Author Archives: Sixdayexpert

Travel Extra’s Sunday Supplement: Malaysia Airlines Gets a Vote of Confidence


Djurgården, Stockholm; where Travel Extra’s Conor McMahon baked in 32 degree heat this week.


*Just 7pc of Irish customers take up MH change offer

*Etihad showcases three class Airbus 330

*Aereps ends representation of Las Vegas and NYC&Co

*Simon Daly joins Topflight

*Travelfinder’s new look site

*Bad week for aviation: casualties already double 2013 figure

*Air carriers rethink regional conflicts threats

Travel Extra TV

Our video of the week shows salvage workers and locals in Giglio gathering to see the retrieved Costa Concordia cruise liner set out on her long awaited trip north to Genoa for dismantlement.

  • When DoSomethingDifferent’s Ireland Country Manager Graham Hennessy arrived at the London head office last month, he was asked two questions at his induction: could he rap and would he prefer to be a penguin or a flamingo. Here’s why.kayak on whale
  • Of dubious veracity, but worth a look is the video of two kayakers near the coastal city of Puerto Madryn in Argentina who got a little too close to a sperm whale, the largest toothed predator, and were lifted on to its back (watch here). The commentary recorded in Spanish translates as: Male: I’m filming. Look, that one is coming over here. Can you see her? Female: Yes. Male: Look. (whale growls) That one got angry at you. Look, here you have another one … that one’s going to crash into us, eh? Female: Take pictures of them, take pictures of them. Male: I’m filming them. Female: But I want one for Face (Facebook) Male: I’ll get one later. Female: Aahhhhh! Male: Look! It’s coming to bite your oar. Look! Look! Look! Look! Look! Look! Look! Look! Incredible, incredible, incredible! Loooooook! It touched us. We’re on top of the whale, we’re on top of the whale, we’re on top of the whale. Look, look, look, we have two. Maintain your balance, maintain your balance only. Look, look, look, look. Incredible. Look, look. Look look. Look.
  • This timelapse video reduces a ten hour flight from Tokyo to San Francisco into an 83 second clip. Watch here.
  • POV footage of thrill-seekers on the Sky Tower at Tivoli Friheden in Aarhus, Denmark, racked up over 2m YouTube videos over the week. Punters are dropped 130ft onto a net at 90km/h. Watch here.
  • Moving footage by The London Telegraph shows the bodies of the victims of flight MH17 arriving in the Netherlands. Watch here.
  • Footage shows Joel Flynn flying an A350-XWB with a 3D printed titanium bracket. Airbus says the aircraft, which is set for delivery by the end of the year, could herald a new future for aerospace production. Watch here.

Headlinesben gurion

That was quick. The US FAA issued a ban on US carriers flying to Tel Aviv after a rocket struck a mile from Ben Gurion airport on Tuesday.  The ban was extended Wednesday, but was suddenly lifted just hours later. This sets a precedent for other airports hit by blanket bans, although few other countries can match Israel’s considerable lobbying and PR nous.  While British Airways (from Heathrow Terminal 5) and El Al (from Heathrow Terminal 1) continued to operate services to Ben Gurion International Airport, flights were cancelled by Air Berlin, Air Canada, Air France, Alitalia, American Airlines, Austrian Airlines, Brussels Airlines, Delta, EasyJet, Germanwings, Iberia, KLM, LOT, Lufthansa, SAS, Swiss and United Airlines. European Aviation Safety Agency said on Tuesday that it “strongly recommended” that airlines refrain from operating flights to and from Tel Aviv. El Al was accused of increasing fares 150pc during the suspension of flights by other carriers. Overall, it has been a terrible ten days for aviation: MH17, GE222, AH5017, a temporary Tel Aviv closure and aircraft destroyed in Libya.

ken masterson 150In a brave move, Malaysia Airlines offered customers a 48-hour cancellation or refund period this week. While there were a number of enquiries for amendments and refunds initially, few of these resulted in actual cancellations. Malaysia estimate postponements and refunds to be between 5-7pc of total bookings. Load factors from London and Europe remain high whilst forward bookings from Ireland having dropped initially following the incident, are now getting back to normal levels. Malaysia say they have had lots of positive feedback and support from the trade in Ireland, which they hugely appreciate. “We are working closely with our trade colleagues to help alleviate any concerns their clients may have.” A letter to agents last Wednesday assured the trade of their commitment to safety and “long term future as the national carrier of Malaysia.View letter to agents here. Holiday bookings from Ireland to Malaysia have not been affected by the twin airline tragedies. Picture shows Ken Masterson, Ireland country manager of Malaysia Airlines.

Ahmad JauhariTake-up of Malaysia’s flight change offer was higher in the newer markets. Irish travellers proved more stoic with a low level of cancellations and refund requests. Although the airline’s last profit was back to 2010 and net losses were up by 58pc between January and March 2014, the government which owns 70pc of Malaysia Airlines, has committed to keeping the national carrier flying. Rebrand, nationalise, merge, Business Insider gave a dramatic account of how it proposes Malaysia Airlines can be saved “from financial and reputational ruin“. See Eoghan Corry of Travel Extra speaking about the offer on RTÉ’s Six-One news on Wednesday (watch here, skip to 31 minutes 10 seconds).  Picture shows shows Malaysia Airlines CEO Ahmad Jauhari Yahya.

According to Geneva-based Bureau of Aircraft Accidents Archives, this week’s Air Algerie AH 5017 and TransAsia GE 222 crashes and last week’s MH17 tragedy brought passenger fatalities to 991 for the first seven months of this year, higher than the annual toll for the past three years and double last year’s total figure. One of the ten survivors of the TransAsia GE 222 disaster described the moments following the crash.

tim clarkeEmirates Chairman and intermittent Lismore resident Tim Clark (pictured) called for an international meeting of carriers to agree a response to MH17, including a potential rethink of the threats posed by regional conflicts. He said domestic regulators worldwide may decide to be more involved in giving their carriers guidance on where it is safe to fly. Statistics analyst James Ball reassured nervous air passengers that just one flight in 300,000 had an accident, and only one in 3m was fatal. “It’s a widespread fear after planes go down, even though the truth is that air travel is almost always boringly safe and uneventfulWhile the 777 you’re flying on won’t end your life, the peanuts you eat on board just might.” Read the article here.  Tony Tyler photo 4 - high resolutionIATA CEO Tony Tyler (pictured) issued a statement reassuring passengers that flying is safe:  “Every day, approximately 100,000 flights take to the sky and land without incident. In 2013 more than three billion people flew and there were 210 fatalities. Regrettably, we have surpassed that number already this year. But even so, getting on an aircraft is still among the safest activities that one can do.” German academic Gerd Gigerenzer estimated that the road death toll in the year after 9/11 increased by 1,595 people in the USA as people switched from flying to “safer” road travel He said motorcycling is more than 3,000 times more deadly than flyingTravelling in a car or truck is about 100 times more deadly than flying.

TTM_3602As first reported by Travel Extra last month, Thailand launched an alternative travel insurance scheme for visitors to the country if they cannot get it locally – tourism to Thailand has been dogged by negative travel advisories since 2006. Picture shows Thawatchai Arunyik Governor of the Tourism Authority of Thailand outlying the insurance plan at TTM Plus in 2014. Since Friday visitors have been able to buy Thailand Travel Shield insurance online for a broad range of unforeseen events ranging from accidents, trip cancellation, loss or damage of baggage/personal belongings, emergency hotel accommodation. The scheme has been set up by the Tourism Authority of Thailand in cooperation with four reputed Thai insurance companies: Muang Thai Insurance, Chao Phaya Insurance, Siam City Insurance and Krungthai Panich Insurance. Click here for more information and to buy insurance coverage.Ailbhe Enright and John Donohue from aereps

John Donohue’s Aereps Travel Management is to end representation of its entire travel client portfolio in Ireland, including NYC & Company and Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority. Picture shows Ailbhe Enright and John Donohue, who will announce his next move in a fortnight’s time. Closing down the travel portfolio will take a month.

Travelfinders is celebrating its 21st birthday this July with a new look responsive website Peter O'Hanlon travelfindersoptimised for desktop, mobile and tablet devices. Popular Travelfinders MD Peter O’Hanlon said the number of viewers and clients has “continued to grow significantly” each year on a cross platform offering that promotes Irish hotel breaks and holidays abroad on, RTÉ Aertel, and “We have also expanded promotional opportunities for clients through social media and email marketing,” he said.

A surprise change of venue for IPW 2016: The US Travel Association announced that its New Orleans Stephen Perryannual tourism showcase is to move to New Orleans instead of Miami on June 4—8, 2016. It solves a problem generated by City of Miami Beach Commission when it approved a three-year $500m renovation of the city’s convention centre to begin in 2015. Stephen Perry (pictured), CEO of New Orleans CVB noted the timing was appropriate as New Orleans gears up for its tricentennial 300th birthday in 2018. New Orleans also previously hosted the annual five-day event, formerly known as Pow Wow, in 1993, 1979 and 2002.

Etihad hosted 370 members of the trade at Koh restaurant in Millennium to celebrate the Etihad Partyincrease of their Abu Dhabi service from ten to 14 flights a week. Beatrice Cosgrove told the trade that the delinking of the Brisbane and Perth routes will boost Etihad’s connectivity with Australia.  She said 32pc of all Irish visitors are choosing Perth as their gateway to Australia. Etihad will launch six new routes in the first half of 2015. Prize winners on the night included Clodagh Flanagan from FCm, who won the return flights for two to Perth (pictured with Beatrice Cosgrove, Eithad’s country manager in Ireland). See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.Etihad party beatrice speaks

The previous day at Dublin airport, Etihad’s evening aircraft, the three class Airbus 330 (8-32-191) was introducedSanja Zogovic_8838 to guests from the travel trade by the Dublin born VP Guest Services of Etihad, Aubrey Teidt (listen here to her interview with Travel Extra). She was joined on board by Sanja Zogovic (pictured above) Food & Beverage Manager at Etihad, Connemara-born on board chef Donnchadh Geraghty, Ireland country manager Beatrice Cosgrove (pictured below) and her team of Karen Maloney, and Valerie Murphy on board the craft.

beatrice Cosgorve on board a330_8872The morning (09.20) flight uses a 380-seat B777-300 arriving at 19.40 in Abu Dhabi, and the evening (20.55) flight a 262-seat A330-200, arriving in Abu Dhabi at 07.20 the following morning. Return flights are at 02.25 and 09.15. The double daily schedule opens up 800 weekly connections to 45 Etihad Airways destinations in the Middle East, Africa, Asia and India including Bangkok, Beijing, Brisbane, Jakarta, Kuala Lumpur, Manila, Melbourne, Perth, Singapore, Sydney and Tokyo.

Aubrey Teidt (pictured with ITAA president, Martin Skelly of Navan Travel) told guests “one ofmartin skelly aubrey teidt the positives of our business class is dine on demand; you tell us when you want to eat not us telling you, like on many airlines (listen here).” She talked about improvements to the Etihad lounge experience (listen here) and future developments including the 787 and the Residence on board the A380 (listen here).  The lounge in Dublin serves up 60 meals a day to Etihad customers (listen here). See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.

Travel Tradesimon daly topflight

Topflight confirmed that Simon Daly, ex-British Airways and, what seems like an eternity ago (the BAC 111 days), Ryanair, is joining the company as Director for Topflight Worldwide on August 11.

A sporting story worthy of a great sports sponsor:  VP Guest Services of Etihad, Aubrey Teidt niece of Fred Teidt and Karen Maloney, niece of Sean Wright, pictured in the Etihad Lounge in Terminal 2 at Dublin Airport where they hosted guests at the Etihad three-class A330 event, July 21 2014. Their uncles were champion boxers at welterweight and light welterweight in the 1950s and fought a famous contest at the National Stadium in January 1955 which Teidt narrowly won on points. Fred Teidt went on to win silver for Ireland at the Melbourne Olympics (fistic folklore maintains he was robbed) while Wright boxed several times for Ireland at light-welter. After Dublin, Aubrey took off from Dublin to Delhi to help announce Etihad’s new turnaround strategy for Jet Airways to return to profitability in three years; the Mumbai-based airline has set a three-year target strategy to return to profitability.Emirates gang LtoR Filippo Rocchi Anita Thomas Stephen Davitt Clareanna Philips

The Emirates team of Filippo Rocchi, Anita Thomas, Stephen Davitt and Clareanna Philips launched the Emirates mystery shopper blitz: If the agent recommends Emirates first to Dubai, they will receive a shopping voucher for €50 or a bottle of champagne. Emirates launched a summer 2014 fares’ promotion prices including:  Dubai €504, Business Class from €1,926, First Class Suites from €3,218, Perth from €812 Business Class €3,107, Melbourne €814 First Class €4,915, Johannesburg €677 Business Class €2,393 First Class €3,509, Hong Kong €598 First Class €3,802,·Singapore €782. Emirates flights to Dubai go to double daily on September 1. See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.

anne dolan

  • ITAA legal officer Anne Dolan will give the next talk in the Travel Law Webinar on E-Commerce, Compliance Matters, Wed August 13, 8:30am-10am, €25.
  • Lowcostbeds are giving away a week’s accommodation to a sales consultant who makes a booking with any of the Blue Sea properties before August 31. Lowcost launched a summer sale with Blue Sea properties offering savings of up to 30pc across a range of properties in Spain, Malta and Morocco.
  • The 2014 NYC Official Travel Planner is available online covering New York‘s accommodations, dining, nightlife and transportation.
    fiona foster 900
  • Innstant Travel appointed Fiona Foster (pictured, ex-Thomas Cook) as Head of Global Operations.
  • is offering travel agents the chance to win a holiday for two to PortAventura for bookings made before August 31.
  • Tripadvisor agreed to buy Viator, a booking resource that features more than 20,000 bookable tours and attractions and more than 600,000 reviews.
  • BookaBed, in conjunction with Attraction World, hosted 65 members of the trade in TheMartine Ainsworth-Wells Bodega in Cork.
  • SKAL International Dublin club secretary Michael Byrne says completed forms for the September 2 lunch on board Ruby Princess must be with him by August 14.
  • The annual Travel Trade Family Fun Day will take place on August 24 at the Wanderers FC Rugby Club in Ballsbridge.
  • The European Tour Operators Association appointed Martine Ainsworth-Wells (pictured) as new Director of Marketing & Commerce.

HotelsSamantha Davies OCallaghan Hotels

Swansea born Samantha Davies (pictured) has joined the O’Callaghan Hotel Group as British Sales Manager. She is based in London focusing on TMC and MICE from Britain to O’Callaghan Hotel Group’s four hotels in Dublin, Alexander, Davenport, Stephen’s Green and Mont Clare the Eliott Hotel in Gibraltar and the Annapolis in Maryland, US.

  • Hastings Hotels has paid tribute to 18 employees who between them have clocked up 367 Hastings Hotels 3years of service at the 5* Culloden Estate & Spa. his includes 38 years for Philip Drennan the Conference & Banqueting Manager who oversees all the events and weddings, 36 years for Executive Head Chef Paul McKnight and 35 years for Bars Manager Seamus Murphy. Pictured with William Hastings are Seamus Murphy who has been at the hotel for 35 years, Paul McKnight who has been there for 36 years, Lynda Whyte who has been there for 20 years and Philip Drennan who is the longest serving employee with 38 years.
  • The fictional Grand Budapest Hotel in the non-existent Republic of Zubrowka has appeared on Tripadvisor. So far the Stefan Zweig hotel (popularised in a Wes Anderson movie featuring Saoirse Ronan) has received 88 reviews, 65 of which rate the place ‘excellent’. “Have fun reading these reviews,” Tripadvisor says in a message, “go on, add your own! Just don’t try to book a visit here, because this fictional place doesn’t really exist.” What fictional place does exist we ask?
  • The High Court approved a rescue plan for Mount Wolseley Hotel based on a €7.5m investment plan from Brehon Capital.


Picture by Bob Linsdell via Flickr

Picture by Bob Linsdell via Flickr

Discovery Cove, Orlando and Siam Park in Tenerife were selected as the top amusement park and water park in Tripadvisor reader’s choice list of top amusement and water parks.

Younis mosqueHow many spiritual places frequented by tourists might answer to this description? “It has become a place of apostasy and not prayer,” was the declaration of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant  (ISIS) as it blew up the Younis mosque in Mosul (the Biblical Niniveh). In the western canon it is known as the Tomb of  Jonah (watch the destruction here). By that judgment all ancient religious sites that have become tourist shrines are in danger. This is the latest in a catalogue of destruction that includes the Taliban’s dynamiting of the 6th century Buddhas of Bamiyan in 2001, the US army’s wrecking of archaeological remains at Babylon, the destruction of Sufi shrines at Timbuktu and the burning of sections of the Al-Madina Souq in the Syrian upraising of 2012. It will clearly not be the last.

  • Elysian Estates reported that some clients requested all members of staff to be dressed in suits of armour to serve canapés and drinks in one of Elysian Estates’ medieval castles in a list of top ten unusual requests from luxury travellers.
  • Neuschwanstein Castle, Europa Park in Rust and Cologne Cathedral topped the list of the 100 most popular sights for foreign tourists in Germany.
    Picture by Raymond Bryson via Flickr
    Picture by Raymond Bryson via Flickr
  • As reported in Travel Extra’s July 13 supplement, Italy‘s new entry rules for all state museums and archaeological sites were introduced this week. Visitors below the age of 18 retain free entry to museums however visitors over 65 will have to pay for their tickets.

Food & Wine

no busPeter’s Place café in Waterville on the Ring of Kerry sparked online controversy this week after its owner, Peter Fitzgeralddisplayed a poster banning bus tours and “loud American’s [sic]”. Satirical news site Waterford Whispers News had a go at the story, “reporting” that Gardaí – armed and wearing earmuffs – arrested 52 American tourists for breaking the decimal barrier in Kerry.

  • Overends restaurant in Dundrum is offering a new tasting menu on Friday and Saturday nights.
  • The Natural Bakery, which opened in Kilmainham last August, will open a fifth store next month in Stillorgan, having already spread to Donnybrook, Rathmines and Ranelagh.
  • A study by the Food Safety Authority of Ireland and the HSE found that seven out of 20 lamb kebabs ordered from independent takeaways in Dublin city contained limited or no trace of lamb. Six of the kebabs tested contained over 60pc chicken and 30pc beef.
  • National Geographic listed its top ten spring vineyards.


Ryanair is to add a daily Manchester service from Shannon to Manchester this winter, replacing a three times weekly Liverpool service, and a weekly Kaunas (Lithuania) flight, as well as extra flights on Stansted, to its winter schedule (starting end of October). The Manchester route is in direct competition with Aer Lingus Regional. Flights begin October26th: FR4777 leaving Shannon 0715 arriving Manchester 0825, FR4776 leaving Manchester 0850 arriving Shannon 1000, FR4776 leaving Manchester 1845 arriving Shannon 1955, FR4777 leaving Shannon 2020 arriving Manchester 2130. The Kaunas route is in competition with Knock-Kaunas, which is likely to be dropped as a result.  Shannon Airport reported terminal passenger numbers were up 15pc in the first half of the year.

Afriqiyah Airways a320

As fighting continued at Tripoli International Airport, flights to London and Paris were due to resume on Monday from alternative airport Misrata.  Swords based Air Contractors Ltd planned to operate the flights on behalf of Afriqiyah Airways. It ferried two  A320-200s, EI-ONJ (cn 4203) and EI-ONL (cn 4489) to Malta in advance of the fighting. Afriqiyah and Libyan Airlines have each lost an A330-200 in the fighting between rival militias at Tripoli airport, while a stored ex-Guinée Express Aviation DC-8-62(F) was also destroyed. Libya Airlines cut operations by 70pc after damage to aircraft. Libyan Airspace is to close to civil aircraft  from tomorrow July 28th, which suggests military aviation will be moving into the void.

Vueling loaded Dublin to Barcelona flights in their system for winter 2014–15, flights on selected dates in December, January and March.

Jet 2 summer 2105 programme from Belfast international went on sale this week, it includes four new routes: Gran Canaria 1w; Prague 2w; Rome Fiumicino 2w and Zakynthos 1w.

Aegean Airlines moved to Terminal 2 at Heathrow on Wednesday (where Aer Lingus now operate) the eighth airline to move to the new terminal. Thai Airways‘ and Turkish Airlines‘ planned move into Terminal 2 at Heathrow has been postponed until August 28. Until then, both airlines’ flights will depart from Heathrow Terminal 3. Sri Lankan Airways moved from Heathrow Terminal 4 to Terminal 3 last week.jim compton

American aviators may have been seeing the start of the rewards of consolidation this week; The New York Times reported that for the first time in a generation, US airlines are generating enough cash to pay down debt, buy new aircraft, pay new dividends, buy back shares and raise employee salaries. United’s revenue increased 3.3pc in the second quarter reversing its Q1 loss, and heralding a big second quarter profit. Jim Compton (pictured) said “we are beginning to see the benefits of changes to network and revenue management processes” and announced a $1bn share buyback.

  • Delta posted a second quarter profit of $801m and pre-tax income for the June 2014 quarter of $1.4bn. Picture shows a happy Delta CEO Richard Anderson.Delta CEO Richard Anderson
  • American Airlines set its first dividend since 1980 and reported a record profit for the second quarter.
  • Southwest Airlines reported a record quarterly profit for Q2.
  • Air France-KLM reported a profit rise and outlined its plan to counter low-cost rivals.
  • Flybe reported it had seen the rewards for ditching routes and slashing fares.
  • EasyJet predicted that its pre-tax profits will be in the range of £545m to £570m, a 14pc-19pc growth.
  • There was a call for the Galway Airport site to become a recreational facility.
  • Air Serbia expanded its codeshare with Etihad.
  • The Irish Independent reported that attempts to solve the DAA €780m pension dispute were in jeopardy.alan joyce
  • Alan Joyce’s (pictured) Qantas considered splitting the company in its bid to return to profitability.
  • Belfast staff say they are still in the dark over a job cuts plan at Bombardier.
  • HSBC analysts said Christoph Mueller’s 2015 departure would be a loss to the business.
  • Hertz has entered into a two-year partnership with airberlin for offers and special rates at the airline’s 171 destinations worldwide.
  • Knock airport is not considering a future collaboration with Galway airport.gabriele del torchio
  • Alitalia, which is finalising its deal with Etihad Airways, doubled its annual net loss to €569m last year, Chief Executive Gabriele del Torchio (pictured) said on Friday.
  • Southwest Airlines passenger and his children were briefly kicked off their flight after the man complained about bad service on Twitter.
  • Denmark signed a double taxation with Ireland to ensure Danish residents who work for Irish-registered airlines are taxed in their home country.
  • China‘s airline regulator warned travellers to expect flight delays at 12 airports through mid-August due to military exercises.
    john leahy
  • With over 1,000 orders for the A330neo models, Airbus chief operating office for customers John Leahy (pictured) said the new aircraft is in it for the long run and “will sell very well until Boeing is doing something new”.
  • Bray air show attracted 88,000 spectators beating the Leinster football final (which  attracted 62,660).
  • Gander’s historic international lounge may be demolished. Travel website Kayak said travellers within Canada should look to fly on a Tuesday if they’re travelling domestically or on a Thursday if they’re leaving the country.
  • Boarding passes on smartwatches have been launched by SITA Lab with their wearable tech boarding passes for Android watches via its API available now on
  • A survey of British Airways passengers indicated 80pc of children and 70pc of parents would take Loom Bands on a flight.
    Loom bands
    Picture by Vijay Chennupati via Flickr
  • The US Transportation Security Administration wants to do something about airport security queues and it’s looking for new and innovative ideas to help them do it.
  • The EU Commission confirmed that Ryanair’s airport agreements at Niederrhein Airport comply with the State aid rules (Market Economy Investor Principle).
  • South African Airways launched a new social media competition called Taste South Africa to celebrate the culinary scene in South Africa. South African, with its new onboard catering partner, Do & Co Event and Airline Catering has introduced restaurant-quality gourmet onboard menus in Business and Economy Class cabins on all flights from London Heathrow to Johannesburg. South African Airways is to introduce premium economy.The_Stork_Exchange_2
  • For people travelling with children the Stork Exchange outlet has been established at Dublin Airport which is situated in Car Park Atrium in Terminal 1 on the same level as arriving passengers. Dubliner Olivia Typrowicz and her husband Bartek came up with the idea after a frustrating experience when holidaying abroad with their daughter three years ago. The Stork Exchange rents everything from child car seats to buggies and other baby equipment to passengers arriving in Ireland on holiday.
  • First-time flyer Tomasz Mucha was fined €200 by Dublin District Court after he drunkenly attempted to open the rear door of a 737 mid-flight mistaking it for the lavatory door. The man was flying with Ryanair from Krakow to Dublin on June 11. The court heard he became intoxicated after consuming beer and vodka to settle his nerves before taking off.
  • The EC ruled Ryanair has to repay €9.6m in state aid it had received from Nîmes, Pau and Angoulême airports. The airline was cleared by the EC’s competition board for support given by two local authorities at Niederrhein Airport. Ryanair plans to appeal the decision on the three French airports and welcomed the ruling on Niederrhein. It is awaiting the outcome of 14 other similar investigations.
  • Dublin Airport is offering 20pc off short term parking.


Christine Duffy, CLIA CEO. Picture by World Travel and Tourism Council via Flickr

Christine Duffy, CLIA CEO. Picture by World Travel and Tourism Council via Flickr

Responding to London law firm Irwin Mitchell’s claim that 27pc of the cases it deals with are on behalf of clients who have a complaint against a cruise line, CLIA, the Cruise Lines International Association, said norovirus outbreaks on board cruise ships affect less than 0.01pc of people who take a cruise ship and are lower than onshore cases. “The cruise industry has one of the highest satisfaction levels in leisure travel, as demonstrated by a customer satisfaction rate of over 90pc, and almost 70pc of passengers are repeat cruisers, highlighting that they see the value, fun and comfort of cruising.”

  • Stena extended their kids go free offer to Thursday August 14. All the Irish Sea ferry operators currently have kids go free offers.
  • Royal Caribbean International European holidays are offering summer holidays with 600 free flights on select European holidays: a seven-night Western Mediterranean fly-cruise on Liberty of the Seas, €1,469 per person (based on two people sharing a balcony stateroom).
  • Quark Expeditions launched their Antarctica 2015-16 programme.
  • Norwegian Cruise Line upgraded on-board dining with culinary favourites, new menus and more variety. Norwegian Cruise Line and Sixthman promoted autumn and spring line-ups for festivals at sea.


padraig cribbenThe importance of the Irish pub to tourism got an overdue airing this week. ITIC said the desire to visit an Irish pub influenced the decision to visit of 80pc of holiday visitors to Ireland, and uploaded Eamon McKeon’s video interview with Padraig Cribben of the Vintners Federation (pictured). About 1,000 pubs in Ireland have closed since the economic crisis.

  • Tourism Ireland’s latest SOAR report notes that Ireland has grown its market share in Britain, British overseas travel figures have been flat while Irish trips increased 13pc and trips to the north 2pc. Other stats for Q1 2014 are crunched: ferry car space capacity up 3pc, Europe up 4pc (3pc to the north), USA up 8pc (37pc to the north), Australia up 16pc, overseas visits up 9pc and overseas visitors to the north up 4pc.
  • The New Science Galleries at Birr Castle Gardens opened on Friday.
  • The largest annual circus skills event in the world, the European Juggling Convention, has attracted 3,500 jugglers to Millstreet this week.
  • Cork County Council placed bathing restriction notices at three beaches, Pallas Strand in Eyeries, Trahallan in Castletownbere and Traverra at Urhan, after water samples contained elevated levels of bacteria.

meet in ireland 600

Representatives of Tourism Ireland and 11 tourism enterprises from Ireland who attended The Meetings Show at Olympia in London: Pat Delaney of SoolELLA; Caitriona Lavery of Hastings Hotels; Rachael McGuickin of Visit Belfast; Paul Kennedy of The Meetings Show; Joyce McElroy of Tourism Ireland; Ciara Gallagher of Fáilte Ireland; former boxer Barry McGuigan; Sarah Dallas of Tifco Hotel Group; Shane McGuigan; Mary Keating of Tourism Ireland; Donna Brogan of Dublin Convention Bureau; Evelyn O’Sullivan of Cork Convention Bureau; and John O’Neill of Lough Erne Resort.

  • Arthur’s Way, the 16km Guinness themed walking trail taking in Castletown estate, the Grand Canal towpath and the brewer’s burial place in Oughterard Co Kildare, launches on Thursday at the Village at Lyons.Monk-ARTWORK
  • Smithwick Experience in Kilkenny’s upgraded €3.5m visitor centre opens to visitors on Thursday next, July 31. Signature attractions include a scary life-size holographic monk and living portraits of the Smithwick’s family member.
  • Bus Éireann is providing a shuttle service to and from the Galway races, from Eyre Square to Ballybrit Monday to Sunday.
  • Tourism Ireland launched their online film (watch here) promoting Limerick City of Culture flagship pageant ‘The Giant’s Journey’, over three days and nights this September.
  • The Rose of Tralee festival will feature the annual Skyfest Air Display on Sunday August 17th. The entertainment line-up will feature over 80 hours of free or affordable entertainment in the Dome and around the streets of Tralee.westport festival
  • Westport Food Festival has announced headline event, Secret Supper, for weekend of September 5 to 7, 2014.
  • Kildare walking festival August 5–17 features 12 one-hour walks taking in the county’s landmarks,  towpaths, big house estates, and moderate hills (okay, all hills in Kildare are moderate) from Mullaghcreelan Woods in the south  to St Catherine’s Park in the north of Kildare. Longest walk is the 10km hour and a half walk through Narraghmore and Mullaghmast on August 10. Download the brochure here.


Representatives of Tourism Ireland and 12 Irish tourism enterprises who participated in a business tourism workshop and networking event in Düsseldorf, Germany, Aoife Kernan of  Tourism Ireland; Christoph Haustein of TIFCO Hotel Group; Paula Carroll of Ashford Castle; Cathy Joyce of Citywest Hotel; Bronagh McKee of  Ballsbridge Hotel; Stefanie Bück of Advantage ico; Susan Sheahan of Clyde Court Hotel; Karina Dunne of  Druids Glen Resort; Michelle Blake of The Marker Hotel; Julia Rozenberg of Aer Lingus; Gina Passi of Royal Marine Hotel Dún Laoghaire; John Callely of Odyssey International; and Áine Comerford of Waterford Castle Hotel & Golf Resort.

  • NISRA’s tourism stats for the 12 month period to March 2014 showed overall tourism down 1pc and the number of people from the 26 counties taking an overnight down 18pc. Expenditure was up 1pc year on year but expenditure by Irish tourists down £22m (down £15m from the six counties, down £7m from the 26). Meanwhile the Pubs of Ulster trade body said new alcohol regulation laws introduced by Social Development Minister Nelson McCausland are a “good first step” but don’t go far enough in making NI more tourist friendly.Irish Ferries - Spraoi Festival
  • Waterford Spraoi International Street Arts Festival, on August 1–3 promises a night-time parade inspired by Yeats.
  • Molly Malone was the victim of vandalism only a week after she wheeled her wheelbarrow to her new location on Suffolk Street. She was defaced by an early-rising graffiti artist according to Jim Quinn of Saint Andrew’s Church tourist office.

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

Travel Extra’s Sunday Supplement: MH17 blame game, Mueller’s departure & Ryanair’s app catch-up

Great buzz around Óstán Na Feithidí in Ferbane, Co Offaly.

Great buzz around the Óstán Na Feithidí in Ferbane, Co Offaly.


*Mueller’s staying-here departure

*MH17 blame game continues

*Irish Leasing Firm orders 115 A320s

*Ryanair plays app catch-up

*A trip to Heathrow T2

*Garth’s parting a foul-up for Irish tourism

Travel Extra TV

Footage of a freak hailstorm on a beach in Russia received lots of coverage this week.  The video shows people running for cover when debris and hail starts to pelt down. The YouTube user that posted the video said the “apocalyptic” hail brought with it a sudden drop in temperature as well. See the chaos for yourself.

  • Another popular video this week shows a solemn faced London Tube passenger trying desperately not to laugh at the the atrocious singer beside him. Talk about lost in music. Watch the footage here.
  • A Ryanair passenger posted a video entitled “Luggage destruction in Bergamo airport”. The video shows baggage handlers haphazardly loading bags onto an evening flight at the Italian airport. The original footage was viewed over 90,000 times during the week and gained a fair amount of exposure. A Ryanair spokesperson responded in a statement: “The handling of these bags by our handling agents in Bergamo is clearly in breach of Ryanair bag handling guidelines and will not be tolerated…Ryanair has instructed the Bergamo Airport authority that we want these two individuals removed from handling Ryanair flights and we have received assurances that this cavalier treatment of our customers’ bags will not be repeated.” You can watch the video here.
  • ITIC uploaded a video interview with John Concannon of Fáilte Ireland talking about the domestic market. You can watch the video here.
  • Heathrow advises longhaul passengers to adopt the “feast-fast-feast-fast” eating method to beat jet lag in this video.


Where to next? Christoph Mueller’s impending departure from Aer Lingus next May lands the airline back in even more  uncertainty than that created by underfunded pensions and cranky cabin crew. We know where he is NOT going. Once speculated as an outside runner for the CEO of Lufthansa job, now occupied by Carsten Spohr, Christoph responded by saying Lufthy has never appointed a CEO from outside the airline in its history and said that his previous innings in Frankfurt had fulfilled his appetite for service with his national flag carrier. Once best known as the man who closed Sabena, he will depart Lingus with a greatly enhanced CV, a much wiser and eminently more wanted man by airlines around the world.  He is reportedly not planning to return to his native Germany, and intends to stay in Ireland and continue as chairman of An Post, to which he was appointed in June last year, and on the board of Tourism Ireland.

Some good news amid all the bad news in a dreadful week for aviation – and from an alleged conflict zone. The Department of Foreign Affairs changed their advice on travel to Sharm El Sheikh 1Egypt to allow holiday makers visit Sharm El Sheikh (see website here). The loudest sigh of relief was heard at Falcon Holidays who have a winter schedule due to start on December 26 in Dublin. Meanwhile the Belfast Tuesday charter operated merrily away under a Westminster advisory, meaning a place that is too dangerous for holiday makers from Dundalk is perfectly acceptable for holiday makers from Newry. Ah, the joys of the travel industry.

The extent of the tragedy of Flight MH17 can only be appreciated by treating each of the 298 victims individually. In the manner of these things, the impact on Ireland will be greater than the one native we lost so tragically. The deaths each cast a pall over their Irish colleagues, relatives and friends: , she worked as a school administrator at Good Shepherd Catholic Primary School in Kelmscott in outer-suburban Perth; Sister Phil Tiernan from Sydney Tiernan who had spent May at All Hallows College in Dublin; and Mornington-based Irish-Australian writer Liam Davison. Read the statement here from Edel’s family about the tragedy. And the flames on the crash site had not gone out (see Scott Heidler’s excellent coverage here) before the blame game started. And the flames on the crash site had not gone out (see Scott Heidler’s excellent coverage here) before the blame game started.edel byrne sr phil tiernan liam davison

RT condemned the rush to judgment in America and Britain (watch here), largely based on the social media post by Igor Girkin that a Ukrainian AN-26 had been shot down. The name-calling is astonishing given that the Americans and the Russians and the Ukrainians all know a thing or two about shooting down passenger aircraft, as do the Israelis and the British, who still deny the accidental shooting down of Aer Lingus Flight 712 in 1968 (by the English version of the FCA, the Territorial Army) despite evidence to the contrary. Passengers everywhere have been asking: is it right to fly over a war zone? The answer is

Ukranian An26 and Malaysian B777: The 'mistaken target' theory

Ukranian An26 and Malaysian B777: The ‘mistaken target’ theory

that nobody has shot down a craft at 36,000 feet before. The old assumption is that surface to air missiles are not accurate enough to engage a target higher than 10,000 feet. The fly zone was thought safe over 24,000 feet and air traffic controllers added a safety margin of a third. MH17 was flying to the north of the area subject to a safety warning in May and popular with airlines who wish to avoid Iran air space. In fact Travel Extra writers have flown over the banned airspace several times since the conflict began.

mh17 tableAbove is a breakdown of nationalities onboard the flight: Many media covered the double tragedy of Kaylene Mann. Her brother Rod Burrows and sister-in-law Mary Burrows were on board flight MH370 when it vanished in March, her stepdaughter, Marie Rizk, was killed along with 298 other passengers on Malaysia Airlines flight MH17.

The difficulties of securing access to the site has indicated how strong the separatist movement is in Donbass. As for the coverage, graphic shots of bodies and the rescuers flipping through clearly identifiable passports (watch here, video inappropriate for some users). The Ukrainians even released a supposedly taped conversation between militants which turned out to have been made before the aircraft was attacked (watch here).

tripoli damaged aircraftUkraine was not the only battle site this week. After the firefight between two militias for control of Tripoli airportLabraq Airport near Beida and Tobruk Airport are now the only airports operating in Libya, although non-Libyans were banned from arriving at Labraq at the end of May. Nine aircraft were damaged during the fight but Swords based Air Contractors are coming to the rescue. They operate three Airbus 320s that fly on Afriqiyah Airways’  European routes and moved the aircraft to Malta before the battle. They plan to resume flights from Misrata to London and Paris on Monday.

kenny jacobs app 001 copy

The news from the launch of Ryanair’s much heralded new app, allowing passengers to download boarding passes to their smartphones for the first time, was that a more impressive update is due in October. Ryanair talked about become leaders in the field with their new app, but this week’s version is largely concerned with playing catch-up to other airlines. Surprisingly, given the clunkiness of the previous operation, already 30pc of traffic to is from mobile devices at weekends.

The October update will facilitate push notifications and the loading of Ryanair boarding passes on Passbook. By then it is hoped 1m Ryanair users will have downloaded the app. Kenny Jacobs told the media that “second mover advantagemichael o'leary being photographed copy allows you to spend less money” (listen here to full presentation) while Michael O’Leary (listen here to full presentation), , after posing for photographs, said that Ryanair will be available on a second GDS, Amadeus by year-end. It is currently available on Travelport. The return to travel agents and the new friendlier image of the airline has boosted Ryanair’s forward bookings by 7pc. The troublesome seven-day check-in threshold remains, but O’Leary pointed out that the new mobile app means holiday makers who don’t want to pay for allocated seating don’t have to get to a desktop connected to a printer while away on holidays.  Éist anseo le Eoghan Corry ó Travel Extra ag caint ar Raidió na Galtachta le Cormac Ó Headhra are an aip agus cúrsaí taistil.

Speaking to Travel Extra on the margins of the launch Michael O’Leary described the launch of Ryanair’s new business product in September as a potential game changer for the airline. For an extra €40 business passengers will be given baggage allowances and more flexible terms. Rome, Madrid, Bergamo and Barcelona will be increasing to twice daily, Birmingham and Manchester to four timers daily. Asked about the proposed Dublin services to Russia he said that while the visa issue for cabin crew has been resolved, the two routes scheduled for a September start-up, to Vnukovo (Moscow) and St Petersburg, will not commence without some support from Tourism Ireland or similar agency.

Tourists were evacuated from Gaza in advance of Israel’s aerial bombardment and ground invasion that has left 335 dead in 12 days. Tourists were strongly advised to reconsider their need to travel to areas within 40km of the border with the Gaza Strip. See DFA advice here.

Travel Extra’s Ida Milne flew into Heathrow’s spanking new Terminal 2 for the launch of theHeathrow t2 Aer LIngus check in_8770 Imperial War Museum’s new WWI exhibition this week, courtesy of Visit England and Aer Lingus, whose new check in desks are pictured here:

“The long walks out to the gate in Terminal One is a thing of the past, the gates are right beside the shopping and dining area. Toilets are where you need them, and the ladies’ cubicles are wide enough to bring in your trolley case. One of the restaurants, London Pride, has an offer of a free pint of stout for people buying food, with an Aer Lingus boarding card.

“There’s still a long walk to Heathrow Express, and in the heat this week a few older people seemed to be finding that difficult. There’s no seating along the way for rest stops.

“The access to the Tube is slightly closer than the Express, so depending on where you are going that might be a quicker option – transfers can eat time. But on my way back to Dublin, I made it from the Imperial War Museum to Heathrow via Tube and the Express, including walking time, in 75 minutes, which is impressive given that there was a 30 minute Tube ride.heathrow t2 airside

“Within the terminal, the shopping style has changed completely from Terminal One. There’s a lot more high end shopping – a Harrod’s, and several luxury brand handbag and shoe shops. The same applies in the food courts. There is a health conscious vibe in many of the food outlets, allowing people to make healthy choices.” Security seems still to be having teething problems – the queues were slow even though there weren’t very many people there. Men were put through a full body scanner, but not women, for some reason. Be prepared for a second security check at the gate.

For those who have not heard enough about the Parting of Garth: Travel Extras Eoghan Corry eoghan corry vincent browne July 14pointed out on Monday’s Tonight With Vincent Browne that Ireland’s dropping the ball on Garth Brooks was the equivalent of taking all the dosh from the Gathering and handing it back. Our future as a primary concert venue is also in danger just as we hit the big time at last: earlier this year the Muppets Most Wanted movie endorsed Dublin’s new found position on the big time concert circuit (for TV3 on Thursday talking about MH17, watch here). The reclusive Brooks had big plans for his Dublin concerts, based on the success of the 1997 visit to Croke Park. Alas all of them are gone awry while Dublin city manager Eoin Keegan and the Croke Park residents continue to squabble. Dublin’s horrified hoteliers have been trying to dublin C&W Ministers Donohoe & Ringentice concert goers with tribute bands and new Tourism Minister Paschal Donohue gave his endorsement to a hastily convened country and western concert. But for purchasers of the 70,000 tickets sold off island, the Bay of Gigs affair (as one tabloid called it) will stand out for a long time to come as a landmark foul-up for Irish tourism.

Travel TradeOntario group_8217 copy

A group of travel partners from Ontario hosted the travel trade at three separate events to promote the offerings of the Canadian province, served by Aer Lingus’ and two other carriers. The group is pictured at a pancake cooking demonstration at Cook’s Academy of South William Street Dublin: Ursula Barda of Choice Hotels Canada, Mark Rich of Blue Mountains Resort, Anna Pierce of Niagara Helicopters, Nicole Graves of Ottawa Tourism, Brenda Wood of Niagara Falls Tourism, Mia Dario of Eaton Chelsea Hotel Toronto, Lori Reed of Niagara Parks Commission, Eileen Penrose of Premair representing Air Canada, Kelley Coville of Hornblower Niagara Cruises, Gabriele Kotz of Ontario Tourism and Puja Khanna of Aviacircle. See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.

TTC Georgia sharon caroleSharon Jordan of TTC and Peter Hannaford of Explore Georgia hosted travel media for the launch of the Insight Vacations USA and Canada brochure for 2015. To date Insight has seen double digit growth on 2015 bookings. She said since we opened at the end of 2010 we have seen huge growth in the traffic we have sent to the USA. Listen here to Sharon Jordan’s update on Insight vacations and other travel products in her portfolio. Listen here to Peter Hannaford’s address to the media on behalf of Explore Georgia Listen here to an interview with Peter Hannaford describing Georgia’s efforts to promote the state beyond its iconic Atlanta gateway and the double anniversary, 150 years since the Civil war burning of Atlanta and 75 years since Margaret Mitchell’s Gone with the Wind was made into one of the most famous movies in cinematic history. Picture shows Sharon Jordan of TTC, Peter Hannaford of Travel Georgia and Carole Carmondy of the Travel Corporation. See here for more pictures or connect with the album on Facebook.

viceroy group

The Viceroy Hotel Croup and Visit California hosted tour operators at a function in Dublin to promote the Los Angeles-headquartered hotel group. Listen here to Jane O’Shea speaking about the Viceroy Group and their offerings in other California and other locations, including the Caribbean hotels very popular with the Irish trade.  Picture shows Mary McKenna of Tour America, Fiona Dobbyn of Classic Resorts and Beth Bond of Black Diamond Group. See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.

Events Partners and Fáilte Ireland hosted meeting and event planners from Germany with support from The Four Seasons, Lufthansa and STR Destination Handling. The group stayed in the Four Seasons Hotel and visited the Guinness Storehouse, the Marker Hotel and Royal Hospital insuracnes

Blue Insurances hosted their key suppliers, strategists, advisers, underwriters, overwriters and travel trade partners at a night at the dogs at Shelbourne Park where the laws of probability and actuarial sciences were put to the test on the hallowed 550-yard track. Founder Ciaran Mulligan, who was jetting off the following morning to a birthday bash in Sitges, reported the breakneck growth of the insurances group was continuing. Picture shows Ciaran Mulligan of Blue Insurances and Olwen McKinney of Amadeus. See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.

Astronomy Ireland and Project Travel’s 6-night tour to look for Norway’s Northern Lights is available to book until July 31. The trip leaves Dublin on November 24 and includes 3 nights full board on a Hurtigruten ship, two nights in Tromso and one in Oslo for €2,095pp/€419 single supplement. Leo Enright and Astronomy Ireland chairman David Moore will present several lectures on the ship and offer a guide around the night sky from the deck. The package includes most meals, transfers to Norway and flights.

Celtic Horizon Tours’ Soap Tours for July and Friday departures in August are sold out, but Coronation Street’s Owen Armstrong and Gary Windass will be appearing at Dundrum’s Mill Theatre for two nights (September 13 and 14) to give Irish fans an update on what’s happening on and off the set. Tickets €20.

  • Next year’s Rocky Mountain Roundup will be held in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, on April 12—16.
  • Sunway is offering a 5pc discount to customers who book a 2015 AMA river cruise before the end of July.
  • Travel Department is promoting its July Super Saver offers.
  • Low Cost Holidays reported an increase in last-minute booking for sun holidays this month.
  • Huffington Post listed 10 reasons why travel agents are better than the internet.

Innstant Travel announced to appointment of Gary Gillespie as London head of sales. The group also added a new collection of Chateaux and Hotels to its portfolio.

Do Something Different is encouraging holiday makers to take part in one of its cycling experiences: 4-hour London family bike tour, €25pp; 3-hour Florence bike tour, €35 for adults; 9-hour Haleakala Sunrise Cycle Safari, €157; 4-hour electric bike tour over Golden Gate Bridge, €65.

Travel Professionals Skillnet is hosting a training day on how to plan present and promote your own videos on July 24. The ‘Confidence on Camera’ course costs €120. The next instalment of Anne Dolan’s online travel law series takes place August 13. See here for more information.

Butlins is offering discounts on three upcoming live events at its Minehead resort: WWE Live wrestling, November 7—10, trade price £99pp based on four sharing a standard room;  Peter Andre, November 14—17, prices start from £40pp based on four sharing a standard room; and Back Together Live Weekend featuring Coolio, B*witched and S Club Party, trade price starts from £89pp based on four sharing a standard room. To avail of the discount, agents must quote the code AGENTMH when booking one of the events.

ITAA is promoting three offers this week: Thailand Sail and Stay, 13 nights, October 17, from €1,869pp; Fuengirola Beach , Costa Del Sol, 7 nights, October 27, €1,119 for two adults and two children; and Laguna Park Studio Apartment, Tenerife, 2 weeks, August 8, €599pp. See here for more offers.

Killester Travel is offering Ryder Cup packages for €1,450pps: 2-night packages include return flights to Edinburgh, accommodation in 4-star city centre hotel, Thursday practice and Friday matches, all transfers. Depart September 24 return September 26.

Rathgar Travel is offering late bargains to Spain: 7 nights in Marbella, half board, departing October 18 from 594pps including flights; Sol Principe Hotel half-board including wine water with dinner from €434pps. Depart October 7; Pyr Fuengirola self-catering, 7 nights from 400pps, depart October 7; Nerja Perla sea view room half board from 508pps, depart October 7; and Senator Marbella from €386pps, depart October 7.

Classic Resorts last minute holiday and honeymoon offers include: 5 nights at Fairmont The Palm, Dubai, from €919pp, book by July 31 and travel between August 3—31; 7 nights in Bangkok’s five-star Amari Watergate or four-star Amari Phuket for €1,459pp, travel between May 1 and July 15, 2015; 7 nights in five-star Dreams Sands Cancun, Mexico and 3 nights in Hard Rock Hotel, Las Vegas, from €1,595pp, travel from May 1 and June 21, 2015; 7 nights half board at four-star Medhufushi Island and five-star Kempinski Hotel Mall of the Emirates from €2,249pp, travel from May 1 and July 15, 2015.

Michael Ward’s managing director Michael Ward issued a statement following the publication of a review Financial Conduct Authority’s that found that some price comparison websites in the insurance sector are failing to meet consumers’ expectation and FCA standard. In the statement he said: “We certainly support the FCA’s review, in particular the concern that consumers are focused on headline pricing and brand distracting them from crucial product coverage and terms. With travel insurance, the cheapest policy is no good if people do not disclose their pre-existing medical conditions when buying as this can result in serious disappointment at the time they need to claim. PayingTooMuch will not provide travel insurance unless full disclosure is made and will not knowingly allow customers to buy policies without their medical conditions being included. We and they will want them to have a policy that will pay out and give them a true feeling of security.”

The next SKAL Dublin club function will take place on board the Ruby Princess Cruise Ship non September 2.


  • Shangri-La Hotel, Paris was awarded ‘Palace status’ by Atout France.
  • Twr Y Felin Hotel in St David’s will reopen in 2015 as a luxury boutique property.
  • Globe Hotels is offering 20pc off stays at the Sandos San Blas Nature Resort between August 1—21 and 15pc off stays between November 1, 2014, and April 30, 2015.


Picture by Evan Wohrman via Flickr

Picture by Evan Wohrman via Flickr

Around 120 people had to be evacuated from a monorail at Disney World Florida after it experienced a power outage believed to be caused by lightening.

World Challenge, the adventure holiday provider, said that a quarter of 16 and 17-year-olds failed to pass a fitness test participants are required to take before embarking on a trekking expedition.

In its latest newsletter, Spanish Tourism Office announced the launch of an online lifestyle magazine focused on culture in Spain. Dublin staff also announced the new Spain Train Pass Service from Renfe and said that pets will be accepted as hold luggage on Iberia Express flights to and from Dublin.

The ‘Journey to Churchill’ Arctic exhibit is open at Assiniboine Park Zoo in Winnipeg. Set over 10 acres, the attraction allows visitors to see polar bears, seals, caribou and wolves among other creatures.

Tickets for the Sensation dance music festival are available now. The event will be held in Dubai’s Meydan Racecourse. Around 15,000 people are expected to attend. Dubai will host magician illusionist Criss Angel’s first live performances outside Las Vegas in six years on November 12—14 at the Hamdan Sports Complex. The city will also host two sporting events this winter: the DP World Tour Championship will take place on November 20—23 and the Emirates Dubai Rugby Sevens on December 4—6.

Visit Wales is promoting Bounce Below, an underground trampoline that opened in a disused state mine; The Wickedly Welsh Chocolate Factory that recently opened near Haverfordwest in Pembrokeshire; and Food Adventure trips, which allow visitors to take part in food tours and visit vineyards, farms, restaurants and hotels across South Wales. Visit Wales also listed upcoming summer events: The Senior Open, Royal Porthcawl Golf Club, July 24—27; Big Cheese Festival, Caerphilly, July 26—27; Brecon Jazz Festival, Brecon Beacons, August 7—10, Green Man festival, Brecon Beacons, August 14—17; Grand Medieval Mêlée, Cardiff, August 16—17; International Paralympic Committee Athletics European Championships, Swansea University, August 18—23; FestivalVOALA PROJECT Y DUCHAMP PILOT - MUARÉ No 6, Portmeirion, September 5—7; and Abergavenny Food Festival, Abergavenny, September 20—21.

The eighth annual Derby Festé will take place September 26 and 27.

Visit Scotland launched the Scottish Mountain Biking Conference 2014 – International Edition at Peebles Hydro hotel. The conference will take place November 11—13. Commonwealth Games cyclist Grant Ferguson will take centre stage at the event and Swiss cyclist Hans Rey will be speaking too. It is expected that around 200 mountain biking experts will attend.

Food & Wine

Picture by Trocaire via Flickr

Picture by Trocaire via Flickr

Donal Skehan‘s YouTube posts will now feature on Jamie Oliver’s online channel, Foodtube.

3fe café in Dublin was listed as one of Buzzfeed’s ’25 coffee shops you need to see before you die’.

Alibi 24-hour Cocktail Lounge will open at Las Vegas’ Aria Resort and Casino in autumn.


Picture by BriYYZ via Flickr

Picture by BriYYZ via Flickr

Hong Kong-based Cathay Pacific was 2014’s best airline and Singapore was the best first-class cabins, according to the 2014 Skytrax Customer Survey Awards. Continuing a remarkable winning streak, the fast growing Turkish Airlines won the best airline in Europe for the 4th successive year. Despite deciding not to participate this year, Etihad were placed in eight different categories.

best-airThe news, first reported in Travel Extra last January, that Ethiopian Airlines is considering an Addis Ababa to Los Angeles service that would use Dublin as a stopover, re-emerged this week with March being mooted as a start-up date. The Department of Transport told The Irish Times that staff initialled a bi-lateral agreement with Ethiopian authorities but new Transport and Tourism Minister Paschal Donohue has yet to sign off on the deal. The airline had yet to apply for fifth-freedom rights.  Listen here to Tewolde Gebremariam CEO of Ethiopian talking aabout the proposal to Travel Extra.

Ryanair is investigating an incident in which two families missed their flights to Spain after staff allowed them board a plane heading for Latvia. The English Daily Mail reported that crew realised the error when the correct occupants of the seats arrived. It is reported that the mix-up occurred when two queues formed close together for the flights to Almeria and Riga. Ryanair issued a statement saying it would investigate the incident and apologised to the families. A spokesperson added: “It is the responsibility of each customer to ensure they board the correct aircraft.” 

DC 10/07/2014 - REPRO FREECork AirportPic: Diane CusackBooked Aer Lingus transatlantic feed from Stobart Air/Aer LIngus Regional has doubled in the first four months of 2014., Picture shows Denise Sidebottom from Cobh, the winner of Cork Airport eZine’s competition with Aer Lingus Regional, Hotel Indigo Newcastle and the Newcastle Gateshead Initiative. Denise won two return tickets to Newcastle, flying with Aer Lingus Regional from Cork Airport, luxury accommodation courtesy of Newcastle Gateshead Initiative and a meal for two in a city restaurant.

  • US Airways launched its codeshare agreement with Finnair.
  • Dublin-based SMBC announced a record order by a leasing company for single-aisle aircraft at Farnborough air show, 110 A320neo and five A320ceo.
  • British Airways’ Hand Baggage Only  fare was extended to all economy fares types on British domestic and European flights to/from Heathrow, City and Gatwick.
  • Huffington Post listed 5 ways to ease transcontinental flights.
  • Etihad increased its Abu Dhabi to Dublin service from 10 flights per week to twice a day.
  • Two retired US Airways pilots debunked 5 myths about turbulence.
  • SkyWork Airlines will move its London service from City to Southend Airport on October 27.
  • The Irish Aviation Authority has issued permits to 22 operators to use drones or remotely piloted aircraft systems to  be used mainly for aerial survey, filming and photography.  Aviation regulations governing drones in Ireland mean that operators are restricted to flying no higher than 150m and no further than 500m from the control station.
  • Flybe launched its new on-board menu, Refuel.
  • The London Telegraph listed 11 of the most ridiculous air travel charges.
  • Brussels Airlines will offer a choice between four travel products from September, check & go, light & relax, flex & fast  nd biz & class.
  • Emirates announced a fourth daily flight between Dubai and Johannesburg from Oct 26.  Emirates is to add Dubai-Budapest daily from Oct 27 with A330-200.  The Kiev service will be suspended from August 2.
  • Alitalia has agreed with the trade unions except CGIL on the conditions for the entry of Etihad.
  •  The Cyprus government is seeking to divest its 93.67pc stake in Cyprus Airways.
  • GuestLogix on-board retail and payment technology provider to airlines, rail operators and the passenger travel industry, is to base its Global Customer Support Centre in Dublin

Ryanair reported a 5pc increase in passenger numbers for June; its load factor increased by four points to 88pc.  From October, Ryanair will be flying out of Hamburg and scrapping its service from Lübeck, which is 70km from the city, with services to Lisbon (daily) and Porto (3 per week).  It is also adding Berlin-Porto (4 pw).  Hamburg already has services by easyJet and WizzAir.

The Public Service Obligation contract for the provision of air services to the Aran Islands held by with Aer Arann Islands has been extended by a year to September 30 2015 according to retiring Minister of State at the Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, Dinny McGinley.

Etihad is offering a complimentary 2-night luxury stay in Abu Dhabi to business class passengers. Customers must book by September 15 and fly before September 30.  See here for more.

Ulick McEvaddy‘s Omega Aerial Refueling Services is to offer its contracted tanking services to the European Defence Agency

British Airways will launch its five-a-day service from Dublin to London City Airport on October 26 using a mix of Embraer 170 and 190 jets. Meanwhile, BA’s Heathrow-Tripoli service has been suspended up to and including July 24. BA’s issued guidelines say that if an alternative gateway is requested by a customer reps should suggest they use another BA service such as Gatwick-Malta or Heathrow-Cairo.

Virgin Atlantic announced a new Belfast to Orlando service for next summer. The service will operate Thursdays in June and July commencing July 25, 2015. Seats will go on sale Inaugural flight from Etihad Abu Dhabi to Perth July 16, 2014.through Virgin Atlantic this Friday (July 25).

Etihad launched Abu Dhabi to Perth. The airline also launched its double daily schedule between Dublin and Abu Dhabi. The extended service will provide 8,988 seats each week.  Etihad is to start daily flights from Abu Dhabi to San Francisco on November 18, using a dry-leased Jet Airways B777-300ER on this flight.

Aer Lingus Regional reported its best month since it was set up four years ago. Last month, the airline carried 130,098 passengers, a 37pc increase compared to last year. Passenger numbers were up by 26pc for the first half of 2014.

Border Control booths at Arturo Merino Benítez Airport have been upgraded with antimicrobial copper material to reduce the spread of infections.michael o'leary old and new office

Spot the difference. Picture above shows Michael O’Leary’s old office at Dublin airport and the new office in the trendy Ryanair offices in Swords. Michael points out that he has Davy Russell, the jockey he fired last January, looking down on his every move as he clears a fence on Savello.

Transfairlog 2014 has been cancelled. The event had been planned to take place from November 4—6 in Hamburg. Exhibition director Peter Kazander said: “We did not want to put on another intralogistics trade fair. When important players that represent the transport segments are missing, then the event loses the critical basis for bringing together supply and demand in the expected proportions in line with the concept.”

Travelport and Res2 BV IT developer announced that CityJet will use iPort DCS for ground handling.LCY runway at dusk copy

Declan Collier, CEO of London City Airport, highlighted statistics from the London Civil Aviation Authoriy that said LCA was the most punctual English airport last year: “we have the shortest average delay in the country, at just six minutes compared to an average of nine minutes. .”

The London Telegraph reported that Ryanair was approached by Ashley Madison, a dating website for extra-marital affairs, to paint one of its aircraft pink and advertise the agency with the slogan “Life is short. Have an affair”. Ryanair is reported to have backed out of the €120,000 because it feared a backlash from customers.

Etihad launched a daily service between Abu Dhabi and Rome. CEO James Hogan said the new service was “the next step in a burgeoning relationship with Italy”.

According to a survey by Car Trawler and Idea Works Company, global airline ancillary revenues grew to $31.5bn for 2013.

Aer Lingus’ reduced fares offer on all European destinations will close tomorrow (June 21). Customers must book by tomorrow and travel between August 1 and October 25.

Businessweek analysed Emiratesmulti-million sports sponsorship deals; the article is prompted by the fact that the airline paid big bucks to have its flight attendants present the German soccer team with the World Cup.

W. James McNerney, JrBoeing CEO Jim McNerney spoke to Aviation Week about the company’s current commercial strategyBusinessweek reported that Boeing is working on a high-capacity revamp of its 737 model to attract low-cost airlines. Boeing unveiled key elements of the B777X design at Farnborough air show, including windows that are 15pc larger than the competition, new interior design that allows airlines to customise cabin architectures by class, lower cabin noise and higher cabin humidity and cabin altitude of 6000 ft (comparable to the 787).

Airbus launched two upgraded models of the A330-200, the A330-800neo and A330-900neo. First delivery is expected by the end of 2017.

More controversy from Norwegian Air International’s registration in Dublin, the European Social Dialogue Committee for Civil Aviation urged the European Commission and newly elected Members of the European Parliament to take “urgent measures” against the use of Flags of Convenience in aviation claiming airlines using Flags of Convenience would “undercut fair competition in the sector, avoid many regulations and scour the globe to exploit labour without European social rights and standards.”  US transportation officials planned to meet with their European Union counterparts on Monday to discuss the controversy.

Easyjet estimates that it will serve 30,000 passengers during the first 12 months of its new Belfast-Reykjavik service.

Ryanair launched a new route from Manchester to Eindhoven. The service will run four times a week starting in October.

Quickpark and Irish Greyhound Board are offering free admission with every Quickpark receipt presented at participating greyhound tracks for any night of racing until August 31. Participating venues are: Shelbourne Park, Harold’s Cross, Waterford, Cork, Tralee, Limerick, Galway, Mullingar and Newbridge.

British Airways cancelled 12 round-trip flights from Heathrow to Tokyo Narita from its January 2015 schedule.

A design of a cycle seat patented by Airbus received plenty of online backlash this week. Huffington Postdubbed the idea “literally the worst seat in the history of aviation”. Business Insiderreported that the seats “would function like the folding seats in a movie theatre…They would fold down when in use, and flip back up when occupied”. Twitter and Facebook users were horrified at the sparse designs. Despite all the excitement, an Airbus spokesperson told the LA Times that the seats may never be used, saying that the “patent filings are simply conceptual”.

AfloatIrish Ferries - Spraoi Festival copy

Irish Ferries is the official sponsor of this year’s Waterford Spraoi International Street Festival, which takes place August 1—3. The ferry company hopes to attract participants travelling from Britain and France as customers.

Norwegian Cruise Line announced that together with Meyer Werft it will build two new Breakaway-Plus class cruise ships for delivery in the second quarter of 2018 and the fourth quarter of 2019. Each ship, weighing in at 164,600 gross tonnes, will include 4,200 passenger berths.

Royal Caribbean is offering holidays from €689pp with $100 on-board spending money to customers who book before July 31.Kathryn beadle copy

Hurtigruten is offering two trips to an Arctic wilderness lodge by husky or snowmobile which can be added to voyages starting or ending in Kirkenes between January 5 and April 5, 2015. Hurtigruten also announced that Kathryn Beadle, managing directors in its London office, will leave her role later this year to “pursue other business opportunities”.

Norwegian has banned smoking on ship balconies. The new rule will take effect from November 1.

Stena Line’s Kids Go Free offer on Dublin/Dun Laoghaire- Holyhead and Rosslare-Fishguard routes ends today.


Michael Ring was re-appointed Minister of State at the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport with Special Responsibility for Tourism and Sport

russboroughRussborough House officially launched its Garden Sculpture Exhibition. Wicklow Rose Gillian Burke was there to cut the ribbon. The showcase will run until August 10 and entry is free.

Dusty – the infamous bottlenose dolphin – is reported to have relocated to Inis Oírr where locals renamed her Sandy. The dolphin formerly known as Dusty was a big attraction at Doolin until she grew more aggressive in recent years after swimmers teased and mistreated her. Islanders on Inis Oírr told the Irish Examiner that since her move she shows no fear of humans and is “actively seeking out swimmers” to interact with. But the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group has warned that while there are positive reports, other swimmers have experienced “aggressive encounters and are being hit by the dolphin’s tale or, less occasionally, rammed”. Visitors to the island are warned not to swim with Sandy but are encouraged to admire her from the pier, shore or boats.

Cable and Wake

Making the most of the hot spell, NITB put together a list of new outdoor activities for visitors to try: mountain biking, various locations; Cable Wakeboarding at the Titanic Quarter; Stand Up Paddleboarding with Long Line Water Trails in Derry; Segway Adventures in NI, various locations; Wet Caving in the City, Belfast Activity Centre; Blokart World, beaches across Northern Ireland; Foyle Hovercrafting & Leisure, Limavady; and Scuba Diving on the Causeway Coast.

The DCC placed a temporary ban on swimming at Sandymount strand because of health Culture Night 871concerns about the quality of the water.

This year’s Culture Night takes place September 19.

Bray Summerfest continues today with the Bray Air Display at 3:30pm today. The event is free and organisers promise impressive “aeronautical antics”. The three-hour display will be streamed live on

TCD’s Science Gallery opened its latest exhibition, Strange Weather: Forecasts from the Future. The free exhibition explores how “humans are attempting to understand, adapt to and control our changing weather”. Strange Weather is curated by Met Éireann’s Gerald Fleming and Zackery Denfeld and Cathrine Krame of CoClimate. The exhibition runs from now until October 5 and has a number of special events will run alongside it. A list of exhibits and events can be found here.

Irish Water Safety’s newest drowning statistics show that there were 91 recorded drownings in 2013, the lowest for 78 years. IWS issued an appeal to the public to stay vigilant around water. The figures show that the majority of drownings last year were accidents (60pc) and during two weeks of fine weather in July 2013, 13 people drowned.

Festival organisers body AOIFE issued a statement about “Garthgate” and Minister Alan Kelly’s review of the Event Planning and License process. In a members’ ezine, the organisation said: “The last act was rushed and has proved to be flawed, our advice is – take your time and do it methodically.” It also encouraged members to submit suggestions to the Department of Tourism about The Draft Tourism Plan.

She has wheeled her wheelbarrow once more. Molly Malone is moving to Suffolk Street, a little closer to her alleged burial site.

The Fairies were out in force at the Fairy Fundraiser event which took place at Strokestown Park. The family event, which saw Strokestown Park’s woodlands transformed into a fairy woodland park for the day, was arranged to raise funds for St. John’s Ward, Our Lady’s Children’s Hospital, Crumlin.10 MILLION INDIAN TV VIEWERS TO SEE CO CLARE AND THE WEST OF IRE

Indian travel channel Travelxp HD was filming in Ireland this week. The crew – hosted by Tourism Ireland – captured footage in Dublin, Limerick, Clare and Galway. It is expected that 10m will tune in to the broadcast in India.

Travel Extra’s Sunday Supplement: Ryanair upgrades to allow smartphone boarding passes


Picture shows Portnablagh Harbour,Co. Donegal. Credit: Liam Moloney via Flickr

Picture shows Portnablagh Harbour,Co. Donegal. Credit: Liam Moloney via Flickr


*Ryanair allows smartphone boarding passes

*7 hour queue to escape from Gringott’s

*Flat laptop ban could come to Ireland

*So long Varadkar, welcome Donohue

*Fáilte Ireland’s top tourism towns

*Magaluf clamps down on pub crawls


Travel Extra TV

YouTube footage of a near collision at Barcelona airport received widespread coverage this week. The video – shot by plane spotter Miguel Angel – shows a Boeing 767 operated by Utair coming in to land and narrowly missing an Aerolinea Argentineas Airbus A340 that was taxiing on the runway. The video racked up over 20m views during the week. You can watch it here in case you missed it. But our video of the week shows an even closer call at the RAF Waddington airshow. The clip shows a Turkish F16’s “extremely low landing” as it thunders over the crowd. “That was a bit close, wasn’t it?” one plane spotter says at the 24 second mark; quite the understatement as you’ll see.

  • This video shows three Boeing 737 fuselages on the banks of Clark Fork River in Montana. How did they get there? A freight train carrying six 737 fuselages and other cargo derailed sending three aircraft shells into the river. Nobody was injured. The video was shot by David Shearer who came upon the scene with a group of rafters. You can hear them contemplate how large the repair bill is going to be. Boeing said it was assessing the damage to the components. reported that the company faces temporary disruption to its 737 production system. You can watch the video here.
  • To celebrate its 40th anniversary, New Jersey’s Six Flags Great Adventure Park built the new Zumanjaro Drop of Doom ride. Those who brave the drop plummet 520ft at 90mph. Watch POV footage of the ride here.
  • Irish National Stud & Gardens released a new promotion video. You can watch it here.
  • An estimated 20,000 people came to the Foynes airshow this week. You can watch highlights of the two-day event here.
  • Folks at Cork airport are the latest to create a music video for Pharrell Williams’ hit ‘Happy’. The video was created to raise awareness for Cystic Fibrosis Ireland. You can watch it here.
  • See Dublin from 1,500 feet thanks to the Bray Air Spectacular. Watch Clare Cullen’s video here.Bank of Ireland Runway Night Run Shannon Airport

Participants in the Bank of Ireland Runway Run at Shannon raised over €15,000 for the Samaritans. You can watch a video from the event here.

HeadlinesRyanair new app

A game-changer. Ryanair’s all-new phone app went live on Friday, ending paper boarding passes forever and introducing a new era for lo-co travellers across Europe and the 40pc of Ireland’s air passengers who fly with Ryanair. The new app allows passengers download their boarding passes to their smartphone. The booking process has also been streamlined. The official launch takes place tomorrow (monday) morning. Don’t have a smartphone? You are back to paper. You pay €15 for a reprint at the airport (reduced before Christmas from a penal €70) but if you fail to check in four hours in advance you will be hit by the €70 check in fee at the airport. Listen here to Travel Extra’s Eoghan Corry speaking about the new phone app on RTE’s Drivetime.


Aer Lingus moved seamlessly to Heathrow Terminal 2 on Wednesday. The terminal is much closer to the Heathrow Express and Tube links to London than Terminal 1. Aer Lingus desks are to the left as you enter the spcaious and airy new terminal and the lounge is beside the much-hyped Heston Blumenthal restaurant (The Perfectionists’ Café, complete with €10 pizza, tobacco cocktails and rose petal ice cream; see report here), with a great airside view. Check which airline you are using if you are passing through Heathrow from now on; British Airways flights continue to depart from Heathrow Terminal 1 before moving to Heathrow Terminal 5 in October. Listen here to Declan Kearney of Aer LIngus speaking on Morning Ireland about the Aer Lingus move to Termrinal 2. See video here.

Much confusion about the new security regulations insisting passengers that banned uncharged phones and laptops from “certain inbound flights to the US.” All the travel industry has to go on is a short statement from the US Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson last Sunday. The Department of Transport which is repsonsible for security arrangements in Dublin airport said it expects no change to existing procedures. If the direction from the TSA is fomralised, the secuirty checks that wil be affected will be tha e final check after US CBP en route to the gate. Transit passenegrs may not be so lucky. BBC reported Heathrow and Manchester would be targetted for the new measure. Listen here to Travel Extra’s Eoghan Corry speaking on Morning Ireland about the new regulations. The London Telegraph reports that Robert Goodwill, the British transport minister, said the government will introduce more charging facilities at airports so passengers don’t fall foul of the new rule. He added that airlines were working on methods of reuniting passengers will items that had to be left behind, but the British Labour Party accused the government of confusing passengers with cryptic advice.


pashal_donohue Ireland’s new tourism and transport minister Paschal Donohue will inherit, untouched, the running sore of the travel industry, a bonding system that was designed for the pre-credit card age in 1984 and which is throwing up new anomalies of consumer protection by the month. He also inherits uncertainty over the independence of Cork airport and the future of PSO routes, and an aviation policy on which the ink is not yet dry (like the Treaty of Limerick). Other than, he has been bequeathed a relatively ship-shape tourism department from Leo Varadkar, who may have Ireland’s most successful ever tourism and transport minister, with huge progress on the inbound visa issue, albeit with Ireland remaining outside Schenghen for now. Relations with Ryanair are at an all time high, important for an ailrine that control 40pc of the access ot the island and can turn on and of capacity like a tap.

Picture by jurvetson via Flickr

Picture by jurvetson via Flickr

Fáilte Ireland published its longlist for the 2014 Tourism Town Awards. Fifteen towns and villages around the country have been listed for the third annual event. This year’s competition will see a change of format, with titles awarded to the best large town and best small town. Michael Ring said: “This award is all about recognising Irish towns and villages which are working hard to make Ireland even more attractive for tourists.” Speaking about the towns listed, Paddy Mathews of Fáilte Ireland said: “These are towns that have already performed well in the Tidy Towns Competition in 2013, so we know that they are clean and well presented. Now we want to know how well they present themselves to their visitors.” The top ten Highly Commended Tourism Towns will be announced at the Tidy Towns Awards later in the year. The overall winners will be announced by Fáilte Ireland in November.tourism-towns Magaluf lived up to its debauched reputation this week after a video emerged of an Irish teenager performing oral sex on multiple men in exchange for a free drink while being egged on by the club’s DJ. Police have launched an investigation into the matter. Paul Smith – who runs Carnage, the club where the video was shot – told the Irish Daily Star: “I’ve made mistakes and I’m here to rectify them and make sure this doesn’t happen again, but why should I apologise…What have I done wrong? I’ve made mistakes but I wasn’t the one who forced her to get on the floor. I’m not going to apologise to the family.” He did, however, say he “feels sorry” for the 18-year-old woman. Manuel Onieva, Mayor of Calvià, issued a statement in which he expressed his “total rejection and anger at the activities which were carried out in a video which is currently on the social media circuit”. He added: “This week I have passed a law giving us tighter control over the operation of pub crawl organisers and we are the first municipality resort to implement a law such as this. The law will come into effect this month [July 2014]. Companies operating pub crawls in Calvià now have to apply for a licence through the town hall.  They have to prove their responsibility and show that they have the appropriate civil insurances in place. Each pub crawl guide will have to wear a specific jacket so local police can monitor those operating in the region and identify those that have been approved. Pub crawl groups can now not exceed more than 50 people and if any operators exceed this legal capacity, they will be fined.”

Travel TradeDaniel Kiely SEO manager for Lowcost Beds and Mark Garwell strategy director of Lowcost beds at the Lowcost event for Travel media in Dobbins Bistro, Dublin, July 9 2014.

Meath born Daniel Kiely and Londoner Mark Garwell (pictured) from the Lowcost Group SEO team joined Clem Walshe and Gráinne Caffrey in hosting travel media in Dublin. Clem Walshe gave what he called a mid term catch-up on the Lowcost groups dual brands, beds and direct (listen here) noting that this year’s market is very price driven and very late, 80pc of the sales are coming inside 10 weeks Lowcost now indemnifies every travel agent on every booking they make through the group (listen here). Pat Dawson said that members had been landed with claims of €20,000 to €80,000 on holidays booked through bedbanks but that Lowcost group were the first to sign an indemnity (listen here). Clem Walshe reported holiday sales were up 42pc year on year (listen here) and weather was not having the same impact as last year. The group is helping boost inbound tourism with Dublin, Cork and Galway regularly featuring in the top sellers of the trading week (listen here). He said we are seeing the benefits of our investment in becoming a one stop travel shop. He said Spain represents 35pc of all Lowcost group bookings (listen here). He said when Lowcost launched in Ireland 95pc of their sales were to Spain but Lowcost is now a global brand (listen here). See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.

1Rebecca Kelly speaks 001 Rebecca Kelly and Rose Darby of MSC cruises hosted 26 members of the travel trade and four press to update them on the air to treble their cruise business out of Ireland by 2017. The 2015 summer and 2015-16 winter cruises are for sale and MSC promised prices in their current sale (book by Sept 30) will not be available again. “ Four mega ships will be delivered between 2017 and 2019. Their “Renaissance” ship-elongation programme commences with MSC Armonia next month to followed by Lirica, Sinfonia and Opera, adding 24 metres and 611 passengers to each ship. MSC will base four ships in both Eastern and western Med in summer 2015 and two ships in the Baltic bringing Yacht Club to Northern Europe for the first time. Rebecca talked the trade through the new experience-based pricing recently introduced by MSc at three levels, Bella, Fantastica and Aurea. Janet Parton started as MSC Director of Sales base din London last Monday. See more pictures here or connect with the album in Facebook.

According to the ITAA’s quarterly survey, 78pc of Irish travel agents say that the Aer Lingus and French air traffic controllers’ strikes have had a negative impact on business. Speaking about the survey results, president of the association Martin Skelly said, “The recent strikes skellyput a large strain on the time and resources of many travel agents. Without doubt, the strikes were both a hassle and a nuisance for travel agents, but that extra level of care is an inherent part of the service we provide, it’s what sets us apart from faceless travel providers and it’s something that we are very proud of.” ITAA’s survey found that 52pc of agents reported increased turnover for the second quarter of 2014 while 19pc said turnover matched last year’s figure. Business travel bookings remained the same for 50pc of corporate travel agents and increased for 42pc. The biggest customer demographic for agents this summer is families, followed by business travellers, young couples and groups of Leaving Cert or college friends.

David Powell of Kimpton San Francisco, Racquel Toro of Kimpton Chicago, Kristy Rooney of Kimpton Washington DC, Ingrid Ruz of Kimpton Boston, Cindy Brewster of Kimpton Head office, Greg Evans and Judy McCluskey of Kimpton’s representation in London who hosted members of the travel trade at Chapter One in Dublin, July 7 2014. Cindy Brewster of Kimpton Hotels hosted members of the travel trade at Chapter One in Dublin on Monday, with the Michelin starred restaurant opening especially for the occasion. Cindy said the repsonse to Kimpton’s first trade mission last year was above expectatins and brought a gorup ogf representatives from leading US hotels in the USA. It being a fine summer evening, in one of those spontaneous parties that the travel trade does so well, guests rambled as far as the Vintage Cocktail lounge for more refreshments and continued to refresh themselves into the early hours. Picture shows David Powell of Kimpton San Francisco, Racquel Toro of Kimpton Chicago, Kristy Rooney of Kimpton Washington DC, Ingrid Ruz of Kimpton Boston, Cindy Brewster of Kimpton Head office, Greg Evans and Judy McCluskey Kimpton’s representation in London. See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.IE PortAventura Incentive is offering agents the chance to win a four-night holiday for two to PortAventura. Agents who book any of the website’s worldwide tickets must email to be in with a chance of winning. Those who book a theme pass to PortAventura will receive a bonus entry.

Leo Varadkar (before he moved into the Department of Health) and Minister Michael Ring invited members of the tourism industry to comment on a draft tourism policy statement. According to the DTTAS’s website, the “central goal of the Draft Tourism Policy Statement is to increase overseas tourism revenue to €5bn per year by 2025 (excluding the cost of air fares and ferry charges)…in addition, there is a target of having 250,000 people employed in tourism by 2025, compared with approximately 200,000 at present. The statement can be viewed here. Comments must be submitted before July 31 and can be emailed to or posted to Anthony Donnelly, Tourism Policy Review, Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport, Government Buildings, New Road, Killarney, Co. Kerry.

  • Travel Department announced late summer offers: 7 nights stay in Tuscany from €699pp; available July 31, August 5, 12, 19, 26 and 28. 7 night stay in Dubrovnik from €959pp; available July 16 and 23 and August 13, 20, 27. 7 night trip to Lake Garda, Venice and Verona from €799pp; available July 24 and 31 and August 7, 12, 14, 21 and 26. 7 night trip to Lake Como, the Swiss Alps and Milan from €829pp; available July 28 and August 6, 11, 13, 18, 20 and 27.
  • Abbey Travel is offering free half board meals and a 15pc saving on hotel and park tickets at Disneyland Paris. The offer is valid for arrivals up to November 12 and sale ends July 20.

Corporate hotel suppliers HRS and independent agency Circle Research everywoman of Influence Dinner.have completed what must be the most intensive survey of Ireland’s corporate travel buyer habits. They found that just 4pc of corporate travellers said that the fact the hotel is preferred by their organisation was the most important factor in hotel choice. 78pc said that a hotel’s location was the most important factor when deciding on hotel choice, showing that traveller convenience should be a key consideration. When making a booking, 62pc focused on the proximity to the meeting place, 11pc cared about the hotel’s proximity to air/rail, and the rest (5pc) took into consideration the distance from the city centre. Despite cost being a key factor, 8pc felt that a hotel’s overall package/value for money was the most important factor in hotel choice, 54pc saying that the lack of hotels in the right location was one of their top three frustrations. Jon West of HRS (pictured) briefed Travel Extra on the surprises in the survey and HRS efforts to establish themselves as the go-to supplier of corporate beds and how cancellation policy is as important as price for the business traveller. is hosting three free talks around the country this month. Sales director Jeremy Perrin will discuss the Camino Francés route to those interested in making a trip to Camino de Santiago. Talks take place in The Great Outdoors, Galway on July 24, Fifty Three Degrees North, Carrickmines on July 30 and Fifty Three Degrees North, Cork on July 31.sinead desmond eoghan corry_5449 (1)

Ireland AM reported all week on Topflight’s Italian programme to Emilia Romagna, concentrating on Bologna, Rimini and Riccione. Picture shows Travel Extra’s Eoghan Corry being interviewed by Sinéad Desmond of TV3 on the workings of the beach clubs, which originated on the Italian Adriatic coast. See more pictures here or connect with the Facebook.

  • Tropical Sky is offering up to 30pc off last-minute all-inclusive deals from Dublin to the Caribbean: 7-night trip to St Lucia, from €1,329pp, departing between August 20 and October 1, book by July 31; 7-night trip to Dominican Republic, from €1,479pp, departing between August 31 and October 1, book by August 30; 7-night trip to Barbados, from €1,399pp, departing between August 17 and October 1, book by July 30.
  • Travel Professionals  Skillnet will host four online seminars on travel law during the summer. The seminars will be taught by solicitor Anne Dolan. The second ‘webinar’ takes place this Wednesday (July 16), from 8:30am—10am. Each instalment costs €25. See here for more.

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Caroline Coyle of Las Vegas CVA was uncharacteristically coy about the prospect of direct air services to Las Vegas when she briefed Travel Extra after hosting the Irish travel trade in Dublin last week, but did say that Vegas’ hosting of Routes last October had spurred interest in direct fights among international airlines. Michael Goldsmith of Las Vegas CVA told Travel Extra it was a question of ‘when and not if’ there are direct flights from Dublin to Las Vegas at IPW in Chicago in April. Plans by Omni air to launch a service from Shannon to Las Vegas for summer 2014 did not materialise and Thomas Cook has announced a single charter flight from Belfast to Vegas on July 5 2015. Las Vegas Hosted Picture shows Angel Williams of Miracle Mile Shops and David O’Grady of etravel at that event where Las Vegas CVA hosted 37 members of the travel trade at a breakfast event in the IMG_6682 copyShelbourne Hotel in Dublin. See more pictures here or connect with the album on FacebookLas Vegas CVA also hosted 73 members of the travel trade at a workshop, dinner and table quiz in Cafe En Seine. Picture shows Kelly Sawyer of Las Vegas CVA and John Donohue of Aereps. See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.

To mark the release of Mrs Brown’s Boys D’Movie, is promoting a number of attractions and experiences for visitors who are “up for the craic”: Dublin Bike Tour, €25pp; traditional Irish music pub crawl, €13 per adult and €12 per child; one day Celtic Tour from Dublin, €44 per adult and €23 per child.

Fáilte Ireland said that one of Belgium’s biggest holiday programmes, Vlaanderen Vakantieland, is being filmed along the Wild Atlantic Way. The presenters, Tina Maerevoet and Bill Barberis, are travelling by caravan from Croagh Patrick to Kinsale. An estimated 800,000 people are expected to watch the programme when it is broadcast. Aisling Travers of Fáilte Ireland said: “It is extremely important for influential media, many of whom are visiting Ireland for the first time, to experience first-hand what we have to offer on the Wild Atlantic Way. Hosting key influencers, such as these Belgian celebrities, to road test the Wild Atlantic Way gives us a powerful and persuasive way to grow visitor numbers.  In our work to promote Ireland as a top class destination, this type of publicity gives us credibility far beyond the scope of advertising. Indeed, it is suggested that the impact of this type of publicity is three times that of paid advertising.IRELAND SAYS ‘BONJOUR’ IN LYON

Nine Irish tourism companies travelled to Lyon to take part in a business tourism promotion organised by Tourism Ireland. The group was made up of: Eileen O’Donoghue, Premier Travel; Susanne Reid, Dunboyne Castle Hotel; Áine Comerford, Waterford Castle Hotel & Golf Resort; Christophe de Patoul, Irish Horizons Conference & Incentive; Siobhán O’Sullivan, Fitzwilliam Hotel, Belfast; Cathy Joyce, Citywest Hotel Conference & Events Centre, Dublin; and Caroline Phelan, Tourism Ireland; Monica Ramchandani, Aer Lingus France; Mylène Campalto, Abbey Incentive & Events; and Susan Sheahan, Clyde Court Hotel, Dublin. The promotion involved a B2B workshop and a networking reception. it was attended by Lyon’s major conference and meeting planners. The event gave participating Irish companies the opportunity to showcase their products and Tourism Ireland highlighted the Wild Atlantic Way, the Causeway Coastal Route and major events happing this year including Limerick City of Culture 2014. Tourism Ireland’s head of Europe Fiona O’Mahony said: “Business tourism is an important, high yield sector and Tourism Ireland in France has a busy programme of promotions under way throughout 2014, to grow this type of tourism. Our networking event in Lyon provided Tourism Ireland, and our industry partners, with an excellent opportunity to highlight our world-class business and conference SPOTLIGHT ON THE ISLAND OF IRELAND IN SCOTLANDfacilities, as well as the great experiences delegates can enjoy in Ireland on the sidelines of their conference or meeting.” Tourism Ireland also made a trip to the four-day Royal Highland Show in Edinburgh to attract potential holidaymakers in Scotland. Insight Vacations launched its 2015/16 USA & Canada programme. It features 16 premium and nine Gold Luxury escorted trips.

  • ETOA will host a new workshop on digital marketing strategies in London on September 30. The event, Showcase Travel Digital, will include sessions on digital strategies and face-to-face meetings with tourism technology suppliers. See here for more.
  • is promoting its free dining plans for customers who book a 2015 package to Disney World, Orlando. Seven nights at Disney Coronado Springs Resort, departing June 24, 2015, is available from €599pp.
  • Sunway is offering last-minute trips to Turkey: 7 nights at Sunset Plaza Hotel/Sea Pear Hotel from €399, departing July 18, from €549, departing July 25.
  • is offering free half-board and a 15pc saving on trips to Disneyland Paris.
  • Aer Lingus captain Elaine Egan spoke to the Irish Independent about her career and life.


Picture by Paul Keller via Flickr

Picture by Paul Keller via Flickr

The Journal de Dimanche reported on Sunday that France’s five-fold increase in hotel tax will not be passed through the Senate. The measure would have seen the hotel tax go from a current €1.50 to €8 in the regions and €10 in Paris.

Aghadoe Heights Hotel & Spa in Killarney announced a Juicing Detox Spa Retreat with juicing expert and yoga instructor Aileen Slein Kingelle from August 29 to 31.

According to data collected by, average hotel prices in Galway will increase during the Galway Races, peaking at €193 on Ladies’ Day (July 31). The comparison website also said that hotel prices in Dublin have risen to €139, a 24pc increase compared to last year. Hotel prices in Donegal, which will host a number of events this month, have risen by 33pc. Meanwhile in Glasgow, the average hotel price during the Commonwealth Games (July 23—August 3) will be €432. Below is the latest Irish Hotel Price Index for July 2014 from

  • Kilcullen Investment Partners announce a €1m investment in An Seanachai Pub, Restaurant and Holiday Homes in Waterford.
  • CasaVersa is a new home-swapping service. Users are invited to list their home online, select travel dates and location and then propose a house swap with matching participants. So far, there are only two proposed exchanges online in Ireland.
  • Globe Hotels is offering a free upgrade to twin sea view at The Vik San Antonio to customers who book a twin room for stays between July 16 and August 24.
  • Monard Destination Spa added a one-hour Pevonia skincare treatment to its menu.

Lusty Beg Island Resort and Enniskillen Hotel are offering an Ultimate Getaway package. The offer includes a 2-night stay in Lusty Beg with dinner on one of the nights, sparkling wine on arrival, spa treatment with lunch and a tour of Belleek Pottery, as well as 2 nights at Enniskillen Hotel with dinner on one of the nights, sparkling wine on arrival, cocktail making class before dinner included, whiskey tasting after included meal, tour of Marble Arch Caves and a Kestrel boat tour. The offer is priced at €700pps.


Picture by Chor lp via Flickr

Picture by Chor lp via Flickr

New York will unveil a shopping revolution over the coming months, according to Reginald Charlot, Senior Director Tourism Development at NYC & Company, who talked to Travel Extra about upcoming developments in the city (listen here). Two competing Shopping centres, Brookfield and Westfield, will open at the 16-acre WTC site in Lower Manhattan. Brookfield opens in the autumn while the first of Westfield’s eventual 460,000 square feet will open in 2015. This will put the nearby Century 21, a favourite with Irish shoppers, under pressure, so is also getting a new look with a new shoe section. Century 21 is also planning to open in a new location close to the Hotel Beacon, from where Tom Travers and Gerry Traino are great supporters of the Irish trade. There is more retail excitment to come. In 2016-17 the first outlet shopping mall in New York City  Empire Outlets wiil open on Staten Island. Staten Island, a free 20 minute ferry ride from Manhattan, will see the opning in 2016 of the world’s largest ferris wheel, the 60 storey on St George on the northeastern side of Staten Island. Ticket prices are estimated to be in the range of $20-$30 for approximately 38-minute ride. The Whitney Museum of American Art will open in the Meatpacking District next spring and will be followed by the third phase of the High Line will open in autumn making the parkway complete from thew 14th to 34th street. The number of Irish visitors to New York increased 4pc in 2013 compared with 2012, (listen here). By the end of 2014 there will be an extra 4,000 rooms in New York City, with development in mid town and lower Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, Staten Island and the Bronx, bringing the Reginald Charlot Eoghan Corry copynumber of beds to 104,000 in all (up from 93,000 at the end of 2012 and 99,000 at the end of 2013). Reginald Charlot said the NYC& Co neighbourhod campaign had been a  success in attracting repeat visitors, while first timers still preferred to stay in Manhattan. Long Island is an example of cost savings: there are hotels which are not full service so you will get a lower rate, full service versus full service will be 15pc cheaper. Second time visitors are more likely to stay elsewhere and see something different. Reginald Charlot is pictured with Travel Extra’s Eoghan Corry.

  • International travellers in Israel and Palestine have been advised to “reconsider their need to travel to areas of Israel within 40kms of the border with the Gaza Strip” and to “familiarise themselves with emergency procedures and how to respond to air raid sirens”, The Israel Defense Force’s Home Front Command website provides information on preparedness.
  • In West Africa travellers have been advised that borders in the Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia region may be closed at short notice to contain the Ebola outbreak that has killed 500 people.
  • A second attack in eastern Kenya in less than three weeks resulted in the deaths of at least 22 people. Somali militants claimed responsibility.
  • Japanese authorities evacuated almost 600,000 people from the island of Okinawa as super typhoon Neoguri brought heavy rain, high waves and gusts as strong as 216kph.
  • A roller coaster in California’s Six Flags Magic Mountain derailed after hitting a fallen tree branch. Four people received minor injuries and many of the riders were stuck 20ft in the air for almost three hours.
Picture by mattbuck4950 via Flickr

Picture by mattbuck4950 via Flickr

  • A disgruntled First Capital Connect train passenger has created a Tumblr page that features a morphed picture of CEO Tim O’Toole every time his train is delayed.
  • Universal’s Harry Potter theme park Wizarding World trebled in size on Wednesday (see pictures here) and now straddles the two Universal parks in Orlando, Universal Studios and Island of Adventure. Punters waited for seven hours to board the new signature ride, Escape From Gringotts. A two-park ticket is required to the new Diagon Alley, and a Hogwarth’s Express link has opened linking the two sections. Interestingly, the character’s creator JK Rowling was nowhere to be seen at the confetti strewn festivities. The high profile opening is being equated with that for an entire theme park. Universal sales were boosted by $1bn after the first Harry Potter ride opened.
  • PATA launched its PATA Loves ASEAN campaign on Travel Channel. The initiative aims to boost Asia Pacific’s tourism industry.
  • A study by Consumer Reports urges parents not to use spray-on sunscreen on their children as it could put them at risk for asthma or allergy attacks.
  • Huffington Post listed the top cities to visit when you are in your twenties. Dublin features at number 12.
Picture by Andrew from Sydney via Flickr

Picture by Andrew from Sydney via Flickr

Three Mobile issued a spoof online pamphlet to raise “awareness” of TSD or Travel Selfie Disorder, a “chronic disorder characterised by the uncontrollable urge to photograph one’s face while abroad”.

TAT announced its 2015 marketing plan that hopes to bring in 1.4tn Baht in revenue from foreign tourists. In keeping with Thailand’s recent return to peace, the strategy also to promote concepts like “Thainess”, happiness and sustainability. TAT also invited tourists visiting Chiang Rai to see Doi Tung and learn about the culture of the people who live and work in some of the area’s royal projects. Italy’s tourism minister Dario Franceschini announced new entry rules for all state museums and archaeological sites. Entry to state sites is free to all on the first Sunday of every month. Over 65s will have to pay for entry while reductions will remain for under 25s and under 18s will still receive free entry. The minister also announced plans for two scheduled open museum nights at €1 and late openings every Friday.

The US Department of Commerce reported that 5.8m international visitors travelled to the States in March, a 1pc decrease compared to last year. In March 2014, non-resident visits from overseas countries (2.3 million) were down 8pc when compared to March 2013. Mexico reported the biggest increase in visits (+28pc) while the highest decrease was from England (-21pc). See the full list Dubai announced plans for The Mall of the World, a 743,000 square metres shopping centre that will include a theme park, theatres and 100 hotels. The project is to be the retail and hospitality showpiece for Expo 2020 in Dubai. Other commercial developments in Dubai’s 2020 plan are: Wire World Meydan Adventure Park, Dubai Opera House and Opera District, Dubai Water Canal, Al Habtoor City, IMG Worlds of Adventure, Six Flags Theme Park, Aladdin City, Bluewaters Island and Dubai Frame.

Disney opened their new dark ride at Paris, Ratatouille, on Thursday. Brand USA is launching a campaign to promote gastro-tourism to the States following the release of the Discover America: Great American Food Stories guide. It is also promoting a number of upcoming events around the country: Cowboys will herd 1,300 buffalo at the 49th Custer State Park Buffalo Roundup on September 26. Maryland’s Star-Spangled Spectacular will take place in Baltimore on September 10—16. The free event will include live re-enactments, air shows, live music and tours of the tall ships and navy ships in Inner Harbour. New River Gorge Bridge Day will take place on October 18 in West Virginia. it is the only day of the year where pedestrians are allowed to walk on the deck of the 876-foot bridge.THE BRAEMAR GATHERING 2004, ABERDEENSHIRE.

Food & Wine

Picture by Liamfm via Flickr

Picture by Liamfm via Flickr

The A Taste of Lough Derg 2014 initiative was launched this week and will continue until September. The pilot campaign – organised by food producers and restaurant owners surrounding Lough Derg – features 13 separate food events taking place around Clare, Galway and Tipperary. The series includes a  Sunday Picnic at the lake in Killaloe, a butcher masterclass in Terryglass, farm walk and cheese tasting in Portumna, a BBQ garden party and talent show in Garrykennedy, and chocolate making and tasting in Tuamgraney and Newtown.

  • Foodies are invited by the Antigua and Barbuda Tourism Authority to explore the twin island’s restaurants dotted along the coast beaches (365 in total).
  • Euphoria food and music festival will take place in Greenville, South Carolina September 18—21.


Picture by leppre via Flickr

Picture by leppre via Flickr

The IAA reported a 4.4pc increase in the volume of North Atlantic Communications flights between Europe and North America. Total flights in Irish airspace in June increased by 7.6pc compared to the same month last year, including a 10.7pc increase in Ireland’s en route traffic. There was an average of 1,759 daily flights last month. The busiest day was June 24 (1,955 flights in Irish airspace). International arrivals and departures were up 3.6pc in Dublin, down 8.7pc in Cork and up 24pc in Shannon. Aer Lingus announced the appointments of Bernard Bot as its CFO and Federico Balzola as CPCO. Current CFO and executive director, Andre Macfarlane, will step down on September 1.

Shannon airport reported a 15pc increase in terminal passenger numbers for the first half of the year.Ryanair Labs

Ryanair is looking to fill IT roles at its digital hub in Swords. Chairman of the Westminster Intelligence and Security Committee Malcolm Rifkind said tightening airport security is unavoidable because of “devilish technical skill” adopted by terrorists to create increasingly sophisticated devices.

Air New Zealand became the first airline to fly the “stretch” version of Boeing’s Dreamliner, the 787-9.

Emirates received its 50th A380. It will enter into service in August.

A Frontiers Airlines captain bought pizzas for passengers when their flight was delayed.He spoke to the BBC about his good deed.

Etihad reported a 28pc increase in first-half revenues. Revenues from code-sharing and equity partners, including Aer Lingus, were up 31pc. The airline carried 6.7m passengers (+22pc) and cargo volumes for the first six months were 268,713 tonnes (+25pc). The airline also announced a partnership with Google flight search, which is available to travellers in Ireland. Etihad will also partner with PAL in an agreement that covers codeshare flights, loyalty programmes, airport lounges, joint sales/marketing programmes, a Philippines domestic air pass, cargo and the coordination of Etihad Airways Perth Day Partyairport operations at Abu Dhabi and Manila. The airline held a “Perth-day Party” in mark the launch of its new route to Perth, which will commence on July 15. The airline will also launch six new routes in the first half of 2015: daily flights will operate from Madrid, Edinburgh, Kolkata and Entebbe. Four flights a week will operate from Hong Kong and three weekly from Algiers. The existing flight from Abu Dhabi to Brisbane will become a direct service in June etihad award2015. The daily route to Singapore will upgrade to a three-class Airbus A330-300 and a three-class Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner will be introduced on daytime flights to Moscow. Etihad received the Financial Planning and Analysis Award at the gtnews Awards for Global Corporate Treasury and Finance in London.

Easyjet launched a direct service from Belfast to Reykjavik. Starting from December 12, the service will fly Fridays and Mondays. The airline also announced three new routes from Scottish airports: Aberdeen to Geneva, Glasgow to Marrakech and Edinburgh to Funchal.

Runway 4 at Kennedy airport was closed for over an hour on Wednesday thanks to 100 diamondback turtles who were making an annual pilgrimage to nearby sands to lay eggs. Specialists were called in to remove the terrapins. Some flights were delayed, but few passengers were affected as the runway is used infrequently this time of year.


Lufthansa’s new CEO, Carsten Spohr, said a new round of cuts, a further push into the low-cost market or an alliance with a Gulf airline is on the cards as he aims to win back investors following a profit warning that knocked $2bn off the airline’s market value.

New regulations relating to children under the age of 18 who travel to and from South Africa will be take effect from October 1. The new rules say:

  • When parents are travelling with a child they must produce an unabridged birth certificate that shows the names of both parents
  • When a child travels with only one parent, additional documents should include an affidavit in which the absent parent gives consent for the child to travel, a court order granting full parental responsibilities or legal guardianship of the child, or the death certificate of the absent parent. The affidavit should be no more than three months old, from date of travel.
  • If a child is travelling with someone other than a parent, the unabridged birth certificate must be supplemented by affidavits from the parents or legal guardians confirming that the child may travel with that person, copies of the identity documents or passports of the parents or legal guardian, and the contact details of the parents or legal guardian.
  • Similarly, a child travelling as an unaccompanied minor would have to produce not only the unabridged birth certificate, but also proof of consent from both parents, or legal guardian and contact details, plus documentation relating to the person receiving the child in South Africa; a letter stating the person’s contact details and residential address must also be included, plus a copy of his or her identity document, passport or residence permit.
  • All documents must either be original or certified as true copies of the original, by a competent authority. Documents not in English must be accompanied by a sworn translation.

Tlali Tlai, a spokesperson for South African Airways said: “These regulations are designed to ensure the safety of children and should thus be welcomed.”

From July 15, Malaysia Airlines passengers travelling from Kuala Lumpur with an economy ticket will be required to use self check-in services up to 48 hours before their flight. Customers can check-in via, or through self check-in kiosks at KLIA. The conventional check-in counters will be replaces with bag drop counters. Two special handling counters for unaccompanied minors and disabled customers will be operated at E15 and E16.


hurtiguten whiskeyHurtiguten is promoting a special themed voyage from Bergen to Hamburg on October 2—4 from £165pp. Passengers will be hosted by lecturer and whisky expert Bernard McGee onboard the MS Fram, which has carried two barrels of 21 and 25-year-old Scotch whisky to Argentina, Antartica, the Arctic Circle and Prime Meridian before reaching Scotland. The whisky is only available for purchase on board and for tastings in the ship’s bar.


  • Bray Summerfest revealed its surprise music act for July 18: Dublin band The Riptide Movement. You may recognise their track ‘All Works Out’ from Discover Ireland’s This is Living campaign. The festival continues until August 4.
  • Battle Vinegar Hill #4FB39E
  • County Wexford will host a number of events this August bank holiday: Art in the Open from July 28—August 4, Vinegar Hill Battle re-enactment from August 1—3 and Gorey Market House Festival from July 31—August 3.
  • NITB is inviting visitors to pack a bucket and spade and head to NI’s beaches. Clare McCoy of NITB said the north: “boasts a fantastic selection of beautiful beaches, including eight with the celebrated Blue Flag title..”
  • The Scattery Island Festival takes place on July 26 and 27. Brian Ború’s invasion of the monastic settlement on the island and killing of the Viking king of Limerick and his two sons will be recreated at the event. The festival will also feature guided walks, lectures, music and water activites.
  • Foynes Airshow SY 023
  • Picture shows The Breitling Wingwalkers at the Foynes airshow: Martyn Carrington with wing walker Lydia Beadle and pilot David Barrell with wing walker Danielle Hughes in the main airshow as 15,000 turned up for the centrepiece of the celebrations involving up 30 different aircraft.
  • Bus Éireann promoted its Expressway service from Galway to Dublin Airport.  A return ticket costs €20 (€40 for families of two adults and up to three children) and departs from Eyre Square daily at 07:30; 09:30; 11:30; 13:30; 15:30; 17:30 and 20:00. The service operates from Dublin Airport at 06:50; 08:50; 09:50; 11:50; 13:50, 15:50 and 20:20.
  • Footfalls Walking Holidays, and Wicklow County Tourism are organising a series of guided walks to the summit of Lugnaquilla Mountain in July and August. The next scheduled walk takes place on July 27.
  • Ballycotton Island Lighthouse Tours was launched. The lighthouse on Ballycotton Island, which was built in 1845, will now be served by daily boat tours following a €90,000 investment from South and East Cork Area Development.

Travel Extra’s Sunday Supplement: Lingus moves its Heathrow Home

supplement-jly6 The ball arrives for the American football match at the American Independence Day celebration at the US ambassadorial residence in Dublin. HEADLINESAVIATIONAFLOATFOOD & WINEHOTELSINTERNATIONALIRELANDTRAVEL TRADE

*Belfast-Istanbul likely to get go ahead

*EI and FR Traffic up

*Heathrow T5 baggage breakdown

*Aer Lingus to move to Heathrow T2 Wednesday

*Fáilte Ireland names 2013 top spots


Video of the week

Our video of the week comes from comedy duo Ben Borrello and Zach Searchy. The pair missed their flight from Fort Worth Airport to Dallas and decided to document how they distracted themselves till the next flight the following day. Some of their activities include military training, sidewalk sprinting and yoga. Plenty of ideas to keep a stranded travel agent entertained in the future.

  • Italian police released underwater footage of the sunken Costa Concordia. The video shoes divers examining the wreckage, showing dilapidated sofas, tables and stairs. Some sections, such as the reception desk (4:00) are still intact. The cruise ship sank in January 2012 killing 32 people. You can watch the eight minute video here.
  • Take a virtual tour of the Verrückt Meg-a-Blaster waterslide, which is due to open in Schlitterbahn Park in Kansas. Watch the POV video here.
  • Fáilte Ireland invited 17 adventure journalists to road-test Columbia Sportswear’s 2015 outdoor clothing range. The group spent a day in Dublin before heading for a three-night stay in Donegal where they took part in an adventure race, sea kayaking and sea stack climbing. Fáilte Ireland created a video promoting the Wild Atlantic Way, which you can watch here.
  • A video of a son’s surprise homecoming racked up over half a million views on YouTube. The son emerges from the sea having “swam” all the way from Australia, much to his mother’s surprise. You can watch the video here.
  • Take a look at this video shot in The Gallery at Ice in Windsor. The footage shows a piece from an exhibition of 3D artwork by Brian Weaver, who specialises in moving art and confectionary art. The exhibition is open until July 24.


ryanair 2 Howard Millar, Ryanair’s deputy CEO and CFO, announced he will be stepping down as a full-time executive in December and said Ryanair is now replicating the services and culture Aer Lingus would have given it had it succeeded in acquiring the smaller carrier. Millar said he is leaving Ryanair after more than 22 years because CEO Michael O’Leary shows no signs of handing over the reins. Michael O’Leary thanked him for his contribution to the company, where he worked for 23 years. O’Leary said that he was sorry to lose Millar as a senior executive, but was “pleased that he has agreed to join the Board as a Non-Executive Director from mid-2015, where he will continue to offer insight, guidance and wise counsel to the airline”. Neil Sorahan, Ryanair’s current finance director, was appointed the airline’s new CFO with effect from October 1. Meanwhile the airline launched its new three times daily Dublin-Glasgow service as part of its extended winter schedule. service as part of its extended winter schedule.

The release of the final part of the jigsaw of Ireland’s visitor attraction numbers, Fáilte Ireland’s figures for the top fee paying and top free attractions in 2013 (seven months later) confirmed the top ten table carried out by Travel Extra in January. The emerging attraction of the year is Michael and Kathleen O’Toole’s Sheep and Wool Heritage centre in Leenane (250,000 visitors). Most of the major attractions saw strong growth in 2013, but figures were not released for the Botanic Gardens in Belfast (650,000 in 2012) or Dondonald Ice Rink (459, 308 in 2012), The O’Neill centre in Ranfurly House Dungannon attracted 97,873 visitors in its first year. Derry Walls increased to 410,870 from 280,922. Kyleomore Abbey and, more surprisingly, Belvedere in Westmeath, MIdleton Distillery and JF Kennedy Arbotereum in New Ross fell out of the charts altogether. The top twenty (in the absence of Belfast Botanic gardens and the parks included by NITB but not by Failte Ireland) is: 1 Guinness Storehouse 1,156,985, 2 Dublin Zoo 1,026,611, 3 Cliffs of Moher 960,134, 4 Nat Aquatic Centre 858,231, 5 Giant’s Causeway Centre 753,929, 6 Nat Gallery 641,572, 7 Titanic 614,138, 8 Book of Kells 588,723, 9 Botanic Gardens Glasnevin 550,000, 10 Farmleigh 435,476, 11 Lurgan Park 442,784, 12 Tayto Park Ashbourne 435,000, 13 Ulster Museum 416,028, 14 Derry Walls 410,870, 15 St Patrick’s Cathedral 410,000, 16 Nat Museum Kildare St 404,230, 17 Fota Wildlife Park Cork 365,396, 18 Blarney Castle 365,000, 19 Newbridge Silverware 350,000, 20 Science Gallery 339,264.

There were further delays with Heathrow T5 baggage system which has been suffering from a software problem for over a week.Some passengers are still waiting to be reunited with their bags a week later. Passenger numbers were up for both Aer Lingus and Ryanair last month. Aer Lingus carried 995,000 passengers (+4.9pc), but its load factor dropped by 0.7pc to 85.5pc compared to the same time last year. Ryanair’s traffic grew 5pc to 8.3m passengers. Its load factor also increased 4pc to 88pc.Aer LIngus sunshine_3589

Aer Lingus moves to Heathrow T2 on Wednesday (July 9). So far, Air Canada, Air China, ANA, EVA Air and United Airlines have made the move to the new terminal. The full list of moves is published below. t2-moves A new Belfast-Istanbul service is expected to be launched in two years’ time. Turkish Airlines are tipped to begin operating a three-four rotations weekly service from Belfast International to Istanbul Ataturk in 2016.

Travel Trade

IMG_6880 copy

Little Green Cars were the signature entertainment as the annual American football match at which US Embassy Charge d’Affaires Stuart Dwyer hosted 3,000 guests, including leading members of the travel trade, at the ambassadorial residence in Dublin’s Phoenix Park to celebrate Independence Day. Guerrilla gourmet club (co-founded by Ross Golden Bannon) prepared the signature corn dogs using real corn batter, 400 canapés for the diplomatic corps and 2,000 picnics including healthy pea salad to the Michelle Obama recipe and regional cuisine including Cincinnati chile (no kidney beans with warmer spices). Picture shows Stuart Dwyer, Charge d’Affaires at the American embassy in Dublin. See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.

IMG_6935Sunway’s Pamela Hand (on right, pictured with Marie Claire Porter also of Sunway) starred as Lady Liberty as Sunway and Virgin Atlantic hosted 100 members of the travel trade at their Independence Day party at the trendy Everleigh Gardens night club in Dublin. Jeanette Taylor, newly appointed as National Travel Trade representative and Barry Hammond, new to Sunway’s long haul division, were among the hosts as Sunway highlighted their American programme. Holly Best of Virgin Atlantic talked about the excitement in advance of the arrival of the airline’s new 787-9 Dreamliner on the London Heathrow to Boston route in September.  Ireland is Virgin’s best performing offline market and is growing rapidly with the support of the trade. Separately, Virgin Little Red’s English and Scottish services, wet leased to Aer Lingus, have reached their load factor targets with the Aberdeen route in particular proving very profitable. See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.Picture: Miki Barlok

Jeanette Taylor was appointed National Trade Representative for Sunway Holidays. Jeanette has been working with Sunway for 14 years and previously worked as agency rep for the Munster region.

Aer Lingus and Orlando Flexticket are offering agents with the highest number of flights booked before July 31 a trip to Orlando on  September 18-23. Email bookings to  with name, contact details and travel agency and Orlando Educational 2014 in subject line.

Funway Holidays is celebrating the first birthday of its MoneyCard travel agent loyalty scheme with an £5 ‘Birthday Bonus’ giveaway. MoneyCard members who make a holiday booking in July to any USA, Mexico or Caribbean destinations featured will be entered into a draw to win a bonus £5 added to their card. stephen humphreys1

Stephen Humphreys will be British Airways‘ new head of sales and marketing for Britain & Ireland from the end of July, based in London.

Brand USA asked travel agents to vote for the next two training modules to be developed for its online ‘Discovery’ training programme. Members can vote on the community poll button under the Knowledge Forum page.

Kimpton Hotels hosts a trade event in Dublin tomorrow (July 7).

Veteran Cork travel agent George Barter was appointed as the Embassy of Portugal in Ireland’s honorary consul in Cork.

TUI Travel is to join with its German parent company, TUI AG, in a €7bn merger.Ibiza gerry o'hare anne cadwallader

Travel Extra’s co-founder and managing editor Gerry O’Hare, and our Features Editor, Anne Cadwallader, can enjoy themselves there as this photo of the duo in Ibiza‘s Old Town shows. The couple are marginally younger than the town’s ten-metre thick 17th century walls. But only just.

Thomson announced a platinum summer offer from Cork to Gran Canaria departing July 26; seven nights all inclusive for two sharing from €1,062pp. Other last minute offers include Dublin to Ibiza, seven nights all inclusive from €699pp for two sharing; Cork to Lanzarote seven nights all inclusive from €718pp and Shannon to Majorca, seven nights self-catering from €595pp.Karen hogan

TCC announced that the winner of its summer agent incentive was Karen Hogan from JustSplit (pictured). Karen won a €1,000 garden or home makeover.

DoSomethingDifferent’s best-selling attractions to date this year have been the 14-Day Disney & Universal Combo Pass in Orlando, USA; the Auschwitz – Birkenau Memorial and Museum Tour in Krakow, Poland; and the Northern Lights Mystery in Reykavik, Iceland. DSD have added three attractions to their itineraries Ripley’s Believe it or Not! Evening Saver Ticket in London (€19)|, Central Park Horse and Carriage Tour in New York (€105 per carriage) and a 48-Hour Hop-on/Hop-off Bus and Skip the Line Entry to Colosseum, Vatican Museums and Sistine Chapel in Rome, (€98 per adult, €60 per child).Riviera travel copy

Six Riviera staff accompanied 30 Irish and British travel agents to inspect the new MS William Shakespeare on a voyage to Cologne. The group were treated to a champagne reception by the captain followed by lunch. They had a guided tour of the Roman Museum in Cologne. Picture shows Rory Mc Dyer of Rory Mc Dyer Travel, Stephen Sands of Riviera Travel, Rebekah Commane of Travel Weekly in London, Richard Cullen of Killiney Travel and Alan Darby of PAB travel on board the new ship.

beatrice cosgrove hurling 001 copyEtihad hosted media in Croke Park. Picture shows Beatrice Cosgrove, Ireland Manager of Etihad, practicing her skills with the caman for photographers in Croke Park. See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.ITAA’s weekly offers are available here. This week’s offers include a 10-night stay in Bali (€1,160pp) and a seven-night stay in Orlando (€569pp).

Travel Professionals  Skillnet will host four online seminars on travel law during the summer. The seminars will be taught by solicitor Anne Dolan. The first ‘webinar’ takes place this Wednesday (July 9), from 8:30am—10am. Each instalment costs €25. See here for more.

ENIT announced details of its public event at Puglia Village on George’s Dock.The Puglia event takes place July 6—15 which includes a presentation and dinner on July 10. See here for the full schedule.

Darryl Ismail’s Innstant Travel says it has added 10,000 hotels overall, including 1,800 hotels in Italy, 3,490 in the Mediterranean, 2,190 in Australia, New Zealand & South Pacific Island, 21 in Hawaii, and 2,500 Asia, including China, Indonesia, Thailand, Malaysia and Singapore.IMG_6789 copy

Caroline Coyle, Kelly Sawyer and Gary Byrne of Las Vegas CVA and John Donohue of Aereps hosted 37 members of the travel trade at a breakfast event in the Shelbourne Hotel in Dublin. Picture shows Angel Williams of Miracle Mile Shops and David O’Grady of Etravel. See more pictures here or connect with the album on FacebookIMG_6682 copy Las Vegas CVA also hosted 73 members of the travel trade at a workshop, dinner and table quiz in Cafe En Seine. Picture shows Kelly Sawyer of Las Vegas CVA and John Donohue of Aereps. See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.

Travel South USA announced its 2014 executive board officers: Duane Parrish, chairman of the board; Mike Mangeot, vice chairman; Kyle Edminston, secretary; and Wit Tuttell, treasurer.

Sunway announced its late summer offers to Lanzarote: 7 nights B&B in the twin relax room at Princesa Yaiza Suite Hotel Resort from €1,129 for July and August and from €999 for September.


Russborough announced four upcoming summer events: garden sculpture exhibition, free entry, July 19—August 10, 10am—5pm daily; vintage and classic car display, free viewing, July 20, 1pm—4pm; paintings valuation day, donation-based event, August 2, 10am—4pm; and Celtic Tenors, tickets €25, August 16, 7:30pm. Five of Jurys Inn‘s hotels received a makeover following a €9m investment. The group revamped the rooms, lobbies, restaurants and bars of its Custom House, Christchurch, Parnell Street, Cork and Galway hotels. It also introduced free Wi-Fi for guests and improved its meeting rooms in Custom House and Cork.

Picture by jurvetson via Flickr

Picture by jurvetson via Flickr

The IHF issued a statement following the cancellation of two upcoming Garth Brooks concerts in Croke Park.

Travelport and Hilton Worldwide signed a new long-term GDS deal.

The Sun Siyam Iru Fushi resort in the Noonu Atoll Maldives launched a ‘Flyboarding’ and water-sports experience for guests.

St Moritz announced two offers to celebrate the launch of its Cowshed Spa: one-night B&B for two including an hour-long spa treatment plus full use of the hotel’s leisure facilities, £135pp; and two-nights including dinner, breakfast in bed, afternoon tea and massages for two, £145pp per night.

Titanic Hotel Liverpool opened at Stanley Dock. The site was formerly The North Warehouse and has been turned into a 153 bedroom hotel with a restaurant, bar, spa and events space.

De Vere hotel group ran into bother with the British Advertising Standards Authority for running a misleading offer on its website.

Faithlegg House Hotel announced summer family breaks are available from €129pp for two nights B&B plus evening meal. Kid’s prices start at €15 per night for B&B. The hotel is offering access to the SuirFun kids club for children aged 3—12. It has partnered with The First Tee of Ireland for a gold summer camp from July 14—18 for children up to 16 years.

Aloft Hotels announced it will open its second English hotel in Liverpool on October 29.

Aghadoe Heights Hotel & Spa was sold to an un-named European investor “with significant international hotel interests”. The Davy Group completed the purchase on his behalf. listed its top 10 hotels on the Wild Atlantic Way:

  1. An Chúirt Gweedore Court, Gweedore
  2. Solis Lough Eske Castle, Donegal
  3. The Glasshouse, Sligo
  4. Belleek Castle, Ballina
  5. Renvyle House, Connemara
  6. Doolin Hotel, Doolin
  7. Gormans Clifftop House, Dingle Peninsula
  8. Park Hotel, Kenmare
  9. The Maritime, Bantry
  10. Trident, Kinsale


Picture by jonrawlinson via Flickr

Picture by jonrawlinson via Flickr

The Turkish Ministry of Culture and Tourism released new passport guidelines for visitors: those entering the country must have passports valid for at least 60 days from the date of expiry of a traveller’s visa, visa exemption period or residency permit to be able to enter Turkey before December 31. From January 1, 2015, passports must be valid for at least 60 days from the date of expiry of a traveller’s visa, visa exemption period or residency permit to be able to enter the country.

Indonesia increased its visa on arrival fee from $25 to $35 per person.

Tour de France winner Stephen Roche celebrated 20 years of opening his first bike station in the Calvia region of Majorca.

GTA celebrated 30 years in the Asian market by launching a campaign with over 100 special offers in Hong Kong, Singapore and Bali.

Adler Mountain Lodge opened in the Dolomites mountain range, which was recently added to the UNESCO World Heritage index. TAT’s Amazing Thailand Grand Sale opened with a “Shopping Challenge” in Bangkok. The three-month promotion will continue until September 30.

Enterprise rent-a-car is now operating in Belgium, Czech Republic, Cyprus, Bosnia Herzegovina and Macedonia. Following a £9m restoration,

Middleport Pottery in Stoke-on-Trent opened to visitors.
Visitors who use the Algarvepass Card can avail of free Wi-Fi from six beaches including Vilamoura, Portimão and Albufeira. The card costs €10 and is available from tourist information points.

Picture by lele3100 via Flickr

The Transformers 30th Anniversary Expo opened at the Venetian Macau. The event, which runs until October 5, features over 1,000 toys and collectibles, a Transformers 3D hologram and a screening room showing the animated series.

Isola di Mal Ventre, a private island in the Mediterranean, is up for sale. Located 130 miles from Porto Cervo resort, the 200 acre island is listed for €1.5m. Thirty-seven people had to be rescued after cable cars derailed above Grenoble.

ferrari eoghan 001

Topfllight hosted a travel media group in Bologna, famous for its 44km of porticoes, where the activities included a visit to the Museo Ferrari in Maranello, test drive in a Ferrari car and a pasta cookery class (Bologna has 21 cookery schools and shops. Topflight have two flights a week to Bologna. A typical 3 night stay in low season costs from €309 depending on flight timings. Restaurateur Stefano Bussaglia hosted the group at Ristorante Ciacco on Via San Simone. Eoghan Corry of Travel Extra prepares to test drive a Ferrari at the Museo Ferrari in Maranello. See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.


Food & Wine published its top 10 “hottest chefs” to check out during the summer.

Paris’ Shangri-La Hotel is offering guests the opportunity to sample Krug Champagne and Petrossian Caviar on the terrace of its seventh-floor emblematic suite. The service is available from July 12 to August 6. Reservations are open now and the rate is €450 for two people including a bottle of Kung Grande Cuvée.9T2A9826a copy

Tennent’s NI won a five-year contract to supply draught beers and ciders to Hastings Hotels.


Aviation joke courtesy of The Beano comic:

Picture by lkarasawa via Flickr

Picture by lkarasawa via Flickr

Delta Air Lines employees Michael Yedor and Paul Anderson were indicted by a US federal grand jury on charges that they planned to defraud the airline of $22m. Two surveys revealed Irish passengers’ pre-flight rituals.

A survey by, using a sample of 180 Irish people, found that 71pc of Irish holidaymakers visit a hairdresser or beautician before a holiday; the average spend on a pre-holiday makeover is €110-€150; 26pc apply fake tan before going to the beach; 80pc of the women surveyed wear make-up on holiday. A separate survey by quizzed 870 people. The survey found: 52pc buy a newspaper, book or magazine before boarding a flight; 18pc drink alcohol before take-off; 14pc say a prayer; 5pc aim to be first on-board; 4pc take a sedative; 2pc pat the outside of the plane; 2pc carry a lucky charm with them; and 1pc book the same seat number every time.

Aer Lingus could take a profit hit as high as 9pc this year because of spiralling oil costs in Iraq, the Irish Independent reported.

Michael O’Leary bought just over €2m worth of shares in Ryanair, bringing his total holding in the company up to 3.71pc.

James Hogan, CEO of Etihad, said Europe should embrace external investment to strengthen the aviation sector and said his airline wanted to engage with Europe for mutual gain. Speaking at an EU conference on air transport competiveness, Hogan said: “Consolidation of airlines is critical to sustainable air services. External investment is not a threat. It is an opprtunitiy to strengthen airlines, and to support employment and economic growth.”  Etihad currently has a minority stake in three European airlines: airberlin (29.2pc), Aer Lingus (4.99pc) and Air Serbia (49pc). Last week, it announced its intention to acquire 49pc of Alitalia. In an interview with, the airline said the carriers it has invested in would have faced thousands of job losses and possible collapse without its involvement.

Ryanair announced its winter programme from Glasgow airport, a new base (Ryanair’s 69th with 1 aircraft) with three daily services to/from Dublin (one switched from Prestwick). Ryanair said despite the switch, it remains committed to its long standing base at Prestwick. The airline says it’s aiming to carry 30m passengers in Britain this year in a bid to attract more business customers – it is targeting business passengers with new corporate tickets set go on sale in August.

An American Airlines Boeing 767-300 travelling from Manchester to Chicago was forced to make a diversion to Dublin after it reported a pressurisation issue.

Cyprus Airways board chairman Tony Antoniou says the airline is close to getting a strategic investor.

Dublin airport retail (the Loop) has opened a new outlet positioned after US security and pre-clearance in T2. Dublin Airport passenger numbers were 2.1m in June, up 6pc on the same month last year, British figures were 640,000, up 4pc, Europe 1.2m up 4pc, transatlantic 245,000, up 15pc, other international traffic, mainly Middle East, 51,000 up 12pc, domestic 6,000, up 3pc. In a new deal with DAA International, 100 staff from Oman will travel to Dublin Airport for training over the next six months. ESB and DAA agreed to reduce Dublin Airport’s energy consumption by 30pc.

AirAsia CEO Tony Fernades said he was driving Airbus “crazy” to commit to an upgrade of the A330 aircraft. The airline also announced that it will be re-entering Japan’s low cost market.

Emergency services in Shannon were stood down after a BA flight from London to Miami issued a Mayday call. The pilot reported smoke in the cockpit and cabin and declared his intention to make an emergency landing in Shannon. Units from the fire brigade and ambulance service were on standby, but were not called into action. The pilot decided to return to Heathrow instead where the aircraft made a safe landing.

Qatar said it may reconsider its 186 orders of Airbus if it cannot obtain landing rights or slots at European airports.

The Obama administration is pushing for increased security precautions at European airports because of  claims by American security boffins that militants in Syria and Yemen have developed bombs that can be smuggled onto planes. Britain’s deputy PM Nick Clegg called for increased security checks.

Galway City Council heard a call to invest in Knock airport. It is also in discussions with Galway County Council and Carnmore Aviation about the possibility the former Galway Airport site may reopen for a Galway-Dublin air taxi route.

Aer Lingus winter schedule includes daily services from Dublin to Milan Linate and Rome Fiumicino but not (as yet) to Malpensa or Bologna.

An unnamed customer bought 16 Bombardier CRJ900s, which are part made in Belfast, in a deal worth over $727m (€535m).

Heathrow passengers face higher ticket prices if the airport builds a third runway because of an increase in landing fees.

Lufthansa celebrated the first anniversary of Germanwings’ relaunch.  Lufthansa has taken delivery of its 14th Boeing 747-8. Boeing has added weight and clarified range for 787-9 and 787-10. Boeing said it delivered 181 commercial aircraft in the second-quarter, up 6.6pc year over year.
Etihad - 100th aircraft Photo

Etihad celebrated the delivery of its 100th and 101st aircraft.

China United Airlines, a subsidiary of China Eastern Airlines, was converted into a budget carrier.

Malaysia Airliens introduced a new ‘Hero Dishes’ menu for economy passengers on flights between London and Kuala Lumpur.

Aer Lingus is offering 20pc off flights from Agadir, Athens, Bourgas, Budapest, Copenhagen, Corfu, Dubrovnik, Izmir, Prague, Pula and Stockholm to Dublin. Customers must book by July 7 and fly between September 1, 2014, and March 31, 2015.

Etihad Airways announced a service upgrade to Kochi, Bangalore, Chennai, Kozhikode and Hyderabad. A double-daily connection is now operating to Bangalore, Chennai and Kozhikode, and Hyderabad from October 1.

The airline says it will use its new Airbus A320s to accommodate the increased frequencies. Thierry Aucoc, Emirates’ senior vice president of commercial operations for Europe and Russia, said he can see a ‘serious recovery’ in Czech Republic’s air travel market and said its activity is “impressive”.

ATA reported that global air passenger numbers rose 6.2pc in May. Every region except Africa saw an improvement. At European airlines, international traffic climbed 6.1pc in May compared to 12 months earlier. That increase came as capacity rose 5.3pc and the carriers’ combined load factor – or percentage of available seats sold – rose 0.6 percentage points to 80.3pc.

Fliers at JFK, Newark Liberty International, LaGuardia and Stewart International  can now avail of 30 minutes free Wi-Fi for the next six months,

Air France passengers can use the Touch&Pass app to board and check-in on flights from Toulouse-Blagnac to Paris-Orly. An emergency slide accidentally inflated on-board a United Airlines flight.

Aer Lingus costs could increase by €10m a year if plans for a third runway at Heathrow go ahead.

Ryanair announced that, according to the latest SITA World Tracer report, it mishandled less that 0.36 bags per 1,000 customers last year. The global average was 6.96 mishandled bags per 1,000 customers and the European average was 9.

Fourteen directors of the Irish arm of GE Capital Aviation Services shared a pay pot of $15.27m (€11.2m) last year, the Irish Independent reports.

The European Commission reported increased transparency in airport setting charges, but called for more even implementation.

French police lost explosives at Marseille airport after sniffer dogs were unable to complete a training exercise.

KLM apologised for posting an offensive tweet following the Netherland’s victory over Mexico. The English Guardian published its readers’ top 10 airport horror stories.


Irish Ferries announced its August bank holiday offers: three-night stay arriving August 1 at Cala Gran, Quay West or Presthaven Sands is €733 for up to six people in a two bedroom caravan including return car ferry travel. Four-night stays arriving August 4 are priced at €945.Stena Line Paul rankin copy

Paul Rankin was welcomed to Rosslare Port by Eamon Fortune and Steve Davies of Stena Lines before setting sail to Fishguard to make an appearance at the Pembrokeshire Fish Week Festival. Meanwhile Stena Lines announced its ‘kids go free’ offer has been extended until July 20. The offer gives children under 16 free travel on every sailing on the Dublin/Dun Laoghaire-Holyhead and Rosslare-Fishguard routes until January 5, 2015.

Message from a Bottle announced that it will use FleetMon GPS trackers from Jakota cruise systems.

Royal Caribbean is offering passengers $100 spending money when they book a 2014 holiday on the Independence, Adventure of Brilliance of the Seas vessel before July 31.

Click and Go and Norwegian Cruise Lines are offering a nine-night solo cruise in New York on-board the Norwegian Breakaway. Prices start from €1,459 which includes direct Aer Lingus flights and two nights’ accommodation in a NYC hotel. Departs February 11, 2015.

Royal Caribbean announced its 2015 cruise offers on its new ‘Anthem of the Seas’ ship: 13 nights to the Canaries from €1,529pp, sail October 11, 2015; 8 nights to the Norwegian fjords from €979pp, sail May 26; 12 nights to the Canaries and Africa from €1,399pp, sail June 17. See here for more.


Nine representatives from Germany’s business tourism sector were hosted in Cork this week by Tourism Ireland. Zoë Redmond, Tourism Ireland’s manager for Central Europe, said: “Familiarisation visits like this are an invaluable element of that programme to build awareness of Cork and Ireland and our world-class business tourism offering, among the business tourism sector in Germany. We are highlighting the world-class conference and meetings facilities available, as well as showcasing the great experiences delegates can enjoy in Ireland on the sidelines of their conference or meeting, interacting with locals and savouring aspects of our unique culture and heritage.”

Fáilte Ireland and Tourism Ireland conducted market research to identify consumer categories within the country’s biggest tourism markets, Britain, the US France and Germany. You can see the results here.

Bray Summerfest added the ‘Bray Head Slide’ to its programme.Tayto park bus copy

Bus Éireann will run a daily direct service from Dublin city centre to Tayto Park.

An Rothar Nua Coca-Cola Zero Bike schemes were announced for Cork (320 bikes), Limerick (215) and Galway (205) next autumn.

The ICC expects a surge in business for caravan and camping parks around the country thanks to the recent spell of good weather. Six people had to be rescued when the ‘chairoplane’ ride at

Tramore amusement park malfunctioned.Shannon Airport 5K 3 copy The first charity night-time run at an Irish airport took place at Shannon on Friday. Over 1,200 people participated in the 5km run, which was in aid of the Samaritans.

Arthur’s Day is no more.

In anticipation of the Dalriada Festival, which takes place July 13—19, NITM announced a special offer Ballygally Castle Hotel: two nights B&B and one evening meal is available from £120pp.

Molly Malone is to be restored to her position in Grafton street after repairs.Kieran Harnett

Kildare Village opened an exhibition of Irish sculpture. ‘CAST – Iconic Irish Bronze’ is on display until the end August and features over 20 works from artists including Orla de Bri, Rowan Gillespie and Sand Bell.

The second day of the Foynes air show takes place today at 3pm. An estimated 15,000 people are expected to attend the two-day event, which marks the 75th anniversary of the first commercial transatlantic flight.

The owner of Adams & Butler, the luxury travel firm that recently hosted Kim Kardashian and Kanye West’s honeymoon (collectively known as “Kimye”),said that the firm is up for sale.

Travel Extra’s Sunday Supplement: Airheads Baffled by the French & You’ll Never Please the Irish


Picture: Eoghan Corry tests the water on a press trip to Emilia Romagna


*Airheads puzzled by French strike

*End in sight for Aer Lingus dispute?

*Ireland can’t take a compliment

*Executives jet in for CANSO summit


Video of the week

Our video of the week shows a whale watcher’s incredible reaction to a pod of around 20 whales surfacing the water. “Holy moly,” she utters before erupting into an excited scream. This is sure to bring a smile to your face.

  • This video shows newsreel footage of one of the first in-flight movies. The footage dates back to 1925 and shows a screening of ‘The Lost World’ during an Imperial Airways flight from London to Paris.
  • Virgin America posted a time-lapse video of technicians installing its in-flight WiFi service on an A320 aircraft. Watch the footage here.
  • CityJet posted a video of its staff dancing awkwardly to a mimed version of Pharrell William’s hit song ‘Happy’. Take a look here.
  • Air Serbia uploaded a time-lapse video of a team repainting its aircraft in Lelystad airport. Each machine spends an average seven days in the workshop.
  • posted a video centred on Irish surfer Aaron Reid, who was under 18s Irish champion in 2009 and 2010. Conor Maguire, another Irish surfer also features.
  • Actor Paul Rudd talks about his bachelor party in Ireland. Watch the clip here.



eoghan morning ireland

Europe’s aviators (airheads) were left perplexed by the French Air Traffic Control strike on Tuesday and Wednesday: how did it happen and get out of hand so quickly? The strike, over plans to merge the Orly and Roissy ATC sites in 2011 with a view to merging all three centres on the Athis-Mons site by 2017, led to 50pc of flights from Orly airport being cancelled with many others suffering delays of up to five hours before being called off on Wednesday when William Fiacre’s UNSA union decided the French government “had acknowledged the importance of expenditure in the sector. UNSA represents 21pc of French Air Trafiic Controllers.  CDG was largely unaffected. Originally another union backed the strike before changing its mind, Roger Rousseau‘s SNCTA, which has 41pc of controllers in its membership while Gauthier Sturtzer’s USAC-CGT, which represents 22pc of controllers, made supportive noises but did not join the strike. USAC-CGT describes the planned changes as a ‘violation of national sovereignty’ and a ‘direct attack on the public service nature of this sector’. This is the fourth French ATC strike this year, as much against the single European sky proposal as the minor budget cuts that caused this week spat. Ryanair underestimated the impact of the strike and was forced to cancel 10pc of its French flights as many of its aircraft were trapped in Spanish and French bases. The airline fumed that Europe’s ACT should be banned from striking (as American ACT is), or use the recall to military service option which is used in Italy. Much more serious was CGT, SUD and UNSA’s strike on the French rail system which caused SNCF and RER cancellations. Travel Extra editor Eoghan Corry spoke about the strikes on Wednesday’s edition of Morning Ireland on RTÉ Radio One (download the podcast here) and on Thursday’s Drivetime. Will there be more ATC strikes? Yes.


Is end in sight to Aer Lingus pension dispute? Aer Lingus “reluctantly” agreed to increase staff pension schemes from €110m to €146.7m. The airline said it will engage directly with ICTU and the trade unions to formalise an agreement on IASS’s pension fund recommendations from its expert panel (panel members IBEC’s Brendan McGinty and ICTU’s Peter McLoone pictured), to find ‘full and final solution” and convene EGM to seek approval from shareholders). Christoph Mueller told The Irish Times  the decision to comply with the recommendation was because it was “the only solution that is capable of acceptance by all the parties”.

Niall GibbonsIreland topped the inaugural Good Country Index. Ireland came in first place in the study, based on 2010 data, for the size of its economy, its combined global contributions to science and technology, culture, international peace and security, world order, planet and climate, prosperity and equality, and the health and wellbeing of humanity. Tourism Ireland’s Niall Gibbons said: “Anything that re-affirms a positive image of Ireland around the world is good news for Irish tourism – so the results of the Good Country Index are wonderful news indeed. The image of Ireland is integral to our overall tourism offering; and ensuring we maintain a positive image around the world is a key factor in ensuring tourism growth into the future. We know that interest in visiting the island of Ireland remains high in all of our key markets. Our job is to convert that interest into actual bookings and convince people to travel here now.” The founder of the index, Simon Anholt, used data from 35 separate indicators from the UN, the World Bank and other international institutions to compile the list and said the Good Country Index was intended to “measure what each country on earth contributes to the common good of humanity, and what it takes away”. Anholt received backlash from the Irish, who he described as suffering from “severe Groucho Marx syndrome”.varadkar

Airline CEOs jet into Dublin for the IAA-hosted CANSO summit. The event, which started yesterday, will run until July 1. Leo Varadkar will officially open the summit today, and keynote speeches will be made my Michael O’Leary, global futurist Rohit Talwar, Microsoft’s Tim Hynes and Richard Horne of PwC Partner.

CSO figures showed an increase of 7.5pc in overseas visits to Ireland over the period March–May. There has been an overall increase of 9pc in overseas visitors since January.

If you don’t need to print out your Ryanair boarding pass, here’s what to do – Travel Extra tried it this week and it worked. Email the PDF to your smartphone. Magnify the section which lists the name, seat number and bar code, and photograph it. The barcode will scan at the security entrance at the airport (this has always been the case) but now Ryanair staff at the gate will accept it and scan it as well. The Ryanair app is due in August, postponed form May, and will eliminate the need for paper but in the meantime the PDF barcode will work.

IT'S ALL ABOUT THE SUNNIES copyNot since the daughter of Peter Moss, the Ireland and Britain representative of Miami CVB and London Visit USA committee chair, went to become the face of L’Oreal, has there been as much stir in the travel business about a pretty face. Falcon’s “All About the Sunnies” campaign last week launched last week starring Alex. Niamh Kenny’s dog Alex has been become a pin-up throughout the agencies of the lands, but don’t expect him on the catwalk soon, unless he is chasing one. Har, har.


Travel Trade

tryphavana groupCelebrity Cruises hosted 40 agents on-board the Celebrity Infinity for a ship visit including a tour and lunch in the main dining room. Picture shows Tryphavana Cross of Celebrity Cruises with Patricia O’Reilly, Emma Taaffe and Gemma Duffy of Best 4 Travel. See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.

IMG_5333Trump International,JW Marriott Marquis & Beaux Arts, Grand Beach Hotel, Menin Hospitality, Goldman Properties, Hard Rock Café Miami and The Seaquarium hosted members of the trade at Hard Rock Café in Temple Bar. Picture shows Cora Munds, Leah Parmeshwar, Roisin Carbery and Michelle Anderson of Topflight at the Miami Event in Hard Rock Café, Dublin. See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.

Travel Department’s Walking Club will host its first walk on July 4 in Glendalough with guide Teena Gates. The club is open to anyone with an interest in exploring some of Ireland’s walking trails with professional walking guides. Email for more.TO RUSSIA WITH LOVE

Tourism Ireland organised a three-day sales trip to Moscow for a delegation of Ireland’s trade group. The group met Russian travel agents and tour operators and attended a networking event at the Irish embassy. A small delegation of tourism enterprises travelled to Moscow to take part in a sales mission – in a bid to grow Ireland’s share of the emerging Russian tourism market. Jim Paul of Tourism Ireland said: “It is important that we expand our focus beyond these markets and look to the longer-term opportunities presented by Russia and the other BRIC countries. Sales missions like this help foster relations with key travel trade, who can help us achieve our goal of delivering growth from this market of potential.” Picture shows Irish ambassador in Moscow Eoin O’Leary with members of the trade at a networking event to attract MICE business to Ireland.

Fáilte Ireland launched the #ThisIsLiving campaign to encourage Irish holidaymakers to holiday at home. New ads are now being broadcast on television and online, and feature footage submitted by fans of Discover Ireland’s Facebook page.


Falcon Holidays (Thomson/TUI) confirmed the appointment of Carol Anne O’Neill as Head of Ireland at event to launch their summer 2015 brochure. As first reported in Travel Extra, Kos will be the new destination for summer 2015 available from Dublin with weekly flight departures. The brochure features 11 Holiday Villages including a new offering in Kos, 14 SplashWorld resorts two of them new in Menorca and Kos, 24 Falcon Kid’s Clubs properties and nine Thomson Kid’s Clubs properties , 7 SuneoClub properties and 21 new Inclusive properties with more all-inclusive upgrade options. Price offers include Cork to Algarve Pateo village May 24, 7 nights self-catering from €639pp, Shannon to Majorca Cristina Apts. May 16, 7 nights self-catering from €533pp. Picture shows Antoinette Young, Carol-Anne O’Neill, Helen Caron and Charlotte Brenner of Falcon Holidays at the launch event. See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.

  • A Las Vegas roadshow will take place in Dublin this Wednesday (July 2).
  • Neale Chinery and Ian Simmonds were appointed joint managing directors of Travel Republic.
  • ITAA’s weekly offers are displayed here.
  • Sunway is offering seven-night trips to Gran Canaria for €899pp during July.
  • A Sunway agent event will take place this Friday (July 4).
  • A survey by Allianz insurance says that cancelled holidays are the main reason for over half of travel insurance claims.Olympic trade 1

Olympic Holidays hosted over 80 travel agents at Titanic Belfast ahead of the launch of its charter flights to Crete. Charter flights and holidays from Belfast International airport to Rhodes, Cyprus, Corfu and Crete will continue until October. Picture shows Mary Murphy from Olympic Holidays celebrating the first flight to Crete with local travel trade representatives: Ian McMichael of Oasis Travel, Trevor Ardies of Rosetta Travel, Terry Murphy of Terra Travel and Amy Murphy of Clubworld Travel. See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.

Tropical Sky announced late summer deals: Four nights in Dubai from €1,279pp; departing June 28—July 27. A week in Maldives from €1,699pp; booked by July 10, departing September 1 –October 31.

visit usa lounge june 25 2013Pictures show members of Irish travel trade and their hosts embarking on a fam trip organised by Visit USA Dublin committee and hosted by BA, Philadelphia CVB and Atlantic City CVB: Ciara Foley of Platinum Travel chair of Visit USA Dublin committee, Lisa Byrne of American Holidays, Shane Cullen of Killiney Travel, Will Walsh of Clickandgo, Deirdre Sweeny of Sunway, Brian Hynes of Trailfinders, Loretta Mooney of O’Hanrahan Travel, Gerry Benson of Travelbiz and Sharon Jordan of The Travel Corporation. The group will spend two nights each in Philadelphia and Atlantic City

GTI Ireland is offering autumn trips to Lisbon, Alentejo and The Algarve Coast from €1,075pps, departing September 16—23; Majorca from €899pps, departing October 7—14; and several Battlefield tours from € & co copy

Picture shows Yvonne Muldoon of United Airlines with the winner of the trip to New York City, Amanda Hynes of American Holidays, Reginald Charlot of NYC & Company and John Donohue- NYC & Company at the NYC&Co trade event in Dublin.

Oliver Smith of The London Telegraphlists the most annoying buzzwords in travel PR. The newspaper also lists the most unusual requests made by tourists. Highlights include a hotel guest who asked for two rooms on different floors at Lothario hotel in Queensland to accommodate his wife and mistress, and a ravished aircraft passenger who asked if he could pack a plate of his mother’s roast dinner in his hand luggage.

Davy Group hosted its annual transport conference in London’s Bloomsbury hotel. Around 200 meetings were set up between investors and executives from Aer Lingus, Ryanair, Irish Continental Group, Air France KLM and rimini_5418 copy

A group of Irish travel media visited the gourmet and holiday playground of Emilia Romagna to sample their beach, agriturismo and vineyard product. They were hosted by Topflight, Ireland’s largest tour operator to Italy and Emilia Romagna. They fearlessly scoffed truffles and quaffed locanda Antiche Macine San Giovesi, sampled the famous beach clubs, descended the Kamikaze and Extreme River waterslides at Aquafan Water Park in Riccione and ascended the 500 steps of the Torre degli Asinelli in Bologna on behalf of their readers. Photograph shows the group in the Hotel Patrizia  in Rimini: Eoghan Corry of Travel Extra, Tanya Sweeney of the Irish Independent, Carol Gunner of TV3, Mick Moriarty of TV3, Sinead Desmond of TV3 and Aileen Eglington of AE Consulting. See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.




Photo by Robert S Donovan via Flickr

Talbot Hotel Group added The Dome family entertainment centre to its facilities in Carlow. The Dome is adjacent to the hotel property and was closed down in early 2014. It reopened last Monday (June 23). listed its most searched destinations via mobile devices in Ireland for January—May 2014:

  1. Dublin
  2. Galway
  3. London
  4. New York
  5. Killarney
  6. Cork
  7. Kilkenny
  8. Limerick
  9. Paris
  10. Belfast

Clarion Hotel Cork is offering a Fota Wildlife family package. A family of two adults and two children can stay B&B from €148 and will receive a family day pass to Fota Wildlife Park.

A music and dance show entitled ‘The Legend of Gráinne Mhaol’ will be performed at Hotel Westport every Wednesday. Tickets cost €25.

Following renovations, Hotel Royal on Lake Geneva will re-open on July 1.

Tony Webb of Planet Ocean Underwater Hotel is looking to crowdsource funds to build a 12-bedroom underwater hotel off Florida’s Key West.



Langhe vineyardsUNESCO added 26 new sites to its world heritage list, bringing the current number of world heritage sites to 1,007 in 161 countries. Among the latest additions to the list are the vineyard landscapes of Piedmont, Van Nellefabriek in the Netherlands and China’s Grand Canal. See here for the full list. Meanwhile, three sites were added to the UNESCO list of world heritage in danger: City of Potosí, the Cultural Landscape of Southern Jerusalem and Selous Game Reserve.

Chicago will be home to the George Lucas museum, set to open in 2018. The Windy City beat off competition from San Francisco and Los Angeles.

In a bid to improve the country’s image ahead of the 2022 Olympic Games, Japan is considering relaxing a law which forbids late-night dancing in public establishments. Since 1948, dancing has only been permitted until midnight in clubs with a licence in an effort to stamp out prostitution linked to dance halls. The law was largely ignored until the death of a student in a brawl in Osaka in 2010. published an infographic that illustrates the cheapest (and most expensive) beers around the world. Ukraine has the cheapest beer ($0.59) while Iran has the most expensive ($7.71). Ireland is listed as the sixth best place to find a drinking buddy with the average number of beers consumed per person in 2012 at 277.

Snow Centre Hampstead

Photo by Timo Newton-Syms via Flickr

New research by Snowsport England shows that the country’s indoor snow centres and dry slops have seen a 20pc increase in business since 2011. The report used turnstile data collected over five years and showed that the industry grew 10pc from 2011 to 2012, a further 0.4pc in 2013 and 11pc in the first quarter of this year.

Three weeks after an attack at Karachi airport, a gunman killed a women travelling on a Pakistan International Airlines flight from Riyadh at Peshawar airport.

The BBC reports that a tourist had to be rescued from Aonach Mor, one of Scotland’s highest mountains, after he hurt his ankle while climbing in flip-flops.

The famous Road to Mandalay will be re-opened to tourists thanks to a new highway between India and Burma.

At least five people were killed in an attack in the Kenyan village of Kasakakairu, which is around 34km from Mpeketoni where a terrorist attack killed dozens of people earlier this month.

EU registered roaming rates will drop from July 1. Calls will be 23c/min, receiving calls 6c/m, texts 7c and data 25c.MB.

A new road safety app from the European Commission is now available. The app, called ‘Going Abroad’, is available for iPhone, iPad, Google Android and Windows phones. It includes road safety information for all EU countries and games for passengers. is promoting a cycling holiday on the Santiago de Compostela trail. Prices start from €739pps including accommodation. Flights and bike rental not included.

Winnipeg announced three new attractions: Journey to Churchill zoo (open July 3), the Canadian Museum for Human Rights (officially open September 20) and Thermëa spa (open late summer).


Food & Wine

Picture by Basheer Tome via Flickr

Picture by Basheer Tome via Flickr

National Geographic paid tribute to Dublin’s foodie scene.

The TradeIt entrepreneurial summer academy took place in Tralee IT.

The owners of Copenhagen’s Noma restaurant, which topped the World’s 50 Best Restaurants list this year, have designed a Nordic garden to prevent curious tourists peering in at diners through the windows.

Europe’s first international Halal Tourism Conference will be held in Andalucia on September 22 and 23.

Barack Obama is sending the White House chef Sam Kass, and other members of the so-called ‘American Chefs Corps’ to Asia on a mission to attract food tourists to the States.



ryanairA spell of bad luck for Ryanair this week: Three cabin crew members and two passengers were injured on board a Ryanairflight from Dublin to Barcelona after the aircraft hit severe turbulence. A flight from Greece to Cyprus was forced to make an emergency landing in Athens after a passenger claiming to be an airline mechanic attempted to enter the cockpit. The disruptive passenger was reportedly restrained by six or seven passengers using baby seat belts. And it was reported yesterday that two aircraft were damaged in a collision at Stansted airport.

A Belfast-Barcelona flight operated by Air Contractors Limited had to make an emergency landing in Cork after a suspected fuel leak.

British Airways will start new direct five-a-day flights from Dublin Airport to London City Airport from October 26.

Etihad Airways will acquire a 49pc share in Alitalia.easyjet

Easyjet announced a Belfast to Bordeaux and Jersey route, both to start on June 28.

A photography exhibition entitled From Limerick With Love opened at Shannon Airport.

A power failure at Sydney Airport caused serious delays for thousands of passengers travelling from the airport’s domestic terminal.

Airbus is considering upgrading its A330 model with engines from Rolls-Royce. designed an infographic to illustrate which American airlines have the speediest response times to queries on Twitter.

Air France will publish an internal report on domestic and European operations tomorrow (June 30) and is considering closing regional bases the carrier created just two years ago, in a bid to keep up with low cost rivals. CEO Alexandre de Juniac spoke to Bloomberg about the airline’s ‘transformation project’. Watch the video here.

Turkish Airlines announced that it will take part in a National Geographic ‘behind-the-scenes’ documentary series.

Airbus delivered more units that Boeing for the first time this year, but the latter continues to lead 2014 deliveries by 23 units.

Authorities of the search for Malaysia flight MH370 was set to autopilot until it disappeared and announced that they have 23,000sq miles of area to cover. Meanwhile USA Today reports that business is picking up at Malaysia Airlines, four months after the disappearance of flight MH370.

Air India was given Star Alliance membership.

Etihad Airways introduced mobile boarding passes on select routes for guests using its mobile check-in facility.

United Airlines installed 20 automated passport control kiosks at Newark Liberty International airport for returning US citizens.

Air Canada opened its Maple Leaf lounge at Heathrow’s Terminal 2 after moving to the terminal last week. The full list of moves is below.

Emirates is to give Airbus a chance to convince executives to reverse a decision to cancel an order of 70 A350 XWB aircraft.

VietJet flight crew after a plane bound for Da Lat mistakenly landed in Cam Ranh airport, almost 80 miles away.

British Airways added footage of a seven-hour train journey from Bergen to Oslo to its in-flight entertainment listings on long-haul flights.

BA is to offer up to 50pc off first class seats on its older Boeing 747s before retiring the aircraft.

Shares in European airlines fell sharply after Brent crude oil prices rose to $115 a barrel.

Antigua and Barbuda’s tourism minister Asot Anthony Michael announced that the new terminal at VC Bird International Airport will be completed by November.

Saudia is to offer free Wi-Fi to first class and business passengers on flights between Saudi Arabia and the US, Heathrow, Charles de Gaulle and Dubai.

Travelport announced a new long-term agreement with United Airlines.

US Airways moved flights to and from London Heathrow to Terminal 3, zone F, with its ticket and check-in desks located near American Airlines. It also moved operations at Charles de Gaulle to Terminal 2A, area 8.

TAP Portugal announced a new route from London to Bogotá and Panama City, launching July 1. The route will operate from London Heathrow on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday and will allow access to Central and South American cities via Lisbon.

Turkish Airlines added a route from Istanbul to Cotonou. The flights will operate four times a week on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays. Introductory fares start at €420.

Ryanair launched a June hotel promotion offering a free €10 flight voucher to customers who book their flight and hotel together on before midnight, June 30.

Germanwings will operate a new flight from Stansted to Dusseldorf from August 22.

Photo by SJByles via Flickr

Photo by SJByles via Flickr

Over 70 passengers staged an 18-hour sit in on a Hong Kong Airlines plane after their flight was cancelled.

Thousands of secret documents outlining plans for Berlin’s infamous BER airport project were found dumped in a skips.

Dean Dacko of Malaysia Airlines spoke at EyeforTravel’s TDS Europe about the disappearance of flight MH370. Download the 20-minute presentation here.



VigoCruisescapes hosted clients and members of the press on-board Fred. Olsen’s Black Watch. The group was given a tour of the ship and enjoyed a four-course lunch while she was berthed in Dublin. Black Watch has a number of sailings ex Ireland in 2015 including a 34-night cruise direct from Dublin to the Caribbean  or sail from Belfast for three itineraries including an eight-night cruise to Spain and France.

The Irish Boat Rental Association and ITIC published a report entitled Ireland’s Inland Waterways – Review & Outlook.

Eurotunnel must close its MyFerryLink service from Dover to Calais over the next six months following a lengthy dispute with competition authorities.alan lynch michael grimm

Cruiseescapes was appointed the selling agent in Ireland for CroisiEurope. Picture shows Alan Lynch, managing director of Cruisescapes, Luis Espadalle fleet manager France and Michel Grimm International Sales Director of CroisiEurope. and Hurtigruten announced a two-for-one summer offer on the Kirkenes to Bergen route. The offer applies to: six-day south bound voyage, first passenger from €1,339, August 27 departure; seven-day north bound voyage, first passenger from €1,579; 12-day round voyage, first passenger from €2,349.

Thomson is promoting a “gold offer” to the Algarve in August. Fly Dublin to Faro departing August 10, seven nights half board accommodation from €1,760pp for two sharing. The cruise company also launched its summer 2015 programme. Highlights include a number of new ports including Durres, Kavala San Remo, as well as new balcony cabins for Thomson Spirit and Thomson Majesty.



Picture by The Irish Labour Party via Flickr

Picture by The Irish Labour Party via Flickr

Over 60 representatives from major tour operators attended a one-day tourism summit in Dublin organised by Tourism Ireland. The group was welcomed by Michael D Higgins and Leo Varadkar at Áras an Uachtaráin. Attendees included:

  • Bert Accomando, President of Sceptre Tours (US)
  • Marc Kazlauskas, President Leisure Division, Frosc (US)
  • Caroline Narloch, UK Contracts Manager, Shearings (GB)
  • Monika Singer, Head of Media and Sales, TUI Wolters (Germany)
  • Christian Ludwig, Manager, Gaeltacht Ireland Reisen (Germany)
  • Steve Reynolds, General Manager, Backroads Touring
  • Steve Galpin, Managing Director, CHR Travel LLP
  • Florence Gourdan, Sales and Marketing Director, Brittany Ferries (France)
  • Julia Howe, Regional Sales Manager Germany Austria Switzerland, Aer Lingus
  • Representatives from Sense of Place, ), Shearings, Albatross Group, DERTOUR Vacances Transat, Fáilte Ireland, NITB,Irish Ferries, B&B Ireland, ITIC, IHF, the Northern Ireland Hotels Federation, the Restaurants Association of Ireland, Incoming Tour Operators Association, Irish Caravan & Camping Council, Coach Tourism and Transport Council of Ireland, airports around the island and major visitor attractions.

Footfalls Walking Holidays, and Wicklow County Tourism are organising a series of guided walks to the summit of Lugnaquilla Mountain in July and August. The scheduled walks will take place on July6, July 27, August 10 and August 31.

NITB promoted upcoming summer festivals in the six counties. Antrim: August Feile 2014, July 31—August 10; Belsonic, August 15—22; Irish Game Fair and Flavour of Ireland Fine Food Festival, June 28—29. Armagh: Argory Tartan music and food festival, July 20; John Hewitt International Summer School, July 28—August 1; 7 Hills Blues Festival, August 7—10. Down: Mourne International Walking Festival, June 27—29; Tanglewood Music & Arts Festival, July 4—5; Festival of Flight, August 8—10. Derry: Legenderry Maritime Festival 2014, June 21—29; Celtronic Festival, June 25—29; Red Sails Festival, July 20—26. Fermanagh: Cathal Buí Festival, June 25—30; Waterways Ireland All-Ireland Wakeboarding Championships, July 26—27; Happy Days Enniskillen International Beckett Festival, July 31—August 10. Tyrone: The Glenelly Rockin By The River Festival, July 13—20; Ulster Fleadh, July 20—27; Annual Bluegrass Festival, August 29—31.

​Mexican instrumental duo Rodrigo y Gabriella treated fans to an impromptu performance on Grafton Street this week. But Clodagh Sheehy of the Irish Independent spoils the fun in her report on the shopping stree at peak tourist season. Shoppers “are being treated to overflowing bins, clouds of dust and deafening noise as they negotiate their way through a maze of workmen’s barriers”, she writes.Foynes Airport Air Traffic Control Tower taken in 1940

The restored Foynes air traffic control tower will be base for the Foynes/Shannon 75th Anniversary Air Show on July 5—6. The event will celebrate the 75 years since the first commercial transatlantic flight. Around 10,000 people are expected to attend the two air shows. [picture]

An Irish High Cross exhibition will open in Teach Diarmada Community Centre in Castledrermot. The free exhibition will be open every Friday and Saturday throughout July and August and during Heritage Week from Wednesday to Saturday (August 27—30).

  • Galway’s Radisson Blu Hotel is offering Race Week packages from €170pps.
  • Natural Retreat launched a summer sale offering guests Castlemartyr in Cork a 10pc discount off a seven-night self-catering break from June to September.
  • Niall Gibbons of Tourism Ireland gives a video update on Ireland’s overseas markets.
  • Leo Varadkar promised to consider a €2m funding application from Fota Wildlife Park.
  • Fáilte Ireland published an online customer segmentation toolkit featuring insights about key consumer segments in the domestic market.
  • Cliffs Exhibition at the Cliffs of Moher Visitor Experience opened to the public following a €300,000 revamp.
  • The seventh Dubai Duty Free Irish Derby took place at the Curragh Racecourse.

To coincide with the Lego Brick City exhibition, which runs at Titanic Belfast until July 13, NITB is offering a hotel offer at La Mon Hotel which includes one night B&B and one two-course bistro meal from £179 (€224) per family of two adults and two children.Fourth of July New Ross

The third annual Irish America Day will take place in New Ross on July 4. Highlights of the event include a picnic on the quayside, fireworks over the River Barrow and Boston Tea Party re-enactments. See for more.

Travel Extra’s Sunday Supplement: A Shape Shifting Shark, Kos back for 2015 & Portrush Pitches for the Big Time

Picture of Dublin's St Stephen's Green during the 2014 summer heatwave


*Sunshine rains on Travel Trade parade

*Aer Lingus Regional to Edinburgh

*Chinese B&I visas made official

*Emirates host their golf buddies

*Diagon Alley to open July 9

Video of the week:

Our video of the week shows a Sydney diver’s close call with a great white shark. The footage, posted to YouTube by Terry Tufferson, has been view 28m times. Although there are some questions about its authenticity (at the 59 second mark the shark goes from middle of the screen to bottom left in a single frame and the markings on its tail mysteriously change), this video still makes for terrifying viewing.

Tonight Show host Jimmy Fallon took comedian Kevin Hart to Universal Studios in Florida to face his fears of riding a rollercoaster (watch here).

Take a look at this footage of street performer Luc Arbogast in Strasbourg. It just goes to show that you should never be quick to judge someone based on their appearance.



July 2014 cover 300The July 2014 edition of Travel Extra will be delivered to agencies in the coming days. Next month’s issue (read online) concentrates on the winter sun market and investigates how the Canary Island continue to dominate the market, especially since the brave effort by Paul Weir and Pedro Bollinger of Windavia to reconnect Ireland with Madeira fell through. The Canaries recorded 395,682 visitors in 2013, 202,760 of them to Lanzarote alone, and just under a third of them in the winter months. There are special destination reviews of Cuba by Anne Cadwallader, Justsunhine’s new service to Tunisia by Carmel Higgins and a feature on Seychelles. Highlights include reports form ATE in Cairns where Tourism Australia speak of their hopes for a boost form the forthcoming double daily services from Emirates and Etihad, and TTM in Bangkok where numbers of Irish visitors continue to grow despite the coup. There is a preview of Aer Lingus’ move to Terminal 2 in Heathrow on July 9, Ryanair’s new family product, the first passenger test of the Airbus A350 from Toulouse, Marie Carberry‘s report of Royal Caribbean’s keel-laying for Oasis 3 and plans for Oasis 4, the countdown to the opening of Diagon Alley at Universal Orlando on July 9, a feature on London City Airport, Philip Airey’s memories of family holidays and a preview of the ITAA conference on board the three day launch cruise for Quantum of the Seas departing Southampton on October 31.

And so the sun came out. The picture above was taken this week in Stephens Green in Dublin. The trade reported three of the slowest days of the season on Thursday, Friday and Saturday. Business fell off a cliff last June leading to an unexpected glut of late specials and unsold seats, but the market has changed considerably since then, most spectacularly because of the exit of Thomas Cook from the Irish Market. Nobody is a prepared to panic yet, but if you see someone with a glum face in the sunshine, they are likely to be a travel agent.

Universal Orlando gave the media a quick preview of Diagon Alley, and announced an opening date of July 9. Guests wandered the narrow cobblestone streets past Potter landmarks such as the Leaky Cauldron, Ollivander’s Wand Shop and the signature Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts to a grand lobby with chandeliers and animatronic goblins attending to their banking. They then descended a jarring elevator before boarding the new dark, twisting ride which brings guests face to face with Potter villains and at one point gives the sensation of plunging over a cliff.IMG_5237

Emirates, sponsors of the Irish Open, hosted 50 trade and corporate guests each day in their hospitality suite at sun-soaked Fota Island. Picture shows Margaret Shannon, Stephen Davitt and Anita Thomas at Fota. The Emirates cabin crew were on hand to meet and great and when Hannah Grey went around with her box of after dinner dates the travel trade needed no encouragement to practice their comic turns: “would you like a date?” “of course I would, how about 4 o’clock?” (it was hilarious the first five times). See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.

Margaret Shannon revealed to Travel Extra that her imminent departure from Emirates was no surprise to those in the know. “When I joined Emirates I told them I would spend two years setting up the operation. My two years were up in December. I had a few more thing to do, but I will definitely leave at the end of August.”2014 Irish Open Golf Championship - Pro Am / Emirates

Jimmy Lennox played some of the best golf of the year when he, Joe Tully and Stephen McKenna came in seventh in the Emirates Irish Open pro-am on Wednesday, doing Margaret Shannon and Anita Thomas proud.  Like all good pro-ammers they had a ready-made excuse: “the pro held us back.”  Matt Browne of Sportsfile’s picture shows the group with Rory McIlroy: Hannah Gray of Emirates cabin crew, Joe Tully of Tully’s Travel, Jimmy Lennox of World Travel Centre, Rory McIlroy, Margaret Shannon Emirates country manager for Ireland, Anita Thomas of Emirates, Stephen McKenna of Atlas Travel/Gohop and Johanna Coq of Emirates cabin crew during the Pro-Am.itic group

The Irish Tourism Industry Confederation bring one of their board meetings out of Dublin once every year. This week the board transported themselves to Carrick on Shannon where they launched their inland waterways policy document. Eamon McKeon noted that cruise boat hire was a big selling point for Irish tourism in the 1980s and 1990s (at one stage it was more prominent than golf in promotional literature) but had slipped won the priority list. There are -240 cruise boats on the Shannon and the industry is currently worth €20m directly and €20m to €40m indirectly. There are also -9,000 private boats worth an estimated €100m in tourism earnings. Picture shows assembled ITIC board members and their hosts. See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.


As Etihad count down to their service to Abu Dhabi going from 10w to double daily on July 15, Ireland manager Beatrice Cosgrove says that the new service will open up easier connections to 45 new destinations in Asia and South Africa. Perth will also go double daily the same day, good news for the large Irish community there. “We have been operating ten a week and have enlarged capacity already in 2014 so it is not too big a jump for us,” Beatrice said. Ask a travel writer where they were going on Wednesday morning they would have replied: “to the Abu Dhabi do”: Abu Dhabi and Emirates hosted travel media in Dublin on Tuesday where Nabeel Al Zarouni, London based director of the Britain and Ireland office of the Abu Dhabi Tourist Board spoke about the destination’s rapidly expanding hotel stock and ambitions to become the cultural capital of the world. There is also a new airport on its way, the 30m capacity Midfield Terminal will open at 7am on July 17 2017.  So far in 2014 Irish visitor numbers are up 29pc on 2013 when 13,551 Irish stayed in Abu Dhabi hotels (up 13pc on 2012) for a total of 63,430 overnights (up 22pc). Picture shows Nabeel Al Zarouni with Beatrice Cosgrove, country manager Ireland for Etihad at the Abu Dhabi Tourism and Etihad event in the Shelbourne Hotel.The Open Championship Announcement

The British Open Championship is set to return to Northern Ireland for the first time since 1951. Royal Portrush in north Antrim was invited to stage the Open by the R&A golf club. The British Open is golf’s oldest major championship and was broadcast to 500m households last year. In the manner of these things (multipliers used by tourism organisations in estimating the impact for sporting events are notoriously crude) it was claimed the Championship will generate an estimated €87m for the north of Ireland economy. The Irish Open staged at Royal Portrush in 2012 attracted 130,000 spectators. Portrush also hosted six British Senior Open Championships. Picture shows Captain of Royal Portrush Simon Rankin, R&A Championship Committee chairman Peter Unsworth, Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness; First Minister Peter Robinson; R&A chief executive Peter Dawson and Stormont tourism minister Arlene Foster.

The much anticipated Ryanair launch of its Family Extra product was not as exciting as it might have been (Emily Payne of the London Mail described the move as “a desperate attempt to appeal to family travellers” in her report on the new service). Bloomberg reported that Ryanair was targetting families with milk warmers to ease travel stress. Families still have to pay to sit together and children will have to pay baggage fees, albeit at half-price allocated seating. Infant fees have been reduced to €20 and parents will be given a free 5kg infant bag allowance and be able to take two pieces of baby equipment and a car seat free of charge. On board bottle warming and baby changing facility are not anything more than what parents expect from an airline. Ryanair even negotiated an ancillary: half-price travel insurance for children. In what may be a preview of another scheme to come, frequent flyers are to receive 20pc off every third family flight. Family Extra is now available to book online. Watch here the Ryanair promotional video for the product.westjet

Westjet CEO Gregg Savetsky brought an impressive list of VIPs to Dublin on the inaugural flight form St John’s on Monday, Federal Minister for Labour Kellie Leitch, Newfoundland Minister for innovation Susan Sullivan (listen here), Newfoundland minister for tourism Sandy Collins, Irish ambassador to Canada Ray Bassett were among the guests and Canadian ambassador to Ireland Loyola Hearn was at the airport to greet them (listen here and check out his amazing Waterford-across-the-ocean accent, Ambassador Hearn is from St John’s) as was DAA CEO Kevin Toland (listen here). The audience cheered and applauded Gregg Savetsky’s speech (listen here) when he suggested the service may go year round. Speaking to Travel Extra in the margins of the launch event he said that the decision whether to go year round would be made in November. While summer loads were spectacular and ahead of projections, more than 90pc sold, the winter would be another story. He also said that Westjet are anxious to get a higher yield from the route: ”we have not seen fares like this on trans-Atlantic since the days of Freddie Laker.” He said that the speculated decision on whether to purchase wide bodied aircraft was in the “due diligence” stage. BBC Canada described the route as a low-risk Europe expansionLeo Varadkar attended an evening event in the Guinness Storehouse to mark the inaugural. Watch here Eamon McKeon of ITIC interview with Gregg Saretsky. Both Gregg Savetsky and PR manager Robert Palmer have extended their stays in Ireland to do some sight seeing. Louis Gossein, who did so much to set up the route, returned to Canada with a group of tour operators who were hosted in St John’s and Halifax by Jeanette Yetman of Destination St John’s, Erin Skinner of the Newfoundland & Labrador Department of Tourism, Culture and Recreation, Kim Jardine of Nova Scotia Tourism and Michele Bourgeois of Destination Halifax. The journey time is four hours and 15 minutes. The daily service is operated with three specific 136-seater Boeing 737-700s (18 in economy plus, 118 economy) and has already been extended by three weeks until October 25. These Boeing 737-700s will be dedicated to the route after modification for operations across the Atlantic: they had “to reconfigure the radios for Atlantic operations, so it wasn’t worth our while doing that for the whole fleet.” See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.  Elsewhere there was a case study of the widely admired WestJet Christmas Miracle marketing video 2013 (watch here).

The circus that is the search  for Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 produced another act in a lineup of competitive searches played out by America, China, Australia and now Britain. A BBC documentary complained that the search has yet to cover the southern Indian Ocean, an area which London based scientist Chris Ashton from Immarsat claims is the likely crash site.brendan mcginty peter mcloone

After Michael Landers of IMPACT grounded Aer Lingus last month, there was another victory for airport unions when the airline was told to stump up an extra €37m towards its pension fund by the four person expert panel on the Irish Airlines Superannuation Scheme. Brendan McGinty of IBEC and former IMPACT general secretary Peter McLoone were joined on the panel by number crunchers Laura Gallagher from KPMG and Eugene McMahon of Mazars. Their surprisingly rapid recommendation came back told Aer Lingus to hike up its pension scheme to €146.7m for existing staff (see statement here and full report here). The airline had designated €110m, for current staff and another €30m for staff who have left the company but have not yet retired. It will now have to come up with another €37m on top of this, bringing its total contribution to €176.7m. IASS also recommended that DAA increase its sum to €57.3m. The big question is will this be enough to satisfy Brendan Kennedy of the pensions board, never mind Dermot O’Loughlin and his members at SIPTU.  Read here Stephen Rogers analysis of the situation in the Irish Examiner.TOURISM IRELAND WELCOMES VISIT OF CHINESE DELEGATION TO IRELAND

It was confirmed this week that the scheme allowing Chinese and Indian visitors to travel between Ireland and Britain on a single visa, introduced on a temporary basis in 2012, is to be made permanent. Tourism Ireland welcomed the initiative. Niall Gibbons said: “The launch of the British Irish Visa Scheme…is a significant step in helping us to grow visitor numbers from these markets – whether they wish to travel to Ireland for sightseeing, golf or as business tourists…it is important that we expand our focus beyond these markets and look to the long-term opportunities presented by new tourism markets, particularly China and India, which we believe will play an increasingly important role for travel and tourism. Given that visitors from these markets are travelling a considerable distance, and often want to include more than one destination on their itinerary, it makes sense to make it as easy as possible for them to visit both Ireland and Britain on a single visa. We will be working closely with our colleagues in VisitBritain, to leverage the benefits of the new scheme in both India and China.” Tourism Ireland hosted Liu Yunshan, one of the highest ranking officials in China,Communist Party Politburo Standing Committee, First Secretary of the Central Secretariat of the CPC and a man tipped for leadership. He visited the Powerscourt House and Gardens in Enniskerry. Picture shows: Niall Gibbons, Tourism Ireland CEO with Liu Yunshan and Sarah Slazenger, managing director of Powerscourt House and Gardens.  There was criticism in the London media that changes to the visa regime for Chinese visitors ‘lack substance’.

Tourism Ireland predicted an 8pc growth in the number of American visitors to Ireland this year instancing the 14pc increase in airline seats and events such as the Croke Park Classic on August 30 when an estimated 15,000 Americans will travel for the American college football game between Pennsylvania State University and the University of Central Florida. Visitor numbers are up in many attractions with Ireland’s biggest attraction, Guinness Storehouse 10pc ahead of last year.


Travel Trade

sunway team no flashSami Tounsi of the Tunisia Tourist Board office in London attended the launch of Sunway’s Tunisia brochure in Brasserie Le Pont in Dublin this week. The brochure has already been distributed to agents with package holidays from €299. The 20-page brochure features 15 hotels in four resorts, in Hammamet, Yasmine Hammamet, Port El Kantaoui, and Sousse. Holidaymakers who encounter the Medinas are told that “the best way to shop in this maze is to wander aimlessly and stumble across whatever takes your fancy.” Irish visits to Tunisia are up 57.9pc so far in 2014 (2,543 to end of may) but form a small base: just 5,674 people visited Tunsia last year, a market that had 24,000 seats from Ireland back in 2002. Picture shows Sunway team members Jeanette Taylor, Sami Tounsi of Tunisia Tourist Board, Deirdre Sweeny, Tanya Airey, Mary Denton Hilary Mahon, Anita Kelly, Fiona Bolger and Philip Airey at the launch. See pictures of the launch or connect with the album on Facebook. Meanwhile Sunway Worldwide is offering Malaysia and Bali from €1,309 and Vegas and Cancun from €1,889. Book by June 30 and travel between February and March, 2015.tour america group

Lisa Geraghty, Vasco Conceicao, Eimear Martin, Orla Dunne, Kathleen O’Rourke and Daniel McCluskey of Tour America receive their winning tickets to enjoy a taste of the ocean at this year’s Taste of Dublin food festival from Tryphavana Cross of Celebrity Cruises. See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.

  • A Miami agent event will take place in Dublin tomorrow (June 23).
  • A Silversea cruise event will take place on Tuesday (June 24).
  • A New York roadshow will be held in Dublin this Thursday (June 26).
  • Travel Department’s Bob Haugh spoke to The Irish Times.
  • Travelport launched an upgraded version of its mobile app for agents.
  • announced its membership of the British Vehicle Rental and Leasing Association.
  • Virgin Holidays opened its first store in Ireland in Debenhams in Castle Court in Belfast city centre.
  • The Travel Trade charity fun day has been moved from July 13 to August 24.
  • Mike Croucher has been appointed as Travelport’s chief architect.
  • ITAA have three new family summer offers available at

Nicola Walsh has been appointed the new HR Manager at Fitzpatrick Castle Hotel where she will be responsible for overseeing all of the hotel’s HR activities.Maureen edmund jack eoin copy

Picture shows two proud grandparents from Business Exhibitions with their twin grandchildren born at 2.22pm on Thursday, Jack and Eoin Hourican: Maureen Ledwith has Jack, Edmund Hourican has Eoin.

Travel Solutions is now offering ski holidays to Bulgaria from €574pp for seven nights. Weekly departures from Belfast to Plovdiv will operate from December 28, 2014, to March 15, 2015.

Quark Expeditions launched a new partner resource centre and revised pricing for GBP and Euro currencies.falcon summer sun brochure 2015 copy


Most of us have not taken our summer holidays for 2014 yet, but Ireland’s largest tour operator Falcon have dispatched their summer 2015 brochure with a renewed destination. Kos is back in the brochures, with an agent campaign to match (support the Kos?). Travel agents are being asked to do a ‘sunglasses selfie’ and upload to the Falcon Travel Agents Facebook page using #FalconS15kos. Falcon’s promotion happens to coincide with Sunglasses Day (June 27).

In celebration of the World Cup, launched a new incentive for agents. offering €10 One-4-All gift voucher for passes to every popular Florida theme park sold between now and July 13.

Tropical Sky is offering 20pc off selected all-inclusive Caribbean holidays booked by June 30: a week-long stay at Breathless, Punta Cana in Dominican Republic when departing between August 31 and October 31 (€1,459pp); or a week at Rex Resorts’ Turtle Beach in Tobago when departing between now and August5 (€1,229pp).alvaro aravena

Alvaro Aravena has joined APG as Americas Business Development Manager to be based in San Jose from July 1st, responsible for the sales and promotion of products to airlines in North and South America including the Caribbean.

E-Travel management service Amadeus announced a new agreement with SAP to provide cloud-based online products to customers.

TTC Caitriona Fleming with Rosie and Donna

TCC’s travel agent incentive will end on June 27. Agents will be entered into a draw to win a €1,000 garden or home makeover when they book an Insight Vacations escorted tour, a Uniworld luxury river cruise or a Contiki holiday.

Etihad Airways appointed Valerie Murphy as Irish corporate sales manager; Yvonne Nolan as corporate sales executive; and Shannon O’Dowd as leisure sales executive to its commercial team in Ireland.

Travel Department is offering seven nights in Lanzarote (departs from Dublin 21 October/11 November) from €649 incl tax pps; and seven nights in Sardinia (departs from Dublin on October 5) from €829 incl tax pps. See for more.


Staff at O’Callaghan Hotels raised €2,000 for Temple Street Children’s hospital when they took part in the Cycle 4 Life 55k charity cycle. The hotel group has raised almost €10,000 so far this year for Temple Street. Picture shows: (back row) Bryan O’Callaghan, CEO; Mary Vaughan, HR director; Paul McGreal, HR manager; David Malanaphy, group general manager; Gerry Colreavy, IT manager; (front row) Graham Cooley, Davenport Hotel manager; Catherine Bodley, director of sales and marketing; Marian Lyne, marketing executive; Noel Healy, head chef Davenport Hotel.

falcon summer sun brochure 2015 copyFalcon Holidays announced last minute summer offers: July 17, Dublin-Lanzarote, seven nights, two sharing from €487pp; July 26, Cork-Gran Canaria, seven nights, two sharing from €595pp; August 2, Shannon-Majorca, seven nights, two sharing from €589pp. See for more.


HotelsOxford - Headington Shark compiled a list of the world’s strangest monuments along with a recommendation of where to stay: The Kindlifresser (Child Eater) in Switzerland, Best Western Hotelbern from €110 prpn; Kun (statue of St Wenceslas) in Prague, Grandior Hotel Prague from €93 prpn; Headington Shark in Oxford, Hawkwell House Hotel from €91 prpn; and L.O.V.E (or ‘the middle finger) in Milan, Starhotels Rosa Grand from €152 prpn.

Fitzpatrick Castle Hotel finalised a €6m refinancing with BlueBay Ireland. The Killiney hotel intends to use the funds to refinance its borrowings and reinvest in the hotel’s refurbishment programme.

The four-star Killyhevlin Hotel in Fermanagh is now taking bookings for its new spa which includes an outdoor hot tub and pedicure suite.

Eurostat’s restaurants and hotel index showed price variations ranging from 47pc of the average in Bulgaria to 149pc of the average in Denmark (Ireland 128pc).

Trivago‘s Irish Hotel Price Index for June is below. For the European top 50, see here.




Picture by Paul Simpson via Flickr

Picture by Paul Simpson via Flickr

Ireland sent 367,110 visitors to the USA in 2013, up 10.8pc on 2012 and making Ireland the 21st most important overseas market for the USA. The USA is out fourth biggest overseas destination, behind England, Spain and France and ahead of Italy and Portugal. In its ‘2013 International Visitation to the United States Report’, NTTO noted a more “balanced” overseas visitor pattern for 2013 compared to the previous year. Leisure travellers increased 7pc, VFR travellers also increased 7pc and business travellers increased 6pc. The top 10 overseas arrivals markets showed little increase in the length of visit and declines were reported from the English, Japanese, South Korean and China markets. The average number of states visited in 2013 declined from 1.5 to 1.4. New York State remained the most visited state, with Florida in second place and California in third. For more statistics, see here.

It was reported that 60 people were killed in an attack by Islamist militants near Kenya‘s coastal town of Mpeketoni. The Kenya Tourism Board issued a statement confirming the attacks and saying that the area “has no international tourist facilities and is not an area frequented by international visitors. There were no tourists in the area at the time of the incident.” KTB offered its condolences to the family of the victims and said that Lamu Island, one of Kenya’s main tourist resorts that is located 54km north of Mpeketoni, was “in no way affected by this attack”.

Picture by UK Home Office via Flickr

Picture by UK Home Office via Flickr

Britain’s home secretary Theresa May apologised for delays in passport applications and offered a free ‘fast-track’ for some travellers. Meanwhile, Westminster tourism minister Helen Grant said that those affected by the delays might consider a ‘staycation’, much to the annoyance of frustrated holidaymakers.

Topflight is offering trips to the Verona Opera, which runs from now until September 7. Customers can choose from a weekend break to Verona or a week’s holiday to Lake Garda, with flights from Dublin, Cork and Belfast. See here for more.

The latest figures from Tourism Thailand show the number of Irish visitors to Thailand in May declined by 0.2pc to 3,928. However, the number of visitors for January—May increased 9.44pc to 24,825 visitors.

In its latest newsletter, Massachusetts Office of Travel and Tourism celebrates Boston becoming sisters with Belfast and promotes two new bus services from Logan Airport to Downtown Boston, summer getaways to Cape Cod, craft brewery tours and the new Mohawk nature trail.

The ongoing battle over unqualified guiding on ski slopes in France (championed by ESF) moved back into the court room when Simon Butler, an English ski instructor who runs a chalet business in Megeve, was fined £24,000 (€30,000) for teaching without proper qualifications. His cause has been championed by London based media.

  • BBC reported that a 23-year-old British woman died after falling from the Rim Walk at Kings Canyon in central Australia.
  • Lonely Planet published its Best of Europe 2014 top 10 list.
  • Michelin Tyres has published 60 Michelin I-Spy guide books. Each book contains illustrations of objects backseat passengers are asked to be on the look-out for. For every object spotted, the reader will score points. Each guide book costs £2.50 (€3). For more see

The Israel Museum in Jerusalem will host four international exhibitions until Novemeber: James Turrell: Light Spaces; Unfolding Worlds: Japanese Screens from the Gitter-Yelen Collection; Unstable Places: New in Contemporary Art; and Eija-Liisa Ahtila: Horizontal. For more, see here.


Food & Wine

Picture by Basheer Tome via Flickr

Picture by Basheer Tome via Flickr

NYC & Company say NYC Restaurant Week Summer 2014 will take place July 21-August 15 offering three-course lunches for $25 (€18) and three-course dinners for $38 (€28), excluding drinks, tips and taxes, at 300 participating restaurants. NYC & Company’s representative in Ireland John Donohue said being in New York City for the four-week event “is simply heaven for foodies”. Reservations open from July 9.

California’s Squaw Valley announced a new series of farm to table dinners in Cushing Pond and Olympic Valley Lodge. Priced at $35pp (€26), the dinners will take place on August 2, 16 and 30.

Good Food Ireland is running a campaign promoting the cooking of sea food during the heat wave.



Picture by BriYYZ via Flickr

Picture by BriYYZ via Flickr

British Airways launched a seat sale to Irish passengers travelling to the US. The sale continues until June 30 and reduced prices are available for travel until March 31, 2015. Return tickets from Dublin-New York are available from €485, to San Francisco from €513, Los Angeles €523 and Orlando €454.

Aer Lingus will halt Shannon to New York flights for the first three months of 2015. The Boston service will continue, but Aer Lingus has been accused of rowing back on its “year round” promise. United Airlines remains the only carrier operating year-round to New York (Newark) from Shannon.

The subsidies for Kerry and Donegal airports got a three month extension to February 2015 from November 2014. The Kerry airport AGM was told the Kerry-Dublin flight could not continue without State funding.

Ryanair launched flights for Ireland’s Six Nations games away to Italy on February 7, Wales on March 14 and Scotland on March 21. The airline has scheduled four return flights Dublin-Rome, five Dublin-Bristol and Cardiff and eight Dublin-Edinburgh. Each flight includes a morning match-day special (the Edinburgh flight includes two match-day specials).

tony-tylerTony Tyler CEO of IATA told the Air Transport IT Summit 2014 in Brussels that passengers at the boarding gate “often have more up-to-date info about a delay than airline staff thanks to social media” (see pictures here from the conference). IATA is working with the EU to remove the green stripe from luggage labels to enable home printing. IATA CEO Tony Tyler said that airlines make $6 per passenger on average.

A London Court of Appeal ruled that ordinary technical problems that cause flight disruption, such as component failure and general wear and tear, should not be considered “extraordinary circumstances” under EU rules.

Aer Lingus Regional added 15 extra flights from Cork, Dublin and Shannon to Edinburgh for the Ryder Cup in September. Flights are scheduled from September 22—29.

Norwegian Air commenced their service from Oslo to Orlando International Airport and said their American opponents threatened their global plans.

Jim Deegan of University of Limerick said Shannon Airport should be prioritised for the awarding of Fifth Freedom of The Air rights as it would assist in redressing the economic imbalance between Dublin and the remainder of the country.michael-oleary

Ryanair pulled out from Lübeck Airport. Brussels airport complained that Ryanair’s Michael O’Leary gave the airport just one hour notice of his plan to open a base before telling the press.

Check out this video of take-off at Weston airport local flight C172 (listen for what Bill O’Herlihy might call an inexactitude).

Aer Lingus added a 14th daily flight between Dublin and London Heathrow.

JetBlue launched its premium transcontinental service Mint, with the widest seat and longest fully-flat bed in the US domestic market between JFK and LAX. Analysist noted that JetBlue and WestJet began their own new chapters on the same day.

Tiger Airways is to shut down its loss-making Indonesian low-cost airline Mandala on July 1.

Etihad have completed their most recent round of recruitment, Valerie Murphy (ex SAS) as Corporate Sales Manager for Ireland; Yvonne Nolan (ex CWT) as Corporate Sales Executive and Shannon O’Dowd (ex TTC) as Leisure Sales Executive.

Ryanair will receive 20 aircraft between September and March, 15 of its order for 180 aircraft plus 5 that another airline has cancelled.

Dublin sets the European benchmark for facilities for passengers with Autism Spectrum Disorders make the flying experience a seamless one.

Bangkok’s Suvanarnabhumi Airport is to introduce a smart card system for its taxi queue in a bid to clear its arrivals hall of taxi touts.

Cyprus Airways is to cease operating from Heathrow and will operate from Stansted this September.

Picture by acme via Flickr

Picture by acme via Flickr

London City Airport was evacuated after a passenger set off a fire alarm. The passenger is said to have triggered the alarm in a bid to board a British Airways flight to Frankfurt after the gate had been closed.

Rain and thunderstorms led to the cancellation of 580 flights and hundreds more delays at O’Hare International airport in Chicago.

British Airways announced a redesign of its short-haul aircraft, which it promises will “maximise personal space and comfort”.

Boeing has placed two full flight simulator, a Next-Gen 737 and 77, at the Boeing Flight Services Singapore campus. A third 787 simulator has been placed at the London Gatwick campus. Boeing has eight advanced 787 training suites in Miami, London, Singapore and Shanghai.

An Aer Lingus flight en route to Boston had to return to Dublin after seven of its crew members became ill, two hours and 15 minutes into the six-hour flight. A slow decompression was unofficially blamed. Aer Lingus later said that two passengers also complained of feeling sick.

Research by found that the cheapest low-cost airline is Turkey-based Pegasus Airlines, with a basic average price per route at €64.64, and the same including a 20kg bag. Ryanair is the second cheapest option with a basic average price per route at €65.67, but drops to sixth place when a 20kg bag is included, at a cost €100.67. The full list is published here.

Delta airline apologised after publishing a Tweet congratulating the US soccer team’s 2-1 victory against Ghana. The airline’s social media team used a picture of a giraffe to represent the Ghanaian team, despite the fact that there are no giraffes in Ghana. The tweet was described as of “poor taste”, stereotypical and ignorant by angry Tweeters. Toronto Starcolumnist Bruce Arthur had this to say:

I’m guessing that when you book a flight to any of Nigeria or Kenya or the Ivory Coast or Ghana, @Delta tickets just say ‘Africa, whatever’

— Bruce Arthur (@bruce_arthur) June 17, 2014

  • JetBlue apologised after a toddler wet herself because she was refused permission to use the toilet.
  • SAS is to lay off 300 employees after it posted losses of 1.078bn SEK (€111m).
  • Bill Miller of United Airlines was appointed as the new chair of SITA.
  • Aer Lingus is offering flights to North America from €229. Book by June 30 and fly from 1 November, 2014—31 March, 2015.
  • Air Transat’s direct flight from Dublin to Toronto is available from now until October 18. See here for details on departures days.
  • Etihad Airways issued a statement confirming that it is not in talks with Malaysia Airlines about the possibility of an equity investment in the carrier.

OnAir, the inflight WiFi provider, called on the US telecoms regulator to “give the decision about inflight cell phone usage to airlines” after it ended a consultation period on extending access to inflight WiFi services. OnAir also urged the US government not to pass legislation banning the use of mobile phones during flights.

American Airlines will be the first airline to use the SITA common-use Beacon registry. The new service uses Apple’s iBeacon technology to allow airlines to provide passengers with indoor directions, walk times to gates, lounge access and alerts about boarding through the installation of Bluetooth beacons.

Copenhagen Airport has been come the first airport to trial the staff use of Google Glass.

AirPortr baggage delivery service launched a new operation at London City Airport. Prices start from £15 (€19) and the service is bookable in advance or on the day.

Diamond Air services are now available at LCA. The luxury service provides travellers with: VIP pick up/drop off; escorted check-in service and boarding service; and access to the service’s booking room for any requests. surveyed a number of its users to create a top 10 list of the most scenic airport landings: 1 Nice, 2 St Maarten, 3 Barra, Scotland, 4 Los Angeles LAX, 5 Aruba, 6 Rio De Janeiro, 7 Gibraltar, 8 Squamish, Canada, 9 London City, 10 Queenstown, New Zealand.

LCA issued traffic information for passengers flying on July 7 when Tour de France visits London.

SITA announced a 4pc rise in revenue for 2013 at $1.63bn.



Picture by kokonis via Flickr

Picture by kokonis via Flickr

P&O Ferries is the latest ferry company to offer free travel to children aged 15 and under on its Larne-Cairnryan and Larne-Troon routes. Book by July 20, travel by August 31. Return fares from Larne to Stroon for a car plus driver start from £99 (€124), and from Larne to Cairnryan from £79 (€99) for a car plus driver.

Low water caused diversions for two riverboat voyages on the Danube and Elbe rivers. Riviera cancelled a cruise on the Elbe River because waters are too low to sail. Viking Embla transferred Danube cruise passengers by bus to Regensburg, Germany. APT, Avalon, CroisiEurope, Emerald , Riviera, Scenic Tours, Titan and Uniworld are reporting business as usual on the Danube.

Saga CEO Robin Shaw said the cruise line is in talks about acquiring or building a third ship to replace the recently retired Saga Ruby.

Royal Caribbean signed an agreement to build a cruise pier on, the island archipelago of Penghu west of Taiwan.

Norwegian Cruise Line launched an early booking offer to celebrate its new Freestyle Cruising 2015-16 brochure. For any six-night or longer cruise between April 2015 and April 2016, customers will receive: $300 (€220) per stateroom free on-board spending money when they choose a Mini Suite, Suite or Haven Suite; $200 (€147) per stateroom free on-board spending money when they choose a Stuio, Inside, Oceanview or Balcony Stateroom.IMG_3425A.jpg

Hurtigruten is offering a seven-day ‘classic voyage south’ from Kirkenes to Bergen for €1,150pp on September 2 with a two-for-one offer when passengers book through a travel agent. The offer applies to the six-day ‘classic voyage south’, seven-day ‘classic voyage north’ and 12-day ‘classic round voyage’ travelling from July to September.



NITB is offering two nights B&B and one even meal at Slieve Donard Hotel, Newcastle, Co Down, from £140 (€175) per adult to coincide with the Mourne International Walking Festival which takes place June 27—29.WICKLOW ‘WOWS’ INFLUENTIAL FRENCH AND BELGIAN JOURNALISTS

Tourism Ireland and Luxair hosted four journalists from France and Belgium. They visited Wicklow and Dublin. The group’s itinerary included a visit to Powerscourt House and Gardens, a guided tour of Glendalough and the Viking Splash Tour. Picture shows French and Belgian journalists enjoying a tour of the monastic site at Glendalough, with Christian Carbonne, Luxair (second right).

Tourism Ireland celebrated a successful social media campaign promoting the Game of Thrones exhibition in Belfast. The campaign, which showcased images of Northern Ireland, generated reached 100m users.

Irish Water Safety warned the public to stay within their depth when swimming in open water during the current spell of hot weather. Last year’s heat wave led to 13 drownings.

Tickets for the 2014 DigiTalk Conference are on sale now. The full-day event will take place in Belfast’s Europa Hotel on September 24. Tickets cost £65 (€81) including snacks and lunch. Speakers from Google, Heineken and Being Online will attend. Tickets can be purchased here.Wexford Maritime Festival 3

The Wexford Maritime Festival will take place June 27—29. Highlights include a kid’s disco on a boat stage; a major air and sea rescue demonstration by the Air Corps, Irish Coast Guard and RNLI; raft races, kayaking, water skiing and diving; and chef demonstrations and a market hosted by the Wexford Food Family. See for more.

The 47th annual Strawberry Festival in Enniscorthy is underway. The festival will run until June 29. Highlights include music from Ryan Sheridan, Wallis Bird and Damien Dempsey, as well as other events such as a teddy bears picnic, a busking competition, cowboy disco and the crowning of the ‘Strawberry Queen’. Paolo Tullio and Wexford chef Phelim Byrne will host the ‘Tast of Wexford Strawberries’ cooking competition. For full details, see

Festivals kick off around the country this week:

  • West Cork Chamber Music Festival takes place June 27—July 5
  • Dundrum Festival takes place June 25—29
  • Wexford Maritime Festival takes place June 27—29
  • PhilFest in Dublin takes place June 28—29
  • Craic in the Granite takes place in Aughrim June 27—29
  • Spancil Hill Fair takes place June 23
  • Kildare Derby Festival takes place June 27—29

In preparation of the Adventure Travel World Summit which comes to Killarney this October 6—9, Fáilte Ireland invited Adventure Travel Trade Association president Shannon Stowell and executive director Chris Doyle to tour the Wild Atlantic Way by motorbike.

Speaking at the Our Ocean Wealth conference in Dublin Castle, Fáilte Ireland’s Shaun Quinn said that tourism in coastal counties could be worth up to €2bn and could create 80,000 jobs. He also addressed the Joint Committee on Transport and Communications this week.

Delphi Mountain Resort, Monart Destination Spa in Wexford and Muckross Park Hostel & Cloisters Spa have been nominated in the Irish category for a Wellness Travel Award from Voting is open until September 19. See here for the full list of nominees.

Cannonball Ireland road trip around Ireland will take place on September 12—14. The event is expected to attract 150 supercars, 400 participants and 100,000 spectators.gordon colleary

Sad news; The death was reported of Gordon Colleary of USIT, a close friend of Travel Extra over many years. His powerful personality and distinctive dicky-bow will be missed.

Travel Extra’s Sunday Supplement: Trans-Atlantic on a 737

thrones Picture: Finn Jones with fans at the opening of the Game of Thrones exhibition, Belfast Waterfront. Credit: Press Eye Ltd. See more pictures here.


*Aer Lingus strikes off

*Westjet‘s inaugural St John’s-Dublin flight

*Overseas tourists grew 8pc

*Wild Atlantic “Stay”

*Thailand curfew lifted

Video of the week

What do you do if you find yourself stranded in a Las Vegas airport overnight? If you’re anything like Richard Dunn you pass the time by making a music video. While waiting to board a 6am Delta flight, Dunn, a lighting designer from Atlanta, put his iPhone (and the empty terminal) to good use by creating a dramatic, cinematic video for his lip-synched version of Celine Dion’s triumphant ballad ‘All By Myself’. He shot and edited the whole thing himself. Dunn explained how he did it through the comments section on his Vimeo account: “I had a person behind a ticket counter give me a roll of luggage tape before she left. I then used a wheelchair that had a tall pole on the back of it and taped my iPhone to that. Then I would put it on the moving walkway for a dolly shot. I also used the extended handle on my computer bag and taped the iPhone to my handle.” Watch the video below. It’s a tearjerker.


michael landers H&s copyFollowing eight hours of talks at the Labour Court, the IMPACT union at Aer Lingus called off strikes planned for this Monday and Wednesday in advance of further talks. Aer Lingus promised to hire 20 extra cabin crew, and to work towards a 5:3 roster for short haul flights and Michael Landers claimed “sufficient progress” had been made to call off the stoppages. An estimated 35,000 people each day would have been affected had the strikes gone ahead. Aer Lingus had closed booking for flights on Monday and Wednesday, adding millions of euro to the estimated €10m cost of last Friday’s one day stoppage. Aer LIngus cut its earnings forecast over the industrial action, with reactions from Davys and Merrion concurring that the revision was based on the impact of threatened strikes. Listen here (starts 19 minutes into programme) to Travel Extra editor Eoghan Corry’s commentary on developments on RTE’s Drivetime.Eoghan Corry Drivetime_4621

New CSO figures show that the number of overseas tourists grew by 8pc in the first quarter of 2014. Niall Gibbons of Tourism Ireland said he was “particularly pleased to see holidaymakers from the Great Britain market showing growth of +27pc.  While it is still very early days …this is a strong start to the year.”  The new figures show that there were 1.34m overseas visitors to Ireland in the first quarter of 2014. Mainland European visitor numbers  was up by 1pc and North Americans increased by 6pc. All other long haul was up by 17pc. The number visiting friends and relatives went up by 12pc.  Holiday visitors increased by 5pc, but business visitors were down by 2pc. Total earnings from all visitors to Ireland were €682 million – a drop of 1pc on the same period last year. More statistics are available here.

Fáilte Ireland launched a new campaign encouraging Irish holidaymakers to explore the Wild Atlantic Way. The campaign comes in the form of a 60-second TV and cinema ad, print advertising and social media plugging. Speaking about the new campaign, Fiona Monaghan of Fáilte Ireland said she “would like to encourage everyone to take the opportunity this summer to experience this fabulous attraction, right on their doorstep”.westjet montage

Westjet‘s inaugural flight from St John’s to Dublin arrives tomorrow (Monday) morning with a hosting of VIPs, including Ireland’s ambassador to Canada, Ray Bassett, Newfoundland minister for tourism Sandy Collins, Newfoundland Minister for innovation Susan Sullivan and Gregg Savetsky President and CEO of Westjet (pictured). The flight returns later in the morning to St John’s and onwards to Toronto and a group of travel agents will depart on Wednesday on a famil hosted by Jeanette Yetman of Destination St john’s, Erin Skinner of the Newfoundland & Labrador Department of Tourism, Culture and Recreation, Kim Jardine of Nova Scotia Tourism and Michele Bourgeois of Destination Halifax. Airlines have used a 737 to travserse the Atlantic before, notably Budget Travel’s famous charter to the Dominican Republic in 2008, but this is the first scheduled service using a 737 on what is effectively a short haul flight, just over four hours on the return leg from St John’s to Dublin.

Jim Deegan_4422Jim Deegan of Railtours launched the world’s first hop-on hop-off railway tour in Dublin, the Dublin Bay hopper. It takes place on a chartered DART passes through the south city of Dublin to Bray, with four departures on designated trains each Saturday. The €19 ticket enables users to use the DART on the following day as well. It is integrated with the Dublin Bus hop-on hop-off tour. Picture shows Jim giving his hilarious commentary on the launch tour. Listen here to Jim Deegan speaking about the tour, and listen here to a selection from Jim’s witty and informative inaugural guided tour for invited guests and travel professionals . See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.california

Visit California hosted members of the Irish Travel Trade in London on Tuesday night and seven of the partners came to Dublin on Friday to host travel media in Patrick Guilbaud‘s restaurant. Picture shows Shannon Brooks of the Visit California HQ in Sacramento speaking at the event, delegates included Angela Jackson of San Francisco Travel, Hannah Avol of Santa Monica, Tim Zahner of Sonoma County, Madison Fisher of Huntingdon Beach, Andrea Alava of Los Angeles Tourism and Joyce Kiehl of Palm Springs. See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook. universal orlando

The construction walls came down around Diagon AlleyUniversal Orlando‘s expansion of the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. Universal has not announced the opening date for the attraction but say it will open in summer 2014. A group of Irish travel writers will travel to see the facility this week.

A survey by Caxton FX found that almost every year north of Ireland holidaymakers waste £480,000 in unused foreign currency every year.

Travel Trade

1MG_4543Visit USA’s Ciara Foley, Clodagh Oxley and their partners from Bookabed, Illinois, Kansas/Oklahoma, Kissimmee and Massachussetts hosted agents in Cork, Dublin and Belfast on a roadshow tour for the trade. Guests heard elevator pitches from Fiona Ellis of South Carolina (listen here), Matt Bates of Kansas/Oklahoma (listen here), Laura Goldie of Visit Illinois (listen here), Peter Hannaford of Travel Georgia (listen here), Melissa Lowe of Kissimmee (listen here) Lee Osborne of Bookabed (listen here) and Patricia Purdue of Massachusetts (listen here). See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.

1MG_4632Picture shows Ben Boulden, Steve Williams, Jennifer Callister, Jenny Rafter and Stuart Leven who hosted Irish travel agents in Fallon & Byrne’s Dublin to highlight developments including the Quantum Class entertainment programme and a resumed programme form Dubai in winter 2015/16. Stuart leven_4721Stuart Leven MD of Royal Caribbean Ireland and Britain (pictured) told Travel Extra that the drop in market share experienced by Royal Caribbean in the past 12 months had been caused by deployment changes. He said these were partially addressed by the resumption of the Dubai winter service and improved itineraries from Southampton (listen here).

IMG_4750Stuart Leven’s presentation at the event stressed how the trade should seek out first time cruise customers and highlighted developments such as the dining and entertainment innovations (listen here) on Quantum class ships. He said that Royal Carribean wanted to bring agents to experience his company;s cruise ships at first hand, how they intended invested more in training and told the story of how James Fleming of Sunway had met his fiancee at a Royal Caribbean seminar at sea. James is pictured with Sunway colleague Alice Swords. See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.

1MG_4675Alan Sparling of SAS, Danny Giles of Hurtigruten and Diddier Nicous and Rannveig Snorradottir of Tumlare hosted agents in the Radisson Blu Hotel Golden Lane. Picture shows Rannveig Snorradottir addressing the guests, listen here to Rannveig Snorradottir’s presentation. See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.

Emirates are looking for a manager for their Irish operations following the resignation of Margaret Shannon, with effect from the end of August. Margaret has headed up the Irish operation since before the launch of Emirates in Ireland in January 2012, overseeing  the aircraft upgrade, which doubled capacity on the route, and plans to go double daily between Dublin and Dubai from September 2014. She has no plans, other than to spend more time with her family. The role of Emirates country manager for Ireland will be advertised over the coming weeks.

moving montageSome departures and arrivals: Graham Hennessy will become new Ireland manager for attraction tickets agency Graham has 22 years experience in the trade and joins DSD form Topflight. Claire Docherty is departing Sunway to become sales manager of a hotel in Saskatchewan in Canada, where her husband is currently working. Barry Hammond is joining Suwnay from Topflight.

  • Abu Dhabi travel event will take place in Dublin on Wednesday (June 18).
  • ITIC Cruise hire business launch will take place in Carrick on Shannon on Wednesday (June 18).
  • ITAA has advertised a number of last-minute summer offers this week.
  • MasterCard and eNett International have extended their partnership.
  • The final winner of lowcostbeds ‘Happy Mondays’ trade promotion was Julie Anne Ryan from Limerick Travel.

DynamicDining 300 for sundaysuppPicture shows American Holidays personnel testing Royal Caribbean International  new ‘Dynamic Dining’ concept which will be introduced on Quantum class ships. Rachel McOnaspie, Shona Byrne, Sharon Wilson (Royal Caribbean), Sarah McCormick and Jennifer Mulligan.

  • ITAA will host a complementary half-day training at the Morgan Hotel, Dublin, on June 25 from 2pm to 5.30pm. Register your place here.
  • Azamara Club Cruises launched a free flights campaign. Customers that book an Oceanview Stateroom or higher on select European voyages will receive complimentary return flights. Agents who make any booking with this offer will be entered into a weekly draw to win an iPad.
  • Passport Online, a website partner for, has introduced a new automated social media service for travel agents. ESP posts news, trending topics, tips, photos, deals and questions to social media.
  • The video below shows tour operators and travel media relaxing on Naka Noi Island, the private island of Phuket in Thailand leased by specialist SE Asia DMC Exotissimo for tour groups. The group were on a post-famil following Thai Travel Mart Plus and hosted by the Tourism Authority of Thailand. Exotissimo offer trips to Naka Noi including weddings as part of their portfolio.
  • Travelport has launched new products including: eNett payments for travel agents; further air content that includes fares and ancillary products from low-cost carriers and network carriers; more hotel content; and airline merchandising which allows airlines to distribute products as well as fares. Travelport acquired B2B hotel distribution technology provide Hotelzon, from Esa Karppinen.


Bloomberg reports that The Malton, The Metropole Hotel and the Kilkenny Ormonde Hotel have been put on sale for €30m, €10m less that The Malton alone sold for in 2006.Dale Chiculy sml The Westbury Hotel will display artwork by Dale Chihuly from June 20—31. Chihuly’s Macchia glass art work will be exhibited for hotel guests to view. The acclaimed American artist has exhibited in the Victoria & Albert Museum, London; the Louvre in Paris, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; and the Corning Museum of Glass, also in New York.

Westport Woods Hotel is offering two nights bed and breakfast (mid-week) for €99pp, five nights dinner, bed and breakfast for €209pps from June 15; and five nights dinner, bed and breakfast for €259pps from June 23. Expedia will start accepting Bitcoin for online hotel bookings. However, hoteliers will continue to be paid in local currency. If the move proves to be a success, the company hopes to expand the feature to other products.


Irish visitor numbers to Scotland were down spectacularly again in 2013, to 107,000 with a recorded spend of £29m in Scotland. It means that Scotland has lost 45pc of its Irish visitors in three years. Visitor numbers have declined from 195,000 in 2011, by 24pc to 149,000 in 2012 and by 28pc to 107,000 in 2013. Scotland has dropped from eighth to 13th place in outbound visitor numbers from Ireland.

Picture by roboppy via Flickr

Picture by roboppy via Flickr

1,600 papier-mâché pandas, created by artist Paulo Grangeon in collaboration with the WWF, landed in Hong Kong airport in protest of the dwindling panda population. Is it a bird? Is it a plane? Tricky linguistics led social media users to believe that a Thai Air Asia aircraft collided with a Nok Air craft when it had actually suffered a bird strike. The confusion stemmed from the fact that “nok” is the Thai word for bird. Travel Extra editor Eoghan Corry once said that he has a “smattering of phrases in about 12 different languages; enough to get into trouble but not enough to get back out of it again”. Huffington Post can at least teach him how to order a beer in multiple languages…which might make his problem worse.

  • There was a 14pc growth in the number of Irish visitors to Britain in the first quarter of the this year.
  • is offering nine nights at DisneyWorld Florida for the price of seven.
  • Discover Travel is offering 10 nights in the four-star Khao Lak Merlin Resort for €1,019pp, flights, taxes and transfers included.
  • The Thailand night time curfew was lifted on Friday.
  • The Japanese government is planning to provide visitors with free public Wi-Fi once they register their passport at one of the country’s airports.
  • Abbey Travel launched a new brochure for Malta and Gozo.
  • TAT launches the Amazing Thailand Grand Sale today.  It will run until September 30. A “shopping competition” will take place this Wednesday (June 18) in Rachaprasong and Siam, Bangkok’s main shopping districts.
Photo by SeanOConnor2010 via Flickr

Photo by SeanOConnor2010 via Flickr

Edinburgh Fringe Festival launched its 2014 programme. This year promises to be the biggest festival to date with 3,193 shows taking place in 299 venues in Scotland’s capital. Comedian Jason Byrne, a reading of Seamus Heaney by Larry McCluskey and Fishamble Theatre’s ‘Swing’ are among the Irish highlights.

  • US security officials seized a record 18 firearms at airports.The Transport Security Administration beat the previous record when 13 guns were found in a single day in 2013. So far in 2014, TSA over 800 weapons have been found at security checkpoints.
  • A militant attack on Karachi airport in Pakistan left 28 people dead and others injured. Pakistan’s Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack.
  • Delays at the British Passport Office are causing hassle for summer holidaymakers. Some new applications are taking as long as two months to process.
  • Metro workers in Sao Paulo suspended a strike. The strike caused chaos as the city prepared for the opening World Cup match, leading to scenes of protest, street fires and tear gas.
Photo by derekskey via Flickr

Photo by derekskey via Flickr

  • Paris’ iconic Pont des Arts bridge was closed after a metal grill weighed down by ‘lovelocks’ collapsed onto the walkway.
  • Christmas Market Tours announced trips to Budapest, Berlin, Vienna, Prague and Salzburg this December.
  • South Africa’s Department of Home Affairs has introduced new regulation that will require children to travel with an unabridged birth certificate. The rule will be introduced on October 1.

Food & Wine

Below is a list of the winners at this year’s Irish Restaurant Awards. For more click see RestaurantAwards (2) Tullamore DEW Visitor Centre officially opened its new restaurant, The Bond, with Alex Avel (formerly of The Hilton, Lyon) as head chef. The menu is said to combine “high end, gastro-pub style food with a whiskey infused twist”. The 70-seater restaurant is open daily from 11am—4pm with late opening on Fridays and Sundays from June 6. Aer Lingus added a new range of sandwiches and snacks to its on-board Bia menu designed by chef and restaurateur Clodagh McKenna.


The inaugural Aviation Industry Awards, sponsored by the IAA, took place in Dublin. Over 550 people attended. Nineteen winners were chosen from more than 120 entries. The shortlist is published here. Below is the full list of winners. AviationAwards

  • Ryanair launched a city travel section on its website, The new guides include hotel listings, recommended things to do, nightlife and shopping guides, maps and other information. The new function includes guides to all 186 Ryanair destinations. Ryanair are to carry over their routes from Shannon to Beauvais, Berlin, Fuerteventura, Krakow and Warsaw to winter 2014-5.
  • Bob Haugh launched ia new, free service that will directly compare Aer Lingus and Ryanair flight prices. Ryanair (currently on Travelport) said they expect to be on Amadeus and Sabre by the end of the year.
  • cook
  • Thomas Cook Airlines is to fly three long-haul flights from Belfast Airport to Orlando and Las Vegas for summer 2015. The airline will operate two flights to Orlando on-board a newly refurbished Airbus A330 on June 30 and July 7, 2015. A one-off flight to Las Vegas will take place on July 5, 2015, returning a week later. The Belfast Telegraph recounted how a cut in air duty kept United’s operation, currently celebrating its ninth birthday, in Belfast. The Belfast-Newark service will go out of operation for nine weeks from January next year.
  • The IAA reports that air traffic increased by 4.6pc throughout Ireland in May compared to the same month last year. This figure includes flights at Dublin, Cork and Shannon airports, en route flights and North Atlantic Communications flights. There was an average of 1,618 daily flights last month with the busiest day being May 16 with 1,791 flights in Irish airspace. In relation to international arrivals and departures, the commercial terminal traffic for Shannon, Dublin and Cork airports was up by 8.1pc in May 2014, when compared to May last year.  Individually, the May 2014 figures for the three State airports are: Dublin up 7.5pc with an average of 512 daily commercial movements; Cork up 0.8pc, with an average of 61 daily commercial movements; Shannon up 21.7pc with an average of 65 daily commercial movements. More statistics are available here.
  • A study by the US Government Accountability Office says that there is still healthy competition in the majority of US air routes despite mergers in recent years. The report says that there is only a slight decline in overall competition on US air routes. The analysis looked at the effect on airline mergers from 2007 to 2012, but excluded the December merger of American Airlines and US Airways.
  • Cork Airport is offering one week’s parking for €28 to customers that book online before June 30 in the Holiday Blue car part using the code CORK4PDAY. The airport is also marking the launch of Aer Lingus Regional’s new route to Newcastle by offering a two night trip for two to the city. Musicians are invited to take part in the Cork Airport ‘Summer of Song’ competition in conjunction with the Cork Independent.
  • It was speculated Emirates cancellation of their A350 order could open the door for Ryanair Transatlantic. The International Bureau of Aviation said Emirates’ cancellation of seventy Airbus A350s will not immediately impact values. Airbus shares fell 3pc after Airbus lost 9pc of its order for the new jets which cost $15bn to develop over eight years. Airbus weighed up the A330neo arguments ahead of a launch decision.
  • Etihad Airways will broadcast every World Cup match ‘live’ on all its long haul aircraft.
  • South African Airways (SAA) will offer a complimentary baggage wrapping service to customers travelling out of Johannesburg.
  • Aer Lingus Regional recorded a 35pc increase in passenger numbers for May 2014. The airline flew 122,079 passengers, 31,580 compared to May 2013.
  • Funway Holidays signed an agreement with Aer Lingus to sell services to the US.
  • Emirates unveiled a Boeing 777-300ER that features the signature of soccer legend Pelé. The first “Pelé-ane” will connect on the Dubai to Sao Paolo route.
  • Ryanair announced an €850m Euro Bond at 1.875pc, fixed for seven years. The airline said this is part of its plans to access debt capital markets to source financing for its new 180 Boeing 737-800 order.
  • Flybe UK reported a 6.9pc increase in passenger number in the UK for 2013/14 despite a 1.4pc reduction in seat capacity. The group also reported a load factor of 69.5pc, up from 64.1pc in 2012/13. See here for the full results.
  • ryanair damaged aircraft
  • Ryanair carried the most international passengers last year, according to IATA. The airline carried 81.3m international passengers last year. Easyjet came in second with 52.7m and Lufthansa third with 50.7m.
  • Picture shows a Ryanair craft that rolled into a building in Italy last week. Was the accident connected with industrial action at Italian airports?
  • Shannon Philadelphia 090
  • The newly amalgamated American Airlines and US Airways launched its first service at Shannon with the reopening of the summer route to Philadelphia Airport. The service will run until September 2.
  • Ryanair carried 8.2m passengers in May with over 89pc of its flights arriving on-time, down 5pc from the same period last year. The airline blames the French ATC strikes for the decrease. According to the Ryanair’s customer statistics for May, the number of complaints per 1,000 passengers is down from 0.42 to 0.35, but the number of bag complaints per 1,000 passengers has increased from 0.33 to 0.41. 99pc of complaints were answered within seven days, which matches last year’s figure.
  • A fundraising campaign has been launched by the families of missing Malaysian flight MH 370 to try and find more information of its whereabouts.
  • Etihad Airways announced that it will withdraw from Skytrax including the Skytrax World Airline Awards and the Skytrax Audit.
  • British Airways launched a seat sale from now until June 24 for Irish customers travelling to the US. Fares exclude taxes and surcharges: Orlando €214; Miami €327; New York €203; Boston €205; Washington €332; Las Vegas €320; San Francisco €233; Los Angeles €243; Chicago €255.
  • Shannon Airport and Bank of Ireland will host a ‘night-run’ in aid of the Samaritans. Over 1,000 runners will trek Shannon’s 5km runway. The event will take place on July 4 at 11pm and participants can register online at Entry fee is €20.
  • Malaysia Airlines is offering deals to Irish customers travelling to Australia this autumn. Return tickets from Dublin/Cork/Shannon via Heathrow to Darwin and Perth at €825. Flights to Adelaide, Brisbane, Melbourne and Sydney start at €815. Book by June 30, fly by August 14—31, 2014, and November 1—December 4, 2014.
  • Members of United AirlinesMileage Plus programme will earn award miles based on the price of their ticket, rather than by distance flown from March 1, 2015.
  • Members will ear five miles for every dollar spent. Gabriele Del Torchio said Alitalia will have to cut 2,200 jobs to meet the conditions of Etihad’s €560m deal to invest in the airline.
  • Reuters published a story on a man who lives in Boeing 727 in the Oregon Woords.
  • A US Airways aircraft had to be diverted after a dog relieved itself repeatedly in the aisle in what was described as a “rare and unfortunate situation”.


Bus Éireann Eurolines added extra coach and ferry services from Dublin to Birmingham and London for the summer. The additional services will run until September 13. is offering a Winter Cruise trip from €619pp and an Arabian Delights trip from €899pp.


Picture by chacrebleu via Flickr

Picture by chacrebleu via Flickr

A survey by Eurobarometer found that 44pc of Irish travellers are dissatisfied with the price of public transport; 31pc are fairly satisfied while 9pc are very satisfied. The study found that Poland, Germany, the Netherlands and Hungary are the least satisfied with prices for public transport. Malta recorded the highest satisfaction rate, with 44pc of respondents saying they are very satisfied with prices. Ireland came bottom of the table for proximity to transport services. Only 62pc replied that it takes less than 10 minutes to get to the nearest bus, train or tram station, compared to 90pc in Luxembourg, 89pc in the Netherlands and 86pc in Sweden. Results say that 31pc of Irish respondents reported public transport services to be from 10 to 30 minutes away from home, and 4pc were more than 30 minutes to one hour away from public transport services. 27pc of Irish respondents travel by public transport at least once a week, below the EU average of 32pc. For the full results, click here. The Irish Spa Awards took place on Monday. Monart Spa won Spa of the Year, while the Ice House’s Chill Spa won Boutique Spa of the year and Best Therapist.

  • There was a Nationwide special on the Wild Atlantic Way last Wednesday. You can watch the programme here.
  • published 10 must-visit art galleries on the Wild Atlantic Way.
  • The Cork Summer Show ends today (June 15).
  • The Turkish Irish Education and Cultural Society (TIECS) will host its annual picnic in Donabate this morning (June 15) at 11am. See for more.
  • OPW heritage card holders will receive free admission to Irish and Isle of Man heritage sites.
  • Bus Éireann is offering three days unlimited travel around Cork with its ‘Rebel Rambler Ticket’. Travellers can avail of the following services: all Cork City services (Routes 201—219); open top tour of Cork City and Blarney; Kinsale; Middleton; and Cork Airport services. The offer is available from now until September. Tickets cost €35 and are only available to purchase from the Travel Centre in Cork.
  • The James Joyce Centre launched Bloomsday Festival 2014. This year’s event is a mix of traditional activities like the Bloomsday breakfast with some new additions like the ‘Bizarre Bloomsday Brunch’ on North Great George’s Street which takes place today (June 15) at 1pm. Mary Collins of Fáilte Ireland says this year’s festival hopes to appeal to both young visitors looking for “a fun, hands-on and more interactive experience” as well as traditional literary fans. See for the full list of events.Eoghan tv3 june 12 2014 002
  • Watch here Travel Extra‘s Eoghan Corry on TV3’s Tonight with Vincent Browne.
  • The Venezuelan government introduced restrictions that will prevent students from there coming to Ireland to learn English, move also means more than 3,000 Venezuelans currently studying here may be forced to return home.
  • Light Colour Sound Festival takes place at Shankill Castle from July 4—5.
  • Kilkenny’s newest summer festival promises two days of music, food, art, comedy and literature, and will include a cheche, puppet show and vintage funfair for children. HMV sponsors the Main Stage which will feature performances by Cathy Davey, Jerry Fish, Wallis Bird and Kila.
  • Titanic Belfast CEO Tim Husbands 300Titanic Centre CEO Tim Husbands (pictured) said Titanic Belfast attracted 55,000 tourists in the month of May, 15,000 from the 26 counties. May saw Belfast played host to the Giro d’Italia and the Titanic Maritime Festival. Organisers of a weekend of outdoor adventure on Clare Island from June 20-22 want more men to apply as there has been an abundance of applications from women so far.

Submit a story or send us feedback at Follow us on Twitter: @TravelExtraIre.

Travel Extra’s Sunday Supplement: Thailand’s Surprise Bounce & a Midsummer Strike Nightmare

thailand travel market


*Despite coup, Thailand sees increase in Irish visitors

*Heathrow T2 opens smoothly

*Aer Lingus-IMPACT talks continue

*Lufthansa to expand Dublin-Munich service

*Fáilte Ireland launches Blueway initiative

Video of the week: Cooling off – There was a lot of talk about the opening of Terminal 2 at Heathrow this week, but it seems that the real action was elsewhere: Terminal 5, of all places. Our video of the week proves that the internet isn’t just for cute cats…the occasional dog breaks through as well.


Eoghan Corry Juthaporn Rerngronasa copyDespite the unrest in Thailand, figures released at Thailand Travel Mart Plus in Bangkok show inbound visitor numbers from Ireland have increased. Between January and April this year figures rose by 11.4pc for Ireland. Forward bookings for July, however, are down 19pc from Ireland. Chris Lee of TAT in London said the figures were inconclusive, more reflective of a pause in bookings created by news of the coup than anything of long term significance. Overall, tourism to Thailand is down 5.9pc and Bangkok down 20pc. Juthaporn Rerngronasa of Tourism Thailand reported that there has been a big increase in inbound arrivals direct to resort airports such as Phuket and Chiang Mai, rather than via Bangkok, as people try to avoid Bangkok.

brendan barry tuk tuk copyThis is a trend that is likely to gather pace. Both of Ireland’s most popular carriers to Thailand, Emirates (currently) and Etihad (from October 26) will have services direct to Phuket from Dubai and Abu Dhabi respectively. Interestingly the UAE is one of just two countries that is advising its citizens not to travel to Thailand, which may have an impact on load factors on the Asian legs of those services. So far 20 countries have issued travel advice and 46 countries have given travel warnings, but these have just advised visitors to exercise caution. The latest advice from Department of Foreign Affairs is that travellers in Thailand should “exercise extreme caution”.

IMG_3676 copyThe contradictions of Thailand’s cuckoo coup were on display in all their glory in Bangkok to the 314 buyers from 45 countries who attended the event (picture show Brendan Barry of Discover Travel arriving for the opening party by tuk tuk, and with Fiona Dobbyn of Classic Resorts at the agent party in Bangkok’s Centara Hotel). When Travel Extra investigated the streets of Bangkok during the forbidden hours, the streets were still inhabited by vehicular traffic and a few pedestrians and it was possible to get street food. Last Sunday’s closure of the streets around the Victory Monument and a nearby metro station was widely reported, but uncharacteristic of the business as normal appearance of the city. Many hoteliers said the coup made travel to Thailand much safer than it had been during recent uncertainty.

Joanna Cooke Chris Lee_3903 copyThe news that the coup was lifted in three resorts, Phuket, Pattaya and Samui, on Tuesday, and four more, Hua Hin, Cha-am, Krabi and Phang-nga, on Friday, raised hopes that it would be brought to an end altogether. Getting the curfew, hugely damaging to the country’s perception, lifted altogether is still a long way off. Picture shows Chris Lee and Joanna Cooke of TAT in London on a post family to Phuket where delegates experience the post-curfew party at first hand. The resort island of Phuket has been largely unaffected by the political unrest with the number of international tourist arrivals to the resort island growing by 6.9pc year-on-year to 962,953 arrivals in the first quarter of 2014.

Meanwhile reported a 31pc decrease in searches from Ireland to Thailand since the coup last month; searches to other countries in Southeast Asia increased by 22pc in the same period. Vietnam and Indonesia experienced the strongest growth, with searches increasing by 24pc and 16pc. Ian Jarret from Travelmole reported a drop of 55pc in advance bookings (using the clever headline from 1982 coined by his former employer, the Sun: Stick it Up Your Junta).

Just as in Australia some weeks ago, much of the coverage of the event was generated by a question from Travel Extra. Governor of the Tourism Authority of Thailand Thawatchai Arunyik was unable to give an answer to the question, what is the strategy beyond telling people that Thailand is safe. (Listen here). TAT has asked the government (if the National Council for Peace and Order could be described as such), for more marketing money. A mega-fam of 1,000 international travel writers has been planned for July. An insurance scheme to ensure that travel insurance policies are not invalidated by government travel advisories is being considered. Listen to Thawatchai Arunyik’s presentation here.

What happens next? Hoteliers such as Jason Friedman, whose luxurious Siam Hotel hosted the Irish media group at the event, says that he does not expect hoteliers to drop rates to stimulate demand. He may underestimate how fickle are the travelling public. It is amazing how many people who are afraid to travel reconsider when they see the prices drop.

Thailand Loei Group_Tour operators and travel media were hosted by the Tourism Authority of Thailand in the enchanting and largely “un-touristed” north east province of Loei. Back row: Krittika Phiwkliang of Oriental Voyage (TEATA), Joerg Guenther from Berlin, Dave Tucker from London, Sebastian Mann of TAT Frankfurt, Mallory Ericson from Minneapolis. Middle row: Sumonta Korkaew of DASTA, Sripijit Termchaijaroensak of Thai Seafrog (TEATA), Mike Smith from Singapore, Solveig Grewe from Dortmund, Philippe Guersan from Paris, Chris Ball from Sydney, Lana Bugonovich of ETB News in Sydney, Suvapa Kaewsook of TAT in Paris, Duangkamol Chansuriyawong of Wild Thailand (TEATA). Front row: Somchai Chaicharoensin of TAT Frankfurt, Irina Sarbu from Bucharest, Nongluk Silakup of TAT, Saichalee Varnapruk from TEATA, Chanida Mumanachit of TAT Bangkok, Parichat Suntararak of Thailand Green Rides and Eoghan Corry of Travel Extra in Ireland. See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.

Kate Els of Tourism News in Johannesburg eating a bug at the opening part for Thailand Travel Mart Plus June 3 2014

Picture shows Kate Els of Tourism News in Johannesburg tucking in to a bug at the opening of Thailand Travel Mart Plus. If that hasn’t put you off your Sunday fry, connect with the photo album on Facebook or Flickr.

Watch here the footage of a Phi Takhon ghost dance, shot by Travel Extra in Loei.

Strikes two and three are looming at Aer Lingus. They might even go ahead.

michael landers H&s copyHaving successfully led his troops to the barricades last week, IMPACT boss Michael Landers set June 16 and June 18 as the next two strike dates for his rebellious cabin crew. From a union point of view the bank holiday Friday strike was a success, generating massive media coverage and giving new impetus to IMPACT in its arm wrestle with rivals SIPTU for prominence within the airline and airport. Three days of talking this week did not see anything resolved or indeed anything of note discussed, suggesting both airline and union are leaving options open for LRC or agreed panel arbitration. Aer Lingus is clearly tempted by the option of staffing its trans-Atlantic flights from the USA, leaving its unionised crew to man short haul flights, presumably with their desired 5:3 roster. This would be following an international trend: Lingus are not the first airline to discover that a long haul and short haul division within the same airline can create rostering drama, discontent, rivalry and cost over-runs among pilots and cabin crew. Norwegian Air Shuttle are in the process of providing a model which many airlines would like to follow, including the slanty shamrock. Even Aer Lingus decision to withdraw travel privileges from striking crew is means less in these days of low fares and curtailed standby options than it did in the decades when fares were high and aircraft flew empty, and the prospect of free travel was an envied perk for those who worked for a major airline.

Travel Trade

travelcube_0590Eight travel agents travelled to Toronto courtesy of Air Canada Rouge on the direct service from Dublin. The group was hosted by Jens Bachmann of Air Canada/Premair and Peter Friedrich of TravelCube. They explored Tortonto’s helicopter and jet boat tours, wine-tasting, shopping opportunities and visited Niagara Falls. Pictured: Peter Friedrich of TravelCube, Jens Bachmann of Air Canada GSA, Kathleen Kinane of Clubtravel, Renee Kenedy of FcM, Mary Murphy of Corporate Travel Management CTM, Ailish Berkeley of Travel Department, Kieran O’Doherty of Premier Travel, TBA of Fairmont Royal York Hotel, Stephen Aston of Clubworld Travel and Rory Campbell of Trailfinders. See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.

Gonzalo Ceballos Spanish TB Golf dayGonzalo Ceballos, director of the Dublin office of the Spanish Tourist Board poses poses at the Heritage Golf Club in Killenard before Thursday’s golf outing for the trade. See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.

Tour America won the Best Use of Social Media by an SME Award at the Bord Gais Social Media Awards. celebrated its fourth year in business and has new holidays to Poland and Scandinavia. The site has a number of last-minute June departure sun holiday offers this week: San Antonio, Ibiza – June 10, seven nights, self-catering from €355pp; Puerto Rico, Gran Canaria – June 10, seven nights, self-catering from €359pp; Salou, Spain – June 10, seven nights, self-catering from €455pp; Puterto Santiago – June 12, seven nights, self-catering from €365pp.

nicki stanford h&s copyClickandgo hosted 28 guests on board Cunard Queen Victoria in Dun Laoghaire. Cunard brand is not exclusive to Clickandgo but wil be a central part of their new cruise divison headed up by Niki Stanford (pictured, formerlyof Thomas Cook) and Will Walsh, formerly of the Travel broker. was filming a new promo video in Ericeria, Portugal. Videographer James Skerritt and Irish surfers Aaron Reid and Conor Maguire travelled with a crew to bask in the warm temperatures and hit the waves. You can watch the result here.

Adventure Holidays announced a new programme of self-guided tours to Portugal

ChooseChicago_Storehouse_050614_PatReede(UnitedAirlines)_MayelaMonge(CassidyTravel)_DonWelsh(PresidentAndCEOChooseChicago)_9066 copyPictured: Pat Reede of United Airlines, prize winner Mayela Monge of Cassidy Travel and Don Welsh President and CEO of ChooseChicago at the Choose Chicago event at the Guinness Storehouse. See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.

The Immarama Festival of Travel Writing takes place in Lismore from June 12—15. Award winning author and journalist Tim Butcher and broadcaster Charlie Bird are among those due to descend into Waterford for the weekend. Manchán Magan and Allanah Hopkins are also on the programme.

Happy Mondays winner Stacy MacMahon with Grainne Caffrey of Lowcostbeds.The winner of the Lowcost Travel group ‘Happy Mondays’ trade promotion was Stacey MacMahon from Skytours. The final winner of the competition will be contacted tomorrow (June 9).

The NITN Big Travel Trade Event takes place in Belfast from June 10—11. The event takes place at the Hilton, Templepatrick. Over 80 companies will be represented. Oman Ministry of Tourism, Getabed, Cape Greece Resorts in South Africa, Tennessee Tourism and Maxx Royal Hotels in Turkey will make their NI debut.

  • Royal Caribbean will host an agent event in Dublin on June 12.
  • Visit California will host an agent event in Dublin on June 13.
  • Brendan Barry’s Discover Travel took over Tandon Travel in Dungarvan on Tuesday.Sunway Bloom Mairead Morris & Alice swords  June 2014 copy
  • Sunway reported a busy stand at Bloom in the Park. The Bord Bia event, Ireland’s largest garden and food festival, pulled around 106,000 visitors over the June bank holiday weekend. Pictures shows Mairead Morris and Alice Swords on the Sunway stand.

ITAA is offering day trips to Alton Towers, a family break to Orlando with Tour America, and holidays in Fuerteventura.

Insight Vacations reports that its European summer escorted tours are definite departures. Its India and Nepal programme is seeing an increase in demand.


Hotelbeds predicted a 20pc growth in Europe for 2014. The group hosted the MarketHub networking event in Ibiza this week. See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.

Carlos Mun¦âoz_Markethub Hotelbeds

Dalata Hotel Group has agreed to acquire the Maldron Hotel, Parnell Street, and the Pearse Hotel on Pearse Street for around €30m.

HRS has launched a new Mobile Special Tariff for smartphone users. Last year, 12pc of all its reservations were made via smartphones and tablets. The new tariff is targeted at business travellers and spontaneous bookers. It offers a 10pc discount and can be booked through the HRS app.

Talbot Hotel Group purchased the four-star Oriel House Hotel in Ballincollig Cork, securing the jobs of 120 staff. The 78-bedroom hotel was re-developed in 2006 and has two bars, a restaurant, conference and banqueting facilities for up to 480 people and a leisure club.

Hotel Near Me, the first hotel reservation app for Google Glass, is now available to download. The app was launched by

Irish entrepreneur Emmet O’Neill and Brehon Capital Partners outbid billionaire John Malone in the purchase of the five-star hotel and golf resort Mount Juliet for an estimated €15m. O’Neill made his buck when he sold his Smiles Dental business to Oasis Healthcare for €36m.

Hilton SLS LV Exterior Rendering Night 2Hilton announced the launch of its new brand Curio, a collection of four and five star hotels around the world. A number of properties have already signed letters of intent including: SLS Las Vegas Hotel and Casino, The Franklin Hotel, etc. (email) has released the latest hotel prices for the FIFA World Cup. Figures show that the average match-day hotel price is €215. Mananaus and capital Brasilia are the most expensive cities for hotel stays during the competition at €303 and €295. A night in Rio de Janeiro will set you back an average €238 on match days. If you’re looking for a bargain, the cheapest night, at €131, is in Porto Alegre. See here for more.


Visit Britain published the May edition of its market insights report.

In celebration of Homecoming Scotland, Visit Scotland invites visitors to share their surfing experiences on Twitter or Instagram using the hashtag ‘#brilliantmoments’. Clan Surf in Glasgow, New Wave Surf School in Hopeman village and Coast to Coast in Dunbar are among the providers supporting the initiative. Other highlights from the year-long Homecoming include events such as the 2014 Ryder Cup and the Glasgow Commonwealth games.

Briton Lee Thompson took a daring selfie on top of Christ the Redeemer statue in Rio de Janeiro. Thompson, a photographer who is documenting the build-up to the World Cup, climbed the 124-foot statute with colleague Oliver Harvey. The two convinced the tourism board to let them make good use of the scaffolding installed by workers who are repairing the statue.

A report into the Gulf region’s travel industry says that the coming-of-age of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC)’s young population will reshape the travel industry in the region over the next 15 years. The report is available to read here. has launched a portfolio of new products and experiences available in India. Highlights include the Spirit of Dharavi private tour, Private Bollywood Tour, Mumbai full day Private City Tour and a full day excursion to Agra.

Castelfalfi Castle in Borgo completed its renovations. It took two years to complete work on the medieval castle that once had Andrea Bocelli tinkling the keys in its piano bar.

Préfecture de police de Paris plans to tighten security for tourists this summer. The police force will introduces a field patrol unit for the Champs-Elysees and promises “increased vigilance” around the Gare du Nord.

Food & Wine

The Bistro at The Tower - Tower Hotel WaterfordBistro Restaurant in Tower Hotel, Waterford was awarded an AA Rosette for culinary excellence.

Echlinville Distillery, a new distillery in Kircubbin, Co Down, in investing £1.5m (€1.8m) to develop premium Irish whiskey for markets outside NI.

In Kinsale, John and Sally McKenna launched their book Where to Eat and Stay on the Wild Atlantic Way.

Belfast chef Niall McKenna was named Northern Ireland’s tourism hero of the year at an event in Ulster Hall for his work in helping to promote the city. Other winners included Fermanagh’s O’Doherty’s Fine Meats in the Taste of NI category, while Lough Erne Resort was named Hotel of the Year. Click here for the full list of winners.


StobartAir_ATR72_EIREH_DUB_050614_0690_300 copyStobart Air have painted an aircraft in their own new livery to enable the craft to be used as a substitute for its Aer Lingus Regional and Flybe franchise operations. Flybe started  three of its six new European routes from London Southend Airport this week.

DAA plans a direct link to China within the next two years. Chief executive Kevin Toland said that Ireland “is now on the radar in China for direct air connectivity”. “It’s a question of time. Our job is to make that sooner rather than later,” he told the Belfast Telegraph.

A soft opening of T2 helped Heathrow avoid the mishaps of T5 in 2008. Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales was among the first passengers to board the flight from Chicago and Heston Blumenthal brought his liquid nitrogren recipes to the Perfectionists’ Café, his latest restaurant. The full list of T2 moves is below: airline moves copy

Lufthansa announced that the Dublin to Munich service is to become a year round service following the success of the seasonal summer flights. The service will operate Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays during November and March, reducing to twice weekly (Wednesday and Sunday) between December and February. Christian Schindler, Lufthansa UK and Ireland GM, said: “We have seen a continual increase in demand on our Dublin to Munich summer service since it was introduced in 2008 and have increased the frequency of the flights accordingly. Developing the route into a year round service is the obvious next step. It reinforces our commitment to meet the expectations of our Irish passengers and also confirms the continuing importance of Dublin Airport within the Lufthansa worldwide network.” Return fares on the new flights start from €119.

Aer Lingus passenger numbers rose by 2.4 pc in May. Short haul passenger numbers fell by 3.5 pc in May 2013, while long haul numbers were up 20.6 pc last month. Aer Lingus Regional passenger numbers rose 35.6 per cent to 122,000. The airline’s load factor was down 1.1 pc.New Glasgow services takess off from Ireland West Airport Knock

Ryanair’s traffic for May was up 4pc at 8.2m customers. The airline attributed this growth to their “new website, allocated seating, a free second small carry-on bag and PED use on all flights”. The airline also launched its new Knock to Glasgow service this week, and is to add five new routes to its winter schedule at Shannon.

Leo Varadkar ruled out making Cork Airport independent, saying that if it were to secure its independence now, it would “immediately be loss-making”. Speaking at a Seanad debate on the State Airports Bill 2014, the minister said now is not the right time for Cork to become indepdent. “Unlike Shannon Airport, Cork Airport’s operating costs substantially exceed its revenues. To operate on a commercial basis it would require significant redundancies and/or pay cuts, which nobody is proposing,” he said.

The captain of an easyJet flight from Gatwick to Turkey was forced to abort landing the aircraft when three drunken passengers began wreaking havoc in the aisles. It only landed in Dalaman when all 155 passengers were seated. Police were called to meet the plane at the airport, but no arrests were made. BBC journalist Neil Henderson, who was on-board, compared the ordeal with a certain ITV show:

€200,000 worth of damage was done to a Ryanair plane as it rolled backwards at Rome Ciampino Airport yesterday. Ryanair said the plane was parked with no one in board but had not been properly secured.

Ireland West Airport Knock has launched a new mobile version of its website,

IATA says airlines are forecast to make a net profit of $18bn (€13bn) this year despite rising infrastructure costs, air traffic management and tax and regulatory inefficiencies.

DAA has shelved a €3m re-branding initiative.  “The response to a proposed name change was firmly negative and considered to be unnecessary, unwarranted, a waste of money and potentially damaging to the reputations of the Dublin Airport Authority and Government…It was decided, therefore, not to engage in an expensive rebranding exercise and to use instead the existing acronym, DAA, in lower case,” Minister Varadkar said.

Photo: Professional Images/@ProfImagesRyanair launched a branding agreement with National Express.

The Bloomberg Hub was opened at London City Airport. It provides news, data and information on a media wall in the airport’s business lounge for business travellers.

Bristol Airport experienced severe delays after a power failure grounded flights at the busiest time of the day.

Malaysia Airlines passengers can now check-in a two pieces of baggage within the 30kg, 40kg and 50kg free baggage allowance included in their travel in economy, business and first class.

United Airlines launched a second daily non-stop service between Dublin and Newark Liberty International Airport.  The service will operate until August 19.

Brendan O’Connor hosted a charity Hair-A-Thon in T2.© Robert Allen Photography 2014

  • The aviation regulator proposed a cumulative 22% drop in charges at Dublin Airport over the next five years.
  • A United Airlines flight made an emergency landing in Dublin.
  • After three months of searching for flight MH370 Australia has decided to outsource the search operation to a private source.
  • Aer Lingus’s 3 Million Mega Seat Sale from now until June 16 for travel from July 1 to October 31.
  • International Airlines Group chief executive Willie Walsh said airlines are “embarrassed to make profits” and worry that passengers would “bitch and moan” about high margins.
  • Passenger traffic rose by 8% at European airports during the month of April.
  • Kevin Toland was appointed to chair the review of the Department of Justice in light of the Guerin report findings.
  • The top three cities that have the highest rates in the world for room rates per night are Geneva ($308) Dubai ($273) and Kuwait ($253). The index was compiled by Bloomberg.
  • American maths professor Jordan Ellensberg says “if you’ve never missed a flight, you’re not doing it right” and claims to have formulated a mathematical equation for the best time to check-in.  English travel journalist Simon Calder challenges the professor’s argument.
  • Southwest Airlines was fined $200,000 by the US Department of Transportation for advertising cheap fares that didn’t exist.
  • Michael O’Leary said Aer Lingus’s picketing cabin crew members are not being treated like “Siberian salt miners”.
  • Monarch Airlines is the latest carrier to ban reclining seats.
  • British Airways has taken delivery of two new 98-seat Embreaer 190 jets.
  • Package holiday flights resumed at Lydd Airport in Kent for the first time in decades.
  • Qatar celebrated 100 years since the first commercial flight from Tampa to Florida.
  • The London Telegraph explores aisle surfing, dead passengers and zombies on-board in this ‘Confessions of an Air Hostess’ picture gallery.
  • Etihad Airways announced a major expansion of its codeshare agreement with Jet Airways, offering travellers more connections throughout India, and linking India with even more destinations worldwide.
  • Hainan Airlines has signed a merchandising agreement with Travelport.
  • SkyTeam anticipates an 18pc increase in membership cooperation for 2014.
  • SITA is to introduce a new flight tracker function for airlines.
  • Jet2 apologised to passengers on a flight from Cyprus to Newcastle after it was forced to make an emergency landing in Bulgaria due to a loss of cabin pressure.

Etihad Airways will forward a letter detailing the conditions precedent and the criteria for a proposed equity investment by Etihad Airways that have been negotiated with Alitalia and its stakeholders over the past months.

Inmarsat mobile satellite operator is to roll out an EU-wide broadband service for commercial and business aviation passengers.

The pocket-sized Knee Defender gadget is designed to prevent the seat in front of you from reclining and save “precious legroom”.

Gatwick hosted an event for customers to see its refurbished Service Centre.

Flybe commenced three of its six new European routes from London Southend Airport operated by its franchise partner Stobart Air.

A petition calling on British Airways to stop selling trips to SeaWorld in San Diego has gained over 85,000 signatures.


Brittany Ferries is offering 15pc off all Cork-Roscoff regular ferry fares and on-board accommodation when passengers book a minimum four night’s accommodation. The offer excludes special offers and promotions.

Irish Ferries announced a family package of a three-night stay with breakfast in Best Western Tillington Hall Hotel in Stafford for €489 in celebration of the opening of CBeebies Land at Alton Towers.

Royal Caribbean Cruises launched its 2015/16 catalogue this week.

Stena Lines customers can now take a day trip to the newly opened FunZone centre in Oakwood Theme Park.

A sightseeing tour boat crashed into London’s Tower Bridge. The City Cruises vessel Millennium Diamond, with 130 people on board, struck the bridge at about midday. Nine people were injured.


George Wendt (aka Norm from Cheers) recently accepted an invitation from Fáilte Ireland to visit the Wild Atlantic Way.

Kevin O’Malley from St Louis, Missouri is the new US ambassador to Ireland. He made his name defending physicians and hospitals in medical malpractice lawsuits.

NITB launched an all-Ireland summer campaign aimed at bringing visitors to the North for short breaks. Look out for Game of Thrones actress Michelle Fairly and tour guides Caroline Wilson and Colum Lynch in the adverts.NITB summer campaign 2014 Pic 1

Leo Varadkar announced that €300,000 is being allocated to Fáilte Ireland’s Capital Investment Programme for the development of a visitor centre at St Patrick’s Cathedral and a whiskey museum at College Green. “These two city centre projects should prove a hit with tourists. St Patrick’s Cathedral gets more than 370,000 visitors every year and many of them want to learn more about the Cathedral. The new interpretative centre will tell the story of the Cathedral, and the development of Dublin,” Minister Varadkar said.

Titanic Belfast will be closed to the public tomorrow (June 9) due to a major film production taking place at the visitor centre.

Ireland’s largest free festival, Bray Summerfest, is back this year from July 5 to August 4. It will be launching its programme of events this Thursday, June 12, at the Martello Hotel in Bray.

VODAFONE_FIRST_HIGH_RES-7Kerry adventurer and polar explorer Mike O’Shea became the first person to fly from Mizen to Malin head by a paramotor. Travelling at heights of up to 10,000 feet, the Kerryman completed the journey in three days. A video of his journey is available to watch here.

Kim Kardashian tweeted this week that she “Had the best most relaxing honeymoon in Ireland & Prague!” Kanye West and Kim Kardashian – collectively known as “Kimye” – were in Ireland last week for their honeymoon. It had been rumoured that the newlyweds were disappointed with their destination and left early. If Kardashian’s tweets are anything to go by, this was not true:  “We spent Kanye’s bday in Ireland a few years back & fell in love with it! Its [sic] such a calming relaxing place!” It is also rumoured Kanye bought Kim a Claddagh ring.

Blueway Launch with MinisterMichael Ring launched Fáilte Ireland’s Blueway initiative to encourage visitors to tour the Wild Atlantic Way. The Blueway programme developed trails for water activities such as snorkelling and kayaking, and will highlight events at five locations in Mayo and Galway: Boffin Harbour on Inishbofin, Killary Fjord in Leenane, Keem on Achill Island, and Mannin Bay and Old Head  in Mayo. Speaking at a launch event, Minister Ring said that Blueways will offer visitors “an entirely new perspective on Ireland’s magnificent wilt Atlantic coastline.”

Footfalls Walking Holidays, and Wicklow County Tourism are organising a series of guided walks to the summit of Lugnaquilla Mountain in July and August. The scheduled walks will take place on July6, July 27, August 10 and August 31.

Derry City Council unveiled the full programme for the LegenDerry Maritime Festival. The Clipper Round the World Yacht Race, The Beach Boys and the RAF Red Arrows are among the highlights. The festival takes place June 21 to 29.Tourism App Launched for Wexford

A new free tourism app, Visit Wexford, was launched in National Heritage Park.

The Garda’s Public Order Unit was put on alert to respond to major public order incidents at popular beach spots in Dublin after mad scenes in Howth last weekend. Tommy Gaffney, director of Howth Tourism said: “We experienced this last year as well where social media takes hold and they announce that they’re heading to Howth for the day…and they come in big numbers.”

Two Irish attractions made Lonely Planet’s top 50 secret spots in Europe. The eBook, entitled Secret Europe, 50 Truly Unforgettable Experiences to Inspire Your Next Trip features Kerry’s Cromane Peninsula at number five and John Kavanagh’s pub (aka Gravediggers) at number 46. The compilation focuses on “undiscovered and overlooked destinations and experiences” in Europe.

…but Waterford Whispers News “reports” that Temple Bar at 2:30am failed to make the list…

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

Upcoming events of interest to the trade:

  • June 10-11 NITN Big Event, Belfast
  • June 11-13 Visit USA roadshow
  • June 12 Royal Caribbean agent event, Dublin
  • June 12-15 Immrama festival of Travel Writing
  • June 13 Visit California agent event, Dublin
  • June 18 Abu Dhabi travel event, Dublin
  • June 18 ITIC Cruise hire business launch, Carrick on Shannon
  • June 23 Miami agent event, Dublin
  • June 24 Slversea cruise event, Dublin
  • June 26 New York roadshow, Dublin
  • July 2 Las Vegas roadshow, Dublin
  • July 4 Sunway agent event, Dublin
  • July 7 Kimpton Hotels trade event, Dublin
  • July 13 Travel Trade charity fun day, Dublin
  • Sept 17-22 World Spa Convention, Bangkok
  • Sept 17-19 Travelmart S America, Salta
  • Sept 17-19 PATA Travel Mart, Phnom Penh
  • Sept 20-23 Routes, Chicago
  • Sep 23-26 Top Resa 2014, Paris
  • Sept 25-28 FITA Mexico City
  • Oct 1-4 SITE, Dar es Salaam
  • Oct 5 Tour America USA sale day, Red Cow, Dublin,
  • Oct 6-9 Adventure Travel World Summit, Killarney
  • Oct 6 Aereps roadshow, Dublin
  • Oct 7 Aereps roadshow, Belfast
  • Oct 17 Northern Ireland Travel News awards, Co Down
  • Oct 25-30 Skål World Congress, Mexico
  • Oct 31-Nov 2 ITAA conference on board Royal Caribbean’s Quantum of the seas,
  • Nov 3-5 WTM 2014, London
  • Nov 14-15 Travel Centres Conference, Naas
  • Nov 14-15 AOIFE conference Ballinasloe
  • Nov 25-27 EIBTM 2014, Barcelona
  • Dec 1-3 Travel South, New Orleans


  • Jan 8-13 Vakantiebeurs, Utrecht
  • Jan 14-16 Florida Huddle, Fort Lauderdale.
  • Jan 15-18 MATKA, Helsinki
  • Jan 16-18 Holiday World, Belfast
  • Jan 22 Irish Travel Industry Awards, Mansion House, Dublin
  • Jan 23-25 Holiday World, Dublin
  • Jan 28-Feb 1 FITUR, Madrid
  • Jan 29-31 SATTE New Delhi
  • Jan 29-Feb 1 Destinations, Olympia, London
  • Feb 10-13Go West Summit, Colorado Springs
  • Feb 12-14 BIT, Milan
  • Feb Utazas, Budapest
  • Feb 23-24 IHF Conference, Ballyconnell
  • Feb 25-Mar 1 BTL, LIsbon
  • Mar 4-6 ITB, Berlin
  • Mar 6-8 Guangzhou International Travel Fair
  • Mar 9-12 Cruise shipping Miami
  • Mar 16-18 GIBTM, Abu Dhabi
  • Mar 18-21 MITT, Moscow
  • Mar 19-22 Tur, Gothenburg
  • Mar 24-27 Tianguis Turistico, Acapulco
  • Mar 27-28 Skål National Convention Ireland, Cork
  • Mar 31-Apr 1 Rendez Vous France, Paris
  • Apr 12-18 Mountain Travel Symposium, Whistler
  • Apr 14-16 COTTM Beijing
  • Apr 15-16 WTTC Global Summit, Madrid
  • Apr 15-17 WTM Africa, Capetown
  • Apr 22-23 Visit Scotland Expo, Aberdeen
  • Apr 22-24 WTM South America, Sao Paolo
  • Apr 26-28 Germany Travel Market, Erfurt and Weimar
  • Apr 27-30 ATM, Dubai
  • May 5-7 Fitcuba, Jardines del Rey.
  • May 9-12 World Travel Fair Shanghai
  • May 9-11 Indaba, Durban
  • May 19-21 IMEX, Frankfurt
  • May 20-27 Trenz New Zealand, Wellington
  • May 26-29 Rendez-vous Canada, Niagara Falls
  • May 30-June 3 IPW 2015 Orlando
  • June 21-24 ATE, Melbourne
  • Oct 6-9 Adventure Travel World Summit, Namibia
  • Oct 18-23 Skål World Congress, Kenya coast
  • Nov 2-5 WTM 2015, London
  • Nov 17-19 EIBTM 2015, Barcelona
  • Nov 30-Dec 3 Travel South, Charlotte
  • Jan 15-17 2016 Holiday World. Belfast
  • Jan 22-24 2016 Holiday World. Dublin
  • June 4-8 2016 IPW (Pow Wow), Miami
  • June 3-7 2017 IPW (Pow Wow), Washington DC
  • May 19-23 2018 IPW (Pow Wow), Denver
  • June 1-5 2019 IPW (Pow Wow), Anaheim
  • May 30 –June 3 2020 IPW (Pow Wow), Las Vegas

Previous editions of Travel Extra’s Sunday blog: 
 June 1
May 25 – May 18 – May 11 May 4
Apr 27 Apr 20 Apr 13 Apr 6
Mar 30 Mar 23 Mar 16 Mar 9 Mar 2
Feb 23 Feb 16 Feb 9 Feb 2
Jan 26 Jan 19 Jan 12 Jan 5
Dec 29 Dec 22 Dec 15 – Dec 8 Dec 1
Nov 24 Nov 17 Nov 10 Nov 3
Oct 27 Oct 20 Oct 13 Oct 6
Sept 29 Sept 22 Sept 15 Sept 8 Sept 1
Aug 25 Aug 18 Aug 11 Aug 4
July 28 July 21 July 14 July 6

Make sure to connect with the print edition of Travel Extra on
June 2014: USA, Rivercruise and car hire issue
May 2014: Australia & Theme Parks Issue
April 2014: Summer Cruise Issue
March 2014; Industry Awards Issue
February 2014 Holiday World issue
January 2014 Weddings & Honeymoons issue
November 2013: Winter cruise issue
October 2013: Ski & Asia issue
September 2013 Beds & Technology Issue
July August 2013 Wintersun issue

Travel Extra’s Sunday Supplement: The Crack is 103 in Chicago & Aer Lingus Union Dances in 5:3 time


Headlines this week

  • Skyshock on the Skydeck at Chicago’s Willis Tower
  • The 900 Hour Limit and Aer Lingus
  • Thailand’s Confusing Curfew
  • Countdown to Heathrow T2 show
  • TTC’s party on the Green
  • Summer charters take to the air

Video of the week features this child acrobat on a beach (watch here and don’t try this with your two year old). Check out this time-lapse of US Airways aircraft being repainted in new American Airlines livery (watch here).

skydeck protective coating crackThe crack is 103 in Chicago, or at least on the 103rd storey. Visitors to the Willis Tower’s Skydeck got a surprise when they stepped out onto The Ledge. They thought it was cracking under them, 103 stories above the ground. It turned out it was just the protective coating, but they didn’t know that at the time. The effervescent Randy Stancik, who always has a great welcome for Irish visitors to the attraction, swears he did not do it on purpose.

0009021c-642In the end it was no surprise that the IMPACT cabin crew strike at Aer Lingus went ahead when last ditch talks failed over cabin crew’s demand for a 5:3 roster. It caused the cancellation of 200 bank holiday flights on Friday and al sorts of connection headaches. Union official Michael Landers had said he was not going to the Labour Court or LRC for a resolution – although talks are scheduled from Tuesday next. He stated instead the employer needs to be serious about the roster issue. Aer Lingus claim that the revised rosters could make part of its network unviable.

No surprise, either, that it was Ryanair who got crankiest of all, asking the board why Aer Lingus had failed to defend the company’s position in the case of cabin crew at Aer Lingus, who by law cannot fly more than 900 hours per year (less than 18 hours a week) and whose total duty time in a year is limited to 2,000 hours (less than 40 hours per week).

The impact of the strike remains to be seen. It will certainly be quite different from the last all out withdrawal of labour by cabin crew on October 23rd, 2003 or the work to rule by cabin crew over a period of months in Winter 2010/2011, because Aer Lingus is now more dependent on customers from elsewhere in Europe to feed its Trans-Atlantic services, passengers who they may be slower to return than their Irish customer base. It remains to be seen how hard line Aer Lingus will become as a result of the action which, it claims, cost it €10m when the cost of hiring in craft and the lost internet bookings are considered. Aer Lingus has threatened to move 300 cabin crew posts to North America.

Listen here to Travel Extra’s Eoghan Corry speaking about the Aer Lingus strike on RTE’s Drivetime, making the point that the union claims did not square with the 900 hour legal limit on cabin crew airtime but that several more complex back-stories had complicated what seemed to outsiders a simple rostering issue: inter-union rivalry between IMPACT and SIPTU, relationship between pilot and cabin crew divisions within IMPACT, pressure on Aer Lingus from non-union competitors and the air of resentment among cabin crew after previous rounds of concessions.

On the same day airlines across Europe were hit by an Italian air traffic control strike, with Ryanair, easyJet, and BA forced to cancel 100 flights.

Eoghan soldier 001 copyThailand’s curfew was reduced to the four hours between midnight and 4am, but will anyone notice? As calls grew to lift the curfew imposed by Thailand‘s military, including one by the President of Thailand Tourism Piyaman Tejapaibul, Travel Extra walked the city of Bangkok after midnight on Friday to night to find lots of traffic and people still on the streets. You could even get something to eat on Rajdamri road during the forbidden hours. The major effect of the curfew is to bring public transport to a halt and to force restaurants and businesses to close early. One restrauteur told Travel Extra said he had been forced to close at 11 and send any staff who travel by train home by 10.30. Things have improved from when the curfew was 10pm until last week but the sooner the largely irrelevant curfew is removed the better for Thailand’s burgeoning but vulnerable tourism industry.

bob schumacher chirstian schindlerThere are just days to go to the launch of Heathrow Terminal 2, to which Aer Lingus will move on July 9. Bob Schumacher of United spoke about the airline’s plans ahead of becoming the launch customer for the terminal on June 4 (listen here). Christian Schindler of Lufthansa spoke about the new Star Alliance lounge at the terminal (listen here). Picture shows Bob Schumacher of United and Christian Schindler of Lufthansa in advance of the launch of Heathrow Terminal 2 See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.

English travel journalist Simon Calder wrote: Everything to do with the opening of Terminal 2 is seen through the prism of the shambles into which Terminal 5 descended within minutes of first contact with the travelling public in March 2008. He also claimed that those who want to drink alcohol on a flight outnumber by five to one people who think alcohol should be banned.

o-SUITCASE-SCOOTER-570Is this the ultimate wheely bag? There was much coverage of Chinese inventor He Liangcai, of Changsha, Hunan province, travelling on his suitcase. His suitcase scooter can go 12 mph and cover 37 miles on one charge.


Travel Trade1ttc team_2380 copy

Travel Corporation hosted 68 members of the trade at a function in il Posto on a sunny evening in Dublin’s Stephen’s Green, their guests spilling into the pavement outside to mingle with passers by. Newest member of the team Donna Kenny gave an outline of developments in the company’s four product portfolio, Insight Vacations, Uniworld, Contiki and Red Carnation. Picture shows the Travel Corporation team Donna Kenny, Sharon Jordan and Carole Carmody. Listen here to ITAA President Martin Skelly’s acknowledgement of the Travel Corporation’s support of the trade in Ireland. See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.

1907643_10152102886097727_2233494993789355125_nThe Canary Islands Tourist Boards hosted the trade at a workshop and barbecue dinner in the Gibson Hotel to promote their destinations. See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.delia aston leila mccabe group copy

Falcon launched their new seasonal weekly charter services from Dublin to Ibiza and Diagoras /Rhodes and also launched their Belfast to Corfu charter service. The Falcon Holidays/Thomson TUI Group summer 2014 programme from Irish airports uses a variety of in-house airlines including Jetairfly, TUIFly and Thomson Airways. Belgium’s Jetairfly is operating service Cork- Palma de Mallorca using B737-700s. Canada’s Sunwing Airlines B737-800s have been contracted to operate services from Belfast International and Dublin Airport on behalf of Thomson Airways. Germany’s TUIFly is operating from City of Derry Airport to Palma using B737-800s. Picture shows Delia Aston of Club World, Aaron Fletcher of Oasis Travel, Leila McCabe of Falcon, Damien Murphy of Terra Travel and Deborah Harris of Belfast International Airport at the Falcon Holidays TUI Thomson rock and roll bingo night held at the Grand Opera House Belfast. See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.donna kenny fam may 2014_105211 copy

Picture shows Donna Kenny of the Travel Corporation on her Contiki agent FAM trip in the USA.

The Irish Travel Agents Association reported what it called an “unprecedented rush of registrations” for their conference in October on board Quantum of the Seas, departing Southampton, England on the October 31st for two nights at sea. The conference allocation to members sold out in three days. It will be the biggest conference in 16 years with 200 travel trade attending.

  • Falcon are to end their interest in franchised retail shops in November. The told franchise Partners in March that they had undertaken a full review of the franchise business model and would not be renewing the agreement which is due to expire in November. They will “continue to work with their partners on an individual basis” and “in doing so consider new and innovate ways of working together.”
  • Topflight launched their seasonal summer charter flight programme to Verona from Cork.
  • Thomsonfly launched their season weekly charter service from Belfast International to Corfu.
  • The Travel Trade is watching the implications of a European ruling on holiday pay which could impact travel firms and cause commission schemes to be reviewed.

emirates two

Picture shows Lisa Aylsbury from Tully’s travelwho won business class tickets from Emirates and a stay in the Jumeirah with Anita Thomas of Emirates presenting the award. Craig Baxter of Classic Resorts and Eimear Hannon of Eimear Hannon Travel also won tickets in the Emirates Valentine’s counselllors conference graham hannessy

Travel Counsellors will host four recruitment roadshows between in Cork June 6th, Dublin June 9th, Galway June 10th and Limerick June16th. Picture shows Claudia Lane winner of Best Corporate Travel Counsellor and Graham Hennessy of Topflight at the Travel Counsellors conference in Lyragh in Kilkenny.

Tunisia Cover Section:Tunisia Cover SectionSunway launched their Tunisia brochure with package holidays from €299, flight only from €249 and deposits from €50 per person.

Video Making was added to the Travel Professionals Essential Skills programme presented by Lottie Hearn of (watch here), Sixteen participants completed this year’s training in Product and Destination, Dynamic Packaging, Digital Marketing, Sales, Customer Service and Travel Law. This year, the curriculum was extended so that all participants now have full GDS training with either Galileo or Amadeus.

Virgin Cathy Burke copyPicture shows Cathy Burke of Travel Counsellors with Terry Smith and Holly Best of Virgin Atlantic who hosted an Agents Awards and dinner at Patrick Guilbaud’s.

  • Travel software firm Datalex said that transaction revenue rose by 18pc in the first four months of 2014 on same time last year. New customers so far this year include Brussels Airlines (which is part of the Lufthansa Group) and Air Transat, Canada’s leading holiday travel airline.
  • Amadeus released an insight paper which collects the viewpoints of over 20 senior IT leaders from the airport industry to investigate the business case for adopting cloud based Common Use systems at airports. Amadeus launched Corporate Suite, a solution which is aimed at optimising business meeting planning.
  • Skål Dublin club’s monthly lunch will be hosted by Merrion Hotel GM Peter McCann on Tuesday June 10th.
  • Dublin based OpenJaw Technologies launched the OpenJaw Tribe Developer Community which supports innovation in travel retailing.
  • Travelport launched a campaign to see how technology impacts and helps travel agencies around the country with prizes. Travelport is a running a series of full page adverts in conjunction with the ITAA in the Sunday Independent promoting the travel agent / travel company channel. Members of the Travel & Tourism industry are being asked to participate in a new World Travel & Tourism Council campaign to help change the perception of a career in the sector (watch video here).
  • Greyce Inacio of Club Travel won the Air France-KLM Wild on Wednesday anniversary incentive.
  • SAS, Tumlare (DMC) and Hurtigruten host an agents’ evening on June 12.
  • Turkey specialists Wings Abroad report bookings ahead of this time last year, itself a record, as a result of their Think Turkey campaign.
  • Marty Whelan and his Lyric FM crew returned from Berlin after a Travel Department Opera holiday.
  • Do Something Different, which won the preferred supplier award at the travel Counsellors Ireland conference, have added horse drawn carriage tours and PediCab rental through Central Park in New York and a bike tour through the increasingly trendy Brooklyn area.
  • South African Tourism hosted 247 post FAM trips after Indaba 2014.
  • ITAA website offers this week include a trip to Copenhagen during Roskilde, a holiday in Gran Canaria during the International Jazz Festival and the chance to welcome summer at Sanjuaneo is Costa Del Sol.
  • And the sad verse: the phones were disconnected from the Thomas Cook Ireland office in Parkwest on Wednesday and the last members of staff finished on Friday, ending 140 years of Thomas Cook presence in Dublin. We extend best wishes to all the team in their new careers.


Suzanne Cannon - Group Marketing Manager copyJurys Inn launched an online booking tool for business travellers to help manage their reservations online, Jurys Business Booker. Suzanne Cannon Group Marketing Manager (pictured) says the tool offers the best room rates in Jurys 31 city centre hotels.

  • Hilton opened a rebranded Jurys Inn Chelsea as its ninth London Doubletree, a new hotel in Jaipur and its first Dubai Doubletree, Dubai – Al Barsha with 359 rooms
  • Raffles Istanbul is to open in September, a 181-room new-build in the Zorlu Centre development.
  • A study by Standard Dinar for Muslim traveller hotel comparison site calculates the size of the Muslim market at $130bn. billion according to, with its unique hotel listing service specifically for
  • The 238-room Hilton Garden Inn Washington DC/Georgetown Area opened in the city’s West End district.
  • TripAdvisor is under investigation in Italy following complaints about “fake” reviews.
  • Channel 4 in England commissioned a fourth series of “The Hotel”, set in Torquay, the setting for Fawlty Towers. Inchydoney Island launched packages from €245 per person sharing, two night’s accommodation in an ocean view room, breakfast and add activity from Fish for your Dinner, Whale Watching or Moonlight Kayaking at a cost of €30 to €50 extra.
  • Viceroy announced two new Dubai hotels to be located on Sheikh Zayed Road and in Dubai Business Bay scheduled to debut in late 2016 and 2017.


Dublin was voted third best city in the word for its taxi drivers by Tripadvisor users. Russian capital Moscow was voted the worst city in the world to visit by Tripadvisor users for its poor hotels, terrible value and the least helpful locals. Tokyo was voted the best destination for tourists overall and fourth best Istanbul was voted best in Europe. Mumbai was voted the worst city for overall experience, second-last was the picturesque city of Punta Cana in the Dominican Republic. TripAdvisor compiled more than 54,000 responses in their annual Cities Survey, in which people who have written a review on either a hotel, restaurant or attraction in the featured 37 cities during 2013 were surveyed across categories including Friendliest taxi drivers, Helpful locals, Best for Restaurants and Comfort Travelling Alone.

  • The European Environmental Agency found that Europe’s cleanest beaches are in Cyprus and Malta. Ireland was sixth form bottom with 3pc of its beaches deemed poor for water quality.
  • The UNWTO named the five biggest spending international tourism markets: 1 China $129bn +26pc; 2 United States $86bn +3pc; 3 Germany $86bn +2pc; 4 England $53bn +25pc; 5 Russian Federation $53bn +4pc.
  • President Obama authorised a programme to expedite the entry process for travellers the USA, to begin with the 15 largest airports, and help meet the goal of 100m international visitors annually by 2021.
  • Elephant rides are being dropped from holiday itineraries by tour operators concerned about the animals’ welfare. STA Travel is reviewing its provision involving contact with animals and has stopped tours taking in elephant rides and Tiger Temple in Thailand, as well as trips to SeaWorld in Orlando and San Diego.
  • The longest and highest urban cable car in the world opened in Bolivia. The seven-mile Mi Teleférico connects the capital La Paz with the neighbouring city of El Alto, site of the country’s main international airport offering a new transit between the two cities.

drew duggan h&s copyAdventure Holidays, headed up in Ireland by Drew Duggan, announced a programme of self guided walking and cycling holidays to Provence.

Orphanage tourism was back in the news when the English Guardian reported on what it termed Nepal’s bogus orphan trade fuelled by rise in ‘voluntourism’ describing how poor parents are duped into sending children to homes where owners use them to extract money from foreign visitors. The same issues were reported in the Unreported World documentary six months ago and led to the launch of the Stop Orphanage Tourism campaign last year.

  • Narendra Modi’s new government in India set out a tourist-friendly agenda with simpler visa applications and a revival of Varanasi. Shripad Yasso Naik is the new Minister for Tourism in the Lok Sabha.
  • The death of an aid worker in Kenya provided an unwelcome reminder that malaria has not gone away, you know.
  • Holiday makers who buy a package for 5 nights or more at a Disney moderate hotel can qualify for free dining.
  • The world’s fastest wooden rollercoaster was listed among this year’s most terrifying new rides.
  • Security was stepped up in the Red Sea resort of Hurghada with roadblocks and military checkpoints
  • The English Guardian listed the best travel rages and retorts from the Ranting, Bitching and Swearing chapters 
of a new swearing for travellers guide.
  • Two rangers and a bull elephant were killed on an African safari.

eoghan corry sandra chipchase_2127Picture shows Travel Extra’s Eoghan Corry with Sandra Chipchase, CEO of Destination New South Wales, at the opening of Vivid in Sydney, a festival of light which illuminates 60 different locations around the city (see gallery here).

  • Cirque du Soleil will perform a series of free, open-air shows in Andorra between 5 July and 2 August. Tickets for the Canadian theatre troupe’s “Scalada” production will be offered by application, with 2,000 seats and a further 3,000 standing places for each show.
  • Three Italian towns started a street-fight over which possesses the country’s narrowest alleyway.
  • A survey claimed that more and more holidaymakers are going away without their partner.
  • An abandoned town in Argentina provided the backdrop for a new film starring Danny MacAskill.
  • Self-catering families were advised by a consumer group to avoid resort mini-marts.
  • The London Telegraph asked if cycling is the world’s worst spectator sport, and featured a ski rental shop in Agadez, Niger, which remains open despite a complete lack of customers.

Food and Wine

  • Maui Winery Havens added Marlborough’s Forrest Wines vineyard to its travel escape packages


Dublin Airport say 265,000 passengers are expected to travel through the airport over the course of the June Bank Holiday weekend from Friday to Monday. The Commission of Aviation Regulation proposed a 22pc reduction in airport charges at Dublin airport for the period 2015–2019.

  • Minister for Transport Leo Varadkar is inviting feedback by July 31 to the draft National Aviation Policy. Controversial issues including the parallel runway at Dublin, regional airports and PSO routes and labour rights for airline employees are referred for further study or review. The policy proposes that the State “retain its shareholding in Aer Lingus in the short term and will seek to maximise its value. The State remains open to the sale of its shareholding when conditions are right and if the right price and terms could be agreed”.
  • It is a big week for Stobart Air, formerly Aer Arann, who commence franchise operations with Flybe from London Southend to Europe. Stobart are to base two ATR72-500s out of Southend for Flybe operations. Stobart reported their busiest ever day, 5,525 passengers booked to travel on Friday last, May 23rd. For the first time 100 flights operated on a single day.
  • The ash cloud created by the volcanic eruption of Sangeang Api in Indonesia has affected Australian aviation.
  • Exciting news due from Lufthansa Ireland next week, more anon. Lufthansa launched a promotion for their new Premium Economy class with a range of special promotional return fares for Irish passengers travelling from Dublin. Premium Economy is now available for booking on flights flown by Boeing 747-8 aircraft from December 10th.
  • The Interpol chief called for more airline action on stolen passports.
  • Passengers flying with Cathay Pacific may soon be able to bid online for an upgrade to a premium class cabin
  • Virgin Galactic signed a deal with the US Federal Aviation Authority, which will allow it to charter space flights from a base in New Mexico as early as August.

BA Chef Mark Tazzioli with the BA Burger (C) Nick Morrish, British Airways copyBritish Airways added a burger to its first class menu the “Flying Burger” developed by a team of chefs using three different cuts of British beef, picture shows BA Chef Mark Tazzioli with the BA Burger.

  • Turkish Airlines are considering Belfast to Istanbul. Turkish new routes this year include Asmara, Catania, Luanda, Bamako, Conakry and Cotonou. There will be 35 more new routes to until end of this year. The Turkish Airlines pilot recruitment roadshow comes to Ireland on June 12-13. Currently 16 Irish pilots work for Turkish.
  • Kerry-Dublin passengers were up 40pc in April.
  • SAS released the first images of the new cabin interiors on the long haul fleet with new seats, new entertainment system and WiFi access. The entire SAS long haul fleet would be renewed in the next few years.
  • Airbus sales chief John Leahy said Airbus plans to raise capacity from 180 to 186 seats on the A320 and from 220 seats to 240 on the A321. Could this be a response to a trend that the Airbus A321 is forcing out the A320 at American Airlines?
  • The Ryanair Pilots Group held a press conference at the ILA Air Show in Berlin.

United 9th birthday Beflast 003 copyBelfast Lord Mayor Mairtín Ó Muilleóir, a great supporter of the travel trade, joined with Bob Schumacher of United Airlines to celebrated the ninth anniversary of its direct service between Belfast International Airport and Newark which has carried 830,000 people on the route since its inauguration in 2005.

  • Taiwan’s EVA Air confirmed the delivery of two more Boeing 777 aircraft.
  • Norwegian Air Shuttle’s EU plans are facing renewed union opposition.
  • Vincent Aviation (Australia) ceased trading and appoints receivers, another casualty in the Australian regional airline sector.
  • Stormont Regional Development Minister Danny Kennedy proposed a study to examine feasibility of a rail route serving Belfast International Airport.
  • Virgin Atlantic and Delta are to exchange some services from October 26 with Virgin operating a daily Heathrow-Atlanta and Delta a daily Heathrow-Los Angeles.
  • Check out the picture posted on Twitter by @PhotosOfDublin: Dublin airport in the 1960s.
  • Canada relaxed rules on in-flight device use allowing travellers to use tablets, laptops during take-off and landing. Air Canada rouge (767) and Aer Lingus (757) fly to Toronto with Westjet’s 737 service to Toronto via St John’s to commence June 15th. WestJet CEO Gregg Saretsky recently said demand is so strong on St John’s-Dublin service they are extending it by three weeks to Oct 25.
  • Etihad Airways has announced it will establish the Etihad Flight College at Al Ain in the UAE. In Australia, Fairfax Media claimed Etihad had access to a secret, interest-free US$3bn loan from the royal family of Abu Dhabi that required no repayments until 2027.
  • It was claimed that Ryanair‘s new baggage rule only guarantees half of passengers can take on board their carry-on bag. There was more debate on Ryanair’s consideration of dropping the trumpet blare it plays when its planes land on time.
  • SIA closed its Hong Kong lounge for a refit.

INFLUENTIAL GERMAN JOURNALISTS FLY IN ON NEW GERMANWINGS FLIGHTAnna aero reported Lufthansa’s transfer of routes to Germanwings was nearing completion; 25 routes dropped and 47 added leading to capacity growth of 1pc. Germanwings made available all published fares via Amadeus. Germanwings service Knock to Cologne has commenced with German travel writers (pictured kayaking) among the passengers. Listen here to an interview with Ryanair’s new Head of sales and marketing, Peter Bellew, regarding growth plans from Knock.

  • A baggage reclaim chart named the best and worst airports for baggage delays.
  • KLM launched a rate your cabin service app allowing passengers to provide the Dutch carrier with feedback about the inflight service.
  • Boeing won a long-distance rating for 787 Dreamliner. Forbes reported Boeing is bleeding cash as 787 Dreamliners cost $200M but sell For $116M, but productivity is improving. And another aviation question for Boeing: can a cheap 767-300ER replace the 757W?
  • BA launched a new smartphone app compatible with both iPhone and Android devices, it can be downloaded for free.
  • Air Canada said its B777 fleet is to go ten-across in economy in 3-4-3 configuration.
  • JetBlue continued their policy of codeshares with national carriers, pioneered with Aer Lingus back in 2007. They launched a codeshare with Turkish Airlines and applied for a codeshare with Singapore.
  • Paul O’Kane of DAA told the Digital Summit: “It’s all about the story, don’t get caught up in the technology”
  • Malaysia Airlines raised its commission to agents in certain markets to 20pc and continued to push its Travel Fair promotion allowing travellers to purchase our tickets at 50pc off for immediate travel until 31 December 2014. Malaysia Airlines’ CEO, Ahmad Jauhari Yahya was forced to deny rumours that airline would shut down operations on May 28: “these articles were written based on quotes from unofficial sources and have eventually caused anxiety amongst its passengers”.

Caroline Green Tony D'Astolfo

A new mobile travel solution will be in place for Ryanair customers by August including mobile boarding passes, Caroline Green of Ryanair told the PhoCusWright hosted European conference in Dublin. She said that Ryanair does not plan on investing in a frequent flyer program, but maybe promo codes for repeat customers, and that Britain is a tough market for Ryanair. Ryanair initially promised mobile boarding passes in May. Picture shows discussion involving Caroline Green of Ryanair and Tony D’Astolfo of PhoCuswright at the conference. See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.

  • Air Canada rouge expanded to Hawaii.
  • With Manston Airport in Kent set to close and set become a garden city the London Telegraph published a list other abandoned airports around the world.
  • AirAsia X reported highest ever year-on-year quarterly growth in capacity of 60.1pc in 2014 Q1.
  • A Philippine airline launched a novel holiday advertisement that is only visible when it’s raining.
  • The 75th anniversary of first transatlantic commercial flight at Foynes will be celebrated with the family festival, which will run on Saturday and Sunday July 5 and 6. This will also double as the 25th anniversary of the opening of Foynes Flying Boat Museum and the 75th anniversary of the first aircraft, Irish Air Corps Aero Anson A43, landing at Rineanna.
  • The London Telegraph indulged their back humour with a story on what cabin crew at BA do with dead passengers: “move them to first class – don’t put them in the loo.”
  • Ryanair uploaded their summer launch video (watch here).

Car Hire

Avis launched a mobile wifi unit which allows Avis customers to connect up to five devices, including smartphones, tablets, laptops, and other wifi-enabled gadgets, simultaneously.


paul hackett h&s copyPaul Hackett of Clickandgo will host 28 guests on board Cunard Queen Victoria today (keep an eye out for the famous red and black funnel ) with press and direct clients. Clickandgo had a radio promo running on Rising Time which attracted nearly a thousand entries each day for four days. Cunard brand is exclusive at having been handled by Thomas Cook last year. Queen Victoria visits Dublin en route to Guernsey before heading back to Southampton on a Britain & Ireland voyage.

Royal Caribbean will launch a new campaign and brochure tomorrow Monday.

MSC hosted the trade on board Magnifica during ties three port tour of Cork, Dublin and Belfast.

ICG (Irish Ferries) CEO Eamonn Rothwell said Irish tourism authorities can be tempted to become “wound up in exotic markets” when Britain should be more of a focus. Irish Ferries said it carried 95,000 cars in the 20 weeks up to May 17 up 5pc on the same period last year. Car passenger numbers were up in line with the car volumes but foot passengers fell leaving total passenger volumes in line with the previous year at 441,100.

Stena Line france opening copyIt will a good year to take your family on a ferry. Irish Ferries launched a Kids Go Free offer on all of their routes to Britain this year and into 2015. Then on Friday, Stena Line also announced that kids go free on their new Rosslare-Cherbourg route as well as Dublin Port/Dun Laoghaire-Holyhead, and Rosslare-Fishguard routes, when you book at least seven days in advance and before June 30 for travel by car until January 30. Picture shows Rosslare Europort general manager John Lynch with Ian Davies, Stena Line’s route manager Irish Sea South at the official opening of their recently acquired Rosslare-Cherbourg ferry service. The new Stena Line route operates an all year round service with 3 weekly sailings from Rosslare and Cherbourg accommodating up to 1 000 passengers, 200 cars and 120 freight units per sailing. Stena launched a new “agents go free” trade promotion on sailings to Britain. Elsewhere, Stena Line agreed to withdraw the most contested elements of new employment conditions for staff on its Irish Sea services.

  • Royal Caribbean is offering an additional $200 spending money when you book a balcony room or above on selected 2014 European cruises.
  • John Galligan Travel, GSA for Saga, announced the SAGA River Cruise Sale with no single supplement. With more than 30 new ships launching this year, it is a big year for rivercruise. See the special supplement in the June issue of Travel Extra (read online).
  • Norwegian Cruise Line launched new marketing and sales tools and an enhanced agent on-board rewards programme.


Natural Retreats Castlemartyr copyLike the first cuckoo, celebrity season was officially declared open when Kim Kardashian and Kanye West – nicknamed ‘Kimye’ – arrived by private jet into Cork Airport (watch here) to spend their honeymoon at Castlemartyr (pictured). Trivago named one major surprise among their top five honeymoon hotels in Ireland as 1 Park Kenmare, 2 K Club, 3 Morrison Hotel, 4 Adare Manor, 5 Castlemartyr. Next up: George Wendt (Norm from US. sitcom, Cheers) arrived with his wife Bernadette to take a road trip along the Wild Atlantic Way.TOURISM PROMOTION TARGET MILLIONS OF SPANIARDS

Tourism Ireland launched an advertising campaign n Madrid metro stations and on Barcelona trams, and published its Situation & Outlook Analysis Report for May.

IRELAND’S BIG DRIVE AT BMW PGA CHAMPIONSHIP AT WENTWORTHPicture shows a group promoting Irish golf at the PGA championship in Wentworth. Francis Hartnett of SWING Golf Ireland; Tony Lenehan of Fáilte Ireland; Barry Dowling of Druids Glen Resort; Colin Turkington of British Touring Car Champion; and David Boyce of Tourism Ireland front row: Rachel Meehan of Tourism Ireland; Kirsty Worthington of Galgorm Castle; and Ann-Kristin Brandt of Fota Island Resort;

Bloom, Ireland’s largest garden and food festival opened in the RDS, sponsored by Bord Bia (watch video).

IRELAND ‘MEANS BUSINESS’ IN GERMANY!Zoe Redmond’s Tourism Ireland stand at IMEX in Frankfurt was partnered by 29 business tourism enterprises. The event attracted 9,000 visitors, including 4,000 buyers from 75 countries. Picture shows Leah Gunn of Verve (event management company); Niamh Burns of The Convention Centre Dublin; Joyce McElroy of Tourism Ireland; and Lynda Reilly of Guinness Storehouse, on the Tourism Ireland stand at IMEX.

WEST CORK IS ‘IN VOGUE’ IN HOLLANDPicture shows the Dutch Vogue team in Kinsale, getting ready for their fashion shoot in West Cork: Cato van Ee (model); Zoe Rosielle (production assistant); Martien Mellema (creative director); and Paul Bellaart (photographer).

Lusty Beg Island was awarded a Tripadvisor Certificate of Excellence.

The CSO’s Household Travel Survey shows a significant growth in the camping and caravanning sector with the number of nights generated by domestic tourism up by 30pc from 2012.

Selling Sligo to a global marketPicture shows Tom McGarry of Glach a Mara, B&B, Lorna Jane Neary of Markree Castle, Christina Flannelly of Enniscrone Golf Club and Eva Dearie of Fáilte Ireland attended a workshop on Driving Growth Through Segmentation, in the Radisson Hotel Sligo, organised by Fáilte Ireland.

A weekly programme of seven different guided walks, is being hosted in the Burren and Cliffs of Moher Geopark. The walks start today Sunday (June 1st) and continue through the end of August. They say it is the first of its kind in Ireland.

flowers camelia austen copyFloral Artist Camelia Austen will host a morning of floral culture from across the world at Powerscourt Garden Pavilion in Enniskerry, on June 11 at 10.30am.

  • Alaskan deep-tissue masseur Matthew Gale will be in residence at the five-star Monart Destination Spa in county Wexford from June 20 until July 11.
  • A 5,000 year old standing stone was vandalised in Tara.

brian winders H&s copySad news: Brian Winders late travel editor of the Irish Examiner passed away, a close colleague of Travel Extra for 35 years.

Travel Extra’s Sunday Supplement: Thailand Stays Open for Business & An Upwardly Mobile Water Slide



Headlines this week.

  • An upwardly mobile water slide.
  • Thailand’s coup-coup clock.
  • ITAA floats their boat for conference
  • Ryanair takes up Boeing’s offer.
  • Las Vegas has a laugh at Airport security.

verruckt_7061Verruckt, the tallest, fastest, and longest waterslide in the world opened yesterday at Schlitterbahn Kansas City. Riders will reach speeds of 65mph on the steepest and fastest water slide in the world, taller than Niagara falls. Riders are pushed back uphill by a series of water jets. Verrückt (German for insane) will have the longest uphill climb of any waterslide in the world.


Las Vegas airport officials freshened up the funny videos that play at security checkpoints. Video of the week features Las Vegas comedians Carrot Top and Louie Anderson (watch here).

Las vegas videoInspired by the awful Singapore Tourism Board attempt to lure more Filipino visitors (watch here), the London Telegraph listed the 10 worst tourism ads of all time. The included the much maligned 1980s spirit of Massachusetts ad (watch here, and watch the Family Guy parody here), the infamous Australian Where the bloody hell are you (watch here) and Paul Hogan’s Fair Dinkum ad from 1984 (watch here), a saucy Riga ad (watch here), an over-elaborate ad to convey the beauty of Newfoundland (watch here), Philadelphia’s pyjama-clad sleep over campaign (watch here), Banff’s photo bomb squirrel (watch here), attractive women raising their eyebrows in front of roaring fires and reclining onto beds in 1970 Miami Beach (watch here), an array of fountains in a 1963 video from Barcelona (watch here) and rather unfairly, Mike Polk Junior’s Cleveland spoof (watch here). There are lots more that might have made the list. Bloomberg News took a look at the process and problems of finding a tourism message. For every “Virginia is for Lovers,” there is a “Maryland: So Many Things to See So Close Together.”

Aer Lingus told customers who were booked to travel on its services to and from Dublin, Cork and Shannon airports, on Friday 30th May, that their flights have now been cancelled. Click here for more information. Aer Lingus say the planned strike by IMPACT union on 30 May, will result in 204 flights having to be cancelled, disrupting the travel plans of around 28,000 customers. Listen here to Travel Extra’s Eoghan Corry on RTE radio’s Drive Time speaking about the complex reasons for the strike and the prospects of further industrial action. Éist anseo le Eoghan Corry ag caint ar an aighneas atá ar bun in Aer Lingus.

0008f6b0-942The international travel industry reacted with surprising calm to the news that Thailand’s army chief Gen Prayuth Chan-ocha imposed martial law shortly before dawn on Tuesday, and confirmation two days later that a coup had taken place, Thailand’s 19th coup since 1932 (see images here). See updated advice from Thailand tourism here.

Both tourists and nationals are subject to a nationwide curfew that means they must not be in the street between 10pm and 5am. Tourists planning to fly into or out of the country after 10pm will be an exception. These travelers will be allowed to move between the airport and their hotels. Tourists have expressed concern on internet forums and there is concern that travel insurance exclusions could apply to some policies.

With unfortunate timing, the declaration of martial law coincided with the opening day of the high profile International hotel investors which brought 250 delegates from 26 countries to Bangkok’s Dusit Thani Hotel.

Bangkok hotels reported significant performance decreases during the first quarter of 2014, affecting Thailand’s overall performance, according to data from STR Global. Occupancy rates in Bangkok fell to 55.2pc in Q1 2014 (compared to 79.7pc in Q1 2013). In February and March, Bangkok reported its lowest occupancy figures since August 2010.

There has been none of the mass evacuations which followed previous coups, notably that after the removal of Thaksin Shinawatra from power in 2006. The Department of Foreign Affairs asks Irish visitors to exercise caution and suggests they should they should register their details, Similarly, the foreign office of Australia, which supplies 1m to Thailand advised tourists to exercise a high degree of caution. The London government advises that media outlets have been taken off air and there is a risk that this could extend to the internet. So far only the Philippines is advising against non-essential travel and warned tourists to prepare for evacuation if necessary. Philippine Airlines and Garuda have cut flights to Bangkok.

The big concern is the uncertainty of how long the conflict will last. Listen here to Travel Extra’s Eoghan Corry speaking from Sydney on RTE’s Morning Ireland on the implications of the coup for the travel industry in Ireland. Read here Joan Scales roundup of travel advice from her appearance on RTE’s Morning Edition.

Michael O’Leary was in New York for Ryanair’s financial results on Monday, leaving the airline’s new Montenotti-born front man Kenny Jacobs to take the questions. Ryanair profits fell 8pc to €523m due mainly to a 4pc decline in fares.

O’Leary took questions from analysts and generated almost as much coverage as if he had been giving the results himself. He said Ryanair is falling behind. we CAN learn from easyJet (watch here). Ryanair reported full year net profit of €523m, traffic up 3pc to 81.7m and load factor up 1pc to 83pc. The airline’s push for new passengers has targeted a profit increase.

He revealed that Ryanair took advantage of 5 early Boeing 737-800 deliveries offered by Boeing in early 2015 increasing the order to 180 aircraft. The 2014 deliveries are cheaper than 1999 deliveries and will lead to lower unit costs but winter ownership of 11 new Boeing 737-800s for 6 months had generated little revenue. He said the two key trends were the rise in load factor and strong forward bookings (up 5pc to September).

Ryanair will add features such as fast-track security and will roll business product towards the end of August, changeable ticket, free reserved seating, priority boarding, free bag and premium customer status. New family and business products will be rolled out in the next few months. He said Ryanair will need to sell less seats through summer season and full year yield will be up 2pc and unit costs will be flat. Ancillary revenues were up 17pc in the last 12 months. “We will blow competitors out of the water with low fares in winter.”

The monthly hotel price data from indicate the average hotel price across Europe up 11pc this month and the average hotel price for the top 10 destinations in Ireland was €97 in April to €106 in May, up 10pc on last month and up 2pc on last year. Hotel prices in Dublin up 16pc in comparison to May 2013 to €131, one of the highest year-on-year increases in Europe. Prices in the major cities were: Belfast €113+15pc on last month +15pc on last year; Cork€100+9pc on last month +1pc on last year; Derry €93+9pc on last month -10pc on last year; Donegal €155+3pc on last month +25pc on last year; Dublin€131+27pc on last month +16pc on last year; Galway €102+12pc on last month -2pc on last year; Kilkenny€97+4pc on last month -7pc on last year; Killarney€116+17pc on last month -2pc on last year; Limerick €86+4pc on last month -2pc on last year; Sligo€100+6pc on last month -1pc on last year; Tralee €90+7pc on last month -9pc on last year; Waterford €91+12pc on last month -5pc on last year. The average hotel price in Lisbon peaked at €1,428 on the night of the Champions League final.The index shows the average overnight accommodation prices for the most popular European cities drawn from 1m daily hotel search queries and 1bn hotel offers stored by trivago.

Club Travel, with a turnover of €86.5m, is listed as Ireland’s largest travel agency in the Irish Times top 1,000 Irish companies. The annual survey listed 34 travel and tourism companies among the top 1,000, including three property holding companies Commidaire, Ocsas and Pembase, and eight retail groups that own hotels as part of their portfolio: Campbell Bewley’s, Carigaline’s Heron holdings. Comidaire, McCabe’s, Portwest, Spectra and Torski. The biggest aviation, ferry, transport, travel and tourism related companies and their turnovers are, according to the list: 1 Ryanair €4.9bn; 2 Aer LIngus €1.4bn; 3 Bombardier Aerospace €596m; 4 Dublin Airport Authority €574.6m; 5 P&O €468.4m; 6 Bus Eireann €286.3m; 7 Irish Continental €264.7m; 8 Cityjet €260.2m; 9 Lufthansa Ireland €243.2m; 10 Translink €224.5m; 11 Cartrawler €200m; 12 Dublin Bus €191.1m; 13 Irish Rail €186.8m; 14 Jury’s Inn €183.6m; 15 Irish Aviation Authority €175m; 16 Pembase Holdings €126.5m; 17 Doyle Hotels €126.5m; 18 Commidare Holdings €122m; 19 Torski Limited €108.1m; 20 Stobart Air €100m; 21 Campbell Bewley €975m; 22 Moran & Bewleys Hotel Group €88m; 23 Club Travel €86.5m; 24 Tourism Ireland €77.8m; 25 Portwest €697m; 26 Dublin Port company €65.3m 27 Aer Rianta International €62.2m; 28 McCabes Pharmacy €57.9m; 29 Air Contractors €57.5m 30 Ocsas €54.3m; 31 Dalata €54.1m; 32 Hostelworld €52m; 33 European Rugby Cup €51.7m; 34 Abbey Travel €50.5m; 35 Spectra €45-50m; 36 Ght Global Hotel Trade €45.7m; 37 Servisair €40m 38 Magellan Aviation Service €39.1m 39 Crystal Holidays €36.3m; 40 Carrigaline’s Heron Holdings €32.3m; 41 Sunway €30.1m; 42 Joe Walsh Tours €28.4m; 43 O’Dwyer Leisure €26.3m; 44 The Shelbourne Hotel €26m; 45 Staycity €25.2m; 46 Air BnB €21.8m; 47 Acra Control €20.6m 48 Travel Counsellors €18.5m; 49 The Merrion Hotel €16.3m; 50 Westin Hotel €12.6m; 51 Dromoland Castle €11.3m; 52 National Concert Hall €4.6m.

Alan Joyce Eoghan Corry 002 copyTravel Extra stopped by Australia’s Museum of Contemporary Art to join the festivities to mark the opening of Vivid, Sydney’s light show which illuminates 60 different locations around the city (see gallery here). Picture shows Travel Extra’s Eoghan Corry with Alan Joyce, CEO of Qantas. On a tragic note, an Irish tourist drowned after falling in to the water at nearby Darling harbour.

Travel Trade.

The 2014 ITAA conference will take place on board Royal Caribbean’s Quantum of the seas Oct 31-Nov 2.

Steve Byrne and Kirsten Hughes Travel CounsellorsTravel Counsellors Ireland hosted 50 of their Counsellors at their Irish conference in Lyragh Kilkenny and 49 guest business partners representing 39 companies, 120 delegates in total. Steve Byrne, Kirsten Hughes (pictured) and Malcolm Hingley attended from the headquarters of the international homeworking organisation. Travel Counsellors featured in the Irish Times list of top 1,000 companies for the first time. Anabel Cove of DoSomethingDifferent won the Travel Counsellors Ireland Business Partner of the Year Award.

1907643_10152102886097727_2233494993789355125_nAndalucia hosted its annual thank you event for the Irish travel trade, Andalucia Clearly Irresistible. See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.

JustSunshine showcased their value holidays to their resorts Hammamet and Port el Kantaoui, to a group of Irish media including Travel Extra’s Carmel Higgins. Irish agents are familiar with the JustSunshine flies direct from Dublin to Monastir every Saturday from June 28 (a week later than originally scheduled). john grehanFlights leave Dublin at midday and return Saturday evenings. Flying time is three and a half hours, a family of two adults and two children can stay at the 5 Star El Moradi Palm Marina (a hotel familiar to the Irish travel trade for many years) all inclusive for seven nights for €1643, two weeks at the same resort costs €2131, cheaper if there is only one child. www, or phone +3531 9695566 to contact John Grehan (photographer) who beds up the irish operation. ITAA President Martin Skelly says travel agents looks forward to partners who are doing a bit of work with agents.

TheRoseGarden in El Retiro copyPicture shows Irish agents on a Spanish Tourist Board famil to the Parks and Gardens of Madrid: Alicia Perex of BSGT, Louise Lakes of Clickandgo and Toni Birthistle of Travel Escape in the Rosaleda Rose Garden.

The over 50s show takes place in Dublin this weekend.

  • Declan Hughes’s published a blog about how to get a flight upgrade.
  • HotelAir renewed their contract with Travelport.
  • Sunway are hosting a party for the trade on Sunday July 4th.
  • Travelmood hosted a worldwide honeymoon event.
  • ITAA Benevolent Fund sent out an appeal for information of anyone who may access to its funds.
  • Satcom1 was accredited as Inmarsat SwiftBroadband Distribution Partner.
  • Falcon launched a City of Derry-Majorca trade incentive.
  • Lowcost travel group is looking for freelance copy writers.
  • Travelport and CityJet signed a distribution agreement.

happy mondayThe first winner of the Lowcost Travel group Happy Mondays trade promotion was Orla Tooher from Go Hop.

SKAL North of Ireland 60th anniversary celebrations will take place on June 19-20.

ENett the joint venture between Travelport and PSP International headed up by Brian Staunton launched its innovative Virtual Account Numbers to agencies in Singapore.

  • ITAA offers website offers include; a yacht journey around the Turkish isles, a chance to explore Thailand and a trip to the Las Vegas.
  • Hertz donated 1,000 computers to Irish charity Camara Education
  • Sunway July/August sale starts continues until Tuesday from €399.
  • A survey by Ciaran Mulligan’s claimed its cover could save 288.26 in additional insurance excess charges charged by car hire companies at their desks in Malaga for two weeks cover. With a threatened strike at Aer Lingus Blue Insurances promoted the cover for strike action under their ‘Premier and Premier Plus Cover’ levels.


Hotelbeds reported high growth rates in the Americas.

Marlfield House launched a 3 day flash sale.

Paul Clifford. Picture by Shane O'Neill / Copyright Fennell Photography 2014.Paul Clifford joined the O’Callaghan Hotel Group as General Manager of the Stephen’s Green Hotel in Dublin.

  • Hotel da Música, in Oporto was recognised by the Grand Rabbinate of Israel as a kosher hotel.
  • Limerick Strand hotel used aterrific father’s day aphorism to market their €27.95 father’s day buffet packages “a father is someone who carries pictures in his wallet where his money used to be.”


  • In Kenya, the Department of Foreign Affairs has asked Irish people to exercise caution but not to avoid all but essential travel to parts of Nairobi (not to the whole country as was misreported elsewhere). Kenya responded to the premature decision of TUI to evacuate holiday makers by stressing there have not been any incidents in Mombasa that have affected any tourists, and security in all tourism establishments within Mombasa remains high. While TUI have evacuated customers many other tour operators continue to sell safari circuits in Kenya and the coastal resorts of Diani, Malindi, Watamu, Kilifi and Lamu.
  • Egypt’s tourism minister declared that all tourist destinations are safe and sound as the country prepares for a presidential election next week
  • Britain’s Office for National Statistics reported foreign visitor arrivals in 2013 were the highest number since 1961, rising 5.6pc to 32.8m. Ireland is Britain’s fourth biggest inbound market with 2,395,000 visitors, after France 3,930,000, Germany 3,162,000 and USA 2,791,000, and delivers the seventh biggest spend with £818m after USA, Germany, France, Australia, Spain and Italy. Visits from North America continued to show a decline, 0.3pc down on 2012, however spending from the region increased by 2.9pc. Visits from Europe and ‘Other Countries’ showed increases of 5.7pc and 9.3pc respectively.
  • Florida Beach Finder gave travellers the facility to virtually walk hundreds of miles of beaches.
  • A new range of books aims to educate travellers with an array of swear words and colloquialisms, along with more commonly taught phrases.
  • Kennedy Space Centre Visitor Complex added a selection of science-based activity adventures to its daily offerings.
  • TravelSim Roaminglaunched a data only package ahead of the soccer World Cup in Brazil.
  • A museum in China has been told to close after a third of its exhibits were found to be fake.
  • Legoland California launched its Legends of Chima water park presented by cartoon network.
  • Hotel workers and bartenders plan to strike at nine Las Vegas casinos next month if contracts aren’t reached.
  • Nightswapping launched a pay your holidays in nights venture.
  • Indaba in Durban is likely to keep its dates for the second week in May in 2015, WTM Africa in Cape Town will take place on April 15-17.
  • Fotosub Ranked Cuba among its leading international diving destinations.
  • New York Governor Cuomo hosted his second tourism summit.
  • VisitEnglandlaunched a series of animated destination films to mark the start the Rugby World Cup Trophy Tour
  • A survey by named Prague, Amsterdam and Krakow as the most popular stag destinations and Albufeira in Portugal as the most popular hen destination.
  • Chic Outlet shopping, who own Kildare Village and Bicester among other lutlets, launched a ‘luxury shopping as a MICE activity’ campaign.
  • Tourism Authority of Thailand announced the winners of its Dream Honeyteering Contest.
  • BackBliss Lotion Applicator claimed we could say goodbye to ever having to ask someone to put sun tan lotion on our back.
  • launched what it says is the world’s first real-time online booking portal for serviced accommodation.
  • Disney raised its prices in Orlando, a single-day ticket for either the Magic Kingdom or California Adventure is now $96 for those 10 and up sine Monday, up $4. Single-day ticket prices have more than doubled since 2003.
  • The National Museum of American History in Washington, DC celebrated the 200th anniversary of the Star-Spangled Banner by reuniting the original flag with Francis Scott Key’s manuscript for the first time.
  • Don’t take this as a reason to visit Los Angeles, but check out the terrific street hack video, watch here, that has gone viral this week.
  • Families will soon be able to race together at 60mph on a new four-person zip wire ride, due to open in Wales.



Food and Wine.

McLoughlin’s Restaurant at Dublin’s Roganstown Hotel and Country Club was awarded the AA Rosette

Portugal launched a wine tourism web portal

Ultimate Winery Experiences welcomed a new member Lane Vineyard in the Adelaide Hills of South Australia.


United SNN Chicago 119United Airlines re-introduced its seasonal nonstop service between Shannon and its Chicago hub, O’Hare International Airport. The summer service will operate during the period May 23 to Sept 15, 2014, a longer period than last year, 5w during the periods May 23 to Jun. 16 and Aug. 19 to Sep 1, daily between Jun 17 and Aug 18, and four flights weekly between Sept 2 and Sept 15 (all dates westbound). It will be operated by Boeing 757-200 aircraft with a total of 169 seats – 16 flat-bed seats in United BusinessFirst and 153 in United Economy, including 45 Economy Plus seats with added legroom and increased personal space. UA67 departs Shannon at 11:00am arriving in Chicago at 1:15pm, UA66, departs Chicago at 6:25pm arriving in Shannon at 7:35am.

Delta Air Lines launched their summer service between Shannon and New York. DL223 departs Shannon 12:40pm, DL 224 departs New York 11:32pm, landing in Shannon 10:55am using a 167 seat B757-200 aircraft featuring 15 seats in BusinessElite.

Ryanair Menu 1 copyPicture shows Ryanair’s Ricardo Morais Correia, Head of Communications, Robin Kiely and Stephanie Pattison launching the new Ryanair Getaway Café onboard menu.

Aeroflot’s low cost carrier Dobrolet was granted an operator certificate.

  • For the second time in 10 days, a US Airways flight from Italy to Philadelphia was diverted to Ireland after several flight attendants fell ill. Airline officials are investigating Monday’s incident involving Flight 715 from Venice. On May 10, the same flight had the same diversion to Dublin for the same reason – several crew members became sick.
  • Flybe are to increase their Dublin to Southampton service from three to four daily departing Dublin 06.45, 12.35, 15.10, 20.15, departing Southampton 06.50, 13.25, 18.25, 20.50. Flybe reported strong interest in new routes from London Southend.
  • Dublin airport recorded 1.8m passengers in April up 13pc, Year to date is up 7pc to 5.9m.
  • Qatar prepared to open Hamad International Airport.Etihad Airways' First and Business Class Lounge Sydney
  • Etihad Airways opened its new First and Business Class Lounge at Sydney’s Kingsford Smith International Airport the airline’s first in Australia and the newest addition to its collection of premium lounges worldwide.
  • The new Aspire Lounge at Belfast City Airport was opened by 1972 Olympic pentathlon gold medalist Mary Peters.
  • Ryanair are to go double daily on Dublin to Madrid this winter.
  • United Airlines won a sustainability outstanding achievement award.
  • Aer Lingus Regional, operated by Stobart Air reported a 35pc increase in April passenger numbers.
  • According to an article in Midi Libre, French airline pilots’ union SNPL lodged a complaint against Ryanair.
  • An aircraft was forced to make an emergency landing in Dublin after the crew reported smoke on board and a cracked windshield.
  • Ethiopian Airlines invited the travel trade to learn about the airline’s revamped product.
  • Cork Airport cut energy use by 35pc, saving €575,000 per year.
  • A close call between two planes at Newark Liberty International Airport last month has prompted changes in the airport’s takeoff and landing procedures.
  • Catering provider SSP named Kate Crozier from Belfast International Airport as its Barista Champion.
  • Delta and Travelport agreed to a long-term infrastructure hosting services agreement.
  • IATA backed HomingPIN’s lost property recovery service.
  • Lufthansa reported an above expectations reaction to Partner Plus (though of course SACP product had been there for many years). Helen Fyfe says “we are working very closely with the trade to help them save even more for their clients business travel budgets. We’ve added the opportunity for clients to earn points right down to the very lowest booking classes from the start of this year (including special offer classes) and hope to be able to offer them more point earning opportunities quite soon.”
  • BA announced a luxury worldwide sale, sell by June 3rd travel June 14th –April 12th 2015.
  • Belfast City Airport awarded a £2m contract to GRAHAM Facility Management.
  • Air Canada celebrated its first Boeing 787 Dreamliner flight with the arrival of AC7008 at Toronto’s Pearson airport Sunday afternoon carrying 100 of the airline’s employees on its maiden voyage.
  • US National Transport Safety Boardcalled for more tests on the Dreamliner battery saying previous tests had been “inadequate” after the power packs overheated in flight last year
  • Brazilian officials went out of their way to try to convince World Cup tourists they won’t face problems at airports even though not all upgrades will be completed in time.
  • marketed its summer holiday parking at spring prices.
  • Emirates entered its third year of Irish Open sponsorship.
  • Aer Lingus offered €20 off return flights to Europe this summer.
  • Turkish Airlines said its pilot recruitment roadshow comes to Dublin Maldron Hotel on June 12-13.


MSC‘s new cruise ships will introduce revolutionary sea-level promenades to bring the beach to the sea.

Royal Caribbean 334 copyPicture shows Jenny Rafter (Royal Caribbean International) Nora Boylan (Maureen Delmar Travel), Christine Scully (Marble City Travel), Sinead Daly (Travel Counsellors), Corina Vallely (Falcon Tallaght) on board Liberty of the Seas on a five night Brilliance of the seas famil which saw agents visiting Nice, Monte Carlo and Pisa.

  • Royal Caribbean says Quantum global odyssey on May 2, 2015is to bring quantum-class cruising to the World’s most cosmopolitan cities.
  • New York Water Taxi’s Westside ferry service starts Monday.
  • Stena line launched their “enjoy a taste of France & get a free bite of Britainoffer.
  • Project Travel launched a Hurtigruten 2 for 1 Offer.
  • Irish Ferries is offering a €55 discount on seven-night packages to Haven Holiday parks in Britain.


  • Alan Clarke is to step down as NITB CEO, since 2003 he saw a £300m investment by public and private sectors in tourism that included MTV awards, the Giro, and the opening of Titanic Belfast and Causeway visitor centres.
  • Government launches new online tools to help employers and SMEs.
  • Bus Éireann reduced fares on a host of Expressway services, with a special summer on-line offer of €8 for a single ticket.
  • Tourism Ireland launched an online film highlighting Limerick City of Culture.FRENCH CONNECTION FOR IRELAND AND THE WILD ATLANTIC WAY!
  • Sean O Mainin’s picture shows French journalists hosted by Tourism Ireland on the beach in Spiddal, with Anne Zemmour, Tourism Ireland (front, right), Danielle Ollivier (front, second right) and Jean-Claude Georget (back, right), both Brittany Ferries.
  • A tourism promotion strategy is targetting 1.4m German travellers.
  • The Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport allocated €400,000 to Clare County Council for the construction of the first phase of the West Clare Railway Greenway.
  • NITBidentified four filming locations for Game of Thrones fans; Castle Ward which may be more familiar as Winterfell, Tollymore Forest Park which will be recognisable as North of Winterfell, Downhill Beach familiar as the Dragonstone exterior and Murlough Bay in County Antrim aka Stormlands and says there are many more to discover throughout the north.
  • An artist who invites visitors to participate in a hand-washing ritual with soap made from his own body fat and Human fat removed from a patient who has undergone a ‘tummy tuck’ are among the exhibits in the good, the bad and the beauty of FAT which opened at Trinity’s Science Gallery.
  • Powerscourt Gardens were voted number three garden in the world by National Geographic.
  • Monart Destination Spa unveiled a new Summer Body Bootcamp for 2014.
  • The International Congresses and Conventions Association rankings showed Dublin rising nine places in the world ranking to 13th globally for hosting conferences and conventions.
  • A chance to witness the magnificent flying displays of the Kingdom Falconry birds of prey has been added to Tralee School Tour packages.
  • One of Ireland’s First International Exchange Participants Carol Bergin from New York was honoured at the 2014 EIL Intercultural Learning Host Family Awards Ceremony.
  • The festival organisers umbrella group AOIFE published its review of Ireland’s Festivals in 2013.

launch2266 copyJeremy Altamont launched a memoir of his time at Westport House.

  • Belfast won a competition to host the 67th Annual Meeting of the European Federation of Animal Science in 2016.
  • Benaughlin Cottages in The Fermanagh Lakelands got new owners, John Roche, who has taken over from the Wilson family
  • Failte Ireland published its programme for selling Kilkenny to a global market.
  • Westport published details of its 2014 Food Festival on Sept 5-7. Petie the Panda and Sinéad Kenny, Sales & Marketing Assistant from Hotel Westport are pictured at a promotion in Dublin with the Lord Mayor of Dublin Oisín Quinn.
  • Waterways Ireland Loughfest event will take place on Saturday 31 May 2014 at the Broadmeadow, Fermanagh Lakeland Forum, Enniskillen.
  • Walk the Glens Festival over the June Bank Holiday Friday May 30th to Sunday June 1st will follow a historical theme, following a trail based around the Five Big houses in Cushendun.
  • Upcoming irish festivals include: June Fest May 25 – June 8; Lismore Music Festival May 31 – June 1; AIMS Choral Festival May 16 – 18; Fastnet Short Film Festival May 21 – 25; Ballyhaunis Summer Festival May 30 – June 6 and Rock’n the Green Festival May 31 – June 1. Klaus Maria Brandauer, Gavin Bryars, Tacita Dean, Adrian Dunbar, Heiner Goebbels, Antony Gormley, The Hilliard Ensemble, Derek Jarman, Netia Jones, Steve McQueen, Fiona Shaw, Peter Stein and John Tomlinson are amongst the artists featured in the programme for Happy Days: the 3rd International Beckett Festival, taking place in Enniskillen Thursday July 31 to Sunday August 10.

Airport officials in Australia arrested a man who allegedly tried to smuggle 16 bird eggs in his underwear.

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