Author Archives: Sixdayexpert

TRAVEL Extra’s Sunday Supplement: Battle of the BULC, Europe resists Laptop ban for now



Closing party at Indaba 2017 at uShaka Marine World in Durban, May 18 2017

Things to know about travel this week

  • Violetta Bulc makes her stand against America’s laptop ban
  • Kevin Toland moves from airport runways to bakery trays
  • Pat Reede retires from United
  • South Africa wants 5m more visitors in 5 years
  • Travel writers fly high to Vegas
  • Jacob Zuma wants Victoria Falls renamed
  • Dalata goes hotel shopping again
  • Portmarnock hotel gets two AA rosettes in record time

Travel Extra TV

Don’t try this at home: a climber takes a so-called ‘extreme selfie’ on top of the Monolithe de Sardières. Watch here.

  • Video agency Storyful posted a bumpy landings compilation video. Watch here.
  • Airbus engineers talk about their work with the US Oracle yacht team. Watch here.
  • BA passengers share who their favourite travel companions are. Watch here.
  • Join model Georgia Fowler on her Etihad flight from New York to Sydney. Watch here.
  • See Qatar Airways’ new ‘discover the world’ ad. Watch here.
  • That was a close one: a climber narrowly missed a serious rockfall. Watch here.
  • See these killer whales playing near Monterey, California. Watch here.
  • Easyjet cabin crew hand signals. Watch here.

Behind the Headlines

Jacob Zuma, President of South Africa, use the occasion of Indaba’s opening to call for Lake Victoria to be renamed. Watch here.

Discussions between US Department of Homeland Security Deputy Secretary Elaine Duke and Violeta Bulc, European Commissioner for Transport, over keeping laptops and large electronics out of more US-bound flight cabins ended without an agreement. While there is no ban for now, talks between US and EU air security officials are continuing. Some airlines told the AP that it is a matter of time until such a ban is instituted. IATA estimated the ban would cost passengers $1bn (watch here). The 5 airports with the largest number of US weekly flights are London-Heathrow (761 flights), Paris-Charles de Gaulle (353 flights), Frankfurt (291 flights), Amsterdam-Schiphol (242 flights) and Dublin (179 flights). Together, these 5 airports account for nearly 50pc of the weekly flights to the US. Based on a sample of European airports, the number of passengers carrying portable electronic devices is estimated to be between 60pc and 90pc. 59 airports in the European Common Aviation Area* currently have direct services to the USA, with a total of 3.684 weekly flights being operated. Listen here to Travel Extra’s Eoghan Corry on RTE radio’s Morning Ireland revealing the back story behind the proposed laptop ban on flights from Europe to the USA.

This week’s major tourism showcase events, Indaba in Durban and Australian Tourism Exchange in Sydney were short on hard news but long on industry analysis and data. In Sydney 2,500 delegates gathered for the Tourism Australia’s 38th annual business-to-business showcase ATE. Destination NSW hosted media delegates at the Calyx, Royal Botanic Gardens. Innovative ideas at the event included fire truck tours.

South Africa launched its new consumer campaign at Indaba tourism showcase in Durban, designed to drive 5m extra tourists to the country over the next five years. Picture shows South African tourism CEO Sisa Ntshona and London office manager Tolene Van Der Merwe at the event. See picture gallery here or connect with the album on Facebook.

South Africa Tourism CEO Sisa Ntshona spoke about the three B’s of tourism, beach, bush and Berg at the panel session (watch here). He said “when we market S Africa it is the private sector that reaps the benefits” (watch here). SA Tourism was dominated by four provinces (watch here) and listed South Africa’s top inbound markets (watch here),  marketing campaign he launched at INdaba for 2017 in 40 selected markets (watch here),the objectives of the marketing campaign  (watch here), that 2016 was a good recovery year for South Africa Tourism (watch here), addressing the shortage of beds in Cape Town (watch here), energy levels at Indaba (watch here), the family visa controversy was an unintended consequence of child protection legislation (watch here), geopolitics mean tourism has to be agile (watch here) We also asked what his favourite place in South Africa was (it’s what we do, watch here). Pictre shows Eoghan Corry and Lorraine Keenan president of the South Africa Irish society.

The campaign will include expanded activity in Ireland, London based two country manager Tolene Van der Mew confirmed, including a return to Holiday World 2018 in Dublin. South Africa tourism is to engage with agents on a programme of three fam trips to create South Africa specialists. The first fam trip will bring agents to the bestselling Cape Town region, to be followed by a second trip to KZN and a third to Guateng and Limpopo. SA Tourism will continue working with its specialist agents even if they change agency. Watch here. Sisa Ntshona full interview (watch here). Picture shows Gavin Dixon of  Freedom Africa and Peter McMinn of Travel Solutions  at the event.

In his opening address South Africa president Jacob Zuma lamented the fact that Africa gets only 5pc of world tourism (watch here) He said “in Africa we believe tourism is everybody’s business” (watch here) and told an elaborate joke about how Uganda was the last country that God made (watch here). Jacob Zuma full speech (watch here)

Indaba hosted 7,000 delegates, including 1,449 local and international buyers, 1,000 exhibitors from 18 African countries showcasing a diverse array of travel and tourism offerings, 692 media representatives up 8pc on 2016, 20,000 meetings up 20pc. South African tourism minister Tokozile Xasa briefed Travel Extra at Indaba tourism showcase in Durban. She also spoke about countering the deficit of women in the tourism industry. Watch here. She spoke about infrastructure projects (watch here), marketing budgets (watch here) and made some very non-committal comments about South Africa’s airlift strategy (watch here) and the hotel beds shortage in Cape Town joined by COO Sthembiso Dlamini (watch here), and the vision for pan-African tourism (watch here).

Tryphavana Cross and Las Vegas CVA hosted a group of Irish travel writers in Las Vegas (watch here). They say that what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas but a group of journalists who visited the Nevada hotspot this week will break that rule to share their experiences.  The group was treated to BA Club World return flights to Las Vegas via Heathrow, with BA’s Tara Magee and Keith Chuter joining the trip. Fresh from sampling Club World ‘height cuisine’ and ‘cellar in the sky’, journalists spent four days at the five star Palazzo hotel, enjoying a smorgasboard of ‘Very Vegas’ experiences. One massive highlight was a helicopter flight to the Grand Canyon with Maverick Helicopters, a classic bucket list excursion that was made even more special with a landing in the canyon for dream photo opportunities and champagne. The group was then whisked off to the Guinness Store (the only one outside Ireland) at Mandalay Bay for a tutorial from Galway woman Honora Comer on how to pour the perfect pint, followed by dinner at Irish-owned Ri Ra and the pure spectacle of Cirque du Soleil’s Love show at Mirage, which charts the story of the Beatles. The group’s taste for aerial adventure was further indulged with Slotzilla – a zip line that whizzed them high above busy Freemont street, the original Las Vegas strip. In Very Vegas style, the zip line starting point was housed in a giant slot machine. Marketing manager Paul Maguire (watch here), who has hosted rugby player Jamie Heaslip and his team members on Fremont street, outlined plans for another new attraction, Fear Of The Walking Dead, which is due to open later this year. Continuing with the aerial theme, the group enjoyed incredible views of Las Vegas’s skyline with cocktails at Ghost Bar on the 55th floor of the Palms resort. They also explored Las Vegas’ cultural history, visiting the Neon museum – a boneyard where iconic neon signs from the ’50s and ’60s are housed – and The Mob museum which tells the story of mob involvement in Las Vegas life. The final day of the trip included a visit to Top Golf Experience at MGM Grand Las Vegas, an impressive new facility where guests can compete against each other on the driving range or simply enjoy food and drinks by the pool, all with great Vegas views. Of course, one of the most popular things to do in Vegas apart from gaming and shopping is getting hitched. The group was entertained by ordained minister and Elvis lookalike Brendan Paul Duffy whose Graceland wedding chapel marries 9,000 couples a year. Duffy has seen it all and regaled the group with tales of six minute wedding ceremonies and funny wedding scenarios.  From shotgun weddings to machine gun fire; the trip ended with a shooting gallery session at Machine Gun Vegas, with some female members of the group proving themselves deadlier than the male when it came to destroying their targets. Las Vegas will pump billions of dollars into new projects in the coming years. The Irish press group got to enjoy some of its newest attractions while soaking up the strip’s flamboyant scene. Picture shows Tryphavana Cross, Las Vegas Convention & Visitors Authority; Denise Smith, Sunday World; Martin Breen Sunday Life; Catherine Murphy, Travel Extra; Samantha McCaughren, Sunday Independent; Peter Crawley, Irish Times; Tara Magee,Partnership Manager Ireland BA, Keith Chuter, Country manager BA; Gillian Tsoi, Irish Independent, Maverick Helicopters pilot Tone. Front, Jim Murty, Irish Daily Mail. See picture gallery here or connect with the album on Facebook.

Cork hosted 170 participants from airports, airlines, industry suppliers and institutional stakeholders at the 10th annual ACI EUROPE Regional Airports Conference & Exhibition where delegates heard the price of the low cost move to major airports is that low Cost Carriers are growing their intra-European route networks at a much slower pace. Olivier Jankovec, Director General, ACI EUROPE, told delegates “over the past 3 years, they have actually reduced their aircraft bases at regional airports by -11pc°.. Regional airports underperforming the wider industry average in terms of passenger traffic growth (+4.3pc versus +5.1pc) although  2017 is off to a better start, with regional airports now growing at a faster pace (Q1: +7.9pc versus an industry average of +6.9pc).”  Picture shows Daragh Hanratty of Cork Airport, Kevin Toland of Dublin airport, Niall Gibbins CEO Tourism Ireland and Ger O’Mahony Chair of Visit Cork. See picture gallery here or connect with the album on Facebook.

Canada made it illegal to remove passengers from overbooked aircraft. The bill also will prevent airlines from charging parents to sit next to their children if the kids are under the age of 14, and will have to create new standards for transporting musical instruments. Westjet has a new ad pushing the fact that they never overbook, featuring a passenger was bumped off another airline voicing his frustration to anyone who will listen. Watch here.

John Sullivan, CEO of Tourism Australia, talked up the prospects of further growth at the newly opened $1.5 billion ICC Sydney brought together more than 2500 travel industry delegates from 30 countries, making it the biggest ATE in nearly a decade.

Travel Trade

Pat Reede is retiring from her position as Ireland country manager with United Airlines. Travel Extra wishes her well in her retirement. She sent a message to the trade: “I have spent over 40 years in the Travel Industry and it is finally time to say Goodbye. I look forward to the next chapter in my life. I want to thank all my colleagues in the Trade for all the years of friendship and suport and I hope our paths will cross again in the near future . Pat.” Picture shows Bob Schumacher and Pat Reede

Summer 2018 brochure season opened with new Ireland boss Belinda Vazquez (watch her here) and Charlotte Brenner and her team launching the Falcon/Thomson offering for next year, seven exclusive properties in 15 destinations from Dublin, Majorca, Costa Dorada, Costa del Sol, Algarve and Lanzarote from Cork, Costa Dorada, Majorca and Lanzarote from Shannon and Costa Dorada from Ireland West Airport, properties  include  a new SuneoClub, Family Life, A La Carte, Sensatori and Sensimar properties and two new Platinum additions.  Deposits start at €75 with free child places and free group offers in selected properties for early bookers.  Picture shows Antoinette Young, Charlotte Brenner and Belinda Vasquez at the launch. Full details here.

Cassidy Travel also launched for summer 2018 – with a similar message from Cassidy’s John Spollen to Falcon/Thomson of customers needing to book ahead for the most popular destinations and hotels.

A Florida away from the rollercoasters was on show as the beaches of Fort Myers/Sanibel met the trade in the Rustic Stone in Dublin. One of the big pluses was hotels which don’t charge the dreaded service fees found elsewhere in the US. Pictures shows Jen Friede, Tour & Travel Manager at SunStream Hotels & Resorts; Brett Gooch, General Manager, Sanibel Captiva Beach Resorts; Dave Hennesy, American Sky; Veronica Aherne, Tour America; and Stefanie Zinke. Catch the album here.

This week saw a the first media rip by Ryanair Holidays. Hugo Nascimento of Algarve Tourism and World2Meet/Iberostar who are partnering Ryanair Holidays as an accommodation and destination service provider hosted travel media at the 5-star Tivoli Carvoeiro Hotel, an hour’s drive from Faro Airport, which has spacious open-plan and glass design offering a startling live view straight through to the gleaming blue sea on the far side at the as you enter the lobby.  The group visited Quinta do Lago, an exclusive resort and golfers and bird watchers paradise with access to a very large and virtually empty golden beach across one of the longest wooden bridges in the world, a coastal walk from Tivoli Carvoeiro to Algarseco, Ponta de Piedade panorama of plunging cliffs and coastal rock formations offshore, Benagil caves open-topped rock enclosure, the ancient city of Silves and its Moorish castle, and a city tour of Lagos. Cocktails were sipped at Columbus Bar, voted among the world’s top ten bars by Forbes. Meals were hosted by Tertulia Algarve restaurant, in Portimao and a walk around Lagos city centre and Quinta Dos Vales wine estate run by Karl Heinz Stock, a wine producer and artist whose nude female sculptures stand surreally throughout his vineyard. This week a wedding party of 180 will fly in from Ireland and celebrate nuptials on the estate. The Irish, say Michael and Karl Heinz, are their biggest customers in this burgeoning new wing of tourism. Picture shows Sean Mannion of Travel Extra; with Duarte Correia of World2Meet and Hugo Nascimento of Algarve Tourism.

Turkish Airlines hosts the trade with Maldives with Island Marketing at roadshows in Dublin on Monday and Cork on Tuesday.

Classic Collection announced an agents offer for travel trade staff to Daios Cove Luxury Resort & Villas in Agios Nikolaos, Crete, a Deluxe Sea View Room on a Half Board basis for an €99 ppp. in May, June, September and October and €25 pppn to upgrade to one of their Deluxe rooms with an individual pool.  See Daios Cove here.

Celebrity Cruises training experts, Leon Hand and Emma Rigby will be hosting four interactive training events for agents this summer on board Celebrity Eclipse and Celebrity Silhouette in Dublin, Cork and Belfast. See Watch here interview with Claire Stirrup of Celebrity.

  • Bookabed’s legendary Cork Event takes place June 1st, suppliers on board include AA, BA, DSD and Seaworld.
  • Picture shows Pat Dawson representing the ITAA at the Andalusia workshop.
  • D-flo launched CrisisComms to help travel companies communicate with their customers – and protect their reputation and business – during an emergency.
  • G Adventures launched a Rediscover Thailand Campaign offering savings of up to 15pc on Thailand itineraries.
  • Amadeus announced a product for Destination Marketing Organisations to give insights into travelers’ planning, purchasing, and travel behavior, see here.
  • Travelport Investor Day takes place Tuesday. Travelport extended its partnership with Selectair.
  • Oasis Travel is opening a dedicated cruise business in the Knock Travel premises it acquired last month from owner Doreen McKenzie.
  • British and Northern Irish travel agent body ABTA is calling on the Government to change the law to make holiday sickness claims less attractive to claims management companies and law firms.
  • Picture shows Michelle Anderson of Topflight; competition winner Lynne McKeown and Stuart Robinson Presenter Downtown Radio at the Topflight Downtown Radio 149th Balmoral Show competition for a holiday to Lido di Jesolo on the Venetian Riviera. Topflight offer flights to the Venetian Riviera from Dublin, Cork and Belfast.
  • Innstant Travel new hotel cancellation protection allows customers to cancel a non-refundable reservation up to 24 hours before check-in and receive an 80pc refund, enabling agents to offer maximum value and flexibility to customers without the risk of lost revenue due to cancellation.
  • Ann Kilcoyne of Glasnevin Trust and Dervla O’Neill of EPIC Irish Emigration Museum (pictured with Jim Flannery) were received into Skal.
  • There was an update on the fourth generation at Robert Kilkelly Travel
  • An Australian travel agency Wicked Travel has shut down, with reports that few tourists will be refunded.
  • It was claimed that Google’s stealth attack on travel is eating everyone.
  • Congratulations to the versatile Ikechi Ucho friend of Travel Extra, who won the African aviation personality of the year award in Addis this week.

Strange world

Another week another airline arroganza. JetBlue kicked Cameron and Minta Burke, their two children, and their buttercream cake off a flight from JFK to Las Vegas after the cake was deemed a security risk on a flight to Las Vegas to celebrate her fortieth.

  • Wild boar in Rome caused the death of a man in a motor accident, waste disposal problems blamed for proliferation of wild boar in populated areas.
  • American TV host Ryan Seacrest told viewers Lingus is a place in Ireland.
  • Jarvey saved tourists when a nervous horse backed a carriage off the edge of a cliff on the Lakes of Killarney.


Universal Studios Hollywood summertime enhancement: ‘The Night-time Lights at Hogwarts Castle‘ begins June 23. New Shining themed haunted mazes will be added to Halloween events in Orlando and Hollywood

Photographs went on display which captured the grim reality of delayed flights, traffic jams and commutes around the world.

  • Visit Lebanon takes place in Beirut this week, their first ever international tourism fair.
  • Trivago revealed its top destinations with Fenghuang at the top.
  • A spokeless Ferris Wheel opened in China with wi-fi for all the inevitable selfies.
  • Two days of strikes affected travel plans to Greece.
  • Campi Flegrei in Naples was the subject of eruption panic.
  • Cairns & Great Barrier Reef told ATE in Sydney that Indigenous tourism offerings will be marketed around the world under the brand name Timeless Experiences.
  • Travel Extra caught up with Lindsay Marshall, curator of the Cradle of Humankind Visit Centre an hour outside Johannesburg  (watch here) and shared her welcome walk at Maropeng Visitor Centre (watch here).
  • Travel Extra joined a tour of Phezulu cultural village with Thoko Jili of Wisdom Tours, (watch here) where we met some friendly crocodiles (watch here) and a snake that liked warm spots (watch here). See picture gallery here or connect with the album on Facebook.
  • Check out the Zulu dance at the opening ceremony of tourism showcase Indaba in Durban (watch here).

Food & Beverage

Months after reopening The 1780 restaurant at the new Portmarnock Hotel & Golf Links where Tom Walsh is executive chef was awarded two AA Rosette status by AA Ireland following an extensive 18-month refurbishment and multi-million euro investment, the third Irish restaurant to achieve two AA rosette status after  the Cliff House in Ardmore and Patrick Guilbaud‘s in the Merrion Hotel in Dublin. Two restaurants hold three rosette status Lady Helen in Mount Juliet and Gregan’s Castle in Ballyvaughan.

  • The contents of Avenue by Nick Munier are to be auctioned on Monday.
  • Love Supreme opened a second coffee shop on Dublin’s Lennox Street in Portobello.
  • Dublin’s dog friendly café, Pupp on lower Clanbrassil Street, is to open until 9.30pm from Wednesday to Saturday.
  • Roberta’s contemporary bistro opened on Dublin’s Wellington Quay.
  • Alain Passard’s L’Arpege finished top of the Opinionated About Dining Top 100 European Restaurants list, France had 34 in the list, Spain 31 and Italy 27.


John Burke proprietor of the  Armada Hotel at Spanish Point who became the first Clareman and arguably the first hotelier to ascend Everest (everyone thought it would be Michael Vaughan), returns Monday into Shannon Airport and will proceed to a homecoming event in the square at Miltown Malbay. John is seen with his safforn and blue (sufferin’ and blue?) flag atop Nepal’s version of Sliabh Callan.

  • Michael Tinnelly is seeking planning permission to turn a 35-acre plot of land in Rostrevor, overlooking Carlingford Lough, into a £14m four-star hotel and spa with 100 bedrooms.
  • The  Culloden, managed by Eoin O’Sulivan, completed a £4.8m makeover.
  • Broadhaven Credit Partners refinanced Dublin’s Regency Hotel’s debts of about €25m allowing the McGettigan Group to regain control of the hotel, which may be renamed as a result of a fued shooting last year
  • The Eccles hotel in Glengarriff is to be redeveloped by hoteliers Ray Byrne and Eoin Doyle.
  • CEO of South Africa Tourism Sisa Ntshona said that government rating agencies are still relevant in the era of online peer ratings systems such as Tripadvisor, speaking at Indaba Tourism Showcase in Durban, (watch here).
  • A hairdresser ‘knocked out’ after walking into a ceiling at a hotel lost her €60k claim
  • Thailand most popular Asian destination for Hotelbeds with 21% increase in bookings year-to-date with Bangkok the most popular Asian city
  • Tifco is planning to nearly double the size of its Holiday Inn Express, adding 100 rooms, near Dublin Airport in a multi-million-euro expansion. More than 1,000 new hotel rooms are planned in and around the airport in total.
  • Dalata acquired a stake in two Dublin hotels for €62.5m, Clayton Hotel Cardiff Lane and the Clarion Hotel Liffey Valley for €62.5m.
  • Arrivals by Travel Extra’s team of hard working writers this week include the Maropeng Boutique Hotel in Gauteng (watch here), the Suncoast Hotel Durban (watch here), Cubana in Durban (watch here), Reno’s Cafe Villaggio, Durban, (watch here), and Pot & Kettle Restaurant 1,000 Hills KZN (watch here).


Qatar Airways was named partner of the 2017 Dublin Horse Show, ahead of inaugural Dublin-Doha flight on June 12. Qatar is to add Doha-Rio de Janeiro-Santiago de Chile 4 pw with A350-9 from30Jan18. Next week, you can follow Travel Extra’s exclusive preview of what visitors to Doha can expect on and read about it in the next print edition. Discover the world with Qatar Airways. Watch here.

The A350-1000 completed successfully its first early long flight  with 310 passengers on board, including 10 Airbus Flight Test crew members and 13 Virgin Atlantic cabin crew. Test aircraft MSN065 F-WXLV took off from and landed in Toulouse on May 11th after a 12 hours flight that passed over Ireland. Testing the A350-1000’s cabin comfort on its Early Long Flight. Watch here.

As first reported by Travel Extra, Norwegian confirmed their new transatlantic routes will include US Preclearance for passengers flying from Dublin and Shannon. Mid Hudson news reported that Norwegian flights to start in one month are almost booked up.

Ryanair launched its first connecting flights at Rome Fiumicino on Wednesday to/from Alicante, Barcelona, Bari, Brussels, Catania, Comiso, Malta & Palermo with transfers, checked though baggage and one booking reference for both flight bookings. Ryanair say more connecting flights services will be rolled out across the network later this year as long as the Rome Fiumicino trial proves to be a success.  Watch here Kenny Jacobs explaining how connecting flights will work. Watch here Michael O’Leary say that connecting will not be Ryanair core business, how connections with Norwegian and Aer LIngus will work (watch here) and how cheap connecting flights show flaws in system (watch here).

WOW air commenced its 4w Cork–Reykjavik service offering transatlantic connectivity to Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, Montreal, Miami, New York, Pittsburgh, San Francisco, Toronto and Washington DC with a stopover package.

Air Zimbabwe was among the airlines that are banned from Europe due to unaddressed safety deficiencies, alongside Med-View (Nigeria), Mustique Airways (St. Vincent and the Grenadines) and Aviation Company Urga (Ukraine). Airlines certified in Benin and Mozambique were cleared to fly in Europe under the new European Commission Air Safety List of airlines that do not meet international safety standards, and are subject to an operating ban or operational restrictions within the European Union.

Clearly South African Airways is not going to be allowed go the way of Alitalia. At Indaba tourism showcase in Durban, South Africa Tourism CEO Sisa Ntshona answered a question from Travel Extra that in two decades very little progress was being made in the attempts to de-regulate Africa’s skies (watch here), how the country needs more air capacity (watch here) and the continuing importance of troubled South African Airways to tourism in the country (watch here).

Pat Byrne said CityJet will pursue the contract to operate the Aer Lingus Regional service when it comes up for tender. He expects revenue to grow by a third to €280m this year. Wet-leasing currently worth €69.2m will grow to €194.5m, and scheduled activities, currently worth €141m will decline to €85.2m. CityJet extended a deal to operate routes on behalf of Air France to next year and is extending the use of its ageing Avro RJ85s.  CityJet currently has 15 Avro jets, 23 Bombardier CRJs, and five Sukhoi Superjets.

As first reported by Travel Extra, DAA Chief Executive Kevin Toland was appointed CEO of troubled baked goods group Aryzta (where Gary McCann is Chairman.) He will join Aryzta following a six-month notice period, or earlier, if mutually agreed by both parties. Toland can expect a massive pay boost, as semi-state salaries are still capped at €250,000.

Christine Ourmières-Widener told John Mulligan that Flybe expects to post a small loss for the last financial year due to the impact of poor weather, fare competition and air traffic control strikes and was “still working” on opportunities with franchise partner Stobart. Stobart will relaunch a Flybe service between Dublin and Southend in October.

Air France CEO Jean-Marc Janaillac  said Air France’s new budget airline, temporarily called Boost, will commence with a fleet of fives A320s or A321s, feeding the group’s European hubs to be followed by a long-haul launch in summer 2018 with three wet-leased Air France A340s as an interim measure before Air France’s order for 21 A350s begins to deliver in August 2019 to increase to 28 aircraft by 2020, 10 long-haul and 18 medium-haul, representing about 8pc of Air France’s 350-aircraft fleet and 10pc of the group’s flying. He said Boost will be used to reopen routes which have been closed because of poor profitability, with 70pc of the long-haul network being made up of current loss-making routes and the remaining 30pc being new destinations. The airline will target destinations such as Bangkok and Kuala Lumpur in Southeast Asia, where the mainline carrier is facing Gulf competition, or where the routes “do not work as they should.” All of Boost’s aircraft will be equipped with Wi-Fi. AF-KL Investor Day presentation emphasised codeshares and joint ventures – India, China, Africa (Kenya Airways); Digital Transformation; Customer Intimacy. Full presentation here.

Cyprus-based airline Cobalt resumed its 2w Wednesday and Saturday Dublin-Larnaca service from May until October 31 with a 180-seater Airbus A320 aircraft and will continue once per week during the Winter. Dublin Airport now has direct flights to 185 scheduled destinations in 41 countries operated by 47 airlines.

  • Domhnal Slattery’s Avolon delivered of the world’s first Boeing 737 MAX8 to Malindo Air in Malaysia, part of Lion Group of Indonesia. Boeing said regulatory agencies support the resumption of 737 Max flight activities after a disc flaw.
  • EU member states have greenlit the start of talks with the United States to scrap a seven-month duration limit on EU airlines wet-leasing planes and crew from US carriers.
  • Aer Lingus GDS filings for January have Dublin-Boston down from 10w to 8w per week and Miami from 6w back to 3w.
  • The IAA deployed a new Electronic Flight Strips system, E-STRIPs at Dublin Air Traffic Control tower.
  • FLY Leasing (Ireland) CFO Gary Dales is to leave the company on August 31.
  • RwandAir will launch flights from London Gatwick to Kigali on May 26. See here Travel Etxra’s trip to Rwanda complete with a close encounter with gorillas.
  • Ralph Anker’s Anna Aero pondered what might happen if Alitalia failed.
  • Nordic leisure carrier Primera Air intends using eight Boeing 737 MAX 9s to establish services between Europe and North America.
  • Delta has warned that it will take longer than expected to attain positive unit revenues on trans-Atlantic routes.
  • American Airlines will operate a codeshare partnership with IAG Group’s new long-haul low-cost carrier LEVEL, on Barcelona – Los Angeles and Barcelona – Oakland from June.
  • Turkish Airlines narrowed its net loss in Q1.
  • American Airlines promoted UL graduate Patrick O’Keeffe to Senior Vice President People, effective June 1.
  • The City of Atlanta purchased the 395-room Sheraton airport hotel to relocate cargo facilities and add a sixth runway between the existing fourth and fifth runways.
  • Canada’s government unveiled new rules that could help carriers form joint ventures and lifted investment limits to 49pc from 25pc.
  • The first graduation of the Turkish Airlines Cadets will graduate on May 26 in the Cork international hotel. The cadets have spent the last year getting Irish licenses at the Atlantic Flight Training academy.
  • Ryanair is to open its base in Memmingen September 5, two months earlier than planned , with services to Warsaw, Seville, Fez, Thessaloniki, Stockholm, Lviv and Oradea. The seasonal service to Palma de Mallorca is to be converted to year-round. Ryanair announced a new route from Plovdiv to Frankfurt Hahn, with a twice weekly service beginning in October.
  • Ryanair Rooms introduced yurts and castles on its website after an eviivo booking platform tie-up
  • EasyJet is to purchase 30 A321 NEO aircraft under its existing agreement with Airbus, with the first arriving in summer 2018 and plans shifting capacity towards the 235-seat A321neo with its lower unit cost. Principal bases are Gatwick (62 aircraft), Geneva (25), Luton (23), Amsterdam (18), Nice (14), Bristol (14).  EasyJet reported seats offered up 8.4pc and seats sold up 9pc to 33.8m with a load factor of 90.2pc +0.5 points. Growth was strongest in Portugal (17pc), Spain (16pc), France (12pc), Germany and Switzerland (9pc). Presentation here and full results here.
  • London City Airport is to build and operate a digital air traffic control tower.
  • Finnair is seeking cabin crew. Fluency in English is required, fluency in Finnish is no longer mandatory but highly valued, and other language skills are considered an asset.
  • AirAsia China will be based in Zhengzhou, the capital of Henan province, and plans a dedicated low-cost carrier terminal, an aviation training academy and a MRO facility.
  • United Parcel Service, Airbus and Honeywell signed a deal to collaborate on a cockpit upgrade for UPS Airline’s 52 A300-600s meant to extend the life of the fleet for at least another 18 years.
  • Bombardier commenced talks with Chinese state-owned aerospace manufacturer Comac.
  • Aurora Flight Sciences tested successfully a robotic co-pilot in a Boeing 737 simulator.
  • The Excess Baggage Company opened a left luggage storage facility, baggage wrapping and baggage screening shipping service in the Arrivals Hall in Terminal 1 at Dublin Airport and  plans to open a similar outlet in Terminal 2.
  • Air France rolled out a restaurant style service in business class.
  • Norwegian addressed the 737 MAX wifi issue, it’s more technical than that.
  • LAX airport opened a luxury celebrity terminal
  • Business & Finance named Aer Lingus company of the month.
  • Dublin Aerospace announced 50 new jobs at Dublin Airport
  • Frankfurt airport said it expects 3m Ryanair passengers in 2018
  • Intrepid announced delivery of its seventh A330-300 to Turkish Airlines
  • KLM which will increase frequency on Dublin-Amsterdam  flights from July 2017, announced an onward service to Mumbai.
  • Ryanair is to introduce a high thrust operation ex-Brussels Zaventem to minimise noise fines.
  • Ryanair is to launch Stockholm – Niš flights.
  • Warren Buffet was interviewed about airlines: “It’s a tough business” (watch here)
  • The Commission for Aviation Regulation released its Strategic Plan 2017 – 2019
  • Delta said it will take 5 A350-900s in 2017 as planned, it wants to postpone deliveries slated for 2019 and 2020 by 3 years.
  • Air Namibia‘s Frankfurt route may be stopped.
  • Forbes asked if Etihad’s James Hogan outsmarted himself.
  • Airport Scales are 99pc accurate, apparently.
  • Kerry airport profits grew.
  • It was reported that Dublin Airport may have to wait for a year for a ruling on the new runway.
  • EI-FZV Boeing 737-800 Ryanair was flown back to Boeing field from Spokane after painting.
  • Scoot told ATE in Sydney that four Dreamliners with crew bunks to be delivered in 2017 will enable them to operate long-haul services, starting with Sydney-Athens in June 2017.
  • Evercore is to advise Datalex on growth options
  • Shannon Airport paid tribute to Sixmilebridge visionary Brendan O’Regan when they unveiled a bust. Shannon chair Rose Hynes told the gathering His initials BOR in Shannon came to mean Bash on Regardless. Video News Release here. Brendan O’Regan interview video montage here. Lagan Group revealed details of the €15m Shannon Airport runway contract
  • Cork Airport  reiterated their claim that New York flights will happen’, and there will be no delay in Cork-US flights. Flight numbers at the airport declined last month. Cork Airport launched a competition for a new real time passenger feedback solution.
  • Dr Coy’s signed a deal with Ryanair.
  • Thousands turned out to watch the Westport Airshow.
  • Etihad plans its last A340-500 service in late-July 2017.
  • Alan Joyce favours a low-cost option for the second Sydney airport
  • Irish aviation authorities cleared the way to launch direct flights to Yerevan.
  • Malaysia Airlines CEO Peter Bellew said low cost long haul is being hyped-up and is nothing new and ‘when you get a supportive regulator it’s amazing what you get” during CAPA in Powerscourt. Watch here full interview with Peter Bellew.
  • A Spitfire fighter plane that crashed in Ireland during WWII was excavated.
  • BMI Regional’s Derry – Stansted Embraer 145 route started. Watch here.
    Aero Inspection achieved EASA and FAA approval for borescope inspections and boreblend repairs on CFM LEAP engines
  • EI-FZX Boeing 737-800 Ryanair recorded its first flight.
  • M&S is to be the anchor tenant at the £2.5m Belfast International Airport retail development
  • Ryanair Network Store exhibited at The British-Irish Airports EXPO.
  • Pulse assessed the top 35 airlines by reputation.
  • AirlineSummit17 was told that weather accounts for 6pc of airline irregular operations. WTTC said travel & tourism accounts for 10pc of global GDP or ($7.6tn and travel employs seven times as many people as automotive companies.
  • AerCap delivered a 767 to Atlas Air Worldwide
  • IAG CEO Willie Walsh told the CAPA leaders summit in Powerscourt that airlines have become ‘more resilient and more capable of dealing with short shocks’:
  • The Commission of Aviation Regulation released its Q1 2017 Dublin Airport Quality of Service Monitoring
  • Kalitta Air took delivery of a leased 747-400F factory freighter from GECAS
  • IAG CEO Willie Walsh said Qatar Airways’ investment in IAG has been very successful from a financial point of view.
  • SMBC Aviation Capital delivered the first of three Boeing B737-800s to Jet Airways in a three aircraft deal
  • Tourism Ireland said direct flights to China are “vital”
  • Flybe was said to be exploring opportunities with Santry-based Stobart Air.
  • American is to delay roll out of full premium economy to late 2018.
  • Singapore Airlines announced it is to retire four A380s next year.


As excitement builds for their forthocming launch in St nazaire in two weeks time, MSC Cruises named the two shows in their partnership with Cirque du Soleil on board MSC Meraviglia. They will be Viaggio, described as a poetic adventure into the world of colour; a painter’s journey into his imagination and Sonor, a show with sound at its heart, which takes guests on an auditory adventure.

Irish Ferries parent ICG is to sell the former Isle of Innisfree, 1995 build passenger ferry Kaitaki to New Zealand ferry operator KiwiRail for €45m, compared to an end 2016 book value of €16.1m. In 1 January 2017 to 13 May 2017 Irish Ferries carried 103,200 cars, down 0.7pc while RoRo is down 1.7pc 100,300 units. Revenues are up 4.3pc to €44.1m.

Fred Olsen is launching its own river cruise brand, represented in Ireland by Alan Lynch’s Cruisescapes, with the 110m Brabant, rebranded from the Amadeus Princess with 30 departures during 2018 on the Danube. Rhine, Main and Moselle rivers.

Bookings opened for MS Nieuw Statendam’s Premiere Voyage and inaugural season of Caribbean cruises.

The Italian captain of the Costa Concordia cruise liner that crashed into a reef in 2012 and capsized, killing 32 people, was headed to a Rome prison after losing his final appeals bid Friday. The Court of Cassation, Italy’s highest criminal tribunal, upheld Francesco Schettino‘s lower court convictions and his 16-year prison sentence

  • Riviera Travel was named travel company of the year by Which?
  • Norwegian Cruise Line’s new-look ship Norwegian Jade returned to Cork and showcased its all-inclusive product.
  • Oceania Cruises Introduced a complimentary fitness and wellness programme on board its six ships sailing to 370 ports.


Tourism Ireland research shows industry sentiment is positive for 2017, with bookings slightly ahead of 2016, albeit with a softening British market. Tourism Ireland ramped up its Spanish campaign,  teamed up with Iberia Express to promote the south west in Madrid and with Aer Lingus for a campaign in Barcelona. Tourism from Spain grew from 90,000 Spanish visitors in 2000 to a record 394,000 in 2016, up 15pc on 2015. Numbers from France are up 10pc in January-March having grown +30pcin the five years to 526,000 last year. Watch here CEO Niall Gibbons, and Manager Southern Europe, Monica MacLaverty.

  • George Stone, Associate Editor, National Geographic Traveller, and keynote speaker at the Travel Classics International Writers’ Conference hosted by Fáilte Ireland in the Lyrath Hotel, Co Kilkenny, this week. Picture shows Jessica Benavides Canepa, New York and Leslie Patrick Moore, California sampling spices at the Youghal ClockGate Tower.
  • Ireland’s Ancient East campaign won five awards at the Institute of Creative Advertising and Design Awards in Dublin.
  • Kildare Failte launched their 2020 Vision tourism strategy document at the National Stud, aiming to increase overseas visitor numbers by 20pc and create 1500 direct and indirect jobs. Picture shows Tony Lenehan Kildare Failte, Martin Hayden TD Patrick O’Donovan Minister for Tourism, Ivan Keatley Kildare Mayor and John Osborne Kildangan Stud Manager. Full story here.
  • BBC TV drama Redwater showcased Dunmore East in a spin-off of  Eastenders featuring a storyline about Kat and Alfie Moon (played by Jessie Wallace and Shane Richie), filmed in Dunmore East and Dublin last summer. The story will unfold over six, hour-long episodes.
  • Pollution exposure risk was identified at six beaches in Dublin and Galway.
  • Bad weather postponed the opening of Skellig Michael as boat owners reported travelling to medieval site was fully booked as Star Wars filming attracts more visitors.
  • Failte Ireland  reported business tourism to Ireland is worth €700m to the economy having grown 7pc during the period 2015-2016and supports 21,000 jobs. Kerry Convention Bureau and Fáilte Ireland introduced a new video showcasing facilities, accommodation, and activities at IMEX. Picture shows Jessica Sheridan of The Shelbourne Hotel, (watch here).
  • Cork is to push to attract more tourists from the massive Chinese markets, the Asia Matters conference in the city was told. The conference was attended by Niall Gibbons of Tourism Ireland and Chinese Ambassador to Ireland Dr Yue Xiaoyong.
  • Footsteps in the Forest returns for 2017 to the Slieve Gullion Forest Park on June 3rd – 4th. Hooked on the Sea Festival takes place in Co Wexford on the June bank holiday weekend.
  • Belfast City Hall opened its new exhibition space through 16 rooms in the east wing of City Hall, divided into six separate zones highlighting different aspects of the city of Belfast. Entry is free, although there is a £3.50 charge for headsets. Watch here.
  • 1960’s star Donovan Leitch will open an exhibition at Newbridge Silverware tomorrow, Monday.

Deal Watch

Click and Go offers: 7 nights self catering 2* Puerto Plata Aparthotel, Puerto Rico, Gran Canaria from €449pp, travel August. 7 nights B&B 5* Real Marina Hotel & Spa, Olhao, The Algarve from €299pp, travel January 2018. 7 nights 3* Topaz Hotel, St Paul’s Bay, Malta from €389pp, travel June. 3 nights B&B 4* Quality Hotel Nova Domus, Rome, Italy from €299pp, travel June. Visit or call 01 539 7777.

Falcon offers: 7 nights self catering 3* Royal Sun Apartments, Sunny Beach, Bulgaria from €2,359 2+3, depart June 19. 7 nights half board 3* Hotel Cala Font, Cap De Salou, Costa Dorada from €799pp, depart Knock August 1. 7 nights self catering 2* San Marcial, Matagorda, Lanzarote from €559pp, depart Cork August 24. 7 nights half board 3* More Hotel, Alcudia, Majorca from €529pp, depart Shannon August 26. 7 nights self catering 3* Royal Sun Apartments, Sunny Beach, Bulgaria from €2,359 2+3, depart June 19. 14 nights all inclusive 5* Azul Fives Karisma, Playa Del Carmen, Mexico from €2,109pp, depart June 14. 14 nights all inclusive 4* Royal Decameron Cornwall Beach, Montego Bay, Jamaica from €2,139pp, depart June 15. 7 nights self catering 3* Labranda Oasis Mango, Los Cristianos, Tenerife from €559pp, depart May 26. 7 nights half board 3* Lion Hotel, Sunny Beach, Bulgaria from €439pp, depart May 29. Visit or call 1850 45 35 45.

Insight Vacations is offering 8 days Glories of Greece tour from €2,219pps. Book by May 31, depart July 25. Visit or call 01 775 3803.

ITAA offers: 8 days Danube river cruise from €1,379pp, travel between now and October. 12 nights Spain cruise on board Celebrity Silhouette from €2,239pps, depart October 11. 118 nights around the world cruise on board the MSC Magnifica from €12,589pp, depart January 5 or 7 2019.

Sunway offers: 9 nights Prague, Vienna & Budapest tour from €2,109pp, depart September 8. 7 nights Rhine river cruise from €2,079pp, depart November 25. 9 day Japan Express Tour from Osaka to Tokyo from €3,089pp, depart August 28. 7 nights all inclusive Cancun from €1,329pp, depart September 27. 7 nights B&B 3* Esat Hotel, Kusadasi from €299pps, depart May 27. 7 nights self catering 3* Bellevue Club Apts, Majorca from €349pp, depart May 27. 7 nights self catering Oasis Dunas Apts, Fuerteventura from €399pp, depart May 27. 3 Nights 3* Edison, New York from €535pp, travel February 2018. 3 nights 3* Stratosphere, Las Vegas from €529pp, travel November. 3 nights all inclusive taster cruise from Barcelona on board Norwegian Epic from €799pp, depart April 22 2018. 7 nights all inclusive Croatia & Greece fly cruise on board Norwegian Star from €1,330pp, depart October 8.

Thomson offers: 7 nights all inclusive Cosmopolitan Classics cruise from €1,379pp, depart May 19 2018. 7 nights self catering 3* Hotel Belvedere, Salou, Costa Dorada from €949pp, depart Knock August 1. 7 nights half board Protur Bahia Azul Apartments, Cal Bona, Majorca from €689pp, depart Cork June 17. 7 nights self catering Cinco Plaza, Puertyo Del Carmen, Lanzarote from €599pp, depart Shannon July 17. 14 nights all inclusive TUI Sensatori Resort Azul , Riviera Maya, Mexico from €2,459pp, depart June 21. 14 nights all inclusive ClubHotel RIU Negril, Negril, Jamaica from €1,699pp, depart June 15. 7 nights half board TUI Sensimar Los Gigantes, Los Gigantes, Tenerife from €739pp, depart May 26. 7 nights self catering Mariners Club, Alcudia, Majorca from €429pp, depart May 31. 7 nights B&B Hesperia Lanzarote, Puerto Calero, Lanzarote from €670pp, depart June 15. 7 nights full board ‘Treasures of the Mediterranean’ cruise on board Thomson Majesty from €1,069pp, depart June 6.

Topflight 5-day sale offers, starting today: 7 nights B&B 4* Jardin d’Ajuda Suite, Madeira, Funchal from €399pps, depart May 25. 7 nights self catering 4* Aparthotel Duas Torres, Madeira, Funchal from €369pps, depart May 25. 7 nights B&B 5* Hotel Melia Madeira Mare, Madeira, Funchal from €699pps, depart May 25. 7 nights half board 4* Hotel Cambridge, Lido di Jesolo, Venetian Riviera from €599pps, depart May 27. 7 nights self catering 4* Villaggio San Francesco, Caorle, Venetian Riviera from €499pps, depart June 10. 7 nights self catering 4* Villaggio San Francesco, Caorle, Venetian Riviera from £349pps, depart Belfast May 27. 7 nights self catering 4* Bella Italia mobile homes, Pescheira, Lake Garda from €319pps, depart Cork May 27. 7 nights self catering 4* Bella Italia mobile homes, Pescheira, Lake Garda from £299pps, depart Belfast May 27. 7 nights half board 4* Hotel Ascot, Sorrento from €599pps, depart May 28. 7 nights self catering 3* Villaggio Verde, Sorrento from €499pps, depart October 1. Visit or call 01 240 1700.

Tour America offers: 2 day Disney Orlando ticket with mini golf from €229 per adult, €219 per child, book by July 31, travel by December 31. 7 nights at the Rosen Inn at Pointe Orlando from €569pp, depart February 10 2018. 4 nights Excalibur Hotel, Las Vegas from €589pp, depart October 13. 3 nights Holiday Inn Wall Street, New York form €699pp, depart October 20. 7 nights all inclusive Gran Caribe Resort, Cancun from €1,399pp, depart March 10 2018. 10 nights Orlando and Caribbean cruise on board Royal Caribbean Oasis of the Seas from €1,239pp, depart August 30. 11 nights Med fly cruise from €2,219pp on board Celebrity Reflection, depart October 9. 8 nights New York and Bahamas cruise on board Norwegian Breakaway from €1,599pp, depart October 28. 7 nights Arab Emirates fly cruise on board MSC Splendida from €1,299pp, depart February 11 2018. Visit

Uniworld Boutique River Cruises is offering a Rhine river cruise on board the River Ambassador from €2,939pps. Book by June 30, travel August 13. Visit or call 01 775 3803.

Wendy Wu Tours offers: 16 days Wonder of China tour from €3,590pp, depart October 29. 17 days Angkor to the Bay tour from €3,690pp, depart October 13. 13 days trails of Japan from €5,790pp, depart November 20. 26 days grand tour of China from €4,490pp, depart August 24. 12 days Vietnam at a glance from €2,790pp, depart October 24. 9 days Golden Triangle tour from €2,390pp, depart December 9.

What we learned

The largest migration of mammals in Africa? NOT the Serengeti, but the fruit bat migration in Zambia. Thank you Indaba.

TRAVEL Extra’s Sunday Supplement: Aviation Nation, ANOTHER Irishman flies to a high place in international aviation


Willie Walsh speaking at the CAPA Aviation conference in Powerscourt, Co Wicklow, May 11 2017



  • Things
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Things to know about Travel this week

  • Kristin wins the car, and her reaction is great
  • Pythons on golf courses
  • Liars, drunks and bullshitters, who excels at aviation? 
  • Inside story of the proposed US-Europe laptop ban
  • German Travel Market in Nuremberg reveals 9pc increase in German visitors to Ireland on 2016. 
  • Gillian Young appointed Visit USA Ireland Executive Director
  • Pilot suspended for sleeping on the job
  • Ireland wins Travel Golf Challenge match
  • End to Zika emergency in Brazil
  • Thomas Cook cancels all Sharm el-Sheikh bookings
  • US issues Philippines travel warning
  • Chapter One wins Irish Restaurant’s Awards
  • Joycean-themed New Ormond Hotel gets approval
  • Skelling Michael to open

Travel Extra TV

Some extraordinary drone footage of a fleet of dolphins thrashing in the water. Watch here.

Meanwhile in South Africa, an enormous python slithers his way onto a golf corse. Watch here.

  • Have a look at Aer Lingus’s promo for its summer seat giveaway at Belfast City Airport. Watch here.
  • Etihad Airways explains Ha Al Laila, a traditional celebration marked by UAE families on the sixth month of the Islamic calendar. Watch here.
  • Here’s a gas video of a seal sunbathing on a car roof. Watch here.
  • Qantas showcases Tasmania’s winter festivals. Watch here.
  • Qatar Airways opened KidzMondo Doha in Mall of Qatar, where children can pretend to be passengers, cabin crew or pilots. Watch here.
  • There were severe storms in Oklahoma recently. Watch here.
  • Spotted in Alabama: an alligator chases a kayaker. Watch here.

Behind the Headlines

Arise, Kilcoole, and take your place among the nations of the earth. Ray Gammell is interim CEO of Etihad, suggesting the airline wants shot of James Hogan  (third generation Corkman, wouldn’t you know) sooner than expected.  Dublin (two of them, Glasnevin and Tallaght), Meath, Westmeath and now Wicklow have all provided the key decision makers for leading international airlines. Mohammad Mubarak Fadhel Al Mazrouei, Etihad Aviation Group’s chairman of the board, said the company is now in the “advanced stages” of recruiting a new group chief executive with an announcement expected to be made “in the next few weeks”. Etihad Airways plans to stand by Air Berlin until end 2018. Focus magazine reported that Lufthansa CEO Carsten Spohr is in discussions with Etihad on how to finance a possible takeover of Air Berlin.  Airberlin Q1 net loss was €293m, €100m worse than last year.  Watch here Ray Gammell speaking at the 2015 All Ireland hurling final. The flying geese continue to soar.

The year-long Blue Insurances Volkswagen Polo competition was won by Kristin Skinner of American Holidays. The announcement was made at an event in Saba on Dublin’s Clarendon Street, attended by the 13 finalsists, including Angela Taylor from Oasis Travel, Helena Kilduff from Skytours, Rose Kane from Kane’s Travel in Longford, Claire Mulligan from Clubworld Travel, Mandy Walsh of Travel Counsellors, Rita Gaughan from Limerick Travel, Kate McGillycuddy from Abbey Travel in Killarney, Nicola Quigley from O’Hanrahan Travel and Ross Waters from Tour America, Kathrice Canning from Cassidy Travel, Caroline Riordan of Sol Travel and Trish O’Reilly from Best4Travel. Picture shows Kristin Skinner with the prize, a Polo magnifico. Watch her reaction here.

What was going through the minds of Washington’s homeland security director chief John Kelly (and fourth generation Roscommon man) on Wednesday when it was leaked that the USA was considering extending its controversial laptop ban to ALL flights from Europe? The US laptop ban differs from England’s in that it is airport specific, ten airports in eight Muslim-majority countries, while London’s is country specific, applied to six named Muslim countries. Ireland is not considering implementing a similar ban. The US initially told European officials they wanted the ban extended to two European airports, Madrid and Brussels. When European officials objected they then threatened to extend it, starting Thursday, to all inbound flights from Europe, affecting inbound (US bound) although perversely, not outbound (US originating) flights. The idea was first reported first by the Daily Beast. And then it melted away, as if the negative reaction had forced a rethink. Listen here to the analysis of Travel Extra editor Eoghan Corry on RTE’s news at one.

Willie Walsh and Peter Bellew were the stars of the CAPA Leaders summit in Powerscourt, Co Wicklow. Picture shows Willie Walsh, Peter Bellew and Eamonn Brennan chief of the Irish Aviation Authority. CEO of the DAA Kevin Toland welcomed guests with a speech extolling Ireland’s role in aviation history (watch here). Willie Walsh quoted a more deprecatory version which he attributed to Michael O’Leary (watch here). The aviation industry is dominated by liars, bullshitters and drunks, “and Ireland excels at all three.” Watch here Henrik Hololei of the EU commission who said politicians do not fully understand the implications of Brexit for Open skies. See picture gallery here or connect with the album on Facebook.

Travelport used the opportunity to launch the new Travelport Business Insights product, giving travel agents opportunities to analyse their booking data and compare it with the national average. Watch here interview with Simon Ferguson, Travelport’s northern European chief, Sinead Reilly head of Ireland and Paul Broughton head of Britain. International media at the event were given a showaround of Travelport Digital, formerly MTT, which has grown from 30 to 200 people in the past five years, by Kathrina Gallogly. Picture shows the Travelport Digital team that hosted a dinner in the Unicorn afterwards: Kathrina Gallogly, Aisline White, Chris Boba, Martina Coogan, Steven Ratcliffe and Neil Gleeson of Travelport Digital. And, yes, the parting glass was sung.

The annual CAPA dinner Q&A concentrated on issues like Brexit and ended with a beer-drinking contest to raise money for charity. “Which charity?” asked MC Richard Quest. “Alitalia,” said one of the comedians in the audience. Who should head up Alitalia in its crisis? The panel session concluded it might be the right job for Conor McCarthy.

One CEO who was not there was Tallaght-born Alan Joyce of Qantas. Watch here why he now probably wishes he had come.

Germany TM in Nuremberg outlined the growth of Germany tourism. For Irish travellers the curve for Germany is definitely upward with 68,290 overnight stays recorded in January and February this year alone, a solid 9pc increase on the same period in 2016. Such statistical nuggets, great and small, were chipped out of the 43rd GTM Travel Mart, Germany’s annual main tourist sales platform, which ran in historic Nuremberg from Friday to Monday last (May 7-9). Over 500 travel industry representatives from 50 countries met up with 330 exhibitors from the hotel and transport industries, both convivially, at some of the prestige cultural venues in the city before doing business at the two-day B2B workshop at the NürnbergMesse trade fair centre, the focal point of the GTM. Picture shows Sean Mannion of Travel Extra, Petra Hedorfer, CEO of Germany Travel; Yvonne Coulin, CEO of CTZ Nuremberg and Jens Huwald, CEO of Bavaria Tourism. Watch here Nuremberg Philharmonic Orchestra performing at Nuremberg State Theatre. Watch here the Town Hall Show for delegates. Nuremberg. Watch here knitting at 300km an hour on the Munich to Nuremberg train. Watch here Christkindlesmarket. See picture gallery here or connect with the album on Facebook.


Australian Tourism exchange returned to Sydney. Catch up with whom we met at Australian Tourism ExchangeCaitlin Williams of CAPTA group (watch here and see website), Leanne Dyer of Central Coast Tourism (watch here and see website), Brett Ince of Great Southern Touring Route (watch here and see website), Tracy Willis of Gwinganna Lifestyle Retreat (watch here and see website), Carolyn Melbourne of Jenolan Caves (watch here and see website), Sab Lord of Lord’s Kakadu and Arnhemland safaris (watch here and see website), Naomi Hammond of Mantra group (watch here and see website), Kirsty Grace of Melbourne Sports Tours (watch here and see website), Kendall Munns of Moonlit Sanctuary (watch here and see website), Alysha Brandenburg of Parks Victoria (watch here and see website), Kylie Schumann of the Royal Mail Hotel, Dunkeld (biggest wine cellar in the Southern hemisphere (watch here and see website), Steve Lane of Sea Dragon Lodge on Kangaroo island (watch here and see website), Katie Hart of Sunreef Wooloolaba (watch here and see website), Liz Tuckett of Queensland’s Sunshine Coast (watch here and see website), Stephen Howard of QT Hotels (watch here and see website), Emilya Colliver of Sydney Culture Scouts (watch here and see website) and Wade Bowen of Thala Beach Nature Reserve (watch here and see website).

The first guests arriving for Indaba 2017 have been engaged in pre-tamils across South Africa. Picture shows Mark Young of Hayes & Jarvis, Eleanor Hawkins, John Fair of South African Tourism, Jo Austin of Selling Travel, Linda Harris of Discover the World, Alexia Williams of Noble Caledonia, Ginny Russell of Cedarberg, Peter McMinn of Travel Solutions, Rajiv Shah of Citibond and (front) Eoghan Corry editor of Travel Extra Ireland at Maropeng Official Visitor Centre for the Cradle of Humankind world heritage centre.

Just going to visit G Adventures Irish GSA John Grehan and the Polar and Antarctic explorer G Expedition was a gruelling adventure in itself for the media pack accompanying the trade to Edinburgh during the week. The flights were provided courtesy of Aer Lingus – but a missing piece of paperwork, or the click of a mouse, meant no seats onboard for the travel writers en route to Edinburgh. Over the phone from Scotland, John Grehan saved the day (in the early hours, circa 6am), and the writers joined the trade. From the airport they took the No 35 “direct” bus to the city’s Ocean Terminal, with the 10-mile journey taking an hour and 45 minutes, in the company of Edinburgh’s many pensioners and the odd wino. At least the journalists had no problem getting a return flight to Dublin – except that the seats were for two days later. No jokes please about travel journalists having trouble finding the G spot.

Travel Trade

Gillian Young was appointed Executive Director of the Visit USA Committee in Ireland. having worked in the Travel industry for 27 years and specialising in the US market for 23 years with American Holidays. Picture shows Dee Burock chair of Visit USA Ireland with Gillian at the Visit USA roadshow event in Dublin. See picture gallery of the Visit USA event here or connect with the album on Facebook.

Paula Coughlan from Dawson Travel was prize winner at the Insight Vacations Cork Evening in conjunction with the Spanish Tourism Office. She won a 10-day Insight Vacations premium escorted tour to Northern Spain including flights courtesy of the Spanish Tourism Office. See picture gallery here or connect with the album on Facebook.

Ireland, captained by Volker Lorenz, won the Ireland v England (captained by Greg Evans), travel golf challenge, the Celtic Cup, by 8 and a half to three and a half at Machynys and Langland Bay golf clubs in Wales. Irish Ferries, whose Dermot Merrigan is the incoming captain for 2018, transported the team on the Rosslare-Pembroke ferry. Picture shows the Irish team: Peter O’Hanlon of Travelfinders, Tony Collins of Topflight, Martin Skelly of Navan Travel, Dermot Merrigan of Irish Ferries, Michael Doorley of Shandon Travel,  Niall McDonnell of Classic Collection, Pat Dawson CEO of the ITAA, Clem Walshe of, John Cassidy of Cassidy Travel. Front row: Don Shearer, Volker Lorenz of Amadeus and Philip Airey of Sunway,. See picture gallery here or connect with the album on Facebook.

Topflight report a 20pc increase in chalet bookings for winter season 2017/18. The company also reports the trend among guests to request a specific chalet host when re-booking, second only to close proximity to the ski area. Topflight offer over 50 chalets throughout the French Alps in resorts including Plagne 1800, Plan Peisey, La Rosiere 1850, La Tania, Meribel Centre and Val D’Isere offering access to some of the best ski areas in the world. Week long packages start from only €899 per person sharing.

Picture shows travel agents hosted by Sunway at Club Med Sandpiper bay. Carolyn Davis of Liberty Travel, Fidelma Burke of Grogan Travel, Catherine Murray of Globe Travel, Jayne O’Shea of Limerick Travel, Holly Best of Virgin Atlantic, Jacinta McGlynn, Ben Greene of Arrow Tours, Maura Doran of O’Leary’s Travel, Michele Anderson of Sunway and Matt Stuart of Club Med on the Sunway trip to Club Med Sandpiper.

  • Tour America are finalists in three categories in the Social Media Awards, the Sockies. Best Use of Facebook by a Medium+ Business (in-house team managed), best blog of an SME, best use of social media by an SME medium (six employees or more).
  • Topflight launched pre-bookable added extras such as a night at the Verona Opera, water sailing or cycling on Lake Garda, and an excursion to the Amalfi Coast.
  • An ECTAA workshop in Brussels on the Package Holiday directive, due on July 1 2018, pointed out that implementation of the new rules into national legislation is fraught with difficulties.
  • Flight Centre has assigned a new manager, Andy Hegley, to Corporate Traveller.
  • Sabre appointed an ex-airline boss to restore industry relationships.

Strange world

During a thirteen hour flight, a couple swore, spilled drinks, banged chairs, argued when asked to be quiet, and threatened to open the aircraft doors mid-flight unless they were served more alcohol. No reports on whether the aircraft also was carrying squalling babies.

  • A pilot was suspended after being photographed fast asleep in business class during a flight from Pakistan to London. An asleep pilot on a long haul flight may be no bad thing. You don’t really want your pilot to be working without a break for an eight hour flight, so a system of rotations and quick breaks is desireable. But unfortunately this man was being paid to conduct training during that time.
  • Dooagh strand in Achill reappeared after being washed away 30 years ago.
  • Watch here Scotty Knemeyer somersaulting on a hoverboard while drinking a pint of Guinness.


Instituto Nacional de Estadistica reported Irish visits to Spain are up 17.5pc for the year so far and destined for a record 1,742,615. Spain received 4.1m international tourists in February, up 11.9pc.

  • Brazil declared an end to the Zika emergency after fall in cases.
  • Thomas Cook cancelled all flight and hotel bookings for Sharm el-Sheikh.
  • Holiday fraud rose by a fifth last year within the UK.
  • An 11-year-old schoolgirl died after falling off a water park ride.
  • A man and a woman died on two flights diverted to Shannon Airport in the last week.
  • The US Embassy issued a Philippines travel warning.

Food & Beverage

Chapter One on Dublin’s Parnell Square won the overall award at the Restaurant’s Association’s Irish Restaurant’s Awards.

  • Temple Bar’s only ‘temperance hotel’ has applied for- and been granted– a bar licence to stop guests wandering around the streets at night looking for alcohol.
  • Diageo opened a Guinness Export House with in-store tastings at Terminal 2, Dublin Airport.
  • Belfast City Airport announced the ten finalists in a competition offering food and beverage products marketing support and brand visibility at the airport.
  • Clayton Hotel in Cork’s restaurant is to be rebranded as the Globe Restaurant with an emphasis on produce sourced from The English Market.


Tony Fernandes’ Monteco Holdings finally got approval for the 170 bedroom, six-storey New Ormond Hotel on condition it retains a Joycean theme

  • Jim Murphy’s Prem Group is to open Premier Suites Plus in Rotterdam and Amsterdam.
  • The 244 bedroom hotel development at Belfast’s Hamilton Dock is on the market.
  • Dalata‘s John Hennessy said  trading performance for the first third of 2017 is marginally ahead of expectations.
  • Estates Gazette reported Accor is sell an 80pc stake in its €6.6bn HotelInvest real-estate business.
  • Best Western bought Swedish hotels.
  • ALTOUR and HRS signed a deal to give corporate hotel programmes gain access to competitive rates at business-grade hotels around the world.


A bust of Sixmilebridge born travel and tourism visionary Brendan O’Regan is to be unveiled at Shannon airport tomorrow, the man who invented Duty Free, Bunratty and Shannon Hotel management college.

CityJet Chief Commercial Officer Cathal O’Connell told the Irish Independentin 2015, we employed just over 500 staff. Today that figure is in excess of 1,200. Aviation is a numbers business and our latest statistics show that 33 of our 44 passenger aircraft – up from 18 in 2015 – operate on wet-lease contracts. It’s a far cry from the past when a solitary contract with Air France supplemented the airline’s extensive scheduled – and own-risk – network.”

Dublin Airport passengers in April were up 12pc to 2.5m, Britain up 5pc to 851,000, Europe up 13pc to 1.3m, transatlantic up 34pc to 234,000, Middle East/Africa up 20pc to 69,000, domestic up 16pc to 8,700.  Connecting passengers are up 52pc to 130,000.

KLM is to add a fifth Amsterdam-Dublin service, Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 19 July and daily from 2 September-28 October. The additional frequency will be operated by an Avro RJ85, probably operated by CityJet.

The Commission of Aviation Regulation is to replace the existing trigger, which added €0.59 to the per passenger price cap in the year following Dublin Airport serving 25m passengers with three triggers which increase the price cap in three stages “to better align the remuneration with the timeline for delivery of the parallel runway project”, €24.7m in the year that follows the start of works, €209.7m in the year after the north runway becomes operational, and €12.3m in the year after the project is complete. While the DAA estimates the new runway will cost €320m estimate, CAR’s estimate is €247m, but appears willing to review this when actual tenders have been received.

Malaysia Airlines is considering resuming services to Frankfurt. Speaking to Travel Extra on the margins of the CAPA conference in Powerscourt, Peter Bellew said that the previous European services were using the wrong aircraft but with increased load factors and the right aircraft we could return to Frankfurt and Paris (watch full interview here). Air Asia X is also considering resuming services to Europe. Speaking at the recent WTTC Global Summit in Bangkok, AirAsia Group CEO Tony Fernandes saidWe are jealous of Norwegian; they have the right aircraft, Boeing 787-9, We want to go to Europe, but the Ukraine incident put an extra hour on our aircraft. There are many interesting points in Europe, so it may not be a hub airport like London. It may be Manchester or Dublin.”

Kevin Toland told Fingal council Dublin Airport is the busiest bus station in the country, three times busier than Busáras, so Metro north is critical for the airport.

Aer Lingus currently has seven vacancies for Aircraft Engineers to join its Dublin Maintenance Base, EASA CAT A or B1 / B2 engineers.

OAG weekly schedules for Aer Lingus for the winter include increases on San Francisco, Toronto (now A330) and Washington with Miami up to 6 per week post-Christmas and Orlando down to 3 per week.

Andrew Tinkler is to step down after ten years as the head of Stobart Group to be succeeded by Warwick Brady.

Fraport CFO Matthias Zieschang said Ryanair will add a further 10 Boeing 737-800s to its Frankfurt base bringing the total to 12 aircraft next year.

Ryanair launched Travel Labs Spain IT innovation hub based in Madrid city centre, creating 250 new jobs and following Dublin and Wroclaw.

Outgoing Kerry Group chief executive Stan McCarthy is to join the board of Ryanair as a non-executive director at the end of May.

Schenghen tribulations have led to Ryanair updating advice for passengers “due to extended Travel Document Checks by Border Control Authorities, customers are advised to expect possible delays at immigration control points across our European network.” Ryanair advises customers to “arrive at least 3 hours before the scheduled departure time of their flight, to ensure they have sufficient time to arrive at the boarding gate at our recommended 30 minutes prior to their scheduled fight departure time.

  • Cork Airport passenger numbers were up 6pc in April. Passengers on Britain up 5pc, Europe up 8pc.
  • Kerry Airport passenger numbers were up 6pc in 2016 to 325,670.
  • The €15m project has commenced to upgrade the country’s longest runway, the 3,199m runway at Shannon. The airport’s runway was built in 1961 and was last fully rehabilitated in 1983.
  • Two legal actions taken by residents in St Margaret’s affected by the planned new runway at Dublin Airport will be switched to the Commercial Court for a hearing in October.
  • Questions were asked about an Air Corps CASA CN-235 was prevented from landing in Sweden in March to deliver munitions to the Irish Artillery Corps involved in a training exercise there.
  • Tony Fernandes sold his 20pc stake in Dublin Aerospace to Conor McCarthy. Staff numbers at the company have risen to 290.
  • CAE Parc Aviation is to take on up to 80 employees in its Dublin and Shannon offices over the next three years.
  • Commenting on AerCap Q1 results Gus Kelly said “I expect our assets to begin growing again in the second half of 2017 as our forward order books starts to deliver in earnest.”
  • Norwegian Air said its Cork flights to Rhode Island remain on schedule for a July start
  • Comac’s C919, designed to compete with the Airbus 320 and Boeing 737, took off from Shanghai’s Pudong International airport on its maiden flight.
  • BA are re-introducing free seat reservation for Bronze, Silver and Gold Members on a Basic (previously known as Hand Baggage Only) fare from June 14 and will be refunding any seating fees to customers with an upcoming booking to their original form of payment.
  • AerCap delivered a 787 Dreamliner to Hainan Airlines.
  • The European Regions Airline Association’s Director General, Simon McNamara, a first generation Limerick man, will be standing down later this year to take up a senior role at one of ERA’s airline members.
  • Emirates profits fell on oil and militancy concerns, the 2016-17 Annual Report showed $670m profit down 70pc from last year’s record. Emirates will launch a third daily B777-200LR Brisbane service from December 1.
  • Air Canada is to launch its own loyalty rewards plan in 2020 and not renew its contract with the company running Aeroplan.
  • CityJet got its fifth Sukhoi Superjet 100 Joins
  • Lufthansa listed The Irishman in first class lounges
  • Willie Walsh told the CAPA summit personalisation of offers contributed 160 million Euros to IAG in 2016, across 53m customers
  • Belfast International Airport passenger numbers  grew 35pc to March
  • The government signed an oorer to adopt “Alternative A” insolvency provisions of the Cape Town Convention and Aircraft Protocol 2001 into Irish law
  • Kerry Airport started talks  on new routes
  • Simon Ryan started a third budget carrier in South America
  • CAE Parc Aviation is to create 80 jobs across Shannon and Dublin
  • German media reported that Level is looking to Paris, Rome and Dublin for expansion.
  • Ryanair hits back at criticism that it was ‘destroying’ cities
  • Aer Lingus said there was no benefit to second runway
  • DAA won two Middle East airport shop contracts
  • The EU is to hold talks with US on removing time limits on wet-lease deals.


Could MSC follow Celebrity’s lead and homeport in Dublin? Pat Ward of Dublin Port put Antonio Paradiso, MD of MSC Cruises for Britain & Ireland, on the spot with a bit of nudging. Paradiso himself wasn’t ruling out the idea, nor in (yet), as he and MSC Preziosa paid a visit to the capital. Watch here as the man from MSC reveals why Ireland is a key market for the European cruise giant. See the welcoming ceremony as 70 travel agents visited the cruise ship. Picture shows Ciara Mooney ofFreedom Travel; Roisin Carberry ofTropial Sky; and Pamela Brownlee of Fly Away Travel and Cruises for You. See picture gallery here or connect with the album on Facebook.

Despite the issues faced by the travelling journalists, the trade had a whale (and Polar bear) of a time onboard the G Expedition – represented in Ireland by John Grehan – in Edinburgh. And although the Arctic and Antarctic are niche destinations, travel agents were given key tips (including bring binoculars, sleep masks, and rent big lenses onboard) from expedition experts. Picture shows Sharon Harney of Cassidy Travel and John Grehan of, G Adventures, onboard the G Expedition in Edinburgh. See picture gallery here or connect with the album on Facebook.

    • Dublin hosted the Celebrity Cruise Line president’s cruise. Picture shows Lisa Lutoff Perlo and Jo Rzymowska celebrating the maiden visit of Celebrity Eclipse in Dublin with Paul Hackett of Clickandgo.
    • Dublin hosted the Celebrity Cruise Line president’s cruise.
    • When Celebrity Constellation emerges from dry dock on May 26, it will feature two new restaurants, including the Top Deck Burger Bar which is new to the line.
    • Emerald Waterways launched the Emerald Destiny for the rivercruise season.


The Office of Public Works confirmed that Skellig Michael, the famous UNESCO World Heritage Site located off the Kerry coast, will open to visitors on May 14th.

Dublin-based travel-tech company Stroll claimed a world with a portfolio of tours, called Stroll Exclusive which allows travellers to pick from multiple genres, from spooky strolls through Dublin’s streets after dark, to eye-opening tours of the Irish Silicon Valley.

Sofia Hansson, Tourism Ireland Manager Australia and New Zealand hosted eight travel agents from Australia and New Zealand, winners of a competition run by Tourism Ireland, in conjunction with Emirates, during Tourism Ireland’s sales mission ‘Down Under’ in late 2016, for a Black Taxi Tour of Belfast, a drive along the Causeway Coastal Route, Newgrange, Glendalough and the Dunbrody Famine Ship Experience.

A delegation of 11 Irish tourism companies, is meeting with 185 meetings and incentive buyers from North and South America at the annual Meeting & Incentive Forum in Cancún. Picture shows Adrian Mooney of The K Club; Marie McKeown of Tourism Ireland; Sandra Russell of Portmarnock Hotel & Golf Links; Sharon Joyce of O’Callaghan Hotels; Gillian Griffin of Adare Manor; Olwyn Horgan of Clayton Hotel Ballsbridge; Stephanie Hughes of The Westin Dublin; Orla Byrne of Druids Glen Resort; Stephanie Hayes of Clontarf Castle; Lynda Reilly of Dublin Convention Bureau; and John Callely of Odyssey International, at M&I Forum in Cancún, Mexico.

Fáilte Ireland’s Capital Grants Allocation announced released €400k for the development of King John’s Castle in Carlingford. Picture shows Tourism and Sport Patrick O’Donovan with Jenny de Saulles, of Ireland’s Ancient East.

Dublin rose five places to 13th in the International Congresses and Conventions Association rankings. Ireland is up six places to 26th. Cork, Galway and Limerick are in the top 100, see here.

Golf Voyager, the Irish booking engine that allows golfers to custom-build their own golf package in minutes,  has been announced as the winner of the ITB China Awards in Shanghai.

Even with almost 1.5m visitors a year, the Guinness Storehouse headcount is still dwarfed by Dublin Airport’s near-30m visitors a year. The Loop in Terminal 2 will be home to the world’s first Guinness Export House, where visitors can learn about the black stuff and try in-store tasting sessions from on-hand beer specialists.

Keith Duffy of Boyzone fame and former Westlife star Brian McFadden entertained would-be conventioneers at a Fáilte Ireland event in London here.

Fáilte Ireland, and Tourism Ireland hosted a group of German media footstepping German writer and Nobel Prize Laureate, Heinrich Boll who wrote the journal Irisches Tagebuch. They visited the cottage on Achill Island where he stayed in 1958, the deserted village at Slievemore, Ceide Fields Visitor Centre, the Museum of Country Life and Ballycroy National Park and met with the Achill Heinrich Boll Association at Bervie Guesthouse, Keel.

Picture shows Joan O’Shaughnessy, Chairman of Tourism Ireland; Richard Hurley, Granville Hotel; Margaret Jeffares, Good Food Ireland; and Niall Gibbons, CEO of Tourism Ireland, before the Tourism Ireland board meeting at the Cliff House Hotel, Ardmore, Co Waterford.

  • An iReach survey of the summer holiday plans was published.
  • Maurice Pratt, marketing adviser for Tourism Ireland was a long-term target of Shane Ross’s Sunday Independent column. In an interview with Mark Paul of the Irish Times he calls Ross “the Minister in charge of ignoring tourism”?.
  • The most Instagrammed place in Ireland?
  • Phil Donnelly is collaborating with Dundara productions on a workshop for May 29th in the Glenroyal Hotel in Maynooth: create a winning brand & produce quality social media content
  • Tourism trade from Co. Tipperary completed Fáilte Ireland’s ‘Champions – Service Excellence’ Programme.
  • A Tourism Ireland campaign is under way in The Daily Telegraph,

Deal Watch

Click and Go offers: 3 nights 3* The Edison Hotel NYC, New York from €669pp, travel November. 7 nights self catering  Duna Beach Apartments, Maspalomas, Gran Canaria from €349pp, travel June. Over 50s offer: 7 nights half board 4* Belver Hotel Boavista, Albufeira, The Algarve from €389pp, travel November. 3 nights 4* NH Wien Belvedere Hotel, Vienna, Austria from €339pp, travel July. Visit or call 01 539 7777.

Falcon offers: 7 nights self catering 3* Labranda Oasis Mango, Los Cristianos, Tenerife from €429pp, depart May 19. 7 nights self catering 2* Tamanaco Apartments, Gran Canaria from €319pp, depart June 15. 14 nights half board 3* Hotel Cala Font, Cap De Salou, Costa Dorada from €799pp, depart Knock August 1. 7 nights self catering 2* San Marcial, Matagorda, Lanzarote from €589pp, depart Cork August 24. 7 nights half board 3* More Hotel, Alcudia, Majorca from €529pp, depart Shannon August 26. 7 nights self catering 3* Royal Sun Apartments, Sunny Beach, Bulgaria from €2,059 2+3, depart June 19. 14 nights all inclusive 5* Royalton Riviera Cancun, Riviera Maya, Mexico from €2,179pp, depart June 14. 14 nights all inclusive 4* Royal Decameron Cornwall Beach, Montego Bay, Jamaica from €1,709pp, depart June 15. Visit or call 1850 45 35 45.

Intercontinental Dublin is offering family suite packages from €460 per family per night incl. family day pass to Dublin Zoo, breakfast, Intercontinental picnic and access to leisure facilities. Available from June to August. Visit

ITAA offers: 7 nights The Clarion Inn Lake Buena Vista, Orlando from €529pp, depart June 12. 4 nights New York shopping trip from €499pp, depart February 8 2018.  California and the Golden West tour from €2,669pp, travel between now and November.

Sunway offers: 6 nights Jews of Italy tour from €1,359pp, depart September 2. 7 nights Melodies of the Danube river cruise from €2,265pp, depart August 14. 5 day adventure tour from Shanghai to Hong Kong from €1,359pp, depart August 30. 7 nights all inclusive Da Balaia, Portugal from €1,315pp, depart May 17. 7 nights B&B 4* Golden Day Wings Hotel, Kusadasi from €299pps, depart May 20. 7 nights self catering 2* Villa Florida Apts, Fuerteventura from €399pp, depart May 20. 7 nights self catering 3* Roc Lago Park Apts, Menorca from €499pp, depart May 21. 7 nights self catering 2* Carmen Miosotis Apts, Sicily from €329pp, depart May 20. 3 nights 3* Bond Place Hotel, Toronto from €535pp, travel November. 4 nights 3* Stratosphere, Las Vegas from €599pp, travel November. 3 nights 4* Doubletree by Hilton, Chicago from €645pp, travel February 2018. 3 nights taster cruise from Barcelona on board Norwegian Epic from €799pp, depart April 22 2018. 8 nights Estonia and Russia fly cruise on board NCL Getaway from €1,639pp, depart October 7. 11 nights Dubai fly cruise on board Celebrity Constellation from €1,599pp, depart November 26. Visit

Thomson offers: 7 nights full board Med cruise on board Thomson Majesty from €1,119pp, depart June 6. 7 nights self catering 3* Hotel Belvedere, Salou, Costa Dorada from €949pp, depart Knock August 1. 7 nights half board Protur Bahia Azul Apartments, Cal Bona, Majorca from €689pp, depart Cork June 17. 7 nights self catering Cinco Plaza, Puertyo Del Carmen, Lanzarote from €599pp, depart Shannon July 17. 14 nights all inclusive TUI Sensatori Resort Azul , Riviera Maya, Mexico from €1,879pp, depart June 14. 14 nights all inclusive ClubHotel RIU Ocho Rios, Ocho Rios, Jamaica from €1,589pp. 7 nights half board TUI Sensimar Los Gigantes, Los Gigantes, Tenerife from €799pp, depart May 19. 7 nights half board San Miguel Beach Club, Puerto San Miguel, Ibiza from €669pp, depart May 25. 7 nights self catering Mariners Club, Alcudia, Majorca from €499pp, depart May 31 7 nights B&B Hesperia Lanzarote, Puerto Calero, Lanzarote from €699pp, depart June 1.

Topflight offers: 7 nights self catering 4* Aparthotel Duas Torres, Funchal, Madeira from €369pps, depart May 25. 7 nights B&B 4* Jardins d’Ajuda Suite, Funchal, Madeira from €399pp, depart May 18. 7 nights B&B 4* Four Views Monumental, Funchal, Madeira from €449pps, depart May 18. 7 nights B&B 5* Hotel Melia Madeira Mare, Funchal, Madeira from €799pps, depart May 25. 7 nights self catering 4* Fattoria Castiglionchio, Tuscany countryside, Italy from €449pps, depart May 26. 7 nights B&B 3* Hotel Londra, Sorrento, Italy from €469pps, depart May 21. 7 nights half board 4* Hotel Ascot, Sorrento, Italy from €669pps, depart May 28. 7 nights half board 4* Hotel Bristol, Sorrento, Italy from €899pps, depart May 21. 7 nights self catering 3* Ambassador Suite Apts, Riva, Lake Garda from €469pps, depart May 27. 7 nights half board 4* Hotel Splendid Palace, Limone, Lake Garda from €799pps, depart May 27. 7 nights half board 4* Hotel Cambridge, Lido di Jesolo, Venetia Riviera from €669pps, depart May 27. Visit or call 01 240 1700.

Tour America offers: 7 nights Clarion Inn Lake Buena Vista, Orlando from €529pp, depart June 12. 4 nights Excalibur Hotel, Las Vegas from €649pp, depart June 9. 3 nights Excelsior Hotel, New York from €699pp, depart June 8. 8 nights Northern Europe fly cruise on board Royal Caribbean Independence of the Seas from €1,699pp, depart July 7. 7 nights Miami & Caribbean fly cruise on board MSC Divina from €1,829pp, depart August 25. 7 nights Greek isles and Croatia fly cruise on board Norwegian Star from €1,465pp, depart August 27. Visit

Travel Department is offering 7 nights B&B hotel accommodation in Madeira from €499pp for 4* or €599pp for 5*. Travel May or June. Click here or call 01 637 1600.

Wendy Wu Tours offers: 16 days Wonder of China tour from €3,590pp, depart October 29. 17 days Angkor to the Bay tour from €3,690pp, depart October 13. 13 days trails of Japan from €5,790pp, depart November 20. 26 days grand tour of China from €4,490pp, depart August 24. 12 days Vietnam at a glance from €2,790pp, depart October 24. 9 days Golden Triangle tour from €2,390pp, depart December 9.


TRAVEL Extra’s Sunday Supplement: 10m a month is the new norm for Ryanair, April figures indicate


Event to launch the Bear Grylls adventure centre at Belle-Isle, Co Fermanagh, May 4 2017

Twelve things you need to know about travel this week

  • 10m a month and the rule of sevens for Ryanair
  • Aer Lingus passenger numbers up 26.6pc
  • The private jet that really is 2 Deer
  • Eating beetle larvae on the Bear Grylls adventure centre in Lough Erne
  • Snakes on a plane (as well as frogs and lizards) averted.
  • Bavaria braces itself for Germany Travel Market 
  • 13th finalist in Blue’s win a car competition
  • Venice plans to charge for entry to city centre
  • Irish Pub Awards to take place in November
  • Upselling car hire: the startling stats
  • More on Qatar’s launch plans
  • Dublin’s 9,075 hotel beds on the way

Travel Extra TV

  • There was some drama on this Ryanair flight. Watch here.
  • Aer Lingus welcomed 200 new cabin crew. Watch here.
  • Here’s what makes Ireland special in the summer — as told by Tourism Ireland. Watch here.
  • The latest plug for the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open from Tourism NI. Watch here.
  • A dolled up Emirates 777 freighter visited Barcelona for Sant Jordi, the ‘day of the rose’. Watch here.
  • Some fantastic drone footage shot in Norway of snow being cleared off a mountain. Watch here.
  • Italian government provides Alitalia with €600m loan, adding to the 7bn cost to the Italian taxpayer
  • Lufthansa begins Shannon route
  • Stena Line completes refit of seven ships.

Behind the Headlines

Just how stunning were Ryanair’s 11.3m April passenger numbers? Think of the number seven. April is normally the SEVENth strongest month for a northern hemisphere airline, outside the top half of the 12-month annual table. Just SEVEN airlines have ever carried more than 10m in a month in the history of world aviation, counting Aeroflot’s massive peromfance in the old USSR. Ryanair’s very sharp rise for April, fuelled but not entirely explained by Easter, indicate that the harp is unlikely to dip below 10m again until November or February 2018, if ever again. Ryanair figures were up 14pc and load factor now 96pc (see press release),

Another week, another airline arroganza. Delta Air Lines is offering refunds and compensation to a California family that says they were forced off a plane and threatened with jail after refusing to give up one of their seats on a crowded flight.

Deerjet showcased their private B787 Dream Jet in Dublin Airport, complete with master bedroom, oversized shower and high-living lounge. The aircraft cost €50,000 for one hour and €300,000- €350,000 for a flight from London to New York. As the reg number says, 2-Deer, the equivalent of 500,000 renmibi and the cost of this is spread over the passengers which is usual somewhere between 30-40 people. Watch here a video tour of the aircraft. See picture gallery here or connect with the album on Facebook.


The team launched a new Bear Grylls adventure centre, the fourth in Ireland, on Killygowan island in Lough Erne beside Jamie Hamilton’s castle and private island at Belle-Isle Co Fermanagh. The Castle rooms (see Travel Extra‘s arrival video here). and self catering units already host weddings and events, and a cookery school, with the adventure courses set to bring a new dimension. Travel Extra stopped by to sample some tasty grubs and a spot of tomahawk throwing, at the end of which the 15 tour operators, DMC’s and select travel media put together a willow raft which, unbelievably, made it back to the shore. Watch here video diary of the day and watch here interview with Will Powderley, Operations Director, where he speaks abut the Bear Grylls adventure centre concept. Picture shows the Bear Grylls team of John Kirkpatrick, Matt Levell, Will Powderley, Oran Masterson and Jonathan O’Brien at the event. See picture gallery here or connect with the album on Facebook. And yes, the parting glass was sung.

Germany Travel Market is back in Bavaria this year and being hosted by Nuremberg with a lavish opening ceremony promised for tonight. Pictured at a pre-opening event in Nuremberg are Sean Mannion of Travel Extra, Petra Hedorfer, CEO of Germany Travel; Yvonne Coulin, CEO of CTZ Nuremberg and Jens Huwald, CEO of Bavaria Tourism.  Irish visits to Germany reached a record 205,504 last year. The number of overnights was up 9.3pc to 476,115.

Epic Ireland celebrated its first birthday at the CHQ in Dublin. Curator Jess Trainer said it’s getting top ratings on TripAdvisor and is a unique mix of the museums of old and newer, more.  commercially-driven centres such as the Guinness Storehouse. Watch Jess and Managing Director Mervyn Greene talk here about the centre. See picture gallery here or connect with the album on Facebook.

Travel Trade

Trish O’Reilly from Best4Travel is the April Finalist the competition to win a Polo Magnifico run by Blue Insurances. The final will take place on Thursday next May 11, 2017 at 7.30pm in Saba on Dublin’s Clarendon Street, where one of the 13 finalists will win a new Volkswagen Polo. She follows previous finalists Angela Taylor from Oasis Travel, Helena Kilduff from Skytours, Rose Kane from Kane’s Travel in Longford, Claire Mulligan from Clubworld Travel, Mandy Walsh of Travel Counsellors, Rita Gaughan from Limerick Travel, Kate McGillycuddy from Abbey Travel in Killarney, Nicola Quigley from O’Hanrahan Travel and Ross Waters from Tour America, Kathrice Canning from Cassidy Travel, Kristin Skinner of American Holidays and Caroline Riordan of Sol Travel.

Charlie McNally is joining the Insight Vacations and Uniworld Boutique River Cruise team from flight Centre where he has been working as Business Development Manager, after Brian Hynes departed TTC to join Brendan Breen’s newly established high end b2c tour operator Oroko.

A survey carried out by for Ciaran Mulligan’s by Behaviour & Attitudes suggests 40pc of Irish holidaymakers are hit for car hire excess insurance cover at car rental desks abroad. Car Hire Excess claimed their €41.86 charge compares with €230.44 for Budget, €224.26 for Hertz and €203.00 for Enterprise.

Balkan Holidays is increasing its charter service from Belfast to Bourgas for summer 2018.

Thomas Cook commenced new services from Belfast International to Ibiza and Las Palmas  for the coming Summer 2017 season.

A London salary study exposed gender inequality in travel.

Royal Caribbean said it is to increase deployment and sales roles in a European realignment.

The next TIGS outing is an overnight outing to Mount Wolseley on May 18, members €45 and guests €65, tee times: 10.00-10.50 and 13.00-14.50 fourball, buggies to be booked directly with the pro-shop.

Ryanair marketing chief Kenny Jacobs gave some more details of the plans for Ryanair holidays (watch here) and the airline’s surprise move into the charter market (watch here) at the Routes Europe conference at the Waterfront, Belfast. He said a lot of OTAs will not be around in 10 years’ time (watch here).

  • Thomas Cook announced more shop closures.
  • Ryanair marketing chief Kenny Jacobs gave some more details of the plans for Ryanair holidays (watch here) and the airline’s surprise move into the charter market (watch here) at the Routes Europe conference at the Waterfront, Belfast. He said a lot of OTAs will not be around in 10 year’s time (watch here).
  • Former Star Alliance boss Mark Schwab has joined Dublin-headquartered CarTrawler as a Senior Adviser

Strange world

India’s Jet Airways has fired a pilot who had attacked a flight examiner during a training session.

  • Venice banned new kebab shops and limits the sale of pizza by the slice so the romantic city ‘doesn’t lose its identity’
  • A man was arrested attempting to board a flight with snakes, frogs and lizards in his backpack.
  • All Nippon Airways gave Londoner Martin Pavelka a banana and a fork and knife to eat it with, with a pack of salt, as a gluten free meal.
  • An American passenger was arrested in Japan after video emerged of a violent fist fight that took place Monday on an All Nippon Airways plane at Tokyo Narita before it was due to take off for Los Angeles.


On current trends, the Arctic ocean will be largely ice-free in summer by 2040.

  • Venice announced plans to change for entry to its historic city centre.
  • Portugal airport security staff plan further strikes.
  • A fire on Jekyll Island in Georgia was contained after burning 15 acres of woods.
  • Kenny Jacobs had some advice for the Mayor of Barcelona on his anti-tourism policies (watch here) at the Routes Europe conference in the Waterfront, Belfast.

Food & Beverage

The Licensed Vintners Association and Vintners Federation Ireland launched the inaugural Irish Pub Awards at Doheny and Nesbitt’s on Baggot Street, to be announced at a ceremony in November with categories including ‘Best Food Pub’, ‘Best Tourist Pub’, ‘Innovative Pub of the Year, ‘Best Local Pub, ‘Outstanding Customer Service, ‘Best Music Pub, ‘Best Outdoor Space’ and ‘Pub Personality of the Year’. The national awards will be preceded by seven regional events to announce 56 regional winners.

Ross Mac Mathúna of the Alcohol Beverage Federation of Ireland urged the Government to engage with industry to strike a balance between tackling harmful drinking and preserving jobs and local business and said the Brexit/breat-imeacht policy was deeply flawed.

Four buildings on Merrion Row including the iconic Unicorn restaurant are on sale for €9m.

The next event in the Airfield Estate Food Series (website) on September 7 will explore Food Literacy, what we know about food, how we relate to it and how does this influence how we behave towards food and the journey from Food Consumers to being responsible Food Citizens. Speakers at the initial session ‘The Irish Foodscape, 1916 – 2016′ included journalists Micheál Ó Muireachtaigh, Paddy Woodworth, Joe McNamee, Ernie Whalley, Helena O’Connor and Regina Sexton of UCC,  Barra Casey of Central Statistics Office, David Meredith of Teagasc, Joe Hayden of The Orchard Centre, Kirstie McAdoo of Airfield and Mary Farrell of Morton’s.

Sligo Food Trail unveiled the Sligo Tapas Trail as part of the Yeats Weekend celebrations from 8-10th June 2017

  • Chef Hilary O’Hagan-Brennan criticised the Restaurants Association for using an all-male judging panel and having a team of six male chefs cook dinner for the 900 guests attending the awards for the awards ceremony tomorrow Monday.
  • Sligo Food trail released a share the secrets video.
  • Wetherspoon, which own four pubs in suburban Dublin and one in Cork, plan to open 50 further outlets in Ireland.
  • Cork based brewery Franciscan Well are teaming up with Dublin doughnut shop Aungier Danger to create beer themed doughnuts in 50 pubs throughout Leinster.
  • US Trade union SEIU claimed McDonald’s should be investigated for gouging franchisees on rents and deceiving them about how the amounts are calculated, in breach of regulations in California and Illinois.


The Tannery in Dungarvan, Belleek Castle in Sligo, and Hilton Park in Co Monaghan are among 11 new additions to the Historic Hotels of Europe group.

  • Map Travel say the Parador at Nerja will be closed from end of October until March 2019 for renovations, therefore, becoming heavily booked.
  • Paul Smith had been appointed the General Manager of The Brehon in Killarney.
  • Preferred Hotels & Resorts has launched a new mobile app to enhance and simplify its iPrefer hotel rewards programme.
  • STR Global reported occupancy in Europe in Q1 2017 was up 4.1pc to 63.5pc, Average daily rate up 2.3pc to EUR100.94 and RevPAR up 6.5pc to EUR64.06.
  • Dublin City Council granted Brown Table Solutions planning permission to convert Loreto House on Stephen’s Green into an 87-bedroom luxury hotel with restaurant and spa.
  • Jim Murphy’s Prem Group plans a €11m redevelopment of new acquisitions, the Osprey in Kildare, Tulfarris in Blessington and Cahernane House in Killarney.
  • Michael Maye is planning a €60m 200-room hotel and Covent Garden-style covered marketplace on Market Street in Galway.
  • Plans for a 283-bedroom apart-hotel on the site of Dublin’s Tivoli Theatre will include a performance space.
  • Nama is reportedly readying the four-star Carton House hotel resort in Co Kildare for sale within the next two months. The Sunday Times reports that Nama is close to selecting an agent to market the property, which is being earmarked as potentially one of the biggest sales of 2017, adding that the hotel was once in the Project Tolka portfolio, but was stripped out of the portfolio sale last year.
  • Seven hotels with total value of €26m were sold in the first quarter of 2017.
  • CBRE say there are 9,075 hotel beds at various stages of the planning process in the Greater Dublin Area of which 5,700 are due for completion between 2017 and 2021.
  • The Westbury partnered with the Dublin International Piano Competition to host a recital by John O’Conor, and rising Irish piano stars including Antonia Huang, Tiffany Qiu, Dida Condria, Meabh Fitzgerald, Jane Brazil and Rowel Friers on Tuesday  May 16th.
  • Johnny Ronan is planning a 17-storey 110-bedroom hotel with a rooftop restaurant and bar at Tara Street, the height of 88m compares with 59m for Liberty Hall.
  • Beannchor group plans to build a sister hotel to the Bullitt Belfast on Capel Street in Dublin.
  • The five-star Powerscourt Hotel Resort & Spa in Co Wicklow launches a one-year partnership with Jaguar Land Rover Ireland to ferry guests in two cars.


Aer Lingus reported passengers up 26.6pc in April with load factor up 3.9 to 82.0pc. Cargo carried was up 27.3pc, a third month of good cargo growth. For IAG as a whole, passenger traffic was up 10.0pc with a 10.3pc increase on International European routes and 10.0pc on North American routes.

Bookings for the Airports Council International Europe 10th Annual Regional Airports’ Conference & Exhibition, hosted by Cork Airport, on May 15 to 17 May. Cork will host 200 delegates from 25 countries and 50 airports and airport operators.

How far will Ryanair’s changes go? Kenny Jacobs told the Routes Europe conference in the Waterfront, Belfast that nothing is a definite no (watch here). He said the big initiative for 2017, connection had been the number one request from Ryanair customers (watch here) in advance of its trial at Fiumicino. He said the success of the digital initiative was a surprise to the airline (watch here) and went into more details on the airline’s plan to become the (self-claimed) Amazon of air travel (watch here). He said Ryanair cannot take the eye off the ball on cost (watch here).. He warned that the implications of Brexit/breat-imeacht are serious for airlines (watch here). See here Irish Government Statement on Brexit/breat-imeacht preparations: strategy for negotiation process, see here the Government’s Approach Ireland and the negotiations on England’s withdrawal from the European Union, see here European Commission Directives for negotiation of Brexit/breat-imeacht.

Qatar will use an A350-900 for their launch flight from Dublin to Doha. Qatar  is offering free luxury stays for Irish passengers on stopovers. In partnership with the Qatar Tourism Authority, the +Qatar initiative aims to encourage more visitors with free four and five-star hotel stays.

From June 4, a  Cityjet Sukhoi Superjet will replace the Brussels Airlines Avro RJ100 on the route between Brussels Airport and Stockholm Bromma. Bromma, the largest Brussels Airlines Avro RJ100 destination,  cannot be served by A320 family aircraft because of local regulations driven by environmental concerns. It will thus become a Sukhoi destination. The SSJ100 has only recently been approved for that aerodrome.

Rumour has it that Ray Gammell will be the new CEO of Etihad, a job ex Aer Lingus CEO Christophe Mueller was associated with. Robin Kamark was appointed CEO Etihad Equity & Partners reporting to  James Hogan. Etihad Airways plans to stand by Air Berlin until end 2018. Focus magazine reported that Lufthansa CEO Carsten Spohr is in discussions with Etihad how to finance a possible takeover of Air Berlin.  Airberlin Q1 net loss was €293m, €100m worse than last year.

Aer Lingus took delivery of EI604, an ex Aeroflot Airbus A320, registered EI-GAL. First revenue service was Dublin – Amsterdam on May 6th 2017. It was first delivered new to Russian carrier Aeroflot on 18th February 2009 and was flown to Ostrava in the Czech Republic where it was prepared for delivery to Aer Lingus and was painted in the shamrock livery. Picture is by Mike Kelly.

The Italian government, said it would provide Alitalia with a €600m bridging loan that will allow it to operate for about six months or longer. Reuters reported that repeated state bailouts have cost Italian taxpayers 7bn over a decade. The Business Post speculated that if things had been different, Aer Lingus could have been another Alitalia.

  • Cork Airport reported passenger numbers up 6pc. Cork airport launched tech competition to boost passenger experienced. See picture gallery here or connect with the album on Facebook.
  • CNN reported that American Airlines plans to reduce legroom from 31 to 29 inches on three rows, and to 30 inches across the rest of the economy class cabin on its new Boeing 737-800 Max aircraft.
  • An Aer Lingus flight was forced to turn back after hitting a flock of pigeons
  • Aer Lingus Regional commenced Cork to Newquay flights.
  • IATA said world airline capacity grew 6.1pc in March, load factor was up 0.5 to a record 80.4pc and demand grew 6.8pc in Q1.
  • Willie Walsh told the IAG investor call that he sees Paris Orly and Rome Fiumicino as the next likely bases for Level.
  • Flybe plans to relaunch the Dublin-to-Southend service in October, operated by Stobart Air.
  • Aer Lingus‘s 200 new staff show off their skills on the  emergency slide as they join airline.
  • New cricket sponsors Turkish Airlines saw off the Irish men’s team as they headed off from Dublin Airport for key games in England
  • Etihad Airways’ Irish boss, Beatrice Cosgrove, helped launch this year’s competition to find the best Irish exporters here.
  • The Australian government agreed to build a new Sydney airport
  • Avolon delivered an Airbus A321-200 to VietJet
  • FLY leasing repriced, extended and upsized 2012 term loan
  • Stobart Air agreed a lease agreement for two more aircraft
  • Isobel Patterson from Craigavon was recorded as Easyjet’s 50 millionth passenger from Belfast.
  • AerCap signed a lease agreement with new airline customer, Wamos Air and a new airline customer, Germania
  • Lufthansa began its Shannon Route and described Shannon as a key gateway to the west. Connect to the launch picture here.
  • Rachel Kouyoumdjis of Enterprise Ireland said Ireland was well positioned to take advantage of growth the in Middle East aviation sector
  • Two unions at Dublin Airport accepted WRC proposals
  • Scotland’s assembly voted 112 to 4 to abolish Air Departure Tax.
  • Air Berlin posted a record 2m a day annual loss.
  • Aperture strengthened its leasing and financing arm
  • AerCap signed a lease agreement with Austrian Airlines for 777 Aircraft
  • Belfast City Airport announced plans to grow food and drink facilities in development drive
  • Flybe moved to ease overcapacity issues with Stobart Air agreement. Flybe placed two Embraer 195s with Stobart Air
  • Airlines for Europe called for the urgent reform of Eurocontrol and leadership ahead of the election of a new Director General of Eurocontrol next month. As the election enters its final phase, A4E has urged the national authorities who cast the votes to elect a candidate committed to efficiency and reform.
  • Passenger numbers on Donegal airport routes to Dublin and Donegal with Stobart on behalf of Aer Lingus Regional were up by 14.6pc in Q1 2017.
  • Shannon Airport will be main sponsor for Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann Inis 2017 from August 13th to 21st. Sharon Shannon stopped by to help with the launch. See picture gallery here or connect with the album on Facebook.
  • Air Canada will waive baggage fees for ski snowboards and boots for winter 2017/18.
  • Finnair will add four weekly frequencies to Rovaniemi via Helsinki operating on Wednesdays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays between January 1 and March 24 2018, bringing Helsinki Rovaniem frequencies to up to five flights a day from Helsinki. Capacity from Ireland will increase for the winter 2017 season to six weekly flights between Dublin and Helsinki, operated by a mix of Airbus A319 and Embraer E190 aircraft due to strong passenger demand. Ireland is the third biggest customer for Santa Rovaneimi packages.
  • Finnair and Finavia with Futurice are testing the use of face recognition technology for the check-in process of Finnair flights at Helsinki Airport until May 23.
  • It keeps getting better for Alan Joyce. Qantas forecast a better-than-expected profit of $1.35bn.
  • Shannon International Airport requires flood protection investment of €40m.
  • UPS has acquired Dublin-headquartered Nightline Logistics express courier and distribution company.
  • CAPA reported British Airways delayed cancelling free meals on services from London City Airport until Oct 2017, as a result of a family’s appeal to English small claims court.
  • BA’s London City-JFK via Shannon westbound all business call service to be reduced to once daily year-round.
  • Lufthansa Group reported their best first quarter earnings since 2008.
  • Kenya Airways has appointed Sebastian Mikosz as CEO effective June 1.
  • The new twice daily Derry to Stansted route took flight
  • Air Transat extended Toronto-Dublin to November keep up with demand
  • Aviation commissioner Cathy Mannion released the decision on the Interim Review of the 2014 Determination Related to the North Runway.
  • Winter 2017/2018 coordination parameters at Dublin Airport were declared.
  • Boeing 737-800 EI-FVR was delivered to Norwegian. Boeing 737-800 EI-FZT for Ryanair took its first flight
  • Lufthansa uploaded presentations from the lessor’s get-together” in Dublin
  • Norwegian Air’s US flights face a court challenge. Norwegian has completed the financing of additional nine aircraft
  • Ping An Leasing delivered an Airbus A350-900XWB Wide-body Aircraft on Sale and Leaseback to Ethiopian Airlines.
  • Southend to Dublin flights would be a big positive for the town.
  • We’re going for the hat trick, Aer Lingus is returning to the Budapest Airport Runway Run with 12 entrants
  • The EU court ruled that bird strikes are not airlines’ fault under EU compensation directive 261/2004.


Stena Line completed the refit of all seven ships in its Irish Sea North ferry fleet with a total investment programme of £5m. The work was carried out at the Harland & Wolff shipyard in Belfast over a four-month period, with the carefully synchronised dry dock visits being managed by Stena Line’s Clyde-based sister company Northern Marine Ferries.

Carnival Cruise Line confirmed a new cruise port to be built on Grand Bahama Island.

Cruise Ireland chairman Joe O’Neill said the island of Ireland has outperformed the European marketplace, recording average annual growth in cruise passenger numbers of 13pc against the European average across the same period of 9pc.

  • Carnival Breeze returned from two-week dry dock with new restaurants, Guy Fieri’s complimentary Pig & Anchor Bar-B-Que Smokehouse, the Alchemy Bar, Pixels photo gallery.
  • Miami is to get a new $100m Terminal B and extension to Terminal C by January 2020, offered to Norwegian if they commit to 52 calls per year.
  • New motorist fares with Stena Line to Britain from May 6 until May 22 on the Dublin to Holyhead, Rosslare to Fishguard, Belfast to Cairnryan and Belfast to Liverpool routes, get to bring a friend for free for travel up to December 17.
  • Updates to Holland America’s Westerdam during a 12-day dry dock in Palermo, with 1,916-passenger cruise ship include Billboard Onboard and Lincoln Centre Stage, entertainment venues on the line’s newest vessel Koningsdam; both spaces host nightly musical performances. Northern Lights nightclub has been replaced by Gallery Bar, an overhauled Pinnacle Grill, the line’s signature steakhouse, new furniture, carpeting and wall coverings; designer glass tile, new bathroom vanities, USB outlets on the headboard, bedside LED reading lights and more outlets
  • Ovation of the Seas went into dry dock in China for propulsion repairs.
  • Thomson Cruises says TUI Discovery 2 will include new entertainment and dining options, including self-service beer and wine taps in Islands buffet restaurant, allowing passengers to pour their own drinks, bedside USB connection points in all cabins, an additional three Oceanview cabins taking the total to six, four new shows: “Chaplin,” “Full Monty,” “Legends Live” and “Beats.
  • Norwegian Cruise Line said it is forming ties with Alibaba as it enters the China cruise market.
  • American legislators introduced a bill to make cruise companies responsible for deaths at sea.
  • Avalon Waterways waived the single supplement on every 2017 and 2018 European river cruise and on select Southeast Asia departures on the Mekong and Irrawaddy Rivers.
  • The Turkish government moved to reverse cruise line cancellations by offering $30 per person to cruise liners that make a call in the country with ships of more than 750 passengers capacity.


Three attractions have been added to Dublin Pass sightseeing card (website), Dublin Castle (normally €7), EPIC The Irish Emigration Museum (normally €14) and The Irish Rock’n’Roll Museum Experience (normally €16), while at the National Gallery of Ireland, Dublin Pass holders now gain free entry to temporary exhibitions. New for summer 2017 are the 1916 Rebellion Walking Tour (20pc discount), Lazy Bike Tours’ (25pc discount); and Railtours Ireland First Class,(15pc discount).

  • Minister Patrick O’Donovan opened an exhibition at Desmond Hall Castle in Newcastle West, on the Independence story in West Limerick including Donal Sheehan from Newcastle West, first rebel casualty of the 1916 Rising, James O’Brien from Kilfergus first British Forces casualty and Con Colbert the Republican leader who was executed.
  • Tourism Ireland gave an updated Brexit/breat-imeacht briefing. Watch Niall Gibbons here.
  • Kenny Jacobs told the Routes Europe conference in the Waterfront, Belfast, how to grow NI Tourism (watch here), emphasising access.
  • Christina Lamb will join the Immrama festival in June as a keynote speaker.
  • Bus Éireann Route 350: Galway – Cliffs of Moher – Doolin – Ennis relaunches today a week ahead of schedule.
  • Irish Tourist Industry Confederation made a submission to Government on the need for more capital investment in tourism.
  • Performances hosted by Celtic Horizons over the coming months include free University Of Massachusetts Wind Ensemble Performance in Midleton Tuesday May 16th, University Of South Carolina choir concert on Thursday May  18th in St Nicholas Church Galway at 8pm, University of Massachusetts wind ensemble concert on Monday 22nd May Christ Church Dublin at 7.30pm and University Of South Carolina Choir Concert in Maynooth University May 21st 7.30, link on eventbrite.
  • Ireland BikeFest 2017 arrives in Killarney on June Bank Holiday weekend June 2nd to 5th

Deal Watch

British Airways is offering free upgrades to first class on select Club World flights. Book by August 27, depart by September 3.

Falcon offers: 14 nights all inclusive 4* Grand Bahia Principe, Riviera Maya, Mexico from €1,329pp, depart June 14. 14 nights all inclusive 3* Costa Dorada, Eurosalou, Salou from €1,079pp depart Knock July 18. 7 nights self catering 3* San Marcial, Matagorda, Lanzarote from €399pp, depart Cork May 18. 7 nights all inclusive 3* International II, Salou, Costa Dorada from €699pp, depart Shannon May 19. 7 nights self catering 3* Royal Sun Apartments, Sunny Beach, Bulgaria from €2,019 2+3, depart June 12. 14 nights all inclusive 3* Royal Decameron Club, Runaway Bay, Jamaica from €1,569pp, depart June 15. 7 nights self catering 2* Loulas Village, Psarras, Corfu from €549pp, depart June 2. 7 nights self catering 2* San Marcial, Matagorda, Lanzarote from €499pp, depart June 15. 7 nights self catering 2* Emerald Studios, Rhodes from €499pp, depart June 14. Visit or call 1850 45 35 45.

ITAA offers: 14 nights family camping in Brittany from €2,807 2+3, depart July 20. 7 nights family camping in Lake Garda from €580pps, depart June 17. 7 nights family camping in Croatia from €1,625 2+2, depart June 1.

Riviera Travel offers: 5 days Rhine & Yuletide Markets cruise on MS Emily Bronte from €899pp, depart December 6. 15 days Gems of Eastern Europe cruise on board Thomas Hardy from €2,679pp, travel April, May, June or September 2018. Visit

Sunway worldwide offers: 3 nights 3* Arabian Park Hotel, Dubai from €499pp, travel June. 7 nights B&B 3* Kata Sea Breeze, Thailand from €795pp, travel October. 5 nights 3* AHA Inn on the Square, Cape Town from €829pp, travel June. 7 nights all inclusive 4* RIU Cancun Hotel, Mexico from €1,499pp, travel October. Visit

Thomson offers: 14 nights all inclusive RIU Lupita, Playa car, Mexico from €1,299pp, depart June 7. 14 nights half board Belvedere Hotel, Salou, Costa Dorada from €1,089pp, depart Knock August 1. 7 nights all inclusive Club Hotel Riu Lanzarote, Playa De Los Pocilos, Lanzarote from €699pp, depart Cork May 25. 7 nights half board Belvedere, Salou, Costa Dorada from €599pp, depart Shannon May 19. 14 nights all inclusive Riu Montego Bay, Montego Bay, Jamaica from €1,749pp, depart June 15. 11 nights self catering Mariners Club, Alcudia, Majorca from €389pp, depart May 23. 7 nights half board Alkion Hotel, Sidari, Corfu from €469pp, depart May 26. 7 nights self catering Pefki Islands Resort, Pefkos, Rhodes from €559pp, depart June 14. 7 nights half board Platanista Hotel, Psalidi, Kos from €699pp, depart June 17. 7 nights full board Iconic Island cruise on board Thomson Dream from €1,119pp, depart June 16.

Topflight offers: 7 nights self catering 4* Aparthotel Duas Torres, Madeira from €360pps, depart May 11. 7 nights B&B 4* Four Views Baia, Madeira from €499pps, depart May 11. 7 nights B&B 5* Hotel Melia Madeira Mare, Madeira from €749pps, depart May 11. 7 nights self catering 4* Aparthotel Duas Torres, Madeira from €399pps, depart May 18. 7 nights B&B 4* Four Views Baia, Madeira from €499pps, depart May 18. 7 nights B&B 4* Jardins d’Ajuda, Madeira from €499pps, depart May 25. 7 nights B&B 5* Melia Madeira Mare, Madeira from €799pps, depart June 1. 7 nights B&B 4* Four Views Monumental, Madeira from €739pps, depart June 8. 7 nights B&B 4* Baia Azul, Madeira from €769pps, depart June 15. Visit or call 01 240 1700.

Tour America offers: 7 nights The Rosen Inn at Pointe Orlando from €495, travel November. 3 nights The Beacon Hotel, New York from €549pp, depart February 2 2018. 4 nights The Excalibur Hotel, Las Vegas from €559pp, depart February 1 2018. 3 nights Bond Place Toronto, Toronto from €629, depart October 13. 10 nights Orlando and Caribbean fly, cruise and stay on board Royal Caribbean Oasis of the Seas from €1,139pp, depart November 9. 11 nights Fort Lauderdale and Caribbean cruise on board Celebrity Eclipse from €1,549pp, depart November 16. 7 nights Arab Emirates fly cruise on board MSC Splendida from €1,099pp depart February 4 2018. 8 nights New York and Bahamas cruise on board Norwegian Breakaway from €1,669pp, depart October 21. Visit

What we learned

Prince Charles Windsor, heir to the English crown, said he is descended from Vlad Țepeș;  Vlad the Impaler, inspiration for Bram Stoker’s Dracula, according to Romanian ambassador. In Derry they will tell you the real inspiration for Dracula was the Celtic vampire droch-fhola, buried near the all-conquering GAA club Slaughtneil (watch here a Travel Extra feature) but that is a story for another day.

TRAVEL Extra’s Sunday Supplement: Anger management issues at ANOTHER American Airline


Section of crowd including travel trade guests hosted by Turkish Airlines at the European Rugby Champions Cup semi-final Munster v Saracens at the Aviva, April 22 2017

Ten things to know about travel this week

  • Anger management issue at another American airline
  • Turkish host travel trade in the President’s Box at the Aviva, shame about the result.
  • Delegates arrive for Routes Europe in Belfast
  • Howl at the Moon to open a hotel
  • Silver Muse named in the rain in Monaco
  • Skellig Michael opening date in doubt over unstable rocks.
  • Cityjet establish a base at Tallinn Airport
  • More airlines likely to charge segment fees on trade bookings.
  • Guinness Storehouse hosts the ultimate lock in 
  • Travel Extra print edition is on the way, focus on Canada, Australia and theme parks.  

Travel Extra TV

  • Here’s an introduction to the fantastic aviation artwork of Andy McKay. Watch here.
  • This elephant had a lucky escape. Watch here.
  • Golfing in Australia is hard. Watch here.
  • Ryanair’s travel series continues. This week, it’s Lisbon. Watch here.
  • See behind the scenes of Airbus’s new ad for its corporate jets. Watch here.
  • BA posted a video showcasing its First Wing experience for gold club members. Watch here.
  • Former Spirit Airlines CEO Ben Baldanza weighed in on United’s PR disaster. Watch here.

Behind the Headlines

  • Here’s an introduction to the fantastic aviation artwork of Andy McKay. Watch here.
  • This elephant had a lucky escape. Watch here.
  • Golfing in Australia is hard. Watch here.
  • Ryanair’s travel series continues. This week, it’s Lisbon. Watch here.
  • See behind the scenes of Airbus’s new ad for its corporate jets. Watch here.
  • BA posted a video showcasing its First Wing experience for gold club members. Watch here.
  • Former Spirit Airlines CEO Ben Baldanza weighed in on United’s PR disaster. Watch here.

Former Turkish Airlines Dublin office marketing manager Ann Marie Dalton returned to join Hasan Mutlu (Turkish Airlines country manager who arrived from Istanbul for the event), Sean Alper Kanburoglu and Julie Curran in hosting 50 guests, including corporate clients, 20 travel trade and media in the president’s box at the European Rugby Union (Rugby a quinze) Champions Cup semi-final between Munster and Saracens. Everything went to plan except for the result (26-10 to Saracens). One Munster travel agent had three charter aircraft ready for the final in Edinburgh and was anticipating a €100,000 margin on a successful outcome. Turkish Airlines have returned to double daily on Dublin-Istanbul and the service will remain at that level year round. New summer services include the highly anticipated connection to Phuket. Picture shows Munster agents Tony Brazil of Limerick Travel, Pat Dawson CEO of the ITAA, Declan O’Connell of Lee Travel and George Barter from Barter Travel. See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook. And watch here video from the event.

The fallout from the David Dao incident on United Airlines had not abated before more cabin crew shenanigans emerged, this time involving an American Airlines flight attendant who declared “hit me, bring it on,” as he challenged a customer to a fight for intervening on behalf of a crying mother with twin babies. Watch here. Is might be time to send America’s big airlines on an anger-management course.

Left or right? Which way should you turn when you enter a theme park? Check out the knowledge section in the May 2017 print edition of Travel Extra which will be hitting the agencies in the coming days. It features news of the record number of flights to Canada for summer 2017, a detailed insert on St John’s in Newfoundland, its Atlantic hinterland and nearby Labrador. We also feature the Canada 150 celebrations and the polar bears of Manitoba where Travel Extra caught up with a man who had a lucky escape when confronted by a polar bear on the streets of Churchill (watch dramatic video footage here). We also review Fraser Island and Lady Elliott Island in Australia (watch here Tour of Fraser Island with Colin Anderson & Gary ‘Gaz’ Pearce, Surfer’s Paradise and the Great ocean Road and report on the launch of Aussie Expert programme to the Irish travel trade (watch interview with Ricky Dunn of Tourism Australia here and Michael Fletcher of Virgin Australia here). Theme Park openings featured in our roundup of 2017 include Volcano Bay in Orlando and Ferrariland in Salou as well as the Disney Avator attraction. Travel Extra‘s team of award winning travel writers and photographers are already trotting the globe preparing the May 2016 issue which will detail what is a big year for tourism to each of America’s 50 states and an exciting summer for river cruise for 2016. See the print issue here

Travel Trade

Amadeus hosted 12 travel trade at the Munster-Saracens match.

Skal Dublin Club held their annual bus trip to to Marlfield House and The Woodenbridge Hotel. Picture shows Mary Bowe Director Marlfield House meeting The Cronins Coach and President Jim Flannery. See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.

Brian Hynes, ex Travel Corporation, has joined Brendan Breen‘s new high-end B2C tour operator Oroko.

Turkish Airlines will make a sponsorship announcement next Thursday involving an Irish international sports team. Picture shows Sean Alper Kanburoglu, Hasan Mutlu  and Julie Curran.

Disintermediation once again, as the Wolfe Tones might sing. Ukraine International Airlines quietly joined Lufthansa in adding a $9 fee per segment for GDS bookings. A 100-page report on Amadeus by Credit Suisse analyst Neil Glynn predicted other airlines, such as Air France-KLM and IAG, will follow Lufthansa in attempting to disintermediate Amadeus and other GDSs.

Qatar’s newly appointed Dublin PR agency re-announced the Doha route this week. It is the year of the Middle East, Listen here to Travel Extra’s Eoghan Corry speaking about travel trends on the Marian Finucane show on RTE1.

Strange world

A bride and groom were thrown off a United Airlines flight in Houston because they did not sit in their pre assigned seats.

Countryside Hotels promised to refund the money to couples who, within 12 months after staying at one of their hotels, are divorced.

An orthodox Jewish passenger delayed a flight for more than an hour because he wanted the TV screens switched off


Taiwan was named best expat destination in the world ahead of Malta and Ecuador. Ireland ranked 56th. Kuwait, Greece, and Nigeria are the bottom three.

A five-year old died when he caught his head between a wall and a table at a rotating restaurant above an Atlanta hotel.

Australian PM Malcolm Turnbull abolished the Australian 457 visa programme which allowed a skilled worker who got sponsored by their employer they could live and work in Australia with their partners and children for up to four years. At the end of last year there were 6,139 Irish people living in Australia with a 457 visa. The scheme will be replaced with a two to four year Temporary Skill Shortage initiative. For more information see here. Hospitality is one of the biggest users of 457 visas, with 2,051 chefs hired since 2014.

US Secretary of homeland security John Kelly threatened to scrap the visa-waiver programme for visitors to America. A survey by travel search engine Kayak found 78pc of Irish people said they would likely not visit the US if new social media rules came into force, with 38pc stating they would definitely not visit.

Food & Beverage

JD Wetherspoon was granted approval for a €4m pub and hotel development on Dublin’s Camden Street.

  • Take-away Thai food franchise Camile opened its first dine-in restaurant in Phibsborough, Dubin, the first of three new restaurants planned this year.
  • Sligo Food Trail launched a video entitled Taste the Sea featuring their members along the Wild Atlantic Way on their website.
  • Minister of Finance Michael Noonan said that he will be monitoring cross-border drink prices on items such as wine (€2.10 less in the north) and whiskey (€3.43 less).


A 53-bedroom hotel is to be developed on the site of Howl At The Moon by Dean Hotel owners Paddy McKillen Jnr and Matt Ryan.

The K Club was given an Editor’s Choice award by Golf Digest USA.

The New York Times published an article, Inside the Hotel Industry’s Plans to Combat Airbnb, which detailed how the American Hotel & Lodging Association plans to limit the growth of short-term rentals and the platforms that enable them.

  • Hotelbeds Group bought a majority shareholding in B2B travel supplier GTA from Swiss travel group Kuoni.
  • Marriott CEO Arne Sorenson said there are signs the Trump Administration’s immigration policies are damaging US tourism and having a negative impact on the industry and Marriott business.
  • Ballymaloe Country House hotel recorded a €71,478 profit for the 12 months ending 31 October 2016.
  • David and Frederick Barclay bid £600m for London’s Grosvenor House hotel.
  • Monart Destination Spa unveiled an anti-age retinol facial.



Routes Europe commences in Belfast tomorrow with face to face meetings. A water cannon salute greeted the first arrivals among 1,200 delegates for the three-day Conference. A new service announcement by Belfast International is anticipated during the event.

United imposed a cut-off time of 60 minutes before departure for all bookings of flight crews on its own planes to avoid a repeat of the David Dao incident.

  • Watch here extensive interview with Stephen Kavanagh CEO of Aer Lingus on PBS NewsHour.
  • The Irish Aviation Authority reported profits up 18.3pc to €39.5m on a turnover of €191.9m in 2016.
  • Shannon Airport was granted a €10m loan to help fund runway upgrade
  • A drone incident that halted flights at Cork Airport was the third in just over two weeks.
  • Dublin and Cork airports were granted €13m to upgrade an ‘explosive detection’ system.
  • WestJet promised a new discount carrier later this year (isn’t that what WestJet was supposed to be when it launched way back in 1996?)
  • Emirates is cutting flights to the United States because of a drop in demand caused by the Trump administration attempts to ban travellers from Muslim-majority nations.
  • AirCap signed $7.2bn of financing deals in the first quarter.
  • Cheapflights reported that trans-Atlantic fares US to Dublin are down 16pc on last summer.
  • Finnair finalised an A350 XWB sale-and-leaseback deal with GECAS
  • Flybe announced 13 routes, over 500 flights from Belfast
  • Shannon Airport withdrew their CUPPS fee approval application after identifying an error in the application.
  • WOW Air is to operate 24 aircraft by 2019.
  • Dublin Airport unveiled Vibrant Irish Light,  Irish art installations to depict native wildlife and the unique quality of Irish light, using rainbow colours which vary in intensity at different times of the day.
  • AerCap posted $7.2bn in 1Q 2017 financing transactions
  • Coindrum continued their European expansion with second German installation.
  • The CSO released its aviation statistics for 2016. Waterford Airport passenger numbers fell from 34,249, in 2015, to 13,511, last year. Waterford Airport has no scheduled air services following the collapse of the Belgian airline, VLM, in June last year.
  • Avolon Q1 2017 business update
  • Rockwell Collins said its $8.6bn purchase of aircraft cabin interiors firm B/E Aerospace will have minimal impact on its Co Down workforce.
  • Cityjet is to establish a base at Tallinn Airport
  • ESB International opened offices at Dublin Airport
  • Record numbers are expected to pass through Knock Airport in 2016
  • Ryanair launched five new London Stansted routes two months early due to record demand
  • The start date was announced for Kerry Berlin direct flights. Charter services commenced into Kerry from Graz and Linz airports in Austria.


Silversea named the 596-passenger Silver Muse in a rainy day in  Monaco’s Port Hercule in the presence of Prince Albert II.

Viking Ocean Cruises ordered two 930-passenger ships from Fincantieri shipyard for delivery in 2021 and 2022.

  • Jersey Boys is to feature on board Norwegian Bliss when it launches June 2018 alongside a second musical, comedy club, nightlife venue, theatrical cocktail hour experience, and an outpost of the Beatles’ venue, The Cavern Club, as features on Norwegian Epic.
  • Norwegian became the third cruise line to add lifeguards to its fleet (after Disney in October 2013 and Royal Caribbean this summer), on its four largest ships this summer and fleetwide in the first quarter of 2018.
  • Carnival added extra-fee sushi dining counters on four ships too small to fit an entire restaurant, Carnival Conquest, Carnival Valor, Carnival Liberty and Carnival Glory.
  • Carnival Horizon, the second ship in Carnival’s Vista class of vessels, will pioneer walk-in, open-seating dining and a Dr Seuss-themed WaterWorks water park when it launches in Europe next April.
  • Scenic‘s first ocean-going cruise ship, the 228-passenger “Discovery Yacht” Scenic Eclipse, will feature 10 dining experiences, eight bars and lounges, two pools, and a spa.
  • Carnival Imagination is to run family branded cruises featuring Transformers and My Little Pony.
  • Avalon Waterways, represented in Ireland by Travelfox, is expanding its Active Discovery on the Danube cruises to include two new Active Discovery on the Rhine departures.
  • Royal Caribbean’s Chops Grille is to offer lunches fleetwide at $19 per person.
  • Expedition cruise line Lindblad has appointed Francis Lam as a culinary naturalist responsible for orchestrating experiences and excursions that expose Lindblad passengers to the role that food plays in culture, particularly the Faroes.


Italian tour operator Francorosso and Tourism Ireland hosted 17 travel agents in Ireland, visited the Rock of Cashel, Dingle Distillery and Gallarus Oratory. They also visited GlendaloughPowerscourt Estate, Malahide Castle and the Guinness Storehouse.

Skellig Michael’s opening date is in doubt over unstable rocks.

Is this the ultimate lock-in? A Guinness fan from New York will check in Monday evening for an overnight reservation in the Gravity Bar at the Guinness Storehouse as part of Ireland’s first ever Airbnb ‘Night At’ competition. The Gravity Bar is set to be completely transformed into a luxury loft, complete with a Guinness tasting bar and private butler, pint-shaped bed, pool table, life-sized Jenga and giant telescope.

Picture shows Tanya Dawson of Culture & Heritage Tours Ireland; Helena Healy of B&B Ireland; Alison Metcalfe of Tourism Ireland; Ruth McCarthy of Inchydoney Island Lodge & Spa; and Ellen McNulty of Lynott Tours at the ‘Jump into Ireland’ event in Chicago.

Deal Watch

Click and Go offers: 7 nights all inclusive 4* Palmin Hotel,  Kusadasi, Turkey from €399pp, travel May. 7 nights half board 4* Vistamar Aparthotel, Benalmadena, Costa del Sol from €299pp, travel May. 7 nights self catering 3* Club Alvorferias Apartments, Alvor, The Algarve, travel May. 2 nights 4* Best Western Premier 61 Paris Nation Hotel, Paris from €219pp, travel May. Visit or call 01 539 7777.

Cruise Holidays offers: 3 nights Orlando and 7 nights on board Royal Caribbean’s Oasis of the Seas from €1,359pp, depart September 21. 7 nights Med cruise on board MSC Meravglia from €999pp, depart October 13. 7 nights Med cruise on board Norwegian Epic from €1,179pp, depart October 22. 1 night Hyatt Regency Fort Lauderdale and 6 nights on board Celebrity Reflection from €1,459pp, depart January 1 2018. 7 nights Abu Dhabi-Dubai cruise on board MSC Splendida from €2,069pp, depart February 25.

Falcon offers: 14 nights all inclusive 4* Grand Bahia Principe Jamaica from €1,489pp, depart June 15. 14 nights half board 3* California Garden, Salou, Costa Dorada from €1,269pp, depart Knock July 25. 7 nights self catering 3* Club Marthas, Cala D’or, Majorca from €359pps, depart Cork May 2. 7 nights self catering 2* Bellevue Club, Puerto De Alcudia, Majorca from €379pps, depart Shannon May 19. 7 nights self catering 3* Rocamar, Puerto Rico, Gran Canaria from €2,219 2+3, depart June 15. 14 nights all inclusive 5* Grand Riviera Princess, Riviera Maya, Mexico from €1,699pp, depart June 15. 14 nights all inclusive 3* Royal Decameron Club, Runaway Bay, Jamaica from €1,209pp,  depart June 7. 11 nights self catering 2* Bellevue Club, Puerto De Alcudia, Majorca from €569pp, depart May 2. 7 nights self catering 2* Rocamar, Costa Tequise, Gran Canaria from €319pp, depart May 25. 7 nights self catering 2* Labranda Oasis Mango, Los Cristianos, Tenerife from €419pp, depart May 19. 7 nights all inclusive 3* Bellevue Lagomonte, Puerto De Alcudia, Lanzarote from €529pp, depart Cork May 16. Visit or call Falcon on: 1850 45 35 45.

Insights Vacations is offering 8 days Warsaw and Baltic States from €1,679pps incl. flights, transfers and accommodation. Book by May 12, depart May 14. Visit or call 01 775 3803.

ITAA offers: 8 nights B&B in 4* hotels Baltics tour from €1,559pp incl. welcome meeting with champagne-cocktail or juice, 3 x 3-course national cuisine dinners, entrance to various attractions and excursions, transport and the services of English and German speaking tour escort, travel between June and August. 3 days B&B accommodation La Tomatina Festival, Valencia from €349pp incl. festival entrance ticket, return coach from Buñol for Tomatina Festival, Busabout Festival t-shirt and headband and official Tomatina After Party ticket and transfers, depart August 29. 7 days Glories of Greece holiday from €1,589pps incl. accommodation, breakfast, 2 three-course table d’hôte dinners, 1 welcome dinner, 1 signature evening, and 1 celebration dinner, coach travel, depart July 25.

Sunway offers: Best of Switzerland tour from €2,415pp incl. 4* and 5* hotels, meals and tours, depart July 15. 14 nights Delhi to Katmandu tour from €2,105pp incl. accommodation, meals and tours, depart July 15. 7 nights full board 5* Rhine river cruise from €2,129pp, depart July 20. 7 nights all inclusive Cancun, Mexico from €5,580 2+2, depart May 21. 7 nights B&B 3* Esat Hotel, Kusadasi from €279pp, depart May 6. 3 nights 3* Essex Inn, Chicago from €755pp, travel November. Visit

Thomson offers: 14 nights all inclusive RIU Lupita  Playa car, Mexico from €1,259pp, depart June 14. 14 nights half board Hotel Golden Donaire Beach, La Pineda, Costa Dorada from €1,039pps, depart Knock August 8. 7 nights self catering Protur Atalaya , Cala Millor, Majorca from €459pps, depart Cork May 20. 7 nights half board Hotel Son Baulo, Ca’n Picafort, Majorca from €599pps, depart Shannon May 20. 14 nights all inclusive Clubhotel RIU Ocho Rios, Ocho Rios, Jamaica from €1,589pps, depart June 8. 11 nights self catering 3* Mariners Club, Alcudia, Majorca from €699pps, depart May 2. 7 nights self catering 2* Castillo Apts Costa Caleta, Fuerteventura from €599pps, depart May 6. 7 nights self catering 3* Jardin Del Sol Apts, Playa Del Ingles, Gran Canaria from €329pp, depart May 25. 7 nights half board 4* Sensimar Los Gigantes, Los Gigantes, Tenerife from €849pps, depart May 19. 7 nights half board 5* Hotel Melia Salinas, Costa Teguise, Lanzarote from €879pps, depart May 15. 4 nights half board 3* Hotel Materada, Porec, Croatia from €779pps, depart May 30. 7 nights full board Iconic Islands cruise on board Thomson Dream from €1,119pps, depart June 2.

Topflight offers, sale ends April 28 5pm: 7 nights half board 4* Hotel Bristol, Sorrento from €799pps, depart May 7. 7 nights self catering 4* Aparthotel Duas Torres, Funchal, Madeira from €569pps, depart May 11. 7 nights self catering 4* Bella Italia, Peschiera, Lake Garda from €339pps, depart May 6. 7 nights self catering 4* Fattoria Castiglionchio, Tuscan countryside from €469pps, depart May 26. 7 nights half board 4* Hotel Majestic Palace, Malcesine, Lake Garda from €799pps, depart Cork May 27. 7 nights half board 4* Hotel Eden, Venetian Riviera from €599pps, depart Cork June 17. 7 nights half board 4* Hotel Majestic Palace, Lake Garda from £574pps, depart Belfast May 13. 7 nights self catering 4* Belvedere Village, Lake Garda from £499pps, depart Belfast May 27. Visit or call 01 240 1700.

Tour America offers: 7 nights Rosen Inn Pointe Orlando from €549pp, depart November 7. 7 nights Rosen Inn Pointe Orlando and 3 nights at the Row NYC hotel from €779pp, depart January 21 2018. 3 nights Roosevelt Hotel, New York from €699pp, depart November 23. 5 nights Luxor Hotel, Las Vegas from €599pp, depart October 19. 7 nights all inclusive Riu Cancun, Mexico from €1,329pp, depart November 16.

Uniworld Boutique River Cruises is offering 8 days Gems of Northern Italy cruise on board River Countess form €3,269pps incl. flights, airport transfers, all meals and beverages, all shore excursion. Visit or call 01 775 3803.

What we learned

As the 89th anniversary of the flight of the Bremen passes, the original aircraft is currently on display in a hangar at the Bremen Airport Museum, where it has been completely restored. For the 90th Anniversary, could we hope to have James Fitzmaurice gracing the fin of a Norwegian transatlantic aircraft and the original Bremen back in Dublin?

TRAVEL Extra’s Sunday Supplement: MISTAKES on a plane, United’s IDB Disaster: How NOT to ‘re-accommodate’ a passenger


Boarding Cityjet Avro at sunset at Paris Charles de Gaulle airport

Ten Things to Know about Travel This Week

  • Trade Industy Trade Show 2018 set for RDS on April 12 with Cork the following day
  • Why David Dao should have flown from Ireland- it would NOT happen here
  • United makes a bad situation worse with their response
  • Mná na hÉireann launch chapter of AWTE with a flourish
  • Bookabed & A2B transfers host the trade
  • Sunway bring agents to see Club Med Morocco resorts.
  • Topflight agents sample the Tuscany experience.
  • Emirates rated best airline in the world, Aer LIngus 9th in Europe. 
  • Disney Paris celebrates 25 years
  • How does a millenial trvaeller book a holiday? Foil, Arms and Hog have the answer.

Travel Extra TV

  • Funnymen Foil, Arms and Hog summed up what it’s like when a millennial traveller books a holiday. Watch here.
  • Tourism Ireland summed up the 10 best things to do in Belfast. Watch here.
  • See Emirates’ freight division transport the New Zealand Aotearoa race boat from Auckland to Bermuda on a Boeing 747. Watch here.
  • Tour the tarmac with Qantas on Snapchat. Watch here.
  • Take a look at Ryanair’s travel guide to Prague. Watch here.

Behind the Headlines

Mistakes on a plane? Getting “bumped” from a flight took on a whole new meaning this week when United Airlines (Untied Airlines?) summoned aviation-security officers to drag passenger David Dao off Flight 3411 from Chicago to Lousiville, literally, kicking and screaming. We know thanks to two videos posted by Audra D Bridges and Jayce D Anspach.

IDB’s, Involuntary Denials of Boarding, are a fact of life in aviation. Because a small proportion of passengers generally fail to turn up, often because their previous flight arrived late, legacy (but not low-cost) airlines offer a few more tickets for sale than they can actually accommodate, counting on no-shows to maximise the chances that a plane departs at full capacity. Every so often the system breaks down and more passengers turn up than expected, forcing carriers to “bump” excess passengers to a subsequent flight. Most of the time they can find volunteers to accept financial compensation in exchange for a later arrival. If we wanted to know what happens when no one is willing to wait, we found out. Dao’s attorney Thomas Demetrio put his case (watch here): if unreasonable force or violence is used, the responsibility is on the airline.

Aer Lingus policy, as with many European airlines and US airlines when they were flying westwards from Dublin and Shannon, is to solve overbooking issues at the check-in desk.  It means they do not auction off the overbooked seats by offering money to prospective passengers. It means a Dr Dao incident can never happen here.

United involuntarily denied boarding to 3,765 of 86m passengers on oversold flights in 2016, according to the Transportation Department. An additional 62,895 people voluntarily gave up their seats (the US airlines most likely to remove you are 1 Southwest, 2 JetBlue, 3 American, 4 Frontier, 5 Spirit, 6 United, 7 Alaska, 8 Virgin, 9 Delta, 10 Hawaiian). Delta CEO Ed Bastian offered much-needed support to Munoz in a conference call, “overbooking is a valid business process, it is not a matter that you overbook but how you manage it.”

United’s reaction was a textbook epic fail. United CEO Oscar Munoz, recently named “Communicator of the Year,”  issued four contradictory statements, at first supporting his staff, and a widely mocked statement using the phrase “re-accommodate” (was it written by lawyers?). United then blamed the passenger, saying he was “disruptive” and “belligerent” and had tried to strike law enforcement officers (which he had not, a new video clearly shows him refusing to leave the plane, but doing so firmly but politely, until he is dragged from his seat).

Behind the scenes measures were taken, not to prevent a repeat of the distressing scenes, but to prevent them being videoed. United set their spin doctors to work on the 69-year-old David Dao. By Tuesday we were reading lurid accounts, planted in friendly media, of how he had a history of anger management issues and traded gay sex to patients for prescription drugs. The poster of the video, Audra D Bridges, was subjected to sustained abuse on social media. Two days passed before Oscar Munoz issued an apology.

Memes mocking United increased with each stumble. TV funnyman Jimmy Kimmell aired a parody advertisement (see full show segment here). Online comedians proposed new corporate slogans such as “we put the hospital in hospitality”, “we’ll drag you all over the world” and “we have red eye and black eye flights available.” Royal Jordanian tweeted a no-smoking picture saying “drags on our flights are strictly prohibited by passengers and crew.” A Qatar Airways update for its iPhone app says it “doesn’t support drag and drop.” Emirates issued a video that opens with Munoz’s facetious comment, “Those (Gulf) Airlines aren’t airlines.” Mashups (there will always be mashups) included those by Athens films, Joker speaks, and Mark Frauenfelder.

So will United move to prevent this happening again? It is not clear. Oscar Munoz said that the carrier will no longer ask police to remove passengers from full flights.  In the future, law enforcement will not be involved in removing a booked, paid, seated passenger. We can’t do that.”

This is the statement United should have issued, one that would have helped the situation rather than escalate it: All of us at United were horrified by what happened on Flight 3411 last night. We have reached out to the passenger to apologise, offer assistance and make amends. Nothing is more important to United than the safety of our passengers. This incident does not reflect our values and we are going to ensure it never happens again. Listen Here to Travel Extra’s Eoghan Corry commenting on the incident on RTE Radio 1.

If there is a more inspiring event this year than the launch of the Dublin chapter of the Association of Women Travel Executives last week, Travel Extra wants to be there. Debbee Dale, who led a delegation from AWTE in England to help nurse the new chapter into life, made two inspirational soeeches. The body is to be headed up in Ireland by Clare Dunne, Lorraine Quinn and Yvonne Muldoon. AWTE is planning a “building your confidence in business” event with Maire Ní Gallchóir on June 20, a networking event in the summer at a venue to be decided and a digital workshop in September.Special offer membership for AWTE Ireland is open until April 30 is €100 for individuals and €160 for Corporate which includes up to three women from the same organisation and members can join here. Clare Dunne said: “Over the past few years myself and Lorraine Quinn had various chats about gender imbalance in the workplace and supporting women in business. When I set up my own travel business twenty years ago many people thought it must be owned by my husband, my ex boss or, very strangely, my landlord.” Watch here Clare Dunne speech. Watch here Yvonne Muldoon speech. Watch here visuals from the AWTE launch in Ireland. Watch here interview with Debbee Dale.  Watch here Debbee Dale opening speech. Watch here Debbee Dale closing speech. See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.

Bookabed and A2BTransfers acknowledged the support of the travel trade at an event in the Dean Hotel in Dublin. Lee Osborne said new branding would be available from Bookabed in the coming weeks. Picture shows Lee Osborne and Beverleigh Fly of Bookabed with Emma Male and Mathew Dakin of A2B Transfers. Watch here interview with Mathew Daken of A2B Transfers. Watch here speeches by Lee Osborne of Bookabed and Mathew Daken of A2B Transfers. See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.

Travel Trade

Thursday, April 12 2018 is the date for the fourth Irish Travel Industry Trade Show, which returns to Hall 3 of RDS Main Hall Complex again next year  – with a second travel trade show scheduled for Cork the following day. Watch here highlights of the 2017 Irish travel industry show. Watch here Cormac Meehan’s speech at the opening of the event. See picture gallery from Irish Travel Industry Trade Show here or connect with the album on Facebook

Sunway Agency Sales Manager Jeanette Taylor hosted a group of travel agents in Morocco, three days in Club Med Agadir with a city tour and visits to neighbouring hotels, three days in Club Med Palmeraie in Marrakech and a final night in the five star Sofitel Thalassa Sea & Spa with private access to the beach. En route, the group lunched in Paradise Valley, Imi Ouddar Paradise Plage Hotel of known for its yoga and spa offering, and lunch on the return was at Riad Zaid. Evening activities included a horse and carriage ride to Palais Charhamane. Home for the night was the where everyone adored the seafront grounds. Farewell dinner was at Pure Passion. Sunway offer accommodations from two star self-catering to luxury five star all-inclusive hotels and twin centre and multi centre holidays between Agadir, Essaouira and Marrakech. Return flights From Dublin to Agadir, substantial 20kg checked baggage per person, Transfers, 7 nights’ accommodation and services of a resort representative. Sunway on 01-2311800 or book online. The group comprised Jeanette Taylor, Michelle Osbourne, Nicola Doyle, Erica Archer, Dennis Chiren and Grainne Caffrey of Sunway, iIsabella Donche of Barter Travel, Annette Hynes of Fahy Travel, Helena Crowley of Bernard Hayes Travel, Michael Kelly of Keller Travel, Rachel Cagney of Clonmel Travel, Ian Manto of Harvey Travel, Lorraine Wynne of Travel Counsellors and Judy Coughlan of Dawson Travel. Picture shows Isabella Donche of Barter Travel, Rachel Cagney of Clonmel Travel and Lorraine Wynne of Travel Counsellors. Picture shows Isabella Donche of Barter Travel, Rachel Cagney of Clonmel Travel, Lorraine Wynne of Travel Counsellors. See picture gallery here or connect with the album on Facebook.

Italian specialists Topflight brought their winning agents to Tuscany where they were accommodated at the Hotel Manzoni in Montecatini Terme, visited the seaside resort of Viareggio, the town of Pietrasanta and the cities of Florence, Lucca and Pisa. Topflight’s Tuscany charter programme starts in May. Alongside the charter programme the tour operator also offers tailormade Tuscany holidays and new exciting tours as part of their new Escorted tours brochure. The group comprised Maurice Shiels, Shauna Kelly and , Sharon Gibson of Topflight, Lisa Sprake of Oasis Travel Holywood, Deirdre Laughlin of Clubworld Lisburn Road, Rita Gaughan of Limerick Travel, Colette Desmond of Manning Travel, Donna Kenny of Cassidys Blanchardstown, Sonya O’Keefe of Abbey Travel Naas, Sinead McGrane of Go Hop, Lynne Casey of Fahy Travel, and Noelle O’Leary of Barter Travel. Picture shows Shauna Kelly of Topflight and Lynne Casey of Fahy Travel at the Puccini Statue. See picture gallery here or connect with the album on Facebook.

Caitriona Fleming won the Turkish Airlines in house competition with Cassidy Travel to win two Returns tickets to anywhere on the Turkish Airlines Network, 298 different choices.

Catherine Grennell-Whyte’s ATTS no longer represent Affordable Car Hire in Ireland by amicable agreement. Queries should go direct to Angela Day’s Affordable Car Hire team in England on +44766801164 or email.

Thailands inbound showcase event TTM Plus, which returns to Chiang Mai on June 14-17, has signed up a record 480 buyers from 64 countries and 354 sellers from Thailand and nieghbouring countries, led by Europe (182), East Asia (137), ASEAN (42), America (38), Oceania (29), the Middle East (11), and Thailand (41).  Thailand reported a record 67,273 visits from Ireland in 2016, up 3.9pc and overtook Australia for the first time as Ireland’s most popular long haul destination.

The EU’s Consumer Protection Co-operation said that the initial prices shown to consumers on 235 websites were much lower than the final price quoted by these sites.

Strange world

Premier Inn in Belfast warned Irish dancers not to dance in the lifts

A survey of English people found one in ten thought the EU sets the date for Easter, and many believe the holiday marks the birth rather than the resurrection of Jesus Christ.

Visitors to Maryland Six Flags were trapped on Joker’s Jinx rollercoaster for four HOURS after it stalled 100ft above the ground.


Sad news: Dan Rooney, US Ambassador to Ireland 2003-12, a great supporter of the Travel Trade, Visit USA committee and Holiday World Show, has died.

Greece has formally completed the transfer of 14 regional airports to a consortium led by Germany’s Fraport AG.

Hundreds of people in New Zealand were evacuated from some coastal areas on Thursday as the second major storm in just over a week made landfall near the North Island town of Whakatane.

The number applying for Irish passports in the first three months of this year was up 26pc with applicants in Britain up 68pc.

Irish visits to Germany reached a record 205,504 last year. The number of overnights was up 9.3pc to 476,115.

Disneyland Paris staff/cast performed a one-day spectacular to celebrate 25 years since the park’s opening on Wednesday including a musical number performed by some of the 15,000 employees of France’s largest single-site employer. New for 2017 is Star Tours: The Adventures Continue which takes passengers on an intergalactic voyage in 3D and Star Wars: Hyperspace Mountain, which replaces the oriignal Space MOuntain: Mission 2, and three new parades new Parade Disney Stars on Parade, The Starlit Princess Waltz, and the nightfall Disney Illuminations.

Food & Beverage

Plans to end the ban on alcohol sales on Good Friday in Ireland, introduced in 1927 could run into complications as the state’s 1,793 pubs and 2,370 restaurants are covered under different legislation.

Pat McDonagh of Supermac‘s asked the European Union Intellectual Property Office to cancel the use of the “Big Mac” and “Mc” trademark registered by McDonald’s under certain classes and accused the franchise operation of trademark bullying.

Health food chain Chopped is to open 20 new outlets in Cork, Dublin Waterford and Wicklow

Loughlin Druhan will head Adare Manor’s 100-strong culinary team after its reopening later this year following a major refurbishment.

The Restaurants Association of Ireland nominated Depaul as their charity partner for the 2017 Irish Restaurant Awards on May 8.

Mexican fast food chain Boojum is opening a fourth restaurant along Dublin’s Grand Canal at 63-65 Mespil Road, Dublin 4.

Just Eat added five estaurant partners in Bray, Platform Pizza, Box Burger, Martello Gastro Pub, Fish Bar and Ocean Bar and Grill.

Hospitality Ireland asked seven chefs what food trends they observed in 2017. What ingredient do they expect to become big this year? Derry Clarke of L’Ecrivain said Sauerkraut. David Hurley of Gregan’s Castle said butter. Stevie Lane of Brownes Tuam said grains. Philip Yeung of Craft Restaurant said Kohlrabi. David O’Byrne of Richmond Restaurant and Domni Kemp of Hatch & Sons said seaweed. Oliver Dunne of Bon Appetit said kimchi (and firmly disagreed with seaweed).


Dalata said banks are demanding ‘up to 50pc equity’ for Dublin hotel builds.

Inchydoney held a recruitment open day on Good Friday to fill a number of full-time and seasonal positions.

Simon Anglin is the new GM of the Clarion Hotel Dublin Liffey Valley.

Rory McIlroy will wed his American fiancee Erica Stoll at Ashford Castle on Saturday April 22. Watch here interview with Niall Rochford after Ashford Castle won the AA Hotel of the Year.

Inis Meáin Restaurant & Suites is to double its capacity.


The Irish Aviation Ball honoured Norwegian CEO Bjord Bos for his outstanding contribution to Aviation. Bos said “The Cork-NYC flight will happen sooner rather than later with the Neo. Although Cork to Stewart International Airport in New York is currently not viable for its mooted 2018 take off. it is still in the plans.”

Dublin Airport passenger traffic was up 2pc to 2.2m million in March (impressive considering Easter was in March 2016). Europe was up 2pc to 1.1m, Britain flat at 854,000, Transatlantic up 14pc to 207,000, ME/Africa down 7pc to 60,000, domestic down 11pc to 7,000, year to date up 5pc to 5.8m. If growth is sustained Dublin airport will handle 29.3m passengers this year. Dubin airport Easter traffic is up 12pc on last year to 340,000.

  • Emirates was named the world’s top airline in Tripadvisor’s Reader’s Choice awards with Aer Lingus rated ninth in Europe.
  • Ryanair are to launch flights from Lviv one month ahead of schedule
  • Michael O’Leary described IBEC as “clueless” in correspondence with Minister Shane Ross.
  • Ryanair added 184 flights a day the most daily flights to the Eurocontrol network on a daily basis
  • Irish Air Traffic expanded 3pc in March
  • Kenny Jacobs said Ryanair was considering reviving the famous trumpet noise
  • CityJet considered plans to establish a base in Estonia
  • Speaking in Bergamo at the opening of a new Ryanair hangar, Michael O’Leary said Ryanair is seeking closer cooperation with Air France-KLM, Lufthansa and British Airways to serve as a feeder service for intercontinental flights.
  • Foynes Air Show takes place on Saturday July 22nd 2017 at 1.30pm and is free for all
  • Aer Lingus are to hold famine fundraisers for children in Africa and the middle East.
  • Qantas has switched on inflight Wi-Fi for customers travelling on board its internet-capable Boeing 737-800.
  • AerCap leased, purchased and sold 105 Aircraft in the first quarter of 2017.
  • America’s FCC chairman Ajit Pai has come out against voice calls during flights, insisting the flying public are overwhelmingly against it.
  • Heathrow opened a new arrivals lounge in T4 with a new dining concept, Flight Club.
  • Shannon Airport’s new tranquility zone, a “sensory room” for children and adults with neurodevelopmental challenges, including autism, the third in the world, got some well-deserved international coverage.


Dún Laoghaire is to resubmit its plans for an €18m development to allow ships of up to 250m to dock after a legal case was taken against the decision by Save Our Seafront.

Royal Caribbean and Celebrity now allow passengers (excluding Celebrity Edge bookings) to spend onboard credit ahead of sailings on shore excursions or specialty dining.

Passenger numbers at Dublin Port were down 9.3pc to 270,171 in the first quarter of this year, with vehicles down 4.9pc.

Celebrity launched an information, videos and training hub specific to Celebrity Edge, due to launch autumn 2018, for travel agesnts at

Amadeus River Cruises launched the 140-passenger Amadeus Provence in Vienna and announced a new build for 2018. Tauck launched two revamped ships, Sapphire and Emerald. Lena Gercke will christen AIDAperla, 12th member of the AIDA fleet, in Palma de Mallorca on June 30, 2017.

Oceania Cruises launched a fleetwide Vegan Menu. Avalon Waterways is expanding in 2018 with a new ship for the Mekong River.


Tourism Ireland’s ‘Jump into Ireland’ sales blitz in the United States visited three cities this week, Austin Texas, Chicago and Bosto. Picture shows: Irish and American tourism companies with Marie McKeown (front, second left), Alison Metcalfe (front, third left), Hillarie McGuinness (back, second left) and Ruth Moran (back, right), all Tourism Ireland, at the ‘Jump into Ireland’ event in Chicago.

Ancient East attractions, including Dublin Castle and the Rock of Cashel, are to share in €11.5m of new funding from Fáilte Ireland.

Picture shows Billy Condon, Tourism Ireland; Caroline Boland, Dingle Peninsula Tourism; Denise Henry, Inishowen Tourism; and Gerard Kennedy, The Moorings Portmagee, on the Tourism Ireland stand at Star Wars Celebration 2017 in Orlando.

Easter activities at Tayto Park include complimentary face painting everyday throughout the mid-term break, lambs in the petting zoo, Easter themed arts and crafts suitable for children under 6 years of age, and daily educational animal feeding talks. Today, Easter Sunday, April 16, the park will play host to a Who stole the egg?’ event in which shildren will become crime scene investigators to help find an egg that we know was stolen by one of the animals in the zoo

Deal Watch

Disneyland Paris two new offers with Breakaway and Abbey Travel:  Children under 12 Go FREE at Disneyland Paris combined with up to 30pc off hotel and aprk ticket prices for arrivals  March 29th to October 31st, free meal offers include a quick service breakfast voucher and a meal voucher which can be used for lunch or dinner per person per night of stay.

Click and Go offers: 7 nights self catering 3* CYE Holiday Centre Aparthotel, Salou Town, Salou from €959 2+2 incl. return flights, airport transfers, taxes and charges, travel May. 7 nights self catering 3* Servatur Terrazamar Aparthotel, Puerto Rico, Gran Canaria from €369pp incl. return flights, airport transfers, taxes and charges, travel May. 4 nights self catering 4* Paraiso de Albufeira Aparthotel, Algarve from €269pp incl. return flights, airport transfers, taxes and charges, travel May. 3 nights 4* Chamartin Hotel, Madrid, Spain from €259pp incl. return flights, taxes and charges, travel May. Visit or call 01 539 7777.

Falcon offers: 7 nights self catering 3* Sunclub Apartments, Costa Dorada from €1,019 2+1, depart May 5. 7 nights all inclusive 3* Eurosalou Hotel, Salou, Costa Dorada from €779pp, depart Knock August 15. 7 nights self catering 3* Bellevue Club, Puerto De Alcudia, Majorca from €429pp, depart Cork May 2. 7 nights half board 3* Best Cambrils, Cambrils, Costa Dorada from €439pps, depart Shannon May 19. 7 nights self catering 4* Sol Barbacan, Playa Del Ingles, Gran Canaria from €2,969 2+3, depart June 29. 14 nights all inclusive 3* Royal Decameron Club Caribbean, Runaway Bay, Jamaica from €1,299pps, depart June 15. 14 nights all inclusive 4* Grand Bahia Principe Coba, Riviera Maya, Mexico from €1,389pps, depart June 7. Visit or call 1850 45 35 45.

Insight Vacations is offering 10 days best of Germany tour from €2,449pps incl. flights, transfers and 9 nights’ accommodation. Book by May 12. Depart June 2. Visit or call 01 775 3803.

Irish Ferries is offering 7 night Haven holiday at the Hafan Y Mor park in Wales from €1,247 for up to six people in a two-bed holiday home incl. return car ferry crossing. Book by May 31, depart July 15. Visit or call 0818 300 400.

ITAA hobby holiday offers: 7 nights half board bridge holiday in 4* Sport & Spa Hotel Strass, Mayrhofen, Austria from €895pp incl. flights, transfers and bridge competition, depart June 7. 7 nights art holiday in Mimozas Resort, Cannes, France from €1,099pp. 7 nights surf holiday in Fuerteventura from €445pps incl. self catered accommodation 5-day surf course, equipment, insurance and daily transfer to beach, travel between July and October.

Sunway offers: G Adventures Peru tour from €3,269pp, depart September 20. 7 nights 5* Danube river cruise from €3,255pp, depart August 28. 7 nights all inclusive Sandpiper Bay, Florida from €1,179pp, depart September 18. 7 nights B&B 4* Golden Day Wings Hotel, Kusadasi from €299pps, depart May 6. 7 nights self catering 3* Bouganvilla Apts, Majorca form €299pp, depart April 29. 7 nights self catering 3* Clube Oceano Apts, Algarve from €299pp, depart April 29. 7 nights B&B 3* Kata Sea Breeze, Phuket Island, Thailand from €795pp, travel October. 3 nights 3* Stratosphere Hotel, Las Vegas and 4 nights all inclusive Riu Cancun from €1,319pp. Visit

Thomson offers: 14 nights all inclusive 5* Sensimar Seaside Suites & Spa, Riviera Maya, Mexico from €2,379pp, depart June 14. 7 nights full board 5* Sensatori Resort Tenerife from €1,242pp, depart May 5. 14 nights all inclusive 4* Riu Reggae, Montego Bay, Jamaica from €1,771pp, depart June 15. 14 nights half board Hotel Golden Donaire Beach, La Pineda, Costa Dorada from €1,039pps, depart Knock August 8. 7 nights self catering Morromar Apartments, Matagorda, Lanzarote from €369pps, depart Cork May 18. 7 nights half board Son Baulo, Ca’n Picafort, Majorca from €639pps, depart Shannon May 20. 14 nights all inclusive Clubhotel RIU Ocho Rios, Jamaica from €1,539pps, depart June 15. 14 nights all inclusive RIU Lupita, Playa car, Mexico from €1,329pps, depart June 7. 7 nights Aegean Meze cruise on board Thomson Dream from €1,029pp, depart June 2.

Topflight is offering a 5 night Mediterranean 6* Silversea cruise on board Silver Spirit from €1,399pps incl. 1 night B&B at the 5* Sina Bernini Bristol in Rome, return flights, priority boarding, all private transfers, private day tour of Rome, butler service, beverages in suite, onboard gratuities, airport taxes and baggage. Ports of call: Rome, Monte Carlo, Marseille and Livorno. Depart November 10. Call 01 254 6312.

Topflight Easter sale, ends midnight tomorrow: 7 nights self catering 4* Bella Italia Bungalows, Peschiera, Lake Garda from €339pps, depart May 6. 7 nights B&B 4* Jardins d’Ajuda Suite Hotel, Funchal, Madeira from €599pps, depart May 11. 7 nights half board 4* Hotel Majestic Palace, Malcesine, Lake Garda from €749pps, depart May 13. 7 nights self catering 4* Fattoria Castiglionchio, Tuscan Countryside from €529pps, depart May 26. 7 nights half board 3* Hotel Harrys, Lido di Jesolo, Venetian Riviera from €629pps, depart May 27. Visit or call 01 240 1700.

Uniworld Boutique River Cruises is offering 8 days Paris and Normandy cruise on board the SS Joie de Vivre from €3,599pps incl. flights, airport transfers, all meals and beverages, all shore excursions. Book by April 30. Depart August 6. Visit or call 01 775 3803.

What we learned

How NOT to handle an IDB.

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


Opening ceremony at Rendez Vouse 2017 in Rouen

Things to know about Travel this week

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

Travel Extra TV

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

Behind the Headlines

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Travel Trade

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Strange world

A leopard shut down Nepal airportfor half an hour.

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


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

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

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

Food & Beverage

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

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

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

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


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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Deal Watch

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What we learned

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

TRAVEL Extra’s Sunday Supplement: New Children’s passports will be valid for FIVE years instead of three


Michaela Gray of Seaworld speaking at the Orlando roadshow in Croke Park, March 30 2017





  • Things to know about Travel this week
  • Children’s passports now valid for five years instead of three
  • Minister expects 30pc of passport renewals will be online after new facility is launched
  • Stephane Ballot is French tourism’s new chief for Ireland 
  • Orlando roadshow comes to Dublin: new rides across the parks
  • Aer Lingus brings Aerclub to market, just 15,000 of 400,000 keep lounge access 
  • Disney to bring back free dine from April 6
  • Ryanair’s slot share in Dubin drops to 37.4pc vs 35.9pc for Aer Lingus
  • KLM Aer Lingus codeshare to be phased out
  • Rendez Vous sees French tourism hoping for a rebound after a bad year
  • Tianguis in Mexico told: ‘No wall cannot isolate this country’
  • Aberdeen hosts Irish travel writers
  • Normandy on show for Rendez Vous delegates
  • Irish visits to S Africa up 18.3pc to 30,545
  • KLM Dublin-Amsterdam load factor amongst highest in network

Travel Extra TV

  • Airbus drew a parallel between flying an Airbus A350-1000 and manning this race yacht. Watch here.
  • See Tourism Ireland’s promo for the island’s food scene. Watch here. The agency also posted a 10-minute video that tells the story of St Patrick as a slave on Slemish Mountain. Watch here.
  • Emirates celebrated the day it launched three A380 routes in one day. Watch here. The airline also brought Real Madrid players tour on one of them. Watch here.
  • Ryanair showcased all Dublin has to offer to holidaymakers. Watch here.

Behind the Headlines

At last, passports for children will now be valid for five years instead of three, half the ten year validity of adult passports. Minister Charlie Flanagan told the media briefing to launch Ireland’s new online passport application service in the ballroom at Iveagh House that all children’s passports will now be valid for five years at a cost of €30 and may be applied for using Passport Express. The three-year passport for infants will no longer be available. The extension of the five year passport to all children who are seventeen years of age or younger is another notable development aimed at improving customer service, in this case to the parents of young children.  The standardisation of children’s passports will result in less confusion among parents about expiry dates on children’s passports and more efficiencies for the passport service. Picture shows Minister Charlie Flanagan and Jean Maxwell of the ITAA at the launch.

Minister Charlie Flanagan said 30pc of Irish passport renewals will be made online in first year of the new application scheme/. Online applications can be made for renewals of existing passports by citizens over 18 if your passport is less than five years out of date, and the scheme is expected to be extended to children’s renewals by 2019.  See here photograph guidelines. Watch here Minister for Foreign Affairs Charlie Flanagan launching the online passport scheme in Dublin. Watch here the Q&A session at the launch of the Irish passport online application service, where, in answer to a question from Travel Extra. the DFA estimated that Ireland would issue a record 840m passports in 2017. Picture shows the minister with Fiona Penollar, Head of Passport Reform, and Siobhan Watters, Passport Office reform team at the launch.

Aer Lingus brought their new loyalty scheme, Aerclub to market, as they put it, at a lively session in Dublin. Aerclub points can now be earned in shopping centres following s successful pilot scheme with Supervalue. Susanne told the audience that the Aerclub brand, launched in November, was about creating tangible value and rewards. The most controversial aspect of the new scheme was glossed over. Lounge access and fastrack is now available to just 15,000 members of about 400,000 Gold Circle members transferred to Aerclub with 1,500 signing up week. Gold Circle was developed in the 1980s and was very much an analogue programme working in a digital age. Susanne told the assembled geusts that of 400,000 members, only 10,000 were generating real tangible awards. The new system devides members into four levels. Points can then be used on flights to degtinations in six zones, about 8,000 points will get passengers off peak to Zone 1 (near Europe, Britain, Amsterdam, Paris), Zone 2 covers middle Europe, 17,000 points will bring them to Zone 3 the islands and far Europe such as Corfu, Zone 5 to east coast USA and Zone 6 to west coast USA. Later in 2017 a scheme called part pay with Avios will be launched. Points can be earned, shopping with the avios e-store, three avios for every euro spent with Aer Lingus, five avios for every four euro spent with Kildare Village, Supervalue and Appleby’s.Pictur shows Susanne Carberry, Dara McMahon, Paula Donaghy, Shona Kelly, Pauline Crowley, Roz Duff, Eoin McGirl and Colm Maher of Aer Lingus at the launch.. See more pictures here or connect with the album on FacebookWatch here the conversation between Susanne Carberry by Kathryn Thomas at the launch. Sign up here for Aerclub.

Orlando’s roadshow hosted 32 agents at Croke Park. Elkie Bird and Karl Moen told agents that Disney free dine is back and will be available from April 6 for advance bookings, Pandora – The World of Avatar opens May 27, Happily Ever After Night time Spectacular opens May 14, Star Wars Guided Tour and Miss Adventure Fall at Typhoon Lagoon are already open. Dave Cole outlined how virtual queuing will work at the Universal’s new Volcano Bay waterpark and Michaela Gray outlined developments at Seaworld including Krakin becoming a virtual roller coaster. Watch here video report of the Visit Orlando Roadshow. Watch here Michaela Gray of Seaworld March 30 2017. Watch here Dave Cole of Universal. Picture shows Karl Moen of Disney, Michaela Gray of Seaworld, Maddy Phillips of Visit Orlando, Ivan Beacom of Aer Lingus, Dave Cole of Universal and Elkie Bird of Disney at the Visit Orlando roadshow at Croke Park. See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.

Warner Rootliep General Manager Air France KLM for Ireland & Britain said he expects just two of the three airlines serving Dublin-Amsterdam to stay on the route, stressing that one of them will be KLM. KLM’s load factor since they launched their twice daily service in November has been 88pc, one of the highest in the network, and they expect to retain it at 85pc now they have moved from two flights to four daily last weekend. He said 70pc of passengers were connecting, 40pc of them long haul connectors to Asia, Latin America, and 30pc of tickets were sold in Ireland. He said that the code share with Aer Lingus would be phased out now KLM has moved to four daily but the codeshare would be retained on Cork-Amsterdam. Watch here interview with Warner Rootliep General Manager Air France KLM for Ireland & Britain.

Stephan Ballot has been appointed to represent Atout France in the Irish market, based in London, on the departure of Agnes Angrand to New York. Picture shows Vanessa Rennaud and Stephan at Rendez Vous France 2017 in Rouen.

Atout France hosted 892 tour operators and 36 journalists from 67 countries at their annual event which rotates among the regions, to meet 742 French companies in 23,400 meetings over two days. Eleven regions hosted 490 tour operators on site tours in advance of the event. Maria Madigan of Irish Wine Tours joined a prefam to the wine regions of Bordeaux, Cognac and Limoges. Visits included the old house at Remy Martin,a walking tour of St Emillion and a visit to Cite de Vin in Bordeaux. “Definitely worthwhile,” she said, “Interactive, scientific and playful.” Picture shows Eoghan Corry and Maria Madigan at the event. See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.

France is still the world’s leading tourist destination with 83m visitors in 2016 down slightly from 84.5m in 2015, with 15pc of the visitors coming from non-European countries and a target of 200m by 2020 still in their sights. Bookings for 2017 are at 2015 levels, but he cautioned it would be mid April before any clear pattern could be detected. Paris stores such as Galleries Lafayette and Printemps instituted Sunday opening after a tortuous round of negotiations with city planners and trade unions, helped over the line by the designation of 12 specialised tourist zones in the city which enjoys a Europe topping 40m international visitors a year. Delegates passed reminders that this was a tough year for France, armed soldiers guarded key access points at the tourism fair, and were stationed on the streets of Rouen during a lavish open ceremony. Watch here Rendez Vous 2017 Opening Ceremony. Watch here the arrival at the Hôtel de Bourgtheroulde in Rouen.

Travel Extra joined a group of 13 journalists from 12 countries to see what is new in Normandy, Including. Picture shows the group at the Museum of the Seine in Caudebec-en-Caux, Alain Bossu of Swiss Travel Inside, David Bowden of Travel Write Malaysia, Louise Gaboury of Canada Tourisme Plus, Eliizabieta Sawicka of Poland Rzeczpospolita, Nadine Godwin of US Travel Weekly, Armelle Le Goff of Normandy Tourism, Oleh Bozhko of Ukraine Gazette, Amadeu Castanho of Bresil Viagens, Frpnt row: Susan Li Bing of China Travel Weekly, Eoghan Corry editor of Travel Extra Ireland and Domenica Demaio of Australia Travel Daily. And yes the parting glass was sung. Geneva based travel writer  Alain Bossu responded with a song of his own in the Palais Benedictine in Fecamp, where the herbal liquor is distilled.

Sample the menu here at Michelin starred Manoir de Rétival in Caudebec en Caux with Florien Brunner. Watch here the visit to the Palais Benedictine in Fecamp. Watch here the tour of Cherbourg. Watch here Gaetan Aubarret of Cabourg tourism. Watch here Hélène Aubry of the Museum of the Seine. Watch here Cecille Brossault of the museum of civilian war casualties in Falaise. Watch here Gregory Brussot of Deauville Lawn Tennis Club. Watch here Christophe Cusseau describing tourism developments in Fecamp. Watch here Johanna LaminetteI interviewed at the Jardins d’Etretat. Watch here Stephanie Leriche on the refurb of the Barriere Hotel du Normandy. Watch here Vincent Moreau update on Honfleur Outlets, to open next year. Watch here Marie Hélène Priou speaking about the Abbey of St Wandrille. Watch here Jules Vernon of the immersive D Day Experience which simulates a parachute drop over Normandy on D day. Meet the travel writers who toured Normandy.

A separate day tour to the villages of the Seine was organised for media delegates. PIcture shows  Maria Jedlikova of TTG Czech Republic,  Czech Republic, Marbee Sh8ing-Go of Travel Now Magazine Phillipines, Cyrot Dominique of Abbaye St Georges de Broscheruil, Cyrot Dominique of Abbaye St Georges de Broscheruil, Sandrine Geronimi of tour guide, Jacqueline Pevoste of Abbaye St Georges de Broscheruil, Mary Winston Nicklon ot Travel Agent Magazine USA, Fran Lambert of Normandy Tourism, Mihaela Dalar Stanca of Forbes Magazine Romania, David Bowden of Travel Write Malaysia, Nadine Godwin of US Travel Weekly, Svetlana Baeva of Russia Tour News, Jaepil Yang of TTL News S Korea, Killian Penven of Normandy Tourism, Frnt row: Murari Jha of UBM India, Eoghan Corry editor of Travel Extra Ireland, Sveltana Larina of Your Business Russia and Yilan Chen of China Travel Agent at the at Abbaye St Georges de Broscheruil. Watch here Sandrine Geronimi speaking about the Abbaye St Georges de Broscheruil. Watch here Sandrine Geronimi speaking about Junieges Abbey. Watch here the tour of the Abbaye St Georges de Broscheruil with Sandrine Geronimi and Danielle Pytel. Watch here Sandrine Geronimi as she conducts a tour of La Bouile on the Seine. Watch here Killian Penven of Rouen tourism describing the medieval menu at Auberge des Ruines.

Among the sites visited by the travelling band was the impressive €200m redevelopment of Mont St Michel which has changed visitor access, removed the car parks on the sand and will eventually flush away 120 years of silting caused by the construction of a causeway. Watch here Mont St Michel’s new facilities. Watch here Anne Flora Marziou, deputy manager of the Mont St Michel Abbey. Watch here Anne Garcon of Mont St Michel Visitor experience. See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.

 “No wall in the world can isolate this country.” Taleb Rifai told Tianguis Turistico, back in its traditional home Acapulco. Mexican tourism is reeling from the US election result, and delegates from around the world came to offer support. “When we travel, we become better people” the UNWTO  Secretary-General continued. Tourism contributes nearly 9pc of Mexico’s GDP and generates 9m jobs. Mark Evans was at the even on behalf of Travel Extra. See more pictures here.

Be-kilted Aberdeen was put on show for a group of Irish media to promote the Aer Lingus Regional route to the city and its hinterland with some astonishingly good food served up to the group at Eat on the Green and the Meldrum. Picture shows Stevie Brown of Visit Aberdeen, Jennifer Gleeson of PR360/Aer Lingus Regional, Damian Allen of Travel Extra, Craig Wilson The Kilted chef at Eat On The Green in Udny Green, Angela Mullin of the Sun, Jim Murty of the Daily Mail and Sorcha Hamilton of the Irish Times. Aer Lingus Regional, operated by Stobart Air, operates 11 flights per week from Dublin to Aberdeen with lead in fares from €35 each way, including taxes and charges.

April 1st brought out the full ensemble of media comedians writing make believe travel stories. Among the choices, Donald Trump bought Liberty Hall to turn it into his Dublin Trump Tower, Royal Caribbean announces world’s first cruise ship with ski slope and Celebrity discovered a previously unknown island 720 nautical miles South West of Bermuda which baffled scientists and Bermuda Triangle fanatics.

Travel Trade

Worldchoice Ireland will host a four night fam trip together with Kelair Campotel, Irish Ferries and Aer Lingus from May 27th to 31st. To be in with a chance of winning a place on the trip, Worldchoice agents can make a new KelAir Campotel booking between April 1st and May 5th inclusive. The fam was announced by Carol Anne O’Neill, Commercial Manager of Worldchoice Ireland.

Nina Farrimond, Manager Trade Relations from South African Tourism, Anne O’Sullivan from Travel Focus and Audrey Headon from Headon Representation hosted 32 agents from the West of Ireland at a training session held in the Galway Bay Hotel. Nina told delegates that Irish tourism to South Africa in 2016 was up 18.3pc to is Final numbers are 30,545. Picture shows Geraldine Dolan of Society Travel receives her prize from Nina Farrimond of South African Tourism and Anne O’Sullivan of Travel Focus at the South African Tourism and Travelfocus roadshow. See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook. ‘

An Irish tourist will feel at home in the most unexpected way,’ Japanese Airlines showcased their product to the travel trade. Picture shows Eamon Flanagan of Premair, Kyoko Delaney of Premair/JAL, Jens Bachmann of Premair and Eleny Negri of JA.

Topflight’s mystery Italian fam trip will be to Tuscany,with a Coast & Country itinerary including Montecatini Terme, Viareggio, Pietrasanta and Lucca. The group will also spend time in the Florence and Pisa. The final winners were Abbey Travel, Best4Travel and Clubworld Lisburn Road. They will join Lynne Casey from Fahy Travel, Colette Knowles of Manning Travel in Kilkenny, Noelle Looney of J Barter Travel in Cork, Rita Gaughan from Limerick Travel, Donna Kenny of Cassidy Travel Blanchardstown and Lisa Sprake of Oasis Travel, Holywood. The group take off on April 6.

  • ‘An Irish tourist will feel at home in the most unexpected way,’ Japanese Airlines showcased their product to the travel trade. Picture shows Eamon Flanagan of Premair, Kyoko Delaney of Premair/JAL, Jens Bachmann of Premair and Eleny Negri of JA.
  • Tall Ships, JFK and quiet coastal towns: Massachusetts roadshow showcased their 2017 fare to Dublin trade. Picture shows Katie Aldrich of The Godfrey Hotel Boston, Patricia Purdue Massachusetts Tourism, Catherine Doran of Greater Boston CVB, Jackie Ennis of MOTT and Lee Stratham of JFK library at the Massachussetts event in Dubin.
  • There was more positive feedback on the Irish Travel Industry Show at the RDS Simmonscourt, the largest gathering of suppliers and agents veer held in Ireland. Watch here video of Irish travel industry show. Watch here Cormac Meehan’s speech at the opening.
  • Skal’s coach trip to Marlfield House and The Woodenbridge Hotel takes place on April 12th.

Strange world

A teenager accidentally flew to Sydney in Nova Scotia while trying to find a cheap route to Australia.

  • A wildlife park worker was killed in an elephant herd charge.
  • Brighton’s troubled i360 viewing tower, dubbed the i-sore,  closed for the third time in six months due to ‘temporary fault’
  • A survey estimated that it costs €210m to replace items forgotten on holiday each year, the most forgotten items are clothing 20pc, glasses and sunglasses 15pc, phone chargers 13pc, toothbrushes 12pc, medication or contraception 10pc.
  • A mother posted video of the  ‘unnecessary’ pat down of her disabled son by airport official she claims left him ‘traumatised for hours’


People make Glasgow had haggis croquettes on the menu whan they came to Dublin to showcase the city’s offerings in 2017. They highlighted morning coffee, the home of Mackintosh, museums and galleries, shopping, gin and beer, Glencoyne whiskey, Glasgow’s UNESCO city of music status and the hinterland such as Loch Lomond. Picture shows Chris Pollack, Elaine Dickie, Fiona Potter and Alison Fleming at the event in Medley.

  • Ferrariland opens in Solou on Thursday
  • Uber is to shut down its business in Denmark
  • Several hotels were damaged by Cyclone Debbie in Queensland
  • WTM revealed its 2017 themes.
  • A tourist died at a popular gibbon zipline park in Laos

Food & Beverage

Travel Extra’s Eoghan Corry will be speaking about international food tourism at the Northern Ireland Hotels Federation conference in Holywood on Tuesday morning.

  • Dalkey’s Guinea Pig Restaurant is for sale for €850,000.
  • The Oyster Tavern in Cork has been restored back to its original use as a bar and restaurant.
  • Blackwater Distillery, maker of Blackwater No 5 Gin, received planning permission to build a micro-distillery with visitor facilities in Ballyduff, Co Waterford, to start in July.
  • Cooks Academy host a Greek cooking event on Wednesday evening


Planning permission is being sought for an eight-storey 249-bedroom hotel at River House on Chancery Street in Dublin’s north inner city, entailing the demolition of the existing vacant six-storey building with an independent cafe/restaurant unit at ground floor and mezzanine level, a hotel lobby, reception, breakfast area, a basement fitness room, meeting and function rooms.

  • Mayo County Council has granted conditional planning permission for a 46-bedroom hotel in Ballinrobe.
  • The Irish Hotel award winners included Culloden for best luxury hotel, Dónal Minihane, of Hotel Doolin for best manager, Citynorth for best airport hotel, McGrory’s Donegal for best hotel bar, Amber Springs for best family hotel, Roe Park for golf hotel.
  • Gerry Gannon is seeking planning permission for a 209-bedroom hotel in Clongriffin.
  • Jury’s Inn international visitors were up 13.6pc in 2016.
  • Hostelworld shares rose 9pc as it pays €10m extra dividend.


Aer Lingus defended a series of baggage charge increases, the second in four months, which came into effect on Tuesday night. The last price hike was from €15 to €25 (each way for Spain) and this has increased from €25 to €35. Aer Lingus say that 58pc of short-haul customers travel on its thirty ‘near’ services, where it says prices have fallen.

Summer time and the livery is airborne: here are the 26 seasonal routes that resumed this week from Dublin, 16 from Ryanair, eight  from Aer Lingus and one each from Eurowings and Transavia. Dublin airport slot allocations for summer 2017 show Hainan Airlines has been allocated 4w slots from July for the much-speculated but unannounced Manchester route extension to Beijing.  Ryanair market share at Dublin is down to 37.4pc from 40.3pc (capacity down 1.5pc) and Aer Lingus down to 35.9pc from 36.7pc, including Aer Lingus Regional (capacity up 3.9pc).  Aer Lingus has more and larger transatlantic operations but six fewer slot pairs.  The combined share of the two big airlines is 73.3pc, down from 77.0pc followed by British Airways with 2.6pc, American Airlines 1.6pc, Lufthansa CityJet, Emirates, United, Delta and Norwegian.   Movements are up 4.6pc (allocations) and 5.4pc (take-up) to 136,457, seats are up 6pc (allocations) and 6.4pc (take-up) to 23.24m. Peak week movements  are up, 5pc and seats up 6.1pc to 787,722. The allocations include cancelled Ryanair routes to Leeds, Lodz and Almeria and an unannounced operation by Loganair from Dundee.

Etihad says its double daily Dublin to Abu Dhabi service which was increased yesterday from single daily will now remain double daily year-round, using a two-class Airbus A330-200 in 22-240 configuration. EY departs 09.30 and EY48 at 19.10. Etihad is expanding its Aer Lingus codeshare routes in Summer 2017.

Dublin Airport was named the world’s 10th best in a survey by travel website eDreams behind Helsinki-Vantaa, Glasgow, Zurich, Munich, Frankfurt, Geneva, Bangkok, Tel Aviv and Oslo. Berlin Schonefeld was picked as the worst.

Dublin Airport secured planning permission to build a small solar farm that will help deliver 500m litres of water to the airport every year.

  • Bombardier’s C Series jet was reportedly nearing approval for London City airport
  • Michael O’Leary told German weekly Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung [German] that Lufthansa will buy Air Berlin within three years and talked up Ryanair’s target to double German market share to 20pc.
  • Emirates delivered three new Airbus A380s to three continents in one day, Casablanca, Narita and SaoPaulo. Emirates has 93 A380s in service and 49 on order. Emirates postponed its A380 visit to Dublin indefinitely.
  • KLM’s summer 2018 schedule shows B787 Dreamliners replacing 747s on long-haul routes.
  • AerCap signed up for PACE route and aircraft economic analysis software
  • Shannon Airport plans to change its status from a full time category nine to a flexible category nine airport in a bid to cut costs. Shannon Group started work on a €10m high spec office block.
  • Vallair acquired three Boeing 737-400, two of them ex Enter Air stored in Shannon
  • WOW air launched flights from Keflavik to Chicago offering Dublin connections from €139 (NOT direct from Dublin to Chicago as some media reported).
  • Clare Daly TD, formerly an Aer Lingus shop steward, questioned Minister Shane Ross about the problems associated with the building of the new runway at Dublin Airport.
  • Flybe and former Cityjet CEO Christine Ourmieres-Widener joined the ERA Board.
  • Datalex revenues rose on the back of moves into Chinese market
  • Belfast International Airport passenger numbers were up 27pc in February, its sixth successive month of record passenger figures.
  • Patricia Clements’ Bradfor seat cover manufacturers in Rostrevor and Joanne Liddle‘s IPC Mouldings, plastic injection moulding firm from Carrickfergus, will demonstrate a new airline seat at the Aircraft Interiors Expo in Hamburg this week.
  • Etihad is to get around the laptop ban by lending iPads to its top-paying travellers on US-bound flights.
  • Intrepid is to lease two new B777 for Philippine Airlines.


Norwegian Cruise Line increased service fees in all cabins, the third rate increase since February 2015. Standard cabins charges are now $13.99 per passenger, per day, up from $13.50   or the original rate of $12.50 in February 2015. A couple wil now pay almost $190 in service charges for a standard cabin on a one-week cruise.

P&O Cruises has raised its daily gratuity charge (the Service Reward Programme) from £5 to £6 per day.

  • Thomson Cruises revealed the 1,924-passenger former Mein Schiff will be renamed TUI Explorer when it launches May 2018.
  • CroisiEurope named Miguel Torga in Porto.
  • Fincantieri delivered the 4,250 passenger Majestic Princess to Princess Cruises.

Actress Joan Collins named Uniworld’s Joie de Vivre in Paris. The first public sailing takes palce today on Paris & Normandy itinerary on the Seine. With a length of 125 metres, rather than the typical 135 metres, the  Joie de Vivre can dock in the heart of Paris in the shadow of the Eiffel Tower.

Joss Stone and Victoria’s Secrets Model Sara Sampaio named the Douro Azul, Douro Elegance & Douro Serenity ships in Porto, live on Portuguese TV. Riviera River Cruises commence weekly sailings on the board the new 5 Star Douro Elegance on April 14.

  • American Cruise Lines will name their 2018 arrival American Constitution.
  • Norwegian Jade now offer 24-hour free pub grub at their Irish pub, O’Sheehan’s, and complimentary poolside food at 1950s-style diner Pit Stop.
  • Saga Cruises’ new build 999-passenger Spirit of Discovery completed its journey along the River Ems from the Meyer Werft shipyard in Pappenberg. The vessel starts service in June.
  • Caribbean Princess is to get new restaurants during its April dry dock, World Fresh Marketplace replacing the Horizon Court buffet, Salty Dog Grill replacing the Trident Grill, Planks BBQ in Cafe Caribe, Steamers Seafood, Slice replacing the Pizzeria, The Mix replacing Blackbeard’s Bar, and Coffee & Cones replacing Scoops.


Overseas tourism buyers from 19 countries came to Punchestown Co Kildare for Meitheal. Failte Ireland hosted 13 familiarisation tours for international operators to Dublin, Ireland’s Ancient East and the Wild Atlantic Way. A new meeting system was introduced this year between the 277 buyers and 360 Irish suppliers.  Minister of State Patrick O’Donovan delivered the welcome speech. Failte Ireland published an infographic on the value of Meitheal to Irish tourism. See here.

ITIC warned that up to 10,000 jobs are at risk after the Central Statistics Office confirmed a 6pc decline in British arrivals from December 2016 to February 2017. The  monthly drop in February was 22pc.

Ólöf Ýrr Atladóttir, DG of the Icelandic Tourist Board -and her colleagues met with Fáilte Ireland CEO Paul Kelly and members of his team as part of a fact finding visit to Ireland.

Tourism Ireland and 15 partners held a preparatory briefing for the sales blitz to Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou and Hong Kong on April 24-28. Picture shows Su Fong Gan and Majella O’Sullivan, both Newbridge Silverware; and James Kenny, Tourism Ireland, at the briefing.

  • Quest Glendalough anticipates 2,000 entrants next Saturday, part of the Quest Adventure Series.
  • Tourism Ireland and 18 tourism companies met with 70 French group travel operators at the Irish embassy in Paris. Picture shows Fiona Dunne, Caroline Phelan, Séverine Lecart, Marc Faivre and Gavin Radford of Tourism Ireland with the operators.
  • Belfast zoo manager Alyn Cairns said concerns raised by the European Association of Zoos and Aquaria about how some of its animals are kept have been addressed. Belfast zoo attracts 247,000 visitors annually and is the island’s 37th most popular attraction.
  • Castle Saunderson, Belturbet, Co Cavan completed an upgrade which was grant-aided to €60,000 by Fáilte Ireland.
  • The 63rd annual Cork International Choral Festival expects 5,000 singers and 50,000 visitors on May Bank Holiday weekend, April 26-30.

Deal Watch

Click and Go offers: 3 nights 3* The Edison Hotel New York City from €679pp incl. return flights, airport taxes and charges, travel August. 7 nights all inclusive 4* Sealight Family Club Hotel from €469pp incl. return flights, airport transfers, taxes and charges, travel May. 7 nights all inclusive 3* Globales Samoa Hotel, Majorca from €389pp incl. return flights, airport transfers, taxes and charges, travel May. Over 50s offer: 7 nights half board 4* Beatriz Costa Teguise & Spa Hotel, Lanzarote from €479pp incl. return flights, airport transfers, taxes and charges, travel May. Visit or call 01 539 7777.

Falcon offers: 14 nights all inclusive 4* Grand Bahia Principe Coba, Riviera Maya, Mexico from €1,569pps, depart June 14. 7 nights half board 3* Best Camrbils, Cambrils, Costa Dorada from €389pps, depart May 5. 7 nights all inclusive 3* El Trebol, Costa Tequise, Lanzarote from €579pps, depart Cork May 18. 7 nights half board 3* California Garden, Salou, Costa Dorada from €719pps, depart Knock August 15. 7 nights self catering 3* Royal Sun Apartments, Sunny Beach, Bulgaria from €2,539 2+2, depart June 12. 14 nights all inclusive 3* Royal Decameron Club Caribbean, Runaway Bay, Jamaica from €1,249pps, depart June 8. 14 nights all inclusive 4* Grand Bahia Principe Coba, Riviera Maya, Mexico from €1,569pps, depart June 14. 8 nights self catering 2* San Marcial Apartments, Matagorda, Lanzarote from €389pps, depart April 30. 5 nights all inclusive 3* Servatur Waikiki, Playa Del Ingles, Gran Canaria from €489pps, depart April 29. 7 nights all inclusive 3* Catalonia Punta Del Rey, Las Caletillas, Tenerife from €499pps, depart April 28. NRG offer: 7 nights self catering 2* Hotel Palazzo, Sunny Beach, Bulgaria from €459pps, depart June 12. Visit or call 1850 45 35 45.

Insight Vacations is offering 9 days Spain and Portugal tour form €1,989pps incl. flights, transfers and 8 nights accommodation. Book by May 12, depart June 24. Visit or call 01 775 3803.

ITAA offers: 10 nights all inclusive 5* Dreams Palm Beach Resort, Punta Cana, Dominican Republic from €4,659 2+2 incl. return flights and taxes, travel May 1. 8 nights Russia Revealed river cruise between St Petersburg and Moscow onboard the 4* MS Surikov River Cruiser from €1,159pps incl. returns and transfers, depart May 8. Over 50s offer: 7 nights 4* Best Sabinal Hotel, Almeria, Spain from €499pp incl. flights, transfers, one 15kg baggage pp, depart May 13.

Project Travel is offering a 6 day ‘classic southbound’ Hurtigruten cruise from €1,597pp incl. flights, transfer in Norway and hotel nights, travel December. 12 day ‘classic round voyage’ from €2,075pp. Visit or call 01 210 8391.

Sunway offers: 8 nights Spanish experience holiday from €1,239pp incl. 3* and 4* accommodation, transfers, meals and tours, depart May 20. 7 nights Golden Triangle, India from €1,302pp incl. flights and excursions, depart September 1. 7 nights B&B 5* Melia Madeira Mar Hotel from €829pp, depart June 29. 7 nights Croatia and Greece fly cruise on board Norwegian Star from €1,025pp, depart October 8. Visit

TDactive Holidays is offering 10 days Kerala photography holiday from €1,899pp incl. accommodation in 4* half board hotels, excursions, transfers, local guides, tutors from Dublin Photography School and taxes charges. Depart February 12 2018. Click here or call 01 637 1633.

Thomson offers: 14 nights all inclusive Clubhotel RIU Ocho Rios, Jamaica from €1,559pps, depart June 8. 8 nights half board Sensimar Natura Palace, Playa Blanca, Lanzarote from €739pps, depart April 30. 5 nights self catering ardin Del Sol, Playa Del Ingles, Gran Caria from €379pps, depart April 29. 7 nights half board ardin Del Sol, Playa Del Ingles, Fuerteventura from €984pps, depart April 18. 7 nights self catering Cerro Mar Garden, Albuferia, Algarve from €559pps, depart May 28. 7 nights half board Hotel Belvedere, Salou, Costa Dorada from €539pps, depart Shannon May 19. 11 nights self catering Mariners Club, Alcudia, Majorca from €589pps, depart May 23. 14 nights half board Belvedere Hotel Salou, Costa Dorada from €939pps, depart Knock July 11. 14 nights all inclusive Clubhotel RIU Ocho Rios, Ocho Rios, Jamaica from €1,559pps, depart June 8. 14 nights all inclusive RIU Lupita, Playa car, Mexico from €1,499pps, depart June 7.

Topflight offers: 7 nights half board 4* Hotel Bristol, Sorrento from €929pps, depart April 16. 7 nights B&B 4* Grand Hotel Hermitage, Sorrento from €769pps, depart May 28. 7 nights half board 4* Hotel Conca Park, Sorrento from €799pps, depart June 4. 7 nights self catering 3* Villaggio Verde, Sorrento from €429pps, depart April 23. 7 nights B&B 3* Hotel Londra, Sorrento from €489pps, depart April 30. 7 nights half board 4* Hotel Ascot, Sorrento from €689pps, depart May 14. 7 nights half board 4* Hotel Majestic, Sorrento from €919pps, depart June 11. 7 nights half board 4* Hotel Cesare Augusto, Sorrento from €899pps, depart July 16. 7 nights B&B 4* Hotel Astoria, Sorrento from €819pps, depart August 6. Visit or call 01 240 1700.

Tour America/Cruise Holidays offers: 8 nights the Rosen Inn Pointe Orlando from €559pps, travel November. 4 nights The Excalibur Hotel, Las Vegas from €569pps, travel November. 12 nights Miami and Southern Caribbean fly cruise on board on board Celebrity Equinox from €1,899pp, depart September 25. 10 nights Orlando and Caribbean cruise on board MSC Armonia form €1,299pp, depart September 14. 7 nights Cuba and Caribbean fly cruise from €1,399pp, depart January 16 2018. Visit

Uniworld Boutique River Cruises is offering 8 days castles along the Rhine river cruise on board the Empress from €3,199pps incl. flights, airport transfers, all meals and beverages and all shore excursions, depart July 5. Visit or call 01 775 3803.