TRAVEL Extra’s Sunday Supplement: Minister lets the VAT Out of the Bag & Would it Kill You to Take a Selfie?

westjet aug 30

Colin Hindle of Fáilte Ireland with the Google Trekker on Howth Head. The Trekker visits Dublin today, mapping Howth Head, Malahide, Sandycove, Dun Laoghaire and the Grand Canal for Google Street View.

Colin Hindle of Fáilte Ireland with the Google Trekker on Howth Head. The Trekker visits Dublin today, mapping Howth Head, Malahide, Sandycove, Dun Laoghaire and the Grand Canal for Google Street View.

HEADLINESAVIATIONAFLOATFOOD & WINEHOTELSINTERNATIONALIRELANDTRAVEL TRADE – DEAL WATCH

7 things you need to know about travel this week:

  • Let the ceremony begin: First of Ryanair’s next generation aircraft flew into Dublin
  • European Court closed get-out clause for airlines on passenger compensation 
  • Minister Michael Ring let the VAT out of the bag: 9pc rate to stay
  • Executive Helicopters answered their critics
  • Sports fan’s travel agent Michael Caslin called time
  • Amadeus hosted the trade to celebrate year of growth
  • Snow’s up in the latest issue of Travel Extra

Travel Extra TV

Video of the week September 20 2015It is whale video watching season (as opposed to whale watching season): with 4m views and rising for the video of the Sanctuary Cruises whale tour in which a whale landed on top of a kayaker off Monterey Bay in California this week. Watch here

  • The Irish rugby team departs for Cardiff on Aer Lingus’s Green Spirit livery jet. Watch here.
  • Swords band Kodaline performed their hit ‘High Hopes’ on board their Aer Lingus flight to Atlanta. Watch here.
  • See Dj Den Kot’s footage of Ethiopian Airlines’ 787 landing at Dublin Airport. Watch here.
  • See Ryanair’s latest TV ad. Watch here.
  • The Italian National Tourist Board launched a new video at the Venice Film Festival. Watch here.

Headlines

page 001 cover Oct 2015Ski and snow is the theme of the October print edition of Travel Extra (read here) which will be delivered to agencies in the coming days. It will be an exciting season with St Patrick’s Week 2016 and Easter week running consecutively for only the second time in 50 years. We test the chalet product of Crystal in Val d’Isere and Topflight resorts in Austria, the news developments from across the world while Catherine Murphy’s guide highlights the best of the offerings in over 100 ski resorts. We review the ancient culture of Marco Polo’s favourite island, Sri Lanka, and sample Georgia’s contrast cities of Atlanta and Savannah as well as timeless Jekyll Island We look at the e-visa facilities on offer in many countries, as Canada introduces their won (cheaper and more amenable) version of ESTA, at how 4am is the new 5am at Dublin airport, the K Club’s west wing, Ryanair’s Amsterdam route and its implications for winter traffic at Dublin, Aer Lingus’s east coast trans-Atlantic options for 2016, Cityjet’s rebrand, Cassidy Travel’s 30th anniversary celebrations and the upcoming ITAA conference in Jerez while Conor McMahon sampled some watersports in Kerry.

IMG_4068Minister Michael Ring said the reduced 9pc VAT rate would be retained in the forthcoming budget, he let the VAT out of the bag, so to speak, (watch here) at the AA Hotel awards in one of his typical barnstorming speeches. Michael Ring is pictured with david Webster, GM of overall winner the Powerscourt Hotel. Elsewhere, former Tourism Minister  Leo Varadkar accused his colleague ministers of “flying kites” in the run up to Budget 2016, and said some of the things that have been flagged in media reports have not been discussed at Cabinet. Now who could he have in mind?

Martin Dempsey amadeus team _4221It has been a big year in the battle for market share in the Irish GDS market. Takeovers and wins have meant Amadeus have pulled ahead. Amadeus hosted 64 golfers and sat 79 to their evening event to mark their tenth golf, spa and networking day at Lough Erne resort in Fermanagh. Watch here Volker Lorenz of Amadeus talking to Travel Extra at the event. Martin Dempsey of Dempsey’s Travel in Navan (listen here) and Karen Kehoe (listen here) were the winners on a day that brought some excellent scores, Karen came within an inch of a hole in one as did Greg Fox, a feat last achieved on the travel golf circuit by Jimmy Lennox at Carton House. There were some memorable performances. Martin Dempsey got round the course in two over par while Ann Marie Dalton of Turkish Airlines was two under for the front nine. osborne brownleeLee Osborne of Bookabed and Pamela Brownlee of Flyaway Travel (pictured) were among those who travelled to the event. And yes, the parting glass was sung. Martin Skelly replied on behalf of the Irish travel trade (watch here). Volker Lorenz paid tribute to the Amadeus team (watch here), Siobhan Boskett McGuigan, Olwen McKinney and Trish O’Leary. Picture shows Martin Dempsey with the Amadeus team: Volker Lorenz, Trish O’Leary, Siobhan Bosket and Olwen McKinney. See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.

powerscourt team aa awardDavid Webster of Powerscourt Hotel accepted the AA award for hotel of the year on Monday evening. Watch here David Webster speaking to Travel Extra at the event. Watch here the acceptance speech after the award. The Lodge at Castle Leslie won the Hospitality Award and Red Lion guest house in Donegal the bed and breakfast award. Picture shows the Powerscourt team at the event: Laura Dunne, Ross Breen, David Webster and Deirdre O’Brien. See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.
goergia carolinas

georgia pic2Georgia combined with North and South Carolina on a trade mission to Dublin on Monday. There were presentations by Duane Parrish of South Carolina (watch here), by William “Wit” Tuttell of North Carolina (watch here) and Tracy Vaughan of Georgia (watch here). Wit Tuttell spoke to Travel Extra about North Carolina (watch here) and Mindy Shea spoke about Savannah (watch here). Picture above shows the delegation: Duane Parrish of South Carolina State Parks, State Tourism Commissioner, Suzanne Wallace of Visit Charleston, Heidi Walters of Visit South Carolina, Brandon Barnes of Atlanta, Brandy Larrick of Visit Charlotte, William “Wit” Tuttell of Visit North Carolina, (back), Dolly Chewning of Visit South Carolina (front), Rhys Powell of South Carolina (back), Tracy Vaughan of Visit Georgia, Mindy Shea of Visit Savannah, Peter Hannaford of Visit Georgia and Kim Daroja of Myrtle Beach CVB. Picture on left shows Brandon Barnes of Visit Atlanta, Linda Collins and Paddy Dunne of American Holidays and Dolly Chewning of Visit South Carolina. See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.

fiona anne mcmullanVisit Belfast hosted Travel Writers in Dublin. PIcture shows Fiona Cunningham of Tourism NI and Anna McMullan of Belfast CVB. See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.

How many people have died taking selfies this year? The latest incident occurred at the Taj Mahal in india when 66-year-old Japanese tourist H Ueda slipped from the staircase inside the Taj Mahal in Agra while allegedly taking a selfie.

Tom Travers Gerry Traino 300Tom Travers and Gerry Treino of The Hotel Beacon in New York (pictured) are hosting a group of seven Irish travel writers this weekend including Travel Extra‘s editor and other guests of an Aer Lingus and NYC&Co trip to see developments in the Big Apple including the newly opened Whitney Museum and One World Observatory visitor attraction at the World Trade Centre.

Italy experienced some weird weather in recent days. Watch here a video of hailstones in Napoli, there was flooding in Sicily (watch here) while Travel Extra ran into some hailstones (watch here) at the Tenuta del Nanfro vineyard in Sicily during a trade event (watch here), forcing our fearless editor to take refuge in several bottles of Luoghi d’Incanto 2007.

Travel Trade

michael caslin copyMichael Caslin is retiring after 45 years in business at 747 travel… sort of. He will be closing the famous 747 Travel premises on Camden Street which is a valuable shopfront in its own right. Maybe Michael O’Leary will be interested in it, he says. The license will remain in place and he will be moving upstairs to concentrate on the sports bookings he enjoys without, as he puts it, waiting for every booking to Benidorm and the Algarve. He says the winding down of the existing business will be an orderly affair and he is looking forward to organising more golf trips to Thailand and South Africa in the future: I wish to advise that arrangements are in place to manage all existing bookings for future travel dates with clients receiving documentation in good time prior to date of travel.

liam lonergan 150There are ten extra places available for the ITAA conference in Jerez on October 1-3 which will feature one of the first ever speaking engagements by Ireland’s most successful travel agent Liam Lonergan. He will be speaking about Preserving Your Profit Margin, in a question and answer session with Travel Extra editor Eoghan Corry. Other speakers include Stephen McKenna of Atlas Group and GoHop.ie, digital marketing expert Juan Cullen, workplace wellbeing trainer Sheila O’Malley and Alan O’Neill. See the Business Sessions programme. Entertainment will include the Real Escuela Andaluza del Arte Ecuestre (Equestrian School) and Horse Show Como Bailan los Caballos Andaluces. Dinner will be at the Carriage Museum – located in an early 19th century winery. Excursion options include the El Puerto de Santa Maria and Cadiz, karting at the Formula 1 Circuit. The gala dinner takes place among the Cloisters of Santo Domingo. Two post-fam options take in Baelo Claudia, Bolonia, Chipiona lighthouse, Conil de la Frontera, Doñana National Park, Rota town, Sanlúcar de Barrameda, Tarifa, whale watching in the Straights of Gibraltar and Vejer de la Frontera.

Homestay team pic

Irish Independent online travel editor Pól Ó Conghaile said he expected Irish Independent travel coverage to grow in the coming months. The newspaper published the first of its monthly 24-page travel supplements yesterday and is uploading Travel TV on its website each Saturday. Yesterday Tomas Breathnach trialled Tom Kennedy and Debbie Flynn’s homestay.com in Toronto with both magazine and video coverage: pic is of Tom and Debbie with the Homestay team.

 Falcon Holidays Ireland management took a peek at the product on offer in Salou with a view to their 20126 programme. Picture shows Claire Murphy, Chris Logan, Charlotte Brenner and Antoinette Young of Falcon in La Pineda. See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.

Travel Counsellors family fun day September 13 2015

Travel Counsellors held a family fun day at Dublin Zoo, sponsored by Royal Caribbean. Picture shows Travel Counsellors their families, hosts and guests. See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.

Caitríona Kelleher has joined the Travel Counsellors Ireland head office in Cork.

Amplify 06Fergal O’Brien’s Amplify Travel launched this week, offering cycling trips to Girona, food tours of Bologna, trekking in Ethiopia and explorations of North Korea. To celebrate, Amplify is giving away €1m to spend on its holidays. Visit amplifytravel.com.

Sola Thomson of Hawaii Tourism London office hosted the Irish Travel Trade at the Trinity capital Hotel, alongside a delegation led by Renee Archer-Nakashima from Hyatt, Maile Brown from Kaua’i, Teresa Cosgrove from Hawaii Big island, Sherry Doung from Maui, Karin Jones from Starwood Hotels Resorts and Spas, Wanda Rietow from Hilton and Noelani Schilling-Wheeler from O’Ahu.

Norwegian Cruise Line is offering travel partners the chance to showcase some Norwegian’s fleet during their ship visits to Ireland. Norwegian Star will visit Cork on September 29, Dublin on September 30 and Belfast on October 1.

Hotels

michael davern liffey wing_3244Michael Davern GM of the K Club spoke to Travel Extra about the new Liffey Wing, which opened in September 2015, and his hopes that the Irish Open will come to Straffan (watch here).

Business Insider took a peek at the most expensive suite in America, topped by the Ty Warner Penthouse suite at the top of New York City’s Four Seasons hotel at $50,000 a night, That money would buy you an entire year’s stay in any number of 3 star hotels in New York at current nightly rates or a holiday home in Bulgaria, with pool.

Hotel Westport in Co Mayo (website) is holding its wedding showcase on September 26-27 from 1pm-5pm.

The Irish rugby team will be staying at the Celtic Manor Resort ahead of their match against France at Cardiff’s Millennium Stadium on October 11. See Trivago’s map of where the teams will be staying during the Rugby World Cup 2015.

Travel interest to Dublin was up 79pc on trivago.ie this weekend for the All-Ireland final.

RTÉ added the five-star Conrad and Dylan hotels to its six hotel services in Dublin to accommodation celebrity guests, presenters, contributors, advisors and external guests.

ashford castleAshford Castle topped The Huffington Post’s listicle of the Best Hotels in the World for autumn 2015, compiled by travel writer Richard Bangs.

Powerscourt Hotel Resort & Spa was named AA Hotel of the Year for 2015/16.

Accor will operate two hotels in Iran, the Novotel Ikia and the Ibis Ikia, at Imam Khomeini International Airport.

Mercedes Platz, BerlinIntercontinental Hotels Group will open a third Hotel Indigo property in Berlin in 2017.

Marriott International will open two properties in South Africa in 2018, the Johannesburg Marriott Hotel Melrose Arch and the Marriott Executive Apartments Johnanessburg, Melrose Arch.

  • Starwood Hotels & Resorts sold The Westin Excelsior Rome to Katara Hospitality for €222m.
  • NH Hotel Group launched 15 hotels in Colombia following its acquisition of Hoteles Royal.
  • Grand Hyatt Hong Kong opened a club lounge on the 30th and 31st floors.
  • AccorHotels and Qantas dropped their minimum points requirement for transfer.
  • Peninsula Chicago unveiled their redesigned rooms.
  • AccorHotels became the first foreign chain to re-enter Iran with a dual-branded property next to Tehran’s Imam Khomeini International airport to open next month
  • Joe Kennedy has become General Manager of Maldron Hotel Cork, Conor O’Toole has taken  up the position of General Manager in Clarion Hotel Liffey Valley.
  • Glenlo Abbey Hotel, Galway is hosting its Afternoon Tea Week of Wonders from October 24 to 30. See glenloabbeyhotel.com for more.

International

world travel marketWorld Travel Market will drop its fourth day in 2016, but opening hours will be extended by one hour to 7pm. Ticket prices will remain the same.

America’s TSA ended the Managed Inclusion Programme which allowed frequent travellers to use the PreCheck security lines at airports. Homeland security claimed in March that a convicted felon used the Managed Inclusion Programme to clear the PreCheck lanes.

Flash floods at Zion National Park in Utah left six dead.

Egypt’s tourist office defied the country’s armed forces by offering condolences to the families of the deceased after Egyptian forces opened fire on a tourist convoy near the Oasis of Farafra. The armed forces claim the Mexican tourists ere travelling in an area of the Wahat Western Desert which is off-limits to civilians. The tourist authorities say that Egyptian beaches are safe.

Kenyan president Uhuru Kenyatta launched the Make It Kenya promotional campaign. See makeitkenya.com. Kenya will host the 10th World Trade Organisation Ministerial Conference, December 15-18.

iluvBKKTourism student Panyakorn Nettip launched a tourism campaign aimed at Thailand’s international and domestic student market with the iluvBKK social media campaign. His strategy includes a website, iluvbkk.com, and offers a chance to win a holiday in Bangkok.

Viejas Casino & Resort in Las Vegas broke the Guinness World Record for Largest Champagne Tasting, with 620 guests and staff taking part.

new subway new yorkNew York City‘s first new subway station in 26 years entered service at 34th Street-Hudson Yards.

Universal Studios was given the green light to build a $3bn theme park in Beijing, set to open in 2019.

Expedia will now allow loyalty programme members to redeem points directly for online bookings. Expedia completed its acquisition of Orbitz.

DCIM101GOPRO

Visit Finland launched a campaign with Finnair to recruit an explorer for a three-month expedition to Finnish Lapland. Apply here before October 19. Expedition commences in December, ending in March 2016.

Uber updated its business travel programme, allowing users to switch between leisure and business trips within the app, and businesses will now be able to pay monthly by bank transfer.

  • Chinese ride hailing service Didi Kuaidi announced an alliance with US counterpart Lyft.
  • Live Love Ride added six new routes to its 2016 bike tours in Portugal.
  • Seven climbers were killed in an avalanche in the French Alps.

Food & Wine

Niamh O'Shaughnessy aa awardNiamh O’Shaughnessy of Gourmetgrazing.ie won foodie of the year and Jenny Flynn, head chef at Faithlegg House Hotel Dish of the Year (scallops with black pudding, apple and locally brewed cider) at this year’s AA Hospitality Awards. See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.

An Pucan Connacht Bar of the Year 77. Shay Livingstone Philip Duignan Tom Joyce Doug Leddin Cyril Briscoe Johnny DugganAn Pucan bar in Galway was voted Connacht Bar of the Year and won the award for Best Use of Social Media at the Sky Bar of the Year Awards. Picture shows Shay Livingstone, Philip Duignan, Tom Joyce, Doug Leddin, Cyril Briscoe and Johnny Duggan.

This year’s Savour Kilkenny food festival takes place October 22-26.

Koori Japanese restaurant relaunched for winter 2015/16 at L’Apogée Courchevel. 

Carnival lobsterCarnival cruise customers booked on sailings of five nights or fewer will no longer see free lobster on the main dining room menus on formal night.

Aviation

marquetteThe food hall at Dublin airport Terminal 1 opened on Friday, completing an €8m upgrade of shopping and eating facilities. See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.

The European Court of Justice ruled airlines must pay compensation and can no longer claim exemption on delay compensation problems caused during, or due to a lack of, aircraft maintenance or extraordinary circumstances (full text of judgement here). England’s Civil Aviation Authority singled out Ryanair with “enforcement steps leading to court action” in the row over the contractual two-year time limit that the airline imposes on passengers in its terms and conditions (other airlines have the same policy).

Michael O'Leary conducts a press conference Aug 21 2014There was widespread coverage of Michael O’Leary’s arrival from Seattle on the first Ryanair 737. He said there was a strong likelihood he’ll do another share buyback to increase the value of the airline’s shares, and that Ryanair expects to be operating one in every four European short-haul flights within the next eight to 10 years.

While the debate about the parallel runway warms up, Dublin Airport invited tenders for a €60m upgrade of its existing runway and other infrastructure elements, with the runway improvements expected to be completed within two years.

Executive Helicopters ec120Executive Helicopters defended their Galway to Aran island service saying it would be more reliable than the Aer Arann Islands islander service. It was reported that the current operators of Galway airport only have a lease until the end of the year and no decision has been made on the future use of facility.

Scott Friesen of Google told the World Low Cost Airlines Congress in London that travellers make 32.5 visits to 10.3 websites in 4.2 categories before they click “Book” for travel.

Elsewhere Michael O’Leary was as precocious as ever at the Institute of Directors: “If I’m to support one of Ireland’s biggest loss-making cattle breeding operations, and of Ireland’s biggest loss-making national stud horse operation, I need everyone in this room to fly Ryanair”, and “We have the best customer service of any airline in Europe. I will accept we had a very narrow definition of customer services for the first 25 years of our existence, it principally consisted of we will give you the lowest fare, we wont; lose your bag, we promise not to cancel the flight, now go into your lane, sit down, we are not interested.” O’Leary told the British Irish Chamber of Commerce, “tourism is one of the main reasons behind Ireland’s economic recovery.” And he was in good form in Rome last week telling journalists Gulf airlines were not rich enough to buy Ryanair.

Catherine Grennell Whyte Jean-François Dominiak copyEurope Airpost  CEO  Jean-François Dominiak is to extend the service from Dublin to Halifax in Nova Scotia next summer from July to mid-October 2016,  three and a half months, instead of two months for the 2015 season. He said (listen here) that while the service is a niche leisure market they are anticipating  non leisure business. The passenger split is 25pc Dublin and 75pc Paris, where the flight originates and finishes, satisfaction ratings on the route were 97pc, Europe Airpost may increase frequency. Picture shows Jean Francois Dominiak in conversation with Catherine Grennell Whytle of ATTS who represent Europe Airpost in Dublin.

Newquay airport is to drop the £5 passenger departure charge. Aer Lingus Regional’s Dublin-Newquay route is likely to return for summer 2016.

According the the CarTrawler Yearbook of Ancillary Revenue, ancillary revenue was $38.1bn for 2014, up 20.9pc YOY.

wow-airWOW Air lead-in fares from Ireland to Iceland were pegged from €69 each way and trans Atlantic flights from Dublin to Boston from €139 each-way.

Ryanair’s Kenny Jacobs wrote about the 30 years of Ryanair in the Irish Independent business section: Many businesses get bogged down in never-ending change programmes with too much analysis and consultants’ reports and along the way they lose their focus and more of their customers. Ryanair didn’t make this mistake. Travel Extra uploaded Kenny Jacobs’ commentary on the new Ryanair interior to our YouTube channel, as well as comments on the plans for autumn 2015, on the redesigned Ryanair uniforms, on the quest for 15pc market share in Germany, and on Year 1 and Year 2 of the always getting better campaign, and what’s next for Ryanair. In certain months American visitors are the third largest group visiting Ryanair’s website, Kenny Jacobs said as he explained why an American website had been opened by the airline.  Jacobs told the World Low Cost Airline Congress that connectivity between Ryanair and long-haul operators is “a very interesting product that is waiting to happen.” He said Ryanair’s Always Getting Better programme will not end; it has become an ethos. He said the frequent flyer type is fading, replaced by younger demographic expecting value and transactional benefits.

FLY Leasing acquired a B777-200LRF.

ana star warsANA airline rolled out the Boeing Dreamliner 787-9 R2-D2 livery at a Star Wars convention in California.

Etihad and its equity partner airlines increased funds raised from their unique platform financing translation to $700m.

Airbus inaugurated operations at its first US manufacturing facility at Mobile Alabama. The plant will assemble A319s, A320s and A321s.

  • concordeJohn O’Ceallaigh of the London Telegraph reported that the Concorde may resume flights in 2019.
  • Chinese president Xi Jinping will visit Boeing’s factory at Everett, Washington on September 23 during his visit to the US.
  • Air India reportedly grounded 130 flight attendants because their BMI body fat levels were over the prescribed limit.
  • A man crashed through security gates in a speeding car at Waco airport with the intent of stealing a private jet parked at the airport.
  • AAdvantage members can earn double miles when flying with American Airlines or Japan Airlines between North America and Asia before December 15.
  • Airbus unveiled TAM’s A350 livery.
  • british airwaysBA and Vueling expanded their codeshare routes to include 30 BA flights to Spain and Italy from London Heathrow and London BA launched a Club Europe discount scheme. BA and Westjet extended their codeshare deal. BA’s first of 18 refurbished B747s between London Heathrow and New York JFK.
  • Double Miles & More members will receive 1,000 miles for the first night of their stay at Best Western instead of the standard 500 miles, up to a maximum of three stays.
  • Easyjet will drop their Gatwick-Moscow route in March next year promising to restore it if there is an increase in demand.
  • Emirates are to fly a 615-seat A380 to Manchester daily between, replacing the three-class A380 currently flying as EK019/020 from January 1 2016.
  • Etihad Guest members can earn triple miles for business flights and quadruple miles in first on Etihad, Air Berlin, Air Serbia, Air Seychelles, Alitalia and Jet Airways until December 15.
  • A350-900_Finnair_Dec2014Finnair’s A350 made its first flight around Airbus’ factory in Toulouse. It is due for delivery “in the coming weeks.”
  • Gatwick launched a connecting flights guarantee between select low-cost and full-service airlines that can be booked in a single transaction (but not Ryanair).
  • Heathrow Express introduced a £6.99 single fare as part of a new ticket pricing structure.
  • Malaysia Airlines/MAB Enrich members can earn triple miles when they book select room categories at and Federal Hotels’ three properties and complete their stay by December 28.
  • Qatar-airways-stockholmQatar Airways is adding flights to Stockholm, Copenhagen and Brussels in early December.
  • SAS is to fly a reconfigured B737 with 20 seats in business class and 66 “Go” economy seats between Copenhagen and Newark.
  • United is to resume a B757-200 6w service from Newcastle to Newark next summer.
  • Virgin Atlantic and Qatar Airways Privilege Club are to end their partnership from next month/. Virgin Atlantic Flying Club members can earn 50 per cent extra miles and bonus tier points on select flights taken before the end of the year.

Afloat

Norwegian steel cuttingNorwegian executives gathered to celebrate Norwegian Bliss’ steel cutting at Meyer Werft shipyard in Papenburg, appropriately in the shadow of the nearly completed 4,248-passenger Norwegian Escape. Escape’s prelaunch cruise takes place on October 28 from Southampton. Will Travel Extra be first in the pool again? Picture shows  Bernard Meyer, Managing Director of Meyer Werft, Andy Stuart, President of Norwegian Cruise Line, and Christer Karlsson, Senior Vice President of New Build for Norwegian Cruise Line.

Princess Cruises is offering guests three free, original romance stories on Amazon’s Kindle Love Stories during their cruise. The short stories are written by Carolyn Brown, Heather Burch and Barbara Longley, inspired by their cruises to the Caribbean.

freedom of the seasRoyal Caribbean is to trial a self-serve beer programme onboard Freedom of the Seas. Those who purchase Ultimate, Premium or Select drink packages can serve themselves Stella Artois beer on self-serve machines.

Seabourn laid the keel for its new 600 passengers Seabourn Encore at Fincantieri shipyard in Marghera. The all-suite ship, configured with one additional deck and expanded public areas, will launch in late 2016.

Oceania Cruises’ OLife Advantage incentive programme was opened to all passengers. Perks include free shore excursions, unlimited Internet and prepaid gratuities.

silver cloudSilversea is to move Silver Cloud to its expedition fleet for Polar cruises, refitting the 296-passenger ship for 260 passengers and converting it into an ice-class ship. Dining options will remain the same: The Dining Room, the Relais & Chateaux restaurant (Le Champagne), La Terrazza, The Grill and ensuite dining.

Thomson Cruises will base the 1,254-passenger Thomson Celebration in Dubai for the first time, offering two seven-night itineraries from December 2016.

msc orchestraOnly Belgium has sold as many of its Dubai cruises for MSC Orchestra next year as the Irish travel trade, per head of population.

More service charge controversy. NCL passengers will no longer be able to change the daily service charge added to shipboard accounts while still onboard, now they can only do so by contacting guest relations at servicecharges@ncl.com after they have returned from their cruise.

Dreamworks characters from Kung Fu Panda, Shrek and Madagascar are coming to Royal Caribbean’s Anthem of the Seas from November when it moves to America.

Celebrity Solstice is to get three new production shows this month as part of the 18 shows in 18 months initiative.

SeeNorwegian infographic Norwegian Cruise Line’s Freestyle Your World infographic to launch the 2016/17 Freestyle Cruising brochure: eight additional embarkation ports, 63 more ports of call, 50 countries.

Crystal Cruises parent Genting Hong Kong is set to buy Lloyd Werft shipyard, Bremerhaven.

Cunard appointed SMC Design to redesign the Queen Mary 2’s interiors during her refit in 2016.

Deal Watch

AgadirSunway Agadir, Morocco deals, depart September 19: Flights only from €349pp. 7 nights self catering 3* Intouriste Apartments from €399pp. 7 nights B&B 3* Argana Hotel from €479pp. 7 nights B&B 4* Kenzi Europa Hotel from €589pp. 7 nights B&B 4* Agadir Beach Club Hotel from €599pp 7 nights B&B 5* Atlantis Palace Resort from €639pp. 7 nights B&B 4* Royal Atlas Hotel from €729pp. Two Centre Holidays: 4 nights B&B 3* Agadir and 3 nights B&B 3* Marrakech from €649pp. 4 nights B&B 3* Agadir and 3 nights B&B 3* Essaouira from €699pp. Prices incl. flights, return airport transfers, taxes, charges, 20kg checked in baggage pp and Sunway rep service. 7 nights B&B 5* Princesa Yaiza Suite Hotel Resort, Lanzarote from €999pp, depart January 9 2016. See sunway.ie.

Sunway New York offers: 3 nights 3* Edison Hotel Manhattan from €685pp, travel January 2016. Woodbury Common Outlets shopping day trips from €35pp and 3 Coupon Explorer Pass to Empire State Building, Statue of Liberty from €65pp.

Insight Vacations is offering a 7-day visit to Greece from €1,414pps incl. flights, transfers and 6 nights accommodation, book by October 30, depart January 30 2016. See insightvacations.com or call 01 775 3803.

Uniworld Boutique River Cruises is offering an 8-day trip to Holland and Belgium from €3,727pps incl. flights, transfers, all meals and beverages, shore excursions and 7 nights in a cat 3 stateroom on the River Ambassador, book by October 31, depart April 10 2016. See uniworld.ie or call 01 775 3803.

Contiki is offering a 12-day trip to Vietnam from €2,142pps incl. flights, transfers and 11 nights accommodation, book by December 23, depart April 23 2016. See contiki.com or call 01 775 3803.

Thomson Deal WatchThomson offers: 14 nights all inclusive 5* Grand Palladium Jamaica, Montego Bay from €1,979pp, depart June 26 2016 (excluding Wedding Package). 14 nights all inclusive 5* Riu Yucatan, Cancun from €1,979pp, depart June 20 2016 (excluding Wedding Package). 7 nights half board 5* Kos Imperial, Psaldi, Kos from €549pp, depart October 3. 7 nights B&B 3* Roda Oasis, Corfu from €369pp, depart October 4. 7 nights all inclusive 5* Jaz Miracle Beach, Sharm El Sheikh from €649pp, depart October 3. 7 nights half board 3* Delfin Azul, Alcudia, Majorca from €569pp depart October 18. 7 nights full board on Thomson Majesty-Helenic Classics cruise ex Corfu from €959pp, depart October 2. See thomsonholidays.ie or call 1850 45 35 45.

Falcon deal watchFalcon offers: 7 nights self catering 2* Stefania, Stalis, Crete from €359pp, depart October 4. 7 nights self catering 3* Ambarvi, Kos from €369pp, depart October 3. 7 nights self catering 2* Janelas Do Mar, Montechoro, the Algarve from €369pp, depart October 4. 7 nights self catering 2* Rosamar, Puerto Del Carmen, Lanzarote from €259pp, depart November 29. 7 nights self catering 2* Bitacora Club, Puerto Del Carmen, Lanzarote from €289pp, depart December 6. Extra date for Lapland, depart Dublin on December 5, 12 and 18, prices from €639 per adult and €539 per child. See falconholidays.ie or call 1850 45 35 45.

Tour America Deal WatchTour America honeymoon offers: 11-night Orlando and Caribbean cruise from €1,389pp incl. return flights, 4 nights at the Wyndham Resort, 7 nights on board Royal Caribbean Freedom of the Seas and car hire for port transfers, depart May 4 2016. 7 nights all inclusive 4* Riu Cancun from €1,299pp incl. return flights, depart May 20 2016. 7 nights 4* Radisson Aquatica Barbados from €1,499pp incl. return flights, depart April 18 2016.

ITAA Halloween offers: 2 nights B&B 4* 987 Prague Hotel from €269pp incl. guided ghost walking tour, depart October 31. 2 nights B&B 3* Piries Hotel, Edinburgh from €249pps, depart October 30. 7 nights all inclusive 3* Catalonia Punta Del Rey Hotel, Tenerife from €697pp incl. return flights ex Dublin, depart October 31.

Travel Department offers: 11-night trip to Northern Ethiopia from €2,599pp incl. taxes, flights ex Dublin, transfers and accommodation, depart March 1 2016. 12-night trip to Burma from €2,899pp incl. taxes, flights ex Dublin, transfers and accommodation, depart April 3 2016. See traveldepartment.ie.

Royal Caribbean Deal WatchRoyal Caribbean offers: 13 nights Canaries cruise on Anthem of the Seas from €2,825pp incl. flights ex Dublin and transfers, depart October 11. 7 nights Arabian Gulf  cruise on Splendour of the Seas from €1,445pp incl. flights ex Dublin and transfers, depart December 14. Visit royalcaribbean.ie or call 1800 555 604.

Click and Go offers: 3 nights 4* Berlin Mark Hotel from €199pp incl. return flights ex Dublin, taxes and charges, travel in November. Over 50s offer: 7 nights half board 3* Praia Sol Hotel, Vilamoura, the Algarve from €289pp incl. wine with evening meal, return flights ex Dublin, taxes, charges and airport transfers, travel in November. 7 nights self catering Los Peces Apartments, Salou from €289pp incl. return flights ex Dublin, taxes, charges and airport transfers, travel in September. 3 nights 5* La Griffe Roma M Gallery Collection Hotel, Rome from €359pp incl. return flights ex Dublin, taxes and charges, travel in November. Visit clickandgo.com or call 01 539 7777

Irish Ferries Deal WatchIrish Ferries is offering car travel from Rosslare to Pembroke and Dublin to Holyhead from €50pp. See irishferries.com or call 0818 300 400.

Tourism NI offers of the week: 2 nights B&B 4* Killyhevlin Hotel, Enniskillen from £119pps. Visit Castle Coole, the set of Miss Julie starring Tourism NI Deal WatchColin Farrell and Jessica Chastain, premiering this month. Throughout September, visitors to the castle will be able to view original call sheets, scripts and costumes from the film. Quote Autumn Leaves when booking. See discovernorthernireland.com. Lavender Health Spa experience at Silverbirch Hotel, Omagh from £160pps incl. 60-minute use of hot tub with champagne and chocolates and a choice of 60-minute facial or full body massage pp, available until December 13, call 028 8224 2520, quote Autumn Leaves when booking. 2 nights B&B Park Avenue Hotel, Belfast from £80pps incl. day tickets to the Titanic Visitor Experience, available until December 13, call 028 9065 6520, quote Autumn Leaves when booking. 1 nights midweek break to Westville Hotel, Enniskillen from £75pps, available until December 13, call 028 6632 0333.

Ireland

Cliffs of Moher welcomes one-millionth visitor of 2015The Cliffs of Moher Visitor Experience welcomed its one-millionth visitor of 2015 on Monday. Visitor figures are up 14.7pc so far this year.

The Wild Atlantic Way will welcome media from China, Canada, USA and Europe over the coming weeks, as guests of Fáilte Ireland. The itineraries will include visits to Donegal, Sligo, Cork and Kerry.

waterford 500,000th visitorWaterford Treasures Medieval Museum welcomed its 500,000th visitor this week: Barbara Silver-Cromwell from Halifax, Nova Scotia.

Businesses on the WAW took part in a series of Fáilte Ireland workshops, designed to develop knowledge of the youth and adventure markets and show how to make successful sales appointments at the upcoming Wild Atlantic Way Expo, which takes place in the Salthill Hotel on October 19.

HIGHLIGHTING IRELAND TO 600,000 COMMUTERS IN NEW YORK, BOSTON AND PHILADELPHIATourism Ireland wrapped Metro newspapers in New York, Boston and Philadelphia this week, highlighting reasons to visit the island in the October to March period.

1+ MILLION PEOPLE IN FRANCE TO SEE WILD ATLANTIC WAY ON POPULAR TV SHOWFrench travel show Échappées Belles was filming along the Wild Atlantic Way this week. Filming took place in Dingle, Slea Head, Croom, Lisdoonvarna, the Cliffs of Moher, Galway city, Clarenbridge, Carraroe and the Aran Islands. The programme will be broadcast on France 3 in 2016. Picture shows Seán Daly of Dingle Crystal with presenter Sophie Jovillard and the crew in St James’ Church, Dingle.

According to CSO figures, there were 3.9m overseas visitors to Ireland in the first six months of 2015, up 12pc YOY. Overseas spending rose by €253m.

WAW fundingMinister of State for Tourism Michael Ring launched a €3.5m phase of the WAW with marker points and interpretation panels along the route.

Failte Ireland Symposium - Helping Hotels Compete and Grow OnlineOne hundred Irish tourism businesses attended the International Online Symposium in the Aviva Stadium this week. The symposium was designed by Fáilte Ireland. Picture  showsShaun Quinn, Fáilte Ireland CEO, with speakers Jacqueline Reid of Travelclick, Sue Ross of Travelclick, and Helen Maher of Expedia.

HIGHLIGHTING IRELAND WITH ALAN TITCHMARSH

Tourism Ireland launched their One Break, Two Cities joint campaign with VisitBritain in the Middle East. Tourism Ireland also launched a seven-week sponsorship of Alan Titchmarsh’s Saturday morning show on Classic FM.

Little museum of dublinThe Little Museum of Dublin placed first in TripAdvisor’s top 10 museums of Ireland: 1 Little Museum of Dublin, 2 Croke Park Stadium Tour & GAA Museum, 3 National Museum of Ireland – Archaeology, 4 Derryglad Folk & Heritage Museum, Athlone, 5 Irish Whiskey Museum, 6 Waterford Treasures Medieval Museum, 7 Frank McCourt Museum, Limerick, 8 National Museum of Ireland, Country Life, Castlebar, 9 Celtic & Prehistoric Museum, Ventry, 10 Foynes Flying Boat Museum, Limerick.

INTERNATIONAL JOURNALISTS RIDE INTO TOWNTravel writers from Germany, France and the Netherlands visited Ireland this week to take part in a cycling trip. Their itinerary was designed by Tourism NI and included cycles around Belfast and Barnett’s Demesne, Castlewellan rest Park, Carlingford Lough, Blessingbourne Estate and Davagh Forest. Picture shows Sune Højrup Bencke from Denmark, Mads Ingerselv Schyttedk from Denmark, Elin Borjesson from Sweden, and Henning Scherer Skjorsaeter from Norway with Desmond Burke of Tourism Ireland at the Carlow Brewing Company. Picture shows the group in Blessingbourne Estate, Tyrone, with Norman Trotter of Iron Donkey Bicycle Touring and Nick Lowry of Blessingbourne Estate.

HIGHLIGHTING CAR TOUR HOLIDAYS AT GOODWOOD REVIVAL VINTAGE CAR FESTIVALSeven tourism companies joined Tourism Ireland at the Goodwood Revival vintage car festival in Chicheter, England. Picture shows Tracey Dineen of Ireland’s Blue Book, Peter Thompson of Causeway Coastal Route, Josie O’Kelly of Hayfield Manor, Sheila Russell of Harvey’s Point Hotel, Ronan Francis of Tourism Ireland, Carmel Flynn of Parknasilla Resort & Spa, and David Cleary of Manor House Hotels.

RECIPE FOR SUCCESS – NORTHERN IRELAND ON THE MENU IN AUSTRIASix Austrian travel writers visited Ireland to sample food experiences. Their itinerary was designed by Tourism NI and included a boat tour of Upper Lough Erne and visits to Derry, the Causeway Coastal Route, Ox in Belfast, The French Rooms in Bushmills, Belle Isle Cookery School, the Walled City Brewery, Broighter Gold in Limavady and St George’s Market in Belfast. Picture shows Katerina Lamacova of Tourism Ireland, Karin Haas of OÖNachrichten, Karin Podolak of Kronen Zeitung, and Seana McGlinchey of Belfast Food Tours in St George’s Market, Belfast.

BREWING UP INTEREST IN IRISH FOOD AND DRINKFour Scandinavian food and drink journalists visited Ireland this week as guests of Tourism Ireland and Fáilte Ireland. Their itinerary included visits to the English Market in Cork, the Franciscan Well Brewery, Blacks of Kinsale brewery, the Cornstore, the Smithwick’s Experience Kilkenny, Carlow Brewing Company, the Guinness Storehouse Connoisseur Experience and the Irish Whiskey Museum.

September 2015 – A five-page article showcasing Mayo and its islands features in the September edition of Escapism, a popular British travel magazine with a circulation of more than 100,000 people – or potential holidaymakers for Mayo and the West of Ireland. Tourism Ireland invited the author of the article to visit earlier this year. Further media information - Sinead Grace, 087-685 9027

Mayo features in the September edition of Escapism travel magazine.

Gardens in Wicklow were showcased in the weekend supplement of Les Échos financial newspaper in France.

Culture night took place across the country.

Kathryn Thomas publicised her Pure Results fitness camp in West Cork as she helped out with Centra’s ‘Walk the World’ in aid of the Irish Cancer Society Action Breast Cancer campaign

Travel Extra’s Eoghan Corry featured some Kildare placenames on TG4 (watch here).

eoghan corry colleen kelly copyChicago TV travel broadcaster Colleen Kelly, pictured here at IPW with Travel Extra’s Eoghan Corry, is in Ireland for the next two weeks shooting: film crew is coming to Ireland the last two weeks of September shooting Family Travel with Colleen Kelly (website).

Historian Seamus Cullen will give the Emmett Memorial lecture tomorrow Monday in St Catherine’s Church, Thomas St. Wreath laying by Philip Emmett takes place at 7pm followed by the lecture on Kildare in 1916.

Travel Extra’s Eoghan Corry will talk about the History of Polo in Ireland at the All Ireland Polo Club in the Phoenix Park on Thursday night, 8pm.

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

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