Travel Extra’s Sunday Supplement: Riverdance masterclass & Australia’s New Visa System

  • Riverdance the Gathering launched their masterclasses on Thursday, and an open air concert in Merrion Square on July 20th, one of the first events to target tour operators for the Gathering effort. The first weekend in July will culminate in an attempt to create a world record Sunday world record Riverdance line of 1,000 dancers lined up along the Dublin Quays, crossing Sean Ó’Casey bridge and back over Sam Beckett bridge.
  • Etihad reported that ALL of their partners are profitable: airberlin, Air Seychelles, Virgin Australia, Aer Lingus and Etihad Airways. The Centre for Aviation reported that Etihad is closest to pointing the direction for the new breed of airline partnership, with its cluster of profitable airlines including Aer Lingus.
  • United Airlines say they are to offer revamped cabins and added flat-bed seating on premium service flights.
  • A survey by Geneva airport proved what we have all suspected for a long time, that charter passengers take a lot longer to go through security. It found 10-15pc of scheduled passengers carry prohibited items as against 33-50pc of charter passengers.
  • CSO figures showed overseas trips by Irish residents were flat, up 0.5pm to 6.326m trips, while travel expenditure abroad was down 5.8pc to 4,487m.
  • Easyjet said its new Recaro seats will be 26pc lighter. Easyjet launched a daily service to Moscow.
  • Irish Ferries has extended its ‘Kids Go Free’ offer on its Irish Sea services to April 2nd.
  • A 61-year-old French man Philippe Jernnard was arrested at Philadelphia Airport charged with impersonating a pilot after being found in the cockpit of a US Airways flight about the depart
  • Australia’s new visa system for business visitors came into effect this weekend
  • SAS are returning from 3-class to 2 class fare structure from June this year, SAS Go (economy) passenegrs will still get free bag check-in and free coffee or tea
  • Ryanair has added a twice weekly Shannon-Alicante service beginning June 5.
  • Tourism Ireland reported that inbound holidaymakers up 4pc in 2012, driven by a strong performance from France and Germany, business visitors up 7.7pc.
  • 1STS hosted the second leg of their Train and Dine Road Show in the Savoy Hotel Limerick City. training from 2pm to 5pm followed by dinner at 6pm in Hamptons Restaurant.
  • An aircraft vortex ripped roof slates from a house while landing at Heathrow.
  • Travel Counsellors Ireland is hosting a special webcast on March 27, 7:30pm email discovertctv@travelcounsellors.com for details.
  • A late Winter storm in North Eastern USA delayed 10,000 flights.
  • England’s finance minister George Osborne disregarded the efforts to reduce the country’s penal aviation tax, after his Budget that long-haul aviation tax will rise again in April 2013 and again in Apr 2014.
  • IATA January stats showed premium travel up 3.3pc year-on-year, economy class up 2.9pc.
  • Krabi authorities warned tourists to be wary of ill-behaved monkeys.
  • Tarom Romanian are to start flying Dublin to Bucharest from May 1st.
  • Thomas Cook sold off Thomas Cook Canada and Thomas Cook USA.
  • Turkish Airlines sponsored Drogheda Utd v Trabzonspor.
  • Uniworld’s new river cruise ship Queen Isabel was christened by Hollywood actress Andie MacDowell in Porto on Friday.
  • US Airways announced it is extending its seasonal service from Shannon to Philadelphia (11.35am) which starts May 23 will be extended by a month to Oct 5 and the Dublin to Charlotte (9.30am) which starts May 6 will be extended by a month to Oct 6. US Airways have relaxed change-fees for some eastern US and Canada cities.
  • ProCon is to supply the ProTAS Back Office system for Atlas Travel corporate agency services in Dublin.
  • Carnival Cruise Lines cancelled 10 sailings on Carnival Triumph and two European cruises on Carnival Sunshine.
  • Fáilte Ireland reported most of the key hotels in Dublin were full with many significantly busy up until Mar 22nd. Shaun Quinn said the St Patrick’s Day bounce bodes well for our expectations.
  • Irish Ferries and Haven Holidays are offering 7-night breaks between May 28th and July 14th at a choice of 6 Haven Holiday parks.
  • LH983 Dublin-Frankfurt was among 700 flights cancelled by Lufthansa strike after 33,000 Verdi members went on strike over a wage dispute on Thursday. A weekend strike at Tap Portugal was averted, but not before the airline had cancelled 20,000 seats.
  • Reed Travel Exhibitions, who organize WTM, said they will launch their first International Ski Travel Market on Mar 17-18 next in Kitzbuhel, Austria. Fiona Jeffery is to leave WTM after 26 years in charge.
  • Fáilte Ireland’s ‘Meet in Dublin’ video was awarded third place in City Tourism Category at Tourism Media Awards in Berlin.
  • Ryanair said a Dutch court decision to fine them 370k fine for hidden charges in breach of consumer law was “littered with errors” and they would appeal.
  • Swiss are to phase out A340s in favour of B777s.
  • Travelport announced they would become the first GDS to offer access to American Airlines’ alternative content, as well as flights.
  • Two Southwest planes collided while leaving adjacent gates at Detroit Metropolitan airport.
  • Datalex reported revenue up 15pc to $32.4m.
  • The Sunday Life reported how a Derry airport security worker lost his job because he posed for a photograph with Nadine Coyle of Girls Aloud and posted it on a social networking site.
  • Airlines for America pleaded with Washington not to double TSA passenger security tax in their budget proposal.
  • American Airlines said it is to Install Runway Overrun Safety Technology on aircraft.
  • ANA said it wants Boeing cash, rather than discounts, for 787 grounding.
  • KLM is to fit its first fully-flat business class seat in the B747-400 for July 2013 then another 22 aircraft. KLM denied rumours that is starting scheduled flights from George Best Belfast City Airport to Amsterdam.
  • Moxy hotels announced plans to open 150 properties in 10 countries Austria, Belgium, Denmark, England, Finland, Ireland, Italy, Germany, Netherlands, Norway, and Sweden.
  • Turkish Airlines reported that it has tripled its operating profit in 2012 plans 20pc seat growth this year.
  • Viking River Cruises set a world record in Amsterdam with the christening of 10 new Viking Longships in one day.  Amawaterways launched their 106-passenger Amaviuda in Porto on Friday, with Sharon Stone acting as Godmother.
  • In a week when London (but not the DFA) issued a travel advisory warning female travellers in India and the owner and the security guard of the Agra Mahal Hotel arrested when a English tourist was injured jumping from a balcony, Gill Charlton compiled 6 Do’s and 5 Don’ts for women travelling in India.
  • Royal Caribbean announced that Liberty, Navigator, Serenade and Splendour of the Seas will all sail the Med in 2014; Independence, Adventure, Brilliance and Legend will sail Northern Europe.
  • Steve Blackhall’s five favourite wildlife swimming spots, bizaarely, included three in Britain (the personal favourite of Travel Extra’s Eoghan Corry was swimming with freshwater crocodiles in Kakadu).
  • The Guardian reported that Australia is now the third most popular destination for Irish emigrants.
  • The Hills Balfour team came to Dublin on behalf of their tourism and travel clients, which include Queensland, Chicago, Arizona and a new client, Sarawak. Rebecca Cleaver reported that the Best job in the World promotion by Australia has had 250,000 applicants so far,.
  • An Egyptian court acquitted the former tourism minister of corruption charges.
  • Anna Aero reported that Ryanair accounted for one-third of all new routes in Germany last year.
  • Belfast is to celebrate the 400th anniversary of its first charter in April 1613 over the Easter weekend Mar 30-Apr 2. Titanic Belfast will be offering ‘Get the Message’ workshop for families Mar 28-Apr 7.
  • Boeing shifted to the tougher RTCA standard for their revamped 787 battery system.
  • Doha’s new Hamad International airport said 10 airlines including Flydubai and Air India Express will move in when it opens April 1.
  • Hotels.com said Dublin was the third most popular destination for English travellers, up from 8th in 2011, behind Paris and NY and ahead of Amsterdam, Las Vegas and Rome.
  • In advance of Ramadan there was a health scare with the death of another person from the same Manchester family due to contracting a new Sars-like deadly Coronavirus after returning from Saudi Arabia.
  • LAX has awarded contract for Construction of New Connector Facility Between Tom Bradley and T-4.
  • The Statue of Liberty is to reopen by July 4th after repairs to docks, energy infrastructure, and other facilities damaged by Hurricane Sandy.
  • Travelport launched their new smartpoint App for Worldspan Go! promising automated processes to speed up reservations and reduce call handling time.
  • TripAdvisor survey of the cost of room service found Cape Town, Sharm el Sheikh, Mumbai, Istanbul and Puerto Vallarta best value, Moscow most expensive.
  • VeryFirstTo.com announced the World’s most expensive holiday: €525,000pp for two-year tour of 962 UNESCO heritage sites.
  • Consensus Research Group reported that one in three visitors to the US say they have experienced a customs process that is “inconsistent, confusing or embarrassing.”
  • Celtic Horizon tours offer: €155pp self drive package on Stena Adventurer, 2 nights B&B in Derby, 2 days entrance to Alton Towers.
  • Freedom Travel are recruiting for a full time retail manager for Leixlip Branch. Minimum 3 years experience CV to ciara@freedomtravel.ie.
  • Finally, check out Gerry Mullins’ fine obituary of the great Mick Kenneally, subject of an iconic Dorothea Lange photograph in 1954 (and much-loved uncle of Travel Extra editor Eoghan Corry).
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