Travel Extra’s Sunday Supplement: Tax axed & weighty Welshman is given two seats in different rows

michael cawleyThe removal of the €3 travel tax in the Budget quickly turned into a circus. Airlines and airports rushed to welcome the move. The ITAA added that airlines should reduce some of their own charges in response, such as the Ash Crisis Protection and administration fees. Ryanair called a press conference at short notice at which Michael Cawley (pictured) promised to deliver a million extra passengers and base an additional four aircraft in Ireland, (more visitors in 2014, Ryanair claimed, than the Gathering in 2013). Leo Varadkar told the Dáil that unless there was an increase in services the tax would be reintroduced (after four years and after the tax had already been found to be in breach of EU regulations). Dublin airport’s response to Ryanair’s response ran to just 90 words and was phrased very carefully indeed (“we are fully supportive of any airline that plans to grow in the Irish market”), in advance of what can be expected to be tough talks with the notoriously avaricious airline. What happens next? Ryanair invited Dublin, Cork, Shannon, Knock and Kerry to meetings in Dublin on Thursday and Friday of this week to discuss how the growth plans can be split between the airports. Roll on the high wire act of negotiations between airports and airlines, with oompah music, face paint and a few appearances from the clowns as well.

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Pádraic Óg Gallagher’s Restaurants Association and Michael Vaughan’s (pictured) Hotels Federation welcomed Michael Noonan’s decision to retain the 9pc VAT rate for the hospitality sector rather than increase it to 13.5pc as threatened last month. Spain’s El País highlighted the retention of the reduced VAT rate in its coverage of the Irish Budget while it was mischievously pointed out by Dublin TD Maureen O’Sullivan that the lower rate also applied to lap dancing clubs.overall winners

The Travel Industry Golf Society elected a new captain, Volker Lorenz from Amadeus, who succeeded Eileen Penrose as captain while Audrey Headon took over as President from Graham Aldren. Travel Extra hosted TIGS at the Castle golf course in Rathfarnham on a fine Thursday sandwiched between two very wet days in Dublin. TIGS has grown its membership from 70 to 120 in the past year under Eileen and Graham’s stewardship. Competition winners were Martin Dempsey and Mary Stillman, pictured here with Maureen Ledwith of Travel Extra and incoming TIGS captain Volker Lorenz of Amadeus. See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.Rebecca Kelly Isabel Shadaya, Emma Howard Smith

Rebecca Kelly launched the new MSC brochure in Dublin, highlights include the new Dubai season of MSC Lirica (lead in price €839 cruise only), the Canaries season for MSC Armonia (lead-in price of €349 cruise only, €689 including flights, Thomas Cook have great offers on their charter service) and MSC Divina’s first season in the Caribbean (lead-in price €299 cruise only). The brochure offers 168 global itineraries and a Mediterranean summer cruise promotion with lead in prices of €399 cruise only. Rebecca said the MSC drinks package of €23 per day per person is proving popular with customers. Picture shows Rebecca Kelly with Isabella Shadaya of MSC and Emma Howard Smith of BGB at the launch.

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Martin Penrose of Ifonly was in Scotland this week as the company geared up for its Irish launch. Ifonly is hosting a private dinner for agents in Dublin on October 30 and Cork on October 31 and will be the headline sponsor at the Travel Centres conference in Cork on November 8-9. The operator specialises in the luxury market to Arabia, the Indian Ocean and Asia, offering all-inclusive packages, tours, family holidays, cruises, honeymoons and weddings. The web site ( offers 150 non-brochure hotels , extra tour itineraries and booking incentives. From November 1st agents can make reservations on 0I 447 5275. You can contact Martin here.fiona cunningham naomi waites

Northern Ireland Tourist Board is expecting 140,000 overnight visitors for the start of next year’s Giro d’Italia cycle race in Belfast. Stephen Roche joined the NITB for a launch of the event in Dublin. Fiona Cunningham manager of the NITB Dublin office and Naomi Waite Director of Marketing in NITB are pictured at the launch in Dublin’s Chapter One restaurant.

kevin moriarity failte irelandKevin Moriarty (pictured) will speak about Dublin Now Project in the first in a series of early evening networking events organised by Skål Dublin club next Thursday in the Shelbourne Hotel. The project is aimed at attracting urban adventurers from Britain. Skål Dublin club President Denis Kane hopes the evening networking events will reverse a decline in Skål membership. “We can attract new members provided we give them the opportunity to network and to experience the special Skål welcome that I enjoyed when I joined the Club. I urge members of the Club, particularly those who are working in the industry, to support the first event.”

Travel Extra's Eoghan Corry in Almunecar Oct 14 2013

As the ITAA conference in Granada ended and the delegates returned home, the Director of the Spanish Tourist Board in Dublin Gonzalo Ceballos and a group of Irish media visited the ancient town of Almunecar on the Costa Tropicala and its sunwashed hinterland of 18 beaches. The municipality has 6,500 beds offering lower prices than those to the east in Nerja and the 60km of coastline towards Malaga. On a pleasant walking tour conducted by Felipe Puirtas, Gonzalo displayed his talent on the guitar for sale in a little shop owned by Jose Luis Hernandez. Afterward Alicia Guerrero entertained the group at the Hotel Helios, supposedly a three-star but with very four-star facilities including a rooftop bar with a view along the coast (pictured). See more conference pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.mervyn mcneely

Mervyn McNeely of Stena (pictured) was honoured with the Industry award at Jonathan Adair’s and Brian Ogle’s Northern Ireland Travel News awards in the Slieve Donard Hotel in Newcastle, Co Down. Winners included several repeat successes over the 23 years of the awards (yes, 23). The all-night revelries of the 430 guests helped the event live up to its name as one of the social highlights on the calendar.Travel Extra Nov 2013 cover 300

Travel Extra’s print edition for November 2013 will be in the post to agents this week. This month features cruise and long haul news and reviews, a guide to how to sell a cruise holiday, an update on winter cruising noting the dramatic changes since winter 2012-3, destination guides to the Caribbean with an extensive look at the Dominican Republic, how once off-limit downtown Johannesburg can now be seen by walking tour, the new Royal Caribbean Oasis class cruise chip steel-cutting ceremony, a visit to Bath and Bristol comprehensive reportage of the ITAA conference, Air France’s new economy seat and an update on the transfer process at Charles de Gaulle airport since the opening of Hall M in Terminal 2E. humberside landing

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