TRAVEL Extra’s Sunday Supplement: January 15 2017

Lufthansa CEO Carsten Spohr speaking at Lufthansa Digital Forum in Frankfurt, January 10 2016

HEADLINES – AVIATION – AFLOAT – DEALWATCH – FOOD & WINE – HOTELS – INTERNATIONAL – IRELAND – STRANGE WORLD – TRAVEL TRADE

Things to know about travel this week

  • Ryanair unlikely to be caught after finishing 7m ahead of Lufthansa
  • Ryanair feeding Aer Lingus out of Dublin is a step closer
  • Dublin hits 1.2m connecting passengers and 17.9m total
  • Lufthansa promises airborne wifi as fast as your living room
  • Cork airport back in growth after 7 years of decline
  • Belfast looks to record passenger numbers in 2017
  • Celebrity cruises honour Oasis, Travel Counsellors & Worldchoice
  • How Aer Lingus is the Norwegian of IAG Group
  • Meet the shortlisted agents for the Irish Travel Industry Awards

Travel Extra TV

  • screen-shot-2017-01-14-at-11-51-26Video of the week: Some breathtaking drone footage of Hübschhorn East ridge, Simplon pass in Switzerland. Watch here.
  • This chap in Alaska decided to go ice skating…with a chainsaw to pull him along. Watch here.
  • Heathrow Airport posted a behind-the-scenes video of its adorable teddy bear Christmas ad. Watch here.
  • 8 unique things you’ll only find in Ireland, as told by Tourism Ireland. Watch here.
  • Tourism NI looked back on the Year of Food and Drink. Watch here.
  • The Irish Travel Industry Awards take place in two week’s time. Meet the shortlisted agents and suppliers representatives here.

 

Behind the Headlines

While the first week in January was a big enquiries week, this week the bookings were flowing. Feedback from agents is that people are shopping around and taking a couple of days to confirm. It seems price is paramount, and value for money is high on customers’ agenda. Falcon say the collective of the two weeks is much the same as last year, but the first week was affected by the way Christmas fell. They experienced strong booking on the two Fridays and Saturdays in January having had a stronger than usual pre-Christmas. “It is interesting to see adults coming back into the early bookings market,” Charlotte Brenner says, “it is a sign of consumer confidence.” Rebecca Kelly of MSC says she is seeing an increase in balcony cabins being booked. ‘With the get it all promo when they upgrade to balcony for €150 they get free drinks package worth €185 free wifi and onboard spend. Last week we hit record numbers, 47pc up on last year this week. We have seen these numbers continue with Tuesday being our busiest day.”

The silver anniversary Belfast Telegraph Holiday World takes place Friday next, January 20 to Sunday, January 22 at Titanic Exhibition Centre on Queen’s Road in Titanic Quarter, close to Titanic Belfast and just opposite the Titanic Studios where the global hit fantasy series Game of Thrones is filmed. The exhibition will be open from 1pm to 6pm on Friday, January 20, from 11am to 5:30pm on Saturday, Jan 21 and from 11am to 5.30pm on Sunday, Jan 22. Admission is £5 for adults; £4 for Senior Citizens and £3 for Students. A special family ticket gives admission for two adults and up to four children for £10.

The roll call of leading airlines filing their 2016 performances this week is beginning to look like the voting for a 1990s Eurovision Song contest, with Michael O’Leary playing the role of Johnny Logan of aviation. All but one of the major carriers has sent in their report card, (we are still waiting on the Moscow jury) but Ryanair is a winner by 7m ahead of the Lufthansa group, a wider margin than anyone, including Travel Extra, anticipated. The lead over the Lufthansa group means that even as Lufthansa gobbles up another 8m passengers carried by Brussels Airways, they are not going to catch O’Leary and the upstarts from Swords in 2017. As for the real Johnny Logan, he is looking hale and hearty having shared a recent flight to Munich with Travel Extra.

Terence Brannigan chair of tourism NI

It was brave and it was expensive, like going to a high-class restaurant where nobody is sure whether the temperamental chef will be in a bad mood. But it seems to have worked. A celebratory event in the Ulster museum last Wednesday to complete the year of Northern Ireland’s year food and drink was a more low-key affair than it should have been. The first Minister and former Deputy First Minister, who had shared a table last year in the Ulster Hall, were both absent (presumably, they had other things on their minds).

There was some palpable frostiness among the invited civil servants but generally everyone settled down for Born and Braised, the North’s new signature dish, as nominated by four chefs, in the beautiful museum ambience surrounded by art works. The chair and CEO Chair of tourism NI Terence Brannigan (watch here) outlined how the local population had felt that their food and drink compared unfavourably to the rest of Ireland and the neighbouring island but that had been changed by the events of the past year. CEO of tourism NI John McGrillen (watch here) reflected on what had been achieved with very limited resources. The confidence of local tourism stakeholders in the culinary offering which came from a very low base seems to have been boosted. Picture shows Terence Brannigan speaking at the event and Gerry Lennon of Visit Belfast and John McGrillen CEO of TourismNI. See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.

WIFI in the sky as fast as in your living room. That is the bold promise Lufthansa CEO Carsten Spohr delivered to invited media, including Travel Extra, at the airline’s digital forum on Wednesday. Snow had fallen in Frankfurt and at one stage it looked like the aircraft which had been assigned for an on-board demonstration might be grounded in Paris. All was saved on the day and 80 leading aviation writers were taken on a flight and on board press conference with links to the ground, and everyone breathed a sigh of relief as they headed back to the far-flung destinations that included Los Angeles, Cape Town, Singapore and Straffan. Carsten had come straight from what he described as an upbeat boardroom meeting where Lufthansa’s sluggish 1.8pc growth in 2016 was considered and he said he views 2017 with a “positive spirit.” Michael O’Leary has now overtaken Carsten’s entire group as Europe’s most loved airline. “I have no secrets from Michael O’Leary,” Carsten joked with Travel Extra.

  • Watch here Carsten Spohr speaking at the Lufthansa Digital Forum about the gap between the airline’s digital strategy and how younger passengers are happier to share data.
  • Watch here Stefan Kapactsis explain Lufthansa’s baggage tagging and baggage tracing system.
  • Watch here David Doyle of the Lufthansa digital team talking about how passengers are tracked through the airport and flagged with enhancements like lounge offers.

Ryanair is, for the first time, Europe’s largest airline with a clear lead of 7m passengers ahead of the Lufthansa group (109.7m), IAG (100.7m), Air France/KLM (93.4m) and EasyJjet (74.5m). Worldwide, only American Airlines with 135,060,779 passengers, Delta with 123,713,175, and Southern with 124,719,765 are the only airlines that carried more passengers than Ryanair in 2016. China Southern flew 105.1m passengers up to November. Ryanair have grown by 188pc over ten years and 46.7pc over five years, their impressive ten year growth is dwarfed by Norwegian’s 474.5pc and Turkish’s 394.3pc, their five year growth by IAG’s acquisitions driven 84.4pc, Norwegian’s 65.5pc and Turkish’s 61pc.

Aer Lingus has signed an agreement with Ryanair on North Atlantic Transfer feed, Stephen Kavanagh told the Royal Aeronautical Society lecture in Wynn’s Hotel on Wednesday. He said cargo makes an important contribution to long-haul and revenue is exceeding capacity growth. “In 2001 Aer Lingus had 90pc market share on transatlantic ex Dublin, today it’s 55pc market share. The goal is to claw back market share.”  He said short-haul grew 16pc in 2016. Aer Lingus has increased load factor on short-haul from 80pc to 83pc but must close the gap with Ryanair on short haul load factor, which drives retail sales. Aer Lingus is adding 500,000 short-haul seats in summer 2017 by redeploying A320 capacity from Belfast City and possible wet leases to add capacity from Dublin, aiming to increase short haul market share to 35-40pc as against Ryanair’s 40-45pc. He questioned the timing of Dublin airport’s new runway and saw no requirement for it for six years. He sees no business case for Airbus A330Neo or Airbus A350-900. Amongst the takeaways from the event is his comment that: “we are seen as the Norwegian of the IAG Group”.

Travel Trade

Dave Hayeem of Trailfinders

Readers of the Irish Independent readers selected Trailfinders as travel agent of the year, while Limerick Travel, Fahy Travel in Galway, Manning Travel in Kilkenny, Lee Travel in Cork, Mackin Travel in Wexford and Strand Travel in Waterford mentioned as getting ‘multiple votes’. Reader’s choice as overseas destination was Spain and favourite airline was Aer Lingus.

Celebrity Cruises honoured their top performing agentsWorldchoice won the consortium award, Travel Counsellors the agency award and Sandra Corkin’s Oasis Travel the top perforrning agency in the North

Belinda Vasquez, Head of Tui Ireland

Belinda Vasquez, Head of Tui Ireland

Belinda Vazquez has been appointed as Head of Ireland for Falcon, Thomson & Crystal, where she will assume responsibility for the management of the TUI business in Ireland. She was formerly Head of Ancillaries & Commercial Business Development for TUI Britain & Ireland. Chris Logan is new MD of Crystal Ski and Thomson Lakes and Mountains in Britain.

Falcon have increased their deposit for winter 2017 to €150 for short and mid haul and €300 for long haul. The  low deposit is €75 and €300 for families. Falcon have introduced a third party flying system allowing agents to book Aer Lingus flights with their browser.

Clem Walshe relaunched his localmarketing.ie service.

Ross Waters from Tour America is the December finalist in the competition to win a Polo Magnifico run by Blue Insurances and follows previous finalists Angela Taylor from Oasis TravelHelena Kilduff from Skytours, Rose Kane from Kanes Travel in Longford, Claire Mulligan from Clubworld Travel, Mandy Walsh of Travel Counsellors, Rita Gaughan from Limerick Travel, Kate McGillycuddy from Abbey Travel in Killarney, and Nicola Quigley from O’Hanrahan Travel. The 12 monthly winners and bonus winner get an iPad Mini and compete in the grand finale in April 2017 in Dublin. WebsiteWatch here interview with Ciaran Mulligan of Blue Insurances.

  • Travel Counsellors launched a video piece with Gearoid Mannion speaking of how he closed his family travel agency and joined Travel Counsellors, the first of a series. Watch here. Wednesday was the busiest day for Travel Counsellors in Ireland (€200,000 and €2.6m globally) with another big day expected yesterday.
  • The boss of tour operator All Leisure navigated a £5m deal to buy the only profitable part of its cruise arm before the company collapsed.

Strange world

Further to the Fort Lauderdale shoot-out in the gunshine state as Canadian travel writer David Tait called it, last year was a record year for gun seizures at US airports. Atlanta came top of the gun seizure league with 198.

  • Conwy in Wales is for the birds–  a problem with gangs of unruly seagulls is being dealt with by the Lord of the Wings and his harris hawk Jack. Harris hawks were also used in Dartmouth for a seagull problem so bad that the birds were apparently eating dogs. 
  • Jack’s services may be needed elsewhere– a plane destined for Tenerife ended up instead in Gatwick, forced to make an emergency landing after a seagull flew into the engine.
  • Edreams commissioned a survey of 2,000 UK travellers which found that 39pc of respondents believe overweight passengers should have lower luggage allowances.
  • Air steward Adrian Thomas on a Kulalu flight from Durban to Cape Town had passengers in stitches with their in-flight announcement. Watch here.
  • Driverless shuttle buses capable of holding up to 12 people, the first in the US, are being tested in Las Vegas.
  • Passengers who launched into a violent brawl during a flight to London caused an emergency landing.
  • From the London Independenton the usual track to Dublin, aircraft fly over Ginis roughly at the time when a lot of passengers on board are anticipating their first pint of stout.
  • Fans are mourning a giant sequoia in California that’s famous for a drive-through hole carved into its trunk in the 1880s, after a massive storm toppled the mighty tree. It’s thought that the tunnel weakened the tree and contributed to its fall. The tree is estimated at over 1,000 years old, meaning that it sprouted in the Middle Ages.
  • Airport users lost 25,000 items in the aftermath of last week’s Florida airport shooting.
  • Air India is reserving seats specifically for women travelling alone, at no extra charge and they may be the first known airline to do so.

International

Skiers celebrated the arrival of lots of snow, the heaviest in the French Alps in the Chamonix area.  Some resorts in France and Switzerland had been bereft of a downfall for more than 50 days, in Austria 30cm fell towards the Gastein region and Hemsedal, Lillehammer, Trysil and Are just a few of them. Excellent conditions both on and off piste in the major Swedish and Norwegian resorts, Andorra and the rest of the Pyrenees in the USA. Colorado received around 20cm, and at Utah there was between 25-40cm. The Lake Tahoe area has experienced its snowiest January in 45 years. Club Med unveiled its new ski-in, ski-out 400-plus-room room, Grand Massif Samoens.

  • Paris’s mayor unveiled new plans to permanently pedestrianise the city centre.
  • Spanish Tourist Board preliminary figures suggest 1,8742,615 Irish visited Spain in 2016, up by 22.7pc. Overall visits to Spain were up 9pc to 77m. Ireland is now Spain’s ninth most important market.
  • Traders in the Harbour Street Craft Market, Montego Bay in Jamaica have been receiving business training on what types of products tourists are looking for, how to approach tourists effectively, sales techniques, and tips for running a profitable business
  • Uber rival Lyft lost $600m as revenues jumped 250pc.
  • Los Angeles received 47.3m visitors in 2016, surpassing mid-year forecasts and breaking visitation records for the sixth consecutive year.
  • The US Supreme Court won’t hear an appeal from a company that wants to offer flight-sharing services using a model similar to Uber. The justices on Monday left in place a lower court ruling that said Boston-based Flytenow could not operate a website that connected private pilots with passengers willing to share fuel costs and other flight expenses.
  • Europe’s first underwater museum opens off Lanzarote.

Food & Beverage

Pamela Byrne CEO of the Food Safety Authority of Ireland

The Food Safety Authority of Ireland served five Enforcement Orders in December: A Chef Kebab Foodstall at Daltons Pub car park in Fuerty Co Roscommon and  Day to Day retailer in Dun Laoghaire, Palak Restaurant in Tuam and Ali Baba in Rathkeale were served with closure orders, and T/A I&A Organic Gardening and Catering in Shandon was served with a prohibition order. Prosecutions were carried out by the HSE in relation to The Palace public house in Navan, and Largo Foods in Ashboune.

  • Dublin City Council heard 10 recommendations to help boost the city’s cafe and restaurants including cutting the costs of tables-and-chairs licences; exempting benches from street-furniture licences; and increasing the Garda presence.
  • A report for Bord Bia reported that the Irish drinks industry is worth €1.4bn in term of agri-food and drinks exports and beverage exports increased by 4pc in 2016, with whiskey driving the growth.
  • Voting opened in the Restaurants Association of Ireland awards. Nominations can be made online until 12 noon, Wednesday 25th of January
  • Breakfast winner in the Irish Independent reader’s choice awards was Castlewood House in Dingle. The best food experience MacNean Restaurant, Blacklion. Martin Corbett, co-owner and former host of Dublin’s Chapter One restaurant, was named the Face of Irish Hospitality.
  • Old Jameson Distillery in Smithfield, Dublin, will officially reopen in March 2017 after an €11m refurbishment.
  • Just Eat celebrated its 1,900 restaurant partner and said it is to refresh its brand to encourage consumers “to make new choices and explore its range of over 30 cuisine types.”
  • John O’Connell’s West Cork Distillers, producer of Kennedy and Drombeg whiskeys and Two Trees vodka and gin, opened a €2.5m, 70,000 sq ft facility in Skibbereen.
  • Sliabh Liag distillery received planning permission to build its new distillery in South West Donegal. It has launched the first of four spirit brands, The Silkie. There 16 distilleries already in production and a further 13 in planning in 18 counties across Ireland, up from four distilleries in 2013.
  • O’Hara’s Brewery launched Styrian Wolf single hop IPA.
  • Airbnb’s restaurant booking app Resy completed a $13m round of funding for a partnership that will allow users to book restaurant tables through Airbnb.

Hotels

Joe Dolan president of the IHF

The Hotel Federation’s Q4 barometer suggests 91pc of hoteliers saw business increase in 2016, 41pc say they will hire more staff, 89pc will refurbish and 66pc will increase spend on marketing, 92pc are concerned about  Brexit,18pc say bookings from the North are down and 30pc report a drop in bookings from England.

  • Dean hotel owners Paddy McKillen jnr and Matt Ryan received permission for a €10m six-storey, 60-bedroom hotel on Dublin’s North Wall Quay with a rooftop bar and restaurant, ground floor bar and restaurant, coffee and shop and terrace. They received permission to restore the 81 North Wall Quay building back into its previous use as a pub. A separate boutique hotel in Ranelagh will begin construction within three months and plan to open the hotel by the end of 2018.
  • Best Western launched SureStay, a new white label franchise model to the hotel industry in Ireland to operate under three brands, the premium economy SureStay Hotel, lower mid-scale SureStay Plus  and mid-scale soft-brand SureStay Signature Collection.
  • Plans were revealed for another hotel with five storeys and 100 bedrooms hotel to be built beside the Carlton hotel at Dublin Airport.
  • EasyHotel is to open an 81-bedroom hotel above Michael Deane’s Eipic restaurant in Belfast.
  • Glen Dimplex CEO Fergal Naughton invested €1m in the Park Hotel Kenmare.
  • Best hotel in the Irish Independent reader’s choice awards was Cliff House, Ardmore, Family friendly hotel winner was Kelly’s of Rosslare, Best spa was Monart in Enniscorthy.
  • Locke Aparthotels group purchased Zanzibar hotel on Dublin’s Ormond Quay for €10m and plan to spend €45m on 100 new bedrooms at the property.
  • Killarney’s 3-star Gleneagle Hotel and Ireland’s National Event Centre increased turnover by 6pc in 2016 and operating profit to €1.05m as it saw turnover increase by 6pc in 2015.

Aviation

Brussels Airlines is to wet lease three Cityjet SSJ100 Superjets from April 17 on 2-year contract.

All but two Irish airports have now reported figures for 2016, with Shannon’s numbers due next week. Dublin reported a record 27,907,230 passengers, up 11pc (although 600,000 transfer passengers were double counted), Belfast grew by 15pc to 5.15m in 2016,  Belfast City reported 2.67m, down marginally on 2015, Cork grew by 8pc to 2.23m ending seven years of decline, Knock was up 7.3pc to a record 734,031.

  • Finnair is to increase its Helsinki service from Dublin to 9w from March 27.
  • Minister Shane Ross was asked by Dublin Chamber to expedite the Metro North project.
  • Ryanair’s app is the most downloaded travel app in Europe with 17m. Ryanair launched 200 new routes in 2016, more than any other airline, and reached a deal to offer nine new routes at Stanted.
  • If you can’t stand the heat, get out of the kitchen. Catering is likely to be the next big industrial relations battleground at Aer Lingus after a change in long haul meal options turned into a union spat about a hot sandwich.
  • Heathrow reported 75,676,000 passengers in 2016, Manchester 35m, Stansted 24.3mLondon City said Dublin was its third most popular route thanks to competing Cityjet and BA services. It reported 4.5m passengers in 2016, up 5pc. Watch here interview with Declan Collier.
  • Aer Lingus moved Shannon-Heathrow to the earlier time of 7.30am from March 26.
  • Norwegian Air promised $69 one way introductory flights from Stewart Airport (60 miles North of Manhattan) to Cork. Travellers from New York can take Metro North to Beacon station and then take Leprechaun Bus Lines to the airport. Stewart, from where Norwegian will launch an Edinburgh service this summer, is near the heavily Irish American areas such as Orange County, Pearl River, Rye and Westchester. Norwegian Air says its round-trip to Ireland is the cheapest ever offered .US labour unions called on President Barack Obama to halt Norwegian’s Cork flights planRyanair said only technicalities remain in its deal to feed Norwegian long-haul flights.
  • Aer Lingus is laying on special flights for Wales v Ireland soccer world cup qualifier on March 24.
  • Aer Lingus Regional’s Donegal services carried 25pc more people in 2016, 40,000 passengers flew from Donegal to Dublin and Glasgow.
  • Moodie Davitt is to issue a special publication to mark 70 years of duty free and travel retail, the first Duty Free was sold at Shannon Airport in 1947.
  • The IAA reported Ireland’s air traffic grew 8pc in 2016.
  • Ryanair consolidated its position as Spain’s biggest airline with 15pc market share and 34.67m passengers, ahead of Vueling (22.6m) and Iberia (13.6m).
  • There were calls to prioritise the road to Shannon Airport for upgrade works.
  • Permission was granted for a VIP terminal extension at Belfast International.
  • SHZ Aviation and Perilune Group sold nine 2013 and 2014 vintage A319s to an Irish lessor.
  • Sukhoi repaired six of 11 Interjet Superjet 100s that had stabiliser defects.
  • Stobart revived the €14m buyout of a 33pc stake in  Propius leasing firm that supplies its planes despite a wider plan to merge with CityJet being scrapped.
  • The last United Airlines flight from Belfast to Newark departed, while Aldergrove chief Graham Keddle said he was in negotiations with Norwegian and two other airlines to resume trans-Atlantic services.
  • Swiss plans the first revenue flight on a Bombardier CSeries CS300 on October 9.
  • Air Canada Rouge confirmed Dublin-Vancouver for summer 2017 will be 3w as last year and not 4w.
  • Aer Lingus is standing by the controversial AerClub changes despite twitter storm. Stephen Kavanagh said: “Gold Circle was long past its sell-by date. It was neither driving nor rewarding loyalty. It was poorly administered and it wasn’t offering anything of real value. My job is not to keep everybody happy. My job is to reward those customers that actually deliver margin.”
  • JetBlue became the first airline to offer free in-flight Wi-Fi for all passengers on every flight.
  • Apollo Aviation’s assets grew 42pc to $3.5bn
  • Avolon profits soared before $7.6bn sale to a Chinese corporation.
  • Stormont infrastructure minister Chris Hazzard joined calls for an end to the seat sales limit at Belfast City Airport
  • Avolon appointed three new independent directors
  • With Sydney from €849, Qatar fired the first salvo as it prepared to enter the Irish market.
  • And the Lord said go forth and multiply, Dublin Airport slipped to fourth place in the ACI growth league of European airports having led for most fo 2016, due to a spurt of growth in Moscow and Paris Orly. A bit like Eamonn Coghlan.

Afloat

Cruise line winner in the Irish Independent reader’s choice awards was Royal Caribbean.

  • Authorities suspended shipping on the Danube due to dangerous floating ice.
  • Seabourn Encore was named by soprano Sarah Brightman in a ceremony in Singapore.
  • Crystal River Cruises began construction on luxury river vessels Crystal Debussy and Crystal Ravel.
  • Cunard increased specialty dining charges on its three ships, Verandah on Queen Mary 2 and Queen Victoria up from $35 to $49.95, Verandah on Queen Elizabeth up from $15 to $25 for lunch and from $24 to $35 for dinner, Kings Court on Queen Mary 2 and Lido on Queen Victoria up from $15 to $17.50, Lido on Queen Elizabeth up from $10 to $17.50.

Ireland

Ireland was ranked 9th overall and third in Europe in Rough Guide readers 2017 destination list.

National Museum Collins Barracks reported a massive 41pc increase to 411,391 in 2016 largely as a result fo the 1916 centenary exhibition. The four National Museumsof Ireland handled a total of 1,315,776 visitors in 2016, up 10pc on 2015, with Kildare Street up 2pc to 479,261, the National History Museum up 1pc to 317,269, and Turlough Park Country Life down 10pc to 107,855. The Book of Kells is now Ireland’s fifth most popular attraction with 890,000 visitors in 2016.

  • Taoiseach Enda Kenny was in Madrid this week and met joined Tourism Ireland Barbara Wood’s efforts to bost tourism to Ireland. Ireland will not be exhibiting at Fitur next week.
  • The Irish Independent readers choice awards named the Cliffs of Moher as Ireland’s best attraction ahead of The Guinness Storehouse, 3 The Ring of Kerry, 4 Giant’s Causeway, 5  The Wild Atlantic Way, 6 Aillwee Cave, Co Clare, 7 Glendalough, Co Wicklow, 8 Hook Head, Co Wexford, 9 Sliabh Liag, Co Donegal, 10 Dingle, Co Kerry. The top ten destinations were 1 Dingle, 2 Killarney, 3 Westport, 4 Ardmore, 5 Connemara, 6 Enniscrone, 7 Kenmare, 8 Achill Island, 9 Inchydoney, 10 Dunmore East. The place that should be better known was Donegal, best adventure was sea kayaking. And the best beaches:  Inchydoney Co Cork, Curracloe Co Wexford Inch Co Kerry, Enniscrone Co Sligo, Keel  Co Mayo, Lahinch Co Clare, Ballybunion Co Kerry, Brittas Bay Co Wicklow, Tramore Co Waterford, Barley Cove, Co Cork
  • Declan Lawn talked about his new BBC NI TV series Bus Wars about the rival companies vying for Belfast’s sight-seeing trade
  • An hourly train service between Derry and Belfast will come into operation later this year following the completion of a £42m upgrade.

Irish Travel Industry award shortlist

Both of MSC supplier representatatives in Ireland, Rebecca Kelly and Erica Oglesby, have been shortlisted for the Irish Travel industry awards.

The awards ceremony takes place in the round room of the Mansion House on January 26 2017.

The pair are up against Lee Osborne of Bookabed, Thomas McNally of Bedsonline and Martin Penrose of Ifonly for the coveted award. Rebecca Kelly is seeking four in a row, having won the award in 2014, 2015 and 2016. Lee Osborne won the award in 2013.

Best ITAA Leisure Travel Professional – Sponsored By: PortAventura World

  • Rachel Donnelly – Grenham Travel
  • Gemma Duffy – Hannon Travel Services
  • Georgina Kelly – The Travel Broker
  • Michelle McDonagh – Travalue by Navan Travel
  • Sandra Mooney – Cassidy Travel

  • Regina Curran – HRG Ireland
  • Louise Dunne/Karen Ray – The Travel Broker
  • Fiona Egan – Grogan Travel Worldchoice
  • Tara Fitzgibbon – Club Travel HRG
  • Niamh Gleeson – FCM Travel Solutions
  • Donna McGann – Hannon Travel Services

Most Innovative ITAA Member Marketing Campaign – Sponsored By: PortAventura World

  • ClickandGo.com
  • Club Travel
  • Dawson Travel/Travel Cheaper
  • Shandon Travel
  • Tour America
  • Travalue by Navan Travel
  • Travel Escapes

Best ITAA Corporate Travel Agency – Sponsored By: Amadeus

  • Atlas Travel
  • Carlson Wagonlit
  • Club Travel HRG
  • Corporate Travel Management
  • FCm Travel Solutions
  • Hannon Travel Services

ITAA Travel Agency of the Year (under 10 employees) – Sponsored By: Amadeus

  • Corrib Travel
  • Grenham Travel
  • Grogan Travel Worldwide
  • Hannon Travel Services
  • The Travel Broker
  • Travalue by Navan Travel

ITAA Travel Agency of the Year (over 10 employees) – Sponsored By: Amadeus

  • Best4Travel
  • Cassidy Travel
  • ClickandGo
  • Corporate Travel Management
  • Shandon Travel
  • Tour America

Irish Travel Industry Awards 2017 ITAA Supplier Finalists Are:

Air Travel Category – Sponsored By: Dublin Airport

Best Airline to Europe

  • Aer Lingus
  • KLM
  • Ryanair
  • SAS
  • Turkish Airlines

Best Business Class Airline to Europe

  • British Airways
  • KLM
  • Lufthansa
  • SAS
  • Turkish Airlines

Best Airline to North America

  • Aer Lingus
  • American Airlines
  • 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

  • Classic Collection
  • Concorde Travel
  • Falcon Holidays
  • Sunway
  • Topflight

Best Escorted Tour Operator

  • G Adventures
  • Insight Vacations
  • Riviera Travel
  • Sunway
  • Wendy Wu

Best Specialist Tour Operator

  • Classic Resorts
  • If Only
  • Sunway
  • Travel Focus
  • Wendy Wu

Best Ski Tour Operator

  • Club Med
  • Crystal Ski
  • Highlife
  • Topflight

Best Long Haul Operator

  • Classic Resorts
  • If Only
  • Sunway
  • Topflight
  • Travel Focus

Cruise & Ferry Category – Sponsored By: Turkish Airlines

Best General Cruise Company

  • Celebrity Cruises
  • Fred Olsen Cruise Company
  • MSC Cruises
  • Norwegian Cruise Line
  • Royal Caribbean International

Best Ultra Luxury Cruise Company

  • Azamara Club Cruises
  • Celebrity Cruises
  • Silversea Cruises

Best Specialist Cruise Company (including River)

  • Hurtigruten
  • Riviera Travel
  • Silversea Cruises
  • Uniworld River Cruises

Best Ferry Company

  • Brittany Ferries
  • Doolan 2 Aran Ferries
  • Irish Ferries
  • Stena Line

Agency Services Provider Category – Sponsored by: Riviera Travel

Best Technology Provider

  • Amadeus
  • Bookabed
  • Proactive Labs
  • Travelport
  • Zendesk

Best Car Hire Company

  • Affordable Car Hire
  • Alamo
  • Flexible Car Hire
  • Hertz
  • Your Car Hire

Best Travel Insurance Provider

  • Accident & General
  • AXA Insurance
  • Blue Insurance
  • Viasure
  • Worldwide Insurance

Best Tourist Board

  • Failte Ireland
  • Las Vegas
  • Portuguese Tourist Board
  • South African Tourism
  • Spanish Tourist Board

Best Supplier Support Team

  • Arrow Tours
  • Bookabed
  • MSC Cruises
  • Sunway
  • Travelport

Best Accommodation-Only Provider

  • Arrow Tours
  • Bedsonline
  • Bookabed
  • Globe Hotels
  • Hotelbeds

Best Supplier Representative

  • Rebecca Kelly – MSC Cruises
  • Thomas McNally – Bedsonline
  • Erica Oglesby – MSC Cruises
  • Lee Osborne – Bookabed
  • Martin Penrose – If Only

Destinations Category – Sponsored By: Aer Lingus

Best Worldwide City Destination

  • Boston
  • Dubai
  • Hong Kong
  • Las Vegas
  • New York

Best European City Destination

  • Barcelona
  • Krakow
  • Lisbon
  • Madrid
  • Rome

Best Ski Destination

  • Andorra
  • Austria
  • France
  • Italy
  • Switzerland

Best Summer Sun Destination

  • Italy
  • Greece
  • Portugal
  • Spain
  • Turkey

Best Winter Sun Destination

  • Dubai
  • Gran Canaria
  • Lanzarote
  • Morocco
  • Tenerife

Best Worldwide Theme Park

  • Disneyland Paris
  • PortAventura
  • Tayto Park
  • Universal Orlando Resort
  • Walt Disney World Resort

Best Worldwide Hotel Chain

  • Hilton
  • Marriott
  • Melia
  • Radisson Blu
  • RUI Hotels & Resorts

Deal Watch

Emirates’ January sale runs until January 23 for travel from March: Dubai from €399. Bangkok from €559. Kuala Lumpur business class form €2,049. Sydney from €929. Hong Kong from €489, business class €2,019.

Click and Go offers: 7 nights 4* Playaluna Hotel Aparthotel, Roquetas de Mar, Costa de Algeria from €299pp incl. return flights, airport transfers, taxes and charges, travel in May. 7 nights self catering 3* Salou Suites Aparthotel, Salou from €269pp incl. return flights, airport transfers, taxes and charges, travel May. 7 nights self catering 4* Sands Beach Resort Aparthotel, Lanzarote from €399pp incl. return flights, airport transfers, taxes and charges, travel March. 2 nights 4* Corendon Vitality Hotel Amsterdam from €199pp incl. return flights, airport taxes and charges, travel February. Visit clickandgo.com or call 01 539 7777.

Travel Department is offering 14 nights B&B in 3* hotel accommodation, California and the Golden West tour from €3,299pp incl. return flights, transfers, excursions, local guides, taxes and charges, depart September 22. Click here or call 01 637 1600.

thomson-deal-watchThomson offers: 7 nights half board SBH Crystal Beach, Costa Calma, Fuerteventura from €779pps, depart January 24. 4 nights half board Nerva Club Hotel, Nerja, Costa Del Sol from €439pps, depart January 29. 7 nights Island Explorer cruise on board Thomson Majesty from €759pps, depart February 3. 7 nights self catering Villa Mandi, Playa De Las Americas, Tenerife from €449pps, depart March 24. 7 nights self catering Jardin Atlantico, Playa Del Ingles, Gran Canaria from €459pps, depart March 25. 7 nights half board Melia Salinas, Costa Tequise, Lanzarote from €759pps, depart March 19. 7 nights self catering Protur Bahia Azul, Cala Bona, Majorca from €469pps, depart Cork May 30. 7 nights self catering SunClub Apartments, Cap de Salou, Costa Dorada from €479pps, depart Shannon May 19. 14 nights all inclusive ClubHotel Riu Ocho Rios, Jamaica from €1,779pps, depart June 15. 14 nights Riu Cancun, Mexico from €2,059pps, depart June 28. 7 nights self catering Ourania Apartments, Gouves, Crete from €2,599 2+3, depart August 19.

falcon-deal-watchFalcon offers: 7 nights all inclusive 3* Catalonia Punta Del Rey, Las Caletillas, Tenerife  from €499pps, depart March 3. 7 nights half board 3* Bali Hotel, Benalmedena, Costa Del Sol from €469pps, depart Cork January 22. 7 nights half board 3* Vistamar, Benalmedena, Costa Del Sol from €579pps, depart January 15. 7 nights all inclusive 3* Catalonia Punta Del Rey, Las Caletillas, Tenerife from €499pps, depart March 3. 7 nights self catering 2* Monte Feliz, Bahia Feliz, Gran Canaria from €379pps, depart March 4. 7 nights all inclusive 4* H10 Rubicon Palace, Playa Blanca, Lanzarote from €639pps, depart March 12. 7 nights self catering 2* Emerald Studios, Kremasti, Rhodes from €409pps, depart May 24. 7 nights B&B 3* Glarus Beach, Sunny Beach, Bulgaria from €439pps, depart May 29. 14 nights all inclusive 3* Holiday Inn, Montego Bay, Jamaica from €1,339pps, depart June 8.14 nights all inclusive 5* Grand Riviera Princess, Riviera Maya, Mexico from €1,789pps, depart June 21. 7 nights self catering 3* Pins Platja, Cambrils, Costa Dorada from €2,549 2+3, depart Knock July 25. NRG offer: 7 nights self catering 2* Trinity Hotel, Laganas, Zakynthos from €579pps, depart June 11. Visit falconholidays.ie or call 1850 45 35 45.

Sunway offers: 5 nights half board Arctic Highlights on board MS Nordkapp from €1,136pp incl. 2 nights post hotel stay in Tromso, depart February 25. 7 nights self catering 3* apartment, Fuerteventura from €429pp, travel January. 7 nights self catering 2* apartment, Gran Canaria from €429pp, travel January. 7 nights self catering 2* apartment, Lanzarote from €449pp, travel January. 7 nights B&B 3* hotel Morocco from €299pp. Visit sunway.ie or call 01 231 1800.

Tour America offers: 7 nights hotel accommodation Universal Cabana Bay from €599pp, depart May 11. 7 nights hotel accommodation Loews Sapphire Falls, Orlando from €659pp, depart May 18. 7 nights all inclusive Med cruise on board Royal Caribbean’s Freedom of the Seas from €1,359pp, depart May 14. 7 nights Caribbean cruise on board MSC Divina from €1,279pp incl. 1 night hotel stay in Miami, depart April 14. Visit touramerica.ie.

Insight Vacations is offering 10 days Germany from €2,009pps incl. flights, transfers and accommodation. Book by January 27, depart August 21. Visit insightvacations.com or call 01 775 3803.

Uniworld Boutique River Cruises is offering 8 days Danube river cruise on board the River Ambassador form €3,039pps incl. flights, airport transfers, meals, beverages and shore excursions. Book by February 28, depart August 8. Visit uniworld.com or call 01 775 3803.

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