Travel Extra’s Sunday Supplement: How Open are those Open Skies?


Julian Schroer conducts a cycle tour of Berlin. Berlin Railtours Aer Lingus fam.

Julian Schroer conducts a cycle tour of Berlin. Berlin Railtours & Aer Lingus fam trip.

The headlines this week…

*Berlin 25 years later with Railshop

*Willie Walsh declares game on for DUB-LCY

*Fever Pitch for Scotland-Ireland

*Northern Delights at Newcastle


Travel Extra TV

basejump-videoOur video of the week shows American base jumper John Van Horne jumping from a 330m high skyscraper in Kuala Lumpur and landing at a pool party on the rooftop of a 34-storey building nearby. Watch here.

  • uploaded a promo video for the Discover Ireland Autumn Break. It shows Ryan Tubridy taking the 4×4 challenge. Watch here.
  • How do you get a safari jeep out of the mud? Watch here. Video by Travel Extra’s Eoghan Corry.
  • Tour of the suites at Soroi Serengeti Lodge conducted by Ibrahim Muhili. Watch here.
  • Travel Extra editor Eoghan Corry talks to Asheri Kilsay about the newly opened Acacia Lodge. Watch here. Enjoy the farewell song at the lodge: watch here.
  • The National Print Museum restored Ireland’s only Warfedale stop-cylinder printing press, the type of printer used to print the original copies of the Proclamation produced on Easter Sunday night, 1916. Watch here.
  • Professional sky runner Emelie Forsberg speaks to CNN International about the unique sport. Watch here.
  • KLM uploaded a funny video of what NOT to pack. For example, don’t bring breakables, unless “you want the world’s most expensive porcelain puzzle”. Or an anvil, for that matter – “better get the light travel version…if there is one”. Watch here.
  • The death toll in a blizzard that hit trekkers on the popular Annapurna trail in Nepal rose to 39 yesterday. So far 371 have been rescued but dozens remain missing. English survivor Paul Sheridan caught the blizzard on camera. Watch here.
  • Daredevil Nik Wallenda said he is ready for an untethered night time tightrope walk between Chicago skyscrapers. Watch here. Last year, Nik completed a high-wire walk over the Grand Canyon.
  • The first passenger aircraft to be made in Japan in almost 40 years was unveiled as its maker pushes into the regional jet sector in the hops of taking on giants Embraer and Bombardier. Watch here.
  • Take a look at this tandem with a twist: it’s called the buddy bike, spotted in Poland. It’s a bicycle built for two that has the seats side by side. Watch here.
  • Performance artist Peter Sharp convinced commuters on a train in Perth to take part in a dance party in the hope of bringing people closer together. Watch here.



Berlin is gearing up for the 25th anniversary of the fall of the wall on November 8. Railtours, Deutsche Bahn and Aer Lingus hosted an agents’ visit to Berlin, sampling the rail service back to Frankfurt before their return home. The group dined in TV Tower Restaurant Sphere, restaurant Fleischerei, tried Berliner Currywurst and finished with melt in the mouth cuisine with truffle cappuccinos in Vox Restaurant. They stayed in the Park Inn by Radisson Berlin Alexanderplatz, a gargantuan hotel with a lively bar. They took a city tour with legendary Berlin tour guide Markus Mueller-Tenckhoff, stretched their legs on the Berlin Exposed eBike Tour as far as Templehof airport, organised by Fat Tire Bike Tours, visited the GDR Museum and saw the nerve tingling musical about the fall of the wall, Hinterm Horizont at the Theater am Potsdamer Platz. Picture shows Eoghan Corry, editor of Travel Extra, Paula Dolan of GTI,  Ulrich Teitz of Deutsche Bahn, Jenny Twomey of Premier Travel, Joan Scales of The Irish Times, Grainne Quinn of, Gordan Pullen of GPS Travel, Bernie Burke of Travel Centres, Catherine Grennell-Whyte of ATTS, Gerry Benson of Travelbiz and Julia Vorobjova of ATTS. See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.

willie-walshWillie Walsh (pictured) was back in Dublin to launch British Airways’ new Embraer service to London City airport at Medley (listen here). Asked by Travel Extra if the London City route was now over-served and would all the competitors survive on the route, he said: “we will anyway”. Martin Skelly, president of the ITAA, thanked British Airways for maintaining contact with the Irish travel trade (listen here). See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.

Sunway are using one of the BA Embraers to operate a new service from Dublin to Menorca for summer 2015.  Flight will operate every Saturday from May 30 to September 26, 2015. Capacity 98 seats.

The olé days are not quite back yet, but interest in the Irish soccer team is back close to peak after John O’Shea’s 94th minute budget night equaliser in Gelsenkirchen. From the few dozen hardy souls who travelled to Tbilisi through Istanbul the ranks will swell to 7,000 for the Scottish match in Glasgow on November 14, and possibly more if tickets can be acquired. Abbey Travel and 747 are running coach tours to Scotland for the next fixture on November 14th. DRS have one night hotel and travel on Stena Line for €99pps. Remember Scotland was where the saga all began in 1987.

Could we finally see the Open Skies agreement between the EU and the US get back on track after many years of sliding off course? In what is being described as an unprecedented move, the European Commission requested an urgent meeting to discuss Norwegian Air International’s pending application for a foreign air carrier permit which has spent eight months gathering dust before the US Department of Transportation. The extraordinary meeting, which is being requested by the Commission on behalf of the European Union as a party to the US-EU Open Skies Agreement, sends a clear message that the European Union is closely watching Norwegian Air International’s application, to fly to the US from several cities in Europe which has been pending for over eight months.

Travel extra cover Nov 2014 300The print edition of Travel Extra arrives in agencies over the coming days, read here. The latest edition features developments in winter cruise including the new Caribbean capital projects, the return of Royal Caribbean to Dubai and updates on Quantum of the Seas, the most technologically advanced cruise ship on the ocean when it launches next month. There are reports from events on travel events from four continents, destination reviews of Dominican Republic and Zanzibar, tropical island destinations in different oceans, and the home holiday section samples some of Ireland’s Eden destinations and a scenic Bus Éireann tour of the Cork-Waterford tail beyond the Wild Atlantic Way. We look at the debate over the length of ski runs, the rapid increase in some European city hotel prices, the implications of Ryanair’s two mega-aircraft orders, the 5,000 extra seats a week between Dublin and London City, Aer Lingus’s A350 implications, Royal Caribbean’s innovative new agent incentive programme and prospective ITAA conference venues, Alan Lynch of Cruisescapes does this month’s busman’s holiday. Our report of the Dreamliner service from Dublin to Los Angeles with Ethiopian Airlines, that “contracts have been finalised,” has been overtaken by developments, the Dublin-Los Angeles-Addis Adaba route was announced while the magazine was being printed.

Group ngorogoro_7683 copy (2)Picture shows the group of international travel trade professionals and their hosts at Ngoitoktok in Ngorongoro national reserve in Tanzania, Oct 5 2014. Pictured: Tanzanian journalists Mousa and Marc Nkwame, Zhao Shaohui from China, Geoffrey Tengeneza of TTB, Beatrice Mwiru of TTB, Kim MacDonald of the West Australian Newspaper, Reuven Sagi of RAS International Tours in Mexico, Front row: Iris Lee from NAC tours in China, Pete MacDonald from Perth, Patricia Mohr of Tramex Germany and Eoghan Corry, editor of Travel Extra in Ireland.

heidi-reiszSwitzerland Tourism hosted an event in Dylan McGrath’s Fade Street Social on Wednesday. It has been a while since they were in Ireland – three years to be precise. Heidi Reisz (pictured) said that Switzerland is celebrating a few anniversaries, namely the 150th anniversary of winter tourism. 2015 will celebrate the first ascent of the Matterhorn by Edward Whymper. The Swiss are also marking the first ascent of the Eiger in 1858 – a “much more scary mountain” – by Wicklow man Charles Barrington. Barrington, one of Heidi’s heroes (listen here), was the man who “would’ve climbed the Matterhorn, but ran out of money”.  Corin Ursptrung of Swiss Travel System introduced the Grand Train Tour of Switzerland, a panorama experience that is available on ten scenic routes. Four and eight day travel passes are available with free travel by train, bus and boat, a 50pc discount on the mountain rail and public transport and free admission to 470 museums. Routes include the Glacier Express, an eight hour trip from St Mortiz to Zermatt which is “like hiking” but without any strain on the body; and the Bernina Express which takes you from Chur to Tirano in Italy. Jeff Michel of OTP Swiss Holidays, a partner of Swiss Travel System, noted that in Switzerland, you are never any more than 800 metres from a public transport stop. See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.

poland-eventPicture shows Ada Kostrz-Kostecka speaking at the Invitation to Poland event in Dublin Chamber of Commerce. See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.

Listen here to Travel Extra editor Eoghan Corry on Raidio na Gaeltachta talking about the impact of the budget on Irish tourism, the Ebola crisis and the new Ethiopian and Los Angeles routes.

Travel Trade

lowcost-eventPicture shows Paul Riches, Clem Walshe, Grainne Caffrey, and Alex Gisbert of Lowcostbeds, who hosted 17 travel trade and media at Dobbins. See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.

The Northern Ireland Travel News annual awards returned to their traditional Newcastle venue. Topflight won the ski award for the 12th successive year. The winners: Tourist Information Centre Belfast Welcome Centre; NI Tourism Special Achievement Award Alan Clarke; NI Visitor Attraction Award Titanic Belfast; Accommodation only specialist GetABed; Travel Insurance Company Blue Insurance; Cruise Line Royal Caribbean International; Specialist Cruise Company Silversea Cruises; Luxury Operator If Only; UK Domestic Airline Are Lingus; International Airline Etihad; Airline to Europe ex-Belfast EasyJet; Ferry Company Stena Line; Tourist Board Northern Ireland Tourist Board; Worldwide Tour Operator Kuoni; Specialist Tour Operator American Holidays; Short Breaks Tour Operator Travel Solutions; Ski Operator Top Flight; Package Tour Operator Jet2 Holidays; Sales Support Team to the NI Travel Trade World Travel Centres; Travel Internet Booking System Travel Trade representative/Manager of the Year Martin Maclaren NI Travel Industry Award 2014 Linda Henderson Northern Ireland Travel Agent of the year 2014 Knock Travel.

albufeira aileen pic 300 (2)A Portuguese tourism delegation led by Carlos Silva e Sousa,  Mayor of Albufeira, Luis Pereira, GM Albufeira Promotion Bureau and Ivo  Faria, Portimao Promotion Bureau met with the Irish travel trade in Cork on Tuesday and Dublin on Thursday. Lorrain Connolly of Kane’s Travel Longford Town won two flights to Faro thanks to Aer Lingus, a stay in a 5-star Pestana Hotel in the Algarve and 2 green fees for a Pestana golf course.

  • Mary Oman was awarded Star Baker in the Falcon Holidays, American Holidays, Crystal and Travel Mood Great TUI Bake off.
  • Dosomethingdifferent launched a new product on the Irish market,, offering agents a cost effective way to book live availability holidays at Walt Disney World Resort Orlando. They say it is unique in its technology, enabling agents to book Disney Free Dining offers through the site and add hotel, ticket and dining options to flights to tailor make an Orlando holiday.
  • Shandon Travel celebrated 40 years in business with a party on Friday.
  • john-galliganJohn Galligan Travel (pictured) also recently celebrated 25 years in business. See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.
  • German tourism representatives converged on the German ambassador’s residence on Thursday evening for a presentation and awards ceremony.
  • The Travel Counsellors 2015 conference will take place in Carton Jouse, Maynooth, on April 14-15 2015, marking ten years since the homeworking organisation set up in Ireland. Cathy Burke will lead Travel Counsellors’ biggest ever contingent of Irish Travel Counsellors heading to Manchester next month to celebrate the company’s global 20th Anniversary with 1,400 colleagues.
  • skal-eventPicture shows Nicky Logue GM Gibson Hotel, Margaret Cronin President Dublin SKAL, Charlie Murphy the guest speaker from Dublin Port Authority at the SKAL lunch in Gibson Hotel.
  • There will be no ITAA conference gala dinner on the Saturday evening of the conference on board Quantum of the Seas, which takes place Oct 31-Nov 2.
  • The Europa Hotel in Belfast will host the Visit USA Travel Agent Road Show on November 27. The road show will also head to London’s Chelsea Football Club on Nov 25 and The Crowne Plaza in Nottingham on Nov 26. Over 25 Visit USA Association members will attend, with 100 spaces available for agents at each event.

Deal Watch

  • holiday-villageFalcon’s all-inclusive Holiday Village offer: 7 nights Dublin to Cala Millor, Majorca from €2,208 for two adults and one child, and from €2,810 for two adults and two children. Depart May 16.
  • Thompson’s Family Resort offer: 7 nights all inclusive Dublin to Port des Torrent, Ibiza from €2,139 for two adults and one child, and from €2,739 for two adults and two children. Depart June 3.
  • Sunway bank holiday break: 7 nights Dublin- Tunisia, €399 flight only, €499 B&B or half-board, and €629 all inclusive. Depart Oct 24.
  • ITAA’s ‘Try Something New’ offers: 7 nights half-board escorted tour of Mystical Albania from €1,239pp incl. transfers and flights, depart Dublin or Cork June 23; 7 nights full-board private beach villa on Kandolhu Island, The Maldives from €2,995pp incl. flights and transfers, travel May or June; and 1 night Dublin-Belfast cruise on board the Fred Olsen Boudiccafrom €99pp for inside cabin and from €149pp for cabin with balcony, depart December 16.
  • Celtic Horizon Tour’s Man Utd B&B packages: Man U v Crystal Palace, 1 night coach & ferry from €209pp, depart Nov 8; Man U v Hull, 1 night coach & ferry from €209pp, depart Nov 19; Man U v Liverpool, 2 night coach & ferry from €399pp, depart Dec 14.


price-indexLittle change in Trivago’s October price index: Venice & Geneva (€248), London (€225) and Paris (€221) remain in the top spots, while Sofia (€61), Riga & Zaragoza (€72), Warsaw (€75) and Bucharest (€76) are at the bottom. Average price for October was €126, down 8pc. In Ireland, prices were mostly down. The only increases were recorded by Wicklow, up 7pc to €102, and Athlone, up 2pc to €86. Galway was down 16pc to €94, Killarney was down 16pc to €105 and Kinsale was down 16pc to €98. Prices in Donegal were down 10pc, but remained the highest in the country at €160. Donegal also recorded the highest year-on-year increase at 39pc. Prices in Dublin were down 9pc to €120. Westport was down 9pc to €86. Average price was down 9pc to €106. will host its first webinar focusing solely on Ireland. The online session takes place on Oct 23 at 11am, and will include data on user trends and search habits, and tips for hoteliers to enhance their online profiles. Andrew Sykes, Hotel Relations Manager for Ireland, will lead the two-part webinar. The webinar is free, and has limited capacity on a first come, first serve basis. Hotel owners and managers can sign up here.

  • Sean McCormickJurys Inn appointed Sean McCormick (pictured) as Head of Engineering. With 25 years’ experience in engineering and project management, Sean has previously worked on a number of Jurys projects including the extention of the group’s  recently refurbished Islington property, and the maintenance of hotels in Belfast, Bradford and Liverpool.
  • The CG Hotel Group, which operates Radisson hotels at Dublin and Shannon airports, recorded operating profits of €1.4m last year, an increase of 54pc.
  • jurys-doubletreeThe refurbished DoubleTree by Hilton London in Islington was officially launched. Picture shows John Greenleaf – global head of DoubleTree by Hilton and John Brennan, Chief Executive of Jurys Inn.
  • Hilton Worldwide launched of Canopy by Hilton, a new hotel brand the streetlamp of the neighbourhood. We are all about being local, through design, food and beverage, art, and local know-how. Hilton CEO Christopher Nassetta launched the brand to 1,900 owners and development representatives at Hilton Worldwide’s Global Partnership Conference in Orlando, Florida.
  • Hotel distribution technology provider for the B2B market Hotelzon announced the appointment of local Sales Managers in Paris and Warsaw.


thorne-travelShona Thorne of Thorne Travel said that the agency in Kilwinning, North Ayrshire, Scotland has seen a 110pc increase in bookings since their cheesy promo video went viral last week.

Jamaica, Colomubia, Guyana and St Lucia island banned travellers coming from Ebola-affected countries Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone.

A 24-metre Christmas tree sculpture on Place Vendôme, Paris caused ructions in the city because of its resemblance to a sex toy. One outraged Parisian reportedly slapped the creator, Paul McCarthy (not the moptopped one), and told him the piece “had no business being in the square”. Unknown saboteurs have since deflated the installation (watch here). McCarthy is no stranger to controversy: His 1976 piece Class Fool saw him cover himself in tomato ketchup and vomit repeatedly, and another sculpture with sexual undertones was installed in Rotterdam in 2001.

  • American tourist David Willis was accidentally locked inside a London bookshop for two hours and used Instagram and Twitter to seek help. He posted a picture of himself on Instagram behind shutters with the caption: “This is me locked inside a Waterstones bookstore in London.” He then Tweeted: “Hi @Waterstones I’ve been locked inside of your Trafalgar Square bookstore for 2 hours now.  Please let me out.” The message was retweeted over 16,000 times, after which police were called to rescue him. His final tweet: “I’m free.”
  • Rail operator Heathrow Express will accept Euros and US dollars for purchasing tickets from Oct 23.
  • Universal Studios announced plans to open a 300-acre $3.3bn theme park in the Tongzhou district in Beijing. The deal was struck after 13 years of talks and is expected to open in 2019.
  • Jakaya Kiwete, President of Tanzania, said “Africa’s tourism is affected by a negative perception of the continent.” Speaking at the Swahili International Tourism Exchange in Dar Es Salaam, he said “The perception is that Africa is a country of 54 provinces rather than a country of 54 states.” Listen here. He said despite Africa’s many attractions, it is lagging behind in attracting international tourists and revenue earnings. Listen here.
  • Travel Extra’s editor Eoghan Corry interviewed Mount Kilimanjaro guide Kambona Mollel. Listen here. Eoghan Corry interviews Philip Chitauga about the importance of the Swahili International Tourism Exchange. Listen here.
  • Next month’s World Travel Market will host two sessions dedicated to youth tourism.
  • The Islands of Tahiti will host the Hawaiki Nui Va’a International Canoe Race on Nov 5-7.
  • London-based taxi-booking app Hailo is to quit the US market and split from co-founder Jay Bregman, saying that costs in marketing the service in America are “astronomical”.
  • Controversial “Zoo Rabbi” Nathan Slifkin opened the Biblical Museum of Natural History in Beit Shemesh, Israel.

Food & Wine

  • Budding chefs urged to go wild in the BurrenBudding chefs are invited to take part in the second Burren Masterchef Cookery Competition. First prize for adults is a half-day cookery course for two at the Ballymaloe Cookery School, and first prize in the junior section is a half-day foraging walk and cookery demo at the Wild Kitchen in Lahinch. The competition is part of the Burren Food Fayre in Lisdoonvarna, which takes place 12.30pm to 5.00pm on Sunday, October 26. Picture shows Jason Horner, organic vegetable farmer from Crusheen (Leen Organics) and Gerry Sweeney, Newquay fisherman and owner of Burren Seafoods.
  • Sheen Falls Lodge in Kenmare, Co Kerry hosts its Culinary Weekend on Nov 21-23. Umbria chef Lorenzo Polegri will give an Italian cooking demonstration, while chocolatier Benoit Lorge will give a class on chocolate making. Accommodation, truffle, olive oil and wine tasting sessions, classes, a copy of Lorenzo Polegri’s book, a lunch and five-course Italian dinner costs €660 for two sharing. Cooking demo and lunch costs €50 and the gala dinner on Saturday night includes €95 with wine.
  • Food producers and craft workers in Trail Kilkenny will host a Long Table Artisan Feast on Oct 26 as part of the Savour Kilkenny food festival. The event takes place at 7.30pm in the Mill, Bennettsbrige. Includes tastings of Goastbridge trout, Knockdrinna cheese, Laviston sausages, Gerry O’Brian lamb & spiced beef and Mary Walshe duck, all served using pottery and glassware made by local craft workers. Tickets €60.


us-a330American Airlines is to upgrade the former US Airlines Charlotte-Dublin route from B757 to A330 for summer 2015.  Americans  JFK-Dublin service will be reduced to four per week next summer.  Chicago-Dublin and Philadelphia-Shannon will start in May, earlier than planned.

Howard Millar, the departing CFO of Ryanair told John Mulligan that the two watershed events in Ryanair’s history were the opening of Stansted Airport in 1991, which provided a “credible offering” for London and the decision to by Boeing to give a $27.5m loan to buy six Boeing 737 aircraft, they were pretty old at that stage, but in fairness Boeing stuck their ass on the line. Of the plan to buy Aer Lingus he said: “We thought this could be the EasyJet killer. It would allow us to go into primary airports.” Ryanair has now begun focusing its own expansion at primary airports.

The list of routes in the draft Air France pilots’ union agreement re Transavia France includes Paris Orly-Dublin.  The agreement, cobbled together after a ten day strike, would not permit reduction of Air France frequencies on parallel routes from CdeG operated by Air France A320 services. Existing CdeG-Dublin services are operated by CityJet.

Lufthansa’s Munich-Dublin service is to operate daily from next summer. plans to add four new routes from Belfast International in summer 2015 to Rome (2w), Prague (2w), Las Palmas (1w) and Zakinthos (1w).

Aer Lingus Cork-Brussels is showing 2w for next summer.

The Budget provided for an increase in spending on regional airports from €3m in 2014 to €3.5m in 2015.

kenny JacobsRyanair hopes to offer flights from Amsterdam’s Schiphol airport by 2015, commercial director Kenny Jacobs (pictured) told Financieele Dagblad. Ryanair will operate 28 routes from Krakow In summer 2015, boosting frequency on four routes. Kenny Jacob said that Ryanair would not completely rule out a Cork-Dublin flight but that it is less in demand than people think. “We recently did a survey with customers in Cork on where people would like to see a flight to and Cork-Dublin wasn’t in the top five. Business people would be quite vocal but you can drive to Dublin in two and-a-half hours.”

Meanwhile EasyJet announced it will base three A320 aircraft at Schiphol next spring. The carrier has operated flights to and from the airport since 1996.

Shannon Airport passenger numbers were up 22pc in August and 17pc in September. European passenger numbers were up 73pc in August, and up 51pc in September. Transatlantic  passengers were up 9pc in August, and up 11pc in September. British passengers were up 5pc in August, and up 3pc in September.

Red C research conducted with non-Irish resident transatlantic passengers through Shannon shows that Kerry, Clare and Galway benefit most from the growth in US visitor numbers through the airport since separation last year.

KLM CEO Camiel Eurlings surprisingly resigned with immediate effect as President and CEO “in order to pave the way for his successor”. He has been replaced by 44-year-old Pieter Elbers who was the chief operations officer. It is speculated that Eurlings resigned as a result of his stance during the recent Air France strike which cost the airline €500m.

Egypt and Ireland signed an agreement that allows Irish airlines unlimited flights to the airports of Hurghada, Sharm el-Sheikh, Luxor and Aswan from Dublin, Cork and Shannon, non-stop or via intermediate points, and eight weekly flights to each of the Cairo and Alexandria. Ireland’s one weekly service to Egypt resumes in December, a Falcon Holidays charter flight to Sharm El Sheikh that was previously affected by travel advisories.

Ryanair confirmed that for the first time in over ten years, fares will be bookable through Amadeus.

  • A group of travel retail professionals consisting of Swiss International Air Lines, Datalex, PROS and HP, has completed the second phase of IATA’s New Distribution Capability or NDC, the XML based data transmission standard which IATA hopes will enhance communications between airlines and travel agents. IATA released its first 20-year passenger growth forecast, projecting that passenger numbers will reach 7.3bn by 2034, annual growth of 4.1pc and double the 3.3bn passengers expected to travel in 2014.
  • christoph mueller h&s iata 001Christoph Mueller (pictured) told Cambridge Executive MBA after-dinner listenershelping to turn around businesses in trouble excites me as a leader”.
  • CIT Group Inc has agreed to form TC-CIT Aviation Ireland and TC-CIT Aviation US, Joint Ventures between CIT Aerospace and Century Tokyo Leasing Corporation. Known under the combined title TC-CIT Aviation the group will lease commercial aircraft to airlines around the globe.
  • GECAS GE Capital Aviation Services is to acquire Milestone Aviation Group, the Dublin-based helicopter lessor, for $1.775bn.
  • Airbus said it will reduce production of the A330 from 10 to 9 per month starting in the fourth quarter of 2015 as it switches to the A330neo. The European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) has approved the new A350-900 airliner for up to 370 minutes.
  • WOW Air the Iceland-based low-cost carrier, which recently announced a service to Dublin, is to fly Reykjavik Keflavik to Boston 5w from March 28, 2015.
  • James Liddane of Aer Lingus took first place in the 10km World Airlines Road Race in Dublin. 950 participants representing 55 airlines from 38 countries took part.
  • Swords native Joseph McKeever’s Spatial Composite Solutions firm secured an €11m contract with Etihad to design and manufacture 14 cabin crew training devices and install them at the airline’s innovation training academy in Abu Dhabi. SCS employs 90 people in the UAE, where McKeever emigrated in 1996. Twenty years ago, McKeever’s American Cake and Muffin Business failed in Dublin. “Don’t talk to me about muffins,” he joked when the Etihad deal was announced on Monday.
  • Etihad - Flying NannyElpida Tsatsaronis became Etihad’s 1,000th Flying Nanny to complete training at the airline’s Innovation Training Academy in Abu Dhabi. Picture shows Vice President of Guest Services Aubrey Tiedt with the latest batch of Flying Nannies, including Elpida.
  • An American Airlines flight from San Francisco to Dallas had to make an emergency landing at San Francisco International airport after the wall panels cracked loose during the flight. Despite how it looked, the problem wasn’t serious – scary, but not unsafe according to the assessment of aviation safety experts.
  • Virgin America is the latest airline to cut ties with SeaWorld theme park following the controversial Blackfish documentary. Virgin removed the park from its Elevate rewards programme.
  • Cityjet will end its Cardiff-Glasgow service on Oct 25, nine months after it was launched.
  • Emirates Airlines CEO Tim Clark told Der Spiegel that he did not believe MH370 was on autopilot when it disappeared and said he does not believe the missing flight went down in the Indian Ocean.
  • During the 2014/2015 winter season, Iberia’s low-cost airline Iberia express will fly up to five times per week from Dublin to Madrid offering a total of 22pc more seats than last winter.
  • A fired Cathay Pacific pilot admitted in a US federal court that he dressed in his uniform and used his ID badge so he could cut a queue at Honolulu Airport Security and “keep [his] shoes on”.
  • London Heathrow suffered hundreds of delays and cancellations on Wednesday due to poor weather conditions.
  • EasyJet added a passport scanning function to its mobile app. Watch the how to video.
  • Picture by Harry Page. Harry Page ImagesEtihad reported passenger numbers were up 30pc to 3.9m for the third quarter this year, and revenues were up 29pc to US$1.8bn. Meanwhile, Etihad’s group of flying butlers (pictured) completed their three-week training course at the Savoy Hotel, London.
  • English airline BMI Regional claimed passengers are avoiding Heathrow and Gatwick because they are fed up of delays, long journey times and the cost of extras like parking.
  • McDonald’s Ireland officially opened its drive through restaurant at Dublin Airport. The project cost €2m and has created 60 new jobs. The 24/7 outlet is based on the main exit road from Dublin Airport. Customers are offered free Wi-Fir and iPads to use.
  • The US Association of Flight Attendants’ bid to reinstate the ban on mobile phones and electronics during take-off and landing was rejected.
  • Virgin Australia said it will acquire the remaining 40pc of shares in Tiger Australia Airways.
  • United Airlines will close its Seattle base, affecting 264 flight attendants based at Sea-Tac.


  • Stena Line launched 2015 Haven self-catering packages with a €50 deposit. Prices start from €410 for two adults and up to four children. Price includes return ferry with car from Dublin/Dun Laoghaire-Holyhead or Rosslare-Fishguard and accommodation at Haven locations including Presthaven Sands in Prestatyn, Wales, Kiln Park in Tenby, Wales or Devon Cliffs in Exmouth, Devon. Book here or call 01 204 77 33.


DONEGAL WELCOMES INFLUENTIAL INDIAN GROUPTourism Ireland hosted ten tour operators from India this week. The group itinerary included visits along the Wild Atlantic Way and a B2B workshop in Dublin.  Picture shows the group with Nilam Patil of Tourism Ireland and Cyndi Graham, who runs a hand-weaving studio in Dunkineely, Co Donegal.

Tourism Ireland hosted tour operators from France, Italy, Spain and Scandinavia on a visit EUROPEAN TOUR OPERATORS GIVE CONNEMARA THE ‘THUMBS UP’!to the West of Ireland. The group’s itinerary included a walking tour of Galway, visits the Connemara Heritage & History Centre, Kylemore Abbey, Killary Harbour, Westport House, cycling along the Great Western Greenway and the Voya Seaweed Baths in Sligo. Picture shows tour operators at the Connemara Heritage & History Centre near Clifden, with Caroline Phelan of Tourism Ireland, Martin Walsh of the Connemara Heritage & History Centre, Anne Melia of Fáilte Ireland, and tour guide Elisabeth Flanagan.

KERRY WELCOMES INFLUENTIAL CHINESE GROUPTourism Ireland hosted 11 Chinese tour operators this week in conjunction with NITB and Fáilte Ireland. The group visited Titanic Belfast, Crumlin Road Gaol, the Ring of Kerry, the Dingle Peninsula, Adare and Kildare. Picture shows  John Mulvihill welcoming the group to the Kerry Bog Village Museum near Glenbeigh; also pictured are Kila Du of Tourism Ireland and tour guide Min Lin Siew.

Over 3,690 direct appointments between Irish tourism businesses and travel buyers from developing markets including Russia, China, Brazil and South Africa were arranged as part of workshops organised by Fáilte Ireland in Dublin.

Doolin Harley Fest Cheque Presentation - SlainteThe inaugural Doolin Harley Festival raided €37,589 for local cancer charities. 200 Harley Davidson owners from across Ireland, England and USA attended the event. Picture shows members of Saoirse Maria MCC Mark Clancy, Michael Burke, Jimmy Boyle and James Clancy presenting a cheque for €12,000 to Slainte an Chlair – Clare Cancer Support in Kilnamona.

Bad news from the North where their main Festival and Events fund from the Tourism Department has been pulled overnight.

burrenThe Burren and Cliffs of Moher Geopark and Burren Ecotourism Network scooped nine awards at the GHP Responsible Travel & Tourism awards. Picture shows Katherine Webster, Carol Gleeson and Kelly Humphries of the Burren and Cliffs of Moher Geopark with Judging Panel Chairperson Duncan Stewart.

NITB Halloween events: Banks of the Foyle Halloween Carnival, Derry, Oct 25-Nov 2; Fright Night in Jungle NI, Derry, now-Nov 1, Tickets from £5; Paranormal Tours, Crumlin Road Gaol, Belfast, now-Nov 5, Tickets £15; Metro Monster Mash, The Slipways, Titanic Belfast, Oct 31; Halloween Concert, The Shambles Yard, Armagh, Oct 27, Tickets £5; Extreme Spooks, Navan Centre & Fort, Armagh, Oct 31, Admission £10pp; Hallowtides Festival, Newcastle, Co Down, Oct 31, free admission; Halloween Family Festival, Cultra, Co Down, Oct 31, Tickets £11 for adults and £6 for children; Halloween Extravaganza, Enniskillen Castle Museums, Oct 31, Tickets £3.50; Halloween Howler, the Share Centre, Lisnaskea, Co Fermanagh, Oct 28-31, Tickets £9pp or £30 family; and Halloween Torch Light Tours, Ulster American Folk Park, Omagh, Oct 29-31, Tickets £11 per adult and £6 per child.

WATERFORD WELCOMES INFLUENTIAL SOUTH AFRICAN GROUPFive South African tour operators visited Ireland as guests of Tourism Ireland ahead of the New Markets Workshop in Dublin. The group visited the Guinness Storehouse, Powerscourt House & Gardens, the House of Waterford Crystal, Blarney Castle, the Rock of Cashel, SMithwick’s Experience Kilkenny, the Irish National Stud and Japanese Gardens. Picture shows Donnchadh Ó Ceallacháin of Waterford Museum of Treasures with South African tour operators Wihan Bester of Travel and Sport; Candice Perry and Elana Van Der Walt of United Europe; Alexandra Nava of Travel and Sport; and Kathy Ridler of Bobcat Travel, at Reginald’s Tower, Waterford.

The One Young World Summit opened in the Convention Centre Dublin. 1,400 delegates aged 18-30 from 196 countries will attend the five-day event. A host of high profile public figures will speak, including Kofi Annan, Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales, entrepreneur Michelle Phan, Bob Geldof and Mary Robinson.

‘NOVEL’ TOURISM PROMOTION TARGETS AUSTRALIAN HOLIDAYMAKERSTourism Ireland in Sydney and book publishers Simon and Schuster have partnered on a promotion targeting holidaymakers in Australia and New Zealand.  The campaign includes a competition to win a trip for two to Ireland. A promotional sticker has been placed on the front cover of 40,000 books in independent shops and chains across Australia and New Zealand, and a full-page ad features inside each book. Online ads and magazine ads will also run in November. The campaign coincides with the release of Reluctantly Charmed, the debut novel of Dublin writer Ellie O’Neill, who is based in Sydney. Watch Simon and Schuster’s interview with the author here.

The Irish tourism industry welcomed the retention of the 9pc reduced VAT rate for hospitality sector in the Budget. The sector also welcomed investment in new South East initiative, Dublin Gateway to Nature, Dublin Heritage Trail, Kilkenny Medieval Mile, Killarney House & further work on the Wild Atlantic Way.

Most Haunted star Steve Parsons will host a series of events at Enniscorthy Castle as part of Halloween in Wexford.

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

Travel Extra’s Sunday Supplement: Non stop to Addis, the Adventure Begins


The children at a school near Agra, where the Ifonly/Emirates group visited and brought them books on a fam trip to India. Credit Paul Dolan.

The children at a school near Agra. Ifonly and Emirates fam trip to India.Credit Paul Dolan.

The headlines this week…

*Dublin’s First Dreamliner Service Goes West to LAX and South to Addis

*Another Bed Bank Gets Bed Bugs

*China First for One Visa for Two Countries Scheme

*Lack of Runway Slots Blamed for Little Red’s Failure

*Ebola: ‘Fear Spreads Faster than Disease’

Travel Extra TV

nora-gliderOur video of the week shows Nora Brier from Suffolk, England celebrating her 100th birthday with a loop-the-loop in a glider courtesy of Anglia Gliding Club. Nora is “not even a little bit” nervous, and it’s no wonder: she has already been in a hot air balloon, a microlight and a helicopter. Nora’s next stunt? Driving around a car racing circuit at top speed. Watch here.

  • Travel agent Thorne Travel in Scotland went viral this week with “the worst travel ad ever”. Pounding club music, awkward strutting and a dodgy stunt double made social media users cringe en masse and generated over 350,000 views on YouTube. The video was worth the embarrassment it seems – bookings are up. Assistant manager Christina Haywood said the video was intentionally funny and described it as “a spoof of the Virgin advert”. Watch here and decide for yourself.
  • KLM celebrated its 95th anniversary with a 4D show on an MD-11 aircraft. Watch here.
  • Continuing its series with Phil Spencer, Tourism Ireland uploaded a video of the Location, Location, Location presenter exploring the island of Ireland. Watch here.
  • While fishing with his father on Platte Bay, Michigan, Andrew Ballard captured a video of a huge fog bank rolling in over Lake Michigan. Watch here.
  • British Airways uploaded a video of US Open champion Justin Rose’s celebrity golf challenge: Gary Lineker, Jamie Redknapp, Ian Write and Jodie Kidd tried to hit golf balls from a B747 wing at a gong 146 metres away. Each hit equals a flight for the Justin and Kate Rose Foundation charity. Watch here.
  • Heathrow Airport uploaded a tutorial video explaining how to use the parking pods at Terminal 5. Watch here.
  • The Unclaimed Baggage Centre in Alabama is the only shop in the USA that buys and resells unclaimed baggage from the airline industry, according to brand ambassador Brenda Cantrell. It stocks 7,000 items from its inventory every day. Bloomberg sent reporter Matt Miller to see what was on offer – cameras, underwear, jewellery, you name it – and see how the shop works. Watch here.


IMG_1377June 15 has been confirmed as the start date for Ethiopian Airlines 3w flights from Dublin to the capital of Africa, Addis Adaba. This will be Ireland’s first direct service to sub-Saharan Africa. Ethiopian highlighted the flight in the other direction, Dublin to Los Angeles in their Friday evening press announcement. Without the fifth freedom pick-up in Dublin, stridently opposed by Aer Lingus and US carriers, the route would not be viable. Ethiopian will likely not use the US CBP in Dublin, in the early stages of the route at least, because it would delay turnaround. The Dreamliner cannot make it to the US in one hop, largely because of the altitude of Addis, which restricts the fuel load on Ethiopian’s outbound services. It means Dublin’s first regular Boeing 787 Dreamliner service is by the unlikeliest of airlines and Dublin’s first fifth freedom route. Travel Extra’s editor Eoghan Corry was in Addis Adaba in advance of the announcement this week and was told that Ethiopian anticipate that 80pc of the Dublin-Addis passengers will transfer to elsewhere in Africa, where Ethiopian’s network covers 49 destinations, including Kenya, Tanzania, Nigeria and South Africa. For instance it makes destinations such as Kilimanjaro and Zanzibar a one stop options. It opens up options for Irish tour operators opening up Ethiopian’s own holiday company, launched last year, selling tourist packages and the long established tour operation of Dun Laoghaire born Tony Hickey (and Holiday World exhibitor), Ethiopian Quadrants, The pioneering Ethiopian hotelier Tadios Getachew who set up the country’s first spa resort, Kuriftu Debere Zait, told Travel Extra that Ethiopia’s potential as a tourist destination was bigger than Kenya or Tanzania. Eamon Flanagan’s Premair are GSA or Ethiopian in Ireland. The De Danaan tune The Arrival of the Queen of Sheba in Galway might serve as a useful theme for the week. Picture shows Ethiopian airlines CEO Tewolde Gebremariam and Senior Sales Executive Michael Yohannes.

The demise of another bedbank, TransHotels, currently in a Spanish form of administration, headed up in Ireland and Britain by Martin Diss, has raised anew alarm bells. While Transhotels had participated in a road show last March in Cork, they withdrew before the Dublin event and were small players in the Irish market. Pat Dawson CEO of the Irish Travel Agents Association said that agents’ best option in dealing with bedbanks was to pay after the event, or for bedbanks to get their own bond as previous crashed had left agents out of pocket. “Bedbanks need to self-regulate, otherwise the trade will lose confidence with them…They are never going to be regulated by the government. The legislation is so out of date the government has no interest in this situation. It raises the question what happens if a major one goes. There are too many bedbanks on the market and the margins are so tight they cannot handle a major setback. The only options for agents are to pay late or for bedbanks to get their own bond.”

China will be the first country to benefit from the British-Irish visa scheme later this month, followed by India within a short period. Minister for Justice Frances Fitzgerald and British Home Secretary Theresa May formally launched the scheme at Irish Embassy in London. The scheme will facilitate nationals requiring a short-stay visa to travel freely within two countries using a single visa issued by either Ireland or Britain, a mini-Schengen. Minister Fitzgerald and Home Secretary May agreed to review the operation and success of the scheme in early 2015. Subject to that review, a timetable will be finalised for the rollout of the scheme to all countries by the end of 2015. Under a new agreement immigration data will be shared between both countries.

Virgin Atlantic’s chief executive Craig Kreeger blamed the “inadequate” number of runway slots made available by regulators for the failure of the Virgin Little Red operation by Aer Lingus. Little Red will stop flying between Heathrow and Manchester at the end of March 2015 with its Heathrow to Edinburgh and Aberdeen flights ceasing at the end of September 2015. The slots used for Manchester revert to Virgin. The slots used for the Scottish routes were allocated to Virgin as a condition of the British Airways takeover of BMI and could become available to Aer Lingus.

John Spicer, acting Commissioner for Aviation Regulation, published his determination on maximum charges at Dublin Airport, requiring an average annual reduction of 4.2pc per annum over the next five years. This despite the reminder sent to him by Minister Paschal Donohue which reminded him of government policy in developing Dublin as an aviation hub, something that both Ryanair and Aer Lingus interpreted as interference. So this week the Commissioner has Ryanair and Aer Lingus on his case for bowing to government pressure, and Dublin Airport Authority on his case for not bowing enough. His determination allows for €341m in capital investment in Dublin Airport over the next five year, up from €308m proposed in the draft, up 62pc on the last four years, with further “trigger” allowances of €308m to fund runway capacity enhancements or to meet security needs should they arise.

Eoghan morning ireland july 8 2014Ebola continues to haunt the international travel industry. The news that the disease spread to Spain caused TUI Travel shares to fall 15.3pc, Thomas Cook were down 6pc, BA’s parent IAG down 7pc and cruise company Carnival 5pc. Listen here to Travel Extra’s Eoghan Corry on RTE’s Morning Ireland on the line from Africa “we are in danger of turning an entire continent into a leper colony, fear spreads faster than disease“. 

katie-reynoldsDon’t try to sell us anything we can get for free.” Among the headline presentations at the inaugural Swahili International Travel Exchange in Dar es Salaam was digital marketing and marketing to millennials by South African travel writer Katie Reynolds (pictured) She said marketing to millennials is like herding cats (see her illustrative video here). Vanessa Baldwin described the work of conservation unit Traveller’s Eye.

malta-famLowcostbeds and the Maltese Tourist Board organised a fam trip to Malta for nine agents and a Travel Extra journalist. The group visited 13 properties and stayed in the Cavaleiri Hotel in St Julian’s Bay. Many of the hotels the group visited were fully booked, indicating the good late summer Malta has enjoyed, namely because agents are diverting packages to Turkey and Egypt to the island. With temperatures hitting 28 degrees in early October and set to remain in the high teens until mid-December, Malta is a strong contender for the winter market. The top property: The Dolmen Resort & Spa in San Pawl il-Baħa. It boasts spacious rooms, a casino, two outdoor pools, a tennis court, year round animation, an on-call hairdresser and access to the beach. Free Wi-Fi will be available throughout the hotel from Nov 1. Located in a good area and available from €34pp per night, agents can sell this property with confidence. The one to avoid: Topaz Hotel in St Paul’s Bay. Unclean, in need of serious refurbishment and home to some dire smells, clients won’t thank you if you put them up here. Blessed amongst women: Picture shows Michelle Cullen of Icon Travel, Katie Keyes of Skytours, Grainne Caffrey of lowcostbeds, Liz McGonagle of Paudraic Keogh Travel, Yvonne McCarthy of Strand Travel, Patricia Ryan of Limerick Travel, Erica O’Reilly of King Travel, Niamh Byrne of Ask Susan, Conor McMahon of Travel Extra and Linda Brown of Killiney Travel. See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.

Spain, Tunisia and Abu Dhabi are still in the running to host the Irish Travel Agents Association Conference in 2015, following inconclusive negotiations with the front-running contender destination Nice last week.

What we learned this week: Tsetse flies can bite through trousers.

Travel Trade

  • taj-mahalPicture shows Yvonne Collins, Maria Boyle and Martin Penrose; the diehards who got up at 5am to see the Taj Mahal at sunrise on the Emirates and Ifonly fam trip to India. Martin Penrose of Ifonly described the visit: This is without doubt the best educational I’ve had the pleasure to be involved with. I’ve taken many over the years, but none have captured the imagination like this one. See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.
    Credit: Paul Dolan. See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.
  • Charlie Murphy of Dublin Port is the guest speaker at Skal’s lunch on the development of tourism and cruise business at Dublin Port.
  • Sunway and Trafalgar will launch their 2015 Escorted Tours brochure in Isaac’s Restaurant, Cork on October 16.
  • ITAA will host a frontline management training day hosted by Jerry Kelly of First HRD at Westmoreland Street, Dublin this Thursday (Oct 16) from 9:30am-5:30pm. The programme promised to teach participants skills in dealing with conflict, managing stress, improve performance and improving personal and workplace management. Cost for ITAA members €120, non-members €180.
  • Camino Ways is hosting its last talks at 53 Degrees North in Dublin on Oct 14 and Cork on Oct 15. Places are free, but book in advance. Camino’s Sunday walks will be breaking for the winter; the last prep walk takes place on Oct 26 at 9.30am. Register here.
  • mary-mckennaTour America’s Sales Day was held in the Red Cow Hotel. It was followed by a night at the Shelbourne greyhound park. Picture shows Tour America MD Mary McKenna.

Deal Watch

  • thomson-ibizaThomson‘s family resort offer: 7 nights all-inclusive Dublin to Port des Torrent, Biza from €2,139 for two adults and one child and from €2,739 for two adults and two children. Depart June 3.
  • Emirates launched a global sale on fares from Dublin. Book before October 19 for outbound travel on selected dates in November 2014: Dublin-Dubai from €499, Mumbai from €476 and Malaysia from €596, Melbourne from €824, Perth from €821 and Johannesburg from €677. Flash sail to Dubai from €454, book before October 15 for selected dates in November.
  • Celtic Horizon Tours’ Liverpool FC Premier League packages at Anfield: Liverpool v Hull City, Oct 25, 1 night coach & ferry from €299pp; Liverpool v Stoke City, Nov 29, Anfield, 1 night coach & ferry from €299pp; and Liverpool v Sunderland, Dev 6, 1 night coach & ferry from €299pp. Celtic Horizon’s soap tour package: Visit to Coronation Street Studios and a location tour of Emmerdale from €219pps incl. return travel by coach & ferry, 2 nights B&B, transfers. Depart Galway, Waterford, Maynooth and Dublin.
  • NITB is offering 2 nights B&B and one evening meal at the Hilton Hotel, Belfast for £139pp.
  • Falcon’s all-inclusive Holiday Village offer: 7 nights Dublin to Cala Millor, Majorca from €2,209 for two adults and one child and from €2,810 for two adults and two children. Depart May 16. Free sea view room with early bookings.
  • ITAA’s weekend city break offers: 3 nights at The Langham, Boston from €789pp incl. free room upgrade and direct return flights with Aer Lingus, depart Nov 27; 4 nights at the Excalibur Hotel Casino, Las Vegas from €744pp incl. return flights, travel May 2015; and 2 nights at the K West Hotel & Spa, London from €249pp incl. B&B and tickets to see the Miss Saigon musical, travel October 2014 – March 2015.
  • Falcon’s #NRG offer: 7 nights self-catering Dublin to Kavos, Corfu from €499pp for two sharing. Depart May 22.


  • lough-erneNI’s only five-star hotel, Lough Erne Resort in Enniskillen topped Huffington Post’s Best Hotels for winter 2014-15. Illinois-based Tralee Portfolio Management purchased the resort this week for an estimated €10.5m.
  • Irish Country Hotels is offering members of the Irish Farmers’ Association 25pc off a break at any of its 24 properties.
  • Paul Stenson, manager of the Charleville Lodge Hotel in Phibsborough, penned an open letter on Facebook addressed to two German guests who he claims attempted to blackmail staff in order to get a discount. He said the guests complained about “a small amount of dust on the main lampshade in the room and [that] the headboard wasn’t entirely horizontal”. Stenson said that there seems to be “a very dark trend emerging in the wonderful world of hospitality. There is a small cohort of travellers who use travel review sites as a means of ‘travelling economically’”. In his description of a “TRT – Travel Review Threat”, Stenson writes: “Essentially what they do is they take photos of some minor issue relating to the hotel room, and use photo editing software (namely the zoom function) to make the issue look ten times worse than it actually is. They then show this image to the hotel reception, and advise the receptionist that this image, along with some scathing words, will appear on the internet in a number of days, if ‘something is not done’ about the issue. When they say, ‘something is not done’, they usually mean a substantial discount on the room rate, or no charge for their room at all.”
  • The first Virgin Hotel, Virgin Hotel Chicago, will open on January 15. Rates start at $209 per night. The hotel’s website was launched this week.
  • Marriott International was fined $600,000 after the Gaylord Opryland Resort & Convention Centre in Nashville blocked WiFi at a conference and then charged exhibitors $250-$1,000 to gain access to the hotel’s connection.
  • Later this month Marriott will install wireless charging stations for smartphones and tablets in the lobbies of 29 properties.
  • is plugging three “spooky” destinations around Europe to visit during the mid-term break and where to stay: The Catacombs of Paris – 9Hotel Opera from €174 per room per night; Mary King’s Close, Edinburgh – Jury’s Inn Edinburgh from €103 per room per night; and St Agnes Convent, Prague – Hotel Kings Court from €150 per room per night.
  • Belfast singer Donna Fleming will perform at Dolly Parton tribute show at Ballygally Castle in Antrim on October 18. Tickets £15.


  • A photo of a female great white snapped by a schoolteacher while cage diving off Sea Island, South Africa went viral, sparking an online debate about whether it’s ethical to bait sharks so tourists can see them up close.
  • Skyline RotoruaThe Gravity Park – which claims to be the world’s first year-round, gondola-accessed mountain bike park (it’s a mouthful) – officially opened at Skyline Rotorua, New Zealand. The park boasts of bike trails braiding down the side of Mount Ngongotaha. Half day passes start at NZ$55.
  • Around the Mountains Cycle Trails will launch a one- and multi-day guided mountain bike tour of Queensland this New Zealand summer. The trail is scheduled for completion on Oct 31. Tours are available from November to April and cost from NZ$219 per adult for a day trip.
  • Statistics journalist James Ball crunches the numbers and quashes eight Ebola myths: It is an oversimplification to suggest Ebola is a disaster for “Africa”, a continent of more than 50 countries and a land mass more than twice the size of Europe. The countries currently battling Ebola make up less than 1pc of the continent’s economy  – for much of Africa, like the rest of the world, it is largely business as usual.
  • New trails have been introduced to New Zealand’s national cycle trails, including The Pakihi Track on the east coast of North Island. Motu Trails offers bike hire for the Pakihi Track from NZ$65pp.
  • eNett and Cornerstone Information Systems have partnered to develop a direct hotel billy payment system for Travel Management Companies.
  • Anti-Airbnb campaign group ShareBetter have launched a tool that locates sex offenders living near host apartments.
  • The Eiffel Tower’s new glass floor was revealed this week as part of a €30m refit. Would you give it a verti-go?
  • Mumbai’s shipping authority, the Maharashtra Maritime Board, is in talks with operators to start a direct Mumbai-Goa passenger ship service.
  • A black hole in black cabs: Internet security firm ESET says that 190,000 mobile phones are lost in the back of London taxis every year.
  • Visit Scotland competition: Win a 2 night stay for two at Blythswood Square. Prize includes B&B, one meal at the hotel’s restaurant and return flights from Shannon, Cork or Dublin courtesy of Aer Lingus. More info.
  • The WalkAboutLove organisation invites walkers to take part in an 11-week adventure walking the Israel National Trail. Hikers are taken from Eila through the Mitzpe Ramon Crater, the Arava Desert, the Negev, Jerusalem, Caesara, the Galilee, the Sea of Galilee, the Golan Heights and Mount Hermon where the route finishes. Around 500 participants are expected this year. More info.
  • Japan is preparing for Typhoon Vongfong which is due to hit the country this weekend. Okinawa island is likely to take the worst hit during the storm.
  • National Theatre of Wales apologised after a 100ft poem by Gillian Clarke inscribed on Gladstone Rock in Snowdonia mountain range ended up looking like graffiti.
  • Dutch Foreign Minister Frans Timmermans said he regretted suggesting that not all of the 298 passengers on Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 died instantly. He claimed that one of the passengers was found wearing an oxygen mask, although a spokesman for the Dutch public prosecutor said the mask was around passenger’s neck rather than their mouth.
  • Three tourists drowned in two separate incidents in Thailand. An Indian couple drowned after their boat capsized in strong winds off the Krabi coastline and a Belgian man died after he fell overboard during a boat trip between Koh Tao and Koh Phangan islands.
  • Euro Disney says the new financing package would allow it to invest in the business and boost visitor numbers. Visitors numbers at Disney Paris are expected to fall to around 14.1m this year, 800,000 down on 2013. Meanwhile Walt Disney Co chairman and CEO Robert Iger promised Disney Shanghai won’t suffer the same financial difficulties as Euro Disney thanks to a larger local customer base and a stronger economy.
  • Officials in Gibraltar rounded up 30 troublesome Barbary macaques and sent them to live in Blair Drummond Safari Park. The monkeys have been looting apartments and bins for food, and terrorising locals and tourists.

Food & Wine

cocktailThe Dublin Cocktail Fest takes place from Oct 13 to 18 at participating venues, including the Liquor Rooms and Vintage Cocktail Club. Each premises will offer at least one cocktail at a 30pc discount for customers wearing a festival wristband which costs €5.

Michelin star chef Kevin Thornton has created a limited edition Indochine curry for Camile Thai takeaway restaurants in Dublin. The dish is costs €14.95.

Mushroom expert Bill O’Dea is hosting a foraging trip to Sardinia from Oct 23 to 26. The itinerary includes a visit to a cheesemaker and wine producer and a host of restaurant visits including lunch at Alghero fish market. The trip costs €440pps excluding flights. To book, email


shannon-winRyanair say that Shannon is set to overtake Cork as Ryanair’s biggest passenger base in Ireland outside of Dublin. Shannon next year will have 825,000 customers, an 18pc growth, while Cork will have declined by 6pc to 750,000 passengers. Ryanair plans to increase passenger numbers at Shannon in the 2015 summer season by up to 18pc.  It will operate services to 19 destinations, one more than this year, with an extension of the winter Kaunas route and Manchester replacing Liverpool. Picture shows Shannon winning the airport award for airports with fewer than 4m passengers at the World Routes conference in Chicago.

Malaysia Airlines has moved to new offices at junction of Thomas Street and Francis Street, a third floor office suite above Café Noto.

Dublin Airport is on course for 21.4m passenger sin 2014. Just over 2m passengers passed through Dublin Airport in September, 8pc up on the same period last year. British routes were up 7pc, Continental routes up 5pc, transatlantic routes up 20pc, and Middle East and North Africa routes up 33pc.

The last Aer Lingus Regional operation from Dublin-Blackpool is scheduled for October 15, the last day of full operation by the airport.

CityJet will discontinue flights from Cardiff Airport to Glasgow at the end of October.  Air Transat will not operate Dublin-Shannon-Toronto 3w services in summer 2015 as Shannon traffic was down 30pc. Their 2w Dublin-Toronto service, and 1w Montreal.

Belfast City Airport returned to profit in 2013, with a profit of £1.2m. Belfast International Airport had a profit of £398,000 in 2013, down from £2.2m in 2012.

Combined air traffic at Dublin, Cork and Shannon airports was up 9.9pc in September. The individual breakdown: Dublin up 9.4pc with an average 545 daily commercial movements; Cork down 4.6pc with an average 59 movements; and Shannon up 29.9pc with an average 75 movements. Commercial terminal traffic for the three airports was up 6.1pc from Jan-Sept. Ireland’s en route traffic was up 7.5pc and North Atlantic Communications flights increased 6.4pc. launched this week. The site collects bags and delivers them to holiday destinations, allowing passengers to fly luggage-free. The site hopes to target the 20pc of Ryanair passengers who bring a check-in bag on-board.

Jet Assist 1The new business jet centre at Belfast International Airport, Jet Assist, was officially opened on Friday. Picture shows Graham Keddie, Belfast International Airport MD and William McCrea, MP for South Antrim, with Jet Assist MD Ian Morrow.

Aer Lingus passenger numbers were up 5.3pc in September to 1.041m passengers. Load factor was up 1.6pc to 83.3pc. Long haul traffic was up 27.8pc to 138,000 passengers and short haul traffic was up 1.2pc to 784,000 passengers.

Aer Lingus Regional passenger numbers were up 12pc in September. This is the fifteenth consecutive month the airline has reported passenger growth. Operator Stobart Air said the airline carried 118,601 last month. Passenger numbers were up 12pc at Dublin, 43pc at Shannon and 9pc at Cork.

Ryanair launched a customer Twitter account, @RyanairFlights. Customers can send their Ryanair flight number through a direct message (provided they follow the account) and will receive an update on the status of their flight by Tweet. Travel Extra tested the service: it took less than 1 second to receive a response from the obviously automated service.

welcome-award-belfastBelfast International Airport received a Welcome Award by the Positive Futures charity. The award is a public endorsement of the quality of the service that businesses offer disabled people and their carers. Picture shows Susan Armstrong, who is supported by Positive Futures’ supported living service, presenting staff with the award.

  • US tech firm Sandisk will lease office space at Ryanair’s new headquarters in Swords.
  • Dublin Airport Fire Service evacuated Burger King in the airside of T1 on Friday after black smoke filled the food hall. It was later reported that burning oil caused the smoke.
  • Virgin Atlantic is scrapping Little Red’s Heathrow-Manchester and Edinburgh-Aberdeen services next year. In light of the announced, Ryanair launched a seat sale on services from London to Edinburgh and Glasgow.
  • A man was arrested and charged over a violent car hijacking at Dublin Airport on Tuesday.
  • Rugby fans hoping to catch the Pro 12 derby at one of Dublin Airport’s bars or restaurants were left disappointed after an administrative error caused Sky Sports coverage to be cut off at the airport.
  • Graham Keddie, managing director of Belfast International Airport, plans to seek enterprise zone status and develop land around Aldergrove.
  • Outgoing Aer Lingus chief executive Christoph Mueller was tipped by the Malaysia Insider as the first foreigner to lead Malaysia Airlines. However, the rumour looks likely to remain grounded: Mueller said he wants to remain chairman of An Post, owns property in Howth and said that his family wants to stay in Ireland for as long as possible.
  • Thailand will press ahead with a multi-billion dollar expansion of Suvarnabhumi airport in Bangkok, which will include the construction of a third runway. Three regional airports will be constructed in border regions and other regional airports will be upgraded over the next five years.
  • ebola-joke-hazmatA US Airways passenger caused a disruption on a flight from Philadelphia to the Dominican Republic after he sneezed and jokingly shouted “I have Ebola, you are all screwed” shortly before landing. After the aircraft landed in Punta Cana, emergency personnel wearing blue hazmat suits boarded the plan and the passenger was taken to the airport’s medical centre for tests. The aircraft was held on the tarmac for almost two hours until medical officials determined there was no risk to the other passengers. There have been no reported cases of Ebola in the Dominican Republic. The straight-talking flight attendant as she reassures passengers: I think the man who said that is an idiot. Watch footage of the man being escorted off the aircraft here.
  • China Airlines took delivery of its first of its ten B777-300ER, which feature a three-seat configuration in economy class that can combine to make a single flat surface described as a “family couch”. The new interiors were created by Taiwanese designer Ray Chen. The aircraft will be launched on the Hong Kong route later this month and will be used on transpacific flights from Taipei to LA, San Francisco and New York. Meanwhile Thomson Airways plans to create family booths that can seat four to six people facing each other around a table. Families can sit together while couples can opt for pod seating with mood lighting and in-flight charging docks. Both innovations are planned for the airline’s new 737 MAX aircraft, due for delivery in 2018. Other plans include an on-board kid’s club play area on flights to Holiday Villages and Thomson Family Resorts, and an adult’s play area in the form of bookable child-free sections.
  • A US Airways flight from La Guardia airport in New York to Charlotte was delayed after a shipment of love crabs managed to escape in the cargo hold.
  • Flybe announced a rewards partnership with Avios, taking effect from Oct 27. The partnership replaces Flybe’s Rewards4All frequent flyer programme.
  • Aon Benfield Reinsurance launched a product for charter company SHY Aviation which will cover SHY in instances where charter flights have been cancelled because of mechanical problems, lack of flight crew, adverst weather conditions and refuelling delays. SHY can offer clients “the same or better” aircraft when a cancellation occurs.
  • The HSE confirmed it will not introduce Ebola screenings at Irish airports.
  • Aeroflot signed up for Travelport’s Rich Content and Branding service.
  • Ryanair is suing former pilot Ian Somner for allegedly making defamatory remarks on Dutch TV documentary Mayday! Mayday!
  • Qatar and S7 Airlines announced a codeshare agreement.
  • The cost of the Air France pilot strike has been updated to €320-€350m.
  • Alaska Airlines has been testing a biometric fingerprint access system at its airport lounges. The airline hopes to use fingerprints to check in for flights and pay for inflight purchases. The airline has a history of innovation: It began online ticketing in the 1995, launched wireless check-in in 2001 and was the first airline to integrate GP and EGPWS technology.
  • Bruno-MatheuEtihad Airways announced the appointment of Bruno Matheu (pictured) as Chief Operating Officer Equity Partnerys. Bruno joins Etihad after 20 years with Air France-KLM.
  • Passenger traffic at European airports increased 7pc YOY in August.
  • Heathrow renamed T5 Business Parking POD Parking.
  • Qatar’s first A380 aircraft completed its inaugural flight from Doha to London Heathrow.
  • Etihad launched the Etihad Airways Partners initiative. Five “like-minded” airlines will participate in the partnership with Etihad: airberlin, Air Serbia, Air Seychelles, Jet Airways and Darwin Airline.


  • Silversea’s all-suite Silver Galapagos sailed her first expedition voyage following a refurbishing of all the ship’s suites, corridors and lounge. The colour palette – beighe and blue – is inspired by the décor of Silver Discoverer.
  • Norwegian Cruise Line added a new module to its NCL U online training platform that focuses on Norwegian’s 2014/15 itineraries in the Mediterranean & Canary Islands. It promises to help travel partners boost business and knowledge for the winter cruise season. Agents who pass the 10-question test at the end of the course will receive 25,000 points towards their NCL U points and in December, all NCL U students will be entered into a draw to win cruise prizes.
  • Irish Ferries passengers have until October 31 to book their 2015 Haven Holiday at 2014 prices at any of the seven parks in Wales and England.
  • Stena Line is offering 50pc off cabins on its Rosslare-Cherbourg route. Book by November 30 for travel until December 17.


LOOP HEAD 3Visitors to Loop Head Lighthouse increased by 7.5pc so far in 2014. 20,368 people visited the lighthouse. 61pc were domestic visitors, while North America, Britain and Germany represented 8pc each. Italian and French visitors represented 5pc of the total.

Tourism Ireland is running a three-week online campaign promoting the Wild Atlantic Way to the British market with Canon and Secret Escapes. The promotion involves marketing 50,000 Secret Escapes customers via email and on the Secret Escapes website. Canon is highlighting the promotion on social media. Tourism Ireland is running a competition as part of the campaign, giving entrants the chance to win a Canon camera and trip to Ireland.

forever-happeningThe Forever Happening South East Tourism initiative – which is made up of members of the tourism industry and local authorities in Waterford, Wexford and Kilkenny – is hosting a tourism information day tomorrow (Oct 13) at The Brandon House Hotel in New Ross at 11am. Picture shows Fiona Delahunty, The Griffin Hotel Group, Bettie Marie Burger-Smit Irish Hotels Federation, Peter Wilson Whites of Wexford, Wexford, Lynn Cahill, Tourism Officer, Waterford Metropolitan District, Carolyne Godkin Tourism Officer, Wexford County Council and Mags Darrer, Dooley’s Hotel, Waterford.

Lonely Planet’s new book, Ultimate Signspotting, contains three unusual signs from Ireland.  One in Glendalough that shows a person walking on water (Lonely Planet quips: “Unless you have a miracle up your sleeve, you might wait until winter before attempting this.”); a ‘Temporary Sign’ in Dublin (“Locals are anxiously awaiting the new ‘Permanent Sign’. This temporary one just doesn’t fill the void.”); and ‘Splash N Dash Car Wash, Best Hand Job In Town’ in Dublin.

The Adventure Travel World Summit took place in Killarney this week. 700 delegates attended, many of whom took part in pre-summit adventures (kayaking, climbing and mountain biking) which showcased outdoor activities in Ireland. Ahead of the event, a group of tour guides from Nambia took part in an adventure guide development programme in Tralee.

Belfast Film Festival is hosting a screening of Mad Max 2 on October 18 at shipyard turned skate park T13 as part of the BFI Sci-FI season Days of Fear and Wonder. Tickets £8.

NITB-choirTitanic Belfast will host the final of RTÉ’s All Island School Choir competition on November 16. Over 400 schools applied to compete in the competition, now in its sixth year. Picture shows Howard Hastings, Chairman of NITB, Gregory Dunstan of St Patrick’s Cathedral Armagh and Terry O’Neill of Cooperation Ireland with members of the Strathearn School Choir who were the winners of the 2013 Ulster regional heat.

Ireland’s three Geoparks – The Burren & Cliffs of Moher, Marble Arch and Copper Coast – confirmed they will attend the World Travel Market in London next month. The three sites are working on an itinerary that invites visitors to Ireland to take the three locations over a 7-day period.

The restored Octagonal Walled Garden at the Battle of the Boyne site was officially opened after a restoration.

Carrick Mountain in Wicklow will host the second round of the Enduro World Series mountain bike race. The race, which takes place on May 23 and 24, is expected to bring €500,000 to the county.

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Travel Extra’s Sunday Supplement: Adventurers Trek to Killarney & Sailing Backwards on the River Ems



Dance show at the inaugural Swahili International Tourism Exchange in Dar Es Salaam.

The headlines this week…

*CSO: Domestic Trips up 5.8pc, Outbound Travel up 1.8pc

*Roaring Start to Swahili International Tourism Exchange 

*ATWS Kicks Off in Killarney

*Shannon Scoops Airport Achievement Award

*Quantum of the Seas Sets Sail Backwards

*CarTrawler  to Create 400 Dublin Jobs


Travel Extra TV

the-ridge-screenshotOur video of the week is a short documentary called The Ridge. It shows cyclist Danny MacAskill biking around his native Isle of Skye in Scotland and taking on the treacherous Cuillin Ridgeline. Watch here.

  • Tourism Ireland uploaded a spooky video promoting the Bram Stoker Festival. Be sure to watch till the very end. Watch here.
  • Tourism Ireland uploaded a video of Phil Spencer exploring Northern Ireland. The video features: Titantic Belfast, Giant’s Causeway, Causeway Coastal Route, Commercial Court, the Cathedral Quarter, Lyric Theatre, Queen’s University, the Botanic Gardens, Ulster Museum, and Carrick-A-Rede rope bridge. Watch here.
  • Fáilte Ireland uploaded a video promoting food experiences in Ireland. Watch here.
  • uploaded a video of Carol Byrne from taking to the streets of Dublin to ask punters about their favourite Irish holidays. Watch here.
  • US Embassy Dublin uploaded a video of shark expert Dr Pete Kilmley (aka Dr Hammerhead) visiting Malin Head. Watch here.
  • The Ham Yard Hotel in Soho, London has a clock display that is made up of 135 dial clocks synched together to show the time. It’s hypnotic. Watch here.
  • Almost every week, Travel Extra TV features an exciting video shot using a GoPro camera. But what if your life just doesn’t measure up to all the hype on YouTube? Mike Fry compared his life to that of a GoPro adventurer. Watch here.
  • The London Telegraph uploaded footage of Austrian pilot Ivan Trifonov successfully taking a hot air balloon deep underground into a cave in Croatia. Watch here.
  • Ryanair uploaded an online check-in video tutorial. Watch here.


Kambona eoghanIt was not without its challenges but the inaugural Swahili International Tourism Exchange in Dar Es Salaam has established a platform for future growth. The Exchange intends to become the major regional travel fair for outbound travel but also for inbound Africa specialist tour operators. As Lazaro Nyalandu, Tanzania’s Minister for Tourism said when interviewed by Travel Extra, he intends this will become the new Indaba. Highlights included a stirring opening speech by Jakaya Kikwete where he declared “until lions have their own historians, the history of the jungle will always glorify the hunter”. Picture shows Kambona Mollel, the Kilimanjaro mountain guide who has ascended the famous peak 130 times, and who visited Ireland some years ago, with Eoghan Corry of Travel Extra. See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.

Adventure Summit Countdown3[1]700 delegates are expected to attend the Adventure Travel World Summit 2014, which opens in Killarney tomorrow (Oct 6). Delegates will be welcomed today from 1pm. A carnival featuring food producers, B&B ladies, Irish coffee, music and dance will take place on Scott Street. A street festival and a parade including dancing at the crossroads takes place from 5pm-6pm. A conference reception will take place in Market Square in the evening. Tomorrow, delegates will have the chance to take part in a Day of Adventure organised by Fáilte Ireland and local providers. The opening event will take place on Monday in Ross Castle. Fáilte Ireland estimated the value of adventure travel to the Irish economy is €852m.

Shannon Airport wins two major awards within ten daysShannon Airport won the overall Airport Achievement Award for 2014/2015 from the European Regions Airline Association in Barcelona, the first time an Irish airport has been presented with the overall ERA award. Picture shows Patrick Edmond, Shannon Group Strategy Director, with the award. The award comes a week after Shannon won the lead award for best marketing of airports under 4m passengers at the World Route Awards in Chicago.

According to Q2 figures from the CSO, domestic trips are up 5.2pc (1.8m trips). Total expenditure was €377m: €197m for those on holiday, €67m for those visiting friends or relatives. Average length of stay was 2.6 nights, resulting in 4.6m bed nights. 48.7pc of domestic trips were classified as holidays while 32pc were to visit friends or relatives. Visitors who stayed in hotel accommodation account for 733,000 domestic trips and 587,000 trips for those staying with family and friends.

Over 1.8m outbound trips were taken by Irish residents in Q2, up 1.8pc. Total expenditure on outbound trips was €1.4m: €887m on holidays, €238m visiting friends or family and €204m on business trips. Average length of stay was 7.3 nights. Britain was the most popular destination of travel (596,000 trips), followed by Spain (389,000 trips) and France (183,000).

CarTrawler announced 400 new jobs at its Dundrum headquarters over the next three years.

quantum-tourRoyal Caribbean’s Quantum of the Seas sailed from the Meyer Werft shipyard in Papenburg, Germany to Eemshaven in the Netherlands, where it will receive final outfitting and testing before making its debut next month. As with all vessels built at Meyer Werft, Quantum of the Seas had to travel backward on the River Ems before it could set sail. According to Royal Caribbean, conditions had to be exact in quantum-maporder to transport the 1,142ft ship: Wind speeds must be 20 knots or less, tidal barriers must be closed and there needs to be either a full or new moon. With only a few feet clearance on either side of the vessel, two tugboats had to guide her down the river. Power lines had to be rerouted and bridges along the river had to be lifted. Anthem of the Seas is still on tap at Meyer Werft. Watch here to see Quantum’s journey.

9T2A6996Travel Trade

750 people attended the NI Cruise Fair organised by Oasis Travel in Belfast’s Stormont Hotel. Represented cruise brands included: Royal Caribbean International, Celebrity Cruises, Princess Cruises, Azamara Club Cruises, Silversea, Hurtigruten, MSC Cruises, Norwegian Cruise Line, Fred Olsen Cruise Lines, Riviera River Cruises, Voyages of Discovery, Swan Hellenic, Hebridean Island Cruises, and Crystal Cruises. Azamara Club Cruises hosted a breakfast in the hotel’s La Scala restaurant. £1,138 was raided for Cancer Fund for Children through a raffle.Picture shows Nikki Singleton of Azamara Club Cruises and Sandra Corkin of Oasis Travel at Azamara’s breakfast.

itic-paperITIC published a position paper entitled Protecting the Irish Environment and Landscape – a critical issue for Irish Tourism. It outlines threats to the Irish landscape and warns that the outlook for Irish tourism will be bleak if the island’s brand of “beautiful and unspoilt scenery” is lost. ITIC proposes that the draft National Landscape Strategy should be finalised urgently; new and more prescriptive guidelines on local landscape character assessment should be drawn up; the designation of Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty should be introduced to give areas of high scenic value formal statutory recognition as landscapes of national importance; and environmental impact assessments and statements should be prepared on a fully independent basis. Read the paper here.

  • Karen Whyte of American Holidays won British AirwaysT5 Competition. Karen won six tickets to see One Republic live in the 3Arena with access to the Audi Club.
  • Funway Holidays launched a 4-page October offers brochure. Highlights include free Disney Dining, USA city breaks from £599pp and multicentre trips to San Francisco, Las Vegas and Los Angeles from £1,165.
  • Falcon’s 2015 #NRG brochure is available now. Bulgaria has been added to the 2015 portfolio. Prices start from €399. Group offers and 2 Weeks for the Price of 1 available on selected destinations.
  • Tourico Holidays announced two new ancillary products sales programmes, 25+ Series and Ancillary VIP Programme.
  • Royal Caribbean appointed Holly Wilkinson to the new role of trading support executive for the Irish market.
  • Registration for ETOA’s 2015 Hoteliers European Marketplace in Paris and City Fair in London is now open.
  • Tour Salon takes place in Poznań, Poland on Oct 23-25.
  • The ETOA will organise a pavilion at the US Travel & Adventure Shows for its member to exhibit at a reduced rate.


  • Travel Department’s offers this week: 7 night stay in Fiuggi from €749pps incl. flights, breakfast and evening meals, departing October 15; 3 night city break to Madrid from €299pps incl. flights and breakfast, departing November 5, 10 & 12; and 3 night city break to Budapest from €269pps incl. flights, breakfast and evening meals, departing November 5, 9 & 12. For more visit Travel Department’s website or call 01-6371600.
  • ITAA’s offers: 7 nights Sardinia from €349pp, depart Oct 9; 10 nights Havana & Varadero, Cuba from €1,590pp, depart June 15, 2015; 3 nights Copenhagen from €329pp, depart Oct 30.
  • Camino Ways is offering a 10pc discount on early bird bookings. Book here.
  • Sunway exotic deals (incl. flights, taxes & accommodation): Bali from €1,219pp; Seychelles from €1,259pp; Zanzibar half-board from €1,329pp; and Cancun from €1,699pp. Depart May 23. Book on Sunway’s website or call 01-2886828.
  • KOS_KRD_1728 (1)Falcon all inclusive SplashWorld offer: 7 nights Dublin to Kos, Atlantica Club Porto Bello, Helona Resort from €1,901 for two adults and one child or from €2,430 for two adults and two children. Book by calling 1850 45 35 45 or visit
  • Funway Holidays’ X-Factor inspired packages:  7 nights at Occidental Grand Xcaret, Cancun, Mexico from £949pp incl. return flights from Heathrow. 4 nights at Crowne Plaza Beverly Hills, Los Angeles from £899pp incl. return flights with United Airlines.
  • Sunway is offering a 10-night Canary Island & Morocco cruise from €849pp (incl. flights from Dublin to Barcelona) on board Norwegian SPIRIT. Ports of call: Morocco, Madeira, Tenerife, Lanzarote and Malaga. Travel dates: Nov 26 and Dec 6. Book on or phone 01-2886828.
  • Abbey Travel is offering free half board meals and 20pc off hotels and park tickets at Disneyland Paris for bookings made before November 4 for travel between November 13, 2014 and March 31, 2015. To book call Abbey Travel on 01 804 7160 or visit
  • Sunway deals, book before Oct 8: Morocco from €259; Fuerteventura from €429; Gran Canaria from €299; Lanzarote from €329; Turkey from €299. Book on here or phone 01-2886828.
  • atlantica aegean blue 1Thomson is offering 7 night all-inclusive trips to Atlantica Aegean Blue in Rhodes from €2,311 for two adults and one child and from €3,110 for two adults and two children. Depart Dublin May 27, 2015.
  • is offering 7 night one bedroom apartment in Cordial Mogan Valle from €393pps, depart Feb 10.
  • Falcon is offering 7 night all-inclusive trips to Atlantica Club Porto Bello from €1,851 for two adults and one child and from €2,380 for two adults and two children. Depart Dublin May 23, 2015.


  • Ricky O'Brien and Joe O'Sullivan, BWG Food Service, Presents Alan Smullen, Croke Park Hotel with the City City Hotel of the Year AwardThe Croke Park Hotel won City Hotel of the Year at the Gold Medal Hotel & Catering Awards. Picture shows Ricky O’Brien and Joe O’Sullivan of BWG Food Service presenting Alan Smullen, General Manager of the Croke Park Hotel, with the award.
  • 240914JP1  019 Newforge (1)Newforge House in Magheralin, Co Armagh was awarded five-star status by NITB. Picture by Brian Thompson/Presseye.
  • Hotel KilkennyHotel Kilkenny is offering a 2-night Bowling Break midterm package from €129 per adult sharing incl. two nights’ accommodation, breakfast, family ticket for K-Bowl Kilkenny and family pass to the Reptile Zoo and access to Kids Club. See ie for more.
  • Liverpool is the most visited city by Jurys Inn’s Irish guests in Britain. Birmingham came in second, followed by Edinburgh, Manchester and Glasgow.
  • Slieve Donard-NightSlieve Donard Resort & Spa in Co Down is offering 1 night stay from £80pps, 2 night stay from £145pps and 3 night stay from £200pps incl. dinner in the Oak Restaurant, breakfast and access to spa facilities. Book here or call 048 4372 1066.
  • The Ferrycarrig Hotel in Wexford is offering a 2-night family break from €240 or 1-night from €130 incl. family accommodation, breakfast and access to Kids Club. See ie for more.
  • The Clarion Hotel Cork is offering one night’s B&B plus evening meal from €75pps from Oct 27-Nov 2.
  • Riverside Park HotelThe Riverside Park Hotel in Enniscorthy opened a new €1.6m extension that includes a conference & banqueting suite and 20 additional bedrooms. The new wing has created ten new jobs.
  • The Glenview Hotel in the Glen of the Downs, Co Wicklow is celebrating its 100th birthday on October 18. To celebrate, The Glenview is offering a Stay and Dine 100 package for €100pps – offer includes 1 night B&B, full use of leisure club and one meal in the Woodlands Restaurant.


IUSA has opened up membership to veterans of the J1 visa programme. Register here to avail of cultural, political, business and educational events with US and Irish speakers.

Kobkarn WattanavrangkulThailand‘s tourism minister Kobkarn Wattanavrangkul (pictured) said she wants all foreign visitors to wear ID wristbands and eventually tracking devices. “When tourists check in to a hotel they will be given a wristband with a serial number that matches their ID and shows the contact details of the resort they are staying in, so that if they’re out partying late and, for example, get drunk or lost, they can be easily assisted,” she said. “The next step would be some sort of electronic tracking device but this has not yet been discussed in detail.” A buddy system — tourists paired with a local minder — is also being discussed.

Virgin Holidays has asked its suppliers to pledge not to receive cetaceans that were captured from the wild after February 14, 2014. So far, 27 resorts have signed the pledge. Wildlife campaigners criticised Virgin Holidays for not taking a stronger stance against whale and dolphin captivity, noting that the pledge does not include an agreement to end the sale of tickets to resorts like SeaWorld.

Travel website is promising guests discounts on hotel rooms in New York, Los Angeles, Miami, Portland and Tel Aviv depending on the size of their social media following on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn or Instagram.

Up to an hour will be shaved off the journey time for Eurostar passengers travelling from London to Geneva when trains change in Lille instead of Paris from December.

A traveller  in Sydney Airport caused a major security alert which resulted in dozens of flight delays after he accidentally bypassed a security screening area because he was too busy staring at his iPad.

00067345VisitScotland is encouraging visitors to experience some “leaf-peeping” this autumn. For those who don’t know, leaf-peeing is simply visiting foliaged areas and admiring the autumnal colours. Three upcoming leaf-peeping opportunities: The Enchanted Forest light show, Fascally Woods, Perthshire, now until Oct 26; Dumfries & Galloway Wild Autumn outdoor festival, Dumfries & Galloway, Oct 11-Nov 2; and The Dougie MacLean music festival, Dunkeld, Perthshire, Oct 24-Nov 2.

  • lapogeeL’Apogee Couchevel ski resort will launch the KYUB Japanese restaurant, Cigar Lounge and Le Bar when it reopens on Dec 12.
  • Modern Family director Ryan Case live-tweeted a nightmare flight with a drunk passenger.
  • Sandals Resorts & Beaches Resorts will introduce free Wi-Fi across all its resorts from Dec 1.
  • Magical Kenya Travel Expo takes place at the Kenyatta International Convention Centre in Nairobi on October 8-10. Around 150 buyers from over 30 countries are expected to attend.
  • Graubünden Tourism Board is celebrating 150 years of winter tourism in St Moritz.
  • Nevada celebrates 150 years since it became the 36th state to enter the USA on October 31. The event will be marked with events across the state including the Las Vegas Nevada Day state parade, morse code sending of the state constitution to President Lincoln, Fireman’s Dance and the Nevada 150 Masquerade Ball. See org.
  • Plymouth city in Devon, England will hold a candle lighting ceremony on November 20 to mark the countdown to the 2020 celebration of 400 years since the Mayflower sailed in search of the New World.
  • NYC & Co said the theme of this year’s Village Halloween Parade in Greenwich Village is ‘The Garden of Earthly Delights’. The parade takes place on 6th Avenue from Spring Street to 16th Street on Halloween night.
  • The Peloponnese Region and Costa Navarino will host the 2015 ABTA Travel Convention on Oct 12-14, 2015.
  • The Scottsdale Museum of the West will open in December.
  • Vienna Tourist Board will mark Ringstrasse boulevard’s 150th birthday next year. Institutions including the Wien Museum, the Vienna Jewish Museum, the Austrian National Library, the Museum of Natural History and Kunsthistorisches Museum will be paying tribute with exhibitions and guided tours. Click here for more.
  • Travelport announced the appointment of Elzabeth Buse, Michael Durham and Douglas acker to its Board of Directors.
  • New York Governor Andrew Cuomo launched the year-round I Love New York bus service to a range of upstate destinations. The schedule will connect passengers to wine, beer and cider trails and seasonal festivals around New York State.
  • The Australian Competition & Consumer Commission gave the go-ahead for Expedia to takeover online travel company com.
  • A glass-bottomed bridge has opened in Pingjang, southern China. The bridge stretches 300 metres between two rocky peaks 180 meters above a valley.
  • French adventurer Sylvain Tesson won the Dolman Travel Book Award in England for Consolations of the Forrest, an account of six-month stay in a log cabin in Siberia.
  • Amsterdam Light Festival takes place from November 27 to January 18. Light sculptures by international artists will be lit up throughout the festival.

Food & Wine

  • Chocolatiers Mary Teeha, Karen Keane and Alyssa Jade McDonald will appear at a Meet the Makers evening at Highbank Farm, Cuffesgrange, Kilkenny on Nov 8. Tickets €8, see com for more.
  • antonio saezHotel Arts Barcelona appointed Michelin starred chef Antonio Saez (pictured) as its new Executive Chef.
  • This week is Cava Week in Ireland. To celebrate, The Port House restaurants in Dublin, Zaragoza and Salamanca in Dublin and Bodega Cava in Galway are offering a portion of seafood paella and a glass of cava for €10.
  • Dine Out Lauderdale will take place from October 1 to November 1. Three-course meals will be available at $35 prix fixe at restaurants across the county.


Ryanair traffic in September grew to 8.5m passengers, up 5pc. Load factor increased 5pc to 90pc.

Etihad Airways - First Boeing 787-9 Arrival - Photo 2Picture shows Larry Loftis, Boeing Vice President, Abdulla Alsaboosi, Honourable Consul General to the UAE in Los Angeles, and Peter Baumgartner, Etihad Airways Chief Commercial Officer, celebrating the roll out of Etihad’s first Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner.

  • 36 Etihad cadet pilots started a three-month aviation training programme at College Ireland Aviation Services in Weston Airport, Leixlip.
  • Denis O’Brien sold Aergo Capital to CarVal Investors.
  • Ryanair has ditched its charity calendar of cabin crew in bikinis.
  • Head of BA, Willie Walsh, said he is “delighted” that Virgin Atlantic’s domestic airlines is struggling to fill flights.
  • QuickPark is offering a complimentary Family Pass on the CityScape Dublin Luxury Sightseeing tours for customers who book parking at Dublin Airport before Oct 31.
  • Aer Lingus is considering operating direct flights from Belfast City Airport to Germany and Malaga.
  • Michael O’Leary offered free fights with Ryanair to the family of soccer player Jack Grealish if he chooses to play for Ireland.
  • CityJet is halting daily flights from to Dublin and Amsterdam from Cambridge International Airport in mid-May.
  • In response to a customer’s query on Twitter, Ryanair revealed that it is working on a Windows Phone app.
  • The pilots’ strike that cost Air France €280m was called off on Sept 28. Air France said it now plans to speed up the development of Transavia.
  • Der Spiegel said Lufthansa may hire Private Air to operate the 14 A340s it plans to use for low cost long haul flights in order to get around the need for pilots’ approval.
  • Members of Belfast City Council told Boston Mayor Marty Walsh on his visit to Ireland that they want to see the addition of daily flights between the two cities.
  • Qatar Airways sponsored the 2014 Ham Polo Farewell Cup in Richmond, London.
  • Blackpool Airport said it will have to close down unless a buyer can be found before October 7.
  • To celebrate Europe retaining the Ryder Cup, Ryanair is offering half-price golf bags on from now until Oct 13.
  • The European Aviation Safety Agency issued guidelines that allow passengers to leave electronics on for the entire flight without using flight mode.
  • Skuli Mogensen: WOW Air Dublin to Keflavik route to launch June 2, 2015 using A320 or A319. Flights on Tues, Thur and Sat, leaving Dublin 12.10 & Keflavik 06.20. Flight time 2 hours 20 minutes.
  • Ryanair is now offering Lavazza coffee on all flights.
  • Qatar Airways signed an interline agreement with Vueling, which came into effect on Wednesday.
  • Balkan Holidays will add four additional flights from Belfast to Bourgas, Bulgaria, in summer 2015: Three extra weekly flights will be added from May 25 and an extra flight at the end of season departing Sept 21.
  • Finnish restaurants Nokka, GW Sundmans, Savoy and Fishmarket have designed a new Signature Menu that will be available in Finnair’s Business Class on long-haul flights from Helsinki from the end of January 2015.
  • Belfast International Airport will give passengers to option to donate £1 to Action Mental Health when paying for their airport car parking.
  • An easyJet flight attendant was jailed for 21 months for using the airline’s staff discount travel to smuggle cigarettes through English airports. On over 130 trips, the attendant and four other staff hid cigarettes and tobacco in their luggage to avoid paying £180,000 in duty and taxes.
  • Inflight connectivityEtihad will offer full inflight connectivity services – Wi-Fi, mobile services and Live TV – on its entire B777 fleet.
  • A strike by air traffic controllers in Greece was called off this weekend after it was declared illegal by an Athens court.
  • Air Canada plans to crack down on oversized carry-on bags with a $25 fee for the first checked bag.
  • TAP is offering return flights from London to Rio de Janiero and São Paulo from £579pp, and return flights from London to Salvador, Fortaleza, Recife, Manaus, Belém, Brasília, Belo Horizonte, Porto Alegre and Natal from £617pp. Book until Oct 15, travel from Nov 1.
  • Finnair was named Best European Airline at the TTG Travel Awards.


  • Stena Line is offering day trips by foot from Dublin-Holyhead or Rosslare-Fishguard from €5pp, available Sunday-Thursday until Nov 2 (book up to 48 hours in advance). Stena Line is also offering family mid-term trips: Alton Towers from €470 for two adults and two children incl. return travel by car from Dublin-Holyhead and two nights’ accommodation at Jurys Inn Derby. Oakwood Theme Park from €49pp. Short stay in Fishguard or Holyhead from €165 for car and driver. Rosslare-Cherbourg by car and two nights’ accommodation from €85 per adult per night. Book on ie or call 01 204 77 77.
  • Alton Towers - ScarefestIrish Ferries is offering a 3-night stay at Alton Towers for €439 for two adults and two children incl. three nights B&B, return ferry travel with car and one full day’s family pass to the park.
  • Cruise passengers leaving Copenhagen Airport will be able complete their airline check-in while onboard the ship.
  • A Carnival Escape passenger died after falling from the mast of the ship in the port of Miami.
  • norwegian-escapeNorwegian Cruise Line will use The Waterfront and 678 Ocean Place design on Norwegian Escape. The design, first used on Norwegian Breakaway and Norwegian Getaway, includes an oceanfront boardwalk with restaurants, bars and shops and three decks of dining, bars, entertainment and gaming. Norwegian Escape is scheduled for delivery in October 2015.


Ireland’s Wild Atlantic Way Showcased to millions of US viewersFootage of the Wild Atlantic Way will be broadcast to an estimated 8m homes in an episode of paddle-sports TV series Facing Waves on the Outside Television travel channel in the USA. The episode will be syndicated to another 50m homes in 25 other countries. Nikki Gregg was in Ireland this week filming with Dave O’Hara of SUPForAll in Sligo. Filming took place in Sligo, Doolin and Liscannor.

Boston Mayor Marty Walsh’s 11 day trip to Ireland concluded on Monday. Mayor Walsh attended business meetings in Shannon, Galway, Donegal, Derry, Belfast and Dublin throughout his visit.

Meanwhile Seattle Mayor Ed Murray swapped the Emerald City for the Emerald Isle for his first overseas trip as mayor. Murray held a talk with Galway University law students, administrators and faculty, and led a discussion on employments and marriage equality for the Irish LGBT community. Tomorrow, he will meet with the American Chamber of Commerce in Dublin and during the week he will hold a meeting about the marriage referendum. On Tuesday, he will meet President Michael D Higgins. Daniel Beekman of The Seattle Times writes: “Like Seattle, Galway is a wet coastal city and the forecast there calls for rain this weekend, with high temperatures in the low 60s. Murray should feel right at home.”

Tourism Ireland won four awards at the CLIO advertising awards for their Wild Atlantic Way campaign:  gold CLIO in Music Digital Integrated; silver in Music Innovative Medial; bronze in Music in Film, bronge in Music in Digital/Social. The gala ceremony took place on Wall Street, New York and was hosted by Whoopi Goldberg.

pr89040_[1]_Performance by Region Table74pc of tourism businesses are upbeat about their 2014 performance according to the latest Fáilte Ireland Tourism Barometer. Other findings:  79pc of accommodation providers reported an increase in visitor numbers – hoteliers reported an 82pc increase in visitors, guesthouses reported a 69pc increase, hostels are up 64pc and B&Bs are up 60pc. Unsurprisingly, the good weather boosted the camper & caravan sector and the industry as a whole. Repeat visitors remain the most positive factor this year. Read the report here.

204261-Dracula-Untold-Mapv5Dracula Untold hits the big screen this week. Filming took place in Northern Ireland last summer. Locations included the Giant’s Causeway, Divis & black Mountains, Mount Swewart House & Gardens, Tollymore Forest Park, Scrano Country Park, Killynether Woods and Roe Valley Country Park.

Travel Extra visited Clonakilty & District, which won the Rural Destination EDEN award in 2007. Conor McMahon writes: The town itself is a busy spot. In the evening, music spills from the thronged bars and you can hear the chatter of busy cafes and restaurants. We stopped in An Súgán restaurant & bar on Wolfe Tone Street. The menu plays on traditional pub grub with class. Portions are generous, which is just what we needed after the long drive from Tarbert. We overnighted in the Celtic Ross Hotel in Rosscarbery and headed out to Inchydoney the next morning for a surf lesson with Rob from Inchydoney Surf School. The wetsuit may have been flattering but there was no escaping my beer belly when it came to getting up on the board. The two left feet didn’t help either. Rob was very encouraging, but it was hopeless – I swallowed more waves than I caught. Back in the comfort of Dunmore House Hotel, we enjoyed a spectacular lunch overlooking Clonakilty Bay and a blue sky. I had the West Cork roast lamb with mint jelly. As I tucked in to my meal, a jazz version of The Smiths’ song ‘Please, Please, Please Let Me Get What I Want’ began playing over the sound system – a surreal moment, seeing as I got more than I wanted: four varieties of potatoes on offer.

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

Travel Extra’s Sunday Supplement: Airlines Blow Hot Air in the Windy City



Filip Filipov of Skyscanner speaking at the WYSTC World Youth and Tourism conference in Dublin

The headlines this week:

*A Big Win for Dublin Airport

*Amadeus Tees Up in Killarney

*WYSTC 2014 Ends With Tabletop Dancing

*Maryborough named AA Hotel of the Year

*J1ers connect at RDS


Travel Extra TV

waltz-screenshotOur video of the week shows dancers Amelia Rudolph and Roel Seeber perform a Bandaloop dance on the side of Oakland City Hall in California as part of the Art + Soul Festival. Bandaloop is a type of aerial dance that combines specific move sets with city landmarks in the USA. Watch here.

  • YouTube footage of the KLM lost and found dog at Amsterdam Schiphol Airport gained lots of traction this week, reaching over 6.6m views since it was uploaded on Tuesday. Of course Sherlock the Beagle is not a real employee of KLM – it was all a hoax, or a symbol of “the active way in which the [lost and found] team will search for owners and unite them with their lost possessions” in KLM’s words. That doesn’t diminish the cute factor though. Not in the slightest. Watch here.
  • Learn how to pack the very bare essentials (underwear, t-shirt, socks and optional toothbrush) for an overnight stay in about 20 seconds. Watch here.
  • How do you stop people from crossing the road at the red man? Get them moving. A dancing traffic light in Lisbon distracted pedestrians long enough to wait for the green light. Watch here.
  • Storm chaser Alex Schueth captured a timelapse of Asperatus clouds rolling through the sky like ocean waves in Lincoln, Nebraska. The cloud type is so rare that it didn’t have an official classification until 2009. Watch here.
  • Discover Ireland uploaded a video of Location, Location, Location presenter Phil Spencer exploring literary Dublin. Phil visits Trinity Library, the Little Museum of Dublin, the Winding Stairs and the Literary Pub Crawl. Watch here.
  • Fáilte Ireland uploaded the first of its Google Month videos, presented by John Puts of Google and Stephen Dudley of Fáilte Ireland. Four more broadcasts are scheduled. Watch here.
  • RTÉ uploaded a video showcasing Culture Night. Watch here.
  • National Geographic uploaded a video of woodsman Thorn tracking a squirrel and making a bow and arrow from materials in a forest. Watch here.
  • As part of its Surprise Stopover campaign, Icelandair uploaded a video showing how they treated American passenger Kat to a surprise 48-hour stopover adventure when she was en route to London. Watch here.
  • Here is a timelapse video of Etihad’s new livery design: Watch here.
  • Airbus uploaded a video of the A320neo’s first flight. Watch here.


dublin-airport-chicagoawardThere was a big win for Dublin Airport at the World Routes conference in Chicago. Picture shows Daragh Hanratty, Lorraine Costello, John Hurley, Cormac O’Connell, Vincent Harrison, Jon Woolf and Stephen O’Reilly accepting the World Routes Award in the 20m-50m passenger category. The conference hosted 3,000 delegates, 300 airlines, 800 airports and 200 tourism authorities. Conference delegates had a lot of jetstream to cope with: delegates were told that aviation supports 58m jobs and 50,000 routes and it is a $7 trillion dollar industry. If it was a country it would be 21st in the world by GDP. John Byerley of IATA said: “There’s a very strong anti-aviation sentiment in the European population.” Thomas Windmuller  of IATA asked: “Do governments view aviation as a cash cow to be milked or a goose that lays golden eggs needing nurturing?” He said the MH370 and MH17 tragedies were both unprecedented stories and they both caused a media frenzy because of this. He said the critical issues facing aviation were: 1 Infrastructure challenges, 2 Airline profitability, 3 Safety/security, 4 Taxation, and 5 Oil price stability.

tim clarkeDespite the conference conviviality, there was no escaping the war in the air that has been developing between US/Europe and Middle Eastern carriers. Etihad’s Kevin Knight criticised resurgence of protectionist sentiment among US & European airlines. Tim Clarke of Emirates (pictured) added: “Don’t worry about us. Get on with the job. Focus on what you’re doing.” United’s Jim Compton said Middle East carriers “benefit from positive rather than detrimental national aviation policies”. On the fuel question Kevin Knight said “We pay for fuel at market rates just like everyone else.”

david-chapmanThe World Youth and Student conference in Dublin brought together 650 delegates from 120 countries.  CEO David Chapman (pictured) told the travel media (listen here) that youth travellers spend longer in a destination and spend more in a destination than business travellers. Filip Filipov of Skyscanner talked about the future of travel, with driverless cars transporting passengers to the airport to be checked in by a hologram. Dubbed the greatest living adventurer, Ranulph Fiennes spoke about his greatest achievements, including becoming the first person to visit both the North and South Poles by surface means and the first to completely cross Antarctica on foot. See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.

DSCF2116The Global Youth Travel Awards took place in Mansion House on Friday. Over 500 industry professionals attended. The winners: Outstanding Volunteer Award – African Impact; Green Accommodation Initiative – Twentytú; Social Responsibility – Goabroad Typhoon Haiyan; App Yap – Touchnote; Best Airline for Youth – Emirates (British Airways in second place, Quantas in third); Best Youth Destination – USA (Australia in second place, Italy in third); Best Youth Accommodation – Hoax Liverpool; Best Travel Provider – STA Travel (Smaller Earth in second place, Shamrock Adventures in third); Best Work Experience Video – Diego Fuenzlina; Best B2B Technology – Illusions Online; Innovation in Marketing – YHA England and Wales; Extraordinary Experience – Project Abroad and Cillian McGorman. After the ceremony there was a spectacular Irish dancing performance on the table tops (pictured) – unsuspecting attendees had to clutch for their iPhones before they were trampled on.

Air France’s Bruno Delile said he wants shorter turnaround times and has asked Airbus to look at aircraft disembarkation by row. Wizz Air’s Michael Powell said he wants a new narrow body and, more importantly, a new manufacturer to break the Boeing/Airbus duopoly. LOT Polish CEO Sebastian Mikosz said “I can make you a list for a half hour of contradictions in regulations.” John Kasarda said it will be a political not an economic decision on Heathrow vs Gatwick for the second runway. Etihad’s Kevin Knight said “Alitalia, despite all of the challenges, still has a very strong brand in Italy & Europe. He said India was “one of the biggest if not the biggest” market and one of the most difficult places for business.

tony-collins-simon-dalyTony Collins of Topflight (pictured with Simon Daly)  reported an increase of 28pc on forward bookings across the group (listen here) when he launched the 2014-15 ski brochure at the Topflight top floor offices in Jervis House and introduced new staff members Simon Daly, John Condon (who designed the brochure) and new group marketing director Sean Nolan. See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.

J1 event colleen dubeAs the J1 visa comes under threat from America’s Republican Party, the American embassy in Dublin organised a J1 connect event at the RDS. Picture shows Colleen Dube, director of the Fulbright Programme in Dublin and first generation Clare woman, one of the key speakers at an event organised by the USA embassy to highlight the social and economic impact of the 53 year history of the J1 Visa at the RDS, Sept 25 2014. Colleen spoke about the opportunities for post graduate studies for Irish students in American colleges. See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.

maryboroughMaryborough Hotel in Douglas, Co Cork won the AA Hotel of the Year for the first time.  Guest Accommodation winner was Cullinan’s, Doolin, Co Clare; the Courtesy and Care Award went to Star Park House Hotel, Eyre Square, Galway; and the Bean An Tí award to Kathy Mullen, Ardmore House B&B, Clifden. For the past 15 years a new hotel has won this award each year, the most coveted and well-distributed in the industry. Cork has won Hotel of the Year twice as have Clare, Dublin and Mayo while Kerry has three titles and Donegal, Kildare and Wexford have one each.

amadeus 3Amadeus hosted 14 teams of golfers for their annual golf outing for the trade at Con Horgan’s Castlerosse Hotel in Killarney. Two newcomers to the podium won the overall prizes, Miriam Skelly of Navan Travel and Paul Dawson of Dawson Travel in Cork. Picture shows Trish O’Leary, Volker Lorenz and Olwen McKinney of Amadeus. See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.

michael-a330Michael Kelly’s picture shows the first US Airways A330 to receive the American livery in Dublin. It operated the Philadelphia-Dublin flight (US722) on Sept 22 and is seen here departing Dublin for the return journey. It was delivered after painting from Amarillo to Philadelphia on Sept 18. First revenue service was to London Heathrow on Sept 19 followed by Venice on Sept 20.

Travel Trade

Michael O'Leary conducts a press conference Aug 21 2014As first reported by Travel Extra, Amadeus is to offer Ryanair content. Michael O’Leary, self-described as the man who said “Over my dead body will we go back on GDSs”, said this week: “I have to apologise for yet another thing I’ve gotten wrong in Ryanair over the last 10 years.” Low cost carriers selling tickets through Amadeus generate an average revenue per pax that’s typically 20pc-60pc higher than on their website. The image of Ryanair kissing and making up with travel agents can be overstated; according to some reports only 2,500 bookings have been made with GDAS’s since Ryanair first shared their inventory in March.

Travel trade Romania team#1Fifteen volunteers from the Northern Ireland Travel Trade travelled to Oradea, Romania this week to build a home for young people with the charity, Habitat for Humanity. The group raised £30,000 for the initiative, covering the cost of the trip and a donation to the charity. The volunteers built a home in five days with the help of onsite professionals. The group: Jonathan and Isobel Adair, NI Travel News; Peter McMinn, Travel Solutions; Colin Laffin, Laffin Travel; Jill Russell, Topflight; Linda Henderson, Thomas Cook; Sharon Fleming, Thompson Travel International; Charlie Brown, Travelport; Tracie Duffy, Crumlin Travel; Paul McGuinness, Arrow Travel; Aaron Fletcher, Oasis Travel; Lynsey Lamont, NI Travel News; Elizabeth McVeigh, Century Travel; Trevor Ardies, Rosetta Travel; Joanne Hawthorne, Selective Travel Management; Diane Whyte from Habitat for Humanity.

Malaysia Airlines extended its End of Summer Giveaway agents’ incentive until Sept 30. The airline will issue shopping vouchers for every booking made for travel before May 31, £20 vouchers for ever return first or business class ticket sold and a £10 voucher for every return economy class ticket sold. Agents will receive a 50pc bonus when they book economy return tickets from now until Sept 30 for travel this November. To enter, register at

CityJet at Leinster v Cardiff game copyPicture shows travel agents hosted by Cityjet at Leinster v Cardiff for the opening of the new sponsor’s bar in the RDS: Sharon O’Dinoghu and David Mooney of Club Travel HRG, Carole Smith of CityJet, Trish Luff of CWT and Jim Tobin of FCM. CityJet are sponsors of the Leinster Rugby team.

  • A new deal with Travelport will give BCD Travel agents access to Travelport Smartpoint.
  • Picture by AJ Guel via Flickr, CC BY 2.0

    Picture by AJ Guel via Flickr, CC BY 2.0

    Innstant Travel added major USA sports events including NFL, NBA, NHL and Formula 1 to its selection of online tickets. Booking is a two-step process and you receive an e-ticket on completion of the confirmed booking.

  • A reminder that Emirates will host three recruitment drives around Ireland: Dublin, October 25 at Hilton Dublin Charlemont Place, Dublin 2, by invitation only; Limerick, October 30 at Limerick Strand Hotel, Ennis Rd, Limerick City, open day; and Galway, November 24, venue TBC, open day.
  • Travelport raised $480m from its IPO.
  • Tui is to shut its office at Westwood Business Park in Coventry, England by December 2015. 600 jobs are at risk.
  • This month’s free prep walk with Camino Ways starts today at 9:30am in Ticknock. Click here for more info.
  • tom_darcyTravel Extra is sorry to hear of the news of past Skål president Tom D’Arcy’s death. Our sympathy to family, friends and colleagues in the industry.


  • ITAA offers this week: 9 days on Silversea Cruises’ Silver Cloud, Funchal to Fort Lauderdale, depart Nov 22, from €2,050pp; 7 nights on Royal Caribbean’s Splendour of the Seas, Greek Isles and Turkey, departing Venice June 6 2015, from €1,599pp incl. return flights Dublin-Venice, meals, drinks and entertainment; 13 days on River Queen from Grenham Travel, Amsterdam to Basel, departing Oct 31, from €2,899pp.
  • Falcon is offering 7 nights all inclusive Dublin to Sharm El Sheikh from €594pp, depart Jan 9 2015.
  • Thomson is offering 7 nights half board Dublin to Lanzarote from €639pp, depart Dec 14.
  • Two night Shaolin Experience at Monart Destination & Spa from €299pps mid-week and €319pps weekend.
  • Stormont Hotel in Belfast is offering mini break stays throughout October and November from £65 for a single room or £85 for a double room incl. afternoon tea and breakfast.
  • Funway’s family holiday offers: 7 nights in Orlando at the Rosen Inn International from £639pp incl. return flights with United Airlines from Heathrow; 7 nights exploring Orlando by C25 Motorhome from £635pp incl. return flights with United Airlines from Heathrow and 500 miles and insurance; and 7 nights in Barbados at the Barbados Beach Club all inclusive from £1,225pp incl. return flights with Thomas Cook from Manchester.
  • Sunway’s October packages incl. flights, transfers, accommodation, 20kg baggage allowance, all taxes and resort rep services: Tunisia from €299pp, depart Oct 3, 10 and 17;  Turkey from €399pp, depart Oct 11 and 18; Morocco from €299pp, depart Oct 4 and 11; Lanzarote from €499pp, depart Oct 11 and 18; Gran Canaria from €439pp, depart Oct 11 and 18; and Fuerteventura from €439pp, depart Oct 11 and 18. Book at
  • The Dylan Hotel in Dublin is offering a seasonal harvest package for guests staying from now until Nov 30. Package includes overnight stay, Badyvine cocktails on arrival, breakfast and valet parking. Prices from €219. Contact
  • Cruisescapes launched three short December cruises on board the Fred Olsen Boudicca: 1 night taster cruise departing Dublin on Dec 16; 2 night cruise experience departing Dublin on Dec 11; 3 night short cruise departing Dublin on Dec 13. For more, call Cruisescapes on 01-2941000.
  • Falcon Holidays’ all inclusive Spashworld Resort offer: 7 nights Dublin to Kos, Atlantica Club Porto Bello, Helona Resort, from €1,901 for two adults and one child or from €2,430 for two adults and two children, depart May 23 2015.
  • Malaysia Airlines is offering flights from Heathrow to Malaysia from £489. Book before October 22 and travel on select dates in November.
  • Celtic Horizons Tours is offering a two-night luxury coach and ferry package to Motorcycle Live (Nov 28-30) in NEC Birmingham from €199pps. Call 01 629 2000 to book.
  • Discover Travel is offering 10 nights at Centara Kata Resort, Phuket from €1,014pp and 10 nights at Deevana Patong Resort, Phuket from €1,134pp.
  • Globe Hotel’s late availability offer for the Sandos San Blas Resort in San Miguel: 7 nights all inclusive deluxe twin room from €505pp, travel Nov 4.


tim-fennAccording to the latest hotel barometer from the Irish Hotels Federation, 87pc of hotels and guesthouses in Ireland have increased their business this year. 73pc of hoteliers have hired additional staff, which 83pc plan to begin refurbishment projects over next 12 months. IHF Chief Executive Tim Fenn (pictured) noted that recent tourism gains are not spread evenly across the country, particularly in rural areas. Another concern is overhanging debt in the sector, which is estimated at €5.3bn. The survey found that 43pc of hoteliers are concerned about the viability of their business over the next 12 months, down from 63pc in 2013.

  • Master Zheng pictured at MonartTwo Shaolin masters from Henan province in China, Master Zheng and Master Shixuan, returned to Enniscorthy for a three-month residence at Monart Destination Spa. The two masters will be offering intermediate Kung Fu classes and Warrior Massage treatments from now until December 14.
  • NAMA sold the Malton Hotel in Killarney to hotelier Joe Scally.
  • Demand for hotels in Jamaica on Expedia and rose by almost 20pc in the first half of 2014.
  • The Mandalay Bay Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas is threatening to fine guests $50 if they store personal items in the minibar.


Mercat ToursHalloween events in Scotland: The Scottish Paranormal Festival, Stirling, Oct 30 – Nov 2, tickets from £5; Scottish International Storytelling Festival, Scottish Storytelling Centre, Edinburgh, Oct 24 – Nov 2; Close Fest, The Real Mary King’s Close, Edinburgh, Oct 31 – Nov 9; pumpkin cupcakes and pumpkin soup at The Royal Yacht Britannia, Leith, Edinburgh, Oct 31; Halloween candle-making for kids, Loch Fyne Oyster Bar, Argyll & Bute, Oct 19 12pm-5pm, £5 per child; Helen McDoughall Deanston Tour, Deanston Distillery, Stirling, Oct 30 – Nov 2, 11am and 3pm, book on (01786) 843010, tickets £12pp; Haunted Halloween tour, Mercat Tours, Edinburgh, Oct 30 – Nov 1 from 9.30pm; Haunted Highways Tour, Mostly Ghostly, Dumfries & Galloway, Nov 1, 7pm, tickets £19.50

  • Tourism New Zealand and STA Travel announced a new adventure product, the 5X1NZ, which allows thrill seekers to skydive, snowboard, mountain bike, bungee jump and jet boat trip in one day. Watch skydiver Chuck Berry complete all five sports: Watch here.
  • US Commerce Department and Ohio Aerospace Institute will host a webinar on aerospace markets and opportunities in Europe on Oct 30 at 10am EDT (3pm Irish time).
  • came under fire on Monday after it referred to the death of a man at Chicago O’Hare airport’s car park in an email promotion. The company suggested that the man died in the car park due to the stress of travelling. The email was headed “Can on-airport parking kill?” and said “Don’t be late and end up in a crate.” The website later apologised after taking a battering on social media.
  • The Thailand government will consider eliminating tax levied on golf courses and spas.
  • Lonely Planet listed eight things you should never pack.
  • Tahiti Tourisme and Turquoise Holidays launched a new Islands of Tahiti brochure.
  • Speaking at the ABTA convention in Slovenia, VisitEngland said it has generated £517.9m additional tourism spend and created 9,620 jobs in the sector through its ongoing three-year Growing Tourism Locally project.
  • Two tourists in Maine discovered a ball python in the boot of their rental car.
  • A huge Bible museum plans to open in Washington DC in 2016. It will feature eight floors with over 400,000 sq feet of exhibit space and will include 44,000 biblical artefacts. The project was created by Steve Green, president of craft store chain Hobby Lobby. Green presented a temporary Bible exhibition in Israel last year. Construction is hoped to be begin next month.
  • London Underground plans to introduce a 24-hour service to coincide with the Rugby World Cup in September 2015.

Food & Wine

  • Gavin McDonagh’s Brioche restaurant in Ranelagh is offering a five-course set menu on Oct 2 for €45. The menu, which includes a Wild Atlantic Way plate, features cured and smoked mackerel, oyster, herring, Liscannor crab, Shanagarry smoked salmon and samphire, Thornhill duck, John Stone beef, sheep’s milk panna cotta and raspberry sorbet. Book at or call 01-497 9163.
  • The Tea Garden at Tankardstown House near Slane is offering a full afternoon tea for €30 for two (additional €10 for sparkling wine). Open 12pm-5pm Fridays-Sundays.


Michael O'Leary conducts a press conference Aug 21 2014There was lots of praise for Michael O’Leary, proud signee of a new five year contract, at Ryanair’s AGM, which was held at its new Dublin offices in Swords on Thursday. The meeting saw the airline officially raise its full year traffic forecast from 86m to 87m customers and its full year net profit guidance towards the upper end of its (previously guided) €620m to €650m range.

Spatial Composite Solutions will design 14 cabin crew training devices for Etihad’s fleet of A380 and B787 Dreamliners and will build door and cabin trainers for the airline’s fleet of A320s, A330s and B777s. These devices will be installed at Etihad’s Innovation Training Academy in Abu Dhabi.

Etihad is offering double Guest Miles across all cabins for tickets booked before Oct 6 for travel before Dec 15. The airline is also offering double tier miles for bookings made in First and Business Class. All Etihad Guest members who fly during this campaign will be entered into a draw to win 100,000 Etihad Guest Miles.

Aireon announced that it will offer a space-based air traffic surveillance system to track flights in emergency situations as a free service to the aviation industry. The system, Aircraft Locating and Emergency Response, will allow rescue agencies worldwide to request the location and last flight track of aircraft flying in airspace without surveillance.

It was difficult, but the Air France Dublin office managed to get all their passengers to their destinations during the pilots’ strike, making creative use of the KLM connections.

  • Richard Branson said that Virgin staff will be able to take as much holiday as they want in a bid to boost morale, creativity and productivity.
  • Livery 3Etihad unveiled a new livery design which will be introduced across its fleet. The new livery was premiered as the airline’s first A380 rolled-out of the paint hangar at the Airbus Finkenwerder facility in Hamburg, Germany. Etihad took its first A380 delivery Thursday and its first 787 delivery on Saturday.
  • British Airways is to cancel services to Sri Lanka, and Maldives is becoming a winter only route.
  • The Airbus A320neo’s first flight took place in Toulouse.
  • The Irish Times claimed the government is in talks to set up direct flight between Shannon and Rhode Island.
  • Indonesia ratified open skies, Philippines is expected to follow suit soon.
  • Turkish Airline‘s CEO, Temil Kotil, told ISTAT that state run airlines can’t be successful. “State aid is like a poison… it’s better to be natural. Any airline can make a profit.”
  • Air France said the pilots’ strike generated a loss of €20m per day, EBITDA guidance will be updated.
  • Michael O’Leary described the Air France strike as a “wonderful bonus” for low-cost carriers.
  • From now until October 12, any customer who books Short Term Car Parking at Dublin Airport will receive a voucher for a free Butlers tea/coffee from their delicious range, redeemable in Butlers Chocolate Café in T1 or T2.
  • The airport food firm that served up a tasty return.
  • Virgin Atlantic is to bring Wi-Fi to transatlantic flights. Virgin Australia introduced new business class seats for Airbus A330s and Boeing 777s.
  • Aercap announced a proposed private offering of $800 million aggregate principal amount of senior notes
  • Travelport signed a new 10-year agreement with Carlson WagonlitTravel to give access to its travel content inventory.
  • United Airlines plans to cut capacity on winter schedules by 6.3pc.
  • Etihad will add services to Baku, Tbilisi and Dar es Salaam in late 2015.
  • Flybe announced it will use airRM’s Revenue Management System software.
  • Lufthansa confirmed it is still in talks with Turkish Airlines over plans to develop a low-cost long haul airline. Lufthansa said it wants to roll out the new service in autumn 2015 using three A330-300s in Munich, Dusseldorf or Cologne.
  • American Airlines plans to operate nonstop flights from Dallas to Beijing starting next summer.
  • Pegasus Airlines announced a GDS and Sponsored Flights agreement with Travelport.
  • Irish Independent reported that Flybe chief executive Saad Hammad is considering further opportunities in Ireland, including taking advantage of US pre-clearance at Dublin Airport.
  • EasyJet will hold a second Fearless Flyer course in Belfast on October 11-12. Aviophobia sufferers will be mentored by motivational speaker Lawrence Leyton and a senior easyJet pilot over the two days. Places are still available for £189pp.
  • Finnair and Finnish railway operator VR are offering combined air and rail tickets between Saint Petersburg and international destinations via Helsinki. Combined tickets will be available from Finnair from Oct 1.
  • US Airways and its affiliate Piedmont Airlines are being sued by an American couple for allowing their 14-year-old daughter fly with a man who has since been charged with kidnapping.
  • CityJet introduced the Sonic Phase 5 Self Bag Tag system at London City Airport, reducing check-in time to an estimated 50 seconds.
  • Finnair operated its A330 flight from Helsinki to New York on Sept 23 using biofuel that is partly manufactured from recycled cooking oil. The flight coincided with the UN Climate Summit which took place in NY on the same day.
  • Air Food One in Cologne and Dusseldorf is offering takeaway meals based on Lufthansa’s in-flight menu.


cruisescapesCruisescapes launched three short cruises on board the Fred Olsen 4 star Boudicca, a one night “Taster” cruise departing Dublin on 16 December, a two Night “Cruise Experience” departing Dublin on December 11 and a three night “Short Cruise” departing Dublin on December 13.

seamus colemanSeamus Coleman’s Birmingham based are to extend their operation to his native Ireland. Seamus (pictured) was involved with Sunworld (1991-93), Airtour, where he b became MD of Airtours Holidays (1993-2001) and TV Travel Shop (2003-4). He has been the MD of since 2004.


TOURISM MINISTER PASCHAL DONOHOE TRAVELS TO BOSTON TO PROMOTE IRTourism Ireland and a delegation of 14 tourism companies hosted two Jump into Ireland trade and media events in Chicago and Boston. Paschal Donohue joined the group in Boston. Tourism Ireland is also sponsoring the travel showcase at this weekend’s iFest in Boston, a new Irish festival and showcase of contemporary Irish culture, entertainment and innovation. It will feature performances of Riverdance performers and music by the likes of Paddy Moloney of The Chieftains. Picture shows Paschal Donohoe and Tourism Ireland CEO Niall Gibbons with the delegation at the Jump into Ireland event in Boston.

Fáilte Ireland and Google have partnered together to present a series of online events presented from Google Dublin that demonstrate how Irish tourism businesses can grow business using their online presence. These ‘Hangout’ broadcasts will be uploaded to FailteIrelandTV YouTube channel and are free of charge. The Hangouts will take place at 10am every Monday until October 20.

Tourism Ireland’s #LoveDublin and #PictureBelfast social media competitions are hoped to target potential visitors from England this autumn.

IRELAND WELCOMES INFLUENTIAL FRENCH GROUPTourism Ireland and Irish Horizons hosted French business tourism agency Boulevard de la Stim and some of its business clients on a fact-finding mission to Ireland this week. The group’s visit included a golf lesson at the K Club, a tour of Glendalough, visits to the Guiness Storehouse and Trinity College and an evening at Shelbourne Park. Boulevard de la Stim has brought 600 corporate clients to Ireland so far this year, with a further 450 due to arrive before the end of the year. Picture shows the group at the K Club with Caroline Phelan of Tourism Ireland, the K Club’s golf tutor Michael Dixon and Christophe de Patoul of Irish Horizons.

Dublin Cityscape Luxury Sightseeing Tours was officially launched this week. The city’s first public luxury sightseeing coach tour will see eight buses serve 28 stops.Tickets are priced at €25pp for three days travel and from €50 for family tickets (two children under 16 travel free with every adult). The perks: Full climate control air-conditioning, leather seating, free Wi-Fi, onboard refreshments, and free entry to Irish Greyhound Racing events.

SHOWCASING IRELAND FOR BUSINESS TRAVELLERS IN MANCHESTERTourism Ireland was joined by 28 Irish business tourism organisations in Manchester for a Showcase Ireland business tourism promotion. The event was attended by 40 influential business tourism buyers from England and provided a B2B workshop and networking opportunities. Picture shows Kayleigh Baker, Calder Conferences; Christian Schmelter, Dromoland Castle; and Joyce McElroy, Tourism Ireland, at the event.

Imagine 1The programme for this year’s Imagine Arts Festival in Waterford City was announced on Thursday. Highlights include:  Music from Tim Eriksen, The Lost Brothers, Lee Ranaldo (Sonic Youth), The Black Dyke Band, Dylan Tighe, Mick Flannery and the John Dywer Trad Weekend; appearances by Michael Harding, John MacKenna, Michael Smith, Colm Keegan and Mark Graham; visual art by Gerald Scarfe, Paul Bolger, Kate Gauding and a Patrick Morrison Retrospective Exhibition; and the premier of Mark Power’s documentary, Ballybricken, on Oct 19. Imagine Arts Festival takes place Oct 16-26.

Bord Gais Energy Theatre was sold to John and Bernie Gallagher of Jurys Doyle for €28m.

Minister for Justice Frances Fitzgerald said the Irish and British governments will agree formally a joint Irish-British visa scheme next week.

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

Travel Extra’s Sunday Supplement: At last, is this the end to the blue queue at Dublin airport?



Ben Bouldin speaking at the launch of Royal Caribbean’s reward cards for agents.

The headlines this week:

*People who remove socks in mid-flight & other terrorists 

*24-hour self-service passport machines by year-end at DUB

*Royal Caribbean launches loyalty programme for agents

*J1 veterans invited to RDS

*Youth travel convention in Dublin

*Christoph predicts an air fare bloodbath in 2015

*Travel Extra takes the helm in Ahakista

Travel Extra TV

thank-you-emiratesOur video of the week shows the Drakensberg Boys’ Choir singing Emirates’ praises on-board an A380 flight from Dubai to Zurich. For those in need of a short ‘n’ sweet pick-me-up this Sunday morning, watch here.

  • Discover Ireland uploaded a video of ‘Location, Location, Location’ presenter Phil Spencer telling punters why they should take a vacation, vacation, vacation along the Wild Atlantic Way. Watch here.
  • Cork Airport uploaded a video of Head of Communications Kevin Cullinane, Head of Aviation Marketing Anita Gackowska and Managing Director Niall MacCarthy commending the airport’s latest Red C passenger survey results. Watch here.
  • Mike Welsh captured footage from inside a JetBlue aircraft that was forced to make an emergency landing after its right engine failed. The Austin-bound flight was forced to return to Long Beach CA (where Wrong Way Corrigan started his famous flight to Dublin) after smoke began filling the cabin (watch here). Thankfully, the captain made a successful landing and only four of the 142 passengers received minor injuries. None of the five cabin crew were injured (watch here).
  • Footage of James Heptonstall racing the London Tube received plenty of social media attention this week. The video, which was originally uploaded on Aug 12, reached number two in The English Guardian’s Viral Video Chart. The video shows James sprinting from Mansion House to Cannon Street before the Tube reaches the stop. Watch here.
  • Oceanographer Robert Ballard released footage of the rare siphonophore, captured while exploring the ocean floor in the Caribbean Sea. Watch here. Dr Ballard is known for discovering the remains of the Titanic in 1985 and the Bismarck in 1989.


immigration_5225Self-service passport machines at Dublin airport will be operating 24 hours by the end of the year, according to Noel Waters of the Irish Immigration Service (listen here) and will be open from 7am until midnight from November 1. It is a year since they were first announced with great aplomb, before everyone realised the Gardai who were manning the immigration booths were extremely unhappy at the prospect of being replaced by a machine.

self service_5196The Gardai are not allowed to strike but they did something much more painful, an unannounced, unofficial go-slow, which sent Ireland’s famously expedient immigration queues out to the levels we sometimes encounter in other countries, an hour or an hour and a half in cases. Remember the blue flu (as in 1998 reported here)? We had the blue queue at Dublin airport when the project to move immigration duty from the Gardai was first announced, and the lunch allowance adversely affected by a transfer of headquarter location from the airport to Burgh Quay.

Minister for Justice Frances Fitzgerald was there to announce the project called by those who respect bureaucracy more than the English language, civilianisation. Frances Fitzgerald said that the Department of Justice’s safety concerns were satisfied in advance of the changeover (listen here). DAA CEO Kevin Toland said DAA’s role in the service is ensuring passengers should have the right information (listen here).self service_5188

While only 5pc of airport users are scanning themselves until now, the target is that 30pc of them will eventually do so (listen here). Recruitment of immigration staff will begin immediately and the first will be on duty by year-end (listen here). It is expected that both staff and technology will be implementing iris scanning by the end of next year (listen here) when the machines will eventually operate for 24 hours, to cover the redeye Baltic flights that arrive in the early hours of the morning. The passport machines work on a facial recognition basis: the picture is compared to that on the passport and as soon as it has been checked, the picture is discarded (listen here). When Travel Extra tried it for the first time last week, it worked.

ben-eoghanBen Bouldin of Royal Caribbean (pictured with Travel Extra‘s Eoghan Corry) launched a trade loyalty programme for agents, a prepaid card which it says offers agents a simple, fast and flexible way to earn rewards for bookings. Royal are targetting 10,000 frontline agents (listen here) who can qualify by becoming a captain under the revised training scheme and make four bookings (listen here) with two bookings back to back counting as two bookings (listen here), and who register (listen here) on (or The prepaid card they will get was established in partnership with Mastercard (listen here). Ben Bouldin lauded the simplicity of the scheme with £5 for every booking (listen here) which translates into euro for Irish agents (listen here). He wants Ireland to be 15pc of the regional business, up from 12pc (listen here). He said an excessive budget would mean sales targets would have been exceeded (listen here).

Vicky Billing Amy Newman copyPicture shows Vicky Billing and Amy Newman of Royal Caribbean at the launch event. Once registered, agents will immediately receive a €24/£20 balance on their card as a ‘thank you’ for joining and earn €6/£5 for every booking, loaded directly onto the prepaid card, for immediate use. Ben Bouldin said he looked at the different incentive schemes that were in place and sought to replace them with a single simple scheme. Royal aims to have 10,000 agents signed up to the programme by the end of the year. Additional membership benefits include access to Gourmet Membership and Red Letter Days, as well as bonuses for bookings and a number of exclusive Loyalty Events for members, including a sailing onboard Quantum of the Seas with their partners; a first class trip to Paris. Already 2,500 agents have signed up for the scheme in two weeks., See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.

IMG_5630 copyBen Bouldin quoted Adam Morgan at the launch: “We have marketed ourselves as a safe challenger brand for a while and what we have to do is really put ourselves out there. We are probably the best funded challenger brand in the world (listen here) and we have got to take consumers on a journey and show them that we are so much more than what we were in the past (listen here).” Is he going to be number one? “I’d love to, I think that’s a journey.”

He said: we were spending £600,000 and couldn’t quantify the return (listen here), previous promotions had no “clearly defined endgame” (listen here), even the administration time they took indicated the need for a simpler scheme (listen here) and spot prizes did not enable the cruise company to reward the right people (listen here). Doing 60 or 70 things and spending half a million pounds on them with no clearly, really defined endgame as to what we were going to get out of them was not good either for us or for the agents.  He said agencies can choose to opt out of the scheme (listen here) but he felt he said there was enough in the deal to make something for owner managers (listen here). Feedback from agencies was: don’t have a silly amount of reward (listen here).IMG_5594

He said Royal Caribbean was going to become the biggest brand for consumers to engage in (listen here). Sales for Anthem of the Seas have gone through the roof (listen here) after the publicity associated with recent shipyard visit to Papenburg. The cruise line’s forthcoming capacity increase is the equivalent of the entire capacity of the Celebrity brand (listen here) and filing this would require Royal to act like a global brand and go after new to cruise (listen here). He said they needed to change the way they do things (listen here), change as a business (listen here), about the journey over next three years (listen here), going after land based all inclusive holidays and they have plenty of tools to do it (listen here). He talked about the heavyweight programme planned for next few month (listen here), rewarding agents in a realistic way (listen here), access to benefits and flexibility (listen here), how ten cabins on Quantum were reserved for top performing front line agents (listen here), about putting 1,000 agents on Anthem (listen here) an aspirational trip to Paris as a reward for agents (listen here) and sending agents on what he called Nicki Lewis’ bucket list (listen here). He said this was about leveraging not about money (listen here) as Royal wants to be bigger than we are today (listen here). The cruising for excellence training programme was being updated (listen here).

1ciara foley clodagh oxley_2431Sometime somebody (a Fulbright scholar?) will assess the impact on Irish life of the American J1 visa: the social and emotional impact may have been greater than the economic impact or what they call nowadays networking (but used to be called a pint and a chat). Since the Fulbright–Hays Act of 1961 enabled the first groups of teenagers to encounter a more libertarian and youth-centric culture of the USA it has informed three generations of Irish business leaders, legislators and ordinary people who found their first love in the extraordinary tapestry of landscapes, peoples and cultures that is the USA. The US embassy in Dublin issued 7,000 J1 visas this summer (there were 11,000 issued to Irish citizens last year, including those domiciled abroad and the year long  J1), and 150,000 have been issued since its inception. The American Embassy in Dublin is hosting an event in the RDS on Thursday night to commemorate the experience– register here. It is directed at J1 veterans who can learn about building on the skills, interests and connections they made in the US. Travel stands at the event include Visit USA, Fly Drive USA (Platinum), American Holidays, Hertz, The Travel Corporation and Celtic Horizons. Travel Extra’s Eoghan Corry will be among the speakers at the workshops. Picture shows Ciara Foley and Clodagh Oxley of the Dublin Visit USA committee who will be at the event. 10.30am Registration, 11am Opening Remarks and Panel Discussion, 12.30pm American Inspired Food Market, 2pm Workshop I: US Visas, US Study Opportunities, and Networking, 3pm Workshop II: US Visas, Travel Trends, and Study in the USA, 4pm Workshop III: Setting Up Business in the USA, US Visas, and Personal, 5pm J1 Homecoming Celebration with Derek Ryan and Band, 8pm Event ends

david chapman 150Is the $182bn youth travel market going to overtake business travel in terms of revenue? That is one of the issues to be discussed at the World Youth and Student Travel Conference in Dublin this week (programme here) and the Global World Youth Tourism Awards in the Round Room at the Mansion House. David Chapman (pictured) of the World Youth Student and Education Travel Federation will be welcoming delegates from 60 countries. Key participants at the three-day event will include Filip Filipov, the head of B2B at Skyscanner, Robin Lerner, Deputy Assistant US Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, Carlos Vogeler, Regional Director for the Americas at the UNWTO, Ranulph Fiennes, explorer, and South African Deputy Minister of Tourism Tokozile Xasa. Two new candidates are standing for election to the WYSE council at the AGM in Dublin on Tuesday: Jason Merrithew and Dieter Raith.

tour americaTour America announced details of their 14th Annual Sale Day at Red Cow Moran Hotel to take place on Sunday, October 5. The 35 exhibitors include key tourist boards NYC, Orlando and Philadelphia, cruise companies such as Royal Caribbean and hotels such as Fitzpatrick Hotels in NYC and key guest speakers to keep you up to date with all that is travel, and to provide you with additional information on all the destinations available to book in the USA. Doors open 10am-6pm and admission is free. Picture shows Niamh Doherty, Mary McKenna, Ross Waters, Linda Ryan, Alice Carrick and Saruna Zerauskaite of Tour America.

conor-ellie-edenTravel Extra’s visit to Ireland’s EDEN concluded on Monday with a visit to Bantry & Sheep’s Head. Conor McMahon and Ellie McMahon (no relation) started day four of the trip to three EDEN award winning sites with a walk along the lush Sheep’s Head pathway with local guide Seán Coughlan. The ground was loose in parts, but thanks to Seán’s efforts, the safest routes are clearly marked out. Visitors should bring a stick just in case, as some parts are quite marshy. A venture out on to the cliff-side near the lighthouse is a must. Afterwards we had lunch in The Old Creamery, which opened in Kilcrohane during the summer. The salmon and brown bread was incredible, and the taste was only enhanced by the sunshine out on the decking in the treetops. The final activity of the weekend was a half-day sailing in Dunmanus Bay with Chris Forker of Carbery Sailing– perhaps the highlight of the whole trip. We paid a visit to master stone carver Victor Daly (who runs one- and two-day workshops in his cottage in Ahakista) before having fish and chips in Arundels and watching the sun set. Pure magic. Picture shows Conor McMahon and Ellie McMahon on board Carbery Sailing’s HR46 yacht, Merlin.

Travel Trade

turkish-meath-eventTurkish Airlines hosted the trade for their burgeoning world cup event at Killeen Castle golf club in Co Meath this week, where Dave Conlan of Travelport and Shane Taggart won the prizes of a place in Belek at the finals. Picture shows Onur Gul, Ann Marie Dalton and Adnan Cetinkaya at the Turkish Airlines golf event in Killeen Castle. See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.

travel-counsellors-newrecruitsPicture shows new recruits Sonia Blakeman, Cara Hunter and Lisa Brennan who have joined the Travel Counsellors team in Ireland, bringing the total to 60 with a further 25 in the north. Sonia worked at Shandon Travel for 14 years. Cara previously worked in Travelcare in Bray for 12 years. Lisa worked in Carlow and was referred to Travel Counsellors by one of the company’s current agents. They are pictured participating in the ‘Return to Travel’ programme at the company’s Irish head office in Cork. Travel Counsellors Ireland General Manager, Cathy Burke said: “We will continue to focus on recruiting the very best agents in the industry and providing them with the tools to succeed, and I look forward to welcoming more travel professionals very soon to our growing team here in Ireland.”

Group with surf school instructors copyWorld Travel Centre, in partnership with British Airways and the Santa Monica Convention & Visitors Bureau hosted a group of agents from across Ireland on a fam trip to Santa Monica, California. The group sampled the 38-inch pitch Club World (Premium Economy) cabin on board the new British Airways A380, Santa Monica beaches with butler service, hotels, shopping and Beverly Hills and Hollywood sights. Brendan Mallon, Sales Development Executive for WTC said “The agents were impressed with Santa Monica. A great spot for visitors from Ireland with a lot to offer travellers from our area. British Airways A380 is a fantastic, quiet and efficient aircraft with the usual high standard of service from the airline.” Picture shows Claire Picknell of Mahlatini Travel, Nicola Quigley of O’Hanrahan Travel, Eliza Geraghty of 1Stop Travel, Bernie Grace of Roscrea Travel with instructors from Aqua Surf School.

See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.

Martin Penrose of Ifonly and Jane Masterson of Emirates led an agents fam trip in India, and were joined by Martin Skelly, President of the Irish Travel Agents Association. The trip will take in one night in Delhi, two in Jaipur, two in Agra and another night in Delhi.

stephen-mary-mckennaAmadeus will host the trade next Thursday, Sept 25, in Con Horgan’s Castlerosse Hotel in Killarney, where the current Travel Industry Golf Society captain Volker Lorenz will be host. The champion cousins Mary and Stephen McKenna (pictured) will be defending their titles at one of the best supported travel events on the calendar.

Topflight’s new ski brochure was released to the trade this week. It will be officially launched on September 23. Tony Collins’ company anticipates growth of 20pc this winter after a previous season that was up 25pc on 2013, and a very high satisfaction rating: 98pc of Topflight clients said they would travel with Topflight again. Highlights include the Topflight Chalet Collection and tailormade holidays to The USA and Canada from €749pps.

msc-brochure-winnersMSC picked two winners for its brochure competition. Rebecca Kelly of MSC says: “Agents had to send in a pic with the new brochure and we had a very hard time choosing winners so we chose two, Tour America and Navan Travel.”

Juan Cullen (pictured) will be joining The Atlas Travel Group’s digital division, Travel Management Solutions, on a consultancy basis after Atlas acquired Supersun brands such as,, Travel and juan-cullenStephen McKenna of Atlas said: “Juan Cullen’s leadership in digital marketing and online brand development was instrumental in this partnership being developed. Through combining their respective strengths and resources, both parties believe there is great potential for future growth. Our Leisure portfolio of brands has grown to reflect the growth in niche brand and specialised products in specialist areas and this acquisition adds to our existing online brands, Nuevo Mundo and Cuba Travel.”

antonio padeiraTurismo de Portugal officially confirmed the appointment of António Soveral Padeira (pictured) as director of the Portuguese National Tourist Office in Ireland and Britain. Padeira has a wealth of experience working within the travel industry, having spent seven years as general marketing manager at Turismo de Portugal in Lisbon. In this position he was responsible for marketing strategy across 22 global offices.

Thomas Cook unveiled their premium long haul, transatlantic service from markets in which the tour operator still sells including Belfast to destinations including New York, Miami, Las Vegas. The travel firm will then launch brand new economy and premium offerings in May 2015. Thomas Cook Airlines England CEO Christoph Debus said: “As more and more customers book flight-only seats, it’s also important that we compete with scheduled airlines on these routes, combining great value and great service to provide outstanding value for money for the savvy long haul traveller.” The new premium service will begin in May 2015.

  • Sandra Finnegan from Globe Travel won British Airways’ bonus prize in the T5 competition to win six tickets to see One Republic at the 3Arena. The original competition runs until Sept 23. See here for more.
  • Falcon is offering 7 nights all inclusive from Dublin to Sharm El Sheikh from €220pp, depart Jan 16.
  • Thomson is offering 7 nights half board from Dublin to Lanzarote from €839pp, depart December 7.
  • Travel Department’s city break offers: 4 nights B&B in Istanbul from €599pps, depart Sept 25, Oct 16 or Nov 13; 4 nights B&B in Porto from €299pps, depart Sept 23; 3 nights B&B in Santiago de Compostela from €299pps, depart Sept 27.
  • Sunway is offering 7-night trips from Dublin to Morocco from €519 incl. flights, transfers, accommodation, checked baggage and resort rep services. Depart December 20. Sunway is also offering 7-night family trips to Turkey from €1,657 for two adults and one child, depart October 25, and 7-night trips to Tunisian from €399pp, depart October 24.
  • The Commission for Aviation Regulation issued a new licence to Virgin Holidays.
  • IT specialists for the travel industry, AG is to move its payment systems to Brian Staunton’s eNett Virtual Account Numbers to provide secure supplier payments for online travel agencies.
  • Do Something Different is plugging five family attractions ahead of the mid-term break in October: The London Pass, from £47 adults/£31 children; speedboat ride down London’s Thames, from £41 adults/£21 children; 4-days for the price of 3 to Disneyland Park and Walt Disney Studios, £138 adults/£127 children; 3-Park ticket to Seaworld, Aquatica and Busch Gardens for £87 for adults/£82 children; and Halloween Horror Nights Frequent Fear Pass at Universal Studios for £59 (age 13+).
  • ITAA’s Halloween and mid-term offers this week: Alton Towers Scarefest from €89pp, depart Oct 25; Peppa Pig World, Southampton, 2 nights B&B from €999 per family; and Haven Holiday Parks in Presthaven Sands, Wales, 4 nights from €299 per family, depart Oct 27.


  • Fethard native Jack Halley, proprietor of the Robot Pub in Chelmsford in London, bought Hayes’s Hotel in Thurles. The billiards room was where the GAA was founded on November 1, 1884 by Michael Cusack and Maurice Davin.
  • Harvey’s Point Hotel won their third Best One Day Carvery in Ireland award in succession at the Great Irish Carvery Awards from a vote by members of the public and adjudication by a team organised by sponsors Unilever Food Systems.
  • Microsoft Word - Irish hotel prices table sept 2014.rtfTrivago’s September price index showed the usual suspects at the top (Venice €275, Geneva €265, London €219, Paris €215) and the bottom (Sofia & Zaragoza €60, Warsaw €75, Bucharest €76, Venice €83, Riga €86), but some very high climbers, predictably Munich (up 74pc to €231) in the run up to Oktoberfest, but also Madrid (up 74pc to €127). Within Ireland prices in Limerick rose 6pc to an average of €88, Dublin up 1pc to €132, Donegal up 1pc to €177. Sligo was down 26pc to €101, while large drops were also seen in Galway (down 23pc to €112), Kinsale (down 23pc to €117) and Athlone (down 20pc to €84).
  • Airbnb are to start collecting room tax in San Francisco with a 14pc transient occupancy tax remitted from October. Legal battles continue with several other US cities, after settlements were concluded with Portland and San Francisco.
  • Two hospitality brands have joined forces as Madrid-based NH Hotel Group selected Preferred Hotel Group as its exclusive partner for the launch of NH Collection, a brand of 14 hotels and resorts in Argentina, Italy, Mexico and Spain.
  • Dusit International group opened a new property named DusitD2 in Nairobi.
  • Thailand’s second OZO property has landed in the bustling seaside town of Pattaya.
  • Everglades Hotel in Derry is offering overnight stays from £50pps. Offer includes afternoon tea, a cocktail and breakfast. Book here.


Cambodia’s Minister of Tourism Thong Khon opened the PATA Travel Mart 2014 in Phnom Penh, with 1,000 delegates from 60 countries, who were hosted at an excellent late night party at NagaWorld Hotel and concluded with two intensive seller buyer sessions.

The three-day UNWTO pilgrim tourism congress opened in Santiago de Compostela. One of the best contributions came from Ahmed Hassen of the, Institute of Ethiopian Studies, University of Addis Ababa on Traditional Ethiopian pilgrimages. Participants included Fr James Gardiner of the Franciscan Monastery of the Holy Land in Washington and John King of Uluru Kata Tjuta National Park. The conference (programme here) concluded with a trip to Finisterre.

Thailand moved quickly to reassure visitors after a grisly double murder on Koh Tao Island. Travel Extra’s Eoghan Corry said Thailand remained a safe destination (read here) and a favourite with Irish visitors, with 63,000 in 2013 making it our second most popular long haul destination after Australia (and no, USA is not considered long haul). He argues that Thailand will not allow its €31bn tourist industry be threatened by the incident.

Newcastle safe taxi DSC3145LA Taxis in Newcastle, England launched an app to keep female passengers safe. The app allows passengers to send photos of their drivers to tablets/mobile phones upon dispatch of the taxi, pinpoints the customer’s geographic position and records phone calls made with the driver.

  • Tourists stranded in Mexico following a hurricane will be evacuated over the weekend as hotels assess the damage and announce closures.
  • The introduction of the new regulations for children travelling to/from South Africa has been postponed until June 2015.
  • Israel is to aid its tourism industry hit hard by the Gaza crisis with subsidised special deals and funded promotional trips.
  • Last week’s Global Spa & Wellness Summit in Marrakesh, heard that the spa industry grew 58pc between 2007 and 2013: from $60bn to $94bn, with a 47pc growth in spa locations, to reach 105,591 spas.
  • Spain will host the inaugural Halal Tourism Conference 2014, which is being held in Andalucia on Monday September 22
  • Mürren Kandahar Snowsport Festival (MKSF), launches Monday December 15 in the car-free Swiss village of Mürren, cradle of Alpine ski racing.
  • Operators were warned of a logistical headache in advance of a €13/30 dinar Tunisian departure tax to be introduced on October 1.
  • Top Connect offered a new product it says will cut Latin American roaming charges.
  • A new-generation guide on the Masaai Mara, the Official Guide to the Masaai Mara: Mara Triangle, has been created by David and Rosemary Watson.
  • Car Trawler released a video featuring staff as part of a new recruitment campaign: We’re People, not Robots (watch here).
  • The 9/11 Museum in New York welcomed its one millionth visitor, four months after opening.
  • Following The Ryder Cup on Sept 26-28, Scotland will host a number of events as part of The Homecoming in October: Deep Roots, Dean Castle, Glasgow & The Clyde Valley, Oct 1 to Dec 31; Shetland Wool Week, Oct 7-13; the Creative Mackintosh Festival, Oct 11-26; Race the Castles Orienteering, Oct 11-19; Perthshire Amber, Oct 24 to Nov 2; and An Féis Mór, Oct 24-26.
  • Boris Johnson announced that London’s New Year’s Eve fireworks display will be ticketed for the first time. Tickets will cost £10.
  • SeaWorld has been hit by a shareholder lawsuit accusing the company of misleading investors about the impact of last year’s Blackfish documentary.

Food & Wine

  • The Ambassador of Spain and President of Bodegas Emilio Moro and Cepa 21 (Ribera del Duero DO) José Moro hosted a Wines from Spain tasting, taking guests through seven of the best Spanish wines, personally selected by him for this occasion and including two of his most emblematic wines. There is an increasing passion for Spanish Wine in Ireland. This is reflected in the rising presence of Spanish wines not only in restaurants and retail outlets but also in the media, where top Irish wines critics have praised the complexity, quality and innovation of Spanish wine regions.
  • Seafood in September on the Loop Head Peninsula concludes today. Today’s events: the Artisan Food and Craft Fair in Carrigaholt, 10am-4pm, a seaweed cooking demonstration and talks from 11am-4pm and John & Sally McKenna will be signing copies of ‘Where to eat and stay on the Wild Atlantic Way’.
  • Watford-based pub chain JD Wetherspoon will spend around €100m developing its network of pubs in Ireland to about 30 outlets. The company just completed its Blackrock outlet and has bought three pubs in Dublin, two in Cork and is looking at sites in Galway.
  • The National Organic Food Fair takes place in Marlay Park today from 10:30am to 4:30pc. Admission is free. Highlights include cookery demos by Clodagh McKenna at 12:30pm and 2pm. See
  • Irish Independent reported that wine importers have blamed increases in excise duty for the 8pc drop in the number of cases sold in Ireland in 2013.


pashal_donohueThere were fears of a return to the dark days of Irish aviation when the Minister Paschal Donohue (pictured) stepped in to overrule the Commission of Aviation Regulation. Ryanair pondered the relevance of a commissioner who could be overruled by the politicians, and called for the office to be abolished. Minister Paschal Donohue directed acting Commissioner John Spicer to increase airport charges at Dublin, against the CAR’s stated intention to reduce the charges by 22pc over a five year period to 2019.  Aer Lingus also called for an end to political interference. The final decision on charges is not due until next month (see submissions here).

Aer Lingus’s presentation to share analysts in London (see here) revealed the transatlantic ambitions (average 6.42pc capacity growth 2010-2018), short-haul development opportuntiies and plans for a new loyalty programme. The revised long haul fleet additions were: 8th A330 added, 2016: 4th B757, 2017: no change 2018: 3 A350 in, 2 A330 out, 2019: 3 A350 in, 3 A330 out, 5th long-haul narrow-body in; 2020: 3 A350 in (total 9), 3 A330 out, all plus possible seasonal leases.  There was no reference to A330neo. The airline is projecting that 11pc of capacity will be allocated to Transatlantic routes, 65pc to European cities and 24pc to sun routes. Revenue since 2011 is up 24pc on Trans-Atlantic, 18pc on European cities and 46pc on sun routes.  The target for ancilliary revenue is €23 per passenger.

The airport executives and 250 airline executives and ministers of the world head for Chicago to attend next week’s World Routes conference. Tim Clark of Emirates and Scott Kirby of American Airlines will speak at the strategy summit; attended by 40 of top 50 global carriers.

christoph muellerMost of the aviation headlines this week came from the 11th annual World Low Cost Airlines Congress attended by 700 delegates at the Business Design Centre in London. If Michael O’Leary provided the meat for last year’s event, Christoph Mueller (pictured with moderator Guy Johnson of Bloomberg), emerging as the new darling of the aviation conference circuit, was this year‘s star performer providing the standout moment and many of the best quotes when he said that 500 short haul aircraft in Europe are flying at a loss and predicted a blood bath in Europe’s airline industry in 2015, with heavily discounted fares. You need an indefinite number of product combinations to cover all ground. Low cost airlines are the only way to stay in the industry, elastic product offering will drive highest revenue. Aer Lingus revenue Officer, the man who won back the revenue lost by the spring strikes at the airline, Mike Rutter said that Aer Lingus will make some “fairly large” announcements on customer service and loyalty soon: The strategy is to be able to present the right retail offer at the right time, right place, on the right device. Bjorn Kjos of Norwegian said the deciding factor of the airline’s long-haul expansion was the introduction of the 787-8 in 2011. He said he believes Norwegian will get US DOT approval of its Irish operation after the US Congress elections in November.

Orbis Plane Pull SNN 11Orbis Ireland hosted its annual Plane Pull for Sight fundraiser at Shannon Airport. 150 participants competed in teams of 25 to record the fastest time to pull an 85 tonne Kenyan Airways Boeing 767 over a distance of 12 feet. All funds raised at the event will go directly towards Orbis’ sight-saving programmes in Southern Ethiopia. The event was supported by GECAS and Shannon Aerospace.

Michael O’Leary told Irish Mirror entertainment writer James Ward that he sees Ryanair opening a trans-Atlantic service within ten years. He said the flights would not operate from Dublin, but from a number of other major European cities to routes across the US. We’ve had a business plan ready to roll for a transatlantic, low-fares airline: “The difficulty is, I keep cautioning, is that there’s no availability of long-haul aircraft for another four or five years. So unless we can secure a fleet of low-cost aircraft, frankly, the business doesn’t get off the ground. The future is very hard to foretell, it certainly is unlikely to happen within the next five years, but I’d be disappointed if it doesn’t happen within the period, maybe, five to 10 years.”

flight experience expoA surprise from Air Passenger Experience Association conference in Anaheim who were told that 70pc of passengers are satisfied with airline food. CEO of American Airlines Doug Parker told the Future of Flight Aviation Policy Summit in Washington (watch here): Our industry is transformed, but how our government treats us has not. We can do better.

Westjet, who fly daily from Dublin to St John’s and on to Toronto, became the first airline to charge far carry-on bags on our side of the Atlantic. Spirit airlines are already during that. Travel Extra flew with Spirit in April, and noticed the carry on charge greatly reduced the number of bags in the overhead rack, an idea Michael O’Leary, thankfully, did not have before his decision to be nice to people. Ryanair sources say they were within weeks of introducing a similar policy.

Clodagh mCkenna and Aer Lingus Chief Revenue Officer Mike RutterPicture shows chef and restaurateur Clodagh McKenna and Mike Rutter of Aer Lingus launching a new range of gourmet pre-order meals available on Aer Lingus transatlantic flights under the Bia brand from Oct 1.

Research by said airline passengers object most to being seated separately to fellow travellers (73pc) followed by passengers reclining their seats (66pc), crying children (64pc), not enough leg room (48pc), and poor customer service from the flight attendants (29pc). The website uncovered dozens of mid-air miscreants, with in-flight sock removal among the worst crimes.

Etihad Airways Hosts Airline for IATA World Financial Symposium - PHOTOThe 700 delegates attending the International Air Transport Association’s inaugural World Financial Symposium in Jumeirah Etihad Towers conference centre in Abu Dhabi were addressed by Etihad’s CEO and President James Hogan (pictured) on behalf of the event sponsors.

Safarilink launched direct flights from Nairobi to Lodwar in Northern Kenya, opening up access to Lake Turkana (Cradle of Mankind) and Sibiloi National Park.

The Dublin Aviation Institute at Dublin Airport was launched by DCU and DAA International. The new facility will offer professional training programmes, undergraduate and postgraduate degrees and research opportunities.

There are few surprises in the Expedia 2014 Low Cost Carrier Index: 71pc of the 1,500 respondents from Britain, France, Germany, Ireland and Spain have flown on a low cost carrier in the past two years (99pc of those from Ireland). 36pc of respondents cited “saving money” as their main desire when flying low cost (the clue is in the name), outranking airport locations (24pc) and flight times (16pc). 65pc were willing to sacrifice in-flight entertainment in order to get a cheaper ticket. Pillows and blankets were next in the line of fire (63pc), followed by snacks and beverages (51pc), ability to choose seats (45pc), free checked luggage (17pc), legroom (16pc), bathroom privileges (14pc) and finally carry-on luggage (12pc). 45pc would consider an LCC for a flight time of up to three hours, 23pc for up to five hours. 3pc would fly with an LCC for up to eight hours and 1pc would fly up to 12 hours. 81pc expect “much or somewhat better” customer service from traditional carriers compared to an LCC. 77pc are willing to accept worse customer service in exchange for a cheaper seat – the Irish were least happy with that trade-off (65pc compared to Spain’s 82pc).

Etihad Airways - Celebrates social media success PhotoEtihad launched the #OneMillionMoments social media promotion to celebrate its one-millionth Facebook like. Punters are asked to share photos from their experience with Etihad on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram for the chance to win two tickets on any of the airline’s routes. The competition is open until September 30. Picture shows Etihad Airways’ Head of Social Media Elizabeth Selby and Senior Manager Social Media, Marvin Burton receiving the Best Emerging Airline on Social Media Award from SimpliFlying’s CEO Shashank Nigam at the SimpliFlying Social Media Awards.

  • Air France had to cancel 60pc of their flights as a damaging six-day pilots’ strike played havoc with their network connections. The flight has been extended for another three days.
  • South African Airways becomes the first carrier in Africa to sign up for Travelport’s Rich Content and Branding, designed to faciliate ancillaries.Ryanair signed a flight data partnership with Navtech to provide aeronautical charts and flight management system data for use onboard its fleet of 300 Boeing 737-800s.
  • Robin Hayes is to become JetBlue CEO when Dave Barger steps down in February.Emirates is to buy some 777X to replace 777-300ERs that haven’t been delivered yet.
  • Air Canada is to introduce bag fees for economy Tango fares on domestic flights.

Flybe is to cancel an order for 20 Embraer 175s in favour of leasing Q400s from Republic Airways.

  • British Airways will resume direct flights to Kuala Lumpur from London from May 27, 2015.
  • Ryanair said it was selling 4,000 ‘business plus’ bundles a day.
  • Germanwings fares and ancillaries are available to Amadeus subscribers as of Tuesday, September 23.
  • Christoph Mueller said Dublin’s share of the transatlantic air market can grow from 2.2pc to 5pc, speaking at the Low Cost Airline Conference in London.
  • Kenny Jacobs said that if Ryanair loses its bid for Cyprus Airways it will apply for its own Cypriot AOC. He also said the airline may add tech start-ups and retail businesses as acquisition targets as the airline seeks to develop its online presence and increase ancillary sales.
  • Kevin Toland told DAA staff if they refuse the proposal that they could lose cash and pension benefits worth up to €200m.
  • Butlers are offering a free coffee promotion with every short term car park booking with DAA.
  • Members of the Airport Council International Airport Excellence programme are to visit Cork Airport.
  • KLM said more than 50pc of passengers prefer smart boarding to normal boarding.
  • Lufthansa’s regional carrier Eurowings will take delivery of 10 Airbus A320 jetliners in 2016 and 2017.
  • etihad-butlersThe first Etihad Airways butlers (pictured) departed for Savoy Academy training.
  • Jet Airways India will start offering full service and complimentary meal service on all flights.
  • Vitaly Saveliev CEO of Aeroflot Dobrolet, forced to suspend operations due to the sanctions imposed by the European Union, would restart flights at the end of October under the name Dobrolet Plus.
  • Heathrow Express extended its partnership with Avios to include Iberia Plus.
  • A former air stewardess got a suspended sentence after kicking BA crew while flying from New York to London on honeymoon.
  • An Italian court ruled on the legality of airline luggage fees with carriers being told they can’t charge for some bags.
  • Safarilink launched direct flights from Nairobi to Lodwar in Northern Kenya, opening up access to Lake Turkana (Cradle of Mankind) and Sibiloi National Park.
  • British Airways’ North American seat sale on all cabins ends this Tuesday, Sept 23.
  • EasyJet launched its £8.5m ‘Business Sense’ campaign aimed at business flyers. The TV ad features the voice of Blackadder and House star Hugh Laurie. Watch here.
  • Travelport announced that South African Airways signed up for its rich content and branding service.
  • KLM flight KL-765 en route from Bonaire island to Amsterdam was forced to make an emergency landing in Shannon after the aircraft experienced a problem with its left engine.


  • norwegian-cruiseNorwegian Cruise Line celebrated the keel laying of Norwegian Escape in Papenburg, Germany. The ship, which will be able to carry 4,200 passengers is set for delivery in October 2015. Picture shows MEYER WERFT Project Manager Stefan Schmees, Norwegian Cruise Line CEO Kevin Sheehan, Norwegian Cruise Line Senior Vice President of New Build Christer Karlsson and MEYER WERFT Managing Partner Bernard Meyer.
  • ovation-of-seasRoyal Caribbean’s third anthem-class chip will be named Ovation of the Seas: picture shows Ovation being laid at the Meyer Werft shipyard in Papenburg, Germany, where all three Quantum class ships are under construction although Quantum will leave for sea trials next month. Royal Caribbean also have two Oasis class ships on order.
  • Holland America line named its new 2016 Pinnacle class ship MS Koningsdam reflecting a regal new design and rich Dutch history in the name of new class of the ship. The 2,650-passenger ship is being built at Italian shipbuilder Fincantieri’s Marghera shipyard.
  • Mike Bonner, regional GM of Silversea hosted a ship visit for agents in Dublin to promote its 2016 Voyage Collection that covers 845 destinations (including 107 new ports) on 272 voyages across seven continents.
  • Hapag-Lloyd Cruises’ Hanseatic became the first non-Russian cruise ship to navigate the Northeast Passage successfully, 6,032 nautical miles between the Russian Far East and the finishing point in Bodö/Norway.
  • Sunway is offering 5-day Northern Lights cruises on Hurtigruten’s MS Finnmarken from €969pp, incl. flights from Dublin, all taxes & transfers, 3 nights B&B & dinner onboard and 1 night Hotel B&B.
  • Ocean Endeavour offers no single supplement to single travellers.


IRELAND SAYS ‘BONJOUR’ AT LOISIR EXPO IN PARISTourism Ireland was joined by Flavour of Tyrone and Manor House & Irish Country Hotels at the three-day Loisir Expo trade fair in Paris this week. Picture shows Caroline Phelan of Tourism Ireland, Mary Noone of Manor House & Irish Country Hotels, and Gemma Conway of Flavour of Tyrone.

Upcoming culture events supported by NITB: Red Bull Music Academy Weekender, Sept 25-28; Belfast Restaurant Week, Oct 4-11; Belfast International Comedy Festival, Sept 25-Oct 5; The MAC international art exhibition, Oct 30-Jan 1; Ulster Bank Arts Festival at Queen’s, Oct 16-Nov 1; Sounds of Belfast, Nov 12-16; Derry International Choral Festival, Oct 22-16 and Aspects Literary Festival in Bangor, Sept 25-28.

Belfast culture nightSome 900 venues in 36 regions, towns and cities took part in the ninth annual Culture Night on Friday. Punters had a choice of 1,400 free events around the country with 100 taking place in the capital. 40 venues were added to this year’s line-up including Áras and Uachtaráin and Airfield Farm in Dundrum. Despite the poor weather, turn out was good.

Fáilte Ireland and Tourism Ireland hosted their first ‘Destination Ireland’ event, the Canadian Expo Workshop, in Clontarf Castle Hotel on Wednesday. The next workshop in the series is the British Coach & Group Tour Operators Workshop on Monday, September 22.

?????????????????????????????A group of ten reps from American business tourism companies and two specialist journalists visited Ireland this week as guests of Tourism Ireland, Fáilte Ireland and Irish Horizons. The group’s itinerary included visits to the Convention Centre Dublin, the Royal Hospital Kilmainham, Dublin Castle, The Shelbourne, Westin Hotel, Ashford Castle, Adare Manor, Kilbeggan Distillery, the Burren and the Cliffs of Moher. Picture shows the group with Marie McKown of Tourism Ireland and Maeve O’Connor of Irish Horizons at the Wineport Lodge in Athlone.

Boston Mayor Marty Walsh was treated to a business breakfast at Shannon Airport as part of his visit to Ireland. More than 125 people from the business community attended. Watch here.

‘DRIVE’ TO WOO BRITISH TOURISTSSix tourism companies from Ireland joined Tourism Ireland at this year’s Goodwood Revival vintage car festival in Chichester, England. Picture shows Carmel Flynn of Parknasilla Resort & Spa, David Cleary of Manor House Hotels and Irish Country Hotels, and Ronnie Counihan of Renvyle House Hotel at the event.

Lusty Beg is offering a wedding package from €4,950 from Jan-Mar and Oct-Dec 2015. Package includes:  Complimentary use of the Island for your Civil Ceremony; hair and make up for the bride and two bridesmaids; prosecco for the bride and groom on arrival;  refreshments for all guests on arrival; 4 course meal with choice of main course;  half bottle of wine per person; chair covers and choice of coloured bow/sash; floral table decorations; personalised table plans & menus; accommodation for bride and groom & 4 guests; and preferential room rates for the night of the wedding.

  • Dublin’s Aviva Stadium will host three group games and a round of 16 fixtures at Euro 2020, with London the venue for the semi-finals and final.
  • Canadian visitors are estimated to have grown 28pc over the period 2011-3, 125,000 Canadians visited Ireland in 2013, spending about €91m. Access is up further 70pc for summer 2014 and up 100pc for the shoulder and winter seasons.
  • CEO of Waterways Ireland Dawn Livingstone has said her organisation would be “delighted” to work in partnership with Clare County Council to develop improved public access to Holy Island (Inis Cealtra) on Lough Derg.
  • Tourism Ireland wants the number of Canadian visitors to the island of Ireland grow 47pc to 184,000 by the end of 2016, delivering revenue of €134m up 47pc.
  • Polar Express 2Picture shows William Hastings of Hastings Hotels with Rachael McCreery, Lucy Hunniford and Tilly Hunniford at the launch Santa’s Polar Express at Slieve Donard, which opens from December 17-22.
  • Visitor numbers at the White Tailed Sea Eagles Viewing Point at Mountshannon Pier, Co Clare are expected to reach 10,000 before the end of the month.
  • The Ebony and Irony Fringe Festival was announced as an addendum to this year’s New Ross Piano Festival, which takes place from Sept 25-28. The fringe line-up includes piano duals, singalongs and comedy. More info.
  • National Geographic posted the top ten things to do in Ireland in autumn.

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

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




Rendering of Ryanair’s Boeing 737-MAX-200

The headlines this week:

*Ryanair’s Kitchenless Aircraft

*Lufthansa showcase Premium Economy

*Highlights of the coming ski season

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

*Dominick Chilcott hosts the trade

*Wannabe WAW by bus and a tour of Eden

Travel Extra TV

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

eoghan corry anthony padeira

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

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

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

Travel Tradebeatrice speaks

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

kuala lumpur group

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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


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

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

Food & Wine

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


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

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

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


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

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


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

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

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

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



Picture by Thomas Leuthard via Flickr

The headlines this week:

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

*Winter fares on sale

*Ski brochures straight from the slopes

*Ryanair seeks 200-seaters

*Heaney-boppers head north

*Travel agents avoid the bunkers twice in one week


Travel Extra TVParachutist lands in Dublin

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Travel Trade

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

Food & Wine

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

    Presidencia de la República Mexicana via Flickr

    Airlines from Frankfurt.

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


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

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

IrelandTourism Ireland leads sales mission to China

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

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


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