Travel Extra’s Sunday Supplement: All Smiles in Simmonscourt & Etihad Goes Double Daily

Continued sales include Aer Lingus (book by midnight tonight Jan 26, Travel April to September, 50pc off), British Airways (book by Jan 28, travel by Sept 30), Virgin Atlantic (book by Jan 31), Topflight are kicking off a 3 day sale January 27th-29th with prices from €249pps. Disneyland Paris are continuing their a new 30 yes days promotion. Tropical Sky are offering savings of up to €470 on tropical holidays booked during January. Carrick Craft have a 10pc discount on cabin cruise rentals booked during January.

Etihad will go double daily on Dublin-Abu Dhabi from July 15 (up from 10w), using alternating B777-300ER (380 passengers, 40-340) and A330-200 (262 passengers, 22-240) and providing 8,988 seats each week. The recent decision of Emirates to go double daily means Dublin will have 28 flights a week to the Middle East from September with Qatar waiting in the wings.

IMG_1377Ethiopian Airlines are planning to fly from Dublin to Addis Adaba and to Los Angeles from January 2015, subject to approval. Speaking to Travel Extra at the sidelines of the 16th Annual Airfinance Conference in Dublin. Tewolde Gebremariam CEO of Ethiopian (pictured in Dublin with Michael Yohannes) said Ethiopian Airways hoped to launch Addis-Dublin-Los Angeles in January 2015 (listen here) . The route will, no doubt, meet the same opposition from Aer LIngus and others on fifth freedom rights as the proposed Air India stopover route did three years ago.

Ethiopian is developing Addis Adaba as a hub (listen here) and said the advantages of connecting through Addis Adaba as a hub includes a 20-minute changeover (listen here), and routes to China are stimulating growth (listen here), but the difficulties competing against Emirates and Etihad is that it is not a level playing field (listen here). He estimates that African open skies is still five years off (listen here). He said he is looking at placing an order for 10-20 narrowbody jets to augment his fleet’s short-haul options (listen here) and spoke of the transition from an all-Boeing fleet, mentioning that 50 craft is the tipping point for a two-make fleet (listen here). A shortage of beds and poor infrastructure is dogging tourism in Ethiopia (listen here).

IMG_1770cake 25 years_0317 copyHoliday World in Dublin enters its third day at RDS Simmonscourt today Sunday after a busy Friday and Saturday. One supplier reported €80,000 worth of business on Saturday. The opening included a cake to celebrate 25 years in business. Dublin’s Lord Mayor Oisín Quinn told the attendance that travel is the only thing you can buy which make you richer (listen here). Clare Dunne president of the ITAA reaffirmed the role of the travel agent in the business saying that the trade supported 4,000 jobs in Ireland (listen here). Picture shows exhibitors Reginald Charlot of NYC&Co, Geraldine Traino, of Hotel Beacon, Neslihan Cafer of Marmara NYC hotel, Linda Davis of Hotel Metro, John Donohue of NYC & Co Dublin, Mary Farrell of Rockefeller Center and Michelle Prenter of NYC & Co Dublin at Holiday World in Dublin. Second picture shows Maureen Lediwith with Oisin Quinn and Clare Dunne cutting the cake. See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook. Read Joan Scales report in the Irish Times here.

Eoghan Corry’s expert travel clinics continue today with a Wildlife talk with Dale Treadwell (12 noon), Visas and passports, what you need to know (12.30) with Joseph Nugent of the DFA and Kees Davison of the US consular office, a Q&A session with Caroline Green from Ryanair customer service department on the new Ryanair (1.15), Get active in 2014 with James McManus of Earth’s Edge, Sharon Jordan of TTC and Marie Claire Porter of Sunway (2.30), Flying west in 2014 with Eamon Flanagan of Air Canada, and Louis Gosselin of Westjet (3.15) trends in the home holiday market with Fionnán Nestor of Fáilte Ireland and Claire McCoy of NITB (4.0) and closing session with Clare Dunne President of the ITAA and John Devereux President of ITOF (4.45).

The travel advice clinics have enjoyed big attendances and generated some lively debate. Beatrice Cosgrove of Etihad explained to consumers that May was the best time to book long haul flights for price, Murat Balandi of Turkish Airlines said Istanbul to Sydney would not be a one-stop service, and Michael Vaughan president of the IHF explained that double rooms in hotel actually kept prices down for single travellers (the issue of single supplements was raised at several clinics). There was some valuable advice on how to get a suit of clothes or a dress made in Asia from Chris Lee of the Tourism Authority of Thailand and Marian Benton of Map Travel explained how some of the best five star Paradores hotels in Spain could be booked off-peak for just €55 a night.

Tanya Airey, MD Sunway. Picture Conor McCabe Photography.Tanya Airey MD of Sunway was awarded the industry achievement award( (NOT the lifetime achievement award, she was quick to stress) at the Irish Travel Industry awards on Thursday night at the Round Room in the Mansion House. Listen here to Clare Dunne’s tribute to Tanya on behalf of the industry. See gallery of Tanya Airey pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.

IMG_1719 copyKatrina McMullan of Navan Travel ITAA Travel Professional of the yearDeclan O’Connell’s Lee Travel won the Travel Agency of the year and Katrina McMullen of Navan Travel the travel professional of the year at the Irish Travel Industry awards (listen here to Clare Dunne’s speech at the awards ceremony). The prestige award, long haul airline was won (again) by Etihad. The big surprise of the night was the ski award which went to Crystal after successive awards to Topflight over 17 years of success at the ITTN, Northern Ireland Travel News and two previous Travel Industry Awards. Tony Collins of Topflight was among the first over to congratulate Ray Scully on winning the award. It has been a big year for Katrina McMullan (pictured), winner of the leisure travel agency representative at last year’s industry awards and the Worldchoice travel representative award. Rebecca Kelly of MSC was a popular winner of the supplier representative award. In his acceptance speech Declan O’Connell said that his cruise programme of berths on board Royal Caribbean sailing out of Cobh had been a factor in his success. To capture some of the pre-event atmosphere watch the video here of Irish traditional musicians Cormac Breathnach, Joe McKenna, Conor Breathnach and Brian Farrell playing Tabhair Dom Do Lámh in advance of the event, a spell-binding start to the evening for both local and international guests organised by John Devereux president of ITOF.

award winners 2014 600The full list of winners: Airline Europe: Aer Lingus. Airline North America: United. Airline Long Haul: Etihad. Tour Operator Sun: Sunway. Tour Operator Long Haul: Sunway. Tour Operator Specialist: Insight Vacations. Tour Operator Ski: Crystal. Tour Operator Escorted: Insight Vacations. Cruise Company General: Royal Caribbean. Cruise Company Ultra: Silversea. Cruise Company Specialist: Uniworld. Ferry Company: Irish Ferries. Technology Provider: Amadeus. Technology Support: Amadeus. Car Hire Company: Hertz. Travel Insurance Provider: Blue Insurances. Tourist Board: Spanish Tourist Board. Supplier Representative: Rebecca Kelly. European City Destination: Barcelona. Worldwide City Destination: New York. Ski Destination: Austria. Summer Sun Destination: Spain. Winter Sun Destination: Lanzarote. Worldwide Theme Park: Universal Orlando. Worldwide Hotel Chain: Marriott. Irish Hotel Chain: Jurys. Accommodation Provider: Bookabed. ITAA Leisure Travel Professional: Christine Rickard Tour America. ITAA Corporate Professional: Lelia Gregory Carlson Wagonlit. ITAA Travel Professional: Katrina McMullan Navan Travel. ITAA Corporate Travel Agency: FCM Travel Solutions. ITAA Member Website: Earth’s Edge. Travel Agency of The Year: Lee Travel. See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.

Group picture of winners shows Winners of the ITIA awards Jan 23 2014, back row: Patrick Cass and Jimmy Kealy of Jurys, Ray Scully of Crystal, John Keogh of Aer Lingus, Gonzalo Ceballos of the Spanish Tourist Board, Lee Osborne of Bookabed, Jon Knight of Silversea, Grant Daley of Universal Orlando, Paul Manning of Hertz, James McManus of Earth’s Edge, Reginald Charlot of New York, Sharon Jordan of Insight Vacations.Middle row: Gemma Guitart of Barcelona, Christine Rickard of Tour America, Pat Reede of United, Volker Lorenz of Amadeus, Lelia Gregory of Carlson Wagonlit, Dermot Merrigan of Irish Ferries, Mary Denton of Sunway, Trish O’Leary of Amadeus, Valerie Metcalfe of FCm Ireland, Recbecca Kelly of MSC, Karl Tyrrell of BookabedFront row: Lara Velasco of Lanzarote, Sara Rivero of the Spanish Tourist Board, Jennifer Callister of Royal Caribbean, Clare Dunne President of the ITAA, event MC Miriam O’Callaghan, Declan O’Connell of Lee Travel, Karen Maloney of Etihad, of Blue Insurances, Katrina McMullan of Navan Travel.

1_lobby_castlewood_house_dingleIrish hotels for the bargains? Tripadvisor readers think so. Helen and Brian Heaton’s Castlewood House in Dingle (pictured) was rated the world’s best bargain hotel (see chart) in the annual Traveller’s Choice awards based on ratings and comments left on TripAdvisor. Castlewood is rated as a guesthouse rather than a hotel in the Irish rankings.

Three Irish hotels featuring in the top ten among Europe’s bargain hotels (see chart): Doonmore in Innishbofin (8th) and Strandhill Lodge (10th, also ranked as a guesthouse by Fáilte Ireland). The €45-a-night Castlewood hotel also ranked 7th in the world and 2nd in Europe in the category of Small hotels.

deirdre mcglone 150In the big league, Deirdre McGlone’s Harvey’s Point Hotel (Deirdre is pictured) was named Number 22 hotel in the world (see chart), number six in Europe (see chart), and Ireland’s top hotel for the second year in a row. The Tripdadvisor top 25 hotels in Ireland chart threw up a lot of familiar names but a few surprises as well (last year’s placing in brackets): 1 Harvey’s Point (1), 2 Killarney Park (3, also Ireland’s best hotel for luxury), 3 Europe Hotel, Killarney (19), 4 Hayfield Manor (2), 5 Castle Hotel Macroom (12), 6 Merrion Hotel (9), 7 Ballygarry House Tralee (14), 8 Inchydoney (7), 9 Ashford Castle (22), 10 Aghadoe Heights Killarney (13), 11 Cork Airport Hotel (new), 12 Adare Manor (17), 13 Killarney Lake Hotel (new), 14 Westport Plaza (15), 15 Monart Enniscorthy (new), 16 Castle Durrow (new), 17 Kelly’s, Rosslare (24, also Ireland best family hotel), 18 Ariel House Ballsbridge (16), 19 Crowne Plaza Blanchardstown (new), 20 Brehon Killarney (new), 21 Castle Leslie, Co Monaghan (new), 22 Twelve Hotel, Barna (25).23 Lough Eske (4), 24 Powerscourt Hotel (10), 25 Four Seasons Ballsbridge (11). Bay View in Clonakilty won Tripadvisor readers’ best Irish B&B (see chart). The Waterfront Enniscrone was fourth in the Irish bargain hotel top 25 chart.

As part of the same process, Tripadvisor announced their 2014 world champions. Top Hotel in the World (see chart) was the Grand Hotel Kronenhof in Switzerland, six miles from St Moritz, The hotel has five restaurant: the formal Grand Restaurant in an elegant Neo-Baroque vaulted room, Gourmet Restaurant Kronenstübli serving international cuisine with a local flair, the traditional bowling lanes where Swiss raclette is served, the informal Le Pavillon for light lunches and the kids’ restaurant Rondelle. Best Bargain Hotel (see chart) was the aforementioned Castlewood House in Dingle, Akademie in Franschoek in the Western Cape was named the best small hotel (Castlewood was 7th in this category, see chart) and also best for luxury (see chart), Bindon Bottom on England’s Dorset coast was named the best B&B and Inn (see chart), the Place in Koh Tao was named best for luxury (see chart) and Cavallino Brianco near the Italian-Austrian border was named best family hotel (see chart).

deirdre sommersThe Irish Stock Exchange launched a specialised platform for aircraft finance, listing debt instruments used in aircraft leasing, listing an initial 26 aviation finance-related securities with a value of close to €13 billion, as well as equity listings for Ryanair and Aer Lingus. The aim is to allow investors buy into the aircraft leasing business through trusts similar to those used to attract institutional and retail funds into property. Deirdre Somers (pictured) said she wanted to combine Ireland’s already world-leading position in aviation finance and the ISE’s expertise in debt listings to make Ireland more attractive for aviation issuers and investors. Eamonn Brennan, Chief Executive, said “there is huge potential for the Irish Civil Aircraft Register, including foreign leased aircraft, supported by the IAA’s effective and cost efficient safety regulatory oversight.” Ireland is home to over 50 aircraft leasing companiesJoe Gill of Goodbody’s wrote in the Irish Examiner that the move could embolden the leasing industry here, increase the scale of the sector and help create more jobs and economic activity for Ireland.

IMG_1383Two aviation conferences arrived in Dublin this week, generating much aircraft leasing news and more debate about fleet roll-over strategies than most people can handle. Picture shows speakers on the platform at the 16th Annual Airfinance Conference in the Four Seasons Hotel: Marc Bourgade of Natixis, Yves Germeaux of Cargolux Airlines, Andy Nelson of Delta, Markus Ott of Deutsch Lufthansa AG, Gerry Laderman of United Continental, Nirmal Govinda Das of Emirates, Ed McGarvey of Atlas Air Worldwide, and Jude Bricker of Allegiant Air. See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook. Delegates were invited to the world premiere of Alan Gilsenan’s and Lesley McKimm‘s Pioneers and Aviators abut Ireland’s aviation pioneers in the National Concert Hall. The documentary will be broadcast in two parts on RTE on February 13th and 20th.

Norman Liu confirmed GECAS, which manages most of its 1,700 aircraft out of Ireland, has placed an order for 40 Boeing 737s with a list price of $4bn. Ireland will be home to the bulk of $41 billion assets in the previously announced Aercap-ILFC deal. It emerged that Ryanair is likely to turn to capital markets to finance purchase of 175 new Boeing craft rather than previously used cash raised through bonds backed by the US Government-controlled Export-Import Bank (effectively a form of export credit insurance).

Taoiseach Enda Kenny told the Global Airfinance Conference Ireland would continue to introduce amendments to cater for new forms of financing, such as Enhanced Equipment Trust Certificates and Sharia compliant products. Enda Kenny described the deal by Aengus Kelly’s AerCap as a huge boost to the aircraft leasing sector in Ireland. Speakers included Domhnal Slattery founder of Avolon and Peter Barrett of SMBC Aviation Capital, Colm Barrington of Fly Leasing.

A second aviation conference, Growth Frontiers Dublin 2014, took place earlier in the week in the Shelbourne Hotel. The Irish High Court’s willingness to take on cases relating to leasing of off-island aircraft was praised. Delegates attended a Sunday evening function in the Guinness store house.

Ryanair say that while Google Flight Search has not yet been launched in Ireland, Irish passengers can still log on via google.com/flights. Ryanair say the partnership with Google Flight Search will allow faster access to its 1,600 routes. Customers in the UK, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands and Spain (as well as Canada and the USA) can find and compare flights to and from any of Ryanair’s 186 airports in Europe and North Africa, view prices in their local currency and book directly with Ryanair.

France’s Metronews reported near mutiny on board a delayed Ryanair flight with alcohol stolen and staff abused during on flight from Rabat, Morocco to Paris. The incident started when a passenger became seriously ill and had to divert to Nantes airport where a baggage handler saying passengers displayed almost animal and barbaric behaviour towards the plane, the crew and the ground staff.

conghaileBallinasloe born Pól Ó Conghaile was awarded Travel Extra Irish travel writer of the year for a record fourth time at an awards ceremony at Thomas Prior House on Friday night sponsored by the Spanish Tourist Board and attended by Spanish ambassador Javier Garrigues. There was a record number of entries, 98, and the event lived up to its name as the highlight of the travel media year with a large attendance from all mainstream media. The full list of award winners was: Home market sponsored by Fáilte Ireland: Pól Ó Conghaile (Irish Examiner) Comeraghs. Long haul sponsored by Sunway: Isabel Conway (Examiner): Kenya. Northern Ireland sponsored by NTIB: Moira Hannon (the Star) Causeway Coast. Online media sponsored by clickandgo: Conor Goodman (Irish Times), Best Place to Holiday in Ireland series. Short break sponsored by Cassidy Travel: Lucy White (Cara) Boston. Ski and snow sponsored by Topflight: Catherine Murphy (Sunday BP) St Anton. Sun holiday sponsored by Falcon Holidays: Susan Morrell (Sunday BP) Gran Canaria. Broadcast sponsored by The Travel Corporation: Jon Slattery/Ciara Whelan. Young Journalist sponsored by Turkish Airlines: Hiromi Mooney (Gazette Group) Salamanca and Avila. Travel Book sponsored by Lowcostbeds: Pól Ó Conghaile, Secret Dublin. Spain sponsored by Spanish Tourist Board: Mal Rogers (Irish Post) Cadiz. Overall sponsored by Maltese Tourist Board, Pól Ó Conghaile. Speakers included Clare Dunne President of the ITAA (listen here), John Devereux of ITOF (listen here) and the host for the evening Gonzalo Ceballos (listen here).

Snow conditions are steadily improving across the Alps. Val d’Isère, Morzine and Méribel each enjoyed fresh snowfalls over the last week with as much as 30cms overnight on Thursday and forecasts for plenty more on the way. Kuhtai boasted the best conditions in Austria this week after 20cm of fresh snow fell on Tuesday. Conditions have improved greatly in Andorra, after a long dry spell, thanks to consistent snowfall this week. Italy enjoyed plenty of sunshine, after very heavy snowfall last weekend, while Scotland has received fresh snow this week. Across the Atlantic skiers and snowboarders are enjoying plenty of sunshine with strong snow coverage at most resorts.

Ireland is to open new embassies in Bangkok, Freetown (Sierra Leone), Jakarta, Nairobi (reopened), the Vatican (reopened) and Zagreb and open new Consulates General in Hong Kong, Sao Paulo and Austin, Texas.

Funchal in Madeira will have a direct service again from Dublin this summer. Windavia will fly April 13 to October 5th every Sunday every Sunday at 11.55 with return prices from €349. +3531 8045104 or eindavia@apg-ga.ie. Sata withdrew from the route to utilise aircraft elsewhere.

Kathryn McDonnell and Xisca Tomas of Mallorca Tourist Board at Fiture 2014Fitur 2014 in Madrid attracted 9,000 Companies from 165 Countries, Picture shows Kathryn McDonnell of the Spanish Tourist Board office in Dublin with Xisca Tomas of Mallorca Tourist Board at Fitur. See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.

Video of the week features Virgin’s trip to space, see your local travel agent. Virgin have appointed Holly Best to look after the Irish market.

One of the most visited stands at Holiday World was the passport office, which showcased new security features sin the passport, some of which are activated by ultra violet light. Director of the Passport Service, Joseph Nugent said: “Last year, the Department issued 630,000 passports, more than half of which were processed over the summer period. Currently the passport service is receiving 8,000 applications a week, compared to 19,000 applications per week in July. Now is a good time to renew your passport if necessary and benefit from a shorter turn-around time.

Travel Counsellors Ireland rearranged their 2014 annual conference to Wednesday and Thursday May 21-22 in the Lyrath Hotel, Kilkenny. Cathy Burke, General Manager of Travel Counsellors in Ireland says she is looking forward to having an early summer event, celebrating the company’s success and sharing important news and updates with our 52 Travel Counsellors and all of our favourite suppliers and destination specialists.

IMG_1361 copyTravel Manitoba entertained a group of Irish travel media in Dublin with tales of polar bears and beluga whales, and the delights of Winnipeg and its environs. Guillaume Post spoke of the life-changing experience of swimming with beluga whales in Hudson Bay (listen here). Picture shows the group from Manitoba Tourism who entertained travel media in Dublin: Lorne Perrin from Assiniboine Park, Dene Sinclair from Travel Manitoba, Tricia Schers from Frontiers North, Tara Stefansson from Lazy bear Lodge and Guillaume Post representing Travel Manitoba in London.

It is business as usual in Thailand. Bangkok’s newly declared state of emergency turned out not to be very emergencic. The DFA updated their advice saying: You should take extra care and avoid all protests, political gatherings and demonstrations. Monitor local news and social media for developments, and follow the instructions of the authorities. The caretaker Yingluck Shinawatra government has imposed the state of emergency for Bangkok and some parts of nearby provinces (Nonthaburi, Pathum Thani and Samut Prakan following an increasing number of incidents at rally sites and demonstration marches since last week, including two grenade attacks on last Friday and Sunday. TAT points out there is currently no curfew in place in Bangkok or any other parts of Thailand. Local residents and international visitors can continue to travel within Bangkok and other destinations in the country as usual. Read Joanna Cooke’s blog here. Many publications updated advice for travellers in Bangkok on transport options, getting to airports and avoiding protest crowds.

There was a breakthrough for IATA’s distribution initiative NDC this week, with Open Allies for Airfare Transparency and the International Air Transport Association reached agreement over Resolution 787. Amadeus said it was pleased that, with this agreement, IATA has responded to certain industry concerns and that such conditions make it clear that a DOT approval of Resolution 787 does NOT constitute approval or endorsement.

Brendan Breen says Travel Department has seen a surge of bookings for short 4/5 night breaks in March, April and May, with the Algarve Coast and Country holiday proving very popular for the late spring and Easter and Istanbul proving one of our most enquired about short stay destinations. Canan Dobson (27) from Epping was the 100,000th passenger on Aer Lingus Regional, operated by Aer Arann, London Southend to Dublin route. Cork native Sinead Hurley was Ryanair’s 10 millionth passenger boarded at Cork Airport.

taxi driver airport tag 3m copyTaxi driver Gerard Rooney from Portmarnock was the taxi driver who processed the three millionth transaction at the taxi system at Dublin Airport highlighting the increase in visitor numbers at Dublin airport and the positive response to the new Easytrip system. Easytrip’s automated vehicle management technology at Dublin Airport has helped improve the management of taxi journeys through the airport by monitoring and controlling taxi flow. The new system was introduced in 2011 following the opening of Terminal 2 and has provided what the DAA says is a more effective management system for allocation of taxis at taxi stands for customers at arrivals.

Chic Outlets brought their suite of products to Fitur including a new MICE strategy partnering with corporates to host bespoke events, groups meetings and incentives at the Villages. Chic Outlet Shopping Villages welcomed 33,263 guests from 31 countries to 434 events across the nine locations so far in 2013 (listen to Ian Stazicker outlining the importance of Mice in conversation with Travel Extra here). VIP Lounges are now open at Maasmechelen Village near Brussels, Kildare Village near Dublin and Ingolstadt Village near Munich. With the opening of VIP Lounges in Wertheim Village near Frankfurt and Fidenza Village near Milan, there will be a VIP facility available to guests, who are looking for that extra special shopping experience, in each of the nine Villages. Chic say the on the spot tax refund and currency exchange facility at Bicester Village launched in November, will be rolled out across all nine Villages, with the next opening at La Vallée Village near Paris in early 2014. The first Village in China, Suzhou Village, is scheduled to open in the first half of 2014 in Suzhou, 50 miles west of Shanghai. A new Chic Outlet Shopping digital app enables guests to browse Villages in eight languages.

Grow Dublin launch Jan 23 2014 001The Grow Dublin Taskforce launched Destination Dublin – A Collective Strategy for Growth to 2020 their new plan for tourism in Dublin targeting growth in visitor numbers of 7pc a year, visitor spending increase by 8.6pc a year and spending by international visitors to double to just under €2.5bn by 2020. Keith McCormack from Fáilte Ireland said some English people in visitor attitude surveys had described Dublin as dull, grey and boring with not a lot of things to do in Dublin.” Picture shows minister Leo Varadkar, Lucy McCaffrey Chairman of Grow Dublin Taskforce and Shaun Quinn of Fáilte Ireland. See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook. See newsletter here. Watch the group’s new video here.

IRELAND BITTE! GERMANS TARGETED AT HOLIDAY FAIR IN STUTTGARTPicture shows Neil Buckley, The Heights Hotel, Killarney; Zoë Redmond, Tourism Ireland; Sabine Rosenhammer, Ihre Irlandspezialistin (tour operator based in Killarney); and John Skye, Dingle Golf Links at Stuttgart’s Caravan, Motor & Tourism Fair on the Tourism Ireland stand.

Visitor numbers at the Little Museum of Dublin jumped from 24,248 in 2012 to 51,783 in 2013. Exhibits include a business ticket from Ryanair, supporting Gibbon’s argument that history is cyclical.

US Airways and American are to co-locate in Frankfurt. The US Airways ticketing and check-in desks will now be located in Terminal 2 Hall E, directly across from American Airlines, and flights will operate from gates D1-D4.

TOURISM OPERATORS ‘GO DUTCH’ AT VAKANTIEBEURS

  • Picture shows Barry Flanagan, Upper Lough Erne Region (and representing Fermanagh Lakeland Tourism); Aileen Hickey, Tourism Ireland; Esther Verbueken, Irish Welcome Tours; and Ruairí Lehmann, Tourism Ireland, on the Tourism Ireland stand at Vakantiebeurs travel fair in Utrecht.
  • British Airways is to increase to unaccompanied minor charges effective after Feb 4 from $50 to $75 per direction within Europe and from $75 to $100 per direction long haul. New charges will apply to new unaccompanied minor bookings ticketed on or after Feb 4.
  • The DFA and London Foreign Office advised holiday makers in Egypt to avoid protests on the anniversary of the 2011 revolution, but have not altered the overall level of travel advice. The DFA asked Irish citizens to register your details with them so they can find you quickly if there’s an unforeseen crisis like civil disturbances a natural disaster.
  • Transport Minister Leo Varadkar warned workers at Aer Lingus and the Dublin Airport Authority that there will be no public sympathy for a strike. “The solution is a simple one – the company will have to put in more money and the pensioners and the members will have to take less benefits”.
  • Croatia’s National Tourist Office say Ireland saw the biggest increase in visitors to the destination in 2013. The figure of 40,008 Irish arrivals was up 31pc compared to 30,440 to 2012.
  • Michael O’Leary will speak at the IHF conference in Trim on February 24-26,
  • Surf holidays have launched a Surf and Yoga holidays page on their site. Partners are organising Yoga on site and proved very popular and have introduced Surf and Yoga Holidays to Morocco, Portugal (Ericeira, Peniche & Lagos) and France (Hossegor).
  • Disney are highlighting their new Ratatouille attraction to open in Disneyland Paris in 2014.
  • SAS say their Dublin-Copenhagen-Tokyo route is doing extremely well because of competitive pricing and one of the best timetables from Dublin to Tokyo offering the fastest times outbound at 14hrs 40 minutes in total and inbound at 14hrs 35 minutes. SAS is are to open up a new Stockholm-Hamburg route offering two flights a day from Dublin to Hamburg via Copenhagen or Stockholm for Summer 2014.
  • Theme Park operators Universal Orlando announced that Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts will be the signature ride in the new Diagon Alley to open this summer. Guests will be able to board the Hogwarts Express and journey between London’s King’s Cross Station (located in Universal Studios Florida) and Hogsmeade Station (located in Universal’s Islands of Adventure with views of London and the British countryside – as well as a few surprises. 2-Park admission is required.
  • Transport and tourism minister Leo Varadkar said his office has received over 100 submissions from various organisations, including airports, trade unions, pilot colleges and businesses in advance of his new civil aviation policy.
  • South West Kerry has received Gold Tier designation by the International Dark-Skies Association based in Arizona. SW Kerry is the first lived-in area in Europe or the Northern Hemisphere to earn this accreditation which is a very big deal. Kerry County Council will host the official award presentation to Julie Ormonde and her Kerry Dark Skies Committee by Christopher Kyba, European Director of the International Dark Sky Association, in the Ring of Kerry Hotel, Cahersiveen on tomorrow (Monday) night. The Mayor of Kerry and County Manager will be in attendance. Declan Murphy of Fáilte Ireland will be MC. There will be simultaneous announcements in Cahersiveen, Arizona and UK.
  • United Airlines reported full-year 2013 net income of $1.084bn, an increase of 84pc year-over-year.
  • A spokesperson for Shannon Aerospace said the board would be considering the ballot result over the weekend. She said it is still very open to negotiations and want to talk to the unions.
  • England’s CAA said the European Package Travel Directive suggested the proposals could create a gap in protection for sales made directly by businesses established outside the European Economic Area potentially leading to serious consequences for competition and consumer protection. The Irish Department of Transport are inviting comments on the proposals. See here for the European Commission releases.
  • Aer Lingus monthly transatlantic capacity for 2014 shows A330 flights down 2pc and total frequencies up 19pc with (July up 25pc and December up 32pc, fuelled by new B757 services.
  • Cathal O’Connell, Chief Executive bmi regional said, We’re an airline on the move and this year represents the start of a new era for us. Being one of the youngest airlines in Europe our advantage is that we’re able to maximise growth through a mix of organic expansion and partnerships.
  • The new United States Customs and Border Protection Pre-Clearance facility began operating at Abu Dhabi International Airport.
  • Boeing hosted a press conference in Oslo on the reliability of the B787 Dreamliner (see video).

nora cronin 150

  • Nora Cronin (pictured) is the new National President of Skål Ireland. Nora is involved in family Company Cronins Coaches since 1971, International Coach Hire and Travel Operators operating a Fleet of 45 Coaches and employing 60 staff and has been invovled with Skal International for approx 30 years. World President of Skal Karine Coulanges attended the Ireland AGM along with the National President of the UK Clubs.
  • Lidl said they contributed more than €10m in revenue to the Irish tourism industry as 100,000 people experienced a Lidl break at hotels throughout the country. No doubt Mickey MacConnell, former journalist and long time friend of Travel Extra, was amongst them. His hilarious Lidl-n-Aldi song, recorded in Keane’s bar in Listowel, has had 250,000 hits on Youtube.
  • Passengers who register with My Ryanair customer registration system will be the first to be able to avail of the family product the airline is developing.
  • The National Consumer Agency included the directive to display email addresses it gave to Aer Lingus and Ryanair in a list of all the enforcement actions it took between July and December 2013.
  • Aer Lingus B757 Shannon-Boston flights were postponed until February 4, due to what the airline called an “unforeseen scheduling delay.”

Flights to Portugal summer 2014

  • The Algarve will have a record 78 flights a week from six Irish airports in 2014, and Aer Lingus will use the A332/3 twice weekly on the route. Dublin has 17, Belfast International 12, Belfast City airport 7, Cork 4, Derry, Knock and Shannon 3 each, and Kerry 2. Lisbon will have 14 weekly and Porto 2 with Funchal now being serviced by Windavia’s Sunday service.
  • Clem Walshe of lowcostbeds reported summer sales are 30pc ahead of last year and visitor traffic to its website is up 54pc from tablets and mobile devices. Lowcost is planning big investment in social media channels for 2014. Early sellers include the Algarve, Lanzarote and Majorca, medium-haul to Orlando, New York, the Caribbean and Mexico and city breaks in London, Barcelona, Paris and Prague.
  • The Restaurants Association of Ireland announced a partnership with St Angela’s College, Sligo to deliver the Fine Dine at Mine All-Island Cookery Competition 2014. The competition is open to all students in post-primary schools on the island of Ireland.
  • It is a big year for Romania. Tarom are increasing capacity from Dublin to Bucharest to 6 flights weekly for the summer, having started last summer with three flights increased to four in October.
  • The WTO said International tourism exceeded expectations with arrivals up by 52m in 2013. UNWTO Ulysses Awards were given at Fitur for Innovation in Public Policy and Governance to the Responsible Tourism Project at Kumarakom, Kerala, for Innovation in Enterprises to Arromanches 1944, Biplan, France, for Innovation in NGOs to: From Charity to Social Entrepreneurship, Borneo BEST Society, and for Innovation in Research and Technology to 3D AR Visual Portal, DSP Studio & Momentum Studio, Croatia.
  • EasyJet posted a 7.7pc rise in quarterly revenues. Delta’s fourth-quarter profit more than doubled to $558m (€412m).
  • Northern Lights hunters have been given a useful checklist by Visit Inishowen with photographer Adam Rory Porter to determine the odds of actually being able to see the lights from Donegal.
  • Dublin Airport hosted an international conference of airport fire officers.
  • Etihad signed a deal with Brian Joyce’s College Ireland Aviation, to organise training at Weston Airport. Joyce already provides training for students from Mozambique, Croatia and Libya.
  • As tourist visits to Bannockburn increase ahead of the battle’s 700th anniversary in June, English nationalists complained that the 14th-century Scottish Wars of Independence are about to be resumed in the run-up to the September referendum.

AirEuropa signing jan 2014

  • Etihad Airways and Spanish airline Air Europa signed a codeshare agreement.
  • Website MissTravel.com released the result of a survey of 7,340 trips planned for the week of Valentine’s Day to compile a list of top 20 cities with Killarney in 17th place: 1 Bali, 2 Phuket, 3 Austin, 4 Barcelona, 5 Oxford, 6 Cairo, 7 Dubai, 8 Cozumel, 9 Panama City, 10. Charleston, 11 Montezuma, 12 Melbourne, 13. Montreal, 14 Singapore, 15 Istanbul, 16 Kuala Lumpur, 17 Killarney, 18 Goa, 19 Venice, 20 Paris.
  • Etihad Airways, Boeing, Takreer, Total and Masdar Institute of Science and Technology announced a collaboration to develop an aviation biofuel iniative BIOjet Abu Dhabi.
  • Bergamo is closing for planned runway maintenance from May 13 to June 1 included. All airlines operating to/from Bergamo will reroute their flights to Malpensa.

Aer Lingus Viscount A#2B1C5

  • The 2014 Aer Lingus Viscount Awards were launched open to NI companies that have contributed significantly to the local economy. Andrea Hunter and Simon Ross are pictured at the launch.
  • Ryanair has launched an out of home campaign in London’s Underground network.
  • There were lots of rumours about a resumed Dublin-Cork service. Aer Lingus Regional have been asked by both airports to evaluate the potential of the route and they said they will investigate and come back to them in a few weeks.
  • The annual CIE awards will take place Tuesday evening in Dublin Castle, rewarding Irish tourism providers based on feedback from 28,000 visitors who travelled on CIE Tours.
  • Drew Duggan‘s Adventure Holidays launched a Taste Of Puglia Long Weekend in Bari – Puglia from €312pp.
  • Heffernan’s Travel won the Cork Business of the year award.
  • Guadarrama mountain range was given National Park status in June 2013, making it the 15th National Park in Spain.
  • Le Méridien opened the 118-room Le Méridien Bali Jimbaran with a 1,300 square meters salted water lagoon pool and panoramic views of Jimbaran Bay.
  • Indonesia’s Ministry of Tourism and Creative Economy launched a dedicated tourism website.
  • Abbey Travel named their top three cycling holidays: Cuba 8 day trip from €1145 per person, Jordan 9 day trip from €1185 per person, Vietnam 15 day trip from €1490 per person.
  • South Australia launched the Mentor Me programme providing talented young people with valuable work experience in South Australia in the fields of tourism & hospitality, food & wine, events & entertainment, using the Australian Working Holiday Visa.
  • South African Airways received a 4-Star Skytrax ranking for the 12th year.
  • TravelSim international pre-paid communications service said that its growing 3.5m user base collectively saved over $200m in calling and data download charges in 2013.
  • SITA’s AirportConnect Open passenger processing platform has signed up the Schiphol CUTE Local User Board which represents the airport’s common-use technology users.
  • The SeaWorld theme parks will celebrate with a ‘Sea of Surprises’ at all three of their parks in San Diego Orlando and San Antonio, for a year and a half from March 21st, to mark their 50th anniversary. The park opened its gates for the first time in March 1964 on Mission Bay in San Diego.
  • Declan Collier’s London City Airport recorded the most scheduled on-time flights of any English airport in the third quarter of 2013.

Desk to 5k The Right Way pic1.jpg

  • The Cork International Airport Hotel launched the desk to 5k fitness programme in association with Juliet Murphy Fitness and the Cork Airport Business Park, which will culminate in a charity run for Cork Penny Dinners around Cork Airport Business Park on March 9.
  • Shugborough Estate, in Staffordshire, launched an exhibition in 2014, to commemorate the start of WWI.
  • Malaysia Airlines launched of a four times weekly service between Kuala Lumpur and Krabi, Thailand from February 3.
  • Arctic Adventure moves to a new office in Copenhagen on February 1st. ApSToldbodgade 4, st, DK-1253 Copenhagen K, Denmark. (+45) 3325 3221 aatour@arctic-adventure.dk
  • Ciaran Sinclair, Deputy Chief Technical Officer of the Irish Gliding and Soaring Association will give a talk on Gliding and Gliders in Ireland” in Wynns Hotel, Abbey Street, Dublin, Wednesday Feb 5 7.30 pm.
  • Hilton Worldwide launched an open doors programme to help young people by 2019 “reach their full potential.
  • ARIA Sky Suites and SKYLOFTS at MGM Grand Receive Prestigious Forbes Travel Guide Five-Star Award.
  • The three most common holiday claims experienced by GloHealth were Gastroenteritis, Stroke, Dehydration and Bronchitis last year, GloHealth said travel insurance customers are up 67pc year on year.
  • Amadeus announced an agreement with Icelandair which serves 31 gateways in Europe, the USA and Canada, to develop a baggage reconciliation system.
  • India’s troubled Jet Airways lost another CEO, the fourth generation Irishman and former Air New Zealand boss Gary Toomey.
  • North Korea’s Masik Pass Ski resort is open for business.
  • Tulle the home town of presidents Chirac and Hollande, has attracted tourists intrigued by a long history of scandal.
  • The former headquarters of White Star Line in Liverpool is to become a themed luxury hotel.
  • Lastminute.com announced the winner of another best job in travel, the spontaneity champion, the London Telegraph listed the best jobs for those with incurable wanderlust.
  • There were safety concerns about St Lucia after a fatal attack on a tourist couple.
  • In England, it was reported that one in four will forgo a foreign holiday this summer due to financial concerns.
  • South Africa‘s weak rand has boosted tourism.
  • A Japanese airline apologised for a racist commercial.

Cathy halloran h&S

  • Catherine O’Halloran (pictured) has been appointed travel editor of the Irish Daily Star from February.
  • Ryanair confirmed a new base in Lisbon, its 65th, with one craft and four new routes.
  • American Eagle Airlines will change its name to Envoy in spring 2014.
  • Keith Wood is to host a Sport Tourism summit for 400 delegates in Thomond Park, Limerick, this May.
  • Fire destroyed the Norwegian heritage village Laerdalsoyri. Fire also destroyed Duzekong the 1,300-year-old village high up in Tibet which, according to the Chinese government, was the earthly incarnation of the lost paradise of Shangri-la.
  • Pier South Resort opened in San Diego opened offering dreamy views of the Golden State’s coastline, with a pool that transforms into a club at night, furnished with fire pits and cocktails to keep the party going. A spa offering salt rubs and seaweed wraps completes the seaside offering.
  • It was reported that Sochi hotel prices have doubled for the Winter Olympics. Russian airport authorities have imposed a no tolerance embargo on the carriage of all liquids and gels through airport screening facilities throughout Russia as a result of additional security measures to the Sochi 2014 Olympic Games. Medicines may be allowed with the production of a doctor’s prescription or note.

SN+DC+WESTON+1001The owner of Weston Airport, Brian Conneely pointed out that the airport can provide a turn-around time for private jets of 20 minutes compared with what he claimed up to two-and-a-half hours it takes to turn around similar small business jets at Dublin Airport. Weston is also providing dismantling and services for CHC, the Canadian company that runs the helicopter rescue services for the Irish Coast Guard and which recently made a €55m expansion to its Irish-based fleet. The press launch by CHC at Weston last week was addressed by Transport Minister Leo Varadkar, who said that the new S92 helicopter would enable the Irish Coast Guard to “fly faster, further and for longer” in life-saving missions.

  • Skål has launched its new International website divided in to members and public sections, with information about skål, organisation (executive committee, ISC, auditors, secretariat, etc)., awards, boutique, clubs corner in the public sections and, in the members area, , database search, online forms: application, deletion, modification, transfer, etc., jobs bank: search or upload a job or internship, upload your cv, calendar of events: to keep everyone informed on international trade fairs, clubs events, greeter and benefits programmes, lists of honorary and past presidents, membres d’honneur, skål documentation: positioning papers, legal documents, development., florimond volckaert fund grant application and twinning of clubs. Planned features include online payments for congresses and the Skål boutique, photo gallery and blogs. The new website has been optimised for Chrome, Firefox and Internet Explorer 8 and more recent versions.
  • Luxury resort Curtain Bluff introduced a brand new Kids Club aimed at children aged three to ten, which will run five days a week featuring a morning and an afternoon session.
  • Spain’s La Manga Club was voted the best golf resort in Spain by readers of Today’s Golfer magazine for the third year in a row.
  • Cassidy Travel’s stand (H9) at the Holiday World Show offers chances to win a cruise for two people to Greece-Turkey-Cyprus-Holyland onboard Thomson Celebration- departs Dublin 9th June 2014.
  • Seven itineraries covering 21 states have been identified by Brand USA with British Airways and American Airlines as destinations for the 2014 Megafam. Brand USA’s second multi-destination familiarisation tour which takes place from May 15-22. Agents can win a place on the Megafam by entering British Airways and American Airlines flights sold to and within America from January 1st. Sales are logged at a bespoke website.
  • Annabel Cove of Dosomethingdifferent is offering a Vegas VIP trip for agents who book their experiences for agents who register bookings by e-mail, phone or twitter with the DSD Team. There are bonus entries into the draw for Grand Canyon Helicopter Flights, VIP Club Tours, Cirque du Soleil Shows and Hot Air Balloon Rides. DSD is offering agents €5 One-4-All vouchers for every Freedom and Freedom Plus Pass booked, 7, 14 or 21-Day Disney Ultimate Ticket and Disney & Universal Combo Pass, €5 One-4-All vouchers for every PAIR of SeaWorld tickets, PAIR of Universal tickets, PAIR of Orlando FlexTickets and two Las Vegas attractions Grand Canyon Helicopter Flight or PAIR of Hot Air Balloon Rides. Register bookings to viva-las-vegas@dosomethingdifferent.com.
  • Valentine’s retreats at Solis Lough Eske Castle, Donegal offer weekend deals for €175 per couple. Kilkenny’s Pembroke Hotel launched a Valentines ‘Cupid Concierge’ service. Gibson Hotels have Valentine’s packages for €175. The Clarion Cork Valentine’s package costs €79 for one night and €135pps for two nights. The Hotel Westport has Valentine’s packages at €149pps.
  • Globe Hotels offered eight agents the chance to join Globe Hotels and Aer Lingus at the 5 star luxury Marbella Beach Hotel, Corfu April 23-27. 01-2569529 or email sales@globehotels.ie.
  • Alaska launched its 2014 literature for travel professionals.
  • Skiathos Princess Hotel, Greece launched their YOGAqua for Kids programme.
  • Preferred Hotel Group are offering 30pc off upgrades to suites.
  • An Aer Lingus A332 had a hard landing at Heathrow on Thursday 16th.
  • Sky Suites at ARIA Resort & Casino and SKYLOFTS at MGM Grand Hotel & Casino have received the 2014 Forbes Travel Guide Five-Star Award.
  • Ireland’s Golf Ambassador Padraig Harrington and Minister of State Michael Ring launched the campaign for a new sponsor for the Irish Open in Stackstown Golf Club.
  • Luton airport has won the race against London Stansted and London Gatwick to secure new services from Atlasjet with flights to Antalya.
  • Future Travel Experience is hosting FTE Europe 2014 in London March 3-5 where Europe’s biggest airlines and airports will reveal their strategies to improve the passenger experience.
  • Tralee Aqua Dome reopened to the public on Sunday after the roof, which was damaged by the Christmas & New Year storms, was repaired.
  • Irish Ferries Holidays announced early booking deals for 2014 with savings of up to €312 at a selection of Haven Holiday Parks in Britain. Early Summer three-night breaks start from €289. Book before March 3.
  • Skiset announced a partnership with Ma P’tite Balise geolocation services, to create a unique mobile app to allow parents to track their children’s location on the slopes in real time.
  • Megan Singleton selected her best towns in the New Zealand herald: Cabo, Galway, New Orleans, Dubai and Istanbul.
  • Hilton research indicates 70pc of workers are dreaming of taking a sabbatical, and 38 is the ideal age for a working professional to do so.
  • Israel will host the 20th International Mediterranean Tourism Market will be held in Tel Aviv at the Israel Trade Fair and Convention Centre on Feb 11-12.
  • ETOA’s Hoteliers European Marketplace will be hosted by the newly-rebranded Paris Region Tourist Board on Monday February 17.
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