TRAVEL Extra’s Sunday Supplement: Four Trans-Atlantic Treats from Aer Lingus

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Holiday-world

Bruce Munro: Light in the Garden installation at the Atlanta Botanical Garden,  Georgia fam trip, May 27 2015

Bruce Munro: Light in the Garden installation at the Atlanta Botanical Garden, Georgia press trip

The headlines this week:

  • IAG takeover ready for take off
  • IPW commences in The City Beautiful
  • The Burren Food Trail is Ireland’s Eden
  • Georgia on my mind
  • Lying back with Delta
  • We’ll leave it there so

Travel Extra TV

Video of week May 31Our video of the week is a handy guide to how NOT to board a ferry. This footage of a pick up truck inching its way across two planks received over 4.6m views on YouTube. Heart in mouth stuff. Watch here.

  • Here’s some footage of Delta Air Lines receiving the first 242-tonne A330-300. Watch here.
  • ITIC uploaded footage from the inaugural Irish Tourism Industry Awards last month. Watch here.
  • Working in IT at Aer Lingus. Watch here.
  • Rory McIlroy speaking at the opening of the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open. Watch here.
  • Adventurer Andrew Taylor descends 1,000 steps down a Chinese mountain — on a bike. Watch here.

Headlines

wilie walsh michael o'leary copyThe landing was less bumpy than anyone expected. It was an exciting week for Irish aviation with Aer Lingus to get eight new aircraft, 2.4m extra passengers and three new trans-Atlantic routes in addition to the planned resumption of the service to LAX in 2016 as a result of the proposed takeover by Spanish based IAG.

The prolonged wait in the departure lounge ended on Tuesday for Willie Walsh and his small takeover team, and they moved quickly when the Irish Government approved the sale of 25pc of Aer Lingus to IAG, with just one Labour TD breaking ranks in the subsequent Dáil vote. A document setting out the vision of the airline’s prospective new owners was circulated and Willie Walsh, sounding calm and reassuring, presented much of the same detail to a Press Conference in Dublin. Willie Walsh said he would like to see some if not all of the Aer Lingus arrangements with other airlines to continue. The full Text of the Offer was released after the Dáil vote, IAG’s presentation to analysts said Aer Lingus will be expected to reach the IAG targets of return on invested capital of 12pc and operating margin 12-14pc. They reported Revenue synergies from the BA-Iberia merger were much greater than expected. Aer Lingus customers will benefit from joining the Avios Loyalty programme. Irish transfer traffic via Heathrow has been growing in recent years despite Emirates and Etihad and Madrid offers connections for Latin America. There is no intention to appoint anyone from the Aer Lingus board. American will add needed strength to Aer Lingus beyond its present network. Aer Lingus CEO Stephen Kavanagh promised that compulsory redundancies and outsourcing of jobs wouldn’t happen where savings can be made within the airline and agreed to a legally enshrined Registered Employment Agreement at the company.

IAG is due to issue the offer document within 28 days. The promise of extra aircraft is addition to the three A350XWB to arrive each year from 2018 to 2020 and replace their current A330 aircraft. While Merrion capital described this as the single largest hurdle to the proposed transaction and said they expected Ryanair would be willing fielders (Willie Walsh used the featured Bloomberg photograph of himself and Michael O’Leary at a luncheon address in Dublin last week to illustrate his respect for the Ryanair CEO), there are further obstacles to overcome; competition questions in Dublin, London, Madrid and Brussels and the  opposition from Impact on the question of outsourcing. IAG says that labour relations are a local issue for Aer Lingus.  SIPTU conditionally withdrew its opposition to the proposed takeover on the promise of new legislation on Registered Employment Agreements. Clare Labour TD Michael McNamara voted against the decision and lost the party whip. FG, Labour, and RENUA voted for, FF, SF, People before Profit, Socialist, Workers and Unemployed Action Group, Anti Austerity Alliance and Independents voted against.

Travel Extra contends that Aer Lingus has under performed on the trans-Atlantic routes given the advantages of Ireland’s geographical location and Travel Extra has cited the fact that Icelandair serves 13 North American destinations compared with just seven by Aer Lingus. Access to investment and marketing muscle will hopefully transform that situation. What next? Willie Walsh said Aer Lingus would “probably struggle” to grow its transatlantic market “without a strong partner in the US”. Under the merger plans Lingus will join Oneworld alliance and the joint-venture business IAG operates with Finnair and American Airlines on transatlantic routes. It was some turnaround from their reaction to the initial proposal back in November when opposition was overwhelming among politicians and media. The general public happiness engaged by the debate, Commentator Anton Daltun has noted how few letters on the subject have been published in The Irish TimesListen here (skip to 46.28) to Eoghan Corry editor of Travel Extra speaking about the implications of the takeover on RTE Radio One. Eoghan Corry ag caint faoi an díol Aer Lingus ar RnaG. Éist anseo.

IPW in Orlando kicked off last night with the lively Washington DC, Taste of Colorado and Maverick Aviation events, while Travel Extra was hosted at Sean St Ledgers’s Orlando City vs Columbus Crew soccer by Experience Kissimmee (Columbus fans songs included the hilarious: “who runs the theme parks when you’re here”). This morning’s media brunch takes place at the newly opened Orlando Eye following by the grand opening party. Attendees this year include most of the major players in the Irish market to the US including Mary McKenna of Tour America, John Devereux of American Holidays, Ivan Beacom of Aer Lingus and Visit USA’s Ciara Foley and Clodagh Oxley. Press conferences will be hosted by Universal Studios Hollywood, Visit California, the US Travel Association, NYC & Company, Choose Chicago and New Orleans CVB. Disney will host the opening party this Sunday evening, Seaworld the Monday evening event and Universal Orlando the closing event on Tuesday, reversing the order of events for previous Orlando hostings in 1990, 2001, 2006 and 2010.

ipw fourThe Grand Cypress Hotel where the Irish are staying is a historic building. It was the start point for almost all of the dramatic scandals and revelations which rocked Irish political life from the 1990s: it was here Ben Dunne paid $300 to rent a lady called Denise Wojcik from an agency called Escorts in a Flash, and eventually freaked out, after a bizarre night spent sniffing lines of cocaine on the balcony of outside 1708 over the hotel lobby. Life being tamer nowadays, it is unlikely that any IPW participants will be re-enacting those scenes in the coming days. Even still the hotel has a glass partition on the balcony immediately outside room 1708.  Picture shows Barry Hammond of Sunway and Geoff Dobson of American Sky with Dee Burdock and Aisling Gavin of American Holidays at Orlando Convention Centre.

Georgia pressIn advance of IPW, Peter Hannaford, Emily Murray and Cheryl Hargrove of Visit Georgia hosted a group of Irish and British travel writers in Atlanta, Savannah and Georgia’s coastal islands, culminating in an overnight at the historic Jeckyll Island beach club. As Peter says: Atlanta also has a baggage belt. Atlanta’s traffic is largely transit traffic, and Georgia tourism is anxious to showcase the state’s attractions including a beach product that is comparable to the more famous beaches further south. People often forget that Georgia’s 15 sandy islands are accessible from Orlando, a three hour drive to some of the best beaches and islands in north America, Cheryl Hargrove says. Bud St Pierre pointed out that St Simon’s Island increasingly features in the top ten island lists on the continent. Picture shows the group at Martin Luther King’s grave in Atlanta. See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.

Debbie O'Brien of CWT trying out the flat bed in Delta One

Travel Extra’s first experience of Delta’s 180-degree lie-fat business class was as pleasant an experience as could be imagined but the journey was not without its challenges: weather delayed the inbound craft and Delta Flight 177, scheduled to depart for Atlanta at 11.10 took off at 14.37 and the entertainment had to be rebooted twice, but the captain and the staff calmed and reassured the passengers on a packed aircraft. Irish made Thompson Solutions Vantage flat-bed sleeper seats are now available on all Irish services after they were introduced on some flights last year Delta has 40 seats in business (77-81 inch seat pitch), 28 in economy comfort (36 inch) and 178 in economy (32 inch). There are some unusual divergences for the norm: for example there are no bathrooms at the front to business class on the B767 400ER. The seats recline 180 degrees, and Delta stressed their Westin Heavenly inflight bedding and noise cancelling headsets are industry leaders, the TUMI amenity kit features Malin+Goetz poducts. Best of the wines from their updated selection chosen by Sommelier Andrea Robinson is a full bodied Ontanon Bodegas Reserva 2004 from Spain. We also sampled a medium bodied Frescobaldi Castiglioni Chianti from Italy and one of the whites a Santinori Bianco Toscana IGT 2013 from Italy, (the other choice was a Riesling from Germany). The meal of choice was a melt in the mouth grilled beef tenderloin with chimichurri sauce, wild mushroom sauté, macaroni and cheese. Sometimes the simplest of all wins: the cream of mushroom soup was among the best we have sample in several decades of six mile high dining. In economy, the steak with blue cheese (“black and blue”) is a good choice. Picture shows Debbie O’Brien of CWT trying out the Thompson flat bed in Delta One on a trade promotional day in Dublin.

burren food trail may 29 2015The Burren’s transition from a pile of scenic stones (the “fertile rock”) to perhaps the most vibrant tourist destination on the island was rewarded on Friday when it was selected as Ireland’s Eden destination for 2015. Food became a part of the Burren story after a launch attended by Travel Extra in Ballyvaughan in 2009 starting as a private localised group, emphasising high quality, locally produced, locally sourced, seasonal food. Tina O’Dwyer said: Our goal was to bring the landscape to life and make it mentally accessible and physically accessible, food was one of the best ways of doing that. There is another Burren in Cavan. Watch those stones. Runners up were:  Cong Food Village, Mayo, West Waterford and The Wild Atlantic Way So Sligo Food Trail.

It was relief all round from Queensland’s dive and snorkel tourist industry with the release of a UNESCO preliminary recommendation not to add the Great Barrier Reef to the world body’s endangered list. The move would have led to increased restrictions on one of the world’s most desired tourism experiences. Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop and Queensland’s government treated the decision as an endorsement of the Australian government’s 35-year plan to protect the Reef, although critics suggested the draft decision had put Queensland and Australia “on probation.” Minister for the Environment Greg Hunt celebrated by going to the Whitsundays to snorkel the reef. The recommendation will likely be endorse when UNESCO meets in Bonn next month. “The overall outlook is poor,” the document said of the reef, citing climate change, poor water quality and the impact of coastal development as the major threats to its health. Potosí in Bolivia and Selous Game Reserve in Tanzania were added to the list of 46 Billendangered heritage sites last year and six sites in Syria in 2013.

Sad news, the industry spent this week coming to terms with the death of beloved broadcaster Bill O’Herlihy, well known in travel circles because he handled the PR account in Ireland for British Airways for many years. The outpouring of grief and sympathy on social media and across the national media was unmatched in recent times for any other Irish personality.

Travel Trade

lowcostbeds Algarve tourismLowcostbeds and Associação Turismo do Algarve hosted a lunch for the travel trade and media in One Pico restaurant, Dublin. The Algarve continues to be lowcostbeds’ top destination, accounting for 17pc of the Irish market, Clem Walshe said. Irish sales to the Algarve are up 20pc YOY for the first three months of 2015. Hugo Nascimento of Associação Turismo do Algarve said that Ireland is the Algarve’s fifth biggest foreign market, up 21pc YOY in January and February. Picture shows Clem Walshe of lowcostbeds, Celina Taveras of Associação Turismo do Algarve, Grainne Caffrey of lowcostbeds and Hugo Nascimento of Associação Turismo do Algarve at the lunch. See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.

topflight groupTopflight’s Thailand fam trip hosted by Leah Parmeshwar stopped off in Dubai and proceeded to Thailand where they overnighted in Phuket, transferred to Khao Lak for a night then on to Khao Sok Elephant Hills. An extra treat was that they had the Scottish FA and Wasps rugby team heading to Phuket. Picture shows the group in Dubai. Connect with the album on Facebook.

Alan Neenan’s Neenan Travel launched a dedicated cycling holidays website.

Belleair Holidays revealed its new look website to agents.

Travel Professionals Skillnet is holding a class on improving you closing sales techniques in the ITAA Training Room on Westmoreland Street on Tuesday, June 9, 9.30am-1pm. Cost €60. More info/bookings.

The Travel Corporation is offering agents the chance to win a pair of Christian Louboutins. Book an Insight Vacations, Contiki, Uniworld or Red Carnation Hotel by June 30.

3Topflight train NI travel agents about Italy at Belfast City AirportTopflight held an Italy training day for 30 agents at Belfast City Airport, where the operator will launch a charter route to Verona on June 20. The workshop was led by Topflight European sales manager Maurice Shiels with Tricia Mitchell of Topflight NI.

Bobby Healy’s CarTrawler won the customer experience award at Ovum’s On the Radar awards.

Oasis travel belfast bsjuienss awardSandra Corkin of Oasis Travel won business person of the year and World Travel Centre won the business growth award at the Belfast Business Awards at City Hall, Belfast.

LA Tourism will hold a trade lunch in Dublin to celebrate the inaugural Ethiopian Airlines flight from Dublin-LAX. Venue TBC.

The fifth Brazil Travel Trade workshop takes place Thursday, June 18, 4.30pm in the Dublin Chamber of Commerce.

Tom Britton of Marble City Travel, Dominic Burke of Travel Centres, Don Shearer of Worldchoice Ireland, Dawn Conway of  Sunway, David O'Grady  of  E Travel, Celine Kenny of Cruisescapes,  Brendan Breen of E Travel, Andrew Bolton of Celebrity Cruises. Front row: Claire Stirrup of Celebrity Cruises, Jo Rzymowska of Celebrity Cruises, Mary McKenna  of Tour America, Nikki Cosgrave of Click & Go, Lorraine Quinn - of Celebrity Cruises and Alison Hamilton of Oasis Travel at the Celebrity Cruises agent business breakfast event

Pictured at the Celebrity Cruises agent business breakfast event. Tom Britton of Marble City Travel, Dominic Burke of Travel Centres, Don Shearer of Worldchoice Ireland, Dawn Conway of Sunway, David O’Grady of E Travel, Celine Kenny of Cruisescapes, Brendan Breen of E Travel, Andrew Bolton of Celebrity Cruises. Front row: Claire Stirrup of Celebrity Cruises, Jo Rzymowska of Celebrity Cruises, Mary McKenna of Tour America, Nikki Cosgrave of Click & Go, Lorraine Quinn of Celebrity Cruises and Alison Hamilton of Oasis Travel.

caroline coyleCaroline Coyle, Irish Born Vice President of brand strategy for Las Vegas CVA (pictured, she was formerly with Brindley Advertising) hosted a press group hosted by Aer Lingus in Las Vegas. The group flew on the Aer Lingus flight to San Francisco which is now a daily service and with codeshare partners United on to Las Vegas.

To celebrate 10 years in business, Project Travel is offering an extra night free in Oslo on their popular Norway in a Nutshell package on multiple travel dates this July.

Hotels

Ulster Bank sold its hotel portfolio, including Roadisson in Athlone, Monasrt Spa and Toner’s on Baggot Street.

Spanish headquartered NH Hotel Group unveiled a new premium product for guests, VIP Level.

Hotel WiFi Test reported that hotel chains in Europe have much better WiFi than in the United States, having scored chains on the quality of the WiFi and whether in-room WiFi is free. Nordic Choice is the number one chain in the global rankings, with 85pc of its hotels offering adequate WiFi and 100pc of its hotels offering free WiFi. Only 17pc of all Marriott hotels in the United States provide free WiFi. Irish chain Doyle Collection offer free WiFi in all their hotels.

London-Marriott-Hotel-Park-Lane--RoofnicLondon Marriott Hotel Park Lane opened a pop-up rooftop venue, Roofnic.

Marriott International opened three properties in China: the JW Marriott Hotel Zhejiang Anji, JW Marriott Hotel Macau and The Ritz-Carlton Macau.

IHG will open its first Hotel Indigo property in LA in 2016, located in the downtown area.

  • Intercontinental Hotels Group will open a Hotel Indigo property in LA in 2016.
  • Hilton Hotels & Resorts opened the Hilton Yuxi Fuxian Lake, the first in China’s Yunnan province. 
  • Martinhal in Sagres say investment and refurbishment will begin Autumn 2015 for their newly taken over Martinhal Quinta Family Resort in Quinta do Lago.
  • London’s Kensington Hotel launched its pedals and picnic package which includes accommodation, afternoon tea picnic for two and Pashley bike hire, from £330pp.
  • The AC Hotel Chicago Downtown opened on Friday. 
  • A study by Marriott Rewards credit card found that 84pc of millennials would travel abroad to volunteer and 32pc are interested in charitable trips.
  • The Rezidor Hotel group will operate the Park Inn by Radisson Istanbul Ataturk Airport.
  • The 338-room Radisson Blu Hotel & Residence Cape Town will take guests in late 2016. The property was previously the 23-storey Triangle House office building in the Foreshore area.
  • IHG opened the Intercontinental Dubai Marina.
  • Marriott expects 50pc growth in the Middle East and Africa.
  • The alien-themed UFO Hotel in Baker is now open. The $30m, 31-room property is looks just like an alien spacecraft.

International

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In what could be a seismic change for online travel industry, the EU Package Holiday Directive will be extended to cover self-chosen combination on a website of a flight plus hotel or car rental. The rules will apply if the consumer, after having booked one travel service on one website, is invited to book another service through a targeted link or similar, the new rules offer some protection provided that the second booking is made within 24 hours. The rules were agreed by the EU Commission and will be voted by the European Parliament in June and got to the EU Council and is expected to be published in October, after which member states will have two years to implement the new rules and traders a further period of six months to adapt to the new rules.

south africa sunsetAs of tomorrow (June 1), tourists travelling to South Africa with children will have to produce birth certificates to prove that they are the parents. Lone adults flying with children will have to prove the consent of their partner by producing an affidavit signed at least three months before date of travel and a court order confirming parental responsibility or guardianship of the child. Widowed parents must produce their deceased partner’s death certificate instead. Those travelling with a child who is not biologically their’s (eg a family friend) must produce copies of the parents’ passports and contact details, as well as the affidavit and child’s birth certificate. David Frost of South Africa Tourism Services Association warned that the strict rules will hurt the tourism industry, the country’s fastest growing sector. He likened the new measures to “taking a sledgehammer to kill a mosquito”.

  • Universal Orlando Resort is building a water park. Construction has begun on Volcano Bay at Universal Orlando Resort. The new park is expected to open in 2017.
  • SeaWorld is inviting tourists to come behind the scenes at SeaWorld Orlando to learn about its 50 year legacy of animal care, conservation, rescue and rehabilitation, which includes caring for 25,000 sick, injured, ill or in need animals. The move is to stem criticism of the theme parks on the back of the Blackfish documentary. SeaWorld CFO James Heaney will step down on June 19 and will be replaced by Marc G Swanson. Heaney will be a joining a cruise line.roller coaster
  • Busch Gardens Tampa announced details of its big 2015 opening Cobra’s Curse, a spin coaster featuring a vertical lift.
  • A Singaporean tourist fell off a cliff on Lembongan Island in Bali while trying to take a selfie, according to local police.
  • Fiona Reddan’s round-up of holiday finance in the Irish Times included an endorsement of the An Post currency card.
  • David Whitaker has been appointed Brand USA’s chief marketing officer.
  • Designers of the new free VisaPort app claim it enables visa applications to be made with the click of a button. The free app is available for iOS and Android and claims to reduce the time and stress of making visa applications.
  • Edinburgh Airport set up a giant 27m sign and screen as a selfie centre piece for visitors.
  • A survey by the English Post Office found that Budapest is the cheapest European city for alcohol — Dublin was the most expensive.
  • Belmond announced that the Venice Simplon-Orient-Express will launch its London-Berlin via Paris route on June 2 2016.
  • Whistler ski resort in Canada rolled out a resort-wide no smoking policy today, which just so happens to be World No Tobacco Day.
  • Bombay Sapphire Distillery 1Bombay Sapphire gin opened a visitor centre and distillery (pictured) at Laverstoke Mill in Hampshire, England.
  • Italian theme park Gardaland will open until 11pm from June 21 to September 13. Evening prices €18, 6pm-11pm.
  • The Lake District is looking to become England’s first national park to be awarded Unesco World Heritage status.
  • Chinese travel company ctrip.com experienced a hacking attack on Thursday.
  • Expedia launched a Spanish language version of its US website. 
  • O’Hare International Airport in Chicago is bringing all of its scattered rental car facilities together under one roof in a US $782m project.
  • Barbados saw 171,471 long stay visitor arrivals in Q1, the highest figure in 25 years.
  • Spanish tourist group Gowaii Corp will sponsor EUROAL 2015
  • Russia’s outbound travel declined by over 15pc in 2014 with knock-on effect on many destinations.
  • Beijing Week takes place at Expo Milano until June 3.
  • The world’s largest collection of Spice Girls memorabilia, belonging to collector Liz West, will be on display at Ripley’s museum London until June 30.
  • The FBI launched a probe into a claim that users of the taxi app Uber, are being charged for phantom rides. British customers have reported their accounts being used in US cities, while users in the US claim they have been charged for trips in London

Food & Wine

patrick guilbaudPatrick Guilbaud’s won best restaurant in Ireland at the Irish Restaurant Awards 2015. Chef was Mickael Viljanen of The Greenhouse, Dublin. Winners included: , Ananda, Dublin (world cuisine), Beaufield Mews, Dublin (children), Deanes EIPIC, Belfast (newcomer), Dublin Cookery School (cookery school), Fishy Fishy, Cork (seafood), Happy Pear, Wicklow (digital marketing), Idaho Café, Cork (café), Loam, Galway (emerging Irish cuisine) , Oakroom at Adare Manor Hotel (Hotel Restaurant),, Ocean at The Maritime Hotel, Cork (eco friendly), OX, Antrim (wine experience), Poacher’s Pocket, Down (gastro pub), Restaurant Forty One at Residence, Dublin (private dining club), Ristorante Rinuccini, Kilkenny (customer service), Ronan Byrne “The Friendly Farmer”, Galway (local food hero), Rua, Mayo (casual dining), Saul McConnell of Deanes at Queens, Belfast (restaurant manager), Vintage Cocktail Club, Dublin (cocktail experience).

Celebrity chef Donal Skehan is pictured in Belfast’s iconic Crumlin Road Gaol ahead of his return to the RTE screens with a second series of ‘Kitchen Hero: Donal's Irish Feast’ and travels to seven counties to find interesting food producers. Tourism Northern Ireland were delighted to host Donal in counties Fermanagh, Antrim and Down where he met some of NI’s best food producers and selected a wide range of ingredients, including goat meat and wild venison from which he makes the delicious feasts. This included filming in some iconic locations including the historic Crumlin Road Gaol in Belfast (pictured), Belle Isle Estate and Ardtara House.   Northern Ireland boasts some world-class produce, not to mention talented chefs, restaurants, skilled cookery schools and a rich food heritage, all of which is becoming better known and on the back of this, 2016 has been announced as the ‘Year of Food’. The show airs on RTÉ One on Tuesdays (8.30pm) with the first NI show showcasing Fermanagh/Tyrone (2 June) followed by Co. Antrim (16 June) and Co. Down (30 June). For more information on Food in Northern Ireland visit www.discovernorthernireland.com/food or Callsave 1850 230 230.

Picture shows Donal Skehan who is currently travelling to seven counties to find interesting food producers ahead of his return to the RTE screens with a second series of ‘Kitchen Hero: Donal’s Irish Feast. He is pictured in Crumlin Road gaol in Belfast during his tour of Fermanagh, Antrim and Down where he selected local ingredients including goat meat and wild venison. Filming took place in Belle Isle and Ardtara House.

Crisp sandwiches were voted Ireland’s perfect picnic essentials in a survey by Keogh’s Farm.Rory Carville

Fermanagh’s Manor House Country Hotel, which is a member of the prestigious Manor House Hotels portfolio, has appointed Rory Carville, who won his Michelin star at Locks Brasserie, as its new executive chef.

The Só Sligo Food Trail takes place June 10-14. Twenty-six restaurants, cafes and wine bars are participating, serving tapa-syle dishes for €5.

The Campo Viejo Tapas Trail takes place in four restaurants in three cities: Dublin, Cork and Galway. Tickets cost €30 and include a signature tapa and glass of wine each. The event takes place in Dublin on June 3, Cork on June 7 and Galway on August 26. See campoviejotapastrail.ie for more info.

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Corkconian Anna Walsh, who works in Dublin bar MVP, was named world class Irish bartender of the year.

Good Things Cafe & Cookery School in Durrus, Cork is hosting a Cooking for One class on Saturday June 6, 10am-5.30pm. Cost €160. See thegoodthingscafe.com for more info.

Aviation

Spanish air traffic controllers who were fined for causing chaos by striking over the holiday season in 2010, retaliated for those fines by calling for partial strikes over four days in June as the summer holiday season kicks off. The strikes will take place on June 8, 10, 12 and 14 for two hours each morning and two hours each afternoon across the country.

As of tomorrow it is possible to take a day trip from Dublin to New York for the first time, when Aer Lingus’s early morning flight to JFK commences. Aer Lingus Regional, operated by Stobart Air, launched Dublin to Doncaster Sheffield last week. Transavia’s service to Paris Orly begins tomorrow June 1. Flybe’s service from Dublin to Cardiff begins tomorrow after their service from Dublin to London City ends today (May 31). Topflight’s first Verona flight of the season took from Cork Airport yesterday. WOWair’s 3w Dublin-Reykjavik service launches this Tuesday, June 2. Passengers will be able to connect via Keflavik to Wow’s highly publicised Boston and Washington DC services from October.

Something unthinkable until recently: Ryanair won a customer services award at the second Aviation Industry Awards 2015 in the Doubletree by Hilton on Burlington Road for its always getting better programme. Willie Walsh won the Outstanding Contribution to Irish Aviation Award and Ryanair also won the Aviation Company of the Year award. Other winners: AerCap (Aviation Leasing Achievement), Aero Inspection International (Aviation Support Services), Air Contractors (Aircraft Operator), DHL Express Ireland’s Certified International Specialist Programme (People Development), Dublin Airport (Airport Achievement), Eirtech Aviation (MRO Achievement), Foynes Air Show (General and Sport Aviation), GE Capital (Aviation Innovation) , Institute of Technology Carlow (Aviation Academic Education), Kieran O’Connor of National Flight Centre (Special Recognition), Mark Dwyer of NMAI & FlyingInIreland Upcoming Aviation Professional Award, Parc Aviation (Aviation Export), Shannon Airport (Aviation Sustainability & Environment), Simtech (Aviation Training), Stobart Air (Safety), Trinity College Dublin Fluids, Vibrations & Acoustics Research Group (Aviation R&D).

It emerged during the IAG debate that Aer Lingus commissioned a report by Nyras in February which identified €60m in potential savings. FF claimed that the report suggested ground-handling could be cut by 20pc, catering by 40pc, maintenance by 15pc and heavy maintenance by 25pc.

The 330,000 passengers who will pass through Dublin Airport this June Bank Holiday are up 14pc on a like-for-like basis over the same long weekend last year.

Ryanair increased load factors from 83pc to 88pc in their financial year, increased revenue from €5,037m to €5,654m, passenger number from 81.7m to 90.6m and reported net profit after tax up 66pc to $952.2m. John Mulligan reported that the carrier is in talks with CDG, an airport it said it would never fly to. Kenny Jacobs said that Ryanair will launch new-look cabin crew uniforms later this year. Ryanair will axe one of its Shannon-Fuerteventura services this winter because of a lack of aircraft capacity. Ryanair will lease in six aircraft in the peak summer period.

Kerry airport in Faranfore’s annual results indicated 295,521 passengers in 2014, down 4pc. The Kerry-Dublin regional flight saw traffic increase 13.5pc.

Aer Lingus launches its in-flight shopping boutique summer range on Thursday.

Aer Lingus Regional reported April 2015 load factor up 8pc to 72pc. Q1 traffic up 2.5pc to 338,000 passengers.

41b3cae3750d1d9539dfa10dec8b7df7DAA Ocean Row team rowed from Waterford to Brittany last week in aid of Temple Street Children’s Hospital, Crumlin Children’s Hospital and Parkinson’s Ireland.

Figures from the CSO show that the number of passengers using Irish airports was up 6.9pc last year. 26.5m passengers passed through Irish airports and 217,000 flights were handled. Dublin airport accounted for 82pc of passengers, up 7.7pc to 21.7m. Shannon numbers increased 18.9pc to 1.55m. Knock airport up 5.7pc to 703,670. Waterford up 17.8pc to 33,189. Donegal up 4.9pc to 35,415. Cork airport down 5pc to 2.1m.

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  • Dublin Aerospace expects revenues to rise to $46.1m, up 10pc.
  • Avolon delivered an A320-200 to Mexico’s VivaAerobus. Avolon delivered a B787-9 to Virgin Atlantic. Avolon delivered a B787-9 to Virgin Atlantic.
  • Air Lituanica ceased operations on May 22.
  • Air Canada Rouge is converting business class seating on its A319 aircraft from a 3-3 to a 2-2 configuration.
  • El Al Israel Airlines is in talks to merge subsidiary Sun D’Or into Israir. Deal would include one A320 on order by Israir.
  • A rebranded Malaysia Airlines will start operating by September 2015 after a $1.66bn restructuring by administrator Mohammed Faiz Azmi. The airline will outline its rebranding plans next week.
  • A Singapore Airlines A330-200 plummeted 13,000 feet after it temporarily lost power to both engines..
  • Flybe launched its 2w Southampton-Bastia route.
  • Airbus suggest production increases for the A320 family.
  • Tartar Airways will showcase five new jets at the Paris Air Show, June 19-21 including the Airbus A380 and A350 XWB.
  • US military jets escorted an Air France flight arriving in JFK after a chemical weapons threats were made to authorities.
  • African carriers Safarilink and Air Kenya have made tickets interchangeable, giving passengers the choice of two daily flights from Nairobi to Ukunda.
  • Air China and Air Canada entered a partnership to operate transpacific flights from Montreal to Asia.
  • ????????????????????????????????????Etihad reported  a net profit of $73m in 2014, up 52pc2014 pax numbers were up 22.3pc to 14.8m, revenue was up 26.7pc to $7.6m. A second batch of Etihad Butlers completed their training in the London School of Hospitality and Tourism.  Etihad posted a fourth consecutive year of net profit, up 52pc US$73m.
  • Walk Off the Earth singer Sarah Blackwood says she wants compensation and an apology after being kicked off a United Airlines flight because her young child was being fussy.
  • A Singapore Airlines jet plunged 13,000ft after both of its engines failed in mid-air.
  • Boeing reported an order for two new B737s.
  • Lufthansa Group will take delivery of 17 aircraft in 2015.
  • Construction work on London City airport’s Western Pier started this week.
  • A Delta pilot ordered pizzas for passengers after their flight was delayed on the tarmac.

Afloat

Cunard’s three Queens, Queen Mary 2, Queen Victoria and Queen Elizabeth gathered in the company’s ‘spiritual home’ of Liverpool to mark its 175th anniversary. The three ships sailed up the river in formation and performed a ‘river dance’ – a 180-degree synchronised turn to starboard

Carnival Vista, set to launch in May 2016, will have the first at-sea IMAX theater, the suspended open-air SkyRide and an onboard brewery. Children younger than 12 will eat without a cover charge in all for-fee restaurants onboard. The family offering include 96 Family Harbour staterooms fitted with TVs, board games and child-friendly amenities. Child-friendly options found on other ships in the Carnival fleet wlil return, including the WaterWorks water park with a tube slide that’s 450 feet long, Camp Ocean kids club, SportSquare and Dr Seuss Bookville.

635621076162073062-Crystal-SerenityCrystal Cruises announced two world cruises for 2018. Crystal Symphony will launch a 114-day voyage from Cape Town to Miami on January 7 2018. Crystal Serenity will launch a 112-day voyage from LA to Rome on January 23 2018.

Norwegian Cruise Line reversed a ban on guests taking food back to their cabins after negative feedback from customers.  The cruise line initially wanted passengers to refrain from taking food from restaurants, including the main buffet, to eat elsewhere in the interest of keeping its cruise ships clean.

Oceania Cruises cancelled two port calls in Egypt on an upcoming Riviera voyage.

Regent’s Seven Seas Explorer announced a spa treatment centre, fitted with an infinity plunge pool, located on Deck 5.

Clia launched its cruise training scheme for agents.

Caroline O’Toole from Fahy Travel, Worldchoice wss shortlisted for a special CLIA New to Cruise award in the Agent Achievement Awards in London, sponsored by Travel Weekly.

Deal Watch

  • Project Travel is offering 5 nights for the price of 4 in Norway from €895pp incl. tax, accommodation in Oslo and Bergen and a full day Norway in a Nutshell tour. See project-travel.ie for more info or call 01 210 8391.
  • Falcon offers: 7 nights self catering 3* Los Zocos, Costa Teguise, Lanzarote from €1,289 for two adults and one child or from €1,619 for two adults and two children, depart June 18. 7 nights all inclusive 3* Lanzasur Splash, Playa Blanca, Lanzarote from €2,099 for two adults and one child or from €2,759 for two adults and two children, depart August 27. 7 nights self catering 4* Holiday Village, Balaia, Faro from €1,689 for two adults and one child or from €2,169 for two adults and two children. Visit falconholidays.ie to book or call 1850 45 35 45.
  • Thomson offers: 7 nights all inclusive 3* Morromar, Puerto del Carmen, Lanzarote from €599pp, depart Shannon June 15. 7 nights half board 3* Thomas Bay, San Stefanos, Corfu from €499pp, depart Dublin June 19. 7 nights all inclusive 4* Suite Princess, Playa Taurito, Gran Canaria from €969pp, depart Dublin June 20. 7 nights full board Thomson Spirit cruise, Black Sea Explorer, Majorca from €649pp, depart Dublin June 8. To book, visit thomsonholidays.ie or call 1850 45 35 45.
  • Topflight is offering 7 nights half board in Sonnenburg Hotel, Ehrwald, Austria from €569pps and €249 for children under 15 incl. return flights and transfers from Dublin, guided family hikes, use of local buses and 7 days Zugspitze Z-Ticket, depart July 19 or August 16, travel in October or book for summer 2016. Additional excursion for Legoland Germany also available. 7 nights Butterfly Village, Lake Garda from €546pp incl. return flights ex Dublin, Cork or Belfast, return transfers, mobile home accommodation and rep services. See topflight.ie for more.
  • Click and Go offers: 7 nights self catering 3* Puertocarmen Aparthotel, Puerto del Carmen, Lanzarote from €365pp incl. return flights from Dublin and transfers, travel in October. 7 nights B&B 5* Real Marina Hotel & Spa, Olhoa, Algarve from €369pp incl. return flights ex Dublin and transfers, travel in November. 3 nights 5* Grand Hotel Esplanade, Berlin from €299pp incl. return flights ex Dublin, depart August 29. 7 nights all inclusive 4* Batihan Beach Resort & Spa, Kusadasi, Turkey from €429pp incl. return flights ex Dublin and transfers, travel in October.  7 nights self catering 3* BelleVue Club Aparthotel, Alcudia, Majorca from €399pp incl. return flights ex Cork and transfers, depart June 4. 7 nights 4* Piranha Clube Aparthotel, Algarve from €289pp incl. return flights ex Dublin, transfers, taxes and charges, travel in October. 7 nights 5* Real Marina Hotel & Spa, Algarve from €299pp incl. return flights ex Dublin, transfers, taxes and charges, travel in November. See clickandgo.com for more or call 01 637 1699.
  • Sunway Algarve offers, Friday flight added: June 19 — Seat only €249pp. 7 nights self catering 2* Bayside Salgados Apartments from €399pp. 7 nights self catering 4* Estrela Do Vau Apartments from €449pp. 7 nights B&B 4* Tivoli Carvoeria Hotel from €639pp. August 29 — Seat only €559pp. 7 nights self catering 2* Presidente Aparthotel €529pp. 7 nights B&B 3* Luna Miramar Apartments from €559pp. 7 nights B&B 5* Algarve Casino Hotel from €769pp. Prices include flights, return airport transfers, taxes, charges, 20kg checked in baggage pp and Sunway rep service.
  • Stena Line’s Pontins sale ends today: 7 nights self catering Pontins Holiday Park Prestatyn/Southport from €459 for two adults and two children incl. return ferry travel for a car from Dublin-Holyhead, Rosslare-Fishguard, Belfast-Liverpool or Belfast-Cairnryan, travel in July. To book, visit  stenaline.co.ie/pontins or call 01 907 5399.
  • Travel Department offers: 11 nights USA and Canada five city tour from €2,599pp incl. taxes, transfers, accommodation, flights ex Dublin and visits to Chicago, Green Bay, Detroit, Cleveland and Toronto, depart August 31. 9 nights Washington DC, New York and Boston tour by rail from €2,499pp incl. taxes, return flights ex Dublin, transfers, accommodation, depart October 12. See traveldepartment.ie for more or call 01 637 1600.
  • Travel Department motorsport offers: 3 nights MotoGP holiday Barcelona from €599pp incl. taxes, return flights, accommodation, transfers and tickets to qualifying and main event of Catalunya MotoGP, depart June 12. 5 nights Russian F1 Grand Prix, Sochi from €1,529pp incl. accommodation,flights, taxes, transfers, Sochi city tour and tickets for qualifying and main races, depart October 9. See traveldepartment.ie/motorsport for more offers.
  • Insight Vacations is offering tour of Puglia and the Neapolitan Riviera from €1,813pps incl. flights, transfers and selected meals, depart June 14. See insightvacations.com for more or call 01 775 3803.
  • Uniworld is offering 8 days all inclusive river cruise to Bordeaux from €2,059pps incl. flights, port tax, gratuities and transfers, depart August 9. See uniworld.ie for more or call 01 775 3803.
  • Contiki is offering 10 day tour of London, Amsterdam, Rhine Valley, Venice, the Alps and Paris from €1,109pps incl. 9 nights’ accommodations, flights, 15 meals and visits to six World Heritage Site, depart June 25. See contiki.com for more or call 01 775 3803.
  • Lowcostholidays September offers: 7 nights self catering 3* Bayside Salgados, Algarve from €259pp, depart September 23. 7 nights B&B 3* Hotel Kristal, Costa Del Sol from €320pp, depart September 23. 7 nights self catering 3* Carlota Apartments, Gran Canaria from €269pp, depart September 24. 7 nights 3* The Inn at Jack London Square, San Francisco from €894pp, depart September 24. 7 nights 3* Bsea Cancun Plaza, Cancun from €994pp, depart September 23. 7 nights B&B 4* Andaman Cannacia Resort & Spa, Phuket from €899pp, depart September 24. 2 nights B&B 3* MF Hotel, Rome from €215pp, depart September 24. 2 nights B&B 3* BLC Design Hotel, Paris from €279pp, depart September 24. 2 nights B&B 3* Aristol, Barcelona from €279pp, depart September 24. See more offers here.
  • Lowcostbeds offers of the week, based on 7 nights, 2 sharing, travel in June: 4* Iberostar Las Dalia Hotel, Tenerife from €66pppn all inclusive. 3* Iberostar Lanzarote Park Hotel from €39pppn B&B. 4* Iberostar Alcudia Park, Majorca from €55pppn. 4* Iberostar Club Cala Barca, Majorca from €66pppn all inclusive.
  • ITAA offers of the week: 10 nights California motorhome holiday from €1,269pp incl. 9 days hire of Cruise America C25 motorhome with insurance, 2 nights 4* accommodation in San Francisco and 1 night 3* accommodation in LA, travel November. 7 nights all inclusive 4* Zilwa Attitude Hotel, Mauritius from €1,799pps incl. return flights ex Dublin and private transfers, travel June. 7 nights Belvedere Village, Lake Garda from €4,122 for family of two adults and four children incl. return flights, 2 bed bungalow, checked baggage and airport transfers, depart August 1.
  • Tour America offers: 7 nights 3* Rosen Inn Pointe Orlando from €659pp incl. return flights, depart March 28 2016. 3 nights 4* Roosevelt Hotel from €799pp incl. return flights, depart November 26. 4 nights 3* Circus Circus Hotel, Las Vegas from €759pp incl. return flights, depart October 29. 7 nights all inclusive 5* Riu Cancun from €1,899pp incl. return flights, depart December 29.
  • Sunway Mark Warner Beach Club holidays: 7 nights half board 5* Levante Beach Resort, Rhodes from €989pp, depart June 13. 7 nights half board Lakitira Beach Resort, Kos from €1,459pp, depart June 13. 7 nights all inclusive Sea Garden Beach Resort, Aegean Coast, Turkey from €929pp, depart June 20. Prices include return flights ex Dublin.
  • Tourism NI offers of the week: 1 night B&B Ballygally Castle Hotel, Larne form £65pps incl. 4 course Table d’hôte dinner in the Garden Restaurant, available until June 30, call 028 2858 1066 to book. 2 nights An Creagán (2 bedroom, sleeps 6), Crockmacann, Sixmilecross, Omagh from £160 incl. 1 day free bike hire, available until June 30, call 028 8076 1112 to book.

Ireland

Waterford, Wexford and Kilkenny launched their website threesisters2020.ie as part of their bid for the 2020 title of European Capital of Culture.

CSO figures indicate Ireland’s market share of all American visitors to Europe is 10pc. Visitors from North America were up 20pc for the three-month period of February to April, Mainland Europe was up 15pc with Italy up 42pc, Spain up 25pc, France up 15pc, Germany up 10pc and Benelux up 11pc, Britain was up 10pc, and Australia and New Zealand up 24pc. Overseas visitor numbers are up 14pc.

Tourism Northern Ireland has a new chair and new CEO: Terrance Brannigan is the new Chairman in succession to Howard Hastings and the new CEO starting in July is John McGrillen in succession to Allan Clarke. Jonathan Bell has replaced Arlene Foster as Stormont minister for tourism.

Galway International Arts Festival announced details of its 2015 Festival Programme.

Colin Ahern of Kilkenny Tourism, Mike Buckley from Killarney, Raymond Keaney, David McNulty of International Tourism Destination Planners and Simon Wall town architect of Westport are month the speakers at the Ireland’s Tourism Towns: Learn From the Best conference in Tralee on June 11.

Great LighthousesThe EU funded tourism initiative Great Lighthouses of Ireland has launched showcasing twelve lighthouses at Ballycotton, Co Cork, Black Head, Co Antrim, Clare Island, Co Mayo, Fanad Head, Co Donegal, Galley Head, Co Cork, Hook, Co Wexford, Loop Head, Co Clare, Rathlin West, Co Antrim, St John’s Point, Co Donegal, St John’s Point, Co Down, Valentia Island, Co Kerry and Wicklow Head, Co Wicklow. Picture shows Diana Molohan of the Irish Landmark Trust with Minister for Tourism Paschal Donohoe.

Titanic Belfast and SS Nomadic launched the White Star Premium pass to mark the anniversary of the Titanic and SS Nomadic’s launch from Belfast. The pass gives visitors entry to Titanic Belfast, SS Nomadic and Discovery Tour for one price.

Robert Fisk, Charley Boorman and Jonathan Shackleton are among the line up for the 13th annual Immrama Festival of Travel Writing, which takes place June 11-14 in Lismore, Co Waterford.

FROM RUSSIA WITH LOVE

Representatives from nine business tourism companies in Russia visited Ireland this week as guests of Tourism Ireland. The group’s itinerary was organised by GoodCause Travel and included a panoramic tour of Dublin, a visit to the Guinness Storehouse, guided walk in Galway city, visit to Connemara, visit to Sean’s Bar in Athlone and Kilbeggan Distillery. Picture shows the group at Kylemore Abbey with Olga Walker of GoodCause Travel and tour guide Oxana Tovtina.

FINNISH JOURNALISTS TO WRITE ABOUT KILKENNY AND IRELAND’S ANCIENT EASTSeventeen Finnish journalists visited Kilkenny and Ireland’s Ancient East as guests of Tourism Ireland in conjunction with the General Union of Journalists in Finland. The group’s itinerary was designed by Fáilte Ireland and included a walk along the Medieval Mile, a visit to the Black Abbey, Smithwick’s Experience and Kilkenny Castle. Picture shows Martin Hanrahan, Cillian Hegarty, Laura Walsh and Monika Jurkiewics, all Smithwick’s Experience Kilkenny, welcoming the journalists.

The inaugural Burren Poc Fada takes place today in the Michael Cusack Centre.

RTÉ 2FM’s Tubridy Show will be broadcast along the Wild Atlantic Way as part of Fáilte Ireland’s Discover Ireland campaign. The show will be broadcast from Westport on June 8, Rosses Point, Sligo on June 9 and Dunganaghy, Donegal on June 10. Local tourism businesses Cyclists photographed at Doonagore, Doolin, Co. Clare.will be interviewed.

The Burren & Cliffs of Moher Geopark, An Taisce Green Schools Travel and the Burren Ecotourism Network collaborated on the ‘free cup of tea if you cycle with me’ campaign to help promote the Burren as a cycling destination. Cyclists will be offered a free cup of tea when they cycle to participating businesses including Doolin Hostel, Ailwee Caves and The Burren Smokehouse.

beckettTourism Ireland is sponsoring International Beckett Season in the Barbican theatre, London. The campaign includes a competition to win a trip to Happy Day’s Enniskillen International Beckett Festival on TimeOut online guide, email marketing, social media and promo on Barbican posters and leaflets.

Some Bus Éireann routes to and from Dublin Airport will be disrupted by the Women’s Mini Marathon tomorrow, June 1. See here for more info.

Tourism Ireland unveiled its Ireland Says I Do campaign targeting the LGBT community in England, USA, Canada, Scandinavia, Australia, France, Spain, Italy and Germany. Yahoo! Travel named Ireland as the world’s top wedding destination for same-sex couples.

Registration for Grand Fondo Giro d’Italia, which takes place June 21, closes next Sunday (June 7). Register here. Each participant will be offered food and hydration along the way, a gift bag, post-ride pasta party with refreshments. For those observing, there will be entertainment and food at Titanic Quarter in Belfast.

blue flag mapBlue flags were awarded for first time to Ballinesker Beach in Co Wexford and Kinsale Yacht Club Marina. Overall, 90 Irish beaches and seven marinas awarded blue flag status. 

Four beaches lost their status: Brittas Bay North in Co Wicklow, Enniscrone in Co Sligo, Portrush East Strand in co Antrim and Skerries beach in north Dublin. Another 58 beaches were bestowed with the Green Coast Award, which recognises a clean environment, excellent water quality and natural beauty.

Five beaches that failed to meet with the stringent quality requirements last year because of storms that ravaged the coastline have regained their flags: Bertra and Mulranny in Co Mayo; Rossbeigh in Co Kerry; and White Strand and Spanish Point in Co Clare.

  • Antrim: Portrush West Strand; Portstewart Strand and Barmouth; Whiterocks
  • Clare: Cappa Pier; Kilkee; Doonbeg; Spanish Point; Miltown Malbay; Lahinch; Fanore; Ballycuggeran; Mountshannon
  • Cork: Redbarn; Garrylucas; Garretstown; Inchdoney; Owenahincha; Tragumna; Barleycove
  • Derry: Downhill Beach; Benone
  • Donegal: Bundoran; Rossnowlagh; Murvagh; Fintra; Portnoo/ Naran; Carrickfinn; Killahoey; Marblehill; Downings; Portsalon; Lisfannon; Culdaff; Stroove
  • Down: Cranfield Bay; Crawfordsburn; Newcastle and Murlough Beach; Tyrella
  • Dublin: Portrane; Balcarrick, Donabate; Portmarnock; Seapoint; Killiney
  • Galway: Loughrea Lake; Traught; Salthill; Silverstrand; An Trá Mhór.Trá an Dóilin; Cill Muirbhthe
  • Kerry: Derrynane; Ballinskelligs; White Strand; Kells; Rossbeigh; Inch; Ventry; Magherabeg; Fenit; Banna; Ballyheigue; Ballybunion South; Ballybunion North
  • Louth: Templeton; Port; Clogherhead
  • Mayo: Carrowmore; Bertra; The Harbour, Clare Island; Mulranny; Dooega; Keel; Keem; Dugort; Golden Strand; Mullaghroe; Elly Bay; Ross Killala
  • Sligo: Rosses Point
  • Waterford: Councillors Strand; Dunmore Strand; Tramore; Clonea
  • Wexford: Courtown; Morriscastle; Ballinesker; Curracloe; Rosslare Strand
  • Wicklow: Greystones; Brittas Bay South
  • Marinas: Ballycastle Marina, Ballyronan Marina, Cork Yacht Club; Killinure Point Marina; Kilmore Quay; Kinsale Yacht Club, New Ross ‘Three Sisters’

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

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