Summer time, and the living’s O’Leary. Early on Wednesday morning the London Competition Commissioners ruled that Ryanair must sell down its 29.82pc stake in Aer Lingus to 5pc. The airwave dwellers, twitterati and old fashioned ink-pedlars renewed another round of summer arguments about Michael O’Leary, fuelled by the man himself, his allies and his foes (see full 56,000 word decision here and 40,000 words – count them – of appendices here, including the fascinating Appendix F concerning Aer Lingus negotiations with other airlines).
Ryanair responded that, under the European Commission’s February 2013 prohibition decision, London’s Comp Comms cannot lawfully impose any remedies on Ryanair. They argued that the reasoning behind London’s August decision (too little competition) was the polar opposite of the reasoning behind Brussels’ February decision (too much competition) and said that the minds of the two English accountants behind the decision, Simon Polito and Roger Davis (right) had been “made up in advance” and “no truth or evidence was going to get in the way” of their story, condemning “Polito’s and Davis’ ignoring of evidence, their conduct of a manifestly unfair investigation, their omission of all the substantial body of evidence that conclusively disproves their case, and their rejection of Ryanair’s undertakings.” Michael O’Leary claims to have spent two years approaching people to buy our stake in Aer Lingus “and nobody wants to buy it.” He says the commission “have covered up evidence” from British Airways and Air France saying first they are not interested in buying into Aer Lingus and secondly that Ryanair’s stake was not a barrier. He described the conclusion of the report as a “pre-meditated decision to force Ryanair to sell.”
Lovers of bad puns had cause to rejoice when it emerged that the inevitable Ryanair appeal will be led by Brussels-based Nicholas Levy (right), of competition law specialist firm Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton). You couldn’t make this stuff up.
“With twenty different legal actions going in different directions, I wouldn’t be surprised if we see a lawyer charge (a Nicholas Levy?) on our Ryanair air tickets soon.” Listen to Travel Extra’s Eoghan Corry on RTÉ’s Morning Ireland calling the Ryanair ruling in advance of the decision. Simon Calder commented on the following day’s programme “there’s a lot of things wrong with aviation all across Europe so why are we interfering with two Irish airlines?” Simon Polito explained his agenda on RTE’s News at One saying they had jurisdiction over Irish airlines in so far as they affect flights between England and Ireland. During August, Ryanair had 366 flights a week between the two islands, while Aer Lingus and its regional partner, Aer Arann, had 542 flights a week. Michael O’Leary claimed his airline is the victim of a “set up” in an interview on Bloomberg and said nobody wants to buy the Aer Lingus stake making his shares ‘worthless.’
The Department of Transport welcomed the Competition Commission’s decision, saying its principal concern has always been to “ensure continuing and effective competition in the air transport market”. Aer Lingus pondered that, even with a 5pc holding, Ryanair would remain its biggest shareholder, assuming the Government eventually sells its 25.1pc stake in Aer Lingus. Aer Lingus chairman Colm Barrington said it was “unacceptable” that Ryanair, its principal competitor, had been allowed to remain on the Aer Lingus share register. John Mulligan said that Ryanair’s takeover chances are now slim. Alec Burnside managing partner of Aer Lingus’s Brussels-based lawyers Cadwalader speculated all appeal stages against the decision in London could be completed “in under a year”. Mulligan calculated that the forced sale of its stake in Aer Lingus and mounting legal fees connected with the takeover battle could end up costing Ryanair around €250m. The Guardian noted that having already written down the €407m it paid for the Aer Lingus stake in 2007-09 to €80m, Ryanair could actually book a profit at the current share price. Commission documents show Aer Lingus held merger talks with another airline in 2012 before Ryanair launched a takeover bid last summer. “Despite the failure of those talks, Aer Lingus’s board has continued to investigate a tie-up with another company this year.”
In what may prove to be a significant development amidst the uncertainty of the DP sector, Low Cost Beds have signed a deal with the Irish Travel Agents Association under which Lowcostbeds will indemnify all ITAA members against potential claims and losses arising from the sale, promotion or use of accommodation booked with lowcostbeds.com. Clem Walsh of Low Cost Beds said Lowcost is keen to work closely with the ITAA and support them in what they described as their core market – Dynamic Packaging. “We are the only bed bank to offer this to them to date I am hopeful smaller agents will now DP with us as we’ve removed what was a rather worrying barrier for them.” The coverage, which is unique and apparently quite expensive, extends to all expenses, demands, damages and legal costs relating to a booking. Pat Dawson CEO of the ITAA and Gráinne Caffrey of Lowcostbeds are pictured signing the deal. As if as a reminder of the importance of cover like this, the deal coincided with the collapse of another DP bed bank parent, German travel group Navelar GmbH, leaving a red ink website and a grim aftertaste of consumer frustrations for those who booked with Clever-hotels.com.
100,000 people are expected to line the quays at Dublin for Flightfest on Sept 15. Aircraft for every decade will participate in the two hour flypast, including the B-17 Flying Fortress. Last week’s launch (young aviators Robert Kennedy, six, Arona Romeri, four, and Leon Tully, five, pictured at right) was covered in the Irish Independent and thejournal.ie among other media. The Liffey Quays will be pedestrianised between Dublin Port (East Link Toll Bridge) and the Custom’s House (Matt Talbot Bridge). An announcement about the best viewing areas within this zone is expected this week.
Summer sales from Ireland to Disneyland Paris were reported at over 40pc ahead of sales during the same period last year. Abbey Travel (website) and Neenan Travel (website) are each offering up to 40pc off hotel and park tickets for arrivals up to 2nd Apr 2014 (excluding Dec 24, 30 & 31, Feb 18-20), plus kids stay and play for free.
The ten best airports for transfers listed by Wayne Chen, president of gate-to-gate connect time app provider Mo’Zippity, were Zurich Airport (ZRH, pictured right) 10 mins; 2 Salt Lake City International (SLC) 11 mins; 3 Tampa International (TPA) 12 mins; 4 Orlando International (MCO) 15 mins; 5 Charlotte Douglas International (CLT) 16 mins; 6 Denver International (DEN) 18 mins; 7 London Stansted (STN) 19 mins; 8 Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International (FLL) 20 mins; 9 Dubai International (DXB) 21 mins; 10 Hong Kong International (HKG) 22 mins. Times were based upon the number of barriers and amount of time needed at each airport to get between its furthest gates once security and passport control lines have been cleared. The ten worst were Beijing Capital International (PEK) 1 hr 27 mins; 2 London Heathrow (LHR) 1 hr 25 mins; 3 Paris Charles de Gaulle (CDG) 1 hr 23 mins; 4 Shanghai Pudong International (PVG) 1 hr 18 mins; 5 Los Angeles International (LAX) 1 hr 10 mins; 6 Sydney Kingsford Smith (SYD) 1 hr 9 mins; 7 Tokyo Narita International (NRT) 1 hr 3 mins; 8 Boston Logan International (BOS) 1 hr 2 mins; 9 Frankfurt International (FRA) 1 hr 1 mins; 10 Chicago O’Hare International (ORD) 59 mins.
Fáilte Ireland has establishment a new forum to brand the Dublin region, the Grow Dublin Taskforce will be chaired by Lucy McCaffery of Dublin Port with representatives from Dublin Local Authorities, Dublin Chamber of Commerce, Dublin City BID, the Tourist Industry and Development Agencies. Picture shows Lord Mayor of Dublin Oisin Quinn, Labour councillor for Rathmines Pembroke, opening another unofficial (privately operated by Dualway, rather than Fáilte Ireland) Dublin Visitor Centre on O’Connell St with David McConn, CEO of City Sightseeing Dublin, Patricia McConn, Financial Controllor (left) and Linda McConn, Project Manager. Interestingly, Dublin Tourism CEO Paul Hayden raised concerns about unofficial tourist offices two years ago (also posted here). The Irish Times checked out some of the helpful and unpaid informal tourist offices scattered throughout the island.
Mid-sized cities in countries with low population densities are the most liveable, according to the Economist. Four Australian (plus one New Zealand) and three Canadian cities ranked in the top ten of the Economist Intelligence Unit annual index. Melbourne finished first for the third year in a row (the “Melbourne supremacy’), followed by 2 Vienna; 3 Vancouver (which spent 9 years in first place before Melbourne’s reign began); 4 Toronto; 5 (Joint) Calgary; 5 (Joint) Adelaide; 7 Sydney; 8 Helsinki; 9 Perth; 10 Auckland. Dublin finished 48th. The ranking scores 140 cities on a scale of zero to 100 for each of 30 factors such as the quality of public healthcare or the threat of military conflict. These 30 values are then combined to create scores in five areas: stability, infrastructure, education, health care, and culture and environment. A weighted average of those five numbers gives each city its final score. The Economist Intelligence Unit has deemed these cities to be the world’s least enticing: 140 Damascus; 139 Dhaka; 138 (Joint) Port Moresby; 137 (Joint) Lagos; 136 Harare; 134 (joint) Karachi; 134 (joint) Algiers; 133 Tripoli; 132 Douala; 131 Tehran.
Insight Vacations hosted delegates from Europe, Australia, North America, Singapore and elsewhere (above) in Dublin for their annual Global Sales Conference. Insight’s new Europe 2014 brochure was launched during the conference, featuring new itineraries such as Principalities of Europe, Country Roads of Croatia, and a four-day mini trip WW1 Battlefields. Insight Vacations was supported in the venture by trade sponsors, Etihad Airways and Amadeus, and is delivering its new Europe brochure to agents with discounts for early bookings. Picture on right shows John Boulding, President and Chief Executive, Insight Vacations, with Doreen Smyth of children’s charity Variety Ireland who received gifts from the delegates.
The travel trade is hosting a fun day for charity at ALSAA in Santry today, in aid of Pieta House and Make a Wish Ireland. Organised activities include a competition featuring 36 five-a-side soccer teams, a 5K Fun run, photos with the Liam McCarthy Cup, poc fada, golf and throw a wellie competitions and a childrens’ area with face painting, bouncy castles, a giant jenga and giant sumo which was gallantly manned by Dominic Burke last year. Last year’s Travel Industry’s family fun day raised €30,000 for charity. The event organised by a committee of Philip Airey (Sunway), Catherine Brennan (Travelport), Pat Dawson (Irish Travel Agents Association), Karen Maloney (Etihad), Yvonne Muldoon (United), Ciaran Mulligan (Blue Insurance), Sinead Reilly (Travelport), Lorraine Quinn (RCCL), and Dave Walsh (Etihad).
Michael O’Leary made a Swedish newsreader laugh with his “anonymous pilot, we are scared” routine (see full video of a colourful press conference, even by Michael O’Leary standards, here) during an announcement of seven new routes from Sweden, three of them from Skavsta (O’Leary again: “I have to admit I have never been to any of these God-forsaken places”). He strayed off topic during the main body of the press conference to repudiate claims in Swedish newspaper Södermanlands Nyheter (“I don’t understand Swedish law, you can’t sue a newspaper if you are a company”) that Ryanair pilots were forced to fly unpaid and fly when sick, and pointed out repeatedly that Ryanair’s schedule flight times are longer than actual flight times. He said that the sacked Channel 4 pilot John Goss had taken extra fuel on 401 out of 408 occasions he flew in the past twelve months and suffered no extra sanction: “does that suggest someone who is afraid of taking extra fuel?”
Norwegian brought their 787 Dreamliner to Dublin. This is Mike Kelly\s picture fo the beauty. Michael O’Leary commented on Norwegian’s move to establish its long haul operational headquarters in Ireland (40 minutes into video) and claimed “Norwegian’s average fare is €83 and rising faster than ours.”
Cork Convention Bureau hosted members of the Society of Incentive Travel Executives (Site Ireland) during a two day visit to showcase the business tourism offering of the region. Pictures shows Áine O’Keefe of Ovation, Linda McFadden of The Firm, Evelyn O’Sullivan of, Cork Convention Bureau and Dominic Daly of Old Head Golf Links visiting the Old Head Golf Links in Kinsale
Denise Connaughton, Lisa McNamara, Colm & Carly McDonagh, Proprietors, Annette Hynes & Eliza Geraghty all of One Stop Travel who have been awarded Irish Travel Agent of the Month in association with Thomas Cook Holidays. 1 Stop Travel are owned and managed by Husband & Wife Team Colm & Caryl McDonagh and are located in Odeon House, Eyre Square.
Minister Michael Ring, Joe Kennedy chairman Ireland West Airport Knock, and Joe Gilmore CEO of Ireland West Airport Knock making a presentation to Rachel Dale Manchester as the 100,000 Flybe passenger at Ireland West Airport Knock.
Staff at Killarney Lake hotel celebrating their 50th in the world place on the Expedia Global Insiders’ selected from 205,000 hotels worldwide: Gemma Dacayo, Alan Jones, Liam Campion, Pontus Glad, Tomas Ballek and Catherine Burke.
Here’s what happened in Travel this week:
- Video of the week is another dramatic elephant attack on a car in Kruger National park. A previous elephant incident two months ago has reached 250,000 views.
- Officially, as of yesterday, Ryanair became the first European airline to carry 9m passengers in one month.
- The DFA raised its advisory for Lebanon to avoid non-essential travel and said Irish citizens currently in Lebanon “may wish to reconsider their need to remain in the country at this time.” Airlines have offered free cancellations and rebooking on BEY flights up to and including Sept 30. Sharm El Sheikh charters are still planning to resume on Sept 11. The Westminster Government continues to exclude the Red Sea resorts from its advisory on Egypt, allowing Belfast charters to operate.
- CSO figures for May to July showed record 20.5pc growth from North America putting Ireland on course to beat the record of 1.028,000 American visitors in 2007. Long haul was up 11.9pc, mainland Europe up 5pc and Britain up 3.3pc. Trips by Irish residents abroad were up 3.2pc to 1,999,200.
- Aer Lingus winter schedule was officially unveiled, with most media accepting Dublin-Toulouse as a new route, despite the fact that the route operated as a charter last year and will be 80pc sold by Topflight this winter. Shannon-Lanzarote weekly and the twice daily turboprop Aer Lingus Regional Dublin to Newcastle route are the other new routes. The 60pc capacity increase to Boston is the most significant development in the announcement, and there are capacity increases on 11 other routes.
- The Commission for Aviation Regulation has reached agreement with the London based Civil Aviation Authority and the trustees of the Air Travel Trust to prevent holiday companies having to pay twice for financial protection from two jurisdictions, in advance of a proposed change in regulations on October 1st which would have led to double-bonding. About half a million northerners use Dublin airport as a point of departure each year.
- Delta is scheduled to offer a fully flat bed in its BusinessElite Cabin on all flights out of Ireland. The facility is currently available on most Dublin-JFK flights and will be available on Dublin-Atlanta from Nov 22. The US Department of Transportation gave Delta Air Lines initial approval for its $360m transatlantic tie-up with Virgin Atlantic. The countdown began to the big America/US Airways merger trial on November 25th. In the meantime, American Airlines and US Airways will continue to run independently as two separate carriers until the merger legally closes.
- Ryanair’s route from Dublin to Torino / Caselle International Airport (TRN) will resume from Dec 21st.
- There was sad news of a seasonal holiday tragedy in Majorca: Ryan Brady (19) from Belfast was found hanged in Magaluf after spending night out with friends in Santa Ponsa. Ryan had helped with the West Belfast Festival and was a contributor to the Féile youth committee.
- Irish hoteliers came out against the new public service broadcasting charge, IHF president Michael Vaughan (right) called it an indirect form of tourism taxation for guests.
- Irish Ferries passenger numbers were up slightly to 678,400 in the six months to June, number of cars carried was down by 4.2pc to 142,500, parent company ICG reported.
- Cruise ships in Alaska have had to change their advice about “the best places to shop” following a court case that claimed the lectures mislead guests: one shopkeeper says he had in the past paid $25,000 plus 10pc of sales to be part of the programmes. Onboard Media, Royal Media Partners, and the PPI Group, agreed to a $200,000 settlement with the state. An Australian travel planning website, Rome2rio, calculated that the “correct” return fare for Dublin-London should be €121.
- Boeing says it has completed the first 787-9, the second member of its Dreamliner family, six metres longer than the 787-8, with increased capacity and range, carrying 40 more passengers over an additional 300 nautical miles (555 km). It has signed up 25 customers so far. Ethiopian Airlines ordered a further eight Boeing 787s, less than two months after one of its Dreamliners caught fire at Heathrow.
- Mary Conway of Creation Travel in Limerick was selected as one of the three finalists at the cook off in Stockholm for the Celebrity Cruises’ Chef’s Challenge 2013.
- Clare Fianna Fáil TD Timmy Dooley demanded an investigation into Ryanair’s safety record claiming: I believe the airline could benefit from cooperating with an investigation to clear its name
- Dale Keller of The Board of Airline Representatives in the UK said that more people are travelling uninsured because of the perception that all risks are covered when a plane ticket is bought. He said European rules on flight delays and cancellations promote a “compensation culture” that will ultimately lead to higher fares and may place passengers in peril.
- The proposed Collooney to Claremorris Greenway hit an ownership snag over section of the disused Galway-Sligo railway line.
- The South African Gathering for Ireland took place, photograph shows early arrivals. Laura Knott-Craig, Reesma Akter, Adri Ratenbach, Nichola Sinnott and front Nicky Mostert.
- 120 delegations from UNWTO Members States gathered at Victoria Falls for the 20th Session of the UNWTO General Assembly. Taleb Rifai from Jordan was re-elected as Secretary-General. A plan to build a $300m ‘Disneyland in Africa‘ in Victoria Falls was floated by Zimbabwe tourism minister Walter Mzembi. The London Telegraph was particularly indignant at the idea.
- An AIB survey reported that 40pc of Dublin pubs say sales have increased since 2011 compared to just 24pc of rural pubs, 33pc of country pubs now operate shorter hours compared with 13pc of Dublin pubs.
- Italy’s controversial tourism tax for hotel overnights in major Italian Cities and resorts has been effectively increased to €1 per hotel star rating (i2 star €2, 3 star €3, 4 star €4, 5 star €5) per person per night, to be paid directly in hotel on departure.
- There was widespread coverage of eight unusual laws that holiday makers face abroad: Feeding pigeons is against the law in Venice. It is illegal to take some commonly available nasal sprays containing pseudoephedrine into Japan. It is against the law to wear a bikini, swimming trunks or to go bare-chested away from the beach front area of Barcelona. Chewing gum is strictly prohibited on the Mass Rapid Transit system in Singapore. It is an offence for anyone, including children, to dress in camouflage clothing in Barbados. It is illegal to take mineral water into Nigeria or to take more than 200 cigarettes into Thailand.. Sunbathing topless is prohibited in Fiji. In the Maldives public observance of religions other than Islam is prohibited for visitors.
- Aer Lingus signed a deal with Ulster rugby, unveiling new Ulster Rugby decals on their planes flying from Belfast City to London Heathrow and London Gatwick. Picture shows Paddy Wallace, Paddy Jackson and Tommy Bowe with Chloe O’Neill, Aer Lingus ground crew.
- Continuing what has been a great year for aviation events in Dublin, IATA’s 9th Maintenance Cost Conference takes place in the Hilton Hotel in Dublin Sept 11-13. Six weeks later, the third edition of the World Passenger Symposium takes place in Dublin Convention Centre Oct 29-31, focussing on the controversial New Distribution Capability as well as progress on “new programmes which will impact the passenger airport experience.” GDS’s have their sights on the NDC for some time now, claiming it “goes beyond formulating common standards” and “seeks to change the distribution system for the industry” so expect some Hallowe’en fireworks ion the north wall at this one.
- Etihad will maintain their Boeing 777-300ER service on Dublin to Abu Dhabi through the winter. Eithad has announced that midnight on September 30 is the cut-off for entries to this year’s Raise The Bar; where GAA clubs can win the ultimate prize, a year’s sponsorship package including €10,000 cash sponsorship, branded playing and training kit, coaching lessons from Nicky English and Joe Canning, fundraising prizes such as Etihad Airways flights and Hurling All Ireland tickets. Eithad has extended BusinessConnect, its loyalty program for businesses, to 11 new markets including Bahrain, Belarus, Kuwait, Lebanon, Malaysia, Nepal, the Netherlands, Oman, the Philippines, Qatar and Thailand.
- Falcon says that agents who make a Summer 2013 booking before September 19th will be entered into the draw for an ipad.
- One Stop Touring Shop launched a travel agent Facebook incentive where agents post reasons why their office should win prizes of beer, wine and takeaway pizza each Friday during the month of September.
- Royal Caribbean have launched a Facebook competition where families in 150 words, why they believe they should become the Royal Caribbean International ‘Royal Family’ along with a picture of their family. The wiining family official Royal Caribbean International ambassadors for 2014. The prize includes a 7-night holiday in the Caribbean on board Oasis of the Seas in February 2014, an invitation to the launch of the newest ship Quantum of the Seas in the autumn of 2014 and a family day on board Independence of the Seas in summer 2014.
- DIT’s School of Hospitality Management and Tourism have launched a new M.Sc. degree in Event Management and a modular degree in Tourism Management, flexibly arranged to facilitate those working in travel and tourism, with intakes in September and January 2014. Two other MSc courses, Hospitality Management and Tourism Management, have been revalidated and can be taken in full or flexible modular format. Details on the course and application process are available here or here.
- The next webinar in Fáilte Ireland’s series of web supports features insider tips on how to engage with the travel blogging community from Colm Hanratty (right), Social Media Manager for Hostelworld, in advance of TBEX travel bloggers conference in Dublin on October 3rd and 4th. A new series of web tutorials to help promote businesses on the internet will commence in Mullingar (Sept 10th, 9-12 AM); Galway (September 10th, 3-6 PM); Sligo (September 11th. 9-12AM); Donegal (Sept 11th. 3-6PM); and Dublin (Sept 12th. 9-12AM) combining a face-to-face session with online web tutorials.
- Michael Cox (pictured above at the 2011 ITAA conference) will give a Travel Professionals Skillnet Train The Trainer FETAC Level 6 course in Dublin City Centre Tuesdays Sept 11th, 18th, 25th & Oct 2nd (9am – 5pm), Cost €420, aimed at understanding different learning styles and prepare accordingly, evaluate different approaches to training, work effectively with a range of learner groups, design, deliver and evaluate a training programme effectively, develop and implement appropriate assessment methods, assess their comfort zone when delivering training and the impact it has on learners. Booking & Enquiries here.
- The United Airlines 26 counties v 6 counties golf event takes place on the O’Meara Course in Carton on Tuesday, John Cassidy of Cassidy Travel and Gary Boyd of Bryan Somers are the respective captains.
- Brian MacIntyre’s 10 things a cyclist notices about rural Ireland (right) included the observation that the official star system for rating B&Bs in Ireland is largely irrelevant. His blog can be read on rotharrepublic.wordpress.com. Other observations: Irish people are obsessed with ice-cream when the sun shines, Ireland does not wake up until 11.30am on Sundays, the painted walls of houses become more garish in colour in places where economic hardship seems to have hit hardest, Ireland’s single best descent on a bike is the downward slope from Mizen to Durrus looking out on Dunmanus Bay, our country is staggeringly beautiful in a way that does not depend on the sun, lone Irish women are nervous and defensive when encountering a man on the street when he himself is alone, the vital heart of rural Ireland is shifting from church and pub to GAA, post office and supermarket.
- Qantas launched a new membership card allowing users to store foreign currency, access cash worldwide via ATM withdrawals, and earning frequent flyer points on spending in Australia and overseas. Qantas reported that underlying profit doubled as international losses shrunk. Qantas and Qantas Link previewed the new interiors on their Airbus A330 fleet and select Boeing 717 aircraft.
- Dublin Airport reached its 40,000th follower on Twitter. Dublin is now the sixth biggest airport on Twitter with 40,000 followers more than Paris CDG or Frankfurt. DAA launched the first language scheme for the company which will see it provide an improved level of information and services in Irish for both customers and staff.
- Accor appointed private equity specialist Sebastien Bazin as chairman and chief executive but there was no hint on a rumoured shift towards franchising or managing hotels for others rather than owning them.
- Skal Dublin chapter’s September function will be on Tuesday, September 10 in Old Jameson Distillery, Bow Street, Smithfield, 6.30pm, €30 for members and guests.
- American Airlines international itineraries are now able to be processed via Travelport Rapid Reprice and ARNE for subscribers to Galileo and Worldspan. The facility provides travel agents with an automated process to reprice air tickets when a traveler wishes to make a change to their flight arrangements either before departure or during travel. Travelport Rapid Reprice calculates any additional collection and penalty fees associated with the change .
- The 58th Annual International Festivals and Events Association Convention & Expo takes place in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania on September 16 – 18th 2013.
- The 200 survivors amongst 100 rare Vietnamese clams seized at Dublin Airport destined for the black market were taken to Oceanworld Aquarium in Dingle.
- The Irish Craft Beer and Cider Festival takes place at the RDS September 5-8th, featuring 30 craft beverage producers. The Cider Sanctuary will have a NanoBar with newly established cider makers and participants include O’Hara’s, Dungarvan, White Gypsy, Eight Degrees, Trouble, Galway Hooker, Galway Bay, West Kerry and Dingle. Cider makers include but are not limited to MacIvors, Stonewell, Armagh and Tempted. The Whiskey Corner includes brands such as Teelings and Dingle Distillery. Craft brewery sales rose by 42.5pc last year and are expected to increase by at least a further 35pc this year with over half of the existing 37 breweries/cider makers having been set up since 2009. The festival is expected to attract over 8,000 attendees throughout the weekend.
- Expedia TAAP launched a new website for Irish Travel Agents, with a redesigned single login feature and seamless navigation thru the TAAP booking and reporting features now integrated into the Expedia.ie page. It is the first of a series of agent website launches internationally. “Travel Agents will love the new Expedia TAAP platform,” says Mirco De Pellegrin (right) who heads up the Expedia TAAP in Europe. ”The new platform has been designed to deliver consistent benefits to our Affiliates through easy, simple access to the Expedia booking engine and simpler reporting functionality.”” The former www.expedia.ie/travelagents URLs are still valid and redirects to the new site www.expedia.ie/TAAP. ATTS provide on the ground local contact: firstname.lastname@example.org or +3531517 1525.
- On the week after Citiescapes completed a successful tour of North Korea, the first by an Irish based operator, it was reported that the country is making “big efforts” to develop its tourism sector, with plans to open new flights to the capital Pyongyang and allow tourists to visit “all year round”. Five motorcycle tourists from New Zealand made a rare crossing of the Korean border. Alan Lynch is already planning another tour of North Korea as part of his programme for 2124.
- Turkish airlines are running a Facebook competition in partnership with the upcoming Flightfest on September 15th on their Facebook page. Entry to the competition qualifies you for a chance to win a return trip for two to Istanbul, flights and accommodation included.
- The Tourist Authority of Thailand launched its Facebook Photo Contest for women over 40 who feel that they are fit and healthy for their age, part of TAT’s find your fabulous wellness and medical tourism campaign. To win a three-day trip to Bangkok, ladies must become Facebook fans of ThailandMedTourism
- Travel Professionals Skillnet is recruiting 12 Job Seekers who are ready and eager to develop their careers in the travel industry, through the Travel Professionals Essential Skills Programme 2013. The course commences on Monday 9th September and runs over 20 days of intensive training followed by 20 days work placement with a member agency.
- Emirates has launched of non-stop passenger services to Taipei, its 16th destination in the Far East. Emirates plans to more than double its network of US destinations in the next three to five years to a total of 15 US cities.
- Tourism Malaysia has appointed Junus bin Suhid (right) as its new director in Ireland and Britain.
- Turkish Airlines carried 22.4m passengers in the first six months of the year, up 26pc year-on-year and aims to increase passenger numbers to 46m this year from 39m last. A weak lira cut net profit by a third in the second quarter.
- British Airways‘ Karen Keogh hosted a bowling night to thank the team of American Holidays support over the past year. American holidays presented their RCCL cruise prize winners during the week (right), Ann McGrane, Paul Gallagher, Ann O’Connell and Stephen Whelan:
- Tourism Authority of Thailand are showcasing Thai Food to the world through ten infographics.
- The Westbury Hotel and the Abbey Theatre present ‘Down Off His Stilts’- a dramatic dinner theatre experience on Wednesday, September 11th, 7.30pm,
- Dún Laoghaire Harbour Company launched a public consultation on the development of a floating swimming pool and ‘urban beach’ alongside East Pier of Dún Laoghaire Harbour.
- Celtic Link Ferries will be the only ferry company sailing between Ireland and France in January and most of February in 2014. Celtic Link Ferries will begin their January schedule on January 14th after taking a few weeks off which are required for ship maintenance.
- Lusty Beg Island has revamped its spa on a private Island in County Fermanagh using VOYA’S signature products.
- Airport Hopper has launched a second direct daily shuttle bus service from Maynooth, Leixlip, Lucan, St. Edmundsbury and Liffey Valley to and from Dublin Airport. They already operate a service from the Square in Tallaght.
- Delta has distributed 19,000 Windows phone handheld devices to flight attendants worldwide.
- Lough Eske resort has launched the Guinness Week Menu, Oyster and Guinness Risotto with Watercress, Beef and Guinness Stew with Guinness Bread, Warm Chocolate Brownie with Guinness Ice Cream, A Guinness Truffle and pint of Guinness are also included for a very reasonable €35 per head.
- The 11th World Flower Show has been confirmed for the RDS, Dublin in June 2014.
- Vincent Sheehy will lead a guided walk at Powerscourt River Walk on September 7th at 11am.
- Western tourists run the risk of causing unwitting offence with their hand gestures, according to a survey. Pan intrasun do a powerpoint presentation of hand gestures to watch.
- Jim McAuslan of London based pilots union BALPA (right) raised concerns about pilot fatigue.
- Dozens were injured after turbulence caused by Tropical Storm Kong-rey affected two flights arriving from Thailand into Hong Kong. Injuries included a broken collar-bone.
- Fifty Shades Freed by EL James topped Travelodge’s “books left behind index” the second year that a Fifty Shades titles has won.
- The programme for European Heritage Open weekend in the north was announced for September 14-15, including Living History re-enactments and open days at the Ulster Aviation Society at Long Kesh.
- A Bangkok tour bus operator was arrested for stealing from tourists.
- India banned flat screen televisions from airline luggage.
- One of three planes owned by one of the world’s wealthiest men, the Sultan of Brunei, touched down in Dublin (right), but nobody is entirely sure for what reason
- Canadian authorities rescued 40 distressed pythons from a hotel room in Brantford.
- Aer Arann (Aer Lingus Regional) reported that 80,000 Irish passengers used London Southend Airport and passenger numbers were up 28pc on last year.
- Turkey’s competition board has launched an investigation into Turkish Airlines after its rival Pegasus complained it had abused its dominant position in the market.
- Canada’s WestJet Airlines has reached a preliminary agreement to purchase 65 737 MAX aircraft from Boeing, moving to expand its fleet with more fuel-efficient aircraft.
- The town hosting Spain’s annual tomato-throwing festival, La Tomatina is charging a fee for the first time.
- A study by Mandala Research showed that 30pc of tourists deliberately choose destinations based on the availability of activities related to local food and drink,
- Tour America Annual Sale Day will have 38 exhibitors at The Red Cow Moran Hotel on Sunday October 6th, 10am -6pm, including Orlando, Las Vegas, New York, Royal Caribbean and NCL Prizes include a holiday for two to Orlando. Free Admittance.
- A feature on Glasnevin graveyard tourism CEO Mervyn Colville joked that he is “the only CEO who can claim to have 1.5m people under him.”
- Air Berlin is considering a new service to London City airport from Germany.
- Palacio del Inka in Cusco has joined The Luxury Collection portfolio following an extensive $15m renovation.
- An exhibition, Here Comes the Bride, will open at Beit Hatfutsot in Tel Aviv University on Wednesday September 18th 2013 until February 28th 2014.
- Regina Curran from Tully’s Travel won weekly €250 One4all voucher from Hertz.
- A dramatic cliff diving competition is set to return to the Pembrokeshire coast in Wales for the second consecutive year.
- As plans are announced for a Forth Rail Bridge viewing platform, the London Telegraph looked at other bridges where adventurous tourists can reach new heights. The London Telegraph reported that only 6pc of English people can name all the ancient Wonders of the World.
- Bjorn Hanson, dean of New York University‘s school of Hospitality and Tourism said that ancillary fees collected by the hotel industry in the USA will hit $2.1bn this year.
- Dataleix reported revenues rose 13pc in the first six months of 2013 to $17.7m.
- After 140 years Thomas Cook has finally called time on its European Rail Timetable.
- More than 1,400 redhead revellers from 52 countries travelled to the southern Dutch city of Breda for redhead day yesterday. Visitors included a flight consisting entirely of redheads – from passengers to pilot and crew. Approximately just 1–2 per cent of the human population born with red hair and Scotland (not Ireland) has the highest proportion of the population. The redhead festival has been held since 2005.
- 22,000 visitors attended the second Taste of Cavan food event in Cavan town which involved 60 food producers from the Cavan.
The Majestic Minima Hotel Adelaide has become a Hotel and Art Gallery Merged.
- Rannveig Snorradottir (right) from Destination Management Company Tumlare came to Dublin to meet tour operators who are working with SAS & Tumlare to feature northern lights packages for this coming winter.
- Gregan’s Castle Hotel reports increased international guests throughout the summer months and this was no doubt helped by many favourable articles about Gregan’s Castle Hotel in foreign newspapers and magazines such as Le Figaro, The Boston Globe, The Spectator, Reader’s Digest Canada and The New York Times.
- Prolific Indian travel writer Rishad Saam Mehta (right) stopped by to research the walking routes and trails on offer in Galway and Mayo with the support of Tourism Ireland.
- Check out travel writer Graham Howe’s account of his visit to the Titanic centre in Belfast.
- The London Independent listed their choice of 10 best last-minute travel websites: 1 Travel Republic; 2 Directline Holidays; 3 TravelZoo; 4 LastMinute; 5 Conde Nast Traveller Secret Deals; (members-only); 6 Explore!; 7 Voyage Prive; 8 Secret Escapes; 9 Best at Travel; 10 Bownty. The London Independent also published a guide to photo holidays (“flights, camera, action”).
- Simon Calder reminded consumers people why travel agents matter: Agents often have access to “IT fares” that the airlines supply in an under-the-counter fashion, for sale at low prices only if bundled with accommodation as an “inclusive tour”.
- Following a recent fatal accident, the London Telegraph suggested how to avoid risks and find a reliable gondola ride in Venice.
- Some bons mots from Katherine Cleary in the Irish Times: “I’ve never been to Dubai. Somehow I imagine it is like a ginormous Kildare Village. With more sand. Having never been to Kildare Village either, I could be wrong.”
- A poll by Japanese airline ANA revealed the dream flight; you live nine miles from their departure airport, board 32 minutes after check-in, take a window seat in the middle of the aircraft, drink champagne 27 minutes after departure, eat a chicken dinner 48 minutes after departure, watch the James Bond film Skyfall and sleep for 31 minutes. George Clooney would be in the cabin crew (the English prefer David Walliams).
- A cure for jet-lag? “Scientists have found a specific gene which stops body clock re-setting. A pill could now be developed which could beat the misery of jet lag.” Okay, it was reported in the Daily Mail. We know, we know.
- Irish Ferries that its reservations system for services to France in 2014 is now open and the company is offering a 10pc early booking discount.
- The Aer Lingus Sale of your Dreams has savings on 100 routes to Britain, Europe and the USA. Travel October to March, book by Wednesday September 11. See the cute retro video.
- Ryanair launched 100,000 €14.99 seats on 1,000 European routes for travel on Mon, Tue, Wed & Thur in September and October.
- Emirates have a sale running until Sep 15, travel by end March 2014
- Tropical Sky are offering savings up to €320 on departures to Mauritius, Cuba and Mexico including flights from Dublin.
- British Airways fare sale fares include New York from €472 return, LA from €541 book before September 24th. travel Sept 15th to June 22nd, blackouts apply on some routes.
- Falcon Holidays released end of season seat only fares to Malaga, Faro and Palma with fares from €99 return.
- Delta winter sale is offering fares to US destinations, book by Sept 26, travel between Sep 15 and June 22 (excluding Christmas period).
- Killester Travel’s Joe Cuddy and Cara O’Sullivan golf and entertainment trip 2013 takes place to Pinta, Villa Sol, Silvas and for the 10 nighters an extra round on Gramacho, September 23rd – 30th or September 20th to 30th.
- Brittany Ferries are promoting an Autumn offer to entice more people to travel to France in September and October.
- Lowcostbeds.com have launched a September Sale with up to 25pc of selected destinations. Book by Sept 21st.
- Students travelling from Ireland to Britain with Stena Line can make the journey to university for free from Friday last, August 30th. The offer is available on all of Stena Line’s Irish Sea routes and one adult can travel from €89 single and bring a car full of students for free, book before Sept 30, travel before Oct 31.