Double Daily Dublin to Dubai is the news of the week. A second daily service from Emirates ail commence in September, adding a B777-200LR to the current B777-300ER and using a later slot than Etihad’s evening departure to Abu Dhabi. The announcement came as a surprise in the end: Tim Clark president of Emirates (and regular visitor to Lismore in Waterford) threw it out as an afterthought in the press conference following his meeting with Taoiseach Enda Kenny in Dubai on Thursday morning.
Margaret Shannon who was in Dubai for the occasion, went through a few “he’s not going to do it” moments before the words came out of his mouth. Emirates Ireland had already issued a 212-word statement describing the Taoiseach joining Emirates second anniversary celebrations and the 442,000 passengers who connected on the Dublin to Dubai route (and 442 Irish employees, what a coincidence) but ignoring the only big news item to emerge from the meeting. Their PR advisers released a three-liner confirming the route at 1.39pm. Picture shows Enda Kenny, Tim Clark and Margaret Shannon in Dubai.
United Airlines are adding 16,000 seats for Summer 2014 (June 6 to Aug 19) with 74 extra flights on a second daily Dublin-Newark service, UA131 at 12:30pm arriving Newark 4pm, return flight, UA130 10:25 pm arriving Dublin at 10:20 am the following day. The flights will be operated by Boeing 757-200 aircraft with a total of 169 seats – 16 flat-bed seats in United BusinessFirst and 153 in United Economy, including 45 Economy Plus seats with added legroom and increased personal space.
The most important sales period of the year continues this week with various airline and retail travel sales. Sales include Aer Lingus (book by today Jan 12 Travel by April, Britain €20, Europe €40, USA €200), British Airways (book by Jan 28, travel by Sept 30), Virgin Atlantic (book by Jan 31), Air France (book by next Wednesday Jan 8). Disneyland Paris are continuing their a new 30 yes days promotion. Flynn.hotel group room sale starts on January 17th. Clickandgo.com have decided to extend the €1 deposit sale until January 31st C&G have five star luxury offers in the Algarve for €1,700 for 2+2 in June.
CEO of Falcon Holidays Helen Caron briefed media on Falcon’s summer holiday options for 2014. The new destinations of Ibiza and Rhodes are selling well and the all-inclusive programme has been boosted by a January TV ad campaign. Helen Caron said Falcon/Thomson were being told by their customers that while they consumers liked to dod their research online they then preferred to come back to a travel agent to book their holiday (listen here). Reviewing 2013, she said that early sales led to good figures overall for the year and served as a protection against a dramatic slowdown in sales which occurred during summer (listen here), The traditional booking system has been very strong (listen here). New destinations Ibiza and Rhodes are selling particularly well (listen here). She outlined the success of 18-30 product #NRG (listen here), The holiday company was focusing on its all inclusive and differentiated product in its current TV campaign (listen here). The result of a competition launched in summer mean that real families feature on the summer 2014 brochure (listen here). Picture shows the Falcon team at the launch: Charlotte Brenner, Marta Stybaniewicz, Carol Anne O’Neill, Antoinette Young, Helen Caron and Niamh Kenny.
Tourists are being reassured that measures are being taken to protect them during a planned shut-down of Bangkok by protesters next week. Frequencies of Bangkok‘s Suvarnabhumi Airport Rail Link services to and from the Makkasan City Air Terminal will be increased to 78 Express and 161 City Line trains per day as one of a series of measures by Thai authorities and the tourism industry to facilitate tourists visiting Bangkok during the planned anti-government demonstrations from January 13 (download as PDF file). Joanna Cooke of the Tourism Authority of Thailand said that much of the city will still be open for business and accessible, both for locals and tourists. Thailand’s Ministry of Tourism and Sports expects tourist arrivals will drop between 10pc and 12pc in 2014 due to the prolonged political demonstrations. Singapore Airlines is expected to cut up to 19 flights to Bangkok next week due to on-going political protests against the Thai government.
It was hard to escape Chris Hadfield, the astronaut and David Bowie fan, who will feature in a series of short films to promote Ireland as a tourist destination. In Ireland to launch the initiative Hadfield tried his hand at hurling and told BBC interviewer Kiwi Lucy Hockings Marlborough in New Zealand was the most appealing destination from space. He told Lise Hand: “We crossed the Atlantic in just a few minutes on a Space Station and the first part of Europe that you see of course is Ireland. It appears on the horizon as you come racing up and over and you wait for a clear sunny day — which isn’t all that often, but when you get one, it’s just as beautiful as a place can be, it’s just lovely.”
Trivago reported the average price of a hotel room in Ireland in January on their price comparison site was €86, down 7pc month on month): Donegal €109 (down 2pc month on month), Killarney €93 (down 4pc), Kilkenny €91 (down 3pc), Dublin €90 (down 9pc), Belfast €89 (down 7pc), Sligo €83 (down 5pc), Cork €82 (down 28pc), Waterford €81 (flat), Derry €79 (down 4pc), Galway €79 (down 12pc), Tralee €78 (down 7pc) and Limerick €73 (down 6pc).
Guinness Storehouse was the leading attraction in Ireland last year with a record visitor numbers as more attractions reported their end of year figures. Dublin Zoo came within 4,000 of last year’s record and finished in second place. The four National Museums had 1,039,137 visitors, 404,230 to Kildare St, 284,323 to the Natural History museum, 251,226 to Collins Barracks and 99,358 to Castlebar. The provisional top 15 was: 1 Guinness Storehouse 1,157,000; 2 Dublin Zoo 1,026,611; 3 Cliffs of Moher 960,134; 4 National Aquatic Centre 858,231; 5 Botanic Gardens Belfast 663,000; 6 National Gallery 640,000; 7 Titanic 614,138; 8 Ulster Museum 612,744; 9 Book of Kells 588,447; 10 Botanic Gardens Glasnevin 561,026; 11 Giant’s Causeway Centre 542,000; 12 Tayto Park Ashbourne 490,000; 13 Dundonald Ice Bowl 450,000; 14 Nat Museum Kildare St 404,230; 15 St Patrick’s Cathedral 385,000.
Failte Ireland’s end of year review was even more optimistic than that of Eamonn McKeon’s Irish Tourism Industry Confederation the previous week. Where ITIC predicted 6,000 new jobs in tourism, Failte Ireland predicted 8,000 (listen here). Shaun Quinn said there were 6.7m visitors in 2013 (listen here), still a million fewer than peak (listen here), and that three sectors will drive growth in 2014 (listen here), about which tourism business were especially confident (listen here). Nine out of ten tourism businesses saw an improvement in 2013 (listen here). He said built heritage would be the signature attraction of the south and east (listen here) and Failte Ireland was addressing the image of Dublin that emerged in surveys of a dark grey city (listen here). Failte say there are now 200,000 employed in tourism in Ireland, a slightly higher figure than that cited by the CSO (listen here). The domestic market remained flat but delivered 7m trips and €1.4bn revenue in 2013 (listen here). He claimed the Gathering was responsible for about half of the tourism growth last year (listen here) and had the biggest impact on counties with a large diaspora (listen here). Two surveys due in the coming weeks would enumerate the impact of the gathering (listen here). Already the increase in VFR indicated the Gathering effect (listen here). He stressed the importance of the VAT issue for tourism businesses (listen here). The fact that prices were lower had led to reduced revenue (listen here) but was a big factor in helping attract tourists (listen here). Issues facing businesses included high fixed costs (listen here). Priorities for 2014 included a change in focus on events that would attract large numbers of visitors (listen here) and a concentration on what he called “projects of scale and singularity” (listen here). He concluded that tourism in Ireland is in a good place (listen here). Newspapers focused on the fact this was Failte Ireland’s best season in six years as 98pc of businesses expect the same or better year this year.
Ski conditions in the Alps are no better this week with warm temperatures and soft snow in Austria, Switzerland and France. The Ski Welt in Austria saw temperatures reach around 11C this week and spring conditions can be found at most Austrian resorts. Obergurgl offers some of Europe’s best skiing. Some Swiss resorts are still enjoying good conditions after last weekend’s heavy snow but there is also slushy or heavy snow at lower levels. In North America much colder temperatures and snowy weather mean great skiing in Canada and the USA.
Tour operator Club Med promised discounts if lack of snow closes pistes in Aime La Plagne, Alpe d’Huez , Arcs Extreme, Avoriaz, Cervinia, Chamonix, La Plagne 2100, Les Deux Alpes, Meribel Antares, Meribel le Chalet, Tignes Val Claret, Val d’Isere, Val Thorens, Serre Chevallier, Wengen, Peisey Vallandry, Pragelato, Saint Moritz roi soleil, Valmorel of Villars sur Ollon.
Anthony and Neal Collins of Directski commented that being in the mountains is always potentially riskier than taking an active pursuit at lower altitude, but snow is more forgiving than hard ground would be for a mountain biker. They say that anyone considering skiing off piste, or even slightly away from the main routes, should always be properly equipped with a transceiver, probe and shovel. Directski.com say 5pc of Irish skiers travelled with the successful online operator last season. Christie’s will hold the world’s only dedicated Ski Sale at South Kensington in London on January 22nd.
Air rage was all the rage this week. Una Mullaly wrote that the arrest of Jenny Lauren in Ireland had a US romcom feel about it. She asked the arresting Garda to speak English because she thought she was in Spain. That the case was held in a pub helped propel the international coverage. The New York Post described the courtroom setting as “unusual by American standards in a makeshift court in a pub near the airport because there’s no courtroom in the area“. Fox News said: “While western Ireland has several official court buildings, junior judges often travel roving circuits and hold weekly hearings in different public houses in outlying villages, to make it easier for residents of rural areas to attend.” The BBC tweeted: Jennifer Lauren air rage case heard in pub courthouse. The London Daily Mail informed its readers that Lauren sat “only feet away from Guinness and Heineken taps and under switched-off disco lights as her name was called out in the licensed premises“. The London Telegraph said: “It was perhaps not the most appropriate venue for someone accused of being drunk and disorderly to make a court appearance, a makeshift court set in a west Ireland country pub“. It led to some publicity for the Oakwood Arms Hotel in Shannon. Delta hinted it would seek compensation while solicitor Caitriona Carmody who represented her said what air rage cases have in common is the consumption of alcohol. In America a man sentenced to eight months for slapping a toddler on a flight claimed he had only ingested one alcoholic drink, used no racial language (the mother told ABC news he used the n-word), and had politely asked the mother to quiet her child. Joe Rickey Hundley’s took a last minute flight because his only son was in a coma in Atlanta after an insulin overdose that was the result of a suspected suicide attempt.
There won’t be a dramatic production during Limerick’s national capital of culture year as good the high theatre produced by the public meeting that Pat Cox conducted last weekend (an hour and 18 minutes, listen here) to face down his critics as the Limerick capital of culture descended into farsetta. Cox played the villain and hero of the proceedings with aplomb, speaking at times in iambic pentameter. The entrances and exits were laudable although the costumes could have done with a makeover. Patricia Ryan became the fourth resignation out of proceedings. Mike Fitzpatrick took over as acting administrator and was backed by Mike Wallace. Fintan O’Toole bemoaned the absence of artists from the steering committee and Paddy Power offered odds on the Rubberbandits becoming the next CEO (500/1, but odds nonetheless). The Greeks, who invented the idea of a capital of culture (or specifically screen idol turned politician Melina Mercouri), could not have come up with a better example of art imitating real life. Has anyone heard anything from European capitals of culture Riga and Umeå to compare with that? Thought not.
While Limerick was going to war. Waterford brought the curtain up on one of the biggest tourism years in the history of the city as the Viking Triangle, the two hectare “1,000 years in 1,000 paces” site where much of Waterford’s story from 914 to the present day can be found (download of Colliers report available, 19.6 megs)
Who will be the next Waterford? Birr, apparently. Aidan Pender talked through some of the options at Failte Ireland’s end of year survey (listen here): “We go back to basic things and ask what is the asset base we have to work with? If a further tranche of capital funding came along we would look at We would look at towns which has something to say, Waterford is an obvious example, Kilkenny is another, towns in the midlands Birr and towns like that have particular heritage assets, we would be very open to that.”
Although Dublin was no longer one of Etihad airways top ten routes in 2013, Etihad carried more than 240,000 passengers on its Dublin flights, an increase of 8pc on the total carried in 2012. The airline also carried its one millionth passenger on the Dublin route in 2013. Bangkok was once again the airline’s busiest route, with a total of 742,759 passengers. Etihad had its highest ever passenger and cargo volumes in 2013. Six destinations were introduced to Etihad Airways’ network in 2013, with new services launched to Washington DC in March, Amsterdam in May, Sao Paulo and Belgrade in June, Sana’a in September, and Ho Chi Minh City in October. Frequencies were also increased on 18 existing routes last year and new codeshare agreements were signed with Kenya Airways, Air Serbia, South African Airways, Belavia, Korean Airlines, Air Canada and airBaltic. Etihad Airways CEO and fifth generation Corkman (and former Essendon NFL player) James Hogan from Melbourne was presented with a certificate of Irish descendancy by the Taoiseach. The airline currently employs 176 Irish nationals, including 115 members of staff based in Abu Dhabi and a team of 34 in Dublin. Nearly 12m people flew with Etihad last year, marking a significant increase of nearly 16pc in comparison to 2012’s figure of 10.3m. Picture shows James Hogan and Enda Kenny at Etihad headquarters.
- Aer Lingus have been given codeshare concessions on flights from Toronto to Calgary, Montreal and Vancouver. The Toronto daily flights next summer are facing a lot more competition than seemed to be the case when they were announced on July 3rd.
- Fashion designer David Emanuel will open The Belfast Telegraph Holiday World Show which returns to the King’s Hall Pavilions, Belfast nest weekend from Friday January 17th to Sunday January 19th
- America’s polar vortex (anywhere else would call it a cold snap) produced pictures of iced Niagara Falls and lots of jokey videos after Hell, Michigan froze over (watch here, or here, or here, or here)..
- QuickPark are celebrating their 10th anniversary with promotional rates from €3 per day when you book parking online during January. 4 days for €20 (normally €25) 7-8 days for €30 (normally €35) 14-15 days for €45 (normally €50). (01) 8621977 www.quickpark.ie
- Adams and Butler is 10 years old this week. Founder and owner Siobhan Byrne Learat (pictured) is personally celebrating 25 years in the travel industry. She has cleared up the mystery about the name and the concept: Everyone always asks how did Adams & Butler come into being, and how did we choose the name. It all started when I was doing my MBA back in 2002 at the Smurfit Business School in Dublin. All my working life I had considered every client as being unique and meriting my utmost dedication and care. I thought there was a gap in Ireland for a company whose philosophy was building relationships of integrity with suppliers and agents, with the sole purpose of making clients really happy when they went on vacation and letting them spend time with real people from every strata of society, including Dukes, Lord and Ladies and Sheep Farmers! I truly believed in this concept and used it as a basis for my MBA thesis. I got a first. I gathered those around me who felt likewise both in the office and as driver guides. I firmly believe that our guides David Wardell, Ru Zeigler, Robert Vance, Kevin O’Carroll, Betty O’Connell, James Campbell, James Scobie, John Newbigging, John Barnton, Diane and Paulo are the best driver guides in the world. And the name.. Adams & Butler? There is no Mr Adams and no Mr Butler. I wanted Irish names that people could spell and ‘A’ meant that we were always at the top of the list – where we belong. www.adamsandbutler.com – www.privateluxurytravel.com – www.africanluxury.com
- England’s Civil Aviation Authority is deregulating Stansted effective from April, releasing it from price controls. The watchdog said that Stansted lacks “substantive market power” in light of the long-term contracts it has in place with its airline customers which translates as Ryanair, responsible for 75pc of the airport’s annual 17.5m passengers. Ryanair shares fell 2.3pc. The airline said the move would lead to higher charges.
- The latest offering from Malaysia Airlines partnership with Meath Chef Richard Corrigan is scrambled eggs, sunny side up, soft-boiled or poached eggs for breakfast, cooked from scratch on board by Malaysia Airlines’ cabin crew. The airline’s ‘Chef on Call’ service can be pre-booked in advance a range of gourmet dishes. Their signature Satay, a traditional Malaysian dish, win the award for Best Airline Signature Dish at the 2012 and 2013 SKYTRAX World Airline Awards.
- Uniworld’s River Countess won the luxury boutique river cruise ship category and seven Uniworld ships were listed in Travel+Leisure’s 2013 World’s Best for “Top 20 River Cruise Ships”. iver Countess scored 95.83 for the “top river ships” category. Uniworld offer 500 departures on 15 rivers in 20 countries throughout Europe, Russia, Egypt, China, Vietnam, and Cambodia.
- German aviation investor Hans Rudolf Woehrl said he wants to merge Air France-KLM’s CityJet, which he offered to buy last month, with his carrier InterSky to tap into demand for regional business flights beyond Europe’s big airline hubs.
- Viceroy introduced the Irish market to its new 240-bed, 29-storey hotel in New York, which opened in October managed by former Morrison Hotel Gm Gerard Denneny. Viceroy Group’s 13 hotels in the US, Middle East and Europe are managed by Bill Walshe, the former chief executive of Doyle Collection hotels. Irish guests at Viceroy New York can avail of a special introductory rate starting at €242 booked on the hotel’s website using the promotional code IRLSPECIAL or by calling the reservations line on +1-855-647-1619 and quoting IRLSPECIAL. Guest rooms provide hotel-branded smartphones with Viceroy Connect, a custom app that allows guests to control every aspect of their stay – including in-room elements, outside communication and concierge services. The hotel will also provide guests with personal training services.
- Cityjet announced their summer 2014 schedule: Dublin-LCY weekday frequency increases from 5 to 7 daily. Dublin to Brest weekly remains.
- The shutters on the Crown Bar in Belfast were unexpectedly pulled down after a permit to sell alcohol was not renewed. Mitchells & Butlers Leisure Limited allowed it to expire in November 2012 following an oversight.
- Enda Kenny met Qatar Airways CEO Akbar Al Baker to talk about a direct route from Dublin to Doha.
- Derry airport director Damien Tierney said he is predicting a 10 to 15pc reduction in passenger numbers next year with the number of flights being reduced. Derry had 385,000 passengers in 2013 against 398,000 in 2012.
- The Alltech International Craft Brews and Food Fair will be held at Dublin Convention Centre, February 7th- 8thfeaturing 50 breweries from around the world paired with 15 Irish artisan food producers.
- Etihad won the Airline Market Leadership Award at Air Transport World magazine’s 40th Annual Airline Industry Achievement Awards. Etihad has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with College Ireland to establish a long-term strategic partnership
- The Portugal Roadshow returns to the Morrison Hotel Dublin on February 13th.
- Aer Lingus mainline’s flown passenger load factor in December 2013 increased by 3 points to 73.9pc, 9,625,000 passengers for year (down 0.3pc) plus 1,112,000 for Aer Lingus Regional (up 10pc). Watch Travel Extra‘s Eoghan Corry talking about the growth in Aer Lingus and Ryanair on RTE’s Morning Edition, go 41 minutes into the show. Watch Travel Extra‘s Eoghan Corry on TV3’s Tonight with Sam Smyth, go 38 minutes into the programme. Listen here to Travel Extra‘s Eoghan Corry talking Holidays 2014 on RTE’s Morning Ireland.
- Bellagio Las Vegas, Aria, Luxor, MGM Grand, Mirage and Monte Carlo are celebrating year of the horse with celebratory lion dances, cuisine (no not cheval steak) and displays.
- Hotel Beacon New York City has won the Virgin Holidays 2013 Gold Award for Best City-Break Hotel in the USA. Pic shows GM Tom Travers and Gerry Traino, both well known to the Irish travel trade, receiving the award.
- Cassidy Travel are reporting growth in luxury holidays for 2/4 people to places like Seychelles, Caribbean and Africa and increased bookings for Leaving Cert holidays – where dates and destinations are key, music festivals in Europe, golf holidays for groups.
- Elaine Massey in Killiney Travel won the first week of Travel Corporation’s Facebook Friday (formerly 1STS) giveaway. If agents would like to be in with a chance of winning they can send us their booking reference
- Fishguard Spaghetti Western Film Festival which takes place Friday 7th February – Sunday 9th February.
- London City Airport where Declan Collier (pictured) is CEO reported record passenger numbers for 2013, making it the most successful year since the airport opened in 1987. The airport welcomed just under 3.4m passengers, a 12pc increase compared to 2012. A survey of 2,000 people for London City Airport found that the average person in England has visited seven countries in their life. Paris is the most visited European capital city, with 52pc of people having been there, followed by Amsterdam (31pc) and Dublin (27pc). More women than men have visited Spain (62pc to 53pc), London Southend Airport also enjoyed its busiest year ever with almost a million passengers using the regenerated regional airport in 2013.
- Meritage Resort and Spa in Napa, Calif., will host the inaugural Masters and Makers February 14 to 16, 2014.
- MSC Cruises announced a new itinerary for MSC Orchestra a 33-night sailing from Dubai, United Arab Emirates, to Perth, Australia in February-March 2015.
- Red Carnation are offering Afternoon Teas at any of their London hotels.
- Royal Caribbean International has appointed Ben Bouldin in the newly created role of Director of Sales for the UK and Ireland. Andrew Campbell-Edie is to leave the group after seven eventful and fun-packed years working as part of the PR team for Royal Caribbean International, Celebrity Cruises and Azamara Club Cruises
- SKAL National Convention will be held in the Malton Hotel Killarney from Friday January 24th to Sunday 26th Social events include, an Irish night with Dinner and Entertainment at Molly D’Arcy’s on Friday 24th, a trip to the Tourism and Historical highlights of Killarney on Saturday 25th with lunch at Muckross Garden Room or Golf at Dooks and a gala dinner at the Malton Hotel on Saturday night.
- The Commission for Aviation Regulation opened the spring licensing round for travel agents on Tuesday 14th January 2014. Applicants whose licenses require renewal from 1st May are invited to apply..
- The travel industry bade farewell to two stalwarts of the industry on Monday. Alan Benson was laid to rest in the Jewish cemetery in Dublin before a large representation of the travel trade, and Brendan Hally the former owner of Ashbourne Travel was buried in Waterford.
- Topflight reported ski bookings continue to be 30pc up on last year and whilst there are always bargains to be had with growth again in four star. The season runs to mid March. Topflight also reported strong bookings in Thailand, in Caribbean particularly Dominican Republic and in the Seychelles. Enquiries about honeymoons are up.
- Travelfox are hosting a Cruise Show in the Silversprings Moran Hotel Cork on next Sunday January 19th, 2-6pm.
- US airlines carried 83.0m passengers in October, up 3pc, with their share at 53pc. Foreign flags carried 72.7m passengers, up 5pc from same period 2012
- Wanderlust, South African Airways and Swaziland specialist Sense Africa are offering the prize of a holiday for two in Swaziland. You can click here to enter.
- Quark returns to the Canadian Arctic in 2014 with new voyages Arctic Quest &and Epic High Arctic. Spitsbergen, East Greenland and the North Pole are back on the itinerary list.
- Agents who want to win one of 10 places at the 2014 BRIT Awards with Royal Caribbean need to get a colleague to post a photo of them and 150 words on why they deserve to win their chosen category.
- Cornwall’s Great South West Walks 2014 will launch on January 30th at the Nare hotel, Veryan, Cornwall
- Belfast Out to Lunch Festival runs until January 26th.
- S7 will use a A321 on their seasonal Dublin to Moscow route this year, a slight capacity increase.
- The Holiday World Show Dublin 2014 Media & Trade Morning takes place from 10am to 1pm on Friday 24th January in the RDS Simmonscourt. This year’s show will see some 2,000 travel experts from 70 countries on hand to provide expert advice and the opportunity to discuss the 2014 season with members of the travel media and travel trade. Members of the media can pre-register.
- Eoghan Corry’s expert travel clinics at Holiday World 2014 January 24-26 at RDS Simmonscourt will feature more than 40 industry experts and professionals who will answer questions from consumers on subjects such as aviation (separate forums for Flying East in 2014 and Flying West in 2014), hotel prices, holidays in Spain, holidays in the USA, solo travel, ski and snowboard, cruise holidays, walking holidays, luxury for less, visas and vaccinations, and home holiday deals. No booking is required and the advice clinics will take place at 45-minute intervals over the three days of the show.
- The Titanic Centre has been highly commended by England’s Guild of Travel Writers.
- FITUR Madrid will attract 9,000 international exhibiting companies this year, Fitur Know How & Export will support the transfer and export of tourism know-how, based on the internationalisation of tourist companies.
- Intrepid Group is introducing a new loyalty programme offering savings of €1,700, which rewards customers with a free tour* when they take their tenth holiday with the group, plus 10pc off for life. The Intrepid Group has brought six adventure tour operators – Intrepid Travel, The Family Adventure Company, Geckos Adventures, Peregrine Adventures, Peregrine Reserve and Adventure Tours Australia under combined management.
- Ryanair’s Irish Defined Benefit Pension Scheme was wound up by agreement with the Trustees on 30th December 2013 in a €12.5m deal that involves the airline fully covering the scheme’s deficit.
- Knock is anticipating a record year with 700,000 passengers for the first time up from 665,000 in 2012. Joe Gilmore said that the airport was aiming to secure the reintroduction of transatlantic flights by 2016 as part of its new 10-year strategy. Knock Airport is also seeking €36m, which will help it address debt levels and increase passengers to 1.3m a year
- Video of the week is Eileen Magnier’s report of Christine-chasing surfers in Mullaghmore as weather dominated the news for the first half of the week. For surfers the waves were smaller than expected but still hitting 40ft. Veteran surfer Henry Moore’s surf board surf board snapped in two. Lahinch promenade is to reopen this weekend. Sinkholes emerged in Ballybunion and Tramore and the bridge that linked Rosmoney and Westport was knocked. Storm Christine was not actually called storm Christine at all.
- For those seeking a frothier video check out the American tear-jerking tribute to moms that relates to the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter games.
- The Irish Independent profiled eight former Aer Lingus employees who went on to business success elsewhere
- A major €126m redevelopment of Galway Harbour, which would open up trade and tourism routes to the West, will create up to 800 new jobs, according to developers.
- The future of Dublin’s Writers Museum is currently being debated in tourism circles, the Daily Mail made a case for its retention in Parnell Square.
- A breezy profile of Niall Gibbons by Sarah McCabe pointed out Tourism Ireland’s budget has been cut by about 30pc since 2008 and is due to be slashed by another 12pc between now and 2016.
- It was announced that a Greenway from north Louth to Newry would be extended north of the border.
- The Irish Times published a guide to culinary and hospitality education.
- Pretax losses at Carton House fell 11pc to €1.83m in 2012.
- McComb’s Coach Travel said the Dark Hedges in Ballymoney (the “Kings Road”) is the top attraction on its Game of Thrones tour
- Edinburgh airport was closed by a security alert.
- The OPW handed over Elizabeth Fort to Cork city council to develop as a visitor attraction
- Heathrow said it will review its investment plans after regulators cut landing charges
- Fota Island Resort will host the 2014 Irish Open after a 12 year gap
- Tickets went on sale for the Melbourne Food & Wine Festival which takes place from February 28 February to March 16, with 200 events hosted by top chefs and winemakers, exploring produce from oceans, rivers, lakes and streams.
- David Kelly, the boss of FBD Hotels, which operates two hotels in Malaga will speak at a conference on investment opportunities in Spain hosted on Tuesday by Spanish ambassador Javier Garrigues,
- Velaa Private Island opens this month in the Maldives archipelago, just north of the capital Male.
- Kuoni reported that a third of holidaymakers keep returning to the same destination. They listed a top ten twice-in-a-lifetime chart: 1 USA; 2 Australia; 3 Italy; 4 Barbados; 5 Canada; 6 Egypt; 7 Thailand; 8 Maldives; 9 Mexico; 10 A cruise.
- England’s annual post office survey claimed Bali is the cheapest destination with the Algarve best value in Europe and Auckland the most expensive.
- Travelodge hotel chain said an owl and a tarantula were two examples of the bizarre things left behind in their hotels last year.
- Expedia said South Africa, Australia and Greece were top of a list of destinations with the greatest increase in bookings for 2013.
- Armchair travels this week include Dan Snow‘s recreation of a pioneering 19th-century journey through the Grand Canyon.
- A survey claimed one in 12 holidaymakers has written an online review out of spite. One reviewer admitted to complaining in order to try and get a free holiday.
- A new book claims Kielder Forest in Northumberland was England’s quietest place.
- The Northern Lights were photographed in Donegal.
- Colorado’s marijuana retailers said they were so inundated with tourists that they are running out of stock
- A Singapore Airlines A380 made an emergency landing in Baku
- Suffolk scrapped its Curious County slogan.
- VisitBritain told hoteliers not to poke fun at Indian accents.
- Moody’s cut Qantas to junk status weeks after Standard & Poor’s took a similar step
- Gatwick and easyJet clashed over the blame for Christmas chaos at an ill-tempered hearing
- EasyJet reported a 3.5pc increase in passengers in December, taking its total for 2013 to 61.3m, up 3.6pc.
- US manufacturer Boeing set a company record for the most commercial aircraft delivered in a single year with 648.
- Rupert Murdoch found a buyer for his $29.7m sailing yacht, Rosehearty,
- The SITA/Air Transport World Passenger IT Trends Survey reports that 51pc of Atlanta passengers would definitely buy tickets using their mobile phones, one of the highest responses at all the airports surveyed.
- Lowcostholidays said web traffic is up more than 50pc since St. Stephen’s Day, with traffic from iPads up 26pc year-on-year, and an increase of 54pc in searches from tablets and mobile devices over the past week.
- The biggest-ever survey of English-based travel editors and writers conducted by the travel website 101 Holidays, found that New York was favourite city, France was best country, Krabi in Thailand was best beach resort, Thailand was the country with most ‘best beach’ votes and Las Vegas was the destination the writers would least like to revisit, followed by Qatar and Dubai.
- The Mountain Planet-SAM ski exhibition in Grenoble is expecting 750 exhibitors and brands in April. The ski industry is seeing significant growth in Russia and South Korea — the next two nations to host the Winter Olympics in 2014 and 2018. Russia has a total of 170 ski resorts — only 31 of which have more than 4 ski lifts — and sells 3m skier days per year. South Korea has an entertainment-based approach to skiing, including music on the slopes and night-time skiing, and sells 7m skier days despite the resorts having only a few kilometers of slopes available
- Sunway Holidays is offering a six-night safari and beach holiday from €2,397 per person. Guests will spend four nights at the four-star Southern Palms Hotel on Diani Beach followed by two nights at the four-star Livingstone safari.
- Falcon Holidays launched its online interactive game: ‘Passport Challenge’. The HTML 5 interactive will test user’s knowledge of the culture and history of six of Falcon’s destinations, and one lucky winner will receive a €500 travel voucher.
- Tropical Sky’s January sale offers savings of up to €760pp on Worldwide Holidays.
- Globehotels are offering a free upgrade to Full Board at Marbella Beach Corfu
- Incredibleindia have a €644 Classical India tour offer until February 28th.
- Switzerland Tourism’s new Media and Communications Manager for Ireland and Britain is Sara Roloff. Sara previously worked as Marketing & PR Manager for the Giardino Hotel Group in Ascona. Sara will head up the dedicated media department and is joined by Anne Pedersen, Media Project Manager. Marcelline Kuonen remains Director of Switzerland Tourism, UK and Ireland., Following the retirement of the popular Roland Minder, Julie Melet has now taken over the position as Marketing and Promotion Manager.
- Jet Partners launched what it called the world’s first dedicated online platform where all available private jet empty legs are accessible.
- Hilton HHonors is offering up to 33pc off weekend bookings made in January to the group’s 300 hotels across Europe, Middle East and Africa
- Sunway is offering Tunisia from €349, Algarve/Lanzarote from €399 in May until January 12 www.sunway.ie
- Disneyland Paris is offering up to two extra days and nights free for arrivals from 3rd April to 31st August.
- Trailfinders is offering nine beach holidays for €999.
- Ryanair said 85pc of its 33,000 flights arrived on-time in December, down on Dec 2012 due to adverse weather.
- LA’s New Downtown Museum, the Broad, will be a free attraction.
- Some 93pc of USTOA Tour Operators say they expect growth in 2014.
- VisitScotland launched a £500,000 marketing campaign, a dedicated TV advert with press, radio, digital and promotional activity, promoting 430 Homecoming events in Scotland.
- Graham Clifford wrote about the great gap between urban and rural tourism in the Irish Independent.
- Surf Holidays have a free holiday for 5 people In today’s Sunday Independent to the fabulous Ecolodges in Ericeira, Portugal.
- Sean Gates was appointed as ERA’s new legal counsel.