TRAVEL Extra Sunday Supplement: Dublin-lovin’ Celebrity will homeport Eclipse for five MORE mini cruises in 2018


John McKibben hosts travel trade guests at the Outreach Moldova event in the Shelbourne Hotel, Dublin


Things to know about travel this week

  • Dublin-lovin’ Celebrity will return for five MORE mini cruises in 2018
  • Irish Ferries wil have DAILY service to France in 2018 thanks to new ferry
  • Aer Lingus maps its A321 targets and could take TWELVE new aircraft 
  • Much ado about nothing, Ryanair keeps profit guidance and reports record pax
  • Adare opens its doors €50m later
  • Assessing the mood music at WTM in Excel
  • Agents’ chance to win a car is back with Blue Insurances
  • Conor McCarthy hires the first 48 of 150 new jobs at Dulbin aerospace
  • 3,000 pilots apply for 100 jobs at Aer Lingus
  • Climbing Uluru to be banned from October 2018. 

Travel Extra TV.


Aer Lingus, which has been supporting breast cancer research for the past three years, visits the Breast Cancer Research lab at the Lambe Institute for Translational Research in the National University of Ireland, Galway. Watch here.

Watch here as British Airways‘ Mexican-born pilot Andy Fonseca gives you a tour of its new 787-9 Dreamliner.

Watch the delivery ceremony of Emirates‘ milestone 100th Airbus A380 in Hamburg here.

Footage shows the disruption just one drone caused at Gatwick Airport in July. Watch here.

Airport authorities in Cologne didn’t see the funny side of it when a drunken tourist rode a baggage belt here.

Singapore Airlines is fighting back against the rise of the Middle Eastern carriers. Glimpse inside its latest business class cabin here.

Behind the Headlines

Adare Manor reopened after a 21-month €50m refurbishment, employing new staff at higher wage levels that has sent the entire industry into a spin. Adare, Ballyfin, and Ashsford, which also completed a €50m refurbishment last year, have projected Ireland into the luxury market at a new level. A new 42-bedroom wing brings the total number of bedrooms to 104, additions include a  350 capacity ballroom, a new La Mer spa, pool and relaxation area, boardroom and cinema. New walking trails and walled gardens have been added to the 842 acres of parkland.


The travel trade turned out to support Outreach Moldova, the charity for which John McKibbin is a director.  Watch video report here. Founder Suzanne O’Connell spoke about her life project in helping bring improvements to the decayed Moldovan orphanages she found 17 years ago, her speech featuring some harrowing footage (watch entire speech here), Hazel Messenger said an orphanage support “nanny” could be sponsored for a year for just €700m (watch here). Pictures shows Barry Walsh of Concorde/Joe Walsh Tours, John McKibbin of Getabed, Sandra Corkin and Julie-Anne Vaughan of Oasis Travel and Ciaran Mulligan of Blue Insurances at the Outreach Modlova event. See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook. See ORM website here.

A surprise from Ryanair’s annual results (see deocument), forward bookings are 2pc ahead of last year. Guidance remains unchanged despite flight cancellations, as signalled in earlier statements, Ryanair said that fewer than 100 captains and 190 first officers have left in the current year, slightly more turnover than previously.  It has recruited more than 700 pilots in the period and more than 900 since January and has 2,500 qualified pilot applicants.  It is recruiting 40-50 pilots per week for Dublin, Stansted and Madrid bases. Listen here to Travel Extra’s Eoghan Corry discussing the results on RTE Morning Ireland.

World Travel Market in London, the world’s second biggest travel trade event, kicks off tomorrow, with Brendan Griffin among 70 tourism ministers participating at the show’s various events. It is a good place to take stock of the industry mood for 2018, with some anxious faces among the star performers. Roger Dow of the US Travel Association will be speaking at the Colorado press breakfast on Monday.  Travel Extra’s Eoghan Corry will be speaking at the Thailand event at lunch time Monday. Mark Henry of Tourism Ireland will be speaking on How to Build a Dream Content Team on Tuesday 16.45.

Michael Caslin’s 747 Travel has match tickets available for next weekend’s play-off between Denmark and Ireland in Copenhagen, as part of his packages from €489+taxes not including ticket price.

While the Department of Foreign Affairs was remaining low-key on the Catalan protests in Spain, the Irish Travel Agents Association was warning holidaymakers to avoid demonstrations in Barcelona. President Cormac Meehan and CEO Pat Dawson travelled to Spain to assess the situation. Full report here.

Following the worst terror attack since 9/11 in Manhattan, New York tourism chiefs are urging visitors not to cancel trips. The Halloween attack killed eight people, including six foreign tourists. Fred Dixon, president and CEO of NYC & Company said the organisation was “deeply saddened” by the attack, but added that he was “thankful and reassured by the swift actions of the NYPD and first responders”.

Travel Trade

Blue Insurances’ third win a car competition will run from November 2017 to November 2018 in in association with Toyota Sandyford. Every 5 policies sold each month automatically secures an entry into the monthly draw. Members of the Irish Travel Trade or Insurance Brokers can also avail of one bonus place at the Grand Final by visiting Toyota Sandyford and requesting a test drive using the code DontRenewUnlessItsBlue.  Each of the 12 monthly winners as well as the 1 bonus winner will get a mystery prize and be invited to the Grand Final in Dublin in December 2018 to compete for the Toyota Yaris Hybrid. See agent login. Picture shows Ciaran Mulligan (Blue Insurance) & Loughlin Murphy (Toyota Sandyford).

Pat Dawson and Cormac Meehan of the ITAA attended the fourth Summit of Travel Agencies Associations in Valencia. Picture shows Cormac Meehan, Mark Meader of the American Society of Travel Agents, and Pat Dawson, following a bilateral meeting at Regional Government Headquarters in Valencia.

Travel Centres conference 2017 in Mullingar next weekend will bring together 150 agency owners, managers, staff and suppliers. Speed-dating workshops on the Saturday will culminate in an online quiz to win €2,500, a raffle for a limited edition print by Graham Knuttel, Dress code on the Saturday will be fancy dress lookalikes, with music by a Freddie Mercury tribute band. Sponsors include Aer Lingus, Amadeus, Blue Insurance, Celebrity Cruises, Crystal Ski, Hertz, MSC Cruises, Intrepid Travel, Royal Caribbean, Travelport and Turkish Airlines.

Shannon Airport are headline Sponsor of the Worldchoice 2017 conference which will be on Saturday November 18th at the Radisson Blu hotel in GalwayCarol Anne O’Neill of Worldchoice said 80pc of members are located outside the Dublin area and 50pc of members are within the Shannon catchment area.  Declan Power said the opening of the M18 motorway means Shannon Airport is now even closer to the entire west of Ireland.

Hurtigruten and KLM hosted travel agents on a group trip to Norway, travelling on KLM City Hopper, via a hub tour highlighting facilities, amenities and transfer procedures at Schiphol. Before departing they overnighted at Scandic Neptun Hotel in Bergen, travelled  to the top of Mount Floyen via the Fløibanen funicular, visited the Hanseatic Museum, Bergen’s Aquarium and the Magic Ice Bar. They cruised north from Bergen on the newly refurbished MS Nordnorge, through Hjørundfjorden, Ålesund and Trondheim, from whence they returned. See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.

Lorraine Kenny from AskSusan Travel was the winner of the October draw for a place on the Classic Collection Holidays 5 Star fam trip to a secret destination next April. Classic Collection Holidays have five more places still to be won by making a Classic Collection Holidays booking to be automatically entered into the draw each month. The monthly winners will be announced at the end of each month on the Classic Collection Holidays agents Facebook page.

Mary Bennett will be presented with the Skål National President’s Award at the Let’s Talk Tourism conference in Tralee.

Pól Ó Conghaile of the Irish Independent is among those shortlisted for an award at the British guild awards in London this evening.

The winner of Flexible Autos free lunch Friday for October is Cassidy Travel Swords (Amanda and Michelle pictured).

Mary McKenna was announced as a finalist in the Inaugural 2017 Everywoman in Travel Awards to be announced at East Wintergarden in London on November 16.

Travelport announced a new content agreement with Norwegian and are to offer Hertz’s full inventory and rates. Travelport signed a new, extended agreement with IATI Travel, based in Turkey.

Picture shows guests on a corporate travel group trip to Istanbul with Turkish Airlines: Aisling Cambell of BCD, Deirdra Healy of Neenan Travel, Robert Newbery of Selective Travel NI, Emma Cunnane of Clarity Travel, Sharon Menzies of HRG, Renee Lambe of WTC Dub, Michelle McCabe of Hannon Travel, Susan Contat of Shandon Travel, Louise Ormsby of Travel Broker, Neil Robert Armstrong Walker of Beyond Business Travel, Julienne Curran  and Deniz Laiho of Turkish Airlines.

Nikki Atkinson joined Peter McMinn’s Travel Solutions as they expand their product portfolio to the South African market.

APG, Amadeus & Ethiopian hosted the trade to announce their new ticketing system. Pictures shows Paul Nolan of APG and Olwen McKinney of Amadeus Ireland. See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.

lnnstant Travel announced a strategic partnership with APG USA.

Selective Travel Management, headed up by Keith Graham, won a £6m contract with Newcastle University.

The first winners of places on the Topflight Ski fam trip were Donna Kenny of Cassidy Travel (pictured with Shauna Kelly of Topflight), Karen Armstrong of One World Travel, Eleanor McGivern of Traveller Secrets and Katherina Murray of Dawson Travel.

G Adventures rebranded their youth travel style Yolo programme of tours for younger travellers to 18-to-Thirtysomethings’.

Wendy Wu & Emirates are offering a business class upgrade.

SKAL Dublin Club’s November lunch will take place at Guinness Storehouse on Tuesday November 14th.

Finnair hosted the trade at a Hallowe’en event. Pictures shows Lisa Coady, Fiona Dobbyn and Ciara Kilpatrick from Classic Resorts at the event in Church, Mary Street, Dublin. See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.


DSD hosted their team at Universal resorts and Seaworld in California. See pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.

Airline body IATA is warning the travel industry to be on the look out for fraudulent emails. It said crooks have been contacting users of IATA products and services by email or phone under false names seeking payment for products or services and/or claiming payments for outstanding amounts due. Fraudsters use email addresses similar to an IATA email address but using different domain names such as or, it said.

Travel Counsellors have an Ab Fab speaker at their upcoming conference,  actress and travel presenter Joanna Lumley. The two-day conference, which will be held at Manchester Central on November 10, has 1,500 delegates signed up to attend.

Strange World

A passenger is alleged to have made a hoax bomb and hijack threat against Jet Airways. Investigators believe the Indian millionaire was attempting an elaborate plan to force his girlfriend to move.

  • The FBI has launched an investigation after a female passenger was caught allegedly performing a sexual act on a stranger on a flight to Detroit. Officials said the pair were strangers before boarding the flight at LA. 
  • Pakistan International Airlines has ordered an inquiry after two bodies it was meant to repatriate were left in New York. The two coffins were meant to be flown to Lahore on 28 October but were left behind at JFK Airport by mistake.
  • A runaway seven-year-old girl slipped through security checks at Geneva airport and onto an EasyJet flight without a ticket before being spotted by a crew member and handed over to police.
  • A Disney Cruise Line crew member has been accused of an elaborate embezzlement scheme. According to the FBI, it was no Mickey Mouse operation and the suspect embezzled $275,000 over the course of two years, loading funds onto Disney gift cards while working as a merchandise host at shipboard stores. He had recently taken a 35,000 holiday to- unsurprisingly- Disney World.
  • Switzerland‘s smallest mountain village has come up with an unusual plan to save it from extinction – to become a giant ‘scattered hotel.’ The mountain hamlet of Corippo has just 16 inhabitants and the whole town is considered to be a historic monument.
  • Phoenix Airport closed its covered seats because of bed bugs.


Climbing Uluru (the former Ayers Rock) is to be banned from October 2018.

  • As part of the Erasmus+ programme 30th anniversary UCD are seeking online testimonials, contact Monika Gaciarz.
  • Two traffic police officers have been attacked in the Bardo area of the Tunsian capital Tunis, close to where 20 foreign tourists were killed two years ago. In March 2015, 20 tourists, including 17 cruise passengers, were killed in an Islamist attack.
  • Amsterdam is stepping up measures against over-tourism and will enforce a new ban on ‘beer-bikes’ this week after years of complaints by locals about rowdy tourists getting drunk and disorderly while pedalling along its famous canals.
  • The Roman-built Hadrian’s Wall, dividing Scotland and England, is in danger of collapse due to visitor numbers at the World Heritage Site.
  • A tribal council has voted against multi-million dollar plans to build an aerial tram at the Grand CanyonThe Navajo Nation Tribal Council opposed the 1.4-mile from the rim of the canyon to the bank of the Colorado River.
  • Chinese enthusiasm for travel to the US has fallen by 10pc so far this year despite an overall boom in outbound journeys from China. ForwardKeys, which compiled the data, says Chinese tourists are sensitive to geopolitical tensions when travelling abroad.

Food & Beverage

30 Irish pubs in 13 counties made the 2018 Michelin Eating Out in Pubs guide with one new listing, Bull & Ram in Ballynahinch, Co Down. Wild Honey Inn (Lisdoonvarna) and Toddies at The Bulman (Kinsale) both retained an “Inspectors’ Favourites” commendation: Antrim Billy Andy’s at Mounthill, near Larne; Clare Morrissey’s (Doonbeg), Vaughan’s Anchor Inn (Liscannor), Wild Honey Inn (Lisdoonvarna) and Linnane’s Lobster Bar (New Quay); Cork Poacher’s Inn (Bandon), Deasy’s (Clonakilty), Cronin’s (Crosshaven) and Toddies at The Bulman (Kinsale); Down Bull & Ram (Ballynahinch), Pheasant (Annahilt), Poacher’s Pocket (Comber), Parson’s Nose and Plough Inn (both in Hillsborough) Pier 36 (Donaghadee) and Balloo House (Killinchy); Dublin Old Spot and Chop House (both in Ballsbridge); Galway Moran’s Oyster Cottage (Kilcolgan) and O’Dowd’s (Roundstone); Kildare Harte’s (Kildare), Ballymore Inn (Ballymore Eustace) and Fallon’s (Kilcullen); Leitrim Oarsman (Carrick-on-Shannon); Louth Fitzpatricks (Jenkinstown); Mayo The Tavern (Murrisk) and Sheebeen (Westport); Sligo Hargadons (Sligo Town); Tipperary Larkins (Garrykennedy); Wexford Lobster Pot (Carne).

  • Darren Gardiner‘s Ground Espresso is to open two destination cafés, in Portadown’s old Pump House and Lisburn’s Langanbank Retail Park, a new store in Belfast’s Victoria Square Shopping Centre, two outlets in Dublin, another in Newry and eight outlets in Scotland, four of which will be concessions within Next stores.
  • Bewley’s café on Grafton Street reopened for business following a €12m refurbishment. The landmark café’s mahogany paneling, velvet upholstered banquettes, marble-topped tables, bentwood chairs and Harry Clarke stained glass windows have all been restored.
  • Pre-tax profits at Agenbite Ltd, the company that runs the Milano restaurant chain in Ireland, rose over 100pc to €6.8m in 2016.
  • Four foreign-born, Irish-based chefs and a group of Syrian refugee chefs created a Far-Fetched Dinner in Loam Restaurant in Galway. Chefs Damien Grey, Takashi Miyazaki, Jess Murphy and Louise Bannon cooked a five-course dinner with three Syrian colleagues, chefs Mhd Ahyam Orabi and Ahmad Orabi and baker Amer Marai. The sell-out dinner was supported by UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency,
  • Northern Irish coffee chain Ground Espresso plans to open three new branches in the North, as well as expanding its operations into Scotland and increasing its presence in the Republic.
  • Digital food delivery service Just Eat recorded a 47pc rise in revenues from £94.5m to £138.6m during the second-last quarter of 2017, compared to the same three months last year.
  • Three Irish chefs have reached the semi final of S.Pellegrino Young Chef 2018. They have been selected from thousands of applications submitted by young chefs from over 90 countries in the search for the world’s best young chef. The Irish chefs are Killian Crowley, Chef de Partie at Galway’s Aniar Restaurant; Michael Tweedie, head chef at The Oakroom Restaurant at Adare Manor; and the chef de partie at The Clayton, Dublin Airport, Romuald Bukaty.
  • The Food Safety Authority reported that the 39 food alerts issued in 2016 was the highest number of food alerts in ten years. There are now 49,404 food businesses in the 26 counties.


The company behind Hilton Hotels is paying a $700,000 (£525,000) fine after being accused of mishandling two separate credit card data breaches. The attacks were in 2014 and 2015. More than 363,000 accounts were put at risk, although it remains unclear whether the perpetrators managed to extract any details.

Dubai hotels saw their revenue per available room fall 13.5pc last month due to a decline in occupancy and rates. Room occupancy in September was down 4.2pc year-on-year, while the achieved average room rate fell almost 9pc to $162.50. Dubai’s total number of rooms has risen to 82,200 as it gears up for Expo 2020.

  • The four-star hotel in Dublin co-owned by Bono and The Edge had profits of €500,000 last year. Brushfield Ltd, trading as the Clarence hotel, in Temple Bar had profits of €430,000 in 2015.
  • The number employed at the 789 room Citywest hotel rose from 325 to 330 last year.
  • Talbot hotel group pre-tax profits are up 11pc to €3.46 million. Clarence hotel reported a profit of €500,000.
  • Lismore House, reputed to be Ireland’s first purpose-build hotel and celebrating 220 years in operation, is on sale for €1.5m.
  • Club Med is to open its first resort in Canada in 2020. The $120m property at the La Massif ski resort in Charlevoix, Quebec, will be at the highest point in eastern Canada.


Range of A321 from Dublin and number of people claiming Irish ancestry, source Aer LIngus

Where next for Aer Lingus? The range of A321 destinations that is exciting everyone at the airline was used to illustrate the airline’s 126-page Capital Markets Day document, an arc form Charlotte to St Paul that encloses a dozen tempting targets. Willie Walsh told investors that Aer Lingus unit revenue on the transatlantic declined this year thanks to increased capacity and the proposition that IAG has involves them being able to continue to reduce their unit cost. “A very strong unit cost performance enables them to be even more price competitive and as Aer Lingus goes into these new transatlantic markets they are profitable from the very beginning. I see lots of airlines pursuing rapid growth at ridiculous cost. It’s not a sustainable situation and we’re not going to participate in that. We learned from our experience that while the growth figures may look impressive, the profitability figures look very [un-] impressive. I think you’ll find more and more airlines will do what we’ve done this year and will calibrate to what it is they can do within their own means.  We’re aware of airlines in the low-cost segment in Europe out there desperately looking for wet lease capacity for next year. So desperate that they’re actually asking us for capacity.” Aer Lingus capacity has grown 22pc since the IAG takeover and Willie Walsh said that Aer Lingus could raise the number of A321LR aircraft orders from eight to 12. Rolling 12-month operating profit has improved from about €60m to almost €250m and operating margin from 4pc to 13pc.  Return on invested capital from about 8pc to about 23pc. Aer Lingus plans to capture 80-85pc of its transatlantic passengers with lowest cost direct distribution and to continue to increase North American point of sale traffic.

The IAA has extended Shannon’s Free Route Airspace into Shannon’s lower airspace (below flight level 245), building on the success of Free Route Airspace which has been operational since 2009 in the Shannon Upper Information Region Shannon Oceanic Transition Area (and Northern Oceanic Transition Area.

Gus Kelly said AerCap continue to be active sellers of mid-life aircraft and is experiencing delays on certain variants of the A320neo family aircraft and the A350 that are scheduled to deliver to Chinese operators this quarter. AerCap’s portfolio consisted of 1,506 aircraft owned, on order or managed at end September (including aircraft owned by AerDragon, a non-consolidated joint venture). AerCap acted quickly and decisively with Air Berlin and Monarch and rapidly secured control of their aircraft, a total of 22 owned and managed aircraft comprising of 10 A330s and 12 A320 family aircraft. 17 of these aircraft are already remarketed. The average age of the owned fleet was 7.1 years and the average remaining contracted lease term was 6.6 years. AerCap reported US$265.8m net income on $1.27b revenues in 2017 Q3 vs $225.6m on $1.23b in 2016 Q3.

The monthly brand image study by media agency Core Media said Ryanair’s brand image plunge following its flight cancellation crisis represented recorded one of the biggest drops in brand vitality it has ever witnessed. Core Media strategic planner Thomas Geoghegan sid “for the first time ever, Ryanair’s brand sentiment went negative.”

Conor McCarthy has hired the first 48 additional team members in a 150 job expansion at Dublin Airport. Since Dublin Aerospace’s start-up in 2009 annual turnover has risen from €7m to €46m last year and the company have been profitable since our second year in operation. See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook

Aer Lingus Regional/Stobart Air will offer 275,000 seats and 3,800 flights to/from Cork during Summer 2018.

Tom Kelly, Aercap Ireland

Shannon Group appointed AerCap Ireland CEO Tom Kelly as a new board member.

It was reported 3,000 qualified pilots have applied for 100 vacancies in Aer Lingus.

A receiver was appointed by the High Court over shares in three Irish-registered aviation firms allegedly linked to fugitive Russian businessman Rashid M Mursekayev.

Ryanair reported passenger numbers up 8pc to 11.8m in October, the same level in September, with seat factor up 1 point to 96pc, down from a world record 97pc.  The rolling 12 month total was 128.2m, up 12pc. Official release here.

  • The BA cabin crew dispute which began in December 2016 and led to more than 80 days of strikes by mixed fleet staff has been resolved.
  • Roy Kinnear is leaving his job as CEO at Air Seychelles to become the new chief commercial officer for Flybe.

Andrew Kelly, ASL Aviation

Shannon born Andrew Kelly, pictured, has been elected president of the European Regions Airline Association, a representative body for 53 airlines and 22 airports, including Shannon. The director of corporate affairs at ASL Aviation is a former journalist, wh also worked with Aer Lingus and Aer Arann.

Finnair said it’s not fat-shaming passengers – but it is to start weighing them. The Scandanavian airline is gathering data in the hopes of slashing operating costs, so it can better estimate fuel requirements.

Air France KLM confirmed that it will follow Lufthansa and IAG and impose an unspecified distribution surcharge on GDS sales from April 1. The surcharge will not apply to travel agency sales via Iata’s New Distribution Capability connection and to Air France and KLM direct sales channels.

Travelport boss Gordon Wilson has dismissed the New Distribution Capability connectivity of BA and Iberia as “not fit for purpose”.

Etihad Airways is axing its route to Dallas/Fort Worth following American Airlines’ “unilateral decision” to terminate a codeshare agreement with the Gulf carrier.

British Airways’ only father-daughter Boeing 777 pilot team have flown together for the final time. David and Kat Woodruffe touched down at London Heathrow after completing his retirement flight from New York.

Peter Bellew’s farewell party

Ryanair-bound Peter Bellew, pictured, got a rousing send-off from colleagues and well-wishers as he departed as Malaysia Airlines CEO. The event was held in Kuala Lumpur’s Healy Mac Publika Irish bar.

Minister Brendan Griffin turned out to help launch the Ryanair Kerry to Berlin route. See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook

Some American Airlines flights out of LA had to depart without an in-flight meal service due to a food scare. Potentially dangerous listeria was found at a facility run by Gate Gourmet which is used by the airline.


Celebrity Cruise Line is to homeport the 3,030-passenger Celebrity Reflection in Dublin for a second mini-season in April 2019 after ‘strong guest demand’ for the debut season. It will offer a series of eight, 10, 11 and 12-night sailings from Dublin.

DAILY to France: Irish Ferries are to introduce double sailings on Ireland-France routes with introduction of WB Yeats next summer.

  • Silversea announced free shore excursions on Caribbean departures of Silver Muse cruises departing March 13 and 22, and Silver Wind cruises departing February 4, 18 and 25 and March 11, 23 and 30.
  • From November 28 Celebrity Cruises will roll out optional non-refundable deposits,
  • National Geographic has teamed up with Scenic to offer cruises on a variety of rivers throughout Europe and Asia in 2018 and 2019.
  • Two Dublin-based businessmen are to invest €20m in the former ferry terminal in Dún Laoghaire harbour to create a hub for technology, marine and design businesses.
  • Norwegian Cruise Line has appointed Karen Sequeira as marketing/PR director for Ireland, Britain, Middle East and Africa. It is the latest restructuring by NCL which recently promoted Nick Wilkinson to Vice President and MD for Britain and Ireland, Middle East and Africa. Sequeira joins from Azamara Cruises where she headed up marketing/ PR.
  • Turning Rosmuc into a deep sea harbour could open up Connemara to cruise ship passengers, Galway County Council was told. A committee advocating the move said last summer alone 7,500 passengers arrived on ships into Killybegs in Donegal which can accommodate liners.
  • Celebrity Cruises has confirmed a number of passengers have been struck down with a gastro bug on a New Zealand sailing onboard Celebrity Solstice. The line said at least 18 cruisers were affected by suspected norovirus, which seems to be a continuation from a previous sailing.
  • The first ship to be launched by Virgin Voyages, a new cruise line founded by Richard Branson, will be adults-only to tie in with the company’s goals to target Millennials. The ship is being built in Italy’s Fincantieri shipyard which is also building MSC’s Seaside class of ships.


Tourism Ireland is pushing hard in alternative markets as the decline in British visitors continues. It’s partnering with Etihad Airways to attract more visitors from Australia, with the Weather Channel to get more Canadians to see Donegal, and is running an extensive advertising campaign in Madrid to woo Spanish tourists, who are an important source of revenue in the off-seasons. Picture shows Rachel Schoutsen, The Weather Network; Dana Welch, Tourism Ireland; and Yan Theoret, The Weather Network, during filming at Lough Eske Castle in Donegal.

Let’s Talk Tourism in Tralee next weekend will feature Peter Bellew, currently CEO of Malaysia Airlines and recently announced as the Director of Operations for Ryanair and Paul O’Toole, CEO of Solus among the speakers, alongside Travel Extra’s Eoghan Corry. Olivia O’Leary will moderate while Kerry’s own master of ceremonies, Michael Rosney, will be conductor for the networking dinner.

The Association for the Visitor Experiences and Attractions held its inaugural forum in Kilkenny Castle with 60 attendees. Membership is open to gardens, leisure and entertainment visits, museums, galleries, historic buildings and estates, monastic sites, cathedrals, churches, farm visits, themed trails, guided boat trips, evening entertainment and theatres.

  • That was then. Charlie Bird’s report on a plan to replace Bord Failte featured in the release of archived news broadcasts on RTE. Watch also the opening of the K Club, an attempt to raise the bar for luxury travel in Ireland back in 1990.
  • Ireland’s postcode system Eircode is now compatible with Google Maps and can be used to locate addresses throughout the country.

Hillsborough Castle in Co Down – which closed its doors on October 1 for extensive refurbishment – is aiming to attract 200,000 visitors a year when it reopens. Pictured at the recent visit to Hillsborough Castle are Jay Teunis, Tower Group Marketing Manager; Katherine Clifford, Visitor Services Manager; Alderman Allan Ewart, Chairman of the Council’s Development Committee and Patricia Corbett, Head of Hillsborough Castle.

  • To celebrate the 20th anniversary of the Oscar-winning film Titanic, Titanic Belfast says visitors named  Jack or Rose will be granted free entry from November 19 – December 19. Titanic is Ireland’s ninth most popular attraction with 667,000 visitors last year.

Deal Watch

Insight Vacations offers:  Dublin to Spain for Highlights of Spain escorted tour, 9 days, including flights, transfers and 8 nights’ accommodation in the best locations, from €2219pps, depart April 14. Book by January 26: Flight cost must be paid at the time of booking. Price includes EPD. Log onto or call 01 775 3803.

ITAA offers: Dublin to Copenhagen, Christmas markets and tour, 3 nights 3* Comfort Vesterbro Hotel, from €499pp, based on two sharing, depart December 11 with Travel Escapes.

Dublin to Fuerteventura, 7 nights self-catering Villa Florida, from €439, depart November 18 with Lee Travel.

Dublin to Lapland, return flights, all meals and activities (with thermal clothing, husky sleigh ride, reindeer sleigh ride, snowmobile safari, private family visit with Santa), from €559 per child and €670 per adult, overnight is €829/€899, depart December with Travelnet.

Sunway offers: Dublin to US, flights, six nights twin share three and four-star hotel, meals and tours as per itinerary on Fall Colours of New England tour, from €2059pp, depart October 4, 2018. Dublin to Hungary, 7 nights full board and drinks with meals, plus excursions, on a five-star river cruise, from Budapest to Vilshofen, from €1739pp, depart December 27. Dublin to Japan, 10 days 18-to-Thirtysomethings, Japan on a shoestring, with flights, five nights on twin share basis, meals and tours as per itinerary, from €1839pp, depart March 2. Dublin to Lanzarote, 7 nights self-catering 2*-plus Oasis Apts, from €2236 for two adults and two children, depart February 10. Dublin to Lanzarote, 7 nights half board 4* Vik San Antonio Hotel, from €1079, depart February 10. Dublin to Gran Canaria, 7 nights self-catering  2* Monte Verde, from €2326 (two adults and two children), depart February 10.  Dublin to Gran Canaria, 7 nights half board 4* Gloria Palace San Augustin, from €1019, depart February 10. Dublin to South Africa, 5 nights 4* Cullinan Hotel in Cape Town, from €755pp, based on two sharing.

Topflight offers:  Dublin to Austria, 7 nights self-catering 3* Aurora Apartments, Bad Hofgastein, was €569 now €399pps (Based on 4 share), depart January 6. Dublin to Austria, 7 nights half board 4* Hotel Der Schmittenhof, Zell am See, was €866 now €716pps, depart January 6. Dublin to Andorra, 7 nights half board 3* Hotel Patagonia, Arinsal, was €701 now €581pps, depart January 7. Dublin to Italy, 7 nights self-catering 3* Livigno Ski Apartments, Livigno, was €538 now €429pps (Based on 5 share), depart January 13. Dublin to France, 7 nights self-catering 4* Les Chalets Edelweiss, Plagne 1800, was €591 now €495pps (Based on 5 share), depart January 20. Dublin to Italy, 7 nights half board 4* Hotel Amerikan, Livigno, was €959 now €829pps. Cork to Austria, 7 nights self-catering 3* Chalet Alpina, St Johann, was €559 now €529pps (Based on 4 share), depart January 13. Cork to Austria, 7 nights half board 4* Hotel Der Schmittenhof, Zell am See, was €747 now €717pps, depart March 10. Belfast to Austia, 7 nights self-catering 3* Chalet Alpina, St Johann, was £462 now £437pps (4 share), depart January 13. Belfast to Austia, 7 nights half board 4* Hotel Der Schmittenhof, Zell am See, was £630 now £605pps, depart March 3. / call 01 240 1700/028 9752 1168

TUI offers:  Dublin to Gran Canaria, 7 nights self-catering 2* Puerto Plata Puerto Rico, 2*, from €549, depart December 21. Dublin to Lanzarote, 14 nights self-catering 2* San Marcial, Matagorda, from €639, depart December 31. Cork to Tenerife, 7 nights all inclusive 3* Catalonia Punta Del Rey, Las Caletillas, from €1119, depart December 24. Cork to Costa Del Sol, 7 nights half board 3* Balmoral, Benalmadena, from €629, depart December 21. Dublin to Gran Canaria, 7 nights self-catering 3* Monte Feliz, Bahia Feliz, from €309, depart January 18. Dublin to Lanzarote, 7 nights self-catering 2* San Marcial, Matagorda, from €419, depart January 28. Dublin to Tenerife, 7 nights all inclusive 3* Catalonia Punta Del Rey, Las Caletillas, from €399, depart January 26. Dublin to Lanzarote, 7 nights self-catering 2* Lanzarote Paradise Club, Costa Teguise, from €389. Dublin to Tenerife, 7 nights self-catering 2* Laguna Park II, Playa De Las Americas, from €459. Dublin to Gran Canaria, 7 nights half board 3* Monte Feliz, Bahia Feliz, from €369. Dublin to Tenerife, 7 nights full board Canarian Flavours cruise onboard Marella Dream, decks 6/7/10 inside cabin, from €749, depart January 12., call 1850 45 35 45 or visit a TUI  Store /travel agent.

Uniworld Boutique River Cruises offers: Dublin to Europe for Tulips and Windmills cruise, 10 Days, visiting Belgium & The Netherlands, includes flights, airport transfers, all meals and beverages, all shore excursions and 9 nights in a Category 5 stateroom onboard the River Duchess, from €3019pps, depart March 27. Flight cost must be paid at the time of booking. Log onto or call 01 775 3803

What we learned

The word TEA comes from the initials on boxes which were what first transported the newly trending commodity from the Portuguese Spice islands at the time Catherine of Braganza married Charles II of England: Transporte Ervas Aromaticas. Thank you tour guide Ricardo Caitano in Guimarães.

ITAA conference video links

The presentations: Cathy Mannion (watch here), Brian O’Mara (watch here), Andrew McCarroll  (watch here), Anne Dolan (watch here), Eoghan Corry (watch here).
The sessions: Bonding & Traveller Protection complete session (watch here), Bonding & Traveller Protection panel discussion (watch here), Regulatory matters panel discussion (watch here), Regulatory matters complete session (watch here), ISS & NDC complete session (watch here),
The formalities: Cormac Meehan Opens Conference  (watch here), Cormac Meehan speech Vista Alegre (watch here), Cormac Meehan speech Ferreira (watch here), Cormac Meehan presentation to Cathy Mannion (watch here), Felipe de Silva (watch here), Sandra Lorenz (watch here), Silvia Ribau (watch here), Silvia Ribau theatre speech (watch here),
The performances: Tunalmente Molhado performed by university of Minho students (watch here), Hey Jude performed by Fernando & Fernandito Meireles Hey Jude (watch here). Brahms Souvenir de la Russie 5 Chant Bohemien performed by Fernando & Fernandito Meireles (watch here).
The agents journey to Oporto (watch here), first day (watch here), second day (watch here), second day evening (watch here), agents photographed (watch here), the farewell (watch here).
The trips: Oporto Bridge climb (watch here), Central Portugal fam (watch here), Northern Portugal fam (watch here).


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