TRAVEL Extra’s Sunday Supplement: Where will Stephen steer the Shamrock?



Neil Jones representing New Orleans speaking at the Visit USA roadshow event in No 1 Pery Square, Limerick

Neil Jones representing New Orleans at the Visit USA roadshow event, No 1 Pery Square

The headlines this week:

  • Stephen Kavanagh takes the hot seat
  • Visit USA hits the road
  • Secret’s out at The Strand Hotel
  • Plain sailing for Brittany Ferries – Cork to Roscoff bookings up 5pc
  • NITB snake along the trail of St Patrick

Travel Extra TV

Video of week Feb 22Our video of the week comes from footballer turned Hollywood tough guy Vinnie Jones, who teaches us a few words en español in this promo for Three England. Includes useful phrases such as Alright sunshine, ‘ow you keeping? Watch here.

  • Boeing  showcases the 777 Signature interior. Watch here.
  • Business life in Kuala Lumpur with British Airways. Watch here.
  • The Irish cricket team talks Ireland with Tourism Ireland. Watch here.
  • Voices of Ireland sing for St Patrick — Tourism Ireland‘s video showcases the spiritual locations around Down Cathedral in Downpatrick. Watch here. Performance of ‘You Raise Me Up’ (watch here) and ‘Be Thou My Vision’ (watch here).
  • A celebration of love with Emirates. Watch here.
  • NITB chatted to defending Irish Open champion Mikko Ilonen ahead of this year’s event in Co Down. Watch here.
  • Aer Lingus relives its Mega Seat Giveaway in Liffey Valley Shopping Centre and the Blanchardstown Centre last summer. Watch here.
  • Ryanair introduces its communications partnership with Vodafone. Watch here.

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Stephen Kavanagh was the unsurprising choice as new CEO of Aer Lingus, unsurprising as he was at the heart of the airline’s recent trans-Atlantic policy. The surprise was the timing, indicating a new owner will now inherit a CEO as well. If IAG’s reassurance that the Aer Lingus game-plan will stay in place is real, this is an appointment that will suit everyone, giving Lingus stability and the prospective new owners continuity of a CEO who previously worked with Willie Walsh. The bid has not been launched yet, highlight in the soap opera this week was the Colm Barrington and Aer Lingus presentation (statements here, report here) to the Oireachtas Transport committee. Aer Lingus case was:

  • The market between Europe and North America is 75m people per annum. Increasing Aer Lingus’s share of this traffic from 2pc, to 4 or 5pc would mean bringing an additional 1 to 2m passengers per year through Ireland.
  • Aer Lingus is doing well on its own and will grow but it will be better and grow faster if sold to IAG.
  • IAG’s proposal can enable Ireland to become a central hub for European traffic across the Atlantic,
  • There is an immediate prospect of accelerating plans to open two new destinations in North America, one on the east coast and one on the west coast [in 2016].
  • Aer Lingus carried 1.3m customers across the Atlantic last year and 1 in 3 of those customers [430,000] was travelling between Europe and North America.
  • Being part of IAG will enhance Aer Lingus’s European growth. Aer Lingus short-haul services,  will benefit from the sales and marketing of IAG and Oneworld partner sales, strengthening the positions of the Cork and Shannon to Heathrow routes

The travel trade exhibition which takes place in conjunction with the AGM of the Irish Travel Agents Association in Citywest on Apr 23-24 is over subscribed, and the organisers, Business Exhibitions, are seeking extra space. “It is an overwhelming response considering the event is still two months away,” Edmund Hourican of Business Exhibitions says.

Seven sponsors accompanied the Visit USA roadshow to Limerick, Cork and Dublin. Visit USA Ireland is 25 years old this year and now has 80 members, up from the low of 27 three years ago. Agents gathered in Number One Pery Square in Limerick to hear presentations from Greg Evans from Atlantic City and Philadelphia (listen here), Neil Jones from New Orleans (listen here), Isabel Harrison from Shannon airport (listen here), Duncan McCubbin from North Carolina (listen here), Fiona Noonan from American Airline (listen here) and Patricia Purdue from Massachusetts (listen here). The event in Hayfield Manor and the residence in Dublin were best attended with 30 agents at each. They heard presentations from Greg Evans from Atlantic City (listen here) and Philadelphia (listen here), Neil Jones from New Orleans (listen here), Duncan McCubbin from North Carolina (listen here), Fiona Noonan from American Airline (listen here), Declan Power from Shannon airport (listen here) and Patricia Purdue from Massachusetts (listen here). See here the Philadelphia National Geographic visitors guide, see here the What’s New in Philadelphia presentation, see here a link to the Atlantic City visitors guide. Picture shows Ciara Foley of Platinum Travel chair of Visit USA Dublin, and Finola Cunningham of the US embassy. See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.


IMG_0019Sean Lally hosted 150 guests to the opening of the Secret Garden at the Strand Hotel in Limerick. An evening of casino games followed helpings of Guinea Fowl and other delicacies prepared by chef Tom Flavin in Chinese style. Sean has been GM at the Strand since joining from the Clarion in 2008. Pictures show Sean Lally speaking and events manager Ciara Hanley and Sean Lally at the event. See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.

The storyboard giving the history of the hotel is worth checking out. Strand Hotel marketing manager in London Jim O’Mara’s daughter Connie O’Mara was a governess in Vienna who married Werner von Trapp, brother to George on whose own governess wife, Maria, the Sound of Music was based.IMG_0005

IMG_0015Brittany Ferries bookings on Cork to Roscoff are 5pc ahead of last year, Mike Bevens told travel media at an event this week. This is on the back of a 7pc increase last year. Group bookings are up 2pc and the big news is that the Pont Aven will go into dry dock for three months in January to have scrubbers fitted at a cost of €12m. “The drop in fuel price means don’t have to put up prices,” Mike Bevens says. Other enhancements during refit include the installation of Nespresso coffee machines in the high end Commofore cabins and lounge areas. Picture shows Mike Bevens and Hugh Bruton of Brittany Ferries with Celine Badde Liynage of Brittany tourism. See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.

IMG_0038Mercedes Sianchez of Madrid Tourism and Oliver Benalal of the Inter-continental Hotel in Madrid (pictured)  hosted irish trade in the Intercontinental Hotel Dublin. Mercedes says she wishes to boost the Irish visitor numbers to Madrid from their current levels which are too low. See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.

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IMG_6213Northern Ireland Tourist Board hosted travel media on the trail of St Patrick. Mark Mohan explained how St Patrick’s Trail will eventually form a camino style trail from Louth to Armagh and across Down to Downpatrick and the nearby ancient pilgrimage site of Struell Wells. Picture shows the group at the reputed grave of Patrick in Downpatrick where local guides Joy Wilkinson and Loretto Coyne explained the significance of local Patrician and ecclesiastical sites. Tim Campbell revealed that St Patrick’s centre in Downpatrick was never officially opened – the opening was postponed because of foot and mouth disease and never took place. Dean Henry Hull said that the refurbishment of Downpatrick Cathedral would be complete for the visit of the Archbishop of Canterbury on March 17. Pictures show Kirstin Smith of NITB, Áine O’Connor of the Star, Joy Wilkinson from Downpatrick Cathedral, John Low of Senior Times, Mags Gargan of the Irish Catholic, Rebecca Brennan of Ireland of the Welcomes, tour guide Leretto Coyne and Eoghan Corry, editor of Travel Extra, at the reputed grave of St Patrick in Downpatrick, Dean Henry Hull, Tim Campbell and Joy Nicholson in the cathedral undergoing refurbishment and Kirstin Smith of NITB at the famous pilgrimage site the wells of Struell. The group were hosted at the seaside retreat, Slieve Donard Hotel in Newcastle (see here).

Travel Trade

elaine o'brien has appointed Elaine O’Brien (pictured) of the Travelbookers to head up their Irish operation.

The ITAA has announced Emirates as an ITAA Affiliate Partner.

Caroline O’Toole of Fahy Travel in Galway is celebrating a speculative wedding enquiry that turned into a €85,000 cruise booking for 90 people. Colm Ó’Flatharta and Nóirín Ní Chonghaile were in search of suggestions when Caroline recommended a seven-night western Mediterranean cruise aboard MSC Preziosa from Marseille in July.

Four agents will fly Business Class with Emirates to Dubai to enjoy a live performance from One Direction. Email details on the number of Emirates bookings you have made between Feb 23 and March 20 inclusive, and the travel consultant who has made the most Emirates bookings could be jetting off to Dubai. Return – not one direction only.

  • Lowcostbeds and AlSol resorts are offering a prize of seven nights’ accommodation in the 5-star AlSol Tiara at Cap Cana in Dominican Republic. All bookings made in February will be automatically entered into a draw.
  • Holly Mason has started as the new Marketing & PR executive with the Travel Corporation.
  • Sunway is offering €5 per passenger on Club Med bookings before Feb 27, ands a chance to win , in association with Club Med, has launched a promotion for Irish travel agents. Just book a Club Med villa and receive a free Club Med holiday for two.
  • Wendy Wu Tours is offering free upgrades on its China tour programme until tomorrow, Monday Feb 23
  • BookaBed has a job vacancy for a Product Assistant. Reporting in to the Product Manager.
  • Funway Holidays will run a joint campaign with SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment in March.
  • Skål International Dublin‘s AGM will be held at 12.30pm, March 10 in the Conrad Dublin Hotel. Lunch costs €30 for members, €35 for guests.
  • Funway Holidays will launch its Marital March campaign next month, offering engagement breaks to New York, wedding packages to Mexico and honeymoons in Barbardos.
  • Skål Ireland National Convention takes place March 27-29 in Rochestown Park Hotel,. A coach tour of East Cork will include a visit and lunch in Cobh Heritage Centre and visit to Ballyseedy Centre. Convention packages from €120pps for 1 night and from €245pps for 2 nights. Email Mary Browne, national treasurer before March 15.
  • MSC Cruises appointed Luca Biondolillo to the newly created post of chief communications officer.
  • Fastbooking selected Christine Tan as SVP Sales & Marketing.
  • Camino Ways competition: Win a 7-day Camino do Santiago trip for two plus a Hi-Tech Camino gear kit. Enter here. Winners of the Camino Ways Holiday World Show 2015 draw: Paula Lindstrom, winner of 3 nights on the Wild Atlantic Way and Dee O’Mahony, winner of a €250 voucher for 53 Degres North.
  • Marie Greevey, former President of the Skal Club, passed away on Sunday, February 15. Ar dheis Dé go raibh a hanam.


jp kavanaghJP Kavanagh takes over as GM of the Intercontinental Hotel in Ballsbridge tomorrow Monday. He arrives from Dubai and previously was GM of the Fitzwilliam, Sheraton in Edinburgh, the Turnberry, the Connaught in London and Mandarin Oriental. He replaces acting GM Paul downing who oversaw the changeover from its former identity as Four Seasons. “It was a seamless change,” says Gillian De Lacy of Intercontinental. “The new sign was erected at 8.30am on new Year’s Day and we completed what is normally an 18-month process in ten days.”

Ireland’s hoteliers gather at the Slieve Russell in Ballinamore this week for the annual IHF conference (see programme here). Speakers include Kilkenny hurling manager Brian Cody, Michael Cawley, Pat McCann, Howard Hastings, Bobby Kerr, Alan Waite, Jim Dollard, Alan Ahearne, Sarah Duignan, Aiden Murphy, Alan O’Neill, Warren McDonald and David Zamitt. The gala ball takes place Tuesday night and the President’s dine around will offer a Swedish dining in the Conall Cearnach Restaurant and a Basque menu in the Setanta Restaurant.award pic

John Burke’s Armada Hotel in Spanish Point won the Wedding Venue of the Year award at the weddingsonline 2015 Awards. They also won awards for website and waterside venue. Bellinter House in Navan won the Exclusive Venue of the Year and Lough Rynn in Mohill the Castle Hotel of the year. The four provincial winners were Clayton Hotel in Galway, Four Seasons Hotel in Carlingford, Garryvoe Hotel in Castlemartyr and Solis Lough Eske in Donegal. Picture shows Susie Conroy, Marita Morrissey and Fiona Buckley-Kitt from The Armada Hotel with Jonathan Bryans or and Lisa Cannon of Xpose.

Revenues at the Marker Hotel were up 10pc year on year. Accumulated losses at Lough Rynn Castle fell from €1.31m to €1.286m. Further hotel sales are expected in the coming months following the sale of Adare Manor Hotel & Golf Resort to  JP McManus for an estimated €30m at the beginning of February.

  • Chesapeake Lodging Trust announced two new Vice Presidents, Nishil Patel and Nicholas Jette.
  • Starwood opened Element Vancouver Metrotown, the second Element hotel to open in Canada. Hyatt Place Tijuana opened in Baja California, Mexico.
  • Marriott sold The Miami Beach EDITION hotel for $230m Loews entered San Francisco with the purchase of Mandarin Oriental.
  • STR Global Construction Pipeline Report reports 912 hotels totalling 144,374 rooms under contract in Europe, according to the January 2015. Istanbul leads with 4,981 rooms followed by London with 4,470, Amsterdam with 2,368 Baku with 1,654 and Berlin with 1,642 rooms.
  • Hotel News Now reported hotel room piracy is increasing with 73.1pc of hoteliers claiming events had been targeted by piracy.
  • Dalata Hotel Group completed its acquisition of Whites Hotel, Wexford and Pillo Hotel, Galway, on Monday.
  • Red Carnation Hotels, the firm that operates Ashford Castle hotel resort, recorded pre-tax profits of €724,983 in its first year of operation.
  • Travelodge will launch a £15m marketing campaign later this year. The budget hotel chain is undergoing a £100m investment, with 87pc of guest rooms featuring the new look, king size Dreamer bed.
  • Melia Hotels International will open the 20-story Melia Paris La Défense, which boasts 369 rooms, which includes 29 suites, three restaurants and bars and is located adjacent to the Esplanade de la Défense metro station.
  • Ard na Sidhe Country House was listed as one of Conde Nast Traveler’s most affordable hotels in the world.
  • Hilton Worldwide will open the first Doubletree property in Egypt in 2017. The 197-room hotel will be located in Ain Al Sokhna.
  • Premier Inn in England is now offering free WIFI at all its hotels.


Madeira is backMadeira is back on the destinations board for 2015 after a hiatus of 8 months and a false start in 2014. Concorde Travel will operate direct flights from Dublin to Funchal every Thursday from the May 7 until Sept 17, their own charter with Europe Airpost.

WorldEscape founded and built by siblings Emmett and Deidre Brady (also responsible for building Ireland’s largest legal services firm,, offers over 10,000 lofts, houses, cottages, and even houseboats in over 50 cities around the world. WorldEscape lists four advantages over competitors such as Airbnb, it does not charge a booking fee, tcompared with 6-12pc by competiros, WorldEscape only charges 15pc at the time of booking compared with 100pc by competitors, it visits and vets every property it offers and 24 hour real person customer support, transport to and from the airport, and luggage storage.

  • The Passport Office has apologised for delays in processing passports, which it says is partly due to increased demand on services, following the most recent naturalisation ceremony for 3,000 foreign nationals.
  • Filmmaker Reinhard Radke will be personally conducting tours of the Serengeti Siobhan Learat‘s Adams & Butler this summer.
  • Mundy will be giving an exclusive live performance of the Copper Face Jacks Topflight ski trip to Arinsal. Topflight have added 20 places to the trip. The Copper Face Jacks wristband gives access to Coppers events for €899 March 1-8.
  • Irish businesses trading with Hong Kong and China are invited to enter the Cathay Pacific China Business Awards 2015 from Friday, February 6.
  • Enterprise Rent-A-Car has launched in Denmark through a new joint venture between two well-established Danish businesses.
  • Two Chinese taxi hailing apps, Didi Dache and Kuaidi Dache, plan to merge.
  • Vanessa Ledesma-Berrios became the first female COO of the Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association.
  • VisitScotland is giving the chance to win 2 nights B&B at Cambo House to celebrate the Snowdrop Festival in Fife. Enter here.
  • Airbnb settled its long standing tax bill with San Francisco.
  • Enterprise Holdings acquired Triangle Rent A Car.
  • Visit Florida announced that 97.3m tourists visited the state in 2014.
  • The 400ft high Orlando Eye will open on May 4.
  • Airbnb-etiquetteRead Debrett and Airbnb‘s guide to homesharing etiquette.
  • 2,345 complaints were made against a TV and cinema ad by Many of the complaints were against the substituion of the word ‘booking’ with a certain swear word. It doesn’t get any booking better than this. Look at the view, look at the booking view. This is exactly what you booking needed.
  • Travel group CTT bought tour operator Pettitts Travel.
  • 50 people were injured after two trains collided in Rafz, Switzerland.

Food and Wine

  • Nominations close tonight Sunday at midnight for tithe seventh annual Irish Restaurant Awards 2015.
  • GMIT students won eleven titles and eight gold medals at the CATEX awards in the RDS, Dublin.
  • Nespresso latest chef collaboration is with Irish Michelin starred Chef Kevin Thornton.
  • 25 restauranteurs in Waterford have put together Eat Waterford, a guide to eating out in the city. The guide is available free at hotels, restaurants and attractions in Waterford or it can be downloaded at
  • The gin room at Tankardstown House in Slane is offering a whopper sharing platter of ham, salami, coppa, spiced beef, brined ox tongue, smoked duck breast, celeriac remoulade, pickled vegetables, fermented cabbage and preserved chillies for €35. See for more info.


fiona noonanFiona Noonan of American Airlines (pictured) confirmed at the Visit USA roadshow that American are increasing their aircraft size to  a brand new A330 on Dublin services to both Philadelphia and Charlotte, with fully lie flat in business for the first time and seatback entertainment in economy, and extending their Shannon-Philadelphia service to October.  Dublin JFK returns on March 26 with a retrofit 767 and the seasonal service from Dublin to Chicago.

Emirates Cabin Crew Group Shot amilwEmirates has reached the top 200 of the world’s biggest brands for the first time. The airline is to hire 11,000 new staff, more than the entire staff in Ryanair.

An online survey of more than 9,000 people nationwide by the AA showed 43pc of 17-24 year olds will go directly to a price comparison website when pricing flights, compared with 14pc of over 65s. The AA says over 65s probably pay more for their flights when booking online.

Lufthansa became the first airline to select Amadeus’ patent-pending Altéa Corporate Recognition, a tool which allows the airline to better recognise corporate customers at the time of booking.

Etihad launched daily flights between Abu Dhabi and Kolkata (Calcutta), the airline’s 11th destination in India on its own, and its 15th destination in combination with network partner Jet Airways.

Ryanair reported record bookings from American customers following the launch of its new United States Ryanair website in December, which enables flight bookings to be made in dollars.

Qatar Airways is giving customers the chance to win a pair of return tickets to any of the 146 destinations on its network. A winner will be selected each week from customers booking online, the competition will run over a period of one month from Feb 22. Customers must use the promotional code “BOOKANDWIN” when purchasing their flights. Customers can take advantage of the long travel validity of the tickets, with 12 months to redeem their prize.

Air Lituanica has joined the European Region Airlines Association.

Aer Rianta International won a contract to operate a duty free concession at Auckland International airport, beginning in July.

Aircraft lessor Avolon installed a treasury management system from Salmon Software.

Belfast International Airport doubled its claim for damages against Aer Lingus to £40m for moving to Belfast City Airport in 2012.

Passenger assistance website AirHelp claimed that Irish passengers whose flights were delayed or cancelled in 2013 are due refunds of €52m.

A scorpion stung a woman on board an Alaska Airlines flight as it was taxiing on the runway.

Sanad Aer Solutions extended its leasing portfolio of spare engines with Etihad Airways.

Ryanair reached 7m passengers at Berlin Shonefeld Airport this week.

P_Ulf_HuettmeyerEtihad Airways appointed Ulf Huttmeyer (pictured) as senior vice president finance equity partner, effective April 1.

Kazakhstan’s Air Astana appointed Simon Rickman to Sales and Marketing Manager, Britain and Ireland.

  • Seven people were injured during severe turbulence on a United Airlines flight from Newark to Hawaii.
  • Qantas will enforce rules for smart casual dress in its airport lounges from April after receiving complaints from customers. Those wearing thongs, singlets and torn t-shirts will be issued a friendly reminder and may be denied entry.
  • Flights to an from Italy were disrupted due to a four-hour strike by Italian air traffic controllers.
  • Traffic at European airports increased 5.5pc in 2014, according to Moldova saw the biggest increase with traffic growing 34.9pc, while Ukraine saw the biggest decrease, down 14.3pc. Irish traffic was up 7pc.
  • Iceland’s low cost carrier WOW air purchased two new A321s on finance lease to use on its transatlantic routes.
  • From next month, Easyjet Plus passengers will be allowed take a second bag into the cabin.
  • Boeing reported that six B737s were ordered by unidentified customers.
  • American Airlines is considering larger aircraft to replace 20 E190s once they are phased out.
  • Lufthansa outlined plans for growth in fleet and staff numbers at its main airlines business in exchange for cost cuts as it tries to end a long-running labour dispute with pilots.
  • Air China took delivery of new B737-800, its 38th aircraft at its Chongqing Branch.
  • Etihad chief executive James Hogan resigned from the board of Virgin Australia Holdings. CFO James Rigney stepped down as well.
  • Lufthansa Technik will provide a Total Component Support for A320 and A330 fleet of the four airlines of Thomas Cook Group from February 2015 to 2021.
  • Low cost carrier Eurowings will have its first base outside Germany in Vienna.


Children up to the age of 15 can travel free on board Irish Ferries sailings to Britain until May 21.

The signature North Star viewing pod on board Quantum of the Seas, Nov 1 2014Royal Caribbean Anthem of the Seas will float out February 21 at Meyer Werft’s Papenburg shipyard in Germany, Anthem and undergo thruster and stabiliser tests in the shipyard’s harbour before naming in Southampton in April. The ship will offer Mediterranean itineraries out of Southampton before redeploying to Cape Liberty in November 2015. It will feature the pod, virtual skydive and bumper car innovations introduced on sister ship Quantum of the Seas.

Three new CroisiEurope ships are to launch in April. MS Loire Princesse launches April 2 and will be the first boat with overnight cabins to operator on the Loire, thanks to innovative paddle wheel technology. MS Camargue launches April 1 will join the CroisiEurope fleet on the Rhone alongside the MS Mistral and MS Van Gogh. MS Gil Eanes launches April 17 and will ply the Douro joining three other CroisiEurope ships the MS Infante D Henrique, the MS Fernao De Magalhaes and the MS Vasco Da Gama. Alan Lynch’s Cruisescapes are GSA for CroisiEurope in Ireland.

Anthem of the Seas entertainment will an original Royal Theatre production show The Gift and a new show in Two70 Spectra’s Cabaret in addition to the Broadway musical, We Will Rock You, previously announced by the line, passengers on the ship will be treated to as “a musical journey of fantasy and illusion that begins one stormy night with the arrival of a magical gift.”

IMG_2447 copyThe fact that Europe has been able to boost demand for cruises by 43pc since the global recession hit when other tourism sectors were flat will be analysed at the upcoming Cruise Shipping conference in Miami. Speakers at the session include: Pierfrancesco Vago of MSC Chairman of CLIA Europe, Kerry Anastassiadis of Louis Cruises, David Dingle of Carnival, Manfredi Lefebvre d’Ovidio, of Silversea, Gianni Onorato of MSC, Dominic Paul of Royal Caribbean (pictured) and Michael Thamm of Costa Crociere. Speakers at the keynote session include Orlando Ashford, of Holland America Line, Roberto Fusaro of MSC, Lisa Lutoff-Perlo of Celebrity and Jan Swartz of Princess Cruises.

  • Oceania Cruises is overhauling the Culinary Centre onboard its O-class ships, Marina and Riviera, creating a new curriculum with 20 classes focusing on regional cuisine.
  • Quark Expeditions launch their Arctic 2016 season tomorrow Monday, Feb 23.
  • CLIA appointed Charles Sylvia as vice president of trade relations from March 2.
  • Carnival chairman Micky Arison sold 10m shares for $433.7m.
  • Passengers on board the Carnival Vista will be able to pedal around the top deck on the SkyRide.

Deal Watch

  • To celebrate the 20th anniversary of the Spanish theme park PortAventura, is offering agents a 20pc discount on all multiday tickets for a limited time.
  • Lowcostbeds accommodation offers in Sharm El Sheikh: 5* Hilton Waterfalls All Inclusive from €43pppn. 5* Iberotel Il Mercato B&B from €14pppn. 5* Xperience Sea Breeze All Inclusive from €38pppn.
  • Discover Travel offers: 15-day tour of Burma B&B from €2,539p incl. flights ex Dublin and taxes, travel September 2015. 10 nights Koh Samet and Bangkok from €1,299pp incl. flights ex Dublin and taxes, travel between now and June 30. Visit or call 021 463 5440.
  • Topflight is offering 7 nights full board Villa Beach, Kuramathi Island Resort, The Maldives from €1,699pp incl. flights, taxes and sea plane transfers, travel in June. Upgrade to Water Villa with Jacuzzi and full board from €2,365. Visit or call 01 240 1709.
  • Book a holiday to Italy with Topflight before Feb 28 to save up to €300 per couple on selected properties. See for more or call 01 2401 700 for more info.
  • Sunway Lisbon City and Coast offers, depart May 30 and June 6, book before February 28: 7 nights B&B Sao Mamede Hotel from €554pp. 7 nights self catering Clube Do Lago Apartments from €594pp. 7 nights B&B Eden Estoril Hotel from €634pp. 2 nights hotel B&B Lisbon City from €699pp. 5 nights hotel B&B Cascais from €699pp. All incl. taxes, charges, 20kg baggage pp and Sunway rep service.
  • Sunway Easter offers: 7 nights B&B Sea Pearl Hotel, Turkey from €1,152 for two adults and one child or from €1,536 for two adults and two children, departs March 28 and April 4. 7 nights B&B Marabout Hotel & Aqua Park, Tunisia from €1,032 for two adults and one child or from €1,366 for two adults and two children, departs March 27 and April 3. 7 nights B&B Argana Hotel, Morocco from €1,462 for two adults and one child or from €1,626 for two adults and two cildren, departs March 28 and April 4. 7 nights self catering Oasis Apartments, Lanzarote ex Shannon from €1,399 for two adults and one child or from €1,796 for two adults and two children, departs March 28 and April 4. 7 nights self catering, Oasis Duna Apartments, Fuerteventura from €1,367 for two adults and one child or from €1,746 for two adults and two children, departs March 28 and April 4. 7 nights self catering MRC Maspalomas Bungalows from €1,549 for two adults and one child, departs March 28 and April 4.
  • Sunway Honeymoon offers: 5 nights Half Board Northern Lights Cruise from €1,149pp incl. flights ex Dublin, taxes transfers and baggage, departs March 18.  7 nights River Cruise, Holland and Belgium from €1,529pp incl. flights and transfers, depart May 6. 11-day All Inclusive Serengeti Safari to Zanzibar from €2,159pp incl. flights, transfers and excursions, depart September 3.
  • Classic Resorts‘ St Patrick’s Day offers: 5 nights B&B Ramada Plaza Jumeirah Beach Residence, Dubai from €999pps, travel March 12. 5 nights B&B JC Ocean View Hotel Dubai from €1,116pps, travel March 12. See or call 01 874 5000 to book.
  • Thai transportation company Limousine Phuket is offering a 2-night tour of Phuket from 2,130 Thai Baht incl. round trip airport pick up, Phuket orientation tour and overnight at hotel on room only. See for more info.


There were 330 entries for the inbound Irish Tourism Industry awards to be held in the Doubletree by Hilton, April 24.

Fáilte Ireland hosted the European Travel Commission’s Market Intelligence Group, some of Europe’s top tourism research professionals at the Grand Hotel, Malahide, Dublin for their AGM (Feb 18-20). European tourism is estimated to have grown by 4pc in 2014 and is projected to continue this upward trend in 2015.

The Causeway Coast and Glens Tourism Partnership has closed. The partnership was responsible for the out of state tourism marketing for the area covered by the local authority areas of Ballymena, Ballymoney, Coleraine, Larne, Limavady and Moyle and represented 400 businesses.

The IATA Aviation Security conference has been confirmed for October 2015 in The Convention Centre, Dublin, one of four international conferences, totalling over 1,400 delegates which Fáilte Ireland say have been won for Dublin through its Conference Ambassador scheme, the others being the Conference of the European Society for Research in Mathematics Education in February 2017;the International Equine Ophthalmology Consortium Symposium in June, 2016; and the Association of National Numbering Agencies in June 2015. The National Tourism Development Authority added that it would also soon be in a position to announce a further four conference wins, totalling over 2,000 international delegates.

frank corr bookMinister Michael Ring launched Serving the Caterer 1965-2015 by Limerick-born journalist Frank Corr, a book on the history of the Irish Hospitality Industry. The book tells the story of the evolution of tourism, the hotel industry, dining out and catering in industrial and institutional locations over the past 50 years. The book was commissioned by the Irish Foodservice Suppliers Alliance.

Shannon Airport Chairperson Rose Hynes, travel writer and winner of the Travel Extra Travel Writer of the Year Book category Mark Graham and Fáilte Ireland’s Fiona Monaghan are guest speakers at the Burren Tourism Story 2015 at the Pavilion, Lisdoonvarna on Wednesday Mar 4th at 6.30pm showcasing the activities, adventures, food and heritage of the Burren Region.

Car manufacturer Opel hosts 550 international motoring media representatives for the launch of two new engines, the Mokka and Insignia. This is the first international launch by any car manufacturer to take place in Ireland in over 15 years, was facilitated by Fáilte Ireland.

The first all Ireland responsible tourism awards will be presented at a ceremony following the Responsible Tourism in Destinations conference on March 11, the second responsible tourism conference for the Irish Centre for Responsible Tourism and the ninth in an international conference series. Conference speakers include Carol Gleeson, from Burren & Cliffs of Moher Geopark, Harold Goodwin, Professor of Responsible Tourism at Manchester Metropolitan University, Manda Brookman from the Cornwall Sustainable Tourism Project, Richard Tyler, from Brecon Beacons National Park, Xavier Font, from Respondeco, Cillian Murphy from Loop Head Peninsula, Rina Garrett from Erris Tourism, Siobhan Burke from Sheep’s Head Peninsula, Joanna Hayes from Co Cavan, Martin Carey from Mourne Heritage Trust, Paddy Mathews of Fáilte Ireland, Mary Mulvey, CEO Ecotourism Ireland and Annabel Fitzgerald, Coastal Programmes Manager of An Taisce.

Harbour2Harbour Walk St. Patrick’s Day-090 copyPictured at an event onboard Irish Ferries’ vessel ‘Ulysses’ to announce details of this year’s Harbour2Harbour walk on St Patrick’s Day, Fergus McFadden and Senator David Norris Amo Sayed of Aware, Irish Ferries’ Newly Appointed Managing Director Andrew Sheen and Irish Ferries Marketing Manager Daragh O’Reilly. The 10th annual ‘Harbour2Harbour’ St. Patrick’s Day walk from Howth to Dun Laoghaire in aid of the charity Aware.

A £4.9m grant will enable the Titanic Foundation to restore the derelict Harland and Wolff Drawing Offices where RMS Titanic was designed – unlocking plans to develop a luxury four star hotel in the shipbuilder’s former headquarters building. The building has been vacant since 1989 and has been considered ‘at risk’ for almost a decade.

Tripadvisor‘s top 10 Irish beaches: 1. Inchydoney, Clonakilty, Co Cork. 2. Derrynane, Caherdaniel, Co Kerry. 3. Inch Beach, Dingle, Co Kerry. 4. Lahinch Beach, Co Clare. 5. Rossbeigh Beach, Glenbeigh, Co Kerry. 6. Curracloe Beach, Co Wexford. 7. Banna Strand, Co Kerry. 8. Kulmurvey, Inis Mór, Co Galway. 9. Salthill Beaches, Co Galway. 10. Portmarock Beach, Dublin.

CALLING BRITISH ADVENTURE ENTHUSIASTS AND LOVERS OF THE GREAT OUTDOORS!A group of Irish tourism companies travelled to London with Tourism Ireland for the 2015 Telegraph Outdoor Adventure Travel & Bike show. 55,000 visitors will attend the four-day event. Picture shows Ian Cumming, Martin McMullan and Chris Scott, all Mountain Bike Northern Ireland; former Irish cyclists Stephen Roche and Darach McQuaid; Michael Beare, Finn Lough Lakeside Lodges; Jim Maher, Select Hotels of Ireland; and Craig McCullough, Mountain Bike Northern Ireland; Anne Phelan, Trailwalkers Ireland; Gearóid O’Meachair, Rural Irish Holidays; Maura Mullins, Trailwalkers Ireland; Carol Hinch, Ballynahinch Castle Hotel; and Mick Breen, Irish Centre for Cycling, on the Tourism Ireland stand.

TRY FOR TOURISM! RUGBY LEGEND RONAN O’GARA LENDS A HAND TO BOOST BUSINESS TOURISM FROM FRANCERonan O’Gara joined Tourism Ireland and six Irish tourism companies in France for a Meet in Ireland MICE event in the Irish Embassy in Paris. 100 members of Racing Métro’s Business Club attended the event. Picture shows Ronan O’Gara with Caroline Phelan and Monica MacLaverty, both Tourism Ireland.

Club Choice Ireland which provides tailor-made golfing holidays to the East and South East of Ireland, launched its 2015 programme at Mere Golf Resort & Spa in Cheshire, Manchester. New destinations for 2015 include Mount Juliet, Druids Glen, Carton House and County Louth Golf Clubs.

Defending champions Clare won the title of Pool Rescue Champions 2015 from a field of 250 competitors who took part in the nine-hour competition of swimming pool rescues in the University of Limerick 50 metre pool.

Tourism Ireland won a prize for best deals from a destination marketing organizstion at the 2014 Travelzoo Awards in the US.

Fishing tourism FranceSpecialist Irish fishing and tourism businesses joined Tourism Ireland in Nantes at the Salon Européen des Peches en Mer angling fair, which was attended by 18,000 people. Picture shows the Irish stand at the event.

Ernie Els and Sergio Garcia confirmed that they will take part in the 2015 Irish Open.

Inisfest launchThe inaugural INIS Fest takes place in Ennise from June 26 to 28. The line up includes Damien Dempsey, Delorentos, Nathan Carter, the Kilfenora Céilí Band, De Dannan and Finbar Furey. Nightly tickets cost €27 while a weekend pass costs €72. Tickets on sale now at Picture shows event organisers John McCarthy, Declan O’Grady, Carmen Cronin and Darren Purtill at The Friary Ennis.

The Burren Tourism Story 2015 will take place at the Pavilion, Lisdoonvarna, Co Clare, on March 4, 6.30pm-8.30pm. Shannon Airport Chairperson Rose Hynes, travel writer Mark Graham and Fáilte Ireland’s Fiona Monaghan will be guest speakers at the event. Tourism providers and locals are invited to explore the visitor attractions and activities on offer in the Burren and sample food by local producers and restaurants. The event will also feature the launch of a new book on the geology of Co Clare, Banner Rocks.

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