TRAVEL Extra’s Sunday Supplement: Greece is the word

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Holiday-world

Elephants on parade at Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage in Sri Lanka

Elephants on parade at Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage in Sri Lanka

The headlines this week:

  • Travel insurance still important as Blue empire expands
  • Last of the summer routes
  • Sunway praised for Tunisia efforts
  • Greek ATM anxiety continues
  • Hertz and Ryanair’s sudden spat

Travel Extra TV

Video of the week July 5 2015Our video of the week tells the story of Jessica Cox, the pilot who was born without arms. Watch here.

  • Introducing Fáilte Ireland’s Welcome Standard. Watch here.
  • This family were lucky to avoid a grisly situation with a grizzly. Watch here.
  • Aer Lingus posted a guide to saving time checking in as part of the Smart Flies campaign. Watch here.
  • Sit ups in the sand at Bournemouth beach. Watch here.
  • BA celebrated the 10th anniversary of its Shanghai-London service. Watch here.

Headlines

ciaran mulligan_ministersCiaran Mulligan of Blue Insurance (listen here) had three (count them) government ministers for the announcement of his expansion of staff (100 new jobs) and products (two year insurance policies will soon be extended to travel) at his Blanchardstown headquarters – which the company will have outgrown in October. Ciaran says his travel business is still the most important part of his portfolio, which he describes as blue insuranceIreland’s leading provider of niche insurances, and he is grateful to the trade for their support. Having branched out from travel insurance, he announced the creation of 100 new jobs over the next 18 to 24 months as part of the company’s expansion into the personal lines and international insurance market. The company also opened a new office in Cardiff this week and has another announcement next week. It is all a bit difficult to keep up with and one of the best news story in the financial sector. Ciaran Mulligan says Blue have now sold 160,000 poles in Ireland and 200,000 policies in England with pet insurance policies the fastest growing sector of the industry. Listen here to Minister for Health Leo Varadkar, listen here to Jed Nash Minister of State at the Department of Enterprise and listen here to Simon Harris, Minister of State at the Departments of Finance. See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.

carol puttonA testing week for the travel industry saw some heroic performances, perhaps the most notable by Sunway’s rep on the ground in Sousse, Carol Purton (pictured). Even in the absence of a government travel ban, Sunway cancelled this season’s Tunisia programme on Wednesday, including that to Hammamet, having seen more than 60pc of their customers opt for transfers or refunds affecting the viability of the programme. Echoes of the gunshots from Tunisia made this a sad week for the travel industry with Tunisia and Greece filling the headlines. Travel Extra adds their condolences to
Screen Shot 2015-07-05 at 01.10.19the Hayes and Carty families and the others who face devastation in their lives after the shootings in the Hotel Riu Imperial Marhaba in Sousse. By comparison, the impact in other areas are tiny, but not inconsequential, jobs will be lost in both Ireland and Tunisia, holes blown in the accounts of agents and the travel industry will have to put time and energy into reassuring customers. Tui and Thomas Cook shares tumbled when the stock market reopened. Tunisia woke on Monday to find 40pc of its tourists had returned home and more left during the week.

Tunisia’s new measures to help tourism recover from Sousse shootings: reduction of the VAT rate from 12pc to 8pc, cancellation of the departure tax of 30 Dinars/€13.80, 30pc discount on transport fares (air and sea) for Tunisians living abroad flying only with Tunisian national carriers (Tunisair & Nouvelair).

Tanya AireyTanya Airey spoke eloquently about the dilemma for the customers on Morning Ireland (listen here). John Grehan of Justsunshine, who have 30 seats on the Friday charter, were criticised for offering rebooking only for the July 3 date. One caller to Liveline with Joe Duffy wanted the LE Eithne to come to his rescue (listen here). Can Deniz of Justsunshine responded (listen here) to say Tunisia is not a war zone. Falcon Holidays also offered to repatriate customers during the week. No country has given a “don’t travel to Tunisia” advisory, including the traditionally cautious Australians and the Westminster government which lost 30 in the attack, compared with 3 Irish, 2 Germans, a Belgian, Portuguese and a Russian. Several Tunisian officials, including the governor of Sousse were dismissed after the attack and there were claims that the lesson of the Bardo museum were not learned.

greek atm out of cashTour operators to Greece report no cancellations as a result of the fiscal turmoil there. Reports that ATMs were unstocked proved premature, while many ran out over the weekend they were restocked quickly. Credit cards are being politely refused by merchants, a point made by Travel Extra’s Eoghan Corry in the Irish Independent. There are few late specials available in Greece. September has traditionally been a strong month so it is not clear whether the ATM anxiety of this week will have any impact on the price of holidays. As much as tourists to Greece are worried, Greek tourists overseas are worried as well not to be able to meet bills. Deputy Minister for Tourism, Elena Kountoura (pictured) reassured holidaymakers they would not be affected and they can continue to enjoy their holiday in Greece without any problems.

Nalin Perera of Sri Lanka tourism hosted a group of travel writers on a tour of the central highlands of the island, including a breath mary eoghantaking (in more ways than one) climb of the UNESCO world heritage promontory and ancient City of Sigiriya. Picture shows Mary O’Sullivan, Travel Editor of the Sunday Independent and Eoghan Corry, editor of Travel Extra with orchid offering at Dalada Maligava (“Temple of the Tooth”) in Kandy in Sri Lanka, one of the most sacred pilgrimage sites in the Buddhist religion. See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.

UNESCO’s World Heritage Committee added 17 sites in 12 countries to its heritage list: Tusi Sites in the mountainous areas of south-west China, Christiansfeld Moravian Church Settlement and Par Force Hunting Landscape in Denmark, the Climats terroirs of Burgundy’s Pinot Noir country and Champagne hillsides, houses and cellars in France, Susa and Maymand in Iran, Arab-Norman Palermo and the Cathedral Churches of Cefalú and Monreale Christiansfeld Moravian Church Settlementin Italy, Blue and John Crow Mountains in in the south-east of Jamaica, Al-Maghtas baptism site in Jordan, Baekje Historic Areas in South Korea, Great Burkhan Khaldun Mountain in Mongolia, rock art in the Hail region of Saudi Arabia, Singapore Botanic Gardens, and Diyarbakir Fortress and Hevsel Gardens in Turkey. More sites will be considered today. The Iraqi site of Hatra and Sana’a and Shibam in Yemen added to List of World Heritage in danger and Colombia’s Los Katíos National Park removed from the list of sites in danger.

Raised eyebrows at the unexpected and unseemly spat between Ryanair and Hertz, with the end of the partnership which saw Hertz offer car hire on Michael O'Leary conducts a press conference Aug 21 2014Ryanair’s home page for what appears to be the dilution of the Hertz offering through GDS. Ryanair’s bookings through the GDS channel is a small proportion of their overall business in the English speaking markets at least, with one prominent Irish agent confessing this week that he had not taken a single booking for Ryanair over the GDS. Hertz say existing bookings will be fully honoured and future bookings can be made directly at the Hertz, Thrifty and Firefly websites.

team United AirlinesJohn Boehner, speaker of the House of Representatives, was the guest of honour at the US Independence Day celebrations at the ambassador’s residence in Dublin’s Phoenix Park. United Airlines were on hand to dispense popcorn. Picture shows the United Airlines team of Pat Reede, Brian Hughes, Aoife Gregg and Massimo Larini. Listen here to US ambassador Kevin O’Malley and listen here to John Boehner. See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.

cityjet crkCityJet confirmed their three times daily Cork-London City Airport service from Monday to Friday, with one return flight on Saturdays and two flights on Sundays. The new service will commence on October 1 with tickets going on sale immediately.

Milanka Gajanayake MD of Sri Lankan tourism told Travel Extra about the island’s (over?) ambitious target of 2.5m visitors by 2016. The country missed its 2013 and 2014 targets but he points out they have 300 hotels in the pipeline, and he anticipates a further boost such as that given by the visa on arrival scheme which raised figures from 400,000 to 800,000 in a 12 month period. Europe is at the heart of the expansion plans because of the extra spend and dwell time of Europeans compared with the faster growing and closer Asian markets. More in the next print edition of Travel Extra.

eoghan sri lankaCinnamon hotels are the largest chain in Sri Lanka with 2,432 rooms in 14 hotels. Pramukshi Kariyawasam of Cinnamon Hotels said the group will maintain their commanding opposition in the market with high-end properties and a new lean luxury concept, which they are developing with the Cinnamon Red hotel in Colombo. Picture shows Nalin Perera of Sri Lanka tourism Ireland and Britain, Eoghan Corry, editor of Travel Extra and Milanka Gajanayake MD of Sri Lankan celtic club melbournetourism at Nuga Gama restaurant of Cinnamon Grand Hotel in Colombo. See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.

Travel Extra’s Anne Cadwallader was also in Australia this week winding her way from west to east on a hugely successful advocacy and book tour for Lethal Allies.

Travel Trade

Raised eyebrows at the letter from TUI reducing commission to 7pc and adding a €20 surcharge to seat only. The new restrictions apply to bookings from the six counties only and do not impact on Falcon Holidays and its suite of products from Ireland.

Sophie and DineshDinesh Bhaskar was in Dublin to promote Atmosphere Hotels & Resorts Maldives experiences. Dinesh showcased Atmosphere Kanifushi’s impressive platinum plus product. The idea is to couple one meal plan, all inclusive, with a five-star experience. Guests arrive by seaplane. Villas have direct access to the stretch of beautiful white beach and turquoise lagoon (Dinesh assured us that the photographs were not Photoshopped). There are four restaurants to choose from, and the mini bar is replenished twice a day with your chosen beverage. Activities include sunset fishing, diving and snorkelling. Atmosphere are launching two new products: Oblu by Atmosphere opens in November 2015 and Ozen opens in April 2016. Picture shows Sophie Taylor of Planet Destination and Dinesh Bhaska.

Travel Agents on a Sunway fam trip to Rhodes, Kos and Turkey: Lorraine Crowley of Shandon Travel, Helena Crowley of Bernard Hayes travel, Michelle Lyons of Fahy travel, Lorraine Kenny of Ask Susan, Julie Franklin of Mark Warner, Jeanette Taylor of Sunway, Sarah Jane Lawlor of Cassidy's Travel, Erica Oglesby of Sunway, Catherine O’Keeffe of Marble City Travel and Shane Cullen of Killiney travel.

Picture shows travel Agents on a Sunway fam trip to Rhodes, Kos and Turkey: Lorraine Crowley of Shandon Travel, Helena Crowley of Bernard Hayes travel, Michelle Lyons of Fahy travel, Lorraine Kenny of Ask Susan, Julie Franklin of Mark Warner, Jeanette Taylor of Sunway, Sarah Jane Lawlor of Cassidy’s Travel, Erica Oglesby of Sunway, Catherine O’Keeffe of Marble City Travel and Shane Cullen of Killiney Travel.

lowcostbedsWin a place on the four-night fam trip to Dubai with lowcostbeds: Book flights with Emirates and accommodation with lowcostbeds between July 1 and August 31 and your locator ref will be entered into a draw. Send your EK locator and lowcostbeds booking ref to grainne.caffrey@lowcostbeds.ie by September 3. Winners will be announced on September 7. Another lowcostbeds trade promotion: Every booking made in July will be entered into a weekly draw to win €100. Winners announced every Monday starting tomorrow (July 6).

  • Skal’s annual summer barbecue takes place at Nick Logue’s Gibson Hotel on Tuesday, July 14 at 6pm. Price €30 for members and €35pp for guests.
  • Travelport updated Smartpoint to version 6.0, available to download on the desktop app. The web browser version will be automatically updated.
  • Paul Hackett of Clickandgo says that June was busier than February for bookings.
  • PEYE BUSINESS EYE  0002Oasis Travel won the small business of the year prize at the Business Eye First Trust Bank Small Business Awards. Picture shows managing director Sandra Corkin receiving her award from Des Moor of First Trust Bank and Jay James from X Factor.
  • Brendan Vacations launched the Romantic Ireland package targeting LGBT couples in the US, a story that was picked up by the two national broadsheets.
  • Graham AldrenGraham Aldren (pictured) has joined CityJet.
  • Travel Professionals Skillnet is offering four webinars over weeks for travel companies with unlimited participant places. Webinars take place every Wednesday from July 8, 9.30am to 11am. Subscription costs €180. Book here. Week one, SEO training. Week two, Web analytics. Week three, Local SEO and Google Places. Week four, Adwords.
  • Travel Professionals Skillnet is offering a course on consumer rights and customer care at The  Consumer’s Association of Ireland office on Upper Pembroke Street for €112.05. Book here.
  • Topflight’s 5 day sale starts next Sunday, July 12.
  • Torc Travel in Killarney, is looking for a senior travel consultant.
  • Emirates are seeking an additional sales manager in Munster.
  • sarah slatteryJanet Newenham nominated her list of Ireland’s top travel bloggers (although four of them are in fact lifestyle and fashion bloggers), in order Edwina Elizabeth, Sarah Slattery (pictured), Stephanie Buckley, Susan Fitzgerald, David and Elaine McArdle, Nadia El Ferdaoussi, Carlo Cretaro and Florence Murphy, Kathleen O’Rourke, Benny Lewis and Niall Doherty.

Hotels

  • fitzpatrick manhattanJohn Fitzpatrick will spend $2m renovating the Fitzpatrick Manhattan and the Fitzpatrick Grand Central over the summer. 
  • The developer of the $3.5bn Baha Mar hotel-and-casino resort in the Bahamas filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.
  • Mexican hotelier Grupo Posadas plans to open Live Aqua brand hotels in Chicago, LA, Miami, Houston and Washington DC.
  • Canopy-Reykjavik-City-Centre (1)Hilton will debut its Canopy brand in Reykjavik in early 2016.
  • Diageo sold the Gleneagles hotel in Scotland to Ennismore, a company that runs hotels in London’s hipster district Hoxton.
  • Donald Trump’s Hotel Collection allegedly suffered a credit card data breach.
  • Travelport Hotelzon will set up a sales team in Milan headed by Virna Moschini.
  • The Radisson Blu M’Bamou Palace Hotel opens in Brazzaville this September.

International

220px-Giraffe_-_Skyline_-_Nairobi_-_ParkSince Tuesday last, visas can (not must), be applied for online before arrival in Kenya. Visitors can still have the option of getting visas on arrival at the airports until the end of August 2015. The email approval after application and payment will take about seven days hence visitors coming to Kenya so from September 2015 will need to lodge their Visa Application well in advance. For arrivals after September 1, all visas MUST be applied online.

lion statue in PalmyraSyria’s antiquities director Maamoun Abdelkarim said the famous Lion of al-Lat statue in Palmyra was destroyed last Saturday. Irina Bokova of UNESCO told a meeting in London that Syrian heritage sites are being looted by the caliphate, known as Daesh in the east and in the west as ISIS.

  • World Travel Market chose Mexico as its Premier Partner for WTM 2015.
  • There was a renewed warning over fake Turkey tourist visas which saw holidaymakers scammed by copycat websites.
  • France ordered a crackdown on Uber following last week’s airport protests when riot police called in as taxi drivers blockaded roads to Paris airports.
  • EU member states have committed to scrapping the bane of a tourist’s life, mobile roaming charges, by mid-2017.
  • exhibitionismThe Rolling Stones will open an exhibition in the Saatchi Gallery, London next year. The titillatingly titled Exhibitionism opens April 6 2016.
  • Disney will close the DisneyQuest indoor theme park at Walt Disney Resort next year to make way for the NBA Experience.
  • Kampala is working with Albrieux Africa Tours to set up city bus tours by the end of the year.
  • The monuments of Kathmandu Valley reopened this week. They were closed since May after an earthquake partially damaged the temples.
  • Two rides broke down at Alton Towers on Wednesday, the hottest day of the year in England, leaving some poor punters stuck in the heat.
  • China’s administration of cultural heritage said that 30pc — 2,000km — of the Great Wall of China has disappeared due to locals selling bricks as souvenirs and decay caused by bad weather.
  • Singapore Tourism Board and TripAdvisor launched the Live Like a Local microsite that brings travellers to the country’s lesser known attractions and experiences.
  • A swell over the Indian Ocean created huge waves off the coast of Margaret River, Australia. Hoards of surfers flocked to the area, including pro surfer Justin Holland who rode an 18 metre wave — and broke his leg.
  • The Tourism Authority of Thailand launched an app for Muslim visitors.
  • A woman was stuck by lightening after exiting an aircraft at Columbia Metropolitan Airport.
  • Skal International Phuket & Southern Thailand called on its members to protest against a dolphinarium in Phuket.
  • Travelport signed a multi-year agreement with Australia’s Flight Centre Travel Group.
  • World Travel Market joined Out Now to deliver a global survey measuring the travel industry’s approach to the LGBT travel market.
  • shelfpackSelfie sticks were banned in Walt Disney World Orlando and Florida and Disneyland California.
  • Devizes town in England drafted in pest controllers to purge a growing flock of seagulls that has been harassing tourists.
  • This is the Shelfpack. Yup. It’s a suitcase that has shelves built inside the case. It reminds Travel Extra of a certain scene in Black Books.

Food & Drink

GoEuro’s Beer Price Index ranked Krakow and Kiev as the cheapest cities in the world to buy beer, where an average bottle costs €1.66. Dublin placed 54th with an average price of €3.88. Unsurprisingly, Geneva, which recently topped the Club Sandwich Index, is the most expensive at €6.32.

arch barCarton House F&B Manager Ciaran Hickey oversaw the opening of the new Arch bar at the five star hotel in Kildare. “This isn’t white linen, it is an open space with a retractable roof which we will use for barbecues and events.’ Jacqui Kelly from Kelly’s Mountain Brew in Clane was on hand to showcase her rather fearsome sounding beers: Revolution (very red and hoppy), Justice (classic IPA) and Revenge (ruby porter), they are going very well in Russia, apparently. Gillian Bowles from the Dead Rabbits cocktail bar in New York was serving up equally fearsome beverages: blood lust was the poison of choice for Travel Extra. See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.

Larissa Wolf-TaskerTravel media covering Australian Tourism Exchange in Melbourne were hosted by Larissa Wolf-Tasker of Lake House in Daylesford for a culinary treat on Sunday. Lake House was established by Larissa’s Russian-born mother Alla and her artist husband on land bought in 1979, is a regular in the top restaurants in Australia lists and top of the “worthy of a journey” section. They farmed there before established the restaurant there in 1984. Larissa says of Alla: “She is Russian you don’t plant anything that is not edible.” Larissa is pictured in the restaurant’s extensive wine cellar. And yes the Parting Glass was sung. See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.

Alistair McLeodBrisbane based Antrim chef Alistair McLeod, now based in Brisbane, was picked by Tourism Australia to showcase their Restaurant Australia section at Australia Tourism Exchange. Picture shows him giving a demonstration in Melbourne, See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.

Mark Moriarty scooped up the San Pellegrino Young Chef of the Year 2015 award in Milan. The 23-year-old’s celeriac baked in barley and fermented hay with cured and smoked celeriac was the winning dish.

Brasserie Le Pont has changed its name to Suesey Street, offering a more informal experience.

Grace O’Shaughnessy’s Java Republic won the contract to supply coffee on-board Aer Lingus short haul flights.

Aviation

Ryanair traffic was up 14pc in June to 9.5m passengers. Load factor up 5 percentage points to 93pc.

SAS_Launch_2 copySAS commenced its Dublin to Gothenburg 2w service which will be 1w in September. Picture shows Jon Woolf, of DAA, Alan Sparling GSA of SAS and Lorraine Costello, of DAA.

Travel managers at ACTE complained that while the €16 GDS fee may has been a flashpoint, Lufthansa’s direct channel restricted comparison shopping and raised duty of care issues.

Virgin Atlantic has said it will return to Belfast International for another four flights to Orlando, Florida, next year.

Hong Kong regulators rejected an application for a budget airline joint venture involving Australia’s Qantas and China Eastern Airlines, saying it could not be considered a local carrier.

Ryanair will move its single Copenhagen based aircraft to Kaunas from July 14, following what it calls a bizarre Danish Labour Court ruling which allows competitor airline unions to blockade Ryanair’s one Copenhagen based aircraft despite the fact these unions represent no Ryanair pilots or crew.

KJ_GOTRyanair will continue to operate twelve routes to and from Copenhagen but on aircraft based outside of Denmark. Ryanair is to open a base in Gothenburg on September 15. Ryanair has until August 31 to decide whether to use the nine slots it has been awarded at Schiphol.

The US Justice Department has sent subpoenas to several major airlines as part of an investigation into “possible unlawful coordination” to limit capacity increases, and thereby keep ticket prices high.

Aer Lingus Regional reported load factor was up 7pc YOY in May to 72pc.

An Aeromexico B787 Dreamliner en route from Mexico City to Paris CDG made an emergency landing at Shannon on Monday.

TG4 screened a documentary on the inaugural Etihad Airways GAA World Games in Abu Dhabi.

Ryanair allowed Greek passengers to pay for their tickets in cash in airports after capital controls caused problems with card transactions online.

  • Avolon delivered an A321-200 to Air Berlin.
  • AWAS delivered a second B737-800 to Ethiopian Airlines and an A320 to Aegean Airlines.
  • Malaysia Airlines will downsize operations from Kuala Lumpur in preparations of its rebranding on September 1.
  • EasyJet will launch a service from Belfast to Lyon on December 12.
  • Fabrice Bregier said Airbus planes to build a second plant in China.
  • The sale of TAP Portugal was completed this week.
  • Vietnam Airlines took delivery of its first A350 XWB aircraft. Watch the highlights here.
  • Ryanair was awarded nine landing slots per day at Amsterdam Schiphol airport for the winter season, starting October 25.
  • Etihad increased its Abu Dhabi-Seychelles service to 4w.
  • Actor Heitor Lourenco was removed from a flight after meditating and reciting a Buddhist prayer.
  • An A350 is due in Dublin next Wednesday for AerCap leasing and Aer Lingus.
  • terminal 1Heathrow Terminal 1 will be demolished after its closure this week, and T2 will be extended over the site to double in size.
  • The final departure was a British Airways flight to Hanover.
  • The Davies Report recommended a third runway at Heathrow.
  • Lufthansa wants to use Eurowings as a platform for European consolidation, which could include Brussels Airlines and Air Dolomiti.
  • A Boston-bound United Airlines flight was forced to turn around after 30 minutes after leaving Denver because a passenger refused to extinguish a cigarette.
  • Ryanair acquired a B737-700, serial 29078. It will mostly be used for training but will enter service when needed.
  • Aer Rianta International opened The Loop duty free shopping area at Auckland International
  • Turkish Airlines plans for the new airport due to open 2017 at Istanbul include a complimentary lounge for economy passengers making an international transit.
  • Amadeus said it will buy Navitaire for US$830m from Accenture to focus mainly on digital services for airline passengers. Navitaire provides technology services to over 50 of the world’s airlines, focuses more on the low-cost and hybrid segments in the airline industry.
  • French ATC cancelled their planned three day strike. Ryanair is to petition to ban ATC strikes in exchange for mediated negotiation and binding arbitration, Ryanair Pilots’ Group responded by seeking the same treatment.
  • Lufthansa is considering selling its 39pc stake in Luxair.
  • B&H Airlines is to be liquidated following a decision by its sole shareholder, the government of Bosnia.
  • Olivia Mai and Bartek Typrowicz baby and children’s equipment hire service, The Stork Exchange has opened at Shannon Airport. The service which offers baby seats and other accessories, is already available at Dublin Airport,.
  • Aer Lingus is showing code-shared flights Dublin to London City
  • Richard Bernstein of Crystal Amber said he decided to sell its stake in Irish airline Aer Lingus as there is so little upside left for us and we would be better to invest elsewhere. Crystal Amber bought in at €1.36 and sold at €2.42.
  • International non-stop air traffic to and from the US was up 5pc YOY in May to 81.7m passengers.
  • Virgin Atlantic is to cut its workforce by 5pc by the end of 2015.
  • Enda Kenny launched Pioneers and Aviators, A Century of Irish Aviation, Avolon’s commemorative photographic book. The video can be watched here.
  • EasyJet updated its iPhone app.
  • Edinburgh rollThe Swedish jet Viggen Saab was added to the Shannon Air Display line up, which takes place June 18.
  • You couldn’t make it up. A man was arrested at Newark International Airport for possession of marijuana — which he had hidden in Mary Jane candy wrappers.
  • Edinburgh Airport’s EAT cafe received a social media shaming this week after a man shared this photo of his depressingly stingy bacon and egg roll on Reddit. The sad samba cost £3.20.

Afloat

JPEG 1 - Irish Ferries - 20th Anniversary Roscoff RouteIrish Ferries celebrates 20 years of its service from Rosslare to Roscoff. Since launching in 1995, the route has recorded 1,230 ferry arrivals and departures, carrying 1.5m passengers and 400,000 vehicles.

Irish Ferries, Stena Line, DFDS, P&O Ferries, Viking Line, Tallink/Silia Line, Brittany Ferries and Color Line formed The FerryGateway Association xml communications standard for agents and operators, slated to go live on ferrygateway.org in advance of the 2016 peak booking season.

Silversea Cruises ordered a new flagship from Fincantieri shipyards, the 596 passenger Silver Muse.

Screen Shot 2015-07-05 at 01.44.41Daniel Skjeldam, CEO of Hurtigruten, says a 320-passenger vessel built in 2009 in Portugal and intended to sail between Portugal and the Azores, Atlántida has been given it the temporary name MS Norway Explorer and will replace the Midnatsol, which will be re-deployed in Antarctica alongside the MS Fram for the 2016/17 season.

Celebrity Cruises are changing its pricing model again so passengers will no longer be able to buy simply a cabin, other than inside rooms, prices for ocean views, balconies, Aqua, Concierge and Suites will have up to four inclusions: the Classic beverage package, unlimited Internet, gratuities or $150 per person in onboard credit.

  • Holland America’s 1,266-passenger Ryndam returned to Harwich a day early due to Norovirus.
  • MSC Cruises will homeport the,2,120-guest MSC Opera in Havana for the winter 2015-16 season, a first for Cuba.
  • Halimark line cancelled its second cruise following seaway accident in St Lawrence.
  • Oceania cruises launched an early booking discount programme.
  • Dawn Princess is to get a whiskey bar.
  • Christian BoelNorwegian Cruise Line is to end its partnership with Nickelodeon. Norwegian appointed Christian Boell (pictured) as MD for Europe. Norwegian also opened a sales centre in Sydney to expand its operations in Australia , New Zealand and the Pacific Islands.
  • Philippines Department of Tourism is in talks with cruise lines in a bid to develop the country into a global cruise ship destination.

Deal Watch

  • Travel Department offers: 7 nights B&B 4* Montaigne Hotel & Spa, Cannes from €679pp, depart July 9. 7 nights half board 4* Hotel Barceló Punta Umbria Mar, Costa de la Luz from €539pp, travel in September and October. 7 nights half board 4* Hotel Beatriz Playa & Spa, Lanzarote from €799pp, depart September 23. 7 nights full board 4* Gran Hotel Turquesa Playa, Tenerife from €549pp, travel on select dates from September to December.
  • Sunway offers: 7 nights B&B 5* Malaysia Tanjong Jara from €1,319pp incl. return private transfers, flights and taxes, travel in February 2016. 10 night winter Canaries cruise on board the Norwegian Epic from €765pp, depart January 24 2016. 11 night Greece and Israel cruise on board the MSC Fantasia from €1,179pp, depart December 16. 12 night Caribbean cruise on board the Celebrity Equinox from €1,685pp, depart November 18. 12 night Canaries cruise on board the P&O Azura from €1,629pp, depart August 31. See sunway.ie.
  • Sunway solo traveller options: 12 day active adventure tour in Costa Rica with G-Adventurers from €2,919pp incl. flights, accommodation and sightseeing as per itinerary, depart December 5. 7 days Trafalgar from €1,779pp incl. return flights ex Dublin, transfers, accommodation, meals and tours, depart August 28.
  • Lowcostbeds Majorca offers based on 2 sharing, 7 nights: 3* Hotel Belsana, Porto Colom all inclusive from €30pppn, depart September 19. 3* Club Bellevue Apartments, Port D’Alcudia self catering from €23pppn, depart July 22. 3* Hotel Lagomonte, Port D’Alcudia B&B from €42pppn, depart September 1. See lowcostbeds.com.
  • Topflight is offering €100pp off holidays to Thailand, the Maldives, Mauritius or Seychelles if you book before 5pm this Wednesday, July 8. See topflight.ie or call 01 2401 788.
  • Insight Vacations is offering a 9 day escorted tour of Spain and Portugal from €1,649pps incl. flights, transfers and selection of meals. Depart September 4. See insightvacations.com or call 01 775 3803.
  • Uniworld is offering a 10 day all inclusive Danube and Prague river cruise from €2,009pps incl. flights, port tax, gratuities and transfers. Depart November 4. See uniworld.ie or call 01 775 3803.
  • Contiki is offering an 11 day tour from Berlin to Budapest from €1,517pps incl. flights, selected meals. See contiki.com or call 01 775 3803.
  • Click and Go offers: 3 nights 3* Pavia Hotel, Rome from €249pp incl. return flights ex Dublin, travel in July. 7 nights self catering 2* Mirachoro Il Apartments, the Algarve from €379pp incl. return flights ex Dublin and transfers, travel in September. 7 nights half board 4* Royal Al Andalusia Hotel, Torremolinos, Costa del Sol from €369pp incl. return flights ex Dublin, wine with evening meals and transfers, over 50s, travel in October. 7 nights on board MSC Magnifica/Poesia from €599pp incl. return flights ex Dublin, transfers and visits to Italy, Greece, Turkey and Croatia, travel in November.
  • RHO_LIN_F068Falcon late deals: 7 nights all inclusive Spashworld Hotel Sun Palace, Faliraki, Rhodes from €2,071 for two adults and one child or from €2,460 for two adults and two children, depart August 26. 7 nights self catering Smaragdi, Lambi, Kos from €349pp, depart August 29. 7 nights self catering Hyde Park Lane, Playa De Los Pocillos, Lanzarote from €479pp, depart August 27. 7 nights all inclusive Sun Palace, Fliraki, Rhodes from €2,071 for two adults and one child or from €2,460 for two adults and two children, depart August 26.
  • Cassidy Travel 5* offers, including flights and accommodation: 5 nights Aqua Hotel Riverside Resort & Spa, the Algarve from €189pps, depart October 17. 7 nights Serrano Palace Hotel, Majorca from €501pps, depart October 11. 5 nights Grand Plaza Hotel, Costa del Sol from €345pps, depart October 15. 5 nights Hesperia Lanzarote from €399pps, depart September 2. 7 nights Lopesan Villa Del Conde Resort, Gran Canaria from €655pp, depart October 20. See cassidytravel.ie or call 0818 332 500.
  • Lowcostholidays July and August offers: 7 nights self catering 3* Rio Apartments, Algarve from €465pp, depart July 23. 7 nights B&B 3* Hotel Brisa, Ibiza from €549pp, depart August 26. 7 nights B&B 4* NYX Hotel Cancun from €950pp, depart August 26. 7 nights 3* Coconut Court Beach Hotel, Barbados from €1,320pp, depart August 25. 3 nights B&B 3* MF Hotel, Rome from €245pp. 3 nights B&B 3* Les Jardins de Montmarte, Paris from €268pp, depart August 28. More offers here.
  • ITAA offers of the week: 3 nights B&B 3* Centro Barsha Hotel, Dubai from €679pp incl. flights ex Dublin, city tour, discounted airfare and early booking room discount, book by July, travel on selected dates in September. 7 nights Mirachoro Il Hotel, Portugal from €240pp, depart September 29. 7 nights Chaba Samui Resort, Koh Samui, Thailand from €845pp incl. flights and taxes, travel September 16- December 10.
  • Tour America/ Cruise Holidays offers: 10 nights all inclusive Mediterranean cruise on board MSC Otchestra from €865pp incl. 1 night post cruise in Barcelona, depart November 12. 7 nights Rosen Inn Pointe Orlando from €679pp incl. return flights, depart August 27. 5 nights Circus Circus Hotel, Las Vegas from €679pp incl. return flights, depart September 10. 3 nights Roosevelt Hotel, New York from €779pp incl. return flights, depart November 26.
  • Lough Lakeside Lodges, Leggs, EnniskillenWendy Wu Tours offer: Upgrade to business class from €160 on selected all inclusive group and private tours of Asia. Book by July 26. See wendywutours.ie.
  • Tourism NI offers of the week: 1 night B&B Europa Hotel from £80pps incl. 4 course dinner in Causerie Restaurant, available until July 31, call 028 9027 1066. 4 night midweek break Waterside Lodges, Leggs, Enniskillen from £21pppn, available until September 30, call 028 6838 0360.

Ireland

welcome standard

Fáilte Ireland invited quirky accommodation providers to participate in the Welcome Standard scheme. The initiative targets the likes of glamping, pods and log cabin providers. Eighty operators are currently signed up to the scheme.

The Irish Tourist Industry Confederation’s pre-budget submission proposed a capital budget equivalent to at least 1pc of annual export earnings from tourism in each of the next five years from 2016.

Adare Heritage 95Adare Heritage Centre celebrated its 21st birthday this week. It has welcomed 5m visitors over the past two decades and hopes to welcome more with the Adare Destination Plan.

Limerick 2020 is hosting free community events around the city to help coordinate their European Capital of Culture bid. Events include Kitchen Table Conversations, citizen brainstorming workshops and community festivals.

The Tall Ships race in Belfast is expected to generate £5m for the local economy. The event continues today and tomorrow.

Bus Éireann launches a hop-on-hop-off bus tour of Cork City, Fota Wildlife Park and Cobh today. Adult tickets cost €10, student/OAPs €8 and children €5. Family tickets cost €24. Service will run until August 31.

Sheila Baird was appointed general manager of the Teeling Whiskey Distillery visitor centre. A former IHF branch officer, Sheila has 20 years’ experience working in hospitality, having worked with the Quinn Hotel Group, Portmarnock Hotel & Golf Links, the Marine Hotel in Sutton and, most recently, the Cara Hotel Group.

The Causeway Coast and Glens placed third in a list of 30 film and TV dingle international006destinations adults most want to visit.

A group of 11 journalists sampled food experiences on the Wild Atlantic Way this week. Their itinerary, designed by Fáilte Ireland, included a visit to the Dingle farmers’ market, lunch at the Dingle Cookery School, Gorman’s Clifftop restaurant, the Global Village restaurant, Louis Mulcahy Pottery studio and Dingle Brewing Company.

Ancient EastSix French travel writers visited Ireland’s Ancient East this week as guests of Tourism Ireland. The group arrived in Rosslare by boat and their itinerary, designed by Fáilte Ireland, included visits to Hook Head Lighthouse, the Dunbrody Abbey Visitor Centre, House of Waterford Crystal, the Viking Triangle, National Craft Gallery, Kilkenny Castle and the Smithwick’s Experience. Picture shows the journalists with Patrick Belfast of Dunbrody Abbey Visitor Centre, Anne Zemmour of Tourism Ireland, Caitríona Butler of Irish Ferries and tour guide Mick Langan.

Invest Northern Ireland launched a six week ad campaign in Heathrow airport.

Upcoming events in Limerick: Pig ’n’ Porter Festival, July 11. Electric Night Run, July 17.

The Ancient Men Morris dancing troupe are on tour in Clare from July 20 to 24 when they will stage 20 public performances. First stop is Morrissey’s of Carrigaholt. After that, they will perform in Kilbaha, Doonbeg, Mullagh, Lahinch, Lidsoonvarna, Ballyvaughan, Fanore, Kilfenora, Doolin, Liscannor and Ennistymon.

West Ham soccer players tried their hand at hurling on Fota Island. Watch here

And finally

blog_dover1bAgainst immigration? Paddy Power bookmakers parked a truck in Calais with an unsubtle message to the English, the truck invited immigrants to jump in the back, and pictured athletes Andy Murray, Mo Farah, Raheem Sterling, Manu Tualagi and Eoin Morgan on the distinctive yellow and green livery, all athlete immigrants to England.

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

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