TRAVEL Extra’s Sunday Supplement: The busiest week of the year for travel bookings

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Doreen McKenzie being interviewed by Siobhan McGarry of Downtown Radio at Holiday World in Belfast.

Doreen McKenzie being interviewed by Siobhan McGarry of Downtown Radio at Holiday World in Belfast

The headlines this week:

*Holiday haul at the King’s Hall

*Awards fever

*From parody to reality for a crisp sandwich restaurant

*Record year for National Museums

*300,000 people travel to Spain from the north

*Consumers wooed by Wendy Wu

Travel Extra TV

video-of-week-jan-18Our video of the week shows what it’s like to be in Candide Thovex’s ski boots. Thovex, a professional skier, straps a GoPro to his head and takes you on a tour of Le Relais du Val Blanc’s slopes. Watch here.

  • Kenny Jacobs of Ryanair lectures on the digital transformation of an airline. Watch here.
  • Robert Hays and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar reprised their roles in the film Airplane! for a Travel Wisconsin ad: Watch here.
  • RTÉ uploaded a video from Michael O’Leary’s Late Late Show appearance last week. ‘I don’t like to go on holidays – I prefer to go to work.’ Watch here.
  • Jet vs Train vs Car. Flybe’s promo video shows Jonny, Tom and Rachel racing from Exeter to central London. Tom takes the train, Rachel takes the car and Jonny flies with Flybe. Who will win? (Who do you think?) Watch here.
  • Crosswinds at Birmingham Airport (an Aer Lingus jet lands at the 47 second mark): Watch here.
  • Ryanair feature in Google Flight Search’s promo video. Watch here.
  • Crosswind landings at Dortmund Airport: Watch here.
  • An unusual quirk in the Swedish language: Watch here.
  • Traveling Australia’s Great Ocean Road by campervan: Watch here.

Headlines

oasis groupHoliday World Belfast got off to a busy start on Friday, kicking off the busiest week of the year for holiday bookings. A fascinating cords-section of exhibitors from five continents included newcomers such as Serife Cetin and Yasemin Kaya from Agne Tours who have operated for 24 years in Antalya but are exhibiting in Ireland for the first time. Old favourites were back, such as Sandra Corkin’s Oasis Travel cruise forum. Picture shows Sandra with the Oasis Travel staff and speakers at the forum. Edmund Hourican of Business Exhibitions reported that tour operators and airlines were especially busy. “We are very confident that tomorrow will exceed today’s attendance.  There is great excitement here.” Listen here to Siobhan McGarry’s coverage of Belfast Holiday World on Downtown Radio. See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.

Holiday World Dublin takes place at the RDS Simmonscourt next week over three days, Friday to Sunday. Admission charge is €5, children €2 and families €10.  This is the link to a downloadable Travel Extra branded 2 for 1 Holiday World ticket for Travel Extra readers or subscribers. Friday morning is reserved for members of the trade and media.

awards Miriam O'Callaghan speaks_1494Tourism minister Paschal Donohue will be among the guests at the Irish Travel Industry Awards which will be compered by Miriam O’Callaghan on Thursday evening. All 520 tickets have sold out at the Irish industry’s most prestigious awards function in the Round Room at the Mansion House. Which of the nominees will succeed Declan O’Connell’s Lee Travel as Travel Agency of the Year and Katrina McMullen of Navan Travel as Travel Professional of the Year? See more pictures here from the event last January or connect with the album on Facebook.

IMG_2378“This is where Holiday World starts,” Doreen McKenzie of ABTA declared at the Spanish Tourist Board function for the trade on the eve of Holiday World Belfast. Kathryn McDonnell, Paco Guttierez and Anna Perez of the Spanish Tourist Board hosted one of the most enjoyable events on the calendar at Deane’s Restaurant with Castili de Raimat wine from Catalonia. Kathryn McDonnell reported that 300,000 people currently travel to Spain from the north each year, a total of 1.6m from the island, and Maria Targa of Salou Tourist Board reported on the developments in the “beach of Spain” region. Picture shows Natalia Bel of Salou tourism, Kathryn McDonnell of the Spanish Tourist Board, Paco Guttierez of the Spanish Tourist Board and Maria Targa of Salou Tourism. Listen here to Kathryn McDonnell. Listen here to Maria Targa. See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.

John Warr and John Booty of Wendy Wu Tours at Belfast Holiday World Jan 16 2014Wendy Wu tours appointed John Booty to head up its Irish operation, to launch on Wednesday. John Warr and John Booty, pictured exhibiting at Holiday World in Belfast, were colleagues at Thomas Cook before John Booty came to work with Ryanair and Innstant Travel in Dublin. Wendy Wu are the largest operators to China from England and will be watching with interest the prospects of a direct flight from Dublin to Beijing, a high priority target for both the DAA and Enterprise Ireland.

Tewolde IMG_1377Gebremariam, CEO of Ethiopian Airlines (pictured with Michael Yohannes), is among the speakers at the 17th Annual Global Airfinance Conference in Dublin next Thursday, which will bring to the podium: Martin Graham of Oaktree; Aengus Kelly of AerCap; Robert Martin of BOC; David Power of ORIX Aviation; Ray Sisson of AWAS; Domhnal Slattery of Avolon; Steven Udvar-Hazy of Air Lease Corporation; Ron Wainshal of Aircastle; Steven Webber of Terra Firma; and Rich Wiley of Jackson Square Aviation. Airline CFO’s participating include: Maciej Dziudzik of LOT; Erno Hilden of Finnair; Göran Jansson of SAS; Coşkun Kilic of Turkish; Mike Powell of Wizz Air; John Rodgerson of Azul; and Neil Sorahan of Ryanair. Senior executives Jude Bricker of Allegiant Air; Nirmal Govinda of Emirates; Gerry Laderman of United; Andy Nelson of Delta; and Tom Weir of American Airlines are among participants. 1,250 delegates from 65 countries will attend the event at Dublin Conference Centre on Thursday, Jan 22.

Topflight launched their 188-page Italy brochure for 2015 offering an extra flight from Dublin to Verona, two new options in Puglia and Sardinia among 10 stay and explore programmes. There will be extra capacity to Naples for Sorrento and the Amalfi coast, and at family destinations along Lake Garda and the Venetian Riviera resorts.Pat reede

United Airlines appointed Pat Reede (pictured) as Sales Manager, Ireland. Prior to the merger between United and Continental Airlines in 2010, she was Continental’s Airport Business Manager at Dublin Airport, having joined the airline in 1998 as Supervisor for Airport Services.

More much-needed snow has arrived in the Alps for World Snow Day (Sunday Jan 18); a metre in the southern Alps and 15-20cm elsewhere, when there are plenty of family friendly activities planned for the weekend across Europe’s resorts. Fresh snow has fallen on Austria, which has improved many pistes and topped up the powdery conditions. Snowfall was recorded on Wednesday/Thursday for most French resorts, with 5-10cm falling over quite a widespread area.

Forecasters say the mild westerly airflow that has been so dominant will give way to colder weather from the northwest. Some light snow has fallen this week, improving conditions both on and off piste. Weathertoski says rain/snow limits (which we much prefer to freezing levels in this situation) may start as high as 1,600m in the north-western Alps today (e.g. Chamonix) but will be lower in the Italian Alps and fall below 1,000m everywhere by Saturday. Badly needed snow is also forecast for the Pyrenees. Scandinavia has some of the best conditions with more snow to come. All resorts can expect further snow over the weekend too. All of Scotland’s five mountain resorts have new facilities for this winter season but remained closed all week because of the Atlantic storm Rachel. The storm brought big snowfalls for yesterday’s reopening of the lifts at CairnGorm, which feature in its own BBC TV series. Thanks to the wind from Siberia the snow is terrific in Uludağ, Kartepe, and Kartalkaya for those who want to sample Turkey as a ski option. In the USA the best conditions are now in Utah, while Californian resorts continue to struggle.

Tomás Ó Conbhuí.poc fadaThe 16th Topflight Today FM Ski Trip, driven by the travel industry, will see 520 people travel to Bad Hofgastein next Saturday, which we visited only last December, for a week of skiing, snow sports and live music. Ian Dempsey will be broadcasting live every day from  January 26 to 30 from 8am to 10am. There will be a Poc Fada competition, and music from the Coronas, the Harleys and Unique.

jimmy murphy feb 2003 (2)Members of the trade from both sides of the Atlantic paid tribute to Jimmy Murphy on Monday. There was a poignant moment during interment in Dardistown Cemetery, Santry: an Aer Lingus plane flew very low over the mourners in the middle of the prayers. Jimmy spent many years as sales manager for Aer Lingus in New York before founding Brendan Tours and AMA Waterways in turn.

The charity raffle proceeds at the Irish Travel Industry Awards will go to the Shane Grogan fund. Shane, nephew of Frances Grogan, Grogan Travel Tuam, suffered a severe brain injury he was struck on the head with a brick on the Milltown Road, Tuam in August 2012. He is in a minimally conscious state. The ITAA are seeking 12 prizes of a value of €500 or more for the draw.

press room girls 000Not one but two former and current Miss Northern Irelands were on hand to man (woman?) the press room at Holiday World in Belfast. Picture shows the charming Rebekah Shirley and Megan Green who looked after X Factor singer Jake Quickenden and the media entourage who flocked to the King’s Hall on Friday.

The programme of travel advice clinics at Holiday World Dublin in RDS Simmonscourt next weekend will feature panels of two or three speakers chaired by Eoghan Corry. Picture shows Caroline Green of Ryanair speaking at the travel advice clinics in 2014.

caroline green 002

  • 3.00pm Opening session
  • 3.45pm Ski and snow, Aileen Eglington of Topflight, Orla Markey of Crystal
  • 4.30pm 2015 an American odyssey, Ciara Foley of Visit USA, Reginald Charlot of New York, Greg Evans of Pennsylvania and Atlantic City
  • 5.15pm How to get the cruise deals: Jenny Rafter RCCL, Lorraine Quinn of Celebrity,Julie Hanna of MSC, Clare Dunne of Cruise Broker
  • 6.00pm Hotels: Stephen McNally President of the Irish Hoteliers Federation, David Collins of Great National Hotels, Fionnan Nestor of Failte Ireland

Saturday Jan 24

  • 12.00pm Travel Insurance
  • 1.30pm Get active in 2015
  • 2.15pm Family holidays
  • 3.00pm Flying east in 2014, Murat Balandi of Turkish, Enda Corneille of Emirates
  • 3.45pm Africa Michael Yohannes of Ethiopian, Dawn Parr of Botswana Tourism, Felicia Kuda Munjaidi of Zimbabwe Tourist Authority
  • 4.30pm Far East: Joanna Cooke of Thailand, Jim Vaughan on Australia, Isabel Oiviera of Malaysia, Darina Nakagawa
  • Unique Japan Tours

Sunday Jan 25

  • 12.00pm Visas and passports, what you need to know
  • 12.45pm Golf holidays
  • 1.30pm The new Ryanair: Q&A session with Robin Kiely from Ryanair
  • 2.15pm Flying west in 2015
  • 3.00pm Home holidays
  • 3.45pm Solo Travel

editorsThe Irish Independent appointed two editors to flagship titles last weekend, Fionnán Sheehan to the Irish Independent and Colman Bourke to the Sunday independent. Next editorship to be filled is the Belfast Telegraph where one of the north’s leading travel writers is among a trio of front runners. Pól Ó Conghaile, editor of online travel, is acting travel editor of the Irish independent. Leslie Anne Horgan took over from Katie Byrne as editor of the Irish Independent’s Weekend Magazine at the beginning of December.

Travel Trade

Dominic Burke_1654NI Travel News#4Travel Centres is organising an educational to China for eight agents on March 12-19 in conjunction with Turkish Airlines and Bedsonline, eight agents can win a place on the trip to Beijing and Istanbul, courtesy of Bedsonline and Turkish Airlines. Dominic Burke (pictured) says every Travel Centres agency has a slightly better than 1-in-10 chance of winning a place on the trip. All you have to do is to make bookings before February 26 with Turkish Airlines and/or Bedsonline.

Jonathan Adair and Brian Ogle’s Northern Ireland Travel News celebrated 25 years in existence on Thursday. The monthly newspaper videoed some reminiscences from members of the trade at their stand at Holiday World in Belfast.

The Commission for Aviation Regulation has updated its online licensing system for the spring 2015 round of licence renewals for travel agents and tour operators. February 11 is the deadline for receipt of completed licence applications at standard fee, decision-in-principle letters will be issued by March 11 and April 14 is the deadline for receipt of applicant’s bonds for licence to be granted by May 1. The full text of CN1/2015 is available here. LCS can be accessed here. CAR says the new interface looks slightly different from the previous one but “should result in faster processing and interaction for applicants.” The Commission for Aviation Regulation currently has a vacancy for an economist with details available here.

low cost beach partyLowcost says visits to its website doubled in January and they have drafted in extra staff to deal with the unexpected increase in customers making bookings through its call centre which is now open daily from 8am to 11pm. Picture shows the Lowcost beach party at Pearse Street railway station last week.

  • Celtic Horizons is launching a new tour Mustang Rally at the Holiday World in Dublin.
  • Florida Huddle claimed new records for participation across all sectors, with 668 delegates, representing 395 companies; up from 614 delegates and 314 companies last year. Of the 147 companies sending buyers from these 17 countries, 82 from USA, 20 from England, 9 from Germany, 7 form Canada, 6 from India in its first year of participation, 6 from China, 5 from France, 3 from Spain and one each from Bahamas, Brazil, Honduras, Ireland, Italy, Mexico, Netherlands, Switzerland, and UAE.
  • Worldchoice Ireland was awarded Ireland’s leading travel consortium by Celebrity Cruises in London.
  • Enterprise won a trademark battle with Europcar at the High Court in London.
  • SeaWorld extended their three parks for the price of two offer for 2015.
  • Travelport appointed Thomas Murphy as general legal counsel.
  • FlyCruiseStay.com launched its cruise booking engine, flycruise.com/cruises.
  • Martinhal Beach Resort & Hotel in Sagres, Portugal have continued its free kids club for all children between the ages of 6 months and 8 years.
  • Registration has opened for the Thailand Travel Mart Plus in Bangkok on June 3-5.
  • Moira O’Donohoe from Avondale Travel, Arklow, Co Wicklow won €500 in One4all vouchers in the LowcostbedsHigh 5 trade promotion. Agents have three more chances of winning €500 in One4all vouchers from bookings entered into the weekly draw, the more bookings, the more chances.
  • Agents who make Do Something Different ticket sales and email with “Come on holiday with DSD” in the subject line before Mar 31 can win a place on a trip to Dubai. DSD have reintroduced their book and bank incentive until mar 31 offering cash in on every booking, either as an individual or agency branch. Every time you each €300 worth of DSD sales, €10 will be deposited into your DSD bank. Claims with all order numbers must be submitted by April 17.
  • Amanda MiddlerSilversea Silver Wave promotion has been extended until Jan 31, offering a shipboard credit of $1,000 per suite. Picture shows Amanda Middler and the Silversea team at Belfast Holiday World show.
  • Ian Manto, Harvey Travel, Waterford, and Noelle Twomey, Tom Mannion Travel, Ennis are the latest winners in the BookaBed €100 a day giveaway which runs until Jan 31.   Last week’s winners were Denise Winters, Garda Holiday Club; Nicola York, JustSplit.com, Portlaoise and Siobhan Cotter, West Cork Travel.
  • Airbnb appointed James McClure as general manager for Britain and Ireland. James was Google’s head of emerging markets for Singapore and South East.
  • Monarch Travel Group fixed the Travelbox travel trade site after it suffered reduced access last week.
  • Funway Holidays and Virgin Atlantic are offering agents the chance to win one of ten £100 prizes to be paid on their MoneyCard. To enter, make a package booking to Barbados, Saint Lucia, Antigua, Grenada or Jamaica including Virgin Atlantic Flights from Feb 1 to 28.
  • megafamBritish Airways, American Airlines and Brand USA have 100 places available on their MegaFam trip to the USA, May 14-21. To apply, register your American Airlines, British Airways or US Airways bookings made to the USA from now until April 3. See usadiscoveryprgram.co.uk/MegaFam to enter.
  • Upgrade your customers to First one-way (inbound or outbound) on British Airways when you book them on an eligible Club World return fare. See here for more info.
  • Travel Professionals Skillnet is offering a FETAC Level 5 Digital Marketing Diploma, Monday 16 Feb to Monday May 18, 6.30pm -9.30pm. Cost €850 (public price €1,450). More info/bookings.

Deal Watch

ITAA offers of the week: 10-night trip to Cuba – 7 nights All Inclusive in the Melia Las Americas in Varadero and 3 nights B&B in the Tryp Habana Libra Hotel, Havana – from €1,740pps incl. return flights, travel from May 1 to June 30. 7 nights All Inclusive Secrets St James, Montego Bay, Jamaica from €2,099pps incl. return flights, transfers and baggage, travel from May 1 to June 25. 12-night trip to Thailand – 5 nights B&B at Kantary Beach Hotel, 2 nights full board at Elephant Hills and 5 nights B&B at the Deevana Patong Resort and Spa – from €1,599pps incl. return flights ex Dublin, Cork or Shannon, transfers and rainforest safari.

Click and Go offers: 7 nights self-catering in the Puertocarment Aparthotel, Lanzarote from €849pp incl. return flights ex Dublin, taxes, charges and transfers, travel in May. 7 nights All Inclusive in the Kusadasi Golf & Spa Resort, Turkey from €359pp incl. return flights ex Dublin, taxes, charges and transfers, travel in April. 7 nights in the Iolida Beach Hotel, Crete from €369pp incl. return flights ex Dublin, taxes, charges and transfers, travel in April.

Hastings Hotels’ offer of the week: 1 night B&B in the 4* Stormont Hotel, Belfast from $85 per room incl. afternoon tea served with a glass of Prosecco on arrival. To book, call 048 9065 1066 or visit hastingshotels.com.

Thomson Sensatori offer: 7 nights Full Board Dublin to Sensatori Resort, Analipsi, Crete from €1,149pps, depart September 5. To book, visit thomsonholidays.ie or call 1850 45 35 45.

Travel Department’s Mugello MotoGP Ride and Fly offer for bikers: 8 nights B&B from €1,199 incl. dinner each night, two ferry tickets to Wales, an overnight in England, ferry to France, overnight in Reims, overnight in Basel and arrive in Lake Como, followed by a ride to Tuscany for the Mugello MotoGP (tickets for qualifying and race day included). Price includes flight home form Nice to Dublin and shipment of your bike back with overlanders.ie. Click here for more info.

Click and Go is offering 12-night holiday including 9 nights MSC Grand Voyage Cruise on MSC Armonia from €899pp incl. flights ex Dublin, transfers, taxes and port charges, hotel accommodation, 3 free excursions and free beverages with meals on board. Highlights: Canary Islands, Maderia, Spain, France and Italy. Depart April 9. For more info, call 01 637 1699.

Sunway’s Food Hero cruise: 14 nights Full Board on P&O Ventura from €1,049pp, depart Southampton, ports of call: Lisbon, Seville, Gilbraltar, Cartagena, Malag, Casablanca and Madeira. Chef Marco Pierre While will make a guest appearance on the cruise, offering cooking demos, masterclasses, hosted dinners and book signings. Depart May 6.

NITB offers of the week: 2 nights B&B in a premier room at the Dufferin Coaching Inn, Killyleagh, Downpatrick, Co Down from £150 per room incl. complimentary bottle of wine on arrival; available March 1-31, call 028 4482 1134 to book. 3 nights at Cobblers Cottage, Sixmilecross, Omagh, Co Tyrone from £160 per unit, available until Feb 28, call 028 8675 1547 to book. 2 nights B&B at Mahons Hotel, Irvinestown, Co Fermanagh from £59pps incl. one four course dinner, Mist of Erne after-dinner cocktail, guided tour of the Celtic Garden and a guided walk around Necarne Castle, available until Jan 31, call 028 6862 1656 to book. 3 nights for the price of 2 at Dunluce Cottage, Bushmills, Co Antrim, available until March 26, call 028 9050 4926 to book.

Brittany Ferries early booking offer on 2015’s ferry-inclusive holidays to France ends on January 31. Additions to this year’s portfolio include more dog-friendly holidays, new sites in Alsace Lorraine and more themed car and motorcycle tours including wine-focused itineraries. To book, visit brittanyferries.ie/holidays or call 021 427 7801.

Natural Retreats Castlemartyr is offering 5 nights self-catering accommodation in a two-bedroom lodge for a group of four from €235.50pp in July and August. To book, visit naturalretreats.ie or call 01 685 3013.

Hotels

  • Muchross Park Hotel and Spa in Killarney was sold to Cork-based hotel firm iNua Hospitality for €6.25m.
  • Virgin Hotels launched an app called Lucy that acts as a universal remote control for guests. Lucy allows guests to adjust the room temperature, order room service and plays music.
  • Marriott International said it will not block guests’ private Wi-Fi networks in its hotels and will find an alternative to ensure that internet security is not compromised.

International

  • NYC & Company launched a City Delegate Discount Pass for all MICE visitors. The pass, valid until June 30, offers discount prices and admission to 70 restaurants, tours, attractions and retailers in the city.
  • France mobilised 10,000 security personnel following last week’s Charlie Hebdo attacks. Travelmole reported that short break operators say that. rather than cancelling, some travellers believe going to the French capital will now be safer due to increased security. The DFA has advised visitors to France to take extra care.
  • Jamaica officially unveiled Jamaica Sport, a new initiative to develop the island as a sports tourism destination.
  • Travelport and India-based full service carrier Vistara announced a distribution and merchandising agreement.
  • Algarve visitor figures from Ireland are up 7.9pc.
  • Germany began their reunification anniversary celebrations with 25 new perspectives in the last 25 years.
  • Two-for-One theatre tickets went on sale for NYC & Company’s Broadway Week to 22 of Broadway’s top shows.
  • Winter Gardens in Blackpool, England are to house a £21m heritage museum documenting the story of how the town became a major tourist resort.
  • Salzburg announced plans to celebrate the 50th anniversary of The Sound of Music.
  • Jordan Axani, the man who took a woman called Elizabeth Gallagher on a round-the-world trip because she had the same name as his ex-girlfriend, returned home this week. The pair described the trip to eight countries as a “wild, whirlwind” but insisted there was no romance – Elizabeth has a long-term boyfriend.

Food and Wine

crisp sandwichMuch excitement was generated in international media following the opening of Andrew McMenamin’s pop up crisp sandwich store Simply Crispy in Belfast’s Cathedral Quarter. The café sold out in two hours, offering bread with crisps and ham or cheese to fill sandwiches for a planned four week period. The idea was partly inspired by the ‘Cereal Cafe’ opened in London in November by Belfast brothers Alan and Gary Keery and came from a spoof story by Billy McWilliams and Seamus O’Shea on their Ulster Fry website. Real life imitating art, indeed.

One of the oddest moments in Colin Teevan’s RTÉ drama Charlie was the inclusion of Seattle food writer Brendan Kiley’s fanciful description of dining on an Ortolan. Kiley who has never eaten an ortolan, wrote the description in 2006 was inspired in turn by a remark by Belgian critic Claude Souvenir. Teevan transposed the description back to Inishvickillane in 1982, portraying Charles Haughey in a Mitterandesque gourmet moment. Watch here.

  • Blue Boar Restaurant in Conrad London St James launched a new working lunch menu.
  • The Gambia Food & Beverage Festival takes place on Feb 20 and 21.
  • Antonio and Marion Cavaliere care celebrating 25 years in business at Rinuccini Italian restaurant in Kilkenny city on Feb 3 with a special tasting menu. It costs €60 incl. wine pairing for each course. Call 056 7761 575 to book.

Aviation

turkish scheduleTurkish Airlines will be increasing its service from Dublin to Istanbul to double daily from March 29, an additional 2 flights per week. Murat Balandi, Turkish Airlines GM for Ireland, said we have had consistent growth in the Irish market which is directly related to the niche destinations we fly within our 267 destinations globally”. Passenger numbers were up 21pc in 2014 and 18pc in 2013.

Transatlantic traffic increased by 14pc at Dublin Airport last year to a record 2.1m. Overall numbers are up 8pc to 21.7m and direct destinations to 161, short-haul traffic was up 7pc. Dublin Airport expect further growth this year, with 14 new services. There were 24 new routes last year and additional flights on 34 existing services. The Irish Aviation Authority says commercial traffic grew 6.5pc in 2014 at the three State airports Dublin, Shannon and Cork to 215,783 movements, with 81pc of the volume at Dublin. Total flights in Irish airspace are up 2.7pc and en route traffic up 1pc to 301,331 movements. Europe to North America flights are up 3.8pc to 420,423.

Knock is to receive for the first dedicated transatlantic pilgrimage flight in the facility’s history in August, when a pilgrimage from New York will land. Monsignor James Horan’s plan for the airport in the 1980’s was that pilgrimages would play a significant role in generating business but this failed to happen.

Shannon Airport confirmed passenger numbers were up 17pc from 1,400,032 to 1,639,315, having ended five successive years of decline. Nine new European services, delivered a 70pc increase (from 251,813 to 427,887). The airport’s five US services (Boston, Chicago, Newark, JFK New York and Philadelphia) delivered growth of 10pc and England delivered growth of 5pc.

  • Ryanair launched the first celebrations marking its 30th birthday by releasing 100,000 seats for sale (until Thurs last) across its European network,  €19.99 for travel in Jan-Mar.
  • CityJet completed a refinancing programme which involves the sale and leaseback of seven Avro RJ85 aircraft from Falko Regional Aircraft and said its restructuring plans were progressing ahead of schedule. It said it continued to experience improving trading conditions and was emerging successfully from a challenging period following its divestiture from Air France, its previous owner, which left it “with an infrastructure which was inappropriate for a independent regional carrier.”
  • SITA launched OnAir, a supplier of in-flight passenger communications services.
  • Icelandic low-cost carrier WOW air announced details of its new direct service from Dublin to Iceland. Tickets available from €49, the service will operate on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays from June 2. Flight time is 2 hours and 20 mins.
  • Ryanair plans to trial inflight entertainment and possible Wi-Fi later this year.
  • Passenger numbers at Dublin Airport increased by 8pc last year to 21.7m.
  • Budget carrier Jet2 will operate a new service from Belfast International Airport to Verona this summer. The weekly flights will operate from May 20 to September 23.
  • Total flights in Irish airspace grew by 2.7pc during 2014. En route traffic increase by 1pc to 301,331 movements. North Atlantic Communications flights increased 3.8pc to 420,423. Commercial traffic grew by 6.pc to 215,783 movements.
  • Cork County Council hopes to organise a major push to convince Minister Paschal Donohoe and the DAA to cut a deal with Cork Airport to ease its €113m debt.
  • traffic-performanceTraffic at Dublin Airport increased 13.4pc YOY in December 2014, while Shannon Airport was up 8.5pc. There was an average 1,251 daily flights during December. The busiest day was December 5 with 1,503 flights.
  • Reminder: Emirates is holding its Cabin Crew open day on January 17 at 9am at the Hilton Dublin, Charlemont Place.
  • lingus-photobombAer Lingus slagged Ryanair on Twitter this week after the budget carrier supposedly used an image of an Aer Lingus jet on ryanair.com. “Epic #photobomb by EI-DVM on Ryanair’s website! Even they know we’re Best for Business,” Aer Lingus quipped. Ryanair responded: “Even @AerLingus is talking about @Ryanair Business Plus. FYI, he’s smiling cos he saved a fortune & avoided another late @AerLingus arrival!” When Aer Lingus described the exchange as just some healthy rivalry, Ryanair snapped back with: “We stopped being rivals in the 90s @AerLingus. We’d have to treble our fares & lose 81m customers to be your rival #EuropesNo1.” “Okay, nevermind,” a disheartened Aer Lingus replied. Game over.
  • Lufthansa estimated a 2015 fuel bill of €5.8bn, 13pc lower than last year.
  • Ethiopian Airlines announced a codeshare partnership with Japan’s All Nippon Airways.
  • Finnair was certified as a Stage 2 operator in the IATA Environmental Assessment programme.
  • From now until Feb 28, premium passengers on United Airlines can earn up to 12,000 additional MileagePlus bonus miles on top of existing base accrual for long haul flights.
  • Gothenburg City Airport, which closed for repair work in November, will not reopen for commercial traffic, according to airport operator Swedavia, which said the cost of rebuilding the airport to make it viable again for commercial airlines was too high.
  • British Airways offered a reduced repatriation fare to Cyprus Airways passengers, which ceased flights last week.
  • Ryanair is still keen to sell its stake in Aer Lingus, according to chief marketing officer Kenny Jacobs “We’ve been actively looking for people to make an offer,” Kenny Jacobs said. He said Aer Lingus “will need a partner…Something has to happen – be that IAG or someone else – to keep growing.” 
  • Diversion of the week was the Aer Lingus Regional flight from Kerry on Thursday which diverted to Belfast.
  • Kenny Jacobs told Dutch media that Ryanair intends to increase significantly its market share in the Netherlands from the current 4pc, flying business routes from Schiphol to Dublin, London and Eastern Europe, and leisure routes from Lelystad. He said a Schiphol base was not likely before 2016. He said Eindhoven Airport will continued to be important for Ryanair but the service to Knock would be cancelled.
  • Belfast International Airport have 14 new routes this year, including once off flights such as Havana. Copenhagen is expected to be added in the coming weeks.
  • delta-soloDelta passenger Chris O’Leary (pictured) unintentionally managed to get a 76-seater cabin all to himself: A flight from Cleveland to New York was delayed multiple times due to bad weather. It wasn’t until Chris boarded the flight that he discovered all the other passengers had been rebooked on other flights, meaning he was the only passenger.
  • A Ryanair B737-800 is up for sale on Done Deal (a joke of course). Asking price is €69m. “Tire pressure seems to be okay and by looking at the body it hasn’t much miles on her…Not sure if its petrol or diesel it could be solar panels too. Sunroof works perfectly, great for an explosive decompression. Comes with full size spare wheel, nuts are a bit tight though…Can’t find the brake lights or the steering wheel.” 
  • A profit is never recognised in his own land. Read here Eoghan Corry’s thoughts in the Irish Independent on IAG’s bid for Aer Lingus.

Afloat

TC Northern Lights HurtegrutenHurtigruten has added an extra charter flight from Dublin on March 18 to support its Arctic Highlights Northern Lights programme.

  • Royal Caribbean has postponed expanding its dynamic dining concept to more ships in the fleet, including Oasis of the Seas and Allure of the Seas. Dynamic Dining does not have set dining times or formal nights and offers 18 dining options on Quantum of the Seas, including five free dining venues. Royal say Anthem of the Seas will feature Dynamic Dining but the concept is the subject of debate on internet forums.
  • Features on Norwegian Escape, to launch in November, include two restaurants from celebrity chef Jose Garces, a craft beer hall from Miami-based craft brewery Wynwood and two new Broadway shows — After Midnight and Million Dollar Quartet. International gourmet dishes will be available in Food Republic, located in former cabin space, now an extended Waterfront on Deck 8. Norwegian’s first swine bar will be the Cellars, a Michael Mondavi Family Wine Bar.
  • New penalties have been revealed by the US authorities monitoring sulphur emissions by cruise ships operating to the Caribbean. Ships operating in the four Sulphur Emission Control Areas, including the Baltic and North Sea must use fuel containing less than 0.1 percent sulfur under new emission regulations that kicked in Jan 1. Cherbourg and Roscoff are within the E8urpean SECA zone.
  • MSC Sinfonia moved into dry dock for stretching, the second ship to undergo the Renaissance programme.
  • The Tribunale Amministrativo Regionale, Venice‘s regional court of appeal threw out the limit on large cruise ships (over 2,260 passengers) the city imposed in November 2014. Italy’s Transport Ministry said it would appeal the decision to the Council of State.
  • Celebrity Cruises introduced an add-on package for travellers looking to spend more time in their departure city prior to their cruise, available for booking on cruises departing as early as February 2015.
  • Royal Caribbean have dropped the $15 surcharge to ea the Quantum of the Seas healthy specialty restaurant Devinly Decadence. All dishes in the restaurant are 500 calories or less. Royal Caribbean is partnering with Google Maps to offer a virtual tour of Quantum of the Seas Allure of the Seas was mapped in July 2014.
  • Royal Caribbean’s Royal IQ app is now available to Android users.
  • Disney Dream and Disney Fantasy are offering six courses that feature white Alba and black Perigord truffles for $250 a head during truffle season, November to January. Passengers can purchase one-ounce tins of caviar, ranging in price from $99 to $360.
  • Carnival Cruise Line has ended its partnership with EA Sports. Ships that have EA Sports Bars will have the branding phased out.
  • Seabourn Sojourn is to cruise the Western Med in 2016, Seabourn Quest will cruise from the Western Med o Northern Europe. Seabourn Odyssey will cruise the Eastern Med, including a new 12-night Morocco and Canary Islands itinerary. Experiences include visits to UNESCO sites, shopping trips to local markets with the ships’ chefs, water sports in the Med and classical concerts under the stars in Ephesus.
  • Liverpool City Council approved an expansion project for Liverpool’s cruise terminal, which will allow ships of up to 1,800 passengers to dock.
  • American Cruise Lines said it plans to build European-style riverboats in a move away from the traditional paddlewheeler designs.
  • Prestige Cruises International withdrew plans for an IPO.

Ireland

Annual Visitor Numbers released this week show the National Museum in Dublin’s Kildare Street was up 10.6pc to 447,137 making it the 11th most popular attraction on the island. The Natural History museum was up 6pc to 300,272 (25th), National Museum Collins Barracks down 3pc to 243,172 (37th) the National Country Life Museum in Castlebar up 9.7pc to 109,000 (64th). This is the fourth successive year that total National Museum attendance for the four sites passed 1m, to a record 1,099,581.

GALWAY TOURISM OPERATOR ‘GOES DUTCH’Tourism Ireland in Amsterdam was joined by nine Irish tourism companies at the Vakantiebeurs holiday and travel show in Utrecht this week. 122,000 visitors attended the six-day event last year. Picture shows Mícheál Ó Cíonna, Killary Fjord Boat Tours, with Ruairí Lehmann and Jacqueline Keogh, both Tourism Ireland at the fair.

Clare County Council accepted an invitation to visit the Yunnan Province in China in April or May 2015 with a view to twinning the Burren and the Cliffs of Moher Geopark with the Stone Forest Geopark in southwest China.

Wicklow - Glendalough DistilleryWicklow and Cork are showcased in two new episodes of TV3’s The Holiday Show. Episode 3, which airs this Wednesday (Jan 21) at 8pm, sees presenters Ciara Whelan and Jon Slattery stay at the Powerscourt Hotel Resort & Spa, surf in Maghermore and make gin at Glendalough Distillery. Episode four on Jan 28 sees the couple take a jogging tour of Cork City, explore the English Market and go pony trekking and whale watching on the Sheep’s Head peninsula.

  • One of Belfast’s favourite Winter festivals, Out to Lunch returns until Sunday next Jan 25 serving up over three weeks of theatre, music and comedy, during lunch hour and your food for £6.50.
  • Powerscourt estate reported 233,000 visitors in 2014, up 11.5pc and making it the 40th most popular attraction on the island.
  • Clare County Council has accepted an invitation from the People’s Republic of China to send a delegation to the country to explore a twinning link with China.

Award Nominations Travel Agency Awards

trio

  • ITAA Leisure Travel Professional: Louise Brennan Ormsby of Club Travel, Jacynta Mullen of Abbey Travel, Caroline O’Toole of Fahy Travel,
  • ITAA Corporate Travel Professional: Olive Taaffe of Club Travel, Catherine Monaghan of FCm Travel Solutions, Louise Dunne and Karen Ray of The Travel Broker
  • Most Innovative ITAA Member Marketing Campaign: Navan Travel, Club Travel, Tour America
  • ITAA Corporate Travel Agency: Atlas Travel Group, Corporate Travel Management, FCm Travel Solutions
  • ITAA Travel Agency of the Year (Under 10 Employees): 1 Stop Travel, Blackpool Travel, Fahy Travel Worldchoice, Navan Travel, O’Hanrahan Travel, Rory Mc Dyer Travel, The Travel Broker, Travel Escapes
  • ITAA Travel Agency of the Year (Over 10 Employees): Abbey Travel, Club Travel, Corporate Travel Management, J Barter Travel Group, Shandon Travel, Tour America, Travelfox.ie

Air Travel Category

  • Airline to Europe: Aer Lingus, British Airways, Ryanair, SAS, Turkish Airlines
  • Business Class Airline to Europe: Air France, British Airways, Lufthansa, SAS, Turkish Airlines
  • Airline to North America: Aer Lingus, Air Canada, Delta Airlines, United Airlines, Virgin Atlantic
  • Long Haul Airline: British Airways, Emirates Airline, Etihad Airways, Malaysia Airlines, Virgin Atlantic

Tour Operator Category

  • European Sun Tour Operator: Sunway, Falcon Holidays, Topflight, Cassidy Travel, Concorde Travel
  • Escorted Tour Operator: Contiki, Cosmos, Insight Vacations, Riviera Travel, Sunway
  • Specialist Tour Operator: Discover Travel, If Only, Sunway, The Travel Corporation, Travel Focus
  • Ski Tour Operator: Crystal Ski, Topflight
  • Long Haul Tour Operator: Classic Resorts, If Only, Sunway, Topflight, Travel Focus

Cruise & Ferry Category

  • General Cruise Company: Celebrity Cruises, Fred Olsen Cruises, MSC Cruises, Norwegian Cruise Line, Royal Caribbean
  • Ultra Luxury Cruise Company: Azamara Cruises, Celebrity Cruises, MSC Yacht Club, Royal Caribbean, Silversea Cruises
  • Specialist Cruise Company: Ama Waterways, MSC Cruises, Riviera Travel, Royal Caribbean, Uniworld
  • Ferry Company: Brittany Ferries, Irish Ferries, P&O Ferries, Stena Line

Agency Services Provider Category

  • Technology Provider: Amadeus, Bookabed, Proactive Labs, Travelport
  • Car Hire Company: Affordable Car Hire, Alamo, Flexible Car Hire, Hertz, Your Car Hire
  • Travel Insurance Provider: Accident & General, Blue Insurances, KMT, My Travel Insurance, Viasure
  • Tourist Board: Dubai, New York, Spain, Tunisia, Visit USA
  • Supplier Support Team: Amadeus, Bookabed, MSC Cruises, Sunway, Travelport
  • Accommodation Only Provider: Arrow Tours, Bedsonline, Bookabed, Globe Hotels, Lowcostbedsfive suppliers
  • Supplier Representative of the YearJennifer Callister of Royal Caribbean, Rebecca Kelly of MSC, Thomas McNally of Bedsonline, Lee Osborne of Bookabed, and Jeanette Taylor of Sunway

Destinations Category

  • Worldwide City Destination: Dubai, Las Vegas, New York, Orlando, Sydney
  • European City Destination: Barcelona, London, Paris, Prague, Rome
  • Ski Destination : Andorra, Austria, France, Italy
  • Summer Sun Destination: Greece, Italy, Portugal, Spain, Turkey
  • Winter Sun Destination: Dubai, Gran Canaria, Lanzarote, Morocco, Tenerife,
  • Worldwide Theme Park: Disneyland Paris, Portavantura, Siam Park Tenerife, Universal Orlando Resort, Walt Disney World Resort,
  • Worldwide Hotel: Chain Hilton, Hyatt, Intercontinental, Marriott, Radisson.

The Irish Travel Industry Awards are an initiative of the Irish Travel Agents Association in association with Amadeus. Award categories are sponsored by American Airlines, British Airways, Cork Airport, DAA, Hertz, Port of Cork, Travelbiz.ie and Turkish Airlines. Ancillary sponsors are Falcon, O’Leary Insurance Group and The Travel Corporation.

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

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