TRAVEL Extra’s Sunday Supplement: Ireland’s first €100m Travel Agent

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Holiday-world

Kennet River on the Great Ocean Road, Victoria, Australia, June 16 2015

Kennet River on the Great Ocean Road, Victoria, Australia, June 16 2015

The headlines this week:

  • The travel industry mourns six young lives lost in Berkeley tragedy 
  • Down to business – IAG makes a formal offer for Aer Lingus
  • The tougher the journey, the sweeter it gets
  • Liam Lonergan expands his empire
  • Australian Tourism Exchange hosts 125 travel writers from 30 countries

Travel Extra TV

Video of the week June 21Our video of the week shows a mariachi band performing for the guests of Thomson’s Dreamliner flight around Ireland. This one is dedicated to the Spanish-speaking readers of the Sunday Supplement. Watch here.

  • Arnold Schwarzenegger pranked fans at Madame Tussauds Hollywood by pretending to be his own waxwork. Watch here.
  • Motown at 38,000 feet: To mark Virgin Atlantic’s direct service from London to Detroit, the cast of Motown the Musical performed a medley onboard the inaugural flight. Watch here.
  • Aer Lingus Regional surprised its five millionth passenger with performance by Booka Brass Band in Dublin airport. Watch here.
  • Inside the Airbus A350 XWB during its flight presentations at the Paris Air Show. Watch here.
  • Tourism Ireland’s promo for Kilkenny Arts Festival, which takes place in August. Watch here.
  • Every couple of months footage of a tourist getting entangled in a military parade surfaces online. The latest one attracted 4m views. Watch here.
  • Extraordinary pictures from Jason Coniry of a close encounter with a 25ft humpback whale in West Cork. Watch here.
  • Thousands of red tuna crabs appeared on the beaches of California this week. Watch here.

willie walsh_2664 copyHeadlines

The talking ended and the serious business began with the release of IAG’s formal offer for Aer Lingus, conditional on the acceptance by Ryanair and on EU approval, and the notice of the EGM on Thursday, July 16 at the Crowne Plaza Hotel.

berkeleyThe travel industry and the entire island of Ireland was under a pall this week with news of the deaths of six Irish J1 visa students in a balcony collapse in Berkeley, California. Both major operators dealing with Ireland’s J1 traffic were affected. Michael Doorley of Sayit Travel flew out to Berkeley on Thursday to deal with arrangements and assist the families of deceased Eoghan  Culligan and Lorcan  Miller and also Conor Flynn, who was seriously injured.

j1 nytIreland has 8,000 J1 visas in the USA this summer and 150,000 have used the scheme through its distinguished history. The New York Times used the opportunity to launch this extraordinary attack on Ireland’s reputation (“drunken partying and the wrecking of apartments“) and on the J1 scheme (“a source of embarrassment”). The scheme is under threat by Republican lobbyists in Washington DC.

Screen Shot 2015-06-21 at 00.06.03Aer Lingus received widespread praise on social media for assisting the families of those killed and injured in the tragedy. The airline refused to sell newspapers on board the flight to San Fransisco, provided internet access so relatives could monitor the situation in Berkeley and allowed those affected to disembark first. One message posted on the airline’s Facebook page received over 77,400 likes.

laim lonergan con horganLiam Lonergan, already the most powerful player in Irish retail travel, has expanded his empire further by acquiring Abbey Travel and its affiliates. Liam’s Next Century Travel Investments acquired Con Horgan’s Travelplan Investments. Abbey Travel was established in 1978 by its present owner Con Horgan who will continue as Non-Executive Chairman under the new ownership. Club Travel, with a turnover of €86.5m, is Ireland’s largest travel agency while Abbey has a turnover of €20m. Abbey’s Corporate Travel division FCm Travel Solutions was sold to Flight Centre Travel Group in April 2014. Liam is now Ireland’s first €100m travel retailer. It is not yet in the league of the tour operators at the height of the charter peak: at its peak Budget Travel turned over €500m a year, but it is still an impressive achievement.

Austrialia travel writers groupAustralian Tourism Exchange brought 125 of the world’s leading travel writers from 30 different countries to Melbourne this week and for the international media marketplace in advance of the event. Picture shows Ron Gluckman of Forbes Magazine, Land Kang of the Korea Travel Information Times, Michelle Stevenson of Victoria Tourism, Chumki Bharadvaj of India Today Spice, Rainer Aderhold of Victoria Tourism, Anne Kaiser of Flying Media Germany, and Eoghan Corry of Travel Extra. See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.

Leigh HarryVictoria Tourism hosted eight media fams before ATE, two groups to the Ocean Road, one to Victoria’s High Country and one to a Water and Wine itinerary. Next week they host four more groups, two to Wildlife & Gourmet, and one each to Winter Wonderland and Eastern Wilderness. Picture shows Leigh Harry, CEO of Tourism Victoria, speaking at the opening event for Australian Travel Exchange.

brett neagleAustralia’s fast emerging trend of walking tours was evident at the media marketplace. Brett Neagle of Auswalk says that Australians take 80,000 walking holidays abroad and there are just 14,000 walking holidays taken in Australia. Watch this one grow.

Matteo Clementi (26) and his girlfriend Enrica Apollonio (23) were charged with breaking through security at Malta’s Valletta airport to flag down their Ryanair flight . Despite fJohn-Erenacing up to two years in jail, they escaped a custodial sentence and instead were given a fine of €2,000.

Etihad Airways have the best lounge in Dublin airport by a distance. They also have the best breakfast in the airport, where Travel Extra’s Eoghan Corry began his trek to Melbourne for ATE, lubricated with the Grand Corbin Manuel from Bordeaux and the Longstone from California.

Chris Browne DreamlinerA big moment for TUI Aviation’s chief operating officer Chris Browne this week when she flew her baby, the Thomson B787-8 Dreamliner, over her hometown of Strabane on a victory lap around Ireland. Speaking at lunch in the Raddisson Blu Hotel Dublin Airport, Chris remembered how she was dubbed the “woman from Strabane, off her rocker” when she placed the order for the Dreamliner in 2005. “Who’s crazy dreamlinernow?” The flight marked the launch of Falcon Holidays and Thomson’s summer 2016 routes from Dublin to Cancun and to Montego Bay, Jamaica. Chris’s family were on board to witness the moment and her nieces Victoria and Charlotte Grieves were honorary crew members for the day. Thomson Airways managing director John Murphy piloted the jet. Director of engineering Jason Mahoney and representatives from the Jamaican and Mexican tourist boards were among the 200 passengers on the flight.

b787-8 DreamlinerTravel Extra’s Conor McMahon was also there. The modern interiors complement the extra legroom and wider windows, creating a comfortable sense of space in Economy Club. The multicoloured lighting and palm tree motif at the front of the cabin gets the family holiday feel going without being overbearing. The Dreamliner’s USP for long haul passengers has got to be its noticeable noise reduction. The jet takes off and descends with such ease, making the overall experience very pleasant. See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.

LA tourism lunchLA Tourism & Convention Board hosted a trade and press lunch in The Dean hotel to celebrate the launch of Ethiopian Airlines’ DUB-LAX route. The key take away from Francine Sheridan, Europe regional director for LA Tourism Board: if you haven’t been to Downtown LA in the last two or three years, you haven’t been. In keeping with LA’s target of 50m visitors by 2020, Downtown is smartening up its image, looking to become a hub of cultural activity. The project is aided by new attractions like The Broad museum, home to Eli and Edythe Broad’s $1bn art collection. Michael Yohannes, Ethiopian Airlines’ Ireland country manager (pictured with Francine Sheridan), told Travel Extra that bookings for both routes are doing well and surpassed initial expectations.  See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.

The Caliphate (known in the west as ISIS) has released its first travel brochure, extolling the virtues of Mosul. It is unlikely that Travel Extra will be reporting from the destination in the next print edition. Elsewhere, after the capture of Palmyra, there are concerns about access to Petra in Jordan because of its proximity to Maʿān.

Travel Trade

chicagoPicture shows travel trade hosted by United and the State of Illinois Tourist Board in Chicago to showcase United’s daily Dublin to Chicago service: Sam Van Aswegen of Atlas Travel, Jonathan Beamish of Trailfinders, Brenda Clarke of Tour America, Aoife Gregg of United, Rachel McAnaspie of American Holidays, Liz Mulligan of Club Travel, Blaithin Watson of Travel Counsellors, Elaine Seale of Sunway and Sean Healy of Lee Travel at the 360 Chicago

Marc_Mulcahy_TNZ_UK_Trade-300x224Tourism New Zealand has appointed Marc Mulcahy to the role of Trade Development Consultant, Ireland and Britain. He was previously Business Development Manager at Nomad Safaris in Queenstown.

Travel Professionals Skillnet class: Learn how to build and maintain a WordPress site, June 24, 9am-5pm. New Horizons, Strans St Great, Dublin 2. Price: €150. Book here.

Terry Lambert and Ana Vargues Via AlgarvianaAileen Eglington of AE Consulting and Terry Lambert of Hill Top Treks led the trade on a trip to Portugal this week to see the Via Algarviana’s walking trails and the Fisherman’s Trail and circular route on the Rota Vicentina. The trip was organised by the Portugal Tourist Board in Ireland, supported by Aer Lingus and the Algarve and Alentejo Tourist boards. Picture shows Terry Lambert and Aileen Ellington on the Via Algarviana.

Wendy Wu Tours is hosting a Macau webinar this Thursday, June 25 at 11am. Register here. Wendy Wu is offering agents a €50 One4all voucher for every booking made before the end of July.

Hotels

trivagi ireland june 2015A strengthening of sterling against the euro propelled Belfast to the top of Trivago’s Irish hotel price index for the first time in June Donegal, often the top of the table was not included this month). Belfast was up 45pc year on year. Derry was up 32pc while Kenmare was up 32pc, Dingle 31pc, Dublin 26pc and Sligo 20pc without the benefit of currency fluctuations. Athlone and Limerick share the distinction of offering Irelands lowest average online hotel price across 32 search engines and 700 tracked by Trivago. The national average summer 2015 Irish hotel room price is €120.

trivago most popular irish summer 2015Trivago also released the ten most popular destinations searched online by its Irish customers this summer, with Paris the only one showing a lower price than last summer. Las Vegas is a surprise entry at number 9, the only top ten destinations that does not have direct flgihts from Ireland. Roll on that service that was planned by Omni from Shannon in 2014?

conor-kennyPeter McCann of The Merrion Hotel, Michael Davern of The K Club, Luc Delafosse of Hotel De Crillon, Philippe Leboeuf of Mandarin Oriental, Paris, Kiaran McDonald of the Savoy, London, Bernard Murphy of Gleneagles, and Nathalie Seiler-Hayez of the Connaught in London feature in Conor Kenny’s Dancing At The Fountain: In Conversation With World-Leading Hoteliers, which will be published by Oak Tree Press, in November 2015.

  • Executives of hotel groups including Hyatt, Hilton, InterContinental and Marriott wrote to the US government in support of open skies: “we do not wish to return to an era of regulation.”
  • Hilton Worldwide signed five new properties to its Curio portfolio.
  • Santa Monica got tough with peer-to-peer holiday rentals introducing harsh new anti-Airbnb laws.
  • Hyatt Hotels announced the opening of the Grand Hyatt Playa del Carmen resort in Mexico.
  • TripAdvisor announced a partnership with Marriott International. Marriott’s inventory will be added to TripAdvisor’s Instant Booking platform.
  • Hilton Worldwide will open a DoubleTree resort in Penang.
  • Six Senses opened its first Chinese resort in Qing Cheng Mountain.
  • Starwood opened its third Aloft hotel in Miami.

Correction from Sunday Supplement, June 14: The Corscadden family are owners of the Corscadden Collection, not Manor House Hotels.  Each of the Corscadden’s four castles — Ballyseede Castle, Bellingham Castle, Cabra Castle and Markree Castle — are members of Manor House Hotels.

International

Wetnwild_orlando1Universal’s water park Wet ‘n Wild Orlando is to close next year to make way for Volcano Bay.

New Orleans launched a website for the tenth anniversary of Katrina: noting that Louis Armstrong International Airport has surpassed pre-Katrina passenger numbers. The airport served 9,785,394 passengers in 2014 compared to 9,733,178 in 2004

Canadian regulators charged six people with operating as a travel agent without registration and have had a conviction on one person who was charged earlier.

Two young people holidaying in the beach town of Oak Island, North Carolina, were swimming in waist-deep water when they lost limbs in separate life-threatening shark attacks,

  • Greyhound Buses launched an online real-time tracking tool to its app to allow passengers to see where their bus is and when it is likely to arrive.
  • Europcar said its IPO will value the group at €1.7bn-€2bn.
  • bobby healyBobby Healy’s CarTrawler signed a partnership deal with Eurostar to offer pre-booked taxi transfers.
  • Uber introduced a one-day free trial helicopter service in Bangkok.
  • Three tourists were killed and 31 injured in a bus crash in the Algarve on Friday.
  • Early bird registration for  the IHW conference in the Algarve has been extended until July 10.

Food and Wine

  • KOVE-Killyhevlin 025The Killyhevlin Hotel launched their new £200,000 restaurant, KOVE. Picture shows head chef Kevin Watson, Leigh Watson and Jacqueline Wright, Killyhevlin Hotel joint managing directors, with host Sarah Travers.
  • Andrew Rudd is hosting a series of tasting evenings in the former Venu restaurant premises on Anne’s Lane. See medley.ie.
  • Blackrock Shopping Centre is now running a food market every Thursday, 10am-4pm.

Aviation

Lufthansa 1Lufthansa will operate the Dublin-Munich service six times per week during the winter season, which runs from October until the end of March, tripling capacity on the route, which went year-round for the first time last winter. Lufthansa carried a record 377,000 passengers in and out of Dublin Airport last year up 5pc on 2013. About three-quarters of Dublin’s Lufthansa passengers connect at the airline’s Munich and Frankfurt hubs. Most popular onward destinations for Lufthansa’s Dublin travellers included Moscow, Sofia, Tel Aviv, Kiev, Belgrade, Lagos, Shenyang, Tokyo, Beijing, Larnaca and St Petersburg.

SWISS bombardierThe biennial Paris Air Show showcased the brand new Bombardier CS300  whose launch customer is Swiss, the Airbus A350XWB and the Boeing 787-9. Irish lessors placed $11bn worth of orders at the event. Travel Extra was there.

Ryanair shut their website for an upgrade on Friday, having announced they will continue to charge people for airport check in who are unable to check in online.

screen-shot-2015-06-21-at-00-20-32The CEOs of Europe’s three leading flags and two biggest lo-cos (or, If you like, two Irish and three others) came together to announce a new lobbying group. In response, perhaps, to the Anderson-Palmer-Smisek roadshow in America, Alexandre de Juniac, of Air France-KLM, Carolyn McCall of easyJet, Willie Walsh of IAG, Carsten Spohr of Lufthansa Group and Michael O’Leary of Ryanair met, ostensibly in response to the new EU Transport Commissioner Violeta Bulc’s consultation on a new EU Aviation Strategy. They provoked a delicious new spat in the never-ending war of words between airports and airlines in Europe, reducing airport charges and cleaning up the continent’s notorious Air Traffic Control inefficiencies are two of the three stated aims of the new gang of five. Simon McNamara, director general of the European Regions Airline Association described the lobby as “an interesting new development” and said they were “looking forward to working with the alliance to ensure that all sectors of the aviation industry are represented.”

Qatar_Skytrax_2015_2Skytrax, the most controversial and usually the most Asia-centric of the half dozen or so international aviation awards, announced 90 category winners at the Paris Air Show. Qatar was again named as the world’s best airline for the third time in five years (Emirates and Cathay pacific held the crown in the past two years) was with Turkish (best in Europe) in fourth place, as well as an awrd for the best business class lounge dining. Singapore won airport of the year or the third year in succession ahead of Seoul and Munich. AirAsia won World’s best low-cost airline award for the seventh year running. Garuda Indonesia won world’s best cabin staff. Singapore Airlines won world’s Best Business Class , Air New Zelaand the best premium economy, Asiana won world best economy class, and Air France the World’s Most Improved Airlines. Norwegian won world’s best long haul low-cost airline and best low-cost airline in Europe. Vrigin won best airline in North America. Aeroflot won best airline in Eastern Europe. Only airlines who participate in the Skytrax quality certification system partioipate (Etihad are a high profile non-participant) and critics complain of a lack of transparency supprounding the awards..

Top ten airlines of 2015: 1   Qatar, 2   Singapore, 3   Cathay Pacific, 4   Turkish, 5   Emirates, 6   Etihad Airways, 7   ANA, 8   Garuda, 9   EVA Air, 10 Qantas. Lufthansa was top European fin isher in 12th place with Aer LIngus 61st up from 65th in 2014 Non Asian airlines have had just four top three finish in the past 15 years, three of them by Qantas.

WestJet selected London as the third transatlantic destination from Canada using its wide-body Boeing 767-300 aircraft.

The International Civil Aviation Organization banned airline passengers around the world from carrying e-cigarettes in checked baggage because of risks that the heating elements will catch fire.

  • Wicklow-based Crewlink recruitment agency reported turnover growth of 10pc in 2014 to €55.1m.
  • Aer Lingus Regional’s 6w ATR 72-600 Shannon-Birmingham service, operated by Stobart Air, commenced this week.
  • Etihad Airways expanded its codeshare agreement with Hong Kong Airlines.
  • Qatar Airways and Boeing announced a firm order for ten 777-8Xs and four 777 Freighters.
  • CityJet carried 23,000 passengers on the DUB-LCY route in May.
  • Emirates is adding 30 wireless smartphone charging trays in first and business class lounges in Concourse A, B and C and Dubai International Airport.
  • Amsterdam Schiphol airport introduced 35 electric buses to carry passengers from aircraft to gate.
  • Emirates launched a “hold my fare” facility, allowing passengers to lock-in fares for 48 hours when booking online.
  • A stowaway was found dead after falling from a BA jet as it landed in Heathrow airport. A second man remains in a critical condition. The two hid in the undercarriage of the aircraft, which flew from Johannesburg.
  • Iron Maiden’s frontman Bruce Dickinson’s firm Cardiff Aviation is launching an airline, operating as VVB.
  • Aergo acquired an A320 on lease to Avion Express, an A320 on lease to SmartLynx Airlines and signed a 12-year sale/leaseback with Sriqijawa Air on two B737-900ERs delivering in August.
  • AWAS delivered an A320 to Aegean Airlines.
  • Ethiopian announced the purchase of six additional B-787 Dreamliners from Boeing.
  • Four Muslim men who accused FBI agents of putting them on a no-fly list because they refused to become informants want to pursue damages now the travel ban has been lifted,
  • DCU hosted an Aviation Leadership Open Evening
  • Hewitt launched Eagle over-the-wing fueling nozzles for small and medium size business aircraft as well as helicopters.
  • Iberia opened a new Lounge at Malabo Airport.
  • Tayto sandwich Aer LingusPR success of the month is Aer LIngu’s Tayto sandwich, proving most popular on the Malaga, Barcelona and Alicante routes and generating lots of coverage two weeks after its launch.
  • Etihad appointed Philippe Eyedaleine as head of public affairs in Europe.
  • Iberia Business Club passengers and Iberia Plus Singular, Platinum and Gold car holders can use the VIP lounge at the Malabo Airport, Equatorial Guinea.
  • Boeing opened a research and technology centre in Alabama.
  • Virgin America upgraded its Red IFE system to run on Android devices.
  • Malaysia Airlines appointed Peter Bellew as COO, effective September 1.
  • Japan Airlines launched the JAL Countdown app which provided waiting times in security at T1 Tokyo Haneda.
  • Thunderstorms over southern Europe led to hundreds of delayed flights last weekend.

Afloat

  • d17108-0012The Cuahuhtémoc arrived in Dublin on Wednesday, the first of 15 port of calls in Europe. Picture shows Ciara Sugrue of Fáilte Ireland with Captain Mata Commander of the sailing ship and The  Mexician Ambassador to Ireland, Carlos Garcia de Alba and Rear Admiral Jose Aguayo Naval Attache.
  • John Galligan Travel is offering a 12 nights Irish group departure on a Hutigruten Antarctic cruise for €7,995.
  • CLIA is planning a ‘New to Cruise Summit event aimed at agents who don’t sell cruise
  • Silversea is offering WiFi to all guests in all suites and public spaces on all cruises including expedition cruises.
  • A LEGO model of the Queen Mary will be on display on the actual ship from July 4.

Deal Watch

  • Topflight‘s 5 say USA sale starts tomorrow, Monday June 22. See topflight.ie or call 01 240 1788.
  • Wendy Wu Tours is offering 2 countries for the price of 1, book by July 3: Book a Vietnam tour and receive a trip to Cambodia incl. guided tour to Angkor Wat with lunch and transfers. Book a China tour and receive a trip to Hong Kong. See wendywutours.ie or call 0818 776 380. Wendy Wu Tours’ Exclusive Collection offers chauffeur transfers to the airport, 5* accommodation, champagne and visa. See here.
  • Thomson offers: 7 nights full board on board Thomson Majesty, Italian Job form €889pps incl. return flights ex Dublin, depart July 24. 7 nights Belvedere, Costa Dorada, Salou from  €599pp incl. return flights ex Shannon, depart August 28. 7 nights half board Cooronas Playa, Costa Teguise, Lanzarote from €659pps incl. return flights ex Dublin, depart November 1. See thomsonholidays.ie or call 1850 45 35 45.
  • Sunway USA and Canada offers: 7 nights 3* International Palms, Orlando from €655pp, travel in October. 4 nights 3* Stratosphere Hotel, Las Vegas from €665pp, travel in November. 3 nights 3* New Yorker Hotel, New York from €805pp, travel in March 2016. 3 nights 3* Essex Inn Hotel, Chicago from €815pp, travel in March 2016. 3 nights 3* Holiday Inn Capitol, Washington DC, travel in November. 4 nights 3* Holiday Inn Downtown, Toronto from €649pp, travel in March 2016. 8 days California Coast fly-drive from €1,355pp incl. economy 2 door car hire, travel in November. 9 days Massachusetts fly-drive from €1,639pp incl. economy 2 door car hire, travel in October.
  • HV_GEN_13_F807Falcon offers: 7 nights Holiday Village Flamingo Beach, Playa Blanca, Lanzarote from €2,169 for two adults and one child and from €2,879 for two adults and two children, depart August 27. 7 nights half board Rey Don Jaime, Santa Ponsa, Majorca from €739pp incl. return flights ex Cork, depart July 21. 7 nights all inclusive Villa Dorada, Costa Dorada, Salou from €799pp incl. return flights ex Shannon, depart August 28. See falconholidays.ie or call 1850 45 35 45.
  • Press release 2Tour America Easter and St Patrick’s Day 2016 offers: 7 nights 3* Rosen Inn International Drive, Orlando from €669pp incl. return flights, depart March 21 2016. 3 nights 4* Roosevelt Hotel, New York from €789pp incl. return flights, depart March 16. 3 nights 4* Renaissance Boston Waterfront Hotel, Boston from €779pp incl. return flights, depart March 16. Call 01 817 3500.
  • Click and Go offers: 4 nights 4* Abba Madrid Hotel, Madrid from €279pp incl. return flights ex Dublin, travel in July. 7 nights self catering 3* Elba Lucia Sport & Suite Hotel Aparthotel, Caleta de Fuste, Fuerteventura from €349pp incl. return flights ex Dublin and transfers, travel in September. 7 nights self catering 2* Mirachoro II Apartments from €449pp incl. return flights ex Dublin and transfers, travel in July. 7 nights 5* Atlantic Palace Agadir – Gold Thalasso & Casino Resort Hotel from €485pp incl. return flights ex Dublin and transfers, travel in September. 7 nights half board 4* Beatriz Costa Teguide & Spa Hotel, Lanzarote from €509pp incl. return flights ex Dublin and transfers, travel in October. 7 nights self catering 3 key Local Dubrovnik Apartments from €539pp incl. return flights ex Dublin and transfers, travel in July. See clickandgo.com or call 01 539 7777.
  • Sunway is offering 7 nights B&B 4* Agadir Beach Club Hotel, Morocco from €549pp incl. return flights, return airport transfers, taxes, charges, 20kg checked in baggage pp and Sunway rep services, depart July 4 or 11. 7 nights 4* Centara Kata Hotel, Phuket from €799pp, depart September. 7 nights 4* Occidental Punta Cana, Dominican Republic from €1,285pp, depart September. 7 nights B&B 4* Reethi Beach Resort, Maldives from €1,479pp, depart May 2016.
  • ITAA’s offers of the week: 3 nights 4* Roosevelt Hotel, New York City from €719pp incl. return flights, taxes and charges, depart February 4 2016. 4 nights half board 4* Royal Andalusia Hotel, Golf  Digest Overseas Event, Spain from €695pps incl. 3 rounds of golf, 1 practice round, prizes, transfers and entertainment, depart October 6. 11 nights Jewels of Thailand tour from €2,249pp incl. return flights from Dublin and transfers, travel in September or October.
  • Insight Vacations is offering a 9-day tour of Spain and Portugal from €1,779pps incl. flights, transfers, selection of meals and visits to Madrid, Granada, Seville, Lisbon and Salamanca. Depart August 8. See insightvacations.com or call 01 775 3803.
  • Uniworld River Boutique Cruises is offing an 8-day all inclusive cruise on the Danube from €1,456pps incl. flights, port tax, gratuities and transfers. Book by June 30, depart November 11. See uniworld.ie or call 01 775 3803.
  • Contiki is offering an 8-day tour of Italy from €1,479pps incl. flights, 3 regional dinners and visits to six World Heritage sites. See contiki.com or call 01 775 3803.

Ireland

Eugene Garrihy of Doolin Tourism predicted that numbers travelling from Doolin to the Aran islands would double from the current 100,000 as a result of an extension to Doolin’s pier. “Up to now tidal restrictions have prevented sailings for up to four hours in the early afternoon at the pier, denying operators business at the peak time of the day.” Picture shows Eugene with his daughter Aoibhinn.

National Water Safety noted that 114 drowned in 2014, 23 more than in 2013, of which 79pc were male and six were children aged 14.

Submissions opened for the Film categories at Sky Road TV & Film Festival on Oct 9-11 at Station House Theatre, in Clifden and will close Aug 28. Documentary categories open June 22 and new media categories open June 26.

11 June 2015:Two German travel blogger, Steve Hanisch and Kristin Addis, were hosted by Tourism Ireland on a tour of Game of Thrones locations. Picture shows Kristin Steve with Emma Gorman of Tourism Ireland at Tollymore Forest Park, Newcastle.

The Tall Ships Race will bring 80 ships to Belfast from July 2-5.

The Department of Foreign Affairs said the Irish Passport Card will not be available until the end of September.

Golf-small_2Fáilte Ireland and Irish Ferries hosted a group of 14 English golf writers in Ireland this week on the annual golf weekend, now in its 30th year. The played a round at the Woodbrook Golf Club, Wicklow Golf Club and the Royal Dublin Golf Club.

Kerry was listed at number 2 on Lonely Planet’s list of top European destinations for family holidays.

The Dublin Lunchtime City Cycle, which is part of National Bike Week, took place on Wednesday.

Enniscorthy Strawberry, Culture and Food Festival takes place June 24 to 28. Events include a teddy bears picnic, Faerie Queene Disco, cookery demos, literary events, an art trail and live music.

48717.00The General Lee car from Dukes of Hazzard is now on display at the Newbridge Silverware visitor centre. Hell’s Chariot from Grease will go on display from July 9. Both cars are on display till the end of July and can be viewed free of charge.

Upcoming events in Limerick: Druid Shakespeare, June 23-27. Limerick Sings International Choral Festival, June 26-29.

What we learned this week

Australian leeches like to come out after a night of rainfall in, can find a leg under a trousers leg very easily, and cause a lot of spilt blood after they suck.

And finally

Over a glass of Shiraz conversation at ATE turned, as it often does, to the slow decline of the dedicated Travel section and extinction of the dedicated travel editor.

Domini Clark of the Toronto Globe and Spud Hilton of the SF Chronicle, two of the last remaining, reckoned there are eight left in North America. London is lluckily still a bastion of the full time travel editor, Charlie Starmer-Smith of the Telegraph.

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

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