Travel Extra Sunday Supplement: India opens up & ITAA go to Granada

The most exciting news of the week is that India is to introduce visa on arrival to Ireland. It is not clear when the move will be implemented but the process has begun to extend a visa on arrival system, trialled with countries such as Finland and New Zealand, to 40 other countries. IN the meantime the current clunky visa system will remain.cormac o'connell routes 001 copy

Routes, the World aviation conference in Las Vegas was a lively affair with most of the business taking place far from the spotlight. Cormac O’Connell of The DAA was touting for new routes with Moscow top of the agenda. Cormac was a panellist on a panel discussion on Tourism and Air Industry Collaboration is Key to Future Success, which featured Michelle McKenzie of the Canadian Tourism Commission, David Goldstein of the Tourism Industry Association of Canada and Ralph Anker of Anna Aero. Picture shows Cormac O’Connell of DAA presentingTom Ruth of Halifax Airport with a rare 21-year old Teeling whiskey to celebrate the Gathering at Routes 2013 in Las Vegas.itaa panel

The Irish Travel Agents Association conference was hosted in Granada by Gonzalo Ceballos of the Spanish Tourist Board and Antonio Martin of Andalucian Tourist Board. Picture shows ITAA members briefing the delegates on aspects of the Association’s work, John Galligan, Clare Dunne, Valerie Metcalfe, Angela Walsh, Martin Skelly and Pat Dawson

A panel discussion on NDC was the high point of the conference, chaired by John Galligan who observed that “since they started selling hotels and car hire, Ryanair are turning into the biggest travel agent in the country.”

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Picture shows NDC panel participants Fergal Kelly of Travelport, Alexandre Jorre of Amadeus, Dishad Coffoor channel strategy manager of BA, John Galligan of John Galligan Travel, Claire Dunne of Travelbroker President of the ITAA, who chaired the session, and Helena O’Connell of Aer Lingus.

At a press conferences Andalucian Tourism Minister Rafael Rodriguez said the regional government was prepared to work with airlines and tour operators to help them develop profitable routes, such as the recent BA route from London to Granada. He said while they had had contacts with Ryanair the “Ryanair philosophy is not consistent with ours.” An extremely detailed VAT session by Dermot O’Brien and Gabrielle Dillon highlighted the lack of any legal framework for the current VAT regulations on the travel trade. A new booklet is being prepared for the Association on the subject by Dermot O’Brien, who warned that the current Revenue guidelines had no legal weight and were just “the Revenue commissioners’ view of the world.” There were lively presentations on what agents should do to get more business from their websites (Graham Carroll of Digitalounge) and retail units (Alf Dunbar of youarethedifference).IMG_4477 copy

President of the ITAA, Clare Dunne said at the Conference that overseas tourism collaboration was essential in creating employment in Ireland. She said the Irish travel industry is worth €150m per annum to the Irish economy in terms of value added spend when people are planning their holidays. There are over 4,500 people directly employed in the industry in Ireland,” Listen here to Clare Dunne’s opening speech to the conference. See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook. See local press release here and coverage in portaldeciudad here.

The Spanish Tourist Board initiative, under which ITAA officials travelled to Palma to meet the ITOF board members (“Camp Gonzalo”), has resulted in the setting up of FOST, Friends and Operators for Spanish Tourism. Chaired by Con Horgan, it will bring together tour operators and agents who dynamically package travel to Spain.united 300

United Airlines celebrated 15 years in Ireland at a function in Dublin on Thursday. Three of the original team there, Pat Reede herself, Brian Hughes and Kevin Power who now works with Servisair. They held an American themed evening, with music by Spring Break, dining on cocktails, mini-burgers and hotdogs. There was a large crowd of agents and airline staff. In a gracious speech, Pat thanked all the partners, Servisair, the catering company, and all the support teams and noted the continued growth of the airline on the Irish market in that time, culminating in the last of the Washington flight last year and the Chicago route this year, and suggested that more new routes may also happen. Pat also sent her warmest wishes to Yvonne Muldoon, who was at home with her new baby, Claudia. Picture shows Massimo Larini, Aoife Gregg, Brian Hughes, Pat Reede and Barry from United Airlines at the United Airlines function. See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.

Aer Lingus launched their wireless facilities on trans-Atlantic aircraft. The new service, provided by Panasonic Avionics Corporation, Aeromobile and Deutsche Telekom, will be free to business passengers and will cost 10.95 an hour for economy passengers. A new text messaging service was launched alongside the roll-out of wireless internet, available to customers through their mobile phone, smartphone, Blackberry and GSM-enabled tablet computer, allowing customers to send and receive text messages in-flight.Mary Mckenna at the Tour America sale day in Moran’s Red Cow, Oct 6 2013

The attendance at the Tour America sale day in Moran’s red Cow was 30pc up on last year, with brisk sales throughout the day. See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.

The departure road from Dublin Airport T1 is being shut down from 11pm-4am “due to essential upgrade works” from Wednesday.Tryphavana Cross John Donohue 001 copy

Aereps road show in Dublin and Belfast hosted media and agents, picture shows Tryphavana Cross and John Donohue. See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.

GlaxoSmithKline claimed a breakthrough against malaria, a new vaccine has nearly halved the cases of malaria experienced by children aged between five and seven months nearly halved the cases of malaria experienced by children aged between five and seven months.margaret shannon group copy

Emirates staged an event for Club Travel staff. Picture shows Jane Masterson of Emirates, Donna Henry of Club, Anita Thomas of Emirates, front row: Joe Finglas of Club and Margaret Shannon of Emirates. See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.

Easyjet apologised after a flight from Malaga to Bristol took off while 29 of its passengers were stuck in a boarding gate stairwell. The passengers were accidentally locked in when security doors leading to a walkway to the aircraft closed, trapping people who were queuing to board. They managed to alert staff in a nearby perfume shop after banging on the doors. After around 20 minutes, a cleaner managed to free the group, who were then seen by an Easyjet rep.

While the larger European air traffic control union, Volker Dick of ATCEUC called off a planned general air traffic control strike on Thursday against plans to create a “single European sky”, stoppages by two smaller unions went ahead, affecting flights in the Bordeaux and Marseille ATC regions, UNSA-ICNA (Alexis Charlet) and SPAC-CFDT (Denis Jauvin). Only 20pc or so of air traffic controllers took part in the strike but the impact on Bordeaux and Marseilles airspace was highest.

As the EU voted new regulations on pilot working hours, both IALPA and BALPA protested that the measure means that pilots are to fly after 22 hours without sleep. Balpa cited instances of pilot fatigue to ramp up their campaign against the new measures. As some media wondered about the process during an air emergency, Captain Patrick Smith was asked if the pilot normally keeps quiet about emergencies to avoid panic. Sean Dewbury, a BA pilot, explained what to do if a plane engine fails using an A380 simulator.Topflight new office 009 copy

Topflight completed their move to the fifth floor of Jervis House on Monday. Martin Penrose is leaving the company to take up a position with a Scottish travel company. Brian McCarthy also left the company for pastures new. Tony Colins of Topflight said he wished both of them “the very best in their future endeavours in the travel business, or elsewhere, and would like to express our sincere appreciation for their work and development of the WorldWide division. I am in the happy position of divesting myself of much of my previous workload. This allows me the time to take direct responsibility for the further development of the WorldWide division, tapping into the group resources including Technology, Marketing etc and to drive on a fairly aggressive growth plan. Both Barry Hammond and myself will be your immediate points of contact. See more pictures of the move here.

Restaurant Patrick Guilbaud at The Merrion Hotel was ranked 33rd in the world in the list of top 100 hotel restaurants compiled by food website the Daily Meal, José Andrés at the Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas was top. El Celler de Can Roca in Girona is the best restaurant in the world according to Restaurant magazine (as well as San Pellegrino and Acqua Panna) having taken Noma’s crown earlier this year, Noma were second and Italy’s Osteria Francescana third. Interestingly, not one Vegas restaurant is in the Restaurant Magazine top 100 list.

The Grand Canyon, Statue of Liberty and Mount Rushmore are to reopen.The US state of Utah has agreed to pay the National Park Service up to £1.04 million to re-open five national parks, only Alaska and California have more national parks than Utah.

Declan Collier told the Irish Times that “by the time that my contract was coming to an end I had reached the point where I had achieved what I wanted to achieve at Dublin Airport.”

Hotel prices in Dublin dropped 11pc to an average of Eu108 from September to October according to the Trivago.ie index, although this was up 5pc on October 2012. Killarney is down 16pc month-on-month to an average of Eu103, the same price as last year. Limerick is up 11pc since September and 128pc year-on-year to Eu92.

Hotels.com say searches for Kilkenny hotels are up 436pc in Ireland and 410pc in England after two restaurants in the county won Michelin star status.

Doyle group reported a profit rise of 13.5 pc to €126.5m after disposing of three of its US hotels for a combined total of €149.5m. Killarney Hotels group (The Europe and Dunloe Castle) reported pre-tax losses of €36.97m. Los Angeles-based investment fund Canyon Capital Advisors agreed a deal to acquire Ulster Bank’s loans in Moran Hotels. Breaffy House Resort in Castlebar, Co Mayo is for sale with a guide price of €2.9m.

Disneyland Paris offered half board meals for the whole family at Disneyland Paris hotels and savings of up to 20pc on hotel and park tickets.

Globe Hotels will launch a new white label website for travel agents, the holiday section of dealrush.ie, in two weeks time.

Air Canada is to introduce premium economy onto London Heathrow flights. The airline plans a major expansion into Europe. It previously announced a daily Dublin year-round service under the Rouge brand.

Fáilte Ireland hosted some of the largely US-based travel bloggers who came to Dublin for the TBex convention at a preview of the Bram Stoker festival. The Dublin’s second Bram Stoker Festival which is taking place this coming October bank holiday weekend, 26th to 28th October. The full programme can be viewed on bramstokerfestival.com.

Cork Airport was ranked first for overall customer satisfaction in the latest Airport Service Quality. Niall MacCarthy said there will be new route announcements in the coming months and “we are confident of further passenger growth across all airlines in 2014.”

Etihad will begin non-stop daily services between Abu Dhabi and Los Angeles from June 2014, subject to regulatory approval. Etihad is to purchase from Air India five Boeing 777-200 LRs, the longest range passenger aircraft in operation for use on the route. Etihad Airways increased its Jakarta flights from daily flights to double daily from October 27, 2013. Etihad Airways passenger revenue exceeds US$1bn and passenger numbers were over $3m in the third quarter of 2013.

The Irish Caravan and Camping Council (ICC) reported bookings throughout the summer were up 40pc on 2012

Ireland’s Festival Organisers hold the 20th Annual AOIFE Conference in the Carlton Shearwater in Ballinasloe, Co. Galway on the 7th and 8th of November.

Avalon reported it has raised fleet numbers from 171 to 179.

As the campaign against removal of the lower VAT rate for the hospitality industry gathered pace, the Irish Times claimed that many hospitality businesses involved did not pass on the reduced VAT rate to their customers.

Air New Zealand appointed Antony Price as new general manager Europe.Gary, Siobhan Barrett, Hillarie, Aoife Thomas copy

Fáilte Ireland hosted a North American Expo in Carton House. Pictures shows Gary, Siobhan Barrett, Hillarie McGuinness and Aoife Thomas.

A Paris appeals court upheld €100,000 in fines imposed on Dublin-based Cityjet and its Air France-KLM owner for breaches of French labour law.

Marc Coleman opined that In Ireland, there are few finer expressions of what we are all about than the hospitality we give to outsiders

The Pensions Board’s decision in April may result in Aer Lingus-Dublin Airport Authority pensions being reduced by 15pc. Aer Lingus has signaled that the pension fund does not need a top-up.

Ian Reynolds, former ABTA General secretary, has died

Egypt hired Rooster PR to encourage tourists to return

Air France is to extend the Paris-Singapore service to Jakarta

An EasyJet passenger was arrested after being abusive on a flight and stripping naked on a runway at Manchester.

A garden gnome, a giant pencil and set of 30 traditional hunting knives were among the most unusual items recovered by the organisers of this year’s Oktoberfest.

A pilot died after a plane passenger with no flying experience was forced to make an emergency landing after the pilot fell ill at the controls and was unable to operate the controls.

The World Monuments Fund released a list of monuments that it considers to be under threat. Cruise ships were blamed for putting Venice on the list alongside Timbuktu and monuments in war torn Syria.

The Hand & Flowers,Tom Kerridge’s Buckinghamshire gastropub, has been named England’s best place to eat by Restaurant Magazine.

Glasgow Prestwick Airport is to be nationalised by the Scottish Government.

Ryanair have dropped Dublin flights to Maastricht, Stockholm, and Pisa but resumed Bremen. Tallinn, Oslo and Memmingem are not yet loaded for 2014. Reuters reported that Ryanair is to hire a new senior executive to spearhead efforts to create a new, softer image. Ryanair advertised for a new sales and marketing director, to be responsible for “safety, customer service and low-fare messages”. Ryanair’s appeal against London based accountant Simon Polito’s ruling it should sell its Aer Lingus holding will be heard in February.

A nine-year-old boy flew from Minneapolis to Vegas with no ticket.

Viking Ocean Cruises new cruise line will make its maiden voyage in 2015.

London Telegraph readers picked which English towns they think are the worst to live in.

A schoolboy whose fear of flying forced him to stay in Abu Dhabi for more than a year was enabled to return with the help of a hypnotist. He said he would fly again.

Desmond Tutu will become the latest in a string of history shapers to give guest lectures on board a cruise ship.

Travel companies were criticised for continuing to charge fees for credit and debit card use, despite efforts to abolish the practice.

Tel Aviv is offering free WiFi to tourists at many of its most popular attractions.

Singapore Airlines business class-only non-stop flights to LA and New York will cease on October 20 and November 23.

JetBlue is to launch a fully flat business class seat on routes from New York to LA and San Francisco next year, including four private suites with closing doors.

Dublin City Council launched www.bridgesofdublin.ie, a new website designed to showcase Dublin’s unique bridge infrastructure. Pól Ó Conghaile’s Secret Dublin is published this week, Eu16.99 from Blue Yonder publications.

Two new hotel brands were launched, Clermonts and NYLOs.

IMMA at the Royal Hospital reopened this weekend with a retrospective of the work of Eileen Gray, having been closed since 2011 for major refurbishment works.

The 19th MITM Americas and 5th Cultourfair attracted 200 participants from 39 countries to Guadalajara, Mexico.Alex Gisbert low cost

Lowcostbeds.com launched a travel agent ‘Save for Christmas’ promotion, agents making an accommodation booking with a transfer between October 11th and November 30th will receive a €5 One4All voucher before Christmas. Ales Gisbert has been appointed international sales manager.

JAL ordered 31 wide-body A350s worth $9.5 billion at list prices, a setback for Boeing, which has traditionally dominated the Japanese aviation market.

Plaza Premium Lounge will open a new facility at Heathrow Terminal 2 in June 2014. The venue will offer a live cooking station with made-to-order dishes, a daily tapas selection at the champagne bar, and an à la carte menu by celebrity chefs. Aer Lingus are set to move to Terminal 2 in Heathrow next year.

Patrick Burns hearing against Ryanair got under way at the Employment Appeals Tribunal.

Work on a £10 million extension to the London Southend Airport terminal is on track for its New Year opening.

This weekend in 1919, the first airline meal, a three-shilling lunchbox, was served, some media offered the more notable moments in the history of plane food

Virgin Atlantic’s domestic service, operated by Aer Lingus, was branded “financially disastrous”, with planes flying at just one-third capacity

It was reported that airline passengers arriving in London Heathrow could face lengthy queues at the departure gates when a raft of new border checks are introduced in 18 months.

Roller-coaster customers were stranded for three hours when a 17-storey roller-coaster in Orlando breaks down

Aviation authorities are considering a recommendation that passengers be allowed to use electronic gadgets throughout a flight.

Travel firms oin England were criticised over premium rate phone lines.

Travel Extra’s Eoghan Corry talked about his trip to Taiwan on Raidio na Gaeltachta, the strange flights between Taiwan and the mainland that do not allow international tourists to board, and the long term prospects for the one China policy.

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