Author Archives: Sixdayexpert

TRAVEL Extra’s Sunday Supplement: Ryanair average fare heading for lowest EVER €30

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

Niall Gibbons CEO of Tourism Ireland is interviewed before a media briefing in Dubin, February 8 2017

  • Sorohan says Ryanair average fares will fall 15pc from €33.
  • Niall says Irish tourism numbers will grow just 1pc in 2017
  • Countdown to Limerick travel show
  • Was für eine Überraschung! Kerry-Berlin in winter
  • Aldergrove is Ireland’s fastest growing airport, up 34pc
  • Travel Partners visit Cork and Waterford
  • Irish Ferries new off-peak fare type on irish Sea crossings
  • Kathrice joins the win-a-car finalists 
  • Airfield’s newborn calf & the Tourism Award trophy
  • Failte Ireland targets business tourism growth

Travel Extra TV

  • Ryanair posted this cheeky Valentine’s Day promo. Watch here.
  • Aer Lingus cheered up the Irish rugby team with Ireland’s “biggest” tweet — with yesterday’s result, it looks like it worked. Watch here.
  • Do you reckon you could ever pull off an indoor skydiving performance like this? Watch here.
  • BA recruited three up-and-coming jazz stars to perform on a flight to New OrleansWatch here.
  • Qatar Airways posted a video to mark its inaugural Auckland service. Watch here.
  • The US Embassy to Ireland posted a video about chef Amanda Freitas when she came to the island as part of a state department culinary diplomacy programme. Watch here.

Behind the Headlines

Free car parking is among the incentives at the Holiday Show in association with Shannon Airport at University of Limerick on next Saturday and Sunday. Picture shows Maureen Ledwith and Edmund Hourican of Business Exhibitions with Declan Power of Shannon airport. Watch video here.

Ryanair reported Q3 average fares down 17pc to €33, with passenger numbers up 16pc to 29m. The official report also unusually reiterated Michael O’Leary’s warnings about the second carry-on bag (watch here). The Q3 average fare can turn in seven or eight euro below the annual average but the trend is towards historic lows for the airline. In a series of post-results interviews NeilSorahan said Ryanair’s average fare will fall 15pc further, bringing it through €30 for Q3 2017. Michael O’Leary says that Ryanair will reduce their average fare to €30 in five years and it may yet come to pass

Tourism Ireland CEO Niall Gibbons said he expected the number of sites that will go green will rise to 300 by St Patrick’s Day.At a media briefing in Dublin he showcased the new German television campaign ads for 2017 Die Insel Irland (watch here). Gibbons (watch here) has revised Tourism Ireland’s estimates for growth in inbound Irish tourism in 2017 from minus 3pc too plus 1pc, still very conservative compared with other tourism stake holders. He was responding to questions from Travel Extra at a briefing. Watch here Niall Gibbons speaking on the criteria for buildings to be included in Ireland’s St Patricks Day global greening campaign, watch here full Niall Gibbons presentation, watch here speech by tourism minister Shane Rosswatch here Joe McHugh presentation. watch here Niall Gibbons say Ireland’s St Patrick’s Day Global Greening campaign is worth €10m in publicity, watch here Niall Gibbons speaking on the impact of the removal of Ireland’s aviation tax, calculations that Tourism Ireland’s journalist hosting programme costs €2m and yields €234m watch here. Also watch here Shane Ross speaking on the extensive travel programme for Ireland’s cabinet ministers this St Patrick’s Day and watch here comments on the 9pc VAT rate and aviation tax by Tourism Minister Shane Ross agus Agallamh le aire Joe McHugh, An tAire Stáit um an Diaspóra agus Forbairt Idirnáisiúnta. See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.

The Cliffs of Moher visitor, Ireland’s second most visited attraction in 2016 with 1,427,166 visitors, celebrated ten years on a brisk and sunny Wednesday. watch here Katherine Webster, manager of the centre, interviewed by Travel Extrawatch here Katherine Webster speaking at the event, watch here Bill Chambers, Cathaoirleach Clare County Council, and watch here Ger Dollard, director of services with Clare County Council. Picture shows Patricia Nolan and Katherine Webster of the Cliffs of Moher at the tenth anniversary event. See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.

Topflight are preparing for their Copper Face Jack’s ski trip on is March 5th to Arinsal, Andorra where guests will include Paddy Casey and DJ Mark McCabe. All-inclusive prices start from only €959 per person sharing. Topflight are officially announcing a new trade promotion to the trade on Monday morning via e-mail and doing some Facebook teasers. See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.

Travel Trade

Kathrice Gunning of Cassidy travel is the January finalist in the competition to win a Polo Magnifico run by Blue Insurances joining Angela Taylor from Oasis TravelHelena Kilduff from Skytours, Rose Kane from Kane’s Travel in Longford, Claire Mulligan from Clubworld Travel, Mandy Walsh of Travel Counsellors, Rita Gaughan from Limerick Travel, Kate McGillycuddy from Abbey Travel in Killarney, Nicola Quigley from O’Hanrahan Travel and Ross Waters from Tour America in the competition for a new car. Blue Insurances reminds agents to have their own unique login to make bookings count for their monthly draw. Agents can win a bonus place at the final by posting humourous pictures or videos featuring themselves with a car to Facebook or Twitter with the hashtag #DontRenewUnlessItsBlue.

The seven suppliers who are members of Travel Partners brought their roadshow to Cork and Waterford this week. Next two are Sligo on March 29th and Ballinasloe on March 30th, hotels to be decided yet. Picture shows Jason Whelan of Blue Insurances, Olwen McKinney of Amadeus and Niall McDonnell of Classic Collection during the Travel Partners roadshow tour of Waterford and Cork.  See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.

Catch up with the Eoghan Corry Travel Summit at Holiday World in Dublin. Audio files on Sounddloud or check out the individual sessions (audio only) on Youtube: Ryanair with Robin Kiely (watch here), Aer Lingus with John Keogh (watch here), Kathryn Thomas (watch here), Vincent Harrison of Dublin airport (watch here), Grainne Morrison of Dublin Airport guest services (watch here), cruise with Jennifer Callister ofRoyal Caribbean International, Lorraine Quinn of Celebrity Cruises, Rebecca Kelly of MSC Cruises and Alan Lynch of Cruisescapes (watch here), discussion on Solo travel with Sharon Jordan and Brian Hynes of The Travel Corporation and Marie Claire Porter of Sunway Travel (watch here), ski and snow with Orla Markey of Crystal Holidays, Aileen Eglington of Ski Club of Ireland, Catherine Murphy, ski journalist and Anthony Collins of Topflight (watch here), what’s new in the USA (watch here), Irish Attractions with Alex Connolly of Fáilte Ireland, Colette Coughlan of Guinness Storehouse, Dervla O’Neill of EPIC and Maire Hennessy of Hertiage Island (watch here), Flying West in 2017 with Ivan Beacom, of Aer Lingus and Catherine Grennell Whyte of ASL (watch here), Africa with Dawn Wilson of Botswana Tourism and Tony Flynn of Ethiopian Airlines (watch here), Far East with Enda Corneille of Emirates and Chris Lee of Tourism Authority of Thailand (watch here), Europe with Kathryn MacDonnell of the Spanish Tourism Office Dublin, Mary Denton of Sunway and Charlotte Brenner of Falcon (watch here), Vaccinations & Visas with Beth Sunday of the US Consular Office and Siobhan Grehan of the Tropical Medical Bureau (watch here), Ireland’s Regions with Joe Dolan, President of the Irish Hotels Federation and Managing Director of Bush Hotel, Adrian Cummins, CEO of The Restaurant Association of Ireland and Eoghan O’Mara Walsh, CEO of the Irish Tourist Industry Confederation (watch here).

Brand USA are asking agents to register here for the seven-itinerary 2017 Megafam, their fith, at. Register bookings made to the USA until April 3 with American Airlines or British Wairways, complete the megafam 2017 badge, and pass on as many specialist badges as you can.

Cork airport’s holiday show in the Cork International Airport hotel was among the best attended travel events in the city for years with cruises and river cruises very popular.

Kate Wooldridge of Fred Olsen

Fred Olsen have promoted Kate Wooldridge to the new role of sales services communications manager and  Carla Ball to specialist sales manager. Zoe Allum becomes trade support executive.

Barclaycard is putting in place a new percentage-based charge for debit cards following the EU’s capping of interchange fees between debit card issuers and merchant acquirers at 0.2pc.

EU Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager is investigating Thomas Cook and Tui Group, over hotel pricing.

Strange world

Lithuania department of tourism admitted that some of the pictures they shared on social media were of Finland and Slovakia. The images ran under the slogan “Real is Beautiful”

International

Visitors to China will have their fingerprints collected starting this week, China’s Ministry of Public Security announced Thursday.

Eoghan Corry on the RTE history show

English fighter jets escorted a Pakistan International Airlines airliner to Stansted Airport near London on Tuesday after a passenger became disruptive.

Travel Extra‘s Eoghan Corry will be on RTE 1 radio The History Show this Sunday evening speaking about major anniversaries in 2017 including the 500th anniversary of Martin Luther’s 95 thesis on the door of the Castle church, which is expected to bring 350,000 visitors to Wittemberg this year. Watch here Travel Extra video of press group visit to Martin Luther monuments and homestead last April.

  • Haven Holidays plans a £3m efurbishment of the indoor swimming pool complex at their popular all-action park of Hafan Y Mor in North Wales
  • Some ski high jinks by Irish skiers, watch here.

Food & Beverage

Sales of Jameson Irish whiskey rose 20pc in 2016 the eighth year of double-digit growth helping boost Pernod Ricard’s profits which are up 4pc. Chief Financial Officer Gilles Bogaert anticipated Jameson shipments would rise to 5m cases from 3m.

Italy’s Head Coach Conor O’Shea took time out from his pre-match schedule to join Bord Bia for an Irish beef promotional event in Rome. Conor and top Italian chef Andrea Fusco co-hosted the Chefs’ Irish beef Club (CIBC) event which attracted a number of influential Italian food writers. Guests were served an Irish beef dish inspired by tomorrow’s Six Nations clash. Pictured at the event were (l-r ): Ambassador of Ireland to Italy Mr. Bobby Mc Donagh, Former Irish rugby star and Italy’s Head Coach Conor O’Shea, Italian chef Andrea Fusco, Nicolas Ranninger, Manager, Bord Bia Italy.

I

Former Irish rugby star and Italy’s Head Coach Conor O’Shea took time out from his pre-match schedule to join Bord Bia for an Irish beef promo event in Rome. Conor and top Italian chef Andrea Fusco co-hosted a Chefs’ Irish beef Club (CIBC) lunch which attracted influential Italian food writers. Guests were served an Irish beef dish inspired by the Six Nations clash. Italy is Ireland’s fourth largest export destination for Irish beef, after Britain, France and the Netherlands and at €172m in 2016 accounted for 56pc of our food and beverage exports. Picture shows Ambassador of Ireland to Italy Mr. Bobby Mc Donagh, Former Irish rugby star and Italy’s Head Coach Conor O’Shea, Italian chef Andrea Fusco, Nicolas Ranninger, Manager, Bord Bia Italy.

Pamela Byrne CEO of the Food Safety Authority

The Food Safety Authority of Ireland served five closure orders in January, Hot Spot (take away), Parnell Street, Limerick, Polonez (retailer), 20 Moore Street, Dublin 1, Pacinos Restaurant, 18 Suffolk Street, Dublin 2, Beachview Tandoori (take away), Strand Road, Laytown, Meath and Kavanaghs Fine Foods Cork Ltd manufacturing unit 9 Pearse Square, 9 Pearse Street, Ballyphehane, Cork. The authority received 3,202 complaints by consumers relating to food, food premises and food labelling in 2016, up 17pc and food poisoning was up 45pc.

  • Bollinger are to Sponsor the ‘Best Dressed Lady’ atThe Punchestown Festival 2017
  • Dine in Dublin Festival from February 27 to March 5 will have 70 dining experiences on offer from Pichet, Rustic Stone, Zaragoza, The Woollen Mills, Fade Street Social, Carluccios, Brother Hubbard, Saba, Fallon & Byrne and Marco Pierre White Steakhouse & Grill. Participating chefs include Andrew Rudd of Medley, Tom Meenaghan of Fallon & Byrne, Alan Redmond of Flanagan’s, Ana Filpe of Zaragoza, Alfredo Donna of Gino’s, Temple Garner of San Lorenzo’s and Stephen Gibson of Pichet
  • Michelin starred Jean-Christophe Novelli is to take charge of Belfast Harbour’s hotel restaurant at the new four-star AC Hotel by Marriott Belfast to open spring 2018.
  • The Draft House in Strandhill was awarded the Just Ask Restaurant of the Month for February by Bord Bia
  • Morrissey’s annual review of the Irish pubs market lists 35 licensed sales in 2016 with a combined value of €62.17m, down from 39 in 2015 but 43pc up in value. Prominent sales included Howl at the Moon in Dublin to Paddy McKillen jr and Matt Ryan, Limerick’s Sin Bin nightclub to Alan Clancy; Dublin’s The Black Lion and The Gate to the Chris Kelly group, and The Beer Trader and The Gasworks in Grand Canal to Jason O’Connell and Niall Walsh ‘s Galway Bay Brewing Company.
  • The Licensed Vintners Association and the Vintners Federation of Ireland launched their annual ‘About Time’ campaign, calling on the 90-year-old Good Friday alcohol ban to be lifted. Research by Anthony Foley of DCU estimated that the Good Friday pub closure costs publicans €30m and results in €6m excise lost to the Exchequer.
  • David Walsh opened Ballykilcavan Brewery on a farm at Stradbally, Co Laois, with plans to sell its first beers in April.
  • Italian restaurant Dunne & Crescenzi opened a 350sqm location in Blackrock Centre bringing to six restaurants in Dublin and Kildare.
  • Fonté Coffee Roaster opened a café on Parliament Street, Dublin, the group was founded in 1992 by Paul Odom in Seattle.
  • The building that houses Salamanca Tapas Bar and Restaurant is for sale for €2.8m
  • Seamus O’Hara’s Carlow Brewing Company bought over Craigies Cider in Blessington.
  • FivePointsCoffee, in partnership with 3fe, is to open a new café on Harold’s Cross Road, previously home to The Brick House
  • Dada Moroccan Restaurant on South William Street is to open a second location, Moro Kitchen, on Camden Street, taking over from Fontana Café.
  • AIL Group plans to open 30 stores across Ireland after trialling the Oasis of Taste brand at three Maxol service stations. The group currently has 130 Abrakebabra, Bagel Factory and O’Briens Sandwich stores in Ireland.
  • Domini Kemp’s Itsa Bagel reported a profit of €200,000 across a portfolio that includes Alchemy Juice, Hatch & Sons and Joe’s Coffee.
  • Donal Doherty’s Harry’s Shack in Portstewart and Stephen Toman’s Michelin-starred OX in Belfast were picked for a top 100 list Britain and the north list by the Sunday Times.
  • The 2017 World Whiskies Awards due to be announced on March 30 reported stage one winners in the Irish categories: Blended 12 & under Winner Tullamore D.E.W., 12 Years Old Special Reserve, 40pc Gold Jameson, 18 Years Old, 40pc 13 – 20 Winner Tullamore D.E.W., 15 Year Old Trilogy, 40pc No Age Winner Jameson, Black Barrel, 40pc Gold Tullamore D.E.W., Phoenix, 55pc Silver Jameson, Signature, 40pc Jameson, Caskmates, 40pc Jameson, Bold, 40pc Bronze Jameson, Cooper’s Croze, 43pc Jameson, Round, 40pc An Fear Ciuin The Quiet Man, Traditional Irish Blend, 40pc Blended Teeling, Single Grain, 46pc. Single malt 12 & under Winner Dunville’s, PX, 46pc Gold The Whistler, 7 Years Old – The Blue Note, 46pc. Last year Green Spot Château Léoville Barton won the world’s best single pot still at the world whiskies award.
  • Sad news. Restaurateur Keith Lawless, who ran the popular Dillinger’s restaurant in Ranelagh, has passed away at the age of 44

Hotels

Noel McMeel, Lough Erne Resort; Ruth Moran, Tourism Ireland; Julia Cosgrove, Vice President and Editor-in-Chief, AFAR magazine; Maren Rudolph, President, Travel Classics; George Stone, Editor-in-Chief, National Geographic Travel; Kevin Dundon, Dunbrody Country House Hotel,

Dunbrody House, the four star country house hotel operated by celebrity TV chef Kevin Dundon and his wife, Catherine, reported record profits of €180,000 in 2015 up from€160,660 in 2014 employing 50 people in peak season.

The group that operates the Oliver St John Gogarty pub in Dublin’s Temple Bar reported profits of €4.9m in 2016 up  57pc. The Martin Keane-controlled Drayton House Holdings operates the well-known Dublin pub named after the Dublin literary figure immortalised in James Joyce’s Ulysses where he appeared as Buck Mulligan. Revenues increased from €12.92m to €15.18m in year to February 29 2016.

  • Paul Collins of CBRE updated media on the Irish Hotel Market watch here
  • Planning permission was granted for a 175-bedroom, five to seven-storey hotel in Dublin’s Smithfield at 6-11 Hendrick Street
  • Tullyglass House Hotel in Antrim is planning a £5m refurbishment.
  • Ashford Castle is offering legos on silver trays as part of its room service.
  • Jerry Conlon’s Central Hotel on Dublin’s Exchequer Street has applied for planning permission to increase it bedrooms from 70 to 116
  • Accor is in talks to acquire Travel Keys, a broker of private luxury villas in locations including the US, Caribbean and Mexico, for 12m.
  • The Irish Hotels Federation in association with the Irish Hospitality Institute, IT Tralee, Cork IT and Regional Skills hosted 250 students at a road show in Killarney and showcased the online interactive free programme Tourism Insight, which provides videos and interactive tutorials on working in tourism which can be delivered as part of class in school or for students to complete in.
  • Tourco holidays is to join the Hotelbeds Group.

Aviation

The Airlines for Europe summit in Brussels brought together Europe’s largest airlines (“we agree on more topics than we disagree”)  to request EU action on taxes, ATC strikes (22 separate strikes in Europe in 2016), the ICAO deal, airport charges and the prospect of foreign flights slipping under the radar of EU emissions limits. Thomas Reynaert told the summit that A4E “managed to push successfully for the removal of the €2.50 increase of the Italian boarding tax.” Michael O’Leary had a field day, producing the quote of the conference when he said, whilst sitting beside Carsten Spohr: “our job in Germany will be to keep Carsten honest.” Spohr retorted: “O’Leary used to talk about Lufthansa disappearing ‘now he needs lawyers to stop us talking about the Air Berlin wet lease. In case Jean-Marc Janaillac would feel left out, O’Leary interjected a discussion on low fares: “even Air France offers the occasional low fare.” O’Leary reiterated the Ryanair and Norwegian plan to start joint feeder flights from summer 2017 onward (watch here), talking up Donald Trump among other subjects, and declaring “I think that legacy carriers such as Air France-KLM and Lufthansa will work within five years with Ryanair and EasyJet. We’ll feed them their long haul because we can do it much cheaper.” He said Ryanair is ready to buy more Boeing planes if others defer and prices are cheap, but that’s not yet happening. Watch here Michael O’Leary’s views on Donald Trump.

Surprise route announcement of the week was the Ryanair’s 2w winter service from Kerry airport in Farranfore to Berlin to commence in November. Shannon-Schonefeld remains bookable.

Bjørn Kjos CEO of Norwegian

Norwegian Air International’s announcement of direct services offered from Cork and Shannon to Boston/Providence and New York/Stewart International were postponed again but seemed to get a breakthrough on Friday when Donald Trump’s press secretary Sean Spicer describing the services as being “a major economic interest in the United Stateswe are talking about US jobs both in terms of the people who are serving those planes and the person who is building those planes.” The chief executives of several airlines, including American Airlines, Delta Air Lines, United Airlines, Southwest Airlines as well as executives from air cargo companies, were invited to a breakfast meeting with Trump on Thursday. Norwegian Air confirmed that Providence will become the second of two new bases for trans-Atlantic flights that the airline plans to operate with its new Boeing 737 MAX jets. Watch here Shane Ross say there are no further road blocks on Norwegian AI’s proposed routes. Apparently Gulf carriers, Norwegian, and travel restrictions did not come up in Donald Trump’s meeting with airlines and airports.

The Journal’s FactCheck asked if Michael O’Leary and Ryanair are right about Dublin Airport charges and concluded Ryanair claimed that the DAA’s charges were rising did not provide evidence to support the claim that charges were rising, but rather figures showing their annual payments had been increasing, which is not the same thing.  Just one fee, the third party reduced mobility fee, has increased from 35c to 44c per passenger. Where in 2016 the DAA charged separate rates per passenger for departures from Terminals 1 and 2, from March 27 this year, those rates are consolidated.

Anna aero analysis showed that Ryanair has 1,486 routes operating during summer 2017, 150 more routes than it served summer 2016, ahead of American (1,040), Delta (979), United (940), Easyjet (840), Southest (738), China Southern (573), Wizz (536). Thomson (512) and China Eastern (499). At a press conference in Rome Michael O’Leary offered to fly Pope Francis on his Ireland visit.

  • Wrights of Howth opened ‘A New Taste of Ireland’ airside in T1, beside the 300 gates.
  • WOW air said they are to introduce cut price business class on their Keflavik one stop services to the USA.
  • Passengers numbers are up for Irish airports in January, with Dublin Airport reporting overall numbers up by 9pc and on course for 30.4m in 2017, North America up 28pc and transfer passengers up 45pc, for January. Belfast is Ireland’s fastest growing airport with numbers up by a colossal 34pc, largely thanks to Ryanair’s Gatwick route, putting the airport on track for 54m passengers in 2017. Cork was up 6pc with their English services up 7pc and on course for 32.36m in 2017. Donegal airport numbers for 2016 increased 21pc to 45,000.
  • Willie Walsh said IAG Group will not be using Aer Lingus for its planned low-cost long-haul airline as it is not well known enough outside of Ireland
  • Ryanair’s latest travel insurance partner Europ Assistance offers cover on an unlimited number of European trips, of up to 28 days each in duration.
  • Air Canada got a new look to tie in with the nation’s 150th birthday. The Air Canada Rouge brand which operates out of Ireland with 14 flights a week from Dublin to Toronto and Vancouver in peak summer season and year round service to Toronto is unchanged.
  • Iran and Ireland signed an aviation MoU to broaden cooperation.
  • Ryanair’s finance chief Neil Sorahan said the sale-and-leaseback market is ‘hot’ at the moment.
  • Shannon CEO Matthew Thomas told Limerick City and County Council that half of all foreign direct investment in Ireland can be found within 60 miles of Shannon Airport.
  • Spirit Airlines says it now has four complaints per 100k pax, down from 11.
  • Irish Remote Tower two airports with one controller.
  • Rockwell Collins said the self-bag drop at Dublin Airport reduces passenger check-in time by 60pc
  • Roadworks were postponed at Belfast airport.
  • Conor McMahon: Here’s why foreign airlines are queuing to set up operations in Ireland.
  • Watch here Dublin airport CEO Kevin Toland presentation at the Institute of International and European Affairs in Dublin.

Afloat

Eamonn Rothwell of Irish Ferries

Irish Ferries upped the game on Irish sea crossing with an Everybody Free motorist fare that charges only for the car involved, with all accompanying passengers, including driver, travelling absolutely free-of-charge, up to a limit of six persons.

Dublin’s last remaining dry dock closed after 160 years to facilitate the redevelopment of the port. Watch here.

Celebrity Silhouette will be visiting Belfast, Dublin, Waterford and Cork during 2017 and Celebrity Cruises is planning to host three seminars in Ireland. Watch here interview with Jo Rzymowska at Holiday World Dublin.

Closing date is Wednesday February 15th for Royal Caribbean’s Club Royal competition to win three pairs of tickets to attend the inaugural ‘Trade Partner & Club Royal Awards Ceremony on Thursday March 23rd 2017 at The Gherkin in London. Club Royal members can enter by nominating their most extraordinary colleague and explaining what makes them stand out from the crowd by video, email or photos to myclubroyaluk@rccl.com

CLIA’s Executive Partner Conference brought together 200 delegates including 46 cruise executives from 21 countries.

  • Regent Seven Seas Cruises launched 100 summer 2018 and spring 2019 itineraries aboard Seven Seas Voyager, Seven Seas Mariner, Seven Seas Navigator, and the newly launched Seven Seas Explorer.
  • Carnival Cruise Line’s next new ship, will offer a series of four-night Bermuda cruises from New York in the spring and summer of 2018,
  • P&O Cruises will open a new seafood restaurant, Shell & Bones, on Pacific Dawn.
  • Beauty and the Beast will be performed on Disney Dream sailings from November 6.
  • Ponant has appointed sailing expert Olivier de Kersauson special advisor on the design of its four new 184-passenger expedition ships
  • The 2,240-passenger Norwegian Star was towed back to Melbourne for urgent repairs to its propulsion system after breaking down and drifting off the coast of Australia.

Ireland

Ciara Gallagher and Paul Keeley of Fáilte Ireland hosted MICE stakeholders at a briefing at the Royal Hospital Kilmainham, Fáilte Ireland will identify 550 leads for industry partners to pursue (up 10pc), and set a target of earnings of €157m from business tourism.

Picture shows Grainne Kelleher of Airfield House feeding the estate’s new born calf with the trophy which they won at the Tourism Ireland awards last weekend. Airfield Estate, winner of Best Food & Beverage Experience at the awards. For Irish Tourism Awards roundup video (watch here). See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.

  • Dublin Bus launched DoDublin, a rebrand of its city and coastal tours which have been operating in the capital since 1988.
  • New Wild Atlantic Way story panels have been installed at discovery points in Clare, adding to the photo points that were developed last year.
  • A survey by German online florist Bloomy Days of pre-Valentine’s Day prices found Dublin is among the most expensive cities in the world. Cork and Belfast are among the cheapest.
  • New exhibition Humans need not apply at Science Gallery Dublin explores the idea of computers creating culture, from algorithm-driven artworks to responsive robots and animatronic desk lamps.
  • Westport house the tale behind the sale.
  • Dozens of applications were received for the first Killarney jarvey horse and carriage licence to have been advertised in generations

Deal Watch

BA fares ex Dublin, Shannon and Cork for travel until November 30, book by February 28: Johannesburg from €190. Shanghai from €250. Beijing from €250. Hong Kong form €200. Bangkok from €270. Kuala Lumpur form €205. Penang from €205. Singapore from €300. Dubai from €150. Abu Dhabi from €110. Check your GDS for full details. Prices exclude taxes and surcharges.

Click and Go offers: 3 nights 3* Berjaya Eden Park London Hotel, London from €199pp incl. return flights, depart March 16. 3 nights 4* Mediterranean Hotel, Budapest from €269pp incl. return flights, depart March 17. 3 nights 4* San Marco Trevi Hotel, Prague from €279pp incl. return flights, depart March 17.

Emirates offers, book by February 22 for travel between June 2 and December 9: Bali from €679. Cape Town from €619. Dubai from €409. Sydney from €989. Visit emirates.ie.

Falcon offers: 7 nights self catering 2* Lanzarote Princess Club, Costa Teguise, Lanzarote from €379pps, depart Shannon May 22. 7 nights all inclusive 3* Gran Muthu Golf Plaza Hotel, Golf Del Su, Tenerife from €589pps, depart February 24. 7 nights all inclusive 3* IFA Interclub Atlantic, San Agustin, Gran Canaria from €569pps, depart March 4. 7 nights self catering 3* Ola Bouganvillia, Santa Ponsa, Majorca form €469pps, depart May 6. 7 nights self catering 3* Smaragdi Studios, Lambi, Kos from €389pps, depart May 20. 7 nights self catering 2* Lanzarote Princess Club, Costa Teguise, Lanzarote from €379pps, depart Shannon May 22. 14 nights all inclusive 3* Royal Decameron Club Caribbean, Runaway Bay, Jamaica from €1,489pps, depart June 8. 14 nights all inclusive 4* Gran Bahia Principe, Riviera Maya, Mexico from €1,579pps, depart June 14. NRG offer: 7 nights self catering 2* Marian, San Antonio, Ibiza from €269pps, depart May 25. Visit falconholidays.ie or call 1850 45 35 45.

Insight Vacations is offering 8 day Greece holiday from €1,882pps incl. flights and transfers. Book by February 28, depart June 6. Visit insightvacations.com or call 01 775 3803.

ITAA offers: 7 nights full board Copenhagen city break and cruise on board MSC Fantasia from €1,640pp incl. 1 night pre stay in Comfort Hotel Vestebro, depart April 29. 4 nights B&B Lisbon Coast from €301pp, depart February 28. 2 nights London West End theatre break from €259pp incl. show ticket package.

Sunway offers: 9 nights Lima, Peru from €2,510 per adult and from €2,379 per child, depart August 11. 14 nights Beijing to Hong Kong, China from €3,115 per adult and from €2,717 per child depart July 8. 8 days Galápagos from €3,447 per adult and from €2,947 per child, depart July 15.  9 nights Salt Lake City to Denver Wild West holiday from €3,219 per adult and from €3,033 per child, depart Jun 26. Visit sunway.ie or call 01 231 1800.

Thomson offers: 7 nights half board Sensimar Natura Palace, Playa Blanca, Lanzarote from €969pps, depart Cork February 16. 7 nights all inclusive ClubHotel Riu Vistamar, Amadores, Gran Canaria from €819pps, depart March 4. 7 nights half board Sensimar Riviera, Benalmadena, Costa Del Sol from €679pps, depart February 12. 7 nights full board Colourful Coasts cruise from Tenerife on board Thomson Majesty, depart February 24. 7 nights self catering Protur Bahia Azul, Cala Bona, Majorca form €349pps, depart Cork May 6. 7 nights self catering Silver Springs, Sunny Beach, Bulgaria from €389pps, depart May 22. 7 nights self catering Planet Studios & Apartments, Tsilivi, Zakynthos from €409pps, depart May 23. 14 nights all inclusive Riu Montego Bay, Jamaica from €1,739pps, depart June 8. 14 nights all inclusive Riu Lupita, Playacar, Mexico from €1,519pps, depart June 14.

Topflight offers: 5 nights all inclusive super cruise on board Silver Spirit from €1,399pp incl. 1 night at 5* Sina Berini Bristol, Rome with breakfast, private sightseeing tour of Rome, depart November 10, call 01 254 6312. 7 nights self catering 3* Apartments Crest, Pas de la Casa, Andorra from €335pp, depart February 19. 7 nights self catering 4* Residence La Riviera, Chamonix, France from €399pps, depart March 11. 7 nights self catering 3* Le Hameau du Mottaret, Meribel, France from €399pps, depart March 11. 7 nights B&B 3* Landhotel Martha, Zell am See, Austria from €599pps, depart February 25. 7 nights B&B 3* Pension Hochwimmer, Zell am See, Austria from €399pps, depart February 25. 7 nights self catering 2* Frontera Blanca, Pas de la Casa, Andorra from€339pps, depart February 19. Visit topflight.ie or call 01 240 1700.

Tour America offers: 9 nights Caribbean cruise on board MSC Seaside from €1,389pp inc. 2 nights pre stay in Miami, depart December 21. 7 nights Med cruise on board MSC Merviglia from €979pp, depart October 27. 3 nights New York from €599pp, depart October 13. 4 nights Las Vegas from €549pp, depart November 22. 7 nights Orlando from €689pp, depart December 20. Visit touramerica.ie.

Uniworld Boutique River Cruises is offering 8 days Danube cruise on board SS Maria Theresa from €3,119pps incl. flights, airport transfers, meals and beverages, shore excursions. Book by February 28, depart April 16. Visit uniworld.com or call 01 775 3803.

What we learned

Of the 1.4m annual visitors to the Cliffs of Moher, 40pc stay locally. Now for the other 60pc. Watch here.

TRAVEL Extra’s Sunday supplement: Aer Lingus pull the cork on Porto route before it starts

 

Paul Gallagher chair of ITIC addressing the Irish Tourism Industry Awards in Dublin, February 3 2017

 

 

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

  • Things to know about Travel this week 
  • Aer Lingus pull the cork on Porto route before it starts
  • Holiday World numbers up by 11pc
  • Brussels Airlines pulls its Belfast route
  • Newly sold Westport House wins at awards
  • Ryanair hits unthinkable 8.77m passengers in January.
  • T1 or T2? The Qatar conundrum.
  • John Booty is Wendy Wu’s world champion
  • Politicians dither again on aviation tax & 9pc VAT
  • Airline crew rosters hit by Trump order
  • SAS applies for Irish AOC 

Travel Extra TV

  • Aer Lingus had a special announcement for these passengers en route to Edinburgh. Watch here.
  • Two kind Aussies helped a poor kangaroo that got its head stuck in a watering can. Watch here.
  • Rugby Travel Ireland put together a gas promotional video for its Lions Tour 2017 New Zealand packages. Watch here.
  • The barman at Tully’s pub in Carlow kept the punters happy with this phenomenal trick. Watch here.
  • As seen on Australia’s Sunshine Coast: two lizards battle it out to win the affection of a female. Watch here.
  • BA tested Formula 1 driver Jenson Button’s piloting skills. Watch here.
  • Lamborghini escorts an Emirates B777 to the gate at Bologna airport. Watch here.

Behind the Headlines

So much for the Douro dealfest we all expected this summer. Porto was all set to be one of the bargain destinations from Dublin of summer 2017 with Aer Lingus due to launch 2w and Ryanair responding to the arrival of a competitor by increasing capacity to 5w “due to increased demand.” This week the shamrock withdrew from the duel of the Douro, as it politely put it: due to insufficient demand to sustain the route. Ryanair responded with a “rescue fare” sale.

Holiday World 2017 in Dublin recorded 35,000 visitors, 11pc up on last year, almost exactly the same increase as that enjoyed in Belfast the previous week. The trade experienced strong bookings over the three days with crowded aisle on Friday and Saturday. Exhibitors report increases in business as people feel more confident when it comes to booking holidays for the year ahead. Picture shows Cormac Meehan of Meehan Travel Bundoran, Tourism minister Shane Ross and Maureen Ledwith of Business Exhibitions during the show. Watch video of show here.

Eoghan Corry’s Travel Summit had 40 speakers on 17 different over the three days. In a lively Q&A Ryanair’s Robin Kiely said no to on-board Wi-Fi, to transatlantic routes or flights from Waterford. One audience member asked Ryanair about the conundrum of parents being forced to purchase priority boarding to sit with their children. Revelations included Enda Corneille’s news that 80pc of all his passengers

transferr onwards through Dubai and the A380 was a distinct possibility in Dublin airport when the facilities were ready, probably by mid 2018. One old man asked if the tenements experience to open in Dublin in 2017 would be sanitised. We wonder if recreating the smell of a tenement, the characteristic ash can odour that clung to your clothes and hair and never could be washed out, would increase visitor numbers. Methinks not. Picture shows Kathryn MacDonnell of The Spanish Tourist Board, Mary Denton of Sunway, Eoghan Corry, and Charlotte Brenner of Falcon Holidays. See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.

A week after the outbound travel industry in Ireland (value €750m) celebrated the champions of the industry, led by champion travel agent Sandra Mooney and travel agency winners Marie Grenham and Michael Doorley, this week it was the turn of the inbound travel industry (value €5bn). At a function organised by ITIC they awarded gongs to candidates chosen from an extremely long shortlist by an active judging panel that included Lonely Planet’s Nóirín Hegarty. There were 14 awards in all, and no one got more emotional among the 550 people in the Clayton banquet room all night than Nora Heraty, as the Best Leisure Tourism Innovation award went to Westport House. She worked in the house for 45 years, and with Eileen Fahy (holding the award) they have nearly 90 years experience between them. Also in the picture is Biddy Hughes and Tourism Minister Shane Ross. Full details of the awards are available here. Dublin Airport received the award for Best International Access Initiative (watch here). For Irish Tourism Awards roundup video (watch here). See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.

The formalities included a terse exchange on the subject of the 9pc VAT, Paul Gallagher (watch here) declaring it should not be a political football during each December’s budget discussions and Minister Shane Ross (watch here)who gave a recycled version of the speech he used for Tourism Ireland’s marketing launch, and was strident in his dimissal of the VAT rate of “9pc, 7pc or 6pc.”

Enda Corneille of Emirates continued his round of interviews celebrating five years on the route (watch here). The big reveal from his appearance at the Travel Summit at Holiday World last week was that the A380 is a probability rather than a possibility at Dublin airport. He expects it to arrive in late 2018. They included an appearance on the Pat Kenny show on Wednesday. Picture shows Emirates team which won the best long haul airline award at the Irish travel industry awards: Helena Sweeney, Jennied Guzman, Lisa Rabbitte, Jane Masterson, Enda Corneille, Noeleen Daly, Aurelie Tommasino, Anita Thomas, Front: Filippo Rocchi and Lotfi Temimi with Vincent Harrison of Dublin Airport.

For all the headlines that it created, newly elected US president Trump’s 17th executive order banning citizens of seven Muslim-majority countries for 90 days had surprisingly minimal effect on passengers, 200 affected people around the world detained in US airports and in transit around the world on the first day and just one detained in Dublin, where human rights group rallied to assist any refugees. Some airlines (mainly from the Middle East) changed crew rosters to avoid members of staff being refused admittance. Donald is still trailing FDR in the number of executive orders he has issued in the first month but seems intent on catching up. Iran’s reciprocal ban on US citizens will not extend to those who have already booked travel. Meanwhile media focus was mainly on the “entrapment” of legal US residents unable to return. Dual citizens who also hold Irish passports can still travel even if they are from the seven countries: Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen, but visas will NOT be issued by the US embassy in Dublin and the embassy is urging those with visa appointments not to attend. Enda Kenny’s proposed review of US pre-clearance (pre-denial?) in Ireland set off some alarm bells, including Kevin Toland speaking to the Institute of International and European Affairs in Dublin. Travel Extra‘s Mark Evans told the BBC here why calls to look at US pre-clearance at Dublin and Shannon are short-sighted. Éist anseo le Eoghan Corry, eagarthóir Travel Extra ar Adhmhaidin ar Raidio na Gaeltachta.

Ryanair’s January passenger numbers casually shattered their monthly record once again, with what has become routine predictability: passengers up 17pc to 8.77m, load factor up 2pc to 90pc, rolling annual traffic up 15pc to 118.3m. The number was double the January figure for 2014. Michael O’Leary’s gung ho predictions for 2017 (watch here) suggest that each month will break a new record.

Europe’s ski resorts saw fresh snow this week, but temperatures as high as +7C in areas such as the Ski Welt has meant that resort runs have become increasingly soft. Topflight’s Today FM 18th annual ski trip brought 530 holiday mkaers to a week-long party in Kirchberg in Tirol in Austria.

Lucan based band The Riptide Movement rocked The Arena 365 on Wednesday night as a lunchtime mountain gig from the Harleys turned into a real party, Pump up the Jam revisited the 1990s and nine time All-Ireland winner Tommy Walsh conducted the only official GAA Poc Fada on snow.

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Incoming alert. Finance Minister Michael Noonan raised the prospect of reintroducing the air travel tax, claiming the aviation industry is under-taxed, The Irish Times reported.

Travel Trade

John Booty and John Warr of Wendy Wu

Wendy Wu Tours Ireland managerJohn Booty was named best of the group’s 16 regional sales people in 2016. Most popular destinations in the Irish market are China, Vietnam, Cambodia, Japan and India and the most popular tour is the 16-day Wonders of ChinaJohn Warr of Wendy Wu Tours says “The plan is to keep doubling the numbers John Warr says. This year we will do 1m worth and more and we are on track to hit our target. We have achieved two thirds of our target for 2017.” John Warr explained how Wendy Wu is a real person (watch here), and while China is big in 2017 (watch here), Japan is trending (watch here). He told the story of the origin of the Chinese New Year (watch here). See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.

Strange world

A woman alleged that Spirit Airlines threw her off a flight from New Orleans to Fort Lauderdale in Florida for showing too much cleavage.

International

A Dutch tourist on the MV Ortelius in Antarctica suffered a suspected stroke 3600km south of New Zealand. The ship sailed 620km towards the US Antarctic research centre McMurdo Station to transfer the 66-year-old woman who was flown to New Zealand for treatment.

  • Vienna recorded 28,439 Irish visitors last year up 8.4pc, bed nights are up 9.8pc to 65,108.
  • Casinos in Nevada won $11.3bn from gamblers in 2016, still short of the pre-recession record set in 2007,
  • Thailand has changed its 30-day visa exemption rule, tourists can only re-enter the country via a land border twice in a calendar year to prevent long stay visitors from  visiting neighbouring countries and qualifying for another visa-exemption period when they return.
  • Michael Palin won the Edward Stanford travel writing award.

Food & Beverage

Diageo’s premium-priced brand Roe & Co, to be distilled on a site on the Guinness Brewery in St James’s Gate, will begin selling in major European cities next month. Diageo is to invest €25m in a whiskey distillery in the former Power Station at St James’s Gate in Dublin.

Derry company, Niche Drinks received permission for a £12m whiskey distillery and visitor centre in the historic Ebrington square in Derry with first distillations due early next year.

The Irish Food is Medicine programme was launched by Creacon Lodge Wellness Centre in New Ross.

  • Italian casual dining restaurant chain Zizzi, which opened in Dundrum Town Centre last April, is to open a second restaurant on the site of Pizza Hut at 24 Suffolk Street.
  • The former Aungier House pub in Dublin (once known to locals as Danger House) is set to reopen on 43 Aungier Street after two decades following a €1m redevelopment by Matthew Ryan and Patrick McKillen Jnr’s Rustic Way group. It was recently sold for €831,000.
  • Guinness is to open an Open Gate Brewery in Baltimore, Maryland in October with a Guinness visitor experience, tasting room for experimental brews and retail store. It will brew new beers created for the US market, including Guinness Blonde American Lager, the first time Guinness has been brewed in America since 1954.
  • While the Irish rugby team lost narrowly to Scotland, the whiskey sector is well behind. Representatives from the Irish trade (5,000 jobs & €500m in exports) met the Scots (40,000 jobs & £4bn in exports) before the kick-off at Murrayfield.
  • Frank Fredriksen and Joan Harrington’s Clonakilty Brewing Company will launch a new Belgian Blond Beer Inchydoney Blond at the Alltech Craft Beers & Food Fair in Dublin at the end of February.
  • Ballygowan led a strong growth in Britvic revenue in Ireland, up 6.4pc.
  • Industry tracker IWSR says Irish whiskey is the fastest-growing spirit category in the US and could grow market share from 4pc to 12pc by 2030.
  • Etto restaurant’s four-storey building on 18 Merrion Row is being sold by Finnegan Menton.
  • Heineken renewed its sponsorship of the soccer European Champions League until 2021.

Hotels

Tripadvisor’s readers’ choice lists continue to issue, this week the peer- review group described Helen & Brian Heaton’s Castlewood House as, “a truly stunning place, a very warm welcome, and a room with an amazing harbour view. The breakfast was the most imaginative and lavish we have encountered.”  TripAdvisor’s Top 10 Small Irish hotels: 1 Castlewood House, Dingle, 2 Bellingham Castle, Co Louth, 3 Lough Lein Country House, Fossa, Co Kerry, 4 Heaton’s Guesthouse, Dingle, 5 Ballyfin Demesne, Co Laois, 6 Talbot Hotel, Belmullet, 7 Fernhill House Hotel, Clonakilty, 8 Roundwood House, Mountrath, 9 MacNean House & Restaurant, Blacklion, Co Cavan 10 Currarevagh House, Oughterard, Co Galway.

B&B Ireland reported bookings were up 15pc in 2016, revenue rose 19pc to €9,002,646, foreign visitors account for 90pc of bookings and demand exceeded supply in Galway, Kerry, Cork, Dublin, Clare, Donegal, Antrim and Kilkenny,

  • Liverpool based Signature Living hotel group is to open a George Best-themed hotel in Manchester
  • IBEROSTAR Hotels & Resorts continues on the expansion trail, and is to open another hotel,  the IBEROSTAR Club Palmeraie Marrakech, in Morocco in April. The group also reported a 10pc rise in turnover to €2.03bn in 2016.
  • Developer Jerry Conlon is planning a major multi-million euro upgrade of the Central Hotel on Dublin’s Exchequer Street.

Aviation

Lufthansa rolls out the A350, January 2017

Lufthansa rolls out the A350, January 2017

Brussels Airlines has pulled its Belfast route less than year after launch.

Ryanair said it is cutting seats fromand reducing services at Athens and Thessaloniki despite new routes to Katowice & Krakow, expanding in Italy and Spain with a record Barcelona schedule and Madrid Schedule, launched their winter schedules for Milan Malpensaexpanding in Israelwith 15 new routes from Eilat and Tel Aviv and confirmed that London-Osjiek was cancelled. Ralph Anker’s Anna Aero analysed the “best, most and worst” Ryanair airports over the past ten years, 2,800 air services, from 250 airports including 80 bases.

Terminal 1 or Terminal 2? Despite a confirmed Qatar airways schedule from Dublin to Doha to commence June 12, it is not yet clear which terminal at Dublin airport Qatar wil be using. They are most likely to be in Terminal 1 but with Qatar’s relationship with IAG owner Aer Lingus the airline may seek be added to the queue to use the overcrowded wide body gates at Terminal 2. Qatar’s flgiht times outbound from Dublin QR20 are 8.50 on Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday and 15:25 on Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Sunday, return QR19 at 01:25 on Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday and 07:20 on Monday, Wednesday, Friday and  Sunday. Arrival times in Doha are 18:05 and 00:40, arrivals in Dublin at 07:25 and 13:20.

READ  Ireland seeing 17pc growth in tourism, reports European Travel Commission.

Shannon Group lodged a planning application for a new aircraft hangar, the airport’s tenth, with the capability to accommodate the A380. All of the airport’s hangars are now fully occupied and Shannon Group recently appointed a design team to meet demand for additional space, draw up plans and seek planning permission for a new hangar brining capacity to 50,700sqm.

SAS Scandinavian is seeking an air-operator certificate in Ireland with sites in London and Spain to counter a cost base that is 20pc higher than rivals.

Norwegian are to increase Dublin-Oslo from 3w to 6w from late March. The New York Times reported Belfast among transatlantic destinations being considered by Norwegian. The 61-day cooling off period for Norwegian subsidiary NAI’s Cork and Shannon services expired without being countermanded by Donald Trump but Norwegian has a new problem with FAA approval for operations out of Stewart Airport on the Hudson north of New York to European destinations, expected to include Cork and Shannon. Knock Airport reported a profit of €112,206 in 2015 thanks to State Public Policy Remit operational funding of €598k.

Stephen Kavanagh said Aer Linguare considering a winter seasonal route to Las Vegas (see newspaper interview here) when the airline’s A330s are not deployed on other routes. Kavanagh said that Dublin airport should privatise its terminals, and drew a predictably unimpressed reaction from SIPTU.

Kevin Toland told the Institute of International and European Affairs that constraints restricting the number of flights between 11pm and 7am could make things horrific and a huge disaster as current planning permission conditions terms reduce flights from 100 to 65 during runway rush hour, 5:30am to 7am.

  • Flybe blamed a slow start to 2017 on bad weather and poor consumer confidence. Load factors are down.
  • Norwegian is expected to open four new bases in 2017, Stewart (for New York) Providence RI (for Boston), Edinburgh and Riga.
  • Deutsche Lufthansa and Etihad Airways announced a catering and aircraft maintenance partnership that could lead to a broader alliance.
  • Wizz Air‘s 19pc growth in 2016 was the fastest among Europe’s top 20 airline groups, average growth rate was 22pc over the past decade.
  • The Irish Independent reported passenger charges at Dublin Airporwill rise to fund the planned €320m runway development
  • American Airlines dropped seatback video screens in new B737s, claiming that 90pc of passengers now bring their own device.
  • Aer Lingus January traffic up 12.3pc over same month in 2016. The Centre for Aviation estimated that Aer Lingus was IAG’s star after the first full year and analysed its rivalry with Icelandair, Airberlin and Norwegian to be the leading North Atlantic value carrier
  • Sean Whelan pondered the problems aviation leasing poses for Ireland’s national accounts and the international accounting rules in the wake of the Central Bank’s report into the aviation industry.
  • A Eurocopter 135 helicopter emergency medical service helicopter visited Cape Clear, West Cork, and Cork City, as part of a promotional tour of Munster.
  • A documentary premiered in Dublin about Dublin-born Brendan Finucane who became a poster boy for the RAF during the war when he shot down the German fighter pilot Adolph Galland.
  • In the course of his route announcements Michael O’Leary promised free flights for passengers (again) and said collective insanity has taken place in US and England. For his opinion on Donald Trump, watch here.
  • Rolls-Royce unveiled LessorCare in collaboration with Gus Kelly’s AerCap
  • Shane Cassells TD told the Dáil’s Public Accounts Committee that the former government Gulfstream IV jet was plagued by breakdowns and “we are well shot of it. It broke down before leaving for Paris just five years after it was bought, leaving then Taoiseach John Bruton on the tarmac. On another occasion, it blocked Air Force One on a runway.
  • Norwegian Air Argentina was officially registered as a company in Argentina and will fly both domestic and international flights
  • British Airways launched seasonal flights from Manchester to Alicante, Malaga, Ibiza, Palma, Mykonos and Nice.
  • CNN Aviation Editor Jon Ostrower said airlines are petrified of being in a @realDonaldTrump tweet. One has even developed a crisis comms plan if they are.
  • Bombardier and CityJet finalised their purchase agreement for up to 10 CRJ900 Aircraft
  • Colm Barrington, former chairman of Aer Lingus, is to join the board of Finnair.
  • Fifty North American airports will have a non-stop connection with at least one airport in Europe this summer, up from 46 in 2012.
  • DAA staff sent €2m in donations to Irish charities.
  • Bmi regional increased its baggage allowance from 20kgs to 23kgs,
  • IATA said global airline passenger demand was up 6.3pc in 2016 with 700 new routes.
  • United Airlines two-day 2017 Global Leadership Conference in Chicago saw 700 leaders from around the world, including Chief Executive Officer Oscar Munoz pack more than a quarter of a million meals for children suffering from malnutrition in El Salvador.

Afloat

Dublin Port reported volumes up 25pc over four years and 13pc ahead of the peak year of 2007. Areas to be examinedduring the current masterplan consultation are the proposed development of a unified ferry terminal for the Port’s main ferry operators incorporating immigration, customs, security and other border inspection functions and the development of the 44 hectare Dublin Inland Port adjacent to Dublin Airport for port-related activities. Picture shows Lorraine Quinn of Celebrity Cruises and Pat Ward of Dublin Port at the Irish Tourism Industry Awards. Watch here interview from Holiday World show with Jo Rzymowska of Celebrity Cruises and Pat Ward of Dublin port, spekaing about Celerbity cruises’ mini season form Dublin in Aoril-June 2018.

Royal Caribbean patented four “of the Seas” ship names including Symphony of the Seas (likely name for the line’s next Oasis-class ship), Valhalla of the Seas, Sunrise of the Seas and Icon of the Seas. Watch here interview  from Holiday World show with Ben Bouldin of Royal Caribbean about plans for the Irish market in 2017.

MSC Cruises officially began construction of MSC Seaview at the Fincantieri Shipyard in Monfalcone. Gianni Onorato, CEO of MSC Cruises, told invited journalists that the Mareviglia class will feature wearable technology, single cabins and more family restaurants.

Doolin Express, due to offer the fastest surface crossing time to the Aran Islands in just 15 minutes from April, is still awaiting clearance from the Department of Transport which could impact on the viability of the route. The new ferry is to shave 25 minutes from the old 35 minutes crossing time from Doolin Pier to Inis Oírr. Doolin ferries acquired the fast ferry Blanche Hermine from Vedettes du Golfe having served islands in the Golfe du Morbihan, an almost enclosed sea near Vannes in southern Brittany.

A new £6.2m ferry commenced service between Strangford to Portadownreplacing the aging MV Strangford, which was built in 1969 and had seen better days.

  • Silversea will homeport Silver Muse, in Fort Lauderdale’s Port Everglades for two years from October 2017. It will end the 2017/2018 season with a transatlantic leaving Fort Lauderdale and visiting New York and Newfoundland on the way to Dublin.
  • Adventure travel specialist G Adventures, headed up in Ireland by John Grehan, will restart Swan Hellenic cruises in 2018 having acquired the English cruise line following the collapse of All Leisure Group.
  • Carnival Cruise had added the Seafood Shack to Carnival Liberty, Carnival Glory, Carnival Victory, Carnival Conquest, Carnival Freedom, Carnival Triumph and Carnival Valor.
  • Actress Joan Collins will be godmother to Uniworld’s new 128-passenger river cruise ship, SS Joie de Vivre to launch in March, designed to sail the Seine from Paris.
  • Russian river cruise company Vodohod is to build a new 342-passenger ship to sail between Moscow and St. Petersburg on the Volga River.
  • Norwegian Cruise Line offered passengers $500pp in onboard credit, and a 100pc future cruise credit to be used within five years instead of three after propulsion issues hit Norwegian Star’s Asian itinerary.
  •  Riviera offered an advance look at MS Thomas Hardy
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Ireland

Vincent and Roisin Callaghan of Green Light Events

Roisin Callaghan of Green Light Events is relaunching her brand next week after a successful decade which saw her company win Best Business Tourism Innovation on Friday night. The company is appointing a new CEO, a new creative director and opening an office in San Francisco.

Tourism Ireland CEO Niall Gibbons unveiled marketing plans to stake holders in New York, while Fåilte Ireland is aiming to lure the big-spending business travel market here.

Tourism Ireland told MICE stakeholders at a briefing at the Royal Hospital Kilmainham that Fáilte Ireland will identify 550 leads for industry partners to pursue (up 10pc), and set a target of €157m from business tourism.

Picture shows Rachel Deegan, Shannon Region Conference & Sports Bureau; Danielle Neyts, Tourism Ireland; Letitia Wade, Fáilte Ireland; and Seamus Heaney, Cork Convention Bureau, at the Meeting Matters networking event in Brussels where 40 international associations based in Belgium met with ten different destinations, including Ireland, and 23 convention bureaux, including Cork Convention Bureau and Shannon Region Conference & Sports Bureau.

Enda Kenny announced Fáilte Ireland’s €500,000 strategic partnership with the National Parks and Wildlife Services to grow tourism revenues areas where the parks are located.

The Westport250 Launch Celebration take place on St. Patrick’s weekend, exactly 250 years after an advert was placed in Faulkner’s Dublin Journal by the 2nd Earl of Altamont Peter Browne Kelly advertising for tradesmen to build a new town as designed by architect William Leeson. This is considered the foundation year of Westport Town.

Tourism and Hospitality Sectoral discussion in Dundalk on England’s EU referendum result (breat-imeacht) stressed preservation of the Common Travel Area, avoiding additional tax or regulatory burdens on industry and reducing key operating costs such as insurance and utilities. See here the presentation from Niall Gibbons CEO of Tourism Ireland. Sign up for information service or contact Department on this issue brexit@dttas.ieor tourismpolicy@dttas.ie

  • Tourism NI Quality Grading Scheme awarded Crumlin Road Gaol a five-star visitor attraction rating, joining Belfast’s Lyric Theatre, HMS Caroline, Belfast Food Tour and Titanic Belfast.
  • St Patrick’s Cathedral visitor numbers increased 7pc in 2016 to 565k making it Ireland’s 12th most visited attraction slightly ahead of the Botanic Gardens in Glasnevin.
  • Is the superpub threatening the traditional Irish tourist product? Listen here to a discussion between Travel Extra’s Eoghan Corry and Gavin Grace of Clare FM.

Deal Watch

Insight Vacations is offering 10 days Best of Germany holiday from €2,229pps incl. flights, transfers and accommodation. Book by February 28, depart June 16. Visit insightvacations.com or call 01 775 3803.

Irish Ferries is charging per car not per passenger on sailings to Britain booked by February 21 for travel until May 26. Up to six persons per car. Visit irishferries.com or call 0818 300 400.

Falcon offers: 14 nights all inclusive 3* Royal Decameron Club Caribbean, Runaway Bay, Jamaica from €1,579pps. 4 nights self catering 3* Bali Hotel, Benalmedena, Costa Del Sol from €389pps, depart February 5. 7 nights self catering 3* Heperia Bristol Playa, Carraleio, Fuerteventura from €689pps, depart February 14. 7 nights all inclusive 3* Catalonia Punta Del Rey, Las Caletillas, Tenerife from €419pps, depart February 10. 7 nights self catering 2* Laguna Park II, Playa De Las Americas, Tenerife from €429pps, depart May 19. 7 nights self catering 3* Rocamar, Puerto Rico, Gran Canaria from €429pps, depart May 11. 7 nights all inclusive 2* Lanzarote Paradise, Costa Teguise, Lanzarote from €389pps, depart Shannon May 22. 14 nights all inclusive 3* Royal Decamerom Club Caribbean, Runaway Bay, Jamaica from €1,579pps, depart June 8. 14 nights all inclusive 5* Grand Riviera Princess, Riviera Maya, Mexico from €1,719pps, depart June 21. NRG offer: 7 nights self catering 3* Hotel Palazzo, Sunny Beach, Bulgaria from €439pps, depart May 22. Visit falconholidays.ie or call 1850 45 35 45.

Stena Line is offering 7 nights Haven Holiday from €495 2+2 incl. return travel by car. Book by March 6. Visit stenaline.ie/haven or call 01 907 5399.

The Westin Hotel is offering The Boodles luxury diamond experience from €319 incl. overnight accommodation, jewellery experience with champagne in Boodles boutique, two cocktails and breakfast for two. Available until March 31. Click here or call 01 646 3333.

Thomson offers: 14 nights all inclusive ClubHotel Riu Ocho Rios, Jamaica from €1,819pps, depart June 8. 7 nights all inclusive ClubHotel Riu Vistamar, Amadores, Gran Canaria from €819pps, depart February 18. 7 nights self catering Colon II, Playa De Las Americas, Tenerife from €529pps, depart March 3. 7 nights half board SBH Crystal Beach, Costa Calma, Fuerteventura from €829pps, depart February 14. 7 nights half board Hotel Cala Bona, Majorca from €439pps, depart Cork May 2. 7 nights half board Hotel Belvedere, Salou, Costa Dorada from €389pps, depart May 25. 7 nights half board Fiesta Milord Hotel, San Antonio Bay, Ibiza from €469pps, depart May 25. 14 nights all inclusive ClubHotel Riu Ocho Rios, Jamaica from €1,819pps, depart June 8. 14 nights all inclusive ClubHotel Riu Tequila, Playacar, Mexico from €1,619pps, depart June 14.

Topflight offers: 7 nights self catering 3* Apartments Crest, Pas de la Casa, Andorra from €299pps, depart February 12. 7 nights self catering 4* Residence la Riviere, Chamonix, France from €349pps, depart February 11. 7 nights B&B 2* Pension Konrad, Soll, Austria from €449pps, depart February 11. 7 nights half board 3* Hotel Austria, Soll, Austria from €549pps, depart February 11. 7 nights catered chalet, 3* Chalet Bouquetin, Plan Peisey, Les Arcs, France from €949pps, depart February 11. 7 nights half board 4* Grand Hotel, Zell Am See, Austria from €1,219pps, depart February 25. Visit topflight.ie or call 01 240 1700.

Tour America offers: 7 nights Courtyard Family Suire, Universal’s Cabana Bay from €559pp incl. return flights, depart April 29. 4 nights the Excalibur Hotel, Las Vegas from €559pp incl. return flights, depart October 12. 3 nights the Sheraton New York Times Square, New York from €599pp incl. return flights, depart March 9. 7 nights all inclusive Riu Cancun, Cancun, Mexico from €1,299pp, depart October 19. Visit touramerica.ie.

Uniworld Boutique River Cruises is offering 8 days Rhine discovery river cruise on board the River Ambassador from €3,149pps incl. flights, airport transfers, meals and beverages and shore excursions. Book by February 28, depart May 28. Visit uniworld.com or call 01 775 3803.

What we learned

The US Embassy in Dublin processed visa applications from 120 nationalities last year. So said Beth Sunday during the travel summit at Holiday world in the RDS.

TRAVEL Extra’s Sunday Supplement: Back to the trenches, Ryanair reignite the battle one the second carrier bag

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

Holiday World show 2017 in the RDS Dublin

  • Things to know about Travel this week
  • Ryanair closes its Ryanair Holidays programme after two months
  • Michael O’Leary declares war on the second cabin bag
  • Grenham Travel and Shandon Travel are agents of the year
  • Mid 2018 before Dublin is ready for Emirates A380
  • Hurtigruten;’s Tromso charter returns for 2018
  • Dalata rebrands four more Clayton hotels

Travel Extra TV

  • See how Qantas mascot Matilda celebrated Australia Day this week. Watch here.
  • The first Airbus A330neo get its livery spruced up with a paint job. Watch here.
  • Michael O’Leary was asked about Donald Trump at a media briefing in Dublin. Watch here what he had to say.
  • British Airways posted a 360º tour of MadridWatch here.
  • Employees at Emirates celebrated India’s 68th republic day. Watch here.
  • Watch how Qantas reverse parks its A380 at its LAX hangar. Watch here.
  • Qatar Airways put together a highlights video of the opening of its lounge in Paris. Watch here.
  • Tourism Ireland published a “dawn to dusk” timelapse showcasing Ireland’s Ancient EastWatch here.
  • See Tourism NI’s promo for the 2017 Dubai Duty Free Irish Open in Portstewart. Watch here.

Behind the Headlines

Just when we thought it was safe to go back to the departure gate, an aside by Michael O’Leary at his media briefing in Dublin said that Ryanair is about to redeclare war on the second cabin bag. Watch here what he had to say.

A busy first two days of Dublin Holiday World included an appearance by the O’Donovan brothers at the DAA sponsored Eoghan Corry travel summit. Kathryn Thomas gave the opening interview on her life in travel. See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.

Ryanair closed its Ryanair Holidays service just over a month after it launched. A message on the channel says the platform had been suspended “because of illegal screenscraping and mis-selling of Ryanair flights by the technology provider”. There was some surpisie when tour operator Logitravel and accommodation service World2Meet were named at the launch as the backbone behind the new Ryanair Holidays service, including personnel from the failed Lowcost. group In a statement, Ryanair says the agreement was terminated with the software provider after it “was found to be unlawfully scraping Ryanair’s low fares. Ryanair apologises to its customers for any inconvenience caused but re-emphasized that it will not allow any 3rd party software provider to ‘screen-scrape’ and unlawfully re-sell Ryanair’s low fares.”

“Let’s all calm down.” Watch here comments by Ryanair CEO Michael O’Leary about the Aer Lingus catering department’s involvement in an immigration scam during briefing for media in Dublin on Ryanair’s plans. Watch here as he explains he is close to a deal with Norwegian & Aer Lingus. Watch here as he says he expects Ryanair to carry 130m passengers in 2017. Watch here Michael O’Leary’s full briefing for media in Dublin on Ryanair’s plans for 2017 (without Q&A). Watch here Kenny Jacobs full briefing for media in Dublin on Ryanair’s plans for 2017 (without Q&A). Watch here comments on his meeting with minister Shane Ross which stressed need for lower costs at Dublin airport. Watch here criticism of the incentive scheme at Dublin Airport. Watch here criticism of the proposed wet lease deal between Lufthansa and Air Berlin in Germany. Watch here comments on how implosion of Air Berlin will help Ryanair gain market share in Germany. Watch here as Michael explains why Ryanair went to Frankfurt. Watch here comments on the implications of Brexit for European aviation. Watch here comments on the impact of weaker sterling. Listen here to full audio from press conference.

Thomas McNally won the supplier representative of the year at the Irish Travel Industry awards in the Mansion House, Dublin. Grenham Travel in Athlone and Shandon Travel in Cork won the travel agency awards. See full list of award winners here. The majority of Irish travel agents saw a rise in business last year. Watch here the citation by ITAA president Cormac Meehan and speech and speech as Liam Keller was presented with the contribution to the industry award at the Irish travel industry awards.

CEO of London City airport Declan Collier expects Cityjet’s Superjet will be flying to London by March 2018 & Bombardier C series will be there this summer, extending the airport’s range four fold to destinations like Toronto, Lagos, the Stans, watch here. For full audio listen here to press conference. See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.

Travel Trade

Worldchoice Ireland Conference is to be held in the Radisson Blu Hotel in Galway on Nov 18th 2017.

Finnair awarded its GSA contract to Catherine Grennell-Whyte’s ATTS.

Yvonne Gordon is the Travel Extra Irish travel writer of the year, with category awards: Young journalist/Newcomer sponsored by Falcon Holidays: Conor Haugh, Myanmar, Sunday Independent, Home holiday sponsored by Failte Ireland: Yvonne Gordon Sunday Times, Lighthouses Ballycotton , Northern Ireland sponsored by NITBJasper Winn, country walking , Spain sponsored by the Spanish Tourist Boardlsabel Conway, Tenerife walking, Irish Ezaminer, Language school in Salamanca, Sunday World, Broadcast sponsored by Cassidy TravelMary Fanning/Mary Kennedy, RTE Nationwide, Food in Derry , Ski sponsored by Topflight: Catherine Murphy, chalet girl, Daily Mail , New Media sponsored by Clliackandgo: Janet Newnham journalist on the run , Sun Holidays sponsored by SunwayMadeleine Keane, Malta & Gozo, Sunday Independent,, Short breaks sponsored by Malta Tourist AuthorityJamie Blake Knox, Sunday Independent , Long haul sponsored by Turkish AirlinesDara Flynn, Toronto, Sunday Times , Overall sponsored by Uniworld Rivercruise: Yvonne GordonWatch here Cormac Meehan’s speech at the event. Watch here tribute to Travel Extra founding editor Gerry O’Hare at the travel writer of the year awards.

Strange world

Japan Airlines launched a charter service that will allow dogs in the main cabin. This follows on from the pet-only airline that began to allow humans (when suitably supervised and housebroken, of course). Spirit Airlines allows pets in-cabin during certain flights (provided they are “harmless, inoffensive, odourless, and require no attention in-flight”- can we get the same rules for human passengers?) as do Turkish Airlines, and Porter Airlines.

A Spirit stewardess announcedYou guys are going to the Women’s March, right? Let’s get a round of applause for all the nasty women on board.  Stay safe, stay hydrated, have a good time, watch out for your fellow sisters. Just remember, we don’t take no ‘ish’ from no man

International

Foreign minister Charlie Flanagan introduced an enhanced on-line application tracking service for Irish passports, allowing applicants to a track progress of their application with a progress bar animation and a web-chat social media service.

Australia is to use facial recognition rather than passports to process arrivals by March 2019.

The US Embassy in Dublin has confirmed that a 90-day ban on people from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen is in operation at the US Immigration pre-clearance facility in Dublin and Shannon airports after an executive order by US President Donald Trump.

Mammoth has received a record-breaking 20.5 feet of snow this January and will stay open until July 4:

Caracas, Venezuela was named the most dangerous city in the world with 119.87 murders per 100,000 people, 3,946 altogether

Lanzarote opened Europe’s first underwater museum.

Food & Beverage

Pablo Picante has signed a long-term lease agreement to open its fourth restaurant at Aston Quay in March 2017.

Cava Gasto Pub opened on Tullow Street in Carlow

Lobstar lobster and steak bistro opened in Monkstown,

Lillie’s Bordello and Porterhouse Central recorded operating profits of €120,000.

Jerry Conlan bought the Globe Bar and nightclub for €3m.

Diageo sales are up 14.5pc to €6,421k  and 28pc to 2,065m.

Hotels

Harvey’s Point near Donegal town was named Ireland;s best hotel for the fifth successive year and tenth in Europe in the Tripadvisor reader’s choice awards.

Dalata are rebranding Clayton Hotel Burlington Road (formerly Double Tree Hilton Burlington Road); Clayton Hotel Limerick (formerly Clarion Hotel Limerick); Clayton Hotel Cork City (formerly Clarion Hotel Cork City); and the Clayton Hotel Sligo (formerly Clarion Hotel Sligo).

Donald Trump has resigned as director of Trump International Hotel in Doonbeg

Airbnb claimed it generated 403,500 inbound guests to Dublin spending €221m was €4,900.

Pat McDonagh, owner of Limerick’s Castletroy Park Hotel is to invest €9m and add 30 bedrooms.

Aviation

Ryanair launched new winter routes from Dublin to Tours 2w and Valencia 2w.

As of last week Etihad departures to Abu Dhabi from Dublin are from Terminal 1 and the airfcraft will leave the 300 gates.

Michael O’Leary said he expected Ryanair fares to fall 3pc in 2017.

Cityjet acquired Cimber from SAS.

survey by the Central Bank suggested Ireland now has 1,132 aviation leasing firms.

It will be mid 2018 before Emirates can bring their A380 to Dublin airport, Enda Corneille told the Eoghan Corry travel summit at the holiday world show in Dublin.

Norwegian leapfrogged Southwest as the first 737 Max operator.

AerCap said it expected more wide body deferrals. Aercap amended and extended two term loan facilities for the total amount of $2.25bn.

Avolon expanded its owned and managed fleet by 72pc% to 262 aircraft in 2016.

CityJet signed a conditional purchase agreement for six CRJ900 aircraft, and has taken options on another four.

CAR published the draft decision on the interim review of the 2014 determination of the maximum level of airport charges at Dublin airport.

I baked cupcakes to fund my pilot lessonsLisa Cusack shared her story.

Ryanair’s announced a new Luxemburg-Barcelona route. Routes from Germany wlil be announced in the first half of February and from Stansted in late February.

Unite members who work for BA’s Mixed Fleet operation are to strike for two sets of three days, between Sunday February 5 and Thursday February 9.

Afloat

Hurtigruten are to run another Northern nights charter rom Dublin direct to Tromso in 2018.

Star Clippers 300-passenger Flying Clipper will be delivered in the first quarter of 2018 instead of late 2017.

President of Holland America Line Orlando Ashford has just been elected chair of The Executive Leadership Council

Carnival Horizon will spend its first year in 2018 sailing from Barcelona, New York and Miami.

Beginning, past passengers sailing with Norwegian Cruise Line is to add two more tiers to its Latitudes Rewards loyalty programme from February 3.

Viking Cruises took delivery of Viking Sky, the third ship in the line’s new ocean fleet, from Fincantieri Shipyard in Ancona.

Ireland

Fáilte Ireland is to install ‘story panels’ along Wild Atlantic Way.

Westport House has been sold to the Hughes family who own Hotel Westport.

Deal Watch

Falcon offers: 7 nights half board 3* Lanzarote Village, Playa De Los Pocillos, Lanzarote from €599pps, depart May 29. 7 nights all inclusive 3* Catalonia Punta Del Rey, Las Caletillas, Tenerife from €479pps, depart February 18. 7 nights all inclusive 3* IFA Interclub Atlantic, San Augustin, Gran Canaria from €559pps, depart February 25. 7 nights self catering 3* Lanzarote Palm, Puerto Del Carmen, Lanzarote from €499pps, depart February 26. 7 nights all inclusive 3* Arena Beach, Fuerteventura from €719pps, depart February 7. 7 nights half board 3* Vistamar, Benalmedena, Costa Del Sol from €469pps, depart February 12. 7 nights half board 2* Ses Savines Hotel, San Antonio, Ibiza from €429pps, depart May 25. 7 nights half board 3* Lanzarote Paradise Club, Costa Teguise, Lanzarote from €389pps, depart May 29. 14 nights all inclusive 3* Holiday Inn Resort, Montego Bay, Jamaica from €1,439pps, depart June 8. 14 nights all inclusive 4* Grand Bahia Principe Coba, Riviera Maya, Mexico from €1,569pps, depart June 21. 10 nights all inclusive 4* Los Zocos, Costa Teguise, Lanzarote from €2,489 2+2, depart May 22. NRG offer: 7 nights self catering 3* Alexia, Rhodes Town from €559pps, depart May 31. Visit falconholidays.ie or call 1850 45 35 45.

Thomson offers: 4 nights half board Nerja Club Hotel, Costa Del Sol from €509pps, depart Cork February 9. 7 nights half board SBH Crystal Beach, Costa Calma, Fuerteventura from €899pps, depart February 11. 7 nights full board Canaria Flavours cruise on board Thomson Majesty from €949pps, depart February 18. 7 nights self catering Cay Beach Princess, Maspalomas, Gran Canaria from €399pps, depart March 4. 7 nights half board Hotel Barcelo Santiago, Pueto De Santiago, Tenerife from €669pps, depart March 3. 7 nights half board Hipotel Natura Palace, Playa Blanca, Lanzarote from €699pps, depart March 12. 7 nights self catering Silver Springs, Sunny Beach, Bulgaria from €389pps, depart May 22. 7 nights half board Fiesta Milord Hotel, San Antonio Bay, Ibiza from €469pps, depart May 25. 7 nights self catering Ourania Apartments, Gouves, Crete from €419pps, depart May 21. 14 nights all inclusive Riu Reggae, Montego Bay, Jamaica from €1,969pps, depart June 15. 14 nights all inclusive Riu Lupita, Playacar, Mexico from €1,509pps, depart June 7.

Topflight offers: 7 nights self catering 3* Residence Le Riviere, Chamonix, France from €569pps, depart February 11. 7 nights half board 3* Hotel Austria from €899pps, depart February 18. 7 nights self catering 3* Kolpinghaus Apartments, Kitzbuhel, Austria from €599pps, depart February 11. 7 nights self catering 2* Apartments Crest, Pas de la Casa, Andorra from €369pps, depart February 12. 7 nights half board 4* Hotel Euro Ski, Soldeu, Austria from €719pps, depart February 19. 7 nights self catering 3* Livgno Ski Apartments, Livgno, Italy from €469pps, depart February 11. 7 nights half board 4* Hotel Bristol, Sorrento from €1,099pps, depart April 9 or 16. Visit topflight.ie or call 01 240 1700.

Travel Department is offering 7 nights 4* full board river cruise along the River Rhône with port calls in Lyon, Tournus and Arles from €1,749pp incl. transfers, taxes, charges and excursions, depart September 30. Click here or call 01 637 1600.

What we learned

Noise envelopes. Apparently they are what airports put noise in and post it to your friends and relatives.

TRAVEL Extra’s Sunday Supplement: Dublin airport responds to pier pressure with 27m reasons to celebrate Christmas 2016

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

Reindeer in the snow at Kirkenes, northern Norway, photographed during a Hurtigruten cruise

  • Ex Diageo & Aviva marketeer to head up Bord Failte
  • Christmas comes early for Dublin airport
  • Len’s Christmas carol, the strkes that went away
  • Nollaig shona agus athbhliain faoi mhaise ar ár léitheoirí agus ár lucht leanúna go léi (which basically mean Happy Christmas & have a great new year)

Travel Extra TV

  • Happy Christmas and New Year from Travel Extra. Watch our faces of Irish travel video here.
  • Westjet’s Christmas video tells the story on Fort McMurray (watch here). Not a patch on the classic from 2013 with the guy who asked for socks for Christmas — 46m views and still going strong (watch here).
  • Aer Lingus’s home for Christmas video drummed up a lot of interest, racking up more than 44,000 views on YouTube. Watch here.
  • Have a poke around the Emirates A380 onboard lounge in the 360º video. Watch here.
  • Experience a 360º Uluru camel tour with Qantas. Watch here.
  • See the making of Lufthansa’s first A350 XWBWatch here.
  • Tourism NI posted a guide to 48 hours in BelfastWatch here
  • Aer Lingus reunited three families for Christmas. Watch here.
  • How not to sell economy class to passengers (watch here)
  • Boeing cargo aircraft overshot the runway in Colombia. Watch here
  • Aborted landing at Dublin airport. Watch here.
  • A human flying droneWatch here.

Behind the Headlines

The long overdue appointment of former Diageo and Aviva Marketeer Paul Kelly to head up Fáilte Ireland gives us an indication of the vision that feisty chairman Michael Cawley has for the former semi-state body.

Dublin Airport will be happy with the projection by Niall Gibbons of Tourism Ireland that inbound tourism will grow by just 1pc in 2017 after 10pc growth in 2016 (watch here. Despite the self-congratulatory release about having reached a record 27m customers this week and a projection of 83,000 passengers passing through the airport on Friday, (busier than any day at the airport between 2010 and 2015). With night works causing the cross-runway 16/34 while the main runway 10/28 undergoes construction works, waking up a whole new set of residents after dark (but offering amazing vistas over Drogheda and Layton was aircraft approach, watch here), the discussion on the parallel runway reopened with the Portmarnock residents raising the loudest objections, and complaints by the airlines about a shortage of wide body stands at peak take-off time across the Atlantic, the airport would like to see growth taper off for a while. In the meantime, they have applied for permission for another temporary pier to tide them over before the debate about Terminal 3 gets started.

The new pier, to be operational for summer 2017, will have capacity for nine narrow body aircraft with seven gates and a food and beverage outlet, located in front of the Aer Lingus cargo building. They also have planning for a new transfer hall, to be connected to T2 by bus. Passengers will walk to the aircraft, (as at the 200 gates). The facility will used for boarding during the first early morning wave of departures and for the last wave of arriving flights.  Mixed mode will be possible at off-peak times using swing gates to separate arriving and departing passenger flows.

Belfast International, whose CEO Graham Keddle called for much needed investment in approach roads in a piece in the Belfast Telegraph this week, will reach 5.1m passengers having passed 5m on Wednesday, up 16pc on 2015.  Belfast City will come around 2.8m, up 2pc, Cork around 2.3m, up 8pc, Shannon around 1.8m, up 4pc, Knock around 715,000, up 4.5pc, Kerry around 300,000 and Derry around 286,000.

The old Aer Lingus Gold Circle card is not of use as of Friday last, December 23, access to the Aer Lingus lounge at Dublin Airport is restricted to certain categories of Aerclub membership. “Confusion worse confounded” sums up the situation. It is the airline’s first major controversy of the IAG era as regular fliers, many of whom have taken regular transatlantic trips this year – found themselves in the lowest Green Tier of the new system, with no access to fast track security, lounges, priority boarding or even a physical loyalty card. The airline believes that the new scheme will be fairer to a broader range of customers, who can earn points by shopping in stores participating in the Avios scheme and rise through the tiers of the new scheme with regular flights on Aer Lingus from this point on. Expect the row to rumble on well into the new year.

Irish travel writers returned from Austria (mostly) intact last Sunday. To get the flavour of how Austria’s resorts are equipped to cope with a  snow-shy December watch here a frenetic ski to mid station in Westendorf (yes, that’s Catherine Murphy sweeping by and Laurence Mackin of the Irish Times crashing), watch here highlights from St Johannwatch here highlights from Kirchbergwatch here highlights from Westendorf, watch here the mannequin challenge in Westendorf and watch here the mannequin challenge Kirchberg. Watch here Hans ‘Sam’ Steinkasserer speaking about ski product in Kirchberg and the importance of snowmaking. Pictures shows Oskar Reisenbauer of St Johann tourism and Aileen Eglington in St Johann. See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.

Seven months after he took office, Minister Shane Ross’s 8,000-word strategy for the Department of Toursm and Transport 2016-9 prioritises Metro North, a new runway by 2020 and even mentions a third terminal at Dublin Airport. The strategy promises to support development of Dublin Airport as an international hub and Cork and Shannon Airports as regional gateways for business and tourism purposes.

Travel Trade

While hosting a group of agents at Club Med in Val d’Isere, Philiip Airey of Sunway ascended the scarey chair, the Leissieres lift ride to Le Fornet in the vast Espace Killy ski area, rated by some as the world’s scariest ski lift. Watch here. Tanya Airey is pictured sampling the Cub med hospitality. See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.

CSO figures show that outbound journeys from Ireland are up 5.84pc for the first nine months of the year to 5,484,000 from 5,181,300. Growth over the same 9-month period was at 10pc this time last year after three years of decline and three flat years. Outbound trips from Ireland in the first three quarters are still 8pc down on the peak year of 2008 and 15.9pc above the recessionary bottom of 2012.

Picture shows Hasan Mutlu who hosted the trade at Lansdowne Road during Leinster’s record win over Northampton.

From the ITAA: It was widely anticipated that the implementation of the new PTD Directive in Ireland, would get underway in 2016: stakeholders expected that by now, at the very least, a consultation would have been undertaken. Unfortunately, as the new year approaches, no information has been forthcoming from any official bodies in relation to the implementation process. At EU level, ECTAA is convening a PTD Workshop, in Brussels, during the first quarter of 2017. As a member of ECTAA, the ITAA will be participating in the PTD Workshop, along with other ECTAA members, representatives from the European Commission, the European Parliament, and Member States. If  members have any queries in this regard they should contacAnne Dolan.

  • Riviera Travel launched four new escorted tours for 2017/18: ‘The Heart of India by Luxury Train’, ‘Namibia’ ‘Northern Cyprus’, ‘Madeira, the Pearl of the Atlantic’, adding to the seven new tours previously announced for 2017.
  • Five agencies won €100 One4All vouchers in the Betabeds Christmas bonus scheme: O’Donohue Travel GoreyKilliney Travel, Skytours, 75 Talbot Street Branch, Dublin, Mc Guill Travel, Dundalk, and Donabate Travel.
  • Paddy Casey has been confirmed to join the 2017 Copper Face Jacks Ski Trip with Topflight.
  • Holiday World Show is running a travel writing competition among Transition Year Students. The winning entry will be published in Travel Extra.
  • Thomas Cook pulled its Egyptian plans ex Britain for 2017.

Strange world

A Canadian woman attempted to smuggle a cat in her handbag into Auckland.

  • A court ruled that airlines in India are to be fined 50,000 rupees if their planes release human poo from toilets in the air.
  • Delta Airlines says it’s looking into allegations of discrimination after a Youtube vlogger claimed he and a friend were removed from a flight departing from Heathrow airport for speaking Arabic. Watch here.

International

The number of visitors to New York city surpassed 60m for the first time and have reached 61.8m (13.1m international, 48.7m domestic), putting the city on course to overtake Orlando as America’s most visited city. Picture shows Tryphavana Cross, Tom Travers, Reginald Charlot and Mary Farrell at the 2016 Irish Travel Industry awards.

  • The Eiffel Tower reopened to the public after 5 days following union talks.
  • A Canadian tourist died and others were endangered in a siege at Karak Castle in the normally calm Jordan.
  • Pope Francis confirmed he is to visit Fatima for the centenary of the Apparitions of Fátima on May 12-13 2017.
  • Slideshow, If Mary and Joseph were to travel from Nazareth to Bethlehem today.
  • A 10 year old girl died of cardiac arrest on a fight that was diverted to Shannon.

Food & Beverage

Copper Face Jack’s reported pre-tax profits of €5m last year, up from €4.9m in 2014.

Hotels

Dalata announced it is to add 950 rooms to its owned and leased portfolio in its fourth quarter report. Dalata is to increase the bedrooms tally in Cork from 120 to 165 beds, on an existing part-developed hotel site on Lapps Quay between the historic 125-bed Imperial Hotel and the 191-bed Clayton (ex-Clarion) Hotel.

STR results to the end of November 2016 showing that RevPAR for the Dublin market has increased by 16.6pc for the 11 months to the end of November versus 2015. STR Global reported Dublin had a 3.7pc decline in occupancy to 78.3pc but a 3.8pc increase in ADR to €121.03. As a result, RevPAR was flat at EUR94.80. While this marked Dublin’s highest actual ADR for any November on record, demand declined 2.8pc compared with November 2015.

  • Belfast is to get a new hotel behind popular venues El Divino and The Albany in the former war memorial building on Waring Street in the city’s Cathedral Quarter.
  • Paddy McKillen Jnr and partner Matt Ryan have been refused planning permission by An Bord Pleanála for a four- to five-storey development comprising of 46 apartments, a gym, cafe, pub, restaurant and shopping centre on the site of Kiely’s pub in Dublin’s Mount Merrion.
  • Galway’s four-star Radisson Blu reported a €4.2m profit.
  • The Trump International Hotel Las Vegas agreed to recognise the unions to draw up a labour contract.

Aviation

Len McCluskey

BA’s mixed fleet cabin crew St Stephen’s Day strike has been called off. A pre-Christmas strike was called off at British airport ground handlers Swissport. Listen here to Eoghan Corry speaking about the strikes on RTE’s Morning Ireland.

Dublin Airport passed the 27 millionth passenger mark for the first time. November passengers are up 9pc, Europe up 9pc to 916,000, Britain up 8pc to 833,000, Transatlantic up 18pc to 194,000 and ME/Africa down 5pc to 54,000

Santry-based Stobart Air, the former Aer Arann and operator of the Aer Lingus Regional service, made a €483,000 profit, the first time since 2010 that the business made a profit. Aer Lingus Regional will carry a record 110,000 passengers in December. Knock reported a record Christmas at airport, but Cork and Shannon are stil short of their mid noughties peaks.Friday December 30 will see the airline’s highest volume of Christmas traffic. Stobart are to launch 12 new routes from Southend, operating through its franchise arrangement with Flybe, from May 2017, Budapest 3w,. Milan Malpensa 5w, Venice 2w. Further routes to Cologne 6w, Dubrovnik  2w, Figari Corsica 2w, Lyon 4w, Perpignan 2w, Prague 5w, Reus 3w, Vienna 3w and Zadar 2w will be added at a later date.

Falcon Holidays have cut their Montego Bay charter from six to three rotations next summer.

Stobart are to fly Cork-Newquay 2w from May, using the time slots for Cork-Jersey according to the on-line timetable.

Belfast City Airport has been bought by venture capital company 3i from EISER Global Infrastructure Fund for £100m. Ferrovia sold I to EISER for £132.5m in 2008 and Bombardier sold to Ferrovial for £43m in 2003.

The Aviation Industry Corporation of China has acquired Armagh-based Thompson Aero Seating. Thompson Aero, which supplies seating to which counts Aer Lingus, American Airlines and Qantas, grew turnover by 25pc to £64.9m in the 12 months to June.

Christine Ourmieres

Ex Cityjet CEO Christine Ourmieres-Widener will become new CEO of Flybe on January 16 in succession to Saad Hammad.

Willie Walsh says IAG is to base 2 A330s in Barcelona from June to operate low cost long-haul services, either under a new brand, Aer Lingus, British Airways, or Iberia but definitely not Vueling which will remain short-haul. Initially 3 or 4 destinations could be served with Los Angeles, San Francisco, Buenos Aires, Havana, Santiago de Chile and Tokyo listed as candidates.

A survey by Which magazine rated Swiss best and Aer Lingus 4th of short haul airlines serving England, and Ryanair worst of short-haul airlines. The annual survey used to draw an angry riposte from Ryanair who were more reticent this year. Must be the Christmas or the AGB spirit or both.

Donegal, Kerry, Knock and Waterford airports got €2.77m in state funds. Recent grants to Waterford were contingent on it securing a regular operator but the condition is not mentioned.

The European Court of Justice ruled that Aer Lingus and Ryanair must pay back taxes of €16m.

James Hogan, Etihad chief executiveEtihad Airways, citing “an increasingly competitive landscape,’ said it is cutting down its workforce as part of a restructuring scheme without indicating how many people will be laid off. Etihad’s staffing almost tripled to 20,292 in the past eight years, as its fleet expanded to 122 aircraft from 42. It employs 26,769 when including subsidiaries and employees abroad. The airline has lost $2.5bn in its purchase strategy, including, for a time a stake in Aer Lingus.

Despite fears for the 25-minute turnaround at a high security airport, Tel Aviv becomes a new Ryanair destination from March with a daily flight from Paphos, serving Israeli tourists to Cyprus.

  • Shannon Airport is confident of increased growth in 2017 after announcing four new airlines in 2017, Kuwait, SAS, Lufthansa and Norwegian, the first time in over ten years that number of announcements has been made over a twelve month period.
  • City of Derry airport launched a new website.
  • East Midlands Airport avoided a multi-million-pound price-fix fine.
  • American Airlines has won its long running antitrust lawsuit against Sabre Corp.
  • Knock will process 30,000 passengers over Christmas.
  • AerCap named Peter Juhas as CFO.
  • Aer Arann was awarded the awarded PSO tender for Aran island flights
  • Dublin airport’s lost pup found a new home.

Afloat

Ferry services to Inis Mór will continue after January 4 after a row over passenger charges was sorted out.  Half of the company’s €500,000 debt to the council will be written off, not counting upwards of €450,000 in court costs.

Storm Barbara caused the cancellation of three Irish Ferries rotations

Luxury river cruise line Uniworld is to launch a new brand U by Uniworld, designed for ages 18 to 40, and two 116-passenger ships, River Baroness and River Ambassador, to have a more contemporary look and feel.

Cruise Lines International Association forecasting 25.3m people will take a cruise in 2017, supported by the addition of 26 new vessels on oceans and rivers and new itineraries.

Ireland

In all 74 companies and initiatives were shortlisted for the Irish tourism industry awards next February.

Fáilte Ireland reported that they hosted 1,000 representatives from print, broadcast and online channels in 2016, co-ordinating 400 itineraries with 4,000 Irish businesses across the country. The press trip highlight of the year was a visit to Skellig Michael by internaitional travel media. Picture shows Ben Groundwater from Australia and Riana Andrews on Skellig Michael.

CSO figures indicated that Ireland’s North American arrivals are up 18pc to November.

Failte Ireland’s new chief Paul Kelly is likely to be a very different CEO from his predecessors Jerry Dempsey, Tim O’Driscoll, Eamonn Ceannt, Joe Malone, Michael McNulty, Martin Dully, Matt McNulty, John Dully, Niall Reddy (acting) and Shaun Quinn.  Frank Corr looks back at Paul Kelly’s predecessors as Directors of Bord Fáilte and Fáilte Ireland. See more from the Tim O’Driscoll family photo archive here.

Airbnb said 10,000 people will visit Ireland on New Year’s Eve .

The CSO published its analysis of the impact of Brexit, including a substantial travel and tourism section.

Deal Watch

Sunway offers: 7 nights self catering 2* Intouriste Apartments, Morocco from €199pp, travel January.  7 nights self catering 3* Oasis Dunas Apartments, Fuerteventura from €299pp, travel January. 7 nights self catering 2* Monte Verde Apartments, Gran Canaria from €299pp, travel January.  7 nights self catering 2* Puerto Carmen Apartments, Lanzarote from €299pp, travel January. 7 nights all inclusive ski package at Club Med Val d’Isere, France from €1,950pp, depart January 8 2017. Visit sunway.ie or call 01 231 1800.

Thomson offers: 7 nights half board Hotel Belvedere, Salou, Costa Dorarda from €469pps, depart Cork May 28 2017. 7 nights self catering Cay Beach Princess Bungalows, Mapalomas, Gran Canaria from €489pps, depart January 14 2017. 7 nights half board Barcelo Santiago, Puerto De Santiago, Tenerife from €589pps, depart January 27 2017. 7 nights all inclusive Clubhotel Riu Paraiso Lanzarote from €679pps, depart January 22 2017. 7 nights half board Hotel Belvedere, Salou, Costa Dorada from €469pps, depart Cork May 28 2017. 7 nights self catering Bitacora Club, Puerto Del Carmen, Lanzarote from €439pps, depart Shannon May 29 2017. 14 nights all inclusive Riu Montego Bay, Jamaica from €1,759pps, depart June 8 2017. 14 nights all inclusive Ocean Maya Royale, Riviera Maya, Mexico form €1,829pps, depart June 28 2017.

Falcon offers: 7 nights all inclusive 4* TUI Magic Life, Marmari Palace, Kos from €2,159 2+1, from €3,489 2+2, depart June 3 2017. 7 nights half board 4* Hotel Florida, Puengirola, Costa Del Sol from €749pp, depart Cork December 29. 7 nights self catering 4* Cay Beach Caleta, Costa Caleta, Fuerteventura from €619pp, depart January 10 2017. 7 nights all inclusive 3* El Duque Aparthotel, Costa Adeje, Tenerife from €499pp, depart January 13 2017. 7 nights self catering 3* Monte Feliz, Bahia Feliz, Gran Canaria from €299pp, depart January 28 2017. 7 nights self catering 2* San Marcial, Matagorda, Lanzarote from €439pp, depart February 5 2017. 7 nights all inclusive 3* Laguna Park, Sunny Beach, Bulgaria from €479pp, depart May 29 2017. 7 nights self catering Laguna Park II, Playa De Las Americas, Tenerife from €379pp, depart May 29 2017.14 nights all inclusive 3* Holiday Inn, Montego Bay, Jamaica from €1,389pp, depart June 8 2017. 14 nights all inclusive 4* Grand Bahia Principe Coba, Riviera Maya, Mexico from €1,589pp, depart June 7 2017. Visit falconholidays.ie or call 1850 45 35 45.

Tour America offers: 10 nights Caribbean cruise on board Norwegian Epic from €1,199pp incl. 3 nights pre hotel stay in Orlando, car hire for port transfers, depart February 1 2017. 7 nights Arab Emirates cruise on board MSC Fantasia from €1,169pp, depart March 18 2017. 7 nights the Avanti Resorts, Orlando from €579pp incl. return flights, depart June 6 2017. 3 nights the Roosevelt Hotel, New York from €669pp incl. return flights, depart February 16 2017. 4 nights the Excalibur Hotel, Las Vegas from €669pp incl. return flights, depart March 2 2017. Visit touramerica.ie.

TDactive Holidays is offering 14 nights Thailand adventure from €2,549pp incl. select meals, hotel accommodation, excursions and transfers, depart November 1 2017.

ITAA offers: 7 nights 4* Marseilles Hotel, Miami from €949pps incl. private transfers, return flights, travel September 2017. 7 nights family camping at 3* Bi Village Campsite Croatia from €1,620 2+2 incl. airport transfers and 2 bedroom bellini mobile home, depart June 8 2017. 11 days Costa Rica from €3,070pp incl. return flights, accommodation, select meals and tour manager, travel between February and November 2017.

Tourism NI offers: 1 night B&B Lough Erne Resort & Spa, Co Fermanagh from £199pps incl. sparkling tasting menu in The Catalina Restaurant followed by champagne, valid December 31, call 028 (66) 323230. 2 nights B&B Bishop’s Gate Hotel, Derry from £135pps incl. dinner in the Gown Restaurant on one evening, walking tour of Derry city and a visit to the Tower Museum or the Siege Museum, valid until December 31, call 028 (71) 140300. 1 night B&B Bayview Hotel, Co Antrim from £65pps incl. Irish coffee or hot chocolate on arrival, four-course table d’hote dinner and voucher for Bushmills Distiller, stay Sunday to Thursday nights, call 028 (20) 734100.

See travelextra.tv for more video.

Email editor@travelextra.ie to have your say or it is @TravelExtraIre on Twitter if that’s your bag.

TRAVEL Extra’s Sunday Supplement: Cityjet calls quits on Stobart deal & agents go to the Hartford of the action

Irish travel agents on the Aer Lingus fam trip to Hartford Connecticut tour Yale university

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

  • Cityjet calls off 80m Stobart takeover
  • Daily Dublin-Doha from Qatar starts June 12
  • Aer Lingus showcases Hartford CT to the trade
  • Bookabed sales 30pc ahead of last year
  • Turkish take agents to the Garden of Eden
  • Qantas to fly direct London to Perth 17 hour flight
  • Fake US embassy closed after issuing visas for 10 years

Travel Extra TV

Video of the week: Behind the scenes at Airbus showcase of its new line of jetliners, complete with a flight formation of an A320neo, A330-200, A350-900 and A380 aircraft. Watch here.

  • Madison House Autism Foundation shares the challenges of what it is like to travel when you have autismWatch here.
  • Matsue Vogelpark in Shimane, Japan had a Christmas party for penguinsWatch here.
  • father and daughter got up close and personal with a grizzly bear sow and cubs. Watch here.
  • This seal was in an affectionate mood with these divers at Port Lobos, California. Watch here.
  • On board Qatar Airways’ inaugural Doha to Krabi, Thailand flight. Watch here.
  • Emirates posted a video to showcase its Christmas menuWatch here.
  • See this timelapse of Jet Aviation St Louis giving this Bombardier Global 5000 a makeover. Watch here.
  • Have a 360º peak around SAS’ A320neoWatch here.
  • Finnair jumps on the tearjerker Christmas ad bandwagonWatch here.

Behind the Headlines

If therein ever a livelier agents fam trip, Travel Extra would like to sign up. The eight participants in the Aer Lingus educational to Hartford Connecticut topped off their four day trip with an impressive mannequin challenge at New England Air Museum (watch here).

The seven hour flight and arrival at Bradley International airport and on to the Marriott Hartford Downtown Aer Lingus fam trip to Hartford the flight (watch here) was followed by a concert by Al “year of the Cat” Stewart, an enchanting snow spilled visit to Winvian resort, a tour of Yale university, shopping in Clinton Crossing Outlets and a visit to Madison village, which had the Irish flag flying in their honour and Madison Beach Hotel (watch here), a visit to Mystic Seaport and Mystic’s aquarium, Foxwoods casino resort and Tanger Outlet Shopping followed by dinner and overnight accommodations in the Mohegan Sun (watch here), visits to Wadsworth Atheneum and Mark Twain house museum, Simsbury Inn, the New England Air Museum and Sheraton Bradley Hotel (watch here). Picture shows Laura Barber, Laura Burke and Shirley Webster take a selfie at Mystic aquarium

The generous hosts organised by Sue Henrique for the group included Kim Beal of the Mark Twain centre (watch interview  here), Ed Crowley of Stony Creek Brewery (watch here), Kevin Dillon of Brafley Hartford Airport (watch here), Jan Massee of Simsbury Inn (watch here), John Mathers of Madison Beach resort (watch here), Robin McHill of Downtown Marriott in Hartford, (watch here), Paolo Middei GM of Wimviam resort (watch here), Rita Rivero of Mystic country (watch here), Sarah Spencer of Mystic Seaport (watch here) and Andrew Wood of Mystic Aquarium (watch here). Most enjoyable night fo the enjoyable trip was the evening in Madison beach resort hosted by John Mather (pictured), his wife Melissa, and the Mayor of Madison who was treated to a rendition of the Politician’s Song and some impromptu Irish dancing by the participants. And yes the parting glass was sung.

Picture shows the group with a playful Beluga whale who splashed them at Mystic aquarium: Chris Clingan of American Holidays, Teresa Ginnell of WTC Selective Travel, Emma Crowe of Bookabed, Shirley Webster of Cassidy Travel, Ian Collins of Strand Travel, Jenny Rafter of Aer Lingus, Susan Henrique of Connecticut Tourism and (front row) Laura Burke of Budget Travel, Laura Barber of Shandon Travel and Ivan Beacom of Aer Lingus. See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.

Lee Osborne of Bookabed and Holly Best of Virgin Atlantic hosted a thank you briefing for the trade in The Residence in Dublin. Lee Osborne (Watch here) reported  that Bookabed was up 35pc year on year. The Irish owned Geneva headquartered bedbank hoped to roll out more destinations and more accommodation in 2017. Adam McKnight formerly of A2B has joined as international business development looking on xml long-ins. Lee told agents that this was one of the years when supply outstripped demand in the sector. See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.

Antonio Padeira of Portugal’s tourism board updated media in Dublin that tourism numbers are back to pre-crash levels and tour operators are booking bed banks earlier for next year’s peak season due to a shortage of hotel beds. Irish visitor numbers hit 260,000 for the first three-quarters of 2016. See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.

Alan Sparling, GSA for SAS in Ireland, stepped down as local chair of Star Alliance at the aviation alliance’s seventh annual agent’s Christmas thank you event in Dublin (Watch here video of event). Dublin’s status as a separate Star Alliance entity will end with his departure, as London chair Bob Schumacher of United will assume the role from now on. Keynote sponsors of the event was Shannon Airport, ably represented by Declan Power and Isabel Harrison. Star commenced with seven airlines in 1997 and now was 28 members. Bob Schumacher told agents that reports of the demise of the airline alliances were premature (Watch here). Alan Sparling (watch here) said Star’s aviation partners have expanded capacity out of Ireland every year of the seven years of the annual event: Every single premium booking you give to the Star Alliance helps us to grow and develop in this market and there is no doubt that 2017 is a testimony to the support we get from the trade:

  • Aegean are back increasing season and growing to 3w Dublin to Athens.
  • Air Canada, represented nowadays by Bláithín O’Donnell will have 14w, 11 to Toronto and 3 to Vancouver
  • Ethiopian increase to 4w to Addis and Los Anegles (“actually you can say it is eight frequencies” Alan said.)
  • Lufthansa have 55w from Ireland with an average of 150 seats each, Frankfurt 21w, Munich up to 13w and Shannon-Frankfurt, with Swiss offering Dublin-Zurich 8w, Dublin-Geneva 5w and Cork-Zurich 2w, and Brussels Airlines Belfast to Brussels 5w.
  • Scandinavian Dublin to Stockholm, Copenhagen and Oslo 25w and a new Shannon-Stockholm rooute.
  • Turkish with new country manager Hasan Mutlu continue two daily with connections to 300 destinations, Caracas, Phuket and Havana most recently added.
  • United have double daily Dublin-Newark, daily Dublin-Chicago, daily Dublin-Washington, daily Shannon-Newark and daily Shannon-Chicago.

Picture shows airline managers at the event Bob Schumacher of United, Bláithín O’Donnell of Air Canada, Helen Fyfe of Lufthansa, Pat Reede of United, Hasan Mutlu of Turkish Airlines and Alan Sparling of SAS. Watch here Cormac Meehan President of the ITAA thanking Star Alliance on behalf of the trade. See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.

Fam Trip of the year? Onur Gul of Turkish Airlines led a delegation of hardy souls through the Seychelles to the Garden of Eden. The group stayed at Constance Ephelia Resort, Coco De Mer hotel and Constance Lemuria Resort, and visited Praslin (Seychelles’ second UNESCO World Heritage Site), the Vallee De Mai with its 6,000 Coco-de-mer trees, La Digue island and its signature Anse Source d’Argent (reputed to be the most photographed beach in the world), the capital Mahe and its clock tower, and CaranaBeach. Dining experiences included Bonbon Plume and Bravo Restaurant. Elaborate selfie incudes Roisín Carbery from Tropical Sky, Jennifer O’Brien of Travel Counsellors, Onur Gul of Turkish Airlines, Siobhan Emma Doyle of Trailfinders, Sonya Walsh of World Travel Center and Usha Panicker of Club Travel. Watch here interview with Tinaz Wadia of Seychelles Tourism. Watch here Hasan Mutlu, Director of Turkish Airlines in Dublin. See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.

Travel Trade

Connecticut’s sales mission, led by Sue Henrique, was attended by 36 travel agents at the Westbury Hotel on Friday. Winner of the Aer Lingus flights to Hartford was Gillian Lynch of Budget Travel. Picture shows Gillian receiving here award from Dermot Lee, Ivan Beacom and Jenny Rafter of Aer Lingus. Watch here Connecticut roadshow event and prize giving. See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.

Sunway’s weekly charters to Alghero, Malaga and Palma from June 3 will use Cityjet’s Superjet SS-100. According to Philip Airey of Sunway the arrival fo the 100-seat aircraft on the Irish charter market has brought down prices and made routes more manageable, rather than the 180-seat alternative.

Nicola Quigley from O’Hanrahan travel became the third finalist from Ulster in the Blue Insurances competition to win a Volkwagen Polo. Every five Blue Insurances policies sold each month automatically generates an entry in the monthly draw. Blue Insurances reminds agents to have their own unique login to make bookings count for their monthly draw. Nicola follows previous finalists Angela Taylor from Oasis TravelHelena Kilduff from Skytours, Rose Kane from Kanes Travel in Longford, Claire Mulligan from Clubworld Travel, Mandy Walsh of Travel Counsellors, Rita Gaughan from Limerick Travel, and Kate McGillycuddy from Abbey Travel in Killarney.

Stuart Leven and Ben Bouldin were both promoted by Royal Caribbean, Stuart to head up Europe and the Middle East and Ben to head up the London office.

The seven member Travel Partners Group will announce the winners for its eight-week agents’ competition on its Facebook page on Friday December 23rd. Weekly entrants are put into a draw for the Grand Prize of an adventure weekend in Iceland sponsored by Obeo Travel. Agents can like a previous post to get their name into the Grand Prize draw.

  • CWT said corporations could reduce travel over-spend by up to 15pc by enforcing existing corporate travel policies.
  • Travel Counsellors was named Growing Business of the Year at the 2016 Amazon Growing Business Awards.
  • Cruise co headed up in Ireland by Elaine O’Brien (email) is seeking homeworkers and offering a basic salary of €24,000 plus commission package and regular incentive schemes.
  • Flight Centre Business Travel is seeking a business travel consultant (email).
  • Watch here American Airlines event to update and thank the the travel trade in Dublin
  • Ryanair sued Google and eDreams over web search issues.

Strange world

A fake US embassy in Ghana was shut down after issuing visas for 10 years. Turkish and Ghanaian organized crime rings operated the faux embassy, where they issued US $6,000 fraudulently obtained legitimate and counterfeit visas and ID documents to people from across West Africa

  • Hawaii got 3ft of snow
  • A counting error caused a Thomas Cook flight diversion
  • Rome banned gladiators and rickshaws from tourist locations
  • A 57-year-old American Airlines senior air stewardess was arrested after being found eight times the alcohol limit while giving a pre-flight safety demonstration
  • Thick fog causes travel chaos in Dubai and contributed to some amazing pictures
  • An English spa firm won a battle over word Titanic in hotel name
  • Southwest Airlines aircraft made an emergency landing in Charleston, South Carolina, after a baby was born durng the flight.

International

Irish passport applications from the north are up a third to 33,000.

Ireland and US agreed to extend the J1 visa programme for another three year, although fears ingered that it might be cancelled by president-elect Trump.

The warmest November on record has left ski resorts hanging on to the remnants of their earlier snowfalls. In Austria, some of the slopes are becoming patchy in places, and the lower runs are dependant on an artificial base.  In Italy and Switzerland the best skiing is available at higher altitude.   No snow is forecast in France for the foreseeable The best skiing in France is still to be found in the Southern Alps. The Pyrenees are offering a fair amount of skiing with fantastic views.

Food & Beverage

Five Irish restaurants were included in the top 1,00 in the La Liste Outstanding Restaurants 2017 Guide. JP McMahon’s Aniar in Galway, The Cliff House in Ardmore, Co Waterford, Marlfield House in Gorey Wexford, and The Ross in Killarney.

The inaugural Northern Ireland Year of Food and Drink Awards will have eight categories, including Best Food Event or Festival; Best Local Market; Best Tours and Trails; Best Marketing Achievement; Best Food Innovation; Best Food Story; Roots to Market; and Growing for the Future, with winners to be announced February 2.

The Food Safety Authority of Ireland served four Enforcement Orders on food businesses during November, closure Orders on Roma Grill (take-away in Boyle and Clonark bakery) in, Athlone, Kebab Zone (take-away in Ballindine, and a prohibition order on Salius Milasius (retailer) in Edgeworthstown.

Yesterday Saturday December 10 was the busiest night for restaurants on the Christmas party circuit. A survey by OpenTable revealed 40pc of Irish adults plan to dine out at least once a week over the Christmas period with 51pc preferring traditional Irish dishes, 14pc Chinese and 13pc Italian.

Bernard Walsh, Chairman of the Irish Whiskey Association and Minister for Agriculture Michael Creed, launched an Irish Whiskey Tourism Strategy with the aim of overtaking Scotland to make Ireland the world leader in whiskey tourism by 2030 and increase the 653,277 tourists who visit an Irish whiskey distillery each year to 1.9m. Walsh said excise rates mean that a bottle of Irish whiskey that costs €42 in Ireland, costs just €27 in the US and said that new proposals under the Public Health Alcohol Bill will restrict the new entrants and smaller distillers.

  • Tom Cleary’s Temple Bar pub in Dublin has appealed to An Bord Pleanála against Dublin City Council’s decision that planning permission is needed to carry out work on its beer garden.
  • James Quincey is to become the new CEO of Coca-Cola in succession to Muhtar Kent.
  • Heineken Ireland appointed Radina Shkutova new MD from the Heineken Zagorka Brewery in Bulgaria.
  • Healthyireland.ie launched their new food pyramid and guidelines on serving size and dietary variations, recommending lean meats over processed meats.
  • David Boyd-Armstrong’s Rademon Estate Distillery in Downpatrick released a new batch of Shortcross Cask Aged Gin.

Hotels

STR Global said average Saturday night occupancy in Dublin during the past 12 months was 89.6pc and overall occupancy was a record 82pc. RevPAR is up to 23pc.

Planning permission was sought for three new hotels in Dublin with a total of 248 rooms, a four-star, 136-bedroom, seven-storey hotel on 21 Ship Street, Dublin 8 with a bar, restaurant, gym, and 5,699sqm meeting space, a €40m 95-bedroom boutique hotel in the former Loreto Hall on 77 Stephen’s Green with a restaurant and spa treatment centre on the ground floor and hotel bar and function room on the first floor, and a 17-bedroom hotel on 72 Abbey Street with reception and dining space and rooftop penthouse suite with a terrace facing North Lotts, sought by Weiyu Wu.

CBRE said there were 55 Irish hotel sales worth €7010m in 2016, down from 63 properties worth €710m in 2015. They were led by the sale of the former Burlington Hotel for €180m and the Gresham Hotel bought by Spain’s Riu Hotel Group for €92m.

Clare County council revealed at a public meeting that the wall plan at Donald Trump‘s Doonbeg resort has been abandoned. Trump’s company shelved plans to construct defences about 2.8km k long at his golf resort in Doonbeg. Michael O’Sullivan, responsible for coastal protection at the Doonbeg resort, said the barrier is not a wall, ” “Our concern was that the full protection scheme would have taken too long to push through the planning process.”

  • A €2m investment was revealed for the Cork Clayton hotel
  • Richard Branson was reported to  considering a bid for the Central Bank site to bhuild a five star hotel.
  • Slieve Russell Hotel returned to profit
  • Mount Juliet Hotel pre-tax lossesdropped to €1.9m.
  • The world’s largest hotel is turning 30 with suggestions is might actually open for the first time
  • Profits reached €430,000 at Bono and Edge’s Clarence Hotel.
  • The Cosmopolitan Las Vegas was the most instagrammed hotel in 2016.

Aviation

Qatar’s service from Dublin to Doha, first revealed by Travel Extra, will commence June 12 with staggered morning and afternoon flight times to suit transfer destinations such as newly added Krabi and the lucrative Sydney route. Outbound from Dublin QR20 is at 8.50 on Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday and 15:25 on Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Sunday, return QR19 at 01:25 on Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday and 07:20 on Monday, Wednesday, Friday and  Sunday. Arrival times in Doha are 18:05 and 00:40, arrivals in Dublin at 07:25 and 13:20.

CityJet chairman and CEO Pat Byrne said CityJet would move on to other initiatives having called off the 80m acquisition of Stobart, including the acquisition of another European regional airline and a major wet lease deal.

Aer Lingus Gold Circle members who do not qualify under the new Aerclub four-tier structure are to lose their lounge access on December 23rd.

Lufthansa are to increase Dublin-Munich from daily to 13w from March. Andreas Koster, new three-country manager for the airline, based in London, told journalists in Dublin that 80pc of passengers on the route were inbound to Ireland. Prominent transfer destinations include Beijing, Shanghai and Tokyo in the Far East, and Moscow, Sofia and Belgrade in Eastern Europe. Lufthansa faces competition from Aer Lingus, Ryanair and Transavia on the route.

United are not to use a Dreamliner as originally scheduled during a cross-over period next spring. The schedule would have offered Ireland’s only first class trans-Atlantic service albeit for a period of ten days.

  • Kuwait’s Shannon transit serve is to go daily from December 18th. Passengers pre-clear for USA at Shannon.
  • Qantas are to operate non-stop London to Perth 14,498km 17-hour flights from March 2018
  • Stobart say they are to add up to 18 destinations from Southend airport.
  • Cork’s Flybe Cardiff route is down to 1w from June.
  • In the wake of the Chapecoense plane crash, the head of the airline was arrested.
  • Coinnicidence? Norwegian NAI permit came exactly three years after it first applied (December 2, 2013). There was much speculation about where flights to the Boston and New York region (rather than airport) might be destined, anyone for Rhode Island?
  • Aer Lingus passenger traffic in November was up 16.3% with a passenger load factor of 79.5%, up 2.1 percentage points
  • Stephen Kavanagh told an Aer Lingus conference call we do not have that level of demand that justified the reinstatement of  (premium short-haul, but we are looking at something like Vueling has done with the centre seat free in the first number of rows.
  • Ryanair November passenger numbers are now at summer 2013 levels. Passenger numbers are up 15pc to 8.8m, load factor up 2pc to 95pc and rolling annual traffic to Nov up 16pc to 115.5m.
  • Dublin announced a data scientist approach to travel hackathons
  • President elect Trump wiped $1bn off Boeing‘s stock market value with one tweet Boeing is building a brand new 747 Air Force One for future presidents, but costs are out of control, more than $4 billion. Cancel order!, but the White House said he had got it wrong: the deal is only worth $170, exaggerated by a factor of 23.
  • Padraig Ó Céidigh doubled his Stobart Air stake to 10pc
  • IAG criticised Government for Chinese visa delay
  • An airline’s amusing response to a customer complaint about in-flight service went viral
  • Passengers who book United Airlines lowest-priced basic economy seat in mid-2017 will not even get space in an overhead bin.

Afloat

Holland America, Cunard Line and P&O Cruises cancelled all 2017 Calls to Turkey

RCCL’s Royal Caribbean and Azamara brands and all three NCL brands, Norwegian, Oceania and Regent Seven Seas are to feature Cuba from spring 2017 offering shore excursions in compliance with US regulations, focusing on Cuban culture, art and history. Pearl Seas’ Pearl Mist will also offer 11 10-night Cuba cruises, roundtrip from Fort Lauderdale. Celestyal Cruises is to offer cruises to Cuba year-round.

Carnival has raised its prices for bottled water for the second time this year to $4.50 (plus gratuity if ordered on board), having banned passengers from bringing their own bottles on board since July 2015

  • CMV’s 800-passenger Marco Polo will offer a series of itineraries from Cardiff in 2017, including Norwegian Fjords and Spain, Portugal & France voyages; plus a special summer Gardens & River Seine cruise from the port.
  • CLIA said three quarters of travel agents say cruise spending is on the rise
  • Carnival launched a new agent campaign features a new loyalty rewards scheme, online training programme and a chance for 15 top selling agents across Britain and Ireland to win a trip to Ibiza next summer.
  • Hapag-Lloyd Cruises said 184-passenger expedition ship MS Hanseatic will remain in its fleet for an extra six months  until the end of September 2018.
  • Celebrity Cruises introduced an agent loyalty programme.

Ireland

Local festivals and events can now apply for funding under Fáilte ireland’s regional festivals programme. Last year the fund allocated €690k to support 205 events across the country. Evaluation criteria can be found here and applications must now be made online through Fáilte Ireland’s Trade Portal which can be accessed from www.failteireland.ie.

Brian Ambrose of Belfast City Airport and outgoing Chairman of Tourism Ireland fired a riposte back at Graham Keddle of Belfast International airport as he  passed over the reins of Chair to Joan O’Shaughnessy (pictured): “Since I became Chair, the board’s strategy has contributed to a 34pc increase in overseas visitors, 2016 will be another record year with almost 2.1 million international visitors to Northern Ireland, with revenue generated expected to be £527m. Those are figures of which any organisation would be justifiably proud and are recognised by the tourism and hospitality sector in Northern Ireland. This remarkable growth in Northern Ireland has kept pace with the growth in Republic of Ireland, this despite a 9pc VAT rate on tourism businesses and zero air passenger duty.”  The rival airport CEO had demanded that Tourism Ireland should adopt a policy to bring visitors to the island through Belfast rather than Dublin. Tourism Ireland aims to grow overseas tourism revenue by 4.5pc in  2017

Picture shows Eoghan O’Mara Walsh of Irish Tourist Industry Confederation, Finola O’Mahony of Tourism Ireland; Mylène Campalto of Abbey Ireland Group; and Monica MacLaverty of Tourism Ireland, at the Paris launch of Tourism Ireland’s marketing plans for 2017, attended by 50 French tour operators, travel agents and travel journalists and addressed by Irish Ambassador to France, Geraldine Byrne Nason.

Game of Thrones Dark Hedges in Antrim was voted one of world’s most beautiful places.

Irish Hotels’ Federation President, Joe Dolan, spoke of the problem of regionality and seasonality at the  AIB Let’s Talk Tourism event in the five-star Muckross Park Hotel in Killarney.  The 20 guest speakers including Trinity College Professor of Finance, Brian Lucey, Dalata Hotel Group chief Pat McCann, MEP Sean Kelly, Kerry TDs Michael Healy-Rae and Brendan Griffin and Chief Executive of the Irish Tourist Industry Confederation, Eoghan O’Mara Walsh.  On the Saturday the forum transferred to Dingle where the progress made in the town in terms of tourism was explored prior to A Taste of Kerry lunch at which Bridgestone Guide author John McKenna was the keynote speaker. Watch here Joe Dolan speaking on seasonality.

Sad news, Joe Malone, 1930 –2016, formerly of Bord Fáilte, has died.

An AA survey of 9,000 people showed 25.41pc plan on leaving the state for the purpose of Christmas shopping, 12pc in the north and 5.33pc in Britain. Clothes, alcohol, and food or groceries topped the shopping list for those leaving shopping outside the state.

Deal Watch

Falcon offers: 7 nights self catering 2* Playa Sol Apartments, Es Cana, Ibiza from €449pps, depart May 28 2017. 4 nights half board 3* Nerja Club Hotel, Nerja, Costa Del Sol from €499pps, depart Cork December 18. 7 nights all inclusive 4* Be Live Costa Los Gigantes, Playa de la Arena, Tenerife from €1,129pps, depart December 23. 7 nights half board 4* Hotel H10 Playa Meloneras Palace, Meloneras, Gran Canaria from €1,629pps, depart December 24. 7 nights all inclusive 3* Catalonia Punta Del Rey, Las Caletillas, Tenerife from €399pps, depart January 13 2017. 7 nights all inclusive 2* IFA Interclub Atlantic, San Agustin, Gran Canaria from €499pps, depart January 14 2017. 7 nights self catering 2* San Marcial Apartments, Matagorda, Lanzarote from €429pps, depart January 29 2017. 7 nights self catering 2* Emerald Studios, Rhodes from €459pps, depart May 24 2017. 14 nights all inclusive 3* Holiday Inn Resort, Montego Bay, Jamaica from €1,489pps, depart June 8 2017. 14 nights all inclusive 4* Grand Bahia Principe Coba, Riviera Maya, Mexico from €1,749pps, depart June 28 2017. Visit falconholidays.ie or call 1850 45 35 45.

Thomson offers: 7 nights half board 5* Riu Palace Tenerife, Costa Adeje, Tenerife from €1,049pp, depart January 13 2017. 7 nights self catering 3* Cay Beach Princess, Maspalomas, Gran Canaria from €439pp, depart January 21 2017. 7 nights all inclusive 4* ClubHotel Riu Lanzarote, Playa De Los Pocillos, Lanzarote from €699pp, depart January 15 2017. 7 nights self catering 4* Villa Mandi, Playa De Las Americas, Tenerife from €499pp, depart January 27 2017. 7 nights all inclusive 4* ClubHotel Riu Papayas, Playa Del Ingles, Gran Canaria from €629pp, depart January 28 2017. 7 nights all inclusive 4* ClubHotel Riu Lanzarote, Playa De Los Pocillos, Lanzarote from €699pp, depart January 8 2017. 14 nights all inclusive 4* ClubHotel Riu Ochos Rios, Jamaica from €1,699pp, depart June 8 2017. 14 nights all inclusive 3* Riu Lupita, Playacar, Mexico from €1,499pp, depart June 7 2017. 7 nights full board Aegean Shores cruise on board Thomson Majesty from €1,139pp, depart May 30 2017. 4 nights self catering 4* Riu Moncia Hotel, Costa Del Sol from €499pp, depart December 18. 7 nights half board 4* SBH Crystal Beach, Esfucs, Fuerteventura from €849pp, depart December 17. Visit thomsonholidays.ie or call 1850 45 35 45.

TDactive is offering 15 nights South Africa tour from €2,849pp incl. return flights, 4* B&B hotel accommodation, select meals, domestic flights, excursions, transfers, taxes and charges, depart June 14 2017. Click here or call 01 637 1600.

Click and Go offers: 7 nights self catering 3* Costa Mar Aparthotel, Puerto del Carmen, Lanzarote form €385pp incl. kids club, return flights, airport transfers, taxes and charges, travel February 2017. 7 nights self catering 4* Paraiso de Albufeira Aparthotel, the Algarve from €229pp incl. return flights, airport transfers, taxes and charges, travel March 2017. 3 nights 3* Santa Costanza Hotel, Rome from €149pp incl. return flights, airport taxes and charges, travel in January. 3 nights 4* Mediterran Hotel, Budapest from €149pp incl. return flights, airport taxes and charges, travel February 2017. Visit clickandgo.com or call 01 539 7777.

Tourism NI offers: 1 night B&B Corick House Hotel & Spa, Co Tyrone from £85pps incl. casino night, available December 16-17, call 028 85 548216. 1 night B&B Marine Court Hotel, Bangor, Co Down from £70pp incl. four-course evening meal, afternoon cocktail making lesson, VIP entry to Calico Jacks Nightclub and access to health suite, available until December 17, call 028 91 45 1100. 2 nights B&B Bishop’s Gate Hotel, Derry from £135pps incl. dinner on evening of choice, walking tour with Martin McCrossan city tours, visit to Tower or Siege museums, available until December 31, call 028 71 140300.

Sunway offers: 12 days family tour of Thailand from €6,959 2+2 incl. tours transport, meals, guides, return flights and accommodation, depart July 7 2017. Call 01 231 1800. 7 nights full board Baltic Cruise on board Serenade of the Seas from €999pp, depart May 20 2017. 7 nights Eastern Caribbean cruise on board MSC Divina from €1,399pp inc. 3 nights pre stay Miami, depart March 1 2017. 7 nights full board Greek Isles cruise on board Norwegian Star from €1,025pp, depart October 8 2017.  10 nights full board Spain and Italy cruise on board Celebrity Constellation from €1,540pp, depart September 18 2017. Visit sunway.ie or call 01 2311868

Insight Vacations is offering 7 days Canyonlands from €2,739pps incl. flights, transfers and accommodation, book by January 27 2017, depart June 10 2017. Visit insightvacations.com or call 01 775 3803.

Uniworld Boutique River Cruises is offering 8 days Rhine cruise on board River Empress form €2,879pps incl. airport transfers, meals and beverages and shore excursions from €2,879pps, book by December 31, depart March 29 2017. Visit uniworld.com or call 01 775 3803.

ITAA offers: 3 nights B&B 4* Rantasipi Pohjanhovi Hotel, Finnish Lapland from €604.50pp incl. returns flights, depart January 16 2017. 5 nights B&B 4* accommodation Stockholm and Copenhagen tour from €1,269pps incl. tours, high speed train and Riviera tour manager services, depart July 14 2017. 7 nights Norwegian Fjords cruise on board MSC Fantasia from €1,049pp incl. return flights, meals, baggage and port taxes, depart May 28 2017. 

Topflight offers: 7 nights self catering 4* Bella Italia, Peschiera, Lake Garda from €499pps, depart May 6 2017. 7 nights self catering 3* Villagio Verde, Sorrento from €529pps, depart May 7 2017. 7 nights half board 4* Hotel Majestic Palace, Malcesine, Lake Garda from €799pps, depart May 13 2017. 7 nights B&B 5* Hotel Diamond, Giardin Naxos, Sicily from €799pps, depart June 10 2017. 7 nights B&B 4* Hotel Milton, Rimini, Adriatic Riviera from €799pps, depart June 10 2017. 7 nights half board 4* Hotel Bristol, Sorrento from €1,099pps, depart April 30 2017. 7 nights all inclusive 4* Hotel Sandos Papagayo Reach Resort, Playa Blanca, Lanzarote form €879pps, depart May 7 2017. 7 nights B&B 5* Hotel Medlia Madeira Mare, Funchal, Madeira from €799pps, depart May 11 2017. Visit topflight.ie or call 01 240 1700. 

See travelextra.tv for more video.

Email editor@travelextra.ie to have your say or it is @TravelExtraIre on Twitter if that’s your bag.

december-14

TRAVEL Extra’s Sunday Supplement: Can Spanish bedbank deal REALLY turn Ryanair into the ‘Amazon of travel?’

december-14

On board Uniworld Antoinette sailing the Rhine during the 2016 ITAA conference

 

 

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

  • Things to know about Travel this week 
  • Qatar’s Dublin route still bogged down by A350 delays
  • Ryanair Holidays revives the ghost of Lowcostbeds.
  • Mary McKenna’s headline advice on hiring staff
  • American updates trade on Premium Economy & other matters
  • Cork to launch Boston AND New York as NAI finally gets license

Travel Extra TV

  • video-december-4Our video of the week is dramatic stuff. See this Emirates A380 crosswind landingWatch here.
  • Check out Tourism Ireland’s mannequin challenge in Belfast. Watch here.
  • See this cute wombat enjoy his bottle. Watch here.
  • Kereama Te Ua performs a solitary haka in protest of the installion of a multibillion-dollar oil pipe at Standing RockWatch here.
  • See Emirates’ tribute to the shortest A380 flight, Dubai to Doha. Watch here.
  • Ever wonder how a surfboard gets madeWatch here.
  • Tourism NI’s Year of Food and Drink continues. Watch here.
  • See Ryanair’s video from the launch of Ryanair Holidays. Watch here.

Behind the Headlines

Bjørn Kjos CEO of Norwegian

Bjørn Kjos CEO of Norwegian

As departure delays go three years is as long as it gets to wait at the gate. When Norwegian Air International were suddenly awarded their license to operate to the United States at 11PM on Friday night, tt became clear that the landscape had changed, not just for Cork, anticipating its first transatlantic services, but for the entire aviation industry. The timing caught everyone by surprise. NAI reacted quickly to say they intend to get the Boston 4w service up and running by end June / early July with tickets on sale early new year. They must have wondered why the announcement was not last April when it appeared that all the hurdles had been cleared. The ball is back in Norwegian’s court and Cork is readying itself for the launch of both Cork-Boston and Cork-New York for summer 2017, subject to an aircraft availability. Norwegian originally planned to operate Cork-Boston 4w using a 186-seat B738. They promised a Cork-New York to follow and a Cork-Barcelona 4w feeder service.

Violete Bulc

Violete Bulc

Who dunnit? Violeta Bulc. The decision of the EU commission to seek arbitration on Norwegian’s application was what pushed it over the line. The Americans had 20 days to respond and with a regime change looming with new Transport Secretary Elaine Chao arriving on Capitol Hill, it must have seemed easier to concede the license for which all arguments against smacked of protectionism. Celebrations can only really start when we see if Norwegian intends to operate a meaningful service out of Cork and Shannon airports or whether this was just an attempt to establish a bridgehead against a hostile regulatory system and whether the Cork service was just a testing ground, using the lobbying skills of Irish America to get the flights in the first place. Time will tell. See roundup of reaction hereWatch here Eoghan Corry speaking about the development on RTE’s six-one television news. Listen here to Eoghan Corry speaking about the EU action on RTE’s News at One.

Tomeu Benassar CEO of Logitravel

Tomeu Benassar CEO of Logitravel

Unbeknownst to Ryanair, they raised the spectre of the Lowcost group debacle when they announced they were moving into the package holiday business with Ryanair Holidays, or, as the newspapers who came along for the ride so eagerly reported, became ‘the Amazon.com of aviation.’ Kenny Jacobs told guests that Ryanair is prepared to invest its commission on holidays to optimise conversion and growth of the sector, brining down package holiday prices by 10pc. Ryanair threw not one, but TWO, Spaniards into the worksThe bed banks, to which Ryanair awarded the tender were surprising both in the scale and the scope of their operation. Tomeu Benassar‘s Logitravel is well known in Ireland as third biggest outbound operator from Spain. World2meet is headed up by the wife of Paul Evans, who was chasing the Ryanair accommodation contract as CEO of Lowcost Beds before it went so spectacularly pear shaped last July and stormed the Irish travel industry for €400,000. Last December Patricia Roselló moved from Lowcostholidays to the NT incoming and New Travellers companies which had been acquired by the Iberostar group where she helped launch its new brand World2meet at Fitur in Madrid in January. She is daughter of legendary Spanish travel agent Rafael Roselló. She was joined by Mark Nueschen, former CEO of Global Met and previously in Hotelbeds. The group turned over €250m in 2015 in 15 holiday destinations in Spain. It distributes its products through 10,000 travel agencies in Spain with a substantial portfolio in the Middle East and Thailand. To add to the puzzle Logitravel are licenced for just 11,560 passengers from England. Ryanair drive a notoriously hard bargain, and all of their previous accommodation contracts have ended up in dispute. Once penalty clauses kick in for not reaching targets the Ryanair website can be a very lonely place to have your brand. No doubt Benassar and Roselló are well aware of this.

six-one-newsRyanair has a licence from the Commission of Aviation Regulation by the school’s group business which was an early signal that something bigger might be afoot. Traditional Irish tour operators have been wary of airlines who dabble in their markers, with good reason, especially those with long enough memories to remember the Aer Lingus holidays debacle. How much damage Ryanair beds will do remains to be seen. Selling package holidays is a complex business and complexity has not been Ryanair’s forte in the past. See launch coverage here.

img_3266Take aways from the Irish Travel Agents Association conference held on board the River cruise ship Antoinette included:

  • Mary McKenna’s assertion that, when recruiting staff, it is not the skill set that matters but how they fit in the organisation
  • Sarah Slattery pointed out the value of authentic content in the babble of internet holidayspeak.
Cormac Meehan, president of the Irish Travel Agents Association speaking at the ITAA 2016 conference on board Uniworld Antoinette

Cormac Meehan, president of the Irish Travel Agents Association speaking at the ITAA 2016 conference on board Uniworld Antoinette

There was a surprisingly clear and frank discussion between suppliers and agents moderated expertly by Clare Dunne, where the suppliers did not hold back in saying they found agents unresponsive to promotions and incentives while agents repeated the mantra that there were not enough incentives and what used to be the only perk in the travel industry, the opportunity to travel, seems to have been whittled down over the years. ITAA CEO Pat Dawson contended that every European country, with the possible exception of Sweden, is as unprepared for the package holiday directive as Ireland is. Ireland is not alone in sitting on its hands waiting for the complex business of travel regulation to be pulled together. Ireland’s travel agents are proposing a tax per ticket to replace the existing bonding system. Social highlight of the conference was the perfect A hit right in the middle by Mary Denton and Rebecca Kelly as they sang Steve Perry’s Don’t Stop Believing (E, B, C#m,  A), and held the note as the musicians continued. All we missed was Joe Hogan (RIP) on the piano. The venue for the 2017 conference will be announced at the Irish Travel industry awards on January 26. Watch here video of the conference. See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.

Akbar Al Baker, CEO of Qatar Airlines, speaking at the CAPA ACTE aviation summit in Amsterdam, October 27 2016Qatar have slots to operate Dublin-Doha from March next and confirmed the route on Monday, as first reported by Travel Extra. A delay in A350 deliveries means there is no start-up date. Qatar need more A350s to release a B787 for the route. Watch here Qatar CEO Akbar Al Baker speaking to Travel Extra about the Dublin Doha service.

Travel Trade

Peter O'Hanlon, Loraine Cunningham and Volker Lorenz playing during the TIGS outing sponsored by Travel Extra at The Castle gofl club, December 1 2016Volker Lorenz and Tanya Airey won the TIGS event at the Castle golf club sponsored by Travel Extra, or as Shay Mitchell called it, the Travel Extra extravaganza. At the TIGS AGM Martin Skelly became TIGS captain for 2017 and Dave Conlon became vice captain and captain elect. TIGS President Peter O’Hanlon entered the second year of a two year term (“I have been asked to keep this meeting short so let’s start with Any other Business.”) Watch video report of the event here. Picture shows Peter O’Hanlon, Loraine Cunningham and mens winer Volker Lorenz playing the ninth. See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.

las-vegas-fam-grand-canyon-copyEthiopian Airlines, Las Vegas CVA and Visit USA hosted a fam trip to Nevada and Arizona at the Grand Canyon, Tony Flynn of Aer LIngus was showcasing the ease of connection into Vegas via Ethiopian’s early morning service. “Because we are so early in the morning we don’t clear immigration in Ireland. But I honestly don’t think we would take them up on the offer. Because we land so early in the morning there is only one other international flight arriving at that time. You are in and out of LA in an hour and a half. We work very closely with Virgin America. We get our customers into Las Vegas at two in the afternoon. Dublin Los Angeles Vegas is no different from Dublin London Las Vegas, you still have to take the extra flight. So try us. We have everything on offer.” Picture shows Lyndsey Martin of Clubworld, Yvonne Tully of Club Travel, Dee Burdock of American Holidays, Michael Doorley of Shandon Travel, Rachel Tracey of GoHop, Thomas McEvatt of Sunway, Tryphavana Cross of Las Vegas CVA, Tony Flynn of Ethiopian Airlines, Lorna O’Brien of Sunway and Clodagh Oxley of Visit USA. Watch here interview with Tony Flynn of Ethiopian. Watch here interview with Tryphavana Cross about developments in Las Vegas.