TRAVEL Extra’s Sunday Supplement: Aer Lingus Wings West to the West Wing

Holiday-world

The headlines this week:

  • Toland: Dublin direct to Beijing still 18 months away
  • Visit Belfast showcases city’s latest tourism offerings
  • Winner alright: Local trade at Punchestown
  • Du Pont Circle Hotel hosts the press
  • Surf Holidays launches new website

Travel Extra TV

Video of the week May 3Our video of the week shows diver William Mitchell swimming through one million Silversides in Grand Cayman. Watch here.

  • Boeing: Doing big things with data. Watch here.
  • See terrifying footage shot at Everest base camp during the Nepal earthquake. Watch here.
  • Tourism Ireland posted a short video of Michael Gambon reciting WB Yeats’ The Song of Wondering Aengus as part of Yeats2015. Watch here.
  • Aer Lingus showcases EI103. Watch here.
  • Work or pleasure? Here’s a wetsuit that doubles as a work suit. Watch here.
  • Discover Northern Ireland’s promo for Gran Fondo 2015. Watch here.
  • EasyJet introduces Mobile Host. Watch here.
  • Air France shows off its Apple Watch app. Watch here.
  • Iberia explains its updated service for minors travelling alone. Watch here.
  • Qantas marks 80 years with an updated livery. Watch here.
  • Ryanair urges England to follow Ireland’s lead and scrap APD. Watch here.
  • Jamie Cullum’s message to the City of Derry Jazz Festival. Watch here.

Headlines

gate a23Gate A23 in Dulles Airport saw a welcome sight on Friday: The return of Aer Lingus to an airport it vacated as a direct destination from Ireland in 2009 and from a franchise service in 2012. Aer Lingus’s marquee launch of 2015 is a 4w service that will operate from May until October. Connecting passengers from Hamburg, Paris, Birmingham and London were among those on the inaugural flight. During the peak summer months, ten airlines will operate 164 flights each week to 15 North American destinations. The service will connect Washington to 18 European cities across Dublin. A smooth 7 hours and 12 minute flight brought passengers and crew to a welcome reception at their destination

cutting tapePicture shows Margaret E McKeough, Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer for Washington Airports Authority; Irish ambassador to the USA, Anne Anderson; Alison Metcalfe, Tourism Ireland Vice President US and Canada; and Jack Foley, Aer Lingus Vice President of North America welcoming the inaugural Aer Lingus Dublin to Washington DC flight. Vincent Harrison said Dublin is now Europe’s sixth biggest trans-Atlantic hub. We had a record 2m trans Atlantic passengers in 2014 and we expect that to grow again in 2015. Declan Kearney of Aer Lingus said Dublin is now a springboard for all of Europe to cross the Atlantic. Brian Jensen of the US embassy said Ireland is the first market for American FDIi in 2013 and 2014, not first among small nations, not first in Europe, but first in the world. As great as the relationship is, it will continue. The trans-Atlantic trade and investment. In Washington DC Jack Foley said while other European airlines had grown to bring people to their former empires, Aer Lingus was the first European airline to grow to bring people back home. See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.

doyle-collectionMark Roche Garland GM of the Du Pont Circle Hotel, part of the Doyle Collection, hosted a group of Irish media over the weekend and showcased his new $55m development, level 9, with 15 suites and elite-tier business facilities. The group dined on locally sourced food arranged by the hotel’s executive chef David Fritsche. See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.

daa results_0668Direct flights from Dublin to Beijing are still 18 months away according to the CEO of Dublin Airport Authority Kevin Toland. Picture shows Ray Grey chief financial officer, Kevin Toland CEO, and Pádraig Ó Riordáin, chair of DAA. Answering a question from Travel Extra at the management group’s annual results he said Beijing was top of his wish list for new routes followed by an all year round service to Moscow and Israel. We are targeting a number of cities in North America and there are lots more opportunities on the short haul side. He said Ethiopia’s route to Addis Adaba doing well in 2015 would be the REAL top of his wish list as daa results padraig o riordain_0657that doing well would be a great opener for a whole pile of other things. Fundamentally if you’re not connected to China you’re a lot less relevant to them. That really is the big one if you take the 10 year view. From Cork he would like to see routes into Germany, parts of France, north Italy and Sweden, while Dublin is really about the long haul. He said the IAG proposed takeover of Aer Lingus would give opportunities for growth in both Dublin and Cork. Looking to London there seems a disinclination to grow and we could service that growth out of Dublin. There is a lot of looking at the defence but there are lots of opportunities on the offence. Picture shows Pádraig Ó Riordáin, chair of DAA with Kevin Toland in the background at the results presentationSee more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.

Flags at Germany TM in Weimar

Flags at Germany TM in Weimar

The 41st German Tourism market was a lower key event than previous editions, with numbers of buyers and media down considerably. Bärbel Grönegres of Thuringia Tourist Board and Petra Hedorfer CEO of the GNTB hosted 500 buyers from 40 countries in the city where Martin Luther translated the Bible into German in advance of the 500th anniversary of the reformation in 201. Delegates were hosted at Erfurt cathedral for the opening event and listened to performances from Richard Wagner’s Tannhäuser and the Singers’ Contest and dinner in the Wartburg Hotel.

kildare punchestown 1MG_0481Punchestown general manager Dick O’Sullivan welcomed tourism interests and some celebrity guests such as Niall Quinn to Punchestown race course this week to celebrate the racing festival’s €70m contribution to the local economy. When I came for six months 13 years ago someone told me you have lost to the locals, and when you lose the locals you can forget about everything else. Kildare mayor Fiona O’Loughlin told guests that Kildare day could be a platform for the county to recognise the value of tourism locally. Into Kildare chair John Osborne and CEO Phil Donnelly hosted a wide variety of tourism interests at the event. See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.

visit belfastVisit Belfast’s Anne McMullan briefed media on the city’s enhanced tourism offering continued to grow since the opening of the Titanic Centre in 2012, in 2015 which includes the visit of the Tall Ships, a Giro legacy cycling event and conference wins. She told Travel Extra that Belfast has 16 new hotels in the development pipeline. Picture shows Darach McQuaid of Shade Tree Sports who organised the Giro Legacy event, Fiona Cunningham of Tourism NI, Anna McMullan of Belfast CVB and Gerry Copeland of Belfast Tall Ships Festival team. See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.

willie walsh_9312How much will IAG pay for Aer Lingus? Effectively nothing, on the evidence of the cash pile Friday’s revealed AGM. Net cash at the end of March was €650.7m, up €97m on the year before. Shareholders were told that lower fuel prices were more than offset by the strong dollar and staff costs were up due to more transatlantic flying and more staff in ground operations and support. Operating costs were up 6.7pc to €328.4m with fuel up 8.5pc to €72.5m, staff up 6.0pc to €72.2m, airport and en route charges up 4.8pc to €74.5m and other costs up 7.2pc to €109.2m. Replies to questions on the analyst’s call suggest the airline’s management is happy at the number of waivers coming in re the IASS although “deferred are more challenging to find.” By April 24, 72.8pc of the 2,510 active members and 45.1pc of the 3,079 deferred members of the IASS had signed the waivers required to trigger company payments into the new scheme accounts. Long-haul sales are rising faster than capacity and it was claimed that Aer Lingus is also becoming a “home airline” for Boston transatlantic.

Nick KellyNicky Kelly’s surfholidays.com launched their revamped website with the first booking platform to cater specifically for the surf travel industry. The platform allows accommodations and surf schools to add themselves to their website and as a result people can book a stay or lessons with them live on surfholidays.com. Surf Holidays operate in 18 different surf towns throughout Europe’s six main surf countries (Ireland, Spain, France, Portugal, Canary Islands & Morocco). They are adding new towns in each of these countries and will be launching England as a destination. Next month they launch Central America  including Costa Rica, Panama and Nicaragua, as they continue to expand to the worlds 432 surf towns.

A notable court decision this week is relevant to the travel trade. Gail O’Rorke was acquitted of an assisted suicide charge in association with Bernadette Forde, who was 51 and had suffered with multiple sclerosis for ten years, ended her life at her home in Dublin in June 2011 after she had been forced to cancel a trip to the Dignitas Clinic in Zurich after the intervention of the gardaí who were alerted by a travel agent.

Travel Trade

Turkish Airlines World Golf Cup 2015 has been expanded to include qualifying events in 65 destinations worldwide. The Dublin qualifying event will take place on Thursday, May 7 at Killeen Castle Golf Club. The series of global amateur golf competition is designed to provide opportunities to network with senior business people from around the world. 1beach group

Picture shows Shane Cullen of Killiney Travel, Loretta Mooney of O’Hanrahan Travel, Mairead Morris of Sunway, Borja Bedoya of Spanish Tourist Board, Lucie Velka of Club Travel, Belinda Donegan of Budget Travel, Michael Kelly of Keller Travel, & Josephine McGuane of GoHop pictured at Fuerteventura Beach on the Spanish TB agents fam trip to Fuerteventura, See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.

1uniworld group copy

Uniworld hosted agents on board the luxurious River Beatrice on the Danube. Picture shows Elaine Massey of Kiliney Travel, Leonie Donovan of JustSplit.com, Bernie O’Callaghan of J Barter Travel, Tim Carey of The Travel Boutique, Rosemary O’Connell of Lee Travel and Margaret McKenna of O’Hanrahan Travel. See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.

Malcesine Castle (1)Picture shows the winners of the Topflight VIP Group in Italy. The group visited Sorrento and Lake Garda on a VIP trip with excursions to Pompeii and Vesuvius, boat trips on Lake Garda, an afternoon in Verona and a visit to Malcesine castle with wine, limoncello tasting and a gelato or two along the way. See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.

  • Skål’s May lunch takes place in the Camden Court Hotel, Dublin on Tuesday, May 12, 12.30pm. Price for member €30, non member €35.
  • British Airways are to move its sales support function in Ireland to England, which means Ger Hayes and Graham Aldren will leave the company on May 6.
  • Lowcostbeds and Emirates trade promotion: Book flights with Emirates to Dubai, Bangkok, India, Mauritius, Maldives and China with accommodation from lowcostbeds before May 31 and earn €5 One4all voucher.
  • Selective Travel Management completed an extension on its headquarters at Murray’s Exchange, Belfast. Picture shows…
  • Travelport appointed Steven Chambers to its board of directors.
  • Ryanair LABS is advertising roles in software development, UX and design, data, QA and testing, and media and marketing.

John Burke of The Armada Hotel and Hotel Doolin has launched an appeal to raise €10,000 for the Nepal disaster relief effort this week.

You can support by:

  • Bidding on one or more of the items up for auction on the Armada Hotel FB page
  • Sponsoring a child attending one of the Co. Clare schools holding a no-uniform day
  • Attending the Seisiún at Hotel Doolin on May 4.
  • Bringing a donation to the Armada Hotel, Spanish Point or Hotel Doolin
  • Attending the Pop-Up Rail Sale at the Armada Hotel on May 4
  • Taking a collection bucket for your business
  • Sponsoring an item for raffle

Hotels

P1030612sThe Quality Hotel in Youghal was bought out by management, headed by GM Allen McEnery (pictured), for €540,000.

Six Senses Hotels Resorts Spas opens its first European resort on July 15: Six Senses Douro Valley, Portugal.

The IHF Shannon region said it is experiencing a boost in business thanks to a resurgence at Shannon airport.

Irish County Hotels 05Carpenters, soap maker and artisan food producers attended Irish Country Hotels’ Meet the Buyer event, co-hosted by Guaranteed Irish at the Fitzgeralds Woodlands House Hotel in Adare, Co Limerick.

Hilton Worldwide launched a marketing campaign and website for its Curio brand.

Starwood Hotels & Resorts‘ new Apple Watch app will allow guests to open their hotel rooms.

Hilton will introduce the Embassy brand in China with a new property in the Hainan province, scheduled to open in 2019.

Ritz-Carlton will open its second hotel in Saudi Arabia, the Ritz-Carlton Jeddah.

Melia Hotels International will open its first Me brand property in Italy this month.

International

insight ad

EXPO1The 2015 World Expo in Milan opened on Friday. Ten million tickets were sold before the opening. 140 countries will participate over the next six months.

Wednesday saw the launch of Orlando’s new entertainment destination, I-Drive 360, home of the new Orlando Eye.  Stuntman Nik Wallenda successfully completed his record-breaking walk atop the Eye, while the observation wheel was in motion. I-Drive 360 will open to the public tomorrow Monday, May 4.

SeaWorld Orlando will open a 200 foot roller coaster next year. More details to come in May.

Travelport was awarded a patent for a technology to manage airline performance data and travel booking data.

The NS-Dokumentationszentrum Muenchen museum in Munich opened on the site of Hitler’s former Nazi party headquarters. The museum documents events from 1914-1945. In Oberhausen, the Top Secret Espionage Museum is looking to reconstruct Hitler’s Berlin bunker as part of an exhibition centre scheduled to open in autumn.

  • Travelport launched the Agentivity product for travel agencies in the Asia Pacific region.
  • Helsinki celebrates its 460th birthday on June 12.
  • Graceland announced that Elvis’ private jets, the Lisa Marie and the Hound Dog II, will permanently remain at the visitors centre.
  • Heathrow Express installed platform gap fillers at its stations.
  • Deutsche Bahn will operate a 3w double-decker bus service from Dusseldorf to London via Antwerp from May 21. 
  • Bobby Healy’s CarTrawler is to acquire Finnish technology and services company Cabforce.
  • Visitors to Tel Aviv can view the city from hot air balloon with the TLV Balloon.
  • Restoration work at Westminster Abbey will give public access to the triforium.
  • 20,000 spectators and 7,000 cyclists attended Sovev Jerusalem cycling event.
  • Travelport renewed its long term agreement with rail company Deutsche Bahn.
  • Travellers preparing for the Camino this summer can download the Camino de Santiago training book.

Food & Wine

Italy is hosting a number of food events over the coming months including Primavera Del Prosceco until June 19, Slow Fish Festival in Genoa from May 14 to 17 and the Griglie Roventi BBQ Championship in Jesolo on July 25. See more food events here.

Aviation

shannon-ad

Aer Lingus IRFU ann#15F8A19Aer Lingus announced a three year partnership with the Irish Rugby Team. One aircraft will be renamed Green Spirit and will sport an IRFU branded livery. The jet will be unveiled later this month. Picture shows Mike Rutter, Chief Revenue Officer, with Irish Rugby Internationals Rob Kearney, Devin Toner and Jack McGrath and Ireland Rugby Coach Joe Schmidt in the Aviva Stadium.

VLM started operating its 12w Waterford-Luton and 4w Waterford-Birmingham services.

IAA announced a 15.5pc increase in its operating profit to €29.7m for 2014. The aviation authority paid a €6.5m dividend to the State.

The Shannon Group recorded a €21.1m turnover in its first four months and return at tax profit of €600,000 after tax. 

alan sparling anaAll Nippon Airways has appointed Alan Sparling’s ASM as its GSA in Ireland. All Nippon Airways is the 13th largest airline in the world by revenues (2013) and the largest airline in Japan by revenues and passenger numbers. ANA has one of the largest fleets of B787 Dreamliner aircraft and a comprehensive European network to Japan

Aer Lingus posted a Q1 loss of €48.4m, similar to the same period last year.

An AAIU report praised an Aer Lingus Regional pilot and co-pilot for their quick-thinking by flying into a rain show to clear sea salt which had caked the ATR-72 windscreen.

Daa reported after tax profits of €19m, down 50pc. The airport operator said the drop was due to an exception charge of €21m to resolve the pensions dispute.

Belfast will host the Routes Europe aviation conference in 2017.

Aer Lingus Regional launched its Dublin-Newquay service. Initially the service will be 3w, operating Monday, Friday and Saturday, increasing to 5w in June.

Kenny Jacobs Mark ZablanRyanair announced a new deal with Adobe which will see Ryanair update its app and website using Adobe software. Picture shows Ryanair Chief Marketing Officer, Kenny Jacobs with Adobe EMEA President Mark Zablan at the Adobe Summit in London.

The Airbus A380 marked its 10th anniversary on Monday.

Delta Air Lines restarted its services from Shannon to New York this weekend.

Airbus reported Q1 revenues of $13.3bn.

Avolon delivered its sixth B737-800 to Aeroflot, which will be operated by the subsidiary Pobeda.

Michael O’Leary told French newspaper Le Journal Du Dimanche that Ryanair’s average fare will be €40 by 2016, a decline of 10-15pc.

Air France google mapsTake a tour of an Air France A319 via Google Maps. See here.

Avolon delivered the first of three B737-800s to Malaysia Airlines.

Germanwings CEO Thomas Winkelmann was appointed CEO of Austrian Airlines, effective June 1.

Etihad will promote its brand campaign with Nicole Kidman at the Arabian Travel Market in Dubai.

KLM belfastThe world’s first commercial aircraft KLM DC-3 visited Belfast City Airport April 24 to publicise the launch of KLM flights from Belfast on May 18. Picture shows Katy Best, Commercial and Marketing Director at George Best Belfast City Airport, was joined by Warner Rootliep, General Manager Britain & Ireland for Air France-KLM.

Malaysia Airlines started marketing some B777-200ERs and A330-200Fs to potential purchasers.

Embraer reported  Q1 revenues of $1bn with net loss of $61.7m.

Turkish Airlines has started carrying air cargo from Shannon to Chicago.

Japanese carrier ANA and Toyota are developing economy class seats.

USA Today reported that airlines are scrambling to update their apps for the Apple Watch.

American Airlines reported a Q1 net profit of $1.2bn.

Virgin Atlantic opened a Clubhouse lounge in T2 at Los Angeles International airport.

Lufthansa announced that it will rebrand its lowcost subsidiary Germanwings as Eurowings this autumn.

From the end of June, all Emirates A380 aircraft will be equipped with redesigned headsets in economy class. Headsets will be rolled out on the B777 fleet later this year.

Airbus predicted that the passenger aircraft fleet currently serving the Australia South Pacific region will grow from 700 aircraft to 1,200 by 2033 with a  doubling in the number of wide body aircraft.

Etihad - Alitalia Expo Pavilion Opening - PHOTO 2Alitalia and Etihad Airways marked the opening of their join pavilion at Expo Milano. Picture shows Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, president of Dubai Civil Aviation Authority, and Chairman and Chief Executive Emirates Airline & Group; James Hogan, Etihad Airways President and Chief Executive Officer.

British Airways and Iberia joined the European Low Fares Airline Association.

American Airlines closed its Admirals Club lounges at Phoenix Sky Harbour International and São Paulo International airports for renovation.

Flybe launched a direct route from Cardiff to Düsseldorf.

Qatar Airways increased its 5w Edinburgh-Doha service to daily.

Etihad and American Airlines are expanding their codeshare partnership.

Several American Airlines flights were delayed on Tuesday following an iPad app glitch.

Qatar Airways and car hire firm Avis announced a loyal scheme partnership.

ETIHAD A380 IN FLIGHTEtihad took delivery of its second A380 in the Facets of Abu Dhabi livery (pictured).

NASA completed initial flight tests of a new morphing wing technology that is expected to reduce airframe weight, decrease aircraft noise and save millions in annual fuel costs.

John Mulligan reported that Ryanair was targeted in an international banking scam.

Afloat

MSC Cruises’ planned MSC Divina 2016 Mediterranean programme will now be operated by MSC Fantasia. Divina will stay in its Miami home port.

Seabourn has partnered with Michelin-star chef Thomas Keller.

Norwegian Cruise Line’s Norwegian Epic arrived in Barcelona this week to start its season of 7 night Mediterranean cruises until November 22.

Norwegian’s trial charge for room service is now a permanent feature.

Deal Watch

ITAA offers of the week: 7 nights full board Sicily and Sardinia Cruise on board MSC Preziosa from €749pp incl. return flights to Rome, checked in baggage and airport transfers, depart May 24. 7 nights self catering 4* Paraiso Aparthotel, Algarve from €399pps incl. return flights, baggage allowance and airport transfers, depart May 9. 5 nights B&B Loire Valley and Monet’s Garden Tour, France from €769pp incl. accommodation in 3* hotels, dinner on three evenings, return flights and escorted tours, depart May 14.

Travel Department is offering 14 nights in Italy from €1,699pp incl. visits to Milan, Lake Garda, Venice, Tuscany and Rome, depart October 1. Travel Department wine tours: 7 nights Galicia Oporto Wine Tour from €1,099pp incl. flights ex Dublin, transfers and 4* accommodation, depart June 6. 6 nights B&B Bordeaux and the Armagnac Region wine tour from €1,299pp incl. return flights ex Dublin and 3* accommodation, depart September 13.

Wendy Wu Tours is offering a 2 nights B&B free stay in Hong Kong when you book a fully escorted China tour. Offer includes airport transfers and half day Hong Kong Island tour. Book before May 21. Valid on departures September 1- December 7, December 29 – March 31 2016 and April 16 2016 – May 15 2016. See wendywutours.ie for more.

Falcon deals: 7 nights All Inclusive Holiday Village Cala Millor, Majorca from €2,399 for two adults and one child or form €3,059 for two adults and two children, depart June 9.

Tourism NI offers of the week: 2 nights B&B Malone Lodge Hotel, Belfast from £159pps incl. one round of golf at Malone Golf Course and dinner on one evening for two people, available until December 31, call 028 9038 8000 to book. 2 nights B&B Maldron Hotel, Derry from £99pps incl. two course meal, two cocktails pp on evening of your choice and £20 Foyleside Shopping Centre gift card per room, available until December 31, call 028 7137 1000 to book. 1 night B&B Ballygally Castle Hotel, Larne from £55pps, available until December 31, call 028 2858 1066 to book. 1 night B&B from £60pps incl. whiskey tasting for two, available until May 31, call 028 6632 1177 to book.

Thomson offers: 7 nights full board Thomson Spirit, Undiscovered Aegean, Turkey from €659pps, depart June 1.

Riviera Travel is offering 8 days 4* and 5* river cruise on the Rhone, Danube, Moselle, Main, Rhone, Elbe, Seine or Douro from €1,239pp. 14 days from €1,779pp. Selected departures up to November 2015 and April to November 2016. To book, visit rivieratravel.ie or call 01 905 6300.

Sunway late offers to Madeira, 7 nights B&B, depart Dublin May 7: Flight only €349. 2* Greco Residential €379. 2* Do Centro Hotel €399. 3* Dorsal Florist Hotel €399.  3* Do Carmo Hotel €594. 3* Orquidea Hotel €599. 4* Madeira Regency Club, senior suite seaview, €734. 5* Pestana Carlton Hotel, seaview, €879. All prices include resort transfers, 20kg baggage allowance pp and resort rep service. Sunway Tunisia offers: 7 nights B&B 2* Mahmoud Residence from €199 May, €199 June and €399 July. 7 nights B&B 4* Alhambra Thalasso from €339 May, €349 June and €569 July. 7 nights all inclusive 3* Chich Khan Hotel from €299 May, €329 June and €479 July. 7 nights B&B 4* Sindbad Hotel from €399 May, €399 June and €669 July. All prices include flights, return airport transfers, taxes, charges, 20kg checked in baggage pp and Sunway rep service.

Sunway is offering 7 nights full board 5* Blue Note Records Transatlantic Cruise from New York to Southampton on the Queen Mary 2 from €1,855pp, depart October 29.

Lowcostbeds offers of the week, 7 nights, depart June 18, based on two adults and two children: 3* Siesta Apartments, Alcudia, Majorca from €16pppn self catering.  4* Duva Apartments, Puerto Pollensa, Majorca from €22pppn self catering. 3* Sunset Beach, Benalmadena, Costa del Sol from €20pppn self catering. Hotel Sol Principe, Torremolinos, Costa del Sol from €18pppn. 3* Silchoro Apartments, Albuferia, Algarve from €9pppn self catering. 4* Alfamar Apartments, Albuferia, Algarve from €17.50pppn self catering. See lowcostbeds.com for more offers.

Click and Go offers: 2 nights B&B 3* Absalon Hotel, Copenhagen from €269pp incl. return flights ex Dublin, taxes and charges, travel in June. 7 nights self catering Puertocarmen Aparthotel, Puerto del Carmen, Lanzarote from €399pp incl. return flights ex Dublin and transfers, travel in May. 7 nights half board 4* Kornati Hotel, Biograd, Zadar Coast, Croatia from €489pp incl. return flights ex Dublin, taxes, charges and transfers, travel in May. 3 nights Lisbon from €239pp incl. 3* hotel accommodation, return flights ex Dublin, taxes and charges, travel in MAy. To book, visit clickandgo.com or call 01 637 1699.

Topflight is offering 7 nights 3* Hotel Eden, Torbole, Lake Garda from €629pps incl. return flights, transfers, rep serice, luggage allowace and 3 day sailing or windsurfing tuition. For more info call 01 2401 700 visit topflight.ie.

Insight Vacations is offering up to 5pc early payment savings on a selection of Europe Tours. Book before May 14. For more information visit insightvacations.com or call 01 775 3803.

Uniworld River Boutique Cruises is offering an 8 day All Inclusive luxury river cruise to Bordeaux, Vineyards and Chateaux from €2,029pps  incl. flights, port tax, gratuities and transfers. Book before April 30, depart May 24. For more info visit uniworld.ie  or call 01 775 3803.

Contiki offer of the week: Western Rocker 8 day tour to Italy, Switzerland and France. 7 nights’ from €1059pps incl. flights, 12 meals and visits to six World Heritage site. Book by May 11, depart June 14. To book, visit contiki.com or call 01 775 3803.

Children up to the age of 15 travel free on Irish Ferries’ routes from Dublin to Holyhead and Rosslare to Pembroke, up until December 17. Book before May 19. See irishferries.com for more or call 1818 300 400.

Ireland

lough dergLough Derg Nature Trail was launched on Thursday. The 130km trail starts at Portumna, Galway, travels to Killable, Clare and ends at Terryglass in Tipperary. The route is marked with 24 points of interest, including bird watching locations, walking routes, the monastic site at Inis Cealtra, lakeshore access and woodland parks. 

Thoor Ballylee, a former home of WB Yeats in Gort Co. Galway has been re-opened after its closure since 2009 when American lawyer Joseph Hassett pledged €31k to develop the Yeats Exhibition in the Tower. The plan is to develop a world class Cultural Centre in the Tower to accommodate a new exhibition, a cafe, bookshop, and space for exhibitions, lectures and classes.

Hotel Wesptort and Atlantic Rhythm Cast & Crew pictured with Minister RingTicket sales for the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open passed the 70pc mark this week.

Atlantic Rhythm dance show opens at Hotel Westport on June 30 and will run every Tuesday night throughout the summer season.

INTERNATIONAL TOUR OPERATORS DISCOVER THE DARK HEDGES AND MORE …Tour operators visited the north this week as guests of Tourism Ireland. The group participated in a Meet the Buyer workshop in the Slieve Donard Hotel, Newcastle. After the workshop, the group toured Game of Thrones locations and the Causeway Coastal Route. Picture shows the group at the Dark Hedges with some of the staff from nearby Sheans Horse Farm dressed as Game of Thrones characters.

Tourism NI 1Belfast is gearing up to host a number of events this summer including The Giro d’Italia Gran Fondo (June 21), The Tall Ships Races 2015 (July 2-5), the Guinness Pro 12 Final (May 30) and  Belfast Pride 2015 (July 24-August 2). See more events here.

Tourism Ireland chairman Brian Ambrose thanked Christoph Mueller for his contribution to the board.

CREATING BUSINESS LINKS WITH GERMANYNine Irish tourism companies travelled to Germany to take part in a Meet in Ireland workshop and networking event in Cologne, where they met with 26 senior representative of German MICE companies. Picture shows Letitia Wade, Fáilte Ireland; Brian Murray, Aspects of Ireland; Karen Kelly, Druids Glen Resort; Jennifer McCormack, Powerscourt Hotel; Cathy Joyce, Citywest Hotel, Conference & Event Centre; Denise Quinn, Tourism Ireland; Susan Sheahan, Clyde Court Hotel; Julia Rozenberg, Aer Lingus; Róisín Gaffney, Fáilte Ireland; Gillian Dowling, The Gibson Hotel; Melissa Loop Head LighthouseO’Grady, Carton House; and Rose O’Donnell, A Touch of Ireland.

Picture shows Anne Doyle and John Crowe, Cathaoirleach of Clare County Council, launching Loop Head Lighthouse‘s 2015 tourist season. The lighthouse is open daily, 10am-6pm, until October 4.

BBC SPOTY_003The BBC Sports Personality of the Year awards will be held in Belfast’s Odyssey Arena on December 20. Picture shows Stormont Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Investment Arlene Foster with Barry McGuigan, Darren Clarke and Dame Mary Peters.

CBELFAST MEANS BUSINESS IN WASHINGTON DC!onvention bureaux Ireland travelled to Washington DC to take part in a Meet in Ireland business tourism event, hosted at the Irish embassy by Irish Ambassador to the United States, Anne Anderson. Picture shows Bedra Tucker, International Association for Women’s Mental Health; Lindsey Williamson, Visit Belfast; Norman Houston, NI Bureau, Washington DC; Alison Metcalfe, Tourism Ireland; and Melissa Pagano, United Airlines, at the ‘Meet in Ireland’ business tourism event in Washington DC.

REPRO FREE Drive yourself Back to The Future in IrelandÕs first DeLorean hire care.  This year marks the 35th anniversary of the first DeLorean car to roll off the production line in Belfast.  Having travelled all the way to Michigan and back, this original early model is available to hire from RetroVentures Ireland. Pictured is RetroVentures Ireland managing director (and Back to The Future fan) Chris ÒMarty McFlyÓ Davidson.  Pic: Sean CurtinLimerick-based RetroVentures added a DeLorean DMC-12 to its fleet, 35 years after the Back to The Future car rolled off the Belfast production line. Self-drive rental packages start at €375 per day. One-hour drive starts at €150. See retroventuresireland.com.

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

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