Travel Extra’s Sunday Supplement: Why you want to be in seats 3k or 5k on Aer Lingus

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Zebra face close up

Zebra ready for her close up. Serengeti. See more pictures.

The headlines this week:

*Aer Lingus brings out the dry ice for big Business Class launch

*Spain tops France, Germany, Portugal and Italy — combined

*Dublin Airport set for busiest winter in six years

*Cliffs of Moher officially hits the million mark

Travel Extra TV

video-waterfallOur video of the week is by photographer Rod Kirkpatrick. Rod captured strong winds blowing the 80-foot Kinder Downfall waterfall back up a cliff in Derbyshire, England. The 110kmph winds from the tail of Hurricane Gonzalo literally stopped the waterfall from falling. Watch here.

  • The Adventure Travel Association uploaded footage this week from the 2014 Adventure Travel World Summit in Killarney. During the conference, 700 adventure travel professionals experienced Ireland’s scenery and took part in a host of activities including cycling, kayaking, surfing and bog diving. Watch here.
  • Marie Slattery of Shannon Airport featured on Golfing Country’s YouTube channel. Golfing Country visited Shannon and Limerick to experience the half-way point of the Wild Atlantic Way. Watch here.
  • Air New Zealand celebrated the release of the third part in The Hobbit Trilogy by releasing “The Most Epic Safety Video Ever Made”. See for yourself: watch here. So far, the video has racked up more than 5m views. The airline also uploaded an interactive promo video for its new B787-9 Dreamliner. Watch here.
  • Isn’t it ironic? Footage of Fox News anchor Shep Smith condoning irresponsible reporting of the Ebola virus went viral this week (no pun intended). Racking up more than 2m YouTube views, Smith tells viewers not to listen to the “hysterical voices on the television” talking about an Ebola outbreak in the West. “There is no Ebola spreading in America, Should that change, our reporting will change,” he says. Watch here.

Headlines

IMG_0070The launch of Aer Lingus Business Class over two days this week promised free Wi-Fi, bigger seats, lie flat, more storage, upgraded food, upgraded entertainment and fast track security. The product will start appearing on the JFK route in January and will be live on all aircraft by March 29 (listen here).

It was an exciting series of events, with leading corporate buyers and agents flown in from Europe for the showcase. There was a lot of dry ice (watch here) and talk of vibrant fibres and charcoal greys. “We are like children with new toys,” Farida Chikhaqui sales manager for France said. There was some hint of Aer Lingus’ latest marketing campaign: “Arrive before you depart” is the slogan for the season.

CEO Christoph Mueller presided over the first event in the Royal Hospital, Kilmainham; the first major product launch by Aer Lingus since the launch of European executive in 1996.

Videos were shown featuring the new product (watch here), highlighting the rapid growth of the Portadown company which supplied the seats, Thomson aero seating (watch here) and Botany weavers (watch here).

IMG_0055The new seats have evolved since they were first seen by Travel Extra in the Convention Centre last year and even since they were showcased at the launch of the San Francisco route in April, with a cosy laptop and tablet storage and a place for shoes. Remember the missing mobile phones? If your mobile fell behind the old Aer Lingus business class seats the seat had to be taken apart for it to be retrieved. The new seat can be slipped forward and the phone retrieved easily. Not all seats will be similar, although there are more seats in the business class cabin than originally planned, 23 in the A330-200 and 30 in the A330-300, in 2-2-1 configuration. The single throne seat will be the most coveted, especially those on the alternating 2-2-1 330 cabin, 3K and 5K.

The new Panasonic ex2 system will be available gate to gate. The film options, currently 12 in each direction, will see 50pc more new releases and 100pc more TV including box sets such as Game of Thrones.

mike-rutterMike Rutter (pictured) said the upgraded business class, based on a four room concept (listen here), will still be cheaper than competitors, starting at €899 one way (listen here).  He said that the old business class offering need to be improved (listen here) and reaction to the new San Francisco route in April showed the need for an upgraded business class (listen here).

He outlined the design principles behind the new seat (listen here), the evolution of the new business class seat (listen here), food will be comparable with the top restaurants (listen here), the workspace in the new seats will be enhanced (listen here), Overall €25m was invested in developing the business class product (listen here). A €2.5m marketing campaign will publicise the new business class product (listen here).

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Declan Kearney (pictured) outlined the four aspects of Aer Lingus new business class offering (listen here), improvements to the ground experience for business class customers (listen here), the fast track security options at Irish and US airports (listen here), aircraft deployment to suit size of the market (listen here),  the upgraded entertainment options (listen here), how 50pc of Aer Lingus passengers are now onwards connections (listen here). Aer Lingus’ geographical advantage meant they could offer shorter flights (listen here), preclearance means avoiding queues of up to three hours (listen here), and fare prices would remain 20pc to 25pc below competitors (listen here). He claimed the airline’s lower cost base would lead to lower fares in all cabins (listen here).  Digital and mobile platforms will relaunch in the new year (listen here). A new JFK lounge will open in March (listen here) and Aer Lingus is also planning an arrivals lounge (listen here). Aer Lingus now has more connections to US gateways than its competitors (listen here). What’s next? A new American route to be announced the week after next with increased frequencies, including the opportunity to take a day return flight across the Atlantic. Watch this space.

gonzalo martin skelly_00951.074m Irish tourists travelled to Spain this year – more than the combined total for France, Italy, Portugal and Germany. June and July remain the most popular months for travel but September attracted 145,000 Irish tourists, an 8.5pc increase compared to last year. The most popular destinations are the Canary Islands, Andalucía, Cataluña, Valencia and the Balearic Islands. Listen here to Gonzalo Ceballos speaking about the significance of the Spanish tourism figures and Martin Skelly’s reply on behalf of the trade: Spain works for the travel industry (listen here). Picture shows Gonzalo Ceballos, Director of the Irish office of the Spanish Tourist Board, and Marin Skelly at the Spanish Tourist Board event in the Liquor Rooms. See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.

IMG_0226Travel Extra’s sponsored golf day at the Castle, the final Travel Industry Golf Society outing of the season, produced two new champions: Tanya Airey and Tom Coade. Listen here to Pat Dawson, who was elected TIGS captain for 2015, and listen here to Eoghan Corry, editor of Travel Extra, speaking on behalf of the sponsors. Travel Extra is already planning to continue its sponsorship for an improved and upgraded final event of the TIGS calendar next year. Picture shows Pat Dawson. incoming captain of TIGS, gents winner Tom Coade, lady winner Tanya Airey of Sunway and Maureen Ledwith of Business Exhibitions who presented the prize. See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.

Lazaro Nyalandu- Eoghan CorryListen here to an interview between Eoghan Corry, editor of Travel Extra, and Tanzania’s minister for tourism Lazaro Nyalandu (pictured) who outlined his plans to boost tourism numbers to 2m by 2017. Ireland will have new one stop options to a range of Tanzanian airports as a result of the introduction of Ethiopian Airlines new direct 3w service to Addis Adaba from June 15.

Dublin airport Winter Schedule8Dublin Airport expects its busiest winter since 2008 with the addition of 19 extra routes. The airport will have 950,000 more seats available across its network, up 10pc compared to last year.

Rita Shaw from Niceville, Florida was the one millionth visitor to the Cliffs of Moher Visitor Experience in 2014.  Rita, who was on holiday with her husband Stephen, was greeted with music and champagne and was awarded a €5,000 prize return holiday to Co Clare. Visitor group frankfurt_9958numbers to the attraction were up 12pc so far this year.

Picture shows Irish trade and media group hosted by Deutsche Bahn, Aer LIngus and ATTS Railshop in Frankfurt: Gordan Pullen of GPS Travel, Catherine Grennell-Whyte of ATTS, Grainne Quinn of schooltour.ie,, Julia Vorobjova of ATTS, Paula Dolan of GTI, Jenny Twomey of Premier Travel, Ulrich Teitz of Deutsche Bahn, Gerry Benson of Travelbiz, Bernie Burke of Travel Centres, Michael Flood of ITTN and Joan Scales of The Irish Times.

Travel Trade

5 presidents_0107Picture shows five presidents of the ITAA with Gonzalo Ceballos at the Spanish Tourist Board event in the Liquor Rooms October 22, 2014: Michael Doorley (president  1982-84 and 2004-06, Pat Dawson (president 2010-2), Clare Dunne (president 2012-4), Martin Skelly (president 2014-), Gonzalo Ceballos of the Spanish Tourist Board and Gerry Benson (president 1994-6 and 1998-2000).

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Travel Department announced a partnership with Arnotts which will see the company open a travel shop at the department store on Henry Street. Travel Department will roll out its first walk-in tourist visa service in the store. Located near the wedding and luggage sections, the new store will include a browsing area for customers looking to research their holiday. Retail interior design company Dalziel + Pow designed the 300sq ft shop. It will open on Tuesday (October 28).

oasis ni travel award_0263rPicture shows Julie-Anne Vaughan from Oasis Travel who won the first ever NI Travel Consultant of the Year award at the Northern Ireland Travel and Tourism Awards in Newcastle.

Travel Professional Skillnet is hosting a two-part webinar on Online Tools with Barry Walsh. Part one takes place on Wednesday, October 29 at 9:30am-11am. Part two takes place Wednesday, November 5 at 9:30am-11am. Cost is €25 for members. Limited free spaces for job seekers are available. For more information contact fionnuala@itaa.ie. Book here.

CR-Cover-2014-coverClassic Resorts’ new 2015 Worldwide brochure is out now. Destinations with new resorts include Costa Rica, Cozumel, Los Cabos and Playa Murejes in Mexico, Caribbean cruising, USA stopovers, new villa resorts in Koh Samui and Phuket, Thailand and Elephant Hills luxury tented camp. Each section includes multi-centre options to give you some ideas to suit your clients. Booking deposit €150pp.

DoSomethingDifferent.com will launch a sister brand this month – ThemeParkBeds.com, a specialist, trade-only bedbank featuring Walt Disney World Resorts in Florida. Country Manager for the two sites, Graham Hennessy, reminds agents that they can earn a €10 One-4-All voucher per passenger on all bookings from Oct 1 to Dec 31.

Teresa Murphy, Air France KLM Delta Leisure Account Manager, hosted a tour of Paris Charles de Gaulle for a group of ten agents.

Atlas travel award1Atlas Travel will progress to the national finals of the Ulster Bank Business Achievers Awards in December after winning the Leinster provincial final at Croke Park. Picture shows the Altas team winning the Best Established SME Award.

Paul Riches of Lowcostbeds outlined his new role for the Irish trade on his first visit to Dublin in his new role (listen here). Clem Walshe outlined the continued growth of Lowcostbest (listen here). Alex Gisbert talked about the rapid expansion of Lowcost above its traditional Spanish portfolio (listen here).

CityJet Trade Partner with WorldChoice GroupDon Shearer launched the Worldchoice Communication hub to all members and trade partners. Don says: “All trade partner and member updates are constantly updated on the hub along with news items, offers, incentives, competitions, training and development initiatives, commercial status and productivity updates. I have also developed direct links within the hub providing our members with immediate access to a number of key trade partners including insurance providers, airlines, travel visa documentation, currency conversion, medical bureaus, flight aggregators, and weather links to mention a few. The Worldchoice Hub feeds all member- and trade partner consumer-driven updates and offers to the Worldchoice Consumer facing web site automatically, which again is a unique feature ensuring all web based enquiries are filtered directly to our retail members by geographic feeds.” CityJet is now a trade partner with Worldchoice, and has increased its schedule to LCY with up to nine daily flights. Picture shows Don Shearer with Carole Smith of CityJet.

The running order for ITAA’s Conference on board Royal Caribbean’s Quantum of the Seas, November 1: 9am to 9.30am – Registration. 9.30am to 10am – Conference opening by ITAA President. 10am to 10.30 am – Royal Caribbean introduction by Lisa Lutoff-Perlo. 10.35am to 11am – Speaker, Selling Luxury with Larry Larry Pimentel of Azamara. 11am to 11.15 – Coffee break. 11.15am to 12.45pm – Eoghan Corry, Travel 2020 followed by panel discussion. 12.45pm to 1.15pm – Travelport Innovation Award. 1.15pm to 1.30pm – ITAA members meeting. Panel guests: Sinead Reilly of Travelport, Ben Grenne of Arrow Tours, Declan Power of Shannon Airport, John Keogh of Aer Lingus, Mary Denton of Sunway, Mark Clifford of O’Hanrahan Travel and Maura Fahy of Fahy Travel.

Deal Watch

  • Click and Go is offering 3 night B&B packages Dublin-Rome from €239pp. Offer includes flights for travel on Dec 5 or Dec 12 with Aer Lingus and 3 nights B&B in the Prime Hotel Principe Torlonia. Call 01 6371699.
  • Thomson’s family resort offer with free Kid’s Club: 7 nights all inclusive Dublin to Puerto Pollensa, Majorca from €1,537 for two adults and one child or €2,121 for two adults and two children, depart May 2.
  • Discover Travel is offering an 8 night tour of Sri Lanka from €1,539pp incl. flights, taxes, accommodation, private vehible and an English speaking chauffeur guide.
  • Culloden Hotel, Belfast.Hastings Hotels Halloween offer: Overnight stay (with the ghost of Lady Jane Culloden) at The Culloden Estate & Spa Belfast from £135pps on October 31.
  • Falcon’s all inclusive Kid’s Club offer: 7 nights Dublin to Cala Gracio, Ibiza from €1,821 for two adults and one child or from€2,412 for two adults and two children, depart May 27.
  • Carton House Halloween package from now until Nov 2: 2 nights B&B and one evening meal in the Coach House Restaurant for €200pp or €400 for two adults and two children.
  • Natural Retreats is offering 15pc off stays between now and December 15. Offer includes a free breakfast hamper. Quote FREEGIFT1. Book on 01 685 3013 or go to ie.
  • Globe Hotels is offering 7 nights half board at Pilot Beach Resort in Crete from €254pps, depart April 18.
  • Travel Department’s Early Bird Incentive for 2015 travel: discounts available for visits to China, Italy, Iceland and European city break destinations (including Prague, Lisbon, Budapest, Cannes, and Berlin) for bookings made from October 30 to November 1.

Hotels

  • WestburyCelebratesThirtyYears4The Westbury Hotel is markings its 30th Anniversary with a €2m investment that will include a re-design of The Grafton Suite, triple-glazed windows in all 205 rooms and a new restaurant, Balfes. Picture shows Sandeep Shingh, Jo Coventry, Joseph Downing and Sally O’Neill Vincent O’Gorman, General Manager of The Westbury Hotel.
  • Four Irish hotels featured in Europe’s Top 10 Resorts selected by Condé Nast Traveler readers: Sheen Falls Lodge, Adare Manor Hotel, The K Club and Ashford
  • Shangri-La opened its first resort on mainland China, the Sanya Resort & Spa, Hainan. The 340-room resort includes recreational facilities in Haitang Bay including an Adventure Zone and Water Park, opening in November.

International

Trivago-internationalLondon was the most searched international destination for Irish holidaymakers during the midterm break, according to Trivago.ie. Unsurprisingly, city break destinations and warmer destinations in Southern Europe were most popular.

New Zealand adventure bus company Kiwi Experience celebrates 25 years in business on October 28.

  • petra-awardSupermodel and founder and chairperson of Happy Hearts Fund Petra Nemcova (pictured) will receive the World Tourism Humanitarian Award on November 3.
  • GTA launched a distribution deal with ten properties in Australia, Fiji, Mauritius and Thailand from the Outrigger Enterprises Group.
  • Ros Drinkwater GNTO Dublin Awards 16102014-8There were 248,249 Irish overnight stays in Germany from January to August, a 22.4pc increase compared to last year. August 2014 showed an increase of 39.7pc in overnight stays by Irish visitors. The German National Tourist Office held the annual German-Irish Travel Reception and Awards Event at the German Ambassador’s Residence in Donnybrook. Picture shows award winner Ros Drinkwater of Sunday Business Post.
  • The defence ministry in Sri Lanka has made it compulsory for tourists to apply for special permits to visit a former conflict zone in the north. Authorities gave no reason why it has security concerns in the region. Once the centre of the Tamil force’s struggle for autonomy, the region has been largely peaceful for the past five years and has a growing tourism market.
  • Travelport launched a new version of Smartpoint, its agency desktop technology.
  • Stat of the week: More Americans have been married to Kim Kardashian than have died from Ebola.
  • Comboios de Portugal launched the Portugal Rail Pass. It can be used on long distance, regional and urban trains. A three-day pass costs €73 (€109 for First Class). The seven-day option costs €129 (€179 for First Class). Child passes are also available and cost half the adult ticket.
  • The number of business passengers on Eurostar rail service was up 6pc in the third quarter. Overall passenger numbers was up 3pc to 2.8m.
  • Nepal’s tourism ministry attributed the high death toll of trekkers in the Himalayan snowstorm to tourists’ reluctance to spend money on a personal mountain guide.
  • Disgruntled holidaymakers swamped TripAdisor with complaints about online agency Bright Skies Travel, alleging that the agent failed to honour their bookings.
  • Footage of a racist, expletive-filled rant by a tour guide against San Francisco’s Chinatown went viral. The woman was working her last day on the job. The tour firm apologised for the incident.
  • For the second time, Western tourists are invited to enter the Pyongyang Marathon in North Korea next year.
  • The world’s first suspension bridge between two mountain peaks opened in Switzerland. The bridge, Peak Walk by Tissot, begins at View Point peak at the top of the Glacier 3000 cable car and ends at the Scex Rouge peak. The bridge is 107m long and located at an altitude of 3,000m. It is free for visitors of Glacier 3000 and will stay open year round, weather permitting.
  • The Remmus sun lounger automatically rotates to face the sun and features a water spray system to keep you cool. All yours for €35,000. See how it works.
  • The Wollfepack backpack switches from your back to front without having to take it off. The design by David Wolffe was placed on Kickstarter this week and production is hoped to begin in January if enough funds are raised. First deliveries could take place in May. See the design here
  • An Australian tourist was injured after being mauled by a tiger in Tiger Kingdom Park in Phuket, Thailand.
  • Bluesmart is a hand luggage suitcase that can sync with an app on your smartphone. It features a built-in scale indicating its weight and whether it meets your airline’s baggage requirements.
  • South Georgia Island, where Shackleton found refuge, is among the nine new locations to be mapped on Google Street View using a backpack mounted Google Trekker camera.

Food & Wine

  • The BIM Young Fishmonger 2015 competition takes place at BIM’s Seafood Development Centre in Clonakilty on November 12. The results will be announced at an awards lunch in Dublin on November 24. The five finalists are Mateusz Kowalik of Doran’s on the Pier in Howth, Gerard Collier of Fishermans Catch in Clogherhead, Stevie Connolly of Connolly’s Fish Company in Rathmines, Gary Quinn of Stephen’s Fish Market in Mullingar and Neil Turner of Caviston’s Food Emporium in Glasthule. All finalists will receive a masterclass from Martin Shanahan of Fishy Fishy in Kinsale, a set of knives, career development opportunities and a cheque for €500. The overall winner will receive a cheque for €1,000 and a study trip to France.
  • The Brown Bear restaurant in Two Mile House, Kildare celebrates its fifth birthday next month. Owners Eugene Brennan and Jean Grace are making the event with a tastingment for €35 (€55 with matching wines). It explores chef Josef Zammit’s creations through four courses. The menu will run throughout November.
  • Co-author of Sláinte: The Complete Guide to Irish Craft Beer & Cider Kristin Jensen will host a craft beer and food pairing demo with Tara Walker of The Tasty Tart Cookery School in Termonfeckin, Co Louth on November 8 at 7pm. Entry costs €45 and includes dinner with beer as well as a recipe pack and tips.

Aviation

Aer Lingus Regional commenced its service from Dublin Airport to Leeds Bradford Airport. The airline will operate two daily return flights between the two cities and hopes to carry 70,000 passengers in 2015.

LCY runway at duskLondon City Airport will see 5,000 more seats from Dublin this week when British Airways and FlyBe join Cityjet on the route.

British Airways flights from Belfast City and Dublin Airport to Heathrow move from Terminal 2 to Terminal 5 today.

Ryanair launched five routes from Kerry to Alicante, Faro, Frankfurt Hahn, Luton and Stansted for summer 2015. The summer schedule will deliver 20 weekly return flights and hopes to attract 260,000 customers.

American Airlines announced a codeshare agreement with Jetstar Japan. American Airlines Group reported a third quarter GAAP net profit of $942m.

Belfast International Airport charity2Belfast International Airport’s first charity drop off zone day took place on Saturday. This month’s chosen charity was NI Children’s Hospice.

  • Twelve Lufthansa flights to/from Dublin were cancelled on Monday and Tuesday because of pilots’ strike. The airline had to cancel a total 1,500 flights.
  • Ryanair confirmed the number of passengers travelling through Cork Airport will fall by 6pc this year.
  • Deputy chief executive of CityJet, Michael Collins, resigned from the airline.
  • Qatar Airways announced Frankfurt as the first route for the A350 Xtra Wide Body.
  • Etihad Airways - LinkedIn Global 100 Most InDemand Employers Photo EnEtihad Airways was listed on LinkedIn’s Global 100 In Demand Employers. Picture shows employees celebrating the announcement.
  • TAP Portugal completed its move to Terminal 2 at London Heathrow.
  • Aer Lingus is launching a suite of mobile apps for senior managers to approve or reject transactions from Apple and Android devices while they are on the move. They apps are due to go live in December.
  • Emirates president Tim Clark said the airline plans to increase operations in Africa by 40pc over the next ten years.
  • A $500,000 design contest was announced in a bid to upgrade JFK and LaGuardia airports in New York.
  • British Airways is investigating an incident in which armed police were called to Heathrow to calm angry passengers whose flight to New York was delayed by over ten hours due to a technical fault.
  • Hawaiian carrier Mokulele Airlines claimed its new service to Oahu airport is suffering because passengers cannot find Kalaeloa Airport.
  • Ryanair has made changes to its website after an intervention by the National Consumer Agency, stating that the airline’s sale of travel insurance was “unclear [and] ambiguous”.
  • 22 passengers and crew were injured after a Singapore Airlines flight experienced sudden turbulence during its descent into Mumbai.
  • Lufthansa said it is getting closer to an accord with Turkish Airlines to start low-cost long-haul flights to leisure destinations on SunExpress.
  • Two Aer Lingus round trips between Dublin and Heathrow had to be cancelled on Monday when the country was hit by the tail end of Hurricane Gonzalo.
  • BRIT award-winning band Rudimental performed a DJ set on board Virgin Atantic’s inaugural Dreamliner flight from London Gatwick to Atlanta. The B787 concert was streamed live online.
  • Ryanair chief marketing officer Kenny Jacobs suggested the airline may launch a holiday brand in the next five years.
  • United Airlines announced an expanded partnership with Hertz and its Dollar and Thrify rental brands. The car rental company will become United’s exclusive partner on November 1.
  • Qantas shareholders voted to award Irish-born chief executive Alan Joyce a €1.7m bonus if he can turn the company around.
  • Irish aircraft lessor Avolon ended Q3 with a total owned, managed and commited fleet of 227, up from 179. The Dublin-based company recently signed a purchase agreement for six B787-9 Dreamliners.

Afloat

  • tobacco-roadTobacco Road, Miami’s oldest bar, is closing its original location after 102 years and moving on board the Norwegian Escape which will begin sailing from Miami in November 2015.
  • Plugging the €5 day trip cruise across the Irish Sea, Stena Line is encouraging travellers to visit the Chamber of Lights (Oct 30-Nov1) or Ricardo’s Halloween Show (Oct 31) at GreenWood Forest Park, Folly Farm, or the Spooktacular festival (now until Nov 2) at Oakwood Theme Park during the midterm break.
  • Irish Ferries had to cancel the Jonathan Swift service because of strong winds on Monday. P&O Ferries also had to cancel crossings.
  • Hurtigruten extended its Northern Lights Promise to anyone booking a Classic Round Voyage before Dec 31 – if you book a 12-day voyage departing before March 31 and don’t see the Northern Lights, you get a second trip free next year.

Ireland

Tourism Ireland’s website Ireland.com won three awards at the W³ Awards in New York: Gold for the Wild Atlantic Way website design; silver for visual appeal of WAW website; and silver for St Patrick’s Day social media and online campaign.

Ireland placed fifth in Lonely Planet’s Top 10 Countries to Visit in 2015. “Ireland is stunningly scenic, its traditions – music, dance, whiskey and beer – firmly intact.” The magazine praised the Wild Atlantic Way.

The CSO’s latest figures show that 5.9m people visited Ireland between January and September, an increase of 9pc. Visitors from Britain reached almost 2.4m, 200,000 more than last year. The number of German visitors was up 16pc, Spanish up 13pc and visitors from long-haul countries was up 11pc. 1.064m visitors travelled from North America, 130,000 more than 2013.

trivago-IrelandDublin was the most-searched domestic destination for Irish holidaymakers during the midterm break, according to Trivago.ie.

The Convention Centre Dublin reported an overall profit of €15.37m for the 10-month period ending Dec 2013, an €11m increase compared to the full year to Feb 2013.

Tourism Ireland hosted a group of inbound tour operators from England this week. The group visited the Little Museum of Dublin, Glasnevin Cemetery & Museum and the Guinness Storehouse before heading West for INFLUENTIAL UK TOUR OPERATORS PAY A VISIT TO THE CLIFFSa trip to Galway City and the Cliffs of Moher. Picture shows the group with Harri Grunitz and Elizaveta Gorbunova of Tourism Ireland, and tour guide Siobhán McDonald at the Cliffs of Moher.

US Travel Writers experience a medieval banquet at Bunratty CastPicture shows American travel writers Amy Laughinghouse and Marla Cimini, Bunratty Castle entertainer Pat Doherty, travel writer Michele Shaprio, Bunratty Castle entertainer Maura Kelly, Washington based media consultant Carlyle Fairfax Smith and travel writer Ramsey Qubein outside Bunratty Castle on a press trip to the Mid-West region.

A group of Irish tourism companies joined IRELAND SAYS ‘BIENVENUE’ IN PARISTourism Ireland for a business tourism workshop at the Hôtel Napoléon in Paris. Sixty representatives from the French luxury travel and MICE sectors met the group. Picture shows  Helen Murphy, Fota Island Resort, Co Cork; David Anderson, Montalto Estate, Ballynahinch, Co Down; Caroline Phelan, Tourism Ireland; and Siobhán Butler, Adams & Butler, in Paris.

Fáilte Ireland hosted a sales blitz with US travel agents and buyers at the US Destination Expo in Dromoland Castle, Co Clare. 45 buyers attended.

MIDDLE EAST MEETS WESTA group of tour operators from the Middle East were hosted by Tourism Ireland on a visit to the island. The group’s itinerary included visits to the Chester Beatty Library, TCD, Titanic Belfast, the Burren Perfumery, the Cliffs of Moher, Bunratty Castle, the Irish National Stud and the Japanese Gardens. Picture shows Gisele Mansfieldof Kildare Village, Christina Gregory of Touirsm Island and tour guide Peter Byrn with the group at Kildare Village.

West Cork Surviving or Thriving pic1West Cork Development Partnership conference took place last week. The event, ‘West Cork: Surviving or Thriving?’, looked at trends in the tourism, agriculture, retail and science sectors. Picture shows Bernadette Power of the Department of Economics UCC, Ian Dempsey CEO West Cork  Development Partnership and Patrick Neary, Technical Director National Broadband Plan, Department of Communications, at the event.

WILLKOMMEN IN IRELAND FOR GERMAN BUSINESS TOURISM GROUPTwelve representatives from German business tourism companies visited Ireland this week as guests of Tourism Ireland and Fáilte Ireland in conjunction with Aer Lingus and Event Partners. The group’s itinerary included a networking reception, visits to a number venues and hotels including the Convention Centre Dublin, the Guinness Storehouse, Number 10 on Ormond Quay and the Marker Hotel. The group was treated to an afternoon at the Powerscourt Hotel which included a chance to play the bodhrán and a hurling lesson. They sampled a Wild Foods Master Class with Evan Doyle at the BrookLodge and Macredding Village and took part in a Fabulous Food Trail in Dublin. Picture shows the German business tourism buyers trying their hand at hurling with Richard Phelan of Dynamic Events in the groups of the Powercourt Hotel, Co Wicklow.

The Sligo Live festival continues until tomorrow (Oct 27). Highlights at the music festival include Sheryl Crow, Bell X1 and the Horslips. Bus Éireann reminds festival goers that it is running an Expressway Route 23 service from Busáras to Sligo bus station.

SELECT MTH_3036Cinemagic and Aer Lingus announced the airline’s sponsorship of the premiere screenings for Cinemagic’s new Northern Ireland feature film, A Christmas Star. Aer Lingus will support Cinemagic will its air travel during the making of the film and with their scheduled premieres. Earlier in the year, the production of the Christmas film was announced, the first to be made by Cinemagic Young Filmmakers, which gives young people across the island the chance to work with Oscar and BAFTA award winners. Picture shows Joan Burney Keatings Chief Executive of Cinemagic and Andrea Hunter, Aer Lingus Business Development Manager, NI.

The Burren and the Cliffs of Moher are listed in the Geological Society of London’s 100 Great Geosites.

IRELAND – READY TO DO BUSINESS IN LAS VEGASThirty-one reps from Irish tourism companies travelled to IMEX America in Las Vegas. Around 3,000 buyers, mostly from North America, attended the three-day event. Picture shows Paul Carnell and Niamh Burns of The Convention Centre Dublin with Billy Condon of Tourism Ireland at the event.

Visitor Attractions Taking Centre StageFáilte Ireland launched a new programme called Visitor Attraction – Management Development Programme for managers of visitor attractions in the East and South regions. Over the next six months, the group of managers will take part in six modules focusing on management and a residential in York where they will explore how attractions are helping provide positive experiences for visitors. The participants:  Kilkenny – St Canice’s Cathedral & Round Tower, Smithwicks Experience Kilkenny, Rothe House & Gardens; Waterford – Waterford Treasure, Mount Congreve Estatel; Wexford –  JF Kennedy Trust Ltd, Hook Lighthouse, Irish National Heritage Park; Cork – Cobh Heritage Centre, Camden Fort Meagher, Spike Island, CIT Blackrock Castle Observatory, Lifetime lab, Cork Butter Museum, Titanic Experience Cobh, Irish Heritage Trust; Wicklow – Powerscourt Estate, Russbourough House; Kildare – Irish National Stud; Meath – Causey Farm, OPW Bru Na Boinne & Battle of the Boyne, Tayto Park; and Dublin – OPW Rathfarnham Castle. Picture shows Justine Carey of Fáilte Ireland with Anne Lawlor of Irish National Stud.

Belfast Zoo will see the delivery of a Western lowland gorilla named Namoki from Bristol Zoo.

Family Day Out At Titanic BelfastNITB Halloween events: Banks of the Foyle Halloween Carnival, until November 3, highlights include GhostBus tours and night time markets; Into the Deep Marine Festival, Titanic Belfast, until November 2, highlights include marine survival demos and interactive marine touch tank; star gazing and dress-up at the Planetarium, October 28, 6-9pm; and fireworks displays at Seapark Fireworks, Metro Monster Mash, Halloween Howler, Hallowtides Festival and Fermanagh Fireworks Festival.

Westmeath County Council unveiled a sculpture of Irish tenor John Count McCormack, renamed a square in Athlone in his honour and opened an exhibition in Athlone Castle dedicated to the singer. Next year marks the 70th anniversary of McCormack’s death. Born in Athlone in 1884, the tenor enjoyed a successful career singing to concert halls across Ireland, Europe and the USA. When he was 21, McCormack studying under maestro Vincenzo Sabatini in Milan and at 23 he became the youngest tenor to ever sing a major role at Convent Gargen when he appeared in Cavalleria Rusticana.

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