5 things you need to know about travel this week:
- A big year for Falcon/Thomson Holidays with direct Dreamliner flights
- Ryanair carry 100m passengers – the SIXTH airline to do so
- This week’s snow dump has made Alpine snow base very unstable
- Mueller’s problems took turn for the worse with Malaysia’s baggage ban
- It doesn’t look good for proposed resumption of Irish flights to Sharm
Travel Extra TV
Our video of the week has got the cute factor: Tourists play with a baby elephant at Chiang Mai, Thailand. Watch here.
- Behind the scenes of Star Wars: The Force Awakens with JJ Abrams and Tourism Ireland. Watch here.
- Frederico proposes to Poon on a Ryanair flight. Watch here.
- Meet the robotic suitcase that follows its owner. Watch here.
- Sightseeing in Manhattan with Qatar Airways cabin crew. Watch here.
- A timelapse of Dubai Airport waking up to 2016. Watch here.
- Monocle’s best of travel. Watch here.
- Timelapse: Loading a Finnair A350 in less than a minute. Watch here.
- Rolling out the first Boeing 737 MAX. Watch here.
- An awesome year of aircraft spotting with GVA Spotter. Watch here.
- See Tourism Ireland’s promo for Ireland’s Ancient East. Watch here.
Behind the Headlines
It is a big year for Falcon & Thomson Holidays with direct Dreamliner flights to Cancun and Montego Bay to start in June. Falcon has seen strong sales on the back of travel agent educationals to Jamaica and Mexico. At the launch of the Irish campaign for 2016, Scottish-born head of Ireland Chris Logan (listen here) noted a return to longer 10-14 night breaks in the Irish market, an increased demand for Wi-Fi and a growth in demand for all inclusive board. Majorca is still the leading Falcon destination from Ireland, but Costa Daurada, to where a flight form Knock has been added in 2016, is strengthening. Falcon recently launched a new customer website for desktop and mobile, a new retail web browser for agents and cabin crew and resort reps are now equipped with iPads. He said it was a good year for the tour operator in Ireland (Irish results were strong although they are not stripped out of the overall TUI figures), pre-Christmas bookings were the strongest in years and bookings have been strong since the TV campaign launched on December 26. Team Falcon at the launch of the Falcon & Thomson Holidays programme for 2016 in Angelina’s restaurant in Percy Place, Dublin: Carol O’Connor marketing executive, Charlotte Brenner, marketing manager, Claire Murphy commercial manager, Antoinette Young distribution manager, Chris Logan head of Ireland and laine Slator marketing executive. Travel Extra will be reporting from the Falcon resorts in Montego Bay next week.
Ryanair’s arrival at Belfast International Airport, Easyjet at their biggest Irish base, was reported with enthusiasm (see Ryanair start with a 4 daily Gatwick service in March) with the promise of 3 aircraft and 5 more new routes from October 2016, 1m new customers and 750 on-site jobs at Belfast International Airport.
Ryanair carried 101.4m passengers in 2015, with December passenger bookings up an impressive 25pc to 7.5m and load factor up 3pc to 91pc. Their claim to be the first airline to carry 100m passengers in a year was widely reported: they are correct when they claimed 100m international passengers but they are in sixth place in hitting the target: Delta, Southwest, China Southern, American and in the old days, Aeroflot. Ryanair’s defence, they were taking their leave from BA in the 1980s (“the world’s favourite airline”) who were well down the list of airlines but had more international passenger than the others.
The Irish Travel Industry Awards 2016 supplier shortlist features some interesting first-timers including G Adventures and Top Deck. Morocco return as nominees in the winter sun category. Holly Best and Brian Hughes join Rebecca Kelly, Thomas McNally and Lee Osborne as nominees (pictured above) for the hotly contended supplier representative award. The ITAA Member Awards Finalists will be announced on 13th January, 2016. MC is radio and TV presenter, Miriam O’Callaghan. Award categories are sponsored by American Airlines, British Airways, Cork Airport, Dublin Airport, Shannon Airport, Ethiopian Airlines, Emirates, Hertz, Turkish Airline, Riviera Travel and The Travel Corporation. The nominations are: Air Travel Category sponsored By Dublin Airport; Best Airline to Europe: Aer Lingus; British Airways; Ryanair; SAS; Turkish Airlines; Best Business Class Airline to Europe: Aer Lingus; Air France; British Airways; SAS; Turkish Airlines; Best Airline to North America: Aer Lingus; British Airways; Delta Airlines; United Airlines; Virgin Atlantic; Best Long Haul Airline: British Airways; Emirates; Etihad Airways; Turkish Airlines; Virgin Atlantic;
Tour Operator Category sponsored By Hertz; Best European Sun Tour Operator: Concorde Travel; Crystal Holidays; Falcon Holidays; Sunway; Topflight; ; Best Escorted Tour Operator: G Adventures; Insight Vacations; Riviera Travel; Sunway; Wendy Wu; Best Specialist Tour Operator: Discover Travel; If Only; The Travel Corporation; Sunway; Wendy Wu; ; Best Ski Tour Operator: Club Med; Crystal Holidays; Inghams; Top Deck; Topflight; Best Long Haul Tour Operator: Classic Resorts; If Only; Sunway; Topflight; Travel Focus.
Cruise & Ferry Category; Best Cruise Company: Celebrity Cruises; MSC Cruises; NCL; Royal Caribbean International; Thomson Cruises; Best Ultra Cruise Company: Azamara Cruises; Celebrity Cruises; Royal Caribbean International; Silversea Cruises; Uniworld; Best Specialist Cruise Company: AMA Waterways; Celebrity Cruises; Riviera Travel; Royal Caribbean International; Uniworld; Best Ferry Company: Brittany Ferries; Irish Ferries; Stena Line.
Agency services provider category sponsored by Riviera Travel. Best Technology Provider: Amadeus; Bookabed; Digital Trip; Proactive Labs; Travelport; Best Car Hire Company: Affordable Car Hire; Alamo; Avis; Flexible Car Hire; Hertz; Best Travel Insurance Provider: Accident & General; Blue Insurances; Worldwide Insurance; Viasure; Best Tourist Board: Dubai Tourist Board; Las Vegas; Portuguese Tourist Board; Spanish Tourist Board; Visit USA; Best Supplier Support Team: Amadeus; Arrow Tours; Bookabed; MSC Cruises; Sunway; Best Accommodation Only Provider: Arrow Tours; Bedsonline; Bookabed; Hotelbeds; Lowcostbeds; Best Supplier Representative: Brian Hughes of United Airlines; Holly Best of Virgin Atlantic; Lee Osborne of Bookabed.ie; Rebecca Kelly of MSC Cruises; Thomas McNally of Bedsonline.
Destinations Category sponsored by Turkish Airlines; Best Worldwide City Destination: Cape Town; Dubai; Las Vegas; New York; San Francisco; Best European City Destinations: Barcelona; Krakow; Lisbon; Paris; Rome; Best Ski Destination: Andorra; Austria; France; Italy; Switzerland; Best Summer Sun Destination: Italy; Greece; Portugal; Spain; Turkey; Best Winter Sun Destination: Dubai; Florida; Gran Canaria; Lanzarote; Tenerife; Best Worldwide Theme Park: Disneyland Paris; PortAventura; Siam Park Tenerife; Universal Orlando Resort; Walt Disney World Resort; Best Worldwide Hotel Chain: Hilton; Marriott; Radisson Blu; Sheraton; Sofitel. The Irish Travel Industry Awards are an initiative of the Irish Travel Agents Association in association with Amadeus.
It will be a dangerous season in the Alps, early snow followed by warm weather followed in turn by this week’s snow dump has made the snow base very unstable. A metre of snow landed on the ski resorts as it got very cold very suddenly across Europe this week, with more terrain opening up on a near daily basis. Avalanche danger reached Level 4 out of 5 in places. The snow line is predicted to come down to 1,000m on Monday. Snow has also returned to the west of the USA.
Picture shows Carlsson Wagonlit‘s Aubrey King, Eoghan Corry of Travel Extra, Nigel Turner and Adam Ausrtin of Carlsson Wagonlit at the CWT event for prize winning travel journalists at the reopened Victorian Bathhouse restaurant in London.
Christoph Mueller’s problems took another turn for the worse when Malaysia Airlines imposed a ban on checked-in baggage on its flights from Kuala Lumpur to Europe, citing safety and “strong head winds”: Passengers who wish to check in their luggage will be able to do so, however their baggage will only arrive later. Economy passengers will be allowed cabin baggage of 7kg, business/first passengers two pieces totalling 14kg. When Malaysia’s routes to Amsterdam and CDG end on January 26, London Heathrow is their last remaining European service. Kuala Lumpur to Australia services have been cut with Melbourne and Sydney down form three to two daily and Brisbane and Perth dropped. The question is whether this will affect prices on the kangaroo route, which fell by around €100 when Malaysia started discounting heavily in mid 2014.
All is not looking well for the proposed resumption of Irish flights to Sharm on May 5: A German man and a Danish woman were both stabbed at the Bella Vista Hotel in the TUi custom built red sea resort of Hurghada, The attack came a day after a gun attack on a tourist bus outside the Three Pyramids Hotel in Cairo in which nobody was injured.
BA is offering free upgrades to first one-way on select US flights. See your GDS for more. Book before March 11, travel completed by April 16.
Canada will send 11 exhibitors to the Holiday World Show in the RDS Simmonscourt on Jan 22-24 for the first time.
Sunway celebrates 50 years in business this year.
Skal Club Kerry hosts its Presidents function on January 23 at Muckross Park Hotel in Killarney.
Marriott International will open 22 hotels under its AC Hotels brand this year, starting with five openings this month in Cincinnati, Boston, Guadalajara, Queretaro and Marseille. Other due are Atlanta, a second Boston hotel, Phoenix, Santa Fe and Minneapolis.
- Hyatt Place Goa/Candolim officially opened in Goa, India.
- Marriott is to open a five-star property in Minsk, Belarus.
- Starwood opened 105 hotels last year.
An enormous gold-coloured statue of Chairman Mao was torn down in China’s Tongxu county.
No individual reached the peak of Mount Everest in 2015, the first time it was unconquered since 1974.
Food & Wine
The Restaurants Association of Ireland and St. Angela’s College, Sligo extended the deadline for entries to the Super Chef Competition 2015-2016. The new deadline is Friday, January 15. For more details on how to enter the competition, click here.
Fern House Cafe will host four wine appreciation classes at Avoca, Kilmacanogue on January 20 and 27, and February 3 and 10. Tickets from €45. Book online at avoca.com or call 01 274 6900.
Etihad starts the first of its six worldwide recruitment days at the Hilton Airport hotel, Dublin on Tuesday (January 12). They are looking for applicants for cabin crew, in-flight chefs and food and beverage managers. Candidates are asked to drop their CVs to the Hilton Airport hotel tomorrow (January 11) or they can submit their CV with a cover letter here.
Goodbye garish yellow: Ryanair unveiled its new toned-down interiors.
Ryanair appointed former European public policy manager for Uber Cristian Samoilovich as head of public affairs
A flight was delayed at Heathrow after a drone flew onto the runway, causing ATC to close it for seven minutes.
Finnair to increase summer flights between Dublin and Helsinki to 9w: adding 6.10 departures on Wednesday and Sunday.
2015 was the safest year in aviation, with an accident rate of one in every five million.
Delta Air Lines added the meditation app, OMG. I Can Meditate!, to its in-flight entertainment.
The Mayor of Fingal, David O’Connor, officially opened Marquette food court at Dublin Airport T1.
British Airways lounge-eligible passengers departing London Gatwick will use the No I Lounge while BA’s lounge undergoes a renovation.
Etihad is investigating a potential data breach during a 2013 promotional campaign that leaked the personal information of 7,000 Etihad Guest members.
United added two bundle options to its Economy Plus offering.
Avolon completed its merger agreement with Bohai Leasing.
Manchester Airport closed the Escape lounge at Terminal 2 for refurbishment. It will reopen in April.
Father Ted co-creator Graham Linehan collaborated with Stephen Fry to create a humorous guide to Britain for Heathrow Airport. Watch here.
Norwegian Cruise Line launched its Feel Free campaign, promoting the brand as a cruise line that offers flexibility. It coincides with Norwegian’s Free at Sea promo, offering a choice of four offers — unlimited drinks, speciality dining, internet package or spending money — on booking made by April 10. Norwegian appointed Nick Wilkinson as GM for Northern Europe, Middle East and Africa, and Stefanie Hegener was promoted to senior director of marketing and PR for Europe, Middle East and Africa.
- Celebrity Cruises appointed Accenture to provide digital agency and web services.
- Phillip Ordever switched from VP of international sales and marketing at Crystal Cruises to VP and MD of Crystal River Cruises.
- Princess Cruises confirmed that it ordered a new ship from Fincantieri shipyard, due to enter service in 2019. The ship will weigh 143,000 tonnes and will carry 3,560 passengers.
Falcon offers: 7 nights all inclusive 4* Atlantica Portobello, Kos from €2,129 2+1 and from €2,897 2+2, depart June 11. 7 nights all inclusive 4* Aqua Nevis, Sunny Beach, Bulgaria from €1,799 2+1 and from €2,739 2+2, part June 13. 7 nights self catering 3* Globales Tamaimo Tropical, Puerto De Santiago, Tenerife from €329pps, depart February 5. 14 nights all inclusive 4* Catalonia Rivera Maya, Cancun from €1,799pps, depart June 13. Call 1850 354 545.
Thomson offers: 7 nights half board 4* Sensimar Falesia Atlantic, Olhos D’agua, Algarve from €799pp, depart May 23. 7 nights half board 3* Playa De Las Americas, Catalonia Oro Negro, Tenerife from €459pp, depart February 5. 7 nights self catering 2* Tamanaco, Puerto Rico, Gran Canaria from €389pp, depart February 6. 7 nights half board 4* Coronas Playa Hotel, Costa Teguise, Lanzarote from €599pp, depart February 7. 7 nights all inclusive 4* Marmaris Imperial, Turkey from €799pp, depart June 13. 14 nights all inclusive 4* Club Hotel Riu Ochos Rios, Jamaica from €1,429pp, depart July 4. Visit thomsonholidays.ie or call 1850 45 35 45.
Irish Ferries is offering 3 nights Haven Park holidays from €329, 4 night breaks from €575, travel in June, 7 night breaks from €816, departing June 3, and free upgrades from standard to deluxe holiday homes for families staying between July 22 and September 4. All prices include return ferry. Book by February 29. See irishferries.com/haven or call 0818 300 400.
Royal Caribbean all inclusive offers: 7 nights Greek Isles cruise on Vision of the Seas from €1,133pp incl. return flights, depart May 7. 7 nights Arabian Gulf cruise on Splendour of the Seas from €1,165pp incl. return flights, depart March 14. 9 nights Mediterranean and Adriatic cruise on Rhapsody of the Seas from €1,297pp incl. return flights, depart April 24. Visit royalcaribbean.ie or call 1800 555 604.
Sunway offers: 7 nights 3* Ramada Gateway, Orlando from €555pp, travel May. 7 nights 3* Disney’s Art of Music, Orlando from €675pp, travel May. 7 nights 3* Universal Cabana Bay Resort, Orlando from €669pp, travel May. 7 nights B&B 3* Chaba Samui Resort, Koh Samui, Thailand from €849pp, travel May. 7 nights all inclusive 4* Dreams Puerto Aventuras, Mexico from €1,445pp, travel May. 7 nights B&B 3* Reethi Beach, Maldives from €1,399pp, travel May. Morocco offers: Flight only from €259pp. 7 nights self catering 2* Tilila Studios from €279pp. 7 nights self catering 3* Intouriste Apartments from €349pp. 7 nights B&B 3* Tildi Hotel from €409pp. 7 nights B&B 3* Argana Hotel from €409pp, no single supplement. 7 nights B&B 3* Oasis Hotel from €419pp. 7 nights B&B 4* Agadir Beach Club from €449pp. 7 nights B&B 4* Kenzi Europa Hotel from €499pp. 7 nights all inclusive 4* Founty Beach from €649pp. Visit sunway.ie or call 01 231 1800.
Tour America Orlando offers: 7 nights Cabana Bay from €699pp incl. flights, travel May. 7 nights Royal Pacific from €799pp incl. flights, travel May. 7 nights Hard Rock Hotel from €849pp incl. flights, travel May. 7 nights Portifino from €859pp incl. return flights, travel May. 7 nights Sapphire Falls from €719pp, travel in September. Visit touramerica.ie.
ITAA offers: 10 nights honeymoon all inclusive 5* Dreams Riviera Cancun Resort & Spa, Mexico from €1,989pps incl. flights and taxes, depart August 27. 7 nights half board 4* Beatriz Costa Teguise & Spa Hotel, Lanzarote from €549pps incl. flights and transfer, depart January 19. 7 ge pp and taxes, depart August 16. 7 nights self catering SunClub, Cap Salou Beach from €2,083 2+3 incl. flights ex Knock, 15kg checked baggage and taxes, depart August 16.
Topflight offers: Ski holidays — 7 nights self catering 2* Crest Apartments, Pas de la Casa, Andorra from €299pp, depart January 17. 7 nights self catering 3* Livingno Ski Apartments from €469pp, depart January 23. 7 nights self catering 3* Le Hameau de Pierre Blanche, Chamonix from €439pp, depart January 23. Algarve holidays — 7 nights self catering 5* Tivoli Victoria Residence, Vilamoura from €619pp, depart May 14. Lanzarote holidays — 7 nights B&B 4* Hotel Beatriz Playa, Puerto del Carmen from €849pp, depart March 19. Italy holidays — 7 nights half board 4* Hotel Majestic Palace, Sorrento, depart August 28. All prices include return transfers, taxes and Topflight resort rep service. Visit topflight.ie or call 01 2401 700.
Insight Vacations is offering a 9-day Spain and Portugal holiday from €1,799pps incl. flights, transfers and 8 nights accommodation, book by January 29, depart May 21. Visit insightvacations.com or call 1800 98 98 98.
Uniworld Boutique River Cruises is offering an 8-day Castles along the Rhine cruise on board the SS Antoinette from €2,499pps incl. flights, transfers, meals and beverages and shore excursions, book January 29, depart August 7. Visit uniworld.com/ie or call 1800 98 98 98.
Contiki is offering a 10-day, 6-country European Horizon holiday from €1,299pps incl. 9 nights accommodation, book by February 29, depart May 4. Visit contiki.com or call 1800 98 98 98.
Lowcostbeds Orlando offers, 7 nights based on 3 sharing, depart June 25: 3* Rosen Inn International Drive from €19pppn. 3* Rosen Inn closest to Universal from €19pppn. 2.5* Rosen Inn at Pointe Orlando from €20pppn. Visit lowcostbeds.com.
Visitors to the Cliffs of Moher Visitor Experience were up 15.8pc last year to 1,251,574 visitors.
Guinness Storehouse visitor numbers were up 18pc YOY to 1,498,124 guests.
Minister Michael Ring announced that €1.8m in funding has been allocated to 23 festivals and events by Fáilte Ireland under its 2016 National Festivals and Events programme. A second phase in funding will be announced in February.
N Ireland featured on three episodes Chinese reality TV show I, Supermodel. Contestants battled it out at Titanic Belfast, Belfast City Hall, Mount Stewart, Donghadee and Dubcluce Casltle in a bid to win a modelling contract. Watch here.
See travelextra.tv for more video.
- Jan 8-13 Vakantiebeurs, Utrecht
- Jan 14-16 Florida Huddle, Fort Lauderdale.
- Jan 15-18 MATKA, Helsinki
- Jan 16-18 Holiday World, Belfast
- Jan 22 Irish Travel Industry Awards, Mansion House, Dublin
- Jan 22-29 ASEAN Tourism Forum, Nay Pyi Taw, Myanmar
- Jan 23-25 Holiday World, Dublin
- Jan 28-Feb 1 FITUR, Madrid
- Jan 29-31 SATTE New Delhi
- Jan 29-Feb 1 Destinations, Olympia, London
- Feb 10-13
Go West Summit, Colorado Springs
- Feb 10-11
Mediterranean Tourism Market, Tel Aviv
- Feb 12-14 BIT, Milan
- Feb Utazas, Budapest
- Feb 23-24 IHF Conference, Ballyconnell
- Feb 25-Mar 1 BTL, LIsbon
- Mar 4-6 ITB, Berlin
- Mar 6-8 Guangzhou International Travel Fair
- Mar 9-12 Cruise shipping Miami
- Mar 16-18 GIBTM, Abu Dhabi
- Mar 18-21 MITT, Moscow
- Mar 19-22 Tur, Gothenburg
- Mar 24-27 Tianguis Turistico, Acapulco
- Mar 27-28 Skål National Convention Ireland, Cork
- Mar 31-Apr 1 Rendez Vous France, Paris
- Apr Meitheal, Dublin
- Apr 12-18 Mountain Travel Symposium, Whistler
- Apr 14-16 COTTM Beijing
- Apr 15-16 WTTC Global Summit, Madrid
- Apr 15-17 WTM Africa, Capetown
- Apr 21-22 Social Travel Summit, Hamburg
- Apr 22-23 Visit Scotland Expo, Aberdeen
- Apr 22-24 WTM South America, Sao Paolo
- Apr 24-25 ITAA AGM & Exhibition, Citywest
- Apr 26-28 Germany Travel Market, Erfurt and Weimar
- Apr 27-30 ATM, Dubai
- May 5-7 Fitcuba, Jardines del Rey.
- May 7 Bookabed cork –
- May 6 andalucia golf powers court –
- May 9-12 World Travel Fair Shanghai
- May 9-11 Indaba, Durban
- May 19-21 IMEX, Frankfurt
- May 20-27 Trenz New Zealand, Wellington
- May 26-29 Rendez-vous Canada, Niagara Falls
- May 30-June 3 2015 IPW 2015 Orlando
- June 3-5 TTM Plus, Bangkok
- June 15-21 Paris Air show
- June 21-24 ATE, Melbourne
- Sept Travelmart S America, TBA
- Sept PATA Travel Mart, TBA
- Sept Top Resa 2015, Paris
- Sept FITA Mexico City
- Oct 6-9 Adventure Travel World Summit, Namibia
- Oct 18-23 Skål World Congress, Kenya coast
- Nov 2-5 WTM 2015, London
- Nov 17-19 EIBTM 2015, Barcelona
- Nov 30-Dec 3 Travel South, Charlotte
- Nov 30 Launch of Tourism Ireland’s 2016 Marketing Plans, Dublin
- Nov 30-Dec 3 Travel South, Charlotte
- Nov 30-Dec 3 International Luxury Travel Market Cannes
- Dec 4-5 Travel Centres Conference, Lyrath Hotel
- Dec 10 World Tourism Forum Mediterranean meeting Belek
- Dec 11 The Travel Corporation’s 5th birthday Trade Christmas Lunch, The Residence, Dublin
- Jan 20-22 2017 Holiday World. Titanic Exhibition Centre, Belfast
- Jan 27-29 2017 Holiday World, RDS Simmonscourt, Dublin
- June 3-7 2017 IPW (Pow Wow), Washington DC
- Jan 19-21 2018 Holiday World. Titanic Exhibition Centre, Belfast
- Jan 26-28 2018 Holiday World, RDS Simmonscourt, Dublin
- May 19-23 2018 IPW (Pow Wow), Denver
- 2019 – 2024
- Jan 18-20 2019 Holiday World. Titanic Exhibition Centre, Belfast
- Jan 25-27 2019 Holiday World, RDS Simmonscourt, Dublin
- June 1-5 2019 IPW (Pow Wow), Anaheim
- May 30 –June 3 2020 IPW (Pow Wow), Las Vegas
- April 24-28 2021 IPW (Pow Wow), Chicago
- June 4-8 2022 IPW (Pow Wow), Orlando
- May 20-23, 2023 IPW (Pow Wow), San Antonio
- May 4-8, 2024 IPW (Pow Wow), Los Angeles
- Previous issues
November 2015: Winter cruise issue
October 2015: Ski issue
September 2015: Accommodation issue
July/August 2015: Wintersun issue
June 2015: USA issue
May 2015: The Australia issue
April 2015: Summer Cruise issue
March 2015: Industry Awards issue
February 2015: Holiday World issue