Travel Extra Sunday Blog: Spanish summit for ITOF and ITAA

Wise man that he is, Gonzalo Ceballos of the Spanish Tourist Board thought it prudent to choose All Ireland hurling final replay evening to take Pat Dawson and Flann Clune away from the contentious climate of Croke Park. He is to bring to Palma the Clare-born CEO of ITOF and the Cork-based (not born, but Carlow are not going to be in an All Ireland hurling final anytime soon) CEO of the ITAA together with their respective boards. There will be some golf, a joint meeting and a Camp David accord style (Camp Gonzalo) peace deal can be anticipated. Picture shows Gonzalo Ceballos of the Spanish Tourist Board with the Irish Tour Operators Federation delegates at the AGM in the Hotel La Zenia south of Alicante last year: Flann Clune CEO of ITOF, Helen Caron of Falcon Holidays/TUI Thomson, Kevin Nolan of Topflight, incoming president of ITOF John Devereux of American Holidays, Philip Airey of Sunway, Ray Scully of Crystal and John Kinane of Thomas Cook Ireland.itof cropped

Peace in our time? Perhaps, but not yet. The rumour circulated all week that Ryanair are to restart cooperation with travel agents after 12 years of what often resembled open warfare. Not much information was forthcoming at Friday’s announcement. Michael O’Leary told the tenth World Low Cost Conference in London earlier in the week. Michael O’Leary told the tenth World Low Cost Conference in London that he is prepared to sell tickets via travel agents rather than solely through Ryanair’s own mechanisms, in a bid to connect with more corporate buyers and business fliers. He said “we work with travel agents at the moment – 12pc-15pc of sales are made by agents. We’re not actively working against them. We’ve licensed a number of price-comparison sites who make it easier for agents.” Michael O’Leary said captcha will remain in place for travel agents and “for those who flood the airline’s site seeking quotes.” Ciara O’Brien reported that in a test it took more than 2½ minutes to get through the Ryanair booking process, from searching out flights to getting to the point where you hand over your card details and pay for them. A survey earlier in the year estimated it took eight minutes and claimed it takes more clicks to book Ryanair than any other airline. The Irish Indo commented that shareholder activism is a relatively new concept for Ireland. The press statement from the shareholders meeting concentrated on Ryanair’s new digital strategy.

Answering shareholders questions, O’Leary vowed to change the ‘macho’ culture at Ryanair.  Ryanair’s promise to reform its ‘abrupt culture’ met with some sceptical comment. The London Telegraph described O’Leary as flying in the face of history. As O’Leary commented that sensitive situations could have been dealt with better, and Ryanair does not want to be penalising people for having a bag that was a millimetre too big. the Irish Times commented that the thought of a touchy feely Michael O’Leary is even scarier than the current, combative incarnation.

travel agents to boycott

It is a different world since Ryanair reduced the commission it paid to agents from 9pc to 7.5pc in April 1997 (ah the memories, Chris Dooley’s report of PJ Brennan’s response, is pictured). Ryanair reduced commission further to 5pc in 2000, and then in 2002 became the first airline to go to zero commission and cut off agent access to its inventory. It variously described Travel Agents in its statements as parasites, rip off middlemen, and the greatest deadwood in the travel industry. As agents continued to use Ryanair, Michael O’Leary accused more than 300 agencies of screen-scraping in 2008 and complained to the European Commission. It insisted it would cancel bookings made through third-party sites and began taking legal action against travel agents that it detected reselling flights, including an action against Liam Lonergan who had been a founding partner in the airline in 1986. Last year O’Leary continued to describe agents as “a bunch of scam artists,” promising: “We’ll continue until we bury the bastards. We’ll nail them to every stake. They flip prices up 10pc-15pc.” John Galligan responded to the news: “as someone who was awarded the Ryanair Travel Agency Excellence Award decades ago, I want you to know we will be glad to welcome you when you drop in on a sales call, seeking our business. We’ll have the kettle on.” We will be watching this space with interest.

Listen to Travel Extra’s Eoghan Corry talking about the Ryanair developments and autumn breaks on the Marian Finucane show here.

Michael O’Leary insisted he’s still the right person to run Ryanair for the next decade. “I’ve always been soft, just a little bit misunderstood. I can’t think of anyone softer, kinder or more caring than myself,” he said.

Michael O’Leary told the World Low Cost Confererence that Ryanair was still committed to a long haul operation but prices of aircraft are too high at present.trish olwen volker

Amadeus launched Amadeus Cruise Shop in Ireland and Britain after a six month trial period with American Holidays, eTravel and Tour America. Crusie Shop is a browser based shopping and booking product designed to enable agents to create a booking in under two minutes using the streamlined Fast Sell feature with step-by-step search and booking process. Picture shows Trish O’Leary, Olwen McKinney and Volker Lorenz of Amadeus Ireland.

5,300 of the 40,000 stranded tourists in Acapulco were taken to Mexico City. Two passenger planes are being used in the operation while the army has also pressed into service five helicopters and seven cargo aircraft.
 Although Acapulco airport has been closed to regular flights due to flooding, rescue flights are being operated by Aeromexico and Interjet. Priority is being given to those with tickets, the elderly and families with young children.

2planes

Although blustery conditions forced the de Havilland Chipmunks and also the Aer Lingus original craft Iolar to pull out of Flightfest, the event was hailed a success after 130,000 attended the biggest fly-past in the history of Irish aviation. Dylan Murphy uploaded a terrific slow motion video of the craft in action. The Journal.ie uploaded a readers’ picture gallery.

Jasmine Rushton Kara Carmichael 300

Choose Chicago came to Dublin to tell the trade about their new neighbourhoood campaign to bring tourists into the lesser known regions of the city. Picture shows Jasmine Rushton and Kara Carmichael of Chose Chicago on the balcony of the Clarence Hotel penthouse in Dublin (making a pitch as the REAL windy city, at least when the picture was taken).
Portuguese ambassador group

The Pousada hotel group and Alentejo tourism hosted travel agents in the Mansion house. Picture shows Isabel Guerreiro complex manager at Pousadas, Tiago Massa of Grupo Pestana Pousadas, Futscher Pereira, Ambassador of Portugal in Ireland and Antonio Lacerda Executive Director of Alentejo tourism. See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.concordia timelapse

The time-lapse video of the Concordia recovery became an internet hit, footage captured from the shores of Giglio Island shows the 950ft-long cruise ship rising up from the reef on which it ran aground in January 2012, in a disaster which claimed the lives of 32 people. Venice residents protested the arrival of 13 cruise ships in the space of 24 hours this weekend.

Ryanair launched its new Dublin to Bremen route on Thursday. The airline claimed that its new 10-year deal at Stansted to grow passenger numbers to 20m a year could create 7,000 jobs. It was claimed in England that this signalled an era of lower fares at Stansted. The Irish Independent commented that Dublin lost out on Ryanair’s Stansted deal and described it as a blow for Dublin travellers. After four years attempting to strike a deal, Ryanair announced four new routes from Lisbon and said it was flying 2,200 extra flights at Christmas with an offer of 400,000 seats. Anna Aero commented that Ryanair had “finally” added Lisbon Airport to its route network.

alessandra smith steffania gatta

Alessandra Smith and Stefania Gatta (pictured) of the Italian State Tourist Office hosted travel writers in Dublin at a function to promote the regions of Friuli Venezia Giulia, Trentino, and Emilia Romagna.

Lonely Planet launched their new 1,000 Ultimate Adventures including three irish experiences: climbing Croagh Patrick in Mayo (the ultimate pilgrimage), surfing in Mullaghmore Head in Sligo and horse-riding on the Castle Leslie estate in Monaghandubai tourism fam trip 600

Dubai Tourism and Etihad Airways hosted agents in Dubai, visiting Dubai Mall, the Burj Khalifa and Sheikh Mohammed Centre in Bastakiya Historical District. Accommodation was at the iconic Palm Jumeirah at the exquisite Fairmont, The Palm. Pictured In front of the Aquarium at Atlantis: Michaela Piehl of Dubai Tourism, Kathryn Vaughan of Carlson Wagonlit Travel. Jonathan Ritchie of Oasis Travel, Jill Rankin of Clubworld Travel, Joanne McCabe of Atlas Travel, Elaine Hagan, of Travel Counsellors; Front row: Carla May of Dubai Tourism, Fiona Lawless of Etihad Airways, Jacqueline Sheehan of Tropical Sky, Michelle Anderson of Sunway and Mary Downes of Cassidy Travel.

  • Trivago.ie reported Irish hotel prices have fallen by an average of 6 per cent month-on-month and 9 per cent year-on-year. Dblin is the only city where rates have increased. The rates compared with August are: Dublin €122 up 9pc; Galway City €113 down 11pc; Killarney €122 down 10pc; Cork €99 down 5pc; Kilkenny €97 down 9pc; Limerick €83 down 1pc; Waterford €89 down 8pc; Sligo €94 down 10pc; Donegal €120 down 10pc; Tralee €94 down 6pc.
  • Dublin based Facebook App Development Company eConcepts and Carole Smith’s SynNeo launched Irish Travel Industry Digital Trends Report 2013 and a Facebook App designed specifically for travel agents. Download report here or contact Pat Kennedy or Carole Smith at travel@eConcepts.ie  Tel: 01 524 0040.pat dawson clare dunne
  • ITAA president Clare Dunne (pictured on right with Pat Dawson on left) advised consumers that Wednesday is typically the least expensive day to travel followed by Tuesday and Thursday. This time of year, September and early October, are the best months to book a last minute holiday package as flight prices reduce after the high holiday season and the schools are back in action.” Offers on the ITAA website include four nights in Flamingo Las Vegas Hotel and return flights for €615 per person.
  • Midland Travel won the Thomas Cook Agent of the Month. Anthony and Dympna Bernie ‘s Midlands Travel is a family owned agency based in Tullamore. Initially associated with sports tours and group travel, they have expanded to become one of the Midland’s busiest travel agents for sun and ski holidays.
  • A model was tested in Germany of the proposed Titanic II cruise ship, a replica of the ill-fated Titanic liner being recreated by an Australian millionaire.
  • Hotels.com say London was the most visited overseas city by Irish travellers in the first half of the year with New York and Paris in second and third place. Brussels was the fastest riser on the chart, up four places to No. 15, while Edinburgh rose three places to the ninth most visited destination. Placing and average price: 1 London €118; 2 New York €183; 3 Paris €133; 4 Rome €113; 5 Berlin €83; 6 Barcelona €115; 7 Las Vegas €80; 8 Amsterdam €124; 9 Edinburgh €108; 10 Orlando €78; 11 Liverpool €83; 12 Albufeira €89; 13 Manchester €90; 14 San Francisco €138; 15 Brussels €95; 16 Dubai €177; 17 Madrid €76; 18 Boston €155; 19 Chicago €133; 20 Lisbon €79.
  • A five-month-old baby died after his mother left him on conveyor belt at Alicante airport and he got trapped in the mechanism.
  • Aer Arann/Aer Lingus Regional has listed three ATR-42’s and one ATR-72 for lease: EI-CBK, EI-BYO, EI-EHH and EI-REM are now listed as for lease. 'hanrahan club 18-30
  • O’Hanrahan Travel and Club 18-30 ran a consumer promotion in Spy Night Club in Monaghan. Club 18-30 sponsored a week in The Tropical Hotel, San Antonio for the winners of a prize. Picture shows Nicola Quigley, Margaret McKenna (both O’Hanrahan travel), prize winners Pauric Trappe and Ruan Mulligan, and Stella Grant and Julie Farmer (both O’Hanrahan travel).club 18-30 giveaway
  • Flybe announced a new four weekly service from Ireland West Airport Knock to Birmingham starting Oct 27th
  • Dublin was announced as host venue for the World Youth and Student Travel Conference in 2014, which will bring over 800 youth-orientated travel agents and operators to the capital and is expected to generate over €1.1m in revenue for the city. The announcement was made at the 2013 WYSTC, currently underway in Sydney.Ask Susan
  • Grogan Travel in Tuam won the 1STS Facebook Friday competition for their Insight Vacations window. Dawson Travel in Cork won an ‘innovation’ award for their video post. Shannon O’Dowd also took time to deliver a bottle of champagne to Tom and Susan Kiernan of Ask Susan Travel (pictured) to send them off on holiday.
  • Royal Caribbean was named best cruise line, Cunard best luxury cruise line and Uniworld Boutique River Cruises Best Luxury River Cruise Line for the second year in a row at The Cruise International Awards 2013 in London. Other winners: Best River Cruise: Viking River Cruises; Best New Ship: Royal Princess; Best for Activities: Carnival; Best Onboard Restaurant: Red Ginger (Oceana Cruises); Best for Entertainment: Disney Cruise Line; Best for Families: Disney Cruise Line; Best Specialist Cruise Line: SeaDream Yacht Club; Best for Wellbeing: Celebrity Cruises; Best Affordable Cruise Line: Fred Olsen; Best Destination Rest of World: Alaska; Best Destination Europe: Stockholm; Best Innovation: The Vertigo (MSC Preziosa); Best Cruise Product/Service: Titan VIP Home Departure Service.
  • Conor Murphy of ICARUS’ released a report on the effects of climate change on Ireland which found that rivers in the west flowed more in winter. Five reports in all were released by the environmental protection agency.
  • Tourism Australia hosted 800 wine industry and media delegates at Savour Australia 2013.TOURISM IRELAND & Varadkar MApping out Eur19M autumn campaign!
  • Leo Varadkar launched a €19m promotion to boost visitor numbers among late bookers in last three months of the year. The end of year drive will focus on festivals such as the Wexford Opera Festival and the Cork Jazz Festival. The Three NYE Dublin Festival was named as the official closing event for The Gathering over a two day schedule kicking off on December 31st. Picture shows Leo Varadkar with Brian Ambrose, Chairman and Niall Gibbons, CEO of Tourism Ireland. An Irish Times editorial hailed the “success” of the Gathering and says identify where Irish tourism enjoys a comparative advantage and focus investment and support in those areas. Enda O Coineen said attendees at the gathering for Irish pub owners from around the world included the Michael Collins in Brussels, Bubbles O’Learys in Uganda, Molly Malones in Shanghai, Porter House in New York, Kildares in Westchester Pennsylvania.
  • Falcon Holidays cancelled the winter service from Cork to Lanzarote.disney santa
  • Disneyland Paris will launch its Christmas season on November 10th to January 6th, 2014 with a focus on Disney’s next animated film, Frozen. The Daily Mail claimed Disneyland Paris is ‘literally falling apart‘ with broken rides, reheated food and cancelled shows (we think not).
  • Ryanair staff expect to start moving to their new HQ in a couple of months.
  • Galway Airport’s ill-advised €220,000 park and ride facility closed after four months.
  • Cork based company Keyquests laucnhed what it called “an app and web solution that will “enable tourists to plan excursions around Ireland, posting pictures and unlocking‘quests along the way to access location-based offers and holiday incentives.”  The company is working with the OPW to include 32 public heritage sites on Keyquests, Picture shows Keyquest’s Aimee Higgins in Fota Wildlife Park for the launch of Key Quests.com.Amee Higgins KeyQuest 023
  • It was reported that VivaAerobus is preparing for flotation, co-owned by Simon and Declan Ryan
  • Bombardier’s new C-Series completed its maiden flight in Canada with wings designed and produced in Ireland, Bombardier’s first step into competition with Boeing and Airbus in the lucrative 100-200 seat market, although the first two versions of the CSeries will have only 100-150 seats, whereas most 737s and A320s sold are 150-200 seaters. Bombardier hopes airlines will be attracted by its plane’s low fuel consumption 20pc less than its rivals’, it claims and 15pc lower running costs and new engine, the geared turbofan. franz spohr
  • Carsten Spohr (pictured right) is leading the race to be new CEO at Lufthansa after the surprise departure of Christoph Franz (left) for a Swiss pharma firm (will Christoph Müller be dusting down the CV?).
  • A regional airport was listed among plans for the south-east from David Cullinane‘s Oireachtas committee.
  • Passengers affected by flight delays due to bad weather may be able to claim up to €600 in compensation, following a legal ruling.Peter Oncken
  • Peter Oncken of Intro Aviation said he was still interested in buying Cityjet but John Mulligan reported in the Irish independent that the scramble to buy the airline is wide open again.
  • It was reported that spending by young travellers is soaring.
  • Aer Arann Islands was awarded the renewed contract for the air service to the Aran Islands by the Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht.
  • Celtic Link Ferries are bringing people to Ireland on March 16th for St Patrick’s Day for €1.
  • Cathal O’Connell said Paddywagon Tours now employs 100 staff and generates an annual turnover of more than €7m.Cyprus
  • At a lunch in Dublin ambassador Cyprus Ambassador Michails Stavrinos (pictured with Maria Slye) and Tourist Board director Orestis Rossides expressed their hope of a direct service from Dublin to Cyprus once more. It is unlikely to be Cyprus Airways by the look of this review article.
  • Flybe‘s new CEO Saad Hammad cleared out three of the airline’s most senior management within six weeks of joining the company.REELING IN 50 MILLION TV VIEWERS FOR THE K CLUB AND CO KILDARE
  • Senator Éamonn Coughlan brought Canadian TV host Henry Waszczuk fishing at the K club as part of the Fins and Skins TV series.
  • Europa 2 has been rated as the best cruise ship in a highly regarded guide book to be published next month.
  • Lufthansa said they are to charge seat reservation fees on short- and medium-haul routes.
  • US Airways has changed its voluntary refund policy.maria-whiteman
  • Amadeus hired former Directline CEO Maria Whiteman (pictured) as Ireland & Britain Commercial Director.
  • Air France, which is restructuring its operations, is to phase out its B747 fleet and cut 2,600 jobs.
  • Grainne Caffrey from lowcostbeds.com and Borja Bedoya Zuazo from the Spanish Tourist Board hosted eight agents in the Costa Blanca, visiting Benidorm, Albir and Alicante. Listen here to Clem Walshe’s speech at the Lowcostbeds briefing, asking agents how can we help you? “This is the world we live in. We are good at it. We are passionate about it.”
  • EasyJet and Amadeus unveiled a new ‘light ticketing’ agreement that will place easyJet alongside full-service carriers on GDS screens.
  • Emirates announced its first route to Afghanistan with a daily flight between Dubai and Kabul from December 4, operated by an Airbus A340-500 in a three-cabin configuration 12-42-204.
  • An English survey showed Mexico as the favourite long-haul destination and the Baleraics as the short haul favourite.
  • Skiers staying at the Swiss Tschuggen Grand Hotel are to be given exclusive use of an adjacent mountain. Ski developments this winter include the first W hotel in a winter resort, expanded ski areas, and new low-cost flights are among this season’s developments.
  • Jet2.com came top of a survey comparing low cost airlines when it came to convenience and lower charges for ‘extras’ such as baggage charges and credit card fees. A table compiled by consumer champion Which placed Ryanair bottom based on customer satisfaction rating in terms of knowledge, staff attitude and dealing with issues.
  • Angeline’s ashes: Angeline O’Grady says her husband’s ashes disappeared from her US Airways luggage.
  • A personal jetpack will go on sale to the public next year, able to soar to 7,000 feet and hit speeds of 50mph, but it isn’t cheap.
  • Italians enjoy longer summer holidays than every other European nation.
  • Dublin Port Company plans to transfer 10.5 hectares of land at Bull Island into public ownership.
  • Irish passport holder Michael Slattery was arrested at New Jersey’s Newark Liberty International Airport while boarding a flight to London. to sell horns from endangered black rhinos to a New York collector for $50,000. richard aldous tony ryan book cover 150
  • Richard Aldous’ biography of Tony Ryan reported that when Aer Lingus tried to buy Ryanair, Tony Ryan put a £35m price tag on it. Aldous commented that Ryanair lost the original ethos of its founder. Vincent Browne’s review of the Richard Aldous book claimed that Tony Ryan, while driven and ingenious, “was reckless and avaricious, and that intimidation was part of his management armoury.”
  • A new theme park dedicated to the actor Jackie Chan got under way in Beijing.
  • The former home of Gianni Versace, the late Italian fashion designer in Miami, venue for an epic Ireland & Britain party during Pow Wow in 2009, is to reopen as luxury accommodation after being sold to a hotel group.
  • Crystal Ski Holidays is to abandon its old-fashioned red and black logo in favour of a modern, more complex design.
  • Plans were announced to revive a regular passenger ship service between Southampton and Sydney.
  • The Gibson Hotel in Dublin is to give a local artist a two month residency.
  • Michael O’Leary said Michael Cawley‘s departure from Ryanair would not herald any major management shake-up.
  • Ryanair apologised to the grieving Dublin surgeon Muhammad Sattar for charging him €188 to switch flights after he learned of the deaths of his family.
  • Airfan Faiz, an on-duty airline pilot with Pakistan International Airways arrested at Leeds Bradford Airport was four times over the legal alcohol limit.
  • Dublin Travel Trades Club held a 50 years reunion in the Central Hotel.
  • A third of shareholders in Ryanair voted against the plans for a new incentive plan.
  • Aer Lingus air hostess Nollaig McCarthy won the best dressed at Listowel.
  • Germanwings CEO, Thomas Winkelmann told the world low cost congress LCCs want: “safe, quick and efficient airport services, with no Schnickschnack” (bells and whistles).
  • Boeing’s B787-9, a longer version of the B787 Dreamliner, successfully completed its first flight on TuesdayBritish Airways new Boeing 787 Dreamliner commenced service on London to Toronto.
  • A Facebook petition has been started to prevent foreign chains buying Irish pubs.
  • Thomas Cook decided to stop marketing the Pamplona festival.
  • A former boarding house run by a Californian serial killer, who buried her victims in the grounds of the property, has become an unlikely attraction.
  • IAF boss Willie Walsh ruled out more European buys for now as it sees better value elsewhere.
  • Air China is to suspend flights from Gatwick 
as a year-round service “is not viable,”
  • Restaurateur Caitriona Shaffrey wrote in the Irish Times that the Dublin traffic plan should prioritise easy and secure access to the city’s “destination” restaurant and bars.
  • Trivago reported that the tense situation in Syria was having a serious impact on travel to neighbouring countries. Cyprus experienced a 55pc year-on-year decrease of traveller interest, Israel down 38pc, Jordan down 32pc and Turkey down 31pc.
  • Passengers Jack Doran and Catherine Ward said they were bumped off a Malaga to Dublin flight and sent by Aer Lingus to a different city the following day.
  • London City airport revealed its plans for growth, which, if approved, will double its capacity in ten year’s time
  • The Commission for Aviation Regulation has issued a license to operate in Ireland to Hertfordshire-based Jetline Travel. The company’s three products are Jetline Holidays, “luxury holidays, tailor-made holidays, escorted tours and city breaks”, Bargain Late Holidays, and Jetline Cruise.
  • Jon Knight and Lynda McCorry from Silversea hosted agents on board Silver Whisper in Dublin and Belfast.
  • Lufthansa committed to 25 firm orders and 30 options for the Airbus A350-900 model aircraft. In all Lufthansa announced intended commitments to 59 ultra-modern aircraft – 34 B777-9Xs and 25 A350-900s – to be added to the Lufthansa Group’s wide-body fleet by 2025.
  • Etihad is expanding its service to India. Etihad now has 14 flights per week between Dublin – New Delhi and Dublin – Mumbai. Etihad is increasing services to Islamabad from nine to eleven a week
  • Germany’s National Tourist Office launched a new website and tourism campaign, The Discover Germany BarrierFree website developed to highlight, from one resource, accessible travel in Germany.
  • Three newly renovated lanes are scheduled to open at New York La Guardia this month.
  • US Airways have moved from Terminal 7 to Terminal 8 in New York JFK
  • A five month campaign was launched to raise awareness of new brand Costa Barcelona, south of Costa Brava and north of Costa Daurada. It replaces two existing brands in the coastal province of Barcelona: Barcelona-Maresme Coast, north of the capital and Costa del Garraf in the south.
  • TAP Portugal has launched a direct service from Lisbon to Boa Vista in the Cape Verde islands.
  • Henry Blofeld, the cricket commentator, recalled a journey to India in a 1921 Rolls-Royce in this extract from his new book Squeezing the Orange. Jonathan Lorie wrote on travel writer Paddy Fermor (1915-2011): Quite how far he fused memory and imagination is an interesting question as his three books were written decades after the fact.
  • The Irish Times listed 15 ways to improve Irish tourism including: Make it easier to navigate Dublin by bus. There’s still no bus-route map, and the app is a Kafkaesque nightmare.
  • Scotland was cited as one of the best destinations in the world for adventure travel in a new guidebook.
  • Philippine Airlines has appointed a sales outlet in London to coincide with the launch of direct flights between Manila and London Heathrow in November.
  • England reported record numbers at Heritage sites in August. A luxury hotel launched private tours of Highclere Castle used as a setting for the television series Downton Abbey. Transport chiefs in London were urged to “get a grip” after road closures around Hyde Park for the World Triathlon Grand Final sparked gridlock in the heart of England’s capital.
  • There were reports that the much-postponed Aer Lingus wifi service will cost €10 per hour.
  • Hilton opened its first Conrad hotel in UAE, the Conrad Dubai.
  • Emirates continues its global expansion with a new route to Boston, starting March 10, 2014.
  • As the world’s highest airport opened in Tibet, Daocheng Yading airport, 4,400 metres above sea level, the London Telegraph listed other extreme airports. Patrick Smith, pilot and author of Cockpit Confidential selected his most memorable sights from the cockpit.
  • Monthly arrivals from Ireland to the USA in March totalled 35,225.
  • Macy’s new Herald Square Visitor Centre is now co-branded with NYC & Company as an Official NYC Information Centre with technology, information, and ticketing services for NYC attractions.
  • Travellers to Cambodia have been told to exercise caution after political protests in the capital Phnom Penh left one person dead. There were warnings that extremist groups may be planning attacks to disrupt this year’s Miss World contest in Indonesia.
  • Jet2holidays announced  a one-off Christmas market departure from Belfast International Airport to Cologne.
  • Geoff Muirhead resigned from England’s Airports Commission after campaigners against Stansted‘s expansion claimed there could be a conflict of interest.
  • The London Independent listed 10 reasons to visit Australiagave some travel advice and ideas, and Simon Calder recycled some old Australia jokes.
  • Ahead of the launch of the first direct flights from London to Chengdu, Malcolm Moore described a laid-back city where pandas are the focus of gossip.
  • Aer Lingus trans-Atlantic sale fares from €219 each way including taxes and charges, Travel Nov – Mar. Book by Sept 23.
  • Irish Ferries Holidays is offering Fares to Britain early and from €89. A three-night stay with breakfast in the Holiday Inn Express Hotel at Alton Towers Resort in Staffordshire costs €112 per person return for a car and family of 2 adults and 2 children under 12 years from now until November 3rd. Alton Towers annual Scarefest event runs from October 19th to November 3rd.
  • Sunway have a Club Med ski sale.
  • Ryanair offered  100,000 seats on sale across its European network from €14.99 for travel in October and November book before midnight (24:00hrs) Mon (23 Sept).
  • The Scannal series looked at the ash cloud of 2010. Participants in the programme included Travel Extra’s Eoghan Corry. View on RTE player.Belfast Restaurant Week 1
  • Upcoming festivals:
Belfast Restaurant Week Oct 5-12 (launch event pictured).
Wicklow Walking Festival Footfalls – three Peak Challenge over Saturday October 26th and Sunday 27th October Lugnaquilla (925m), Mullaghcleevaun (849m) and Tonelagee (817m).
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