Travel Extra’s Sunday Supplement: The Rouge-ians are coming

Air Canada service from Dublin to Toronto Pearson is to go year-round from 2014. Air Canada will operate the route this year from May 18 through to September 30, 2013 and when it recommences May 1, 2014 it will continue year-round served by Air Canada’s low cost operation Rouge, as first revealed in the print edition of Travel Extra.

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Air Canada rouge’s Boeing 767-300ER aircraft feature a two-cabin configuration, with 18 recliner seats with 37 inch pitch in premium, and 232 standard seats with 30-inch pitch in economy. All flights will offer customers streamed wireless in-flight entertainment with innovative new seats, and the ability to earn and redeem Aeroplan miles. Picture shows Eamon Flanagan of Air Canada, (pictured with Travel Counsellors Sarah McCarthy and Val Gunn) says Rouge is made for the Irish market.

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Australian Tourism Exchange opened in Sydney on Friday. The event has been shortened by combining the Eastern and western modules which were separated in 2001. CEO Andrew McEvoy (pictured) reported a third successive year of tourism growth into Australia with international visitors rising nearly 5pc in the past 12 months. “The world travels to experience difference, we want to showcase our difference.“

Visitor numbers from Ireland were 61,300, up 8pc from 56,800 in 2011, although we are still far short of our peak of 68,000 in 2008. It is a sign of the times that Ireland now has the second highest take-up of any nation for the 12-month extension to one-year work visa. Three Irish: Richard Cullen, Allan Dixon and Heber Hanly are amongst 150 candidates from 35 countries to reach the finals of the best job in the world competition. Increased one stop access is as important as work visas in driving the growth from Ireland. This was the first ATE since the ground-breaking Qantas-Emirates deal which switched the principle entry point from Singapore to Dubai, and the extent of the change is breath-taking. Emirates now have 98 weekly flights through Dubai to Australian cities, 84 of their own and 14 with Qantas, including a twice daily A380 service to Sydney, a daily Melbourne A380, a daily Adelaide service and a three times daily Perth service.

Etihad are adding 34pc capacity on Dublin-Abu Dhabi this year This increases connectivity with their 25 flights a week from Abu Dhabi to Australia. indeed, Etihad’s biggest problem is getting enough seats on the Australian legs of their flights to satisfy the Irish demand. Etihad say they will not be adding an Abu Dhabi-Perth service for two more years and will instead concentrate on their existing services twice daily to Sydney and daily to Melbourne until more aircraft become available.

Andrew McEvoy Eoghan Corry copyAndrew McEvoy told delegates that even more seats are coming and “we are getting more of them pointed at Australia”. Airlines such as Southern China Airlines were at ATE, keen to highlight alternatives to the traditional European and big Middle East carriers, in particular the “Canton route” through Guanzhou. Tan Wangeng, CEO of Southern China Airlines said he expected the 72-hour visa scheme introduced last year at Beijing and Shanghai will be extended to Guangzhou in the autumn. The attendance of 1,500 Australian suppliers and 700 international buyers includes 25 of the world’s leading travel writers, five of them from Europe, including Eoghan Corry of Travel Extra (pictured speaking to Andrew McEvoy above). They are being accommodated at the stylish Sebel at Pier One hotel, almost directly under Sydney harbour bridge. Next year’s ATE will take place in Cairns for the first time. In addition five Irish travel agents wlil be attending the trade-only event Corroboree. See pictures here or connect through Facebook

Daniela Pinto and Jose Ramos

Portugal entertained and informed 80 members of the travel trade at an event in Dublin hosted by Ambassador Bernard Futscher Pereira, together with Jose Ramos, Director Portugal Tourist Board Ireland/Trade Commissioner (pictured above with Daniela Pinto), and 35 suppliers from all over Mainland Portugal, and Madeira attended, supported by Aer Lingus and SATA. Over 420,000 people went to Portugal last year, with 75pc of those heading for The Algarve.  Numbers to Lisbon and the Lisbon coastal resorts of Estoril and Cascais are growing, as well as Madeira, and lesser known regions such as Alentejo, Porto and the Douro Valley. Big news also is the new walking and wine trails in Portugal. Among the exhibitors were the state run heritage hotel group Pousadas and also the Solares de Portugal (Manor houses of Portugal), a collection of private properties offering similar castle and big house accommodation, mainly in the north of the country. Prizes of Aer Lingus tickets to Lisbon and Faro for 2 people, were won by Laurie Calhoun from Travel Department and Olga Tyrrell from Abbey Travel. Michelle Anderson from Topflight won a week to the Solares Hotel. Marie Doherty, also from Topflight won A Stay in the Pousada de Estay as well as a stay in the epic Sana Algarve Albufeira. Other prizes were provided by Marina Club Lagos Resort, Dom Pedro Hotels, Pestana Hotels & Resorts, Hotel Solverde Spa and Wellness Centre, Fatima Hotels and the Praia D’El Rey Marriott Golf and Beach Resort. See pictures here or connect through Facebook

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Ireland hosted 300 tour operators and buyers from 18 countries this week, flown to Ireland to meet 400 local products at the annual tourism market Meitheal. Delegates attended from Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Britain, Canada, China, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Spain, Sweden Switzerland, and the USA.

The workshops, with their 15,800 one-to-one meeting opportunities, took place at the RDS in Dublin and the gala event was hosted by newly elected ITIC chairman Paul Carty at Guinness Storehouse. Minister Leo Varadkar told delegates that Ireland was now a “value for money” destination. Pictured at the Guinness Storehouse is Shaun Quinn CEO and Redmond O’Donoghue chairman of Failte Ireland with Tourism Ireland CEO Niall Gibbons. The Wild Atlantic way was launched at the event by Minister Michael Ring. See more pictures here or connect through Facebook

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More details of the ITAA conference in Granada on October 10-13 have emerged. The conference will include a mega-fam for which agents will travel on the light leg of a charter service. Separately, last week the ITAA and the Spanish Tourist board co-hosted a fam trip to Malaga. Pictured in Nerja on the ITAA Spanish TB fam trip: Edel Moore from MD Travel, Gary Melia from ITAA Emer Crowley from O’Driscoll Travel, Gillian Page from Newbridge Travel, Kathryn MacDonnell from The Spanish Tourist Board, Paul Dawson from Dawson Travel, Rebecca Dunne from The Travel Broker. See pictures here or connect through Facebook.

  • Tuesday will see the end of an era in Irish tourism when Shannon becomes the last of the regional tourist boards to be integrated into Failte Ireland. Where once we had nine tourism organisations we now have three, which is still probably too many. The costs of running Irish tourism are half of what they were in 2005, when the first five bodies were integrated, followed by Dublin in 2012 and Shannon this year.
  • Dubai hosted the Irish travel trade with Ingrid Aageson outlining the big improvements in the city’s tourism infrastructure, including new family friendly three and four star hotels. Dubai recorded 10m visitors for the first time in 2012, 41,237 of them from Ireland. Irish visits are up 30pc in 2013 and the Irish are also staying longer. Dubai’s tourism strategy under the newly appointed Director General of Dubai tourism Hilal Saeed Al Marri will be revealed at Arabian Travel market on May 6-8.
  • America’s Federal Aviation Administration said Saturday afternoon that normal operations of its system will resume by Sunday evening after Congress passed legislation that allowed the agency to end involuntary unpaid leave. Many of the 15,000 controllers of America’s Federal Aviation Administration were forced to take unpaid leave earlier in the week resulting in longer intervals between aircraft taking off and landing, and delays of more than two hours at airports across the USA. The situation was expected to last until the new US financial year begins on October 1 with the worst delays at iohn F Kennedy in New York, Los Angeles International airport and O’Hare in Chicago.
  • Ethiopian will be the first to fly the Boeing 787 again after regulators told airlines they can fly Boeing’s 787 Dreamliners again as soon as they replace its problematic lithium-ion batteries with a revamped battery system. Boeing said they are ready to build seven Dreamliners a month by mid-year.
  • The 4,028-passenger Norwegian Breakaway set sail on Friday with passengers for the first time. Built at Germany’s Meyer Werft shipyard, Breakaway started with a two-night familiarisation trip out of Rotterdam for European travel agents before setting sail Sunday on its first revenue cruise, a one-night trip to Southampton, England. From there, it’ll head to New York, where it’ll be christened on May 8 before beginning year-round voyages out of the city. Slightly smaller than Royal Caribbean’s groundbreaking Oasis Class ships, Breakaway has all the trappings of a major mega-resort, including a wide variety of restaurants and nightspots. The ship’s deck-top amusements include a water park with five water slides.
  • Turkey is the latest country to introduce online visas, ending the infamous queue at the visa counter at immigration in Ataturk and other airports. It costs €15 and applicants need a minimum 6-month-valid passport, flight (or any other possible means of transportation) reservation and a credit card (Master or Visa). It replaces “sticker” and “stamp-type” visas formerly issued at the border crossing and can be applied for at
  • Etihad announced two surprise new partners, Jet Airways and Air Canada 
  • The Warsaw Chppin runway closure has been extended until September 2nd which means Ryanair wil continue to fly to Warsaw Modlin instead.
  • Two different Boston developers has encouraged two separate convention centre builds in Dublin port.
  • The Titanic Centre in Belfast reported it has attracted 807,340 visitors in the first year, making it our fourth most visited attraction after Guinness Storehouse, Dublin Zoo and the National Aquatic Centre. It was an impressive performance, compared with National Audit projection of 290,000, and an initial target of 425,000.
  • Ryanair was fined €420,000 by Italian authorities for failing to improve the transparency of its website. The airline was fined about €400,000 last month by the Netherlands Consumer Authority for similar reasons.
  • A tourist was killed by a hippo after attempting to take close-up photograph of a young born at Lake Naivasha, Kenya.
  • A ban on hot-air balloon flights in Egypt was lifted after nearly two months. A crash in Luxor in February killed 19 tourists. Egypt’s civil aviation authority said that new safety measures had since been introduced, and only five of the city’s seven balloon companies would be allowed to operate again.
  • Ryanair announced they are making two more rows seats pre-bookable extending the total on each flight to 16.
  • Despite the city’s amazing efficient and fast metro connections to the airport, Copenhagen face some of the world’s most expensive airport taxi fares according to a new survey by Moneycorp, the currency exchange firm. A journey to the city centre costing €40, or € 8 per mile. Transfers were also costly at Geneva, Tokyo and Brussels. Those at Munich (€2.60 per mile) were cheapest.
  • Virgin launched a new seat-to-seat delivery service so you can send drinks or food over to that fellow passenger you had your eye on at the gate
  • Air France began flights to Montevideo (Uruguay) this week, its ninth destination in South America. Only TAP Portugal serves more points in South America from Europe with 11 although Iberia have more weekly flights with 71 versus 79 for TAP and 65 for Air France. European carriers have 75pc of the non-stop market, with KLM and Lufthansa the fastest-growing. This summer there will be around 540 weekly non-stop flights from airports in Europe to airports in South America, up about 6% when compared with 2011
  • Details are emerging of a new proposal to reopen the canal from Lough Erne to Clones
  • Kennedy Space Centre’s $100m AtlantisSM attraction which is set to open June 29, has started unwrapping Atlantis orbiter from protective shrink wrap
  • Loyd Grossman told a cultural tourism conference in Ireland that any place that’s worth visiting has got to be, in the first place, somewhere that’s worth living in.”
  • South Africa reports 10.2pc growth in international visitors in 2012, more than double the global growth of 4pc
  • SAS reported its app has been downloaded 100,000 times since launch Apr 9 ranked as the no 1 free app in Sweden, Denmark and Norway.
  • Belgium is anticipating a national strike on Monday which may impact public transport and slow down road access to the airport. Lufthansa and El Al were both hit by strikes on Monday.
  • The last rhino in Mozambique was killed, and 30 rangers from Great Limpopo Transfrontier Park are to appear in court charged with involvement in the killing of the rhinos. Since January 2013, 180 rhino have been poached in Kruger, out of a total of 249. Extinction for the rhino approaching much quicker than most pessimistic forecasts
  • A Chinese student and an Italian businessman became the first travellers to express firm interest in a £1 million, two-year package holiday that includes stops at every UNESCO World Heritage Site.
  • Flight attendants have the worst jobs in travel, according to a new ranking based on pay, stress, physical demands and future prospects. They came 191st out of 200 careers listed in an annual survey by the website Journalists came 200th. “High stress, low pay and a shrinking job market all contribute to flight attendant’s inclusion among the worst jobs of 2013,” the website explained. “As airlines continue to consolidate and reduce staff, this is unlikely to change.”
  • Women in America take holidays more frequently than men, but both sexes tend to pack their bags with little time to spare before departure, a new survey released Thursday finds. Women holiday every 10 months, while men vacation every 12 months, and the survey also shows that 50pc of Americans pack at the last minute.
  • Less than a year after serving as godmother for Oceania Cruises’ latest vessel, celebrity chef Cat Cora signed on with rival Holland America to headline a culinary program on a Mediterranean voyage. Holland America says Cora will offer cooking demonstrations on a 12-night sailing of the 2,106-passenger Nieuw Amsterdam from July 2.
  • Forbes Travel Guide unveiled its pick of London’s best hotels. Six hotels achieved five stars: 45 Park Lane, Claridge’s, Four Seasons Hotel London at Park Lane, The Dorchester, The Lanesborough and The Savoy.
  • The 11th-century minaret of the Great Umayyad Mosque of Aleppo, one of the world’s oldest and most important, was destroyed by shellfire. Opposition activists in the Syrian city said the minaret was hit by tank shells> The mosque was originally built in 715 by the Umayyad dynasty and which fell into rebel hands last week. The minaret itself dated to 1090 AD.
  • A poll by the discount shopping site revealed the most unforgivable holiday fashion disasters. The male sarong, once worn by English soccer player David Beckham, took the top spot.
  • A new boutique hotel Murrayfield House with nine rooms has oepened in Edinburgh on Corstorphine Road, close to the Murrayfield Rugby Stadium. Rates from £135 per night.
  • Scottish Tourism Minister Fergus Ewing said Scotland had 2.2m overseas tourists down 125,000 spend £1.4bn from £1.5bn, US down to 414,000 from 436,000 in 2011
  • Ultimo Coffee in Philadelphia was ranked the very best. In the survey by The Daily Meal website, Gimme! Coffee in New York finished second, with Barista in Portland, Ore., third.
  • Crystal Cruises announced that it would ban smoking in all indoor areas of its two ships except for Connoisseur Club smoking lounges. Outside smoking will be allowed in a limited number of designated spaces.
  • Southwest said it is to go all-Ryanair. From next month its new no show policy means some fliers will forfeit their fares if they fail to show up for a flight

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