TRAVEL Extra’s Sunday Supplement: 2020 vision at the launch of Stena Superfast Ten

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  • 2020 vision at the launch of Stena Superfast Ten
  • The Loop at Dublin’s T1 goes all curvy
  • Irish Tourism increases market share in Britain
  • Terry Pratchett’s lesson for Clare tourism

Travel Extra TV

Video of week March 15A lesson from our video of the week: If you’re on a family safari in South Africa, make sure you lock your car door. Here’s why: Watch here.

  • Each year, Graeme McDowell’s G-Mac Foundation and Aer Lingus bring a group of children from Our Lady’s Children’s Hospital on a trip to Orlando. Watch here to learn about the charity partnership.
  • Liam Neeson lent his voice to Tourism Ireland‘s 60-second promo to mark the Global Greening on St Patrick’s Day. Watch here.
  • It was announced this week that Dubai Duty Free will be the title sponsor of the 2015 Irish Open hosted by The Rory Foundation. Watch here.
  • Two years in the making, FilmSpektakel’s video showcases beautiful Austria. Watch here.
  • Kissing the Blarney stone with Cork Airport. Watch here.
  • US Ambassador to Ireland Kevin O’Malley’s St Patrick’s Day message. Watch here.
  • To drum up some interest to fund a book of images from the Wild Atlantic Way, photographer Peter Cox uploaded drone footage showcasing the west of Ireland. Watch here.

Headlines

Travel Extra April 2015 300The April 2015 edition of Travel Extra arrives in agencies over the coming days, read here. The latest edition features developments in summer cruise including the new Royal Caribbean ship build, the dynamic dining debate and updates on Anthem of the Seas, the most technologically advanced cruise ship to operate out of Europe when it launches in Southampton in five weeks time. There are reports from events on travel events from four continents including the world’s biggest travel fair, ITB in Berlin, and the IHF conference in Cavan, a journey through storied Ethiopia, the most exciting new direct destination for Ireland this year, a pilgrimage through the Holy Land with Niall Glynn’s Marian Pilgrimages and destination reviews of Iceland and Dominican Republic. We cover the launch of Stena Line’s new Dublin to Holyhead ferry and he future plans at Dublin Port to boost ferry capacity even further, look at the debates over the three-tier pattern emerging in Ireland’s hotel prices and future of Cityjet, the implications of Ryanair’s next steps in their “getting better” campaign, the wine and whiskey products which are at the heart of the new-look Loop at T1 in Dublin, and the rapid progress in Istanbul’s new airport, the extraordinary number of trans-Atlantic routes available from Dublin this summer (163 in each direction), and we have updates on the Irish Travel Industry Business Show at Citywest on April 24-24 and the ITAA conference in Jerez which will be based in the Sherry Hotel on October 1-4. Chris Logan, the new Ireland manager of Falcon, is this month’s busman’s holiday contributor and Tony Kelly of Irish Ferries looks back at his years in the travel business. If you want to know how to sell a cruise holiday, check out this month’s issue.

the loop_1831I must be in the wrong terminal” was the reaction from one passenger when he waked into the new shopping area at terminal 1 in Dublin Airport. The area, which used the brand name The Loop, has been converted from a straight line walk past some jaded retail outlets into something curvier. The refurbishment was done overnight on Wednesday and opened at 4.30am on Thursday morning. Dublin Airport’s manager of retail services, Paul Neeson showcased the highlights. eu6000 bottleThey included a new sweetshop, the Irish Whiskey Collection which offers 400 whiskeys from around the world, and the Wine Goose Chase, stressing Ireland’s ancient connection with international wine (wine has been coming back on the ships exporting Irish butter to Spain from prehistoric times; listen here). The impressive opening party was organised by Zaryab Malik, familiar to the travel trade from his time with Con Murphy’s United Travel and Des Duggan’s over 50s shows. Guests were invited to experience the various senses at different stalls. Mary Byrne gave a short history of the relationship between Ireland and wine. Picture shows a €6,000 bottle of whiskey on sale at the airport. See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.

Stena Supferfast X launch 005Dan Sten Olsson came to Dublin to name Stena Superfast X (pronounced ten) and inaugurate her service on the Dublin Holyhead route on Wednesday last. The ship had to go an operation transformation since she last saw salt as DFDS Dieppe Seaways operating between Dover and Calais. Kathryn Thomas of the honours, godmother to seven children and now a ship, an tAthair Pádraig Ó Cuill and Reverend William Black blessed the ship (listen here). Eoghan Corry, editor of Travel Extra, Eoghan kathryn thomas
was master of ceremonies interspersing his comments with a little Welsh and Swedish (in a heavy Piteå accent, don’t ask). Ian Davies, route manager spoke of the increased flexibility that the ship brings to the route (listen here), Dan Stena Olsson talked about his love of coming to Ireland and the ships he has inaugurated since his first trip in 1971 (listen here), and Eamonn O’Reilly of Dublin Port talked about growth and expansion plans at the port (listen here): “Stena is exactly the type of customer we like.” Picture shows Kathryn Thomas and Eoghan Corry at the event. See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.

Tourism ireland team London_1419A slight increase in Ireland’s market share from England’s outbound tourism was the big news from the annual Anglo-Irish CHAMP event at London’s House of Lords. British arrivals from Ireland grew in 2014, resulting in an increase of share of UK outbound from 4.2pc in 2013 to 4.3pc in 2014. Early indications for are positive, with CSO figures for the month of January showing an increase of 13pc in English visitors, following the trend of 2014 when holidaymakers from England grew by 9pc and revenue from holidaymakers by 8pc. Picture shows Mary O’Shea, Tourism Ireland’s head of Britain Vanessa Markey, and Vera Stedman who gave a briefing for travel media at the Tourism Ireland offices in London before the event. Mary O’Shea gave a detailed description of how Tourism Ireland has successful migrated its marketing focus to digital and hired in professional agencies to implement the campaign: “if we were to do it ourselves would look a lot like dad dancing.”

sean sherlock_1534The event was upbeat on a sunny day while traffic lined its way on the Thames outside. The brainchild of political lobbyist James Winston five years ago, the annual gathering of political, business and tourism leaders is designed to launch the St Patrick’s Day festivities and has attracted leaders from across the various political spectrums in three jurisdictions. Baroness Angela Harris introduced the event (listen here), Minister Sean Sherlock (pictured) talked about the growing links between the islands (listen here), Baroness Jenny Sanderson represented Theresa Villiers (listen here), Ivor Lewis spoke on behalf of the opposition (listen here) and Tourism Ireland CEO Niall Gibbons (listen here) talked about the extended tourism cooperation which will boost visitors to both islands from the BRIC marketsSee more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.

tigs winning team_1694Niall McDonnell of Red Sea resorts and Audrey Headon of World Travel centre were the first champions of the Travel Industry Golf Society after the inaugural event in Portmarnock, sponsored by Turkish Airlines. Picture shows the first winning team of the season Peter O’Hanlon of Travelfinders, Clem Walshe of Lowcost Beds, Volker Lorenz of Amadeus, and Niall McDonnell of Red Sea resorts. See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.

Margaret DaraghPicture shows Margaret Cronin handing over the Skål Dublin Club President’s chain to Daragh O’Neill at the AGM at the Conrad Hotel. Michael Byrne, ex-Stena, remains as Hon Sec for another year. See more pictures from Dublin Skål AGM here or connect with the album on Facebook.

ofpnly_8064Ifonly hosted travel agents in Glasgow. The agents met the Ifonly teams for the long haul tour operators’ various markets and were hosted by Martin Penrose in his home city. See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.

aer lingus business class_0034Irish Travel Industry Trade Show has burst its boundaries and taken over the downstairs area of the Citywest. Aer Lingus will be bringing their business class seats (pictured being showcased by Claire Sutton and Micheál Gannon) to demonstrate to the trade. Headline sponsors are the Travelport (GM), Shannon Airport (golf day) and Sunway (barbecue) and there will be four bus routes operating to the exhibition and social events for front line travel professionals from Dundalk, Cork, Galway and Waterford, with an offer of subsidised travel for agency staff from other parts of the country.simon greenbury

There was a very good Irish presence at the Best of Britain and Ireland show in Birmingham. Events director Simon Greenbury called for more support from the industry. “Let’s give the exhibitors the opportunity to achieve greater return on investment by potentially having industry events that co-located in Birmingham NEC as the same time of BOBI every year.”

clarion_1928The opening of Gusto’s Restaurant in the Clarion hotel in Liffey Valley was MCed by Marty Whelan and Nuala Carey. The hotel hosted 150 media and corporate customers at the event Italian pizza chef Erion Tao’s pizzas from the wood stone pizza oven, pastas, Italian cocktails and Italian wine. Marie Richardson of the Choice Hotels Group said that the Italian-themed restaurant would enhance the hotel’s features and boost local business. Picture shows Roisin O Hea, Nuala Carey, Bairbre Power and Julianne Galvin at the opening of Gusto Restaurant in the Clarion Hotel, Liffey Valley.

TOURISM IRELAND ANNOUNCES GLOBAL GREENING LINEUP FOR ST PATRICKThe final total of buildings going green for St Patrick’s Day reached 150 at tea time yesterday (Saturday, see full list of sites), considerably ahead of last year’s figure of 120. The Colosseum in Rome, the Sacré-Cœur Basilica Montmartre, the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville and the Town Hall in Tbilisi are among the newcomers for St Patrick’s Day this year. Tourism Minister Paschal Donohoe and Tourism Ireland CEO Niall Gibbons are in San Francisco today for the city’s parade. Michael Ring is in Phoenix, Arizona and then in Los Angeles. See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.

biddy earley pratchettBridget Ellen “Biddy Early” Connors’ grave in Feakle is not among the banner county’s signature tourist attractions but should be. The late lamented author and ingenious wordsmith Terry Pratchett was among her fans, and sent a bottle of Irish whiskey to be poured over her grave. He told the astonished Clareman who was designated to deliver it that he did not mind if it passed through is kidneys first. It gives a whole new meaning to the little blue bottle. We will miss Pratchett’s work: The Lost Continent could safely have served as a travel guide to Australia if it was not mislabelled “fantasy.” And his quotes, oh his quotes:

  • There are things in life you have to hold on to hard, balloons are our way of teaching this to children.
  • All mushrooms are edible, some only once.
  • Time is like drugs, too much of it will kill you.
  • Death isn’t mean, just terribly good at his job.
  •  Build a man a fire and he will be warm for a day, set a man on fire and he’ll be warm for the rest of his life.

paul druryJournalism paid tribute to Paul Drury, formerly editor of the Evening Herald and Ireland on Sunday who died at the weekend. There were not tributes at Wednesday morning’s funeral, at his own request, and colleagues included his old classmates at the Rathmines School of Journalism, classmates Jacinta O’Brien, Rosemary O Grady, PJ Cunningham, Maurice Gubbins, Tommie Gorman, Henry Bauress, Valerie Ryan and Mary Morrissey and from other years Áine Hensey, Maol Muire Tynan, Bernie ní Fhlatharta, Bairbre Power, Philip Nolan and Katherine Donnelly

Travel centres china_1451Travel Centres agents departed on a fam trip to China on Wednesday. Pictured at the Forbidden City in Beijing: Erica O’Reilly of King Travel, Thomas McNally of Bedsonline, Pamela Brownlee of Flyaway, Tara Szafranek of Travel Broker, Ann Marie Dalton of Turkish Airlines, Elaine Massey of Killiney Travel, Catherine Bowe of Bowe Travel, Caroline O’Connor of Creation Travel, Lisa Cusack of Midland Travel and Liana O’Shea of East Cork Travel who were guests on the Travel Centres fam trip to China in conjunction with Bedsonline and Turkish Airlines. See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.

dreamz_1745Dreemz wedding planners came to Dublin to inform the trade of their wedding planning facilities in Malta. Marie Anne Barthet Brown of the Maltese tourist board said one in three Irish visitors to Malta are wedding guests. Picture shows Mary Grace-Lynch and Stephen Chircop of Dreemz Wedding Planners with Marie Anne Barthet Brown of the Maltese tourist board in the Unicorn Restaurant Dublin.

waterford airportWaterford airport is to get scheduled services again. Flights on the Waterford-Luton route are set to resume at the end of next month with a four times a week service from Waterford to Birmingham to follow when Belgian-based VLM Airlines to fly 12 times a week in each direction. Desmond O’Flynn, CEO, Waterford Airport said VLM Airlines had a great track record of operating charter flights and providing air services to other airlines, and was now growing its own scheduled route network.

turkish airlines 4_7729Exciting news from Turkish Airlines. The scheduled twice weekly A330 freighter service serving Istanbul-Shannon-Chicago may soon be picking up freight for Ireland and, should demand arise, there are plans to fly a wide bodied craft for both freight and passengers giving Shannon a year round Chicago link as well as direct flights to Istanbul. Turkish Airlines now fly to 219 international and 43 domestic destinations and recently inaugurated a double daily service to Dublin. Picture shows Patrick McKinney, Onder Gencer, Murat Baland and Onur Gul of Turkish Airlines at Dublin Airport.

eoghan mark diarmaid marianPicture shows onetime UCD “pure history” (Group 8) classmates Eoghan Corry, editor of Travel Extra, Mark Duncan, Diarmaid Ferriter and Marian Richardson of RTE at the National Archives for the launch of Ferriter’s book, A Nation and Not a Rabble, the Irish Revolution 1913-23. Corry and Ferriter shared the Dudley Edwards Prize at UCD when it was awarded to them jointly and the bookshops of the country have not been safe since. Diarmaid’s book explores the treasury in the archives of military depositions and pensions correspondence. Caitríona Crowe gave an adulatory introduction (listen here) accompanied by a message from publisher Andre Franklin read by Cormac Kinsella Franklin (listen here). Ferriter’s 25-minute speech  (listen here) highlighted his 408 page book followed by another 100 pages of notes. He doesn’t do concision, but that is for the better. See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.

Travel Tradekevin nolan

Carrick on Suir-born Kevin Nolan of Topflight said goodbye to his friends in the industry at Bridge 1859 Ballsbridge after 15 years in the business. Kevin was Topflight’s representative on the Irish Tour Operators Federation.

Celebrity Cruises Modern Luxury Squad visited Corie Heuston from John Cassidy Travel in Swords to present her with a bottle of Corie Heuston John Cassidy Travel Celebity Cruiseschampagne.  The Squad will be on the road during March to opportunities to agents to win prizes including free flights, team nights out, champagne, spa vouchers and an exclusive two night sailing on-board Celebrity Eclipse. Find out more at CelebrityRewards.com.

  • Tony Kelly of Irish Ferries is to retire at the end of March having worked in the company since 1973.
  • Joe Byrne has retired having spent 40 years with Tourism Ireland. Watch here his video interview with Eamonn McKeon.

The British and Irish Chamber of Commerce annual conference was one of the success stories on the circuit. mulhall chilcottThe body, which is less than five years in existence attracted 350 and never had less than 220 people In the audience. Both ambassadors, Irish ambassador in London Dan Mulhall and British ambassador in Dublin Dominick Chilcott spoke at the same event for the first time.

  • Lowcostbeds trade promotion: Book a flight with Emirates to Dubai, Bangkok, India, Mauritius, Maldives or China with accommodation by lowcostbeds before March 31 and earn a €5 voucher per book.
  • ETOA appointed Róisín Donnelly, formerly of Generator Hostels, as a head of accommodation services. Róisín has extensive experience in the accommodation sector, with senor roles in Jurys Doyle, Jurys Inns and Qhotels.
  • Travel Professionals Skillnet is offering an online Fetac Level 5 professional digital marketing diploma for €850. The 10 three-hour online lectures are spread out from March 23 to August 24 (take them at your own pace). Travel Professionals Skillnet is also offering early bird rates for its Excel courses: 2 courses for €150 if you pay online by 5pm, April 15. Excel Level 1 takes place April 7 (more info/bookings) and Excel Level 2 takes place April 21 (more info/bookings).
  • Travel agents have two more weeks to join the DoSomethingDifferent team for a once in a lifetime holiday experience to Dubai.  Make any DSD ticket sale and email win@dosomethingdifferent.com with “Come on holiday with DSD” in the subject line.  Bonus entries awarded for all Dubai ticket sales. Valid for bookings from 1 Jan – 31 Mar.  DSD Holiday-FAM will be taken in May.

Hotels

trivago ireland march 2015The Trivago price index for March shows the effects of the sliding euro with both Belfast (25pc) and Derry (10pc) among the high risers year on year, with Kenmare (14pc) and Killarney (12pc) also showing higher than March 2014. Hotel room rates are down in Athlone, Waterford and Wexford. Limerick and Waterford still offer Ireland’s cheapest hotel beds at €77. The average price in Ireland is €95, up 6pc.

According to trivago.ie, Dublin hotel prices are up 76pc for St Patrick’s Day to an average of €178. The night before the festival will cost an average €182.  The price comparison site said Limerick is the only other city that saw a price increase over the St Patrick’s period. The average cost between March 14 to 17 is €88, up 14pc on the monthly average of €77.

  • STR Global said there are 898 hotels (142,604 rooms) under contract in Europe, up 5.8pc year-over-year, although rooms under construction are down 5.3pc.
  • Galgorm Resort and Spa in Antrim has announced a £10m development of 48 luxury hotel rooms and a unique spa village which is says is the first in Ireland, to open September 2015. Themes in the spa village include Snow Paradise, the Orangery, a riverside sauna, plunge pool, sheltered relaxation area with open fire and private Dutch Tubs, heated by their own log fires.
  • The 108 bedroom Maldron Hotel in Wexford is for sale with a guide price of €3.5m.
  • The 92-room Clybaun Hotel in Knocknacarra, Galway is to get a €1m refurbishment after Tom O’Gorman purchased it for €3m.
  • Peter Wilson is to move from White’s Hotel in Wexford to Mount Juliet. Mount Juliet Conrad, a 58-room fine leisure resort situated on a 1,500 acre traditional Irish sporting estate. Antony Treston, GM of Mount Juliet is going to the Lyrath in nearby Kilkenny.
  • European hotels that set higher rates than their competitors benefit from higher RevPAR despite lower occupancy rates, according to Competitive Hotel Pricing in Europe: An Exploration of Strategic Positioning by Cathy A Enz, Linda Canina and Jean-Pierre van der Rest. The price positioning effect was stronger for branded hotels but was also found in independent properties.
  • As reported in last week’s Sunday Supplement, Qatar Airways purchased the Sheraton Skylin hotel in London. It is the first hotel Qatar Airways bought outside of Qatar, where it owns the Oryx Rotana Hotel in Doha and the Hamad International Airport Hotel.
  • Dalata bought the Holiday Inn in Belfast for €25.6m.
  • Z Hotels opened its fourth London hotel in Shoreditch.
  • Marriott International will allow guests to pay for stays at selected hotels with Apple Pay. Contactless readers will be installed at front desks and guests will be able to pay at check in using their iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus or Apple Watch.
  • Guests who stay in any Dorsett Hotels & Resorts property in Hong Kong will receive a complimentary smartphone to use for the duration of their stay.
  • NH Hotel Group has added the NH Brussels Carrefour de l’Europe to its portfolio in Europe brining NH Hotels in Brussels to seven and is in line with the company’s five-year business plan announced in 2014.
  • Hilton opened the Hampton hotel in Newcastle upon Tyne, opposite Newcastle Central Station.
  • Park Hyatt Zanzibar opened, the first Hyatt on the Tanzanian island and the 36th Park Hyatt worldwide.
  • Aloft New Orleans Downtown opened.
  • Six Senses Hotels Resorts Spas has announced that it will develop a resort in the southwest of Bali at Uluwatu, a 35-minute drive from Ngurah Rai International Airport.
  • Independent hoteliers should focus on local marketing and drive guests to their direct channels wrote Joshua Meehan in an article: the fight against the OTAs starts at check-in.
  • Brad Wilson of Ace Hotel group put their success down to picking “cool places.”

International

Irish visits to the USA were up 7.6pc last year to 395,037, according to the US Department of Commerce.

  • A report by the Westminster government recommended that Visit England and Visit Britain should separate, with Visit England focusing on domestic tourism marketing while Visit Britain delivering international campaigns.
  • Carnival Corp appointed Marie McKenzie as vice president of global destinations services and sourcing.
  • Members of the Lufthansa frequent flyer programme Miles & More can earn double award miles when renting a Budget vehicle up until June 30.
  • A skier was injured when a light aircraft hit her on the slopes. The single propeller aircraft experienced a difficult take off from a runway in Avoriaz, France.
  • The Global Travel Group will hold its 2016 overseas conference in Dubai.
  • Northampton based over 50s insurance specialist Staysure will launch a travel agency, Staysure Holidays, this summer.
  • To celebrate the Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty exhibition at The Victoria and Albert Museum, The Kensington Hotel launched a Fashion Forward Afternoon Tea, which costs £35pp and includes handcrafted cakes, pastries and sandwiches inspired by McQueen’s designs. The hotel is also offering a 1-night B&B Fashion Forward package priced from £315 per room based on two sharing incl. afternoon tea for two and one copy of a book on the exhibition, available March 14 to August 2.
  • A group of 50 Belgian tourists were taken on a 750-mile detour thanks to a satnav error by a bus driver. The driver was supposed to bring the group to the French ski resort of La Plagne, but the driver accidentally selected La Plagne village in south west France. The skiers eventually arrived at their original destination – 24 hours late.
  • Tourists in Greece were invited make a little money on their holidays by going undercover and exposing tax dodgers.
  • Travelport announced a new content agreement with hotel group Accor.
  • Monaco Tourist Authority and British Airways launched the Passport to Monte Carlo offer. BA passengers will be offered a complimentary helicopter transfer from Nice to Monaco during the winter season and from Monaco to Nice during the summer season. The offer also includes entrance coupons to selected museums and attractions.
  • One tourist was killed and two injured when a grey whale crashed into a sightseeing boat near Mexico.
  • The 3km Caminito del Rey path, long considered the most dangerous walkway in the world, will reopen to the public this Easter after it closed 14 years ago.

Food & Wine

NI Year of FoodTourism Northern Ireland announced that 2016 will be the Year of Food. The announced was made by tourism minister Arlene Foster at Tourism NI’s annual conference, which was attended by 200 delegates. Picture shows Tourism NI chariman Howard Hastings, Tourism minister Arlene Foster and actor James Nesbitt.

Margaret Jeffares Good Food Ireland 2Margaret Jeffares the Founder of Good Food Ireland has been invited by President Obama to the White House for St Patrick’s Day Celebrations on Tuesday next, March 17th 2015.

The Irish Beer and Whiskey Festival in Dublin’s RDS continues until St Patrick’s Day on Tuesday offering a wide range of over 100 local craft beers and ciders, as well as a greater selection of Irish whiskey, and Irish artisan food stalls.muckross munier00006

Nick Munier, best known from Masterchef Ireland showcased his new Dublin Restaurant Avenue by Nick Munier at Muckross Park Hotel last weekend. The tasting Menu designed by Nick Munier. offered a cream of cauliflower soup, truffle oil with cheese straw, followed by tartare of salmon, spicy avocado with toast followed by celeriac remoulade with prosciutto, followed by poached cod with clams with herb butter nage followed by The Avenue 60 day aged rib eye burger by Higgins butchers, brioche bun, beef tomato, pickle, mustard aioli and fries followed by tarte fine of apples, butterscotch sauce with vanilla ice cream for dessert. Picture shows Nick with Nick Munier and Head Chef John O’Leary. The hotel also has the AA Rosette winning Yew Tree Restaurant as well as The Jarvey’s Rest Traditional Irish Pub.

Aviation

Dublin Airport is to spend €20m on 10 new aircraft parking spaces and three new aircraft taxiing lanes at the northern end of the airfield, the largest single capital investment at Dublin Airport since the opening of Terminal 2. Dublin processed 1.5m passengers in February up 17pc, figures for the first two months of year were 2.9m, up 15pc.

Ryanair’s long awaited entry to the German domestic market sparked a war. Ryanair announced a four-times daily service to Berlin Schönefeld among seven new Cologne routes. Germanwings reponded by initiating three daily services to Schönefeld from both Cologne and Stuttgart (they already operate seven daily flights to Tegel) and Ryanair then increased frequencies from four to five daily. Ryanair is to increase frequency on 23 Stansted routes and begin services to Castellon and Ponta Delgada in winter 2015-16.

  • KLM plan to raise baggage fees by a reputed 25pc for passenger who purchase tickets on or after April 1, the lowest charge rising from €15 to €20 per piece.
  • Aer Lingus are suspending Shannon to Boston service for 10 days over Easter. citing that their Boeing 752 is needed at Dublin.
  • Easyjet is to introduce fast-track security for Plus members from March 19, at 34 airports including Belfast.
  • Norwegian’s pilots’ strike ended having left 200,000 passengers unable to fly when the majority of tocal Scandinavian services were cancelled.
  • Cork Airport unveiled its new brand on Tuesday.
  • Traffic in Irish airspace was up 8.7pc in February 2015. En route air traffic was up 9.2pc. Dublin traffic was up 11.2pc with an average 449 daily commercial movements. Cork was down 6.2pc with 43 average daily movements. Shannon was down 8.6pc with 37 average daily movements.
  • A new report said that mobile boarding passes will account for a third or all flights in five years. 745m boarding passes were delivered on mobile devices in 2014.
  • Boeing  announced it has sold half of the current 777s it plans to build in 2017.
  • Swiss Air Lines will start a Dublin-Geneva service from June 26, operating 4w using A320 aircraft.
  • IATA reported that the 2014 global jet accident rate was 0.23, which was the lowest rate in history and the equivalent of one accident for every 4.4m flights.
  • Michael O’Leary was listed number 18 on the Sindo‘s rich list.
  • Dublin based lessor Fly Leasing acquired an A321-200 aircraft on Monday.
  • EasyJet designed an app for the Apple Watch, which was officially launched on Monday and goes on sale April 24.
  • Avolon sold an A320 to Aircraft Leasing & Management in England.
  • It was reported that Boeing is showing airlines an ideas for the B737-8ERX, a long range B737 MAX 8 to compete with the A321LR.
  • Air France KLM is to increase its summer schedule capacity by 1.7pc. Transavia wil increase its schedule by 7.8pc.
  • Irish lessor Fly Leasing said it expects most of its acquisitions in 2015 to come via sale or leasebacks. It is also contracted to sell eight older B757s in 2015 as the leases run out.
  • Qatar Airways is to expand its codeshare with Japan Airlines on 28 routes to/from Tokyo Haneda, beginning March 29.
  • Lufthansa said it expects consolidation to occur among European airlines and is ready to be part of it.
  • IAG is rumoured to be joining Qatar Airways on future joint purchases of aircraft and engines. The two companies may also widen their codeshare agreement.
  • Virgin postponed their B787-9 Dreamliner service to LAX from April 30 to a week later on May 5.
  • Aer Lingus Regional’s Kerry-Dublin route grew 59pc in February 2015 compared to the same period last year, the route’s 12th consecutive month of growth, fuelled in part by connecting traffic to North America via Dublin Airport’s transatlantic hub.
  • The Friends of Shannon Airport has formed with John Quinlivan as chairman, Sant Singh as vice chair, Joe Meaney as secretary; and Donna Marie O’Neill as treasurer.
  • Boeing is to upgrade the B777 to be delivered from Q3 2016 with room for 14 extra seats.
  • A flight attended is suing Korean Air and the imprisoned former executive, Heather Cho, over the nut rage incident.
  • Etihad Airways marked its fifth year of service to Japan with VIP cocktail receptions in Tokyo and Nagoya.
  • A suitcase set off an unknown contents alarm at La Guardia airport last Tuesday. What was inside? A 7 year old beige and tan chihuahua. The passenger said the dog must have crawled in while she was packing for a flight to LA.

Afloat

Dublin is to get 86 cruise ship calls this year with three further calls to Dun Laoghaire. A further 17 ships will dock in the bay and passengers will be tendered off.

Royal Caribbean’s newest and largest cruise ship Harmony of the Seas will spend the start of the 2016 summer season sailing from Barcelona and Rome, visiting Palma, Florence and Naples. Independence of the Seas will return to Southampton in 2016.

Anthem of the Seas started its journey to Eemshaven in the Netherlands on the North Sea from the Meyer Werft shipyard in Papenberg where it was built The 26-mile trip on the Ems River backward, guided by two tugboats. The ship only has a few inches of clearance on either side, moving slowly at 2-3 knots, the same walking pace as a 40-year-old man. According to an Anthem Conveyance Infographic released by Royal Caribbean, wind speeds must be 20 knots or less, tidal barriers must be closed and there needs to be either a full or new moon. Bridges along the river were lifted out of the way by crane to allow the ship to pass. Anthem will undergo sea trials before its launch next month in Southampton.

  • Virgin is set to order its first two cruise ships, according to Richard Branson. Construction is expected to take five years at a cost of $1.7bn. Meanwhile, former Norwegian Cruise Line CEO Colin Veitch is suing Branson for allegedly stealing his idea to enter the luxury cruise industry.
  • Holland America Line has delayed the launch date for its newbuild ship Koningsdam by six weeks until March 31, 2016. Koningsdam will now depart on its first cruise, a seven-day round trip sailing from Civitavecchia, Italy (Rome), on April 8, 2016.
  • Gloria Hunniford renamed Cruise & Maritime Voyages’ newest ship, the 1,250-passenger Magellan, on Thursday, boosting the fleet size to four.
  • England’s Queen Elizabeth named P&O Cruises’ newest ship Britannia in Southampton speaking the customary words: “may God bless her and all who sail in her,” before pressing the button to release a Nebuchadnezzar of sparkling English wine (the equivalent of 20 bottles), to smash against the side of the ship. The Regimental Band of the Irish Guards and band of the Royal Marines then played as she departed.
  • Lindblad Expeditions has floated on the stock exchange and ordered two new ships to debut in 2017 and 2018.
  • Regent Seven Seas Cruises will feature a French restaurant, called Chartreuse on its newest cruise ship to debut in summer 2016, Seven Seas Explorer.
  • Cruise Shipping Miami opens on Monday. Galway harbour host a St Patrick’s Day party at the event.
  • Princess Cruises announced a collaboration with the Oscar-winning Broadway and film composer, Stephen Schwartz. Schwartz will write four musicals that will be performed across the fleet over the next few year. The first is called Magic To Do.

Deal Watch

Tourism NI offers of the week: 2 nights B&B for two at the Atlantic Hotel, Portrush from £150 incl. one evening meal, available Sundays to Fridays only, May 1 to September 30, call 028 7082 3539 to book. 1 night B&B at Whistledown Hotel, Warrenpoint, Newry from £50pps incl. one 3 course evening meal in the Bistro restaurant, available Sundays to Thursdays until March 31, call 028 4175 4174 to book.Ramada Da Vinci’s Hotel in Derry is offering 10pc off 2-night stays and 15pc off 3-night stays until December 31, call 028 7127 9111 to book.

  • Lowcostbeds offers: Half board Hotel Hesperia Sabinal, Roquestas de Mar, Almeria from €25pppn, room only €18pppn. B&B Vila Gale Hotel, Cascais from €56pppn. B&B Hotel Cidela, Cascais from €34pppn. B&B Hotel Cavalieri Art, St Julian’s, Malta from €51pppn. B&B Il Palazzin, Qawra, Malta from €20pppn. Based on 7 night stay, 2 sharing, depart May 27.
  • Thomson is offering 7 nights All Inclusive Dublin to Iberotel Palace, Sharm El Sheikh from €879pp based on two sharing, depart May 28.
  • Falcon is offering 7 nights All Inclusive Dublin to Coral Sea Water World, Sharm El Sheikh from €2,109 for two adults and one child and from €2,959 for two adults and two children, depart May 28.
  • Topflight‘s Adriatic Riviera summer offers: 7 nights half board Hotel Bagli, Rimini from €729pps. 7 nights half board Hotel Panorama, Cattolica from €679pps. 7 nights half board Hotel Golf, Riccione from €659pps. All prices include return flights ex Dublin, return transfers, luggage allowance and rep service.
  • Topflight is offering 7 nights All Inclusive Secrets Silversands Riviera, Cancun, Mexico from €2,049pps incl. junior suite tropical view room, transfers, taxes and return flights. To book, visit topflight.ie or call 01 2401 788.
  • Travel Department city breaks offers: 4 nights B&B Dublin to Clip Hotel or Hotel Black Tulip, Porto from €379pp incl.taxes, guided city tour, transfer on arrival and wine tasting, travel on selected dates in May and September. 3 nights B&B Dublin to Bellevue Park Hotel, Riga from €349pp incl. taxes, transfer on arrival and guided city tour, depart April 20 or 27. 3 nights B&B Dublin to Hotel Gelmirez, Santiago from €379pp incl. taxes, transfer on arrival and city tour, travel on selected dates in April and October.  5 nights B&B Dublin to Sokos Hotel Olympia Garden, St Petersburg from €699pp incl. taxes and charges, transfer on arrival, half day guided tour of St Petersburg, half day guided tour to Catherine’s Palace and a guided visit to the Hermitage Museum, depart May 5 or October 22. Visit traveldepartment.ie to book or call 01 637 1600.
  • Click and Go offers: 3 nights in Residence du Park Hotel, Disneyland Paris from €959 for two adults and one child incl. double or twin room, return flights ex Dublin, taxes and charges, depart May 1. 3 nights B&B in Asmali Hotel, Istanbul from €389pp incl. double room, return flights ex Dublin, taxes and charges, depart May 1. 7 nights in Santana Hotel, St Paul’s Bay, Malta from €289pp incl. double room, return flights ex Dublin, taxes, charges and transfers, travel in April. 7 nights in the Senator Banus Spa Hotel, Estepona, Costa del Sol from €399pp incl. double or twin room, return flights ex Dublin, taxes, charges and transfers, travel in April. 7 nights self catering in the Estrela do Vau Aparthotel, Praia do Vau, the Algarve from €829 for two adults and one child incl. return flights ex Dublin, taxes, charges and transfers, travel in May. Visit clickandgo.com to book or call 01 637 1699.
  • Sunway offers: 4 nights in Circus Circus hotel, Las Vegas from €689pp, depart May 19. UFC Fight Night – 4 nights in the Stratosphere Hotel Casino, Las Vegas from €1,249pp, depart July 9. 7 nights in Fariones Hotel from €669pp incl. return airport transfers, taxes charges, 20kg checked baggage pp and Sunway rep service, depart Dublin or Cork, travel May and June.
  • Sunway‘s 5 day sale ends Tuesday (March 17): 7 nights Tunisia from €349pp, Morocco from €369pp, Bulgaria from €399pp, Lanzarote from €399pp, Gran Canaria from €399pp, Sicily from €399pp, Fuerteventura from €399pp, Tenerife from €399pp, Majorca from €399pp, Turkey from €399pp, Menorca from €449pp, Algarve from €429pp, Sorrento from €499pp and Lisbon Coast from €499pp. Travel in June, prices include flights, return airport transfers, taxes, charges, 20kg checked baggage pp and Sunway rep service.
  • Irish Ferries is offering 7 nights to Hafan Y Mor, Wales for €1,224 for up to six people staying in a Superior or Deluxe caravan inclusive of return car ferry travel, depart July 13, book before April 30.

Ireland

Fáilte Ireland has invited entries for the EDEN competition. Held every two years, this year’s theme is Tourism and Local Gastronomy. The winning destination will receive a promotional photo shoot to market itself as well as €5,000 to use to highligh its attractions. The winning entry will also represent Ireland at an exhibition in Brussels later this year. Eligible destinations: Small destinations with lower visitor numbers in comparison to the national average; destinations that offer authentic tourism experiences; and destinations that have a well-developed gastronomy that is characteristic of the region. To enter, email eden.helpdesk@failteireland.ie or contact the local regional tourism office. Closing date: Wednesday, April 8.

Atlantic Sea Kayaking and Wild Atlantic Walks in Cork was the overall winner at the inaugural Irish Responsible Tourism Awards. The full list of winners: Best Tour Operator — Connemara Wild Escapes. Best Small Hotel or Accommodation — Hotel Doolin. Best Transport Initiative — An Taisce Green Schools Travel and Burren & Cliffs of Moher Geopark Partnership. Best in a Marine or Coastal Environment — Dolphin Watch, Co Clare. Best Destination — Loop Head Peninsula. Best Cultural Heritage Attraction — Cnoc Suain, Co Galway. Best Local Food Initiative — Archways B&B, Wexford. Best Adventure Activity Provider — Atlantic Sea Kayaking and Wild Atlantic Walks.

  • New CSO figures showed that 7.6m overseas visitors came to Ireland in 2014, spending €4.68bn.
  • Fáilte Ireland announced that Dublin will host three international conferences: Life Cycle Assessment of Foods Conference, October 2016, 450 delegates. International Network of Basin Organisations European Conference on the Water Framework Directive, November 2017, 750 delegates. Fire Safety for All in Buildings Conference, April 2016, 200 delegates.
  • Minister Michael Ring announced funding is being sought under the Community Tourism Initiative for the Diaspora, launched last year, which aims to build on the legacy of The Gathering 2013.

4Clare County Council announced that it will lead an initiative to promote Clare as a county of culture for 2016 to coincide with Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann, which takes place in Ennis in August 2016. Picture shows Rory Casey, Abbey Branch of Comhaltas, Gerard Dollard, Director of Service Clare County Council; Tom Coughlan, Chief Executive Clare County Council, Cathaoirleach, Cllr. John Crowe, Frank Whelan, Micheal O Riabhaigh and Joe Arkins all of the Abbey Branch of Comhaltas outside the headquarters of Comhaltas Ceoltoiri Eireann in Monkstown for the Ard Chomhairle vote on the Fleadh.

TOURISM EVENT (3) IN HOUSE OF LORDS KICKS OFF PROGRAMME OF ST PATRICK’S 2015 CELEBRATIONSMinister of State for Foreign Affairs Seán Sherlock hosted a Tourism Ireland sponsored reception in the Hotel of Lords in London on Tuesday to kick off the global greening on St Patrick’s Day.

St Patrick’s Cathedral is offering free entry to anyone named Patrick, Patricia, Padraig, Pat, Paddy — or any variation, we’re sure — on St Patrick’s Day.

SHOWTIME FOR IRELAND IN TORONTOTourism Ireland sponsored the opening film at the Toronto Irish Film Festival, Standby, and the closing film Rebuilding the World Trade Center, together with the Northern Ireland Bureau. A trailer promoting Ireland was showd ahead of all the screenings throughout the festival. Picture shows actor Brian Gleeson, star of Standby, with the TIRFF team and Dana Welch of Tourism Ireland, at the opening night of the Toronto Irish Film Festival.

TOURISM IRELAND WINS TOP AWARD FOR BEST LEARNING ORGANISATION – MEDIUM ENTERPRISESTourism Ireland  won the award for best learning organisation — medium enterprises at the IITD National Training Awards 2015 in the Killashee House Hotel, Naas.

Saint Patrick’s Cathedral is offering free entry on March 17 for everybody named Patricks or Patricia.

The 2015 100 Best series by John and Sally McKenna were published in app format this week. The apps list the accommodation and food places in Ireland selected by the McKennas (somewhat controversially), available on iTunes and Google Play for €2.99 each.

Russborough House reopens this Saint Patrick’s Weekend.

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

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