Florida’s big ticket opening of the season took place last weekend. Mary McKenna of Tour America (pictured) was among the guests when SeaWorld Orlando opened Antarctica: Empire of the Penguin, which features a room with below-freezing temperatures and hundreds of birds.
A whole generation of Americans have grown up thinking the Serengeti is in Orlando. Now a new generation will think that Antarctica is in Orlando as well.
Visitors queued for more than four hours to experience the four-minute signature ride, which follows the Southern hemisphere adventures of young Puck the penguin, guided by a new trackless ride system that helps imitate movements of the birds.
More than 250 birds from four species are on open-air display at the end of the ride. They show off their swimming skills in a room built for underwater viewing. The attraction’s exterior is designed to look like tall walls of ice and snow-capped granite on all sides of the four-acre area.
Other central Florida arrivals this summer include Universal Studios‘ Transformers: The Ride — 3D and Springfield (an extension of The Simpsons experience) the Space Shuttle Atlantis exhibit at Kennedy Space Centre Visitor Complex; and World of Chima at Legoland Florida.
Gonzalo Ceballos from the Spanish Tourist Office in Dublin, and Antonio Martín-Machuca from the Andalucian Tourist Board (with 14 supplier companies) hosted 60 trade and media in the Dining Hall in Trinity, as well were in attendance. The guest of honour for the evening was Javier Garrigues Flores, Ambassador of Spain.
Chris Goring from Amadeus Consulting & Solutions and Nigel Webster from Amadeus Cruise Shop were among the speakers at the Amadeus forum in the Residence this week. Rob Sinclair-Barnes from Amadeus Insights gave a description of the 21st Century Business Traveller. Diane Bouzebiba & Volker Lorenz answered questions about the New Distribution Capability (NDC) and products themes to Consulting Solutions Showcase explained the GDS’s Cruise Solutions, Connected Traveller Corporate and Leisure products, Agency Efficiency Solutions and Social Media products.
Bangkok-bound delegates sampled Etihad’s excellent connections to Thailand through Abu Dhabi this week. Chris Lee and Joanna Cooke hosted a delegation of Irish trade and media at Thailand Travel Market as it kicked off in Bangkok with some pre-fam tours. Attendees included Brendan Barry of Discover Travel and Karen Maloney of Etihad. Thailand attracted 59,894 visitors from Ireland last year, making it the second most popular long haul destination out of Ireland after Australia. TAT Deputy director Juthaporn Rerngronasa outlined the country’s emphasis on green, golf, wedding and honeymoon and health and wellness to grow further its market share from Ireland. She expects Thailand go beat their own target of 3.4pc increase to 61,000 in 2013.
Mastercard’s international city index says Bangkok will become the world’s most popular city for tourists this year with 15.98m international arrivals, ahead of London (15.96m visitors) and is predicted to rise another 10pc this year.
Sunway Holidays hosted an agent and press fam trip to highlight their programme to Majorca from Kerry and Knock this summer, led by Sunway Product Manager Kathy Cashe and Paul Randall from Altura, Sunway’s ground agent on the island. The group were welcomed by Isabel Salmon in the luxurious four star Iberostar Jardin del Sol in Costa del de la Calma. Visits included Alcudia and Puerto Pollensa in the north of the island, a city tour of Palma and well-lubricated raids on the karaoke bars in Magaluf and the clubs of Santa Ponsa .Pictures shows Back Row: Ferran Cavalle, Altura, Declan Dooley, Galway Independent, Eoghan O’Sullivan, from the Irish Examiner, Denise McNamara from the Connacht Tribune, Maria Neary from O’Callaghan Travel, Tatiana Royo. Front Row: Paul Randall from Altura, Sarah Dempsey from Sunway, John Mitchell from the Star, Kathy Cashe and Bernie Colgan from Sunway, Claire Gorman from the Sun, Isabel Joyce Salmon from Iberostar Jardin Del Sol, Anna Zienkiewicz from Sol Travel & Una Molloy, from Galway Bay FM.
IMEX. in Frankfurt, the leading MICE tourism event on the calendar attracted 24 tourism enterprises from Ireland to display their wares to 9,000 visitors, including 4,000 influential business tourism buyers from 75 different countries. Picture shows Joyce McElroy from Tourism Ireland; Brian Murray from Aspects of Ireland (destination management company); and Evelyn O’Sullivan from Cork Convention Bureau, at IMEX in Frankfurt.
Minister Leo Varadkar was in flying form at the US Ambassadorial Residence for the Ireland United States Alumni Association’s Prominent Alumni Lecture on Transatlantic Tourism. He said he had been given the brief because the Taoiseach was warned to keep him busy. The Chargé d’Affaires of the United States of America John Hennessey-Niland, a great supporter of US bund tourism and the Dublin Visit USA committee, hosted trade and media at the event.
Siobhan Scanlan thanked the trade for their support for Delta’s increased NY services to JFK at a summer party for the trade at the Harbourmaster. Delta have gone from seven to ten flights a week this summer. Siobhan also focused on the new Air France Dublin – Brest service which starts on June 29th, with a one flight weekly operation on Saturdays at 13.05. Marco Carneval highlighted Alitalia’s oft-forgotten route from London City to Rome Fiumicino with Cityjet connections. Pictuyre shows the Air France, Delta, KLM Team at the event: Siobhan Scanlon Head of Sales (Ireland, Martina Coogan, Teresa Murphy, Paula Buckley, Victoria Pasqual and Jacqueline McMahon at the Air France summer party.
Further details of the ITAA Travel Professional Skillnet programme have been released. Holiday Spanish for Beginners, MS Excel 2, MS Publisher Photoshop 1, MS PowerPoint InDesign, Credit Card Compliance, MS PowerPoint, Train the Trainer, Digital Marketing Diploma, Marketing Modular and Applied Communications Modular are among the courses on offer Contact Fionnuala Carter firstname.lastname@example.org
Eric Mathieu, MD of US Airways international sales, said the company expects to carry its one millionth passenger at Dublin Airport in about two months. US Airways celebrated ten years at Dublin Airport this week with an event hosted by DAA. Pictured at the cake cutting: Cormac O’Connell, DAA head of aviation business development, Margaret Skinner, US Airways regional sales manager Ireland and UK, Fiona Ryan, US Airways account manager and Eric Mathieu, manager director of US Airways international sales.
DoSomethingDifferent.com hosted agents in Cork for cocktails and a ‘cash cube’ competition at The Oliver Plunkett, sponsored by Orlando FlexTicket. Elizabeth Kenny of Trailfinders Cork won a place on a fam trip to Orlando. Picture shows Trevor Ryan of Shandon Travel, Elizabeth Kenny of Trailfinders, Ciara O’Driscoll of Lee Travel Karen Smith of Premier Travel, Catrina O’Donavan of Dawson Travel and Annabel Cove of DoSomethingDifferent.
Travel Extra’s Eoghan Corry continued a tour of the Dominican Republic. This week’s highlights included the northern tourist playgrounds of Cabrera, Samana and Puerto Plata, a boat trip to one of the Caribbean’s best beaches at Playa Rincon, a stunning mangrove swamp tour and visit to rock-art at Sanchez, a jaunt through Parc Nationale Les Haitises on a trusty steed called Palmarito (see picture), and Santa Domingo’s trendy nightlife, with meals in La Casita de Papi in Puerto Plaza and three of the best locations in Santa Domingo, Maison de Vari in the heart of the old Colonial city, and two seafront jewels, Adrian Tropical restaurant and Boca Marina restaurant on Boca Chico beach. A bit of a heroine addict (with an E, careful) we paid tribute to Minerva Mirabel at the Museo de la Resistencia on the anniversary of the day that her murderer, Rafael Trujillo was assassinated. It is a national holiday in Republica Dominicana.
A study by lastminute.com indicated that Irish holiday makers paid out €17.5m in excess fees last year with an average fee of €46 per person, 55pc are unaware of the peak season baggage charge increases from Aer Lingus and Ryanair for the peak summer period from June to September, with only 12pc knowing the exact increase. The Aer Lingus charge for a 20Kg bag increases from €15 to €20 in peak season online, and on Canaries and Greek, Romanian and Turkish routes from €20 to €25 per flight. Ryanair’s charge for a 15kg bag rises from €15 to €25 in Peak season, and on the Canaries and on Greek routes from €20 to €35 in Peak season. Ryanair’s charge for a 20Kg bag rises from €25 to €35 and on the Canaries and Greek routes from €30 to €45.
Fáilte Ireland are holding three interactive food tourism workshops this week, in the Glasshouse Hotel in Sligo on Tuesday 4th, the Radisson Blu Hotel in Galway on the 5th and the Burren College of Art on the 6th. Speakers include food tourism experts Rebecca LeHeup of The Huffington Post, Arlene Stein, Chair of the Terroir Symposium and Valerie Howes, Food Editor of Readers Digest.
American Holidays hosted 90 guests at their “Best of the West “ evening in Dublin where prizes included return flights to Los Angeles courtesy of Virgin Atlantic, an overnight Helicopter trip to the Grand Canyon from Heli USA, goodies bags from SeaWorld & California Tourism and a pair of tickets from Universal Studios Hollywood. Kristin Skinner from American Holidays shared her fly drive recommendations from her recent California trip. Key suppliers who attended included Terry Smith from Virgin Atlantic, Alison Nicholls from Universal Studios Hollywood, Bethany Schuh from San Francisco Travel Authority, Hayley French from LA Tourism and Tryphavana Cross from Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority.
VisitScotland hosted media in Dublin to highlight the ‘Year of Natural Scotland’ when all things Caledonian are to be celebrated as voters there decide whether to break Britannia’s apron strings and go it alone as an independent country. Helen Campbell (Ireland & UK Head of Marketing), Janice MacGregor (Senior PR manager) and Glenda Rochead (PR executive) told how North Ronaldsay sheep feed solely on seaweed and the surplus heat from Bowmore Distillery Islay is used to warm the town’s leisure centre swimming pool. Visitors are invited to view the country’s “Big Five” (red squirrel, red deer, golden eagle, otter and harbour seal) in their natural habitats. Plans for 2014 include the Ryder Cup in Gleneagles in September with an accompanying all-star concert, a massive flotilla to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Forth Road Bridge and a year-long programme of events to celebrate Homecoming 2014.
As speculated, the London Commission of Fair Trade found against Ryanair in its provisional ruling that Ryanair exerts undue influence over Aer Lingus and suggested they would have to sell have of their 29.82pc shareholding in Aer Lingus. Ryanair responded by saying the provisional decision is in breach of EU law and pointed out it is six and a half years since Ryanair bought the holding. The ruling itemised five problems with the shareholding:
- Ryanair’s shareholding would be likely to be a significant impediment to Aer Lingus’s ability to be acquired by, merge with or acquire another airline and could make it more difficult for Aer Lingus to attract a strategic minority shareholding.
- Ryanair’s ability to block a special resolution gives it influence over Aer Lingus’s ability to issue shares and might hamper Aer Lingus’s ability to raise capital.
- Ryanair would be able to influence Aer Lingus’s ability to dispose of some of its Heathrow slots in order to optimize its slot portfolio.
- Ryanair could influence Aer Lingus’s commercial strategy by exercising the deciding vote in the context of an ordinary resolution.
- Ryanair’s minority shareholding increased the likelihood of it mounting a full bid for Aer Lingus. Any such bid could significantly disrupt Aer Lingus’s commercial policy and strategy.
- It was unlikely that Aer Lingus would compete less fiercely with Ryanair in order to avoid antagonizing its largest shareholder either now or in the future.
Margaret Shannon, Emirates Manager for Ireland hosted a table at the HOPE Charity Lunch in the Four Seasons Hotel Dublin. Pictured: Noeleen Daly of Emirates, Susan Kiernan of Ask Susan Travel, Valerie Metcalfe of FCm, Margaret Shannon of Manager Ireland Emirates, Regina Gregan of Atlas Travel, Linda Bacuzzi. Front row: Jane Masterson of Emirates, Niamh Byrne, Jacinta McGlynn, Brenda O’Keeffe of FCm, Cindy Cattigan of Aer Lingus,
- Worldchoice’s 2013 Conference will be held the Pillo Hotel Ashbourne, formerly the Ashbourne Marriott on November 30th.
- Lee Travel will welcome Royal Caribbean’s first ever passengers embarking in Ireland at Cobh on Tuesday. The ship’s first Officer, Joseph Gillespie from Newtown Cunningham, County Donegal says he is proud to bring the ship home to Ireland. The visit ill also feature a girls Barbie party for competition winners, the first ever party onboard for day guests
- The 2,518 passenger MSC Magnifica was in Cork, Dublin and Belfast for the first time this week. The cruise line hosted members of the trade onboard.
- Europe’s largest public Tree House and adventure playground, a new visitor attraction at Birr Castle Demesne, will open at 12 noon on Sunday, June 23rd.
- Dublin Airport said it expects 250,000 passengers to travel over the course of the June Bank Holiday weekend, a 2pc increase over the same period last year
- Aer Lingus Regional is to dedicate one of its new ATR 72-600s to a new three daily business shuttle service between Dublin and Birmingham.
- Norwegian airline Flynonstop is to start a new flight from Dublin to Kristiansand, on the Skagerrak strait in southern Norway, from October 28th.
- US Airways has commenced its daily service from Shannon to its Philadelphia hub, resuming a route it last flew in 2009.
- Oakland theme park in Wales has launched its new £4m Peter-Pan themed ‘Neverland’ attraction which features 10 new rides and attractions.
- Malta became Turkish Airlines’ 100th country. They now have 228 destinations and 230 airports.
- Istanbul’s third bridge connecting Europe to Asia has been given the go ahead.
- Air Canada has reduced its comfort plus upgrade fee to €66 each direction.
- The Connacht Hotel Galway (formerly the Carlton hotel Galway city) has appointed Regis Herviaux as Executive Head Chef.
- Tourism Ireland took the top award for Market Research at the All Ireland Marketing awards,
- SS Nomadic, tender vessel to the Titanic and the last remaining White Star Line ship in the world was officially opened at her Hamilton Dock berth in Belfast on Friday.
- Etihad are offering promotional fares in business class, Abu Dhabi / Dubai from €1,403, Sydney / Melbourne / Brisbane from €2,711, Thailand from €1,727, Maldives from €1,680
- Titanic Belfast, Stena Line and City Tours in Derry were the big winners of the Northern Ireland Tourist Board awards in Derry this week.
- NYC and Co reports the reopening of the 14 miles of beaches in NYC (post Sandy) for the 2013 season.
- Bunratty celebrates 50 years of banqueting last weekend.
- Pulses of Tradition opens next week at Triskel Christchurch in Cork. This multi-media traditional music show, commissioned by Cork City Council will run for the duration of the summer every Thursday and Friday night during the summer,
- The sixth international Art In The Open Festival takes place in Wexford from July 29th until August 6th.
- Jose Ramos Portuguese Trade & Tourism Director for Ireland hosted an Alentejo workshop for the Irish travel trade in the Portuguese Ambassador’s residence in Dublin. Among the highlights on offer is the Rota Vicentina, a 350 km walking path between the city of Santiago do Cacern and the Cape of St Vincent.
- Royal Caribbean Cruises has signed a contract with the Meyer Werft shipyard to construct a third Quantum-class cruise ship for delivery in mid-2016. The unnamed new ship will join the Royal Caribbean fleet in mid-2016 following Quantum of the Seas in autumn 2014 and Anthem of the Seas in spring 2015.
- Travelport have renewed their full content agreement with Air France / KLM / HOP.
- Gathering Ireland say 2,126 Gatherings are now planned to take place this summer.
- Kathryn Thomas was among the speakers as SeaDream Yacht Club in association with Cruisescapes held a client evening in the National Yacht Club Dun Laoghaire to talk about its Mediterranean itineraries for twin megayachts SeaDream I & SeaDream II and highlight voyages to Asia – Pacific and Northern Australia in 2013 and 2014. Picture shows: Tryphavana Cross, Jenny Wright and John Donohue of SeaDream Yacht Club Kathryn Thomas, Alan Lynch and Celine Kenny of Cruisecapes,
- Delta Air Lines has opened a lounge at New York’s JFK airport with a 2,000-square-foot outdoor Sky Deck, an unusual outdoor space for a U.S. airport.
- Contiki, holidays for 18-35s has added more departure dates to their Latin America tours for 2014
- Tour America won the award for Most Innovative use of Social Media at the Bord Gais energy 2013 Social Media awards
- Topaz is to invest €3m in its service station at Dublin airport.
- Falcon Holidays launched their new service from Belfast to Sharm el Sheikh.
- Hotel du Cap-Eden-Roc in France launched what it called the world’s most exclusive champagne lounge with views over the Mediterranean, the pine forest and the hotel’s renowned swimming pool.
- A Holiday for two to Lake Garda is the star prize in Topflight’s agents competition for bookings to Italy ex Cork before June 14. Other prizes include champagne, designer handbags, makeup and skin care vouchers.
- British Airways business class sale offers a return trip to New York in Club World for €1372.
- The world’s highest swing ride opened to the public at the Six Flags Over Texas theme park in Arlington, Texas, The 400-foot-high Texas SkyScreamer, carries riders on open-air swing chairs attached to a giant tower at a speed of 35 miles per hour.