Things to know about travel this week:
- 200 agents head for Harmony
- Anticipated, but disappointing: CityJet drop Cork to LCY
- Travel Extra visits Brisbane
- Sale of TUI brands not expected to affect Irish operations
- Barbed wire and flame proof walls, Zaventem is a sad sight
Travel Extra TV
Our video of the week is a heart-stopper. AccuWeather, the weather app, shared this close-up footage of a tornado in Colorado. Watch here.
- Over 74,000 viewers watched this eagle swoop in and steal a fisherman’s catch. Watch here. More than 3 million saw this snake gobble a catfish in Texas. Watch here.
- See the Benfica-themed Emirates B777 300-ER. Watch here.
- See Tourism Ireland’s tour of the Game of Thrones doors, part two (watch here) and part three (watch here).
- Here is an ad for Airbus Corporate Jets. Watch here.
Behind the Headlines
There may have been better parties in the history of the travel trade in Ireland, it is just that nobody can remember them. About 200 Irish agents head for Royal Caribbean’s pre launch cruise on board Harmony of the Seas this week. Travel Extra has checked it out in advance and it is awesome. Notice how much wider the ship feels that its previous two-in-class sister Oasis and Allure and notice how the boardwalk works better. The waterslide is higher, a ten deck drop hanging over the ocean. It is a 33cm longer than its sisters but several metres wider and sales for the Barcelona season are already ahead of anything Royal has seen for previous ships. While Royal’s decision to break up the main dining room from one big two tier restaurant has not been as successful with the clients as they expected, we love it (don’t worry, there are 17 restaurants on board). The big question is who will be first to go down the scariest waterslide at sea, the Ultimate Abyss which, apparently was the idea of CEO Michael Bayley (listen here).
The coolest thing about Harmony? The bubbles. Not those in the glass that will be served up to agents on arrival (although they come close) but this from the press conference. Harmony is 20pc more energy efficient than her sisters (listen here). The size of the ship, the biggest in the world, present a technical challenge to the builders (listen here).
Alice Carrick of Tour America was the winner of the Las Vegas quiz at the Marker Hotel. Earlier in the day Tryphavan Cross, Irish born Caroline Coyle and Kelly Sawyer of Las Vegas CVA and their 10 industry partners entertained 22 product managers at breakfast in the Shelbourne Hotel, 28 media at lunch in The residence and 80 agents at the evening table quiz. Picture shows Robin Hudgens of Ceasar’s Entertainment with quiz winner Alice Carrick and Kathleen O’Rourke of Tour America.Watch here Travel Extra’s interview with Caroline Coyle about speed Vegas, the new park on the strip, mr Chow’s and other developments in the city for 2016, and watch here Caroline Coyle’s speech to travel media at an event in The Residence. Watch here the Las Vegas CVA Quiz for travel agents in Dublin.
Ponant luxury cruise line invited agents on board to see their L’Aural expedition ship in Dublin this week. The ship alternates between the poles, cruising Antarctica in our winter and the North Pole in our summer. Ponant recently ordered four ships from Vard, the Norwegian subsidiary of the Italian Fincantieri group first step in the expansion of the company’s fleet since it was bought by Artemis, holding company of the Pinault family, in 2015. Picture shows Stephen Winter and Julie Giraud who hosted agents on board the ship. Watch here Stephen Winter of Ponant speaking about the French cruise line which is relatively unfamiliar to the trade in Ireland. See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.
Much anticipated but hugely disappointing: that was the reaction on Friday when Cityjet announced they were dropping their three times daily service from Cork to London City airport from June 26 after just eight months. Aer Lingus and Ryanair both responded by offering sale fares to London. Picture shows Cathal O’Connell, Cityjet Commercial Director; Pat Byrne, CEO Cityjet and Niall MacCarthy, Managing Director at Cork Airport in happier times, announcing the route last October, Pat Byrne said that he sees “potentially viable routes to other European destinations”.
Pictures show travel writers who were hosted on board Uniworld for a trip on the Rhone, rapidly becoming an alternative choice to the Danube and Rhine for the all-inclusive rivercruise operator, Ernie Whalley of the Sunday Times, Emmett Moloney of the Clare People, Catherine Halloran of the Irish Daily Star, Sharon Jordan of The Travel Corporation, Emily Hourican of the Sunday Independent, Lainey Quinn of The Travel Corporation) and Vincent Kelly of the Sunday Business Post. Second picture shows Emily Hourican of the Sunday Independent, Ernie Whalley of The Sunday Times, Lainey Quinn of The Travel Corporation and Bairbre Power of the Irish Independent.
Surfer’s Paradise on the Gold Coast in Queensland, Australia hosted Australian Tourism Exchange for the first time. The coastal town an hour south of Brisbane hosted 87 media at a media marketplace in advance of the main event in the coming days. Picture shows Graham Howe, Eoghan Corry and Dominika Dryski at the event.
Jennifer Callister and Michaela Banks of Royal Caribbean entertained agents on board Serenade of the Seas on a rainy Tuesday in Cobh. Watch here.
The announced sale of TUI’s suite of 50 brands in the Specialist Holiday Group, including American Holidays and Travelmood, headed up in Ireland by John Devereux, is not expected to affect Irish operations. Crystal Holidays, headed up in Ireland by Ray Scully, has been separated from the group and will remain in the TUI stable. Picture shows Ray Scully and John Devereux.
The new Government Programme for Partnership committed to retain the 9pc tourism VAT rate, maintain the zero airport travel tax, €10m additional funding for regional airports; €100m additional capital funding for new greenways and the Wild Atlantic Way and funding for a fourth tourism brand, Ireland’s Lakelands, to sit alongside the Wild Atlantic Way, Ireland’s Ancient East and Dublin Breath of Fresh Air campaigns.
Barbed wire and flame proof sheet walls. Zaventem was a sad sight for Travel Extra’s first visit since the tragic bombings of March 22. Ryanair has returned to the airport a little earlier than anticipated and is offering heavily discounted prices. The security advice told us we had to be there three hours early but the bag drop did not open until two hours before the flight. Welcome to the joined up thinking of international aviation.
Latest winner of the Blue Insurances monthly draw for April was Helena Kilduff from Skytours. She wins an iPad Mini and is invited to the Grand Final in Dublin in April ‘17 to compete for a Volkswagen Polo. Blue Insurances reminds agents to have their unique login to make bookings count for their monthly draw, every five Blue Insurances policies sold each month automatically generates an entry. Make sure you have your own unique login to make your bookings count. Agents can win a bonus place at the final by posting, to Facebook or Twitter, a humourous pictues or videos featuring themselves with a car with the hashtag #DontRenewUnlessItsBlue.
It rained for some of Sunway’s four night agent fam trip to the Algarve, but did anybody notice? The trip was hosted by the 4* Vila Gale Cerro Alagoa Hotel, Albufeira and the 4* Pestana Alvor Praia Hotel, Alvor. The group visited some of Sunway’s most popular properties, self-catering apartments to 5 star deluxe hotels in Albufeira, Praia da Oura, Da Balaia, Santa Eulalia, Falesia, Vilamoura, Alvor, Carvoeiro, Portimao and Praia da Rocha. Meals were at Club Med Da Balaia, Epic Sana Algarve Hotel, Monte Santo Resort and some local restaurants where cocktails and Portuguese wines were sampled. Picture shows Hilary Mahon of Sunway, Linda Bradshaw of Sunway, Carmel Kehoe of Roscrea Travel, Emma Dinan of Douglas Travel, David Lacey of Paraic.Keogh Travel, Rebecca McAreave of O’Hanrahan Travel, Tom Donohoe of Strand Travel, Gaynor Cunningham of Best4Travel, Georgina Kelly of Travel Broker, Judy Coughlan of Dawson Travel Ciara Sweeney of Corrib Travel and Samantha Gavigan of Kanes Travel. Not in picture Jeanette Taylor of Sunway.
Marc Lynch of Abbey Travel was the first winner in the Topflight ‘Hello Summer‘Family Holiday Giveaway, an all-inclusive seven night holiday in the Hotel Sandos Papagayo in Playa Blanca, Lanzarote. Marc is pictured with Maurice Shiel of Topflight. Topflight are giving travel agents the chance to win a free family holiday every week to highlight the launch of their brand new ‘Great for Kids’ collection, Travel agents who book a ‘Great for Kids’ property during the Topflight 5 Day Sale starting May 15 will be entered into a draw to win a family holiday to the Vila Petra Aparthotel in Albufeira. Topflight will announce their Travel Photographer of the Year in The Gallery of Photography in Temple Bar on Tuesday evening May 31 where the winner will be announced. The competition is running on facebook.
SuperBreak is offering a €15 One 4 All voucher to encourage agents who sign up to make bookings through their website before May 31. In order to start booking log in to the agent website, complete and return a direct debit form.
Brand USA says 930 agents registered their international flight bookings to the USA, up by 87pc to enter seven megafams which departed this week: 1 Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Virginia, Delaware, Maryland, 2: Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, 3: Colorado, New Mexico, 4: Nevada, Utah, Arizona, 5: Washington, Oregon, 6: Arizona, Alaska, 7 Heavenly Hawaii: Hawaii, with the seven trips congregating at: Huntington Beach, California .for the finale.
Helena Christensen has teamed up with Falcon Holidays and Thomson to create and design an exclusive range of boyfriend shirts to celebrate the luxury long-haul Sensatori resorts.
Atlantis Paradise Island’s double cash rewards incentive of up to £40 per booking has been extended until July 31.
As for Indaba in Durban – it lashed rain (again).Not since the beach party was swept into the Indian Ocean have they had such rain.
Travelport appointed Peggy Bianco as vice president head of hotel sourcing.
Five Irish destinations have cheaper average hotel rates for May 2016 than May 2015 according to the Trivago price index, (Belfast and Derry partly because of exchange rates). Athlone prices are up 22pc on last May, Killarney 17pc and Dublin 16pc. Dublin has the highest average rate with €167 followed by Donegal at €163. Wexford is cheapest at €92. Just five destinations have average rates under €100. The IHF says Trivago accounts for 5pc of room sales in Irish hotels.
- Travelport and Marriott International renewed a distribution agreement.
- Hilton opened a Homewood Suites property in Washington DC.
- Accorhotels expanded its MGallery by Sofitel brand to Israel and Brazil.
- Hilton added a Google Maps service, allowing guests to view digital floor plans of hotels.
Disneyland Paris is offering free half board meals for the family. Their agents in Ireland are Abbey Travel and Neenan Travel.
Orlando reported a record 66m visitors in 2015.
A record 583 media have signed up for IPW in New Orleans at the end of June
Universal revealed further details about their Incredible Hulk coaster, an attraction entrance featuring The Hulk, a queue experience that places guests inside a perilous scientific experiment by nefarious villain, General Thaddeus Ross, and new style ride vehicle with audio system and original ride score by Patrick Stump of Fall Out Boy.
Germany lifted luggage restrictions to Sharm el Sheikh.
Cosmos tours expanded their North American premium touring and will offer chauffeur service for 2017.
Africa Day 2016 events will include a flagship family day for 30,000 people in the grounds of Farmleigh Estate in Dublin’s Phoenix Park on May 29.
UNWTO called for the lifting of unnecessary flight bans on travel for tourists.
Loisaba Tented Camp opened in Kenya with views to the Laikipia Plains, part of the Elewana Collection.
Jamaica opened a US$700m highway which reduces travel times from Kingston to the north coast town of Ocho Rios by 30 minutes.
Commuters in Heuston Station were greeted by Scottish porridge, traditional Scottish music and two Scottish Shetland ponies as part of a Vistscotland promotion Watch here.
Turkey‘s minister for European Union affairs has said he is losing hope of getting a deal on visa-free travel for Turks within Europe.
Food and Wine
37 Dawson Street will open a pop-up bar at the Irish Open.
- The Airports Council International Europe Regional Airports Conference will be held in Cork in May 2017.
- Cork Airport was shortlisted for the Airports Council International EUROPE Best Airport Awards 2016.
- A survey by London City airport found that 25pc of Irish passengers have had an item confiscated at the airport, items included dog shampoo, John West tuna, £40,000 cash, and fluffy handcuffs.
- CityJet was named as sponsors of London GAA.
- April 2016 state airport figures show Dublin up 9.4pc, with an average of 568 daily movements, Cork up 11.3pc, with an average of 55 daily movements and Shannon up 2.3pc, with an average of 50 daily movements.
- Shannon expects 2,500 to take part in its Runway Night Run on Friday June 17.
- Carnival’s Valor emerged from a 16-day dry dock, fitted with new bars and restaurants.
- Reports this week of a norovirus outbreak on board Fred.Olsen’s Balmoral.
- Carnival Vista will offer the Seafood Shack, inspired by roadside seafood throughout New England.
- Lindblad will partner with the World Wildlife Fund through its acquisition of Natural Habitat.
- Seabourn expanded its partnership with Swarovki Optik, offering binoculars and spotting scopes on Sojourn, Odyssey and Encore.
260 MICE buyers met Irish hoteliers, conference organisers and meeting venues at Fáilte Ireland’s Meet Dublin in London event. It took place on the Silver Sturgeon board on the Thames and was hosted by former Westlife singer Brian McFadden.
Seven American travel agents representing tour operators Ambercombie & Kent and Ker & Downey visited Ireland this week to sample the Wild Atlantic Way, Ireland’s Ancient East and Dublin—A Breath of Fresh Air. They group was hosted by Fáilte Ireland and Tourism Ireland. Picture shows the group at Hayfield Manor Hotel ahead of a networking event.
Travel media from Germany, Spain and the US visited Ireland this week to see the Burren and West Waterford. Their trip was organised by Fáilte Ireland in conjunction with Tourism Ireland.
A new headline sponsor was announced for the Rose of Tralee.
Picture shows Stephen Teeling, Danny Joyce, Ken McCabe, Stephen Gallagher and John McCarron as the Aviators celebrate the release of their new Single Cask with Teeling Whiskey and Dublin Airport.
National Museum of Ireland Castlebar expects 30,000 to attend Féile na Tuaithe on Saturday and Sunday May 21-22 from 12 noon to 5pm. Entry and car parking are free of charge
Eoghan O’Mara Walsh of ITIC interviewed Neville Isdell, Down-born former CEO of Coca Cola, and the man behind EPIC Ireland. Watch here.
Doolin Folk Festival headliners on June 10-12 will include The Hothouse Flowers, Jerry Fish, Finbar Furey, Dervish and Luka Bloom.
Dingle Gaeltacht is hosting Ireland’s first ever Mindfulness Festival in Cloghane under Mount Brandon on May 20-22.
Lowcostbeds offers, based on 7 nights 2 sharing, depart May 27: 3* Las Terrazas del Puerto, Lanzarote from €13.50pppn. 3* Caribe, Playa de las Americas, Tenerife from €18pppn. 3* Caleta de Fuste, Puerto Caleta, Fuerteventura from €14pppn. See lowcostbeds.com.
Sunway offers: 7 nights B&B Ulisse de Luxe, Sorrento from €699pp, depart June 11. 7 nights B&B 2* Greco Residential, Madeira from €349pp, depart May 19. 7 nights B&B 3* Dorisol Florisol Hotel, Madeira from €399pp, depart May 19. 7 nights B&B 4* Eden Mar Suite Hotel, Madeira from €679pp, depart May 19. 7 nights B&B 5* Pestana Carlton Hotel, Madeira from €659pp, depart May 19. 7 nights B&B 3* San Fermin Hotel, Costa del Sol from €599pp, depart Cork June 25. 7 nights self catering 3* Timor Sol Apartments from €729pp, depart Cork June 25. 7 nights self catering 4* Vistamar Apartments from €649pp, depart Cork June 25. Visit sunway.ie or call 01 231 1800.
Stein Travel offers: 7 nights self catering Lanzarote Paradise from €539pp, travel July. 7 nights self catering Costa Mar Apartments, Lanzarote from €589pp, travel July. 7 nights B&B 5* Volcan Lanzarote from €799pp, travel July. Visit steintravel.ie or call 01 517 5990.
Falcon offers: 7 nights B&B 3* Marvel Hotel, Sunny Beach, Bulgaria from €329pp, depart May 23. 7 nights self catering 3* Kavos Plaza, Corfu from €339pps, depart May 20. 7 nights self catering 2* Stefania Apartments, Stalis, Crete from €379pps, depart May 22. 7 nights all inclusive 3* Catalonia Punta Del Rey, Las Caletillas, Tenerife from €599pps, depart May 20. 7 nights self catering 2* Rosamar Apartments, Puerto del Carmen, Lanzarote from €529pps, depart Shannon June 20. 7 nights all inclusive 3* Globales Santa Ponsa Park, Majorca from €499pps, depart June 18. 14 nights all inclusive 3* Holiday Inn Montego Bay, Jamaica from €1,049pps, depart June 12. 14 nights all inclusive 3* Royal Decameron Club Runaway Bay, Jamaica from €1,459pps, depart June 19. 14 nights all inclusive 4* Catalonia RIviera Maya, Mexico from €1,789pps, depart July 11. Visit falconholidays.ie or call 1850 45 35 45.
Thomson offers: 14 nights all inclusive Riu Negril, Jamaica from €1,299pps, depart June 12. 14 nights all inclusive Riu Ocho Rios, Jamaica from €1,299pps, depart June 19. 7 nights self catering 2* Gran Amadores, Gran Canaria from 2379pps, depart May 19. 7 nights self catering 3* Zante Atlantis, Laganas from €429pps, depart May 24. 7 nights B&B 4* Hesperia Lanzarote Puerto Calero from €559pps, depart June 16. 7 nights half board 2* Hotel Riomar Santa Eulalia, Ibiza form €589pps, depart May 26. 7 nights half board 3* Talayot Hotel Cala Millor, Majorca from €739pp, depart May 31. 7 nights B&B Hesperia Hotel, Puerto Calero, Lanzarote from €539pps, depart June 13. 7 nights half board 3* Belvedere Hotel Salou from €659pps, depart Knock July 26. Visit thomsonholidays.ie or call 1850 45 35 45.
Royal Caribbean offers: 7 nights Arabian Gulf cruise on board Vision of the Seas from €1,239pp, depart December 12. 12 nights Mediterranean and Greek Isles cruise on board Brillian of the Seas from €1,239pp, depart September 23. 7 nights France and Spain cruise on board Navigator of the Seas from €1,389pp, depart October 15. Visit royalcaribbean.ie or call 1800 555 604.
Click and Go offers: 3 nights 5* Silken Puerta America Hotel, Madrid from €289pp incl. return flights, taxes and charges, travel in June. 7 nights B&B 4* Hotel do Mar, Sesimbra, Costa Azul from €319pp incl. return flights, airport transfers, taxes and charges, travel in October. 7 nights B&B 5* The Volcan Lanzarote Hotel, Playa Blanca from €599pp incl. return flights, airport transfers, taxes and charges, travel in December. 7 nights half board 4* Kornati Hotel, Zadar Coast, Croatia from €499pp incl. return flights, airport transfers, taxes and charges, travel in September. Visit clickandgo.com or call 01 539 7777.
ITAA offers: 10 days Mediterranean cruise on board Oceania Marina from €1,819pps incl. four shore excursions, house beverage package, $400 onboard credit. 8 nights Mexico food holiday from €2,649pp incl. tour guide, 4 breakfasts, 3 lunches and 3 dinners, depart November 26. 12 days full board Vietnam food tour from €3,289pp incl. flights. Travel September and October.
Topflight offers: 7 nights B&B 5* Hotel Tivoli Victoria, Vilamoura, the Algarve from €699pps, depart May 21. 7 nights self catering 4* Vila Petra Aparthotel, Albufeira, the Algarve from €396pps, depart May 28. 7 nights B&B 4* Vila Gale Marina, Vilamoura, the Algarve from €729pps, depart June 18. 7 nights half board 4* Barcelo Lanzarote Resort from €469pp, depart May 21. 7 nights half board 4* VIK Hotel San Antonio, Puerto del Carmen from €649pp, depart May 28. 7 nights self catering 2* Jable Bermudas Apartments, Puerto del Carmen from €549pp, depart July 23. 7 nights self catering 4* Bella Italia, Peschiera, Lake Garda from €399pps, depart May 21. 7 nights half board 4* Hotel Sporting Baia, Sicily from €599pps, depart June 4. 7 nights B&B 4* Hotel Ariston, Giardini Naxo, Sicil from €909pps, depart August 13. 7 nights B&B 4* Jardins D’Ajuda Suite, Funchal, Madeira from €449pps, depart May 26. 7 nights B&B 5* Pestana Casino Park, Funchal, Madeira from €699pps, depart June 2. Visit topflight.ie or call 01 240 1700.
See travelextra.tv for more video.
Upcoming events of interest to the trade
- May 17 Lowcostbeds, Amadeus, Blue Insurance, Classic Collection, MSC and SAS training day, Cork
- May 19-20 CLIA, Southampton
- May 15-19 ATE, Gold Coast
- May 19-22 Irish Open, Straffan
- May 22-26 Meetings & Incentive Forum, Scottsdale
- May 24 Lowcostbeds, Amadeus, Blue Insurance, Classic Collection, MSC and SAS training day, Waterford
- June 1-3 IATA world congress, Dublin
- June 1-4 ILA Berlin Air show
- June 8-10 TTM Plus, Bangkok
- June 9 Thomson Discovery launch
- June 14 Skal function, Merrion Hotel
- June 18-22 IPW (Pow Wow), New Orleans
- June 28-July 2 Meetings & Incentive Forum, Madrid
- July 11-17 Farnborough Air show
- July 12 Skal evening function, Gibson Hotel
- July 17 Foynes Air Show
- Aug 10 Sunway’s 50th Trade birthday party, details TBA
- Sept 3-4 Air Waves, Portrush
- Sept 6-8 Seatrade Europe, Santa Cruz de Tenerife
- Sept 14-16 Travelmart Latin America, Iguassu Falls, Brazil
- Sept 7-9, PATA Travel Mart, Jakarta
- Sept 29-Oct 2 Top Resa, Paris
- Sept 10-13 FITA, Santa Cruz
- Sept 19-22, Adventure Travel World Summit, Anchorage
- Sept 25-27 World Routes, Chengdu
- Sept 26-30 Meetings & Incentive Forum, Madrid
- Oct 11 Skal function, Herbert Park Hotel
- Oct 15 NI Travel Trade Awards, Newcastle, Co Down
- Oct 29-Nov 1 Skål World Congress, Monaco,
- Nov 7-9 WTM London
- Nov 8 Skal tour of Guinness Storehouse
- Nov 10 Scottish Travel Trade Awards,
- Nov 19-21 CLIA rivercruise conference, Amsterdam
- Nov 25 ITTN Awards
- Nov 29-Dec 1 IBTM World, Barcelona
- Dec 13 Skal president’s lunch
- Jan 20-22 2017 Holiday World. Titanic Exhibition Centre, Belfast
- Jan 25 2017 Irish Travel Industry Awards, Mansion House, Dublin
- Jan 27-29 2017 Holiday World, RDS Simmonscourt, Dublin
- February 19-20 2017 Holiday Show in Association with Shannon Airport UL Limerick
- 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 editions of Travel Extra’s Sunday supplement
May 2016: Canada issue
April 2016: Cruise issue
March 2016: Awards issue
February 2016: Holiday World issue
December/January 2015/16: Bridal issue
November 2015: Winter cruise issue
October 2015: Ski issue
September 2015: Accommodation issue
July/August 2015: Wintersun issue
June 2015: USA issue