The headlines this week:
- Disruptions on the Danube
- Record crowds at Galway Arts Festival despite Sinead’s no-show
- Holiday World Belfast has a new venue
- MSC Cruises come to town
- Barcelona’s tourism cap
- Fáilte Ireland’s tourism town 2015 shortlist
- Ryanair to base more aircraft in Dublin for winter
Travel Extra TV
There was huge coverage of Mick Fanning’s close call with a shark, our video of the week. Fanning — whose father, John, is from Malin in Donegal — managed to fend off a shark using his surfboard and fists when he was attacked in the middle of a competition. His father used to say: “I made a deal with the sharks. If they didn’t come into the pub, I wouldn’t go into their water.” Watch here.
- Watch Team Ireland depart for the Special Olympics. Watch here.
- Here is London Heathrow’s summer promo (watch here), and check out the Crazy Croquet lawn at Terminal 2 (watch here).
- See a spitfire land successfully without any wheels. Watch here.
- Airbus A350 XWB’s tour of South America (watch here) and the USA (watch here).
- See Aer Lingus’ footage of their joint air display with the Swiss Air Force aerobatic team, Patrouille Suisse, at Bray. Watch here.
- The cow says moo. The sheep says baa. The dog says woof. But what does the deer say? Jason Doornick found out when he was on holiday in Nara, Japan. Watch here.
- Timelapse of Emirates’ Arsenal-branded B777-200LR. Watch here.
- Aloft Hotels invited budding musicians to take part in their Aloft Star competition. Watch here.
Foynes air show completes an exciting week of air shows. Last Sunday 80,000 spectators, 30,000 more than anticipated, watched Bray air show while Shannon hosted its air extravaganza on Saturday where the guests included a Galway boy battling aggressive cancer (see video). See here for a photo montage from the Shannon show.
Crowds at the Galway International Arts Festival this week nudged towards a record 200,000 despite the high profile cry-off by Sinead O’Connor. Travel Extra stopped by to see the new Frank McGuinness play The Match Box, a theatrical tour-de-force by Cathy Benson, the equally emotion-shredding one woman performance of Sam Beckett’s Lessness by Olwen Fouéré and Enda Walsh’s dark and somewhat disturbing A Girl’s Bedroom. Picture shows Paul Fahy, Artistic Director, Galway International Arts Festival, actress Olwen Fouéré, Producer Jen Coppinger and Padraig Cusack of Cusack Projects, producers of Lessness, in the festival club.
Memory of the festival is watching young families react to Patricia Piccinini’s exhibit in the Festival Gallery. Talk at the Festival was of the city’s candidature for European Capital of Culture 2020. Dublin, Galway, Limerick, and the South Eastern three sisters of Kilkenny, Waterford and Wexford are the candidates, Ireland will share capital of culture status with Croatia that year. Let’s hope the national embarrassment that was Cork’s incumbency in 2005 will not be repeated: no programme of events was released until July, although many other European capitals have been less than impressive in their incumbency (has anyone heard recently from Mons or Plzeň recently?). Don’t ask what time festivities finished because Travel Extra never recorded that. See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.
Fáilte Ireland’s awards ceremony under the EDEN programme of the European Union was hosted by the winners, the food producers of Burren Food Trail. St Hola’s cheese from Inagh featured on what was literally a prize winning menu. Guests paid tribute to the shortlisted West Waterford, Sligo Slow Food Festival and Cong Food Village as well as the winners. Tina O’Dwyer paid tribute to her team (listen here) and the concept of sustainable tourism promoted by the awards scheme. Listen here to a more detailed description of how the Burren Food trail came about as described by Tina O’Dwyer at an event earlier in the year. Listen here to John Mulcahy of Fáilte Ireland reading the citations for the finalists. Listen here to Fiona Monaghan of Fáilte Ireland on the significance of the award and Clare’s new place as Ireland’s garden of Eden. Listen here to Minister Michael Ring’s foot-stomping speech at the event and listen here to Clare County Council chairman James Breen. See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.
The Belfast Telegraph Holiday World Show Belfast has a new venue, the new 6,000 square metre Titanic Exhibition Centre at Queen’s Road which will open this Autumn. Holiday World Show Belfast takes place over the weekend of January 15-17 and model Anna Bates came to help the announcement.
Thursday was the biggest day of Dublin’s cruise ship season with four cruise ships in town, bringing ashore a potential 10,000 passenger and 3,000 crew. So far 60 ships have called to Dublin with 40 more before year-end. In 2012 more than 100 ships also called, but with fewer passengers. Next Friday two biggies will be in port, two more on August 13 and 15, with three due on August 28. Picture shows Niki Stanford of Clickandgo and Christine Scully of Marble City Travel. See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.
MSC hosted agents and the press at separate functions in the Residence club and Darwin’s restaurant on Wednesday. Picture shows Neal Baldwin, Rebecca Kelly and Rose Darby, all MSC Cruises. MSC will be attempting to set the world record for the biggest balcony scene from Romeo and Juliet this summer with 250 participants.
The Fáilte Ireland tourism town 2015 shortlist to be announced this morning. The list has been increased to 15 from ten this year: Adare, Ardmore, Belmullet, Carrick on Shannon, Clonakilty, Cobh, Kenmare, Kilkenny, Killarney, Lismore, Mountshannon, Portmagee, Sneem, Tralee and Youghal. Seven of the towns were shortlisted last year, when Kinsale and Westport each won the €5,000 prize for best large and small town. Mulranney and Kilkenny were the 2013 champions. Towns are judged on sense of place, local involvement, tourism products available, development and promotion of the town.
Low water on the Danube continues to disrupt river cruise itineraries, but the nature of rivers is to ebb and flow means much can change daily. Avalon Waterways, Uniworld Boutique River Cruise Collection and Viking River Cruises were forced to bus passengers between ports and ships in order to complete itineraries. Avalon says water levels between Regensburg and Passau continue to be very low. Uniworld’s flagship Maria Theresa ended a cruise prematurely. Viking implemented a ship swap on Amsterdam to Budapest, cancelled Berlin to Prague aboard Viking Schumann, Prague to Berlin aboard Viking Fontane and altered Berlin to Prague aboard Viking Astrild and Viking Beyla. Tauck said they have only had minimal impact from water levels on the Danube.
Ada Colau of PAH, who on June 13 became Barcelona’s mayor, and her rainbow coalition of activists and parties including the insurgent party Podemos, wants to cap tourism in the city saying it is making the city uninhabitable for its 1.7m residents, placing a moratorium on approving new hotel rooms and short-term rentals. The country’s tourism minister disagrees. Watch here a documentary about Barcelona’s tense relationship with visitors, Bye Bye Barcelona, warned that the city was becoming “a theme park.” Bloomberg offers the cautionary tale of Venice, which has long since made the transition from living-and-working town to mere visitor attraction. Its population now stands at just 60,000 compared with around 2m who visit the town each year. This is, as the article acknowledges, something of a false comparison—Barcelona is Spain’s second-biggest city, with plenty of other industries and big suburbs. The Economist poses: Nearly all cities are sold on the idea of attracting tourists; many take extensive measures to lure them. But can those cities chose to turn the taps off when they become overrun?
Next week Travel Extra is off to dinner in Canada. See next week’s Sunday Supplement for our report from the ASL Airlines (formerly Europe Airpost) route from Dublin to Halifax, out on Thursday and back on Friday. Yes, we may be mad. Ask us on our return on Friday.
Overseas trips made by Irish residents, which have been flat since 2010, grew 9.8pc in the six months to June to 3.2m and grew 7.6pc to 1.9m for the three months April-June.
Greece bookings are unaffected by recent events according to 65pc of travel agents who participated in ITAA’s quarterly survey. Data from the Greek Civil Aviation Authority indicates a 6.7pc increase in airport arrivals from all international markets between January and June 2015 and a 3.2pc per cent increase in June arrivals. London-based analyst GfK Ascent reported Greek bookings for summer 2015 were up 3pc. Spain, Portugal and Italy remain the top destinations for Irish holidaymakers.
Ethiopian Airlines appointed Carole Smith’s SynNeo to manage their marketing, PR and social media.
Former sales manager of Bewley’s Hotel, Leopardstown, Lisa Rabbitte, was appointed as Emirates’ leisure sales executive in Ireland.
Dublin-based Accident & General Insurance Services has secured a travel insurance broker deal with specialist and niche insurer UK General using the in-house capacity of its Irish business. The deal provides travel insurance through its network of travel agents and tour operators in Ireland and parts of England.
Travelport is offering funding to travel tech start-ups based in Ireland, England and the Nordics. Winning applicants will be mentored by Travelport’s team and will have access to their APIs, software development kits and will be given feedback from Travelport’s customers.
ECTAA filed a formal complaint against Lufthansa AG concerning the announced new Distribution Cost Charge.
The Commission of Aviation Regulation says August 15 is the deadline for receipt of completed licence application at standard fee for the November licensing round. Decision-in-principle letters for completed applications will be issued of September 15 and October 15 is the deadline for receipt of applicants’ bonds. See here for details, while agents with difficulties can email or call +3531 6611700. New agent licenses granted by CAR included:
- Green Light Travel based in Sandyford Industrial Estate
- Sandra Corkin’s Oasis Travel (pictured) who have two branches in Belfast at Howard Street and Lisburn Road, and three others in Lisburn, Bangor and Holywood.
- Green Life Tours based in Aungier Street, Dublin 2, trading as Francigena Ways, Camino Ireland, Camino Ways, Explore World Heritage, Ireland Ways and Rustic Rambles.
- Apex Travel Consulting trading as GPS Travel.
- Manasik Tours has been licensed for an additional branch at 80 Clanbrassil Street Lower, Dublin 8.
- Seatem Ireland trading as Keith Prowse Tickets and Travel Places has had a name change approved to Travel Direction Ltd.
- World Travel Centre has had three branch addresses deleted, 42 Baggot Street Lower, Dublin 2; 10 Burgh Quay, Dublin 2; and Sui Finn House, Cookstown Industrial Estate, Tallaght, and two added 43 Pearse Street, Dublin 2, and Plaza Complex, Belgard Road, Tallaght.
- Paul Hackett’s (pictured) ClickandGo parent Simplysun has had two new trading names in addition to ClickandGo: Holidays with Aer Lingus and Independent Travel. It means that two licensed travel agents now have Independent news and media related trading names, Clickandgo’s parent Simplysun and Cassidy Travel parent Linevana while P&P Associates, who initially partnered with the Irish Independent travel section, belatedly registered the trading name of Independent.ie Travel. Independently, if you forgive the pun, Independent Travel Consultants has Independent Travel Consultants.
Chris Browne announced that she will leave TUI Aviation in September and will take the rest of the year off to spend time with her family. She is pictured with her nieces Charlotte and Victoria at last month’s Thomson/Falcon Holidays summer 2016 long haul event at Dublin airport.
Trade promotion: Book flights with Emirates and accommodation with lowcostbeds between now and August 31 and all EK references will be entered into a draw to win a pace on the fam trip to Dubai, September 20-24.
Travel Professionals Skillnet, Outlook level 2 course is available to travel professionals for €110. The course takes place August 27, 9.15am-5pm, in New Horizons, Dublin 1. Book here.
Hilton Worldwide Dublin took park in a 12km race to raise money for young people’s charity Solas Project.
Hotel searches for Galway were up 56pc for the Races this week (July 27-August 2) compared to the week before, according to Trivago.
The Flynn family’s 125-room Imperial Hotel in Cork has completed the first half of a renovation programme in advance of its 200th anniversary in 2016 with a new gym, for resident’s use and a brand new bar and food outlet 76 On The Mall located just off the lobby where the old South’s Bar use to be.
Markus Luthe, CEO of the German Hotel Association (pictured), claimed that the recent announcement that Expedia will follow Booking.com in amending rate-parity agreements with hoteliers in Europe to allow them to post cheaper rates with other third-party online travel agencie are “just another bluff. Booking.com allows the hotel to offer a lower price on Expedia than on Booking.com but not on the hotel website. Expedia allows the hotel to offer a lower price on Booking.com than on Expedia but not on the hotel website. In practice, parity-grid is set in stone for the hotelier by the two giants,”
- Ashford Castle was voted the world’s number three hotel by Travel + Leisure readers.
- Amadeus acquired hotel property management systems provider Itesso BV.
- Airbnb revamped its business travel programme with more features for travel managers to access employee travel itineraries and financial reports. Since it launched last year, 250 companies have signed up for the scheme. Business travel counts for 10pc of Airbnb’s bookings.
- The Riu Palace Tenerife reopened following a €26m renovation
- Choice Hotels opened a 135-room Cambria property at 123 West 28th St in New York City’s flower district.
- IHG will open an Intercontinental hotel in Bordeaux later this year.
- Yotel is to open a 326-key property in Boston in 2017.
- Carlson Rezidor opened a Radisson Blu property in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.
- Starwood Hotels & Resorts opened a Luxury Collection property, The Grand Maison, in China.
- IHG opened a Hotel Indigo property in York, England.
Yellowstone National Park officials warned tourists to keep their distance after a bison flipped a woman into the air as she posed for a selfie with the beast.
Holiday bookings and inquiries rose as Kenya welcomed the most popular tourist in its history with hopes his visit will push a new wave of tourism, according to finance minister Henry Rotich, in a week which saw a Kenyan winner of the Tour de France. Data from the Kenya Tourism Board shows visitor numbers fell of 25.4pc to 284,313 from 381,278 in January to May, on the back of a pervious 11pc drop in visitor numbers in 2014. Westgate Shopping Mall in Nairobi reopened two years after a militant attack that left 67 people dead. Kenya’s tourist event, Magical Kenya Travel Expo, anticipates 100 exhibitors and 150 buyers will travel on October 15-17 to Diani south of Mombasa, itself the venue of a previous militant attack,
This is the BauBax travel jacket, complete with 15 built-in features including a neck pillow, eye mask, drink holder, portable charger, blanket and tablet pocket. It appeared on crowdfunding site Kickstarter where users pledged a whopping $2.3m to the campaign.
The United States Senate voted to lift the ban on Americans travelling to Cuba although the hospitality industry and other business sectors are still blocked from doing business in Cuba. Airbnb offered free stays for all guests in Cuba to mark the official resumption of diplomatic ties as the US and Cuba reopen their embassies in Havana and Washington. Gordon Penney (pictured) says that interest in Cuba has trebled this year among Irish people anxious to go before the American invasion of tourists commences.
- Andrew Cuomo launched the I LOVE NY lottery ticket. Prizes include in-state holidays worth $5,000.
- Russian Cosmonaut Gennady Padalka set a new record for time in space.
- The royal visit of King Salman of Saudi Arabia and his 500-strong retinue to Vallauris caused the closure of La Mirandole, the public beach below the king’s villa.
- Etihad signed an agreement with the Tourism Authority of Thailand to promote travel from priority markets including Ireland, UAE, Belgium, France, Germany and Spain. Picture shows the signing ceremony with Surapit Kirtiputra, Ambassador of Thailand to Italy, Kobkarn Wattanavrangkul, Thailand’s Minister of Tourism and Sports and front row Juthaporn Rerngronasa, Acting Governor of Tourism Authority of Thailand and Shane O’Hare, Senior VP Marketing for Etihad Airways.
- Are we there yet? Not even close. England is to introduce a contraflow to keep the M20 moving in Kent after holiday makers waiting to use the Channel Tunnel reported waits of five hours yesterday when trains were suspended as a result of strike action and what the Calais port authorities called “migrant activity.”
- Download Visit Scotland’s Edinburgh festival guide.
- Paul Krugman and Jeff Koons are among the speakers at the International New York Times’ Art & Democracy weekend, Costa Navarino, Greece, September 11-13.
Food & Wine
While in Galway, Travel Extra joined Sheena Dignam on her Galway Food Around the Marketplace tour to meet some local celebrities, Alexandra Saivre of Le Petit Delice, Jimmy Griffin of Griffin’s bakery (stunning sponges, creams, jams and conger bread), Seamus Sheridan’s cheese selection, we sampled Yoshimi Hayakawa’s unique vegan turnip, spinach, carrot and mushroom sushi, met Floris Wagemakers of Gourmet Offensive who says the attitude towards street food has changed enormously since he opened here in 2005, and doughnut king Daniel Rosen, a New York native whose distinctive face already features on more than one guide to the city. Food tours are all the rage worldwide, and Travel Extra rates Galway’s among the top ten they have participated in on five continents. Picture shows Sheena in Teach Ui Meachtain with Orla Higgins of Galway Arts Festival. See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.
Teeling Whiskey Distillery tours are available seven days a week for €14, which includes a 45-minute guided tour and tastings. Visitors can also get their fill of whiskey in The Bang Bang Bar (or sober up in the cafe). Available tour upgrades: Teeling Trinity Tastings; single malt and vintage reserve tastings; craft comparison tastings; tastings with master distiller Alex Chasko. The visitor centre is open 7 days a week. See teelingwhiskey.com.
Paul Clune will be serving pre-show suppers on Thursdays and Fridays and brunch on Sundays when Smock Alley Theatre stages The Importance of Being Earnest, August 3-22. Dinner costs €30 including the show. See smockalley.com or call 01 677 0014.
Ryanair will base 30 aircraft in Dublin next winter rather than 25 as previously planned, up from 21 last winter. Ryanair will take delivery of as many as 38 new aircraft between September and next March.
It was another big quarter for the big US airlines: Southwest, United and American Airlines all reported their largest ever quarterly profits even though Southwest’s revenue grew just 2pc while United’s declined 5.6pc and American’s 2pc. Unlike the others American does not hedge boosting profits further. Even with a recent increase, the spot price of jet fuel is down 40pc since September. Third quarter is anticipated to be weaker across the board giving each of the airlines an opportunity to buy back stock a popular strategy to make the remaining shares more valuable, American is spending $2bn on buybacks, Southwest $1.5bn, and Delta $5bn, Collusion-alert US Federal authorities worry 80pc of seats are now sold by four airlines, Delta, Southwest, United and American. There is little evidence of cheaper fuel prices being passed on to customers although Southwest said its average one-way fare for the first part of summer was down 3pc from last summer.
Blue Insurance announced a partnership with Aer Lingus, offering Travel Insurance products on aerlingus.com from €9.56, annual travel insurance from €31.26, gadget Insurance (€1.49 per month), pet insurances from €69, wedding insurance from €73 and cover for over 65 years old.
Jet2 flights from Belfast International to Prague and Rome have been taken off sale for Summer 2016. United’s service to Newark from Belfast will stop again January 6 to March 7. They will reduce form 4w to 3w on September 28 and fly 2w from November 16.
Ryanair banned passengers from bringing alcohol on to flights from England to Ibiza in an effort to stamp out drink-related problems on board. Alcohol was banned on flights from Scotland to Ibiza in April. Ralph Anker’s anna.aero speculated that Ryanair will use its Amsterdam slots in the coming winter to Stansted, Paris Beauvais and Barcelona, each twice daily and to Frankfurt Hahn. Ryanair lost a libel battle in Amsterdam Court against an award-winning investigative documentary that claimed pilots were put under pressure to reduce fuel levels.
- Flybe chief commercial officer Paul Simmons will leave the company in mid-January 2016 to take up a role with Christoph Mueller in Malaysia Airlines.
- An Australian councillor proposed turning Melbourne airport’s aircraft viewing area into a tourist hub for transit passengers who want to visit the nearby Woodlands Historic Park.
- IATA has partnered with Tel Aviv University to create a security system that will help prevent cyber attacks in the aviation industry.
- Boeing’s 2015 pilot and technician outlook predicts that commercial airlines will need to recruit half a million new pilots over the next 20 years to keep up with demand.
- Norwegian carried 100,000 passengers from Gatwick to New York in its first year of service, 65,000 from Los Angeles, and 50,000 to Fort Lauderdale.
- Ryanair’s Alicante and Faro flights from Derry end next week amid some speculation they will not return in 2016.
- A planned walkout among some baggage handlers, security guards and other workers at New York‘s two major airports has been averted after the subcontractor they work for reached a deal with the union that seeks to represent them
- Avianca Brasil joined the Star Alliance network.
- The Boeing Company and the Boeing family are each contributing US$15m to Seattle’s Museum of Flight.
British Airways confirmed they are ending flights from London to Entebbe after months of denying the rumours.
- Springdale Municipal Airport traffic controller Philip Maschek was arrested after he was found unconscious and intoxicated while on duty.
- JFK international airport is building a $48m animal terminal called the Ark.
- Air Kenya suspended operations in Keekorok airfield in Masai Mara.
- Avolon delivered an A320-200 to Thai AirAsia, a B737-800 to Hainan Airlines and an A321-200 to Vueling Airlines.
- Air France said it may have to close more long-haul routes if discussions with pilots to reduce costs are not successful. Air France is seeking to match its competitors by increasing the proportion of profitable routes from 50pc to 80pc.
- Qatar Airways launched two destinations in Pakistan: Sialkot and Faisalabad. A Qatar Airways Dreamliner 787 experienced a bird strike at Munich airport.
- Airbus’ China plan will deliver its first A330 in 2018.
- Airlines for America launched their #ThereToHere social media campaign.
- The CSO is to revise the National Accounts for the past 15 years to take account of aircraft leasing. This should not affect GDP/GNP but will have a large effect on the reported Balance of Trade.
Crystal Cruises CEO Edie Rodriguez announced their much anticipated fleet expansion in Leknes this week to commence in 2018. Three new all-suite all-balcony 1,000 passenger Crystal Exclusive Class cruise ships will join the two-ship fleet, with open seating in the main dining room and a one-to-one passenger-to-crew ratio. Cabins will have a minimum of 400 square feet, double the size of cabins found on other luxury lines’ vessels. Ceiling heights will be raised by a foot to 8 feet in suites and on decks. The ships, to be built at Lloyd Werft shipyard, in Germany, and will be built to polar ice class standards, enabling Crystal Cruises to operate large luxury expedition ships to the Antarctic.
- Iarnród Éireann, Port Authority for Rosslare Europort, hosted the first meeting of a new Stakeholder Advisory Group for the Europort.
- Oceania Cruises‘ Insignia will embark on a 180-day world cruise on January 6, 2017, one of the longest in the cruise industry.
- Crystal Cruises are to add a river cruise line, a yacht cruises division, a private jet and a mini-submarine.
- While the Danube is short of water American Queen Steamboat Company’s paddlewheeler, American Queen, changed itineraries due to high waters on the Upper Mississippi.
- Princess Cruises has teamed up with TV chef Curtis Stone to add new dishes and dining experiences to its 18 ships.
- Silversea released two 2016 brochures. Request a brochure here.
- Captain Cook Cruises has installed the first Sydney Harbour mobile passenger terminal pontoon, which will finally allow cruise passengers to take a charter ferry from the city to White Bay.
- Six artists presented their works on board the AIDAsol last Sunday, including the Argentinian cartoonist Guillermo Mordillo.
- Royal Caribbean’s Freedom of the Seas will continue its current sailing as scheduled after experiencing a mechanical fire as it arrived in Falmouth, Jamaica.
Stena Line is offering a 2-night Legoland Windsor resort short break from €599 for two adults and two children incl. 4* accommodation and return car ferry from Dublin to Holyhead or Rosslare to Fishguard.
Tour America and Cruise Holidays’ Med cruise offers: Norwegian Epic from €999pp, depart August 2. Norwegian Jade from €1,129pp, depart October 10. Norwegian Epic form €1,199pp, depart October 25. 10 nights all inclusive MSC Orchestra from €899pp incl. post stay in Barcelona, depart November 12. 9 nights Norwegian Epic from €1,395pp, depart December 19. 11 nights Norwegian Epic from €1,049pp, depart January 13 2016. Call 01 817 3500.
Falcon offers: 7 nights 3* all inclusive Atlantica Thalassa, Kos from €2,609 for two adults and two children, depart August 29. 7 nights 2* self catering Playa Sol Apartments, Es Cana, Ibiza from €399pp, depart September 2. 7 nights 3* all inclusive Cortijo Blacno, Marbella from €689pp, depart August 30. 7 nights 3* all inclusive Barcelo Varadero, Play De Arena, Tenerife from €699pp, depart August 30. 7 nights 3* half board Izaro Club, Puerto De Carmen, Lanzarote from €549pp, depart August 31. 7 nights 3* all inclusive Ialyssos Bay, Trianda, Rhodes from €759pp, depart September 2. 7 nights 3* all inclusive Aquaplaned Village, Agios Ioannis, Corfu from €1,779 for two adults and one child or from €2,499 for two adults and two children. See falconholidays.ie or call 1850 45 35 45.
Thomson offers: 7 nights half board 5* Bahia Princess, Costa Adele, Tenerife from €699pp, depart August 28. 7 nights all inclusive Puerto Del Carmen, Lanzarote from €599pp, depart September 14. 7 nights half board Kos Imperial, Psalidi, Kos form €799pp, depart October 3. 7 nights half board H10 Gran Tinerfe, Tenerife from €779pp, depart December 5. 7 nights 4* H10 Timanfaya Palace, Lanzarote from €629pp, depart December 6. See thomsonholidays.ie or call 1850 45 35 45.
Sunway offers: 10 nights Canary Island cruise on board the Norwegian Epic from €799 incl. flights ex Dublin and soda package, book by August 3, depart Jan 2, Jan 24, Feb 14 or Mar 16. 7 nights B&B 4* Alay Hotel, Costa Del Sol from €769pp, depart Dublin or Cork August 1. 7 nights self catering 3* Timor Sol Apartments, Torremolinos from €779pp, depart August 1. 7 nights all inclusive Club Med, Da Balaia, Portugal from €1,089 per adult and from €559 per child under 12 incl. flights ex Dublin, transfers and 15kg baggage pp. 7 nights 3* International Palms Resort, Orlando from €819pp incl. flights ex Dublin, taxes and charges, travel in April 2016. See sunway.ie.
Click and Go offers: 3 nights B&B 3* Santa Constanza Hotel, Rome from €249pp incl. return flights ex Dublin, taxes and charges, travel in August. 7 nights B&B 5* More Hotel, Dubrovnik from €545pp incl. return flights ex Dublin and transfers, travel in October. 7 nights all inclusive 4* Bahia de Lobos Hoel, Fuerteventura from €549pp incl. return flights ex Dublin and transfers, travel in November. 3 nights 3* Double Tree Club, Boston from €869pp incl. return flights ex Dublin, taxes and charges, travel in October. 3 nights 3* Red Roof Inn, Chicago from €659pp incl return flights ex Dublin, taxes and charges, travel in November. See clickandgo.com or call 01 539 7777.
Lowcostbeds Spanish Costas offers, based on 7 nights, 2 sharing, travel in August: 3* Blue Sea Hotel Calas Marina, Costa Blanca from €42pppn B&B. 4* HTOP Royal Beach, Costa Brava from €59pppn all inclusive. 4* Vik Gran Hotel, Costa Del Sol from €68pppn all inclusive. 5* Blue Sea Gran Hotel Cervantes, Costa Del Sol from €70pppn all inclusive. See lowcostbeds.com.
ITAA city break offers: 13 nights Lisbon and Lake Garda from €1,095pp incl. flights and transfers, depart September 10. 3 nights Kyriad Disneyland Resort, Paris from €215pp incl. return flights, depart September 28. 3 nights 4* Park Inn by Radisson, Berlin from €286pps incl. flights ex Shannon, depart October 30.
Uniworld River Boutique Cruises is offering an 8-day all inclusive cruise on Bordeaux, Vineyards and Chateauz from €2,179pps incl. flights, port tax, gratuities and transfers, book by July 31, depart August 16. See uniworld.ie or call 01 775 3803.
Insight Vacations is offering a 7-day tour of Vienna, Budapest and Prague from €1,349pps incl. flights, transfers and a selection of meals, book by August 31, depart November 1. See insightvacations.ie or call 01 775 3803.
Contiki is offering a 7-day tour of Berlin and Prague from €1,069pps incl. flights and six meals, depart September 19. See contiki.com or call 01 775 3803.
Tourism NI offers of the week: 3 nights B&B Donn Carragh Hotel, Lisnaskea, Enniskillen from £125 for two people sharing, available until October 1, call (028) 6772 1206. Game of Thrones itinerary at Honeysuckle Cottage, Ballymoney from £35pps, available until November 30, call call 07919 493 938. 1 nights B&B Corick House Hotel & Spa, Clogher from £140pps incl. spa treatments and a 4 course dinner in the Carleton restaurant, available until December 31, call (028) 8554 8216. 1 nights B&B Millbrook Lodge Hotel, Ballynahinch from £44.50pps incl. dinner, available until September 12, call 028 9756 2828 to book. 1 nights B&B The Fitzwilliam Hotel, Belfast from £150 per room, available until August 31, call 028 9044 2080. 1 night B&B Maldron Hotel Derry from £99pps incl. a two course meal, two cocktails and a £20 gift card per room for the Foyleside Shopping Centre, available until December 31, call 028 7137 1000.
CSO figures show strong inbound growth (+12pc) in Ireland’s visitor numbers. While the incredibly strong early increases from Britain and France has slowed somewhat to single digit growth, Germany’s and North America’s growth rates are accelerating and Italy is still showing very strongly. If the current level of growth continues the island will get 9.7m visitors in 2015. At this rate North America will send a record 1.4m tourists to Ireland.
Tourism Ireland’s July board meeting took place in the Kilkenny Ormonde Hotel on Wednesday. Board members met with local tourism operators to discuss the tourism season and overseas promotional programme in 18 markets. Watch here the Kilkenny Arts Festival video. Watch here Tourism ireland’s online video featuring St Canice’s Cathedral, Kilkenny Castle, the Black Abbey, St John’s Priory, Rothe House and The Hole in the Wall. Picture shows Niall Gibbons, CEO of Tourism Ireland; Aileesh Carew, Design & Crafts Council of Ireland; and Eugene Downes, Kilkenny Arts Festival.
Killarney chamber of commerce launched an initiative to rebrand the town as a spiritual destination. The spiritual trail will include Inishfallen island, where Brian Boru studied, Pugin cathedral, the Franciscan abbey at Muckross and the church and round tower of Aghadoe.
Artramon House and Farm in Castlebridge, Wexford is now open year round.
Five-hundred rebels and redcoats will take part in the fourth annual Battle of Vinegar Hill reenactment in Enniscorthy, August 1 and 2. See visitwexford.ie.
White O’Morn cottage in Ma’am, Connemara — made famous by John Ford’s classic The Quiet Man — was granted protected status by Galway County Council.
Discover Northern Ireland’s upcoming summer festivals: Happy Days Enniskillen International Beckett Festival, now until August 3. August Féile, Belfast, July 30-August 9. Sunflowerfest, Hillsborough, Co Down, July 31-August 2. 7 Hills Blues Festival, Armagh, August 6-9. Stendhal Festival, Limavardy, Co Derry, August 7-8. Club MTV, Derry, August 15. Belsonic, Belfast, August 15-26. EastSide Arts Festival, Belfast, August 19-31. Holden Berr and Music Festival, Lisburn, August 28-30. Tennent’s Vital, Belfast, August 29-30. Carnival of Colours, St Columb’s Park, Derry, August 29-30. Belfast Mela, August 30. Hillsborough International Oyster Festival, Co Down, September 1-6. Bluegrass Music Festival, Ulster American Folk Park, Omagh, September 4-6.