The headlines this week:
*Dublin to become Europe’s sixth busiest transatlantic hub
*CSO: Outbound travel up 6.9pc, inbound travel up 6.7pc
*Inside the doors of the Dean
*Ryanair’s 35-second ‘turnaround’
*Westport and Kinsale named Ireland’s tourism towns
Travel Extra TV
Video of the week shows passengers pushing a UTair jet after its brakes froze in -52C temperatures at Igarka airport, Russia. Watch here.
- Eoghan Corry’s video shows guests dancing on board the inaugural cruise of the refurbished and elongated MSC Armonia – it’s unusual not to see Travel Extra’s editor dancing himself! Watch here.
- Discover Northern Ireland’s discover Derry series: Events in Derry (watch here); Uncover the legend of the walled city (watch here); History at the Tower Museum (watch here); and Visit the Guildhall (watch here).
- Discover Northern Ireland showcases Belfast Christmas Market at the grounds of Belfast City Hall until December 21. Watch here.
- A Dreamliner 787 was donated to the Seattle’s Museum of Flight. Watch here.
- The United States Embassy in Dublin introduces the exhibition celebrating the embassy’s 50th Watch here.
- Flybe introduces the Dublin-LCY route (watch here) and Dublin-Inverness (watch here).
- Jet landing in heavy fog at Dublin Airport. Watch here.
- Da Mao the giant panda plays in the snow at Toronto Zoo. Watch here.
- A mysterious and soundless yellow flash lights up the night sky in Sverdlovsk, Russia. It is not clear what caused the effect, but it was most likely military tests, a rocket launch, a meteor or a factory explosion. Watch here.
- A “second life” for waste at Airbus. Watch here.
- TAT’s ‘I Hate Thailand’ viral video received over 1.7m views. Watch here.
- The Ocean Brothers freedivers demonstrate how they are able to walk “on” water. Watch here.
Three, two, and now one. Friday’s acquisition of WingsAbroad by Sunway has transformed the Irish market to Turkey for summer 2015. WingsAbroad was the tour operating wing of Peninsula Tours which has been offering Irish holiday-makers value holidays in Turkey for 25 years in Kusadasi, Bodrum and Altinkum. The portfolio includes the Golden Wings in Kusadasi, the Marina Hotel, Grand Onder, Palm Wings Beach Resort and Melissa Apartments, which has an Irish pub.
For existing clients of Wings Abroad, there will be no disruption to services and Sunway will be in contact with these clients or their travel agents, in relation to their forthcoming travel arrangements. Detail of the 2015 programme will be finalised at a meeting tomorrow (Monday), and there is likely to be a reduction in capacity for summer 2015. Tayfun Gokpinar the former MD of Wings Abroad Ireland, who is in Istanbul this week, will depart the operation while John and Joan Scanlon and Stephen Long will be joining Sunway.
For the past four seasons, Turkey was regarded as oversupplied and underpriced, with Thomas Cook (originally Sunworld) leading the market followed by Sunway before WingsAbroad entered in 2011 with 10,000 seats increasing to 12,500 seats in 2013 and 13,500 seats in 2014. Thomas Cook withdrew abruptly form the 2014 season. Now WingsAbroad programme has been taken over by Sunway. Aer Lingus have increased their Izmir programme in 2015 and Dublin will regain the flights to Antalya it lost when Thomas Cook withdrew. Wings Abroad Ireland continued after the closure of Peninsula’s separate London based operation in June 2012.
The 52 bedroom Dean Hotel opened at 33 Harcourt Street, Dublin last weekend. Beds range from the smaller Mod Pods and Punk Bunks to double and twin rooms with dual aspect Hi-Fi’s, two luxury suites – the Devlin and the James – and a two bedroom penthouse with a huge living space. Rooms feature Rega turntables, vinyl and books from Tower Records, Marshall amps, Nespresso machines, SMEG fridges, Irish munchie trays, Light’n’soft duvets, fluffy pillows, rainforest showers, Grafton Barber bathroom products, Smart TVs, Netflix, Wi-Fi and air conditioning. Public spaces are hung with €250,000’s worth of artworks from emerging Irish artists featuring fine art, typography, street art and photography. F&B includes the Dean Bar on the ground floor and the Rooftop Terrace from 7am, Sophie’s roof top bar offering a panoramic view of Dublin and the formal Blue Room on the first floor. The hotel, the capital’s first opening since the Marker in April 2013, styles itself “a luxury residence that sets the scene with strong contemporary design and a great soundtrack and finishes with warm, friendly service and a great sense of humour”.
Dublin Airport will have a record 162 transatlantic flights a week next summer during peak season, meaning it will overtake Rome to become Europe’s sixth busiest transatlantic hub, not far behind Madrid. The flights include seven daily to New York (5 JFK, 2 to Newark), four daily to Chicago, two daily to Boston, 18 weekly to Toronto, 11 weekly to Dulles, daily to Atlanta, Philadelphia, Charlotte, San Francisco and St John’s, four weekly to Orlando and three weekly to Los Angeles. Altanta, Charlotte and Philadelphia will operate larger aircraft. Early departures to Atlanta and the new Aer Lingus JFK flight will help answers questions about a shortage of widebody stands in Terminal 2.
Ama Waterways hosted Irish trade and media on its flagship AmaCerto on a Christmas markets river cruise from Basel to Amsterdam this week. Marie Claire Porter from Sunway, Ama’s GSA in Ireland hosted the group which took in excursions to Freiburg, Strasbourg and Heidelberg. Rivercruise is the fastest growing sector within the Irish travel trade and the group found some of Sunway’s customers on the cruise. See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook
Stobart Air CEO Julian Carr has resigned after just six months. Sean Brogan, Stobart Air chairman, has taken over the day-to-day running of the airline. He is pictured with Christine Ourmieres, CEO of Cityjet at the launch of partnership between the airlines last week.
The CSO reported that outbound travel by Irish residents was up 6.9pc for August-October 2014, the highest growth since the recession began, and inbound travel to Ireland was up 6.7pc. If the increases of 9pc in inbound tourism, 9pc from Britain, 14.5pc from N America, and 10pc from long haul are born out for the 32 counties until the end of the year, Ireland can expect 8.65m tourists in 2014, 4.2m from Britain and 1.2m from N America.
Ryanair’s EGM to approve an order for up to 200 B737 Max aircraft lasted just 35 seconds. Three external shareholders attended the meeting at the airline’s headquarters in Swords. 99.93pc of votes approved the order. Non-executive director James Osbourne asked Michael O’Leary to say a few words, but he declined. The meeting was closed and the room was quickly vacated for cabin crew training.
Westport and Kinsale were named Ireland’s National Large Tourism Town and National Small Tourism Town at the Tourism Towns Awards presented by Minister Michael Ring and Fáilte Ireland. Both towns received a €5,000 grant towards developing themselves as tourism destinations. Other commended towns were: Ardmore, Waterford; Carick on Shannon, Leitrim; Cobh, Cork; Glengarriff, Cork; Kilkenny, Kilkenny; Killarney, Kerry; Lismore, Waterford; Portmagee, Kerry.
Sunway and Tunisia National Tourist Office hosted travel trade and media at an event in Dublin to reflect on a successful 2014 programme. Sami Tounsi from the Tunisia NTO told the guests he was very happy with Ireland’s performance in sales to Tunisia. Tanya Airey thanked the trade for all their support and Sunway is delighted that Tunisia has well and truly made its mark in Ireland and is seen as a great value and very beautiful sun destination.
Terri McCollin and Brenda Collin of Preferred Hotel Group on a visit to the K Club in Straffan. Preferred markets 650 luxury hotels in 85 countries and is growing, including five in Ireland, Dromoland, the Dylan, Fitzwilliam, Europe in Killarney and K Club.
Declan O’Connell’s Lee Travel, with six shops based in the Cork region, has chosen Galileo as the preferred GDS.
Travel Counsellors reported sales growth of 11pc at their annual conference in Manchester.
Shares in Thomas Cook Group plummeted 18pc in London trading after Harriet Green, the chief executive behind the revival of the ailing travel agent’s fortunes, abruptly quit. Company COO Peter Fankhauser will replace Harriet Green who said: “The transformation of Thomas Cook into a company with a market capitalisation of just under £2bn and a share price of over 130 pence is one I have been proud to lead. I always said that I would move on to another company with fresh challenges once my work was complete. That time is now.”
Red Sea Holidays is to launch in Ireland with an allocation on Falcon Holidays charter flights from Dublin to Sharm El Sheikh starting summer 2015. Former CEO of Panorama and MyTravel Ireland, Niall McDonnell (pictured), is to head up the business.
Thomas Cook sent a letter to suppliers of back office services six weeks ago telling them it would now be paying them in 90 days, as opposed to the 60-day period it had previously used.
John Cassidy and John Spollen were joint winners of the services to the industry award at the Irish Travel Trade News event on Friday night. Irish Travel Trade News celebrates 50 years of publication this year.
Amadeus confirmed TAM Airlines as its launch partner on its new solution to allow airlines to better manage delayed and cancelled flights.
From early 2015, over CarTrawler is to add car, limousine with driver, taxi, shuttle service and GPS-located transport options for 500m airline passengers. Many of these products are already available and the company has plans for significant expansion of this portfolio in 2015. Bobby Healy, CTO of CarTrawler said the company has anticipated the need for a more comprehensive range of ground transportation solutions that can be personalised by customer, by country and by continent.
Dubai reported a 19pc increase in Irish visitors this August to 3,301, compared with 2,775 in August 2013.
Pictured in Strasbourg on an Ama Waterways hosted river cruise press trip with Sunway to the Christmas Markets of the Rhineland, Eoghan Corry of Travel Extra, Marie Claire Porter of Suwnay, Lorraine Kenny of Ask Susan, Anna Kenny of the Sunday Independent, Katie Byrne of the Irish Independent and Ros Drinkwater of the Sunday Business Post.
Perowne Charles Communications is now representing Six Senses Hotels, Resorts & Spas, which will add resorts in Seychelles, Chengdu and Douro Valley to its 2015 portfolio
The Irish Strategic Investment Fund is considering investing in the tourism sector, fund director Michael Lee told the fifth annual Tourism Policy Workshop last weekend.
British Airway’s new seat sale to the USA: selling until the December 8, for travel from the December 3 – May 31; New York €192, Boston €206, Austin €242, Los Angeles €184, San Francisco €220, Las Vegas €246, Orlando €200, and Philadelphia €226. See your GDS for full details.
Travel Professionals Skillnet training: Facebook Advanced Advertising training with Carole Smith from SynNeo, Tuesday Dec 2,9.30am-1pm, cost: €70, more info/bookings. Managing on the Frontline with Jerry Kelly of First HRD, Tuesday Dec 9, 9.30am-5.30pm, cost: €100 members or €150 non-members, more info/bookings. Two Excel courses for €150 if you book and pay online by Dec 17, contact Fionnuala for more: 01-4179696 or firstname.lastname@example.org. FETAC Level 5 occupational first aid, 9.30am-5.30pm December 10, 11 and 17, cost: €220 members or €280 non-members, more info/bookings. Fire Warden Training, 9.30am-5.30pm December 16, costs: €120 members or €170 non-members.
Travel Professionals Skillnet is also offering a 70pc discount on their Advance Excel programme on March 12, 9am-5pm, Dublin. Participants can choose from a list 22 topics. For more information, contact Fionnuala on 01-4179696 or email@example.com.
- ITAA offers: 7 nights self-catering Leaving Cert Hotel at International II Apartments, Salou from €425pp incl. return flights from Dublin and transfers, depart July 2; 4 nights camping at Puccini Rivera Mobile, Rome from €1,115 for two adults and two children incl. return flights from Dublin and 1-day Rome Sightseeing Bus Hop on-Hop off tour, depart June 2015; 7 nights all inclusive at Da Balaia Apartments, Albufeira from €1,899 for two adults and two children incl. return flights from Cork, baggage and transfers, depart May 24.
- Click and Go is offering 2 nights in five-star Radisson Blu Es Hotel, Rome from €289pp return flights from Dublin, taxes and charges; depart February 13, 2015.
- Sunway is offering 10 nights full board on Norwegian Jade from €599pp inside cabin, return flights from Dublin and $100 to spend on board, depart Dec 3.
- Globe Hotels is offering 7 nights half board at Pilot Beach Resort, Crete from €254pps, depart April 27. Book by today: 01-2569529 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Camino Ways early bird offers: 7-day Camino de Santiago, Sarria-Santiago from €492pps incl. luggage transfer and holiday pack; 7-day Via Francigena in Tuscany, San Miniato-Siena from €578pps incl. luggage transfer and holiday pack.
- Powder White is offering 2-for-1 ski passes in Courchevel 1850 resort for dates after Jan 3.
- Falcon is offering 7 nights self-catering Dublin-Porto Rico, Gran Canaria from €1,279pp for two adults and one child, depart June 6.
- Thomson is offering 7 nights self-catering Dublin-Playa de Las Americas, Tenerife from €1,379 for two adults and one child, departs May 22.
- Sunway offers, departing May 2015: 7 nights self-catering Orlando Disney Private Holiday Home from €610pp incl. 7 day SUV car hire; 3 nights B&B Ocean View Hotel, Dubai from €870pp; and 7 nights all-inclusive Barcelo Solymar, Varadero, Cuba from €1,099pp.
- Travel Department’s yoga holiday to the Algarve: 5-nights B&B in Memmo Baleeira Hotel, Sagres from €699pps incl. return flights, evening meal each day, 8 yoga sessions, taxes and charges.
- Quick Park offering parking at Dublin Airport from €3 per day (book online). Bookings before December 31 will receive complimentary family pass for CityScape Dublin Luxury Sightseeing and free admission for a night at the dogs.
- La Chenevière became the first five-star hotel in le Bessin, Normandy.
- According to Trivago, the average hotel price in Dublin for New Year’s Eve is €147.
- Thermes Marins Monte-Carlo re-opened after a refurbishment programme.
- The restoration and refurbishment of Killarney House is due to be completed next month, and it is expected to open next year.
A survey by travel money specialists No 1 Currency showed that Irish tourists have more than €110m in foreign currency stashed in their homes. Of those who travelled outside of the Eurozone, Britain is the most popular destination (44pc) followed very closely by the US at 42pc. Australia and Canada follow at 9pc and 8pc respectively, with a further 7pc visiting Asia.
- The Tourism Council of Bhutan announced that visitor numbers from Jan-Sept rose to 88,138 from 75,771 last year.
- The International Mediterranean Tourism Market will take place in Tel Aviv at the Israel Trade Fair and Convention Centre on February 10 and 11, 2015.
- Bermuda will host the 2017 America’s Cup.
- Portugal was named world’s best destination at the 2014 World Golf Awards.
- Italy is looking to ban trolley cases in Venice due to the noise and damage caused to the cobbled streets.
- Cambodia is to build a memorial and museum in Phnom Penh dedicated to the victims of genocide. Construction is expected to begin next year.
- A Russian tourist was fined €20,000 and given a four-year suspended sentence for carving a 10-inch ‘K’ into a wall of the
- The glass walkway over the River Thames in London was cracked two weeks after it opened by a stiletto and a dropped beer bottle.
- Uber is close to raising a round of financing that will value it at $35bn-$40bn. Investors reckon the start-up is more valuable than Twitter and Hertz, according to Bloomberg.
- Qatar Airways will sponsor the St Andrew Square Ice Rink in Edinburgh.
Food & Wine
The Christmas Food Emporium opens at the National Crafts & Design Fair in the RDS. The event takes place from December 3 to 7, 10am-10pm and until 7pm on Saturday and Sunday. Over 100 artisan food producers will feature in the food emporium. Tickets €10.
Portugal gained 14 Michelin stars for 2015 adding two new restaurants in Portugal, making in total 17 stars.
Lonely Planet’s best places for extreme eating, including snake soup in China, guinea pig in Peru and Witchetty grubs, Australia. Read here.
Thirty skiers and snowboarders will be selected to dine in two Vanoise Express cable cars suspended 380 metres in the air. The five-course menu will be prepared by Michelin star chef Stéphane Foidevaux. Those who register a Paradiski lift pass between Feb 7 and 10 will be entered into a draw. The dinner will take place Feb 12.
The remaining PSO routes from Dublin to Kerry and Donegal were both awarded to Stobart Air. Donegal-Dublin was previously operated by Loganair with Flybe branding.
CSA Czech Airlines will re-launch Cork-Prague for summer 2015 using an A319. OK676 will operate on Thursdays and Sundays from Prague. OK677 will operate on Friday and Mondays from Cork.
Transavia will fly daily from Dublin to Paris Orly next year, flying at 09.05 on Saturday and 19.55 on every other day, returning at 06.30 on Saturdays and 18.20 every other day.
Aer Lingus Regional is to fly 4w from Dublin to Newquay from May 1, increasing to 5w a week in the peak, the first direct service to Cornwall since Air Southwest closed its routes to Cork and Dublin in September 2011.
Luxair will commence a weekly charter to Faro next summer. Flights to Antalya will also resume next summer for the first time since Thomas Cook closed their operations in Ireland.
United are to fly Dublin-Chicago between June 4 and August 17 next summer, leaving Dublin at 09.50 and O’Hare at 18.05 daily. Flight times will be seven hours 30 minutes eastbound and eight hours 25 minutes westbound. The flights will operate using Boeing 757-200 with 16 flat-bed seats business class, 45 in economy plus and 153 in economy. United will also be adding New York to Venice and Washington to Paris in summer 2015.
Two more Irish CEOs have been appointed to head up airlines abroad: Dick Creagh to Meridiana Fly in Sardinia and Paul Byrne to flynas in Saudi Arabia.
Christine Ourmières said a decision on fleet renewal at Cityjet won’t be made until summer next year and such a decision is “complex”. She expects the airline to break-even in 2015 and be profitable in 2016.
Michael O’Leary is coming to Shannon tommorrow Monday to celebrate the airlines 13 millionth passenger through the airport. He told the CEO Forum conference in Dublin Castle that Ryanair was “the biggest international airline in the world, it’s not Pan Am, it’s not British Airways, it’s a bunch of bloody Paddies based out in Swords.” He also said “we can’t be Robin Hood anymore, we have to be the cuddly caring sherriff of Nottingham.” Both Michael O’Leary and Kenny Jacobs talked up the possibility of Ryanair starting a tranatlantic subsisiday in three to five years at separate internatinal conferences. Éist anseo le Eoghan Corry eagarthoir Travel Extra air an eide tugtha ag Michael O’ Leary go b’fhéadfadh sé tarlú nach fada go mbeidh an aerlíne ag freastal ar an mbealach tras-Atlantach idir an Eoraip agus Stát Aontaithe Mheiriceá.
Ryanair plans to remove paper from the flight deck, eliminating 15kgs of manuals from each cockpit, and with Ryanair operating over 550,000 flights annually, creating fuel savings, while also eliminating more than 10 million pages of paper documentation.
Flybe is to operate a new year round service from George Best Belfast City Airport to Liverpool John Lennon Airport from February 2,
Germanwings is to operate from Cologne to Shannon next summer, replacing the airline’s route from Cologne to Knock.
Shannon Airport CEO Neil Pakey told anna aero the airport is targeting 1.7m passengers this year and is aiming for 2.5m in five years. In the past we made the mistake of just route chasing. We’re expecting a lot of growth through frequency build and aircraft upgrade. The hub connectivity over Heathrow is very strong and the transit to Shannon from the US is second to none. We’d like another hub carrier over the USA, maybe from Africa, the Gulf and Asia. We have reversed the five-year decline in passenger numbers and are back in growth in 2014. We just announced 28pc growth in October, which is pretty astounding. We will consolidate now, ensure that all the new routes we have added are used and that we bring in new tourists to the region from the USA and other continents.”
Ryanair’s legal case against screenscrapers which re-sell its flights on their own websites will be heard in the Republic following a Supreme Court ruling. Billigfluege, On the Beach and Ticketpoint are seeking to overturn a High Court ruling that the Irish courts had the jurisdiction to hear the case.
Norwegian Air Shuttle CEO Bjørn Kjos told the International Aviation Club in Washington DC that Norwegian’s trans-Atlantic operation is based in Ireland because Norway is too isolated to serve as the base for a global long-haul network and that Irish labour laws played no role in the decision to base Norwegian Air International in Ireland. “It has nothing to do with labour costs, I didn’t even look at the labour laws in Ireland when I was setting up.” He said America’s Transport Authroties ares going against US economic interests by not approving Norwegian’s application.
Estonian Air will offer charter flights from Tallinn to Ireland from June to October 2015 in collaboration with Germalo Reisid.
Dublin Airport transfer passengers were up 38pc on last year to the end of October. Last year, it had fewer than 550,000 transit passengers for the entire 12 months. This year, with the Christmas period still to come, it is already 100,000 ahead of that number.
Flybe announced that it will add 5 additional weekday flights between London City Airport and Belfast City Airport from Feb 2.
A US Airways passenger brought a pig on board as an emotional support animal. Cabin crew had to paraphrase an old saying: Pigs don’t fly. The animal was ordered off the aircraft. Initially, crew thought the woman was carrying a duffel bag, but the smell was the giveaway.
European Commission director general of transport João Aguiar Machado said 20 or more European airports are expected to be operating at 80pc or more capacity by 2035.
A man travelling from Manchester to Cuba for his honeymoon was ordered off the aircraft in Bermuda after drunkenly threatening cabin crew and forcing an emergency landing. His new wife continued the journey without him…and they all lived happily ever after.
CityJet and Stobart Air signed a partnership agreement that will see Stobart operate CityJet’s Cardiff-Edinburgh and Cardiff-Paris routes using an ATR 42 from tomorrow (Dec 1).
- Stobart Air confirmed that it will cease operations from Shannon Airport to Bristol, Birmingham and Edinburgh from January 5, losing 20 flights a week.
- Ryanair won a victory against the EU commission in the EU’s second-highest court regarding its complaint against Ireland’s air travel tax. Ryanair claimed that, because the tax was not levied on transit passengers, it constituted state aid for the benefit of rivals Aer Lingus as they had a higher proportion of passengers transferring in Ireland. The Irish position was supported by Germany.
- An Austrian Airlines flight en route from Vienna to Newark had to divert to Shannon after a passenger on board suffered a suspected heart attack.
- Malaysia Airlines apologised for a supposedly offensive tweet on Friday. “Want to go somewhere, but don’t know where?” the airline tweeted, which some social media users deemed insensitive. The airline also said its quarterly revenue was down 12pc to 3.33bn ringgit.
- The same B777-200 jet operated by British Airways had to be diverted to Shannon Airport twice in three days.
- SAS and Etihad Airways announced plans for their codeshare agreement, including a liaised frequent flyers programme.
- The court of appeal in England is likely to rule next month on whether Ryanair should cut its stake in Aer Lingus from 29.8pc to 5pc.
- Etihad now holds a 22.9pc stake in Virgin Australia, the maximum allowed by the Foreign Investment Review Board in Australia.
- Shannon Group launched a website for the International Aviation Services Centre, iasc.ie.
- Virgin Atlantic is looking to lease two sets of Heathrow slots previously occupied by Little Red.
- Aer Lingus Regional was awarded the tender to provide services on the Donegal-Dublin and Kerry-Dublin routes.
- Air France is to transfer all short haul activity to HOP from the beginning of summer 2015.
- Pre-tax profits at French and US-owned Shannon Engine Support Ltd, an aircraft engine leasing firm based in Shannon, were down 10pc to €36.75m.
- Brazilian carrier TAM reportedly changed one its flight numbers after clairvoyant Jucelino Nobrega da Luz told the airline that flight number JJ3720 would crash in Sao Paulo en route to Brasilia. TAM changed the flight code to JJ4732.
- Ryanair announced a new partnership with booking.com.
- Chief executive of Lufthansa, Carsten Spohr, said the airline has gained a slice of the German domestic market.
- IATA announced a new voluntary agreement on behalf of members flying to, from and within Europe to help passengers impacted by airline bankruptcy.
- Christoph Mueller told the Future of Air Transport conference in London that Aer Lingus has been approached by a number of airlines seeking contracts similar to the one it operated with Virgin Atlantic’s Little Red.
- Etihad Airways celebrated the inaugural flight from Vienna to Abu Dhabi with its codeshare partner, NIKI.
- Flybe will operate a year-round Liverpool Airport-Belfast City Airport service from Feb 2.
- Emirates and the Department of Tourism in Dubai launched the ‘See You in Dubai’ campaign this week. The airline uploaded a series of promotional videos to YouTube: Join the waddle (watch here), Conversations in high places (watch here), Dhow journey (watch here), and Beach restaurant (watch here).
- Qatar Airways sponsored the Journalist of the Year award at the Foreign Press Association’s annual awards.
- Etihad and Air Seychelles will add three flights per week to their Abu Dhabi-Seychelles route, effective Dec 1.
- Flybe signed a codeshare agreement with Aer Lingus to offer flights from Southampton Airport to North America via Dublin.
Rosslare Europort is to begin dredging of sand build-up from storms at the harbour breakwater, after two weeks of storms in January and February caused nine times the average annual sand movement. Sand movement was estimated up to 100,000m3, unprecedented given the typical annual average levels of 11,000m3. Iarnród Éireann has allocated funding of €1.4m for this project, and the dredging work is expected to take approximately three weeks. Normal port operations will continue throughout these works.
Irish Ferries is increasing its Dublin to Holyhead sailing capacity for Christmas drafting in the Isle of Inishmore to serve alongside fast ferry Dublin Swift and Ulysses. The Oscar Wilde will be drafted on to Rosslare to Pembroke to operate the route in addition to its sailings between Ireland and France. Dermot Merrigan said ‘this is our busiest time of the year and we’re preparing for the situation that hit travellers in previous years when bad weather disrupted air travel and sent thousands of passengers in search of alternative means to travel home.
Celebrity Constellation will be based in Abu Dhabi during the winter of 2016-17. A choice of sailings from nine to 15 nights are available, featuring overnights in a choice of destinations such as Dubai and Oman that will offer guests the opportunity to make the most of the winter sun. The cruise line also announced new sailings to India, Asia and South Pacific
- Norwegian purchased Princess Cruises’ Ocean Princess and intends adding it to the Oceania Cruises fleet under the name Sirena. Norwegian completed its acquisition of Prestige Cruises International for $3.025bn.
- Holland America is the latest cruise line to introduce single cabins, on Koningsdam, scheduled for delivery 2016. The 2,650-passenger ship will also have family oceanview cabins, a two-tier Queen’s Lounge and two swimming pools, all firsts for NCL.
- Royal Caribbean’s Majesty of the Seas is to be sold to Spanish cruise line Pullmantur in April 2016.
- Scenic Cruises’ newest ship, Scenic Spirit, will debut in 2016 on the Mekong.
- The search for an 84-year-old man who went overboard from the Sun Princess ship in New Zealand was called off.
Fáilte Ireland hosted a Dublin Goes Digital conference and launched a new partnership with Enterprise Ireland. Pictured at the conference: Ian Cleary, Razorcoast; Alistair MacGregor, Trip Advisor; Orla Carroll , Fáilte Ireland; Brendan Almack, Wolfgang Digital; and Alan Coleman, Wolfgang Digital.
Twenty-two inbound tour operators from Britain visited Ireland this week as guests of Tourism Ireland. Itinerary, which was created by Fáilte Ireland, included visits to the Museum of Country Life in Castlebar, Kylemore Abbey, Clonmacnoise and the Guinness Storehouse. Two networking events took place in Westport and Dublin. Picture shows the tour operators at the Museum of Country Life with Harri Grunitz, Tourism Ireland; tour guide Conor Ellard; and Marlene Burke, Fáilte Ireland.
Twelve Irish tourism businesses travelled to New Zealand and Australia as part of Tourism Ireland’s final overseas trade mission for 2014. The group will travel to Auckland, Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne and Perth during an eight-day sales blitz. Picture shows the delegation with Jim Paul and Diane Butler of Tourism Ireland in Brisbane.
- Ireland’s second bike rental scheme has been launched in Galway. Similar schemes will be launched for Cork and Limerick next month.
- A road train service called Toots between Howth Summit and Malahide Castle will be launched during St Patrick’s week in 2015.
- Chairman of the Docklands Business Forum Ciaran Flanagan said developing the Dublin docklands into a maritime tourism destination could deliver 1,200 jobs and a €36m investment.
- Clare County Council, Loop Head Tourism, The Heritage Council and Fáilte Ireland launched the Loop Head & Kilkee Heritage Trail on the Wild Atlantic Way. The guide trail features 18 heritage attractions including the West Clare Railway, the Church of the Little Ark, Kilkee Victorian Town and the Brigest of Ross, as well as other WAW Discovery and Signature points. Jackie Whelan of the Moyasta-based West Clare Railway Museum.
- Under the guidance of Bord Fáilte, Cork City Council and Cork Country Council are to establish a new tourism strategy group.
- Irish coach firm Matthews hosted its first group of Latvian tourists who visited Dundalk for a whiskey tour.
- A steel cross was re-erected on Carrauntoohil.