Travel 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.
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.
Pictured 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.
Tourism 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.
The 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’.
Liza 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.
A 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.
Travel 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, 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.
British 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 firstname.lastname@example.org before 31st August and winners will be announced on September 2nd. Terms & Conditions apply.
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 email@example.com. Participants will learn to:
- 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.
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.
Travel 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.
- Turkish Airlines opened their 104th country and 238th Destination, Kathmandu in Nepal.
- Kildare village has secured planning permission for a €50m development adjacent to its existing site
- Aer Lingus Regional confirmed the new route to Newcastle, as reported in last week’s Sunday Supplement, targetting 65,000 passengers per year on 20 flights per week.
- Ryanair is to launch an employee share option scheme aimed at rewarding and incentivising selected senior staff and directors.
- Tourism Ireland unveiled a new campaign to target tourists from Middle East.
- A former flight attendant’s case for wrongful dismissal lawsuit must be heard in Norway, a court there has ruled.
- There were protests against plans to replace a tourist information centre with a dole office in Westport.
- Molly Malone, the tart with the cart, is among a number of Dublin’s most iconic statues to be moved into storage from October to allow major construction works for the new Luas line.
- Doolin Craft Beer Festival in County Clare takes place this weekend with the support of 15 Irish microbreweries including Carlow Brewing Company (Carlow), 8 Degrees Brewing (Mitchelstown), The Dungarvan Brewing Company (Waterford), The White Gypsy Brewery (Templemore), The Franciscan Well Brewery (Cork), Galway Hooker (Galway), Trouble Brewing (Allenwood) and Stonewell Cider (Kinsale). Hotel Doolin Gm Donal Minahane (right) will partner with Seamus O’Hara of the Carlow Brewing Company who has been instrumental in the re-emergence of craft brewing in Ireland.
- Two “digital walls” were launched at Dublin Airport.
- BookaBed is seeking a full-time Sales Support Agent for its Reservations Department based at Ashbourne, Co Meath. The closing date for applications is Friday next August 30th.
- Readers of Virtuoso Life magazine ranked Ireland fourth in their dream trip list, Australia, Italy and New Zealand filled the first three places.
- Failte Ireland is organising a webinar on August 28th examining the role of imagery helping tourism businesses attract more customers.
- Nepal has urged airlines flying into Kathmandu’s Tribhuvan International Airport to use smaller aircraft after cracks were found on its runway.
- Tribes Alive returned to Galway for an extended run after a successful pilot last year. The tour has been developed in association with Fáilte Ireland’s “Sharing our Stories” initiative.
- A travel agent who worked for Thomson Travel for two months continued to use the company’s passwords to book flights and hotels after leaving his job.
- A group of four Italian tourists was charged €6 each for four cups of espresso coffee and hit with a €42 surcharge for listening to a quintet in Venice’s St Mark’s Square.
- The new chief executive of Aer Arann parent Stobart promised there would be “no more fireworks on the board” after the trucking and airport group named former Tate & Lyle boss Iain Ferguson as its new chairman
- Playwright Michael Harding wrote a homage to Donegal: “I could never get the universe into perspective from the window of my suburban childhood bedroom in Cavan. But from the rocks on the edge of the Atlantic I could see it all.”
- Some encounters between nature and tourism ended in tragedy over the past ten days. A 20-year-old German tourist Jana Lutteropp died on Wednesday, a week after being attacked by a shark in Maui, Hawaii. It took 36 hours to bring medical attention to hunting guide James Tuttle who was mauled by a brown bear while part of a group on a guided hunting trip about 30 miles north of Anaktuvuk Pass in Alaska.
- Slane Castle Estate saw the opening of a boutique eco-tourist camp-site, Hare’s Leap @ Rock Farm Slane,
- Expedia and Travelocity announced a strategic marketing agreement. Expedia will become the technological force behind their former rival Travelocity’s websites in the USA and Canada, allowing Travelocity to tap into its listings for hotels and flights, and handle its customer service.
- Legoland announced their Discovery Center to open in 2014.
- Bangkok Airways became the first foreign carrier in Nay Pyi Taw.
- Regal Hotels launched its revamped website.
- Chicago said its self-service passport and customs check has cut queues by 16 minutes.
- Gate Gourmet Ireland reported profits of €1m and revenues up 6pc to €10.9m.
- Stena Line teamed up with tour operator Travel Department to launch with a four night package to Scotland departing Thursday September 19 for €469pp.
- The JW Marriott hotel in Tripoli, Libya, which was forced to close due to political unrest in the country, will re-open next year.
- Cruise lines Cunard, P&O and Disney decided to ban smoking from the balconies of private cabins.
- A Premier Inn was named among England’s ugliest new buildings and the world’s ugliest hotels in the same week,
- The English Guardian took a wry look at Ibiza’s club culture to celebrate 40 years of Pacha (and, yes, it references Michaella McCollum Connolly’s detention in Peru).
- The Fukushima nuclear plant in Japan could join other places associated with death and disaster that lure holidaymakers, plans are being drawn up to turn the no-go zone into a tourist attraction.
- Holidaymakers have been warned not to travel by ferry in the Philippines following last week’s disaster that has left 52 people dead and 68 others missing.
- Businesswoman Josephine Fairley asked if the sexes unwind differently on holiday?
- Jet2.com announced their intention to launch transatlantic services in 2014 from Leeds Bradford and Newcastle in England and Glasgow in Scotland to Boston, Toronto and New York. Picture shows Minister Michael Ring at a networking event in Chicago, organised by Tourism Ireland, during his promotional visit to Chicago and Milwaukee (centre) with Billy Condon of Tourism Ireland; Mary Francis Fagan of American Airlines; Mary Lu Laffey of the Chicago Daily Herald,; Aidan Cronin Consul General of Ireland in Chicago and Ruth Moran of Tourism Ireland,
- Southend Airport has been named England’s best airport in a survey by Which? magazine.
- A survey showed that while most people pretend to take intellectual tomes on holiday, what they actually read can be quite different.
- Green Hospitality, with the support of Fáilte Ireland, and in conjunction with Leeds Metropolitan University, is holding a set of three Green Marketing Toolkit Seminars this September.
- Lonely Planet released its list of ultimate travel fails.
- North Korea’s leader Kim Jong-un has visited the construction site of a multi-million pound ski resort project.
- Authorities in Goa were reported to be clamping down on parties and late-night drinking in an effort to clean up the beach resort’s rowdy reputation.
- A new book Airline: Style at 30,000 Feet’ by Keith Lovegrove is published by Laurence King recalled uniforms of the 1960s and the hi-tech cabins of today.
- The journal.ie previewed Flightfest, due to take place in Dublin City centre on September 15. Director of operations Peter Kearney said: People’s impressions of aviation has become romantic again. They’re fascinated by new large planes which are coming on-stream which have made a significant difference to air travel. It’s a very unique event as well, this doesn’t really happen that often in Europe.
- Carhiremarket.com launched a 24 Hour free cancellation service.
- Belleair Holidays launched its Top 50 hotels for 2014, bookable online by the trade for holidays up to August 2014
- Tourism Ireland’s international website Ireland.com was listed as one of the top ten “coolest tourist board websites” by The Sunday Times in London.
- Ryanair launched a new consumer verification security system on the Ryanair.com website, using CardinalCommerce’s Centinel technology platform
- The London Telegraph asked the Emirates cabin crew how a cabin crew can stay immaculate.
- Former RTÉ newsreader Anne Doyle will be guest host for the global gathering of Lighthouse Keepers at the world’s oldest operational lighthouse at Hook Head, September 13th to 15th.
- FIFA‘s official hotel booking service is advertising rooms at up to five times their normal price for stays during the World Cup. The question is: will the pattern of previous world cups be repeated of too many rooms reserved by FIFA and then handed back to disgruntled hoteliers with a few weeks to go?
- London based consumer watchdogs say that airline charges for golf bags and heavy luggage are now so high that it is often cheaper to send them by courier.
- It was announced that Pingtan Art Museum, in a city in China that is yet to be constructed, will be Asia’s largest private museum.
- The budget arm of ANA was rebranded as Vanilla Air, with its president saying that vanilla is “loved by everyone in the world“.
- Travelport signed a global full content agreement with Finnair.
- The Senior Times Over 50’s Show takes place in the Salthill Hotel, Galway on September 1st and 2nd, 12 noon to 6pm Sunday and 11am – 5pm Monday
- It was reported that passengers will soon be able to use high-speed broadband at high-altitude under plans revealed by Ofcom.
- Eight angling bodies are to receive 80,000 in funding, Lough Owel Trout Preservation Association; Kilconnell Community Development Association Ltd; Inny Anglers’ Development Association; Lough Sheelin Trout Protection Association; Ballinlough and District Angling Club; Pallas Lake Fly Fishing Club and Lough Derravarragh Angling Association.
- Yosemite rim fire is the fastest growing of 50 large wildfires burning throughout the U.S. West threatening Highway 120 and the 4m visitors a year park. Sun Valley Resort in Idaho turned on its water cannons to keep vast fire at bay
- Philippine aviation officials suspended local budget carrier Zest Air due to safety concerns.
- It was reported that a live parrot, a glass eye and a prosthetic leg were among the unusual items left behind by passengers at the end of a flight.
- London’s Civil Aviation Authority reported that the number of bird strike incidents at their airports has doubled with three ”significant hits” a week.
- A survey showed that one in three English holiday makers can’t find their most recent European holiday destination on a map.
- The London Telegraph noted the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther-King’s “I Have a Dream” speech, by seeking out locations of other history-making addresses.
- London’s Admiralty Arch is to be turned into a luxury hotel
- Being a travel agent was listed among the among “8 Most Useless Jobs” by American website CareerCast.com.
- Edinburgh airport unveiled a £25m terminal plan to help airport compete on the “international stage.”
- American Holidays cruise department celebrated 10 Years of business.
- Scoot Airlines, a subsidiary of Singapore Airlines has banned children under the age of 12 from sitting in the plane’s designated “quiet zone”.
- A hotels.com survey suggested Chinese travellers want to be independent, a possible shift from Chinese group travel
- ITB Berlin and IPK International said European 15 to 29 year-olds undertook a total of 69m holiday trips abroad,
- City Cruises launched movie-themed adventure as London’s Thames.
- Celebrity Millennium cancelled four Alaskan cruises due to mechanical problems
- Bali postponed their proposed theme park dream after protests.
- Malaysia Airlines achieved its highest seat load factor for ten years at 84.3pc.
- Tiramisu was claimed exclusively by the Italian town of Treviso.
- The English Guardian explained now a transit lounge in Heathrow is a dangerous place to be (especially but not exclusively for a journalist)
- Thomas Cook Cruise launched a new Canary Island cruise from €599 including flights, on board the MSC Armonia November 30.
- Irish Ferries has extended the their Eu329 Mini Cruise fare stay length period, passengers can stay in France with the announcement that passengers can now remain away for six days.
- Disneyland Paris offer of free nights or free half board offers ends today Sunday August 25th.
- MSC is offering seven-night cruises from €839 per person, including return flights from Dublin with Emirates and a pre-cruise overnight stay in a Dubai hotel. MSC Lirica will cruise in the region between November 23 and 29 March 2014, departing from Dubai and calling in Abu Dhabi (UAE), Khor al Fakkan (UAE), Muscat and Khasab (Oman).
- SeaDream Yacht Club have announced 60pc off a 7-day cruise around the Asia-Pacific departing from Singapore on January 4th 2014. Ports of call include Pankor Islands, Phuket in Thailand, Tarutao Islands and of course Singapore.
- Hertz Ireland have extended pickup dates to the end of September on their €250 One4all Voucher promotion. Agents who send name and booking number to firstname.lastname@example.org are entered in a draw for a €250 One4all Voucher. The more bookings made with Hertz the more chances to win. Login at hertz.ie or call 01 676 7476 to register.
- Spot the difference. Best joke award at Edinburgh festival: ‘I heard a rumour that Cadbury is bringing out an oriental chocolate bar. Could be a Chinese Wispa.’ (Rob Auton). Worst joke award at Edinburgh festival: I thought ex-pats were people who used to be called Pat’.