Author Archives: Sixdayexpert

TRAVEL Extra’s Sunday Supplement: IAG – Ryanair throw a spanner in the works


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Header August 2 2015

View over Greenland on the Europe Airpost/ASL Aviation France flight from Dublin to Halifax, Nova Scotia

The headlines this week:

  • Will Philly join LAX as Aer Lingus’s second T/A for 2016?
  • Off to Canada for a lobster dinner
  • Costa to get four giant green cruise ships
  • Playing with cougars

Travel Extra TV

Video of the week August 2 2015Our video of the week is a shocker. It shows Joshua Newell jump the fence at Columbus Zoo and Aquarium to pet two cougars — a really stupid idea. Luckily, he was not harmed, but the zoo is pressing charges for trespassing. Watch here.

  • Do you think you could keep your cool on a roller coaster like this guy (watch here)? This Irish woman couldn’t when she rode the Slingshot — she passed out not once, but twice. Watch here.
  • The third big air show in eight days took place in Foynes last Sunday. Watch here and watch here the behind the scenes video.
  • Passengers on the 07.51 train in Perth beat the Monday morning blues with a sing-along of ‘Somewhere Over the Rainbow’. Watch here.
  • Heathrow airport is looking to adapt to the needs of imaginary friends. Watch here.
  • Flavours of the Foyle: Showcasing food experiences in Derry. Watch here.
  • See Dublin airport’s Reaching Beyond Our Routes campaign. Watch here.
  • Ethiopian Airlines’ ADD-DUB-LAX ad. Watch here. 
  • Movietone News uploaded footage of the German Travel Agents conference in the Dunlop Castle Hotel, Killarney, October 1975
  • See vlogger Jimmy Hill’s tour of London and the Isle of Wight Festival for BA. Watch here.
  • See Qatar Airways’ video from the Paris Air Show. Watch here.
  • Are we there yet? Are we there yet? Are we there yet? Ask Google Maps. Watch here.


ryanairAn unexpected spanner in the works for the IAG Aer Lingus takeover, this time from Ryanair who decided to wait until after the offer expired until accepting the bid. “We don’t expect to receive any proceeds from the sale of our stake in Aer Lingus until September and so we plan to formally submit our signed acceptance of the IAG offer in mid-August,” Ryanair said in a statement. IAG extended their offer for Aer Lingus until 1300 (Irish time) on August 18 and said that there will be no further extension of the offer unless the offer has become wholly unconditional at that time and date. IAG will have achieved 90pc approval with the existing 62.48pc acceptances plus the Ryanair holding, sufficient to allow IAG to buy out any shareholders who do not submit acceptances. Those shareholders will still get the same offer price but their cheques will arrive a little later.

asl airlinesEurope Airpost/ASL Aviation hosted some travel writers on their Dublin to Halifax 737 service to test the theory that day flights leave no jet-lag and sample some lobster at the Five Fishermen restaurant in Halifax, Nova Scotia, and overnight in the Delta Barrington Hotel before returning to Dublin the following day. Highlights of the trip included a visit to Fairview Lawn, one of three cemeteries that received the bodies of victims of the Titanic disaster. Listen here to tour guide Richard Arnold’s description of events and how the bodies were recovered. Halifax is important in aviation history as a trans-Atlantic departure and arrival point and was the birthplace of Aer Lingus’ forgotten CEO, Robert Logan, the man who first thought of putting the shamrock on the tail. The duty free facility at the airport is managed by ARI. The trans-Atlantic journey offered stunning views of the Greenland coast. Europe Airpost have 24 seats in premium economy with some of the best PE food in the sky. Europe Airpost  CEO  Jean-François Dominiak said may consider extending their 10-rotation season from Dublin to Halifax in Nova Scotia. Speaking at the launch of the route on Thursday (listen here), he said while the service is really a niche leisure market, Europe Airpost may increase frequency if nova scotia group parkthey get non leisure business. They are considering a service from Belfast because of the strong links between the north and Nova Scotia (listen here). Picture shows Kim Jardine of Nova Scotia Tourism, Linda Macken of ATTS, MIchael Flood of ITTN, Gerry Benson of Travelbiz, Catherine Grennell White of ATTS, Richard and, in front, Eoghan Corry of Travel Extra and Jonathan Toms of Destination Halifax. See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.

Aerlingus.a320-214.ei-cva.750pixAer Lingus’s last presentation of results as an independent carrier gave some insight into the airline’s strategy. Premium economy is to be introduced in short-haul flights, in response to Ryanair’s business plus. The Aer Lingus brand is get its first makeover since 1998. A new shopping, merchandising and personal platform will go live early 2016. A new loyalty recognition and reward programme will go live early in 2016. Membership of the Oneworld Alliance will likely become more important in the coming years than existing joint ventures. New boarding and check-in processes are being finalised and staff are being trained up to improve service at 15 defined intervention points. The airline wants to improve short haul load factor by 10 points to 91pc, not far behind Ryanair levels.

Aer Lingus’s proposed trans-Atlantic expansion will be “a combination of new points and increasing frequencies to moderate risk.  For 2016 the airline is looking at California with a 50pc feed which presumably makes the Los Angeles route viable. Market acceptance of the third Dublin-JFK flight indicates the scope for more flights to the New York area whether JFK, Newark or somewhere new (Philadelphia?). Increased Ireland-Florida frequencies are also being examined. Aer Lingus aims to get Dublin to “within spitting distance” of the top five transatlantic connecting points in Europe.

AerLingus_757_DUB_EILBT_1stToronto_140414_8921_300 copyAer Lingus are looking at more A330-300s and B757s before their A350 deliveries begin in 2018. The A330-300 is the preferred growth aircraft in size for the US east coast in the short-term.  A fourth B757 aircraft is within the workforce agreements.  The B757 is still seen as attractive, good and reliable and the ACMI operation is still relevant. No replacement will be required until the end of the decade when the A321LR will be available.

aer lingus a319Of Aer Lingus’s four A320s to be released by ending  of the Virgin/Little Red contract flying operation, one is in service as the 37th short-haul aircraft for expanded summer 2015 operation,  two will be retained and used to replace two leased A319s.  The fourth is being reviewed for possible use, return to lessor or to release an owned aircraft for sale.

Aer Lingus Average fare was down 2.9pc to €91.65. Short-haul was down 0.5pc. long-haul up 10pc and load factor up 0.9 to 86.2pc. Business iffass was up 21.1pc. Guest satisfaction in business class was up 28pc. Retail revenue is up 4.8pc per passenger to €19.47 and 5.8pc in total to €54.7m.  Revenue from advance bookings is up 19pc to €56m, helped by the weaker euro. Americans are playing nearly 10pc les JFK_Airport_terminal_5_gate_11for their tickets than they were last year but while 25pc of revenue is in US$ so are 37pc of costs. Net cash at 30 June 2015 of €641m compared to €586m a year ago, after €135m was paid to DB Pension schemes arising from the changes to the IASS. Aircraft and equipment contracted is €897m (that hardly includes the cost of nine A350s?). For 2015, 38pc of fuel has been hedged at an average $758 per tonne. Cost cutting is to focus on third party ground handling costs, especially in Continental Europe. Three business sectors are now recognised: long haul, European cities and European leisure/ Mediterranean destinations. Washington is trading above expectations, the third Dublin-JFK frequency is performing well, additional capacity to other destinations including SFO and Shannon-Boston is outperforming expectation.  The B757 Business class configuration is to be updated to A330 standard “in the near future.”

So that’s it folks. No more updates from Aer Lingus now it goes private and the green curtain comes down.

stephen kavanaghAer Space, the Aer Lingus premium economy service, will be introduced on short haul routes this autumn, with an empty middle seat, lounge access, free snacks/ and drinks, baggage allowance and priority boarding, what it calls a EuroBusiness-style premium class. Aer Lingus will match Ryanair’s business plus pricing but there will be no class divider which would trigger higher taxes from airports where the Westminster government’s APD applies. Aer Lingus CEO Stephen Kavanagh says he aspire to offering a three class service on trans-Atlantic routes.

Foynes Air Show attracted 15,000 spectators, and was dedicated to the memory of tragic pilot Howard Cox, to watch authentic WW2 aircraft, Aer Lingus’ first airplane, modern fighter jets and a search and rescue training exercise. Howard Cox, 67, from Devon, died in an air crash in Waterford en route to Foynes. He and his self-built “James Bond” aircraft were well known in Irish aviation circles.

Travel Trade

Michaela banks royal caribbean 1400Michaela Banks is the new Regional Sales Manager, Ireland for Royal Caribbean International. She joins Royal Caribbean from Thomas Cook, will report into Alex Johnston, Head of Retail, Ireland/Britain, based from the Dublin office alongside National Sales Managers Jenny Rafter and Jennifer Callister. Ben Bouldin said: “Ireland is a hugely important market for us. We’ve doubled the size of our sales team and it is going from strength to strength.”

can deniz tunisiaJustsunshine shut their Irish operation, as expected. John Grehan technically finished with them this week but has been on holiday for the last fortnight. The tour operator continues to sell non-Tunisia product out of London.

Amadeus has picked Atlas Travel as one of two launch customers for a new Amadeus mobile solution for travel agencies in Western Europe. Amadeus half year results showed revenue was up 14.2pc to €1,976.8m, EBITDA grew 10.8pc to €778.8m and total air travel agency bookings increased 10.0pc to 265.9m. On the IT Solutions side, Passengers Boarded increased 7.8pc, to 354.2m.

  • 1280px-Splendour_of_the_Seas_2011Royal Caribbean’s Club Royal are offering a chance to win a 7 Night Dubai cruise onboard Splendour of the Seas exclusive to Irish Trade Partners. Register Splendour of the Seas 2015/16 Dubai bookings on by September 30.
  • The Irish Travel Agents Association declared its support for ECTAA’s legal action against Lufthansa’s proposed GDS ETIHAD AIRWAYS/fee. A panel session at the GBTA Convention in Orlando heard that Lufthansa’s decision to charge €16 for GDS bookings from September 1. The Distribution Cost Charge, would not have been possible 20 years ago when buyers had more options over contracting and booking.
  • A seminar for NUJ member journalists will discuss how to handle online harassment. This free event, on Saturday September 5, will be held at the Dublin Institute of Technology, Aungier Street, Dublin. Book your place and find out about the speakers.
  • Uber is to open a customer service centre in Limerick city, creating 150 jobs.
  • Travel Professionals Skillnet is hosting a free Cyber Security training session with Resilia Axelos on August 18. Book here.


Computer_keyboardIrish people give the third highest average scores when they rate hotels, according to a survey by, behind Russia and Egypt. Emirateans are the harshest critics of the 44 countries featured.

Small Luxury Hotels of the World reported 25 new hotels, new, old and renovated to their curated collection of independent small hotels so far in 2015, including H Resort – Beau Vallon Beach, Mahe Seychelles opening this weekend and Hotel Lilla Roberts, Helsinki independent hotels showopening August 25.

  • Some airlines and hotels were reported to be pulling the plug on discount websites.
  • Star Alliance launched a round-the-world premium economy fares.
  • The Independent Hotel Show at London’ Olympia West on October 20-21 is pleased to announce a 20pc increase in exhibitor bookings for 2015 compared with the same stage last year.
  • Manor house Heritage weekManor House Hotels was appointed accommodation partner of National Heritage Week. Picture shows Roisin Wallace of Manor House Hotels, Minister of State for Rural Development Ann Phelan and Michael Starrett of the Heritage Council at the launch event in the Guinness Storehouse.
  • Indian billionaire Yusuffali Kadeis is to acquire Great Scotland Yard for £110m and turn it into a hotel.
  • Marriott International reached the 1m rooms mark in Q2. Marriott announced a partnership with the NBA.
  • Mandarin Oriental opened a hotel in Milan.


Snow joke. In 2022 the Winter Olympics will be held in a place with no snow. On July 31st the International Olympic Committee awarded the games to Beijing, to be held in the city of Zhangjiakou, 250km (150 miles) north of the capital, beating Kazakhstan’s Almaty 44-40, with one abstention.

protests cecil the lionTheodro Bronkhorst of Bushman Safaris is on bail in Bulawayo for failing to prevent the killing of Hwange’s iconic lion, Cecil by US dentist Walter Palmer. Another controversy has erupted as to who decided the politically loaded name Cecil was an appropriate name for a lion as well as the shadowy role of Johnny Rodrigues in drawing attendant to the scandal (Rodrigues later claimed a brother of Cecil has also been killed)

The El Pais newspaper reports that two shootings took place at a hotel on an intersection on the La Rambla thoroughfare in Barcelona when a number of suspects fled the scene.

Vail Resorts are to combine Canyons Resort and Park City Mountain Resort under one name and logo.

Fremont_Street_Binions_Golden_NuggetThe street performers on Las Vegas‘ Fremont Street have been driving tourists away, city leaders claimed this week as they moved toward imposing new rules to rein in the rowdy atmosphere. Vegas has already banned people from drinking alcohol out of glass bottles and aluminium cans on the downtown street where the party began in the 1940s.

  • The Michigan Economic Development secret escapesCorporation named Dave Lorenz as Vice President of Travel Michigan.
  • Luxury travel website Secret Escapes raised $60m of funding to expand into the US and Asia. The investment round was led by Google Ventures.
  • Cuba’s tourism ministry announced plans to launch a Tobacco Trail in Pinar del Rio this September, showcasing the island’s cigar-making heritage.
  • Events in Israel: The International Red Sea Jazz Festival takes place at Eilat Port, August 23-26. The 40th annual International Arts and Crafts Fair takes place in Jerusalem, August 3-15.
  • NeverTravelAlone1600x800FB-659x350Dating site Miss Travel launched an app that allows travellers to plan holidays with strangers.
  • Travelport announced a travel commerce service partnership with Radius Travel, a rich content and branding agreement with Lufthansa and an agreement with porcheUNISTER Travel.
  • Fake palm trees helped fuel a fire that broke out in The Cosmopolitan bamboo pool in Las Vegas.
  • Three airport taxi drivers in Lisbon were arrested for overcharging tourists.
  • Hertz added the Porche Macan Turbo to its Dream Cars collection.
  • Unseen Tours, which runs tours of London given by homeless and formerly homeless guides, doubled bookings this year.
  • billy corgan disneylandIn a bid to stop people peeing in the streets, San Francisco applied paint that splashes the urine back onto the offender to nine walls around the city on a trial basis.
  • Smashing Pumpkins frontman Billy Corgan went viral this week after a snap of him looking grumpy at Disneyland was posted online.

Food and Wine

CEO restaurants associationRestaurant owners say 5,000 additional trainee chefs are needed each year. The Restaurants Association called for the re-establishment of CERT, the former State Tourism Training Agency claiming the shortage of chefs has now reached crisis levels, and threatens the Hospitality Industry. The Association welcomed the new apprenticeship proposals as a stepping stone in tackling the crisis chef shortage.

There has been lots of debate in the restaurant sector about the raising of the minimum wage with the Restaurants Association firmly opposed. They argue that raising the minimum wage affects workers in tradable sectors such as tourism, where they risk losing ground to foreign competitors. The Economist argues that the cost is passed on to consumers, the minimum wage turns into a subsidy funded by a sales tax—a revenue-raiser that falls heavily on the poor. On the other side minimum wages help offset firms’ bargaining power over employees reluctant to risk moving elsewhere. They may even boost productivity and reduce staff turnover by making workers value their jobs. Truckloads of studies show that low level minimum wage below 50pc of median full-time income do not destroy jobs.

  • Nicholas Woollard, new Executive Head Chef at the gibson hotel, DublinNicholas Woollard has been appointed new Executive Head Chef at the Gibson Hotel, Dublin
  • Agriculture Minister Simon Coveney introduced legislation to protect companies that make Irish spirits, Irish whiskey, Irish poitín and Irish cream are protected ‘geographical indications’ under European Law.
  • Cavan Chefs pictured at launch of Taste of Cavan - Shane Smith, Neven Maguire, Gearoid Lynch & Adrian Martin - CopyPicture shows Cavan Chefs, Shane Smith, Neven Maguire, Gearoid Lynch and Adrian Martin at the 2015 Launch of Taste of Cavan in Fallon & Byrne.
  • Denmark’s four-time restaurant of the year Noma will open for 10 weeks in Sydney’s Barangaroo harbour next January.


kenny jacobs 001 copyAer Lingus said at its result presentation that short haul capacity will increase by 5pc this winter. With Ryanair’s decision to base 30 aircraft in Dublin Kenny Jacobs predicted it would be a good winter for consumers with a looming winter air fares war.

Ryanair reported at Q1 profit after tax up 25pc to €245m as passenger traffic grew by 16pc to 28m. Average fare was down 4pc to €45, due to the timing of Easter.

Rachel Lehane and Jessica O'Rourke winners of the DAA competition on the Europe Airpost/ASL Aviation France flight from Dublin to Halifax, Nova Scotia, July 30 2015

Picture shows UL graduates Jessica O’Rourke and Rachel Lehane who won return flights to Halifax in the DAA twitter competition.

Dublin Airport Head of Operations Gary McLean makes a presentation to Mark Owen from Edinburgh and Lisa Walsh from Tralee, the two and a half millionth passenger to use Dublin Airport in July. The couple were returning from a holiday on the Greek island Bank Holiday Weekend Caps Busiest Month Ever At Dublin Airportof Corfu. Passenger numbers are up 16pc compared to the August Bank Holiday weekend last year. The airport is on course for a record 24.9m passengers this year. A 354,000 passenger bank holiday weekend finished the busiest month ever although for the third timein four years the airport’s busiest day was the first weekend of the school holidays, 91,698 passed through Dublin on Sunday June 28. For the previous seven years the August bank holiday provided the busiest day, including the 96,931 who squashed through the single-terminal airport on Sunday August 6 2006.

British Airways is reducing the size of carry-on baggage permitted on board its flights from August 18. BA said the move is as a result of “an increase in customers travelling with hand baggage that exceeds their allowance“.

Southwest CEO Gary Kelly saids it makes financial sense for his airline to retain its “bags fly free” policy.  Southwest is the only US carrier left not to charge for bags.

wow-airWOW Air reported an 81pc load factor on its Dublin to Reykjavik route in June, carrying 3,300 passengers in its first month.

Acumen Aviation appointed Keith Addison as technical director to the Americas.

A close call at Geneva airport this week when a private jet entered the runway while a Dublin-bound Aer Lingus flight was taking off.

trousses_business_3_rvb_A_c_michelgantnerAir France relaunched its business class amenity kits, complete with Clarins moisturiser, eye mask, lip balm, earplugs and more.

Finnair Cargo signed a freighter sharing deal with IAG Cargo.

Ryanair plans to sidestep price comparison websites by displaying their rivals’ fares on

  • 20150731_C8358_PHOTO_EN_466285Air Canada took delivery of its first B787-9 Dreamliner.
  • Avolon delivered a B737-800 to Aeromexico.
  • AWAS delivered an A321 to VietJet Air.
  • FLY Leasing reported Q2 net loss of $58.3m after a $65.4m impairment charge. Operating lease revenue was up 13pc to $101.7m.
  • Passenger James Bassos is suing Etihad Airways claiming he got a back injury after being forced to sit next to an obese man while flying from Sydney to Dubai in 2011.
  • Ex Korean Air executive Heather Cho (the woman who went nuts over nuts) faces a second lawsuit. Flight attendant Park Chang-jin filed a lawsuit in New York for compensation for bodily and mental harm.
  • Delta is offering upgrades to private jets for premium passengers.
  • A Ryanair flight took off with the wrong luggage on board.
  • OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThere was further reaction to Malaysia Airlines 40pc capacity cut to Australia which removes one of the low-cost travel options to Aus for Irish consumers.
  • Lufthansa introduced their new fare concept for Europe.
  • Iberia plans to open new routes include Tokyo, Doha, Johannesburg, Toronto, Guadalajara, Managua, San Juan de Puerto Rico, Brasilia, and Asuncion.
  • wing partA wing part found in the Indian Ocean is consistent with the B777 and very possibly Malaysia MH 370.
  • Qantas pilots voted in favour of EBA, which includes an 18-month pay freeze.
  • Warsaw was reported as having the shortest connect times in Europe at 30 minutes. LOT announced more frequencies to North America and new destinations.
  • Thirty helicopters were in operation to bring people to and from Galway racecourse this week. In 2007 there were 350.
  • ARI opened a rum concept store in Barbados.
  • Governor Cuomo announced a new LaGuardia Airport.
  • Air Zimbabwe grounded yesterday’s flights due to acute fuel shortages.
  • KLM-B787-9-World-Business-Class-cabinKLM will install world business class seats on its B787-9 aircraft.
  • AirAsia claims that Kuala Lumpur International Airport’s low-cost airline terminal klia2 is sinking.
  • Etihad Airways reported a 12pc increase in passenger numbers during Eid al-Fitr. Load factor out of Abu Dhabi was up 0.2pc to 82.3pc.
  • Qatar QR on boardQantas added 16 retailers to its online loyalty shopping hub.
  • Qatar Airways Cargo rolled out the QR on-board door-to-door courier service.


viking elbeViking River Cruises has been forced to cancel two more itineraries due to low water levels on the Elbe. A large number of other sailings have been altered or adjusted, although no further cancelations.

guy harvey- norwegian escapeWildlife artist Guy Harvey designed the hull artwork on the Norwegian Escape, debuting in Miami this November.

Costa Cruises is to build two new LNG powered 6,600-passenger ships, new-costa-ship 900slightly bigger than Royal Caribbean’s 6,450-passenger Oasis-class ships.

Carnival’s first two of four new ships will go to its German cruise line, AIDA. Carnival and its two shipbuilding partners, Meyer Werft and Fincantieri, will launch nine new ships over a four-year period between 2019-2022, the second phase of a building spree for Carnival that will bring 10 new ships to its fleet by 2018.

Ada ColauDespite Ada Colau’s call for a tourism cap, Barcelona port authority signed a €30m deal with Carnival Corporation to construct an 11,500sqm cruise terminal capable of handling 4,500 passengers. Construction is due to begin next year, with the port opening in 2018.

Fred. Olsen's fleet of four ships cruise into Norway's second city, Bergen for the historical '4Bs in Bergen' event on 28th July 2015Fred Olsen Cruise Lines brought together of its fleet of four ships, Balmoral, Braemar, Boudicca and Black Watch to Bergen, Norway for the 4 Bs in Bergen’ event named after the initial letter of each of the four Fred. Olsen ships, the first time ever that the fleet has converged in one place, anywhere in the world.

Silversea’s 10-day Silver Wind voyage, Silversea_musedeparting August 12 from Barcelona to Civitavecchia, will feature two performances: a tea dance with pianist Michael Robinson and a sing-along with Royal Opera House Richard_Welge_AIDAperformers. Silversea cut the first steel of its 2017 flagship, Silver Muse.

Richard Welge was appointed AIDA Cruise’s VP of customer experience.

Deal Watch

family_x2_pool_shutterstock_179254373Tour America October midterm break offers, based on 2 adults and 2 children sharing: 5 nights at the Rosen Inn, Point Orlando and 7 nights onboard Freedom of the Seas from €1,069pp, depart October 27. 7 nights at the Rosen Inn International, Orlando from €679pp, depart October 26. 7 nights all inclusive at the Riu Cancun from €1,139pp, depart October 27. Prices include return flights, Call 01 817 3500.

SCE_GEN_14_F0487Falcon offers: 7 nights self catering Mar Y Vent, San Antonio Bay, Ibiza from €459pps, depart September 2. 7 nights self catering Tinas Studios, Faliraki, Rhodes from €329pps, depart September 2. 7 nights self catering TRH Magaluf, Majorca from €329pps, depart September 17. 7 nights self catering Flora Apartments, Lanzarote from €469pp, depart August 31. 7 nights self catering Poseidon, Sunny Beach, Bulgaria from €489pp, depart August 31. 7 nights self catering Castle Beach, Fuengirola, Malaga from €599pp, depart August 30. 7 nights self catering Bellino, Hersonnissos, Crete from €499pp, depart August 23. 7 nights B&B Citi Live, Kos from €399pp, depart September 2. See or call 1850 45 35 45.

IBZ_CTR_0268Thomson offers: 7 nights self catering Silver Springs, Sunny beach, Bulgaria from €489pp, depart September 7. 7 nights self catering Ionian Blue, Kalamaki, Zakynthos from €489pp, depart September 1. 14 nights half board Levante, Cala Bona, Majorca from €699pp, depart August 27. 7 nights half board Cala Bona Complex, Majorca from €529pp, depart August 25. 7 nights B&B Kipriotis Hotel, Rhodes from €599pp, depart September 14. 7 nights full board Best of the West cruise from €989pps, depart August 25. See or call 1850 45 35 45.

Sunway Menorca family offers (two adults and two children), depart August 22: 7 nights self catering 2* Hi Binamar Apartments, Cala’n Forcat from €1,999, 14 nights from €2,499. 7 nights self catering 3* Los Naranjos Apartments, S’Algar from €2,699, 14 nights from €3,799. Turkey offers, travel in August: 7 nights B&B 4* Sea Pearl Hotel from €649pp, 14 nights from €849pp. 7 nights B&B 4* Sunset Plaza Hotel from €649pp, 14 nights from €849pp. 7 nights B&B 4* Golden Day Hotel from €699pp, 14 nights from €849pp. 7 nights all inclusive 4* Palmin Hotel from €939pp, 14 nights from €1,299pp. MSC Opera Caribbean, Cuba and Antilles cruises, depart January 26 2016: 7 nights Caribbean Cruise from Havana from €1,199pp. 7 nights Cuba family cruise from €1,062pp. 7 nights cruise Caribbean cruise from €1,285pp incl. 2 nights B&B in  3* accommodation. 7 nights Caribbean Cruise from €1,789pp incl. 4 nights all inclusive in 3* accommodation. Prices include full board, drinks package, Cuba visa, transfers and taxes. See

Classic Resorts Christmas specials: 7 nights all inclusive 4* Grand Xcaret, Mexico from €2,059pps, book by August 31, depart December 20. 7 nights all inclusive 4* Oblu by Atmosphere at Helengeli Resort, Maldives from €2,735pps, book by September 15, depart December 20. See or call 01 874 5000.

Stena Line customers that book a return car trip from Rosslare, to Cherbourg by August 31 will also get a trip to Britain. See or call 01 907 5555.

Riviera Travel late availability offers, fully escorted tours: 3 nights B&B Paris from €479pp, depart September 18. 3 nights B&B Bruges from €489pp, depart September 13. 4 nights B&B Berlin, Dresden, Meissen and Colditz from €679pp, depart September 14. 7 nights half board Lake Garda, Venice and Verona from €899pp, depart September 28. 6 nights B&B Madrid, Salamanca and Toledo from €919pp, depart September 3. 7 nights Italy tour from €1,029pp incl. 4 meals, depart September 23. 4 nights B&B Iceland from €1,039pp, depart September 20.

Christ the redeemer - RIO (4)Travel Department offers: 13-night tour of Argentina and Brazil from €2,999pp incl. taxes, flights, accommodation and excursions, travel May or November 2016. 11-night tour of Jordan and the Holy Land from €2,199 incl. taxes, flights, accommodation and excursions, depart Dublin April 10 2016 or May 11 2016.

Topflight bank holiday specials, book before midnight tomorrow (Aug 1): 7 nights 4* Bella Italia, Peschiera, Lake Garda from €1,476 for two adults and two children, depart Dublin September 26. 7 nights B&B 3* Hotel Eden, Torbole, Lake Garda from €499pps, depart Dublin August 29. 7 nights half board 4* Hotel Savoy Palace, Riva del Garda, Lake Garda from €1,057pps, depart Cork August 8. 7 nights half board 3* Hotel Miami, Lido Di Jesolo, depart Cork August 15. 7 nights half board 3* Hotel Senior, Cattolica from €739pps, depart Dublin August 8. 7 nights B&B 4* Hotel Eliseo Park, Sorrento from €818pps, depart Dublin August 16. Prices include return resort transfers, luggage allowance, all taxes, rep service and online discount. See or call 01 2401 700.

ITAA October mid term offers, based on two adults and two children: 5 nights 4* Los Patos Park, Costa Del Sol from €1,099 incl. return flights, depart October 24. 7 nights half board 4* Sol Costa Dorada Hotel from €1,375 incl. return flights ex Dublin and transfers, depart October 24. 7 nights all inclusive 5* Riu Cancun, Mexico from €1,139pp incl. return flights, depart October 27.

Lowcostbeds Caribbean late offers, based on 7 nights 2 sharing, arrive between August 24 and October 21: 4* Iberostar Hacienda Dominicus, Dominican Republic from €65pppn all inclusive. 4* Iberostar Punta Cana, Dominican Republic from €69pppn all inclusive. 5* Iberostar Cancun, Mexico from €97pppn all inclusive. 4* Iberostar Rose Hall Suites, Jamaica from €117pppn all inclusive. See

Bunk Campers Campervan and Motorhome Rental, CarryduffTourism NI offers: 1 night B&B Dunadry Hotel, Antrim from £150 per couple incl. dinner in the Flax & Beetle Restaurant, dark chocolates and petal turn-down service, late check-out and leisure facilities access, available until December 19, call 028 9443 4343. Bunk Campers Campervan and Motorhome Rental, Carryduff from £75 per day per camper van, available until September 25, call 028 9081 3057. 1 night B&B Lough Erne Resort, Ross Inner, Enniskillen form £68pps incl. afternoon tea, available until December 31, call 028 6632 3230.


eoghan o'mara walshEoghan O’Mara Walsh is the new CEO of the Irish Tourist Industry Confederation.

3+ MILLION CHINESE TO READ ABOUT HOLIDAYS IN IRELANDPicture shows Chinese journalists hosted by Tourism Ireland, tour guide Min Lin Siew; Wu Qi of Sanlian Life Weekly; Wang Xin of Tourism Ireland; Wang Yin of Nanfang Weekly; Wang Yuan of Traveler Weekly; and Li Xiaoheng photographer, in Galway, photographed by Sean Mannion.

st mel's cathedralLongford’s rebuilt St Mel’s Cathedral has attracted 150,000 tourists to Longford since its reopening in Christmas. The building was destroyed by fire on Christmas morning 2009 and was Europe’s largest restoration project of its kind. Highlights include the Holy Family picture which came through the 1,000 degree fire largely unscathed and the spectacular barrel vaulted ceiling which was replaced using the same traditional skills as used in the 1850s.

Foreign minister Charlie Flanagan made a plea on behalf of cross-border tourism has a role to play in building relationships, supporting the all-island economy and building ever stronger North/South relations.”

cliffs-of-moher-facebook-pictureRemember those warning signs at the edges of cliffs? Jan Mlázovsky’s photograph taken in May, showing part of the Cliffs of Moher falling away was posted to the Cliffs of Moher Facebook page. Separately, a 14-year-old boy, who was visiting the Loop Head Peninsula with his family, fell about 9m at the Bridges of Ross.

Polocrosse comes to Russborough this August Bank Holiday Weekend.

TOURISM IRELAND REACHES 3 MILLION FACEBOOK FANSPicture shows Brian Harte, Tourism Ireland’s head of customer engagement and eMarketing; Sarah Fitzpatrick, Tourism Ireland’s editor of; Niall Gibbons, CEO of Tourism Ireland; and Mark Henry, Tourism Ireland’s central marketing director celebrating 3m fans on Facebook.

Phase One routeConstruction of the West Clare Railway Greenway cycling and walking route commenced. The first face will see a 3km track linking Ennis town centre to Ballymaquiggin. The entire project will stretch 42km along the route of the dismantled West Clare Railway, from Ennis to Lahinch via Corofin and Ennistymon.

The Story of the Irish live theatrical exhibition opens in Smithfield this Thursday, charting 10,000 years of Irish history.

Eight Degrees Brewing - core range plus World Beer Cup medal winner Amber Ella American AleThe 2015 Doolin Craft Beer & Roots Festival takes place on the grounds of Hotel Doolin, August 21-23. Breweries showcasing their products include Dungarvan Brewing, Dingle Brewing Company, Eight Degrees, Galway Hoker and Trouble Brewing. Entertainment will be provided by The Young Folk, Gavin Glass, Luan Parle and Clive Barnes. Day tickets cost €10-€15 and weekend tickets cost €25. See

Waterford-Spraoi-smallFáilte Ireland teamed up with the Alison Curtis Show on Today FM to broadcast from Carters Chocolate Cafe at George’s Court Shopping Centre, Waterford city yesterday. Alison interviewed tourism providers in the area including Wobbly Circus and the Lords of Strutt from Sprai International Festival of Street Arts and the Mayfield Birds of Prey.

Maser_finalExpressway and ID2015 collaborated with Irish designers Orla Kiely, Kevin Thornton, Maser, Diarmuid Gavin, Roughan & O’Donovan and Brown Bag Films to create bus wraps on coaches.

Spanish newspaper

El Mundo newspaper in Spain ran a three-page article by Carlos Fresneda, who visited Ireland last month. Read the online version here.

SPOTLIGHT ON IRELAND AT TORONTO’S FESTIVAL OF BEERTourism Ireland sponsored the Irish pavilion at Toronto’s Festival of Beer. 35,000 people attended the three-day event. Brewers on display at the pavilion: O’Hara’s, McGargles Irish Family Brewers, The White Hag Brewery, Brú Brewery, Trouble Brewing, Eight Degrees Brewing, The Porterhouse Brewing Company, Dingle Brewing Company, Stonewell Craft Cider, and Kinnegar Brewing. Dublin Pop Up chefs, Gavan Murphy and Tim McCarthy appeared as well. Picture shows Harry Colley and Cuán Green, Dublin Pop Up chefs, with Alison Metcalfe, Dana Welch and Jonathan Sargeant, all Tourism Ireland.

bim28 (2)Bord Iascaigh Mhara and Fáilte Ireland launched a seafood trail on the WAW, Taste the Atlantic — a Seafood Journey. See the promotional video.

DUTCH PRIZE-WINNERS ‘COOK UP A STORM’ IN BEFLAST!Margot den Dulk and Martjin van den Broek from Amsterdam embarked on a five-day visit to Ireland this week after winning a competition in KLM’s inflight magazine, in partnership with Tourism Ireland and Visit Belfast. Their itinerary included a sightseeing tour of Belfast, a visiting to Titanic Belfast, a Game of thrones tour on the Causeway Coastal Route and a cookery class with Stephen Jeffers at Belfast Cookery School.

CALLING OUTDOOR ENTHUSIASTS AND COUNTRYSIDE LOVERS FROM BRITAINOutdoor tourism specialists joined Tourism Ireland at the 2015 CLA Game Fair at Harewood House, Leeds. 145,000 visitors expected to attend the three day event. Picture shows Tom Anketell of Duhallow Centre of Angling Excellence, Jarlath Winters of Glenmore Rivers Estate, Lionel Knobs of Lough Agency, and Tony Hayes of Tourism Ireland.

mma tweet more real than your hair copyWhat we learned this week

Travel Extra’s Eoghan Corry needs a haircut (and the hair IS real, for those who participated in the toupee or not toupee debate on Twitter).



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

TRAVEL Extra’s Sunday Supplement: 13,000 visitors in one day & a shark pact


Four cruise ships in Dublin Port: CMV Magellan, Coisieres de France Horizon, Royal Princess and Celebrity Silhouette

Four cruise ships in Dublin Port: CMV Magellan, Coisieres de France Horizon, Royal Princess and Celebrity Silhouette


The headlines this week:

  • Disruptions on the Danube
  • Record crowds at Galway Arts Festival despite Sinead’s no-show
  • Holiday World Belfast has a new venue
  • MSC Cruises come to town
  • Barcelona’s tourism cap
  • Fáilte Ireland’s tourism town 2015 shortlist
  • Ryanair to base more aircraft in Dublin for winter

Travel Extra TV

Video of the week July 26 2015There was huge coverage of Mick Fanning’s close call with a shark, our video of the week. Fanning — whose father, John, is from Malin in Donegal — managed to fend off a shark using his surfboard and fists when he was attacked in the middle of a competition. His father used to say: “I made a deal with the sharks. If they didn’t come into the pub, I wouldn’t go into their water.” Watch here.

  • Watch Team Ireland depart for the Special Olympics. Watch here.
  • Here is London Heathrow’s summer promo (watch here), and check out the Crazy Croquet lawn at Terminal 2 (watch here).
  • See a spitfire land successfully without any wheels. Watch here.
  • Airbus A350 XWB’s tour of South America (watch here) and the USA (watch here).
  • See Aer Lingus’ footage of their joint air display with the Swiss Air Force aerobatic team, Patrouille Suisse, at Bray. Watch here.
  • The cow says moo. The sheep says baa. The dog says woof. But what does the deer say? Jason Doornick found out when he was on holiday in Nara, Japan. Watch here.
  • Timelapse of Emirates’ Arsenal-branded B777-200LR. Watch here.
  • Aloft Hotels invited budding musicians to take part in their Aloft Star competition. Watch here.


Editorial Photographer, Limerick, Ireland , Munster foynes festival, airshow, air show,Foynes air show completes an exciting week of air shows. Last Sunday 80,000 spectators, 30,000 more than anticipated, watched Bray air show while Shannon hosted its air extravaganza on Saturday where the guests included a Galway boy battling aggressive cancer (see video). See here for a photo montage from the Shannon show.

galway arts festivalCrowds at the Galway International Arts Festival this week nudged towards a record 200,000 despite the high profile cry-off by Sinead O’Connor. Travel Extra stopped by to see the new Frank McGuinness play The Match Box, a theatrical tour-de-force by Cathy Benson, the equally emotion-shredding one woman performance of Sam Beckett’s Lessness by Olwen Fouéré and Enda Walsh’s dark and somewhat disturbing A Girl’s Bedroom. Picture shows Paul Fahy, Artistic Director, Galway International Arts Festival, actress Olwen Fouéré, Producer Jen Coppinger and Padraig Cusack of Cusack Projects, producers of Lessness, in the festival club.

Patricia Piccinini exhibit at Galway Arts Festival July 22 2015

Patricia Piccinini exhibit at Galway Arts Festival

Memory of the festival is watching young families react to Patricia Piccinini’s exhibit in the Festival Gallery. Talk at the Festival was of the city’s candidature for European Capital of Culture 2020. Dublin, Galway, Limerick, and the South Eastern three sisters of Kilkenny, Waterford and Wexford are the candidates, Ireland will share capital of culture status with Croatia that year. Let’s hope the national embarrassment that was Cork’s incumbency in 2005 will not be repeated: no programme of events was released until July, although many other European capitals have been less than impressive in their incumbency (has anyone heard recently from Mons or Plzeň recently?). Don’t ask what time festivities finished because Travel Extra never recorded that. See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.

Burren - EDEN awardFáilte Ireland’s awards ceremony under the EDEN programme of the European Union was hosted by the winners, the food producers of Burren Food Trail. St Hola’s cheese from Inagh featured on what was literally a prize winning menu. Guests paid tribute to the shortlisted West Waterford, Sligo Slow Food Festival and Cong Food Village as well as the winners. Tina O’Dwyer paid tribute to her team (listen here) and the concept of tina o'dwyer_5115sustainable tourism promoted by the awards scheme. Listen here to a more detailed description of how the Burren Food trail came about as described by Tina O’Dwyer at an event earlier in the year. Listen here to John Mulcahy of Fáilte Ireland reading the citations for the finalists. Listen here to Fiona Monaghan of Fáilte Ireland on the significance of the award and Clare’s new place as Ireland’s garden of Eden. Listen here to Minister Michael Ring’s foot-stomping speech at the event and listen here to Clare County Council chairman James Breen. See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.

holiday world new venueThe Belfast Telegraph Holiday World Show Belfast has a new venue, the new 6,000 square metre Titanic Exhibition Centre at Queen’s Road which will open this Autumn.  Holiday World Show Belfast takes place over the weekend of January 15-17 and model Anna Bates came to help the announcement.

Niki Stanford Christine ScullyThursday was the biggest day of Dublin’s cruise ship season with four cruise ships in town, bringing ashore a potential 10,000 passenger and 3,000 crew. So far 60 ships have called to Dublin with 40 more before year-end. In 2012 more than 100 ships also called, but with fewer passengers. Next Friday two biggies will be in port, two more on August 13 and 15, with three due on August 28. Picture shows Niki Stanford of Clickandgo and Christine Scully of Marble City Travel. See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.

MSC cruisesMSC hosted agents and the press at separate functions in the Residence club and Darwin’s restaurant on Wednesday. Picture shows Neal Baldwin, Rebecca Kelly and Rose Darby, all MSC Cruises. MSC will be attempting to set the world record for the biggest balcony scene from Romeo and Juliet this summer with 250 participants.

Kilkenny award group_9133The Fáilte Ireland tourism town 2015 shortlist to be announced this morning. The list has been increased to 15 from ten this year: Adare, Ardmore, Belmullet, Carrick on Shannon, Clonakilty, Cobh, Kenmare, Kilkenny, Killarney, Lismore, Mountshannon, Portmagee, Sneem, Tralee and Youghal. Seven of the towns were shortlisted last year, when Kinsale and Westport each won the €5,000 prize for best large and small town. Mulranney and Kilkenny were the 2013 champions.  Towns are judged on sense of place, local involvement, tourism products available, development and promotion of the town.

danubeLow water on the Danube continues to disrupt river cruise itineraries, but the nature of rivers is to ebb and flow means much can change daily. Avalon Waterways, Uniworld Boutique River Cruise Collection and Viking River Cruises were forced to bus passengers between ports and ships in order to complete itineraries. Avalon says water levels between Regensburg and Passau continue to be very low. Uniworld’s flagship Maria Theresa ended a cruise prematurely. Viking implemented a ship swap on Amsterdam to Budapest, cancelled Berlin to Prague aboard Viking Schumann, Prague to Berlin aboard Viking Fontane and altered Berlin to Prague aboard Viking Astrild and Viking Beyla. Tauck said they have only had minimal impact from water levels on the Danube.

Ada ColauAda Colau of PAH, who on June 13 became Barcelona’s mayor, and her rainbow coalition of activists and parties including the insurgent party Podemos, wants to cap tourism in the city saying it is making the city uninhabitable for its 1.7m residents, placing a moratorium on approving new hotel rooms and short-term rentals. The country’s tourism minister disagrees. Watch here a documentary about Barcelona’s tense barcelona boomberg picturerelationship with visitors, Bye Bye Barcelona, warned that the city was becoming “a theme park.” Bloomberg offers the cautionary tale of Venice, which has long since made the transition from living-and-working town to mere visitor attraction. Its population now stands at just 60,000 compared with around 2m who visit the town each year. This is, as the article acknowledges, something of a false comparison—Barcelona is Spain’s second-biggest city, with plenty of other industries and big suburbs. The Economist poses: Nearly all cities are sold on the idea of attracting tourists; many take extensive measures to lure them. But can those cities chose to turn the taps off when they become overrun?

Europe AirpostNext week Travel Extra is off to dinner in Canada. See next week’s Sunday Supplement for our report from the ASL Airlines (formerly Europe Airpost) route from Dublin to Halifax, out on Thursday and back on Friday. Yes, we may be mad. Ask us on our return on Friday.

Travel Trade

Overseas trips made by Irish residents, which have been flat since 2010, grew 9.8pc in the six months to June to 3.2m and grew 7.6pc to 1.9m for the three months April-June.

Zevs-tempelet_med_Akropolis_bakGreece bookings are unaffected by recent events according to 65pc of travel agents who participated in ITAA’s quarterly survey. Data from the Greek Civil Aviation Authority indicates a 6.7pc increase in airport arrivals from all international markets between January and June 2015 and a 3.2pc per cent increase in June arrivals. London-based analyst GfK Ascent reported Greek bookings for summer 2015 were up 3pc. Spain, Portugal and Italy remain the top destinations for Irish holidaymakers.

michael yohannes carole smithEthiopian Airlines appointed Carole Smith’s SynNeo to manage their marketing, PR and social media.

Lisa 3Former sales manager of Bewley’s Hotel, Leopardstown, Lisa Rabbitte, was appointed as Emirates’ leisure sales executive in Ireland.

Dublin-based Accident & General Insurance Services has secured a travel insurance broker deal with specialist and niche insurer UK General using the in-house capacity of its Irish business. The deal provides travel insurance through its network of travel agents and tour operators in Ireland and parts of England.

labs-workshop-02Travelport is offering funding to travel tech start-ups based in Ireland, England and the Nordics. Winning applicants will be mentored by Travelport’s team and will have access to their APIs, software development kits and will be given feedback from Travelport’s customers.

ECTAA filed a formal complaint against Lufthansa AG concerning the announced new Distribution Cost Charge.

9T2A1397aThe Commission of Aviation Regulation says August 15 is the deadline for receipt of completed licence application at standard fee for the November licensing round. Decision-in-principle letters for completed applications will be issued of September 15 and October 15 is the deadline for receipt of applicants’ bonds. See here for details, while agents with difficulties can email or call +3531 6611700. New agent licenses granted by CAR included:

  • Green Light Travel based in Sandyford Industrial Estate
  • Sandra Corkin’s Oasis Travel (pictured) who have two branches in Belfast at Howard Street and Lisburn Road, and three others in Lisburn, Bangor and Holywood.
  • Green Life Tours based in Aungier Street, Dublin 2, trading as Francigena Ways, Camino Ireland, Camino Ways, Explore World Heritage, Ireland Ways and Rustic Rambles.
  • Apex Travel Consulting trading as GPS Travel.
  • Manasik Tours has been licensed for an additional branch at 80 Clanbrassil Street Lower, Dublin 8.
  • Seatem Ireland trading as Keith Prowse Tickets and Travel Places has had a name change approved to Travel Direction Ltd.
  • World Travel Centre has had three branch addresses deleted, 42 Baggot Street Lower, Dublin 2; 10 Burgh Quay, Dublin 2; and Sui Finn House, Cookstown Industrial Estate, Tallaght, and two added 43 Pearse Street, Dublin 2, and Plaza Complex, Belgard Road, Tallaght.paul hackett h&s copy
  • Paul Hackett’s (pictured) ClickandGo parent Simplysun has had two new trading names in addition to ClickandGo: Holidays with Aer Lingus and Independent Travel. It means that two licensed travel agents now have Independent news and media related trading names, Clickandgo’s parent Simplysun and Cassidy Travel parent Linevana while P&P Associates, who initially partnered with the Irish Independent travel section, belatedly registered the trading name of Travel. Independently, if you forgive the pun, Independent Travel Consultants has Independent Travel Consultants.

18709050338_c84dcdaa7e_zChris Browne announced that she will leave TUI Aviation in September and will take the rest of the year off to spend time with her family. She is pictured with her nieces Charlotte and Victoria at last month’s Thomson/Falcon Holidays summer 2016 long haul event at Dublin airport.

Trade promotion: Book flights with Emirates and accommodation with lowcostbeds between now and August 31 and all EK references will be entered into a draw to win a pace on the fam trip to Dubai, September 20-24.

Travel Professionals Skillnet, Outlook level 2 course is available to travel professionals for €110. The course takes place August 27, 9.15am-5pm, in New Horizons, Dublin 1. Book here.


Hilton Worldwide Walk for Solas 2_MVHilton Worldwide Dublin took park in a 12km race to raise money for young people’s charity Solas Project.

Hotel searches for Galway were up 56pc for the Races this week (July 27-August 2) compared to the week before, according to Trivago.

Superior room Imperial hotelThe Flynn family’s 125-room Imperial Hotel in Cork has completed the first half of a renovation programme in advance of its 200th anniversary in 2016 with a new gym, for resident’s use and a brand new bar and food outlet 76 On The Mall located just off the lobby where the old South’s Bar use to be.

markus lutheMarkus Luthe, CEO of the German Hotel Association (pictured), claimed that the recent announcement that Expedia will follow in amending rate-parity agreements with hoteliers in Europe to allow them to post cheaper rates with other third-party online travel agencie are “just another bluff. allows the hotel to offer a lower price on Expedia than on but not on the hotel website. Expedia allows the hotel to offer a lower price on than on Expedia but not on the hotel website. In practice, parity-grid is set in stone for the hotelier by the two giants,”

  • Ashford Castle was voted the world’s number three hotel by Travel + Leisure readers.
  • Amadeus acquired hotel property management systems provider Itesso BV.
  • Airbnb businessAirbnb revamped its business travel programme with more features for travel managers to access employee travel itineraries and financial reports. Since it launched last year, 250 companies have signed up for the scheme. Business travel counts for 10pc of Airbnb’s bookings.
  • The Riu Palace Tenerife reopened following a €26m renovation
  • Choice Hotels opened a 135-room Cambria property at 123 West 28th St in New York City’s flower district.
  • Yotel bostonIHG will open an Intercontinental hotel in Bordeaux later this year.
  • Yotel is to open a 326-key property in Boston in 2017.
  • Carlson Rezidor opened a Radisson Blu property in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.
  • Starwood Hotels & Resorts opened a Luxury Collection property, The Grand Maison, in China.
  • IHG opened a Hotel Indigo property in York, England.


beware buffalloYellowstone National Park officials warned tourists to keep their distance after a bison flipped a woman into the air as she posed for a selfie with the beast.

Holiday bookings and inquiries rose as Kenya welcomed the most popular tourist in its history with hopes his visit will push a new wave of tourism, according to finance minister Henry Rotich, in a week which saw a Kenyan winner of the Tour de France. Data from the Kenya Tourism Board shows visitor numbers fell of 25.4pc to 284,313 from 381,278 in January to May, on the back of a pervious 11pc drop in visitor numbers in 2014. Westgate Shopping Mall in Nairobi reopened two years after a militant attack that left 67 people dead. Kenya’s tourist event, Magical Kenya Travel Expo, anticipates 100 exhibitors and 150 buyers will travel on October 15-17 to Diani south of Mombasa, itself the venue of a previous militant attack,

baubaux-traveljack_3383800bThis is the BauBax travel jacket, complete with 15 built-in features including a neck pillow, eye mask, drink holder, portable charger, blanket and tablet pocket. It appeared on crowdfunding site Kickstarter where users pledged a whopping $2.3m to the campaign.

gordon penneyThe United States Senate voted to lift the ban on Americans travelling to Cuba although the hospitality industry and other business sectors are still blocked from doing business in Cuba. Airbnb offered free stays for all guests in Cuba to mark the official resumption of diplomatic ties as the US and Cuba reopen their embassies in Havana and Washington. Gordon Penney (pictured) says that interest in Cuba has trebled this year among Irish people anxious to go before the American invasion of tourists commences.

  • Andrew Cuomo launched the I LOVE NY lottery ticket. Prizes include in-state holidays worth $5,000. 
  • Russian Cosmonaut Gennady Padalka set a new record for time in space.
  • The royal visit of King Salman of Saudi Arabia and his 500-strong retinue to Vallauris caused the closure of La Mirandole, the public beach below the king’s villa.
  • tourism thailand copyEtihad signed an agreement with the Tourism Authority of Thailand to promote travel from priority markets including Ireland, UAE, Belgium, France, Germany and Spain. Picture shows the signing ceremony with Surapit  Kirtiputra, Ambassador of Thailand to Italy, Kobkarn Wattanavrangkul, Thailand’s Minister of Tourism and Sports and front row Juthaporn Rerngronasa, Acting Governor of Tourism Authority of Thailand and Shane O’Hare, Senior VP Marketing for Etihad Airways. 
  • Are we there yet? Not even close. England is to introduce a contraflow to keep the M20 moving in Kent after holiday makers waiting to use the Channel Tunnel reported waits of five hours yesterday when trains were suspended as a result of strike action and what the Calais port authorities called “migrant activity.”
  • Download Visit Scotland’s Edinburgh festival guide.
  • Paul Krugman and Jeff Koons are among the speakers at the International New York Times’ Art & Democracy weekend, Costa Navarino, Greece, September 11-13.

Food & Wine

Galway food tourWhile in Galway, Travel Extra joined Sheena Dignam on her Galway Food Around the Marketplace tour to meet some local celebrities, Alexandra Saivre of Le Petit Delice, Jimmy Griffin of Griffin’s bakery (stunning sponges, creams, jams and conger bread), Seamus Sheridan’s cheese selection, we sampled Yoshimi Hayakawa’s unique vegan turnip, spinach, carrot and mushroom sushi, met Floris Wagemakers of Gourmet Offensive who says the attitude towards street food has changed enormously since he opened here in 2005, and doughnut king Daniel Rosen, a New York native whose distinctive face already features on more than one guide to the city. Food tours are all the rage worldwide, and Travel Extra rates Galway’s among the top ten they have participated in on five continents. Picture shows Sheena in Teach Ui Meachtain with Orla Higgins of Galway Arts Festival. See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.

1Teeling Whiskey Distillery tours are available seven days a week for €14, which includes a 45-minute guided tour and tastings. Visitors can also get their fill of whiskey in The Bang Bang Bar (or sober up in the cafe). Available tour upgrades: Teeling Trinity Tastings; single malt and vintage reserve tastings; craft comparison tastings; tastings with master distiller Alex Chasko. The visitor centre is open 7 days a week. See

Paul Clune will be serving pre-show suppers on Thursdays and Fridays and brunch on Sundays when Smock Alley Theatre stages The Importance of Being Earnest, August 3-22. Dinner costs €30 including the show. See or call 01 677 0014.


ryanairRyanair will base 30 aircraft in Dublin next winter rather than 25 as previously planned, up from 21 last winter. Ryanair will take delivery of as many as 38 new aircraft between September and next March.

It was another big quarter for the big US airlines: Southwest, United and American Airlines all reported their largest ever quarterly profits even though Southwest’s american airlinesrevenue grew just 2pc while United’s declined 5.6pc and American’s 2pc. Unlike the others American does not hedge boosting profits further. Even with a recent increase, the spot price of jet fuel is down 40pc since September. Third quarter is anticipated to be weaker across the board giving each of the airlines an opportunity to buy back stock a popular strategy to make the remaining shares more valuable, American is spending $2bn on buybacks, Southwest $1.5bn, and Delta $5bn, Collusion-alert US Federal authorities worry 80pc of seats are now sold by four airlines, Delta, Southwest, United and American. There is little evidence of cheaper fuel prices being passed on to customers although Southwest said its average one-way fare for the first part of summer was down 3pc from last summer.

aer lingus blue insuranceBlue Insurance announced a partnership with Aer Lingus, offering Travel Insurance products on from €9.56, annual travel insurance from €31.26, gadget Insurance (€1.49 per month), pet insurances from €69, wedding insurance from €73 and cover for over 65 years old.

Jet2 flights from Belfast International to Prague and Rome have been taken off sale for Summer 2016. United’s service to Newark from Belfast will stop again January 6 to March 7. They will reduce form 4w to 3w on September 28 and fly 2w from November 16.

The European Commission granted €329m in co-funding to Air Traffic Management projects around Europe to improve infrastructure and accelerate the move to single European sky.

duty free alcoholRyanair banned passengers from bringing alcohol on to flights from England to Ibiza in an effort to stamp out drink-related problems on board. Alcohol was banned on flights from Scotland to Ibiza in April. Ralph Anker’s speculated that Ryanair will use its Amsterdam slots in the coming winter to Stansted, Paris Beauvais and Barcelona, each twice daily and to Frankfurt Hahn. Ryanair lost a libel battle in Amsterdam Court against an award-winning investigative documentary that claimed pilots were put under pressure to reduce fuel levels.

  • paul simmonsFlybe chief commercial officer Paul Simmons will leave the company in mid-January 2016 to take up a role with Christoph Mueller in Malaysia Airlines.
  • An Australian councillor proposed turning Melbourne airport’s aircraft viewing area into a tourist hub for transit passengers who want to visit the nearby Woodlands Historic Park.
  • IATA has partnered with Tel Aviv University to create a security system that will help prevent cyber attacks in the aviation industry.
  • Boeing_787-8_N787BA_cockpitBoeing’s 2015 pilot and technician outlook predicts that commercial airlines will need to recruit half a million new pilots over the next 20 years to keep up with demand.
  • Norwegian carried 100,000 passengers from Gatwick to New York in its first year of service, 65,000 from Los Angeles, and 50,000 to Fort Lauderdale.
  • Ryanair’s Alicante and Faro flights from Derry end next week amid some speculation they will not return in 2016.
  • A planned walkout among some baggage handlers, security guards and other workers at New York‘s two major airports has been averted after the subcontractor they work for reached a deal with the union that seeks to represent them
  • Avianca Brasil joined the Star Alliance network.
  • The Boeing Company and the Boeing family are each contributing US$15m to Seattle’s Museum of Flight.
    British Airways confirmed they are ending flights from London to Entebbe after months of denying the rumours.
  • Springdale Municipal Airport traffic controller Philip Maschek was arrested after he was found unconscious and intoxicated while on duty.
  • jfk animal terminalJFK international airport is building a $48m animal terminal called the Ark.
  • Air Kenya suspended operations in Keekorok airfield in Masai Mara.
  • Avolon delivered an A320-200 to Thai AirAsia, a B737-800 to Hainan Airlines and an A321-200 to Vueling Airlines.
  • Air France said it may have to close more long-haul routes if discussions with pilots AirFrance-Boeing777-300ER-YUL-2009to reduce costs are not successful. Air France is seeking to match its competitors by increasing the proportion of profitable routes from 50pc to 80pc.
  • Qatar Airways launched two destinations in Pakistan: Sialkot and Faisalabad. A Qatar Airways Dreamliner 787 experienced a bird strike at Munich airport.
  • Airbus’ China plan will deliver its first A330 in 2018.
  • Airlines for America launched their #ThereToHere social media campaign.
  • The CSO is to revise the National Accounts for the past 15 years to take account of aircraft leasing. This should not affect GDP/GNP but will have a large effect on the reported Balance of Trade.


Edie RodriguezCrystal Cruises CEO Edie Rodriguez announced their much anticipated fleet expansion in Leknes this week to commence in 2018. Three new all-suite all-balcony 1,000 passenger Crystal Exclusive Class cruise ships will join the two-ship fleet, with open seating in the main dining room and a one-to-one passenger-to-crew ratio. Cabins will have a minimum of 400 square feet, double the size of cabins found on other luxury lines’ vessels. Ceiling heights will be raised by a foot to 8 feet in suites and on decks. The ships, to be built at Lloyd Werft shipyard, in Germany, and will be built to polar ice class standards, enabling Crystal Cruises to operate large luxury expedition ships to the Antarctic.

  • Iarnród Éireann, Port Authority for Rosslare Europort, hosted the first meeting of a new Stakeholder Advisory Group for the Europort.
  • insigniaOceania Cruises‘ Insignia will embark on a 180-day world cruise on January 6, 2017, one of the longest in the cruise industry.
  • Crystal Cruises are to add a river cruise line, a yacht cruises division, a private jet and a mini-submarine.
  • While the Danube is short of water American Queen Steamboat Company’s paddlewheeler, American Queen, changed itineraries due to high waters on the Upper Mississippi.
  • Princess Cruises has teamed up with TV chef Curtis Stone to add new dishes and dining experiences to its 18 ships.
  • silversea brochureSilversea released two 2016 brochures. Request a brochure here.
  • Captain Cook Cruises has installed the first Sydney Harbour mobile passenger terminal pontoon, which will finally allow cruise passengers to take a charter ferry from the city to White Bay.
  • Guillermo_Mordillo_AIDAsolSix artists presented their works on board the AIDAsol last Sunday, including the Argentinian cartoonist Guillermo Mordillo.
  • Royal Caribbean’s Freedom of the Seas will continue its current sailing as scheduled after experiencing a mechanical fire as it arrived in Falmouth, Jamaica.

Deal Watch

pirate_falls_treasure_quest_at_the_legoland_windsor_resort_Stena Line is offering a 2-night Legoland Windsor resort short break from €599 for two adults and two children incl. 4* accommodation and return car ferry from Dublin to Holyhead or Rosslare to Fishguard.

Tour America and Cruise Holidays’ Med cruise offers: Norwegian Epic from €999pp, depart August 2. Norwegian Jade from €1,129pp, depart October 10. Norwegian Epic form €1,199pp, depart October 25. 10 nights all inclusive MSC Orchestra from €899pp incl. post stay in Barcelona, depart November 12. 9 nights Norwegian Epic from €1,395pp, depart December 19. 11 nights Norwegian Epic from €1,049pp, depart January 13 2016. Call 01 817 3500.

COR_GEN_F002Falcon offers: 7 nights 3* all inclusive Atlantica Thalassa, Kos from €2,609 for two adults and two children, depart August 29. 7 nights 2* self catering Playa Sol Apartments, Es Cana, Ibiza from €399pp, depart September 2. 7 nights 3* all inclusive Cortijo Blacno, Marbella from €689pp, depart August 30. 7 nights 3* all inclusive Barcelo Varadero, Play De Arena, Tenerife from €699pp, depart August 30.  7 nights 3* half board Izaro Club, Puerto De Carmen, Lanzarote from €549pp, depart August 31. 7 nights 3* all inclusive Ialyssos Bay, Trianda, Rhodes from €759pp, depart September 2. 7 nights 3* all inclusive Aquaplaned Village, Agios Ioannis, Corfu from €1,779 for two adults and one child or from €2,499 for two adults and two children. See or call 1850 45 35 45.

LZR_PDC_9323Thomson offers: 7 nights half board 5* Bahia Princess, Costa Adele, Tenerife from €699pp, depart August 28. 7 nights all inclusive Puerto Del Carmen, Lanzarote from €599pp, depart September 14. 7 nights half board Kos Imperial, Psalidi, Kos form €799pp, depart October 3. 7 nights half board H10 Gran Tinerfe, Tenerife from €779pp, depart December 5. 7 nights 4* H10 Timanfaya Palace, Lanzarote from €629pp, depart December 6. See or call 1850 45 35 45.

Sunway offers: 10 nights Canary Island cruise on board the Norwegian Epic from €799 incl. flights ex Dublin and soda package, book by August 3, depart Jan 2, Jan 24, Feb 14 or Mar 16. 7 nights B&B 4* Alay Hotel, Costa Del Sol from €769pp, depart Dublin or Cork August 1. 7 nights self catering 3* Timor Sol Apartments, Torremolinos from €779pp, depart August 1. 7 nights all inclusive Club Med, Da Balaia, Portugal from €1,089 per adult and from €559 per child under 12 incl. flights ex Dublin, transfers and 15kg baggage pp. 7 nights 3* International Palms Resort, Orlando from €819pp incl. flights ex Dublin, taxes and charges, travel in April 2016. See

Click and Go offers: 3 nights B&B 3* Santa Constanza Hotel, Rome from €249pp incl. return flights ex Dublin, taxes and charges, travel in August. 7 nights B&B 5* More Hotel, Dubrovnik from €545pp incl. return flights ex Dublin and transfers, travel in October. 7 nights all inclusive 4* Bahia de Lobos Hoel, Fuerteventura from €549pp incl. return flights ex Dublin and transfers, travel in November. 3 nights 3* Double Tree Club, Boston from €869pp incl. return flights ex Dublin, taxes and charges, travel in October. 3 nights 3* Red Roof Inn, Chicago from €659pp incl return flights ex Dublin, taxes and charges, travel in November. See or call 01 539 7777.

Lowcostbeds Spanish Costas offers, based on 7 nights, 2 sharing, travel in August: 3* Blue Sea Hotel Calas Marina, Costa Blanca from €42pppn B&B. 4* HTOP Royal Beach, Costa Brava from €59pppn all inclusive. 4* Vik Gran Hotel, Costa Del Sol from €68pppn all inclusive. 5* Blue Sea Gran Hotel Cervantes, Costa Del Sol from €70pppn all inclusive. See

ITAA city break offers: 13 nights Lisbon and Lake Garda from €1,095pp incl. flights and transfers, depart September 10. 3 nights Kyriad Disneyland Resort, Paris from €215pp incl. return flights, depart September 28. 3 nights 4* Park Inn by Radisson, Berlin from €286pps incl. flights ex Shannon, depart October 30.

Discover Travel offers: 12 nights Andaman Essence tour from €1,639pp incl. taxes and flights ex Dublin. 12 days Best of China tour from €1,469pp, depart September 20.

Uniworld River Boutique Cruises is offering an 8-day all inclusive cruise on Bordeaux, Vineyards and Chateauz from €2,179pps incl. flights, port tax, gratuities and transfers, book by July 31, depart August 16. See or call 01 775 3803.

Insight Vacations is offering a 7-day tour of Vienna, Budapest and Prague from €1,349pps incl. flights, transfers and a selection of meals, book by August 31, depart November 1. See or call 01 775 3803.

Contiki is offering a 7-day tour of Berlin and Prague from €1,069pps incl. flights and six meals, depart September 19. See or call 01 775 3803.


Tourism NI offers of the week: 3 nights B&B Donn Carragh Hotel, Lisnaskea, Enniskillen from £125 for two people sharing, available until October 1, call (028) 6772 1206. Game of Thrones itinerary at Honeysuckle Cottage, Ballymoney from £35pps, available until November 30, call call 07919 493 938. 1 nights B&B Corick House Hotel & Spa, Clogher from £140pps incl. spa treatments and a 4 course dinner in the Carleton restaurant, available until December 31, call (028) 8554 8216. 1 nights B&B Millbrook Lodge Hotel, Ballynahinch from £44.50pps incl. dinner, available until September 12, call 028 9756 2828 to book. 1 nights B&B The Fitzwilliam Hotel, Belfast from £150 per room, available until August 31, call 028 9044 2080. 1 night B&B Maldron Hotel Derry from £99pps incl. a two course meal, two cocktails and a £20 gift card per room for the Foyleside Shopping Centre, available until December 31, call 028 7137 1000.


CSO figures show strong inbound growth (+12pc) in Ireland’s visitor numbers. While the incredibly strong early increases from Britain and France has slowed somewhat to single digit growth, Germany’s and North America’s growth rates are accelerating and Italy is still showing very strongly. If the current level of growth continues the island will get 9.7m visitors in 2015. At this rate North America will send a record 1.4m tourists to Ireland.

TOURISM IRELAND BOARD MEETS IN KILKENNYTourism Ireland’s July board meeting took place in the Kilkenny Ormonde Hotel on Wednesday. Board members met with local tourism operators to discuss the tourism season and overseas promotional programme in 18 markets. Watch here the Kilkenny Arts Festival video. Watch here Tourism ireland’s online video featuring St Canice’s Cathedral, Kilkenny Castle, the Black Abbey, St John’s Priory, Rothe House and The Hole in the Wall. Picture shows Niall Gibbons, CEO of Tourism Ireland; Aileesh Carew, Design & Crafts Council of Ireland; and Eugene Downes, Kilkenny Arts Festival.

aghadoe killarneyKillarney chamber of commerce launched an initiative to rebrand the town as a spiritual destination. The spiritual trail will include Inishfallen island, where Brian Boru studied, Pugin cathedral, the Franciscan abbey at Muckross and the church and round tower of Aghadoe.

Artramon House and Farm in Castlebridge, Wexford is now open year round.

Vinegar Hill Pikemen 8Five-hundred rebels and redcoats will take part in the fourth annual Battle of Vinegar Hill reenactment in Enniscorthy, August 1 and 2. See

White O’Morn cottage in Ma’am, Connemara — made famous by John Ford’s classic The Quiet Man — was granted protected status by Galway County Council.

Belsonic is the name of an outdoor music festival which took place at the Custom House Square in Belfast, Northern Ireland in August 2008. The opening concert was headlined by The Flaming Lips.

Discover Northern Ireland’s upcoming summer festivals: Happy Days Enniskillen International Beckett Festival, now until August 3. August Féile, Belfast, July 30-August 9. Sunflowerfest, Hillsborough, Co Down, July 31-August 2. 7 Hills Blues Festival, Armagh, August 6-9. Stendhal Festival, Limavardy, Co Derry, August 7-8. Club MTV, Derry, August 15. Belsonic, Belfast, August 15-26. EastSide Arts Festival, Belfast, August 19-31. Holden Berr and Music Festival, Lisburn, August 28-30. Tennent’s Vital, Belfast, August 29-30. Carnival of Colours, St Columb’s Park, Derry, August 29-30. Belfast Mela, August 30. Hillsborough International Oyster Festival, Co Down, September 1-6. Bluegrass Music Festival, Ulster American Folk Park, Omagh, September 4-6.

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


TRAVEL Extra’s Sunday Supplement: Who twisted Michael O’Leary’s arm?



Mojitos in the footsteps of Hemingway, Air France travel trade trip to Cuba

Mojitos in the footsteps of Hemingway, Air France travel trade trip to Cuba

The headlines this week:

  • Back to Belfast for Ryanair?
  • Aer Lingus will be part of IAG group by December
  • Weekend of air displays in Shannon and Bray
  • Busy week for cruise calls
  • Summer fun with Kimpton Hotels

Travel Extra TV

Video of the week July 19 2015Our video of the week is the much-shared video of an Irish dad’s first flight. Newry-native Michelle Carville uploaded footage of her father Patsy during takeoff on the flight to Liverpool. Watch here.

  • Jedidiah Jenkins decided to break out of his routine — by cycling 7,000 miles across two continents. Watch here.
  • seagull steals a German tourist’s GoPro (don’t worry, he gives it back). Watch here.
  • Aer Lingus uploaded a video of the A350 XWB’s visit to Dublin. Watch here.
  • A selfie stick becomes a selephant stick. Watch here.
  • Airbnb’s new Mankind campaign has been criticised for being too creepy. Watch here and see for yourself.
  • Tourism Ireland promotes Belfast’s design scene as part of ID2015. Watch here.
  • Ryanair uploaded archive footage from their B737 at FlightFest Dublin. Watch here.


michael o'leary arm in sling copyWho twisted Michael O’Leary’s arm? He appeared at a Brussels press conference with his arm in a sling, Maybe it was over the airline’s famously contrary insurance opt out, set to be disappear on October 27, the bane of many a passenger’s life. How many people have accidentally bought travel insurance they did not want? Michael O’Leary claimed he tore ligaments in his shoulder in a football accident playing soccer with his six year old. So it was his son that twisted his arm?

ryanairMichael O’Leary confirmed Ryanair will bid for the five pairs of slots to be released by IAG at Gatwick as part of EU regulatory approval for its takeover of Aer Lingus. The slots appear to have to be bid for as a block and include at least one round trip to Belfast, which indicates a possible Ryanair return to the city. Currently, Aer Lingus operates to Gatwick about 38 services per week from Dublin, 20 from Belfast City and 7 from Knock; Ryanair operates 28 per week from Dublin, 7 from Cork and 7 from Shannon  Approval terms, published by the EU a day ahead of time, list the Gatwick slots alongside fare combinability, pro rate agreements, frequent flyer programmes, and a monitoring trustee. Anyone with spare time on their hands can  try to figure out what the Special Prorate Agreements and Inventory access requirements in the dense 29-page document (basically an attempt to preserve the status quo). Events afterwards were neatly choreographed: the Aer Lingus EGM passed the takeover resolutions by overwhelming majorities, all in excess of 99pc paschal donohoeof shares voted. IAG is now assured of acceptances of 75pc which will allow it to seek delisting of the Aer Lingus shares from the Irish and London Stock Exchanges. Paschal Donohoe rowed in with his support and IAG’s Enrique Dupuy de Lôme said the US Justice Department regulator had “satisfactorily concluded” its review of the transaction. Other airlines are invited to apply for seats on Aer Lingus’ short-haul network for their transfer passengers, on normal commercial terms. When acceptances inevitably reach 90pc (shares will be untradeable after delisting and IAG has extended the deadline by two weeks), IAG can compulsorily acquire any shares that have not been offered to it. By December Aer Lingus will be part of the IAG group. Eight extra aircraft will be on their way to the fleet and six new direct trans-Atlantic destinations will be lined up for Irish holiday makers.

Shannon celebrated the anniversary of the first commercial flight to Rineanna yesterday with the Shannon Air Display (website). Swedish jet, the Viggen Saab, was among the highlights of the even, six hours of aerobatics performers, parachutists, helicopters, jet fighters and stunt fliers watched by 40,000 people.

Official rehearsals for the Swiss Air Force aerobatic team Patrouille Suisse ahead of Sunday’s Bray Air Display, July 18 2015, picture by Michael Kelly

Today Bray will host the Swiss Air Force aerobatic team, ‘Patrouille Suisse’, who will give a joint display with the Irish Air Corps with the Patrouille Suisse supersonic red and white Tiger aircraft reaching speeds of between 250 and 1,100 kilometres per hour. Jets from Aer Lingus, Ryanair and CityJet will also be taking to the skies above Bray that day and spectators are strongly advised to use Dublin Bus, DART and other public transport services, as traffic restrictions will be in place. All visitor information about the free Bray Air Display is available from and and no tickets are required. The event hash tag on social media is #BrayAirDisplay. Michael Kelly’s pictures show official rehearsals for the Swiss Air Force aerobatic team Patrouille Suisse ahead of Sunday’s Bray Air Display. See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.

Next Sunday one of the largest search and rescue (SAR) training exercises ever undertaken in Ireland will open the 2015 Foynes Air Show in front of the estimated 15,000 people The show features Russian MiG, WW2 aircraft and aerobatics performance.

Natalie Papoutsoglou Christine HannonThis was the busiest week so far for cruise ship calls. As if to prove how badly needed are Dublin Port’s €230m expansion plans, some for the biggest called by in tandem, including P&O’s Britannia, Cunard’s Queen Elizabeth and Royal Princess. It was an opportunity for a joint promotion by Royal and Cunard. “We deal with the same agents and we are not really in competition with each other so it was too good an opportunity to miss,” Natalie Papoutsoglou of Princess says. On the ground Dawn Conway of Sunway put her organisational skills to use to recruit the leading agents. Picture shows Natalie Papoutsoglou of Princess Cruises and Christine Hannon of Cunard. Listen here to Christine Hannon of Cunard describing the cruise line of the three Queen’s advantages, including an enhanced transatlantic programme and a large passenger to space ration. Also listen here to the lively Q&A with Irish agents where Christine Hannon answered questions about onboard gratuities, drinks packages, average cruise age and onboard activates. See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.

Bernie Burke Carl LonerganKimpton Hotels‘ visit to Dublin is a highlight of the summer calendar. Cindy Brewster outlined the hotel chain’s key selling points: what other hotel company offers bicycles, has a sommelier called Emily Wines who is selecting the wine list throughout the group, some of the best restaurants in the US and the wine hour, probably the most popular event in the Irish market (listen here). She also mentioned that Ireland was one of the few markets where different types of buyers could be invited to a single event (listen here). Martin Skelly replied on behalf of the Irish travel trade (listen here). Picture shows Bernie Burke of Travel Centres and Carl Lonergan of Club Travel at the Kimpton Hotels event. See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.

Ashlee Ciora Francine SheridanDid any trade delegation have as much fun on their Irish visit as the 15 from California who surfed through Dublin last week? The US ambassador Kevin O’Malley, hearing they were in town, brought them on a tour of the ambassadorial residence in Phoenix Park. The visit finished with a performance by Liam Ó Maonlaí on the Friday and a dinner in Fade Street Social where they were so loud they treated adjoining table to a drink by way of compensation. California dreaming indeed. Picture shows Ashlee Ciora of Greater Palm Springs and Francine Sheridan of Visit Los Angeles at the Visit California event at Drury Buildings. See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.

tsiprasGreece‘s 31-hours-later deal with EU will raise restaurant VAT rates to 23pc and remove discounts on rates in the Aegean islands. Yanis Varoufakis outlined his objections to the package. Ryanair is helping Greece with €5 domestic fares and €10 inbound fares from foreign destinations.

Travel Trade

Agents hosted by Air France in Cuba pictured outside the Bodeguida after Mojitos in Havana: Monica Rossi of Abbey Travel, Ian Walsh of Travel Counsellors, Kevin Ryan of Tropical Sky, Barry MacCourt of Trailfinders, Dianne McCarthy of Shandon Travel, Teresa Murphy of Air France KLM, Our Guide Marianella, Helen Stokes of Topflight and Paul Harvie of GoHop.

Picture shows agents hosted by Air France in Cuba pictured outside the Bodeguida after mojitos in Havana: Monica Rossi of Abbey Travel, Ian Walsh of Travel Counsellors, Kevin Ryan of Tropical Sky, Barry MacCourt of Trailfinders, Dianne McCarthy of Shandon Travel, Teresa Murphy of Air France KLM, Our Guide Marianella, Helen Stokes of Topflight and Paul Harvie of GoHop. See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.

Olive Taaffe from Club HRG Worldwide won the second spot prize in the Air France KLM Supper Taste of the World Competition, a bottle of French wine and Butlers chocolate. Two more spot prizes will be won before the grand finale on  July 31st.

Agents who book an Air France or KLM flight before July 31 and enter their booking on the competition website can win business class tickets for two to any Air France-KLM destination and other prizes. Picture shows Olive Taaffe from Club HRG Worldwide, who won the second spot prize in the Air France KLM Supper Taste of the World Competition, a bottle of French wine and Butlers chocolate. Two more spot prizes will be won before the grand finale on July 31.

Deirdre GrantDeirdre Grant joined Topflight’s Worldwide division to head up the worldwide group department. Deirdre started in travel organising the Raphoe Diocesan Pilgrimage to Lourdes and her 36-year career includes 22 years at the helm of Driftaway Travel in Letterkenny from 1987 to 2009.

P1080339Picture shows Margaret Cronin, Nicky Logue GM of Gibson Hotel and Joan O’Shaughnessy at Skal’s annual BBQ in the Gibson Hotel.

Portuguese Tourist Office moved into a new office this week. The new address is 70 Upper Leeson Street, Dublin 4. A direct phone is being set up. In the meantime, call +353 (0) 833254947. Celina Tavares says there will be limited access to emails tomorrow, July 20, but they will try and revert to you as soon as they can.

Michelle Harley of Tullys Travel, the winner of the Travel Corporation summer incentive receives her prize from Donna Kenny and Egle Godliauskaite

Picture shows Michelle Harley of Tully’s Travel, winner of the Travel Corporation summer incentive, receiving her prize from Donna Kenny and Egle Godliauskaite.

Michelle Barron of Stein Travel and Emily Leahy of Barter Travel won €100 in lowcostbeds Happy Mondays promotion. There are two more draws, one tomorrow (July 19) and next Monday (July 27).

Anthony Daniels has been confirmed as the new Head of Sales for Hurtigruten, taking over from Maxine Parker who leaves next month. The company has also promoted Daniel Giles to Senior Sales Manager for the North, Scotland and Ireland. Anthony’s previous roles include Business Development Manager for Norwegian Cruise Line, Commercial Development Manager for Reader Offers Limited and UK Sales Manager for Regent Seven Seas Cruises.

Anthony Daniels has been confirmed as the new Head of Sales for Hurtigruten, taking over from Maxine Parker who leaves next month. The company has also promoted Daniel Giles to Senior Sales Manager for the Northern England, Scotland and Ireland. Anthony’s previous roles include Business Development Manager for Norwegian Cruise Line, Commercial Development Manager for Reader Offers Limited and UK Sales Manager for Regent Seven Seas Cruises.

John Grehan finishes up on July 31 with Justsunshine, whose Tunisian programme was withdrawn after the Sousse shootings.

Chris Mottershead has been promoted to London commercial director for Thomas Cook, beginning later this month.


trivago mapTrivago’s July Hotel Price Index shows average hotel prices in Ireland increased 15pc YOY to €124. Unsurprisingly, Dublin  topped the list with an average price in Trivago’s scan of 32 search engines at €168, up 9pc YOY. Belfast, in third place behind Killarney, was up 36pc YOY largely thanks to the weakening of the euro. Limerick had the lowest price at €99. Galway and Kinsale saw the biggest increase compared to last month, both up 7pc MOM.  The price list: , Dublin €168, Killarney €156, Belfast €147,  Kenmare €146, Kinsale €146, Galway €137, Cork €122, Sligo €122, Westport €120, Derry €116, Dingle €113, Wexford €111, Tralee €110, Kilkenny €106, Waterford €104, Athlone €99, Limerick €93.

Trivago EuropeThe usual suspects topped the July European Hotel Price Index: Geneva’s average price for July is €284, followed by London at €263 and Venice at €250. As expected, lowest prices in Eastern Europe: Warsaw €62, Sofia €62, Bucharest €70. Paris prices up slightly by 1.4pc YOY to €181. Berlin up 5pc to €102. Rome up 5pc to €136.  Barcelona up 7pc to €160. Lisbon up 5pc to €114.

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Ballygarry House Hotel & Spa in Tralee launched a range of Wild About Kerry packages, capturing hidden gems along Kerry’s WAW route.

Japanese business man Hideo Sawada unveiled the Henn na Hotel, a hotel run by robots. Watch video here.

Sheraton-HyderabadStarwood Hotels & Resorts will add four European properties to its luxury collection: Augustine in Prague, Falisia Resort  Spa in Portopiccolo, Caresse Resort & Spa in Bordum and Grand Hotel River Par in Bratisalva. The group opened a Sheraton property in Hyderabad and will debut its W Hotels brand in Costa Rica in 2019.

Hyatt Hotels will open the Hyatt Regency Wuhan Optics Valley hotel in central China.


shanghai disneyDisney unveiled the details of its $5.5bn Shanghai Disneyland theme park, planned since 2009 and due to open spring 2016. There will be six themed lands and attractions based on Star Wars and Marvel characters, a Mandarin-language production of the Lion King live show, two resorts — Shanghai Disneyland Hotel and Toy Story Hotel — Disneytown shopping and entertainment district, and the Enchanted Storybook Castle. There will be plenty of competition: The number Chinese amusement parks is expected to reach 850 this year, and Universal Studios and Dreamworks have Chinese attractions in the pipeline. The one-child policy and trend in extended families travelling together means adult visitors will outnumber children 4 to 1, which means more seating areas, more restaurants and open spaces for older family members.

canadaCanada, is the country with the best reputation according to the Reputation Institute’s 2015 Country RepTrak report with Ireland just outside the top ten in 11th place. The top ten is: 2 Norway, 3 Sweden, 4 Switzerland, 5 Australia, 6 Finland, 7 New Zealand, 8 Denmark, 9 Netherlands, 10 Belgium. Ireland’s reputation improved 5.2pc in the RepTrak index, with top ten finishes in environment, desire to visit and something called the emotional halo.

US CBP officers began using a mobile device to scan fingerprints from a sample on selected flights flying out of Atlanta. The  test will be expanded inautum to  Chicago, Dallas, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, Newark, New York, San Francisco and Washington.

A proposal to curtail home rentals in San Francisco aimed at hosting platforms, such as Airbnb, to list only units that are registered with the city has qualified for the Nov 3 ballot.

abby spatzNYC & Company appointed Abby Spatz as chief marketing officer.

According to’s annual Chinese travel monitor, Australia, Japan and France were the top three destinations for Chinese travellers in 2014. The number of Chinese travellers was up 20pc last year to 107m.

Yes I Speak TouristeParis launched the mobile app Yes I speak touriste to help visitors find shops, hotels and attractions where their native language is spoken.

Adventure Travel World Summit 2015 in Chile is sold out. 700 delegates will participate.

A report by travel expense management company Certify suggested that business travellers in the USA are warming to alternative travel options. The survey claimed that 31pc of ground transport receipts in Q2 were from Uber, compared to 24pc from taxis and 45pc from rental car. Receipts from Airbnb are spall, but the room rental site grew 143pc over Q1.

East London’s Docks will be open for casual and competitive swimmers during set periods on weekdays and Sunway mornings. Water temperature promises to stay around 18C. Wetsuits, showers and food are available on site.

  • 12-Hay-Hill-by-Alex-Brenner-_DSC2967_blend6A five-floor business club opened at Berkeley Square, London.
  • Austria banned smoking in all restaurants.
  • See suggestions for New Zealand’s new flag.
  • Worshippers in Mecca streamed their pilgrimage stories on Snapchat and Twitter.
  • Uber was ordered to pay a $7.3m fine for failing to comply with California’s state reporting requirements.
  • Kongeveien Eiendom Spa ComplexKongeveien Eiendom Spa Complex, claimed to be the largest spa in Norway, will be rebranded The Well. The facility is slated for December 2015. The Agora, claimed to be the world’s largest public sauna, opened on Sandhornøya island, Norway.
  • A survey by found that 60pc of business travellers suffer from homesickness, but only 8pc said this resulted in a drop in productivity.

Food & Wine

Doris ChoiNew York chef Doris Choi joins Domini Kemp, her sister in law, for an event at Alchemy in BT2, Dublin this Wednesday, July 29. They will be serving a raw and vegan three-course dinner with coconut lime soup, spicy avocado rolls and a raw Pad Thai with courgette noodles. Tickets are €55, email to book.

JD Wetherspoon open their fourth pub in Ireland in Swords on Tuesday, July 21.


polito o'learyRyanair’s case against Simon Polito’s ruling on its Aer Lingus shareholding will continue even when the shares have been sold despite ALL the legal decisions having gone against them. When England’s Competition and Marketing Authority welcomed the Competition Appeal Tribunal’s decision to rule against Ryanair’s it did acquiesce to grant Ryanair the necessary approvals to sell its 29.8pc stake to IAG and suspended the requirement to appoint a divestment trustee to carry out the sale, removing one of the obstacles it could have put in the way of Ryanair’s sale. London’s Supreme Court refused Ryanair permission to appeal against the judgment of February 12. The case will continue with extra-territoriality at the heart of the case (of more than passing interest to the industry in general). As Kenny Jacobs says: this is the equivalent of the Irish regulator making a ruling  on Sainsbury’s because people on the border shop there.

PassengersSkybridgePassenger numbers up 15pc in first six months at Dublin Airport. The airport is on course for 25m passengers in 2015, current record 23.4m in 2008.

Average ancillary revenue per passenger is $17.49, up 8.5pc, according to a study sponsored by Bobby Healy’s CarTrawler. Sixty-three airlines participated in the study, with the low cost carriers being a 32.8pc jump in ancillary revenue to $2.9bn.

Aer Lingus Regional reported a 4pc YOY increase in load factor to 74pc for June. Passenger number on the Kerry-Dublin route was up 39pc and Donegal-Dublin up 11.3pc.

Sport Statue Shannon 16A new statue at Shannon airport marks one of Irish sport’s most iconic moments: an image of Paul O’Connell being hoisted into the air by his Irish teammates Donncha O’Callaghan and John Hayes against England in 2007 is turned into a sculpture.

American Airlines announced that it will add eight routed throughout Mexico, the Caribbean and Latin America later this year.

  • The last US Airways flight will take off on October 17.
  • Bohai leasing in China is to acquire a 20pc stake in Avolon for $429m.
  • Airbus is reportedly preparing to launch an A450-900LR for long range flights. They are in talks with Singapore Airlines for an ultra-long haul jet.
  • Qatar freighterQatar Airways Cargo will introduce a 747 freighter to its fleet on August 1.
  • Delta cancelled an order for 40 Boeing 737-900s and 20 Embraer E-190s after pilots voted down a three-year contract.
  • All Nippon Airways returns to Sydney after a 15 hiatus. Daily overnight flights from Tokyo commence December 11, served by B787-9 Dreamliners.
  • United Airlines awarded two hackers with 1m free flight miles for spotting security glitches in its website.
  • 10 signs you’re and Av geek, according to Private Fly blog.
  • Australian Business Traveller reported that the Australian government is to pool 100,000 government workers into a frequent flyer programme to book their flights.
  • Air Malta launched a free in-flight spa experience.
  • Air-Berlin-Wunderkind-amenity-kitFashion brand Wunderkind designed amenity kits for Air Berlin’s long haul flights.
  • Eleven airliners and one military aircraft reported laser strikes a New York airports on Wednesday.
  • The abandoned Ciudad Real airport was sold at auction for €10,000 — 100,000 times less than it cost to build.
  • runway1AlexSutton__3376537bEmirates resumes a 4w A330-200 service to Erbil, Iraq from August 15.

Architecture graduate Alex Sutton won a distinction for his design for an airport above the streets and canals of Stockholm. Sutton proposed a short runway, city-wide baggage system, taxi-track system to move aircraft and self-service baggage kiosks.

Norwegian a la carteAfloat

Travel Department launch a Rhine river cruise on September 25. Package includes 7 nights full board basis on the Superior A-Rosa Aqua, transfers, flights from Dublin and one night in the 4* Maritim Hotel Cologne on a half board basis. See

captain-kate-mccueCelebrity Cruises appointed their first America female captain, Kate McCue, to the helm of the Celebrity Summit. 

MSC Cruises is to rename MSC Club the MSC Voyagers Club and revamp its loyalty scheme, introduce a new points earning system and remove of top tier perks.

balletSilversea Cruises announced that Russian ballet dancers Daria Khokhlova and Artemy Belyakov will perform three ties on the Silver Spirit’s 9-day Mediterranean cruise, depart August 19.

American Cruise Lines has named its new Mississippi riverboat America.

Deal Watch

  • Champions World Hotel, OrlandoITAA offers of the week: 2 nights B&B hotel accommodation from €175pp incl. full day at Cambridge Vintage Sales, coach transfer, dinner in hotel, return ferry travel from Dublin, depart October 16-18. 7 nights Champions World Hotel, Orlando from €569pp incl. flights, travel November. 7 nights full board cruise on board MSC Musica Cruise, Abu Dhabi from €899pp incl. return flights, return airport transfers and check in pp, depart January 1.
  • Thomson offers: 14 nights half board Hotel Levante, Cala Bona, Majorca from €1,069pp, depart July 23. 7 nights half board Son Baulo, C’an Picafort, Majorca from €519pp, depart August 22. 7 nights self catering Cosmos Maris Lardos, Rhodes from €449pp, depart September 2. See or call 1850 45 35 45.
  • Falcon offers: 7 nights all inclusive Akti Beach Club, Kos from €2,219 for two adults and two children or from €2,789 for two adults and two children, depart August 22. 7 nights self catering Janeas Do Mar, Algarve from €1.549 for two adults and one child or from €1.879 for two adults and two children, depart August 23. 7 nights Cortijo Blanco, Marbella, Costa Del Sol from €769pp, depart Cork August 23. See or call 1850 45 35 45.
  • Classic Resorts Dominican Republic offers, travel September 1 to October 31, book by August 31: 7 nights all inclusive 4* Occidental Grand Punta Cana from €1,299pps. 7 nights all inclusive 5* Dreams La Romana Resort & Spa from €1,499pps. 7 nights all inclusive 5* Breathless Punta Cana Resort & Spa from €1,689pps. See or call 01 874 5000.
  • Click and Go offers: 7 nights self catering Vista Oasis Apartments, Maspalomas, Gran Canaria from €349pp incl. return flights ex Dublin and transfers, travel in November. 3 nights 5* Radisson Blu Es Hotel, Rome from €359pp incl. return flight ex Dublin, travel in August. 3 nights 3* Red Roof Inn, Chicago from €579pp incl. return flight ex Dublin and 23kg British Airwayscheck in baggage, travel in December. 7 nights B&B 4* Windsor Hotel, Madeira from €599pp incl. return flights ex Dublin and transfers, travel in August. See or call 01 539 7777.
  • British Airway’s rest of world seat sale continues until July 21. Beijing from €200, Johannesburg €300, Dubai €194, Sydney €360.
  • Lowcostbeds all inclusive Turkey offers, based on 2 sharing, 7 nights, travel in August: 4* Flora Palm resort, Dalaman from €49pppn. 5* GARCIA Resort & Spa, Dalaman from €65pppn. 5* Le Blue Hotel & Resort, Bodum from €65pppn. 5* Gloria Golf Resort, Antalaya from €103pppn. See
  • Pontins 1Stena Line is offering 7 nights self catering Pontins holiday from €525 for two adults and two children incl. return car ferry from Dublin, Rosslare or Belfast, arrive on Mondays or Fridays until August 31.
  • Sunway Menorca offers, based on 7 nights, travel in September: 2* Los Lenticos self catering from €439pp. 2* Vistablanes self catering from €464pp. 2* Binimar Apartments self catering from €514pp. 3* Roc Lago Apartments self catering from €539pp. 4* Los Defines half board from €654pp. 4* Almirante Farragut half board from €744pp. See
  • Sunway Mark Warner Beach Clubs offers: 7 nights half board 5* Levante Beach Resort, Rhodes from €929pp, depart September 23. 7 nights half board 4* Lakatira Beach Resort, Kos from €829pp, depart September 19. 7 nights all inclusive 4* Sea Garden Beach Resort, Aegean Coast, Turkey from €739pp, depart September 20.
  • Lowcostholidays September offers: 7 nights self catering 3* Rio Apartments, Algarve from €289pp, depart Sep 23. 7 nights self catering 3* Blue Sea Costa Teguise Gardens, Lanzarote from €389pp, depart Sep 21. 7 nights 3* Ramada Gateway Hotel & Inn, Orlando from €625pp, depart Sep 23. 7 nights B&B 3* Royale Hummingbird Cliff Resort, Jamaica from €886pp, depart Sep 23. 3 nights B&B 3* Kavalir Hotel, Prague from €185pp, depart Sep 26. 3 nights B&B 4* Illunion Almiranta, Barcelona from €315pp, depart Sep 26. More offers here. See or call 01 485 3835.
  • Insight Vacations is offering a 9 day tour of Spain and Portugal from €1,809pps incl. flights, transfers, selection of meals and visits to Madrid, Granada, Seville, Lisbon and Salamanca. Book by July 31, depart August 29. See or call 01 775 3803.
  • Uniworld River Boutique Cruises is offering an 8 day all inclusive river cruise to Paris and Normandy from €2,149pps incl. flights, port tax, gratuities and transfers. Depart July 26. See or call 01 775 3803.
  • Contiki is offering a 14 day European Highlights tour from €1,420pps incl. two night stops in Paris, French Riviera, Rome and Amsterdam, flights and meals. Depart September 11. See or call 01 775 3803.
  • Cassidy Travel offers 7 nights 3* accommodation, Algarve from €287pps, depart Sep 1. 7 nights 3* accommodation, Costa del Sol from €306pps, depart Aug 27. 7 nights 3* accommodation, Tenerife from €303pps, depart Aug 27. 8 nights 4* accommodation, Barcelona from €332pps, depart Sep 7. All prices include flights. See or call 0818 332500.


Tourism Ireland German Group Tourin HousePicture shows Kristin Jameson of Tourin House, Lismore, Co Waterford and Gardens who hosted eight German travel writers and their hosts: tour guide Helen O’Connell, Brenda King of Fáilte Ireland, Ute Strunk of Verlagsgruppe Rhein Main, Heidrun Seidel of Lausitzer Rundschau, Reni Christiansen of Schleswig Holstein am Sonntag, Juergen Juchtmann of Neue Osnabrücker Zeitung, Gabriele Beautemps of Westdeutsche Allgemeine Zeitung, Ina Sperl of Kölner Stadt-Anzeiger, Judith von Rauchhaupt of Tourism Ireland and Claudine Weber-Hof of Spotlight.

Irish Design appID2015 launched their Design Ireland app. The app features recommendations for design-focused attractions around Ireland. Picture shows Fred Raguillat of IBM Studios Dublin, Laura Magahy of Irish Design 2015, Minister for Jobs Enterprise and Innovation Richard Bruton and Lara Hanlon of IBM Studios Dublin.

Fourteen teams will travel to Dublin to Cricket-small_1compete in the final qualifying stages for ICC World Twenty20 2016, India. The tournament is supported by Fáilte Ireland and is expected to give the capital 1,400 bed nights over 10 nights until the final in Malahide on July 26.

Eleven golf journalists from the USA arrive in Ireland tomorrow to embark on a week-long tour of the golf courses on the Wild Atlantic Way. The media will be hosted by Fáilte Ireland. Sports Illustrated writer John Garrity — whose family comes from Carne, Co Mayo — is among the group.

Fáilte Ireland’s business tourism team has helped bring 50 international events to Ireland. The events are slated for 2016-2019.

Medi-games-smallThe World Medical and Health Games take place until July 25 at University of Limerick. The event is expected to attract 1,500 participants from Europe, North America, Morocco and Japan.

Upcoming events in Limerick: World Medical and Health Games continue until July 25. Meitheal 2015, July 24. Foynes Air Show, July 26. Seisúin at the Hunt Museum.

German President visits Cliffs of MoherGerman president Joachim Gauck concluded a three-day state visit Ireland this week. Picture shows president Gauck at the Cliff of Moher visitor experience.

Minister Michael Ring launched the 142nd Discover Ireland Dublin Horse Show, which takes place at the RDS, August 5-9. There will be 1,500 horses on show, competing for a €1m prize.

Enda Kenny_MilanEnda Kenny visited the Ireland pavilion at EXPO Milano 2015. He met with Tourism Ireland staff and Italian tour operators selling holidays to Ireland. Picture shows the Taoiseach with Simon Gregory and Niamh Kinsella of Tourism Ireland.

Tourism Ireland and a delegation of 13 tourism enterprises attended the three-day TOURISM ENTERPRISES ‘MEET’ IN LONDONMeetings Show in London. Picture shows Catherine Bunn of Aviva Stadium, Dublin, Sarah Dallas of Tifco Hotel Group, Joyce McElroy of Tourism Ireland, Mairéad Cullen of InterContinental Dublin, Karina Martin of Park Avenue Hotel Belfast and Cathy Joyce, Citywest Hotel. Dublin.


A delegation of Irish tourism businesses travelled to Moscow to take part in a B2B workshop organised by Tourism Ireland hosted by the Irish Embassy in Moscow. The event involved one-to-one meetings with 70 Russian agents and operators. Pictured in the embassy: Siobhán Byrne, Adams & Butler; Benjamin Egorov, Preferred Hotels & Resorts; Veronika Smirnova and Elena Shreyder, both S7 Airlines; Paddy Sheridan, Dublin Differently; Ksenia Shevchenko and Alina Sutulova, both Kildare Village; Olga Pleshakova, Belmond Grand Hibernian; Made Ots, Abbey Tours; HE Eoin O’Leary, Irish Ambassador to Russia; Irina Pichugina, British Airways; Doireann Hennebry, The Merrion Hotel; Maria Suvorova, Relais & Chateaux; Anna Malkova-Egorova, Travel Media; Grant Sarkisyan, Royal Green Tours; Gerard MacCarthy, Enterprise Ireland; Eliza Gorbunova, Tourism Ireland Russia; Robert Meade, Irish Embassy; and Paul Sheehan, Cork English World.

What we learned this week

Ryanair intends to grow traffic from 89m this year to over 150 Mega Pascals in 2024. Mega pascals?

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

TRAVEL Extra’s Sunday Supplement: Guess Who Just Bought 122 Airbus A350’s



A350 launch event in Dublin Airport on behalf of AerCap and Aer Lingus

Hare for the long haul: A350 launch event in Dublin Airport on behalf of AerCap and Aer Lingus. Picture by WIllie Dillon

The headlines this week:

  • IAG get green light to buy 59pc of Aer Lingus
  • AerCap gives sneak peek of A350 before buying 122 of them
  • California Dreaming in Dublin
  • Cork is first to launch a 2016 route

Travel Extra TV

Video of the week July 12 2015Our video of the week is heart in mouth stuff. It shows an ABCargo B747-8F landing at Schiphol Airport, banking to the left before the pilot corrects it on the runway. Watch here.

  • Live like a local — see the Great Barrier Reef from a turtle’s perspective. Watch here.
  • Sink your teeth into this terrifying footage of a white shark gnawing on a diving cage. Watch here.
  • The Ukulele Tuesday collective perform Talking Head’s hit ‘Psycho Killer’ in the Stag’s Head. Watch here.
  • Discover Ireland’s Facebook page reached 100,000 likes this week so they uploaded a video to celebrate. Watch here.
  • Daniel Boria is facing charges under the US Aeronautics Act for flying over Calgary using 110 helium balloons attached to a garden chair. Watch here.
  • There were lots of terrifying videos capturing the tornado storm in northern Italy. None more scary than this close encounter. Watch here.
  • Katherine Jenkins performed Leonard Cohen’s ‘Hallelujah’ at BA’s garden party in Shanghai. Watch here.
  • The Hello Kitty theme park opened in China. Watch here.


bloomberg ryanair copyDone and dusted. The big sigh of relief you could hear from the clouds above Europe this week circles happened when, as expected (and long predicted by Travel Extra) Ryanair’s board approved the sale of their shares to IAG. Having paid €407m buying up shares between 2006 and 2007 (Ryanair bought in at an average of €2.56) they barely got out of jail, the sale will bring in €410m. Ryan’s shares reached a record high after the announcement.  As part of a carefully choreographed agenda, Minister Paschal Donohoe appeared on the steps of his offices to issue a statement welcoming the sale. IAG now has commitments for 55pc plus the 4pc owned by Etihad. The EU is set to give approval to the takeover. IAG previously offered a guarantee on sensitive prorate deals (through which Aer Lingus feeds IAG’s rivals out of London and other cities) but was reportedly forced to offer further concessions, including giving up some Heathrow slots, after the European Commission said these were not sufficient.

Greek Economy Minister Giorgos Stathakis copyWhile we face another manic Sunday with the Greek currency crisis it is business as usual for the country’s tourist industry. Bookings are unaffected by the crisis and the price shows no sign of falling. While ATM’s appear well stocked (cash is due to run out around July 20) credit cards are being refused by many merchants. As the travel industry reeled form the result of last weeks referendum on Greece’s bailout terms, the national tourist board promised a statement on Monday but eventually delivered on Tuesday with a series of testimonials from tour operators and unmanned tourists. The Minister for Economy Giorgos-Stathakis (pictured) reported that supplies were secure in a statement on Thursday. Some insurance companies have increased the amount of money covered by insurance polices, Ciaran Muliigan’s Blue Insurances and announced it would be doubling the cash cover on policies for the month of July.

Aengus Kelly, CEO of AerCap and Stephen Kavanagh CEO of Aer Lingus on board the Airbus A380 test flight from Dublin Airport on behalf of AerCap and Aer Lingus, July 8 2015

Aengus Kelly’s AerCap brought an A350 to Dublin on Wednesday to mark the transfer of the majority of AerCap’s activities from Los Angeles to Dublin (listen here to Aenghus Kelly). AerCap are now the largest owner of aircraft in the world (listen here) and has 122 A350’s on order. Stephen Kavanagh said that the economy and luxury attracted Aer Lingus to the aircraft. He gave no indication of the eight additional aircraft due under the IAG takeover proposals. Aer Lingus currently has nine A350s on order to replace the A330 fleet, three each in 2018, 2019 and 2020. Chris Buckley of Airbus said AerCap was Airbus’s largest customer (listen here). The manufacturers have 781 orders by 40 different airlines and it was “hugely frustrating” do not have aircraft to sell until 2021 (listen here). Five are currently in service. Aengus Kelly talked about the virtues of the Irish aviation industry (listen here), while Ministers Richard Bruton (listen here) and Paschal Donohoe (listen here) paid tribute to AerCap and the aviation leasing industry and AerCap’s growth. The guests were brought on an hour long flight around the island. Picture shows Aengus Kelly, CEO of AerCap and Stephen Kavanagh CEO of Aer Lingus on board the Airbus A350 test flight. See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.

Catherine Grennell Whyte of ATTS and Europe Airpost, CEO Jean-François Dominiak at the gate event for the inaugural Europe Airpost flight from Dublin to Halifax, Nova Scotia, July 9 2015

Dublin Airport’s 22nd new route of the summer launched Thursday. Jean-François Dominiak said Europe Airpost may consider extending their 10-rotation season from Dublin to Halifax in Nova Scotia. Speaking at the launch of the route on Thursday (listen here), he said while the service is really a niche leisure market, Europe Airpost may increase frequency if they get non leisure business. They also considered a service from Belfast because of the strong links between the north and Canada (listen here). The advantages? A day flight means no jetlag (listen here), €314 one way, and “the service, the food and wine are French style.” Westjet’s west-bound sales for their St John’s route in their first season were negligible. ON Thursday’s evidence Europe Airpost, handled by ATTS in Ireland are doing better and Dominiak said “there are a lot of last minute bookings.” Picture shows Catherine Grennell Whyte of ATTS and Europe Airpost, CEO Jean-François Dominiak at the gate event for the inaugural Europe Airpost flight. See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.

CEO of Aer LINgus Stephen Kavanagh at the launch of the Aer Lingus Cork to Düsseldorf 2w route to commence in May 2016 on Wednesdays and Sundays, July 6 2015

Cork had the first launch of the 2016 schedule: Aer Lingus 2w to Dusseldorf will commence in May 2016 on Wednesdays and Sundays. Picture shows Aer Lingus CEO Stephen Kavanagh speaking at the launch, See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.

The Spanish Tourist Board team, Sara Rivero, Kathryn McDonnell, Inma Bernabeu, Gonzalo Ceballos, Sara Milla and Elma Barreiro at the celebration of the “San Fermines” in the Morgan, Dublin, July 8, 2015

It is that time of the year again. Four revellers were gored and five others suffered cuts and bruises on the fifth day of the San Fermin running of the bulls in Pamplona. The Spanish Tourist Board organised a marginally less dangerous celebration of San Fermin in Dublin’s Morgan Hotel where Gonzalo Ceballos director of the Spanish Tourist Board in Dublin said travel to Spain was growing at 7.4pc in 2015 (listen here) Spain amounted to 24pc of nights abroad by Irish residents last year (listen here). Gonzalo also protested that running of the bulls was NOT a central part of the festival (listen here). Martin Skelly paid tribute to the efforts of the Spanish Tourist board in Ireland (listen here). Picture shows Brendan and Ann Colleary, brother and sister of Gordon, at the Gordon Colleary commemorative dinner in the Unicorn Restaurant. Picture shows The Spanish Tourist Board team, Sara Rivero, Kathryn McDonnell, Inma Bernabeu, Gonzalo Ceballos, Sara Milla and Elma Barreiro. See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.

Holly Best of Virgin, Colleen Butler of Bookabed and Angela Jackson of Napa Valley at the Visit California event at Drury Buildings, Dublin, July 10 2015

Brand USA and Visit California treated travel trade and media to brunch in Drury Buildings this week. It is a big year for California with a new 3w flight from Dublin to Los Angeles with Ethiopian and Aer Lingus upgrading their San Francisco service to daily, with an anticipated but unconfirmed AX 3w service to follow in 2016. San Francisco anticipates a significant SFMOMA expansion, Universal Hollywood Studios in LA is to get the Harry Potter mini-theme park already initialled in Orlando while SeaWorld San Diego opened Explorer’s Reef plans a The evening finished in Fade St social. Picture shows Holly Best of Virgin, Colleen Butler of Bookabed and Angela Jackson of Napa Valley at the Visit California event. See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.

While AerCap were showcasing their aircraft-buying prowess, Avolon have donated an extra €500,000 towards an aviation visitor centre at Baldonnell, bringing the budget of the project to €4m. The leasing group released a lavish illustrated book edited by Mark Quinn designed by Bold Communications, Pioneers and Aviators.

ryanair robin kiely de lorean copyRyanair celebrated 30 years after their inaugural fifteen-seater Bandeirante aircraft took off from Waterford for Gatwick airport in 1985. They have installed a De Lorean in Dublin remember for those too young to remember the 1980s. Robin Kiely is pictured giving it the thumbs up.

IMG_1202 copyDerva O’Neill, formerly of the ITAA, has taken on the task of marketing the visitor experience in the GHQ building at the IFSC in Dublin’s north side, Epic Ireland, funded by the Downpatrick born former Coca Cola CEO Neville Isdell. The centre has a goal of 400,000 visitors and a top ten position among Ireland’s visitor attractions within three years. Work on the 21 galleries is underway in the basement area under the CHQ building and the experience will open in May 2016. Picture shows Dervla at the location before a briefing meeting with Travel Extra.

tunisia casualties copyTwo weeks after the shootings that killed 38 holiday makers from five countries, including three Irish, Ireland an d Britain both updated their Travel Advisory advising all but essential; travel to Tunisia (the semantic is important for travel insurance purposes). It was a blow for Tunisia’s battered tourist lobby and their supports, one of whom launched a clever: support Tunisia land of peace campaign (would you travel to New York?). Listen here to Travel Extra’s Eoghan Corry on RTE Morning Ireland talking about the reaction of the travel trade to events in Tunisia.

Brendan and Ann Colleary, brother and sister of Gordon, at the Gordon Colleary commemorative dinner in the Unicorn Restaurant in Dublin, July 10 2015

The family of USIT founder Gordon Colleary, his wife Maureen, Barry, Kate, Conor, Sarah and Emma and Vincent Browne hosted friends and colleagues at a commemorate anniversary dinner in the Unicorn restaurant Gordon founded USIT and in effect, as Maureen put it, invented the J1 visa for thousands of Irish travellers. Listen here to Maureen Colleary speaking at the event and listen here to Vincent Browne, including his story of a trip to Auckland with Gordon to the last congress of the International Student Conference in 1965, before it was revealed as a CIA fit-up. See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.

Business_Vue_10 copyAir France have launched their new Best & Beyond cabins on flights from Paris CDG to Los Angeles and Washington, the first Boeing 777 equipped with its new long-haul cabin classes. See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.

Travel Trade

Olwen presentingAgents are invited to meet Amadeus, BLUE Insurance, lowcostbeds, MSC Cruises and ITAA Skillet at their next roadshow event in the Crowne Plaza Hotel, Dundalk this Tuesday, July 14, at 6pm. RSVP Picture shows Olwen McKinney speaking at the Sligo event last Wednesday.

Ed SheeranEtihad Airways is offering agents the chance to win tickets to see Ed Sheeran in concert in the corporate suite at Croke Park on July 24. Enter PNR, departure date, ticket number and destination for bookings in a spreadsheet and sent it to by July 20.

Nicky LogueNicky Logue said there will be free parking at Skal’s annual BBQ in the Gibson Hotel, July 14. Tickets €30 for members, €35 for guests.

Wendy Wu Tours launched a website for travel agents and online training programme.

Travel Department added Ethiopia to its portfolio. See Deal Watch for more.

Registration is open for the 2015 Skål World Congress, which takes place in Torremolinos, Spain from October 28 to November 2015.


IHG sold the InterContinental Hong Kong for $938m.

Google hotel finderSabre launched a beta test for a digital marketing programme on Google to help boost traffic to hotels. Tnooz reported that Google users can now book hotel rooms without having to leave the search engine: Google’s hotel finder has not been officially launched.

Jury Inn’s annual fundraiser raised €700,000 for homeless charity Depaul and other charities.

Resort Interior 6 - CopyRadisson Resort Hosur in Tamil Nadu will open in 2018.

The Marker Hotel, Dublin featured on Trivago’s eight futuristic hotels listicle.

Six Senses Hotels Resorts Spas open its first European resort in Douro Valley on July 15.

apple v androidA survey by Trivago found that Apple device users spend 24pc more on hotels than Android users.

Delta Hotels and Resorts’ portfolio went live on

Flora Al Barsha Hotel opened in Dubai.

Lotte Hotel Moscow appointed Olympic champion Viktor Ahn as brand ambassador.

Delray Beach hotel is waiving its pet fee for dogs in August. Dogs will also receive a pet amenity on check in as well as 10pc off the doggy menu at Boston’s on the Beach.

Starwood Hotels & Resorts is opening nine Aloft hotels in Texas over the next three years.


According to Trivago, hotel searches to London were down 9pc this week during the scheduled tube strike.

cheetahDavid Horsey’s picture shows his friend Mickey McCaldin coming face to face with a cheetah that jumped into the seat next to him while on safari in Massai Mara, Kenya.

Travelport acquired Mobile Travel Technologies.

google wazeGoogle is launching a car-pooling service called RideWith. The service is being trialled in Israel through the Waze app.

Selfie safetyFour hundred news stories were generated by the Russian police’s selfie safety campaign. Russian authorities claimed 100 peopled were injured and dozens killed this year while taking selfies, so they put together a guide for keeping safe, with bizarre advice like: don’t take a selfie while scaling a pylon and don’t take a selfie while hanging off a roof.

Food & Wine

taste of cavanTaste of Cavan takes place August 8-9 in Cavan Equestrian Centre. The event is expected to attract 35,000 visitors. There will be a medieval village complete with knights on horseback and demonstrations from weapons expert Boyd Rankin, who worked on Game of Thrones. Cavan chefs Neven Maguire and Gearóid Lynch will be hosting cooking demos with Kevin Dundon and Rachel Allen.



Bookings on the first day of the Ryanair sale for the €19.85 priced seats rose beyond 400,000, as traffic to the website doubled as consumers availed of discounted flights. Ryanair got lots of publicity for their  announcement of 2w services from Eilat Ovda Airport to Budapest, Kaunas and Krakow.  A 3w Edinburgh-Copenhagen service commences November 6.

Foynes air showThe Irish Air Crops, Naval Service and coastguard will conduct their annual search and rescue training exercise at the opening of the Foynes Air Show, July 26.

Newrest won the five-year contract to provide inflight catering and retail services to Flybe.

James McElvar copyTalk about layer player, boyband singer James McElvar collapsed with heat exhaustion on an Easyjet flight from London to Glasgow while wearing 12 layers of clothes to avoid excess luggage fees. 

Ryanair launched a Keep Greece Flying PR campaign, offering flights on its Athens routes from €4.99 and 30pc discounts on international routes to and from Greece.

Serial stowaway Marilyn Hartman was arrested twice in two days, for causing a disturbance on a flight and for attempting to fly without a ticket. She has tried to board a flight without a ticket 12 times. Last year, she made it from San Jose to LA without a ticket.

Zodiac diagonal seatsDesigns for an in-flight seating plan by Zodiac Seats France emerged online. The configuration, dubbed the HD31 Project, aims to seat passengers diagonally from each other. Watch the video here.

Ryanair joined Facebook.

united amenityUnited Airlines introduced new amenity kits, available on long haul flights from August 1.

Thousands of United Airlines flights were grounded because of a technical glitch.

Jet2holidays is running a competition where one passenger flying from Belfast International Airport between now and the end of September will be given a free family trip in 2016. Other passengers will be given a £60 voucher when they return to Belfast.

Avolon agreed the sale and leaseback for 14 aircraft in Q2.

AWAS signed a 10-year financing agreement with Ethiopian Airlines for a B737-800.

eoghan-the-insidersThe Insiders featured Ryanair this week (watch here), contributors included Travel Extra editor Eoghan Corry.


Cruise ships will have facilities to berth and turn around at the East Link bridge under Dublin Port Company’s €230m project to extend capacity has said it hopes to start construction “within months” on a following the go-ahead from An Bord Pleanála. Piling and dredging of the Liffey and the demolition of part of the North Wall extension will be part of a five year plan to open up the port to larger cruise ships and increased container traffic. The new plan will allow with the depth of the river increased from seven to 10 metres. At present the bigger cruise ships have to reverse up the Liffey and access is restricted by tides.

MSMajestyOfTheSeasEdit1Royal Caribbean’s oldest ship, Majesty of the Seas is not to transfer to Pullmantur in 2016 as expected, instead it will continue sailing with Royal Caribbean following an extensive makeover.

Celebrity Cruises president and CEO Lisa Lutoff-Perlo will appear as a guest judge on the August 20 broadcast of Project Runway. Celebrity will award the winning designer of the season with a cruise anywhere in the world. 

Seabourn partnered with Geoff Steven and UNESCO to photograph World Heritage Sites at destinations where Seabourn ships visit. 

Luxury river cruise company Strand Cruise will start operations in January 2016 with cruises on the Ayeyarwady River, Myanmar.

silversea sliver whisperSilversea Cruises is taking reservations for its 116-day world cruise from San Francisco to Monte Carlo on board Silver Whisper. The voyage will encompass 62 destinations in 25 countries.

Deal Watch

  • KOS 10.07.2015 (2) (1)Falcon offers: 7 nights all inclusive 3* Atlantica Thlassa, Kos from €2,609 for two adults and two children, depart August 29. 7 nights self catering 2* Janelas Do Mar, Montechoro, Algarve from €449pp, depart August 30. 7 nights self catering 2* Rosamar, Puerto Del Carmen, Lanzarote from €459pp, depart August 27. 7 nights all inclusive Blue Lagoon resort, Kos from €2,259 for two adults and two children, depart August 29. 7 nights self catering 2* Janelas Do Mar, Montechoro, Algarve from €499pp, depart August 30. 7 nights self catering 2* Rosamar, Puerto del Carmen, Lanzarote from €499pp, depart August 27. See or call 1850 43 35 45.
  • Sunway offers: 10 nights Las Vegas and Cancun from €1,485pp, travel November.  10 nights New York and Cancun from €1,759pp travel November. 10 nights western Mediterranean cruise on board Norwegian Epic from €599pp, depart November. 7 nights self catering 3* Summer Garden Apartments, Bodrum from €399pp, depart August 30. 7 days Trafalgar escorted tour from €1,799pp, no single supplement, depart August 28. 7 night cruise on the River Seine fro €2,059pp, depart November 12. 7 nights B&B 4* Pestana Village Hotel, Madeira from €799pp, travel in August. 3 nights 5* Jumeirah Creekside Hotel, Dubai from €685pp, travel September. See
  • Thomson offers: 7 nights all inclusive Riu Helios, Bay Obzor, Bulgaria from €579pp, depart September 20. 7 nights half board Coronas Playa, Costa Teguise, Lanzarote from €699pp, depart September 21. 7 nights B&B Roda Oasis, Corfu from €419pp, depart September 25. 7 nights all inclusive Riu Helios, Bay Obzor, Bulgaria from €579pp, depart September 20. See
  • Click and Go offers: 3 nights B&B 4* Union Praha, Prague from €199pp incl. return flights, travel in August. 7 nights self catering 4* Estrela do Vau Aparthotel, Praia do Vau, Algarve from €479pp incl. return flights and transfers, travel in August. 7 nights self catering 3* Veramar I Aparthotel, Costa del Sol from €459pp incl. return flights and transfers, travel in August. 3 nights 4* Wyndham Berlin Excelsior Hotel, Berlin from €349pp incl. return flights, travel in July. 7 nights all inclusive 5* Fantasia De Luxe Hotel, Kusadasi, Turkey from €565pp incl. return flights, travel in October. See
  • Wendy Wu Tours is offering an upgrade to business class on tours of Asia from €160, book by July 26.
  • Travel Department is offering 11 nights full board highlights of northern Ethiopia tour from €2,599pp incl. taxes, transfers, flights and accommodation, depart February 14 2016. Call 01 637 1600.
  • Stena Line is offering day trips to Oakwood Theme Park from €50pp return by car or €59pp by coach. Offer available Wednesdays only in July and Wednesdays and Saturdays in August. Call 01 907 5555.
  • Topflight’s 5 day Italian sale stars today: 7 nights self catering 4* Bella Italia, Peschiera, Lake Garda from €369pps, depart September 26. 7 nights B&B 3* Hotel Bellariva, Riva Del Garda from €569pps, depart August 23. 7 nights B&B 3* Hotel Senior, Lake Garda from €499pps, depart August 29. 7 nights B&B 4* Esperidi Resort, Sorrento from €599pps, depart September 27. 7 nights B&B 3* Hotel Villa Lina, Sicily from €549pps, depart July 26. See or call 01 2401 700.
  • British Airway’s rest of world fare sale continues until July 14.
  • Lowcostbeds Barcelo Hotels & Resorts offers, based on 7 nights, two share: 3* Barcelo Varadero, Tenerife half board from €41pppn, depart Sept 1-Oct 31. 3* Barcelo Potent Playa, Majorca half board from €24pppb, depart Sept 1-Oct 31. 4* Barcelo Cala Vinas, Majorca all inclusive from €41pppn, depart Oct 1-12. 4* Barcelo Margaritas, Gran Canaria all inclusive from €45pppn, depart Sept 1-30. See for more.
  • Insight Vacations is offering an 8 day escorted tour of Puglia and the Neapolitan Riviera from €1,899pps incl. flights, transfers and selection of meals. Book by July 31. Depart August 23. See or call 01 775 3803.
  • Uniworld River Boutique Cruises is offering an 8 day all inclusive river cruise on Paris and Normandy from €2,139pps incl. flights, port tax, gratuities and transfers. Book by July 31. Depart July 26. See or call 01 775 3803.
  • Contiki is offering 8 day tour of Italy, the Swiss Alps and Paris from €1,309pps incl. selection of meals, flights, accommodation and visits to six World Heritage Sites. Depart August 2. Visit or call 01 775 3803.
  • Hilton BelfastTourism NI offers: 7 nights self catering in 4* Westering holiday home, Portaferry from £495, four bedrooms, sleeps eight, available until August 31, call 07743 378 818. 2 nights B&B Hilton Belfast from £150pps incl. 3 course dinner in Sonoma Restaurant, Game of Thrones Tour/Giant’s Causeway Tour, available until December 31, call (028) 9027 7000. 1 night B&B Roe Park Resort, Limavady from £70pps incl. one evening meal and access to health club, available until December 31, call 028) 7772 2222. 2 nights B&B Manor House Country Hotel, Irvinestown, Enniskillen from £125pps incl. dinner in Belleek Restaurant, dinner cruise on board Lade of the Lake cruiser and access to leisure club, available until September 9, call (028) 6862 2200.
  • Stena Line is offering €6pp return day trips to Wales, depart from Dublin on Tuesdays at 8.20pm and return from Holyhead on the 1.50pm or 8.30pm ferry. Book here.


Guinness Storehouse gateVisitor attraction figures which appeared in Travel Extra’s Sunday Supplement last January finally wound their way into the official documents this week, with, Guinness Storehouse  the number one fee-charging attraction in Ireland in 2014 with 1.27m visitors, up 4.6pc. With visitors up 5.9pc to 1.08m,  Cliffs of Moher Visitor Experience pushingd Dublin Zoo off the Top fee attractionsnumber two spot down to third place, despite a 2.4pc increase in visitors, with the exception of Rock of Cashel, which shouldered its way up to the number ten spot with 372,503 visitors, up 18.7pc.

Top free attractions2014 visitors numbers were down 4pc to 593,183, but The National Gallery managed to retain its title as the number one free attraction, followed again by National Botanic Gardens, down slightly by 0.7pc. Doneraile Wildlife Park came in at number three with 460,000 visitors, followed by National Museum of Archaeology (447,137, up 5pc) and the Science Gallery (406,982, up 9pc).


Ann Donaghy of the Ramada Portrush and Alexandra Mehaffy of Giant’s Causeway led a group of 13 tourism companies on a sales mission to China, visiting Guangzhou, Chengdu, Shanghai and Beijing. Picture shows the group with Niall Gibbons of Tourism Ireland.

Agents in DerryTourism Ireland and Superbreak invited a group of agents from Scotland and England to visit Derry. The group visited a number of hotels and also went on a walking tour of the city. Picture shows Karen Henderson of Visit Derry and Chris Hagan of Superbreak the agents on Peace Bridge.

Dublin's new Irish World Cup shopThe Ireland Rugby World Cup store opened at The Loop this week, selling a host of IRFU branded merch.

Limerick Marketing Company launched the Experience Limerick Tours brochure, promoting four tours of the city and county. See the brochure here.

Bus Eireann Kerry network 1Darragh Ó Sé launched Bus Éireann’s updated Kerry services. Picture shows Marian Flynn, regional manager of Bus Éireann, Theresa Collins form Ballylongford, Darragh Ó’Sé, Maureen Dillon Asdee and Blathin McElligott, services manager of Bus Éireann Tralee.

EAST MEETS WEST! CHINESE TOUR OPERATORS CHECK OUT IRELANDEleven Chinese tour operators visited Ireland this week as guests of Tourism Ireland in conjunction with Finnair. The group’s itinerary was designed by Fáilte Ireland and included visits to Blarney Castle, Killarney National Park, the Ring of Kerry, Cliffs of Moher, Brown Thomas and Kildare Village. Picture shows the group at King John’s Castle in Limerick.

US Congress delegation visits Cliffs of MoherA delegation from the US House of Representatives, led by John Boehner, visited the Cliffs of Moher Visitor Experience on July 4. Picture shows Adam Whelan, Jenny Oliver and Niall Leyde at the opening.

In light of South Carolina’s flag removal, Newbridge Silverware replaced the confederate flag on the display Dukes of Hazard car with the star-spangled banner.

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

TRAVEL Extra’s Sunday Supplement: Greece is the word



Elephants on parade at Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage in Sri Lanka

Elephants on parade at Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage in Sri Lanka

The headlines this week:

  • Travel insurance still important as Blue empire expands
  • Last of the summer routes
  • Sunway praised for Tunisia efforts
  • Greek ATM anxiety continues
  • Hertz and Ryanair’s sudden spat

Travel Extra TV

Video of the week July 5 2015Our video of the week tells the story of Jessica Cox, the pilot who was born without arms. Watch here.

  • Introducing Fáilte Ireland’s Welcome Standard. Watch here.
  • This family were lucky to avoid a grisly situation with a grizzly. Watch here.
  • Aer Lingus posted a guide to saving time checking in as part of the Smart Flies campaign. Watch here.
  • Sit ups in the sand at Bournemouth beach. Watch here.
  • BA celebrated the 10th anniversary of its Shanghai-London service. Watch here.


ciaran mulligan_ministersCiaran Mulligan of Blue Insurance (listen here) had three (count them) government ministers for the announcement of his expansion of staff (100 new jobs) and products (two year insurance policies will soon be extended to travel) at his Blanchardstown headquarters – which the company will have outgrown in October. Ciaran says his travel business is still the most important part of his portfolio, which he describes as blue insuranceIreland’s leading provider of niche insurances, and he is grateful to the trade for their support. Having branched out from travel insurance, he announced the creation of 100 new jobs over the next 18 to 24 months as part of the company’s expansion into the personal lines and international insurance market. The company also opened a new office in Cardiff this week and has another announcement next week. It is all a bit difficult to keep up with and one of the best news story in the financial sector. Ciaran Mulligan says Blue have now sold 160,000 poles in Ireland and 200,000 policies in England with pet insurance policies the fastest growing sector of the industry. Listen here to Minister for Health Leo Varadkar, listen here to Jed Nash Minister of State at the Department of Enterprise and listen here to Simon Harris, Minister of State at the Departments of Finance. See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.

carol puttonA testing week for the travel industry saw some heroic performances, perhaps the most notable by Sunway’s rep on the ground in Sousse, Carol Purton (pictured). Even in the absence of a government travel ban, Sunway cancelled this season’s Tunisia programme on Wednesday, including that to Hammamet, having seen more than 60pc of their customers opt for transfers or refunds affecting the viability of the programme. Echoes of the gunshots from Tunisia made this a sad week for the travel industry with Tunisia and Greece filling the headlines. Travel Extra adds their condolences to
Screen Shot 2015-07-05 at 01.10.19the Hayes and Carty families and the others who face devastation in their lives after the shootings in the Hotel Riu Imperial Marhaba in Sousse. By comparison, the impact in other areas are tiny, but not inconsequential, jobs will be lost in both Ireland and Tunisia, holes blown in the accounts of agents and the travel industry will have to put time and energy into reassuring customers. Tui and Thomas Cook shares tumbled when the stock market reopened. Tunisia woke on Monday to find 40pc of its tourists had returned home and more left during the week.

Tunisia’s new measures to help tourism recover from Sousse shootings: reduction of the VAT rate from 12pc to 8pc, cancellation of the departure tax of 30 Dinars/€13.80, 30pc discount on transport fares (air and sea) for Tunisians living abroad flying only with Tunisian national carriers (Tunisair & Nouvelair).

Tanya AireyTanya Airey spoke eloquently about the dilemma for the customers on Morning Ireland (listen here). John Grehan of Justsunshine, who have 30 seats on the Friday charter, were criticised for offering rebooking only for the July 3 date. One caller to Liveline with Joe Duffy wanted the LE Eithne to come to his rescue (listen here). Can Deniz of Justsunshine responded (listen here) to say Tunisia is not a war zone. Falcon Holidays also offered to repatriate customers during the week. No country has given a “don’t travel to Tunisia” advisory, including the traditionally cautious Australians and the Westminster government which lost 30 in the attack, compared with 3 Irish, 2 Germans, a Belgian, Portuguese and a Russian. Several Tunisian officials, including the governor of Sousse were dismissed after the attack and there were claims that the lesson of the Bardo museum were not learned.

greek atm out of cashTour operators to Greece report no cancellations as a result of the fiscal turmoil there. Reports that ATMs were unstocked proved premature, while many ran out over the weekend they were restocked quickly. Credit cards are being politely refused by merchants, a point made by Travel Extra’s Eoghan Corry in the Irish Independent. There are few late specials available in Greece. September has traditionally been a strong month so it is not clear whether the ATM anxiety of this week will have any impact on the price of holidays. As much as tourists to Greece are worried, Greek tourists overseas are worried as well not to be able to meet bills. Deputy Minister for Tourism, Elena Kountoura (pictured) reassured holidaymakers they would not be affected and they can continue to enjoy their holiday in Greece without any problems.

Nalin Perera of Sri Lanka tourism hosted a group of travel writers on a tour of the central highlands of the island, including a breath mary eoghantaking (in more ways than one) climb of the UNESCO world heritage promontory and ancient City of Sigiriya. Picture shows Mary O’Sullivan, Travel Editor of the Sunday Independent and Eoghan Corry, editor of Travel Extra with orchid offering at Dalada Maligava (“Temple of the Tooth”) in Kandy in Sri Lanka, one of the most sacred pilgrimage sites in the Buddhist religion. See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.

UNESCO’s World Heritage Committee added 17 sites in 12 countries to its heritage list: Tusi Sites in the mountainous areas of south-west China, Christiansfeld Moravian Church Settlement and Par Force Hunting Landscape in Denmark, the Climats terroirs of Burgundy’s Pinot Noir country and Champagne hillsides, houses and cellars in France, Susa and Maymand in Iran, Arab-Norman Palermo and the Cathedral Churches of Cefalú and Monreale Christiansfeld Moravian Church Settlementin Italy, Blue and John Crow Mountains in in the south-east of Jamaica, Al-Maghtas baptism site in Jordan, Baekje Historic Areas in South Korea, Great Burkhan Khaldun Mountain in Mongolia, rock art in the Hail region of Saudi Arabia, Singapore Botanic Gardens, and Diyarbakir Fortress and Hevsel Gardens in Turkey. More sites will be considered today. The Iraqi site of Hatra and Sana’a and Shibam in Yemen added to List of World Heritage in danger and Colombia’s Los Katíos National Park removed from the list of sites in danger.

Raised eyebrows at the unexpected and unseemly spat between Ryanair and Hertz, with the end of the partnership which saw Hertz offer car hire on Michael O'Leary conducts a press conference Aug 21 2014Ryanair’s home page for what appears to be the dilution of the Hertz offering through GDS. Ryanair’s bookings through the GDS channel is a small proportion of their overall business in the English speaking markets at least, with one prominent Irish agent confessing this week that he had not taken a single booking for Ryanair over the GDS. Hertz say existing bookings will be fully honoured and future bookings can be made directly at the Hertz, Thrifty and Firefly websites.

team United AirlinesJohn Boehner, speaker of the House of Representatives, was the guest of honour at the US Independence Day celebrations at the ambassador’s residence in Dublin’s Phoenix Park. United Airlines were on hand to dispense popcorn. Picture shows the United Airlines team of Pat Reede, Brian Hughes, Aoife Gregg and Massimo Larini. Listen here to US ambassador Kevin O’Malley and listen here to John Boehner. See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.

cityjet crkCityJet confirmed their three times daily Cork-London City Airport service from Monday to Friday, with one return flight on Saturdays and two flights on Sundays. The new service will commence on October 1 with tickets going on sale immediately.

Milanka Gajanayake MD of Sri Lankan tourism told Travel Extra about the island’s (over?) ambitious target of 2.5m visitors by 2016. The country missed its 2013 and 2014 targets but he points out they have 300 hotels in the pipeline, and he anticipates a further boost such as that given by the visa on arrival scheme which raised figures from 400,000 to 800,000 in a 12 month period. Europe is at the heart of the expansion plans because of the extra spend and dwell time of Europeans compared with the faster growing and closer Asian markets. More in the next print edition of Travel Extra.

eoghan sri lankaCinnamon hotels are the largest chain in Sri Lanka with 2,432 rooms in 14 hotels. Pramukshi Kariyawasam of Cinnamon Hotels said the group will maintain their commanding opposition in the market with high-end properties and a new lean luxury concept, which they are developing with the Cinnamon Red hotel in Colombo. Picture shows Nalin Perera of Sri Lanka tourism Ireland and Britain, Eoghan Corry, editor of Travel Extra and Milanka Gajanayake MD of Sri Lankan celtic club melbournetourism at Nuga Gama restaurant of Cinnamon Grand Hotel in Colombo. See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.

Travel Extra’s Anne Cadwallader was also in Australia this week winding her way from west to east on a hugely successful advocacy and book tour for Lethal Allies.

Travel Trade

Raised eyebrows at the letter from TUI reducing commission to 7pc and adding a €20 surcharge to seat only. The new restrictions apply to bookings from the six counties only and do not impact on Falcon Holidays and its suite of products from Ireland.

Sophie and DineshDinesh Bhaskar was in Dublin to promote Atmosphere Hotels & Resorts Maldives experiences. Dinesh showcased Atmosphere Kanifushi’s impressive platinum plus product. The idea is to couple one meal plan, all inclusive, with a five-star experience. Guests arrive by seaplane. Villas have direct access to the stretch of beautiful white beach and turquoise lagoon (Dinesh assured us that the photographs were not Photoshopped). There are four restaurants to choose from, and the mini bar is replenished twice a day with your chosen beverage. Activities include sunset fishing, diving and snorkelling. Atmosphere are launching two new products: Oblu by Atmosphere opens in November 2015 and Ozen opens in April 2016. Picture shows Sophie Taylor of Planet Destination and Dinesh Bhaska.

Travel Agents on a Sunway fam trip to Rhodes, Kos and Turkey: Lorraine Crowley of Shandon Travel, Helena Crowley of Bernard Hayes travel, Michelle Lyons of Fahy travel, Lorraine Kenny of Ask Susan, Julie Franklin of Mark Warner, Jeanette Taylor of Sunway, Sarah Jane Lawlor of Cassidy's Travel, Erica Oglesby of Sunway, Catherine O’Keeffe of Marble City Travel and Shane Cullen of Killiney travel.

Picture shows travel Agents on a Sunway fam trip to Rhodes, Kos and Turkey: Lorraine Crowley of Shandon Travel, Helena Crowley of Bernard Hayes travel, Michelle Lyons of Fahy travel, Lorraine Kenny of Ask Susan, Julie Franklin of Mark Warner, Jeanette Taylor of Sunway, Sarah Jane Lawlor of Cassidy’s Travel, Erica Oglesby of Sunway, Catherine O’Keeffe of Marble City Travel and Shane Cullen of Killiney Travel.

lowcostbedsWin a place on the four-night fam trip to Dubai with lowcostbeds: Book flights with Emirates and accommodation with lowcostbeds between July 1 and August 31 and your locator ref will be entered into a draw. Send your EK locator and lowcostbeds booking ref to by September 3. Winners will be announced on September 7. Another lowcostbeds trade promotion: Every booking made in July will be entered into a weekly draw to win €100. Winners announced every Monday starting tomorrow (July 6).

  • Skal’s annual summer barbecue takes place at Nick Logue’s Gibson Hotel on Tuesday, July 14 at 6pm. Price €30 for members and €35pp for guests.
  • Travelport updated Smartpoint to version 6.0, available to download on the desktop app. The web browser version will be automatically updated.
  • Paul Hackett of Clickandgo says that June was busier than February for bookings.
  • PEYE BUSINESS EYE  0002Oasis Travel won the small business of the year prize at the Business Eye First Trust Bank Small Business Awards. Picture shows managing director Sandra Corkin receiving her award from Des Moor of First Trust Bank and Jay James from X Factor.
  • Brendan Vacations launched the Romantic Ireland package targeting LGBT couples in the US, a story that was picked up by the two national broadsheets.
  • Graham AldrenGraham Aldren (pictured) has joined CityJet.
  • Travel Professionals Skillnet is offering four webinars over weeks for travel companies with unlimited participant places. Webinars take place every Wednesday from July 8, 9.30am to 11am. Subscription costs €180. Book here. Week one, SEO training. Week two, Web analytics. Week three, Local SEO and Google Places. Week four, Adwords.
  • Travel Professionals Skillnet is offering a course on consumer rights and customer care at The  Consumer’s Association of Ireland office on Upper Pembroke Street for €112.05. Book here.
  • Topflight’s 5 day sale starts next Sunday, July 12.
  • Torc Travel in Killarney, is looking for a senior travel consultant.
  • Emirates are seeking an additional sales manager in Munster.
  • sarah slatteryJanet Newenham nominated her list of Ireland’s top travel bloggers (although four of them are in fact lifestyle and fashion bloggers), in order Edwina Elizabeth, Sarah Slattery (pictured), Stephanie Buckley, Susan Fitzgerald, David and Elaine McArdle, Nadia El Ferdaoussi, Carlo Cretaro and Florence Murphy, Kathleen O’Rourke, Benny Lewis and Niall Doherty.


  • fitzpatrick manhattanJohn Fitzpatrick will spend $2m renovating the Fitzpatrick Manhattan and the Fitzpatrick Grand Central over the summer. 
  • The developer of the $3.5bn Baha Mar hotel-and-casino resort in the Bahamas filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.
  • Mexican hotelier Grupo Posadas plans to open Live Aqua brand hotels in Chicago, LA, Miami, Houston and Washington DC.
  • Canopy-Reykjavik-City-Centre (1)Hilton will debut its Canopy brand in Reykjavik in early 2016.
  • Diageo sold the Gleneagles hotel in Scotland to Ennismore, a company that runs hotels in London’s hipster district Hoxton.
  • Donald Trump’s Hotel Collection allegedly suffered a credit card data breach.
  • Travelport Hotelzon will set up a sales team in Milan headed by Virna Moschini.
  • The Radisson Blu M’Bamou Palace Hotel opens in Brazzaville this September.


220px-Giraffe_-_Skyline_-_Nairobi_-_ParkSince Tuesday last, visas can (not must), be applied for online before arrival in Kenya. Visitors can still have the option of getting visas on arrival at the airports until the end of August 2015. The email approval after application and payment will take about seven days hence visitors coming to Kenya so from September 2015 will need to lodge their Visa Application well in advance. For arrivals after September 1, all visas MUST be applied online.

lion statue in PalmyraSyria’s antiquities director Maamoun Abdelkarim said the famous Lion of al-Lat statue in Palmyra was destroyed last Saturday. Irina Bokova of UNESCO told a meeting in London that Syrian heritage sites are being looted by the caliphate, known as Daesh in the east and in the west as ISIS.

  • World Travel Market chose Mexico as its Premier Partner for WTM 2015.
  • There was a renewed warning over fake Turkey tourist visas which saw holidaymakers scammed by copycat websites.
  • France ordered a crackdown on Uber following last week’s airport protests when riot police called in as taxi drivers blockaded roads to Paris airports.
  • EU member states have committed to scrapping the bane of a tourist’s life, mobile roaming charges, by mid-2017.
  • exhibitionismThe Rolling Stones will open an exhibition in the Saatchi Gallery, London next year. The titillatingly titled Exhibitionism opens April 6 2016.
  • Disney will close the DisneyQuest indoor theme park at Walt Disney Resort next year to make way for the NBA Experience.
  • Kampala is working with Albrieux Africa Tours to set up city bus tours by the end of the year.
  • The monuments of Kathmandu Valley reopened this week. They were closed since May after an earthquake partially damaged the temples.
  • Two rides broke down at Alton Towers on Wednesday, the hottest day of the year in England, leaving some poor punters stuck in the heat.
  • China’s administration of cultural heritage said that 30pc — 2,000km — of the Great Wall of China has disappeared due to locals selling bricks as souvenirs and decay caused by bad weather.
  • Singapore Tourism Board and TripAdvisor launched the Live Like a Local microsite that brings travellers to the country’s lesser known attractions and experiences.
  • A swell over the Indian Ocean created huge waves off the coast of Margaret River, Australia. Hoards of surfers flocked to the area, including pro surfer Justin Holland who rode an 18 metre wave — and broke his leg.
  • The Tourism Authority of Thailand launched an app for Muslim visitors.
  • A woman was stuck by lightening after exiting an aircraft at Columbia Metropolitan Airport.
  • Skal International Phuket & Southern Thailand called on its members to protest against a dolphinarium in Phuket.
  • Travelport signed a multi-year agreement with Australia’s Flight Centre Travel Group.
  • World Travel Market joined Out Now to deliver a global survey measuring the travel industry’s approach to the LGBT travel market.
  • shelfpackSelfie sticks were banned in Walt Disney World Orlando and Florida and Disneyland California.
  • Devizes town in England drafted in pest controllers to purge a growing flock of seagulls that has been harassing tourists.
  • This is the Shelfpack. Yup. It’s a suitcase that has shelves built inside the case. It reminds Travel Extra of a certain scene in Black Books.

Food & Drink

GoEuro’s Beer Price Index ranked Krakow and Kiev as the cheapest cities in the world to buy beer, where an average bottle costs €1.66. Dublin placed 54th with an average price of €3.88. Unsurprisingly, Geneva, which recently topped the Club Sandwich Index, is the most expensive at €6.32.

arch barCarton House F&B Manager Ciaran Hickey oversaw the opening of the new Arch bar at the five star hotel in Kildare. “This isn’t white linen, it is an open space with a retractable roof which we will use for barbecues and events.’ Jacqui Kelly from Kelly’s Mountain Brew in Clane was on hand to showcase her rather fearsome sounding beers: Revolution (very red and hoppy), Justice (classic IPA) and Revenge (ruby porter), they are going very well in Russia, apparently. Gillian Bowles from the Dead Rabbits cocktail bar in New York was serving up equally fearsome beverages: blood lust was the poison of choice for Travel Extra. See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.

Larissa Wolf-TaskerTravel media covering Australian Tourism Exchange in Melbourne were hosted by Larissa Wolf-Tasker of Lake House in Daylesford for a culinary treat on Sunday. Lake House was established by Larissa’s Russian-born mother Alla and her artist husband on land bought in 1979, is a regular in the top restaurants in Australia lists and top of the “worthy of a journey” section. They farmed there before established the restaurant there in 1984. Larissa says of Alla: “She is Russian you don’t plant anything that is not edible.” Larissa is pictured in the restaurant’s extensive wine cellar. And yes the Parting Glass was sung. See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.

Alistair McLeodBrisbane based Antrim chef Alistair McLeod, now based in Brisbane, was picked by Tourism Australia to showcase their Restaurant Australia section at Australia Tourism Exchange. Picture shows him giving a demonstration in Melbourne, See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.

Mark Moriarty scooped up the San Pellegrino Young Chef of the Year 2015 award in Milan. The 23-year-old’s celeriac baked in barley and fermented hay with cured and smoked celeriac was the winning dish.

Brasserie Le Pont has changed its name to Suesey Street, offering a more informal experience.

Grace O’Shaughnessy’s Java Republic won the contract to supply coffee on-board Aer Lingus short haul flights.


Ryanair traffic was up 14pc in June to 9.5m passengers. Load factor up 5 percentage points to 93pc.

SAS_Launch_2 copySAS commenced its Dublin to Gothenburg 2w service which will be 1w in September. Picture shows Jon Woolf, of DAA, Alan Sparling GSA of SAS and Lorraine Costello, of DAA.

Travel managers at ACTE complained that while the €16 GDS fee may has been a flashpoint, Lufthansa’s direct channel restricted comparison shopping and raised duty of care issues.

Virgin Atlantic has said it will return to Belfast International for another four flights to Orlando, Florida, next year.

Hong Kong regulators rejected an application for a budget airline joint venture involving Australia’s Qantas and China Eastern Airlines, saying it could not be considered a local carrier.

Ryanair will move its single Copenhagen based aircraft to Kaunas from July 14, following what it calls a bizarre Danish Labour Court ruling which allows competitor airline unions to blockade Ryanair’s one Copenhagen based aircraft despite the fact these unions represent no Ryanair pilots or crew.

KJ_GOTRyanair will continue to operate twelve routes to and from Copenhagen but on aircraft based outside of Denmark. Ryanair is to open a base in Gothenburg on September 15. Ryanair has until August 31 to decide whether to use the nine slots it has been awarded at Schiphol.

The US Justice Department has sent subpoenas to several major airlines as part of an investigation into “possible unlawful coordination” to limit capacity increases, and thereby keep ticket prices high.

Aer Lingus Regional reported load factor was up 7pc YOY in May to 72pc.

An Aeromexico B787 Dreamliner en route from Mexico City to Paris CDG made an emergency landing at Shannon on Monday.

TG4 screened a documentary on the inaugural Etihad Airways GAA World Games in Abu Dhabi.

Ryanair allowed Greek passengers to pay for their tickets in cash in airports after capital controls caused problems with card transactions online.

  • Avolon delivered an A321-200 to Air Berlin.
  • AWAS delivered a second B737-800 to Ethiopian Airlines and an A320 to Aegean Airlines.
  • Malaysia Airlines will downsize operations from Kuala Lumpur in preparations of its rebranding on September 1.
  • EasyJet will launch a service from Belfast to Lyon on December 12.
  • Fabrice Bregier said Airbus planes to build a second plant in China.
  • The sale of TAP Portugal was completed this week.
  • Vietnam Airlines took delivery of its first A350 XWB aircraft. Watch the highlights here.
  • Ryanair was awarded nine landing slots per day at Amsterdam Schiphol airport for the winter season, starting October 25.
  • Etihad increased its Abu Dhabi-Seychelles service to 4w.
  • Actor Heitor Lourenco was removed from a flight after meditating and reciting a Buddhist prayer.
  • An A350 is due in Dublin next Wednesday for AerCap leasing and Aer Lingus.
  • terminal 1Heathrow Terminal 1 will be demolished after its closure this week, and T2 will be extended over the site to double in size.
  • The final departure was a British Airways flight to Hanover.
  • The Davies Report recommended a third runway at Heathrow.
  • Lufthansa wants to use Eurowings as a platform for European consolidation, which could include Brussels Airlines and Air Dolomiti.
  • A Boston-bound United Airlines flight was forced to turn around after 30 minutes after leaving Denver because a passenger refused to extinguish a cigarette.
  • Ryanair acquired a B737-700, serial 29078. It will mostly be used for training but will enter service when needed.
  • Aer Rianta International opened The Loop duty free shopping area at Auckland International
  • Turkish Airlines plans for the new airport due to open 2017 at Istanbul include a complimentary lounge for economy passengers making an international transit.
  • Amadeus said it will buy Navitaire for US$830m from Accenture to focus mainly on digital services for airline passengers. Navitaire provides technology services to over 50 of the world’s airlines, focuses more on the low-cost and hybrid segments in the airline industry.
  • French ATC cancelled their planned three day strike. Ryanair is to petition to ban ATC strikes in exchange for mediated negotiation and binding arbitration, Ryanair Pilots’ Group responded by seeking the same treatment.
  • Lufthansa is considering selling its 39pc stake in Luxair.
  • B&H Airlines is to be liquidated following a decision by its sole shareholder, the government of Bosnia.
  • Olivia Mai and Bartek Typrowicz baby and children’s equipment hire service, The Stork Exchange has opened at Shannon Airport. The service which offers baby seats and other accessories, is already available at Dublin Airport,.
  • Aer Lingus is showing code-shared flights Dublin to London City
  • Richard Bernstein of Crystal Amber said he decided to sell its stake in Irish airline Aer Lingus as there is so little upside left for us and we would be better to invest elsewhere. Crystal Amber bought in at €1.36 and sold at €2.42.
  • International non-stop air traffic to and from the US was up 5pc YOY in May to 81.7m passengers.
  • Virgin Atlantic is to cut its workforce by 5pc by the end of 2015.
  • Enda Kenny launched Pioneers and Aviators, A Century of Irish Aviation, Avolon’s commemorative photographic book. The video can be watched here.
  • EasyJet updated its iPhone app.
  • Edinburgh rollThe Swedish jet Viggen Saab was added to the Shannon Air Display line up, which takes place June 18.
  • You couldn’t make it up. A man was arrested at Newark International Airport for possession of marijuana — which he had hidden in Mary Jane candy wrappers.
  • Edinburgh Airport’s EAT cafe received a social media shaming this week after a man shared this photo of his depressingly stingy bacon and egg roll on Reddit. The sad samba cost £3.20.


JPEG 1 - Irish Ferries - 20th Anniversary Roscoff RouteIrish Ferries celebrates 20 years of its service from Rosslare to Roscoff. Since launching in 1995, the route has recorded 1,230 ferry arrivals and departures, carrying 1.5m passengers and 400,000 vehicles.

Irish Ferries, Stena Line, DFDS, P&O Ferries, Viking Line, Tallink/Silia Line, Brittany Ferries and Color Line formed The FerryGateway Association xml communications standard for agents and operators, slated to go live on in advance of the 2016 peak booking season.

Silversea Cruises ordered a new flagship from Fincantieri shipyards, the 596 passenger Silver Muse.

Screen Shot 2015-07-05 at 01.44.41Daniel Skjeldam, CEO of Hurtigruten, says a 320-passenger vessel built in 2009 in Portugal and intended to sail between Portugal and the Azores, Atlántida has been given it the temporary name MS Norway Explorer and will replace the Midnatsol, which will be re-deployed in Antarctica alongside the MS Fram for the 2016/17 season.

Celebrity Cruises are changing its pricing model again so passengers will no longer be able to buy simply a cabin, other than inside rooms, prices for ocean views, balconies, Aqua, Concierge and Suites will have up to four inclusions: the Classic beverage package, unlimited Internet, gratuities or $150 per person in onboard credit.

  • Holland America’s 1,266-passenger Ryndam returned to Harwich a day early due to Norovirus.
  • MSC Cruises will homeport the,2,120-guest MSC Opera in Havana for the winter 2015-16 season, a first for Cuba.
  • Halimark line cancelled its second cruise following seaway accident in St Lawrence.
  • Oceania cruises launched an early booking discount programme.
  • Dawn Princess is to get a whiskey bar.
  • Christian BoelNorwegian Cruise Line is to end its partnership with Nickelodeon. Norwegian appointed Christian Boell (pictured) as MD for Europe. Norwegian also opened a sales centre in Sydney to expand its operations in Australia , New Zealand and the Pacific Islands.
  • Philippines Department of Tourism is in talks with cruise lines in a bid to develop the country into a global cruise ship destination.

Deal Watch

  • Travel Department offers: 7 nights B&B 4* Montaigne Hotel & Spa, Cannes from €679pp, depart July 9. 7 nights half board 4* Hotel Barceló Punta Umbria Mar, Costa de la Luz from €539pp, travel in September and October. 7 nights half board 4* Hotel Beatriz Playa & Spa, Lanzarote from €799pp, depart September 23. 7 nights full board 4* Gran Hotel Turquesa Playa, Tenerife from €549pp, travel on select dates from September to December.
  • Sunway offers: 7 nights B&B 5* Malaysia Tanjong Jara from €1,319pp incl. return private transfers, flights and taxes, travel in February 2016. 10 night winter Canaries cruise on board the Norwegian Epic from €765pp, depart January 24 2016. 11 night Greece and Israel cruise on board the MSC Fantasia from €1,179pp, depart December 16. 12 night Caribbean cruise on board the Celebrity Equinox from €1,685pp, depart November 18. 12 night Canaries cruise on board the P&O Azura from €1,629pp, depart August 31. See
  • Sunway solo traveller options: 12 day active adventure tour in Costa Rica with G-Adventurers from €2,919pp incl. flights, accommodation and sightseeing as per itinerary, depart December 5. 7 days Trafalgar from €1,779pp incl. return flights ex Dublin, transfers, accommodation, meals and tours, depart August 28.
  • Lowcostbeds Majorca offers based on 2 sharing, 7 nights: 3* Hotel Belsana, Porto Colom all inclusive from €30pppn, depart September 19. 3* Club Bellevue Apartments, Port D’Alcudia self catering from €23pppn, depart July 22. 3* Hotel Lagomonte, Port D’Alcudia B&B from €42pppn, depart September 1. See
  • Topflight is offering €100pp off holidays to Thailand, the Maldives, Mauritius or Seychelles if you book before 5pm this Wednesday, July 8. See or call 01 2401 788.
  • Insight Vacations is offering a 9 day escorted tour of Spain and Portugal from €1,649pps incl. flights, transfers and selection of meals. Depart September 4. See or call 01 775 3803.
  • Uniworld is offering a 10 day all inclusive Danube and Prague river cruise from €2,009pps incl. flights, port tax, gratuities and transfers. Depart November 4. See or call 01 775 3803.
  • Contiki is offering an 11 day tour from Berlin to Budapest from €1,517pps incl. flights, selected meals. See or call 01 775 3803.
  • Click and Go offers: 3 nights 3* Pavia Hotel, Rome from €249pp incl. return flights ex Dublin, travel in July. 7 nights self catering 2* Mirachoro Il Apartments, the Algarve from €379pp incl. return flights ex Dublin and transfers, travel in September. 7 nights half board 4* Royal Al Andalusia Hotel, Torremolinos, Costa del Sol from €369pp incl. return flights ex Dublin, wine with evening meals and transfers, over 50s, travel in October. 7 nights on board MSC Magnifica/Poesia from €599pp incl. return flights ex Dublin, transfers and visits to Italy, Greece, Turkey and Croatia, travel in November.
  • RHO_LIN_F068Falcon late deals: 7 nights all inclusive Spashworld Hotel Sun Palace, Faliraki, Rhodes from €2,071 for two adults and one child or from €2,460 for two adults and two children, depart August 26. 7 nights self catering Smaragdi, Lambi, Kos from €349pp, depart August 29. 7 nights self catering Hyde Park Lane, Playa De Los Pocillos, Lanzarote from €479pp, depart August 27. 7 nights all inclusive Sun Palace, Fliraki, Rhodes from €2,071 for two adults and one child or from €2,460 for two adults and two children, depart August 26.
  • Cassidy Travel 5* offers, including flights and accommodation: 5 nights Aqua Hotel Riverside Resort & Spa, the Algarve from €189pps, depart October 17. 7 nights Serrano Palace Hotel, Majorca from €501pps, depart October 11. 5 nights Grand Plaza Hotel, Costa del Sol from €345pps, depart October 15. 5 nights Hesperia Lanzarote from €399pps, depart September 2. 7 nights Lopesan Villa Del Conde Resort, Gran Canaria from €655pp, depart October 20. See or call 0818 332 500.
  • Lowcostholidays July and August offers: 7 nights self catering 3* Rio Apartments, Algarve from €465pp, depart July 23. 7 nights B&B 3* Hotel Brisa, Ibiza from €549pp, depart August 26. 7 nights B&B 4* NYX Hotel Cancun from €950pp, depart August 26. 7 nights 3* Coconut Court Beach Hotel, Barbados from €1,320pp, depart August 25. 3 nights B&B 3* MF Hotel, Rome from €245pp. 3 nights B&B 3* Les Jardins de Montmarte, Paris from €268pp, depart August 28. More offers here.
  • ITAA offers of the week: 3 nights B&B 3* Centro Barsha Hotel, Dubai from €679pp incl. flights ex Dublin, city tour, discounted airfare and early booking room discount, book by July, travel on selected dates in September. 7 nights Mirachoro Il Hotel, Portugal from €240pp, depart September 29. 7 nights Chaba Samui Resort, Koh Samui, Thailand from €845pp incl. flights and taxes, travel September 16- December 10.
  • Tour America/ Cruise Holidays offers: 10 nights all inclusive Mediterranean cruise on board MSC Otchestra from €865pp incl. 1 night post cruise in Barcelona, depart November 12. 7 nights Rosen Inn Pointe Orlando from €679pp incl. return flights, depart August 27. 5 nights Circus Circus Hotel, Las Vegas from €679pp incl. return flights, depart September 10. 3 nights Roosevelt Hotel, New York from €779pp incl. return flights, depart November 26.
  • Lough Lakeside Lodges, Leggs, EnniskillenWendy Wu Tours offer: Upgrade to business class from €160 on selected all inclusive group and private tours of Asia. Book by July 26. See
  • Tourism NI offers of the week: 1 night B&B Europa Hotel from £80pps incl. 4 course dinner in Causerie Restaurant, available until July 31, call 028 9027 1066. 4 night midweek break Waterside Lodges, Leggs, Enniskillen from £21pppn, available until September 30, call 028 6838 0360.


welcome standard

Fáilte Ireland invited quirky accommodation providers to participate in the Welcome Standard scheme. The initiative targets the likes of glamping, pods and log cabin providers. Eighty operators are currently signed up to the scheme.

The Irish Tourist Industry Confederation’s pre-budget submission proposed a capital budget equivalent to at least 1pc of annual export earnings from tourism in each of the next five years from 2016.

Adare Heritage 95Adare Heritage Centre celebrated its 21st birthday this week. It has welcomed 5m visitors over the past two decades and hopes to welcome more with the Adare Destination Plan.

Limerick 2020 is hosting free community events around the city to help coordinate their European Capital of Culture bid. Events include Kitchen Table Conversations, citizen brainstorming workshops and community festivals.

The Tall Ships race in Belfast is expected to generate £5m for the local economy. The event continues today and tomorrow.

Bus Éireann launches a hop-on-hop-off bus tour of Cork City, Fota Wildlife Park and Cobh today. Adult tickets cost €10, student/OAPs €8 and children €5. Family tickets cost €24. Service will run until August 31.

Sheila Baird was appointed general manager of the Teeling Whiskey Distillery visitor centre. A former IHF branch officer, Sheila has 20 years’ experience working in hospitality, having worked with the Quinn Hotel Group, Portmarnock Hotel & Golf Links, the Marine Hotel in Sutton and, most recently, the Cara Hotel Group.

The Causeway Coast and Glens placed third in a list of 30 film and TV dingle international006destinations adults most want to visit.

A group of 11 journalists sampled food experiences on the Wild Atlantic Way this week. Their itinerary, designed by Fáilte Ireland, included a visit to the Dingle farmers’ market, lunch at the Dingle Cookery School, Gorman’s Clifftop restaurant, the Global Village restaurant, Louis Mulcahy Pottery studio and Dingle Brewing Company.

Ancient EastSix French travel writers visited Ireland’s Ancient East this week as guests of Tourism Ireland. The group arrived in Rosslare by boat and their itinerary, designed by Fáilte Ireland, included visits to Hook Head Lighthouse, the Dunbrody Abbey Visitor Centre, House of Waterford Crystal, the Viking Triangle, National Craft Gallery, Kilkenny Castle and the Smithwick’s Experience. Picture shows the journalists with Patrick Belfast of Dunbrody Abbey Visitor Centre, Anne Zemmour of Tourism Ireland, Caitríona Butler of Irish Ferries and tour guide Mick Langan.

Invest Northern Ireland launched a six week ad campaign in Heathrow airport.

Upcoming events in Limerick: Pig ’n’ Porter Festival, July 11. Electric Night Run, July 17.

The Ancient Men Morris dancing troupe are on tour in Clare from July 20 to 24 when they will stage 20 public performances. First stop is Morrissey’s of Carrigaholt. After that, they will perform in Kilbaha, Doonbeg, Mullagh, Lahinch, Lidsoonvarna, Ballyvaughan, Fanore, Kilfenora, Doolin, Liscannor and Ennistymon.

West Ham soccer players tried their hand at hurling on Fota Island. Watch here

And finally

blog_dover1bAgainst immigration? Paddy Power bookmakers parked a truck in Calais with an unsubtle message to the English, the truck invited immigrants to jump in the back, and pictured athletes Andy Murray, Mo Farah, Raheem Sterling, Manu Tualagi and Eoin Morgan on the distinctive yellow and green livery, all athlete immigrants to England.

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

TRAVEL Extra’s Sunday Supplement: Shocking News From Sousse – The Implications



Jesse Graham's picture of  Dante the Maremma and Maliki the dingo at Healesville Sanctuary in Victoria, Australia.

Jesse Graham’s picture of Dante the Maremma and Maliki the dingo at Healesville Sanctuary in Victoria, Australia.

The headlines this week:

  • Why we should support Tunisia
  • Sunway & Justsunshine Tunisia programmes to continue
  • ATM anxiety over my big fat Greek divorce
  • French air traffic controllers to strike next week
  • NYC & Company come to town
  • Melbourne hosts biggest ever ATE

Travel Extra TV

Video of the week June 28 2015Our video of the week shows the magnificent seals of Phillip Island, showing what they’ve got for Sunday Supplement readers. Watch here.

  • Ultra-light aircraft pilots: remember to check for stowaway cats when you’re carrying out your pre-flight checks. This high flying feline hitched a ride on Romain Jantot’s aircraft. Watch here.
  • Tourism Ireland launched two online videos promoting Galway International Arts Festival (watch here) and Kilkenny Arts Festival (watch here).
  • Last week, we had footage of a tourist being swept away in a military parade. This week, a Queen’s guard couldn’t take one visitor’s shenanigans a moment longer and pulled a gun on him. Watch here.
  • This is the story of the Headings family and their journey to the Grand Canyon. Bob Headings, who is paralysed from the waist down, hiked the South Kaibab and Bright Angel trail with his three sons and eight grandsons. Watch here.
  • See Northern Irish Connections’ showcase of Ireland’s expat artists. Watch here.
  • This video of a couple getting engaged on an Aer Lingus flight received over 3,000 likes and 260 shares on Facebook. Watch here.


LornaThe Riu Imperial Marhaba Hotel is Sousse has been a favourite with the Irish for years, two kilometres from the marina area, right on the beach, with local shops and restaurants 400 metres away. It was here that Lorna Carty, nee Harlin, from Robinstown, Dunderry Co Meath came with her husband Declan who was recuperating from heart surgery and went for a last walk on the beach before the Friday night charter back to Dublin. It was here that she died at 11.58am local time on Friday, under the Tunisian sun, among 38 victims (and counting) of a gun attack. Travel Extra extends our sympathies to everyone affected by the tragedy, her distraught husband, her son Simon the Meath footballer and Hazel who as on a post Leaving Cert holiday.

Screen Shot 2015-06-28 at 00.28.26The two operators serving the Tunisian market, Sunway, whose customer Lorna was, and Justsunshine, are to continue with their Tunisia programme. Friday night’s flight departed late with 112 deciding to go ahead with the holiday and 59 opting for either a refund or an alternative destination. People who were due to stay at the hotel where the attack took place declined an offer to be moved to another hotel and indicated they would check into the hotel. Last year, 6m tourists visited Tunisia, only a million fewer than in 2010 when the autocratic president, Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali, still ruled. Tourism generates 15pc of GDP and 14pc of total employment. But in March, militants attacked the capital’s Bardo museum, killing 21 foreigners, unsettling tour operators. The attack in Sousse may now doom Charlie_Flanagan_2014this summer’s season. Within hours of the attack, Charlie Flanagan has advised “In light of this incident we are changing our travel advice for Tunisia to ’exercise extreme caution’” though he stopped short of advising against visiting the coastal resorts. This is wise. One way for evil to triumph is to allow this and the Bardot museum attacks to kill off Tunisia’s tourist industry. From Ireland 5,674 people visited Tunsia last year, a market that had 24,000 seats from Ireland back in 2002. It is important that they still go, but equally important that the Tunisians can guarantee their safety. Sousse was also the scene of a failed suicide bombing attempt in October 2013, when a man was spotted approaching a hotel in a suicide vest and chased on to the empty beach, where he blew himself up.  Anyone who may have concerns about family or friends in Tunisia should contact +3531-4180200.

Tara WhelanThe attack happened ten years almost to the day since the last Irish victim of a militant bomb attack: post Leaving Cert holiday maker Tara Whelan from Kilmeaden, Co Waterford, who died in the Ladies Beach minibus bombing in Kuşadasıi on July 16, 2005. Political unrest is an unlikely cause of death abroad: just under 200 Irish people die while abroad each year and the major killers are the same things that kill most people at home. Tragic events like road accidents and drownings and routine medical events like heart attacks.

David ScowsillDavid Scowsill of the World Travel & Tourism Council said in response to the Sousse attack: Tourism is a force for good in the world with its great economic and social benefits. It is important that travel organisations and travellers continue to support Tunisia, whilst the government takes appropriate measures on security.”

ATM anxiety overtook the tourism industry this week as Greek negotiations seemed to become shipwrecked between Scylla and Person_uses_a_bank's_ATM_in_a_street_in_Athens,_GreeceCharybdis. Holiday makers were warned that credit cards might not work and ATMs would run out of money as Greek exit loomed, then receded, then loomed again. Speaking on RTÉ Radio Travel Extra editor Eoghan Corry said the fears were based on the situation in Cyprus in February 2013 when the banking system effectively shut down for 48 hours and there was no cause for alarm in Greece. Those who intended bringing more cash should remember there is typically a cash limit of €250 on travel insurance policies and most policies do not cover disinclination to travel.

French ATC union, Roger Rousseau’s SNCTA intends to strike for four days from Tuesday June 30 to Friday July 3. Ryanair called on the French Government and the EU Commission to allow other EU ATCs to operate French overflights.

Ethiopian airlines crewEthiopian Airlines hosted the Irish trade at the Crown Plaza in Santry to commemorate the inaugural Ethiopian services to Addis and to LAX using the airline’s Dreamliner. Similarly an event in Los Angeles was held at Spago, owned by Wolfgang Puck and his wife Gelila whose mother, appropriately, was an Ethiopian airlines flight attendant. Ethiopian report a phenomenal start to the route, with Dublin powering ahead for the first three months of service and in both directions.  The airline described it as a most successful start up and Addis Adaba in particular is going great guns. See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.

Lindsay White, Etihad Airways Vice President for Asia Pacific South and ...Queenland’s Gold Coast will host the Australian Tourism Exchange in 2016 (as first reported by Travel Extra). The date has not been confirmed but is likely to be May 15-19. The show saw a 20pc increase in international buyers compared to last year’s admittedly constrained but enjoyable affair in Cairns. Highlights of the event included the announcement of a five-year, A$30m marketing partnership deal between Tourism Australia and Etihad, whose double daily service from Dublin links to Brisbane, Melbourne, Perth and Sydney through Abu Dhabi. The annual event brings together 600 overseas travel buyers from 30 countries to meet with around 1,200 Australian tourism operators. Visits from Ireland are up 2.7pc so far in 2015. Ireland sent 61,800 visitors to Australia in 2014, marginally down on 2013.

John O'SullivanSpeaking to Travel Extra during the event Tourism Australia MD John O’Sullivan reiterated the commitment to the trade and said Ireland would be one of the 17 markets where the next phase of the Australia Specialist trade programme would be rolled out. He said Ireland’s high per capita spend and the dispersal rate of the Irish visitors throughout the six Australia states gave this market, the 16th biggest inbound market (and fifth largest European inbound) to Australia, added value for Tou6ism Australia. Despite its population of 6.4m, Ireland has double the inbound visitor numbers of more populous Spain. Denmark, Belgium or Austria.

Darryl Ismail Eoghan corryATE’s social circuit, back in a big city environment, lived up to its reputation as one of the best on the circuit. Media night on Friday before the opening was at a pop up venue, 220 Spencer Street, about to become a cafe called Higher Ground. The after media marketplace event was at Hilton South Wharf and Monday night’s official welcome event was at Shed 14, Central Pier, where Darryl Ismail of Innstant Travel and Travel Extra’s Eoghan Corry led the Irish delegation. Tourism Victoria buyers function on the Wednesday was at the National Gallery Victoria, Great Hall and the farewell function at Cargo Hall, South Wharf. Melbourne is famously the capital of fusion food, a city with 2,000 cafes and 3,600 eateries where 178,320 meals can be served simultaneously, but there were still queues. While Travel Extra was entertained by Bria Lamberton of Art Hotel Group at the supremely chic and cheerful Olsen Hotel, there was a waiting time of 1 hour 45 minutes at Supernatural and a long queue outside Chin Chin although Lucy Lu’s was easier. Zoe Shurgold of Tourism Victoria led a party of musical media to FMs on Burke St. Just as well events in the karaoke bar were left unrecorded and unsubjected to display on the roasted spit of social media.

Etihad’s lounge in Abu Dhabi is a starred restaurant in its own right, complete with shower facilites and a spread of food across the two islands: breaded fish with tartar sauce, chicken a la king, baked macaroni vegetable, white rice, lamb with okraand vegetable biriyani on one island, sandwiches and salads including Moroccan tricolour capsicum salad and baby genoush and lashings of hummus on the other island.

NYC and companyNYC & Company visited Dublin and Belfast this week, showcasing The New New York to the travel trade and press. So what exactly is The New New York? Basically, it is a catch-all for any development that could replenish itineraries and show repeat visitors that the city still has a lot to offer. It encompasses everything from the 10,000 additional hotel rooms slated for this year to the 7 Line subway extension. Not to mention the host of new attractions and experiences open now — One World Observatory, Eliis Island National Museum of Immigration, 9/11 Memorial and Museum — and set to open over the next three years —the New York Wheel, the Super Pier, Empire shopping outlet. Picture shows Tryphavana Cross of Hills Balfour with Reginald Charlot, Christoper C Heywood, Fred Dixon and Mikako Matsuda Healy, all NYC & Company, at NYC & Company’s press lunch in The Residence. See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.

fred dixonCEO and President Fred Dixon was in town to tout the initiative. He is hoping to ease Irish visitor numbers up slightly by 1.4pc to 220,000. “We feel good about where [the Irish market] is,” he told Conor McMahon of Travel Extra. “Market fluctuation isn’t necessarily a good thing, so we’re happy to hang on to the market share we have.” New York City is looking to attract 58.1m visitors this year and wants to lure visitors into all five boroughs in order to get them to spend more and stay longer.

Taylor Swift NYCThe 18-34 years bracket makes up the largest demographic travelling from Ireland. With that in mind, the woman who stood up to Apple and won, pop singer Taylor Swift, makes a suitable global welcome ambassador, adding an optimistic energy to NYC & Company’s campaigns. Fees for her music, her image and her handwritten script have been donated to help fund public schools.

Meanwhile, Dora the Explorer is serving as the city’s family ambassador. She is the first bilingual ambassador since the programme was founded in 2009 (she speaks Spanish). 11pc of Irish visitors travelled with children last year.

tigsHelen Kelly (35 points) and first time winner Aaron Bolt (39 points) were the overall winners of the Travel Industry Golf Society event sponsored by Amadeus at Dun Laoghaire golf club, where 54 golfers were hosted for lunch and a 2.30 pm shotgun start. Aaron travelled down from Belfast where he works with World Travel Centre/Selective Travel. TIGS Treasurer Helen Kelly and TIGS member John Galligan were instrumental in bringing TIGS to Dun Laoghaire. Other winners included Philip Airey (Sunway, Winner Gents Cat 1), Eileen Penrose (Winner Ladies Front 9), Ann Marie Dalton (Turkish Airlines, Winner Ladies Back 9), Graham Aldren (Winner Gents Cat 2), Robbie Smart (Travelport, Winner Nearest the Pin). See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.

victoriaIt started as a bet, that you could not grow pinot noir on Mornington Peninsula, so when Tourism Victoria hosted travel writers on a tour of Mornington Travel Extra had to go along to investigate. The group visited Healesville animal sanctuary, stayed at Chateau Yering and Oak Tree Lodge, went truffle hunting with Thomas the springer spaniel in red Hills, visited the Penguin Parade and seals of Phillip Island, and sampled the peninsula wine tasting on horseback experience, dined in Meletos Café, Dominique Portet, Coombe Melba Estate, Cape Kitchen, Foreshore Bar & Restaurant, and Port Phillip Estate. Picture shows travel writers and their hosts in Healesville Sanctuary during a post-famil after Australian Tourism Exchange in Melbourne June 23 2015, Georgia Millard of Zoos Victoria, Guiliana Matamese from Milan, Jackie Loftus-Hills of Tourism Victoria, Ryan Ruchansky of Travelpulse USA, Raras Cahyafitri of the Jakarta Post, Eric Rosen from Los Angeles, Michele Stevenson of Tourism Victoria, Richira Bose from Delhi, Peter Janseon of Tourism Victoria, Eoghan Corry of Travel Extra Ireland, Front: Megan Croucher and Mel Baxter from Healesville Sanctuary. See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.

Travel writers and their hosts in Sri Lanka: Nalin Perera of Sri Lanka tourism ,Josephine Price of ABTA Magazine, Mary O'Sullivan, Travel Editor of the Sunday Independent, Vivienne Nicoll of the Evening Times Glasgow, Emily Fairbairn of the Sun, Cameron Roberts of Seling Travel, Front: Lynn Houghton from London and Eoghan Corry, editor of Travel Extra at the olf fort, Galle, Sri Lanka, June 27 2015

Picture shows travel writers and their hosts in Sri Lanka where the group are touring the west coast of the island: Nalin Perera of Sri Lanka tourism ,Josephine Price of ABTA Magazine, Mary O’Sullivan, Travel Editor of the Sunday Independent, Vivienne Nicoll of the Evening Times Glasgow, Emily Fairbairn of the Sun, Cameron Roberts of Selling Travel, Front: Lynn Houghton from London and Eoghan Corry, editor of Travel Extra, Galle, Sri Lanka. See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.

berkeleyAll six victims of the Berkeley balcony collapse were laid to rest this week. The J1 community came together at various events across the US to pay their respects and to support each other. The camaraderie on display at home and abroad served as a reminder that the J1 programme is an important cultural institution. It has inspired scores of young travellers for 50 years. It is regretful that it takes a tragedy like this for us to remind us of that fact.

Travel Trade

fun dayThe programme for the Travel Trade Fun Day in Wanderers Rugby Club on August 16 will include rodeo bull, giant puzzles, bungee run, sumo suits, mega slide, bubble ball, five-a-side and BBQ. Charities include Laura Lynn, Harold’s Cross Hospice, Dogs Aid, Enable Ireland and Autism Action Ireland. Sponsors include Aer Lingus, Blue Insurance, Etihad, E-travel, Sunway and Topflight.

nyc and co winnersRoisin Carberry of Topflight and Helen O’Flaherty of World Travel Centre won trips to New York City at NYC & Company’s agents quiz in The Westbury hotel. Runner up Lisa Coady of Budget Travel won two tickets to Taylor Swift’s sold out gig in the 3Arena. See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.

Bobby Healy’s CarTrawler was profiled by Business and Leadership.

Lowcostbeds trade promotion: Book any Blue Sea property in Malta up to July 31 and earn a €5 One4all voucher.

Zurich-based Kuoni is selling its tour operators, specialists and travel agencies in Britain, Switzerland, Scandinavia, Finland and Benelux to German retailer Rewe, to focus on its core business as a service provider to the global travel industry

Marc_Mulcahy_TNZ_UK_Trade-300x224As reported by Travel Extra, Dublin born Marc Mulcahy was appointed New Zealand’s Travel Trade Development Consultant, Ireland and Britain. He will join Regional Manager Danielle Genty-Nott in developing and implementing Tourism New Zealand’s trade strategy. Mulcahy was Business Development Manager at Nomad Safaris in Queenstown having previous worked in hotels and ski operations in Scotland and New Zealand and holds a Bachelor of Business Studies.

Skal’s annual trip to the Park Hotel Kenmare took place Wednesday.

See Go Gal’s guide to selling Portugal.


Hastings Hotels 4Hastings Hotels will invest £30m in Windsor House under the new name, Belfast Grand Central Hotel. The hotel is expected to open in 2018 and will have 200 bedrooms, a restaurant, bar, 18 serviced apartments and offices pending planning permission. Picture shows the Hastings family.

Dalata, which owns 17 hotels in Ireland and leases or manages 29 others, is to invest €27m in its hotel group and rebrand the Bewleys hotels it took over earlier this year with its Clayton Hotels brand.

thedeanThe Dean hotel featured in Condé Nast’s best new hotels hot list.

Fáilte Ireland awarded Fitzgeralds Woodlands House Hotel in Adare, Co Limerick a four-star rating following a €1m refurbishment.

  • The five star Aqua Village Health Resort & Spa opens in Oliveria do Hospital, Portugal on August 1.
  • A report by Exceltur tourism association found that private rented holiday homes in Spain outnumber the number of hotel beds.
  • Virgin Hotels will open a property in the Design District, Dallas in 2018.
  • Hilton Worldwide is to open a Hilton Garden Inn howe in Mbabane, Swaziland.
  • Starwood Hotels & Resorts will invest $300m in its Luxury Collection brand in North America.
  • prison hotelDoubleTree by Hilton London Docklands opened on the banks of the Thames.
  • Hyatt Regency Makkah opened in Saudi Arabia.
  • Tom Cruise’s $59m ski lodge in Telluride, Colorado is up for sale.
  • Shangri-La Hotels and Resorts opened a hotel in Hefei, China.
  • Prison break, anyone? Check out Trivago’s Orange is the New Black-inspired hotel suggestions here.


Chicago_Lakefront_2A devastating blow for Choose Chicago: As of July 1, it will not receive its statutory mandated funding from Illinois’ hotel tax, which makes up 40pc of its operating budget. The organisation stands to lose $12m. As a result, the summer Chicago Epic campaign has been shorted by two weeks and the winter campaign will be put on hold.

Courtney tweetsFrance ordered an outright ban on Uber after a day of nationwide protests by taxi drivers which blocked access to Paris airports. Rockstar Courtney Love claimed that her taxi driver was kidnapped.

Travelport Hotelzon announced a partnership with Cabforce taxi booking service.

Russia Latvia picGaffe of the week: A Russian Tourism ad in The New York Times accidentally used a picture of Rundāle Palace in Latvia instead.

Travelport signed up SWISS airline to its Rich Content and Branding and Smartpoint products.

Madame Tussauds New York unveiled its renovated lobby and a wax figure of rock star Pink. The singer is suspended 25ft in the air on silk ropes.

Young Australians are more likely to save for a holiday than a house: 32pc of Australians aged 25 to 34 said they were saving for travel compared to 14pc who said they were saving for a house deposit.

Thailand reported 12.4m visitors from January to May, up 25pc YOY.

Nine lives were lost in a light aircraft crash in Alaska.

Mercury Security Management’s holiday security tips offer much of the same old advice — lock your doors , leave a radio on, ask a neighbour to mind the house, etc. But they also offer tips that holidaymakers might overlook: Be mindful of how many strangers can access your social media content – you don’t want strangers to know that nobody is home. Make sure your house insurance covers you for the entire duration of your break. Use an ultraviolet pen to mark items of value in case they later need to be identified.

  • El Capitan cliff face in Yosemite national park is available to see on Google Street View.
  • Screen Shot 2015-06-28 at 01.34.27MileHi mobile app was launched. Targeting frequent business travellers, it allows users to message fellow passengers.
  • Expedia partnered with Girls Who Code, a non-profit organisation that aims to establish a gender balance in IT.
  • A White House poll found that Hillary Clinton is the presidential candidate most Americans would want to travel with this summer. Marco Rubio came in at number two and Jeb Bush was third.  Only 0.6pc of the vote said they would like to travel with Jim Web.
  • Tampa International Airport’s marketing team saw an opportunity when Hobbes the plush tiger showed up in Lost and Found: They photographed the missing tiger throughout his grand tour of the airport before returning the toy to its owner in Texas.
  • You’ll either love or hate Marmite’s PR stunt: For the next month 70g jars of Marmite will be available in supermarkets — small enough for hand luggage.

Food and Wine

  • marquetteDublin Airport is to open Marquette, a market-syle dining area, in Terminal 1 this August. The restaurant area will cater for 260 people from 5am to the last flight of the day.
  • Mexico City replaced New Delhi as the destination with the most affordable club sandwich in the annual index. Dublin placed 19th of 38 cities (total €39.78) in a price index featuring a burger meal (€17.62), cup of coffee €2.99), glass of house red wine (€6.62), and club sandwich (€12.56).
  • The Arch, the new BBQ and Al fresco dining area at Carton House opens on Friday with an appearance by the cocktail specialists of the Dead Rabbit Bar in New York.


willie walsh_9312IAG gave details of the concessions it is willing to offer to win European Union regulatory approval for its planned acquisition of Aer Lingus. Bloomberg reported IAG has not made any offer to surrender London Heathrow slots but has offered to connect passengers from Ireland with rivals’ long-haul flights. The European Commission extended the deadline for its decision on the bid from July 1 to 15 July, the day before the Aer Lingus EGM. Oddly, the Commission raised concerns related to the Dublin-Chicago route.

The European Commission updated EU Air Safety List lifted the ban on airlines from the Philippines imposed in 2010. No new bans were imposed.

Michael CawleyMichael Cawley told 350 airport delegates at ACI EUROPE’s Annual Congress in Prague: “Be more like Dubai and integrate tourism and aviation policy – in Europe aviation is seen as a source of taxation, not as an economic stimulus, but it is my experience, as both an airline and now a tourism authority boss, that the downstream tourist spend benefits are 10 times the air fare! The benefits only exist because the airline routes exist.” At the ACI Awards in Prague Cork was placed in the top three in Europe for customer service, facilities, retail, security, community relations and environmental awareness and operations.

ryanairData from the IATA confirmed that Ryanair is the largest airline in the world. Delta has higher overall passenger numbers, but Ryanair carries more passengers in terms of international routes: 86.3m last year, well ahead of easyJet’s 56.3m. Ralph Anker reported Ryanair will account for 39pc of European seat growth over the next five years.

Cityjet plan to operate from Cork to London City from September, to be announced at a  press conference at Cork Airport at 11am on Wednesday.

It was rumoured that Flybe plan to move their Knock service from Manchester to Birmingham.

malaysiaMalaysia Airlines, who offer some of the lowest fares on the Australia run from Ireland is to close Kuala Lumpur-Brisbane (currently daily A330-300) from August 8, reduce Melbourne and Sydney from 3 to 2 daily, and Adelaide from daily to 4w. The airline is considering the sale of two A380s and both of its 747 freighters. The airline is also reassessing its 777 fleet.

judge WeatherupBelfast High Court Judge Weatherup ruled in favour of Aer Lingus in its £20m lawsuit by Belfast International Airport over its decision to quit Aldergrove and move to Belfast City Airport in 2012 and said Aer Lingus only had a pricing agreement with BIA for using it as a base. According to Stephen Kavanagh, Aer Lingus lost €44m in the venture.

Gary Montgomery MD of Thompson Aero Seating said the Portadown business wanted to grow sales £40m in the next two years after increasing Screen Shot 2015-06-28 at 01.47.55turnover 90pc to £51m last year. Pre-tax profits increased by £6.1m to £10.6m in the year to March 2015, staff numbers grew from 119 to 223. The firm supplies business calss seating to Aer Lingus and Delta.

The 269 United Airlines passengers on a flight from Rome to Chicago diverted to offload a disruptive passenger last week slept on an airport floor at Belfast International overnight ascrew were out of hours.

RTÉ screened a documentary on Tony Ryan as part of its A Legacy series.

Ryanair is evaluating on board Wi-Fi but are not prepared to move until the pricing is reduced.

Bjoern Kjos said Norwegian Air Shuttle will buy 17 B787s to double its long-haul fleet as soon as US regulators approve flights on its Irish subsidiary. Otherwise it will scrap its B787 order and increase the number of US flights on the parent company’s existing B787s.

Ryanair applied for slots at Paris Orly next winter for daily services to Madrid and Faro.

Screen Shot 2015-06-28 at 01.49.34Kerry Airport chairman Denis Cregan told the airport AGM he is seeking new routes to England and Germany with current partners Ryanair and potential new airlines. Ryanair has an 83pc load target, current load factor on Kerry-Luton is 78pc, and Kerry-Dublin 61pc.

The Belfast Telegraph reported that the Stormont administration has resisted urgings to abolish Air Passenger Duty at Belfast’s two airports and at Derry.

Royal Bruneis is to expand its regional network within Asia-Pacific and increase its fleet form six to nine under a five year business plan by deputy chairman Dermot Mannion. Royal Brunei, which recently restructured its wide body fleet, remains loss-making but “the numbers are improving all the time,” according to Dermot Mannion.

Vietnam approved plans to build a US$16bn airport at Long Thanh near Ho Chi Minh City as a competitor to airline hubs Bangkok and Singapore.

pilots selfieThis selfie cost two pilots their jobs with Argentinian Airlines: They breached security laws by posing for a picture with model Victoria Xipolitakis.

Alan Joyce’s speechwriter Lucinda Holdforth warned she would go guerrilla if Qantas tried to block Fighting Words, a book about her time working there, including the controversial grounding of its fleet in 2011.

Dennis A Muilenburg takes over as new CEO of Boeing on Wednesday. Jim McNerney, who held the position for the past 10 years, continues as chairman.

24 June 2015; GAAGO, the GAA and RTÉ’s online streaming service for Gaelic Games outside of Ireland, today welcomed Etihad Airways on board as sponsor of its international live streaming of the GAA Championship 2015. Pictured at the launch are Beatrice Cosgrove, General Manager Ireland, Etihad Airways, with from left, Uachtarán Chumann Lúthchleas Aogán Ó Fearghail, Noel Quinn, Media Rights Manager GAA, and Dónal Moriarty, Product Leader GAAGO. Croke Park, Dublin. Picture credit: Ray McManus / SPORTSFILE *** NO REPRODUCTION FEE ***

Etihad Airways will once again sponsor on board streaming of the 2015 GAA Championship. Picture shows Beatrice Cosgrove, General Manager Ireland, Etihad Airways, with  Uachtarán Chumann Lúthchleas Aogán Ó Fearghail, Noel Quinn, Media Rights Manager GAA, and Dónal Moriarty, Product Leader GAAGO.

Fly Leasing will sell 33 aircraft for US$985m this year as part of its ongoing fleet renewal plan.

Ryanair launched its Christmas season countdown with 3,500 extra flights.

Delta Airlines is discontinuing Los Angeles and Newark-Heathrow B767-300ER services from October 5 2015. The routes will continue to be operated by joint venture partner Virgin Atlantic.

Etihad Flight College - Embraer 100E - LREtihad Flight College signed a purchase agreement for four Embraer Phenom 100E aircraft.

Armagh man Roy Kinnear, formerly of Etihad Airways, was appointed chief executive of Air Seychelles.

AWAS is to place two A321s with VietJet Air on long term lease.

Avolon delivered a B737-800 to Hainan Airlines.

TripAdvisor launched dedicated airport pages offering travelling advice on what to do, where to eat and where to stay at 200 airports listed on the site. Singapore’s Changi Airport is the first to be listed on the site.

An Air Corps CASA CN-235, with members of No 101 Surveillance and Airlift Squadron, joined crews from Denmark, Finland, Germany, Norway and Sweden to participate in the 2015 Super CEPCO – Coordinated Extended Pollution Control Operation – over the Baltic Sea.

  • siberian tigerTransaero unveiled its Siberian Tiger B747-400 livery in a bid to raise awareness of the endangered animal’s struggles.
  • British Airways will modify 130 older A320s to reduce noise on final approach to London Gatwick.
  • Virgin Atlantic will operate four flights from Belfast International to Orlando next year.
  • Four flight attendants are suing Boeing, alleging that they were contaminated with bad cabin air.
  • Lufthansa will fit its 100th A320 with noise-reduction vortex generators.
  • Singapore Airlines is in talks with Airbus and Boeing to revive its 19-hour flight from Singapore to New York.
  • A man was arrested for making a hoax call to Warsaw Modlin Airport saying there was a bomb on a Ryanair flight due to leave the Polish capital for Oslo.
  • Lisa Cudrick reflects on her experience of the Aer Lingus cadet pilot programme.
  • SITA’s Airline IT Trends Survey predicts that 22pc of airlines will offer downloadable content for flights by 2018 and 66pc will offer WIFI.
  • A Turkish Airlines en route to New York made an emergency landing in Copenhagen after an old camera bag caused a bomb scare.
  • This week marked the 30th anniversary of the Air India bombing.
  • Delta Air Lines signed a three-year sponsorship deal with Chelsea FC.
  • Memorial services will be held in Australia, Malaysia and the Netherlands on July 17 to mark the first anniversary of the MH17 tragedy.
  • Cathay Pacific failed a water contamination test. Unsafe water was found on 14 out of 22 aircraft.

Southwest Airlines is sponsoring a host of LGBT Pride events in the US while Virgin America will once again sponsor San Francisco’s Pride events.

2,000 participants took part in the Bank of Ireland Runway Night Run at Shannon Airport. Limerick’s James Liddane and Cushia Hehir from Ennis took the top prizes, and former Shannon Airport executive Bill Moloney, aged 86 (pictured), completed the 5km run.


Pierfrancesco VagoPierfrancesco Vago, executive chairman of MSC Cruises, flipped a switch to begin cutting steel plates for the first of the two new Seaside class ships, part of a €5.1 billion ($5.7 billion) investment in new ships by the Swiss-based firm, the world’s fourth-largest cruise operator.

  • Virgin Cruises selected PortMiami as the home port for its first cruise ship, which will set sail in 2020.
  • Carnival Cruise Line‘s newest ship, Carnival Visata, was launched at the Fincantieri shipyard in Monfalcone, Italy.
  • A Celestyal Cruises ship collided with a tanker off the coast of Gallipoli. Nobody was injured.
  • Viking Ocean Cruises announced its second ship, the 930-passenger Viking Sea, was floated out.

Deal Watch

  • Astronomy Ireland 25th offer from Project Travel: 5 nights B&B in a 4* accommodation in Tromso from €1,875pp incl. city tour and optional excursions. Chairman of Astronomy Ireland, David Moore, will be there to give talks on astronomy and space. Book before July 31, depart November 12. See or call 01 210 8391.
  • Tour America offers: 5 nights Circus Circus Hotel, Las Vegas from €659pp, depart August 26.  7 nights Rosen Inn International, Orlando from €679pp, depart August 27. 7 nights all inclusive Grand Xcaret, Mexico from €1,399pp, depart August 20.
  • Stena Line is offering day trips to Oakwood Theme Park from €50pp incl. return by car or from €59pp by foot. Call 01 9075555. Stena Line launched a 10pc off on summer travel from Dublin to Holyhead or Rosslare to Fishguard, book by Tuesday, June 30.
  • Travel Department’s Occasions city break offers: 3 nights 5* Hotel Carlton Intercontinental, Cannes from €599pp incl. taxes, charges and return flights ex Dublin. 4 nights 5* Point Hotel Taksim, Istanbul from €659pp incl. taxes, charges and return flights ex Dublin.
  • Click and Go MSC Cruise deals: 7 nights full board MSC Magnifca/MSC Poesia cruise to Italy, Greece, Turkey and Croatia from €599pp. 7 nights full board MSC Sinfonia cruise to Russia and the Baltics from €699pp, depart July 10, August 7 or August 21. 7 nights full board MSC Sinfonia cruise to the Norwegian Fjords from €699pp, depart July 3, July 31 or August 28. See or call 01 637 1699
  • Sunway Bodrum July offers: 7 nights self catering 3* Summer Garden Apartments from €539pp. 7 nights B&B 3* Baba Beach Hotel from €499pp. 7 nights B&B 4* Ambrosia Hotel from €599pp. 7 nights all inclusive 3* Sami Beach from €849pp. Prices include flights, transfers, taxes, charges, 20kg checked in baggage pp and Sunway rep service. Seat only from €399pp. See Other Sunway offers: 7 nights 5* Gran Hotel Atlantis Bahia Real, Corralejo, Fuerteventura €1195pp, depart August 29 or October 17. 7 nights all inclusive AMA Waterway River Cruise on the Rhine from €1,999pp, depart November 2. 7 nights 3 ½* Cabana Bay Beach Resort, Universal Orlando Resort from €789pp, depart October.
  • Lowcostbeds’ Jumeirah, Dubai offers of the week based on 7 nights, 2 sharing, depart from now until September 30 excluding July 18 and 25: 5* Jumeriah Beach Hotel half board from €136ppn. 5* Rixos the Palm Dubai full board from €130pppn. 4* Ramada Palza Jumeirah Beach full board from €84pppn. 4* Arabian Courtyard Hotel & Spa B&B from €35pppn.
  • POR_BAL_0426lowFalcon offers: 7 nights self catering Holiday Village Algarve, Balaia from €1,439 for two adults and one child or for €1,659 for two adults and two children, depart August 30. 7 nights B&B 3* Sinem, Marmaris, Dalaman from €439pp, depart August 31. 7 nights B&B 2* Nathalie Ixia, Rhodes from €449pp, depart August 25. See or call 1850 45 35 45.
  • British Airways seat sale, sell before July 14 for travel September 1 – December 11 and December 25 – March 16 2016: Beijing from €200. Bangkok from €250. Mumbai from €259. Delhi from €160. Johannesburg from €300. Hong Kong from €220. Dubai from €194. Cape Town from €400. Lagos from €206. Shanghai from €220. Sydney from €360. Kuala Lumpur from €220. See you GDS for more.
  • Cruiseescapes is offering 3 nights full board on board the 4* MS Renoir in Paris from €619pp incl. transfers to and from the port, excursions, taxes and baggage, depart Dublin or Cork October 28. For more see or call 01294 1000.
  • Lowcostholidays’s if offering €50 off all holidays booked before midnight, July 5. See here for offers.
  • lindosbeachThomson offers: 7 nights half board 4* Atlantica Princess, Trianda, Rhodes from €899pp, depart July 15. 7 nights self catering 3* Katherina Palace, Argassi, Zakynthos from €459pp, depart August 25. 7 nights self catering Cosmos, Maris, Lardos, Rhodes from €389pp, depart August 26. See or call 1850 45 35 45.
  • ITAA offers of the week: 3 nights B&B JA Ocean View Hotel, Jumeriah Beach, Dubai from €645pp incl. return flights ex Dublin, private, transfers, airport taxes, complimentary shuffle to shopping mall, kids’ club, depart by June 10. 7 nights Eastern Caribbean Cruise from €569pp, depart October 31.
  • Fly Cork offers: 7 nights 3* Hotel Colina Dos Mouros, The Algarve from €445pps, depart July 30. 7 nights 5* Pestana Vila Sol Golf & Resort, The Algarve from €705pps, depart July 28. 7 nights 4* Turim Estrela Do Vau, Portimoa, The Algarve from €555pps, depart July 30. 7 nights half board 3* Las Chapas Palacio del Sol, Costa Del Sol from €410pps, depart July 22.
  • Discover Travel offers: 13 nights B&B tour of Sri Lanka from €2,349pp, depart December 19. 16 nights tour of Vietnam and Thailand from €2,749pp, travel February-April 2016 ex Dublin, Cork or Shannon. See or call 021 4635440.
  • Insight Vacations is offering 10 days Easy Pace Italy escorted tour from €1,999pps incl. flights, transfers, selection of meals and visits to Rome, Vatican City, Tuscany, Pisa, Florence and Venice, depart November 8. See or call 01 775 3803.
  • Uniworld River Boutique Cruises is offering 8 days all inclusive river cruise on the Rhine from €1,829pps incl. flights, port tax, gratuities and transfers. Book by June 30, depart October 14. See or call 01 775 3803.
  • Contiki offer of the week: 13 day B&B Mediterranean Highlights from €1,391pps incl. accommodation, four dinners and visits to eight World Heritage Sites. See or call 01 775 3803.
  • Wendy Wu Tours is offering up to €650pp off all inclusive tours in Asia. A China Experience from €2,880pp, depart August 15. Glories of China from €3,000pp, depart September 26. Grand Tour of Indochina from €4,830pp, depart August 22. Vietnam at a Glance from €2,700pp, depart August 21. See
  • The Fitzwilliam Hotel, BelfastTourism NI offers of the week: 1 night B&B Manor House Country Hotel, Irvinestown, Enniskillen from £62pps incl. afternoon tea for two and use of leisure and spa facilities, available until July 7, call 028 6862 2200 to book. 7 nights Spelga House, Newcastle from £495pp, available July 16, call 07720 432 781. 2 nights B&B weekend break from £65pps, available until July 9, call 028 7083 2768 to book. 1 nights B&B The Fitzwilliam Hotel, Belfast from £135pp, available until August 31, call 028 9044 2080. 1 night B&B Whistledown Hotel, Warrenpoint, newly from £37.50pps, valid Sunday-Thursday from July 1 to August 30, call 028 4175 4174.


Shannon Railtours 07Railtours Ireland First Class launched hosted rail tours and day excursions for arriving passengers at Shannon Airport.

CSO data shows that the number of inbound visitors to Ireland was up 12.1pc in the first five months of the year.

Clare County Council called on community groups and individuals to submit expressions of interest for cultural festivals and events tod form part of its 2016 County of Culture programme. The county council also said it is seeking tenders to produce a visitor and tourism strategy for Inis Cealtra.

IAE-Tipperary-smallTourism operators attended Fáilte Ireland’s Ancient East workshops in Tipperary, Dublin and Wexford. The final workshop takes place tomorrow in the Castlemartyr Resort, Cork.

Fáilte Ireland launched the Dublin Discovery Trails, connected to the Dubline. The four new walking trails are: Rebellion, The Story of Dublin, Echoes of War and Empire.

SPOTLIGHT ON IRELAND AT ROYAL HIGHLAND SHOW IN SCOTLANDTourism Ireland attended the Royal Highland Show in Edinburgh with four tourism companies. Picture shows Trish Gill, Hamlet Court Hotel, and Linda Duncan, Tourism Ireland.

Six Swiss journalists are visiting Ireland this weekend as guests of Fáilte Ireland. The group arrived on the inaugural SWISS flight from Geneva to Dublin. Their itinerary includes an introduction to the GAA in Portmarnock, a food and fashion tour with Evelyn Coyle, The Little Museum of Dublin, Teelings Whiskey, St Patrick’s Cathedral, Guinness Storehouse, lunch in Howth, tea at the Merrion and music in O’Donoghue’s.

Bus Eireann - WAWay2 (2)Minister of State for Tourism Michael Ring launched Bus Éireann’s Tourist Travel Pass and summer service to Keem Beach on Achill Island. The pass costs €60 and gives passengers three days unlimited travel out of six consecutive days on Bus Éireann and Expressway’s network. Additional days cost €16.50 per day. Bus Éireann’s 456 Ballina – Westport – Achill summer service costs €10 for an adult day return and €5 return for under 16s. Picture shows Brian Quinn of Failte Ireland, Marie King McGovern of Bus Éireann with Minister Ring at Keem Bay Achill Island.

Dutch blogger and Instagramer Eelco Roos visited Ireland this week as a guest of Tourism Ireland. He posted pictures of Spelga Dam, Silent Valley, the Causeway Coastal Route, GLenarm, Carrick-a-Rede rope bridge and Mussemden Temple to a blog on KLM’s website.


Gary Dunleavy of Tourism Ireland briefed members of Visit Derry at a meeting in St Columb’s Park House. Picture shows Gary with Helen Henderson, St Columb’s Park House; Richard O’Rawe, chairman, Visit Derry; Maria McDermott, Visit Derry; Odhran Dunne, Visit Derry; Seanna Gillespie, White Horse Hotel, Campsie; and Iain Barr, Waterside Theatre.

Expressway updated its X7 timetable from today, June 28.

The Killarney festival was cancelled. See the apology posted to its website, complete with irritating flashing background.

ireland specialistsTwelve travel agents from six markets visited Ireland this week as a reward for scoring high in Tourism Ireland’s Ireland Specialists online training, a programme aimed at operators and agents in Australia. The itinerary — designed by Tourism NI and Fáilte Ireland — included visits to Crumlin Road Gaol, Titanic Belfast, SS Nomadic, Monasterboice, Newbridge Silverware, Russbourough House and Guinness Storehouse. Picture shows Louise O’Mahony of Tourism Ireland and tour guide Min Lin Siew with the group at Monasterboice.

Backers of Shanagolden based Basecamp Action Adventure Park say the park will generate €4m spend for Limerick city and county over next three years.

prideCathal McMahon, brother of Conor, attended the Dublin Pride Festival. One day after the historic US Supreme Court ruling and one month after the Irish Marriage Referendum, the crowds had a lot to celebrate. Organisers claimed that this was the biggest festival ever: some 60,000 people attended. Conor spoke to Cathal moments after Ireland legalised same sex marriage. You can listen to the interview here.

What we learned this week

Ramadan regulations on sunrise and sunset apply in the sky. The Etihad captains we travelled with this week carefully advised roasting passengers, when they could start eating and drinking again. Mick O’Reilly of Golf News, formerly Irish Press, joined the ranks of the fasters this week for research potpies. Read his blog here.

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

TRAVEL Extra’s Sunday Supplement: Ireland’s first €100m Travel Agent



Kennet River on the Great Ocean Road, Victoria, Australia, June 16 2015

Kennet River on the Great Ocean Road, Victoria, Australia, June 16 2015

The headlines this week:

  • The travel industry mourns six young lives lost in Berkeley tragedy 
  • Down to business – IAG makes a formal offer for Aer Lingus
  • The tougher the journey, the sweeter it gets
  • Liam Lonergan expands his empire
  • Australian Tourism Exchange hosts 125 travel writers from 30 countries

Travel Extra TV

Video of the week June 21Our video of the week shows a mariachi band performing for the guests of Thomson’s Dreamliner flight around Ireland. This one is dedicated to the Spanish-speaking readers of the Sunday Supplement. Watch here.

  • Arnold Schwarzenegger pranked fans at Madame Tussauds Hollywood by pretending to be his own waxwork. Watch here.
  • Motown at 38,000 feet: To mark Virgin Atlantic’s direct service from London to Detroit, the cast of Motown the Musical performed a medley onboard the inaugural flight. Watch here.
  • Aer Lingus Regional surprised its five millionth passenger with performance by Booka Brass Band in Dublin airport. Watch here.
  • Inside the Airbus A350 XWB during its flight presentations at the Paris Air Show. Watch here.
  • Tourism Ireland’s promo for Kilkenny Arts Festival, which takes place in August. Watch here.
  • Every couple of months footage of a tourist getting entangled in a military parade surfaces online. The latest one attracted 4m views. Watch here.
  • Extraordinary pictures from Jason Coniry of a close encounter with a 25ft humpback whale in West Cork. Watch here.
  • Thousands of red tuna crabs appeared on the beaches of California this week. Watch here.

willie walsh_2664 copyHeadlines

The talking ended and the serious business began with the release of IAG’s formal offer for Aer Lingus, conditional on the acceptance by Ryanair and on EU approval, and the notice of the EGM on Thursday, July 16 at the Crowne Plaza Hotel.

berkeleyThe travel industry and the entire island of Ireland was under a pall this week with news of the deaths of six Irish J1 visa students in a balcony collapse in Berkeley, California. Both major operators dealing with Ireland’s J1 traffic were affected. Michael Doorley of Sayit Travel flew out to Berkeley on Thursday to deal with arrangements and assist the families of deceased Eoghan  Culligan and Lorcan  Miller and also Conor Flynn, who was seriously injured.

j1 nytIreland has 8,000 J1 visas in the USA this summer and 150,000 have used the scheme through its distinguished history. The New York Times used the opportunity to launch this extraordinary attack on Ireland’s reputation (“drunken partying and the wrecking of apartments“) and on the J1 scheme (“a source of embarrassment”). The scheme is under threat by Republican lobbyists in Washington DC.

Screen Shot 2015-06-21 at 00.06.03Aer Lingus received widespread praise on social media for assisting the families of those killed and injured in the tragedy. The airline refused to sell newspapers on board the flight to San Fransisco, provided internet access so relatives could monitor the situation in Berkeley and allowed those affected to disembark first. One message posted on the airline’s Facebook page received over 77,400 likes.

laim lonergan con horganLiam Lonergan, already the most powerful player in Irish retail travel, has expanded his empire further by acquiring Abbey Travel and its affiliates. Liam’s Next Century Travel Investments acquired Con Horgan’s Travelplan Investments. Abbey Travel was established in 1978 by its present owner Con Horgan who will continue as Non-Executive Chairman under the new ownership. Club Travel, with a turnover of €86.5m, is Ireland’s largest travel agency while Abbey has a turnover of €20m. Abbey’s Corporate Travel division FCm Travel Solutions was sold to Flight Centre Travel Group in April 2014. Liam is now Ireland’s first €100m travel retailer. It is not yet in the league of the tour operators at the height of the charter peak: at its peak Budget Travel turned over €500m a year, but it is still an impressive achievement.

Austrialia travel writers groupAustralian Tourism Exchange brought 125 of the world’s leading travel writers from 30 different countries to Melbourne this week and for the international media marketplace in advance of the event. Picture shows Ron Gluckman of Forbes Magazine, Land Kang of the Korea Travel Information Times, Michelle Stevenson of Victoria Tourism, Chumki Bharadvaj of India Today Spice, Rainer Aderhold of Victoria Tourism, Anne Kaiser of Flying Media Germany, and Eoghan Corry of Travel Extra. See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.

Leigh HarryVictoria Tourism hosted eight media fams before ATE, two groups to the Ocean Road, one to Victoria’s High Country and one to a Water and Wine itinerary. Next week they host four more groups, two to Wildlife & Gourmet, and one each to Winter Wonderland and Eastern Wilderness. Picture shows Leigh Harry, CEO of Tourism Victoria, speaking at the opening event for Australian Travel Exchange.

brett neagleAustralia’s fast emerging trend of walking tours was evident at the media marketplace. Brett Neagle of Auswalk says that Australians take 80,000 walking holidays abroad and there are just 14,000 walking holidays taken in Australia. Watch this one grow.

Matteo Clementi (26) and his girlfriend Enrica Apollonio (23) were charged with breaking through security at Malta’s Valletta airport to flag down their Ryanair flight . Despite fJohn-Erenacing up to two years in jail, they escaped a custodial sentence and instead were given a fine of €2,000.

Etihad Airways have the best lounge in Dublin airport by a distance. They also have the best breakfast in the airport, where Travel Extra’s Eoghan Corry began his trek to Melbourne for ATE, lubricated with the Grand Corbin Manuel from Bordeaux and the Longstone from California.

Chris Browne DreamlinerA big moment for TUI Aviation’s chief operating officer Chris Browne this week when she flew her baby, the Thomson B787-8 Dreamliner, over her hometown of Strabane on a victory lap around Ireland. Speaking at lunch in the Raddisson Blu Hotel Dublin Airport, Chris remembered how she was dubbed the “woman from Strabane, off her rocker” when she placed the order for the Dreamliner in 2005. “Who’s crazy dreamlinernow?” The flight marked the launch of Falcon Holidays and Thomson’s summer 2016 routes from Dublin to Cancun and to Montego Bay, Jamaica. Chris’s family were on board to witness the moment and her nieces Victoria and Charlotte Grieves were honorary crew members for the day. Thomson Airways managing director John Murphy piloted the jet. Director of engineering Jason Mahoney and representatives from the Jamaican and Mexican tourist boards were among the 200 passengers on the flight.

b787-8 DreamlinerTravel Extra’s Conor McMahon was also there. The modern interiors complement the extra legroom and wider windows, creating a comfortable sense of space in Economy Club. The multicoloured lighting and palm tree motif at the front of the cabin gets the family holiday feel going without being overbearing. The Dreamliner’s USP for long haul passengers has got to be its noticeable noise reduction. The jet takes off and descends with such ease, making the overall experience very pleasant. See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.

LA tourism lunchLA Tourism & Convention Board hosted a trade and press lunch in The Dean hotel to celebrate the launch of Ethiopian Airlines’ DUB-LAX route. The key take away from Francine Sheridan, Europe regional director for LA Tourism Board: if you haven’t been to Downtown LA in the last two or three years, you haven’t been. In keeping with LA’s target of 50m visitors by 2020, Downtown is smartening up its image, looking to become a hub of cultural activity. The project is aided by new attractions like The Broad museum, home to Eli and Edythe Broad’s $1bn art collection. Michael Yohannes, Ethiopian Airlines’ Ireland country manager (pictured with Francine Sheridan), told Travel Extra that bookings for both routes are doing well and surpassed initial expectations.  See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.

The Caliphate (known in the west as ISIS) has released its first travel brochure, extolling the virtues of Mosul. It is unlikely that Travel Extra will be reporting from the destination in the next print edition. Elsewhere, after the capture of Palmyra, there are concerns about access to Petra in Jordan because of its proximity to Maʿān.

Travel Trade

chicagoPicture shows travel trade hosted by United and the State of Illinois Tourist Board in Chicago to showcase United’s daily Dublin to Chicago service: Sam Van Aswegen of Atlas Travel, Jonathan Beamish of Trailfinders, Brenda Clarke of Tour America, Aoife Gregg of United, Rachel McAnaspie of American Holidays, Liz Mulligan of Club Travel, Blaithin Watson of Travel Counsellors, Elaine Seale of Sunway and Sean Healy of Lee Travel at the 360 Chicago

Marc_Mulcahy_TNZ_UK_Trade-300x224Tourism New Zealand has appointed Marc Mulcahy to the role of Trade Development Consultant, Ireland and Britain. He was previously Business Development Manager at Nomad Safaris in Queenstown.

Travel Professionals Skillnet class: Learn how to build and maintain a WordPress site, June 24, 9am-5pm. New Horizons, Strans St Great, Dublin 2. Price: €150. Book here.

Terry Lambert and Ana Vargues Via AlgarvianaAileen Eglington of AE Consulting and Terry Lambert of Hill Top Treks led the trade on a trip to Portugal this week to see the Via Algarviana’s walking trails and the Fisherman’s Trail and circular route on the Rota Vicentina. The trip was organised by the Portugal Tourist Board in Ireland, supported by Aer Lingus and the Algarve and Alentejo Tourist boards. Picture shows Terry Lambert and Aileen Ellington on the Via Algarviana.

Wendy Wu Tours is hosting a Macau webinar this Thursday, June 25 at 11am. Register here. Wendy Wu is offering agents a €50 One4all voucher for every booking made before the end of July.


trivagi ireland june 2015A strengthening of sterling against the euro propelled Belfast to the top of Trivago’s Irish hotel price index for the first time in June Donegal, often the top of the table was not included this month). Belfast was up 45pc year on year. Derry was up 32pc while Kenmare was up 32pc, Dingle 31pc, Dublin 26pc and Sligo 20pc without the benefit of currency fluctuations. Athlone and Limerick share the distinction of offering Irelands lowest average online hotel price across 32 search engines and 700 tracked by Trivago. The national average summer 2015 Irish hotel room price is €120.

trivago most popular irish summer 2015Trivago also released the ten most popular destinations searched online by its Irish customers this summer, with Paris the only one showing a lower price than last summer. Las Vegas is a surprise entry at number 9, the only top ten destinations that does not have direct flgihts from Ireland. Roll on that service that was planned by Omni from Shannon in 2014?

conor-kennyPeter McCann of The Merrion Hotel, Michael Davern of The K Club, Luc Delafosse of Hotel De Crillon, Philippe Leboeuf of Mandarin Oriental, Paris, Kiaran McDonald of the Savoy, London, Bernard Murphy of Gleneagles, and Nathalie Seiler-Hayez of the Connaught in London feature in Conor Kenny’s Dancing At The Fountain: In Conversation With World-Leading Hoteliers, which will be published by Oak Tree Press, in November 2015.

  • Executives of hotel groups including Hyatt, Hilton, InterContinental and Marriott wrote to the US government in support of open skies: “we do not wish to return to an era of regulation.”
  • Hilton Worldwide signed five new properties to its Curio portfolio.
  • Santa Monica got tough with peer-to-peer holiday rentals introducing harsh new anti-Airbnb laws.
  • Hyatt Hotels announced the opening of the Grand Hyatt Playa del Carmen resort in Mexico.
  • TripAdvisor announced a partnership with Marriott International. Marriott’s inventory will be added to TripAdvisor’s Instant Booking platform.
  • Hilton Worldwide will open a DoubleTree resort in Penang.
  • Six Senses opened its first Chinese resort in Qing Cheng Mountain.
  • Starwood opened its third Aloft hotel in Miami.

Correction from Sunday Supplement, June 14: The Corscadden family are owners of the Corscadden Collection, not Manor House Hotels.  Each of the Corscadden’s four castles — Ballyseede Castle, Bellingham Castle, Cabra Castle and Markree Castle — are members of Manor House Hotels.


Wetnwild_orlando1Universal’s water park Wet ‘n Wild Orlando is to close next year to make way for Volcano Bay.

New Orleans launched a website for the tenth anniversary of Katrina: noting that Louis Armstrong International Airport has surpassed pre-Katrina passenger numbers. The airport served 9,785,394 passengers in 2014 compared to 9,733,178 in 2004

Canadian regulators charged six people with operating as a travel agent without registration and have had a conviction on one person who was charged earlier.

Two young people holidaying in the beach town of Oak Island, North Carolina, were swimming in waist-deep water when they lost limbs in separate life-threatening shark attacks,

  • Greyhound Buses launched an online real-time tracking tool to its app to allow passengers to see where their bus is and when it is likely to arrive.
  • Europcar said its IPO will value the group at €1.7bn-€2bn.
  • bobby healyBobby Healy’s CarTrawler signed a partnership deal with Eurostar to offer pre-booked taxi transfers.
  • Uber introduced a one-day free trial helicopter service in Bangkok.
  • Three tourists were killed and 31 injured in a bus crash in the Algarve on Friday.
  • Early bird registration for  the IHW conference in the Algarve has been extended until July 10.

Food and Wine

  • KOVE-Killyhevlin 025The Killyhevlin Hotel launched their new £200,000 restaurant, KOVE. Picture shows head chef Kevin Watson, Leigh Watson and Jacqueline Wright, Killyhevlin Hotel joint managing directors, with host Sarah Travers.
  • Andrew Rudd is hosting a series of tasting evenings in the former Venu restaurant premises on Anne’s Lane. See
  • Blackrock Shopping Centre is now running a food market every Thursday, 10am-4pm.


Lufthansa 1Lufthansa will operate the Dublin-Munich service six times per week during the winter season, which runs from October until the end of March, tripling capacity on the route, which went year-round for the first time last winter. Lufthansa carried a record 377,000 passengers in and out of Dublin Airport last year up 5pc on 2013. About three-quarters of Dublin’s Lufthansa passengers connect at the airline’s Munich and Frankfurt hubs. Most popular onward destinations for Lufthansa’s Dublin travellers included Moscow, Sofia, Tel Aviv, Kiev, Belgrade, Lagos, Shenyang, Tokyo, Beijing, Larnaca and St Petersburg.

SWISS bombardierThe biennial Paris Air Show showcased the brand new Bombardier CS300  whose launch customer is Swiss, the Airbus A350XWB and the Boeing 787-9. Irish lessors placed $11bn worth of orders at the event. Travel Extra was there.

Ryanair shut their website for an upgrade on Friday, having announced they will continue to charge people for airport check in who are unable to check in online.

screen-shot-2015-06-21-at-00-20-32The CEOs of Europe’s three leading flags and two biggest lo-cos (or, If you like, two Irish and three others) came together to announce a new lobbying group. In response, perhaps, to the Anderson-Palmer-Smisek roadshow in America, Alexandre de Juniac, of Air France-KLM, Carolyn McCall of easyJet, Willie Walsh of IAG, Carsten Spohr of Lufthansa Group and Michael O’Leary of Ryanair met, ostensibly in response to the new EU Transport Commissioner Violeta Bulc’s consultation on a new EU Aviation Strategy. They provoked a delicious new spat in the never-ending war of words between airports and airlines in Europe, reducing airport charges and cleaning up the continent’s notorious Air Traffic Control inefficiencies are two of the three stated aims of the new gang of five. Simon McNamara, director general of the European Regions Airline Association described the lobby as “an interesting new development” and said they were “looking forward to working with the alliance to ensure that all sectors of the aviation industry are represented.”

Qatar_Skytrax_2015_2Skytrax, the most controversial and usually the most Asia-centric of the half dozen or so international aviation awards, announced 90 category winners at the Paris Air Show. Qatar was again named as the world’s best airline for the third time in five years (Emirates and Cathay pacific held the crown in the past two years) was with Turkish (best in Europe) in fourth place, as well as an awrd for the best business class lounge dining. Singapore won airport of the year or the third year in succession ahead of Seoul and Munich. AirAsia won World’s best low-cost airline award for the seventh year running. Garuda Indonesia won world’s best cabin staff. Singapore Airlines won world’s Best Business Class , Air New Zelaand the best premium economy, Asiana won world best economy class, and Air France the World’s Most Improved Airlines. Norwegian won world’s best long haul low-cost airline and best low-cost airline in Europe. Vrigin won best airline in North America. Aeroflot won best airline in Eastern Europe. Only airlines who participate in the Skytrax quality certification system partioipate (Etihad are a high profile non-participant) and critics complain of a lack of transparency supprounding the awards..

Top ten airlines of 2015: 1   Qatar, 2   Singapore, 3   Cathay Pacific, 4   Turkish, 5   Emirates, 6   Etihad Airways, 7   ANA, 8   Garuda, 9   EVA Air, 10 Qantas. Lufthansa was top European fin isher in 12th place with Aer LIngus 61st up from 65th in 2014 Non Asian airlines have had just four top three finish in the past 15 years, three of them by Qantas.

WestJet selected London as the third transatlantic destination from Canada using its wide-body Boeing 767-300 aircraft.

The International Civil Aviation Organization banned airline passengers around the world from carrying e-cigarettes in checked baggage because of risks that the heating elements will catch fire.

  • Wicklow-based Crewlink recruitment agency reported turnover growth of 10pc in 2014 to €55.1m.
  • Aer Lingus Regional’s 6w ATR 72-600 Shannon-Birmingham service, operated by Stobart Air, commenced this week.
  • Etihad Airways expanded its codeshare agreement with Hong Kong Airlines.
  • Qatar Airways and Boeing announced a firm order for ten 777-8Xs and four 777 Freighters.
  • CityJet carried 23,000 passengers on the DUB-LCY route in May.
  • Emirates is adding 30 wireless smartphone charging trays in first and business class lounges in Concourse A, B and C and Dubai International Airport.
  • Amsterdam Schiphol airport introduced 35 electric buses to carry passengers from aircraft to gate.
  • Emirates launched a “hold my fare” facility, allowing passengers to lock-in fares for 48 hours when booking online.
  • A stowaway was found dead after falling from a BA jet as it landed in Heathrow airport. A second man remains in a critical condition. The two hid in the undercarriage of the aircraft, which flew from Johannesburg.
  • Iron Maiden’s frontman Bruce Dickinson’s firm Cardiff Aviation is launching an airline, operating as VVB.
  • Aergo acquired an A320 on lease to Avion Express, an A320 on lease to SmartLynx Airlines and signed a 12-year sale/leaseback with Sriqijawa Air on two B737-900ERs delivering in August.
  • AWAS delivered an A320 to Aegean Airlines.
  • Ethiopian announced the purchase of six additional B-787 Dreamliners from Boeing.
  • Four Muslim men who accused FBI agents of putting them on a no-fly list because they refused to become informants want to pursue damages now the travel ban has been lifted,
  • DCU hosted an Aviation Leadership Open Evening
  • Hewitt launched Eagle over-the-wing fueling nozzles for small and medium size business aircraft as well as helicopters.
  • Iberia opened a new Lounge at Malabo Airport.
  • Tayto sandwich Aer LingusPR success of the month is Aer LIngu’s Tayto sandwich, proving most popular on the Malaga, Barcelona and Alicante routes and generating lots of coverage two weeks after its launch.
  • Etihad appointed Philippe Eyedaleine as head of public affairs in Europe.
  • Iberia Business Club passengers and Iberia Plus Singular, Platinum and Gold car holders can use the VIP lounge at the Malabo Airport, Equatorial Guinea.
  • Boeing opened a research and technology centre in Alabama.
  • Virgin America upgraded its Red IFE system to run on Android devices.
  • Malaysia Airlines appointed Peter Bellew as COO, effective September 1.
  • Japan Airlines launched the JAL Countdown app which provided waiting times in security at T1 Tokyo Haneda.
  • Thunderstorms over southern Europe led to hundreds of delayed flights last weekend.


  • d17108-0012The Cuahuhtémoc arrived in Dublin on Wednesday, the first of 15 port of calls in Europe. Picture shows Ciara Sugrue of Fáilte Ireland with Captain Mata Commander of the sailing ship and The  Mexician Ambassador to Ireland, Carlos Garcia de Alba and Rear Admiral Jose Aguayo Naval Attache.
  • John Galligan Travel is offering a 12 nights Irish group departure on a Hutigruten Antarctic cruise for €7,995.
  • CLIA is planning a ‘New to Cruise Summit event aimed at agents who don’t sell cruise
  • Silversea is offering WiFi to all guests in all suites and public spaces on all cruises including expedition cruises.
  • A LEGO model of the Queen Mary will be on display on the actual ship from July 4.

Deal Watch

  • Topflight‘s 5 say USA sale starts tomorrow, Monday June 22. See or call 01 240 1788.
  • Wendy Wu Tours is offering 2 countries for the price of 1, book by July 3: Book a Vietnam tour and receive a trip to Cambodia incl. guided tour to Angkor Wat with lunch and transfers. Book a China tour and receive a trip to Hong Kong. See or call 0818 776 380. Wendy Wu Tours’ Exclusive Collection offers chauffeur transfers to the airport, 5* accommodation, champagne and visa. See here.
  • Thomson offers: 7 nights full board on board Thomson Majesty, Italian Job form €889pps incl. return flights ex Dublin, depart July 24. 7 nights Belvedere, Costa Dorada, Salou from  €599pp incl. return flights ex Shannon, depart August 28. 7 nights half board Cooronas Playa, Costa Teguise, Lanzarote from €659pps incl. return flights ex Dublin, depart November 1. See or call 1850 45 35 45.
  • Sunway USA and Canada offers: 7 nights 3* International Palms, Orlando from €655pp, travel in October. 4 nights 3* Stratosphere Hotel, Las Vegas from €665pp, travel in November. 3 nights 3* New Yorker Hotel, New York from €805pp, travel in March 2016. 3 nights 3* Essex Inn Hotel, Chicago from €815pp, travel in March 2016. 3 nights 3* Holiday Inn Capitol, Washington DC, travel in November. 4 nights 3* Holiday Inn Downtown, Toronto from €649pp, travel in March 2016. 8 days California Coast fly-drive from €1,355pp incl. economy 2 door car hire, travel in November. 9 days Massachusetts fly-drive from €1,639pp incl. economy 2 door car hire, travel in October.
  • HV_GEN_13_F807Falcon offers: 7 nights Holiday Village Flamingo Beach, Playa Blanca, Lanzarote from €2,169 for two adults and one child and from €2,879 for two adults and two children, depart August 27. 7 nights half board Rey Don Jaime, Santa Ponsa, Majorca from €739pp incl. return flights ex Cork, depart July 21. 7 nights all inclusive Villa Dorada, Costa Dorada, Salou from €799pp incl. return flights ex Shannon, depart August 28. See or call 1850 45 35 45.
  • Press release 2Tour America Easter and St Patrick’s Day 2016 offers: 7 nights 3* Rosen Inn International Drive, Orlando from €669pp incl. return flights, depart March 21 2016. 3 nights 4* Roosevelt Hotel, New York from €789pp incl. return flights, depart March 16. 3 nights 4* Renaissance Boston Waterfront Hotel, Boston from €779pp incl. return flights, depart March 16. Call 01 817 3500.
  • Click and Go offers: 4 nights 4* Abba Madrid Hotel, Madrid from €279pp incl. return flights ex Dublin, travel in July. 7 nights self catering 3* Elba Lucia Sport & Suite Hotel Aparthotel, Caleta de Fuste, Fuerteventura from €349pp incl. return flights ex Dublin and transfers, travel in September. 7 nights self catering 2* Mirachoro II Apartments from €449pp incl. return flights ex Dublin and transfers, travel in July. 7 nights 5* Atlantic Palace Agadir – Gold Thalasso & Casino Resort Hotel from €485pp incl. return flights ex Dublin and transfers, travel in September. 7 nights half board 4* Beatriz Costa Teguide & Spa Hotel, Lanzarote from €509pp incl. return flights ex Dublin and transfers, travel in October. 7 nights self catering 3 key Local Dubrovnik Apartments from €539pp incl. return flights ex Dublin and transfers, travel in July. See or call 01 539 7777.
  • Sunway is offering 7 nights B&B 4* Agadir Beach Club Hotel, Morocco from €549pp incl. return flights, return airport transfers, taxes, charges, 20kg checked in baggage pp and Sunway rep services, depart July 4 or 11. 7 nights 4* Centara Kata Hotel, Phuket from €799pp, depart September. 7 nights 4* Occidental Punta Cana, Dominican Republic from €1,285pp, depart September. 7 nights B&B 4* Reethi Beach Resort, Maldives from €1,479pp, depart May 2016.
  • ITAA’s offers of the week: 3 nights 4* Roosevelt Hotel, New York City from €719pp incl. return flights, taxes and charges, depart February 4 2016. 4 nights half board 4* Royal Andalusia Hotel, Golf  Digest Overseas Event, Spain from €695pps incl. 3 rounds of golf, 1 practice round, prizes, transfers and entertainment, depart October 6. 11 nights Jewels of Thailand tour from €2,249pp incl. return flights from Dublin and transfers, travel in September or October.
  • Insight Vacations is offering a 9-day tour of Spain and Portugal from €1,779pps incl. flights, transfers, selection of meals and visits to Madrid, Granada, Seville, Lisbon and Salamanca. Depart August 8. See or call 01 775 3803.
  • Uniworld River Boutique Cruises is offing an 8-day all inclusive cruise on the Danube from €1,456pps incl. flights, port tax, gratuities and transfers. Book by June 30, depart November 11. See or call 01 775 3803.
  • Contiki is offering an 8-day tour of Italy from €1,479pps incl. flights, 3 regional dinners and visits to six World Heritage sites. See or call 01 775 3803.


Eugene Garrihy of Doolin Tourism predicted that numbers travelling from Doolin to the Aran islands would double from the current 100,000 as a result of an extension to Doolin’s pier. “Up to now tidal restrictions have prevented sailings for up to four hours in the early afternoon at the pier, denying operators business at the peak time of the day.” Picture shows Eugene with his daughter Aoibhinn.

National Water Safety noted that 114 drowned in 2014, 23 more than in 2013, of which 79pc were male and six were children aged 14.

Submissions opened for the Film categories at Sky Road TV & Film Festival on Oct 9-11 at Station House Theatre, in Clifden and will close Aug 28. Documentary categories open June 22 and new media categories open June 26.

11 June 2015:Two German travel blogger, Steve Hanisch and Kristin Addis, were hosted by Tourism Ireland on a tour of Game of Thrones locations. Picture shows Kristin Steve with Emma Gorman of Tourism Ireland at Tollymore Forest Park, Newcastle.

The Tall Ships Race will bring 80 ships to Belfast from July 2-5.

The Department of Foreign Affairs said the Irish Passport Card will not be available until the end of September.

Golf-small_2Fáilte Ireland and Irish Ferries hosted a group of 14 English golf writers in Ireland this week on the annual golf weekend, now in its 30th year. The played a round at the Woodbrook Golf Club, Wicklow Golf Club and the Royal Dublin Golf Club.

Kerry was listed at number 2 on Lonely Planet’s list of top European destinations for family holidays.

The Dublin Lunchtime City Cycle, which is part of National Bike Week, took place on Wednesday.

Enniscorthy Strawberry, Culture and Food Festival takes place June 24 to 28. Events include a teddy bears picnic, Faerie Queene Disco, cookery demos, literary events, an art trail and live music.

48717.00The General Lee car from Dukes of Hazzard is now on display at the Newbridge Silverware visitor centre. Hell’s Chariot from Grease will go on display from July 9. Both cars are on display till the end of July and can be viewed free of charge.

Upcoming events in Limerick: Druid Shakespeare, June 23-27. Limerick Sings International Choral Festival, June 26-29.

What we learned this week

Australian leeches like to come out after a night of rainfall in, can find a leg under a trousers leg very easily, and cause a lot of spilt blood after they suck.

And finally

Over a glass of Shiraz conversation at ATE turned, as it often does, to the slow decline of the dedicated Travel section and extinction of the dedicated travel editor.

Domini Clark of the Toronto Globe and Spud Hilton of the SF Chronicle, two of the last remaining, reckoned there are eight left in North America. London is lluckily still a bastion of the full time travel editor, Charlie Starmer-Smith of the Telegraph.

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