Travel Extra’s Sunday Supplement: Ryanair Throws the Kitchen Overboard, but Will Sleepless O’Leary’s Shopping Spree in Seattle REALLY reduce fares by 40pc?

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Rendering of Ryanair’s Boeing 737-MAX-200

The headlines this week:

*Ryanair’s Kitchenless Aircraft

*Lufthansa showcase Premium Economy

*Highlights of the coming ski season

*Restoring Dublin-Madeira  is top of Antonio Padeira’s list

*Dominick Chilcott hosts the trade

*Wannabe WAW by bus and a tour of Eden

Travel Extra TV

volcano-youtubeOur video of the week was captured by Philip McNamara, an Australian tourist taking a boat trip off the coast of Papua New Guinea. He filmed Mount Tavurvu sending an explosion of ash and smoke into the air. Watch out for the shock, it’s coming, Philip says off-camera. Then, kaboom! Watch here.

Dutch graphic design student Zilla van den Born duped her Facebook friends into thinking she was on a five-week holiday to South-East Asia by Photoshopping herself into holiday snaps. Zilla posted fake pictures of herself at the beach, eating exotic food and sitting next to a Buddhist monk in a temple. She did visit a temple and restaurants in Amsterdam, and she went snorkelling in the pool in her apartment complex, but used Photoshop to capture everything else. Speaking to Dutch media, she said: “I did this to show people that we filter and manipulate what we show on social media, and that we create an online world which reality can no longer meet…My goal was to prove how common and easy it is to distort reality. Everybody knows that pictures of models are manipulated. But we often overlook the fact that we manipulate reality also in our own lives.” Watch here to see how Zilla pulled it off.

Discoverireland.ie uploaded a video of City of Culture’s 25ft Granny making her way to Limerick City. Watch here.

Can you spot true love? Discoverireland.ie invites you to take the Love Dublin ‘Kiss Me I’m Irish’ Challenge: See if you can spot the real couples in this video of eight kisses across eight Dublin landmarks. Watch here. And see if you can tell the difference between a vintage photograph and a smartphone app in the Picture Belfast Photo Challenge. Watch here.

Headlines

Santa has apparently put Michael O’Leary on his 2014 list as nice rather than naughty. What did Michael want for not-yet-Christmas-but-this-is-Ryanair? Throw out the kitchens, add a mid fuselage door and give me an extra eight seats. This week, when he got what he wanted, the 197-seat Boeing 737-MAX-200, he responded:  “I feel like a child who has woken up on Christmas morning to find Santa has given him exactly what he was asked for.

michael O'leary kevin connerHe came back from the elf workshop in Seattle with an order for 100 of them and options for 100 more. The much-headlined list price for these aircraft is $11bn. It is unlikely Michael paid more than five, although he told a press conference in New York’s Palace HotelIt is the first time in the history of Ryanair we have paid a higher price for a new aircraft. He said the seven extra seats are worth a million extra dollars per aircraft per year.

The 737-MAX has not even flown yet. Test flights are due 2016, deliveries start in 2017 and Ryanair’s first aircraft will arrive in 2019. He returned to Dublin on the first of the 175 Boeing 737-800s he bought when he last went shopping in Seattle. Michael’s new target is 150m passengers by 2024 instead of the 120m he previously targeted. Understated as always, Michael told his return press conference in Dublin that it would mean fares reduced by 20pc by 2019 (after 175 of his 737-800s have arrived, they were ordered last year) and 40pc by 2024 (after the last of this week’s order of 737-MAX 200s). The Michaelmathematics are simple: reduce operating costs by 40pc and fares will go down 40pc, but Ryanair’s business model is changing by the week, so the reductions will come off what base? We’ll return to the subject in 2024.

SkyMichael is the third big customer from Ireland to come shopping for the Max. Tony Ryan used to ask his potential salesmen if they were capable of selling a calf at Cahermee fare. Michael’s trip to the fair showed that the spirit of Tony Ryan is alive and well. The Irish have been buying 737-MAX in bulk in Seattle. Dómhnal Slattery’s Avolon have already ordered 15 and GECAS has ordered 95. Kevin Conner must love to see the Irish coming, in the same way that the guys in Century 21 used to love to see the women of Ireland arrive during the Tiger-boom (remember when the average party of four wimmin spent an average of €2,400 each).

michael o'leary caroline corvi2 copyNegotiating leasing company terms is central of Ryanair’s success. If you were to go to your local aircraft showroom to buy a new 737-MAX you would pay $104m. But that is not how Ryanair operate. We don’t know how much they paid this week, but from the accounts we know that they were paying $26m for each 737-800 they bought in a famous deal concluded in the aftermath of 9/11, at the time when the list price was $60m (O’Leary waited until the 24th delivery before going to Seattle in November 2002, he is pictured with Caroline Corvi of Boeing). It meant that Ryanair could sell on aircraft second-hand for more than they paid before they worked them for a couple of years on their incessant 25-minute turnarounds. It leads to a whole new way of doing business and a whole new approach to running an airline. Don’t leave it in the aviators. Get a second-hand aircraft salesman to do the job. Look again at Michael O’Leary and ask: would you buy second-hand aircraft from this man?

Eoghan Corry said on Adhmhaidin on Raidió na Gaeltachta that it is still not clear where all these extra passengers will come from. Éist anseo le Eoghan Corry eagarthóir Travel Extra ag caint faoi Ryanair ar Adhmhaidin ar Raidió na Gaeltachta. Watch here Michael O’Leary’s interview on Bloomberg. Listen here to Michael on The Business on RTÉ Radio One last week.

Annette mann seatsLufthansa showcased their new Premium Economy product. The seats will have a pitch of 38 inches and will be fitted in eight across 2-4-2 configuration across all of Lufthansa’s long haul aircraft. Starting December 10, flights operated by the German flag carrier’s Boeing 747-8 jumbo jets will all have the new seats and eventually 10pc of all of Lufthy’s long haul inventory will be premium economy. eoghan lufthansa premium economy_5041

The jury is still out on premium economy. BA did it ten years ago and Air France in 2009 so why the rethink? “Comfort,” said product manager Annette Mann (pictured above with a sample of the seats, second pic shows Travel Extra‘s Eoghan Corry sampling the seat). “The seat is the important thing, and customers get better food and can buy lounge access for €20.” “Consistency” said European sales manager Florian Astor. We will offer a consistent product across all the fleet. The Middle Eastern carriers do not do thatWe needed to upgrade our business class product first to make it totally flat. Now we can better differentiate premium economy from both business and economy. We aim at business travellers who are not permitted to fly in business class and golden agers who want more comfort but will not pay for business class.” He said competition varies in the different markets in which Lufthansa operates (listen here) but it was only now that the investment made economic sense (listen here). Annette Mann said that the new product would create another premium seat, the front rows of economy would have extra legroom (listen here).christian annette florian_4982

Premium Economy will launch on 11 routes from Frankfurt from December 10, launch route Bangalore is available for €1,241. Singapore which gets PE when the A380 joins the route in April is also on sale now for €1,241. Helen Fyfe of Lufthansa sees great potential in the Irish market for leisure and cruise customers as well as the business passengers forced into economy by corporate budget restaurants. “They are already paying a higher fare for flexibility, so the step up to premium economy may not be that large.” Picture shows Christian Schindler, Florian Astor and Annette Mann of Lufthansa at the launch. See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.

IMG_5101British ambassador Dominick Chilcott hosted members of the travel trade and media (including Travel Extra) among his business and cultural guests for his summer party in Glencairn, to celebrate the 450th and 100th anniversaries of the births of William Shakespeare (listen here) and Dylan Thomas (listen here, a roasting pig and a shed were involved). Actors entertained the guests with quotes from both writers as they arrived (listen here). Amid his tributes to Ian Paisley and reflections of President Higgins’ visit to England last summer (listen here), including a quote from President Higgins (listen here), Ambassador Chilcott announced that the grave of iconic racehorse Orby has been moved to a more prominent place in Glencairn (listen here).

IMG_5062Ambassador Chilcott took “a moment to reflect on Scotland‘s referendum.” The moment turned out to be a tribute to the two Scottish bagpipers who serenaded the guests as they arrived (listen here). Should they vote YES to independence on Thursday, Scotland  would immediately be propelled into the top ten tourist destinations in Europe, their current figure of 2.2m international visits would jump to about 17m, as they get an estimated 15m visitors from England each year. This could put them ahead of Greece in tenth position in Europe, pushing Ireland back to 17th. See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.

Kelly O'Mahony 4710One of the surprise successes of the summer is the new whiskey academy at Midleton. The Jameson Centre added training programmes to their visitor experience in repsonse to demand from training groups and 1,600 people have come through since the centre opened in February, according to Kelly O’Mahony (pictured) from the centre.  Courses range from a €59 two hour lesson to one and two day courses from €295. A three day bartenders course includes a trip to Ballymaloe. See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.

Travel Extra oct 2014 300With the print edition due for delivery to agencies this week, prepare for an uphill task getting through the issue. The upcoming ski season is featured in the October issue of Travel Extra (view online here). We put the goggles over the main ski destinations out of Ireland, the Austrian Skiwelt, points out which resorts are most accessible under revised air schedules, examines the controversy over the measurement of the big European ski areas, and looks at what extras tour operators have thrown into the mix to entice more customers to don boots and skis.

Destination reviews include the logistics of skiing Espace Killy using Tignes as a base rather than Val d’Isere, staying in a chalet to overcome La Plagne’s ten-villages dispersal issue, and Europe’s best kept ski secret the Sierra Nevada, the southernmost and sunniest ski resort,

There is an update on Asia’s destinations with the addition of 100,000 extra seats through middle Eastern hubs Abu Dhabi and Dubai this winter. With Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai already on the tourism map Eoghan Corry went to check out the third Chiang, the untouristed Chiang Khan and the Loei region in north eastern Thailand on the banks of the mystical Mekong, as well as the hidden historic quarter of Bangkok, 4km away from the familiar shopping and nightlife areas but it might be on another planet.2014-08-04 13.00.07

Ida Milne writes about her walking trip to La Chaise Dieu in the south of France, compares it her experience in Wicklow and reflects on the growth of organised walking (there are 190 walking clubs in Ireland and 168 walking festivals in 22 counties). Travel Extra went on the trail of two of the most influential Irish writers of the 20th century, the east Belfast homeland of CS Lewis and South Derry landscapes that inspired Seamus Heaney. We look at the worrying trend towards imposing more tourism taxes by cash-strapped governments, Aer Lingus business class changes for next winter and Ryanair’s family proposition, we review Emirates business class service which includes chauffeur pick-up and drop-off, the results of the latest air traffic rights report, recent hotel sales, the plans for a combined technology and aviation workshop day in Citywest next April, and a comprehensive guide to Royal Caribbean’s game-change cruise ship Quantum of the Seas which will host the Irish travel trade conference on its inaugural cruise out of Southampton on October 31.

eoghan corry anthony padeira

Restoring the direct flight from Dublin to Madeira is a priority for the new Director of Portuguese Tourism in Ireland Antonio Padeira (listen here). In conversation with Travel Extra he said his priority is to grow the market to Portugal in the shoulder season (listen here), concentrating initially on the Algarve (listen here) through promotion of couples breaks, walking and cycle trails (listen here) and eventually boosting winter tourism with more flight access either direct to Faro (listen here) or through Lisbon using coach and hired car product (listen here). He said he was aware of pricing issues in golf tourism in Portugal (listen here) but was confident of keeping its position as a quality golf destination. He said that Alentejo will never be mass market destination but would attract a different kind of tourist (listen here), outlined developments in Lisbon (listen here) such as the new coach museum (listen here), its Arco Triunfal da Rua Augusta (listen here), the waterfront and beach with recreated caravels (listen here), walking product (listen here), events (listen here), open air theatre (listen here) and citybreak potential. He nominated Odeceixe as probably the best beach in the world (listen here). He also detailed marketing plans for Oporto (listen here) and the Azores (listen here), which he conceded would never be a premier destination from Ireland, despite the fact Sunway ran two successful seasons to the islands with direct flights. He talked about innovative product such as the new cork hotel and Stargazing and Vineyard Hotels (listen here). Antonio came to the job after heading up the Portugal tourism marketing department (listen here).

Seamus Breslin_4763Travel Extra called to see some of those hotels which are near Bus Éireann stops taking in two of the most interesting Ballycotton Bay View Hotel (website here) and Lawlor’s Hotel Dungarvan (website here) on the food coast tail of the WAW beyond Kinsale Wannabe Wild Atlantic Way. The mackerel were leaping from the water when we passed and the food in Bay View (GM Seamus Breslin is pictured) was worth the bus journey. Bus Éireann recently put free Wi-Fi on all their coaches, and with 30 new modern coaches on order they are marketing itself as a tourist experience, led by the Gobus partnership coaches that ply their trade between the big cities, complete with power supply that prevent tablets, phones and laptops from dying. Sometimes it was hot and crowded, but many of the 8.3m tourists who will arrive on the island this year heading for the coastline, the potential is there to do something interesting with the schedules.

conor-kilkeeTravel Extra’s Conor McMahon (pictured) is visiting three Eden sites this weekend with Ellie McMahon (no relation). First stop: Loop Head Peninsula and Kilkee (2010 Aquatic Tourism winner). Conor and Ellie stayed in The Old School B&B in Cross with Ian & Teresa Glendinning. They enjoyed the views of the Atlantic from Loop Head Lighthouse and the Bridges of Ross before popping in to have a chat and coffee & cake with Ailish and Liz of Kilbaha Gallery and Café (which opened eight weeks ago and is doing a roaring trade by all accounts). Ailish and Liz are just putting the finishing touches to the Henry Blake Heritage Centre, a mini-exhibition dedicated to Kilbaha’s most famous story teller and master craftsman. Conor and Ellie ate in The Long Dock in Carrigaholt. You can cook your own catch in The Long Dock when Seafood in September festival kicks off next Friday (Sept 19-21): those who take part in the evening mackerel trip with fishandstay.com’s Luke Aston (€25) are invited to bring their own catch to the restaurant have it cooked with a choice of sides for €10. More info here. Conor and Ellie took Laura Foley’s Victorian walk of Kilkee before being treated to a relaxing seaweed bath in Kilkee Thalassotherapy Centre. After exfoliating like they have never exfoliated before, the two had lunch and coffee & cake in The Pantry café and bakery run by Imelda and Pat Bourke. Imelda is running baking and cookery classes throughout October and November from €60. See here for more. Next stop on the Eden trip is Clonakilty District (2007 winner for Tourism & Rural Destinations). The couple are staying in Celtic Ross Hotel and dined in An Súgán last night – the fresh Union Hall hake was much needed after the long drive from Tarbert. They will be taking a lesson with Inchydoney Surf School and walking the Long Strand with Michael O’Neill today. The last stop is Sheep’s Head on Monday (2009 winner for Tourism & Protected Areas) where they will take a half-day sailing with Carbery Sailing.

Travel Tradebeatrice speaks

IMG_4459Having gone double daily this year Etihad’s sponsorship of the hurling championship has also gone double. For the third year in a row, their entertainment budget for the All Ireland final in Croke Park has to stretch to a replay. What are the odds of three replays in a row? 1573/1 according to Paddy Power. Aubrey Tiedt,  Etihad’s Dublin-born Abu Dhabi-based vice president of Etihad’s guest services, was home for the occasion and talked about the suites in the sky and upgrades to other Etihad products (listen here), Ireland manager Beatrice Cosgrove (pictured above, listen here), talked about the new double daily services and the relationship with the GAA, GAA President Liam O’Neill tara kelly joe tully(listen here) detailed the role of Etihad’s sponsorship in enhancing the global reach of the GAA, and guest speaker Alan Quinlan talked about how, having dreamed of playing hurling in Croke Park as a youngster in Tipperary, he eventually got to play there for the Irish rugby team and it did not end well (listen here). Picture shows Etihad cabin crew Prenisha Naidoo, Rebecca Young, and Alma McCabe with Barry Barker of Dublin Airport Authority at the match. See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.

kuala lumpur group

Etihad’s full forward line of Irish-born managers were home from abroad, slitters in hand; Kerry born Tara Kelly was here from the Seychelles (pictured with Joe Tully of Tully Travel). Dave Walsh had a group of corporate customers from Kuala Lumpur (he is pictured with  Juane Jones, Jo English and Karen Morgan).  He says overall air ticket sales have not been adversely affected by Malaysia Airlines’ twin tragedies. Etihad has become a bit of a mini-shamrock airline, with Alan Glover in Melbourne and Fiona Lawless having one of the largest agency sales parishes on the planet: each week she oils the chain of her bicycle and sets out from Brisbane to Cairns and Port Douglas, a distance of 1,700km. Will Beatrice’s ever get Etihad CEO James Hogan over for the replay? A former Essendon AFL player, he has Tipperary ancestry but has never been to the final.

The travel trade is reporting a very good month in August, well ahead of last year’s deflated figures. Advance sales for summer 2015 are running well ahead of last year, with most agencies reporting figures of around30pc and one online agency, Clickandgo, saying advance bookings are ahead by 300pc.

The ITAA skillnets programme is asking agencies to supply them with their best estimate of what training their organisation hopes to participate in over the coming year.

agents in New yorkPicture shows prize winners from the Irish Travel Trade and their hosts on a FAM to New York City headed by Teresa Murphy of Delta Air Lines and Reginald Charlot of NYC & Company: Janet Cahill of O’Leary Travel, Denise Reid of Roscrea Travel, Kay Cunningham of Corrib Travel, Caitriona Dempsey of Dempsey Travel, Miriam Gannon of Gannon Travel, Teresa Murphy of AF/DL/KL, Ciara Mooney of Freedom Travel, Rachel Dempsey and Audrey Headon of both WTC, and Lisa Cusack of Midlands Travel. The competition was organised by WTC, in conjunction with Delta Air Lines and NYC & Company. The participants stayed in the Wellington Hotel, went sightseeing on Big Bus Tour (choosing the Downtown loop), visited some of New York’s MoMA, Top of the Rock Observation Deck, The Empire State Building, Discovery Times Square and a show Blue Man Group. They dined in Lanagan’s, Carmine’s, Hurley’s and Fogo de Chao, shopped at The Shops at Columbus Circle and cooled off in the Minus 5 Ice Bar, in the Hilton New York, sporting parker coats and gloves, while sipping cocktails from a sold ice glass.

  • British Airways launched a trade competition to celebrate the move to Heathrow T5: Win six tickets to see One Republic at Dublin’s 3Arena on October 19. Prize included access to the Audi Club, centre stage seating, private entrance and complimentary car parking. To enter, make a booking through your GDS before September 27 for travel after October 26 on any BA flight and email your entry. Winner will be announced on September 29. BA is also offering upgrades to First one-way (inbound or outbound) for customers booked on eligible Club World flights from September 4. Semi-flexible flights D or R class are available to book until October 1 and semi flexible C class or fully flexible J class can be booked until December 12. Travel by December 31, inbound travel by January 7, 2015. See here for more.
  • The ITAA says customers have reported having difficulties at airports in reading codeshare flight information when the codeshare has not been flagged for them. Whilst travel agents in Ireland do not have quite the same exposure that travel agents in the US have for failing to provide information in relation to Code Shares, the provision of information in relation to Code Shares seems to becoming a greater issue for clients than was previously the case. Members should use best endeavours to advise clients that the flight that they are booking operates as a Code Share and are informed of the names of the carriers who operate the Code Share.
  • The venue for the 2015 Topflight Today FM Ski Trip with the Ian Dempsey Breakfast Show will be Bad Hofgastein on January 24 (see website).
  • john cassidy tony collinsJohn Cassidy and Tony Collins (pictured) were first and second at the Virgin Atlantic  golf day at Druids Glen hosted by Holly Best of Virgin Atlantic.
  • World Travel Market 2014 is inviting WTM Buyers’ Club members to register for the WTM Speed Networking programme and the new WTM Bloggers Speed Networking session.Suzanne Sheldon-Browne joined Blue Insurances as Britain Business Development Executive
  • Travelport Enett, headed by Brian Staunton, is hosting Redefining Travel Payments webinars on Tuesday Sept 30 10.00am – 10.45am and 2.00pm – 2.45pm. Click here to register.
  • The ITAA has launched a new Redress Scheme which will be administered by CEDR Ireland.
  • moncef awardPicture shows Moncef Battikh and Deputy Director Mounira Derbel-Ben Cherifa of the Tunisian National Tourist Office in London, which was awarded the Best London based Tourist Office at a Gala Dinner which at the Landmark hotel in London.
  • French rail operater Voyages-sncf is offering agents the chance to win €100 of Love2Shop vouchers.
  • Hertz and Live Nation Entertainment are offering Ticketmaster Ticket Cash when renting a Hertz vehicle.
  • Travel Department’s Christmas and New Year offers are now online: 7 nights in Montecatini from €899 for Christmas or from €999 for New Year, depart December 22 and 29; 7 nights in Lake Garda from €869 for Christmas or from €799 for New Year, depart December 23 and 30; 7 nights in The Algarve from €679 for Christmas or New Year, depart December 23 and 30; 5 nights in Feichten, Austria, from €999, depart December 22; 7 nights in the Costa Brava from €799, depart December 22; 7 nights in Antequera, Spain, from €799 for Christmas or New Year, depart December 22 and 29.
  • Celtic Horizon Tours is offering Christmas shopping packages to Manchester. 3-day packages incl. ferry & coach, two nights B&B from €159pps; departure dates November 14, 21, 28. Packages to Birmingham from €199pps.
  • Clickandgo.com is offering chartered trips from Dublin to Tromsø, Norway, to see the Northern Lights on board Hurtigruten’s MS Finnmarken for 4 nights and 5 days from €995pp (incl. flights, transfers, 3-day half-board voyage, one-night B&B), depart February 16, 2015.
  • Falcon is offering 7 nights self-catering to Algarve, Janelas Do Mar, Montechoro from €239pp, depart Dublin on September 28 and 7 nights self-catering to Algarve, Alvorferias Club, Alvor from €249pp for two sharing, depart October 5.
  • Thomson is offering 7 nights all-inclusive couples’ trip to Ibiza, Fiesta Don Carlos, Santa Eulalia from €859pp, depart Dublin on May 27,2015, and 7 nights half board couple’s trip to Lanzarote, H10 Timanfaya Palace, Playa Blanca from €679pp, depart Dublin on November 9.
  • Project Travel is offering trips to northern Norway to see the Northern Lights. Land-based deals start at €745pp. Hurtigruten coastal voyages are also available, ranging from the Arctic Highlights 3-day mini cruise (from €1,595 per person sharing, travel between November 2014 and March 2015) to the full board Class Round Voyage 12-day cruise (from €935 pps if booked before Oct 31, depart Dublin Feb 16-20, 2015).
  • Travelport worldwide limited announced the launch of their initial public offering. The estimated price range for the initial public offering is $14 to $16 per common share.
  • The ITAA is setting up panel to monitor illegal trading that will report back to the Commission of Aviation Regulation.
  • A refund of the IATA trust is expected in October.pat dawson alan lynch crop
  • Alan Lynch’s Citiescapes has joined the ITAA. Picture shows Pat Dawson CEO of the ITAA with Alan Lynch.
  • Agents and holiday makers who would like to receive alerts directly from DFA can register to receive tweets by clicking on the link www.dfa.ie/travel/.
  • Pat Dawson CEO of the ITAA will be representing the irish travel trade at the funeral of Martha, the wife of Gonzalo Ceballos, Director of the Dublin Office of the Spanish Tourist Board, who sadly passed away last week.
  • ITAA’s over 50s offers this week: 7 nights half board in Astoria Hotel, Lake Maggiore, Switzerland, from €1,109pp, depart October 14; 7 nights B&B in Sana Sesimbra Hotel, Portugal, from €449pp, travel October 2014; and 2 nights at Birmingham Craft Show from €211pp, depart November 7.
  • Travel Indochina launched a new preview brochure.

Hotels

Dalata group bought the three-star Tower Hotel in Derry for €5.5m. The hotel will be re-branded under the Maldron label. Pat McCann of Dalata told Gavin McLoughlin the group intends to buy a further 20 to 25 Irish hotels over the next three years. Group sales are up 31pc for the first half of 2014.powercourt national geographic

Powerscourt celebrated their third place award from Naiontal Geographic in their list of the world’s top ten gardens. Picture shows Sara Waldburg, Marketing Manager of Houses, Castles and Gardens, Aoife O’Driscoll Marketing Manager of Powerscourt Estate, Ruth Andrews CEO of the inbound Irish Tour Operators Association and Eoghan O’Mara-Walsh of O’ Mara Consultancy.

Sapphire Falls Rendering_1Universal Orlando announced a new hotel, the destination’s fifth. The 1,000-room Sapphire Falls (pictured), including 77 suites, will bring the number of on-site hotel rooms at Universal Orlando to 5,200.

  • The nominees for best international hotel at the European Hospitality Awards to be held in London on Nov 7 are Waldorf Astoria, JW Marriott Seoul: Grace Cafayate in Argentina, and the W Bangkok.
  • Trivago.ie posted the ten cheapest last-minute luxury destinations for autumn, based on average prices for four- and five-star hotels.
  • Globe Hotels is offering last-minute stays for 7 nights half-board at Chandris Resort Dassia Corfu from €125 per person sharing, travel Sept 26. Call 01-2569529 or email to book.
  • Marriott said it plans to expand its global portfolio by 1,300 new hotels by 2017.
  • The defunct London Trocadero arcade and shopping centre on Piccadilly Circus is to be developed into a 583-room Ibis hotel by French group Accor. Ibis Styles Piccadilly Circus is expected to open in 2017.
  • Tenerife’s adult-only Colon Guanahani reopened after a €3.5m refurbishment.
  • Guaranteed Irish. 30th Anniversary Celebration Lunch. Herbert PaPicture shows Tom Rea Executive Director of Guaranteed Irish, Taoiseach Enda Kenny, Frank O’Boyle of Guaranteed Irish and Ewan Plenderleith GM of the Herbert Park Hotel at the Guaranteed Irish 30th Anniversary Celebration Lunch in the Herbert Park Hotel.
  • Trivago.ie is hosting a free webinar for hoteliers on the importance of images in your online profile on Tuesday Sept 16 at 15:00: How images influence the traveller’s decision. Sign up here.

International

The newly revised 20th anniversary edition of Where to Ski and Snowboard 2015, was launched b by NortonWood Publishing, and is available online at a discounted price . Editors Chris Gill and Dave Watts say Kitzbuhel, Tignes-le-Lac, Val Gardena and Verbier are the most improved in their regions.

  • CSO Q2 figures show the biggest growth in outbound travel from Ireland for five years: trips were up 2.2pc to 1.79m; expenditure overseas up 7pc to €1.17bn; and the average trip lengthened from 7.3 nights to 7.4.
  • SkiWelt say a newly created slope gives the Westnderf-Soll ski region 280 interconnecting kilometres of ski runs, 85pc of which will have snowmaking facilities.
  • Amnesty International criticised Thailand’s military government for outlawing minor forms of dissent like eating a sandwich in public (once a symbol of peaceful protest) or reading George Orwell’s dystopian novel Ninteen Eighty-Four.
  • So-called armchair tourists can now “visit” the pyramids of Giza in Egypt thanks to new Google Street View images.
  • A holidaymaker in France was killed and another seriously injured after a bomb exploded on an island off the coast of Brittany. Early reports suggested that an unexploded bomb dating back from World War II had washed ashore and detonated on the beach. Police found a metal object believed to be a piece of ammunition from WWII.
  • English car rental trade-only specialist Flexible Car Hire rebranded itself as Flexible Autos.
  • The seventh Legoland will open in Dubai as part of the Dubai Parks and Resorts complex, the first phase of which is due to be completed by 2016. The project is part of a broader push to ramp up Dubai’s hotel and tourism offerings ahead of the 2020 World Expo.
  • Bicycling Magazine listed its top ten cities for cycling in the US: 1 New York, 2 Chicago, 3 Minneapolis, 4 Portland, 5 Washington DC, 6 Boulder, 7 San Francisco, 8 Seattle, 9 Fort Collins, 10 Cambridge.
  • Australia’s terror threat level was raised from medium to high for the first time since the threat level system was introduced in 2003. Visitors can expect tighter security at airports, ports, military bases, government buildings and large public events.
  • Tunisia confirmed that it will introduce a departure tax of 30 dinars per person from October 1. The tax must be paid in cash by all departing passengers and can be paid at the airport, port or local tax office. The charge applies to infant, children and cruise passengers as well. No information on Come To Tunisia’s website yet.
  • Visit Scotland is asking visitors and potential visitors to take a survey. Those who take the survey will be entered into a draw to win one of five luxury hampers. Click here to enter.
  • Skål World Congress opened in Mexico City
  • PATA is to become the premier media partner with BBC Global News.

Food & Wine

  • The National Organic Food Fair takes place at Marlay Park today (Sept 14) from 10.30am to 4.30pm. Admission is free. Clodagh McKenna will host cookery demos at 12.30pm and 2pm.
  • The inaugural Dublin Coffee & Tea Festival took place in the RDS this weekend. The event closes today.
  • USA Today reported water harmonisation is the trend in Milan as more restaurants introduced water and wine pairings.
  • New Zealand will host a number of food festivals over the coming months: Food and Wine Classic summer series, Hawkes Bay, October 31-November 9; Gisborne Wine and Food Festival, October 25-26; Taste of Auckland, November 13-16; Hokitika Wildfoods Festival, March 14, 2015; Bluff Oyster Festival, May 23, 2015; Welly On A Plate, August 2015, date TBC; and Whitianga Scallop Festival, Coromandel, September 2015, date TBC.
  • Lonely Planet posted a gourmet tour of Ireland. Restaurants in Dublin, Cork, Galway and Belfast feature, along with a host of food festivals, farmers markets and distilleries.
  • Longueville House in Cork will run a mushroom hunt with mycology expert Maria Cullen on Sundays from September 21 to October 5. Meanwhile, Bill O’Dea, another mushroom expert, will host a mushroom hunt at Killruddery, Co Wicklow on October 5 and a mushroom weekend in the Park Hotel, Kenmare on October 17-19. See mushroomstuff.com for more.
  • The first sod of the €25m Walsh Whiskey Distillery and Visitor Centre at Royal Oak, Co Carlow was turned this week. The distillery is expected to produce 6m bottles a year and will create over 55 jobs.

Aviation

guiomard copyThe Commission for Aviation Regulation Cathal Guiomard indicated in a draft report that it wants to cut airport charges by 22pc over five years. DAA responded with its most strident statement to date on the issue, claiming the reductions would affect mandatory investments in new security screening equipment needed to comply with new European regulations and criticising the regulator’s failure to allow essential investments aimed at improving facilities at Terminal 1, growing transfer passenger numbers, expanding the use of the main runway, and delivering additional aircraft parking areas, which affected directly the Government’s emerging National Aviation Policy, which supports the development of Dublin Airport as a secondary hub,

deirdre cluneDespite a news report that negotiations are at an advanced stage to re-introduce the Cork-Dublin flight from the Spring of 2015 (according to Fine Gael’s Deirdre Clune), Aer Lingus Regional say there is a long way to go on this: All we committed to was to meet with the business community in Cork to assess if there’s sufficient demand for purely a connecting service to the US for next Summer. We’ll run the numbers over the next two months and see where it goes. Aer Lingus Regional confirmed it is axing its Shannon-Manchester service on October 27 in the face of competition from Ryanair.

  • British Airways flights to Heathrow from Dublin will be arriving into Terminal 5 from Oct 26, moving from Terminal 1.
  • Aer Lingus Regional carried 143,943 passengers in August, up 19pc on August 2013. Simon Fagan, chief commercial officer of Stobart Air, credits the growth to British passengers transferring to Aer Lingus’s transatlantic services from Shannon and Dublin, and the return of the English Premier League.
  • Finnair announced a 6w seasonal Dublin-Helsinki service (every day except Tuesday) from March 30 to be operated by Flybe with 100-seat Embraer190 to feed Asia connections. The airline, which is part of the Oneworld alliance, withdrew its previous Dublin – Helsinki service in 2005.  Flybe also signed a codeshare agreement with Finnair. Flybe signed a codeshare with Finnair, which will take effect on Sept 15. Finnair and Finavia will host ‘A Match made in HEL’ skateboarding event at Helsinki Airport on October 12 and 13. Finnish pro skateboarder Arto Saari will hold the Arto Saari Invitational where Asian and European skaters will exhibit their skills at a pop-up skate park on the airport grounds.
  • bardrabungaThe sulphur cloud from Bárðarbunga passed over Ireland causing some dramatic readings in Ennis and Dublin. The caldera has subsided by 20 meters and fears linger of a major eruption. Watch this video of the Holuhraun eruption from mbl.is. The Icelandic broadcaster RUV describes it as “like breathing from the exhaust pipe.
  • Aer Lingus described as “premature” speculation that the will add a fourth daily rotation from Belfast City to Heathrow, as well as services to Manchester and Birmingham; an extra daily flight to Gatwick, and further direct services to Europe. Availability of slots is an issue and there is a long way to go on this.
  • Dublin Airport launched a one-stop shop allowing passengers to pre-book book services such as fast track security (€5.95), lounge access, concierge assistance (€39.95) and car parks online from a single point.
  • Etihad - Abu Dhabi Arrivals Lounge - PHOTOEtihad opened an Arrivals Lounge in Abu Dhabi Airport (pictured) located immediately after Customs in Terminals 1 and 3.
  • Dubin Airport’s passenger survey indicated 51pc of airport users are female, 14pc are under 24, 54pc are 25 to 49 and 32pc are fifty plus, the distribution is Dublin 45pc, Leinster 24pc, Connacht 15pc, Munster 9pc, Ulster 7pc, while 38pc are traveling on holiday, 19pc on business and 43pc for other purposes,
  • On the week Michael O’Leary wore Thomas Earls’ shirt Seattle Seahawks fans were granted early boarding on Alaska Airlines.
  • United Airlines took delivery of its first 787-9 Dreamliner.
  • British Airways is to refresh its Boeing 747s with an enhanced inflight entertainment system doubling the choice of TV programmes and films.
  • SAS moved to Heathrow Terminal 2 this week. The next T2 move will be by Singapore Airlines on Wednesday (Sept 17).
  • Ryanair ranks fifth among the world’s airlines for ancillary revenue generation according to Jay Sorensen’s IdeaWorks Car Trawler Yearbook of Ancillary Revenue which said the passenger spend rose to $16 over and above the ticket price in 2013.
  • Boeing claimed that the documentary by Will Jordan of Al Jazeera (watch here) on the 787 gave a false impression of Boeing South Carolina and the quality of work performed there. The manufacturer claimed the documentary appears to have ignored the factual information provided by Boeing and instead based the majority of its reporting on unnamed sources pursuing their own agendas and a disgruntled former employee engaged in a legal dispute with Boeing. 
  • Air Canada is highlighting their Cuba Air Canada mainline flights to Havana, Varadero, Sana Clara and Holguin with easy connections through Toronto form the Air canda Rouge daily Dublin service.
  • pr87406_[2]_059 copyPicture shows DAA CEO Kevin Toland with delegates from Oman Airports Management Company attending the aviation academy at Dublin airport with the training arm of DAA. In total 100 OAMC will travel to Dublin for training over the next 18 months.
  • Chief Executive of Dubai Airports Paul Griffiths says the first phase of the Dubai plan to build the world’s biggest airport will be complete by 2020. Al Maktoum International say the $32bn expansion plan for the city’s second airport. Backers of the airport will enable it to handle 200m passengers per year. The first phase of expansion will see a runway and 120m passenger terminal with capacity for 100 A380 double-deckers at any given time.
  • Travelport renewed its full content agreement with Alitalia.
  • Quickpark.ie extended its free admission with every receipt to selected dog tracks until Dec 31. Participating venues: Shelbourne Park, Harold’s Cross, Waterford, Cork, Tralee, Limerick, Galway, Mullingar and Newbridge.
  • Travelport announced the launch of its initial public offering, which is expected to be priced at $14-$16 per share, valuing the company at $1.9bn at the top end of the range. At expected pricing, IPO will raise up to $480m, the company said.
  • Connect announced that the 12th International Aviation Forum will take place in Killarney from June 3 to 5, 2015. The event will be hosted by Destination Kerry and Kerry Airport. Over 400 aviation professionals are expected to attend.
  • Richard Branson said that the first Virgin Galactic space flights are hoped to launch early next year, rather than at the end of 2014 as previously predicted.
  • Aer Lingus was named the ‘Fastest Airline in the World’ after beating off other airlines, airports and aviation companies in a race down Budapest Airport’s Runway 13R-31L as part of the annual charity bud:runway run race. View a photo slideshow of the event here.
  • The King came out on top as Irish passengers’ most ideal travelling companion, according to a survey by London City Airport. 20pc of the 500 Irish respondents said they would most like to sit beside Elvis on a flight. The top ten: 1 Elvis (20pc), 2 Barack Obama (12.5pc), 3 Nelson Mandela (12.5pc), 4 George Clooney (12.5pc), 5 Albert Einstein (11pc), 6 Brad Pitt (10pc) 7, Johnny Depp (9pc), 8 Princess Diana (8.5pc), 9 Marilyn Monroe (8pc), 10 Stephen Fry (8pc). Evidently, the Irish like to keep company with the dead. Oddly the survey also found that a person with strong body odour is the most undesirable passenger to sit beside (53pc of respondents), which doesn’t sit well with the fact that half the top ten celebrities are dead. Meanwhile 20pc of Irish passengers rated a child kicking their seat as their top pet hate on flights. Other findings: 37pc would like sleeping pods made available at airports, 2pc would like to see a gym at an airport, 50pc won’t travel without their smartphone, 40pc won’t travel without painkillers, 5.4pc do not like strangers trying to make conversation.
  • American Airlines load factor for August was 84.6pc, down 0.9pc on August 2013, capacity was 23.7bn (up 1.1pc), revenue passenger miles flat at 20bn.
  • Air France-KLM is to invest €1bn in its low cost subsidiary Transavia. CEO Alexandre de Juniac said up to 250 new pilot jobs will be created by 2019 and Transavia’s fleet will grow by over 100 aircraft.
  • Dubai International Airports predicted 45 aircraft arrivals an hour by 2016, up from 33.
  • Aer Lingus Regional will add extra seats for the Ryder Cup, the Scotland v Ireland Euro 2016 Qualifier and next year’s Six Nations fixtures.
  • Qatar Airways will introduce non-stop flights on the Doha-Phuket route on October 26.
  • The Dutch Safety Board interim report on the MH17 tragedy conluded: “The pattern of damage to the aircraft fuselage and the cockpit is consistent with that which may be expected from a large number of high-energy objects that penetrated the aircraft from outside.” The final report due to be published before July 2015.
  • Booking is still open for ERA General Assembly in Barcelona Sept 30-Oct 2.
  • Latvian airline airBaltic has concluded a code-share agreement with British Airways.
  • Happybags launched the Allrounder series, what they call their most stylish yet, 40cm x 55cm x 25cm, holds 15kgs in weight and 49 litres in volume, considered suitable as hand luggage on most airlines. As well as the stowaway pull handle it has webbing carry handles and a separate shoe compartment at the bottom of the case. In addition to the shoe pocket the interior boasts four pockets in addition to the main compartment and an outside pocket.
  • 200211576-001Michael O’Leary proposed switching Ryanair’s current “garish” yellow interior for a softer, more golden colour with pictures of smiley people. Perhaps “cuddly Michael” is the inspiration for the new look?
  • DFW airport launched its new app.
  • American Airlines is to use electronic flight attendant manuals.
  • Aer Lingus CEO Christoph Mueller said: Michael O’Leary is without any doubt one of the best airline executives in the last 100 years of aviation.
  • Air France-KLM is to invest €1bn in its low cost subsidiary Transavia. CEO Alexandre de Juniac said up to 250 new pilot jobs will be created by 2019 and Transavia’s fleet will grow by over 100 aircraft.

Afloat

Irish Ferries Haven HolidaysStena Line: Adults travel and stay with Stena Line from €85* per night and KIDS GO FREE

  • Norwegian Cruise Line introduced All-Inclusive Packages.
  • Irish Ferries is offering Haven Holiday 2015 bookings for 2014 prices. A €50 deposit secures accommodation. Offer closes Oct 31.
  • Celebrity Cruises is offering instant onboard credit of up to $500 on bookings made at sea: agents benefit too with full credit and commission from the booking
  • Hurtigruten announced a Northern Lights promise, If the lights are not visible from your ship, we will arrange another voyage for free. Flights are not included. Flight and transfer packages start from £600 per person from Dublin or £660 from Belfast.

Ireland

The Northern Lights could be seen overnight and again tonight (Sunday) in many parts of the country, after an explosion on the Sun occurred at 6.45pm on Wednesday and sent a cloud of radiation hurtling directly towards Earth at an unusually high speed.

  • Some surprises from the CSO Q2 figures: the average visit to Ireland is getting longer, up from 7.0 nights to 7.1. We have lost two days in the duration of inbound visits in the past decade as short breaks became more frequent. This reflects disproportionate growth in the American and Canadian markets. The industry had much to celebrate, trips up 12.3pc to 2.13m; earnings up 18pc to €1.3bn, England up 15.2pc, Mainland Europe up 9.4pc, North Americans up 12.8pc and long haul up 10.9pc, holiday visitors up 8.0pc, business visits up 11.2pc and VFR up 26.2pc, overseas nights up 13.4pc; holiday nights up 4.8pc, business nights up 11.3pc, and VFR nights up 30.9pc. January-June holidaymakers were up 7pc, England up 13pc and North America up 9pc.
  • Wednesday sees Fáilte Ireland host the first in a series of workshops to connect Irish tourism partners with 140 international tour operators. Canadian tour operators will be hosted in the Clontarf Castle Hotel this week, followed by British Coach and Group Tour Operators Workshop (September 22); a New and Emerging Markets Workshop (October 16) and an American Expo (October 21). Famils for international buyers in coming weeks include the Fab Food and Le Cool Walking Trails, Experience Gaelic Games, a tasting session at Skelligs Chocolate Company, at the 1m visitor attraction at the Cliffs of Moher, Foynes Flying Boat Museum and Kenmare Seafari Cruises.
  • Tourism Ireland launched its €11m promotional campaign to boost late season travel in England, North America, mainland Europe and Australia and Developing Markets, highlighting festivals and events around the island.
  • Ierland evenementPicture shows Karen van der Horst of Tourism Ireland, David Cleary of Manor House Hotels, Carmel Flynn of Parknasilla and Finola O’Mahony of Tourism Ireland, at the Ireland and Britain B2B workshop 2014, in Amsterdam attended by 40 Dutch tour operators
  • Fáilte Ireland released a shortlist of six of Ireland’s Best Tourism Small Towns: Ardmore, Carrick on Shannon, Glengarriff, Kinsale Lismore, Portmagee and four large towns Cobh, Killarney, Kilkenny Westport.
  • Australia tour operator Trafalgar is offering seven new itineraries featuring Ireland in 2015, making a total of 15 different Irish trips.
  • Highlights of the north’s culture night programme of over 250 free events on Sept 19 include the Exotic Fruit Orchestra, The Big Gigantic Drum Circle, local music star UNKNWN in St Anne’s Cathedral, RampRage Freestyle BMX Demonstration Belfast Roller Derby with the Belfast Banshees, and the chance to take part in a flashmob with Boys v Girls Swing.
  • NITB highlighted pet friendly hotels, restaurants and pubs that are available around the six counties: pets and their owners will enjoy a whole new leash of life.
  • Michael Cusack Centre 05 09 14 14Picture shows a group of international travel writers sampling Gaelic Games with all star hurler Podge Collins and Clare inter-county camogie player Maire McGrath at the Michael Cusack centre in Clare. The group attended the All ireland hurling final, visited a hurley makers and also had a Gaelic football clinic.
  • The Wild Atlantic Way will feature in a one-hour special called Explore Ireland on Australian travel show The Garden Gurus and will also appear in The Garden Guru Magazine. The show will air on Nine Network and GEM in Australia in January and autumn 2015. Tourism Ireland Sydney invited the TV crew to tour WAW this week. Kayaking on the Killary Fjord, golfing, a visit to Garnish Island and a baking demo at the Firehouse Bakery & Bread School are on the itinerary.
  • Launch of Lough Derg websiteMinister for Environment Alan Kelly launched discoverloughderg.ie, a website promoting the Lakelands Lough Derg region. Picture shows  Áine Mc Carthy, Tourism Marketing Coordinator for Lough Derg, Minister Kelly and Joe McGrath, chief executive of Tipperary Co Co.
  • TV channel Sky Sports was in Cobh this week to film an episode of fishing programme Tight Lines. The episode will air on Sky Sports in spring 2015 to an estimated audience of 120,000.
  • Ireland secured the hosting of the World Amateur Team Golf Championships 2018, the Espirito and Eisenhower Trophies for Ladies and Men, calculated to bring 1,200 people visitors for six nights, an estimated 7,200 bednights.
  • Titanic Belfast attracted 100,000 visitors in August and is on track for 657,000 visitors in 2014, putting its second year of operation well ahead of the projected 450,000pa when the project was being planned.
  • London City Airport included Dublin and Belfast in its recommended autumn weekend breaks options

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

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