TRAVEL Extra’s Sunday Supplement: Cancun & Jamaica next up for Falcon



Thomson Dreamliner will serve six rotations direct from Dublin to Montego Bay beginning June 12, 2016, and Cancun direct beginning June 13

Thomson Dreamliner will serve six rotations direct from Dublin to cdontego Bay beginning June 12, 2016, and Cancun direct beginning June 13

The headlines this week:

  • Big news: Cancun direct, Jamaica direct
  • Aer Lingus serves up Orlando year-round
  • Ryanair responds with more frequencies
  • Revival for Aer Lingus J-class arrivals
  • Willie happy with the waiting game
  • Thailand hosts two fam trips in successive weeks
  • Delta & Air France thank the trade

Travel Extra TV

Screen Shot 2015-05-23 at 19.47.49Delta Air Line’s inflight safety video is our video of the week. Featuring a host of famous internet memes, the YouTube video has received over 2.7m views and appeared on The Manchester Guardian’s viral video chart. Watch here.

  • Tourism Ireland invites LGBT holidaymakers to Ireland following the marriage referendum victory. Watch here.
  • Take a look at Aer Lingus’s US pre-clearance promo, targeting customers flying Birmingham to the US via Dublin. Watch here.
  • Shannon Airport uploaded a video of Chinese Premier Li Keqiang arriving for a two-day visit. Watch here.
  • Discover Northern Ireland uploaded a countdown of the top 18 golfing holes in the north. Watch here.
  • Here’s Aer Lingus‘s Smart Flies promo with Chris O’Dowd. Watch here.
  • Tourism Ireland’s guide to Belfast with KLM and iFly Magazine. Watch here.
  • A look at the A320neo and its LEAP-1A engines. Watch here.


Dublin is to get direct flights to Cancun and Montego Bay in the summer of 2016, thanks to Falcon holidays. This will be the second Dreamliner route from Dublin after Ethiopian’s Addis-Dublin-LAX service to commence June 15. Services on the Thomson Airways Boeing 787 to Montego Bay will operate six weekly rotations on Sundays to Montego Bay from June 12, 2016 and on Mondays to Cancun from June 13. Thomson Airways is to take delivery of up to four more 787-9 Dreamliners. Boeing has delivered 240 Dreamliners and created 49 new markets.

The new Aer Lingus "Revival lounge" at Dublin Airport: The refreshment area and seating from the entrance corridor

Aer Lingus’s new revival lounge at Dublin airport went live on Monday. The lounge is situated in the baggage hall after Immigration control in Terminal 2. It is on the right hand side of the hall. The lounge is for the use of Business Class passengers arriving on transatlantic flights. It is not for use by members of the Aer Lingus Gold circle club, but is restricted to those passengers travelling in the “J” cabin up front. See here for pictures from Travel Extra’s Michael Kelly or connect with the album on Facebook.

Aer Lingus winterAer Lingus Winter 2015/2016 will introduce two new routes, increased frequencies on sun and ski routes and improved timings on high frequency business routes. Aer Lingus returns to Dublin-Liverpool with a difference: a new 16w daily service starts October 23 to feed Liverpudlians into Aer Lingus’s expanding transatlantic services. Liverpool ‘s Evening Echo reported the development as “re-establishing it’s air link with North America with a new service seamlessly connecting passengers” Transatlantic capacity routes is up13pc with additional Thanksgiving, Christmas holidays, mid-term and Easter frequencies. The extra 275,000 seats represents its biggest growth in capacity in the past 10 years.

  • As first reported by Travel Extra, Dublin to Washington 4w seasonal service has been extended until January 4
  • Winter services to Orlando for the first time (4w until January 4 using a Boeing 752)
  • An increase in frequency on the Dublin to New York route from January through to March with 5pc growth versus last winter
  • A double daily operation in November, December and March from Dublin to Boston with 19pc capacity increase
  • Chicago is up to 10w from daily, up 18pc on winter last year, with a new 05.30 arrival time up until January 4 using an A330 and B752
  • Additional frequencies on flights from Dublin to San Francisco and Orlando over Christmas, mid term (Feb 14) and Easter (April 5)
  • Flights between Dublin and Toronto will continue throughout the winter with up to four weekly flights
  • Flights between Shannon and Boston will operate throughout the winter while flights between Shannon and New York will be suspended from early January to mid-March, recommencing in-time for demand over St Patrick’s Day
  • Enhanced connecting flows between Europe and North America meaning customers can choose from over 100 onward connections across the USA and Canada with partner airlines
  • Aer Lingus’ offering between Ireland and Britain now covers 19 airports in England, Scotland and Wales and a total of 32 routes
  • 10pc more seats on Aer Lingus from Dublin to Manchester 34w with up to six flights daily
  • 14pc more seats on Aer Lingus from Dublin to Birmingham 28w with up to six flights daily, serving peak business traffic
  • 15pc growth on Dublin to Paris route with an additional prime evening business flight
  • 5pc growth on Dublin to Amsterdam service with up to five flights daily
  • Three flights daily between Dublin and Brussels with improved evening times to facilitate day return business customers
  • Additional flights to Zurich and Geneva with 10pc extra seats, to cover demand during ski season
  • Up to 26 flights per week to the Canary Islands and Morocco, catering for demand over Christmas, mid-term and Easter

Aer Lingus team pictured at the Aer Lingus winter schedule launch in Dublin, Mike Rutter, Dervila McGarry, Paula Donaghy, Orla Ni Cochrán and Eoin McGirl, May 21 2015

Aer Lingus Chief Revenue Officer Mike Rutter said in response to a question from Travel Extra that 30pc of Aer Lingus passengers come from “behind” Dublin on the Irish side, and 20pc beyond the gateway destinations on the American side. There are 5pc more seats Dublin to
JFK between January and March, Boston is up 19pc, Toronto and San Francisco will have additional flights at Christmas, mid term (Feb 14) and Easter (April 5). There are additional frequencies to Zurich, Geneva, Birmingham, Manchester and Amsterdam. The schedule featured an increase in Shannon to Heathrow capacity. Aer Lingus serves seven transatlantic destinations compared with 13 for Icelandair and five each for SAS and Norwegian. Picture shows the Aer Lingus team at the launch, Mike Rutter, Dervila McGarry, Paula Donaghy, Orla Ni Cochrán and Eoin McGirl. See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.

ryanairRyanair responded by announcing increases on Liverpool, Birmingham, and Manchester. Ryanair is to increase frequencies on 12 routes from Dublin for winter 2015/6 from October 26, Gatwick and Manchester up from five to six daily, Birmingham up from four to six daily, Liverpool up from three to four daily, Barcelona up from two to three daily, daily to Faro and Malaga, Madrid from 12w to 18w, Warsaw Modlin 8w, Alicante 6w, Tenerife South 5w, previously announced services to Copenhagen and Lublin and Venice Treviso extended to a year-round service.

willie walsh_2664 copyGlasnevin’s own Willie Walsh came to Dublin to talk to the Chartered Accountants Leinster Society Luncheon, and was chaperoned to make sure he did not say anything about the imminent IAG bid for Aer Lingus. His revealing talk outlined IAG’s strategy not to be tied by national identity, as Air France-KLM was when they chose their merged name, and “we chose a deliberately boring name.” Outside the room he answered questions from Travel Extra and others when he stressed that he was taking a patient approach to the bid, relaxed said Reuters, in no rush said the Irish Independent. See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.

Elsewhere trade union opposition was ramped up with Matt Staunton and Evan Cullen of Impact describing IAG assurances on Aer Lingus as “worthless” and Evan Cullen claiming that takeover would mean that Aer Lingus trans-Atlantic services would be diverted through London. Impact’s shopping list for the proposed takeover is:

  • No compulsory redundancies
  • Pre-agreed staff redeployment
  • Collective agreements underpinned in a legally binding agreement
  • All existing collective agreements to be extended to new and existing staff
  • Agreed pay rates, terms and conditions to be protected
  • No outsourcing, direct employment to be the norm
  • No off shoring of cabin crew or pilot bases unless by agreement
  • A protocol that staff of any IAG group cannot be called upon to take on Aer Lingus work in event of a dispute
  • An Irish/Aer Lingus presence on the IAG board
  • A worker representative on any newly composed Aer Lingus board within the IAG group

itaa and ITOF meet Minister copyMinisterial meetings tend to offer more hope of change than ever gets delivered, but representatives of the Irish Travel Agents Association and Irish Tour Operators Federation who met Minister Paschal Donohoe on Monday emerged satisfied with the level of engagement and at how well briefed the minister was. Much of the discussion related to the absence of a collective bond in the event of agency or tour operator failure. Asked what they wanted the travel reps replied a level playing field, where airlines are subject to a small surcharge as well as travel agents. At present only about 15pc of holidaymakers have any protection in the event of a company failure. A separate meeting with credit card companies on the double bonding of credit card bookings, with a lean on payments imposed on the trade, also saw some progress but no outcome to this problem is in sight: credit card companies are seeking letters of comfort which may only be facilitated by resolving the collective bond problem. A third issue: will the licensing issue be changed at European level? And is the future of the Commission of Aviation regulation up for examination, in the face of growing criticism from the industry. Recently the regulator achieved the unlikely scenario of Dublin Airport, Aer Lingus, and Ryanair reaching agreement on one issue: regulation is not working. Picture shows the travel delegation with the minister: Martin Skelly President of the Irish Travel Agents Association, Minister Paschal Donohoe, Philip Airey past president of Irish Tour Operators Federation, Pat Dawson CEO of the ITAA and John Galligan of the ITAA.

Niall McDonnell Ireland country manager of Red Sea Holidays, the Egyptian ambassador Ms Soha Gendi and Jason Hilton Britain country manager of Red Sea Holidays at the launch of Red Sea Holidays Irish brochure, May 19 2015

Red Sea Holidays will be hosting 100 (yes, one hundred) Irish travel agents on press fams to its properties over the coming months. According to Jason Hillton of Red Sea resorts hosting agents has proven the most effective marketing device for the group in the past. The group is headed up in Ireland by Niall McDonnell who first dealt with the group’s properties through the Mytravel group and was recruited to head up the Irish operation by Andy Grant. The group reported brisk bookings over the past fortnight despite delivering their Sharm el Sheikh hotel-owned tour operator product late to the market place for the 2015 booking season. Picture shows Niall McDonnell Ireland country manager of Red Sea Holidays, the Egyptian ambassador Soha Gendi and Jason Hilton Britain country manager of Red Sea Holidays at the launch. See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.

siobhan scanlonThe Air France family of Delta, KLM and Air France hosted the trade at Dublin’s Harbourmaster. Pictures shows Siobhan Scanlon, Vicky Pascual and Deirdre Sheridan of Air France/Delta/KLM and Enzo Miccardi of Alitalia.. Siobhan Scanlon thanked the trade and told guests that Air France continues to invest in products, she highlighted Air Frances new Vancouver route, KLM’s route to Edmonton and Monday’s launch of Belfast to Amsterdam direct, something that will have far reaching consequences for connectivity from the north. Delta’s new business class continues to be rolled out on long haul and on short and medium haul the new economy flex product is enhancing the choice for business customers with Sky priority fast track and lounge access. 11377266_10152859688252727_2035626652491605500_nDelta’s seasonal Shannon to New York service has resumed launch which combined with the Dublin Atlanta service means Delta have three daily flights off the island. Enzo Miccardi of Alitalia was at the event, and highlighted Alitalia’s new long haul routes to Shanghai, Beijing and Seoul. Air France’s frequent flyer programme Flying Blue won a string of awards recently including best programme. Delta have upgraded the winter Dublin to JFK service to an A333 from B764. Picture shows Michelle McCabe, Stacey Brien, Rebecca Curley, Elaine McManus, Margaret Dolan, Sabrina Vonsowski and Louise Brennan of ClubTravel/Budget Travel. See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.

Travel Trade

TIGSThe winners of the Travel Industry Golf Society outing to Fota island were Michael Doorley of Shandon Travel and Ann Marie Dalton of Turkish Airlines. The event was sponsored by The Travel Corporation. Picture shows Peter O’Hanlon of Travel Finders at the event. See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.

Next week’s IPW in Orlando will likely be the second biggest in the 47-year history of the event: just behind the record set at Las Vegas in 2013 of 6,400 buyers and 479 media. Delegate numbers are tracking 26pc higher than when Orlando last hosted in 2010 while international participation by buyers and media is tracking 15pc higher than in 2010. China Buyers are up to 109 (22 MICE buyers) from 17 in 2010, England up to 170 from 123 in 2010, France up to 34 (14 MICE buyers) from 18 In 2010. This will be the seventh time that Orlando has hosted IPW, more than any other city. Future IPWs will be hosted by New Orelans (2016), Washington DC (2017), Denver (2018), Anaheim (2019) and Las Vegas (2020).

pat dawson 300ITAA CEO Pat Dawson was appointed to the board of ECTAA, which represents the national associations of travel agents and tour operators of 27 EU Member States, two EU accession countries as well Switzerland and Norway.

Picture shows travel professionals who were invited by Delta Air Lines to see their 767 400 aircraft at Dublin Airport, to check out their lie flat product, new to the Irish markets at first-hand – Delta One, Delta Comfort and Main Cabin.Travel professionals who were invited by Delta Air Lines r to see their 767 400 aircraft at Dublin Airport, to check out their lie flat product, new to the Irish markets at first-hand - Delta One, Delta Comfort and Main Cabin. Back row: Vivienne Hackett of Club Travel, Claire Rochford of FCM, Teresa Murphy of Air France KLM Delta and Sylvia Mazon of Atlas Travel. Front row: Debbie O'Brien of CWT and Gintare Gedeikaite of BCD. Back row: Vivienne Hackett of Club Travel, Claire Rochford of FCM, Teresa Murphy of Air France KLM Delta and Sylvia Mazon of Atlas Travel. Front row: Debbie O’Brien of CWT and Gintare Gedeikaite of BCD. See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.

sunway group

Thailand hosted fam trips from two different tour operators on successive weeks. a group of travel agents from Sunway last week, accompanied by Onur Gul of Turkish Airlines, with Barry Hammond and Jeanette Taylor of Sunway. Picture shows Fidelma Burke of Grogan travel in Tuam, Annette Hynes of One Stop Travel in Galway, Adelle Durcan of Mackin travel, Jacinta McGlynn of Travel Biz, Barry Hammond of Sunway, Nuasara of Dheva Mantra Resort, Margaret McGaughey of Liberty travel in Letterkenny, Onur Gull of Turkish airlines, Anne Rupert Nolan of just split in Limerick, Jeanette Taylor of Sunway, Amanda Neeson of O’Hanrahan travel in Monaghan.

Leah ParmeshwarNext week Thailand hosts another group accompanied by Leah Parmeshwar (pictured) of Topflight and Clareanna Phillips of Emirates. Participants include Caroline McDermott of O’Hanrahan’s Travel, Denise Winters of Garda Holiday Club, Jennifer Litchfield of O’Callaghan Travel, Maria Finnerty of Gail Ennis Travel, Delia Aston of Clubworld Travel and Gillian Purser of Marble City Travel.

Topflight are hosting travel agent training sessions in Belfast this coming Tuesday May 26 at Belfast City Airport. The training sessions will focus on Italy and in particular the Belfast to Verona route. There will also be presentations on the Topflight worldwide product. To take part in the informative training sessions, e-mail Tricia, or call +4428 97521168.

Irish travel media and their hosts on a press trip to Madeira: Barbara Scully of The Examiner, Rita Azevedo of Blandy's Wine Lodge, Marie Carberry of Travel Extra, and Marta Henriques of Madeira Promotion Bureau.

Picture shows Irish travel media and their hosts on a press trip to Madeira: Barbara Scully of The Examiner, Rita Azevedo of Blandy’s Wine Lodge, Marie Carberry of Travel Extra, and Marta Henriques of Madeira Promotion Bureau. Madeira flights resume this summer from Dublin after a two year hiatus with a Europe Airpost charter direct from Dublin to Funchal every Thursday from May 7 until Sept 17. See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.

ian Tian of China Direct was the overall winner of the recent Air France KLM Asia Booking Incentive. Picture shows Teresa Murphy, Account Manager Air France KLM, presenting Jian with an iPad.

  • Jian Tian of China Direct was the overall winner of the recent Air France KLM Asia Booking Incentive. Picture shows Teresa Murphy, Account Manager Air France KLM, presenting Jian with an iPad.
  • Aviareps has acquired the separate English-based Aviareps plc and merged its subsidiary, Aviacircle under the corporate brand of Aviareps.
  • Travel Parking Group’s airport parking application now available through Travelport Smartpoint.
  • ciara mooneyCiara Mooney’s Freedom Travel is finalising plans for a booth to be opened at Tesco in Monread, Naas, the second largest Tesco in the country. It follows Best4travel’s move to supermarket booths: Jeff Collins opened his fifth shopping centre booth in Athlone last September and plans three more over the next two years.
  • Motoring solutions specialists, easytrip announced a partnership with Ciaran Mulligan’s Blue Insurance.
  • Simon Cook has been appointed as two country manager for Ireland and Britain for Oman Air. Simon was previously with Arik, Aer Arann, Luxair and Finnair.
  • Travelport’s Travel Parking Group airport parking application, Looking4app, launched to travel agencies through Travelport Smartpoint.
  • Peter Friedrich hosted five agents who had won tickets to the Take That concert at the 3 Arena in Dublin, Cathal Teague of Trailfinders; Joanna Corrigan and Jade Christie of Abbey Travel; Paula McMahon of Reliable Travel Belfast; and Maureen Eason of Clubworld Travel Newry..
  • Sunway’s Dublin-Algarve service will operate on Fridays, from June 19 to August 21. Seat only from €299pp.
  • Aoife Finneran travel editor of the Irish Sun, May 19 2015
  • Aoife Finneran (pictured) has taken charge of the travel pages of the Irish Sun, two pages on Saturdays and two pages on Sundays. Contact here.
  • Lowcosttravelgroup achieved EBITDA of €2.9m in the 2013/14 financial year. The group claimed a rise in total transaction value to €643m for Majorca-based lowcostholidays and Swiss-based trade bedbank lowcostbeds. 
Travel professionals hosted by Teresa Murphy, Air France KLM Account Manager at Paris CDG to see the newly completed satellite S4, the new boarding area at terminal 2E. This new area allows Air France to group its operations to the east of the hub and to offer its passengers shorter and more fluid connecting channels. Back row : Marvin Castellon of Club Travel, Lucy Stanley of Atlas Travel, Erika Gogorova of Travel Broker and Xue Gu of Destination Store. Front row: Aisling O'Donovan of Club Travel, Louisa Ercolino of Club Travel, Sonya O'Brien of Eimer Hannon Travel and Teresa Murphy of Air France KLM Delta.


Pictures shows Travel professionals hosted by Teresa Murphy, Air France KLM Account Manager at Paris CDG to see the newly completed satellite S4, the new boarding area at terminal 2E. This new area allows Air France to group its operations to the east of the hub and to offer its passengers shorter and more fluid connecting channels. Back row : Marvin Castellon of Club Travel, Lucy Stanley of Atlas Travel, Erika Gogorova of Travel Broker and Xue Gu of Destination Store. Front row: Aisling O’Donovan of Club Travel, Louisa Ercolino of Club Travel, Sonya O’Brien of Eimer Hannon Travel and Teresa Murphy of Air France KLM Delta.

  • Travel Professionals Skillnet is holding a fire warden training sessions in the ITAA Office on Westmoreland Street, Wed May 27, 9.30am-5.30pm for €120. More info/book here. Finance for Non Finance Professionals, Professional Development Training Centre, Blanchardstown, May 21-22, 9.30am-5.30pm, cost €299. More info/book here. Excel Early Bird Special: Excel Level 1 and 2 for €150, March 25. Book before March 23. Book here. SEO and Google Algorithm updates, Hampton Hotel, Dublin, May 26, 9.30am-1pm, Cost €60. More info/book here.
  • Ireland’s companies act 2014 will commence on June 1 2015, and will replace the Companies Acts 1963-2013.


Mary Fennin of the Clanard Court hotel and staff at the hotel's tenth birthday celebrations, May 19 2015

The Clanard Court hotel celebrated its tenth anniversary. Speaking at the event John Osborne chair of Kildare Failte noted that he learned from Patrick Kavanagh that Athy’s best known export was mythologies. Picture shows Mary and the team. See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.

Salthill Hotel in Galway was awarded 4 star status.

Matthew Gale Massage copyAlaskan masseuse Matthew Gale will remain in residence at the 5* Monart Destination Spa in Wexford from June 5 to 25.

Blue Haven Hotel Kinsale was awarded the Trip Adviser Certificate of Excellence for the fifth year in a row.

Accor announced the sale and franchise-back of seven hotels (708 rooms) for €32.6 million, including Ibis Dublin West hotel.

Nelson Mandela’s retirement residence on the Shambala Private Game Reserve around 160 miles north of Johannesburg reopened as a luxury retreat centre.

Marriott added the 228-room JW Marriott Hotel Zhejiang Anji to its portfolio in China. Marriott also announced the opening of its first rainforest resort in Asia Pacific, Mulu Marriott and Spa in Sarawak, Malaysia.

  • Singita Ebony Lodge will reopen this summer after renovations.
  • Lifestyle hotel brand Zoku will debut in Amsterdam in autumn. Bookings available from July.
  • Pousada de Lisboa opens June 1.
  • Corinthia Hotels launched a Meetings app for even organisers and their delegates.
  • Mandarin Oriental acquired the Hotel Ritz in Madrid for €130m.
  • Shangri-La Hotels and Resorts launched a loyalty programme for SMEs.



Florida Governor Rick Scott reported a record 28.4m visitors came to the state in Q1, up 6.2pc over the first quarter in 2014.

  • Disney says it has opened its first store in China, calling its new Shanghai location the largest Disney Store in the world. Disney is considering rolling out its MyMagic+ programme — which allows guests to make in-resort purchases and book ride times with a wristband embedded with a microchip — to other theme parks.
  • The Eiffel Tower was closed to the public for most of Friday as workers protested against a rise in pickpockets.
  • A Georgia man who posed as an airline employee to make cut-rate reservations then resold the tickets for thousands of dollars has been sentenced in Los Angeles to six months in prison
  • Gane and Marshall launched a tour to Wilderness Safaris’ new Linkwasha Camp, Hwange National Park
  • 150 exhibitors from 19 countries will attend EUROAL 2015, Palacio de Congresos y Exposiciones de Torremolinos-Costa del Sol, June 3-5.

Screen Shot 2015-05-23 at 22.03.30This could be the world’s first elfie: Christian Le Blanc captured this amazing selfie with an elephant.

  • Bioculture, a guide for walkers and bikers touring Le Marche, Italy, is now available.
  • Next month, Hertz will increase car rental prices up to $5 a day or $20 a week.
  • SeaWorld increased single day tickets by $2 to $97 at the gate and reduced advance-purchase weekday tickets by $5 to $70.
  • Zimbabwe Tourism authority expects annual earnings to increase to $1.5bn.

Food & Wine

Cornish john doryPicture shows Cornish John Dory as served in Jamie Oliver’s Fifteen Cornwall Restaurant last weekend while Travel Extra was on a fam trip with Aer Lingus Regional to their new Newquay service. See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.

There will be 60 exhibitors in the Artisan Food Market at next week’s Bloom in Phoenix Park, May 28 to June 1.

The inaugural Wild Atlantic Seaweed Festival takes place in Ballybunion, Co Kerry, June 5-7.



ba a380 aviva stadium copy

Willie Walsh revealed his favourite photograph at the Shelbourne Hotel on Wednesday: the BA A380 with the Aviva stadium in the background, icon of BA and icon of his native city in the same frame.

The back-story to all those feel good social media photographs of the returning voters for Friday’s gay marriage referendum in Ireland is the extent to which voters were shaken down by the aviation industry as revealed by Newstalk. Some sample one way fares using prices on Tuesday: Gatwick-Dublin €412, Heathrow-Dublin €473 and €487, London City-Dublin €544, Stansted-Shannon €261, Heathrow-Cork €509, Stansted and Luton to Kerry €263, Stansted and Luton to knock €263, Gatwick-Knock €366. This compares with fares from €15 on June 2. This is also a bank holiday weekend in England.

News from the winter schedule announcement is that Aer Lingus will move from Berlin Schönefeld (SXF) to Berlin Tegel (TXL) from the end of October, Aer Lingus will move its flight services to Berlin Tegel airport, growing flight frequencies to 10w, up 18pc. Ryanair will operate 9w to Berlin Schönefeld.

Portugal’s government received three binding offers for TAP and expects to announce a buyer for the airline by the end of June, its second attempt to offload the state-owned airline in three years. Avianca’s Germán Efromovich proposed 12 new aircraft, Gateway’s David Neelman proposes replacing its fleet with 53 new aircraft.

washington press club ceos copyThe three big US airline CEOs, Doug Parker, Richard Anderson and Jeff Smisek continued their campaign against Middle East carriers, telling the USA Today editorial board that Europe should have acted to keep the expansion of the three big Gulf carriers in check. “I don’t think they knew what we now know, that indeed there was subsidisation going on” Parker said when asked about why European regulators hadn’t already acted on the claims now being made by the Americans. CEO of United Jeff Smisek listed Ireland among the obscure jurisdictions that Gulf carriers’ finances were uncovered from, alongside Singapore, Australia, India, Belgium, Ireland, Malta and England.

  • Ryanair upgraded their mobile app allows customers to store payment and passport details
  • Avolon delivered its first B787-800 to Avianca.
  • United extended their second Dublin to Newark flight by four weeks to September 24, it was originally scheduled to finish on August 18.
  • Aer Lingus Regional’s Dublin to Doncaster route does not appear in the winter schedules.
  • KLM relaunched services from Belfast City Airport to Amsterdam.
  • Avolon delivered an A320-200 to Pegasus Airlines, its sixth aircraft on lease to the carrier.
  • Cityjet will cut its Cardiff-Edinburgh and Cardiff-Paris services from June 30 after Cardiff Airport backed another airline to fly the routes in competition with the Swords-based carrier.
  • Airbus’s first A320neo fitted with Leap-1A engine performed its maiden flight.
  • Air France will resume services to Sierra Leone from next month.
  • A Jet2 pilot accidentally triggered a hijack alarm in Majorca, causing police to surround the aircraft.
  • Scotland will play Qatar in the Qatar Airways Cup in Edinburgh on June 5, eight days before Scotland’s Euro 2016 qualifier against Ireland.
  • Air Canada will start tagging all cabin luggage tomorrow (May 25). Staff will be stationed at check-in and security points to check that bags conform to size and weight limits.
  • TUI Group will rebrand its five airlines under a single TUI brand.
  • Wizz Air launched an updated brand and livery.
  • Emirates launched an app for Android devices.
  • Mahe International Airport is now offering free Wi-Fi.
  • Alitalia will cease its partnership agreements with Air France-KLM from 2017.
  • Embraer and Tianjin Airlines signed an agreement for the sale of 22 aircraft.
  • Auckland International Airport is awarding $100,000 to businesses that create innovative ways to attract Asian tourists to New Zealand during the off-peak season.
  • Etihad Airways appointed aviation IT company SITA to provide baggage tracking services.
  • Etihad will add a fourth daily service from Abu Dhabi to Bangkok from July 1.
  • Flybe opened a base at Bournemouth Airport.
  • The “nut rage” Korean Air executive, “Heather” Cho Hyuna-ash and old friend of Travel Extra, was freed from prison after an appeals court suspended her jail sentence:  She caused a flight to be delayed to offload an attendant, here is a valuable backgrounder on the culture of gabjil”, high-handedness by the rich and powerful,
  • A US Airways passenger stripped naked in protest after his flight from North Carolina to Jamaica was overbooked. 
  • Etihad Airways added a fourth daily Bangkok service.
  • Radka Lynn’s Balkan Holidays have scheduled twice weekly flights to Bourgas from Belfast at 11:20 on Mondays and 08:35 on Fridays
  • The Sydney Morning Herald asked why, in an era of historically low oil prices, Qantas still charge Aus $570 in fuel surcharges on a return economy ticket from Australia to London and $1080 for business class. It noted Emirates and Singapore Airlines also retained fuel surcharges.
  • Norwegian plans to move Boeing 787s from Irish to Norwegian registration “due to Regulatory reasons.” The airline Norwegian is still waiting on a foreign air carrier permit for its Irish-registered company, which was created as a vehicle for its 787 operations.
  • The Irish Times featured Aer Lingus €2m journey to modernise its brand.
  • AerCap completed the purchase of ILFC from AIG.
  • Shannon Airport objected to the development of the twin office units at the north-eastern corner of the existing West Park centre, citing safety fears.
  • Bobby Healy’s CarTrawler signed a partnership with Swiss International Airlines.
  • Antonis Simigdalas’s Elix Aviation Capital acquired 25 aircraft from Nordic Aviation Capital, an IFSC based regional aircraft leasing company that focuses on turboprops,
  • Thai Airways returned to profitability as the airline group benefited from the recovery of Thailand’s tourism sector and the reduction in fuel prices.
  • Airports are the gateways to Europe’s tourism markets, but most are also loss-making. Is this inevitable, or are there better ways?is title of the address by Michael Cawley at ACI EUROPE in Prague alongside EU Transport Commissioner Violeta Bulc.

Screen Shot 2015-05-23 at 22.07.57Copenhagen’s mayor took on Ryanair banning city employees from using the airline. Predictably, Ryanair struck back.

Dave Scully of Weston Airport in Celbridge reported a second year of business aviation growth:

  • The Irish Aviation Authority and Shannon’s IASC partnerred to launch a new Irish “EJ” corporate aircraft register:
  • Saudi Arabian Airlines became the first major non-EU airline to be fined under EU emissions controls.
  • Kerry Airport is to host 450 delegates at the Connect Aviation Conference, on June 3rd – 5th.
  • Alitalia CEO Silvano Cassano said his airline will sever many of its passenger agreements with Air France-KLM from 2017. These agreements are no longer beneficial, either commercially or strategically, to the new Alitalia and its ambitious turnaround plan. They were negotiated when Alitalia was in a very different position, with the result that the agreements in their current forms favour the other party. They are undermining our ability to restructure our network and the airline effectively to achieve the long term sustainability of our business. The new Alitalia is in a new position. Our business needs agreements which deliver equitable value to each party.
  • Malta Prime Minister Joseph Muscat confirmed that Air Malta is considering some form of strategic partnership with another airline including Turkish Airlines about a strategic partnership which could include privatisation.
  • Belfast City airport called for an end to the seats cap.
  • Dublin Airport’s app won the Ovum OTR ‘Innovation in Cloud Services’ award for delivering “a compelling mobile application.’
  • Lufthansa said there would be no further industrial action until the end of July. Air France threatened to close regional hubs in Toulouse, Marseille and Nice in negotiations with pilots unions. Cathay Pacific flight attendants camped inside Hong Kong’s airport on Tuesday after union members voted to protest new job contracts offered by the airline.anne sammon

Anne Sammon operated her last flight after 44 years flying with Aer Lingus. Travel Extra wishes her al the best in the future.

  • The Clare Herald recalled the day the first aircraft landed at Shannon in May 1939.
  • Flying in Ireland cast its eye over the increased traffic, new services, new image and infrastructural improvements at Dublin Airport and how merged American and US Airways were delivering increased Irish services this summer
  • Siobhan McCarthy, founder of the Save Cork Airport Facebook page confirmed that she had shut it down because the page had turned nasty.
  • And check out the Journal’s 14 most Dublin airport things that have ever happened.


Christina Hannon of Cunard, Martin Skelly of Navan Travel President of the Irish Travel Agents Association and Dawn Conway of Sunway in Dun Laoghaire for the visit of the Cunard Queen Mary 2, May 20 2015

The joys of tendering were revealed this week when Cunard’s Queen Mary came to Dún Laoghaire but coaches, tour guides, taxi drivers and visiting guests were left waiting as the wind rendered tenders untenable (we always wanted to write that). Picture shows Christina Hannon of Cunard, Martin Skelly of Navan Travel President of the Irish Travel Agents Association and Dawn Conway of Sunway. A total of 17 ships will dock in the bay this summer and passengers are due to be tendered off. Dublin is to get 86 cruise ship calls this year with three further calls to Dún Laoghaire. See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.

national_coach_tourism_awardsIrish Ferries has been voted best Cross-Sea Carrier at the 10th annual National Coach Tourism Awards ceremony in London. Pictured receiving the award are Irish Ferries’ Marie McCarthy and Ann Pye with Stuart Render of Coach Monthly and Jason Edwards of Edwards Coaches.

Royal Caribbean’s Allure of the Seas emerged from an 18-day dry dock with the main dining room sliced into four separate dining venues familiar from Quantum class: Chic, Silk, American Icon and The Grande, and two new restaurants, the Mexican themed Sabor Taqueria and Coastal Kitchen for suite passengers. Allure has ten new suites: two Royal Suites, six Grand Suites and two Royal Family Suites. New shops include Kate Spade New York, Michael Kors and Coach. Allure will be based in Barcelona this summer and returns to Fort Lauderdale in November 2015. Flexible “dynamic” dining has been put on hold for the ship.

Viking Cruises chairman Torstein Hagen with Bergen mayor Trude DrevlandIn Bergen, 20,000 people attended the birth of a new cruise line, the first in over a decade. Viking Ocean Cruises officially launched its 930-passenger Viking Star on Sunday in Bergen, Norway and revealed plans to create at least nine other nearly identical ships. The ceremony was timed to coincide with Norway’s National Constitution Day, its most important national holiday, the launch featured performances by Norwegian soprano Sissel, actor Bjarte Hjelmeland, singer-songwriter Sondre Lerche, acclaimed violinist Charlie Siem and comedy duo Ylvis. Godmother Trude Drevland, Bergen’s mayor, offered a lovely blessing of good fortune, along with a successful smashing of a Jeroboam-sized bottle of Veuve Cliquot. Festive fireworks followed.

Star Clippers Cruise Line is to build the world’s biggest sailing ship to carry 300 passengers to launch in the second half of 2017. Construction has started at the Brodosplit shipyard in Split, Croatia. Owner Mikael Krafft wants to recreate France II, the second largest commercial merchant sailing ship ever built. Features include three pools including one that funnels sunlight through the ship’s atrium into the dining room below, 34 suites with balconies and four luxurious owner’s suites.

  • The Cruise Lines International Association appointed Thomas Ostebo as president and chief executive officer.
  • A 10-year-old girl drowned in a swimming pool onboard Norwegian Gem as the ship was en route from New York to Florida.
  • Norwegian Dawn ran aground on a reef near Bermuda Tuesday evening and departed for Boston on Wednesday after repairs were made to its steering system.
  • Celebrity Cruises’ Bistro on Five raised its price from $7 to $10. Open from 11 a.m. to midnight, Bistro on Five serves sandwiches, salads, soups, and daily specials such as braised short ribs, lamb chops and Sunday roast. Milkshakes and floats have also been added.
  • Seabourn added guided kayak shore excursions, part of a for-fee programme known as Ventures by Seabourn. The programme will be extended to other vessels in the fleet, including those that sail to Antarctica, over time.
  • SeaDream Yacht Club will 112-guest yachts SeaDream I and SeaDream II, in the Caribbean this December.
  • Celebrity Cruises is adding more overnight stays in the Caribbean.
  • Costa Cruises will base its 2,826-passenger Costa Deliziosa in Fort Lauderdale as cruise ship homeport for December, 2015
  • Princess Cruises launched its own booking portal,

Deal Watch

  • Sunway offers: 7 nights B&B 3* Montechoro Hotel, Algarve from €549pp, depart June 19. 7 nights self catering 3* Clube Praia Da Oura, Algarve from €629pp, depart June 26. Dublin-Algarve flight only from €299pp, depart June 19. 7 nights B&B 3* Montechoro Hotel, Algarve from €519pp, depart June 19. Dublin-Madeira flight only from €329pp, depart May 28. 7 nights B&B 3* Dorsal Florasol Hotel from €399pp, depart May 28. 7 nights self catering 3* Summer Garden Apartments, Bodrum from €399pp, depart June 14. 7 nights all inclusive 3* Sami Beach, Bodrum from €779pp, depart June 14. 7 nights B&B 3* Baba Beach Hotel, Bodrum from €449p, depart June 14. 7 nights B&B 4* Ambrosia Hotel, Bodrum from €599pp, depart June 14.
  • Falcon offers: 7 nights all inclusive 3* Saturno, Alcudia, Majorca from €1,919 for two adults and one child, and from €2,469 for two adults and two children, depart Dublin August 25. 7 nights self catering 3* Hyde Park Lane, Playa de la Pocillos, Lanzarote from €429pp, depart Shannon June 8. 8 nights self catering 2* Bitacora, Puerto Del Carmen from €429pp, depart Cork June 8.
  • Stena Line is offering 7 nights self catering to a Pontins Holiday Park from €459 per family. Price includes return ferry travel from Dublin-Holyhead, Rosslare-Fishguard, Belfast-Liverpool or Belfast-Cairnryan and accommodation in Pontins Prestatyn or Pontins Southport. Book by May 31. See for more or call 01 907 5399.
  • Thomson offers: 7 nights all inclusive 3* Haiti, C’an Picafort, Majorca from €539pp, depart Dublin June 9. 7 nights half board 3* Costa Dorada, Belvedere, Salou from €529pp, depart Shannon June 12. 7 nights all inclusive 3* Morromar, Puerto Carmen, Lanzarote from €539pp, depart Cork June 18.
  • Click and Go offers: 7 nights B&B 5* Real Minra Hotel & Spa, Olhoa, Algarve from €349pp incl. return flights ex Dublin and transfers, travel in October. 2 nights 4* Mercure Dusseldorf Hafen Hotel from €229pp incl. return flights ex Dublin, taxes and charges, depart May 30. 7 nights B&B 4* Windsor Hotel, Funchal, Madeira from €529pp incl. return flights ex Dublin and transfers, travel in June. 7 nights all inclusive 4* Blue Sea Puerto Resort Hotel, Puerto de la Cruz, Tenerife from €499pp incl. return flights ex Dublin, taxes and charges, travel in June. For more info, visit or call 01 637 1699.
  • Travel Department offers: 7 nights all inclusive 3* Hotel Piscis, Majorca from €499pp incl. taxes, return flights ex Dublin and Palma City Tour. Majorca seat only from €199pp. 7 nights half board 3* Hotel Arenal, Ibiza from €409pp incl. taxes, transfers, flights ex Dublin, depart June 20 or 23. For more info, see or call 01 637 1600.
  • Tour America offers: 5 nights the Linq Hotel, Las Vegas from €1,829pps incl. return flights and UFC 192 fight tickets, depart July 8. 7 nights the Rosen Inn International, Orlando from €649pp, depart September 16. 3 nights Roosevelt Hotel, New York City from €799pp, depart November 26. 7 nights all inclusive Riu Cancun Hotel, Cancun from €1,359pp incl. return flights, depart September 16.
  • Sunway is offering 14 nights full board Queen Mary 2 transatlantic sailing Southampton-New York from €1,645pp, depart June 14. See for more.
  • Lowcostbeds offers, based on 2 share 7 nights, depart September 5: 3* B&B Hotel Londra, Sorrento, Italy, from €37pppn. 4* B&B Sorento Hotel Albatross, Italy from €35pppn. 3* B&B Villa Royal Hotel, Cavtat, Dubrovnik from €33pppn. 4* B&B Hotel Croatia, Cavtat, Dubrovnik from €70pppn. 4* B&B Pestana Cascais Ocean Hotel, Cascais, Lisbon from €50pppn. 4* B&B Hotel Vile Gale, Cascais, Lisbon fro €65pppn.
  • Topflight Madeira offers, based on June 11: 7 nights B&B 3* Dorisol Florasol, Funchal from €563pps. 7 nights B&B 4* Hotel Alto Lido, Funchal from €649pps. 7 nights 4* Hotel Baia Azul, Funchal from €669pps. Prices include return flights ex Dublin, resort transfers, luggage allowance, rep service and online discount.
  • ITAA Spain offers of the week: 7 nights B&B 5* Ritz Cartlton Abama Resort, Tenerife from €1,399pps incl. return flights ex Dublin and transfers, book by June 15, travel in September. 8 nights half board 4* Sol Principe Hotel, Torremolinos from €549pp incl. return flights ex Dublin, transfers and wine, depart September 28. 7 nights 3* Marco Polo Hotel, Ibiza from €399pp incl. return flights ex Dublin and transfers, depart June 23. 7 nights 3* Pins Platja Apartments, Cambrils from €1,845 for two adults and two children incl. 3 day park passes to PortAventura, depart August 25.
  • BA’s luxury sale fares in Club World: Beijing from €1,542. Mumbai from €1,225. Nairobi from €1,293. Dubai from €1,097. North America business class specials: New York from €911. Boston from €906. Toronto from €1,125. Vancouver from €1,295. For travel between June 18  2015 and April 10 2016. Book before June 9. See GDS for full details.


Paschal Donohoe told the Dublin Chambers on transport strategy for Dublin that Ireland is investing in transport at a level well below what we normally do, Historically, Ireland has invested just over 1.1pc of GDP annually on average in land transport. Between 1999 and 2011 the average level grew to 1.4pc of GDP as significant improvements were made to the network, most notably the construction of our motorway network. By 2012, however, this had fallen to 0.7% and has fallen further since.

  • Irish Tourism Industry Confederation chairman Paul Gallagher said that the proposed IAG takeover of Aer Lingus would boost tourism. The Confederation is seeking a new chief executive.
  • There will be a brain storming meeting for Skal members in Limerick (venue TBC) this Tuesday, May 26.
  • Porsche Club Ireland teamed up with Fáilte Ireland to send more than 50 Porsches along the Wild Atlantic Way, visiting 15 Signature Discovery Points.
  • Irish Rail launched a 6.15am Cork-Dublin non-stop train service arriving in Dublin at 8.30am
  • Doolin Tourism hosted a networking evening at the Micho Russell Community Centre on Thursday.
  • Wild Atlantic Way featured in Celtic Life International magazine in North America.
  • Tickets for the Irish Open sold out for Friday, Saturday and Sunday, but tickets are still available for Thursday. 80,000 spectators are expected to attend the event.

Cathaoirleach of Clare County Council Cllr. John Crowe being received by Gao Shuxun,  Vice Governor of Yunnan Province at Zhenzhaung Hall, Kunming Yunnan in South East China prior to the formal signing of Agreements between Clare County Council and the Province of Yunnan. NO REPRO FEE Local Government and Government officials from County Clare and the Chinese Province of Yunnan today signed an agreement aimed at developing closer industrial, tourism, farming, educational and cultural ties between the regions.   A delegation comprising officials and members of Clare County Council travelled to the southwest of China to officially mark the County/Province relationship as well as establish a formal link between the Burren and Cliffs of Moher Geopark and the Stone Forest Geopark (Shilin Geopark) in Yunnan.   Yunnan, which has a population of more than 46 million, is located in the far southwest of China and borders Vietnam, Laos and Burma.

A delegation from Clare County Council travelled to the Yunnan province in southwest China to establish a link between the Burren and Cliffs of Moher Geopark and the Stone Forest Geopark. Picture shows Cathaoirleach of Clare Co Co Cllr John Crowe being received by Gao Shuxun,  Vice Governor of Yunnan Province at Zhenzhaung Hall.

  • The annual Tolkien Festival takes place in Co Clare, June 26-28. The event is organised by the Burren Tolkien Society and supported by the Burren & Cliffs of Moher Geopark and Clare
  • Pictured helping to announce a brand new Kite Flying and Baloon Festival in Wexford is sister and brother Rachel (age 10) and James Reburn age 8; the festival which features lots of old-fashioned family fun takes place in Duncannon during the June bank-holiday weekend. See – Photograph Patrick Browne.
  • County Library. The festival will feature lectures, writing workshops, archery demonstrations and evening feasts.
  • The Kite Flying and Balloon Festival takes place in Duncannon, Co Wexford during the June bank holiday weekend.
  • Marble Arch Caves Global Geopark is celebrating its 30th anniversary on May 30.

The Little Museum of Dublin, Copper Faced Jack’s and Chapter One featured in Buzzfeed’s listicle on hidden gems around the capital.


Pictures show travel agents and tour operators from Australia and New Zealand who toured Newgrange, Donegal Castle, Sliabh League, Yeats’ grave, Giant’s Causeway, Titanic Belfast, Strokestown Park, Kilbeggan Distillery and the Guinness Storehouse as guests of Tourism Ireland and Emirates, with Fiona Clelland of Tourism Ireland and tour guide Conor Ellard.

Fógra eile (with apologies once more to the late Con Houlihan)

Tim Pat Coogan, Gerry O'Hare and Carol Flynn at the Irish Press 20 years reunion, May 22 2015

Irish Press personnel gathered on Friday night to commemorate 20 years since the closure, an event which was tragic for Irish journalism but which led to the foundation of Ireland’s leading travel publication Travel Extra. Picture shows Tim Pat Coogan, Gerry O’Hare of Travel Extra and Carol Flynn at the reunion. Watch and listen for mention of Travel Extra personnel in an Irish Times video using Pat Cashman’s footage from the time recalled the occupation of the newspaper offices on Burgh Quay in Dublin after the closure (watch here) and Today with Sean O’Rourke which gathered five ex-Press personnel, including Sean O’Rourke himself and ex Sunday Press editor, now Irish Tourism Industry Confederation front man Michael Keane, to discuss the legacy of the newspaper (listen here). For more presstalgia read here Declan Lynch’s review of a forthcoming book on Muligan’s public house in Poolbeg Street.

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

TRAVEL Extra’s Sunday Supplement: Ryanair to Rhine-air, the battle for Germany’s domestic air market has begun



'Green Spirit', the Aer Lingus Airbus 320 painted in IRFU livery.

‘Green Spirit’, the Aer Lingus Airbus 320 painted in IRFU livery.

  • The €13m group booking
  • Ryanair brings forward its German offensive by eight weeks
  • Where next for Aer Lingus? See our print edition
  • Celebrity introduced Luminae, their suite class restaurant
  • And rugby players might fly…Aer Lingus wins with marketing promotion

Travel Extra TV

Screen Shot 2015-05-16 at 11.39.15Our video of the week comes from photographer Oliver Astrologo who created this beautiful montage of his tour of Vietnam. Watch here.

  • Two experienced daredevils climb the Shenzhen Centre with no safety equipment. Watch here.
  • U2 (in disguise) busk in New York City with help from Jimmy Fallon (also in disguise). Watch here.
  • Ryanair urge David Cameron to drop APD in England. Watch here.
  • Introducing Green Spirit by Aer Lingus. Watch here.
  • Aer Lingus Dublin-Washington from the flight deck. Watch here.
  • Richie Porte announces his participation in Gran Fondo Giro D’Italia Northern Ireland, June 21. Watch here.
  • Fáilte Ireland uploaded a video promoting Ireland as an events destination. The video was launched at the opening of the European Sports Tourism Summit at Thomond Park. Watch here.
  • Drone footage of Carlow. Watch here.
  • Ryanair Family Extra promo. Watch here.
  • Emirates’ Be There campaign. Watch here.
  • Monocle magazine launches its travel guide series. Watch here.
  • Visit Scotland’s guide to whisky. Watch here.


cover june 300The June 2015 print edition of Travel Extra will arrive in agencies over the coming days, read here. The latest edition has an extensive look at developments in the USA including the marquee route to be announced by Aer Lingus in 2016, the new Aer Lingus direct route to Washington DC and newsbytes from all individual cities and states in advance of IPW in Orlando next month. We also feature Rivercruise launches and trends for 2015, and trends in car hire. We look at developments in cruise including the new Anthem of the Seas’ even more technologically advanced than its predecessor, the refurbished Explorer of the Seas which has been given many of the extra facilities on more expensive cruise ships, and the future for the dynamic “no set” dining option that was met with less enthusiasm than anticipated when it was rolled out by Royal Caribbean. There are reports from travel events from four continents including Indaba, Rendez Vous France, and a review of the Hurtigruten Arctic cruise which will be served once again by direct charter from Dublin to Tromsø next March, The home holiday section samples some of Ireland’s Eden destinations and the call out for this year’s hopefuls with a culinary theme. We look at the emergence of Spain’s tourism infrastructure to become a world leader, the prospect of late specials in the Irish marketplace this summer, the transformation of Ashford Castle in Mayo, the implications of Dublin Airport’s expansion on plans for the parallel runway, Aer Lingus’s new business class product which is now available across the 330 fleet, how sales at the Loop in Dublin Airport are ahead of expectations, plans for the ITAA conference in Jerez including the post-fam options, the fall-out from the May round of license bonding, the expansion plans in Ireland of Travelsavers group, confusion about South Africa’s new visa regime, and Globe Hotels‘ plans to recruit homeworkers to expand its holiday experts product. Stephen McNally, president of the Irish Hotels Federation contributes this month’s Busman’s Holiday. Ever restless, the Travel Extra team are hard at work trekking through five continents to prepare the next edition.

peetr long tuiAs TUI confirmed that it is to migrate to a single brand across all its markets, it emerged that Ireland could be the last of TUI’s 32 countries to switch. The move to create ‘one power brand will signal the end of Falcon Holidays, Thomson and First Choice, but will take several years to complete, according to Group chief executive Peter Long. TUI family brands understand that the move is to integrate mainstream brands, and specialist brands such as American Holidays andCrystal will not be affected. The corporation is to sell off LateRooms to cut winter losses and to rebrand its airline operations.

Details emerged this week of the ultimate group booking: 6,400 employees of Li Jinyuan’s Tiens Group were hosted by their employers in Paris in a €13m incentives promotion by their employer, who booked up 140 hotels for the experience.

kenny JacobsRyanair brought forward their first German domestic route Cologne-Berlin by eight weeks, and with it its anticipated offensive against Air Berlin and Germanwings. This is a reaction to Germanwings’s announcement that it would begin its own Berlin Schönefeld-Cologne/Bonn flights on October 5. Kenny Jacobs told the PhocusWright conference in Dublin that Germany would be responsible for 20pc of Ryanair’s growth this year and half of Ryanair’s growth in the years ahead will be to and from primary airports in the years ahead. He also predicted that Skyscanner and KAYAK are going to be squeezed by Google and the airlines. As for Ryanair, 95pc of their business is booked direct, the strength of the brand plays in their favour, and because flight is first on the decision process, Ryanair can move to be more of a travel business beyond ancillary services. “Travel intermediaries should be concerned about what Google are doing, their flight search facility works for Ryanair.” Kenny Jacobs said Facebook is a big part of Ryanair plans, as social sharing will be integrated into the booking process. On the dreaded transatlantic move, he said Heathrow airport offers 55 destinations but Stansted offers 170 so Stansted is a transatlantic hub waiting to happen. He said connections with international carriers are a possibility but alliances are not. “We want to be the Amazon of travel, we like their relentless use of data and focus on conversions.”

washington press club ceos copyThree major American airline CEOs spoke together, perhaps for the first time in history, at the Press Club in Washington DC. Doug Parker of American Airlines said: “Once the hubs start to unwind, the airlines start to unwind.” Richard Anderson of Delta: US carriers are major economic drivers, AA, DL and UA together invest Us$12bn annually in aircraft and services.” Jeff Smisek of United: “Most of you have better guidance systems on your Hondas than our ATC. Jeff Smisek replied, when asked when three CEOs would speak together again: “Hopefully never.” The three shared a stage to further their campaign against Emirates, Etihad and Qatar. Elsewhere, Scott Kirby president of American Airlines Group said airlines are not seeing capacity discipline – growth is higher than GDP and fares are falling. “I think most people define ‘capacity discipline’ as supply aligned with demand – it’s not aligned in 2015.”

eoghan st michael's mount copyOn the same day as the Dublin-Washington route launched, Aer Lingus Regional launched a new ATR 72-600 route from Dublin to Newquay in Cornwall opening up the sixth of the ancient Celtic nations to be served from Dublin. The flights are on Friday (13.50), Saturday (12.40) and Sunday (9.40), switch to 5w on June 1, adding Monday (13.15) and Tuesday (13.10) and continue until September 15. Flight time is 70 minutes. Picture shows Travel Extra editor Eoghan Corry at St Michael’s mount for an evening visit before enjoying a meal and a hearty dynnargh dhis at Trevor Austin’s Fire Engine Inn in Marazion.

IMG_3486China signed an agreement to build a golf course in Bello Monte, on the west side of Havana, FitCuba 2015. The 35th FitCuba Travel Fair in Jardines del Rey, Cuba’s fourth tourism circuit. President of the Gaviota Group, Carlos Latuff Carmenate said Meliá would expand their portfolio to celebrate 25 years in Cuba. Cuba is campaigning to attract more yachts from the Caribbean. Irish tour operators report that enquiries about travel to Cuba have trebled since the first tentative signs that the infamous US ban on travel to Cuba might be lifted, at least partially, what one veteran Cuba specialist called a “get there before the Americans” effect. A pool showed 30pc of US adults are planning or would consider a trip to Cuba in the next two
years. Picture shows the closing beach party.

richard bray eoghan corry indaba 2015Indaba 2015 concluded in Durban with the 2,000 buyers and 750 sellers dispersing through KZN and other provinces and homewards. Some of the Irish delegates were among the last standing at the closing party in Moyo. Among those prominent in the exhibition halls was Serge whose high end travel fair We Are Africa had a successful second staging, albeit with a weird high-tech closing ceremony, to join Pure in Morocco as the continent’s leading high-end travel event. Picture shows Richard Bray, founding GM of the Lyragh in Kilkenny and now CEO of the Premier Hotel groups based in Cape Town, with Travel Extra’s editor Eoghan Corry at the event.

One in five Irish people who travel use a travel agent, according to a survey by ecommerce partner Webloyalty. The survey suggested 69pc of Irish people have been abroad in the last two years, that  84pc of those that have been abroad in the last two years booked online, that mobile bookings for holidays are relatively low, that online search engines are most popular Screen Shot 2015-05-16 at 16.44.07method for researching holidays and that price is the most important factor in selecting a holiday.

The MSC Splendida, the 11th largest cruise liner in the world, visited Cobh and Dublin last week. See drone footage of her sailing from Cork.

Travel Trade

IMG_7174 copyFriday is referendum day in Ireland and the travel industry chose to turn out to support Ciaran Mulligan and Mary McKenna in their campaign for a yes vote.

David O’Hagan’s Donabate Travel signed with Worldchoice Ireland bringing its membership base to 54 following some consolidation with branch movement and the retirement of Peter McGinnity in Cavan. A new Worldchoice Bedbank goes live next week. Don Shearer CEO of Worldchoice says he is currently distributing members overrides which have increased by an average of 40pc with some members recording rebate increases of 200pc year on year. A new Worldchoice Gathering for members and trade partners will take place later in the year.v

jo speakingCelebrity Cruises have fitted a speciality restaurant exclusively for their suite customers on nine of their ten ships, separate entrance, separate chef, separate kitchen and separate menu. Luminae went live in April and the Celebrity team experienced it for the first time last week on Eclipse. Celebrity will be the first cruise ship out of Abu Dhabi’s new port in 2016. The dedicated team for Celebrity Cruises has been in place for a year now. Picture shows the hosts at the Celebrity Cruises event for travel media, Andrew Bolton and Claire Stirrup of Celebrity Cruises, Sally Ann Clarke of L’Ecrivain, Jo Rzymowska and Lorraine Quinn of Celebrity Cruises and Emma Wayman of Siren Pr at L’Ecrivain restaurant. Jo Rzymowska revealed her Irish background: her mother from Charleville, Co Cork and she found a half sister last year. See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.

Colin Brodie of Visit Florida who hosted the Irish travel trade in Chapter One Restaurant, Dublin, May 14 2015

Colin Brodie and the team at Visit Florida held a thank you event for the Irish travel trade at Chapter One restaurant in Dublin. The team promised a wide variety of incentives to counter any problems in demand created by the rising dollar. See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.

Travel Professionals Skillnet is holding a fire warden training sessions in the ITAA Office on Westmoreland Street, Wed May 27, 9.30am-5.30pm for €120. More info/book here. Finance for Non Finance Professionals, Professional Development Training Centre, Blanchardstown, May 21-22, 9.30am-5.30pm, cost €299. More info/book here. Excel early bird special, level 1 and 2, €150, book before 6pm March 23. More info/bookings. SEO and Google analytics, Hampton Hotel, May 26, 9.30am-1pm, cost €60. More info/bookings.

Tour America Team (1) copy

Tour America announced that it is opening a new office in Davenport near Orlando.
Ingrid Aagesen has joined Norwegian Cruise Line as London based project manager.

The European Sport Tourism Summit and European Sport Tourism Awards took place in Thomond Park this week.

Pic 1 REPRO FREE 05/05/2015, Dubai – Six tourism companies from the island of Ireland travelled to Dubai, to join Tourism Ireland at this year’s Arabian Travel Market (ATM) – in a bid to grow visitor numbers from the Middle East in 2015 and beyond. PIC SHOWS: Nasser Bahlooq, Emirates Airlines, on the Tourism Ireland stand at Arabian Travel Market 2015. Northern Ireland and its Game of Thrones connections was one of the key themes highlighted by Tourism Ireland at ATM. Pic – Tourism Ireland (no repro fee) Further press info – Sinéad Grace, Tourism Ireland 087 685 9027
Sunway emails will be offline between Friday 6pm and Monday 9am.
What does the future hold for travel agencies? Video of a discussion from Arabian Travel Market.

Lowcostbeds and Emirates are awarding agents €5 One4all vouchers on all bookings to Dubai and Thailand made up to May 31.


Hastings Hotels Group bought Windsor House in Bedford Street, Belfast for £6.5m.

Screen Shot 2015-05-16 at 18.43.17Marriott Hotels introduced a request option to its mobile app. Guests can type requests 72 hours before, during and after their stays. The feature will be rolled out to all properties by the summer.

  • Starwood Hotels launched SPG Keyless, an app for members of the Preferred Guest loyalty programme to open their hotel room door.
  • Legoland Hotel at Legoland Florida Resort opened this week. Other openings this week included the 172 Room Hyatt House Seattle/Downtown.
  • The 501-room five star Mövenpick Hotel & Palais Des Congrès, Marrakech is to soft open in the autumn following a US$69 million renovation and expansion programme.
  • Hilton Worldwide partnered with World Wildlife Fund to help improve the brand’s impact on the environment.
  • Hyatt Hotels announced that a Hyatt Place hotel and Hyatt Place hotel will open in Jeddah.
  • The Hoxton hotel group will open its first property outside London in Amsterdam.
  • Melia Hotels International opened an Innside-brand property in Manchester. Melia reported a 4pc increase in Q1 revenues.
  • Choice hotels opened its first dual brand Inn/Mainstay Suites property in Mississippi.
  • Accor is expected to open a new resort in Cuba in November.
  • A 226-suite Embassy Suites by Hilton hotel will open in St Kitts in Q1 2017.
  • Nobu hotel brand will open a property in Mexico in 2017.



Alton Towers - Air Rollercoaster copyAlton Towers launched the Big Six challenge, inviting visitors to ride six of its biggest rollercoasters in one day. 

  • The Orlando Eye closed after an irregularity was found and engineers worked to fix an unspecified problem.
  • TUI reported that Q2 losses were down to €167.8m, and summer bookings are up 2pc.
  • Hotelzon opened its 12th country office in Frankfurt. It also announced that it is increasing the size of its Finnish team.
  • Eight people were killed and dozens more injured in the Amtrak rail accident in Philadelphia.
  • The Middle East’s tallest suspension bridge (80m high) is scheduled to open in the  Ardabil province, Iran.
  • The Israel Festival takes place May 28- June 24.
  • Travelport announced a participation agreement with Air Lituanica.
  • Hilton HHonours members can earn 1,500 bonus points per night at Curio Collection hotels until July 31.
  • English magazine Family Traveller launched the Family Traveller Awards.
  • Jennifer Lopez will commence a five-month residency show in Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino, Las Vegas from January 20, 2016.
  • A French tourist was killed by a bull shark while snorkelling off Kouare island.
  • The failed coup to remove Burundi president Pierre Nkurunziza has caused the DFA to warn against all travel to the country.
  • Dubai is rolling out free WiFi in 200 locations.
  • Madame Tussauds launched a Star Wars experience.
  • Copenhagen is considering asking its traffic wardens to double as tour guides.
  • The Gazelle Valley urban park opened in Jerusalem.
  • A second major earthquake hit Nepal on Tuesday.
  • Nine people were killed after a mosque wall collapsed because of heavy rain in Nairobi.
  • Travelport announced an operational agreement with Travelport Distribution Bulgaria.
  • Sabre plans to buy Asia GDS Abacus International.

Food and Wine

Wexford Food Festival copyTwenty events have been organised for the 7th annual Wexford Food and Wine Festival, May 21-25. Highlights include the Wexford South Main Ale traile, food guided foraging, pop up restaurants, bee keeping workshop and a cooking demo with Phelim Byrne.

The Burren Slow Good Festival continues until May 23-24, when there will be cooking demos and talks in the Lisdoonvarna Pavilion. Derry Clarke, JP McMahon and Ross Lewis will be hosting cooking classes. Other highlights include a Food Producers Forum, a guided walk outlining the history of farming in the Burren, a food foraging walk and a famers market.

  • Butlers Chocolates is collecting donations for St Vincent de Paul on Tuesday, May 19.
  • A Hello Kitty-themed restaurant opened in Hong Kong.
  • The Gibson hotel is the exclusive hotel partner of Taste of Dublin 2015.



AerLingus_IRFU_320_EIDEO_DUB_100515_0199 copyLaunch of the week, in terms of coverage, was the Aer Lingus A320 in Irish Rugby Team colours.

  • Kerry Airport handled 296,000 passengers In 2014, a 3.3pc decline on 2013 and retaining its place as Ireland’s eighth busiest airport.
  • Ethiopian Airlines‘ scheduled operations at Dublin started  with a westbound tech stop on ET500 Addis Ababa to Washington (B777-200LR). An eastbound B737-800 delivery Seattle-Kevin TolandWashington-Dublin-Addis Ababa came on Sunday as a bonus.
  • Kevin Toland of DAA (pictured) said the Cork to Dublin air route would require a €1.5m annual subsidy to make it feasible.
  • Enda Corneille, Country Manager at Emirates was interviewed on Newstalk’s Down to Business (listen here).
  • The Manchester Guardian: How I finally learned to stop worrying and love Ryanair.
  • Boeing is to close the 787 surge line to make way for producing 777X.
  • Bombardier Belfast hopes to save 60 of the 280 jobs under threat.
  • FlyPlymouth said it was planning to launch to launch flights from Plymouth to Dublin and Belfast in the summer in 2016. Plymouth has a notoriously short runway.
  • Aviation quotes from ATM 2015: Qatar’s Al Baker: “When you fool your passengers…you cannot compete for long” (referring to poor service at US airlines). Emirates’ Tim Clark: “Market share is not a right. It is earned” (referring to accusations they were stealing passengers).
  • Air India are talking to Airbus about a $1.5bn jet order.
  • France bought an extra 1.7pc stake in Air France KLM.
  • Aer Lingus cabin crew prepared to ballot over outsourcing the Shannon-Boston route for 12 weeks during the summer to an American-registered B767 aircraft.
  • There was more discussion on the proposed aviation fuel pipeline through North Dublin (listen here).
  • Stobart Air appointed Martin Saxton as Chief Commercial Officer, a former Director of Operational Planning and Commercial Planning at Flybe and Fleet Planning Manager at British Midland Airways. New CFO is Graeme Buchanan formerly of Aventas which used to be the Quinn Group. New COO is Andy Jolly, former general manager of Hebridean Air Services and COO of Loganair.
  • Mayo county councillor Christy Loftus suggested the local authority could waive the rates paid by Ireland West Airport Knock for a period of five years to further support the airport. Knock airport  is paying €150,000 in rates annually.
  • Ryanair extended into the winter routes from Dublin to Copenhagen, Lublin and Venice Treviso as well as increased frequencies to Alicante (6x), Barcelona, Berlin, Budapest, Faro (daily), London Gatwick, Madrid, Tenerife (5w) & Warsaw (8w). It expects to increase its Dublin passengers for the year to 9.7m from 8.5m.
  • Dublin Airport welcomed Ryanair’s frequency increases to Alicante (6w), Faro (daily), Tenerife (5w) and Warsaw (8w). Ryanair will operate two new services to Copenhagen and Lublin next winter and extend its Venice Treviso service.
  • Aer Lingus new B service has been extended to operate to January 4th. It was originally planned as a summer service, to finish end of October.
  • Dublin Airport grew its business out of Belfast and the north east by 52pc in 2014.
  • It was speculated Easyjet is due to unveil a major new European route from Belfast in the coming weeks.
  • Cork and Shannon airports suffered significant declines in their traffic movements last month, with Shannon down 20.4pc and Cork down 12pc. The IAA’s traffic figures show that flights in Irish airspace were up 5.6pc YOY in April. Traffic at Dublin Airport was up 6.1pc.
  • FLY Leasing reported a Q1 net income of $17.3m.
  • Aer Lingus Regional has added extra capacity to its Dublin-Isle of Man route for the Isle Man TT motocross race, which takes place May 30-June 12.
  • There was some intriguing speculation that low oil prices are providing a tailwind to the Boeing 777 instead of the 787. Boeing attempted to build and deliver a Boeing 787-9 in 67 days. Boeing’s Ray Conner says 737 Max wing spar load (LN5602) begins this month in Renton
  • Brian Ambrose is expected to tell the Public Inquiry into the passenger cap at Belfast City Airport that if the seats for sale restriction is removed, the airport will adhere to noise restrictions as imposed by the Department of the Environment.
  • Chinese President Xi Jinping will touch down at Shannon Airport today at 2pm.
  • Flybe launched its summer seat sale.
  • United Airlines previewed its new website offering more personalisation and search option. The airline offered to reward hackers, offering a bug bounty to find tech security flaws.
  • Thomas Cook’s proposed route to Reno ran into opposition from US Customs and Border Protection
  • Ryanair’s CEO Michael O’Leary told the Chartered Accountants Ireland Annual Conference in Galway: being nice to people is good for business.
  • Belfast City Airport will hold a runway run on June 24.
  • American Airlines’ Shannon-Philadelphia route returned with added capacity.
  • Spain says free and unlimited Wi-Fi will be available in 46 airports by the end of year.
  • Ryanair celebrated carrying 4m passengers at City of Derry Airport.
  • Flybe have added additional frequency on the Cardiff to Dublin and Cork routes.
  • Qatar launched its A359 XWB service to Singapore Changi airport.
  • A passenger is suing United Airlines because in-flight entertainment cut out during a flight.
  • American Airlines Group expects to phase out US Airways completely by autumn. The US Airways reservations system will migrate to American Airlines’ system in the summer.
  • Hilton announced a partnership with Japanese airlines ANA. Ana passengers will be offered Hilton-brand lounge and in-flight services.
  • Bombardier and US company Pratt & Whitney to develop a data management service for the CSeries aircraft’s health management system.
  • Lufthansa installed premium economy on half of its long-haul fleet.
  • FLY Leasing says it expects to sell a handful of older aircraft in the mid-life aircraft market.
  • Qatar Airways acquired the Novotel Edinburgh Park Hotel in Scotland.
  • The American Customer Satisfaction Index claimed that business travellers are twice as likely to file a complaint for poor airline service.
  • United Airlines previewed a redesigned website, available to view at
  • Qatar Airways placed an A350 on service from Doha to Singapore.
  • Flybe launched its London-Newquay and Southampton-Milan services.
  • Finnair increased its codeshare agreement with Japan Airlines and Qantas.
  • A Canadian woman unexpectedly gave birth on an Air Canada flight from Alberta to Tokyo.



Royal Caribbean and Celebrity have both increased the crew gratuity charge to $12.95 from $12 per person, per day and to $15.95 from $14.25 for premium cruise passengers schedule to sail on or after July 1. Charges in Celebrity suites go up to $16.45 per person per day from $15.50. Charges are automatically added to passenger’s bills. Passengers with existing bookings can pre-pay their gratuities before June 1 to lock in the current rate. It follows a similar increase by Norwegian Cruise Line in February.

Viking Cruises‘ first oceangoing ship Viking Star will be christened in Norway today (Sunday May 17). Delivery of Viking Sky, one of the new vessels from Viking Ocean Cruises, has been delayed from June 2016 to February 2017. Construction of the vessel has been moved from Fincantieri’s Marghera shipyard, near Venice to the Ancona shipyard, where Viking Sea, is under construction.

  • Azamara Quest’s scheduled dry dock due in September has been moved to April 2016 to allow further upgrades. Azamara Journey’s dry dock remains on schedule for January 2016.
  • Prices on Hurtigruten’s Arctic Highlights trip on March 22 next will start from €1285pps including direct return flights from Dublin, transfers, two nights in a hotel and voyage from Tromsø to Kirkenes and back to Tromsø on half board basis. Trips to explore the Arctic are offered all year round using scheduled flights.
  • Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines‘ Balmoral cut short its eight-night Norwegian Fjords cruise due to an outbreak of a gastro-enteritis type illness
  • Puerto Vallarta Tourism director Agustin Alvarez insisted the city was safe for tourists after the USA issued a travel advisory and Royal Caribbean cancelled scheduled calls by Jewel of the Seas and Celebrity Infinity due to armed violence in the state of Jalisco.
  • Irish Ferries owner ICG reported revenues up 7.3pc to €85.1m in the first four months of the year.
  • Princess Cruise’s celebrations programme has added packages for birthdays, weddings, engagements, vow renewals and honeymoons.
  • The Viking Ocean Cruises Show Garden features at the 2015 Chelsea Flower Show.
  • Sydney Lord Mayor Clover Moore has urged cruise passengers to stray from tourist-trodden paths in Australia’s gateway port to Sydney Villages
  • TUI Cruises will transfer Mein Schiff 1 and 2, both formerly Celebrity Cruises’ Century-class ships, to Thomson Cruises, in an effort to modernise its English-based sister line. Thomson acquired Splendour of the Seas, from Royal Caribbean International in March.
  • Seatrade Cruise Med 2016 will take place in Tenerife, September 21-23 2016.

Deal Watch

  • Discover Travel is offering a 10 day full board tour of Ethiopia from €2999pp incl taxes, all flights and all transfers. Intinerary include Addis Ababa, Bahar Dar, Gonar, Lalibela, Axum and Harar. For more, visit or call 021 4635440.                                    
  • ITAA offers of the week: 12 nights B&B 5* Thailand trip from €1,879pp incl. return flights from Dublin, Cork or Shannon and airport transfers, travel September or October. 7 nights half board Over 55s Hillwalking tour, Majorca from €699pp incl. return flights from Dublin or Cork, 1 checked in bag and airport transfers, depart October 5. 3 nights B&B 3* Virginal Hotel, Lake Garda from €349pps incl. return flights ex Dublin and transfers, depart May 27.
  • Lowcostbeds offers of the week, prices based on 2+2 share, 7 nights, depart June 20: 3* Silchoro apartments, Albuferia, Portugal from €9.50pppn. 3* Ourasol apartments, Albuferia, Portugal from €11pppn self catering. 3* THB Flora, Puerto del Carmen, Lanzarote from €7pppn self catering. 3* VIK Club Coral Beach, Playa Blanca, Lanzarote from €14.50pppn self catering. 4* Principe Sol Hotel, Torremolinos, Costa Del Sol from €33.50pppn. 3* Veramar Apartments, Fuengirola, Costa Del Sol from €13.50pppn self catering. See for more.
  • Click and Go offers: 3 nights B&B 3* Akcent Hotel, Prague from €225pp incl. return flights ex Dublin, taxes and charges, travel May or June. 7 nights self catering Puertocarmen Aparthotel, Puerto del Carmen, Lanzarote from €379pp incl. return flights ex Dublin and transfers, travel in May or June. 7 nights B&B 3* Lido Hotel, Estoril, Lisbon Coast from €515pp incl. return flights ex Dublin and transfers, travel in June. 7 nights all inclusive 5* Fantasia De Luxe Hotel, Kusadasi, Turkey from €579pp incl. return flights ex Dublin, taxes, charges and transfers, travel in May. Visit or call 01 637 1699.
  • Thomson offers: 7 nights half board 3* Hotel Talayot, Cala Millor, Majorca from €639pp, depart August 25. 7 nights all inclusive 3* Island Escape – Med Adventure, Majorca from €779pp, depart June 16. 7 nights all inclusive 4* Riu Helios Bay, Obzor, Bulgaria from €649pp, depart June 1. 7 nights B&B 3* Katerina Palace, Argassi, Zakynthos from €459pp, depart June 9. 7 nights half board 3* Barcelo Margaritas, Gran Canaria, depart June 6.
  • Falcon offers: 7 nights self catering 3* Nicon, Kos town from €399pp, depart June 6. 7 nights all inclusive 3* Sun Palace, Faliraki, Rhodes from €1,849 for two adults and one child, and from €2,359 for two adults and two children, depart June 10. 7 nights self catering 3* Loulas Village, Psaras, Corfu from €1,149 for two adults and one child, and from €1,549 for two adults and two children, depart August 28. 7 nights B&B 3* Katerina Palace, Argassi, Zakynthos from €440pp, depart June 9. 7 nights self catering 3* Terrazamar Suites, Puerto Rica, Gran Canaria from €469pp, depart June 6.
  • Riviera Travel extra capacity: 4 nights B&B Normandy from €689pp, depart June 13. 3 nights B&B Bruges from €509pp, depart June 14. 4 nights B&B Berlin, Dresden, Meissen and Colditz from €679pp, depart June 16. 3 nights B&B Paris from €489pp, depart June 19. Prices include flights ex Dublin, taxes, 15kg checkin in baggage pp and tours.
  • Riviera 2016 long haul tours are on sale now: 15 nights Vietnam and Cambodia from €3,029pp. 15 nights South Africa from €2,449pp. 14 nights California and the Golden West from €2,709pp. 10 nights India from €2,429/€2,959pp with 4 night Shimla extension.
  • Sunway cruise offers: 7 nights Mediterranean Cruise on board the Norwegian Epic from €869pp, depart June 14. 12 nights 5* Mediterranean Cruise on board the Celebrity Equinox from €1,129pp, depart May 21. 7 nights Mediterranean Cruise on board the MSC Fantasia from €999pp, depart July 3. 12 nights Greece and Turkey cruise on board the Royal Caribbean Vision of the Seas from €1,079pp, depart June 9. Prices include flights ex Dublin. See for more.
  • Sunway’s Turkey sales on tomorrow, May 18: 7 nights B&B 4* Sea Pearl Hotel from €359pp, 14 nights from €599pp, travel in June. 7 nights B&B 4* Sunset Plaza Hotel from €499pp, 14 nights from €699pp, depart in July. 7 nights 4& Golden Day Hotel from €459pp, 14 nights from €599pp, depart in August. 7 nights Kids from €359pp, 14 nights from €359pp, depart in September. See for more. Prices include flights ex Shannon, return airport transfers, taxes, charges and 20kg checked in baggage pp.
  • Sunway offers: 7 nights all inclusive 3* Samira Club Hotel, Tunisia from €499 per adult and from €439 per child, travel in June. 7 nights all inclusive 4* Club Hotel RIU Bellevue Park, Tunisia from €569 per adult and from €499 per child, travel in June. 7 nights all inclusive 4* Palmin Hotel, Izmir, Turkey from €889pp, €2,229 for two adults and one child and from €3,559 for two adults and two children, depart June 28. 7 nights all inclusive 4* Palmwings Kusadasi, Izmir, Turkey from €919 per adults and from €459 per child, depart June 20. 7 nights all inclusive 3* Sami Beach Hotel, Gumbet, Turkey from €819 per adult and from €489 per child, depart June 21. 7 nights all inclusive 4* Mark Warner Beach Club, Bodrum, Turkey from €2,779 for two adults and two children, depart June 13. 7 nights all inclusive Club Med Kamarina, Sicily from €3,549 for two adults and two children, depart June 14. 7 nights self catering 2* Surfing Playa Apartments, Santa Ponsa from €499pp, depart June 14. 7 nights self catering 3* Verdemar Apartments, Santa Ponsa from €499pp, depart June 14.
  • Sunway is offering 1 night all inclusive 3* Rantasipi Pohjanhovi Hotel, Lapland from €859 per adult and from €759 per child incl. flight ex Dublin, activities such as snow mobile ride, reindeer sleigh ride, arctic clothing, gingerbread decorating and a visit to Santa, depart December 19. Deposit €300 per family. See for more.
  • Wendy Wu offer: Book a group tour to India and get a free 2 night 3* break in Abu Dhabi incl. return airport transfers and city tour. Travel from September 1 to March 19 2016, book before May 31. For more info, visit or call 0818 776 380.
  • Travel Department offers, solo friendly, no single room supplement: 7 nights half board 4* Hotel Girassol from €789pp incl. taxes and flights ex Dublin, depart July 2 or September 24. 14 nights Cape Town, the Garden Route and Kruger National Park from €2,799pp incl. taxes, accommodation, flights ex Dublin and all transfers, depart September 2. 11 nights tour of Delhi, the Taj Mahal and Rajasthan from €1,599pp incl. taxes, flights ex Dublin and all transfers. 8 nights B&B 5* The Legendale Hotel, Beijing from €1,799pp incl. taxes, transfer on arrival and flights ex Dublin, depart September 6 or November 10. 9 nights Moscow and St Petersburg trip from €1,569pp incl. taxes accommodation, transfers and flights ex Dublin. 10 nights trip to Beijing, Xi’an and Shanghai from €2,099pp incl. taxes accommodation, flights ex Dublin and transfers, depart October 15. 7 nights half board Lake Como, the Swiss Alps and Milan from  €679pp incl. taxes, transfer on arrival and accommodation in the Grand Hotel Cadenabbia, depart October 21. 7 nights B&B Estoril and the Lisbon Coast from €669pp incl. taxes, transfer on arrival and accommodation at Hotel Londres, depart October 28. For more, visit or call 01 637 1600.
  • Globe Hotels is offering half bard Cordial Golf Plaza Tenerife from €169pp incl. upgrade to bedroom suite, and one free spa access per adult per stay, travel June 1, 3, 7, 10, 11, 15 or 16. See for more.
  • Tour America offers: 7 nights Clarion Inn Lake Buena Vista, Orlando from €599pp incl. return flights, taxes and charges, depart June 8. 3 nights Beacon Hotel, New York from €799pp incl. return flights, depart December 3. 4 nights Harras Las Vegas from €689pp incl. return flights, taxes and charges, depart November 19.
  • Irish Ferries is offering 3 nights B&B in the Best Western Tillington Hall Hotel for €499 for two adults and two children under 12 incl. return car ferry crossing and one full day at Alton Towers, travel before June 30.
  • Topflight offers: 7 nights B&B 3* Hotel Londra, Sorrento from €689pps incl. return flights ex Dublin, resort transfers, rep service and luggage, Depart June 14. Sorrento excursions: Half day pizza school with lunch €70pp. Half day ice cream classes €19pp. Enogastronomic half day tour €79 per person. Full day Pompeii and Mount Vesuvius €45pp. Half day Herculaneum €35pp. Capri boat tour €79pp. Amalfi drive €35pp. Naples shopping full day €60pp. Sorrento musical evening €25pp. For more, visit or call 01 2401 700.
  • Tourism NI offers the week: 1 night B&B Dunadry Hotel from £150pp incl. dinner in the Flax & Beetle Restaurants, a selection of dark chocolates and late check-out, available until December 19, call 028 9443 4343 to book. 1 night Bramble Cottage Studio, Enniskillen from £120 for two sharing, available Friday to Sunday until May 31, call 028 6634 8138 to book. 1 night Silverbirch Hotel, Omagh from £99pps incl. complimentary drinks on arrival and dinner in Barreta Bar and Grill, available until December 1, call 028 8224 2520 to book. 1 night B&B Europa Hotel, Belfast from £80pps incl. 3 course dinner in the restaurant, available until July 31, call 028 9027 1066 to book.


Porsche-Ireland-WAW-smallA convoy of 50 Porches will travel the length of the Wild Atlantic Way next week, starting at Malin Head today. The trip is organised by Fáilte Ireland and Porsche Club Ireland.

  • Rhys Walton (Beaverstown, son of Philip), Ian Brennan (Greenore), Ben Doyle (Blackwood), Ciaran Hegarty (Kilcock), Brian McCormack (Galway), Neil O’Briain (Old Conna) and James Sullivan (Roe Park) are all partipcpating in the qualifiers for the PGA Assistants’ Championship.
  • Former Aer Lingus CEO Christoph Mueller has stepped down from his role as chairman of An Post and from the board of Tourism Ireland.
  • Picture shows the three-eyed animatronic ravens from Game of Thrones outside Belfast City Hall as part of a promotion by Tourism Ireland.
  • So farewell then, Derek Davis, great friend of the home holiday industry and a man who promoted culinary tourism when it was barely out of the kitchen. As a result, he was responsible for one of the most explicit sex scenes in the history of Ireland’s national broadcaster when some rabbits from the show farm in Morrell Farm in Straffan were brought into studio for Live at Three., Derek handled a potentially embarrassing situation with aplomb: “what do rabbits do?”
  • IAE-media-smallFáilte Ireland held Ancient East workshops in Portlaoise, Goreyand Youghal for tourism operators in the east and south. A group of journalists from the US, Germany, Spain, Belgium and India (pictured) took part in a fam trip of Ireland’s Ancient East with an itinerary organised by Fáilte Ireland.
  • Cork Summer Show takes place June 20-21, Curraheee Showgrounds. The event is expected to attract 55,000 visitors. There will be 2,000 animals on show, the All Ireland Angus beef championship, home and garden expo, vintage rally and artisan produce.
  • Mike Laflin of Sportcal told the European Sport Tourism Summit in Thomond Park that Ireland is underachieving in the €450bn sports tourism sector, ranking number 68 in attracting international events.
  • Fáilte Ireland launched this year’s Tourism Towns Award. Only towns ranked in the top 100 Tidy Towns 2014 are eligible. Closing date for applications is Friday, June 12.
  • The Open Fringe Festival takes place May 25-31 as part of the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open. The fringe line up includes: GAA Legends Exhibition Game, comedy from Patrick Kielty and  the Mourne Landscape Tour.
  • The INIS Fest will take place at Ennis Showgrounds in Co Clare, June 26-28. Line up includes Nathan Carter, Damien Dempsey and Delorentos. Tickets cost €27 1 night, €50 2 nights, on sale now.
  • Ireland ranked number 2 for environmental sustainability, 3 for cost to start a business, 4 for government prioritisation of tourism industry and 5 for tourism marketing in the World Economic Forum’s Travel & Tourism Competitiveness Index.
  • Ireland will host the 2017 Women’s Rugby World Cup. The competition will be played in Dublin and Belfast.
  • Entry for the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open closed this week. 156 players from 20 countries will attend the event from May 28-31. Line up includes: Rory McIlroy, Miguel Angel Jimenez, Victor Dubuisson, Jamie Donaldson, Danny Willett, Paul Lawrie, Paul McGinley and Shane Lowry.
  • The WAW features in this month’s of Canadian magazine Ensemble Vacations.

Fógra (with apologies to the late Con Houlihan)

Next weekend the Irish Press group will have been out of print for twenty years and Irish journalism is all the poorer for it. Remembering the occupation, featuring Travel Extra‘s Gerry O’Hare and his ingenious sleeping arrangements: Watch here.

Stephen Collins, Eoghan Corry and Tim Pat Coogan at the launch of the biography of Domhnall Ua Buachalla by Adhamhnan O Suilleabhain in O'Connell House, May 14 2015

Picture shows Tim Pat Coogan, Eoghan Corry, and Stephen Collins at a book launch by their former colleague Adhamhnán Ó Súilleabháin last week, a long-overdue biography of Dómhnall O Buchalla. Tim Pat celebrated his eightieth birthday on Inis Mór last weekend. Former Irish Press colleagues will be gathering in Dublin next Friday to catch up on two lost decades.

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

TRAVEL Extra’s Sunday Supplement: Ethical Safari on Show in Durban


Declan Hughes photographing Cape Town

Declan Hughes photographing Cape Town

The headlines this week:

  • The ‘fun’ doesn’t set on Indaba
  • Following the footsteps of Mandela
  • Spain tops the Tourism Competitiveness chart
  • Ireland remains at number 19, falling short on price
  • Flamenco dancing with Andalucia

Travel Extra TV

Video of week May 10Our video of the week comes from Alex Chacon, who created an Epic Selfie from three years’ of travel. Watch here.

  • Dublin airport plans to turn Aer Lingus’ former head office building into an office space called ONE Dublin Airport Central. The first tenants are expected to move in in 2016. Watch here.
  • Aer Lingus uploaded footage from the 7th annual Viscount Awards in the House of Commons, Westminster. Watch here.
  • Etihad Airways A330 with EXPO 2015 livery taking off at Dublin airport. Watch here.
  • KLM and Heineken introduce The Orange Experience. Watch here.
  • Airbus showcases its Cockpit Experience Trainer, a mobile cockpit simulator that simulates the A350 XWB cockpit. Watch here.
  • Two Qatar Airways pilots talk about their career. Watch here.
  • Emirates launched its A380 service to Perth. Watch here.
  • Meet Savi, the room service robot. Watch here.


Indaba 2015 burst into life in Durban (slogan: “the city where the fun never sets”). South African tourism showcased the four meet South Africa videos (slogan: “inspiring new ways”) that the tourist board has released as pillars of its marketing campaign, its new Mandela and Gandhi trails, its golf initiative (SA Tourism CEO Thulani Nzima told Travel Extra that South Africa intends to “dominate the golf market”) and a new ‘hidden gems’ campaign. Picture shows Sarah Gilbert of TTG, Jo Austin of Seling Travel, Kgomotso Ramothea press officer at of the London office of South indabaAfrican Tourism, Tolene Van der Merwe director of the London office of South African Tourism and Eoghan Corry, editor of Travel Extra. See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.

Fair trade in tourism was the theme of an excellent speed marketing session. In the most memorable contribution to the conference of all, Lara Mostert, marketing manager for Monkeyland, told delegates: “It is WRONG to pose with monkeys or any animals to put pictures on your wall.” Also new to Indaba this year was a tech zone and a bloggers’ conference.

17268423619_d012156e6b_nMinister Derek Hanekom conducted his traditional walkabout yesterday morning at the event, spread-eagled over four halls. Indaba had fewer buyers (2,000) and sellers (1,000) than in the past, but the media presence (750) is a record as is the breadth of representation from 20 African countries. Thulani Nzima said that the emphasis was on quality, and 10,000 meetings would take place at the event, which is about to change dramatically even further Minister Derek Hanekom says that Indaba will be tendering for industry partners to create a pan-African show, based in Durban, which will rank third in the world behind WTM and ITB.

17452665942_7afbf752b1_nAccording to Tolene Van der Merwe, London based two-country manager for Ireland and Britain for South African Tourism (pictured with Kgomotso Ramothea), Ireland is expected to grow in 2015. Johannesburg is the fifth biggest indirect destination out of Dublin but there are no plans for a direct service. Thulani Nzima said he “does not care” how tourists come to South Africa. Minister Derek Hanekom said that protecting South African Airways was not a priority of the government at the expense of greater air access, but that open skies on the continent of Africa had a long way to go. The country is popular with the traditional older market, they are highlighting urban lifestyle attractions, musical experiences, Screen Shot 2015-05-09 at 23.09.35food, fashion and wine and the vibrancy of the city destinations, as well as the traditional safari product which drives most of 43,000 visitors from Ireland each year. Andrew Sharpe, trade relations manager for South African Tourism Ireland & Britain, says that South Africa is stepping up its activity with the Irish trade and has scheduled two fam trips for the Irish market in the autumn of 2015 and spring of 2016 with tour operator Sunway and the Travel Centres consortium.

Buyers were disappointed if they expected the long awaited clarification on South Africa’s controversial new immigration rules which come into effect on June 1, The situation is as confused as ever. Negotiations are still ongoing and Minister said while he was concerned it was the Home office. 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.

Indaba’s social scene is amongst the best on the circuit. The opening event, a cross between a Eurovision interval act and The Late Late Toy Show, us a multinational extravaganza with classical singers, the Afro tenors, the Jaizel brothers, gospel choirs, and dancers, was brought to a crescendo by Beatenberg that had the delegates dancing in the aisles. They even got the Minister for Tourism to play the drums. At least he LOOKED like the Minister for Tourism.

max'sThe renowned Saturday night beach party had gotten washed out once too often and is no more but there were 24 dinner events instead. Uganda sponsored the ATTA dinner (no awards this year) in Moyo. On Friday night, some pleasant and well lubricated networking took place at the Welcome Africa evening on the 31st floor of the Maharani Hotel while some of the media were hosted by Thoko Jili of Wisdom Tours at a venue with a difference, Max’s Lifestyle in Umlazi township.

Marcel Von Aulock of Southern Sun showcased hotel developments, a R1.8bn expansion at Suncoast Casino and Entertainment, a R110m refurb at Garden Court Marine parade, refurbs at the Waterfrotd in Cape Town, and a new 500-room Sunsquare and Stayeasy, Sandton in Johannesburg will be completed in September.

It was 21 years to day since Nelson Mandela was sworn in as South Africa’s first democratically elected president, and it was a special moment for Travel Extra’s editor Eoghan Corry, who was present in Pretoria representing the Sunday Press, to see a white minister for tourism being led to the stage by Zulu dancers. Yes, he shed a single manly tear.

MandelaNational Geographic photojournalist Pablo Corral Vega visited South Africa recently to retrace the life of Mandela. Travellers can use the Madiba’s Journey app to follow the statues and sites that document Mandela’s life and achievements. Watch footage from Vega’s visit.

Travel agents, travel media and their hosts at Table Mountain in Cape Town, Ross Sinclair, Melissa Kirby, Andrew Sharpe of SA Tourism, Samantha Gee, Paul Scudamore, Hannah August, Declan Hughes, Sarah Weaver, Mariska Knoesen, Michelle Seddon, Eoghan Corry and Charles Clark, May 7 2015

SA tourism hosted 20 fam trips prior to Indaba, bringing delegates from new markets such as Turkey for the first time. Turkish operate a flight from Istanbul to Cape Town, with a 40-minute stay-on-board stop over in Johannesburg. This opens a one-stop option for Irish people travelling to Cape Town with improved connections since Turkish went double daily last month. Nina Farrimond hosted a tour ops group in Limpopo, the hidden jewel of the north “real Africa” as South Africa specialist Richard Lamont of Zeta Tours described it. Kgomotso Ramothea hosted tour operators and one journalist in the Zulu battlefields where Rob Gerrard rose to the chalenge of dramatising events for British ears (whatever about the Zulus, who had more casualties). Andrew Sharpe escorted 11 tour operators and journalists, including Travel Extra’s editor Eoghan Corry and Declan Hughes of Flycruisestay through the winelands of Stellenbosch and Franschoek, where they were hosted by Sheila Grey of Red Carnation at the Twelve Apostles Hotel, by Laurence Gould at Cle des Montages and stayed at Richard Branson’s Mont Rochelle lodge and at the heart of Cape Town’s waterfront action at Sun International’s Table Bay hotel. Picture shows Ross Sinclair, Melissa Kirby, Andrew Sharpe of SA Tourism, Samantha Gee, Paul Scudamore, Hannah August, Declan Hughes, Sarah Weaver, Mariska Knoesen, Michelle Seddon, Eoghan Corry and Charles Clark. See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.

Competitiveness reportSpain climbed three places to top the biennial Travel & Tourism Competitiveness Report from the World Economic Forum. The boost is supported by high global rankings in cultural resources (1st worldwide), IT readiness (4th) and infrastructure (4th). This is the first time the country has claimed the number one spot.

Europe continued to dominate the top ten tourism-ready economies with France (2nd), Germany (3rd), Britain (5th), Switzerland (6th) and Italy (8th). The USA (4th), Australia (7th), Japan (9th) and Canada (10th) completed the list. Sweden was missing from this year’s top rankings, having slipped from 9th place to 23rd. Singapore dropped one place to number 11. Europe scored high for tourism service infrastructure, health and hygiene and integration, but the region is not making the most of its cultural resources and fails to prioritise new trends. Regulatory restrictions are also holding Europe back.

The biggest growth in international arrivals was seen in Southeast Asia, thanks to an expanding middle class and competitive pricing. Regional cooperation on visa policies is recommended if the region wants to further boost tourism.

Although the Middle East and North Africa have built significant tourism industries, concerns about security continue to hold the region back, despite the fact that tourism resorts are far from the most dangerous areas.

South Africa (48th globally), the Seychelles (54th) and Mauritius (56th) make up the top three competitive economies in Sub-Saharan Africa. Longstanding problems with infrastructure, health and hygiene prevent the region from seeing its full tourism potential.

The Americas tell two stories: North America falls down on travel facilitation, price competitiveness and infrastructure upgrades, while Central and South America is dogged by concerns with safety and security.

Ireland remained at the number 19 spot, and placed 11th in Europe. We scored high for tourism policy conditions (5th in the world),international opens (5th as well) and human resources (12th), but lost out when it came to price competitiveness (122nd out of 141) and natural resources (72nd).

Overall, the tourism and travel sector continues to grow at a faster rate than the global economy (3.4pc per year compared to 2.3pc). The World Travel & Tourism Council predicts that this could accelerate to 5.2pc per year in the next five years. Read the full report here.

ATM 2015 Official Press Conference Photo 1There were 2,700 exhibitors from 91 countries and 23,000 visitors at this year’s Arabian Tourism Market, held in the Dubai World Trade Centre. Unsurprisingly, mobile dominated the tech
arabian travel market copyseminars, with analysts predicting global growth in mobile bookings to account for 35pc of all online bookings by 2018. This was flagged as an opportunity to develop business tourism and Dubai Expo 2020 in particular. With 50pc of online searches conducted on mobile (which incorporates tablet devices as well as smartphones), investment in travel technology is not an option.  
Family holidays and enticing millennials with adventure travel were flagged as areas for potential growth — as the
Middle East aims to welcome 101m annual visitor arrivals by 2020, the region is looking to extend the tourism sector beyond gateway cities. Speaking at the UNWTO Ministerial Forum, government minister and chairman of the UAE council of tourism Sheikh Nahyan Bin Mubarak Al Nahyan called for an intra-Arab tourism strategy to boost the number of tourists travelling between the countries.

A report by Euromonitor focussed on the Middle East predicted that the percentage growth in air transport value will rise from 6.1pc to 12pc, hotel value from 7.4pc to 9.1pc and travel retail from 7.1pc to 9.7pc. Incoming tourist receipts is expected to grow by 10.4pc this year.

rishav-agarwal-accepting-the-award-from-nadege-noblet-segersNepal was awarded the new Frontiers Recovery Award. Rishav Agarwal of Nebuti Travels in Kathmandu said that the country is determined to get things back on track as soon as possible. “Despite the devastating loss of life, only around 30% of temples were destroyed, and the majority of hotels in Kathmandu are operational, and neither Pokhara nor Chitwan were affected.”  Nepal’s tourism sector was undeterred by andaluciathe recent earthquake, with four out of six participating companies attending ATM 2015.

The Andalucia Tourist Board and the Spanish Tourist Office Dublin hosted a workshop and dinner (followed by flamenco dancing) in Trinity College. Picture shows Antonio Martin at the event. See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.

Gibson BBQNicky Logue, GM of The Gibson Hotel, hosted a barbecue to celebrate the launch of the summer season. Picture shows Nicky with his team at the event. See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.

The travel industry is weighing up the impact of the British General Election, in which David Cameron confounded pollsters and pundits by winning a sensational second five-year term in office for his Conservative party, and it is not pretty. An English exit from the EU could be on the cards as early as 2020, with profound implications for international travel and a new set of hurdles for the tourism industry in and out of that country — although Scotland going its separate way will lessen the blow in Alban. Is now the time for Ireland to consider becoming more tourist-friendly and join the Shenghen region unilaterally? Over to you Frances.

Travel Trade

Damien Mooney copyFormer Falcon Irish and country manager Damien Mooney was appointed MD of

Travel Professionals Skillnet 2-day finance for non finance professionals course takes place May 21 and 22, 9.30am-5.30pm, Blanchardstown Corporate Park.  Costs €299. Book here. Excel Early Bird Special: Excel Level 1 and 2 for €150, March 25. Book before March 23. Book here.

Paul Gallagher took office as Chair of the Irish Tourist Industry Confederation. The Buswell’s GM and former IHF President was elected at the AGM of the Confederation, as Paul Carty ended to his two year term of office.

Jennifer Kearney, a Sales Consultant from Go Hop 1 copyJennifer Kearney from pictured in Kenya on a Fam trip organised by the Kenya Tourist board which visited 25 properties in eight locations across Kenya, including safari and ending on the coast in Diani.

Red Sea Holidays launched their month-long Dublin Bus campaign this week. Red Sea is also sponsoring FM104’s weather bulletins for the next six months.

Wendy Wu Tours is offering €30 One4all vouchers for every booking made before the end of May.

Chocolate pizzaAgents making bookings before May 15 will be in with a chance to join United on the inaugural flight from Dublin to Chicago on June 5. The more bookings you make, the more chance to win. Picture shows Pat Reede of United Airlines treating the World Travel Centre team to a gourmet chocolate pizza to celebrate the launch of the service. See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.

J Barter Travel‘s 150 years in business exhibition in Cork Vision Centre opened on Thursday.

Topflight’s charter summer schedule launched on Thursday with the Dublin- Funchal route. Tony Collins reported a 15pc increase in bookings so far this year. The charter services to Italy launch from May 23. There is extra capacity on both the Naples and Verona routes.

munster rugby awardsPicture shows Declan O’Connell of Lee Travel, Noel McAuliffe of Travel Focus, Kieran Collins of Heffernan’s, Michael Doorley of Shandon Travel, Anita Thomas of Emirates, Paul O Connell, Mary Jones of Lee Travel, Sarah McCarthy of Travel Counsellors and Cian Bohane who were hosted by Emirates at the Munster Rugby Awards at the Maryborough Hotel. See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.

At the Janus Awards: Paul Clark, UTV who hosted the event, Joanne McKenna, Michael Cafolla and Niall McKenna of James Street South

Bobby Healy’s CarTrawler is to acquire Finnish technology and services company Cabforce.

Pat Dawson, CEO of the ITAA, called the inaugural Irish Travel Industry Trade Show a success and said the aim is to shape the event into the best forum in Ireland for productive engagement between travel agents, suppliers and business partners.

Pictured at the Janus Awards: Paul Clark, UTV who hosted the event, Joanne McKenna, Michael Cafolla and Niall McKenna of James Street South.


10th Anniversary Clanard Court Team photo copyLouis Walsh will be special guest and judge for WedRock, the battle of the wedding bands competition, at Mary Fennin’s Clanard Court hotel to headline the hotel’s 10th anniversary wedding extravaganza. Picture shows staff at the Clanard Court celebrating the anniversary. said mobile bookings made by Irish users increased 70pc in 2014. The most popular destinations booked by Irish travellers via mobile devices: 1 London, €162 av. 2 New York, €211 av. 3 Paris, €155 av. 4 Lanzarote, €87 av. 5 Rome, €120 av. 6 Barcelona, €126 av. 7 Amsterdam, €127 av. 8 Albufeira, €84 av. 9 Las Vegas, €110 av. 10 Berlin, €99 av.

  • IHG Q1 global room revenue up 5.1pc.
  • Four Seasons will open its second property in Dubai, at the city’s International Finance Centre, in 2016.
  • The former Nile Hilton will re-open as the Nile Ritz-Carlton later this summer.
  • IHG announced the opening of Crowne Plaza Berlin – Potsdamer Platz.
  • Amari Phuket opens its Ocean Wing from June 1.
  • Carlson Rezidor announced two Park Inn by Radisson Hotels in Istanbul. Park Inn Odayeri and Park Inn Atasehir will open in early 2016.
  • Hilton opened the DoubleTree by Hilton Lafayette.
  • Fairmont Hotels & Resorts opened the Fairmont Ajman in the UAE.
  • Swissôtel Hotels & Resorts entered an agreement withGaranti Koza to manage Swissôtel KozaPark Istanbul.
  • DHISCO partnered with to launch a combination OTA later this month.
  • Hyatt Hotels opened Hyatt Place Washington DC.
  • Starwood Hotels & Resorts will double its Middle East portfolio over the next five years.
  • Choice Hotels rolled out a redesigned website and advertising campaign.
  • The 192-room Ritz-Carlton Hotel Budapest is to open in 2016.
  • Carlson Rezidor will open the 126-room Radisson Blu Hotel, Misrata in early 2016.
  • Kaba and Dorma plan to merge to become the dorma+kaba group.
  • Spanish hoteliers called for a unified star classification system.
  • Holiday Inn Express opened a property at Aberdeen International airport.
  • Hyatt Hotels will open its first Place brand hotel in Africa, the Hyatt Place Taghazout Bay.

Thoor Ballylee, a former home of WB Yeats in Gort Co Galway re-opened after its closure since 2009 when American lawyer Joseph Hassett pledged €31k to develop the Yeats Exhibition in the Tower. The plan is to develop a world class Cultural Centre in the Tower to accommodate a new exhibition, a cafe, bookshop, and space for exhibitions, lectures and classes.

ONYX Hospitality Group is to launch two new projects in Malaysia, OZO Medini and Shama Medini, scheduled to open in 2018.

WiFi topped’s amenities poll, ahead of breakfast and free parking.

The Mitsui Garden Yotsuya hotel in central Tokyo launched crying rooms — rooms that come with tearjerker films, make up remover, extra soft tissues and sad manga comics. And when you’ve got it all out of your system, you can avail of the room’s steam eye masks.



Travel distributor GTA launched a loyalty programme for the Middle Eastern and African travel trade. Rewards include smartphones, tables and shopping vouchers.

Travelport renewed its contract with travel management company HRG.

Brand USA launched its culinary tourism strategy.

springfieldWednesday sees the official opening of The Simpsons-themed Springfield attraction at Universal Studios Hollywood.

NYC & Company’s latest NYCGO Insider Guide features Manhattan’s Flatiron District .

Fifty tour operators from 18 countries are expected to attend EUROAL 2015, which takes place June 3-5 in the Palacio de Congresos y Exposiciones in Torremolinos.

Monday saw the opening of Orlando’s new entertainment destination, I-Drive 360, home of the new Orlando Eye.  Stuntman Nik Wallenda successfully completed his record-breaking walk atop the Eye, while the observation wheel was in motion.

  • TUI is looking to sell
  • A King Kong themed attraction, Skull Island: Reign of Kong, will open at Universal’s Islands of Adventure in summer 2016.
  • The Fondazione Prada arts centre opened in Milan.
  • ATM partner Sabre launched its TripCase app for Apple Watch.
  • Hertz added 235,000 new vehicles to its US fleet.
  • Benidorm will apply for World Heritage status.
  • Leopold Museum, Vienna will host new works by Tracey Emin until September 14.
  • TripAdvisor reported Q1 revenue of $363m, up 29.2pc YOY.
  • Universal is to open Nintendo themed rides and attractions at its theme parks.
  • Brooks Brothers was appointed apparel sponsor for the USA Pavilion at Expo Milano 2015.
  • GTA moved its Global Assistance Team to Dubai.
  • A tour guide in China had her license revoked after threatening to cancel a tour group’s itinerary unless they spent more on souvenirs.

Food & Wine

Artane-born Mark McDonnell, executive sous-chef at the Mandarin Oriental in Washington, DC who hosted irish travel writers, May 2 2015.

Picture shows Artane-born Martin McDonnell, formerly of Mint and Ecrivain and now executive sous-chef at the Mandarin Oriental in Washington, DC who hosted Irish travel writers who flew out on the Aer Lingus Washington DC inaugural last weekend.

Karl Breen of Locks Brasserie in Dublin talks to Irish Food Channel about his signature dishes: 12 hour octopus with black garlic, calamansi mayo, tamarind and salted celeriac. Watch here.1 MILLION AUSTRALIANS TUNE IN TO NEW COOKERY SHOW FILMED IN FERMANAGH

The first episode of Dublin chef Colin Fassnidge’s two-part food series My Ireland with Colin was broadcast on Channel 7 in Australia. The episode showcased Fermanagh’s food and scenery to 1m viewers. Picture shows Colin Fassridge with butcher Pat O’Doherty, director Paul Melville and cameraman David Rose during filming.

  • The Temple Bar Food Market celebrated its 18th birthday yesterday.
  • Liadain Kaminska and Sarah McNally’s Market Kitchen opened in Dublin city centre. Initially, the market will be a monthly pop-up. It will open every Saturday next year.
  • Irish Bake Off finalist Maryanne Dalton and Gemma Cullen launched Dalkey-based food company Dine.



Bank of Ireland Runway Night Run Shannon AirportThe Runway Night Run at Shannon Airport takes place at midnight, June 19. There are 1,700 places available for this year’s event, 500 more than last year. Registration is now open. Register before June 15. All proceeds go to Tipperary Limerick Clare for Cystic Fibrosis and Milford Care Centre, Limerick.

Ryanair carried 9m passengers in April, up 16pc. Load factor was up 7 percentage points to 91pc.

Aer Lingus carried 923,000 passengers in April, down 5.2pc YOY. Load factor was up 2.4 percentage points to 78.2pc. Short haul traffic was down 5.5pc to 710,000, and long haul traffic was up 1.8pc to 113,000.

Avolon delivered eight aircraft to five airlines in Q1. The lessor reported Q1 net income of $49m up 36pc on total revenue of $175.7m.

Ryanair and Sabre copyRyanair fares and ancillary services will be available in a third GDS, Sabre from June 2015.

British Airways is offering passengers flying from May 12 the option to buy a Word Traveller meal as an alternative to the normal menu on selected long haul routes.

Cityjet and Powerscourt Hotel announced a joint marketing deal.

Avolon appointed Donal O’Neill as head of investor relations.

Aer Lingus quietly dropped its €3m legal challenge against Siptu.

Shannon group chief Neil Pakey received €281,869 in his first full year at the firm.

Boeing reported orders for one B787 VIP, five B777s and six B787s from unidentified customers.

DC 06/05/2015 - REPRO FREE FREE PIC Warren Delaforce, Airport Fire Officer, and Rob Jenkins, Airport Police, Fire & Rescue, pictured at the launch of the “Save a Life” campaign where Cork Airport is offering Cardiac First responder training (CFR) to all airport staff and businesses at a discounted rate of €50 to cover course and certification costs.  Pic: Diane Cusack

Picture shows Warren Delaforce, Airport Fire Officer, and Rob Jenkins, Airport Police, Fire & Rescue, at the launch of the “Save a Life” campaign where Cork Airport offered Cardiac First responder training (CFR) to all airport staff and businesses.

FLY Leasing reported Q1 revenue of $122.5m, up 34pc. The Irish lessor invested $147m in four aircraft in Q1 and sold three aircraft.

Ryanair will operate a service from Rome Ciampino to Rabat from October 27.

Stephen Kavanagh said Aer Lingus is becoming the dominant transatlantic airline operating out of Boston.

American Airlines resumed its Shannon-Philadelphia summer service. This year’s service will have a 58pc increase in capacity.

Ryanair reduced its airport check-in fee from €70 to €45 and its missed departure fee from €110 to €100. The airline has also reduced the cost of checking in sports equipment.

Flybe is offering triple Avios to customers who book Dublin-LCY for travel May and June, book before May 31.

Cork Airport plans to develop a 50-acre site to extend the Airport Business Park.

IATA reported global passenger traffic results for March 2015 showed RPKs up 7.4pc, ASKs up 5.6pc and load factor up 1.3 percentage points to 80pc.

Avolon delivered a B737-800 to Sunwing Airlines.

British Airways launched an in-flight channel dedicated to the Tate museum of modern art. It features short films by artists like Grayson Perry, Ai Weiwei, Yayoi Kusama and Damien Hirst.

Avolon delivered an A320-200 to VivaAerobus, the first of four aircraft due to deliver to the Mexican carrier.

New York-based designer Zac Posen will design new uniforms for Delta ground staff and cabin crew.


Etihad Airways launched its Abu Dhabi-Entebbe service.

Malaysia Airlines plans to phase out its entire fleet of A380s.

American Airlines launched a streaming video service on its domestic fleet.

1,000 parts on the Airbus A350 XWB were 3D printed.

Photo 3

Qatar Airways will introduce routes to Los Angeles, Boston and Atlanta in 2016.

Lufthansa reported improved Q1 earnings, but said further action is needed to lower costs.

JetBlue will stream Amazon Prime Videos through its Fly-Fi internet system.

A live stick of dynamite was accidentally left on the Spirit of Seventy Six vintage aircraft at LAX after a security training exercise.

Bombardier announced SWISS is the launch carrier for the CSeries twin jet, due for delivery in the first half of 2016.

Qatar introduced a shuttle service between Doha and Dubai.

Norwegian Air plans to open a base at LAX.

Emirates renewed its marketing agreements with the tourism boards of South Africa, Seychelles and Mauritius.

Flights from Rome Fiumicino Airport were cancelled Thursday morning because of a fire.

Malaysia Airlines Group welcomed Christoph Mueller as chief executive on May 1 and resigned as chairman of An Post. In his first internal communication to the airline’s 20,000 employees, Mueller warned of huge job cuts ahead, saying the airline is spending about 20pc more than its rivals.

Emirates is in the final stages of launching a luxury bedroom product to be rolled out on its A380 and B777s.

Airbus won orders for 229 aircraft between January and April 2015. 196 aircraft were delivered. After cancellations, net orders totalled 209 aircraft. Orders included four A320neos for Avolon.

United Airlines is being sued in a $5m lawsuit for allegedly deceiving passengers about a lack of in-flight WiFi access.

Boeing sold 139 aircraft between January and April 2015, a net total of 114 after 25 cancellations.

Lufthansa will take delivery of first of 25 A350-900s at the end of 2016.

Members of Etihad Guest loyalty programme donated 30m Etihad Guest Miles to provide humanitarian aid to victims of the Nepal earthquake.

Boeing, Lufthansa and SWISS finalised an order for three addition B777-300ERs.

Qatar Airways will launch flights to Zanzibar from July 1.

The co-pilot responsible for the Germanwings crash is believed to have practiced a rapid descent on the outbound flight.

American Airlines launched its B787 Dreamliner service on the Dallas-Chicago route. The aircraft will be deployed on the Dallas-Beijing service from June 2.

The New York Times profiled Rhapsody, United Airlines’ first class in-flight magazine.

Iberia announced a car rental partnership with Avis Budget Group.

Etihad will operate a B797-9 Dreamliner on its Abu Dhabi-Singapore route, which launches August 1.

Students at Delft University in the Netherlands have collaborated with KLM and Zodiac Aerospace to develop smart seats fitted with built-in heart rate monitors that could help cabin crew identify passengers who are feeling ill or anxious.

Zodiac Aerospace subsidiary GMBH patented an in-flight food delivery system that offers a sushi bar carousel dining style.



Royal Caribbean ordered a fourth Quantum-class ship from Meyer Werft in Germany for delivery in 2019, two weeks after the launch of Anthem of the Seas. Royal’s Capacity increases over the next five years are expected to be 5.5pc, 6.3pc, 3.1pc, 3.9pc and 6.5pc, respectively.

Times for the presentations of the eight participants at the e-travel Cruise Show at Red Cow Morans Hotel on the Naas Road south of Dublin today (May 10) are: 12.30 MSC, 13.00 Riveria Travel, 13.30 Celebrity, 14.00 Silversea, 14.30 Royal Caribbean, 15.00 Cunard, 15.30 Holland America, 16.00 Uniworld.

Royal Caribbean president Michael Bayley suggested that Oasis and Allure of the Seas might follow Harmony of the Seas’ suit and add waterslides.

Scenic’s 2016 European river cruise programme includes itineraries in Portugal, two new ships — Scenic Azure and Scenic Amber — and increased activities like Tastes of Oktoberfest on Scenic Enrich experiences.

  • Carnival Imagination and Carnival Inspiration were forced to divert to San Diego and San Pedro due to high swells.
  • A combination of rainfall in Switzerland and France, and spring snowment in the mountains has disrupted itineraries for lines sailing on the Rhine, Rhône, Saône, Danube and Seine rivers.
  • Royal Caribbean is expected to roll out perks for Suite Class passengers some time in 2016.
  • Norwegian banned passengers from taking food outside dining areas.
  • Princess Cruises and Holland America Line cancelled all 2015 port visits to La Goulette, Tunisia, following March’s attack in Tunis.
  • Celebrity Cruises’ new ships will feature Suite Class dining.
  • P&O Azura underwent repairs in Norway after experiencing problems with its electrical system.
  • Carnival Cruise Line changed its loyalty programme, limiting VIFP party invitation to passengers with platinum and diamond status, effective May 15.
  • MSC Cruises‘ Divina docked in Manhattan for its maiden call at New York City.
  • Royal Caribbean appointed John Sulley as VP of food and beverage operations.
  • Princess Cruises will deploy its next vessel in China full time.
  • Baja Ferries received a license to operate a ferry service between the USA and Cuba.

Deal Watch

Irish Ferries is offering two adults and car travel from Rosslare to Cherbourg/Roscoff from €99 each way. Valid for travel up to May 28 and from August 24-December 16. See for more or call 1818 300 400.

Bring a friend to France for free on Stena Line. Prices from Rosslare to Cherbourg start at €98 single for a car and two passengers. Book by May 19 for travel up to May 28 and from August 24 to December 16.

Lowcostbeds offers for Greece, based on 2 sharing for arrivals in May to mid-June: 5* Holiday Palace, Corfu form €27pppn half board. 3* Fereniki Holiday Resort & Spa, Crete from €16pppn all inclusive. 3* Pantheon Studios, Kos from €10pppn half board. 3* Hotel Virginia, Rhodes from €17pppn all inclusive. Visit for more.

Insight Vacations is offering a 9-day tour of Budapest, Vienna and Prage from €1,879pps incl. flights, transfers and selection of meals. Book by May 31, depart July 31. For more, visit or call 01 775 3803.

Uniworld is offering an 8-day all inclusive river cruise on the Rhine Discovery from €2,329pps incl. flights, port tax, gratuities and transfers. Book by May 31, depart June 21. For more, visit or call 01 775 3803.

Contiki offer of the week: 12-day European tour from €1,490pps incl. accommodation, 16 meals and visits to 8 World Heritage Sites. Itinerary includes England, Belgium, Netherlands, Germany, Austria, Italy, Vatican City, Switzerland and France. Book by May 11, depart Jun 5. For more visit, or call 01 775 3803.

Click and Go offers: 3 nights 3* Mark Apart Hotel, Berlin from €199pp incl. flights ex Dublin, taxes and charges, travel in June. 7 nights self catering 3* Albona Apartments, Rabac Istrian Riveria, Croatia from €479pp incl. flights ex Dublin and transfers, travel in May. 7 nights all inclusive 3* Brisamar Aparthotel, Corralejo, Fuerteventura from €499pp incl. flights ex Dublin, taxes, charges and transfers, travel in June.

Falcon offers: 7 nights self catering 3* Hyde Park Lane, Playa De Los Pocillos, Lanzarote from €979 for two adults and one child and from €1,199 for two adults and two children, depart June 11. 7 nights B&B 3* Marvel, Sunny Beach, Bulgaria from €419pp, depart June 1. 7 nights B&B 3* Sinem Hotel, Marmaris, Dalaman from €349pp, depart June 8. 7 nights self catering 3* Loulas Village, Psaras, Corfu from €379pp, depart June 12. To book, visit or call 1850 45 35 45. 

Sunway offers: 10 days escorted tour of Southern Italy and Sicily from €2,099pp incl. flights ex Dublin, transport, meals, hotel accommodation and transfers. Itinerary includes visits to Rome, Sorrento, Taormina and Palermo. Book by May 15, depart June 19. 7 nights B&B 5* Gran Atlantis Bahia Real Hotel, Fuerteventura from €989pps incl. transfers, taxes, charges 20kg checked in baggage pp and Sunway rep service, depart June 6 or 13.

Thomson offers: 7 nights half board 4* Barcelo Santiago Puerto de Santiago, Tenerife from €609pp, depart June 12. 7 nights full board onboard the Thomson Spirit from €669pp, depart June 1. 7 nights self catering 3* Silver Springs, Sunny Beach, Bulgaria from €439pp, depart June 1. 7 nights self catering 3* Cay Beach Sun, Playa Blanca, Lanzarote from €509pp, depart June 15. To book, visit or call 1850 45 35 45.

Wendy Wu Tours is offering €200pp off all inclusive tours: 16 days Wonder of China tour, €3,790pp, depart July 12. 10 days A China Experience tour, €2,940pp, depart August 15. 21 days Magnificent China, €4,190pp, depart September 13. 14 days Glories of China, €3,390pp, depart September 24. 9 days In Pursuit of Pandas, €2,640pp, depart October 25. 18 days Vietnam Panorama, €2,990pp, depart July 12. 17 days Angkor to the Bay, €3,590pp, depart August 14. 28 days Tour of Indochina, €5,190pp, depart September 26. 9days Golden Triangle, India €2,690pp, depart November 21. For more, visit or call 0818 776 380.

Sunway Mark Warner Beach Club holidays: 7 nights all inclusive 4* Sea Garden Beach Resort, Bodrum, Turkey from €699pp, depart May 31. 7 nights half board 5* Levante Beach Resort, Rhodes, Greece from €899pp, depart May 27. All prices include direct flights ex Dublin.

Topflight’s 5 day Italian sale starts today, all prices incl. return flights ex Dublin, return resort transfers, luggage allowance, all taxes, rep service and online discount: 7 nights half board 4* Hotel Bristol, Sorrento from €799pps, depart May 24. 7 nights 4* Bella Italia, Peschiera, Lake Garda from €1,596 for two adults and two children, depart May 23. 7 nights B&B 3* Hotel Eden, Torbole, Lake Garda from €499pps, depart May 23. 7 nights half board 3* Hotel Trevi, Lido Di Jesolo fro €449pps, depart May 23. 7 nights half board 3* Hotel Senior, Catholic from €519pps, depart June 27. 7 nights B&B 3* Hotel Tysandros, Giardini Naxos, Sicily from €469pps, depart May 31.

Abbey Travel is offering free half board meals for families at Disneyland Paris and 20pc off hotel and park tickets, offer ends October 31.

Cassidy Travel is offering last minute holidays to The Algarve from €165pp, all inclusive from €229pp and family holidays from €669 for two adults and one child. See for more or call 0818 332500.

Best4Travel offers: 11 nights all inclusive Sandos Papgayo, Lanzarote from €799pp incl. flights ex Dublin, depart May 17. 7 nights all inclusive Sandos Papgayo from €665pp incl. flights ex Cork, depart May 21. 7 nights half board Gloria Palace Amadores from €546pp, depart June 10. 7 nights B&B Gloria Palace Royal from €663pp incl. flights and baggage, depart June 3. To book, call 1800 814 031.

Tourism NI offers of the week: 1 night B&B Ten Square Hotel, Belfast from £55pp incl. 3 course Table d’hôte dinner in The Grill Room, available until November 29, call 028 9024 1001. 2 nights B&B Glenavon House Hotel, Cooktown from £69pps incl. use of leisure facilities, available until December 31, call 028 8676 4949. 1 night B&B Galgorm Resort & Spa, Ballymena from £99.50pps incl. use of the Thermal Areas in the spa and a 3 course evening meal in restaurant of your choice with a bottle of house wine, available Monday-Wednesday until May 31, call 028 2588 1001.


CSO figures show that the domestic travel market grew again by 4pc last year to 7.4m, while holiday trips grew by 2pc. The five most visited counties, in descending order, are:  Dublin, Cork, Galway, Kerry and Wexford, click here for a comprehensive overview.

GERMAN AND SWISS JOURNALISTS CRUISE INTO TOWN!Nine German and Swiss journalists visited Ireland this week as guests of Tourism Ireland and German cruise operator Le Boat. The group’s itinerary included cruising on Lough Derg, visits to Terryglass, Garrykennedy, Portumna Castle, Clonmacnoise and Ballynahown Craft Village, and a cooking demo in Larkins Bar. Picture shows the group with with Daniel Farrell of Tourism Ireland at Clonmacnoise jetty.

MOUNT STEWART ‘DAZZLES’ AUSTRALIAN JOURNALISTSA group of Australian journalists visited the north this week as guests of Tourism Ireland, VisitBritain and British Airways. The group visited the Ards Peninsula, stopping off at Mount Stewart House and Gardens. They also took part in a Game of Thrones Winterfell activity tour at Castle Ward, toured Belfast by bike, took part in a walking food tour and drove along the Causeway Coastal Route. Picture shows Jenny Orme of British Airways with Lee Tulloch, Fairfax Media’s Traveller; Natasha Dragun, Mindfood; Helen Anderson, The Weekend Australian; and Amanda Woods, Adventures All Round.

1.7+ MILLION PEOPLE IN INDIA TO READ ABOUT SLIGOA group of five journalists from India visited Ireland this week as guests of Tourism Ireland. The group’s itinerary, designed by Fáilte Ireland and Tourism NI, included visited to Dublin Castle, Christ Church Cathedral, Clonmacnoise, Galway, Lough Gill, Yeats’ Grave, Lissadell House & Gardens, Marble Arch Caves, Belfast city and  a boat trip on the Fermanagh lakes and a Game of Thrones afternoon tea. Picture shows Beena Menon of Tourism Ireland with Srinivasa Ramanujam of The Hindu newspaper; Mallica Singh, CEO India magazine; freelance journalist Susheela Nair; Vatsala Chhibber of Elle India magazine; and Shalini Sharma of Hi Blitz magazine at Lissadell House.

BRAZILIAN TOUR OPERATORS GIVE KILKENNY THE THUMBS UP!Mariana Barros and Fabio Merielles of Brazilian tour operator Donato Viagens visited Ireland on a fact-finding mission as guests of Tourism Ireland. The itinerary was designed by Fáilte Ireland and included visits to the National Library, Trinity College, the Guiness Storehouse, Brú na Bóinne Visitor Centre, the Cliffs of Moher, Kilkenny Castle and Malahid Castle. They also went on a pub crawl in Dublin, a backstage tour of the Abbey Theatre and hurling at Nowlan Park in Kilkenny. They plan to produce a video of their time in Ireland. Picture shows Mariana and Fabio at Kilkenny Castle.

Upcoming events in Limerick: Lough Gur’s Wellbeing Day, May 16. Ireland v Barbarians, May 28. Culture & Chips festival, May 28-June 2. The Pig ‘n’ Porter tag rugby event, July 11. DruidShakespeare, June 23, 24, 26 and 27. Limerick Sings International Choral Festival, June 26-TOURISM IRELAND BOARD MEETS IN SLIGO29.

Tourism Ireland’s May board meeting took place in the Sligo Park Hotel. Picture shows Paul Gunning with Niall Gibbons, CEO of Tourism Ireland Tourism Ireland board members and senior managers to Lissadell House.

Royal County Down is one of the oldest Golf Clubs in Ireland with traditions over one hundred years. Situated in Newcastle, where in the immortal words of Percy French, "The Mountains of Mourne sweep down to the sea", Royal County Down is not only a fine test of golf but has accompanying scenery that is spellbinding.

Tourism NI announced the line up for the Pro Am competition at Royal County Down, May 27: AP McCoy,  Pat Jennings, Stephen Ferris, Shane Warne, James Nesbitt, Dennis Taylor, Jamie Redknapp, Patrick Kielty and George Hook. Buy tickets here.

Upcoming events in Cavan and Fermanagh, promoted by The Border Uplands Project: Fermanagh — Saturday night dinner cruises, Lough Erne, May 2- September 26. The Marble Arch Caves 30th anniversary, May 31. Festival Lough Erne, June 20-21. Forest Fun and Minibeast Hunt, the Marble Arch Caves, June 7. The pic-1-CAMPAIGN-IN-PARIS-METRO-WITH-TRANSAVIAAdventures of Robin Hood, Ardhowen Theatre, May 20. Cavan — A Taste of Cavan, Cavan town, August 7-8. Fleadh Cheoil an Chabhain, Swanlinbar, May 31-June 1. Cavan Kayakarun, August 8. The Cavan Walking Festival, May 1-10.

Tourism Ireland and Transavia launched a billboard campaign on the Paris Metro to promote the airline’s daily Dublin to Paris-Orly flight from June 1.

Fionn Crombie Angus and his dad Jonathon Angus, Mountshannon taking in the views from the White Tailed Sea Eagles Viewing & Information Point at Mountshannon. Photo Sean Curtin ####repro free Lough Derg eagles to soar again this summer - 2014 trial opening period generates half a million euro for local economy The popular White Tailed Sea Eagle Viewing & Information Point at Mountshannon Pier in Co. Clare has reopened to the public following a hugely successful pilot opening period last summer. More than 10,000 people flocked to the shores of Lough Derg between mid-July and September 2014 to catch a glimpse of the first successful breeding pair of White Tailed Sea Eagles in Ireland in 110 years. The Viewing & Information Point is operated by the Mountshannon Eagle Group, in conjunction with the Golden Eagle Trust and Mountshannon Community Council. It features telescopes and information and displays about the White Tailed Sea Eagles, regarded as Ireland’s largest and most spectacular breeding birds. Clare County Council, which funds the facility, says the facility generated more than half a million euro for the local economy in 2014. A visitor survey conducted last year found that 43% of people said the attraction was the primary factor influencing their decision to visit Mountshannon. The Mountshannon breeding pair of eagles, a seven-year-old male and six-year-old female, were originally collected as chicks on the island of Frøya off the west coast of Norway by the Golden Eagle Trust. The birds were released in Killarney National Park before relocating to Lough Derg in 2011. The pair, named Saoirse and Caimin, created history in 2013 when they reared the first chicks to fly from a nest in Ireland in 110 years. The pair successfully hatched another chick in 2014 with the local community in Mountshannon expressing their hope of another successful hatching this summer. "Our trial opening in 2014 shows there is significant and genuine interest amongst the general public in these wonderful birds. People are especially fascinated by how and why the birds have settled and began to breed in Lough Derg. This project also demonstrates the potential in terms of tourism product development at this location," said Congella McGuire, Clare Heritage Officer. Ms. McGuire noted that the visitor figures compare well to the Island of Mull in Scotland where White-tailed Sea Eagles watching has been popular for more than 10 years. A greater percentage of people came to Mountshannon (43%) specifically to see the Eagle pair than to the Island of Mull (23%) where eagle tourism brings in an estimated £5 million annually. "Clare County Council is delighted to have played a leading role in increasing public interest in the local White Tailed Sea Eagle population without disturbing them in their natural habitat. By doing so, the Council is playing a key role in safeguarding these protected birds and their nesting activities as well as providing an excellent addition to the local tourism infrastructure," Ms. McGuire added. Visit for more on the Mountshannon White Tailed Sea Eagles Viewing & Information Point.

The White Tailed Sea Eagle Viewing & Information Point at Mountshannon Pier, Co Clare reopened this week.

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

TRAVEL Extra’s Sunday Supplement: Aer Lingus Wings West to the West Wing


The headlines this week:

  • Toland: Dublin direct to Beijing still 18 months away
  • Visit Belfast showcases city’s latest tourism offerings
  • Winner alright: Local trade at Punchestown
  • Du Pont Circle Hotel hosts the press
  • Surf Holidays launches new website

Travel Extra TV

Video of the week May 3Our video of the week shows diver William Mitchell swimming through one million Silversides in Grand Cayman. Watch here.

  • Boeing: Doing big things with data. Watch here.
  • See terrifying footage shot at Everest base camp during the Nepal earthquake. Watch here.
  • Tourism Ireland posted a short video of Michael Gambon reciting WB Yeats’ The Song of Wondering Aengus as part of Yeats2015. Watch here.
  • Aer Lingus showcases EI103. Watch here.
  • Work or pleasure? Here’s a wetsuit that doubles as a work suit. Watch here.
  • Discover Northern Ireland’s promo for Gran Fondo 2015. Watch here.
  • EasyJet introduces Mobile Host. Watch here.
  • Air France shows off its Apple Watch app. Watch here.
  • Iberia explains its updated service for minors travelling alone. Watch here.
  • Qantas marks 80 years with an updated livery. Watch here.
  • Ryanair urges England to follow Ireland’s lead and scrap APD. Watch here.
  • Jamie Cullum’s message to the City of Derry Jazz Festival. Watch here.


gate a23Gate A23 in Dulles Airport saw a welcome sight on Friday: The return of Aer Lingus to an airport it vacated as a direct destination from Ireland in 2009 and from a franchise service in 2012. Aer Lingus’s marquee launch of 2015 is a 4w service that will operate from May until October. Connecting passengers from Hamburg, Paris, Birmingham and London were among those on the inaugural flight. During the peak summer months, ten airlines will operate 164 flights each week to 15 North American destinations. The service will connect Washington to 18 European cities across Dublin. A smooth 7 hours and 12 minute flight brought passengers and crew to a welcome reception at their destination

cutting tapePicture shows Margaret E McKeough, Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer for Washington Airports Authority; Irish ambassador to the USA, Anne Anderson; Alison Metcalfe, Tourism Ireland Vice President US and Canada; and Jack Foley, Aer Lingus Vice President of North America welcoming the inaugural Aer Lingus Dublin to Washington DC flight. Vincent Harrison said Dublin is now Europe’s sixth biggest trans-Atlantic hub. We had a record 2m trans Atlantic passengers in 2014 and we expect that to grow again in 2015. Declan Kearney of Aer Lingus said Dublin is now a springboard for all of Europe to cross the Atlantic. Brian Jensen of the US embassy said Ireland is the first market for American FDIi in 2013 and 2014, not first among small nations, not first in Europe, but first in the world. As great as the relationship is, it will continue. The trans-Atlantic trade and investment. In Washington DC Jack Foley said while other European airlines had grown to bring people to their former empires, Aer Lingus was the first European airline to grow to bring people back home. See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.

doyle-collectionMark Roche Garland GM of the Du Pont Circle Hotel, part of the Doyle Collection, hosted a group of Irish media over the weekend and showcased his new $55m development, level 9, with 15 suites and elite-tier business facilities. The group dined on locally sourced food arranged by the hotel’s executive chef David Fritsche. See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.

daa results_0668Direct flights from Dublin to Beijing are still 18 months away according to the CEO of Dublin Airport Authority Kevin Toland. Picture shows Ray Grey chief financial officer, Kevin Toland CEO, and Pádraig Ó Riordáin, chair of DAA. Answering a question from Travel Extra at the management group’s annual results he said Beijing was top of his wish list for new routes followed by an all year round service to Moscow and Israel. We are targeting a number of cities in North America and there are lots more opportunities on the short haul side. He said Ethiopia’s route to Addis Adaba doing well in 2015 would be the REAL top of his wish list as daa results padraig o riordain_0657that doing well would be a great opener for a whole pile of other things. Fundamentally if you’re not connected to China you’re a lot less relevant to them. That really is the big one if you take the 10 year view. From Cork he would like to see routes into Germany, parts of France, north Italy and Sweden, while Dublin is really about the long haul. He said the IAG proposed takeover of Aer Lingus would give opportunities for growth in both Dublin and Cork. Looking to London there seems a disinclination to grow and we could service that growth out of Dublin. There is a lot of looking at the defence but there are lots of opportunities on the offence. Picture shows Pádraig Ó Riordáin, chair of DAA with Kevin Toland in the background at the results presentationSee more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.

Flags at Germany TM in Weimar

Flags at Germany TM in Weimar

The 41st German Tourism market was a lower key event than previous editions, with numbers of buyers and media down considerably. Bärbel Grönegres of Thuringia Tourist Board and Petra Hedorfer CEO of the GNTB hosted 500 buyers from 40 countries in the city where Martin Luther translated the Bible into German in advance of the 500th anniversary of the reformation in 201. Delegates were hosted at Erfurt cathedral for the opening event and listened to performances from Richard Wagner’s Tannhäuser and the Singers’ Contest and dinner in the Wartburg Hotel.

kildare punchestown 1MG_0481Punchestown general manager Dick O’Sullivan welcomed tourism interests and some celebrity guests such as Niall Quinn to Punchestown race course this week to celebrate the racing festival’s €70m contribution to the local economy. When I came for six months 13 years ago someone told me you have lost to the locals, and when you lose the locals you can forget about everything else. Kildare mayor Fiona O’Loughlin told guests that Kildare day could be a platform for the county to recognise the value of tourism locally. Into Kildare chair John Osborne and CEO Phil Donnelly hosted a wide variety of tourism interests at the event. See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.

visit belfastVisit Belfast’s Anne McMullan briefed media on the city’s enhanced tourism offering continued to grow since the opening of the Titanic Centre in 2012, in 2015 which includes the visit of the Tall Ships, a Giro legacy cycling event and conference wins. She told Travel Extra that Belfast has 16 new hotels in the development pipeline. Picture shows Darach McQuaid of Shade Tree Sports who organised the Giro Legacy event, Fiona Cunningham of Tourism NI, Anna McMullan of Belfast CVB and Gerry Copeland of Belfast Tall Ships Festival team. See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.

willie walsh_9312How much will IAG pay for Aer Lingus? Effectively nothing, on the evidence of the cash pile Friday’s revealed AGM. Net cash at the end of March was €650.7m, up €97m on the year before. Shareholders were told that lower fuel prices were more than offset by the strong dollar and staff costs were up due to more transatlantic flying and more staff in ground operations and support. Operating costs were up 6.7pc to €328.4m with fuel up 8.5pc to €72.5m, staff up 6.0pc to €72.2m, airport and en route charges up 4.8pc to €74.5m and other costs up 7.2pc to €109.2m. Replies to questions on the analyst’s call suggest the airline’s management is happy at the number of waivers coming in re the IASS although “deferred are more challenging to find.” By April 24, 72.8pc of the 2,510 active members and 45.1pc of the 3,079 deferred members of the IASS had signed the waivers required to trigger company payments into the new scheme accounts. Long-haul sales are rising faster than capacity and it was claimed that Aer Lingus is also becoming a “home airline” for Boston transatlantic.

Nick KellyNicky Kelly’s launched their revamped website with the first booking platform to cater specifically for the surf travel industry. The platform allows accommodations and surf schools to add themselves to their website and as a result people can book a stay or lessons with them live on Surf Holidays operate in 18 different surf towns throughout Europe’s six main surf countries (Ireland, Spain, France, Portugal, Canary Islands & Morocco). They are adding new towns in each of these countries and will be launching England as a destination. Next month they launch Central America  including Costa Rica, Panama and Nicaragua, as they continue to expand to the worlds 432 surf towns.

A notable court decision this week is relevant to the travel trade. Gail O’Rorke was acquitted of an assisted suicide charge in association with Bernadette Forde, who was 51 and had suffered with multiple sclerosis for ten years, ended her life at her home in Dublin in June 2011 after she had been forced to cancel a trip to the Dignitas Clinic in Zurich after the intervention of the gardaí who were alerted by a travel agent.

Travel Trade

Turkish Airlines World Golf Cup 2015 has been expanded to include qualifying events in 65 destinations worldwide. The Dublin qualifying event will take place on Thursday, May 7 at Killeen Castle Golf Club. The series of global amateur golf competition is designed to provide opportunities to network with senior business people from around the world. 1beach group

Picture shows Shane Cullen of Killiney Travel, Loretta Mooney of O’Hanrahan Travel, Mairead Morris of Sunway, Borja Bedoya of Spanish Tourist Board, Lucie Velka of Club Travel, Belinda Donegan of Budget Travel, Michael Kelly of Keller Travel, & Josephine McGuane of GoHop pictured at Fuerteventura Beach on the Spanish TB agents fam trip to Fuerteventura, See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.

1uniworld group copy

Uniworld hosted agents on board the luxurious River Beatrice on the Danube. Picture shows Elaine Massey of Kiliney Travel, Leonie Donovan of, Bernie O’Callaghan of J Barter Travel, Tim Carey of The Travel Boutique, Rosemary O’Connell of Lee Travel and Margaret McKenna of O’Hanrahan Travel. See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.

Malcesine Castle (1)Picture shows the winners of the Topflight VIP Group in Italy. The group visited Sorrento and Lake Garda on a VIP trip with excursions to Pompeii and Vesuvius, boat trips on Lake Garda, an afternoon in Verona and a visit to Malcesine castle with wine, limoncello tasting and a gelato or two along the way. See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.

  • Skål’s May lunch takes place in the Camden Court Hotel, Dublin on Tuesday, May 12, 12.30pm. Price for member €30, non member €35.
  • British Airways are to move its sales support function in Ireland to England, which means Ger Hayes and Graham Aldren will leave the company on May 6.
  • Lowcostbeds and Emirates trade promotion: Book flights with Emirates to Dubai, Bangkok, India, Mauritius, Maldives and China with accommodation from lowcostbeds before May 31 and earn €5 One4all voucher.
  • Selective Travel Management completed an extension on its headquarters at Murray’s Exchange, Belfast. Picture shows…
  • Travelport appointed Steven Chambers to its board of directors.
  • Ryanair LABS is advertising roles in software development, UX and design, data, QA and testing, and media and marketing.

John Burke of The Armada Hotel and Hotel Doolin has launched an appeal to raise €10,000 for the Nepal disaster relief effort this week.

You can support by:

  • Bidding on one or more of the items up for auction on the Armada Hotel FB page
  • Sponsoring a child attending one of the Co. Clare schools holding a no-uniform day
  • Attending the Seisiún at Hotel Doolin on May 4.
  • Bringing a donation to the Armada Hotel, Spanish Point or Hotel Doolin
  • Attending the Pop-Up Rail Sale at the Armada Hotel on May 4
  • Taking a collection bucket for your business
  • Sponsoring an item for raffle


P1030612sThe Quality Hotel in Youghal was bought out by management, headed by GM Allen McEnery (pictured), for €540,000.

Six Senses Hotels Resorts Spas opens its first European resort on July 15: Six Senses Douro Valley, Portugal.

The IHF Shannon region said it is experiencing a boost in business thanks to a resurgence at Shannon airport.

Irish County Hotels 05Carpenters, soap maker and artisan food producers attended Irish Country Hotels’ Meet the Buyer event, co-hosted by Guaranteed Irish at the Fitzgeralds Woodlands House Hotel in Adare, Co Limerick.

Hilton Worldwide launched a marketing campaign and website for its Curio brand.

Starwood Hotels & Resorts‘ new Apple Watch app will allow guests to open their hotel rooms.

Hilton will introduce the Embassy brand in China with a new property in the Hainan province, scheduled to open in 2019.

Ritz-Carlton will open its second hotel in Saudi Arabia, the Ritz-Carlton Jeddah.

Melia Hotels International will open its first Me brand property in Italy this month.


insight ad

EXPO1The 2015 World Expo in Milan opened on Friday. Ten million tickets were sold before the opening. 140 countries will participate over the next six months.

Wednesday saw the launch of Orlando’s new entertainment destination, I-Drive 360, home of the new Orlando Eye.  Stuntman Nik Wallenda successfully completed his record-breaking walk atop the Eye, while the observation wheel was in motion. I-Drive 360 will open to the public tomorrow Monday, May 4.

SeaWorld Orlando will open a 200 foot roller coaster next year. More details to come in May.

Travelport was awarded a patent for a technology to manage airline performance data and travel booking data.

The NS-Dokumentationszentrum Muenchen museum in Munich opened on the site of Hitler’s former Nazi party headquarters. The museum documents events from 1914-1945. In Oberhausen, the Top Secret Espionage Museum is looking to reconstruct Hitler’s Berlin bunker as part of an exhibition centre scheduled to open in autumn.

  • Travelport launched the Agentivity product for travel agencies in the Asia Pacific region.
  • Helsinki celebrates its 460th birthday on June 12.
  • Graceland announced that Elvis’ private jets, the Lisa Marie and the Hound Dog II, will permanently remain at the visitors centre.
  • Heathrow Express installed platform gap fillers at its stations.
  • Deutsche Bahn will operate a 3w double-decker bus service from Dusseldorf to London via Antwerp from May 21. 
  • Bobby Healy’s CarTrawler is to acquire Finnish technology and services company Cabforce.
  • Visitors to Tel Aviv can view the city from hot air balloon with the TLV Balloon.
  • Restoration work at Westminster Abbey will give public access to the triforium.
  • 20,000 spectators and 7,000 cyclists attended Sovev Jerusalem cycling event.
  • Travelport renewed its long term agreement with rail company Deutsche Bahn.
  • Travellers preparing for the Camino this summer can download the Camino de Santiago training book.

Food & Wine

Italy is hosting a number of food events over the coming months including Primavera Del Prosceco until June 19, Slow Fish Festival in Genoa from May 14 to 17 and the Griglie Roventi BBQ Championship in Jesolo on July 25. See more food events here.



Aer Lingus IRFU ann#15F8A19Aer Lingus announced a three year partnership with the Irish Rugby Team. One aircraft will be renamed Green Spirit and will sport an IRFU branded livery. The jet will be unveiled later this month. Picture shows Mike Rutter, Chief Revenue Officer, with Irish Rugby Internationals Rob Kearney, Devin Toner and Jack McGrath and Ireland Rugby Coach Joe Schmidt in the Aviva Stadium.

VLM started operating its 12w Waterford-Luton and 4w Waterford-Birmingham services.

IAA announced a 15.5pc increase in its operating profit to €29.7m for 2014. The aviation authority paid a €6.5m dividend to the State.

The Shannon Group recorded a €21.1m turnover in its first four months and return at tax profit of €600,000 after tax. 

alan sparling anaAll Nippon Airways has appointed Alan Sparling’s ASM as its GSA in Ireland. All Nippon Airways is the 13th largest airline in the world by revenues (2013) and the largest airline in Japan by revenues and passenger numbers. ANA has one of the largest fleets of B787 Dreamliner aircraft and a comprehensive European network to Japan

Aer Lingus posted a Q1 loss of €48.4m, similar to the same period last year.

An AAIU report praised an Aer Lingus Regional pilot and co-pilot for their quick-thinking by flying into a rain show to clear sea salt which had caked the ATR-72 windscreen.

Daa reported after tax profits of €19m, down 50pc. The airport operator said the drop was due to an exception charge of €21m to resolve the pensions dispute.

Belfast will host the Routes Europe aviation conference in 2017.

Aer Lingus Regional launched its Dublin-Newquay service. Initially the service will be 3w, operating Monday, Friday and Saturday, increasing to 5w in June.

Kenny Jacobs Mark ZablanRyanair announced a new deal with Adobe which will see Ryanair update its app and website using Adobe software. Picture shows Ryanair Chief Marketing Officer, Kenny Jacobs with Adobe EMEA President Mark Zablan at the Adobe Summit in London.

The Airbus A380 marked its 10th anniversary on Monday.

Delta Air Lines restarted its services from Shannon to New York this weekend.

Airbus reported Q1 revenues of $13.3bn.

Avolon delivered its sixth B737-800 to Aeroflot, which will be operated by the subsidiary Pobeda.

Michael O’Leary told French newspaper Le Journal Du Dimanche that Ryanair’s average fare will be €40 by 2016, a decline of 10-15pc.

Air France google mapsTake a tour of an Air France A319 via Google Maps. See here.

Avolon delivered the first of three B737-800s to Malaysia Airlines.

Germanwings CEO Thomas Winkelmann was appointed CEO of Austrian Airlines, effective June 1.

Etihad will promote its brand campaign with Nicole Kidman at the Arabian Travel Market in Dubai.

KLM belfastThe world’s first commercial aircraft KLM DC-3 visited Belfast City Airport April 24 to publicise the launch of KLM flights from Belfast on May 18. Picture shows Katy Best, Commercial and Marketing Director at George Best Belfast City Airport, was joined by Warner Rootliep, General Manager Britain & Ireland for Air France-KLM.

Malaysia Airlines started marketing some B777-200ERs and A330-200Fs to potential purchasers.

Embraer reported  Q1 revenues of $1bn with net loss of $61.7m.

Turkish Airlines has started carrying air cargo from Shannon to Chicago.

Japanese carrier ANA and Toyota are developing economy class seats.

USA Today reported that airlines are scrambling to update their apps for the Apple Watch.

American Airlines reported a Q1 net profit of $1.2bn.

Virgin Atlantic opened a Clubhouse lounge in T2 at Los Angeles International airport.

Lufthansa announced that it will rebrand its lowcost subsidiary Germanwings as Eurowings this autumn.

From the end of June, all Emirates A380 aircraft will be equipped with redesigned headsets in economy class. Headsets will be rolled out on the B777 fleet later this year.

Airbus predicted that the passenger aircraft fleet currently serving the Australia South Pacific region will grow from 700 aircraft to 1,200 by 2033 with a  doubling in the number of wide body aircraft.

Etihad - Alitalia Expo Pavilion Opening - PHOTO 2Alitalia and Etihad Airways marked the opening of their join pavilion at Expo Milano. Picture shows Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, president of Dubai Civil Aviation Authority, and Chairman and Chief Executive Emirates Airline & Group; James Hogan, Etihad Airways President and Chief Executive Officer.

British Airways and Iberia joined the European Low Fares Airline Association.

American Airlines closed its Admirals Club lounges at Phoenix Sky Harbour International and São Paulo International airports for renovation.

Flybe launched a direct route from Cardiff to Düsseldorf.

Qatar Airways increased its 5w Edinburgh-Doha service to daily.

Etihad and American Airlines are expanding their codeshare partnership.

Several American Airlines flights were delayed on Tuesday following an iPad app glitch.

Qatar Airways and car hire firm Avis announced a loyal scheme partnership.

ETIHAD A380 IN FLIGHTEtihad took delivery of its second A380 in the Facets of Abu Dhabi livery (pictured).

NASA completed initial flight tests of a new morphing wing technology that is expected to reduce airframe weight, decrease aircraft noise and save millions in annual fuel costs.

John Mulligan reported that Ryanair was targeted in an international banking scam.


MSC Cruises’ planned MSC Divina 2016 Mediterranean programme will now be operated by MSC Fantasia. Divina will stay in its Miami home port.

Seabourn has partnered with Michelin-star chef Thomas Keller.

Norwegian Cruise Line’s Norwegian Epic arrived in Barcelona this week to start its season of 7 night Mediterranean cruises until November 22.

Norwegian’s trial charge for room service is now a permanent feature.

Deal Watch

ITAA offers of the week: 7 nights full board Sicily and Sardinia Cruise on board MSC Preziosa from €749pp incl. return flights to Rome, checked in baggage and airport transfers, depart May 24. 7 nights self catering 4* Paraiso Aparthotel, Algarve from €399pps incl. return flights, baggage allowance and airport transfers, depart May 9. 5 nights B&B Loire Valley and Monet’s Garden Tour, France from €769pp incl. accommodation in 3* hotels, dinner on three evenings, return flights and escorted tours, depart May 14.

Travel Department is offering 14 nights in Italy from €1,699pp incl. visits to Milan, Lake Garda, Venice, Tuscany and Rome, depart October 1. Travel Department wine tours: 7 nights Galicia Oporto Wine Tour from €1,099pp incl. flights ex Dublin, transfers and 4* accommodation, depart June 6. 6 nights B&B Bordeaux and the Armagnac Region wine tour from €1,299pp incl. return flights ex Dublin and 3* accommodation, depart September 13.

Wendy Wu Tours is offering a 2 nights B&B free stay in Hong Kong when you book a fully escorted China tour. Offer includes airport transfers and half day Hong Kong Island tour. Book before May 21. Valid on departures September 1- December 7, December 29 – March 31 2016 and April 16 2016 – May 15 2016. See for more.

Falcon deals: 7 nights All Inclusive Holiday Village Cala Millor, Majorca from €2,399 for two adults and one child or form €3,059 for two adults and two children, depart June 9.

Tourism NI offers of the week: 2 nights B&B Malone Lodge Hotel, Belfast from £159pps incl. one round of golf at Malone Golf Course and dinner on one evening for two people, available until December 31, call 028 9038 8000 to book. 2 nights B&B Maldron Hotel, Derry from £99pps incl. two course meal, two cocktails pp on evening of your choice and £20 Foyleside Shopping Centre gift card per room, available until December 31, call 028 7137 1000 to book. 1 night B&B Ballygally Castle Hotel, Larne from £55pps, available until December 31, call 028 2858 1066 to book. 1 night B&B from £60pps incl. whiskey tasting for two, available until May 31, call 028 6632 1177 to book.

Thomson offers: 7 nights full board Thomson Spirit, Undiscovered Aegean, Turkey from €659pps, depart June 1.

Riviera Travel is offering 8 days 4* and 5* river cruise on the Rhone, Danube, Moselle, Main, Rhone, Elbe, Seine or Douro from €1,239pp. 14 days from €1,779pp. Selected departures up to November 2015 and April to November 2016. To book, visit or call 01 905 6300.

Sunway late offers to Madeira, 7 nights B&B, depart Dublin May 7: Flight only €349. 2* Greco Residential €379. 2* Do Centro Hotel €399. 3* Dorsal Florist Hotel €399.  3* Do Carmo Hotel €594. 3* Orquidea Hotel €599. 4* Madeira Regency Club, senior suite seaview, €734. 5* Pestana Carlton Hotel, seaview, €879. All prices include resort transfers, 20kg baggage allowance pp and resort rep service. Sunway Tunisia offers: 7 nights B&B 2* Mahmoud Residence from €199 May, €199 June and €399 July. 7 nights B&B 4* Alhambra Thalasso from €339 May, €349 June and €569 July. 7 nights all inclusive 3* Chich Khan Hotel from €299 May, €329 June and €479 July. 7 nights B&B 4* Sindbad Hotel from €399 May, €399 June and €669 July. All prices include flights, return airport transfers, taxes, charges, 20kg checked in baggage pp and Sunway rep service.

Sunway is offering 7 nights full board 5* Blue Note Records Transatlantic Cruise from New York to Southampton on the Queen Mary 2 from €1,855pp, depart October 29.

Lowcostbeds offers of the week, 7 nights, depart June 18, based on two adults and two children: 3* Siesta Apartments, Alcudia, Majorca from €16pppn self catering.  4* Duva Apartments, Puerto Pollensa, Majorca from €22pppn self catering. 3* Sunset Beach, Benalmadena, Costa del Sol from €20pppn self catering. Hotel Sol Principe, Torremolinos, Costa del Sol from €18pppn. 3* Silchoro Apartments, Albuferia, Algarve from €9pppn self catering. 4* Alfamar Apartments, Albuferia, Algarve from €17.50pppn self catering. See for more offers.

Click and Go offers: 2 nights B&B 3* Absalon Hotel, Copenhagen from €269pp incl. return flights ex Dublin, taxes and charges, travel in June. 7 nights self catering Puertocarmen Aparthotel, Puerto del Carmen, Lanzarote from €399pp incl. return flights ex Dublin and transfers, travel in May. 7 nights half board 4* Kornati Hotel, Biograd, Zadar Coast, Croatia from €489pp incl. return flights ex Dublin, taxes, charges and transfers, travel in May. 3 nights Lisbon from €239pp incl. 3* hotel accommodation, return flights ex Dublin, taxes and charges, travel in MAy. To book, visit or call 01 637 1699.

Topflight is offering 7 nights 3* Hotel Eden, Torbole, Lake Garda from €629pps incl. return flights, transfers, rep serice, luggage allowace and 3 day sailing or windsurfing tuition. For more info call 01 2401 700 visit

Insight Vacations is offering up to 5pc early payment savings on a selection of Europe Tours. Book before May 14. For more information visit or call 01 775 3803.

Uniworld River Boutique Cruises is offering an 8 day All Inclusive luxury river cruise to Bordeaux, Vineyards and Chateaux from €2,029pps  incl. flights, port tax, gratuities and transfers. Book before April 30, depart May 24. For more info visit  or call 01 775 3803.

Contiki offer of the week: Western Rocker 8 day tour to Italy, Switzerland and France. 7 nights’ from €1059pps incl. flights, 12 meals and visits to six World Heritage site. Book by May 11, depart June 14. To book, visit or call 01 775 3803.

Children up to the age of 15 travel free on Irish Ferries’ routes from Dublin to Holyhead and Rosslare to Pembroke, up until December 17. Book before May 19. See for more or call 1818 300 400.


lough dergLough Derg Nature Trail was launched on Thursday. The 130km trail starts at Portumna, Galway, travels to Killable, Clare and ends at Terryglass in Tipperary. The route is marked with 24 points of interest, including bird watching locations, walking routes, the monastic site at Inis Cealtra, lakeshore access and woodland parks. 

Thoor Ballylee, a former home of WB Yeats in Gort Co. Galway has been re-opened after its closure since 2009 when American lawyer Joseph Hassett pledged €31k to develop the Yeats Exhibition in the Tower. The plan is to develop a world class Cultural Centre in the Tower to accommodate a new exhibition, a cafe, bookshop, and space for exhibitions, lectures and classes.

Hotel Wesptort and Atlantic Rhythm Cast & Crew pictured with Minister RingTicket sales for the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open passed the 70pc mark this week.

Atlantic Rhythm dance show opens at Hotel Westport on June 30 and will run every Tuesday night throughout the summer season.

INTERNATIONAL TOUR OPERATORS DISCOVER THE DARK HEDGES AND MORE …Tour operators visited the north this week as guests of Tourism Ireland. The group participated in a Meet the Buyer workshop in the Slieve Donard Hotel, Newcastle. After the workshop, the group toured Game of Thrones locations and the Causeway Coastal Route. Picture shows the group at the Dark Hedges with some of the staff from nearby Sheans Horse Farm dressed as Game of Thrones characters.

Tourism NI 1Belfast is gearing up to host a number of events this summer including The Giro d’Italia Gran Fondo (June 21), The Tall Ships Races 2015 (July 2-5), the Guinness Pro 12 Final (May 30) and  Belfast Pride 2015 (July 24-August 2). See more events here.

Tourism Ireland chairman Brian Ambrose thanked Christoph Mueller for his contribution to the board.

CREATING BUSINESS LINKS WITH GERMANYNine Irish tourism companies travelled to Germany to take part in a Meet in Ireland workshop and networking event in Cologne, where they met with 26 senior representative of German MICE companies. Picture shows Letitia Wade, Fáilte Ireland; Brian Murray, Aspects of Ireland; Karen Kelly, Druids Glen Resort; Jennifer McCormack, Powerscourt Hotel; Cathy Joyce, Citywest Hotel, Conference & Event Centre; Denise Quinn, Tourism Ireland; Susan Sheahan, Clyde Court Hotel; Julia Rozenberg, Aer Lingus; Róisín Gaffney, Fáilte Ireland; Gillian Dowling, The Gibson Hotel; Melissa Loop Head LighthouseO’Grady, Carton House; and Rose O’Donnell, A Touch of Ireland.

Picture shows Anne Doyle and John Crowe, Cathaoirleach of Clare County Council, launching Loop Head Lighthouse‘s 2015 tourist season. The lighthouse is open daily, 10am-6pm, until October 4.

BBC SPOTY_003The BBC Sports Personality of the Year awards will be held in Belfast’s Odyssey Arena on December 20. Picture shows Stormont Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Investment Arlene Foster with Barry McGuigan, Darren Clarke and Dame Mary Peters.

CBELFAST MEANS BUSINESS IN WASHINGTON DC!onvention bureaux Ireland travelled to Washington DC to take part in a Meet in Ireland business tourism event, hosted at the Irish embassy by Irish Ambassador to the United States, Anne Anderson. Picture shows Bedra Tucker, International Association for Women’s Mental Health; Lindsey Williamson, Visit Belfast; Norman Houston, NI Bureau, Washington DC; Alison Metcalfe, Tourism Ireland; and Melissa Pagano, United Airlines, at the ‘Meet in Ireland’ business tourism event in Washington DC.

REPRO FREE Drive yourself Back to The Future in IrelandÕs first DeLorean hire care.  This year marks the 35th anniversary of the first DeLorean car to roll off the production line in Belfast.  Having travelled all the way to Michigan and back, this original early model is available to hire from RetroVentures Ireland. Pictured is RetroVentures Ireland managing director (and Back to The Future fan) Chris ÒMarty McFlyÓ Davidson.  Pic: Sean CurtinLimerick-based RetroVentures added a DeLorean DMC-12 to its fleet, 35 years after the Back to The Future car rolled off the Belfast production line. Self-drive rental packages start at €375 per day. One-hour drive starts at €150. See

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TRAVEL Extra’s Sunday Supplement: Anthem on Song while Agents are in Danger of Missing the Boat


Pat Dawson, CEO of the Irish Travel Agents Association speaking at the Travel Industry Business Show golf tournament at Citywest, April 23 2015

Pat Dawson, CEO of the Irish Travel Agents Association speaking at the Travel Industry Business Show golf tournament at Citywest, April 23 2015

The headlines this week:

  • Michael Bayley: Dynamic dining is here to stay
  • Explorer of the Seas back from refurbishment
  • Canary Islands launch new trade website and products
  • A week of firsts: Industry Trade Show and Industry Awards

Travel Extra TV

OVideo of week April 26ur video of the week shows the elevator ride to the World Trade Centre’s 102nd floor. During the 47 second ride to the top floor, screens installed in the lift display time-lapse images of lower Manhattan, charting its history from the year 1500 to the present day. Watch here.

  • A paraglider crash lands on sunbathers in Bulgaria. Watch here.
  • Behind the scenes of Ryanair’s new TV ad. Watch here.
  • Tourism Ireland’s ad for the Irish Open. Watch here.
  • Emirates surprises a German girl with two new Fly With Me monsters. Watch here.
  • A decade of the A380. Watch here.
  • Emirates crew member Don Godamunetalks about his 20 year career with the airline. Watch here.


ITAA BoardMartin Skelly of Navan Travel was re-elected as president of the Irish Travel Agents Association and Des Manning of Manning Travel was re-elected as treasurer. Other appointments to the board were: Cormac Meehan of Meehan Travel, Ben Greene of Arrow Tours, Valerie Metcalfe of FCM, Rory McDyer of Rory McDyer Travel, Jim McGonigle of Clondalkin Travel, Angel Walsh of CTM, Joe Tully of Tully Travel and Clare Dunne of The Travel Broker. Picture shows the new ITAA board. 

Sarah FischerIn a hard hitting statement to the AGM of the ITAA Sarah Fischer of the Commission of Aviation Regulation noted that in the current round of agent licensing 48 out of 125 applications were late, 13 were protracted and three may not renew.

Royal Caribbean’s newest ship, Anthem of the Seas, was named as Sunderland travel agent Emma Wilby sang Katy Perry’s “Firework” with Welsh boy choir Only Boys Aloud, who were preceded by the Anthem on boardReading Scottish Pipe Band. They were joined on stage by ship’s captain Claus Andersen and Michael Bayley before the godmother named the 4,180-passenger ship with the words: “I name this ship Anthem of the Seas. May God bless her and all who sail on her,” before pressing the button to release a bottle of Perrier Jouet Champagne to smash against the hull. Two groups of travel agents toured the ship on separate two day mini cruises, and sampled activities such as the North Star and Virtual sky dive. Stuart Leven of Royal Caribbean said Anthem of the Seas is six weeks ahead of schedule, while Quantum of the Seas was four days behind scheduled when it hosted the ITAA Conference last October. Picture shows Don Shearer of Worldchoice with Bernie and Dominic Burke of Travel Centres on board Anthem of the Seas. See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.

Dynamic dining is here to stay. Royal Caribbean has delayed plans to roll out the concept (no set dining times and no formal nights) across the fleet, but Royal Caribbean’s Michael Bayley said it is proving popular with new to cruise passengers, in reply to the very first question at the Anthem press conference from TRAVEL Extra’s Eoghan Corry: “Dynamic Dining is a good idea, and everything has to change. This incredible choice and flexibility is the future. We are seeing new to cruise customers who love the idea, and this is the way cruising is changing.”

Pat DawonTravel agents and tour operators from all four provinces and suppliers from 32 countries converged at Citywest for the inaugural Travel Industry Trade Show, the first show to bring all aspects of the travel trade in Ireland under one roof. The exhibition was moved to a larger hall with two weeks to accommodate a waiting list. Picture shows Pat Dawson, CEO of the Irish Travel Agents Association, with Carole Smith of Synneo. See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.

volker plays from water copyThe team golf tournament on the day before the show featured a shotgun start and a vigorously contested team event. Rescue shot of the day (pictured) featured Volker Lorenz of Amadeus whose decision to play from the water helped his team win by two points: Noel McAuliffe, Jonathan Millar and David O’Hagan. Declan Power of Shannon Airport committed to sponsoring the event again in 2016, and gave Peter O’Hanlon a run for prize for the speech of the night. See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.

The 15-year-old Explorer of the Seas arrived back from its 40-day refurbishment with 86 added cabins, increasing passenger capacity from 3,114 to 3,288. The new cabins include 24 new “panoramic ocean view” cabins occupying a new section of superstructure added to Deck 12. Symphony, Explorer’s three-deck-high main dining room, has been re-fitted with stylish black and white chairs. Virtual balconies, a feature of Quantum class has been added to 81 inside cabins. The FlowRider surf simulator and a 220-square foot cinema screen above the midship pool. The upper level of The Chamber nightclub, on Deck 4, has been converted into a 62-cover Giovanni’s Table. Windjammer Marketplace has new table tops; a Chops Grille steakhouse has replaced the Portofino restaurant on Deck 11, and the port side of the Viking Crown Lounge now accommodates an Izumi Japanese sushi restaurant. Aquarium Bar is now The Tavern and the Champagne Bar on Deck 5 has been renamed the R Bar. The ship is the latest Royal Caribbean ship to emerge from a fleet-wide $300m revitalisation programme. Navigator of the Seas went through the exact same refurbishment programme in February last year. Explorer sails from Southampton this summer to the Canaries, Norway and the Mediterranean. In October, the ship leaves for a season in Australia before taking up residence in Alaska for summer 2016. Stuart Leven, Royal Caribbean’s two country MD for Ireland and Britain, said: “We’re on a mission to change holidaymakers’ expectations, and just as Anthem of the Seas set sail this week on her maiden voyage, a newly refurbished Explorer of the Seas arrived in Southampton. We are constantly working to bring the innovation of our newest ships to existing ships across the fleet, ensuring that every ship is our best ship.”

Awards- Paschal Donohoe keynoteThe inaugural Irish Tourism Industry Awards attracted 525 people to the Doubletree by Hilton. Award winners on the night included Shannon Airport for its marketing initiative. See the full list of winners. Picture shows MC Mary Kennedy watching Minister Paschal Donohoe deliver the keynote speech.  See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.

canary workshopCanary Island hoteliers updated Irish agents in Limerick and Dublin outlining in a market that attract 400,000 Irish tourists a year. The tourism authorities have launched a new trade website and products. Picture shows Marian Benton of Map Travel and Bernie Colgan from Majorca with Jacinta McGlynn and Laura McCormack of Click and Go at the workshop in Dublin. See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.

Travel Trade

J Barter Travel is celebrating 150 years in business with an exhibition in Cork Vision Centre, which will run for three weeks starting May 7.

xITAA_05ITAA’s quarterly survey found that Spain remains the most popular holiday destination for Irish holidaymakers, followed by Portugal and Italy, which climbed two places YOY and pushing the USA down to fourth place. Agents said that all inclusive cruise and river cruises are one of the biggest trends in 2015 so far.

The ITAA Conference in Jerez on October 1-4 will be served by an Aer Lingus charter flying out on Thursday and back on Monday.

Audrey HeadonAudrey Headon’s decision to leave World Travel Centre after 23 years sees her move into a new role in representation, although she says she has not established a name of the new company yet. Watch this space.

Arrangements for the Amadeus golf day are under way and it is likely the tournament will take place on Sept 24 at Lough Erne.

Red Sea Holidays is offering agents the chance to win a 7 night holiday to Sharm el Sheikh on Facebook.


chairperson-manorIrish Country Hotels and Guaranteed Irish invited local suppliers to pitch their goods and services at a Meet the Buyer event at Fitzgerald’s Woodlands House Hotel in Adare on Monday, April 27. Buyers from the group’s 24 hotels are looking to spend €3m on artisan food and drink items, toiletries, flowers, garden supplies, candles, furniture, cleaning products, gift shop items and other products. Irish Country Hotels will also be running a masterclass for small business owners on how to pitch their products to the hospitality industry. Picture shows Mary Fitzgerald, Chairperson of Manor House Hotels and Irish Country Hotels.

Hilton Worldwide opened its first Hilton Hotels and Resorts property in Rio de Janeiro.

Accor will manage two new build resorts in the Maldives: the all-villa Mercure Maldives Kooddoo resort, due to open in 2016, and the 120-villa Pullman Maldives Maamutaa Resort, to open in 2018.

Hotel chain Red Roof plans to open 40 new hotels in Canada over a 20 year period. The first four properties are expected to open in 2016.

The Aston Aloha Beach Hotel Kauai, Hawaii agreed a franchise deal with Hilton Worldwide to rebrand as a Hilton Garden Inn. The property will be renovated and is expected to reopen in early 2016.

DoubleTree by Hilton opened its first property in Chile, DoubleTree by Hilton Santiago.

The PortoBay Group opened a five star hotel in Lisbon, PortoBay Liberdade.



Tanzania Tourist Board is promoting nine cultural tourism sites: Bujora, Ukerewe and Kisesa in the Lake Zone region of Mwanza; Kiliman, Rau and Lyamungo on the slopes of Mount Kilimanjaro; and Liuli- Pomonda and Mbamba Bay in Ruvuma.

Tourism Malaysia and 32 Malaysian travel agencies launched the Discover Malaysia by Bicycle Guidebook.

Cascais Tourism Board is offering the chance to win one of six places to watch the Millennium Estoril Open. The winners will also be given the chance to play a point with the finalists of the tournament’s quarter finals and semi finals. The competition closes tomorrow (April 27), see Cascais’ Facebook page for more.

A study by GoEuro found that Sweden has the most powerful passports in the world. The top ten: 1 Sweden, 2 Finland, 3 Germany, 4 Britain, 5 USA, 6 Denmark, 7 Canada, 8 Spain, 9 Belgium and 10 The Netherlands.

Sabre’s travel management app TripCase is now available on the Apple Watch.

Security researcher Chris Roberts was prevented from boarding a United Airlines flight from Colorado to San Fransisco because of a tweet that suggested the airline’s onboard systems could be hacked.

Marking the anniversary of The Surgeon’s Photograph hoax, Google installed Street View cameras in Loch Ness.

UNESCO predicts that half of the world’s languages will no longer exist by the end of this century.

The World Happiness Report listed Switzerland, Iceland, Denmark, Norway and Canada as the world’s happiest nations.

The Shroud of Turin went on display for the first time in five years. 1m people are expected to visit the city in the coming weeks.

Russia’s tourism ministry launched an open competition to design a new logo for Russia.

Leger Holidays in England launched an online tour of its new Luxuria coach.

Universal Orlando celebrates its 25th anniversary with a series of concerts in the Music Plaza: May 23 Prince Roys, May 24 Shawn Mendes, May 30 Pitbull, June 6 Kellie Pickler, June 13 Huey Lewis and the News, June 20 Goo Goo Dolls.

Screens were installed at Heathrow T2 to show updated time and price comparisons between taxis and train services bringing passengers into London.

  • Expedia launched its app for the Apple Watch.
  • Beit Guvrin-Maresha National Park in the Judean Lowlands were named Israel’s eighth UNESCO World Heritage Site.
  • Sub Sea Systems completed construction of the Clear Lounge underwater oxygen bar.
  • Six passengers and one pilot were killed in a small aircraft crash in the Dominican Republic.
  • Online shopping giant Amazon will enter the travel business with Amazon Destinations.
  • launched an app for the Apple Watch.
  • US casino operator Mohegan Sun announced it will develop a casino resort on the grounds of Incheon International Airport in South Korea.
  • An air ambulance was called to teat a woman for head injuries after she fell 11ft from one of the bronze lion sculptures in London’s Trafalgar Square.
  • A fire broke out in The Randolph Hotel in Oxford, England because a chef put too much cognac into a saucepan, causing potentially millions of pounds worth of damage.

Food & Wine

  • Neil and Mary McEvoy’s Kilkenny Cookery School is hosting a One Chicken, Five Recipes class on May 23, costs €65. See for more.
  • Listowel Food Fair takes place June 18 to 21.
  • Olivier Meisonnave of Dax restaurant in Dublin 2 collected €11,000 in donations for the Dublin Simon Community.


aer-lingus-jetA decision by the Government on the future of Aer Lingus now looks set to be delayed until May.

Aer Lingus‘ on-line timetable is showing Dublin-Jersey next winter, Friday and Sunday.

Belfast International Airport began its legal claim at the Belfast High Court for £20m damages from Aer Lingus.

Ryanair’s Knock-Las Palmas route will not operate this summer due to “shortage of aircraft”.

Ryanair said it is recording a load factor of 90pc on its initial services from Copenhagen to Dublin.

DAA will spend €14m on doubling the size of its T2 short-term car park. The extension will add four floors and 1,400 spaces to the multi-storey car park. Work is expected to finish in December. 

Cityjet has partnered with Dublin-based aviation training company Simtech to train 22 new pilots this year.

Point mergerThe IAA extended the Point Merger arrival management system to Runway 10 at Dublin Airport.

Avolon announced the completion of a $675m 8-year secured debt facility, which will finance 21 aircraft at a margin of 1.65pc.

Ryanair launched its Scotland 2015 winter schedule with 32 routes.

Malaysia Airlines will expand its codeshare partnership with Etihad on April 30.

Boeing is experiencing problems with seat production from Zodiac Aerospace, but the aircraft maker insists that this will not alter its ability to meet targets for aircraft deliveries in 2015.

  • Finnair will offer hand luggage only Light Ticket fares on flights from Ireland from May 5.
  • Aer Lingus Cargo appointed Network Airline Services as its GSA in France.
  • Alitalia expanded its codeshare with Delta Air Lines for summer 2015.
  • Emirates announced a $9.2bn order for Rolls-Royce engines for the 50 A380s ordered at the Dubai Airshow in 2013.
  • Ryanair launched a new blog called Into The Blue.
  • Boeing reported Q1 net earnings of $1.33bn on revenue, up 8pc to $22.1bn.
  • Qatar Airways will replace the A330 aircraft operating the Doha-Heathrow route with a, A380 from July 1.
  • The London Telegraph’s guide to stress-free flying with children: iPads not I-spy, sedate them with Jaffa Cakes and, if all else fails, simply strap a pillow to your head using a belt.
  • Alaska Airlines will trial a premium economy service next month.
  • Emirates president Tim Clark said the airline will to continue its partnership with Qantas beyond the initial five-year period.
  • Iberia and TAM Airlines extended their codeshare agreement.
  • Shannon airport launched its summer service, with routes to 35 destinations.
  • Members of Delta’s Skymiles loyalty programme will be offered bonus miles and 40pc savings each time they rent a car from Hertz at participating airports until July 31.
  • Rail capacity at London Gatwick is expected to double in the next five years.
  • Flybe Finland was rebranded as Nordic Regional Airlines.
  • Emirates received its 60th A380, with another 80 pending delivery.
  • CityJet plans to continue operating its Avro RJ85s, recently sold under sale/leaseback to Falko.
  • FLY Leasing acquired a B737-800 aircraft manufactured in 2008.
  • Boeing donated an original B787-8 FTV, serial 40691, to Pima Air & Space Museum.
  • An Austrian Airlines flight en route from Vienna to Newark was diverted and cancelled after smoke came from a faulty coffee machine.
  • A Cathay Pacific pilot was arrested at Heathrow for alleged possession of knives.
  • President Michael D Higgins opened The Potato Farmers of East Africa photo exhibition at Dublin Airport.


MSC Meraviglia (“wonder” in Italian) is the name of MSC Cruises 4,500-passenger first Vista project mega-ship. Bookings for the ship will open in June 2016 and after launch in 2017 it will spend its first summer in three homeports: Genoa, Marseille and Barcelona. The ship will feature MSC’s signature water park connected to a double-deck indoor amusement park and a double-deck aft lounge and entertainment space. A two-deck interior promenade styled like a Mediterranean village covered by an LED dome ceiling that will serve as a “digital sky” showing images and visual shows with the shops, bars and specialty restaurants underneath, Interlinked cluster cabins offer up to three linked cabins for family groups. The MSC Yacht Club “ship with in a ship” features duplex suites, its own solarium, lounge and restaurants.Wristband technology will be used to make payments, book spa treatments and specialty restaurants, and allow parents to geo-locate their children. Scrubber technology to neutralise carbon dioxide emissions. The ship will also be water emission free. Details were announced at its steel-cutting in the STW France shipyard, A sister ship to MSC Meraviglia, also on order from STX France, is scheduled for delivery by 2019.

Royal Caribbean CEO Richard Fain said the ship was extraordinary because Royal Caribbean, Meyer Werft, the architects and contractors had taken a design and turned it into this masterpiece. Bayley described Anthem as the most innovative ship in the industry.

CKO Kickboxing is hosting a kickboxing cruise on Royal Caribbean’s Liberty of the Seas.

All Inclusive guests on board Norwegian Sky will have unlimited beer, wine and spirits up to $11 included in their fare from January 2016.

Passengers onboard Carnival Spirit were forced to wait out a storm because it was unsafe for the ship to dock at Sydney Harbour due to strong winds and high seas.

Royal Caribbean will no longer offer last minute discounted cruise deals in the USA.

Royal Caribbean has changed Jamie Oliver’s Italian restaurant on its Quantum class ships from a cover charge of $15 for lunch and $25 for dinner to a la carte pricing.

Brian Abel, Vice President Food & Beverage, said the move had been driven by Jamie Oliver’s restaurant group. Anyone who pre-booked the restaurant as a cover charge restaurant would have their booking honoured.

MSC Cruises Divina is to return to Miami for year-round sailings.

Celebrity Cruises has fitted a new cocktail-oriented venue for its Solstice-class ships.

Azamara is to promote local restaurants in a New Destination programme.

Australian author Kathy Lette launched the 85-cabin Scenic Jasper in Vienna, with a higher-than-average amount of space in public areas. Sister ship Scenic Opal will join the fleet in June, bringing Scenic’s fleet to 12

Disney Dream is to add a Star Wars spaceship-themed area will be added to the Oceaneer Club, the play space for kids ages 3 to 12, when it goes into dry dock in October 2015.

MSC Cruises cancelled sailings to Egypt and Ukraine.

Deal Watch

Travel Department opera holidays in association with RTÉ Lyric FM’s Marty in the Morning: 7 nights Grand Hotel Liberty, Riva Del Garda, Verona from €1,149pp incl. all transfers, guides, ticket to Verdi’s Nabucco at the Verona Opera, lunch with Marty Whelan pre-departure, taxes and charges, depart July 14. 3 nights B&B Hotel Holiday Inn, Prague from €499pp incl. all transfers, guides, a ticket to Puccini’s La Boheme, taxes and charges. Visit or call  01 637 1600 to book.

Click and Go offers, travel in May: 2 nights Mercure Dusseldorf Hafen Hotel from €195pp incl. flights ex Dubin, taxes and charges. 2 nights Dodo Hotel, Riga from €259pp incl. return flights ex Dublin, taxes and charges. 2 nights Hilton Hotel, Warsaw from €279pp incl. flights ex Dublin, taxes and charges. 7 nights self catering Mirachoro 1 Apartments, Albufeira from €499pp incl. flights ex Dublin and transfers. 7 nights All Inclusive Complejo Calas de Mallorca Hotel, Calas de Majorca from €489pp incl. fights ex Dublin, transfers, taxes and charges. Call 01 637 1699 to book.

Thomson offers: 7 nights B&B Helena Sands, Sunny Beach, Bulgaria from €499pp, depart June 1. 7 nights All Inclusive Portobello Royal, Helona Resort, Kos from €969pp, depart June 13. 7 nights half board Barcelo Santiago, Tenerife from €559pp, depart June 12. 7 nights full board Thomson Spirit cruise, Dalaman from €659pp, depart May 25. To book visit or call 1850 45 35 45.

Falcon offers: 7 nights All Inclusive Aqua Nevis Club, Sunny Beach, Bulgaria from €1,719 for two adults and one child or from €2,239 for two adults and two children, depart June 1. 7 nights half board More Hotel, Alcudia, Majorca from €439pp, depart June 4.

Lowcostbeds offers of the week, based on 7 nights, two sharing, depart May 14: 3* Las Terrazas del Puerto, Puerto del Carmen, Lanzarote self catering from €11pppn. 4* Hotel Suite Fariones Playa, Puerto del Carmen, Lanzarote B&B from €38pppn. 3* Alexis Pool Apartments, Sidari, Corfu self catering from €6pppn. 4* Govino Bay Resort, Gouvia, Corfu room only from €16pppn. 4* Palmin Hotel, Kusadasi, Turkey All Inclusive from €32pppn. 4* Hotel Plam Garden, Gumbet, Turkey All Inclusive from €17pppn.

Classic Resorts offers: 3 nights Amwaj Rotana Jumeirah Beach Residence, Dubai from €689pps, travel May 15 to June 16 or August 11 to September 15, book by April 30. 5 nights Harbour Plaza 8 Degrees, Hong Kong from €929pps, travel May 1 to August 20, book by April 26. To book, call 01 874 5000 or visit

Topflight Adriatic Riviera La Notte Rosa festival offers, depart June 27: 7 nights half board 3* Hotel Bagli, Rimini from €659pps. 7 nights half board 3* Hotel Golf, Riccone from €749pps. 7 nights B&B 4* Plus Hotel Milton, Rimini from €899pp. All prices include return flights ex Dublin, return transfers, luggage allowance and rep service. To book, call 01 2401 700 or visit

Sunway offers: 7 nights B&B Princesa Baiza Suite Hotel Resort from €899pp, depart May and September. 7 nights B&B Sofitel Agadir Royal Bay, Morocco from €749pp, depart June 20 or 27. 7 nights B&B Sofitel Agadir Thalassa Sea & Spa Hotel from €819pp, depart June 6 or 13. 7 night Caribbean cruise onboard Royal Caribbean’s Anthem of the Seas from €1,569pp incl. 1 night pre stay in New York, depart December 11.

Click and Go is offering 7 night full board cruise onboard Cunard Queen Mary 2 from €1,279pp incl. 1 night pre or post cruise in 4* Row Hotel, Manhattan, port taxes and 20kg baggage pp, depart July 14.

Red Sea Holidays Sharm El Sheikh offers: Ghazala Beach Hotel B&B from €469pp, depart May 21. Sharm Plaza Hotel All Inclusive from €797pp, depart May 21. Siva Sharm Resort & Spa All Inclusive from €535pp, depart May 28. Ghazala Beach Hotel B&B from€599pp, depart May 28. Sharm Resort Hotel All Inclusive from €531pp depart June 4. The Grand Hotel All Inclusive from €899pp, depart June 4.

Wendy Wu Tours is offering 18 days All Inclusive tour of Vietnam from €3,090pp incl. free stay in Cambodia, flights, transport, accommodation, English speaking guide, entrance fees and visa fees with valid passport. Tour highlights include Saigon and Hanoi, Hoi An, Higlands and Halong Bay cruise.

Natural Retreats Castlemartyr is offering up to 15pc off self-catering breaks in May and June.  For more info visit or call 01 685 3013.

Riviera late offers, limited availability: 5 nights B&B Loire Valley and Monet’s Garden from €769pp incl. three meals, depart May 14. 7 nights half board Pompeii, Capri and the Bay of Naples from €979pp, depart May 15. 3 nights B&B Paris from €469pp, depart May 22. 4 nights B&B Venice from €969pp, depart May 25. 7 nights half board Lake Garda, Venice and Verona from €1,144pp, depart May 25. 4 nights B&B Normandy from €689pp, depart June 13. 3 nights B&B Bruges from €509pp, depart June 14. 3 nights B&B Paris from €489pp, depart June 19. 7 nights half board Pompeii, Capri and the Bay of Naples from €999, depart June 26. All prices include flights ex Dublin and 15kg checked in baggage pp.

Tourism NI offers of the week: 1 night B&B The Merchant Hotel, Belfast from £330 per couple incl. champagne and chocolates on arrival and access to spa rooms, available until Dec 30, call 028 9023 4888 to book. 2 nights B&B Beech Hill Country House Hotel, Derry from £129pps incl. one evening meal in the Ardmore restaurant, available until November 30, call 028 9023 4888 to book. 1 night B&B ladies golf retreat at Lough Erne Resort Enniskillen from £190pps incl. lunch on arrival, half day gold school and gala dinner, call 028 6632 3230 to book. 1 night B&B Slieve Donard Resort & Spa, Newcastle from £70pps incl. 3 course dinner in the Percy French Restaurant, available until January 30 2016, call 028 4372 1066 to book.


NO FEE BELMOND GR HIB LCH TOURS MX-3The Belmond Grand Hibernian luxury train was launched on Wednesday. Two, four and six night itineraries will be available from August 2016.

Limerick company Visitorflix launched a library of 30-second video clips created for Irish tourism companies to showcase visitor experiences on the WAW. 

Tourism Ireland’s strategy for growth of tourism from Australia to Ireland set a target of 20pc growth by the end of 2017. The aim is to position Ireland as the ideal starting point for a European trip, emphasising that it is easy to reach, with frequent, one-stop flights.

Upcoming events in Limerick: Riverfest, May 1-4. Ballyhoura International Walking Festival, May 2-4. Barrington’s Hospital Great Limerick Run, May 3. Ireland v Barbarians, Thomond Park, May 28. Culture & Chips, May 28 to June 1. Limerick Sings International Choral Festival, June 26-29. Foynes Air Show, June 26.

3rd Doolin Folk Festival launch at DoolinThe line up for Doolin Folk Festival was announced. Stockton’s Wing, Declan O’Rourke, Sharon Shannon, Mick Flannery and O’Sahara, Luka Bloom’s band, will headline the festival, June 12 to 14. Picture shows musicians Mick Flannery, Christy Barry and Sharon Shannon.

TourismIreland3Tourism Ireland and Minister Paschal Donohoe launched a three-year strategy to attract 220,000 Australian visitors to Ireland by the end of 2017, a growth of 20pc. The plan is to position Ireland as a destination that complements other European destinations which are the main draw for Australians.

A group of tour operators participated in Tourism Ireland’s annual Meet the Buyer workshop in the Slieve Donard Hotel, Newcastle. The group visited the Mourne Seafood INTERNATIONAL TOUR OPERATORS SAMPLE MOURNE SEAFOOD AND MORE …Cookery School in Kilkeel, the Soak Seaweed Baths, Kribben Cottages, Hanna’s Close, the Narnia Trail, Causeway Coastal Route and Sketrick Island. Picture shows the tour operators with tour guide David McAnirm and Roger Moynihan, head chef at the Mourne Seafood Cookery School.

The Lough Derg Nature Trail will be launched at a seminar in The Workhouse Centre, Portumna, Co Galway this Thursday, April 30, 10.30am.

The line up for the Gospel Rising Music Festival in Ennis was announced. The event takes place May 8-10.Ennis to host Ireland's biggest gospel music festival

Tourism Ireland’s central marketing director Mark Henry was elected as vice chair of the European Travel Commission.

Game of Thrones props, including dragon eggs and ravens, appeared in surprise locations around Belfast as part of a Tourism Ireland and HBO partnership.

MINISTER JIMMY DEENIHAN LENDS A HAND TO BOOST TOURISM FROM SCOTLANDMinister for Diaspora Affairs Jimmy Deenihan visited Scotland this week. He met with members of the Irish Diaspora and the Tourism Ireland team in Glasgow. Picture shows the minister with Elaine Murray, Caroline Mulligan and Linda Duncan, all of Tourism Ireland.

Shannon Region Conference & Sports Bureau held an awards ceremony for 40 participants in SRCSB Ambas Awards 147the sports and business ambassador programme in Clare and Limerick. Elfed Lewis of UL was named Ambassador of the Year for bringing international conferences to Limerick.

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

TRAVEL Extra’s Sunday Supplement: A Giraffe’s grace notes for Anthem of the Seas

Industry trade show ad

Gigi the Giraffe keeps watch of things on board Anthem the Seas as it gears up for its launch in Southampton, April 16 2015

Gigi the Giraffe keeps watch of things on board Anthem the Seas as it gears up for its launch in Southampton, April 16 2015

The headlines this week:

  • ITAA wants Tour Operators category
  • Getting around Portugal is now easier
  • Travel Counsellors Ireland Turns 10
  • The East’s Awake (at last)
  • TIGS record turnout & a trophy for Ray

Travel Extra TV

Video of the week Apr 19Our video of the week is Fáilte Ireland’s showcase of Ireland’s Ancient East. Watch here. See footage from the launch of the initiative: Watch here.

  • Ryanair’s new TV ad: Watch here. See Kenny Jacobs introduce the campaign. Watch here.
  • Take a look at Aer Lingus’ lounge at JFK. Watch here.
  • Indian prime minister Narendra Modi visited the Airbus factories in Toulouse. Watch here.
  • Promo for Food on the Edge with JP McMahon. The conference for chefs and food industry professionals takes place in Galway on October 19 and 20. Watch here.
  • A fresh start for discarded bars of hotel soap: Watch here.
  • A day in the life of easyJet. Watch here.


The AGM of the Irish Travel Agents Association this week will hear of a drive for new members and proposals for a new tour operator category membership of the association. The Irish Tour Operators Federation did not hold an AGM last year, partly reflective of the withdrawal of Thomas Cook from the Irish market and decline of the tour operator sector from nine tour operators at peak to the current five. ITOF served a purpose when it was founded in September 2002 with Niall McDonnell as its first president, as charter business out of Ireland was at near-peak, to defend the interest of the package holiday sector, tour operators would argue that it has accomplished most of those goals and will serve a different role in the future.

ireland's ancient east_0091Meitheal in Dublin hosted 220 buyers from around the world and was the stage for Irish tourism’s big ticket launch for 2015: The long awaited launch of Fáilte Ireland’s new Ireland’s Ancient East by two ministers, Paschal Donohoe (listen here) and Michael Ring (listen here) had the air of “let’s do something for the east” about it. Unlike the Wild Atlantic Way, Ancient East is a confluence of routes and communities from Meath to Cork. The initiative is based on four themes:

  • Ancient Ireland – The Dawn of Civilisation (including Boyne Valley in Newgrange and sites like the Brownshill Dolmen in Carlow)
  • Early Christian Ireland (including Clonmacnoise, Glendalough, Mellifont abbey, Jerpoint Abbey, St.Canice’s Cathedral and Holycross Abbey)
  • Medieval Ireland (including Kilkenny’s Medieval Mile, the Viking Quarter in Waterford, Hook Head Lighthouse, Trim Castle and the Rock of Cashel)
  • Anglo Ireland (including Ireland’s Great Houses and Gardens as well as sites such as the Dunbrody Famine Ship and Wicklow Gaol).Meitheal 2015 in the RDS, Dublin, April 14 2015

Elsewhere at Meitheal, the US sent 32 buyers for the first time. Delegates were hosted at events in Carton House and the Royal Hospital in Kilmainham and a group went to the Slieve Donard Hotel in Newcastle for an NITB event on Tuesday. In reply to a question from Travel Extra Paul Keeley said €500,000 had been set aside for marketing the project (listen here). Éist anseo le Eoghan Corry ar Raidió na Gaeltachta where he suggested suggested the domestic impact might be more important than aboad. See more pictures here from the launch and from Meitheal or connect with the album on Facebook. tigs winners_5953The Travel Industry Golf Society president Audrey Headon and sponsors Etihad hosted their largest golfer’s gathering in recent years at Druids Glen, with 84 golfers taking the field. Tributes were paid to Ray Treacy and Sean Daly at the event. Winners were Oliver McCann and Nicola Burns, pictured with Audrey Headon President of TIGS and Beatrice Cosgrove, Ireland country manger of event sponsors Etihad. See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook. cathy burke steve byrneTravel Counsellors Ireland looked back at their ten year history at their conference in Carton House where 55 out of the 62 travel counsellors and 29 partners convened. It was the first conference since last November’s management buy out of the home working group, which turns over €22m in Ireland. The supplier workshops featured 11 airlines, 12 tour operators, six tourist boards , seven cruise lines, three bedbanks, a GDS and DMC from Asia, a car hire company, insurance and attractions. Pictures shows Cathy Burke, newly appointed as international business development manager for Travel Counsellors as well as Ireland country manager, and Steve Byrne Group Managing Director of Travel Counsellors. See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook. eileen o'mara wlash speeches_0178Representatives of the inbound and outbound trade gathered to see Ruairi Quinn launch Eileen O’Mara Walsh’s book, The Third Daughter, at the Royal Irish Academy in Dublin. Three chapters of her book relate to her career in the travel industry. Picture on right shows Eileen O’Mara Walsh and Anthony Farrell of Lilliput Press listening to Ruairi Quinn speaking at the event See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook. Citywest Leisure Centre - Front copyThis week’s Irish Travel Industry Trade Show at Citywest on Thursday and Friday offers an opportunity to meet face-to-face with over 120  brands including airlines, tour operators, cruise lines, technology suppliers, destinations, insurance companies, car hire suppliers, bed banks, international hotels and hotel chains, airports, ferry operators, rail and travel related services. Delegates can book face-to-face appointments with existing and new suppliers and participate in a social activities including a golf day, and a BBQ, win prizes on offer every hour during the Trade Show. Transport is being supplied from Cork, Limerick and Dundalk. Enthusiasts turned out in Shannon to see the world’s largest aircraft, the Antonov 225. The jet has a wing span wider than the pitch at Croke Park and is one and half times the length of an Olympic swimming pool and previously visited Shannon in 2013. ray treacy copy Good idea from a sad occasion. One outcome of the funeral gathering celebrating Ray Treacy in Stillorgan last week by his soccer and travel colleagues could be the revival of the Trinity Cup. The tournament, once played by travel agents and suppliers between Ireland, Portugal and Spain may be revived as the Ray Treacy Memorial Trophy. Wouldn’t it be nice to eavesdrop on the conversation between Ray Treacy and Ján Popluhár in the afterlife this week: the most extraordinary event in the extraordinary life of Ray was when he turned Popluhár’s clearance back into the goal to put Czechoslovakia out of the 1968 European Championship. May the story be retold for many the year to come.

Travel Trade

IMG_5965 copyNiall McDonnell of Red Sea Resorts says that the All inclusive Grand Hotel Sharm is the top seller of his product, newly launched in the Irish market. It is very popular with families with a child price of €479, all season, all durations. The ITAA is to join with other EU Travel Agent associations to sue the refund of Malev payments, which have not been repaid. Shannon Airport and Falcon Holidays launched a joint advertising campaign for direct flights from Shannon to Majorca, Lanzarote and Costa Dorada. British Airways are to downsize the Irish sales office by two people. o'mara travel group Picture shows the former O’Mara Travel team at the launch of The Third Daughter by Eileen O’Mara Walsh at the RIA, Dublin: Niamh Burns, Eileen Kelly, John Healy, Eileen O’Mara Walsh, Susanne Monks, Fiona Herald and Grainne Cryan.

  • The ITAA is drawing annual attention to the Benevolent Fund which provides confidential relief to current or past members of the Irish Travel Trade. The Benevolent Fund Trustees are Audrey Headon, Barry Walsh, Bepi Gaidoni, John Galligan.
  • Voyages-sncf is celebrating its 15th birthday by paying an extra 2pc commission to travel agents until July 15.
  • Turkish Airlines hosted the trade at a private screening of Russell Crowe’s The Water Diviner. Turkish will host several groups visiting the battle fields of Gallipolli.
  • Sarah Lindsay formerly of DG Ventures is to head up JacTravel’s new Irish operation.
  • British Airways are offering free upgrades to First one-way on us, when you book them on an eligible Club World return fare from April 13 2015.
  • turkish group copyPicture shows a press group en route to Korea pictured visiting the Turkish Airlines simulator in Istanbul: Onur Gul of Turkish Airlines, Mary Kate O’Flanagan of the Sunday Business Post, Katy Docherty of the Scottish Sun, Jamie Blake Knox of the Sunday Independent, Tom Kelly of the Irish Times and Ramy Salameh of the Korea Tourism Organisation.
  • Malaysia Airlines is giving agents shopping vouchers worth up to €50 for every return first or business class ticketed sale booked before April 24 for travel before December 7, and vouchers worth up to €10 for every economy class sale. Register at
  • Sunway reported that online bookings were up 15pc from January to March and conversion rate for online bookings increased 53pc.
  • portuguese workshopThe Portuguese Tourist Board hosted their National Portuguese Workshop in Dublin’s Westbury Hotel and the Clarion Hotel in Cork this week. Antonio Padeira (listen here) welcomed the return of the Madeira route and the increase in flights to Lisbon, saying that improved road connections had opened dup regions of the country not previously associated with large-scale tourism from Ireland. Picture shows Antonio Padeira of Turismo de Portugal and Clare Dunn of Travel Broker at the workshop in Dublin. See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.
  • Bobby Healy’s car hire software firm CarTrawler is set to acquire US rival Auto Europe.
  • Camino Ways uploaded an interactive Camino de Santiago map.
  • Mgt, Joe, Ang, Mary, DarPicture shows Margaret Cronin, Joe Collins, Mary Bowe and Skål Dublin president Daragh O’Neil with Cronins Coach which transported Skål members on the coach tour to Marlfield House & Woodenbridge Hotels in Wexford.


ashford castleAshford Castle Hotel has reopened following a €47m restoration that involved repointing the stone walls to tackle heat loss in the hotel. Stanley and Beatrice Tollman’s Red Carnation Hotels purchased the 82 bedroom for €20m in June 2014 and the Ashford Lodge in January 2014 for €1.8m. A new spa and swimming pool will open in July. An old coal bunker in the basement has been converted into a wine cavern. The nine hole golf course, fishing, shooting, and archery facilities have all been restored.

  • Michael McElligott’s Tetrarch Capital purchased the Clonmel Park Hotel in Tipperary.
  • world book launch1Manor House Hotels is the official partner of World Book Night (April 23). Guests staying at any of the group’s 29 properties will receive a copy of Dead Man Talking by Roddy Doyle, which they are asked to pass on to someone else after reading. Copies will also be left in the hotel staff rooms, at reception and in bars for guests to pick up, read and pass on. Picture shows Mary Fitzgerald, Chairperson of the Irish Country Hotels and Manor House Hotels group, and Maire O’Connor, Manor House Hotels brand chairperson, with Ferdia, the Irish wolfhound.
  • Hotel Doolin won the Green Tourism and Entertainment award at the 2015 Green Awards. Picture shows Cara Augustenborg, MD Impact Research Management, Bord Iascaigh Mhara presenting the award to Lisa Fearon and Raquel Noboa of Hotel Doolin.
  • Starwood Hotels will launch a new brand called the Tribute Portfolio.
  • Marriott International will open the first of two Edition properties in New York next month, located in the city’s clock tower building opposite Madison Square Park.
  • German group Maritim Hotels announced plans to build  the 34-story Maritim Hotel Amsterdam in the Overhoeks neighbourhood, scheduled to open in 2018. The property will contain 579 rooms and suites, three restaurants and two bars. 
  • said one in five of a survey of 1,000 Irish people claimed they would use a guilt free day to go on holiday.
  • Accor Group say Q1 revenue increased by 5.6pc.
  • Apa Group is looking to build Japan’s biggest hotel, the 2400-room hotel will be in Yokohama, for the 2020 Olympics.
  • The March 2015 STR Global Construction Pipeline Report says are 868 hotels totalling 139,057 rooms Under Contract in Europe, according to with 59,194 rooms in 364 hotels under construction, England has 11,542 rooms in 80 hotels, Russia (9,735 rooms in 51 hotels); Turkey (8,970 rooms in 52 hotels); and Germany (6,183 rooms in 37 hotels).
  • Loews Regency San Francisco joins the Loews Regency New York, creating a distinct Luxury Brand, Loews Regency
  • The 585 room JW Marriott Mumbai Sahar opened. Hyatt Regency Ahmedabad opened in Western India.
  • London’s Ace Hotel in Shoreditch was sold for £150m on behalf of Starwood Capital Group, £580,000 per bedroom.
  • HG Rewards Club are to add a new top membership level in July 2015. This new membership level can be reached by earning 75,000 qualifying points or staying at IHG hotels for 75 qualifying nights, over the course of a year.


wttc global summitTim Kitchin of Euromonitor International told the World Travel & Tourism Council Global Summit in Madrid that 15 of top 45 economies will be cities in 2030, New York will be larger than Spain and Chicago bigger than Poland.

  • TripAdvisor announced that it is launching an app for the Apple Watch.
  • Australian Department of Immigration and Border Protection officers travelled to Dublin in February to discuss immigration and border protection issues with their Irish counterparts after they expressed concern over the use of Irish names on Irish passports.
  • APH surveyed the different rules and regulations across the top 20 European holiday destinations. The research can be found in the Know Before You Go section of the APH website. Motorway speed limits vary from 62mph in Cyprus and Latvia to 80mph in Austria, France and Greece. Germany, on the other hand, currently imposes no legal speed limit on motorways.
  • Majorca will host an international Business School specialised in Tourism in September 2016
  • A survey showed European business travellers prefer rail over flights.
  • Brand USA launched a new website on America’s Great Outdoors.
  • NightSwapping is the latest peer to peer web travel initiative, inviting members to swap nights with other members.
  • To celebrate the release of Ron Howard’s film In The Heart of the Sea, Nantucket Island Resorts will launch an In The Heart of The Sea experience from May 2015 from $370, which includes a two night stay and two tickets to the Nantucket Whaling Museum.
  • Downton Abbey star Jessica Brown-Findlay (Sybil) provides the voiceover for Secret Escapes new TV ad campaign.
  • The Israel Ministry of Tourism announced a tourism directive to encourage airline operators to fly to Eilat. From October 6 2015 to April 22 2016, the ministry will reimburse airlines operators €45 for every passenger flying to Ovda airport up to the total amount of €1m per annum per airline.
  • TUI group HR director Jacky Simmonds will leave the company after 15 years following the merger of the English and German businesses.
  • New York City’s One World Observatory will open to the public on Friday, May 29.
  • ONYX Hospitality Group announced that it will operate at least 10 properties in India by 2022.

Food & Wine

Sage Restaurant won best Emerging Irish Cuisine in Munster at the Munster finals of the Irish Restaurant Awards. susan lavelleSusan Lavelle (pictured) has been appointed Business Development Manager across Cork International Hotel and Cork Airport Hotel.

  • Galway Bay Brewery are to open a new premises on High Street near Dublin’s Christchurch area on Wednesday, April 22.
  • The Morrison Hotel, on Dublin’s Lower Ormond Quay appointed Sushil Kumar as new Executive Head Chef, who has specially created brand new menus for the Spring/Summer season.
  • A coffee kiosk at the junction of Lansdowne Road, Pembroke Road and Northumberland Road in Dublin 4 has been sold for €250k, €50k above the asking price.
  • Cully & Sully are launching a competition, Give Peas a Chance, to encourage workers to grow peas on their workplace windowsill, rooftop or breakout area. The competition runs from June to August with a €4,500 prize, €3,000 of which will be donated to provide a food garden to a worthy cause. The winners will also receive a €300 voucher each to spend at Ballymaloe House and Cookery School. Enter your team at to receive a start pack of seeds, soil and containers.
  • howth festival launchThe fifth annual Dublin Bay Prawn Festival takes place in Howth on April 24-26.
  • Crown Paints Ireland launched the PaintMyPub Campaign, whereby members of the public are given the chance to nominate a pub in their area that’s in need of an exterior makeover. People are being asked to post photos o Crown Paints Ireland’s Facebook page, or by tweeting it to @CrownPaintsIRL with the hashtag #PaintMyPub.
  • James Winans of Vanguard Beer Collective is to host a series of beer appreciation courses at the Dublin Bar Academy at 70 Francis St Dublin 8. Participants will sample over a dozen different beers, including a variety of Irish craft beers from breweries such as Eight Degrees Brewing, Reel Deel Brewery, and Bo Bristle. The four hour course covers everything from beer styles and ingredients to history and food pairings.
  • Carlow Brewing Company, best known for its O’Hara’s range of beers, is to create 12 new jobs in Bagnelstown
  • May is Whisky Month in Scotland, with events taking places across the country
  • The Noosa International Food and Wine festival takes place in Queensland from May 14 to 17.


It was an exciting week in Irish aviation with rumours that Ethiopian were to transfer their Rome European outbound fuel stops, daily B777 to Washington, 3 per B787 week to Toronto, eastbound only and necessitated by the elevation of Addis Adaba, initially to Shannon before being quickly superseded by the news that the fuel stop would move to Dublin. Negotiations with DAA included the possibility of fifth freedom passenger pick up in years to come. Delta plans to reduce 2015-16 winter international capacity by 3pc “to address currency headwinds’ resulting from strong dollar. London’s Competition and Markets Authority said there was no material change in circumstances or special reason for it not to reduce Ryanair’s shareholding in Aer Lingus to 5pc. The shortlist for the 2015 Aviation Awards, sponsored by the IAA, was announced. The gala awards black tie event takes place on May 28 at the Double Tree  by Hilton on Burlington Road, Dublin:

  • Aircraft Operator Aer Lingus, Air Contractors, Emirates, Etihad, Stobart Air, Turkish Airlines
  • Aviation Academic Education Dublin City University, Dublin Institute of Technology, Intitute of Technology Carlow, University of Limerick
  • MRO Achievement Aero Inspection International, Dublin Aerospace, Eirtech
  • Aviation Leasing Achievement AerCap Ireland, Avolon, GE Capital Aviation Services
  • Aviation Sustainability & Environment Cork Airport, Shannon Airport Authority,
  • Aviation Export Aero Inspection International, Airbus Helicopters International Services, Airtel-ATN, CAE Parc Aviation, Datalex, Eirtech Aviation, Gerard Daniel Worldwide
  • Aviation R & D Centre for Innovative Human Systems – Trinity College Dublin Fluids, Vibration & Acoustics Research Group – Trinity College Dublin Tyndall National Institute Vocavio
  • Aviation Innovation Airconics, Coastway Surveys, DAA, GE Capital Aviation Services & Milestone Aviation Group, International Aviation Services Centre (IASC) – Shannon Group, Registair, Ryanair, Versadrones, Waterford Institute of Technology & CHC
  • Airport Achievement City of Derry Airport , DAA, Ireland West Airport Knock, Shannon Airport Authority,
  • Aviation Training Aircraft Maintenance and Engineering Apprenticeship Scheme – Aer Lingus, Cadet Pilot Training – Aer Lingus, DIATA, National Flight Centre, Ryanair, Simtech Aviation Training, Trident Safety Group,
  • Up & Coming Aviation Professional Niall Duggan – Part M Aviation Ireland, Mark Dwyer – National Microlight Association of Ireland & Flying in Ireland, Capt Julie Garland – National Flight Centre, Ellie McGimpsey – Belfast City Airport,
  • Safety Promotion City of Derry Airport , DHL Express Ireland, DAA, General Aviation Council of Ireland, Shannon Airport, Shell & Topaz Aviation, Stobart Air, Swissport Ireland
  • Aviation Support Services Aero Inspection International, Part M Aviation Ireland, Piercom, Simtech, Swissport Ireland, TEG
  • General and Sport Aviation Executive Helicopters, Foynes Air Show, National Flight Centre, National Microlight Association of Ireland, Simtech Aviation,
  • Customer Service Cork Airport, DUB HUB – DAA, Project Free Runner – DAA, Ryanair, Signature Flight Support, Swissport Ireland
  • People Development Transforming Security Programme – DAA, Certified International Management Programme – DHL Express Ireland, Certified International Specialist Programme – DHL Express Ireland, National Flight Centre,

Iberia and British Airways left the lobby group Association of European Airlines over demands by Air France-KLM and Lufthansa to limit access to Europe for Gulf carriers.

Aer Lingus reported its €13m increase in sales last year was thanks to the ill-fated Little Red deal with Virgin to lease aircraft and crew,. Trade union sources have ramped up their campaign against catering reorganisation issues and are claiming they are causing on-board shortages on Aer Lingus flights.

  • newsarticle-248343-scaled-560x0The DAA introduced a revised branding for Dublin Airport with a new logot.
  • The European Regions Airline Association hosted 180 senior executives including representatives from 29 airlines,
  • Ryanair and Aer Lingus went back to battle on Twitter.
  • SITA reported a tenfold increase in passenger adoption of Wi-Fi when it is free
  • Singapore Airlines new SilverKris Lounge opened in Heathrow T2.
  • Ryanair promoted its new Instagram account with a competition for free flight vouchers.
  • A Germanwings jet bound for Milan was evacuated at Cologne-Bonn after the flight received an alleged bomb threat.
  • The air freight division of Emirates has become the number one air cargo carrier for Irish exports since the start of the year, according to figures compiled by the IATA.
  • An Alaska Airlines jet bound for LA had to return to Seattle after a ramp agent was trapped in the  cargo hold after falling asleep. The pilot detected banging noises. Watch a video of his rescue here.
  • star wars anaJapanese carrier ANA unveiled plans to paint one of its Boeing 787-9 Dreamliners in a Star Wars livery that features the likeness of R2-D2.
  • A Ryanair steward was fired after trying to sell a €500 camera on eBay after it was left behind on a flight.
  • is offering the chance to win €1,000. To enter, pre-book your parking at Dublin airport before midnight, April 30.
  • United Airlines will launch a new inflight menu for economy passengers on June 1.
  • A Loganair flight carrying 30 passengers fell into a steep dive after it was struck by lightning. The pilot regained control and restored full power after the flight fell to 1,100ft.
  • Virgin apologised to passengers on a flight from Las Vegas to London Gatwick that was delayed for 33 hours. The passengers set up a Facebook page demanding compensation.
  • Authorities launched an investigation after an Asiana Airlines jet skidded off a runway as it landed at Hiroshima airport, injuring 20 people.
  • Heathrow announced the appointment of T5’s independent lounge, Aspire. Located near Gate 18, it will be open to customers this summer, regardless of their class.
  • colm barrington 1400 copyColm Barrington’s (pictured) FLY Leasing acquired a B737-800 manufactured in 2008. The Dun Laoghaire based lessor announced it has declared a quarterly cash dividend of $0.25 per common share.
  • A fourth year Transaero apprentice, Ros Wynne has been selected to represent Ireland in the 2015 world skills competition in the category of Aircraft Maintenance in Sao Paulo Brazil from Aug 11-16.
  • Malaysia Airlines is the launch customer for SITA On Air’s AIRCOM FlightTracker.
  • Singapore Airlines subsidiary Silk Air launched a new uniform design.
  • Airbus will offer an 11-abreast economy-seat configuration in the A380.
  • EasyJet is to appoint Andrew Findlay to replace Chris Kennedy as CFO, effective October 2015.
  • Airbus and Germany’s Recaro Aircraft Seating plan to offer a “supplier-furnished-equipment” Economy Class seat option, named “3530Swift”, for A320 operators.
  • A passenger was kicked off a Southwest Airlines flight after poking a fellow passenger with a pen because she was bothered by his snoring.
  • Embraer delivered 20 jets to the commercial market and 12 to the business market in Q1.
  • Ireland West Airport Knock is to upgrade security with two new devices to detect explosive and a new security scanner.


Anthem of the SeasThe first delegation of 50 Irish trade and media flew out yesterday to join Royal Caribbean’s Anthem of the Seas with a further 170 travelling out tomorrow. Anthem arrived in Southampton, its homeport for the summer during the week. A sister ship to Quantum of the Seas, Anthem will sail out of Southampton until October, before redeploying to Bayonnet. Stuart Leven, two country Managing Director of Royal Caribbean based in London said: Ships like Anthem of the Seas will help attract new groups of people and build the future of cruising. Ireland and Britain is our second largest market and with 1.7m from the two countries taking a cruise every year it has huge importance for our business. So we’re over the moon that our latest Quantum-class ship is arriving for the summer season. The 4,180-passenger ship will be formally named on tomorrow Monday (April 20), by 27-year-old travel agent Emma Wilby from Sunderland. Picture shows Emma sampling the flowrider on Anthem. See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.

  • Royal Caribbean CEO Michael Bayley is offering repeat Quantum-class passengers an onboard credit if they choose the controversial Dynamic Dining concept, on the line’s newest ship, Anthem of the Seas.
  • Princess Cruises’ Dawn Princess is to host a first-ever Beer & Wine Garden Festival after its multimillion-dollar refurbishment May 11-24.
  • Ponant cruise line has taken delivery of the latest in its fleet of ultra-luxury ships, the 260-passenger Le Lyrial.
  • L’Austral, Le Boreal and Le Soleal, were delivered in May 2010, April 2011 and June 2013.
  • Thomson Cruises will name its newest ship Thomson Discovery when it joins the fleet in 2016. Thomson has acquired Royal Caribbean’s Splendour of the Seas. Thomson Discovery will homeport in Palma de Mallorca, Spain, when in launches in June 2016, and the ship will undergo a rebranding and refurbishment.
  • Hurtigruten’s Northern Lights Promise, has been re-introduced for next Winter. There will be a direct departure form Dublin on March 22 following the success of the director charter flights from Dublin to Tromso in 2014.
  • Azamara Club Cruises is to use virtual reality to allow passengers to experience life on the ship and shore excursions.
  • Disney is introducing new shore tours in Alaska for summer 2015, to a mining camp in Juneau and the White Pass Summit in Skagway.
  • Carnival cruise ships have added Perry, Boston, Lionel Richie and Heart to the roster of musicians slated to perform on this summer and fall.
  • Norovirus hit Celebrity Infinity, with 106 of 2,117 passengers falling ill (about 5pc) and Royal Caribbean’s Legend of the Seas affecting 114 of 1,763 passengers (about 6.5pc).
  • Norwegian Cruise Line has waived cover charge and a la carte pricing at selected Asian restaurants fleetwide.
  • Disney announced a partnership with AmaWaterways. Tour operator Adventures by Disney will operate family river cruises using AmaWaterways’ 170-passenger AmaViola ship when it launches in 2016.

Deal Watch

Malaysia Airlines spring sale, book between now and April 30 for travel from now until December 7. Return economy fares from Dublin Cork and Shannon: Bangkok from €570. Phuket from €570. Singapore from €650. Ko Samui from €655. Manila from €670. Hanoi from €675. Ho Chi Minh City from €675. Kauai Lumpur from €700 Penang from €700. Bali from €700. Perth from €790. Darwin from €810. Auckland from €835. Adelaide from €850. Brisbane from €850. Melbourne from €850. Sydney from €850. Malaysia Airlines and Tourism Malaysia are offering a free one-night stopover in Kuala Lumpur at either Berjaya Times Square Hotel or Sama-Sama Hotel. For bookings and more info visit or call 01 6761561.

  • Classic Resorts is offering 10 nights Mexico and Las Vegas from €1,799pps incl. 7 nights All Inclusive 4* Occidental Grand Xcaret, Mexico, 3 nights 4* Luxor Resort & Casino Las Vegas, flights and taxes, book by April 30, travel May 1 to June 24 or September 1 to October 31. To book visit  or call 01 874 5000.
  • Sunday G Adventure Tours offers, prices include accommodation, adventure itinerary and most meals: 10 days Nepal from €949pp, depart August 9. 10 days Cambodia from €649pp, depart May 28. 3-day African safari from €869pp, depart May 30. 8-day India Golden Triangle from €499pp, depart June 28. 8 days Bali from €749pp, depart August 21. 8 days Cuba from €699pp, depart September 5. 12 days Vietnam from €649pp, depart August 1. 7-day Peru Inca Trail from €899pp, depart September 8. 9-day Amazon riverboat adventure from €1359pp, depart July 25. 9 days Galápagos 9 Days from €1599pp, depart June 19.  7 nights self catering Tamaimo Tropical Apts, Tenerife from €399pp, depart May 23. 7 nights B&B Sheraton Fuerteventura Beach, Golf & Spa Resort from €749pp, depart May 23. 7 nights self catering Tilila Studios, Morocco from €299pp (flight only €294pp).
  • Sunway Bodrum, Turkey offers: 7 nights self catering 3* Summer Garden Apts from €359pp, depart June 7. 7 nights B&B 3* Baba Beach Hotel from €429pp, depart June 7. 7 nights B&B 4* Ambrosia Hotel from €599pp, depart June 7. 7 nights All Inclusive 3* Sami Beach from €739pp, depart June 7.
  • Keith Prowse Experience Wimbledon packages begin at €513 per person
  • Thomson offers: 7 nights full board Dublin to Sensatori, Lyttos beach, Crete from €1,139pps, depart June 14. 7 nights full board highlights of the Med cruise, Shannon to Majorca from €939pp. To book visit or call 1850 45 35 45.
  • Falcon offers: 7 nights All Inclusive Dublin to Arminda, Hersonissos, Crete from €699pp, depart June 7. 7 nights self catering Dublin to Mika, Piskopiano, Crete from €369pps, depart May 31. 7 nights full board Dublin to Sensatori, Lyttos beach, Crete from €1,129pps, depart June 14. Visit or call1850 45 35 45.
  • Travel Department offers: 5 nights B&B Hotel Novotel Montfleury, Cannes from €359pp incl. flights ex Dublin, taxes, charges and excursion to St Paul de Vence, depart April 17. 7 nights B&B Valamar Club Dubrovnik Hotel from €299 incl. flights ex Dublin, taxes and charges, depart April 20. 7 nights B&B Hotel Arnolfo & Aqua Laetitia, Montecatini, Tuscany from €349pp incl. flights ex Dublin, transfer on arrival, taxes and charges, depart April 23 or 28. 3 nights Reykjavik city break from €259pp incl. 3*/4* accommodation, fights ex Dublin, transfer on arrival, taxes and charges, depart April 23. 7 nights Tuscany and the Italian Riviera from €499pp incl flights ex Belfast, option of coach transfer from Dublin airport or free parking at Belfast airport, 3 nights in San Remo and 4 nights Montecatini, taxes and charges, depart May 19. 7 nights Tuscany from €459pp incl. flights ex Dublin, option of coach transfer from Dublin airport or free parking at Belfast airport, taxes and charges, depart May 19 or June 9. To book visit or call 01 637 1600.
  • Click and Go offers: 2 nights B&B 3* Van Belle Hotel, Brussels from €149pp incl. flights ex Dublin, taxes and charges, travel in May. 7 nights All Inclusive 3* Complejo Calas de Majorca Hotel from €449pp incl. flights ex Dublin, transfers taxes and charges, travel in May. 7 nights half board 4* VIK San Antonio, Puerto del Carmen from €599pp incl. flights ex Dublin, transfers, taxes and charges, travel in June. 7 nights B&B 5* Volcan Lanzarote, Playa Blanca from €599pp incl. flights ex Dublin and transfers, travel in June. 3 nights 3* Arctic Comfort Hotel, Reykjavik from €259pp incl. flights ex Dublin, taxes and charges, travel in April. To book visit  or call 01 637 1699.
  • Topflight, agents for The Rocky Mountaineer in Ireland, are offering a 9 day Canadian Rockies trip from €3,680pp incl. 4 days onboard The Rocky Mountaineer, rail station transfers in Vancouver, Kamloops, Jasper and Banff, luggage handling, National Park pass, 8 nights hotel accommodation, excursions, flights, private airport transfers and RedLeaf, travel in May.Topflight is also offering 7 nights Lake Garda from €599pps incl. flights, transfers and rep service, travel in June, add tickets to the Verona opera festival from €78pp (June 19 to September 6). For more info see or call 01 240 1709.
  • Stena Line is offering a 7 night family break to Centre Parks Les Bois Francs, Normandy from €1,199 for two adults and two children incl. return travel by car Rosslare-Cherbourg, accommodation and access to Aqua Mundo, book by April 27, depart June 18.
  • Tourism NI offers of the week: 2 nights B&B Canal Court Hotel & Spa, Newry from £129pp incl. one evening dinner, available until April 30, call 028 3025 1234 to book. 1 night B&B Templeton Hotel, Ballyclare from £69 per couple incl. main course and glass of wine, call 028 9443 2984 to book. 2 nights Beech Cottage, Lisnakea, Enniskillen from £285 (sleeps 8 people) incl. kayak, paddles and life jackets, available May 1 to June 30, call 028 6772 2240 to book.


www.keewiphotography.comThe inaugural Clare Wellness Festival takes place at The Falls Hotel, Ennistymon from May 11 to 17. There will be workshops on Mindfulness, yoga, chakra dance and homeopathy, as well as a guided Burren walk, Cliffs of Moher cruise, trip to the Aran Islands, heritage trail and a foraging walk. For info on 2, 3 or 4-day packages and activities from €185pp see  or email

  • ???????????????????????Irish tourism organisations joined Tourism Ireland in Spain for this year’s B-Travel fair in Barcelona. B-Travel attracted 200,000 visitors. Pictures shows Oscar Gutiérrez Mecias of Irland en español, Jenny Armstrong of Tourism Ireland and Miriam Barrios of Irland en español at the event.
  • The CSO household survey for the end of 2014 showed that domestic trips increased 3pc to 4m and domestic holidays increased 4pc to 6m. Revenue grew 7pc to €1.5bn and domestic holiday expenditure increased 1pc to €852m. Domestic trips with hotel stays increased 4pc with nights in hotels increasing 2pc.
  • Fáilte Ireland’s Visitor Attitudes Survey 2014, conducted by Millward Brown, show 54pc of visitors saying that they found good or very good value in Ireland – up from 51pc the year before. Last year only 6pc of visitors found value for money to be poor or very poor, in 2007 the equivalent figure was 41pc. This year 55pc of respondents said that their trip met all their expectations and a further 44pc of visitors said their holiday exceeded all expectations. The most popular word used to describe their experience was “relaxed,” Domestic trips grew by 3pc to 6m last year and domestic holidays increased by 4pc last year. Trips involving stays in hotels increased by 4pc with nights in hotels growing by 2pc.. The Irish people ranked the highest reason for exceeding expectations, followed by the scenery and history. Travel agents and operators accounted for 12pc of sources that influenced the choice to visit Ireland. See the survey here.
  • What is happening the National Diaspora Centre? Two of the bidders appear to be going ahead with plans for the project. Minister Paschal Donohoe told Travel Extra this week (listen here) that he thinks it is going to re-emerge. “I think we are going to see a number. I believe that the Diaspora story is one that is best told locally, through local communities and businesses and that the taxpayer was not in a position to support it through additional funding and investment. I believe that we are going to see local authorities and initiatives deliver that in their own capacity and their own localities.”
  • Scans of 130 monuments and buildings went online at
  • Burren Cycling Club’s 32 members will attempt to cycle the entire length of Wild Atlantic Way in just five days.
  • Landscape2US Open champion Martin Kaymer, Luke Donald and Patrick Reed have added their names for the the Irish Open. Following the addition of Dubai Duty Free as title sponsor, the prize fund increased to €2.5m, up 25pc. The winner will take home €416,660.
  • JestfestThree festivals are taking place in Wexford this May bank holiday weekend: The inaugural JestFest comedy and street theatre festival, line up includes David McSavage, Andrea Farell and Al Porter, May 1-4. Hook Lighthouse Maritime Matters Festival, highlights include live music, Irish Coastguard display and talks from the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group, May 1-4. ZorroFest to celebrate the 400th anniversary of William Lamppost and the 40th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Mexico and Ireland, May 2-4.
  • CLEAN2The Burren Ecotourism Network is rolling out the Adopt a Hedgerow Scheme to keep the Burren litter free. Thirty business have signed up to the scheme, which is supported by Clare County Council and the Burren & Cliffs of Moher Geopark.
  • Twenty travel agents from group travel specialiser Euro Moselle Loisirs visited Ireland this weekend. The itinerary, organised ???????????????????????????????????????????????by Tourism Ireland in Paris in conjunction with Irish Welcome Tours, included visits to the Guinness Storehouse, the Irish Whiskey Musem, the Book of Kells, Glendalough and Powerscourt Hotels & Gardens. Picture shows the group with tour guide Hubert Servignat.
  • A group of travel and lifestyle journalists from Italy visited the north this week, as guests of Tourism Ireland and Representing ?????????????????????????????????????????various online and print publications including Italian Vogue, as well as a popular radio station, the journalists flew to Belfast on the new Jet2 flight from Rome. Picture shows the group at Titanic Belfast with Fabiana Marraccini of Tourism Ireland.

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

TRAVEL Extra’s Sunday Supplement: Roger’s €261m Headache for Europe’s Airlines

HWS 2016 ad

Easter skiing this week in Espace Killy above Val d'Isere, France

Easter skiing this week in Espace Killy above Val d’Isere, France

The headlines this week:

  • Thailand moves to reassure tourists
  • French ATC creates €261m headache
  • Anthem of the Seas gets a giraffe
  • Easter skiing in the Alps some of the best in years
  • Dublin airport gets 20 new summer routes

Travel Extra TV

Video of week April 12Our video of the week takes Sunday Supplement readers on a ride of the Slip N Fly water ride at Ohio Dreams in Butler, Ohio. Brace yourselves. Watch here.

  • Tourism Ireland’s US ad for golfing in Ireland. Watch here.
  • Etihad’s new ad campaign: Behind the scenes with Nicole Kidman. Watch here.
  • Boeing has patented a backpack-style sleeping aid that allows passengers to sleep upright. It’s called a cuddle chair. Take a look. Watch here.
  • Spanish band Sidonie’s ode to Ryanair. Watch here.
  • To mark 60 years in business, Disney Parks uploaded an archive time-lapse of Disneyland’s construction. Watch here.
  • Qantas celebrates 50 years of services to New Zealand. Watch here.
  • British Airways’ communities an conservation programme presents Surfers not Street Children. Watch here.
  • How Emirates prepares a newly delivered A380 for its first commercial flight. Watch here.


page 001 cover May 2015 300The hard working team of Travel Extra have been circumnavigating the globe once again to bring you the May 2015 edition, to be delivered to travel agents in the coming days. This month’s edition features Australia, with visits to Cairns, Port Douglas and the Whitsunday Islands on the Queensland coast, a bridge climb in Sydney and a camel trek in Western Australia. We look at  theme park developments for 2015, with a focus on the new attractions in Orlando and the advanced technology to help bypass those long queues. We report on Aer Lingus’s A350 plans, Royal Caribbean‘s latest cruise ship launch and Alan Joyce shares his favourite holiday experience. Read the online version here.

Trade show logoRegistration is now open for the Irish Travel Industry Trade Show. Programme of events:

Thursday, April 23

  • 10.00 Golf Lesson for Beginners (register here)
  • 12.00 ITAA Golf Classic, sponsored by Shannon Airport (entry form)
  • 18.30 Pre Dinner Drinks, Dinner and Presentation of Prizes

Friday, April 24

  • 10.00 ITAA AGM
  • 11.00-13.00 Workplace Wellness Presentations (register here)
  • 14.00-19.00 Irish Travel Industry Trade Show (register here)
  • 19.30 BBQ with entertainment, sponsored by Sunway and Mark Warner. Tickets €25. (book here)

Suraphon SvetasreniTourism Authority of Thailand moved to reassure holiday makers after Friday’s car bomb in Ko Samui. No Irish tourists were affected by this incident. The incident is currently under police investigation. Initial reports suggest this is a result of civil political tension. The explosion was not aimed at tourists. In a separate incident the ferry travelling between the town of Krabi and Phuket island caught fire causing the death of a 12-year-old Israeli tourist. Picture shows Suraphon Svetasreni of the Tourism Authority of Thailand.

Roger Rousseau’s air traffic control union SNCTA went on strike on Wednesday, causing the cancellation of 40pc of flights in French airspace. SNCTA deferred their strike initially planned for March 25-27 because of the Germanwings crash. Further strikes are planned April 16-18 and April 29 to May 2, during school holidays, with Gauthier Sturtzer’s USAC-CGT waiting in the wings. Travel Extra’s Eoghan Corry told RTÉ’s Morning Ireland (listen here) that passengers could face tag-team strikes over the summer from the three main unions representing the 3,800 French air traffic controllers. About 2,000 flights were cancelled in total, costing airlines €261m. Ryanair lost 500 flights, including Irish services to Spain and Italy as well as France. Cityjet lost two of their six daily services to CdeG and Aer Lingus lost one. Easyjet lost 331 flights after cancelling 248 on Wednesday.

Ciaran Mulligan’s Blue Insurances took the opportunity to highlight its optional ‘Travel Disruption’ cover which includes extended cover for flight disruption, delayed departure, missed departure and accommodation sections, should your travel flight be cancelled or delayed including as a result of strike and other circumstances such as volcanic ash. Cover includes additional accommodation and travel costs up to €1,000/£1,000 if your flight is cancelled or delayed for more than 12 hours. A seven day moratorium applies from the time of adding this cover, and cover is excluded for any existing strikes publicly announced at the time of taking out insurance.

dimitri killy eoghan corry copySnowstorms last week led to excellent snow conditions throughout Easter week especially in high altitude resorts. Travel Extra’s Eoghan Corry spent a week skiing the 300km of Espace Killy under blue skies. Picture shows Dmitri Killy (a nephew) with Eoghan Corry in Val d’isere. The Alps offered classic spring skiing with blue skies, icy conditions in the morning turning soft as the day progressed and lots of goggle tans as resorts are winding down towards the end of the season. Some low level runs are suffering but on the whole, great spring skiing is to be found across France, Italy, Austria and Switzerland. Norway and parts of Sweden are struggling with some bare patches on the lower slopes. Bulgaria’s season continues to go from strength to strength, with almost half a metre of snow falling this week. Scottish resort Cairngorm is offering great conditions for the time of year and some new snow is forecast. Up to 25cm of new snow has fallen in Utah, and a nice top up in Colorado. New snow has improved the conditions in California, where Squaw Valley got 20 inches and extended the season until April 19, but some resorts have already closed for the winter.

Travel Trade

bernie whelan cathy burke ciara mcconnellIreland’s 62 Travel Counsellors will celebrate their tenth anniversary with its biggest conference to date on Thursday and Friday next April 16-17 at Carton House Hotel in Maynooth. Travel Counsellors recorded a turnover of €22m in Ireland in 2014. Delegates will hear from a number of key management staff about future plans and developments to help support them and grow their businesses. Agents will be recognised at an awards ceremony and gala dinner. A dedicated supplier Pow Wow session will enable agents to meet directly with representatives from tourist boards, hotels and airlines. Picture shows Bernie Whelan, Cathy Burke and Ciara McConnell of Travel Counsellors.

The Travel Fun Day will take place on Sunday August 16 2015 at Wanderers RFC, once again. The new target for 2015 is set at €70,000 after the 2014 Travel Fun Day raised €60,000 for various charities. Five-a-side football and bubbleball will return subject to entry fee, bash the boss and other events. The committee want more Travel Industry Companies to get involved in sponsorship, including Travel Industry companies from the north.

antonio padeiraThe Portuguese Tourist Board, hoteliers and trade suppliers are hosting a Portuguese Workshop at the Westbury Hotel on Grafton Street, Dublin on April 14 (this Tuesday) and at the Clarion Hotel, Lapps Quay, Cork on April 15 (Wednesday). Both workshops  start at 5.30pm and are followed by a dinner at 7.30pm, which António Soveral Padeira will attend. RSVP Picture shows Antonio Padeira, the two-country director of the Portuguese Tourist Board for Ireland and Britain.

Spanish Tourist Board is hosting the Canary Islands Roadshow in the Strand Hotel, Limerick on April 22 and in The Dean Hotel, Dublin on April 23. RSVP

lee osborne karl tyrrell copyBookabed have finalised details of their white label website product which it says will be an exact copy of our own website but rebranded with all the agents logos and contact details. Lee Osborne said the iframe option is for agents that want to have their own website and populate with their own offers. it will feature a search box on the website which will then drill into the Bookabed system and everything that Bookabed has at the moment including low cost airlines, long haul airlines fares via the GDS, and our filtering systems including the new Tripadvisor filter. Picture shows Lee Osborne and Karl Tyrrell of Bookabed.

Emirates one direction 001 copyEmirates took four Irish travel agents to see One Direction in Dubai. Picture shows Lorraine O’Connor of Travelfox, Donna McGann of Eimer Hannon Travel, Stella Grant of O’Hanrahan Travel, Lynne Casey of Fahy Travel and Rob MacDonald of Emirates. See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.

Silversea appointed Lisa McAuley as two-country Commercial Director for Ireland and Britain part of a strategy in which the cruise line say they are focusing “team expertise on individual markets.” Mafalda Barreto moves to the newly created position of Head of Expedition Sales, Natasha Donovan and Maarten Tromp also reporting directly to Lisa McAuley.

Celebrity Cruises is offering a range of booking incentives a part of the ‘Modern Luxury Giveaway’ agent giveaway and sales blitz on April 10-20.matt corcoran H&S

Matt Corcoran’s King Travel, based in Malahide, has joined Mary King’s Travelsavers having had its membership of Dominic Burke’s Travel Centres terminated.

Travel Management Company Portman Travel created eight permanent new jobs at their European Centre of Excellence in Monavalley Business Park in Tralee and announced that another eight are planned to come on stream before the end of the year.

topflight eventTopflight’s 5 Day Italian Sale commences today. Topflight and Cork Airport, hosted an agent training day in the Imperial Hotel in Cork to highlight products such as the Topflight charter from Cork to Verona. Picture shows Maurice Shiels of Topflight, Kathleen Walshe, Communications of Cork Airport; Ciaran Carton, Head of Operations at Cork Airport and Simon Daly of Topflight. See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.

Places are still available on Thursday’s Skål Dublin club’s day trip to Skålleague Mary Bowe’s Marlfield House in Co Wexford for lunch and then on to Skålleague Esther O’Brien’s Woodbridge Hotel. Skålleagues can park in The Stillorgan Park Hotel and enjoy a complimentary coffee while awaiting the coach. Price €35 for members and guests.

The Travel Broker in Clontarf is seeking an experienced, Travel Professional to drive sales and increase market share in a niche markets.ray treacy copy

Sad news: Ray Treacy, international soccer player, travel agent, singer and long standing friend of Travel Extra has died. Ray opened his travel agencyin Store Street with a staff of three on May 8 1979 and quickly became a popular member of the trade, a hilarious after dinner speaker and former captain of TIGS.

Once Irish travel agents book a room at one of the three Adrian Hoteles’ properties in Tenerife, guests can make the most of their stay by booking a spa treatment, a Balinese bed and a romantic dinner, for instance, via the brand new online shop – something not very usual on hotels’ websites.

British Airways‘ seat sale is now on. Sell between now and April 30 for travel from April 19 to June 25 and from August 20 to December 5. Fares starting from Beijing €150, Shanghai €170, Abu Dhabi €104. See your GDS for more.


Paul Collins CBREPaul Collins of CBRE expects 2015 to be the busiest year ever hotel sales after the first quarter saw the highest ever volume of transactions including high profile sales such as Adare Manor: 25 individual properties in 17 transactions totalling €500m. Last year’s total was 63 transactions totalling €341.7m.

  • Worldhotels has opened five hotels in Europe and two in Asia.
  • Geraldine Dolan, formerly of Jury’s Doyle, was appointed GM of Aghadoe Heights Hotel & Spa.
  • st regis istanbul copyOpenings this week included the St Regis Istanbul, designed by Emre Arolat, offering floor-to-ceiling views of the Bosphorus from each of the 118 guestrooms and suites, 298-room Hilton Barra hotel in Rio de Janeiro, the 64-room Ramada Almaty in Kazakhstan, 15km from Almaty International Airport, the 304-suite Embassy Suites Louisville Downtown and the Holiday Inn Express Cartagena Bocagrande in Colombia. St Regis has tripled its global footprint in the last decade to 34 hotels and is set to open three more hotels this year.
  • InterContinental Hotels Group said the Hotel Indigo Bath will open at the end of 2016.
  • The 107-room JW Marriott Bodrum will open on May 15 in Yalikavak town on the Bodrum Peninsula. Park Inn by Radisson Hotel Apartments Al Rigga will open next month in Dubai, with 149 studios and apartments an all-day dining restaurant, a speciality restaurant, a banquet hall, a health club, and an outdoor pool.
  • Carlson Rezidor will open Park Inn by Radison hotels in Bucharest and Onitsha.
  • The Grand Hyatt Taipei will reopen later this month following a renovation.
  • The 391-room Sortis Hotel Spa & Casino in Panama City joined the Autograph Collection
  • Marriott International Asia Pacific launched a new MICE product: Meetings Imagined and its Meeting Services App intended to assist the planner, from inspiration through execution
  • Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group launched the Radisson Red Hotel Brand in India. Carlson Rezidor has 74 hotels in India and 43 more in the pipeline.
  • Saudi SWF bought Malaysian DoubleTree and Dubai’s SWF acquires 3 properties.
  • Delta Privilege and Hilton HHonors were ranked highest in the JD Power 2015 Hotel Loyalty/Rewards programme satisfaction report.
  • Hotel management company White Lodging reported that it suspects a data breach of POS systems at food outlets in 10 hotels occurred from July 3 2014 to February 6 2015.


The number of wild rhinos killed in South Africa last year jumped by 21pc with one rhino killed on average every seven hours.

orlando eyeOrlando became the first US destination to surpass 60m visitors. Picture shows the Orlando Eye due to open on May 4.

The number of people in their forties signing up to try their hand at travel dating has increased from 4,000 to 16,192 in the past six months, according to travel dating website and app

Hollywood actor Leonardo DiCaprio plans to open a luxury eco-resort on a private island off the coast of Belize by 2018, The New York Times reported.

The US Transportation Security Administration collected $675,000 in loose change discarded by travellers at airport checkpoints in 2014.

Food & Wine

Stephen Toman and Alain Kerloch’s OX restaurant in Belfast (website) won the award for Best Restaurant and Best Wine Experience at the Ulster Regional Final of the Irish Restaurant Awards having won the Best Newcomer and Best Chef Award in 2013, Best Restaurant, Best Wine Experience and Best Chef in 2014, in The Titanic Belfast. Ardtara Country House won best emerging Irish cuisine and Saul McConnell of Deanes won best restaurant manager in the province.

Food Festival Saturday Social Media-22 (1) copyGalway Food Festival 2015 (pictured) recorded a record 78,000 visitors at its food festival, up 10pc on 2014. 

Gareth Clements Sales Director of food service company, Brakes, and his 22-strong team of Sales Representatives attained certificates in the Principals of Nutrition in Food Production from City & Guilds, in conjunction with Unilever Food Solutions.

Ross Lewis of Chapter One restaurant will take part in a cooking demo at the Burren Slow Food festival in the Lisdoornvarna Pavilion Theatre. The event takes place May 16 to 24.

Birgitta Hedin-Curtin, Burren SmokehouseThe Burren Smokehouse in Co Clare will feature in the first episode of ‘Wild Ireland‘, a new ITV series on the Wild Atlantic Way. The programme airs on UTV Ireland and ITV tomorrow (April 13), 8.00pm-8.30pm. Picture shows the restaurant owner, Birgitta Hedin-Curtin.

Gary Burke is the new Head Chef at Glenlo Abbey Hotel, Galway



Taking Off For The Holliers!Dublin airport launched their summer schedule with the news that they now have 20 new services due to commence in 2015: Copenhagen, Ryanair, March; Helsinki, Finnair, March; East Midlands, Aer Lingus Regional, April; Agadir, Aer Lingus, April; Nantes, Aer Lingus, April; Doncaster, Aer Lingus Regional, May; Bournemouth, Flybe, May; Gothenburg, SAS, May; Washington DC, Aer Lingus, May; Paris Orly, Transavia, May; Newquay, Aer Lingus Regional, May; Geneva, SWISS, June; Chicago, United, June; Reykjavik, WOW Air, June; Cardiff, Flybe, June; Los Angeles, Ethiopian Airlines, June; Addis Ababa, Ethiopian Airlines, June; Paris CDG, Europe Airpost, July; Halifax, Europe Airpost, July; Lublin, Ryanair, October.

Dublin Airport passenger numbers are running 17pc ahead of last year with March figures up 19pc to 1.8m, meaning the airport is on course to break 23m passengers again. Europe – was up 21pc to 858,000, England Scotland and Wales up 17pc to 760,000, Transatlantic up 8pc to 131,000, UAE/Africa up 45pc to 63,000 and domestic up 52pc to 6,000.

There are 9pc more seats on air services to Ireland for summer 2015 to 340 flights each day across all major international routes, England, Scotland and Wales up 6pc to 140,000 seats per week, mainland Europe up 8pc to 204,000, trans-Atlantic up16pc to 45,000 seas per week and middle east up 27pc to 9,000 seats per week. Frequency and capacity on a number of routes is up on last summer, with Aer Lingus, Ryanair, Lufthansa, SAS, Luxair, Delta, United and Air Canada Rouge adding capacity.

In response to the withdrawal of Flybe from the Dublin to London City route British Airways is to add a sixth daily service from June 1 for a month leaving Dublin at 17.15 and London at 14.40, which will become permanent from September 1. British Airways customers flying between London City Airport and Edinburgh, Dublin and the Isle of Man can collect double Avios points during the months of April and May.

Another huge jump for Ryanair’s load factor in March, up 10 points to 90pc, and seats sold up 28pc YOY to 6.67m. Aer Lingus passenger traffic was up 2.3pc YOY in March. Load factor was up 4.4 percentage points to 79.1pc.

Aer Lingus Regional launched their service from Dublin to East-Midlands.

The name US Airways will soon be just a memory, after the US Federal Aviation Administration granted American and US the authority to operate as a single carrier on Wednesday. American Airlines which is using an A330 to both Philadelphia and Charlotte this summer has dropped plans to use a Boeing 763 on Dublin to JFK, Delta will switch from a 208 –passenger B763 to a 246 capacity B764 for winter partly because Dublin-Atlanta will cease in November/December.

Cityjet appointed Cathal O’Connell as commercial director.

Ireland’s Aviation Authority was ranked joint first out of 29 European States for the measure of Effectiveness of Safety Management.

ryanair touchingThe IAA said that it had implemented the recommendations of the Air Accident Investigation Unit into an incident involving two Ryanair aircraft on taxiways at Dublin airport as well as “some additional significant safety enhancements by withdrawing Taxiways A and B2 from service”. At around 7.25am on April 1, one aircraft reported that there may have been contact from the plane taxiing behind.

Air Canada diverted an aircraft to Shannon saying that a 79-year-old first class passenger on flight ACA-877 from Frankfurt to Toronto had become disruptive. The crew dumped aviation fuel over the Atlantic to ensure they could touch down within safe landing weight limits. The crew reported a problem with the fuel dumping procedure that they appear to have resolved later.

It was reported that the steering group on the IAG bid for Aer Lingus will not finish its report in time for next Wednesday’s its cabinet meeting. An Irish Independent editorial showed the newspaper may be changing its mind on the issue once again.

Confiscated food items from LCY 2 copyLondon City Airport said the most common food items confiscated from passengers: Jam or marmalade, marmite, golden syrup, Nutella chocolate spread and Heinz baked beans.

Stormont Trade Minister Arlene Foster has asked officials to consider a new air route development fund to promote connections from Derry and Belfast to focus on Germany, Scandinavia, Milan, Brussels and Madrid.

Features on display at the Aircraft Interiors Expo held in Hamburg, Germany April 14-16 will include overhead lockers that take 50pc more suitcase than conventional lockers, faster WLAN at every seat, cabin windows that store sunlight and convert it directly into energy for the passengers’ smartphone batteries, on-board films with Dolby Surround Sound and 3D and first-class seats that are as comfortable as a winged chair at home and yet can withstand 16G force. The Airport Interiors Expo shows the future of aviation. Many of the innovations presented in Hamburg at the world’s largest trade fair for aircraft cabins will soon be everyday features of air travel. Three halls are dedicated exclusively to in-flight entertainment this year. The 600 exhibitors from 40 countries will be visited by 10,000 international industry specialists, including 800 airline representatives.

The IAA is investigating an incident where two passengers, believed to be off-duty crew members, were allowed into the cockpit during a Ryanair flight from Dublin to Shonenefeld airport.

The US government says it will review claims by three US airlines that their state-owned Gulf rivals received more than $40bn in alleged subsidies.

The European Cockpit Association expressed concern that international standards for investigation and the release of information were not followed for the Germanwings Airbus A320 crash on March 24. The Association  said it accepts that the information released suggests the co-pilot probably acted deliberately to destroy the aircraft, but maintains that the failure to respect agreed accident investigation protocols is damaging the process of investigation itself and endangering aviation safety.

EASA came closer to permitting capacity on the A320 to increase from 180 to 195 seats, six more than the 189-seat capacity for which Airbus recently sought approval.

Airbus patented interactive windows that allow passengers to learn about the landmarks they fly over using touch screens.

Lufthansa_Technik_dishwashairLufthansa Technik has developed a dishwasher — called The Dishwashair (pictured) — which allows cabin crew to wash dishes inflight.

Inflight Dublin was appointed as Egyptair’s IFE provider.

Avolon added 28 aircraft, increasing its fleet by 24pc YOY to 143 aircraft at the end of Q1.

Security staff at 11 regional airports in Scotland held a 48-hour strike this week.

Boeing beat Airbus in net new aircraft orders and deliveries for Q1: 110 orders for Boeing, 101 for Airbus.

Qatar Airways introduced Giorgio Armani branded amenity kits for business and first class passengers. Missoni branded sleeper suits and slippers are also available for first class passengers flying overnight.

The FAA awarded a single operating certificate to American Airlines, which allows it to legally operate as a single carrier with US Airways.

Virgin Atlantic rolled out a new ad campaign targeting US business customers.

SAS video tourSAS uploaded an interactive Google Street View video tour inside the upgraded A330 and A340 aircraft cabins.

Mitsubishi Aircraft has delayed the Mitsubishi Regional Jet as a rsult of static strength tests on the airframe butstill expects to deliver the first of the regional jets in April-June 2017.

An Air India flight was grounded after a pre-takeoff argument between the pilots escalated to a fistfight. 

Copenhagen Airport is upgrading Pier C to allow handling of Emirates daily Airbus A380 service.

Qatar Airways expanded its codeshare agreements with Oneworld partners Cathay Pacific and Japan Airlines.

A 21-year-old man stowed away in the wheel cavity of a Garuda B737-800 survived the flight from Pekanbaru to Jakarta.

Wizz Air announced plans to introduce allocated seating on selected routes from May 4 with a full roll out to follow on May 19. 

Miami International Airport is to roll out 44 more SITA kiosks.

Emirates now offers free wi-fi on 106 aircraft, with two to three more being installed with wi-fi connectivity every month.

Michael O’Leary took first, second and third in the Irish Grand National, won by Thunder and Roses at 20-1.

Aer Lingus re-advertised a vacancy for a Retail Product Specialist. The IAA has vacancies for an ICT Programme & Business Intelligence Manager and an Aviation Security Inspector.


giraffe on anthemIn the same place as Quantum of the Seas launched last November with a 30-foot magenta polar bears on its 12th deck, Royal Caribbean’s Anthem of the Seas will have a massive multi-coloured giraffe. Meyer Werft officially handed Anthem of the Seas over to Royal Caribbean in Bremerhaven, Germany on Friday. The cruise ship is Royal’s second Quantum-class ship and will be joined by Irish agents and travel media on a pre-launch cruise from Southampton on Monday April 20. It will spend summer based in Southampton. Anthem will have a puzzle room, where people need to solve brainteasers as a team within an hour in order to get out, free for all cruisers.

AIDAprima smileThe new flagship of AIDA Cruises, AIDAprima, received its signature smile at the Mitsubishi shipyard in Nagasaki, Japan.

Carnival will start charging for room service later this month, Items featured on the menu will include chicken wings, fried shrimp, quesadillas, sushi, and personal pizzas ($4-$7). Last week Norwegian announced it will charge for room service orders on Breakaway and Getaway.

Norwegian Cruise Line passengers can book land extensions in Argentina and Chile when they cruise onboard Norwegian Sun beginning November. Cruises range from three to five days and allow cruisers to participate in experiences such as tango dancing with professionals in Argentina and an archaeological adventure on Easter Island.

Costa Cruises is offering a guaranteed refund to passengers not satisfied with a Mediterranean cruise up to 14 nights booked by the end of May.

Princess Cruises are to circumnavigate South America from Australia, visiting 28 ports in 18 countries on an 84-night cruise, with overnight stays in Buenos Aires, Lima and Rio.

P&O are to increase their cruise fleet in Australia to five ships, enabling them to extend seasons from Victoria and Queensland and increase options from Sydney.

Deal Watch

ITAA cycling offers: 7 nights All Inclusive Bordeaux River Cruise from €1,649pps incl. transfers, depart April 26. 8 days Tour de France, Vercors from €1,299pp incl. flights, transfers, range of meals and excursions, depart July 19. 4 nights B&B Guided Mountain Bike Holiday, Spain from €500pp incl. return flights, bike and helmet rental and guided excursions, depart October 14, November 4 or November 18. 7 nights B&B Guided French Camino Cycling Tour from €940pps incl. airport transfers, baggage transfers, pilgrims passport and cycling equipment. 14 nights Cycling Tour Vietnam from €1,330pp incl. English speaking guide, 13 breakfasts, 11 lunches and 2 dinners. 7 nights B&B Puglia Self Guided Cycling Holiday, Italy from €759pps incl. flights, transfers, luggage transportation and bike rental.

Abbey Travel is offering free half board family meals on trips to Disneyland Paris. Travel April 15 to October 31, book before April 28.

Topflight’s 5 Day Italian Sale, book April 15-20, all prices above include return flights from Dublin, return resort transfers, luggage allowance, all taxes, and rep service: 7 nights half boardHotel Bristol, Sorrento from €799pps, depart May 10. 7 nights Bella Italia, Peshiera, Lake Garda from €1,392 for two adults and two children, depart May 16. 7 nights half board Hotel Majestic Palace, Torbole, Lake Garda from €569pps, depart May 9. 7 nights half board Hotel Majestic Palace, Malcesine, Lake Garda from €569pps, depart May 9. 7 nights B&B Hotel Eden, Torbole, Lake Garda from €499pps, depart May 23. 7 nights half board Hotel Trevi, Lido Di Jesolo from €499pps, depart May 23. 7 nights half board Hotel Cambridge, Lido Di Jesolo from €769pps, depart June 6. 7 nights half board, Hotel Bagli, Rimini, Adriatic Riviera from €619pps, depart June 27. 7 nights half board Hotel Sporting Baia, Giardini Naxos, Sicily from €669pps, depart June 14. To book, visit  or call 01 2401 700.

Lowcostbeds offers of the week, based on 7 nights, 2 adults and 1 child, departing May 10: Self catering 3* Palmeras Garden, Playa Blanca, Lanzarote from €9pppn. Self catering 2* Oura Branco, Playa de las Americas, Tenerife from €12pppn. Self catering 3* Puerto Caleta, Caleta de Fuste, Fuerteventura from €11pppn. Self catering 3* Riosol, Puerto Rico, Gran Canaria from €13pppn.

Sunway offers: 7 nights All Inclusive Club Med Kamarina, Sicily from €1,059pp incl. return flights and transfers, depart June 4. 7 nights B&B Sea Pearl Hotel, Kusadasi, Turkey  from €259pp incl. return airport transfers, taxes and charges, 20kg checked in baggage pp and Sunway rep service. 7 nights self catering Los Lomas Village, La Manga from €499pp incl. flights, return airport transfers, taxes, charges and 20 kg checked in baggage pp, travel in May.

Thomson offers: 8 nights All Inclusive Morromar, Puerto Del Carmen from €589pp incl. flights ex Dublin, depart Dublin May 17. 7 nights All Inclusive Helona Resort, Portobello Royal, Kos from €899pp, depart Dublin June 7. 7 nights half board Son Baulo, Ca’n Picafort, Majorca from €599pp, depart Cork May 9.

Falcon offers:  7 nights self catering Bitocra Apartments, Puerto Del Carmen, Lanzarote from €489pps incl. flights ex Dublin, depart June 4. 7 nights self catering Royal Sun, Sunny Beach, Bulgaria from €379pp, depart May 25. 7 nights self catering Sun Apartments, Marmaris, Turkey from €379pp, depart May 25.

Lowcostholidays May and June offers: 7 nights All Inclusive Luna Clube Brisamar, Algarve from €264pp, depart May 13. 7 nights All Inclusive Club Bellevue Apartments, Majorca from €423pp, depart June 5. 7 nights The Inn at Jack London Square, San Francisco from €965pp, depart May 17. 7 nights Blue Sea Cancun Plaza, Mexico from €956pp, depart June 1. 2 nights B&B Les Jardins de Montmartre, Paris from €206pp, depart May 7. 2 nights Salles Hotel Pere IV, Barcelona from €198pp, depart May 12. All prices include return flights from Dublin and taxes. See more offers here.

Click and Go offers: 7 nights Cape Town Lodge Hotel, Cape Town from €855pp incl. return flights ex Dublin, taxes, charges and transfers, travel in June. To book visit  or call 01 637 1699.

Tourism NI offers of the week: 2 nights B&B The Mourne Lodge, Cnocnafeoia, Kilkeel, Newry from £80pp based on four people sharing a 4-bed room incl. lunch and transport to Newcastle for the Irish Open, available May 27 to 31, call 028 4176 5859 to book. 2 nights B&B Hilton Belfast from £150pps incl. a 3 course dinner on the first evening in Sonoma Restaurant and passes to the Game of Thrones tour, available until December 31, call 028 9027 7000 to book. 1 nights Treetop Apartment, Lisnakea, Enniskillen from £80 incl. two sit-on top kayaks, paddles and buoyancy aids to explore Upper Lough Erne, available April 26 to June 30, call 028 6772 2240 to book. 2 nights B&B Maldron Hotel, Derry from £99pps incl. a 2 course evening meal and 2 cocktails pp, available until Dec 31, call 028 7137 1000 to book.


birr diaspora centreTransport and Tourism Minister Paschal Donohoe axed the planned €26m National Diaspora Centre after being told there was no capital funding for the project. Eight companies were short-listed for the centre including Dún Laoghaire Harbour Company, the CHQ building and another in Dublin, Cork, Limerick, Birr Workhouse (pictured) and Rockhill House barracks in Letterkenny. Seven did not have funding in place but all claiming they had the financial capacity to deliver, with a mix of Government funding, public and private sector borrowing, philanthropic, corporate donations, and local authority funding. A Fáilte Ireland report proposed a centre would be viable and self-financing and would enhance Ireland’s tourism offering.SALES BLITZ TO BOOST AMERICAN TOURISTS

Tourism Ireland’s 2015 Jump into Ireland sales blitz saw 11 Irish tourism companies and five American tour operators visit Atlanta, Charlotte and Tampa last week. Tourism Ireland’s ‘Jump into Ireland’ programme will visit 12 different cities in the US this year, including Minneapolis, Denver and Dallas in September; and Los Angeles, Santa Barbara and San Francisco in November

ITALIAN TRAVEL AGENTS GIVE GALWAY THE THUMBS UP!Tourism Ireland in Milan hosted Italian tour operator Cocktail Viaggi and 12 of its top-producing travel agents, all specialists in coach tour and group travel, to visit Clonmacnoise, Galway city and Connemara, as well as the Aillwee Caves and the Cliffs of Moher. The group undertook a walking tour of Dublin and an evening at The Irish House Party. Ireland’s Italian inbound market grew 39pc for the December 2014 to February 2015 period according to Niamh Kinsella, Tourism Ireland’s manager in Italy.

Minister Simon Harris announced free entry to Dún Aonghasa on Oileán Árainn. Last year 120,000 visitors came to Dún Aonghasa

A 13th English language school catering for international students has closed in Dublin.

eoghan ballynafeighSa phictiur: Eoghan Corry eagarthóir Travel Extra agus Keith Grainger ó TG4 ar suíomh ag déanamh clár ar loganimneacha na hÉireann do TG4. Beidh an sraith le feiceáil ar an teilifís ó mí Méan Fomhair ar aghaidh.

Powerscourt Gardens hosts its Annual Tulip Festival April 20-May 3, with 12,000 tulips in bloom.

Trinity Library, Belfast and Giant’s Causeway featured in Condé Nast’s 50 things to do in Europe before you die.

The Irish Cycling Show takes place in the RDS on April 18 and 19.

Upcoming events in Limerick: Ballyhoura International Walking Festival, May 2 to 4. Riverfest, May 1 to 4. Fleadh by the Feale, Abbeyfeale, April 30 to May 4. European Sports Tourism Summit, Thomond Park, May 14 to 15. Culture & Chips Food Festival, May 28 to June 2.

Irish Open Trophy Tour#1 copyPicture shows Katie Curran and Daniel Jennings from St Mary’s Primary School in Newcastle, Co Down, joining Antonia Beggs from The European Tour and Kevan Whitson, Head Golf Professional at Royal County Down, to launch the inaugural Irish Open Trophy Tour competition organised by The European Tour and the Rory Foundation which will give four schools across Ireland an opportunity to host a visit from the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open Trophy and the Claret Jug which, Ireland’s Rory Mcilroy holds as reigning British Open Champion. Schoolchildren between the ages of 9 and 15 should simply send an email outlining in no more than 250 words why their class or school deserves to win.

Camino Ways is hosting a Sunday Walk in Glendalough on Sunday, April 26. Register here.

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