Author Archives: Sixdayexpert

TRAVEL Extra Sunday Supplement: The reign of Spain, Irish visitors could pass 2m in 2017

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

Jason Kearns of Hertz Ireland; Hayley French of Los Angeles Tourism, Dee Burdock of Visit USA, Gary Orr of Experience Kissimmee; Francine Sheridan of Los Angeles Tourism & Convention Board; and Tony Lane of Visit USA, at the Visit USA Agent Appreciation Night, Church, Dublin, November 23, 2017

 

Things to know abut travel this week

  • Spain heads for 2.09m Irish visitors as tourism up 16pc
  • Portugal also going for record with tourism up 11pc
  • High Court throws out three legal challenges against €320m Dublin Airport runway
  • Dublin runway renovations to finish April, despite storms
  • 200-year-old hotel gets makeover as Riu Plaza The Gresham
  • Visit USA gives thanks to agents for Thanksgiving – with a Seattle prize up for grabs
  • Can Cyprus rise again? Cobalt dreams of 3w year-round from 2018
  • Topflight’s Tony Collins received lifetime achievement honour

Travel Extra TV

A video went viral of musicians Sheldon Thornhill and Sean Sullivan leading an impromptu sing-along of delayed passengers in the waiting area of Toronto’s Pearson Airport. Passengers awaiting a delayed flight to Newfoundland and Labrador belted out “Sweet Forget Me Not,” “Grey Foggy Day,” “Aunt Martha’s Sheep” and other folk classics.  Watch here.

  • A private Dreamliner. Watch here.
  • Pandas experience snow for the first time. Watch here.
  • A girl who has battled cancer achieved her dream of becoming a British Airways cabin crew member. Watch here.
  • Go behind the scenes as 1,800 runners take part in the Cork Runway Run here.
  • Model Chanel Iman flies from New York to Abu Dhabi for an exclusive photoshoot to reveal Etihad‘s  new Grid Girls Uniform for the 2017 Formula 1 Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. Watch here.
  • Heathrow Airport‘s new Christmas bear ad is already being called a classic. Watch here.
  • In a season of giving, Qantas explains how UNICEF donations can help children all over the world here.
  • Ryanair launched the “Great Christmas Giveaway” competition and fundraiser in aid of ISPCC Childline, its 2017 charity partner. Watch here.
  • Tourism Ireland shows you the best of Ireland in just one minute. Watch here.
  • Watch here a video of a story featured by Travel Extra this week as Chargé d’affaires Reece Smyth pardons Dustin the Turkey in the US Ambassador’s Residence in Phoenix Park, Dublin ahead of Thanksgiving 2017.

Behind the headlines

The Grand Dame of Dublin hotels, The Gresham Hotel, has been a Spanish Lady – for a while now and is looking good for a 200-year-old, thanks to a massive makeover. Bought for a reported €92m, it’s been rebranded as the Riu Plaza The Gresham. It’s only the second Riu Plaza property in Europe, after Berlin, but the offshoot of the family-run empire has a big footprint in the Americas, with Riu Plaza hotels in New York, Miami, Mexico and Panama. Ricardo Luque Ferrandez, Managing Director, Riu Hotels & Resorts, left the sunny climes of Miami Beach to launch the rebrand and spoke to Travel Extra here.  Picture shows Ricardo Luque Ferrandez MD, and Laura Malone, Director of Communications,  at the relaunch. See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.

Irish visits to Portugal so far in 2017 are up 11.6pc and heading for 282,000 for the year, with bednights up 10.6pc. Algarve was up 8.6pc (bednights 8.3pc) off the highest base, Lisbon up 11.6pc (bednights 10pc), Northern Portugal up 47.5pc (bednights 49.8pc), Central Portugal up 62.7pc (bednights 92.3pc), Alentejo up 24.2pc (bednights 24.4pc), Madeira down 5.9pc (bednights -6.9pc).

Tourist average daily expenditure in Spain is up 6.6pc to €144. Average expenditure per tourist is up 0.8pc to €1,068. Average stay is down half a day to 7.4 days. Tourism growth from Ireland slowed to 0.9pc in September but is up 16.2pc for the year to date, heading for 2.09m.

In yet another bit of fallout from Britain’s EU exit, Belfast and Derry may be banned from the European Capital of Culture competition as the European Commission maintains that they will be outside the EU after 2019, so will be ineligible for consideration. The cities launched a high-profile bid to secure the title for 2023 back in July by mayors of Belfast Nuala McAllister and Maoliosa McHugh of Derry.

Travel Trade

Visit USA hosted an agents’ appreciation night in Church on Dublin’s Mary Street during a week of Thanksgiving celebrations. Caroline Gallagher from the Travel Department won the big prize of the night – a fam trip place to Aer Lingus’ new destination, Seattle, while Caroline Mongey of FCM won a €150 prepaid Mastercard, courtesy of Hertz, who were partners for the night along with Experience Kissimmee and Francine Sheridan’s Los Angeles Tourism & Convention Board. Picture shows Jean Claffey, Bronwyn Clinton and Adele Walsh, from Joe Walsh Tours, Catch more pictures from the night here or on Facebook here.

Irish visitor numbers to Cyprus have dwindled from 70,000 a year to 6,525 so far this year – which is itself up 69pc on last year. But Cobalt Air sees a chance to bring back the boom, it told invited agents and operators in Dublin, as it formally launched its year-round service from Dublin to Larnaca. The airline’s Irish executive, David Lee, told Travel Extra that it’s looking to expand next year from 2w to 3w. Bookings for agents here are handled by Paul Nolan’s APG. Full story here. Picture shows Paul Nolan, APG, and David Lee, Cobalt Air, with prize-winner John Spollen of Cassidy Travel. Connect to the album from the night here or on Facebook here.

Clodagh Connolly won agent of the year and Grogan’s Travel agency of the year at the Worldchoice awards. Thomas McNally and Michaela Banks shared the supplier rep awards and Bookabed won supplier of the year. See here the full winners of the Worldchoice awards 2017.  See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.

Louth-born James Treacy, Senior PR Executive for Tourism Australia in Ireland, Britain and northern Europe, is to leave the tourism organisation. He said “It’s with great sadness that tomorrow is my last day at Tourism Australia. I’ll be heading to tour operator Abercrombie & Kent in a newly created PR & Comms Manager role, starting on December 1.” 

Tony Collins won the lifetime achievement award at the Irish Travel Trade News awards. Martin Skelly’s Navan Travel won the agency award.

Nine years ago, Pamela Brownlee was told that she’d be crazy to open a travel agency as “everyone’s booking online nowadays”. Almost a decade on, and the Fly Away Travel boss is seen celebrating with staff Rachel Devers and Elma Ni Ghiollarnath at her agency in Mayo. 

  • Agents who liked a post on Travel Partners Group Facebook page can win a prize every Tuesday and Thursday until December 21. The eight partners will offer a €50 One4All Christmas shopping voucher, and comprise of Amadeus, ASM (representing SAS, ANA , OBEO Travel and Your Car Hire), Blue Insurance , Bookabed , Classic Collection Holidays, Cruisescapes, Irish Ferries and MSC Cruises.
  • Diane Risk of Belfast City airport and Andrea Hunter of Aer Lingus hosted travel agents on a flight from Belfast City Airport to London Heathrow, where they were met by Heathrow staff to explore the offering available to travellers as well as transfer options.
  • The Cork Skal event takes place December 10 at Fitzgerald’s Vienna Woods Hotel in Glanmire, Cork, €50 per person. 087 6709211 or email.
  • Picture shows travel agents on a Spanish Tourist Board group trip to Lanzarote in Jameos del Agua, Clare Dunne , Travel Broker; Rebecca Kearney, Club Travel; Rachel Walsh and Mary McKiernan from Best4Travel; Ciara Mooney, Freedom Travel; Antoinette Young from TUI and Kathryn McDonnell on the island of La Graciosa.
  • Jet2holidays/Jet2 winter programme out of Belfast International is up 17pc, 16,000 additional seats with a new winter route to Madeira.
  • ETOA the European tourism association was awarded the “Golden Experience” award for sustainable tourism, presented at the International Mayor’s Forum in Seville.
  • Pre-tax profits at the main Irish arm of Hertz rose by 21pc to €15.6m last year. But revenues at Hertz Europe Service Centre Ltd fell from €62.72m to €60.63m.

Strange world

Mickey has a new rival – a penis-themed theme park in South Korea. Legend has it that the park was built to keep the spirit of a fabled virgin happy, and Haesindang Park features 300 statues.

The airline whistleblower who exposed the actions of the Korean Air chairman’s daughter who forced a plane to return to its gate at JFK Airport in a kerfuffle over macadamia nuts is suing her and the airline, accusing them of illegally demoting and ostracising him. The nuts were apparently bagged, rather than plated.

A chartered train in India is supposed to have gone 160km in the wrong direction. Passengers were alerted when the train stopped at an unfamiliar location. They were travelling overnight to the western state of Maharashtra after taking part in a protest rally in Delhi. The railway firm denies the allegations.

The Swiss town of Albinen, located in the scenic canton of Valais, is voting on an initiative to pay people €21,461 each to move there for at least 10 years, the money to be repaid on moving out within that time. The town has just 240 residents.

Comic actor Sacha Baron Cohen offered to pay the fines for six Czech tourists who were  detained in Kazakhstan’s capital Astana for dressing up as his character Borat in mankinis.

International

Austria has had the best snowfall in the Alps so far this winter season with a storm last weekend followed by clear skies, bringing forward the opening dates of most ski resorts. Tignes (30/60cm) and Val Thorens (50/60cm) are the only two early season resorts currently open in France. St Moritz (13cm/38cm), and Murren (35cm/58cm) in Switzerland, Arabba (25/48cm) and Courmayeur (10/130cm) in Italy, Beaver Creek (46cm), Steamboat (30cm) and Vail (46cm) in Colorado open this weekend.

NYC & Company launched a $15m campaign called True York City which will pair iconic sights with a deep dive into local neighbourhoods and their unique experiences, with advertisements and promotion in 17 countries, with some additional content here.

A bus driver died in a “complete inferno” after deciding to drive straight into boulders on a narrow mountain road to try to save his passengers, an inquest heard. British driver Maurice Wrightson had been driving down from French ski resort Alpe d’Huez with a coach full of resort staff in 2013 when the brakes failed and he took the full force of the crash.

  • Trump has lifted the ban on importing lion and elephant trophies hunted in Africa.
  • Authorities in Rome have started classes for 750 taxi drivers to learn inter-cultural manners and English. 
  • Caribbean nations hardest hit by twin Hurricanes will get more than $2bn to underwrite rebuilding efforts. At a donor conference held by the United Nations and regional organisation CARICOM, donor nations will give $1.3bn in aid and at least $1bn in loans and debt relief.

Food & Beverage

  • Breanagh Catering, which operates Copper Face Jacks on Dublin’s Harcourt Street, recorded pre-tax profits of €5.16m last year.
  • Conor Halpenny, a young chef mentored by Ross Lewis of Chapter One, won the Euro-Toques Young Chef of the Year competition presented by La Rousse Foods.
  • British pub chain owner Mitchell & Butlers – in which Irish horseracing names JP McManus and John Magnier have a combined 23,1pc stake – said Brexit and rising costs have created “unprecedented headwinds” for the pub industry.
  • Kevin Coppinger, who co-owns Corbett’s and Coppingers bar in Thurles with All Ireland winner Lar Corbett hit back at the storm over a Black Friday 99 cent pint promotion. He said pubs are being forced into cut-price promos to compete with cheap beer in big supermarket chains.
  • An Italian-themed restaurant is to open at the redeveloped Royal Hibernian Way off Dawson Street in Dublin 2.

Hotels

  • Ken Healy hosted the sixth European castle awards at Barberstown Castle in Straffan.
  • Hotel owner and operator Tifco plans to add 60 bedrooms in a five-storey extension to its Crowne Plaza property near Dublin Airport.
  • The company which operates the Shelbourne Hotel on Dublin’s St Stephen’s Green, Kennedy Wilson-owned KW Shelbourne Ops Ltd, recorded pre-tax profits of €3.9m last year. Rugby coach Joe Schmidt lit up the Shelbourne Christmas tree, and greeted fans at the hotel during the week. Catch the album here on or Facebook here. 
  • US President Donald Trump is feeling his own Trump Slump as average room rates have fallen by as much as 63pc in 12 of his 13 hotels. Hardest hit was Trump Las Vegas, according to  analysis by FairFX, the currency provider. The only one to see a rate rise? His property in Doonbeg, Co Clare. 
  • The family of a small boy who died in an accident at an Atlanta hotel filed a lawsuit with Marriott International. The Westin Peachtree Plaza Hotel is facing litigation after the five-year old became trapped in a revolving track at the popular 73rd floor Sun Dial revolving restaurant. 
  • MGM Resorts, owners of the Las Vegas Mandalay Bay hotel from where a gunman shot dead 58 people, is being sued by more than 450 victims of Stephen Paddock. 
  • Managing Director Bill Kelly reports that occupancy rates at the Kelly’s Resort Hotel in Rosslare hit 92pc last year. He was speaking after new accounts show that pretax profits increased from €688,261 in 2015 to €772,282 in 2016. 
  • Ireland’s largest hotel operator, Dalata Hotel Group, is to extend its existing lease agreement on the Ballsbridge Hotel until at least October next year. There is then the option to extend the lease further up to March 2019.

Dalata Hotels officially launched its own-brand coffee offering, called Red Bean Roastery. Alan Deller, General Manager of Clayton Hotel, Leopardstown, Dublin; Samuel Pezzaioli, Cafe Manager; and Pat McCann, CEO Dalata Hotels, are pictured at the opening of the standalone Red Bean Roastery Coffee Shop at the Clayton Hotel Leopardstown.

Hollywood boutique hotel The Standard plans to become America’s first hotel with its own lobby ‘pot shop‘ in a joint venture with a cannabis firm.

Aviation

Both Aer Lingus and Ryanair show a 5pc increase in seats offered this winter and increases in ASK of 11.6pc (Aer Lingus) and 9.2pc (Ryanair). Wizz Air are up 19.8pc and 20.3pc, Vueling up 14.5pc and 11.8pc, Transavia France up 13.2pc and 22.9pc, Finnair up 11.0pc and 11.6pc, Icelandair up 10.2pc and 12.1pc, Norwegian up 9.1pc and 29.0pc, and Brussels Airlines up 8.4pc and 21.1pc. 

Business group Ibec welcomed the High Court ruling to dismiss three legal challenges against plans for a new €320m runway at Dublin Airport. “Recent growth in passenger numbers has meant that the airport is often at full capacity during peak periods. Completion of the proposed North Runway by 2020 will help to relieve this. International connectivity needs to be consistently improved, expanding tourism and trading opportunities globally,” said Ibec Planning and Infrastructure Policy Executive Órla Casey. “This investment is vital not just for today or tomorrow, but to ensure the growth of our economy for the next 50 years.”

Work to resurface Dublin Airport’s main runway, R10/28, is more than two-thirds complete. DAA spokeswoman Siobhan O’Donnell told Travel Extra: “It’ll be finished by the end of April – but we lost a few days because of the weather.” She said that despite the major storms this year, contractors are working to make up lost ground on the work. The runway, which is 28 years old, also needs an upgrade of its ground lighting system and a full replacement of all cabling and ducting. Picture shows asphalt-laying on Dublin Airport runway on August 11. The runway ground lighting system is being upgraded with 1,700 new LED lights, to reduce energy consumption by 66pc. More than 10km of new electrical ducting and 200km of electrical cabling are also being installed. During the construction work, Dublin Airport’s oldest runway, R16/34, is being used. Since the project started, 78pc of flights have been directed to a northerly flight path while 22pc  have been directed to the southerly approach. Watch the work here.

Ryanair extended its connecting flights service at Milan Bergamo Airport, adding a further 31 routes including Budapest, Lisbon and Ibiza providing Ryanair customers with an expanded 131 connections.  Ryanair will add 18 new, extended from winter or revived routes to its Italian summer schedule next year, including an additional aircraft based at Bergamo and extra frequencies on other routes including Dublin. Ryanair extended its agreement with Perugia airport for a further five years.

  • Jet2 announced Belfast International B738 to Dalaman 1w from June 26th 2018 Tuesdays Departing 16:20/arriving 02:45. Belfast now has two operators to both Antalya and Dalaman. Graham Keddie is forecasting 5.7m passengers for the year.
  • Glasgow Airport was closed temporarily after a towing vehicle hit a passenger plane getting ready for take-off. The incident happened in “freezing conditions” on Friday, November 24,  and involved a British Airways plane.
  • Builder John Sisk & Son is firm favourite to win a near €99m contract to build a hangar for Boeing that will house its  biggest aircraft at Gatwick Airport. 
  • The Commission of Aviation Regulation approved an €0.06 increase in max average airport passenger charges at Dublin Airport for 2017 and 2018 as arrival/departure segregation at Pier 2 is attained.
  • Monarch’s administrators have won their appeal against a British Court decision which prevented them from selling valuable take off and landing slots at Gatwick and Luton airports. EasyJet, IAG, Wizz Air and Norwegian Air Shuttle have all previously expressed an interest in buying the slots. 
  • Domhnall Slattery’s Dublin-based Avolon firmed up an order for 55 Boeing 737 MAX 8 aircraft and 20 Boeing 737 MAX 10s, and said it may order 20 more, in a deal claimed at €3.4bn. 
  • Aer Lingus cabin crew have been hailed as “absolute professionals” online by passengers after “awful turbulence” affected a flight from Boston to Dublin on Tuesday, November 21. 
  • Dozens of flights to and from Schiphol Airport were delayed or cancelled because of a technical problem with air traffic control systems. 
  • The A350-1000 has gained certification from both EASA and FAA type. Airbus expects to deliver the first A350-1000 to launch customer and operator Qatar Airways before the end of this year, the first of 169 firm orders from 11 customers. 
  • State-owned airline Air China suspended flights between Beijing and North Korea due to what it claims was a lack of demand.
  •  Insurers have agreed to pay €81m to settle claims that security lapses led planes to be hijacked in the 9/11 attacks. The settlement on behalf of defendants including American Airlines and United Airlines was described in papers filed in Manhattan federal court. 
  • Gatwick restated plans for a second runway after reporting that the six month period to the end of September was the busiest in its history with passenger numbers rising by 5.1pc to 26.4m.
  • Air France KLM defended its new GDS booking fee, conceding that two-thirds of the group’s seats are sold through travel agents. Jean-Marc Janaillac, Air France-KLM chief executive, said the airline was forced to impose a fee to maintain its position against leading rivals.
  • Berlin Brandenburg Airport, originally scheduled for 2011 had its opening date put back a SEVENTH time – this time to mid to late 2020. 
  • Ryanair is recruiting engineers.  
  • Bloomberg reported that Rolls-Royce non-offers may have been an element in the Emirates A380 deal collapse.
  • British Airways was criticised in social media for a new boarding policy which will see passengers with the cheapest tickets forced to board last. The airline claimed the new policy, which is being introduced from next month, will speed up the boarding process.
  • ASL Aviation Holdings Ireland sold Farnair Handling Hungary to Menzies Aviation.

Afloat

Less than a week after embarking on its maiden expedition voyage to Antarctica, Silversea Cruises’ Silver Cloud had to cancel the sailing due to mechanical problems. The ship has returned safely to port, and all passengers are enjoying the onboard amenities until they disembark.

David Dingle, Clia Europe’s deputy chair, said that the cruise  industry “absolutely recognises it has an enormous duty” to protect the environment, and said while it is working with cities such as Dubrovnik amid overtourism fears, the wider travel sector must up its game.

P&O Cruises was forced to cancel a 50-night January voyage on the Oriana due to a maintenance issue. Instead of sailing around the Caribbean and America, the ship will enter dry dock for three weeks early in the New Year.

Ireland

  • The monastic beehive huts of Skellig Michael have been made into Lego toys ahead of the release of ‘Star Wars: The Last Jedi’.

    Lego Skellig Michael

  • Carol Gleeson of Burren Tourism (pictured) hosted 160 delegates at a tourism conference in the Falls Hotel, Ennistymon where issues such as overcrowding at the Cliffs of Moher were teased out in a series of panel discussions.
  • As British inbound figures decline this year, Tourism Ireland, Fáilte Ireland and Tourism NI introduced 33 Irish businesses to 41 top British meetings and events, inviting professionals to enjoy a taste of Ireland, at the annual ‘Ireland Meets the West End’ event in London.
  • Maybe it’s a sign of less chivalrous times, but Irish Rail hopes to help more pregnant women get seats on trains by introducing a “baby on board” badge for expectant mothers. Instead of having to ask a stranger to give up their seat, pregnant travellers will now be able to wear badges, which the rail company hopes will encourage other commuters to give up their seats.
  • The Freebird Club was among the winners at the first Smart Ageing Innovation Awards. The Freebird Club is now running a crowdfunding campaign.
  • Tourism Ireland and Qatar Airways co hosted a travel trade workshop in Doha. Picture shows Niall Gibbons, CEO of Tourism Ireland; Hanan Koura and Samira Darwish, of ST Qatar; and Paul Kavanagh, Irish Ambassador-Designate of Qatar,

Deal watch

  • Insight Vacations offers: Easy Pace Italy – 10-day tour including flights, transfers and 9 nights’ accommodation in the best locations, from €2199, depart March 31. Book  and pay in full by December 1,  2017 . Flight cost must be paid at the time of booking. www.insightvacations.com or call 01 775 3803.
  • ITAA offers: Trip to see Manchester City v Chelsea, one night’s hotel with match ticket from €199, depart March 3 with Cassidy Travel. www.itaa.ie/2017/11/14/football-break Dublin to Porto, 3 nights 3* TRYP Porto Centro Hotel, from €285, depart June 15 with Wallace Travel Group. www.itaa.ie/2017/11/14/porto-break Dublin to Berlin, 3 nights 4* Leonardo Hotel Berlin Mitte, with transfers, guided tour and tickets to see Andre Rieu in concert, from €599 with Travel Escapes, depart January 31. www.itaa.ie/2017/11/14/berlin-concert
  • Sunway offers: Dublin to Lapland, one night full board Sky Hotel , from €2792 for two adults and one child, depart December 1. Dublin to Lanzarote, 7 nights self-catering 2*+ Oasis Apts, from €399, depart January 13, 20 or 27. Dublin to Fuerteventura, 7 nights self-catering 3* Oasis Dunas Apts, from €369, depart January 13, 20 or 27. Dublin to Gran Canaria, 7 nights self-catering 2* Monte Verde Apts, from €379, depart January 13, 20 or 27. Dublin to Orlando, 7 Nights 3* Rosen Inn at Pointe, from €479pp, based on 2 adults & 2 children U12 sharing. Dublin to  Dubai, 3 Nights 3* Arabian Park, from €495.  Montenegro & Greece Fly Cruise, 7 nights onboard Crown Princess, from €1199, depart July 21. Short Mediterranean Fly Cruise, 5 nights onboard Symphony of the Seas, from €969, depart March 31.  Dubai, Vietnam Cruise & Hong Kong Stay, 15 nights with cruise onboard Ovation of the Seas, from €1249pp, depart April 26. Balcony Stateroom from €1550pp. Classic Italian Fly Cruise, 7 nights onboard MSC Fantasia with €100 onboard credit per cabin, from €919, depart October 10. Arctic Highlights Voyage, 5 nights onboard Ms Nordkapp, from€1249 , depart February 23. www.sunway.ie
  • Topflight offers: Black Friday offers – sale ends tomorrow. Dublin to Austria, 7 nights half board 4* Hotel Sonnalp, was €1760, now €1339, depart December 30. Dublin to Austria, 7 nights half board 4* Hotel Elisabethpark, was €1399, now €1139, depart December 30. Dublin to Austria, 7 nights B&B 3* Pension Hochwimmer, was €865, now €639, depart December 30. Dublin to France, 7 nights self-catering 3* Le Hammeau du Mottaret, was €819, now €699, depart December 30. Dublin to Austria, 7 nights B&B 3* Landhaus Roscher, was €1019, now €709, depart December 30. Dublin to Andorra, 7 nights half board  4* Hotel Piolets, was €1446, now €1219, depart December 31. Dublin to France, 7 nights self-catering 3* Résidence La Riviére,  was €449, now €329, depart January 6. Dublin to Austria, 7 nights half board 4* Hotel Jakobwirt, was €1069, now €869, depart January 6. Dublin to Andorra, 7 nights half board 4* Hotel Sant Gothard, was €649, now €499, depart January 7. Dublin to France, 7 nights catered chalet 3* Chalet Laponia, was €1099, now €849, depart February 17. www.topflight.ie
  • TUI offers: Black Friday sale deals also available for a limited time. Dublin to Gran Canaria, 7 nights half board 3* Barcelo Margaritas, Playa Del Ingles, from €1,089, depart  December 21. Dublin to Lanzarote, 14 nights half board 4* TUI Sensimar Natura Palace, Playa Blanca, from €1,239, depart December 31.  Cork to Tenerife, 7 nights half board 3* Hotel Catalonia Las Vegas, Puerto De La Cruz, from €1,269, depart December 24.  Cork to Lanzarote, 7 nights half board 4* TUI Sensimar Natura Palace, Playa Blanca, from €1,419, depart December 28. Dublin to Gran Canaria, 7 nights self-catering 3* Cay Beach Princess Bungalows, Maspalomas, from €359, depart January 25.  Dublin to Lanzarote, 7 nights self-catering 2* San Marcial, Matagorda, from €429, depart January 21.  Dublin to Tenerife, 7 nights self-catering 2* Laguna Park II, Playa De Las Americas, from €499, depart January 26. Dublin to Gran Canaria, 7 nights half board 3* Monte Feliz, Bahia Feliz, from €389, depart February 8. Dublin to Lanzarote, 7 nights self-catering 2* Lanzarote Paradise Club, Costa Teguise, from €379, depart February 18. Dublin to Tenerife, 7 nights self-catering 2* Globales Tamaimo Tropical, Puerto De Santiago, from €419. Dublin to Tenerife, Colourful Coasts cruise onboard Marella Dream, Decks 6/7/10 Inside Cabin, FB, 7 nights from €789, depart January 19.  www.tuiholidays.ie, Call 1850 45 35 45 or visit a TUI store/travel agent.
  • Uniworld Boutique River Cruises offers: Gems of Italy cruise, 8 days, includes flights, airport transfers, all meals and beverages, all shore excursions and 7 nights in a Category 5 stateroom onboard the River Countess, from €2459. Flight cost must be paid at the time of booking. Book before December 31, 2017.  www.uniworld.com or call 01 775 3803

What we learned

  • Dublin Airport’s main runway has seen 4m takeoffs and landings since opening in 1989.

 

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

HEADLINESAVIATIONAFLOATDEALWATCHFOOD & WINEHOTELSINTERNATIONALIRELANDSTRANGE WORLDTRAVEL TRADE

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.


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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.

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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 @gmail.com or @iattafinance.org, 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.

International

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.

Hotels

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.

Aviation

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.

Afloat

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.

Ireland

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 www.insightvacations.com 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. www.itaa.ie/2017/09/12/copenhagen

Dublin to Fuerteventura, 7 nights self-catering Villa Florida, from €439, depart November 18 with Lee Travel. www.itaa.ie/2017/11/01/fuerteventura

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. www.itaa.ie/2017/10/31/santa-lapland

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.  www.topflight.ie / 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. http://www.tuiholidays.ie, 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 www.uniworld.com 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).

 

TRAVEL Extra Sunday Supplement: Has Easyjet won the Battle for Berlin?

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

Cathal Austin fo the Irish Mirror looking out from Rupea fortress in Transylvania on a group trip hosted by Blue Air

Things to know about travel this week.

  • Easyjet moves to Tegel to become Berlin’s biggest carrier
  • Drac-tac and Romania’s Transylvania problem
  • Great Northern bought by booking.com
  • Etihad host the trade
  • Paradores host a tapas night
  • Not enough check-in desks at T2

Travel Extra TV.

Watch here the cavalcade for Air Berlin’s last flight.

Former banker Joe Dowd‘s life changed when a life-changing brain injury in 2014 left him with severe physical and cognitive challenges. Watch here as he returns to the air on a flight from Heathrow to Dublin to visit friends and family, supported by British Airways.

 A South Australian man says he will never forget the screams of his teenage daughter as she was thrown into the air by a 4.5m great white shark in an attack the family says could have been straight out of  Jaws. Watch here as she is saved from death.

Aer Lingus‘s AerClub has had a bit of a baptism of fire. Now the airline is showing how to maximise value from your SuperValu shopping with the scheme. Watch here. 

While other airlines, such as Malyasian Airlines, are turning away from A380s, Emirates can’t get enough of them. Watch here as it gets ready to welcome the 100th into its fleet.

Etihad is now on Apple Pay. If you’re not a techie, find out more from the airline here. 

Fokker out: watch as KLM says farewell to an old friend and workhorse here.

Qantas appears to be happy with its new Dreamliners. Watch here as it introduces the onboard experience. It’s a new level in luxury – if you can afford it.

If you haven’t got the cash to splash on Qatar’s QSuite, you can always drool over it here.

Tourism Ireland hosted Australian model Erin Holland on a trip around Dublin. Watch here.  And with Lonely Planet raving over Northern Ireland, Tourism Ireland also takes us on a tour of the Causeway Coast here.

Behind the Headlines

Has Easyjet won the battle for Berlin? The Luton based carrier announced a deal to take over leases for 25 Air Berlin aircraft and gain access to Berlin Tegel Airport as the former second largest German airline was liquidated on Friday. It also has launched a recruitment campaign to attract about 1,000 of Air Berlin’s pilots and cabin crew. Ryanair has complained that Germany has illegally divvied up Air Berlin’s assets describing it as a stitch-up.

For the week that was in it, Paul Nolan of APG/Blue Air and the Romanian Tourist Board hosted a group of Irish travel writers in Bucharest and Transylvania to highlight the 3w route to Cluj, in Romania’s forest-and-nature region (2w in winter). The extent of the tourist board’s fang-toothed  (Hallowe’en?) dilemma became immediately apparent. To Drac or not to Drac? Although Clontarf’s own Bram Stoker had never visited Transylvania, he has turned it into an inadvertent tourist destination, judging from the souvenir shops. His information came from encounters with Transylvania specialist Emily Gerard (1849-1905), a friend of Lady Jane Wilde. Her folktale research was done in an area 600km away from Wallachia, where held sway Vlad Țepeș, the impaler and son of Vlad Dracul. Thanks to a tenuous connection with Vlad, the hilltop Bran Castle is now Romania’s top tourist attraction with 360,000 visitors a year, in a location en route from Bucharest to Romania’s most touristy city, Brasov. The village is lined with stalls selling Dracula memorabilia, not bad for a fictional character invented by a Dublin northsider. The writers visited a house in Sighișoara which also hosts a plaque claiming to be his birthplace, despite being built 200 years after his death. All the Drac-tac serves as a bit of a distraction from the real wonders of Transylvania, a spectacular natural park, UNESCO-listed fortified churches that are unique to the area, Saxon heritage cities, Gothic cathedrals from three religions, and stunning hilltop castles.  The food and red wine was tasty and, yes, the parting glass was sung. Watch here video report of trip. Picture shows the group on the battlemented walls of Brasov: Paul Nolan of APG, Radu Zaharie tour guide, Eleanor Goggin, Aileen Eglington, Cathal Austin, Declan Mescall, Jim Gallagher, Tom Sweeney and (front) Eoghan Corry. See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook. Of course, regular Travel Extra readers wil know that Dracula is really from Co Derry. Watch here and leagan gaeilge anseo.

Fáilte Ireland’s tourism barometer found that, while overall industry sentiment is healthy, it is less positive than in recent years. Half of those surveyed in hospitality said British business is down, while two in five experienced a drop in visitors from the North, particularly evident in northern counties — Cavan, Donegal, Leitrim, Longford, Louth, Mayo, Monaghan, and Sligo.

Travel Trade

Overseas trips by Irish residents July to September was up 10.7pc to 2,495,000.

The first discussions on a venue for the Irish Travel Agents Association conference for 2018 have begun with Dubai the front runners. Celina Tavares’ achievement in hosting a successful ITAA conference in Oporto has been praised by the tourism board. Irish numbers to Portugal are up 11.6pc this year, Porto up 46.7pc, Central Portugal up 54.9pc, Lisbon up 12.4pc, Alentejo up 20.4pc and Algarve (from the highest base) up 9.1pc. Watch here video report of ITAA conference 2017, the agents. Watch here Cormac Meehan speech at the Vista Alegre Porcelain event at Ílhavo, Aveiro where ITAA delegates were hosted after the conference. Watch here Cormac Meehan speech at the close of conference activities in Ferreira centre on the banks of the Douro. Watch here ITAA presentation to Cathy Mannion. Watch here speech by Sandra Lorenz of Northern Portugal tourism, and Watch here speech by Silvia Ribau of Central Portugal tourism. Watch here Silvia Ribau theatre speech before a performance by father and son duo Fernando and Fernandito MeirelesWatch here video report of the travel trade visit to Central Portugal after the conference. Watch here video report of Travel Extra’s visit to Northern Portugal. Watch here visit to Fatima. Picture shows Celina Tavares of Visit Portugal Ireland, Antonio Padeira of Visit Portugal London and Raquel Carneiro. See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.

Pat Dawson and Cormac Meehan are to attend the fourth summit of travel agencies associations in Valencia this week.

Bangor travel agent, Chandra Rowan of Feherty Travel won the Travel Consultant of the Year award at the Northern Ireland Travel Awards at the Slieve Donard Hotel in Newcastle, Co Down. Downe Travel won agency award and Doreen McKenzie was the lifetime achievement award winner. Tourist Information Centre 2015 ‐ Belfast Welcome Centre; Special Achievement Award 2015 – Uel Hoey; Outstanding Contribution  – Killyhevlin Hotel; Ni Visitor Attraction 2015 ‐ Seamus Heaney Homeplace; Travel Student Of The Year 2015 ‐ Lauren Willis; Travel Insurance Company – Blue Insurance; Luxury Cruise Line – Silversea; Specialist Cruise Line – Hurtigruten; Cruise Line – Royal Caribbean; Holiday Add‐Ons Or Car Hire Provider – Holiday Extras; Airline, Belfast City Airport – Aer Lingus; Airline, Belfast International Airport – Easyjet; Airline Worldwide – Emirates; Ferry Company – Stena Line; Accommodation Only Specialist – Room Team/Wtc; Travel Industry Internet Booking System – Jet2holidays; Worldwide Tour Operator – Gold Medal/Travel 2; Specialist Tour Operator – American Holidays; Luxury Tour Operator – If Only; Ski Operator – Topflight; Tour Operator To Europe – Jet2holidays; Tourist Board – Spanish Tourist Board; Travel Trade Manager/Representative Of The Year – Robert Wilson; Travel Marketing Initiative 2017 – Car Give Away Promotion, Blue; Insurance; Best Sales Support Team To Ni Travel Trade – Travel Solutions; Travel & Tourism Industry’s Roll Of Honour – Ciaran O’Hare; Travel Consultant Of The Year 2017 – Chandra Rowan; Multiple Retail Agency Branch 2017 – Thomson, Newry; Travel Industry Award 2017 – Doreen McKenzie; Travel Agent Of The Year – Downe Travel. Watch here video report of awards. See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.

Patricia Kenny and Marian Benton of Map Travel hosted a Paradores tapas evening in the Royal College of Surgeons. See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.

Winners of the first four places on the Topflight fam trip to Austria in December, Donna Kenny of  Cassidy Travel, Karen Armstrong of One World Travel Craigavon, Eleanor McGivern of Traveller Secrets and Katherina Murray of Dawson Travel. Topflight hosted travel agents on a ski trip to Kilternan. See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.

Etihad hosted travel media and trade at separate events in House in Leeson St. Picture shows Shannon O’Dowd and Karen Maloney of Etihad Airways with Godfrey Lydon of Club Travel. See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.

Kevin Cullinane, Head of Communications, Cork Airport and Shauna Kelly, Reseller Development Manager, Topflight along with brother and sister Chester and Matilda Cross as Topflight launched its winter ski route from Cork Airport to Salzburg. Flights begin on December 30 and run until March 17. Photo: Pic: Brian Lougheed

Topflight has launched its winter ski route to Salzburg from Cork Airport, giving more choice to passengers in the south of the country.  The service will operate each Saturday commencing 30th December until 17th March. Pictured at the launch were Kevin Cullinane, Head of Communications, Cork Airport and Shauna Kelly, Reseller Development Manager, Topflight along with brother and sister Chester and Matilda Cross. See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.

Do Something Different hosted ten travel trade on a fam trip to California with flights from Virgin Atlantic. They were hosted at the Millenium Biltmore Downtown, had a trip on  the Red Metro Line up to Universal Studios Hollywood for the epic Halloween Horror Nights, were hosted on the VIP Experience before the two hour guided Backlot Tour, a whistle stop tour of the incredible sights of LA on the Starline Hop on Hop Off network, Oue Skyspace for the view from California’s tallest open air observation deck and the world’s first ever Skyslide,  Citadel Outlet, SeaWorld for a behind the scenes tour and San Diego Old Town for The Day of the Dead Festival, a Tour of the Beaches with Starline, the iPier and 3rd Street Promenade at Santa Monica and a stop at Muscle Beach before driving through Marina Del Rey en route to LAX.

Strange world

The US Navy picked up Jennifer Appel and Tasha Fuiaba who went off course during the 2,700-mile journey from Hawaii to Tahiti. They credited the two animals onboard with them with keeping their spirits and said they managed to stay alive because they had packed a water purifier and enough food to last for a year before leaving.

A psychologist and boredom specialist Sandi Man hired by Emirates airlines claimed children get bored 49 minutes and 47 seconds into a flight.

Jamie Harron, from Stirling in Scotland, has been sentenced to three months in prison in Dubai for touching a man’s hip in a bar, according to campaigners. He was arrested in July over the incident in which he said he put his hand on a man’s hip to avoid spilling a drink in a crowded bar.

A lawyer proposed to his girlfriend during a midair emergency, as their flight to Bali lost pressure and began plummeting to the ground. Chris Jeanes, 27, was aboard an Air Asia flight from Perth, Australia, when staff began shouting “emergency, brace, crash positions” 25 minutes after take off. The aircraft turned back and later landed. The girlfriend said yes.

Another elderly Chinese air traveller was caught tossing coins into an aircraft engine for ‘good luck’ causing the grounding of the flight. It is the second such incident in the last few months after a China Southern Airlines flight was delayed in June by a superstitious 80-year woman.

 

 

International

Catalan separatists can count the region as Ireland’s seventh most popular holiday destination, behind England, Spain, France, USA, Italy and Portugal and ahead of Germany. Catalonia enjoys a steady 15pc of Ireland’s outbound tourist traffic, around 273,000 last year. Overall Spanish figures for 2017 could be 20pc ahead of last year.

A typhoon caused flooding and landslides along the Pacific coast of Japan, killing at least two people. Typhoon Lan made landfall in central Japan on Monday morning and swept across Tokyo before heading out to sea several hours later.

An outbreak of the Black Death plague on Madagascar, off the coast of Africa, has killed nearly 100 people on the island.

Food & Beverage

Thirty Irish pubs in 13 counties made it onto the 2018 Michelin ‘Eating Out In Pubs’ guide just published.  The only new listing is the  Bull & Ram in Ballynahinch, Co. Down. The winners: 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).

Dublin’s Beaumont House and Killyhevlin Lakeside Hotel, Enniskillen, Fermanagh won this year’s KNORR Great Carvery of the Year. Among the provincial winners in the Hotel of the Year category are Rochestown Park Hotel, Douglas, Cork (Munster); Galway Bay Hotel, Salthill, Galway (Connacht); Bridge House Hotel, Tullamore, Offaly (Leinster) and Killyhevlin Lakeside Hotel, Enniskillen, Fermanagh (Ulster). In the Pub of the Year category Kirby’s Brogue Inn, Tralee, Kerry (Munster); The Broken Jug, Ballina, Mayo (Connacht); The Market Yard, Limavady, Derry (Ulster) and Beaumont House, Dublin (Leinster) claimed the provincial titles. See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.

Sales of Irish-made gin increased by 240pc at Dublin and Cork airports during The Loop’s recent inaugural Spirit of Gin Festival. The festival ran in August and September in both Dublin and Cork airports and was aimed at showcasing the best of Irish gin alongside the global giants.

The Bulmers-making C&C Group’s net revenue was down 6.8pc year-on-year to €273.1m, while its operating profit dropped nearly 5pc to €50.5m compared to the same period last year.

The owner of Tullamore Dew whiskey, William Grant & Sons, has invested €25m in its Co Offaly distilling operation this year.

Plans to demolish Scruffy Murphy’s pub off of Mount Street in Dublin to construct a new aparthotel have been approved, despite objections from people living in the local area.

Hotels

Rachel Howes,  former MD of Booking.com Limited has taken an ownership investment in the Irish owned Great National hotel chain. Rachel Howes helped to grow Booking.com, into a €70bn global brand and listing 1.4m hotels in 226 countries. Ms. Howes is also co-founder of HomeRez.com emerging holiday letting brand. Great National was formed in 2010 and is now Ireland’s fastest growing hospitality group with 65 hotels and resorts, with 4,500 hotel bedrooms.

Tetrarch Hospitality has sold Dublin’s Jacobs Inn Hostel to international private equity firm Patron Capital LLP for a figure in the region of €14.5m.

Marty Morrissey launched the party for the new Treacy’s Oakwood. See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.

England’s Competition and Markets Authority is set to probe hotel booking sites due to concerns that consumers are being misled and having a more difficult time booking accommodation by these sites. According to reports, the investigation will examine areas such as hidden charges, search results and discount claims on leading booking sites.

Ashford Castle has unveiled a new own-brand 33-piece product range that includes bathrobes, snow globes, a custom Ashford Castle teddy bear and an Ashford Castle Monopoly board.

Fáilte Ireland’s Situation and Outlook Analysis Report revealed that although Ireland has received 160,000 more arrivals from January to August this year than in 2016, there’s not enough accommodation supply in the most popular areas. Dan O’Connor, senior vice-president at JLL, said “new hotel rooms are urgently needed in Dublin City and we welcome the publication of Fáilte Ireland’s latest SOAR report which calls for new hotel supply now.”

With the final phase of the refurbishment of its bedrooms and facade complete, Dublin’s Shelbourne Hotel wants to revamp some of its larger spaces, such as the Lord Mayor’s lounge, ballroom and meeting rooms.

RTE commentator Marty Morrissey launched the rebrand to Treacys Oakwood Hotel, Shannon. The hotel has also been awarded a four-star rating by Failte Ireland. Marty Morrissey is pictured at the official launch party with some of the younger members of the Keena Family, Eddie Keena, Niamh Treacy, Ellen Conaire and Cillian Conaire. Full album from the event can be found here.

International hotel investment firm the Puyan Group has acquired The Strand Hotel & Bar in Bray for €1.8m. The venue, which was built by William and Jane Wilde in 1870, was inherited by Oscar Wilde six years later.

Club Med is to debut its all-inclusive holiday product in Vietnam. Club Med Ho Tram, slated to open in 2021, will be located in Vung Tau Province, about 90 minutes from Ho Chi Minh international airport and will feature 300 guestrooms.

Britannia has been named Britain’s worst-performing large hotel brand in a new report by Which? – for the fifth consecutive year.

Aviation

A Cityjet CRJ9 at Turku on Oct 25th 2017 did a pirouette during landing.

Dublin airport reports 345,000 passengers this October Bank Holiday Weekend, up 3pc. The Commission for Aviation Regulation draft report (read here) by Helios Technologies on capacity issues at Dublin Airport suggests the number of non-Aer Lingus T2 check-in desks does not meet the current demand, will penalise the level of service and will constrain the growth of transatlantic routes. It recommends a higher departure capacity for T1. ‘TSA security control is limiting process in the US Preclearance area, comfort in that area is limited and an incomplete staffing of resources by the US administrators would generate long waiting times and queues.’ Immigration throughput is a problem in both terminals although the situation can be improved with the installation of 10 e-gates by Summer 2018. It raised concerns about transfer capacity during the morning long-haul and short-haul waves. DAA is in the process of implementing a new transfer facility to increase throughput and shorten the walking distance.

The second annual A4E CEO Forum met in Brussels to discuss connectivity disruptors and present the final results of a York Aviation study on “The Cost and Profitability of European Airports”, which shows that European passengers are paying excessive airport charges, particularly at monopoly airports and at airports which operate under a Dual-Till regime.

Niall McCarthy told Cork County Council that the old terminal at Cork Airport is to be demolished to make way for a 40-acre business park, from which some revenue will be used for marketing initiatives to attract more tourists. The airport intends to purchase another air bridge to add to the two it has.  The Jack Lynch executive lounge is to be doubled in size and will reopen next February.

Adria Airways Switzerland terminated its contract to operate flights for Powdair.  It has a stake in partner carrier and Danish capacity provider BackBone Aviation.

It is lift-off for Dublin-London Southend Airport route, operated by Flybe’s Franchise Partner Stobart Air, beginning this Sunday 29 October three times daily. To celebrate the new route, Flybe’s Franchise Partner Stobart Air, gave away free black cab rides – and 250 free return Dublin-London Southend Airport flights to Dublin commuters last Thursday.The black cab taxi ranks were at Drumcondra (Richmond road/N1) Rathmines (Military Road/Rathmines road lower) and Ballsbridge (Herbert Park/Clyde Lane) and will take passengers to a central stop at Merrion Square South. See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.

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CSO data on Irish air traffic in 2016 show England at 12.7m, Spain 3.9m, US 2.82m, Germany 1.99m, France 1.94m, Italy 1.30m, Netherlands 1.23m, Poland 1.06m

AerCap Holdings signed lease agreements for 50 aircraft in Q3, including 17 widebody aircraft and 33 narrowbody aircraft of which 8 are Embraer E2-Jet Family aircraft, purchased 11 aircraft, including 2 A320neo Family aircraft, 1 A350 and 8 B 787s, executed sale transactions for 28 aircraft, including 8 A320 Family aircraft, 6 A330s, 2 A340s, 1 B737 Classic, 8 B737NGs, 1 B767 and 1 B777-300ER from AerCap’s owned portfolio, and 1 B737 Classic from AerCap’s managed portfolio and it signed financing transactions for $3.7 billion.

Volotea weekly Airbus A319 Verona service to Cork will increase to 2w for Summer 2018 every Saturday from May 26th – August 29th, with an additional flight on Wednesdays from June 27th.

American and Southwest airlines are expecting average prices to move higher the rest of this year, shifting away from fare wars that have cut into profits and created turbulence for airline stock prices.

Workers at Australia‘s major airports will face additional screening measures after authorities allegedly foiled an plot to bring down an aircraft leaving Sydney Airport in July.

Ryanair has reportedly told pilots that much of their annual leave for 2018 will have to be taken in the first three months of the year.

John Mulligan reports Stobart is considering hiving off its Dublin-based Stobart Aviation unit as a separate entity, just months after bringing it into the group fold.

Finnair is poised to enter the largest expansion in its 94-year history during the upcoming winter season.It’s opening new routes to Goa, India on 1 November, to Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, on 5 November, to Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic, on 30 November and to Havana, Cuba, on 1 December.

A Fine Gael politician Colm Burke asked Aer Lingus to explain “unfair pricing levels” that have resulted in flights from Cork being up to five times higher than Dublin.

China is forecasting a net rise in weekly departing seat capacity of 2.08m for W17/18 when compared to the start of the previous winter season. Behind China is the US, followed by Indonesia and India. The leading region is Asia, with 13 of the top 40 nations being in this region: 12 in Europe, six in South America, four in the Middle East, three in North America and two in Africa, according to Ralph Anker’s anna.aero.

Photo ©INPHO/Dan Sheridan

Irish rugby player Johnny Sexton paid a surprise visit to Dublin’s Castleknock College to give a rugby masterclass to students. The Aer Lingus ambassador was also publicising the final call for the airline’s winter sales promotion for Europe.

Low-cost carrier AirAsia is shifting Singapore flight operations to Changi Airport’s new Terminal 4 from next month. Relocation day is November 7 when it moves from its current home at Terminal 1.

Afloat

Fred Olsen Cruise Lines has beaten its annual target for 2017 10 weeks before the year ends. The operator has seen record demand for cruises in October, with bumper sales last week up 70pc year-on-year.

MSC Cruises has announced plans for a second world cruise, set to take place on MSC Magnifica in January 2020. The 116-night westbound voyage will call on 43 ports in 23 countries – with four embarkation ports and dates available, including Rome/Civitavecchia (January 4); Genoa (January 5); Marseille (January 6); and Barcelona (January 7).

Azamara Club Cruises has revealed the itineraries for its new ship, Azamara Pursuit, which debuts in August 2018. The ship will spend its first season sailing in Europe and South America.

German cruise line Hapag-Lloyd Cruises has started construction on the second of two new expedition ships at a keel-laying ceremony in Romania. The Hanseatic Inspiration will be a sister ship to the Hanseatic Nature and will launch in October 2019.

Ireland

CSO tourism figures show a big rise in domestic tourism. England’s market continues to drag on inbound figures, down 6.7pc for the January to September period. Declines in France and Benelux are being offset by increases from Spain and the Nordic countries. Niall Gibbons, CEO of Tourism Ireland, said the latest overall figures from the CSO “confirm 7,661,200 overseas visitors during the period January to September this year. This represents growth of almost 3pc – or 216,000 additional visitors – on the same nine-month period last year”. He said the British plunge continues to be a real concern”.

It was reported that Simon Coveney claimed a “big win” for Ireland on RED FM in retaining the common travel area  with Britain in the first major agreement to be hammered out under the Brexit talks.

Tourism Ireland has teamed up with Logitravel in Spain for a joint promotional campaign in Madrid and Barcelona, to raise awareness of Dublin as a city break destination. About 21pc of all Spanish visitors to Ireland arrive in the off-season or final quarter of the year.

Lonely Planet named Belfast and the Causeway Coast the Number One Region to visit in 2018 (the Planet’s Tom Ottley is a big fan). The travel media company unveiled the accolade in Lonely Planet’s Best in Travel 2018. The lists contains their usual collection of suprises (Djibouti the fourth best country, Detroit second best city, and is Southern USA a region comparable with north Antrim?) but is hugely influential. Countries; 1 Chile, 2 South Korea, 3 Portugal, 4 Djibouti, 5 New Zealand, 6 Malta, 7 Georgia, 8 Mauritius, 9 China, 10 South Africa. Cities: 1 Seville, 2 Detroit, 3 Canberra, 4 Hamburg, 5 Kaohsiung, 6 Antwerp, 7 Matera, 8 San Juan, 9 Guanajato, 10 Oslo. Regions: 1 Causeway Coast, 2 Alasa, 3 Julian Alps, 4 Languedoc Roussillon, 5 Kii Pneinula, 6 Aeolian Islands, 7 Southern USA, 8 Lahaul & Spitl, 9 Bahia, 10 Los Haitises National Park. Best Value: 1 Tallinn, 2 Lanzarote, 3 Arizona, 4 La Paz, 5 Poland, 6 Essaouria, 7 Britain, 8 Bahia California, 9 Jacksonville, 10 Hunan. Picture shows Nóirín Hegarty, Lonely Planet’s Operations Director Ireland; Niall Gibbons, CEO of Tourism Ireland; and John McGrillen, CEO of Tourism NI, in Belfast on October 24, after the announcement.

Scattery Island in Co Clare is the Irish winner of the 2017 EDEN (European Destination of Excellence) Award recognising it as the destination in Ireland which has best used its local cultural assets to grow visitor numbers. The EDEN award was officially presented by the Minister of State for Tourism and Sport, Brendan Griffin. Picture shows Ian Lynch, Diarmuid Whelan, Scattery island Heritage Group, Minister Brendan Griffin and Paddy Mathews Head of Investment Failte Ireland at a ceremony in the Vandeleur Walled Garden, Kilrush, Co Clare. Photograph by Eamon Ward. See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.

Deal Watch

ITAA offers: New Zealand Adventure, May-August 2018, 15 days, from €3595, including flights, accommodation and meals (9 breakfasts, 1 lunches, 2 dinners), with Bowes Travel.  www.itaa.ie/2017/10/24/new-zealand

Family Camping in Croatia, 4th May 2018, 7 nights, from €1228 (2 adults, 2 children) including return flights and taxes from Dublin to Pula, 7 nights accommodation in a Tahiti mobile home at the Strasko Camping Resort, 4 x 20kg hand luggage, with Shandon Travel. www.itaa.ie/2017/10/26/croatia

Classical Spain for Solo Travellers, June & October 2018, 6 nights, from €1199, including 6 nights’ accommodation with breakfast (based on one person in a double/twin room for sole occupancy), return flights (incl 15 kg checked in bag) and transfers, all tours as mentioned, all airport departure taxes, all local accommodation taxes and the services of a Riviera Travel tour manager. www.itaa.ie/2017/10/24/classical-spain

GTI offers: Limited availability on five-day trip to Krakow’s Christmas Markets, staying at the 3* Hotel Wyspianski, from €429, depart November 28. Price include flights, professional English speaking guide, executive coach transfers, great hotel accommodation plus tour of Krakow & visit to the Wieliczka Salt Mines. http://www.gti-ireland.com/holiday/offer/krakow-christmas-markets for more.

Insight Vacations offers: Easy Pace Italy. Ten-day tour of italy, including flights, transfers and 9 nights’ accommodation in the best locations, from €2839pps. Book 26 January 2018. Flight cost must be paid at the time of booking, departs April 22. For more information log onto www.insightvacations.com or call 01 775 3803

Sunway offers: Dublin to Lapland, overnight full board at the Sky Hotel, from €2807 for two adults and one child, departs December 1. Dublin to Gran Canaria, 7 nights self-catering 2* Monte Verde, from €489, depart January 6, 13, 20 and 27. Dublin to Lanzarote, 7 nights self-catering 2* Los Pueblos Apts, from €469, depart January 6, 13, 20 and 27. Dublin to Fuerteventura , 7 nights self-catering 3* Oasis Dunas Apts, from €499, depart January 6, 13, 20 and 28. Dublin to Italy for Jewels of Italy escorted tour, with 6 nights twin share three and four-star hotels, meals and tours as per itinerary, from €1,389pp, depart May 13. River cruise ex Dublin, 7 nights full board from Vilshofen to Budapest with wine/beer at meals and excusions, in category d outside stateroom from €1099, depart November 22. Dublin to France, 7 nights all inclusive at Club Med Ski, Aime La Plagne, from €1329pp on twin share, depart January 7. Dublin to Vietnam, 9 nights on twin share basis, meals and tour as per itinerary, from €1769, depart December 3.  Western Caribbean Fly Cruise & Stay, 10 nights premium all inclusive onboard Norwegian Epic with 3 night pre-cruise stay in Orlando, from €1299, depart November 29. Luxury New England & Bermuda Fly Cruise, 1 night pre-cruise in New York and 10-night cruise onboard Oceania Cruises, from €2399, depart September 2, 2018. Western Mediterranean Fly Cruise, 7 nights onboard Symphony of the Seas with drinks package and $25 onboard spend per person, depart April 14. www.sunway.ie

Topflight offers: Dublin to Austria, 7 nights self-catering 3* Aurora Apartments, Bad Hofgastein, Austria, S/C 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 €829 now €679, depart January 6. Dublin to Andorra, 7 nights half board, 3* Hotel Patagonia, Arinsal, was €669 now €499, depart January 7. Dublin to Italy, 7 nights self-catering Livigno Ski Apartments, Livigno, was €519 now €399pps (Based on 5 share), depart January 13. Dublin to France, 7 nights self-catering 4* Les Chalets Edelweiss, Plagne 1800, was €529 now €399pps (Based on 8 share), depart January 20. Cork to Austria, 7 nights self-catering 3* Chalet Alpina, St Johann, was €559 now €399pps (Based on 4 share), depart January 13. Cork to Austria, 7 nights half board 4* Hotel Der Schmittenhof, Zell am See, was €749 now €649, depart March 10. Belfast to Austria, 7 nights self-catering 3* Chalet Alpina, St Johann, was £462 now £359pps (Based on 4 share), depart January 13. Belfast to Austria, 7 nights half board 4* Hotel Der Schmittenhof, Zell am See, Austria, was £712 now £599, depart January 13. Call 01 240 1700 / 028 9752 1168, see www.topflight.ie

TUI offers: Dublin to Fuerteventura, 7 nights self-catering 3* Caybeach Caleta, Costa Caleta, from €629, depart November 28. Dublin to Lanzarote, 4 nights self-catering 2* San Marcial,  Matagorda, from €409, depart December 7. Dublin to Gran Canaria, 7 nights self-catering 3* Rocomar, Puerto Rico, from €379, depart January 11. Dublin to Lanzarote, 7 nights self-catering 3* Lanzarote Paradise Club, Costa Teguise, from €399, depart January 21. Dublin to Tenerife, 7 nights self-catering 2* Laguna Park II,  Playa De Las Americas, from €389, depart January 26. Dublin to Gran Canaria, 7 nights self-catering 3* Monte Feliz, Bahia Feliz, from €429. Depart February 1. Dublin to Tenerife, 7 nights self-catering 3* Globales Tamaimo Tropical, Puerto De Santiago, from €459, depart February 16. Dublin to Lanzarote, 7 nights self-catering 3* Tabaiba Apartments, Costa Teguise, from €389, depart February 18. Cork to Majorca, 7 nights self-catering 3* Ola Bouganvillia, Santa Ponsa, from €449, depart May 22. Shannon to Lanzarote, 7 nights self-catering 3* Lanzarote Paraides Club, Costa Teguise, from  €579, depart August 27. Ireland West Airport to Costa Dorada, 7 nights half board 3* Hotel Belvedere, Salou, from €619, depart June 26. Dublin to Tenerife, 7 nights full onboard Marella Dream, Decks 6/7/10 Inside Cabin, from €879, depart January 12. Visit www.tuiholidays.ie, Call 1850 45 35 45 or visit a TUI Store or travel agent.

Uniworld River Empress

Uniworld River Empress

Uniworld Boutique River Cruises offers: Castles Along the Rhine. with Uniworld Boutique River Cruises. Eight-day cruise, visiting France, Germany, Netherlands & Switzerland. Was €2519pps, now from €1389pps includes flights, airport transfers, all meals and beverages, all shore excursions and 7 nights in a Category 5 stateroom on board the River Empress, departs November 15. Book by October 31st 2017. Flight cost must be paid at the time of booking. For more information log onto www.uniworld.com or call 01 775 3803.

What we learned.

China has more Muslims (36m) than Afghanistan or Iraq.

TRAVEL Extra Sunday Supplement October 22

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

Irish travel agents visiting Central Portugal after the ITAA conference, October 17 2017

Things to know about travel this week

  • Things to know about travel this week
  • Aer Lingus seeks to recruit 100 pilots
  • New Air France/KLM boss here says Dublin outperforming British routes
  • North anticipating record-breaking year of tourism numbers
  • A tale of two cities: Ophelia-hit Cork Airport sees 80pc cancellations versus 25pc in Dublin
  • Hotel figures continue upward curve, but Kerry-based group warns of global threat to Irish tourim
  • President Higgins lends a helping hand to Tourism Ireland in Sydney

Travel Extra TV.

Airbus is showing off its A330neo with a series of videos. Glimpse inside the passenger cabin here. Get the best out of Abu Dhabi airport – with the help of Etihad (watch here).

For its 98th birthday, KLM has chosen the Anthony Fokker house in Haarlem as its Delfts Blue House #98 (watch here).

Watch here as two Air Berlin pilots get frighteningly close to a control tower in Dusseldorf as they make their mark as the airline winds down.

Behind the Headlines

Peter Bellew was the surprise announcement as successor to Michael Hickey as Ryanair Chief Operations Officer. His interview with Travel Extra last March seems very dated now.

The ITAA conference in Porto was one of the most technical, intensive and successful on record. The three sessions chaired by Valerie Metcalf, Anne Doran and Eoghan Corry concentrated on what was described as the tsunami of legislation due to come in 2018. Aviation commission Cathy Mannion was a welcome gust at the event and participated in a robust exchange of views with ITAA members. Picture shows former presidents of the ITAA Martin Skelly of Navan Travel, Michael Doorley of Shandon Travel, Con Horgan formerly of Abbey Travel, Pat Dawson CEO of the ITAA and current president Cormac Meehan of Meehan Travel Bundoran at a social event during the Irish Travel Agents Association annual conference in Porto, Watch here Eoghan Corry presentation to the conference on the Travellers Protection Fund. See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.

Ex-hurricane Ophelia left three dead and damage in its wake, with the impact most heavily felt in the south of the country. Cork Airport was badly hit, suffering 48 flight cancellations. In total, some 80pc of its daily schedule had to be cancelled. Dublin Airport had about 180 cancelled flights on Monday, when the storm hit, but remained open throughout the day and about 75pc of its schedule was operational. Along with Travel Extra posts, passengers were kept informed through social media channels. Twitter was the key social tool for Dublin and Cork, with their combined 164 Ophelia-related tweets were seen by 1.8m.

Dublin Airport flights affected by Ophelia

The 24 Facebook updates posted by the two airports reached a total of 556,000 people. Sixteen flights were cancelled at Shannon Airport – which proved best for giving full updates to the media – while all flights were cancelled at Ireland West Airport, with serious hits to the schedules of the City of Derry airport, and Belfast’s two facilites.

While the capital escaped the destruction seen in Cork, the winds hit with a vengeance on Monday night, with the image, inset, showing aircraft circling in a holding pattern over the Irish Sea, waiting to land.

Dublin’s 22 Anne Street was the setting on Wednesday night for the lavish party to celebrate the handover from Falcon and Thomson to TUI, a day before going live with the public. The company said the change of name isn’t just cosmetic, it’s part of an overhaul of the travel company’s offering in the marketplace. It said being under the TUI umbrella means Ireland “can leverage TUI Group relationships with external partners to extend global footprint and ultimately expand and diversify the offering for customers”, adding that “the introduction of new destinations like Austria, Slovenia, Italy and Switzerland and the expansion of a third party flying programme is an example of this”. 

TUI promised further growth in its hotel portfolio and more investment in the development of brands like TUI Sensatori, TUI Sensimar and TUI Magic Life. A new TUI Sensatori Resort is planned to open in Rhodes next summer. Belinda Vazquez, TUI Head of Ireland, Charlotte Brenner, TUI Ireland Marketing Manager, and Antoinette Young, Country Distribution Manager Ireland, took to the stage for the official launch attended by  travel agents, airline and airport executives as well as  Falcon’s original directors Bill Smith, Freddie O’Neill, Christine Donnelly and Gabrielle Malone. Picture Belinda Vazquez with Pamela Brownlee, Fly Away Travel/Cruises For You, at the TUI rebrand launch. See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook. For video from the stage watch here. 

Ryanair have started to make changes to their boarding passes to make the implementing of 1 bag policy easier from November 1.  Mobile boarding passes with priority will be in a different colour and state 2 bags permitted. Non-priority will clearly display only 1 small bag is permitted whilst their main cabin bag will be tagged for free of charge at the gate. It will also mention refusal to follow policy will result in travel denied and no refund given.

Travel Trade

Central Portugal hosted a group of travel agents after the ITAA conference on a programme that included Busaco, Navare, Obhidos,Coimbra and a visit to Fatima (the ITAA conference took place on the 100th anniversary of the miracle of the sun). Picture shows the group in Aveiro, Sean Healy of Lee Travel, Mary Lee of Newbridge Travel, Seamus Cosgrove of Cill Dara Travel, Bernie Colgan, Rita Cosgrove of Cill Dara Travel, Kathleen Carr of Cill Dara Travel, Eugene Fanning of Cill Dara Travel, Marian Benton of Map Travel, Dominic Burke of Travel Centres, Maria Jose Fernandes tour guide, Miriam Skelly of Navan Travel, Bernie Burke of Travel Centres, Clare Dunne of The Travel Broker, Maura Maloney of Dublin Airport Front row: Mary Lee Johnston of Lee Travel, Eoghan Corry and Martin Skelly of Navan Travel.

Highlights of G Adventures‘ agents’ experience of Vietnam, Cambodia and Thailand, hosted by John Grehan, included a tour of Saigon City tour on bikes, Cu Chi tunnels of emotional Vietnam war, Mekong delta cruise, then Cambodia, a reborn country, amazing Angkor Wat temples, floating village on Tonle Sap and endedwith one night in Bangkok. Philip Airey of Sunway described it as “an incredible experience and couldn’t recommend it highly enough – G Adventures really immerses you in the heart of the countries, with well organised Itineraries with just the right amount of hand holding. Your guide (in our case Thien) stays with you for the entire trip, full of information, helping out with recommendations and boarder crossings, the only way to go“. Picture shows Philip Airey of Sunway, Edel Flynn of Newbridge Travel, David O’Hagan of Donabate Travel, Susan Hegarty of Travel Counsellors, John Grehan of G2, Lynn Casey of Fahy Travel, Thomas O’Donohue of Strand Travel, front row: Alper Kanburoglu of Turkish Airlines, Jackie Sheehan of Tropical Sky, Angela Walsh of Corporate Travel Management, Sharon Harney of Cassidy Travel and Jacinta McGlynn. See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.

Nine new itineraries are included in the Luxury Gold 2018 worldwide Luxury Escorted Journeys’ small group journeys across the globe including Europe, Britain, Africa, India, Asia, Australia, New Zealand, Latin America and North America. There is a 10pc early booking offer to January 16. `New for 2018 is a chairman’s collection, curated by Travel Corporations Chairman Stanley Tollman including lunch with an Italian Count at his grand Tuscan villa, dining with a French Count at Paris’s oldest café or joining Princess Anita von Hohenberg for a drinks reception at Artstetten Castle.

Strange world

A Spirit Airlines passenger was arrested after refusing to pay a $50 baggage fee at New York LaGuardia Airport. After becoming irate over the fee, 70-year old John Park allegedly threw the bag on the ticket kiosk counter and said: “You keep it, and there’s a bomb in it.” The terminal was put on lockdown and bomb squad called. He pleaded not guilty at a court appearance and said he was only joking.

The five-star Conrad Hilton resort on the Maldives‘ island of Rangali is offering an Instagram Butler service to holidaymakers to improve their snaps.

Residents of some US states may soon require passports when taking domestic flights. Only 27 states are compliant so far with new standards required by the 2005 Real ID Act.

A Canadian man has filed a lawsuit against Sunwing Airlines for promising a champagne service and instead serving sparkling wine.  The airline believes the lawsuit “to be frivolous and without merit”.

British Airways has apologised to a Canadian family after they were bitten by bed bugs on a transatlantic flight between Vancouver and London. BA also upgraded their return flights to business class.

Spanish police are investigating 800 British holidaymakers suspected of making false food poisoning claims at all-inclusive Balearic Island hotels.

The Pompidou Centre in Paris will display a sexually explicit sculpture after it was deemed too risqué for the Louvre. Standing 12 metres tall, Domestikator is a creation from Dutch artist Joep van Lieshout.

International

Dublin honeymooner Andrew Roddy (30) died following a drowning accident in the Maldives having got into difficulty while swimming

One tourist died and 13 others fell ill after an outbreak of Legionnaires Disease in the Spanish resort of Palmanova in Majorca. Health authorities said the man who died was a 70-year-old British tourist.

The Egyptian State Tourist Office is preparing to launch a new campaign to lure back tourists.

World Animal Protection released upsetting footage in which a 100-foot tree is cut down and the sloth crashes to the ground, before being bagged by the illegal loggers to sell at a local market – more information in the press release below. World Animal Protection says the number of wildlife selfies posted on Instagram between 2014 to present has tripled, and 40pc of them are ‘bad’ wildlife selfies.

A 52-year-old tourist from Spain was killed on Thursday by falling masonry in one of Florence‘s most famous churches, the Basilica of Santa Croce.

California‘s devastating wildfires – which have claimed 42 lives – have resulted in around €1bn in property losses so far, placing them among the costliest disasters the state’s history, the  state’s insurance commissioner said.

Shares in Merlin Entertainments, operator of tourist attractions such as London’s Madame Tussauds waxworks, the London Eye and Alton Towers fell after the company warned on profits after a series of militant attacks in Britain.

The Canary island of La Palma has experienced more than 300 mini-earthquakes over the past week, scientists report. The latest mini-quakes follow the 40 tremors that were recorded two weekends ago, taking the total to 352 in just ten days.

The Greek government is pressing ahead with a new tourist tax, which will cost visitors an extra 50c to €4 per person per night. The tax, which is being introduced on January 1 next year, will be based on the star-rating of the accommodation.

Unfashionable Hull wants to levy a tourism like Florence, Paris, Rome, Prague and Venice. It’s  considering the move as it tries to create a “world-class visitor attraction”.

Spanish chambermaids are campaigning for better pay and treatment. And they say that a reform to Spain’s labour market in 2012 allowed hotels to outsource cleaning services to companies that do not have to respect established industry standards.

A British tourist died in India after falling off the ledge of a temple in Orchha while taking a selfie.

Food & Beverage

John Kavanagh – The Gravediggers was named best traditional pub in this year’s National Hospitality Conference & awards. Ballymaloe House was awarded the prize for the best hotel restaurant, the Vintage Cocktail Club won for best cocktail experience, while NoLita was named best new establishment. Camden Kitchen won for best casual dining, and Kelly’s Resort & Spa won for best wine list. O’Grady’s on the Pier was named best seafood restaurant, Taste At Rustic was best restaurant, while the best hotel bar was The Weir Rooms – The River Lee.

As hotly contested as the Micheline Guide stars, the Just Eat National Takeaway Awards announced the country’s foods of choice. Thai Green Curry was named “Ireland’s favorite dish” at the event, while Lin Kee in Swords was declared to have the country’s “Best Spice Bag”, Camile Thai in   Phibsborough won the award for “Best Thai Takeaway” while Ballymun’s Firehouse Pizza won “Best Pizza”. Letterkenny’s Mexican takeaway, Burrito Loco, took home three trophies, including “Best Takeaway in Ireland”.

Most consumers do not think the Public Health (Alcohol) Bill should be introduced in its current form, according to a poll from Independent Research Agency iReach that was commissioned by the Alcohol Beverage Federation of Ireland (ABFI). The ABFI said the surveyed showed that Irish consumers are not in favour of some measures proposed, including advertising restrictions. The Bill will ban images of people, animals, scenic shots of Ireland and scenes in pubs from appearing in alcohol ads.

Gin production grew 31.6pc in Ireland last year, making it the country’s fastest-growing spirit in 2016, according to the Irish Spirits Association.

American donut chain Krispy Kreme, founded in 1937, has announced  it will open its first outlet in Ireland at Dublin’s Blanchardstown Centre.

Hotels

Laois’s Ballyfin lost its crown as the top hotel in the world but still managed to come 13th in this year’s Conde Nast Readers’ Choice Awards, voted on by over 300,000 travellers. Top billing went to La Réserve Paris Hotel & Spa. The readers rated Ireland’s top hotels as: 1. Ballyfin, Co Laois. 2. The Lodge at Ashford Castle, Co Mayo. 3 Lough Eske Castle, Donegal. 4 The Shelbourne, Dublin. 5 Waterford Castle, Co Waterford. 6 The Killarney Park Hotel, Co Kerry. 7 The Merrion, Dublin. 8 Clontarf Castle Hotel, Dublin. 9 The Westbury, Dublin. 10 The InterContinental, Dublin.

The Griffin Hotel Group’s accounts for 2016 show revenue growth of 9pc. Turnover grew to €22.8m,  with operating profit, excluding exceptional items, at €3m. The group was founded by All Ireland-winning Wexford hurling manager Liam Griffin and includes the Ferrycarrig Hotel outside Wexford town, the Monart Spa resort near Enniscorthy and Hotel Kilkenny in Kilkenny city.

The directors of Swiss-owned Killarney Hotels Ltd have warned  over the effects of Brexit, the US election “and the troubling state of the EU” on Irish tourism. The warning came as the group said it had increased revenues by 13pc to €19.2m last year. The company operates  the Europe Hotel & Resort, Dunloe Castle and Hotel Ard na Sidhe.

Dublin hotel room rates have continued to rise, with the revenue per available room jumping 9.2pc in September and average room rates up 10.1pc, according to data from STR Global.

The construction of new hotels is to increase the number of rooms to over 10,000 by 2020, according to a Northern Ireland Hotels Federation report. The federation says there are currently 8,030 rooms provided by 138 hotels.

A ‘humble’ thatched cottage near Woodford, Co. Galway has been named best in Ireland by Britain’s largest independent operator of British and Irish holiday rentals. The Sykes Gem Awards also praised Ballyblood Lodge near Tulla, Co. Clare (Silver) and The Visiting House at Gorteen near Dunmore, Co. Galway (Bronze).

Holiday Inn-owner InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) has reported rising third quarter revenues as tourists returned to Europe following last year’s terror attacks and as hurricanes battered North America.

Aviation

KLM‘s Dublin to Amsterdam Schiphol and Air France‘s Dublin to Paris Charles De Gaulle routes are outperforming its services from Britain to the Netherlands and France, revealed Benedicte Duval, Air France-KLM’s new General Manager for Ireland and Britain. Benedicte Duval, Air France/KLM’s new General Manager for Ireland, at the Gibson Hotel, Dublin, October 17. Full story here.

Aer Lingus and Ryanair have announced close to 1,400 extra seats to Copenhagen ahead of Ireland’s World Cup play-off on Saturday, November 11. Michael Caslin’s 747 Travel one night charter trip to Copenhagen will cost €599 inc hotel and transfer match ticket not included. Email. Peter McMinn’s Travel Solutions day trip charter flight to Basel from Belfast International, departing November 12, costs £419, match ticket not included. Watch here Eoghan Corry speaking about the match on Morning Ireland.

Aer Lingus COO Mike Rutter warned that if the airline cannot remain competitive IAG could give the eight promised new Airbus aircraft to Level, a new low-cost carrier it has set up in Barcelona.

According to its on-line timetable, Aer Lingus service to Warsaw ends on January 7.  Ryanair is showing 12 weekly round trips Dublin-Poland in November.  Aer Lingus Dublin-Nice is suspended for the winter.  Ryanair shows 3w for the winter.

X Factor contestants at Dublin Airport

Aer Lingus got massive publicity with a tie-in with reality TV show The X Factor last night, when the aspiring girls’ team was flown from Britain via Dublin to San Francisco – with a clip of the wannabe warblers enjoying business class onboard. But Tourism Ireland and Failte Ireland might not be so happy – the young singers looked downcast when originally told that while the other groups were off to Turkey, the South of France and South Africa, they’d be heading to Dublin. With faces as glum as the rainy weather outside, the mood brightened when they were handed another envelope, informing them they were actually off to California. Turkish Airlines, meanwhile, also got a high profile plug, with the producers showing the boys’ team at the airline’s check-in, and onboard in business class, en route to Istanbul to meet Louis Walsh.

IAG and Avis Budget Group renewed and expanded a multi-year global partnership. Under the agreement, Avis Car Rental and Budget Car Rental will be the only car rental brands available for booking through British Airways, Iberia and Iberia Express, with Aer Lingus to follow at a later date.

SAS Scandinavian Airlines Ireland is to postpone the start of its London Heathrow base, which should have opened at the end of October 2017, due to delayed aircraft deliveries.

The Commission for Aviation Regulation is currently seeking a suitable candidate for the role of Air Passenger Rights Officer/ Oifigeach um Chearta Aerphaisinéirí.

Wizz Air Belfast International to Katowice route has been removed from sale for Summer 18.

Hainan have applied for a twice weekly Shenzhen service from June.

Aer Lingus is looking to recruit 100 more Airbus pilots as it pushes on with its plans to develop Dublin Airport further as a North Atlantic gateway. Full story here.

Passengers on an AirAsia flight to Bali – which was forced to turn back to Australia following an apparent loss of cabin pressure – criticised its flight crew for allegedly screaming when the plane plunged more than 20,000 feet.

Isis and other terrorist groups are planning to target aircraft as they aim to carry out another major attack on the scale of 9/11, Elaine Duke, acting US Homeland Security Secretary, warned.

The Australian owners of Newcastle airport in England have snapped up Leeds Bradford airport in a deal that is understood to be worth more than €223m.

An employee who took almost £600 of perfume and make-up from a duty-free shop at Belfast International Airport has been warned the case meets the criteria for jail.

Airbus has acquired a majority stake in Bombardier‘s C Series aircraft programme, the companies have announced. The move has been hailed as a “positive step forward” and comes after Washingto proposed a 300pc duty on exports of the planes to the US.

A British holidaymaker kicked off a plane after he got drunk and went on a foul-mouthed rampage against cabin crew and police has been banned from flying with EasyJet for five years.

Stobart Air said its Aer Lingus Regional service should carry about 1.5m passengers this calendar year, with a particularly strong summer performance.

A new museum housing the last ever Concorde to be built and to fly has opened. The  €21.3m museum, called Aerospace Bristol, is located on the historic Filton Airfield in England.

Beijing Capital Airlines will launch direct flights to London Heathrow from Qingdao on  November 17 with Airbus A330s flying the route twice a week.

Two security officers involved in an incident in which passenger David Dao was dragged off a United Airlines flight after refusing to give up his seat have been fired from Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport.

A judge in Hawaii blocked the latest version of the Trump administration travel ban just hours before it was set to take effect. The Trump administration in September announced the restrictions affecting citizens of Chad, Iran, Libya, North Korea, Somalia, Syria, and Yemen – and some Venezuelan government officials and their families.

Europe’s airports are overcharging passengers and abusing market power, claims a new study commissioned by Airlines for Europe (A4E), whose members include Ryanair and Aer Lingus. It said airports’ average earnings margins are 46pc, indicating “extraordinary levels” of profitability.

The DAA is to embark on a major revamp of its retail operations at Dublin Airport’s T2. The project – overseen by the DAA’s Aer Rianta International (ARI) unit – includes a new 14,500 sq ft duty free outlet, a major drinks store as well as other new shops, the Irish Independent reported.

Afloat

Lisa McAuley, Silversea, Paul Charles of PCC and Natalie Sexton, Silversea, hosting travel media in Chapter One in Dublin, March 2 2016

Lisa McAuley, managing director for Silversea in Britain and Ireland, is to join Dnata Travel as MD of Travel of Gold Medal/Travel 2, completing its new management team. Before Silversea, she worked for Avis for 15 years in senior commercial roles. She joins the Dubai-based company as it confirmed that John Bevan will join next month as CEO B2B.

The Greek government has ordered the raising of a sunken cruise ship that foundered just off the holiday island of Santorini 10 years ago, leaving two passengers missing and presumed dead. It said the wreck of the Sea Diamond poses a potential environmental risk and is a hazard to shipping.

TUI Britain and Ireland has appointed Richard Sofer as commercial director, with effect from December 1.  He joined TUI in September 2016 as managing director of Thomson Cruises, overseeing the launch of Discovery 2 in May 2017 and the recent rebrand to Marella Cruises.

Carnival is slowing down the rollout of its Ocean Medallion technology programme. The wearable technology, which Carnival calls a virtual concierge, is set to debut this November on Regal Princess – but won’t be offered to all passengers.

Royal Caribbean’s Symphony of the Seas, which will be the world’s largest cruise ship, will debut earlier than planned, with its first sailing now departing three weeks ahead of schedule. Symphony will now sail three additional voyages. The first, a pre-inaugural sailing departing March 31, 2018, will be a five-day cruise out of Barcelona with stops in Naples and Rome. Two seven-night cruises will depart on April 7 (the ship’s official inaugural cruise) and 14, with stops in Palma De Mallorca, Marseille, Livorno, Civitavecchia and Naples.

After its maiden season in the Caribbean, Celebrity Cruises‘ newest ship Celebrity Edge will head east to offer a series of Mediterranean cruises. The 2,900-passenger ship, which launches in the autumn of 2018, will homeport in Barcelona and Rome; it also will offer a two-night mini-cruise out of Southampton.

Ireland

Tourism NI’s Clare McCoy, Kirstin Smith, Fiona Cunningham and Shannon Reilly at Medley, October 18

Tourism Northern Ireland launched its “Fresh Journey of Discovery”, to attract visitors from the south, in Dublin’s Medley, even with no big ticket attaction in the offing in the coming months. Republic of Ireland Market Manager Fiona Cunningham said: “There’s no big event as such. We had the Irish Open this year, obviously, and we had the women’s Rugby World Cup this year. At this stage it’s too early to actually say which big events we’re going to
be supporting next year.” The event was attended by renowned psychologist Geoffrey Beattie who told the crowd: “People tend to hibernate during autumn, but I’m encouraging people to shake up their usual routine. Take a well-deserved seasonal break and try a new place of adventure.” Lough Erne Resort Chef Noel McMeel was also in attendance and designed the meal, and told the audience: “I’m very passionate about where my food comes from. All the food in tonight’s dinner can be traced back to Northern Ireland.” Album from the Dublin launch photo-shoot here..

Pictured at Trinity College, presenter Gao Xiaosong

Popular Chinese talk show Morning Call, which is among the world’s top online talk shows on www.Youku.com will broadcast five episodes on Ireland over the next few months with the first episode already aired here.  Presented by Gao Xiaosong, an iconic figure in Chinese folk music, the programme has swept all the talk show awards in China and has accumulated over 1.85bn views. Together with its radio channels the accumulated views and listeners total up to 5bn. Mr Gao and his film crew were in Ireland last month on a tour hosted by Fáilte Ireland in collaboration with Tourism Ireland. The visit was also assisted by the Irish Embassy in Beijing with Mr Gao meeting President Higgins while in Dublin.

The island of Ireland was promoted by Tourism Ireland to thousands of Italian travel professionals attending the annual TTG Incontri travel fair in Rimini. Seven Irish and Italian tourism companies joined Tourism Ireland at the important B2B travel exhibition which attracts about 37,000 Italian travel professionals each year, including influential tour operators and travel agents, as well as leading Italian travel media.

President Michael D Higgins helped promote Ireland along with Tourism Ireland CEO Niall Gibbons to tourism professionals in Sydney while on his State visit to Australia.

Pictured are Niall Gibbons, Tánaiste and Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation Frances Fitzgerald; President Michael D Higgins; Sabina Higgins; Alison Metcalfe, Tourism Ireland’s Head of Australia, New Zealand and North America; and Matthew Cameron-Smith, Trafalgar Guided Holidays. Full album from the lunch event here.

Liam Gallagher‘s controversial concert at a west Dublin airport has been given the go-ahead – despite residents’ concerns. The former Oasis frontman is due to play in a hangar at Weston Airport in Lucan on October 29, along with support acts.

The Titanic Experience Cobh has lodged an appeal with An Bord Pleanála against a decision by Cork County Council to grant planning permission for a nearby amusement arcade.

Tourism NI is working with the US television network HBO to “maximise” the Game of Thrones legacy as new statistics reveal the show helped boost visitor spend to a record €464m in the first six months of 2017. Tourism NI chief executive John McGrillen said the North was on course for its busiest ever visitor year thanks mainly to an increased number of tourists from the Republic, Europe, North America and farther afield.

The Irish Duty Free Alliance held its first meeting at the Dublin Hilton Hotel with the primary objective aimed at supporting the reintroduction of duty and tax free sales on routes to and from England when it leaves the EU on March 30, 2019

Deal Watch

ITAA OFFERS: Dublin to Brussels, 3 nights Novotel Brussels Centre Tour Noire, from €1090 for a family of 4 (2 adults and 2 kids under 12), depart October 31. www.kanestravel.ie Dublin to Turkey, 7 nights Kusadasi for the midterm break for 2 adults and one child, from €386pp with Travalue.ie. http://itaa.ie/2017/10/19/last-minute-mid-term-deal/ Dublin to Barcelona with city tour, 3 nights, from €399, depart October 31. http://itaa.ie/2017/10/19/barcelona-with-city-tour/  France camping offer, Rosslare to Cherbourg with Irish Ferries with 4 berth cabin, 5 nights in the 4* Camping Iris Parc le  Chene Gris  – Fiji mobile, from €675 for 2 adults and 2 kids, depart October 29. Flight option also available through www.shandontravel.ie

Sunway offers: Dublin to Turkey, 7 nights B&B 4* Golden Day Wings Hotel, Kusadasi, from €1556 (2 adults + two children), depart Bank Holiday weekend October 28. Dublin to Turkey, 7 nights B&B 4* Golden Day Wings Hotel, Kusadasi, from €399pp, depart Bank Holiday weekend October 28. Dublin to Gran Canaria, 7 nights 3* Aloe Canteras, from €349, depart October 27. Dublin to Iceland, 3 nights B&B 4* Grand Reykjavik Hotel, from €599, depart October 27. Dublin to Sri Lanka, eight days with private tours, 2 Nights Colombo, Sigiriya Rock, Tea Plantations of Nuwara Eliya, Kandy 1 Night Each & Negombo Beach 2 Nights B&B with flights and transfers, from €1799. Florida & Bahamas Fly Cruise from New York, 10 nights including 3 in New York, onboard Royal Caribbean’s Anthem of the Seas, from €1590, depart March 14. St Patricks Day Caribbean Fly Cruise from Orlando, 10 nights, including 3 in Orlando, Oasis of the Seas, from €1205, depart March 15. www.sunway.ie

Teletext Holidays midterm offers: Dublin to Lanzarote, 7 nights self-catering 3* Las Lilas Apartments, Puerto del Carmen, from €889, depart October 28. Dublin to Gran Canaria, 7 nights self-catering Greenfield Apartments Playa del Ingles, from €929, depart October 27. Dublin to Alicante, 7 nights B&B 4* Albir Playa Hotel & Spa, from €570, depart October 30. www.teletextholidays.ie

Tour America offer: Dublin to Orlando Midterm break special, 7 nights in a 1 bedroom Suite at The Ramada Plaza International Drive – Free beer, wine, soft drinks and light bites daily between 12-8pm with access to rooftop swimming pool & bar, from €829, depart October 29. www.touramerica.ie

Topflight offers:  Dublin to Austria, 7 nights self-catering 3*Aurora Apartments, Bad Hofgastein, was €569 now €399 (Based on 4 share), depart J anuary 6. Dublin to Austria, 7 nights half board 4*Hotel Der Schmittenhof, Zell am See, was €829 now €679, depart January 6.  Dublin to Andorra, 7 nights half board 3*Hotel Patagonia, Arinsal, was €669 now €499, depart January 7. Dublin to Italy, 7 nights self-catering 3* Livigno Ski Apartments, Livigno, was €519 now €399 (Based on 5 share), depart January 13. Dublin to France, 7 nights self-catering 4* Les Chalets Edelweiss, Plagne 1800, was €529 now €399 (Based on 8 share), depart January 20. Cork to Austria, 7 nights self-catering 3*Chalet Alpina, St Johann, was €559 now €399 (Based on 4 share), depart January 13. Cork to Austria, 7 nights half board 4*Hotel Der Schmittenhof, Zell am See, was €749 now €649, depart March 10. Belfast to Austria, 7 nights self-catering 3* Chalet Alpina, St Johann, was £462 now £359pps (Based on 4 share), depart January 13. Belfast to Austria, 7 nights half board 4* Hotel Der Schmittenhof, Zell am See, was £712 now £599pps. www.topflight.ie

Travelfinders offers:  Dublin to Portugal, 5 nights all inclusive at Clube Praia Da Oura, Albufeira, €260, depart November 18. Dublin to Spain, 5 nights all inclusive at Costa Teguise Gardens, from €350, depart , December 11. Dublin to Spain, 5 nights all inclusive, Vik Gran Costa Del Sol, from €353, depart November 21. Dublin to Las Vegas, 5 nights 3* hotel accommodation and flights, from €509, depart December.  www.travelfinders.ie

What we learned.

Ants kill more people each year (20) than sharks (5), behind mosquitos (725,000), hippopotamus (2,900), deer (130) and dogs (35). Thank you Frost Science museum in Miami.

TRAVEL Extra’s Sunday Supplement: The Battle for (Air) Berlin 2017

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

White Strand, Miltown Malbay, Co Clare

 

Things to know about travel this week.

  • Message to the tourism industry after Barcelona: keep travelling
  • The battle for Air Berlin’s market share
  • Martina Coogan to head up United Airlines in Ireland
  • Data regulations to be discussed at ITAA conference
  • JJ Corry’s launch highlight of Dublin Whiskey festival

Travel Extra TV.

In Sochi a drunk couple use a public fountain in a busy resort as a hot tub and claim to be ‘enjoying the spa’ as astonished holidaymakers look on. Watch here.

Aer Lingus is pushing the sights and delights of its Canadian destination of Toronto here.

Meet the man who has never flown in all his 72 years – British Airways reckon they can get him off the ground. Watch here.

Bet you didn’t know that Emirates has 6,000-plus bartenders for its bars in the sky onboard the  A380. Find out more about the lounges here.

Behind the Headlines

The Ryanair share price rose to a record €19.23 after the Air Berlin insolvency was announced Tuesday while, with Franz Beckenbauer efficiency, Germany organised its defences against the Mulingar marauder in advance of the battle for Air Berlin’s 20pc market share. Ryanair lodged competition complaints with the German Bundeskartellamt and the European Commission about the obvious conspiracy playing out in Germany between the German Government, Lufthansa and Air Berlin to carve up Air Berlin’s assets, while excluding major competitors, and ignoring both EU competition and State Aid rules. German ministry officials were quick to accuse Ryanair of being loudmouths, “clatter is part of their business model.” The role of Austrian carrier Niki and also cross-leasing arrangements may also have to unravel. Transport Minister Alexander Dobrindt has called for Lufthansa to buy a major part of the assets, saying Germany needs a “national champion” in international aviation. Lufthansa aims to take over as many as 90 of the roughly 140 aircraft from Air Berlin (Germany) and operate them under its Eurowings brand. That includes the 38 aircraft that it is already leasing from Air Berlin and all of the NIKI (Austria) planes. Watch here  Airberlin CEO Thomas Winkelmann proclaiming business as usual.

The Irish Travel Industry Awards on Thursday, January 25, 2018, wil have a new headline sponsor. Prize categories, to be voted on by member travel agencies, have been reorganised and details will be announced in the coming weeks along with details of the new sponsor.

NYC & Co‘s Tryphavana Cross and United Airlines’ Brian Hughes led a fam trip of journalists to mark the 25th anniversary of the opening of Fitzpatrick’s Hotel on Lexington

Avenue and also 25 years of Restaurant Week, where the area’s top restaurants offer a cut-price menu twice a year. The group visited the upcoming National Geographic Encounter: Ocean Odyssey on Times Square, saw Manhattan in miniature at Gulliver’s Gate model world, the Carole King musical on Broadway and even where Joe Pesci got whacked in Brooklyn in GoodFellas, courtesy of A Slice of Brooklyn tours. Pictured beside the Brooklyn Bridge are Stephen Gordon, Belfast Telegraph, Fearghal O’Connor, Sunday Independent, Brian Farrell, Sunday World, Travel Extra contributing editor Mark Evans, for The Herald, Brian Hughes, United Airlines, Tryphavana Cross, NYC & Co, and Pol O’Conghaile, Irish Independent. United Airlines is currently rolling out its Polaris product, to replace BusinessFirst, and the group got to check out the changes onboard the 777-200 from Dublin and at Newark Airport. The group also got to try out the $42 three-course menus in The Ribbon, in uptown, and The Sea Grill at the Rockefeller Centre, as well as breakfast at the Great Northern Foot Hall on 42nd Street. Connect to the album here.

The agenda for the ITAA conference in Oporto on Friday, October 13. is hotting up. There will be five or six crucial presentations, relevant to both agents and suppliers about changes in legislation coming down the tracks. From January the PCI will dramatically change the regulations on credit card details. Other changes will bring corporate travel bookings outside the bonding system. Fines for data transgressions will be increased dramatically. Places are closing for what will be an intriguing ITAA conference, see here to see details of the full itinerary for the conference, see here for details of the optional post conference FAM October 15th-17th and see  here for the registration form.

Virtuoso in Las Vegas brought 5,670 travel professionals, including 2,714 travel advisors and 2,404 preferred partners, from 103 countries at the Bellagio Resort & Casino, ARIA Resort & Casino and Vdara Hotel & Spa for Virtuouso Travel week, pretitled to make a luxury travel conference sound more like fashion week. Attendees engaged in a series of four-minute “speed dating” meetings, 10-minute meetings, and a series of Globetrotting sessions showcasing preferred partners in four areas: adventure travel, cruises, family travel, and wellness, along with a fifth focus on shopping in travel. Globetrotting showcased Virtuoso’s new community building strategy, where brought preferred partners and travel advisors interested in specific travel niche areas together.

There is no sign yet of Ryanair’s summer 2018 schedule. The first details began to emerge mid July 2016.

The Italian Tourist Board ENIT office in Dublin, run by Francesco Tirelli, is now open at 17 Old Naas Rd, Inchicore, Dublin 12, D12 T8P4. Email.

Remember the outcry when the Government sold the Gulfstream Jet in December 2014? it was practically given away for $500,000. The Government at the time cited its poor condition for disposing of it so cheaply. Well, surprise, the aircraft visited Dublin in the early hours of Tuesday and departed today Thursday. It is now registered to Pontiac Aviation LLC, Troy, MI, USA. For an aircraft that was practically given away … it’s looking remarkably well.

The message to tourism after the Barcelona Fiestas de Gracia attack: keep travelling. If we don’t, who wins? Barcelona was a different kind of target Listen here to Eoghan Corry on Marian Finucane, RTE One radio, speaking about aftermath of Barcelona Fiestas de Gracia attack. Read here Eoghan Corry’s reaction to the attack.

Travel Trade

Martina Coogan of United Airlines

Martina Coogan will commence as new Ireland manager for United Airlines on September 26. Martina worked with Aer Lingus, Air France/Delta and Travelport’s Mobile Travel Technology.

Nan Short and Natalie Dorrington of Crystal Cruises hosted 30 agents and key customers on board Crystal Symphony in Dublin. The old girl is going in for an refurb this September and will re-emerge with new dining options, an entirely new class of room designated as Seabreeze penthouse suites, capacity reduced from 922 passengers down to 848 and unlimited, free internet for the duration of each cruise. Picture shows Nan Shortt, Natalie Dorrington and Alissa Gustafsso of Crystal Cruises on board Crystal Symphony in Dublin. Watch here video report of visit. See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.

The prize for longest presentations at a trade event this summer go to Holland America Line who hosted key trade at a quiz night in Dublin.

Jennifer Twomey from Premier Travel, Cork, won an ipad and Leanne Mulcahy from Limerick Travel won a theatre night in Dublin in Topflight’s weekly agent competition. prizes on offer include an iPad, a night at the Theatre with overnight stay, a make up hamper with brands like Morphe, Urban Decay, SoSu etc and a spa day at a venue of the agents’ choice. Next winner will announced next Friday August 25th. To enter book a last minute Topflight holiday within 14 days of departure and then email booking reference.

Mary McKenna of Tour America is inviting support on her 500km cycle from Barcelona to Valencia this September, 3rd to 7th. All funds raised will go to Crumlin Hospital who help so many families. Mary McKenna is participating in memory of her cousin whose daughter spent 12 days there before passing away from Edwards Syndrome. “Only for the wonderful care given to Fiadh they would not have had these precious days with her.” Contact Mary here.

Turkish Airlines is seeking a Corporate Sales Representative Ireland based in Dublin. The role is to identify and develop new leads via direct sales (customer visits), contact by phone, networking and client referrals. The successful candidate will have strong sales and negotiation skills, effective communication skills and well-developed interpersonal skills ability to multi task, perform well in cross-functional team environment, and assist the corporate sales manager and/or marketing manager in implementing targeted sales and marketing plans and ensure corporate customer satisfaction via providing after sales support. Requirements are a minimum two years of experience in Corporate Sales or preferably, travel related fields interacting extensively with customers. Fluency in English is required and fluency in any of the following language is an asset: French, German, Italian, Spanish or Portuguese. Apply here and contact here for further information.

Fly Cruise Stay launched a Certificate of Excellence Award for Hotels & Resorts. Award winners include Royal Hotel Beirut, the Table Bay Mountain, Cape Town, Dosso Dossi Old Town, Sultanhamet, Istanbul and the Kenzi Club Agdal Medina, Marrakesh.

Alan Lynch of Cruisescapes hosted 17 agents from eight agencies on board Fred Olsen’s MS Balmoral in Dublin Only one agent had ever been on a Fred Olsen ship before. The presentation by Fred Olsen Cruises outlined the benefits of small ship cruising: no tendering in busy ports such as St Petersburg,​ cruising into fjords which are impossible to navigate with larger ships and no queuing for food, silver service is available at all meals if the client prefers. Picture shows Amanda O’Brien and Tracey Crowley of American Holidays with Alan Lynch, MD of Cruisescapes, on board Fred Olsen Balmoral.

​Fred Olsen River Cruises were also part of the presentation with the new 4 star Brabant ​launching 31 itineraries for the 2018 season.

Explore are offering free visas with India bookings until 4th September.

Strange World

Councils in England are removing cat’s eyes signs because tourists are worried that poor domestic animals were being so horribly mistreated.

Banker Samuel Jankowsky claimed he accidentally flew to Las Vegas instead of returning to his pregnant wife in England from Cologne after airline staff failed to notice he had the wrong tickets and he fell asleep.

Belfast teenager Lewis Nickell who suffers from Tourette’s syndrome cannot help shouting “I’m in ISIS” at airport security.

One in 10 people in England cannot identify Ireland on a map, according to research by Insurance comparison website Gocompare.

Jack Palfrey recalled a trip to one of the world’s most bizarre borders at Wagah Border, the primary land crossing between the nations of India and Pakistan.

Paradies Arosa hotel in the Swiss Alps said a sign asking Jewish guest to shower had been a mistake, saying that some Jewish guests had gone swimming with clothes, such as T-shirts, on and had not showered first.

EasyJet insisted a cheese toastie was not out to date when it was given to a passenger with a best before 2007 on the label.

International

Ireland finished top of Hostelworlds list of most travelled nations per capita, followed by 2 Australia, 3 New Zealand, 4 England, 5 Canada, 6 Netherlands, 7 Switzerland, 8 Scotland, 9 Sweden and 10 Denmark. Travel Extra’s own research usually places Ireland in second place behind Norway.

The USA reported 22,100 visitors from Ireland in January 2017, up 0.9pc. Overall visits were up 2pc, the first month of growth in total US visits since June 2016, although key European markets are down, England by 9pc, Germany by 7.4pc, and France by 3.1pc.

  • Germany says overnight stays are up 3pc for January-June 2017 to 36.7m.
  • Michael Leavy of Home Healthcare Adaptations has published an interactive storymap which outlines nine of the most wheelchair-friendly tourist attractions in the world, See website.
  • Forward Keys says international flight bookings to Germany for the third quarter, up to the beginning of August, are 5.6 percent higher than in the previous year.
  • The US federal government says it will eliminate a policy that allowed national parks like the Grand Canyon to ban the sale of bottled water in an effort to curb litter and protect birds and wildlife.
  • News that Louisiana’s favourite crustacean has turned up in Michigan prompted a local tourism agency to create a pop-up crawfish festival in Michigan.
  • Governor Rick Scott announced that Florida has set another record by welcoming the highest number of visitors of any six months in the state’s history with 60.7m visitors.
  • Idaho expects the state’s population to increase by a third with visitors coming to watch the eclipse.

Food & Beverage

JJ Corry’s Whiskey, by Cooraclare based craft distiller Louise McGuane using recipes created by Kilrush publican JJ Corry who died in 1934, launched at the Irish Whiskey Museum last night. The first blend, the Gael will launch in September at $70 a bottle and, so far, 1,000 casks have been sold in the USA. Yup, Travel Extra’s editor, first generation Coraclare, was there to sample an ancestral ball of malt. Picture shows Louise Duane and Blaise Kelly of Chapel Gate Distillery at the launch. Watch here video of the event and interview with JJ McGuane.

Dublin whiskey festival saw launches, seminars and debate about the challenges facing the craft distillery movement.

Opening of the week was Dollard & Co Food Hall and Grill opened on the ground floor of the historic Dollard Printworks, the oldest steel frame structure in Ireland on Wellington Quay and East Essex St. It comes with a casual, order-at-the-counter deli with breakfast dishes, an all day menu, vegan flatbreads, creamy homemade ice cream, dedicated dessert counter, coffees, smoothies and juices. From Wellington Quay entrance there is a bakery, pizza and pasta counter. In the middle is The Grill with 40 seats, serving Miso glazed chicken wings a our Crab, Lobster and Potato Omelette, the Hake with braised Calamari, or their cheeseburger. TwoFifty Square Coffee operate the coffee shop. On the East Essex St side of Dollard & Co is a grocery with meat, fish, charcuterie and cheese counters.

Hotel Chocolat has announced that it will be opening its first ever Irish café this October.

Underdog, which opened beneath Brogan’s Bar next to The Olympia theatre on Dame Street, features 20 beers on tap and intends changing the drinks they have on offer.

East Side Tavern on Leeson Street reopened.

Beer sales in Eastern Europe are down 13pc in March to June, according to Carlsberg.

Hotels

Hotelier John Fitzpatrick told Travel Extra that despite the strong dollar, occupancy rates are at 91pc, and there’s value to be had in Manhattan given the strong number of new hotel openings in recent years. And he said there’s such a squeeze back home in Dublin, with demand ahead of supply so far, that he’s seen dearer bed nights in Dublin than in New York.

John Fitzpatrick talked about that first month in 1992 – without a liquor licence – as an Irish hotel, hosting Taoisigh, Liam Neeson’s mother – and why Charlie Haughey had to leave the Waldorf Astoria to have a nose around. Catch the interview here.

  • Dublin’s Fitzsimons Hotel spent €378,000 on music, entertainment and royalties in 2015. Pre-tax losses are down from €407,722 to €64,612.
  • Ashford Castle’s Fairytale Castle Experience was listed in the Chad Clark Certified listing 25 premium and unique travel experiences and services.
  • Tullyglass House Hotel in Ballymena saw occupancy rates double raising turnover to £4.6m.
  • Dalata sought to increase the new Maldron hotel on Belfast’s Brunswick Street by 31 rooms.
  • Virtuoso in Las Vegas awarded hotel of the Year to Palazzo Seneca, Norcia, Italy. Other award wnners: Dining Experience: La Terrazza-Hotel Eden Rome, Bar: Bar Hemingway-Ritz Paris, Family Programme: The Ritz-Carlton, Naples, Fla, Wellness Programme: Canyon Ranch, Tucson, Ariz, Hotel Experience: Andaz Mayakoba Resort Riviera Maya, Mexico. Newcomer: Four Seasons Hotel New York Downtown, Hotel Ambassador: Kees Hogetoorn, Grand Hotel Amsterdam, Hotelier of the Year: Susanne Hatje, General Manager, Mandarin Oriental New York.
  • AirBnB are to launch a new brand to compete with boutique hotels
  • The European cities with most hotel rooms in construction are Istanbul (4,497 rooms in 24 projects), London (4,300 rooms in 27 projects), Moscow (3,602 rooms in 16 projects), Munich (2,897 rooms in 13 projects) and Amsterdam (2,166 rooms in 12 projects).

Aviation

American Airlines will close their check-in counters 75 minutes before the flight departure time owing to enhanced security checks at Dublin airport to allow passengers to pass security checkpoints in enough time. American say the change has been made with immediate effect. “We ask that all passengers plan ahead their journeys to ensure that they clear the check-in process in sufficient time.” Picture shows Caitriona Toner of American Airlines,

Hainan Airlines did not include Dublin in plans to open six international routes despite reports of ongoing discussions, Shanghai-Tel Aviv, Beijing-Prague-Belgrade, Shenzhen-Brisbane, Chongqing-New York JFK, Chengdu-New York JFK and Shanghai-Brussels.

Headset improvements are next on the agenda for Aer Lingus with new long-haul meals, a €1m entertainment system upgrade. This autumn there will be new south apron gates for short-haul walk-on, walk-off. Aer Lingus has 600 more front-line staff than two years ago. Watch here Aer Lingus COO Mike Rutter.

Ryanair added another 25 connecting airport-pairs at Milan Bergamo. Ryanair launched a dedicated booking platform offering Erasmus students fare discounts, free bags and tailored travel offers.

Fearghal O’Connor reported Hainan Airlines is close to agreeing a direct scheduled flight from Dublin to Beijing for winter season.

  • Pre-tax profits at Shannon-based aircraft maintenance firm Atlantic Aviation Group doubled to €1.48m.
  • Dublin-based inflight services firm Retail inMotion added a retail consultancy contract with Aer Lingus.
  • Apollo Aviation Group is to purchase 38 aircraft in the first half of 2017 for a total gross purchase price of $910m.
  • Fly Leasing appointed Julie Ruehl as its Chief Financial Officer
  • Peter Barrett said SMBC Aviation Capital aims to become the world’s leading jet lessor. It is currently ranked fourth in the world after GECAS, AerCap and Avolon. Annual Report and Accounts here.
  • The Commissioners running Alitalia in bankruptcy are seeking to reorganise its network, with a focus on increasing operations domestically and its central long-haul Rome Fiumincino hub.
  • Cork Airport appointed Con Dooney as General Manager of Operations and Safety
  • Four Irish airports have been nominated in the aviation marketing awards World Routes which takes place in Barcelona in September.
  • Passengers who were aboard an Emirates aircraft that crash-landed in August 2016 are suing Chicago-based Boeing for an alleged malfunction of the aircraft’s electronics.
  • Monarch Airlines is “reviewing its current business model” to deduce optimum size and shape of the airline.
  • TAP Portugal is to revive its prior designation and rebrand as TAP Air Portugal from mid- September 2017,
  • American Airlines is to fly Philadelphia-Budapest, Prague , Zurich and Chicago-Venice seasonal services in 2018 and is dropping Manchester-JFK.
  • The Daily Express reported the distress code 7500 indicates a hijacking. So now you know.
  • Goose eggs were destroyed to stop aircraft strikes at Belfast City airport.
  • New Stobart Air website here.
  • Sad news: James Osborne, director of Ryanair, friend of Ryanair founder Tony Ryan and legal adviser to Mr Ryan’s Guinness Peat Aviation has died aged 68.

Afloat

Royal Caribbean cut the first piece of steel for its Quantum Ultra ship, destined for the Chinese market, and revealed the name will be Spectrum of the Seas. The 4,180-passenger ship will be the fourth in the line’s Quantum class of ships and will debut in 2019.

Royal Caribbean is cancelling a previously scheduled cruise on Allure of the Seas, saying the ship needs maintenance work in dry dock in January.

The largest competitive race track at sea and an open-air laser tag course are among the features promised for Norwegian Bliss when it launches May 2018.

Regent Seven Seas Cruises unveiled its new 2019-20 voyages season, comprising 118 new sailings, departing from March 2019 to June 2020 aboard four of the world’s most luxurious cruise ships, Seven Seas Explorer, Seven Seas Mariner, Seven Seas Voyager and Seven Seas Navigator.

  • Holland America Line’s Explore4 promotion returned with alluring offers on more than 600 cruises from March 2018 until April 2019.
  • Oceania Cruises, the world’s leading culinary- and destination- focused cruise line, unveiled La Cuisine Bourgeoise, by Jacques Pépin.
  • Crystal Symphony skipped her call to Waterford on Wednesday due to rough seas. Pacific Princess skipped a Jersey call following power outage onboard.
  • Silversea adjusted the dining and dress code for Silver Muse.
  • Celebrity cruises and Canyon Ranch launched sleep-themed spa treatments.
  • Tropical storm Harvey affected Caribbean cruise itineraries.
  • Saga cruises revised dining and beverage options on Spirit of Discovery.
  • Cunard’s Queen Elizabeth revealed the hosting details of QE2 fiftieth anniversary celebrations.
  • Bonnie Tyler is to perform during the solar eclipse on oasis of the seas cruise.
  • Crystal River cruises named German soprano vocalist Ana Maria Kaufmann as godmother to its first ‘Rhine Class’ river ship in Rüdesheim.
  • American Duchess river cruise ship was named in New Orleans.

Ireland

Picture shows Paul Carty of the Guinness Storehouse wiith a selection of the 2017 Rose of Tralee contestants. The festival returns next week.

Thirty invasive Pacific pink salmon have been caught since the end of June along the west and northwest coast. IFI wants anglers to report any catches of the invasive species to it by calling 1890 347 424. The fish are present in Norwegian rivers as a result of stocking in Russia.

  • The most popular travel TV show in Italy, Kilimangiaro, which has 1.2m viewers, is filming in Ireland’s Ancient East this week.
  • Kathryn Thomas is running another one day detox with her team in the Radisson Blu Hotel Galway Sunday September 24th
  • Tourism Ireland launched a quiz on their website, Ireland.com where Game of Thrones fans can answer questions connecting scenes in the Game of Thrones tapestry with real life filming locations in Ireland.
  • Overnight visits to the six counties from the 26 counties are up 35pc to end March 17.
  • A Cork Chamber of Commerce survey indicated 77pc support for a call for a €12m annual fund to minimise the Brexit effect on tourism

A railway bridge in Carrick-on-Suir was struck by vehicles 41 times from 2009 until February last when it was replaced with a higher bridge according to Irish Rail’s report, there were 92 rail bridge strikes last year up from 85 in 2015 but down from 200 per year in the mid noughties.

There are 1,700 events planned for Heritage Week in 2017. See full list here. Heritage Week is part of European Heritage Days, a joint initiative of the Council of Europe and the European Union in which forty countries participate each year. Water heritage day is scheduled for August 27. Travel Extra editor Eoghan Corry is leading/guiding a heritage walk up Lyons Hill in Co Kildare tomorrow 2pm, visiting 14th century church, 12th century castle, and ancient royal site, all welcome, free of charge, converge at gate of UCD Lyons farm at 1.50pm just outside Newcastle Co Dublin on Lyons Rd. Also for heritage week, a talk on the origins of Clane and Kildare GAA at 8pm in Clane GAA club on Tuesday night.

Deal Watch

Playa del Ingles

Falcon offers: Dublin to Tenerife, 7 nights all inclusive, 3* Catalonia Punta del Rey, Las Caletillas, from €549, depart September. Shannon to Lanzarote, 7 nights all inclusive 3* Lanzasur Splash Resort, Playa Blanca, from €849, depart September 11. Dublin to Gran Canaria, 7 nights self catering 3* Villa Del Mar, Patalavaca, from €429, depart October 12. Dublin to Gran Canaria, 7 nights self-catering 2* Puerto Plata , Puerto Rico, from €679pps, depart December 21. Dublin to Lanzarote, 7 nights self-catering 3* Tabaiba Apartments, Costa Teguise, from €519, depart January 7, 2018. Dublin to Gran Canaria, 7 nights self-catering 3* Monte Feliz, Bahia Feliz, from  €479, depart January 11, 2018. Dublin to Majorca, 14 nights self-catering 3* Sea Club,  Alcudia, from €869, depart August 22. Dublin to to Majorca, 7 nights self-catering 3* Sea Club, Alcudia, from €669, depart September 29. www.falconholidays.ie, call 1850 45 35 45

Thomson offers: Dublin to Gran Canaria, 14 nights self-catering 4* TUI Family Life Playa Feliz, Bahia Feliz, from €759, depart September 7. Dublin to Gran Canaria, 7 nights all inclusive 4* Abora Catarina By Lopesan, Playa Del Ingles, from €989, depart December 21. Dublin to Gran Canaria, 7 nights self-catering 3* Rocamar, Puerto Rico, from €559, depart January 11. Dublin to Kos, 7 nights half board, 5* Grecotel Kos Imperial Thalasso, Psalidi, from €919, depart September 9. Cork to Algarve, 7 nights self-catering 3* Cerro Mar Colina, Albufeira, from €589, depart September 17. Dublin to Crete, 7 nights self-catering 2* Ourania Apartments, Gouves, from €469pp, depart October 1. Dublin to Fuerteventura, 7 nights all inclusive 4* Hotel Barceló Fuerteventura Thalasso Spa, Costa Caleta, from €989, depart December 5. www.thomsonholidays.ie, Call 1850 45 35 45

Sunway offers: Dublin to Turkey, 7 nights self-catering 3* Esat Hotel, from €399, depart September 16. Dublin to the Algarve, 7 nights free upgrade to half board, from €999, 5* Tivoli Carvoeiro Hotel, depart September 2. Dublin to Sicily, 7 nights all inclusive at 3* Kamarina, from €805, depart September 9. Dublin to New York, 3 nights at Fitzpatrick’s Grand Central Hotel, with free extra bag and 20pc off at Macy’s, from €915. Dublin to South Africa for the Southern Kings v Leinster, 3 nights Cape Town and two nights Port Elizabeth, from €1349, depart September 16. Match tickets not included. www.sunway.ie

Topflight offers: Dublin to Lake Garda, 7 nights self-catering 4* Bella Italia, from €499, depart August 26. Dublin to Lake Garda, 7 nights B&B 4* Grand Hotel Riva, from €669, depart August 26. Dublin to Lake Garda, 7 nights half board, 4* Hotel Savoy Palace, from €999, depart August 26. Dublin to Sorrento, 7 nights B&B 4* Grand Hotel Hermitage, from €799, depart September 3. Dublin to Sorrento, 7 nights half board 4* plus Hotel Bristol, from €1069, depart August 27. Dublin to Sicily, 7 nights B&B 5* Hotel Diamond, from €799, depart August 26. Dublin to the
Adriatic Riviera, 7 nights B&B 4* Hotel de France, from €599, depart August 26. Dublin to Madeira, 7 nights self-catering 4* Aparthotel Duas Torres, from €399, depart August 24. Call Topflight on 01 240 1700, visit www.topflight.ie
Finnair published seat sale from Ireland to Japan, return economy fares from Dublin to Tokyo from €599, Premium Economy from €999 and Business from €2,399 sale from Aug 22nd – Oct 14th travel period OCT 29–May 31
Uniworld offers: The two-for-one deal has been extended until September 30. All inclusive cruise trips include Enchanting Danube, 8 days from Passau to Budapest, was €3899pps, now €1949pps, depart November 12; Bordeaux, vineyards and chateaux, 8 days from Bordeaux and back, was €2799pps now €1399pps, depart November 12; Castles along the Rhine, 8 days from Amsterdam to Basel, was €2519pps, now €1259pps, depart November 8; and Delightful Danube, 8 days from Nuremberg to Budapest, was €2799pps, now €1399pps, depart November 8. Call 1800 98 98 98.

What we learned.

Dublin Airport handled as many passengers in July 2017 as in the whole of 1986.

TRAVEL Extra’s Sunday Supplement: Fasten your seatbelts for busiest ever airport weekend

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

Climb on Kitzbuehlerhorn by Irish travel trade, walking group leaders and travel media hosted by the St Johann in Tirol and Brixental Tourist Boards, July 31 2017

Things to know about travel this week.

  • Ryanair pushes load factor to record 97pc
  • 400,000 through Dublin airport
  • Where exactly are those four hour passport queues? 
  • Aercap up to 1,539 aircraft, Avolon up to 921
  • Ryanair’s biggest month ever, 12.6m
  • Seamus Conlon heads up Europe’s biggest cruise agency
  • DFA advises against all but essential travel to Venezuela

Travel Extra TV.

The €200m-plus player Neymar wasn’t on board but Emirates had a video of the other Paris St Germain stars onboard during the pre-season tour.

Etihad Manchester City LA challenge

It’s football everywhere – and Etihad had a video shoot of Manchester City players touring the sites of Hollywood and LA

How do you wash a massive passenger plane? A KLM intern finds out here.

Woman torpedoes down water slide at Mexican water park and slams into two girls who were stuck midway down

Horrifying footage shows moment deadly creature jumps onboard a fishing boat

Behind the Headlines

It is hot out there. Eleven European countries have issued a heat warning as summer temperatures in Europe reach their hottest level since 2003 in a heatwave nicknamed Lucifer (when did heatwaves get hurricane-style pet-names?). Costa del Sol and Majorca are set to reach 43C this weekend, Parts of the Balkans and Italy are set to hit 46 degrees. In Florence, the Uffizi art gallery was temporarily closed on Friday when the air-conditioning system broke down. Receding glaciers in the Alps are revealing the bodies of climbers and farmers who have been missing for decades. Temperatures are in many places as much as 10-15C higher than normal. Europe’s record-breaking 2003 heatwave resulted in more than 20,000 heat-related deaths.

Dublin airport has survived the first two days of its busiest ever bank holiday weekend, 400,000 plus without too much trauma and also without breaking the record of 107,500 passengers in a single day set in June. Paul O’Kane tweeted on Friday a thank you to Aer Lingus for urging passengers to turn up three hours in advance and posted a picture of a virtually empty check in Terminal 2.  IALPA’s letter to a Dublin newspaper blaming DAA for delays led to a pretty conclusive spat between Brendan O’Dowd and Paul O’Kane on the Sean O’Rourke Show on RTE One. Listen here.

So where exactly were the four-hour airport queues? The claim by lobby group Airlines For Europe, led the Michael O’Leary, Willie Walsh and friends, generated widespread publicity. Ryanair asked customers by email to check in two hours early, the ITAA said three. Aer Lingus advised two and a half check-in at European airports and three hours for transatlantic flights at Dublin. The DAA said 90 minutes for European flights at Dublin. The outcome was virtually no queues. Picture shows Cormac O’Connell and Barry Barker of DAA in the refurbished Terminal 1 on Friday with the new ceiling.

Compulsory scanning of Schenghen passports has been around since April (as first reported by Travel Extra), so what has changed? See here Travel Extra’s Eoghan Corry on RTE One Sean O’Rourke show. Three things, more of us are travelling, regional airports in sun destinations are disproportionately affected, and there have been confusing upscaling of security requirements at affected airports to coincide with the passport requirement.  The answer, as Travel Extra’s Eoghan Corry proposed in the Irish Independent (read here)  is to join Schenghen, a desire once expressed by Leo Varadkar, should circumstances allow, when he was minister for Transport (over to you Leo). The response to the article was overwhelmingly positive. Éist anseo le Eoghan Corry, eagarthóir Travel Extra ar Adhmhaidin ar Raidio na Gaeltachta.

Austria’s star attractions, its mountains, are as attractive for hiking in winter as for skiing in summer and this week a brave team of Irish travel trade, walking group leaders and travel media, including Travel Extra, went uphill to investigate. Watch here the story of the trip through then eyes of the participants. The Kirchberg and St Johann regions were showcasing hiking trails such as the new six-part KAT trail and the free Westendorf bus access for mountain pass holders. The rock celebrity stars were all glistening in the sunlight, the Ranggenalm Runde opposite the Wilderkaiser with Fritz Minard (watch here), the Kitzbühelerhorn (watch here), Hahnenkamm with seven-peak Mountaineer Paul Koller, the Hohe Salve with Cissi’s signature church atop and the emperor of Austrian Alpine encounters Hinterer Goinger Halt peak on the Wilderkaiser. Apart from the celebrity mountains they went mountain carting on Kitzbühelerhorn (watch here), E biking through Kitzbühel and Schwarzsee (watch here). People they met included Christoph Stöeckl of Kirchberg Tourism (watch here), Gernot Reidel (watch here), Stephan Bannach (watch here), the mountain lover Mathaeus Gartner (watch here) and hill-climbing Hibernophile Fritz Minard of Active World Holidays (watch here). In Salzburg they called to see Thomas Neckar of Stiegl Brewery (watch here), followed by some beer tasting with Thomas Neckar (watch here), and sampling of the signature Gmahde Wiesn (watch here), and a visit to Erber Schnapps Distillery (watch here). They also met some bell-dangling cows (watch here) and gallopsome goats (watch here), Picture shows Blathnait Ni Mhurchu travel writer, Frank Lynch of Independent Organised Trips, Rita de Brun travel writer, John Barrett of Ski Club of Ireland, Jim Gallagher travel writer, Sean Cotter of Bishopstown Walking Club, Aileen Eglington of AE Consulting, Jessica Keeffe of UL Outdoor Pursuits Club, Michael Oberleithner and Thomas Neckar of Stieglbrauerei, Ruth Whelan of Mountaineering Ireland, Catherine Murphy travel writer, Ailbhe Roche of Extreme Ireland, Harry Dillane of Bishopstown Walking Club, Dan King travel writer and Patricia Duffy of The Roving Soles Walking Club at the Stiegl brewery in Salsburg. See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook. And yes the parting glass was sung.

Travel Trade

Picture shows Andy Harmer of CLIA who joined Irish travel agents on board Holland America. Watch here interview with Andy Harmer as he notes trend in the cruise industry towards luxury and lauds the arrival of Celebrity Eclipse in Dublin next year for the first mini-season by a major cruise line out of Dublin port.

John Galligan’s submission for the CAR’s Strategic Plan 2017-2019 points out the current regime on travel agent and tour operator regulation oversees mainly Irish based micro-enterprises (with less than 10 staff each), while ignoring much larger foreign online vendors, bed banks, airlines and other vendors. The result is that less than 15pc of the travelling public are protected by the efforts of the CAR team.

The acquisition of Eamon Flanagan’s Premair by Aviareps was officially confirmed with Jens Bachmann to become General Manager of the new operation representing Ethiopian Airlines, Sri Lankan Airlines, Japan Airlines, and Royal Jordanian, as well as GSA for Japan Rail Pass.

Registration is open for members and trade partners for Worldchoice annual conference. at the 4 Star Radisson Blu Hotel in Galway on Saturday November 18th on www.ccevents.ie/worldchoice.

The Centre of Portugal is hosting a post ITAA Conference FAM trip on October 15th – 17th  participants will need to book themselves on the Aer Lingus flight EI 487 from Lisbon to Dublin on Tuesday October 17th.

Qatar Airways are running a trade offer of flights and accommodation to Doha of €109 return plus taxes, booking and travel: August 8th -September 8th.

Janette Kearns from Cassidy Travel in Swords was the final winner in Topflight’s win a holiday travel agent incentive, winning a holiday in Sicily. Abbey Travel on Abbey Street won the weekly spot prizes: picture shows Marc Lynch, Lisa Keating, Rebekah Wright and  Joanna Corrigan. A new travel agent incentive promotion will be launched on Tuesday August 8th.

The ETOA described the response to Schenghen checks by an unnamed London Government minister proposing “British-only lanes in English airports” as “self mutiliation.”

Sabre Corporation cut 900 jobs.

SKAL’s cruise ship lunch takes place on Holland America’s Prinsendam on Thursday August 10th, cost is €30 per person for both members and guests.

The average emergency medical assistance expense claim made by Irish holidaymakers is €4482   – and €19049 for claims in the US, according to Allianz Insurance.

FBD launched its own travel insurance product – with the help of Rio Olympic silver medalists Gary and Paul O’Donovan. They told Travel Extra that there’s no preferential treatment when they fly abroad, and it’s rare to see the sights of a foreign country when on rowing duty.

 

Strange world

Passengers were stuck at the apex of ‘Oblivion’ roller coaster at Alton Towers.

  • Fifty passengers were overbooked on an Air India flight after an IT glitch
  • Overbooked Virgin Atlantic removed an unaccompanied minor from a flight that had too many unaccompanied children.
  • The British Museum revealed that it lost a £750,000 diamond ring in 2011.
  • An airport employee punched a passenger in the face at Nice Airport.
  • Magaluf hoteliers said 94pc of hotel guests kicked out for drunkenness are English.

International

The Department of Foreign Affairs advised against all but essential travel to Venezuela.

  • Volcano Bay waterpark new virtual queue technology continues to cause problems. Reviewers in May said “One ride had a 410 minute wait.”
  • A survey by Enterprise Rent-A-Car showed 65pc of Irish people driving abroad this summer are likely to rent a vehicle compared to the European average of just 48pc. Irish holidaymakers abroad are twice more likely to rent a car than German (30pc), French (38pc) motorists, Spanish (55pc) and English (60pc) motorists.
  • The world’s longest pedestrian suspension bridge opened in the Swiss Alps
  • Four masked anti-mass tourism protestors attacked a sightseeing bus carrying English visitors outside Barcelona Football Club’s Camp Nou stadium.
  • The city of Madrid has asked Spain’s anti-trust watchdog to investigate whether Uber’s new airport transport service violates fair competition laws.
  • Officials with Montana’s Glacier National Park say a visitor who was taking photographs of the scenery fell into a creek, was swept into a culvert and plunged off a steep cliff to his death.
  • Vatican fountains were turned off during the Italian drought.
  • Second generation Donegal man and world surfing champion Mick Fanning is to retire from the sport.

Food & Beverage

Accumulated profits at the firm that operates Michelin-starred Dublin restaurant Chapter One dropped from €316,762 to €285,269 during the year to the end of February 2017.

  • Paul Kelly of The Great Irish Bake Off, Chef Kevin Dundon, Chef Margaret Roche & Mike O’Connor of DIT are to re-enact the 1963 JFK tea party at the Kennedy summer school in New Ross this September
  • The five winners of the 2017 Euro-Toques Food Awards were Stefan Griesbachof Gannet Fishmongers; Eavaun Carmody of Dundrum Dexter Irish beef, Mimi and Owen Crawford for their herd of Shorthorn heifers, Becky and Charlie Cole for their promotion of kid goat meat; and Marita and Peter Collier for Drummond House Garlic.
  • Bulmers is to open a €5m visitor centre in Clonmel with a target of 100,000 visitors each year.
  • Ireland has the highest percentage of on-trade versus off-trade beer sales (66pc) in the EU according to the Irish Brewers Association annual report. Beer production declined 1pc. Beer remains Ireland’s most popular alcoholic drink, with a 46.2pc market share. Lager market share rose slightly from 60.4pc in 2015 to 60.9pc in 2016. Craft beer rose to 3.4pc market share in 2016, up from 2.5pc in 2015. Irish beer exports are worth €280m, 40pc of beer produced and up 23pc in two years.
  • A new café specializing in coffee and toasties opened for business in a shipping container on Bull Island beside Dollymount beach.
  • Fitzers Catering opened Browne’s Bar and the Gandon Room Restaurant in Slane Castle.

Hotels

US magazine Travel & Leisure has named three Irish venues among its Top 15 Resort Hotels in Europe. Ballyfin was ranked fourth; Ashford Castle was sixth; and Sheen Falls Lodge was 11th.

  • An Bord Pleanála approved planning permission for a €35m 103 bedrooms extension to the Radisson Blu hotel on Dublin’s Golden Lane.
  • A planning appeal for Johnny Ronan’s Aqua Vetro tower in Dublin was told that the capital will see only one new hotel opening this year. Johnny Ronan suffered a fresh planning blow as his plans for a €50m sports hotel were turned down.
  • Fire officers reported no emergency at Isaac’s Hostel in Dublin’s north inner city as 200 guests were evacuated after smoke was spotted in the building.
  • Dalata announces plans to redevelop Tara Towers hotel in Dublin
  • Arrivals by Travel Extra’s hard working team of writers this week included Zieplof in Tirol (watch here) and Hotel Post in Westendorf (watch here),

Aviation

Ryanair hit a world record 97pc load factor for the first time in July. The airline also set a monthly record of 12.6m passengers, up 11pc, with 125.1m passengers.  Ryanair says it is the first European airline to carry over 12m passengers in a single month and the first EU airline to carry over abn passengers.

Ryanair launched Alexa voice recognition under year four of its so-called always getting better programme. Ryanair celebrated carrying its one billionth passenger since its first flight took off from Waterford to London Gatwick, in July 1985.

Gus Kelly headed AerCap reported a portfolio of 1,539 aircraft, 2017 Q2 net income of US$282.9m and total revenues up 2pc to $1.26bn, with $9bn in available liquidity and. Average age of the fleet was 7.3 years and the average remaining lease term 6.4 years.

Donmhal Slattery headed Avolon reported its portfolio of owned and managed aircraft doubled to 574 (921 including orders) in Q2 2017, up from 227 a year ago. The company has 347 aircraft orders and commitments and financial liquidity of US$4.1bn. Average age is 4.9 years and average remaining lease term 6.8 years.  Avolon’s customer base has grown to 151 airlines in 64 countries. Avolon completed its $10.4bn acquisition of CIT Aviation during Q2, making it the world’s third largest aircraft lessor after GECAS and AerCap.

Ralph Anker’s  anna.aero reported Ryanair has most international passengers in the world for international travel and is also the fastest-growing of the top 10 airlines (+11.2pc). You have to go down to 13th largest, Wizz Air, to find a faster-growing airline (+21.7pc). Others growing international capacity by more than 20pc are Eurowings and Saudi Arabian Airlines. Aer Lingus ranks 33rd in international sets and shows +4.5pc in summer 17. England leads the US, Germany, Spain and China for international seat capacity in summer17 based on OAG schedules. Six of the top 10 countries for international seat capacity are in Europe with the UAE and Japan the other non-European countries alongside the US and China.

The Commission for Aviation Regulation continues to have difficulties re publishing audited accounts with its annual report. The IAA’s submission for the CAR’s Strategic Plan 2017-2019 points out a lack of aviation sector expertise within the CAR. This has led to an over-reliance on external consultants, some of whom do not understand legacy or constraining issues at Dublin airport and whose recommendations have been overly academic. It should be a key focus for the CAR to increase its aviation sector expertise in the coming years in order to improve confidence in its decision making.

  • Aer Lingus load factor in July was 88.4, passenger traffic in July was up 10.7pc.
  • Stobart Group said its aircraft leasing business, Propius Ltd, has signed an agreement to purchase three Embraer E195 jet aircraft with a special purpose company managed by German Operating Aircraft Leasing.
  • The north’s Air Ambulance completed its first mission on ahead of its official launch date.
  • Comsuisse AG successfully passed the Site Acceptance Test for its Shannon ATC Centre Voice Communication Control System Main Enroute Operational System for the IAA at Ballycasey.
  • Aer Lingus CEO Stephen Kavanagh said his immediate priority is a new positive relationship with DAA to deliver on guest needs.
  • Work is to start in September on a dedicated detention centre at Dublin Airport for people due to be deported. DAA’s Dublin Airport Central building was short-listed in the Sustainable Buildings Excellence in Environment category for the 2017 Chambers Ireland Corporate Social Responsibility Awards.
  • Wow Air suspended the Cork to Reykjavik route, launched in May as a year-round service which offered onward flights to the US. The airline cancelled a small number of flights from Cork in September and early October.
  • Norwegian Air said all flights on its Cork transatlantic route are sold out for the first three weeks of August, less than a month after they began.
  • Cork airport passenger numbers are up 6pc, attributed to a strong summer schedule.
  • Conor McMahon reports that Shannon Airport is looking for advice on how it can “improve overall competitiveness” and become a “challenger brand” to rival airports in Ireland
  • Waterford Airport detailed cutbacks.
  • Ryanair expanded its euro bond programme to €5bn from €3bn
  • British Airways Mixed Fleet cabin crew will strike again for two weeks beginning August 16, affecting Belfast but not Dublin.
  • Loganair is in discussion with British Airways on an expanded codeshare agreement.
  • Alitalia is to have its license renewed by ENAC when it expires in Nov 2017. Commissioners who issued a new invitation to tender that will lead to the sale of the carrier as a unit, possibly with ground handling unit separated.
  • SAS is to fly from Shannon to Stockholm between now and the end of September. Full story here.
  • Former Congressman James T Walsh – of the Walsh visa and the peace process – is lobbying for Syracuse Airport in upstate New York to get a direct connection with Ireland. The airport’s Christina Callahan says talks are ‘beyond the preliminary stage’.
  • Ireland West Airport is also aiming to join Dublin, Cork, Shannon and Belfast as a transatlantic gateway. Airport marketing manager Donal Healy said 120,000 people from the catchment area travelled to the US last year alone.
  • British Airways apologised to passengers after an IT failure at Heathrow and Gatwick that caused ‘total chaos‘. BA said it has ‘some issues‘ at check-in.

Afloat

Cruise Co headed by Tipperary man Seamus Conlon is to create Europe’s largest cruise travel agency with the purchase of a German operator. Full story here.

  • Lindblad Expeditions National Geographic new ship Quest made its inaugural sailing.
  • Crystal Bach was delivered to Crystal River Cruises.
  • Princess Cruises, P&O Cruises and Cunard Line are to offer same-sex marriages at sea.
  • Thomson cruises revealed details on entertainment line up for new ships
  • Royal Caribbean changed the NextCruise future cruise programme.
  • Costa neoClassica is to leave the Costa Cruises’ fleet in March 2018.
  • Nick Jonas is to perform on Carnival’s Live Cruise Concert Series in the autumn.
  • Holland America Line introduced its after-dinner chocolate parade across the fleet.
  • Crystal Cruises are offering 17 shorter ocean and river sailings, Crystal Getaways, for the remainder of 2017
  • Lindblad Expeditions partnered with lifestyle brand Exhale for wellbeing cruises.
  • Grammy-nominated musician Nick Jonas will perform on two Carnival cruise ships in the Bahamas this autumn.
  • Victoria’s Secret model Petra Nemcova has been selected as the “guardian angel” for U by Uniworld, a new cruise line aimed at the 21-45 age group.

Ireland

The first fully guided pilgrim walk was launched in Ireland.

CSO plans to use mobile phones to increase the accuracy of measurement of the number of visitors to Ireland have been opposed by data commissioner Helen Dixon.

South Dublin council submitted plans for the controversial €15m Hell Fire Club development Visitor centre and cafe under Failte Ireland’s capital grants scheme.

Failte Ireland is continuing to gear up for the upcoming Women’s Rugby World Cup in Dublin and Belfast, seeing off the US women’s team in Washington DC.

Tourism Ireland has joined forces with British Airways as part of a new campaign to promote flights to Belfast and Dublin from London’s Heathrow Airport. The campaign will also highlight driving holidays for tourists here – such as those along the Wild Atlantic Way, the Causeway Coastal Route and in Ireland’s Ancient East.

Two new trails of Dublin’s Northside have been developed by Fáilte Ireland in conjunction with Dublin City Council and Dublin’s Northside Attractions encompassing Glasnevin Cemetery, Dublin City Gallery The Hugh Lane, James Joyce Centre, The GPO Witness History, EPIC – The Irish Emigration Museum and Croke Park.

 

Deal Watch

Dublin to Bulgaria, 7 nights self-catering 3* Poseidon Apartments, Sunny Beach, from €699pp, depart August 28. Dublin to Lanzarote, 7 nights self-catering 2* Apts Costa Volcan, from €559, depart August 28. Dublin to Algarve, 7 nights B&B 4* Pestana Vila Sol, Vilamoura, from €689pp, depart August 27. Dublin to Gran Canaria, Jardin Atlantico, 7 nights self-catering 2* Playa Del Ingles, from €489pp, depart August 31. Dublin to Ibiza, 7 nights all inclusive 4* Sirenis Hotel Club Siesta, Santa Eulalia, from €699pp, depart August 31. Cork to Costa Dorada, 7 nights half board 3* California Garden, Salou, from €679pp, depart August 29. Shannon to Lanzarote, 7 nights B&B 3* Hyde Park Lane, Puerto Del Carmen, from €559pp, depart September 4. Dublin to Portugal, 7 nights self-catering 3* Vilabranca, Lagos, from €559pp, depart September 17. Visit www.falconholidays.ie, or 1850 45 35 45

Dublin to Tenerife, 7 nights self-catering 4*, Colon II, Playa De Las Americas, from €479pp, depart September 22. Dublin to Gran Canaria, 7 nights self-catering 2* Puerto Plata, Puerto Rico, from €599pp, depart August 24. Shannon to Lanzarote, 7 nights self-catering 3* Morromar Apartments,Matagorda, from €439pp, depart September 25. Dublin to Zakynthos, 7 all inclusive 3* Hotel Roseland, Kalamaki, from €769pp, depart August 29. Dublin to Costa Dorada, 7 nights self-catering 3* Sunclub Apts,Cap De Salou from €639pp, depart August 29. Dublin to Rhodes, 7 nights self-catering 4* Lindia Thalassa Studios & Apartments, Pefkos, from €699pp, depart August 30. Cork to Majorca, 7 nights self-catering 3* Protur Bahaia Azul Apartments, Cala Bona, from €419pp, depart August 29. Dublin to Croatia, 7 nights half board 4* Hotel Mediteran, Porec, from €699pp, depart September 12. Visit www.thomsonholidays.ie, or 1850 45 35 45

Dublin to Turkey, 7 nights self-catering 3* Esat Hotel, from €599, depart August 12. Dublin to Sicily, 7 nights self-catering 2* Carmen Miosotis Apts, from €499, depart August 12. Dublin to Gran Canaria, 7 nights self-catering 2* Los Mocanes Apts, from €659, depart August 12. Dublin to Sorrento, 7 B&B 3* Londra Hotel, from €699, depart August 12. Dublin to Menorca, 7 nights self-catering 2* Los Lentiscos Apts, from €649, depart August 13. Dublin to Canada with Rocky Mountaineer train, 1 night in Calgary and Banff, 2 days/one night on the Rocky Mountaineer Silverleaf overnight in Kamloops and 3 Nights Vancouver, from €1999, April 2018 departures. Book online at www.sunway.ie

Dublin to Lake Garda, 7 nights self-catering 4* Bella Italia, was €739 now €549pps, depart August 26. Dublin to Lake Garda, 7 nights half board 4* Hotel Splendid Palace, was €929 now €799pps, depart September 30. Dublin to Lake Garda, 7 nights B&B 4* Hotel Villa Maria, was €1201 now €949pps, depart August 12. Dublin to Sicily, 7 nights B&B 4* Hotel Villa Esperia, was €1205 now €899pps, depart August 12. Dublin to Sorrento, 7 nights half board 4* plus Hotel Bristol, was €1429 now €1149pp, depart August 13. Dublin to Sorrento, 7 nights B&B 4*Hotel Conca Park, was €1129 now €949pp, depart August 20. Dublin to Tuscany, 7 nights B&B 4* Grand Hotel Croce di Malta, was €1049 now €749pps, depart August 11. Dublin to Venetian Riviera, 7 nights half board 3* Hotel Bolivar, was €902 now €699pp, depart August 19. Dublin to Adriatic Riviera, 7 nights B&B 4* Hotel de France, was €969 now €799pps, depart August 19. Dublin to Madeira, 7 nights B&B 4* Jardin D’Ajuda Suite Hotel, was €799 now €599pp, depart August 17. Call Topflight on 01 240 1700, or visit www.topflight.ie

ITAA offers: Portugal Atlantic cycling tour, 7 nights hotel accommodation and 8-day guided bike tour with Lee Travel, from €879pp. www.itaa.ie/2017/07/25/cycling-tour/

Camino di Santiago, 7 nights accommodation in private hotels / pensions, daily baggage transfers, Walking Notes Pilgrim Passport and emergency support in the event of a problem, with Travalue.ie, from €495pps. For more information on this deal available from Travalue.ie: www.itaa.ie/2015/11/16/cam

Uniworld offers: Castles along the Rhine, early booking offer if booked by September 30. Departures April 30. All inclusive voyage was €2977, now €2519. Bordeaux, vineyards and chateaux, all inclusive cruise, was €2499, now €2249. Book with Uniworld on 01-7753803

What we learned.

Portmarnock is the only links course within a city boundary.

TRAVEL Extra’s Sunday Supplement: Ryanair predicts average fare will drop to €37

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

Dermot Lee, Jenny Raffter and Yvonne Muldoon of Aer Lingus who hosted 106 agents at the Aer Lingus Miami event in House, Leeson St, Dublin, July 24 2017

  • Things 

Things to know about travel this week.

  • Ryanair predicts average fare will drop to €37
  • Irish tourism growth beats Tourism Ireland predictions
  • Falling like a stone, British visitors down by 200,000 this year
  • Michael O’Leary sitting pretty on €3.2m pay pot last year
  • Aer Lingus brings some Miami cool to Dublin
  • Celebrity Silhouette hosts the capital’s business chiefs
  • Distillery boom continues with Pearse Lyons opening
  • Fidelma is latest winner in Topflight competition
  • Travel Extra TV.

Glimpse inside The First Wing ,the new exclusive check-in area for British Airways’ First, Gold Executive Club and Oneworld Emerald customers at Heathrow Terminal 5, leading directly into the Galleries First lounge and Concorde Room.

Pilots can be anoraks too – and four from Arsenal partner airline Emirates were happy to fly their English Premier League heroes. Watch here.

Behind the Headlines

Latest CSO figures reinforce the view that Brexit (Breat-imeacht) is already having  a huge detrimental impact – in inbound tourism. The headline figures will tell you that Ireland’s visitor numbers grew 4.2pc in January-June, double Tourism Ireland‘s growth guidance. But that’s only part of the story, with US growth (up 20.9pc to 629,000, Europe up 10.1 and Germany up 9pc masking the fact that Ireland’s largest inbound market is in decline. Visitor numbers from Britain fell 6.4pc to 949,000 and are likely to be down by 200,000 in 2017, and this follows recent dire warnings from DAA CEO Kevin Toland that British numbers are “falling like a stone”. Watch here  

Tourism Ireland boss Niall Gibbons conceded that  “the currency challenge for Irish tourism is very real and the drop in British visitor numbers (-6.4%) for the January to June period reflects that”, while Failte Ireland boss Paul Kelly was more gloomy, saying: “This growth of 4.2pc is to be welcomed and it has certainly been buoyed up by a very impressive North American performance. That performance is masking a worrying trend downwards in the British market as a weakening sterling makes Ireland more expensive for British visitors.”

How do you know you’re doing well? When your share price slips, ever so slightly. Just ask Apple, Facebook, Amazon – or our own Ryanair. Making hundreds of millions each year isn’t enough to quench the thirst of the Wolves of Wall Street. Ryanair shares dropped during the week, when CEO Michael O’Leary revealed that the average fare will drop to €37 this summer. Despite the knee-jerk reaction on the markets, the airline’s latest bottom line is looking more than healthy, with passenger numbers hitting 35m in the first quarter of the year, costs down and load factor up 2pc to 96pc. O’Leary continued his wake up about Brexit campaign, saying if there’s no clarity on Open Skies, “we may be forced to cancel flights and move some, or all, of our UK-based aircraft to Continental Europe from April ’19 onwards.  We have contingency plans in place and will, as always, adapt to changed circumstances in the best interests of our customers and shareholders.” Read the full report here. 

Travel Trade

Dublin’s House venue turned South Beach as Yvonne Muldoon, Jenny Rafter and friends launched the latest Aer Lingus destination in North America – Miami. Many of the passengers will be tying in with cruise departures from the city, and the route has already attracted many non-Irish passengers, who’ll be connecting from British cities, plus many through Paris’s Charles de Gaulle airport, Picture shows Jenny Rafter, Yvonne Muldoon and Dermot Lee of Aer Lingus. See more pictures here or connect with the album on FacebookWatch here the prize winners on the night. Watch here video of the event. Watch here speech by Yvonne Muldoon. Watch here speech by Seb Sarassin of Miami CVB.

Fidelma Brady from Travel Counsellors is the latest winner in Topflight’s ‘Win a Holiday’ Travel Agent Incentive. She joins Eva Jancichova from Cassidy Travel & Judith Hall from Thompson Travel who were the first two winners. Fidelma wins a holiday for 2 to the stylish 4* Grand Hotel Croce di Malta in Montecatini Terme, Tuscany. The final winner will be announced on Friday 4th August, and the draw will take place live on Topflight’s facebook page at 3pm on Friday 4th August. The final holiday in the ‘Win a holiday’ travel agent giveaway is a holiday for two to Sicily. The winner and their guest will stay in the Hotel Delle Palme in the resort of Letojanni. Agents who

Agents who book a Topflight last minute holiday (departure within 14 days of booking) and e-mail your booking reference to travelagents@topflight.ie. There are also numerous spot prizes. Shauna Kelly is about and doing deliveries, so keep booking and watch out for Topflight calling to your door.

The Aer Lingus discount offer for delegates travelling to the ITAA conference expires on July 31st and that there are a limited number of seats being held on the Ryanair flight Porto to Dublin on October 15.

  • Qatar Airways have a premium business class competition to the trade effective from Monday, July 31st . Agents who sell a premium  ticket, first/business before August 9 for travel before March 31 2018 are elgible to win a business class ticket themselves and a prize.
  • Austria expert Aileen Eglington hosted travel trade, media and walking group leaders to showcase Austria’s hiking and cycling product. Picture shows  John Barrett of Ski Club of Ireland, Patricia Duffy of The Roving Soles Walking Club, Ruth Whelan of Moutaineering Ireland, Jessica Keeffe of Limerick Climbing Club, Harry Dillane of Bishopstown Walking Club, Ailbhe Roche of Extreme Ireland, Catherine Murphy travel writer, Jim Gallagher travel writer, Blathnait Ni Murchu travel writer, Dan King travel writer,, Front Frank Lynch of Independent Organised Trips, , Eoghan Corry editor of Travel Extra Ireland, and tour guide Johnny Hagsteiner. See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.
  • Celebrity Cruise Line hosted busies leaders and travel agents at separate events on board Celebrity Silhouette in Dublin port. Picture shows Declan Curtin, Chartered Land; Lorraine Quinn, Ireland Sales Manager, Celebrity Cruises; and Mary Rose Burke, Dublin Chamber onboard Celebrity Silhouette, Dublin Port. See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.
  • Indonesian tourism hosted Irish travel trade at a golf event in Portmarnock to showcase the country’s 160 world class golf courses. Picture shows John Spollen of Cassidy Travel, Maria Mayabubun Deputy Director of Wonderful Indonesia tourism ministry, Martin Skelly of Navan Travel, Igde Pitana Deputy tourism Minister of Indonesia, Gordon Penney and Philip Airey of Sunway. Watch here interview with Igde Pitana Deputy Tourism Minister of Indonesia. Watch here Igde Pitana speech at the event.  Watch here his comments on the safety of visitors to Indonesia. Watch here speech by Miranda Hough about relations between Indonesia and IrelandSee more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.
  • Blue Insurance boss Ciaran Mulligan‘s carhireexcess.com, is calling on the EU to regulate car hire companies and the selling of ‘excess’ insurance at car hire desks.  “Holidaymakers are being charged up to €25 a day at the rental desk abroad and they should avoid these last minute rip off charges imposed by going online before they trave,” he says. Ciaran Mulligan’s alarm over the sector was echoed by Fianna Fáil Finance Spokesperson Michael McGrath who expressed his concern regarding the regulation of the car rental sector following reports of dubious practices  on the part of some car hire firms, such as staff being given €4.50 each time they spot ‘damage’
  • Celtic Horizon Tours has been appointed by Manchester City as the sole “Official Supplier of Supporter Travel” in Ireland.
  • Revenues at the Irish arm of Trailfinders in the year to end Feb17 rose by 11.5pc to £75.33m.
  • London’s Foreign Office has changed its advice against travelling to large parts of Tunisia, including Tunis and beach resort Sousse. Sami Tounsi, trade manager for the Tunisian National Tourist Office in Ireland and Britain, said: “We’re overwhelmed by this great news and it represents a great excuse for a big party in Tunisia.” 
  • Overseas trips by Irish residents are up 7.3pc to 2,119,000.

Strange world

A US man stands accused of killing his wife during a Murder Mystery dinner onboard the Emerald Princess Alaska cruise. Video report here.

  • Be careful on those hikes: A brown bear is being hunted in the Italian Alps after biting a hiker’s arm and leg following several other attacks on holidaymakers. The man was saved by his dog, who drew the bear off, allowing him to escape.
  • The twinned towns of Dull (Scotland) and Boring (Oregon) have been joined by Bland (Australia) to form the “League of extraordinary communities” to promote tourism.
  • Switzerland is anticipating an unwanted tourism boom from neighbouring nations after a supermarket chain is now legally selling marijuana cigarettes.

International

  • Uber’s cheap Madrid airport transfer service has been referred by the city council to the country’s national antitrust watchdog for review, Reuters reported.
  • Venice is to crack down on misbehaving tourists after Belgian holidaymakers were seen swimming in the Grand Canal. Littering, dawdling and jumping in the canals will now invite fines of between €25 and €500. Tourists will also have to cough up if caught picnicking in public places, cycling through pedestrianised areas and flaunting too much flesh.
  • Europcar reported a net loss of €27m due to one-off restructuring costs and ‘transformational’ merger and acquisition-related fees.

Food & Beverage

  • Adare Manor has been granted a new bar licence for the Halfway House bar, between the ninth and 10th holes.

  • The Irish Brewing Association has welcomed cabinet support for the introduction of a new law which will allow craft brewers and distillers to sell their produce onsite to visitors.
  • The distillery tourism business continues to boom with the opening of the Pearse Lyons distillery in Dublin’s Liberties area.
  • The Restaurants Association of Ireland has announced the top 10 finalists in the ‘Foodie Destinations’ competition 2017. They are: Boyne Valley, Cong, Galway’s Westend, Kilkenny, Kinsale, Loop Head Peninsula, Monaghan, Sligo, West Cork and West Waterford.
  • Online sales now make up over 55pc of Domino’s Pizza’s total sales in Ireland, the company reported.

Hotels

  • Radisson Blu has got the go-ahead for a €35m makeover of its Golden Lane hotel in Dublin.
  • Wicklow County Council refused planning permission for developer Johnny Ronan’s €50m sports-themed hotel with 141 bedrooms at St Valery’s, Enniskerry.

Cork City Council has granted conditional planning permission for Ireland’s first floating hotel on the city’s northern quays. It would allow for the berthing of a 105 metre, three-deck river cruiser with 96 cabins and accommodation for 156 people at Penrose Quay, next to the Michael Collins Bridge.

  • The proposed €50m refurbishment of Cork’s Metropole hotel would feature 400 new bedrooms.

Aviation

Etihad’s new Irish CEO Ray Gammell says the market is challenging. Although the Abu Dhabi airline carried a record number of passengers, it suffered a loss of $1.87bn due to one-off charges and fuel-hedging costs. Full story here.

  • Delta Air Lines, Air France-KLM and Virgin Atlantic announced plans for a 15-year partnership on routes between Europe and the US and equity deals which will see them take stakes in each other. The joint venture will see the three carriers share their profits on transatlantic routes.
  • British Airways is giving travel agencies an option to avoid the airline’s $10 GDS booking surcharge, to be put in place November 1. The airline has partnered with TPConnects to establish a direct connect to British Airways’ res system. The connection has IATA’s New Distribution Capability standards, giving agents access to ancillary services, rich content like photos and videos, and personalsed preferences.The European Commission, in response to a complaint from Ryanair, found that the exemption for transfer and transit passengers from the defunct Irish air travel tax was in line with EU state aid rules.  The exemption was in line with the underlying logic of the Irish air travel tax which was to tax journeys by air originating from Ireland.
  • A 49-page Labour Court submission by Aer Lingus said short-haul operation is “structurally unsustainable” and has been negatively impacted by Ryanair’s improved customer focus. Aer Lingus is also concerned about the threat it faces on US routes from Norwegian Airlines.  The document says cabin service managers in Aer Lingus earn €63,000, 38pc more than in EasyJet and cabin crew on €38,000 earn 31pc more than EasyJet.

    Powdair virtual airline, based in Ireland, which plans flights from Sion to eight destinations from December, will now partner with the Danish Backbone Aviation to which Powdair will provide 2 Bombardier CRJ200 regional jets. The airline plans to secure an Irish AOC to be able to operate with its own aircraft as from the winter of 2018/2019.

    Ireland West Airport Knock and Stewart International Airport NY established the first Sister Airport Relationship, forming a strategic alliance to facilitate the exchange of information and promote and develop air access between the airports.

    AWAS chief executive David Siegel is stepping down and will not join the lessor’s acquirer Dubai Aerospace Enterprise when the transaction is completed in August

  • IAG is converting three Airbus A330-200 longhaul aircraft options into firm orders for new long-haul low-cost brand Level. 
  • The aviation sector did more than any other to damage its reputation over the last year through poor customer service and increasing complaint levels, a new study by design consultancy Engine found.
  • The US Court of Appeals in Washington has ordered aviation regulators to consider setting minimum standards for the space airlines give passengers. “This is the Case of the Incredible Shrinking Airline Seat,” Judge Patricia Ann Millett wrote on behalf of the three-judge panel. “Aircraft seats and the spacing between them have been getting smaller and smaller, while American passengers have been growing in size.”
  • Trade union Unite on Monday said it will fight a temporary lay-off of four staff at Waterford Airport, a move blamed on the delayed launch of Air Southeast services to England.

 

Afloat

Cork Port is to build a new terminal to cater for cruise arrivals, with Cork likely to attract a record 100-plus arrivals next year. With 97 ships booked in, over 200,000 passengers are expected to visit the area.

Norwegian Cruise Line are testing a flat-fee surcharge at Margaritaville

Ireland

 

  • The push is on to attract high-spending golf tourists to the country. Failte Ireland, in conjunction with Tourism Ireland, invited a team of golf media from a key target market, the US, to play on courses in Dublin and the Ancient East.

The golf media have a combined audience of 20m in the States, and Failte Ireland says 200,000 holidaymakers play the game while visiting the country. The trip is showcasing of some of our courses including Portmarnock Golf Club; Woodenbridge Golf Club, Wicklow; County Louth Golf Club, Baltray and the Royal Dublin Golf Club.

Included in the visiting US golfing media, are representatives from leading online outlets such asSports Illustrated and Yahoo Sports,  TV channels such as Golfing the World and Golf Chicago TV as well as a representative from leading radio station, CBS and their The 19th Hole Show. Full story here.

Guinness Storehouse managing director Paul Carty, who’s also the Chairman of the Association of Visitor Experiences & Attractions, has been appointed to the board of the National Tourism Development Authority, along with Sean Boland of Hertz Ireland.

  • The latest Dublin Economic Monitor showed that the city’s hotel market remained buoyant in Q2 2017 as occupancy rates exceeded 82pc and Average Daily Room Rates reached a new post-recession peak. Click Here for graph
  • It also showed that public transport trips reached a new peak of almost 51 million passenger journeys in Q1 2017 in spite of industrial action in the quarter, reflecting a strong tourism market.Click Here for graph

Deal Watch

Falcon offers: Dublin to Bulgaria, 7 nights self-catering 3* Poseidon Apartments, Sunny Beach, from €639, depart August 28. Dublin to Lanzarote, 7 nights self-catering 2* San Marcial, Matagorda, from €549, depart August 28. Dublin to  Algarve, 7 nights self-catering 3* Ouratlantico Apts, from €559pp, depart August 27. Dublin to Gran Canaria, 7 nights self-catering 3* Rocamar, Puerto Rico, from €459, depart August 31. Cork to  Costa Dorada, 7 nights half board 3* California Garden, Salou, from €499pp, depart August 29. 04-Sep-17, Shannon to  Lanzarote, 7 nights self-catering 2* San Marcial Apartments, Matagorda, from €439pp, depart September 4. Visit www.falconholidays.ie, or 1850 45 35 45

Thomson offers: Dublin to Tenerife, 7 nights self-catering 4* Colon II, Playa De Las Americas, from €479pp, depart September 22. Dublin to Gran Canaria, 7 nights self-catering 2* Puerto Plata, Puerto Rico, from €599, depart August 24. Shannon to  Lanzarote, 7 nights self-catering 3* Morromar Apartments, Matagorda, from €439pp, depart September 25. Dublin to Zakynthos, 7 nights 3* Hotel Roseland, Kalamaki, from €769pp, depart August 29. Dublin to Costa Dorada, 7 nights self-catering 3* Sunclub Apts, Cap De Salou, from €639, depart August 29. Visit www.thomsonholidays.ie, or 1850 45 35 45

Sunway offers: Dublin to Fuerteventura, 7 night self-catering 2* plus Villa Florida Apts, from €549, depart August 12. Dublin to Sicily, 7 night self-catering 2* Carmen Miosotis Apts, from €549, depart August 12. Dublin to the Algarve, 7 night self-catering 2* plus Bayside Apts, from €449, depart August 11. Dublin to Gran Canaria, 7 night self-catering 2* Monte Verde Apts, from €549, depart August 12. Dublin to Bulgaria, 7 night B&B 3* Lira Hotel, from €549, depart August 12. Dublin to Sorrento, 7 night B&B 3* Londra Hotel, from €589, depart August 12. Dublin to Vietnam, 10-day private tour from Hanoi to Saigon, including flights and tours, from €1939. Eight-night Miami, Caribbean Fly Cruise & Las Vegas, sailing on Norwegian Sky premium all inclusive, from €1340, depart May 22, 2018. Book online at www.sunway.ie

Topflight offers: Dublin to Tuscany, 7 nights self-catering 4* Fattoria Castiglionchio, was €877 now €599pps (2 adults & 2 children sharing), depart August 11. Dublin to Lake Garda, 7 nights self-catering 4* Bella Italia Bungalow, was €739 now €599pps (2 adults & 3 children sharing), depart August 26. Dublin to Lake Garda, 7 nights self-catering 4* Camping Cisano & San Vito, was €729 now €569pps (2 adults & 4 children sharing), depart August 12. Dublin to Sicily, 7 nights B&B 5* Hotel Diamond, from €969, depart August 12. Dublin to Sorrento, 7 nights half board 4* plus Hotel Bristol, from €1149, depart August 13. Dublin to Sorrento, 7 nights half board 4* Hotel Majestic, from €799, depart August 6. Dublin to Rimini, 7 nights B&B 4* Hotel de France, from €729, depart August 5. Dublin to Lido di Jesolo, 7 nights half board 4* Hotel Eden, €799, depart August 5. Dublin to Madeira, 7 nights self-catering 4* Aparthotel Duas Torres, €899, depart August 3. Call Topflight on 01 240 1700, or visit www.topflight.ie

ITAA offers: Dublin to Lake Garda, 7 nights half board 4* Majestic Palace, from €899, depart July 29, with The Travel Broker. For more info, check www.itaa.ie/2017/07/18/lake

Dublin to San Giovann, 7 nights B&B, from €945, depart September 3, with Joe Walsh ToursFor more info, click www.itaa.ie/2017/07/17/san

Click and Go offers: Dublin to Gran Canaria, 7 nights self-catering 3* Maracaibo Apartments, Puerto Rico, from €399, September departures. Dublin to the Algarve, 7 nights B&B 5* Real Marina Hotel & Spa, from €289, depart November.

Visit www.clickandgo.com or call (01) 539 7777

Cassidy Travel offers: Dublin to Gran Canaria, 7 nights self-catering 2* Colina Mar, from €1799 for two adults and two children, depart August 23. 8786888.

Uniworld offers: All inclusive Paris to Paris river eight-day cruise onboard the SS Joie de Vivre, was €2709 now €1349, depart December 13. All inclusive 15-day cruise,  Budapest to Amsterdam. Cruise was €7,409, now €3,699, depart September 27. (01) 7753803.

Insight Vacations offers: Nine-day Italian trip, visiting Puglia and the Neapolitan Riviera, was €2075, now €1869, depart September 2. Ten-day Best of Germany tour, was €2025, now €1,819, depart August 18. To book, (01) 7753803.