Clem Walshe of Lowcost Beds told guests at his travel trade event in Dobbins that 45pc up on last year and that 26pc more agents had signed up to his DP business. “I would urge Irish agents to take a look at their DP offering and ask how we can help them.” Lowcost has increased its reach from 13,000 to 36,000 travel agents. Alex Gisbert said the “reality is bed bank is small margin business forces us to update our product all our time, technology is expensive and we make that commitment on behalf of the agent and aggregate the cost out among 36,000 of you.” He said Irish clients had the highest amount of calls per booking and the most amount of special requests. “What we should be competing against is what you are competing against – people are walking into agents with phone, saying that is the price on booking.com and asking what can you do for me. We hope to give you more business over next 12 months.” See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.
Dave Walsh of Etihad, who sponsor the All-Ireland hurling championship told his guests at last Sunday’s dramatic final that he did not care who won as long as there was a winner and not another replay with its impact on the airline’s hospitality budget. Clare corner-back Dómhnall O’Donovan had other thoughts. Niall Quinn entertained the guests with stories of his playing days and his return to play GAA in Eadestown. The final replay will be at 5pm on Saturday 28 September. See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook. And for those who missed what happened, listen in to Clare FM commentator Syl O’Conner and Niall Gilligan trying to keep their cool during the dramatic finale, (you don’t have to listen to the full clip, the excitement rises from 3.20 on). Dave Walsh is pictured on left, as legendary broadcaster Micheál Ó Muircheartaigh entertained the guests with tales of former years.
Flight Fest organisers expect 100,000 spectators to line the River Liffey today Sunday Sept 15 from 2pm to 5pm to watch 30 aircraft perform a fly-by starting from Dublin Bay and passing the Pigeon House chimneys before swooping over the East Link toll bridge and past the Custom House. A forecast of gales and heavy rain not having dampened the enthusiasm that has already inspired 60 pages of discussion on boards.ie even before the first craft has flown. The fly-past will feature 35 aircraft from every decade from the 1930s right up to 2013. The star attraction of the many amazing craft on display will be the Catalina Flying Boat (pictured). Even Ryanair are participating: Dublin Based Captain, Aidan Murray and First Officer, Colette Daly, will fly one of Ryanair’s Boeing 737-800 aircraft as part of the airshow. A Flightfest “from idea to take off” video has been uploaded.
Scandinavian nations dominated the 2013 World Happiness Report, with Ireland ranked 18th in the world, just behind USA at 17th, with an average happiness score of 7.076 (out of 10) for the years 2010 to 2012, just about as happy as we were during the Tiger years. Denmark was top and Togo bottom in the 156-nation survey published by the United Nations Sustainable Development Solutions Network: 1 Denmark; 2 Norway; 3 Switzerland; 4 Netherlands; 5 Sweden; 6 Canada; 7 Finland; 8 Austria ; 9 Iceland; 10 Australia; 11 Israel; 12 Costa Rica; 13 New Zealand; 14 UAE; 15 Panama; 16 Mexico; 17 USA; 18 Ireland; 19 Luxembourg; 20 Venezuela.
Martin Penrose announced he is departing Topflight Worldwide to head up the Irish operation of Scottish-based Ifonly.net. Tony Collins of Topflight said “Topflight are actively recruiting for the Worldwide team and we have ambitious plans. We appreciate what Martin Penrose (and Brian McCarthy who resigned to follow a separate path two weeks ago) have done and the level they have brought Topflight Worldwide to and we are parting on good terms. We have come a long way. When Martin Penrose and Brian McCarthy started they were part of a team of three, now we have a team of 10.”
Richard Aldous claimed in his new biography that Tony Ryan was Ireland’s Gatsby. Excerpts from the book claimed that Tony Ryan tried to sell a 25pc stake in Ryanair to BA and showed that Tony Ryan had had to scour the newsagents shops around Dublin to find Michael O’Leary. They quote Tony Ryan in 2004 saying: “I am becoming more and more convinced that Michael O’Leary’s utterances are very negative for the company.” The London Telegraph/Irish Independent speculated that Ryanair’s business model might be broken and the profits warning could refocus the airline on good service, and away from clever tricks “that have made Ryanair one of the most profitable airlines in the world: ”excess baggage charges, a 2pc credit card charge, a €70 penalty for failing to print out your boarding pass, €3 for a small bottle of water.” An article in the Phoenix magazine said Michael O’Leary’s would-be successor is going to have to carry “increasingly daunting burden” of his policy of depreciating airline value over 23 years not 16 as other airlines do.
Richard Wakely director of Belfast Festival said there will be seven Irish premieres at Belfast Festival Oct 17-27. Including the infamous bullet catcher trick that was shunned by Houdini and has cost 12 lives in mishaps over the 350 years it has been performed. Pictured at the launch of the 51st Belfast Festival at Queens to be staged on Oct 17-27, Anne McMullan of VisitBelfast, Richard Wakely director of Belfast Festival, and Fiona Cunningham director of the NITB office in Belfast. Pictrued in Patrick Guilbaud’s Dublin, September 12 2013.
Shay Mitchell formerly of Galileo, Eileen Penrose of Emirates (TIGS captain) and Sinead Reilly of Travelport (sponsor) pictured at the TIGS captains day at Carton on Thursday. See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.
John Concannon, Failte Ireland with Shannon Stowell, Casey Hanisko and Chris Doyle, ATTA (Adventure Travel Trade Association) who attended the Fáilte Ireland Adventure Tourism Conference in The Falls Hotel, Ennistymon. The conference was attended by 100 Irish activity and adventure providers who were given access to 45 key specialist overseas travel agents at a workshop.
Turkish Airlines has officially opened its new Istanbul Arrival Lounge at Ataturk Airport. Business Class passengers, and Economy or Comfort Class passengers with Elite Plus membership, will be able to use the lounge on arrival in Istanbul following international flights daily from 0500 to 1300. The lounge measures 250 sqm and contains 38 seats, showers and changing rooms.
- The DFA advisory on Egypt, was updated during the week, Syria remains on full “citizens should leave alert and Lebanon a notch below it on advising Irish citizens to “reconsider their need to remain in the country.” The suspension of Sharm El Sheikh flights from Dublin, shared by Falcon Holidays and Thomas Cook, has been extended until Christmas (from September 25), but the Wednesday charter from Belfast continues to operate under Westminster’s advisory which still exempts the Red Sea resorts from its “don’t travel advice.
- Aer Lingus followed Ryanair in downgrading their guidance (no longer blaming the heat wave) for the year. They will reduce short haul capacity by 3pc in Q4. Projected 2013 profit is down to €60m from €69m.
- Ryanair said all of its Warsaw flights will transfer from Warsaw Chopin back to Warsaw Modlin Airport from Monday September 30, following completion of runway repair works and a new commercial agreement with the airport.
- Christoph Müller told Germany’s Aerotelegraph that Aer Lingus is to offer flat beds in business class starting in 2015. Aer Lingus say this is due to the strength of bookings on their restarted San Francisco route next year. Müller says Aer Lingus transatlantic capacity will increase by 24pc in 2014, that Aer Lingus has identified cost savings of between €35m and €50m that would result from merger with another airline and that merger talks are ongoing. O’Leary and Muller manage to engineer temporary détentes when Aer Lingus issues quarterly results. Christoph Müller said Ryanair has gone from “being akin to Robin Hood when it started life back in the ’80s, to being the Sheriff of Nottingham.”
- Air France KLM has appointed Warner Rootliep (pictured) as general manager in London office, responsible for Ireland & Britain. Nicolas Henin becomes commercial director responsible for Ireland & Britain.
- Ryanair released an elaborate video statement from Chief Pilot, Capt Ray Conway, CEO, Michael O’Leary and solicitor, Paul Tweed on Thursday’s defamation settlement with the Daily Mail at Belfast High Court. Ryanair forced an African telecoms group Telkom to identify the person who has made internet postings using the tag alwaysflying. Ryanair is taking nine court actions over online comments. The Irish Times commented that rooting out the identities of people – presumably some of whom are Ryanair pilots – who make anonymous online postings about the internal operation of the airline, and then going to the High Court to make them apologise and pay money to charity, doesn’t sound like the kind of corporate strategy that engenders a culture of open criticism and debate.
- EU Commissioner Neelie Kroes (pictured) wants to end mobile phone roaming charges starting in July 2014.
- The Irish Aviation Authority allocated €500,000 to Waterford airport for improvements.
- Agriculture minister Simon Coveney lauded Irish Whiskey’s impact on tourism at the sod turning for a €35m distillery in Tullamore.
- The High Court in Belfast heard mention of a defamation case Ryanair is taking against British broadcaster, Channel 4, the Daily Mail and the Mirror Group.
- Paul Carty of Guinness Storehouse (pictured) pointed out that 20,000 businesses and 180,000 jobs were dependent on tourism.
- CBRE Hotels put Moyvalley Hotel and golf course in Enfield, Co Kildare on the market by Private Treaty. The 188-bedroom Quality Hotel & Suites, Killarney is up for sale for €3m.
- BA joined the rush to charge for checked baggage (but not from Dublin): passengers travelling without checked baggage to Amsterdam, Barcelona, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Paris, Rome, Rotterdam and Stockholm will get a £10 discount on the cheapest tickets from Sept 24.
- Leo Varadkar said the lower 9pc VAT for the tourism sector should be extended into next year. The final decision will rest with the Department of Finance. The Restaurants Association president Pádraic Óg Gallagher of Gallagher’s Boxty House (pictured) said in his pre-Budget submission that restaurants all over Ireland are “relying on VAT to remain at 9pc for survival.”
- There were fears from unions that European plans to ease restrictions on pilots’ flying hours could put passengers at risk by watering down rules to prevent fatigue.
- Easyjet is to add two new services from Belfast International for summer 2014 to Jersey and Bordeaux and cancel its Belfast to Southend service from January 6. The airline now has six aircraft based at Belfast with annual passenger numbers of more than 3m.
- Royal Caribbean is to reorganise so that its three cruise operations, Royal, Celebrity and Azamara will each be marketed by separate teams. See the October print edition of Travel Extra for the full (and very complicated) story. Lorraine Quinn (pictured) is to leave the company in December for separate, family reasons, having completed the reorganisation process. Jo Rzymowska is to head up Celebrity in Britain.
- Easyjet brought in mobile boarding passes at Gatwick. The technology is now available for around 85 per cent of the Easyjet network.
- Aer Lingus refunded a €742 fare to an American toddler who turned two during trip to Ireland
- Shannon reported a 35pc increase in trans-Atlantic passengers in August compared with August 2012, overall passenger numbers were up 3pc. Dublin Airport reported 2.2m passengers in August, 8pc up on the same period last year
- Hotels.com said Irish hotel prices rose 2pc in first half of 2013 to an average of €92. Hotel prices rose in the majority of major cities during the first half of 2013,, with the biggest increases seen in Cancun, Sharm El Sheikh and Marrakech.
- Lufthansa is to stream inflight entertainment by wifi direct to passenger mobiles on medium sector routes from next year.
- La grève resumed, French air traffic controllers went back on strike for 36 hours.
- LOT is to axe 12 international services from October 27 to Beirut, Bydgoszcz, Cairo, Dusseldorf, Helsinki, Nice, Rome, Stuttgart and Zurich. LOT said the routes in question are either seasonal or did not provide sufficient long-haul feed to its Warsaw hub..
- Gresham Hotel Group parent Precinct Investments reported a pre-tax loss of €1.2m in 2012, down from €26.2m in 2011.
- There was a shock ruling by Bord Pleanála against segregated cycleways along Irish roads. The planning appeals board refused permission to Kerry County Council for an upgrade of the N86, a scenic road from Tralee to Dingle which would have included a segregated cycleway along its 28km length. Dublin plans a five-fold increase in cycle routes in the city and its surrounding counties, it wants to raise the number of people cycling in the city to 75,000 a day by 2021.
- DAA and the Dublin Theatre Festival won the award for best long-term partnership at the Allianz Business to Arts awards for the DAA’s sponsorship of the festival since 2007
- BA launched Executive Club Lifetime Tier Points, the scheme will see British Airways add Tier Points earned in the past to a new lifetime balance.
- Hampton by Hilton opened its first hotel in Russia, the 148-room Hampton by Hilton Voronezh, which is the brand’s 21st property in Europe.
- Customers took to internet forums to complain about airport transfer companies Resorthoppa and A2B after bank cards they used to book travel arrangements were allegedly misused
- Qatar Airways will become a full member of Oneworld from October 30.
- Air France will convert subsidiary airline Transavia into a low-cost carrier, according to a report in. The airline was profitable in 2012 for the first time since its launch in 2007. La Tribune newspaper reported that Transavia expects to double in size in three years. Ryanair responded: “Air France does not have the culture of the low cost. Moreover 49 euros is not low cost.
- Thai Airways blacked out the logo on their Thai Airways Airbus A330-300 plane after flight TG679 skidded off the runway while landing at Bangkok’s main airport, injuring 14 passengers.
- US Airways accidentally sent out boarding passes with the wrong names or flight numbers on Tuesday through their mobile phone app. The problem was fixed after about three hours.
- The English Guardian’s guide on how to claim for holiday disasters stated: If you’re unhappy with your travel insurer’s response, you should first contact its in-house complaints procedure, then take the case to the Financial Ombudsman.
- Silversea are to launch a third cruise ship which will sail to the Russian Far East, the Sub-Antarctic and remote areas of Micronesia, Melanesia and Polynesia.
- Clare have another All-Ireland no matter what happens in the replay. Loop Head twill be awarded Irish Times Best Place to Holiday in Ireland award at a ceremony today, Sunday Sept 15.
- Huriing teams from four continents are arriving for the Aer Lingus international hurling festival.
- Jean-Pierre Lecoq, the mayor of the Paris district which houses the Pont des Arts, says the weight of the increasing number of padlocks left as love offerings can cause safety issues for the bridge
- Las Vegas visitors who party too hard have an option from medspa REVIV at MGM Grand which has offered an IV drip to revive hydration a little more high tec
- Carnival cruise line announced a new money-back guarantee that will apply to most of its sailings in a new effort to win back the trust of consumers.
- There are reports that Egypt‘s tourism pain is turning into Tunisia’s gain.
- Burma eased restrictions on its border crossings to allow travel throughout the country from neighbouring Thailand.
- 10Best Readers’ Choice contest for Best Iconic American Attraction was won by Graceland.
- Qantas is to extend their pre-order meal service to premium economy, it was launched last year as exclusive to business class and has been rolled out on more flights.
- A poll showed a quarter of cruise passengers want ships to become smoke-free zones.
- A flight to Seattle made an emergency landing after a passenger used a homemade laser device to burn holes into the aircraft’s seats.
- Trump Hotels plans to open Trump Hotels Collection in Washington landmark The Old Post Office Building – located between the White House and the Capitol in 2016.
- The International Olymnpic Committee’s decision to award Tokyo the 2020 Olympics is a vote of confidence in Japan and its safety, say tour operators.
- England’s National Trust is to offer a one-off tour of the London TV show Big Brother house in Hertfordshire.
- Accor is to launch an Ibis Business card available from September 25 and will offer members benefits including guaranteed room availability at up to two days’ notice
- Vietnam is proving increasingly popular, according to new research, with sales of its currency doubling since last summer.
- Farmers in Jamaica are offering tours of the island’s cannabis plantations.