The headlines this week:
- Cabin OK is a guideline, not a standard
- IATA AGM comes to town in 2016
- Addis Adaba-Dublin-LA service commences Friday
- Inis Cealtra handed over to Clare Co Co
- Troubles continue for Alton Towers
- Big Travel Trade Event in Co Down
Travel Extra TV
Our video of the week is Boeing’s showcase of the 787-8 Dreamliner ahead of Paris Air Show 2015. Check out that incredible near-vertical take off. Watch here.
- French skier Benjamin Spilthooren uploaded terrifying footage of his fall into a crevasse in the Swiss Alps. Watch here.
- Highlights from Tunisair receiving its first A330-200 jet at a ceremony in Toulouse. Watch here.
- British Airways Listen Up meets The Staves in NYC. Watch here.
- Emirates showcases Sri Lanka. Watch here.
- Tourism NI’s round up of the Irish Open. Watch here.
- A pilot’s view of landing in Funchal, Madeira. Watch here.
The July print edition of Travel Extra will be delivered to agencies in the coming week and is available online here. This month we focus on the upcoming wintersun season and the revival of the much maligned Madeira charter flight, the growth of the Canary Islands back to 2007 levels: (422,000 visitors, more than Portugal, or Italy) and Tunisia. Eoghan Corry reports from IPW in Orlando where theme park developments, visa waiver and the inter-continental spat in aviation dominated the headlines. South Africa’s Western Cape and KZN product comes under the spotlight. We look at the prospects for Cork airport after the loss of two of their planned three new routes for 2015, increasing pace of hotel sales in the Irish market, Royal Caribbean’s decision to order new ships in both Quantum and Allure class, industry moves to tackle the paradox of the collective bond and credit card double-bond, We review Delta’s new lie-flat product and look back at 30 years of the Visit USA organisation in Dublin. Niall McDonnell of Red Sea Resorts selects his favourite holiday spot. Travel Extra’s team are already trawling the world to prepare the next edition.
IATA moved quickly to clarify their widely reported Cabin OK initiative at their AGM which they say is a guideline and not a standard and aims to provide passengers with a greater assurance that their carry-on bags will travel with them in the aircraft cabin, even when the flight is full. Lufthansa, Emirates, and Qatar were among eight major carriers who expressed interest in joining the campaign for new carry on smaller bag sizes 55x35x20 proposed by IATA. IATA vice president Thomas Windmuller said the new “optimum” carry on bag size will clear up confusion and speed up check in:
- Cabin OK is a guideline, not a standard. Airlines have no plans to restrict carry-on baggage to the Cabin OK dimensions of 55 x 35 x 20 cm (or 21.5” x 13.5” x 7.5″ inches). Most airlines have maximum size limits that are larger than this and that is not impacted by the Cabin OK initiative. Passengers will be able to continue to use carry-on baggage that is larger than the Cabin OK size provided it is within airline maximum size limits.
- Cabin OK does not replace airline maximum size limitations. These are determined individually by each airline. There are no plans to set an industry standard.
- Cabin OK is an optimum size, not a maximum size . We use the word “optimum” because the Cabin OK dimensions have been calculated to allow all passengers on board a typical jet aircraft of 120 seats or more to be able to carry-on one piece of baggage in the normally available storage space (storage bins and below seats).
The proposed optimum baggage allowance is 5cm narrower than the sizes imposed by Ryanair (55cm x 40cm x 20cm) and 5cm narrower and 4cm less deep than Aer Lingus (55cm x 40cm x 24cm). IATA wants luggage manufacturers to start using the ‘IATA Cabin OK’ tag from later this year to identify bags that fit the size.
IATA’s next AGM is coming to Dublin’s RDS on June 1-3 2016, The news was announced by Stephen Kavanagh at the closing ceremony of the IATA conference in Miami, Florida with a custom-made video produced by Fáilte Ireland’s Dublin Convention Bureau. The conference in the latest in a series of aviation conferences secured by Brian Stapleton (pictured) and the Irish Aviation Leadership Group. Skift recalled the 15 most awkward moments at the IATA AGM.
Dublin’s marquee route of the summer commences on Friday when Ethiopian Airlines fly their Dreamliner service from Addis Adaba to Dublin and onward to Los Angeles. Tour operators from Ethiopia travelling on the inaugural flight will include Dun Laoghaire born Tony Hickey of Ethiopian Quadrants.
Christian Carbonne and Dublin based Paul Weir of Luxair and Anne Hoffmann and Rachel Ezard of Luxembourg Tourism hosted a group of travel writers to promote Luxair’s new daily route with prices from €100 return. They visited the famed casements form the days when Luxembourg was the strongest fortification in northern Europe, the old town, the modern complex of EU buildings on a nearby hilltop, and the American war cemetery with the grave of General George Patton. Picture shows Colette Sheridan of the Irish Examiner, Christian Carbonne of Luxair, Eoghan Corry of Travel Extra, Emma Deighan of In Magazine, Paul Weir of Luxair, Anne Hoffmann of the Luxembourg Tourist Board, Mark Evans of the Evening Herald, Eleanor Goggin of the Sunday Independent, George Keegan of the Northern Standard and Rachel Ezard of the Luxembourg Tourist Board. Second picture shows Paul Weir and Michael Saez of Luxair. See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.
The Spanish Tourist Board hosted a group of travel media in Menorca. Picture shows Marie Claire Porter of Sunway, Heidee Martin of the Irish Mail on Sunday, Derek Foley of the Herald, Christopher Jackson of the Irish Independent, Damien Lane of the Sun, John O’Dowd of the Star, Paula Burns The Examiner, Nicola Keeley of Sunway and Sara Rivero of the Spanish Tourist Board. See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.
In the aftermath of the trip the first Sunway charter took off for Menorca last Sunday. Picture shows the inaugural Sunway charter of the 2015 season arriving in Menorca.
On your marks, get set, shop. Simon Outlets hosted a group of travel media in Orlando. Developments include the planned opening of a Crayola Experience at the Florida Mall, due to open July 1 (theme park language is off the roller-coaster, Disney have imagineers, Crayola has crayonologists). They also visited two outlet malls at opposite ends of International Drive, Orlando Vineland has higher end brands among its portfolio of 160 stores, Orlando International has 180 stores. Many of the main brands are replicated across both malls. They also have another property the Outlet Market Place which more local in Orlando Pictured in the doll themed American Girl restaurant in the Simon Shop Florida Mall in Orlando, Eoghan Corry of Travel Extra, Ruth Brindle of London Newsquest Newspapers, Uschi Braun of ARD, Bayerischer Rundfunk, Neil Hennessy-Vass of Families Magazine and Caroline Donaldson-Sinclair of Simon Outlets.
Inis Cealtra in Lough Derg was handed over the historic monastic island to Clare County Council on a sunny Friday morning, watched by the cattle of James O’Brien, owner and caretaker of the island’s numerous heritage sites. The next step is to get a policy in place to manage tourism on the island while protecting its heritage and wildlife. Currently local boatman and historian Ger Madden runs a ferry from Mountshannon in summer time (adults €12, children €6) that brigs a couple of hundred visitors to the island. There are no plans to replicate the events in 1836 when 25,000 pilgrims arrived on one day for a day of prayer and revelry, enough to catapult Inis Cealtra into the top 40 attractions in the region. Ger is also working on a book on the history of the East Clare ironworks. Eoin O’ Hagan of Clare Virtually told guests that the first pig iron works to be constructed in the USA, the 1642 Saugus iron works in Boston were an exact replica of the Scariff ironworks, “it was steel that made America great and it was Scariff that made American steel popular,” and that he hoped someday to see an American President open the ironworks visitor experience in Scariff. Picture shows Gerard Dollard Director of Services for Clare County Council, John Crowe Mayor of Clare, former owner of Inis Cealtra James O’Brien and other dignitaries being photographed at the handover of Inis Cealtra on Lough Derg to Clare County Council. See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.
Alton Towers reopened on Monday but their troubles continue. One of the four seriously injured in the car-collision on Smiler last week, Leah Washington from Barnsley had a leg amputated. The Daily Mail quoted a visitor found a large metal clip beneath the Air ride but the park said they had no record of this and while the Mail reported two further rides were closed it seems this was for routine operational reasons. Even the kindergarteners are getting anxious, the newly opened The Octonauts Rollercoaster Adventure, based on the CBeebies show, was halted after a rider became upset. Four rides remain closed, Oblivion, Enterprise, Sonic Spinball and The Smiler.
There was been some conflicting analysis of the reiteration of Simon Polito’s ruling that Ryanair should sell their Aer Lingus shareholding, with a suggestion that Ryanair’s appeal might hold up the impending IAG takeover of Aer Lingus. The ruling of the EU competitions commissioner due on July 1st is what will greenlight Ryanair’s board to make a decision on whether to sell the shares (Travel Extra expects the sale to go ahead). Michael O’Leary told Reuters “If an offer document is submitted by the end of June, on EU approval, you’d expect the process to be complete before the end of the year one way or the other.” The appeal against the Polito decision is being treated as a separate matter by Ryanair: issues include a local regulator (in this case London) taking on extra-territorial responsibilities, telling one Irish company it has no right to have a shareholding in another Irish company. England is not the only country to be playing this particular game, and the international aviation community will be watching the outcome of the appeal with interest. Ryanair claimed this week that Polito has done a u-turn on his original rule, that Ryanair’s holding would prevent another airline being able to take over Aer Lingus, and took particular exception to the Polito claim that IAG’s bid for Aer Lingus is dependent on securing Ryanair’s agreement to sell its shareholding and accused Polito of trying to defend the indefensible. Éist anseo le Eoghan Corry ar Raidió na Gaeltachta.
Tour operators organised a free day-trip to Luxor for more than 1,000 foreign sightseers brought from a Red Sea resort to bolster the city’s spirit and show that it was still a safe and attractive destination. Travel Advisories were updated in the wake of a foiled attack by militants outside the famed Karnak Temple, just as Luxor was starting to regain some footing after years of turmoil. Hotel occupancy in Luxor fell to 3pc during the winter high season in 2011 but was back to 15pc in 2014. Tourism, antiquities, security ministers and the prime minister flew to the southern city to reassure locals and foreigners that the security situation is under control.
NITN hosted 80 Travel companies and 340 travel agents at the Big Travel Trade Event in Co Down. The event took place over two days and has become a fixture on the calendar. Niall McDonnell of Red Sea Resorts won the golf competition in Templepatrick with a spectacular score of 47 points while team-mate Volker Lorenz also scored highly to secure the team prize.
Dublin Airport Authority will NOT be bidding for Belfast City Airport.
The Centre of Portugal’s Tourist Board and Aer Lingus hosted travel professionals, flying to Lisbon and visiting Obidos, Coimbra and Tomar the seaside city of Peniche, a tour of Berlengas Island, Serra D’ Aire e Candeeiros Natural Park and Fatima where preparations are underway for the 2017 centenary. Picture shows Sharon Kelly from GoHop.ie, Trudi Mason from AE Consulting, Caroline Kelly from George Barter Travel and Ana Mendes from Centre of Portugal Tourist Board in Luz Houses, Fatima. See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.
Wendy Wu Tours is offering agents a €30 One4all voucher for every booking made before the end of June. See wendywutours.ie or call 0818 776 380.
Eileen Penrose is joining APG Airline Business to look after the Westjet account.
Picture shows Brendan Maguire of Ifonly, Martin Skelly of Navan Travel and President of the ITAA and Martin Penrose of Ifonly at the pre-match event for the travel trade before Ireland v Scotland, June 12. See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.
Travel Professionals Skillnet: Learn how to build and maintain a WordPress website, Wednesday, June 24, 9am-5pm in New Horizons, Strand Street Great, Dublin 2. Price €150. Book here.
The CSO said a 13.2pc increase in overseas trips by Irish holidaymakers was recorded in Q1 2015.
The Corscadden family acquired Markree Castle in Co Sligo and will spend €5m on restoration before the castle will re-open to the public in March 2016.
Florida’s Supreme Court ruled decisively in favour of OTA’s that Travel Tech members are not hotels and thus the compensation they retain for their services is not subject to an occupancy tax
Minister of State for Tourism Michael Ring re-opened Derrynane House in Caherdaniel, Co Kerry.
Something odd: the Dublin Convention Bureau Delegate Map shows the locations of hotels within a perimeter Howth, Dunboyne, Maynooth, Saggart, Powerscourt, Killiney. But it shows no airports hotels. Airport hotels are also missing from the website hotel listings.
Tom Breen (pictured) was appointed Operations Manager at the Radisson Blu Royal, Dublin.
- Four Seasons launched a mobile app.
- ALICE launched a hospitality app that allows real-time translation between hotel guests and staff.
- Rotana announced that it will add 11 properties to its portfolio in 2015.
- Accor rebranded as Accorhotels.
- Marriott Hotels is offering in-room Netflix content to guests.
- IHG will open an Intercontinental hotel in Lyon in autumn 2018.
- Choice Hotel is suing a Florida man for allegedly taking advantage of a glitch in its online reservations system to generate $50,000 in rewards programme gift cards.
- Intercontinental Hotel Group plans to open two hotels in Mexico in late 2016: the Holiday Inn Express Mazatlán and Holiday Inn Resort Mazatlán.
- Starwood Hotels & Resorts sold The Phoenician resort in Scottsdale, Arizona in a deal worth $400m.
- Hilton Worldwide will open a Hilton Hotels and Resorts property near Dubai’s Al Maktoum International airport in early 2019.
- A survey by Hotels.com found that 45pc of us greet other guests in a hotel lift and 36pc just feel awkward. One in five have experienced “elevator rage”, which is when your blood is boiled by people who only hop into a lift for one or two floors. Fixing make up was sandwiched between flatulence and copulation in the top three things Irish people have done in a lift.
Calais port was closed last Sunday after unexploded bombs from World War II were discovered at a nearby beach.
Universal Parks & Resorts announced plans to develop a Hello Kitty retail experience at Orlando this year and Hollywood further down the line.
The Caribbean reported a 6pc increase in tourists for Q1.
India and Vietnam launched a 5-year tourism cooperative.
News from Italy: Pavarotti’s house in Modena is now open to the public. The Quirinale Palace is now open 5 days a week. Fontanellato Labirinto della Masone re-opened after six years of renovation. The Galleria Estense in Modena has re-opened. The Jewellery Museum opened in Veneto. Upcoming events.
- Expedia updated its mobile app.
- South Africa may relax its rules for visitors travelling with children. Tourism minister Derek Hanekom said tour operators and airlines are attributing cancellations to the new rules.
- EUROAL travel market estimates an 8pc increase in tourism movements this year.
- The CarTrawler Car Rental Customer Report found that customers would most like to see WiFi, crash proof cars, driverless cars, in-car virtual tour guides and solar powered cars in the future.
- Huge press coverage of the arrest of the tourists who stripped naked on the sacred Mount Kinabalu in Malaysia: There are 1,613 articles on the story.
- The Koryo Hotel, Pyongyang went on fire on Thursday.
- Uber is looking to attract new drivers with the game UberDrive, available on iOS.
- China plans to develop an integrated national park service based on the USA’s model.
- Google Maps added dragon to its list of public transport options in Wales.
- This week’s all important celeb news: Kate Moss was escorted off an easyJet flight for causing a disruption and Cristiano Ronaldo’s mother (not quite a celeb, but anyway) had money confiscated in Madrid Barajas Airport after police discovered she was carrying €55,000 in cash in her hand luggage.
Food & Wine
Griffins Garden Centre & Restaurant in Dripsey, Cork was the winner of Ireland’s Best Scone 2015. Picture shows Margaret Griffin, owner of the restaurant, Mary O’Mahony, aka Granny Griffin, with Paul Kelly, executive pastry chef at The Merrion, and Catherine Leyden of Odlums.
Cooks Academy’s next Grill Academy barbecue class takes place June 24, 12pm-4pm. Cost €130 incl. instruction, recipes and meal. See cooksacademy.com.
Dublin Airport reported its busiest May in history with 2.2m pax, up 13pc YOY. Traffic from North America and Britain both grew by 13pc and other international traffic increased 22pc.
Mark Lapidus said Amedeo could be in the market for off-lease A380s.
Shannon Airport, Aer Lingus and Fáilte Ireland rebranded the B767 that flies Shannon-Boston with a Wild Atlantic Way livery.
Dublin airport has the fastest WiFi in Europe, according to Rotten WiFi, the speed-checking website and app.
Etihad chief executive James Hogan said that Etihad will sell its 4.99pc stake in Aer Lingus. Pentwater Capital sold most of tis share already.
Virgin Atlantic’s CEO Craig Kreeger expressed concern about competitive connectivity to Ireland to continue to exist.
Michael McNamara who lost the Labour Party whip as a result of voting against the IAG-Lingus takeover said that there is more concern about AI (artificial insemination of cattle) than IAG” in his Clare constituency.
CAPA calculated that Ryanair has a 62pc share of seats from Ireland to Spain this June giving it a more pronounced leadership position over Aer Lingus on 32pc. To England Scotland and Wales Ryanair has 44pc to Aer Lingus 41pc, including Regional. Aer Lingus leads in France, Germany and Netherlands, while Ryanair leads in Italy, Portugal, Poland and Belgium. Anna Aero reports that Ryanair will serve 184 airports this August, gaining 11: Cardiff, Copenhagen, Crotone, Deauville, Glasgow International, Hamburg, Lorient, Ponta Delgada, Santorini, Stuttgart and Verona and losing five: Groningen, Malmo, Rennes, Toulon and Volos. Ryanair switched airports at Gothenburg. Dublin will have an extra 74 weekly Ryanair departures in August. Aer Lingus is now Europe’s 13th largest trans-Antlantic operator, behind Air Transat and Swiss and ahead of SAS and Alitalia. For the first week in August, Dublin is shown as 5th largest number of seats from a European airport to US/Canada, well below Heathrow, Paris CDG, Frankfurt and Amsterdam and just ahead of Rome. In all, 67 European airports have scheduled services to US/Canada.
IATA said all regions are expected to see an improvement in profitability in 2015 compared with 2014 with half the global profit is expected to be generated by airlines based in North America where operating margins are expected to exceed 12pc, double that of the next best performing regions Asia-Pacific and Europe.
Lufthansa will fly 4w from Frankfurt to Nairobi from October 27.
Aer Lingus are now offering Tayto crisp sandwiches on-board
Aer Lingus now offers Tayto sandwiches on short-haul flights. Reports of problems with food not available on flights continue).
The IAA reported a 4.1pc increase in the volume of North Atlantic Communications flights between Europe and North America in May.
Aer Lingus began operating a B767-300ER, serial 30434, on lease from Omni Air International.
Aer Lingus launched an evening check in service at Cork Airport, allowing passengers to check in their baggage the evening before their flight.
Shannon Airport reported a 5pc YOY increase in traffic for May. US services saw an 18pc increase in traffic.
Shannon-based GE Capital Aviation Funding recorded a 34pc decrease in pre-tax profits to $571m for 2014.
Heathrow airport recorded its busiest May on record with 6.34m passengers, up 1.7pc YOY.
Boeing reported ten new B777s ordered from unidentified customers. B787 net orders were reduced by 15.
Dublin City Council granted planning permission to develop an aviation fuel pipeline from Dublin Port to Dublin Airport.
- Acumen Aviation will open an office in Beijing.
- Boeing predicts airline pax traffic will increase 6pc in 2015, maybe even 6.5pc. The aircraft maker expects to book firm orders for 750 new jets this year. So far, it has booked 136 net orders.
- After 24 years, American Airlines will resume a daily flight from LAX to Sydney from December 17 in direct competition with United Airlines and Delta.
- Airbus recorded orders from five customers for a total 17 aircraft in May.
- Coopans Parnters upgraded their ATM system.
- A Flybe flight from Southampton to Dublin had to turn back after a bee got stuck in the pilot tube.
- Assembly started on the first Boeing 737 MAX. It will begin flights tests in 2016.
- Alitalia will make Malpensa airport, Milan its European cargo hub.
- Etihad launched daily flights from Edinburgh to Abu Dhabi.
- Flybe’s 2015/16 winter programme is available for booking.
- BA will offer Apple Pay on its app for the iPhone 6/6 Pluse and Apple Watch.
- Emirates opened a lounge in Tokyo Narita’s Terminal 2.
- Air Canada will retrofit its two three-class international B777-300ERs later in the year.
Delta Air Lines completed its $229m upgrade at T5, LAX. The renovation (pictured) includes a private check-in lounge, renovated Sky Club lounge and Sky Priority lobby, expanded ticketing lobby and four additional security screening checkpoints.
- Emirates announced a codeshare agreement with Flybe.
- Cathay Pacific opened a lounge at Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi airport.
- A United Express jet skidded off the runway at Buffalo Niagara Airport. Amazingly, no one was injured.
Stena Line customers who use the Rosslare-Cherbourg serivice in June, July or August will be given a free trip to Britain.
From July 9, Carnival Cruise Line passengers will not be able to tag alcohol for embarkation as checked luggage.
- Lowcostbeds Sharm El Sheikh offers of the week, based on 2 sharing, 7 nights, travel in June: 5* Sharm Club Village all inclusive from €24pppn. 5* Iberotel 11 Mercato all inclusive from €27pppn. 5* Tamra Beach Resort all inclusive from €27pppn. 5* Maritim Jolie Ville Royal Peninsula all inclusive from €28pppn. 5* Hilton Sharm Waterfalls Resorts all inclusive from €35pppn. 5* Monte Carlo Resort all inclusive from €39pppn. 5* Cleopatra Luxury Resort all inclusive from €46pppn. See lowcostbeds.com for more.
- Sunway June and July offers to Bodrum, Turkey: Seat only from €299pp. 7 nights self catering 3* Summer Garden Apartments from €449pp. 7 nights B&B 3* Baba Beach Hotel from €399pp. 7 nights B&B 4* Ambrosia Hotel from €729pp. 7 nights all inclusive 3* Sami Beach from €779pp. Prices include return airport transfers, taxes, charges, 20kg checked in baggage pp and Sunway rep service. See sunway.ie.
- Falcon offers: 7 nights self catering 3* Ambavri, Kos from €599pp, depart Dublin June 27. 7 nights half board 3* More Hotel, Alcudia, Majorca from €629pp, depart Cork July 4. 7 nights self catering 2* Rosamar, Puerto del Carmen, Lanzarote from €399pp, depart Dublin November 1. 7 nights self catering Laguna Park II, Playa De Las Americas, Tenerife from €589pp, depart Dublin November 7. #NRG offer: 7 nights self catering 2* Mika, Piskopiano, Crete from €479pp, depart Dublin August 30. See falconholidays.ie or call 1850 45 35 45.
- Thomson offers: 7 nights all inclusive 4* Oceanis, Psalidi, Kos from €899pp, depart Dublin August 29. 7 nights self catering 2* Rodos Sun, Faliraki, Rhodes from €519pp, depart Dublin June 24. 7 nights B&B 3* Katerina Palace, Argassi, Zakinthos from €469pp, depart Dublin June 16. See thomsonholidays.ie or call 1850 45 35 45.
- Click and Go offers: 3 nights 4* Confortel Suites Hotel, Madrid from €329pp incl. return flights ex Dublin, travel in July. 7 nights B&B 5* Bohemia Suites & Spa Hotel, Playa del Ingles, Gran Canaria from €885pp incl. return flights ex Dublin and transfers, travel in September. 7 nights self catering 3* BelleVue Club Aparthotel, Majorca from €419pp incl. return flights ex Dublin and transfers, depart June 16. 7 nights half board 4* Mainare Playa, Fuengirola, Costa del Sol from €349pp incl. return flights ex Dublin and transfers, travel in October. 7 nights half board 4* Deloix Aqua Centre Hotel, Benidorm from €409pp incl. free spa entry pp per stay, return flights ex Dublin, transfers, taxes and charges, travel in November. 7 nights 2* Hotel Perla Residencia, Benidorm from €489pp incl. return flights ex Dublin, transfers, taxes and charges, travel in August. See clickandgo.com or call 01 539 7777.
- Sunway is offering 7 nights B&B Universal Cabana Bay Beach Resort from €795pp, book by June 30, travel from September 7 to December 17.
- Wendy Wu Tours is offering €200pp off all fully escorted tours from Ireland, book by June 30. Last minute summer offers: A China Experience from €2,880, depart August 15. Grand Tour of China from €4,530, depart August 20. Wonders of China from €3,770, depart August 2. Vietnam at a Glance from €2,830, depart, August 21. Grand Tour of Indochina from €4,830, depart August 22. See wendywutours.ie or call 0818 776 380.
- ITAA offers of the week: 8 nights 3 bedroom Cordelia Holiday Home, Brittany from €1,734 incl. return car ferry travel, depart August 22. 7 nights Sol Costa Duarada Hotel, Salou from €1,880 2+2 sharing incl. return flights, depart August 24. 7 nights 3 bedroom Vivaldi Mobile, Lake Garda from €385pps incl. flights and transfers, depart June 20.
- Travel Department offers: 7 nights half board 4* Hotel Napoleon, Pesaro from €729pp incl. taxes and return flights ex Dublin, depart September 15 and October 6. 7 nights B&B 3* Hotel Miami, Lido di Jesolo from €469pp incl. taxes and return flights ex Dublin, depart September 22. 7 nights 3* or 4* hotel, Sorrento Coast, Pompeii and Capri from €799pp incl. taxes and return flights ex Dublin, depart on selected dates in August or October. See traveldepartment.ie or call 01 637 1600.
- Topflight’s country music holidays: 10 nights Country Music Awards, Nashville/Las Vegas from €2,873pps, depart November 3. 8 nights Bluegrass Tour to Tennessee, Kentucky and North Carolina from €2,595pp, depart September 26.
- Insight Vacations is offering a Turkish Delights tour from €1,459pps incl. flights, transfers and selected meals, book before June 30, depart September 6. See insightvacations.com or call 01 775 3803.
- Uniworld River Boutique Cruises is offering an 8 day all inclusive luxury river cruise to Bordeaux, Vineyards & Châteaux from €2,129pps incl. flights, port tax, gratuities and transfers. Book June 30, depart August 9. See uniworld.ie or call 01 775 3803.
- Contiki offer of the week: European Magic 9 day tour from €1,299pp incl. flights, 8 continental breakfasts, 5 three-course dinners and 5 World Heritage Sites visits. To book visit contiki.com or call 01 775 3803.
- Sunway 5* AmaWaterways river cruise, no single supplement on 2015/16 cruises, book before July 31: 7 nights all inclusive Amsterdame-Basel cruise from €1,899pp, depart November 11. 7 nights all inclusive Paris and Normandy cruise from €2,729pp, depart July 30. 7 nights Vilshofen-Budapest cruise from €1,979pp, depart November 18.
- Topflight offers of the week: 7 nights 4* Madison Apartments, Cattolica, Adriatic Riviera from €517pps, depart Dublin September 12. 7 nights 3* Hotel Bagli, Rimini, Adriatic Riviera from €529pps, depart Dublin June 27. 7 nights 3* Hotel Golf, Riccione, Adriatic Riviera from €619pps, depart Dublin June 27. 7 nights 3* Hotel Boliva, Lido di Jesolo, Venetian Riviera from €572pps, depart Dublin, Belfast or Cork June 20. 7 nights 3* Hotel Villa Maria, Caorle, Venetian Riviera from €674pps, depart Dublin, Belfast or Cork September 12. All prices include resort transfers, luggage allowance and online discounts. See topflight.ie or call 01 2401 700.
- Natural Retreats Castlemartyr is offering 7 nights in a two-bedroom family Mew from €969 incl. complimentary welcome food hamper, see naturalretreats.ie for more info or call 01 685 3013.
- The Maldron Hotel Dublin Airport is offering a stay, park and fly package from €199. Price includes 1 night accommodation and on-site car parking at €7.50 per day. See maldronhotels.com.
- Tourism NI offers of the week: 3 nights Blackberry Cottage, Lisnaskea, Enniskillen from £300 incl. complimentary kayak, cottage sleeps eight, stay mid-week before June 30, call 028 6772 2240 to book. 2 nights B&B Bayview Hotel, Portballintrae, Bushmills from £119 incl. 4 course dinner and bottle of Prosecco on arrival, valid Sunday-Thursday nights, available until June 30, call (028) 2073 4100 to book.
Fáilte Ireland’s business tourism team Meet In Ireland are rolling out MICE training events in five locations: Grand Hotel Malahide, Dublin. Radisson Blu Hotel, Galway. The Inn at Dromoland, Clare. The Brehon Hotel, Kerry. Foot Island Resort, Cork. The events are in partnership with the Regional Convention Bureaus.
The Teeling Whiskey distillery and visitors centre in Newmarket officially opened yesterday. The €10m distillery, the first to open in Dublin in 125 years, is owned by brothers Stephen and Jack Teeling (pictured).
Michelle Mangan of The Dunloe Hotel in Kerry created an interactive timeline documenting five years of tourism campaigns in Ireland. See here.
Twenty journalists from the USA, South Africa, India and Europe will visit Ireland to celebrate Joyce and Yeats. Fáilte Ireland hosted the group in Sligo for Yeats Day and will travel to Dublin for Bloomsday. Itinerary includes a visit to Parke’s Castle, a cruise on Lough Gill, a visit to Yeats Grave and a mini Ulysses walking tour of Dublin and visit to Joyce Tower in Sandycove.
TripAdvisor recorded a 65pc growth in searches for Co Antrim in the last 12 months. The site attributed the spike in interest to the success of Game of Thrones.
Niall Gibbons of Tourism Ireland said 40,000 Chinese tourists visited Ireland in 2014 (a 122pc increase over two years) and said that he is confident the Government’s target of 50,000 Chinese visitors by 2017 will be met. Tourism Ireland launched its sales mission to China this week: 14 tourism companies took part in a travel trade mission in Guangzhou, Chengdu, Shanghai and Beijing.
CSO figures showed that there were 1.5m visitors to Ireland in Q1 2015, up 14pc YOY. Total earnings were up 12pc to €780m.
Nine business tourism buyers and a trade journalist from France visited the north this week as guests of Tourism Ireland. The itinerary was designed by Tourism NI and included visits to Glenarm Castle, Titanic Belfast, Giant’s Causeway, Old Bushmills Distillery Ballywalter Park and Castle Ward Estate’s Game of Thrones tour. The trip also included visits to hotels like the Hilton, Merchange, Europa, Fitzwilliam and Galgorm Resort and Spa. Picture shows the group outside Glenarm Caslte with Caroline Phelan of Tourism Ireland Paris and Adrian Morrow of Glenarm Caslte. Willie Lougheed of Tourism NI is taking their picture.
- The inaugural SeaFest maritime festival takes place July 10 and 11 in Cork Harbour.
- The Festival of Music & Dancing takes place in The Armada, Spanish Point during Willie Clancy Week, July 3-12.
- The Burren Geology Field School opened on Tuesday.
- Belfast Zoo unveiled an animatronic dragon from Game of Thrones. The creature has a wingspan of 10 feet.
- The 12-member Willis Clan play Westport Town Hall Theatre on Friday 26. The group are staying in Hotel Westport.
Sea Lion Cove opened in Dublin Zoo. It will be home to a colony of eight Californian sea lions. Currently, there are four living in the habitat: Nico, Cassie, Florence and Seanna. Conor McMahon of Travel Extra went to see a demonstration of the new habitat by Seanna and the zookeepers (pictured).