Author Archives: Sixdayexpert

Travel Extra’s Sunday Supplement: Ryanair wants to give businessmen a bigger seat

HEADLINESAVIATIONAFLOATFOOD & WINEHOTELS – INTERNATIONAL -IRELANDTRAVEL TRADE

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Picture by Anthony Pratap via Flickr

The headlines this week:

*Ryanair sets out to woo business pax and wound Aer Lingus

*Vatnajökull volcano was a no-blow 

*Why €5.97 is the tipping point

*Melbourne is the most liveable city, Dublin 47th

*Peak week for cruise calls

 

Travel Extra TVYouTube screenshot

Our video of the week comes from filmmaker/photographer Milton Tan. Tan shot timelapse footage of aircraft taking off and landing from a restricted runway at Changi Airport in Singapore. The result is a dreamy sequence that looks like a strange mix of a sci-fi film and a nature documentary. This is Tan’s second timelapse of air traffic at Changi The first video featured on the Discovery Channel’s Daily Planet show. Watch here.

Another timelapse this week: this one shows the making of Emirates’ 50th A380. It takes 800 workers 65 to 80 days to assemble, install, test, paint, furnish and deliver the double-decker aircraft. Watch here.

So, you think you gobbled your Sunday fry quickly? Wait till you see this grouper devour a 4ft black tip shark in one bite. The GoPro footage – shot off the coast of Bonita Springs in Florida – received over 20m views since it was uploaded on Tuesday. Watch here. Goliath groupers are known to eat sharks as well as octopi, sea turtles and barracudas. YouTube footage dating from 2009 shows another goliath grouper swiping an angler’s shark. Watch here.

The ice bucket challenge craze is sweeping the travel industry. Participants included Clem Walshe, Ireland manager of Lowcost Beds (watch here), the team at Tour America (watch here), and Michael O’Leary (watch here).

Headlines

webcamThe big travel story of the week has not happened (thankfully) with the entire aviation industry increasingly wary of seismic activity in Vatnajökull (the glacier used in the opening sequence in 1985 James Bond movie A View to a Kill). Newsreaders are desperately learning how to pronounce Bárðarbunga after the cacophony that was Eyjafjallajökull in 2010 (watch here) and the hilarious “you’re doing it wrong” (watch here). Airlines remain on watch. There is not much to see judging from the Bárðarbunga webcam although the lucht leanúna lava claim 5,000 earthquakes have occurred since August 16 and Bárðarbunga caldera appears to have given away due to less magma holding it up. Updates are being posted here.

earthquakesWhile we wait, there are plenty of sites for volcano vultures amongst us to peruse: check out this NASA report, automatic bulletin from the SIL seismic system detailing earthquakes in Iceland during the last 48 hours, the Icelandic Met Office which monitors all geological surveys and studies in Iceland and their map of recent earthquakes (Nicarnica Aviation recently delivered equipment to Iceland), Icelandic Met Office Physics Department map, Icelandic aviation oceanic area control centre, the European alarm system for extreme weather, the US Geological Survey monitoring of Icelandic volcanoes, a seismicity map of Iceland, a seismic hazard map of Iceland, an Iceland earthquake density map, a cautious statement from Airbus, Rolls Royce’s presentation to the BATA Volcanic Ash workshop last October, the June 2013 CAA board minutes, London Met office’s site monitoring volcanic plumes from space, the (largely discredited by events of 2010) updates from London Volcanic Ash Advisory Centre and this long article about the difficulties and complexity of seeking and gathering data from volcanic activity.

Páll EInarssonThere was some frenzied speculation in the USA about the threat to the Croke Park Classic (just what we need after the Garth Brooks debacle) but it is going ahead. Another Icelandic scientist, Páll EInarsson, (pictured) claimed aircraft shouldn’t overfly the volcano Hekla, as eruptions occur with only 23 to 79 minutes warning.

Or listen to Michael O’Leary‘s views on the matter (which are much more fun): The authorities will have much more accurate data. It won’t be based on someone in a basement in London trying to predict where the non-existent ash cloud has gone. These mythical clouds that were apparently surfacing over Barcelona and Lanzarote did not exist. The general view is the airlines will be free to fly unless they believe it is unsafe to do so. We won’t imperil anyone’s safety. We also don’t want to damage the engines on our aircraft.

michael o'leary kenny jacobs laughs_2172

Premium seats, but no blue curtain. That is the next offering for business passengers from Ryanair in their attempt to woo business travellers. More will emerge over the coming days but the pattern was set at a press conference on Thursday when Kenny Jacobs and Michael O’Leary announced that Ryanair were targeting one of Aer Lingus’s most lucrative short haul routes for business travel, Brussels Zaventem (listen here), in particular lucrative Irish government, commission and parliamentary business (listen here). No doubt fares will plummet for all travellers when Dublin to Zaventem goes to seven flights a day this winter – similar frequencies to major hub airports Charles de Gaulle and Schiphol. Kenny Jacobs claimed the Zaventem service can save the Irish taxpayer €3m a year based on average fares (listen here).  Michael O’Leary said that Ryanair would undercut Aer Lingus on the route and that when flights prices rose above €200 per sector they would add capacity rather than raise prices (listen here). The goal was a 60-40 share of the Brussels business (listen here). The 60-40 share is not very ambitious, considering Ryanair are flying three times daily to Zaventem against Aer Lingus twice daily. Ryanair will now have 60 Dublin routes this winter, with increased frequencies and improved schedules on 21 routes.

Ryanair press conference Aug 21 2014The assault on Aer Lingus is more comprehensive than just the Brussels route. Ryanair plans frequency increases on Gatwick (4 to 5, Aer Lingus have 4), Barcelona (1 to 2, Lingus have 1), Brussels (0 to 3, Lingus have 2), Madrid (1 to 2, Lingus have 1), Milan Bergamo (1 to 2, Lingus have 1), Rome Ciampino (1 to 2, Lingus have 1), and three routes increased to daily from 5w: Berlin (Lingus have 1 daily), Budapest (Lingus have 5w) and Warsaw (Lingus have 4w).

IMG_2103The assault on Aer Lingus Regional is even more aggressive, pitting 737-800 jets against ATR-72 turboprops on six routes. Ryanair have increased both Birmngham to 4 daily (Aer Lingus have 3, turboprop and jet), and Manchester to 4 daily (Lingus have 4, turboprop and jet). Their London all airport service is now 16 daily (Lingus have 16, turboprop and jet), Bristol is 3 daily (Lingus have 2 turboprop), Edinburgh 3 daily (Lingus have 3 turboprop), Glasgow 3 daily (Lingus have 3 turboprop) and Liverpool 3 daily (no Lingus).

Michael O'Leary conducts a press conference Aug 21 2014Seven other winter routes have already been announced, Nice is 3w (Lingus are 4w), Lisbon and Prague are daily (same as Lingus), while Basel (daily), Bucharest (daily), Cologne (2 daily, the only airport apart from Zanentem not already operated for summer) and Marrakesh (2w) do not face direct competition from Lingus. So far Cologne is listed as just one daily on the Ryanair online schedule and same day returns are not listed from Dublin to Berlin, Budapest and Warsaw.

As always with Ryanair there are several subtexts. The government account is run by Liam Lonergan’s Club Travel. O’Leary has spent a good deal of time and energy in court actions against Lonergan, ironically a Ryanair co-founder back in 1985. Do the numbers add up? The €6.9m government cost for 7,000 trips in a year works out at €1,000 per trip. Can the Government really save €3m by using Ryanair by the combination of air fares, hotels, transfers and incidental allowances?

Michael O'Leary conducts a press conference Aug 21 2014The proportion of business passengers using the airline has increased from 22pc to 25pc (according to Kenny Jacobs) or 26pc (according to Michael O’Leary). The target is to take 75pc of Aer Lingus’ business traffic (listen here). Kenny Jacobs says the airline is prepared to talk to corporates about bookings (listen here). Michael O’Leary said that that Ryanair was talking to both Amadeus and Sabre and would be on another GDS by the end of the year (listen here). Kenny Jacobs said we will have a business product that gives them the things that matter (listen here). Michael O’Leary said that increased frequencies to Manchester and Birmingham would give Ryanair advantages over Aer Lingus Regional’s turboprop service (listen here).

Michael O'Leary conducts a press conference Aug 21 2014Michael O’Leary declared we have given up on Aer Lingus (listen here) and then joked when asked why he was still fighting EU and English competition rulings in the courts (listen here). He said Ryanair had tried to offload their shares to AIG, Etihad and others but that sensible airlines would not take a present of them (listen here). Asked about Christoph Mueller’s legacy as Aer Lingus CEO, Michael O’Leary said he was the CEO who reduced Aer Lingus passenger numbers from 10m to 9m but that Aer Lingus was an airline that continued to be run badly by the Irish government (listen here). He said the €190m bailout of the pension fund would not be sufficient to resolve the problem (listen here). It is worth observing that the Aer Lingus share price was 52 cent in 2009 just before Christophe Mueller was appointed CEO on September 13 2009 and is now €1.36 (up 162pc) while Ryanair increased from €3.12 to €6.84 today (up 119pc).

IMG_2185Michael O’Leary said that while Ryanair was now flying to most main airports with more to come, they would never fly to Charles de Gaulle, Frankfurt or Heathrow because those airports could not deliver the airline’s required 25-minute turnaround (listen here). He took the precaution of saying: never say never. Charles de Gaulle are hoping Ryanair will join them in Terminal 2 whenever it is built (Easyjet want to be sole tenant in CdeG’s Terminal 2B). Charleroi (listen here), Prestwick (listen here), and Girona (listen here) will continue to be served by Ryanair but at reduced levels compared with their nearer-city neighbours.

IMG_2030Michael O’Leary said recently reported increases in inbound tourism to Ireland were due to the removal of the travel tax, not promotions such as the Wild Atlantic Way (listen here). Ryanair had delivered 1.6m extra passengers (listen here). Referring to Tourism Ireland campaigns in new markets like China he said we bring more tourists from Bournemouth to Ireland each year than come from all of China (listen here), a comment which may be related to the fact Michael is seeking Tourism Ireland marketing support to sustain his planned routes to Moscow Vnukovo and St Petersburg.

Michael O’Leary also talked about prospects for Ryanair growth in the central European (listen here) and German markets (listen here). Ryanair’s anticipated growth to 86m passengers this year would create another 1,000 jobs, most of them off island (listen here).

cyprus airways copyThere was an unexpected side show to the press conference when Michael O’Leary said he was flying to talk to the Cypriot government (Cyprus is half the size of Ireland and twice as political) about rescuing Cyprus Airways (listen here) which led to a recap on Ryanair’s only other purchase of an airline, Buzz (listen here). On Friday, Ryanair submitted a plan to officials in Nicosia, in which the airline said it aims to increase Cyrus Airways passenger traffic from the current 500,000 average to 3m over three years (a 500pc increase). See more pictures from Thursday’s press conference here or connect with the album on Facebook.

Airport-Scanner

Researchers from three American universities proved that body scanners at US airports which expose a traveller’s every line and curve are not very good at finding weapons. Guns, knives and faux explosives were among the contraband snuck past the backscatter x-ray by researchers at the University of California, San Diego, the University of Michigan and Johns Hopkins University, who bought a surplus Rapiscan Secure 1000 on eBay. The machine was still wrapped in plastic when J Alex Halderman and others on the research team bought it from a seller in Europe for about $50,000, he told the New York Daily News. Their team found several vulnerabilities to render the scanner ineffective for screening contraband from those who had prior access to the machine. jonathan shackleton_2376

Jonathan Shackleton, cousin of the explorer, (his business card: antarctician, naturalist, forester, and, under the family crest: by endurance we conquer) was the keynote speaker at the opening of the new South Kildare heritage trail, Explorer’s Way (listen here). Jonathan will embark on his 36th Antarctic expedition as a guide for Quark Expeditions this winter. Kevin Kenny talked about the Athy heritage centre and the Shackleton autumn school over the October bank holiday weekend (listen here), something Jonathan Shackleton described as the leading polar event in the world, something that was not recognised or promoted enough (listen here).jonathan shackleton james fennell_2403

Historian and former category winner in the Travel Extra travel writer awards Turtle Bunbury talked about the history of Quakerism in Ireland and the Shackleton family as well as their relatives the Fennell family who hosted the launch in Burtown House, Athy (listen here). Hostess Lesley Fennell gave an explanation of Catherine Green’s sculpture Terra Verra (listen here) which was unveiled at the event. Jonathan Shackleton presented host James Fennell (photographer on the Vanishing Ireland series of books) with a glove that had been once belonged to his great-aunt, Irena Shackleton (listen here).explorers trail scultpure_2284

Minister for the Arts Heather Humphreys outlined tourism developments in Kildare, including the moving of Castledermot high cross to a less vulnerable location this year (listen here). MC Phil Donnelly said the trail would have international significance (listen here). Turtle Bunbury even came up with that rarity for the occasion, a Quaker joke (listen here). See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.

Ryanair Groups - Lesley KaneRyanair have two very high profile senior jobs about to be advertised: head of Corporate Travel & Groups, and head of Sales & Marketing. Read the job descriptions here. Closing date for applications is August 29. Head of Corporate Travel & Groups Lesley Kane (pictured) is returning to Glasgow to do an MBA.

Dublin came 47th out of the 140 cities ranked in the Economist Intelligence Unit Global Liveability Index. Melbourne (pictured) Melbourne Couple Nightwas named most liveable city in the world for the 4th year in a row in the survey which rates healthcare, education, stability, culture and environment and infrastructure. Damascus in Syria was the lowest scoring city. The ranking shows that since 2009 average liveability across the world has fallen by 0.7pc, led by a 1.3pc fall in the score for stability and safety. Top ten: 1 Melbourne, 2 Vienna, 3 Vancouver, 4 Toronto, 5 Adelaide, 6 Calgary, 7 Sydney, 8 Helsinki, 9 Perth, 10 Auckland. Bottom ten: 131 Abidjan, 132 Tripoli, 133 Douala, 134 Harare, 135 Algiers, 136 Karachi, 137 Lagos, 138 Port Moresby, 139 Dhaka, 140 Damascus. Dublin’s rating was 89, below the 100 which is regarded as ideal.

Picture by Dave Dugdale via Flickr

Picture by Dave Dugdale via Flickr

Research of tipping habits indicated that 43pc of those who leave tips following a meal said the amount was dictated by the quality of the service they received. A survey of 1,000 Irish people by Amárach indicated the average tip awarded to restaurant waiting staff was €5.97, followed by €4.14 to bar staff, €3.78 to hairdressers and beauticians, €2.99 to a takeaway delivery staff and €2.95 to taxi drivers. Munster and Dublin residents were found to be the most generous tippers in two of the five categories while those in Connacht and Ulster tipped the least. Accommodation staff are far more likely to receive a tip from an American guest than an Irish one. “It’s fairly common practice for them to leave the last of their euro on the bedside locker before heading for the airport.” Under 25s are the biggest bar tippers with an average tip of €6.67, two-and-a-half times the average tip by the over 55s.

IMG_1942It was the biggest week of the season for cruise calls, with three ships simultaneously in Dublin on Saturday last and three again on Wednesday, spilling 5,000 guests into the city. Cruise has come a long way in the 38 years since the Europa was the first cruise ship to call to Dublin. When Cruise Ireland was first set up in 1994 it had 40 ship calls, this year 220 cruise ships will call to Dublin. Picture shows Dave Denham of Dublin Business Association manning a tourism information desk on Thomson Spirit. The Dublin cruise tour guide joke of the week: Did you know the inventor of the crossword is buried in Glasnevin cemetery? You can find him at six across and four down.

Cruise lines took the opportunity to host the trade. Azamara, Crystal, Holland America Line, MSC, Regent and Thomson all hosted travel trade on board for ship tours and lunches.

PThomson Group_1838icture shows trade on board Thomson Spirit with the trademark Poolbeg chimneys (how much longer will they be part of the cruise call skyline?) in the background. Thomson is the classic three-star product out of Ireland. Guide Samantha Hale highlighted the £199 drinks package, commissionable for agents, which would cost £219 when bought on board. There is a 2pc extra charge for use of credit cards, debit cards are free but Maestro is being phased out. See more pictures here or connect with the album on FacebookBronagh McNamara, Rachel McAnaspie of American Holidays, Gleeson our waiter Niki Stanford of Click and Go with Rebecca Kelly on MSC Magnifica copy

MSC gave trade the opportunity to take the two day sailing on MSC Magnifica from Belfast to Dublin. Picture shows Bronagh McNamara, Rachel McAnaspie of American Holidays, Gleeson Knox the waiter, Niki Stanford of Click and Go with Rebecca Kelly of MSC on board MSC Magnifica. See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook. Azamara hosted agents on Saturday of last week. Carly Perkins of Holland America Line and Andy Harmer CLIA (Cruise Lines International Association) director for Ireland and Britain hosted agents on board the 1,404 passenger MS Rotterdam on Thursday. Regent Seven Seas had seven agents for a visit onboard on Friday. Crystal host 25 agents on board today (Aug 24).

Travel TradeCeltic Horizons Coronation Street_1715

Coronation Street actors Ian Pulseton-Davies and Mikey North (aka Owen Armstrong & Gary Windass) stopped by the Celtic Horizons office in Maynooth to say hi to the staff . Celtic’s Soaps Tour packages are all 10pc commissionable. Ciara Corcoran warns that very few places remain.

Don Shearer oct 2013 copyWorldchoice Ireland will host a series of Digital Strategy based workshops for members and trade partners over the coming weeks to bring focus to Worldchoice’s new communication hub and consumer facing websites. CEO Don Shearer (pictured) said he took stock of all the comments from members and trade partners alike regarding the endless events, conferences and awards ceremonies at this time of the year and decided to take a new approach which will culminate in a members gathering in late 2014 followed in early 2015 by a game changing event which will bring real engagement to our community of retail members and industry partners.

  • The Commission for Aviation Regulation granted a new licence to eDreams Odigeo plc, a subsidiary of Opodo, with trading names of www.edreams.ie and www.opodo.iejoanne casey
  • Joanne Casey of Glowmetrics (pictured) is giving a Web Analytics – Webinar under the ITAA skillets programme on Wed August 27, 9:30am-11am. Cost is €25, register here.
  • Bookabed is giving agents a chance to win a seven-night stay for two in a MedPlaya hotel with half board for every MedPlaya hotel booking made between now and September 12. Med Playa Hotels specialise in beach hotels in mainland Spain.
  • Falcon is offering 7 nights all inclusive from Dublin to Sharm el Sheikh, Coral Sea Aqua Club, Red Sea Riviera from €2,081 for two adults and one child or from €2,906 for two adults and two children. Travel May 7, 2015. Offer includes free Kids’ Club for children aged 3-11.
  • Minister Simon Harris welcomed the award of the Government of Ireland travel management contract to Club Travel, (as first reported in Travel Extra’s Sunday Supplement).
  • Funway is offering a £50pp discount on city break packages to New York. Quote the discount code NY50 when booking. Book before September 30, travel up to December 31, 2015.brian rafferty h&s
  • Brian Rafferty ex-Travelsavers (pictured), who joins Travel Counsellors on Monday is one of three new recruits to the home working group run by Cathy Burke in Ireland bringing the number of agents past the 60 mark with a further 25 in the north.
  • It is still August but Falcon Holidays launched their Lapland Flights on Thursday. Day trip prices from Dublin are adult €649 and child €529 (1850 45 35 45) on Saturday December 6 & 13 and from Belfast adults £469 Children £419 on Friday December 12th. Sunway offer three day trips on December 11-13, December 13-15, December 15-17, December 17-19 and December 19-21, Adults from €1227, Child €1037pps. Canterbury Travel offer three day trips December 12-14, December 14-16 and December 16-18 at around €1300pps. Ireland still has the third highest take-up in the world for Roveneimi trips, although we are down from the height of the Celtic Tiger when parents and their children filled 20 separate departures from Dublin.
  • Lastminute.com is to be put up for sale by Sabre Holdings.
  • sandyThis week’s offers from ITAA: Wimbledon Championships June & July 2015, 3 nights, 2 match days, €1,847pp; Barcelona FC 2014/15 packages, 2 nights, from €219pp; Italy vs Ireland, February 17 2015, 2 nights, €629pp.
  • Sad news: Travel Extra is sorry to hear of the death of Sandy McClean Carson, our sympathy to family, friends and colleagues in the industry. She was a familiar face on the Thomas Cook stand at Belfast Holidayworld.

Hotels

kevin mcgillycuddyKevin McGillycuddy (pictured), Damien Gaffney and Michael McElligott’s Brehon Capital group is on the cusp of buying Ireland’s largest hotel, the €30m 492-room Citywest complex in Saggart, Co Dublin, having developed the Marker in Dublin’s docklands and purchased Powerscourt (formerly the Ritz Carlton) in Enniskerry, Mount Juliet in Co Kilkenny, Mount Wolseley in Carlow and Killashee in Naas.

David Collins Mark Knowles Great National HotelsDavid Collins’ Hotel management group Great National Asset Management, whose team includes Frank Corby (ex Raheen Woods) and Denis Kane (ex Druids Glen), added to their growing portfolio when they bought the 230-bedroom Breaffy House resort in Castlebar out of receivership, They now manage 35 hotels out of Ireland. The resort had been on the market with a guide price of around €3m. Picture shows David Collins and Mark Knowles of Great National Hotels exhibiting at Holiday World.

REPRO FREE Cahernane House Hotel celebrates Victorian tradition of taking tea in the afternoonCahernane House Hotel, which is a member of Heritage Week partner Manor House Hotels, is offering anyone who makes a booking between August 23 and 30 for a stay of one night or more before October 27 complimentary tea and scones in the hotel’s drawing room or library during one afternoon of their stay. Quote ‘Heritage Week’ when booking.

  • Galgorm in Antrim, Sneem Hotel and Teach de Broc, Ballybunion, both in Kerry, have joined Manor House Hotels.
  • The spa at the Aghadoe Heights turned ten: celebrating a decade of decadence.
  • Minor Hotel Group formed a strategic partnership with Sun International to own and operate a collection of eight properties in five African countries.
  • Alila Hotels & Resorts is promoting adventure honeymoons to Bali. Offers include surfing in Uluwatu from £446 per night for a one-bedroom pool villa; white water rafting on the Ayung River or mountain climbing at Mount Batur from £134 per night for a Superior Room; mountain cycling or diving at Alila Manggis from £100 per night for a Superior Room; full-day journey across water and land at Soori from £366 per night for a one-bedroom mountain pool villa; and sailing; and diving at Alila Purnama from £6,892 on selected trips from November to March based on two people sharing a cabin, for six nights.
  • The ITC Grand Bharat golf resort and spa will open on October 1.
  • Travelodge came under fire for removing bibles from its hotels.
  • Would you sleep with a stranger, Harriet Line of The London Telegraph asks in her guide to couch-surfing.

International

skiwelt

Picture by bookhouseboy via Flickr

SkiWelt Wilder Kaiser Brixental has increased to 280km of slopes for the coming winter, of which 85pc will have snowmaking facilities. The Skiwelt has challenged other ski areas to certify their pistes, in the absence of international standards some resorts were double counting the wider pistes as two runs.

  • The PURE Awards 2014 will be held on November 10 at the newly opened Royal Palm Marrakech with awards in six categories including: Transformational Travel, Conservation and Sustainability, Community Engagement, Innovative and Engaging Marketing, Design and Contribution to Experiential Travel. Hundreds of entries were received, with the shortlist being announced on September 15. The Awards will be judged by the PURE community. PURE Life Experiences and Tourism New Zealand will continue their relationship for the PURE Awards 2014.
  • Normandy will host 74 nations at the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games 2014 from August 23 to September 7.my_explore_mobile_app_map
  • Hertz and Navigation Solutions launched Hertz NeverLost Companion app among giving travellers the ability to plan trips on their mobile devices, then sync directly with the in-car Hertz NeverLost GPS system
  • Myanmar confirmed the start of online visa for tourists from September.
  • Saudi Arabia will be exhibiting at World Travel Market for the first time this year.
  • Powder White expanded its European 2014/15 winter programme. It will include a Slopestyle week, snowshoe & skidoo experiences, and white weekend packages.
  • Scotland’s annual Coll of the Sharks basking shark festival takes place from August 21 to August 26 on the island of Coll.
  • Japan’s Niseko ski resort on Hokkaido Island was added to the line-up on the Epic Pass initiative.ciara clodagh 001 copy
  • Registration opens earlier than usual in late September for IPW 2015 in Orlando, to be held May 30 to June 3. Pictures hows Ciara Foley and Clodagh Oxley of the Dublin Visit USA committee at the last IPW in Chicago.
  • UAE listed no-go areas in London for Emirati visitors in its official safety guide. Piccadilly and Oxford Circus are among the “places to avoid”, Soho and Oxford Street are classed as “more dangerous” and Shepherd’s Bush market and Queensway are “less safe”. The warning comes after two violent incidents last April involving UAE nationals visiting London.
  • Eight of GTA travel’s senior management team – Martin Jones, Tatsuo Masumoto, Andrew Hughes, Daryl Lee, Koksheng Sun, Marc Albert, Patrick Torres and Stuart Dale – marked 30 years in Japan by climbing Mount Fuji to raise awareness for ECPAT International.
  • SeaWorld announced it will double the size of its killer whale enclosures at parks in San Diego, Orlando, Florida and San Antonio. The first new tank will open in 2018. The company claimed the move is not directly related to the controversial Blackfish documentary.chirstoppher elliott
  • National Geographic Traveler’s reader advocate Christopher Elliot (pictured) draws the line between a savvy traveller and a travel hack in a piece for USA Today. Savvy travellers use smart strategies and their knowledge of the industry to get a good deal, whereas hacks take advantage of vulnerabilities and loopholes in online booking systems. Popular hacks include: using the “Dr” honorific when making a hotel booking online to avoid cancelled reservations; throwaway ticketing: buying a roundtrip instead of a one-way ticket and not using the return; using employee discount codes to save up to 20pc off car rental, hotel or theme park reservations. “There’s a clear line between right and wrong,” Elliot says. “Just because something isn’t illegal doesn’t make it right.”
  • Ten foreign tourists and five locals are missing after a tour boat sank in Indonesia.
  • TBEX 2014 bloggers conference cancelled its two trips to a dolphinarium in Cancun.
  • Florida is on track for a record breaking year after reporting 24m visitors during the second quarter.
  • Two tour buses crashed near Sharm El-Sheikh killing 33 people and injuring 41.

Food & Wine

Picture by Ryan Polei via Flickr

Picture by Ryan Polei via Flickr

John & Sally McKenna of guides.ie have organised a wedding cake icing display by Diva Boutique Bakery at Electric Picnic’s Theatre of Food. “For years, people have been travelling to Electric Picnic to exchange wedding vows, so we thought it was more than appropriate to have our own EP wedding cake,” the McKennas posted on Facebook. The sold-out music and arts festival takes place next weekend, August 29-31.

  • A Jacobs’-sponsored savoury ice cream parlour opened in London’s Soho. Ale & cheddar and blue cheese & cracker are among the flavours available.
  • Photographer Beth Kirby and Food stylist Susan Spungen will be teaching a two-day, three-night residential course on food photography at Lens & Larder in Ballynahinch Castle from Oct 21-24. The €1,470 fee (sharing) includes a welcome reception, full board and drinks as well as the photography workshops.rickgonzales
  • Rick Gonzalez was appointed head chef at Alila Jabal Akhdar resort in Oman. Previous experience includes executive chef at Amandari in Ubud, Bali, pre-opening chef in Amanzo’s Resort, Porto Heli, Greece, and chef de cuisine at Sirocco Restaurant in Lebua Hotel, Bangkok.
  • The Dingle Peninsula Food Festival takes place October 3-5.

AviationRyanair PAYPAL_Aug14

Picture shows PayPal’s Vice President for Global Operations EMEA, Louise Phelan, and Ryanair’s Chief Marketing Officer, Kenny Jacobs, launching a new payment partnership with PayPal.

Dublin to Dubai is available for €504 (business class from €1,925, first class suite from €3,217) in advance the launch of Emirates’ double daily service book by September 1  (double daily launch date) for travel before May 31, 2015. Exemptions apply. Emirates hinted at going triple daily from Glasgow to Dubai. Now there’s a thought for Enda Corneille.Checking In at London Southend

London Southend Airport has been named Best in England in in the Which? airport passenger survey. Picture shows check-in at Southend.

  • Siobhain Danaher’s Planet Portfolio Travel Photography Exhibition opened in the arrivals hall of Belfast City Airport.
  • As Paschal Donohue sits down to grapple with the issue of fifth freedom rights and Ethiopian’s propsoed Dublin-LAX route, the game may be about to change. Etihad’s Alitalia investment is largely about fifth freedom, and Gulf News speculated this week that Etihad could tap into the Americas and Asia with the Alitalia deal.peter oncken
  • Intro aviation MD Peter Oncken (pictured) said he expects to make the decision on Cityjet fleet replacement in the next 4-6 weeks.
  • Irish air accident investigators concluded that Ryanair’s Faro incident was probably due to a freak storm.
  • Qatar Airways London Heathrow A380 inaugural was delayed further.
  • Trade group Airlines for America claimed US airlines doubled profit margins in the first half as revenue rose  three times faster than costs
  • The 197 page sectoral brief for Minister Paschal Donohoe was published, as was the more pragmatic 104 page document: Key issues for Minister Donohue.Ryanair John Hurley
  • John Hurley will join Ryanair as its Chief Technology Officer from Houghton Mifflin Harcourt plc on September 15. John will be responsible for developing and implementing a world-leading digital and technology strategy, heading up a team of 200 people as he oversees the roll-out of the Ryanair Labs digital innovation hub based at Ryanair’s new Dublin campus in Swords.
  • Florida-based Vortex Aviation will invest up to $3m in a new aircraft engine servicing facility in Shannon, which is set to open within in the next three months.
  • CSO statistics showed that 270 working days were lost when Aer Lingus cabin crew took to the picket line in May, the Irish Independent reports.
  • Ryanair and Aer Lingus received the least amount of complaints to England’s Civil Aviation Authority in 2013 – 37 against Ryanair and 38 against Aer Lingus.
  • Robots will collaborate with humans in building Airbus aircraft under the EU-funded Valeri project. Watch the demo video here.james hogan etihad screen
  • Etihad announced changes to its double daily schedule between Abu Dhabi and Johannesburg from October 26 which will tie in with their double-daily service from Dublin.
  • Michael O’Leary paid tribute to Albert Reynolds (listen here), a visionary who set ireland on a road to economic growth contrasting his term as Taoiseach with what followed.
  • United Airlines is the First Airline to offer Uber Service via Mobile App.
  • CSO figures show that the number of passengers using Kerry Airport dropped 28pc over five years (from 462,115 passengers in 2008 to 306,042 in 2013). Paschal Donohue said he is committed to securing the completion of the renewed public service obligation grant Kerry Airport relies on to retain flights on the Kerry to Dublin route.alan joyce
  • Alan Joyce’s Qantas said it is to cut back overseas routes and set Jetstar on course to become Australia’s main international airline. Qantas upgraded economy meals with bigger serves and boxed dinner packs.
  • British Airways plans to suspend its London Gatwick-Las Vegas service from December 3 to March 11 and reduce its Heathrow-Accra service from 11 flights to daily, cancel its Tuesday Heathrow-Montreal service, reduced its Heathrow-JFK service from 62 flights to 56 flights and cancel its Monday Heathrow-Newark service from October 26 to March 29.
  • American Airlines will extend its $150 fee for unaccompanied minors to include children up to 14 years of age from Sept 3.
  • Centreforaviation.com cast its eye over Turkish Airlines: a recent pattern of falling quarterly profits, but many strategic strengths. ryanasir danish2
  • Ryanair launched its Danish language website, the Irish airline’s 15th own-language website.
  • Air Berlin announced the first elements of restructuring, to focus on “Europe, touristic and long-haul.”
  • Airlines will owe $80 compensation to passengers delayed between US and Europe in 2014.
  • The US FAA laid out conditions for the A350 lithium batteries.
  • American cancelled its Chicago-Dublin flight when it went tech but managed to get passengers home through Philadelphia. US airways retired its last Boeing 737-400.
  • aer lingus seatFTE highlighted Aer Lingus new transatlantic A330 business class cabin with lie flat seats, 16-inch in flight entertainment monitors and free Wi-Fi in advance of their showcase event in Las Vegas in September.
  • More comment on codeshare: apparently codeshare flights could be costing passengers thousands.
  • The London Telegraph ran a story about complaints over Ryanair’s mobile boarding passes.
  • Aer Lingus launched their Carrauntoohil Challenge.
  • Deutsche Bahn launched a lawsuit in the US against airlines over 1999-2006 price fixing.
  • TAP launched a route to Manaus and Belem.
  • Dublin Airport aims to save over 600,000kWh in energy with the Get Involved project.
  • Passenger numbers at Manchester Airport were up 6pc to 2.4m for July, putting the airport on track for its busiest year since 2007.
  • Air Berlin will reduce capacity by 10pc, shrink its fleet by about ten aircraft and shut down five crew bases.
  • The IATA urged airlines to continue to fly to Ebola-hit regions in West Africa.
  • A Saudi Arabian Airlines flight from Madinah to Cairo was grounded for six hours after a fist fight broke out between the pilot and a cabin crew member.roger bone
  • Boeing Ireland and Britain president Roger Bone (pictured) will retire at the end of September with Michael Arthur assuming the post on October 1.
  • Russia’s Ministry of Industry and Trade offered to supply Red Wings Airlines with Tupolev Tu-204 aircraft for flights to Crimea after Dobrolet, which operated Boeing 737s, suspended flights on August 4. Éist anseo le Eoghan Corry ag caint ar Údar Cainte ar Radió na Gaeltachta faoin Rúis. Éist anseo le eagarthóir Travel Extra Eoghan Corry ar Údar Cainte ag caint faoi Domhnall Slattery agus Avolon.

Afloat

Celebrity Cruises’ autumn campaign has added free flights from Ireland to eight different 2015 European itineraries. Free flights and complimentary drinks packages worth up to $1,400 are now a new feature to Celebrity Cruises’ Up, Up and Away promotion. Under the Love2Shop vouchers campaign a €20 voucher is available for each automated booking made during August. See cruisingpower.ie.

  • Hamburg Cruise Days hosted 600,000 visitors for the European cruise event of the year.
  • The week beginning September 27th has been designated Pan European Cruise Week.
  • Stena Lines is offering fares from Dublin, Dun Laoghaire and Rosslare to Wales from €79 single, car and driver. Book by Sept 30, travel until Oct 31.
  • Lonely Planet suggested alternative ways to see the world by cruise ship. Some of the options include: a freshwater cruise, travelling by cargo ship, specialist small boat trips and a polar cruise.

Ireland

A major question for Tourism Ireland in advance of the award of the contract for the National Diaspora Centre, there is a major problem with recognition of the word Diaspora around the world. There are six contenders for the attraction, which is expected to deliver 300,000 visitors a year to one of Birr, Cork, Donegal, Dublin, Dun Laoghaire or Limerick. It is likely that the two Dublin centres will be built even if the contract goes elsewhere. But what will the centres be called?

CREATING BUSINESS LINKS WITH CANADA!

  • Tourism Ireland targeted Toronto for business travellers. Picture shows Helen Cole of Tourism Ireland; Séan Carney of Lough Eske Castle; Mary Heron of, Aer Lingus; John Healy of Moloney & Kelly Travel; Lynda Reilly of Guinness Storehouse; and Gerry Browne of Killarney Hotels at IncentiveWorks 2014 in Toronto, Canada’s largest B2B show for the meetings, events and incentive travel industry.
  • YouTube videos were launched promoting Dalkey Book Festival (watch here) and Happy Days Enniskillen International Beckett Festival (watch here).
  • Carr Golf Travel’s Invitational Pro-Am, being held Oct 19-24, is to be sanctioned and managed by the PGAs of Europe. The event will be played over three courses; Portmarnock, Royal County Down (36 holes) and Royal Portrush. Carr Golf Travel celebrates 25 years in business this year.Failte Ireland Google pic copy
  • Fáilte Ireland announced today that its Corporate Meeting Support fund secured a win from a major US insurance company to bring its 2015 sales force meeting to Dublin and Killarney. Over 2,000 delegates come to Ireland for the event and stay for 7 nights. The event is worth an estimated €9m.
  • Picture shows Michael Brady of Fáilte Ireland and Carolina Marcos of Google, who announced Google Month, a schedule of online events presented from Google HQ in Dublin on the range of digital supports available to Irish tourism businesses. The “Hangouts” will be broadcast live on the Fáilte Ireland YouTube Channel, aimed at tourism businesses that may be new players in the digital arena. Intending participants should visit www.failteireland.ie/Market-Your-Business-Online/Google-for-Irish-Tourism.aspx or contact Michael Brady at michael.brady@failteireland.iedermot4
  • The Irish rail strike seemed heading up a siding. New transport Minister Paschal Donohue made some cautious comments about how this strike would make matters worse. Rail fares are enjoying a €1 a head government subsidy. Dermot O’Leary of NRBU (pictured) and Paul Cullen of SIPTU refute claims that the last tranche of extra money that went into the rail service was used for salary increases, so there seems no shifting on this one.
  • The Irish Craft Beer and Cider Festival returns to the RDS in Dublin September 4-7 reflecting what the organisers call explosive growth over the past 12 months: there will be 200 Irish produced beverages on offer to attendees and there will be 38 producers up from 25 last year and 10 for the first festival four years ago.
  • The Irish National Kite Surfing Championships will take place on Duncannon Beach in County Wexford this weekend from August 23-24, The festival also offers water zorbing, a volleyball competition, live music, face painting and a Kids Zone.
  • Fáilte Ireland is supporting the World Youth and Student Travel Conference, which takes place at the Convention Centre, Dublin, from September 23 to 26. Over 700 travel professionals from over 450 organisations will be at the event.
  • Bus Éireann will run return services to Electric Picnic from Dublin, Cork and Galway.Waterford Jazz festival 3
  • Waterford’s first Jazz Festival Waterford Jazz Weekender was announced for outdoor and pub venues in the Viking Triangle from September 5-7, featuring Dixieland Express from New Orleans, The Jane O’Brien Moran Trio and The Red Hot Jazz Trio.
  • Minister Simon Harris launched Heritage Week at Trim Castle. Ireland will bustle to the largest hosting of Heritage Open Days on August 23-31 (details here) and September 13-14 in the north (details here). There are events in 50 countries.travel writers miltown malbay

A sean-nós dance exhibition by Aidan Vaughan, the uncle of Nóirín Hegarty managing destinations editor at Lonely Planet in London, was among the treasures experienced by a group of 23 travel writers from 13 different countries when they attended a showcase demonstration by Oidhreacht an Chláir in Miltown Malbay, Picture with their hosts shows: Ellen Redmond of Fáilte Ireland, Eduardo Vessoni Lopes of Viagem em Pauta, Brazil, Ursula Wiegand of Westdeutsche Zeitung Germany., Tony Conboy of the Tampa Tribune in Florida, Aidan Vaughan sean-nós dancer from Oidhreacht an Chláir, Séamus Mac Mathúna from Oidhreacht an Chláir, Stephen Vermeylen of Rotary Contact Belgium, Anne Keavey dancer from Oidhreacht an Chláir, Helen Hewetson of Ensemble Vacations Mag Canada, John Barry dancer from Oidhreacht an Chláir, miltown malbay_3320David Batzofin of Batzofin Blog, Radio Today South Africa, Richard Holmes of Travel Ideas Mag South Africa, Andreas Jacobsen of Urlaubtipp and Touristik Aktuell Germany, Ann Wang from China, Michael Marek of NDR radio Germany (behind blue jacket), Andrea Wiebel of Schweiz am Sonntag Switzerland behind pink jacket , Flower Lang from China, Lu Tao from China, Tom Zhang from China, Gabrielle Spiller of Der Landbote Switzerland, Christina Walsh of Fáilte Ireland and Deirdre Comber dancer from Oidhreacht an Chláir, Seated: Hanne Hoiberg of Sondag Denmark, Luzia Grasse of Augsburger Allgemeine Germany, Willemijn Bos of Reisgids, Netherlands, musician Tara Comber (fiddle) of Oidhreacht an Chláir, musician Diarmuid Donnellan (banjo) of Oidhreacht an Chláir, musician Róisín Considine (accordion) of Oidhreacht an Chláir, Katie Nanton of Nuvo Mag Canada, Barbara Sloane of the Westchester Guardian NY State and Neeta Lal from India. See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook. Loppe Ranta of Retki Outdoor Magazine Finland joined the group on Monday night. Listen here to Harry Hughes from from Oidhreacht an Chláir welcoming the group.

  • Carton House in Maynooth hosted the 56th International Garden Centre Congress showcasing Irish Garden Centres, and attractions including Guinness and Jameson factories.pashal_donohue
  • New tourism minister Paschal Donohue spoke about the problem of immigration queues at Dublin airport at last week’s Tourism Ireland briefing (listen here), the fall-out from the Garth Brooks fiasco (listen here), the aggressive begging problem in Dublin (listen here), local government rate increases and their impact on the competitiveness of tourism businesses (listen here), prices, wages and value for money (listen here), and the new tourism target of 10m visitors by 2025 (listen here). Niall Gibbons CEO of Tourism Ireland said all tourism markets except Britain will see record inbound figures to Ireland in 2014 (listen here), in his overview for the first half of the year (listen here), that Tourism Ireland’s social media profile continues to be high – Ireland’s channel will be second this year in the number of YouTube views (listen here), air access figures are now 366,000 a week (listen here), the campaigns for the second half of 2014 (listen here), Ireland has received €250m in publicity form traditional media outlets, the fortunate timing of the Chris Hadfield campaign with the increased number of flights from Canada (listen here) and how the decline in the French inbound market was down to sporting fixtures (listen here).kildare walking festival_1454
  • Kildare Walking Festival concluded on the banks of the Grand Canal at Ardclough.See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.
  • The 30ft Grandmother from the Royal de Luxe street performance arrived in Limerick ahead of the City of Culture event, which takes place September 5-7. Around 100,000 people are expected to attend.
  • NITB is offering two nights B&B and one evening meal in the Armagh City Hotel from £99 per adult for families attending the Star Wars themed Junior Force Academy Training workshop at Armagh Planetarium, August 30-31. Children under 10 stay free, £20 per night for children aged 10-16.eoghan corry harry hughes_3292
  • Picture shows Eoghan Corry, editor of Travel Extra, being presented with a copy of Music in a Breeze of Wind: Traditional Dance Music in West Clare 1870-1970 by Barry Taylor, by Harry Hughes of Oidhreacht an Chláir in Miltown Malbay, August 18 2014. The cover of the book features Mary Ellen Quinlan, nee Corry, from Cooraclare, fiddle player and aunt of Eoghan Corry.
  • Quickpark.ie is offering one free admission to a night at the dog track with every receipt. Participating venues: Shelbourne Park, Harold’s Cross, Waterford, Cork, Tralee, Limerick, Galway, Mullingar and Newbridge. Offer available until August 31. Quickpark.ie at Dublin airport is offering rates from €3 per day for bookings before August 31.
  • Condé Nast described the Wild Atlantic Way as “Ireland’s Route 66”.

    Photo by SeanOConnor2010 via Flickr

    Photo by SeanOConnor2010 via Flickr

  • South Derry is marking the first anniversary of Seamus Heaney’s death with the four-day Heaney On Home Ground festival which takes place Sept 11-14 in various venues in south Derry, and a tour of Seamus Heaney Country which will bring punters from Laurel Villa Townhouse in Magherafelt to Heaney’s birthplace in Mossbawn, through the villages of Castledawson, Toome and Bellaghy, where he is buried.
  • Lonely Planet explained how to do Dublin on a hangover, which mostly involves surrounding yourself with alcohol for the day. For the cure, have an Irish coffee in Stage Door Café (“if a hair of the dog is in order”); for culture, visit the Guinness Storehouse (“when the world stops spinning”); for the craic, the Dublin Literary Pub Crawl (“when you’re tucked up in the cosy warmth of an Irish pub with a pint of Guinness in hand, swapping stories with new friends, you’ll think, ‘Hangover? What hangover?’”).

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

Travel Extra’s Sunday Supplement: Dogs that Fly & Lifting the Duvet on Bedbanks

sunset-clare

Sunset at Black Head, Co Clare. Picture by Kara Nagai via Flickr.

HEADLINESAVIATIONAFLOATFOOD & WINEHOTELSINTERNATIONALIRELANDTRAVEL TRADE

The headlines this week:

*Lifting the duvet on Bedbanks

*Russian Overflights: Myth and Substance

*Terminal 2 of 5 at Heathrow will become Terminal 2 of 3

*Belfast by the Bellyful: 64 sign up for restaurant week

 

Travel Extra TVPiano player in Prague airport

Our video of the week shows pianist Maan Hamadeh performing Beethoven’s Für Elise and the theme from Titanic at gate D1 in Prague airport. The talented musician plays a mash-up of the two pieces in a four-and-a-half minute performance. The original video received over 7m views since it was first uploaded on August 7. Watch here.

crocodileA snappy video, especially for swimmers, Manuel Carrera captured video footage of a crocodile chasing a swimmer on the Boca Paila Preserve south of Tulum in the Riviera Maya , Sian Ka’an, Mexico. Luckily a quick-thinking observer lobbed a missile at the crocodile, which diverted its attention. Watch here.

British Airways in-flight entertainment manager Richard D’Cruze talks about the September launch of ‘Paws & Relax’, the airline’s new long-haul channel that is dedicated to documentaries, cartoons and TV shows about dogs and cats. The idea is that the footage of cute animals will reduce passengers’ heart rate and make their flight less stressful. Watch here.

Richard Joye, VP of Swiss Space Systems Asia, talks to Bloomberg about the launch of zero gravity flights in the Asia-Pacific. Watch here.

The Aloft hotel in high-tech Cupertino, California, posted a video promoting Botlr, its robot porter. The hotel designed Botlr with Silicon Valley start-up Savioke. The robot is three-feet tall and uses sensors to travel through the hotel’s corridors. Botlr can detect when a guest opens their door so it can make a delivery. Guests don’t tip Botlr; they give it a review instead. Aloft plans to use Botlr from August 20. Watch the promo here.

RTÉ Ten reporter Suzanne Keane interviewed some of this year’s Rose of Tralee participants and host Daithí O Sé at a photo-call in Dublin Airport. Watch here.

HeadlinesTravel Extra cover Sept 2014 300

The bedbank revolution is continuing apace. Nowadays 80pc of a travel agents’ business is done with bedbanks, rather than traditional tour operators, according to Pat Dawson, CEO of the ITAA. With the print edition due for delivery to agencies this week, the September issue of Travel Extra (view online here) looks at the phenomenal growth in bedbanks since 1999 and the major players among the 200 who are operating in the market. We examine the story behind the Irish operations of Lowcost and Bookabed and the corporate specialist HRS.

We also look at the fast moving world of travel technology, the great game between Amadeus and Travelport and the emergence of low-cost inventory, and we explain how the travel technology business has grown from an attempt to reform a Canadian airline’s ticketing structure to the complex multi-layered GDS’s of today.

IMG_7516Figures seen by Travel Extra indicate the Irish travel industry has set aside €55.4m in bonds that will never be called in. We focus on Aer Lingus‘s proposed trans-Atlantic expansion due to be announced in the next six weeks – Travel Extra proposes it is going to be a north-eastern USA destination rather than the widely speculated Dallas, Houston or Miami. We look at Ryanair’s catch-up app and the impact the policy of being nice to customers had on their half-yearly returns, listen to Michael O’Leary’s opinions on the controversial seven-day check-in, the proposed Ryanair routes to Moscow and St Petersburg, and loyalty schemes, Dublin’s over-long immigration queues, how London has outpaced Switzerland and Scandinavia to unexpectedly offer Europe’s priciest hotels. MSC’s new mega-ships (as explained by Rebecca Kelly, pictured with Roz Walsh of Travelfox), Hurtigruten’s use of charters to boost sailings, Royal Caribbean’s entertainment dimension to Quantum, and the plans for the ITAA conference on a cruise ship at end October.

England remains Ireland’s single biggest outbound destination with 1.8m visitors. Ida Milne goes to see the World War 1 galleries in the Imperial War Museum, which has just opened a major centenary exhibition, and Siofra Tobin Larkin follows the trail of Philip Larkin (no relation) to Hull.

Tania Ollson of Past Experiences

Tania Ollson of Past Experiences gives walking tours of the world’s most dangerous city

How dangerous is Johannesburg? Eoghan Corry joins one of the walking tours run by PAST Experiences which have successfully reclaimed the city centre.  As part of our destination focus on South Africa we join a helicopter flip in the Drakensberg Mountains, a bungee jump and shark dive in Durban, the exquisite cuisine of Cleopatra’s Farm and the spa safari lodge at Karkloof, both in KZN. We also examine the new passport requirements for people travelling with children to South Africa.

Conor McMahon visits the new UNESCO world heritage site in Langhe in northern Italy, Eoghan Corry discovers fast cars and slow food in Bologna, Marie Carberry visits Spain’s most scholarly city, Salamanca, and the walled wonder of Avila, and we took a stroll along Ireland’s newest walking trail, Arthur’s Way, in north Kildare through the landscape of Arthur Guinness’s childhood.

Mike Rutter, Chief Revenue Officer of Aer Lingus in the new Aer Lingus Lounge in Heathrow T2

Mike Rutter, Chief Revenue Officer of Aer Lingus in the new Aer Lingus Lounge in Heathrow T2

Heathrow’s new airy Terminal 2 will not be renumbered when Heathrow goes from five terminals to three early next year. Eventually, terminal numbers are to be dispensed with altogether and Heathrow will become Heathrow East and Heathrow west. While this process is underway, best not get too familiar with Terminal 5. It is speculated that Terminal 5 will change to 1 in the interim, with 4 becoming 3. The new Terminal 2 will remain as it is.

1MG_1299 copyCiaran MacDonagh and Robbie Lynch of Aer Lingus and Chris Butler, Airline Business Development Director of Heathrow hosted a group of trade and travel media at the new Aer Lingus Lounge in Heathrow T2. Picture shows Don Shearer of Worldchoice with Catherine McDonnell and Lisa Meehan at the showcase. Aer Lingus use gates 21 to 26 in the new terminal. The Aer Lingus inter line partners are based in the terminal including Air Canada and United with whom Aer Lingus have important codeshare agreements. It is the second biggest user of the terminal in movements behind Lufthansa and third behind United in passenger numbers. The new Gold Star lounge cost €1m and is fitted out by Dublin based Glenbeigh Construction with Irish stone, Irish wood and other home-sourced furnishings. An innovation: all restaurants in the terminal offer on board picnic options. Listen here to Mike Rutter, Chief Revenue Officer of Aer Lingus speaking about the relationship with Heathrow. Listen here to Chris Butler, Airline Business Development Director of Heathrow speaking about the delivery of Terminal 2 and the implications for airport users. See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.

luis vidal Eoghan Corry_8952

Travel Extra’s Eoghan Corry last toured Heathrow T2  prior to its opening when he was shown around by designer Luis Vidal (pictured). Despite the detractors (“more boring than soaringsaid Rowan Moore) the Terminal has impressed the Aer Lingus passengers weary of the walk thought the tunnels in the Terminal 1. Just over a dozen passengers have shown up in T1 since the move looking for their Aer Lingus flight and all of them were in the first week. Aer Lingus is the third biggest airline operation at Heathrow, serving the airport 12/13 times daily from Dublin, four times daily each from Belfast and Cork and three times daily from Shannon.dave gilmore niall mckenna_0481

Belfast Restaurant week  from October 4-11 will see a record 64 of the city’s 400 restaurants participating.  Travel Extra popped in to see Niall McKenna whose iconic James Street South restaurant in Belfast is undergoing refurbishment and hear of his plans for this and his other ventures, the Bar and Grill, Hadskis and the Cookery School. Niall, pictured with chef Dave Gilmore, will be running an apprenticeship programme for aspiring chefs offering hopefuls the chance to work with an award winning team. Hadskis do ‘wine Mondays’ every week. Other upcoming festivals taking place in Belfast this September include Culture Night, Cinemagic and the CS Lewis festival.

Belfast cs lewis montage x600

A £250,000 park and performance arts area dedicated to CS Lewis is to open next April Belfast cs lewis door handle_0834around the famous statue of the Belfast writer at Hollywood Arches in East Belfast. The second CS Lewis festival is planned for November, reviving interest in his multi-faceted life. Picture shows Ken Harper, who conducts taxi tours around Belfast with the statue of CS Lewis peeking into a wardrobe (adventure travel of a different kind). Features along the way of the CS Lewis tour include the lion-shaped door handle of his grandfather’s rectory, St Mark’s in Dundela that inspired Aslan. As with the Brontë homestead in Haworth in Yorkshire, a disproportionate number of Lewis tourists are from Japan.

Sligo’s hosting of the All Ireland Fleadh Cheol comes to a climax today with a band competition; 10,000 visitors brought a spend of €7m to the town. Events in 40 different locations included Dervish, the Boróimhe and De Cuellar Suites, Téada and the Máirtín O’Connor Band. Tourism interests remind visitors that within a five mile radius of Sligo you’ll find 3 Championship golf courses, blue flag beaches, a pathway up Knocknarea, and the megalithic tombs and dolmens of Carrowmore.

dobrolet mergeThe Moscow Times reported that Russia was considering launching a sanction-proof airline to service Crimea, in reaction to the grounding of Dobrolet last week (pictured) when contracts with an Irish based lessor were sanctioned. while elsewhere it was speculated Russia will respond by expanding its regional-plane fleet. Fears that Russia would impose a fly-over ban seemed less shrill than had been reported in recent weeks. Russia’s Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev’s statement on sanctions is much more moderate than it has been portrayed: “there is one decision that the government has made. I am talking about the cessation of overflights [only] by Ukrainian carriers operating services through the airspace of Russia to a number of countries – Azerbaijan, Georgia, Armenia and Turkey [and only] from next winter”, less severe, and more graduated than portrayed generally.  Flights between Kyiv and Moscow continue to operate. Russia is also talking of opening the Sevastopol airport to civil traffic. It used to be a Ukrainian Air Force field.  The most vulnerable European airline of all, Finnair, said its ordered A350 has the range to detour if Russia closes skies. Finnair will launch A350 services in the second half of 2015 initially serving Shanghai ,Bangkok and Beijing. Eoghan morning ireland july 8 2014Listen to Travel Extra‘s Eoghan Corry on Morning Ireland talking about implications of Russia-EU sanctions on Irish aviation industry (listen here), and Éist anseo le Eoghan Corry eagarth óir Travel Extra speaking about EU/Russia sanctions and their effects on overflights and the Irish aviation industry on Raidio na Gaeltachta programme Údar Cainte.

Travel Trade

John donohue black tieJohn Donohue of Aereps confirmed that two planned joint Irish Travel Trade FAMs to New York at the end of August and Las Vegas in October are going ahead as planned, despite the decision of Aereps to end representation of its suite of travel products. The Irish Travel Trade FAM to New York City with NYC & Company and Delta Air Lines at the end of August will be headed by Teresa Murphy of Delta Air Lines and Reginald Charlot of NYC & Company. The planned joint Irish Travel Trade FAM to Las Vegas in October with Las Vegas Convention & Visitors Authority and Virgin Atlantic will also go ahead as planned, headed by Holly Best of Virgin Atlantic and Kelly Sawyer of Las Vegas Convention & Visitors Authority. Read John Donohue’s letter to the Irish travel trade here.

paul richesLowcostbeds’ new manager for the combined markets of Ireland, Britain and Middle East, Paul Riches, will come to Ireland to meet key trade people in September. The fast growing Lowcostbeds has appointed a new layer of management: Elodie Leunen has been promoted to Managing Director Lowcostbeds Europe with Claudia Baino, and Adam Alford continuing to run the USA, Canada and Latin America. All will report directly to Alex Gisbert. Clem Walshe says this is part of an overall reshaping of the LCTG international team that Irish manager and “will help us drive more focus in the areas that are especially affected by growth. It is purely to assist us in managing the growth we’re enjoying and ensure we can continue to deal with the challenges presented by that growth. Bear in mind our local Irish beds business is now up over 40pc year on year so we need more resource right across the board to ensure we manage that growth in an effective manner.” Clem says business in the north of Ireland is also enjoying significant growth over the last six months “so we’ll more than likely have to look for some local resource to support that market in the short term”.

  • IPW (Pow Wow) in 2016 is changing date as well as venue. Having moved to New Orleans because of redevelopment of Miami’s convention centre, the new date is June 18-22 2016.
  • Germany’s TUI said it had “no plan B” for merger with TUI Travel. TUI earnings surged 89pc on hotel, cruise price increases.
  • Travel Department reported an increase of 12pc on solo friendly holiday bookings year on year since 2012 with 800 solo passengers travelling on 39 different departures to destinations such as the Venetian Riviera and the Lisbon Coast.
  • ETOA is now accepting final early bird registrations for their largest member workshop GEM and next year’s Ireland and Britain specialist March Marketplace.
  • Aer Lingus’ discount offer exclusive to ITAA Members will continue until August 31 on the members’ area of itaa.ie. There is a booking incentive as well as a 20pc discount: for the first time there are free seats for agents if targets are met.anne dolan
  • ITAA legal officer Anne Dolan will host two more Travel Law Webinars: E-Commerce – Compliance Matters on Wed August 13, and Legal Update, Wed August 20, both at 8:30am-10am and both €25. More information/ bookings.
  • Tour America is offering a free quick-service dining plan for families that book a selected Disney Hotel and ticket package for a minimum 5 nights, and a free Disney dining plan for those that book a minimum 5-nights package at a Disney Deluxe Hotel of Disney Deluxe Villa. From €1,099pp. Travel between Jan 1 – March 24 and April 12 – November 30.
  • A contender for best travel headline of the week: “Lourdes tour operator hit by losses following biblical flood”. Irish-registered United Irish Pilgrimage to Lourdes reported a loss of €41,763 for 2013, the year of the floods.
  • ITAA’s offers this week: 4 nights at the Kech Hotel, Marrakech, Morocca from €539pp, travel September 17; 7 nights at Dom Pedro Golf Hotel, Vilamaoura, Portugal for over 50s from €459pp, travel September 29; 6 nights at Le Green Beach Apartments, Omaha Beach from €795 per couple, travel September 8.
  • Clickandgo.com is offering 4 and 5-night trips to UFC 178 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena, Las Vegas. Prices start at €1,105pp. Travel September 25. Stay at the MGM Grand or the Westgate Las Vegas Resort & Casino. Irish UFC star Conor McGregor will fight at the event.
  • Falcon is offering 7 nights all-inclusive at Blue Lagoon Resort, Kos, from €1,858 for two adults and one child or from €2,317 for two adults and two children. Depart May 23, 2015, from Dublin.Tropicana Jasmine 01
  • Thomson is offering 7 nights in Sharm El Sheikh all-inclusive at the Sensatori Resort from €1,069pp or Tropicana Rosetta & Jasmine Club from €809pp during winter 2014/15. Weekly departures start December 26. Offer based on January 2, 9, 16 departures. Thomson added Kos to its summer 2015 destinations and two Sensatori Resorts at Cala Tarida, Ibiza, and Fethiya, Turkey.
  • The American DOT’s approval of resolution 787 was hailed as a breakthrough for NDC implementation in the USA.

Hotels

  • KilternanThe Comer Group acquired the partially built Kilternan Hotel & Country Club for an estimated €7m. The hotel which cost €171.5m to redevelop comes with anticipated costs of €20m to reopen the resort. Watch RTÉ News’ report here.
  • The IHF’s diploma course in Digital Marketing commences Tuesday, September 23. The course will run every Tuesday, 6pm-9pm, until December 16 in the Irish Times Training building on Tara Street, Dublin 2. Full cost €1,500, members rate €899.
  • Apps

    Picture by James A Howie via Flickr

    Trivago circulated a list of social media hotels where you can: get a discount if you have 2,000 Facebook friends, get a FREE stay if you have 10,000 Instagram followers, arrange your trip via Pinterest, go on a personal Instagram walking tour to get the best snaps. They also listed the top ten swim-up bars.

  • The 2015 Hoteliers European Marketplace workshop will take place in Hôtel du Lac, Enghien-les-Bains, Paris, from February 23.
  • Aloft Hotel Liverpool on North John Street will open in October.
  • Plans to open a Fifty Shades of Grey-inspired bondage hotel in Vilafranca, Spain, have been delayed following objections from the town council.

International

World Travel Market launched the new 2014 WTM Responsible Tourism Website. Cavan town was long-listed for ‘Best Destination for People with Disabilities’ in the 2014 World Responsible Tourism Awards.cavan wins Eden award 2013 001 Picture shows Joanne Hayes from “This is Cavan” tourism office and Savina Donohue from Cavan County Council receiving last year’s EU EDEN award for environmental tourism initiatives Pedro Ortun from the European Commission’s Directorate General for Enterprise and Industry in Brussels.The shortlist will be announced in September.

  • The World Health Organisation released a statement aimed at reassuring travellers that the Ebola virus posed “low risk” to air travel.
  • Lonely Planet dispensed advice on how to survive a multi-generation family holiday: Have a safe word (if things are getting too tense, yell ‘Paparazzi’), let tempers cool, take the blame, separate and conquer, (allow people to take as much time away from the group as they need, good things come in small quantities, especially when it comes to family) sample little pleasures (take care of yourself, especially if you are the person in charge; if the captain is unhappy, his crew will be miserable). End each argument with a family hug. “You are making memories (good, bad and ugly) and when you get through this, you’ll look back on nearly every moment as one of the best times in your life.”
  • Paris

    Picture by James Whitesmith via Flickr

  • There were only two slight changes in the WTO’s top 10 tourist arrivals rankings. With 60.7m international arrivals, Spain re-claimed third place after losing it to China in 2010 (55.7m arrivals in 2013), while Thailand climbed five places to enter tenth in the top 10. France remained in the number one spot with a total of 84.7m overseas visitors in 2013. United States was second with 69.8m arrivals. International receipts in Europe grew 3.8pc to €650bn. Northern Europe posted a 6pc increase in arrivals with Iceland recording the highest relativtop-destinae growth (+20pc).
  • The European Commission has written to six car rental companies operating in the EU – Sixt, Enterprise, Goldcar, Europcar, Hertz and Avis – warning them about discriminating against consumers based on their nationality: the companies allegedly give customers a different price based on the country of residence submitted in an online booking. All six companies responded to the letter, but the EC says it has requested a follow-up from Europcar, Hertz and Avis by August 30. The EC said rental and leasing of cars account for 5.5pc of all complaints handled by European Consumer Centres.IMG_8654
  • Ciaran Mulligan’s Blue Insurances commented that the cost of additional insurance covering excess damage has risen significantly. Picture shows Ian Kennedy and Ruth Bracken of Blue Insurances.
  • Minister Charlie Flanagan said he supports the Passport Service’s proposal to introduce a passport card for travel within the EU. Tourism Minister Paschal Donohue said he has raised the need for faster immigration services at Dublin airport and is awaiting a response.
  • The Mountain Collective added a new partner destination for the 2014/15 ski season: Ski Banff-Lake Louise-Sunshine.
  • Axa suspended new travel insurance policies during a site upgrade.
    christine duffy CLIA cruise body
  • Christine Duffy of CLIA (pictured) said the construction of an alternative canal route must commence as soon as possible after the Italian government said large cruise ships will be banned from the centre of Venice from 2015. The ban will exclude all ships exceeding 96,000 tonnes from St Mark’s basin and the Giudecca Canal. Guidelines will also restrict visits by smaller ships of no more than 40,000 tonnes.
  • Tasmania launched the world leading destination programme with more than 700 operators.
  • The body of an American tourist was found in a suitcase outside the luxury St Regis Resort in Bali. The victim’s daughter and her daughter’s boyfriend were arrested.Forth Rail Bridge, VisitScotland Scottish Viewpoint
  • Forth Bridges Festival celebrates the 50th birthday of the Forth Road Bridge from September 4—13. Picture shows the railway bridge with the road bridge in the background.
  • Disneyland Paris Half Board Offer ends August 17.
  • EyeforTravel‘s TDS Europe 2015 will take place in the Hilton Tower Bridge, May 6–7.
  • A woman managed to climb the 10ft security fence at Halifax Airport in Nova Scotia. Airport officials spotted and apprehended the woman by the time she reached the tarmac.
  • Eleven people were injured when a tourist train travelling from Chur to St Moritz in the Swiss Alps derailed after hitting a landslide.
  • Parisian city officials and travel agencies expressed concern at the increase of pickpockets targeting Chinese visitors.

Food & Wine

Electric Picnic food

Picture by carolune

  • The line-up for this year’s Theatre of Food at the sold-out Electric Picnic festival was released. Declan Maxwell, Neven Maguire, Lilly Higgins and Kevin Thornton are among the restaurateurs, chefs, critics and foodies who will appear at the event. The full line-up is available here.
  • The 22nd Anfas Food Product International Specialisation Fair will bring together 400 international exhibitors from 12 countries and 35,000 food & beverage professionals. The fair takes place February 25- 28, 2015, at Antalya Expo Centre.
  • Killruddery House & Gardens is offering two-course suppers for €14 and three-course suppers for €17.50 every Thursday at 6:30pm and 8:30pm until the end of September. Phone 01-2863405, or email info@killruddery.com to book.
  • Jurys Inn claimed that Irish guests prefer orange juice and muesli to a Full Irish and tea.

Aviation

Etihad_Alitalia 1 copyThere was much discussion of James Hogan’s declaration last week that Alitalia is set to become the sexiest airline in Europe (watch press conference here). USA Today suggested Gulf carrier Etihad would ‘reboot’ Italy’s ailing Alitalia. At least one blogger pointed out that territory has already been taken by Michael O’Leary with his famous Dusseldorf press conference in 2008. Watch here.

  • According to the IATA’s latest WATS statistics, Dublin-London was the second busiest international route in 2013 (3.6m passengers, +6.9pc). The top spot went to Hong Kong-Taipei (4.9m, -11.5pc). Jakarta-Singapore came in third (3.4m, +8.6pc). The price of air travel in real terms fell by 7.4pc last year, according to the report. The three busiest domestic routes were Jeju-Seoul, Sapporo-Tokyo, and Fukuoka-Tokyo, reflecting a shift away from the USA as the world’s biggest users of aviation. IATA said it was seeking to eliminate the check-in process altogether. Neil Pakey Rose Hynes_2775
  • Shannon Airport CEO Neil Pakey (pictured with Shannon chairperson Rose Hynes) said passenger numbers at Shannon for the first six months of the year were up by 15pc and have outpaced the national average.
  • The Department of Transport issued the invitation to tender notice for the remaining Public Service Obligation routes, Donegal to Dublin and Kerry to Dublin.Domhnal slattery 002
  • There was confusion and even a denial of reports that Domhnal Slattery’s Avolon was to be subject of takeover talks by a Chinese fund. The financing arm of Avic released a statement to the Shanghai Stock Exchange contradicting widely circulated reports that its parent company and sovereign wealth fund China Investment Corporation was buying Avolon, with two different prices being mentioned, €3.7bn and €12bn. See profile of Domhnal Slattery in the Business Post here.
  • US Airways/American reinstated the A330 on the Dublin-Philadelphia route.
  • Intro aviation is in final talks to replace Cityjet’s Avro RJ85 fleet.
  • Aercap said it was holding off on renting some new planes holdings. CEO Aengus Kelly reported strong second quarter results.
  • Former Worldspan head of technology and Expedia founder Timothy O’Neil-Dunne asked whether codeshare flights should be discontinued.
  • The IAA said Irish air traffic figures continued their strong upward surge.
  • Air France launched its innovative FlightPath3D moving map service.A350_XWB_First_Flight_take_off_8
  • Airbus A350 ended flight tests, paving the way for deliveries. Qatar airways may receive the first A350 aircraft this year after airbus ends trials. The speculation about the A330neo rethink announced at Farnborough continued apace while Seattle media pondered the differences between the airbus A380 strategy and the Boeing B787 strategy. The New York Times reported what it calledoversize expectations for the Airbus A380”. Boeing said July brought the most orders ever for any month.
  • Anna Aero reported that China’s airlines are now growing faster internationally than domestically.
  • CN Traveller looked at the two new transatlantic carriers, La Compagnie and Norwegian Air Shuttle.
  • Emirates raised $425m to finance more A380 aircraft.ice 2
  • As more airlines look to provide entertainment on passenger’s personal tablets (or devices distributed by the airline), Emirates confirmed it expects to offer seat-back IFE for many years to come.
  • Lufthansa was reported to be considering B787s and A350s for a new low-cost longhaul subsidiary.
  • Cleveland’s International Women’s Air & Space Museum celebrated Irish aviator Nancy Corrigan.
  • Frankfurt Airport’s third terminal won planning clearance.malaysia airlin
  • Air Malaysia is likely to be the new name for the rebranded Malaysia Airlines. Éist anseo le Eoghan Corry as Travel Extra ar Adhmhaidin ag caint ar athrú Malaysia Airlines, the changes facing Malaysia’s national carrier.
  • Aviation Weekly reported on the information sharing challenges facing airlines.
  • Bloomberg reported that European Airlines were cutting jet fuel hedging as prices began to fall.
  • Research emerged of the risks to aircraft from exploding lithium batteries.
  • British Airways extended their Vueling codeshare.
  • Cebu Pacific said its “long-haul low-cost programme” promised a new period of growth begins with the addition of five destinations.
  • The London Telegraph asked can you really fly cheaper than easyJet on a private plane?
  • Finnair said it is to roll out ‘economy comfort’ product by the end of the year. Finnair expects the 2014 operational result to ‘show a significant loss’.
  • Hong Kong based Cathay Pacific reported a slightly improved profit as growth “has required fare discounting”. Cathay Pacific reported earnings were below estimates on yields.
  • It was claimed that extreme weather was becoming more common place.
  • Koreanair is to suspend of all Nairobi flights from Aug 20.
  • NASDAQ asked which airlines are interested in Boeing‘s latest idea?
  • Qantas introduced online mall to its frequent flyer programme.
  • Abu Dhabi Airport’s Passenger Traffic grew 19pc In H1.
  • The Belfast Telegraph profiled Belfast International Airport’s role in developing the economy of the north. Aldergrove-Gatwick traffic was up 9pc to 40,412 in July.calin-rovinescu 1354644054_0
  • Air Canada‘s CEO Calin Rovinescu announced second quarter results earnings call (full transcript here) including growth prospects for Canada Rouge which serves Dublin-Toronto. Air Canada London Heathrow-St John’s is to go year round at 11.05 daily from October 26th using an A319 with what GSA Premair say is great connections from Ireland.
  • USA Today speculated that airline mergers are not good in the long term as they drive up consumer prices.
  • British Airways found that British visitors to Ireland take home the local white pudding, soda bread and cheese and onion Tayto’s crisps. Visitors also shop for Guinness, Paddy Whiskey and Bailey’s Irish Cream.
  • Australia’s DIRD secretary said the international trend is moving away from liberalised air markets.
  • A new French airline challenged Air France business flights.
  • Dermot Mannion’s Royal Brunei is considering new Australian routes with A320neo.
  • In Portugal it was reported that inter-rail is losing out to low cost airlines.
  • Galway‘s two local authorities are to employ consultants to examine options for the 
115-acre site that contains Galway Airport. Former Galway city mayor Pádraig Conneely proposed the Galway Airport site as a suitable location for an industrial IT hub.
  • Virgin America’s airline flight attendants voted to approve union membership.
  • Star Alliance is now the largest alliance with 26.6pc of all RPKs, followed by Skyteam with 20.1pc and Oneworld with 15.4pc.
  • Passenger traffic at Abu Dhabi International Airport increased 19.4pc to 9.48m passengers for the first half of this year.
  • Dayton International Airport is using long grass to prevent bird strikes: heavy birds are believed to avoid long grasses because they fear predators may be hiding.
  • An AIIB report investigating an incident at Belfast City Airport on February 12 found that the captain lost control of the Dash 8 aircraft because his prosthetic arm detached during landing. There were 47 passengers on board the Flybe flight from Birmingham to Belfast. There were no injuries and the aircraft was not damaged.regional
  • Aer Lingus Regional carried 141,737 passengers in July, a 22pc increase. Dublin to Southend flights will be operated under the Flybe brand from Nov 14 . Cork airport reported Stobart passenger numbers were up 14pc in July.
  • The World Airline Road Race is scheduled for Dublin on Oct 1-5.
  • Alitalia chief executive Gabriele Del Torchio said he is ready to leave the airline after striking a rescue deal with Etihad.
  • The early booking offer for the ERAA general assembly in Barcelona ends August 19. Click here to register.
  • Jet Airways will scrap its low-cost subsidiary, JetLite, and integrate its 11 aircraft into the main fleet. As well as the plan to offload its budget unit in search for profit, it announced what it termed a master brand plan.
  • Indian domestic airline Vistara‘[limitless expanse in Sanskrit), a Tata-Singapore Airlines joint venture, is expected to launch its new full service Delhi based airline in October, subject to government approval. Singapore Airlines plans to invest $4m and the Tatas completing the $100m investment.  The chairman of the Tata Group, Cyrus Pallonji Mistry, has Irish citizenship because his mother (of Indian background) was born in the Hatch St Nursing Home in Dublin.
  • At least 39 people were killed when an Iran-140 Sepehan Air passenger jet bound for Tabas crashed after take-off from Tehran Mehrabad.
  • Air China is to double flights from Heathrow to Beijing in October, meaning there will be a total of 51 departures a week from London to the Chinese capital.
  • Lufhansa CEO Carsten Spohr said the airline is likely to expand its planned low-cost long-haul operations if their launch goes well.

Afloat

tccUniworld released further details of the SS Maria Theresa to launch in spring 2015. The new river ship will sail Uniworld’s ‘European Jewels’ itinerary, a 15-day cruise from Budapest to Amsterdam and also offer on selected dates the 10-day ‘Tulips and Windmills’ itinerary that departs in March and April 2015. Later in December 2015 she will also offer a Danube Christmas markets cruise. Picture shows the Uniworld/TTC team in Ireland Rosie Leary, Sharon Jordan, Donna Kenny and Carole Carmody.

  • Royal Caribbean say guests who book on select 2015 holidays on the new Anthem of the Seas can enjoy gratuities and select drinks packages included into the price of their holiday. An eight-night cruise throughout France and Spain costs from €1,599 per person (based on two people sharing an interior stateroom). Price includes flights from Dublin, transfers, gratuities, a select or soda drinks package per person and an eight-night cruise departing from Southampton (England), and calling at Vigo (Spain), Gijon (Spain), Bilbao (Spain), Paris (Le Havre, France), before returning to Southampton (England) for the flight home.
  • It is a big week for cruise ship visits and hostings, Thomson Spirit is in Dublin on Wednesday, MSC Magnifica is in Belfast on Monday, Dublin on Wednesday and Cork on Thursday.
  • The 199-passenger Ocean Endeavour will join Quark Expeditions’ fleet of small Antarctic Expedition ships to replace the Sea Spirit beginning in the 2015/16 Antarctic season. Quark says that it offers a greater choice of vessels and number of voyages to Antarctica than any other operator.Ulysses and Dublin Swift - Servicing Irish Ferries Dublin to Holyhead routes
  • Irish Ferries is offering Premiership day trips by coach, inclusive of match ticket and ferry travel starting at €149 per person return, while overnight accommodation inclusive of coach, return ferry travel and match ticket starts at €209 per person.
  • Norwegian Cruise Line extended its 2015/16 brochure early booking offer of $300 on-board until August 31.
  • Stena Line is offering Rosslare-Cherbourg from €150 return for car and driver. The offer is available from September 1—March 31. Stena Lines is also offering return tickets from Belfast to Cairnryan from €235 for three-day stays. Travel between September 1 – October 31, book by September 30.

IrelandTourism Ireland Mid Year review 2014-4

Picture shows Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Paschal Donohoe with Tourism Ireland CEO Niall Gibbons, at the mid-year review of overseas tourism in 2014. Tourism Ireland confirmed that this year’s growth of 10pc has come from all four market areas around the world (Britain, North America, Mainland Europe and Other Areas). Tourism Ireland outlined what has contributed to this success and, more importantly, what will sustain and build on the growth to year end and into 2015. They said the growth was due to global advertising reaching 200m people, strong online and social media presence, air access, positive publicity and government initiatives such as VAT on tourism services, the air travel tax and visas.   New tourism minister Paschal Donohue said 10m tourists a year was a new target.

Travel Extra’s Eoghan Corry pointed out on Raidió na Gaeltachta that the increase in market share in the British market is the most significant trend this year. Éist anseo le Eoghan Corry ar Adhmhaidin ag caint air figúraí nua inturasóireachta.

Belfast niall mckennna montage

Picture shows Niall McKenna whose James Street South restaurant is undergoing a complete refurbishment and will be open on Friday of next week, and Niall with Fiona Ure of Visit Belfast.Aslan's Deeper Magic

Jonathan Barry will be reading extracts from some of the books he has illustrated, including The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, Harry Potter, and Dracula, at the Titanic Centre on August 23.

  • Fáilte Ireland reported that employment in the targeted hospitality and tourism sectors increased by 30,000 since the Irish government cut VAT, with direct tourism employment up by more than 20,000. They said price pass through of the rate reduction to consumers is evident across nearly every category. Fáilte Ireland estimates that the Exchequer’s tax take on the growth in spending by overseas visitors in 2013 was worth more than €100m.
  • The Dart Underground and Metro North will have to rely on private funding if they are to be built, according to ministerial briefing papers prepared for transport minister Paschal Donohue.
  • Delphi Adventure Resort, The Spa @ Delphi, its 4 star hotel (the Wild Atlantic Hostel), Delphi Conference Centre and its three catering outlets, has released the first in a series of five videos to promote Delphi Adventure Resort and its stunning Connemara location.
  • Hollywood director Francis Ford Coppola (who famously directed Apocalypse Now and The Godfather as well as Jack, which starred the late Robin Williams) named Ireland as the most underrated holiday destination in an interview with the Wall Street Journal: “It’s a beautiful country, and the people are extraordinary. They have such a wonderful literary tradition, one of warmth and humour. Also, Irish ice cream is among the best in the world, which no one knows.”Cork Heritage Open Day019
  • Ireland will bustle to the largest hosting of Heritage Open Days on August 23—31 (details here) and September 13—14 in the north (details here). There are events in 50 countries.
  • Natural Retreats Castlemartyr is offering 7 nights for the price of 5, 5 nights for the price of 4 or 3 nights for the price of 2 throughout September and October. Booking/more info.
  • Clare Local Development Company uploaded off-road panoramic scenic images of six trails using one of Google Street View’s Trekker packs.Heritage Island_3772
  • Picture shows Mary Keenan of The Ross Tapestry, Caroline Rice of Heritage Island, Silva Dorang of Aviva Stadium and Pat Boyce, The House of Waterford Crystal who participated in the Heritage Island exhibition at the Dublin Horse Show.
  • Fáilte Ireland will host a group of 23 travel media from 13 countries next week who are visiting the Wild Atlantic Way. The group’s itinerary will be focusing on counties Clare and Kerry with trips planned for the Burren, Cliffs of Moher and Doolin Cave before heading south to visit Tralee and Dingle. A highlight will be Monday night’s visit to Miltown Malbay to meet the Oidhreacht an Chláir, the group launched by Harry Hughes in 2003 with the aim of conserving and promoting the traditional arts in their native environment. On their way back to Dublin they will visit to the Foynes Flying Boat Museum. Ellen Redmond and Christina Walsh of Fáilte Ireland and tour guide Will Collins will accompany the group: David Batzofin of Batzofin Blog, 29k Radio Today South Africa, Willemijn Bos of Reisgids, Netherlands, Tony Conboy of the Tampa Tribune in Florida, Luzia Grasse of Augsburger Allgemeine Germany , Helen Hewetson of Ensemble Vacations Mag Canada, Hanne Hoiberg of Sondag Denmark, RIchard_Holmes_biogpicRichard Holmes of Travel Ideas Mag South Africa (pictured), Andreas Jacobsen of Urlaubtipp and Touristik Aktuell Germany , Yang Luyu, Lal Neeta Lu Tao, Lihua Wang and Ming Zhang from China, Eduardo Vessoni Lopes of Viagem em Pauta, Brazil, Michael Marek of NDR radio Germany , Katie Nanton of Nuvo Mag Canada, Joppe Ranta of Retki Outdoor Magazine Finland, Barbara Sloane of the Westchester Guardian NY State, Gabrielle Spiller of Der Landbote Switzerland, Stephen Vermeylen of Rotary Contact Belgium , Andrea Wiebel of Schweiz am Sonntag Switzerland and Ursula Wiegand of Westdeutsche Zeitung Germany.
  • mela festival Nizam Bulut
  • Picture shows Daliya Khadir of ArtsEkta’s South Asian Dance Academy and Nizam Bulut of Turkish Airlines to publicise Belfast Mela at Belfast Botanic Gardens Sunday August 24.
  • South Kildare Heritage Trail will launch at Burtown House and Gardens, Athy on Thursday.
  • Adrian Cummins of the Restaurants Association of Ireland said urgent action is needed to address the escalating crisis of aggressive and often organised begging which has left tourists feeling unsafe as they tour Dublin City Centre.
  • A free talk and presentation on heritage on the Wild Atlantic Way in Loop Head and Kilkee will be held at the Stella Maris Hotel on Wednesday, August 27 from 8pm-9pm.
  • The Burren Tolkien Society Festival opened this week and will run until Friday, August 24.
  • SPOTLIGHT ON IRELAND IN FRANCE
  • President Michael D Higgins and his wife Sabina visited the Tourism Ireland pavilion at the Festival Interceltique in Lorient, Brittany, attended by 700,000. Picture shows mayor of Galway Donal Lyons, President Michael D Higgins and his wife Sabina Coyne; Finola O’Mahony of Tourism Ireland; Caitriona Butler of Irish Ferries and Serge Fonseca of Tourism Ireland, at the Festival Interceltique.
  • TD Thomas Pringle criticised Fáilte Ireland and Donegal County Council for planning to partially close Sliabh Liag cliffs for maintenance drink the peak summer holiday season. Listen here to Paddy Clarke of Sliabh Liag Cliffs Centre.

This month’s festivals in Ireland:

  • Timoleague Harvest Festival, August 15 to 24
  • Féile Carraig Arts & Culture 2014, August 22 to 24
  • Camlough Lake Water Festival 2014, 22 to 24 August
  • Nigerian Carnival Ireland (NCI), August 18 to 24
  • SugarBeat Music Festival , August 23
  • Rose of Tralee 2014, August 15 to 19
  • Charlie Chaplin Comedy Film Festival 2014, August 21 to 24
  • Ballinamore Family Festival 2014, August 10 to 17
  • Geesala Festival 2014, August 10 to 17
  • The Irish Game & Country Fair 2014, August 23 to 24
  • National Heritage Week 2014, August 23 to 31
  • Terryglass Arts Festival 2014, August 13 to 17
  • The Walled City Tattoo 2014, August 27 to 30
  • Waterford & Tramore Racing Festival 2014, August 14 to 17

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

Travel Extra’s Sunday Supplement: Irish Aviation Feels a Cold Wind From Moscow & the Backpackers Everybody Loves

Camping at night

Camping by moonlight. Credit: Arup Malakar via Flickr

HEADLINESAVIATIONAFLOATFOOD & WINEHOTELSINTERNATIONALIRELANDTRAVEL TRADE

The headlines this week:

*Dobrolyot’s Irish headache

*July traffic growth for EI (6.2pc) and FR (4pc)

*Backpackers love the look of the Irish

*Hysteria epidemic over Ebola virus

*Pandemonium at Perpignan

 

Travel Extra TVbaby seal

Our video of the week shows surfers Matt Stanley and Andy Flounders up close and personal with a baby seal. The two were surfing off the coast of Northumberland when they were approached by an incredibly friendly pup. The seal decided to join in on the fun and jumped up on Matt’s board. He struggles at first and can’t decide whether he should lie horizontally or vertically. With a helping hand from his fellow mammal, the pup is catching waves in no time. Watch here.

 

  • If large scale structures float your boat, check out this video countdown of the 5 biggest cruise ships in the world. The list includes The Allure of the Seas, which is almost as tall as the Statue of Liberty, and the Norwegian Breakaway, which is heavier than the Eiffel Tower. Watch here.
  • Dublin Airport uploaded a video of Area Port Director Bill Carratini explaining the US preclearance facility at Terminal 2. US-bound passengers now have the option to download and fill in the required US Customs Declaration Form before coming to the airport. Watch here.
  • Following the lead of Virgin Atlantic and Delta, United Airlines rolled out a new, more entertaining in-flight safety video. Having lagged behind in customer satisfaction polls since merging with Continental in 2010 and after a poor Q1 performance, the new video is an attempt to boost United’s image as a major global brand. The campaign carries the tagline ‘Safety is Global’ and shows off as many far flung destinations as possible in the four-and-a-half minute slot. Watch here.
  • A promo video for Keary’s Mini dealership in Cork received almost 150,000 views on YouTube. Keary’s sent four Corkonians on a four-day road trip around Ireland (in a D-reg car) to capture the best of the country – and show off the new Mini Hatch. Armed with a GoPro camera and a soundtrack by Hermitage Green (from Limerick), the four lads headed up the west coast, on to Malin Head, back to Dublin and through the midlands back to Leeside (bypassing the south-east coast). They visited most of the tourist hotspots: Father Ted’s house, Giant’s Causeway, Newgrange, the Guinness Storehouse. Watch here. A similar “lad’s holiday” video was posted by USIT to advertise J1 trips to the US. Watch here.
  • YouTube user IrishPlaneSpotter posted a video of Aer Lingus’ A320 Retrojet on Runway 35 at Cork Airport. The aircraft, St Coleman, was operating flight EI712 from Cork to London Heathrow. It was painted in the old ‘Irish International’ style to mark the airline’s 75th anniversary in 2011. Watch the take-off here.
  • CCTV footage showing commuters in Perth freeing a fellow passenger who didn’t mind the gap received lots of media attention this week. Watch here.

Headlines

dobrolet mergeIreland’s aircraft leasing industry watched closely this week as the tit-for-tat sanctions war between Europe and Russia threatened to extend into aviation. Russia’s low-cost airline, Dobrolyot, was grounded when the contract for Boeing-737-800 aircraft leased from Colm Barrington’s BBAM, based in Dun Laoghaire, was annulled by EU sanctions on airlines which operate flights to Crimea. The sanctions are also aimed at Aeroflot, S7 Airlines, Uralskiye Avialinii and Red Wings. Aeroflot has eight A320s leased from Raymond Sisson’s AWAS, headquartered on John Rogerson’s Quay in Dublin, which also leases to S7. The sanctions could ground more Russian airlines in the coming days, as Russian airlines lease 90pc of their aircraft from international lessors, many of them in Ireland. The stakes are high, potentially higher than for the agrifood industry. Meanwhile, European airlines were calculating the cost of a rumoured Russian trans-Siberian flight blockade, a move that could cost Lufthansa, British Airways and Air France an estimated €1bn over three months and hand an advantage to Asian carriers.

backpackersFemale budget travellers love the Irish more than any other nationality, according to a survey of 11,000 budget travellers by London-based HostelBookers.com. Asked which nationalities they find most attractive, Ireland finished top followed by Australians, British, Italians and Canadians, while the top five for males were Russians, Poles, Colombians, Swedish and Brazilians. French, Bulgarians and Brazilians are most likely to be unfaithful: overall 16pc of respondents admitted to cheating while abroad. The stress of travelling apparently has the power to break up relationships: 48pc of respondents split “over travel”, 37pc before they had even left home.

As the Ebola virus spreads, so too does unnecessary panic through the industry. The media frenzy has caused no end of damage to tourism to the whole of west Africa (as Travel Extra’s Eoghan Corry said on RTÉ Radio, there are 30m people in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone who DON’T have the Ebola virus) here is some reassurance from a scientist. High in the hysteria stakes is Mike Adams of NaturalNews.com who wrote about an infected Ebola patient being flown to Atlanta: “Are health authorities risking a US outbreak?”

High drama in Perpignan airport this week where the bomb disposal team were called in from Montpelier to carry out a controlled explosion on a package left beside some gas canisters under the control tower. Aer Lingus flight EI 510 went to Toulouse to refuel after holding for some hours and the return EI 510 was delayed as a result. Travel Extra’s Ida Milne, on her way home from a walking holiday at Chaise Dieu in the Auvergne, was there to witness the excitement:

“I was told we were waiting for the bomb disposal squad to come from Marseilles, which was about 90km away…The wait in the heat seemed eternal, as most of us had dumped our water bottles to get through security, and the car park was about 30 degrees Centigrade. We were grateful that cloud cover increased, and that the staff brought us out some water.”

Aer Lingus passengers received a text from the company informing them about the position, and that the incoming aircraft would not land until the danger had passed.

perpignan“The drama unfolded before us – the airport was blocked off to incoming traffic, the television camera crews arrived, the air was full of sirens as emergency forces came, and eventually the bomb disposal crew came in, and a few minutes later there was a loud bang.  Within 10 minutes we were all back in the tiny building.

“The Aer Lingus incoming flight had been circling over the airport, waiting for the all clear, but then ran low on fuel and went to Toulouse to refuel, which caused a further delay.  After all the excitement the delayed flight landed three hours late at Dublin on Friday evening.”dublin screengrab

Dublin was voted in joint fifth position on the list of world’s friendliest cities selected by Condé Nast Traveller readers, who declared, Dublin is a vibrant city that’s a bibliophile’s dream. Apart from being green, lush, and very walkable, it’s also the kind of place you stop in for a drink in a local pub, only to end up chatting with the locals for the next five hoursAuckland and Melbourne shared top spot while Johannesburg was voted the unfriendliest. The full list: 1 (tied) Auckland and Melbourne; 3 Victoria in BC Canada; 4 Charleston in South Carolina; 5 (tied) Dublin and Sydney, 7 Siem Reap in Cambodia; 8 Cape Town; 9 (tied) Savannah and Sevilla; 11 (tied)  Budapest and Salzburg. The ten least friendly were: 1 Johannesburg; 2 Cannes; 3 Moscow; 4 Paris; 5 Marseille;  6 Beijng; 7 Frankfurt; 8 Milan; 9 Monte Carlo; 10 Nassau. Charleston was voted America’s friendliest city in the survey, followed by: 2 Galena, Illinois; 3 Savannah, Georgia; 4 Asheville, North Carolina; and 5. Austin, Texas. The five least friendly were: 1 Newark, New Jersey; 2 Oakland, California; 3 New Haven, Connecticut; 4 Detroit, Michigan; and 5 Atlantic City, New Jersey.

Paul carty guinness grave_0053Picture shows Paul Carty of the Guinness Storehouse, Chair of the Irish Travel Industry Confederation, on a visit to Arthur Guinness’s grave at Oughterard Co Kildare. Arthur’s Way, a 16km trail from the site of Guiness’s first brewery in Leixlip to his burial spot at Oughterard (of the Kildare, NOT the Galway persuasion), was launched last week. See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.

 

Travel Trade

Exif_JPEG_PICTURETourism Authority of Thailand hosted 900 travel media, bloggers, celebrities and travel industry executives from 47 countries as part of its post-crisis recovery campaign, focusing on marketing and social media managers rather than product managers. TAT London invited 16 English tour operators, three South African tour operators, six South African media, four English media and Fionn Davenport from Ireland. The group is pictured in Kanchanaburi. They travelled on to Hua Hin to showcase the variety and beauty Thailand has to offer within just three hours of Bangkok. They experienced jungle, floating rafts, ancient Khmer ruins, an elephant sanctuary, trekking, the beach, night markets, rooftop bars, pool parties, local restaurants, fine dining, street markets, flower markets, temples, and long tail boat river trips.

 

sinead reilly

  • Travelport reported in its Q2 results that 50 airlines have signed for Rich Content & Branding in addition to their merchandising capabilities. The group said it had expanded Beyond Air capabilities through strategic investments, purchased Hotelzon, a European based provider of corporate hotel booking technology, purchased 49pc of Locomote, an Australian based corporate travel procurement and management platform and purchased a further 16pc of eNett, their B2B payments company, taking their share from 57pc to 73pc in a transaction valuing the company at approximately $450m. Traveport signed a new long term agreement with Delta Air Lines to host their core reservations and operations systems. Travelport Britain and Ireland appointed Paul Broughton from Chambers Travel Management as Commercial Director and Claire Osborne to the newly created role of Technical Director. Picture shows Sinead Reilly of Travelport.
  • Antonio Padeira, director of marketing at Portugal’s Tourism Institute, has been nominated by Turismo de Portugal as the new Director for the Ireland and British Markets.
  • The trade expressed concern over TUI’s takeover of the Aphrodite Hills Resort in Cyprus, a big seller for the Irish trade, after Thomson/TUI announced it will rebrand the resort under its Sensatori name ready for summer 2015.

Hotels

lough eske 001Donegal continues to top Trivago’s Irish hotel price index for July, followed by Galway and Killarney with Limerick the most inexpensive. The full list in alphabetical order, with year on year comparisons, is: Belfast €121 (-16pc), Cork €109 (+3pc), Derry €102 (-9pc), Donegal €176 (+30pc), Dublin  €131 (+24pc), Galway €138 (+1pc), Kilkenny €108 (-9pc), Killarney €138 (-4pc), Limerick €83 (-2pc), Sligo €127 (+2pc), Waterford €98 (-4pc). London overtook Geneva in July in the chart of Europe’s most expensive hotel rooms, according to Trivago.westindublin_ext

  • The Westin Hotel on Dublin’s Westmoreland Street has been bought by John Malone for €65m. The Shelbourne Hotel on Dublin’s St. Stephen’s Green has been acquired by US property investment group, Kennedy Wilson. Bank of Ireland has sold half the outstanding €206m loan on the hotel to Kennedy Wilson in January. Killashee House hotel in Naas was sold for €13.2m by Brehon properties.
  • An Bord Pleanála refused Monteco Holdings’ appealed proposal to demolish and rebuild the Ormond Hotel. The hotel, which was built c.1900 and closed in 2005, famously featured in the Sirens episode of Ulysses. The plan was rejected on the grounds that it was likely to “seriously injure” the character of the conservation area. Permission was refused by DCC in February.
  • Corporate travel bed-bank HRS reported Dublin’s average room rate has increased by 16pc in the last two years, revising an earlier estimate.union-street
  • In what must rank as the week’s most outrageous publicity stunt, The Union Street Guest House in Hudson, NY was reported charging wedding guests $500 for every negative review and then refunded once the review is removed. The post was subsequently taken down, but of the 572 Yelp reviews online, 554 of them were posted on Monday after media outlets drew attention to the hotel’s policy.  “Please know that despite the fact that wedding couples love Hudson and our inn, your friends and families may not,” says the website. Yelp users have been having fun since: “They held me down and made me eat a fried rat. Could of [sic] been my ex-wife,” says one reviewer.
  • Portland has approved measures to legalise Airbnb. Residents must allow safety inspections to be carried out and apply for a $180 city permit. The peer to peer room rental agency remains illegal in many US cities, most notably New York.
  • USA Today listed the 10 best retro hotels in the US (although many of these establishments classify themselves as motels in keeping with 1950s nostalgia).peninsula
  • The publicity campaign for the recently refurbished €750m Peninsula Paris continues, having wowed the Wall Street Journal and Sydney Morning Herald among others: it now features the city’s most expensive suite. WATCH: Bloomberg’s Inside the New $1bn Posh Hotel in Paris.
  • Worldhotels expanded its partnership with TripAdvisor to allow access to real time rates and availability on TripAdvisor’s new platform TripConnect.
  • Donna Sargent of DAA has committed to competing in five separate endurance events to raise money for Special Olympics Ireland, Cystic Fibrosis Ireland and the Jack & Jill Foundation. So far, Donna has successfully completed the 20k Hell & Back challenge, the Wicklow Adventure Race and a half marathon. This month, she is preparing for Gael Force. Donna is going to complete the five adventures challenge by climbing Kilimanjaro in October.

InternationalOutdoor Weddings at Inchydoney

The winners of the European leg of the World Travel Awards were revealed in Athens. On an obvious roll after hosting the opening stages of the Tour de France, Yorkshire was the surprise winner of Europe’s Leading Destination. Lufthansa won Europe’s Leading Airline and Zurich the Airport award. Other winners included: Monarch (Charter Airline); Lufthansa First Class, Frankfurt (Airline Lounge); Corfu, (Beach Destination); Geneva (City Break Destination); Pullman Timi Ama Sardegna, Italy (Beach Resort); Pestana Porto Santo (All Inclusive Resort); Hotel Les Ottomans, Turkey (All Suite Hotel); Vila Joya, Portugal (Boutique Hotel); Choupana Hills Resort & Spa, Portugal (Boutique Resort); Mövenpick Hotel Istanbul, (Business Hotel); Norwegian Cruise Line (Cruise Line); DFDS Seaways (Ferry Operator); and Europcar (Car Rental Company). The Irish winners were Conrad Dublin (Leading Hotel); Dromoland Castle (Boutique Hotel); Inchydoney (Spa Resort); Presidential Suite at the Conrad Dublin (Hotel Suite); Hilton Dublin (Business Hotel); and Powerscourt (Hotel Residences).

s africa immigration

  • South Africa’s controversial new immigration rules will come into effect on October 1. Parents travelling with a child must produce an unabridged birth certificate for the child; copies are acceptable. The new rules state that an affidavit will be required if both parents are not travelling with the children, or court order or death certificate for a deceased parent.
  • The Riggs-Long family suffered a real-life nightmare of Scooby Doo proportions: the family of five were left trapped at the top of Adventure Island’s Ferris wheel as staff started closing up for the night; though they weren’t trapped for long (2mins 58 seconds to be precise, according to Adventure Island). Free wristbands and meals were offered to make up for the ordeal after the adventure park apologised to the family.
  • The TBEX travel bloggers’ conference due to be held next month in Cancun, which describes itself as “the world’s largest gathering of travel bloggers, writers, and new media content creators,” is the latest in a string of tourism companies to be put under pressure for their association with dolphin or whale tours. The conference, which came to Dublin last year, proved to be not as worldwide as their self-promotion suggested and consisted of mainly US based bloggers. They were criticised for offering attendees the opportunity to sign up to two tours at a dolphinarium in Cancun.
  • Outdoor holiday specialist Pitchup.com, which offers over 5,000 sites across nine European countries, said lodges and static caravan holidays were now the new way to camp.Liebesstein-Alte-Bruecke-HDM_03
  • Heidelberg says it has found a solution to the problem of the weight of love locks. The Heidelberg Liebesstein a 3.5 tonne sandstone structure erected on the Nepomuk Terrace by the famous Old Bridge. It was officially unveiled in summer 2013 and is already adorned with many hundreds of padlocks from around the world. The idea was conceived by the city marketing team.
  • Blackpool was reported as trying to return to its family-friendly heyday, a throwback to the late Ken Lendrum’s famous Blackpool campaigns with the Irish travel trade.
  • New York real estate developer Blayne Ross is looking to crowd-fund the construction of a floating beach on the Hudson River. The proposed beach will be built on a barge on the river and will include shops, a food court and changing rooms.
  • Phillipines Airlines told visitors to Thailand not to pack George Orwell’s dystopian novel 1984. At least one person has been arrested while reading the novel in public.
  • The collapse of Labirint left 27,000 Russian tourists stranded abroad. Russia’s Tourhelp service has spent the week trying to get those stranded on flights chartered by other firms. Labirint is the fourth Russian tour operator to halt operations in the past three weeks.
  • Coral Sea Waterworld resort in Sharm el Sheikh faced claims legal action after around 100 holidaymakers came down with a bug allegedly caused by food poisoning. Many of the ill guests took to TripAdvisor to vent their anger. Some guests claimed to have been so sick they had to be given an IV drip.  A compensation firm, Your Holiday Claims, claimed that  70 holidaymakers were struck by a vomiting bug in two Spanish hotels.
  • A Kenyan ranger told The London Telegraph about the increasingly tough task of protecting Africa’s wildlife.
  • A 25-year-old Irish woman who was backpacking across Australia’s outback was charged with hiding the body of her new-born.
  • The London Telegraph published a guide to holiday shopping can incur its own set of charges and fees.
  • Minneapolis will host the 52nd Super Bowl in their new Minnesota Stadium in February 2018.
  • Explore has late availability for September tours on their eight-day Pedalling in Poland.
  • Universal Orlando Resort celebrated its one millionth rider on the Hogwarts Express.
  • Vienna is to host the 2015 Eurovision Song Contest.

Food & Wine

Latte art

Picture by GoToVan via Flickr

Budding baristas are invited to take part in the National Home Barista competition at the inaugural Dublin Coffee & Tea Festival at the RDS. The festival takes place September 12—14.

  • Clodagh McKenna is hosting an Italian cookery evening at her Blackrock restaurant on August 21. Over cocktails and canapés, Clodagh will demonstrate how to prepare homemade pasta, risotto and panna cotta. As well as the demonstration, guests will enjoy a four-course dinner. Admission €55. Places can be booked on 01-2122981.
  • The Kitchen at Howth’s Castle Cookery School will host an evening class on using the right knife for cooking takes place tomorrow (August 11). Participants will learn how to correctly sharpen a knife on steel and learn how to correctly adopt the brunoise and chiffonade techniques. Punters will also prepare a three-course dinner. Admission €65.
  • The Big Grill BBQ festival and competition takes place in Hermitage Park, Ballsbridge next weekend, August 15—17. Weekend passes cost €25 and day passes cost €10. Family day passes cost €30.
  • Rudy Kurniawan was sentenced to 10 years in prison and ordered to pay a $20m fine and $28m in restitution for selling millions of dollars’ worth of fraudulent wine. Kurniawan was considered one of the world’s finest aficionados until police discovered he was labelling newer vintages as expensive wines in his kitchen. The scheme ran from 2004 to 2012. It is believed he sold up to 12,000 bottles at an auction in 2006. Billionaire Bill Koch, restaurateur David Doyle and former head of Vornado Realty Michael Fascitelli were among those duped by Kurnaiwan.

Aviation

Enda CorneilleThe news that Enda Corneille, ex Aer Lingus (pictured), is to be the new Ireland manager of Emirates was prematurely leaked – while Enda was on holidays.

Irish air traffic increased 1.8pc in July. North Atlantic Communications flights increased 2.9pc and en route traffic increased 0.7pc. There was an average of 1,712 daily flights during July and the busiest day was July 17, with 1,853 flights in Irish airspace. The month saw 29,888 en route traffic movements and 41,369 North Atlantic Communications flights. Commercial terminal traffic for Shannon, Dublin and Cork airports for January—July was up by 5.9pc. The individual figures for the three state airports for July: Dublin, up 3.3pc with an average 541 daily commercial movements; Cork, down 5.4pc with an average 66 daily commercial movements; and Shannon, up 18.3pc with an average of 74 commercial daily movements.Airfasttickets_IATA_Koklonis_debt

It is likely IATA will propose moving towards weekly remittances as the collapse of US-based OTA AirFastTickets seems imminent. Airfast says it still remains hopeful that it could still reach an agreement with IATA despite being put in default over €45m in unpaid bills, €22m in Germany, €14m in England and €9m in Greece, birthplace of AirFastTickets 30-year-old founder Nikolaos Koklonis.

  • Vance Street Capital bought Shannon-based aircraft coating company Eirtech for an undisclosed amount. Eirtech employs 250 people and is estimated to have an enterprise value of €36m.
  • Ryanair’s Q1 figures indicated it has a 13pc share of the European market. It claims a 40pc share of seats in Ireland, a 28pc market share in Malta, followed by 27pc in Poland, 21pc each in Italy and Belgium, 18pc in Spain, 13pc each in England and Portugal, 6pc in France, and 4pc in Germany.
  • Ryanair July traffic grew 4pc to 9.15m customers. Load factor rose 3pc to 91pc. Aer Lingus July passenger numbers were up 6.2pc to 1.212m passengers. Load factor for the month was down 0.6pc to 87.3pc. Ryanair’s average fare is expected to rise 2pc to €47 this year, according the company’s Q1 results.  The traffic estimate for the year 2014-15 has been increased to 86m from 84.6m and for 2015-16 from 89m to 90m.
  • Ethiopian CEO Tewolde Gebremariam told USA Today that fllghts to Los Angeles will commence June 2015if everything goes as expected” (via Dublin, as first reported by Travel Extra, listen here).
    michael cawley
  • Michael Cawley (pictured), who worked with Ryanair for 17 years, was appointed to the Ryanair board.
  • July was the busiest month in the history of Knock airport with 91,000 passengers.
  • Ryanair called on the DAA to extend the operating hours of ‘self-service’ border control gates in Dublin Airport’s T1 to beyond their current 5pm cut-off. The DAA responded by saying that immigration was the responsibility of INIS and the Garda Siochána.
  • British Airways services from London Heathrow to Freetown (FNA) and Monrovia (ROB) are temporarily suspended until August 31 because of the Ebloa virus.
    Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak
  • Malaysia Airlines shares were suspended as state investment firm Khazanah Nasional, which currently owns 69.4pc of the airline, prepared to buy out minority shareholders and take the airline back under complete government control. The delisting is to prepare for a ‘complete overhaul’ of the troubled airline which is likely to include a name change. Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak (pictured, see statement here) said a detailed plan will be announced by end-August. Peter Gasca offered five crisis management lessons to learn from Malaysian Airlines.
  • Air New Zealand’s CEO Christopher Luxon apologised again to passengers affected by the longs delays on flight N29 from Honolulu to Auckland last week. A review of the delay, which left 227 passengers waiting for three days while the airline fixed its aircraft, concluded that some staff “may have failed to meet the high standards expected of them”. Passengers were compensated with NZ$1,000. Luxon said: “I would like to apologise again to our customers whom we let down in Honolulu. This disruption should have been managed better on many levels and some valuable lessons have been learned across our airline.”
  • Buy your currency before you reach the airport is Aideen Sheehan of the Irish Independent’s advice. The reporter found that holidaymakers could save €22 by changing €500 in US dollars before coming to the airport and €23 by shopping around before changing €500 in sterling. Victorias_Secret_2_600
  • The Loop at Dublin and Cork Airports, Jo Malone in T2, Victoria Secrets and the newly redesigned Topaz filling station at Dublin airport have all been announced as finalists in the Retail Excellence Annual Awards in separate categories. Picture shows Karen Grehan (centre) Manager Victoria Secrets in T2 and finalist in the Manager of the Year Category.
  • EasyJet saw an 8pc increase in passenger traffic last month (6.4m passengers) leading Natalie Thomas of The London Telegraph to suggest England was beating Ireland’s Ryanair in the race for new fliers. ray conner john leahy
  • Cancellations have turned around Airbus’s lead over Boeing in the latest round of the battle for dominance between the aviation giants. Airbus won 980 aircraft orders between January and July but this fell to 705 after cancellations, most notably  Emirates’ cancellation of an order for 70 A350s. Boeing won 837 gross orders but overtook Airbus with 783 net sales after cancellations. Boeing’s Ray Conner (pictured on left) leads John Leahy of Airbus (on right) by a huge margin in the wide-body market, 273-27 following cancellations. Although Airbus has commitments for 121 new A330neos, none were finalised by the end of July. Since the order sheet was compiled, Boeing added an order for 40 wide body jets from All Nippon Airways and Airbus added 8 wide body orders by Willie Walsh’s IAG.
  • Michael O’Leary said he hoped Boeing will develop a 198-seat 737 which he would consider for order in 2019-25. He will also consider the Airbus A320 in that period. He said he has no intention of changing Ryanair’s existing 180-aircraft order due for delivery between September this year and 2018 for 189-seat 737-800s.
  • Denis O’Brien sold €4.7m worth of shares in Aer Lingus, reducing his stake in the company to less than 3pc.
  • Wizz Air will launch a twice-weekly service from Belfast International to Vilnius, Lithuania, on April 22, 2015 (flying Wednesdays and Sundays).
  • An Air India aircraft had to be grounded and fumigated after a rat was spotted scurrying around the passenger cabin.SJM-SJSTOW-0806-01
  • The San Jose stowaway, Marilyn Jean Hartman (pictured), who took a Southwest Airlines flight from San Jose to Los Angeles without a ticket tried at least three times that day to breach airport security before she managed to board the plane, federal law enforcement officials claimed.
  • Whichairline.com claimed that the average fares on Europe’s major low-cost airlines have increased. By comparing the average cost of a one-way ticket in 2013 with 2014 figures, the site found that Ryanair’s fares have increased 12pc (€58.45 to €65.67). The study found that EasyJet fares increased from €72.97 to €87.44 (+19.8pc) and Wizz Air increased from €60.74 to €70.62 (+13.5pc). A spokesperson from Ryanair discredited the research, describing it as “hopelessly inaccurate”. “Ryanair’s average fare fell by 4pc to €46 last year,” they said.Piquardo, T2 copy
  • Picture shows: Sales assistants Diana Baibarina and Maria Berlin ready to serve at the new Piquadro store in Dublin Airport Terminal 2,. Piquadro’s first in Ireland. Piquadro specialises in innovative business bags and accessories, laptop cases, wallets, business card holders as well as covers for mini and full-size iPads. Earlier this summer National Geographic opened its first Irish store in Terminal 1.
  • Mountains of suitcases have been piling up in Rome’s Fiumcino since Sunday as over 100 flights have reportedly left Rome without any luggage on board as a silent slow-down of baggage delivery turned into a strike by hundreds of baggage handlers.
  • Turkish Airlines was forced to cancel 201 flights across Istanbul Ataturk, Milas Bodrum, Ankara and Anatalya airports due to adverse weather conditions. Irish flights were not affected.
  • Dublin airport saw 2.3m passengers in July. The year to date figure is 12.3m, up 7pc, putting the airport on course for 21.6m passengers this year. Transatlantic traffic to North America is up 15pc. BritishAirways_77_BA179_GYMMO_DUB_070814_2282
  • Mike Kelly’s photograph shows the BA diversion to Dublin because of a sick passenger.
  • A man was apprehended under the Mental Health Act after a bomb hoax resulted in military jets escorting a Qatar Airways flight in to land at Manchester Airport.
  • American Airlines is scrapping first-class meals on flights less than three hours from September 1. First class passengers will have to settle for a packaged snack on flights under an hour, a snack in a basket on flights running one to two hours and a snack in a basket with fruit, breads and sandwiches on flights up to 2 hours and 45 minutes long. The snacks-only rule does not apply to all routes – American will keep the meals on about 15 routes used heavily by business passengers.
  • Air Seychelles announced a codeshare agreement with Alitalia. The new deal opens up flights from Rome, Milan and Venice to Seychelles via Abu Dhabi.ryanair couple
  • Jamie Kelly, a love-struck Galwegian, launched a Twitter campaign to track down a Canadian woman called Kate who he met on a Ryanair flight from Barcelona to Dublin last week. Using the hashtags ‘#loveatfirstflight’ and ‘#findkate’, Jamie managed to find Kate and was reunited with her on the Ray D’Arcy Show. It looks like Michael O’Leary’s cuddly persona rubbed off on the Ryanair Romeo…
  • The Labour Court found that Ryanair did not discriminate against a Polish staff member who was laid off last year.
  • The long-running pension dispute at Aer Lingus could cost the airline €4m by year end. The airline has already forked out €1.9m in legal and professional fees.
  • Swedish airline Fly Olympic AB blamed its demise on the new services from Gatwick to Eritrea and Somalia, which performed below expectations. As with all scheduled airline failures, there was no protection for consumers when it failed, leaving thousands of people stranded.
  • Hertz is offering 31 Ryanair customers who book a car with any of the three car rental brands Hertz, Thrifty or Firefly the chance to receive a €250 refund.
  • United points are now available on Aer Lingus’s Dublin to San Francisco service.
  • Aer Arann changed its air traffic control callsign to Stobart Air. 
  • Passenger numbers increased 4pc at Aerfort na Minne Connemara airport.
  • Peter Costelloe and Michael Ryan ‘s EVS Aviation opened a fixed base operation at Cork Airport.
  • Cathay Pacific cut back on premium economy seats.
  • Ethiopian Airlines accepted its ninth Dreamliner.
  • Singapore Airport revealed its €1m redesign plans.
  • Azerbaijan Airlines will commence flights from Baku to JFK Airport from September 24.
  • Alitalia sealed the deal with Etihad on Friday.
  • United is to offer passport scanning functionality on the airline’s mobile app.

AfloatAzamara

  • Azamara offered 50pc off companion voyage fares on 2015/16 voyages.
  • Norwegian Cruise Line announced a ‘Bring your Friends and Family for Free’ promotion until Tuesday, August 26.
  • Talk about seasick: A poll by Bonvoyage.co.uk found that the average cruise passenger consumes 42 bottles of beer, 16 cocktails, 7 bottles of wine, 16 shots of whiskey and 2 glasses of champagne on a single voyage.
  • A professor at Rome’s Sapienza University is facing a disciplinary hearing after inviting Captain Francesco Schettino of the shipwrecked Costa Concordia cruise liner to lecture students on emergency procedures.
  • Carnival plans to build a $70m cruise port facility on Tortuga Island off Haiti. Royal Caribbean already has a cruise facility in Labadee.

IrelandDuncannon Sand Sculptor copy

Professional sand sculptors will be onsite on Duncannon Beach in Co Wexford from Monday, August 11 creating giant sand-sculpted masterpieces under the 2014 theme of Jurassic Beach for the 28th annual Duncannon Sand Sculpting Festival will take place from August 15 to 17. Picture shows sand sculptor, Daniel Doyle putting the finishing touches to a sand sculpture for the 2013 annual Sand Sculpting Festival.

To celebrate Heritage Week (August 23—31), OPW in Meath invites music lovers to take part in a drumming workshop on the Hill of Tara; August 23, 2pm—5pm. John Bowker of Tribal Spirit Drumming will be there to lead 200 drummers throughout the three-hour event. Suitable for children aged 8+, drums provided, free admission. Book a place at artsoffice@meathcoco.ie. OPW is also organising stargazing at Newgrange (Aug 31, 8pm—10.30pm, free event) and a recital by Army Number 1 Band at Trim Castle (Aug 24, 2pm—3.15pm, free event). See here for the full list of events.TOP TRAVEL BLOGGER TAKES ON “CHALLENGE OF HER LIFETIME” –

  • Picture shows Finnish travel blogger Satu Vänskä-Westgarth is who is to cycle the entire Wild Atlantic Way, or some 2,500 km along Ireland’s western seaboard over the next five weeks.
  • Over 20,000 overseas tourists are expected for the Croke Park Classic between University of Central Florida and Penn State on August 30th.
  • The annual Abbeyshrule Airshow and Village Festival takes place August 15—17. Highlights of this year’s event include displays by European Aerobatic champion pilot David Bruton, an Irish coast guard helicopter and a jump by the tandem sky diving team.
  • Water supplies on Inis Méain and Inis Oírr were dangerously low this week. Up to 240,000 litres of water had to be transported daily to the islands.
  • Twelve beaches were closed by Fingal County Council during the week because of concerns over water pollution. The ban was lifted on Saturday.
  • Brian Ború is the central theme of this year’s Milwaukee Irish Fest from August 14-17. Delegations from Killaloe where he was born, Clontarf where he was killed following his victory over the Viking rulers of Dublin in 1014, St Patrick’s Cathedral in the City of Armagh where he is buried; the Rock of Cashel where he was crowned High King of Ireland; and Lough Derg and the River Shannon where his navy was located.IRELAND GETS THE ‘OZ’ FACTOR
  • Tourism Ireland and Travellers Choice hosted nine Australian travel agents visiting Ireland this week at Dublin Horse Show, the Book of Kells, Guinness Storehouse, Sliabh League Cliffs, Sligo, Westport, Connemara and Galway. Picture shows Australian travel agents at the viewing point on Slieve League, Co Donegal, with tour guide Josephine O’Keeffe (second left); Christian Hunter, CEO of Travellers Choice (third left); and Máire Áine Gardiner, Fáilte Ireland (fourth left).ITAS Launch - Minister copy
  • Predictably, theft was the complaint for the majority of tourists that received assistance from The Irish Tourist Assistance Service, which dealt with 7,500 cases of tourist crime last year, assisting 13,000 tourists from 50 countries. The service reported 86pc of victimised tourists continued their holiday after ITAS intervention. Picture shows ITAS CEO Lisa Kennedy, Tourism Minister Pascal Donohoe and ITAS Chairman Martin Holohan at the launch of the ITAS report and 20th Anniversary of the Service at the Guinness Storehouse.
  • CEO of Irish Water Safety, John Leech, reported that lifeguards rescued 413 swimmers last month. One of the most venomous jellyfish that visit our waters, the Lions Mane Jellyfish, was spotted in Sutton. John Leech urged the public to use the Local Authority manned lifeguarded bathing places.Mukesh Sharma Mela 001
  • Belfast Mela, the Festival of World Cultures, sponsored by Turkish Airlines, was launched on board SS Nomadic in Belfast’s Titanic Quarter. Picture shows Mukesh Sharma of World Travel Centre and Board Member of ArtsEkta who organise the event, Nizam Bulut Corporate Account Manager for Turkish Airlines, event host Julian Simmons from UTV and East Belfast sisters Leona (6) and Cody (9) Kernaghan.

Fáilte Ireland published the Holidaymaker Study 2013, which analyses the views of almost 10,000 overseas and domestic holidaymakers who visited 11 holiday areas across Ireland between May and October 2013. All 11 regions scored above 4 out of 5 across key factors including friendliness of locals, landscapes and the availability of attractions. Some of the key insights in the report: Counties surrounding the capital were considered the friendliest region in Ireland, with an average score of 4.93 out of 5. West Cork and Clare proved to be the best areas for value for money when eating out. The North West, South East and the Dingle Peninsula scored particularly high for scenery. Scenery was cited as the top reason to all regions excluding Dublin and the Shannon corridor, where history and culture were the main motivation for holidaymakers to visit. Hotels were the leading source of accommodation in all regions with B&Bs putting in strong performances in the Dingle peninsula, the ring of Kerry, Clare, Galway, Mayo and West Cork. Hotels, restaurants and pubs were the main venues for eating out, but cafés were especially popular in Kerry. The results for the individual destination surveys are available too:

An analysis by Eurocontrol shows that four of Ireland’s top 10 airport pairs showed growth (or neutral growth).The most significant growth was for Manchester-Dublin (+9.1pc), Newark-London/Heathrow (+6.3pc) and London/Heathrow-Dublin (+4.3pc):

eurocontrol3

 

Eurocontrol’s data of Ireland’s major departing and arriving flows during July:

eurocontrol1

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

Travel Extra’s Sunday Supplement: Texas next for the Slanty Shamrock? & Footstepping Arthur Guinness

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Preparations for the Vinegar Hill re-enactment.

HEADLINESAVIATIONAFLOATFOOD & WINEHOTELS – INTERNATIONALIRELANDTRAVEL TRADE

The headlines this week:

*Upbeat Quarters for Lingus and Ryanair

*Texas Next for Aer Lingus?

*Footstepping Arthur Guinness

*Inbound Tourists to Ireland up 10.3pc

*Club Travel Wins Back Irish Government Travel Account

Travel Extra TV

Our video of the week comes from glasnevertrust.ie. Using a drone camera, director Peter Martin captured beautiful, swooping shots of Glasnevin Cemetery and the National Botanic Gardens. The footage is complemented with a gorgeous soundtrack by Kíla.

  • Using a GoPro camera, YouTube user Kenneth Pagh shot footage of a huge school of jellyfish near Langeland Island, Denmark. Watch here.
  • Digital Agenda EU posted an animated video explaining the new roaming price caps introduced at the start of the month. Watch here.
  • Aer Lingus posted a digital showcase of its new business class service, which will be launched in March 2015. Watch here.

Headlines

ryanair-lingus

Lingus: Credit Aero Icarus via Flickr

Ryanair and Aer Lingus reported upbeat quarterly results. Average Ryanair fares rose 6pc and Aer Lingus 5.5pc, but are set to fall again 6pc in winter. Ryanair said the earlier launch of the summer schedule and rise in forward bookings saw load factor rise 4pc to 86pc and “enabled us to better manage close-in yields”. Ryanair’s Q1 profit was €197m, up 152pc, revenue up 11pc, traffic up 4pc, fare up 9pc but they say the “result was distorted by the timing of a very strong Easter”. The airline expects full year traffic to grow by 5pc to 86m. Michael O’Leary said he was considering going to Airbus and looking to the A320 to compete with 200-seat Max for the next Ryanair order. O’Leary told the Ryanair results presentation: “We had a very strong Q1 and we’re headed for a strong H1. This being nice to people is working a treat! IKEA, Aldi, Lidl have shown how to be softer in communications. We went too far down the road of the Millwall strategy.”

Despite the €10m impact of strike action, Aer Lingus’ Q2 2014 operating profit of €38.7m million was its best reported second quarter result for at five years, 33pc up on 2013. Operating loss for the first half of the year was 9.9pc. All the talk at the Aer Lingus results was of new transatlantic routes for 2015, with United’s hub in Houston or American’s hubs in Dallas and Miami the likely targets. “I will not mention any destinations but we have very concrete plans, there is more good news to come and that will happen while I am still here,” Aer Lingus CEO Christoph Mueller said. Transfer traffic on Aer Lingus services was up 33pc. New routes will be underpinned by gateway to gateway traffic which have constituted about 50pc of Aer Lingus transatlantic sales up to June, with 20pc fed into North American Gateways (fuelled by United, JetBlue and Air Canada) and 30pc feeding the Irish Gateways.  The Aer Lingus brand share of passengers at Dublin, Cork and Shannon for H1 was 45pc. The Aer Lingus share of direct transatlantic passengers was 53pc.

The airline reported its product improvements: re-designed lie-flat Business Class seats/beds, service attuned to time of day (including quiet night time services), food, entertainment, lounge and amenity upgrades, a website and app re-launch, the move to Heathrow T2 and the extension of pre-clearance to afternoon flights to the USA.  See results here and presentation here. There was much comment on the labour relations strategy.

Hurtigruten maxine dunsdon daniel giles

Hurtigruten Ireland and Britain manager Maxine Dunsdon and Daniel Giles Hurtgiruten’s Regional Sales Manager Ireland (pictured), along with Ron Carlisle Groups Co-ordinator for Hurtgirutnen, hosted the travel trade at the Shackleton Exhibition at Dun Laoghaire ferry port and a barbecue afterwards at the Royal St George yacht club to launch their winter and 2015 programme. The Nordnodgre will be returning to the Svalbard/Spitzbergen run for the summer in 2015. See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook. Hurtigruten have a new Dublin charter direct to Tromsø on Feb 16 for a 5 day Arctic Highlights tour from €1,237pp. News for winter 2014-15 includes a new transfer option at Kirkenes airport to the Snow Hotel, clients can now transfer by dog sleigh and a new 8 day Arctic Explorer itinerary and join a new whale watching excursion. The 2015 Norwegian voyages programme has added a new experience of sleeping out on deck on all coastal ships under the midnight sun. Voyage of the Vikings will depart in September 2015 with dedicated lectures. The Explorer voyages programme will feature kayaking, fishing with the officers, sleeping out on deck and overnight camping.1Aer Lingus reunion hostess

Patrick Loueiro, who was born on an Aer Lingus flight 39 years ago, was reunited this week with the cabin crew that helped deliver him.  He was delivered by cabin crew member Jackie Ryan, a former nurse, and assisted by a doctor who was travelling on board a Mozambique-Portugal flight on June 11, 1975. He was the only baby to be born on board an Aer Lingus flight. RTÉ 2FM researcher Dave Sherry decided to track down Patrick after reading about his story in an issue of Cara magazine. Here’s the strange bit: it turned out that Dave’s mother, Anne, was a member of cabin crew on that very flight. Patrick (named after the 747 aircraft, St Patrick) flew in from Portugal to Dublin on Tuesday to have a reunion lunch with 12 members of the original crew to celebrate the anniversary of the mid-air birth. Picture shows Jackie Ryan with Patrick. Listen to Patrick on the Ryan Tubrity show this week.

Fáilte Ireland noted that Ireland is set for the best tourism season since the downturn began after the CSO’s half time report show number of tourists inbound to Ireland are up 10.3pc for the first half of 2014 (324,400 additional visitors), Britain is up 14pc (slightly higher than anticipated and indicating increased market share), North America up 11pc, Europe up 6pc (Germany up 18pc, Spain up 22pc and Italy up 4pc), Australia and long-haul up 14pc. France and Italy remain sluggish.

liam lonergan 150

Liam Lonergan’s Club Travel has won back the Government of Ireland’s travel account it lost to Carlson Wagonlit Travel in 2012. The account covers about 30,000 flights a year and is believed to be worth about €6m, down from a peak of €12m in the glory days of the Celtic Tiger. Yvonne Nolan who was responsible for the government travel account at CWT recently joined Etihad.

Travel Tradetcc

The Travel Corporation team hosted 68 members of the trade in the Clarion Hotel in Cork. Picture shows Rosanna Leary, Sharon Jordan, Donna Kenny and Carole Carmody. See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook. The agents were updated at a training event on the TTC portfolio of products. Contiki‘s new 2015-2016 programme is now on sale with 22 itineraries. Insight Vacations has launched its 2015/16 USA & Canada including Hawaii and Alaska programme, featuring 16 premium and nine Gold Luxury escorted journeys. Contiki launched its 2015-2016 USA programme with great early booking discounts of up to €710pp. Uniworld has introduced of their all-inclusive packages in Europe, a new Super Ship Catherine and new itineraries in France.

British Airways said that all Ireland Group Sales are to be transferred to the airline’s Group Sales office in Manchester. New contact details will be in place from this date. Details of the groups’ terms and conditions can be found on batraveltrade.com. For all new and existing bookings, Irish travel agents can call: +3531-5319039 Monday to Friday 08.30—17.00. The airline thanked Michelle, Carol and Sally for all their help and support in the past.

Lowcostbeds, in association with the Maltese Tourist board, are hosting a Fam trip to Malta from October 6. Agents who make a booking to Malta before August 8 could win a place on the trip. Send your name with bookings to Grainne Caffrrey before August 11. Another Lowcost Beds trade competition offers agents who make a booking to Blue Sea properties before August 31 the chance to win one week’s accommodation at Blue Sea Los Fiscos Apartments.

  • Sabre is to offer GDS limo bookings.
  • Travelport has now signed up 50 airlines to participate in its Rich Content and Branding Technology.Flybe at London City copy
  • The ITAA Affiliate Programme reported its 70th member, flybe.
  • Drew Duggan’s Adventure Holidays‘ top-selling products this year include self-guided leisure cycling and walking holidays, particularly with the over 50s market to destinations with short transit times and where clients can arrive on any day of the week and this way we can get great value airfares. Biggest long haul adventure/active holiday trip is the Lycian Way with good connections with Turkish allowing us to include a stopover in Istanbul. Adventure Holidays pioneered holidays in Puglia on the new Ryanair service to Bari, as well as walking holidays in Andalucia, particularly the Las Alpujarras, a low level walking holiday and hour and a half from Malaga. It is priced at €600pp including private transfers, accommodation on HB, route notes & maps and luggage transfers. Beyond the French Rivera self-guided walking tours and Lake Constance cycling holidays are selling well.
  • Travelport has increased its stake in eNett International, their joint payments venture with PSP International from 57pc to 73pc.
  • BookaBed has signed a deal with the Freedom Travel Group and Co-operative Personal Travel Advisors, strengthening the company’s presence in the English market.
  • GTI new tours on sale include Chasing the Northern Lights, travelling Winter 2014 & Spring 2015, battlefield tours with additional dates for 2014 and May 2015, Corfu, Sardinia and Majorca tours are back for Autumn 2014.
  • patrick lukan1Patrick Lukan, ex-Travelport and CWT, has been appointed Chief Commercial Officer at CityJet to lead the newly independent airline’s commercial team. Cityjet confirmed that John Donohue is to join Patrick on the team as Sales and Relationship Manager Ireland & Britain. John Donohue says it is an exciting time to be joining Cityjet with its newfound freedom from Air France ownership and his specialist field will be working with the trade and with corporates, the lifeblood for a primarily business oriented airline. John Donohue’s long career in the travel industry includes spells at JWT, British Midland and Maersk air before joining Bournemouth airport. He founded aereps in 2006 and it gained prominence with the addition of high profile accounts form Las Vegas in 2007 and NYC&Co in 2008. He says aereps will be wound down over the coming months “to everybody’s satisfaction”. Frances O’Reilly and Gary Byrne are the company’s other full time employees.
  • Travel Counsellors will have a group of 55 coming to the Travel Trade Fun day on August 24.
  • Adventure travel specialist Explore reported a 25pc increase in cycling holiday sales year on year, over the last 10-week period.TTC Justplit 001
  • Pictures shows Karen Hogan of Justsplit who won The Travel Corporation summer agent incentive, €1,000 home and garden make-over pictured with Jim Vaughan of Justsplit.
  • Fionnuala Carter’s skillsnet programme for the ITAA has brought the training scheme to a new level: Travel Law Webinar 3 with Anne Dolan features E-Commerce – Compliance Matters on Wed, August 13, 8:30am—10am. Cost is €25. Sign up and pay for one participant and receive additional free places for your company on request.
  • filippo tail
  • Emirates appointed Filippo Rocchi to the corporate sales team in Ireland, supporting Sales Manager, Anita Thomas. His experience includes Alitalia, Malev Hungarian Airlines and Ryanair, and travel agents including FCM Travel solutions and BCD travel.
  • This week’s offers from ITAA: 7 nights at Du Parc Hotel, Lake Garda, from €719pp, travel August 9; 14 nights at Kaseria Hotel Apartments, Gumbet, from €579pp, travel August 15; 10-night Orlando and Caribbean Cruise, from €1,199, travel August 28.
  • Hotels

    Huvafen Fushi, Maldives Small hotels survey

A Small Luxury Hotels of the World survey of 13,000 customers worldwide named Italy as the number one luxury holiday destination, Chanel as the top luxury brand, and the Nespresso coffee machine favourite in-room amenity. Free Wi-Fi was favoured over free breakfast and a Michelin star restaurant favoured over a rooftop bar.

  • The K Club has applied for permission to build another 70 rooms, bring the total to 139. Asked about the significance of the application, GM Michael Davern said that the golf business is not performing as it used to and the hotel business is performing better than it used to. He said that having only 69 rooms was a handicap for the K Club as it tried to compete for corporate business in the five-star sector.
  • HRS says that Dublin’s average room rate has increased by 6pc in the last two years, rising from €88 to €102 per night. With an increase of more than 10pc on last year, London has stolen the top spot from Copenhagen which now is on a par with Paris, both averaging €149 per room per night.
  • Hotel room taxes in Rome are to increase on September 1 as follows: €7 on five star hotels, €6 on four star hotels, €4 on three star hotels, €3 on two star hotels. The taxes are charged up to 10 nights.
  • Lonely Planet listed 10 hidden hotels you can’t reach by road. The list features Pilatus-Kulm, Lucerne, Switzerland accessible only by cogwheel railway; Hotel Annapurna, Samar Village, Upper Mustang, Nepal accessible only by foot or horseback; Taj Lake Palace, Udaipur, Rajasthan, accessible only by speedboat; Estancia Ricanor, Piedra del Fraile, Patagonia, accessible only by foot; Tree Hotel, Harads, Norbotten, Sweden, Berkeley River Lodge; The Kimberley, accessible only by by private plane, boat or helicopter; Burgh Island Hotel, Devon, accessible only by by sea-tractor; Refugio El Padrino, Puerto Williams, Isla Navarino, Chile accessible only by ferry through the Beagle Channel; Jules’ Undersea Lodge, Key Largo, Florida, accessible only by scuba dive; and (inevitably) a novelty, the Soyuz spacecraft.
  • Hotelwifitest.com is a new website that allows guests search for hotels with the fastest (and slowest) internet speeds and check whether free WiFi is available before they book. So far there are 150 Dublin reviews, 45 for Galway and 30 for Cork: hotelwifitest.com/hotels/ie/.
  • Businessman Edward Heaton received plenty of social media sympathy this week after he was charged £75 for three small bottles of water in London’s Wellesley Hotel.
  • Trivago.ie listed its top 10 hotel water slides in the world. Atlantis at The Palm resort in Dubai claimed the top spot, followed by Hard Rock Bali in Kuta and Ersan Resort & Spa in Bodrum. See the full list here.

InternationalPatrick Lencioni (1)

Patrick Lencioni will be keynote speaker at Virtuoso travel week place in Bellagio next week, August 9-15, talking about overcoming issues that sabotage long-term client loyalty. Irish luxury hotels traditionally attend the event which hosts some of the most important buyers of luxury travel.

  • Tourism Ireland signed up as a partner for ExploreGB, Visit Britain’s new showcase event which will debt at Ascot Racecourse in February 2015. 250 international travel buyers from more than 37 countries are expected to attend and over 150 suppliers have registered.
  • Picture by tiseb via Flickr
    Picture by tiseb via Flickr
  • The European Commission estimates that 20pc of holiday makers now opt for new packages, they might book their flights and a hotel from one operator and rent their car via another website. The Commission’s reforms have been stalled for a year and this week the Commission issued a reminder that member States have still not passed proposals made 12 months ago to reforms to meet these trends and to include additional cancellation rights, including immaterial damage, such as for a spoilt holiday, and ensuring that national insolvency protection schemes are recognised across borders.
  • According to a survey by AA Insurance, Irish holidaymakers are more likely to be robbed in Spain than any other tourist destination.
  • VisitScotland launched a survival guide for the Edinburgh Festivals. Visitors are also being encouraged to explore nearby regions including Perthshire, the Scottish Borders, Fife, Stirling and the Lothians in the ‘Exploring Further Afield’ section.
  • Two Irish climbers died when they fell 200m in the Dent du Geant area of the French Alps.
  • A 20-year-old man was killed after he was struck by lightning on LA’s Venice Beach. Twelve others were injured. The man’s death is the 15th fatal strike in the US so far this year, down significantly from 35 the same period last year.
  • Magaluf’s infamous Carnage nightclub – where video footage of an 18-year-old performing sex acts on a number of men was shot – was ordered to close down for 12 months.
  • The English Guardian listed 11 spectacular swimming pools on its Swimming Blog. A violin-shaped pool, the bathing ship on Berlin’s Spree River and the infinity pool at Singapore’s Marina Bay Sands hotel are among those listed.
  • August 25 is the start date of the Rathfarnham TV presenter Bazil Ashmawy’s intriguing new bucket-list TV series, ‘Fifty Ways to Kill Your Mammy’ on Sky. Wicklow based Baz start his travel TV career with RTÉ’s ‘How Low Can You Go’.
  • Wildlife charity Care for the Wild International called for tourists to stop taking selfies with tigers and other protected animals. The charity is pushing its No Photos, Please! campaign into Thailand next month. The charity’s campaigns and communications manager Chris Pitt told The English Guardian: “In Thailand it’s very popular to have a photo with a slow loris – people are encouraged to think they’re cute and good for a photo but these are nocturnal animals from the jungle being dragged around neon-lit resorts, with their teeth and claws clipped, having cameras flashed in their eyes.”
  • Picture by Unlisted Sightings via Flickr
    Picture by Unlisted Sightings via Flickr
  • Heathrow-car-rental.co.uk faced criticism this week for describing cyclists as a “hazard” and saying that they “become most indignant if you hit them”. The car hire firm said the advice aimed at foreign visitors to Britain was intended to be light-hearted and apologised for the remarks.
  • More pressure on Seaworld; Southwest Airlines and SeaWorld will end their long term marketing partnership later this year with both blaming the mutual decision on “shifting priorities”. Three aircraft in SeaWorld livery will be repainted in traditional Southwest colors. SeaWorld has described criticism from animal rights activists as “inaccurate and misleading”. Criticism has increased since the release of the Blackfish documentary last year.
  • US health officials are urging against non-essential travel to West Africa, as the Ebola outbreak worsens in Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone. The DFA updated its website but reassured visitors the risk that they have been exposed to the Ebola virus is extremely low.
  • Kentucky Tourism Development Finance Board voted $18 million in tax breaks for the controversial Christian theme park project.
  • Baltimore, Anaheim and San Antonio entered a unique convention partnership and agreed to promote each other for conventions.
  • Eighty-five Silverseas passengers were told they couldn’t disembark when Silver Discoverer’s docked in the former military port of Provideniya in the far northeast of Russia because they didn’t have the correct paperwork.
  • A cancelled project to build high speed trains links has now been reinstated by Thailand’s military government.
  • sally balcombeVisitBritain appointed Sally Balcombe, ex TUI, Opodo, Travelport and British Airways Holidays, as chief executive officer. Britain attracted a record 22,813,000 visitors in 2013 and is now the eighth most popular tourist destination for international visitors, behind France, USA, China, Spain, Italy, Turkey and Germany. Ireland is the fourth biggest source market for Britain with 2,395,000 visitors, 7pc of all visits and the seventh biggest in terms of spend. England is Ireland’s favourite international destination, sending 1.8m visitors, spending £594m. Ireland is the biggest source destination for Wales with 132,000 spending £25m. Ireland sent 107,000 visitors to Scotland, substantially down over the past three years from 156,000.

Food & Wine

A taste of our own medicine: a New York publican landed in hot water this week for drunksdisplaying a sign that banned drunken Irish. After receiving backlash from the Irish-American community, the Dock Bar & Grill doctored its “No Irish drunks” sign to read “No Sensitive Drunks”. This was following the viral image of a sign banning “loud American’s [sic]” from Peter’s Place café in Waterville. As social media controversy rumbled on before eventually fizzling out, chairman of Waterville Business Association Albert Walsh had the last word by countering Fitzgerald’s ban with a fitting soundbite: “There is a loud welcome in Waterville for all loud American visitors and friends.”westport festival

Come Dine With Me (with a twist) comes to Westport Food Festival, September 5—7: Punters are invited to purchase a €35 ticket for a five-course dinner…the catch is that they won’t know where they will be dining until a pre-dinner lottery at a drinks reception in the Clock Tavern. Fifteen restaurants are taking part in the event, which will mark the end of the festival.

John and Sally McKenna of guides,ie tweeted this last week. Is Ireland now part of the United Kingdom?

Aviation

Picture by ArunMarsh via Flickr

Picture by ArunMarsh via Flickr

Ryanair announced a Six Nations flight between Shannon and Cardiff for Wales v Ireland, departing 14.30 on Friday March 13 and returning from Cardiff on Sunday March 15 at 18.15. Two flights from Dublin depart at 10.55 and 14.05 on Friday 13 and return from Cardiff on Sunday 15 at 14.20 and 15.35.

  • It was reported in Turkey that Ryanair is preparing to fly there and that Ryanair is  looking to expand into the Middle East.  After Michael O’Leary commented that Ryanair could offer cheap flights to Moscow and the Middle East, The London Telegraph listed 7 destinations Ryanair could hypothetically service using its current fleet of 737-800s (which has a maximum range of 5,765km): Tel Aviv, Amman and Bahrain are among those listed. Skift reported 3 failing strategies behind European legacy airlines’ battle with Ryanair. Management Today compared Ryanair and Easyjet, how the numbers stack up.
  • With 134 direct return flights a week to North America,  Dublin was ranked 7th in Europe as a hub for transatlantic passengers ahead of Istanbul, Brussels and Gatwick, and behind Heathrow, Paris Charles De Gaulle, Frankfurt, Amsterdam, Madrid and Rome. The London Telegraph asked if Dublin Airport is eating Heathrow’s lunch?
  • Skyteam launched its new Go Round Asia and Southwest Pacific Pass, providing access to 26 countries.
  • Transavia.com joined the Flying Blue programme. Flying Blue members can now use their Flying Blue Miles to book transavia.com flights departing from Dutch airports.
  • American Airlines is to suspend the Dublin to JFK route between October 25 and March 29.
  • Christoph Mueller of Aer Lingus expressed his opposition to the opening of Ireland-US operations to non-EU carriers, as proposed in the Minister for Transport’s draft Aviation Policy. He noted that only two non-EU fifth freedom transatlantic operations remain and that they derive from rights given 20 years ago which would not be given today.  The proposed Ethiopian Addis-Dublin-LAX route clearly has some way to go.
  • Revenue at the Lufthansa-owned Shannon Aerospace Ltd increased in 2013 by 27pc to €71.69m. The numbers employed decreased marginally from 487 to 484.
  • WTM insights asked whether airline and hotel operators should be offering in-destination services, such as attraction tickets, on their mobile apps, with the rise of discounted data roaming deals.Opening of National Geographic store
  • Picture shows Aodhan Keenan (7) and his sister, Aoibheann (6) at the launch of the National Geographic store in Terminal 1, Dublin Airport. The 300 gate area has been transformed into a brighter area for passengers in T1 and a major retail development on the Street will be ready next year. Butlers have been moved down on the opposite side of the street opposite WH Smith.
  • London City Airport say 72 snow globes were confiscated from the hand luggage of passengers departing from London City, making it the most confiscated non-food related item (jams and preserves topping that poll). The findings have prompted the airport to issue a reminder to passengers that liquids over 100ml cannot be carried in hand luggage – no matter how kitsch the container. All liquids carried in hand luggage must be under 100ml and placed in one, sealed, clear plastic bag. The top 10 confiscated items from January to June at London City Airport were: 1 Jams and preserves (including lots of lemon curd), 2 Snow globes, 3 wine, 4 vodka, 5 body lotion/hand cream, 6 whiskey, 7 Tennis racquets, 8 scissors, 9 footballs, 10 champagne, 11 Handcuffs (4 pairs).
  • SITA launched smartphone check-in technology claiming that wearable tech offers big potential.
  • Virgin plans to provide passengers with stand-up comedy, with comics to perform live mid-flight.
  • Thomson said the Dreamliner will operate all their long-haul flights.
  • BA was accused of misleading customers with ‘direct flight’ marketing.
  • Air France-KLM announced a new growth plan.
  • Aer Lingus offered 25pc off fares to Europe and Britain; book by Tuesday.
  • The Aer Lingus Gold Circle lounge at Heathrow T2 opened last weekend.
  • Boeing forecast a shortage of pilots over next two decades.
  • Swords based Air Contractors are wet-leasing an Icelandic B737 freighter.
  • Cork Airport has updated its app by adding live bus and coach departure timetables.cork airport app launch
  • An easyJet aircraft flying from Bristol to Barcelona was forced to make an emergency landing after it was struck by a bolt of lightning. During the week bad weather caused delays at Luton after a diversion was put in place for London Gatwick due to CB activity.
  • Aer Lingus’s director of product and brand development, Michael Gannon, sought a High Court injunction this week preventing his removal.
  • British Airways extended its hand baggage only fares to include all short-haul flights from Gatwick, Heathrow and London City airports.
  • Emirates will host cabin crew recruitment drives in three locations this month. The events will take place at Harbour Hotel, New Dock Road in Galway City on August 23; Clarion Hotel, Lapps Quay, Cork City, August 28; Hilton Dublin, Charelemont Place, Dublin 2 August 30.
  • Passenger numbers on international routes from English airports were up 4.5pc in the period January to June 2014m with Ireland the sixth more important pairing up with 4.95m passengers (+8.9pc), behind Spain (11m), US (8.3m), Germany (5.9m), Italy (5.4m) and France (5.05m).
  • Malaysia Airlines’ commercial directory Hugh Dunleavy suggested in a London Sunday Telegraph article that the airline may change its name following a strategic review.
  • Gatwick drafted in extra staff this weekend to make sure there isn’t a repeat of last weekend’s baggage chaos.
  • Dublin Airport expects 310,000 passengers (up 5pc) this August Bank Holiday weekend, see also Cork Airport, also Knock airport (ip 20pc) and Shannon airport (up 20pc).
  • Lufthansa’s profit fell due to strikes and excess capacity. See the Merrion capital analysis here.
  • The London Telegraph reported that Ryanair customers were in  the dark over prepaid card refunds.
  • Virgin Atlantic announced that it intends to go public, but the number of shares and price range has yet to be disclosed.
  • Vancouver based Jetlines is aiming to start scheduled services from next spring.
  • IAG which owns BA, Iberia and Vueling, reported a half-year operating profit of €23m, compared with a loss of €33m in the same period last year. Willie Walsh said capacity will be trimmed 3pc for winter.
  • Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi Airport is to install eight state-of-the-art queue management queue-card kiosks over the next couple of weeks.
  • Qantas will reduce the size of the lavatories on its 737 fleet. The new interior, which also includes an enhanced IFES, will not begin until the middle of 2015 and is expected to take around a year to complete, The London Telegraph reported.
  • As a result of the MH17 tragedy, Emirates, Virgin Atlantic, KLM and Air France diverted flights using Iraqi airspace.
  • Michael O’Leary received a 37pc pay increase in the 12 months to the end of March 2014.
  • The UN’s International Civil Aviation Organisation said it will form an airline safety task force in response to the downing of MH17.
  • KLM Airlines announced that it will offer round the clock customer service via LinkedIn. The airline, which has 70,000 followers on the social media service, claims to be the first airline to offer customer service on LinkedIn.
  • Thomson Airways announced it will use the 787 Dreamliner on all its long-haul flights for the rest of the summer.
  • Ryanair won a temporary injunction against online travel agent eDreams for “misleading advertising.”German website, eDreams.de, will not be able to advertise that it offers the “guaranteed best price on all its flights”. Ryanair said the website, and other similar screenscrapers, “fail/refuse to pass on vital information to both passengers and Ryanair regarding issues such as flight changes, web check-in, special needs assistance and contact details, which has resulted in missed flights and repeated problems for customers”.
  • Aer Lingus said it is looking to end the industrial dispute once and for all by establishing an internal resolution body.
  • BA is to be sued for damages over claims that one of its pilots – First Officer Simon Wood, who died after being struck by a train last year – sexually abused children in African schools and orphanages while on stopovers.
  • A blunder by a United Airlines customer care manager went viral this week. The manager forgot to fill in the variables (including ‘CUSTOMER NAME’) in an apology letter addressed to a customer who filed a complaint to the airline.
  • Another gaffe, this time from Qantas subsidiary Jetstar: The airline apologised after a crew member advised travellers returning from a music festival near Byron Bay to flush drugs down the toilet before landing in Sydney.
  • A Thomson flight heading from Enfidha to Edinburgh had to be diverted to Gatwick after a female passenger threw her prosthetic leg and food at cabin crew and shouted abuse at them.
  • Businesspost.ie reported that the NCA took 115 enforcement actions against businesses last year, including Aer Lingus and Ryanair for failing to provide an email contact address for consumers on their website.
  • Swedish law firm Liman and Partners said it will be taking legal action on behalf of passengers affected by delays on Norwegian’s long haul routes. Lawyer Stephan Eriksson claimed that around 35,000 passengers have been affected by delays.

Afloatcelebrity k club

Jo Rzymowska of Celebrity Cruises hosted the trade at the Marie Keating foundation event the K Club. Picture shows Jo and Mary McKenna of Tour America, See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook. Celebrity Cruises launched Up, Up and Away, a range of offers including a booking incentive for agents along with a raft of customer offers to entice holiday bookings this August and September. Agents will also receive a €20 Love2Shop voucher for all Celebrity Cruises automated bookings made during August Offers for clients such as free ocean view to balcony upgrades, reduced flights from just €199 per person. Celebrity Cruises launched a new portfolio of materials to aid agents, Xtra trade pack for independent partners and consortia, allowing them to produce individually branded website banners and posters/ Agents can request the Celebrity Xtra toolkit via cruisingpower.ie.

  • Greystones Harbour Marina has surpassing the planned 3,000 visitors it had expected in 2014.
  • Celebrity Cruises says Celebrity Eclipse, still a favourite with Irish guests, will emerge from dry dock in May 2015 following its refurb. The ship is being fitted with the Gastrobar premium craft beer and comfort food venue and Slush poolside refreshments and stylish frozen drinks bar. This refurbishment will coincide with the launch of Celebrity Cruises’ new Suite Class offering following the addition of the Canyon Ranch Spa Club.
  • Norwegian reported a revenue increase of 18.9pc to $765.9m.
  • A poll by Stena Line found that Mrs Brown is the preferred sat nav voice for holidaymakers. The foul-mouthed Mrs Brown beat off the likes of Stephen Fry and Morgan Freeman.

IrelandIMG_9877

Kildare ambassadors Gay Byrne and Yvonne Keating  (pictured) officially launched a 16km towpath trail, john osborne Fiona O'loughlin patrick guinness copyArthur’s Way, which will bring walkers and eventually cyclists through the landscape of Arthur Guinness’s childhood in Leixlip, Celbridge and Ardclough. Listen here to Yvonne’s speech. A descendant of the founder of the brewing dynasty, Patrick Guinness (pictured) spoke about his ancestor’s beginnings as sheep farmers on the foothills of Kildare’s north-eastern border (listen here), councillor Pádraig McEvoy outlined the work that had gone into developing the trail (listen here), chair of Kildare Council Fiona O’Loughlin talked about the potential of tourism in the county (listen here), as did chair of Kildare Fáilte John Osborne of the National, and keynote speaker Gay Byrne warned the guests from local tidy town, historical tourism and commercial groups that the real work was about to begin (listen here).  Listen here to a taster from the audio guide introduction to Arthur’s Way also narrated by Patrick Guinness. The audio guide to the trail is also co-narrated by Eoghan Corry of Travel Extra who has written extensively about the history of the area. Patrick Guinness revealed that the last time he was at the Village at Lyons was for a birthday party for aviation pioneer Tony Ryan, at which the special guest was a strip tease called Deeta von Teese. Now that’s tourism potential if Travel Extra heard it right. See more pictures here or connect with the album on FacebookCASTING THE TOURISM NET FOR CORK IN BRITAIN

  • Sky Sports covered the World Feeder Fishing Championships at Inniscarra Reservoir, near Coachford. Pictures shows Rob Hughes and Andy Forde, both Sky Sports presenters; with cameraman Jason O’Reilly, covering the World Feeder Fishing Championships at Inniscarra Reservoir, near Coachford.
  • Much attention was paid to the two mile exclusion zone imposed on Skellig Michael for the filming of Star Wars: Episode VII. Minister Paschal Donohoe declared a two-mile exclusion zone, which was patrolled by a naval vessel.
  • Vinegar Hill 14
  • Preparations underway for third annual reenactment of the Battle of Vinegar Hill Enniscorthy this bank holiday weekend, Saturday and Sunday, August 2 and 3. Organisers say “it will be the busiest battlefield to date”. See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.Clai¦üomh Living History group to celebrate the Lughnasa Festival at Craggaunowen visitor attraction
  • Claíomh Living History Group will showcase events from four different time periods including a display of 13th century Anglo-Norman drill and a hand-to-hand combat demonstration as part of Craggaunowen Lughnasa festival on Sunday, August 3 and Monday August 4 from 11.00am to 5.00pm each day.
  • Author Jennifer Johnston launched a World War I “Lives Remembered” monument and exhibition at Saint Patrick’s Cathedral, to remain open for the next four years. There are nearly 200 plaques and monuments throughout the Cathedral. At the centre of the new exhibition is a new monument called the ‘Tree of Remembrance’, on which members of the public are invited to tie their own messages of remembrance. View video on the ‘Tree of Remembrance’ here or see the website.
  • Dublin Ghostbus Tour will launch on August 21 featuring Christchurch crypt, a grave robbing lesson, and more.

Country Land Association Game Fair

Picture shows Anne Speers, Finn Valley Cottages, Co Tyrone; Ann Phelan, Trailwalkers Ireland; Sam Andrews, Loughs Agency; Ellie Glennie, Belle Isle Estate, Co Fermanagh; Brendan Winters, River Mournes Guides (angling guide service), Co Tyrone; Margaret Mellor, Tourism Ireland; Stephen Moates, Loughs Agency; Maura Mullins, Trailwalkers Ireland; Lionel Knobbs, Loughs Agency; and Larry Swire, Loughs Agency, at the Tourism Ireland stand during this year’s CLA (Country Land Association) Game Fair in Oxfordshire, England.IMG_9807

  • The Shannon Group Bill was signed into law by President Michael D Higgins on Sunday. It will combine Shannon Airport with the property ownership and management activities of Shannon Commercial Enterprises Limited, Shannon Heritage and the International Aviation Services Centre.
  • Holiday Inn Belfast have joined with City Tours Belfast to offer 2 nights B&B and 1 dinner in the Holiday Inn Belfast & a Game of Thrones locations tour  to Carrick-a-Rede, Ballintoy Harbour and the Giant’s Causeway. Walk into the Cushendun caves where Melisandre gave birth to her ‘shadow assassin’, and experience the Dark Hedges where Arya Stark escaped King’s Landing.
  • Belfast Titanic centre has been short-listed for the 2014 British Travel Awards.
  • A special one-off print run of an Irish edition of The Flanders Fields Post has been published to commemorate the centenary of the start of WW1. Over 30,000 Irish died in the war. See here.

TOURISM IRELAND UNVEILS UNKNOWN IRISH FAMILY CONNECTIONS OF H.S.

Princess Charlene of Monaco was presented with a Certificate of Irish Heritage by Irish Ambassador to France, Rory Montgomery, Princess Charlene’s ancestors can be traced back to the 1520s and a prominent Dublin family called the Fagans. Picture shows Albert II Prince of Monaco; Princess Charlene; Finola O’Mahony, Tourism Ireland; HE Rory Montgomery, Irish Ambassador to France; and Fiona Fitzsimons, Eneclann.

  • View Anne Fitzsimmons and Catherine Karnow’s ‘Best of Dublin’ photo gallery on National Geographic here.
  • Swimming was banned at Front Strand in Youghal due to excess E.coli.
  • Waterford Treasure museum’s Architects, Artists and Armymen exhibition celebrating 300 years of the Roberts family in Waterford is open now until the end of November. The Treasure of Poland exhibition is open until September 4.
  • Last week to the see Russborough House’s garden sculpture exhibition:  the free exhibition (€3 parking/walkway donation) closes next Sunday (August 10). Meanwhile the Celtic Tenors will perform an evening concert in Russborough Hippodrome on August 16. Tickets €25.
  • Kylemore Abbey’s scheduled summer hikes continue until the end of August. Participants have the option of booking a 1-hour hike (€16pp) or a 3-hour hike (€19pp) on Wednesdays and Saturdays throughout the month. Group hikes are also available: 1-hour hike €45 per guide plus €8pp entrance fee to Kylemore estate; 3-hour hike €65 per guide plus €8pp entrance fee. Tours available in English, Dutch, French and German on request. Tours of Kylemore’s walled gardens are also available daily at 2:30pm till the end of the month; no booking required.
  • Dan Dooley of the car hire company said income from the Army-Navy US football game in Dublin last year helped boost revenues and the group is expecting to increase revenues this year by 8pc-10pc to over €20m.
  • Today is the final day in Killruddery’s summer programme. Today is Bee Day, so visitors are invited to meet the Killruddery beekeepers between 11am and 4pm today, and walk and talk with gardening author Alys Fowler at 12pm and 2pm. Regular admission fees apply (€11 adults, €3 children, family of two adults and two children €22).
  • National Maritime Museum of Ireland’s The War to End All Wars lecture series will be held at the Eblana Club on August 31, 12pm—8pm. The series will include discussions, debates and musical performances.
  • Navan Centre & Fort in Armagh will host a Warrior Sunday on August 17, 11am—5pm. Children aged 6—12 years are invited to come and learn the skills required to become a heroic Celtic warrior. They will learn how to use a spear, sword and shield, and will be taught how to master the sling like Cú Chulainn. Booking is essential, £10 charge for participation.
  • The Celtic Tenors will perform in concert at St Mary’s Collegiate Church in Youghal on August 9 at 9pm. Tickets €20. Book online at themallartscentre.com or by phone 087 9593276. Tickets available to buy at Creed Card Shop and at the door on the night. Youghal will also host the 8th annual Youghal Medieval Festival at St Mary’s Medieval Gardens on August 24 from 12pm. Battle enactments, court jesters, Youghal pipe bands and children’s crafts are included in the programme.
  • Belvedere House will host the fifth annual Midlands Home & Garden Festival from August 15 to 17, 10am—6pm. There will be a food and garden products market and children’s entertainment by the lake. Entrance fee for adults is €10, accompanying children go free. Free parking available.
  • John Wynne, John McEvoy, Rachel Garvey and Ruairi McGorman will perform at Strokestown Park House on August 28, 8pm. Call Roscommon Arts Centre on 090 66 25824 for bookings.
  • Powerscourt Gardens appeared was listed at number 3 on National Geographic’s Top 10 Gardens.
  • A review of the NITB and the North’s tourism structures by former Stormont Finance Department Permanent Secretary John Hunter is open for comment until September 22.
  • Guildhall in Derry saw 370,826 visitors since its £10m refurbishment in June 2013.
  • Wax Museum is offering visitors a discount rate for midweek rentals of Michael Jackson’s former Irish country home, Bishopstown House.  Wax Museum visitors are able to rent the house Tuesdays—Thursdays for €600 per night. To book, phone 090 643 6175, email info@grouselodge.com or visit www.grouselodge.com. The property boasts a private bar, spa, Jacuzzi and swimming pool, as well as a gym at Grouse Lodge Recording Studios. Outdoor activities including horse riding, pigeon shooting and hiking are on offer.

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

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

djurgarden

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

HEADLINESAVIATIONAFLOATFOOD & WINEHOTELS – INTERNATIONALIRELANDTRAVEL TRADE

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

*Etihad showcases three class Airbus 330

*Aereps ends representation of Las Vegas and NYC&Co

*Simon Daly joins Topflight

*Travelfinder’s new look site

*Bad week for aviation: casualties already double 2013 figure

*Air carriers rethink regional conflicts threats

Travel Extra TV

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

  • When DoSomethingDifferent’s Ireland Country Manager Graham Hennessy arrived at the London head office last month, he was asked two questions at his induction: could he rap and would he prefer to be a penguin or a flamingo. Here’s why.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 Travelfinders.ie, RTÉ Aertel, rte.ie/travel and rte.ie. “We have also expanded promotional opportunities for clients through social media and email marketing,” he said.

A surprise change of venue for IPW 2016: The US Travel Association announced that its 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.
  • DoSomethingDifferent.com is offering travel agents the chance to win a holiday for two to PortAventura for bookings made before August 31.
  • Tripadvisor agreed to buy Viator, a booking resource that features more than 20,000 bookable tours and attractions and more than 600,000 reviews.
  • BookaBed, in conjunction with Attraction World, hosted 65 members of the trade in 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.

International

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.

Aviation

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 developer.aero.
  • 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.

Afloat

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.

Ireland

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.

dusseldorf

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 editor@travelextra.ie 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.

HEADLINESAVIATIONAFLOATFOOD & WINEHOTELSINTERNATIONALIRELANDTRAVEL TRADE

*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.

Headlineschristoph

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 Ryanair.com 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 Kilmainham.blue 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 copyPayingTooMuch.com’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.

Hotels

  • 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.

International

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.

Aviation

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.

Ireland

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 aertv.ie.

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

HEADLINESAVIATIONAFLOATFOOD & WINEHOTELSINTERNATIONALIRELANDTRAVEL TRADE

*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. Aviationweek.com 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

DoSomethingDifferent.com 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 win@dosomethingdifferent.com 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 tourismpolicy@dttas.ie 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.

CaminoWays.com 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, DoSomethingDifferent.com 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.
  • TourAmerica.ie 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.
  • Breakaway.ie 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.

Hotels

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 trivago.ie, 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 trivago.ie.trivago-july

  • 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.

International

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 below.us-marchMOTW---Image-6 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.

Aviation

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.

spohr

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 malaysiaairlines.com, flymas.mobi 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.

Afloat

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.

Ireland

  • 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, adventure.ie 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.