TRAVEL Extra’s Sunday Supplement: Guess who said they would NEVER do connecting flights and just have?


Opening ceremony at Rendez Vouse 2017 in Rouen

Things to know about Travel this week

  • Ireland slips four places to 23rd in tourism-friendliness rankings
  • Ryanair decides to connect, another U-turn
  • Norwegian includes drinks and gratuities in cruise prices for thirsty markets
  • Holy saffron and blue: Domhnal grows to number three in the world with 10.5bn acquisition
  • Restaurant inspectors reveal all at Taste of Tourism conference in Down 
  • Selective Travel three-in-a-row in Turkish bowling competition
  • Ryanair records 36th successive record month
  • Ashford Castle wins AA hotel of the year
  • Aer LIngus rides backlash on baggage fees
  • Silver Muse hits the water and Silversea wants 3 more of same size
  • Valencia and Costa Blanca host the trade in Dublin
  • Ryanair explains claim that post-Brexit flights could be halted
  • Why diners will rue 20,000 award to woman who banged knee under restaurant table
  • 26 European restaurants in World’s best 50 as Eleven Madison Park NY goes top
  • Aerclub the movie, but most Gold Circlers STILL cannot get into the lounge 
  • In-Seine: Travel Extra cameos on French TV

Travel Extra TV

  • Travel Extra this week witnessed the swinging of the Botafumeiro in the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela, Galcia. Some say the incense was once used to mask the stench of unwashed pilgrims who had walked the Camino, though that’s debatable. It took five men of the cloth to get the thurible up to full speed. Watch here.
  • Watch the first A319neo on its maiden flight from Hamburg-Finkenwerder Airport to Airbus’s Toulouse headquarters. Watch here.
  • Ryanair has taken its social media campaign up a notch. Here’s the first episode of My Pot, a mini-series showcasing Copenhagen’s foodie scene. Watch here.
  • Cork Airport reposted a timelapse by Polish photographer Karol Kachmarsky showcasing the rebel county as a gateway to both the Will Atlantic Way and Ireland’s Ancient East. Watch here.
  • Have a look at Tourism NI’s new promo video. Watch here.

Behind the Headlines

Guess who said they would NEVER do connecting flights and just have? What will happen in the baggage hall?’ is the big unanswered question from the dual announcement in London this week, a Brexit breakfast briefing hosted by Ryanair’s Chief Executive Officer Michael O’Leary and Chief Marketing Officer Kenny Jacobs at The Institute for Contemporary Art in London.

Ryanair’s move to connect its own flights, initially at Rome Fiumicino airport, was a natural progression from its move to feed Norwegian and Aer Lingus trans-Atlantic flights (watch here). While Ryanair is experiencing difficulties in tying in its Navitaire technology with prospective airline partners (watch here), it should have no difficulty looking after its own connecting bookings. Ryanair also intend selling third party flights to take advantage of Ryanair’s 600m web visitors a year, with cruise ships and other travel products to follow. Kenny jacobs said: “we have a vision to become the world’ largest travel website.” Michael O’Leary identified the BIG problem in an interview this week (watch here): England’s conservative party seem to be defiant that they should opt out of the European Court decisions. This is the requirement for retaining open skies relationship, and is adopted by all non EU carriers such as those in Norway and Iceland. Kenny Jacobs used the so-called Always Getting Better launch to explain Ryanair’s twin concerns, firstly the absence of a reference to aviation in Theresa May’s Breat-imeacht letter and secondly the sabre rattling on open skies to be heard in Berlin and Brussels (watch here).

Ryanair’s favourite memes were on show at the launch (watch summary here), how the MyRyanair system, cunningly compulsory for bookings, is reinventing the traditional customer loyalty scheme (watch here), how MyRyanair would become the Amazon of the air and the airlines was now the the ‘Aldi of the air’ (watch here), Kenny Jacobs Ryanair changed and renamed fare classes and will now allow a mix of classes for outbound and return, as well as dual check-in (watch here), how new bases continue to grow (watch here) and the move on Germany, Ryanair have 8pc of the market but 30pc of meta searches in Germany (watch here). Fare finder will be rebranded under a new name, feeling lucky (watch here). Kenny Jacobs also observed that in-flight wifi is over hyped as most people download to their own devices in advance of a flight (watch here). There were no more warning on the size of the second bag as occurred in January (watch here). See Bloomberg report here and Guardian report highlighting the threat that English connecting flights would be withdrawn in the absence of a Breat-imeacht Brexit deal. Reuters reported Ryanair is to pivot growth away from England for next two years. The Sunday Business Post analysed how Ryanair is weathering the Breat-imeacht storm. See also Ryanair Always Getting Better 4 corporate video.

Spain, likely to become the world’s favourite holiday destination in 2017, finished top of the World Economic Forum’s global Travel & Tourism competitiveness ranking, ahead of France, Germany, Japan, England, the United States, Australia, Italy, Canada and Switzerland. Spain’s high ranking the second time it has topped the biennial survey was based on cultural resources, infrastructure and adaptation to digital consumption habits. Picture shows Spanish tourism CEO Manuel Butler and Teresa Gancedo, director fo the office in Dublin. Bottom place was Yemen, just below Mauritania, DR Congo, Burundi and Chad.

Ireland slipped four places to 23rd in the World Economic Forum ranking, although it was ranked number three for ‘effectiveness of marketing and branding to attract tourists’. Ireland finished seventh on international openness,  11th on business environment,15th on the labour market flexibility, 15th on tourist service infrastructure,  21st on safety and security (behind Morocco), 17th on prioritisation of Travel and tourism, 21st on ground and port infrastructure, 25th on sustainability and ICT readiness, 28th on air transport infrastructure, 33rd on cultural resources and business travel, 55th on health and hygiene, 77th on natural resources, and a lowly 121st on price competitiveness. Irrland ranked 42nd in the business costs of crime and violence, and 101st in the “index of terrorism” (Ed: shureley shome mishtake). Bottom half finishes included: time to deal with construction permits (71st), effect of taxation on incentive to work (84th), mobile phone subscriptions (93rd), inbound visa requirements (105th), construction permit cost (107th), forest cover (107th), purchasing power parity (122nd) and fuel price (130th). Ireland’s scored well on natural (2.8) and cultural (29) resources but lower on tourist service infrastructure (5.8), prioritisation of travel and tourism (5.4), sustainability (4.7), ground and port infrastructure (4.7), international openness (4.5) and price competitiveness (4.0). See Ireland pages here.

At a ceremony in Medley (the former Irish Times despatch room), Ashford Castle was announced as winner of the AA hotel of the year, with Rolf’s Country House in Baltimore, and The Talbot Hotel Stillorgan also honoured at an awards ceremony in Medley in Dublin. wo restaurants won three rosette status Lady Helen in Mount Juliet and Gregan’s Castle in Ballyvaughan, and two won two star status, the Cliff House in Ardmore and Patrick Guilbaud‘s in the Merrion Hotel in Dublin. Watch here interview with Niall Rochford GM of Ashford Castle the AA Hotel of the Year. Watch here the acceptance speech by Niall Rochford. Watch here speech my Minister Patrick O’Donovan. Watch here the full AA Hotel of the year awards ceremony. Picture shows Conor Faughnan of the AA with Niall Rochford of Ashford Castle, Michael Davern GM of the K Club and Martin Mangan GM of the Conrad Hotel. See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.

Travel Extra joined the media post-fam at Tianguis Turistico in Mexico to Ixtapa-Zihuatanejo, staying at the Villa Mexicana, Playa Ropa, the the Solis in Ixtapa, checked out downtown Zihuatanejo, stopped at Zihuatanejo, and took an excursion to Ixtapa island and met Dublin-born skipper Tim Sullivan (watch here) in charge of the Picante catamaran in Ixtapa. See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook (check out the picture of a local local man selling political licence plates). Picture shows Mark Evans of Travel Extra with Tareb Rifal, secrretary general of the UNWTO, who told delegates: no wall can isolate this great nation. See more pictures from Tianguis Turistico here or connect with the album on Facebook.

Delegates to Rendez Vous France in Rouen were informed that Paris stores Printemps and Galleries Lafayette are now open on Sundays (not that Travel Extra had ever noticed they were NOT open on Sundays). See Q&A session here with some interesting comments iby Chamber of Commerce president Guillaume Simonin about tourism in Paris in the wake of militant attacks in response to a question by Travel Extra. The media covering the event were hosted in the Seine Valey to tour the ancient abbeys of Normandy, watch here. And yes the parting glass was sung, for proof watch here for a familiar voice in this French TV report of the Seine Valley visit.

The Spanish Tourist Board hosted the Irish travel press in Galicia this week. The group sampled the French Camino, completing a mere 8km of the 100km pilgrimage. The writers were so pampered by their hosts that Conor McMahon, reporting for Travel Extra, unintentionally referred to the pilgrims completing the trail as “peasants”. Highlights included a visit to the Monastery of San Xulián de Samos, where down-to-earth Brother George delivered an inspirational sermon on the steps of the church. A tour of Bodegas Terras Gauda’s vineyard was equally life-affirming. Full review to follow in the print edition of Travel Extra. Picture shows Michelle Darmody, Irish Examiner; Conor McMahon, Travel Extra; Ali O’Hanlon, Dublin Gazette; Stephen Bourke, Sunday Business Post; Eddie Rowley, Sunday World; and Sara Rivero Lopez, Spanish Tourist Board. Click here to view more pictures.

The most interesting conversation at Taste of Tourism conference in the Culloden Hotel (which turns 50 this year, happy birthday Eoin) was not what was said on the podium by either speaker but an intriguing private conversation between AA inspector Stephen Wilkinson and former Michelin inspector Chris Miller as they compared their experiences. Chris had 20 spendid pieces of advice for restaurateurs. Offer value for money. Work as a team and make sure your support team is as knowledgeable and as capable as you are. Make sure the communication between kitchen and front of house is working. The best service is unintrusive, good service is never having to ask for something. Let the guests eat with all their senses. Offer daily specials, it gives you a chance to get regulars happy and is a great way of trialling new dishes. Develop signature dishes. Offer something unique to the local area. Explain new and unusual ingredients. If a dish is not selling, take it off the menu. Don’t add an ingredient for the sake of it. Make the ingredients complement each other. Manage the portion size. Do not offer expensive ingredients unless you can pay for them. Do not cook for inspectors, cook for people who come in on a daily basis. Don’t mark up quality wines by the same rate as cheaper wines. Don’t over elaborate with the wine list. Offer wine by the glass. Keep the restaurant fresh, redecorate a small thing every month so over the course of a year the restaurant keeps its new feel: several small changes can be as good as one delayed long change.
Michelin star chef Jun Tanaka prepared the gala meal the night before the conference while Ciaran Meyler of United Wines, the man who built Roscoff’s alongside Paul Deane, chose a wine to go with the tasting. Jun spent only 7,500 on his kitchen. Watch here the talk given by Eoghan Corry on trends in food tourism, including a polemic on how the locavore movement was hijacked by commercial giants and vested interests. Picture shows Janice Gault CEO and Ciaran O’Neill President of the NI Hotels Federation. Second picture shows Eoghan Corry of Travel Extra with former Michelin inspector Chris Miller.

Kathryn Thomas stopped by to help Ciaran Mulligan launch his two-year Multi Trip travel insurance cover for Irish consumers, first on the market for travel insurance and will allow consumers make further savings and avoid the hassle of having to renew their policies each year. Prices start from €31.99 and Ciaran says it will be cheaper than some comparable one year travel insurance products on the Irish market.

The CSO reported Irish trips abroad in 2016 was up 7.8pc to 7.6m and bednights abroad up 6pc to 56.75m. CSO data intermittently contradicts some of the figures compiled by other nation’s statistical agencies. Their destination figures are Britain 2m (up 0.6pc), Spain 1.59m (up 2.6pc), France 611k (down 3.3pc), Portugal 481k (up 54pc), USA/Canada 490k (up 16pc), Italy 362k (down 13.4pc), and Germany 230k (up 13pc), Portugal’s startling increase seems to have come from an under-reported figure in 2015, while Spain’s increase is less dramatic than was reported in Madrid. Domestic trips were 9.3m up 1.7pc and bednights up 0.7pc.

Travel Trade

The Irish Travel Agents Association annual conference will take place on October 12-15 with the venue to be decided on in the coming days. The lead options are Andalucia, Dubai and Porto.

Caroline Riordan of Sol Travel is the March finalist in the competition to win a Polo Magnifico run by Blue Insurances. Blue Insurance extended its ‘Polo Magnifico’ competition for one additional month and the final will take place on May 11 2017 at 7.30pm in Saba Clarendon Street, where one of the 13 finalists will win a new Volkswagen Polo. She follows previous finalists Angela Taylor from Oasis TravelHelena Kilduff from Skytours, Rose Kane from Kane’s 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, Nicola Quigley from O’Hanrahan Travel and Ross Waters from Tour America, Kathrice Canning from Cassidy Travel and Kristin Skinner of American Holidays.
 Bookings before April 30 are eligible to win the 13th and last place in the final.

Kathryn MacDonnell of the Spanish Tourist Board asked Peter O’Hanlon of Travelfinders to compere the Valencia and Costa Blanca roadshow event in Dublin, attended by 45 Irish trade and 14 Spanish hoteliers. Watch here what happened next when Peter got the floor (despite a cunning attempt to hide the microphone) and watch here the hilarious prize-giving ceremony; these holidays will be on the Budget Travel window in the morning with a 70pc discount, only kidding. Picture shows Kathryn MacDonnell with David Aledo of Valencia and Teresa Gancedo, director of the Spanish Tourist Board office in Dublin. See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.

The WTC Selective Thriftway team of Aaron Bolt, Michael Holmes and Andrew Osborough won the Turkish Airlines Irish bowling tournament for third 3 years in a row and will be going to the finals of the Turkish Airlines bowling tournament in Istanbul on May 13th to compete among 45 countries in 90 destinations. 1 Selective Travel Belfast 825; 2 BCD Travel Dublin 687; 3 HRG Dublin 680; 4 Cassidy Travel Dublin 678; 5 World Travel NI Belfast 664; 6 Club Travel Dublin 662; 7 Travelfox/CTM Cork 657; 8 Premier Travel Cork 652; 9 Travel Solutions Belfast 625; 10 STA Victoria Square Belfast 624; 11 Portman Travel Cork 616; 12 Thompson Travel Belfast 596; 13 Lee Travel Ballincoiling 596; 14 Lee Travel Cork 590; 15 Escape 2 Dublin 575; 16 FCM Dublin 574; 17 Trailfinders Cork 570; 18 Club Travel Universities Dublin 556; 19 Orrs Travel Belfast 547; 20 Laffin Travel Belfast 527; 21 Skyline Travel Dublin 521; 22 Clubworld Travel Belfast 515; 23 Mahlatini Belfast 467; 24 Oasis Travel Belfast 381. Picture shows Sean Kennedy of Leisureplex with Onur Gul of Turkish Airlines at the Dublin leg of the competition. Watch here video report of the Dublin leg presentaitons. See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.

Tuesday will see the launch of the Irish chapter of the Association of Women Travel Executives in Ireland an initiative spearheaded by Lorraine Quinn and Clare Dunne. The group has formed a committee in Ireland, having opened international membership at the end of last year. They say they are launching with a friendly, welcoming, relaxed dinner. Giving women the ability to join with 50pc discount for their first annual membership as well as attend this first AWTE Ireland event. Everyone is welcome, we have a very attractive ticket option for anyone who would like to come along to find out what we will be doing in Ireland, support women in the industry and enjoy the night. Watch here Lorraine Quinn speaking about the AWTE Irish launch.

Falcon Holidays fam trip to Lanzarote hosted 16 Agents from Antrim, Cork, Dublin, Galway, Laois, Limerick, Tyrone and Waterford at the Barcelo Occidental Lanzarote Playa in Costa Teguise, and visited properties across Costa Teguise, Puerto Del Carmen and Playa Blanca as well as Los Jameos Del Agua in the north of the Island, volcanic caves that have been transformed into a music and food venue. When you emerge from the cavern into the open air where you are met with a crystal blue lagoon pool.

Travelfocus and the South African tourist board hosted 27 agents for a training session in The Metropole Hotel in Cork. Nina Farrimond told the assembled agents tourism from Ireland to South Africa continues to show very strong growth with figures up 18pc and honeymoons on the increase. Emma Dinan of Douglas Travel. Won the draw for a trip to South Africa. Other prize winners were Katarina Trnikova from J Barter Travel and Carmel Hayes of Strand Travel. Picture shows Nina Farrimond of South African Tourism and Anne O’Sullivan of Travel Focus with Ger Dinan. See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.

The famous Huntingdon Beach bonfires weere among the attractins showcased in Dublin in a series of meeting sby the Huntingdon Beach representatives from California and London, The resort, claiming the title of Surf City USA, is 40 minutes from LAX and 30 minutes from Disney and offers hotel accommodation about 20pc cheaper than central Los Angeles. Picture shows Sue Thomas, Kerry Miller and Annabel Herrick . Watch here interview with Sue Thomas of Huntingdon Beach.

Agents who confirm a new Celebrity Cruises booking including flights with Aer Lingus, before May 31 will be entered into a prize draw for a Caribbean holiday  a 14-night cruise on-board Celebrity Eclipse with return flights to Miami wth Aer LIngus from  Dublin or Britain connecting through Dublin Airport. See

Clodagh Oxley is leaving her position as executive director of the Visit USA committee in Ireland to become marketing manager for the Talbot Hotel in Carlow. Chair of Visit USA Ireland Dee Burdock said Clodagh has been the back bone of this Committee and has been instrumental in its continued growth over the last 5 years. She will be missed terribly not only by myself but of course our members whom she has forged great relationships with over the years. She will be a tough one to replace but can I ask you to lend us some support in advertising her position in your future publications. Anyone who has an interest in putting themselves forward for the position should emaihere.

The seven members of Travel Partners hosted agents at two roadshows in the west, in Ballinasloe and Sligo. Picture shows Isabel Harrison of Shannon Airport, Alan Lynch of Cruiseescapes/Travelesscapes and Declan Power of Shannon airport who were lead sponsors of the event. See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.

Sandra Corkin’s Oasis Travel acquired Doreen McKenzie’s Knock Travel bringing Oasis to six branches when the merger is completed in May.

Picture shows agents hosted at Munster v Toulouse by Amadeus and Turkish Airlines, official rugby partners, Hasan Mutlu of Turkish Airlines, Matthew Thomas CEO of Shannon Airport, Nikki Wan of Live Nation Ireland, Tony Brazil of Limerick Travel, Patrick Edmond of Shannon Airport, Volker Lorenz of Amadeus, Noel McAuliffe of Travel Focus, Pat Dawson CEO of the ITAA and Michael Doorley of Shandon Travel.

Topflight launched first Escorted Tours brochure to European and worldwide destinations including Italy, Austria, Madeira, USA, Canada, Cuba, South Africa and Thailand in hand-picked accommodation with convenient return flights and transfer, knowledgeable local guides, extras and add ons. Examples of solo tours include Dolomites Deluxe Hiking Holiday from €1094 and St Johann, Salzburg & Hidden Lakes Tour from €968. Average group size is 3-4 for fully escorted private tours and self-guided tours, and 20-35 for escorted and fully escorted options.

The Travel Corporation (website) launched a new agent training initiative, the TTC Agent Academy showcasing the four core brands Trafalgar, Contiki, Insight Vacations and Uniworld. The academy offers interactive modules and a 90 second  video animation highlighting the key benefits of the scheme.

  • Winner of the Turkish Airlines VIP Ed Sheeran competition was Carmel Hayes from Strand Travel. Turkish are the official partners of 3 Arena.
  • Skål’s coach trip, sponsored by Cronin’s Coaches, will be on Wednesday to Marlfield House in County Wexford for lunch which is owned by Skålleague Mary Bowe and then on to Skålleague Esther O’Brien for afternoon tea in the newly refurbished Woodenbridge Hotel in The Vale of Avoca.
  • Wendy Wu offer agents the chance to earn €25 one4all vouchers on every booking during the month of April.

Strange world

A leopard shut down Nepal airportfor half an hour.

  • An English father was reported for suspected paedophilia when he checked into a Travelodge with his teenage daughter.
  • The world’s shortest international flight, the eight minute journey from St Gallen-Altenrhein in Switzerland to Friedrichshafen in Germany is to be closed.
  • A smuggler posing as a Delta pilot tried to sneak $85,000 worth of cocaine through JFK airport.
  • A double-decker bus got wedged in a central London street while attempting a three-point turn.
  • A 23-year-old English computer hacker pleaded guilty to taking down British Airways website.
  • There was only going to be one winner in this fight between young Spanish matador Daniel Garcia and a bull.
  • Half of Heathrow Airport’s 25,000 noise complaints for the last three months of 2016 were made by 10 people.


New entry regulations which came into effect in Europe’s Shenghen zone on Friday are expected to cause border delays.

India’s Ministry of Tourism announced that foreign tourists, iincluding Irish, visiting India on the e-Tourist Visa (eTV) will now be entitled to stay in the country for up to two months and enjoy double-entry benefits.

  • The WHO named the ten most dangerous places to drive: Eritrea (48.4 deaths per 100,000 inhabitants), Dominican Republic (41.7), Libya (40.5), Thailand (38.1), Venezuela (37.2), Nigeria (33.7), South Africa (31.9), Iraq (31.5), Guinea-Bissau (31.2), Oman (30.4). San Marino was listed as the safest.
  • Spain’s Ferrari Land opened with its star attraction the world’s fasest 112mph 367ft-tall roller coaster (also in Dubai).
  • Of 7,700 Canadian Working visas allocated to Ireland in 2017, 5,418 have been issued and a further 1,794 applied for.
  • Watch here Greg Oates, Skift Brand Strategist, as he addresses Tianguis Touristico in Acapulco.
  • Sheep View 360, which saw the Faroe Islands enlist the help of its many (80,000) sheep to put the islands on the Google Street View map, won the Travel & Tourism Award at the World Media Awards 2017.
  • Mall of Qatar opened.
  • Val d’Isère announced that work on Le Coin de Val (website), a giant 200 million euro (£170 million) redevelopment of the heart of the village, will begin this autumn.
  • Albania’s Defence ministry agreed to open the mysterious Sazan Island, a military base still under its management, to tourists.
  • Ireland was the third fastest growing market to Portugal in January after Brazil and the US with visits up 35.4pc and bed nights up 39,1pc, fastest growing to Central Portugal  with guests up 335,5pc and bed nights up 250,7pc, second fastest growing to Porto & Northern Portugal with visits up 55,7pc and bed nights up 50,4pc, third fastest growing to Lisbon, with visits up 28,4pc and bed nights up 26,5pc, while visits to Algarve were up 23,2pc (bed nights 40.8pc)  Alentejo  up 18,9pc  and Madeira up  9.5pc (bed nights 18.7pc).

Food & Beverage

Watch here Q&A with Catherine Fulvio at the Taste of Tourism Conference in Holywood Co Down. Picture shows the eggs factor, dessert served in an egg box at the conference luncheon.

Michael Kelly of GROW HQ in Waterford city and Stefan Griesbach of Gannet Fishmongers, Galway city were chosen as the food heroes for Munster and Connacht in the final two provincial finals of the Restaurants Association of Ireland awards. The all-Ireland finals take place in Dublin on May 8.

Restaurant magazine’s top 50 list for 2017 features a new number one and has 26Eruopean restaurants on the list: 1 Eleven Madison Park (New York, USA); 2 Osteria Francescana (Modena, Italy); 3 El Celler de Can Roca (Girona, Spain); 4 Mirazur (Menton, France); 5 Central (Lima, Peru); 6 Asador Etxebarri (Axpe, Spain); 7 Gaggan (Bangkok, Thailand); 8 Maido (Lima, Peru); 9 Mugaritz (Errenteria, Spain); 10 Steirereck (Vienna, Austria); 11 Blue Hill at Stone Barns (New York, US); 12 L’Arpège (Paris, France); 13 Alain Ducasse au Plaza Athénée (Paris, France); 14 Restaurant Andre (Singapore); 15 Piazza Duomo (Alba, Italy); 16 DOM (São Paulo, Brazil); 17 Le Bernardin (New York, US); 18 Narisawa (Tokyo, Japan); 19 Geranium (Copenhagen, Denmark); 20 Pujol (Mexico City, Mexico); 21 Alinea (Chicago, USA); 22 Quintonil (Mexico City, Mexico); 23 White Rabbit (Moscow, Russia); 24 Amber (Hong Kong); 25 Tickets (Barcelona, Spain); 26 The Clove Club (London, England); 27 The Ledbury (London, England); 28 Nahm (Bangkok, Thailand); 29 Le Calandre (Rubano, Italy); 30 Arzak (San Sebastian, Spain); 31 Alléno Paris au Pavillon Ledoyen (Paris, France); 32 Attica (Melbourne, Australia); 33 Astrid y Gastón (Lima, Peru); 34 De Librije (Zwolle, Netherlands); 35 Septime (Paris, France); 36 Dinner by Heston Blumenthal (London, England); 37 Saison (San Francisco, USA); 38 Azurmendi (Larrabetzu, Spain); 39 Relae (Copenhagen, Denmark); 40 Cosme (New York, USA); 41 Ultraviolet by Paul Pairet (Shanghai, China); 42 Boragó (Santiago, Chile); 43 Reale (Castel Di Sangro, Italy); 44 Brae (Birregurra, Australia); 45 Den (Tokyo, Japan); 46 L’Astrance (Paris, France); 47 Vendôme (Cologne, Germany); 48 Restaurant Tim Raue (Berlin, Germany); 49 Tegui (Buenos Aires, Argentina); 50 Hof Van Cleve (Kruishoutem, Belgium). The list features six from France and Spain and USA, four from Italy, three each from England, and Peru, two each from Australia, Denmark, Germany, Japan, Mexico and Thailand, one each from Argentina, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Chile, China, Hong Kong, Netherlands, Russia and Singapore. Nothing from India or the continent of Africa.

  • Redbreast 21 Years Old was named world’s best single pot still whiskey at the World Whiskies Awards 2017, World’s Best Single Malt Whisky is Craigellachie 31 Years Old. Teeling Single Malt won best Irish single malt and Jameson Black Barrel won best Irish blended whiskey’.
  • William Grant’s Tullamore Dew signed up as offcical whiskey of the Boston Red Sox.
  • The Food Safety Authority of Ireland served closure orders during March on Lebanese Tapas (restaurant/café), Blackrock, Co. Dublin; China Tower (restaurant/café), Ballybofey, Donegal; Gunnings (grocery), Rathconrath, Westmeath; Hailan Asian Cuisine Restaurant, Dundrum, Dublin 14; Plaza Inn (take away) Dublin 12; Indiana (restaurant/café), Gorey, Wexford and Rene Cusack Ltd (fish processing) The Food Centre, Raheen, Limerick. The FSAI also report a successful prosecution by the HSE in relation to Cliffords Bar (public house), Crookstown, Cork.
  • Restaurants Association CEO Adrian Cummins warned that a “spiralling claims culture” in this country could have serious ramifications for the restaurant sector following the decision by the High Court to award €20,000 in damages to a woman who hit her knee against the leg of a table while sitting down to dinner at the Mullingar Park Hotel restaurant.. The diner will have to pay for it in the end, he told Travel Extra.
  • Michelin Star in spectors do not drop a fork under the table and only drink still water, as claimd in the John Wells film Burnt. Thanks to former MIchelin inspector Chris Miller at the Taste of Tourism conference in Holywood, Co Down. 
  • McDonald’s was accused of forcing franchisees in France, Germany and Italy to charge more in their restaurants than the company charges in stores it operates directly.
  • An Seanachai outside Dungarvan, and Boland’s pub in Stillorgan are on the market.
  • Constellation Brands reported wine and spirits sales up 6pc.


Marion Walsh-Hédouin of Minor Hotel Group came to Dublin to promote the groups’ new openings in the Algarve and activities across the group’s six brands. Watch here.

  • Carra Shore Group was granted permission from Fingal County Council for a 10-storey, 427-bedroom hotel in Clonshaugh near Dublin Airport.
  • Revised plans for a 304-room Grand Central Hotel in Belfast are set to be approved, up from the original 200 rooms.
  • Shane Ross launched a multi-lingual audio guide at Powerscourt Estate in Enniskerry.
  • CBRE reports seven hotels changed hands from January to March with a combined value of €26m, down on 14 for Q1 2016. Hotels on sale include Mount Wolseley for €14.25m and Athlone Springs Hotel for €3.5m.
  • Center Parcs appointed Daragh Feighery as the first General Manager of Center Parcs Longford Forest, near Ballymahon
  • Ashford Castle appointed Lisa Toomey as Director of Food & Beverage, where she’ll join the five-star property’s team of 350 staff.
  • The planned €40m redevelopment of Loreto Hall at 77 Stephen’s Green, Dublin, into a nine-storey 95-bedroom boutique hotel was subject of two planning objections.
  • Colm and Audri Herron’s four-star Hillgrove Hotel in Monaghan was sold to iNua Hospitality.
  • AccorHotels second hotel under its new brand concept JO&JOE will be opened in Paris.
  • A rural Irish hotel reported its insurance bill rose from €22,000 to €40,000
  • Five Christian Brothers objected to the extension of Lawlor’s Hotel in Naas.


Domhnal Slattery’s Avolon closed the deal on CIT’s leasing business, to become the world’s third-largest lessor, a deal worth US$10.38bn. They leased Boeing 737 MAXs to MIAT Mongolian Airlines.

Weeks after Ryanair pulled the Dublin-Marrakech route, Air Arabia Maroc announced that they would launch Agadir-Dublin 2w from October on Wednesdays and Saturdays with flights from €70 one way.

Norwegian Air International CEO Bjorn Kjos said Cork Airport‘s runway may be 250 metres too short for his proposed flights to Stewart International NY. His airline sold 35,000 tickets for flights between Ireland and the US east coast due to begin on July 1. Bjorn Kjos told the Skift forum: “if you park aircraft half the day I don’t understand how carriers can make money. We focus on fast turnarounds.”  HIs SVP Sales Lars Sande told the Capa Americas summit in Orlando that he anticipates adding more US markets with A321LR and instanced Europe to Seattle. He came up with the understatement of the conference: traditional airlines “don’t like competition very much. Other quotes from the conference: “tell me when oil will go down to $10 and I’ll tell you when the new Mexico City airport will open.” Aero Exec Director Eduardo Iglesias said new entrants are skipping Brazil in favor of Peru, Chile and Colombia and Argentina is ready for Norwegian to enter the market.

The (unannounced) second successive hike in Aer Lingus charges for bags on longer European routes, flagged in last week’s Sunday Supplement hit the mainstream media during the week but Aer Lingus seem to be weathering the storm.  The increase in the cost bags since last November is 133pc and a 15kg bag will now cost €100 to take to the Canaries and back on holidays.

Trevor Buckley’s Irish aviation blog analysed new routes for Dublin Airport for Summer 2017. He reported Ryanair added with new 737-800 aircraft in March, following seven in both January and February, increasing the fleet to 384. Airlines started 460 new routes in the first three weeks of the 2017 summer season; Ryanair led with 100 with FIGUS countries leading the way and began its foray in Frankfurt among 37 new routes launched this week.

Delta Air Lines won the cabin concepts award with its Delta One Suite design at the Aircraft interiors expo 2017 in Hamburg, offering private areas with privacy partitions and due to be installed on its Airbus A350 aircraft this autumn. Global Eagle Entertainment won the electronic systems category with airtime portal. Airbus unveiled its New Forward Stairs design designed to optimise cabin space and free up A380 floor space for 20 additional passengers across business, premium economy and economy. Air New Zealand also showcased a new spacious design for the unpopular middle seat,

Ryanair’s March traffic grew 10pc to 9.4m customers, the 36th successive record month for the airline. Ryanair’s €770,000 stockbroker Vat case was referred to Europe. Ryanair cancelled 530 flights due to strikes in March.

  • Norwegian have moved flight times form Dublin to Stewart NY from 16.00 to 14.30 and to Providence from 15.45 to 15.00.
  • Aer Lingus passenger load factor in March was 77.3pc, down 5.2 percentage points, overall was up 4.8pc up on March 2016.
  • The Boeing 737 turned fifty. For Michael O’Leary’s analysis of how Boeing made low cost aviation possible, watch here.
  • Severe hailstorms caused hundreds of flight delays and cancellations in airports in the southeast USA.
  • Norwegian honoured Tom Crean as a tailfin hero..
  • Stobart reported an aircraft sale and leaseback in a £50m aircraft deal.
  • KLM Cityhopper signed an agreement with CityJet for the summer season to wet lease two RJ’s from May 15 to operate London City to Amsterdam (4 daily bringing it to 8 daily), Belfast, Birmingham, Bordeaux and Hamburg.
  • Noise complaints over Dublin airport have increased.
  • Bulgaria’s tourism ministry said Ryanair is to increase flights to Bulgaria’s Plovdiv – tourism ministry.
  • The Labour Court has recommended an independent assessor looks at Cityjet‘s books in the dispute between the airline and a number of its pilots.
  • Stansted got permission for a new arrivals terminal.
  • Dublin airport immigration queues have been affected by new regulations requiring passports and travel documents be scanned by immigration officers on an international database.
  • Senator Gerard Craughwell asked why England has the right to scramble fighter jets in Irish airspace
  • WOW air added seven new Airbus aircraft to its fleet to service its Irish routes.
  • Emirates showcased a day in the life of their Airbus A380 Fleet.
  • Airbus’ A319neo took to the skies
  • Acumen Aviation announced the launch of engine management software product EMPower.
  • Stephen and David Duffy from Donadea and Marc Daly from Armagh attempted to break a wingsuit world record in California with a  jump from 35,000 feet.
  • A survey of Tampa airport users showed 43.4pc want a Dublin route.
  • The government watchdog raised concerns after the sale of state jet parts.
  • Greater Orlando Airport Authority Exec Dir Phil Brown said Orlando is a strong business destination and slow season is not so slow anymore.
  • Aviation RM Rick Larsen made his opening statement at a hearing on aviation innovation
  • The Boeing 787-10 Dreamliner completed its first flight
  • Aergo Capital acquired seven ATR72-500 from TAT Leasing
  • Brussels Airlines will expand its leased SuperJet service from June 2017
  • CIT completed the sale of its joint venture stake in TC-CIT aviation
  • London City airport validated ground operations on the CS100.
  • The first C Series landed at London City Airport.
  • ASL Aviation Holdings is the new name for ASL Aviation Group. ASL Airlines Belgium detailed their expansion.
  • Direct maintenance opening in Dublin Airport.
  • Norwegian’s Boeing 737-800 EI-FVO first flight.
  • Michael Cawley discussed his role as director of Argentine low cost carrier Flybondi (interview in Spanish).
  • Shannon Airport opened a special sensory room. The airport is seeking to cut costs to fund investment
  • Woodgate Aviation secured an Air Ambulance contract
  • Air New Zealand flew its last 767 after 32 years with the carrier.
  • Aer Lingus released their corporate video welcoming AerClub. Watch here the launch of Aerclub where Susanne Carberry explained the changes to the points system.
  • Boeing released a blog on EI-FZK Boeing 737-800 Ryanair first flight. See also E195-E2 first flight.
  • NAC delivered an ATR 72-600, MSN 1398, to PT Garuda Indonesia on lease.
  • A permanent hangar is to be built in Athlone for air ambulance
  • Christine Ourmieres-Widener, CEO of Flybe and formerly Cityjet spoke to Ralph Anker’s Anna Aero.
  • Aer Lingus CEO Stephen Kavanagh was honoured as UCD business alumni of the year.
  • Brown-Forman launched Slane Irish whiskey in Dublin and Cork airports


Eamonn Rothwell of Irish Continental Group and Andrew Sheen of Irish Ferries today cut steel on their new €144m cruise ferry, scheduled for delivery in mid 2018 at Flensburger Schiffbau-Gesselschaft in Flensburg, Germany. The vessel will accommodate 1,885 passengers and crew, with 435 cabins and 2,800 lane metres of freight (165 freight vehicles) with a dedicated car deck with capacity for 300 passenger cars. Picture shows Eamonn Rothwell, Rüdiger Fuchs CEO of Flensburger Schiffbau-Gesellschaft and Andrew Sheen and David Ledwidge of Iish Ferries.

Norwegian Cruise Line unveiled a new Premium All Inclusive product offering unlimited inclusive alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks, including a large variety of premium brands, as well as gratuities, rolled into the fare. Francis Riley, Senior Vice President, Sales & Operations at its Miami HQ, saying: “We won’t be doing it in North America – they’ve no problem with tipping and they don’t drink the same amount.” Watch here interview with Dick Wilkinson of Norwegian Cruise Line at a launch event in Dublin. Picture shows Jeremy McKenna, Head of Sales for Ireland and Britain; Francis Riley, Senior Vice President of Sales & Operations; Dick Wilkinson, General Manager Northern Europe & MEA; and Christian Böll, Managing Director, Europe, Middle East and Africa, at the Norwegian Cruise Line media briefing in Taste at Rustic Stone in Dublin.

Picture shows Irish agents on board the Silver Muse for its launch party in in Genoa,  Julie-Anne Vaughan and Sandra Corkin of Oasis Travel, Dominic and Bernie Burke of Travel Centres and Doreen McKenzie of Knock Travel . The smallest cabins on Muse measure nearly 400 square feet — unusually spacious for a cruise ship. Upscale restaurants include La Dame, a French restaurant created in partnership with Relais & Châteaux, and two contemporary Asian eateries.

Stena Line revised its timetable on its Rosslare – Fishguard ferry service to reduce crossing times by 15 minutes and offer three day-time sailings and one extended overnight crossing from May 22nd. Crossing is three hours 15 minutes and new departure times are 8am and 18.10, with return form Fishguard at 13.10 and 23.45. Stena Line publication, A Sustainable Journey claimed that hat fuel consumption and emission levels to the air and sea have both decreased.

  • U by Uniworld changed their target age from ages 18-40 to 21-45 the day before the line’s new website went live and two days before the first brochure goes to print.
  • Silversea are offering a four night ultra-luxury no-fly sampler cruise from €1,369, departing Cobh Friday June 2 for four nights. disembarking in Bangor, Co Down.
  • Silversea revealed delivery dates of delivery dates of 2020, 2021 and 2023 for three ships the same size and shape as the 592-passenger Silver Muse.
  • Killaloe River Cruises launched Ireland’s first gin cruise in Lough Derg, Co Tipperary.
  • Spirit of Discovery will be the name of Saga Cruises 2019 build.
  • Belfast has 88 scheduled cruise ship calls in 2017
  • Three one ship river cruise companies debut in 2017, Teeming River Cruises in Europe; Grand Majestic Riverboat Company on the Ohio River out of Cincinnati and Rivers & Forest Expeditions on the Amazon in April 2017.
  • American Duchess delayed its inaugural summer 2017 schedule from July 1 to August 13.
  • English breakfast TV presenter Phillip Schofield is Princess Cruises’ first English brand ambassador.


Taoiseach Enda Kenny met German tour operators who programme and sell holidays to Ireland during his visit to meet Chancellor Angela Merkel.

Fáilte Ireland published a toolkit for tourism stakeholders Ireland’s Ancient East – A Toolkit for Storytelling Interpretation

The annual Irish Festival Summit attracted 100 delegates to Ballinasloe. Details of the 10th annual May bank holiday festival at Hook Lighthouse were released. Limerick Riverfest will offer aquabatics by some of the world’s best water performers and a dramatic fireworks night show on May Bank Holiday weekend.

The 2017 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship (Division 1 – Group B) will be hosted by Belfast on April 23-29. The six competing countries are Croatia, England, Estonia, Japan, Lithuania and the Netherlands.

Tourism Ireland won best tourist board website’ at the French hospitality industry’s ‘Les Travel d’Or’ awards. Tourism Ireland’s Game of Thrones campaign won Best Use of Social Media, at the London Travel Marketing Awards. Picture shows Alison Gaynor, Séverine Lecart and Adeline Danthon of Tourism Ireland.

Cobh Tourism became the first destination in Ireland to be awarded with a Chinese Tourist Welcome Certification presented by James Kenny, China Country Manager, Tourism Ireland.

Billy Alexander opened a 112-foot long rope bridge, Ireland’s longest, at Kells Bay on the Ring of Kerry. He got the idea while trekking across bridges in the Himalaya mountains in Nepal.

Minister Shane Ross launched the innovative multi-lingual audio guides at Powerscourt Estate in Enniskerry, Co. Wicklow. Picture shows Alex Slazenger, Sarah Slazenger, Shane Ross, Andrew Doyle, Anthony Wingfield and Jenny DeSaulles

Diamrem, which has opened park-and-ride facilities at Doolin and Liscannor is taking High Court action seeking the closure of the Clare County Council’s temporary car-park at the Cliffs of Moher.

  • Exploris aquarium in Portaferry had its 100,000th visitor since reopening in August 2016.
  • Enniscorthy born author Colm Tóibín is set to take stage at the 15th annual Immrama Festival of Travel writing on Thursday, June 15th at 8pm with a talk on Emigration, Exile and Slavery.
  • President Michael D Higgins opened Parks – Our Shared Heritage at Farmleigh Gallery.

Deal Watch

Click and Go offers: 9 nights B&B 5* Serenity Resort & Residences Hotel, Phuket, Thailand from €999pp incl. transfers, checked baggage, return flights and airport taxes and charges, travel October. Over 50s offer: 7 nights half board 4* Beatriz Costa Teguise & Spa Hotel, Costa Teguise, Lanzarote from €479pp incl. return flights, airport transfers, taxes and charges. 7 nights self catering Duna Beach Apartments, Maspalomas, Gran Canaria from €279pp incl. return flights, airport transfers, taxes and charges, travel May. 3 nights 4* Mediterranean Hotel, Budapest, Hungary from €219pp incl. return flights, airport taxes and charges, travel May. Visit or call 01 539 7777.

Falcon offers: 7 nights all inclusive 4* SplashWorls-Paradise Valle Taurito, Gran Canaria from €1,622 2+1, depart May 11. 7 nights self catering 3* Rocamar, Puerto Rico, Gran Canaria from €410pp, depart June 1. 7 nights self catering 2* Bellevue Club,Puerto De Alcudia, Majorca from €369pp, depart Cork May 9. 7 nights self catering 2* San Marcial, Matagorda, Lanzarote from €369pp, depart Cork May 18. 7 nights half board 3* California Garden, Salou from €759pp, depart Knock August 15. 7 nights self catering 4* Royal Sun Resort, Los Gigantes, Tenerife from €2,187 2+3, depart June 9. 14 nights all inclusive 3* Royal Decameron Club Caribbean, Runaway Bay, Jamaica from €1,220pp, depart June 8. 14 nights all inclusive 4* Grand Bahia Principe Coba, Riviera Maya, Mexico from €1,419pp, depart June 7. 5 nights all inclusive 3* Servatur Waikiki, Playa Del Ingles, Gran Canaria from €469pp, depart April 29. 8 nights self catering 2* San Marcial, Matagorda, Lanzarote from €389pp, depart April 30. 7 nights all inclusive 3* Catalonia Punta Del Rey, Las Caletillas, Tenerife from €589pp, depart April 28. Visit or call 1850 45 35 45.

ITAA offers: 7 nights full board two-bedroom villa, Kuramathi Maldives from €1,259pp, travel May or July. 7 nights half board 3* California Gardens, Salou from €2,579 2+2 incl. two 15kg checked baggage, transfers, Port Aventura tickets and Costa Caribe Aquatic Park tickets, depart Cork August 13. 7 nights all inclusive Compostela Beach Golf Apartments, Playa de las Americas, Tenerife from €3,826 2+2, depart July 8.

Sunway offers: 11 nights highlights of Vietnam tour from €3,115pp incl. return flights, transfers, meals and tours, book by April 14, depart September 16. 7 nights Trinidad and Old Havana, Cuba from €1,439pp incl. return flights, meals and tours, depart September 10. 7 nights full board Danube river cruise from €2,299pp incl. tours and wine and beer at meals, depart May 24. 7 nights all inclusive Kamarina from €789pp incl. 15kg baggage pp and transfers, depart June 20. 7 nights self catering 4* Paraiso Apartments, Algarve from €349pp, depart April 29. 7 nights 3* Rosen Inn at Pointe, Orlando from €565pp, travel September. Visit

Thomson offers: 7 nights all inclusive Life Bellevue Resort, Rabac, Croatia from €3,741 2+1 incl. 20kg baggage pp and transfers, depart June 3. 7 nights full board Spanish Delights cruise on board the Thomon Majesty from €699pp incl. flights, transfers and 27kg luggage, depart May 16. 7 nights half board Hotel Angela Fuengirola, Costa Del Sol from €975pps, depart April 14. 3 nights all inclusive Hotel Levante Club, Benidorm, Costa Blanca from €465pp, depart April 22. 7 nights half board Hotel Barcelo Santiago, Puerto De Santiago, Tenerife from €669pps, depart April 28. 5 nights self catering Cay Beach Princess Bungalows, Maspalomas, Gran Canaria from €379pps, depart April 29. 8 nights half board Sensimar Natura Palace, Playa Blanca, Lanzarote from €739pps, depart April 30. 7 nights self catering Jardin Del Sol , Playa Del Ingles, Gran Canaria from €619pps, depart May 18. 7 nights half board Hotel Belvedere, Salou, Costa Dorada from €559pps, depart Shannon May 19. 7 nights self catering Protur Atalaya Apartments, Calla Millor, Majorca from €429pps, depart May 23. 7 nights half board Hotel Golden Donaire Beach, Costa Dorada from €739pps, depart Knock July 11. 14 nights all inclusive Clubhotel RIU Ocho Rios, Ocho Rios, Jamaica from €1,469pps, depart June 8. 14 nights all inclusive RIU Lupita, Playa car, Mexico from €1,389pps, depart June 14.

Topflight offers: 7 nights self catering 4* Bella Italia, Pescheira, Lake Garda from €429pps, depart April 15. 7 nights B&B 3* Hotel Londra, Sorrento from €499pps, depart April 23. 7 nights B&B 3* Hotel Eden, Torbole, Lake Garda from €499pps, depart May 6. 7 nights self catering 4* Fattoria Castiglionchio, Tuscan Countryside from €529pps, depart May 26. 7 nights B&B 4* Hotel de France, Rimini, Adriatic Riviera from €569pps, depart June 17. 7 nights self catering 4* Madison Apartments, Cattolica, Adriatic Riviera from €569pps, depart June 24. 7 nights B&B 4* Jardins D’Ajuda Suite Hotel, Funchal, Madeira from €599pps, depart May 11. 7 nights B&B 3* Hotel Tysandros, Giardini Naxos, Sicily from €619pps, depart June 17. 7 nights half board 3* Hotel Harrys, Lido di Jesolo, Venetian Riviera from €629pps, depart May 27. Visit or call 01 240 1700.

Tour America/Cruise Holidays offers: 5 nights Italy and Croatia fly-cruise on board MSC Musica from €649pp incl. 1 night post stay at 4* Venice Resort Hotel, depart November 5. 10 nights Orlando and Caribbean cruise one board Royal Caribbean’s Oasis of the Seas from €1,209pp incl. $100 on board spend, depart September 21. 7 nights Orlando from €499pp incl. hotel accommodation, travel November. 7 nights New York and Las Vegas from €699pp, travel January 2018. 3 nights Midtown Boston and 3 nights Wellington New York from €789pp, travel February 2018. Visit

Tour America is offering 3 nights 4* B&B hotel accommodation Vilnius, Lithuania from €349pp incl. excursions, transfers, taxes, charges and local guides, travel September or October. Click here or call 01 637 1600.

What we learned

Michelin restaurant inspectors do not drop a fork under the table or drink only still water, as conveyed in the 2015 John Wells film Burnt. Thank you Chris Miller, former Michelin Star inspector, for this revelation.

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