Travel Extra’s Sunday Supplement: Royal Caribbean’s new cruise ship gets a name and a tune.

orchestra playsWhen Royal Caribbean’s Anthem of the Seas needed an anthem, they went to Dublin’s northside to fetch it. There was a hush around the room at the Royal Caribbean event on the 29th floor of London’s Heron Tower on Thursday night when the signature anthem for the new Quantum class ship Anthem of the Seas was selected. Five anthems in all were played by the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, Robbie Williams Angel, Edward Elgar’s Nimrod, the Beatle’s Hey Jude and William Blake’s Jerusalem. Music media analyst Stuart Maconie said he wanted the songs that make passengers happiest and were recognisable but not tarnished by over-familiarity (listen here). In introducing the winner, U2’s Beautiful Day, he described the Dublin group as architects of stadium or arena rock, with simple, socially conscious with huge anthemic choruses (listen here).

Styled by the cruise line as a giant new musical-themed “mega ship”, Anthem of the Seas, will be the second ship in the innovative Quantum class of ships from Royal Caribbean and the most technologically advanced cruise ship ever to be based in Europe when it is launched in spring 2015. It will be based in Southampton from April 2015 and offer cruises to the Mediterranean before moving to Fort Lauderdale for the winter months. Quantum class “firsts at sea” include a skydiving experience and the North Star, a jewel like capsule that extends 300 feet above the ocean and over the sides of the ship to deliver 360-degree views for guests, transformative venues include the largest indoor sports and entertainment complex at sea with bumper cars, roller skating and the cruise line’s largest and most advanced staterooms ever. The new, larger staterooms enable innovation in design, storage and comfort including the industry’s first virtual balconies meaning an end to inside cabins. At a cost of €170,000 per berth, Anthem of the Seas also is one of the most architecturally and technologically advanced ships ever built. Under construction at a shipyard in Germany, Anthem of the Seas is a sister to Royal Caribbean’s soon-to-debut Quantum of the Seas, which sets sail in November and will sail out of New York Harbour. The two ships are part of a new “Quantum” class at the line that also includes a third, as-yet-unnamed vessel to arrive in 2016,

At Thursday’s press conference CEO Adam Goldstein described how he felt Anthem will become part of holiday scene (listen here), described unique Quantum features such as North Star (listen here), Seaplex (listen here) and Skydiving (listen here), talked about the importance of the onboard entertainment options (listen here), the music hall (listen here), and assured attendees that entertainment will not be an extra charge (listen here).

Vice President Dominic Paul confirmed Independence of the Seas would be laving Southampton but Adventure of the Seas would be staying in England (listen here), talked through the entertainment (listen here), the music venue (listen here) and said that prices and itineraries would be available in early 2014 (listen here).

In an extensive one on one interview with Travel Extra, the new London based Ireland & UK Director of Royal Caribbean Stuart Leven said the trade remained central to Royal Caribbean’s strategy in his mission statement (listen here): “We will never move away from an expert sitting on front of the customer.”

He said he had inherited a strong relationship with the trade (listen here) and he would continue to work with the trade (listen here), something reiterated by Loraine Quinn (listen here). He especially wants more of the trade to experience cruising for themselves to help them sell the cruise experience (listen here). He explained why he felt agents should emphasise experience over price in selling cruise (listen here) and should know the selling points of a cruise were more than one thing (listen here). He felt growth would come at the expense of land based holidays rather than other cruise lines (listen here), He explained why he felt breaking up the three RCCL brands would make each stronger (listen here) and outlined the unique features of Royal Caribbean’s brand (listen here) and would benefit from standing alone (listen here). He also picked out two differences that distinguished the Quantum class (listen here). Stuart Leven has come from the hotel industry and had never cruised until six weeks ago (listen here).

Lorraine Quinn stressed the importance of new single staterooms options on Quantum (listen here) Stuart Leven also suggested that the cruise line would need new big ships to cope with anticipated growth to double digit figures of all holiday options (listen here). Pictures shows Declan O’Connell of Lee Travel, Jennifer Callister and Jenny Rafter of Royal Caribbean and Mary King of Travelsavers at the launch. See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.

award winnertsAt an awards ceremony for the Irish trade the following day Royal Caribbean presented new Business Initiative Awards to Travel Broker, who organised a wine tour, and Lee Travel, who organised the first direct pick-ups from Ireland on a Royal Caribbean sailing last summer. Travel Centres won the top Performing Consortium in Ireland (Thomas Cook in the north), Tour America the top Performing Independent Travel Agent for Royal Caribbean (Oasis Travel in the north) and Trailfinders was awarded top Performing Independent Travel Agent for Celebrity and Azamara (Oasis and Orr’s in the north).

The ceremony was followed by a tribute to Lorraine Quinn, who leaves Royal Caribbean in December. In the 14 years since Lorraine became the first home based representative of a major cruise line she has been largely responsible for transforming cruise from a 7,000 passenger a year curiosity to 35,000 passenger a year industry. Nowadays Royal Caribbean holds so large a slice of the pie, perhaps 70pc, as to make the rest of the pie unsliceable.

What lies ahead? Lorraine told Travel Extra that she hoped that cruise, still a single digit proportion of the holiday business in Ireland, would grow to double digits (listen here). Then can her epitaph, like Emmet’s, be written.

Jo Rzymowska (listen here) and Mary McKenna (listen here) paid tribute to Lorraine and she made a classic, typically self-effacing reply (listen here). Picture shows the award winners Dominic Burke, Clare Dunne, Jennifer Callister representing Trailfinders, Mary McKenna, Sandra Corkin, Marie Gallagher, Julie-Anne Vaughan Kyle Christie and Declan O’Connell. See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.

Dubai-Air-ShowLast week’s Dubai Airshow shows how the Gulf region has taken off. Michael O’Leary once described it as a “mine is bigger than yours” contest, (except he put it more crudely) and that is what happened at Dubai air show, a $200bn aircraft spending spree. Emirates ordered 50 new Airbus A380s, while Boeing put Dreamliner woes behind it when it surpassed 1,000 orders for the 787 and made the 777X launch the most successful ever for a large aircraft. The 777X comes in a large 405-seat and a smaller version, but is eating into already weak demand for the 747-8 jumbo. Etihad ordered ten more A350-1000, an all-new design rather than an upgrade from an existing frame and will fly years before the 777X. Etihad announced plans for a ‘regional’ European base via a Swiss partner, Darwin airline. The show closed its doors to visitors Thursday after rainfall flooded parts of the trade event’s large exhibition hall.

pr68346_[3]_Prepaid card launchLeo Varadkar launched the Good Food Ireland Prepaid MasterCard, a multifunctional card offering connections with 600 food places, culinary experts and artisan food producers at the Good Food Ireland conference. Mount Juliet, Co Kilkenny swept the boards at the subsequent awards taking the Good Food Ireland Supreme Award, the Restaurant of the Year Award and the Outstanding Place to Stay Award. Other winners on the night included Inch House Traditional Black Pudding for Producer of the Year, URRU Culinary Store in Bandon for Local Food Shop of the Year, Newforge House, Co Armagh for Culinary Haven of the Year and Toscana Restaurant in Dublin for the newly introduced Grow It Yourself Award. The Oarsman won the Food Lover’s Choice Award voted on by the public.

Chair of Good Food Ireland Redmond O’Donoghue commented on the Gathering that it would compare favourably with any marketing programme by any tourism organization in any nation state (listen here).

enda speaks_8769Taoiseach Enda Kenny, guest of honour, paid tribute to the agrifood sector (listen here), and Margaret Jeffares (listen here) and congratulated the sector for passing on the reduced VAT rate (listen here).

Part of the Taoiseach’s speech was an assessment of the state of the nation (listen here) an invitation to think of the kind of country we can become (listen here), and spoke of his hope for the future (listen here). Redmond O’Donoghue talked about the marketing challenge facing agrifood (listen here) and thanked the Taoiseach for his pro-tourism polices (listen here).

IMG_8746So what do you serve at the Good Food awards? Nothing but the best. It was an impressive showcase of Irish product Starter: Celebration of Keaghanmore duck, confit leg with forest mushroom, Asian style breast liver parfait, Breads: Artisan breads for the bretzel baker, blaas from M&D Bakery, Glenulan Farm handmade country butter, Main: Seared cold smoked Clare Island organic salmon, broth of the in season farm rainbow vegetables, samphire, Sligo mussels. Dessert: Shelbourne chocolate and raspberry gateaux. Cheeses: Boyne Valley blue farmhouse goats’ cheese, the little milk company raw milk, organic mature cheddar, Knockanore Farmhouse Oak Smoked cheddar, Ditty’s oatcakes, the foods of Athenry Gluten Free multiseed and cranberry and hazelnut craicers, wild about raspberry beret. Wine (the only thing not from Ireland) was by Class drinks, San Antonio Soave Fontana and Sant Antonio Valpolicella Nanfre from Veneto, Liqueur: Merry’s Irish White Chocolate cream liqueur and water by Tipperary water. Listen to the Shelbourne Hotel’s Kildare-born master chef Garry Hughes talk through the menu here. He is pictured with compere Kathryn Thomas in the background. See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.

martina coogan groupDelta hosted the trade at a function in Chapter One in Dublin to highlight developments such as the new lie-flat facilities in business class. Picture shows Martina Coogan fo Air France KLM, Noeleen Lynch of Atlas Amex, Sheila McCarthy of HGR, Philip Airey of Sunway, Sioobhan Scanlan of Delta/Air France KLM and Joe Tully of Joe Tully TravelIrish Ferries - Epsilon - Dublin to Holyhead. See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.

In order to facilitate an earlier introduction of the Epsilon on Dublin Holyhead, Irish Ferries have cancelled a number of sailings to France from November 24 until December 7. The Epsilon will then take up her own slots on the Dublin Holyhead route until 21 December. The Oscar Wilde is scheduled to resume her Rosslare Cherbourg service on December 8 until 19. The Epsilon will then be on the Rosslare Cherbourg route on a different schedule between December 28 and January 13. Irish Ferries have big plans for Epsilon with an exciting new route to be announce din the coming days.

First Dusseldorf to Knock FlightGermanwings will commence new direct services from Knock to Cologne in Germany starting in March 2014. The new route is expected to boost Knock’s annual passenger traffic to 750,000, from about 670,000. PIcture shows Minister Michael Ring and Ireland West Airport CEO Joe Gilmore with German journalists in Knock.

Aer Lingus new flights from Dublin Airport starting April 2014 will include a new service to Hanover. Aer Lingus will increase frequency on some of its existing routes – in particular on services from Paris, Lyons, Munich and Copenhagen. Aer Lingus announced a new Shannon to Malaga service to its summer destinations.

1ciara foley clodagh oxley_2431The Visit USA Ireland Committee AGM in the US Embassy Dublin last weekend reported astonishing growth in membership from 32 at the beginning of 2011 to 64 at start of 2012 and 80 at the end of 2013. A new Executive board was elected, Chair Ciara Foley of Platinum Travel, (pictured with Executive Director Clodagh Oxley), Vice Chair Claire Doherty of Sunway, Kristin Skinner of American Holidays and Treasurer Patricia Purdue of Massachusetts.

clare dunneNew Distribution Capability, Worldwide visa policies and the role of the travel agent in today’s world were discussed at the first Summit of Presidents of Travel Agencies Associations in Cordoba which was attended on behalf of the Irish Travel Agents Association by president Clare Dunne and CEO, Pat Dawson. Pictures show Clare Dunne with Rafael Gallego Nadal .President of CEAV  Those who survived the endless opening ceremony also got to discuss the future of Tourism and the future role for Travel Agents’ Associations. Dirk Glaesser. Acting Director for the Sustainable Development of Tourism Programme for UNWTO told delegates that tourism is currently the 3rd largest economic activity on our planet. Soon it will be the first. Currently 1 in 11 jobs in the world are in tourism and it represents 9pc of global GDP.

Pedro Ortún, General Director of Enterprise and Industry of the European Commission, remarked that the EU was actively following the NDC project to ensure that it is conducted in an open and transparent way and that it involves all stakeholders.

Clare Dunne said “it was a privilege to be able to attend this summit on behalf of my Irish industry colleagues and I look forward to renewing some of these new connections, begun in Cordoba, next week at the ECTAA conference being held in Dublin at our invitation. When NDC was first mooted by IATA it seemed that airlines had decided they didn’t need to work with any industry partners and could press ahead alone to maximise their profits from sales of airline ancillary services. However as 60pc of worldwide airline sales are currently generated by Travel Agents IATA admit that perhaps it would be better to begin to transform its relationship with Agents and rebuild trust.” See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.

aileen instructorsTopflight are reporting a 30pc increase in ski bookings this year. St Johann instructors Georg Hoopsie, Hannes Fritz and the Kilternan ski instructors hosted guests at Kilternan over the weekend in what has become an annual visit by the Austrian ski instructors to Ireland. Pictures shows Aileen Eglington with a group of visiting Austrian ski instructors.

malaga fam trip nov 2013The Spanish Tourist Board hosted agents on a Malaga fam Malaga as a city break. Picture shows Jackie Coakley of Shandon Travel, Alan Preston of Clickandgo, Kathryn MacDonnell of the Spanish Tourist Board, Erica Archer of Supersun Travel, Lisa Nahedh  of Travel Counsellors, Sean McCarthy of Club Travel, Lisa Keating of Abbey Travel and Richard Cullen of Killiney Travel, pictured at the Jardin Botanico in Malaga

According to a report in the English Guardian, Michael O’Leary admitted he has been “getting in the way” of the airline’s new softer image and has decided to remove himself from the public frontline over the next year. “he has decided that his own image, fostered over decades of gratuitous insults, expletive-laden interviews and cost-cutting ideas mooted with various degrees of sincerity is too ingrained – even after his recent well-publicised commitment to “stop unnecessarily pissing people off”.”

Many years ago when Ryanair hosted travel writers for an onboard press conference, breakfast was served. Michael O’Leary asked the journalists if they had enjoyed their breakfast. “Good,” he said, “because it is the last thing you will get for free from Ryanair.” All has changed then, with the invitation to a Ryanair function in Dublin this week. Ryanair say passengers can now book a flight within 40 seconds. More steps taking place in the reinvention of Ryanair include:

Michael O’Leary claimed easyJet had “wiped the floor with us” as EasyJet profits climbed 51pc to a new record. He said EasyJet has done a better job than Ryanair over the last 12 months by introducing allocated seating earlier and making other changes to customer service. “We can learn from the bits they’ve done well, they were doing something right and we were missing a trick.” The London Telegraph pondered what is easyJet doing right? EasyJet is adding two new flights from London to Brussels and Strasbourg next year .Nathalie Thomas asked who will win the battle, as no-frills airlines, dating back to the late 1960s, are now major corporate players,

Spanish TB Cardona ParadorThe Spanish Tourist Board hosted journalists on a trip to the Parador hotels in Cardona, Vic and Aiguablava. Pictured at Parador Cardona are: Xavier Segura Reception manager Parador Cardona, Isabel Conway of the Irish Examiner, Pepe Seijas, Tony Bailie of the Irish News. Fran Power of Cara Magazine, Denise Calnan of the Irish Independent, Claire Cromie of the Belfast Telegraph and Una Mullaly of the Irish Times. Marian Benton of MAP Travel, Sara Rivero Lopez of the Spanish TB and Carol Hunt of the Sunday Independent.

tryphavana cross jan 2013 copyCelebrity Cruises have appointed Tryphavana Cross as their Irish representative. Typhavana, formerly aereps Marketing and PR Account Manager for Las Vegas CVA, will report to Michael English, Celebrity Cruises head of sales Ireland & UK and will be responsible for helping to drive the brand’s growth in Ireland. Celebrity Infinity ship, which will be a frequent visitor to Ireland in 2015 after its first ever visits this year after an extensive revitalisation. January will see the official launch of the Celebrity website.

The Failte Ireland tourism town award winner will be announced on Thursday. The shortlisted towns are Cobh, Drogheda, Ennis, Kenmare, Kilkenny, Letterkenny, Mulranny, Murrisk, Tralee and Westport.

As more American airlines allowed electronic devices to be used during take off and landing AeroMobile CEO Kevin Rogers said that initiating a proceeding on inflight mobile connectivity was “great news for our current airline partners. As well as offering an improved service, extending coverage to the United States means increased ancillary revenues for those airlines that offer mobile connectivity.” The service is active on more than 170 aircraft across nine airlines including Aer Lingus Emirates, Etihad, SAS, Lufthansa, and Virgin Atlantic. All Aer Lingus’ transatlantic flights from Ireland offer the AeroMobile service as do all Virgin Atlantic flights between the United States and London Gatwick.

TOURISM ENTERPRISES ATTEND INNOVATIVE WORKSHOPFifty tourism enterprises from around the island of Ireland came together for an innovative workshop organised by Tourism Ireland. Have you a story to tell live?, which explored how tourism businesses around the country could generate more international publicity and social media exposure for themselves, and for Ireland, and increase overseas tourism business in 2014. Picture shows Joe Lane, Seanchaí Kerry Writers Museum, Listowel, with Rikke Aagaard Petersen, Tourism Ireland Nordic Region.

Sarah-travel CounsellorsSarah McCarthy was awarded Best Travel Counsellor Ireland for the 4th successive year at the recent Travel Counsellors conference in Telford, UK. Sarah set a new Irish record for sales in 1 year of €1,443,000 to 31 October and also remains the only Irish TC to ever hit over €200K sales in 1 month. Over 60pc of her sales are through the Company’s in house dynamic booking and packaging system, Phenix. Photo shows Sarah receiving her award with David Speakman, Chairman and Malcolm Hingley, Sales Director Travel Counsellors.

  • Video of the week comes from last Sunday’s tragic plane crash in Russia. A more cheerful video is provided by comedy team Republic of Telly who compiled a musical for Ireland parodying placenames (“this is ground control to Monaghan”). New York advertising agency Opperman Weiss ran their finger over a few Irish clichés with their new ad for Tullamore Dew. Many of Travel Extra’s friends in the trade will recognise the song.
  • say Kilkenny saw the largest percentage increase in search requests by Irish travellers in October while Irish destinations attracting significant interest by English travellers included Killarney (up 230pc), while Kilkenny (up 164pc), Waterford (up 143pc) and Athlone (up132pc).

sa winnersSouth African Airways has revealed two winners of its photography competition, Capture South Africa. A panel of five judges chose Alco Brand’s winning scenery shot of the view over Cape Town entitled Cape Town by Night and Moira Enslin’s portrait of an elderly gentleman, Memories out of thousands of entries. Both winners have won two return flights between South Africa and London with South African Airways.

  • Irish Ferries – An Ambitious Voyage by marine historians Miles Cowsill and Justin Merrigan has been published by specialist Isle of Man publishers Ferry Publications. The 150-page hard-back production traces the path that the Irish Ferries organisation has taken from its very earliest days operating services on the Irish Sea between Ireland and Britain under the B&I Line flag. the development of direct ferry services between Ireland and France and the role played by Irish Continental Line before that company and B&I line came together in the early-1990s. and commissioning of four new vessels for the company’s Dublin – Holyhead and Rosslare – Pembroke routes, including the cruise ferry ‘Ulysses’ which, at the time of its launch, was the world’s largest car ferry.
  • Philippe Gombert, owner of Chateau de la Treyne in the Dordogne, was elected International President of Relais & Chateaux at the association’s 39th International Congress held in Berlin. He will lead Relais & Chateaux for a four-year term
  • Relais & Chateaux launched the 2014 International Relais & Châteaux Guide welcoming 36 new members including The Park Hotel Kenmare. The Goring in London, Cliveden in Berkshire. eight new destinations (Croatia, Latvia, Dominican Republic, South Korea, Russia, Ecuador, Mauritius, Turkey) and nine new cities (London, Seoul, Riga, Quito, Valparaiso, Seattle, Calgary, Johannesburg and Hangzhou) feature, as do 12 new Grands Chefs, a distinct collection of 85 villas and private homes < > and
  • New York City Welcomed a record 52m visitors in 2012 .
  • Fionn Davenport is joining the travel team of the Irish Times. Mark Evans has left the Herald to join sister newspaper the Irish independent but will still run the Herald travel section. The position of travel editor in the Irish Independent is currently been administered by Katie Byrne.
  • Ireland’s Blue Book will celebrate its 40th Anniversary with Michelin starred Thornton’s Restaurant, Clare Island Lighthouse and Liss Ard Estate joining the collection. Thornton’s joining the Blue Book bringing the number of Michelin starred restaurants in the collection to five and the total number of properties to 46. Founded by Myrtle Allen of Ballymaloe House and 11 other country houses in 1974, Ireland’s Blue Book is a romantic collection of Irish Country Houses, Manor Houses, Historic Hotels and restaurants located throughout the island. There are 46 gorgeous properties in the 2014 collection.
  • Georges Duboeuf Beaujolais Nouveau 2013 arrives in Dublin for its World Launch on November 21st in line with French law. Beaujolais Nouveau is known internationally as the wine of friendship and hospitality.
  • The Northern Ireland Tourist Board highlighted the best of what Northern Ireland has to offer visitors at Dublin Royal Hospital Kilmainham on Thursday to prospect tour operators, ITOA members, professional conference organisers, destination management companies, press and Northern Ireland tourism industry representatives. The event highlighted new products within Northern Ireland’s nine key tourism destinations and the ‘Big Start’ of the Giro d’Italia in May 2014. Visitors from the rest of Ireland took 430,000 overnight trips into Northern Ireland in 2012, just over 20pc of the total which leaves huge potential for growth.
  • Registration is open for Tourism Ireland’s Marketing Plans 2014-2016 Launch Event in December Are you ready for the journey?
  • Etihad Airways’ James Hogan visited the United States, leading a delegation of senior airline executives at a series of government and commercial meetings in Washington, D.C
  • Flight search site Bravofly expanded its affiliate marketing campaign across Europe in conjunction with Tradedoubler.
  • US Airways announces a new service from Edinburgh to Philadelphia.
  • Amadeus topped the European R&D ranking again in travel and tourism. R&D investment in 2012 having reached €440.3m, an increase of 26.7pc versus 2011
  • Taoiseach Enda Kenny launched four new exhibitions at Trinity’s Science Gallery
 that combine art with science, technology, engineering and mathematics.
  • Tunisia is to create golf holes within the historic ampitheatre at El Djem, where the Gladiator movie was partly shot.
  • Celtic Link Ferries will operate continuously to France through December with the newest and fastest vessel sailing between Rosslare and France and the only vessel that sails between Ireland and France from January to December each year.
  • The Flynn Hotel Group will hold a January Room sale with a seriously good deal on rooms in their four hotels located around the country starting at midnight on January 17th with rooms at €69 which includes full Irish breakfast and late check in or check out.
  • MSC Divina was escorted into PortMiami by a fleet of high-powered FIAT personal watercraft. With yesterday’s arrival, MSC Divina becomes the first MSC Cruises ship to sail year-round from North America.
  • The K Club in Co Kildare won the award for the world’s Best Luxury Country House at the World Luxury Hotel Awards.
  • Waterford ferry7
  • Waterford Castle Hotel and Golf Resort Officially Name New Ferry The Mary Fitzgerald after a local radio competition. Pictures shows Derek Coyne, General Manager of Waterford Castle Hotel and Resort and WLR fm competition winner Louise Barry, whose suggestion ‘The Mary Fitzgerald’ was chosen as the official name of the ferry.
  • Cork Airport was nominated in the 2013 sustainable energy awards 2013 having achieved 27pc savings on its total energy consumption and cost reductions of €1.1m since 2009
  • Air Serbia, the national airline announced that ten next generation A320neo aircraft have been confirmed for its fleet.
  • TAP Portugal is to add two new destinations in Brazil: Manaus and Belém
  • Closing date for entries for the United Airlines incentive promotion to Chicago is December 14th.
  • Azamara Club Cruises is offering a complimentary shore excursion per Mediterranean port visited on selected 2014 European sailings booked up to January 31st.
  • Amadeus was selected by the European Travel Commission (to develop an innovative solution to promote Europe as a destination.
  • Cork Airport are offering a 10pc Parking Discount
  • Westport House & Pirate Adventure Park will open its Winter Wonderland on December 6th with a special session for children with autism or sensory disorders who can see Santa with sensory considerations tailored to their needs.
  • TripAdvisor announced its 2013 Travellers’ Choice Awards for the world’s best all-inclusive resorts: The all-Caribbean top ten included five Mexican resorts, three Dominican Republic and one each from Cuba and Jamaica: 1 Iberostar, Playa del Carmen; 2 Royalton Cayo Santa Maria, Cuba; 3 Beloved Hotel, Cancun,; 4 Iberostar, Montego Bay; 5 Excellence Playa Mujeres, Cancun; 6 Le Blanc Cancun; 7 Iberostar Punta Cana; 8 Secrets Playa del Carmen; 9 Reserve at Paradisus Palma Real, Punta Cana; 10 Luxury Bahia Principe Cayo Levantado Don Pablo Collection, Bahia de Samana. Voyage Belek in Turkey made it in 11th place followed by Adler Thermae in Bagno Vignoni in Italy with Club Med Egypt in 15th place.
  • readers selected their ten prettiest European cities: 1 Riga; 2 Bergen; 3 Innsbruck; 4 Dubrovnik; 5 Chester; 6 Prague; 7 Budapest; 8 Santorini (is Santorini a city?); 9 Venice; 10 Bruges.
  • The Daily Meal claimed Kitcho, Kyoto, Japan was the most expensive restaurant in the world with Restaurant Le Meurice, Paris second in their top ten list.
  • Lonely Planet selected its top 10 regions for 2014, headed by Sikkim in India.
  • Robert Dowds argued that the Lissadell judgement has implications for tourism, and suggested Scotland access legislation which opened up their country for walkers brought substantial benefits.
  • Aidan Brogan’s Datalex says it remains on target to deliver earnings growth of between 25pc and 30pc for the year after transaction revenue rose 15pc.
  • Ryanair settled its defamation action against the London independent and was confirmed by London-based NATS as one of the most safety compliant airlines flying in its airspace
  • Boeing 747 Dreamlifter cargo aircraft landed at the wrong airport in Wichita Kansas. Wrong-airport landings are rare, but not unheard of. There was one in Ballykelly instead of Derry in March 2006.
  • Security official Deirdre Moore lost her case against DAA in which she alleged an unsafe work system led to a back injury when she tried to move an excessively heavy carry-on bag going through an X-ray conveyor belt.
  • Former Ryanair cabin crew member Brian Butler lost a bullying case against the airline
  • Aer Lingus cabin crew based at Shannon Airport have voted to accept proposals drawn up at the Labour Relations Commission aimed at resolving a dispute over staffing levels on new trans-Atlantic services
  • Aer Lingus accused trade unions of adding two new conditions to Labour Court proposals designed to resolve the €780m pension fund dispute.
  • cavan wins Eden award 2013 001 copy

Joanne Hayes from “This is Cavan” tourism office and Savina Donohue from Cavan County Council received the EDEN award for environmental tourism initiatives from Pedro Ortun from the European Commission’s Directorate General for Enterprise and Industry at an awards ceremony in Brussels. Previous Irish winners were Clonakilty District (2007), Carlingford and the Cooley Peninsula (2008). Sheeps Head Peninsula (2009), Loop Head Peninsula (2010), and Greenway in Mayo (2011).

  • The European branch of Airports Council International has appointed the DAA’s Paul O’Kane as chair of its new digital communications forum
  • Fota Wildlife Park got the go-ahead for a €7m expansion
  • The government continues to seek €12m from Ryanair, €4m from Aer Arann and €3m from Aer Lingus in disputed travel tax payments.
  • Ryanair may have to repay a fee cut and marketing aid from Frankfurt Hahn Airport.
  • Airlines who fly to England raised concerns at new powers to make airline staff conduct extra border checks on passengers.
  • America’s FCC chair Tim Wheeler said it was time for the FCC to review “outdated and restrictive rules” about cellphone use on airplanes.
  • Jump into Ireland was listed as among the odder tourism slogans in the world in a whimsical look at tourism slogans by the English Guardian inspired by Jamaica’s decision to introduce Jamaica, Get All Right instead of Jamaica Once you go, you know (700 comments, so this one has got legs).
  • English airports Liverpool, Luton and Stansted are to introduce body scanners.
  • Eurocamp is to sell through the trade for first time and drop the Keycamp brand as part of its relaunch
  • Simon Calder suggested that the Dublin to St John’s route with Westjet is likely to be the cheapest route between Europe and North America next summer.
  • Sardinia declared a state of emergency following a deadly cyclone.
  • The Spanish Tourism Office announced the winner of its Spain in Ireland competition. Caitriona Fleming of Cassidy Travel, who won a week for two people in Lanzarote, including return flights from Ireland courtesy of the Spanish Tourist Board () and half-board accommodation offered by the VIK Hotel San Antonio.
  • IAG chief executive Willie Walsh, Ryanair chief operating officer Michael Cawley, Christoph Muller from Aer Lingus and CityJet’s Christine Ourmieres will be at the 2013 CAPA World Aviation Summit in Amsterdam this week.
  • London is to get a 24-hour Tube service at weekends
  • London Mayor Boris Johnson says a new 24-hour Tube service at weekends from 2015 will allow people to enjoy “the whole of the London economy.” The London Telegraph listed some of the most impressive and historic metros in the world.
  • England’s Advertising Standards Authority has published new guidance reminding bloggers that they must make it clear if they are receiving payment for writing positive reviews or comments about a product or service.
  • Cleaners on an airliner in India found 24 gold bars worth $1m stashed in an airplane toilet.
  • Thomas Cook, TUI Travel, Lufthansa and Virgin Atlantic sold their majority stakes in England’s air traffic control service NATS to Universities Superannuation Scheme
  • Delta is to start shuttling high-value customers in a Porsche at LAX, New York JFK and Minneapolis/St Paul airports.
  • SAS is to increase capacity from Dublin to Oslo by 11pc and to Copenhagen by 9pc next summer.
  • It was suggested American Airlines and US Airways may have to wait until March 2014 before their merger is finalized under a timetable set out by US District Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly. The airlines will divest 52 slot pairs at Washington Reagan and 17 slot pairs at New York LaGuardia.
  • Qatar will announce routes to Amsterdam, Prague and Rio in the new year.
  • Dermot Mannion’s Royal Brunei received its first Dreamliner last month and has four more arriving early next year but has ‘no plans’ to extend long-haul network and is instead concentrating on its s instead concentrating on its London-Dubai-Brunei-Melbourne route.
  • The daft speed limit signs on narrow roads are to be scrapped as a result of a committee report. The committee made eleven recommendations including a call for clearer new signs. New up to date traffic signs were also suggested for London’s road users and cabbies said road signs should warn of rickshaws and potholes, and called to scrap outdated warnings about horse-drawn vehicles and alerts about migratory toads on the road
  • Scandinavian Airlines will launch eight routes from the end of March, the airline will open the following non-stop services Stockholm-Visby, Stavanger-Edinburgh, Oslo-Edinburgh, Oslo-Aalborg, Oslo-Aberdeen, Oslo-Chania and Copenhagen-Leeds Bradford.
  • Hilton HHonors, the loyalty programme for Hilton Worldwide’s ten hotel brands, has partnered with Priority Pass,
  • British Airways was accused of allowing a 13-year-old boy to walk off a flight unaccompanied despite his parents paying for a chaperone service
  • Ryanair announced 12 new routes from London Stansted from April 2014 (with no €3 travel tax reduction to thank the politicians for). They included Prague, a destination Ryanair dropped in 2010 because it considered airport fees too high but now served once more from both Dublin and Stansted.
  • The Westminster government further relaxed its travel advice for Egypt, lifting restrictions against travel to Cairo and the Giza Pyramids. Ireland continues to advise holiday makers to avoid non-essential travel to most of Egypt, with the exception of the resort of Sharm El Sheikh (only) in the Sinai, other Red Sea resorts outside the Sinai peninsula as well as Luxor and Aswan (including cruises between them), where Irish citizens are advised to exercise a high degree of caution and to arrive and depart by air.
  • On the week that selfie was slected as the word of the year, a study suggests tourists increasingly use braggie photographs to boast about their travels.
  • The Westminster authorities also warned about tourists imprisoned abroad, often in distressing conditions, for drugs offences.
  • Snowfall in ski resorts across the Alps has led to higher than usual interest in pre-Christmas skiing
  • England’s Aito Travel Writer of the Year Award was won by Mark Jones, with his BA High Life article entitled ‘A Galapagos Miscellany.
  • The London Telegraph listed 10 of the best Street Views, the canals of Venice and the rainforests of the Amazon viewed from the comfort of your own browser.
  • Maeve Higgins and Nigel Richardson outlined their personal list of things he would change about airport security. The London Telegraph listed five things they would change about airport security
  • Tuesday was World Toilet Day, so the London Telegraph listed ten fascinating lavatories around the globe
  • A new tourist scam emerged this week when Catalan police suggested that thieves are hiding in oversized suitcases, nimble thieves in Spain are infiltrating bus cargo holds and stealing from tourists as they travel. The London Telegraph listed thirteen favourite holiday scams.
  • Emirates hosted the trade at a drinks reception on Thus and top agents lunch on Friday.
  • Clickandgo. launched a five day pre-Christmas sale offering a €1pp discount and you don’t pay until January.
  • Sunway have Morocco on offer from €244 for their November 20th departure.

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