Picture by Anthony Pratap via Flickr
The headlines this week:
*Ryanair sets out to woo business pax and wound Aer Lingus
*Vatnajökull volcano was a no-blow
*Why €5.97 is the tipping point
*Melbourne is the most liveable city, Dublin 47th
*Peak week for cruise calls
Our video of the week comes from filmmaker/photographer Milton Tan. Tan shot timelapse footage of aircraft taking off and landing from a restricted runway at Changi Airport in Singapore. The result is a dreamy sequence that looks like a strange mix of a sci-fi film and a nature documentary. This is Tan’s second timelapse of air traffic at Changi The first video featured on the Discovery Channel’s Daily Planet show. Watch here.
Another timelapse this week: this one shows the making of Emirates’ 50th A380. It takes 800 workers 65 to 80 days to assemble, install, test, paint, furnish and deliver the double-decker aircraft. Watch here.
So, you think you gobbled your Sunday fry quickly? Wait till you see this grouper devour a 4ft black tip shark in one bite. The GoPro footage – shot off the coast of Bonita Springs in Florida – received over 20m views since it was uploaded on Tuesday. Watch here. Goliath groupers are known to eat sharks as well as octopi, sea turtles and barracudas. YouTube footage dating from 2009 shows another goliath grouper swiping an angler’s shark. Watch here.
The ice bucket challenge craze is sweeping the travel industry. Participants included Clem Walshe, Ireland manager of Lowcost Beds (watch here), the team at Tour America (watch here), and Michael O’Leary (watch here).
The big travel story of the week has not happened (thankfully) with the entire aviation industry increasingly wary of seismic activity in Vatnajökull (the glacier used in the opening sequence in 1985 James Bond movie A View to a Kill). Newsreaders are desperately learning how to pronounce Bárðarbunga after the cacophony that was Eyjafjallajökull in 2010 (watch here) and the hilarious “you’re doing it wrong” (watch here). Airlines remain on watch. There is not much to see judging from the Bárðarbunga webcam although the lucht leanúna lava claim 5,000 earthquakes have occurred since August 16 and Bárðarbunga caldera appears to have given away due to less magma holding it up. Updates are being posted here.
While we wait, there are plenty of sites for volcano vultures amongst us to peruse: check out this NASA report, automatic bulletin from the SIL seismic system detailing earthquakes in Iceland during the last 48 hours, the Icelandic Met Office which monitors all geological surveys and studies in Iceland and their map of recent earthquakes (Nicarnica Aviation recently delivered equipment to Iceland), Icelandic Met Office Physics Department map, Icelandic aviation oceanic area control centre, the European alarm system for extreme weather, the US Geological Survey monitoring of Icelandic volcanoes, a seismicity map of Iceland, a seismic hazard map of Iceland, an Iceland earthquake density map, a cautious statement from Airbus, Rolls Royce’s presentation to the BATA Volcanic Ash workshop last October, the June 2013 CAA board minutes, London Met office’s site monitoring volcanic plumes from space, the (largely discredited by events of 2010) updates from London Volcanic Ash Advisory Centre and this long article about the difficulties and complexity of seeking and gathering data from volcanic activity.
There was some frenzied speculation in the USA about the threat to the Croke Park Classic (just what we need after the Garth Brooks debacle) but it is going ahead. Another Icelandic scientist, Páll EInarsson, (pictured) claimed aircraft shouldn’t overfly the volcano Hekla, as eruptions occur with only 23 to 79 minutes warning.
Or listen to Michael O’Leary‘s views on the matter (which are much more fun): The authorities will have much more accurate data. It won’t be based on someone in a basement in London trying to predict where the non-existent ash cloud has gone. These mythical clouds that were apparently surfacing over Barcelona and Lanzarote did not exist. The general view is the airlines will be free to fly unless they believe it is unsafe to do so. We won’t imperil anyone’s safety. We also don’t want to damage the engines on our aircraft.
Premium seats, but no blue curtain. That is the next offering for business passengers from Ryanair in their attempt to woo business travellers. More will emerge over the coming days but the pattern was set at a press conference on Thursday when Kenny Jacobs and Michael O’Leary announced that Ryanair were targeting one of Aer Lingus’s most lucrative short haul routes for business travel, Brussels Zaventem (listen here), in particular lucrative Irish government, commission and parliamentary business (listen here). No doubt fares will plummet for all travellers when Dublin to Zaventem goes to seven flights a day this winter – similar frequencies to major hub airports Charles de Gaulle and Schiphol. Kenny Jacobs claimed the Zaventem service can save the Irish taxpayer €3m a year based on average fares (listen here). Michael O’Leary said that Ryanair would undercut Aer Lingus on the route and that when flights prices rose above €200 per sector they would add capacity rather than raise prices (listen here). The goal was a 60-40 share of the Brussels business (listen here). The 60-40 share is not very ambitious, considering Ryanair are flying three times daily to Zaventem against Aer Lingus twice daily. Ryanair will now have 60 Dublin routes this winter, with increased frequencies and improved schedules on 21 routes.
The assault on Aer Lingus is more comprehensive than just the Brussels route. Ryanair plans frequency increases on Gatwick (4 to 5, Aer Lingus have 4), Barcelona (1 to 2, Lingus have 1), Brussels (0 to 3, Lingus have 2), Madrid (1 to 2, Lingus have 1), Milan Bergamo (1 to 2, Lingus have 1), Rome Ciampino (1 to 2, Lingus have 1), and three routes increased to daily from 5w: Berlin (Lingus have 1 daily), Budapest (Lingus have 5w) and Warsaw (Lingus have 4w).
The assault on Aer Lingus Regional is even more aggressive, pitting 737-800 jets against ATR-72 turboprops on six routes. Ryanair have increased both Birmngham to 4 daily (Aer Lingus have 3, turboprop and jet), and Manchester to 4 daily (Lingus have 4, turboprop and jet). Their London all airport service is now 16 daily (Lingus have 16, turboprop and jet), Bristol is 3 daily (Lingus have 2 turboprop), Edinburgh 3 daily (Lingus have 3 turboprop), Glasgow 3 daily (Lingus have 3 turboprop) and Liverpool 3 daily (no Lingus).
Seven other winter routes have already been announced, Nice is 3w (Lingus are 4w), Lisbon and Prague are daily (same as Lingus), while Basel (daily), Bucharest (daily), Cologne (2 daily, the only airport apart from Zanentem not already operated for summer) and Marrakesh (2w) do not face direct competition from Lingus. So far Cologne is listed as just one daily on the Ryanair online schedule and same day returns are not listed from Dublin to Berlin, Budapest and Warsaw.
As always with Ryanair there are several subtexts. The government account is run by Liam Lonergan’s Club Travel. O’Leary has spent a good deal of time and energy in court actions against Lonergan, ironically a Ryanair co-founder back in 1985. Do the numbers add up? The €6.9m government cost for 7,000 trips in a year works out at €1,000 per trip. Can the Government really save €3m by using Ryanair by the combination of air fares, hotels, transfers and incidental allowances?
The proportion of business passengers using the airline has increased from 22pc to 25pc (according to Kenny Jacobs) or 26pc (according to Michael O’Leary). The target is to take 75pc of Aer Lingus’ business traffic (listen here). Kenny Jacobs says the airline is prepared to talk to corporates about bookings (listen here). Michael O’Leary said that that Ryanair was talking to both Amadeus and Sabre and would be on another GDS by the end of the year (listen here). Kenny Jacobs said we will have a business product that gives them the things that matter (listen here). Michael O’Leary said that increased frequencies to Manchester and Birmingham would give Ryanair advantages over Aer Lingus Regional’s turboprop service (listen here).
Michael O’Leary declared we have given up on Aer Lingus (listen here) and then joked when asked why he was still fighting EU and English competition rulings in the courts (listen here). He said Ryanair had tried to offload their shares to AIG, Etihad and others but that sensible airlines would not take a present of them (listen here). Asked about Christoph Mueller’s legacy as Aer Lingus CEO, Michael O’Leary said he was the CEO who reduced Aer Lingus passenger numbers from 10m to 9m but that Aer Lingus was an airline that continued to be run badly by the Irish government (listen here). He said the €190m bailout of the pension fund would not be sufficient to resolve the problem (listen here). It is worth observing that the Aer Lingus share price was 52 cent in 2009 just before Christophe Mueller was appointed CEO on September 13 2009 and is now €1.36 (up 162pc) while Ryanair increased from €3.12 to €6.84 today (up 119pc).
Michael O’Leary said that while Ryanair was now flying to most main airports with more to come, they would never fly to Charles de Gaulle, Frankfurt or Heathrow because those airports could not deliver the airline’s required 25-minute turnaround (listen here). He took the precaution of saying: never say never. Charles de Gaulle are hoping Ryanair will join them in Terminal 2 whenever it is built (Easyjet want to be sole tenant in CdeG’s Terminal 2B). Charleroi (listen here), Prestwick (listen here), and Girona (listen here) will continue to be served by Ryanair but at reduced levels compared with their nearer-city neighbours.
Michael O’Leary said recently reported increases in inbound tourism to Ireland were due to the removal of the travel tax, not promotions such as the Wild Atlantic Way (listen here). Ryanair had delivered 1.6m extra passengers (listen here). Referring to Tourism Ireland campaigns in new markets like China he said we bring more tourists from Bournemouth to Ireland each year than come from all of China (listen here), a comment which may be related to the fact Michael is seeking Tourism Ireland marketing support to sustain his planned routes to Moscow Vnukovo and St Petersburg.
Michael O’Leary also talked about prospects for Ryanair growth in the central European (listen here) and German markets (listen here). Ryanair’s anticipated growth to 86m passengers this year would create another 1,000 jobs, most of them off island (listen here).
There was an unexpected side show to the press conference when Michael O’Leary said he was flying to talk to the Cypriot government (Cyprus is half the size of Ireland and twice as political) about rescuing Cyprus Airways (listen here) which led to a recap on Ryanair’s only other purchase of an airline, Buzz (listen here). On Friday, Ryanair submitted a plan to officials in Nicosia, in which the airline said it aims to increase Cyrus Airways passenger traffic from the current 500,000 average to 3m over three years (a 500pc increase). See more pictures from Thursday’s press conference here or connect with the album on Facebook.
Researchers from three American universities proved that body scanners at US airports which expose a traveller’s every line and curve are not very good at finding weapons. Guns, knives and faux explosives were among the contraband snuck past the backscatter x-ray by researchers at the University of California, San Diego, the University of Michigan and Johns Hopkins University, who bought a surplus Rapiscan Secure 1000 on eBay. The machine was still wrapped in plastic when J Alex Halderman and others on the research team bought it from a seller in Europe for about $50,000, he told the New York Daily News. Their team found several vulnerabilities to render the scanner ineffective for screening contraband from those who had prior access to the machine.
Jonathan Shackleton, cousin of the explorer, (his business card: antarctician, naturalist, forester, and, under the family crest: by endurance we conquer) was the keynote speaker at the opening of the new South Kildare heritage trail, Explorer’s Way (listen here). Jonathan will embark on his 36th Antarctic expedition as a guide for Quark Expeditions this winter. Kevin Kenny talked about the Athy heritage centre and the Shackleton autumn school over the October bank holiday weekend (listen here), something Jonathan Shackleton described as the leading polar event in the world, something that was not recognised or promoted enough (listen here).
Historian and former category winner in the Travel Extra travel writer awards Turtle Bunbury talked about the history of Quakerism in Ireland and the Shackleton family as well as their relatives the Fennell family who hosted the launch in Burtown House, Athy (listen here). Hostess Lesley Fennell gave an explanation of Catherine Green’s sculpture Terra Verra (listen here) which was unveiled at the event. Jonathan Shackleton presented host James Fennell (photographer on the Vanishing Ireland series of books) with a glove that had been once belonged to his great-aunt, Irena Shackleton (listen here).
Minister for the Arts Heather Humphreys outlined tourism developments in Kildare, including the moving of Castledermot high cross to a less vulnerable location this year (listen here). MC Phil Donnelly said the trail would have international significance (listen here). Turtle Bunbury even came up with that rarity for the occasion, a Quaker joke (listen here). See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.
Ryanair have two very high profile senior jobs about to be advertised: head of Corporate Travel & Groups, and head of Sales & Marketing. Read the job descriptions here. Closing date for applications is August 29. Head of Corporate Travel & Groups Lesley Kane (pictured) is returning to Glasgow to do an MBA.
Dublin came 47th out of the 140 cities ranked in the Economist Intelligence Unit Global Liveability Index. Melbourne (pictured) was named most liveable city in the world for the 4th year in a row in the survey which rates healthcare, education, stability, culture and environment and infrastructure. Damascus in Syria was the lowest scoring city. The ranking shows that since 2009 average liveability across the world has fallen by 0.7pc, led by a 1.3pc fall in the score for stability and safety. Top ten: 1 Melbourne, 2 Vienna, 3 Vancouver, 4 Toronto, 5 Adelaide, 6 Calgary, 7 Sydney, 8 Helsinki, 9 Perth, 10 Auckland. Bottom ten: 131 Abidjan, 132 Tripoli, 133 Douala, 134 Harare, 135 Algiers, 136 Karachi, 137 Lagos, 138 Port Moresby, 139 Dhaka, 140 Damascus. Dublin’s rating was 89, below the 100 which is regarded as ideal.
Research of tipping habits indicated that 43pc of those who leave tips following a meal said the amount was dictated by the quality of the service they received. A survey of 1,000 Irish people by Amárach indicated the average tip awarded to restaurant waiting staff was €5.97, followed by €4.14 to bar staff, €3.78 to hairdressers and beauticians, €2.99 to a takeaway delivery staff and €2.95 to taxi drivers. Munster and Dublin residents were found to be the most generous tippers in two of the five categories while those in Connacht and Ulster tipped the least. Accommodation staff are far more likely to receive a tip from an American guest than an Irish one. “It’s fairly common practice for them to leave the last of their euro on the bedside locker before heading for the airport.” Under 25s are the biggest bar tippers with an average tip of €6.67, two-and-a-half times the average tip by the over 55s.
It was the biggest week of the season for cruise calls, with three ships simultaneously in Dublin on Saturday last and three again on Wednesday, spilling 5,000 guests into the city. Cruise has come a long way in the 38 years since the Europa was the first cruise ship to call to Dublin. When Cruise Ireland was first set up in 1994 it had 40 ship calls, this year 220 cruise ships will call to Dublin. Picture shows Dave Denham of Dublin Business Association manning a tourism information desk on Thomson Spirit. The Dublin cruise tour guide joke of the week: Did you know the inventor of the crossword is buried in Glasnevin cemetery? You can find him at six across and four down.
Cruise lines took the opportunity to host the trade. Azamara, Crystal, Holland America Line, MSC, Regent and Thomson all hosted travel trade on board for ship tours and lunches.
Picture shows trade on board Thomson Spirit with the trademark Poolbeg chimneys (how much longer will they be part of the cruise call skyline?) in the background. Thomson is the classic three-star product out of Ireland. Guide Samantha Hale highlighted the £199 drinks package, commissionable for agents, which would cost £219 when bought on board. There is a 2pc extra charge for use of credit cards, debit cards are free but Maestro is being phased out. See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.
MSC gave trade the opportunity to take the two day sailing on MSC Magnifica from Belfast to Dublin. Picture shows Bronagh McNamara, Rachel McAnaspie of American Holidays, Gleeson Knox the waiter, Niki Stanford of Click and Go with Rebecca Kelly of MSC on board MSC Magnifica. See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook. Azamara hosted agents on Saturday of last week. Carly Perkins of Holland America Line and Andy Harmer CLIA (Cruise Lines International Association) director for Ireland and Britain hosted agents on board the 1,404 passenger MS Rotterdam on Thursday. Regent Seven Seas had seven agents for a visit onboard on Friday. Crystal host 25 agents on board today (Aug 24).
Coronation Street actors Ian Pulseton-Davies and Mikey North (aka Owen Armstrong & Gary Windass) stopped by the Celtic Horizons office in Maynooth to say hi to the staff . Celtic’s Soaps Tour packages are all 10pc commissionable. Ciara Corcoran warns that very few places remain.
Worldchoice Ireland will host a series of Digital Strategy based workshops for members and trade partners over the coming weeks to bring focus to Worldchoice’s new communication hub and consumer facing websites. CEO Don Shearer (pictured) said he took stock of all the comments from members and trade partners alike regarding the endless events, conferences and awards ceremonies at this time of the year and decided to take a new approach which will culminate in a members gathering in late 2014 followed in early 2015 by a game changing event which will bring real engagement to our community of retail members and industry partners.
- The Commission for Aviation Regulation granted a new licence to eDreams Odigeo plc, a subsidiary of Opodo, with trading names of www.edreams.ie and www.opodo.ie
- Joanne Casey of Glowmetrics (pictured) is giving a Web Analytics – Webinar under the ITAA skillets programme on Wed August 27, 9:30am-11am. Cost is €25, register here.
- Bookabed is giving agents a chance to win a seven-night stay for two in a MedPlaya hotel with half board for every MedPlaya hotel booking made between now and September 12. Med Playa Hotels specialise in beach hotels in mainland Spain.
- Falcon is offering 7 nights all inclusive from Dublin to Sharm el Sheikh, Coral Sea Aqua Club, Red Sea Riviera from €2,081 for two adults and one child or from €2,906 for two adults and two children. Travel May 7, 2015. Offer includes free Kids’ Club for children aged 3-11.
- Minister Simon Harris welcomed the award of the Government of Ireland travel management contract to Club Travel, (as first reported in Travel Extra’s Sunday Supplement).
- Funway is offering a £50pp discount on city break packages to New York. Quote the discount code NY50 when booking. Book before September 30, travel up to December 31, 2015.
- Brian Rafferty ex-Travelsavers (pictured), who joins Travel Counsellors on Monday is one of three new recruits to the home working group run by Cathy Burke in Ireland bringing the number of agents past the 60 mark with a further 25 in the north.
- It is still August but Falcon Holidays launched their Lapland Flights on Thursday. Day trip prices from Dublin are adult €649 and child €529 (1850 45 35 45) on Saturday December 6 & 13 and from Belfast adults £469 Children £419 on Friday December 12th. Sunway offer three day trips on December 11-13, December 13-15, December 15-17, December 17-19 and December 19-21, Adults from €1227, Child €1037pps. Canterbury Travel offer three day trips December 12-14, December 14-16 and December 16-18 at around €1300pps. Ireland still has the third highest take-up in the world for Roveneimi trips, although we are down from the height of the Celtic Tiger when parents and their children filled 20 separate departures from Dublin.
- Lastminute.com is to be put up for sale by Sabre Holdings.
- This week’s offers from ITAA: Wimbledon Championships June & July 2015, 3 nights, 2 match days, €1,847pp; Barcelona FC 2014/15 packages, 2 nights, from €219pp; Italy vs Ireland, February 17 2015, 2 nights, €629pp.
- Sad news: Travel Extra is sorry to hear of the death of Sandy McClean Carson, our sympathy to family, friends and colleagues in the industry. She was a familiar face on the Thomas Cook stand at Belfast Holidayworld.
Kevin McGillycuddy (pictured), Damien Gaffney and Michael McElligott’s Brehon Capital group is on the cusp of buying Ireland’s largest hotel, the €30m 492-room Citywest complex in Saggart, Co Dublin, having developed the Marker in Dublin’s docklands and purchased Powerscourt (formerly the Ritz Carlton) in Enniskerry, Mount Juliet in Co Kilkenny, Mount Wolseley in Carlow and Killashee in Naas.
David Collins’ Hotel management group Great National Asset Management, whose team includes Frank Corby (ex Raheen Woods) and Denis Kane (ex Druids Glen), added to their growing portfolio when they bought the 230-bedroom Breaffy House resort in Castlebar out of receivership, They now manage 35 hotels out of Ireland. The resort had been on the market with a guide price of around €3m. Picture shows David Collins and Mark Knowles of Great National Hotels exhibiting at Holiday World.
Cahernane House Hotel, which is a member of Heritage Week partner Manor House Hotels, is offering anyone who makes a booking between August 23 and 30 for a stay of one night or more before October 27 complimentary tea and scones in the hotel’s drawing room or library during one afternoon of their stay. Quote ‘Heritage Week’ when booking.
- Galgorm in Antrim, Sneem Hotel and Teach de Broc, Ballybunion, both in Kerry, have joined Manor House Hotels.
- The spa at the Aghadoe Heights turned ten: celebrating a decade of decadence.
- Minor Hotel Group formed a strategic partnership with Sun International to own and operate a collection of eight properties in five African countries.
- Alila Hotels & Resorts is promoting adventure honeymoons to Bali. Offers include surfing in Uluwatu from £446 per night for a one-bedroom pool villa; white water rafting on the Ayung River or mountain climbing at Mount Batur from £134 per night for a Superior Room; mountain cycling or diving at Alila Manggis from £100 per night for a Superior Room; full-day journey across water and land at Soori from £366 per night for a one-bedroom mountain pool villa; and sailing; and diving at Alila Purnama from £6,892 on selected trips from November to March based on two people sharing a cabin, for six nights.
- The ITC Grand Bharat golf resort and spa will open on October 1.
- Travelodge came under fire for removing bibles from its hotels.
- Would you sleep with a stranger, Harriet Line of The London Telegraph asks in her guide to couch-surfing.
SkiWelt Wilder Kaiser Brixental has increased to 280km of slopes for the coming winter, of which 85pc will have snowmaking facilities. The Skiwelt has challenged other ski areas to certify their pistes, in the absence of international standards some resorts were double counting the wider pistes as two runs.
- The PURE Awards 2014 will be held on November 10 at the newly opened Royal Palm Marrakech with awards in six categories including: Transformational Travel, Conservation and Sustainability, Community Engagement, Innovative and Engaging Marketing, Design and Contribution to Experiential Travel. Hundreds of entries were received, with the shortlist being announced on September 15. The Awards will be judged by the PURE community. PURE Life Experiences and Tourism New Zealand will continue their relationship for the PURE Awards 2014.
- Normandy will host 74 nations at the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games 2014 from August 23 to September 7.
- Hertz and Navigation Solutions launched Hertz NeverLost Companion app among giving travellers the ability to plan trips on their mobile devices, then sync directly with the in-car Hertz NeverLost GPS system
- Myanmar confirmed the start of online visa for tourists from September.
- Saudi Arabia will be exhibiting at World Travel Market for the first time this year.
- Powder White expanded its European 2014/15 winter programme. It will include a Slopestyle week, snowshoe & skidoo experiences, and white weekend packages.
- Scotland’s annual Coll of the Sharks basking shark festival takes place from August 21 to August 26 on the island of Coll.
- Japan’s Niseko ski resort on Hokkaido Island was added to the line-up on the Epic Pass initiative.
- Registration opens earlier than usual in late September for IPW 2015 in Orlando, to be held May 30 to June 3. Pictures hows Ciara Foley and Clodagh Oxley of the Dublin Visit USA committee at the last IPW in Chicago.
- UAE listed no-go areas in London for Emirati visitors in its official safety guide. Piccadilly and Oxford Circus are among the “places to avoid”, Soho and Oxford Street are classed as “more dangerous” and Shepherd’s Bush market and Queensway are “less safe”. The warning comes after two violent incidents last April involving UAE nationals visiting London.
- Eight of GTA travel’s senior management team – Martin Jones, Tatsuo Masumoto, Andrew Hughes, Daryl Lee, Koksheng Sun, Marc Albert, Patrick Torres and Stuart Dale – marked 30 years in Japan by climbing Mount Fuji to raise awareness for ECPAT International.
- SeaWorld announced it will double the size of its killer whale enclosures at parks in San Diego, Orlando, Florida and San Antonio. The first new tank will open in 2018. The company claimed the move is not directly related to the controversial Blackfish documentary.
- National Geographic Traveler’s reader advocate Christopher Elliot (pictured) draws the line between a savvy traveller and a travel hack in a piece for USA Today. Savvy travellers use smart strategies and their knowledge of the industry to get a good deal, whereas hacks take advantage of vulnerabilities and loopholes in online booking systems. Popular hacks include: using the “Dr” honorific when making a hotel booking online to avoid cancelled reservations; throwaway ticketing: buying a roundtrip instead of a one-way ticket and not using the return; using employee discount codes to save up to 20pc off car rental, hotel or theme park reservations. “There’s a clear line between right and wrong,” Elliot says. “Just because something isn’t illegal doesn’t make it right.”
- Ten foreign tourists and five locals are missing after a tour boat sank in Indonesia.
- TBEX 2014 bloggers conference cancelled its two trips to a dolphinarium in Cancun.
- Florida is on track for a record breaking year after reporting 24m visitors during the second quarter.
- Two tour buses crashed near Sharm El-Sheikh killing 33 people and injuring 41.
Food & Wine
John & Sally McKenna of guides.ie have organised a wedding cake icing display by Diva Boutique Bakery at Electric Picnic’s Theatre of Food. “For years, people have been travelling to Electric Picnic to exchange wedding vows, so we thought it was more than appropriate to have our own EP wedding cake,” the McKennas posted on Facebook. The sold-out music and arts festival takes place next weekend, August 29-31.
- A Jacobs’-sponsored savoury ice cream parlour opened in London’s Soho. Ale & cheddar and blue cheese & cracker are among the flavours available.
- Photographer Beth Kirby and Food stylist Susan Spungen will be teaching a two-day, three-night residential course on food photography at Lens & Larder in Ballynahinch Castle from Oct 21-24. The €1,470 fee (sharing) includes a welcome reception, full board and drinks as well as the photography workshops.
- Rick Gonzalez was appointed head chef at Alila Jabal Akhdar resort in Oman. Previous experience includes executive chef at Amandari in Ubud, Bali, pre-opening chef in Amanzo’s Resort, Porto Heli, Greece, and chef de cuisine at Sirocco Restaurant in Lebua Hotel, Bangkok.
- The Dingle Peninsula Food Festival takes place October 3-5.
Picture shows PayPal’s Vice President for Global Operations EMEA, Louise Phelan, and Ryanair’s Chief Marketing Officer, Kenny Jacobs, launching a new payment partnership with PayPal.
Dublin to Dubai is available for €504 (business class from €1,925, first class suite from €3,217) in advance the launch of Emirates’ double daily service book by September 1 (double daily launch date) for travel before May 31, 2015. Exemptions apply. Emirates hinted at going triple daily from Glasgow to Dubai. Now there’s a thought for Enda Corneille.
London Southend Airport has been named Best in England in in the Which? airport passenger survey. Picture shows check-in at Southend.
- Siobhain Danaher’s Planet Portfolio Travel Photography Exhibition opened in the arrivals hall of Belfast City Airport.
- As Paschal Donohue sits down to grapple with the issue of fifth freedom rights and Ethiopian’s propsoed Dublin-LAX route, the game may be about to change. Etihad’s Alitalia investment is largely about fifth freedom, and Gulf News speculated this week that Etihad could tap into the Americas and Asia with the Alitalia deal.
- Intro aviation MD Peter Oncken (pictured) said he expects to make the decision on Cityjet fleet replacement in the next 4-6 weeks.
- Irish air accident investigators concluded that Ryanair’s Faro incident was probably due to a freak storm.
- Qatar Airways London Heathrow A380 inaugural was delayed further.
- Trade group Airlines for America claimed US airlines doubled profit margins in the first half as revenue rose three times faster than costs
- The 197 page sectoral brief for Minister Paschal Donohoe was published, as was the more pragmatic 104 page document: Key issues for Minister Donohue.
- John Hurley will join Ryanair as its Chief Technology Officer from Houghton Mifflin Harcourt plc on September 15. John will be responsible for developing and implementing a world-leading digital and technology strategy, heading up a team of 200 people as he oversees the roll-out of the Ryanair Labs digital innovation hub based at Ryanair’s new Dublin campus in Swords.
- Florida-based Vortex Aviation will invest up to $3m in a new aircraft engine servicing facility in Shannon, which is set to open within in the next three months.
- CSO statistics showed that 270 working days were lost when Aer Lingus cabin crew took to the picket line in May, the Irish Independent reports.
- Ryanair and Aer Lingus received the least amount of complaints to England’s Civil Aviation Authority in 2013 – 37 against Ryanair and 38 against Aer Lingus.
- Robots will collaborate with humans in building Airbus aircraft under the EU-funded Valeri project. Watch the demo video here.
- Etihad announced changes to its double daily schedule between Abu Dhabi and Johannesburg from October 26 which will tie in with their double-daily service from Dublin.
- Michael O’Leary paid tribute to Albert Reynolds (listen here), a visionary who set ireland on a road to economic growth contrasting his term as Taoiseach with what followed.
- United Airlines is the First Airline to offer Uber Service via Mobile App.
- CSO figures show that the number of passengers using Kerry Airport dropped 28pc over five years (from 462,115 passengers in 2008 to 306,042 in 2013). Paschal Donohue said he is committed to securing the completion of the renewed public service obligation grant Kerry Airport relies on to retain flights on the Kerry to Dublin route.
- Alan Joyce’s Qantas said it is to cut back overseas routes and set Jetstar on course to become Australia’s main international airline. Qantas upgraded economy meals with bigger serves and boxed dinner packs.
- British Airways plans to suspend its London Gatwick-Las Vegas service from December 3 to March 11 and reduce its Heathrow-Accra service from 11 flights to daily, cancel its Tuesday Heathrow-Montreal service, reduced its Heathrow-JFK service from 62 flights to 56 flights and cancel its Monday Heathrow-Newark service from October 26 to March 29.
- American Airlines will extend its $150 fee for unaccompanied minors to include children up to 14 years of age from Sept 3.
- Centreforaviation.com cast its eye over Turkish Airlines: a recent pattern of falling quarterly profits, but many strategic strengths.
- Ryanair launched its Danish language website, the Irish airline’s 15th own-language website.
- Air Berlin announced the first elements of restructuring, to focus on “Europe, touristic and long-haul.”
- Airlines will owe $80 compensation to passengers delayed between US and Europe in 2014.
- The US FAA laid out conditions for the A350 lithium batteries.
- American cancelled its Chicago-Dublin flight when it went tech but managed to get passengers home through Philadelphia. US airways retired its last Boeing 737-400.
- FTE highlighted Aer Lingus new transatlantic A330 business class cabin with lie flat seats, 16-inch in flight entertainment monitors and free Wi-Fi in advance of their showcase event in Las Vegas in September.
- More comment on codeshare: apparently codeshare flights could be costing passengers thousands.
- The London Telegraph ran a story about complaints over Ryanair’s mobile boarding passes.
- Aer Lingus launched their Carrauntoohil Challenge.
- Deutsche Bahn launched a lawsuit in the US against airlines over 1999-2006 price fixing.
- TAP launched a route to Manaus and Belem.
- Dublin Airport aims to save over 600,000kWh in energy with the Get Involved project.
- Passenger numbers at Manchester Airport were up 6pc to 2.4m for July, putting the airport on track for its busiest year since 2007.
- Air Berlin will reduce capacity by 10pc, shrink its fleet by about ten aircraft and shut down five crew bases.
- The IATA urged airlines to continue to fly to Ebola-hit regions in West Africa.
- A Saudi Arabian Airlines flight from Madinah to Cairo was grounded for six hours after a fist fight broke out between the pilot and a cabin crew member.
- Boeing Ireland and Britain president Roger Bone (pictured) will retire at the end of September with Michael Arthur assuming the post on October 1.
- Russia’s Ministry of Industry and Trade offered to supply Red Wings Airlines with Tupolev Tu-204 aircraft for flights to Crimea after Dobrolet, which operated Boeing 737s, suspended flights on August 4. Éist anseo le Eoghan Corry ag caint ar Údar Cainte ar Radió na Gaeltachta faoin Rúis. Éist anseo le eagarthóir Travel Extra Eoghan Corry ar Údar Cainte ag caint faoi Domhnall Slattery agus Avolon.
Celebrity Cruises’ autumn campaign has added free flights from Ireland to eight different 2015 European itineraries. Free flights and complimentary drinks packages worth up to $1,400 are now a new feature to Celebrity Cruises’ Up, Up and Away promotion. Under the Love2Shop vouchers campaign a €20 voucher is available for each automated booking made during August. See cruisingpower.ie.
- Hamburg Cruise Days hosted 600,000 visitors for the European cruise event of the year.
- The week beginning September 27th has been designated Pan European Cruise Week.
- Stena Lines is offering fares from Dublin, Dun Laoghaire and Rosslare to Wales from €79 single, car and driver. Book by Sept 30, travel until Oct 31.
- Lonely Planet suggested alternative ways to see the world by cruise ship. Some of the options include: a freshwater cruise, travelling by cargo ship, specialist small boat trips and a polar cruise.
A major question for Tourism Ireland in advance of the award of the contract for the National Diaspora Centre, there is a major problem with recognition of the word Diaspora around the world. There are six contenders for the attraction, which is expected to deliver 300,000 visitors a year to one of Birr, Cork, Donegal, Dublin, Dun Laoghaire or Limerick. It is likely that the two Dublin centres will be built even if the contract goes elsewhere. But what will the centres be called?
- Tourism Ireland targeted Toronto for business travellers. Picture shows Helen Cole of Tourism Ireland; Séan Carney of Lough Eske Castle; Mary Heron of, Aer Lingus; John Healy of Moloney & Kelly Travel; Lynda Reilly of Guinness Storehouse; and Gerry Browne of Killarney Hotels at IncentiveWorks 2014 in Toronto, Canada’s largest B2B show for the meetings, events and incentive travel industry.
- YouTube videos were launched promoting Dalkey Book Festival (watch here) and Happy Days Enniskillen International Beckett Festival (watch here).
- Carr Golf Travel’s Invitational Pro-Am, being held Oct 19-24, is to be sanctioned and managed by the PGAs of Europe. The event will be played over three courses; Portmarnock, Royal County Down (36 holes) and Royal Portrush. Carr Golf Travel celebrates 25 years in business this year.
- Fáilte Ireland announced today that its Corporate Meeting Support fund secured a win from a major US insurance company to bring its 2015 sales force meeting to Dublin and Killarney. Over 2,000 delegates come to Ireland for the event and stay for 7 nights. The event is worth an estimated €9m.
- Picture shows Michael Brady of Fáilte Ireland and Carolina Marcos of Google, who announced Google Month, a schedule of online events presented from Google HQ in Dublin on the range of digital supports available to Irish tourism businesses. The “Hangouts” will be broadcast live on the Fáilte Ireland YouTube Channel, aimed at tourism businesses that may be new players in the digital arena. Intending participants should visit www.failteireland.ie/Market-Your-Business-Online/Google-for-Irish-Tourism.aspx or contact Michael Brady at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- The Irish rail strike seemed heading up a siding. New transport Minister Paschal Donohue made some cautious comments about how this strike would make matters worse. Rail fares are enjoying a €1 a head government subsidy. Dermot O’Leary of NRBU (pictured) and Paul Cullen of SIPTU refute claims that the last tranche of extra money that went into the rail service was used for salary increases, so there seems no shifting on this one.
- The Irish Craft Beer and Cider Festival returns to the RDS in Dublin September 4-7 reflecting what the organisers call explosive growth over the past 12 months: there will be 200 Irish produced beverages on offer to attendees and there will be 38 producers up from 25 last year and 10 for the first festival four years ago.
- The Irish National Kite Surfing Championships will take place on Duncannon Beach in County Wexford this weekend from August 23-24, The festival also offers water zorbing, a volleyball competition, live music, face painting and a Kids Zone.
- Fáilte Ireland is supporting the World Youth and Student Travel Conference, which takes place at the Convention Centre, Dublin, from September 23 to 26. Over 700 travel professionals from over 450 organisations will be at the event.
- Bus Éireann will run return services to Electric Picnic from Dublin, Cork and Galway.
- Waterford’s first Jazz Festival Waterford Jazz Weekender was announced for outdoor and pub venues in the Viking Triangle from September 5-7, featuring Dixieland Express from New Orleans, The Jane O’Brien Moran Trio and The Red Hot Jazz Trio.
- Minister Simon Harris launched Heritage Week at Trim Castle. Ireland will bustle to the largest hosting of Heritage Open Days on August 23-31 (details here) and September 13-14 in the north (details here). There are events in 50 countries.
A sean-nós dance exhibition by Aidan Vaughan, the uncle of Nóirín Hegarty managing destinations editor at Lonely Planet in London, was among the treasures experienced by a group of 23 travel writers from 13 different countries when they attended a showcase demonstration by Oidhreacht an Chláir in Miltown Malbay, Picture with their hosts shows: Ellen Redmond of Fáilte Ireland, Eduardo Vessoni Lopes of Viagem em Pauta, Brazil, Ursula Wiegand of Westdeutsche Zeitung Germany., Tony Conboy of the Tampa Tribune in Florida, Aidan Vaughan sean-nós dancer from Oidhreacht an Chláir, Séamus Mac Mathúna from Oidhreacht an Chláir, Stephen Vermeylen of Rotary Contact Belgium, Anne Keavey dancer from Oidhreacht an Chláir, Helen Hewetson of Ensemble Vacations Mag Canada, John Barry dancer from Oidhreacht an Chláir, David Batzofin of Batzofin Blog, Radio Today South Africa, Richard Holmes of Travel Ideas Mag South Africa, Andreas Jacobsen of Urlaubtipp and Touristik Aktuell Germany, Ann Wang from China, Michael Marek of NDR radio Germany (behind blue jacket), Andrea Wiebel of Schweiz am Sonntag Switzerland behind pink jacket , Flower Lang from China, Lu Tao from China, Tom Zhang from China, Gabrielle Spiller of Der Landbote Switzerland, Christina Walsh of Fáilte Ireland and Deirdre Comber dancer from Oidhreacht an Chláir, Seated: Hanne Hoiberg of Sondag Denmark, Luzia Grasse of Augsburger Allgemeine Germany, Willemijn Bos of Reisgids, Netherlands, musician Tara Comber (fiddle) of Oidhreacht an Chláir, musician Diarmuid Donnellan (banjo) of Oidhreacht an Chláir, musician Róisín Considine (accordion) of Oidhreacht an Chláir, Katie Nanton of Nuvo Mag Canada, Barbara Sloane of the Westchester Guardian NY State and Neeta Lal from India. See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook. Loppe Ranta of Retki Outdoor Magazine Finland joined the group on Monday night. Listen here to Harry Hughes from from Oidhreacht an Chláir welcoming the group.
- Carton House in Maynooth hosted the 56th International Garden Centre Congress showcasing Irish Garden Centres, and attractions including Guinness and Jameson factories.
- New tourism minister Paschal Donohue spoke about the problem of immigration queues at Dublin airport at last week’s Tourism Ireland briefing (listen here), the fall-out from the Garth Brooks fiasco (listen here), the aggressive begging problem in Dublin (listen here), local government rate increases and their impact on the competitiveness of tourism businesses (listen here), prices, wages and value for money (listen here), and the new tourism target of 10m visitors by 2025 (listen here). Niall Gibbons CEO of Tourism Ireland said all tourism markets except Britain will see record inbound figures to Ireland in 2014 (listen here), in his overview for the first half of the year (listen here), that Tourism Ireland’s social media profile continues to be high – Ireland’s channel will be second this year in the number of YouTube views (listen here), air access figures are now 366,000 a week (listen here), the campaigns for the second half of 2014 (listen here), Ireland has received €250m in publicity form traditional media outlets, the fortunate timing of the Chris Hadfield campaign with the increased number of flights from Canada (listen here) and how the decline in the French inbound market was down to sporting fixtures (listen here).
- Kildare Walking Festival concluded on the banks of the Grand Canal at Ardclough.See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.
- The 30ft Grandmother from the Royal de Luxe street performance arrived in Limerick ahead of the City of Culture event, which takes place September 5-7. Around 100,000 people are expected to attend.
- NITB is offering two nights B&B and one evening meal in the Armagh City Hotel from £99 per adult for families attending the Star Wars themed Junior Force Academy Training workshop at Armagh Planetarium, August 30-31. Children under 10 stay free, £20 per night for children aged 10-16.
- Picture shows Eoghan Corry, editor of Travel Extra, being presented with a copy of Music in a Breeze of Wind: Traditional Dance Music in West Clare 1870-1970 by Barry Taylor, by Harry Hughes of Oidhreacht an Chláir in Miltown Malbay, August 18 2014. The cover of the book features Mary Ellen Quinlan, nee Corry, from Cooraclare, fiddle player and aunt of Eoghan Corry.
- Quickpark.ie is offering one free admission to a night at the dog track with every receipt. Participating venues: Shelbourne Park, Harold’s Cross, Waterford, Cork, Tralee, Limerick, Galway, Mullingar and Newbridge. Offer available until August 31. Quickpark.ie at Dublin airport is offering rates from €3 per day for bookings before August 31.
- Condé Nast described the Wild Atlantic Way as “Ireland’s Route 66”.
- South Derry is marking the first anniversary of Seamus Heaney’s death with the four-day Heaney On Home Ground festival which takes place Sept 11-14 in various venues in south Derry, and a tour of Seamus Heaney Country which will bring punters from Laurel Villa Townhouse in Magherafelt to Heaney’s birthplace in Mossbawn, through the villages of Castledawson, Toome and Bellaghy, where he is buried.
- Lonely Planet explained how to do Dublin on a hangover, which mostly involves surrounding yourself with alcohol for the day. For the cure, have an Irish coffee in Stage Door Café (“if a hair of the dog is in order”); for culture, visit the Guinness Storehouse (“when the world stops spinning”); for the craic, the Dublin Literary Pub Crawl (“when you’re tucked up in the cosy warmth of an Irish pub with a pint of Guinness in hand, swapping stories with new friends, you’ll think, ‘Hangover? What hangover?’”).
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