TRAVEL Extra’s Sunday Supplement: Anthem on Song while Agents are in Danger of Missing the Boat


Pat Dawson, CEO of the Irish Travel Agents Association speaking at the Travel Industry Business Show golf tournament at Citywest, April 23 2015

Pat Dawson, CEO of the Irish Travel Agents Association speaking at the Travel Industry Business Show golf tournament at Citywest, April 23 2015

The headlines this week:

  • Michael Bayley: Dynamic dining is here to stay
  • Explorer of the Seas back from refurbishment
  • Canary Islands launch new trade website and products
  • A week of firsts: Industry Trade Show and Industry Awards

Travel Extra TV

OVideo of week April 26ur video of the week shows the elevator ride to the World Trade Centre’s 102nd floor. During the 47 second ride to the top floor, screens installed in the lift display time-lapse images of lower Manhattan, charting its history from the year 1500 to the present day. Watch here.

  • A paraglider crash lands on sunbathers in Bulgaria. Watch here.
  • Behind the scenes of Ryanair’s new TV ad. Watch here.
  • Tourism Ireland’s ad for the Irish Open. Watch here.
  • Emirates surprises a German girl with two new Fly With Me monsters. Watch here.
  • A decade of the A380. Watch here.
  • Emirates crew member Don Godamunetalks about his 20 year career with the airline. Watch here.


ITAA BoardMartin Skelly of Navan Travel was re-elected as president of the Irish Travel Agents Association and Des Manning of Manning Travel was re-elected as treasurer. Other appointments to the board were: Cormac Meehan of Meehan Travel, Ben Greene of Arrow Tours, Valerie Metcalfe of FCM, Rory McDyer of Rory McDyer Travel, Jim McGonigle of Clondalkin Travel, Angel Walsh of CTM, Joe Tully of Tully Travel and Clare Dunne of The Travel Broker. Picture shows the new ITAA board. 

Sarah FischerIn a hard hitting statement to the AGM of the ITAA Sarah Fischer of the Commission of Aviation Regulation noted that in the current round of agent licensing 48 out of 125 applications were late, 13 were protracted and three may not renew.

Royal Caribbean’s newest ship, Anthem of the Seas, was named as Sunderland travel agent Emma Wilby sang Katy Perry’s “Firework” with Welsh boy choir Only Boys Aloud, who were preceded by the Anthem on boardReading Scottish Pipe Band. They were joined on stage by ship’s captain Claus Andersen and Michael Bayley before the godmother named the 4,180-passenger ship with the words: “I name this ship Anthem of the Seas. May God bless her and all who sail on her,” before pressing the button to release a bottle of Perrier Jouet Champagne to smash against the hull. Two groups of travel agents toured the ship on separate two day mini cruises, and sampled activities such as the North Star and Virtual sky dive. Stuart Leven of Royal Caribbean said Anthem of the Seas is six weeks ahead of schedule, while Quantum of the Seas was four days behind schedule when it hosted the ITAA Conference last October. Picture shows Don Shearer of Worldchoice with Bernie and Dominic Burke of Travel Centres on board Anthem of the Seas. See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.

Dynamic dining is here to stay. Royal Caribbean has delayed plans to roll out the concept (no set dining times and no formal nights) across the fleet, but Royal Caribbean’s Michael Bayley said it is proving popular with new to cruise passengers, in reply to the very first question at the Anthem press conference from TRAVEL Extra’s Eoghan Corry: “Dynamic Dining is a good idea, and everything has to change. This incredible choice and flexibility is the future. We are seeing new to cruise customers who love the idea, and this is the way cruising is changing.”

Pat DawonTravel agents and tour operators from all four provinces and suppliers from 32 countries converged at Citywest for the inaugural Travel Industry Trade Show, the first show to bring all aspects of the travel trade in Ireland under one roof. The exhibition was moved to a larger hall with two weeks to accommodate a waiting list. Picture shows Pat Dawson, CEO of the Irish Travel Agents Association, with Carole Smith of Synneo. See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.

volker plays from water copyThe team golf tournament on the day before the show featured a shotgun start and a vigorously contested team event. Rescue shot of the day (pictured) featured Volker Lorenz of Amadeus whose decision to play from the water helped his team win by two points: Noel McAuliffe, Jonathan Millar and David O’Hagan. Declan Power of Shannon Airport committed to sponsoring the event again in 2016, and gave Peter O’Hanlon a run for prize for the speech of the night. See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.

The 15-year-old Explorer of the Seas arrived back from its 40-day refurbishment with 86 added cabins, increasing passenger capacity from 3,114 to 3,288. The new cabins include 24 new “panoramic ocean view” cabins occupying a new section of superstructure added to Deck 12. Symphony, Explorer’s three-deck-high main dining room, has been re-fitted with stylish black and white chairs. Virtual balconies, a feature of Quantum class has been added to 81 inside cabins. The FlowRider surf simulator and a 220-square foot cinema screen above the midship pool. The upper level of The Chamber nightclub, on Deck 4, has been converted into a 62-cover Giovanni’s Table. Windjammer Marketplace has new table tops; a Chops Grille steakhouse has replaced the Portofino restaurant on Deck 11, and the port side of the Viking Crown Lounge now accommodates an Izumi Japanese sushi restaurant. Aquarium Bar is now The Tavern and the Champagne Bar on Deck 5 has been renamed the R Bar. The ship is the latest vessel from Royal Caribbean  to emerge from a fleet-wide $300m revitalisation programme. Navigator of the Seas went through the exact same refurbishment programme in February last year. Explorer sails from Southampton this summer to the Canaries, Norway and the Mediterranean. In October, the ship leaves for a season in Australia before taking up residence in Alaska for summer 2016. Stuart Leven, Royal Caribbean’s two country MD for Ireland and Britain, said: “We’re on a mission to change holidaymakers’ expectations, and just as Anthem of the Seas set sail this week on her maiden voyage, a newly refurbished Explorer of the Seas arrived in Southampton. We are constantly working to bring the innovation of our newest ships to existing ships across the fleet, ensuring that every ship is our best ship.”

Awards- Paschal Donohoe keynoteThe inaugural Irish Tourism Industry Awards attracted 525 people to the Doubletree by Hilton. Award winners on the night included Shannon Airport for its marketing initiative. See the full list of winners. Picture shows MC Mary Kennedy watching Minister Paschal Donohoe deliver the keynote speech.  See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.

canary workshopCanary Island hoteliers updated Irish agents in Limerick and Dublin outlining in a market that attract 400,000 Irish tourists a year. The tourism authorities have launched a new trade website and products. Picture shows Marian Benton of Map Travel and Bernie Colgan from Majorca with Jacinta McGlynn and Laura McCormack of Click and Go at the workshop in Dublin. See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.

Travel Trade

J Barter Travel is celebrating 150 years in business with an exhibition in Cork Vision Centre, which will run for three weeks starting May 7.

xITAA_05ITAA’s quarterly survey found that Spain remains the most popular holiday destination for Irish holidaymakers, followed by Portugal and Italy, which climbed two places YOY and pushing the USA down to fourth place. Agents said that all inclusive cruise and river cruises are one of the biggest trends in 2015 so far.

The ITAA Conference in Jerez on October 1-4 will be served by an Aer Lingus charter flying out on Thursday and back on Monday.

Audrey HeadonAudrey Headon’s decision to leave World Travel Centre after 23 years sees her move into a new role in representation, although she says she has not established a name of the new company yet. Watch this space.

Arrangements for the Amadeus golf day are under way and it is likely the tournament will take place on Sept 24 at Lough Erne.

Red Sea Holidays is offering agents the chance to win a 7 night holiday to Sharm el Sheikh on Facebook.


chairperson-manorIrish Country Hotels and Guaranteed Irish invited local suppliers to pitch their goods and services at a Meet the Buyer event at Fitzgerald’s Woodlands House Hotel in Adare on Monday, April 27. Buyers from the group’s 24 hotels are looking to spend €3m on artisan food and drink items, toiletries, flowers, garden supplies, candles, furniture, cleaning products, gift shop items and other products. Irish Country Hotels will also be running a masterclass for small business owners on how to pitch their products to the hospitality industry. Picture shows Mary Fitzgerald, Chairperson of Manor House Hotels and Irish Country Hotels.

Hilton Worldwide opened its first Hilton Hotels and Resorts property in Rio de Janeiro.

Accor will manage two new build resorts in the Maldives: the all-villa Mercure Maldives Kooddoo resort, due to open in 2016, and the 120-villa Pullman Maldives Maamutaa Resort, to open in 2018.

Hotel chain Red Roof plans to open 40 new hotels in Canada over a 20 year period. The first four properties are expected to open in 2016.

The Aston Aloha Beach Hotel Kauai, Hawaii agreed a franchise deal with Hilton Worldwide to rebrand as a Hilton Garden Inn. The property will be renovated and is expected to reopen in early 2016.

DoubleTree by Hilton opened its first property in Chile, DoubleTree by Hilton Santiago.

The PortoBay Group opened a five star hotel in Lisbon, PortoBay Liberdade.



Tanzania Tourist Board is promoting nine cultural tourism sites: Bujora, Ukerewe and Kisesa in the Lake Zone region of Mwanza; Kiliman, Rau and Lyamungo on the slopes of Mount Kilimanjaro; and Liuli- Pomonda and Mbamba Bay in Ruvuma.

Tourism Malaysia and 32 Malaysian travel agencies launched the Discover Malaysia by Bicycle Guidebook.

Cascais Tourism Board is offering the chance to win one of six places to watch the Millennium Estoril Open. The winners will also be given the chance to play a point with the finalists of the tournament’s quarter finals and semi finals. The competition closes tomorrow (April 27), see Cascais’ Facebook page for more.

A study by GoEuro found that Sweden has the most powerful passports in the world. The top ten: 1 Sweden, 2 Finland, 3 Germany, 4 Britain, 5 USA, 6 Denmark, 7 Canada, 8 Spain, 9 Belgium and 10 The Netherlands.

Sabre’s travel management app TripCase is now available on the Apple Watch.

Security researcher Chris Roberts was prevented from boarding a United Airlines flight from Colorado to San Fransisco because of a tweet that suggested the airline’s onboard systems could be hacked.

Marking the anniversary of The Surgeon’s Photograph hoax, Google installed Street View cameras in Loch Ness.

UNESCO predicts that half of the world’s languages will no longer exist by the end of this century.

The World Happiness Report listed Switzerland, Iceland, Denmark, Norway and Canada as the world’s happiest nations.

The Shroud of Turin went on display for the first time in five years. 1m people are expected to visit the city in the coming weeks.

Russia’s tourism ministry launched an open competition to design a new logo for Russia.

Leger Holidays in England launched an online tour of its new Luxuria coach.

Universal Orlando celebrates its 25th anniversary with a series of concerts in the Music Plaza: May 23 Prince Roys, May 24 Shawn Mendes, May 30 Pitbull, June 6 Kellie Pickler, June 13 Huey Lewis and the News, June 20 Goo Goo Dolls.

Screens were installed at Heathrow T2 to show updated time and price comparisons between taxis and train services bringing passengers into London.

  • Expedia launched its app for the Apple Watch.
  • Beit Guvrin-Maresha National Park in the Judean Lowlands were named Israel’s eighth UNESCO World Heritage Site.
  • Sub Sea Systems completed construction of the Clear Lounge underwater oxygen bar.
  • Six passengers and one pilot were killed in a small aircraft crash in the Dominican Republic.
  • Online shopping giant Amazon will enter the travel business with Amazon Destinations.
  • launched an app for the Apple Watch.
  • US casino operator Mohegan Sun announced it will develop a casino resort on the grounds of Incheon International Airport in South Korea.
  • An air ambulance was called to teat a woman for head injuries after she fell 11ft from one of the bronze lion sculptures in London’s Trafalgar Square.
  • A fire broke out in The Randolph Hotel in Oxford, England because a chef put too much cognac into a saucepan, causing potentially millions of pounds worth of damage.

Food & Wine

  • Neil and Mary McEvoy’s Kilkenny Cookery School is hosting a One Chicken, Five Recipes class on May 23, costs €65. See for more.
  • Listowel Food Fair takes place June 18 to 21.
  • Olivier Meisonnave of Dax restaurant in Dublin 2 collected €11,000 in donations for the Dublin Simon Community.


aer-lingus-jetA decision by the Government on the future of Aer Lingus now looks set to be delayed until May.

Aer Lingus‘ on-line timetable is showing Dublin-Jersey next winter, Friday and Sunday.

Belfast International Airport began its legal claim at the Belfast High Court for £20m damages from Aer Lingus.

Ryanair’s Knock-Las Palmas route will not operate this summer due to “shortage of aircraft”.

Ryanair said it is recording a load factor of 90pc on its initial services from Copenhagen to Dublin.

DAA will spend €14m on doubling the size of its T2 short-term car park. The extension will add four floors and 1,400 spaces to the multi-storey car park. Work is expected to finish in December. 

Cityjet has partnered with Dublin-based aviation training company Simtech to train 22 new pilots this year.

Point mergerThe IAA extended the Point Merger arrival management system to Runway 10 at Dublin Airport.

Avolon announced the completion of a $675m 8-year secured debt facility, which will finance 21 aircraft at a margin of 1.65pc.

Ryanair launched its Scotland 2015 winter schedule with 32 routes.

Malaysia Airlines will expand its codeshare partnership with Etihad on April 30.

Boeing is experiencing problems with seat production from Zodiac Aerospace, but the aircraft maker insists that this will not alter its ability to meet targets for aircraft deliveries in 2015.

  • Finnair will offer hand luggage only Light Ticket fares on flights from Ireland from May 5.
  • Aer Lingus Cargo appointed Network Airline Services as its GSA in France.
  • Alitalia expanded its codeshare with Delta Air Lines for summer 2015.
  • Emirates announced a $9.2bn order for Rolls-Royce engines for the 50 A380s ordered at the Dubai Airshow in 2013.
  • Ryanair launched a new blog called Into The Blue.
  • Boeing reported Q1 net earnings of $1.33bn on revenue, up 8pc to $22.1bn.
  • Qatar Airways will replace the A330 aircraft operating the Doha-Heathrow route with a, A380 from July 1.
  • The London Telegraph’s guide to stress-free flying with children: iPads not I-spy, sedate them with Jaffa Cakes and, if all else fails, simply strap a pillow to your head using a belt.
  • Alaska Airlines will trial a premium economy service next month.
  • Emirates president Tim Clark said the airline will to continue its partnership with Qantas beyond the initial five-year period.
  • Iberia and TAM Airlines extended their codeshare agreement.
  • Shannon airport launched its summer service, with routes to 35 destinations.
  • Members of Delta’s Skymiles loyalty programme will be offered bonus miles and 40pc savings each time they rent a car from Hertz at participating airports until July 31.
  • Rail capacity at London Gatwick is expected to double in the next five years.
  • Flybe Finland was rebranded as Nordic Regional Airlines.
  • Emirates received its 60th A380, with another 80 pending delivery.
  • CityJet plans to continue operating its Avro RJ85s, recently sold under sale/leaseback to Falko.
  • FLY Leasing acquired a B737-800 aircraft manufactured in 2008.
  • Boeing donated an original B787-8 FTV, serial 40691, to Pima Air & Space Museum.
  • An Austrian Airlines flight en route from Vienna to Newark was diverted and cancelled after smoke came from a faulty coffee machine.
  • A Cathay Pacific pilot was arrested at Heathrow for alleged possession of knives.
  • President Michael D Higgins opened The Potato Farmers of East Africa photo exhibition at Dublin Airport.


MSC Meraviglia (“wonder” in Italian) is the name of MSC Cruises 4,500-passenger first Vista project mega-ship. Bookings for the ship will open in June 2016 and after launch in 2017 it will spend its first summer in three homeports: Genoa, Marseille and Barcelona. The ship will feature MSC’s signature water park connected to a double-deck indoor amusement park and a double-deck aft lounge and entertainment space. A two-deck interior promenade styled like a Mediterranean village covered by an LED dome ceiling that will serve as a “digital sky” showing images and visual shows with the shops, bars and specialty restaurants underneath, Interlinked cluster cabins offer up to three linked cabins for family groups. The MSC Yacht Club “ship with in a ship” features duplex suites, its own solarium, lounge and restaurants.Wristband technology will be used to make payments, book spa treatments and specialty restaurants, and allow parents to geo-locate their children. Scrubber technology to neutralise carbon dioxide emissions. The ship will also be water emission free. Details were announced at its steel-cutting in the STW France shipyard, A sister ship to MSC Meraviglia, also on order from STX France, is scheduled for delivery by 2019.

Royal Caribbean CEO Richard Fain said the ship was extraordinary because Royal Caribbean, Meyer Werft, the architects and contractors had taken a design and turned it into this masterpiece. Bayley described Anthem as the most innovative ship in the industry.

CKO Kickboxing is hosting a kickboxing cruise on Royal Caribbean’s Liberty of the Seas.

All Inclusive guests on board Norwegian Sky will have unlimited beer, wine and spirits up to $11 included in their fare from January 2016.

Passengers onboard Carnival Spirit were forced to wait out a storm because it was unsafe for the ship to dock at Sydney Harbour due to strong winds and high seas.

Royal Caribbean will no longer offer last minute discounted cruise deals in the USA.

Royal Caribbean has changed Jamie Oliver’s Italian restaurant on its Quantum class ships from a cover charge of $15 for lunch and $25 for dinner to a la carte pricing.

Brian Abel, Vice President Food & Beverage, said the move had been driven by Jamie Oliver’s restaurant group. Anyone who pre-booked the restaurant as a cover charge restaurant would have their booking honoured.

MSC Cruises Divina is to return to Miami for year-round sailings.

Celebrity Cruises has fitted a new cocktail-oriented venue for its Solstice-class ships.

Azamara is to promote local restaurants in a New Destination programme.

Australian author Kathy Lette launched the 85-cabin Scenic Jasper in Vienna, with a higher-than-average amount of space in public areas. Sister ship Scenic Opal will join the fleet in June, bringing Scenic’s fleet to 12

Disney Dream is to add a Star Wars spaceship-themed area will be added to the Oceaneer Club, the play space for kids ages 3 to 12, when it goes into dry dock in October 2015.

MSC Cruises cancelled sailings to Egypt and Ukraine.

Deal Watch

Travel Department opera holidays in association with RTÉ Lyric FM’s Marty in the Morning: 7 nights Grand Hotel Liberty, Riva Del Garda, Verona from €1,149pp incl. all transfers, guides, ticket to Verdi’s Nabucco at the Verona Opera, lunch with Marty Whelan pre-departure, taxes and charges, depart July 14. 3 nights B&B Hotel Holiday Inn, Prague from €499pp incl. all transfers, guides, a ticket to Puccini’s La Boheme, taxes and charges. Visit or call  01 637 1600 to book.

Click and Go offers, travel in May: 2 nights Mercure Dusseldorf Hafen Hotel from €195pp incl. flights ex Dubin, taxes and charges. 2 nights Dodo Hotel, Riga from €259pp incl. return flights ex Dublin, taxes and charges. 2 nights Hilton Hotel, Warsaw from €279pp incl. flights ex Dublin, taxes and charges. 7 nights self catering Mirachoro 1 Apartments, Albufeira from €499pp incl. flights ex Dublin and transfers. 7 nights All Inclusive Complejo Calas de Mallorca Hotel, Calas de Majorca from €489pp incl. fights ex Dublin, transfers, taxes and charges. Call 01 637 1699 to book.

Thomson offers: 7 nights B&B Helena Sands, Sunny Beach, Bulgaria from €499pp, depart June 1. 7 nights All Inclusive Portobello Royal, Helona Resort, Kos from €969pp, depart June 13. 7 nights half board Barcelo Santiago, Tenerife from €559pp, depart June 12. 7 nights full board Thomson Spirit cruise, Dalaman from €659pp, depart May 25. To book visit or call 1850 45 35 45.

Falcon offers: 7 nights All Inclusive Aqua Nevis Club, Sunny Beach, Bulgaria from €1,719 for two adults and one child or from €2,239 for two adults and two children, depart June 1. 7 nights half board More Hotel, Alcudia, Majorca from €439pp, depart June 4.

Lowcostbeds offers of the week, based on 7 nights, two sharing, depart May 14: 3* Las Terrazas del Puerto, Puerto del Carmen, Lanzarote self catering from €11pppn. 4* Hotel Suite Fariones Playa, Puerto del Carmen, Lanzarote B&B from €38pppn. 3* Alexis Pool Apartments, Sidari, Corfu self catering from €6pppn. 4* Govino Bay Resort, Gouvia, Corfu room only from €16pppn. 4* Palmin Hotel, Kusadasi, Turkey All Inclusive from €32pppn. 4* Hotel Plam Garden, Gumbet, Turkey All Inclusive from €17pppn.

Classic Resorts offers: 3 nights Amwaj Rotana Jumeirah Beach Residence, Dubai from €689pps, travel May 15 to June 16 or August 11 to September 15, book by April 30. 5 nights Harbour Plaza 8 Degrees, Hong Kong from €929pps, travel May 1 to August 20, book by April 26. To book, call 01 874 5000 or visit

Topflight Adriatic Riviera La Notte Rosa festival offers, depart June 27: 7 nights half board 3* Hotel Bagli, Rimini from €659pps. 7 nights half board 3* Hotel Golf, Riccone from €749pps. 7 nights B&B 4* Plus Hotel Milton, Rimini from €899pp. All prices include return flights ex Dublin, return transfers, luggage allowance and rep service. To book, call 01 2401 700 or visit

Sunway offers: 7 nights B&B Princesa Baiza Suite Hotel Resort from €899pp, depart May and September. 7 nights B&B Sofitel Agadir Royal Bay, Morocco from €749pp, depart June 20 or 27. 7 nights B&B Sofitel Agadir Thalassa Sea & Spa Hotel from €819pp, depart June 6 or 13. 7 night Caribbean cruise onboard Royal Caribbean’s Anthem of the Seas from €1,569pp incl. 1 night pre stay in New York, depart December 11.

Click and Go is offering 7 night full board cruise onboard Cunard Queen Mary 2 from €1,279pp incl. 1 night pre or post cruise in 4* Row Hotel, Manhattan, port taxes and 20kg baggage pp, depart July 14.

Red Sea Holidays Sharm El Sheikh offers: Ghazala Beach Hotel B&B from €469pp, depart May 21. Sharm Plaza Hotel All Inclusive from €797pp, depart May 21. Siva Sharm Resort & Spa All Inclusive from €535pp, depart May 28. Ghazala Beach Hotel B&B from€599pp, depart May 28. Sharm Resort Hotel All Inclusive from €531pp depart June 4. The Grand Hotel All Inclusive from €899pp, depart June 4.

Wendy Wu Tours is offering 18 days All Inclusive tour of Vietnam from €3,090pp incl. free stay in Cambodia, flights, transport, accommodation, English speaking guide, entrance fees and visa fees with valid passport. Tour highlights include Saigon and Hanoi, Hoi An, Higlands and Halong Bay cruise.

Natural Retreats Castlemartyr is offering up to 15pc off self-catering breaks in May and June.  For more info visit or call 01 685 3013.

Riviera late offers, limited availability: 5 nights B&B Loire Valley and Monet’s Garden from €769pp incl. three meals, depart May 14. 7 nights half board Pompeii, Capri and the Bay of Naples from €979pp, depart May 15. 3 nights B&B Paris from €469pp, depart May 22. 4 nights B&B Venice from €969pp, depart May 25. 7 nights half board Lake Garda, Venice and Verona from €1,144pp, depart May 25. 4 nights B&B Normandy from €689pp, depart June 13. 3 nights B&B Bruges from €509pp, depart June 14. 3 nights B&B Paris from €489pp, depart June 19. 7 nights half board Pompeii, Capri and the Bay of Naples from €999, depart June 26. All prices include flights ex Dublin and 15kg checked in baggage pp.

Tourism NI offers of the week: 1 night B&B The Merchant Hotel, Belfast from £330 per couple incl. champagne and chocolates on arrival and access to spa rooms, available until Dec 30, call 028 9023 4888 to book. 2 nights B&B Beech Hill Country House Hotel, Derry from £129pps incl. one evening meal in the Ardmore restaurant, available until November 30, call 028 9023 4888 to book. 1 night B&B ladies golf retreat at Lough Erne Resort Enniskillen from £190pps incl. lunch on arrival, half day gold school and gala dinner, call 028 6632 3230 to book. 1 night B&B Slieve Donard Resort & Spa, Newcastle from £70pps incl. 3 course dinner in the Percy French Restaurant, available until January 30 2016, call 028 4372 1066 to book.


NO FEE BELMOND GR HIB LCH TOURS MX-3The Belmond Grand Hibernian luxury train was launched on Wednesday. Two, four and six night itineraries will be available from August 2016.

Limerick company Visitorflix launched a library of 30-second video clips created for Irish tourism companies to showcase visitor experiences on the WAW. 

Tourism Ireland’s strategy for growth of tourism from Australia to Ireland set a target of 20pc growth by the end of 2017. The aim is to position Ireland as the ideal starting point for a European trip, emphasising that it is easy to reach, with frequent, one-stop flights.

Upcoming events in Limerick: Riverfest, May 1-4. Ballyhoura International Walking Festival, May 2-4. Barrington’s Hospital Great Limerick Run, May 3. Ireland v Barbarians, Thomond Park, May 28. Culture & Chips, May 28 to June 1. Limerick Sings International Choral Festival, June 26-29. Foynes Air Show, June 26.

3rd Doolin Folk Festival launch at DoolinThe line up for Doolin Folk Festival was announced. Stockton’s Wing, Declan O’Rourke, Sharon Shannon, Mick Flannery and O’Sahara, Luka Bloom’s band, will headline the festival, June 12 to 14. Picture shows musicians Mick Flannery, Christy Barry and Sharon Shannon.

TourismIreland3Tourism Ireland and Minister Paschal Donohoe launched a three-year strategy to attract 220,000 Australian visitors to Ireland by the end of 2017, a growth of 20pc. The plan is to position Ireland as a destination that complements other European destinations which are the main draw for Australians.

A group of tour operators participated in Tourism Ireland’s annual Meet the Buyer workshop in the Slieve Donard Hotel, Newcastle. The group visited the Mourne Seafood INTERNATIONAL TOUR OPERATORS SAMPLE MOURNE SEAFOOD AND MORE …Cookery School in Kilkeel, the Soak Seaweed Baths, Kribben Cottages, Hanna’s Close, the Narnia Trail, Causeway Coastal Route and Sketrick Island. Picture shows the tour operators with tour guide David McAnirm and Roger Moynihan, head chef at the Mourne Seafood Cookery School.

The Lough Derg Nature Trail will be launched at a seminar in The Workhouse Centre, Portumna, Co Galway this Thursday, April 30, 10.30am.

The line up for the Gospel Rising Music Festival in Ennis was announced. The event takes place May 8-10.Ennis to host Ireland's biggest gospel music festival

Tourism Ireland’s central marketing director Mark Henry was elected as vice chair of the European Travel Commission.

Game of Thrones props, including dragon eggs and ravens, appeared in surprise locations around Belfast as part of a Tourism Ireland and HBO partnership.

MINISTER JIMMY DEENIHAN LENDS A HAND TO BOOST TOURISM FROM SCOTLANDMinister for Diaspora Affairs Jimmy Deenihan visited Scotland this week. He met with members of the Irish Diaspora and the Tourism Ireland team in Glasgow. Picture shows the minister with Elaine Murray, Caroline Mulligan and Linda Duncan, all of Tourism Ireland.

Shannon Region Conference & Sports Bureau held an awards ceremony for 40 participants in SRCSB Ambas Awards 147the sports and business ambassador programme in Clare and Limerick. Elfed Lewis of UL was named Ambassador of the Year for bringing international conferences to Limerick.

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

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