Travel Extra Sunday Supplement: Low key opening for Universal’s Springfield

september 2013 cover 150Travel Extra September 2013 print edition can be viewed online. Highlights include a comprehensive overview of all that is happening in dynamic packaging and travel technology, a trip on the Aer Arann/Aer Lingus Regional route to Southend to examine its suitability for using this route to the English capital, the case for rediscovering the Costa Brava in Spain, once Ireland’s most popular sun destination, a review of Azamara‘s plush cruise product, and the efforts to put Serbia back on the map as a tourist destination.

Universal Orlando Resort opened the World of The Simpsons on Thursday in a low-key unveiling that contrasted with Transformers: The Ride – 3D earlier in the summer. The new Simpsons themed environment is clustered around the existing Simpsons ride, which opened in 2008 and includes an all-new outdoor attraction based on the show’s “evil” alien duo, Kang & Kodos.

Simpsons Springfield

Park visitors can enter downtown Springfield and visit restaurants teamed on Krusty the Clown and Moe’s tavern, which serves up Simpsons fare such as Duff Beer and the steaming Flaming Moe drinks. In the eating areas, Universal came up with 28 new menu items that are exclusive to the park. This is the last of Orlando’s big ticket openings this year, following SeaWorld Orlando”s Antarctica: Empire of the Penguin, Universal Studios‘ Transformers: The Ride — 3D, Space Shuttle Atlantis exhibit at Kennedy Space Centre Visitor Complex; and World of Chima at Legoland Florida

Following last week’s DFA travel advisory extending the “don’t go” advice to Egypt’s Red Sea resorts, Falcon Holidays and Thomas Cook have both cancelled their programmes until September 11th – holidays are available for €400 on that date. Wednesday charter to Sharm El Sheikh went out full and returned empty. Falcon Holidays are telling customers to contact the helpline +3531 2481100 or email. The charter from Belfast continued and there was some confusion as to what was happening as tourists on the outskirts of Sharm were relocated. Listen here to hear Travel Extra’s Eoghan Corry speaking about the issue on RTÉ’s News at One on Monday.

Trivago says the average price for a hotel room in Ireland in August was €111, up 4pc month on month, and up 2pc year on year. Belfast had the highest increases, both month and month at 17pc and year-on-year at 22pc, up to €128. Killarney is the most expensive city at €135, up 2pc month on month and up 3pc year-on-year, and Limerick the cheapest at Limerick €84 down 2pc month on month and up 11pc year-on-year. Tralee had the biggest month on month decrease down 8pc to €100. Prices have decreased by 18pc in Paris to €144 and prices dropped by 13pc in both Rome and London to €109 and €188 respectively. Madrid was down 12pc to an average of €68. At the other end of the scale prices in Malaga were up 27pc to €99. Guardian money: surveyed the hotel price comparison sites and concluded that no single site has the best hotel prices.

IMG_0116Pictured celebrating the 90th birthday party for Heffernan’s Travel in Cork, Caroline Crowley of Heffernan’s Travel, Pat Dawson CEO of the ITAA, Graham Aldren of British Airways and Michelle Roche of Heffernan’s Travel.

This year’s culture night will take place on Friday September 20th at 34 locations throughout Ireland. Highlights include an exclusive one-off performance by the RTÉ Concert Orchestra in Meeting House Square, Temple Bar. The orchestra will perform a fanfare which has been exclusively commissioned to celebrate Culture Night by contemporary Irish composer, Stephen Gardner.

AN INDIAN SUMMER FOR IRELAND - AS LEADING TOUR OPERATORS PAY A VTourism Ireland hosted five Indian tour operators bringing them to Viking Splash Tour, an evening at the Irish House Party on Francis Street, Trinity College and the Guinness Storehouse, the Irish National Stud in Kildare; Kilkenny, a boat tour of Cork Harbour, Fota House and Gardens, the Blarney Stone and the Ring of Kerry. Picture shows Nilam Patil, Tourism Ireland India (left), with leading Indian tour operators, and tour guide Therese Cunningham (right), at Fota House.

The ITAA and Aer Lingus launched their second joint ITAA/Aer Lingus promotion introducing their new service from Shannon to Lanzarote to offer ITAA members an opportunity to promote Aer Lingus new service SNN-ACE.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe London Mail on Sunday quoted a former Ryanair cabin crew member as saying Ryanair has a target to persuade each passenger to spend a minimum of £1.70 per flight. This target increased to as much as £3.40 per passenger on longer flights. Swissport ground handling workers are incentivised to find passengers at the gate whose bags will not fit into the cage, and rewarded with £1 per item of hand luggage judged too big or heavy for a flight, A Ryanair training manual suggests cabin crew should target groups of young men and women, stag parties for example: The cabin crew should ‘pick out the leader, normally the loudest one of the group’. If they manage ‘to achieve a sale from that passenger, the remainder of the group will normally follow suit’.

Etihad Liza Hammond 001 copyLiza Hammond from Etihad is seen here helping to launch the Etihad supported 2013 Belfast Mela celebrations at Botanic Gardens today (August 25th). Belfast’s Botanic Gardens hosts an exotic, wonderland of world music, dance, fashion, food and celebration. Tickets cost £5 for Adults, £12 for Family or £3 for Concessions.

kangaroo 900A full frontal Australian tourism picture of kangaroo ‘Big Baz’ reclining on the grass at Featherdale Wildlife Park was deemed too saucy for the web and the kangaroo’s genitals were pixilated in the Tourism Australia picture.

hovercraftTravel video of the week is the crowded beach in Kaliningrad where sunbathers were surprised by the arrival of a Russian Navy Hovercraft, See video.

Eoghan Corry Jason Jan-chun Cherng copyTravel Extra’s Eoghan Corry was in Taipei this week where meetings included the Director of the Ministry of Tourism International Services, Jason Jan-Chun Cherng (pictured). Mr Cherng said that opening up the flights between mainland China and Taiwan, which have a peculiar super-domestic status and are not available to international visitors, was a priority but would require bilateral agreement from Beijing. While Dublin airport is exploring the possibility direct flights to Beijing, Mr Cheng said that flights to Amsterdam and London were high on Taiwan’s wish-list. The current route of choice to Taipei is with China International via Frankfurt

tom barrett savillsTom Barrett, Head of Hotels and Leisure at Savill’s Ireland predicted €300m of hotel sales in Ireland by the end of the year. Hotels on the market include the Radisson Blu in Cork city, with an asking price of €8m, the Clarion IFSC hotel, with an asking price of €30m and the Clarion Dublin Airport hotel, with a €10m asking price. He says buyers from England, North and South America and China have spent €170m snapping up 21 hotels to date, including the five-star Ashford Castle in Co Mayo which sold for €20m, the River Lee Hotel in Cork and the Jurys Inn in Dublin city centre. He says average Room Rates in Dublin are up by 6.2pc and REVPAR up by 5.5pc.  Separately STR Global reported that Dublin generated more revenue growth per available hotel room than any other major European city in the 12 months through June.

ba flight simulator 150British Airways Ireland is offering agents a chance to win an opportunity to try out their Mobile 787 Dreamliner Simulator when it comes to Dublin on September 11th. Agents who make a booking on British Airways before the 31st August will be entered into a draw. Send your booking reference to tara.magee@ba.com before 31st August and winners will be announced on September 2nd. Terms & Conditions apply.

frank coffey

Ryanair celebrated its 3.5 millionth passenger at Kerry, Frank Coffey, originally from Killarney. Ryanair first arrived in Kerry in June 1997, it has grown to operate 5 routes, carrying 3.5m passengers and high-spending visitors to/from Kerry. Ryanair will carry over 250,000 passengers to/from Kerry in 2013, Pictures shows Frank Coffey, Ryanair airport director Peter Moore and the new Rose of Tralee, Hayley O’Sullivan, from Texas who greeted Frank.

The ITAA has organised a Travelport Worldspan Conversion Seminar in Dublin City Centre on Tuesday 27th & Wednesday August 28th, to instruct participants on how to create and price Passenger Name Records (PNRs), when converting from another, 9am to 5pm. Booking & Enquiries to Fionnuala Carter (right) on fionnuala.carter@itaa.ie. Participants will learn to:

fionnuala 150

  • Sign on and off from the Worldspan system, work with encode/decode,
  • Plan an itinerary, Build a Passenger Name Record (PNR),
  • Add optional PNR fields,
  • Work with Itineraries
  • Add servicing items to a PNR and Work with Worldspan Fares, Price Itineraries,
  • Obtain fares using e-Pricing products,
  • Divide and clone a PNR, and interpret history,
  • Manage PNRs in queue Book a car using the Car Booking Tool Script,
  • Create a hotel segment using the Hotel Booking Tool Script and Display World Files.

john goss 150

The fallout from the English TV programme Dispatches continued. Ryanair initiated legal proceedings against the Belfast Telegraph as well as Channel 4 Dispatches, The London Daily Mail Online and the Daily Mirror. Within hours of the proceedings being issued, the Belfast Telegraph issued an apology and accepted that Ryanair’s pilots are free to carry as much fuel as they wish to, that Ryanair fully complies with EU fuel regulation, and also the IAA’s confirmation that Ryanair’s safety is “on a par with the safest airlines in Europe”. Ryanair initiated High Court defamation proceedings against Michael O’Leary’s old nemesis, one of Ryanair’s longest serving pilots and veteran trade union activist John Goss (right), who was the only Ryanair pilot to be identified on the programme. Pádraig Yeates took up the question raised by Travel Extra in last week’s Sunday Supplement: is Michael O”Leary the new William Martin Murphy? Capt Goss also featured in an Irish Times article on trade unions 100 years after the Dublin lockout.

tim fitzgeraldTravel Counsellors launched a new international recruitment video featuring, among other, Tim Fitzgerald (above). General Manager at Travel Counsellors Ireland, Cathy Burke said: “featuring Irish Travel Counsellors in this recruitment film ensure there’s a personal feel which fits our key company message.” Cathy says Travel Counsellors sales are up 10pc year on year.

Etihad said that business travellers who are connected to a Business Connect account will be able to receive doubles miles for Coral Economy bookings and triple miles for Pearl Business and Diamond First bookings when they book and travel between August t5 and September 30, 2013.

Emirates announced a back to school fare promotion for customers in Ireland with fares from €533 return to Dubai and €953 return to Sydney, book before September 2nd, travel before April 13th. Dublin will not be impacted by Emirates’ planned service reductions during next year’s Dubai airport runway maintenance on May 1 and July 20 2014. The number of flights it operates to Amman, Amsterdam, Beirut, Cairo, Cape Town, Glasgow, Lagos, Moscow Domodedovo, Muscat, and Nairobi will be reduced from twice daily to daily. Other routes due a reduced service include Bahrain, from 21 to 13 weekly; Bangkok, from six to four daily; Colombo, from 17 to seven weekly; Delhi, from four to three daily; Doha from 42 to 20 weekly; Karachi, from five to four daily; Kuala Lumpur, from four to three daily; Kuwait City, from 35 to 27 weekly; Mumbai, from five to four daily; Riyadh, from four to two daily; Seychelles, from 12 to seven weekly; Tehran from three to two daily; and Vienna, from 13 to six weekly.

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