The headlines this week:
- Will Philly join LAX as Aer Lingus’s second T/A for 2016?
- Off to Canada for a lobster dinner
- Costa to get four giant green cruise ships
- Playing with cougars
Travel Extra TV
Our video of the week is a shocker. It shows Joshua Newell jump the fence at Columbus Zoo and Aquarium to pet two cougars — a really stupid idea. Luckily, he was not harmed, but the zoo is pressing charges for trespassing. Watch here.
- Do you think you could keep your cool on a roller coaster like this guy (watch here)? This Irish woman couldn’t when she rode the Slingshot — she passed out not once, but twice. Watch here.
- The third big air show in eight days took place in Foynes last Sunday. Watch here and watch here the behind the scenes video.
- Passengers on the 07.51 train in Perth beat the Monday morning blues with a sing-along of ‘Somewhere Over the Rainbow’. Watch here.
- Heathrow airport is looking to adapt to the needs of imaginary friends. Watch here.
- Flavours of the Foyle: Showcasing food experiences in Derry. Watch here.
- See Dublin airport’s Reaching Beyond Our Routes campaign. Watch here.
- Ethiopian Airlines’ ADD-DUB-LAX ad. Watch here.
- Movietone News uploaded footage of the German Travel Agents conference in the Dunlop Castle Hotel, Killarney, October 1975
- See vlogger Jimmy Hill’s tour of London and the Isle of Wight Festival for BA. Watch here.
- See Qatar Airways’ video from the Paris Air Show. Watch here.
- Are we there yet? Are we there yet? Are we there yet? Ask Google Maps. Watch here.
An unexpected spanner in the works for the IAG Aer Lingus takeover, this time from Ryanair who decided to wait until after the offer expired until accepting the bid. “We don’t expect to receive any proceeds from the sale of our stake in Aer Lingus until September and so we plan to formally submit our signed acceptance of the IAG offer in mid-August,” Ryanair said in a statement. IAG extended their offer for Aer Lingus until 1300 (Irish time) on August 18 and said that there will be no further extension of the offer unless the offer has become wholly unconditional at that time and date. IAG will have achieved 90pc approval with the existing 62.48pc acceptances plus the Ryanair holding, sufficient to allow IAG to buy out any shareholders who do not submit acceptances. Those shareholders will still get the same offer price but their cheques will arrive a little later. Europe Airpost/ASL Aviation hosted some travel writers on their Dublin to Halifax 737 service to test the theory that day flights leave no jet-lag and sample some lobster at the Five Fishermen restaurant in Halifax, Nova Scotia, and overnight in the Delta Barrington Hotel before returning to Dublin the following day. Highlights of the trip included a visit to Fairview Lawn, one of three cemeteries that received the bodies of victims of the Titanic disaster. Listen here to tour guide Richard Arnold’s description of events and how the bodies were recovered. Halifax is important in aviation history as a trans-Atlantic departure and arrival point and was the birthplace of Aer Lingus’ forgotten CEO, Robert Logan, the man who first thought of putting the shamrock on the tail. The duty free facility at the airport is managed by ARI. The trans-Atlantic journey offered stunning views of the Greenland coast. Europe Airpost have 24 seats in premium economy with some of the best PE food in the sky. Europe Airpost CEO Jean-François Dominiak said they may consider extending their 10-rotation season from Dublin to Halifax in Nova Scotia (listen here) and said while the service is really a niche leisure market, Europe Airpost may increase frequency if they get non leisure business. They are considering a service from Belfast because of the strong links between the north and Nova Scotia (listen here). Picture shows Kim Jardine of Nova Scotia Tourism, Linda Macken of ATTS, MIchael Flood of ITTN, Gerry Benson of Travelbiz, Catherine Grennell White of ATTS, Richard and, in front, Eoghan Corry of Travel Extra and Jonathan Toms of Destination Halifax. See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook. Aer Lingus’s last presentation of results as an independent carrier gave some insight into the airline’s strategy. Premium economy is to be introduced in short-haul flights, in response to Ryanair’s business plus. The Aer Lingus brand is get its first makeover since 1998. A new shopping, merchandising and personal platform will go live early 2016. A new loyalty recognition and reward programme will go live early in 2016. Membership of the Oneworld Alliance will likely become more important in the coming years than existing joint ventures. New boarding and check-in processes are being finalised and staff are being trained up to improve service at 15 defined intervention points. The airline wants to improve short haul load factor by 10 points to 91pc, not far behind Ryanair levels. Aer Lingus’s proposed trans-Atlantic expansion will be “a combination of new points and increasing frequencies to moderate risk. For 2016 the airline is looking at California with a 50pc feed which presumably makes the Los Angeles route viable. Market acceptance of the third Dublin-JFK flight indicates the scope for more flights to the New York area whether JFK, Newark or somewhere new (Philadelphia?). Increased Ireland-Florida frequencies are also being examined. Aer Lingus aims to get Dublin to “within spitting distance” of the top five transatlantic connecting points in Europe. Aer Lingus are looking at more A330-300s and B757s before their A350 deliveries begin in 2018. The A330-300 is the preferred growth aircraft in size for the US east coast in the short-term. A fourth B757 aircraft is within the workforce agreements. The B757 is still seen as attractive, good and reliable and the ACMI operation is still relevant. No replacement will be required until the end of the decade when the A321LR will be available. Of Aer Lingus’s four A320s to be released by ending of the Virgin/Little Red contract flying operation, one is in service as the 37th short-haul aircraft for expanded summer 2015 operation, two will be retained and used to replace two leased A319s. The fourth is being reviewed for possible use, return to lessor or to release an owned aircraft for sale. Aer Lingus Average fare was down 2.9pc to €91.65. Short-haul was down 0.5pc. long-haul up 10pc and load factor up 0.9 to 86.2pc. Business iffass was up 21.1pc. Guest satisfaction in business class was up 28pc. Retail revenue is up 4.8pc per passenger to €19.47 and 5.8pc in total to €54.7m. Revenue from advance bookings is up 19pc to €56m, helped by the weaker euro. Americans are playing nearly 10pc les for their tickets than they were last year but while 25pc of revenue is in US$ so are 37pc of costs. Net cash at 30 June 2015 of €641m compared to €586m a year ago, after €135m was paid to DB Pension schemes arising from the changes to the IASS. Aircraft and equipment contracted is €897m (that hardly includes the cost of nine A350s?). For 2015, 38pc of fuel has been hedged at an average $758 per tonne. Cost cutting is to focus on third party ground handling costs, especially in Continental Europe. Three business sectors are now recognised: long haul, European cities and European leisure/ Mediterranean destinations. Washington is trading above expectations, the third Dublin-JFK frequency is performing well, additional capacity to other destinations including SFO and Shannon-Boston is outperforming expectation. The B757 Business class configuration is to be updated to A330 standard “in the near future.” So that’s it folks. No more updates from Aer Lingus now it goes private and the green curtain comes down. Aer Space, the Aer Lingus premium economy service, will be introduced on short haul routes this autumn, with an empty middle seat, lounge access, free snacks/ and drinks, baggage allowance and priority boarding, what it calls a EuroBusiness-style premium class. Aer Lingus will match Ryanair’s business plus pricing but there will be no class divider which would trigger higher taxes from airports where the Westminster government’s APD applies. Aer Lingus CEO Stephen Kavanagh says he aspire to offering a three class service on trans-Atlantic routes. Foynes Air Show attracted 15,000 spectators, and was dedicated to the memory of tragic pilot Howard Cox, to watch authentic WW2 aircraft, Aer Lingus’ first airplane, modern fighter jets and a search and rescue training exercise. Howard Cox, 67, from Devon, died in an air crash in Waterford en route to Foynes. He and his self-built “James Bond” aircraft were well known in Irish aviation circles.
Michaela Banks is the new Regional Sales Manager, Ireland for Royal Caribbean International. She joins Royal Caribbean from Thomas Cook, will report into Alex Johnston, Head of Retail, Ireland/Britain, based from the Dublin office alongside National Sales Managers Jenny Rafter and Jennifer Callister. Ben Bouldin said: “Ireland is a hugely important market for us. We’ve doubled the size of our sales team and it is going from strength to strength.” Justsunshine shut their Irish operation, as expected. John Grehan technically finished with them this week but has been on holiday for the last fortnight. The tour operator continues to sell non-Tunisia product out of London. Amadeus has picked Atlas Travel as one of two launch customers for a new Amadeus mobile solution for travel agencies in Western Europe. Amadeus half year results showed revenue was up 14.2pc to €1,976.8m, EBITDA grew 10.8pc to €778.8m and total air travel agency bookings increased 10.0pc to 265.9m. On the IT Solutions side, Passengers Boarded increased 7.8pc, to 354.2m.
- Royal Caribbean’s Club Royal are offering a chance to win a 7 Night Dubai cruise onboard Splendour of the Seas exclusive to Irish Trade Partners. Register Splendour of the Seas 2015/16 Dubai bookings on myclubroyal.ie by September 30.
- The Irish Travel Agents Association declared its support for ECTAA’s legal action against Lufthansa’s proposed GDS fee. A panel session at the GBTA Convention in Orlando heard that Lufthansa’s decision to charge €16 for GDS bookings from September 1. The Distribution Cost Charge, would not have been possible 20 years ago when buyers had more options over contracting and booking.
- A seminar for NUJ member journalists will discuss how to handle online harassment. This free event, on Saturday September 5, will be held at the Dublin Institute of Technology, Aungier Street, Dublin. Book your place and find out about the speakers.
- Uber is to open a customer service centre in Limerick city, creating 150 jobs.
- Travel Professionals Skillnet is hosting a free Cyber Security training session with Resilia Axelos on August 18. Book here.
Irish people give the third highest average scores when they rate hotels, according to a survey by agoda.com, behind Russia and Egypt. Emirateans are the harshest critics of the 44 countries featured. Small Luxury Hotels of the World reported 25 new hotels, new, old and renovated to their curated collection of independent small hotels so far in 2015, including H Resort – Beau Vallon Beach, Mahe Seychelles opening this weekend and Hotel Lilla Roberts, Helsinki opening August 25.
- Some airlines and hotels were reported to be pulling the plug on discount websites.
- The Independent Hotel Show at London’ Olympia West on October 20-21 reported a 20pc increase in exhibitor bookings for 2015 compared with the same stage last year.
- Manor House Hotels was appointed accommodation partner of National Heritage Week. Picture shows Roisin Wallace of Manor House Hotels, Minister of State for Rural Development Ann Phelan and Michael Starrett of the Heritage Council at the launch event in the Guinness Storehouse.
- Indian billionaire Yusuffali Kadeis is to acquire Great Scotland Yard for £110m and turn it into a hotel.
- Marriott International reached the 1m rooms mark in Q2. Marriott announced a partnership with the NBA.
- Mandarin Oriental opened a hotel in Milan.
Snow joke. In 2022 the Winter Olympics will be held in a place with no snow. On July 31st the International Olympic Committee awarded the games to Beijing, to be held in the city of Zhangjiakou, 250km (150 miles) north of the capital, beating Kazakhstan’s Almaty 44-40, with one abstention. Theodro Bronkhorst of Bushman Safaris is on bail in Bulawayo for failing to prevent the killing of Hwange’s iconic lion, Cecil by US dentist Walter Palmer. Another controversy has erupted as to who decided the politically loaded name Cecil was an appropriate name for a lion as well as the role of Johnny Rodrigues in drawing attendant to the scandal (Rodrigues later claimed a brother of Cecil has also been killed). The El Pais newspaper reports that two shootings took place at a hotel on an intersection on the La Rambla thoroughfare in Barcelona when a number of suspects fled the scene. Vail Resorts are to combine Canyons Resort and Park City Mountain Resort under one name and logo. The street performers on Las Vegas‘ Fremont Street have been driving tourists away, city leaders claimed this week as they moved toward imposing new rules to rein in the rowdy atmosphere. Vegas has already banned people from drinking alcohol out of glass bottles and aluminium cans on the downtown street where the party began in the 1940s.
- The Michigan Economic Development Corporation named Dave Lorenz as Vice President of Travel Michigan.
- Luxury travel website Secret Escapes raised $60m of funding to expand into the US and Asia. The investment round was led by Google Ventures.
- Cuba’s tourism ministry announced plans to launch a Tobacco Trail in Pinar del Rio this September, showcasing the island’s cigar-making heritage.
- Events in Israel: The International Red Sea Jazz Festival takes place at Eilat Port, August 23-26. The 40th annual International Arts and Crafts Fair takes place in Jerusalem, August 3-15.
- Dating site Miss Travel launched an app that allows travellers to plan holidays with strangers.
- Travelport announced a travel commerce service partnership with Radius Travel, a rich content and branding agreement with Lufthansa and an agreement with UNISTER Travel.
- Fake palm trees helped fuel a fire that broke out in The Cosmopolitan bamboo pool in Las Vegas.
- Three airport taxi drivers in Lisbon were arrested for overcharging tourists.
- Hertz added the Porche Macan Turbo to its Dream Cars collection.
- Unseen Tours, which runs tours of London given by homeless and formerly homeless guides, doubled bookings this year.
- In a bid to stop people peeing in the streets, San Francisco applied paint that splashes the urine back onto the offender to nine walls around the city on a trial basis.
- Smashing Pumpkins frontman Billy Corgan went viral this week after a snap of him looking grumpy at Disneyland was posted online.
Food and Wine
Restaurant owners say 5,000 additional trainee chefs are needed each year. The Restaurants Association called for the re-establishment of CERT, the former State Tourism Training Agency claiming the shortage of chefs has now reached crisis levels, and threatens the Hospitality Industry. The Association welcomed the new apprenticeship proposals as a stepping stone in tackling the crisis chef shortage. There has been lots of debate in the restaurant sector about the raising of the minimum wage with the Restaurants Association firmly opposed. They argue that raising the minimum wage affects workers in tradable sectors such as tourism, where they risk losing ground to foreign competitors. The Economist argues that the cost is passed on to consumers, the minimum wage turns into a subsidy funded by a sales tax—a revenue-raiser that falls heavily on the poor. On the other side minimum wages help offset firms’ bargaining power over employees reluctant to risk moving elsewhere. They may even boost productivity and reduce staff turnover by making workers value their jobs. Truckloads of studies show that low level minimum wage below 50pc of median full-time income do not destroy jobs.
- Nicholas Woollard has been appointed new Executive Head Chef at the Gibson Hotel, Dublin
- Agriculture Minister Simon Coveney introduced legislation to protect companies that make Irish spirits, Irish whiskey, Irish poitín and Irish cream are protected ‘geographical indications’ under European Law.
- Picture shows Cavan Chefs, Shane Smith, Neven Maguire, Gearoid Lynch and Adrian Martin at the 2015 Launch of Taste of Cavan in Fallon & Byrne.
- Denmark’s four-time restaurant of the year Noma will open for 10 weeks in Sydney’s Barangaroo harbour next January.
Aer Lingus said at its result presentation that short haul capacity will increase by 5pc this winter. With Ryanair’s decision to base 30 aircraft in Dublin Kenny Jacobs predicted it would be a good winter for consumers with a looming winter air fares war. Ryanair reported at Q1 profit after tax up 25pc to €245m as passenger traffic grew by 16pc to 28m. Average fare was down 4pc to €45, due to the timing of Easter. Picture shows UL graduates Jessica O’Rourke and Rachel Lehane who won return flights to Halifax in the DAA twitter competition. Dublin Airport Head of Operations Gary McLean makes a presentation to Mark Owen from Edinburgh and Lisa Walsh from Tralee, the two and a half millionth passenger to use Dublin Airport in July. The couple were returning from a holiday on the Greek island of Corfu. Passenger numbers are up 16pc compared to the August Bank Holiday weekend last year. The airport is on course for a record 24.9m passengers this year. A 354,000 passenger bank holiday weekend finished the busiest month ever although for the third timein four years the airport’s busiest day was the first weekend of the school holidays, 91,698 passed through Dublin on Sunday June 28. For the previous seven years the August bank holiday provided the busiest day, including the 96,931 who squashed through the single-terminal airport on Sunday August 6 2006. British Airways is reducing the size of carry-on baggage permitted on board its flights from August 18. BA said the move is as a result of “an increase in customers travelling with hand baggage that exceeds their allowance“. Southwest CEO Gary Kelly saids it makes financial sense for his airline to retain its “bags fly free” policy. Southwest is the only US carrier left not to charge for bags.
WOW Air reported an 81pc load factor on its Dublin to Reykjavik route in June, carrying 3,300 passengers in its first month.
Acumen Aviation appointed Keith Addison as technical director to the Americas.
A close call at Geneva airport this week when a private jet entered the runway while a Dublin-bound Aer Lingus flight was taking off.
Air France relaunched its business class amenity kits, complete with Clarins moisturiser, eye mask, lip balm, earplugs and more.
Finnair Cargo signed a freighter sharing deal with IAG Cargo.
Ryanair plans to sidestep price comparison websites by displaying their rivals’ fares on ryanair.com.
- Air Canada took delivery of its first B787-9 Dreamliner.
- Avolon delivered a B737-800 to Aeromexico.
- AWAS delivered an A321 to VietJet Air.
- FLY Leasing reported Q2 net loss of $58.3m after a $65.4m impairment charge. Operating lease revenue was up 13pc to $101.7m.
- Passenger James Bassos is suing Etihad Airways claiming he got a back injury after being forced to sit next to an obese man while flying from Sydney to Dubai in 2011.
- Ex Korean Air executive Heather Cho (the woman who went nuts over nuts) faces a second lawsuit. Flight attendant Park Chang-jin filed a lawsuit in New York for compensation for bodily and mental harm.
- Delta is offering upgrades to private jets for premium passengers.
- A Ryanair flight took off with the wrong luggage on board.
- There was further reaction to Malaysia Airlines 40pc capacity cut to Australia which removes one of the low-cost travel options to Aus for Irish consumers.
- Lufthansa introduced their new fare concept for Europe.
- Star Alliance launched a round-the-world premium economy fares.
- Iberia plans to open new routes include Tokyo, Doha, Johannesburg, Toronto, Guadalajara, Managua, San Juan de Puerto Rico, Brasilia, and Asuncion.
- A wing part found in the Indian Ocean is consistent with the B777 and very possibly Malaysia MH 370.
- Qantas pilots voted in favour of EBA, which includes an 18-month pay freeze.
- Warsaw was reported as having the shortest connect times in Europe at 30 minutes. LOT announced more frequencies to North America and new destinations.
- Thirty helicopters were in operation to bring people to and from Galway racecourse this week. In 2007 there were 350.
- ARI opened a rum concept store in Barbados.
- Governor Cuomo announced a new LaGuardia Airport.
- Air Zimbabwe grounded yesterday’s flights due to acute fuel shortages.
- KLM will install world business class seats on its B787-9 aircraft.
- AirAsia claims that Kuala Lumpur International Airport’s low-cost airline terminal klia2 is sinking.
- Etihad Airways reported a 12pc increase in passenger numbers during Eid al-Fitr. Load factor out of Abu Dhabi was up 0.2pc to 82.3pc.
- Qantas added 16 retailers to its online loyalty shopping hub.
- Qatar Airways Cargo rolled out the QR on-board door-to-door courier service.
Viking River Cruises has been forced to cancel two more itineraries due to low water levels on the Elbe. A large number of other sailings have been altered or adjusted, although no further cancelations. Wildlife artist Guy Harvey designed the hull artwork on the Norwegian Escape, debuting in Miami this November. Costa Cruises is to build two new LNG powered 6,600-passenger ships, slightly bigger than Royal Caribbean’s 6,450-passenger Oasis-class ships. Carnival’s first two of four new ships will go to its German cruise line, AIDA. Carnival and its two shipbuilding partners, Meyer Werft and Fincantieri, will launch nine new ships over a four-year period between 2019-2022, the second phase of a building spree for Carnival that will bring 10 new ships to its fleet by 2018.
Despite Ada Colau’s call for a tourism cap, Barcelona port authority signed a €30m deal with Carnival Corporation to construct an 11,500sqm cruise terminal capable of handling 4,500 passengers. Construction is due to begin next year, with the port opening in 2018.
Fred Olsen Cruise Lines brought together of its fleet of four ships, Balmoral, Braemar, Boudicca and Black Watch to Bergen, Norway for the 4 Bs in Bergen’ event named after the initial letter of each of the four Fred. Olsen ships, the first time ever that the fleet has converged in one place, anywhere in the world.
Silversea’s 10-day Silver Wind voyage, departing August 12 from Barcelona to Civitavecchia, will feature two performances: a tea dance with pianist Michael Robinson and a sing-along with Royal Opera House performers. Silversea cut the first steel of its 2017 flagship, Silver Muse.
Richard Welge was appointed AIDA Cruise’s VP of customer experience.
Tour America October midterm break offers, based on 2 adults and 2 children sharing: 5 nights at the Rosen Inn, Point Orlando and 7 nights onboard Freedom of the Seas from €1,069pp, depart October 27. 7 nights at the Rosen Inn International, Orlando from €679pp, depart October 26. 7 nights all inclusive at the Riu Cancun from €1,139pp, depart October 27. Prices include return flights, Call 01 817 3500.
Falcon offers: 7 nights self catering Mar Y Vent, San Antonio Bay, Ibiza from €459pps, depart September 2. 7 nights self catering Tinas Studios, Faliraki, Rhodes from €329pps, depart September 2. 7 nights self catering TRH Magaluf, Majorca from €329pps, depart September 17. 7 nights self catering Flora Apartments, Lanzarote from €469pp, depart August 31. 7 nights self catering Poseidon, Sunny Beach, Bulgaria from €489pp, depart August 31. 7 nights self catering Castle Beach, Fuengirola, Malaga from €599pp, depart August 30. 7 nights self catering Bellino, Hersonnissos, Crete from €499pp, depart August 23. 7 nights B&B Citi Live, Kos from €399pp, depart September 2. See falconholidays.ie or call 1850 45 35 45.
Thomson offers: 7 nights self catering Silver Springs, Sunny beach, Bulgaria from €489pp, depart September 7. 7 nights self catering Ionian Blue, Kalamaki, Zakynthos from €489pp, depart September 1. 14 nights half board Levante, Cala Bona, Majorca from €699pp, depart August 27. 7 nights half board Cala Bona Complex, Majorca from €529pp, depart August 25. 7 nights B&B Kipriotis Hotel, Rhodes from €599pp, depart September 14. 7 nights full board Best of the West cruise from €989pps, depart August 25. See thomsonholidays.ie or call 1850 45 35 45.
Sunway Menorca family offers (two adults and two children), depart August 22: 7 nights self catering 2* Hi Binamar Apartments, Cala’n Forcat from €1,999, 14 nights from €2,499. 7 nights self catering 3* Los Naranjos Apartments, S’Algar from €2,699, 14 nights from €3,799. Turkey offers, travel in August: 7 nights B&B 4* Sea Pearl Hotel from €649pp, 14 nights from €849pp. 7 nights B&B 4* Sunset Plaza Hotel from €649pp, 14 nights from €849pp. 7 nights B&B 4* Golden Day Hotel from €699pp, 14 nights from €849pp. 7 nights all inclusive 4* Palmin Hotel from €939pp, 14 nights from €1,299pp. MSC Opera Caribbean, Cuba and Antilles cruises, depart January 26 2016: 7 nights Caribbean Cruise from Havana from €1,199pp. 7 nights Cuba family cruise from €1,062pp. 7 nights cruise Caribbean cruise from €1,285pp incl. 2 nights B&B in 3* accommodation. 7 nights Caribbean Cruise from €1,789pp incl. 4 nights all inclusive in 3* accommodation. Prices include full board, drinks package, Cuba visa, transfers and taxes. See sunway.ie.
Classic Resorts Christmas specials: 7 nights all inclusive 4* Grand Xcaret, Mexico from €2,059pps, book by August 31, depart December 20. 7 nights all inclusive 4* Oblu by Atmosphere at Helengeli Resort, Maldives from €2,735pps, book by September 15, depart December 20. See classicresorts.ie or call 01 874 5000.
Stena Line customers that book a return car trip from Rosslare, to Cherbourg by August 31 will also get a trip to Britain. See stenaline.ie or call 01 907 5555.
Riviera Travel late availability offers, fully escorted tours: 3 nights B&B Paris from €479pp, depart September 18. 3 nights B&B Bruges from €489pp, depart September 13. 4 nights B&B Berlin, Dresden, Meissen and Colditz from €679pp, depart September 14. 7 nights half board Lake Garda, Venice and Verona from €899pp, depart September 28. 6 nights B&B Madrid, Salamanca and Toledo from €919pp, depart September 3. 7 nights Italy tour from €1,029pp incl. 4 meals, depart September 23. 4 nights B&B Iceland from €1,039pp, depart September 20.
Travel Department offers: 13-night tour of Argentina and Brazil from €2,999pp incl. taxes, flights, accommodation and excursions, travel May or November 2016. 11-night tour of Jordan and the Holy Land from €2,199 incl. taxes, flights, accommodation and excursions, depart Dublin April 10 2016 or May 11 2016.
Topflight bank holiday specials, book before midnight tomorrow (Aug 1): 7 nights 4* Bella Italia, Peschiera, Lake Garda from €1,476 for two adults and two children, depart Dublin September 26. 7 nights B&B 3* Hotel Eden, Torbole, Lake Garda from €499pps, depart Dublin August 29. 7 nights half board 4* Hotel Savoy Palace, Riva del Garda, Lake Garda from €1,057pps, depart Cork August 8. 7 nights half board 3* Hotel Miami, Lido Di Jesolo, depart Cork August 15. 7 nights half board 3* Hotel Senior, Cattolica from €739pps, depart Dublin August 8. 7 nights B&B 4* Hotel Eliseo Park, Sorrento from €818pps, depart Dublin August 16. Prices include return resort transfers, luggage allowance, all taxes, rep service and online discount. See topflight.ie or call 01 2401 700.
ITAA October mid term offers, based on two adults and two children: 5 nights 4* Los Patos Park, Costa Del Sol from €1,099 incl. return flights, depart October 24. 7 nights half board 4* Sol Costa Dorada Hotel from €1,375 incl. return flights ex Dublin and transfers, depart October 24. 7 nights all inclusive 5* Riu Cancun, Mexico from €1,139pp incl. return flights, depart October 27.
Lowcostbeds Caribbean late offers, based on 7 nights 2 sharing, arrive between August 24 and October 21: 4* Iberostar Hacienda Dominicus, Dominican Republic from €65pppn all inclusive. 4* Iberostar Punta Cana, Dominican Republic from €69pppn all inclusive. 5* Iberostar Cancun, Mexico from €97pppn all inclusive. 4* Iberostar Rose Hall Suites, Jamaica from €117pppn all inclusive. See lowcostbeds.com.
Tourism NI offers: 1 night B&B Dunadry Hotel, Antrim from £150 per couple incl. dinner in the Flax & Beetle Restaurant, dark chocolates and petal turn-down service, late check-out and leisure facilities access, available until December 19, call 028 9443 4343. Bunk Campers Campervan and Motorhome Rental, Carryduff from £75 per day per camper van, available until September 25, call 028 9081 3057. 1 night B&B Lough Erne Resort, Ross Inner, Enniskillen form £68pps incl. afternoon tea, available until December 31, call 028 6632 3230.
Eoghan O’Mara Walsh is the new CEO of the Irish Tourist Industry Confederation. Picture shows Chinese journalists hosted by Tourism Ireland, tour guide Min Lin Siew; Wu Qi of Sanlian Life Weekly; Wang Xin of Tourism Ireland; Wang Yin of Nanfang Weekly; Wang Yuan of Traveler Weekly; and Li Xiaoheng photographer, in Galway, photographed by Sean Mannion. Longford’s rebuilt St Mel’s Cathedral has attracted 150,000 tourists to Longford since its reopening in Christmas. The building was destroyed by fire on Christmas morning 2009 and was Europe’s largest restoration project of its kind. Highlights include the Holy Family picture which came through the 1,000 degree fire largely unscathed and the spectacular barrel vaulted ceiling which was replaced using the same traditional skills as used in the 1850s. Foreign minister Charlie Flanagan made a plea on behalf of cross-border tourism has a role to play in building relationships, supporting the all-island economy and building ever stronger North/South relations.” Remember those warning signs at the edges of cliffs? Jan Mlázovsky’s photograph taken in May, showing part of the Cliffs of Moher falling away was posted to the Cliffs of Moher Facebook page. Separately, a 14-year-old boy, who was visiting the Loop Head Peninsula with his family, fell about 9m at the Bridges of Ross. Polocrosse comes to Russborough this August Bank Holiday Weekend. Picture shows Brian Harte, Tourism Ireland’s head of customer engagement and eMarketing; Sarah Fitzpatrick, Tourism Ireland’s editor of Ireland.com; Niall Gibbons, CEO of Tourism Ireland; and Mark Henry, Tourism Ireland’s central marketing director celebrating 3m fans on Facebook.
Construction of the West Clare Railway Greenway cycling and walking route commenced. The first face will see a 3km track linking Ennis town centre to Ballymaquiggin. The entire project will stretch 42km along the route of the dismantled West Clare Railway, from Ennis to Lahinch via Corofin and Ennistymon.
The Story of the Irish live theatrical exhibition opens in Smithfield this Thursday, charting 10,000 years of Irish history.
The 2015 Doolin Craft Beer & Roots Festival takes place on the grounds of Hotel Doolin, August 21-23. Breweries showcasing their products include Dungarvan Brewing, Dingle Brewing Company, Eight Degrees, Galway Hoker and Trouble Brewing. Entertainment will be provided by The Young Folk, Gavin Glass, Luan Parle and Clive Barnes. Day tickets cost €10-€15 and weekend tickets cost €25. See doolinbeerandroots.com.
Fáilte Ireland teamed up with the Alison Curtis Show on Today FM to broadcast from Carters Chocolate Cafe at George’s Court Shopping Centre, Waterford city yesterday. Alison interviewed tourism providers in the area including Wobbly Circus and the Lords of Strutt from Sprai International Festival of Street Arts and the Mayfield Birds of Prey.
Expressway and ID2015 collaborated with Irish designers Orla Kiely, Kevin Thornton, Maser, Diarmuid Gavin, Roughan & O’Donovan and Brown Bag Films to create bus wraps on coaches.
Tourism Ireland sponsored the Irish pavilion at Toronto’s Festival of Beer. 35,000 people attended the three-day event. Brewers on display at the pavilion: O’Hara’s, McGargles Irish Family Brewers, The White Hag Brewery, Brú Brewery, Trouble Brewing, Eight Degrees Brewing, The Porterhouse Brewing Company, Dingle Brewing Company, Stonewell Craft Cider, and Kinnegar Brewing. Dublin Pop Up chefs, Gavan Murphy and Tim McCarthy appeared as well. Picture shows Harry Colley and Cuán Green, Dublin Pop Up chefs, with Alison Metcalfe, Dana Welch and Jonathan Sargeant, all Tourism Ireland.
Bord Iascaigh Mhara and Fáilte Ireland launched a seafood trail on the WAW, Taste the Atlantic — a Seafood Journey. See the promotional video.
Margot den Dulk and Martjin van den Broek from Amsterdam embarked on a five-day visit to Ireland this week after winning a competition in KLM’s inflight magazine, in partnership with Tourism Ireland and Visit Belfast. Their itinerary included a sightseeing tour of Belfast, a visiting to Titanic Belfast, a Game of thrones tour on the Causeway Coastal Route and a cookery class with Stephen Jeffers at Belfast Cookery School.
Outdoor tourism specialists joined Tourism Ireland at the 2015 CLA Game Fair at Harewood House, Leeds. 145,000 visitors expected to attend the three day event. Picture shows Tom Anketell of Duhallow Centre of Angling Excellence, Jarlath Winters of Glenmore Rivers Estate, Lionel Knobs of Lough Agency, and Tony Hayes of Tourism Ireland.
What we learned this week
Travel Extra’s Eoghan Corry needs a haircut (and the hair IS real, for those who participated in the toupee or not toupee debate on Twitter). Email email@example.com to have your say or it is @TravelExtraIre on Twitter if that’s your bag.