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

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

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

 

Things to know abut travel this week

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

Travel Extra TV

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

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

Behind the headlines

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

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

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

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

Travel Trade

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Strange world

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

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

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

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

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

International

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

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

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

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

Food & Beverage

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

Hotels

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

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

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

Aviation

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

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

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

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

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

Afloat

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

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

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

Ireland

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

    Lego Skellig Michael

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

Deal watch

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

What we learned

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

 

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

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

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

  • Things 

Things to know about travel this week.

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

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

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

Behind the Headlines

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

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

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

Travel Trade

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

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

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

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

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

Strange world

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

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

International

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

Food & Beverage

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

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

Hotels

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

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

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

Aviation

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Afloat

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

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

Ireland

 

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

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

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

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

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

Deal Watch

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Travel Extra TV

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

Behind the Headlines

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

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

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

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

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

Travel Trade

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

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

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

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

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

Kate Wooldridge of Fred Olsen

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

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

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

Strange world

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

International

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

Eoghan Corry on the RTE history show

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

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

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

Food & Beverage

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

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

I

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

Pamela Byrne CEO of the Food Safety Authority

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

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

Hotels

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

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

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

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

Aviation

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

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

Bjørn Kjos CEO of Norwegian

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

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

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

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

Afloat

Eamonn Rothwell of Irish Ferries

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

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

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

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

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

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

Ireland

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

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

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

Deal Watch

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What we learned

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

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

december-14

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

 

 

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

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

Travel Extra TV

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

Behind the Headlines

Bjørn Kjos CEO of Norwegian

Bjørn Kjos CEO of Norwegian

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

Violete Bulc

Violete Bulc

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

Tomeu Benassar CEO of Logitravel

Tomeu Benassar CEO of Logitravel

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Travel Trade

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

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

topflight-_-melissa-whelan-jill-russell-maurice-shiels-michelle-anderson-shauna-kelly-topflightTopflight entertained the Belfast trade at an après ski party in the ski-themed Baltic Bar on Wednesday celebrating the launch of the ski season with a focus on the Salzburg ski route from Belfast City Airport. The tour operator a complimentary bar, DJ, spot prizes, a ski-themed photobooth and some games on the night. Picture shows Melissa Whelan, Jill Russell, Maurice Shiels, Michelle Anderson and Shauna Kelly. See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.

colman-caitrionaCaitriona Toner of American Airlines briefed the trade on the airline’s plans for 2017 including the move to premium economy. From the US to Europe, customers travelling in Business Class and Flagship First are provided with a menu created by restaurateur Maneet Chauhan. Picture shows Caitriona with Colman Burke of Club Travel.. See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.

Departing on the Turkish fam trip to the Seychelles: Roisin Carbery from Tropical Sky, Jennifer O’Brien of Travel Counsellors, Onur Gul of Turkish Airlines, Siobhan Emma Doyle of Trailfinders, Sonya Walsh of World Travel Center and Usha Panicker of Club TravelPicture shows agents departing on the Turkish Airlines fam trip to the Seychelles: Roisin Carbery from Tropical Sky, Jennifer O’Brien of Travel Counsellors, Onur Gul of Turkish Airlines, Siobhan Emma Doyle of Trailfinders, Sonya Walsh of  World Travel Center and Usha Panicker of Club Travel.

Cork Skal Christmas President’s Lunch 2016 will take place on December 11 in  Fitzgerald’s Vienna Woods Hotel. Dublin Skal Christmas President’s Lunch 2016 on Tuesday December 13 in the Talbot Hotel in Stillorgan.consort_0286

  • Picture shows a group attending the Consort conference in Alicante. Peter Freidrich, Ciaran Mulligan, John McKibbin, Sandra Corkin and Murkesh Sharma.
  • Kenya regional roadshow comes to Dublin on December 6th with drinks, food and an exciting competition.
  • john-grehan-selfiesG Adventures, represented in Ireland by John Grehan, revealed 18 new itineraries for National Geographic Journeys for 2017. John is pictured at Machu Pichu en route to the company’s annual conference and with a friend he encountered along the way.
  • Amadeus released Graham Floater and Lisa Mackie’s report: Travel distribution is it really the end of the world as we know it? See report here. See debate here.
  • The Commission for Aviation Regulation renewed the expired license of Atlantic Sky Team Tours in Galway.group_2733
  • Picture shows a group of Irish travel writers hosted by Madrid tourism on a visit to Spain on the ground fo the royal palace at Aran. Sra Rivero of the Spanish Tourist Board, Sean Dunne of the Mail on Sunday, Yvonne Gordon, Eoghan Corry of Travel Extra, Edwina O’Connor of Lifeoffstuff and Emma Nolan of the Dublin GazetteWatch here video of Salamanca district in Madrid. Watch here Sean Retana, first generation Irish tour guide, explaining the basics of olive oil.

Strange world

  • It was estimated that NHS translators cost the NHS £9.3m in three years in Northern Ireland.
  • A dramatic advance in beaver evolution- an enterprising beaver wreaked havoc among the artificial Christmas trees in a shop in Maryland. He has been sent to a wildlife rehabilitator, presumably to learn the error of his ways. “Plastic. Wood. Plastic. Wood.”
  • A woman opened an emergency exit and jumped out of a taxiing United flight on to the tarmac after landing at Houston airport.
  • Airline regulations that alcohol levels of over 70pc alcohol by volume mean that Rivers rum from the Antoine Distillery in Grenada is simply too strong to travel.
  • A teenager dangled over the side of a Carnival cruise ship for a dare.
  • An airline kicked a disabled boy off a flight home from his first ever holiday because his service dog was too big.
  • A Guam judge sentenced a Korean Air passenger who pleaded guilty to fighting with a flight attendant who refused to serve him beer more than two years prison time.
  • Lucky Air pilot in China was suspended after telling delayed passengers to mount a protest when a bigger airline was given priority by air traffic control.
  • David Tait. a columinst with Canada’s Travel Industry Today likened Michael O’Leary to Donald Trump.
  • Mexican airline Interjet launched a FindMika campaign after losing dog. The dog has apparently been found. 
  • British Airways could serve passengers a digital pill to monitor in-flight happiness.
  • A 700ft high Hindu temple in India is set to become the world’s tallest religious building and include a theme park.

International

  • The Australian government lowered backpacker tax to just 15pc.
  • Bikes outnumber cars for the first time in Copenhagen.marcelo-rech
  • Palma de Mallorca city on the Mediterranean tourism island of Mallorca is to be called simply Palma – again
  • Wynn Resorts says it’s joining a growing number of Las Vegas hotel-casinos by ending free parking valet service
  • Newark fast food workers protests for higher wages led to 26 arrexts.
  • Our sympathy to family and colleagues of Marcelo Rech, leading Brazilian journalist and victim of the Medellin aircraft accident.
  • GoEuro Citybreaks index rated Barcelona, Prague and Berlin as their top three. Bucharest was top for transportation, Kiev for accommodation, Belrin for nightlife, London for day activities and Barcelona for food and drink.
  • The city with the most tattoo parlours per capita was Miami Beach, USA with 28.48 per 100,000 citizens.

Food & Beverage

The Advertising Standards Authority for Ireland and Food Safety Authority of Ireland drew up guidelines on terms to describe their food in the marketplace, most notably Artisanal, Farmhouse, Traditional (your recipe or method of food preparation must be at last 30 years old) and Natural.

The Licensed Vintners Association claimed that insurance premiums for pubs have increased by 47pc over last two years, with one publican seeing their insurance premium rise by 81pc. Average premiums have increased from €17,000 in 2014 to €25,000 this year

JD Wetherspoons is to open a new three-floor pub in Waterford city in two buildings located on Broad Street and Arundel Square, removing the party walls between them, introducing pavement cafe areas at ground floor level and a new customer garden area on the first floor. JD Wetherspoons was granted permission to open a new €4m bar and hotel on Camden Street and sold five of its nine pubs in the north to the Granny Annie’s group for £3m.

  • Pimento Wine & Tapas, which opened in November 2015 in Carlow, is looking to open a second venue in Kilkenny,
  • Northern Ireland Hotels Federation award for Hotel Restaurant of the Year 2016 went to Lough Erne Resort.
  • Euro-toques Ireland named 23-year-old Maeve Walsh of Restaurant FortyOne at Residence as Young Chef of the Year 2016. Judges included two Michelin starred-chef Nathan Outlaw; Graham Neville of Euro-toques Ireland, Paul Kelly of the Merrion Hotel; and Wade Murphy of Limerick’s 1826 Adare,
  • Teeling Whiskey’s Global Brand Ambassador, Kevin Hurley was named Industry Legend of the Year at the Irish Craft Cocktail Awards. Teeling teamed up with Chinese distributor Summerage Fine Wines & Spirits to create a new oriental infused malt.
  • Esquires Coffee chain opened four new Dublin-based stores in the past eight months, a fifth store is planned for Talbot Street in first quarter of 2017

Hotels

The head of AIB’s hospitality division Owen Travers said AIB continues to be ‘very supportive of the Irish hospitality sector’ and has approved over €300m in loans to the hotel sector in 2016.

Marker Hotel GM Charlie Sheil was enrolled into the Irish Hospitality Institute’s college of fellows at its annual Founder’s Banquet and Hospitality Management Awards. Lifetime Achievement Award went to Peter Malone. Hospitality Manager of the Year was  Des McCann, Clayton Dublin Airport

  • Airbnb said hosts will need a license to rent their homes in London for more than 90 days a year, and homes in Amsterdam for 60 days.
  • Zanzibar which has planning permission for the development of an 89-bedroom hotel. on Dublin’s Ormond Quay is on sale for €10m having been on offer for €5m last August.
  • Ireland’s Travelodge franchise, taken over by Irish hotel group Tifco, nearly doubled pre-tax profits to €4.155m.
  • The 289 room W Hotel Las Vegas opened. “If there are two things in this world that were truly made for each other, it’s W Hotels and Las Vegas,” said Anthony Ingham, Global Brand Leader, W Hotels Worldwide. Carton House appointed Éanna Hassett as Director of Operations, Matthew Murphy as Executive Chef, and PGA professional David Kearney is the new Director of Golf.
  • Bedsonline announced total revenue growth in some markets of up to 200pc for its key product, accommodation, in the financial year ending September 30, 2016.
  • The five-star 192-bedroom Conrad Dublin hotel saw pre-tax profits double to €2.28m.
  • Mount Juliet pre-tax losses last year declined by 23pc to €1.9m as revenues increased by 5pc to €9.47m.
  • Shanghai-based Fosun Group is to create Fosun Tourism and Culture Group.
  • Marriott’s global brand officer, Tina Edmundson said eight of Marriott’s 30 brands are being designated luxury brands ahead of a major announcement on how the company’s 30 brands will be divvied up and categorised.
  • Property developer Johnny Ronan has applied for planning permission to press ahead with plans for a 141-bedroom hotel at Enniskerry, close to where Treasury Holdings, his former business, developed the luxury Ritz-Carlton hotel.
  • Radisson Blu hotel at Dublin Airport reported a 44pc profit rise.

Aviation

Dublin’s summer 2017 slot allocations include Qatar’s planned service from March and Hainan’s prospective Beijing service via Manchester. A proportion of these slot allocations will not be taken up.

iceland-route-pic-2Pictured at the announcement of the new Icelandair 3w route from Belfast City Airport to Reykjavik to start June 2017 are Ciaran Doherty, Head of Co-operative Marketing, Tourism Ireland, Anne McMullan, Director of Marketing and Communications, Visit Belfast, and Ellie McGimpsey, Business Development Manager, Belfast City Airport.

Expect great access fares to Northern Portugal next summer. In response to Aer Lingus decision to fly Dublin to Porto Ryanair have increased their service from 2w to 5w for summer 2017.

  • The Avro RJ. aircraft involved in the soccer team tragedy in Medellin was formerly EI-RJK.
  • Aer Lingus transferred their gold circle members to a 4-tier avios system on Tuesday, meaning future points will be accumulated on revenue, not mileage.
  • The EU is to press airlines to sell €1 bottled water on board, voluntary, for now,
  • CityJet is to take delivery of 3 Sukhoi SuperJet 100 aircraft in the first half and five in all in 2017 funded by Vnesheconombank.
  • Aer Rianta International profits increased to €23.7m up 10.5pc.
  • CityJet reduced its losses from €30m in 2014 to €10m and said it was going to reshape into a profitable and sustainable operator. Pat Byrne said: “within two years we will be the largest regional wet provider in Europe, and we will probably be the number-two regional sized airline in Europe, just behind FlybeWe will carry about 1m passengers and 4m or 5m for other airlines.”Yvonne Muldoon of Aer Lingus speaking at the ITAA 2016 conference on board Uniworld Antoinette,
  • Kevin O’Malley, Betty McLaughlin of the Institute of Guidance Councillors, David Rook of Riot Games, Yvonne Muldoon, Director of Sales Aer Lingus (pictured), and Brian MacCraith, President of DCU  are among guest speakers at StudentLife Summit (website) sponsored by Aer Lingus will include US Ambassador to Ireland. Admission to the Student Life Summit is €5 and Teachers can register their classes at www.slsummit.com. To celebrate its sponsorship, Aer Lingus is also giving away two tickets to any North American destination of your choice for teachers registering classes before December 19.
  • Profits at ground handling service firm Sky Handling Partner are up 26pc to €882k.
  • Ryanair launched their 86th base In Naples.
  • American Airlines flight attendants union called on the airline to recall its new uniforms claiming the garments are to blame for a string of health problems including headaches, rashes and respiratory problems
  • Spain’s EASA authorised FTEJerez to train multi-crew pilots for Aer Lingus.
  • See here Oireachtas Transport committee discussion with Dublin Airport Authority: Chairman Designate Pádraig Ó Ríordáin.
  • Flying in Ireland reviewed Public Service Obligation air services routes and capacity needs at Ireland’s State Airports.
  • Ryanair was involved in a subsidy row at Zadar.
  • Aer Lingus won Best Sports Team or Athlete Sponsorship at the Irish Sponsorship Awards.
  • Listen here Richard Curran interview with Aer Lingus CEO Stephen Kavanagh.
  • Newstalk podcast Michael O’Leary in the Midlands, and podcast with Henry McKean.
  • Vueling signed up for Travelport’s merchandising produce, Travelport Rich Content and Branding.
  • A life in aviation, watch Tony Fernandes CEO of Air Asia here and Akbar Al Baker CEO of Qatar here.

Afloat

Jo Rzymowska, Pat Ward and Loraine Quinn at the Celebrity Cruises event in L'Ecrivain.Dublin’s first homeported big ship will be Celebrity Eclipse operating five rotations from April to June 2018 including a 10-night Ireland and Iceland sailing calling at Belfast, Reykjavik, Iceland; Akureyri, Iceland; Lerwick/Shetland, Scotland; and Cork, as well as offering an eight-night Norwegian Fjords itinerary. Eclipse, after eight years of homeporting in Southampton, will split its time between Dublin and Amsterdam. Celebrity Silhouette will replace Eclipse based out of Southampton from summer 2018. Picture shows Jo Rzymowska, Pat Ward and Loraine Quinn at the Celebrity Cruises announcement. Watch here interview with Lorraine Quinn.

  • Construction began of Oceanwide Expeditions’ newest cruise ship the Polar Class 6 vessel Hondius at Croatian shipyard Brodospli.
  • MSC Cruises steel cutting ceremony to mark the start of construction of MSC Bellissima, the second of the Meraviglia class of ships, took place at the STX France shipyard in Saint Nazaire. Construction of the new MSC cruise ship terminal begins at port of Miami.
  • Princess Cruises pleaded guilty to pollution charges and paid a $40m fine.
  • Royal Caribbean and Celebrity are to include Gratuities on cruises from Australia and NZ.
  • A Welsh woman was washed up near Lawrenny after falling overboard from the Irish Ferries Isle of Inishmore between Pembroke and Rosslare
  • Fred Olsen Cruise Lines launched its New Year promotional campaign with free upgrades to its all-inclusive drinks package for bookings of five nights or more, and a waiver of single supplements on some sailings for bookings made until March 1 2017.
  • Lindblad Expeditions‘ new cruise ship National Geographic Endeavour II sailed out ahead of schedule.
  • Rosslare Europort is to waive charges for cruise ships for 2017, 2018 and 2019.
  • Royal Caribbean’s North Star attraction has broken the record for being the “Highest Viewing Deck on a Cruise Ship.
  • Seabourn laid the keel for Seabourn Ovation. Seabourn received its newest luxury cruise ship, 600-passenger Seabourn Encore, from the Fincantieri shipyard in Italy.

Ireland

titanic-belfast-ceo-tim-husbands-mbe-and-vice-chairman-conal-harvey-celebrate-titanic-belfast-being-crowned-king-of-the-worldTitanic Belfast became the first Irish winner of a World Tourism Award when they were named best visitor attraction at a marathon ceremony in the Maldives where 195 winners were named, following up their European award last month. Guinness won the European attraction award in 2015 and were shortlisted as a world finalist in 2016. Jumeirah at Etihad Towers was named the world’s leading hotel, Etihad the world’s leading airline and Changi Airport, Singapore the world’s leading airport. Norwegian Cruise Line won the large cruise ship award. The United Arab Emirates won 19 awards, three more were picked by Emriates airlines.

Viewing Platform Sliabh LeagueCounty Donegal was named number one in National Geographic Traveller’s Cool List: 17 for 2017, citing filming of the latest Star Wars movie in Malin Head and the county’s “weather-nibbled coast spotted with sea stacks, Blue Flag beaches and offshore-islands,” ahead of 2 Santiago; 3 Helsinki; 4 Greenland; 5 Peru; 6 Aarhus; 7 Canada; 8 Portland, Oregon; 9 India; 10 South Africa; 11 Iran; 12 New Zealand; 13 Seoul; 14 Sudan; 15 Düsseldorf; 16 Sicily; 17 USA. Picture shows viewing platform on Sliabh League.

  • Inis Mor’s beleaguered ferry service was given a stay of execution until January 4.
  • The Hidden Ireland collection of 32 country houses and 22 self catering properties launched a coffee table book.
  • Shane Ross hit back at his critics over his performance as tourism minister at the announcement of Tourism Ireland’s marketing strategy for 2017. The body anticipates 10.5m visitors to the island in 2016 and growth of 11.5pc and expects double digit growth again in 2017 despite some challenges. Watch here Tourism Ireland’s Jump into Ireland 2017 advertisement scheduled to go live in 23 markets and featuring scenes from scenes from Antrim, Clare, Dublin, Galway, Kerry and Mayo.
  • Ireland won ‘Best Luxury Destination’ at the Travel+Leisure India’s Best Awards 2016 in India.
  • A bogus taxi was intercepted and siezed while taking passengers to Dublin Airport yesterday.
  • The CEO of Belfast International Airport Graham Keddie launched a broadside against Tourism Ireland which is chaired by the CEO of Belfast City Airport, Brian Ambrose.

Deal Watch

thomson-deal-watchThomson offers: 7 nights self catering Protur Bahia Azul Apartments, Cala Bona, Majorca from €4459pps, depart Shannon May 6 2017. 3 nights half board Hotel Nerja Club, Costa Del Sol from €331pps, depart December 15. 7 nights self catering Cay Beach Princess, Maspalomas, Gran Canaria from €544pps, depart December 15. 7 nights all inclusive Clubhotel Riu Vistalmar Amadores, Gran Canaria from €1,069pps, depart December 24. 7 nights half board Hotel Barcelo Santiago, Puerto De Santiago, Tenerife from €539pps, depart January 13 2017. 7 nights half board Hotel Ifa Catatrina, Playa Del Ingles, Gran Canaria from €449pps, depart January 28 2017. 7 nights half board Hotel H10 Timanfaya Palace, Playa Blanca, Lanzarote from €699pps, depart February 5 2017. 7 nights half board Hotel Golden Donaire Beach, La Pineada, Costa Dorada from €679pps, depart Knock June 27 2017. 14 nights all inclusive Riu Montego Bay, Jamaica from €1,789pps, depart June 15 2017. 14 nights all inclusive Grand Sirenis Riviera Maya, Playacar, Mexico from