TRAVEL Extra’s Sunday Supplement: Will air fares drop in 2015?


Celine Duffy of Cruisescapes, Clare Dunne of Travel Broker and Maurice Sheil of Topflight on board Fred Olsen cruise ship Boudicca in Dublin

Celine Duffy of Cruisescapes, Clare Dunne of Travel Broker and Maurice Sheil of Topflight on board Fred Olsen cruise ship Boudicca in Dublin

The headlines this week:

*Will air fares drop? Don’t hold your breath

*Domhnall’s day as Avolon goes to market

*Star Aliance shines brightly

*Dublin direct to the Caribbean

*Snow still very slow

Travel Extra TV

video-of-week-Dec-14A tight squeeze: Our video of the week shows skier Cody Townsend taking on a five-foot-wide vertical chute down an Alaskan mountain. Watch here.

  • This video shows YouTuber Thomas N and his friend walking on a frozen lake in the High Tatras Mountains in Slovakia froze over: Watch here. Meanwhile, footage uploaded to LiveLeak shows fish swimming at the bottom of Blanktjarn Lake in Northern Sweden while locals skate on the layer of ice on top. Watch here.
  • Tourism Ireland uploaded a Chinese-language video showcasing Ireland’s links with China. Watch here.
  • TV presenter and qualified pilot Carol Vorderman called for more female airline pilots. Watch here.
  • A sneak peak of Jewel Changi Airport, Singapore. Watch here.
  • Aer Lingus and Tourism Ireland uploaded a video entitled ‘Ireland is always in season’. Watch here.
  • The Adventure Travel Trade Association uploaded the final video from last October’s summit in Killarney. Watch here.
  • WestJet brought “a snowy Canadian Christmas” to a community in the Dominican Republic. Watch here.
  • From concept to reality: Qatar Airways’ A350 WB, part one (watch here) and part two (watch here).


tony-tylerThe International Air Transport Association says air fares will drop by 5pc next year thanks to a 40pc drop in oil prices and a stronger economy. Global airline profits will reach $19.9bn this year, up from the $18bn projected in June, and are on course to hit $25bn in 2015. Tony Tyler (pictured), IATA’s Director General and CEO, said the fall in oil prices should strengthen the upturn next year but a 3.2pc net profit margin does not leave much room for deterioration in the external environment before profits are hit. Will flying get cheaper next year? Probably not. Airline executives at the round of aviation conferences have been predicting a blood bath. But airlines are notoriously slow at passing on the savings they are making on plummeting oil prices. The IATA prediction of 5pc excludes surcharges and taxes. IATA which represents 240 airlines, or 84pc of total air traffic, says airlines are still stuck with contracts for fuel that pre-date the price slumps. IATA’s chief economist, Brian Pearce said “it’s going to be six months or so before airlines are seeing lower fuel costs, and at that point consumers are likely to see a fall in travel costs.”


Cruise passengers have been celebrating the news that direct pick-ups are back in Dublin in 2015, including a 34-day Caribbean cruise for the first time. To bring the message home, Fred Olsen’s Boudicca was back in Dublin and Belfast this week for a series of mini-cruises that brought the Norwegian-founded, English-based cruise line back to sales levels not seen since the heyday of the late lamented Ken Lendrum.

The mini cruises were a happy accident: tour operator Cruise118 was unable to fill a planned charter and the ship was handed back to Fred Olsen at short notice.

alan-lynchAlan Lynch, the GSA of Fred Olsen in Ireland since last spring, was a happy beneficiary as he sent groups of 70 on each of the two-day mini cruises at bargain rates and hosted an agents’ ship visit (listen here). For anyone who remembers the phone kiosk cabins in the Black Watch or the Tartan malfunction that was the interior décor of the old Balmoral, the stylish Boudicca was a revelation. Kate Wooldridge of Fred Olsen countered the suggestion that Fred Olsen’s ships are small and old: “Yes, but they have had more face lifts than any woman of their age.” (listen here) Black Watch departs for the Canaries on Nov 9 on a 34-night round trip with prices from €4,959pps. Black Watch cruises from Belfast to the Bay of Biscay (from €999pp) on Oct 16 and the Canaries (from €1,729pp) on Oct 24. Picture shows Alan Lynch with Martin Skelly, president of the ITAA and Kate Wooldridge.  See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.

CDG-groupAir France showcased the facilities at Charles de Gaulle Terminal 2E for travel media this week. Jean Paul Claret and Betinna Vetureau highlighted clearer signage, more spacious terminal, lounge and more efficient check in and security facilities at Terminal 2E, enabling transfer passengers to pass through in less than an hour, 20 minutes less than heretofore. Where three years ago 6pc of transfer passengers missed their flights, this is down to 0.6pc today, largely because connecting passengers are no longer dropped into public areas. CDG handles 450 departures and 450 arrivals a day and is Europe’s second biggest hub. Picture shows Rachel Lindsay, Gary Mason, Betinna Vetureau, Elena Valdeon of Air France,  Jean Paul Claret of Air France, Eoghan Corry editor of Travel Extra and Declan Mescall of Travlebiz. See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.

alan-sparlingJust as Alan Sparling, chair of Star Alliance Dublin, (pictured with Philip Airey of Sunway) was extolling the virtues of Heathrow Terminal 2 to guests at the group’s annual Christmas party, London air space was shutting down. The outage, due to a technical glitch at Swanwick, lasted just one hour and led to comparisons with December 7 of last year (a poster on asked: Any truth in the rumour that someone downloaded the Candy Crush Saga app and it crashed the computer?). Priority was given to landing craft after power was restored at 4.06pm, although departing aircraft faced delays of three hours. The unhappy coincidence was brushed off by the trade guests who were told that Heathrow T2 is the blueprint for Star Alliance to build similar terminals in LAX and Tokyo as well as a the recently opened Star Alliance Terminal in Sao Paolo. Alan Sparling also used the s-word, seamless, which Star used at start up but later avoided. “From 1997, when five airlines formed the alliance. to today, where Star encompasses 27 airlines with 185,000 daily departures to 1,316 airports in 192 countries, we stick to our core focus of offering seamless travel, global brand recognition and quicker connections. We are a small tightly knit community in the travel industry in Ireland, We work with each other and indeed, we compete with each other- but ultimately, we support each other.” See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.

In Dublin: Lufthansa, on top of three daily to Frankfurt, will now go daily on the Dublin Munich route. Turkish Airlines is expanding from 12 a week to double daily on Dublin-Istanbul. Air Canada is going year round on Dublin-Toronto. United, with up to seven flights a day from Belfast, Dublin and Shannon to the USA, has a new Dublin-Chicago route. SAS is almost 50 years flying into Ireland and is opening a new Dublin-Gothenburg service. Ethiopian is the first African airline flying from Ireland, the first to operate the B787 in Ireland and the only airline flying Addis-Dublin and Dublin-LAX.

The snow cannons got firing at last as temperatures dropped across Europe. Some light snow fell on Monday and Tuesday in the Alps, adding to the snow cover. Much heavier snow fell across the Pyrenean resorts, many of which have been reporting very good skiing conditions Pal/Arinsal opens this weekend, meaning all the Andorran resorts will be offering skiing for the first time this season. In Austria the best skiing conditions remain predominately up on the glaciers and at altitude. Most resorts are back on course to open this weekend. French resorts had some fresh natural snow, with the most falling in the Val Thorens sector of the Trois Vallees. While most resorts are set to open this weekend, snow cover will be limited off piste and at low altitude. Switzerland got up to 25cm of snow in some places; more terrain is opening up and conditions are slowly improving. Courmayeur has delayed their opening date until December 20. Excellent early season conditions have also been reported at Baqueira-Beret and Sierra Nevada in Spain. Scandinavia is the place to be at the moment (Eurosport watchers will have noticed the world cup races were transferred from Val d’Isere and Courchelel to Arethis weekend), heavy snow was reported in Bulgaria, where the only open resort is Bansko. Scottish ski resorts have seen good snowfall. A large snowstorm hit California on Thursday night.

The chances of dying in an air crash in the US and Europe  are 1 in 29 million according to the latest survey for Allianz – the insurance group points out that there is more chance of being struck by lightning (1 in 10.5m). The aviation sector will see 3.3bn passengers fly this year compared with 106m in 1960. Air travel insurance is to rise because of increasing fleet values and passenger growth, pushing risk exposure through $1tn barrier in near-future.

Domhnal Slattery’s Avolon completed its long-awaited flotation on the New York Stock Exchange was a disappointment: shares fell 5pc on its debut on the New York stock exchange despite pricing the shares at $20, below its expected range of $21-$23. Avolon offered 13,636,363 common shares, and will not receive any of the proceeds from the offering.  Avolon has 49 customers in 27 countries including Ryanair, American Airlines, Air France, Virgin Atlantic, KLM, Air Asia, Etihad and Aeroflot. The company is backed by private equity firms Cinven, CVC Capital Partners and Oak Hill Capital Partners, as well as Singapore’s sovereign wealth fund.

Travel Trade

Navan_Travel_3724Martin Skelly’s Navan Travel won the business innovation award at the Meath Chronicle awards in Navan.

Brendan Breen has been appointed CEO of Core Travel Ltd T/a eTravel. Brendan joins from Travel Department.

Amadeus announced the release of web-based sales and booking tool e-Power Consolidator.

tryphavana cross h&s copyLas Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority hired Tryphavana Cross (pictured) to re-establish its tourism marketing presence in Ireland.

Winners of the Hertz Travelport €50 weekly vouchers for November were: Jordan Fay of Neenan Travel, Sarah McCarthy of FCm Travel, Bernie Collins of Travel Leaders and Renee Kennedy of FCm Travel.

CarTrawler announced a new partnership with travel technology provider, Abacus International.

Azerbaijan Airlines signed a full content agreement with Travelport.

pat-o-briens-new-Orleans-austin-and-peterAustin Carroll of Platinum Travel and Dee Burdock of American Holidays were the Irish attendees at Travel South 2014 in New Orleans. The event attracted 439 delegates,120 buyers (up on 90 last year). Picture shows Austin Carroll at Pat O’Brien’s in New Orleans.

Des O’Mahony’s Dublin-headquartered Bookassist has won the Booking Engine Technology Provider award for the third successive year at the 21st World Travel Awards in Anguilla. Bookassist partners with hotels to build their brand online, drive direct business to their branded website, capture bookings and optimise online distribution and ensure they grow their margin per booking.

Etihad Airways - World Travel Awards Photo (1)Etihad Airways successfully defended its title as the World’s Leading Airline among 157 awards dispensed at the World Travel Awards. Picture shows Geert Boven, Dublin born Aubrey Tiedt and Khamis Al Blooshi at the event. Changi, Singapore won best airport.  Major hotel awards went to Ciragan Palace Kempinski Istanbul (overall), Burj Al Arab (luxury), One World Hotel, Malaysia (MICE) InterContinental Davos (new), the Ritz-Carlton in Riyadh (palace), InterContinental Bangkok (city), Sandals Royal Bahamian(all inclusive), Grosvenor House Dubai (business), Angel’s Peninsula, Turkey (family), Saxon Hotel, South Africa (boutique),InterContinental Hotels & Resorts (brand) and La Cigale Hotel, Qatar (dining and excellence in service). Royal Caribbean won best cruise line and American Cruise Lines best rivercruise. Universal Orlando won the themed resort award, Abu Dhabi won the Tourist Board award. Jumeirah Zabeel Saray, Dubai the spa resort and InterContinental Samui Baan in Thailand the Wedding Resort. The World’s Most Romantic Resort is Sandals Grande Antigua. Roomorama won the award for Peer-To-Peer Travel Accommodation Marketplace.

Funway will launch its new 2015/16 Mexico and Dominican Republic brochure on January 2.

skal michael byrneSkal’s President’s lunch took place on Wednesday at The Herbert Park Hotel. €1,200 was raised for St Vincent de Paul. Picture shows Conor O’Connell, Brigid O’Connell, Geraldine Rosney, Ewan Plenderleith, Jim and SKAL National President Nora Cronin.

Travel Professionals Skillnet training: Upselling Skills, Dec 16, Cost €110, More info/Bookings. First Aid, Dec 17, €110, More info/Bookings. Excel Level 2, Dec 18, €110, More info/Bookings. Facebook Marketing, Dec 18, €70, More info/Bookings.

Deal Watch

  • NITB offers of the week: 1 night B&B Tuesday-Friday at Newforge House, Magheralin from £90pps incl. mulled wine & mince pie on arrival, pre-dinner Christmas cocktail and chocolates, available on selected dates until Dec 31, call 028 926 11255 to book;2 nights B&B at The City Hotel Derry from £89pps incl. one evening meal, complimentary walking tour tickets, available until Dec 30, call 028 7136 5800 to book. 1 night B&B at Killyhevlin Hotel, Enniskillen from £49pps incl. Sunday lunch, available until Dec 21, call 028 6632 3481 to book.
  • Book a ski holiday to Livigno today with Topflight and receive free ski books and free ski school. 7 nights self-catering Livigno Ski Apartments from €533pps, depart Jan 10.
  • Click and Go is offering 3 nights B&B in Donatello Hotel, Rome from €240pp incl. return Aer Lingus flights Dublin-Rome, taxes and charges, depart March 16.
  • Falconis offering 7 nights all inclusive Dublin to Kolymbia, Rhodes from €2,569 for two adults and one child or from €3.249 from two adults and two children, depart June 3.
  • Sunway’s US holidays Christmas sale: 7 nights Rosen Inn at Pointe, Orlando from €519pp, depart May 2015; 3 nights Pennsylvania Hotel, New York from €689pp, depart March 2015; 3 nights B&B at Circus Circus, Las Vegas from €719pp, depart May 2015; and 4 nights B&B at The Cova Hotel, San Francisco from €729pp, depart February 2015.
  • Thomsonis offering 7 nights all inclusive Dublin to Aghios Nikolai, Crete from €719pp, depart May 31.
  • Sunway is offering Dublin to Antalya, Turkey from €499pp, depart August 2 to September 6, 2015.
  • The Bloomsbury Hotel in London is offering a Sherlock Holmes package from £295 incl. overnight stay for two people, breakfast, two tickets to the Sherlock Holms exhibition, afternoon tean and a Sherlock Holmes miniature book. Package available from January 5 to April 12.


  • trivago-calendarsTrivago had some surprises in their advice calendars showing the best months to book a hotel in 47 cities. Data for Dublin shows May, June and September are more expensive than July or August. These averages are calculated from 700,000 hotels on 175 booking sites over the last three years.
  • Quadriga has become the third international European technology supplier to achieve Marriott International’s rigorous Global Property Network Standards EMEA certification.
  • HRSlatest survey of 100 business travel buyers in Ireland is intriguingly entitled Business travellers versus bosses: Who’s taking advantage of who when it comes to justifying a night away on business?
  • Ireland was ranked among the world’s 25 most expensive destinations for Airbnb and hotels.
  • Lay off the beans. Lonely Planet listed the top 10 rules of hostel etiquette.
  • The Generator Hostel brand is to open a new “Haute” hostel in Paris In 2015.
  • Lowcostbeds, the Swiss-based trade bed bank headed up by Clem Walshe in Ireland, said city breaks grew to over 15pc of overall bookings. Barcelona, Marrakech, Amsterdam and Rome represented the bed banks top city break sellers. Long haul sales share grew with Dubai, Las Vegas, Miami and New York 100pc up on 2013. Four and five star hotels have been at the forefront of demand, with the average hotel rating category increasing from 3.9 to 4.3 in the last year.
  • Luxury hotel operator YOO Hotels & Resorts will open the Aqua Boracay resort in the Philippines in December 2015.
  • Airbnb said it now has 1m properties listed on its website.
  • Annual revenue at the five-star Druids Glen resort in Wicklow is expected to increase by 9pc.


  • A report by Next Generation Nepal suggested that volunteering in orphanages in Nepal may be fuelling child trafficking. The report, The Paradox of Orphanage Volunteering: Combating Child Trafficking through Ethical Voluntourism”. It says 90pc of “orphanages” in Nepal are located in the top five tourist districts and children are being used as “poverty commodities” to raise money from foreign volunteers and donors. It claims that, of the 15,000 children in orphanages in Nepal, two out of three of these children are not orphans.
  • Germany’s Tourism Board reported that tourism overnights from Ireland rose 23pc for January-September. September 2014 is up 26.4pc on September 2013.
  • Vienna ball dancing season kicked off last month, with a number of events taking place in the new year, including the Sliversterball on New Year’s Eve, the Confectioner’s Ballon January 15 and the Vienna Philharmonic Ball on January 22.
  • Abu Dhabi Tourism & Culture Authority reported a 25pc increase (2.8m guests) on hotel and hotel-apartment check-ins.
  • SeaWorld CEO Jim Atchison announced he will step down on January 15, 2015.
  • All high speed Eurostar services to Brussels are cancelled tomorrow (Dec 15).
  • Ernesto Guevara, Che Guevara’s youngest son, has set up tour company La Poderosa Tours, offering Harley-Davidson tours of Cuba following the footsteps of the Marxist revolutionary.
  • Dublin-based walking tour operator HostelCulture International was reprimanded by the Advertising Standards Association in England for falsely claiming it was recommended by TripAdvisor.
  • The leader of a 12-day rafting trip through the Grand Canyon was fined almost $2,500 for littering.

Food & Wine

Catherine Fulvio leaning on gateRenvyle House Hotel hosts a themed weekend Italian Flavours Food & Wine Weekend (Feb 20-22) with Catherine Fulvio (pictured) of Ballyknocken House & Cookery School the guest of honour. The weekend kicks off on Friday night with an evening of antipasti and Italian wine tasting.

Visit Scotland’s Year of Food & Drink: Isle of Harris Distillery in Tarbert opens in spring 2015; Sprit Speyside Festival takes place in Ediburgh’s Whisky Strammash on World Whisky Day (May 15); Scone Palace Chilli Festival, Perthshire, Sept 2015; The Golden Spurtle porridge making championships, Carrbridge, October; Big Burns Supper Festival, Dumfries, Jan 23 to 31.


Belfast Reyjavik launch 001EasyJet launched the first direct service between Belfast and Reykjavik. The flight operates twice per week on Mondays and Fridays on a 156 seater Airbus A319 with 30,000 passengers expected to use the new service during the first 12 months. Fares start from £31.99pp one way. Picture shows Belfast International Airport managing director Graham Keddie with Captain Pat Moran and easyJet Commercial manager Ali Gayward.

The European Commission has tasked the SESAR (Single European Sky ATM Research) Deployment Alliance, an unprecedented cross industry partnership made up of four airline groups, operators of 25 airports and 11 air traffic control providers, to plan and coordinate a wholesale modernisation of European airspace to coordinate and synchronise €3bn worth of upgrades to the continent’s air traffic management infrastructure.

Finnair has given two of its A321 Sharklet aircraft new Christmas-themed liveries and increased the number of flights to Lapland, especially from Helsinki to Kittilä, Ivalo and Rovaniemi, and with improved flight connection times from European flights.

Launch of the GAA World Games sponsored by Etihad AirwaysEtihad will sponsor the inaugural World GAA Games in Abu Dhabi, which takes place March 5 to 7. Picture shows Amy Wilders and Amanda Crabbe, both Etihad Airways, with Uachtarán Chumann Lúthchleas Gael Liam Ó Néill at the launch of the GAA World Games, Croke Park.

  • Luxair is to increase its Dublin-Luxembourg service by 50pc from summer 2015.
  • American Airlines are to upgrade the craft on the Dublin-JFK route to a B763.
  • Cork Airport head of communications told the Neil Penderville show that the airport is to build a second air bridge and give it use for free to airlines that will use it.
  • Dublin airport reminded passengers not to wrap Christmas presents as hand luggage.
  • Flybe are terminating services to Waterford from Manchester and Birmingham after March 27. Flybe put on sale its 2015 summer schedule, which features 144 routes, leaving Waterford without any air services.
  • Shannon terminal passenger results for November showed a 26pc increase on the same month last year, up from 77,002 to 97,292.
  • Etihad cargo is on track for its best ever performance in 2014.
  • Emirates Airline‘s €4m investment in wine: 160 different wines offered to customers during the year, 1.2m bottles aging in the airline’s own wine cellars in France.
  • Santa Ex 7CityJet and Temple St Hospital hosted their annual Santa flight where 30 children from the hospital and their families enjoyed an hour-long flight in the company of Santa and his helpers.
  • Delta expanded its partner chef menus on European routes.
  • European airline associations called on the EU to reject air traffic control price hike proposal.
  • Dublin Airport is now listed on Google Indoor Maps in Ireland.
  • Singapore Airlines agreed to honour business class bookings that were mistakenly sold at economy prices.
  • The_Loop_Personal_Shooppers_1214ARI Ireland launched a free personal shopping service at The Loop, Dublin Airport. Email to pre-book.
  • American Airlines will invest $2bn in upgrading customer experience: including fully lie-flat seats, Wi-Fi, more inflight entertainment, a new look for Admirals Club lounges and more options for complimentary foods and drinks.
  • Etihad Airways - San Francisco business lunch Photo 2Etihad Airways‘ order for new Boeing aircraft will support 200,000 American jobs, the airline’s President and Chief Executive Officer, James Hogan (pictured), claimed at a US Business Council lunch in San Francisco to celebrate the launch of the non-stop flights to San Francisco on Nov 18.
  • American Airlines’ total revenue passenger miles for November was $16.2bn, down 0.5pc.
  • Flybe’s 2015 summer schedule is on sale now.
  • Delta Arrivals Lounge main loungeDelta Air Lines opened its Arrivals Lounge at T3, London Heathrow. BusinessElite passengers, SkyMiles Diamond and Platinum Medallion members arriving from the US will have free access to the facility, which is open 6am-2pm.
  • Etihad Airways and South African Airways expanded their partnership with a daily service between Johannesburg and Abu Dhabi from March 29.
  • A Southwest Airlines flight had to be diverted after a passenger went into labour shortly after take-off.
  • Vice president of Korean Air, Heather Cho, apologised for delaying a flight after she ordered the aircraft to return to the gate so she could remove a crew member who had incorrectly answered a question about the airline’s nut policy.


Stena Line will be adding extra tonnage to the Dublin-Holyhead route in early 2015 with the ship, Stena X.

SeaDream Yacht Club has appointed Alan Lynch’s Cruisescapes as its preferred partner in Ireland. SeaDream offers inclusive cruises for 56 couples on each of its two mega-yachts, each with a crew of 95.

Three crew members from Oceania Cruises’ Insignia died and a fourth is in hospital in St Lucia after a fire on board. Passengers were not put in a hotel overnight but instead waited in the ferry terminal, where Oceania had rented extra chairs so everyone had a place to sit.

Norwegian Cruise Line is offering up to $1,000 free on-board spending money per stateroom.

Princess Cruises say that a norovirus outbreak on Dawn Princess is well on the way to being resolved. The 1,950-passenger ship left Melbourne, Australia, on 28 November and is due to return Thursday after a 13-day cruise to New Zealand.

Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd named Michael Bayley president and CEO of Royal Caribbean International and replaced him as president and CEO at Celebrity Cruises with Lisa Lutoff-Perlo, formerly executive vice president, operations at RCI.

Bus Éireann Eurolines announced additional coach & ferry services with Irish Ferries from Dublin to Birmingham and London. The additional services will run from Dec 17 to Jan 4 (excluding Dec 24, 25, 26 and 31).


Titanic belfast academyTitanic Belfast‘s education programme launched a new seminar, From White Star To Five Star, for students studying Travel and Tourism, Hospitality and Event Management. Students from Belfast Met College in Titanic Quarter were first to experience the new seminar in the visitor attraction.

CSO reported that for the first nine months of the year an estimated €2.8bn was spent by overseas visitors in Ireland.

Dublin Convention Centre has secured 120 events in the last six months, including 25 international conferences forecast to generate €30m for the local economy.

Wild Atlantic Way Receives ‘Best Tourist Attraction’ AwardWild Atlantic Way was awarded the ‘Best Tourist Attraction’ at the third InBUSINESS Editor’s Choice Awards at a ceremony in Stephen’s Green Hibernian Club, Dublin. Picture shows Ian Talbot, Chief Executive, Chambers Ireland and Joseph O’Connor, Editor, InBUSINESS Magazine, presenting the award to Fiona Monaghan, Fáilte Ireland.

Loop Head Peninsula in County Clare is the only Irish destination to be named in the inaugural Sustainable Destinations Global Top 100.

Christmas in Wexford#BDA5ACA 40-day Christmas festival is underway in Wexford until January 6th and visitors are having a thrill at ‘Wexford Winterland’. The outdoor festival taking place at venues across Wexford town features an Ice-Rink on Wexford’s Quayside and a series of event all set to take place as part of ‘Selskar Under the Stars’.

President Michael D Higgins met 900 Chinese travel trade, media and airline reps in Shanghai on Thursday at a Tourism Ireland-organised event as part of this week’s State Visit to China. The event focussed on the new British-Irish Visa Scheme, and Tourism Ireland presented Chinese operators and agents with ‘Ireland Specialist’ awards.

NITB Christmas events: Titanic Belfast’s Christmas Experience, Dec 23; LegenDerry On Ice, Ebrington Square, Derry, Jan 18; Belfast Christmas Market, City Hall, Belfast, Dec 21; Days of Christmas Pass, Ulster American Folk Park, Omagh, Co Tyrone, Dec 21;Santa’s IceCapades, Navan Centre and Fort, Armagh, open until Dec 22; Aladdin Christmas Panto, The Grand Opera House, Belfast;Jack and the Beanstalk Christmas Panto, The Belfast Waterfront; Once Upon a Fairytale Exhibition, W5, Odyssey Arena, Belfast; Sheans Horse Farm, Ballycastle, Antrim, until Dec 21.

Bus Éireann is offering discount day return fares on Galway services to Galway City until Dec 24. Fares cost €10 for adults and €5 for children travelling from Kinvara, Gort, Tuam, Loughrea, Ballinasloe, Headford, Clifden, Mountbellew, Lettermullen and Carraroe to Galway City.

Demand High for Irish Open 2015 as Rory Returns as HostNITB and The European Tour are reminding golf fans to book early for 2015’s Irish Open at Royal Portrush, Co Down. The event will be hosted by Rory McIlroy’s charity, The Rory Foundation. Tickets are £25 until Dec 31 (£35 from Jan 1). Children under 16 go free. Picture shows the European Tour’s Irish Open Championship Director Antonia Beggs with NITB’s ROI Market Manager Fiona Cunningham and Chief Operating Officer Kathryn Thomson in Dublin.

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

TRAVEL Extra’s Sunday Supplement: Mueller for Malaysia & Europe’s resorts get ski-jumpy


Tour guide El Hassani Essabi, Deirdre Sweeny of Sunway, Michele Anderson Club Med specialist for Sunway and Zita Forde of Travel Broker in the Jardin Majorelle in Marrakech.

Tour guide El Hassani Essabi, Deirdre Sweeny of Sunway, Michele Anderson Club Med specialist for Sunway and Zita Forde of Travel Broker in the Jardin Majorelle in Marrakech.

The headlines this week:

*Turnaround man Christoph heads East

*Club Med highlights accessible Marrakech

*Emirates flies 100 one stop destinations from Ireland

*Uniworld excited about Iceland

*‘Sno Snow as Europe’s resorts get ski-jumpy

*Win a stand at Holiday World

Travel Extra TV

video-disney-treeOur video of the week shows how Disneyland gets ready for Christmas. It takes over 6,000 lights (a lot of untangling) and 1,800 ornaments to decorate the 60ft Christmas tree (which is so tall it has to be split in two). Watch here.

  • Michael O’Leary surprises the 13mth passenger at Shannon Airport. Watch here.
  • The Adventure Travel Trade Association uploaded another video showcasing Ireland, ‘Exceptional Ireland’. Watch here.
  • Emirates uploaded footage of a 43 truck convoy to commemorate the UAE’s 43rd National Day. Watch here.
  • Qatar uploaded video highlights from the A350 XWB inaugural touchdown in Hamad International Airport. Watch here.
  • Shannon is Ireland’s fastest growing airport, says Michael O’Leary. Watch here.
  • The US Embassy in Dublin posted footage from the Smart People Smart Economy youth conference in November. Watch here.
  • Finnair’s new ad reveals Santa’s secret. Watch here.
  • Crewlink’s new ad features Ryanair training. Watch here.
  • Dublin Airport in brief. Watch here.
  • Landing at sunset, Dublin Airport. Watch here.
  • Samantha Jade talks to Qantas about her travel favourites. Watch here.


christoph mueller h&s iata 001So what is Christoph Mueller’s grand plan? There may not be one. The confusion that prevailed after Malaysian newspapers reported he would be approached to head up the new Air Malaysia last week seemed to have died off before the rumours restarted early in the week and the announcement was eventually made on Friday that he was to head up the revived airline. Reuters reported he could be moving as early as February and Malaysian media saying the role is effective Jan 1. Trading in MAS shares are to be suspended from Dec 15, the first step towards a government-led restructuring. Christoph is to remain as An Post chairman.

Flying Trapeze Academy at Club Med Marrakech, Dec 3 2014Club Med hosted Irish trade and media at the Club Med La Palmeraie resort in Marrakech to see the all-inclusive product at first had. The resort has become more accessible since Ryanair’s 3w flight commenced to Marrakech and is a pleasant 25 minutes transfer from the airport. It offers a safe comfort zone away from as well as easy access to the bedlam that is Marrakech market. The group learned all about the magical properties of Arcana oil and the protocol of market bargaining where vendors offer a “democratic price”. Komeil Nofeli said the Club Med product is growing fast with new resorts being added across the world: the Sheraton beach Malaysia, the Palmiye in Turkey and Columbus island. Michele Anderson, Sunway’s Club Med specialist said the product grew 4pc in the Irish market last year with activities proving especially popular. There is a flying trapeze (pictured) in most resorts, with tennis, water ski, archery, wind surf, sailing, and horse riding (some require an additional charge). See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.

Joe tully enda corneilleEmirates hosted the travel trade at an event in Dublin. Enda Corneille, who has headed up the Irish operation for three months now, told the travel trade (listen here) that it is an exciting company and it is an exciting time. While a lot of low cost carriers are trying to be full service and a lot of full service carriers are trying to be low cost, Emirates is that constant that is consistently delivering impeccable service. Customers love the 777 and the A380. From Ireland we are offering over 100  destinations, the airline flies to 141.The A380 from Dubai on a 16 hour trip can cover 96pc of the world’s population. While he said Emirates will not be going to four or five a day from Ireland, he did not rule out three (as Glasgow did). Was THAT just a teaser or is there more to come? Picture shows Joe Tully of Tully’s Travel with Enda Corneille. See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.

TTC christmas partySeasonal venison was on the menu when Travel Corporation hosted the trade at The Residence in Dublin. Sharon Jordan told the guests that ConTiki was continuing to grow in the Irish market, albeit not at the spectacular rate of 2013, and the group’s other products Uniworld were also adding new ships (Uniworld has a new build this year and next) and itineraries. She is particularly excited about the access to Insight’s Iceland programme that new flights will offer in 2015. Red Carnation’s Ashford Castle hotel is expecting a decision on planning permission for the new hotel spa, to be built underground so as not to interfere with the integrity of the building. See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.

Veronica flood mary mckennaVeronica Flood and Mary McKenna of Tour America are photographed at the John Bishop gig at the 3Arena where they hosted members of the travel media. The Liverpool comedian constructed a series of elaborate jokes around the Emirates’ A380 experience, endorsing their product in that obtuse style of his. Elsewhere Etihad paid tribute to the Irish trade at a function thanking for their support at a function in the Shelbourne Hotel.

Snow is in short supply in Europe’s ski resorts as they nervously await their opening. Mild weather has prevented the opening of the Three Valleys until next weekend. Val Thorens has most lifts open with 16 operating on Thursday. The new Club Med at Val Thorens is set to open next weekend. Temperatures fell in the second half of the week, which will help kick start the snow cannons and raised the hopes of resorts of meeting their scheduled opening dates. Many have postponed their opening dates to next weekend.

Tignes is offering good skiing on the Grande Motte glacier while the Double M piste back to Val Claret is open. Several other resorts have also pushed back opening to the same date, including Chamrousse, Les Saises and Villard-de-Lans. As Lillehammer hosted the opening of the ski jump circuit, Norwegian resorts provided open runs and decent base depths. In the US, Squaw Valley plans to open five additional lifts on the upper mountain following storm system that dropped nearly three feet of fresh snow. Mammoth reported 46cm of snow on Wednesday. East coast resorts such as Sunday River also benefitted from new snow this week. New snow fell this week in Wyoming and California, adding to the great early season base in Jackson Hole. The good start to the season in Canada continued with clear skies and cold temperatures providing excellent skiing conditions as more and more lifts opened. New snow is set to fall this weekend and into next week, with Whistler likely to benefit the most.

??????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????Minister Paschal Donohoe and Tourism Ireland CEO Niall Gibbons launched Tourism Ireland’s €35m 2015 marketing campaign. The target over the next 12 months is 7.74m visitors, an increase of 6pc. The long term target is 10m visitors by 2025, aided by an additional 507,000 seats to Ireland. A tweaked online and TV ad campaign for the WAW was showcased at the event, along with a new series of ‘Jump into Ireland’ ads, including the ‘Craic Ireland’ in 48 hours challenge which hopes to attract young mini-breakers during the shoulder season when there is extra capacity . Tourism Ireland is also working on expanding regional gateways, particularly to the South and East which will also benefit from a WAW-like campaign. The joint visa with Britain hopes to attract more visitors from developing markets in India and China, but most of the spending will go towards maintaining the main markets. Picture shows Niall Gibbons, Minister Paschal Donohoe and Brian Ambrose, chairman of Tourism Ireland, at the launch.

Travel Trade

Travel agents are being given the opportunity to win one of six stands for free to exhibit at the Holiday World Show in the RDS on Jan 23-25 2015. This offer is a joint initiative of the ITAA and Holiday World. Members that have won these stands in previous years cannot enter into the draw.

A Travel Corporation agent incentive running until the end of February 2015 is offering €1,000 to the agent and €1,000 to the client if they book an Insight Vacations escorted tour, a Uniworld luxury boutique river cruise, a Contiki trip, or a Red Carnation hotel stay. All booking reference numbers can be sent to Rosanna Leary.

  • gary byrneGary Byrne (pictured) is to join Sunway as Product and Groups Manager. He will be looking after our group and incentive business and also a product manager for some of their European destinations.
  • Tryphavana Cross was announced as the new account director for NYC & Company in Ireland.
  • Daniel Curry has been appointed General Manager at Skytours Travel. Sarah Slattery has departed to establish her travel blog, ie.
  • Amadeus and Worldpay entered a partnership which they say “further simplifies travel payments.”
  • Sunway have added country and location reviews from journalists around the country to their website They can be accessed using the more button at top right then click press and the most recent articles are there for you to view including Lapland, Morocco and Tunisia.
  • Travel agents can win a ‘One4all’ shopping voucher worth €25 if they recommend MSC Cruises as a first-choice option to the cruise line’s mystery shopper. Winners will be entered in to a draw taking place on December 19 to win a €500 voucher.
  • Air France KLM is seeking an Account Manager, based in Dublin. Clickandgo is seeking a Product Administrator.
  • Aer Lingus is seeking a Corporate Programme Manager within the Finance Department.
  • The Commission for Aviation Regulation is seeking a Head of Economic Affairs.
  • British travel agents association ABTA is launching a national print advertising campaign using the consumer strapline: ‘Travel with confidence’ on Sunday December 28.
  • Terra Travel from Lurgan and Downpatrick’s Downe Travel owned by Marie Gallagher won awards at the Jet2 Travel Awards in Leeds.
  • John Galligan complained that we may have a new Minister but we have the same old mantra. Do nothing until Europe does it for us.
  • Travelport announced Matt Minetola as its new Chief Information Officer.
  • Thomson reported a surge in bookings for Lapland from couples, crediting the success of the Disney animation Frozen.
  • Travel Professionals Skillnet training: Managing on the Frontline with Jerry Kelly of First HRD, Tuesday Dec 9, 9.30am-5.30pm, cost: €100 members or €150 non-members, more info/bookings. Two Excel courses for €150 if you book and pay online by Dec 17, contact Fionnuala for more: 01-4179696 FETAC Level 5 occupational first aid, 9.30am-5.30pm December 10, 11 and 17, cost: €220 members or €280 non-members, more info/bookings. Fire Warden Training, 9.30am-5.30pm December 16, cost: €120 members or €170 non-members. Upselling Skills, Dec 16, 9.30am-5.00pm, free of charge, more info/bookings. Facebook Marketing, Dec 18, 10.30am-2pm, cost: €70, more info/bookings.
  • GuestLogix, which provides payment technology solutions for airlines and travel brands, is to acquire Dublin-based OpenJaw Technologies for €33.4m.
  • ETOA is offering members a reduced rate to exhibit at its pavilion at the Travel & Adventure shows in Los Angele, Washington DC, Chicago, San Francisco, San Diego, Dallas and Philadephia.

Deal Watch

  • Stena Line is offering a 2-night ferry and accommodation break from Dublin to Holyhead or Rosslare to Fishguard from €159pps/€175pps when Ireland take on Wales in Cardiff during the 2015 RBS 6 Nations on Saturday, March 14.
  • Falcon is offering 7 nights all-inclusive Dublin-Sa Coma, Majorca from €769pps, depart June 6.
  • Silversea’s new Silver Wave promotion is offering guests a complimentary suite upgrade and $1,000 on board spending credit per suite for bookings made by Dec 31 for select voyages in 2015.
  • Thomson is offering 7 nights all-inclusive Shannon-Ca’n Picafort, Majorca from €529pp, depart May 9.
  • Click and Go’s Disneyland Paris offers in Prestige Val d’Europe, travel Feb 17-18: 3 nights Double Standard from €260pp incl. return flights Dublin-Paris, taxes and charges; 3 nights Quadruple Standard from €955 for two adults and two children (under 12) incl. return flights Dublin-Paris, taxes and charges; 3 nights Triple Standard from €765 for two adults and two children (under 12) incl. return flights Dublin-Paris, taxes and charges.
  • Click and Go’s Valentine’s Day city breaks: 2 nights at DoubleTree by Hilton, Chelsea London from €185pp, depart Feb 14; 3 nights at Aranea Hotel, Barcelona from €199pp, depart Feb 13; 2 nights at WetCord Art Hotel, Amsterdam from €215pp, depart Feb 14; 3 nights at Jorge V Hotel, Lisbon from €245pp, depart Feb 13; and 4 nights at DoubleTree by Hilton, Istanbul from €399pp, depart Feb 12.
  • Sunway is offering 7 nights all inclusive at the Hotel Costa Calero, Spain from €929pp incl. flights and transfers, travel April 2015.
  • NITB hotel offers of the week: 1 night B&B in the Bushmills Inn Hotel, Bushmills from £98pps incl. Prosecco and strawberries on arrival, £50 credit per room towards dinner in the hotel restaurant, available until Dec 31, call 028 2073 3000 to book. 1 night Deluxe Double/Twin room in Tara Lodge, Belfast from £50pps incl. Prosecco on arrival, £25 Victoria Square voucher and late check out until 2pm, available on selected dates until Feb 2014, call 028 9059 0900 to book. 1 night B&B in The Watermill Lodge, Enniskillen from £62.50pps incl. evening meal, available until Dec 24, call 028 6772 4369 to book. 2 nights B&B at Best Western Plus White Horse Hotel, Derry from £79pps incl. 1 four course evening meal, use of leisure centre and half price taxi far to and from the city, available until March 31, call 028 7186 0606 to book.
  • ITAA offers of the week: 4 nights at Rialto Hotel, Barcelona from €229pps incl. return flights from Cork, transfers and free insurance, depart January 25; 7 nights B&B at Du Pacha Hotel, Marrakech from €175pps incl. return flights from Dublin, depart February 4; 4 nights B&B Guided Mountain Bike Holiday, Spain from €569pps incl. return flights and private transfers, 1 checked bag pp, bike rental and 2 guided cycles through Montegre National Park.
  • Abbey Hotel, Roscommon is offering wedding packages starting at €49. Call 090 6626240 for more info.


  • Docklands Business ForumThe Gibson hotel in the Point Village won the Best Hospitality Award at the Docklands Business Awards. Picture shows Ciara Scully of Fáilte Ireland, Doireann O’Neill and Gillian Dowling from the Gibson Hotel and Michael Harte, Chairman from Dublin Docklands.
  • Business travel bed bank HRS said London (average room rate €174) is Europe’s most expensive capital to stay in for business people during the last three quarters of 2014 ahead of Zurich (€152) and Copenhagen (€142). Prague is cheapest at €69 per night, followed by Warsaw and Budapest at €71 per night.
  • A three-storey underwater hotel opened off the island of Pemba in Zanzibar’s archipelago.
  • To mark its 30th anniversary, The Westbury Hotel partnered with the Irish Handmade Glass Company to create a limited edition Irish glass bauble, available to buy in the hotel for €22. All proceeds go towards Focus Ireland.
  • The Oetker Collections’ Brenners Park-Hotel in Baden-Baden, Germany will open a new spa in the Villa Stéphanie on January 15, 2015.
  • Shangri La hotels and resorts are offering guests who book the Holiday Escape deal complimentary breakfast and up to $200 in food and beverage credit per stay. Guests who arrive by hotel limousine will be given free Wi-Fi in the car. Children under six will be given a complimentary buffet meals in all day dining and pool cafés.
  • Saudi billionaire prince Alwaleed Bin Tlal Bin Abdulaziz is set for a full takeover of the Plaza hotel in New York. He already has a 25pc stake in the property and hopes to bout the 75pc owned by Indian businessman Subrata Roy.


The final film in The Hobbit trilogy premiered in London on Monday. The film was shot in New Zealand across more 150 locations. The event was marked with the launch of new evening dinner tours of Hobbiton and new experiences at Weta Workshop.

IdeaWorksCompany and CarTrawler released a 19-page report on ancillary revenue innovations from airlines and other travel companies. Download here (requires sign-up).

mitm puebla cropMITM Americas, Meetings & Incentive Travel Market and Cultourfair, International Cultural Travel Fair opened in Puebla, Mexico, with a Welcome Reception at the Lago de La Concordia. Picture shows Roberto Trauwitz Echeguren, Tourism Secretary of the State of Puebla, Charo Trabado, General Manager of GSAR Marketing and Matthijs de Kool, Executive Director of Convenciones y Parques)

  • Lithuania_0311a (EN)Lithuania will be bringing the interactive screen to their stand at the Holiday World Show. Picture shows the stand in action in Berlin.
  • TUI Travel Accommodation & Destinations maintains strong growth in 2014, increasing sales by 10pc to €4,048m. Nearly half of searches for Thomson and First Choice holidays were made on mobile phones and tablets in 2014, according to figures released by parent TUI.
  • Many Crystal Ski Holidays are offering up to 50 per cent off on Christmas ski departures when booked by December 13.
  • Vienna hosted the city’s first Rainbow Christmas Market.
  • The First UNWTO Conference took place on Accessible Tourism in Europe in San Marino.
  • Ellis Island Immigrant Hospital opened to the public.
  • North Korea launched a tourism site, com.
  • Plans for a cable car in the Unesco-listed Phong Nha-Ke Bang national park, Vietnam would give visitors access to the world’s biggest cave, but locals are protesting the project.
  • Vienna opened its first Christmas market for the LGBT community, Pink Christmas in Vienna.
  • The number of outbound tourists from China reached more than 100m at the end of November, according to the China National Tourism Administration.
  • The International Aboriginal Tourism Conference will take place in Quebec City, Canada on March 24-15. Over 300 aboriginal tourism professionals and companies will attend.
  • Boston Convention & Exhibition Centre will increase the number of Wi-Fi access points from 113 to 580.
  • VisitEngland chief executive James Berresford welcomed the £15bn project to improve roads and build a tunnel near
  • Sam’s Club membership warehouse in the US launched a travel mobile app.
  • The second Masaai Olympics will take place in the Sidai Oleng Wildlife Sanctuary, Kajiado, Kenya on December 13. Prizes include a premier breeding bull for the winning village, student scholarships and a sponsored trip for two winning runners to compete in the 2015 New York Marathon.
  • The University of Phoenix Stadium will host LEGO KidsFest from February 27 to March 1.
  • TripAdvisor appointed Heather Leisman in the newly-created role of vice president of industry marketing.
  • The Dead Sea, Israel will host the third annual Grand Fondo cycling race on Jan 10.
  • Virgin Holidays is renovating 12 of its stores in England.

Food & Wine

The Melia Nassau Beach hotel announced details of four new restaurants at the resort, which is undergoing a $19m renovation. The plan includes: Mexican restaurant Cilantro; Japanese Cantonese and Peruvian food by Nikkei; and the Black Angus steakhouse.


Significant disruption is expected at Brussels Airport tomorrow (Monday) as a result of strike action by a wide range of industries across Belgium.

Ryanair 13m Passenger 01Ryanair celebrated 13m passengers through Shannon on Monday but said there would be no new routes from the airport until winter 2015/16. Michael O’Leary said Ryanair is looking at 2 of the 3 Stobart routes, speculated to be Birmingham and Edinburgh, Ryanair also celebrated 40m passengers at Charleroi.

There was concern in Knock at Ryanair’s Shannon announcement, as three of the five routes likely lost to Knock in 2015 had been newly introduced by Ryanair and moved to Shannon: Kaunas, Eindhoven, and Prestwick. GermanWings Cologne had also been transferred to Shannon. Ryanair will not continue Gran Canaria, for 2015 while Manchester has not yet been confirmed. Cork called for the Shannon-Ryanair fees deal to be reviewed.

Travel Extra can confirm that the proposed Dublin to Antalya flight, a charter to be shared between Falcon and Sunway, will not be flying in summer 2015. The proposed Cancun charter is also of the cards for summer 20215 but may be up and running for 2016.

The USA Department of Homeland Security has ruled out a ban on taking carry-on luggage on planes for the time being, but may consider it again in the near future. DHS secretary Jeh Johnson told CNN a ban is “not being considered” at this time.

  • Passenger numbers at Dublin Airport passed the 20m mark last weekend a month earlier than last year
  • Derry airport general manager Julian Benbow resigned and will leave the company in January.
  • Cityjet signed a codeshare deal with Blue Islands. It was reported that CityJet was closing in on its long awaited fleet renewal.
  • Ryanair November traffic jumped 22pc to 6.35m customers. Ryanair revised its full year traffic guidance up from 89m to just over 90m passengers. Ryanair carried 95.4m passengers in the 12 months to end November, up 5pc on the previous year. Ryanair’s November traffic is up 22pc, load factor up 7pc to 88pc and seat capacity up 13pc.
  • Ryanair announced it will open its fourth Portuguese base (No 72 in total) at Ponta Delgada in the Azores on April 1 2015.
  • Aer Lingus short-haul passenger numbers in November were down 7.6pc on last year, short-haul down 9.1pc, long-haul up 28.4pc, the lowest number of short-haul passengers in November since 2007
  • Ryanair is to roll out inflight Wi-Fi within two years.
  • The EU made €3bn available to deliver the Single European Sky. The EU accused the US of breach of joint air transport agreement in by delaing the Norwegian application. Norwegian Air is building ambitious growth plans around narrow-body jets.
  • Private Sky Ireland’s largest business jet operator added Citation X and Gulfstream G650 to its growing fleet.
  • Air France pilots approved the development of Transavia France.
  • Airbus said it expects the first customer for longer-range A321neo in December.
  • The new JAL Sky suite 787 began flying between Tokyo (Narita) and Frankfurt with daily service beginning on December 16, 2014. It has 25 fewer seats than the airline’s existing 787-8, down to 161 passengers from 186.
  • Belfast international airport handling has been bought over by HAE group.
  • German media reported that Lufthansa are investigating plans to build a low-cost airline serving the pan-European market to be called Eurowings and to operate at unit costs 40pc below Lufthansa.
  • 5. Contemporary table setting in Business ClassEtihad enhancements announced this week include luxury hotel-style reception service in First Class, cotton loungewear, mattress and turndown service in Business Class, and anergonomic pillow which converts into a neck pillow in Economy Class. Picture shows the new business class lunch.
  • Westminster Chancellor George Osborne announced the scrapping of APD for children under 12. The move affects passengers flying from the two Belfast and Derry airports. Ryanair announced that it will refund children’s APD to English, Scottish and Welsh customers for the six weeks from 27 March 2015, earlier than any other airline.
  • Flybe announced a new codeshare with Cathay Pacific.
  • Ryanair announced it will refund children’s air tax on British flights from March 27.
  • Etihad - Alitalia Expo Plot Handover - PHOTOAlitalia and Etihad Airways were officially handed over the plot where they will construct a pavilion for Expo Milano 2015.
  • Former Ryanair deputy chief executive and financial officer Howard Millar was appointed to the advisory board of Dublin-based Irelandia Aviation, headed by Declan Ryan.
  • Airlines For America trade group announced the appointment of Melanie Hinton as MD for airline industry public relations and communications.
  • London mayor Boris Johnson was among the passengers who tried to calm a drunken passenger in an air rage incident on a Malaysia Airlines flight from Kuala Lumpur to Heathrow.
  • A 23-year-old woman died on a United Airlines flight from Heathrow to Newark Liberty International Airport on Monday night. A doctor on the flight tried to resuscitate her, but she was declared dead 75 minutes before landing. Her cause of death is unknown.
  • Lufthansa cancelled almost half its long haul flights after yesterday’s pilot strike action.
  • The official delivery of the first of Qatar Airway’s 80 A350 XWB aircraft will take place on December 13 in Toulouse.
  • Macedonian Airlines will be succeeded by a new national carrier during the second half of next year.
  • Qatar Airways’ Manchester-Doha service will go double daily from Feb 15.
  • Belfast International Airport backed Ireland’s bid to host the 2023 Rugby World Cup.
  • The 1,900 seats on Shannon Airport’s Ryanair Santa Flights sold out in 12 minutes.
  • A computer error at Singapore Airlines meant around 900 business class seats were sold at economy prices.
  • Dublin-based aircraft leasing firm Avolon is looking to raise $286m-$314 in an IPO on the New York Stock Exchange.
  • British Airways increased Unaccompanied Minor charges: $125 per direction for domestic flights; $125 per direction for European flights; and $150 per direction for longhaul flight.
  • Aer Lingus transported Leona the Loggerhead Turtle from Dublin to Gran Canaria on Tuesday, over one year since she was found on the beach at Quilty, Co Clare. Since then the turtle has been rehabilitated at the Galway Atlanticquarium and is now fully recovered.
  • Etihad - airberlin Inaugural Stuttgart Flight - PHOTOEtihad Airways and airberlin celebrated the launch of the German carrier’s daily Stuttgart-Abu Dhabi service. Picture shows the inaugural flight receiving a water canon salute at Abu Dhabi International Airport.
  • Ethiopian Airlines announced that it has started three weekly flights to Doha, Qatar.
  • Captain Ian Baston (middle) with (L-R) David Taylor, Andrea Malavisi, Richard Van Leeuwen and Kasper PetersenFour Flybe trainee pilots were the first to be awarded a Multi-Crew Pilot License by the Dutch Civil Aviation Authority. Picture shows David Taylor, Andrew Malavisi, Captain Ian Baston, Richard Van Leeuwen and Kasper Petersen.
  • Ireland is to introduce the Single European Rules of the Air (legislation (EC 923/2012) on Thursday, December 4 In tandem with all other EU Member States.
  • Woodgate Aviation is investing £1.5m in a new hangar at Belfast International Airport to cope with an increase in demand.
  • Estonia joined Eurocontrol.
  • Qatar Airways will take delivery of the first customer A350-900 next week on December 13.
  • Pilots from across Europe warned against practices which they say threaten to diminish the aviation industry in Europe.
  • Air Canada will resume 4w non-stop service from Toronto to Delhi from 1 November 2015 using B787.


Celebrity Cruises ordered the first two in a new class of ships from French shipbuilder STX France. The first ship is up for delivery in autumn 2018, with the second delivered in the early part of 2020.Two 2,900-guest, 984 feet long, 123 feet wide and 190 feet high, 117,000-gross-registered-ton ships, developed under the project name EDGE will build upon the brand’s Millennium and Solstice class ships. Based upon current ship orders, projected capital expenditures for full year 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2018 are $1.4bn, $1.5bn, $2.3bn,$0.4bn and $2.2bn, respectively. Capacity increases for 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2018 are expected to be 2.4pc, 5.5pc, 6.7pc, 3.8pc and 4.3pc

  • Norwegian Cruise Line signed a partnership with Jimmy Buffet’s Margaritaville.
  • Silversea released two new brochures showcasing 300 luxury cruises sailing in 2015 and the first quarter of 2016. It also launched the redesigned com website.
  • Carnival officially shut down its Spanish cruise line Iberocruceros. Costa has absorbed the Iberocruceros’ market.
  • Costa Cruises released details of their joint Costa Cruise Tours programme, which combines three-night land tours with seven-night Costa cruises.
  • Seabourn confirmed a second new-build ship to join the fleet in spring 2018.
  • G Adventures cancelled an Antarctica cruise after an engine failed on its expedition cruise ship.
  • jason montagueNorwegian Cruise Line appointed Jason Montague (pictured) as President and Chief Operating Officer of Prestige Cruise Holdings.
  • Stena Line’s shopping day trip on the Dublin-Holyhead and Rosslare-Fishguard routes (until Dec 17): £5pp return fare gives you access to Stena Line’s on board shopping. Receive a £5 retail voucher when you spend over £25.
  • Richard Branson confirmed plans to launch two Virgin Cruises ships. No date was set.


Dublin is to target €55m revenue with 8pc growth in conferences in 2015.

The Irish Tourism Industry Confederation analysis of the CSO figures January to October showing 8.8pc growth commented that Ireland has outperformed the growth in international travel around the world this year, winning market share in some key source markets, despite a fall off in the pace of growth in recent months. Ireland has clearly been gaining share of the US to Europe market over the past two years. Travel by US citizens to Europe was up 6m to 1.2m travellers in September, Europe has an 18pc share of the US outbound market.

A Restaurants Association of Ireland survey found that 58pc of people feel intimidated by people who look for money and beg on Dublin streets, nine out of ten view aggressive begging as having a negative impact on the attractiveness of Dublin city and two out of three say they don’t see enough Gardaí patrolling the streets.

George Best Belfast City AirportPassengers arriving in to Belfast City Airport will now be able to access visitor information via a new welcome information ‘pod’ installed by Visit Belfast. Picture shows Visit Belfast Chief Executive, Gerry Lennon, with Katy Best, Commercial & Marketing Director at Belfast City Airport and Councillor Deirdre Hargey from Belfast City Council.

NITB Dublin Showcase 1NITB said the turnout for the Big Start of the Giro exceeded the target of 140,000 visitors with the final figure of attendance across the race and its associated Festival activity around Northern Ireland reaching 230,000, NITB supported the MTV EMA’s in 2011, the Irish Open in 2012, the G8 World Leaders Summit in 2013 and the Giro d’Itaila in 2014. Picture shows Niall Gibbons (Tourism Ireland), Dominick Chilcott (British Ambassador) Minister Arlene Foster and Howard Hastings (NITB Chairman) at the NITB Dublin showcase.

Monart have announced a Master Detox Programme for Spring 2015 plus a brand new Pilates Retreat which will be taking place in January and also in March.

westcoastweddingsireland captioned 1_edited-3Michelle McDermott of Limerick-based Dream Ireland Wedding and Evelyn Woodard of Woodard Photography (pictured) launched the on Monday, a website that aims to attract international destination wedding business. The website will showcase wedding specialists and vendors on vendor listings, live blogs, social media campaigns and an online wedding TV channel.

A €1.9m bid for Ireland to host the 2023 Rugby World Cup was launched by Enda Kenny, Peter Robinson and Martin McGuinness in Armagh on Friday. Irish Rugby Football Union said the event has the potential to attract over 350,000 visitors to Ireland. “We have the fans, the stadiums, and the accessibility to make it a world cup to remember,” the Taoiseach said. “Irish people love our sport. We are passionate about sport and celebrate it. We want to share the Irish sporting experience with the world by inviting the world to Ireland.”

Northern ireland chamber ballPicture shows Danny Kennedy, Liza Hammond, Oonagh O’Reilly and Mukesh Sharma at the NI Chamber of Commerce and Industry Presidents Banquet 2014.

The NTA said public bus companies will be fined if drivers are rude, buses are dirty and if the first and last service of the day leaves earlier or later than scheduled. Bus Éireann and Dublin Bus must also respond to complaints on Twitter within an hour.

Minister Paschal Donohoe announced that a further €100m will be invested in the public transport network next year.

The government is to provide €162m additional funding for Iarnród Éireann.

?????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????Rudy Maxa, host of US radio travel show Rudy Maxa’s World, and co-presenter Bob Carey broadcast live from the Guildhall in Derry. More than 700,000 listeners tuned in across 170 local stations in the US. Odhran Dunne of Visit Derry, Martin McCrossan of Derry City Tours and Michelle Murray of the Maritime Museum appear on the show. Prior to the show, Rudy went on a guided walk of the city’s walls and visited St Columb’s Cathedral. He stayed at the Beech Hill Country House Hotel. Meanwhile, Bob was in the Lough Erne Resort and spoke to the hotel’s executive chef, Noel McMeel, and local butcher Pat O’Doherty. He also visited Enniskillen where he interviewed Patricia McCauley, the visitor centre manager at Belleek Pottery. Picture shows Rudy Maxa with Garvin Kerr of Derry City Tours, Deputy Mayor Alderman Gary Middleton, Odhran Dunne of Visit Derry and Michelle Murray of the Guildhall and Tower Museum.

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Travel Extra’s Sunday Supplement: Last call for Wings Abroad



Lorraine Kenny of Ask Susan watches Eoghan Corry of Travel Extra and Marie Claire Porter of Sunway play chess on board AmaCerto on the Rhine.

The headlines this week:

*Dublin to become Europe’s sixth busiest transatlantic hub

*CSO: Outbound travel up 6.9pc, inbound travel up 6.7pc

*Inside the doors of the Dean

*Ryanair’s 35-second ‘turnaround’

*Westport and Kinsale named Ireland’s tourism towns

Travel Extra TV

Passengers-push-jetVideo of the week shows passengers pushing a UTair jet after its brakes froze in -52C temperatures at Igarka airport, Russia. Watch here.

  • Eoghan Corry’s video shows guests dancing on board the inaugural cruise of the refurbished and elongated MSC Armonia – it’s unusual not to see Travel Extra’s editor dancing himself! Watch here.
  • Discover Northern Ireland’s discover Derry series: Events in Derry (watch here); Uncover the legend of the walled city (watch here); History at the Tower Museum (watch here); and Visit the Guildhall (watch here).
  • Discover Northern Ireland showcases Belfast Christmas Market at the grounds of Belfast City Hall until December 21. Watch here.
  • A Dreamliner 787 was donated to the Seattle’s Museum of Flight. Watch here.
  • The United States Embassy in Dublin introduces the exhibition celebrating the embassy’s 50th Watch here.
  • Flybe introduces the Dublin-LCY route (watch here) and Dublin-Inverness (watch here).
  • Jet landing in heavy fog at Dublin Airport. Watch here.
  • Da Mao the giant panda plays in the snow at Toronto Zoo. Watch here.
  • A mysterious and soundless yellow flash lights up the night sky in Sverdlovsk, Russia. It is not clear what caused the effect, but it was most likely military tests, a rocket launch, a meteor or a factory explosion. Watch here.
  • A “second life” for waste at Airbus. Watch here.
  • TAT’s ‘I Hate Thailand’ viral video received over 1.7m views. Watch here.
  • The Ocean Brothers freedivers demonstrate how they are able to walk “on” water. Watch here.


Wingsabroad_7688Three, two, and now one. Friday’s acquisition of WingsAbroad by Sunway has transformed the Irish market to Turkey for summer 2015. WingsAbroad was the tour operating wing of Peninsula Tours which has been offering Irish holiday-makers value holidays in Turkey for 25 years in Kusadasi, Bodrum and Altinkum. The portfolio includes the Golden Wings in Kusadasi, the Marina Hotel, Grand Onder, Palm Wings Beach Resort and Melissa Apartments, which has an Irish pub.

For existing clients of Wings Abroad, there will be no disruption to services and Sunway will be in contact with these clients or their travel agents, in relation to their forthcoming travel arrangements. Detail of the 2015 programme will be finalised at a meeting tomorrow (Monday), and there is likely to be a reduction in capacity for summer 2015. Tayfun Gokpinar the former MD of Wings Abroad Ireland, who is in Istanbul this week, will depart the operation while John and Joan Scanlon and Stephen Long will be joining Sunway.

For the past four seasons, Turkey was regarded as oversupplied and underpriced, with Thomas Cook (originally Sunworld) leading the market followed by Sunway before WingsAbroad entered in 2011 with 10,000 seats increasing to 12,500 seats in 2013 and 13,500 seats in 2014. Thomas Cook withdrew abruptly form the 2014 season. Now WingsAbroad programme has been taken over by Sunway. Aer Lingus have increased their Izmir programme in 2015 and Dublin will regain the flights to Antalya it lost when Thomas Cook withdrew. Wings Abroad Ireland continued after the closure of Peninsula’s separate London based operation in June 2012.

thedeanThe 52 bedroom Dean Hotel opened at 33 Harcourt Street, Dublin last weekend. Beds range from the smaller Mod Pods and Punk Bunks to double and twin rooms with dual aspect Hi-Fi’s, two luxury suites – the Devlin and the James – and a two bedroom penthouse with a huge living space. Rooms feature Rega turntables, vinyl and books from Tower Records, Marshall amps, Nespresso machines, SMEG fridges, Irish munchie trays, Light’n’soft duvets, fluffy pillows, rainforest showers, Grafton Barber bathroom products, Smart TVs, Netflix, Wi-Fi and air conditioning. Public spaces are hung with €250,000’s worth of artworks from emerging Irish artists featuring fine art, typography, street art and photography.  F&B includes the Dean Bar on the ground floor and the Rooftop Terrace from 7am, Sophie’s roof top bar offering a panoramic view of Dublin and the formal Blue Room on the first floor. The hotel, the capital’s first opening since the Marker in April 2013, styles itself “a luxury residence that sets the scene with strong contemporary design and a great soundtrack and finishes with warm, friendly service and a great sense of humour”.

Dublin Airport will have a record 162 transatlantic flights a week next summer during peak season, meaning it will overtake Rome to become Europe’s sixth busiest transatlantic hub, not far behind Madrid. The flights include seven daily to New York (5 JFK, 2 to Newark), four daily to Chicago, two daily to Boston, 18 weekly to Toronto, 11 weekly to Dulles, daily to Atlanta, Philadelphia, Charlotte, San Francisco and St John’s, four weekly to Orlando and three weekly to Los Angeles. Altanta, Charlotte and Philadelphia will operate larger aircraft. Early departures to Atlanta and the new Aer Lingus JFK flight will help answers questions about a shortage of widebody stands in Terminal 2.

amacertoAma Waterways hosted Irish trade and media on its flagship AmaCerto on a Christmas markets river cruise from Basel to Amsterdam this week. Marie Claire Porter from Sunway, Ama’s GSA in Ireland hosted the group which took in excursions to Freiburg, Strasbourg and Heidelberg. Rivercruise is the fastest growing sector within the Irish travel trade and the group found some of Sunway’s customers on the cruise. See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook

CITYJET AND STOBART PARTNERSHIP-5Stobart Air CEO Julian Carr has resigned after just six months. Sean Brogan, Stobart Air chairman, has taken over the day-to-day running of the airline. He is pictured with Christine Ourmieres, CEO of Cityjet at the launch of partnership between the airlines last week.

The CSO reported that outbound travel by Irish residents was up 6.9pc for August-October 2014, the highest growth since the recession began, and inbound travel to Ireland was up 6.7pc. If the increases of 9pc in inbound tourism, 9pc from Britain, 14.5pc from N America, and 10pc from long haul are born out for the 32 counties until the end of the year, Ireland can expect 8.65m tourists in 2014, 4.2m from Britain and 1.2m from N America.

Ryanair’s EGM to approve an order for up to 200 B737 Max aircraft lasted just 35 seconds. Three external shareholders attended the meeting at the airline’s headquarters in Swords. 99.93pc of votes approved the order. Non-executive director James Osbourne asked Michael O’Leary to say a few words, but he declined. The meeting was closed and the room was quickly vacated for cabin crew training.

Westport and Kinsale were named Ireland’s National Large Tourism Town and National Small Tourism Town at the Tourism Towns Awards presented by Minister Michael Ring and Fáilte Ireland. Both towns received a €5,000 grant towards developing themselves as tourism destinations. Other commended towns were: Ardmore, Waterford; Carick on Shannon, Leitrim; Cobh, Cork; Glengarriff, Cork; Kilkenny, Kilkenny; Killarney, Kerry; Lismore, Waterford; Portmagee, Kerry.

Travel Trade

sunway team & sami tounsi (2)Sunway and Tunisia National Tourist Office hosted travel trade and media at an event in Dublin to reflect on a successful 2014 programme. Sami Tounsi from the Tunisia NTO told the guests he was very happy with Ireland’s performance in sales to Tunisia. Tanya Airey thanked the trade for all their support and Sunway is delighted that Tunisia has well and truly made its mark in Ireland and is seen as a great value and very beautiful sun destination.

Preferred 2 at K clubTerri McCollin and Brenda Collin of Preferred Hotel Group on a visit to the K Club in Straffan. Preferred markets 650 luxury hotels in 85 countries and is growing, including five in Ireland, Dromoland, the Dylan, Fitzwilliam, Europe in Killarney and K Club.

Declan O’Connell’s Lee Travel, with six shops based in the Cork region, has chosen Galileo as the preferred GDS.

Travel Counsellors reported sales growth of 11pc at their annual conference in Manchester.

thomas cook share price nov 26 2014Shares in Thomas Cook Group plummeted 18pc in London trading after Harriet Green, the chief executive behind the revival of the ailing travel agent’s fortunes, abruptly quit. Company COO Peter Fankhauser will replace Harriet Green who said: “The transformation of Thomas Cook into a company with a market capitalisation of just under £2bn and a share price of over 130 pence is one I have been proud to lead. I always said that I would move on to another company with fresh challenges once my work was complete. That time is now.”

niall-mc-donnellRed Sea Holidays is to launch in Ireland with an allocation on Falcon Holidays charter flights from Dublin to Sharm El Sheikh starting summer 2015. Former CEO of Panorama and MyTravel Ireland, Niall McDonnell (pictured), is to head up the business.

Thomas Cook sent a letter to suppliers of back office services six weeks ago telling them it would now be paying them in 90 days, as opposed to the 60-day period it had previously used.

John spollen john cassidy (2)John Cassidy and John Spollen were joint winners of the services to the industry award at the Irish Travel Trade News event on Friday night. Irish Travel Trade News celebrates 50 years of publication this year.

Amadeus confirmed TAM Airlines as its launch partner on its new solution to allow airlines to better manage delayed and cancelled flights.

From early 2015, over CarTrawler is to add car, limousine with driver, taxi, shuttle service and GPS-located transport options for 500m airline passengers. Many of these products are already available and the company has plans for significant expansion of this portfolio in 2015. Bobby Healy, CTO of CarTrawler said the company has anticipated the need for a more comprehensive range of ground transportation solutions that can be personalised by customer, by country and by continent.

Dubai reported a 19pc increase in Irish visitors this August to 3,301, compared with 2,775 in August 2013.

ama-waterwaysPictured in Strasbourg on an Ama Waterways hosted river cruise press trip with Sunway to the Christmas Markets of the Rhineland, Eoghan Corry of Travel Extra, Marie Claire Porter of Suwnay, Lorraine Kenny of Ask Susan, Anna Kenny of the Sunday Independent, Katie Byrne of the Irish Independent and Ros Drinkwater of the Sunday Business Post.

Perowne Charles Communications is now representing Six Senses Hotels, Resorts & Spas, which will add resorts in Seychelles, Chengdu and Douro Valley to its 2015 portfolio

The Irish Strategic Investment Fund is considering investing in the tourism sector, fund director Michael Lee told the fifth annual Tourism Policy Workshop last weekend.

cauvery madhavan base camp copy (2)Picture shows Travel Extra contributor Cauvery Madhavan with a copy of the magazine at Everest Base Camp.

British Airway’s new seat sale to the USA: selling until the December 8, for travel from the December 3 – May 31; New York €192, Boston €206, Austin €242, Los Angeles €184, San Francisco €220, Las Vegas €246, Orlando €200, and Philadelphia €226. See your GDS for full details.

Travel Professionals Skillnet training: Facebook Advanced Advertising training with Carole Smith from SynNeo, Tuesday Dec 2,9.30am-1pm, cost: €70, more info/bookings. Managing on the Frontline with Jerry Kelly of First HRD, Tuesday Dec 9, 9.30am-5.30pm, cost: €100 members or €150 non-members, more info/bookings. Two Excel courses for €150 if you book and pay online by Dec 17, contact Fionnuala for more: 01-4179696 or FETAC Level 5 occupational first aid, 9.30am-5.30pm December 10, 11 and 17, cost: €220 members or €280 non-members, more info/bookings. Fire Warden Training, 9.30am-5.30pm December 16, costs: €120 members or €170 non-members.

Travel Professionals Skillnet is also offering a 70pc discount on their Advance Excel programme on March 12, 9am-5pm, Dublin. Participants can choose from a list 22 topics. For more information, contact Fionnuala on 01-4179696 or

Deal Watch

  • ITAA offers: 7 nights self-catering Leaving Cert Hotel at International II Apartments, Salou from €425pp incl. return flights from Dublin and transfers, depart July 2; 4 nights camping at Puccini Rivera Mobile, Rome from €1,115 for two adults and two children incl. return flights from Dublin and 1-day Rome Sightseeing Bus Hop on-Hop off tour, depart June 2015; 7 nights all inclusive at Da Balaia Apartments, Albufeira from €1,899 for two adults and two children incl. return flights from Cork, baggage and transfers, depart May 24.
  • Click and Go is offering 2 nights in five-star Radisson Blu Es Hotel, Rome from €289pp return flights from Dublin, taxes and charges; depart February 13, 2015.
  • Sunway is offering 10 nights full board on Norwegian Jade from €599pp inside cabin, return flights from Dublin and $100 to spend on board, depart Dec 3.
  • Globe Hotels is offering 7 nights half board at Pilot Beach Resort, Crete from €254pps, depart April 27. Book by today: 01-2569529 or
  • Camino Ways early bird offers: 7-day Camino de Santiago, Sarria-Santiago from €492pps incl. luggage transfer and holiday pack; 7-day Via Francigena in Tuscany, San Miniato-Siena from €578pps incl. luggage transfer and holiday pack.
  • Powder White is offering 2-for-1 ski passes in Courchevel 1850 resort for dates after Jan 3.
  • Falcon is offering 7 nights self-catering Dublin-Porto Rico, Gran Canaria from €1,279pp for two adults and one child, depart June 6.
  • Thomson is offering 7 nights self-catering Dublin-Playa de Las Americas, Tenerife from €1,379 for two adults and one child, departs May 22.
  • Sunway offers, departing May 2015: 7 nights self-catering Orlando Disney Private Holiday Home from €610pp incl. 7 day SUV car hire; 3 nights B&B Ocean View Hotel, Dubai from €870pp; and 7 nights all-inclusive Barcelo Solymar, Varadero, Cuba from €1,099pp.
  • Travel Department’s yoga holiday to the Algarve: 5-nights B&B in Memmo Baleeira Hotel, Sagres from €699pps incl. return flights, evening meal each day, 8 yoga sessions, taxes and charges.
  • Quick Park offering parking at Dublin Airport from €3 per day (book online). Bookings before December 31 will receive complimentary family pass for CityScape Dublin Luxury Sightseeing and free admission for a night at the dogs.


  • La Chenevière became the first five-star hotel in le Bessin, Normandy.
  • According to Trivago, the average hotel price in Dublin for New Year’s Eve is €147.
  • Thermes Marins Monte-Carlo re-opened after a refurbishment programme.
  • The restoration and refurbishment of Killarney House is due to be completed next month, and it is expected to open next year.


A survey by travel money specialists No 1 Currency showed that Irish tourists have more than €110m in foreign currency stashed in their homes. Of those who travelled outside of the Eurozone, Britain is the most popular destination (44pc) followed very closely by the US at 42pc. Australia and Canada follow at 9pc and 8pc respectively, with a further 7pc visiting Asia.

  • The Tourism Council of Bhutan announced that visitor numbers from Jan-Sept rose to 88,138 from 75,771 last year.
  • The International Mediterranean Tourism Market will take place in Tel Aviv at the Israel Trade Fair and Convention Centre on February 10 and 11, 2015.
  • Bermuda will host the 2017 America’s Cup.
  • Portugal was named world’s best destination at the 2014 World Golf Awards.
  • Italy is looking to ban trolley cases in Venice due to the noise and damage caused to the cobbled streets.
  • Cambodia is to build a memorial and museum in Phnom Penh dedicated to the victims of genocide. Construction is expected to begin next year.
  • A Russian tourist was fined €20,000 and given a four-year suspended sentence for carving a 10-inch ‘K’ into a wall of the
  • The glass walkway over the River Thames in London was cracked two weeks after it opened by a stiletto and a dropped beer bottle.
  • Uber is close to raising a round of financing that will value it at $35bn-$40bn. Investors reckon the start-up is more valuable than Twitter and Hertz, according to Bloomberg.
  • Qatar Airways will sponsor the St Andrew Square Ice Rink in Edinburgh.

Food & Wine

The Christmas Food Emporium opens at the National Crafts & Design Fair in the RDS. The event takes place from December 3 to 7, 10am-10pm and until 7pm on Saturday and Sunday. Over 100 artisan food producers will feature in the food emporium.  Tickets €10.

Portugal gained 14 Michelin stars for 2015 adding two new restaurants in Portugal, making in total 17 stars.

Lonely Planet’s best places for extreme eating, including snake soup in China, guinea pig in Peru and Witchetty grubs, Australia. Read here.

Thirty skiers and snowboarders will be selected to dine in two Vanoise Express cable cars suspended 380 metres in the air. The five-course menu will be prepared by Michelin star chef Stéphane Foidevaux. Those who register a Paradiski lift pass between Feb 7 and 10 will be entered into a draw. The dinner will take place Feb 12.


The remaining PSO routes from Dublin to Kerry and Donegal were both awarded to Stobart Air. Donegal-Dublin was previously operated by Loganair with Flybe branding.

CSA Czech Airlines will re-launch Cork-Prague for summer 2015 using an A319. OK676 will operate on Thursdays and Sundays from Prague. OK677 will operate on Friday and Mondays from Cork.

Transavia will fly daily from Dublin to Paris Orly next year, flying at 09.05 on Saturday and 19.55 on every other day, returning at 06.30 on Saturdays and 18.20 every other day.

Aer Lingus Regional is to fly 4w from Dublin to Newquay from May 1, increasing to 5w a week in the peak, the first direct service to Cornwall since Air Southwest closed its routes to Cork and Dublin in September 2011.

Luxair will commence a weekly charter to Faro next summer. Flights to Antalya will also resume next summer for the first time since Thomas Cook closed their operations in Ireland.

United are to fly Dublin-Chicago between June 4 and August 17 next summer, leaving Dublin at 09.50 and O’Hare at 18.05 daily.  Flight times will be seven hours 30 minutes eastbound and eight hours 25 minutes westbound. The flights will operate using Boeing 757-200 with 16 flat-bed seats business class, 45 in economy plus and 153 in economy.  United will also be adding New York to Venice and Washington to Paris in summer 2015.

Two more Irish CEOs have been appointed to head up airlines abroad: Dick Creagh to Meridiana Fly in Sardinia and Paul Byrne to flynas in Saudi Arabia.

Christine Ourmières said a decision on fleet renewal at Cityjet won’t be made until summer next year and such a decision is “complex”.  She expects the airline to break-even in 2015 and be profitable in 2016.

Michael O’Leary is coming to Shannon tommorrow Monday to celebrate the airlines 13 millionth passenger through the airport. He told the CEO Forum conference in Dublin Castle that Ryanair was “the biggest international airline in the world, it’s not Pan Am, it’s not British Airways, it’s a bunch of bloody Paddies based out in Swords.” He also said “we can’t be Robin Hood anymore, we have to be the cuddly caring sherriff of Nottingham.” Both Michael O’Leary and Kenny Jacobs talked up the possibility of Ryanair starting a tranatlantic subsisiday in three to five years at separate internatinal conferences. Éist anseo le Eoghan Corry eagarthoir Travel Extra air an eide tugtha ag Michael O’ Leary go b’fhéadfadh sé tarlú nach fada go mbeidh an aerlíne ag freastal ar an mbealach tras-Atlantach idir an Eoraip agus Stát Aontaithe Mheiriceá.

Ryanair plans to remove paper from the flight deck, eliminating 15kgs of manuals from each cockpit, and with Ryanair operating over 550,000 flights annually, creating fuel savings, while also eliminating more than 10 million pages of paper documentation.

Flybe is to operate a new year round service from George Best Belfast City Airport to Liverpool John Lennon Airport from February 2,

Germanwings is to operate from Cologne to Shannon next summer, replacing the airline’s route from Cologne to Knock.

Shannon Airport CEO Neil Pakey told anna aero the airport is targeting 1.7m passengers this year and is aiming for 2.5m in five years. In the past we made the mistake of just route chasing. We’re expecting a lot of growth through frequency build and aircraft upgrade. The hub connectivity over Heathrow is very strong and the transit to Shannon from the US is second to none. We’d like another hub carrier over the USA, maybe from Africa, the Gulf and Asia. We have reversed the five-year decline in passenger numbers and are back in growth in 2014. We just announced 28pc growth in October, which is pretty astounding. We will consolidate now, ensure that all the new routes we have added are used and that we bring in new tourists to the region from the USA and other continents.”

Ryanair’s legal case against screenscrapers which re-sell its flights on their own websites will be heard in the Republic following a Supreme Court ruling. Billigfluege, On the Beach and Ticketpoint are seeking to overturn a High Court ruling that the Irish courts had the jurisdiction to hear the case.

Norwegian Air Shuttle CEO Bjørn Kjos told the International Aviation Club in Washington DC that Norwegian’s trans-Atlantic operation is based in Ireland because Norway is too isolated to serve as the base for a global long-haul network and that  Irish labour laws played no role in the decision to base Norwegian Air International in Ireland.  “It has nothing to do with labour costs, I didn’t even look at the labour laws in Ireland when I was setting up.” He said America’s Transport Authroties ares going against US economic interests by not approving Norwegian’s application.

Estonian Air will offer charter flights from Tallinn to Ireland from June to October 2015 in collaboration with Germalo Reisid.

Dublin Airport transfer passengers were up 38pc on last year to the end of October.  Last year, it had fewer than 550,000 transit passengers for the entire 12 months. This year, with the Christmas period still to come, it is already 100,000 ahead of that number.

Flybe announced that it will add 5 additional weekday flights between London City Airport and Belfast City Airport from Feb 2.

A US Airways passenger brought a pig on board as an emotional support animal. Cabin crew had to paraphrase an old saying: Pigs don’t fly. The animal was ordered off the aircraft. Initially, crew thought the woman was carrying a duffel bag, but the smell was the giveaway.

Ryanair Shannon Santa FlightsShannon Airport will partner again with Ryanair this Christmas to offer ten Santa Flights on December 13 and 14. Bookings can only be made online at

European Commission director general of transport João Aguiar Machado said 20 or more European airports are expected to be operating at 80pc or more capacity by 2035.

A man travelling from Manchester to Cuba for his honeymoon was ordered off the aircraft in Bermuda after drunkenly threatening cabin crew and forcing an emergency landing. His new wife continued the journey without him…and they all lived happily ever after.

SSP charity groupFood outlet SSP, which operates at Belfast International Airport, raised its target of £10,000 for Cancer Research, and expects to break their target with a month of fundraising still left.

CityJet and Stobart Air signed a partnership agreement that will see Stobart operate CityJet’s Cardiff-Edinburgh and Cardiff-Paris routes using an ATR 42 from tomorrow (Dec 1).

  • Stobart Air confirmed that it will cease operations from Shannon Airport to Bristol, Birmingham and Edinburgh from January 5, losing 20 flights a week.
  • Ryanair won a victory against the EU commission in the EU’s second-highest court regarding its complaint against Ireland’s air travel tax. Ryanair claimed that, because the tax was not levied on transit passengers, it constituted state aid for the benefit of rivals Aer Lingus as they had a higher proportion of passengers transferring in Ireland. The Irish position was supported by Germany.
  • An Austrian Airlines flight en route from Vienna to Newark had to divert to Shannon after a passenger on board suffered a suspected heart attack.
  • Malaysia Airlines apologised for a supposedly offensive tweet on Friday. “Want to go somewhere, but don’t know where?” the airline tweeted, which some social media users deemed insensitive. The airline also said its quarterly revenue was down 12pc to 3.33bn ringgit.
  • The same B777-200 jet operated by British Airways had to be diverted to Shannon Airport twice in three days.
  • SAS and Etihad Airways announced plans for their codeshare agreement, including a liaised frequent flyers programme.
  • The court of appeal in England is likely to rule next month on whether Ryanair should cut its stake in Aer Lingus from 29.8pc to 5pc.
  • Etihad now holds a 22.9pc stake in Virgin Australia, the maximum allowed by the Foreign Investment Review Board in Australia.
  • Shannon Group launched a website for the International Aviation Services Centre,
  • Virgin Atlantic is looking to lease two sets of Heathrow slots previously occupied by Little Red.
  • Aer Lingus Regional was awarded the tender to provide services on the Donegal-Dublin and Kerry-Dublin routes.
  • Air France is to transfer all short haul activity to HOP from the beginning of summer 2015.
  • Pre-tax profits at French and US-owned Shannon Engine Support Ltd, an aircraft engine leasing firm based in Shannon, were down 10pc to €36.75m.
  • Brazilian carrier TAM reportedly changed one its flight numbers after clairvoyant Jucelino Nobrega da Luz told the airline that flight number JJ3720 would crash in Sao Paulo en route to Brasilia. TAM changed the flight code to JJ4732.
  • Picture by Philip Hollis for Ryanair  14-11-14Ryanair announced a new partnership with
  • Chief executive of Lufthansa, Carsten Spohr, said the airline has gained a slice of the German domestic market.
  • IATA announced a new voluntary agreement on behalf of members flying to, from and within Europe to help passengers impacted by airline bankruptcy.
  • Christoph Mueller told the Future of Air Transport conference in London that Aer Lingus has been approached by a number of airlines seeking contracts similar to the one it operated with Virgin Atlantic’s Little Red.
  • Niki Ribbon cutting ceremony (1)Etihad Airways celebrated the inaugural flight from Vienna to Abu Dhabi with its codeshare partner, NIKI.
  • Flybe will operate a year-round Liverpool Airport-Belfast City Airport service from Feb 2.
  • Emirates and the Department of Tourism in Dubai launched the ‘See You in Dubai’ campaign this week. The airline uploaded a series of promotional videos to YouTube: Join the waddle (watch here), Conversations in high places (watch here), Dhow journey (watch here), and Beach restaurant (watch here).
  • Qatar Airways sponsored the Journalist of the Year award at the Foreign Press Association’s annual awards.
  • Etihad and Air Seychelles will add three flights per week to their Abu Dhabi-Seychelles route, effective Dec 1.
  • Flybe signed a codeshare agreement with Aer Lingus to offer flights from Southampton Airport to North America via Dublin.


Rosslare Europort is to begin dredging of sand build-up from storms at the harbour breakwater, after two weeks of storms in January and February caused nine times the average annual sand movement. Sand movement was estimated up to 100,000m3, unprecedented given the typical annual average levels of 11,000m3. Iarnród Éireann has allocated funding of €1.4m for this project, and the dredging work is expected to take approximately three weeks.  Normal port operations will continue throughout these works.

Irish Ferries is increasing its Dublin to Holyhead sailing capacity for Christmas drafting in the Isle of Inishmore to serve alongside fast ferry Dublin Swift and Ulysses. The Oscar Wilde will be drafted on to Rosslare to Pembroke to operate the route in addition to its sailings between Ireland and France. Dermot Merrigan said ‘this is our busiest time of the year and we’re preparing for the situation that hit travellers in previous years when bad weather disrupted air travel and sent thousands of passengers in search of alternative means to travel home.

Celebrity Constellation will be based in Abu Dhabi during the winter of 2016-17. A choice of sailings from nine to 15 nights are available, featuring overnights in a choice of destinations such as Dubai and Oman that will offer guests the opportunity to make the most of the winter sun. The cruise line also announced new sailings to India, Asia and South Pacific

  • Norwegian purchased Princess Cruises’ Ocean Princess and intends adding it to the Oceania Cruises fleet under the name Sirena. Norwegian completed its acquisition of Prestige Cruises International for $3.025bn.
  • Holland America is the latest cruise line to introduce single cabins, on Koningsdam, scheduled for delivery 2016. The 2,650-passenger ship will also have family oceanview cabins, a two-tier Queen’s Lounge and two swimming pools, all firsts for NCL.
  • Royal Caribbean’s Majesty of the Seas is to be sold to Spanish cruise line Pullmantur in April 2016.
  • Scenic Cruises’ newest ship, Scenic Spirit, will debut in 2016 on the Mekong.
  • The search for an 84-year-old man who went overboard from the Sun Princess ship in New Zealand was called off.


Failte Ireland Digitisation Conference 001Fáilte Ireland hosted a Dublin Goes Digital conference and launched a new partnership with Enterprise Ireland. Pictured at the conference: Ian Cleary, Razorcoast; Alistair MacGregor, Trip Advisor; Orla Carroll , Fáilte Ireland; Brendan Almack, Wolfgang Digital; and  Alan Coleman, Wolfgang Digital.

INFLUENTIAL UK TOUR OPERATORS PAY A VISITTwenty-two inbound tour operators from Britain visited Ireland this week as guests of Tourism Ireland. Itinerary, which was created by Fáilte Ireland, included visits to the Museum of Country Life in Castlebar, Kylemore Abbey, Clonmacnoise and the Guinness Storehouse. Two networking events took place in Westport and Dublin. Picture shows the tour operators at the Museum of Country Life with Harri Grunitz, Tourism Ireland; tour guide Conor Ellard; and Marlene Burke, Fáilte Ireland.

TRADE MISSION TO NEW ZEALAND AND AUSTRALIA TO BOOST TOURISM FROMTwelve Irish tourism businesses travelled to New Zealand and Australia as part of Tourism Ireland’s final overseas trade mission for 2014. The group will travel to Auckland, Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne and Perth during an eight-day sales blitz. Picture shows the delegation with Jim Paul and Diane Butler of Tourism Ireland in Brisbane.

  • Ireland’s second bike rental scheme has been launched in Galway. Similar schemes will be launched for Cork and Limerick next month.
  • A road train service called Toots between Howth Summit and Malahide Castle will be launched during St Patrick’s week in 2015.
  • Chairman of the Docklands Business Forum Ciaran Flanagan said developing the Dublin docklands into a maritime tourism destination could deliver 1,200 jobs and a €36m investment.
  • Wild Atlantic Way heritage tourism project launchedClare County Council, Loop Head Tourism, The Heritage Council and Fáilte Ireland launched the Loop Head & Kilkee Heritage Trail on the Wild Atlantic Way. The guide trail features 18 heritage attractions including the West Clare Railway, the Church of the Little Ark, Kilkee Victorian Town and the Brigest of Ross, as well as other WAW Discovery and Signature points. Jackie Whelan of the Moyasta-based West Clare Railway Museum.
  • Under the guidance of Bord Fáilte, Cork City Council and Cork Country Council are to establish a new tourism strategy group.
  • Irish coach firm Matthews hosted its first group of Latvian tourists who visited Dundalk for a whiskey tour.
  • A steel cross was re-erected on Carrauntoohil.

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

Travel Extra’s Sunday Supplement: More space to eat and more space to play on MSC’s ‘Ship of the Children’


Kids club on board the refurbished and elongated MSC Armonia, Nov 20 2014

Kids club on board the refurbished and elongated MSC Armonia.

The headlines this week:

*Botox from Westport, Falcons from Kildare: Emirates hosts the press

*Paul’s sharp CLIA presentation

*North Cyprus promises lots of scope for Irish market

*The low-down on ITAA’s two-day event

*Timelapses times four & Gorilla vs Corkonian

Travel Extra TV

flash-mob-belfastOur video of the week shows a flash mob at Belfast International Airport. A dancing troupe made up of flight attendants, baggage handlers, pilots, hen partiers and the odd nun or two embraced the rhythm of the (makeshift) dance floor all in the name of Children in Need. The fun was captured by YouTube user Christopher McGarry. Watch here.

  • Lots of attention on social media for the camera-shy gorilla in Berlin Zoo: Not willing to appear on film, the silverback lobbed a lump of rock at Corkonian Stefan Nolan. Watch here.
  • Giles County native Ruby Holt, who turns 101 in a few weeks, was brought on an all-expenses paid holiday to the Gulf of Mexico to see a beach for the first time. “I’ve heard people talk about it and how wonderful it was and wanted to see it, but I never had the opportunity to do so,” she said. Ruby travelled 400 miles to the beach in Alabama, the furthest trip she has ever made from home. She had only left Tennessee state once before. Watch here.
  • Bend and lift: A team of bystanders helped lift a mini that was carelessly parked on a Nottingham tram line. Watch here.
  • Take a look at Winterval Waterford’s promo video: Watch here. The festival is open from now until December 23.
  • How do you stop children peeing in a pool? With ice cream. Watch here.
  • Adventure Travel Trade Association uploaded a series of videos showcasing Ireland: a closer look at Ireland along the WAW (watch here); learning to surf (watch here); one day, one kayak and the hope of staying dry(watch here); Guinness & surfing (watch here); and life on the edge, adventure in Donegal (watch here).
  • Take a look at Tourism Ireland’s promo for Tradfest 2015: Watch here.
  • Take a look at Kirill Trifonov’s impressive timelapse of one day in Shanghai. Watch here.
  • A second timelapse: this one shows a day in the life of Heathrow airport. Watch here.
  • A third timelapse: Capturing a Ryanair flight from Budapest to Billund as the sun goes down. Watch here.
  • A fourth and final timelapse: NATS uploaded data footage of air traffic coming in, going out of and flying across England. The video was created using real data from a day in June. Watch here.


Paul Sharp, Business Development Manager of AmaWaterways gave the best presentation of those on offer at the CLIA Rivercruise conference in Amsterdam, giving agents compelling reasons why rivercruise is the best option for their clients. Other speakers included Daniela Wagner of Mekong Waterways, chair of CLIA for Ireland and Britain; Andy Harmer, director of CLIA for Ireland and Britain; Susan Schultz, Director of Sales for American Cruise Lines; Jessica Shelton-Agar of APT Luxury River Cruises; Werney Beyer of Emerald Waterways; and Kathryn clia-rivercruise-conferenceBeadle of Uniworld. Seven cruise ships were tied up around the convention centre and the number of delegates grew from 140 to 200 this year. There are now 308 passenger cruise ships plying the rivers of the world with 46,200 berths in total, up from 125 in 2000, and 20pc of them are younger than five years old. There are just 840,000 river cruisers (36pc of them German) compared with 21.3m ocean cruise passengers. Sharon Jordan hosted Irish travel media on board the Uniworld flagship, the Marie Antoinette. Watch here the Eoghan Corry’s suite on board Uniworld flagship MS Marie Antoinette as shown by Veronika Zhyhaylova during the CLIA Rivercruise conference. Picture shows Uniwrold’s Rosanna Leary, Sharon Jordan and Donna Kenny. See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.

More details have emerged of the Irish Travel Agents Association two day event incorporating new travel industry trade show at the Citywest Convention Centre Dublin, on April 23 and 24. 2015. The event will begin on Thursday, April 23, when the Citywest Hotel Dublin will host the annual ITAA golf day followed by the ITAA AGM the next morning. Later that day, all members of the Irish Travel Trade are invited to attend the first Irish Travel Industry Trade Show, which will be followed by a BBQ and entertainment. The trade show will open to members of the Irish travel trade from 2pm to 6.30pm, 60 exhibitors will showcase developments in travel innovation, product demonstrations and new customer experiences. To book a stand at the trade fair email more information about being a sponsor email To book tickets to the BBQ email –

Terri McCollin and Leitrim-born Brenda Collin of the Preferred Hotel Group came to Ireland this week to talk about their marketing plans in the year ahead. Preferred has 650 hotels in 85 countries and is growing. “We champion the independent hotel. We have a lot of power within the hospitality industry in that we are a household name in the Americas. Having the headquarters and the name in the States that really helps. For hotels like the K Club, Europe and Domroland that is a plus,” Terri McCollin said. “The vision of Preferred is to expand on the luxury and experiential dimensions of five star travel,” Brenda Collin said.

msc-cruiseMSC Cruise line lit the fireworks for the newly refurbished and elongated MSC Armonia in Genoa last Tuesday and again in Marseilles for their French launch in Marseilles on Thursday. Picture shows Craig Jeffs of MSC on left with travel agents on board the refurbished and elongated MSC Armonia: Nicole Emery of Advantage Travel Partnership, Luke Vanderhoeven of TUI, Katie Mapstone of Cruise Co, Abigail Webster and Jillian Rose of Thomas Cook, and Andrea Harries of Cruisenation.

msc-legoIt is easy to see why the Italians are calling the refurbished ship: La nave de bambini, the ship of children. There are three marked changes from the old ships: vastly increased play areas, upgraded cabins on deck seven in keeping with higher standards across the fleet of both MSC and its competitors, more elbow room and better display options (and menu options) at the La Brasserie buffet on deck 11. Gone are the overcrowded areas where up to 800 children came to play at peak summer periods, and now there are four differentiated play msc-spray-parkareas, one themed in a partnership with Lego. On deck there is a spray park in the newly elongated section. This is important because MSC’s biggest selling point in the Irish market has a kids cruise for free package (parents still need to pay port fees and air fares). The €26 a day drinks package is also the best on the market place and works efficiently: premium drinks are marked with a star on the ship menus. Kitchen size was not increased nor the 650 theatre capacity and there were a few teething problems on the inaugural cruise which was joined by travel trade and media from around the world. MSC ships are brim-full of personality and Armonia seemed more so than most.  To paraphrase the famous Kilmainham ballad, on the msc-poolnight after Armonia was stretched, Travel Extra came along to “warm the gob” and to be the first in the pool after it was filled on the re-launched ship, retaining our hard-earned first-to-splash record after David Monk from England beat us to the pool at the launch of MSC Preziosa.

Armonia is the first of four ships to be elongated in the €200m Renaissance Programme, the first step in MSC’s €5bn fleet enlargement plan, which includes four new ships of more than 5,000 capacity to be delivered by STX in France and Fincantieri in Italy, between 2017 and 2019, with options for three more by 2022. See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.

north-cyprusThe North Cyprus Tourist Board came to the Radisson Blue Golden Lane, Dublin on Wednesday having stopped off at Belfast the previous night. They promised there is “lots of scope” for the Irish market, seeing as 1,000 Irish tourists visited last year (versus 77,000 from England). Turkish Airlines operate a regular service from Dublin to Ercan Airport via Istanbul. Hoteliers and agents from North Cyprus showcased their products at a networking event. Many identified the country’s landscapes and year-round sunshine as its USP and the over 50s as its main market. Picture shows Murat Balandi of Turkish Airlines with Joe Tully of Tully’s Travel who won a trip to North Cyprus. See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.

emirates-press-partyPicture shows Nisha Leelakrishnan, Enda Corneille and Jennied Gwzman at the Emirates press party at the shabby chic Drury Buildings bar on Thursday. Enda Corneille – “three months in the role and loving it” – said the event marked Emirates’ two-and-three-quarters birthday in Ireland. Reflecting on 2014, one of the highlights was (of course) going double-daily on September 1. Another memorable moment was when Emirates cargo carried 46 Falcons, reared and bred in Kildare, to the Middle East last month, while a load of Botox from Westport was delivered to Australia (“Yeah, they need it there,” one journo shouted sarcastically). Emirates is a truly global player, Enda said, noting that a 16-hour flight on an A380 from Dubai can go on to cover 98pc of the earth’s surface.  The airline will hire over 5,000 cabin crew this year alone and the next recruitment open day comes to Galway on Tuesday (there are 300 Irish cabin crew as it is). Thank you for your support, Enda concluded, and I don’t know if it’s too early, but happy Christmas.

belek openPicture shows Ann Marie Dalton of Turkish Airlines, Demrot Gilleece, Murat Balandi and Marie Cooney among the Irish group hosted at the Turkish Airlines Open in Belek. See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.

Travel Extra editor Eoghan Corry features on Fionn Favenport’s Irish Times travel podcast to discuss next generation cruising. Listen here.

Travel Trade

  • ba-iberia-aviosTravel agents who book clients in first and business class before midnight Dec 31 with British Airways or Iberia will be entered into a draw to win 100,000 Avios. There are also four runner-up prizes of 25,000 Avios and fifty runner-up prizes of 9,000 Avios. To be eligible for the draw, enter POFRW1415 in the OSI field when making the booking.
  • Skal Dublin’s president’s Christmas lunch takes place Wednesday, December 10 at Herbert Park Hotel, Ballsbridge, Dublin. Cost €45pp (members and guests).
  • Travel Professionals Skillnet Facebook advanced advertising with Carole Smith of SynNeo, December 2, 9.30am-1pm at ITAA Training Room, Fleet St, Dublin. Cost: €70pp. Book here. Skillnet is also offering a 12-week Fetac Level 5 Digital Marketing Diploma from Dec 2-Mar 3, Tuesday at 6.30pm-9.30pm. Cost: €850 members, €1,050 non-members (RRP €1,500). Book here.
  • Miss MoneyCardPicture shows Miss Moneycard – the character that will serve as MoneyCard’s brand personality.
  • Sunway will operate direct weekly flights from Dublin to Mahón, Menorca from May 30-Sept 19, 2015.
  • Insight Vacations launched their new India programme.
  • British Airways flash sale to Hong Kong ex Dublin, Cork and Shannon: World Traveller €191, World Traveller Plus €631. Selling period: Nov 20-30 for travel from Jan 12 to Feb 19, 2015.
  • The latest MSC baby was delivered on Saturday morning: Congratulations to Rebecca and Paul Kelly on the birth of Aria Elizabeth from everyone at Travel Extra.

Deal Watch

  • Europa HotelHastings Hotels offer of the week: Overnight stay the Europa Hotel, Belfast from £45pps incl. cocktail on arrival and breakfast.
  • Sunway is offering 7-night Christmas breaks to Lanzarote from €499pp (flights only or €549 incl. self-catering accommodation at Oasis Apartments), depart Dublin December 20.
  • Click and Go is offering 3-night New Year breaks to Brussels from €240pp accommodation in NH Brussels City, flights, taxes & charges. Depart Dec 31.
  • Aghadoe Heights Hotel & Spa is offering overnight stays from €150 per room throughout January 2015. Aghadoe is also offering post-Christmas Retreats to the spa for €95: choose either a 60-minute ocean radiance hydrating facial or a 60-minute full body massage; available from Dec 27-Jan 4.
  • Falcon is offering 7 nights all-inclusive Dublin-Lambi, Kos from €779pp, depart May 30.
  • Thomson is offering 7 nights full board Dublin-Guia De Isora, Tenerife from €1,249pp, depart May 22.
  • Stena Line 3Stena Line is offering fares from €79 single for a care and driver during the Christmas season.
  • Discover Travel is offering 10 nights in Deevana, Phuket from €1.499pp. Free full day excursion to Phi Phi on bookings made before Nov 30.
  • Malaysia Airlines End of Year Sale: fares from £549 return from London Heathrow, book before Dec 2, travel until June 15.
  • Sunway gift vouchers are now available online. Costing from €50, vouchers can be personalised and emailed to the recipient. You can also purchase by phone: call 01 2311800.
  • Globe Hotels is offering 7 nights half-board plus in Marbella Beach Resort, Corfu from €333pps incl. return transfers, €100 resort credit per room per stay, book by Nov 30.


trivago-price-indexTrivago’s Hotel Price Index for November shows that prices are up in Clifden (€127, 12pc), Kilkenny (€95, 2pc), Doolin (€85, 1pc) and Westport (€81, 1pc), and down everywhere else. The biggest decrease is in Kenmare (€100, -14pc), Galway (€83, -12pc) and Sligo (€90, -10pc). Average Dublin prices are down 7pc to €112, Cork prices are down 8pc to €93 and Belfast prices are down 1pc to €111. Despite a 6pc decrease, Donegal remains the most expensive destination (€150). Galway is the cheapest (€83).

  • There was lots of coverage for the couple who were charged £100 by the Broadway Hotel in Blackpool, England for writing a bad review on TripAdvisor. The money was deducted from their credit card. Blackpool Council later said that the hotel will likely refund them and will scrap the bad review policy.
  • The Irish arm of Travelodge, Smorgs Ireland, recorded an operating profit of €69,703, up 28pc after it recorded an operating loss of €408,857 in 2013.
  • Irish-American businessman John Malone is to buy the Limerick Strand Hotel for close to €20m.
  • The Churchill Hyatt Regency hotel in Portman Square, London had to be evacuated on Friday night after a gas explosion in the basement caused part of the building to collapse, injuring 14 people.
  • Writing for the Irish Independent, Travel Extra Writer of the Year Pól Ó Conghaille previewed the first new Dublin hotel in 18 months, The Dean Hotel, before it opened on Friday. The €5.5m hotel is located on Harcourt Street. Rates start from €109 midweek, €129 for a Punk Bunk, €149 for a SupeRoom and €649 for the one-bedroom penthouse suite. Read here.


trivago-top-15Killarney is listed at number 92 on Trivago’s top 100 value-for-money destinations for 2015 (based on the search site’s hotel price data and consumer reviews). The top ten: 1. Mostar – Bosnia & Herzegovina; 2. Novi Sad – Serbia; 3. Lijiang -China; 4. Plovdiv – Bulgaria; 5. Szeged – Hungary; 6. Amritsar – India; 7. Ouarzazate – Morocco; 8. Kaliningrad – Russia; 9. Arequipa – Peru; 10. Pingyao – China. See the full list here.

The National Police Directorate in Norway announced the winner of a competition to find a new design for the nation’s passport and ID card. Oslo design studio Neue came up with the winning design. The new passport features landscapes drawn in pastel shades and the cover features a re-imagined version of the national crest stamped in gold. The most impressive feature is the secret landscapes on the inside pages which are only visible when shone under UV light.

Airbnb launched the first issue of Pineapple, a 128-page quarterly magazine distributed free to Airbnb hosts. 18,000 copies have been printed in the initial run. The magazine is also available in bookshops for €11.

Hop-on hop-off bus company Kiwi Experience unveiled three new additions to its New Zealand network: The new Kiwi Encounter stop in Rotorua and the Rangitikei Farmstay on the North Island, an optional overnight add-on have been added to the Kiwi Experience passes while the Lake Mahinapua overnight stop will be available from mid-January.

Maui Motorhomes rental company launched its Maui Winery Haven experience in Australia, available from December 2014, price begins from $140 per campervan per night incl. overnight pitch at one of five vineyards a gourmet local food and win hamper for two and access to the winery vintner.

The Global Gateway Alliance, a group representing New York’ real estate and hotel industries, urged the Port Authority of New York & New Jersey to speed up the rebuilding of LaGuardia Airport’s central terminal.

St Andrew’s Day celebrations in Scotland: The Standing Stones of Callanish, 2 for 1 entrey to visitor museum, Nov 25-29; The Festival of Andrew, Glasgow, Nov 30; Deanstown Distillery St Andrew’s Day Ceilidh, Stirlingshire, Nov 29; Oban Winter Festival, Nov 21-30; St Andrew’s Day Celebrations, Fife, Nov 28-30; From Shetland to Wonderland, Nov 26.

Around 1,300 Eurostar passengers were stranded on board two separate trains for up to eight hours on Thursday night after two overhead power cables simultaneously snapped. One train was travelling from London to Brussels; another was travelling from London to Paris. The disruption caused delays to other services on Thursday night because trains had to be shunted onto low speed tracks. Eurostar apologised and offered refunds/free return tickets.

  • Bhutan is plugging its ‘Visit Bhutan Year’ campaign for 2015 to coincide with the fourth Bhutanese King’s 60th birthday in November next year.
  • eNett International partnered with Conferma.
  • Amazon is reportedly looking to launch an accommodation booking service next year.
  • The New York Times explanded its travel programme. Some additions for 2015 inlude Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Coloumbia and Iran.
  • Expedia added cabins at RV parks and campgrounds to its online inventory.
  • Former United Airlines executive John Tague was appointed CEO of Hertz.
  • The East Cape of New Zealand was hit by an earthquake measuring a 6.5 magnitude on Tuesday.

Food & Drink

Mark Moriarty and Ciaran Sweeney have launched a pop-up restaurant called Culinary Counter. The next event takes place Sunday, December 14. Venue TBA. Tickets cost €69 and can be booked by tweeting @CulinaryCounter or by emailing

Thanksgiving meals in Ireland: The Fitzwilliam Hotel’s Citron restaurant is offering a three-course Thanksgiving menu for €39.95pp (call 01-4787000 to book) while Beaufield Mews in Stillorgan is offering five courses for €30 (call 01-2880375 to book).


Aer Lingus Regional will operate a 5w service from Dublin to Newquay (Cornwall) from May 1, 2015.

An Air France flight from Dublin to France had to make an emergency landing in Birmingham on Sunday after the Avro RJ85 jet sustained a crack in one of its windows.

CityJet chief executive Christine Ourmieres said the Dublin-based airline will break even in 2015 and be profitable in 2016 after a €23.1m loss last year.

Next week, the Court of Appeal in London will hear Ryanair’s plea that it should be allowed to hold its 29.82pc stake in Aer Lingus.

Ryanair announced it will carry at least 3.5m passengers over the Christmas and New Year period.

New research from Queen’s University Belfast discovered that volcanic ash had travelled from Alaska to Northern Ireland, refuting assumptions about the distances ash deposits could travel.

Etihad F1 - 2Etihad extended its title sponsorship of the F1 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. Picture shows James Hogan, Etihad Airways’ President and Chief Executive Officer, and Bernie Ecclestone, Chief Executive Officer of Formula One group in the A380 Lobby mock-up at the airline’s Innovation Centre in Abu Dhabi.

Air Berlin confirmed that it will switch to an all-Airbus European fleet.

The Cypriot government said it has yet to receive any “significant interest” in Cyprus Airways, seemingly dismissing interest from Ryanair and Aegean.

Ciara Ryan, Janice McElroy and Michelle Corbett The Loop (1) won the award for Best Digital Innovation at the Frontier Awards in Cannes. Picture shows  Janice McElroy and Michelle Corbett

Etihad and Alitalia received merger clearance from the European Commission and can proceed with the proposed partnership announced in August. Under the new codeshare, the airlines will offer a combined 35 flights per week between Italy and Abu Dhabi.

Qatar Airways will operate a daily Edinburgh-Doha service from May 1, 2015.

First class, business class and premium economy passengers flying long haul with British Airways can now pre-order their meals online up to 30 days before departure through the Manage My Booking tool on

First Apartment with Male GuestEtihad’s A380 First Class product won an award at the Society of British and International Design Awards 2014.

London City Airport installed five new ePassport gates in immigration hall, bringing the total number of e-gates to 11.

EasyJet says it expects to deliver further growth after annual profits rose 21.5pc.

Etihad - World record GE90 engine change - 1 (1)Etihad Airways’ Technical Maintenance department (pictured) replaced a GE90 engine on one of its Boeing 777 passenger aircraft in less than seven hours – a world record.

TAP and GOL agreed a codeshare partnership.

American Airlines CEO Doug Parker talked of adding several more routes to China, including Beijing.

Ryanair Labs, the airline’s new research facility, is recruiting “the best brains” from the likes of Google and LinkedIn for the online upgrade next spring.c

London City Airport’s busiest week ever saw a total 84,758 passengers during the week commencing Nov 9, a 27pc increase on the same period.

Airbus patented an aircraft that does not have conventional wings, tale or fuselage. The aircraft blueprint instead has wings that sweep from the nose and encompass both the fuselage and tale. The passenger cabin is doughnut shaped with passengers sitting in a circle.


  • Irish Ferries owner Irish Continental Group’s revenues were up 10pc in Q3 to € €93.4m.
  • francis-rileyNorwegian Cruise Line completed its acquisition of Prestige Cruises. Francis Riley (pictured) was appointed to the new position of senior vice president.
  • Norwegian Cruise Line announced a new entertainment for Norwegian Epic, starting April 30: Burn the Floor in April 2015 and Priscilla, Queen of the Desert—The Musical in October 2015. The ship will also feature a replica of The Cavern Club (where The Beatles made their name).


  • ?????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????A group of travel agents working for Barrhead Travel in Glasgow visited Ireland this week, as guests of Tourism Ireland. Their itinerary was devised by the NITB and included a guided tour of Games of Thrones locations along the Causeway Coastal route. The group visited Derry and took part in a walking tour of the city’s walls before heading to Belfast to see the Titanic Belfast. Picture shows Caroline Mulligan, Tourism Ireland , with travel agents from Barrhead Travel in Glasgow, at the Dark Hedges, Ballymoney.
  • RECEIPE FOR SUCCESS AS CORK AND KINSALE SET TO STAR ON ‘SMALLA TV crew from the Travel + Escape channel in Canada visited Kinsale and Cork this week to film an episode of Gourmet Escapes. The show is expected to attract an audience of 1.5m in 2015. Following the premise of the programme, Canadian chef Gerardo D’amore has been set a cooking challenge by Martin Shanahan of Fishy Fishy Restaurant in Kinsale to find the best local ingredients in the English Market. D’amore will also visit the Jameson Distillery in Middleton and the Shandon Bells in Cork city. Picture shows Gerardo D’amore with Martin Shanahan at Fishy Fishy Restaurant.
  • The five-metre steel cross at the top of Carrauntoohil was cut down by vandals.
  • SALES BLITZ IN SAN FRANCISCO, LOS ANGELES AND SEATTLE THIS WEEKA group of 20 tourism enterprises (pictured) travelled to the US with Tourism Ireland this week for the last of the Jump into Ireland events in San Francisco, LA and Seattle. The schedule includes a B2B event in all three cities.
  • The Shannon Heritage Group’s tourist attractions saw a 12pc increase in visitors for the first ten months of 2014.
  • TOURISM MINISTER PASCHAL DONOHOE LAUNCHES END-OF-YEAR TOURISM CATourism Minister Paschal Donohue announced a six-week, end-of-year promo campaign targeting potential holidaymakers in Britain for short breaks to Ireland. The new campaign sees Tourism Ireland team up with Location, Location, Location hose Phil Spencer and Classic FM. Phil was in Dublin on Tuesday filming at Christ Church Cathedral, Merrion Square and the National Gallery. Picture shows Alan Grange, concierge at The Shelbourne Hotel, Dublin; Niall Gibbons, CEO of Tourism Ireland; Minister Paschal Donohoe; and Phil Spencer.
  • DUBLIN SET TO STAR ON ‘SMALL SCREENS’ IN BRAZIL AND ARGENTINBrazilian digital media channel Network Elemidia was filming in Dublin this week as guests of Tourism Ireland. The crew is making 40 short programmes on Ireland and will air to an estimated 20 million viewers in shopping centres, gyms, supermarkets, hotels and universities in 80 cities in Brazil and Argentina. Filming took place in the GAA Museum, Malahid Castle, Howth village, the Old Jameson Distillery, the Little Museum of Dublin, Trinity College, the Guinness Storehouse and Dublin Castle. Picture shows: Fabrício Calado da Silva Moreira filming in The Little Museum of Dublin.
  • IRELAND SAYS ‘GUTEN TAG’ IN GERMANYTwenty-four Irish tourism companies travelled to Offernbach, Germany to take part in a Tourism Ireland-organised B2B workshop and networking event with German tour operators. The Irish delegation met with 21 German and three Austrian tour operators. Picture shows Petra Buckley-Becker and Seán Buckley, both Marina Tours; Ansgar Krämer, Troll Tours Reisen; Carmel Flynn, Parknasilla Resort and Spa; Laura Tangney, Killarney Jaunting Cars; Claudia Tynek, DERTour; Susan Randles, Randles Hotels; Sabrina Heilmann, Behringer Touristik; and Anke Kraus, DERTour, attending the workshop.
  • Lonely Planet magazine posted a piece on How to get the most from a short trip to Ireland.

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


Travel Extra’s Sunday Supplement: Shannon Duty Free goes back to where it all began


Workshop session during the Travel Centres Conference in the Killashee Hotel, Naas.

Workshop session during the Travel Centres Conference in the Killashee Hotel, Naas.

The headlines this week:            

*Travel Centres revelry in Nás na Ríogh

*Shannon relaunches Duty Free in airport where it was invented

*Belfast gets a flight to Cuba

*Positivity is the key to Irish Tourism Industry Awards 2015

Travel Extra TV

video-of-week-nov-16Our video of the week will not go down well with our acrophobic readers. It shows the treacherous Kishtwar Kailash road in the Indian Himalaya. The giddy travellers remain upbeat as their vehicle inches its way on the narrow road, competing with loose rocks and a waterfall (“I can’t close the window!”). Although the video was uploaded over a year ago, it racked up over 1m views this week earning a place on The English Guardian’s weekly viral video chart. Watch here.

  • Two Norwegian fishermen fishing in Troms got very up close and personal with a group of humpback whales. Watch here.
  • Tourism Ireland uploaded a video showcasing the International Appalachian Trail. Watch here.
  • Sinead Reilly showed Travelport’s rich content and branding promo video at Travel Centres Conference in Killashee, Naas. Watch here.
  • Etihad uploaded a preview of its Alitalia joint livery for Expo Milano 2015. Watch here.
  • Emirates uploaded its first A380 completing a 3-C Check. Watch here.
  • Video shows passengers on board a test run of Japan’s maglev train, which reaches speeds of 500km/h. Watch here.
  • The US Embassy Dublin uploaded footage of Kevin O’Malley’s visit to UL Irish World Music Academy this week. Watch here.
  • Hotel guest Vince Stravix captured footage of the housekeeper sifting through his personal belongings as she cleans his room. The cleaner is seen opening his luggage, trying to log on to his laptop and tablet and looking at a package he received. Since it was uploaded, the video has received over 9m views. Watch here.
  • Basic level Spanish lesson (level A1) at Tia Tula Language School in Salamanca.:The school teaches Spanish to advanced and expert level. Teacher is Ana Saenz, second from left. The participants from left are Johanne Van der Wees from Rotterdam, Yunxi (Isis ) Xu from Shanghai, and Xiangyi Chen from Beijing. (Travel Extra editor Eoghan “Cuatro dias, cuatro canciones” Corry was the other participant). Watch here.
  • Cinematic footage captured by a drone flying over Mexico City International AirportWatch here.


sinead-reillyTravel Centres gathered 196 registered delegates. Sinéad O’Reilly (pictured) gave a presentation about the changes to GDS over the past 12 months: the Travelport GDS channel now offers an astonishing 38 ancillary types (how many are actually booked?). The target was 100 low cost carriers in 2014 and there are now 89 low cost carriers signed up. Brian Malarkey of AO International suggested an individualised sharon-flemingquote system that would help Travel Centres member agencies. Sharon Fleming from Thompson Travel (pictured with Dominic Burke of Travel Centres) gave one of the best presentations delegates have ever heard of the challenges facing the modern agent, a warts and all briefing to her colleagues. Quote of the conference was from Federica Galeotti, of Bedsonline, talking about widgets and mobile technology: “I grew up with a  black and white televison, not because I am that old, but because the Italians like antiques.Sunway won the sunway-travel-centresSupplier of the Year award at the Travel Centres awards ceremony. Picture shows Dominic Burke of Travel Centres, Jeanette Taylot, Deirdre Sweeny and Mary Denton of Sunway and Bernie Burke of Travel Centres. Agency awards went to 1stoptravel, Best4 travel, Douglas Travel, Liberty Travel, Newbridge Travel, O’Hanrahan Travel, Padraig Keogh travel, Platinum Travel, Roscrea travel, The Travel broker, Torc Travel and Way2go travel. See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.

rose hynesShannon Duty Free partnered with Heinemann as it relaunched with a new brand. The airport reminded guests that there is the FIRST Duty Free in the world, established 70 years ago, with a retro air hostess, a retro tannoy announcer, retro press men and even Marilyn Monroe to greet guests at a lively re-launch on Monday night. Irish companies offered food, cheese and local products and there were a few glasses of champagne for passing passengers. Rose Hynes, the chairman of Shannon Airport (pictured), said they will be using the Duty Free to showcase and promote local and regional products.

tia tula groupThe scholastic capital of Spain, Salamanca, hosted the fifth Spanish language tourism event ECELE. Thirty-nine teachers from 17 countries attended. The event involved 24 schools of Spanish language, 12 of them from Castilla y León. Travel Extra editor Eoghan Corry took the time to visit the Colegio de los Irlandeses, central to Irish educational history until the beginning of the 19th century. Picture shows students from Tia Tula Spanish language school in Salamanca on a trip to the Santa Clara convent in Salamanca: Sascha van der Mark, Johanna Van der Wees, Tessa Snels, Cecilie Bugge, Isis Kemna and Samantha Vaux with Eoghan Corry of Travel Extra in the front row.

kenny JacobsKenny Jacobs told the Festival of Marketing at London’s Tobacco Dock that Ryanair’s focus on customer experience while retaining the focus on price, choice and cost has driven growth, and was already delivering one year into a three year plan. The airline will be as big as BA globally by number of passengers each year. “I don’t want to be compared to any other airline brand – we want to be the Aldi or IKEA of the air. Pick something and do it better than everyone else.”

eoghan-the-insidersThe Insiders episode on the launch of (watch here) gained a rating of 25pc share with an audience of 343,000. Participants included Travel Extra editor Eoghan Corry.

Thomas Cook Airlines will operate flights from Belfast to Las Vegas from November 13, 2015, to Fuerteventura from November 4, 2015, and to Varadero, Cuba from January 29, 2016.

25 years after the fall of the Wall: Eist anseo le Eoghan Corry ag caint ar Berlin.

The December/January issue of Travel Extra is off to the printers. This issue is packed with some fantastic features from around the globe – in fact, it’s safe to say we’ve covered just about every continent in good measure.

irish-tourism-industry-awardsPicture shows Niall Gibbons, CEO of Tourism Ireland; Eamonn McKeon, CEO of ITIC Minister of State for Tourism, Michael Ring, and Alex Connolly, Director of Communications, Fáilte Ireland, at the launch of the Irish Tourism Industry Awards 2015 in Dublin Castle. Minister Ring launched the awards. He thanked the trade for “the love of the job that they do” and for “their commitment to the country”. He also had a message for the national broadcaster: “RTÉ – it’s doom and gloom with them all the time. Well it’s not ‘doom and gloom’. There’s a lot of positivity out there, and if they went out and saw some of the positivity, and if michael-ring-industry-awardsthey came into my county or if they came into your counties and if they came into this trade itself they would see all the positivity that’s happening.” (Listen here to Michael Ring’s speech – noise courtesy of this week’s torrential rain). The inaugural awards ceremony will be presented at a gala dinner on April 24. Eleven awards are up for grabs in three categories: International Initiatives – Best International Marketing Initiative, Best International Access Initiative; Tourism Innovations – Best Leisure Tourism Innovation, Best Business Tourism Innovation, Best Environmental Tourism Innovation, Best Local Authority Tourism Innovation; Tourism Experiences – Best Festival/Event Experience, Best Adventure Experience, Best Food Experience, Best Cultural Experience, Best Urban Experience; Theme Award – Best Design in Tourism. Entry is open to tourism businesses, visitor attractions, organisations and events in the domestic market or overseas market. Entry is permitted to more than one category. You can only nominate your business online. Closing date is January 31. The award is not open to businesses in the north because they already have their industry awards and are “ahead in the industry awards”, Paul Carty said. See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.

Travel Trade

Margaret, Paul, DaraghPicture shows Skal President Margaret Cronin, Paul Carty Director Guinness Storehouse & Daragh O’Neill, GM Stillorgan Park Hotel at the Skal lunch, Guinness Storehouse.

Classic Resorts launched their new 2014/15 Worldwide brochure. Fiona Dobbyn reported a big increase in Honeymoon bookings for 2015. Back to spending a little more, and to favourites like Seychelles, Thailand, Malaysia, Maldives, Mauritius, as well as Caribbean including Dominican Republic.

Trailinders launched their new Indian Ocean Brochure.

Travel Professionals Skillnet is offering a two-part class on using Excel. The first class takes place Dec 8, 9am-5pm, at New Horizons, Dublin. The second class takes place Dec 18, 9am-5pm, in the same venue. Cost: €110. Book here. Skillnet is also offering a 12-week FETAC Level 5 course on Digital Marketing, from Dec 2-Mar 3, 6.30pm-9.30pm. Cost: €850 members, €1,050 non-members. Book here.

Lowcostbeds is to offer terrific value to the following Iberostar Hotels: Mexico 4* Iberostar Cozumel from €51pppn Al basis, Jamaica 4* Iberostar Rose Hall Beach from €76pppn AI basis, Brazil 5* Iberostar Bahia from €74pppn AI basis.

??????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????Picture shows Charlie DeLorme of Utah’s Canyon Country, Joyce Kelly of the St George & Zion Tourism Office, Fionola Cunningham of the US Embassy and Bill Scoffield of Bryce Canyon Country at Utah sales mission luncheon at 25 Fitzwilliam Place, Dublin. The event showcased the state’s impressive national parks and red rock where visitors can enjoy a host of hikes, cycle trails and climbs. The shopping is good in Salt Lake City and Springdale is the nearest place to Zion National Park. Located two hours from Las Vegas, Utah, particularly St George, is popular with golfers in the winter.

Travel Professionals Skillnet is offering a two-part class on using Excel. The first class takes place Dec 8, 9am-5pm, at New Horizons, Dublin. The second class takes place Dec 18, 9am-5pm, in the same venue. Cost: €110. Book here. Skillnet is also offering a 12-week FETAC Level 5 course on Digital Marketing, from Dec 2-Mar 3, 6.30pm-9.30pm. Cost: €850 members, €1,050 non-members. Book here.

Enterprise car hire is expanding into Scandinavia with Greyfell Nordic. Irish business travellers and tourists travelling to Norway and Sweden can now avail of Enterprise’s car rental services and offers.

The winners of the Hertz Travelport €50 weekly vouchers for October were Christine O’Sullivan of CTM, Joanne Culleton of Tully’s, Sally O’Brien of Carlson Wagonlit, Catherine  Monaghan of FCM and Aoife Jordan of Travel Leaders.

Mukesh Sharma of World Travel Centre attended the APG World Connect conference in Monte Carlo as the guest of APG Global.

SITA has signed a five-year agreement with OBS to provide network services in countries and territories worldwide.

Applications opened for the B2B Travel Event will be held on March 30 and 31, 2015 in Thessaloniki, Greece.

WYSE Work, Volunteer Abroad and the International Au Pair Association (IAPA) have opened registration for WETM-IAC 2015 in Lisbon next March.

Finnish-based provider of taxi and airport booking solutions, Cabforce launched their global product through the Travelport Marketplace e-commerce platform at the 2014 PhoCusWright conference. Travelport and TravelClick expanded their partnership.

The Amadeus Group appointed Diane Bouzebiba to Director of Distribution Strategic Initiative.

A poll of Association of National Tourism Offices & Representatives and Skal members showed a strong preference for the WTM in London to be reduced to a three-day event. Visitor numbers increased b 4pc this year.

The Tourism Concern Annual Meeting was postponed until February 7, 2015.

The 2014 SITA/Air Transport World Passenger Survey reports that 81pc of passengers carry a smartphone with them with they travel.

Explore reported over a 150pc increase in overall Egypt bookings, year on year. Explore launched their new Cycling Self-Guided collection.

fiona-bolgerSunway PR Fiona Bolger (pictured) closed her consultancy business this week to become CEO of Spinal Injuries Ireland. Fiona spent 17 years working as PR Consultant to Sunway Holidays and other clients in the tourism and sports industries. Fiona released a statement this week: “Since 1998 when I did my first press trip to Sicily I have met many great friends in travel media and I have valued your support and friendship during this time…Tanya, Philip, Jim and all the team in Sunway have been fantastic colleagues. We have been through new destinations, product launches, ash clouds, strikes and recession together… although I am gone I will still be a huge supporter of Sunway in the background. PR will now be handled in house at Sunway and an announcement will be made shortly about this position.”

Deal Watch


  • Loyaltybuild’s “Building Relationships, Growing Business” Conference at the Powerscourt Resort and SpaMore than 200 hoteliers attended the Building Relationships, Growing Business future of tourism conference organised by Loyaltybuild at Powerscourt Resort & Spa. Picture shows Anne Pilkington, Senior Product Director of Loyaltybuild, Richard Hadfield, Managing Director, Loyaltybuild and William Sparkes, Loyalty Programmes manager with Axa Insurance Ireland being served afternoon tea by event MC Anton Savage at the conference.
  • Chinese hospitality group Jin Jiang is to buy Louvre Hotels Group from Starwood Capital in a deal worth at least $1.5bn. The purchase will be finalised in Q1 2015.
  • Hotel prices in Dublin are up 13pc, Belfast 12pc and Donegal up 35pc year n year according to the Trivago Hotel Price index for November. Rosslare is Ireland’s cheapest hotel location with an average price of €67. There is a difference of €18 a night between Kilkenny (€95) and Waterford (€77).
  • Camden Court Hotel was awarded four star status.
  • The Slieve Russel Hotel in Cavan cut its losses from €9.2m to €544,000 last year.
  • Business Hotel bed provider HRS revealed its most popular hotels in ten key business locations around Europe, as rated by its corporate travellers: H10 Art Gallery Barcelona, Regent Berlin, International design Hotel Lisbon, South Palace London, Sheraton Sheremeteyevo Hotel Moscow, Citadines Suites Louvre in Paris, Grand Hotel de Gianicoli Rome, Nordic Light Stockholm, Guesthouse Vienna and Sheraton Zurich.
  • The Lanesborough hotel in London will reopen in spring under Oetker Collection The hotel has been closed since 2013 for a renovation.
  • Stayful launched TweetStay a Twitter-based hotel booking services. Customers make a request by tweeting using the hashtag #tweestay and say where they want to stay and when. TweetStay matches guests with hotels via the microblogging site, provided they are staying within 30 days.


Picture by Julian Walker via Flickr

Picture by Julian Walker via Flickr

Eurostar unveiled the first of its seven new 320km/h e320 train built by Siemens. The train is capable of carrying 900 passengers across the English Channel. It will go into service at the end of 2015.

Once again, our acrophobic readers will not be amused:  A new glass-bottom walkway at Tower Bridge, London, gives visitors a panoramic view of the city on the West Walkway, 42 meters above the Thames. A second glass floor is to open on the East Walkway on December 1.

Wi-Fi goes sky high: Singapore Airlines passenger Jeremy Gutsche was shocked to receive a bill of $1,171.46 (€935 approx) for using its in-flight Wi-Fi.

What Tourism Queensland calls “Australia’s greatest sex show” is likely to happen this week, when the coral spawns in a mass party on the reef, with many colonies and species of coral polyps simultaneously releasing egg and sperm bundles for external fertilisation.

Rio de Janeiro opened its first nudist beach at Abrico following a campaign by activists.

Under a new agreement, Tourism Australia and Etihad Airways are to quadruple their spend in the 2014/15 season.

Visitscotland launched their Year of Food and Drink 2015 campaign, VisitScotland Exp 2015, to be held at the AECC, Aberdeen on April 22 and 23.

A new book, Thailand: Deadly Destination, claims that Thailand is one of the most dangerous tourist destinations in the world. Author John Stapleton writes: “Thailand has a dying king and serious succession problems, weak democratic institutions, an economy slipping into recession, faces issues of corruption across many of its key services and is host to international crime syndicates, awash with despised foreigners and drifting perilously towards civil war.”

Business Report magazine estimated there are 60m recreational golfers worldwide.

Twenty-four space tourists have asked Virgin Galactic for a refund since the October 31 crash.

A record number of Irish travel writers were short listed for the Caribbean Tourism Organisation awards. The winners were…Best travel trade feature: Jo Cooke, Twins with a Twist, Travel Weekly Best piece of photojournalism: Kate Martin, The Look for Old Jamaica, BA Highlife. Best blog feature: Zoë Dawes, Discover the Natural Treasures of St Kitts Rainforest, The Quirky Traveller. Best Broadcast, TV or Radio feature: Greg McKenzie, The Rise in Reggae Tour Tourism in Jamaica, broadcast on BBC Travel Show. Best regional newspaper feature: Lisa Haynes, Getting Away, Whispering Antigua’s Secrets, The Leader (Chester). Best national newspaper feature: Ian Thomson, Haiti Returns to the Tourist Map, The Daily Telegraph. Best online feature: Cathy Winston, Saint Lucia: The Sweet Life, The Independent Online. Best consumer feature: Peter Ellegard, Animal Magic, Great Golf Magazine.

After all the hype, the domain failed to get the holding price when it went up for auction at WTM in London. Breathe Luxury, the company that planned to auction off the domain, hoped to get up to £20m for the name – instead, the highest bid was £4.7m, below the £5m starting price.

Morocco confirmed it will not host the Africa Cup of Nations 2015 soccer tournament due to the Ebola virus. Equatorial Guinea will host the event instead.

SeaWorld is still feeling the impact of the infamous Blackfish documentary: attendance fell by 500,000 in Q3 and income fell 28pc.

A series of virtual tours will showcase Upstate New York. Ninety-three virtual tours will offer 360-degree views of State parks, campgrounds, trails, golf courses, beaches and tourist attractions. The tours include information and multiple scenes for each attraction, including Long Island, Niagara Falls and the Adirondacks.

The five-star family friendly Grand Palladium White Island Resort & Spa in Ibiza is to open in spring 2015. Guests of the White Island resort will be able to share the facilities of the nearby Grand Palladium Palace Ibiza Resort & Spa. The two hotels will create the largest resort in Ibiza.

The Institute of Travel and Meetings, ASTA, Signature Travel Network and Ensemble Travel Group urged Marriott International hotel chain to rethink its customer offer which givers Marriott Rewards cardholders free Wi-Fi if they book direct.

The captain of the South Korean ferry that sank in April and killed over 300 people escaped the death sentence. Lee Joon-soo was given a 36-year prison sentence instead.

The Brazilian Tourism Board will turn 250 Instagram photos tagged #visitbrazil into paintings.

French authorities conducted a two-day search for a wild cat spotted roaming through towns on the east coast.

Hollywood actor Michael Douglas – who is part owner of the Ariel Sands hotel project – has been offered a role as tourism ambassador for Bermuda.

Food & Wine

  • Westport’s Knockranny House will host its annual Game Weekend on Nov 21-22. Chef Seamus Commons will be shooting, trapping and catching some of the menu. The highlight of the weekend is the seven-course game menu is La Fougère restaurant with wine pairings chose by Nick Faujours. Packages range from €69 for a game cooking demo, wine tasting and dinner to €199pp for two-nights’ accommodation and cooking and wine demos and gala dinner.
  • A Taste of Mexico takes place in Dublin on Nov 18-23. There will be a competition to find the best enchilada in Dublin, tequila and mescal tastings, cookery workshops, music and fashion events. See for more.
  • Jean-Luc Lefrançois was appointed Head Chef of two of Oetker Collection’s hotels, L’Apogée Courcheval and Chateau Saint-Martin & Spa.
  • Paul Stradner, Head Chef of Brenners Park-Restaurant, was awarded his second Michelin star.
  • Qantas claims its new menu is the “best in-flight economy dining experience offered by any international carrier” – a bold statement considering the reputation airline food has. Main courses will be double the current portion size and twice the number of options will be available, including destination-specific meals (eg. smoky barbecue option for flights to the USA).


KLM is offering visitors to Amsterdam Schiphol Airport the chance to overnight on board a converted aircraft through Airbnb. The accommodation is only available for three nights. It sleeps four guests in two bedrooms and guests have access to the cockpit. Among the amenities listed are: eight small bathrooms, a library, Wi-Fi, coffee-making facilities, a games console and a home cinema system (Snakes on a Plane among the titles available). House rules: no flying, don’t use the emergency slide and no marshmallow roasting with the jet engines. The stay cannot be bought – those interested must explain in no more than 100 words why they would like to go.

  • Travelport announced a multi-year, full content agreement with Malaysia-based carrier Malindo Air.
  • Irish-based aircraft financier Fly Leasing plans to spend around €480m in a business expansion next year. The company earned a Q3 net income of $15.4m, up 30pc.
  • Belfast International Airport is suing Aer Lingus alleged breach of contract following the airline’s move to Belfast City Airport. The £20m lawsuit will be heart next year.
  • Ryanair partnered with data and marketing specialist
  • Dublin-based lessor SMBC Aviation Capitol placed an order for 80 Boeing aircraft in a deal worth $6.8bn.
  • Aer Lingus is reducing operations between Alicante and Dublin.
  • Flybe signed a codeshare agreement with Aer Lingus.
  • Ryanair announced 44 new routes in October.
  • American Airlines dropped plans to increase seats on the largest jets flown by its regional carriers.
  • Sri Lankan Airlines flew its first fully-connected aircraft.
  • Emirates Group announced 12pc increase in H1 revenues.
  • Malindo Air signed an agreement to distribute through Travelport for the first time.
  • KLM bid a final farewell to the MD-11.
  • NYCFC 1Etihad announced a sponsorship with New York City FC. Picture shows Claudio Reyna, NYCFC Sporting Director; Tim Pernetti, NYCFC Chief Business Officer; David Villa; and James Hogan, President and Chief Executive Officer of Etihad Airways.
  • British Airways aims to have only four B767s in its long haul fleet by the end of 2015. All the long haul 767s will be retired by 2016.
  • Shannon’s ‘summer season’ reported a 28pc increase on last year. Stobart Air is reviewing operations at Shannon.
  • Ryanair announced a New Base (No. 71) At Bratislava.
  • It was reported in Connecticut that the Airport Authority is wooing Aer Lingus to launch flights from Bradley to Dublin.
  • Reuben May the man behind Ryanair’s digital marketing transformation wrote a guest article for Irish Tech News.
  • Shannon Airport recorded a 28pc increase in passenger numbers for October. European services were up 63pc, transatlantic up 15pc and Britain up 6pc.
  • Total flights in Irish airspace were up7pc in October, compared to last year. Average of 1,551 daily flights during the month. The busiest day was October 17 with 1,729 flights. Dublin up 8.1pc with an average of 503 daily commercial movements; Shannon up 29.8pc with average of 66; Cork down 2.9pc with an average of 54.
  • An Air Canada Express passenger received minor injuries after a propeller broke loose and cut through the cabin.
  • Singer Dolores O’Riordan was arrested on Monday after an Aer Lingus flight attendant was reportedly attacked on a flight from New York to Shannon.


  • irish-ferriesPicture shows a group of Irish travel agents before departing on an Irish Ferries fam visit to Haven’s Hafan Y Mor holiday park in North Wales.
  • Hugh Bruton of Brittany Ferries said there had been an increase in the numbers of French people coming to Ireland.  “The numbers have been rising steadily over the last three years, with the numbers of French visitors travelling to Ireland with us in 2014 up 7pc on 2013.”
  • Quark Expeditions extended their Antarctica 2015-16 early booking offers.
  • A Dover Seaways cross channel was evacuated after it hit a harbour wall at Dover. Four passengers were injured.
  • Jamaica received 12,000 additional cruise passengers – a 10pc increase in traffic – from Jan-Sep 2014, in part due to ship diversions from storms in other Caribbean islands.
  • Mary Mckenna at jamie Oliver restaurant_6045 copy“You can’t think quantum without thinking leap and that’s what this ship is,” said Richard Fain, CEO of Royal Caribbean as Quantum of the Seas was welcomed to the fleet and officially named at an extravaganza at Cape Liberty in Bayonne, New Jersey. Picture shows Mary McKenna at the Jamie Oliver restaurant on board Quantum.
  • The cast of The Love Boat, which was primarily filmed aboard the original Pacific Princess from 1977 to 1987, christened Regal Princess in Port Everglades.


pashal_donohueDublin is seen as “dusty and dull, with little of interest to see or do” according to a new report, Destination Dublin – A Collective Strategy for Tourism Growth to 2020, commissioned by Fáilte Ireland and the Department of Tourism. The capital is “seen as one-dimensional or offering less variety and excitement than is actually the case” and is “often seen as part of a generic, blended image of Ireland”. The report says if Dublin does not reinvent itself as a city destination it could slip behind competitors like Amsterdam, Edinburgh and Copenhagen. Read the full report here. In reaction, Minister Paschal Donohue (pictured) is to establish a new body, called the Grow Dublin Tourism Alliance, to increase tourism to the capital. An Bord Bia chairman Michael Carey will head the new body, which comes under Fáilte Ireland.

WILLKOMMEN IN IRELAND FOR GERMAN TRAVEL PROFESSIONALSA group of German travel professionals visited Ireland this week as guests of Tourism Ireland and Aer Lingus. The group scored the highest in Tourism Ireland’s 2014 e-learning programme and were rewarded with the visit to Ireland. The group’s itinerary included the Boyrn Valley, Newgrange, the Hill of Tara and a walking tour of Dublin.

Mike Horn of the What’s Cookin’ Today radio show on CRN in the US asked Tourism Ireland CEO Niall Gibbons and Minister Paschal Donohue if there were any plans “for Ireland deciding to leave the UK”. Niall Gibbons politely responded: “That’s an interesting question. Ireland is a destination in itself. What we’re encouraging people to do is to jump into Ireland. It’s very much a standalone destination.” The interview was conducted in September, but the blooper re-emerged after IDA’s Martin Shanahan was asked a similarly ridiculous question during a CNBC interview.

IRELAND ‘MEETS’ LONDON’S WEST ENDThirty six members of the tourism trade attended Tourism Ireland’s B2B workshop in London. Forty six reps from British conference, events and meetings organisers were at the event. Picture shows David Boyce, Tourism Ireland; Toni Griggs, George P Johnson; Cathy Joyce, Citywest Hotel, Dublin; Joanne Taylor, Northern Ireland Tourist Board; and Paula Stephens, The Merchant Hotel, Belfast.

???????????????????????????????????Indian travel writer Avril-Ann Braganza (pictured) visited the north this week as a guest of Tourism Ireland and NITB. Representing Daily News and Analysis she visited the Causeway Coastal Route, Giant’s Causeway and the Crumlin Road Gaol.

  • SuperValu launched travel insurance from 15c a day.
  • Tourism Ireland invited delegates to register for the 2015 Marketing Plans Launch in December.
  • Ireland was awarded the prestigious Colombo 2000 prize (Premio Colombo 2000) for tourism in Italy.
  • The New York Times uploaded a 36 hours in Dublin video (click here) highlighting the city’
  • The 100 AOIFE delegates gathered for the All-Island gathering of festival and event organisers in the Carlton Shearwater hotel in Ballinasloe.
  • WINTERVAL Market1Winterval Festival, Waterford, opens on Friday, November 21, continuing until December 23. The city’s squares and pedestrian streets will be lined with 60 decorated log cabins where food, crafts and wooden toys will be on sale.Thirty-two events will take place over the festival.
  • Paschal Donohoe officially announced New Year’s Festival Dublin, a three-day citywide new year’s festival filled with arts, culture and live entertainment was launched recently. Read on to find out more
  • The 2015 Irish Responsible Tourism Awards have opened their nominations for 2015 and are calling for entries. It is free to enter.
  • 120 of the world’s top international associations arrived in Dublin this week to attend the Union of International Associations Round Table Event.

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

Travel Extra’s Sunday Supplement: After DC, what’s next for Lingus?


Aer Lingus CEO Christoph Mueller with American ambassador Kevin O’Malley at the announcement of Aer Lingus' new Dallas route and expansion for summer 2015

Aer Lingus CEO Christoph Mueller with American ambassador Kevin O’Malley at the announcement of Aer Lingus’ new Dulles route and expansion for summer 2015

The headlines this week:            

*Michael runs Rings around promoters everywhere

*Agents ‘skydive’ on Quantum of the Seas

*Ryanair H1 pax numbers up 7pc to 51.3m, load factor up 4pc to 91pc

*Aer Lingus announces expanded summer schedule

*Topflight’s Tony Collins honoured by Austrian Embassy

Travel Extra TV

video-michael-ringVideo of the week: Irish Minister of State for tourism Michael Ring had them rolling for the Emerald Isle with his rousing speech at World Travel Market in London. One Scottish writer told Travel Extra it was the best he had heard and should be held up as a model to tourism ministers and promoters everywhere, for its direct and passionate message (watch here and listen here, also for the reply by Tourism Ireland CEO Niall Gibbons listen here). There was a large turnout of Irish partners on the busy Tourism Ireland stand.

  • World Travel Market uploaded highlights from day one (watch here), day two (watch here), day three (watch here) and day four (watch here) of the event.
  • Cricket legends Stephen Fleming, Chris Harris, Andy Bichel and Damien Fleming played a game on the Auckland Harbour Bridge to mark 100 days until the ICC Cricket World Cup in New Zealand and Australia. New Zealand 100% Pure’s promotional video features The Sweet Spot by Irish band The Duckworth Lewis Method, Neil Hannon (The Divine Comedy) and Thomas Walsh’s (Pugwash) cricket-only music project. Watch here.
  • Photographer Wes Eisenhauer captured timelapse footage of a meteor exploding. The phenomenon occurs when an object is travelling so fast that it compresses and burns the air around it. Watch here.
  • Videographer Devin Graham created a collage of adventurers cliff-jumping in Hawaii. Watch here.
  • Illuminated balloons mark where the Berlin Wall once stood as part of the celebrations marking 25 years since the wall was torn down. Watch here.


christoph speaksAer Lingus’s scheduled June return to the second of the two trans-Atlantic routes it vacated in 2009, Washington Dulles, had no surprises in frequency or timing. An additional A330-200 leased “on favourable terms” will fly four weekly, M-W-F-Su, outbound 12.45, inbound 17.20, with 100 seats more to sell than its rival on the route United. Washington has been very profitable for United out of Dublin and they intend staying on the route in 2015.

It was a five year plan. We have done that journey quietly unobserved by our competitors in Europe,” said CEO Christoph Mueller. “All of a sudden, we switched it on and are growing like a start-up from Silicon Valley. We started it with a 15pc capacity increase the year before last. We have a 25pc capacity increase in 2014 our seats were up 34pc so we have increasing load factor across the system, and we intend double digit growth again 2015, if you presume the growth of almost 12 years compressed in three years is proof our product is appreciated. We are the cost leader on the North Atlantic because we were always 20pc-30pc sometimes 40pc cheaper than the next competitor.

In reply to a question from Travel Extra at the press conference Christoph Mueller said anti-trust status had prevented them from contacting United in advance of the announcement. “It is of mutual interest to perform the Washington route jointly and benefit from the connectivity (listen here).” He said he expected no impact on the codeshare with United and that United was Aer Lingus’s second most important trading partner narrowly behind Jetblue in feeding Aer Lingus services. Chief Revenue Officer Mike Rutter highlighted the Los Angeles, Denver, Tampa and Pittsburgh connections opened up by the Dulles service.

The San Francisco service goes daily including Tu and Th, JFK gets a third daily flight outbound 07.50 with US pre clearance hours extended to cater for the earlier flight. This is the earliest flight off the continent of Europe each day and offers the option of a NY day trip for hardy road warriors (the CEO of Bonham’s was name checked by Mike Rutter), Orlando gets an extra flight on Wednesday, Shannon-Boston increases 20pc during summer. Mike Rutter said “It shows desire to create a schedule competitiveness which is comparison with Europe’s major hubs. Orlando is about attracting people from London gateways and to move to the direct capability. We hope to make further indents in that marketplace.” (listen here)

In his speech to the event (listen here) Christoph Mueller alluded to the fact the airline was threatened with bankruptcy five years ago “because we have overdone it a bit”. Privately to Travel Extra in reference to another airline he said: You can lose an AWFUL lot of money long haul. “In the past Aer Lingus try to fly the north Atlantic trying to rely on the Irish and US market alone, that was never going to work successfully.”

There is speculation that the craft is an ex-Aer Lingus aircraft which is currently leased by ILFC to Air Asia X.  A 210-seat 2-class B767 will be wet-leased (probably from Omni) to increase capacity on Shannon-Boston, releasing a B757 for the third daily JFK rotation. A330 operation is not now planned for Toronto.

Almost unnoticed in the kafuffle were new routes to Nantes 3w (in competition with year-round by Ryanair) and continuing Agadir through summer. Mike Rutter said the increase capacity to key routes which are in demand form Irish holiday makers was of “equal significance,” increasing Dublin-Paris, Palma 50pc, Stufttgart 25pc, Bilbao 20pc, Fuerteventura 100pc, Bordeaux 20pc, Lyon 17pc, Venice 12pc, Faro 6pc, Izmir 55pc, Bourgas 25pc. Cork-Malaga will increase.

The new mobile and web platform will be announced early in the New Year.

Wednesday was a big day for other reasons for Aer Lingus. The 70pc approval rating the pension plan proposals sent the Aer Lingus share price soaring 7pc. Christoph Mueller said an EGM would be scheduled for mid-December (listen here). SIPTU made clear that the dispute was still far from resolution amid claims that Aer Lingus and DAA were moving at different speeds towards resolution. The figures for Q3 the “championship quarter” in northern hemisphere aviation, were the strongest since the recession, capacity up 29pc, revenue up 34pc, short haul up 2.2pc, Aer Lingus Regional up 17.7pc, and passenger revenue up 5.5pc. Christoph Mueller said September was the month when Aer Lingus were back to normal from the lingering impact of industrial action (listen here). Christoph Mueller told RTÉ’s Conor Brophy that he expected further expansion in 2015 (listen here).

Michael O'leary bloomberg nov 2 (2)Ryanair raised its post-tax profit guidance for the year to €750m-€770m from €650m which was already up from €600m following first half results released on Monday (press release here, more detail here), passenger numbers up 7pc to 51.3m with load factor up 4 to 91pc, average fare up 5pc to €54, total revenue up 7pc to €3.5bn. Half year unit costs fell by 2pc. Fuel hedge was extended to 90pc for FY16, at $93 per barrel. Winter capacity is being raised: Traffic will grow by 12pc in Q3 and by 20pc in Q4 – an extra 2.2m passengers. Average fares are to fall 3pc to 5pc in Q3 and 6pc to 10pc in Q4, and the airline will ground 50 aircraft as opposed to 70 aircraft last winter. The share of website visits in England is 21pc, up from 14pc in December 2013 and ahead of easyJet (18pc) for the first time. Michael O’Leary gave his usual virtuoso performance on Bloomberg (watch here, story here) in which he said he expects to fly 89m passengers in the year to March compared with 82m to March 2014 and expects half of this growth to come at primary airports. The London Telegraph quoted Michael O’Leary: ‘I was wrong; the customer is always right.’ Neil Sorahan told RTÉ’s Conor Brophy that the figures were helped by a 9pc fall in fuel costs per passenger (listen here).

north star_0904“A sleek, modern vessel, full of light, colour and character.” Ireland’s Travel Agents returned from their conference on board Royal Caribbean’s Quantum of the Seas with broadly positive opinions. Two enthusiastic groups, including former President Clare Dunne whose initiative the cruise ship conference was, got to sample the virtual skydive, ifly by Ripcord, while Clare and Martin Skelly were among those brought on the London Eye inspired lofted pod, North Star (pictured), to gaze on the cruise ship and the shimmering ocean beyond on a bright October day. Agents were impressed by inside cabins with virtual screens, the extra dimensional entertainment at 360 and the ever-popular Mamma Mia. Some agile Cork Travel Agents brought the spirit of Sonia O’Sullivan to the running track. Eoghan on quantum_0915Travel Extra editor Eoghan Corry was, once again, first to sample the swimming pool on the new ship retaining his record from the last six Royal Caribbean’s cruise ship launches.  He was not first to sample, but certainly one of the most satisfied with the lobster thermidor at The Grande, the ship’s complimentary formal-night-is-every-night venue. Travel Extra understands that the Dynamic Dining concept, pioneered by NCL but now at the heart of Royal Caribbean’s F&B strategy, is to be extended throughout the fleet. Travel Extra also sampled Silk, the Thai themed restaurant. The two-level Music Hall became the bar of choice for the Irish agents and undoubtedly, for their customers.

The famous Wi-Fi, faster than the rest of the ships on the ocean combined but not up and running for the pre-launch cruise and the subject of much criticism at the press conference (see Jane Archer’s Quantum of the Seas: Patchy Wi-Fi and malfunctioning bionic bartenders and Karia Cripps of CNN’s tipsy robot bartenders), will be switched on when the ship arrives at Cape Liberty tomorrow.

In response to a question from Travel Extra at the cruise company’s press conference, Royal Caribbean CEO Richard Fain said the North Star was the big surprise for him when the ship was eventually launched and fitted out for passengers. “It’s a much more intimate experience than I realised, and I loved how comfortable and natural it was.”

ifly group_0713Picture shows a group of Irish travel agents about to take on the Ifly experience. See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.

It was a somewhat emotional evening when Tony Collins, Chairman of the Topflight Travel Group, was presented with “The Decoration of Honour in Gold” by Austrian Ambassador Thomas Nader at a ceremony at the Austrian Embassy Residence in Ballsbridge. The award was for services to Austrian Tourism and Tony had gathered family and friends from Ireland and Austria for the evening, Erika Mott, John Small and Simon Daly amongst them.

Tony talked about his love of Austria (listen here) and how he started tour operating with an allocation of 20 seats on a Dublin-Munich service from Simon Daly who was then with Ryanair (listen here). He said he was accepting the award on behalf of Tony Colins Simon Daly John Smallall Topflight staff (listen here). Picture shows a reconvened group of Tony Collins Simon Daly and John Small of the Ski club of Ireland with a photograph of themselves taken at Innsbruck in 1989. Good job none of them are getting any older. See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.

christoph Mueller kevin o'malley being photographed_0947American ambassador Kevin O’Malley spoke of the importance of Aer Lingus to the Irish diaspora in the USA (listen here). Picture shows Christoph Mueller and Kevin O’Malley being photographed at the launch with Jill McDonald and Anna Moore of Aer Lingus. See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.

The most interesting speech at World Travel Market may have been at the Thailand David Kevans speaking at WTM 2014event by English tour operator Devid Kevans (pictured),  a pioneer of the “Hide and Chic” movement of resorts that take a while to get to but offer complete recluse (listen here). His speech extolled the virtues of Thailand while drawing attention to his concerns over tourism policy and the military regime’s opinions about bikinis. See more pictures from World Travel Market here or connect with the album on Facebook.

Last week’s ITAA conference tackled questions such as the impact of the arrival of new multinational players in the Irish travel scene. John Galligan used the D word, disintermediation, a near-forgotten buzzword of the 1990s back in the vocabulary for the first time in many years.

A question left unanswered from the ITAA conference was whether Aer Lingus would return their short haul inventory to the GDS’s now that Ryanair have done so. Travel Extra put the question to CEO Christoph Mueller at Wednesday’s Summer 2015 launch and the response was negative. “We will not be going back in history increasing our GDS share,” but he did say that he would do so “If we have the right terms and conditions.” He also expects change to come with the IATA NDC which he described as a step in the right direction: “The customer buying an economy ticket in the United States can never order a meal. We would be restricting our product. In short haul nobody can buy lounge access because you cannot find all that stuff.” (Listen here).

Travel Trade

ciaran carraher at wtm_0602Picture shows Ciaran Carraher at World Travel Market where he launched a new company, Letzgo City Tours, which he says are “all about experiencing the extraordinary” (listen here). The company offers premium guided tours of Dublin including an impressive sounding Bram Stoker tour (listen here), London (listen here), Paris (listen here), New York (listen here) and, eventually in late 2015 or 2016, Rome.

portugalJoao de Figuiredo President of Portuguese Tourism talked to Travel Extra at World Travel market about the Irish market and the work to build numbers in the shoulder seasons (listen here). Picture shows Jose Aragao of the Portuguese national office in London, Celina Tavares from the Portuguese National Tourist Office in Dublin and Joao de Figuiredo, Presidente Turismo de Portugal, at World Travel market in Excel, London, Nov 3 2014

Commission of Aviation Regulation said agent renewal applications submitted for travel agents indicated an average increase of 5pc in turnover on last year. 23 travel agents and 46 tour operators are licensed to operate in Ireland including 13 newly licensed entities,11 travel agents and 2 tour operators.

  • The Travel Professionals will host a free Skillnet for job seekers looking to break in to the outbound travel industry. The event, Taste for Travel, takes place on November 11 in Temple Bar Hotel at 2.30pm. Training is available in a number of areas including: Management Development, Sales & Marketing, Health and Safety and Technology. Those interested can register their interest at this website or email their CV and cover letter to
  • GTA unveiled Emutrip, a free-to-use itinerary builder for mobile.
  • Travelport announced a distribution agreement with AirAsia India. The carrier’s fare and ancillary services will now be distributed through Travelport’s Travel Commerce Platform.
  • You can upgrade customers to First Class one-way with British Airways when you book them on an eligible Club World flight until Dec 12. Travel from now until March 31.

Deal Watch

  • Click and Go is offering 3 nights B&B in the Marco Polo Hotel, Rome from €199pp incl. flights, departing December 13.
  • Enniskillen Hotel’s winter packages: 1 night B&B from €77pp incl. one dinner, available Sunday-Thursday; 2 nights B&B from €115pp incl. one dinner, available Sunday-Thursday; 2 nights B&B from €128pp incl. one dinner from €128pp, available Friday-Saturday.
  • Sunway is offering one week self-catering in the Tamiamo Tropical Apartments in Tenerife for €629pp, depart Dec 21.
  • Monart Destination Spa in Enniscorthy, Co Wexford is offering two nights B&B plus gala New Year’s Eve dinner and fireworks display from €395pps.
  • Thomson all inclusive Sharm El Sheikh offer: 7 nights Dublin-Red Sea Riviera, Tropican Rosetta and Jasmin Club, Sharm El Sheikj from €1,591 for two adults and one child or from €2,579 for two adults and two children, depart 21 May.
  • Discover Travel escorted tour of India: 7 nights from €2,279pp incl. taxes, depart Dec 26.
  • Sunway is offering 3 nights in San Franciso’s Cova Hotel and 4 nights in Excalibur, Las Vegas from €899pp incl. flights and taxes. Travel March 2015.
  • Falcon’s all inclusive Sharm El Sheikh offer with free Kid’s Club: 7 nights Dublin- Red Sea Rivera, Sharm El Sheikh from €2,279 for two adults and one child or from €3,179 for two adults and two children, depart June 18.
  • Sunway MSC cruise line offer: 7 nights all inclusive from €979pp incl. flights, transfers and drinks. Book before Nov 30.
  • ITAA’s Christmas shopping offers: 4 nights in Strathcona Hotel, Toronto from €749pp incl flights, depart Nov 28;5 nights B&B in Savoy Frankfurt Hotel from €299pp incl. flights, depart Dec 9; and 3 nights B&B in St George Hotel, Prague from €225pp incl. flights, depart Dec 1.
  • Sunway 14 night trans-Canadian escorted tour from €3,639pp. Book before Nov 27, depart April 28.


  • hotel group expansion3Manor House Hotels and Irish Coutnry Hotels added Galgorm Resort & Spa in Antrim and Teach de Broc & The Sneem Hotel in Kerry to its portfolio. Picture shows Nicola Duggan, General Manager, Sneem Hotel; Aoife Brock, proprietor, Teach de Broc; Mary Fitzgerald, Chairperson of Manor House Hotels and Irish Country Hotels; and Paul Smyth, Operations Director, Galgorm Resort & Spa Co Antrim.
  • Adrian Weckler reported that Dublin hotels hiked up room rates by up to 600pc during the Web Summit.
  • Hotel group Starwood is rolling out Bluetooth enabled room access in ten of its hotels. The SPG Keyless app allows loyalty members to enter rooms using their smartphone.
  • Over 200 delegates from Ireland’s hotel sector will attend the Future of Tourism in Ireland event in Powerscourt Hotel Resort & spa on Nov 11 (9.30am-4.30pm). Speakers include Paul Keeley of Fáilte Ireland and management trainer Sean Weafer.
  • Jurys Inn’s top tips for “switching off” from technology on holiday: Try a digital detox app that disables your smartphone for 30 minutes to one hour; use a screen filter app to adjust your phone’s brightness in the evenings; and avoid using your mobile device as an alarm clock – opt for the wakeup call from reception instead.


  • Disney will expand its theme parks in Japan in a $6m investment. A large proportion of the money will go towards upgrading Fantasyland in Tokyo Disneyland, which attracted more visitors last year than Disneyland California.
  • Bansko was named the cheapest family ski resort for the under-charged traveller, if such a thing exists, Traveltech gave a few hints on how to recharge your phone faster.
  • The investigation into the Virgin Galactic spacecraft crash which killed one pilot could take up to a year, according to Christopher Hard, head of the US transport safety agency. Virgin Galactic said it will press ahead with building the second SpaceShipTwo, despite the ongoing investigation.
  • New Zealand prime minister John Key threatened to close down adventure tour operators who don’t comply with new regulations that require operators to register with WorkSafe NZ.
  • Booking agent com paid out compensation to customers after as many as 10,000 were affected by an online phishing scam.
  • A Polish student died after losing her balance taking a selfie near Puente de Triana in Seville.
  • If your name is Elizabeth Gallagher, you’re in luck: Jordan Axani from Toronto is looking for a woman that shares the same name as his ex-girlfriend to join him on a round-the-world flight.

Food & Wine

  • Chef Yvonne Carty will run a Christmas-themed chocolate cooking class at the Butlers alex-esnorChocolate Experience in Dublin on Nov 29, 1pm-3.30pm. Cost: €40, book here.
  • The Abu Dhabi Food Festival takes place February 5-21.
  • Alila Hotel in Jakarta appointed Alex Ensor (pictured) as executive chef.


  • Stephen Kavanagh of Aer Lingus said he expects negotiations with Airbus to conclude next spring with the order likely to concentrate on A350 rather than the A330neo but hinted that the A321neoLR is of significant interest.  First deliveries would be in 2018.
  • BA Cityflyer is to operate 1w to Menorca from May 30 to 26 Sept 26 using an E-190.
  • Ryanair told their analysts conference on Monday that product and pricing are now visible on 95pc of European business house GDS screens.
  • Westjet will start their Dublin-St John’s-Toronto service 6 weeks earlier next summer on May 1.
  • Ryanair said they expect Dublin airport traffic to grow from 20.1m to 21.8m. Winter scheduled capacity is up 7pc to 950,000 while Aer Lingus flights could be down about 11pc.
  • SAS will operate a twice weekly Dublin-Gothenburg service in July and August and once weekly for the rest of the summer season.
  • Vueling confirms Barcelona 5w between June 1 and Aug 31 2015.
  • Ryanair is to lease seven aircraft in for summer 2015.
  • As for Christoph Mueller’s intentions when he retires as Aer Lingus CEO next May, only five rumours this week. Time to start a few more?
  • AerLingus Moustache_320_EIDES_Moustache_DUB_051114_4786_300Aer Lingus celebrates Movember with “Des the Mo Aircraft” (pictured). Des’s makeover was documented on Snapchat.

Ryanair plans to start selling holiday packages and will introduce a price comparison feature on

  • CarTrawler estimates airline ancillary revenue will reach $49.9bn worldwide in 2014.
  • Ratings agency S&P said the DAA is likely to see profits jump 12pc to €180m this year.
  • Knock Airport reported passenger numbers were 665,400 in 2013, down 3pc. However, a spokesperson said it is “well ahead” or its 2014 target of 696,000 passengers.
  • EasyJet announced the launch of a new route from Belfast to Split, Croatia. The route will operate once a week throughout the summer, commencing May 20. The airline expects to carry 6,000 passengers on the service. Fares from £26.00pp.
  • Willie Walsh, CEO of BA’s parent International Airlines Group, said that there is no business case for doubling capacity at Gatwick airport. “I don’t believe that demand is as strong as Gatwick would argue. We believe there are opportunities to continue to grow but we don’t see a case for doubling the capacity at Gatwick in the near future – particularly if charges go up. That’s not going to be an attractive environment for airlines,” he said in an interview with The English Guardian.
  • An inquiry into Belfast City Airport’s proposal to scrap its seats for sale restriction will be held in March 2015. The airport is currently limited to selling two million departing seats a year.
  • British Airways and American Airlines seat sale on all fares ex Dublin, Cork and Shannon sold between now and Nov 17 for travel until May 31. USA and Canada specials include: New York from €192, Boston from €206, LA from €184, Toronto from €184 and Vancouver from €271.
  • Emirates’ winter promotion: Dublin-Dubai from €499, Sydney from €822, Dehli from €599, Johannesburg from €677 or Taiwan from €728. Available until Nov 21.
  • Malaysia Airlines is expected to declare MH370 as lost by year end, opening up payment of full compensation to victim’s’ next of kin.
  • A B737 operated by Indian airline SpiceJet crashed into a stray buffalo during take-off from Surat city. Nobody was injured by the aircraft suffered substantial damage in the collision.
  • Qatar Airways’ Global Promotion Week sale ends tomorrow, Nov 10.
  • Spirit Airlines, often referred to as “America’s most hated airline”, embraced its bad reputation and asked passengers to “unleash the hate” in a survey on what they hate most about flying with Spirit. 8,000 frequent-flier miles were up for grabs as an incentive for feedback. 28,205 people responded. Unsurprisingly, the $100 charge to travel with a carry on was the subject of 40pc of the rants. A word search revealed that the word “sucks” appeared in 914 responses, “crap” came up 201 times and the F word was included 75 times.
  • ??????????????????????????????????????????????????????Etihad Airways appointed Eszter Ungar (pictured) as Head of Corporate Affairs for Europe.
  • Aer Lingus added new products to its on board shopping range, Boutique. A Christmas Gift Guide will be available on all flights from November 12 to December 31.
  • Qatar Airways took delivery of three new aircraft in one day: two B787 Dreamliners and one B777.
  • The Cobalt Light System is being trialled in 63 airports in Europe and Australia in the hope of ending the ban on airline passengers carrying liquids over 100ml in the hand luggage. The scanner can check liquid contents on bottles without having to open them.
  • Etihad - Alitalia Pilots Employed - PHOTO 1Etihad Airways announced the recruitment of 40 pilots from Alitalia as part of a global campaign to hire 500-600 captains and first officers over the next three years. Captain Francesco De Liddo and First Officer Paolo Sala (pictured) are the first of 40 Alitalia pilots to transfer to Etihad Airways.
  • Air Berlin appointed Stefan Pichler as its new CEO, succeeding Wolfgang Prock-Shauer who announced he will step down in February.
  • Passengers on a Vietnam Airlines flight from Ho Chi Minh City to Sydney had to wrestle a man to the ground and tie his hands with cable tie after he tried to force the emergency aircraft door open mid-flight.


  • Costa Cruises launched its new flagship vessel the €550m 4,947-passenger Costa Diadema in Genoa. The ship will offer seven-day Mediterranean itineraries from Savona, Italy, until the end of the summer 2015 season
  • Hurtigruten is to charter cruise ship Nordstjernen for short break cruises to Svalbard beginning in 2015.
  • English-based Cruise & Maritime Voyages will have a new flagship from spring 2015 when it takes delivery of 1,250-passenger Grand Holiday, to be renamed Magellan.
  • The 800-passenger Marco Polo has been dislodged from a mud bank on which it was stranded on the Lofoten Islands off Norway and has resumed its 14-day cruise.
  • Three Fred Olsen Cruise Line ships Black Watch, Braemar and Balmoral will be dry docked for refurbishment in Nov-Dec 2014.
  • One crew member died and another has been hospitalised after a lifeboat accident while being lowered in order to perform maintenance work on the hull of the Coral Princess in Colon, Panama.
  • Carnival Corporation unveiled a hybrid wireless network for its nine cruise brands that will deliver onboard Internet speeds 10 times faster than currently available.
  • Celebration Cruise Line cancelled all cruises scheduled for the first two weeks of November after Bahamas Celebration struck an unknown object in the water. Celebration sails two-night voyages from the Port of Palm Beach to Freeport and back.


IRELAND’S TOURISM DRIVE FOR 2015 KICKS OFF AT WORLD’S LARGESPictures shows Michael Ring, Minister of State for Tourism, Vanessa Markey of Tourism Ireland and Niall Gibbons, CEO of Tourism Ireland, on the Tourism Ireland stand at WTM.

Kildare Village will add 36 new boutiques in an expansion scheduled to open November 2015 which will bring the total number in the Village to 100. The plans include two restaurants and a Visitor Centre with enhanced hospitality services for guests, as well as 437 parking spaces, which have been created for the development. The expansion will add an additional 5,544 square metres to Kildare Village, increasing the total size to 16,570 square metres.

IRELAND DOES THE BUSINESS IN MUNICH!Thirteen Irish tourism companies travelled to a B2B workshop and networking event in Munich. Fifty representatives from conference companies based in southern Germany attended the Tourism Ireland organised event. Picture shows Aoife O’Loingsigh, Tourism Ireland; Michelle Blake, The Marker Hotel; Michelle Murphy, Kerry Convention Bureau; Karen Kelly, Druids Glen Resort; Susan Sheehan, Clyde Court Hotel; Ronan Flood, Advantage ICO; Evelyn O’Sullivan, Cork Convention Bureau; John Callely, Teeling Whiskey Company; Róisín Gaffney, Fáilte Ireland; and (back, l-r) Melita Williams, Bespoke Northern Ireland; Matti Reuter, Royal Marine Hotel, Dún Laoghaire; Stephanie Hughes, Ballsbridge Hotel; John Callely, Odyssey International; and Brian Miley, Muckross Park Hotel & Spa.

American Ireland Fund DinnerPictured at the American Ireland Fund Dinner at Fitzpatrick Castle Hotel, Killiney, is Kevin F O’Malley, US Ambassador to Ireland with Eithne Fitzpatrick, Owner and Mark Scott Lennon, General Manager, Fitzpatrick Castle Hotel.

Ireland’s Blue Book added four new properties to its collection of country houses, hotels and restaurants: Ghan House in Carlingford, Co. Louth; Campagne restaurant in Kilkenny and Restaurant Forty One in Dublin.

Keith WintervalIllusionist Keith Barry (pictured) launched the programme for the Winterval Festival in Waterford City. Thirty-two Christmas events will take place in the city from Nov 21 to Dec 23.

A Four Ball consisting of members from Adare and Rathbane Golf Clubs in Limerick won the Clare Ultimate Golf Challenge at Domoland Castle Gold & Country Club on Thursday. Bart Moylan, Alphonsus Franklin, Fred Hofker and Pat Newman scored a Round of 74. All proceeds raised by the event will go towards Clare Tourism Forum’s 2015 marketing campaign.

CABIN-BELMOND Rail tourLuxury overnight train, Belmond Grand Hibernian, will launch in summer 2016, offering two-, four and six-night journeys across the island. Belmond acquired ten carriages from Iarnród Éireann which will be refitted as a sleeper train with accommodation for up to 40 guests in 20 en-suite cabins. The Grand Hibernian will also feature four interconnecting suites to accommodate families, two restaurant cars and an observation bar car.

AMERICAN AND CANADIAN TOUR OPERATORS GIVE IRELAND THE ‘THUMBSEight group tour operators from the USA and Canada visited Ireland to attend a B2B event organised by Fáilte Ireland at Bellinter House. The group’s itinerary included trips to Trim Castle, the Brú na Bóinne visitor centre, the Battle of the Boyne visitor centre, Powerscourt House & Gardens, the Irish National Stud, Japanese Gardens, Glasnevin Museum and Dublin Castle. Picture shows the operators with Frieda O’Connell of the Irish National Stud and Jean McCluskey of Tourism Ireland.

IRELAND IS THE BUSINESS FOR INFLUENTIAL AMERICAN GROUP!Tourism Ireland and destination management company BEM Ireland hosted a group of representatives from American business tourism companies this week. The group’s itinerary included Bunratty Castle & Folk Park, the Cliffs of Moher, the Burren, the Gap of Dunloe, Muckross Traditional Farms, the Dingle Peninsula, the Guinness Storehouse, Trinity College and St Patrick’s Cathedral. Picture shows the group at the Cliffs of Moher with Marie McKown of Tourism Ireland, and Rory O’Shaughnessy, Eamon Howley and Averil Burke, all BEM Ireland.

Hailo chief executive Tom Barr said the taxi service is to ramp up its battle with Uber in Ireland after it quit the US market.

Actress Eva Longoria was in Dublin this week for the Web Summit. While she was in town, Eva asked her 7m Twitter followers to recommend the best places to visit. She had fry in Bewley’s Café, went shopping on Grafton Street, visited Trinity College to see the Book of Kells, posed for pictures outside the Old Library, saw Jonathan Swift’s grave at St Patrick’s Cathedral, dinner in Elephan and Castle and finally tucked in to a pack of smoky bacon Tayto crisps for dessert.

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

Travel Extra’s Sunday Supplement: Propellers at dawn, 3-carrier competition commences to London City airport


Royal Caribbean's  Quantum of the Seas arrives in Southampton

Royal Caribbean’s Quantum of the Seas arrives in Southampton

The headlines this week:

*Ireland’s Travel Agents get a preview of Quantum

*Then there were three: Dublin to London City now has 16 flights a day

*Then there was none: Heathrow T1 loses last Irish service as BA go to T5

*Celebrity rewards their sellers

Travel Extra TV

video-thai-boatVideo of the week: Long-tail motorboat racing is a popular sport in Thailand’s Samut Songkhram province, and homemade boats are a common sight during racing season. Some reach speeds of up to 160kmph. Watch here.

  • Choppy seas won’t deter the Greeks from loading cars on to a ferry. This video shows drivers taking on the ferry’s jumpy ramp. We don’t envy them: Watch here.
  • Roadtrippers Adam Hicks and Joyce Ord captured footage of The World’s Largest Truck Convoy driving on Interstate 64 in aid of the Special Olympics. Watch here.
  • A bird’s eye view of Paris: Victor the white-tailed eagle launches himself off the top of the Eiffel Tower and swoops over Trocadero before returning to his handler. The film was made as part of the Freedom project, which aims to support the conservation of eagles born in captivity. Watch here.
  • German wheelbarrow rider Alex Siegfried shows off some of his moves with a customised gold-plated wheelbarrow. This could very well be the next big extreme sport…start booking now. Watch here.
  • Footage of a homophobic man being apprehended by bystanders in Dallas Airport received over 4m views this week. The man was tackled to the ground after attempting to attack another man. Watch here (contains strong language).
  • This Air France jet was forced to abort landing three times because of strong crosswinds. Watch here.
  • Reuters uploaded stills of the Virgin space rocket explosion that killed one of the pilots. Watch here. Meanwhile, Associated Press uploaded footage of investigators examining the wreckage. Watch here. The Virgin spaceship designed to take tourists on trips beyond Earth’s atmosphere broke up during a test flight over the Mojave Desert.


quantumThis week’s chic-lit (not chick-lit) comes from the Chic Bar on board the pre-launch cruise of the next generation of cruising: Royal Caribbean’s Quantum of the Seas.

They made it, but just about. One Quantum of the Seas executive commented: “We were about nine days behind.” There were 1,000 contractors still on board the ship when travel trade and media joined them for a pre-launch cruise around the Isle of Wight before the ship embarks on its first revenue cruise to New York this week. Jamie Oliver came on board to open his restaurant but when the guests got to sample the fare they found that not everything was ready. The famous fastest Wi-Fi on the waves was not yet switched on.

quanmtum_0747 copy (2)Some of the journalists as Saturday’s press conference complained about the fact there were no toiletries in the cabins. If they knew what was happening behind the scenes.

Amid the launch, the Irish Travel Agents Association had their best attended conference in 20 years. The conference took place in Chic Restaurant rather than, as originally planned, the conference centre which was still being completed. The air conditioning failed and the power sockets made it to the end of Larry Pimethal’s presentation. There was just one microphone for the Travel 2020 session chaired by Travel Extra editor Eoghan Corry. The quote of the conference came from Larry Pimenthal of Azamara Cruises: “When was the last time you went into a restaurant and were handed the menu and said: I’ll have the cheapest starter, cheapest main course and cheapest dessert.” John Keogh of Aer Lingus was asked when Aer Lingus short haul clare dunne ifly_0566 copy (2)flights would return to the GDS (following Ryanair’s arrival on Travelport and now Amadeus) and said discussions were ongoing. He was making the point that agents who go to market on price will always be vulnerable to be beaten on price. Picture shows Clare Dunne of Travel Broker, former president of the ITAA sampling the Ifly by Ripcord on board Quantum of the Seas. See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.

flybeIt was propellers at dawn this week as Flybe and British Airways commenced their services from Dublin to London City Airport, joining Cityjet on a suddenly crowded route. Picture shows Flybe CFO Philip De Klerk popping the champagne with guests. Both Flybe and BA launched their four daily services to London City. CityJet responded by announcing that they will expand their Avro RJ85 Dublin to London City service by 25pc and will put on up to nine flights every weekday as of 26 October 2014. CityJet will start operating the earliest flight out of London City Airport with a 06:45 departure. Travel Extra joined Flybe’s inaugural on board a BombardierBBD/B Q400 Dash 8, which brought the Dublin guests to a ceremony to flybe2celebrate the arrival of six Flybe inaugurals in sequence to London City airport. Flybe now serve London City four times daily from Dublin at 06:30, 10.25, 15.20 and 19:20. Speaking at the event Travel Extra editor Eoghan Corry said that the route would likely divert business from other London airports and make the route attractive to leisure passengers as well as business. Dublin to London was now Europe’s busiest air corridor and “unlike previous holders of the title, London-Paris and Barcelona-Madrid, nobody was going to build a high speed rail link anytime soon between the cities”. British Airways launched a four daily programme using a mixture of the Embraer E-170 and E-190 jets, all based at London City, departing Dublin at 08.45, 10.45, 16.15 and 19.50. Cityjet currently serves over 250,000 passengers on the route every year. Flights from Dublin depart at 07.35, 09.40, 11.40, 13.30, declan-collier15.45, 17.35, 19.35 and 20.30. Listen here to Flybe CEO Saad Hammad speaking about prospects for the Dublin route, listen here to Declan Collier (pictured), CEO of London City Airport talking about development plans for the airport, listen here to Danny Kennedy Stormont Minister for Development, listen here to Alex Sammond, Scottish first minister and listen here to John Hayes Westminister minister of state for transport speaking at the event. See more pictures here of the Flybe inaugural or connect with the album on Facebook.

A new loyalty programme from Celebrity Cruises aims to simplify agent incentives and reward counter staff. The scheme has been introduced following a consultation programme with agents including Emer Miley from Tour America and Avril Fulton from Orr’s Travel. “This is designed by agents for agents,” Lorraine Tryphavana-Cross Lorraine-QuinnQuinn says. Tryphavana Cross and Lorraine (pictured) talked agents through the advantages of the new loyalty programme, where agents accumulate points through cruise sales, earning more points for upselling, which can be redeemed with vouchers towards for consumer goods, brands or cruises. State rooms will put into an auction process for agents. “It is as flexible as an individual wants to be,” Lorraine Quinn says. “All their bookings are in there, they can see their points clocking up and they can redeem their points like a shopping cart. There has never been a comprehensive loyalty programme for agents like this before.” The scheme went live yesterday (Nov 1) and points remain current for four years. Royal Caribbean and Celebrity now have both introduced loyalty programmes. “It is just the mechanics are different,” Lorraine says. Listen here to Lorraine’s presentation. See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.

So farewell then, Heathrow Terminal 1. The last of the Irish services switched on Sunday last. British Airways flights have now moved to Heathrow Terminal 5. Dublin flights no longer arrive and depart from Terminal 1 in Heathrow.

Travel Trade

georgia-eventTracy Vaughan, new director of Georgia Tourism, hosted trade and travel media in Peploe’s Restaurant, Dublin during the week. Picture shows Peter Hanniford of Georgia Tourism, Siobhan Scanlan of Delta, Barry Hammond of Sunway, Tracy Vaughan new director of Georgia Tourism and Ciara Foley of Platinum Travel, chair of the Visit USA committee in Dublin.

ITAA’s quarterly members survey revealed that 72pc of agents have reported an increase in bookings compared to this time last year. 20pc said bookings remain the same, while 8pc reported a decrease.

The travel fun day raised €60,000 in all. €30,000 was distributed to the Make a Wish Foundation, €5,000 each to the Frances Grogan Spinal Injuries Fund in Cheeverstown, the Nathan Trust, and the Gavin Glynn Trust (Gavin died that night) and €3,000 to the charities supported by Nikki Stanford in her Kilimanjaro climb.

sinead-reillySinead Reilly (pictured), Ireland Country Manager of Travelport will speak on the Future of Air Distribution at the Travel Centres Conference in Killashee House, Naas, on November 14-15, Brian Malarkey, Managing Director, AO UK wil talk about Personalisation & Relevance — The Key to Increased Conversions & Ancillary Sales, Mark Gaffney, Managing Director of PurplePod wil speak on Multi-Channel Digital Marketing Solutions. Other speakers include Federica Galeotti, of Bedsonline, Rob Barker of Vertical Systems and Sharon Fleming of Thompson Travel International.

basque-eventPictured participating in a Jai Alai/Pelota match on an Aer Lingus trip to the Basque region: Margaret Fitzgerald of Killiney Travel, Dominic Burke of Travel Centres, Derek Keogh of GTI, Paul Dawson of Dawson Travel and Kathryn MacDonnell of the Spanish Tourist Board with the Jai Alai doubles players in the front row. Aer Lingus has four weekly flights Dublin to Bilbao in the summer season.

  • Amadeus announced a new research partnership with the Guild of Travel Management Companies, which accounts for 80pc of outbound business travel bookings made through travel companies in England. Amadeus and GTMC will study the changing landscape of hotel distribution and promote and understanding of how technology might shape the future of travel.
  • Equistone Partners Europe has invested a stake in Travel Counsellors. The homeworking organisation has 60 agents in Ireland and a further 25 in the north.
  • ETOA elected Mario Bondini as its new Chairman.
  • The second instalment of Travel Professionals Skillnet’s webinar on Online Tools with Barry Walshe takes place on Wednesday (Nov 5), 9.30am-11am. Book here.
  • Skal’s next meeting will take place in The Guinness Storehouse on November 11 at 12.30pm. Price for members €30, non-members €35.
  • ETOA claimed that inertia by Governments is putting Europe’s tourism industry at risk.

Deal Watch

  • ITAA’s offers of the week: 7 nights all inclusive Adaaran Select Meedhupparu, Maldives from €1,699pp incl. flights and transfers, travel May or June 2015; 12 day escorted tour of China from €2,799pp incl. flights, transfers and meals, travel June 2; and 3 nights B&B in Reykjavik Lights hotel, Iceland from €578pp incl. return flights, travel April 9.
  • Slieve Donard-Night (1)Hastings Hotels is offering autumn breaks for two at the Slieve Donard Resort & Spa from £115 incl. breakfast, £10 spa voucher each and £10 restaurant voucher each. To book, call 048 4372 1066.
  • Sunway New York package: 3 nights in Fitzpatricks Grand Central Hotel, €779pp incl. ice skating in Central Park, Empire State Building and Statue of Liberty tours, Hop On-Hop Off bus tour, travel February.
  • Funway Holidays’ Big Sale kicked off on November 1. Offers are outlined in a four-page flyer valid for bookings until Nov 31. USA, Mexico and Barbados are included in the sale and prices start from £549pp for 3 nights in New York.
  • BUL_SNB_4275Thomson’s family resort offer with free Kid’s Club: 7 nights all-inclusive Dublin-Sunny Beach, Bulgaria from €1,910 for two adults and one child or from €2,777 for two adults and two children. Depart May 25.
  • Falcon’s all-inclusive Kid’s Club offer: 7 nights Dublin-Coast Teguise, Lanzarote from €1,831 for two adults and one child or from €2,480 for two adults and two children.
  • Click and Go’s NYC offers: 4 nights Long Island City from €599pp incl. B&B, flights and taxes; 4 nights Manhattan, Upper West Side from €619pp incl. flights and taxes; and4 nights Manhattan, Times Square from €699pp incl. flights and taxes.
  • Discover Travel is offering 24 night tour of Vietnam, Cambodia & Thailand from €2,449pp.


Christchurch - Executive Rooms 1Jurys Inn introduced new Executive Rooms (pictured) located on the upper floors of the chain’s city centre hotels. The rooms are fitted with super king beds, an in-room safe, mini-fridge, 32” TV, free Wi-Fi and complimentary refreshments.

Conrad London St James launched the Movember package which include a set of the new Refinery Collection grooming products (including shaving cream and after shave balm for December 1), dinner at the Blue Boar Bar for two and two pints of real ale.

The Dean Hotel in Harcourt Street Dublin promises modern pod rooms, fully stocked mini SMEGs, Irish munchies and a Martin & Co limited edition guitar in the suites. Rooms are ready to roll from December 1 and the Dean’s website is up and running.

The Georgian House Hotel in London unveiled two Harry Potter-themed “Wizard Chamber” rooms that come with a four poster “muggle-size” bed, potion bottles and cauldrons. The rooms are available as part of a package that includes a “muggle walking tour” of London.

  • Gallaghers Hotel in Letterkenny is up for sale with a guide price of €900,000.
  • HAMPTON SIGNINGHilton signed a 400 hotel license deal for China.
  • Bulgari is to open a luxury hotel in Beijing in 2017.
  • From Jan 15, Marriott International will offer free Wi-Fi at its full service brand hotels for loyalty members who book direct.
  • Manor House Hotels and Irish Country Hotels reported a 13pc increase in bed night bookings and a 20pc increase in revenue. The group owns 53 hotels around Ireland.


Insight Vacations has launched its 2015 Europe programme with 113 escorted tours around Europe. Insight Vacations has unveiled a redeveloped website. Insight Vacations coaches with business class legroom picked up ITAA conference delegates from London Heathrow and transferred them to Southampton to board the Quantum of the Seas.

Finnish company Active Ally Oy says it can help passengers sleep comfortably while sitting on aircraft trains and busses with a new accessory – the RelaxALLY headband.

Car hire companies have told the EU Commission they will not use automatic rerouting following the identification of the consumer’s IP address and consumers can freely shop around for the best price. The car rental companies said they will differentiate prices by a consumer’s country of residence only where the difference can be justified by objective reasons.

New York City has the safest metro system for female travellers, according to a survey by Thomson Reuters. Tokyo came in second, followed by Beijing, London and Seuol. Bogota has the most dangerous, followed by Mexico City, Lima and Delhi.

Visit Scotland winter events: Night in the Garden, the Royal Botanic Gardens in Edinburgh, until Nov 23; Winter Wonderland, Forestry Commission Scotland in Argyll, November 29; and Christmas at Kirroughtree in Dumfries & Galloweay, Dec 6-21.

The Sistine Chapel is to cap the number of visitors to 20,000 visits a day and 2,000 at any one time. A new temperature system will be used to filter dust brought in by visitors and the carbon dioxide they emit. New lights will be installed to draw attention to the frescoes lining the chapel.

  • GTI launched a series of Long Haul and Battlefield Tours for 2015.
  • Drury Porter Novelli were awarded the PR account in Ireland for The Canary Islands Tourism Board.
  • Spafinder Wellness 365 has launched a new gift card collection.
  • Tune In Tel Aviv music festival takes place November 19-23.
  • GTA appointed Flavia Alzetta as Senior Vice President for Global Sales & Marketing.
  • Tourism Australia and Virgin Australia expanded their global marketing deal for 2015.
  • Australia imposed a blanket ban on issuing visa from Sierra Leone, Guinea and Liberia nationals.
  • Thailand is considering capping the number of tourists to Phuket, as hoteliers claim visitor figures are reaching a tipping point.
  • North Korea closed its borders on Friday, blaming fears of the Ebola virus.
  • Cuba’s Tourism Ministry reported a 3pc increase in international visitors and outlined its Winter Season Strategy.

Food & Wine

  • Galway restaurant week kicks off tomorrow (November 3). Twenty-eight restaurants are offering discounts throughout the week, listed on com.
  • Wine expert John Wilson will host a wine talk and tasting followed by a wine dinner at Ballymaloe House on November 13. Places at the talk and tasting cost €15, dinner with matched wines costs €65 and a package including both events plus B&B at Ballymaloe is €177pps.
  • The Wild Goose Gill in Ranelagh is offering a three-course lunch for €10 in McSorley’s pub in the basement until mid-December.
  • The Chameleon Indonesian restaurant in Temple Bar celebrates 20 years in business with a mong long series of events. The celebration kicks off with a birthday lunch this Thursday (Nov 6, 12.30pm-2.30pm) when a platter of three of the restaurant’s top dishes are available for €9.


aer-lingus-sanfranAer Lingus will announce its 2015 transatlantic destination at a press conference on Wednesday. It will be an east coast USA location rather than the Texas option with which Christoph Mueller tantalised the media last year.

Ryanair integrated passbook with their latest app, which the airline says offers an improved booking service as well as   Dutch, French, German & Polish language versions and the option to add existing bookings to passengers’ My Ryanair’ profile.

Emirates has changed departure times for winter on its Dublin to Dubai serve, EK162 will now depart Dublin at 12.55 (previously 13.50) arriving in Dubai at 00.25, EK164 will now depart Dublin at 20.20 (previously 22.20) landing in Dubai at 07.50 They say it will improve connection possibilities to Sydney to 2 hours 25 minutes, Melbourne to 1 hour 45 minutes; and Bangkok to1 hour 15 minutes and also Bombay, Delhi, and Colombo.

Ryanair continued its move to major European airports with its second Danish base and 70th in all at Copenhagen to open in March 2015 with four based aircraft. They start with three new routes to Stansted, Milan and Warsaw, 10 more new routes in the New Year.

An Italian passenger flying to Milan with Aer Lingus had the smile wiped off his face after his practical joke triggered a major security alert at Dublin Airport. Roberto Binaschi scribbled “Attenzione Ebola” on a coffee cup lid as a prank on his adult daughter. The cup was spotted by cabin crew and triggered an emergency response. Binaschi, his daughter and his wife were arrested. Binaschi was later charged at Dublin District Court. He was ordered to pay €2,500 to charity for what the judge described as a “sick joke” (no pun intended?)

Photo by Aaron McCracken/HarrisonsEuropcar unveiled a new rental suite at Belfast International Airport. The new rental pods have fast track check-out to help speed up the rental process.

  • Lufthansa is to stream entertainment on passenger’s portable electronic devices
  • A Flybe flight from Newquay-London Gatwick was cancelled on Wednesday because the pilot was arrested on suspicion of being drunk.
  • Price comparison site Momondo said travellers need to book flights at least 53 days in advance of their departure to get the best deals.
  • Lufhansa cut its forecast for operating profit next year from €2bn to €1bn.
  • Etihad launched a third daily flight to Mumbai and New Delhi.
  • Photo by Aaron McCracken/HarrisonsGraham Keddie (pictured) managing director of Belfast International Airport, called on reduction of APD and urged Westminster to abolish it altogether for children.
  • Air France is now offering three weekly services to Abidjan using the A380.
  • KLM operated its last MD-11 passenger flight following an 80 year partnership.
  • Etihad Airways’ inaugural daily flight form Abu Dhabi to Phuket EY430 departed Abu Dhabi International Airport at 8.40am on Etihad-a380-800Sunday.
  • Virgin Atlantic is to become the first European airline to put trainee pilots at the controls of long-haul aircraft.
  • Ryanair passengers claimed they were stranded in Krakow airport for over 24 hours due to freezing fog.
  • Budapest-1Emirates launched a daily non-stop service to Budapest. Picture shows the VIP delegation prepare to depart at Dubai International Airport Saeed Ahmed Thani Al Tayer, Executive Director of Legislations & Policies Division, Dubai Customs; Robert Siegel, Emirates’ Vice President Cargo Commercial; Ranjit Puthanveetil, General Manager of Al Reyami Travels & Tourism; Ramy Ramzy Reiad Ayad, Commercial Director Sanofi; Thierry Aucoc, Emirates’ Senior Vice President Commercial Operations (Europe); Pradeep Kumar, Emirates’ Senior Vice President Cargo Revenue Optimisation and Systems; Andra Donnauer, Red Bull General Manager South Asia Region; Salem Ahmed Baobaid, Events and Marketing Specialist, Abu Dhabi Education Council.
  • An American Airlines flight from LA to London was grounded for 17 hours after an unidentified passenger named their WiFi hotspot ‘Al-Quida Free Terror Nettwork’.
  • Qatar Airways and Manchester Airport hosted a Night at the Museum reception for over 100 trade partners on Oct 29.
  • International Airlines Group reported a 30pc increase in third-quarter profit on Friday.


quantum2After hosting the ITAA conference and its two short cruises round the Isle of Wight for media and travel agents, Quantum of the Seas will arrive in Cape Liberty, Bayonne, New Jersey on November 10, where it will be christened. It will be based full time in Shanghai from May 2015. The 4,180-passenger next-generation ship launches a new class for Royal Caribbean; its 2,090 cabins include 373 virtual balconies. It will be followed by Anthem of the Seas in April 2015, which will spend its inaugural season in England, followed by Ovation of the Seas, which will launch later next year.

  • Starting in summer 2015, Celebrity Cruises will offer river and ocean combination cruises.
  • Gerry Cahill, president and CEO of Carnival Cruise Lines, is to retire at the end of November.
  • The US Department of Transportation has launched a website designed to keep potential cruisers informed of any safety or consumer complaint concerns on board cruise ships
  • Princess Cruises has released its new Honeymoon Wishes Registry, which allows newlywed passengers to build their own honeymoon.
  • Hurtigruten‘s oldest craft, the 1964 MS Lofoten, is to have its nostalgic features enhanced from April 2015 features include fishing directly from the ship, bridge tournaments, afternoon teas and a more traditional dining experience.
  • Irish customers will receive $100 free on-board spend on Norwegian cruise line per stateroom when booking between November 5-25, 2014.
  • Norwegian reported a 17.5pc increase in net income in the third quarter.
  • Uniworld Ultra Luxury 2015 cruise journeys in Vietnam & Cambodia are now available for booking.
  • MSC Cruises will debut new Lego themed playrooms on board the MSC Armonia, which is currently being lengthened and refitted. Lego play areas will also be included in two new vessels scheduled for delivery in 2017.


IRELAND – READY TO DO BUSINESS IN BELGIUMA group of Irish tourism companies travelled to Brussels to take part in a three-day sales blitz organised by Tourism Ireland. The representatives hoped to wow Belgium’s lucrative conference and business tourism market. Picture shows Susan Sheahan fo Clyde Court Hotel, Dublin, Anna Cernuschi of A Touch of Ireland. Danielle Neyts of Tourism Ireland and Deborah Swain of Visit Belfast.

Ross Castle in Co Kerry was listed in on Lonely Planet’s 10 lesser known haunted places of the world.

Steve Parsons is probably it. This ghost hunter is famous for his appearances on TV shows across the globe including the hugely popular ITV’s Most Haunted series, and arrived in Ireland this week host a Ghost Hunt at the almost 800 year old Enniscorthy Castle in Wexford.

Overseas visitors to Ireland grew by +9.3% for the first nine months of 2014, according to the CSO. Visitors to Northern Ireland also grew by +5% in the first half of 2014, according to figures released by NISRA.

There were some surprises among the IGTOA 2014 Irish Golf Awards: Galgorm Castle Golf Club won the parkland course of the year and The Island the links course of the year, Castlemartyr the IGTOA golf resort of the year, the (just reopened) Ashford Castle the IGTOA boutique golf hotel of the year, Bushmills Inn the IGTOA boutique golf hotel of the year, Bernard Gibbons of Powerscourt the IGTOA golf manager of the year and Christy O’Connor Junior the Jerry Donworth outstanding contribution to golf award.

‘CONNECTING’ CANADA AND IRELANDFive Irish tourism companies and Tourism Ireland took part in the four-day sales blitz, Connect Canada II, in Vancouver. Sixty travel agents and 20 travel and lifestyle media based in Calgary, Edmonton and Vancouver cities attended. Tourism Ireland hopes to increase the number of Canadian visitors to Ireland by 47pc by 2016. Picture shows: Tanya Warren, Tourism Ireland; Peter Brazil, My Holiday Ireland; Aoife Hickey, The Lake Hotel, Killarney; Marie Brennan, Shannon Heritage; Jim Deegan, Railtours Ireland First Class; Róisín Wallace, Manor House Hotels & Irish Country Hotels; and Helen Cole, Tourism Ireland.

Wexford Ambassadors 1Thirteen volunteers took part in the pilot Wexford Welcome Ambassadors programme during the Wexford Opera Festival, Wexford Fringe Festival and Wexford Spiegeltent Festival, which all conclude today. The Welcome Ambassadors welcomed visitors and provided local knowledge. Picture shows…

A group of French journalists visited Dublin and Dublin’s Doorstep this week as guests of Tourism Ireland and Aer Lingus. The group FRENCH JOURNALISTS FIND THE ‘WRITE’ STUFF AT MONASTERBOICEattended the Bram Stoker Festival in Dublin, took a tour of the Slane Food Circle, visited Monasterboice, Newgrange, Malahide Castle, Trinity College, the National Library, St Patrick’s Cathedral and the Little Museum of Dublin. Picture shows the group at Monasterboice with Anne Zemmour, Tourism Ireland, Yannis Gaillot, Aer Lingus, and tour guide Mick Langan.

Huffington Post posted 9 reasons you should bring your toddler to Ireland. There’s no shortage of baby-friendly activities, there’ music everywhere and the people are delightful.

The Abbey Theatre recorded a profit of €718,130 last year following a €1.4m loss in 2012. The Abbey was budgeting to record a loss of €42,000 this year but expects another profit following better than expected box office receipts. The box office was helped out by a sell-out run of Our Few and Evil Days starring Tom Vaughan-Lawlor from Love/Hate. Crime pays…

START SPREADING THE NEWS – AMERICAN TRAVEL AGENTS VISIT LIMERITwo groups of American travel agents from 18 states visited Ireland as guests of Tourism Ireland, American Airlines and Aer Lingus. They attended a B2B workshop organised by Fáilte Ireland in Dromoland Castle. The groups explored the Wild Atlantic Way and visited Carrownmore Megalithic Cemetery in Sligo, Connemara, Galway city, the Burren, the Cliffs of Moher, King John’s Castle, the Dingle Peninsula and the Little Museum of Dublin. Picture shows the agents with Hillarie McGuinness of Tourism Ireland at King John’s Castle, Limerick.


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