Travel professionals from around the world arrived in Las Vegas yesterday for International Pow Wow (www.ipw.com), the US Travel Association’s tourism market place and the biggest single-destination travel event in the world. After two outstanding Pow Wow in San Francisco 2011 and Los Angeles 2012, the pressure is on Vegas to deliver something beyond their last hosting in 2008.
The Irish delegation stayed at the Aria hotel, which opened just three ago. It has 4,004 hotel rooms, including 568 suites in connected glass and steel towers, with the tallest standing 60 stories, and 10,000 employees.
Popular day trips before the event included the Grand Canyon and the Red Rocks national park. The media breakfast takes place this morning at the Smith Center for the Performing Arts. The Irish and British party takes place later today at the Cosmopolitan Las Vegas.
Post Pow Wow fam trips include the silver mine towns of Tonopah and Pahrump, the desert towns of Reno, Elko and Salt Lake City in Utah, Laughlin and Boulder City in southern Utah, Fallon and Ely in northern Nevada, and a trip to Lake Tahoe.
International travellers make up 17pc of the visitor numbers to Vegas and 29pc of the spend.
Thailand Travel Market in Bangkok attracted buyers from a record 58 countries. Juthaporn Rerngronasa, Deputy Governor of Tourism Authority of Thailand, said that Irish tourism to Thailand was 4.7pc ahead of last year, indicating 63,000 visitors in 2013.
She said the figures (59,894 visitors from Ireland last year) justified a direct flight from Dublin but there were no discussions under way with any airline at the moment. Oslo and Helsinki both have daily services to Bangkok form similar population bases. TUI-Thomson will start flights to Phuket from Gatwick with their new Dreamliner in the autumn and Emirates has started flying from Dubai to Phuket. She said direct flights to Krabi remains a priority for the Authority as does conveying Thailand’s measures to improve the safety of tourists.
Irish tour operators Brendan Barry and Jacqui Herssens and Karen Maloney of Etihad visited Phuket and Ko Samui in advance of the event. The media visited the abandoned cities of Sukhothei and Si Satchanalai for a bicycle tour. An agents post-fam led by Chris Lee is visiting the East Coast of Thailand, which has not been highlighted for some time, visiting Pattaya, Rayong, and Ko Chang. A highlight of the trip to Bangkok was the late night room party at the Grand Centre Point Hotel Ratchadamri Bangkok and the Bed Supper Club.
The Irish media delegation had a seamless journey by contrast, with speedy journeys to Abu Dhabi and form Abu Dhabi to Bangkok and comfortable transfers.
Jackie Herssens and Karen Maloney had a dramatic return journey when their Bangkok to Abu Dhabi flight was diverted because of a disruptive passenger and they narrowly missed their connection. Their extra day in Abu Dhabi was less indulgent than it sounds, it was a dry day in the Emirate.
Picture shows Jackie Herssens of Travelmood, Eoghan Corry editor of Travel Extra, Brendan Barry of Discover Travel, Karen Maloney of Etihad and Declan Mescall of Travelbiz at the welcome function for delegates at Thailand Travel Market at the Amantara Riverside resort and Spa in Bangkok,Classic Resorts hosted agents in the Punta Cana region of the Dominican Republic, with British Airways and Barceló Resorts. They spent four nights at the five star Barceló Bavaro Beach Punta Cana all inclusive resort with golf lessons, and a day trip to Saona island. Pictured at the natural beach on the return from Saona island, the Republic’s most popular day trip with 500,000 excursionists annually: Marie Olive Nolan of J Barters, Aoife Brennan of Cassidy Travel, Michelle Lyons of Fahy Travel, Donna Kenny of Classic Resorts, Ger Hayes of BA, Front row Let to right of , Fiona Dobbyn of Classic Resorts, Sinead Carne of Limerick Travel, Bronagh Sweeny of McDermott Travel and Helen Maguire of Mackin Travel..Royal Caribbean brought Irish travel agents to see the refurbished Brilliance of the Seas to Harwich. Picture shows Mary Phelan from Abbey Travel, Lisa Byrne from American Holidays, Lisa McNulty from Erne Travel, Bronagh Butler from American Holidays and Bernie Burke from Travel Centres.
Aaron Fletcher (far right) has become the first-ever Partners First Ambassador for Norwegian Cruise Line. He is pictured with Oasis Travel‘s Managing Director, Sandra Corkin, and Martin Maclaren, Business Development Manager for Norwegian Cruise Line
American Airlines begins its new direct, nonstop service between Dublin and New York on Thursday. They are offering travel agent clients up to 20,000 bonus Avios every time they fly this new route. Picture show Liz O Reilly of Atlas Travel, Jeanette McKee and Trish Luff of CWT at the launch for the trade of the new American Airlines in Maison, Dublin on Wednesday night.
United Airlines launched a seasonal nonstop service between Shannon and its Chicago hub, O’Hare International Airport with a celebratory event at Shannon Airport. Pictured in the cockpit of the United Boeing 757, in Chicago in advance of the inaugural flight to Shannon, were (l-r) United captain Todd Kersting; Aidan Cronin, Consul General of Ireland; Alison Metcalfe, Tourism Ireland’s head of North America; and United first officer Clark Shelton.
In Ireland for the event and to celebrate 15 years in Ireland, James Mueller, Vice President Atlantic and Pacific Sales for United Airlines speculated that United might uses a 787 from Dublin to its San Francisco hub, the route Aer Lingus intends to restart operating next year. United’s B787 has 218 seats compared to 275 in Aer LIngus’s A332. The Dreamliner is more fuel efficient.
In America, United Airlines are to sell subscriptions that allow passengers to pay for a year’s worth of extra legroom or baggage fees up front instead of buying them flight by flight. prices start at $349 to check a single bag on each flight, and $499 for a seat in Economy Plus.
- Heathrow’s new Terminal 2 is to open in a year’s time on June 4th 2014. The first flight to land in the new terminal will be a United Airlines flight from Chicago, scheduled to land at 05.55am. Terminal 2 will eventually serve 20 million passengers a year and be home to 23 Star Alliance airlines, as well as Aer Lingus, Virgin Atlantic Little Red and Germanwings carriers.
- Aer Lingus passengers numbers for May indicate just how dramatic are the changes in their long haul business model. They reported that long haul passenger numbers were up 20pc in May year on year, ahead of the capacity increase from an extra aircraft. Load factor was up 2.9pc to 84.4pc, RPK up 21pc and ASK up 17pc. Short-haul passenger numbers were up 4pc and Aer Lingus regional up 2pc. It was a good May all round. Ryanair passengers were up 5pc across its system. Dublin Airport figures were up 9pc, with trans-Atlantic again the star performer with an increase of 18pc. Europe was up 10pc and England 8pc.
- Aer Lingus meanwhile are considering their long haul options for summer 2014. Plans to leases 3 Boeing 757s for transatlantic operations were confirmed in the annual results. with the first aircraft coming as early as January and all three by summer. The flight crew will be from Air Contractors and the cabin crew Aer Lingus. The 757s will help to support Shannon frequencies and release an A330 to expand the Dublin route network. Toronto may be served from Shannon rather than Dublin. The possibility of the A330 taking up some of the Etihad services to Abu Dhabi is also in play. Eithad, who hold a 2.987 per cent equity stake in Aer Lingus, fly double daily three days a week.
- Disney are to join Universal Orlando in charging more than $90 for a single-day, single-park ticket. Admission to the Magic Kingdom has increased by $6 to $95 (or $89 ages 3-9) and one day admission to its other Florida parks, Epcot, Hollywood Studios and Animal Kingdom, is s$90 ($84 ages 3-9) Disneyland California is top charge $92 and a one-day park hopper ticket goes from $125 to $137. Most Europeans pay for longer term tickets. Do Something Different (for consumers: Attractions Tickets Direct) have introduced greater flexibility to their tickets, allowing customers to reserve park tickets and change the dates closer to departure. Their popular 14-Day Orlando Freedom Ticket covers Disney’s six parks, Universal Orlando’s two parks, Seaworld and Wetnwild for €547 (or €507 ages 3-9). The Freedom Plus ticket adds Busch Gardens to the mix for €560 (or €520 ages 3-9) .Their Disney 14-day access to six parks costs €319 (or €292 ages 3-9) and a 7 Day ticket €315 (or €294 ages 3-9) while 21days costs €349 (or €321 ages 3-9).
- Muriel Bolger’s new cruise-based book, The Captain’s Table launched on Monday. Muriel says: “I’m a huge cruise fan, and an avid people watcher. Add being curious and a writer to that mix and it’s easy to see how The Captain’s Table came about! The inspiration was all there in front of me – sun, sea and solo travellers, the opulent ships providing countless settings for scenes of seduction, debauchery, family fights and new romances. Add great destinations, men in uniform, hot tubs, cocktails, dancing under the stars, and an affable Captain who is good at hiding his problems, and you have a pretty fool proof recipe for an interesting holiday. (And a good summer read too, I hope.) And NO – it’s NOT autobiographical.”
- Royal Caribbean launched their 2014-15 worldwide cruise brochure offering more agent incentives to sail a season of eight ships in Europe for summer 2014, along with what they call Oasis of the Seas’ “European micro-season.”
- American airline Airtran threw 100 students off a flight for disruptive behaviour before it left La Guardia New York airport for Atlanta.
- Aer Lingus customers can now purchase tickets for the car park at Cork airport while booking their flight in one transaction on aerlingus.com.
- Tourism New Zealand launched the new 100pc Pure New Zealand Specialist Programme, its online trade training programme. “The programme is open to everyone and designed to help new and existing agents to develop their New Zealand knowledge. Ireland is a key focus for us, particularly for gap year travel and those looking to travel on Working Holiday Visas. We would welcome Irish agents who want to improve their knowledge and encourage more Irish Travellers to visit us.” Danielle Genty-Nott, Regional Manager, Europe said.
- Paolo Tullio who will be leading a Barcelona Tapas Tour with Travel Department on October 9th.
- Irish Ferries is offering children under 16 free travel when travelling by car with an adult on all cruise-ferry and Dublin Swift fast ferry sailings this year, inclusive of peak July and August holiday dates.
- Etihad Airways has launched a Meet and Greet service for guests arriving on Etihad Airways flights at Abu Dhabi International Airport.
- Hotels.com reported that searches for Kilkenny were up 251% in May due to the Cat laughs festival, followed by 2 Ballincollig 155pc, 3 Donabate 98pc, 4 Marseille 96pc, 5 Ho Chi Minh City 94pc, 6 Zakynthos 92pc, 7 Dublin 87pc, 8 Claremorris 69pc, 9 Bunclody 63pc, 10 Tokyo 62pc, 11 Limerick 60pc, 12 Santiago del Teide 58pc, 13 Split 57pc, 14 Jeddah 56pc, 15 Rosscarbery 53pc.
- Air France has reached a preliminary agreement with the turnaround specialist firm German group Intro Aviation for the sale of CityJet, according to Bloomberg. A decision on the sale depends on final due diligence, and an agreement may be reached within a month.
- Kilkenny launched the free Trail Kilkenny directory, a 36 page guide containing maps and directions for five scenic walks for enthusiasts at all levels.
- Bus Éireann, Eurolines and Irish Ferries are providing daily coach services from Dublin to London and Leeds with three coach departures operate daily from Dublin Busáras to Holyhead and onwards to London travel via Birmingham and Milton Keynes, and Leeds via Liverpool and Manchester. A daily Cork – Cardiff – London Eurolines service also operates on Irish Ferries’ Rosslare to Pembroke route. Connecting services are available from all over Ireland using Bus Éireann’s Expressway and local bus network. Fares to London are from Eu38 single with no booking fee, travel tax or hidden extras.
- Knock airport’s Liam Scollan is to resign after 11 years with the Airport in various roles, including Managing Director from 2002 to 2009, and most recently Chairman of CADCO, the airport’s operating company for the past 4 years.
- Sushi Yasuda, one of the New York’s most acclaimed Japanese restaurants, has scrapped tipping, a brave move in a city with a fearsome tipping culture. While European restaurants generally add 10-12pc service charge, American service staff demand tips of 20pc and 25pc.
- After heavy rains in central Europe, passengers on the Filia Rheni cruise ship operated by Titan Travel were stranded on the Danube when it was unable to dock in Vienna. Viking cancelled two cruises but said al cruises after June 16 will operate as normal.
- An anniversary: forty years ago this year, in June 1973, the first direct passenger car ferry service between Ireland and France, now operated by Irish Ferries began operation.
- Ryanair’s inaugural flight from Shannon to Alicante took off this week.
- Hilton Worldwide appointed Paul Malcom to Head of Sales for Europe, formerly of Marriott International.
- Lowcostbeds trade extend support lines are to open on Saturdays.
- Etihad Cargo has unveiled a new global advertising campaign, its first since rebranding from Etihad Crystal Cargo to Etihad Cargo more than one year ago.
- Royal Caribbean‘s Independence of the Seas welcomed Maura Fahy from Galway’s Fahy Travel and her daughters to enjoy a Barbie party onboard the ship.
- Pamela Phelan of Newbridge travel won two Robbie Williams concert tickets in the Thomas Cook booking competition, Thomas Cook are also giving away Goodie bags each month.
- Turkish and Air New Zealand announced a codeshare.
- Amadeus has signed a long-term e-Commerce agreement with Air France-KLM.
- Etihad is looking for a new member of the team to manage the Inside Sales support team and to play what it calls “a key role in the pricing policy of Etihad in Ireland.
- Lithuanian carrier Avion Express has commenced charters to Las Palmas and Lanzarote and Sundays to Palma and Faro for Thomas Cook. The carrier is basing a single Airbus A319 in Dublin Airport. They are also establishing new bases in Lille and Bratislava for scheduled and charter operations. Picture shows Erlingur Alfred Jonsson of Avion Express, Deirdre Murphy and John Kinane of Thomas Cook Unndor Jonsson and Saulius Ramonas of Avion Express.
- Ryanair will operate 23 routes from Cork Airport this summer, with flights available for booking from Cork to Alicante, Barcelona, Bordeaux, Carcassonne, La Rochelle and Pisa.
- Rota Vicentina path reached full completion this week, 350kms walking and cycling trail in the Alentejo and Algarve regions of Portugal. Fishermen’s Trail consists of 4 sections in the Alentejo region and also 5 complementary circuits going through the Algarve covering 120kms. Historical Way takes you through 12 sections of the South West of Portugal amounting to 230kms whilst enjoying the main towns and villages of SW Portugal.
- Finally, Travel Extra is sad to report the death at the age of 92 of May McHenry (nee Marrinan), a frequent traveller to Europe, Africa and the Americas from the 1940s until shortly before her 90th birthday. She was for many years a teacher in St Dominic’s in Belfast, and speech and drama instructress and adjudicator throughout the island. Her TV appearances included an oft-repeated zimmer frame sequence in Just for Laughs and a spot as the English Queen in Give My Head Some Peace. She was also Godmother of the editor of Travel Extra Eoghan Corry and made frequent appearances in some of his radio soundbytes, such as “the technology in Heathrow Terminal 5 is very impressive, but whoever designed it has never met my Auntie May.” When she travelled she liked to have a paper boarding pass and a ticket she could hold in her hand. There is an Auntie May in all of our families. Ar dheis Dé go raibh a hanam dilís.