SEVEN things you need to know about travel this week:
- Expect more Dublin route announcements before March
- Dublin hotel capacity problems in Dublin “a handbrake on growth” in tourism
- Spanish and Canary island prices will spike by up to 20pc in 2016
- Holiday prices will sell for about 6-10pc more than 2015
- Fuel prices will continue to sit at abnormally low levels
- Soccer ole-day makers will invade Paris for the Sweden match
- Dublin Airport to sponsor new-format Travel Summit sessions
Travel Extra TV
Video of the week: Four-year-old Léa experiences her first aerobatic flight — and loves it. Watch here.
- Qatar Airways recruited Barcelona FC for its in-flight safety video. Watch here.
- Pat O’Regan’s video shows a Ryanair flight aborting landing at Dublin Airport due to severe winds caused by Storm Frank. Watch here.
- Aer Lingus’s summer sale promo. Watch here.
- Emirates gives a tour of its A380 flight deck and explains how to fly the aircraft. Watch here. AvGeek Yves Heye won a Facebook competition to experience the A380 at the Dubai Airshow and to visit the Airbus factory. Watch here.
- See a drone double up as a food blender. Watch here.
- Introducing Hard Drive Marine’s self-docking boat. Watch here.
Behind the Headlines
It is that time of the year, for our look back at what happened in 2016, twelve months early (another Travel Extra exclusive).
- Holiday prices will sell for about 6-10pc more than last year with few if any late specials. The fact that long haul air fares are already €50 higher in the January sales than twelve months ago does not augur well for the punter.
- Spanish and (especially) Canary island prices will spike by up to 20pc as the big European outbound markets search for alternatives to North Africa. Irish holiday makers will prefer to move to less attractive hotels than pay the higher prices.
- For anyone looking for a bargain, south-east Turkey is the playground of choice. Turkey’s high end hoteliers will turn to other Russian speaking markets to replace its Russian tourists (about 23pc of their market) but the shock might be enough to break down Turkey’s heavy reliance on tour operators and send inventory to bedbanks and internet wholesalers instead.
- Several English and foreign based tour operators will re enter the
- Irish market, led by Graham Balmforth’s Superbreak in January.
- A small number of retail travel agencies will close, with some expeirnced agents turning to homeworking. However, retail pods based in shopping centres will continue to sprout.
- Despite new cruise ship launches (including two in the same month by Royal Caribbean), cruise prices will rise as major cruise lines, even the entry level ones, exit the discounted cruise market.
- No matter how many new trans-Atlantic routes we get, they seem to be filling as fast as they come, meaning prices will stay resolutely high. One stop options through London, Amsterdam or Paris will offer savings of up to €200 per person.
- Dublin airport will get more new route announcements before March, and two long haul airlines likely to announce services to the Middle East and Asia in 2017.
- The fuel price will continue to sit at abnormally low levels and will sit there until sufficient damage is done to Putin’s Russia. Will airlines pass on the savings to punters? Ask the flying pig in seat 16A.
- Soccer ole-day makers will invade Paris for the Sweden match, leaving the Belgian and Italian matches to a smaller number of hard core followers, and then re-invade Lyon when Ireland reach the last 16 of the Euros.
- If any of these don’t pass, blame the rain. Travel Extra’s crystal ball has been a bit damaged by rainfall in recent days.
Dublin Airport are to sponsor new-format Travel Summit sessions at Dublin Holiday World Jan 22-24, 2016 chaired by Eoghan Corry, will see him leading a panel of speakers in an ‘on the couch’ breakfast TV-style discussion. Summit sessions are being planned to cover Ski and Snow, Holidays to America, Cruising, Ireland’s Heritage & Holidaying at Home, Travel insurance, Weddings and Honeymoons, Golf Holidays, Hotels and B&Bs, Holidays in the east, Holidays in the west, Latin America, Solo travel, Visas and passports Louise Bannon, Head of Marketing at Dublin Airport added: “We are delighted to be partnering with Eoghan Corry and are looking forward to giving visitors to the show a wealth of expert information to help with truly rewarding holiday and travel experiences.”
The Clyde Court hotel closed its 160 beds on Friday, reducing further Dublin’s already critically underserved hotel stock. Hotel capacity problems in Dublin are now “a handbrake on growth” in tourism (listen here), something which will get worse when the D4 (formerly Jury’s) closes its 400 beds in 2018, Tourism Confederation chair Paul Gallagher told a press briefing on Thursday. To deliver the estimated 5,000 beds the city requires, he said Dublin needs a fast track planning process (listen here) similar to the 16-week turnaround that approved the Hastings Group’s plans for the Grand Central hotel in Belfast. On the issue of inadequate hotel capacity in Dublin (listen here), Gallagher said Dublin needs 5,000 beds (listen here), at a time when the premium property sites were being chased by other types of construction (listen here). Capacity constraints are also stalling growth at key attractions (listen here). CEO Eoghan O’Mara Walsh (listen here) also cited Dublin Hotel capacity as a restraint on growth.
So where are the new hotels likely to come from? There are between 40 and 60 properties that have been in dialogue with Fáilte Ireland in Dublin but only a handful. There is a retrofit on a property on O’Connell St as a Holiday Inn Express. The Fitzwilliam is putting in an extra floor. The Merrion Hotel is adding 20 rooms on Baggot Street over some existing retail (the former JWT house, where so many travel love stories began), Cassidy’s have also converted space. There are no shovel in the ground, however. At the Eastlink there are proposals for a 500 room hotel. Dublin Airport is looking at a 500-bed hotel adjacent to the T2 car park. Guinness has a site next door to the quayside gates. Red Carnation has looked at two sites near St Stephen’s Green. Denis O’Brien has his eye on a site for a hotel in the Liberties. But nothing is going to happen quickly. “Convention customers need hotels of 500-bedroom size to source beds. There is a need for more mixed use, retail and commercial with some hospitality and more higher rise to alleviate the problem,” Paul Gallagher says.
The 9pc VAT rate needs to be made permanent (listen here) and Irish tourism to be granted a capital allocation of €25m over five years (listen here). The new team at the Irish Tourism Industry Confederation came out with their pie charts blazing at their end of year briefing at Paul Gallagher’s Buswell’s Hotel on Wednesday. ITIC claimed that tourism got just €106m of €17bn capital budget (listen here) and the industry needed capital projects to stay competitive (listen here for suggestions).
The Confederation chairman Paul Gallagher cited the OPW budget, which has been slashed from €15m to €275,000 (listen here). Confederation CEO Eoghan O’Mara Walsh said tourism needed new projects of scale (listen here), (on cycle ways Paul Gallagher memorably said “24km is not a cycle trail:” listen here), He said there was a need to invest in technology for existing interpretation centres (listen here), Paul Gallagher said Ireland needed to make more inroads into the German market (listen here) and the number of Dutch visitors could be doubled (listen here). Eoghan O’Mara Walsh said the US market remained strong despite fear of terrorism (listen here),
The press briefing involved some recycling of the ITIC catchphrase “a perfect storm for tourism” (listen here). ITIC said the Industry is now worth €7bn to the Irish economy (listen here), earned €4.1bn per annum in foreign reserve (listen here) and was a bigger employer than construction (listen here), Paul Gallagher said that every €1m in revenue from foreign visitors generates 14 tourism jobs (listen here), Recent growth was about much more than currency fluctuation (listen here). Paul Gallagher said that tourism measures more successful than the industry hoped (listen here) but the regions had not recovered as well as Dublin (listen here),
While 1916 won’t be one of the big drivers of tourism in 2016 (listen here), the 1916 legacy attractions will be more important than commemoration (listen here), Eoghan O’Mara Walsh welcomed the proposals for a parallel runway at Dublin Airport (listen here) and said the IAG Lingus tie-in was good for tourism (listen here), The core message, he said was to draw attention to the importance of tourism to national economy (listen here),
During the question and answer session they stridently defended the criticism of Web Summit hotel rates (listen here), Paul Gallagher maintained that the 9pc VAT rate was vitally important to the industry (listen here) did not cost the exchequer €250m as some claimed (listen here). and should be made permanent (listen here), Eoghan O’Mara Walsh said the VAT rate pales into insignificance compared with the benefit (listen here). And an idea from Paul Gallagher, why do Dublin’s museums all close on Mondays and not stagger their closing days (listen here)? Click here to access ITIC’s Year End Review 2015 and Outlook 2016, click here to access the related Press Release.
The biggest visitor number rise among Ireland’s biggest tourist attractions in 2015 was Tayto Park, with visitor numbers up 80pc to sixth place, and possibly fifth ahead of Giant’s Causeway, whose figures are not as yet available. Other big climbers are the National Gallery and Connemara National Park (both up 24pc), the National Museum Collins Barracks (up 21pc), the Little Museum of Dublin (up 18pc), the Book of Kells and Chester Beatty Library (both up 17pc). The top twenty will look something like this figures are estimated): 1 Guinness Storehouse 1,491,536; 2 Cliffs of Moher 1,242,576; 3 Dublin Zoo 1,130,720; 4 National Aquatic Centre 996,249; 5 Giant’s Causeway Centre 827,400; 6 Tayto Park Ashbourne 765,000; 7 Book of Kells 761,057; 8 National Gallery 735,547; 9 Titanic 684,720; 10 Botanic Gardens Glasnevin 552,785; 11 National Museum Kildare St 469,494; 12 St Patrick’s Cathedral 466,423; 13 Ulster Museum 456,680; 14 Fota Wildlife Park Cork 433,620; 15 Science Gallery 411,052; 16 Rock of Cashel Tipperary 409,753; 17 Farmleigh 402773; 18 Blarney Castle 390,000; 19 Number 29 370,000; 20 Chester Beatty Library Dublin 355,680. Obviously, numbers are subject to confirmation.
Disney is getting ready for its biggest makeover since 1998. In January, 10 attractions and eateries will close, some temporarily, some permanently. The Space Mountain and Star Tours rides have been overhauled to include special effects borrowed from the recently released movie “Star Wars: The Force Awakens.” The move comes a few months after the resort hiked the price of annual passes as much as 31pc. At the other end of International drive in Orlando, Universal Studios Hollywood is to unveil another widely anticipated Harry Potter attraction.
The first of the airline sales roared into action as soon as the turkey wishbone was pulled. Aer Lingus lead in trans-Atlantic fares are €255 each way, Europe 50pc off and Britain €20 each way,travel May 1 –Sept 30. British Airways‘ Club World Sale, offers New York from €679 and Las Vegas from €779. Book by Feb 2, travel Jan 4- Nov 30. Air France-KLM offers Cancun from €432, Beijing from €528 and Johannesburg from €559. Book by Jan 11, travel Jan 8 – June 22. See Deal Watch below.
Ireland’s travel agents reported a reasonably busy Christmas with bookings up and dynamic packing now constituting up to 90pc of sales.
The charity raffle at the Irish Travel Industry Awards in Dublin’s Mansion House on January 20 will be for first motor neurone disease in memory of Ray Treacy RIP. Prizes will be gratefully accepted. The awards are now sold out.
The venue for the 2016 Irish Travel Agents Association conference will be decided at an ITAA board meeting on Jan 14, to be decided from among Porto, Prague and a Uniworld Rivercruise ship.
Cork’s five-star Castlemartyr Resort was praised for offering emergency accommodation to local families affected by flooding after Storm Frank hit Ireland.
STR Global’s hotel performance survey found that room occupancy in Europe was up 0.8pc YOY to 68.1pc for November 2015, down 3.3pc in the Middle East-Africa region to 69.2pc, down 1.8pc in the Asia Pacific region to 70.4pc, and down 0.6pc in the Americas to 59.7pc.
David Pegler, chief executive of the ExCel convention centre, told John Mulligan that he was interested in bringing the Web Summit to London after its stint in Lisbon.
- The Alps got their first snowfall in over a month on New Year’s Day, it was just a dusting but more significant and potentially season-changing snow is on its way. The outlook for the Pyrenees is also looking better with snow due this weekend.Most lifts are open in the western USA and more terrain is opening up almost daily on the east coast.
- Switzerland experienced its warmest December on record, with temperatures 3.4C above average. Switzerland’s stripper visa programme expired on January 1, which, since 1995, allowed women outside the EU to work as strippers and cabaret dancers for up to eight months.
- A proposal was put forward to develop the World War II forts off the coast of Kent into luxury suites, bars, restaurants, retail outlets, banqueting rooms and rooftop terraces. The forts were built to defend England against a Nazi invasion.
- A report by the Association of Tour Operators of Russia said that Russian tourists are travelling to Thailand, Vietnam and India in exchange for Turkey and Egypt.
- The ancient city of Hatra in Iraq was added to the Unesco list of World Heritage Sites under threat. So too were the Old City of Sana’a and the Old City of Shibam in Yemen.
- Malaysia claimed it will receive 30.5m tourists in 2016.
- China will open 100 ski resorts in 2016, catering for 10m domestic skiers.
- In a bid to revive its tourism industry after last April’s earthquake, Nepal is offering free visas to Chinese visitors.
- Dubai expects 10,000 people to attend mass yoga sessions at the two-day XYoga Dubai Festival on February 19 and 20. Dubai’s new zoo and safari park is slated for mid-2016. It will feature 1,000 animals and 100 species of plants.
- Iran’s I Run marathon will be open to international runners for the first time on April 9, but women are banned from taking part because of local laws.
- Plans for a Universal theme park in the Hwaseong region, South Korea were revived after being on hold for three years, The park is expected to open in 2020.
- Vietnam opened a 500 hectare safari park at Phu Quoc, featuring 3,000 animals across 140 species, including Bengal tigers, gazelles and rhinos.
- Nine tourists were injured after a Big Bus Tours double decker crashed in San Francisco.
- Graceland will celebrate 60 years since Elvis’s debut, starting on January 7 with the opening of the Elvis in Hollywood exhibit, an auction, a Birthday Proclamation and a performance by the Memphis Symphony Orchestra.
- Las Vegas saw a record 42m visitors in 2015.
- The annual Zillow survey found that Americans would most like Taylor Swift as a neighbour, but would hate to live beside Donald Trump.
- USA, Japan, Australia and Canada citizens will be given a visa waiver for the Rio de Janeiro Olympics for visits between June1 and September 18. Visitors are allowed stay for up to 90 days.
Food & Wine
An appeal against Pearse Lyon’s planned distillery and visitor centre in the Liberties was filed to An Bord Pleanála by the resident of an apartment building next to the site.
80,000 people reportedly travelled through Dublin Airport the day after St Stephen’s Day to take part in post-Christmas skiing or sunbathing.
Aer Arann Group recorded a loss of €2.6m in 2016, compared to a profit of €380,241 in 2013.
There has been no formal sale or order for Cityjet‘s much heralded Superjets as yet.
After missing the year-end deadline, Airbus said the A320neo is to enter service in the coming weeks.
Actor Russell Crowe posted an angry tweet after Virgin Australia refused to carry his sons’ hover boards.
Amazon chartered a B737 from DB Schenker last November to trial its own air freight business.
Ethiopian Airlines signed a firm purchase agreement with Bombardier for two more Q400s.
TSA agents are to increase the number of random security checks of airport personnel that work in restricted areas.
Design company Factorydesign created an aircraft seat called The Twister. It allows passengers to hold the seat in a position that they feel most comfortable. It moves with the shape of their spine and their weight.
Irish Rail is looking for drones that can search for damages on railway lines and help coordinate responses to major incidents like flooding.
Twenty-one Air Canada passengers were injured in severe turbulence on a flight from Shanghai to Toronto, which had to divert to Calgary, Alberta.
A German court ruled against a codeshare agreement between Etihad Airways and Air Berlin, saying that the 29 codeshare routes were not covered by a traffic rights agreement between Germany and the UAE. Etihad is to appeal the decision.
Turkish Airlines cancelled 142 flights to and from Istanbul because of heavy snowfall.
London Heathrow celebrates 70 years as a commercial airport this year.
Virgin American announced a codeshare agreement with China Southern Airlines.
- Princess Cruises has commissioned a fourth 3,560-passenger Royal-class ship from Italian shipbuilder Fincantieri.
- Azamara Club Cruises made its Australian debut after Azamara Quest sailed from Bali to Darwin and on to Sydney.
- HAL ship Veendam was hit with a suspected outbreak of norovirus, affecting 57 passengers and 10 crew.
- Fred Olsen cruise ship Braemar rescued the 14-metre Nicollet sailing yacht and her four passengers and crew after it was adrift for three days.
- Costa will build two new ships for its Chinese market, joining the fleet in 2019 and 2020.
- Royal Caribbean has changed the name of its Devinly Decadence restaurant onboard Anthem of the Seas to Solarium Bistro,
- Norwegian Cruise Line cruisers logged 576,896 Facebook posts during the 20-day period, c, 14,150 tweets and 11,367 Instagram posts for a total of 159m impressions during the inaugural voyages of Norwegian Escape.
- Carnival Corporation ships will carry cage-free eggs by 2025. Royal Caribbean signed a 10-year contract with Virgin Islands Port Authority until 2026.
Project Travel offers: 7 nights all inclusive 3* Grotto Bay resort, Bermuda from €2,636 per adult and €1,880 per child incl. return flights and transfers, book by January 31. 7 nights B&B 5* Cambridge Beaches, Bermuda from €2,345pp incl. return flights and transfers, upgrade to half board for €555pp, book by January 31. Call 01 210 8391.
Topflight January sale offers: 7 nights self catering 2* Crest Apartments, Pas de la Casa, Andorra from €299pp, depart January 10 2016. 7 nights half board 4* Sporthotel Austria, St Johann from €699pp, depart January 9 2016. 7 nights 3* Chalet Sorrier 2, La Plane, France from €669pp, depart January 23 2016. 7 nights self catering 3* Pedra dos Bucos, Albufeira from €449pp, depart May 7 2016. 7 nights B&B 5* Hotel Tivoli Victoria, Vilamoura from €739pp, depart May 14 2016. 7 nights self catering 3* Jable Bermudas, Puerto del Carmen from €489pp, depart April 2 2016. 7 nights B&B 4* Hotel Beatriz Playa, Puerto del Carmen from €699pp, depart April 9 2016. 7 nights self catering 4* Bella Italia Resort, Peschiera from €399pp, depart March 27 2016. 7 nights half board 4* Hotel Majestic Palace, Malcesine from €938pp, depart May 14 2016. 7 nights B&B 3* Vello d’Or, Taormina, Sicily from €669pp, depart May 28 2016. 7 nights half board 4* Hotel Eden, Lido di Jesolo from €669pp, depart September 24 2016. All prices include return flights, return transfers, all taxes and Topflight rep service. Visit topflight.ieor call 01 2401 700.
The three-month Ireland 2016: Global and Diaspora Programme was launched, featuring celebrations in Argentina, an exhibition and seminar on Roger Casement in Brazil, a digitisation project in Melbourne, a production of the musical Wherever Green Is Worn in Sydney, a conference in Tokyo, a production of Sean O’Casey’s Shadow of a Gunman in Abu Dhabi, a three-week arts and culture festive in Washington DC’s JFK Centre for the Performing Arts, a commemorative event in NYC’s Pier A, and a conference on Ireland in 1916 and Finland in 1917 in Helsinki.
Lonely Planet named the centenary of the Easter Rising as one of its top special anniversaries in 2016.
English tour operator Last Night of Freedom named Dublin as its fifth most popular stag and hen party destination for 2015. The top ten: 1 Prague, 2 Newcastle, 3 Riga, 4 Budapest, 5 Dublin, 6 Amsterdam, 7 Nottingham, 8 Krakow, 9 Barcelona, 10 Bournemouth.
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