Djurgården, Stockholm; where Travel Extra’s Conor McMahon baked in 32 degree heat this week.
HEADLINES – AVIATION – AFLOAT – FOOD & WINE – HOTELS – INTERNATIONAL – IRELAND – TRAVEL TRADE
*Just 7pc of Irish customers take up MH change offer
*Etihad showcases three class Airbus 330
*Aereps ends representation of Las Vegas and NYC&Co
*Simon Daly joins Topflight
*Travelfinder’s new look site
*Bad week for aviation: casualties already double 2013 figure
*Air carriers rethink regional conflicts threats
Travel Extra TV
Our video of the week shows salvage workers and locals in Giglio gathering to see the retrieved Costa Concordia cruise liner set out on her long awaited trip north to Genoa for dismantlement.
- When DoSomethingDifferent’s Ireland Country Manager Graham Hennessy arrived at the London head office last month, he was asked two questions at his induction: could he rap and would he prefer to be a penguin or a flamingo. Here’s why.
- Of dubious veracity, but worth a look is the video of two kayakers near the coastal city of Puerto Madryn in Argentina who got a little too close to a sperm whale, the largest toothed predator, and were lifted on to its back (watch here). The commentary recorded in Spanish translates as: Male: I’m filming. Look, that one is coming over here. Can you see her? Female: Yes. Male: Look. (whale growls) That one got angry at you. Look, here you have another one … that one’s going to crash into us, eh? Female: Take pictures of them, take pictures of them. Male: I’m filming them. Female: But I want one for Face (Facebook) Male: I’ll get one later. Female: Aahhhhh! Male: Look! It’s coming to bite your oar. Look! Look! Look! Look! Look! Look! Look! Look! Incredible, incredible, incredible! Loooooook! It touched us. We’re on top of the whale, we’re on top of the whale, we’re on top of the whale. Look, look, look, we have two. Maintain your balance, maintain your balance only. Look, look, look, look. Incredible. Look, look. Look look. Look.
- This timelapse video reduces a ten hour flight from Tokyo to San Francisco into an 83 second clip. Watch here.
- POV footage of thrill-seekers on the Sky Tower at Tivoli Friheden in Aarhus, Denmark, racked up over 2m YouTube videos over the week. Punters are dropped 130ft onto a net at 90km/h. Watch here.
- Moving footage by The London Telegraph shows the bodies of the victims of flight MH17 arriving in the Netherlands. Watch here.
- Footage shows Joel Flynn flying an A350-XWB with a 3D printed titanium bracket. Airbus says the aircraft, which is set for delivery by the end of the year, could herald a new future for aerospace production. Watch here.
That was quick. The US FAA issued a ban on US carriers flying to Tel Aviv after a rocket struck a mile from Ben Gurion airport on Tuesday. The ban was extended Wednesday, but was suddenly lifted just hours later. This sets a precedent for other airports hit by blanket bans, although few other countries can match Israel’s considerable lobbying and PR nous. While British Airways (from Heathrow Terminal 5) and El Al (from Heathrow Terminal 1) continued to operate services to Ben Gurion International Airport, flights were cancelled by Air Berlin, Air Canada, Air France, Alitalia, American Airlines, Austrian Airlines, Brussels Airlines, Delta, EasyJet, Germanwings, Iberia, KLM, LOT, Lufthansa, SAS, Swiss and United Airlines. European Aviation Safety Agency said on Tuesday that it “strongly recommended” that airlines refrain from operating flights to and from Tel Aviv. El Al was accused of increasing fares 150pc during the suspension of flights by other carriers. Overall, it has been a terrible ten days for aviation: MH17, GE222, AH5017, a temporary Tel Aviv closure and aircraft destroyed in Libya.
In a brave move, Malaysia Airlines offered customers a 48-hour cancellation or refund period this week. While there were a number of enquiries for amendments and refunds initially, few of these resulted in actual cancellations. Malaysia estimate postponements and refunds to be between 5-7pc of total bookings. Load factors from London and Europe remain high whilst forward bookings from Ireland having dropped initially following the incident, are now getting back to normal levels. Malaysia say they have had lots of positive feedback and support from the trade in Ireland, which they hugely appreciate. “We are working closely with our trade colleagues to help alleviate any concerns their clients may have.” A letter to agents last Wednesday assured the trade of their commitment to safety and “long term future as the national carrier of Malaysia.” View letter to agents here. Holiday bookings from Ireland to Malaysia have not been affected by the twin airline tragedies. Picture shows Ken Masterson, Ireland country manager of Malaysia Airlines.
Take-up of Malaysia’s flight change offer was higher in the newer markets. Irish travellers proved more stoic with a low level of cancellations and refund requests. Although the airline’s last profit was back to 2010 and net losses were up by 58pc between January and March 2014, the government which owns 70pc of Malaysia Airlines, has committed to keeping the national carrier flying. Rebrand, nationalise, merge, Business Insider gave a dramatic account of how it proposes Malaysia Airlines can be saved “from financial and reputational ruin“. See Eoghan Corry of Travel Extra speaking about the offer on RTÉ’s Six-One news on Wednesday (watch here, skip to 31 minutes 10 seconds). Picture shows shows Malaysia Airlines CEO Ahmad Jauhari Yahya.
According to Geneva-based Bureau of Aircraft Accidents Archives, this week’s Air Algerie AH 5017 and TransAsia GE 222 crashes and last week’s MH17 tragedy brought passenger fatalities to 991 for the first seven months of this year, higher than the annual toll for the past three years and double last year’s total figure. One of the ten survivors of the TransAsia GE 222 disaster described the moments following the crash.
Emirates Chairman and intermittent Lismore resident Tim Clark (pictured) called for an international meeting of carriers to agree a response to MH17, including a potential rethink of the threats posed by regional conflicts. He said domestic regulators worldwide may decide to be more involved in giving their carriers guidance on where it is safe to fly. Statistics analyst James Ball reassured nervous air passengers that just one flight in 300,000 had an accident, and only one in 3m was fatal. “It’s a widespread fear after planes go down, even though the truth is that air travel is almost always boringly safe and uneventful…While the 777 you’re flying on won’t end your life, the peanuts you eat on board just might.” Read the article here. IATA CEO Tony Tyler (pictured) issued a statement reassuring passengers that flying is safe: “Every day, approximately 100,000 flights take to the sky and land without incident. In 2013 more than three billion people flew and there were 210 fatalities. Regrettably, we have surpassed that number already this year. But even so, getting on an aircraft is still among the safest activities that one can do.” German academic Gerd Gigerenzer estimated that the road death toll in the year after 9/11 increased by 1,595 people in the USA as people switched from flying to “safer” road travel He said motorcycling is more than 3,000 times more deadly than flying. Travelling in a car or truck is about 100 times more deadly than flying.
As first reported by Travel Extra last month, Thailand launched an alternative travel insurance scheme for visitors to the country if they cannot get it locally – tourism to Thailand has been dogged by negative travel advisories since 2006. Picture shows Thawatchai Arunyik Governor of the Tourism Authority of Thailand outlying the insurance plan at TTM Plus in 2014. Since Friday visitors have been able to buy Thailand Travel Shield insurance online for a broad range of unforeseen events ranging from accidents, trip cancellation, loss or damage of baggage/personal belongings, emergency hotel accommodation. The scheme has been set up by the Tourism Authority of Thailand in cooperation with four reputed Thai insurance companies: Muang Thai Insurance, Chao Phaya Insurance, Siam City Insurance and Krungthai Panich Insurance. Click here for more information and to buy insurance coverage.
John Donohue’s Aereps Travel Management is to end representation of its entire travel client portfolio in Ireland, including NYC & Company and Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority. Picture shows Ailbhe Enright and John Donohue, who will announce his next move in a fortnight’s time. Closing down the travel portfolio will take a month.
Travelfinders is celebrating its 21st birthday this July with a new look responsive website optimised for desktop, mobile and tablet devices. Popular Travelfinders MD Peter O’Hanlon said the number of viewers and clients has “continued to grow significantly” each year on a cross platform offering that promotes Irish hotel breaks and holidays abroad on Travelfinders.ie, RTÉ Aertel, rte.ie/travel and rte.ie. “We have also expanded promotional opportunities for clients through social media and email marketing,” he said.
A surprise change of venue for IPW 2016: The US Travel Association announced that its annual tourism showcase is to move to New Orleans instead of Miami on June 4—8, 2016. It solves a problem generated by City of Miami Beach Commission when it approved a three-year $500m renovation of the city’s convention centre to begin in 2015. Stephen Perry (pictured), CEO of New Orleans CVB noted the timing was appropriate as New Orleans gears up for its tricentennial 300th birthday in 2018. New Orleans also previously hosted the annual five-day event, formerly known as Pow Wow, in 1993, 1979 and 2002.
Etihad hosted 370 members of the trade at Koh restaurant in Millennium to celebrate the increase of their Abu Dhabi service from ten to 14 flights a week. Beatrice Cosgrove told the trade that the delinking of the Brisbane and Perth routes will boost Etihad’s connectivity with Australia. She said 32pc of all Irish visitors are choosing Perth as their gateway to Australia. Etihad will launch six new routes in the first half of 2015. Prize winners on the night included Clodagh Flanagan from FCm, who won the return flights for two to Perth (pictured with Beatrice Cosgrove, Eithad’s country manager in Ireland). See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.
The previous day at Dublin airport, Etihad’s evening aircraft, the three class Airbus 330 (8-32-191) was introduced to guests from the travel trade by the Dublin born VP Guest Services of Etihad, Aubrey Teidt (listen here to her interview with Travel Extra). She was joined on board by Sanja Zogovic (pictured above) Food & Beverage Manager at Etihad, Connemara-born on board chef Donnchadh Geraghty, Ireland country manager Beatrice Cosgrove (pictured below) and her team of Karen Maloney, and Valerie Murphy on board the craft.
The morning (09.20) flight uses a 380-seat B777-300 arriving at 19.40 in Abu Dhabi, and the evening (20.55) flight a 262-seat A330-200, arriving in Abu Dhabi at 07.20 the following morning. Return flights are at 02.25 and 09.15. The double daily schedule opens up 800 weekly connections to 45 Etihad Airways destinations in the Middle East, Africa, Asia and India including Bangkok, Beijing, Brisbane, Jakarta, Kuala Lumpur, Manila, Melbourne, Perth, Singapore, Sydney and Tokyo.
Aubrey Teidt (pictured with ITAA president, Martin Skelly of Navan Travel) told guests “one of the positives of our business class is dine on demand; you tell us when you want to eat not us telling you, like on many airlines (listen here).” She talked about improvements to the Etihad lounge experience (listen here) and future developments including the 787 and the Residence on board the A380 (listen here). The lounge in Dublin serves up 60 meals a day to Etihad customers (listen here). See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.
Topflight confirmed that Simon Daly, ex-British Airways and, what seems like an eternity ago (the BAC 111 days), Ryanair, is joining the company as Director for Topflight Worldwide on August 11.
- The Commission for Aviation Regulation has released its guide to submitting applications and any supporting documentation for travel agents and tour operator licences requiring renewal in autumn 2014.
- Dawn Conway (pictured) has joined Sunway as Cruise Product Manager and will operate from Sunway Head Office in Dun Laoghaire. Barry Hammond recently joined Sunway as Worldwide product manager.
- This week’s offers from ITAA: 3 nights at Fitzpatrick Grand Central, NYC, from €689pp, travel January 15, 2015; 11 nights on the Celebrity Constellation, Black Sea Fly cruise, from €1,389pp, travel September 20, 2014; 11 days aboard the Avalon Poetry wine cruise, from €2,599pp, travel October 26, 2014.
A sporting story worthy of a great sports sponsor: VP Guest Services of Etihad, Aubrey Teidt niece of Fred Teidt and Karen Maloney, niece of Sean Wright, pictured in the Etihad Lounge in Terminal 2 at Dublin Airport where they hosted guests at the Etihad three-class A330 event, July 21 2014. Their uncles were champion boxers at welterweight and light welterweight in the 1950s and fought a famous contest at the National Stadium in January 1955 which Teidt narrowly won on points. Fred Teidt went on to win silver for Ireland at the Melbourne Olympics (fistic folklore maintains he was robbed) while Wright boxed several times for Ireland at light-welter. After Dublin, Aubrey took off from Dublin to Delhi to help announce Etihad’s new turnaround strategy for Jet Airways to return to profitability in three years; the Mumbai-based airline has set a three-year target strategy to return to profitability.
The Emirates team of Filippo Rocchi, Anita Thomas, Stephen Davitt and Clareanna Philips launched the Emirates mystery shopper blitz: If the agent recommends Emirates first to Dubai, they will receive a shopping voucher for €50 or a bottle of champagne. Emirates launched a summer 2014 fares’ promotion prices including: Dubai €504, Business Class from €1,926, First Class Suites from €3,218, Perth from €812 Business Class €3,107, Melbourne €814 First Class €4,915, Johannesburg €677 Business Class €2,393 First Class €3,509, Hong Kong €598 First Class €3,802,·Singapore €782. Emirates flights to Dubai go to double daily on September 1. See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.
- ITAA legal officer Anne Dolan will give the next talk in the Travel Law Webinar on E-Commerce, Compliance Matters, Wed August 13, 8:30am-10am, €25.
- Lowcostbeds are giving away a week’s accommodation to a sales consultant who makes a booking with any of the Blue Sea properties before August 31. Lowcost launched a summer sale with Blue Sea properties offering savings of up to 30pc across a range of properties in Spain, Malta and Morocco.
- The 2014 NYC Official Travel Planner is available online covering New York‘s accommodations, dining, nightlife and transportation.
- Innstant Travel appointed Fiona Foster (pictured, ex-Thomas Cook) as Head of Global Operations.
- DoSomethingDifferent.com is offering travel agents the chance to win a holiday for two to PortAventura for bookings made before August 31.
- Tripadvisor agreed to buy Viator, a booking resource that features more than 20,000 bookable tours and attractions and more than 600,000 reviews.
- BookaBed, in conjunction with Attraction World, hosted 65 members of the trade in The Bodega in Cork.
- SKAL International Dublin club secretary Michael Byrne says completed forms for the September 2 lunch on board Ruby Princess must be with him by August 14.
- The annual Travel Trade Family Fun Day will take place on August 24 at the Wanderers FC Rugby Club in Ballsbridge.
- The European Tour Operators Association appointed Martine Ainsworth-Wells (pictured) as new Director of Marketing & Commerce.
Swansea born Samantha Davies (pictured) has joined the O’Callaghan Hotel Group as British Sales Manager. She is based in London focusing on TMC and MICE from Britain to O’Callaghan Hotel Group’s four hotels in Dublin, Alexander, Davenport, Stephen’s Green and Mont Clare the Eliott Hotel in Gibraltar and the Annapolis in Maryland, US.
- Hastings Hotels has paid tribute to 18 employees who between them have clocked up 367 years of service at the 5* Culloden Estate & Spa. his includes 38 years for Philip Drennan the Conference & Banqueting Manager who oversees all the events and weddings, 36 years for Executive Head Chef Paul McKnight and 35 years for Bars Manager Seamus Murphy. Pictured with William Hastings are Seamus Murphy who has been at the hotel for 35 years, Paul McKnight who has been there for 36 years, Lynda Whyte who has been there for 20 years and Philip Drennan who is the longest serving employee with 38 years.
- The fictional Grand Budapest Hotel in the non-existent Republic of Zubrowka has appeared on Tripadvisor. So far the Stefan Zweig hotel (popularised in a Wes Anderson movie featuring Saoirse Ronan) has received 88 reviews, 65 of which rate the place ‘excellent’. “Have fun reading these reviews,” Tripadvisor says in a message, “go on, add your own! Just don’t try to book a visit here, because this fictional place doesn’t really exist.” What fictional place does exist we ask?
- The High Court approved a rescue plan for Mount Wolseley Hotel based on a €7.5m investment plan from Brehon Capital.
Discovery Cove, Orlando and Siam Park in Tenerife were selected as the top amusement park and water park in Tripadvisor reader’s choice list of top amusement and water parks.
- Amusement Parks; 1 Discovery Cove, Orlando; 2 Europa-Park, Rust, Germany; 3 Universal’s Islands of Adventure, Orlando; 4 Disney’s Magic Kingdom, Orlando; 5 Disney’s Hollywood Studios, Orlando; 6 Beto Carrero World, Penha, Brazil; 7 Disneyland Park, Anaheim, California; 8 Universal Studios Singapore; 9 PortAventura, Salou; 10 Disney’s Animal Kingdom, Orlando.
- Water Parks; 1 Siam Park, Adeje, Tenerife; 2 Beach Park, Aquiraz, Brazil; 3 Disney’s Blizzard Beach, Orlando; 4 Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon, Orlando; 5 Waterbom Bali, Kuta, Indonesia; 6 Wild Wadi, Dubai; 7 Hot Park, Rio Quente, Brazil; 8 Aquaventure, Dubai; 9 Aquatica, Orlando; 10 Aquaventure, Paradise Island, Bahamas.
- France topped the Muslim Travel Index Europe 2014 report on what European countries Muslims from Saudi Arabia, Malaysia and UAE would like to visit. The report suggested Ireland could earn over €200m from Halal Tourism annually. 1 France (30pc), 2 Italy (28pc), 3 England (28pc), 4 Germany (28pc), 5 Turkey (26pc), 6 Spain (23pc), 7 Netherlands (17pc), 8 Austria (14pc), 9 Scotland (12pc), 10 Greece (11pc), 11 Switzerland (11pc), 12 Portugal (9pc), 13 Belgium (7pc), 14 Finland (7pc), 15 Denmark (3pc).
How many spiritual places frequented by tourists might answer to this description? “It has become a place of apostasy and not prayer,” was the declaration of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIS) as it blew up the Younis mosque in Mosul (the Biblical Niniveh). In the western canon it is known as the Tomb of Jonah (watch the destruction here). By that judgment all ancient religious sites that have become tourist shrines are in danger. This is the latest in a catalogue of destruction that includes the Taliban’s dynamiting of the 6th century Buddhas of Bamiyan in 2001, the US army’s wrecking of archaeological remains at Babylon, the destruction of Sufi shrines at Timbuktu and the burning of sections of the Al-Madina Souq in the Syrian upraising of 2012. It will clearly not be the last.
- Elysian Estates reported that some clients requested all members of staff to be dressed in suits of armour to serve canapés and drinks in one of Elysian Estates’ medieval castles in a list of top ten unusual requests from luxury travellers.
- Neuschwanstein Castle, Europa Park in Rust and Cologne Cathedral topped the list of the 100 most popular sights for foreign tourists in Germany.
- As reported in Travel Extra’s July 13 supplement, Italy‘s new entry rules for all state museums and archaeological sites were introduced this week. Visitors below the age of 18 retain free entry to museums however visitors over 65 will have to pay for their tickets.
Food & Wine
Peter’s Place café in Waterville on the Ring of Kerry sparked online controversy this week after its owner, Peter Fitzgerald, displayed a poster banning bus tours and “loud American’s [sic]”. Satirical news site Waterford Whispers News had a go at the story, “reporting” that Gardaí – armed and wearing earmuffs – arrested 52 American tourists for breaking the decimal barrier in Kerry.
- Overends restaurant in Dundrum is offering a new tasting menu on Friday and Saturday nights.
- The Natural Bakery, which opened in Kilmainham last August, will open a fifth store next month in Stillorgan, having already spread to Donnybrook, Rathmines and Ranelagh.
- A study by the Food Safety Authority of Ireland and the HSE found that seven out of 20 lamb kebabs ordered from independent takeaways in Dublin city contained limited or no trace of lamb. Six of the kebabs tested contained over 60pc chicken and 30pc beef.
- National Geographic listed its top ten spring vineyards.
Ryanair is to add a daily Manchester service from Shannon to Manchester this winter, replacing a three times weekly Liverpool service, and a weekly Kaunas (Lithuania) flight, as well as extra flights on Stansted, to its winter schedule (starting end of October). The Manchester route is in direct competition with Aer Lingus Regional. Flights begin October26th: FR4777 leaving Shannon 0715 arriving Manchester 0825, FR4776 leaving Manchester 0850 arriving Shannon 1000, FR4776 leaving Manchester 1845 arriving Shannon 1955, FR4777 leaving Shannon 2020 arriving Manchester 2130. The Kaunas route is in competition with Knock-Kaunas, which is likely to be dropped as a result. Shannon Airport reported terminal passenger numbers were up 15pc in the first half of the year.
As fighting continued at Tripoli International Airport, flights to London and Paris were due to resume on Monday from alternative airport Misrata. Swords based Air Contractors Ltd planned to operate the flights on behalf of Afriqiyah Airways. It ferried two A320-200s, EI-ONJ (cn 4203) and EI-ONL (cn 4489) to Malta in advance of the fighting. Afriqiyah and Libyan Airlines have each lost an A330-200 in the fighting between rival militias at Tripoli airport, while a stored ex-Guinée Express Aviation DC-8-62(F) was also destroyed. Libya Airlines cut operations by 70pc after damage to aircraft. Libyan Airspace is to close to civil aircraft from tomorrow July 28th, which suggests military aviation will be moving into the void.
Vueling loaded Dublin to Barcelona flights in their system for winter 2014–15, flights on selected dates in December, January and March.
Jet 2 summer 2105 programme from Belfast international went on sale this week, it includes four new routes: Gran Canaria 1w; Prague 2w; Rome Fiumicino 2w and Zakynthos 1w.
Aegean Airlines moved to Terminal 2 at Heathrow on Wednesday (where Aer Lingus now operate) the eighth airline to move to the new terminal. Thai Airways‘ and Turkish Airlines‘ planned move into Terminal 2 at Heathrow has been postponed until August 28. Until then, both airlines’ flights will depart from Heathrow Terminal 3. Sri Lankan Airways moved from Heathrow Terminal 4 to Terminal 3 last week.
American aviators may have been seeing the start of the rewards of consolidation this week; The New York Times reported that for the first time in a generation, US airlines are generating enough cash to pay down debt, buy new aircraft, pay new dividends, buy back shares and raise employee salaries. United’s revenue increased 3.3pc in the second quarter reversing its Q1 loss, and heralding a big second quarter profit. Jim Compton (pictured) said “we are beginning to see the benefits of changes to network and revenue management processes” and announced a $1bn share buyback.
- Delta posted a second quarter profit of $801m and pre-tax income for the June 2014 quarter of $1.4bn. Picture shows a happy Delta CEO Richard Anderson.
- American Airlines set its first dividend since 1980 and reported a record profit for the second quarter.
- Southwest Airlines reported a record quarterly profit for Q2.
- Air France-KLM reported a profit rise and outlined its plan to counter low-cost rivals.
- Flybe reported it had seen the rewards for ditching routes and slashing fares.
- EasyJet predicted that its pre-tax profits will be in the range of £545m to £570m, a 14pc-19pc growth.
- There was a call for the Galway Airport site to become a recreational facility.
- Air Serbia expanded its codeshare with Etihad.
- The Irish Independent reported that attempts to solve the DAA €780m pension dispute were in jeopardy.
- Alan Joyce’s (pictured) Qantas considered splitting the company in its bid to return to profitability.
- Belfast staff say they are still in the dark over a job cuts plan at Bombardier.
- HSBC analysts said Christoph Mueller’s 2015 departure would be a loss to the business.
- Hertz has entered into a two-year partnership with airberlin for offers and special rates at the airline’s 171 destinations worldwide.
- Knock airport is not considering a future collaboration with Galway airport.
- Alitalia, which is finalising its deal with Etihad Airways, doubled its annual net loss to €569m last year, Chief Executive Gabriele del Torchio (pictured) said on Friday.
- A Southwest Airlines passenger and his children were briefly kicked off their flight after the man complained about bad service on Twitter.
- Denmark signed a double taxation with Ireland to ensure Danish residents who work for Irish-registered airlines are taxed in their home country.
- China‘s airline regulator warned travellers to expect flight delays at 12 airports through mid-August due to military exercises.
- With over 1,000 orders for the A330neo models, Airbus chief operating office for customers John Leahy (pictured) said the new aircraft is in it for the long run and “will sell very well until Boeing is doing something new”.
- Bray air show attracted 88,000 spectators beating the Leinster football final (which attracted 62,660).
- Gander’s historic international lounge may be demolished. Travel website Kayak said travellers within Canada should look to fly on a Tuesday if they’re travelling domestically or on a Thursday if they’re leaving the country.
- Boarding passes on smartwatches have been launched by SITA Lab with their wearable tech boarding passes for Android watches via its API available now on developer.aero.
- A survey of British Airways passengers indicated 80pc of children and 70pc of parents would take Loom Bands on a flight.
- The US Transportation Security Administration wants to do something about airport security queues and it’s looking for new and innovative ideas to help them do it.
- The EU Commission confirmed that Ryanair’s airport agreements at Niederrhein Airport comply with the State aid rules (Market Economy Investor Principle).
- South African Airways launched a new social media competition called Taste South Africa to celebrate the culinary scene in South Africa. South African, with its new onboard catering partner, Do & Co Event and Airline Catering has introduced restaurant-quality gourmet onboard menus in Business and Economy Class cabins on all flights from London Heathrow to Johannesburg. South African Airways is to introduce premium economy.
- For people travelling with children the Stork Exchange outlet has been established at Dublin Airport which is situated in Car Park Atrium in Terminal 1 on the same level as arriving passengers. Dubliner Olivia Typrowicz and her husband Bartek came up with the idea after a frustrating experience when holidaying abroad with their daughter three years ago. The Stork Exchange rents everything from child car seats to buggies and other baby equipment to passengers arriving in Ireland on holiday.
- First-time flyer Tomasz Mucha was fined €200 by Dublin District Court after he drunkenly attempted to open the rear door of a 737 mid-flight mistaking it for the lavatory door. The man was flying with Ryanair from Krakow to Dublin on June 11. The court heard he became intoxicated after consuming beer and vodka to settle his nerves before taking off.
- The EC ruled Ryanair has to repay €9.6m in state aid it had received from Nîmes, Pau and Angoulême airports. The airline was cleared by the EC’s competition board for support given by two local authorities at Niederrhein Airport. Ryanair plans to appeal the decision on the three French airports and welcomed the ruling on Niederrhein. It is awaiting the outcome of 14 other similar investigations.
- Dublin Airport is offering 20pc off short term parking.
Responding to London law firm Irwin Mitchell’s claim that 27pc of the cases it deals with are on behalf of clients who have a complaint against a cruise line, CLIA, the Cruise Lines International Association, said norovirus outbreaks on board cruise ships affect less than 0.01pc of people who take a cruise ship and are lower than onshore cases. “The cruise industry has one of the highest satisfaction levels in leisure travel, as demonstrated by a customer satisfaction rate of over 90pc, and almost 70pc of passengers are repeat cruisers, highlighting that they see the value, fun and comfort of cruising.”
- Stena extended their kids go free offer to Thursday August 14. All the Irish Sea ferry operators currently have kids go free offers.
- Royal Caribbean International European holidays are offering summer holidays with 600 free flights on select European holidays: a seven-night Western Mediterranean fly-cruise on Liberty of the Seas, €1,469 per person (based on two people sharing a balcony stateroom).
- Quark Expeditions launched their Antarctica 2015-16 programme.
- Norwegian Cruise Line upgraded on-board dining with culinary favourites, new menus and more variety. Norwegian Cruise Line and Sixthman promoted autumn and spring line-ups for festivals at sea.
The importance of the Irish pub to tourism got an overdue airing this week. ITIC said the desire to visit an Irish pub influenced the decision to visit of 80pc of holiday visitors to Ireland, and uploaded Eamon McKeon’s video interview with Padraig Cribben of the Vintners Federation (pictured). About 1,000 pubs in Ireland have closed since the economic crisis.
- Tourism Ireland’s latest SOAR report notes that Ireland has grown its market share in Britain, British overseas travel figures have been flat while Irish trips increased 13pc and trips to the north 2pc. Other stats for Q1 2014 are crunched: ferry car space capacity up 3pc, Europe up 4pc (3pc to the north), USA up 8pc (37pc to the north), Australia up 16pc, overseas visits up 9pc and overseas visitors to the north up 4pc.
- The New Science Galleries at Birr Castle Gardens opened on Friday.
- The largest annual circus skills event in the world, the European Juggling Convention, has attracted 3,500 jugglers to Millstreet this week.
- Cork County Council placed bathing restriction notices at three beaches, Pallas Strand in Eyeries, Trahallan in Castletownbere and Traverra at Urhan, after water samples contained elevated levels of bacteria.
Representatives of Tourism Ireland and 11 tourism enterprises from Ireland who attended The Meetings Show at Olympia in London: Pat Delaney of SoolELLA; Caitriona Lavery of Hastings Hotels; Rachael McGuickin of Visit Belfast; Paul Kennedy of The Meetings Show; Joyce McElroy of Tourism Ireland; Ciara Gallagher of Fáilte Ireland; former boxer Barry McGuigan; Sarah Dallas of Tifco Hotel Group; Shane McGuigan; Mary Keating of Tourism Ireland; Donna Brogan of Dublin Convention Bureau; Evelyn O’Sullivan of Cork Convention Bureau; and John O’Neill of Lough Erne Resort.
- Arthur’s Way, the 16km Guinness themed walking trail taking in Castletown estate, the Grand Canal towpath and the brewer’s burial place in Oughterard Co Kildare, launches on Thursday at the Village at Lyons.
- Smithwick Experience in Kilkenny’s upgraded €3.5m visitor centre opens to visitors on Thursday next, July 31. Signature attractions include a scary life-size holographic monk and living portraits of the Smithwick’s family member.
- Bus Éireann is providing a shuttle service to and from the Galway races, from Eyre Square to Ballybrit Monday to Sunday.
- Tourism Ireland launched their online film (watch here) promoting Limerick City of Culture flagship pageant ‘The Giant’s Journey’, over three days and nights this September.
- The Rose of Tralee festival will feature the annual Skyfest Air Display on Sunday August 17th. The entertainment line-up will feature over 80 hours of free or affordable entertainment in the Dome and around the streets of Tralee.
- Westport Food Festival has announced headline event, Secret Supper, for weekend of September 5 to 7, 2014.
- Kildare walking festival August 5–17 features 12 one-hour walks taking in the county’s landmarks, towpaths, big house estates, and moderate hills (okay, all hills in Kildare are moderate) from Mullaghcreelan Woods in the south to St Catherine’s Park in the north of Kildare. Longest walk is the 10km hour and a half walk through Narraghmore and Mullaghmast on August 10. Download the brochure here.
Representatives of Tourism Ireland and 12 Irish tourism enterprises who participated in a business tourism workshop and networking event in Düsseldorf, Germany, Aoife Kernan of Tourism Ireland; Christoph Haustein of TIFCO Hotel Group; Paula Carroll of Ashford Castle; Cathy Joyce of Citywest Hotel; Bronagh McKee of Ballsbridge Hotel; Stefanie Bück of Advantage ico; Susan Sheahan of Clyde Court Hotel; Karina Dunne of Druids Glen Resort; Michelle Blake of The Marker Hotel; Julia Rozenberg of Aer Lingus; Gina Passi of Royal Marine Hotel Dún Laoghaire; John Callely of Odyssey International; and Áine Comerford of Waterford Castle Hotel & Golf Resort.
- NISRA’s tourism stats for the 12 month period to March 2014 showed overall tourism down 1pc and the number of people from the 26 counties taking an overnight down 18pc. Expenditure was up 1pc year on year but expenditure by Irish tourists down £22m (down £15m from the six counties, down £7m from the 26). Meanwhile the Pubs of Ulster trade body said new alcohol regulation laws introduced by Social Development Minister Nelson McCausland are a “good first step” but don’t go far enough in making NI more tourist friendly.
- Waterford Spraoi International Street Arts Festival, on August 1–3 promises a night-time parade inspired by Yeats.
- Molly Malone was the victim of vandalism only a week after she wheeled her wheelbarrow to her new location on Suffolk Street. She was defaced by an early-rising graffiti artist according to Jim Quinn of Saint Andrew’s Church tourist office.