Travel Extra’s Sunday Supplement: American tourism’s 100m visitor plan soars ahead, but could it hit a snag?

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Headlines this week

  • A snag in the USA’s 100m tourism plan
  • Airline chiefs discuss an Open Skies logjam
  • Ryanair turns the TV on.
  • Turkey introduces new e-visa.
  • Aer Lingus targets Toronto
  • Another Fine Meithealflashmob at Shannon

Video of the week is the flash mob at Shannon Airport (watch here) who astonished travellers with a dance. There was also some inflight entertainment with a difference from Australia, with an impromptu ‘Circle of Life’ performance on a flight from Brisbane to Sydney (watch here).

Check out too the tour of Britain and Ireland in dialects (watch here), the surfer who took to the web with a friend’s disabled mother (watch here) and volcano Tungurahua erupting in Ecuador (watch here). This week Ryanair unveiled its first TV ad in nearly 25 years, created by Dare – and there’s no sign of Michael O’Leary in a leprechaun hat (watch here) with a Ryanair second bag advert also hitting the airwaves (watch here).

Aviation chiefs arrived in Co Wicklow this week to ponder the big issues at Powerscourt where the CAPA: Airlines in Transition conference took place. Several of them suggested that progress had stalled in the seven years since the EU and USA signed the Open Skies agreement. Willie Walsh said the problem is that the wording of Open Skies agreement, intended to liberalise, is instead being used to restrict. People are now using Open Skies agreement to argue for more restrictions. Regulators should hang their heads in shame. John Byerley of the US State Department said there had been little progress on EU/US Open Skies ownership and control issues since it was first signed seven years ago. The big question is who will drive change beyond open skies? There is less pressure for change now and things may move backwards towards protectionism. Byerly felt that the US unions killed the Dulles-Madrid wetlease agreement with Aer Lingus.

Touching on a more recent wetlease, Willie Walsh said he found it “bizarre” that the EU Commission gave short haul business to Virgin, saying it must be “costing Virgin a fortune”. He added that by outsourcing the service to Aer Lingus, Virgin had shown that it couldn’t even operate it. He also said that part of the problem is that you have some airports making a hell of a lot of money, from airlines not making money. Cork based Fergal Kelly from event sponsors Travelport posed the question: All very well knowing data about a customer, but can you do anything useful with it.

Roger Dow of the US Travel Association speaking at IPW in Chicago April 8 2014IPW, formerly known as Pow Wow, in Chicago gathered 6,000 travel professionals who deal with inbound travel to the USA, including an Irish delegation of 20 buyers and media. Roger Dow (pictured) of the US Travel Association addressed the issues facing US tourism, including infrastructural shortfalls at airports (listen here). He said this could be addressed by raising the proposal to raise the passenger service charge from $4.50 to $8.50. He said that US inbound tourism may hit President Obama’s goal of 100m visitors two years ahead of schedule in 2019, rather than 2012. In reply to a question from Travel Extra, he conceded that he was concerned by consolidation by major US based airlines, but relieved that international routes were not being cut as domestic= routes have. He welcomed the proposed Norwegian Airlines trans Atlantic low-cost services.

IMG_6293Bill Davis of Universal Orlando baulked at naming an opening date for Diagon Alley (listen here) although he did promise a new experience on every section of the journey on Hogwart’s Express between the new and existing Harry Potter experiences (unusually they will traverse both Universal parks and riders will require a two-park ticket. Saying: we see Citywalk as our front door, he announced eight new venues to launch in 2014, He gave what he called a non-answer to Travel Extra’s enquiries about Project 340, the next big thing after Harry (listen here to full Q&A session at press conference). Xiomara Wiley of Universal Hollywood announced that California too would get a Wizarding World of Harry Potterexperience in 2016 (listen here).

IMG_6312 copyCaroline Beteta (pictured) of California Travel talked about the state’s new dream big campaign across social media (listen here) one of a series of announcements at Tuesday’s press conferences (see more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook).

ciara clodagh 001 copySunday saw a series of Visit USA committee meetings with different national delegations including the growing Irish committee, where the ere was no repeat of last year’s concerns about the future of US CBP in Dublin. The Irish Visit USA Committee which currently has 82 members signed up some prospective new members at the show. Visit USA will bring their roadshow on June 11-13 and partnering with Visit USA in London for Belfast, followed by a radio campaign in August. They have organised two fam trips for 2014 and the first fam for 2015 was also finalised at IPW. Picture shows Ciara Foley of Platinum Travel, chair and Clodagh Oxley executive officer of the Visit USA committee in Dublin, at the Britain and Ireland party at IPW which was hosted by the Fairmont Hotel. See more pictures here from the Britain and Ireland party or connect with the album on Facebook.

Tour America received a Chairman’s Circle Honours award fem the US Travel Association and Brand USA at a ceremony at the Shedd Aquarium.

media at ipwThe traditional media brunch event was held at the Hancock Centre, one of the world’s most impressive buildings in the world. Picture shows the Irish sextet at IPW: Gerry Benson, Eoghan Corry, Fionn Davenport, Michael Flood, Isabel Conway and Lesley Graham (see more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook). The brunch was followed by options that included an architectural tour of Chicago and the opening party in the Chicago Film Institute. The closing party took place in the Museum of Science of Industry, which opened its signature attraction, the captured German Uboat U505, to delegates (see more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook).

Megan Allen of Citypass sannounced that Tampa Bay would be the latest US city to get Citypass on May 21. Peter Eellegard, Baas Van Oort, Spud Hilton and Carlos Prez Galvan won the US travel writer awards for 2013.
disney posing_6357 copy san francisco party ipw 2014_6386 copyTuesday evening parties included a Las Vegas dinner hosted by John Donohue and his American colleagues. Michael Goldsmith of Las Vegas CVA said it was a question of ‘when and not if’ there are direct flights from Dublin to Las Vegas, The Disney event was hosted by new VP of sales and marketing Kenneth Svendsen on the 99th floor of the Willis Tower, Universal brought Irish tour operators to the Chicago Bears baseball game. The night finished for some (but not all) at the San Francisco party, acknowledged annually as the best of the conference (see more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook).group shot horse 001 copy

On the shore of Lake Michigan, still frozen over, April  10 2014Nine IPW post-fams departed from McCormick Place in Chicago on Thursday morning. Travel Extra’s Eoghan Corry joined a tour of Michigan’s frozen lake shore. Ice covered 92.2 percent of the Great Lakes early in March, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. That’s the most since 94.7 percent of the Great Lakes surface area was frozen over in early 1979.

Dune descent_6893 copyThe trip included visits to Oval Beach, Saratauk, Douglas, Holland, Grand Rapids and Traverse City, taking in some serious dune bashing along the way at Silver Lake (pictured). Picture above shows the group in Meijer Gardens and sculpture park: Natalija Sukure of TAS Baltics Latvia, Jose Mejia of Agencia de Viajes Transmundo Honduras, Chris Getley of Lowcoastbeds England (back), Dave Lorenz of Travel Michigan, Angelica Rodriguez of Lax Travel L’Alinxa Guatemala, Stine Meinertsen of Stjernegaard Rejser Copenhagen, Maria Merida of Amtours Guatemala, Grit Schwarzenburg from Berlin , Michael Flood of Irish Travel Trade News, Michaela Fulekova of Milliardcity in Slovakia (back), Lucia Maskova of the US Commercial Service in Slovakia (front), Oxana Blida of UNEX Moscow, Bettina Schmieding of Bettina Schmieding radio productions in Cologne , Donna Dailey from England (born in Iowa), Mike Gerrard from England, Tom Dedek of Diversity Tourism UG in Munich, Devender Grover of Travelspan Delhi, Max Zhang of Shangahi Ctrip International Travel Services, Thomas Boemkes of Diversity Tourism UG in Munich (back), Sanjay Grover of Plaza Times Delhi, Zhongshi Wang of CYTS Beijing (Back), Laura Huetter from Munich ( back), Belinda Gudiel of Agencia de Viajes Transmundo Honduras (front), Wang Chongyu (Tony) of Jiangsu Sainty Overseas Tourist Company in Nanjing, Henning Kretschmer of Revista Vivir de Viaje in Guatemala, Thomas Vogler of Travel Marketing Romberg Dusseldorf, Lana Bugonovich of ETB News in Sydney, Silvio Cioffi of Folha de Sao Paulo, Karolina Haynes from Grand Rapids Tourism, Janet Korn from Grand Rapids Tourism, Eoghan Corry of Travel Extra Ireland. Not in picture: Uschi Braun from BR Bayerischer Rundfunk in Munich.

Roger Dow was asked at IPW about US Homeland Security policy after Nigella Lawson was stopped from boarding a British Airways flight to Los Angeles. He said that when you have 67m visitors, “there will be stories. Another traveller who had his passport stolen forty years ago has spent the last two years trying to get himself removed from America’s “no fly list.” The London Telegraph recalled some odd cases of refused entry to the US, the pair deported for tweeting “we are going to destroy LA,” the professor who wrote for a research paper on drugs, the teenager banned for offending President Obama, the Dutch writer deported for having stamps from Muslim countries Yemen and Malaysia, in a passport, the Canadian deported for being hospitalised for clinical depression, the man who criticized for the US government’s spying operations, another denied entry because of a 24-year-old conviction for stealing and the German deported for traveling with his guitar. English authorities admitted that covert bag searches were conducted without authorisation at airports.

Turkey‘s new “Law on Foreigners” takes effect next Friday April 11 onwards, after which every visitor is supposed to have an e-visa (apply here). Visitors arriving to Turkey without visas will still be able to obtain their e-visas via interactive kiosks placed in Turkish airports.” The move has spawned a number of get-rich-quick websites that seek to divert unwitting travellers from the official channel by paying Google to appear at the top of the listings when a search is made. The site run by evisa.eu.com, for example, charges £55 – more than four times as much as you pay at the correct website, evisa.gov.tr.

Aer Lingus prepared for their second marquee route launch of the month, the inaugural flight to Toronto tomorrow Monday will use a B757 contracted from Air Contractors.

Christian Carbonne Benoit Berger copyLuxair held a business reception at the Royal Hibernian Academy to celebrate the re-launch of its Dublin to Luxembourg service on March 30. Benoit Berger (on right) of Luxair said the airline hopes for an 80pc load factor on the new route, which will fly from Dublin four days a week, and said that the Luxair group estimates a target of 1.6million passengers for 2014. Luxair’s marketing manager, Christian Carbonne, (on left) said the route has mainly targeted visitors from Luxembourg until now. Commemorative Guinness/Luxair t-shirts and pint glasses were issued as part of a St Patrick’s Day campaign. Ann Hoffman from Luxembourg’s tourist office said that the country’s tourism sector is a growing industry, accounting for 4pc of its GDP – so Luxembourg is not “just a banking street”. Under the slogan “Discover the Unexpected Luxembourg”, the tourist office promotes Luxembourg’s diverse regions and rich cuisine. Luxembourg has 11 Michelin-star restaurants, apparently the highest density of star-restaurants per habitant in the world. Camille Thommes of ALFI spoke about his trips to Ireland as a child and showed the similarities between the two countries. John Hurley and Vincent Harrison of the DAA welcomed the new service. See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.

Robert Atkinson Anton VidgenRobert “Bob” Atkinson of Air Canada and Anton Vidgen (pictured) and Eamon Flanaghan of Air Canada rouge hosted a media briefing on its new Rouge non-stop service from Dublin to Toronto at The Shelbourne hotel ahead of the Rouge leisure service will fly non-stop from Dublin to Toronto from May 2 and has been extended to the winter season. Dublin is one of Air Canada’s six new European rouge routes, and will “offer the most seats than any other carrier operating that route”, according to Air Canada rouge’s senior director of customer and technology, Anton Vidgen. The flight frequencies will move from five per week to every day during the peak summer season. Vidgen boasted about the airline’s “excellent customer service”. The “rouge crew” have been trained at the Disney institute to offer family-friendly services such as offering free face-painting and making air sick bag puppets for children (empty contents, of course). The rouge “premium” service, which will launch on the Dublin route by the end of the summer, offers a free iPad service and access to the in-flight entertainment “player”, which offers a range of TV shows, films and destination content. Travellers in economy class can access the player, but will have to hire the tablet for $10 if they don’t already have their own device. According to Vidgen, Air Canada rouge is developing “extremely rapidly”, growing from four aircraft at the beginning of 2013 to 15 aircraft today. The rouge group projects that by 2015 it will have 50 aircraft to its fleet, which will amount to a quarter of Air Canada’s entire fleet.Listen here to an audio of the event. See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook

Aviation

  • Around 300 cases of air rage and other bad behaviour are being reported each week, according to the International Air Transport Association, which is urging countries to sign up to a new agreement to speed through changes to laws to cope with unruly and disruptive passengers after reaching agreement at a conference last week.
  • An Italian court ordered that non-EU carriers cannot offer fifth-freedom rights (traffic carried between two country by the airline of a third country) passengers to or from Italy, causing the cancellation of Emirates Milan-New York flight.
  • Research from IT firm SITA concluded more than half of air passengers will use their mobiles to check flight and baggage status by 2016, with all the major airlines offering these services.
  • A report claimed London City Airport should be closed because it is of little value to the capital and is worth more as a building site.
  • A worldwide search has been launched in a bid to offer a VIP ticket to the boy who ‘inspired’ Virgin Galactic.
  • Monarch was last year’s least punctual carrier, with delays of more than an hour on nearly 7pc of its flights.
  • Ryanair added a Heineken Cup semi-final flight Cork-Marseille 16.55 on Friday April 25 and return 20.35 on Monday April 28. Ryanair added a total of 61 new routes in the first week of April. Ryanair added a base in Cologne indicating what agencies called a serious move into Germany Ryanair cancelled Lisbon-Faro flights less than a week after inauguration. Stobart Air cancelled their Southend-Cologne after Ryanair opened Stansted-0 Cologne.
  • New York lawyer Brian O’Dwyer, Pat Gallagher and John Molloy have been added to the board at Knock.
  • British Airways extended their World Traveller and World Traveller Plus sale until April 17. British Airways prepared to turn 40.
  • Market analysts at Barclays said Ryanair may struggle to attract more business travellers despite the change in strategy.
  • OCS One Complete Solution challenged the rejection of its €25m cleaning order at Dublin Airport.
  • Airbus confirmed that a customer airline customer has already ordered a version of the A350 with ten across (3-4-3) in economy, one more than the manufacturer’s recommended configuration.
  • Manchester’s aim of becoming a northern hub received a boost when Cathay Pacific announced direct flights to Hong Kong from December this year
  • Thomson is launching direct flights from Gatwick and Manchester to Mexico’s Puerto Vallarta on May 3.
  • Etihad Airways launched the frequent flyer programme as a separate legal entity.
  • United unveiled seat plan for B787-9, with additional seats in business, premium economy and economy.
  • Air France passengers travelling in economy and premium economy on short and medium-haul flights can now pay for more legroom and sitting by the emergency exit.

Lufthansa-A380-new-business-class

Lufthansa unveiled its fully-flat A380 business seats.

  • American Airlines revealed its new fully-flat seat for the B777-200ER with some seats rear-facing in a herringbone layout.
  • Shannon Airport won an international award, the ‘Highly Commended’ award for airports under 4m passengers at the Routes Europe Airport Marketing Awards in Marseille.
  • Norwegian’s Irish-registered trans-Atlantic operation now employs 40 people at its offices close to Dublin Airport.
  • Qantas is to cut some A380 services that operate between Dubai and London Heathrow.
  • A footnote to last weeks’ Sunday supplement, the hotel where Aer Lingus staged their reception to celebrate their inaugural flight to San Francisco, the Westin St Francis, was the same hotel where Eamon de Valera stayed when he addressed the Democratic Convention in 1919.

Afloat

  • The Emerald Sky, Europe’s newest river cruise ship set sail from Amsterdam this week, with godmother duties performed by Twiggy.
  • Norwegian cancelled calls to Roatán in Honduras after a crew member was murdered during an attempted robbery
  • The cruise industry refuted claims that it is ignoring the welfare of staff, a week after crew members on board an MSC ship were rescued from “slave-like” conditions.
  • The Marco Polo called to Dublin port.
  • Royal Caribbean Cruises promoted Adam Goldstein to President and COO.
  • Stephen Moffett left MSC after eight years.

Travel Trade

insight fam trip zoomPicture shows Insight Vacations’ Agent FAM Trip in Scotland: Siobhan Geraghty (Cavan Travel), Insight Vacations Tour Director, Donna Kenny (TTC) Kirsty Costello (Grogan Travel) and Shane Cullen (Killiney Travel).

  • Follow the Camino plans guided departures on August 30, September 6, September 20 and October 4.

topflightPicture shows Graham Hennessy and Maruice Sheils of Topflight hosting a pizza making Party in Galway for travel agents, with the winner of best dough tosser, Frances Grogan from Grogan Travel. See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.

Innstant travel are recruiting agent for their head office in Dublin.

John Galligan Travel are planning their reunion for September 27.

Donna and Carole on the Contiki Golf BuggyPicture shows Donna Kenny and Carole Carmody on the Contiki Golf Buggy at the TIGS event at Baltray Golf Club on Thursday, sponsored by The Travel Corporation. See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.

  • Sunway holidays Orlando offers include the three star Rosen Inn at Pointe Orlando from €560pp.
  • Contiki (holidays for 18-35s) reports an increase on sales by 46pc as it launched its 2014/2015 Australia and New Zealand programme this spring with an increase on sales by 46pc. Australia and New Zealand continue to be extremely popular destinations and young travellers can avail of Contiki’s 10pc Early Payment Discount on Contiki trips when paying in full prior to the 14th May 2014. Australia and New Zealand continue to be extremely popular destinations and young travellers can avail of Contiki’s 10pc Early Payment Discount on Contiki trips when paying in full prior to the 14th May 2014.
  • The Commission for Aviation Regulation awarded a new licence, to TravelPlan Corporate and two new trading names for Club Travel.  The Commission has published on its website a list of Frequently Asked Questions on Airline Licensing and Groundhandling.

oxygen group

Ski Beat, part of the Topflight group, are publicising their holiday offering in six French resorts for next season, La Rosiere, La Plagne, La Tania, Les Arcs, Meribel and Val D’Isere. Picture shows a team of Skibeat and Oxygene Ski school personnel who brought Irish travel media on a toboggan run in La Plagne. Picture shows Fi Cowx, Office Manager and Social media (Ski Beat), Scott Charlesworth, Resort Manager (Ski Beat), Bev Dickenson, Transport Manager (Ski Beat), Justyn Muffett, Area Manager (Ski Beat), Emma Knight, Logistics and Accounts Manager (Ski Beat), Olivia Valentine, Assistant Transport Manager (Ski Beat), Emma Morrison, Operations Manager (Ski Beat), Jo Greenwood, Marketing and communications (Oxygène Ski & Snowboard School), Jenny Gardiner, Ski Instructor (Oxygène Ski & Snowboard School),

Hotels

  • The new hotel owned by Wimbledon champion Andy Murray is being investigated by travel site Tripadvisor after five star reviews appeared before it opened.
  • Bill Davis of Universal Orlando said rates at Cabana Bay Beach will be $174 for family suites, $119 for standard rooms. The hotel, which offers what Universal calls a value alternative to their three other onsite hotels in Orlando, will be the largest in the world to open this year at 1,800 rooms.
  • A survey claimed free breakfast is more important to hotel guests than free Wi-Fi.
  • Melissa O'Grady -  Business Development Manager
  • Melissa O’Grady (pictured) was appointed Business Development Manager at Fitzpatrick Castle Hotel
  • Frankfurt-based IHS GmbH acquired InnLink LLC, central reservations provider based in Hendersonville, Tennessee.
  • Hilton Dublin appointed Jason Banyon as new executive chef,

International

Universal California opened their signature new attraction for 2014, Despicable Me, A Fast & Furious ride is to launch in Universal California in 2015, using the same locations as the traditional studio tour. A night time studio tour will launch in Universal California in 2015, as well as Springfield USA, a whole new land adjacent to the Simpsons ride, according to Xiomara Wiley of Universal.

  • Nightswapping launched an easy-access home exchange system: travellers sign up, offering nights in their home for free. This earns night credits, which can be used at the homes of 6,000 registered users around the world for free.
  • The new Ratatouille dark ride at Disney Paris will open at the end of June.
  • Tripadvisor named Istanbul as the top destination in the world up 11 places from last year, followed by 2 Rome (+2), 3 London (0), 4 Beijing (+17), 5 Prague (+4), 6 Marrakech o (+13), 7 Paris (-6), 8 Hanoi (New), 9 Siem Reap (+14), 10 Shanghai (+12), 11 Berlin (0), 12 New York City (-10), 13 Florence (-5), 14 Buenos Aires (+4), 15 Barcelona (-10), 16 St Petersburg (+4), 17 Dubai (New), 18 Chicago I (-4), 19 Cape Town (-3), 20 Bangkok (-7), 21 Budapest (New), 22 Sydney (-12), 23 Lisbon (New), 24 Chiang Mai (0), 25 San Francisco (-18).
  • New York, Paris, Rome and Barcelona are among the most photographed locations in the world, according to a photo-sharing website.
  • The Mountain Travel Symposium took place in Breckenridge, Colorado
  • It was reported that the beach from Shawshank Redemption now poses a health risk. The London Telegraph listed some of the best beaches from the movies.
  • The Washington Monument will reopen to the public this May, three years after an earthquake badly damaged the structure.
  • Roger Dow of the US Travel Association told media that last year’s IPW generated an extra 1m visitors for Las Vegas according to Rockford research, more visitors and economic impact than the Superbowl. He said the average international visitor to USA spends $4,500.
  • The US Department of Commerce said that on travel free to point in the fourth quarter 2013. George Aguel of Visit Orlando said the city will have 118,000 tourist beds when opening of Cabana Bay Resort completes June 21. Orlando had a record number of visitors in 2013, 59m visitors, making it the most visited location in USA.
  • Bombs exploded at a Cairo University close to an Egypt hotel.
  • Amadeus and Oxford Economics concluded that the global travel industry is entering a “golden decade” during which Asia will account for 55pc of worldwide travel growth. China will overtake the US as the largest source of outbound travel spend in 2014. Business travel expenditure by US and European passengers is not forecast to reach pre-recession levels until [sometime in] 2014 and 2018.
  • Fresh snow fell at many European resorts with the heaviest snowfall has been reported in France and Austria, with up to 10cm of new snow landing on slopes above 2,000m. Wet weather has affected areas below the 2,000m mark. Breckenridge reported great conditions across the mountain on Thursday. Fresh snow has been reported at a number of Canadian ski areas this week, Simon Butler, an English ski instructor in Megeve, appeared in a French court to answer charges of teaching without proper qualifications.
  • Concerns have been raised that tourism is threatening the delicate eco-system of Inle Lake, one of Burma’s most popular tourist sights.

Ireland

Shaun Quinn, Minister Ring, John ConcannonMeitheal in the RDS Dublin saw 400 Irish tourism providers meet 300 overseas tour operators in15,800 scheduled across the two days. The tour operators departed on fam trips throughout the country. Picture shows Shaun Quinn CEO of Failte Ireland, Minister Michael Ring, and John Concannon of Failte Ireland at Meitheal. See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.

TOURISM IRELAND AND VISITBRITAIN SIGN NEW PARTNERSHIP AGREEMENTPicture shows Sandie Dawe, CEO of VisitBritain, and Niall Gibbons, CEO of Tourism Ireland, signing a new Memorandum of Understanding at a business event in Imperial College London, to mark this week’s historic State Visit of President Michael D Higgins to Britain. The agreement is for a common marketing strategy to attract visitors from China. See more pictures here of Tourism Ireland activities in a busy week or connect with the album on Facebook. The London Telegraph published a guide to Galway, the home of president Michael D Higgins.

Tripadvisor readers selected Dublin as the top destination in Ireland and number 21 in Europe, followed by 2 Killarney; 3 Dingle; 4 Cork; 5 Westport; 6 Donegal town; 7 Galway; 8 Tralee; 9 Navan, 10 Kilkenny.

Craft1Susan Brindley of the Design and Crafts Council of Ireland launched the first Wexford Craft Trail featuring 19craft makers on a driving route right across the county.

  • A 26km cycle route was announced to pass along the old Great Southern Railway from Glenbeigh to Cahirciveen over viaducts and through mountainous tunnels. Another cycle way will be developed in Co Waterford from Clonea outside Dungarvan along the Gold Coast to Durrow near Stradbally and a third from Galway city to Moycullen, the three projects costing€6.5m in all.Another €6.5m will be spent in nine towns to improve cycling infrastructure there, including the development of cycle lanes in Birr, Claremorris, Ennis, Cavan, Sligo, Tralee, Thurles, Wexford and Clonmel. A court ruled Bord Pleanala failed to consider the needs of cyclists and pedestrians when refusing permission for a major road widening scheme extending 28km between Tralee and Dingle.
  • A video of county Donegal is set to feature on an Oprah show special with Pharrell Williams (watch here).
  • Graiguenamanagh on the Kilkenny/Carlow border will host Graig Goes Wild on Saturday and Sunday April 26-27th.

Fáilte Irelands Visitor Attitudes Survey, conducted by Millward Brown found 39pc of overseas visitors said their experience in Ireland exceeded their expectations, 60pc said that Ireland met their expectations and 56pc said they would definitely return in the next few years. The positives were:

  • Irish people – 68pc
  • Scenery – 54pc
  • Irish history and culture – 31pc
  • Weather better than expected – 30pc
  • Food quality and variety – 21pc

Four new tolling points on the M50 in addition to the West Link bridge were proposed by the NRA.

Email editor@travelextra.ie to have your say or it is @TravelExtraIre on Twitter if that’s your bag.

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