Travel Extra’s Sunday Supplement: It’s Official, the Irish are Europe’s 2nd most prolific travellers (and 4th biggest complainers).

page 001 cover Mar 2014 300Four host destinations are being considered for the Irish Travel Agents Association conference next October 9-10, but the conference will definitely NOT be in Spain this year. See more in the March edition of Travel Extra, which will be delivered to subscribers this week. In this issue the individual prize winners at the Irish Travel Industry Awards all tell their own individual stories, how Lee Travel decided to take allocations on Royal Caribbean’s Giant Independence of the Seas to board at Cobh, Katrina McMullan of Navan Travel’s personal odyssey through travel that brought her three major industry awards in 13 months, Crystal’s focus on renewing their relationship with the trade that brought them their first major ski award in 18 months, Rebecca Kelly’s mission to boost MSC profile and bookings and her joy at being awarded supplier representative of the year: “I definitely feel loved.”

Also in Travel Extra this month, the unexpected impact of the Thomas Cook closure on the rest of the tour operating business, Ethiopian Airlines’ fifth freedom flux as they attempt to launch Addis-Dublin-Los Angeles, Ryanair‘s GDS plans, and which cruise line has the cheapest onboard glass of wine?

Bottle Break norwegian getaway launchA bit like the cruise industry itself, the christening ceremony for the colourful Norwegian Getaway in Miami was gloriously over the top. The ship’s outdoor theatre and nightclub, Spice H2O, was transformed into the Magic City Lounge with the Miami skyline in the background. Pitbull (Armando Christian Perez) sang Timber and the Miami Dolphins cheerleaders played godmother following the pattern set when last year when the Radio City Music Hall Rockettes christened sister ship Norwegian Breakaway in New York. The cheerleaders were careful not to wobble the pivot as a switch was flipped to send the Champagne bottle crashing against the side of the multi-coloured hull (pictured). Getaway, fresh from a windblown two-day mini cruise around the Isle of Wight and a starring role as a floating hotel at Super Bowl, will ply the Eastern Caribbean over the coming months. Norwegian’s CEO Kevin Sheehan (hence the O’Sheehan’s bar on board) said: “Norwegian Getaway is a reflection of the energy, excitement and tropical location of this beautiful city, and we’re so glad she’s home.” See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.

Mark henry groupThe cost of greening 80 major world landmarks in 23 countries for St Patrick’s Day this year will be €34,000, down from €40,000 last year, Niall Gibbons, CEO of Tourism Ireland told Travel Extra at the announcement of the 2014 programme on Wednesday. That made the reports somewhat misleading that the Government and Tourism Ireland have unveiled a €23m plan. Niall Gibbons says the idea started when a member of the Tourism Ireland team in Sydney suggested turning the Sydney Opera House green, they then decided to try six more attractions and has now taken on a life of its own (listen here). Newbies for 2014 include Sleeping Beauty’s Castle at Disneyland Paris, the Holmenkollen ski jump in Oslo and the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Petra in Jordan will join its Global Greening 2014, as Tánaiste Eamonn Gilmore said at the announcement: any story on Ireland that does not involve a photograph of a half dead horse on a ghost estate is good for Ireland. Ray O’Leary of the Department of Tourism pondered how tourism had suddenly become very trendy as he worriedly eyed up the huge gathering of media. Tourism Minister Leo Varadkar said the greening concept generates “enormous publicity at a low cost“. Niall Gibbons says that the idea has a life of its own there may be another announcement in three weeks specifying 10-20 more landmarks (listen here). He said that the greening of icons is a tribute to the achievements of the Irish diaspora and the significance of what it means to be Irish and we should not take them for granted (listen here). The Irish brand is so strong that corporations want to become involved (listen here). He said it is a great example of innovation in tourism (listen here). Picture shows Mark Henry, Niall Gibbons and Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore at the launch. See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.

The Preferences of Europeans Towards Tourism report for 2013 (download here 6.8 megs, press release here) showed that 85pc of the Irish population travelled abroad at least once in 2013, to rank as the joint second most travelled people in Europe behind Norway (90pc). More than 15pc of the Irish travel abroad more than four times a year, 60pc took at least one short break up to 3 nights, 65pc at least one break of between 4 and 13 nights and 26pc a break of more than 13 consecutive nights away. Holidays in second homes, either at home or abroad, were taken by 16pc. Of the 15pc who did not travel just over half (57pc) gave financial reasons as the reason for not taking a foreign holiday. Asked about their holiday choice: 49pc chose a sun-beach holiday, 39pc VFR, 22pc citybreak, 18pc culture, just 15pc nature and landscape (one of the lowest on the continent), 14pc sports and events, 11pc sporting activities, and 9pc wellness and spa. Of these 15pc booked a holiday over the counter at a travel agency and 20pc over the phone, compared with 78pc on the internet, 20pc through someone they knew, 7pc on site at the holiday location, 7pc at an airline desk, and 4pc by post. Ireland, Norway and occasionally Finland jousted for gold in most go the holiday-savvy charts produced by the EU. Here are some of Ireland’s podium finishes:

  • No 1 in the number of people who plan to go on holiday in 2014 at a different time of year than last year (13pc), ahead of Italy (12pc).
  • No 1 in the number of people who plan to go on holiday for more than four nights in 2014 (59pc), ahead of Norway (58pc).
  • No 1 in the chart of those for whom the quality of activities or services is the main reason to go back to the same place at 40pc ahead of Finland 37pc and joint No 1 with Malta (94pc) among people who were satisfied with the quality of activities and services during their main holiday
  • No 1 in the chart of those who were satisfied with the way tourists were welcomed on their main holiday last year (93pc).
  • No 2 in the chart of the number of people looking to the recommendations of friends, colleagues or relatives as the most important sources of information with 67pc after Latvia (72pc).
  • No 2 in the chart of those who used the internet to arrange holidays at 78pc behind Norway (80pc).
  • No 3 in the chart for people planning short-stay trips of up to three consecutive nights at 45pc behind England (48pc) and Finland (47pc).
  • No 3 in the chart of people who purchased the various tourism services separately behind Norway (69pc) and Denmark (65pc).
  • No 4 (not quite podium) in the proportion of people who registered a complaint about their holiday at 6pc, behind Sweden (12pc), and Denmark and Malta at 4pc. Europe-wide most formal complaints concerned the accommodation (41pc), followed by transport (22pc), restaurants (17pc) and leisure activities (8pc).

When asked what country they intended to spend their holiday in 2014, 32pc of respondents in Ireland chose a home holiday. The big drop was in sport-related holidays, well down from a chart-topping 15pc in 2012 to 4pc on 2013 (no prizes for guessing why). Ireland was in 7th place (28pc) among those who chose to holiday outside the EU28.

camera fall from planeVideo of the week is the gopro footage (allegedly) retrieved from a camera that fell from a sky diving airplane and landed in a pig pen. The finder said: I found the camera 8 months later and viewed this video. While skeptics baulked, one commented that it also seems impossible to believe anyone would think to stage such ridiculous random footage.

The highest-viewed video of the week, as predicted in last week’s Sunday Supplement, was Air New Zealand’s controversial swimsuit pre-flight briefing video Safety in Paradise (watch here).

air nz safety in paradise 001

Airline CEO Christopher Luxon told CNN. “we know that we actually get our customers watching and interpreting and internalising our safety messages better than anyone else, because we get their attention with the video.” Air NZ have a reputation for the most innovative safety briefing videos in the air, including last year’s outdoor version featuring the Down-born TV adventurer Edward “Bear” Grylls in 2013 (watch here), the Hobbit-themed safety video of 2012 (watch here), the All-Blacks safety team talk of 2011 (watch here), Betty White’s old school safety video (watch here), Richard Simmonds “fit to fly” safety briefing (watch here) and their “nothing to hide” safety video with body-painted crew back in 2009 (watch here). Graeme West of Cook Islands tourism said interest in Aitutaki has been boosted since the video went viral.

Other great viewing this week: a five minutes video by Raskalovit of two intrepid chappies climbing the second tallest building in the world. Shanghai Tower, China, Incredible video of daredevils slacklining between hot air balloons, relying only on parachutes to break their fall, video of the roof of Limerick Boat Club being blown off uploaded by ‪Shane McGeown, storm damage in Cork, and a BBC reporter hit by a wave in Cobb at Lyme Regis in Dorset.

bit milan 2014Borsa International Tourism Exchange in Milan attracted 84,000 people over three days, (reduced from four), with much of the focus on the planning for Expo Milano 2015. Ireland is the latest country to confirm it will be there, bringing the total to 142. The main avenue is being built near Fiero Milano. The theme is food and sustainable development and it is expected 20m visitors will attend. The event was launched at an opening conference by Italy’s minister for cultural heritage and cultural activities, Massimo Bray.

Florence and Tuscany showcased their wedding product and launched a new Welcome Wedding Planners initiative. Veneto reported visitor trends towards the Venetian Villas, the Pedemontana and its Hills, wedding facilities and new audio trail apps to the Dolomites. The south reported interest in Puglia’s luxury resorts, Calabria’s beaches and the newly-renovated Archaeological Museum of Reggio Calabria and its Riace Bronzes. Lombardy is focusing on farm holidays with an eye to EXPO 2015: Mantua and Oltrepo are among the most popular destinations.

Valerio Scoyni at bit 2014

ENIT Director Eugenio Magnani called by but avoided any comment on Alitalia’s ongoing dance with Etihad. The formerly London based ENIT director Valerio Scoyni (pictured) has now moved to Paris. Ireland sent 246,000 visitors to Italy in January-Sept 2013, behind Spain (1,125,000), France (461,000) and Portugal (287,000). Over the year 234,000 Italians travelled in the opposite direction, one of just four key markets to show a decline in 2013. Tourism Ireland did not exhibit at BIT this year. Among world exhibitors, the Caribbean responded to the headline Italian market trend that honeymoons and romantic getaways are the two things Italians refuse to give up with Valentine’s Day promotions. See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.

Isabel groupThe Malaysia Ireland Association’s inaugural Malaysia Ireland Association dinner in the Shelbourne Hotel as told by Minister Fergus Dowd of the importance of promoting trade in both directions as we enter the Asian century (listen here). Pictures shows Victor Marie of Orient Travel, Isabel Oliveira of the Malaysian Tourist Board and Karl Lonergan of Club Travel. See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.

There is still no news of when the Ratatouille dark ride will open at Disneyland Paris, Travel Extra’s enquiries at BIT Milan this week were met with Pluto-like silence. Disney Paris ride openings this weekend after repairs include Autopia, Casey Jr. Cique Train, Le Pays des Contes de Fées, and Thunder Mesa Riverboat while Indiana Jones Temple du Peril – remains closed until Summer 2014. While official figures are not released it is believed that Disneyland Paris had 1m fewer visitors in 2013 than in 2012.

aer arann damagedAn Aer Arann ATR42 was damaged at Shannon and the roof of Cork airport was damaged as another round of storms battered Ireland, the most dramatic sequence since 1988, highlights from the Wild Wednesday visual collection include Andrew Carey’s photograph of a tree-shattered van near Meelick and Frazer McDonagh’s picture of Sammy the seal enjoying the floods in Wicklow town. The Journal declared: Ireland is so sick of this weather, we’re all tweeting the exact same thing. Tom Tiernan a senior engineer with Clare County Council has said that damaged tourist areas of the county must be repaired without delay.

seal in wicklowvan hit by treeAn elderly passenger was killed as Cruise & Maritime Voyages’ Marco Polo was battered by storm-force seas off the English coast returning from a six-week cruise.

Despite being diverted by the storm, Donald Trump’s sons came to Clare to complete the €15m purchase of Doonbeg Lodge. Philip Reid described the purchase as the best bargain Donald Trump will get in his career. Trump himself declared after buying the club: “Doonbeg is an already terrific property that we will make even better”. Their affinity to Ireland goes back to Dorothy Curry from Co Cavan, who looked after the Trump boys when they were young.

Mary Lambkin, of the UCD School of Business, said the new Ryanair customer-friendly strategy isn’t about love, it’s about market share. Michael O’Leary describes an important part of its new market as “the traffic that doesn’t pay for its own ticket.” Michael Cawley sold €2.3m worth of Ryanair shares.

simon polito 74Ryanair is appealing on six grounds the decision by London competition commission chaired by Simon Polito (pictured) last September directing them to reduce their Aer Lingus shareholding from 29.82pc to 5pc. Ryanair’s Barrister David Pannick told the appeal at the London Competition Appeals Tribunal there is no basis in law for it have to have come to its decision, and that the procedure was flawed. The appeal says that Polito’s case relied upon evidence and allegations “that have been kept secret from Ryanair.” Ryanair’s IT director Eric Neville told silicon republic about his challenges including an instant a few weeks ago at a board meeting where he was told: we’re launching three new bases in Italy in three weeks’ time. On the mobile, you can’t have a slow, clunky process. We’ve integrated into Google, we’re working on a mobile site, we’ve just completed the redevelopment of our booking process, we’re doing some work on hotels, we’re doing seat allocation and a bunch of other ones I can’t tell you about. An unlikely source, the Shanghai Daily reported an April 1st start-up date for Ryanair’s Dublin-St Petersburg service currently under negotiation. Ryanair responded: Ryanair does not comment upon or engage in rumour or speculation. As someone in Ryanair put it to Travel Extra: you just can’t trust that Shanghai Daily these days.

A Derrywoman complained that Ryanair allocated her a seat 16 rows away from her four-year-old daughter.

SIPTU moved to seize the high ground from rival unions on the ten year old pension deficit issue by announcing that 94pc of its balloted staff approved industrial action and 89pc sanctioned strike action against Aer Lingus and Dublin and Shannon airports. A decision will be made on Wednesday next week regarding a timetable for action. Minister Leo Varadkar said there was no justification for the Aviation strike before pension proposals. Travel Extra’s Eoghan Corry said on adhmhaidin that while strike threats had disproportionate effect on advance internet bookings these had diminished by the year since they were at their most effective for pre-Christmas 2008.

Luis Cuelho Maria Joao GouvelaMadeira’s sandy little sister, the island of Porto Santo were newcomers to the annual Portuguese Tourist Board roadshow in Dublin, a bustling evening presided over by recently-retired Portuguese TB Dublin director Jose Ramos’ moustache. Many hotel groups were there among many familiar faces such as Luis Cuelho of the Algarve (pictured here with Maria Joao Gouvela of the Azores). The Algarve has turned into the story of the summer, with a record 78 flights a week from six Irish airports in 2014, including morning rotations by Aer Lingus 280-passenger trans-Atlantic A330 craft. Luis says there are over 120,000 tourist beds ready to receive any Irish holiday-makers who wish to go.

windavia group

  • Travel Extra was told by Pedro Bollinger the MD of start-up airline Windavia that he is considering extending the Madeira Sunday flights to 12 months from the current April 13 to October 5 season if he gets sufficient support from the travel trade (listen here). Although historically this has been weekly flight he considers Dublin one of the classic routes for Madeira (listen here) Windavia have availability for a second rotation (listen here). He said the airline is a virtual airline operating six aircraft (listen here), intends working closely with the trade in Ireland (listen here), and started when they saw the opportunity created with SATA left the market (listen here). Picture shows Paul Weir and Freddie Aravena of Airline Business with Pedro Bollinger general manager of Windavia. See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.
  • Topflight launched a continued programme to Madeira for 2014 as the new flight was confirmed with partners, Windavia Airlines from April to October 2014.

Joanna Cooke Roisin Carberry_2272

Thailand arrivals from Ireland during January were up 18.65pc on Jan 2013 to 6,592. TAT say Bangkok is ‘running as normal with tourism attractions open and ready to welcome visitors.’ The Thailand roadshow returns on Monday March 10 to the DoubleTree by Hilton (formerly the Burlington Hotel). Tourism Authority of Thailand will also bring its Friends of Thailand Club Roadshow to Belfast, Cork and Limerick June 24-26. Pictures shows Joanna Cooke of the Tourism Authority of Thailand, and Róisín Carberry from Topflight at the Holiday World Dublin.

Ray scully & LorrainePicture shows Ray Scully of Crystal with Lorraine Scully of Crystal holidays during his ski trip to Austria, where he hit some of the best conditions of the season. There was lots of fresh snow across Europe over the weekend, with up to 20cm in much of Austria and Switzerland, continued snowfall in Italy, particularly the Dolomites, and good powder in many resorts in France, on and off piste, especially the higher resorts. Colorado saw 40cm of fresh snow. A metre of fresh snow fell at Squaw Valley over the weekend, double their snow total for the season. It’s warmed up a little in Canada and there hasn’t been much fresh snow in a while, so it is quite packed away from the groomed runs. More than two thirds of skiers now wear a helmet on the slopes, up from just 39pc in 2009. As more and more giant linked-up ski areas emerge each season, a bemused Hamish McRae pondered if size of terrain really matters on ski holidays. As prices rise dramatically this week to match the mid-term demand from several European countries, including Ireland, It was reported in England that many people showed they were happy to risk fines in a bid to escape midterm ski price rises.

  • Dublin Airport accommodated 1.3m passengers in January, up 10pc. Exploration 1 will be the last of the pieces by Galway sculptor Donnacha Cahill to go on display at Dublin Airport. Cork Airport numbers were down 3pc in January.
  • Norwegian Airlines put another €46.6m into its new Irish subsidiary as it prepares to use Ireland as the base for its long-haul service. Transport Minister Leo Varadkar was asked by Edward Wytkind of Washington DC-based union group Transportation Trades Department to reject the licence application by Norwegian Air International. Norwegian signed an agreement to lease four more Boeing 787-9 Dreamliners to enter service in 2017 and 2018.

Mayor of Boston with Rose Hynes, Chairman, Shannon Group

  • The Shannon Group announced plans to develop new hangar after reaching capacity on existing space. The airport currently has 50,700sq meters of space in nine hangars, all of which will be fully occupied following the signing of contracts with Air Contractors. To meet a current request for near term additional hangar space, the board of the Shannon Group recently agreed to seek planning permission and to tender for the procurement and associated works of a fabric hangar of 4,300sq metres capable of accommodating wide-bodied aircraft. Shannon chair Rose Hynes said: “The airport has paid its own way since separation, absolutely, no doubt about it. Four-year figures for the airport were released for the event. Picture shows Mayor of Boston Martin J. Walsh and Rose Hynes chair of the Shannon Airport Authority, celebrating the inaugural B757 Aer Lingus flights from Shannon to Boston.
  • The Irish Aviation Authority reported Irish terminal air traffic grew by 6.5pc in January. Dublin was up 8.1pc with an average of 396 daily movements. Cork was down 2.5pc, with an average of 48 daily movements. Shannon was up 3.2pc with an average of 38 daily movements. North Atlantic Communications flights (Europe to North America and vice versa via Irish airspace) saw a marginal increase of 0.5pc in January 2014, when compared to January 2013.
  • Universal Orlando announced a new attraction at Wet ‘n Wild, Orlando’s original water park to open summer 2014. Aqua Drag Racer will stand about 60 feet tall and send four passengers at a time to race each other through interlocking tunnels and down steep hills, while traveling at 15 feet per second face-first on their stomachs atop a foam mat. Universal say the experience can be compared to the Olympic sport of skeleton, minus the ice. SeaWorld’s Aquatica is also hinting it will open a new drop ride in Orlando in 2014. Disney removed PUSH the Talking Trash Can from its Orlando theme park after a contractual dispute. Explorer’s Reef opens at SeaWorld San Diego next month, a multimillion-dollar transformation of the park’s front entrance from “gate” to “experience.” Walt Disney World Resort in Ninja has broken ground on the “Avatar”-inspired land at Disney’s Animal Kingdom,
  • Brand USA‘s 2013 Return On Investment results are now available. Click here to download the full report, report highlights and press release.


  • Kinlay Eyre Square Hostel (pictured) was named the best Irish hostel as Portugal did best at the 2014 Hostel Awards, known as the Hoscars. Soul Kitchen in St Petersburg was the top small hostel (maximum 50 beds), Home Lisbon Hostel the top medium hostel (51-100 beds) and Tattva in Porto the best large hostel (101-250 beds) as well as best value for money worldwide. Wombats in Budapest the extra large hostels (minimum 251 beds). Travellers Home in Lisbon was third in Europe. Hostel One Paralelo in Barcelona was rated best atmosphere and best staff. Isaac’s was most popular in Dublin. Here is a gallery of champions.
  • The Restaurants Association of Ireland launched their annual Irish Restaurant Awards. Last year’s nominations doubled to 10,000 as a result of the transfer to an online nomination process. Online nominations will close on Friday, March 7. There are 9 main award categories: Best Restaurant sponsored by Wakefield Wines, Best Chef sponsored by La Rousse Foods, Best Restaurant Manager Restaurants Association of Ireland, Best Hotel Restaurant sponsored by Pallas Foods, Best Casual Dining sponsored by Bunzl Rafferty, Best Gastro Pub Restaurants Association of Ireland, Best Wine Experience sponsored by Classic Drinks, Best Customer Experience sponsored by The Dining and Best children’s menu sponsored by Heinz,
  • In advance of a one day conference aimed at stimulating debate and discussion around the concept of responsible tourism in Ireland at the Radisson Blu, Golden Lane, Dublin on Wednesday March 19, Fáilte Ireland’s news library uploaded a feature on what responsible tourism has to offer Ireland. Fáilte Ireland ramped up their pre-conference publicity campaign in advance of the Adventure Travel World Summit 2014.
  • The Irish Travel Industry Confederation‘s latest industry postcard warned that additional visitor arrivals are no guarantee of improved profitability for tourism related businesses. Tourism Ireland’s news update said 84pc of hotels and guesthouses say they have a positive outlook for the next twelve months, nearly double the number (46pc) who had a positive outlook this time last year.

german film

  • Irish themed romantic TV film Between Heaven and Here, written by Cecelia Ahern, attracted 6m viewers in Germany and 750,000 in Austria. Tourism Ireland is hoping the number of German tourists travelling to Ireland will pass the half million barrier in 2014 and market share will double over the next three years (listen here to Tourism Ireland CEO Niall Gibbons speaking about the German market).
  • Plans for the replacement of the Ormond Hotel on the north Liffey quays with a 170-bedroom six-storey hotel, along with a new pub, were rejected on the grounds they were “monolithic” and “unsympathetic” to the surrounding area.
  • Stephen McNally, Deputy Chief Executive of Dalata Hotel Group, officially oversaw the 248-bedroom 4-star Maldron Hotel Dublin Airport’s rebrand from Clarion Hotel Dublin Airport to Maldron Hotel Dublin Airport.

Hugh Bruton Pont Aven

  • Hugh Bruton (pictured) of Brittany Ferries hosted travel media in Dublin to brief them about the forthcoming season of Saturday sailings on the Pont Aven beginning March 15 and finishing, unusually, with one rotation by the Bretagne on November 1st. The crossing from Cork to Roscoff takes 14 hours and there are departures every Saturday for arrival in France on Sunday morning.
  • Stena Line have concluded extended charter agreements with AS Tallink for M/S Stena Superfast VII and M/S Stena Superfast VIII until autumn 2019.
  • Following the recent Irish Ferries Epsilon Dublin-Cherbourg launch, Brittany Ferries became the latest to launch a new “no-frills” service this time from Portsmouth to France and Spain.

Sandra Mooney Jennifer Callister 300

  • Cassidy Travel hosted a cruise fair in Dundrum yesterday (Saturday) with invited experts from major cruise lines. Picture shows Sandra Mooney manager of Cassidy Travel Dundrum with Jennifer Callister of Royal Caribbean.
  • MSC cruise will launch their new pricing structure, which is due to be announced at the end of February/early March and will cover Winter 2014 sailings (from November 2014 onwards) and all sailings in the 2015 deployment.
  • Royal Caribbean announced the first itineraries for Anthem of the Seas ex-UK cruises in 2015. Fares for three-day taster cruise start at €500. They go on sale from March 3.
  • Celebrity Cruises’ new ‘Suite Class’ experience will be introduced on Celebrity’s state-of-the-art ships during April 2015 with a suites-only restaurant, VIP lounge, complimentary premium drinks,
  • Norwegian Cruise Line is to install 28 Green Tech Marine scrubbers on six ships” Norwegian Breakaway, Norwegian Dawn, Norwegian Jewel, Norwegian Gem, Norwegian Pearl and Norwegian Sun.
  • Uniworld will launch a new ship on the Rhine-Main-Danube in 2015 in the spring of 2015, the SS Maria Theresa.

aer lingus B757

  • The second Aer Lingus B757 has gotten the full paint job,
  • As Lufthansa announced plans to let passengers use their phones, a roundup was compiled of other airlines that offer the service.
  • US Airways are giving 50pc bonus Dividend Miles for every American flight customers take through until March 2.

James Hogan accepts ATW Airline Market Leadership Award in Singapore

  • Etihad’s James Hogan accepted the Airline Market Leadership Award at Air Transport World magazine’s 40th Annual Airline Industry Achievement Awards in Singapore.
  • Ryanair added extra Easter flights on 4 Cork routes to Lanzarote, Liverpool, Palma and Tenerife, along with additional extras on 4 Dublin routes to Kaunas, Lanzarote, Malaga and Tenerife, in response to increased demand
  • Emirates and Jetstar launched a new codeshare and frequent flyer agreement. Taipei is Emirates latest destination.
  • KLM introduced payment via Facebook and Twitter, allowing customers to book, rebook, make a seat reservation or arrange extra baggage through either social media platform. KLM employs social media agents who it claims answer about 35,000 queries a month. The airline has about 800,000 Twitter followers and last month welcomed its five-millionth Facebook fan.
  • London Southend Airport saw a 57.1pc increase in its passenger numbers from 2012 to 2013, that’s the largest growth of any European airport.

Fam Fridays

  • Travel agents and Tour operators were invited to take part in Belfast City Airport’s Fam Friday events on the last Friday of every month to familiarise themselves with latest routes, offers and facilities available at the airport.
  • Burma’s state-run carrier Myanmar Airways announced it would expand its fleet by up to a dozen planes to cater for the growth in tourism to the country.


  • SITA technology, which has a base in Letterkenny was involved in Virgin Atlantic’s new Google Glass Glass and wearable technology pilot amongst its staff in business and first class staff to improve customer service. The staff will see the name of the passenger on their glasses as he arrives.
  • Turkish Airlines Lounge in Istanbul has added another 2400sqm to its existing 3500sqm, increasing the size by over 40pc,
  • A report concluded that US pilots have been involved in at least 150 attempts to go to the wrong airport’ since the early Nineties.
  • Flights to and from Melbourne Airport were delayed on Tuesday after smoke from a nearby bushfire prompted the evacuation of the control tower.

GTMC Innovation Award ceremony Feb 2014

  • Travelport announced a new long term GDS agreement with leading online travel agency, Orbitz Worldwide. This week Travelport were awarded the first GTMC Innovation Award winner in England.
  • The European Parliament’s Internal Market and Consumer Protection voted on the controversial proposed replacement for the Package Travel Directive, the principal legislation governing package travel in the EU. The Parliament’s legal affairs committee and its internal market and consumer protection committee endorsed the Commission’s proposals on Package Travel, (IP/13/663), the European Account Preservation Order (IP/11/923), and on the jurisdiction rules for the specialised European patent court (IP/13/750). A plenary vote is expected in March.
  • Travel Counsellors Ireland reported January is their best ever month since they launched in September 2005: 29 of the 52 Travel Counsellors also had their own personal best ever month (sales and earnings) and the home-working group had a 22pc increase overall compared to their previous best ever in January 2013.
  • It was claimed that the more expensive a volunteer tourism project, the less responsible it is.

Paolo Tulio Brendan Breen

  • Picture shows Tomas Clancy, Paolo Tullio and Brendan Breen CEO of Travel Department at the launch of Travel Department’s wine tours programme for 2014.
  • As Kildare-born Francis Bacon’s Lover sold for €51.5m look at the 10 most expensive paintings in the world currently on public display.
  • As it is claimed that Tinder revolutionised the online dating landscape a new app Wingman was launched to transfer the Tinder method to air travel.
  • New York City’s highest rooftop lounge, Bar 54 opened this weekend in Hyatt Times Square, a 122-seat indoor/outdoor lounge serving specialty cocktails, fine wines and a selection of small plates.
  • Egypt announce plans to win back holidaymakers, after recent unrest has kept visitors away.
  • Predictions of the best conditions for Northern Lights sightings in decades helped have boosted visits to Iceland.
  • A list was produced of cities which are the best for travellers in search of free Wi-Fi.
  • A new group of Komodos, the world’s largest lizard, known for its poisonous bite, was found living outside its national park home in Indonesia.
  • Images were produced of what Paris’s disused metro stations could look like should the plans of one mayoral candidate come to fruition.
  • Holiday rentals were affected by floods: raising queries bout consumer rights if you have booked a holiday home that has been affected by heavy rainfall.

O'Callaghan Lansdowne mini Rugby

  • The O’Callaghan Hotel has renewed its sponsorship of the Lansdowne Rugby Club Minis.
  • Experts put together a guide on how to conquer a fear of flying.
  • Trade promotions: Travel agents who book an Emirates flight before March 31, for travel during 2014, will be entered into the prize draw for two members of the travel trade, plus their guest, on a luxury Business Class holiday to Dubai. Air France/Delta/KLM are offering agents the chance to win an Apple iPad with every Business Class booking to the USA. Royal Caribbean cruise line is offering Complimentary Select alcohol package for all Caribbean Sailings on balcony grades and suites for the month of Feb on Allure, Oasis, Freedom, Independence, Adventure and Jewel sailings 6-8 nights from March 1 to Dec 31, the package is worth $40 per person per day (unlimited beers, wines, soda and non-alcoholic cocktails) and a €30 “Love to Shop” voucher per booking for all bookings before Feb 28, log your booking on under trade incentive tab. Lufthansa are offering agents the chance to earn One 4 All gift vouchers to the value of €100 for every group sold on any Lufthansa long-haul flight. The Travel Corporation‘s Facebook Friday incentive offers prizes such as cash, Moet Champagne, All4One vouchers, Toni & Guy gift cards for agents who book any Insight Vacations tour, Uniworld Boutique River Cruise or Contiki Holiday and email the reference.

Tour America Staff awarded NYC Specialist Certs. Feb 2014

  • Training updates: Fáilte Ireland are inviting tourism professionals to register for this month’s webinar which promises to show what email can achieve that social media never will. The staff at Tour America were awarded their ‘NYC Specialist’ certificates having completed their Travel Trade online training at
  • Trade competitions: Ben Redmond from has won two tickets in the AF/KL/DL New Year booking incentive. United Airlines treated their top agents with gifts of chocolates and sweets to celebrate St Valentine’s Day.
  • Trade appointment opportunities: Car Trawler is seeking a supply manager and a supply promotions projects co-ordinator. Emirates is holding its first cabin crew recruitment open day of 2014 in Dublin on Saturday, 22nd February,

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