The headlines this week:
*Botox from Westport, Falcons from Kildare: Emirates hosts the press
*Paul’s sharp CLIA presentation
*North Cyprus promises lots of scope for Irish market
*The low-down on ITAA’s two-day event
*Timelapses times four & Gorilla vs Corkonian
Travel Extra TV
Our video of the week shows a flash mob at Belfast International Airport. A dancing troupe made up of flight attendants, baggage handlers, pilots, hen partiers and the odd nun or two embraced the rhythm of the (makeshift) dance floor all in the name of Children in Need. The fun was captured by YouTube user Christopher McGarry. Watch here.
- Lots of attention on social media for the camera-shy gorilla in Berlin Zoo: Not willing to appear on film, the silverback lobbed a lump of rock at Corkonian Stefan Nolan. Watch here.
- Giles County native Ruby Holt, who turns 101 in a few weeks, was brought on an all-expenses paid holiday to the Gulf of Mexico to see a beach for the first time. “I’ve heard people talk about it and how wonderful it was and wanted to see it, but I never had the opportunity to do so,” she said. Ruby travelled 400 miles to the beach in Alabama, the furthest trip she has ever made from home. She had only left Tennessee state once before. Watch here.
- Bend and lift: A team of bystanders helped lift a mini that was carelessly parked on a Nottingham tram line. Watch here.
- Take a look at Winterval Waterford’s promo video: Watch here. The festival is open from now until December 23.
- How do you stop children peeing in a pool? With ice cream. Watch here.
- Adventure Travel Trade Association uploaded a series of videos showcasing Ireland: a closer look at Ireland along the WAW (watch here); learning to surf (watch here); one day, one kayak and the hope of staying dry(watch here); Guinness & surfing (watch here); and life on the edge, adventure in Donegal (watch here).
- Take a look at Tourism Ireland’s promo for Tradfest 2015: Watch here.
- Take a look at Kirill Trifonov’s impressive timelapse of one day in Shanghai. Watch here.
- A second timelapse: this one shows a day in the life of Heathrow airport. Watch here.
- A third timelapse: Capturing a Ryanair flight from Budapest to Billund as the sun goes down. Watch here.
- A fourth and final timelapse: NATS uploaded data footage of air traffic coming in, going out of and flying across England. The video was created using real data from a day in June. Watch here.
Paul Sharp, Business Development Manager of AmaWaterways gave the best presentation of those on offer at the CLIA Rivercruise conference in Amsterdam, giving agents compelling reasons why rivercruise is the best option for their clients. Other speakers included Daniela Wagner of Mekong Waterways, chair of CLIA for Ireland and Britain; Andy Harmer, director of CLIA for Ireland and Britain; Susan Schultz, Director of Sales for American Cruise Lines; Jessica Shelton-Agar of APT Luxury River Cruises; Werney Beyer of Emerald Waterways; and Kathryn Beadle of Uniworld. Seven cruise ships were tied up around the convention centre and the number of delegates grew from 140 to 200 this year. There are now 308 passenger cruise ships plying the rivers of the world with 46,200 berths in total, up from 125 in 2000, and 20pc of them are younger than five years old. There are just 840,000 river cruisers (36pc of them German) compared with 21.3m ocean cruise passengers. Sharon Jordan hosted Irish travel media on board the Uniworld flagship, the Marie Antoinette. Watch here the Eoghan Corry’s suite on board Uniworld flagship MS Marie Antoinette as shown by Veronika Zhyhaylova during the CLIA Rivercruise conference. Picture shows Uniwrold’s Rosanna Leary, Sharon Jordan and Donna Kenny. See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.
More details have emerged of the Irish Travel Agents Association two day event incorporating new travel industry trade show at the Citywest Convention Centre Dublin, on April 23 and 24. 2015. The event will begin on Thursday, April 23, when the Citywest Hotel Dublin will host the annual ITAA golf day followed by the ITAA AGM the next morning. Later that day, all members of the Irish Travel Trade are invited to attend the first Irish Travel Industry Trade Show, which will be followed by a BBQ and entertainment. The trade show will open to members of the Irish travel trade from 2pm to 6.30pm, 60 exhibitors will showcase developments in travel innovation, product demonstrations and new customer experiences. To book a stand at the trade fair email Maureen@bizex.ie.For more information about being a sponsor email email@example.com. To book tickets to the BBQ email – firstname.lastname@example.org.
Terri McCollin and Leitrim-born Brenda Collin of the Preferred Hotel Group came to Ireland this week to talk about their marketing plans in the year ahead. Preferred has 650 hotels in 85 countries and is growing. “We champion the independent hotel. We have a lot of power within the hospitality industry in that we are a household name in the Americas. Having the headquarters and the name in the States that really helps. For hotels like the K Club, Europe and Domroland that is a plus,” Terri McCollin said. “The vision of Preferred is to expand on the luxury and experiential dimensions of five star travel,” Brenda Collin said.
MSC Cruise line lit the fireworks for the newly refurbished and elongated MSC Armonia in Genoa last Tuesday and again in Marseilles for their French launch in Marseilles on Thursday. Picture shows Craig Jeffs of MSC on left with travel agents on board the refurbished and elongated MSC Armonia: Nicole Emery of Advantage Travel Partnership, Luke Vanderhoeven of TUI, Katie Mapstone of Cruise Co, Abigail Webster and Jillian Rose of Thomas Cook, and Andrea Harries of Cruisenation.
It is easy to see why the Italians are calling the refurbished ship: La nave de bambini, the ship of children. There are three marked changes from the old ships: vastly increased play areas, upgraded cabins on deck seven in keeping with higher standards across the fleet of both MSC and its competitors, more elbow room and better display options (and menu options) at the La Brasserie buffet on deck 11. Gone are the overcrowded areas where up to 800 children came to play at peak summer periods, and now there are four differentiated play areas, one themed in a partnership with Lego. On deck there is a spray park in the newly elongated section. This is important because MSC’s biggest selling point in the Irish market has a kids cruise for free package (parents still need to pay port fees and air fares). The €26 a day drinks package is also the best on the market place and works efficiently: premium drinks are marked with a star on the ship menus. Kitchen size was not increased nor the 650 theatre capacity and there were a few teething problems on the inaugural cruise which was joined by travel trade and media from around the world. MSC ships are brim-full of personality and Armonia seemed more so than most. To paraphrase the famous Kilmainham ballad, on the night after Armonia was stretched, Travel Extra came along to “warm the gob” and to be the first in the pool after it was filled on the re-launched ship, retaining our hard-earned first-to-splash record after David Monk from England beat us to the pool at the launch of MSC Preziosa.
Armonia is the first of four ships to be elongated in the €200m Renaissance Programme, the first step in MSC’s €5bn fleet enlargement plan, which includes four new ships of more than 5,000 capacity to be delivered by STX in France and Fincantieri in Italy, between 2017 and 2019, with options for three more by 2022. See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.
The North Cyprus Tourist Board came to the Radisson Blue Golden Lane, Dublin on Wednesday having stopped off at Belfast the previous night. They promised there is “lots of scope” for the Irish market, seeing as 1,000 Irish tourists visited last year (versus 77,000 from England). Turkish Airlines operate a regular service from Dublin to Ercan Airport via Istanbul. Hoteliers and agents from North Cyprus showcased their products at a networking event. Many identified the country’s landscapes and year-round sunshine as its USP and the over 50s as its main market. Picture shows Murat Balandi of Turkish Airlines with Joe Tully of Tully’s Travel who won a trip to North Cyprus. See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.
Picture shows Nisha Leelakrishnan, Enda Corneille and Jennied Gwzman at the Emirates press party at the shabby chic Drury Buildings bar on Thursday. Enda Corneille – “three months in the role and loving it” – said the event marked Emirates’ two-and-three-quarters birthday in Ireland. Reflecting on 2014, one of the highlights was (of course) going double-daily on September 1. Another memorable moment was when Emirates cargo carried 46 Falcons, reared and bred in Kildare, to the Middle East last month, while a load of Botox from Westport was delivered to Australia (“Yeah, they need it there,” one journo shouted sarcastically). Emirates is a truly global player, Enda said, noting that a 16-hour flight on an A380 from Dubai can go on to cover 98pc of the earth’s surface. The airline will hire over 5,000 cabin crew this year alone and the next recruitment open day comes to Galway on Tuesday (there are 300 Irish cabin crew as it is). Thank you for your support, Enda concluded, and I don’t know if it’s too early, but happy Christmas.
Picture shows Ann Marie Dalton of Turkish Airlines, Demrot Gilleece, Murat Balandi and Marie Cooney among the Irish group hosted at the Turkish Airlines Open in Belek. See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.
Travel Extra editor Eoghan Corry features on Fionn Favenport’s Irish Times travel podcast to discuss next generation cruising. Listen here.
- Travel agents who book clients in first and business class before midnight Dec 31 with British Airways or Iberia will be entered into a draw to win 100,000 Avios. There are also four runner-up prizes of 25,000 Avios and fifty runner-up prizes of 9,000 Avios. To be eligible for the draw, enter POFRW1415 in the OSI field when making the booking.
- Skal Dublin’s president’s Christmas lunch takes place Wednesday, December 10 at Herbert Park Hotel, Ballsbridge, Dublin. Cost €45pp (members and guests).
- Travel Professionals Skillnet Facebook advanced advertising with Carole Smith of SynNeo, December 2, 9.30am-1pm at ITAA Training Room, Fleet St, Dublin. Cost: €70pp. Book here. Skillnet is also offering a 12-week Fetac Level 5 Digital Marketing Diploma from Dec 2-Mar 3, Tuesday at 6.30pm-9.30pm. Cost: €850 members, €1,050 non-members (RRP €1,500). Book here.
- Picture shows Miss Moneycard – the character that will serve as MoneyCard’s brand personality.
- Sunway will operate direct weekly flights from Dublin to Mahón, Menorca from May 30-Sept 19, 2015.
- Insight Vacations launched their new India programme.
- British Airways flash sale to Hong Kong ex Dublin, Cork and Shannon: World Traveller €191, World Traveller Plus €631. Selling period: Nov 20-30 for travel from Jan 12 to Feb 19, 2015.
- The latest MSC baby was delivered on Saturday morning: Congratulations to Rebecca and Paul Kelly on the birth of Aria Elizabeth from everyone at Travel Extra.
- Hastings Hotels offer of the week: Overnight stay the Europa Hotel, Belfast from £45pps incl. cocktail on arrival and breakfast.
- Sunway is offering 7-night Christmas breaks to Lanzarote from €499pp (flights only or €549 incl. self-catering accommodation at Oasis Apartments), depart Dublin December 20.
- Click and Go is offering 3-night New Year breaks to Brussels from €240pp accommodation in NH Brussels City, flights, taxes & charges. Depart Dec 31.
- Aghadoe Heights Hotel & Spa is offering overnight stays from €150 per room throughout January 2015. Aghadoe is also offering post-Christmas Retreats to the spa for €95: choose either a 60-minute ocean radiance hydrating facial or a 60-minute full body massage; available from Dec 27-Jan 4.
- Falcon is offering 7 nights all-inclusive Dublin-Lambi, Kos from €779pp, depart May 30.
- Thomson is offering 7 nights full board Dublin-Guia De Isora, Tenerife from €1,249pp, depart May 22.
- Stena Line is offering fares from €79 single for a care and driver during the Christmas season.
- Discover Travel is offering 10 nights in Deevana, Phuket from €1.499pp. Free full day excursion to Phi Phi on bookings made before Nov 30.
- Malaysia Airlines End of Year Sale: fares from £549 return from London Heathrow, book before Dec 2, travel until June 15.
- Sunway gift vouchers are now available online. Costing from €50, vouchers can be personalised and emailed to the recipient. You can also purchase by phone: call 01 2311800.
- Globe Hotels is offering 7 nights half-board plus in Marbella Beach Resort, Corfu from €333pps incl. return transfers, €100 resort credit per room per stay, book by Nov 30.
Trivago’s Hotel Price Index for November shows that prices are up in Clifden (€127, 12pc), Kilkenny (€95, 2pc), Doolin (€85, 1pc) and Westport (€81, 1pc), and down everywhere else. The biggest decrease is in Kenmare (€100, -14pc), Galway (€83, -12pc) and Sligo (€90, -10pc). Average Dublin prices are down 7pc to €112, Cork prices are down 8pc to €93 and Belfast prices are down 1pc to €111. Despite a 6pc decrease, Donegal remains the most expensive destination (€150). Galway is the cheapest (€83).
- There was lots of coverage for the couple who were charged £100 by the Broadway Hotel in Blackpool, England for writing a bad review on TripAdvisor. The money was deducted from their credit card. Blackpool Council later said that the hotel will likely refund them and will scrap the bad review policy.
- The Irish arm of Travelodge, Smorgs Ireland, recorded an operating profit of €69,703, up 28pc after it recorded an operating loss of €408,857 in 2013.
- Irish-American businessman John Malone is to buy the Limerick Strand Hotel for close to €20m.
- The Churchill Hyatt Regency hotel in Portman Square, London had to be evacuated on Friday night after a gas explosion in the basement caused part of the building to collapse, injuring 14 people.
- Writing for the Irish Independent, Travel Extra Writer of the Year Pól Ó Conghaille previewed the first new Dublin hotel in 18 months, The Dean Hotel, before it opened on Friday. The €5.5m hotel is located on Harcourt Street. Rates start from €109 midweek, €129 for a Punk Bunk, €149 for a SupeRoom and €649 for the one-bedroom penthouse suite. Read here.
Killarney is listed at number 92 on Trivago’s top 100 value-for-money destinations for 2015 (based on the search site’s hotel price data and consumer reviews). The top ten: 1. Mostar – Bosnia & Herzegovina; 2. Novi Sad – Serbia; 3. Lijiang -China; 4. Plovdiv – Bulgaria; 5. Szeged – Hungary; 6. Amritsar – India; 7. Ouarzazate – Morocco; 8. Kaliningrad – Russia; 9. Arequipa – Peru; 10. Pingyao – China. See the full list here.
The National Police Directorate in Norway announced the winner of a competition to find a new design for the nation’s passport and ID card. Oslo design studio Neue came up with the winning design. The new passport features landscapes drawn in pastel shades and the cover features a re-imagined version of the national crest stamped in gold. The most impressive feature is the secret landscapes on the inside pages which are only visible when shone under UV light.
Airbnb launched the first issue of Pineapple, a 128-page quarterly magazine distributed free to Airbnb hosts. 18,000 copies have been printed in the initial run. The magazine is also available in bookshops for €11.
Hop-on hop-off bus company Kiwi Experience unveiled three new additions to its New Zealand network: The new Kiwi Encounter stop in Rotorua and the Rangitikei Farmstay on the North Island, an optional overnight add-on have been added to the Kiwi Experience passes while the Lake Mahinapua overnight stop will be available from mid-January.
Maui Motorhomes rental company launched its Maui Winery Haven experience in Australia, available from December 2014, price begins from $140 per campervan per night incl. overnight pitch at one of five vineyards a gourmet local food and win hamper for two and access to the winery vintner.
The Global Gateway Alliance, a group representing New York’ real estate and hotel industries, urged the Port Authority of New York & New Jersey to speed up the rebuilding of LaGuardia Airport’s central terminal.
St Andrew’s Day celebrations in Scotland: The Standing Stones of Callanish, 2 for 1 entrey to visitor museum, Nov 25-29; The Festival of Andrew, Glasgow, Nov 30; Deanstown Distillery St Andrew’s Day Ceilidh, Stirlingshire, Nov 29; Oban Winter Festival, Nov 21-30; St Andrew’s Day Celebrations, Fife, Nov 28-30; From Shetland to Wonderland, Nov 26.
Around 1,300 Eurostar passengers were stranded on board two separate trains for up to eight hours on Thursday night after two overhead power cables simultaneously snapped. One train was travelling from London to Brussels; another was travelling from London to Paris. The disruption caused delays to other services on Thursday night because trains had to be shunted onto low speed tracks. Eurostar apologised and offered refunds/free return tickets.
- Bhutan is plugging its ‘Visit Bhutan Year’ campaign for 2015 to coincide with the fourth Bhutanese King’s 60th birthday in November next year.
- eNett International partnered with Conferma.
- Amazon is reportedly looking to launch an accommodation booking service next year.
- The New York Times explanded its travel programme. Some additions for 2015 inlude Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Coloumbia and Iran.
- Expedia added cabins at RV parks and campgrounds to its online inventory.
- Former United Airlines executive John Tague was appointed CEO of Hertz.
- The East Cape of New Zealand was hit by an earthquake measuring a 6.5 magnitude on Tuesday.
Food & Drink
Mark Moriarty and Ciaran Sweeney have launched a pop-up restaurant called Culinary Counter. The next event takes place Sunday, December 14. Venue TBA. Tickets cost €69 and can be booked by tweeting @CulinaryCounter or by emailing email@example.com.
Thanksgiving meals in Ireland: The Fitzwilliam Hotel’s Citron restaurant is offering a three-course Thanksgiving menu for €39.95pp (call 01-4787000 to book) while Beaufield Mews in Stillorgan is offering five courses for €30 (call 01-2880375 to book).
Aer Lingus Regional will operate a 5w service from Dublin to Newquay (Cornwall) from May 1, 2015.
An Air France flight from Dublin to France had to make an emergency landing in Birmingham on Sunday after the Avro RJ85 jet sustained a crack in one of its windows.
CityJet chief executive Christine Ourmieres said the Dublin-based airline will break even in 2015 and be profitable in 2016 after a €23.1m loss last year.
Next week, the Court of Appeal in London will hear Ryanair’s plea that it should be allowed to hold its 29.82pc stake in Aer Lingus.
Ryanair announced it will carry at least 3.5m passengers over the Christmas and New Year period.
New research from Queen’s University Belfast discovered that volcanic ash had travelled from Alaska to Northern Ireland, refuting assumptions about the distances ash deposits could travel.
Etihad extended its title sponsorship of the F1 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. Picture shows James Hogan, Etihad Airways’ President and Chief Executive Officer, and Bernie Ecclestone, Chief Executive Officer of Formula One group in the A380 Lobby mock-up at the airline’s Innovation Centre in Abu Dhabi.
Air Berlin confirmed that it will switch to an all-Airbus European fleet.
The Cypriot government said it has yet to receive any “significant interest” in Cyprus Airways, seemingly dismissing interest from Ryanair and Aegean.
TheLoop.ie won the award for Best Digital Innovation at the Frontier Awards in Cannes. Picture shows Janice McElroy and Michelle Corbett
Etihad and Alitalia received merger clearance from the European Commission and can proceed with the proposed partnership announced in August. Under the new codeshare, the airlines will offer a combined 35 flights per week between Italy and Abu Dhabi.
Qatar Airways will operate a daily Edinburgh-Doha service from May 1, 2015.
First class, business class and premium economy passengers flying long haul with British Airways can now pre-order their meals online up to 30 days before departure through the Manage My Booking tool on ba.com.
London City Airport installed five new ePassport gates in immigration hall, bringing the total number of e-gates to 11.
EasyJet says it expects to deliver further growth after annual profits rose 21.5pc.
Etihad Airways’ Technical Maintenance department (pictured) replaced a GE90 engine on one of its Boeing 777 passenger aircraft in less than seven hours – a world record.
TAP and GOL agreed a codeshare partnership.
American Airlines CEO Doug Parker talked of adding several more routes to China, including Beijing.
Ryanair Labs, the airline’s new research facility, is recruiting “the best brains” from the likes of Google and LinkedIn for the online upgrade next spring.c
London City Airport’s busiest week ever saw a total 84,758 passengers during the week commencing Nov 9, a 27pc increase on the same period.
Airbus patented an aircraft that does not have conventional wings, tale or fuselage. The aircraft blueprint instead has wings that sweep from the nose and encompass both the fuselage and tale. The passenger cabin is doughnut shaped with passengers sitting in a circle.
- Irish Ferries owner Irish Continental Group’s revenues were up 10pc in Q3 to € €93.4m.
- Norwegian Cruise Line completed its acquisition of Prestige Cruises. Francis Riley (pictured) was appointed to the new position of senior vice president.
- Norwegian Cruise Line announced a new entertainment for Norwegian Epic, starting April 30: Burn the Floor in April 2015 and Priscilla, Queen of the Desert—The Musical in October 2015. The ship will also feature a replica of The Cavern Club (where The Beatles made their name).
- A group of travel agents working for Barrhead Travel in Glasgow visited Ireland this week, as guests of Tourism Ireland. Their itinerary was devised by the NITB and included a guided tour of Games of Thrones locations along the Causeway Coastal route. The group visited Derry and took part in a walking tour of the city’s walls before heading to Belfast to see the Titanic Belfast. Picture shows Caroline Mulligan, Tourism Ireland , with travel agents from Barrhead Travel in Glasgow, at the Dark Hedges, Ballymoney.
- A TV crew from the Travel + Escape channel in Canada visited Kinsale and Cork this week to film an episode of Gourmet Escapes. The show is expected to attract an audience of 1.5m in 2015. Following the premise of the programme, Canadian chef Gerardo D’amore has been set a cooking challenge by Martin Shanahan of Fishy Fishy Restaurant in Kinsale to find the best local ingredients in the English Market. D’amore will also visit the Jameson Distillery in Middleton and the Shandon Bells in Cork city. Picture shows Gerardo D’amore with Martin Shanahan at Fishy Fishy Restaurant.
- The five-metre steel cross at the top of Carrauntoohil was cut down by vandals.
- A group of 20 tourism enterprises (pictured) travelled to the US with Tourism Ireland this week for the last of the Jump into Ireland events in San Francisco, LA and Seattle. The schedule includes a B2B event in all three cities.
- The Shannon Heritage Group’s tourist attractions saw a 12pc increase in visitors for the first ten months of 2014.
- Tourism Minister Paschal Donohue announced a six-week, end-of-year promo campaign targeting potential holidaymakers in Britain for short breaks to Ireland. The new campaign sees Tourism Ireland team up with Location, Location, Location hose Phil Spencer and Classic FM. Phil was in Dublin on Tuesday filming at Christ Church Cathedral, Merrion Square and the National Gallery. Picture shows Alan Grange, concierge at The Shelbourne Hotel, Dublin; Niall Gibbons, CEO of Tourism Ireland; Minister Paschal Donohoe; and Phil Spencer.
- Brazilian digital media channel Network Elemidia was filming in Dublin this week as guests of Tourism Ireland. The crew is making 40 short programmes on Ireland and will air to an estimated 20 million viewers in shopping centres, gyms, supermarkets, hotels and universities in 80 cities in Brazil and Argentina. Filming took place in the GAA Museum, Malahid Castle, Howth village, the Old Jameson Distillery, the Little Museum of Dublin, Trinity College, the Guinness Storehouse and Dublin Castle. Picture shows: Fabrício Calado da Silva Moreira filming in The Little Museum of Dublin.
- Twenty-four Irish tourism companies travelled to Offernbach, Germany to take part in a Tourism Ireland-organised B2B workshop and networking event with German tour operators. The Irish delegation met with 21 German and three Austrian tour operators. Picture shows Petra Buckley-Becker and Seán Buckley, both Marina Tours; Ansgar Krämer, Troll Tours Reisen; Carmel Flynn, Parknasilla Resort and Spa; Laura Tangney, Killarney Jaunting Cars; Claudia Tynek, DERTour; Susan Randles, Randles Hotels; Sabrina Heilmann, Behringer Touristik; and Anke Kraus, DERTour, attending the workshop.
- Lonely Planet magazine posted a piece on How to get the most from a short trip to Ireland.