfare. The trading name of Mercury Direct was also added to the listing for Sunspot Tours.
  • ITAA’s offers this week: 7 nights all inclusive at Occidental Grand Punta Cana, Dominican Republic from €999pps, travel from Sept 15 to Oct 31; 7 nights half-board over 50s holiday at the Sol Principe Hotel, Torremolinos from €469pps; and 7 nights at Koursaros Apartments, Sidari, Corfu from €349pps, travel Sept 24.
  • Thomson is offering 7 nights all-inclusive to Kos, Blue Lagoon Village, Kefalos from €2,507 for two adults and one child or €3,166 for two adults and two children. Travel from Dublin on May 26, 2015.
  • 9T2A9757aOasis Travel opened its fifth agency and cruise centre at Lisburn Road, Belfast, this week. Picture shows Lynsey Joy, Lisa Cherry, Sandra Corkin, Eimear Lenaghan and Michelle Telford, all of Oasis Travel, at the official launch. Belfast Lord Mayor Nichola Mallon was guest of honour.
  • Falcon is offering 7 nights self-catering to Lanzarote, Corona Mar Apartments, Puerto del Carmen from €349pp for two-sharing. Travel from Shannon on October 6.
  • Travel Department is offering Christmas shopping trips to the US: New York, 4 nights B&B plus guided tour, from €1,199pps, departures November 7 and 11; Boston, 3 nights B&B plus guided tour, from €1,119pps, depart November 20. Travel Department is also offering Christmas shopping breaks on the continent: 3 nights in Vienna from €399pps, depart November 17, 20, 24 or December 15; 3 nights in Prague from €349pps, depart December 1; 4 nights in Krakow from €379pps, depart November 30; 3 nights in a five-star hotel in Budapest from €359pps, depart November 27 or December 4; 5-night cruise tour of Belgium’s Christmas markets, including Brussels, Bruges, Antwerp and Ghent, includes 3 nights boat accommodations, 2 nights in a four-star in Brussels, guided tours of each city, from €799pps, depart December 2; Lake Garda, Venice and Bolzano markets from €499pps, depart November 27, 29 or December 4. Travel Department is offering 7 nights B&B on the Sorrento Coast from €849pp (incl. evening meals plus trips to Pompeii and Capri island), departing Dublin on October 9, 14 and 16, and 7 nights B&B in Almuñécar, Spain, from €699pp (incl. evening meals), departing Dublin from October 29 to November 5 and Cork on November 6.
  • P1070433Picture shows Cronins Coaches team Nora Cronin, SKAL Ireland President, and Margaret Cronin, SKAL Dublin President, with their father Dermot at the SKAL function on the Ruby Princess in Dublin Port on Tuesday.
  • Celtic Horizon Tours has six places left on their 1-night package to see Man United play against Queens Park Rangers in Old Trafford on September 14. Night coach and ferry offer incl. travel by coach and Irish Ferries, one night B&B and match ticket from €149pps.
  • Discover Travel is offering 10-night B&B honeymoon packages to the Anatara Lawana Resort & Spa on Koh Samui Island, Thailand, for €1,399pp. Offer includes Khom Loi Lantern ceremony, bottle of sparkling wine, dinner for two and wine in the hotel’s main restaurant and 15-minute head, neck and shoulder massage for two people. Offer valid for travel in May or June 2015.
  • The domain name is to be auctioned at WTM in London on November 5, with offers of seven figures anticipated.

Hotels monthly Hotel Price Index estimated that prices sold by the OTA increased by 10pc to an average of €101 per night. The widespread coverage accorded the survey lead to the IHF issuing an unusual caution that these prices applied only to the 8pc of rooms sold by The IHF themselves estimate that rooms are increasing by 3.5pc.

  • Frits-PotgieterThe Doyle Collection appointed Frits Potgieter as General Manager of The Kensington Hotel London. Frits joined The Doyle Collection in 2012 as Manager for The Marylebone Hotel. He has worked in a number of luxury London properties including The Chesterfield Mayfair Hotel, The Red Carnation Hotel Collection and The Milestone Hotels & Apartments.
  • Tom Kane’s Adare Manor was put up for sale, its 400 acres on offer for €30m.
  • Premier Inn announced a distribution agreement with Travelport.IMG_4349
  • O’Callaghan Hotels hosted its corporate clients and travel agents at the K Club on Friday. Noel O’Callaghan who was part of the winning team, did not join his colleagues on the podium. O’Callaghan’s have three hotels in the Merrion Square region of Dublin and hotels in Gibraltar and Annapolis.


WP_20140622_003Picture shows Travel Extra’s Conor McMahon taking a bike tour of Djurgården island, Stockholm, with Ellie McMahon (no relation). The couple spent three months living in the capital of Scandinavia and return home this morning. For the past week, they were hosted by the Stockholm Visitors Board, which provided them with two 72-hour Stockholm Cards. The card provides visitors entry to 80 galleries, unlimited public transport, plus a number of discounts. The highlights of the trip: Moderna Museet, Skansen wildlife park, Djurgården, boat trip to Vaxholm, Sturekatten café, K25 food hall and the Hallwyl Collection to name but a few.

The US Embassy is inviting anyone who ever went on a J1 summer work and travel programme, or any other US exchange programme, to join the J1 Connect event on September 25 at the RDS in Dublin. Register here.

  • Tunisia is to introduce a €13 tourist tax from October 1.Kobkarn Wattanavrangkul
  • Kobkarn Wattanavrangkul, former head of the Toshiba Corporation in Thailand (pictured), has been named Thailand’s latest Minister of Tourism and Sports.
  • Next year’s Arabian Travel Market is to focus on the $140bn family travel market.
  • Greece is anticipating an increase in visitor numbers to archaeological sites and museums following new burial tomb find in Amfipolis.
  • Hernando de Soto and Gaston Acurio were announced as key note speakers at WTTC 2014 Americas Summit in Lima.
  • Eurotunnel warned drivers to be on the lookout for stowaways near its Calais terminal after a woman found a man hiding in her car after she checked her dogs at a reception area in Calais.

turtle-chinaSecurity officials at Guangzhou Baiyun International Airport in China caught an eight-year-old boy trying to smuggle his pet turtle onto an aircraft by hiding the reptile in his underwear. A similar story emerged last year when a man was caught trying to bring a turtle on board a flight at Guangzhou Airport by hiding it in a “KFC hamburger” (which the fast food chain doesn’t sell).

Food & Wine

0875_0064The Irish Craft Beer and Cider Festival continues at the RDS today. Picture shows Gerald Costello, Costellos of Gabriel Corcoran of Teelings, Ronan Brennan of Galway Hooker, Alan Wolfe of McGargles and Clementine MacNiece of McIvors launching the event.

  • The next Beef Club dinner at The Chophouse Gastropub at Shelbourne Road, Dublin 4, takes place September 24. In the past, the menu has included tartare of Angus with oyster mayonnaise, beef tea with oxtail tortellini, short rib gratin and 45-day dry-aged Porterhouse. Dinner plus two glasses of Bordeaux are available for €55. Membership is free and the club meets around five times a year. Email to join.
  • Bavarian bakers threatened strike action during this year’s Oktoberfest in Germany. Punters fear there may be a shortage of the popular Brezn pretzels at this year’s event.
    Picture by Leigh Wolf via Flickr
    Picture by Leigh Wolf via Flickr
  • The Cornstore restaurants in Cork and Limerick are running their seafood festival this month. Specials include an oyster tasting plate with oyster Rockefeller, pickled seaweed and salsa oyster, devils on horseback and natural oyster for €12.95. Saba restaurant in Dublin is having their Lobsterfest on September 18-28. A seafood platter for two with grilled lobster, squid, mussels, prawns and swordfish, serviced with stir fried vegetables and fried rice is available for €49.95. Inishbofin lobster, Carlingford oysters and Roaringwater Bay mussels will be on the menu.
  • Scally’s SuperValu in Clonakilty launched an in-store gluten-free bakery and food production facility; the first in Ireland, it claims. Breads, cakes, buns, ready meals, soups and sauces will be available.


Michael O'Leary Ray ConnerA Ryanair order for 100 of Boeing’s new 200-seat B737 MAX 200 jetliners could be finalised within days. Although he is not a big fan of the design of the craft, Michael O’Leary is attracted by the big savings offered by the MAX: 5pc-per-seat, because the craft can accommodate up to 11 more seats per craft than Ryanair’s current workhorse, the 189-seat 737-800, with Ryanair likely to opt for eight. Two extra doors will also make for speedier turnaround. Those extra seats will make a big difference on high frequency routes, he said recently. Ryanair take delivery of the first of 180 new aircraft in the coming days and are planning to release their summer 2015 earlier than ever before. Apart from Charles De Gaulle, Frankfurt and Heathrow, every other airport is now on the cards, O’Leary said. Reuters says the order would mark a new phase in efforts by Boeing and European rival Airbus to appeal to ultra-low cost carriers. Picture shows Michael O’Leary and Ray Conner of Boeing at the announcement of the last major Ryanair order.

The IAA reported an average 1,654 flights in Irish airspace, up 5.2pc from last August. August 14 was the busiest day, with 1,835 flights and 700 flights at Ireland’s main airports. Dublin was up up 2.6pc to an average of 528 daily movements, Shannon was up 26.9pc to 71 and Cork down 3.7pc to 63.aer-lingus-jet

Aer Lingus results for August were even better than July, driven by strong long haul growth from extra routes, but also a high seat load factor. Overall results were up 7pc, driven by long haul (up 22pc, load factor down 0.8pc to 91.4pc), short haul up 3.3pc (load factor up 1.4pc to 83.5pc).This was despite one aircraft less in the short-haul fleet – the aircraft was designated as a stand-by rather than as scheduled.

ryanairImpressive traffic results again from Ryanair as they continued to hold their growth rate of 4pc, up to 9.4m for August (Q1 and July both up 4pc), load factor up 4pc to 93pc (Q1 was up 4pc, July was up 3pc), Ryanair may now surpass their target of 86m passengers in 2014 having already raised it from 84.6m for this year and raised the 2015 target from 89m to 90m. Picture shows Marie Macken, Kenny Jacobs and Robin Kiely of Ryanair who briefed the media on social media developments in Dublin on Thursday. Éist anseo le Eoghan Corry eagarthóir Travel Extra ag caint faoi Ryanair ar Údar Cainte ar Raidió na Gaeltachta.Aer Lingus

  • Aer Lingus Regional’s twice daily 06:50 and 16:25 service to Leeds Bradford to begin October 23 aims to fly 70,000 passengers in first year. EIR said ALL key British business and tourist hubs are now served by Aer Lingus Regional. Stobart Air MD Julian Carr said the company is in talks to expand its white label business beyond its current Aer Lingus and Flybe operations.
  • The US Department of Transportation further delayed the application by Dublin-based Norwegian Air International’ for a fifth freedom route from Gatwick to JFK by rejecting an application for certain exemptions “on procedural grounds.” Norwegian stressed the permit refusal is NOT a denial. Norwegian long-haul schedules for next summer show Gatwick as 6w to JFK and 4w to Los Angeles, while 6w Oslo Florida and Bangkok round trips are replaced by 7w California and JFK. Norwegian CEO Bjørn Kjos says he hopes to utilise his upcoming B737 MAX 8 aircraft on thinner routes such as Boston to Glasgow, Bergen, Stavanger and Trondheim. He said there is not a leasing company in the world that has the purchasing conditions we have for the 737 MAX, for which Norwegian have 100 on order. The American Society of Travel Agents is supporting Norwegian’s proposal, as are FedEx, Atlas Air, the Travel Technology Association, the European Low Fares Airlines Association, Washington Airports Task Force, Broward County Aviation Department, Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport, and the Greater Orlando Aviation Authority. Documents on file with the USDOT indicate the route’s opponents include Air France/KLM/Delta, American, Austrian Airlines, Lufthansa, SAS, United, US Airways and American trade unions ALPA, APA, SWAPA, AFL-CIO (TTD), AFA, IAM, TWU and European trade unions ECA, ETWF, Norwegian trade union Parat, and the Air Crew Working Group of the Sectoral Dialogue Committee.
  • Passenger numbers at Waterford Airport were up 42.5pc in the eight months to August 31.
  • Paola Borsa of Federazione ATM-PPDisruption from air traffic control and airport worker strikes in Italy yesterday was widespread, with Ryanair cancelling 96 flights including Dublin to Milan Bergamo at 10:10 FR9428 and return 9429. Paolo Borsa of Federazione ATM-PP (pictured) was one of two air traffic control unions to call a four hour strike while workers at Ciampino airport also struck for four hours. Read the union statement here (in Italian): Italian air traffic control strike sept 6 2014.
  • Ryanair has dropped plans to launch a direct route from Dublin to St Petersburg in 2014.
  • Spanish agency Destinia became the first OTA to offer flights on the state-owned airline of North Korea.
  • Long tipped as a Ryanair’s potential transatlantic destination, TF Green Airport in Providence, Rhode Island, announced its first transatlantic scheduled service by Condor
    Picture by Presidencia de la República Mexicana via Flickr

    Presidencia de la República Mexicana via Flickr

    Airlines from Frankfurt.

  • President Enrique Pena Nieto (pictured) confirmed Mexico City is to get $9.23bn towards its new 120m passengers a year airport.
  • Michael O’Leary repeated his commitment to stay on for another couple of years and said he is unfazed by the departure of two of his most senior executives. There was a view of Ryanair that we were cheap and nasty; I think that was a byproduct of my personality. GDS bookings are still a very small percentage of Ryanair sales but departing corporate travel and groups co-ordinator Leslie Kane said the airline is getting 300 group enquiries a day, with about 50pc of those coming through the trade. Another recent departure from Ryanair. Howard Millar ruled out any interest in the position of CEO of Aer Lingus after Christoph Mueller‘s departure next April, citing conflict of interest with his membership of Ryanair’s board.
  • Aer Lingus is to code share with Flybe between Southend, Southampton and Inverness and the US/Canada.
  • Peter Gahan wrote about Tallaght-man Alan Joyce’s task at Qantas: If he manages to pull off his ambitious plans for Qantas, Joyce may quickly go from being one of the most criticised business leaders in the country to one of the most admired. If he cannot do so, then along with the Chairman and other Board members, he will need admit failure and move on. 
  • Aer Lingus Chairman Colm Barrington was reappointed to the role for another year to September 2015.
  • Etihad Airways PhotosEtihad Airways is to stream today’s All Ireland hurling Final live on its flights. Picture shows Paul Byrnes of RTÉ, Beatrice Cosgrove, Etihad’s country manager for Ireland; Michael Lyster of RTÉ’s Sunday Game and Noel Quinn of the GAA.
  • Tarom are to launch a Friday 1w flight Dublin to Iasi on the Moldova border on October 30 using a 737-700, prices from €188 on It gives access to the painted churches of Bukovina.
  • Dublin Airport recorded 2.3m passengers in August, 6pc up on last August: 695,000 on English, Scottish and Welsh routes (up 3pc), 1.3m on continental routes (up 6pc), 260,000 on transatlantic routes (up 14pc), 67,000 on other international routes mainly Middle East (up 17pc) and 8,000 on domestic routes (up 8pc).
  • Cork Chamber wants an annual €10m grant for Cork Airport to offer the same type of deals that Shannon Airport can to attract new routes.
  • Ireland West Airport Knock had its busiest ever month with 102,774 passengers, 20pc up on August 2013. Knock is on target for 700,000 passengers in 2014 for the first time.
  • A member of cabin crew onboard an easyJet flight from Gatwick to Naples broke her hip after she hit the roof of the aircraft when it experienced severe turbulence. Two other cabin crew members and several passengers were reportedly injured as well. The flight was diverted to Rome.
  • The University of Limerick has launched a post-graduate Diploma course in Aviation Leasing.
  • The legroom wars continued this week. The latest battle was between two female passengers on a Delta Air Lines flight from New York to Palm Beach. You know how it goes now: one passenger wanted to push her seat back, the other wanted to rest on the tray table behind, a fight broke out and the flight was forced to make an emergency landing.martin skelly aubrey teidt
  • Etihad’s Ireland country manager Beatrice Cosgrove, alongside Dublin born Aubrey Tiedt and Ray Gemmell from the Abu Dhabi headquarters of Etihad will host trade guests at the All Ireland hurling final today. Aubrey is pictured with ITAA President Martin Skelly. For those who need an introduction to hurling look no further than the promotional videos for today’s final by RTÉ with the help of Lily Allen (watch here, it will bring a lump to your throat), or by the GAA: Relive hurling’s ancient rivalry (watch here).
  • Virgin Atlantic is to add Heathrow-Detroit (daily) and increase frequencies to JFK (5th daily), Los Angeles (additional daily), Atlanta (additional daily in the summer), San Francisco (additional 5 per week in summer), and (additional) daily Miami in winter). Delta will operate Manchester-JFK (daily). Virgin will take over Delta’s Manchester-Atlanta route and Delta will take one of Virgin’s Heathrow-Newark services as their transatlantic joint venture develops.
    Virgin will cease routes Heathrow to Tokyo, Mumbai, Cape Town and Vancouver, at various dates from Feb 2015, but say they will restore them if capacity at Heathrow makes it possible.
  • Willie Walsh said Etihad’s bid to win approval to buy minority stakes in several European airlines is being over-scrutinised by Europe, “I have no issue with Etihad investing in these airlines; from a principle point of view I would say I’m fine with it. My view is very simple, I believe ownership and control restrictions should be removed and I think it is nonsense,” Walsh told Arabian Business.
  • London Airports Commission chairman Howard Davies said the decision not to shortlist the Isle of Grain as an option for a new London airport (as championed by London mayor Boris Johnson) leaves the city with three choices: lengthening an existing runway at Heathrow, a third runway at Heathrow, and a new runway at Gatwick.
  • British Airways will remove four meals from its in-flight menu from October 1: fruit platter, bland meal, Jain meal, seafood meal.
  • Reuters published a short photo series documenting the ongoing wait for families of the victims of MH370, six months since the Malaysia Airlines flight disappeared. Earlier in the week, Malaysia Airlines had to rename a promotion asking customers what countries were on their “bucket list”, a term closely associated with death.
  • Westjet reported the highest load factor in its 14 year history, 89.3pc.
  • Finnair celebrated its 60th birthday this week.
  • Lufthansa cancelled around 200 flights on Friday evening due to a strike by pilot union Vereinigung Cockpit at Frankfurt Airport.
  • Qatar Airways will launch a non-stop 5w service between Doha and Cape Town on November 3.
  • Iberia will launch an online booking tool on Monday, Sept 15, replacing the process whereby agents contact Iberia groups via email for requests. A guide to the new tool is available here.


IMG_1626It is not just Dublin that is enjoying a record number of cruise calls: Cork had three ships in on Thursday August 21, MSC Magnifica with 3,000 passengers, Aida Cara with 1,300 and Sea Cloud 2. Overall 220 cruise ships will have called to Irish ports by season’s end. Galway wants to upgrade its harbour to join the cruise-call party after the Artania called with 1,800 passengers but had to leave early. Picture shows Tryphavana Cross and Alan Lynch on board Celebrity Infinity where Cruisescapes hosted their customers.

  • Dublin Bay Cruises have a new sailing schedule from Sept 6.
  • Silversea’s Explorer completed its first journey through the Northwest Passage (Kangerlussuaq, Greenland, to Nome, Alaska) on September 1 after a 23-day voyage.
  • Tourists are being offered €10 boat tours to the wreck of Costa Concordia as it is demolished in Genoa port.
  • Stena Line is offering one night free for families travelling from Dublin Port to Holyhead, Rosslare to Fishguard or Belfast to Cairnryan, and stay in one of ten Haven Parks in Wales, England or Scotland during September and October for a four nights. Fares for two adults and up to four children from €299. Book before September 30.

IrelandTourism Ireland leads sales mission to China

Tourism Ireland held a briefing for the Irish tourism operators who will participate in the 2014 China sales mission to Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou, September 15-19. Picture shows Fiona Herald, Guinness Storehouse; Ya Luo, Wiiya International; Alex Li, E G Travel; and Amanda Burns, Tourism Ireland.

  • The Irish Tourism Industry Confederation’s Budget submission called for greater focus on national competitiveness.
  • Fáilte Ireland Director of strategic development Aidan Pender told an Oireachtas All Party Consultation Group on Commemorations an ‘Independence Trail’ planned for Dublin would have to tell the wider story of Ireland’s journey to independence rather than looking solely on the events of the Easter Rising.
  • REGIONS COME TOGETHER TO SHOWCASE WORLD-CLASS TOURISM OFFERINGThe fast evolving Border Uplands Project showcased the tourism offering in the ICBAN, Fermanagh District Council and the County Councils of Cavan, Leitrim and Sligo. The €3.1m project is funded under the European Union’s INTERREG IVA programme and managed by the Special European Union’s Programme Body (SEUPB). Picture shows Paul Kirkpatrick from Leitrim County Council, Martina O’Neill from Fermanagh District Council, Grainne O’Connor from Cavan County Council and Michael Carty from Sligo County Council.
  • Paulo ManchaToday’s All Ireland hurling final will be at the heart of an itinerary for a group of 12 travel writers hosted by Fáilte Ireland: Paulo Mancha from Brazil (pictured), Peter Kyhl Olesen and David Jacobsen Turner from Denmark, Franz Michael Braunschlaeger and Thorsten Keller from Germany, Jaideep Unudurti from India, William Stewart McConnell from Scotland, Jorge Gonzalez from Spain and Pelle Blohm and Mats G Svensson from Sweden who will also be visiting Laytown for the Beach Races, witness hurley making and attend a training session in County Clare, and a visit to Dunboyne Football club for Gaelic Football lessons.
  • published its 10 favourite panicked Tweets posted by unsuspecting locals who got a land seeing the VERY LOUD F16 fighter jets in Dublin for last weekend’s Croke Park Classic.
  • Adventure Summit Countdown3[1]Minister for Tourism Paschal Donohue met with 50 adventure and activity providers in the Brehon Hotel Killarney on Thursday to brief them on the Adventure Travel Trade Association’s World Summit which comes to Killarney on October 6-9. Fáilte Ireland organised the workshop.
  • Minister Michael Ring launched a new 52-page visitor guide to West Limerick in the Mustard Seed Hotel & Restaurant in Ballingarry. Over 50 members of the local trade attended. The guide was created by West Limerick Tourism and is available online and in hard copy. It features: Saturday night ballroom dancing at Knockaderry Community Centre, the Garden of Remembrance at St Mary’s Church, Askeaton, plus guides to Abbeyfeale, Adare, Foynes, Rathekeale and other towns.
  • Minister Shn Airport 17Shannon Group plc was established by Paschal Donohue. The company brings together Shannon Airport, Shannon Commercial Enterprises, Shannon Heritage and the International Aviation Services Centre.
  • According to the Digital Marketing Institute’s Irish Digital Skills report, the hospitality and leisure sector is the most digitally savvy sector (excluding technology and marketing) in Ireland when it comes to digital marketing with 46pc of professionals surveyed displaying a competent level of digital marketing skills.
  • Fáilte Ireland officially launched the Wild Atlantic Way app.


Email to have your say or it is @TravelExtraIre on Twitter if that’s your bag.

Travel Extra’s Sunday Supplement: A third Irish attraction expects to hit 1m visitors in 2014, but which one?


Header August 31

Picture by El-Moe via Flickr

The headlines this week:

*Moher set to hit the million mark

*Cruising takes a Quantum leap

*Flypast surprise over Croke Park

*Dublin Airport’s 81,521 passengers on busiest day


Travel Extra TVPooch Pool Party

Our video of the week shows Lakeview Park in Idaho hosting its annual Pooch Pool Party. Dogs are invited to enjoy the water park before it closes for the year. The clip reminded Travel Extra’s Conor McMahon of Hundsbadet beach at Långholmen, Stockholm, where dogs and their owners are free to swim and play together during the hot summer months. Watch here.

Take a POV trip with wingsuit flier Robert Morgan as he rushes down the Avalanche Line in the Swiss Alps. Watch here.

Watch pro surfer Benji Brand ride a kilometre-long barrel wave at Skeleton Bay in Namibia. Watch the GoPro footage here.

More GoPro footage, a blooper this time:  A curious marmot spoiled a timelapse video Greenpeace was trying to film at Glacier National Park. The marmot became absolutely smitten with the camera – and decided to lick it enthusiastically to show his love. Watch here.

The sky is the limit as far as  the design director of Technicon Design, Gareth Davies, is concerned. He spoke to The London Telegraph about the potential for a windowless jet. Davies stressed that his project is mostly conceptual, but it’s still an exciting prospect (in-flight virtual conferencing, selection of visual displays, multi-displays). Watch here.

  • Bloomberg listed the top five most unusual McDonald’s in the world including a restaurant installed in the fuselage of a retired DC-3 in Taupo, New Zealand, at number two. Watch here.
  • This is what air traffic at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport looks like during a thunderstorm. Watch here.
  • Financial Times reported on the growing craft beer market in Japan. Watch here.
  • Fáilte Ireland posted a video celebrating last week’s Fleadh Cheoil in Sligo (watch here) and a separate promo entitled ‘Incentive Ireland’ (watch here).

HeadlinesInside Quantum cabin

This is how the inside cabins look on Quantum of the Seas as seen by Travel Extra at the Meyer-Werft yard in Papenburg, Germany: the view is a virtual balcony, relayed from HD cameras on the ship’s side, as Royal Caribbean CEO Richard Fain put it: “as if you could see through the steel.” See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.

quantumThe ship is nearing completion and engines were revved for the first time Tuesday night. It will travel to Bremerhaven on Sept 21 along the Ems River (a VERY tight squeeze) for finishing and fitting of the North Star observation gondola. Sea trials will begin immediately. It will host the 2014 ITAA Conference on a taster cruise from Southampton on October 31.

Magnus Tumi Gudmundsson volcThe Icelandic no-blow at Bárðarbunga continued to make headlines.  Check here for updates from Icelandic  broadcaster RUV. Icelandic geologist Magnus Tumi Gudmundsson (pictured) says that while the developments at Bárðarbunga are exciting for geologists they do not pose a risk to European aviation. See here for advice from the European Aviation Safety Agency.  Listen here to Travel Extra‘s Eoghan Corry on RTÉ’s Morning Ireland speaking about how the approach to ash alerts have changed radically since 2010.

Katherine WebsterIreland will have a third 1m+ visitor attraction in 2014 if current trends continue. Katherine Webster (pictured) says that Cliffs of Moher visitor numbers are 9pc ahead of the same period in 2013 as of the end of July, putting the site shortlisted for Natural Wonders of the World on course for 1,046,500 visitors this year. Katherine says: “Visitors are strong from North America, Europe, especially France and Germany, Australia, China and for the first year in many from the British market.  The Wild Atlantic Way has really caught the imagination of visitors and new routes and capacity into Shannon Airport is also adding to the overall impact.”

Picture by Tinou Bao via Flickr

Picture by Tinou Bao via Flickr

As the Gregorian summer comes to an end, Ireland’s visitor attractions are reporting increases of between 3pc and 18pc. Both of the big two attractions, the Guinness Storehouse (+9pc) and Dublin Zoo (+3pc) will increase again in 2014 to 1,261,000 and 1,057,000 respectively. The Guinness figures are a good barometer for tourism in general: visitors to the Storehouse from North America and England are both up 20pc, France up 2pc, and the rest of the world up 3pc although Australia is down 7pc and Europe in general down 2pc.

The Cliffs of Moher will keep its third place, despite an 8pc increase in visitor numbers at the National Aquatic Centre. The Titanic centre (+7pc) looks set to pass the 650,000 mark. The Book of Kells (+10pc) will pass 600,000 for the first time. Tayto Park in Ashbourne (+15pc) is on course to hit 500,000 for the first time. Fota (+18pc) will go through the 400,000 barrier, Trinity Science Gallery (+15pc) will surpass 390,000, and the National Library (+18pc) and Natural History Museum (+6pc) both expect to pass the 300,000 barrier. The National Museum in Collins Barracks (-8pc) is the only major attraction to see numbers fall. Chester Beatty Library numbers are up 24pc – the entrance was adversely impacted last year by security restrictions during Ireland’s EU presidency. Castletown House is also seeing a big increase, 16pc to June.

Little Museum of Dublin

Picture by infomatique via Flickr

The Little Museum of Dublin is Ireland’s fastest growing attraction at over 80pc visitor numbers (which jumped from 24,248 in 2012 to 51,783 in 2013) and are set to exceed 93,000 in 2014, giving it a top 80 finish for the first time. Exhibits include a business ticket from Ryanair, supporting Gibbon’s argument that history is cyclical. The big percentage gains are unlikely to be sustained for the simple reason that the three highest-yield months for most attractions, July, August and September, fall in the second half of the year. Here is Travel Extra’s prediction for the top 20 visitor attractions for 2014: 1 Guinness Storehouse 1,261,000;  2 Dublin Zoo 1,057,000;  3 Cliffs of Moher 1,047,000;  4 Nat Aquatic Centre 927,000;  5 Giant’s Causeway Centre 750,000;  6 Titanic 657,000;  7 Book of Kells 648,000;  8 Nat Gallery 635,000;  9 Botanic Gardens Glasnevin 550,000;  10 Botanic Gardens Belfast 552,000;  11 Tayto Park Ashbourne 500,000;  12 Nat Museum Kildare St 441,000;  13 Farmleigh 435,000;  14 Fota Wildlife Park Cork 431,000;  15 St Patrick’s Cathedral 420,000;  16 Derry Walls 410,000;  17 Ulster Museum 400,000;  18 Science Gallery 390,000;  19 Blarney Castle 365,000;  20 Newbridge Silverware 360,000.

osborne groupThe aviation highlight of the Croke Park Classic American football match was a fly past by two United States Air Force fighters to open the game yesterday (Saturday).  They came from Germany via England. Picture shows Adam McKnight of A2B Transfers and Lee Osborne of Bookabed who hosted agents at the Croke Park Classic American Football match between Penn State and the University of Central Florida with Kevin Williams of Abbey Travel. See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.

Sunday, July 20 was Dublin Airport’s busiest day of the summer with 81,521 passengers. Belfast Aldergrove’s busiest day was July 11 with just 18,000 passengers. Cork Airport’s busiest day of the year was July 20 with 9,364 passengers. Thursday was the busiest day in the history of Knock Airport with close to 5,000 passengers on 30 flights to 13 difference destinations. The previous busiest day of the year was Thursday July 31 with a total throughput of 3,656 passengers.

 Jane BoulwarePicture shows Jane Boulware, vice president of US Windows Devices, at the Quantum of the Seas pre-launch showcase event at the Meyer-Werft yard in Papenburg, Germany. Royal Caribbean is to provide its 40,000 crew members with Windows 8.1 tablets. Crew members of Royal Caribbean’s newest ship, Quantum of the Seas, will be the first to receive the 8-inch Windows-based tablets built by HEXA for the cruise line. The tablets will feature services such as Bing, Skype, Office 365 and OneDrive. Rollout will begin in October and is expected to be completed by the end of December with every shipboard employee in the Royal Caribbean fleet receiving a tablet.

michael o'leary kenny jacobs laughs_2172Ryanair released the final details on the business products and, as reported in last week’s Sunday Supplement, it will include premium seats for business passengers but not a business class in the traditional sense. Business traffic has gone from 22pc to 25pc of Ryanair’s passenger numbers. They do not expect that proportion to grow further, but they want to increase their share of the business market. There will be no blue curtain, Kenny Jacobs told Travel Extra, the loyalty scheme that right now will introduce will be personalised to a business design individual taste, not the rewards for zillions of miles travelled (as Michael O’Leary put it) rather a taster reward system designed to boost Ryanair’s own bookings.

Margaret ShannonSo farewell then from the industry she loves, Margaret Shannon, Emirates’ country manager retires from the industry today, eight months later than she had planned because she wanted to put preparations in place for the double daily service. After a successful career in Aer Lingus she brought KLM in Ireland to a major place in the corporate market from a standing start and then did the same for Emirates as their first country manager in Ireland. Emirates party for the trade on Wednesday served simultaneously as Margaret’s farewell and Enda Corneille‘s arrival function as Emirates country manager for Ireland.

The highlight? KLM’s bringing the Irish soccer team to the 2002 World Cup, the shenanigans with Roy Keane on the outbound journey was made up for the hilarity of the return. RTÉ’s Tony O’Donogue dressed up as a stewardess and served passengers. No photos please.

As of tomorrow Emirates are double daily to Dubai, meaning Ireland will have four flights to the gulf every day. How long until one of them goes treble daily?

Holiday prices fell off the cliff as schools prepared to reopen, falling more than 60pc in some cases. The pick of the bunch: Tunisia for €289 from Sunway, or €189 flight only.

Travel Trade

travel-counsellorsTravel Counsellors will hold their Ireland conference on Thursday and Friday April 16 and 17 2015, venue to be announced. Three new recruits in September bring the home working travel group’s numbers up to 60 in Ireland with a further 25 in the north. Picture shows the Travel Counsellors Ireland team: Bernie Whelan, Cathy Burke and Ciara MacConnell.

  • Belfast International Airport announced Graham Keddie will be new Managing Director form tomorrow. From 2001-5 he was Managing graham-keddieDirector of Manchester Airport Group’s Regional Airports division, responsible for East Midlands, Bournemouth and Humberside Airports, during which time he oversaw the introduction of GO, BMIBABY andRyanair.
  • The board of the Irish Travel Agents Association will meet on Wednesday to discuss proposals for a new trade event to be held in conjunction with the AGM next April 24-25 .
  • Innstant Travel is adding European football tickets to its sports products.
  • Sunway has added another Santa Lapland excursion: a one night sleepover with Santa ex Cork €799 per adult and €699 per child.
  • Abbey Travel is offering 2 nights in Disneyland Paris’s Hotel Santa Fe or Hotel Cheyenne from €799 for 2 adults and 2 children under 7 during mid-term break. Includes 3 days’ park tickets. Flights and transfers not included. Book by September 30. Call 01 804 7160 or visit
  • joanne caseyPart two of Joanne Casey (pictured) of Glowmetric’s Web Analytics webinar takes place Wednesday, Sept 3, 9:30am-11am. Cost: €25. More Info/ Bookings
  • Funway’s 6-day flash sale continues until August 31. Quote promo code NY50 to get £50 off bookings to New York and USASALE50 to get £50 off bookings to the rest of the USA. In addition to this offer, Funway will launch its Fact Finders competition for MoneyCard members on September 5. Every Friday throughout September and October, Funway will post a question on their Funway4agents Facebook page. To be in with a chance of winning a hamper worth £50-£100, agents must answer the question and submit their ABTA number in the comments section. Entries will be added to a league table on
  • COR_ALK_01112Thomson is offering 7 nights all inclusive to Louis Family Resort, Alykes Potamos, Corfu, from €2,158 for two adults and one child and €2,957 for two adults and two children. Travel May 29, 2015, from Dublin.
  • Camino Ways is hosting a free Camino de Santiago talk this Wednesday (Sept 3) at 53 Degrees North, Blanchardstown, at 7pm. Click here to register.
  • Celtic Horizon Tours is offering soccer packages: Leeds Utd v Huddersfield Town, Sept 20, Elland Road, from €99pp incl. one night B&B and match ticket; Man Utd v Queens Park Rangers, Sept 14, Old Trafford, daytrip from €149pp incl. coach and ferry travel, transfers and match ticket; Liverpool v West Bromich, Oct 4, Upton Park, from €299pp 1 night coach and ferry package incl. all transfers, one night’s B&B and match ticket; and Scotland v Ireland, one night coach and ferry package, departs November 14, Celtic Park, from €179pp sharing incl. return coach and ferry, one night B&B, return transfers from hotel to stadium, match tickets available but waiting on confirmation of prices. Celtic Horizon is also offering packages to Cheltenham – depart March 11, 2015, 3 nights by coach and ferry from €469pp – and the Aintree Grand National – depart March 11, 2015, 2 nights by coach and ferry from €299pp.
  • EGY_SES_8655Falcon is offering 7 nights all inclusive from Dublin to Sharm el Sheikh, Coral Sea Aqua Club, Red Sea Riviera from €2,081 for two adults and one child or from €2,906 for two adults and two children. Travel May 7, 2015. Offer includes free Kids’ Club for children aged 3-11.


czech-hotelPetr Marcinčák, the owner of the three-star Hotel Marcinčák in Mikulov, Czech Republic, hopes to deter public urination on the steps of his establishment after threatening to post videos of offenders on YouTube. Mikulov is synonymous with wine-making, and Marcinčák seemingly has grown tired of visitors who have been caught short on his hotel’s doorstep, so he erected an amusing sign that has delighted social media users.

  • Trivago featured Ashford, Ballinahinch, Belleek, Clontarf, Dromoland, Solis Lough Eske and Castlemartyr (is Catlemartyr really a castle?) among its seven castles to wake up in Ireland for Heritage Week.
  • Generator Hostel in Smithfield, Dublin, ranked number 3 in’s top 10 most popular hostels in the world. The full list: 1 Generator Hostel London, 2 Meininger Hotel London, 3 Generator Hostel Dublin, 4 Anker Hostel Oslo, 5 Nihao Taipei, 6 40 Berkeley Boston, 7 Centre Esplai Hostel, 8 Eurohostel Helsinki, 9 Eurohostel Glasgow, 10 Camping Village Roma.
  • Shangri-La International launches its Hotel Jen brand on September 15 when Hotel Jen Orchardgateway opens in Singapore. Another ten Hotel Jens will open in major cities in Asia Pacific by March 2015.


Picture by infomatique via Flickr

Picture by infomatique via Flickr

Dublin retains its position as the 17th most popular city visited by Americans in the first half of 2014. Most cities rankings are unchanged, although Toronto swapped third place with Rome. Mexico and Cancun both gained four places and Bangkok slipped form the top 20: 1 London;  2 Paris;  3 Toronto; 4 Rome;  5 Vancouver; 6 Barcelona;  7 Tokyo;  8 Montreal; 9 Hong Kong;  10 Niagara Falls; 11 Amsterdam;  12 Venice;  13 Florence;  14 Madrid;  15 San Juan;  16 Mexico City;  17 Dublin;  18 Istanbul;  19 Singapore;  20 Cancun.

  • The World Sheepdog Trials take place at Fearn Farm near Tain in the Scottish Highlands on September 3-6. The event is being hosted by Scotland for the first time. Dog handlers from 25 countries and 240 dogs will compete, including 21 dogs from Ireland.
  • Dana Troy Minich was appointed president and CEO of Experience Kissimmee.Dana Troy Minich was appointed president and CEO of Experience Kissimmee.
  • Troubled times or not, the Red Sea International Jazz Festival attracts over 10,000 visitors to Eilat.
  • Breathe Luxury claimed the domain could be sold for up to £21m when it is auctioned at the World Travel Market in November.
  • Cape Town will host World Youth and Student Travel Conference Sept 22–25 2015. Dublin hosts WYSTC 2014 on Sept 23–26.

Food & Wine

Research by the Restaurants Association of Ireland indicated that the reduced 9pc VAT Rate results in 31,584 new jobs.

  • The Taste of West Cork food festival opens next Friday (September 5) and continues until September 14. To celebrate the opening of the festival, Inchydoney Island Lodge & Spa is offering a seven course dinner for €65 incl. a drinks reception and a pre-dinner talk on seaweed. The full programme is available at
  • Galway chef JP McMahon is cooking a six-course dinner at Honest2Goodnest market in Glasnevin on Sept 25. This is a nose-to-tail meal so crackling, cheek, belly, neck and ear will all feature. Tickets cost €75 and include a wine pairing for each course. Book at


aer-lingus-sanfranAer Lingus’s flight to San Francisco, currently 5w, will be daily from May 1 on which date Orlando will go from 3w to 4w with an extra Wednesday flight. The Cork to Brussels service has been suspended for the Winter (operated 2w in 2013/14).  Cork to Munich service has been reduced from 2w to 1w from  Dec 20 to the end of March when it will revert to 2w. Cork to Malaga has reduced from 3w to 2w between November to the beginning of March when it will revert to 3w.

knee-defenderKnee Defenders were a hot topic this week. An online debate was sparked by a heated row between two passengers over the anti-reclining seat device. A number of media outlets reported that a United Airlines flight had to be diverted after an unnamed woman threw a glass of water over the face of the passenger behind her who refused to remove a Knee Defender he had installed. Josh Barro of The New York Times sympathised with the female passenger and argued that “When you buy an airline ticket, one of the things you’re buying is the right to use your seat’s reclining function.”  He offered a proposition to the anti-reclining seat camp: “I fly a lot. When I fly, I recline. I don’t feel guilty about it. And I’m going to keep doing it, unless you pay me to stop.” The Knee Defender’s 6-ft-3 inventor, Ira Goldman, responded to questions about the ethics of using the device with a question of his own: Is it unethical to have long legs? He said that the device should be used to open up conversations about packed seating on board aircraft. The Boston Globe’s Christopher Muther agreed that The Knee Defender is intended to open up a discussion about limited legroom; he noted that the device even comes with a courtesy card for offended passengers, which reads: I realise that this may be an inconvenience. If so, I hope you will complain to the airline. Maybe working together we can convince the airlines to provide enough space between rows so that people can recline their seats without banging into other passengers. To decipher who was in the wrong – the recliner or the knee-defender – Businessweek turned to Brandwatch analytics. The company measured data from Twitter to see who the public sided with most. It turned out they sided with…neither party: “The public deemed both as having selfish motivators and reactions,” Brandwatch concluded. Does that bring an end to the legroom wars? No. The battle continued after another argument over a reclining seat caused an American Airlines flight heading from Miami to Paris to turn back. So much for conversation…kenny jacobs App

Ryanair has launched an updated app (pictured being showcased by Kenny Jacobs). A further announcement on social media developments will be made on Thursday.

  • British Airways is allowing potential passengers to hold seats for a fiver on aircrafts. British Airways’ worldwide seat sale is open until Sept 23.
  • It didn’t take long for the first book on MH370’s disappearance. Goodnight Malaysia 370: The Truth Behind the Loss of Flight 370 by Geoff Taylor and air accident investigator Ewan Wilson, airs the theory that the aircraft was intentionally downed by pilot Zaharie Ahmad Shah, who they claim was “suicidal” and “mentally unstable”.  It was reported that unanswered satellite phone calls were received from the aircraft on the C-channel the turn south was completed by 18:40 on March 8, earlier than previously believed.
  • A Delta Air Lines jet en route from Amsterdam to Atlanta had to divert to Shannon after a passenger went into labour. The woman was rushed to University Maternity Hospital Limerick where she gave birth.
  • explained how to survive air travel like a Zen master: “Arrive [four hours] early and move through the airport like the Dalai Lama. You are in no rush. All obstacles are taken in stride, patiently, with a smile.” Slight problem with this piece: the Dalai Lama practices Tibetan Buddhism, not Zen. Plus the author considers 60-year-old travellers to be ancient; that’s hardly fair.
  • Dozens of passengers were stranded at City of Derry Airport on Wednesday because Border Force staff members were unavailable to check their passports.
  • A number of Delta Air Lines passengers, due to fly from Dublin to New York last weekend, reportedly had to sleep on the ballroom floor of the Carlton Hotel Dublin Airport when no alternative accommodation could be found.
  • As first revealed in the Sunday Supplement five airport retail outlets are vying for the 2014 Retail Excellence Awards: The Loop at Dublin Airport (Company of the Year category); The Loop at Cork Airport (Company of the Year and Top 100 Stores); Jo Malone at T2 Dublin Airport (Top 100 Stores); Topaz Filling Station at Dublin Airport (Top 100 Stores); and Victoria Secrets at T2 Dublin Airport (Karen Grehan, Manager of the Year). Category winners will be announced in November.
  • Qatar released pictures of its new Airbus A350 Xtra Wide Body aircraft with its first delivery scheduled before the end of the year.
  • Irish airline reservations software company Datalex reported profits of $600,000 for the first six months of this year, three times what it earned in the same period last year.
  • Qantas and Virgin Australia passengers are now able to use their electronic devices at all stages of flight (provided they are set to flight mode). The new policy applies to all domestic and international Qantas flights. Virgin Australia domestic and short-haul international flights will be allowed gate-to-gate device access.
  • A Frenchman claimed he was forced off an American Airlines aircraft because he smelled bad, an allegation the airline denies.
  • Kraftwerk and aviation enthusiasts listen up: Music producer Matthew Dear and General Electric acoustic engineer Andrew Gorton collaborated on an electronica song called ‘Drop Science’. With the help of Gorton, Dear sampled over 1,000 recordings of jet engines and equipment at General Electric research centres to create the track. You can listen to the track here.
  • The Aer Lingus Pack Up & Go Sale continues until September 15. Aer Lingus is offering deals on over 100 routes for travel from October to March including flights from Dublin to London Heathrow from €35.99, flights to Brussels from €45.00, Lanzarote from €99.99 and transatlantic flights from €219.
  • birds1Two beautiful birds were pictured by Mike Kelly in Dublin Airport where they arrived with fans for the Croke Park Classic on Saturday. The first is a United Airlines Boeing 747-400 (the -400 model is a dying breed ) that arrived from Harrisburg, PA with a flight time of 5 hrs 51 mins covering 3,478 miles. The second picture is of an Atlas Air Boeing 767 that it arrived from Orlando Sanford with a flight time of 7 hrs 43 mins and covering 4,100 miles.1937-Imperial-Airways-An-Ensign-Air-Liner-for-Empire-Services-610x401
  • Ben Sandilands pondered that Etihad’s $43,000 flights in the Residence are similar to the fares for kangaroo route flights in the 1940s.
  • Qantas posted losses of A$2.8bn for the financial year ending June 30.
  • British Airways will add pulled pork to its first-class in-flight menu.
  • Ryanair submitted a non-binding offer for Cyrus Airways on Friday.
  • Malaysia Airlines will cut its workforce by 30pc as part of a restructuring that will cost $1.9bn.
  • Etihad confirmed Sydney as the second destination to be served by the A380.
  • Ryanair is reducing flights to Finland this winter (from 40,446 seats to 17,010).
  • Etihad part-owned Airberlin showed its first 2Q profit since 2009 showing what analysts describe as promise from its business model restructuring.
  • Alitalia CEO Gabriele Del Torchio is to depart following Etihad Airways’ stake acquisition.
  • Bloomberg reported on the decline of first class on American aircraft.


richard-fainA quantum leap is what Royal Caribbean insisted it had brought to the world of cruising this week. It was hard to escape the tidal wave of publicity generated by Royal’s three-day event in Papenburg where the three Quantum ships are being built on adjoining sites.  As Royal’s CEO Richard Fain explained at a pre-tour dinner speech, when you have it flaunt it (listen here). Some of the features will be retro fitted on other Royal ships. Virtual balcony screens are already available in inside cabins on Navigator of the Seas.

QThe focus was on Quantum of the Seas, so near completion that they have the artworks in place and the carpets in rolls ready to be laid. Travel Extra joined 150 media and trade from around the world to see the new baby. See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.

Richard Fain, who took the tour himself said advance bookings for Quantum of the Seas are coming in faster and at a better rate than they did in advance of Royal’s last two showcase launches, Oasis and Allure of the Seas. In an interview with Travel Extra, Richard Fain was more frank than a CEO of a major corporation
bumper car richard fain_2807usually is. He said that the rates they were charging to get back the enormous in extra recreational and entertainment facilities (a virtual skydive, the first bumper cars at sea) would be higher than cruise customers are used to, but we don’t need charge too much of a premium to justify the investment (listen here).

balcony_2922Most of the features of Quantum of the Seas have been well publicised, the North Star protruding like a unicorn horn over the option, the sitting room entertainment space 270° the virtual skydive and, most spectacular of all, the screens designed to give the impression that everyone has an outside cabin. Fain said a lot of effort went into making these as realistic as possible, down to the nature and tone of the shadows on the screen. There were temptations to change the concept to allow movies and sports events be put on the wall screen, but he said that would corrupt the idea. Quantum’s virtual balconied inside cabins may be that oft claimed but rarely justified term in cruise ship evolution, a game changer. Nobody is going to opt for an inside cabin ahead of an outside one, but this is better than even our mock-ups suggested it would be, he said. The inside cabin screens (listen here) were designed to give a view from the perspective of the cabin (listen here). Some of this technology has never been done on land, (listen here) Richard Fain said. Will it work? The technology is holistic, Fain said (listen here), we take existing technology and see what we can do with it (listen here).We want to be as flexible as a yoga instructor (listen here).

  • People will be getting more for their money when Quantum embarks on its first sailings from New York in November. After six months she moves to Shanghai and will operate from there for the conceivable future (listen here). Anthem of the Seas will take up the New York run beloved of Irish cruisers.
  • bill-martinQuantum will be the most connected ship on the ocean, with have more bandwidth than all the world’s cruise ships put together. Bill Martin (pictured) explained how the bandwidth works on Quantum of the Seas (listen here) and Lisa Lutoff-Perlo said the price of Wi-Fi has not yet been decided (listen here). Richard Fain said the bandwidth not possible under old systems (listen here).
  • The bionic bar was the highlight of a technology launch. In response to questions about the bionic bar Richard Fain said the technology will check age ID (listen here), customise the service (listen here) and would be served by a factory rather than humanoid robot (listen here) – and they won’t be programmed to respond to my wife doesn’t understand me (listen here). Fain revealed some other innovations such as how refuse will be frozen and stored for recycling (listen here), giving Royal Caribbean what he called the coolest garbage at sea (listen here). Everything on the ship would be incinerated or recycled (listen here). There energy consumption would be down (listen here) leading to a 20pc improvement in Quantum’s environmental footprint (listen here), spurred by the installation of 60,000 energy saving light bulbs (listen here). He said Quantum is most environmentally friendly ship on the Ocean (listen here), with a reduced friction hull literally floats on air (listen here)
  • He said that most visitors to the project reacted by thinking they’ll never have it done (listen here) but Royal Caribbean had built up credibility in terms of delivering these things (listen here).
  • joshua-helzJoshua Helz explained that the North Star gondola has been completed and is ready for Installation when the ship moves to Bremerhaven on Sept 21 (listen here). Richard Fain showcased the bright red bumper cars amid enhanced the onboard activities (listen here), explained there were plans to avoid queues for north star and other activities (listen here) and said the entertainment space (listen here) as a new kind of space (listen here).
  • Richard Fain said the developments would make the mechanics of taking a cruise a lot easier (listen here). Lisa Lutoff-Perlo said the technology would prevent passengers losing the first day of their cruise (listen here). She said the Royal Caribbean boarding process was on course for a 15 minute sidewalk to ship experience even on the giant Oasis and Allure ships, with 60 to 90 check-in desks (listen here).
  • Richard Fain (listen here) and Lisa Lutoff-Perlo (listen here) separately talked guests through the IQ app. The app will be free and will replicate the content of the printed bulletin Cruise Compass (listen here) although the paper version will still be available (listen here). He said the rooms were spectacular without any technology (listen here).
  • corneliusCornelius Gallagher (pictured) said there were 18 restaurants and 14 bars on Quantum, six of which will be premium restaurants (listen here). Brian Abel spoke about Quantum’s food & beverage programme (listen here) and said the dynamic dining concept is about technology as well as product (listen here). Lisa Lutoff-Perlo said 150,000 people have booked meals on Quantum, booking an average 7 out of every 8 nights on board (listen here).
  • Lisa_2455Lisa Lutoff-Perlo spoke of the historical significance of the family run shipyard (listen here). See pictures here of construction on Anthem of the Seas, which was ongoing in the Meyer-Werft shipyard. Richard Fain said the ship build was best deal based on price and quality (listen here).  Lisa Lutoff-Perlo said the only difference between Quantum and Anthem would be the Broadway show, We Will Rock You on Anthem as against Mamma Mia on Quantum (listen here).
  • Lisa Lutoff-Perlo spoke of the plans to retro fit balcony screens, luggage tracking, dynamic dining and bandwidth to the rest of the fleet (listen here).
  • Hapag-Lloyd Europa 1970sHere is the Europa, flagship of the Harpag Lloyd group when it became the first cruise ship to call to Ian Irish port for recreational purposes all of 40 years ago in 1974. The company was looked after by the Cronin’s company Specialised Travel Services. Shannon Travel also looked after a ship back then too and Tommy Kelly of Moloney and Kelly Travel also handled a ship in the late 1970s. Things have changed since; 200 ships will call to Irish ports this year.
  • Oasis Travel -Marina cruiseOasis Travel hosted a cocktail party for some of its cruise customers on board the Marina cruise ship when it was in Belfast. Picture shows Oasis Travel’s Retail Operations Manager Alison Miskimmon and Alex Farquharson, Oceania Cruises’ Sales Manager for Ireland, on board the ship.
  • Norwegian Cruise Line is offering agents special rates on-board the Norwegian Epic for bookings made with Travel Industry Services from September 1 to 14 for travel from April 2015 to April 2016. Itineraries include: 3-, 4-, 6-, 7-, 10-, 11- and 12-night Western Mediterranean from Barcelona cruises from £215pp (3-night cruise); 7-night Western Mediterranean from Civitavecchia (Rome) from £489pp; 6- & 7-night Iberian Peninsula cruises between Barcelona and Southampton from £425pp (6-night cruise); 9- and 10-night Canary Islands and Morocco cruises from Barcelona from £475pp (10-night cruise).
  • Amer Hols Magnifica JC65Picture shows Rebecca Kelly, MSC Cruises Sales Manager, Ireland; Gemma Garrett and Astrid Johnston, Cruise Product Manager for American Holidays on board MSC Magnifica in Belfast.
  • Irish Continental Group, which owns Irish Ferries, reported revenue of €130.7m for the first six months of 2014, an 8pc increase compared to same period last year. However, first half operating profit was lower at €5.2m, down from €6.4m in 2013. Group fuel costs rose 10.5pc to €26.4m for the first half of this year. The Group carried 683,800 passengers during the first six months of this year, a 0.8pc increase, and RoRo freight increase 18.5pc. Chairman John B McGuckian credited growth to “The introduction of the new RoRo ship Epsilon on the Dublin-Holyhead and Dublin-Cherbourg route.”


BOXING SHOWDOWNA MillwardBrown survey commissioned by the NITB showed that 75pc of visitors from overseas had included Titanic Belfast in their planning before visiting the North. Titanic was the highlight of the trip for 70pc of visitors. Picture shows Barry McGuigan and Belfast boxer Carl Frampton with Clare McCoy of NITB ahead of next week’s Titanic Showdown, which takes place on September 6 at Belfast’s Titanic Quarter. Frampton will compete against Kiko Martinez of Spain for the IBF World Super Bantamweight title.

  • The second Comeraghs Wild Festival was launched.DUBLIN SET TO ‘GLOW’ IN CANADA
  • Glow magazine in Canada featured fashion shoots from Ireland.
  • National Geographic listed Ireland’s most picture-perfect spots in this photo gallery.
  • Organisers of the fifth annual Irish Redhead Convention – which took place in Crosshaven, Co Cork, last weekend – claimed the event could become as important to Irish tourism as the Rose of Tralee.
  • Fáilte Ireland will spend up to €20m creating a new brand and logo for Dublin similar to ‘I Heart NY’ in a bid to clean up the capital’s image.
  • Outgoing NITB chief executive Alan Clarke said Tourism Ireland is not giving the north’s brand enough exposure.

Email to have your say or it is @TravelExtraIre on Twitter if that’s your bag.

Travel Extra’s Sunday Supplement: Ryanair wants to give businessmen a bigger seat



Picture by Anthony Pratap via Flickr

The headlines this week:

*Ryanair sets out to woo business pax and wound Aer Lingus

*Vatnajökull volcano was a no-blow 

*Why €5.97 is the tipping point

*Melbourne is the most liveable city, Dublin 47th

*Peak week for cruise calls


Travel Extra TVYouTube screenshot

Our video of the week comes from filmmaker/photographer Milton Tan. Tan shot timelapse footage of aircraft taking off and landing from a restricted runway at Changi Airport in Singapore. The result is a dreamy sequence that looks like a strange mix of a sci-fi film and a nature documentary. This is Tan’s second timelapse of air traffic at Changi The first video featured on the Discovery Channel’s Daily Planet show. Watch here.

Another timelapse this week: this one shows the making of Emirates’ 50th A380. It takes 800 workers 65 to 80 days to assemble, install, test, paint, furnish and deliver the double-decker aircraft. Watch here.

So, you think you gobbled your Sunday fry quickly? Wait till you see this grouper devour a 4ft black tip shark in one bite. The GoPro footage – shot off the coast of Bonita Springs in Florida – received over 20m views since it was uploaded on Tuesday. Watch here. Goliath groupers are known to eat sharks as well as octopi, sea turtles and barracudas. YouTube footage dating from 2009 shows another goliath grouper swiping an angler’s shark. Watch here.

The ice bucket challenge craze is sweeping the travel industry. Participants included Clem Walshe, Ireland manager of Lowcost Beds (watch here), the team at Tour America (watch here), and Michael O’Leary (watch here).


webcamThe big travel story of the week has not happened (thankfully) with the entire aviation industry increasingly wary of seismic activity in Vatnajökull (the glacier used in the opening sequence in 1985 James Bond movie A View to a Kill). Newsreaders are desperately learning how to pronounce Bárðarbunga after the cacophony that was Eyjafjallajökull in 2010 (watch here) and the hilarious “you’re doing it wrong” (watch here). Airlines remain on watch. There is not much to see judging from the Bárðarbunga webcam although the lucht leanúna lava claim 5,000 earthquakes have occurred since August 16 and Bárðarbunga caldera appears to have given away due to less magma holding it up. Updates are being posted here.

earthquakesWhile we wait, there are plenty of sites for volcano vultures amongst us to peruse: check out this NASA report, automatic bulletin from the SIL seismic system detailing earthquakes in Iceland during the last 48 hours, the Icelandic Met Office which monitors all geological surveys and studies in Iceland and their map of recent earthquakes (Nicarnica Aviation recently delivered equipment to Iceland), Icelandic Met Office Physics Department map, Icelandic aviation oceanic area control centre, the European alarm system for extreme weather, the US Geological Survey monitoring of Icelandic volcanoes, a seismicity map of Iceland, a seismic hazard map of Iceland, an Iceland earthquake density map, a cautious statement from Airbus, Rolls Royce’s presentation to the BATA Volcanic Ash workshop last October, the June 2013 CAA board minutes, London Met office’s site monitoring volcanic plumes from space, the (largely discredited by events of 2010) updates from London Volcanic Ash Advisory Centre and this long article about the difficulties and complexity of seeking and gathering data from volcanic activity.

Páll EInarssonThere was some frenzied speculation in the USA about the threat to the Croke Park Classic (just what we need after the Garth Brooks debacle) but it is going ahead. Another Icelandic scientist, Páll EInarsson, (pictured) claimed aircraft shouldn’t overfly the volcano Hekla, as eruptions occur with only 23 to 79 minutes warning.

Or listen to Michael O’Leary‘s views on the matter (which are much more fun): The authorities will have much more accurate data. It won’t be based on someone in a basement in London trying to predict where the non-existent ash cloud has gone. These mythical clouds that were apparently surfacing over Barcelona and Lanzarote did not exist. The general view is the airlines will be free to fly unless they believe it is unsafe to do so. We won’t imperil anyone’s safety. We also don’t want to damage the engines on our aircraft.

michael o'leary kenny jacobs laughs_2172

Premium seats, but no blue curtain. That is the next offering for business passengers from Ryanair in their attempt to woo business travellers. More will emerge over the coming days but the pattern was set at a press conference on Thursday when Kenny Jacobs and Michael O’Leary announced that Ryanair were targeting one of Aer Lingus’s most lucrative short haul routes for business travel, Brussels Zaventem (listen here), in particular lucrative Irish government, commission and parliamentary business (listen here). No doubt fares will plummet for all travellers when Dublin to Zaventem goes to seven flights a day this winter – similar frequencies to major hub airports Charles de Gaulle and Schiphol. Kenny Jacobs claimed the Zaventem service can save the Irish taxpayer €3m a year based on average fares (listen here).  Michael O’Leary said that Ryanair would undercut Aer Lingus on the route and that when flights prices rose above €200 per sector they would add capacity rather than raise prices (listen here). The goal was a 60-40 share of the Brussels business (listen here). The 60-40 share is not very ambitious, considering Ryanair are flying three times daily to Zaventem against Aer Lingus twice daily. Ryanair will now have 60 Dublin routes this winter, with increased frequencies and improved schedules on 21 routes.

Ryanair press conference Aug 21 2014The assault on Aer Lingus is more comprehensive than just the Brussels route. Ryanair plans frequency increases on Gatwick (4 to 5, Aer Lingus have 4), Barcelona (1 to 2, Lingus have 1), Brussels (0 to 3, Lingus have 2), Madrid (1 to 2, Lingus have 1), Milan Bergamo (1 to 2, Lingus have 1), Rome Ciampino (1 to 2, Lingus have 1), and three routes increased to daily from 5w: Berlin (Lingus have 1 daily), Budapest (Lingus have 5w) and Warsaw (Lingus have 4w).

IMG_2103The assault on Aer Lingus Regional is even more aggressive, pitting 737-800 jets against ATR-72 turboprops on six routes. Ryanair have increased both Birmngham to 4 daily (Aer Lingus have 3, turboprop and jet), and Manchester to 4 daily (Lingus have 4, turboprop and jet). Their London all airport service is now 16 daily (Lingus have 16, turboprop and jet), Bristol is 3 daily (Lingus have 2 turboprop), Edinburgh 3 daily (Lingus have 3 turboprop), Glasgow 3 daily (Lingus have 3 turboprop) and Liverpool 3 daily (no Lingus).

Michael O'Leary conducts a press conference Aug 21 2014Seven other winter routes have already been announced, Nice is 3w (Lingus are 4w), Lisbon and Prague are daily (same as Lingus), while Basel (daily), Bucharest (daily), Cologne (2 daily, the only airport apart from Zanentem not already operated for summer) and Marrakesh (2w) do not face direct competition from Lingus. So far Cologne is listed as just one daily on the Ryanair online schedule and same day returns are not listed from Dublin to Berlin, Budapest and Warsaw.

As always with Ryanair there are several subtexts. The government account is run by Liam Lonergan’s Club Travel. O’Leary has spent a good deal of time and energy in court actions against Lonergan, ironically a Ryanair co-founder back in 1985. Do the numbers add up? The €6.9m government cost for 7,000 trips in a year works out at €1,000 per trip. Can the Government really save €3m by using Ryanair by the combination of air fares, hotels, transfers and incidental allowances?

Michael O'Leary conducts a press conference Aug 21 2014The proportion of business passengers using the airline has increased from 22pc to 25pc (according to Kenny Jacobs) or 26pc (according to Michael O’Leary). The target is to take 75pc of Aer Lingus’ business traffic (listen here). Kenny Jacobs says the airline is prepared to talk to corporates about bookings (listen here). Michael O’Leary said that that Ryanair was talking to both Amadeus and Sabre and would be on another GDS by the end of the year (listen here). Kenny Jacobs said we will have a business product that gives them the things that matter (listen here). Michael O’Leary said that increased frequencies to Manchester and Birmingham would give Ryanair advantages over Aer Lingus Regional’s turboprop service (listen here).

Michael O'Leary conducts a press conference Aug 21 2014Michael O’Leary declared we have given up on Aer Lingus (listen here) and then joked when asked why he was still fighting EU and English competition rulings in the courts (listen here). He said Ryanair had tried to offload their shares to AIG, Etihad and others but that sensible airlines would not take a present of them (listen here). Asked about Christoph Mueller’s legacy as Aer Lingus CEO, Michael O’Leary said he was the CEO who reduced Aer Lingus passenger numbers from 10m to 9m but that Aer Lingus was an airline that continued to be run badly by the Irish government (listen here). He said the €190m bailout of the pension fund would not be sufficient to resolve the problem (listen here). It is worth observing that the Aer Lingus share price was 52 cent in 2009 just before Christophe Mueller was appointed CEO on September 13 2009 and is now €1.36 (up 162pc) while Ryanair increased from €3.12 to €6.84 today (up 119pc).

IMG_2185Michael O’Leary said that while Ryanair was now flying to most main airports with more to come, they would never fly to Charles de Gaulle, Frankfurt or Heathrow because those airports could not deliver the airline’s required 25-minute turnaround (listen here). He took the precaution of saying: never say never. Charles de Gaulle are hoping Ryanair will join them in Terminal 2 whenever it is built (Easyjet want to be sole tenant in CdeG’s Terminal 2B). Charleroi (listen here), Prestwick (listen here), and Girona (listen here) will continue to be served by Ryanair but at reduced levels compared with their nearer-city neighbours.

IMG_2030Michael O’Leary said recently reported increases in inbound tourism to Ireland were due to the removal of the travel tax, not promotions such as the Wild Atlantic Way (listen here). Ryanair had delivered 1.6m extra passengers (listen here). Referring to Tourism Ireland campaigns in new markets like China he said we bring more tourists from Bournemouth to Ireland each year than come from all of China (listen here), a comment which may be related to the fact Michael is seeking Tourism Ireland marketing support to sustain his planned routes to Moscow Vnukovo and St Petersburg.

Michael O’Leary also talked about prospects for Ryanair growth in the central European (listen here) and German markets (listen here). Ryanair’s anticipated growth to 86m passengers this year would create another 1,000 jobs, most of them off island (listen here).

cyprus airways copyThere was an unexpected side show to the press conference when Michael O’Leary said he was flying to talk to the Cypriot government (Cyprus is half the size of Ireland and twice as political) about rescuing Cyprus Airways (listen here) which led to a recap on Ryanair’s only other purchase of an airline, Buzz (listen here). On Friday, Ryanair submitted a plan to officials in Nicosia, in which the airline said it aims to increase Cyrus Airways passenger traffic from the current 500,000 average to 3m over three years (a 500pc increase). See more pictures from Thursday’s press conference here or connect with the album on Facebook.


Researchers from three American universities proved that body scanners at US airports which expose a traveller’s every line and curve are not very good at finding weapons. Guns, knives and faux explosives were among the contraband snuck past the backscatter x-ray by researchers at the University of California, San Diego, the University of Michigan and Johns Hopkins University, who bought a surplus Rapiscan Secure 1000 on eBay. The machine was still wrapped in plastic when J Alex Halderman and others on the research team bought it from a seller in Europe for about $50,000, he told the New York Daily News. Their team found several vulnerabilities to render the scanner ineffective for screening contraband from those who had prior access to the machine. jonathan shackleton_2376

Jonathan Shackleton, cousin of the explorer, (his business card: antarctician, naturalist, forester, and, under the family crest: by endurance we conquer) was the keynote speaker at the opening of the new South Kildare heritage trail, Explorer’s Way (listen here). Jonathan will embark on his 36th Antarctic expedition as a guide for Quark Expeditions this winter. Kevin Kenny talked about the Athy heritage centre and the Shackleton autumn school over the October bank holiday weekend (listen here), something Jonathan Shackleton described as the leading polar event in the world, something that was not recognised or promoted enough (listen here).jonathan shackleton james fennell_2403

Historian and former category winner in the Travel Extra travel writer awards Turtle Bunbury talked about the history of Quakerism in Ireland and the Shackleton family as well as their relatives the Fennell family who hosted the launch in Burtown House, Athy (listen here). Hostess Lesley Fennell gave an explanation of Catherine Green’s sculpture Terra Verra (listen here) which was unveiled at the event. Jonathan Shackleton presented host James Fennell (photographer on the Vanishing Ireland series of books) with a glove that had been once belonged to his great-aunt, Irena Shackleton (listen here).explorers trail scultpure_2284

Minister for the Arts Heather Humphreys outlined tourism developments in Kildare, including the moving of Castledermot high cross to a less vulnerable location this year (listen here). MC Phil Donnelly said the trail would have international significance (listen here). Turtle Bunbury even came up with that rarity for the occasion, a Quaker joke (listen here). See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.

Ryanair Groups - Lesley KaneRyanair have two very high profile senior jobs about to be advertised: head of Corporate Travel & Groups, and head of Sales & Marketing. Read the job descriptions here. Closing date for applications is August 29. Head of Corporate Travel & Groups Lesley Kane (pictured) is returning to Glasgow to do an MBA.

Dublin came 47th out of the 140 cities ranked in the Economist Intelligence Unit Global Liveability Index. Melbourne (pictured) Melbourne Couple Nightwas named most liveable city in the world for the 4th year in a row in the survey which rates healthcare, education, stability, culture and environment and infrastructure. Damascus in Syria was the lowest scoring city. The ranking shows that since 2009 average liveability across the world has fallen by 0.7pc, led by a 1.3pc fall in the score for stability and safety. Top ten: 1 Melbourne, 2 Vienna, 3 Vancouver, 4 Toronto, 5 Adelaide, 6 Calgary, 7 Sydney, 8 Helsinki, 9 Perth, 10 Auckland. Bottom ten: 131 Abidjan, 132 Tripoli, 133 Douala, 134 Harare, 135 Algiers, 136 Karachi, 137 Lagos, 138 Port Moresby, 139 Dhaka, 140 Damascus. Dublin’s rating was 89, below the 100 which is regarded as ideal.

Picture by Dave Dugdale via Flickr

Picture by Dave Dugdale via Flickr

Research of tipping habits indicated that 43pc of those who leave tips following a meal said the amount was dictated by the quality of the service they received. A survey of 1,000 Irish people by Amárach indicated the average tip awarded to restaurant waiting staff was €5.97, followed by €4.14 to bar staff, €3.78 to hairdressers and beauticians, €2.99 to a takeaway delivery staff and €2.95 to taxi drivers. Munster and Dublin residents were found to be the most generous tippers in two of the five categories while those in Connacht and Ulster tipped the least. Accommodation staff are far more likely to receive a tip from an American guest than an Irish one. “It’s fairly common practice for them to leave the last of their euro on the bedside locker before heading for the airport.” Under 25s are the biggest bar tippers with an average tip of €6.67, two-and-a-half times the average tip by the over 55s.

IMG_1942It was the biggest week of the season for cruise calls, with three ships simultaneously in Dublin on Saturday last and three again on Wednesday, spilling 5,000 guests into the city. Cruise has come a long way in the 38 years since the Europa was the first cruise ship to call to Dublin. When Cruise Ireland was first set up in 1994 it had 40 ship calls, this year 220 cruise ships will call to Dublin. Picture shows Dave Denham of Dublin Business Association manning a tourism information desk on Thomson Spirit. The Dublin cruise tour guide joke of the week: Did you know the inventor of the crossword is buried in Glasnevin cemetery? You can find him at six across and four down.

Cruise lines took the opportunity to host the trade. Azamara, Crystal, Holland America Line, MSC, Regent and Thomson all hosted travel trade on board for ship tours and lunches.

PThomson Group_1838icture shows trade on board Thomson Spirit with the trademark Poolbeg chimneys (how much longer will they be part of the cruise call skyline?) in the background. Thomson is the classic three-star product out of Ireland. Guide Samantha Hale highlighted the £199 drinks package, commissionable for agents, which would cost £219 when bought on board. There is a 2pc extra charge for use of credit cards, debit cards are free but Maestro is being phased out. See more pictures here or connect with the album on FacebookBronagh McNamara, Rachel McAnaspie of American Holidays, Gleeson our waiter Niki Stanford of Click and Go with Rebecca Kelly on MSC Magnifica copy

MSC gave trade the opportunity to take the two day sailing on MSC Magnifica from Belfast to Dublin. Picture shows Bronagh McNamara, Rachel McAnaspie of American Holidays, Gleeson Knox the waiter, Niki Stanford of Click and Go with Rebecca Kelly of MSC on board MSC Magnifica. See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook. Azamara hosted agents on Saturday of last week. Carly Perkins of Holland America Line and Andy Harmer CLIA (Cruise Lines International Association) director for Ireland and Britain hosted agents on board the 1,404 passenger MS Rotterdam on Thursday. Regent Seven Seas had seven agents for a visit onboard on Friday. Crystal host 25 agents on board today (Aug 24).

Travel TradeCeltic Horizons Coronation Street_1715

Coronation Street actors Ian Pulseton-Davies and Mikey North (aka Owen Armstrong & Gary Windass) stopped by the Celtic Horizons office in Maynooth to say hi to the staff . Celtic’s Soaps Tour packages are all 10pc commissionable. Ciara Corcoran warns that very few places remain.

Don Shearer oct 2013 copyWorldchoice Ireland will host a series of Digital Strategy based workshops for members and trade partners over the coming weeks to bring focus to Worldchoice’s new communication hub and consumer facing websites. CEO Don Shearer (pictured) said he took stock of all the comments from members and trade partners alike regarding the endless events, conferences and awards ceremonies at this time of the year and decided to take a new approach which will culminate in a members gathering in late 2014 followed in early 2015 by a game changing event which will bring real engagement to our community of retail members and industry partners.

  • The Commission for Aviation Regulation granted a new licence to eDreams Odigeo plc, a subsidiary of Opodo, with trading names of and www.opodo.iejoanne casey
  • Joanne Casey of Glowmetrics (pictured) is giving a Web Analytics – Webinar under the ITAA skillets programme on Wed August 27, 9:30am-11am. Cost is €25, register here.
  • Bookabed is giving agents a chance to win a seven-night stay for two in a MedPlaya hotel with half board for every MedPlaya hotel booking made between now and September 12. Med Playa Hotels specialise in beach hotels in mainland Spain.
  • Falcon is offering 7 nights all inclusive from Dublin to Sharm el Sheikh, Coral Sea Aqua Club, Red Sea Riviera from €2,081 for two adults and one child or from €2,906 for two adults and two children. Travel May 7, 2015. Offer includes free Kids’ Club for children aged 3-11.
  • Minister Simon Harris welcomed the award of the Government of Ireland travel management contract to Club Travel, (as first reported in Travel Extra’s Sunday Supplement).
  • Funway is offering a £50pp discount on city break packages to New York. Quote the discount code NY50 when booking. Book before September 30, travel up to December 31, 2015.brian rafferty h&s
  • Brian Rafferty ex-Travelsavers (pictured), who joins Travel Counsellors on Monday is one of three new recruits to the home working group run by Cathy Burke in Ireland bringing the number of agents past the 60 mark with a further 25 in the north.
  • It is still August but Falcon Holidays launched their Lapland Flights on Thursday. Day trip prices from Dublin are adult €649 and child €529 (1850 45 35 45) on Saturday December 6 & 13 and from Belfast adults £469 Children £419 on Friday December 12th. Sunway offer three day trips on December 11-13, December 13-15, December 15-17, December 17-19 and December 19-21, Adults from €1227, Child €1037pps. Canterbury Travel offer three day trips December 12-14, December 14-16 and December 16-18 at around €1300pps. Ireland still has the third highest take-up in the world for Roveneimi trips, although we are down from the height of the Celtic Tiger when parents and their children filled 20 separate departures from Dublin.
  • is to be put up for sale by Sabre Holdings.
  • sandyThis week’s offers from ITAA: Wimbledon Championships June & July 2015, 3 nights, 2 match days, €1,847pp; Barcelona FC 2014/15 packages, 2 nights, from €219pp; Italy vs Ireland, February 17 2015, 2 nights, €629pp.
  • Sad news: Travel Extra is sorry to hear of the death of Sandy McClean Carson, our sympathy to family, friends and colleagues in the industry. She was a familiar face on the Thomas Cook stand at Belfast Holidayworld.


kevin mcgillycuddyKevin McGillycuddy (pictured), Damien Gaffney and Michael McElligott’s Brehon Capital group is on the cusp of buying Ireland’s largest hotel, the €30m 492-room Citywest complex in Saggart, Co Dublin, having developed the Marker in Dublin’s docklands and purchased Powerscourt (formerly the Ritz Carlton) in Enniskerry, Mount Juliet in Co Kilkenny, Mount Wolseley in Carlow and Killashee in Naas.

David Collins Mark Knowles Great National HotelsDavid Collins’ Hotel management group Great National Asset Management, whose team includes Frank Corby (ex Raheen Woods) and Denis Kane (ex Druids Glen), added to their growing portfolio when they bought the 230-bedroom Breaffy House resort in Castlebar out of receivership, They now manage 35 hotels out of Ireland. The resort had been on the market with a guide price of around €3m. Picture shows David Collins and Mark Knowles of Great National Hotels exhibiting at Holiday World.

REPRO FREE Cahernane House Hotel celebrates Victorian tradition of taking tea in the afternoonCahernane House Hotel, which is a member of Heritage Week partner Manor House Hotels, is offering anyone who makes a booking between August 23 and 30 for a stay of one night or more before October 27 complimentary tea and scones in the hotel’s drawing room or library during one afternoon of their stay. Quote ‘Heritage Week’ when booking.

  • Galgorm in Antrim, Sneem Hotel and Teach de Broc, Ballybunion, both in Kerry, have joined Manor House Hotels.
  • The spa at the Aghadoe Heights turned ten: celebrating a decade of decadence.
  • Minor Hotel Group formed a strategic partnership with Sun International to own and operate a collection of eight properties in five African countries.
  • Alila Hotels & Resorts is promoting adventure honeymoons to Bali. Offers include surfing in Uluwatu from £446 per night for a one-bedroom pool villa; white water rafting on the Ayung River or mountain climbing at Mount Batur from £134 per night for a Superior Room; mountain cycling or diving at Alila Manggis from £100 per night for a Superior Room; full-day journey across water and land at Soori from £366 per night for a one-bedroom mountain pool villa; and sailing; and diving at Alila Purnama from £6,892 on selected trips from November to March based on two people sharing a cabin, for six nights.
  • The ITC Grand Bharat golf resort and spa will open on October 1.
  • Travelodge came under fire for removing bibles from its hotels.
  • Would you sleep with a stranger, Harriet Line of The London Telegraph asks in her guide to couch-surfing.



Picture by bookhouseboy via Flickr

SkiWelt Wilder Kaiser Brixental has increased to 280km of slopes for the coming winter, of which 85pc will have snowmaking facilities. The Skiwelt has challenged other ski areas to certify their pistes, in the absence of international standards some resorts were double counting the wider pistes as two runs.

  • The PURE Awards 2014 will be held on November 10 at the newly opened Royal Palm Marrakech with awards in six categories including: Transformational Travel, Conservation and Sustainability, Community Engagement, Innovative and Engaging Marketing, Design and Contribution to Experiential Travel. Hundreds of entries were received, with the shortlist being announced on September 15. The Awards will be judged by the PURE community. PURE Life Experiences and Tourism New Zealand will continue their relationship for the PURE Awards 2014.
  • Normandy will host 74 nations at the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games 2014 from August 23 to September 7.my_explore_mobile_app_map
  • Hertz and Navigation Solutions launched Hertz NeverLost Companion app among giving travellers the ability to plan trips on their mobile devices, then sync directly with the in-car Hertz NeverLost GPS system
  • Myanmar confirmed the start of online visa for tourists from September.
  • Saudi Arabia will be exhibiting at World Travel Market for the first time this year.
  • Powder White expanded its European 2014/15 winter programme. It will include a Slopestyle week, snowshoe & skidoo experiences, and white weekend packages.
  • Scotland’s annual Coll of the Sharks basking shark festival takes place from August 21 to August 26 on the island of Coll.
  • Japan’s Niseko ski resort on Hokkaido Island was added to the line-up on the Epic Pass initiative.ciara clodagh 001 copy
  • Registration opens earlier than usual in late September for IPW 2015 in Orlando, to be held May 30 to June 3. Pictures hows Ciara Foley and Clodagh Oxley of the Dublin Visit USA committee at the last IPW in Chicago.
  • UAE listed no-go areas in London for Emirati visitors in its official safety guide. Piccadilly and Oxford Circus are among the “places to avoid”, Soho and Oxford Street are classed as “more dangerous” and Shepherd’s Bush market and Queensway are “less safe”. The warning comes after two violent incidents last April involving UAE nationals visiting London.
  • Eight of GTA travel’s senior management team – Martin Jones, Tatsuo Masumoto, Andrew Hughes, Daryl Lee, Koksheng Sun, Marc Albert, Patrick Torres and Stuart Dale – marked 30 years in Japan by climbing Mount Fuji to raise awareness for ECPAT International.
  • SeaWorld announced it will double the size of its killer whale enclosures at parks in San Diego, Orlando, Florida and San Antonio. The first new tank will open in 2018. The company claimed the move is not directly related to the controversial Blackfish documentary.chirstoppher elliott
  • National Geographic Traveler’s reader advocate Christopher Elliot (pictured) draws the line between a savvy traveller and a travel hack in a piece for USA Today. Savvy travellers use smart strategies and their knowledge of the industry to get a good deal, whereas hacks take advantage of vulnerabilities and loopholes in online booking systems. Popular hacks include: using the “Dr” honorific when making a hotel booking online to avoid cancelled reservations; throwaway ticketing: buying a roundtrip instead of a one-way ticket and not using the return; using employee discount codes to save up to 20pc off car rental, hotel or theme park reservations. “There’s a clear line between right and wrong,” Elliot says. “Just because something isn’t illegal doesn’t make it right.”
  • Ten foreign tourists and five locals are missing after a tour boat sank in Indonesia.
  • TBEX 2014 bloggers conference cancelled its two trips to a dolphinarium in Cancun.
  • Florida is on track for a record breaking year after reporting 24m visitors during the second quarter.
  • Two tour buses crashed near Sharm El-Sheikh killing 33 people and injuring 41.

Food & Wine

Picture by Ryan Polei via Flickr

Picture by Ryan Polei via Flickr

John & Sally McKenna of have organised a wedding cake icing display by Diva Boutique Bakery at Electric Picnic’s Theatre of Food. “For years, people have been travelling to Electric Picnic to exchange wedding vows, so we thought it was more than appropriate to have our own EP wedding cake,” the McKennas posted on Facebook. The sold-out music and arts festival takes place next weekend, August 29-31.

  • A Jacobs’-sponsored savoury ice cream parlour opened in London’s Soho. Ale & cheddar and blue cheese & cracker are among the flavours available.
  • Photographer Beth Kirby and Food stylist Susan Spungen will be teaching a two-day, three-night residential course on food photography at Lens & Larder in Ballynahinch Castle from Oct 21-24. The €1,470 fee (sharing) includes a welcome reception, full board and drinks as well as the photography workshops.rickgonzales
  • Rick Gonzalez was appointed head chef at Alila Jabal Akhdar resort in Oman. Previous experience includes executive chef at Amandari in Ubud, Bali, pre-opening chef in Amanzo’s Resort, Porto Heli, Greece, and chef de cuisine at Sirocco Restaurant in Lebua Hotel, Bangkok.
  • The Dingle Peninsula Food Festival takes place October 3-5.

AviationRyanair PAYPAL_Aug14

Picture shows PayPal’s Vice President for Global Operations EMEA, Louise Phelan, and Ryanair’s Chief Marketing Officer, Kenny Jacobs, launching a new payment partnership with PayPal.

Dublin to Dubai is available for €504 (business class from €1,925, first class suite from €3,217) in advance the launch of Emirates’ double daily service book by September 1  (double daily launch date) for travel before May 31, 2015. Exemptions apply. Emirates hinted at going triple daily from Glasgow to Dubai. Now there’s a thought for Enda Corneille.Checking In at London Southend

London Southend Airport has been named Best in England in in the Which? airport passenger survey. Picture shows check-in at Southend.

  • Siobhain Danaher’s Planet Portfolio Travel Photography Exhibition opened in the arrivals hall of Belfast City Airport.
  • As Paschal Donohue sits down to grapple with the issue of fifth freedom rights and Ethiopian’s propsoed Dublin-LAX route, the game may be about to change. Etihad’s Alitalia investment is largely about fifth freedom, and Gulf News speculated this week that Etihad could tap into the Americas and Asia with the Alitalia deal.peter oncken
  • Intro aviation MD Peter Oncken (pictured) said he expects to make the decision on Cityjet fleet replacement in the next 4-6 weeks.
  • Irish air accident investigators concluded that Ryanair’s Faro incident was probably due to a freak storm.
  • Qatar Airways London Heathrow A380 inaugural was delayed further.
  • Trade group Airlines for America claimed US airlines doubled profit margins in the first half as revenue rose  three times faster than costs
  • The 197 page sectoral brief for Minister Paschal Donohoe was published, as was the more pragmatic 104 page document: Key issues for Minister Donohue.Ryanair John Hurley
  • John Hurley will join Ryanair as its Chief Technology Officer from Houghton Mifflin Harcourt plc on September 15. John will be responsible for developing and implementing a world-leading digital and technology strategy, heading up a team of 200 people as he oversees the roll-out of the Ryanair Labs digital innovation hub based at Ryanair’s new Dublin campus in Swords.
  • Florida-based Vortex Aviation will invest up to $3m in a new aircraft engine servicing facility in Shannon, which is set to open within in the next three months.
  • CSO statistics showed that 270 working days were lost when Aer Lingus cabin crew took to the picket line in May, the Irish Independent reports.
  • Ryanair and Aer Lingus received the least amount of complaints to England’s Civil Aviation Authority in 2013 – 37 against Ryanair and 38 against Aer Lingus.
  • Robots will collaborate with humans in building Airbus aircraft under the EU-funded Valeri project. Watch the demo video here.james hogan etihad screen
  • Etihad announced changes to its double daily schedule between Abu Dhabi and Johannesburg from October 26 which will tie in with their double-daily service from Dublin.
  • Michael O’Leary paid tribute to Albert Reynolds (listen here), a visionary who set ireland on a road to economic growth contrasting his term as Taoiseach with what followed.
  • United Airlines is the First Airline to offer Uber Service via Mobile App.
  • CSO figures show that the number of passengers using Kerry Airport dropped 28pc over five years (from 462,115 passengers in 2008 to 306,042 in 2013). Paschal Donohue said he is committed to securing the completion of the renewed public service obligation grant Kerry Airport relies on to retain flights on the Kerry to Dublin route.alan joyce
  • Alan Joyce’s Qantas said it is to cut back overseas routes and set Jetstar on course to become Australia’s main international airline. Qantas upgraded economy meals with bigger serves and boxed dinner packs.
  • British Airways plans to suspend its London Gatwick-Las Vegas service from December 3 to March 11 and reduce its Heathrow-Accra service from 11 flights to daily, cancel its Tuesday Heathrow-Montreal service, reduced its Heathrow-JFK service from 62 flights to 56 flights and cancel its Monday Heathrow-Newark service from October 26 to March 29.
  • American Airlines will extend its $150 fee for unaccompanied minors to include children up to 14 years of age from Sept 3.
  • cast its eye over Turkish Airlines: a recent pattern of falling quarterly profits, but many strategic strengths. ryanasir danish2
  • Ryanair launched its Danish language website, the Irish airline’s 15th own-language website.
  • Air Berlin announced the first elements of restructuring, to focus on “Europe, touristic and long-haul.”
  • Airlines will owe $80 compensation to passengers delayed between US and Europe in 2014.
  • The US FAA laid out conditions for the A350 lithium batteries.
  • American cancelled its Chicago-Dublin flight when it went tech but managed to get passengers home through Philadelphia. US airways retired its last Boeing 737-400.
  • aer lingus seatFTE highlighted Aer Lingus new transatlantic A330 business class cabin with lie flat seats, 16-inch in flight entertainment monitors and free Wi-Fi in advance of their showcase event in Las Vegas in September.
  • More comment on codeshare: apparently codeshare flights could be costing passengers thousands.
  • The London Telegraph ran a story about complaints over Ryanair’s mobile boarding passes.
  • Aer Lingus launched their Carrauntoohil Challenge.
  • Deutsche Bahn launched a lawsuit in the US against airlines over 1999-2006 price fixing.
  • TAP launched a route to Manaus and Belem.
  • Dublin Airport aims to save over 600,000kWh in energy with the Get Involved project.
  • Passenger numbers at Manchester Airport were up 6pc to 2.4m for July, putting the airport on track for its busiest year since 2007.
  • Air Berlin will reduce capacity by 10pc, shrink its fleet by about ten aircraft and shut down five crew bases.
  • The IATA urged airlines to continue to fly to Ebola-hit regions in West Africa.
  • A Saudi Arabian Airlines flight from Madinah to Cairo was grounded for six hours after a fist fight broke out between the pilot and a cabin crew member.roger bone
  • Boeing Ireland and Britain president Roger Bone (pictured) will retire at the end of September with Michael Arthur assuming the post on October 1.
  • Russia’s Ministry of Industry and Trade offered to supply Red Wings Airlines with Tupolev Tu-204 aircraft for flights to Crimea after Dobrolet, which operated Boeing 737s, suspended flights on August 4. Éist anseo le Eoghan Corry ag caint ar Údar Cainte ar Radió na Gaeltachta faoin Rúis. Éist anseo le eagarthóir Travel Extra Eoghan Corry ar Údar Cainte ag caint faoi Domhnall Slattery agus Avolon.


Celebrity Cruises’ autumn campaign has added free flights from Ireland to eight different 2015 European itineraries. Free flights and complimentary drinks packages worth up to $1,400 are now a new feature to Celebrity Cruises’ Up, Up and Away promotion. Under the Love2Shop vouchers campaign a €20 voucher is available for each automated booking made during August. See

  • Hamburg Cruise Days hosted 600,000 visitors for the European cruise event of the year.
  • The week beginning September 27th has been designated Pan European Cruise Week.
  • Stena Lines is offering fares from Dublin, Dun Laoghaire and Rosslare to Wales from €79 single, car and driver. Book by Sept 30, travel until Oct 31.
  • Lonely Planet suggested alternative ways to see the world by cruise ship. Some of the options include: a freshwater cruise, travelling by cargo ship, specialist small boat trips and a polar cruise.


A major question for Tourism Ireland in advance of the award of the contract for the National Diaspora Centre, there is a major problem with recognition of the word Diaspora around the world. There are six contenders for the attraction, which is expected to deliver 300,000 visitors a year to one of Birr, Cork, Donegal, Dublin, Dun Laoghaire or Limerick. It is likely that the two Dublin centres will be built even if the contract goes elsewhere. But what will the centres be called?


  • Tourism Ireland targeted Toronto for business travellers. Picture shows Helen Cole of Tourism Ireland; Séan Carney of Lough Eske Castle; Mary Heron of, Aer Lingus; John Healy of Moloney & Kelly Travel; Lynda Reilly of Guinness Storehouse; and Gerry Browne of Killarney Hotels at IncentiveWorks 2014 in Toronto, Canada’s largest B2B show for the meetings, events and incentive travel industry.
  • YouTube videos were launched promoting Dalkey Book Festival (watch here) and Happy Days Enniskillen International Beckett Festival (watch here).
  • Carr Golf Travel’s Invitational Pro-Am, being held Oct 19-24, is to be sanctioned and managed by the PGAs of Europe. The event will be played over three courses; Portmarnock, Royal County Down (36 holes) and Royal Portrush. Carr Golf Travel celebrates 25 years in business this year.Failte Ireland Google pic copy
  • Fáilte Ireland announced today that its Corporate Meeting Support fund secured a win from a major US insurance company to bring its 2015 sales force meeting to Dublin and Killarney. Over 2,000 delegates come to Ireland for the event and stay for 7 nights. The event is worth an estimated €9m.
  • Picture shows Michael Brady of Fáilte Ireland and Carolina Marcos of Google, who announced Google Month, a schedule of online events presented from Google HQ in Dublin on the range of digital supports available to Irish tourism businesses. The “Hangouts” will be broadcast live on the Fáilte Ireland YouTube Channel, aimed at tourism businesses that may be new players in the digital arena. Intending participants should visit or contact Michael Brady at michael.brady@failteireland.iedermot4
  • The Irish rail strike seemed heading up a siding. New transport Minister Paschal Donohue made some cautious comments about how this strike would make matters worse. Rail fares are enjoying a €1 a head government subsidy. Dermot O’Leary of NRBU (pictured) and Paul Cullen of SIPTU refute claims that the last tranche of extra money that went into the rail service was used for salary increases, so there seems no shifting on this one.
  • The Irish Craft Beer and Cider Festival returns to the RDS in Dublin September 4-7 reflecting what the organisers call explosive growth over the past 12 months: there will be 200 Irish produced beverages on offer to attendees and there will be 38 producers up from 25 last year and 10 for the first festival four years ago.
  • The Irish National Kite Surfing Championships will take place on Duncannon Beach in County Wexford this weekend from August 23-24, The festival also offers water zorbing, a volleyball competition, live music, face painting and a Kids Zone.
  • Fáilte Ireland is supporting the World Youth and Student Travel Conference, which takes place at the Convention Centre, Dublin, from September 23 to 26. Over 700 travel professionals from over 450 organisations will be at the event.
  • Bus Éireann will run return services to Electric Picnic from Dublin, Cork and Galway.Waterford Jazz festival 3
  • Waterford’s first Jazz Festival Waterford Jazz Weekender was announced for outdoor and pub venues in the Viking Triangle from September 5-7, featuring Dixieland Express from New Orleans, The Jane O’Brien Moran Trio and The Red Hot Jazz Trio.
  • Minister Simon Harris launched Heritage Week at Trim Castle. Ireland will bustle to the largest hosting of Heritage Open Days on August 23-31 (details here) and September 13-14 in the north (details here). There are events in 50 writers miltown malbay

A sean-nós dance exhibition by Aidan Vaughan, the uncle of Nóirín Hegarty managing destinations editor at Lonely Planet in London, was among the treasures experienced by a group of 23 travel writers from 13 different countries when they attended a showcase demonstration by Oidhreacht an Chláir in Miltown Malbay, Picture with their hosts shows: Ellen Redmond of Fáilte Ireland, Eduardo Vessoni Lopes of Viagem em Pauta, Brazil, Ursula Wiegand of Westdeutsche Zeitung Germany., Tony Conboy of the Tampa Tribune in Florida, Aidan Vaughan sean-nós dancer from Oidhreacht an Chláir, Séamus Mac Mathúna from Oidhreacht an Chláir, Stephen Vermeylen of Rotary Contact Belgium, Anne Keavey dancer from Oidhreacht an Chláir, Helen Hewetson of Ensemble Vacations Mag Canada, John Barry dancer from Oidhreacht an Chláir, miltown malbay_3320David Batzofin of Batzofin Blog, Radio Today South Africa, Richard Holmes of Travel Ideas Mag South Africa, Andreas Jacobsen of Urlaubtipp and Touristik Aktuell Germany, Ann Wang from China, Michael Marek of NDR radio Germany (behind blue jacket), Andrea Wiebel of Schweiz am Sonntag Switzerland behind pink jacket , Flower Lang from China, Lu Tao from China, Tom Zhang from China, Gabrielle Spiller of Der Landbote Switzerland, Christina Walsh of Fáilte Ireland and Deirdre Comber dancer from Oidhreacht an Chláir, Seated: Hanne Hoiberg of Sondag Denmark, Luzia Grasse of Augsburger Allgemeine Germany, Willemijn Bos of Reisgids, Netherlands, musician Tara Comber (fiddle) of Oidhreacht an Chláir, musician Diarmuid Donnellan (banjo) of Oidhreacht an Chláir, musician Róisín Considine (accordion) of Oidhreacht an Chláir, Katie Nanton of Nuvo Mag Canada, Barbara Sloane of the Westchester Guardian NY State and Neeta Lal from India. See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook. Loppe Ranta of Retki Outdoor Magazine Finland joined the group on Monday night. Listen here to Harry Hughes from from Oidhreacht an Chláir welcoming the group.

  • Carton House in Maynooth hosted the 56th International Garden Centre Congress showcasing Irish Garden Centres, and attractions including Guinness and Jameson factories.pashal_donohue
  • New tourism minister Paschal Donohue spoke about the problem of immigration queues at Dublin airport at last week’s Tourism Ireland briefing (listen here), the fall-out from the Garth Brooks fiasco (listen here), the aggressive begging problem in Dublin (listen here), local government rate increases and their impact on the competitiveness of tourism businesses (listen here), prices, wages and value for money (listen here), and the new tourism target of 10m visitors by 2025 (listen here). Niall Gibbons CEO of Tourism Ireland said all tourism markets except Britain will see record inbound figures to Ireland in 2014 (listen here), in his overview for the first half of the year (listen here), that Tourism Ireland’s social media profile continues to be high – Ireland’s channel will be second this year in the number of YouTube views (listen here), air access figures are now 366,000 a week (listen here), the campaigns for the second half of 2014 (listen here), Ireland has received €250m in publicity form traditional media outlets, the fortunate timing of the Chris Hadfield campaign with the increased number of flights from Canada (listen here) and how the decline in the French inbound market was down to sporting fixtures (listen here).kildare walking festival_1454
  • Kildare Walking Festival concluded on the banks of the Grand Canal at Ardclough.See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.
  • The 30ft Grandmother from the Royal de Luxe street performance arrived in Limerick ahead of the City of Culture event, which takes place September 5-7. Around 100,000 people are expected to attend.
  • NITB is offering two nights B&B and one evening meal in the Armagh City Hotel from £99 per adult for families attending the Star Wars themed Junior Force Academy Training workshop at Armagh Planetarium, August 30-31. Children under 10 stay free, £20 per night for children aged 10-16.eoghan corry harry hughes_3292
  • Picture shows Eoghan Corry, editor of Travel Extra, being presented with a copy of Music in a Breeze of Wind: Traditional Dance Music in West Clare 1870-1970 by Barry Taylor, by Harry Hughes of Oidhreacht an Chláir in Miltown Malbay, August 18 2014. The cover of the book features Mary Ellen Quinlan, nee Corry, from Cooraclare, fiddle player and aunt of Eoghan Corry.
  • is offering one free admission to a night at the dog track with every receipt. Participating venues: Shelbourne Park, Harold’s Cross, Waterford, Cork, Tralee, Limerick, Galway, Mullingar and Newbridge. Offer available until August 31. at Dublin airport is offering rates from €3 per day for bookings before August 31.
  • Condé Nast described the Wild Atlantic Way as “Ireland’s Route 66”.

    Photo by SeanOConnor2010 via Flickr

    Photo by SeanOConnor2010 via Flickr

  • South Derry is marking the first anniversary of Seamus Heaney’s death with the four-day Heaney On Home Ground festival which takes place Sept 11-14 in various venues in south Derry, and a tour of Seamus Heaney Country which will bring punters from Laurel Villa Townhouse in Magherafelt to Heaney’s birthplace in Mossbawn, through the villages of Castledawson, Toome and Bellaghy, where he is buried.
  • Lonely Planet explained how to do Dublin on a hangover, which mostly involves surrounding yourself with alcohol for the day. For the cure, have an Irish coffee in Stage Door Café (“if a hair of the dog is in order”); for culture, visit the Guinness Storehouse (“when the world stops spinning”); for the craic, the Dublin Literary Pub Crawl (“when you’re tucked up in the cosy warmth of an Irish pub with a pint of Guinness in hand, swapping stories with new friends, you’ll think, ‘Hangover? What hangover?’”).

Email to have your say or it is @TravelExtraIre on Twitter if that’s your bag.

Travel Extra’s Sunday Supplement: Dogs that Fly & Lifting the Duvet on Bedbanks


Sunset at Black Head, Co Clare. Picture by Kara Nagai via Flickr.


The headlines this week:

*Lifting the duvet on Bedbanks

*Russian Overflights: Myth and Substance

*Terminal 2 of 5 at Heathrow will become Terminal 2 of 3

*Belfast by the Bellyful: 64 sign up for restaurant week


Travel Extra TVPiano player in Prague airport

Our video of the week shows pianist Maan Hamadeh performing Beethoven’s Für Elise and the theme from Titanic at gate D1 in Prague airport. The talented musician plays a mash-up of the two pieces in a four-and-a-half minute performance. The original video received over 7m views since it was first uploaded on August 7. Watch here.

crocodileA snappy video, especially for swimmers, Manuel Carrera captured video footage of a crocodile chasing a swimmer on the Boca Paila Preserve south of Tulum in the Riviera Maya , Sian Ka’an, Mexico. Luckily a quick-thinking observer lobbed a missile at the crocodile, which diverted its attention. Watch here.

British Airways in-flight entertainment manager Richard D’Cruze talks about the September launch of ‘Paws & Relax’, the airline’s new long-haul channel that is dedicated to documentaries, cartoons and TV shows about dogs and cats. The idea is that the footage of cute animals will reduce passengers’ heart rate and make their flight less stressful. Watch here.

Richard Joye, VP of Swiss Space Systems Asia, talks to Bloomberg about the launch of zero gravity flights in the Asia-Pacific. Watch here.

The Aloft hotel in high-tech Cupertino, California, posted a video promoting Botlr, its robot porter. The hotel designed Botlr with Silicon Valley start-up Savioke. The robot is three-feet tall and uses sensors to travel through the hotel’s corridors. Botlr can detect when a guest opens their door so it can make a delivery. Guests don’t tip Botlr; they give it a review instead. Aloft plans to use Botlr from August 20. Watch the promo here.

RTÉ Ten reporter Suzanne Keane interviewed some of this year’s Rose of Tralee participants and host Daithí O Sé at a photo-call in Dublin Airport. Watch here.

HeadlinesTravel Extra cover Sept 2014 300

The bedbank revolution is continuing apace. Nowadays 80pc of a travel agents’ business is done with bedbanks, rather than traditional tour operators, according to Pat Dawson, CEO of the ITAA. With the print edition due for delivery to agencies this week, the September issue of Travel Extra (view online here) looks at the phenomenal growth in bedbanks since 1999 and the major players among the 200 who are operating in the market. We examine the story behind the Irish operations of Lowcost and Bookabed and the corporate specialist HRS.

We also look at the fast moving world of travel technology, the great game between Amadeus and Travelport and the emergence of low-cost inventory, and we explain how the travel technology business has grown from an attempt to reform a Canadian airline’s ticketing structure to the complex multi-layered GDS’s of today.

IMG_7516Figures seen by Travel Extra indicate the Irish travel industry has set aside €55.4m in bonds that will never be called in. We focus on Aer Lingus‘s proposed trans-Atlantic expansion due to be announced in the next six weeks – Travel Extra proposes it is going to be a north-eastern USA destination rather than the widely speculated Dallas, Houston or Miami. We look at Ryanair’s catch-up app and the impact the policy of being nice to customers had on their half-yearly returns, listen to Michael O’Leary’s opinions on the controversial seven-day check-in, the proposed Ryanair routes to Moscow and St Petersburg, and loyalty schemes, Dublin’s over-long immigration queues, how London has outpaced Switzerland and Scandinavia to unexpectedly offer Europe’s priciest hotels. MSC’s new mega-ships (as explained by Rebecca Kelly, pictured with Roz Walsh of Travelfox), Hurtigruten’s use of charters to boost sailings, Royal Caribbean’s entertainment dimension to Quantum, and the plans for the ITAA conference on a cruise ship at end October.

England remains Ireland’s single biggest outbound destination with 1.8m visitors. Ida Milne goes to see the World War 1 galleries in the Imperial War Museum, which has just opened a major centenary exhibition, and Siofra Tobin Larkin follows the trail of Philip Larkin (no relation) to Hull.

Tania Ollson of Past Experiences

Tania Ollson of Past Experiences gives walking tours of the world’s most dangerous city

How dangerous is Johannesburg? Eoghan Corry joins one of the walking tours run by PAST Experiences which have successfully reclaimed the city centre.  As part of our destination focus on South Africa we join a helicopter flip in the Drakensberg Mountains, a bungee jump and shark dive in Durban, the exquisite cuisine of Cleopatra’s Farm and the spa safari lodge at Karkloof, both in KZN. We also examine the new passport requirements for people travelling with children to South Africa.

Conor McMahon visits the new UNESCO world heritage site in Langhe in northern Italy, Eoghan Corry discovers fast cars and slow food in Bologna, Marie Carberry visits Spain’s most scholarly city, Salamanca, and the walled wonder of Avila, and we took a stroll along Ireland’s newest walking trail, Arthur’s Way, in north Kildare through the landscape of Arthur Guinness’s childhood.

Mike Rutter, Chief Revenue Officer of Aer Lingus in the new Aer Lingus Lounge in Heathrow T2

Mike Rutter, Chief Revenue Officer of Aer Lingus in the new Aer Lingus Lounge in Heathrow T2

Heathrow’s new airy Terminal 2 will not be renumbered when Heathrow goes from five terminals to three early next year. Eventually, terminal numbers are to be dispensed with altogether and Heathrow will become Heathrow East and Heathrow west. While this process is underway, best not get too familiar with Terminal 5. It is speculated that Terminal 5 will change to 1 in the interim, with 4 becoming 3. The new Terminal 2 will remain as it is.

1MG_1299 copyCiaran MacDonagh and Robbie Lynch of Aer Lingus and Chris Butler, Airline Business Development Director of Heathrow hosted a group of trade and travel media at the new Aer Lingus Lounge in Heathrow T2. Picture shows Don Shearer of Worldchoice with Catherine McDonnell and Lisa Meehan at the showcase. Aer Lingus use gates 21 to 26 in the new terminal. The Aer Lingus inter line partners are based in the terminal including Air Canada and United with whom Aer Lingus have important codeshare agreements. It is the second biggest user of the terminal in movements behind Lufthansa and third behind United in passenger numbers. The new Gold Star lounge cost €1m and is fitted out by Dublin based Glenbeigh Construction with Irish stone, Irish wood and other home-sourced furnishings. An innovation: all restaurants in the terminal offer on board picnic options. Listen here to Mike Rutter, Chief Revenue Officer of Aer Lingus speaking about the relationship with Heathrow. Listen here to Chris Butler, Airline Business Development Director of Heathrow speaking about the delivery of Terminal 2 and the implications for airport users. See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.

luis vidal Eoghan Corry_8952

Travel Extra’s Eoghan Corry last toured Heathrow T2  prior to its opening when he was shown around by designer Luis Vidal (pictured). Despite the detractors (“more boring than soaringsaid Rowan Moore) the Terminal has impressed the Aer Lingus passengers weary of the walk thought the tunnels in the Terminal 1. Just over a dozen passengers have shown up in T1 since the move looking for their Aer Lingus flight and all of them were in the first week. Aer Lingus is the third biggest airline operation at Heathrow, serving the airport 12/13 times daily from Dublin, four times daily each from Belfast and Cork and three times daily from Shannon.dave gilmore niall mckenna_0481

Belfast Restaurant week  from October 4-11 will see a record 64 of the city’s 400 restaurants participating.  Travel Extra popped in to see Niall McKenna whose iconic James Street South restaurant in Belfast is undergoing refurbishment and hear of his plans for this and his other ventures, the Bar and Grill, Hadskis and the Cookery School. Niall, pictured with chef Dave Gilmore, will be running an apprenticeship programme for aspiring chefs offering hopefuls the chance to work with an award winning team. Hadskis do ‘wine Mondays’ every week. Other upcoming festivals taking place in Belfast this September include Culture Night, Cinemagic and the CS Lewis festival.

Belfast cs lewis montage x600

A £250,000 park and performance arts area dedicated to CS Lewis is to open next April Belfast cs lewis door handle_0834around the famous statue of the Belfast writer at Hollywood Arches in East Belfast. The second CS Lewis festival is planned for November, reviving interest in his multi-faceted life. Picture shows Ken Harper, who conducts taxi tours around Belfast with the statue of CS Lewis peeking into a wardrobe (adventure travel of a different kind). Features along the way of the CS Lewis tour include the lion-shaped door handle of his grandfather’s rectory, St Mark’s in Dundela that inspired Aslan. As with the Brontë homestead in Haworth in Yorkshire, a disproportionate number of Lewis tourists are from Japan.

Sligo’s hosting of the All Ireland Fleadh Cheol comes to a climax today with a band competition; 10,000 visitors brought a spend of €7m to the town. Events in 40 different locations included Dervish, the Boróimhe and De Cuellar Suites, Téada and the Máirtín O’Connor Band. Tourism interests remind visitors that within a five mile radius of Sligo you’ll find 3 Championship golf courses, blue flag beaches, a pathway up Knocknarea, and the megalithic tombs and dolmens of Carrowmore.

dobrolet mergeThe Moscow Times reported that Russia was considering launching a sanction-proof airline to service Crimea, in reaction to the grounding of Dobrolet last week (pictured) when contracts with an Irish based lessor were sanctioned. while elsewhere it was speculated Russia will respond by expanding its regional-plane fleet. Fears that Russia would impose a fly-over ban seemed less shrill than had been reported in recent weeks. Russia’s Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev’s statement on sanctions is much more moderate than it has been portrayed: “there is one decision that the government has made. I am talking about the cessation of overflights [only] by Ukrainian carriers operating services through the airspace of Russia to a number of countries – Azerbaijan, Georgia, Armenia and Turkey [and only] from next winter”, less severe, and more graduated than portrayed generally.  Flights between Kyiv and Moscow continue to operate. Russia is also talking of opening the Sevastopol airport to civil traffic. It used to be a Ukrainian Air Force field.  The most vulnerable European airline of all, Finnair, said its ordered A350 has the range to detour if Russia closes skies. Finnair will launch A350 services in the second half of 2015 initially serving Shanghai ,Bangkok and Beijing. Eoghan morning ireland july 8 2014Listen to Travel Extra‘s Eoghan Corry on Morning Ireland talking about implications of Russia-EU sanctions on Irish aviation industry (listen here), and Éist anseo le Eoghan Corry eagarth óir Travel Extra speaking about EU/Russia sanctions and their effects on overflights and the Irish aviation industry on Raidio na Gaeltachta programme Údar Cainte.

Travel Trade

John donohue black tieJohn Donohue of Aereps confirmed that two planned joint Irish Travel Trade FAMs to New York at the end of August and Las Vegas in October are going ahead as planned, despite the decision of Aereps to end representation of its suite of travel products. The Irish Travel Trade FAM to New York City with NYC & Company and Delta Air Lines at the end of August will be headed by Teresa Murphy of Delta Air Lines and Reginald Charlot of NYC & Company. The planned joint Irish Travel Trade FAM to Las Vegas in October with Las Vegas Convention & Visitors Authority and Virgin Atlantic will also go ahead as planned, headed by Holly Best of Virgin Atlantic and Kelly Sawyer of Las Vegas Convention & Visitors Authority. Read John Donohue’s letter to the Irish travel trade here.

paul richesLowcostbeds’ new manager for the combined markets of Ireland, Britain and Middle East, Paul Riches, will come to Ireland to meet key trade people in September. The fast growing Lowcostbeds has appointed a new layer of management: Elodie Leunen has been promoted to Managing Director Lowcostbeds Europe with Claudia Baino, and Adam Alford continuing to run the USA, Canada and Latin America. All will report directly to Alex Gisbert. Clem Walshe says this is part of an overall reshaping of the LCTG international team that Irish manager and “will help us drive more focus in the areas that are especially affected by growth. It is purely to assist us in managing the growth we’re enjoying and ensure we can continue to deal with the challenges presented by that growth. Bear in mind our local Irish beds business is now up over 40pc year on year so we need more resource right across the board to ensure we manage that growth in an effective manner.” Clem says business in the north of Ireland is also enjoying significant growth over the last six months “so we’ll more than likely have to look for some local resource to support that market in the short term”.

  • IPW (Pow Wow) in 2016 is changing date as well as venue. Having moved to New Orleans because of redevelopment of Miami’s convention centre, the new date is June 18-22 2016.
  • Germany’s TUI said it had “no plan B” for merger with TUI Travel. TUI earnings surged 89pc on hotel, cruise price increases.
  • Travel Department reported an increase of 12pc on solo friendly holiday bookings year on year since 2012 with 800 solo passengers travelling on 39 different departures to destinations such as the Venetian Riviera and the Lisbon Coast.
  • ETOA is now accepting final early bird registrations for their largest member workshop GEM and next year’s Ireland and Britain specialist March Marketplace.
  • Aer Lingus’ discount offer exclusive to ITAA Members will continue until August 31 on the members’ area of There is a booking incentive as well as a 20pc discount: for the first time there are free seats for agents if targets are met.anne dolan
  • ITAA legal officer Anne Dolan will host two more Travel Law Webinars: E-Commerce – Compliance Matters on Wed August 13, and Legal Update, Wed August 20, both at 8:30am-10am and both €25. More information/ bookings.
  • Tour America is offering a free quick-service dining plan for families that book a selected Disney Hotel and ticket package for a minimum 5 nights, and a free Disney dining plan for those that book a minimum 5-nights package at a Disney Deluxe Hotel of Disney Deluxe Villa. From €1,099pp. Travel between Jan 1 – March 24 and April 12 – November 30.
  • A contender for best travel headline of the week: “Lourdes tour operator hit by losses following biblical flood”. Irish-registered United Irish Pilgrimage to Lourdes reported a loss of €41,763 for 2013, the year of the floods.
  • ITAA’s offers this week: 4 nights at the Kech Hotel, Marrakech, Morocca from €539pp, travel September 17; 7 nights at Dom Pedro Golf Hotel, Vilamaoura, Portugal for over 50s from €459pp, travel September 29; 6 nights at Le Green Beach Apartments, Omaha Beach from €795 per couple, travel September 8.
  • is offering 4 and 5-night trips to UFC 178 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena, Las Vegas. Prices start at €1,105pp. Travel September 25. Stay at the MGM Grand or the Westgate Las Vegas Resort & Casino. Irish UFC star Conor McGregor will fight at the event.
  • Falcon is offering 7 nights all-inclusive at Blue Lagoon Resort, Kos, from €1,858 for two adults and one child or from €2,317 for two adults and two children. Depart May 23, 2015, from Dublin.Tropicana Jasmine 01
  • Thomson is offering 7 nights in Sharm El Sheikh all-inclusive at the Sensatori Resort from €1,069pp or Tropicana Rosetta & Jasmine Club from €809pp during winter 2014/15. Weekly departures start December 26. Offer based on January 2, 9, 16 departures. Thomson added Kos to its summer 2015 destinations and two Sensatori Resorts at Cala Tarida, Ibiza, and Fethiya, Turkey.
  • The American DOT’s approval of resolution 787 was hailed as a breakthrough for NDC implementation in the USA.


  • KilternanThe Comer Group acquired the partially built Kilternan Hotel & Country Club for an estimated €7m. The hotel which cost €171.5m to redevelop comes with anticipated costs of €20m to reopen the resort. Watch RTÉ News’ report here.
  • The IHF’s diploma course in Digital Marketing commences Tuesday, September 23. The course will run every Tuesday, 6pm-9pm, until December 16 in the Irish Times Training building on Tara Street, Dublin 2. Full cost €1,500, members rate €899.
  • Apps

    Picture by James A Howie via Flickr

    Trivago circulated a list of social media hotels where you can: get a discount if you have 2,000 Facebook friends, get a FREE stay if you have 10,000 Instagram followers, arrange your trip via Pinterest, go on a personal Instagram walking tour to get the best snaps. They also listed the top ten swim-up bars.

  • The 2015 Hoteliers European Marketplace workshop will take place in Hôtel du Lac, Enghien-les-Bains, Paris, from February 23.
  • Aloft Hotel Liverpool on North John Street will open in October.
  • Plans to open a Fifty Shades of Grey-inspired bondage hotel in Vilafranca, Spain, have been delayed following objections from the town council.


World Travel Market launched the new 2014 WTM Responsible Tourism Website. Cavan town was long-listed for ‘Best Destination for People with Disabilities’ in the 2014 World Responsible Tourism Awards.cavan wins Eden award 2013 001 Picture shows Joanne Hayes from “This is Cavan” tourism office and Savina Donohue from Cavan County Council receiving last year’s EU EDEN award for environmental tourism initiatives Pedro Ortun from the European Commission’s Directorate General for Enterprise and Industry in Brussels.The shortlist will be announced in September.

  • The World Health Organisation released a statement aimed at reassuring travellers that the Ebola virus posed “low risk” to air travel.
  • Lonely Planet dispensed advice on how to survive a multi-generation family holiday: Have a safe word (if things are getting too tense, yell ‘Paparazzi’), let tempers cool, take the blame, separate and conquer, (allow people to take as much time away from the group as they need, good things come in small quantities, especially when it comes to family) sample little pleasures (take care of yourself, especially if you are the person in charge; if the captain is unhappy, his crew will be miserable). End each argument with a family hug. “You are making memories (good, bad and ugly) and when you get through this, you’ll look back on nearly every moment as one of the best times in your life.”
  • Paris

    Picture by James Whitesmith via Flickr

  • There were only two slight changes in the WTO’s top 10 tourist arrivals rankings. With 60.7m international arrivals, Spain re-claimed third place after losing it to China in 2010 (55.7m arrivals in 2013), while Thailand climbed five places to enter tenth in the top 10. France remained in the number one spot with a total of 84.7m overseas visitors in 2013. United States was second with 69.8m arrivals. International receipts in Europe grew 3.8pc to €650bn. Northern Europe posted a 6pc increase in arrivals with Iceland recording the highest relativtop-destinae growth (+20pc).
  • The European Commission has written to six car rental companies operating in the EU – Sixt, Enterprise, Goldcar, Europcar, Hertz and Avis – warning them about discriminating against consumers based on their nationality: the companies allegedly give customers a different price based on the country of residence submitted in an online booking. All six companies responded to the letter, but the EC says it has requested a follow-up from Europcar, Hertz and Avis by August 30. The EC said rental and leasing of cars account for 5.5pc of all complaints handled by European Consumer Centres.IMG_8654
  • Ciaran Mulligan’s Blue Insurances commented that the cost of additional insurance covering excess damage has risen significantly. Picture shows Ian Kennedy and Ruth Bracken of Blue Insurances.
  • Minister Charlie Flanagan said he supports the Passport Service’s proposal to introduce a passport card for travel within the EU. Tourism Minister Paschal Donohue said he has raised the need for faster immigration services at Dublin airport and is awaiting a response.
  • The Mountain Collective added a new partner destination for the 2014/15 ski season: Ski Banff-Lake Louise-Sunshine.
  • Axa suspended new travel insurance policies during a site upgrade.
    christine duffy CLIA cruise body
  • Christine Duffy of CLIA (pictured) said the construction of an alternative canal route must commence as soon as possible after the Italian government said large cruise ships will be banned from the centre of Venice from 2015. The ban will exclude all ships exceeding 96,000 tonnes from St Mark’s basin and the Giudecca Canal. Guidelines will also restrict visits by smaller ships of no more than 40,000 tonnes.
  • Tasmania launched the world leading destination programme with more than 700 operators.
  • The body of an American tourist was found in a suitcase outside the luxury St Regis Resort in Bali. The victim’s daughter and her daughter’s boyfriend were arrested.Forth Rail Bridge, VisitScotland Scottish Viewpoint
  • Forth Bridges Festival celebrates the 50th birthday of the Forth Road Bridge from September 4—13. Picture shows the railway bridge with the road bridge in the background.
  • Disneyland Paris Half Board Offer ends August 17.
  • EyeforTravel‘s TDS Europe 2015 will take place in the Hilton Tower Bridge, May 6–7.
  • A woman managed to climb the 10ft security fence at Halifax Airport in Nova Scotia. Airport officials spotted and apprehended the woman by the time she reached the tarmac.
  • Eleven people were injured when a tourist train travelling from Chur to St Moritz in the Swiss Alps derailed after hitting a landslide.
  • Parisian city officials and travel agencies expressed concern at the increase of pickpockets targeting Chinese visitors.

Food & Wine

Electric Picnic food

Picture by carolune

  • The line-up for this year’s Theatre of Food at the sold-out Electric Picnic festival was released. Declan Maxwell, Neven Maguire, Lilly Higgins and Kevin Thornton are among the restaurateurs, chefs, critics and foodies who will appear at the event. The full line-up is available here.
  • The 22nd Anfas Food Product International Specialisation Fair will bring together 400 international exhibitors from 12 countries and 35,000 food & beverage professionals. The fair takes place February 25- 28, 2015, at Antalya Expo Centre.
  • Killruddery House & Gardens is offering two-course suppers for €14 and three-course suppers for €17.50 every Thursday at 6:30pm and 8:30pm until the end of September. Phone 01-2863405, or email to book.
  • Jurys Inn claimed that Irish guests prefer orange juice and muesli to a Full Irish and tea.


Etihad_Alitalia 1 copyThere was much discussion of James Hogan’s declaration last week that Alitalia is set to become the sexiest airline in Europe (watch press conference here). USA Today suggested Gulf carrier Etihad would ‘reboot’ Italy’s ailing Alitalia. At least one blogger pointed out that territory has already been taken by Michael O’Leary with his famous Dusseldorf press conference in 2008. Watch here.

  • According to the IATA’s latest WATS statistics, Dublin-London was the second busiest international route in 2013 (3.6m passengers, +6.9pc). The top spot went to Hong Kong-Taipei (4.9m, -11.5pc). Jakarta-Singapore came in third (3.4m, +8.6pc). The price of air travel in real terms fell by 7.4pc last year, according to the report. The three busiest domestic routes were Jeju-Seoul, Sapporo-Tokyo, and Fukuoka-Tokyo, reflecting a shift away from the USA as the world’s biggest users of aviation. IATA said it was seeking to eliminate the check-in process altogether. Neil Pakey Rose Hynes_2775
  • Shannon Airport CEO Neil Pakey (pictured with Shannon chairperson Rose Hynes) said passenger numbers at Shannon for the first six months of the year were up by 15pc and have outpaced the national average.
  • The Department of Transport issued the invitation to tender notice for the remaining Public Service Obligation routes, Donegal to Dublin and Kerry to Dublin.Domhnal slattery 002
  • There was confusion and even a denial of reports that Domhnal Slattery’s Avolon was to be subject of takeover talks by a Chinese fund. The financing arm of Avic released a statement to the Shanghai Stock Exchange contradicting widely circulated reports that its parent company and sovereign wealth fund China Investment Corporation was buying Avolon, with two different prices being mentioned, €3.7bn and €12bn. See profile of Domhnal Slattery in the Business Post here.
  • US Airways/American reinstated the A330 on the Dublin-Philadelphia route.
  • Intro aviation is in final talks to replace Cityjet’s Avro RJ85 fleet.
  • Aercap said it was holding off on renting some new planes holdings. CEO Aengus Kelly reported strong second quarter results.
  • Former Worldspan head of technology and Expedia founder Timothy O’Neil-Dunne asked whether codeshare flights should be discontinued.
  • The IAA said Irish air traffic figures continued their strong upward surge.
  • Air France launched its innovative FlightPath3D moving map service.A350_XWB_First_Flight_take_off_8
  • Airbus A350 ended flight tests, paving the way for deliveries. Qatar airways may receive the first A350 aircraft this year after airbus ends trials. The speculation about the A330neo rethink announced at Farnborough continued apace while Seattle media pondered the differences between the airbus A380 strategy and the Boeing B787 strategy. The New York Times reported what it calledoversize expectations for the Airbus A380”. Boeing said July brought the most orders ever for any month.
  • Anna Aero reported that China’s airlines are now growing faster internationally than domestically.
  • CN Traveller looked at the two new transatlantic carriers, La Compagnie and Norwegian Air Shuttle.
  • Emirates raised $425m to finance more A380 2
  • As more airlines look to provide entertainment on passenger’s personal tablets (or devices distributed by the airline), Emirates confirmed it expects to offer seat-back IFE for many years to come.
  • Lufthansa was reported to be considering B787s and A350s for a new low-cost longhaul subsidiary.
  • Cleveland’s International Women’s Air & Space Museum celebrated Irish aviator Nancy Corrigan.
  • Frankfurt Airport’s third terminal won planning clearance.malaysia airlin
  • Air Malaysia is likely to be the new name for the rebranded Malaysia Airlines. Éist anseo le Eoghan Corry as Travel Extra ar Adhmhaidin ag caint ar athrú Malaysia Airlines, the changes facing Malaysia’s national carrier.
  • Aviation Weekly reported on the information sharing challenges facing airlines.
  • Bloomberg reported that European Airlines were cutting jet fuel hedging as prices began to fall.
  • Research emerged of the risks to aircraft from exploding lithium batteries.
  • British Airways extended their Vueling codeshare.
  • Cebu Pacific said its “long-haul low-cost programme” promised a new period of growth begins with the addition of five destinations.
  • The London Telegraph asked can you really fly cheaper than easyJet on a private plane?
  • Finnair said it is to roll out ‘economy comfort’ product by the end of the year. Finnair expects the 2014 operational result to ‘show a significant loss’.
  • Hong Kong based Cathay Pacific reported a slightly improved profit as growth “has required fare discounting”. Cathay Pacific reported earnings were below estimates on yields.
  • It was claimed that extreme weather was becoming more common place.
  • Koreanair is to suspend of all Nairobi flights from Aug 20.
  • NASDAQ asked which airlines are interested in Boeing‘s latest idea?
  • Qantas introduced online mall to its frequent flyer programme.
  • Abu Dhabi Airport’s Passenger Traffic grew 19pc In H1.
  • The Belfast Telegraph profiled Belfast International Airport’s role in developing the economy of the north. Aldergrove-Gatwick traffic was up 9pc to 40,412 in July.calin-rovinescu 1354644054_0
  • Air Canada‘s CEO Calin Rovinescu announced second quarter results earnings call (full transcript here) including growth prospects for Canada Rouge which serves Dublin-Toronto. Air Canada London Heathrow-St John’s is to go year round at 11.05 daily from October 26th using an A319 with what GSA Premair say is great connections from Ireland.
  • USA Today speculated that airline mergers are not good in the long term as they drive up consumer prices.
  • British Airways found that British visitors to Ireland take home the local white pudding, soda bread and cheese and onion Tayto’s crisps. Visitors also shop for Guinness, Paddy Whiskey and Bailey’s Irish Cream.
  • Australia’s DIRD secretary said the international trend is moving away from liberalised air markets.
  • A new French airline challenged Air France business flights.
  • Dermot Mannion’s Royal Brunei is considering new Australian routes with A320neo.
  • In Portugal it was reported that inter-rail is losing out to low cost airlines.
  • Galway‘s two local authorities are to employ consultants to examine options for the 
115-acre site that contains Galway Airport. Former Galway city mayor Pádraig Conneely proposed the Galway Airport site as a suitable location for an industrial IT hub.
  • Virgin America’s airline flight attendants voted to approve union membership.
  • Star Alliance is now the largest alliance with 26.6pc of all RPKs, followed by Skyteam with 20.1pc and Oneworld with 15.4pc.
  • Passenger traffic at Abu Dhabi International Airport increased 19.4pc to 9.48m passengers for the first half of this year.
  • Dayton International Airport is using long grass to prevent bird strikes: heavy birds are believed to avoid long grasses because they fear predators may be hiding.
  • An AIIB report investigating an incident at Belfast City Airport on February 12 found that the captain lost control of the Dash 8 aircraft because his prosthetic arm detached during landing. There were 47 passengers on board the Flybe flight from Birmingham to Belfast. There were no injuries and the aircraft was not damaged.regional
  • Aer Lingus Regional carried 141,737 passengers in July, a 22pc increase. Dublin to Southend flights will be operated under the Flybe brand from Nov 14 . Cork airport reported Stobart passenger numbers were up 14pc in July.
  • The World Airline Road Race is scheduled for Dublin on Oct 1-5.
  • Alitalia chief executive Gabriele Del Torchio said he is ready to leave the airline after striking a rescue deal with Etihad.
  • The early booking offer for the ERAA general assembly in Barcelona ends August 19. Click here to register.
  • Jet Airways will scrap its low-cost subsidiary, JetLite, and integrate its 11 aircraft into the main fleet. As well as the plan to offload its budget unit in search for profit, it announced what it termed a master brand plan.
  • Indian domestic airline Vistara‘[limitless expanse in Sanskrit), a Tata-Singapore Airlines joint venture, is expected to launch its new full service Delhi based airline in October, subject to government approval. Singapore Airlines plans to invest $4m and the Tatas completing the $100m investment.  The chairman of the Tata Group, Cyrus Pallonji Mistry, has Irish citizenship because his mother (of Indian background) was born in the Hatch St Nursing Home in Dublin.
  • At least 39 people were killed when an Iran-140 Sepehan Air passenger jet bound for Tabas crashed after take-off from Tehran Mehrabad.
  • Air China is to double flights from Heathrow to Beijing in October, meaning there will be a total of 51 departures a week from London to the Chinese capital.
  • Lufhansa CEO Carsten Spohr said the airline is likely to expand its planned low-cost long-haul operations if their launch goes well.


tccUniworld released further details of the SS Maria Theresa to launch in spring 2015. The new river ship will sail Uniworld’s ‘European Jewels’ itinerary, a 15-day cruise from Budapest to Amsterdam and also offer on selected dates the 10-day ‘Tulips and Windmills’ itinerary that departs in March and April 2015. Later in December 2015 she will also offer a Danube Christmas markets cruise. Picture shows the Uniworld/TTC team in Ireland Rosie Leary, Sharon Jordan, Donna Kenny and Carole Carmody.

  • Royal Caribbean say guests who book on select 2015 holidays on the new Anthem of the Seas can enjoy gratuities and select drinks packages included into the price of their holiday. An eight-night cruise throughout France and Spain costs from €1,599 per person (based on two people sharing an interior stateroom). Price includes flights from Dublin, transfers, gratuities, a select or soda drinks package per person and an eight-night cruise departing from Southampton (England), and calling at Vigo (Spain), Gijon (Spain), Bilbao (Spain), Paris (Le Havre, France), before returning to Southampton (England) for the flight home.
  • It is a big week for cruise ship visits and hostings, Thomson Spirit is in Dublin on Wednesday, MSC Magnifica is in Belfast on Monday, Dublin on Wednesday and Cork on Thursday.
  • The 199-passenger Ocean Endeavour will join Quark Expeditions’ fleet of small Antarctic Expedition ships to replace the Sea Spirit beginning in the 2015/16 Antarctic season. Quark says that it offers a greater choice of vessels and number of voyages to Antarctica than any other operator.Ulysses and Dublin Swift - Servicing Irish Ferries Dublin to Holyhead routes
  • Irish Ferries is offering Premiership day trips by coach, inclusive of match ticket and ferry travel starting at €149 per person return, while overnight accommodation inclusive of coach, return ferry travel and match ticket starts at €209 per person.
  • Norwegian Cruise Line extended its 2015/16 brochure early booking offer of $300 on-board until August 31.
  • Stena Line is offering Rosslare-Cherbourg from €150 return for car and driver. The offer is available from September 1—March 31. Stena Lines is also offering return tickets from Belfast to Cairnryan from €235 for three-day stays. Travel between September 1 – October 31, book by September 30.

IrelandTourism Ireland Mid Year review 2014-4

Picture shows Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Paschal Donohoe with Tourism Ireland CEO Niall Gibbons, at the mid-year review of overseas tourism in 2014. Tourism Ireland confirmed that this year’s growth of 10pc has come from all four market areas around the world (Britain, North America, Mainland Europe and Other Areas). Tourism Ireland outlined what has contributed to this success and, more importantly, what will sustain and build on the growth to year end and into 2015. They said the growth was due to global advertising reaching 200m people, strong online and social media presence, air access, positive publicity and government initiatives such as VAT on tourism services, the air travel tax and visas.   New tourism minister Paschal Donohue said 10m tourists a year was a new target.

Travel Extra’s Eoghan Corry pointed out on Raidió na Gaeltachta that the increase in market share in the British market is the most significant trend this year. Éist anseo le Eoghan Corry ar Adhmhaidin ag caint air figúraí nua inturasóireachta.

Belfast niall mckennna montage

Picture shows Niall McKenna whose James Street South restaurant is undergoing a complete refurbishment and will be open on Friday of next week, and Niall with Fiona Ure of Visit Belfast.Aslan's Deeper Magic

Jonathan Barry will be reading extracts from some of the books he has illustrated, including The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, Harry Potter, and Dracula, at the Titanic Centre on August 23.

  • Fáilte Ireland reported that employment in the targeted hospitality and tourism sectors increased by 30,000 since the Irish government cut VAT, with direct tourism employment up by more than 20,000. They said price pass through of the rate reduction to consumers is evident across nearly every category. Fáilte Ireland estimates that the Exchequer’s tax take on the growth in spending by overseas visitors in 2013 was worth more than €100m.
  • The Dart Underground and Metro North will have to rely on private funding if they are to be built, according to ministerial briefing papers prepared for transport minister Paschal Donohue.
  • Delphi Adventure Resort, The Spa @ Delphi, its 4 star hotel (the Wild Atlantic Hostel), Delphi Conference Centre and its three catering outlets, has released the first in a series of five videos to promote Delphi Adventure Resort and its stunning Connemara location.
  • Hollywood director Francis Ford Coppola (who famously directed Apocalypse Now and The Godfather as well as Jack, which starred the late Robin Williams) named Ireland as the most underrated holiday destination in an interview with the Wall Street Journal: “It’s a beautiful country, and the people are extraordinary. They have such a wonderful literary tradition, one of warmth and humour. Also, Irish ice cream is among the best in the world, which no one knows.”Cork Heritage Open Day019
  • Ireland will bustle to the largest hosting of Heritage Open Days on August 23—31 (details here) and September 13—14 in the north (details here). There are events in 50 countries.
  • Natural Retreats Castlemartyr is offering 7 nights for the price of 5, 5 nights for the price of 4 or 3 nights for the price of 2 throughout September and October. Booking/more info.
  • Clare Local Development Company uploaded off-road panoramic scenic images of six trails using one of Google Street View’s Trekker packs.Heritage Island_3772
  • Picture shows Mary Keenan of The Ross Tapestry, Caroline Rice of Heritage Island, Silva Dorang of Aviva Stadium and Pat Boyce, The House of Waterford Crystal who participated in the Heritage Island exhibition at the Dublin Horse Show.
  • Fáilte Ireland will host a group of 23 travel media from 13 countries next week who are visiting the Wild Atlantic Way. The group’s itinerary will be focusing on counties Clare and Kerry with trips planned for the Burren, Cliffs of Moher and Doolin Cave before heading south to visit Tralee and Dingle. A highlight will be Monday night’s visit to Miltown Malbay to meet the Oidhreacht an Chláir, the group launched by Harry Hughes in 2003 with the aim of conserving and promoting the traditional arts in their native environment. On their way back to Dublin they will visit to the Foynes Flying Boat Museum. Ellen Redmond and Christina Walsh of Fáilte Ireland and tour guide Will Collins will accompany the group: David Batzofin of Batzofin Blog, 29k Radio Today South Africa, Willemijn Bos of Reisgids, Netherlands, Tony Conboy of the Tampa Tribune in Florida, Luzia Grasse of Augsburger Allgemeine Germany , Helen Hewetson of Ensemble Vacations Mag Canada, Hanne Hoiberg of Sondag Denmark, RIchard_Holmes_biogpicRichard Holmes of Travel Ideas Mag South Africa (pictured), Andreas Jacobsen of Urlaubtipp and Touristik Aktuell Germany , Yang Luyu, Lal Neeta Lu Tao, Lihua Wang and Ming Zhang from China, Eduardo Vessoni Lopes of Viagem em Pauta, Brazil, Michael Marek of NDR radio Germany , Katie Nanton of Nuvo Mag Canada, Joppe Ranta of Retki Outdoor Magazine Finland, Barbara Sloane of the Westchester Guardian NY State, Gabrielle Spiller of Der Landbote Switzerland, Stephen Vermeylen of Rotary Contact Belgium , Andrea Wiebel of Schweiz am Sonntag Switzerland and Ursula Wiegand of Westdeutsche Zeitung Germany.
  • mela festival Nizam Bulut
  • Picture shows Daliya Khadir of ArtsEkta’s South Asian Dance Academy and Nizam Bulut of Turkish Airlines to publicise Belfast Mela at Belfast Botanic Gardens Sunday August 24.
  • South Kildare Heritage Trail will launch at Burtown House and Gardens, Athy on Thursday.
  • Adrian Cummins of the Restaurants Association of Ireland said urgent action is needed to address the escalating crisis of aggressive and often organised begging which has left tourists feeling unsafe as they tour Dublin City Centre.
  • A free talk and presentation on heritage on the Wild Atlantic Way in Loop Head and Kilkee will be held at the Stella Maris Hotel on Wednesday, August 27 from 8pm-9pm.
  • The Burren Tolkien Society Festival opened this week and will run until Friday, August 24.
  • President Michael D Higgins and his wife Sabina visited the Tourism Ireland pavilion at the Festival Interceltique in Lorient, Brittany, attended by 700,000. Picture shows mayor of Galway Donal Lyons, President Michael D Higgins and his wife Sabina Coyne; Finola O’Mahony of Tourism Ireland; Caitriona Butler of Irish Ferries and Serge Fonseca of Tourism Ireland, at the Festival Interceltique.
  • TD Thomas Pringle criticised Fáilte Ireland and Donegal County Council for planning to partially close Sliabh Liag cliffs for maintenance drink the peak summer holiday season. Listen here to Paddy Clarke of Sliabh Liag Cliffs Centre.

This month’s festivals in Ireland:

  • Timoleague Harvest Festival, August 15 to 24
  • Féile Carraig Arts & Culture 2014, August 22 to 24
  • Camlough Lake Water Festival 2014, 22 to 24 August
  • Nigerian Carnival Ireland (NCI), August 18 to 24
  • SugarBeat Music Festival , August 23
  • Rose of Tralee 2014, August 15 to 19
  • Charlie Chaplin Comedy Film Festival 2014, August 21 to 24
  • Ballinamore Family Festival 2014, August 10 to 17
  • Geesala Festival 2014, August 10 to 17
  • The Irish Game & Country Fair 2014, August 23 to 24
  • National Heritage Week 2014, August 23 to 31
  • Terryglass Arts Festival 2014, August 13 to 17
  • The Walled City Tattoo 2014, August 27 to 30
  • Waterford & Tramore Racing Festival 2014, August 14 to 17

Email to have your say or it is @TravelExtraIre on Twitter if that’s your bag.

Travel Extra’s Sunday Supplement: Irish Aviation Feels a Cold Wind From Moscow & the Backpackers Everybody Loves

Camping at night

Camping by moonlight. Credit: Arup Malakar via Flickr


The headlines this week:

*Dobrolyot’s Irish headache

*July traffic growth for EI (6.2pc) and FR (4pc)

*Backpackers love the look of the Irish

*Hysteria epidemic over Ebola virus

*Pandemonium at Perpignan


Travel Extra TVbaby seal

Our video of the week shows surfers Matt Stanley and Andy Flounders up close and personal with a baby seal. The two were surfing off the coast of Northumberland when they were approached by an incredibly friendly pup. The seal decided to join in on the fun and jumped up on Matt’s board. He struggles at first and can’t decide whether he should lie horizontally or vertically. With a helping hand from his fellow mammal, the pup is catching waves in no time. Watch here.


  • If large scale structures float your boat, check out this video countdown of the 5 biggest cruise ships in the world. The list includes The Allure of the Seas, which is almost as tall as the Statue of Liberty, and the Norwegian Breakaway, which is heavier than the Eiffel Tower. Watch here.
  • Dublin Airport uploaded a video of Area Port Director Bill Carratini explaining the US preclearance facility at Terminal 2. US-bound passengers now have the option to download and fill in the required US Customs Declaration Form before coming to the airport. Watch here.
  • Following the lead of Virgin Atlantic and Delta, United Airlines rolled out a new, more entertaining in-flight safety video. Having lagged behind in customer satisfaction polls since merging with Continental in 2010 and after a poor Q1 performance, the new video is an attempt to boost United’s image as a major global brand. The campaign carries the tagline ‘Safety is Global’ and shows off as many far flung destinations as possible in the four-and-a-half minute slot. Watch here.
  • A promo video for Keary’s Mini dealership in Cork received almost 150,000 views on YouTube. Keary’s sent four Corkonians on a four-day road trip around Ireland (in a D-reg car) to capture the best of the country – and show off the new Mini Hatch. Armed with a GoPro camera and a soundtrack by Hermitage Green (from Limerick), the four lads headed up the west coast, on to Malin Head, back to Dublin and through the midlands back to Leeside (bypassing the south-east coast). They visited most of the tourist hotspots: Father Ted’s house, Giant’s Causeway, Newgrange, the Guinness Storehouse. Watch here. A similar “lad’s holiday” video was posted by USIT to advertise J1 trips to the US. Watch here.
  • YouTube user IrishPlaneSpotter posted a video of Aer Lingus’ A320 Retrojet on Runway 35 at Cork Airport. The aircraft, St Coleman, was operating flight EI712 from Cork to London Heathrow. It was painted in the old ‘Irish International’ style to mark the airline’s 75th anniversary in 2011. Watch the take-off here.
  • CCTV footage showing commuters in Perth freeing a fellow passenger who didn’t mind the gap received lots of media attention this week. Watch here.


dobrolet mergeIreland’s aircraft leasing industry watched closely this week as the tit-for-tat sanctions war between Europe and Russia threatened to extend into aviation. Russia’s low-cost airline, Dobrolyot, was grounded when the contract for Boeing-737-800 aircraft leased from Colm Barrington’s BBAM, based in Dun Laoghaire, was annulled by EU sanctions on airlines which operate flights to Crimea. The sanctions are also aimed at Aeroflot, S7 Airlines, Uralskiye Avialinii and Red Wings. Aeroflot has eight A320s leased from Raymond Sisson’s AWAS, headquartered on John Rogerson’s Quay in Dublin, which also leases to S7. The sanctions could ground more Russian airlines in the coming days, as Russian airlines lease 90pc of their aircraft from international lessors, many of them in Ireland. The stakes are high, potentially higher than for the agrifood industry. Meanwhile, European airlines were calculating the cost of a rumoured Russian trans-Siberian flight blockade, a move that could cost Lufthansa, British Airways and Air France an estimated €1bn over three months and hand an advantage to Asian carriers.

backpackersFemale budget travellers love the Irish more than any other nationality, according to a survey of 11,000 budget travellers by London-based Asked which nationalities they find most attractive, Ireland finished top followed by Australians, British, Italians and Canadians, while the top five for males were Russians, Poles, Colombians, Swedish and Brazilians. French, Bulgarians and Brazilians are most likely to be unfaithful: overall 16pc of respondents admitted to cheating while abroad. The stress of travelling apparently has the power to break up relationships: 48pc of respondents split “over travel”, 37pc before they had even left home.

As the Ebola virus spreads, so too does unnecessary panic through the industry. The media frenzy has caused no end of damage to tourism to the whole of west Africa (as Travel Extra’s Eoghan Corry said on RTÉ Radio, there are 30m people in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone who DON’T have the Ebola virus) here is some reassurance from a scientist. High in the hysteria stakes is Mike Adams of who wrote about an infected Ebola patient being flown to Atlanta: “Are health authorities risking a US outbreak?”

High drama in Perpignan airport this week where the bomb disposal team were called in from Montpelier to carry out a controlled explosion on a package left beside some gas canisters under the control tower. Aer Lingus flight EI 510 went to Toulouse to refuel after holding for some hours and the return EI 510 was delayed as a result. Travel Extra’s Ida Milne, on her way home from a walking holiday at Chaise Dieu in the Auvergne, was there to witness the excitement:

“I was told we were waiting for the bomb disposal squad to come from Marseilles, which was about 90km away…The wait in the heat seemed eternal, as most of us had dumped our water bottles to get through security, and the car park was about 30 degrees Centigrade. We were grateful that cloud cover increased, and that the staff brought us out some water.”

Aer Lingus passengers received a text from the company informing them about the position, and that the incoming aircraft would not land until the danger had passed.

perpignan“The drama unfolded before us – the airport was blocked off to incoming traffic, the television camera crews arrived, the air was full of sirens as emergency forces came, and eventually the bomb disposal crew came in, and a few minutes later there was a loud bang.  Within 10 minutes we were all back in the tiny building.

“The Aer Lingus incoming flight had been circling over the airport, waiting for the all clear, but then ran low on fuel and went to Toulouse to refuel, which caused a further delay.  After all the excitement the delayed flight landed three hours late at Dublin on Friday evening.”dublin screengrab

Dublin was voted in joint fifth position on the list of world’s friendliest cities selected by Condé Nast Traveller readers, who declared, Dublin is a vibrant city that’s a bibliophile’s dream. Apart from being green, lush, and very walkable, it’s also the kind of place you stop in for a drink in a local pub, only to end up chatting with the locals for the next five hoursAuckland and Melbourne shared top spot while Johannesburg was voted the unfriendliest. The full list: 1 (tied) Auckland and Melbourne; 3 Victoria in BC Canada; 4 Charleston in South Carolina; 5 (tied) Dublin and Sydney, 7 Siem Reap in Cambodia; 8 Cape Town; 9 (tied) Savannah and Sevilla; 11 (tied)  Budapest and Salzburg. The ten least friendly were: 1 Johannesburg; 2 Cannes; 3 Moscow; 4 Paris; 5 Marseille;  6 Beijng; 7 Frankfurt; 8 Milan; 9 Monte Carlo; 10 Nassau. Charleston was voted America’s friendliest city in the survey, followed by: 2 Galena, Illinois; 3 Savannah, Georgia; 4 Asheville, North Carolina; and 5. Austin, Texas. The five least friendly were: 1 Newark, New Jersey; 2 Oakland, California; 3 New Haven, Connecticut; 4 Detroit, Michigan; and 5 Atlantic City, New Jersey.

Paul carty guinness grave_0053Picture shows Paul Carty of the Guinness Storehouse, Chair of the Irish Travel Industry Confederation, on a visit to Arthur Guinness’s grave at Oughterard Co Kildare. Arthur’s Way, a 16km trail from the site of Guiness’s first brewery in Leixlip to his burial spot at Oughterard (of the Kildare, NOT the Galway persuasion), was launched last week. See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.


Travel Trade

Exif_JPEG_PICTURETourism Authority of Thailand hosted 900 travel media, bloggers, celebrities and travel industry executives from 47 countries as part of its post-crisis recovery campaign, focusing on marketing and social media managers rather than product managers. TAT London invited 16 English tour operators, three South African tour operators, six South African media, four English media and Fionn Davenport from Ireland. The group is pictured in Kanchanaburi. They travelled on to Hua Hin to showcase the variety and beauty Thailand has to offer within just three hours of Bangkok. They experienced jungle, floating rafts, ancient Khmer ruins, an elephant sanctuary, trekking, the beach, night markets, rooftop bars, pool parties, local restaurants, fine dining, street markets, flower markets, temples, and long tail boat river trips.


sinead reilly

  • Travelport reported in its Q2 results that 50 airlines have signed for Rich Content & Branding in addition to their merchandising capabilities. The group said it had expanded Beyond Air capabilities through strategic investments, purchased Hotelzon, a European based provider of corporate hotel booking technology, purchased 49pc of Locomote, an Australian based corporate travel procurement and management platform and purchased a further 16pc of eNett, their B2B payments company, taking their share from 57pc to 73pc in a transaction valuing the company at approximately $450m. Traveport signed a new long term agreement with Delta Air Lines to host their core reservations and operations systems. Travelport Britain and Ireland appointed Paul Broughton from Chambers Travel Management as Commercial Director and Claire Osborne to the newly created role of Technical Director. Picture shows Sinead Reilly of Travelport.
  • Antonio Padeira, director of marketing at Portugal’s Tourism Institute, has been nominated by Turismo de Portugal as the new Director for the Ireland and British Markets.
  • The trade expressed concern over TUI’s takeover of the Aphrodite Hills Resort in Cyprus, a big seller for the Irish trade, after Thomson/TUI announced it will rebrand the resort under its Sensatori name ready for summer 2015.


lough eske 001Donegal continues to top Trivago’s Irish hotel price index for July, followed by Galway and Killarney with Limerick the most inexpensive. The full list in alphabetical order, with year on year comparisons, is: Belfast €121 (-16pc), Cork €109 (+3pc), Derry €102 (-9pc), Donegal €176 (+30pc), Dublin  €131 (+24pc), Galway €138 (+1pc), Kilkenny €108 (-9pc), Killarney €138 (-4pc), Limerick €83 (-2pc), Sligo €127 (+2pc), Waterford €98 (-4pc). London overtook Geneva in July in the chart of Europe’s most expensive hotel rooms, according to Trivago.westindublin_ext

  • The Westin Hotel on Dublin’s Westmoreland Street has been bought by John Malone for €65m. The Shelbourne Hotel on Dublin’s St. Stephen’s Green has been acquired by US property investment group, Kennedy Wilson. Bank of Ireland has sold half the outstanding €206m loan on the hotel to Kennedy Wilson in January. Killashee House hotel in Naas was sold for €13.2m by Brehon properties.
  • An Bord Pleanála refused Monteco Holdings’ appealed proposal to demolish and rebuild the Ormond Hotel. The hotel, which was built c.1900 and closed in 2005, famously featured in the Sirens episode of Ulysses. The plan was rejected on the grounds that it was likely to “seriously injure” the character of the conservation area. Permission was refused by DCC in February.
  • Corporate travel bed-bank HRS reported Dublin’s average room rate has increased by 16pc in the last two years, revising an earlier estimate.union-street
  • In what must rank as the week’s most outrageous publicity stunt, The Union Street Guest House in Hudson, NY was reported charging wedding guests $500 for every negative review and then refunded once the review is removed. The post was subsequently taken down, but of the 572 Yelp reviews online, 554 of them were posted on Monday after media outlets drew attention to the hotel’s policy.  “Please know that despite the fact that wedding couples love Hudson and our inn, your friends and families may not,” says the website. Yelp users have been having fun since: “They held me down and made me eat a fried rat. Could of [sic] been my ex-wife,” says one reviewer.
  • Portland has approved measures to legalise Airbnb. Residents must allow safety inspections to be carried out and apply for a $180 city permit. The peer to peer room rental agency remains illegal in many US cities, most notably New York.
  • USA Today listed the 10 best retro hotels in the US (although many of these establishments classify themselves as motels in keeping with 1950s nostalgia).peninsula
  • The publicity campaign for the recently refurbished €750m Peninsula Paris continues, having wowed the Wall Street Journal and Sydney Morning Herald among others: it now features the city’s most expensive suite. WATCH: Bloomberg’s Inside the New $1bn Posh Hotel in Paris.
  • Worldhotels expanded its partnership with TripAdvisor to allow access to real time rates and availability on TripAdvisor’s new platform TripConnect.
  • Donna Sargent of DAA has committed to competing in five separate endurance events to raise money for Special Olympics Ireland, Cystic Fibrosis Ireland and the Jack & Jill Foundation. So far, Donna has successfully completed the 20k Hell & Back challenge, the Wicklow Adventure Race and a half marathon. This month, she is preparing for Gael Force. Donna is going to complete the five adventures challenge by climbing Kilimanjaro in October.

InternationalOutdoor Weddings at Inchydoney

The winners of the European leg of the World Travel Awards were revealed in Athens. On an obvious roll after hosting the opening stages of the Tour de France, Yorkshire was the surprise winner of Europe’s Leading Destination. Lufthansa won Europe’s Leading Airline and Zurich the Airport award. Other winners included: Monarch (Charter Airline); Lufthansa First Class, Frankfurt (Airline Lounge); Corfu, (Beach Destination); Geneva (City Break Destination); Pullman Timi Ama Sardegna, Italy (Beach Resort); Pestana Porto Santo (All Inclusive Resort); Hotel Les Ottomans, Turkey (All Suite Hotel); Vila Joya, Portugal (Boutique Hotel); Choupana Hills Resort & Spa, Portugal (Boutique Resort); Mövenpick Hotel Istanbul, (Business Hotel); Norwegian Cruise Line (Cruise Line); DFDS Seaways (Ferry Operator); and Europcar (Car Rental Company). The Irish winners were Conrad Dublin (Leading Hotel); Dromoland Castle (Boutique Hotel); Inchydoney (Spa Resort); Presidential Suite at the Conrad Dublin (Hotel Suite); Hilton Dublin (Business Hotel); and Powerscourt (Hotel Residences).

s africa immigration

  • South Africa’s controversial new immigration rules will come into effect on October 1. Parents travelling with a child must produce an unabridged birth certificate for the child; copies are acceptable. The new rules state that an affidavit will be required if both parents are not travelling with the children, or court order or death certificate for a deceased parent.
  • The Riggs-Long family suffered a real-life nightmare of Scooby Doo proportions: the family of five were left trapped at the top of Adventure Island’s Ferris wheel as staff started closing up for the night; though they weren’t trapped for long (2mins 58 seconds to be precise, according to Adventure Island). Free wristbands and meals were offered to make up for the ordeal after the adventure park apologised to the family.
  • The TBEX travel bloggers’ conference due to be held next month in Cancun, which describes itself as “the world’s largest gathering of travel bloggers, writers, and new media content creators,” is the latest in a string of tourism companies to be put under pressure for their association with dolphin or whale tours. The conference, which came to Dublin last year, proved to be not as worldwide as their self-promotion suggested and consisted of mainly US based bloggers. They were criticised for offering attendees the opportunity to sign up to two tours at a dolphinarium in Cancun.
  • Outdoor holiday specialist, which offers over 5,000 sites across nine European countries, said lodges and static caravan holidays were now the new way to camp.Liebesstein-Alte-Bruecke-HDM_03
  • Heidelberg says it has found a solution to the problem of the weight of love locks. The Heidelberg Liebesstein a 3.5 tonne sandstone structure erected on the Nepomuk Terrace by the famous Old Bridge. It was officially unveiled in summer 2013 and is already adorned with many hundreds of padlocks from around the world. The idea was conceived by the city marketing team.
  • Blackpool was reported as trying to return to its family-friendly heyday, a throwback to the late Ken Lendrum’s famous Blackpool campaigns with the Irish travel trade.
  • New York real estate developer Blayne Ross is looking to crowd-fund the construction of a floating beach on the Hudson River. The proposed beach will be built on a barge on the river and will include shops, a food court and changing rooms.
  • Phillipines Airlines told visitors to Thailand not to pack George Orwell’s dystopian novel 1984. At least one person has been arrested while reading the novel in public.
  • The collapse of Labirint left 27,000 Russian tourists stranded abroad. Russia’s Tourhelp service has spent the week trying to get those stranded on flights chartered by other firms. Labirint is the fourth Russian tour operator to halt operations in the past three weeks.
  • Coral Sea Waterworld resort in Sharm el Sheikh faced claims legal action after around 100 holidaymakers came down with a bug allegedly caused by food poisoning. Many of the ill guests took to TripAdvisor to vent their anger. Some guests claimed to have been so sick they had to be given an IV drip.  A compensation firm, Your Holiday Claims, claimed that  70 holidaymakers were struck by a vomiting bug in two Spanish hotels.
  • A Kenyan ranger told The London Telegraph about the increasingly tough task of protecting Africa’s wildlife.
  • A 25-year-old Irish woman who was backpacking across Australia’s outback was charged with hiding the body of her new-born.
  • The London Telegraph published a guide to holiday shopping can incur its own set of charges and fees.
  • Minneapolis will host the 52nd Super Bowl in their new Minnesota Stadium in February 2018.
  • Explore has late availability for September tours on their eight-day Pedalling in Poland.
  • Universal Orlando Resort celebrated its one millionth rider on the Hogwarts Express.
  • Vienna is to host the 2015 Eurovision Song Contest.

Food & Wine

Latte art

Picture by GoToVan via Flickr

Budding baristas are invited to take part in the National Home Barista competition at the inaugural Dublin Coffee & Tea Festival at the RDS. The festival takes place September 12—14.

  • Clodagh McKenna is hosting an Italian cookery evening at her Blackrock restaurant on August 21. Over cocktails and canapés, Clodagh will demonstrate how to prepare homemade pasta, risotto and panna cotta. As well as the demonstration, guests will enjoy a four-course dinner. Admission €55. Places can be booked on 01-2122981.
  • The Kitchen at Howth’s Castle Cookery School will host an evening class on using the right knife for cooking takes place tomorrow (August 11). Participants will learn how to correctly sharpen a knife on steel and learn how to correctly adopt the brunoise and chiffonade techniques. Punters will also prepare a three-course dinner. Admission €65.
  • The Big Grill BBQ festival and competition takes place in Hermitage Park, Ballsbridge next weekend, August 15—17. Weekend passes cost €25 and day passes cost €10. Family day passes cost €30.
  • Rudy Kurniawan was sentenced to 10 years in prison and ordered to pay a $20m fine and $28m in restitution for selling millions of dollars’ worth of fraudulent wine. Kurniawan was considered one of the world’s finest aficionados until police discovered he was labelling newer vintages as expensive wines in his kitchen. The scheme ran from 2004 to 2012. It is believed he sold up to 12,000 bottles at an auction in 2006. Billionaire Bill Koch, restaurateur David Doyle and former head of Vornado Realty Michael Fascitelli were among those duped by Kurnaiwan.


Enda CorneilleThe news that Enda Corneille, ex Aer Lingus (pictured), is to be the new Ireland manager of Emirates was prematurely leaked – while Enda was on holidays.

Irish air traffic increased 1.8pc in July. North Atlantic Communications flights increased 2.9pc and en route traffic increased 0.7pc. There was an average of 1,712 daily flights during July and the busiest day was July 17, with 1,853 flights in Irish airspace. The month saw 29,888 en route traffic movements and 41,369 North Atlantic Communications flights. Commercial terminal traffic for Shannon, Dublin and Cork airports for January—July was up by 5.9pc. The individual figures for the three state airports for July: Dublin, up 3.3pc with an average 541 daily commercial movements; Cork, down 5.4pc with an average 66 daily commercial movements; and Shannon, up 18.3pc with an average of 74 commercial daily movements.Airfasttickets_IATA_Koklonis_debt

It is likely IATA will propose moving towards weekly remittances as the collapse of US-based OTA AirFastTickets seems imminent. Airfast says it still remains hopeful that it could still reach an agreement with IATA despite being put in default over €45m in unpaid bills, €22m in Germany, €14m in England and €9m in Greece, birthplace of AirFastTickets 30-year-old founder Nikolaos Koklonis.

  • Vance Street Capital bought Shannon-based aircraft coating company Eirtech for an undisclosed amount. Eirtech employs 250 people and is estimated to have an enterprise value of €36m.
  • Ryanair’s Q1 figures indicated it has a 13pc share of the European market. It claims a 40pc share of seats in Ireland, a 28pc market share in Malta, followed by 27pc in Poland, 21pc each in Italy and Belgium, 18pc in Spain, 13pc each in England and Portugal, 6pc in France, and 4pc in Germany.
  • Ryanair July traffic grew 4pc to 9.15m customers. Load factor rose 3pc to 91pc. Aer Lingus July passenger numbers were up 6.2pc to 1.212m passengers. Load factor for the month was down 0.6pc to 87.3pc. Ryanair’s average fare is expected to rise 2pc to €47 this year, according the company’s Q1 results.  The traffic estimate for the year 2014-15 has been increased to 86m from 84.6m and for 2015-16 from 89m to 90m.
  • Ethiopian CEO Tewolde Gebremariam told USA Today that fllghts to Los Angeles will commence June 2015if everything goes as expected” (via Dublin, as first reported by Travel Extra, listen here).
    michael cawley
  • Michael Cawley (pictured), who worked with Ryanair for 17 years, was appointed to the Ryanair board.
  • July was the busiest month in the history of Knock airport with 91,000 passengers.
  • Ryanair called on the DAA to extend the operating hours of ‘self-service’ border control gates in Dublin Airport’s T1 to beyond their current 5pm cut-off. The DAA responded by saying that immigration was the responsibility of INIS and the Garda Siochána.
  • British Airways services from London Heathrow to Freetown (FNA) and Monrovia (ROB) are temporarily suspended until August 31 because of the Ebloa virus.
    Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak
  • Malaysia Airlines shares were suspended as state investment firm Khazanah Nasional, which currently owns 69.4pc of the airline, prepared to buy out minority shareholders and take the airline back under complete government control. The delisting is to prepare for a ‘complete overhaul’ of the troubled airline which is likely to include a name change. Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak (pictured, see statement here) said a detailed plan will be announced by end-August. Peter Gasca offered five crisis management lessons to learn from Malaysian Airlines.
  • Air New Zealand’s CEO Christopher Luxon apologised again to passengers affected by the longs delays on flight N29 from Honolulu to Auckland last week. A review of the delay, which left 227 passengers waiting for three days while the airline fixed its aircraft, concluded that some staff “may have failed to meet the high standards expected of them”. Passengers were compensated with NZ$1,000. Luxon said: “I would like to apologise again to our customers whom we let down in Honolulu. This disruption should have been managed better on many levels and some valuable lessons have been learned across our airline.”
  • Buy your currency before you reach the airport is Aideen Sheehan of the Irish Independent’s advice. The reporter found that holidaymakers could save €22 by changing €500 in US dollars before coming to the airport and €23 by shopping around before changing €500 in sterling. Victorias_Secret_2_600
  • The Loop at Dublin and Cork Airports, Jo Malone in T2, Victoria Secrets and the newly redesigned Topaz filling station at Dublin airport have all been announced as finalists in the Retail Excellence Annual Awards in separate categories. Picture shows Karen Grehan (centre) Manager Victoria Secrets in T2 and finalist in the Manager of the Year Category.
  • EasyJet saw an 8pc increase in passenger traffic last month (6.4m passengers) leading Natalie Thomas of The London Telegraph to suggest England was beating Ireland’s Ryanair in the race for new fliers. ray conner john leahy
  • Cancellations have turned around Airbus’s lead over Boeing in the latest round of the battle for dominance between the aviation giants. Airbus won 980 aircraft orders between January and July but this fell to 705 after cancellations, most notably  Emirates’ cancellation of an order for 70 A350s. Boeing won 837 gross orders but overtook Airbus with 783 net sales after cancellations. Boeing’s Ray Conner (pictured on left) leads John Leahy of Airbus (on right) by a huge margin in the wide-body market, 273-27 following cancellations. Although Airbus has commitments for 121 new A330neos, none were finalised by the end of July. Since the order sheet was compiled, Boeing added an order for 40 wide body jets from All Nippon Airways and Airbus added 8 wide body orders by Willie Walsh’s IAG.
  • Michael O’Leary said he hoped Boeing will develop a 198-seat 737 which he would consider for order in 2019-25. He will also consider the Airbus A320 in that period. He said he has no intention of changing Ryanair’s existing 180-aircraft order due for delivery between September this year and 2018 for 189-seat 737-800s.
  • Denis O’Brien sold €4.7m worth of shares in Aer Lingus, reducing his stake in the company to less than 3pc.
  • Wizz Air will launch a twice-weekly service from Belfast International to Vilnius, Lithuania, on April 22, 2015 (flying Wednesdays and Sundays).
  • An Air India aircraft had to be grounded and fumigated after a rat was spotted scurrying around the passenger cabin.SJM-SJSTOW-0806-01
  • The San Jose stowaway, Marilyn Jean Hartman (pictured), who took a Southwest Airlines flight from San Jose to Los Angeles without a ticket tried at least three times that day to breach airport security before she managed to board the plane, federal law enforcement officials claimed.
  • claimed that the average fares on Europe’s major low-cost airlines have increased. By comparing the average cost of a one-way ticket in 2013 with 2014 figures, the site found that Ryanair’s fares have increased 12pc (€58.45 to €65.67). The study found that EasyJet fares increased from €72.97 to €87.44 (+19.8pc) and Wizz Air increased from €60.74 to €70.62 (+13.5pc). A spokesperson from Ryanair discredited the research, describing it as “hopelessly inaccurate”. “Ryanair’s average fare fell by 4pc to €46 last year,” they said.Piquardo, T2 copy
  • Picture shows: Sales assistants Diana Baibarina and Maria Berlin ready to serve at the new Piquadro store in Dublin Airport Terminal 2,. Piquadro’s first in Ireland. Piquadro specialises in innovative business bags and accessories, laptop cases, wallets, business card holders as well as covers for mini and full-size iPads. Earlier this summer National Geographic opened its first Irish store in Terminal 1.
  • Mountains of suitcases have been piling up in Rome’s Fiumcino since Sunday as over 100 flights have reportedly left Rome without any luggage on board as a silent slow-down of baggage delivery turned into a strike by hundreds of baggage handlers.
  • Turkish Airlines was forced to cancel 201 flights across Istanbul Ataturk, Milas Bodrum, Ankara and Anatalya airports due to adverse weather conditions. Irish flights were not affected.
  • Dublin airport saw 2.3m passengers in July. The year to date figure is 12.3m, up 7pc, putting the airport on course for 21.6m passengers this year. Transatlantic traffic to North America is up 15pc. BritishAirways_77_BA179_GYMMO_DUB_070814_2282
  • Mike Kelly’s photograph shows the BA diversion to Dublin because of a sick passenger.
  • A man was apprehended under the Mental Health Act after a bomb hoax resulted in military jets escorting a Qatar Airways flight in to land at Manchester Airport.
  • American Airlines is scrapping first-class meals on flights less than three hours from September 1. First class passengers will have to settle for a packaged snack on flights under an hour, a snack in a basket on flights running one to two hours and a snack in a basket with fruit, breads and sandwiches on flights up to 2 hours and 45 minutes long. The snacks-only rule does not apply to all routes – American will keep the meals on about 15 routes used heavily by business passengers.
  • Air Seychelles announced a codeshare agreement with Alitalia. The new deal opens up flights from Rome, Milan and Venice to Seychelles via Abu Dhabi.ryanair couple
  • Jamie Kelly, a love-struck Galwegian, launched a Twitter campaign to track down a Canadian woman called Kate who he met on a Ryanair flight from Barcelona to Dublin last week. Using the hashtags ‘#loveatfirstflight’ and ‘#findkate’, Jamie managed to find Kate and was reunited with her on the Ray D’Arcy Show. It looks like Michael O’Leary’s cuddly persona rubbed off on the Ryanair Romeo…
  • The Labour Court found that Ryanair did not discriminate against a Polish staff member who was laid off last year.
  • The long-running pension dispute at Aer Lingus could cost the airline €4m by year end. The airline has already forked out €1.9m in legal and professional fees.
  • Swedish airline Fly Olympic AB blamed its demise on the new services from Gatwick to Eritrea and Somalia, which performed below expectations. As with all scheduled airline failures, there was no protection for consumers when it failed, leaving thousands of people stranded.
  • Hertz is offering 31 Ryanair customers who book a car with any of the three car rental brands Hertz, Thrifty or Firefly the chance to receive a €250 refund.
  • United points are now available on Aer Lingus’s Dublin to San Francisco service.
  • Aer Arann changed its air traffic control callsign to Stobart Air. 
  • Passenger numbers increased 4pc at Aerfort na Minne Connemara airport.
  • Peter Costelloe and Michael Ryan ‘s EVS Aviation opened a fixed base operation at Cork Airport.
  • Cathay Pacific cut back on premium economy seats.
  • Ethiopian Airlines accepted its ninth Dreamliner.
  • Singapore Airport revealed its €1m redesign plans.
  • Azerbaijan Airlines will commence flights from Baku to JFK Airport from September 24.
  • Alitalia sealed the deal with Etihad on Friday.
  • United is to offer passport scanning functionality on the airline’s mobile app.


  • Azamara offered 50pc off companion voyage fares on 2015/16 voyages.
  • Norwegian Cruise Line announced a ‘Bring your Friends and Family for Free’ promotion until Tuesday, August 26.
  • Talk about seasick: A poll by found that the average cruise passenger consumes 42 bottles of beer, 16 cocktails, 7 bottles of wine, 16 shots of whiskey and 2 glasses of champagne on a single voyage.
  • A professor at Rome’s Sapienza University is facing a disciplinary hearing after inviting Captain Francesco Schettino of the shipwrecked Costa Concordia cruise liner to lecture students on emergency procedures.
  • Carnival plans to build a $70m cruise port facility on Tortuga Island off Haiti. Royal Caribbean already has a cruise facility in Labadee.

IrelandDuncannon Sand Sculptor copy

Professional sand sculptors will be onsite on Duncannon Beach in Co Wexford from Monday, August 11 creating giant sand-sculpted masterpieces under the 2014 theme of Jurassic Beach for the 28th annual Duncannon Sand Sculpting Festival will take place from August 15 to 17. Picture shows sand sculptor, Daniel Doyle putting the finishing touches to a sand sculpture for the 2013 annual Sand Sculpting Festival.

To celebrate Heritage Week (August 23—31), OPW in Meath invites music lovers to take part in a drumming workshop on the Hill of Tara; August 23, 2pm—5pm. John Bowker of Tribal Spirit Drumming will be there to lead 200 drummers throughout the three-hour event. Suitable for children aged 8+, drums provided, free admission. Book a place at OPW is also organising stargazing at Newgrange (Aug 31, 8pm—10.30pm, free event) and a recital by Army Number 1 Band at Trim Castle (Aug 24, 2pm—3.15pm, free event). See here for the full list of events.TOP TRAVEL BLOGGER TAKES ON “CHALLENGE OF HER LIFETIME” –

  • Picture shows Finnish travel blogger Satu Vänskä-Westgarth is who is to cycle the entire Wild Atlantic Way, or some 2,500 km along Ireland’s western seaboard over the next five weeks.
  • Over 20,000 overseas tourists are expected for the Croke Park Classic between University of Central Florida and Penn State on August 30th.
  • The annual Abbeyshrule Airshow and Village Festival takes place August 15—17. Highlights of this year’s event include displays by European Aerobatic champion pilot David Bruton, an Irish coast guard helicopter and a jump by the tandem sky diving team.
  • Water supplies on Inis Méain and Inis Oírr were dangerously low this week. Up to 240,000 litres of water had to be transported daily to the islands.
  • Twelve beaches were closed by Fingal County Council during the week because of concerns over water pollution. The ban was lifted on Saturday.
  • Brian Ború is the central theme of this year’s Milwaukee Irish Fest from August 14-17. Delegations from Killaloe where he was born, Clontarf where he was killed following his victory over the Viking rulers of Dublin in 1014, St Patrick’s Cathedral in the City of Armagh where he is buried; the Rock of Cashel where he was crowned High King of Ireland; and Lough Derg and the River Shannon where his navy was located.IRELAND GETS THE ‘OZ’ FACTOR
  • Tourism Ireland and Travellers Choice hosted nine Australian travel agents visiting Ireland this week at Dublin Horse Show, the Book of Kells, Guinness Storehouse, Sliabh League Cliffs, Sligo, Westport, Connemara and Galway. Picture shows Australian travel agents at the viewing point on Slieve League, Co Donegal, with tour guide Josephine O’Keeffe (second left); Christian Hunter, CEO of Travellers Choice (third left); and Máire Áine Gardiner, Fáilte Ireland (fourth left).ITAS Launch - Minister copy
  • Predictably, theft was the complaint for the majority of tourists that received assistance from The Irish Tourist Assistance Service, which dealt with 7,500 cases of tourist crime last year, assisting 13,000 tourists from 50 countries. The service reported 86pc of victimised tourists continued their holiday after ITAS intervention. Picture shows ITAS CEO Lisa Kennedy, Tourism Minister Pascal Donohoe and ITAS Chairman Martin Holohan at the launch of the ITAS report and 20th Anniversary of the Service at the Guinness Storehouse.
  • CEO of Irish Water Safety, John Leech, reported that lifeguards rescued 413 swimmers last month. One of the most venomous jellyfish that visit our waters, the Lions Mane Jellyfish, was spotted in Sutton. John Leech urged the public to use the Local Authority manned lifeguarded bathing places.Mukesh Sharma Mela 001
  • Belfast Mela, the Festival of World Cultures, sponsored by Turkish Airlines, was launched on board SS Nomadic in Belfast’s Titanic Quarter. Picture shows Mukesh Sharma of World Travel Centre and Board Member of ArtsEkta who organise the event, Nizam Bulut Corporate Account Manager for Turkish Airlines, event host Julian Simmons from UTV and East Belfast sisters Leona (6) and Cody (9) Kernaghan.

Fáilte Ireland published the Holidaymaker Study 2013, which analyses the views of almost 10,000 overseas and domestic holidaymakers who visited 11 holiday areas across Ireland between May and October 2013. All 11 regions scored above 4 out of 5 across key factors including friendliness of locals, landscapes and the availability of attractions. Some of the key insights in the report: Counties surrounding the capital were considered the friendliest region in Ireland, with an average score of 4.93 out of 5. West Cork and Clare proved to be the best areas for value for money when eating out. The North West, South East and the Dingle Peninsula scored particularly high for scenery. Scenery was cited as the top reason to all regions excluding Dublin and the Shannon corridor, where history and culture were the main motivation for holidaymakers to visit. Hotels were the leading source of accommodation in all regions with B&Bs putting in strong performances in the Dingle peninsula, the ring of Kerry, Clare, Galway, Mayo and West Cork. Hotels, restaurants and pubs were the main venues for eating out, but cafés were especially popular in Kerry. The results for the individual destination surveys are available too:

An analysis by Eurocontrol shows that four of Ireland’s top 10 airport pairs showed growth (or neutral growth).The most significant growth was for Manchester-Dublin (+9.1pc), Newark-London/Heathrow (+6.3pc) and London/Heathrow-Dublin (+4.3pc):



Eurocontrol’s data of Ireland’s major departing and arriving flows during July:




Email to have your say or it is @TravelExtraIre on Twitter if that’s your bag.

Travel Extra’s Sunday Supplement: Texas next for the Slanty Shamrock? & Footstepping Arthur Guinness


Preparations for the Vinegar Hill re-enactment.


The headlines this week:

*Upbeat Quarters for Lingus and Ryanair

*Texas Next for Aer Lingus?

*Footstepping Arthur Guinness

*Inbound Tourists to Ireland up 10.3pc

*Club Travel Wins Back Irish Government Travel Account

Travel Extra TV

Our video of the week comes from Using a drone camera, director Peter Martin captured beautiful, swooping shots of Glasnevin Cemetery and the National Botanic Gardens. The footage is complemented with a gorgeous soundtrack by Kíla.

  • Using a GoPro camera, YouTube user Kenneth Pagh shot footage of a huge school of jellyfish near Langeland Island, Denmark. Watch here.
  • Digital Agenda EU posted an animated video explaining the new roaming price caps introduced at the start of the month. Watch here.
  • Aer Lingus posted a digital showcase of its new business class service, which will be launched in March 2015. Watch here.



Lingus: Credit Aero Icarus via Flickr

Ryanair and Aer Lingus reported upbeat quarterly results. Average Ryanair fares rose 6pc and Aer Lingus 5.5pc, but are set to fall again 6pc in winter. Ryanair said the earlier launch of the summer schedule and rise in forward bookings saw load factor rise 4pc to 86pc and “enabled us to better manage close-in yields”. Ryanair’s Q1 profit was €197m, up 152pc, revenue up 11pc, traffic up 4pc, fare up 9pc but they say the “result was distorted by the timing of a very strong Easter”. The airline expects full year traffic to grow by 5pc to 86m. Michael O’Leary said he was considering going to Airbus and looking to the A320 to compete with 200-seat Max for the next Ryanair order. O’Leary told the Ryanair results presentation: “We had a very strong Q1 and we’re headed for a strong H1. This being nice to people is working a treat! IKEA, Aldi, Lidl have shown how to be softer in communications. We went too far down the road of the Millwall strategy.”

Despite the €10m impact of strike action, Aer Lingus’ Q2 2014 operating profit of €38.7m million was its best reported second quarter result for at five years, 33pc up on 2013. Operating loss for the first half of the year was 9.9pc. All the talk at the Aer Lingus results was of new transatlantic routes for 2015, with United’s hub in Houston or American’s hubs in Dallas and Miami the likely targets. “I will not mention any destinations but we have very concrete plans, there is more good news to come and that will happen while I am still here,” Aer Lingus CEO Christoph Mueller said. Transfer traffic on Aer Lingus services was up 33pc. New routes will be underpinned by gateway to gateway traffic which have constituted about 50pc of Aer Lingus transatlantic sales up to June, with 20pc fed into North American Gateways (fuelled by United, JetBlue and Air Canada) and 30pc feeding the Irish Gateways.  The Aer Lingus brand share of passengers at Dublin, Cork and Shannon for H1 was 45pc. The Aer Lingus share of direct transatlantic passengers was 53pc.

The airline reported its product improvements: re-designed lie-flat Business Class seats/beds, service attuned to time of day (including quiet night time services), food, entertainment, lounge and amenity upgrades, a website and app re-launch, the move to Heathrow T2 and the extension of pre-clearance to afternoon flights to the USA.  See results here and presentation here. There was much comment on the labour relations strategy.

Hurtigruten maxine dunsdon daniel giles

Hurtigruten Ireland and Britain manager Maxine Dunsdon and Daniel Giles Hurtgiruten’s Regional Sales Manager Ireland (pictured), along with Ron Carlisle Groups Co-ordinator for Hurtgirutnen, hosted the travel trade at the Shackleton Exhibition at Dun Laoghaire ferry port and a barbecue afterwards at the Royal St George yacht club to launch their winter and 2015 programme. The Nordnodgre will be returning to the Svalbard/Spitzbergen run for the summer in 2015. See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook. Hurtigruten have a new Dublin charter direct to Tromsø on Feb 16 for a 5 day Arctic Highlights tour from €1,237pp. News for winter 2014-15 includes a new transfer option at Kirkenes airport to the Snow Hotel, clients can now transfer by dog sleigh and a new 8 day Arctic Explorer itinerary and join a new whale watching excursion. The 2015 Norwegian voyages programme has added a new experience of sleeping out on deck on all coastal ships under the midnight sun. Voyage of the Vikings will depart in September 2015 with dedicated lectures. The Explorer voyages programme will feature kayaking, fishing with the officers, sleeping out on deck and overnight camping.1Aer Lingus reunion hostess

Patrick Loueiro, who was born on an Aer Lingus flight 39 years ago, was reunited this week with the cabin crew that helped deliver him.  He was delivered by cabin crew member Jackie Ryan, a former nurse, and assisted by a doctor who was travelling on board a Mozambique-Portugal flight on June 11, 1975. He was the only baby to be born on board an Aer Lingus flight. RTÉ 2FM researcher Dave Sherry decided to track down Patrick after reading about his story in an issue of Cara magazine. Here’s the strange bit: it turned out that Dave’s mother, Anne, was a member of cabin crew on that very flight. Patrick (named after the 747 aircraft, St Patrick) flew in from Portugal to Dublin on Tuesday to have a reunion lunch with 12 members of the original crew to celebrate the anniversary of the mid-air birth. Picture shows Jackie Ryan with Patrick. Listen to Patrick on the Ryan Tubrity show this week.

Fáilte Ireland noted that Ireland is set for the best tourism season since the downturn began after the CSO’s half time report show number of tourists inbound to Ireland are up 10.3pc for the first half of 2014 (324,400 additional visitors), Britain is up 14pc (slightly higher than anticipated and indicating increased market share), North America up 11pc, Europe up 6pc (Germany up 18pc, Spain up 22pc and Italy up 4pc), Australia and long-haul up 14pc. France and Italy remain sluggish.

liam lonergan 150

Liam Lonergan’s Club Travel has won back the Government of Ireland’s travel account it lost to Carlson Wagonlit Travel in 2012. The account covers about 30,000 flights a year and is believed to be worth about €6m, down from a peak of €12m in the glory days of the Celtic Tiger. Yvonne Nolan who was responsible for the government travel account at CWT recently joined Etihad.

Travel Tradetcc

The Travel Corporation team hosted 68 members of the trade in the Clarion Hotel in Cork. Picture shows Rosanna Leary, Sharon Jordan, Donna Kenny and Carole Carmody. See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook. The agents were updated at a training event on the TTC portfolio of products. Contiki‘s new 2015-2016 programme is now on sale with 22 itineraries. Insight Vacations has launched its 2015/16 USA & Canada including Hawaii and Alaska programme, featuring 16 premium and nine Gold Luxury escorted journeys. Contiki launched its 2015-2016 USA programme with great early booking discounts of up to €710pp. Uniworld has introduced of their all-inclusive packages in Europe, a new Super Ship Catherine and new itineraries in France.

British Airways said that all Ireland Group Sales are to be transferred to the airline’s Group Sales office in Manchester. New contact details will be in place from this date. Details of the groups’ terms and conditions can be found on For all new and existing bookings, Irish travel agents can call: +3531-5319039 Monday to Friday 08.30—17.00. The airline thanked Michelle, Carol and Sally for all their help and support in the past.

Lowcostbeds, in association with the Maltese Tourist board, are hosting a Fam trip to Malta from October 6. Agents who make a booking to Malta before August 8 could win a place on the trip. Send your name with bookings to Grainne Caffrrey before August 11. Another Lowcost Beds trade competition offers agents who make a booking to Blue Sea properties before August 31 the chance to win one week’s accommodation at Blue Sea Los Fiscos Apartments.

  • Sabre is to offer GDS limo bookings.
  • Travelport has now signed up 50 airlines to participate in its Rich Content and Branding Technology.Flybe at London City copy
  • The ITAA Affiliate Programme reported its 70th member, flybe.
  • Drew Duggan’s Adventure Holidays‘ top-selling products this year include self-guided leisure cycling and walking holidays, particularly with the over 50s market to destinations with short transit times and where clients can arrive on any day of the week and this way we can get great value airfares. Biggest long haul adventure/active holiday trip is the Lycian Way with good connections with Turkish allowing us to include a stopover in Istanbul. Adventure Holidays pioneered holidays in Puglia on the new Ryanair service to Bari, as well as walking holidays in Andalucia, particularly the Las Alpujarras, a low level walking holiday and hour and a half from Malaga. It is priced at €600pp including private transfers, accommodation on HB, route notes & maps and luggage transfers. Beyond the French Rivera self-guided walking tours and Lake Constance cycling holidays are selling well.
  • Travelport has increased its stake in eNett International, their joint payments venture with PSP International from 57pc to 73pc.
  • BookaBed has signed a deal with the Freedom Travel Group and Co-operative Personal Travel Advisors, strengthening the company’s presence in the English market.
  • GTI new tours on sale include Chasing the Northern Lights, travelling Winter 2014 & Spring 2015, battlefield tours with additional dates for 2014 and May 2015, Corfu, Sardinia and Majorca tours are back for Autumn 2014.
  • patrick lukan1Patrick Lukan, ex-Travelport and CWT, has been appointed Chief Commercial Officer at CityJet to lead the newly independent airline’s commercial team. Cityjet confirmed that John Donohue is to join Patrick on the team as Sales and Relationship Manager Ireland & Britain. John Donohue says it is an exciting time to be joining Cityjet with its newfound freedom from Air France ownership and his specialist field will be working with the trade and with corporates, the lifeblood for a primarily business oriented airline. John Donohue’s long career in the travel industry includes spells at JWT, British Midland and Maersk air before joining Bournemouth airport. He founded aereps in 2006 and it gained prominence with the addition of high profile accounts form Las Vegas in 2007 and NYC&Co in 2008. He says aereps will be wound down over the coming months “to everybody’s satisfaction”. Frances O’Reilly and Gary Byrne are the company’s other full time employees.
  • Travel Counsellors will have a group of 55 coming to the Travel Trade Fun day on August 24.
  • Adventure travel specialist Explore reported a 25pc increase in cycling holiday sales year on year, over the last 10-week period.TTC Justplit 001
  • Pictures shows Karen Hogan of Justsplit who won The Travel Corporation summer agent incentive, €1,000 home and garden make-over pictured with Jim Vaughan of Justsplit.
  • Fionnuala Carter’s skillsnet programme for the ITAA has brought the training scheme to a new level: Travel Law Webinar 3 with Anne Dolan features E-Commerce – Compliance Matters on Wed, August 13, 8:30am—10am. Cost is €25. Sign up and pay for one participant and receive additional free places for your company on request.
  • filippo tail
  • Emirates appointed Filippo Rocchi to the corporate sales team in Ireland, supporting Sales Manager, Anita Thomas. His experience includes Alitalia, Malev Hungarian Airlines and Ryanair, and travel agents including FCM Travel solutions and BCD travel.
  • This week’s offers from ITAA: 7 nights at Du Parc Hotel, Lake Garda, from €719pp, travel August 9; 14 nights at Kaseria Hotel Apartments, Gumbet, from €579pp, travel August 15; 10-night Orlando and Caribbean Cruise, from €1,199, travel August 28.
  • Hotels

    Huvafen Fushi, Maldives Small hotels survey

A Small Luxury Hotels of the World survey of 13,000 customers worldwide named Italy as the number one luxury holiday destination, Chanel as the top luxury brand, and the Nespresso coffee machine favourite in-room amenity. Free Wi-Fi was favoured over free breakfast and a Michelin star restaurant favoured over a rooftop bar.

  • The K Club has applied for permission to build another 70 rooms, bring the total to 139. Asked about the significance of the application, GM Michael Davern said that the golf business is not performing as it used to and the hotel business is performing better than it used to. He said that having only 69 rooms was a handicap for the K Club as it tried to compete for corporate business in the five-star sector.
  • HRS says that Dublin’s average room rate has increased by 6pc in the last two years, rising from €88 to €102 per night. With an increase of more than 10pc on last year, London has stolen the top spot from Copenhagen which now is on a par with Paris, both averaging €149 per room per night.
  • Hotel room taxes in Rome are to increase on September 1 as follows: €7 on five star hotels, €6 on four star hotels, €4 on three star hotels, €3 on two star hotels. The taxes are charged up to 10 nights.
  • Lonely Planet listed 10 hidden hotels you can’t reach by road. The list features Pilatus-Kulm, Lucerne, Switzerland accessible only by cogwheel railway; Hotel Annapurna, Samar Village, Upper Mustang, Nepal accessible only by foot or horseback; Taj Lake Palace, Udaipur, Rajasthan, accessible only by speedboat; Estancia Ricanor, Piedra del Fraile, Patagonia, accessible only by foot; Tree Hotel, Harads, Norbotten, Sweden, Berkeley River Lodge; The Kimberley, accessible only by by private aircraft, boat or helicopter; Burgh Island Hotel, Devon, accessible only by by sea-tractor; Refugio El Padrino, Puerto Williams, Isla Navarino, Chile accessible only by ferry through the Beagle Channel; Jules’ Undersea Lodge, Key Largo, Florida, accessible only by scuba dive; and (inevitably) a novelty, the Soyuz spacecraft.
  • is a new website that allows guests search for hotels with the fastest (and slowest) internet speeds and check whether free WiFi is available before they book. So far there are 150 Dublin reviews, 45 for Galway and 30 for Cork:
  • Businessman Edward Heaton received plenty of social media sympathy this week after he was charged £75 for three small bottles of water in London’s Wellesley Hotel.
  • listed its top 10 hotel water slides in the world. Atlantis at The Palm resort in Dubai claimed the top spot, followed by Hard Rock Bali in Kuta and Ersan Resort & Spa in Bodrum. See the full list here.

InternationalPatrick Lencioni (1)

Patrick Lencioni will be keynote speaker at Virtuoso travel week place in Bellagio next week, August 9-15, talking about overcoming issues that sabotage long-term client loyalty. Irish luxury hotels traditionally attend the event which hosts some of the most important buyers of luxury travel.

  • Tourism Ireland signed up as a partner for ExploreGB, Visit Britain’s new showcase event which will debt at Ascot Racecourse in February 2015. 250 international travel buyers from more than 37 countries are expected to attend and over 150 suppliers have registered.
  • Picture by tiseb via Flickr
    Picture by tiseb via Flickr
  • The European Commission estimates that 20pc of holiday makers now opt for new packages, they might book their flights and a hotel from one operator and rent their car via another website. The Commission’s reforms have been stalled for a year and this week the Commission issued a reminder that member States have still not passed proposals made 12 months ago to reforms to meet these trends and to include additional cancellation rights, including immaterial damage, such as for a spoilt holiday, and ensuring that national insolvency protection schemes are recognised across borders.
  • According to a survey by AA Insurance, Irish holidaymakers are more likely to be robbed in Spain than any other tourist destination.
  • VisitScotland launched a survival guide for the Edinburgh Festivals. Visitors are also being encouraged to explore nearby regions including Perthshire, the Scottish Borders, Fife, Stirling and the Lothians in the ‘Exploring Further Afield’ section.
  • Two Irish climbers died when they fell 200m in the Dent du Geant area of the French Alps.
  • A 20-year-old man was killed after he was struck by lightning on LA’s Venice Beach. Twelve others were injured. The man’s death is the 15th fatal strike in the US so far this year, down significantly from 35 the same period last year.
  • Magaluf’s infamous Carnage nightclub – where video footage of an 18-year-old performing sex acts on a number of men was shot – was ordered to close down for 12 months.
  • The English Guardian listed 11 spectacular swimming pools on its Swimming Blog. A violin-shaped pool, the bathing ship on Berlin’s Spree River and the infinity pool at Singapore’s Marina Bay Sands hotel are among those listed.
  • August 25 is the start date of the Rathfarnham TV presenter Bazil Ashmawy’s intriguing new bucket-list TV series, ‘Fifty Ways to Kill Your Mammy’ on Sky. Wicklow based Baz start his travel TV career with RTÉ’s ‘How Low Can You Go’.
  • Wildlife charity Care for the Wild International called for tourists to stop taking selfies with tigers and other protected animals. The charity is pushing its No Photos, Please! campaign into Thailand next month. The charity’s campaigns and communications manager Chris Pitt told The English Guardian: “In Thailand it’s very popular to have a photo with a slow loris – people are encouraged to think they’re cute and good for a photo but these are nocturnal animals from the jungle being dragged around neon-lit resorts, with their teeth and claws clipped, having cameras flashed in their eyes.”
  • Picture by Unlisted Sightings via Flickr
    Picture by Unlisted Sightings via Flickr
  • faced criticism this week for describing cyclists as a “hazard” and saying that they “become most indignant if you hit them”. The car hire firm said the advice aimed at foreign visitors to Britain was intended to be light-hearted and apologised for the remarks.
  • More pressure on Seaworld; Southwest Airlines and SeaWorld will end their long term marketing partnership later this year with both blaming the mutual decision on “shifting priorities”. Three aircraft in SeaWorld livery will be repainted in traditional Southwest colors. SeaWorld has described criticism from animal rights activists as “inaccurate and misleading”. Criticism has increased since the release of the Blackfish documentary last year.
  • US health officials are urging against non-essential travel to West Africa, as the Ebola outbreak worsens in Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone. The DFA updated its website but reassured visitors the risk that they have been exposed to the Ebola virus is extremely low.
  • Kentucky Tourism Development Finance Board voted $18 million in tax breaks for the controversial Christian theme park project.
  • Baltimore, Anaheim and San Antonio entered a unique convention partnership and agreed to promote each other for conventions.
  • Eighty-five Silverseas passengers were told they couldn’t disembark when Silver Discoverer’s docked in the former military port of Provideniya in the far northeast of Russia because they didn’t have the correct paperwork.
  • A cancelled project to build high speed trains links has now been reinstated by Thailand’s military government.
  • sally balcombeVisitBritain appointed Sally Balcombe, ex TUI, Opodo, Travelport and British Airways Holidays, as chief executive officer. Britain attracted a record 22,813,000 visitors in 2013 and is now the eighth most popular tourist destination for international visitors, behind France, USA, China, Spain, Italy, Turkey and Germany. Ireland is the fourth biggest source market for Britain with 2,395,000 visitors, 7pc of all visits and the seventh biggest in terms of spend. England is Ireland’s favourite international destination, sending 1.8m visitors, spending £594m. Ireland is the biggest source destination for Wales with 132,000 spending £25m. Ireland sent 107,000 visitors to Scotland, substantially down over the past three years from 156,000.

Food & Wine

A taste of our own medicine: a New York publican landed in hot water this week for drunksdisplaying a sign that banned drunken Irish. After receiving backlash from the Irish-American community, the Dock Bar & Grill doctored its “No Irish drunks” sign to read “No Sensitive Drunks”. This was following the viral image of a sign banning “loud American’s [sic]” from Peter’s Place café in Waterville. As social media controversy rumbled on before eventually fizzling out, chairman of Waterville Business Association Albert Walsh had the last word by countering Fitzgerald’s ban with a fitting soundbite: “There is a loud welcome in Waterville for all loud American visitors and friends.”westport festival

Come Dine With Me (with a twist) comes to Westport Food Festival, September 5—7: Punters are invited to purchase a €35 ticket for a five-course dinner…the catch is that they won’t know where they will be dining until a pre-dinner lottery at a drinks reception in the Clock Tavern. Fifteen restaurants are taking part in the event, which will mark the end of the festival.

John and Sally McKenna of guides,ie tweeted this last week. Is Ireland now part of the United Kingdom?


Picture by ArunMarsh via Flickr

Picture by ArunMarsh via Flickr

Ryanair announced a Six Nations flight between Shannon and Cardiff for Wales v Ireland, departing 14.30 on Friday March 13 and returning from Cardiff on Sunday March 15 at 18.15. Two flights from Dublin depart at 10.55 and 14.05 on Friday 13 and return from Cardiff on Sunday 15 at 14.20 and 15.35.

  • It was reported in Turkey that Ryanair is preparing to fly there and that Ryanair is  looking to expand into the Middle East.  After Michael O’Leary commented that Ryanair could offer cheap flights to Moscow and the Middle East, The London Telegraph listed 7 destinations Ryanair could hypothetically service using its current fleet of 737-800s (which has a maximum range of 5,765km): Tel Aviv, Amman and Bahrain are among those listed. Skift reported 3 failing strategies behind European legacy airlines’ battle with Ryanair. Management Today compared Ryanair and Easyjet, how the numbers stack up.
  • With 134 direct return flights a week to North America,  Dublin was ranked 7th in Europe as a hub for transatlantic passengers ahead of Istanbul, Brussels and Gatwick, and behind Heathrow, Paris Charles De Gaulle, Frankfurt, Amsterdam, Madrid and Rome. The London Telegraph asked if Dublin Airport is eating Heathrow’s lunch?
  • Skyteam launched its new Go Round Asia and Southwest Pacific Pass, providing access to 26 countries.
  • joined the Flying Blue programme. Flying Blue members can now use their Flying Blue Miles to book flights departing from Dutch airports.
  • American Airlines is to suspend the Dublin to JFK route between October 25 and March 29.
  • Christoph Mueller of Aer Lingus expressed his opposition to the opening of Ireland-US operations to non-EU carriers, as proposed in the Minister for Transport’s draft Aviation Policy. He noted that only two non-EU fifth freedom transatlantic operations remain and that they derive from rights given 20 years ago which would not be given today.  The proposed Ethiopian Addis-Dublin-LAX route clearly has some way to go.
  • Revenue at the Lufthansa-owned Shannon Aerospace Ltd increased in 2013 by 27pc to €71.69m. The numbers employed decreased marginally from 487 to 484.
  • WTM insights asked whether airline and hotel operators should be offering in-destination services, such as attraction tickets, on their mobile apps, with the rise of discounted data roaming deals.Opening of National Geographic store
  • Picture shows Aodhan Keenan (7) and his sister, Aoibheann (6) at the launch of the National Geographic store in Terminal 1, Dublin Airport. The 300 gate area has been transformed into a brighter area for passengers in T1 and a major retail development on the Street will be ready next year. Butlers have been moved down on the opposite side of the street opposite WH Smith.
  • London City Airport say 72 snow globes were confiscated from the hand luggage of passengers departing from London City, making it the most confiscated non-food related item (jams and preserves topping that poll). The findings have prompted the airport to issue a reminder to passengers that liquids over 100ml cannot be carried in hand luggage – no matter how kitsch the container. All liquids carried in hand luggage must be under 100ml and placed in one, sealed, clear plastic bag. The top 10 confiscated items from January to June at London City Airport were: 1 Jams and preserves (including lots of lemon curd), 2 Snow globes, 3 wine, 4 vodka, 5 body lotion/hand cream, 6 whiskey, 7 Tennis racquets, 8 scissors, 9 footballs, 10 champagne, 11 Handcuffs (4 pairs).
  • SITA launched smartphone check-in technology claiming that wearable tech offers big potential.
  • Virgin plans to provide passengers with stand-up comedy, with comics to perform live mid-flight.
  • Thomson said the Dreamliner will operate all their long-haul flights.
  • BA was accused of misleading customers with ‘direct flight’ marketing.
  • Air France-KLM announced a new growth plan.
  • Aer Lingus offered 25pc off fares to Europe and Britain; book by Tuesday.
  • The Aer Lingus Gold Circle lounge at Heathrow T2 opened last weekend.
  • Boeing forecast a shortage of pilots over next two decades.
  • Swords based Air Contractors are wet-leasing an Icelandic B737 freighter.
  • Cork Airport has updated its app by adding live bus and coach departure timetables.cork airport app launch
  • An easyJet aircraft flying from Bristol to Barcelona was forced to make an emergency landing after it was struck by a bolt of lightning. During the week bad weather caused delays at Luton after a diversion was put in place for London Gatwick due to CB activity.
  • Aer Lingus’s director of product and brand development, Michael Gannon, sought a High Court injunction this week preventing his removal.
  • British Airways extended its hand baggage only fares to include all short-haul flights from Gatwick, Heathrow and London City airports.
  • Emirates will host cabin crew recruitment drives in three locations this month. The events will take place at Harbour Hotel, New Dock Road in Galway City on August 23; Clarion Hotel, Lapps Quay, Cork City, August 28; Hilton Dublin, Charelemont Place, Dublin 2 August 30.
  • Passenger numbers on international routes from English airports were up 4.5pc in the period January to June 2014m with Ireland the sixth more important pairing up with 4.95m passengers (+8.9pc), behind Spain (11m), US (8.3m), Germany (5.9m), Italy (5.4m) and France (5.05m).
  • Malaysia Airlines’ commercial directory Hugh Dunleavy suggested in a London Sunday Telegraph article that the airline may change its name following a strategic review.
  • Gatwick drafted in extra staff this weekend to make sure there isn’t a repeat of last weekend’s baggage chaos.
  • Dublin Airport expects 310,000 passengers (up 5pc) this August Bank Holiday weekend, see also Cork Airport, also Knock airport (ip 20pc) and Shannon airport (up 20pc).
  • Lufthansa’s profit fell due to strikes and excess capacity. See the Merrion capital analysis here.
  • The London Telegraph reported that Ryanair customers were in  the dark over prepaid card refunds.
  • Virgin Atlantic announced that it intends to go public, but the number of shares and price range has yet to be disclosed.
  • Vancouver based Jetlines is aiming to start scheduled services from next spring.
  • IAG which owns BA, Iberia and Vueling, reported a half-year operating profit of €23m, compared with a loss of €33m in the same period last year. Willie Walsh said capacity will be trimmed 3pc for winter.
  • Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi Airport is to install eight state-of-the-art queue management queue-card kiosks over the next couple of weeks.
  • Qantas will reduce the size of the lavatories on its 737 fleet. The new interior, which also includes an enhanced IFES, will not begin until the middle of 2015 and is expected to take around a year to complete, The London Telegraph reported.
  • As a result of the MH17 tragedy, Emirates, Virgin Atlantic, KLM and Air France diverted flights using Iraqi airspace.
  • Michael O’Leary received a 37pc pay increase in the 12 months to the end of March 2014.
  • The UN’s International Civil Aviation Organisation said it will form an airline safety task force in response to the downing of MH17.
  • KLM Airlines announced that it will offer round the clock customer service via LinkedIn. The airline, which has 70,000 followers on the social media service, claims to be the first airline to offer customer service on LinkedIn.
  • Thomson Airways announced it will use the 787 Dreamliner on all its long-haul flights for the rest of the summer.
  • Ryanair won a temporary injunction against online travel agent eDreams for “misleading advertising.”German website,, will not be able to advertise that it offers the “guaranteed best price on all its flights”. Ryanair said the website, and other similar screenscrapers, “fail/refuse to pass on vital information to both passengers and Ryanair regarding issues such as flight changes, web check-in, special needs assistance and contact details, which has resulted in missed flights and repeated problems for customers”.
  • Aer Lingus said it is looking to end the industrial dispute once and for all by establishing an internal resolution body.
  • BA is to be sued for damages over claims that one of its pilots – First Officer Simon Wood, who died after being struck by a train last year – sexually abused children in African schools and orphanages while on stopovers.
  • A blunder by a United Airlines customer care manager went viral this week. The manager forgot to fill in the variables (including ‘CUSTOMER NAME’) in an apology letter addressed to a customer who filed a complaint to the airline.
  • Another gaffe, this time from Qantas subsidiary Jetstar: The airline apologised after a crew member advised travellers returning from a music festival near Byron Bay to flush drugs down the toilet before landing in Sydney.
  • A Thomson flight heading from Enfidha to Edinburgh had to be diverted to Gatwick after a female passenger threw her prosthetic leg and food at cabin crew and shouted abuse at them.
  • reported that the NCA took 115 enforcement actions against businesses last year, including Aer Lingus and Ryanair for failing to provide an email contact address for consumers on their website.
  • Swedish law firm Liman and Partners said it will be taking legal action on behalf of passengers affected by delays on Norwegian’s long haul routes. Lawyer Stephan Eriksson claimed that around 35,000 passengers have been affected by delays.

Afloatcelebrity k club

Jo Rzymowska of Celebrity Cruises hosted the trade at the Marie Keating foundation event the K Club. Picture shows Jo and Mary McKenna of Tour America, See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook. Celebrity Cruises launched Up, Up and Away, a range of offers including a booking incentive for agents along with a raft of customer offers to entice holiday bookings this August and September. Agents will also receive a €20 Love2Shop voucher for all Celebrity Cruises automated bookings made during August Offers for clients such as free ocean view to balcony upgrades, reduced flights from just €199 per person. Celebrity Cruises launched a new portfolio of materials to aid agents, Xtra trade pack for independent partners and consortia, allowing them to produce individually branded website banners and posters/ Agents can request the Celebrity Xtra toolkit via

  • Greystones Harbour Marina has surpassing the planned 3,000 visitors it had expected in 2014.
  • Celebrity Cruises says Celebrity Eclipse, still a favourite with Irish guests, will emerge from dry dock in May 2015 following its refurb. The ship is being fitted with the Gastrobar premium craft beer and comfort food venue and Slush poolside refreshments and stylish frozen drinks bar. This refurbishment will coincide with the launch of Celebrity Cruises’ new Suite Class offering following the addition of the Canyon Ranch Spa Club.
  • Norwegian reported a revenue increase of 18.9pc to $765.9m.
  • A poll by Stena Line found that Mrs Brown is the preferred sat nav voice for holidaymakers. The foul-mouthed Mrs Brown beat off the likes of Stephen Fry and Morgan Freeman.


Kildare ambassadors Gay Byrne and Yvonne Keating  (pictured) officially launched a 16km towpath trail, john osborne Fiona O'loughlin patrick guinness copyArthur’s Way, which will bring walkers and eventually cyclists through the landscape of Arthur Guinness’s childhood in Leixlip, Celbridge and Ardclough. Listen here to Yvonne’s speech. A descendant of the founder of the brewing dynasty, Patrick Guinness (pictured) spoke about his ancestor’s beginnings as sheep farmers on the foothills of Kildare’s north-eastern border (listen here), councillor Pádraig McEvoy outlined the work that had gone into developing the trail (listen here), chair of Kildare Council Fiona O’Loughlin talked about the potential of tourism in the county (listen here), as did chair of Kildare Fáilte John Osborne of the National, and keynote speaker Gay Byrne warned the guests from local tidy town, historical tourism and commercial groups that the real work was about to begin (listen here).  Listen here to a taster from the audio guide introduction to Arthur’s Way also narrated by Patrick Guinness. The audio guide to the trail is also co-narrated by Eoghan Corry of Travel Extra who has written extensively about the history of the area. Patrick Guinness revealed that the last time he was at the Village at Lyons was for a birthday party for aviation pioneer Tony Ryan, at which the special guest was a strip tease called Deeta von Teese. Now that’s tourism potential if Travel Extra heard it right. See more pictures here or connect with the album on FacebookCASTING THE TOURISM NET FOR CORK IN BRITAIN

  • Sky Sports covered the World Feeder Fishing Championships at Inniscarra Reservoir, near Coachford. Pictures shows Rob Hughes and Andy Forde, both Sky Sports presenters; with cameraman Jason O’Reilly, covering the World Feeder Fishing Championships at Inniscarra Reservoir, near Coachford.
  • Much attention was paid to the two mile exclusion zone imposed on Skellig Michael for the filming of Star Wars: Episode VII. Minister Paschal Donohoe declared a two-mile exclusion zone, which was patrolled by a naval vessel.
  • Vinegar Hill 14
  • Preparations underway for third annual reenactment of the Battle of Vinegar Hill Enniscorthy this bank holiday weekend, Saturday and Sunday, August 2 and 3. Organisers say “it will be the busiest battlefield to date”. See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.Clai¦üomh Living History group to celebrate the Lughnasa Festival at Craggaunowen visitor attraction
  • Claíomh Living History Group will showcase events from four different time periods including a display of 13th century Anglo-Norman drill and a hand-to-hand combat demonstration as part of Craggaunowen Lughnasa festival on Sunday, August 3 and Monday August 4 from 11.00am to 5.00pm each day.
  • Author Jennifer Johnston launched a World War I “Lives Remembered” monument and exhibition at Saint Patrick’s Cathedral, to remain open for the next four years. There are nearly 200 plaques and monuments throughout the Cathedral. At the centre of the new exhibition is a new monument called the ‘Tree of Remembrance’, on which members of the public are invited to tie their own messages of remembrance. View video on the ‘Tree of Remembrance’ here or see the website.
  • Dublin Ghostbus Tour will launch on August 21 featuring Christchurch crypt, a grave robbing lesson, and more.

Country Land Association Game Fair

Picture shows Anne Speers, Finn Valley Cottages, Co Tyrone; Ann Phelan, Trailwalkers Ireland; Sam Andrews, Loughs Agency; Ellie Glennie, Belle Isle Estate, Co Fermanagh; Brendan Winters, River Mournes Guides (angling guide service), Co Tyrone; Margaret Mellor, Tourism Ireland; Stephen Moates, Loughs Agency; Maura Mullins, Trailwalkers Ireland; Lionel Knobbs, Loughs Agency; and Larry Swire, Loughs Agency, at the Tourism Ireland stand during this year’s CLA (Country Land Association) Game Fair in Oxfordshire, England.IMG_9807

  • The Shannon Group Bill was signed into law by President Michael D Higgins on Sunday. It will combine Shannon Airport with the property ownership and management activities of Shannon Commercial Enterprises Limited, Shannon Heritage and the International Aviation Services Centre.
  • Holiday Inn Belfast have joined with City Tours Belfast to offer 2 nights B&B and 1 dinner in the Holiday Inn Belfast & a Game of Thrones locations tour  to Carrick-a-Rede, Ballintoy Harbour and the Giant’s Causeway. Walk into the Cushendun caves where Melisandre gave birth to her ‘shadow assassin’, and experience the Dark Hedges where Arya Stark escaped King’s Landing.
  • Belfast Titanic centre has been short-listed for the 2014 British Travel Awards.
  • A special one-off print run of an Irish edition of The Flanders Fields Post has been published to commemorate the centenary of the start of WW1. Over 30,000 Irish died in the war. See here.


Princess Charlene of Monaco was presented with a Certificate of Irish Heritage by Irish Ambassador to France, Rory Montgomery, Princess Charlene’s ancestors can be traced back to the 1520s and a prominent Dublin family called the Fagans. Picture shows Albert II Prince of Monaco; Princess Charlene; Finola O’Mahony, Tourism Ireland; HE Rory Montgomery, Irish Ambassador to France; and Fiona Fitzsimons, Eneclann.

  • View Anne Fitzsimmons and Catherine Karnow’s ‘Best of Dublin’ photo gallery on National Geographic here.
  • Swimming was banned at Front Strand in Youghal due to excess E.coli.
  • Waterford Treasure museum’s Architects, Artists and Armymen exhibition celebrating 300 years of the Roberts family in Waterford is open now until the end of November. The Treasure of Poland exhibition is open until September 4.
  • Last week to the see Russborough House’s garden sculpture exhibition:  the free exhibition (€3 parking/walkway donation) closes next Sunday (August 10). Meanwhile the Celtic Tenors will perform an evening concert in Russborough Hippodrome on August 16. Tickets €25.
  • Kylemore Abbey’s scheduled summer hikes continue until the end of August. Participants have the option of booking a 1-hour hike (€16pp) or a 3-hour hike (€19pp) on Wednesdays and Saturdays throughout the month. Group hikes are also available: 1-hour hike €45 per guide plus €8pp entrance fee to Kylemore estate; 3-hour hike €65 per guide plus €8pp entrance fee. Tours available in English, Dutch, French and German on request. Tours of Kylemore’s walled gardens are also available daily at 2:30pm till the end of the month; no booking required.
  • Dan Dooley of the car hire company said income from the Army-Navy US football game in Dublin last year helped boost revenues and the group is expecting to increase revenues this year by 8pc-10pc to over €20m.
  • Today is the final day in Killruddery’s summer programme. Today is Bee Day, so visitors are invited to meet the Killruddery beekeepers between 11am and 4pm today, and walk and talk with gardening author Alys Fowler at 12pm and 2pm. Regular admission fees apply (€11 adults, €3 children, family of two adults and two children €22).
  • National Maritime Museum of Ireland’s The War to End All Wars lecture series will be held at the Eblana Club on August 31, 12pm—8pm. The series will include discussions, debates and musical performances.
  • Navan Centre & Fort in Armagh will host a Warrior Sunday on August 17, 11am—5pm. Children aged 6—12 years are invited to come and learn the skills required to become a heroic Celtic warrior. They will learn how to use a spear, sword and shield, and will be taught how to master the sling like Cú Chulainn. Booking is essential, £10 charge for participation.
  • The Celtic Tenors will perform in concert at St Mary’s Collegiate Church in Youghal on August 9 at 9pm. Tickets €20. Book online at or by phone 087 9593276. Tickets available to buy at Creed Card Shop and at the door on the night. Youghal will also host the 8th annual Youghal Medieval Festival at St Mary’s Medieval Gardens on August 24 from 12pm. Battle enactments, court jesters, Youghal pipe bands and children’s crafts are included in the programme.
  • Belvedere House will host the fifth annual Midlands Home & Garden Festival from August 15 to 17, 10am—6pm. There will be a food and garden products market and children’s entertainment by the lake. Entrance fee for adults is €10, accompanying children go free. Free parking available.
  • John Wynne, John McEvoy, Rachel Garvey and Ruairi McGorman will perform at Strokestown Park House on August 28, 8pm. Call Roscommon Arts Centre on 090 66 25824 for bookings.
  • Powerscourt Gardens appeared was listed at number 3 on National Geographic’s Top 10 Gardens.
  • A review of the NITB and the North’s tourism structures by former Stormont Finance Department Permanent Secretary John Hunter is open for comment until September 22.
  • Guildhall in Derry saw 370,826 visitors since its £10m refurbishment in June 2013.
  • Wax Museum is offering visitors a discount rate for midweek rentals of Michael Jackson’s former Irish country home, Bishopstown House.  Wax Museum visitors are able to rent the house Tuesdays—Thursdays for €600 per night. To book, phone 090 643 6175, email or visit The property boasts a private bar, spa, Jacuzzi and swimming pool, as well as a gym at Grouse Lodge Recording Studios. Outdoor activities including horse riding, pigeon shooting and hiking are on offer.

Have your say: Email or it is @TravelExtraIre on Twitter if that’s your bag.