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

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

Kids club on board the refurbished and elongated MSC Armonia.

The headlines this week:

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

*Paul’s sharp CLIA presentation

*North Cyprus promises lots of scope for Irish market

*The low-down on ITAA’s two-day event

*Timelapses times four & Gorilla vs Corkonian

Travel Extra TV

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

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

Headlines

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Travel Trade

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

Deal Watch

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

Hotels

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

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

International

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Food & Drink

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

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

Aviation

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

TAP and GOL agreed a codeshare partnership.

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

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

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

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

Afloat

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

Ireland

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

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

 

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

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

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

The headlines this week:            

*Travel Centres revelry in Nás na Ríogh

*Shannon relaunches Duty Free in airport where it was invented

*Belfast gets a flight to Cuba

*Positivity is the key to Irish Tourism Industry Awards 2015

Travel Extra TV

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

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

Headlines

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Travel Trade

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

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

Trailinders launched their new Indian Ocean Brochure.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Deal Watch

Hotels

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

International

Picture by Julian Walker via Flickr

Picture by Julian Walker via Flickr

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Food & Wine

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

Aviation

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

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

Afloat

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

Ireland

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

HEADLINESAVIATIONAFLOATFOOD & WINEHOTELSINTERNATIONALIRELANDDEAL WATCHTRAVEL TRADE

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

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

The headlines this week:            

*Michael runs Rings around promoters everywhere

*Agents ‘skydive’ on Quantum of the Seas

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

*Aer Lingus announces expanded summer schedule

*Topflight’s Tony Collins honoured by Austrian Embassy

Travel Extra TV

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

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

Headlines

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Travel Trade

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

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

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

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

Deal Watch

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

Hotels

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

International

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

Food & Wine

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

Aviation

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

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

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

Afloat

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

Ireland

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

HEADLINESAVIATIONAFLOATFOOD & WINEHOTELSINTERNATIONAL                   IRELANDDEAL WATCHTRAVEL TRADE

Royal Caribbean's  Quantum of the Seas arrives in Southampton

Royal Caribbean’s Quantum of the Seas arrives in Southampton

The headlines this week:

*Ireland’s Travel Agents get a preview of Quantum

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

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

*Celebrity rewards their sellers

Travel Extra TV

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

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

Headlines

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Travel Trade

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

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

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

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

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

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

Deal Watch

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

Hotels

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

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

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

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

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

International

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Food & Wine

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

Aviation

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Afloat

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

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

Ireland

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

Travel Extra’s Sunday Supplement: Why you want to be in seats 3k or 5k on Aer Lingus

HEADLINESAVIATIONAFLOATFOOD & WINEHOTELS                                      INTERNATIONAL – IRELANDTRAVEL TRADE – DEAL WATCH

Zebra face close up

Zebra ready for her close up. Serengeti. See more pictures.

The headlines this week:

*Aer Lingus brings out the dry ice for big Business Class launch

*Spain tops France, Germany, Portugal and Italy — combined

*Dublin Airport set for busiest winter in six years

*Cliffs of Moher officially hits the million mark

Travel Extra TV

video-waterfallOur video of the week is by photographer Rod Kirkpatrick. Rod captured strong winds blowing the 80-foot Kinder Downfall waterfall back up a cliff in Derbyshire, England. The 110kmph winds from the tail of Hurricane Gonzalo literally stopped the waterfall from falling. Watch here.

  • The Adventure Travel Association uploaded footage this week from the 2014 Adventure Travel World Summit in Killarney. During the conference, 700 adventure travel professionals experienced Ireland’s scenery and took part in a host of activities including cycling, kayaking, surfing and bog diving. Watch here.
  • Marie Slattery of Shannon Airport featured on Golfing Country’s YouTube channel. Golfing Country visited Shannon and Limerick to experience the half-way point of the Wild Atlantic Way. Watch here.
  • Air New Zealand celebrated the release of the third part in The Hobbit Trilogy by releasing “The Most Epic Safety Video Ever Made”. See for yourself: watch here. So far, the video has racked up more than 5m views. The airline also uploaded an interactive promo video for its new B787-9 Dreamliner. Watch here.
  • Isn’t it ironic? Footage of Fox News anchor Shep Smith condoning irresponsible reporting of the Ebola virus went viral this week (no pun intended). Racking up more than 2m YouTube views, Smith tells viewers not to listen to the “hysterical voices on the television” talking about an Ebola outbreak in the West. “There is no Ebola spreading in America, Should that change, our reporting will change,” he says. Watch here.

Headlines

IMG_0070The launch of Aer Lingus Business Class over two days this week promised free Wi-Fi, bigger seats, lie flat, more storage, upgraded food, upgraded entertainment and fast track security. The product will start appearing on the JFK route in January and will be live on all aircraft by March 29 (listen here).

It was an exciting series of events, with leading corporate buyers and agents flown in from Europe for the showcase. There was a lot of dry ice (watch here) and talk of vibrant fibres and charcoal greys. “We are like children with new toys,” Farida Chikhaqui sales manager for France said. There was some hint of Aer Lingus’ latest marketing campaign: “Arrive before you depart” is the slogan for the season.

CEO Christoph Mueller presided over the first event in the Royal Hospital, Kilmainham; the first major product launch by Aer Lingus since the launch of European executive in 1996.

Videos were shown featuring the new product (watch here), highlighting the rapid growth of the Portadown company which supplied the seats, Thomson aero seating (watch here) and Botany weavers (watch here).

IMG_0055The new seats have evolved since they were first seen by Travel Extra in the Convention Centre last year and even since they were showcased at the launch of the San Francisco route in April, with a cosy laptop and tablet storage and a place for shoes. Remember the missing mobile phones? If your mobile fell behind the old Aer Lingus business class seats the seat had to be taken apart for it to be retrieved. The new seat can be slipped forward and the phone retrieved easily. Not all seats will be similar, although there are more seats in the business class cabin than originally planned, 23 in the A330-200 and 30 in the A330-300, in 2-2-1 configuration. The single throne seat will be the most coveted, especially those on the alternating 2-2-1 330 cabin, 3K and 5K.

The new Panasonic ex2 system will be available gate to gate. The film options, currently 12 in each direction, will see 50pc more new releases and 100pc more TV including box sets such as Game of Thrones.

mike-rutterMike Rutter (pictured) said the upgraded business class, based on a four room concept (listen here), will still be cheaper than competitors, starting at €899 one way (listen here).  He said that the old business class offering need to be improved (listen here) and reaction to the new San Francisco route in April showed the need for an upgraded business class (listen here).

He outlined the design principles behind the new seat (listen here), the evolution of the new business class seat (listen here), food will be comparable with the top restaurants (listen here), the workspace in the new seats will be enhanced (listen here), Overall €25m was invested in developing the business class product (listen here). A €2.5m marketing campaign will publicise the new business class product (listen here).

IMG_0065

Declan Kearney (pictured) outlined the four aspects of Aer Lingus new business class offering (listen here), improvements to the ground experience for business class customers (listen here), the fast track security options at Irish and US airports (listen here), aircraft deployment to suit size of the market (listen here),  the upgraded entertainment options (listen here), how 50pc of Aer Lingus passengers are now onwards connections (listen here). Aer Lingus’ geographical advantage meant they could offer shorter flights (listen here), preclearance means avoiding queues of up to three hours (listen here), and fare prices would remain 20pc to 25pc below competitors (listen here). He claimed the airline’s lower cost base would lead to lower fares in all cabins (listen here).  Digital and mobile platforms will relaunch in the new year (listen here). A new JFK lounge will open in March (listen here) and Aer Lingus is also planning an arrivals lounge (listen here). Aer Lingus now has more connections to US gateways than its competitors (listen here). What’s next? A new American route to be announced the week after next with increased frequencies, including the opportunity to take a day return flight across the Atlantic. Watch this space.

gonzalo martin skelly_00951.074m Irish tourists travelled to Spain this year – more than the combined total for France, Italy, Portugal and Germany. June and July remain the most popular months for travel but September attracted 145,000 Irish tourists, an 8.5pc increase compared to last year. The most popular destinations are the Canary Islands, Andalucía, Cataluña, Valencia and the Balearic Islands. Listen here to Gonzalo Ceballos speaking about the significance of the Spanish tourism figures and Martin Skelly’s reply on behalf of the trade: Spain works for the travel industry (listen here). Picture shows Gonzalo Ceballos, Director of the Irish office of the Spanish Tourist Board, and Marin Skelly at the Spanish Tourist Board event in the Liquor Rooms. See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.

IMG_0226Travel Extra’s sponsored golf day at the Castle, the final Travel Industry Golf Society outing of the season, produced two new champions: Tanya Airey and Tom Coade. Listen here to Pat Dawson, who was elected TIGS captain for 2015, and listen here to Eoghan Corry, editor of Travel Extra, speaking on behalf of the sponsors. Travel Extra is already planning to continue its sponsorship for an improved and upgraded final event of the TIGS calendar next year. Picture shows Pat Dawson. incoming captain of TIGS, gents winner Tom Coade, lady winner Tanya Airey of Sunway and Maureen Ledwith of Business Exhibitions who presented the prize. See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.

Lazaro Nyalandu- Eoghan CorryListen here to an interview between Eoghan Corry, editor of Travel Extra, and Tanzania’s minister for tourism Lazaro Nyalandu (pictured) who outlined his plans to boost tourism numbers to 2m by 2017. Ireland will have new one stop options to a range of Tanzanian airports as a result of the introduction of Ethiopian Airlines new direct 3w service to Addis Adaba from June 15.

Dublin airport Winter Schedule8Dublin Airport expects its busiest winter since 2008 with the addition of 19 extra routes. The airport will have 950,000 more seats available across its network, up 10pc compared to last year.

Rita Shaw from Niceville, Florida was the one millionth visitor to the Cliffs of Moher Visitor Experience in 2014.  Rita, who was on holiday with her husband Stephen, was greeted with music and champagne and was awarded a €5,000 prize return holiday to Co Clare. Visitor group frankfurt_9958numbers to the attraction were up 12pc so far this year.

Picture shows Irish trade and media group hosted by Deutsche Bahn, Aer LIngus and ATTS Railshop in Frankfurt: Gordan Pullen of GPS Travel, Catherine Grennell-Whyte of ATTS, Grainne Quinn of schooltour.ie,, Julia Vorobjova of ATTS, Paula Dolan of GTI, Jenny Twomey of Premier Travel, Ulrich Teitz of Deutsche Bahn, Gerry Benson of Travelbiz, Bernie Burke of Travel Centres, Michael Flood of ITTN and Joan Scales of The Irish Times.

Travel Trade

5 presidents_0107Picture shows five presidents of the ITAA with Gonzalo Ceballos at the Spanish Tourist Board event in the Liquor Rooms October 22, 2014: Michael Doorley (president  1982-84 and 2004-06, Pat Dawson (president 2010-2), Clare Dunne (president 2012-4), Martin Skelly (president 2014-), Gonzalo Ceballos of the Spanish Tourist Board and Gerry Benson (president 1994-6 and 1998-2000).

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Travel Department announced a partnership with Arnotts which will see the company open a travel shop at the department store on Henry Street. Travel Department will roll out its first walk-in tourist visa service in the store. Located near the wedding and luggage sections, the new store will include a browsing area for customers looking to research their holiday. Retail interior design company Dalziel + Pow designed the 300sq ft shop. It will open on Tuesday (October 28).

oasis ni travel award_0263rPicture shows Julie-Anne Vaughan from Oasis Travel who won the first ever NI Travel Consultant of the Year award at the Northern Ireland Travel and Tourism Awards in Newcastle.

Travel Professional Skillnet is hosting a two-part webinar on Online Tools with Barry Walsh. Part one takes place on Wednesday, October 29 at 9:30am-11am. Part two takes place Wednesday, November 5 at 9:30am-11am. Cost is €25 for members. Limited free spaces for job seekers are available. For more information contact fionnuala@itaa.ie. Book here.

CR-Cover-2014-coverClassic Resorts’ new 2015 Worldwide brochure is out now. Destinations with new resorts include Costa Rica, Cozumel, Los Cabos and Playa Murejes in Mexico, Caribbean cruising, USA stopovers, new villa resorts in Koh Samui and Phuket, Thailand and Elephant Hills luxury tented camp. Each section includes multi-centre options to give you some ideas to suit your clients. Booking deposit €150pp.

DoSomethingDifferent.com will launch a sister brand this month – ThemeParkBeds.com, a specialist, trade-only bedbank featuring Walt Disney World Resorts in Florida. Country Manager for the two sites, Graham Hennessy, reminds agents that they can earn a €10 One-4-All voucher per passenger on all bookings from Oct 1 to Dec 31.

Teresa Murphy, Air France KLM Delta Leisure Account Manager, hosted a tour of Paris Charles de Gaulle for a group of ten agents.

Atlas travel award1Atlas Travel will progress to the national finals of the Ulster Bank Business Achievers Awards in December after winning the Leinster provincial final at Croke Park. Picture shows the Altas team winning the Best Established SME Award.

Paul Riches of Lowcostbeds outlined his new role for the Irish trade on his first visit to Dublin in his new role (listen here). Clem Walshe outlined the continued growth of Lowcostbest (listen here). Alex Gisbert talked about the rapid expansion of Lowcost above its traditional Spanish portfolio (listen here).

CityJet Trade Partner with WorldChoice GroupDon Shearer launched the Worldchoice Communication hub to all members and trade partners. Don says: “All trade partner and member updates are constantly updated on the hub along with news items, offers, incentives, competitions, training and development initiatives, commercial status and productivity updates. I have also developed direct links within the hub providing our members with immediate access to a number of key trade partners including insurance providers, airlines, travel visa documentation, currency conversion, medical bureaus, flight aggregators, and weather links to mention a few. The Worldchoice Hub feeds all member- and trade partner consumer-driven updates and offers to the Worldchoice Consumer facing web site automatically, which again is a unique feature ensuring all web based enquiries are filtered directly to our retail members by geographic feeds.” CityJet is now a trade partner with Worldchoice, and has increased its schedule to LCY with up to nine daily flights. Picture shows Don Shearer with Carole Smith of CityJet.

The running order for ITAA’s Conference on board Royal Caribbean’s Quantum of the Seas, November 1: 9am to 9.30am – Registration. 9.30am to 10am – Conference opening by ITAA President. 10am to 10.30 am – Royal Caribbean introduction by Lisa Lutoff-Perlo. 10.35am to 11am – Speaker, Selling Luxury with Larry Larry Pimentel of Azamara. 11am to 11.15 – Coffee break. 11.15am to 12.45pm – Eoghan Corry, Travel 2020 followed by panel discussion. 12.45pm to 1.15pm – Travelport Innovation Award. 1.15pm to 1.30pm – ITAA members meeting. Panel guests: Sinead Reilly of Travelport, Ben Grenne of Arrow Tours, Declan Power of Shannon Airport, John Keogh of Aer Lingus, Mary Denton of Sunway, Mark Clifford of O’Hanrahan Travel and Maura Fahy of Fahy Travel.

Deal Watch

  • Click and Go is offering 3 night B&B packages Dublin-Rome from €239pp. Offer includes flights for travel on Dec 5 or Dec 12 with Aer Lingus and 3 nights B&B in the Prime Hotel Principe Torlonia. Call 01 6371699.
  • Thomson’s family resort offer with free Kid’s Club: 7 nights all inclusive Dublin to Puerto Pollensa, Majorca from €1,537 for two adults and one child or €2,121 for two adults and two children, depart May 2.
  • Discover Travel is offering an 8 night tour of Sri Lanka from €1,539pp incl. flights, taxes, accommodation, private vehible and an English speaking chauffeur guide.
  • Culloden Hotel, Belfast.Hastings Hotels Halloween offer: Overnight stay (with the ghost of Lady Jane Culloden) at The Culloden Estate & Spa Belfast from £135pps on October 31.
  • Falcon’s all inclusive Kid’s Club offer: 7 nights Dublin to Cala Gracio, Ibiza from €1,821 for two adults and one child or from€2,412 for two adults and two children, depart May 27.
  • Carton House Halloween package from now until Nov 2: 2 nights B&B and one evening meal in the Coach House Restaurant for €200pp or €400 for two adults and two children.
  • Natural Retreats is offering 15pc off stays between now and December 15. Offer includes a free breakfast hamper. Quote FREEGIFT1. Book on 01 685 3013 or go to ie.
  • Globe Hotels is offering 7 nights half board at Pilot Beach Resort in Crete from €254pps, depart April 18.
  • Travel Department’s Early Bird Incentive for 2015 travel: discounts available for visits to China, Italy, Iceland and European city break destinations (including Prague, Lisbon, Budapest, Cannes, and Berlin) for bookings made from October 30 to November 1.

Hotels

  • WestburyCelebratesThirtyYears4The Westbury Hotel is markings its 30th Anniversary with a €2m investment that will include a re-design of The Grafton Suite, triple-glazed windows in all 205 rooms and a new restaurant, Balfes. Picture shows Sandeep Shingh, Jo Coventry, Joseph Downing and Sally O’Neill Vincent O’Gorman, General Manager of The Westbury Hotel.
  • Four Irish hotels featured in Europe’s Top 10 Resorts selected by Condé Nast Traveler readers: Sheen Falls Lodge, Adare Manor Hotel, The K Club and Ashford
  • Shangri-La opened its first resort on mainland China, the Sanya Resort & Spa, Hainan. The 340-room resort includes recreational facilities in Haitang Bay including an Adventure Zone and Water Park, opening in November.

International

Trivago-internationalLondon was the most searched international destination for Irish holidaymakers during the midterm break, according to Trivago.ie. Unsurprisingly, city break destinations and warmer destinations in Southern Europe were most popular.

New Zealand adventure bus company Kiwi Experience celebrates 25 years in business on October 28.

  • petra-awardSupermodel and founder and chairperson of Happy Hearts Fund Petra Nemcova (pictured) will receive the World Tourism Humanitarian Award on November 3.
  • GTA launched a distribution deal with ten properties in Australia, Fiji, Mauritius and Thailand from the Outrigger Enterprises Group.
  • Ros Drinkwater GNTO Dublin Awards 16102014-8There were 248,249 Irish overnight stays in Germany from January to August, a 22.4pc increase compared to last year. August 2014 showed an increase of 39.7pc in overnight stays by Irish visitors. The German National Tourist Office held the annual German-Irish Travel Reception and Awards Event at the German Ambassador’s Residence in Donnybrook. Picture shows award winner Ros Drinkwater of Sunday Business Post.
  • The defence ministry in Sri Lanka has made it compulsory for tourists to apply for special permits to visit a former conflict zone in the north. Authorities gave no reason why it has security concerns in the region. Once the centre of the Tamil force’s struggle for autonomy, the region has been largely peaceful for the past five years and has a growing tourism market.
  • Travelport launched a new version of Smartpoint, its agency desktop technology.
  • Stat of the week: More Americans have been married to Kim Kardashian than have died from Ebola.
  • Comboios de Portugal launched the Portugal Rail Pass. It can be used on long distance, regional and urban trains. A three-day pass costs €73 (€109 for First Class). The seven-day option costs €129 (€179 for First Class). Child passes are also available and cost half the adult ticket.
  • The number of business passengers on Eurostar rail service was up 6pc in the third quarter. Overall passenger numbers was up 3pc to 2.8m.
  • Nepal’s tourism ministry attributed the high death toll of trekkers in the Himalayan snowstorm to tourists’ reluctance to spend money on a personal mountain guide.
  • Disgruntled holidaymakers swamped TripAdisor with complaints about online agency Bright Skies Travel, alleging that the agent failed to honour their bookings.
  • Footage of a racist, expletive-filled rant by a tour guide against San Francisco’s Chinatown went viral. The woman was working her last day on the job. The tour firm apologised for the incident.
  • For the second time, Western tourists are invited to enter the Pyongyang Marathon in North Korea next year.
  • The world’s first suspension bridge between two mountain peaks opened in Switzerland. The bridge, Peak Walk by Tissot, begins at View Point peak at the top of the Glacier 3000 cable car and ends at the Scex Rouge peak. The bridge is 107m long and located at an altitude of 3,000m. It is free for visitors of Glacier 3000 and will stay open year round, weather permitting.
  • The Remmus sun lounger automatically rotates to face the sun and features a water spray system to keep you cool. All yours for €35,000. See how it works.
  • The Wollfepack backpack switches from your back to front without having to take it off. The design by David Wolffe was placed on Kickstarter this week and production is hoped to begin in January if enough funds are raised. First deliveries could take place in May. See the design here
  • An Australian tourist was injured after being mauled by a tiger in Tiger Kingdom Park in Phuket, Thailand.
  • Bluesmart is a hand luggage suitcase that can sync with an app on your smartphone. It features a built-in scale indicating its weight and whether it meets your airline’s baggage requirements.
  • South Georgia Island, where Shackleton found refuge, is among the nine new locations to be mapped on Google Street View using a backpack mounted Google Trekker camera.

Food & Wine

  • The BIM Young Fishmonger 2015 competition takes place at BIM’s Seafood Development Centre in Clonakilty on November 12. The results will be announced at an awards lunch in Dublin on November 24. The five finalists are Mateusz Kowalik of Doran’s on the Pier in Howth, Gerard Collier of Fishermans Catch in Clogherhead, Stevie Connolly of Connolly’s Fish Company in Rathmines, Gary Quinn of Stephen’s Fish Market in Mullingar and Neil Turner of Caviston’s Food Emporium in Glasthule. All finalists will receive a masterclass from Martin Shanahan of Fishy Fishy in Kinsale, a set of knives, career development opportunities and a cheque for €500. The overall winner will receive a cheque for €1,000 and a study trip to France.
  • The Brown Bear restaurant in Two Mile House, Kildare celebrates its fifth birthday next month. Owners Eugene Brennan and Jean Grace are making the event with a tastingment for €35 (€55 with matching wines). It explores chef Josef Zammit’s creations through four courses. The menu will run throughout November.
  • Co-author of Sláinte: The Complete Guide to Irish Craft Beer & Cider Kristin Jensen will host a craft beer and food pairing demo with Tara Walker of The Tasty Tart Cookery School in Termonfeckin, Co Louth on November 8 at 7pm. Entry costs €45 and includes dinner with beer as well as a recipe pack and tips.

Aviation

Aer Lingus Regional commenced its service from Dublin Airport to Leeds Bradford Airport. The airline will operate two daily return flights between the two cities and hopes to carry 70,000 passengers in 2015.

LCY runway at duskLondon City Airport will see 5,000 more seats from Dublin this week when British Airways and FlyBe join Cityjet on the route.

British Airways flights from Belfast City and Dublin Airport to Heathrow move from Terminal 2 to Terminal 5 today.

Ryanair launched five routes from Kerry to Alicante, Faro, Frankfurt Hahn, Luton and Stansted for summer 2015. The summer schedule will deliver 20 weekly return flights and hopes to attract 260,000 customers.

American Airlines announced a codeshare agreement with Jetstar Japan. American Airlines Group reported a third quarter GAAP net profit of $942m.

Belfast International Airport charity2Belfast International Airport’s first charity drop off zone day took place on Saturday. This month’s chosen charity was NI Children’s Hospice.

  • Twelve Lufthansa flights to/from Dublin were cancelled on Monday and Tuesday because of pilots’ strike. The airline had to cancel a total 1,500 flights.
  • Ryanair confirmed the number of passengers travelling through Cork Airport will fall by 6pc this year.
  • Deputy chief executive of CityJet, Michael Collins, resigned from the airline.
  • Qatar Airways announced Frankfurt as the first route for the A350 Xtra Wide Body.
  • Etihad Airways - LinkedIn Global 100 Most InDemand Employers Photo EnEtihad Airways was listed on LinkedIn’s Global 100 In Demand Employers. Picture shows employees celebrating the announcement.
  • TAP Portugal completed its move to Terminal 2 at London Heathrow.
  • Aer Lingus is launching a suite of mobile apps for senior managers to approve or reject transactions from Apple and Android devices while they are on the move. They apps are due to go live in December.
  • Emirates president Tim Clark said the airline plans to increase operations in Africa by 40pc over the next ten years.
  • A $500,000 design contest was announced in a bid to upgrade JFK and LaGuardia airports in New York.
  • British Airways is investigating an incident in which armed police were called to Heathrow to calm angry passengers whose flight to New York was delayed by over ten hours due to a technical fault.
  • Hawaiian carrier Mokulele Airlines claimed its new service to Oahu airport is suffering because passengers cannot find Kalaeloa Airport.
  • Ryanair has made changes to its website after an intervention by the National Consumer Agency, stating that the airline’s sale of travel insurance was “unclear [and] ambiguous”.
  • 22 passengers and crew were injured after a Singapore Airlines flight experienced sudden turbulence during its descent into Mumbai.
  • Lufthansa said it is getting closer to an accord with Turkish Airlines to start low-cost long-haul flights to leisure destinations on SunExpress.
  • Two Aer Lingus round trips between Dublin and Heathrow had to be cancelled on Monday when the country was hit by the tail end of Hurricane Gonzalo.
  • BRIT award-winning band Rudimental performed a DJ set on board Virgin Atantic’s inaugural Dreamliner flight from London Gatwick to Atlanta. The B787 concert was streamed live online.
  • Ryanair chief marketing officer Kenny Jacobs suggested the airline may launch a holiday brand in the next five years.
  • United Airlines announced an expanded partnership with Hertz and its Dollar and Thrify rental brands. The car rental company will become United’s exclusive partner on November 1.
  • Qantas shareholders voted to award Irish-born chief executive Alan Joyce a €1.7m bonus if he can turn the company around.
  • Irish aircraft lessor Avolon ended Q3 with a total owned, managed and commited fleet of 227, up from 179. The Dublin-based company recently signed a purchase agreement for six B787-9 Dreamliners.

Afloat

  • tobacco-roadTobacco Road, Miami’s oldest bar, is closing its original location after 102 years and moving on board the Norwegian Escape which will begin sailing from Miami in November 2015.
  • Plugging the €5 day trip cruise across the Irish Sea, Stena Line is encouraging travellers to visit the Chamber of Lights (Oct 30-Nov1) or Ricardo’s Halloween Show (Oct 31) at GreenWood Forest Park, Folly Farm, or the Spooktacular festival (now until Nov 2) at Oakwood Theme Park during the midterm break.
  • Irish Ferries had to cancel the Jonathan Swift service because of strong winds on Monday. P&O Ferries also had to cancel crossings.
  • Hurtigruten extended its Northern Lights Promise to anyone booking a Classic Round Voyage before Dec 31 – if you book a 12-day voyage departing before March 31 and don’t see the Northern Lights, you get a second trip free next year.

Ireland

Tourism Ireland’s website Ireland.com won three awards at the W³ Awards in New York: Gold for the Wild Atlantic Way website design; silver for visual appeal of WAW website; and silver for St Patrick’s Day social media and online campaign.

Ireland placed fifth in Lonely Planet’s Top 10 Countries to Visit in 2015. “Ireland is stunningly scenic, its traditions – music, dance, whiskey and beer – firmly intact.” The magazine praised the Wild Atlantic Way.

The CSO’s latest figures show that 5.9m people visited Ireland between January and September, an increase of 9pc. Visitors from Britain reached almost 2.4m, 200,000 more than last year. The number of German visitors was up 16pc, Spanish up 13pc and visitors from long-haul countries was up 11pc. 1.064m visitors travelled from North America, 130,000 more than 2013.

trivago-IrelandDublin was the most-searched domestic destination for Irish holidaymakers during the midterm break, according to Trivago.ie.

The Convention Centre Dublin reported an overall profit of €15.37m for the 10-month period ending Dec 2013, an €11m increase compared to the full year to Feb 2013.

Tourism Ireland hosted a group of inbound tour operators from England this week. The group visited the Little Museum of Dublin, Glasnevin Cemetery & Museum and the Guinness Storehouse before heading West for INFLUENTIAL UK TOUR OPERATORS PAY A VISIT TO THE CLIFFSa trip to Galway City and the Cliffs of Moher. Picture shows the group with Harri Grunitz and Elizaveta Gorbunova of Tourism Ireland, and tour guide Siobhán McDonald at the Cliffs of Moher.

US Travel Writers experience a medieval banquet at Bunratty CastPicture shows American travel writers Amy Laughinghouse and Marla Cimini, Bunratty Castle entertainer Pat Doherty, travel writer Michele Shaprio, Bunratty Castle entertainer Maura Kelly, Washington based media consultant Carlyle Fairfax Smith and travel writer Ramsey Qubein outside Bunratty Castle on a press trip to the Mid-West region.

A group of Irish tourism companies joined IRELAND SAYS ‘BIENVENUE’ IN PARISTourism Ireland for a business tourism workshop at the Hôtel Napoléon in Paris. Sixty representatives from the French luxury travel and MICE sectors met the group. Picture shows  Helen Murphy, Fota Island Resort, Co Cork; David Anderson, Montalto Estate, Ballynahinch, Co Down; Caroline Phelan, Tourism Ireland; and Siobhán Butler, Adams & Butler, in Paris.

Fáilte Ireland hosted a sales blitz with US travel agents and buyers at the US Destination Expo in Dromoland Castle, Co Clare. 45 buyers attended.

MIDDLE EAST MEETS WESTA group of tour operators from the Middle East were hosted by Tourism Ireland on a visit to the island. The group’s itinerary included visits to the Chester Beatty Library, TCD, Titanic Belfast, the Burren Perfumery, the Cliffs of Moher, Bunratty Castle, the Irish National Stud and the Japanese Gardens. Picture shows Gisele Mansfieldof Kildare Village, Christina Gregory of Touirsm Island and tour guide Peter Byrn with the group at Kildare Village.

West Cork Surviving or Thriving pic1West Cork Development Partnership conference took place last week. The event, ‘West Cork: Surviving or Thriving?’, looked at trends in the tourism, agriculture, retail and science sectors. Picture shows Bernadette Power of the Department of Economics UCC, Ian Dempsey CEO West Cork  Development Partnership and Patrick Neary, Technical Director National Broadband Plan, Department of Communications, at the event.

WILLKOMMEN IN IRELAND FOR GERMAN BUSINESS TOURISM GROUPTwelve representatives from German business tourism companies visited Ireland this week as guests of Tourism Ireland and Fáilte Ireland in conjunction with Aer Lingus and Event Partners. The group’s itinerary included a networking reception, visits to a number venues and hotels including the Convention Centre Dublin, the Guinness Storehouse, Number 10 on Ormond Quay and the Marker Hotel. The group was treated to an afternoon at the Powerscourt Hotel which included a chance to play the bodhrán and a hurling lesson. They sampled a Wild Foods Master Class with Evan Doyle at the BrookLodge and Macredding Village and took part in a Fabulous Food Trail in Dublin. Picture shows the German business tourism buyers trying their hand at hurling with Richard Phelan of Dynamic Events in the groups of the Powercourt Hotel, Co Wicklow.

The Sligo Live festival continues until tomorrow (Oct 27). Highlights at the music festival include Sheryl Crow, Bell X1 and the Horslips. Bus Éireann reminds festival goers that it is running an Expressway Route 23 service from Busáras to Sligo bus station.

SELECT MTH_3036Cinemagic and Aer Lingus announced the airline’s sponsorship of the premiere screenings for Cinemagic’s new Northern Ireland feature film, A Christmas Star. Aer Lingus will support Cinemagic will its air travel during the making of the film and with their scheduled premieres. Earlier in the year, the production of the Christmas film was announced, the first to be made by Cinemagic Young Filmmakers, which gives young people across the island the chance to work with Oscar and BAFTA award winners. Picture shows Joan Burney Keatings Chief Executive of Cinemagic and Andrea Hunter, Aer Lingus Business Development Manager, NI.

The Burren and the Cliffs of Moher are listed in the Geological Society of London’s 100 Great Geosites.

IRELAND – READY TO DO BUSINESS IN LAS VEGASThirty-one reps from Irish tourism companies travelled to IMEX America in Las Vegas. Around 3,000 buyers, mostly from North America, attended the three-day event. Picture shows Paul Carnell and Niamh Burns of The Convention Centre Dublin with Billy Condon of Tourism Ireland at the event.

Visitor Attractions Taking Centre StageFáilte Ireland launched a new programme called Visitor Attraction – Management Development Programme for managers of visitor attractions in the East and South regions. Over the next six months, the group of managers will take part in six modules focusing on management and a residential in York where they will explore how attractions are helping provide positive experiences for visitors. The participants:  Kilkenny – St Canice’s Cathedral & Round Tower, Smithwicks Experience Kilkenny, Rothe House & Gardens; Waterford – Waterford Treasure, Mount Congreve Estatel; Wexford –  JF Kennedy Trust Ltd, Hook Lighthouse, Irish National Heritage Park; Cork – Cobh Heritage Centre, Camden Fort Meagher, Spike Island, CIT Blackrock Castle Observatory, Lifetime lab, Cork Butter Museum, Titanic Experience Cobh, Irish Heritage Trust; Wicklow – Powerscourt Estate, Russbourough House; Kildare – Irish National Stud; Meath – Causey Farm, OPW Bru Na Boinne & Battle of the Boyne, Tayto Park; and Dublin – OPW Rathfarnham Castle. Picture shows Justine Carey of Fáilte Ireland with Anne Lawlor of Irish National Stud.

Belfast Zoo will see the delivery of a Western lowland gorilla named Namoki from Bristol Zoo.

Family Day Out At Titanic BelfastNITB Halloween events: Banks of the Foyle Halloween Carnival, until November 3, highlights include GhostBus tours and night time markets; Into the Deep Marine Festival, Titanic Belfast, until November 2, highlights include marine survival demos and interactive marine touch tank; star gazing and dress-up at the Planetarium, October 28, 6-9pm; and fireworks displays at Seapark Fireworks, Metro Monster Mash, Halloween Howler, Hallowtides Festival and Fermanagh Fireworks Festival.

Westmeath County Council unveiled a sculpture of Irish tenor John Count McCormack, renamed a square in Athlone in his honour and opened an exhibition in Athlone Castle dedicated to the singer. Next year marks the 70th anniversary of McCormack’s death. Born in Athlone in 1884, the tenor enjoyed a successful career singing to concert halls across Ireland, Europe and the USA. When he was 21, McCormack studying under maestro Vincenzo Sabatini in Milan and at 23 he became the youngest tenor to ever sing a major role at Convent Gargen when he appeared in Cavalleria Rusticana.

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

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

HEADLINESAVIATIONAFLOATFOOD & WINEHOTELSINTERNATIONALIRELANDTRAVEL TRADE

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.

  • DiscoverIreland.ie uploaded a promo video for the Discover Ireland Autumn Break. It shows Ryan Tubridy taking the xtreme.ie 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.

Headlines

berlin-group

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 schooltour.ie, 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 Jet2.com 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, Themeparkbeds.com, 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.

Hotels

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.

Trivago.ie 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.

International

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.

Aviation

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.

Jet2.com 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.

Afloat

  • 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.

Ireland

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 editor@travelextra.ie 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

HEADLINESAVIATIONAFLOATFOOD & WINEHOTELSINTERNATIONALIRELANDTRAVEL TRADE – DEAL WATCH

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.

Headlines

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.

Hotels

  • 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.
  • Hotels.com 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.

International

  • 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 8.km 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 bill@mushroomstuff.com.

Aviation

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.

SendMyBag.ie 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.

Afloat

  • 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.

Ireland

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.

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