Big travel news of the week is that Costa Caribe Aquatic Park, PortAventura’s water park has opened its new 14,000 square metre extension which includes new signature attraction King Khajuna, the highest free fall slide in Europe.
Sunway held a launch on board the MV Cill Áirne for their AMAwaterways luxury river cruise product, including the new 106-passenger AmaVida and new Douro cruise through Portugal and Spain. These cruises includes 5* luxury accommodation onboard AmaVida, all meals, unlimited beer & wines with meals, daily sightseeing programme and evening entertainment. Pictures shows Marie Claire Porter of Sunway, Gerry O’Hare of Travel Extra and Tanya Airey of Sunway at the Sunway River Cruise launch.
Indaba 2013 concluded in Durban and the participants dispersed to see some of the highlights of the South African tourist product. Picture shows Andrew Sharpe and Nina Farrimond, Trade Relations Managers with South Africa Tourism for Ireland & Britain with Andre Miglirina of Gohop in the Erangeni hotel where the Irish delegation stayed.
A media group which included Travel Extra’s Eoghan Corry and Travel Africa editor Matt Phillips, who travels on an Irish passport, went to the Drakensberg Mountains to sample luxury lodges, the airport-convenient Hotel Izulu spa www.hotelizulu.com, Richard Poynton’s culinary gem Cleopatra Mountain Farmhouse, and Fred Worner’s luxurious Karkloof Safari Spa, which has one of Africa’s largest spas in a sumptuous valley location near Pietermaritzburg,. The agenda include a shark cage dive at Park Rynie and a plunge off the world’s tallest bungee swing, the 108-metre Big Rush at the Moses Mabidha Stadium in Durban. Iain Mallory’s picture shows Eoghan Corry about to take the plunge and then (on left) getting up close and personal with some Tiger sharks on the shark cage dive. A full report from a fascinating Indaba will appear in the July print edition of Travel Extra. See more pics.
Falcon brought a group of agents to Majorca. Picture shows Emma Elizabeth Kinevane from Falcon Ace Travel, Rita Gaughan from Limerick Travel, Jane Louise McMahon from Falcon Mahon Point, Paula Smith from Falcon Clondalkin, Sylvia Kane , Sarah Walsh , Marta Stybaniewicz all from Falcon Dublin, Collette Murphy from Falcon Clarehall, Mary McGrath from Falcon Kilkenny, and Sarah Jane Jones from Falcon Talbot Street, meeting the manager of the Deya.
Alton Towers Resort will unveil The Smiler, the world’s first 14 loop rollercoaster on Thursday, Irish Ferries has announced its Summer promotion to the park, 459 euro for a family of 2 adults and 2 children under 11 years, inclusive of return car ferry crossing and one full day at Alton Towers,
Celebrity Cruises announced that Celebrity Infinity would make the cruise line’s first ever call to Dublin Port on Friday May 17. Queen Mary 2 made its first call to Dun Laoghaire this week.
Tour America are the only travel company selected as a finalist in the 2013 Social Media awards, Tour America are finalists in the categories: Most Innovative Use of Social Media and Integrated Facebook Campaign (Page, App, Ads). Winners will be announced on 30th May
Falcon’s sun-soaked fam trip to Crete produced some of the quotes of the month. “Where are the family rooms?” one clever agent asked in the Couple only hotel, and (from the same character): “Do you have any wheelchair rooms?” Agents travelled to Spinalonga “The island of tears” by boat. the old town of Rethymnon and Stalis. Meal stops included Elounda Village, by the olives in El Greco Farm and a memorable breakfast on Alexander beach. Inspections included the Iberstar Mirabella in Agios Nickolas, Christina Apartments, Rethymnon El Greco Hotel. Stefania Apartments (where Leo the dog led the guided tour), The Island Hotel and Pisko Piano where Mama Souza is celebrating her 30th year in charge. Picture shows Ann-Marie Nolan of Falcon Kilkenny, Clare Hoog of Falcon duke Street, Stacey Hannigan of Thomson Newtonards, Zoe Drennan of Thomson Coleraine, Sinead Minto of Falcon Talbot St, Leila McCabe of Falcon Duke St, Erica Archer of Supersun Travel, Justin Hughes of Falcon Duke St, Lyndsey Martin of Clubworld, ,Charlotte Doyle of Falcon Clondalkin, Jacynta Mullen of Abbey Travel, Patricia Wynne of Falcon Duke St, Sylvia Shannon of Travel Counsellors, Alison Larkin of Falcon Clarehall, Samantha Mc Dermott of Budget Travel, Lynn Sheridan of Falcon Waterford, Margaret Fitzgerald of Killiney Travel, Caroline Kelly of Travel creations Waterford, on the Falcon fam trip to Crete.
- Richard Corrigan is guest at the seventh annual Burren Slow Food Festival which takes place in Lisdoonvarna, Co. Clare, this weekend. A smartphone application that uses GPS technology and Google Maps to guide tourists around the Burren was launched this week. The mobile app features detailed information on over 100 activities
- Enniscorthy’s National 1798 Rebellion Centre will be officially relaunched on May 24 after a €178,000 refurbishment. The Centre will host free celebratory activities during ‘Rebellion Weekend’ on May 25 and 26 with offerings for the family including a Druid Chef, traditional pike drilling and food foraging.
- Crumlin Road Gaol is to stage ‘Medium Rare’ written by one of Ireland’s leading travel writers, Tom Sweeney, on Saturday June 8.
- Hotwire.com reported discounted hotel deals in several European cities, including five-star properties for less than Eu70 a night. The groups also reported that air fares from North America remain near historic highs.
- FlightFest are to fly 30 aircraft through Dublin City on Sunday September 15,
- Allan Dixon from Dublin is among 18 finalists for Tourism Australia’s ‘Best Jobs in the World’ and will travelnext month to spend a week competing in the final stage of the global competition for the role of Outback Adventurer in the Northern Territory.
- Turkish Airlines is starting a new service via Istanbul to Kuala Lumpur. Turkish will launch four weekly to Kathmandu on September 1st, increasing connection options from Dublin.
- British Airways are introducing a new process for agent refund requests, agents can now submit a webform from batraveltrade.com instead of faxing details.
- Ten travel agents from Australia and New Zealand enjoyed a fact-finding visit to Ireland, as guests of Tourism Ireland, Fáilte Ireland and Emirates
- A study by Deutsche Bank named Sydney the most expensive place in the world for a city break.
- Ordnance Survey Ireland’s official Dublin City & District Street Guide is now available to buy in shops or online. Features include schematic maps of all major motorway junctions, an enlarged city centre map and 12 town maps. Updated information and indexed lists for Hospitals, Embassies and Industrial Estates, Transport information for all main Bus and Rail routes.
- Greece expects a bumper year for tourism, with a record 17m foreign holidaymakers predicted. The largest increase in arrivals will be from Russia, England and Germany.
- Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines’ longer voyages in 2013 will include two free shore excursions now included in the price for each cruise
- American Airlines has extended preferential boarding to customers flying with small or no carry-on bags. Customers not needing to stow a bag in its overhead storage bins will be able to board between the Group 1 and Group 2 boarding queues.
- Paul Hackett of Clickandgo reported that his customers are booking more 4/5 star hotels, that Portugal and Lanzarote are the most popular destinations and that all-inclusives now account for nearly 10pc of all bookings.. “People have cut down on the frequency of travel and the duration but not on the standard of accommodation. A lot of hotels in European destinations have invested heavily in their product and are prepared to discount during off peak months to get the business in. Often times it is just €100 more per person per week to upgrade from a three star apartment on self-catering to a four star hotel with breakfast and dinner included”.
- Falcon hosted a night in Ten Square Hotel Belfast for agents to meet the new contact centre and sales team in Dublin. They brought 12 of the contact centre team up for the night and their presentation included a Jib Jab super imposing the call centre faces onto a few fun dances. Picture shows Joanne Magee, Jennifer Turner, Liam McIlwrath, (all Thomson) Antoinette Young and Patricia Wynne Falcon Holidays on the Falcon Belfast trade event
- The Lenin Mausoleum reopened in Moscow following an eight-month renovation having undergone repairs for water damage. It is open from 10am until 1pm, but closed on Mondays and Fridays. Admission is free.
- Hilton Dublin Kilmainham launched a healthy new ‘Food for Thought’ programme developed with dietitian, Paula Mee, and including a gentle ‘Stretch-ercise’ programme to boost mental performance, mood and concentration.
- River cruise giant Viking is to move into ocean cruising. On Thursday as the company unveiled details of a new line to be called Viking Ocean Cruises. Viking has ordered two 928-passenger ships for the new line and has conditional orders and options for four more. The first of the vessels will begin sailing in May 2015 and be called Viking Star. It will sail in the Baltic; and the Western and Eastern Mediterranean
- Belfast based ‘home-grown’ specialist tour operator, Peter McMinn‘s Travel Solutions has expanded its local operations with the launch of a new dedicated air holiday division.
- The Great Gatsby opened the Cannes Film Festival.
- Jet 2 has withdrawn of services from Belfast International Airport to Leeds Bradford
- An alcohol-free hotel opened in the popular Red Sea resort of Hurghada. Le Roi began accepting guests in April. It has also set aside its top floor and one of its swimming pools for women only.
- The Museum of Bad Art a gallery on the outskirts of Boston that houses an eclectic collection of “art too bad to be ignored”, has a new exhibition: Mother Nature Abhors a Vacuum – And All Other Housework, featuring dozens of awful paintings, including this one, entitled Woman Riding Crustacean.