The long-awaited Single European Sky inched a little closer this week, and boy did we know it. USAC-CGT, the Air Traffic controllers’ union in France behind this week’s strike, described their disruption of flights as “an unprecedented success.” The union claimed more than half the flights to, from and within France had been halted. Ryanair claimed the stoppage was the most disruptive event since the volcanic ash cloud in 2010 and said 90,000 of its passengers had been affected by the strike. On the other side, airline associations AEA, EBAA, ELFAA and ERA collectively welcomed what they called “the European Commission’s move to break the deadlock of Single European Sky.” The EU project has ambitious targets: to triple airspace capacity, reduce the environmental impact of aviation by 10pc and to reduce air-navigation charges by half. The only certainty about this is that there is more turbulence down the line.
IPW, the travel fair formerly known as Pow Wow, concluded in Las Vegas with a much anticipated appearance by Celine Dion at Caesar’s Palace.
While previous Pow Wows have served up some top class entertainers, including Chuck Berry, Lionel Richie, Johnny Cash, Kaycee and the Sunshine Band, Earth Wind and Fire, Gloria Estefan, Gypsy Kings and the Beach Boys, Celine did NOT sing, and indeed any attempt to do so would likely have been foiled by a substandard sound system (in the self-proclaimed entertainment capital of the world).
The event was the best attended ever. Roger Dow, CEO of the US Travel Association, confirmed there were 6,400 delegates from 78 countries and 500 media from 74 countries. The spectacular NYC&Co lunch featured music from four musicals with performers flown in from New York for the occasion, including Cyndi Lauper. The climax was music from Once, leading to the unlikely scenario of the world’s largest single destination event trying to recreate the atmosphere of an Irish pub.
First timers at IPW included Veronica Aherne of Tour America, Adrienne Keogh of American Holidays, Ivan Beacom of Aer Lingus and Clem Walshe, who represented Lowcostbeds at the event. Picture shows: Ciara Foley of Platinum Travel, chair of the Visit USA committee in Dublin with her two immediate predecessors as chair: Ciaran Carraher and Beverleigh Fly of Innstant Travel and Clodagh Oxley CEO of Visit USA Dublin in the Chandelier bar of the Cosmopolitan Hotel, Las Vegas, See more pictures from IPW here or connect with album on Facebook.
Travel Extra’s Eoghan Corry was once again an active participant in the press conferences, raising issues such as the Brand USA partnership with Expedia (and its implications for other tour operators who support Brand USA), visa fees for non-waiver travel to the USA and runaway hotel resort fee charges in the US hotel industry.
The report in the next print edition of Travel Extra will cover all the news from IPW including:
- The threat from sequestration to pre-clearance at Dublin and Shannon
- Latest figures and spending patterns for Irish visitors to USA
- The big openings stateside for 2014
- The destinations that are courting Irish visitors
- Visa waiver: when will Poland (and its huge Irish-based community) get in?
Mark Evans and Eoghan Corry (front above) were two of just six media from the 500 at the event to sample the adrenaline-rush www.skycombatace.com experience, where visitors are allowed take command of the controls of a fighter jet and perform maneuvers over the Nevada desert.
Another highlight of the event: in a testament to their youthful looks travel writers Mark Evans and JP Thompson were carded by a zealous barman in Nine Fine Irishman in the New York New York resort.
Visit Nevada hosted seven post-fams for buyers and media across the states of Nevada, California and Utah. They brought 80 buyers to Reno on Thursday morning. Here they are posed with local suppliers at Reno Automobile Museum, including Fionn Davenport and Eoghan Corry from Ireland.
Tour America staff are celebrating the award for Most Innovative use of Social Media at the Bord Gais Energy 2013 Social Media Awards beating off competition from Arnotts, RTÉ Bród Club, Electric Ireland, Irish Autism Action, Dublin Airport Authority, Irish Heart Foundation, Aviva Stadium and AA Ireland. The team: Liz Nolan, Sinead Murphy, Kate Keegan, Tracy McLoughlin, Mark Jackson, David Gardiner, Elva Kenny, Gabriel Varai, Adam Farrell, Eamon Dalton, Karen Maher, Lisa Geraghty, Ross Waters, Jennifer O’Neill, Cathy Cullen (blue shirt back), Sarune Zerauskaite (green jeans), Veronica Flood, Adja Clemintine, Sharon Archbold and Alex Lahomme.
Airbus took their first all-new plane in eight years, the A350, on a test flight. Half of the craft is lightweight carbon-fiber designed to save on jet fuel, which makes up half the cost of long-haul flights. The craft has larger windows and overhead storage than comparable jets. Airbus says the 220-inch cabin width from armrest to armrest is inches more than the competition, allowing 18-inch seat width in nine-wide seating. Aer Lingus has eight A350s on order, two to arrive in 2015; four in 2016 and three in 2019. The craft is ideal for long haul routes such as San Francisco, a resumption of which is expected to be announced by Aer Lingus on July 3rd. See video of test flight.
Princess Cruises launched the 3,600-passenger Royal Princess, the ninth largest cruise ship at sea and the largest ever for Princess. The inaugural cruise will visit Barcelona, Vigo, Malaga, Gibraltar and Lisbon. Quayside festivities included English pop singer Natasha Bedingfield who sang her hit “Unwritten,” an original song by “the first lady of London’s West End,” Kerry Ellis, and percussive orchestra Mass Ensemble which performed with its signature “Earth Harp,” an architectural instrument with strings that extend for 1,000 feet and was played as it hovered over the 2,000 guests at the ceremony. See video.
Air New Zealand unveiled its new livery. There are two versions: white with a black tail, and all-black. They feature the silver fern, New Zealand’s national emblem. The London Telegraph used the news as an excuse to unearth some of the ugliest planes to ever take to the sky.
The 2013 Irish restaurant award winners were announced with The Tannery in Dungarvan picking up the best restaurant award. Other award winners: Best Chef: Sunil Ghai of Ananda; Best Hotel Restaurant: The Lady Helen at Mount Juliet; Best Gastro Pub: The Brewer’s House; Best Casual Dining: Saba; Best Customer Service: Renvyle House Hotel; Best Wine Experience: Restaurant Patrick Guilbaud; Best Cocktail Experience: The Exchequer; Best Kids Size Me Menu: Sol Rio Restaurant; Local Food Hero: Glenilen Farm; Best Newcomer: Ox.
- DAA says transatlantic traffic is up 11pc so far this year. American’s new service from Dublin to JFK is the fourth new long-haul route to be launched from Terminal 2, joining United Airlines’ Dublin-Washington DC service, Emirates’ Dublin-Dubai route and US Airways’ Dublin-Charlotte NC service. It has a 6.55am arrival time in Dublin and a 9.00am departure and is being operated by a two-class Boeing 757-200 aircraft.
- Royal Caribbean announced that Quantum of the Seas will be making its first eight-night westbound transatlantic voyage from Southampton on November 2 2014, arriving in the New York area at Cape Liberty Port, New Jersey, on November 10. The cruise line’s 2014 brochure includes 60 new itineraries worldwide.
- Allan Dixon from Dublin has arrived in Australia among 18 finalists to complete their applications for the Best Job in the World.
- The Irish Aviation Authority reported that commercial terminal flights at Dublin airport were up 4.2pc, with an average of 477 daily movements. Cork was up 5.4pc, with an average of 61 daily movements and Shannon down 6.3pc, with an average of 54 daily movements
- A study undertaken by Trinity College’s School of Engineering found that the segregated cycleway, Great Western Greenway in Mayo generates €1.1m in tourist expenditure.
- New Ross expects 20,000 visitors for the JFK50 next Saturday.
- Dublin was one of the cheapest cities in Europe for a club sandwich according to the Hotels.com poll of in 840 hotels across 28 countries. Geneva was most expensive.
- County Clare launched a walk that is said to be targeted “at the more experienced walker,” a €400,000 12km long coastal path from Hags Head outside Liscannor by the Cliffs Of Moher to Doolin.
- Aer Lingus, in partnership with UNICEF Ireland, has launched a collection on board all flights across its network for the children of Syria.
- The New Yorker Bar & Bistro at Cork International Airport Hotel will open on Thursday
- Jonathan Adair of Northern Ireland Travel News hosted the north’s travel trade at Templepatrick with a trade show and golf day.
- MatchMyGas has launched an app that it says prevents rental car customers and car salesman from over spending on fuel purchases.
- P&O Ferries’ superferry twins, European Highlander and European Causeway which operate between Larne and Cairnryan, have returned to service following a £100,000 re-fit on each ship.
- Fáilte Ireland announced the long-list of contenders for the 2013 Tourism Towns Award, winners will be announced later this year.
- Tourism Ireland has put in place a promotional programme to maximise the tourism potential of the G8 event in Fermanagh.
- Low cost beds has launched a new “secret hotels” programme, four and five star hotels at 10pc-50pc off rack rates
- Falcon Holidays is to launch its summer 2014 programme on Thursday.
- American Airlines plans to add seats and reduce legroom on its Boeing 737 and MD-80 jets, which account for about two-thirds of its current fleet.
- Kenya’s Tourism Board brought 14 hotels and operators to meet the Irish trade at Dublin’s Morrison Hotel. Andres Nagashiro of Adams & Butler Africa won the12 day trip to Kenya.
- The Irish Caravan and Camping Council says the camping and caravan sector has the potential to generate over €310m for the local economy.
- Brendan Mallon, formerly of Falcon Holidays, hosted the Irish trade to introduce them to the OnHoliday group which he represents in Ireland.
- Turkish Airlines has added its 232nd and 233rd destinations in Tallinn (Estonia) and Vilnius (Lithuania).
- Irish water safety reported that accidental drownings have doubled in the last two years: 147 people drowned last year compared to 162 people who were killed on our roads in crashes.
- Fáilte Ireland has launched a new series of eCornell courses which are now available for half price.
- Ciaran Mulligan’s Blue Insurances brand Mulititrip.com has launched a new look smartphone friendly website in Ireland and UK.
- United Airlines is to offer flat-bed seats on all long-haul international flights from North American hubs
- More than 7,000 fans from all over the world have visited the HBO Game of Thrones Exhibition in Belfast which ends today.
- Boeing predicted that the number of commercial aircraft in operation globally will double in the next two decades, with the bulk of the 35,000 new planes going to Asia.
- Air France and KLM have launched in-flight Wi-Fi on Boeing 777-300s
- Fáilte Ireland is looking for nominations for their 2013 Food Champions, who this year will undertake a culinary learning journey along one of Europe’s newest food focused driving routes in Norway.
- Culloden Estate unveiled a herb garden in the grounds of the 5-star hotel in Co Down.
- Loop Head Tourism launched a parking initiative which enables visitors on walking or cycling holidays to park their car for the duration of their stay in the Loop Head area of County Clare while their personal belongings are delivered to their places of accommodation.
- Taiwan became the first place in the world to offer free wireless internet access to all visiting tourists. The island state already has a network of free access points available to its citizens. Visitors from overseas can sign up in airports and railway and metro stations.
- Kilbeggan Distillery Experience visitors centre in Co Westmeath has completed an €85,000 refurb.
- Wicked is to make its Irish premiere at Dublin’s Bord Gáis Energy Theatre in November 2013.
- Katinka Hengsberg of Travel Department won the prize of two Aer Lingus tickets to Verona at the Verona trade night in Dublin’s D2, Harcourt Street.
- Australian chef Lyndey Milan called by to Darina Allen as part of the Taste of Ireland series which airs Tuesday.
- Atradius‘ most recent Payment Practices Barometer suggests 32pc of Irish businesses are threatened by cash flow problems. Of those, almost half (48pc) were in the Irish wholesale/ retail sector.
- English and French authorities have granted German train operator Deutsche Bahn the right to run passenger services through the Channel Tunnel.
- One of the talking points of the week was the news that New York’s Waldorf Astoria, the hotel where room service was invented, has decided to end the service, citing the high cost involved.
- Hotel comparison site Trivago says that fans arriving in Brisbane next week for the first test of the Lions rugby tour will be faced with hotel rates about 70pc higher than usual, €240 a night on average compared with €137 for the preceding week and €124 for the following week. Rates in Melbourne and Sydney have risen by 21pc and 37pc respectively.
- Quickpark has launched a promotional parking offer at Dublin Airport for €3.33 per day when you pre-book online.
- Crystal Alfresco are offering discounts of up to 30pc off a selection of departures.
- Children go free to France with Stena Line’s landbridge routes this summer when travel is booked by Sunday June 30.