The new print edition of Travel Extra is now online (iphone and android compatible).at www.travelextra.mobi, The April edition features destination reviews of Chicago and Miami and the Mediterranean cruise preview for 2013.
Not everything went to plan this week at one of those publicity stunts that PR companies dream up: the world’s largest message in a bottle. In a moment that put a whole new meaning into the phrase “falling off the wagon” Miss Tenerife, Sady Chavez Diaz (21) slipped and fell into the cold ocean (see video). It was a good thing that a handsome lifeguard was there, because she couldn’t swim. Bottle buffs can follow the bright yellow 26 feet and 2.5 ton message-in-a-bottle crossing of the Atlantic live on Facebook when the giant bottle is released to the ocean currents next week.
Iberia’s round of strikes came to an end after university professor Gregorio Tudela brokered a deal, persuaded the airline to shed 3,141 jobs instead of the planned 3,807 and to soften pay cuts. Pilots’ union Sepla did not agree to the new terms, though the restructuring plan will still go ahead because it was backed by ground and flight crew union.
The Tourism Authority of Thailand brought 30 hoteliers and tourism interests to Dublin on Monday on their post ITB tour. Joanna Cooke served as MC for the evening, hosted by Suraphon Svetasreni Director of the Tourism Authority of Thailand and deputy director Juthaporn Rerngronasa. Thailand attracted 59,894 visitors from Ireland last year, making it second most popular long haul destination out of Ireland after Australia. January arrivals were up 16pc to 6,107, suggesting 2013 could be even better, The attendance included the country managers of the major Middle Eastern airlines Dave Walsh of Etihad and Margaret Shannon of Emirates. Thailand’s new promotional video was launched to the Irish market. Kirstin Skinner from Travelmood, who has never been to Thailand, won the big trip and may have set a record for the most enthusiastic prize winner in history of the Irish travel trade.
See more pics here.
The new Amazing Thailand “My Thailand Adventure” video shown on the evening will be placed on the TAT video channel.
Listen to Suraphon Svetasreni’s presentation here.
Listend to discussion of relevance of Irish market to Thailand with Ed Burke, Michael Flood and Eoghan Corry.
Kerala came to Dublin on Wednesday night for a trade function hosted by Rani George, Director, Kerala Tourism and Debashish Chakravarti, Ambassador of India to Ireland. The ambassador announced that he had last been to Kerala in 1961. More than 30 properties were represented including the stunning Vythiri Resort. The big prize of two weeks in Kerala with flights provided by Emirates was won by Bernie Burke of Travel Centres.
Watch Kerala Tourism’s new video.
See more pics here.
David Cameron attended the Tourism Ireland CHAMP event at London House of Lords on Monday evening.
Ireland is expecting a €50m windfall from St. Patrick’s weekend. Bucharest’s Palace of Parliament was the latest of 70 landmarks in 23 counties around the world to go green for St Patrick’s Day, and many for the entire week.
What’s Going Green for Patrick’s Day:
- Australia: Sydney Opera House; Hyde Park Barracks, Macquarie Street, Sydney; Bell Tower, Perth; NSW Parliament sitting on 13 March (the parliamentarians will wear green and a shamrock pin);
- Austria: Burgtheater (City Hall), Vienna.
- Belgium: Manneken Pis statue, Belgium (“dressed” in Irish costume); Leuven Institute for Ireland in Europe.
- Brazil: Christ the Redeemer statue.
- Canada: City Hall, Toronto; Canadian Museum of Nature, Ottawa; chef Massimo Capra’s moustache.
- Denmark: Little Mermaid, Copenhagen.
- Dubai: Burj Al Arab, Dubai.
- Egypt: Pyramids and the Sphinx.
- England: Richard Branson’s beard and Virgin Airlines website; HMS Belfast, London; Anfield Stadium (home of Liverpool FC); London Eye; Selfridges, London; Selfridges, Birmingham; Town Hall, Manchester; Taxis in London, Birmingham and Manchester.
- France: Porte Saint-Vincent, Vannes.
- Germany: Allianz Arena, Munich; TV tower in Berlin’s Alexanderplatz; ‘Lighthouse’ in Düsseldorf; Odeonsplatz in central Munich; International School, Bonn; Castle, Bad Homburg; Town Hall, Würzburg; Neumünster cathedral (built over the tomb of St Kilian), Würzburg; Fortuna Kulturfabrik, Höchstadt; Town Hall, Dillingen an der Donau.
- India: Gateway of India, Mumbai.
- Italy: Leaning Tower of Pisa; Palazzo della Loggia, Brescia; Torre del Filarete (entrance to the Castello Sforzesco), Milan.
- Jordan: Temple of Hercules, Amman.
- Lithuania: Bell Tower of the Cathedral of Vilnius.
- Monaco: Prince’s Palace.
- Netherlands: EYE Film Institute, Amsterdam.
- New Zealand; Sky Tower, Auckland; Auckland War Memorial Museum; Clock Tower, Palmerston North.
- Romania: National Bank, Bucharest; Palace of the Parliament, Bucharest; Athénée Palace Hilton hotel, Bucharest; JW Marriott hotel, Bucharest; SkyTower, Bucharest.
- Russia; Gorky Park, Moscow.
- Saudi Arabia: Kingdom Tower.
- Scotland: Clyde Auditorium, affectionately known as ‘the Armadillo’ (SECC), Glasgow; Taxis in Glasgow.
- Singapore: Merlion statue and fountain.
- South Africa: Table Mountain, Cape town; Cape Wheel at Cape Town’s V&A Waterfront.
- Spain: Palacio de Cibeles (Cibeles Palace), Madrid; Cibeles Fountain, Madrid; Tower of Hércules, a UNESCO World Heritage Site in Galicia; town on the Costa Blanca called Moraira; Town Hall, Pamplona; Town Hall, Salamanca.
- Sweden: Friends Arena, Stockholm.
- USA; Niagara Falls (on both the Canadian and US sides); ‘Welcome’ sign, Las Vegas; City Hall, Houston, Texas; Coit Tower, City Hall and the Ferry Building Marketplace , San Francisco; Seattle Great Wheel, Washington; Pacific Science Center, Seattle, Washington; Massachusetts State House, Boston.
Following the AGM of the ITAA Clare Dunne who is entering the second year of her presidency reported “moderate but steady growth in the industry. This provides confirmation that despite all of the economic problems and crises people still want, and are willing to travel.” The new board members are: The new ITAA Board: Joe Tully, Valerie Metcalfe, Ben Greene, Des Manning, Rory McDyer, Martin Skelly, Jim McGonigle. Front row: Pat Dawson, CEO and Clare Dunne President. Missing: Maura Fahy, Declan O’Connell, Angela Walsh.
- Worldchoice Ireland has a new chairman, Michael Doorley. Joe Tully has joined the board while John Haynes and Isa Johnston have retired.
John Mulligan reported that Ryanair has placed an $18bn order with Boeing to buy up to 200 aircraft. Bloomberg reported 170 aircraft at $15.1bn and the Seattle Times expects discounts to reduce the actual cost to $9 billion. The deal due to be confirmed by US President Barack Obama and Taoiseach Enda Kenny when they meet at the at the White House, somewhat ironically given the government’s opposition to Ryanair, as Travel Extra’s Eoghan Corry commented on the Tonight with Vincent Browne show. Previously in January when commenting on this deal on Morning Ireland, Eoghan Corry mentioned that Michael O’Leary was expected to pounce because the 737NG is coming to the end of its production run and the last run of aircraft sold off at better rates because customers, as with car production lines, sometimes wait for the development of the next model, the 737MAX. Ryanair’s order alone will provide five solid months of production at the 737 assembly line in Renton.
There are two huge breakthroughs for passengers in Siim Kallas’ proposed new passenger rights regulations. Airlines may no longer charge for correcting misspelt names on tickets and they must honour the second leg of a round-trip ticket if a passenger can’t use the outward half. They were hidden at the back of the document and, therefore, largely unreported.
The spin doctors in Brussels crafted their news to paint the EU proposals as an advance in passenger rights. England’s leading travel commentators Simon Calder disagreed and said the proposed rules will, in fact, weaken air passenger rights and make it harder to claim. Nick Trend wrote in the London Telegraph that the problem with current requirements on compensation for delays and cancellations is that they are disproportionately expensive for the airlines. Calder pointed out that if you are flying less than 155 miles, on a plane with fewer than 80 seats (Aer Lingus Regional) you now have no rights at all. Passengers will be entitled to compensation from airlines after delays of five hours, not three.
The proposed rule change will make it a requirement for airlines to acknowledge receipt of a complaint within a week and provide a formal reply within two months (a survey carried out in Denmark showed that just 2-4pc of passengers entitled to financial compensation received it). Other changes:
- Passengers who are left sitting on the tarmac for more than five hours will have the right to be let off, and if the tarmac delay is more than an hour the airline must provide air conditioning, use of toilets and water.
- Mechanical failures onboard aircraft do not qualify as “exceptional circumstances”, but natural disasters, such as the ash cloud crisis, and air traffic control strikes do.
- Airlines will be obliged to provide stranded passenger with accommodation for a maximum of three nights, although this rule does not apply to passengers with reduced mobility, unaccompanied children or pregnant women.
- Passengers on longer flights up to 6,000 miles will be entitled to compensation after delays of nine hours or more. Everyone else will receive compensation after 12 hours.
The requirement to allow musicians to carry small instruments onboard got most press coverage than either of the two breakthroughs, with one story claiming musical instruments will now need their own passports.
Despite Calder’s speculation that the EU had given way to airline lobbyists, the airline response was negative. IATA said the new rules for passengers could mean the loss of connecting flights and the Simon McNamara of ERAA said it proposed a disproportionate burden on regional carriers. Ryanair criticised the clause to force carriers to switch passengers to other airlines after a 12-hour delay.
Elsewhere, the EU said there is little awareness of EU bus/coach passenger rights in effect since Mar 1, including refunds for delay of more than 2 hrs, overbooking and cancellation.
Thomas Cook’s London office said they had set a target of selling more than half of holidays online within two years in the wake of another 200 shop closures. Thomas Cook Ireland said there was no change in the approach of the Irish office, it is business as usual, with price parity among the three distribution points, trough the travel agent, the web and call centres. The speculated sell-offs from Thomas Cook, which include the Neilsen ski product, will not affect Ireland either. Only one niche product among the speculated for sales, Thomas Cook sport is widely sold in Ireland.
NITB hosted a group of seven travel writers in Belfast to see Crumlin Road Jail, where Brian McKibbin has revised projected visitor numbers up to 100,000 on the strength of 20,000 visits so far, (the first of three jailhouse weddings they have booked took place on February 15th), the Andy Warhol exhibition at the Metropolitan Arts Centre (MAC) and Stormont Buildings, where tours of the complex have grown to 40,000 visitors a year. Back row; Sile McArdle of the Star Magazine, George Keegan of the Northern Standard, Lisa Hughes of the Star, Orla Murphy of Food & Wine magazine, Pat Keenan of Holiday Ezine Front row: Garreth MacNamee of the Irish Mirror, Eoghan Corry of Travel Extra and Fiona Cunningham of NITB
The World Economic Forum ranked Ireland ninth friendliest country in the world in a chart the read: 1 Iceland 6.8; 2 New Zealand 6.8; 3 Morocco 6.7; 4 Macedonia, FYR 6.7; 5 Austria 6.7; 6 Senegal 6.7; 7 Portugal 6.6; 8 Bosnia and Herzegovina 6.6; 9 Ireland 6.6; 10 Burkina Faso 6.6; .
The top ten unfriendliest; 1 Bolivia 4.1; 2 Venezuela 4.5; 3 Russian Federation 5.0; 4 Kuwait 5.2; 5 Latvia 5.2; 6 Iran 5.2; 7 Pakistan 5.3; 8 Slovak Republic 5.5; 9 Bulgaria 5.5; 10 Mongolia 5.5.
The full report (5.1 megs) can be downloaded Here.
The seven masters of the seven seas, the CEOs of seven major international cruise lines, all gathered for the State of the Industry session at 29th annual Cruise Shipping Miami conference for what should have been a spell binding opening session. In fact, the session was anything but as none fo the seven, Adam Goldstein of Royal Caribbean, Kevin Sheehan of NCL, Michael Bayley of Celebrity, Gerry Cahill of Carnival, Stein Kruse of Holland America, Pierfrancesco Vago of MSC and Manfredi Lefebvre d’Ovidio of Silversea Cruises said anything of note. This was partly because their rivals were all on stage listening to them and partly because they represent publicly quoted companies and they were not allowed to say anything remotely interesting except in the hallowed confines of Wall St. While 2,000 jet-lagged people looked on they hummed and hawed and skirted around the issues. Then someone asked Kevin Sheahan about his big one. Even that did not raise a laugh until Michael Bayley raised the issue again. The trade show featured 900 exhibiting companies from 123 countries.
Michael Bayley CEO of Celebrity Cruises was in more jovial mood when he came to London. He said Celebrity Cruises, which places high stock in its food and drink product, wanted their restaurants to be rated by Michelin but Michelin only awarded stars to land based restaurants. If that doesn’t change, Celebrity are considering opening a pop up restaurant to achieve a Michelin Star and then associate it with their onboard dining.
Ruth Andrews CEO of the Incoming Tour Operators said that tourists handed by the 30 ITOA members in 2012 was up 16pc to 419,236, and member turnover up 19pc to €217m. North American visitors grew 28pc, France by 18.5pc and Germany/Austria by 13pc. Dublin accounted for 41pc of total turnover, marginally down on the 43pc recorded in 2011. Tourists handled by ITOA members spent €346m in Ireland in 2012. She said that London’s Olympics led to more expensive air fares and reduced availability on flights.
Just to confirm how changeable the weather can be in Ireland look at what Marco Radice’s time-lapse camera did with 2 hours in 2 minutes, looking over Grand Canal harbour. The Marker Hotel on the left of the video is due to open on April 2nd – one of just two new hotel openings in Ireland this year. It seems a long time since we used to have 40 new hotel openings a year.
More footage and photos are emerging as the countdown to the launch of MSC Preziosa on March 22-24. The ship was officially delivered to MSC Cruises at the STX France shipyard. Highlights and features include the new Eatily restaurants.
Princess Cruises also released videos highlighting nightlife, top deck facilities, suites and mini suites and atrium on board the new Royal Princess which is due to launch in June. They will have a yard visit in Venice immediately after the MSC launch.
- Europe’s four passenger airline associations, Association of European Airlines (AEA), the European Regions Airline Association (ERA), the International Air Carrier Association (IACA) and the European Low Fares Airline Association (ELFAA), are in informal talks on forming a joint trade body that would represent the interests of scheduled, regional and leisure carriers.
- Turkish Airlines said they are to buy 117 narrow-body aircraft from Airbus, 25 A321, 4 A320, 53 A321neo and also to take options for 35 additional A321neo aircraft.
- The LoveGorey campaign was launched by Anne Doyle and Darragh McDonald on Thursday. The campaign was set up by local community to promote North Wexford internationally.
- EI135 departed Shannon for Boston on Monday indicating an earlier start to the Shannon Programme this year in time for St Patrick’s Day .
- Video of the was British Airways six miles high Harlem shake.
- Is this pornographic? There was a furore over the new tourism logo for the Kapiti region in New Zealand. Australia’s famous “Where the Bloody Hell Are You” feature din the London Telegraph’ list of 17 controversial tourism logos and slogans, alongside why Fruita in Colorado had to drop WTF, and how Hong Kong launched “We’ll Take Your Breath Away” just before the SARS outbreak).
- Consultancy firm KPMG issued a report headlined “The End of Low Cost Flying on Tuesday. Despite the headline, the report said that legacy carriers had reduced the price differential on their competitors, so it might more aptly read: the end of High-Cost Flying. Download full report here (1.69 megs).
- Aer Lingus were told by the High Court that they can increase dividend reserves to €542m from current €42m and that pension scheme trustees will not be able to limit their dividend fund and announced this to the Stock Exchange on Friday. The share price finished at €1.40, ten cents over the Ryanair bid price.
- BA said they are to extend hand luggage only fares to all Gatwick short-haul routes.
- Qantas Tallaght-born CEO Alan Joyce said at a Tourism and Transport Forum lunch in Sydney Australian tourism operators need to have a more ambitious mindset, change the way they think and get used to the impediment of the high Australian dollar.
- As the FAA approved Boeing’s certification plan for the redesigned B787 battery system, Mike Sinnett, head of Boeing’s 787 programme, at a press conference to explain the proposed package of fixes for the batteries said “it was reasonable to expect” that the Dreamliner could be flying again “in weeks, not in months”.
- Bord Pleanála gave the go-ahead for a 52km stretch of Greenway along the disused Galway to Clifden railway line.
- Finnair had to cancel six flights from its Friday schedule, due to a strike by some of its technical workers.
- A survey at ITB indicated the country that enjoys the best reputation for tourism is Australia.
- Falcon Holidays opened their new Dublin offices in Duke Street in Dublin and hosted a lunch for the trade. Sarah Lawlor of Cassidy Travel in Tallaght won the big prize: a holiday in Tenerife.
- Budapest airport is taking legal action against Ryanair over unpaid debts.
- The Sun reported on Monday, under the rather alarming headline “Flying on Fumes” that more airlines are calling for priority landing because of fuel (the opposite of flying on fumes, surely).
- Emirates has announced their third sponsorship in Ireland becoming the Official Airline to the St Patrick’s Festival 2013.
- Globalgig launched international network in Ireland on Wednesday cutting cross-Border data roaming costs by up to 95pc.
- Just before Tianguis Turistico is due to open in Puebla this evening, its first ever staging at an inland venue, the Jalisco Tourism minister in western Mexico Jose de Jesus Gallegos Alvarez was shot while he was driving in Guadalajara. The highlight of Tianguis is the annual yacht party hosted by the El Preisdente group. It will be a tad difficult this year.
- There was an unexpected turn in Ryanair’s case against screen scraper Unister.
- Wilson Hartnell in Dublin and Smarts in Belfast will take over the Falcon Holidays PR account from Apr 1.
- Alvaro Aravena, formerly of Turkish airlines, has joined Innstant Travel as Business Development Manager.
- A Sunshine.co.uk poll claimed that just 3pc of holidaymakers print their photographs.
- Bosnia’s BH Airlines resumed flying on Wednesday after a bank unblocked its accounts.
- England’s most popular attraction is the British Museum with 5.57m visits ahead of Tate Modern (5.32m).
- There is some exceptional skiing out there. Low temperatures have created good ski conditions across the Alps. The Dolomites expect the snowiest place in Europe next week. Austrian resorts are expecting heavy fresh snowfall this weekend. Heavy snow is likely to fall in high resorts in France over the weekend and into next week, with over 50cm falling in 3 days.
- The Portuguese embassy in Ireland has launched its new website http://www.embassyportugal.ie
- The Dublin Pass Sightseeing Card, managed and operated by Fáilte Ireland’s Visit Dublin team has been accorded “Top Rated on Viator” status.
- 1STS have reintroduced their secret caller incentive starting from Tuesday giving agents the chance to win €50 cash instantly for recommending one of the 1STS brands:Insight Vacations, Uniworld Boutique River Cruises, Contiki Holidays or Boutique Journeys as an option and they could win the €50.
- The Cuban Embassy is moving to its new premises on: 32B Westland Square, Pearse Street, Dublin 2. Phone numbers remain the same (01) 4750899, (01) 4752999. Due to the relocation the Embassy will be closed to the public Mar 22-29 and will resume Monday Apr 1 from the new premises.
- Swedish Financial Markets Minister Peter Norman said that it was more likely now that SAS could be sold and that price was not the only criteria. The airline hasn’t made full-year profit since 2007.
- CAE/PARC has signed a new four-year training services agreement with Ryanair and concluded $245m worth of commercial training and services contracts with GECAS, JetBlue Airways, LANTAM Airlines Group, Ryanair and Turkish Airlines.
- The number of passengers from the six counties using Dublin Airport has almost doubled since 2010 to 521,000.
- Simon Daly said the BA Dublin-London service was a big success.
- The death occurred on Wednesday of Colin Bristow, a great ambassador for tourism In Africa and a long-standing friend of Travel Extra.
- The HostelBookers best European accommodation award went to Greg&Tom in Krakow, Poland.
- Brussels is considering the creation of a guarantee fund for airlines to protect passengers in the event of their bankruptcy.
- Qatar Airways confirmed that they would move by year-end to new Doha Hamad International airport (HIA). The soft opening is set for April.
- The Centre for Aviation commented that Virgin’s short haul deal with Aer Lingus looks sensible.
- Travelport and American Airlines have signed a new distribution agreement ending a long running dispute.
- JetBlue said they now operate nearly 30pc of the seats at Boston airport.
- 50 flights were arranged for the 4,363 Carnival Dream passengers to get them home after a ship oower failure. This time it happened in port in St Maarten.