TRAVEL Extra’s Sunday Supplement: ANOTHER Lowcostholidays scandal, €3.8m claims vs €79,243 bond

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

Ethiopian’s airbus painted green for St Patrick’s Day, pictured in Dubin airport/. Picture by Mike Kelly

  • 135 exhibitors at Travel Industry Trade Show next Wednesday
  • Lowcostholidays eats up compensation fund: €3.8m in claims, bond of €79,243 
  • Celebrity Epic finds unique solution for a tender problem
  • 278 greenings in 44 countries for St Patrick
  • Etihad host trade to celebrate return to double daily on April 1
  • Dublin-Naples among new winter routes from Ryanair 
  • Paula McIntyre is Ulster’s food hero
  • Dublin hotel prices spike to historic high for rugby/Patrick’s weekend
  • Trump travel ban inspires copycats
  • Willie Walsh enters the low-cost trans-Atlantic game from Barcelona
  • Ryanair boldly goes further east than ever before, to Ukraine.
  • Mount Etna eruption caught on camera
  • Dublin airport connectors up 81pc
  • April print edition of Travel Extra now available

Travel Extra TV

  • Some playful bottlenose dolphins put on a show for a film crew. Watch here.
  • This Westjet B737 seemed fairly close to the beach at St Maarten — but the airline disputed news reports that it nearly crash landed in the water. Watch here.
  • Fantastic shots from Kenya of a mother giraffe protecting her young from some naughty lions. Watch here
  • A Carnival cruise ship nearly ran over two jet skiers, Skylar Penpasuglia, 19, and Allison Garrett, 20, ear the mouth of the Port Canaveral watch here.
  • Some gentle points made by Enda Kenny in his meeting with Donald Trump: St Patrick was an immigrant. Watch here. Donald Trump’s full speech here.
  • BBC crew members were among 10 people injured when lava flow triggered an explosion as it came into contact with snow on Mount Etna in Sicily. Watch here.
  • Aer Lingus imagines a world without Irish people. Watch here.
  • See Tourism Ireland’s promo for the global greening. Watch here.
  • Irish dancing around ‘the world’ with Ryanair. Watch here.

Behind the Headlines

If ever anyone doubted that the vintage 1982 bonding system supposed to protect the Irish consumer was a farce, that changed with the news that the collapse of Lowcostholidays, which was bonded for just €79,243, had resulted in claims totalling €3.8m by 4,200 Irish customers. Cormac Meehan called on the government to review the legislation around bonding among travel providers in Ireland.  “The Lowcostholidays refunds will clear out 75pc of the Travellers’ Protection Fund. The ITAA have been pushing for a collective bond for years, among all travel agents, tour operators and airlines. We would also like to draw the Minister’s attention to the organisations, within the Irish travel sector, that are not bonded with CAR at all. This area must be reviewed immediately to ensure the protection of Irish consumers.”

There are 135 confirmed exhibitors for the Irish Travel Industry Trade Show which takes place in the RDS Hall 3, Main Hall Complex, Anglesea Rd, Ballsbridge, Dublin, next Wednesday, March 22nd, from 2pm. The exhibition space is booked out with Spain and Portugal very well represented. The prize list includes, from Qatar Airways, two economy class tickets from Dublin to anywhere on the Qatar Airways network via Doha; from American Airlines, two 2 economy class tickets; from Virgin Atlantic 2 tickets to any of their 26 worldwide destinations; from Sunway a European sun package holiday for two people; and from RIU, a week for 2 at any Classic or ClubHotel in Mexico or Jamaica. The lunch will be sponsored by Spanish Tourist Board and Paradores, the barbecue sponsored by Aer Lingus complete with an American style BBQ complementary drinks live band and a DJ, and Bradley International Airport and the Connecticut Office of Tourism events which will take place in the historic RDS Concert Hall & Library, drinks in the Portuguese Village. There will be free car parking for exhibitors and visitors. The show takes place in RDS Hall 3 and the entrance gate is located on Anglesea Road opposite The Herbert Park Hotel, the same gate as Leinster Rugby followers use. See here.

Details of the features on Celebrity Edge Class were revealed at events in Miami and other cities, including Dublin. Celebrity Edge, the first in class, is to launch in October 2018. While Mary McKenna and Sandra Corkin were among the cruise line’s guests in Miami, Lorraine Quinn of Celebrity Cruises hosted a group of agent-managers at Dylan McGrath‘s Fade Street Social, where she mirrored the announcements in Miami with a series of reveals, which include an imaginative  solution to that bane of cruise passengers’ lives, boarding a tender. Features include The 90-ton Magic Carpet, a movable deck about the size of a tennis court cantilevered off the side of the ship. Primary purpose of the movable deck is which can be moved down to Deck 2 to assist with disembarkation from the ship to the tender boats. It can then be moved up to Deck 16, to become a specialty restaurant. Picture shows Jo Rzymowska and Mary McKenna at the Miami event. Watch here interview with Lorraine Quinn about Celebrity Edge. See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.

Ryanair Holidays, the idea which has been revived with a new bed provider, Hapag Lloyd subsidiary HLX in Germany, poses another and potentially more seismic question for the bonding system. They do not have a tour operators license in Ireland (although Ryanair schools has a travel agents license), Ryanair’s position is that as a European Tour operator or PTR they are entitled to sell B2C in all European source markets if the domestic regulations are fulfilled. CAR is mandatory for package tour operators if they operate with an Ireland based company of if you want to sell through a Ireland based company or intermediary. It is likely, however, Ryanair will apply to CAR for an Irish license to cover all eventualities.

The April 2017 edition of Travel Extra will reach agencies tomorrow and wil be available at the Travel Industry Trade Show. Travel Extra‘s team of award winning travel writers and photographers are already trotting the globe preparing the May 2016 issue which wil be themed on Australia and Canada. See the print issue here

Travel Trade

Etihad, Tourism Australia and Virgin Australia hosted 75 agents at a table quiz in The Stone Leaf in Leeson St (yes, the former Buck Whalley’s). Rick Dunne from Tourism Australia gave the eight-minute guide to the vast sub-continent and announced that the Aussie specialist programme was now available to Irish agents, Shannon O’Dowd reminded agents that Etihad will return to double daily on April 1st and Michael Fletcher said that food is now free on Virgin Australia (as oppose to the Virgin Blue days) and drink is free on a Monday to Friday happy house during fights. Watch here interview with Rick Dunne about the Aussie specialist programme. Watch here interview with Michael Fletcher. The previous night Etihad hosted 47 agents in Cork. Picture shows the Etihad team of Shannon O’Dowd, Karen Maloney, Beatrice Cosgrove and Lisa Hammond. See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.

Philadelphia and American Holidays hosted travel trade and media at Chapter One to showcase American Airlines’ direct Dublin-Philadelphia service and the highlights of the city and district. Picture shows Greg Evans of Philadelphia with Fiona Noonan of American Airlines and Mark White of Philadelphia, who welcomed guests to the event. Brian Hynes of The Travel Corporation won the trade prize. See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.

Topflight’s first winners for places on their luxury Italian VIP trip to a secret fam trip destination were Oasis travel in Holywood and Barter Travel, Patrick Street, Cork. Winners for week 2 will be announced tomorrow Monday 20th March.

The Association of Women Travel Executives have founded an Ireland chapter. They have now formed a committee in Ireland, investing in a new website, networking events, development sessions and a network of members across the Globe since they opened international membership at the end of last year. Women in the travel, aviation or hotel industry can join with 50pc discount for their first annual membership as well as attend this AWTE launch dinner on April 11th at the Halo Restaurant, Morrison hotel, Dublin (register here). Picture shows Dawn Conway of Sunway and Lorraine Quinn of Celebrity Cruises at the Celebrity Cruises event in Dublin. Lorraine and Clare Dunne have been driving the AWTE initiative in ireland. Watch here interview with Lorraine Quinn about AWTE.

Picture shows the 2017 council members of SKAL Dublin who will host the National AGM & Gala Dinner at The Talbot Stillorgan Hotel on Saturday March 25th.

Tour America and St Pete Clearwater offer a prize of a holiday each week to Florida on Sunshine Radio. Week 1 Winner was Tom Barry who won a seven night stay for a couple including tickets to the Dali Museum. Week two winner was Fiona Carroll who won a family Holiday to St Pete Clearwater Beaches including tickets to see Winter the Dolphin at The Clearwater Aquarium

  • Turkish Airlines hosts a North Cyprus event at the Radisson Royal Lane on March 21st. Turkish Airlines and Seychelles hosted agents in Cork On Monday night.
  • Enterprise Plus expanded in Latin America and the Caribbean.
  • Turkish Airlines visited E travel to congratulate on their year to date sales performance.
  • AITO chairman Derek Moore said an EU directive preventing companies from passing credit card charges onto consumers threatens the survival of independent travel agents and tour operators.
  • Travelport appointed Philip Saunders as vice president, air commerce, EMEA.
  • Amadeus announced a partnership with Chinese travel search engine iGola.
  • Gardaland chose Andrea Iannone, one of the most celebrated MotoGP champions, to test the theme park’s new addition for 2017 – Shaman, the Rollercoaster with Virtual Reality.
  •  Walt Disney Studio Park at Disneyland Paris opened 15 years ago with an opening celebration hosted by Mickey Mouse and honoured guests including Charlie Sheen & Denise Richards, Phil Collins, Roger Moore and David Hasselhoff.
  • Wendy Wu Tours promoted Joe Sutcliffe and John Warr to co-deputy managing directors.
  • English based short break tour operator Diamond Shortbreak Holidays ceased trading.

Strange world

A Saab 340 landed safely after one of its two propellers fell off 12 miles south-west of Sydney Airport.

  • New Zealand police shot dead a young security dog at Auckland Airport after it escaped its handler and ran loose for more than three hours on the tarmac, disrupting at least 16 flights
  •  Angkor has new rules in place to stop damage to ancient temple by crowds viewing sunsets.
  • A seven foot volleyball player was kicked off a plane for being too tall

International

Donald Trump’s second executive order banning travel from six majority-Muslim countries was blocked hours before it was to go into effect on Thursday at 12.01am EST.

Where Trump led others have followed. Copycat travel bans are emerging across the world. Israel’s parliament approved a new law banning anyone found to support sanctions against Israel and its west bank settlements, after warnings from the UN and a human rights organisation had a visa denied for spreading “Palestinian propaganda.” Malaysia and North Korea put reciprocal travel bans on each other’s citizens.

  • Another two skiers died in an avalanche in Lanzada, 150km north east of Milan.
  • Vienna topped Mercer’s 19th Quality of Living survey with Dublin ranked 34th ahead of Paris (38), London (40) Lisbon (43), Edinburgh (45), Madrid (51), Birmingham (53), Glasgow (53), Rome (57), Aberdeen (58), and Belfast (66). Western European cities fill eight places in the top 10 list; Singapore tops the city infrastructure ranking, followed by Frankfurt and Munich with Dublin in 60th place.
  • Vallettas European Capital of Culture opening ceremony will take place on January 20th 2018. The city announced its programme of events to include a multi-site visual arts exhibition exploring Malta’s relationship with the sea curated by Maren Richter, Valletta Pageant of the Sea in June, and Altofest Malta, a Maltese edition of the Naples Arts Festival
  • Greek Tourism Conference, SETE set a target of 35m tourists in 2021.
  • The 50th South of England Show takes place at Ardingly, West Sussex, on June 8, 9 and 10th.
  • Alicante was hit by worst floods in 20 years after six months’ of rain fell in 24 hours.

Food & Beverage

Chef, lecturer and broadcaster Paula McIntyre was named Ulster’s local food hero at the provincial final of the Restaurant Association of Ireland awards in Lough Erne. Holohan’s At The Barge, Belfast, won emerging Irish cuisine, Fratelli Ristorante at Galgorm won Kids Size Me, Alain Kerloch’h of Ox wonrestaurant manager and Usher Windrush Island Café won world cuisine. Munster regional awards take place Tuesday March 21st and Connacht awards in the Radisson Blu Sligo on Tuesday March 28th  with the All-Ireland finals on Monday May 8th in the Clayton Hotel Burlington Road, Dublin 4.

Cork, Dublin, Galway, Kilkenny, Waterford and Limerick councils are considering charging restaurants an annual fee of €125 for each table and four chairs, €635 for street signage and an additional €100 for licensing.

The HSE, which holds the contract from the FSAI for inspecting food businesses, inspected 36,353 businesses by rota or due to a complaint in 2015, and served 61 closure notices. The average time for an order to be lifted was nearly 10 days. Complaints have ranged from a human nail being found in a takeaway meal; to a live insect being in a packaged dessert; plastic rope in a takeaway meal; glass in a dessert; and a cigarette butt found in a bag of chips.

The Bollinger Best Dressed Lady Prize at Punchestown 2017 from Tuesday April 25th to Saturday April 29th is a VIP trip for two to the private Bollinger estate and its new Champagne libraries, France, an overnight stay in the beautiful historic town of Rheims, capital of the Champagne region, Michelin dining and luxury overnight stay in Paris, and private chauffeur and Champagne lunch experience

  • The Horse & Hound pub in Delgany is for sale with a guide price of €1.2m.
  • Tim Martin, chairman of JD Wetherspoon, criticised the cost of drinks licences in the north where a licence could set you back anywhere from £100,000 to £1m.
  • The Shed Distillery by PJ Rigney in Drumshanbo Co. Leitrim has received planning permission for a new 6,000 square-foot visitor centre.
  • C&C Group said operating profit is expected to be in the region of €94-€96m as a result of the devaluation of sterling, down from €103.2m.

Hotels

How did that happen? St Patrick’s Weekend and England rugby team’s biannual visit to Dublin collided this year, a perfect storm that sent Dublin hotel rates spiking to historic highs. One three star was charging €540 per room, more than the €450 demanded by most of the city’s five stars. Hoteliers would be happier if the match occurred in the mid-February lull.

Buswells’ Paul Gallagher won the Manor House hotel of the year award. The group reported revenue was up 21pc. Meghan and Margaret O’Sullivan, The Castle Hotel, Macroom, Coy Cork, won the ‘Best Service Excellence Award’. Picture shows hoteliers and speakers pictured at the Manor House Hotels and Irish Country Hotels AGM in Parknasilla, Co Kerry.

Alison Brittain, CEO of Whitbread told the 20th annual International Hotel Investment Forum in Berlin “the worst outcome is to stop and wait a couple of years. What will happen then is everybody will race past you.” Cody Bradshaw pointed out that millennials are earning about 10pc less than their parents and have far higher student debt. “So if you are going into developing something for millennials, you have to go in knowing they will probably have less spending power.” Highlight of the event was the second night party, hosted by the InterContinental Berlin with a variety of food stalls in the main ballroom and the mozzarella bar catching the eye. The closing lunch started with salmon trout steamed in lemon oil, purple cauliflower, Indian lettuce, smoked celery, and a beef well irrigated with Pinot Gris Weingut Beck, Hedesheimer Hof, Rheinhessen, and Altano Doc Douro Gaia. Marriott’s Arne Sorenson said, when he received the lifetime achievement award, that he loves this industry, and he is excited every day. He then left the trophy behind, as one person tweeted, the only thing that he has ever left on the table.

Maynooth university campus which has 1,300 beds on offer has signed up as the main accommodation venue for next year’s World Amateur Team Championships in Carton House. Picture shows Niamh O’Neill and Katharine Nolan promoting Maynooth University campus at International Tourism Bourse in Berlin.

The 44-bedroom Lough Rynn Castle in Co Leitrim and 84-bedroom Kilronan Castle in Co Roscommon recorded profits of €2m in 2015.

Bridge House Hotel in Tullamore has appealed to An Bord Pleanála against the decision to reject plans for a new 86-bedroom hotel and the development would see the conservation and redevelopment of the Malt Kiln and Malthouse.

  • Irish hotel transactions reached a record €720m in 2016
  • Research by HRS with the GBTA Foundation, found 11pc of travel managers are charged more by hotels than the rate they’d agreed.
  • Hilton Hotels & Resorts brand announced at MIPIM 2017 in Cannes, the world’s luxury property conference, that it will add a second property in central Paris, Hilton Paris Eiffel Tower.
  • Glen Oaks Hotel in Galway has been granted planning permission for a first and second floor extension by An Bord Pleanála with revised conditions
  • Why foreign students pay thousands of euro to learn how to make beds in Shannon. Read Conor McMahon interview with Philip Smyth, head of Shannon College of Hotel management. here.

Aviation

Our thoughts this week are with the families of the crew of rescue 116 the Dublin-based Coast Guard S-92A helicopter lost off Blacksod, Co Mayo.

Willie Walsh’s IAG will begin offering cut-price inter-continental flights Barcelona to Los Angeles, San Francisco (Oakland), Buenos Aires and Punta Cana from June and a new brand “Level”. Suggested lead-in fares include LA from €99 each way and the airline is to expand to 30 aircraft.

Air France said it expects to operate 98pc of flights as cabin crew stage a three-day strike. Long-haul flights will be unaffected

We’ll never go to Ukraine” said Michael O’Leary to Travel Extra back in 2011. This week they did. Ryanair will start operating to and from Lviv (Berlin-Schonefeld, Budapest, Eindhoven, Krakow, London-Stansted, Memmingen, Wroclaw) and Kiev, (Eindhoven, London-Stansted, Manchester, Stockholm-Skavsta). Watch here Ryanair video. Watch news report here.

Ryanair will fly 98 Irish routes in winter 2017-8, with 760 weekly departures. New routes include Dublin 2w to Naples, and the extension of summer routes to Tours 2w and Valencia 2w, and Kerry 2w to Berlin, replacing Shannon-Berlin (which remained bookable for a few weeks after the Kerry route was announced). Anna Aero research suggests Ryanair will drop 81 routes in August 2017 compared with August 2016 including 15 routes from Vilnius suspended temporarily because of runway maintenance work, five switches of airport at Warsaw, Venice, Rome, London, 23 routes from Oslo Rygge dropped in protest to Norway’s aviation tax, eight in its withdrawal from Kos in Greece and three in its withdrawal from Crotone in Italy. Watch Ryanair video here.

Kenny Jacobs said Berlin strikershave no business” accessing the airport and ramp when they are not working.” Berlin airport workers say they may cease giving notice of strikes after Ryanair began using its own ground staff to help maintain services from the German capital. Watch here Kenny Jacobs speaking at ITB on the future of European tourism where he argued that price increases in Greece and Spain can drive a tourism recovery in Turkey. He said that Europe’s true high season is getting longer, and now runs April to October and called for Tegel airport to be kept open. Ryanair asked for clarity from Britain on post-Brexit flying.

The number of passengers using Dublin Airport to connect to another destination in February was 29,500, up 81pc, the total was 1.79m up 4pc, Britain was flat at 750,000. Europe up 4pc to 852,000, trans-Atlantic routes up 28pc to 127,000, others up 10pc to 55,000 passengers, domestic down 9pc to 7,000. If the 6pc increase in the first two months is sustained 29.6m will use the airport this year. February is typically the weakest month for the airport.

Two separate High Court actions have been launched by north Dublin residents challenging plans for the €320m parallel north runway. Watch here Kevin Toland on why Dublin airport redevelopment is necessary  and Watch here Kevin Toland on how runway restrictions will lead to higher fares. Watch here Kevin Toland saying the impact of planning restrictions on runway would be horrific. Watch here Kevin Toland on why growth is necessary at Dublin airport. Watch here Kevin Toland on how a EU noise directive could be the key to resolving the runway issue

  • The Belfast to Isle of Man flight is to be operated by Eastern Airways just two days after the collapse of Isle of Man virtual airlines Citywings.
  • Watch here Caitriona Toner of American Airlines about the lie-flat business class on offer from Dublin to JFK this summer.
  • The Consumer Price Index reported air fares rose 7.2pc in February.
  • Wow are increasing Dublin-Keflavik to 9w from 7w last summer, with an extra 22.35 departure on Wednesdays and Sundays as well as the 11.40 daily departure.
  • Swiss increased the new Cork – Zurich service by 18 flights bringing the number of available seats to 9,000. The service was increased to 2w, from June 2nd through to October 2nd 2017.
  • Cork reported 132,000 in February, up 0.1pc.
  • British Airways is to extend its Club Europe service to services including London-Belfast as it seeks “to align our domestic services with our European ones.”
  • Shannon handled 239 unscheduled landings in 2016 of which 174 diverted due to weather, flight crews being out of hours or destination airport closure, 30 medical emergencies, 23 diversion due to technical issues, seven declared emergencies, two pan diversions, three where crash crews were placed on standby but were not required, two landings due to unruly passengers and one hoax bomb threat.
  • The IAA was awarded an EU Single European Sky Award for the success of its recent Remote Tower trials.
  • Aer Rianta International has named Jackie McDonagh as General Manager of ARI North America and Martin Carpenter as General Manager of ARI Ireland.
  • Avolon will become the world’s third-largest aircraft lessor after GECAS and AerCap if, as expected, it finalises its $10bn acquisition of CIT’s leasing business in the next two weeks.
  • Colm Barrington’s FLY Leasing has a fleet of 76 on lease to 42 lessees in 27 countries, 24 A320 family, 38 B737 with 3 A330, 2 A340, 3 B757, 2 B777 and 4 B787, and intends acquiring $750m of aircraft in 2017. It reported net losses of US$29.1m in 2016 and an adjusted net income of $79.3m.
  • ORIX Aviation officially opened its new Hong Kong office, headed up by James Meyler.
  • Kuwait Airways service to JFK is to end its Shannon stopover and go direct from March 26th.
  • Tourism Ireland CEO Niall Gibbons said Ireland to Britain capacity is down 4pc in summer 2017.
  • The Commission of Aviation Regulation has received an application from Shannon Airport for approval of an ATI fee of €0.40 per departing passenger for CUPPS (Common User Passenger Processing System) equipment. See here and the application here. They are inviting submissions from interested parties.
  • Peter Bellew, Meath-born Malaysian CEO told CAPA Airline Fleet and Finance Summit “I got a call on March 2 at 1am when I’m fast asleep, from an airline in distress, a big airline with three A330s they want to shift in the next three weeks. We can’t take in all the offers at the moment.” Watch here Peter Bellew talking to Bloomberg’s Haidi Lun.
  • Scandinavian Airlines Ireland will be recruiting flight and cabin crew later for seven to nine aircraft. Scandinavian Airlines Ireland said it has 300 applicants for the seven advertised executive positions.
  • Foynes Maritime Museum launched a new website for the tourism season
  • Looking4Transfers expanded a Ryanair partnership to provide airport transfers in Italy
  • Shannon Airport was shortlisted for the Routes Europe Airport marketing awards 2017.
  • Lufthansa plans to absorb Brussels Airlines short-haul in Eurowings and expects to agree a new business model for newly taken-over carrier Brussels Airlines by the middle of this year
  • IATA said there were 10 fatal accidents in 2016 with 268 fatalities, compared with an average of 13.4 fatal accidents and 371 fatalities per year in the previous five-year period. The all accident 2016 safety performance of the commercial airline industry was 1.61, measured in accidents per million flights, an improvement from 1.79 in 2015. Hull losses per million flights was 0.39, the equivalent of one major accident for every 2.56m flights.
  • Skytrax named their ten best airports: 1 Changi Singapore, 2 Tokyo Haneda, 3 Incheon, 4 Munich, 5 Hong Kong, 6 Hamad, 7 Central Japan, 8 Zurich, 9 London Heathrow, 10 Frankfurt.
  • The EU director-general for transport and mobility Henrik Hololei, told the Guardian: “There will be no separate deal” for airlines. Brexit would without doubt, have consequences for airlines. They need to get a contingency plan.
  • The Schiphol Amsterdam Airport Annual Report said more passengers are taking a connecting flight on an intercontinental journey.
  • ACI Europe says Dublin airport is now 17th in Europe after 12.3pc growth to 1.86m in January.
  • Qatar Airways CEO Akbar Al Baker said that he plans to start an airline in India with the investment arm of Qatar government.
  • Air Canada Rouge and Air Canada is introducing upgrade auctions with minimum and maximum amounts displayed on their upgrade bid website,
  • Luzius Wirth is new CEO of Swissport Ireland and Britain.
  • Nordic Aviation Capital completed the acquisition of a 25 aircraft portfolio from Air Lease Corporation.
  • Airbus sales chief John Leahy said the manufacturer is “looking at further slight improvements in fuel consumption and range,” of the A321. “There is always the possibility of trying to get an extra seat row in. A lot depends on what they decide to do with the B737 Max 10.”
  • According to the CAPA Fleet Database, Southeast Asian airlines currently have 1,700 aircraft on order.
  • Edreams named Berlin Schonefeld the worst airport in the world.
  • Darren McKinley and Dylan Simmonds from Merrion said Ryanair faces challenges in France and Germany in a research note.
  • Norwegian announced seasonal 2w services from Bergen to both Stewart and Providence.
  • President Donald Trump met with airline CEOs at the White House on Thursday and spoke about his plans to address regulation of the industry and airport facilities.

Afloat

Cruise Ireland reports says Irish ports will have their busiest ever cruise ship season in 2017 with 300 cruise ship calls.

Worldwide cruise figures passed the 25m mark in 2016. The number of Europeans cruising was up 3.4pc in 2016, with Germany passing the 2m mark for the first time, and 74 ships are being built over the next 10 years with a combined value of $51.76bn, the annual Seatrade Cruise Global event in Fort Lauderdale was told.  Avalon Waterways Chairman Patrick Clark told a panel on The Future of Cruising in Europe that there is a growing demand for multi generation, family and active cruising and river lines will have to adapt their vessels and their offerings to attract these potential new markets,

  • When it docks tomorrow Monday, Saga Cruises’ MV Saga Pearl 2 will become the first of 65 cruise ships to arrive at Cobh in 2017.
  • Holland America’s new Explorations Central product will offer personalised advice and recommendations, plus touch tables with in-depth destination information and a virtual bridge so cruisers can see what the captain sees. Holland America’s new
  • Cunard will return to Alaska in 2019.
  • AmaWaterways will include drinks during happy hour frm 2018. AmaWaterways is to launch AmaKristina in May 2019, followed by AmaLea iand two new ships for Europe in 2019.
  • Norwegian Cruise Line announced at ITB that it is basing five ships in Europe in 2018. Epic will continue to be based out of Barcelona, Getaway will be based out of Copenhagen, Jade out of Hamburg and Southampton, Star moves to Venice, Spirit will cruise out of Rome, offering Eastern Mediterranean itineraries such as Santorini, Piraeus and Malta for the first time.
  • Royal Caribbean will charge$7.95 per order for all room service (not just night hours) from May, “to manage the high demand for room service.” New menu options include burgers, Philly cheesesteaks, chicken wings with a choice of sauces, and grilled salmon with cucumber-mint yogurt.
  • P&O showcased its new cocktail bar, The Bonded Store, to be introduced on Pacific Explorer.
  • Amsterdam Cruise port plans new 900m sea locks.
  • Noble Caledonia cruise ship refloated after running aground off the coast of Indonesia
  • Cunard Queen Victoria is undergoing a $40m refurb, refurbishing 24 suites, adding 30 cabins, a new dining room, new sundeck and a specialty café.
  • Tauck will double its small ship cruising capacity over the next four years through an expansion of its relationship with luxury expedition cruise line Ponant.
  • Norwegian Cruise Line is to charge for Internet packages based on usage. Norwegian’s Leonardo Project is to consist of four ships to be built by Fincantieri, scheduled for delivery June 2022, 2023, 2024 and 2025, and an option for two additional ships in 2026 and 2027.
  • CroisiEurope, represented by Alan Lynch in Ireland, is launching five ships in 2017: 132-passenger Miguel Torga on Portugal’s Douro; 60-passenger Indochine II on the Mekong; 106-passenger Douce France II on the Rhine River; 106-passenger Symphonie II on the Danube; and 16-passenger African Dream on the Chobe and Zambezi rivers.
  • MSC Cruises newest ship, MSC Meraviglia, which launches in Europe in June 2017, will move to Miami in 2019, meaning three MSC ships in PortMiami for the winter season of 2019/2020.
  • Lindblad Expeditions will include all drinks and crew gratuities in the cruise fares for all departures of National Geographic Explorer and National Geographic Orion from April.
  • P&O Cruises unveiled the newly refurbished Pacific Dawn in Brisbane, featuring a new kid’s waterpark on the pool deck and two new waterslides, virtual reality experience in the teenage clubs, HQ and HQ+, a new seafood restaurant, Shell & Bones, a redesign of bars, the Dome, the atrium, Charlie’s cafe, The Orient and Promenade Bar.
  • Frank Del Rio told Seatrade that construction on Norwegian Cruise Line’s private island destination Great Stirrup Cay is expected to be complete by the end of October.

Ireland

A record 285 sites and buildings in 44 different countries went green for St Patrick’s Day. Picture shows Disneyland castle in Shanghai. A group of 20 media were hosted by Fáilte Ireland and Tourism Ireland in Dublin to get first-hand experience of our St Patrick’s Festival. Tourism Ireland released their annual St Patrick’s Day video (watch here.). As opposed to the Ireland inspires video from 2014 (watch here) which got the population of the island wrong.

Tourism Ireland organised a 16-foot tall St Patrick puppet who interacted with people in London’s Trafalgar Square. Picture shows David Boyce of Tourism Ireland; Conor McGinn Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Ireland and the Irish in Britain; Kris Hopkins, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Northern Ireland Office; Baroness O’Cathain; Shane Clarke of Tourism Ireland; and Dan Mulhall, Irish Ambassador to Britain, at the St Patrick’s reception in the House of Lords in London co-sponsored by Tourism Ireland. Vanessa Markey has departed Tourism Ireland’s London office.

Kildare Failte were announced as tourism partners with the Rose of Tralee Festival at an event in Maynooth attended by reigning Rose Maggie McEldowney. Picture shows Aafke Scholts, Ted Robinson, Maggie McEldowney, Claira Barour, Ann Eng and Alan Brophy. See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.

Inland Fisheries Ireland and the Economic and Social Research Institute calculated that angler tourists to Waterville, Co. Kerry spend on average €644 during their stay,

  • Five Irish business tourism specialists met 25 representatives of various international associations based in Belgium.
  • Sky Arts portrait commission of Graham Norton went on display in the National Gallery of Ireland.
  • Loop Head Lighthouse opened to the public. Clare County Council will meet tourism and community representatives for a public consultation event next Thursday March 23rd at Mountshannon Community Hall at 7.00pm in relation to the Draft Visitor Management and Sustainable Tourism Development Plan for Holy Island (Inis Cealtra) on Lough Derg.
  • The Irish Tourist Industry Confederation has published a report on the collection and interpretation of Irish tourism data. See here.
  • Fáilte Ireland published their annual visitor satisfaction survey indicating 63pc of respondents to the Overseas Holidaymakers Attitudes Survey felt their expectations of an Irish holiday had been matched and 36pc that Ireland exceeded expectations, 52pc of North American visitors said Ireland exceeded expectations, 57pc said they would definitely return to Ireland, 39pc hoped to do so sometime again and 62pc said they would strongly recommend an Irish trip
  • Fáilte Ireland published an infographic pointing out, among other things, that Every 1,000 additional tourists support 14 jobs in the tourism sector.
  • Wellington Road in The Phoenix Park will reopen from Monday 20th March 2017 following the completion of road repairs and cycle lane installation.
  • Guinness Storehouse teamed up with bakery Aungier Danger to create a donut to be paired with Guinness Draught.
  • What would St Patrick make of all the fuss? Check out Naomh Pádraig in his own words in the original Latin, in English, as Gaeilge, in italiano, auf deutsch, em português.

Deal Watch

Click and Go offers: 3 nights B&B 4* Relais Patizi Hotel, Rome from €289pp incl. return flights, airport taxes and charges, travel May. 7 nights self catering 3* CYE Holiday Centre Aparthotel, Salou from €759 2+1 incl. return flights, airport transfers, taxes and charges, travel May. Over 50s offer: 7 nights half board 4* Belver Hotel Boavista, Albufeira, the Algarve from €399pp incl. return flights, airport transfers, taxes and charges. 7 nights B&B 5* Croatia Hotel, Cavtat, Dubrovnik Riviera, Croatia from €499pp incl. return flights, airport transfers, taxes and charges, travel May. Visit clickandgo.com or call 01 539 7777.

Cruise Holidays/Tour America offers: 7 nights Abu Dhabi and Emirates cruise board MSC Splendida from €1,239pp incl. all inclusive drinks package, depart January 7 2018. 8 nights Fort Lauderdale and Caribbean cruise and stay on board the Celebrity Edge from €2,339pp incl. 1 night at the HiltonFort Lauderdale, depart December 16. 7 nights Avanti Resort, Orlando from €539pp, depart November 16. 3 nights Wellington Holtel, New York and 4 nights Excalibur Hotel, Las Vegas from €739pp, depart January 16 2018. 3 nights Edison Hotel, New York from €699pp, depart November 4. Visit touramerica.ie.

Falcon offers: 7 nights 3* Hotel Lagotel, Playa de Muro, Majorca from €349pp, depart Cork May 6. 7 nights self catering 2* Bellevue Club, Puerto De Alcudia, Majorca from €289pps, depart Cork May 6. 7 nights self catering 3* Labranda Oasis Mango, Los Cristianos, Tenerife from €349pps, depart May 12. 7 nights half board Costa Dorada, California Garden, Salou from €769pps, depart Knock July 11. 7 nights self catering 3* Club Alvorferias, Alvor, Portugal from €2,469 2+3, depart June 18. 14 nights all inclusive 3* Royal Decameron Club Caribbean, Runaway Bay, Jamaica from €1,379pps, depart June 8. 14 nights all inclusive 4* Grand Bahia Principe Coba, Riviera Maya, Jamaica from €1,569pps, depart June 14. 7 nights self catering 2* San Marcial Apartments, Matagorda, Lanzarote from €399pps, depart April 23. 5 nights self catering 3* Rocamar, Puerto Rico, Gran Canaria from €429pps, depart April 29. 7 nights half board Bali Hotel & Studios, Benalmadena, Costa Del Sol from €619pps, depart March 23. 7 nights self catering Caybeach Caleta, Costa Caleta, Fuerteventura from €709pps, depart April 1. NRG offers: 7 nights self catering 3* Caybeach Caleta, Costa Caleta, Fuerteventura from €709pps, depart April 1. 7 nights self catering 2* Mika, Piskopiano Village, Crete from €379pp, depart June 11. Visit falconholidays.ie or call 1850 45 35 45.

Intercontinental Dublin is offering B&B family breaks from €270pp incl. 10% food credit, 10% off spa treatments, family day pass to Dublin Zoo and access to leisure facilities. Visit intercontinentaldublin.ie.

Irish Ferries is offering 4 nights Haven holiday in North Wales, the Lake District or Blackpool from €521 for up to 6 people incl. deluxe holiday hotel and return car ferry crossing. Visit irishferries.com/haven or call 0818 300 400.

ITAA offers: 3 nights B&B 4* Golden Park Hotel, Budapest from €339pp incl. return flights, depart March 24. 3 nights 3* Zenit Malaga Hotel from €324pp incl. return flights and 10kg hand luggage from €324pp, depart March 26. 6 nights Rhone river cruise on board MS Mistral from €1,389pps incl. 2 nights 3* Lyon hotel with breakfast, return flights, transfers, tickets to Andre Rieu concert in Lyon, 15kg baggage pp and taxes, depart April 7.

Project Travel is offering 12 days Hurtigruten Cultural Voyages Norwegian coast cruise from €2,098pp incl. flights and transfers. Visit project-travel.ie or call 01 210 8391.

Sunway offers: 6 nights best of Canyonlands from €2,409pp incl. 4* and 5* hotel accommodation, meals and tours, depart June 10. 7 nights China Express holiday from €1,819pp incl. meals and tours, depart June 23. 7 nights full board 5* Cambodia and Vietnam river cruise, depart September 10. 14 nights B&B 4* Golden Day Wings Hotel, Kusadasi from €459pp, depart May 13. 7 nights self catering 4* Sunset Beach Club, Costa Del Sol from €449pp, travel May. 7 nights all inclusive 4* Sunscape Cozumel, Cancun from €1,365pp incl. flights and hotel, travel May. 7 nights all inclusive 3* Riu Naiboa, Dominican Republic form €989pp incl. flights and hotel, travel May. 12 nights Las Vegas, Miami, Caribbean fly cruise on board MSC Divina from €1,715pp, depart October 2. 7 nights Croatia and Greece fly cruise on board Norwegian Sta from €995pp, depart October 8. Visit sunway.ie.

TDactive is offering 4 nights B&B hotel accommodation Transylvania from €699pp incl. transfers, excursions, taxes, charges and Dublin Photography School tutors. Depart September 13. Click here or call 01 637 1600.

Thomson offers: 7 nights self catering Silver Springs, Sunny Beach, Bulgaria from €379pps, depart May 22. 7 nights self catering Garajonay Apartments, Playa De Las Americas, Tenerife form €499pps, depart April 21. 7 nights self catering Cay Beach Princess Bungalows, Maspalomas, Gran Canaria from €469pps, depart April 22. 7 nights all inclusive Hotel Polynesia, Benalmadena, Costa Del Sol from €839pps, depart March 23. 7 nights half board Hotel Nerja Club, Nerja, Costa Del Sol from €659pps, depart April 2. 7 nights self catering SunClub, Cap De Salou, Costa Dorada from €429pps, depart May 12. 7 nights self catering Morromar Apartments, Matagorda, Lanzarote from €429pps, depart Cork May 18. 7 nights self catering Silver Springs, Sunny Beach, Bulgaria from €379pps, depart May 22. 14 nights all inclusive Clubhotel Riu Ocho Rios, Jamaica from €1,579pps, depart June 8. 14 nights all inclusive RiuLupita, Playa car, Mexico from €1,499pps, depart June 7. 7 nights full board Colourful Coasts cruise of the Canary Islands, Morocco and Madeira on board Thomson Majesty from €669pp, depart March 24.

Topflight offers: 7 nights B&B 3* Hotel Londra, Sorrento from €569pps, depart April 30. 7 nights half board 4* Hotel Cambridge, Lido di Jesolo, Venetian Riviera from €849pps, depart May 27. 7 nights half board 4* Hotel Savoy Palace, Riva Lake Garda from €739pps, depart May 6. 7 nights half board 4* Hotel Majestic Palace, Malcasine, Lake Garda from €749pps, depart May 13. 7 nights half board 4* Hotel Aquaviva, Desenzano, Lake Garda from €799pps, depart April 15. 7 nights half board 4* Hotel Bristol, Sorrento from €949pps, depart April 23. Visit topflight.ie or call 01 240 1700.

What we learned

From the Travel Counsellors conference, agents were asked to keep their eye out for skiers. Not the mountainy type. Spending the Kids Inheritance.

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