Tag Archives: Celebrity cruises

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


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.


  • 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.


  • 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.


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.



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



  • 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


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”


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.


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


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.


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.


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.


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: Cancun & Jamaica next up for Falcon



Thomson Dreamliner will serve six rotations direct from Dublin to Montego Bay beginning June 12, 2016, and Cancun direct beginning June 13

Thomson Dreamliner will serve six rotations direct from Dublin to cdontego Bay beginning June 12, 2016, and Cancun direct beginning June 13

The headlines this week:

  • Big news: Cancun direct, Jamaica direct
  • Aer Lingus serves up Orlando year-round
  • Ryanair responds with more frequencies
  • Revival for Aer Lingus J-class arrivals
  • Willie happy with the waiting game
  • Thailand hosts two fam trips in successive weeks
  • Delta & Air France thank the trade

Travel Extra TV

Screen Shot 2015-05-23 at 19.47.49Delta Air Line’s inflight safety video is our video of the week. Featuring a host of famous internet memes, the YouTube video has received over 2.7m views and appeared on The Manchester Guardian’s viral video chart. Watch here.

  • Tourism Ireland invites LGBT holidaymakers to Ireland following the marriage referendum victory. Watch here.
  • Take a look at Aer Lingus’s US pre-clearance promo, targeting customers flying Birmingham to the US via Dublin. Watch here.
  • Shannon Airport uploaded a video of Chinese Premier Li Keqiang arriving for a two-day visit. Watch here.
  • Discover Northern Ireland uploaded a countdown of the top 18 golfing holes in the north. Watch here.
  • Here’s Aer Lingus‘s Smart Flies promo with Chris O’Dowd. Watch here.
  • Tourism Ireland’s guide to Belfast with KLM and iFly Magazine. Watch here.
  • A look at the A320neo and its LEAP-1A engines. Watch here.


Dublin is to get direct flights to Cancun and Montego Bay in the summer of 2016, thanks to Falcon holidays. This will be the second Dreamliner route from Dublin after Ethiopian’s Addis-Dublin-LAX service to commence June 15. Services on the Thomson Airways Boeing 787 to Montego Bay will operate six weekly rotations on Sundays to Montego Bay from June 12, 2016 and on Mondays to Cancun from June 13. Thomson Airways is to take delivery of up to four more 787-9 Dreamliners. Boeing has delivered 240 Dreamliners and created 49 new markets.

The new Aer Lingus "Revival lounge" at Dublin Airport: The refreshment area and seating from the entrance corridor

Aer Lingus’s new revival lounge at Dublin airport went live on Monday. The lounge is situated in the baggage hall after Immigration control in Terminal 2. It is on the right hand side of the hall. The lounge is for the use of Business Class passengers arriving on transatlantic flights. It is not for use by members of the Aer Lingus Gold circle club, but is restricted to those passengers travelling in the “J” cabin up front. See here for pictures from Travel Extra’s Michael Kelly or connect with the album on Facebook.

Aer Lingus winterAer Lingus Winter 2015/2016 will introduce two new routes, increased frequencies on sun and ski routes and improved timings on high frequency business routes. Aer Lingus returns to Dublin-Liverpool with a difference: a new 16w daily service starts October 23 to feed Liverpudlians into Aer Lingus’s expanding transatlantic services. Liverpool ‘s Evening Echo reported the development as “re-establishing it’s air link with North America with a new service seamlessly connecting passengers” Transatlantic capacity routes is up13pc with additional Thanksgiving, Christmas holidays, mid-term and Easter frequencies. The extra 275,000 seats represents its biggest growth in capacity in the past 10 years.

  • As first reported by Travel Extra, Dublin to Washington 4w seasonal service has been extended until January 4
  • Winter services to Orlando for the first time (4w until January 4 using a Boeing 752)
  • An increase in frequency on the Dublin to New York route from January through to March with 5pc growth versus last winter
  • A double daily operation in November, December and March from Dublin to Boston with 19pc capacity increase
  • Chicago is up to 10w from daily, up 18pc on winter last year, with a new 05.30 arrival time up until January 4 using an A330 and B752
  • Additional frequencies on flights from Dublin to San Francisco and Orlando over Christmas, mid term (Feb 14) and Easter (April 5)
  • Flights between Dublin and Toronto will continue throughout the winter with up to four weekly flights
  • Flights between Shannon and Boston will operate throughout the winter while flights between Shannon and New York will be suspended from early January to mid-March, recommencing in-time for demand over St Patrick’s Day
  • Enhanced connecting flows between Europe and North America meaning customers can choose from over 100 onward connections across the USA and Canada with partner airlines
  • Aer Lingus’ offering between Ireland and Britain now covers 19 airports in England, Scotland and Wales and a total of 32 routes
  • 10pc more seats on Aer Lingus from Dublin to Manchester 34w with up to six flights daily
  • 14pc more seats on Aer Lingus from Dublin to Birmingham 28w with up to six flights daily, serving peak business traffic
  • 15pc growth on Dublin to Paris route with an additional prime evening business flight
  • 5pc growth on Dublin to Amsterdam service with up to five flights daily
  • Three flights daily between Dublin and Brussels with improved evening times to facilitate day return business customers
  • Additional flights to Zurich and Geneva with 10pc extra seats, to cover demand during ski season
  • Up to 26 flights per week to the Canary Islands and Morocco, catering for demand over Christmas, mid-term and Easter

Aer Lingus team pictured at the Aer Lingus winter schedule launch in Dublin, Mike Rutter, Dervila McGarry, Paula Donaghy, Orla Ni Cochrán and Eoin McGirl, May 21 2015

Aer Lingus Chief Revenue Officer Mike Rutter said in response to a question from Travel Extra that 30pc of Aer Lingus passengers come from “behind” Dublin on the Irish side, and 20pc beyond the gateway destinations on the American side. There are 5pc more seats Dublin to
JFK between January and March, Boston is up 19pc, Toronto and San Francisco will have additional flights at Christmas, mid term (Feb 14) and Easter (April 5). There are additional frequencies to Zurich, Geneva, Birmingham, Manchester and Amsterdam. The schedule featured an increase in Shannon to Heathrow capacity. Aer Lingus serves seven transatlantic destinations compared with 13 for Icelandair and five each for SAS and Norwegian. Picture shows the Aer Lingus team at the launch, Mike Rutter, Dervila McGarry, Paula Donaghy, Orla Ni Cochrán and Eoin McGirl. See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.

ryanairRyanair responded by announcing increases on Liverpool, Birmingham, and Manchester. Ryanair is to increase frequencies on 12 routes from Dublin for winter 2015/6 from October 26, Gatwick and Manchester up from five to six daily, Birmingham up from four to six daily, Liverpool up from three to four daily, Barcelona up from two to three daily, daily to Faro and Malaga, Madrid from 12w to 18w, Warsaw Modlin 8w, Alicante 6w, Tenerife South 5w, previously announced services to Copenhagen and Lublin and Venice Treviso extended to a year-round service.

willie walsh_2664 copyGlasnevin’s own Willie Walsh came to Dublin to talk to the Chartered Accountants Leinster Society Luncheon, and was chaperoned to make sure he did not say anything about the imminent IAG bid for Aer Lingus. His revealing talk outlined IAG’s strategy not to be tied by national identity, as Air France-KLM was when they chose their merged name, and “we chose a deliberately boring name.” Outside the room he answered questions from Travel Extra and others when he stressed that he was taking a patient approach to the bid, relaxed said Reuters, in no rush said the Irish Independent. See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.

Elsewhere trade union opposition was ramped up with Matt Staunton and Evan Cullen of Impact describing IAG assurances on Aer Lingus as “worthless” and Evan Cullen claiming that takeover would mean that Aer Lingus trans-Atlantic services would be diverted through London. Impact’s shopping list for the proposed takeover is:

  • No compulsory redundancies
  • Pre-agreed staff redeployment
  • Collective agreements underpinned in a legally binding agreement
  • All existing collective agreements to be extended to new and existing staff
  • Agreed pay rates, terms and conditions to be protected
  • No outsourcing, direct employment to be the norm
  • No off shoring of cabin crew or pilot bases unless by agreement
  • A protocol that staff of any IAG group cannot be called upon to take on Aer Lingus work in event of a dispute
  • An Irish/Aer Lingus presence on the IAG board
  • A worker representative on any newly composed Aer Lingus board within the IAG group

itaa and ITOF meet Minister copyMinisterial meetings tend to offer more hope of change than ever gets delivered, but representatives of the Irish Travel Agents Association and Irish Tour Operators Federation who met Minister Paschal Donohoe on Monday emerged satisfied with the level of engagement and at how well briefed the minister was. Much of the discussion related to the absence of a collective bond in the event of agency or tour operator failure. Asked what they wanted the travel reps replied a level playing field, where airlines are subject to a small surcharge as well as travel agents. At present only about 15pc of holidaymakers have any protection in the event of a company failure. A separate meeting with credit card companies on the double bonding of credit card bookings, with a lean on payments imposed on the trade, also saw some progress but no outcome to this problem is in sight: credit card companies are seeking letters of comfort which may only be facilitated by resolving the collective bond problem. A third issue: will the licensing issue be changed at European level? And is the future of the Commission of Aviation regulation up for examination, in the face of growing criticism from the industry. Recently the regulator achieved the unlikely scenario of Dublin Airport, Aer Lingus, and Ryanair reaching agreement on one issue: regulation is not working. Picture shows the travel delegation with the minister: Martin Skelly President of the Irish Travel Agents Association, Minister Paschal Donohoe, Philip Airey past president of Irish Tour Operators Federation, Pat Dawson CEO of the ITAA and John Galligan of the ITAA.

Niall McDonnell Ireland country manager of Red Sea Holidays, the Egyptian ambassador Ms Soha Gendi and Jason Hilton Britain country manager of Red Sea Holidays at the launch of Red Sea Holidays Irish brochure, May 19 2015

Red Sea Holidays will be hosting 100 (yes, one hundred) Irish travel agents on press fams to its properties over the coming months. According to Jason Hillton of Red Sea resorts hosting agents has proven the most effective marketing device for the group in the past. The group is headed up in Ireland by Niall McDonnell who first dealt with the group’s properties through the Mytravel group and was recruited to head up the Irish operation by Andy Grant. The group reported brisk bookings over the past fortnight despite delivering their Sharm el Sheikh hotel-owned tour operator product late to the market place for the 2015 booking season. Picture shows Niall McDonnell Ireland country manager of Red Sea Holidays, the Egyptian ambassador Soha Gendi and Jason Hilton Britain country manager of Red Sea Holidays at the launch. See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.

siobhan scanlonThe Air France family of Delta, KLM and Air France hosted the trade at Dublin’s Harbourmaster. Pictures shows Siobhan Scanlon, Vicky Pascual and Deirdre Sheridan of Air France/Delta/KLM and Enzo Miccardi of Alitalia.. Siobhan Scanlon thanked the trade and told guests that Air France continues to invest in products, she highlighted Air Frances new Vancouver route, KLM’s route to Edmonton and Monday’s launch of Belfast to Amsterdam direct, something that will have far reaching consequences for connectivity from the north. Delta’s new business class continues to be rolled out on long haul and on short and medium haul the new economy flex product is enhancing the choice for business customers with Sky priority fast track and lounge access. 11377266_10152859688252727_2035626652491605500_nDelta’s seasonal Shannon to New York service has resumed launch which combined with the Dublin Atlanta service means Delta have three daily flights off the island. Enzo Miccardi of Alitalia was at the event, and highlighted Alitalia’s new long haul routes to Shanghai, Beijing and Seoul. Air France’s frequent flyer programme Flying Blue won a string of awards recently including best programme. Delta have upgraded the winter Dublin to JFK service to an A333 from B764. Picture shows Michelle McCabe, Stacey Brien, Rebecca Curley, Elaine McManus, Margaret Dolan, Sabrina Vonsowski and Louise Brennan of ClubTravel/Budget Travel. See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.

Travel Trade

TIGSThe winners of the Travel Industry Golf Society outing to Fota island were Michael Doorley of Shandon Travel and Ann Marie Dalton of Turkish Airlines. The event was sponsored by The Travel Corporation. Picture shows Peter O’Hanlon of Travel Finders at the event. See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.

Next week’s IPW in Orlando will likely be the second biggest in the 47-year history of the event: just behind the record set at Las Vegas in 2013 of 6,400 buyers and 479 media. Delegate numbers are tracking 26pc higher than when Orlando last hosted in 2010 while international participation by buyers and media is tracking 15pc higher than in 2010. China Buyers are up to 109 (22 MICE buyers) from 17 in 2010, England up to 170 from 123 in 2010, France up to 34 (14 MICE buyers) from 18 In 2010. This will be the seventh time that Orlando has hosted IPW, more than any other city. Future IPWs will be hosted by New Orelans (2016), Washington DC (2017), Denver (2018), Anaheim (2019) and Las Vegas (2020).

pat dawson 300ITAA CEO Pat Dawson was appointed to the board of ECTAA, which represents the national associations of travel agents and tour operators of 27 EU Member States, two EU accession countries as well Switzerland and Norway.

Picture shows travel professionals who were invited by Delta Air Lines to see their 767 400 aircraft at Dublin Airport, to check out their lie flat product, new to the Irish markets at first-hand – Delta One, Delta Comfort and Main Cabin.Travel professionals who were invited by Delta Air Lines r to see their 767 400 aircraft at Dublin Airport, to check out their lie flat product, new to the Irish markets at first-hand - Delta One, Delta Comfort and Main Cabin. Back row: Vivienne Hackett of Club Travel, Claire Rochford of FCM, Teresa Murphy of Air France KLM Delta and Sylvia Mazon of Atlas Travel. Front row: Debbie O'Brien of CWT and Gintare Gedeikaite of BCD. Back row: Vivienne Hackett of Club Travel, Claire Rochford of FCM, Teresa Murphy of Air France KLM Delta and Sylvia Mazon of Atlas Travel. Front row: Debbie O’Brien of CWT and Gintare Gedeikaite of BCD. See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.

sunway group

Thailand hosted fam trips from two different tour operators on successive weeks. a group of travel agents from Sunway last week, accompanied by Onur Gul of Turkish Airlines, with Barry Hammond and Jeanette Taylor of Sunway. Picture shows Fidelma Burke of Grogan travel in Tuam, Annette Hynes of One Stop Travel in Galway, Adelle Durcan of Mackin travel, Jacinta McGlynn of Travel Biz, Barry Hammond of Sunway, Nuasara of Dheva Mantra Resort, Margaret McGaughey of Liberty travel in Letterkenny, Onur Gull of Turkish airlines, Anne Rupert Nolan of just split in Limerick, Jeanette Taylor of Sunway, Amanda Neeson of O’Hanrahan travel in Monaghan.

Leah ParmeshwarNext week Thailand hosts another group accompanied by Leah Parmeshwar (pictured) of Topflight and Clareanna Phillips of Emirates. Participants include Caroline McDermott of O’Hanrahan’s Travel, Denise Winters of Garda Holiday Club, Jennifer Litchfield of O’Callaghan Travel, Maria Finnerty of Gail Ennis Travel, Delia Aston of Clubworld Travel and Gillian Purser of Marble City Travel.

Topflight are hosting travel agent training sessions in Belfast this coming Tuesday May 26 at Belfast City Airport. The training sessions will focus on Italy and in particular the Belfast to Verona route. There will also be presentations on the Topflight worldwide product. To take part in the informative training sessions, e-mail Tricia, or call +4428 97521168.

Irish travel media and their hosts on a press trip to Madeira: Barbara Scully of The Examiner, Rita Azevedo of Blandy's Wine Lodge, Marie Carberry of Travel Extra, and Marta Henriques of Madeira Promotion Bureau.

Picture shows Irish travel media and their hosts on a press trip to Madeira: Barbara Scully of The Examiner, Rita Azevedo of Blandy’s Wine Lodge, Marie Carberry of Travel Extra, and Marta Henriques of Madeira Promotion Bureau. Madeira flights resume this summer from Dublin after a two year hiatus with a Europe Airpost charter direct from Dublin to Funchal every Thursday from May 7 until Sept 17. See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.

ian Tian of China Direct was the overall winner of the recent Air France KLM Asia Booking Incentive. Picture shows Teresa Murphy, Account Manager Air France KLM, presenting Jian with an iPad.

  • Jian Tian of China Direct was the overall winner of the recent Air France KLM Asia Booking Incentive. Picture shows Teresa Murphy, Account Manager Air France KLM, presenting Jian with an iPad.
  • Aviareps has acquired the separate English-based Aviareps plc and merged its subsidiary, Aviacircle under the corporate brand of Aviareps.
  • Travel Parking Group’s airport parking application now available through Travelport Smartpoint.
  • ciara mooneyCiara Mooney’s Freedom Travel is finalising plans for a booth to be opened at Tesco in Monread, Naas, the second largest Tesco in the country. It follows Best4travel’s move to supermarket booths: Jeff Collins opened his fifth shopping centre booth in Athlone last September and plans three more over the next two years.
  • Motoring solutions specialists, easytrip announced a partnership with Ciaran Mulligan’s Blue Insurance.
  • Simon Cook has been appointed as two country manager for Ireland and Britain for Oman Air. Simon was previously with Arik, Aer Arann, Luxair and Finnair.
  • Travelport’s Travel Parking Group airport parking application, Looking4app, launched to travel agencies through Travelport Smartpoint.
  • Peter Friedrich hosted five agents who had won tickets to the Take That concert at the 3 Arena in Dublin, Cathal Teague of Trailfinders; Joanna Corrigan and Jade Christie of Abbey Travel; Paula McMahon of Reliable Travel Belfast; and Maureen Eason of Clubworld Travel Newry..
  • Sunway’s Dublin-Algarve service will operate on Fridays, from June 19 to August 21. Seat only from €299pp.
  • Aoife Finneran travel editor of the Irish Sun, May 19 2015
  • Aoife Finneran (pictured) has taken charge of the travel pages of the Irish Sun, two pages on Saturdays and two pages on Sundays. Contact here.
  • Lowcosttravelgroup achieved EBITDA of €2.9m in the 2013/14 financial year. The group claimed a rise in total transaction value to €643m for Majorca-based lowcostholidays and Swiss-based trade bedbank lowcostbeds. 
Travel professionals hosted by Teresa Murphy, Air France KLM Account Manager at Paris CDG to see the newly completed satellite S4, the new boarding area at terminal 2E. This new area allows Air France to group its operations to the east of the hub and to offer its passengers shorter and more fluid connecting channels. Back row : Marvin Castellon of Club Travel, Lucy Stanley of Atlas Travel, Erika Gogorova of Travel Broker and Xue Gu of Destination Store. Front row: Aisling O'Donovan of Club Travel, Louisa Ercolino of Club Travel, Sonya O'Brien of Eimer Hannon Travel and Teresa Murphy of Air France KLM Delta.


Pictures shows Travel professionals hosted by Teresa Murphy, Air France KLM Account Manager at Paris CDG to see the newly completed satellite S4, the new boarding area at terminal 2E. This new area allows Air France to group its operations to the east of the hub and to offer its passengers shorter and more fluid connecting channels. Back row : Marvin Castellon of Club Travel, Lucy Stanley of Atlas Travel, Erika Gogorova of Travel Broker and Xue Gu of Destination Store. Front row: Aisling O’Donovan of Club Travel, Louisa Ercolino of Club Travel, Sonya O’Brien of Eimer Hannon Travel and Teresa Murphy of Air France KLM Delta.

  • Travel Professionals Skillnet is holding a fire warden training sessions in the ITAA Office on Westmoreland Street, Wed May 27, 9.30am-5.30pm for €120. More info/book here. Finance for Non Finance Professionals, Professional Development Training Centre, Blanchardstown, May 21-22, 9.30am-5.30pm, cost €299. More info/book here. Excel Early Bird Special: Excel Level 1 and 2 for €150, March 25. Book before March 23. Book here. SEO and Google Algorithm updates, Hampton Hotel, Dublin, May 26, 9.30am-1pm, Cost €60. More info/book here.
  • Ireland’s companies act 2014 will commence on June 1 2015, and will replace the Companies Acts 1963-2013.


Mary Fennin of the Clanard Court hotel and staff at the hotel's tenth birthday celebrations, May 19 2015

The Clanard Court hotel celebrated its tenth anniversary. Speaking at the event John Osborne chair of Kildare Failte noted that he learned from Patrick Kavanagh that Athy’s best known export was mythologies. Picture shows Mary and the team. See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.

Salthill Hotel in Galway was awarded 4 star status.

Matthew Gale Massage copyAlaskan masseuse Matthew Gale will remain in residence at the 5* Monart Destination Spa in Wexford from June 5 to 25.

Blue Haven Hotel Kinsale was awarded the Trip Adviser Certificate of Excellence for the fifth year in a row.

Accor announced the sale and franchise-back of seven hotels (708 rooms) for €32.6 million, including Ibis Dublin West hotel.

Nelson Mandela’s retirement residence on the Shambala Private Game Reserve around 160 miles north of Johannesburg reopened as a luxury retreat centre.

Marriott added the 228-room JW Marriott Hotel Zhejiang Anji to its portfolio in China. Marriott also announced the opening of its first rainforest resort in Asia Pacific, Mulu Marriott and Spa in Sarawak, Malaysia.

  • Singita Ebony Lodge will reopen this summer after renovations.
  • Lifestyle hotel brand Zoku will debut in Amsterdam in autumn. Bookings available from July.
  • Pousada de Lisboa opens June 1.
  • Corinthia Hotels launched a Meetings app for even organisers and their delegates.
  • Mandarin Oriental acquired the Hotel Ritz in Madrid for €130m.
  • Shangri-La Hotels and Resorts launched a loyalty programme for SMEs.



Florida Governor Rick Scott reported a record 28.4m visitors came to the state in Q1, up 6.2pc over the first quarter in 2014.

  • Disney says it has opened its first store in China, calling its new Shanghai location the largest Disney Store in the world. Disney is considering rolling out its MyMagic+ programme — which allows guests to make in-resort purchases and book ride times with a wristband embedded with a microchip — to other theme parks.
  • The Eiffel Tower was closed to the public for most of Friday as workers protested against a rise in pickpockets.
  • A Georgia man who posed as an airline employee to make cut-rate reservations then resold the tickets for thousands of dollars has been sentenced in Los Angeles to six months in prison
  • Gane and Marshall launched a tour to Wilderness Safaris’ new Linkwasha Camp, Hwange National Park
  • 150 exhibitors from 19 countries will attend EUROAL 2015, Palacio de Congresos y Exposiciones de Torremolinos-Costa del Sol, June 3-5.

Screen Shot 2015-05-23 at 22.03.30This could be the world’s first elfie: Christian Le Blanc captured this amazing selfie with an elephant.

  • Bioculture, a guide for walkers and bikers touring Le Marche, Italy, is now available.
  • Next month, Hertz will increase car rental prices up to $5 a day or $20 a week.
  • SeaWorld increased single day tickets by $2 to $97 at the gate and reduced advance-purchase weekday tickets by $5 to $70.
  • Zimbabwe Tourism authority expects annual earnings to increase to $1.5bn.

Food & Wine

Cornish john doryPicture shows Cornish John Dory as served in Jamie Oliver’s Fifteen Cornwall Restaurant last weekend while Travel Extra was on a fam trip with Aer Lingus Regional to their new Newquay service. See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.

There will be 60 exhibitors in the Artisan Food Market at next week’s Bloom in Phoenix Park, May 28 to June 1.

The inaugural Wild Atlantic Seaweed Festival takes place in Ballybunion, Co Kerry, June 5-7.



ba a380 aviva stadium copy

Willie Walsh revealed his favourite photograph at the Shelbourne Hotel on Wednesday: the BA A380 with the Aviva stadium in the background, icon of BA and icon of his native city in the same frame.

The back-story to all those feel good social media photographs of the returning voters for Friday’s gay marriage referendum in Ireland is the extent to which voters were shaken down by the aviation industry as revealed by Newstalk. Some sample one way fares using prices on Tuesday: Gatwick-Dublin €412, Heathrow-Dublin €473 and €487, London City-Dublin €544, Stansted-Shannon €261, Heathrow-Cork €509, Stansted and Luton to Kerry €263, Stansted and Luton to knock €263, Gatwick-Knock €366. This compares with fares from €15 on June 2. This is also a bank holiday weekend in England.

News from the winter schedule announcement is that Aer Lingus will move from Berlin Schönefeld (SXF) to Berlin Tegel (TXL) from the end of October, Aer Lingus will move its flight services to Berlin Tegel airport, growing flight frequencies to 10w, up 18pc. Ryanair will operate 9w to Berlin Schönefeld.

Portugal’s government received three binding offers for TAP and expects to announce a buyer for the airline by the end of June, its second attempt to offload the state-owned airline in three years. Avianca’s Germán Efromovich proposed 12 new aircraft, Gateway’s David Neelman proposes replacing its fleet with 53 new aircraft.

washington press club ceos copyThe three big US airline CEOs, Doug Parker, Richard Anderson and Jeff Smisek continued their campaign against Middle East carriers, telling the USA Today editorial board that Europe should have acted to keep the expansion of the three big Gulf carriers in check. “I don’t think they knew what we now know, that indeed there was subsidisation going on” Parker said when asked about why European regulators hadn’t already acted on the claims now being made by the Americans. CEO of United Jeff Smisek listed Ireland among the obscure jurisdictions that Gulf carriers’ finances were uncovered from, alongside Singapore, Australia, India, Belgium, Ireland, Malta and England.

  • Ryanair upgraded their mobile app allows customers to store payment and passport details
  • Avolon delivered its first B787-800 to Avianca.
  • United extended their second Dublin to Newark flight by four weeks to September 24, it was originally scheduled to finish on August 18.
  • Aer Lingus Regional’s Dublin to Doncaster route does not appear in the winter schedules.
  • KLM relaunched services from Belfast City Airport to Amsterdam.
  • Avolon delivered an A320-200 to Pegasus Airlines, its sixth aircraft on lease to the carrier.
  • Cityjet will cut its Cardiff-Edinburgh and Cardiff-Paris services from June 30 after Cardiff Airport backed another airline to fly the routes in competition with the Swords-based carrier.
  • Airbus’s first A320neo fitted with Leap-1A engine performed its maiden flight.
  • Air France will resume services to Sierra Leone from next month.
  • A Jet2 pilot accidentally triggered a hijack alarm in Majorca, causing police to surround the aircraft.
  • Scotland will play Qatar in the Qatar Airways Cup in Edinburgh on June 5, eight days before Scotland’s Euro 2016 qualifier against Ireland.
  • Air Canada will start tagging all cabin luggage tomorrow (May 25). Staff will be stationed at check-in and security points to check that bags conform to size and weight limits.
  • TUI Group will rebrand its five airlines under a single TUI brand.
  • Wizz Air launched an updated brand and livery.
  • Emirates launched an app for Android devices.
  • Mahe International Airport is now offering free Wi-Fi.
  • Alitalia will cease its partnership agreements with Air France-KLM from 2017.
  • Embraer and Tianjin Airlines signed an agreement for the sale of 22 aircraft.
  • Auckland International Airport is awarding $100,000 to businesses that create innovative ways to attract Asian tourists to New Zealand during the off-peak season.
  • Etihad Airways appointed aviation IT company SITA to provide baggage tracking services.
  • Etihad will add a fourth daily service from Abu Dhabi to Bangkok from July 1.
  • Flybe opened a base at Bournemouth Airport.
  • The “nut rage” Korean Air executive, “Heather” Cho Hyuna-ash and old friend of Travel Extra, was freed from prison after an appeals court suspended her jail sentence:  She caused a flight to be delayed to offload an attendant, here is a valuable backgrounder on the culture of gabjil”, high-handedness by the rich and powerful,
  • A US Airways passenger stripped naked in protest after his flight from North Carolina to Jamaica was overbooked. 
  • Etihad Airways added a fourth daily Bangkok service.
  • Radka Lynn’s Balkan Holidays have scheduled twice weekly flights to Bourgas from Belfast at 11:20 on Mondays and 08:35 on Fridays
  • The Sydney Morning Herald asked why, in an era of historically low oil prices, Qantas still charge Aus $570 in fuel surcharges on a return economy ticket from Australia to London and $1080 for business class. It noted Emirates and Singapore Airlines also retained fuel surcharges.
  • Norwegian plans to move Boeing 787s from Irish to Norwegian registration “due to Regulatory reasons.” The airline Norwegian is still waiting on a foreign air carrier permit for its Irish-registered company, which was created as a vehicle for its 787 operations.
  • The Irish Times featured Aer Lingus €2m journey to modernise its brand.
  • AerCap completed the purchase of ILFC from AIG.
  • Shannon Airport objected to the development of the twin office units at the north-eastern corner of the existing West Park centre, citing safety fears.
  • Bobby Healy’s CarTrawler signed a partnership with Swiss International Airlines.
  • Antonis Simigdalas’s Elix Aviation Capital acquired 25 aircraft from Nordic Aviation Capital, an IFSC based regional aircraft leasing company that focuses on turboprops,
  • Thai Airways returned to profitability as the airline group benefited from the recovery of Thailand’s tourism sector and the reduction in fuel prices.
  • Airports are the gateways to Europe’s tourism markets, but most are also loss-making. Is this inevitable, or are there better ways?is title of the address by Michael Cawley at ACI EUROPE in Prague alongside EU Transport Commissioner Violeta Bulc.

Screen Shot 2015-05-23 at 22.07.57Copenhagen’s mayor took on Ryanair banning city employees from using the airline. Predictably, Ryanair struck back.

Dave Scully of Weston Airport in Celbridge reported a second year of business aviation growth:

  • The Irish Aviation Authority and Shannon’s IASC partnerred to launch a new Irish “EJ” corporate aircraft register:
  • Saudi Arabian Airlines became the first major non-EU airline to be fined under EU emissions controls.
  • Kerry Airport is to host 450 delegates at the Connect Aviation Conference, on June 3rd – 5th.
  • Alitalia CEO Silvano Cassano said his airline will sever many of its passenger agreements with Air France-KLM from 2017. These agreements are no longer beneficial, either commercially or strategically, to the new Alitalia and its ambitious turnaround plan. They were negotiated when Alitalia was in a very different position, with the result that the agreements in their current forms favour the other party. They are undermining our ability to restructure our network and the airline effectively to achieve the long term sustainability of our business. The new Alitalia is in a new position. Our business needs agreements which deliver equitable value to each party.
  • Malta Prime Minister Joseph Muscat confirmed that Air Malta is considering some form of strategic partnership with another airline including Turkish Airlines about a strategic partnership which could include privatisation.
  • Belfast City airport called for an end to the seats cap.
  • Dublin Airport’s app won the Ovum OTR ‘Innovation in Cloud Services’ award for delivering “a compelling mobile application.’
  • Lufthansa said there would be no further industrial action until the end of July. Air France threatened to close regional hubs in Toulouse, Marseille and Nice in negotiations with pilots unions. Cathay Pacific flight attendants camped inside Hong Kong’s airport on Tuesday after union members voted to protest new job contracts offered by the airline.anne sammon

Anne Sammon operated her last flight after 44 years flying with Aer Lingus. Travel Extra wishes her al the best in the future.

  • The Clare Herald recalled the day the first aircraft landed at Shannon in May 1939.
  • Flying in Ireland cast its eye over the increased traffic, new services, new image and infrastructural improvements at Dublin Airport and how merged American and US Airways were delivering increased Irish services this summer
  • Siobhan McCarthy, founder of the Save Cork Airport Facebook page confirmed that she had shut it down because the page had turned nasty.
  • And check out the Journal’s 14 most Dublin airport things that have ever happened.


Christina Hannon of Cunard, Martin Skelly of Navan Travel President of the Irish Travel Agents Association and Dawn Conway of Sunway in Dun Laoghaire for the visit of the Cunard Queen Mary 2, May 20 2015

The joys of tendering were revealed this week when Cunard’s Queen Mary came to Dún Laoghaire but coaches, tour guides, taxi drivers and visiting guests were left waiting as the wind rendered tenders untenable (we always wanted to write that). Picture shows Christina Hannon of Cunard, Martin Skelly of Navan Travel President of the Irish Travel Agents Association and Dawn Conway of Sunway. A total of 17 ships will dock in the bay this summer and passengers are due to be tendered off. Dublin is to get 86 cruise ship calls this year with three further calls to Dún Laoghaire. See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.

national_coach_tourism_awardsIrish Ferries has been voted best Cross-Sea Carrier at the 10th annual National Coach Tourism Awards ceremony in London. Pictured receiving the award are Irish Ferries’ Marie McCarthy and Ann Pye with Stuart Render of Coach Monthly and Jason Edwards of Edwards Coaches.

Royal Caribbean’s Allure of the Seas emerged from an 18-day dry dock with the main dining room sliced into four separate dining venues familiar from Quantum class: Chic, Silk, American Icon and The Grande, and two new restaurants, the Mexican themed Sabor Taqueria and Coastal Kitchen for suite passengers. Allure has ten new suites: two Royal Suites, six Grand Suites and two Royal Family Suites. New shops include Kate Spade New York, Michael Kors and Coach. Allure will be based in Barcelona this summer and returns to Fort Lauderdale in November 2015. Flexible “dynamic” dining has been put on hold for the ship.

Viking Cruises chairman Torstein Hagen with Bergen mayor Trude DrevlandIn Bergen, 20,000 people attended the birth of a new cruise line, the first in over a decade. Viking Ocean Cruises officially launched its 930-passenger Viking Star on Sunday in Bergen, Norway and revealed plans to create at least nine other nearly identical ships. The ceremony was timed to coincide with Norway’s National Constitution Day, its most important national holiday, the launch featured performances by Norwegian soprano Sissel, actor Bjarte Hjelmeland, singer-songwriter Sondre Lerche, acclaimed violinist Charlie Siem and comedy duo Ylvis. Godmother Trude Drevland, Bergen’s mayor, offered a lovely blessing of good fortune, along with a successful smashing of a Jeroboam-sized bottle of Veuve Cliquot. Festive fireworks followed.

Star Clippers Cruise Line is to build the world’s biggest sailing ship to carry 300 passengers to launch in the second half of 2017. Construction has started at the Brodosplit shipyard in Split, Croatia. Owner Mikael Krafft wants to recreate France II, the second largest commercial merchant sailing ship ever built. Features include three pools including one that funnels sunlight through the ship’s atrium into the dining room below, 34 suites with balconies and four luxurious owner’s suites.

  • The Cruise Lines International Association appointed Thomas Ostebo as president and chief executive officer.
  • A 10-year-old girl drowned in a swimming pool onboard Norwegian Gem as the ship was en route from New York to Florida.
  • Norwegian Dawn ran aground on a reef near Bermuda Tuesday evening and departed for Boston on Wednesday after repairs were made to its steering system.
  • Celebrity Cruises’ Bistro on Five raised its price from $7 to $10. Open from 11 a.m. to midnight, Bistro on Five serves sandwiches, salads, soups, and daily specials such as braised short ribs, lamb chops and Sunday roast. Milkshakes and floats have also been added.
  • Seabourn added guided kayak shore excursions, part of a for-fee programme known as Ventures by Seabourn. The programme will be extended to other vessels in the fleet, including those that sail to Antarctica, over time.
  • SeaDream Yacht Club will 112-guest yachts SeaDream I and SeaDream II, in the Caribbean this December.
  • Celebrity Cruises is adding more overnight stays in the Caribbean.
  • Costa Cruises will base its 2,826-passenger Costa Deliziosa in Fort Lauderdale as cruise ship homeport for December, 2015
  • Princess Cruises launched its own booking portal, onesourcecruises.com.

Deal Watch

  • Sunway offers: 7 nights B&B 3* Montechoro Hotel, Algarve from €549pp, depart June 19. 7 nights self catering 3* Clube Praia Da Oura, Algarve from €629pp, depart June 26. Dublin-Algarve flight only from €299pp, depart June 19. 7 nights B&B 3* Montechoro Hotel, Algarve from €519pp, depart June 19. Dublin-Madeira flight only from €329pp, depart May 28. 7 nights B&B 3* Dorsal Florasol Hotel from €399pp, depart May 28. 7 nights self catering 3* Summer Garden Apartments, Bodrum from €399pp, depart June 14. 7 nights all inclusive 3* Sami Beach, Bodrum from €779pp, depart June 14. 7 nights B&B 3* Baba Beach Hotel, Bodrum from €449p, depart June 14. 7 nights B&B 4* Ambrosia Hotel, Bodrum from €599pp, depart June 14.
  • Falcon offers: 7 nights all inclusive 3* Saturno, Alcudia, Majorca from €1,919 for two adults and one child, and from €2,469 for two adults and two children, depart Dublin August 25. 7 nights self catering 3* Hyde Park Lane, Playa de la Pocillos, Lanzarote from €429pp, depart Shannon June 8. 8 nights self catering 2* Bitacora, Puerto Del Carmen from €429pp, depart Cork June 8.
  • Stena Line is offering 7 nights self catering to a Pontins Holiday Park from €459 per family. Price includes return ferry travel from Dublin-Holyhead, Rosslare-Fishguard, Belfast-Liverpool or Belfast-Cairnryan and accommodation in Pontins Prestatyn or Pontins Southport. Book by May 31. See stenaline.co.ie/pontins for more or call 01 907 5399.
  • Thomson offers: 7 nights all inclusive 3* Haiti, C’an Picafort, Majorca from €539pp, depart Dublin June 9. 7 nights half board 3* Costa Dorada, Belvedere, Salou from €529pp, depart Shannon June 12. 7 nights all inclusive 3* Morromar, Puerto Carmen, Lanzarote from €539pp, depart Cork June 18.
  • Click and Go offers: 7 nights B&B 5* Real Minra Hotel & Spa, Olhoa, Algarve from €349pp incl. return flights ex Dublin and transfers, travel in October. 2 nights 4* Mercure Dusseldorf Hafen Hotel from €229pp incl. return flights ex Dublin, taxes and charges, depart May 30. 7 nights B&B 4* Windsor Hotel, Funchal, Madeira from €529pp incl. return flights ex Dublin and transfers, travel in June. 7 nights all inclusive 4* Blue Sea Puerto Resort Hotel, Puerto de la Cruz, Tenerife from €499pp incl. return flights ex Dublin, taxes and charges, travel in June. For more info, visit clickandgo.com or call 01 637 1699.
  • Travel Department offers: 7 nights all inclusive 3* Hotel Piscis, Majorca from €499pp incl. taxes, return flights ex Dublin and Palma City Tour. Majorca seat only from €199pp. 7 nights half board 3* Hotel Arenal, Ibiza from €409pp incl. taxes, transfers, flights ex Dublin, depart June 20 or 23. For more info, see traveldepartment.ie or call 01 637 1600.
  • Tour America offers: 5 nights the Linq Hotel, Las Vegas from €1,829pps incl. return flights and UFC 192 fight tickets, depart July 8. 7 nights the Rosen Inn International, Orlando from €649pp, depart September 16. 3 nights Roosevelt Hotel, New York City from €799pp, depart November 26. 7 nights all inclusive Riu Cancun Hotel, Cancun from €1,359pp incl. return flights, depart September 16.
  • Sunway is offering 14 nights full board Queen Mary 2 transatlantic sailing Southampton-New York from €1,645pp, depart June 14. See sunway.ie for more.
  • Lowcostbeds offers, based on 2 share 7 nights, depart September 5: 3* B&B Hotel Londra, Sorrento, Italy, from €37pppn. 4* B&B Sorento Hotel Albatross, Italy from €35pppn. 3* B&B Villa Royal Hotel, Cavtat, Dubrovnik from €33pppn. 4* B&B Hotel Croatia, Cavtat, Dubrovnik from €70pppn. 4* B&B Pestana Cascais Ocean Hotel, Cascais, Lisbon from €50pppn. 4* B&B Hotel Vile Gale, Cascais, Lisbon fro €65pppn.
  • Topflight Madeira offers, based on June 11: 7 nights B&B 3* Dorisol Florasol, Funchal from €563pps. 7 nights B&B 4* Hotel Alto Lido, Funchal from €649pps. 7 nights 4* Hotel Baia Azul, Funchal from €669pps. Prices include return flights ex Dublin, resort transfers, luggage allowance, rep service and online discount.
  • ITAA Spain offers of the week: 7 nights B&B 5* Ritz Cartlton Abama Resort, Tenerife from €1,399pps incl. return flights ex Dublin and transfers, book by June 15, travel in September. 8 nights half board 4* Sol Principe Hotel, Torremolinos from €549pp incl. return flights ex Dublin, transfers and wine, depart September 28. 7 nights 3* Marco Polo Hotel, Ibiza from €399pp incl. return flights ex Dublin and transfers, depart June 23. 7 nights 3* Pins Platja Apartments, Cambrils from €1,845 for two adults and two children incl. 3 day park passes to PortAventura, depart August 25.
  • BA’s luxury sale fares in Club World: Beijing from €1,542. Mumbai from €1,225. Nairobi from €1,293. Dubai from €1,097. North America business class specials: New York from €911. Boston from €906. Toronto from €1,125. Vancouver from €1,295. For travel between June 18  2015 and April 10 2016. Book before June 9. See GDS for full details.


Paschal Donohoe told the Dublin Chambers on transport strategy for Dublin that Ireland is investing in transport at a level well below what we normally do, Historically, Ireland has invested just over 1.1pc of GDP annually on average in land transport. Between 1999 and 2011 the average level grew to 1.4pc of GDP as significant improvements were made to the network, most notably the construction of our motorway network. By 2012, however, this had fallen to 0.7% and has fallen further since.

  • Irish Tourism Industry Confederation chairman Paul Gallagher said that the proposed IAG takeover of Aer Lingus would boost tourism. The Confederation is seeking a new chief executive.
  • There will be a brain storming meeting for Skal members in Limerick (venue TBC) this Tuesday, May 26.
  • Porsche Club Ireland teamed up with Fáilte Ireland to send more than 50 Porsches along the Wild Atlantic Way, visiting 15 Signature Discovery Points.
  • Irish Rail launched a 6.15am Cork-Dublin non-stop train service arriving in Dublin at 8.30am
  • Doolin Tourism hosted a networking evening at the Micho Russell Community Centre on Thursday.
  • Wild Atlantic Way featured in Celtic Life International magazine in North America.
  • Tickets for the Irish Open sold out for Friday, Saturday and Sunday, but tickets are still available for Thursday. 80,000 spectators are expected to attend the event.

Cathaoirleach of Clare County Council Cllr. John Crowe being received by Gao Shuxun,  Vice Governor of Yunnan Province at Zhenzhaung Hall, Kunming Yunnan in South East China prior to the formal signing of Agreements between Clare County Council and the Province of Yunnan. NO REPRO FEE Local Government and Government officials from County Clare and the Chinese Province of Yunnan today signed an agreement aimed at developing closer industrial, tourism, farming, educational and cultural ties between the regions.   A delegation comprising officials and members of Clare County Council travelled to the southwest of China to officially mark the County/Province relationship as well as establish a formal link between the Burren and Cliffs of Moher Geopark and the Stone Forest Geopark (Shilin Geopark) in Yunnan.   Yunnan, which has a population of more than 46 million, is located in the far southwest of China and borders Vietnam, Laos and Burma.

A delegation from Clare County Council travelled to the Yunnan province in southwest China to establish a link between the Burren and Cliffs of Moher Geopark and the Stone Forest Geopark. Picture shows Cathaoirleach of Clare Co Co Cllr John Crowe being received by Gao Shuxun,  Vice Governor of Yunnan Province at Zhenzhaung Hall.

  • The annual Tolkien Festival takes place in Co Clare, June 26-28. The event is organised by the Burren Tolkien Society and supported by the Burren & Cliffs of Moher Geopark and Clare
  • Pictured helping to announce a brand new Kite Flying and Baloon Festival in Wexford is sister and brother Rachel (age 10) and James Reburn age 8; the festival which features lots of old-fashioned family fun takes place in Duncannon during the June bank-holiday weekend. See Visitwexford.ie – Photograph Patrick Browne.
  • County Library. The festival will feature lectures, writing workshops, archery demonstrations and evening feasts.
  • The Kite Flying and Balloon Festival takes place in Duncannon, Co Wexford during the June bank holiday weekend.
  • Marble Arch Caves Global Geopark is celebrating its 30th anniversary on May 30.

The Little Museum of Dublin, Copper Faced Jack’s and Chapter One featured in Buzzfeed’s listicle on hidden gems around the capital.


Pictures show travel agents and tour operators from Australia and New Zealand who toured Newgrange, Donegal Castle, Sliabh League, Yeats’ grave, Giant’s Causeway, Titanic Belfast, Strokestown Park, Kilbeggan Distillery and the Guinness Storehouse as guests of Tourism Ireland and Emirates, with Fiona Clelland of Tourism Ireland and tour guide Conor Ellard.

Fógra eile (with apologies once more to the late Con Houlihan)

Tim Pat Coogan, Gerry O'Hare and Carol Flynn at the Irish Press 20 years reunion, May 22 2015

Irish Press personnel gathered on Friday night to commemorate 20 years since the closure, an event which was tragic for Irish journalism but which led to the foundation of Ireland’s leading travel publication Travel Extra. Picture shows Tim Pat Coogan, Gerry O’Hare of Travel Extra and Carol Flynn at the reunion. Watch and listen for mention of Travel Extra personnel in an Irish Times video using Pat Cashman’s footage from the time recalled the occupation of the newspaper offices on Burgh Quay in Dublin after the closure (watch here) and Today with Sean O’Rourke which gathered five ex-Press personnel, including Sean O’Rourke himself and ex Sunday Press editor, now Irish Tourism Industry Confederation front man Michael Keane, to discuss the legacy of the newspaper (listen here). For more presstalgia read here Declan Lynch’s review of a forthcoming book on Muligan’s public house in Poolbeg Street.

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

TRAVEL Extra’s Sunday Supplement: Ryanair to Rhine-air, the battle for Germany’s domestic air market has begun



'Green Spirit', the Aer Lingus Airbus 320 painted in IRFU livery.

‘Green Spirit’, the Aer Lingus Airbus 320 painted in IRFU livery.

  • The €13m group booking
  • Ryanair brings forward its German offensive by eight weeks
  • Where next for Aer Lingus? See our print edition
  • Celebrity introduced Luminae, their suite class restaurant
  • And rugby players might fly…Aer Lingus wins with marketing promotion

Travel Extra TV

Screen Shot 2015-05-16 at 11.39.15Our video of the week comes from photographer Oliver Astrologo who created this beautiful montage of his tour of Vietnam. Watch here.

  • Two experienced daredevils climb the Shenzhen Centre with no safety equipment. Watch here.
  • U2 (in disguise) busk in New York City with help from Jimmy Fallon (also in disguise). Watch here.
  • Ryanair urge David Cameron to drop APD in England. Watch here.
  • Introducing Green Spirit by Aer Lingus. Watch here.
  • Aer Lingus Dublin-Washington from the flight deck. Watch here.
  • Richie Porte announces his participation in Gran Fondo Giro D’Italia Northern Ireland, June 21. Watch here.
  • Fáilte Ireland uploaded a video promoting Ireland as an events destination. The video was launched at the opening of the European Sports Tourism Summit at Thomond Park. Watch here.
  • Drone footage of Carlow. Watch here.
  • Ryanair Family Extra promo. Watch here.
  • Emirates’ Be There campaign. Watch here.
  • Monocle magazine launches its travel guide series. Watch here.
  • Visit Scotland’s guide to whisky. Watch here.


cover june 300The June 2015 print edition of Travel Extra will arrive in agencies over the coming days, read here. The latest edition has an extensive look at developments in the USA including the marquee route to be announced by Aer Lingus in 2016, the new Aer Lingus direct route to Washington DC and newsbytes from all individual cities and states in advance of IPW in Orlando next month. We also feature Rivercruise launches and trends for 2015, and trends in car hire. We look at developments in cruise including the new Anthem of the Seas’ even more technologically advanced than its predecessor, the refurbished Explorer of the Seas which has been given many of the extra facilities on more expensive cruise ships, and the future for the dynamic “no set” dining option that was met with less enthusiasm than anticipated when it was rolled out by Royal Caribbean. There are reports from travel events from four continents including Indaba, Rendez Vous France, and a review of the Hurtigruten Arctic cruise which will be served once again by direct charter from Dublin to Tromsø next March, The home holiday section samples some of Ireland’s Eden destinations and the call out for this year’s hopefuls with a culinary theme. We look at the emergence of Spain’s tourism infrastructure to become a world leader, the prospect of late specials in the Irish marketplace this summer, the transformation of Ashford Castle in Mayo, the implications of Dublin Airport’s expansion on plans for the parallel runway, Aer Lingus’s new business class product which is now available across the 330 fleet, how sales at the Loop in Dublin Airport are ahead of expectations, plans for the ITAA conference in Jerez including the post-fam options, the fall-out from the May round of license bonding, the expansion plans in Ireland of Travelsavers group, confusion about South Africa’s new visa regime, and Globe Hotels‘ plans to recruit homeworkers to expand its holiday experts product. Stephen McNally, president of the Irish Hotels Federation contributes this month’s Busman’s Holiday. Ever restless, the Travel Extra team are hard at work trekking through five continents to prepare the next edition.

peetr long tuiAs TUI confirmed that it is to migrate to a single brand across all its markets, it emerged that Ireland could be the last of TUI’s 32 countries to switch. The move to create ‘one power brand will signal the end of Falcon Holidays, Thomson and First Choice, but will take several years to complete, according to Group chief executive Peter Long. TUI family brands understand that the move is to integrate mainstream brands, and specialist brands such as American Holidays andCrystal will not be affected. The corporation is to sell off LateRooms to cut winter losses and to rebrand its airline operations.

Details emerged this week of the ultimate group booking: 6,400 employees of Li Jinyuan’s Tiens Group were hosted by their employers in Paris in a €13m incentives promotion by their employer, who booked up 140 hotels for the experience.

kenny JacobsRyanair brought forward their first German domestic route Cologne-Berlin by eight weeks, and with it its anticipated offensive against Air Berlin and Germanwings. This is a reaction to Germanwings’s announcement that it would begin its own Berlin Schönefeld-Cologne/Bonn flights on October 5. Kenny Jacobs told the PhocusWright conference in Dublin that Germany would be responsible for 20pc of Ryanair’s growth this year and half of Ryanair’s growth in the years ahead will be to and from primary airports in the years ahead. He also predicted that Skyscanner and KAYAK are going to be squeezed by Google and the airlines. As for Ryanair, 95pc of their business is booked direct, the strength of the brand plays in their favour, and because flight is first on the decision process, Ryanair can move to be more of a travel business beyond ancillary services. “Travel intermediaries should be concerned about what Google are doing, their flight search facility works for Ryanair.” Kenny Jacobs said Facebook is a big part of Ryanair plans, as social sharing will be integrated into the booking process. On the dreaded transatlantic move, he said Heathrow airport offers 55 destinations but Stansted offers 170 so Stansted is a transatlantic hub waiting to happen. He said connections with international carriers are a possibility but alliances are not. “We want to be the Amazon of travel, we like their relentless use of data and focus on conversions.”

washington press club ceos copyThree major American airline CEOs spoke together, perhaps for the first time in history, at the Press Club in Washington DC. Doug Parker of American Airlines said: “Once the hubs start to unwind, the airlines start to unwind.” Richard Anderson of Delta: US carriers are major economic drivers, AA, DL and UA together invest Us$12bn annually in aircraft and services.” Jeff Smisek of United: “Most of you have better guidance systems on your Hondas than our ATC. Jeff Smisek replied, when asked when three CEOs would speak together again: “Hopefully never.” The three shared a stage to further their campaign against Emirates, Etihad and Qatar. Elsewhere, Scott Kirby president of American Airlines Group said airlines are not seeing capacity discipline – growth is higher than GDP and fares are falling. “I think most people define ‘capacity discipline’ as supply aligned with demand – it’s not aligned in 2015.”

eoghan st michael's mount copyOn the same day as the Dublin-Washington route launched, Aer Lingus Regional launched a new ATR 72-600 route from Dublin to Newquay in Cornwall opening up the sixth of the ancient Celtic nations to be served from Dublin. The flights are on Friday (13.50), Saturday (12.40) and Sunday (9.40), switch to 5w on June 1, adding Monday (13.15) and Tuesday (13.10) and continue until September 15. Flight time is 70 minutes. Picture shows Travel Extra editor Eoghan Corry at St Michael’s mount for an evening visit before enjoying a meal and a hearty dynnargh dhis at Trevor Austin’s Fire Engine Inn in Marazion.

IMG_3486China signed an agreement to build a golf course in Bello Monte, on the west side of Havana, FitCuba 2015. The 35th FitCuba Travel Fair in Jardines del Rey, Cuba’s fourth tourism circuit. President of the Gaviota Group, Carlos Latuff Carmenate said Meliá would expand their portfolio to celebrate 25 years in Cuba. Cuba is campaigning to attract more yachts from the Caribbean. Irish tour operators report that enquiries about travel to Cuba have trebled since the first tentative signs that the infamous US ban on travel to Cuba might be lifted, at least partially, what one veteran Cuba specialist called a “get there before the Americans” effect. A pool showed 30pc of US adults are planning or would consider a trip to Cuba in the next two
years. Picture shows the closing beach party.

richard bray eoghan corry indaba 2015Indaba 2015 concluded in Durban with the 2,000 buyers and 750 sellers dispersing through KZN and other provinces and homewards. Some of the Irish delegates were among the last standing at the closing party in Moyo. Among those prominent in the exhibition halls was Serge whose high end travel fair We Are Africa had a successful second staging, albeit with a weird high-tech closing ceremony, to join Pure in Morocco as the continent’s leading high-end travel event. Picture shows Richard Bray, founding GM of the Lyragh in Kilkenny and now CEO of the Premier Hotel groups based in Cape Town, with Travel Extra’s editor Eoghan Corry at the event.

One in five Irish people who travel use a travel agent, according to a survey by ecommerce partner Webloyalty. The survey suggested 69pc of Irish people have been abroad in the last two years, that  84pc of those that have been abroad in the last two years booked online, that mobile bookings for holidays are relatively low, that online search engines are most popular Screen Shot 2015-05-16 at 16.44.07method for researching holidays and that price is the most important factor in selecting a holiday.

The MSC Splendida, the 11th largest cruise liner in the world, visited Cobh and Dublin last week. See drone footage of her sailing from Cork.

Travel Trade

IMG_7174 copyFriday is referendum day in Ireland and the travel industry chose to turn out to support Ciaran Mulligan and Mary McKenna in their campaign for a yes vote.

David O’Hagan’s Donabate Travel signed with Worldchoice Ireland bringing its membership base to 54 following some consolidation with branch movement and the retirement of Peter McGinnity in Cavan. A new Worldchoice Bedbank goes live next week. Don Shearer CEO of Worldchoice says he is currently distributing members overrides which have increased by an average of 40pc with some members recording rebate increases of 200pc year on year. A new Worldchoice Gathering for members and trade partners will take place later in the year.v

jo speakingCelebrity Cruises have fitted a speciality restaurant exclusively for their suite customers on nine of their ten ships, separate entrance, separate chef, separate kitchen and separate menu. Luminae went live in April and the Celebrity team experienced it for the first time last week on Eclipse. Celebrity will be the first cruise ship out of Abu Dhabi’s new port in 2016. The dedicated team for Celebrity Cruises has been in place for a year now. Picture shows the hosts at the Celebrity Cruises event for travel media, Andrew Bolton and Claire Stirrup of Celebrity Cruises, Sally Ann Clarke of L’Ecrivain, Jo Rzymowska and Lorraine Quinn of Celebrity Cruises and Emma Wayman of Siren Pr at L’Ecrivain restaurant. Jo Rzymowska revealed her Irish background: her mother from Charleville, Co Cork and she found a half sister last year. See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.

Colin Brodie of Visit Florida who hosted the Irish travel trade in Chapter One Restaurant, Dublin, May 14 2015

Colin Brodie and the team at Visit Florida held a thank you event for the Irish travel trade at Chapter One restaurant in Dublin. The team promised a wide variety of incentives to counter any problems in demand created by the rising dollar. See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.

Travel Professionals Skillnet is holding a fire warden training sessions in the ITAA Office on Westmoreland Street, Wed May 27, 9.30am-5.30pm for €120. More info/book here. Finance for Non Finance Professionals, Professional Development Training Centre, Blanchardstown, May 21-22, 9.30am-5.30pm, cost €299. More info/book here. Excel early bird special, level 1 and 2, €150, book before 6pm March 23. More info/bookings. SEO and Google analytics, Hampton Hotel, May 26, 9.30am-1pm, cost €60. More info/bookings.

Tour America Team (1) copy

Tour America announced that it is opening a new office in Davenport near Orlando.
Ingrid Aagesen has joined Norwegian Cruise Line as London based project manager.

The European Sport Tourism Summit and European Sport Tourism Awards took place in Thomond Park this week.

Pic 1 REPRO FREE 05/05/2015, Dubai – Six tourism companies from the island of Ireland travelled to Dubai, to join Tourism Ireland at this year’s Arabian Travel Market (ATM) – in a bid to grow visitor numbers from the Middle East in 2015 and beyond. PIC SHOWS: Nasser Bahlooq, Emirates Airlines, on the Tourism Ireland stand at Arabian Travel Market 2015. Northern Ireland and its Game of Thrones connections was one of the key themes highlighted by Tourism Ireland at ATM. Pic – Tourism Ireland (no repro fee) Further press info – Sinéad Grace, Tourism Ireland 087 685 9027
Sunway emails will be offline between Friday 6pm and Monday 9am.
What does the future hold for travel agencies? Video of a discussion from Arabian Travel Market.

Lowcostbeds and Emirates are awarding agents €5 One4all vouchers on all bookings to Dubai and Thailand made up to May 31.


Hastings Hotels Group bought Windsor House in Bedford Street, Belfast for £6.5m.

Screen Shot 2015-05-16 at 18.43.17Marriott Hotels introduced a request option to its mobile app. Guests can type requests 72 hours before, during and after their stays. The feature will be rolled out to all properties by the summer.

  • Starwood Hotels launched SPG Keyless, an app for members of the Preferred Guest loyalty programme to open their hotel room door.
  • Legoland Hotel at Legoland Florida Resort opened this week. Other openings this week included the 172 Room Hyatt House Seattle/Downtown.
  • The 501-room five star Mövenpick Hotel & Palais Des Congrès, Marrakech is to soft open in the autumn following a US$69 million renovation and expansion programme.
  • Hilton Worldwide partnered with World Wildlife Fund to help improve the brand’s impact on the environment.
  • Hyatt Hotels announced that a Hyatt Place hotel and Hyatt Place hotel will open in Jeddah.
  • The Hoxton hotel group will open its first property outside London in Amsterdam.
  • Melia Hotels International opened an Innside-brand property in Manchester. Melia reported a 4pc increase in Q1 revenues.
  • Choice hotels opened its first dual brand Inn/Mainstay Suites property in Mississippi.
  • Accor is expected to open a new resort in Cuba in November.
  • A 226-suite Embassy Suites by Hilton hotel will open in St Kitts in Q1 2017.
  • Nobu hotel brand will open a property in Mexico in 2017.



Alton Towers - Air Rollercoaster copyAlton Towers launched the Big Six challenge, inviting visitors to ride six of its biggest rollercoasters in one day. 

  • The Orlando Eye closed after an irregularity was found and engineers worked to fix an unspecified problem.
  • TUI reported that Q2 losses were down to €167.8m, and summer bookings are up 2pc.
  • Hotelzon opened its 12th country office in Frankfurt. It also announced that it is increasing the size of its Finnish team.
  • Eight people were killed and dozens more injured in the Amtrak rail accident in Philadelphia.
  • The Middle East’s tallest suspension bridge (80m high) is scheduled to open in the  Ardabil province, Iran.
  • The Israel Festival takes place May 28- June 24.
  • Travelport announced a participation agreement with Air Lituanica.
  • Hilton HHonours members can earn 1,500 bonus points per night at Curio Collection hotels until July 31.
  • English magazine Family Traveller launched the Family Traveller Awards.
  • Jennifer Lopez will commence a five-month residency show in Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino, Las Vegas from January 20, 2016.
  • A French tourist was killed by a bull shark while snorkelling off Kouare island.
  • The failed coup to remove Burundi president Pierre Nkurunziza has caused the DFA to warn against all travel to the country.
  • Dubai is rolling out free WiFi in 200 locations.
  • Madame Tussauds launched a Star Wars experience.
  • Copenhagen is considering asking its traffic wardens to double as tour guides.
  • The Gazelle Valley urban park opened in Jerusalem.
  • A second major earthquake hit Nepal on Tuesday.
  • Nine people were killed after a mosque wall collapsed because of heavy rain in Nairobi.
  • Travelport announced an operational agreement with Travelport Distribution Bulgaria.
  • Sabre plans to buy Asia GDS Abacus International.

Food and Wine

Wexford Food Festival copyTwenty events have been organised for the 7th annual Wexford Food and Wine Festival, May 21-25. Highlights include the Wexford South Main Ale traile, food guided foraging, pop up restaurants, bee keeping workshop and a cooking demo with Phelim Byrne.

The Burren Slow Good Festival continues until May 23-24, when there will be cooking demos and talks in the Lisdoonvarna Pavilion. Derry Clarke, JP McMahon and Ross Lewis will be hosting cooking classes. Other highlights include a Food Producers Forum, a guided walk outlining the history of farming in the Burren, a food foraging walk and a famers market.

  • Butlers Chocolates is collecting donations for St Vincent de Paul on Tuesday, May 19.
  • A Hello Kitty-themed restaurant opened in Hong Kong.
  • The Gibson hotel is the exclusive hotel partner of Taste of Dublin 2015.



AerLingus_IRFU_320_EIDEO_DUB_100515_0199 copyLaunch of the week, in terms of coverage, was the Aer Lingus A320 in Irish Rugby Team colours.

  • Kerry Airport handled 296,000 passengers In 2014, a 3.3pc decline on 2013 and retaining its place as Ireland’s eighth busiest airport.
  • Ethiopian Airlines‘ scheduled operations at Dublin started  with a westbound tech stop on ET500 Addis Ababa to Washington (B777-200LR). An eastbound B737-800 delivery Seattle-Kevin TolandWashington-Dublin-Addis Ababa came on Sunday as a bonus.
  • Kevin Toland of DAA (pictured) said the Cork to Dublin air route would require a €1.5m annual subsidy to make it feasible.
  • Enda Corneille, Country Manager at Emirates was interviewed on Newstalk’s Down to Business (listen here).
  • The Manchester Guardian: How I finally learned to stop worrying and love Ryanair.
  • Boeing is to close the 787 surge line to make way for producing 777X.
  • Bombardier Belfast hopes to save 60 of the 280 jobs under threat.
  • FlyPlymouth said it was planning to launch to launch flights from Plymouth to Dublin and Belfast in the summer in 2016. Plymouth has a notoriously short runway.
  • Aviation quotes from ATM 2015: Qatar’s Al Baker: “When you fool your passengers…you cannot compete for long” (referring to poor service at US airlines). Emirates’ Tim Clark: “Market share is not a right. It is earned” (referring to accusations they were stealing passengers).
  • Air India are talking to Airbus about a $1.5bn jet order.
  • France bought an extra 1.7pc stake in Air France KLM.
  • Aer Lingus cabin crew prepared to ballot over outsourcing the Shannon-Boston route for 12 weeks during the summer to an American-registered B767 aircraft.
  • There was more discussion on the proposed aviation fuel pipeline through North Dublin (listen here).
  • Stobart Air appointed Martin Saxton as Chief Commercial Officer, a former Director of Operational Planning and Commercial Planning at Flybe and Fleet Planning Manager at British Midland Airways. New CFO is Graeme Buchanan formerly of Aventas which used to be the Quinn Group. New COO is Andy Jolly, former general manager of Hebridean Air Services and COO of Loganair.
  • Mayo county councillor Christy Loftus suggested the local authority could waive the rates paid by Ireland West Airport Knock for a period of five years to further support the airport. Knock airport  is paying €150,000 in rates annually.
  • Ryanair extended into the winter routes from Dublin to Copenhagen, Lublin and Venice Treviso as well as increased frequencies to Alicante (6x), Barcelona, Berlin, Budapest, Faro (daily), London Gatwick, Madrid, Tenerife (5w) & Warsaw (8w). It expects to increase its Dublin passengers for the year to 9.7m from 8.5m.
  • Dublin Airport welcomed Ryanair’s frequency increases to Alicante (6w), Faro (daily), Tenerife (5w) and Warsaw (8w). Ryanair will operate two new services to Copenhagen and Lublin next winter and extend its Venice Treviso service.
  • Aer Lingus new B service has been extended to operate to January 4th. It was originally planned as a summer service, to finish end of October.
  • Dublin Airport grew its business out of Belfast and the north east by 52pc in 2014.
  • It was speculated Easyjet is due to unveil a major new European route from Belfast in the coming weeks.
  • Cork and Shannon airports suffered significant declines in their traffic movements last month, with Shannon down 20.4pc and Cork down 12pc. The IAA’s traffic figures show that flights in Irish airspace were up 5.6pc YOY in April. Traffic at Dublin Airport was up 6.1pc.
  • FLY Leasing reported a Q1 net income of $17.3m.
  • Aer Lingus Regional has added extra capacity to its Dublin-Isle of Man route for the Isle Man TT motocross race, which takes place May 30-June 12.
  • There was some intriguing speculation that low oil prices are providing a tailwind to the Boeing 777 instead of the 787. Boeing attempted to build and deliver a Boeing 787-9 in 67 days. Boeing’s Ray Conner says 737 Max wing spar load (LN5602) begins this month in Renton
  • Brian Ambrose is expected to tell the Public Inquiry into the passenger cap at Belfast City Airport that if the seats for sale restriction is removed, the airport will adhere to noise restrictions as imposed by the Department of the Environment.
  • Chinese President Xi Jinping will touch down at Shannon Airport today at 2pm.
  • Flybe launched its summer seat sale.
  • United Airlines previewed its new website offering more personalisation and search option. The airline offered to reward hackers, offering a bug bounty to find tech security flaws.
  • Thomas Cook’s proposed route to Reno ran into opposition from US Customs and Border Protection
  • Ryanair’s CEO Michael O’Leary told the Chartered Accountants Ireland Annual Conference in Galway: being nice to people is good for business.
  • Belfast City Airport will hold a runway run on June 24.
  • American Airlines’ Shannon-Philadelphia route returned with added capacity.
  • Spain says free and unlimited Wi-Fi will be available in 46 airports by the end of year.
  • Ryanair celebrated carrying 4m passengers at City of Derry Airport.
  • Flybe have added additional frequency on the Cardiff to Dublin and Cork routes.
  • Qatar launched its A359 XWB service to Singapore Changi airport.
  • A passenger is suing United Airlines because in-flight entertainment cut out during a flight.
  • American Airlines Group expects to phase out US Airways completely by autumn. The US Airways reservations system will migrate to American Airlines’ system in the summer.
  • Hilton announced a partnership with Japanese airlines ANA. Ana passengers will be offered Hilton-brand lounge and in-flight services.
  • Bombardier and US company Pratt & Whitney to develop a data management service for the CSeries aircraft’s health management system.
  • Lufthansa installed premium economy on half of its long-haul fleet.
  • FLY Leasing says it expects to sell a handful of older aircraft in the mid-life aircraft market.
  • Qatar Airways acquired the Novotel Edinburgh Park Hotel in Scotland.
  • The American Customer Satisfaction Index claimed that business travellers are twice as likely to file a complaint for poor airline service.
  • United Airlines previewed a redesigned website, available to view at beta.united.com.
  • Qatar Airways placed an A350 on service from Doha to Singapore.
  • Flybe launched its London-Newquay and Southampton-Milan services.
  • Finnair increased its codeshare agreement with Japan Airlines and Qantas.
  • A Canadian woman unexpectedly gave birth on an Air Canada flight from Alberta to Tokyo.



Royal Caribbean and Celebrity have both increased the crew gratuity charge to $12.95 from $12 per person, per day and to $15.95 from $14.25 for premium cruise passengers schedule to sail on or after July 1. Charges in Celebrity suites go up to $16.45 per person per day from $15.50. Charges are automatically added to passenger’s bills. Passengers with existing bookings can pre-pay their gratuities before June 1 to lock in the current rate. It follows a similar increase by Norwegian Cruise Line in February.

Viking Cruises‘ first oceangoing ship Viking Star will be christened in Norway today (Sunday May 17). Delivery of Viking Sky, one of the new vessels from Viking Ocean Cruises, has been delayed from June 2016 to February 2017. Construction of the vessel has been moved from Fincantieri’s Marghera shipyard, near Venice to the Ancona shipyard, where Viking Sea, is under construction.

  • Azamara Quest’s scheduled dry dock due in September has been moved to April 2016 to allow further upgrades. Azamara Journey’s dry dock remains on schedule for January 2016.
  • Prices on Hurtigruten’s Arctic Highlights trip on March 22 next will start from €1285pps including direct return flights from Dublin, transfers, two nights in a hotel and voyage from Tromsø to Kirkenes and back to Tromsø on half board basis. Trips to explore the Arctic are offered all year round using scheduled flights.
  • Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines‘ Balmoral cut short its eight-night Norwegian Fjords cruise due to an outbreak of a gastro-enteritis type illness
  • Puerto Vallarta Tourism director Agustin Alvarez insisted the city was safe for tourists after the USA issued a travel advisory and Royal Caribbean cancelled scheduled calls by Jewel of the Seas and Celebrity Infinity due to armed violence in the state of Jalisco.
  • Irish Ferries owner ICG reported revenues up 7.3pc to €85.1m in the first four months of the year.
  • Princess Cruise’s celebrations programme has added packages for birthdays, weddings, engagements, vow renewals and honeymoons.
  • The Viking Ocean Cruises Show Garden features at the 2015 Chelsea Flower Show.
  • Sydney Lord Mayor Clover Moore has urged cruise passengers to stray from tourist-trodden paths in Australia’s gateway port to Sydney Villages
  • TUI Cruises will transfer Mein Schiff 1 and 2, both formerly Celebrity Cruises’ Century-class ships, to Thomson Cruises, in an effort to modernise its English-based sister line. Thomson acquired Splendour of the Seas, from Royal Caribbean International in March.
  • Seatrade Cruise Med 2016 will take place in Tenerife, September 21-23 2016.

Deal Watch

  • Discover Travel is offering a 10 day full board tour of Ethiopia from €2999pp incl taxes, all flights and all transfers. Intinerary include Addis Ababa, Bahar Dar, Gonar, Lalibela, Axum and Harar. For more, visit discovertravel.ie or call 021 4635440.                                    
  • ITAA offers of the week: 12 nights B&B 5* Thailand trip from €1,879pp incl. return flights from Dublin, Cork or Shannon and airport transfers, travel September or October. 7 nights half board Over 55s Hillwalking tour, Majorca from €699pp incl. return flights from Dublin or Cork, 1 checked in bag and airport transfers, depart October 5. 3 nights B&B 3* Virginal Hotel, Lake Garda from €349pps incl. return flights ex Dublin and transfers, depart May 27.
  • Lowcostbeds offers of the week, prices based on 2+2 share, 7 nights, depart June 20: 3* Silchoro apartments, Albuferia, Portugal from €9.50pppn. 3* Ourasol apartments, Albuferia, Portugal from €11pppn self catering. 3* THB Flora, Puerto del Carmen, Lanzarote from €7pppn self catering. 3* VIK Club Coral Beach, Playa Blanca, Lanzarote from €14.50pppn self catering. 4* Principe Sol Hotel, Torremolinos, Costa Del Sol from €33.50pppn. 3* Veramar Apartments, Fuengirola, Costa Del Sol from €13.50pppn self catering. See lowcostbeds.com for more.
  • Click and Go offers: 3 nights B&B 3* Akcent Hotel, Prague from €225pp incl. return flights ex Dublin, taxes and charges, travel May or June. 7 nights self catering Puertocarmen Aparthotel, Puerto del Carmen, Lanzarote from €379pp incl. return flights ex Dublin and transfers, travel in May or June. 7 nights B&B 3* Lido Hotel, Estoril, Lisbon Coast from €515pp incl. return flights ex Dublin and transfers, travel in June. 7 nights all inclusive 5* Fantasia De Luxe Hotel, Kusadasi, Turkey from €579pp incl. return flights ex Dublin, taxes, charges and transfers, travel in May. Visit clickandgo.com or call 01 637 1699.
  • Thomson offers: 7 nights half board 3* Hotel Talayot, Cala Millor, Majorca from €639pp, depart August 25. 7 nights all inclusive 3* Island Escape – Med Adventure, Majorca from €779pp, depart June 16. 7 nights all inclusive 4* Riu Helios Bay, Obzor, Bulgaria from €649pp, depart June 1. 7 nights B&B 3* Katerina Palace, Argassi, Zakynthos from €459pp, depart June 9. 7 nights half board 3* Barcelo Margaritas, Gran Canaria, depart June 6.
  • Falcon offers: 7 nights self catering 3* Nicon, Kos town from €399pp, depart June 6. 7 nights all inclusive 3* Sun Palace, Faliraki, Rhodes from €1,849 for two adults and one child, and from €2,359 for two adults and two children, depart June 10. 7 nights self catering 3* Loulas Village, Psaras, Corfu from €1,149 for two adults and one child, and from €1,549 for two adults and two children, depart August 28. 7 nights B&B 3* Katerina Palace, Argassi, Zakynthos from €440pp, depart June 9. 7 nights self catering 3* Terrazamar Suites, Puerto Rica, Gran Canaria from €469pp, depart June 6.
  • Riviera Travel extra capacity: 4 nights B&B Normandy from €689pp, depart June 13. 3 nights B&B Bruges from €509pp, depart June 14. 4 nights B&B Berlin, Dresden, Meissen and Colditz from €679pp, depart June 16. 3 nights B&B Paris from €489pp, depart June 19. Prices include flights ex Dublin, taxes, 15kg checkin in baggage pp and tours.
  • Riviera 2016 long haul tours are on sale now: 15 nights Vietnam and Cambodia from €3,029pp. 15 nights South Africa from €2,449pp. 14 nights California and the Golden West from €2,709pp. 10 nights India from €2,429/€2,959pp with 4 night Shimla extension.
  • Sunway cruise offers: 7 nights Mediterranean Cruise on board the Norwegian Epic from €869pp, depart June 14. 12 nights 5* Mediterranean Cruise on board the Celebrity Equinox from €1,129pp, depart May 21. 7 nights Mediterranean Cruise on board the MSC Fantasia from €999pp, depart July 3. 12 nights Greece and Turkey cruise on board the Royal Caribbean Vision of the Seas from €1,079pp, depart June 9. Prices include flights ex Dublin. See sunway.ie for more.
  • Sunway’s Turkey sales on tomorrow, May 18: 7 nights B&B 4* Sea Pearl Hotel from €359pp, 14 nights from €599pp, travel in June. 7 nights B&B 4* Sunset Plaza Hotel from €499pp, 14 nights from €699pp, depart in July. 7 nights 4& Golden Day Hotel from €459pp, 14 nights from €599pp, depart in August. 7 nights Kids from €359pp, 14 nights from €359pp, depart in September. See sunway.ie for more. Prices include flights ex Shannon, return airport transfers, taxes, charges and 20kg checked in baggage pp.
  • Sunway offers: 7 nights all inclusive 3* Samira Club Hotel, Tunisia from €499 per adult and from €439 per child, travel in June. 7 nights all inclusive 4* Club Hotel RIU Bellevue Park, Tunisia from €569 per adult and from €499 per child, travel in June. 7 nights all inclusive 4* Palmin Hotel, Izmir, Turkey from €889pp, €2,229 for two adults and one child and from €3,559 for two adults and two children, depart June 28. 7 nights all inclusive 4* Palmwings Kusadasi, Izmir, Turkey from €919 per adults and from €459 per child, depart June 20. 7 nights all inclusive 3* Sami Beach Hotel, Gumbet, Turkey from €819 per adult and from €489 per child, depart June 21. 7 nights all inclusive 4* Mark Warner Beach Club, Bodrum, Turkey from €2,779 for two adults and two children, depart June 13. 7 nights all inclusive Club Med Kamarina, Sicily from €3,549 for two adults and two children, depart June 14. 7 nights self catering 2* Surfing Playa Apartments, Santa Ponsa from €499pp, depart June 14. 7 nights self catering 3* Verdemar Apartments, Santa Ponsa from €499pp, depart June 14.
  • Sunway is offering 1 night all inclusive 3* Rantasipi Pohjanhovi Hotel, Lapland from €859 per adult and from €759 per child incl. flight ex Dublin, activities such as snow mobile ride, reindeer sleigh ride, arctic clothing, gingerbread decorating and a visit to Santa, depart December 19. Deposit €300 per family. See sunway.ie for more.
  • Wendy Wu offer: Book a group tour to India and get a free 2 night 3* break in Abu Dhabi incl. return airport transfers and city tour. Travel from September 1 to March 19 2016, book before May 31. For more info, visit wendywutours.ie or call 0818 776 380.
  • Travel Department offers, solo friendly, no single room supplement: 7 nights half board 4* Hotel Girassol from €789pp incl. taxes and flights ex Dublin, depart July 2 or September 24. 14 nights Cape Town, the Garden Route and Kruger National Park from €2,799pp incl. taxes, accommodation, flights ex Dublin and all transfers, depart September 2. 11 nights tour of Delhi, the Taj Mahal and Rajasthan from €1,599pp incl. taxes, flights ex Dublin and all transfers. 8 nights B&B 5* The Legendale Hotel, Beijing from €1,799pp incl. taxes, transfer on arrival and flights ex Dublin, depart September 6 or November 10. 9 nights Moscow and St Petersburg trip from €1,569pp incl. taxes accommodation, transfers and flights ex Dublin. 10 nights trip to Beijing, Xi’an and Shanghai from €2,099pp incl. taxes accommodation, flights ex Dublin and transfers, depart October 15. 7 nights half board Lake Como, the Swiss Alps and Milan from  €679pp incl. taxes, transfer on arrival and accommodation in the Grand Hotel Cadenabbia, depart October 21. 7 nights B&B Estoril and the Lisbon Coast from €669pp incl. taxes, transfer on arrival and accommodation at Hotel Londres, depart October 28. For more, visit traveldepartment.ie or call 01 637 1600.
  • Globe Hotels is offering half bard Cordial Golf Plaza Tenerife from €169pp incl. upgrade to bedroom suite, and one free spa access per adult per stay, travel June 1, 3, 7, 10, 11, 15 or 16. See globehotels.ie for more.
  • Tour America offers: 7 nights Clarion Inn Lake Buena Vista, Orlando from €599pp incl. return flights, taxes and charges, depart June 8. 3 nights Beacon Hotel, New York from €799pp incl. return flights, depart December 3. 4 nights Harras Las Vegas from €689pp incl. return flights, taxes and charges, depart November 19.
  • Irish Ferries is offering 3 nights B&B in the Best Western Tillington Hall Hotel for €499 for two adults and two children under 12 incl. return car ferry crossing and one full day at Alton Towers, travel before June 30.
  • Topflight offers: 7 nights B&B 3* Hotel Londra, Sorrento from €689pps incl. return flights ex Dublin, resort transfers, rep service and luggage, Depart June 14. Sorrento excursions: Half day pizza school with lunch €70pp. Half day ice cream classes €19pp. Enogastronomic half day tour €79 per person. Full day Pompeii and Mount Vesuvius €45pp. Half day Herculaneum €35pp. Capri boat tour €79pp. Amalfi drive €35pp. Naples shopping full day €60pp. Sorrento musical evening €25pp. For more, visit topflight.ie or call 01 2401 700.
  • Tourism NI offers the week: 1 night B&B Dunadry Hotel from £150pp incl. dinner in the Flax & Beetle Restaurants, a selection of dark chocolates and late check-out, available until December 19, call 028 9443 4343 to book. 1 night Bramble Cottage Studio, Enniskillen from £120 for two sharing, available Friday to Sunday until May 31, call 028 6634 8138 to book. 1 night Silverbirch Hotel, Omagh from £99pps incl. complimentary drinks on arrival and dinner in Barreta Bar and Grill, available until December 1, call 028 8224 2520 to book. 1 night B&B Europa Hotel, Belfast from £80pps incl. 3 course dinner in the restaurant, available until July 31, call 028 9027 1066 to book.


Porsche-Ireland-WAW-smallA convoy of 50 Porches will travel the length of the Wild Atlantic Way next week, starting at Malin Head today. The trip is organised by Fáilte Ireland and Porsche Club Ireland.

  • Rhys Walton (Beaverstown, son of Philip), Ian Brennan (Greenore), Ben Doyle (Blackwood), Ciaran Hegarty (Kilcock), Brian McCormack (Galway), Neil O’Briain (Old Conna) and James Sullivan (Roe Park) are all partipcpating in the qualifiers for the PGA Assistants’ Championship.
  • Former Aer Lingus CEO Christoph Mueller has stepped down from his role as chairman of An Post and from the board of Tourism Ireland.
  • Picture shows the three-eyed animatronic ravens from Game of Thrones outside Belfast City Hall as part of a promotion by Tourism Ireland.
  • So farewell then, Derek Davis, great friend of the home holiday industry and a man who promoted culinary tourism when it was barely out of the kitchen. As a result, he was responsible for one of the most explicit sex scenes in the history of Ireland’s national broadcaster when some rabbits from the show farm in Morrell Farm in Straffan were brought into studio for Live at Three., Derek handled a potentially embarrassing situation with aplomb: “what do rabbits do?”
  • IAE-media-smallFáilte Ireland held Ancient East workshops in Portlaoise, Goreyand Youghal for tourism operators in the east and south. A group of journalists from the US, Germany, Spain, Belgium and India (pictured) took part in a fam trip of Ireland’s Ancient East with an itinerary organised by Fáilte Ireland.
  • Cork Summer Show takes place June 20-21, Curraheee Showgrounds. The event is expected to attract 55,000 visitors. There will be 2,000 animals on show, the All Ireland Angus beef championship, home and garden expo, vintage rally and artisan produce.
  • Mike Laflin of Sportcal told the European Sport Tourism Summit in Thomond Park that Ireland is underachieving in the €450bn sports tourism sector, ranking number 68 in attracting international events.
  • Fáilte Ireland launched this year’s Tourism Towns Award. Only towns ranked in the top 100 Tidy Towns 2014 are eligible. Closing date for applications is Friday, June 12.
  • The Open Fringe Festival takes place May 25-31 as part of the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open. The fringe line up includes: GAA Legends Exhibition Game, comedy from Patrick Kielty and  the Mourne Landscape Tour.
  • The INIS Fest will take place at Ennis Showgrounds in Co Clare, June 26-28. Line up includes Nathan Carter, Damien Dempsey and Delorentos. Tickets cost €27 1 night, €50 2 nights, on sale now.
  • Ireland ranked number 2 for environmental sustainability, 3 for cost to start a business, 4 for government prioritisation of tourism industry and 5 for tourism marketing in the World Economic Forum’s Travel & Tourism Competitiveness Index.
  • Ireland will host the 2017 Women’s Rugby World Cup. The competition will be played in Dublin and Belfast.
  • Entry for the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open closed this week. 156 players from 20 countries will attend the event from May 28-31. Line up includes: Rory McIlroy, Miguel Angel Jimenez, Victor Dubuisson, Jamie Donaldson, Danny Willett, Paul Lawrie, Paul McGinley and Shane Lowry.
  • The WAW features in this month’s of Canadian magazine Ensemble Vacations.

Fógra (with apologies to the late Con Houlihan)

Next weekend the Irish Press group will have been out of print for twenty years and Irish journalism is all the poorer for it. Remembering the occupation, featuring Travel Extra‘s Gerry O’Hare and his ingenious sleeping arrangements: Watch here.

Stephen Collins, Eoghan Corry and Tim Pat Coogan at the launch of the biography of Domhnall Ua Buachalla by Adhamhnan O Suilleabhain in O'Connell House, May 14 2015

Picture shows Tim Pat Coogan, Eoghan Corry, and Stephen Collins at a book launch by their former colleague Adhamhnán Ó Súilleabháin last week, a long-overdue biography of Dómhnall O Buchalla. Tim Pat celebrated his eightieth birthday on Inis Mór last weekend. Former Irish Press colleagues will be gathering in Dublin next Friday to catch up on two lost decades.

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

TRAVEL Extra’s Sunday Supplement: Ethical Safari on Show in Durban


Declan Hughes photographing Cape Town

Declan Hughes photographing Cape Town

The headlines this week:

  • The ‘fun’ doesn’t set on Indaba
  • Following the footsteps of Mandela
  • Spain tops the Tourism Competitiveness chart
  • Ireland remains at number 19, falling short on price
  • Flamenco dancing with Andalucia

Travel Extra TV

Video of week May 10Our video of the week comes from Alex Chacon, who created an Epic Selfie from three years’ of travel. Watch here.

  • Dublin airport plans to turn Aer Lingus’ former head office building into an office space called ONE Dublin Airport Central. The first tenants are expected to move in in 2016. Watch here.
  • Aer Lingus uploaded footage from the 7th annual Viscount Awards in the House of Commons, Westminster. Watch here.
  • Etihad Airways A330 with EXPO 2015 livery taking off at Dublin airport. Watch here.
  • KLM and Heineken introduce The Orange Experience. Watch here.
  • Airbus showcases its Cockpit Experience Trainer, a mobile cockpit simulator that simulates the A350 XWB cockpit. Watch here.
  • Two Qatar Airways pilots talk about their career. Watch here.
  • Emirates launched its A380 service to Perth. Watch here.
  • Meet Savi, the room service robot. Watch here.


Indaba 2015 burst into life in Durban (slogan: “the city where the fun never sets”). South African tourism showcased the four meet South Africa videos (slogan: “inspiring new ways”) that the tourist board has released as pillars of its marketing campaign, its new Mandela and Gandhi trails, its golf initiative (SA Tourism CEO Thulani Nzima told Travel Extra that South Africa intends to “dominate the golf market”) and a new ‘hidden gems’ campaign. Picture shows Sarah Gilbert of TTG, Jo Austin of Seling Travel, Kgomotso Ramothea press officer at of the London office of South indabaAfrican Tourism, Tolene Van der Merwe director of the London office of South African Tourism and Eoghan Corry, editor of Travel Extra. See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.

Fair trade in tourism was the theme of an excellent speed marketing session. In the most memorable contribution to the conference of all, Lara Mostert, marketing manager for Monkeyland, told delegates: “It is WRONG to pose with monkeys or any animals to put pictures on your wall.” Also new to Indaba this year was a tech zone and a bloggers’ conference.

17268423619_d012156e6b_nMinister Derek Hanekom conducted his traditional walkabout yesterday morning at the event, spread-eagled over four halls. Indaba had fewer buyers (2,000) and sellers (1,000) than in the past, but the media presence (750) is a record as is the breadth of representation from 20 African countries. Thulani Nzima said that the emphasis was on quality, and 10,000 meetings would take place at the event, which is about to change dramatically even further Minister Derek Hanekom says that Indaba will be tendering for industry partners to create a pan-African show, based in Durban, which will rank third in the world behind WTM and ITB.

17452665942_7afbf752b1_nAccording to Tolene Van der Merwe, London based two-country manager for Ireland and Britain for South African Tourism (pictured with Kgomotso Ramothea), Ireland is expected to grow in 2015. Johannesburg is the fifth biggest indirect destination out of Dublin but there are no plans for a direct service. Thulani Nzima said he “does not care” how tourists come to South Africa. Minister Derek Hanekom said that protecting South African Airways was not a priority of the government at the expense of greater air access, but that open skies on the continent of Africa had a long way to go. The country is popular with the traditional older market, they are highlighting urban lifestyle attractions, musical experiences, Screen Shot 2015-05-09 at 23.09.35food, fashion and wine and the vibrancy of the city destinations, as well as the traditional safari product which drives most of 43,000 visitors from Ireland each year. Andrew Sharpe, trade relations manager for South African Tourism Ireland & Britain, says that South Africa is stepping up its activity with the Irish trade and has scheduled two fam trips for the Irish market in the autumn of 2015 and spring of 2016 with tour operator Sunway and the Travel Centres consortium.

Buyers were disappointed if they expected the long awaited clarification on South Africa’s controversial new immigration rules which come into effect on June 1, The situation is as confused as ever. Negotiations are still ongoing and Minister said while he was concerned it was the Home office. Parents travelling with a child must produce an unabridged birth certificate for the child; copies are acceptable. The new rules state that an affidavit will be required if both parents are not travelling with the children, or court order or death certificate for a deceased parent.

Indaba’s social scene is amongst the best on the circuit. The opening event, a cross between a Eurovision interval act and The Late Late Toy Show, us a multinational extravaganza with classical singers, the Afro tenors, the Jaizel brothers, gospel choirs, and dancers, was brought to a crescendo by Beatenberg that had the delegates dancing in the aisles. They even got the Minister for Tourism to play the drums. At least he LOOKED like the Minister for Tourism.

max'sThe renowned Saturday night beach party had gotten washed out once too often and is no more but there were 24 dinner events instead. Uganda sponsored the ATTA dinner (no awards this year) in Moyo. On Friday night, some pleasant and well lubricated networking took place at the Welcome Africa evening on the 31st floor of the Maharani Hotel while some of the media were hosted by Thoko Jili of Wisdom Tours at a venue with a difference, Max’s Lifestyle in Umlazi township.

Marcel Von Aulock of Southern Sun showcased hotel developments, a R1.8bn expansion at Suncoast Casino and Entertainment, a R110m refurb at Garden Court Marine parade, refurbs at the Waterfrotd in Cape Town, and a new 500-room Sunsquare and Stayeasy, Sandton in Johannesburg will be completed in September.

It was 21 years to day since Nelson Mandela was sworn in as South Africa’s first democratically elected president, and it was a special moment for Travel Extra’s editor Eoghan Corry, who was present in Pretoria representing the Sunday Press, to see a white minister for tourism being led to the stage by Zulu dancers. Yes, he shed a single manly tear.

MandelaNational Geographic photojournalist Pablo Corral Vega visited South Africa recently to retrace the life of Mandela. Travellers can use the Madiba’s Journey app to follow the statues and sites that document Mandela’s life and achievements. Watch footage from Vega’s visit.

Travel agents, travel media and their hosts at Table Mountain in Cape Town, Ross Sinclair, Melissa Kirby, Andrew Sharpe of SA Tourism, Samantha Gee, Paul Scudamore, Hannah August, Declan Hughes, Sarah Weaver, Mariska Knoesen, Michelle Seddon, Eoghan Corry and Charles Clark, May 7 2015

SA tourism hosted 20 fam trips prior to Indaba, bringing delegates from new markets such as Turkey for the first time. Turkish operate a flight from Istanbul to Cape Town, with a 40-minute stay-on-board stop over in Johannesburg. This opens a one-stop option for Irish people travelling to Cape Town with improved connections since Turkish went double daily last month. Nina Farrimond hosted a tour ops group in Limpopo, the hidden jewel of the north “real Africa” as South Africa specialist Richard Lamont of Zeta Tours described it. Kgomotso Ramothea hosted tour operators and one journalist in the Zulu battlefields where Rob Gerrard rose to the chalenge of dramatising events for British ears (whatever about the Zulus, who had more casualties). Andrew Sharpe escorted 11 tour operators and journalists, including Travel Extra’s editor Eoghan Corry and Declan Hughes of Flycruisestay through the winelands of Stellenbosch and Franschoek, where they were hosted by Sheila Grey of Red Carnation at the Twelve Apostles Hotel, by Laurence Gould at Cle des Montages and stayed at Richard Branson’s Mont Rochelle lodge and at the heart of Cape Town’s waterfront action at Sun International’s Table Bay hotel. Picture shows Ross Sinclair, Melissa Kirby, Andrew Sharpe of SA Tourism, Samantha Gee, Paul Scudamore, Hannah August, Declan Hughes, Sarah Weaver, Mariska Knoesen, Michelle Seddon, Eoghan Corry and Charles Clark. See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.

Competitiveness reportSpain climbed three places to top the biennial Travel & Tourism Competitiveness Report from the World Economic Forum. The boost is supported by high global rankings in cultural resources (1st worldwide), IT readiness (4th) and infrastructure (4th). This is the first time the country has claimed the number one spot.

Europe continued to dominate the top ten tourism-ready economies with France (2nd), Germany (3rd), Britain (5th), Switzerland (6th) and Italy (8th). The USA (4th), Australia (7th), Japan (9th) and Canada (10th) completed the list. Sweden was missing from this year’s top rankings, having slipped from 9th place to 23rd. Singapore dropped one place to number 11. Europe scored high for tourism service infrastructure, health and hygiene and integration, but the region is not making the most of its cultural resources and fails to prioritise new trends. Regulatory restrictions are also holding Europe back.

The biggest growth in international arrivals was seen in Southeast Asia, thanks to an expanding middle class and competitive pricing. Regional cooperation on visa policies is recommended if the region wants to further boost tourism.

Although the Middle East and North Africa have built significant tourism industries, concerns about security continue to hold the region back, despite the fact that tourism resorts are far from the most dangerous areas.

South Africa (48th globally), the Seychelles (54th) and Mauritius (56th) make up the top three competitive economies in Sub-Saharan Africa. Longstanding problems with infrastructure, health and hygiene prevent the region from seeing its full tourism potential.

The Americas tell two stories: North America falls down on travel facilitation, price competitiveness and infrastructure upgrades, while Central and South America is dogged by concerns with safety and security.

Ireland remained at the number 19 spot, and placed 11th in Europe. We scored high for tourism policy conditions (5th in the world),international opens (5th as well) and human resources (12th), but lost out when it came to price competitiveness (122nd out of 141) and natural resources (72nd).

Overall, the tourism and travel sector continues to grow at a faster rate than the global economy (3.4pc per year compared to 2.3pc). The World Travel & Tourism Council predicts that this could accelerate to 5.2pc per year in the next five years. Read the full report here.

ATM 2015 Official Press Conference Photo 1There were 2,700 exhibitors from 91 countries and 23,000 visitors at this year’s Arabian Tourism Market, held in the Dubai World Trade Centre. Unsurprisingly, mobile dominated the tech
arabian travel market copyseminars, with analysts predicting global growth in mobile bookings to account for 35pc of all online bookings by 2018. This was flagged as an opportunity to develop business tourism and Dubai Expo 2020 in particular. With 50pc of online searches conducted on mobile (which incorporates tablet devices as well as smartphones), investment in travel technology is not an option.  
Family holidays and enticing millennials with adventure travel were flagged as areas for potential growth — as the
Middle East aims to welcome 101m annual visitor arrivals by 2020, the region is looking to extend the tourism sector beyond gateway cities. Speaking at the UNWTO Ministerial Forum, government minister and chairman of the UAE council of tourism Sheikh Nahyan Bin Mubarak Al Nahyan called for an intra-Arab tourism strategy to boost the number of tourists travelling between the countries.

A report by Euromonitor focussed on the Middle East predicted that the percentage growth in air transport value will rise from 6.1pc to 12pc, hotel value from 7.4pc to 9.1pc and travel retail from 7.1pc to 9.7pc. Incoming tourist receipts is expected to grow by 10.4pc this year.

rishav-agarwal-accepting-the-award-from-nadege-noblet-segersNepal was awarded the new Frontiers Recovery Award. Rishav Agarwal of Nebuti Travels in Kathmandu said that the country is determined to get things back on track as soon as possible. “Despite the devastating loss of life, only around 30% of temples were destroyed, and the majority of hotels in Kathmandu are operational, and neither Pokhara nor Chitwan were affected.”  Nepal’s tourism sector was undeterred by andaluciathe recent earthquake, with four out of six participating companies attending ATM 2015.

The Andalucia Tourist Board and the Spanish Tourist Office Dublin hosted a workshop and dinner (followed by flamenco dancing) in Trinity College. Picture shows Antonio Martin at the event. See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.

Gibson BBQNicky Logue, GM of The Gibson Hotel, hosted a barbecue to celebrate the launch of the summer season. Picture shows Nicky with his team at the event. See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.

The travel industry is weighing up the impact of the British General Election, in which David Cameron confounded pollsters and pundits by winning a sensational second five-year term in office for his Conservative party, and it is not pretty. An English exit from the EU could be on the cards as early as 2020, with profound implications for international travel and a new set of hurdles for the tourism industry in and out of that country — although Scotland going its separate way will lessen the blow in Alban. Is now the time for Ireland to consider becoming more tourist-friendly and join the Shenghen region unilaterally? Over to you Frances.

Travel Trade

Damien Mooney copyFormer Falcon Irish and country manager Damien Mooney was appointed MD of cruisingexcursions.com.

Travel Professionals Skillnet 2-day finance for non finance professionals course takes place May 21 and 22, 9.30am-5.30pm, Blanchardstown Corporate Park.  Costs €299. Book here. Excel Early Bird Special: Excel Level 1 and 2 for €150, March 25. Book before March 23. Book here.

Paul Gallagher took office as Chair of the Irish Tourist Industry Confederation. The Buswell’s GM and former IHF President was elected at the AGM of the Confederation, as Paul Carty ended to his two year term of office.

Jennifer Kearney, a Sales Consultant from Go Hop 1 copyJennifer Kearney from GoHop.ie pictured in Kenya on a Fam trip organised by the Kenya Tourist board which visited 25 properties in eight locations across Kenya, including safari and ending on the coast in Diani.

Red Sea Holidays launched their month-long Dublin Bus campaign this week. Red Sea is also sponsoring FM104’s weather bulletins for the next six months.

Wendy Wu Tours is offering €30 One4all vouchers for every booking made before the end of May.

Chocolate pizzaAgents making bookings before May 15 will be in with a chance to join United on the inaugural flight from Dublin to Chicago on June 5. The more bookings you make, the more chance to win. Picture shows Pat Reede of United Airlines treating the World Travel Centre team to a gourmet chocolate pizza to celebrate the launch of the service. See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.

J Barter Travel‘s 150 years in business exhibition in Cork Vision Centre opened on Thursday.

Topflight’s charter summer schedule launched on Thursday with the Dublin- Funchal route. Tony Collins reported a 15pc increase in bookings so far this year. The charter services to Italy launch from May 23. There is extra capacity on both the Naples and Verona routes.

munster rugby awardsPicture shows Declan O’Connell of Lee Travel, Noel McAuliffe of Travel Focus, Kieran Collins of Heffernan’s, Michael Doorley of Shandon Travel, Anita Thomas of Emirates, Paul O Connell, Mary Jones of Lee Travel, Sarah McCarthy of Travel Counsellors and Cian Bohane who were hosted by Emirates at the Munster Rugby Awards at the Maryborough Hotel. See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.

At the Janus Awards: Paul Clark, UTV who hosted the event, Joanne McKenna, Michael Cafolla and Niall McKenna of James Street South

Bobby Healy’s CarTrawler is to acquire Finnish technology and services company Cabforce.

Pat Dawson, CEO of the ITAA, called the inaugural Irish Travel Industry Trade Show a success and said the aim is to shape the event into the best forum in Ireland for productive engagement between travel agents, suppliers and business partners.

Pictured at the Janus Awards: Paul Clark, UTV who hosted the event, Joanne McKenna, Michael Cafolla and Niall McKenna of James Street South.


10th Anniversary Clanard Court Team photo copyLouis Walsh will be special guest and judge for WedRock, the battle of the wedding bands competition, at Mary Fennin’s Clanard Court hotel to headline the hotel’s 10th anniversary wedding extravaganza. Picture shows staff at the Clanard Court celebrating the anniversary.

Hotels.com said mobile bookings made by Irish users increased 70pc in 2014. The most popular destinations booked by Irish travellers via mobile devices: 1 London, €162 av. 2 New York, €211 av. 3 Paris, €155 av. 4 Lanzarote, €87 av. 5 Rome, €120 av. 6 Barcelona, €126 av. 7 Amsterdam, €127 av. 8 Albufeira, €84 av. 9 Las Vegas, €110 av. 10 Berlin, €99 av.

  • IHG Q1 global room revenue up 5.1pc.
  • Four Seasons will open its second property in Dubai, at the city’s International Finance Centre, in 2016.
  • The former Nile Hilton will re-open as the Nile Ritz-Carlton later this summer.
  • IHG announced the opening of Crowne Plaza Berlin – Potsdamer Platz.
  • Amari Phuket opens its Ocean Wing from June 1.
  • Carlson Rezidor announced two Park Inn by Radisson Hotels in Istanbul. Park Inn Odayeri and Park Inn Atasehir will open in early 2016.
  • Hilton opened the DoubleTree by Hilton Lafayette.
  • Fairmont Hotels & Resorts opened the Fairmont Ajman in the UAE.
  • Swissôtel Hotels & Resorts entered an agreement withGaranti Koza to manage Swissôtel KozaPark Istanbul.
  • DHISCO partnered with Nustay.com to launch a combination OTA later this month.
  • Hyatt Hotels opened Hyatt Place Washington DC.
  • Starwood Hotels & Resorts will double its Middle East portfolio over the next five years.
  • Choice Hotels rolled out a redesigned website and advertising campaign.
  • The 192-room Ritz-Carlton Hotel Budapest is to open in 2016.
  • Carlson Rezidor will open the 126-room Radisson Blu Hotel, Misrata in early 2016.
  • Kaba and Dorma plan to merge to become the dorma+kaba group.
  • Spanish hoteliers called for a unified star classification system.
  • Holiday Inn Express opened a property at Aberdeen International airport.
  • Hyatt Hotels will open its first Place brand hotel in Africa, the Hyatt Place Taghazout Bay.

Thoor Ballylee, a former home of WB Yeats in Gort Co Galway re-opened after its closure since 2009 when American lawyer Joseph Hassett pledged €31k to develop the Yeats Exhibition in the Tower. The plan is to develop a world class Cultural Centre in the Tower to accommodate a new exhibition, a cafe, bookshop, and space for exhibitions, lectures and classes.

ONYX Hospitality Group is to launch two new projects in Malaysia, OZO Medini and Shama Medini, scheduled to open in 2018.

WiFi topped Hotels.com’s amenities poll, ahead of breakfast and free parking.

The Mitsui Garden Yotsuya hotel in central Tokyo launched crying rooms — rooms that come with tearjerker films, make up remover, extra soft tissues and sad manga comics. And when you’ve got it all out of your system, you can avail of the room’s steam eye masks.



Travel distributor GTA launched a loyalty programme for the Middle Eastern and African travel trade. Rewards include smartphones, tables and shopping vouchers.

Travelport renewed its contract with travel management company HRG.

Brand USA launched its culinary tourism strategy.

springfieldWednesday sees the official opening of The Simpsons-themed Springfield attraction at Universal Studios Hollywood.

NYC & Company’s latest NYCGO Insider Guide features Manhattan’s Flatiron District .

Fifty tour operators from 18 countries are expected to attend EUROAL 2015, which takes place June 3-5 in the Palacio de Congresos y Exposiciones in Torremolinos.

Monday saw the opening of Orlando’s new entertainment destination, I-Drive 360, home of the new Orlando Eye.  Stuntman Nik Wallenda successfully completed his record-breaking walk atop the Eye, while the observation wheel was in motion.

  • TUI is looking to sell laterooms.com.
  • A King Kong themed attraction, Skull Island: Reign of Kong, will open at Universal’s Islands of Adventure in summer 2016.
  • The Fondazione Prada arts centre opened in Milan.
  • ATM partner Sabre launched its TripCase app for Apple Watch.
  • Hertz added 235,000 new vehicles to its US fleet.
  • Benidorm will apply for World Heritage status.
  • Leopold Museum, Vienna will host new works by Tracey Emin until September 14.
  • TripAdvisor reported Q1 revenue of $363m, up 29.2pc YOY.
  • Universal is to open Nintendo themed rides and attractions at its theme parks.
  • Brooks Brothers was appointed apparel sponsor for the USA Pavilion at Expo Milano 2015.
  • GTA moved its Global Assistance Team to Dubai.
  • A tour guide in China had her license revoked after threatening to cancel a tour group’s itinerary unless they spent more on souvenirs.

Food & Wine

Artane-born Mark McDonnell, executive sous-chef at the Mandarin Oriental in Washington, DC who hosted irish travel writers, May 2 2015.

Picture shows Artane-born Martin McDonnell, formerly of Mint and Ecrivain and now executive sous-chef at the Mandarin Oriental in Washington, DC who hosted Irish travel writers who flew out on the Aer Lingus Washington DC inaugural last weekend.

Karl Breen of Locks Brasserie in Dublin talks to Irish Food Channel about his signature dishes: 12 hour octopus with black garlic, calamansi mayo, tamarind and salted celeriac. Watch here.1 MILLION AUSTRALIANS TUNE IN TO NEW COOKERY SHOW FILMED IN FERMANAGH

The first episode of Dublin chef Colin Fassnidge’s two-part food series My Ireland with Colin was broadcast on Channel 7 in Australia. The episode showcased Fermanagh’s food and scenery to 1m viewers. Picture shows Colin Fassridge with butcher Pat O’Doherty, director Paul Melville and cameraman David Rose during filming.

  • The Temple Bar Food Market celebrated its 18th birthday yesterday.
  • Liadain Kaminska and Sarah McNally’s Market Kitchen opened in Dublin city centre. Initially, the market will be a monthly pop-up. It will open every Saturday next year.
  • Irish Bake Off finalist Maryanne Dalton and Gemma Cullen launched Dalkey-based food company Dine.



Bank of Ireland Runway Night Run Shannon AirportThe Runway Night Run at Shannon Airport takes place at midnight, June 19. There are 1,700 places available for this year’s event, 500 more than last year. Registration is now open. Register before June 15. All proceeds go to Tipperary Limerick Clare for Cystic Fibrosis and Milford Care Centre, Limerick.

Ryanair carried 9m passengers in April, up 16pc. Load factor was up 7 percentage points to 91pc.

Aer Lingus carried 923,000 passengers in April, down 5.2pc YOY. Load factor was up 2.4 percentage points to 78.2pc. Short haul traffic was down 5.5pc to 710,000, and long haul traffic was up 1.8pc to 113,000.

Avolon delivered eight aircraft to five airlines in Q1. The lessor reported Q1 net income of $49m up 36pc on total revenue of $175.7m.

Ryanair and Sabre copyRyanair fares and ancillary services will be available in a third GDS, Sabre from June 2015.

British Airways is offering passengers flying from May 12 the option to buy a Word Traveller meal as an alternative to the normal menu on selected long haul routes.

Cityjet and Powerscourt Hotel announced a joint marketing deal.

Avolon appointed Donal O’Neill as head of investor relations.

Aer Lingus quietly dropped its €3m legal challenge against Siptu.

Shannon group chief Neil Pakey received €281,869 in his first full year at the firm.

Boeing reported orders for one B787 VIP, five B777s and six B787s from unidentified customers.

DC 06/05/2015 - REPRO FREE FREE PIC Warren Delaforce, Airport Fire Officer, and Rob Jenkins, Airport Police, Fire & Rescue, pictured at the launch of the “Save a Life” campaign where Cork Airport is offering Cardiac First responder training (CFR) to all airport staff and businesses at a discounted rate of €50 to cover course and certification costs.  Pic: Diane Cusack

Picture shows Warren Delaforce, Airport Fire Officer, and Rob Jenkins, Airport Police, Fire & Rescue, at the launch of the “Save a Life” campaign where Cork Airport offered Cardiac First responder training (CFR) to all airport staff and businesses.

FLY Leasing reported Q1 revenue of $122.5m, up 34pc. The Irish lessor invested $147m in four aircraft in Q1 and sold three aircraft.

Ryanair will operate a service from Rome Ciampino to Rabat from October 27.

Stephen Kavanagh said Aer Lingus is becoming the dominant transatlantic airline operating out of Boston.

American Airlines resumed its Shannon-Philadelphia summer service. This year’s service will have a 58pc increase in capacity.

Ryanair reduced its airport check-in fee from €70 to €45 and its missed departure fee from €110 to €100. The airline has also reduced the cost of checking in sports equipment.

Flybe is offering triple Avios to customers who book Dublin-LCY for travel May and June, book before May 31.

Cork Airport plans to develop a 50-acre site to extend the Airport Business Park.

IATA reported global passenger traffic results for March 2015 showed RPKs up 7.4pc, ASKs up 5.6pc and load factor up 1.3 percentage points to 80pc.

Avolon delivered a B737-800 to Sunwing Airlines.

British Airways launched an in-flight channel dedicated to the Tate museum of modern art. It features short films by artists like Grayson Perry, Ai Weiwei, Yayoi Kusama and Damien Hirst.

Avolon delivered an A320-200 to VivaAerobus, the first of four aircraft due to deliver to the Mexican carrier.

New York-based designer Zac Posen will design new uniforms for Delta ground staff and cabin crew.


Etihad Airways launched its Abu Dhabi-Entebbe service.

Malaysia Airlines plans to phase out its entire fleet of A380s.

American Airlines launched a streaming video service on its domestic fleet.

1,000 parts on the Airbus A350 XWB were 3D printed.

Photo 3

Qatar Airways will introduce routes to Los Angeles, Boston and Atlanta in 2016.

Lufthansa reported improved Q1 earnings, but said further action is needed to lower costs.

JetBlue will stream Amazon Prime Videos through its Fly-Fi internet system.

A live stick of dynamite was accidentally left on the Spirit of Seventy Six vintage aircraft at LAX after a security training exercise.

Bombardier announced SWISS is the launch carrier for the CSeries twin jet, due for delivery in the first half of 2016.

Qatar introduced a shuttle service between Doha and Dubai.

Norwegian Air plans to open a base at LAX.

Emirates renewed its marketing agreements with the tourism boards of South Africa, Seychelles and Mauritius.

Flights from Rome Fiumicino Airport were cancelled Thursday morning because of a fire.

Malaysia Airlines Group welcomed Christoph Mueller as chief executive on May 1 and resigned as chairman of An Post. In his first internal communication to the airline’s 20,000 employees, Mueller warned of huge job cuts ahead, saying the airline is spending about 20pc more than its rivals.

Emirates is in the final stages of launching a luxury bedroom product to be rolled out on its A380 and B777s.

Airbus won orders for 229 aircraft between January and April 2015. 196 aircraft were delivered. After cancellations, net orders totalled 209 aircraft. Orders included four A320neos for Avolon.

United Airlines is being sued in a $5m lawsuit for allegedly deceiving passengers about a lack of in-flight WiFi access.

Boeing sold 139 aircraft between January and April 2015, a net total of 114 after 25 cancellations.

Lufthansa will take delivery of first of 25 A350-900s at the end of 2016.

Members of Etihad Guest loyalty programme donated 30m Etihad Guest Miles to provide humanitarian aid to victims of the Nepal earthquake.

Boeing, Lufthansa and SWISS finalised an order for three addition B777-300ERs.

Qatar Airways will launch flights to Zanzibar from July 1.

The co-pilot responsible for the Germanwings crash is believed to have practiced a rapid descent on the outbound flight.

American Airlines launched its B787 Dreamliner service on the Dallas-Chicago route. The aircraft will be deployed on the Dallas-Beijing service from June 2.

The New York Times profiled Rhapsody, United Airlines’ first class in-flight magazine.

Iberia announced a car rental partnership with Avis Budget Group.

Etihad will operate a B797-9 Dreamliner on its Abu Dhabi-Singapore route, which launches August 1.

Students at Delft University in the Netherlands have collaborated with KLM and Zodiac Aerospace to develop smart seats fitted with built-in heart rate monitors that could help cabin crew identify passengers who are feeling ill or anxious.

Zodiac Aerospace subsidiary GMBH patented an in-flight food delivery system that offers a sushi bar carousel dining style.



Royal Caribbean ordered a fourth Quantum-class ship from Meyer Werft in Germany for delivery in 2019, two weeks after the launch of Anthem of the Seas. Royal’s Capacity increases over the next five years are expected to be 5.5pc, 6.3pc, 3.1pc, 3.9pc and 6.5pc, respectively.

Times for the presentations of the eight participants at the e-travel Cruise Show at Red Cow Morans Hotel on the Naas Road south of Dublin today (May 10) are: 12.30 MSC, 13.00 Riveria Travel, 13.30 Celebrity, 14.00 Silversea, 14.30 Royal Caribbean, 15.00 Cunard, 15.30 Holland America, 16.00 Uniworld.

Royal Caribbean president Michael Bayley suggested that Oasis and Allure of the Seas might follow Harmony of the Seas’ suit and add waterslides.

Scenic’s 2016 European river cruise programme includes itineraries in Portugal, two new ships — Scenic Azure and Scenic Amber — and increased activities like Tastes of Oktoberfest on Scenic Enrich experiences.

  • Carnival Imagination and Carnival Inspiration were forced to divert to San Diego and San Pedro due to high swells.
  • A combination of rainfall in Switzerland and France, and spring snowment in the mountains has disrupted itineraries for lines sailing on the Rhine, Rhône, Saône, Danube and Seine rivers.
  • Royal Caribbean is expected to roll out perks for Suite Class passengers some time in 2016.
  • Norwegian banned passengers from taking food outside dining areas.
  • Princess Cruises and Holland America Line cancelled all 2015 port visits to La Goulette, Tunisia, following March’s attack in Tunis.
  • Celebrity Cruises’ new ships will feature Suite Class dining.
  • P&O Azura underwent repairs in Norway after experiencing problems with its electrical system.
  • Carnival Cruise Line changed its loyalty programme, limiting VIFP party invitation to passengers with platinum and diamond status, effective May 15.
  • MSC Cruises‘ Divina docked in Manhattan for its maiden call at New York City.
  • Royal Caribbean appointed John Sulley as VP of food and beverage operations.
  • Princess Cruises will deploy its next vessel in China full time.
  • Baja Ferries received a license to operate a ferry service between the USA and Cuba.

Deal Watch

Irish Ferries is offering two adults and car travel from Rosslare to Cherbourg/Roscoff from €99 each way. Valid for travel up to May 28 and from August 24-December 16. See irishferries.com for more or call 1818 300 400.

Bring a friend to France for free on Stena Line. Prices from Rosslare to Cherbourg start at €98 single for a car and two passengers. Book by May 19 for travel up to May 28 and from August 24 to December 16.

Lowcostbeds offers for Greece, based on 2 sharing for arrivals in May to mid-June: 5* Holiday Palace, Corfu form €27pppn half board. 3* Fereniki Holiday Resort & Spa, Crete from €16pppn all inclusive. 3* Pantheon Studios, Kos from €10pppn half board. 3* Hotel Virginia, Rhodes from €17pppn all inclusive. Visit lowcostbeds.com for more.

Insight Vacations is offering a 9-day tour of Budapest, Vienna and Prage from €1,879pps incl. flights, transfers and selection of meals. Book by May 31, depart July 31. For more, visit insightvacations.com or call 01 775 3803.

Uniworld is offering an 8-day all inclusive river cruise on the Rhine Discovery from €2,329pps incl. flights, port tax, gratuities and transfers. Book by May 31, depart June 21. For more, visit uniworld.ie or call 01 775 3803.

Contiki offer of the week: 12-day European tour from €1,490pps incl. accommodation, 16 meals and visits to 8 World Heritage Sites. Itinerary includes England, Belgium, Netherlands, Germany, Austria, Italy, Vatican City, Switzerland and France. Book by May 11, depart Jun 5. For more visit, contiki.com or call 01 775 3803.

Click and Go offers: 3 nights 3* Mark Apart Hotel, Berlin from €199pp incl. flights ex Dublin, taxes and charges, travel in June. 7 nights self catering 3* Albona Apartments, Rabac Istrian Riveria, Croatia from €479pp incl. flights ex Dublin and transfers, travel in May. 7 nights all inclusive 3* Brisamar Aparthotel, Corralejo, Fuerteventura from €499pp incl. flights ex Dublin, taxes, charges and transfers, travel in June.

Falcon offers: 7 nights self catering 3* Hyde Park Lane, Playa De Los Pocillos, Lanzarote from €979 for two adults and one child and from €1,199 for two adults and two children, depart June 11. 7 nights B&B 3* Marvel, Sunny Beach, Bulgaria from €419pp, depart June 1. 7 nights B&B 3* Sinem Hotel, Marmaris, Dalaman from €349pp, depart June 8. 7 nights self catering 3* Loulas Village, Psaras, Corfu from €379pp, depart June 12. To book, visit falconholidays.ie or call 1850 45 35 45. 

Sunway offers: 10 days escorted tour of Southern Italy and Sicily from €2,099pp incl. flights ex Dublin, transport, meals, hotel accommodation and transfers. Itinerary includes visits to Rome, Sorrento, Taormina and Palermo. Book by May 15, depart June 19. 7 nights B&B 5* Gran Atlantis Bahia Real Hotel, Fuerteventura from €989pps incl. transfers, taxes, charges 20kg checked in baggage pp and Sunway rep service, depart June 6 or 13.

Thomson offers: 7 nights half board 4* Barcelo Santiago Puerto de Santiago, Tenerife from €609pp, depart June 12. 7 nights full board onboard the Thomson Spirit from €669pp, depart June 1. 7 nights self catering 3* Silver Springs, Sunny Beach, Bulgaria from €439pp, depart June 1. 7 nights self catering 3* Cay Beach Sun, Playa Blanca, Lanzarote from €509pp, depart June 15. To book, visit thomsonholidays.ie or call 1850 45 35 45.

Wendy Wu Tours is offering €200pp off all inclusive tours: 16 days Wonder of China tour, €3,790pp, depart July 12. 10 days A China Experience tour, €2,940pp, depart August 15. 21 days Magnificent China, €4,190pp, depart September 13. 14 days Glories of China, €3,390pp, depart September 24. 9 days In Pursuit of Pandas, €2,640pp, depart October 25. 18 days Vietnam Panorama, €2,990pp, depart July 12. 17 days Angkor to the Bay, €3,590pp, depart August 14. 28 days Tour of Indochina, €5,190pp, depart September 26. 9days Golden Triangle, India €2,690pp, depart November 21. For more, visit wendywutours.ie or call 0818 776 380.

Sunway Mark Warner Beach Club holidays: 7 nights all inclusive 4* Sea Garden Beach Resort, Bodrum, Turkey from €699pp, depart May 31. 7 nights half board 5* Levante Beach Resort, Rhodes, Greece from €899pp, depart May 27. All prices include direct flights ex Dublin.

Topflight’s 5 day Italian sale starts today, all prices incl. return flights ex Dublin, return resort transfers, luggage allowance, all taxes, rep service and online discount: 7 nights half board 4* Hotel Bristol, Sorrento from €799pps, depart May 24. 7 nights 4* Bella Italia, Peschiera, Lake Garda from €1,596 for two adults and two children, depart May 23. 7 nights B&B 3* Hotel Eden, Torbole, Lake Garda from €499pps, depart May 23. 7 nights half board 3* Hotel Trevi, Lido Di Jesolo fro €449pps, depart May 23. 7 nights half board 3* Hotel Senior, Catholic from €519pps, depart June 27. 7 nights B&B 3* Hotel Tysandros, Giardini Naxos, Sicily from €469pps, depart May 31.

Abbey Travel is offering free half board meals for families at Disneyland Paris and 20pc off hotel and park tickets, offer ends October 31.

Cassidy Travel is offering last minute holidays to The Algarve from €165pp, all inclusive from €229pp and family holidays from €669 for two adults and one child. See cassidytravel.ie for more or call 0818 332500.

Best4Travel offers: 11 nights all inclusive Sandos Papgayo, Lanzarote from €799pp incl. flights ex Dublin, depart May 17. 7 nights all inclusive Sandos Papgayo from €665pp incl. flights ex Cork, depart May 21. 7 nights half board Gloria Palace Amadores from €546pp, depart June 10. 7 nights B&B Gloria Palace Royal from €663pp incl. flights and baggage, depart June 3. To book, call 1800 814 031.

Tourism NI offers of the week: 1 night B&B Ten Square Hotel, Belfast from £55pp incl. 3 course Table d’hôte dinner in The Grill Room, available until November 29, call 028 9024 1001. 2 nights B&B Glenavon House Hotel, Cooktown from £69pps incl. use of leisure facilities, available until December 31, call 028 8676 4949. 1 night B&B Galgorm Resort & Spa, Ballymena from £99.50pps incl. use of the Thermal Areas in the spa and a 3 course evening meal in restaurant of your choice with a bottle of house wine, available Monday-Wednesday until May 31, call 028 2588 1001.


CSO figures show that the domestic travel market grew again by 4pc last year to 7.4m, while holiday trips grew by 2pc. The five most visited counties, in descending order, are:  Dublin, Cork, Galway, Kerry and Wexford, click here for a comprehensive overview.

GERMAN AND SWISS JOURNALISTS CRUISE INTO TOWN!Nine German and Swiss journalists visited Ireland this week as guests of Tourism Ireland and German cruise operator Le Boat. The group’s itinerary included cruising on Lough Derg, visits to Terryglass, Garrykennedy, Portumna Castle, Clonmacnoise and Ballynahown Craft Village, and a cooking demo in Larkins Bar. Picture shows the group with with Daniel Farrell of Tourism Ireland at Clonmacnoise jetty.

MOUNT STEWART ‘DAZZLES’ AUSTRALIAN JOURNALISTSA group of Australian journalists visited the north this week as guests of Tourism Ireland, VisitBritain and British Airways. The group visited the Ards Peninsula, stopping off at Mount Stewart House and Gardens. They also took part in a Game of Thrones Winterfell activity tour at Castle Ward, toured Belfast by bike, took part in a walking food tour and drove along the Causeway Coastal Route. Picture shows Jenny Orme of British Airways with Lee Tulloch, Fairfax Media’s Traveller; Natasha Dragun, Mindfood; Helen Anderson, The Weekend Australian; and Amanda Woods, Adventures All Round.

1.7+ MILLION PEOPLE IN INDIA TO READ ABOUT SLIGOA group of five journalists from India visited Ireland this week as guests of Tourism Ireland. The group’s itinerary, designed by Fáilte Ireland and Tourism NI, included visited to Dublin Castle, Christ Church Cathedral, Clonmacnoise, Galway, Lough Gill, Yeats’ Grave, Lissadell House & Gardens, Marble Arch Caves, Belfast city and  a boat trip on the Fermanagh lakes and a Game of Thrones afternoon tea. Picture shows Beena Menon of Tourism Ireland with Srinivasa Ramanujam of The Hindu newspaper; Mallica Singh, CEO India magazine; freelance journalist Susheela Nair; Vatsala Chhibber of Elle India magazine; and Shalini Sharma of Hi Blitz magazine at Lissadell House.

BRAZILIAN TOUR OPERATORS GIVE KILKENNY THE THUMBS UP!Mariana Barros and Fabio Merielles of Brazilian tour operator Donato Viagens visited Ireland on a fact-finding mission as guests of Tourism Ireland. The itinerary was designed by Fáilte Ireland and included visits to the National Library, Trinity College, the Guiness Storehouse, Brú na Bóinne Visitor Centre, the Cliffs of Moher, Kilkenny Castle and Malahid Castle. They also went on a pub crawl in Dublin, a backstage tour of the Abbey Theatre and hurling at Nowlan Park in Kilkenny. They plan to produce a video of their time in Ireland. Picture shows Mariana and Fabio at Kilkenny Castle.

Upcoming events in Limerick: Lough Gur’s Wellbeing Day, May 16. Ireland v Barbarians, May 28. Culture & Chips festival, May 28-June 2. The Pig ‘n’ Porter tag rugby event, July 11. DruidShakespeare, June 23, 24, 26 and 27. Limerick Sings International Choral Festival, June 26-TOURISM IRELAND BOARD MEETS IN SLIGO29.

Tourism Ireland’s May board meeting took place in the Sligo Park Hotel. Picture shows Paul Gunning with Niall Gibbons, CEO of Tourism Ireland Tourism Ireland board members and senior managers to Lissadell House.

Royal County Down is one of the oldest Golf Clubs in Ireland with traditions over one hundred years. Situated in Newcastle, where in the immortal words of Percy French, "The Mountains of Mourne sweep down to the sea", Royal County Down is not only a fine test of golf but has accompanying scenery that is spellbinding.

Tourism NI announced the line up for the Pro Am competition at Royal County Down, May 27: AP McCoy,  Pat Jennings, Stephen Ferris, Shane Warne, James Nesbitt, Dennis Taylor, Jamie Redknapp, Patrick Kielty and George Hook. Buy tickets here.

Upcoming events in Cavan and Fermanagh, promoted by The Border Uplands Project: Fermanagh — Saturday night dinner cruises, Lough Erne, May 2- September 26. The Marble Arch Caves 30th anniversary, May 31. Festival Lough Erne, June 20-21. Forest Fun and Minibeast Hunt, the Marble Arch Caves, June 7. The pic-1-CAMPAIGN-IN-PARIS-METRO-WITH-TRANSAVIAAdventures of Robin Hood, Ardhowen Theatre, May 20. Cavan — A Taste of Cavan, Cavan town, August 7-8. Fleadh Cheoil an Chabhain, Swanlinbar, May 31-June 1. Cavan Kayakarun, August 8. The Cavan Walking Festival, May 1-10.

Tourism Ireland and Transavia launched a billboard campaign on the Paris Metro to promote the airline’s daily Dublin to Paris-Orly flight from June 1.

Fionn Crombie Angus and his dad Jonathon Angus, Mountshannon taking in the views from the White Tailed Sea Eagles Viewing & Information Point at Mountshannon. Photo Sean Curtin ####repro free Lough Derg eagles to soar again this summer - 2014 trial opening period generates half a million euro for local economy The popular White Tailed Sea Eagle Viewing & Information Point at Mountshannon Pier in Co. Clare has reopened to the public following a hugely successful pilot opening period last summer. More than 10,000 people flocked to the shores of Lough Derg between mid-July and September 2014 to catch a glimpse of the first successful breeding pair of White Tailed Sea Eagles in Ireland in 110 years. The Viewing & Information Point is operated by the Mountshannon Eagle Group, in conjunction with the Golden Eagle Trust and Mountshannon Community Council. It features telescopes and information and displays about the White Tailed Sea Eagles, regarded as Ireland’s largest and most spectacular breeding birds. Clare County Council, which funds the facility, says the facility generated more than half a million euro for the local economy in 2014. A visitor survey conducted last year found that 43% of people said the attraction was the primary factor influencing their decision to visit Mountshannon. The Mountshannon breeding pair of eagles, a seven-year-old male and six-year-old female, were originally collected as chicks on the island of Frøya off the west coast of Norway by the Golden Eagle Trust. The birds were released in Killarney National Park before relocating to Lough Derg in 2011. The pair, named Saoirse and Caimin, created history in 2013 when they reared the first chicks to fly from a nest in Ireland in 110 years. The pair successfully hatched another chick in 2014 with the local community in Mountshannon expressing their hope of another successful hatching this summer. "Our trial opening in 2014 shows there is significant and genuine interest amongst the general public in these wonderful birds. People are especially fascinated by how and why the birds have settled and began to breed in Lough Derg. This project also demonstrates the potential in terms of tourism product development at this location," said Congella McGuire, Clare Heritage Officer. Ms. McGuire noted that the visitor figures compare well to the Island of Mull in Scotland where White-tailed Sea Eagles watching has been popular for more than 10 years. A greater percentage of people came to Mountshannon (43%) specifically to see the Eagle pair than to the Island of Mull (23%) where eagle tourism brings in an estimated £5 million annually. "Clare County Council is delighted to have played a leading role in increasing public interest in the local White Tailed Sea Eagle population without disturbing them in their natural habitat. By doing so, the Council is playing a key role in safeguarding these protected birds and their nesting activities as well as providing an excellent addition to the local tourism infrastructure," Ms. McGuire added. Visit www.mountshannoneagles.ie for more on the Mountshannon White Tailed Sea Eagles Viewing & Information Point.

The White Tailed Sea Eagle Viewing & Information Point at Mountshannon Pier, Co Clare reopened this week.

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

TRAVEL Extra’s Sunday Supplement: 7 Could Be IAG’s Lucky Number


Yutaka Ito of All Nippon Airways, Adel Ali of Air Arabia, Conor McCarthy of Dublin Aerospace, Zhihang Chi of Air China and Alan Joyce of Qantas at the CAPA Airlines in Transition conference in Dublin.

Yutaka Ito of All Nippon Airways, Adel Ali of Air Arabia, Conor McCarthy of Dublin Aerospace, Zhihang Chi of Air China and Alan Joyce of Qantas at the CAPA Airlines in Transition conference in Powerscourt.


The headlines this week:

  • IAG prepares for end of the beginning
  • Gold circle scheme to be revamped
  • Re Joyce: Alan Joyce’s triumphant return to Ireland
  • Flybe explain why Dublin-London City was dropped
  • Aer Lingus confirms plan for nine A350s
  • Bad pun alert: Finnish won’t finish, 3w added for winter
  • JFK gets a new Aer Lingus lounge
  • River-run: 12 Vikings, a Uniworld and an Avalon named in one week

Travel Extra TV

Video-of-week-March 29Our video of the week captures a spontaneous performance of Beer! The Musical in New York City Beer Hall. Confused customers look on as Improv Everywhere comedy group perform an ode to brew. Watch here.

  • 279 aircraft later, Boeing pieces together the Last C-17. Watch here.
  • To celebrate the maiden flight of its first Airbus A380, Etihad profiled some of the key crew members. Here is the pilot: Watch here.
  • Tourism Ireland rounded up its 2015 Global Greening with this video: Watch here.
  • Lufthansa CEO Carsten Spohr talked about the Germanwings Flight 9525 tragedy shortly after the crash. Watch here.
  • Rapper Jamal Edwards’ guide to east London with British Airways. Watch here.
  • KLM destination showcases: Havana (watch here), Vancouver (watch here), Bueno Aires (watch here), New York City (watch here) and Rio de Janeiro (watch here).
  • Emirates invited Arsenal football team and Saracens rugby team to swap skills. Watch here.


willie walsh_9312Seven is the magic number in the latest phase of IAG’s bid to take over Aer Lingus. Negotiations with government advisers are drawing to a close with a seven year guarantee on Heathrow slots likely to seal the deal with the government and the formal bid to follow (despite all the heat, no bid has yet been made). Minister Paschal Donohoe says that he expects negotiations to be concluded “in the coming weeks” (listen here).

It is the end of the beginning and not yet the beginning of the end (to quote Sean O’Casey,  his lines famously filched by Winston Churchill), given the union and regional opposition to the bid, but several influencers, including major media, seem to have moved from outright opposition to the bid. Would anyone except Willie Walsh have brought the bid this far?

ascent descentAfter tragic events in the Alps this week the IAA confirmed that it is required of Irish airlines to have two people in the cockpit at all times and when one of the pilots leaves a cabin crew member will stand in. Air Berlin, Air Canada, EasyJet and the Lufthansa group all adopted the two persons in the cockpit rule immediately. Norwegian also adopted it but will await regulatory approval. Air France-KLM group said it was monitoring the situation. One of the more melancholy retro-reads of the week can be found here (from 2013), the Federal Aviation Administration recognising Andreas Guenter Lubitz with the prestigious FAA Airmen Certification Database. A torn-up sick note was reported to have indicated that the crash pilot should have been grounded. Picture shows speed and altitude graph of the Germanwings flight.

alan joyce hands_8635One of several bad timing awards for this week goes to the parents of Alan Joyce who went to visit him in Australia while the Qantas CEO took time off an investor’s roadshow to show up in Co Wicklow, two mountains and a small hill away from his native Tallaght, and give the keynote address at the CAPA airlines in transition conference. His speech was brief and insightful (listen here) and he came up with what must be the phrase of the conference: the “intellectual property of working in partnerships”.

Alan joyce anton daltun_4512Alan is pictured with his former boss Antóin Daltún, to whom he paid tribute in his address. See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.

This is the third year that David Webster’s Powerscourt hotel has hosted CAPA’s event and the group reported that they were happy with the three events and will be seeking another three year deal to host their CEO-heavy event in Ireland.

kavanagh speaksbrian havel_8544Star performers included Sebastian Mikosz of LOT Polish Airlines (“airlines shouldn’t blindly react to low cost airlines entering their market: follow your own strategy“) and the characteristically frank Pat Byrne of Cityjet, who said the entrepreneurial spirit and survival instinct of a regional carrier can be destroyed if partially owned by a major carrier (listen here). Stephen Kavanagh of Aer Lingus (pictured above) gave the most concise summary on record of how Aer Lingus avoided bankruptcy by cut their cost base by 52pc in 2002 (listen here) and stressed: Ireland doesn’t need Aer Lingus, Ireland needs competition, which is what Aer Lingus provides. The wolf at the door was a great enabler, Michael O’Leary was our greatest support. Kevin Toland of DAA outlined Ireland’s contributions to world aviation (listen here) and other notable contributions came from Saad Hammad of Flybe who advised airlines “stay true to your stage length. Flybe is the 90-minute airline – if we stray beyond that we get into trouble.” He said Flybe has signed up for seven codeshare partner airlines so far and wants to double that number, Aidan Brogan of Datalex, Conor McCarthy of Dublin Aerospace, Adel Ali of Air Arabia, Martin Gauss of AirBaltic, Cath Lynn of easyJet, Xiuzhi Zhang of Spring Airlines, Zhihang Chi of Air China and Dubliner Jim Callaghan of Etihad. Brian Havel of De Paul University of Law (pictured) was the most animated moderator. Rigas Douganis outlined a gloomy scenario for legacy carriers operating in Europe (listen here). Jonathon Wober of CAPA explained how airlines had never regained the peak profitability they achieved in 1966 (listen here) Minister Paschal Donohue outlined his new government transport policy (listen here) and answered questions on open skies (listen here) and connectivity (listen here). He said the government is now finalising a National Aviation Strategy and will publish it soon and then set up a National Aviation Forum.

sinead kenny_8774Affinity founder Sinead Finn was first in the exotic Powerscourt Hotel swimming pool early on Thursday morning before moderating the coolest session of the programme, when Ryanair’s Kenny Jacobs and Bobby Healy CEO of Cartrawler (resplendent in red sneakers) talked apps and travel, at one stage sending a shiver down the backbones for their audience by lumping airlines and GDS’s in the same category. David O’Brien of Ryanair said the new website, planned for end of 2015, will be more like a retailer’s website than an airline website while Kenny Jacobs said travel as a retail category needs a shake up.

Ian Heywood of Travelport was almost a lone voice defending the interests of the travel agent.

There was further activity in the exhibition area where Travelport were showcasing their Smartpoint product which provides travel agencies with real-time access to more than 400 airlines (lo-cos included) and 600,000 hotel properties. Travelport celebrated the 100th airline to sign up for its rich content product, only launched in November last year. And yes, there was cake.

IMG_8826Visit Florida hosted travel media in Dublin where they outlined new events across the length and breadth of the state from Panama Beach to Amelia Island and down to Oonagh McCullough’s southern coast. Picture shows Kenneth Morgan-Schleuning of Visit Florida, Hope Sarzier of Amelia Island, Brooke Fleming of Pensacola, Rochelle Siegel of Kissimmee, Dan Rowe of Panama Beach and Oonagh McCullough of Naples, Marco Islands and Everglades. See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.

finnair team_4424Before Finnair’s new service from Dublin to Helsinki has even started, Sales Director Fredrik Charpentier, announced that the service is to be extend to the winter three times weekly (listen here). Dublin Airport Authority hosted a reception at the Royal Hibernian Academy for the trade where Charpentier and his team outlined their plans for the service. Heidi Ahonen said it had been 2007 since Finnair served Dublin (listen here) Vincent Harrison of Dublin Airport said there were six new airlines in Dublin this year and 20 new routes (listen here) while Martin Skelly replied on behalf of the Irish Travel Agents Association describing the quality of the FGinnair product as “a race to the top” (listen here). Separately Joni Sundelin of Finnavia outlined plans to build Helsinki into Europe’s fifth largest hub in Europe (listen here – brushing aside a question about whether Istanbul was in Europe). Finnair A350 flights start on Apr 9, with long haul services to start in the autumn to Shanghai, then Beijing, Bangkok, Hong Kong and Singapore.

The Dublin to Helsinki inaugural departs tomorrow Monday to Helsinki where VisitFinland’s Riita Balza will host a group of travel media. Picture shows the Finnair team at the event: Ana Gibson, Anssi Partanen, Heidi Ahonen and Frederik Charpentier. See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.

europe airpostJean-François Dominiak, CEO of Europe Airpost, stopped by to celebrate the new route from Dublin to Halifax in Canada at Dublin’s Brasserie Le Pont restaurant. Europe Airpost’s a 737-700 service originates in Paris CDG and continues via Dublin direct to Halifax once weekly between July 9 and Sept 11, outbound on Thursdays 2:25pm and back on Fridays landing 8.05pm. Lindsay Champion introduced Nova Scotia. The province is home to the bald eagle, moose and North Atlantic right whale, which migrates to higher altitudes from May to September. Nova Scotia, which has the same land mass as Ireland, boasts 15 wineries, making it the third largest wine province in Canada, and is one of the largest exporters of lobster. Back in the day, Lindsay said, lobsters were in such an abundance that the poor kids brought lobster sandwiches to school while the rich kids scoffed on corned beef. Lighthouses are iconic with Nova Scotia — there are 160 along the coastline — but so too are shipwrecks. There are 27,000 on record, and Nova Scotia was the first to dispatch rescue boats after the Titanic sank. 150 bodies that were recovered are buried in Halifax cemetery. If maritime disasters are not your thing, Nova Scotia also boasts a strong pub culture, and offers golfing and winter surfing experiences. Picture shows Jean-François Dominiak, CEO of Europe Airpost, Catherine Grennell-Whyte, MD of ATTS, and Martin Skelly, President of the ITAA. See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.

tianguisThe 40th Tianguis Turistico Mexico returned to Acapulco, where local planners showcased their US$200m infrastructure spend including plans for a new transportation system known as ACABus and extensive hotel renovations. Activity was 7pc ahead of target, although slightly down on last year’s Tianguis in Cancun, 50pc up on when it was held in Acapulco: 30,000 appointments, 2,500 exhibitors and 266 local and 424 international buyers. Cancún hosted 8,000 more appointments and 157 more buyers last year. Last time Acapulco hosted Tianguis the guests, including Travel Extra, were trapped at a party in the fabulous art deco Boca Chica hotel for an extra few hours because of a drug-related shoot out on the only approach road. No such drama this time: highlight of the event was the Las Brizas party on Terazza El Tulpán. Tianguis moves on to Guadalajara next year, after it won a bidding process against Guanajuato and Quintana Roo.

visit englandWe barely had time to regain our breath from Saturday’s rugby drama (is this the last time international teams will be allowed know exactly what they need to score to win a major competition) when Visit England hosted a rugby world cup event on Monday evening. Gayle Molloy finishes up as Visit England’s representative in Ireland on March 31st. Picture shows Jeremy Brinkworth, Visit England Project Director, Rugby World Cup and Gayle Molloy of Visit England. See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.

Ciara Foley Kevin O'Malley Pat ReedePicture shows Ciara Foley of Platinum Travel, chair of Visit USA in Dublin, Kevin O’Malley the USA ambassador in Dublin, and Pat Reede of United Airlines who represented Visit USA Dublin the annual St Patrick’s Day function in the White House, Washington DC. See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.

trailfinders etihadEtihad, Trailfinders and the Tourist Authority of Thailand were hosts at a Trailfinders staff evening in the Red Torch Ginger restaurant. Trailfinders is the leading Irish operator to Thailand which attracted 62,727 Irish last year.  Joanna Cooke from TAT and Shannon O’Dowd from Etihad gave presentations to the Trailfinders staff and invited guests. Shannon O’Dowd showcased Etihad’s new TV ad starring Nicole Kidman (featured in last week’s Sunday Supplement), The Residence on the A380 and the Economy Smart Seat’s fixed wing headrests. Joanna Cooke reiterated how the junta has had no impact on Thailand’s tourism industry and noted how the military government has helped regulate taxis, clean up beaches and improve visitor safety (a new tourist hotline was launched this week, dial 1111). The over 45s remain the primary market, but there is a growing trend in family holidays and MAMILS, middle aged men in lycra, who are interested in adventure breaks. Picture shows Karen Maloney of Etihad, Shannon O’Dowd of Etihad, Dave Hyeems of Trailfinders and Joanna Cooke of Thai Tourism Authority. See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.Ethiopia 002

Ethiopian Airlines hosted a group of Irish media in advance of the launch of their direct route on June 15. Picture shows Irish media and their hosts in Addis Adaba. Reuters repotots that Ethiopian is considering proposals to help set up national airlines in Nigeria and three other countries to expand its operations on the continent.

snow hotelDefinitely Travel Extra’s coolest call of the week was to the snow hotel in Kirkenes, where three time zones meet, (like the words of a Brendan Shine song), where a group of travel writers were hosted by Astrid Lund. Why the fire extinguishers? “We are still a hotel and subject to hotel regulations,” Astrid says, “the politicians in their wisdom require us to have them.” A worrying development, coolers have had to be used to keep the snow hotel at the required temperature in recent years due to global warming. The second of the two direct charters to the Northern Lights had some spectacular stormy and snowy weather, although the view of the lights was not as good as the February charter. No word yet on whether Hurtigruten will have direct charters from Dublin to Tromsø again in 2016 but here’s hoping. It is a great product. See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.

Travel Trade

ex continentalSome ex-cons spotted at the CAPA Airlines in Transition conference in Powerscourt; not that they have a criminal past, rather that they once worked for Continental Airlines: Yvonne Muldoon (now with Cartrawler), Brian Hughes of United and Beatrice Cosgrove (now country manager for Etihad in Ireland).

Ten agents won a place on Topflight’s VIP Italian Trip to Sorrento and Lake Garda on April 28: Sinead Hearne of East Cork Travel, Emma Black of Thomas Cook, Lisburn, Caitriona Duffy of Cassidy Travel, Blanchardstown, Marie Grenham of Grenham Travel, Karen Kelleher of Barter Travel Group, Marc Lynch of Abbey Travel, Michelle Lyons of Fahy Travel, Patricia Ryan of Limerick Travel, Stella Grant of O’Hanrahan Travel and Sean Healy of Lee Travel.

rory mcdyer martin skelly_4370Rory McDyer Travel will be 25 years in business this week. Picture shows Rory McDyer of Rory McDyer travel and Martin Skelly, president of the Irish Travel Agents Association at the Finnair event.

Stella Grant of O’Hanrahan Travel (Ulster), Donna McGann of Eimear Hannon Travel (Leinster), Lynne Casey of Fahy Travel (Connacht), and Lorraine O’Connor of Travel Fox (Munster) were the winners of the Emirates trade competition to see One Direction live in concert on April 4 in Dubai with Emirates.

audrey headonTIGS president’s (Audrey Headon) Prize, sponsored by Etihad Airways, will take place on April 16 at Druid Glen. Tee is reserved from 1050 to 1340, cost to members: €50 and guests €75. Timesheet is now open.

Travel Centres’ trip to China concluded, a busy jaunt supported by Turkish Airlines and the Beijing Municipal Commission of Tourism Development.  Pamela Brownlee of Flyaway Travel reported it was an amazing trip: the Great Wall, Summer Palace, the Forbidden City, although she is not sure how one would manage without an interpreter. And she can nearly agree with the song there are 10m bicycles in Beijing. Connect here with Flyaway Travel’s picture of China on Facebook.

Vision Cruise Debbie copyPicture shows Martin Graham from the Celebrity Cruises ‘Modern Luxury Squad’ visiting Debbie Hartley at Vision Cruise to present her with a two-night cruise getaway. The Celebrity Cruises’ team has been offering agents the chance to bid for a place on the Celebrity Eclipse sailing in May by using their Celebrity Rewards points as part of the Spring Into Luxury March campaign.

  • On the Beach based in Cheadle in England has been issued a travel agents license by the Commission for Aviation Regulation.
  • Lesley Kane, formerly with Ryanair, has joined Air Transat as Director of Sales for Britain and Ireland.
  • Ryanair unveiled its new advertising on the lifts in Dublin Airport’s Terminal 2.
  • Air Canada has appointed Margaret Skinner as Director of Sales Europe. She was previously Sales Manager Ireland and Britain for American Airlines.sandra corkin award
  • Picture shows Sandra Corkin from Oasis Travel being presented with Business Person of the Year Award by award sponsor Ian Nelson of the Progressive Building Society at the Lisburn City Business Awards.
  • Globe Hotels and Best4Travel is seeking an Agency Support Executive for its Dunshaughlin head office and Travel Consultants for its branches in Athlone and Navan (maternity cover from July to November). Closing date for applications is Tuesday next, March 31st.
  • Richard Greenaway’s Mercury Holidays launched programmes to Antigua & Barbuda.
  • Insight Consultants is merging with Bill O’Herlihy Communications. Both agencies have managed several major tourism accounts.
  • Maddy Morgan has Visit California / Black Diamond after eight years (to take on the role of PR Director at Small Luxury Hotels of the World.
  • Air France KLM is seeking a sales support executive for maternity cover.
  • Visit Orlando’s complimentary half-day sightseeing tours and media tours for IPW 2015 went online. The general IPW schedule can be found here and the media-specific schedule here.
  • Irish travel software company Datalex reported a 69pc increase in profit after tax to $2.7m for the year ended Dec 31 2014.
  • Alila Hotels & Resorts appointed Patrick Pahlke as vice president of sales and Doris Goh as chief marketing officer.
  • Reminder: Be sure to register your American Airlines and British Airways bookings to the USA made before April 3 to be in with a chance of winning one of 100 places on the USA MegaFam trip, May 14 to 21.
  • Lowcostbeds trade promotion in association with Malta Tourist authority: Earn €5 one4all voucher on all bookings made to Malta until April 30.
  • Travel Professionals Skillnet is offering a 2 day Finance for Non Finance Professionals programme at the Professional Development Training Centre in Blanchardstown, May 21 and 22, 9.30am-5.30pc. Cost €299. More info/bookings.


STR Global reported Ireland had the third highest RevPAR increase in February among European countries (+23.2 pc to €63.12) behind Lithuania (+35.6 pc to €26.50) and Croatia (+24.3 pc to €15.99) and ahead of Malta (+23.0 pc to €46.23); Hungary (+20.8 pc to €31.49); and England (+20.7 pc to €81.40). Hotel occupancy in Europe rose 3.1pc to 62.6pc for February 2015. Vilnius occupancy rose 21.5 points to 49.4pc. Moscow occupancy continues to fall, down 5.7 points to 58.2pc.

André Vietor from the International Association of Professional Conference Organisers and Kevin Kelly of BigBuzz Marketing Group were among the speakers at the AIPCO Business Tourism Conference 2015 in Powerscourt.

Falls Hotel, Enistimon, Clare, IrelandPaul Smyth’s Galgorm released images of its £10m 48-room extension and spa village is to open in September. Themes in the spa village include Snow Paradise, the Orangery, a riverside sauna, plunge pool, sheltered relaxation area with open fire and private Dutch Tubs, heated by their own log fires.

Kinvara’s 32-room Merriman Hotel is on sale with a guide price of €695,000.

HOTREC, the European association representing the European hospitality industry, warned that the EU Council of minister’s current position on the Package Travel Directive will damage the hotel industry by making ancillary services, such as arranging taxi transfers from the airport, spas in the hotel, bicycle renting and tickets to events subject to the new Package Travel Directive.

A Hotels.com survey claimed that visitors to Ireland from Argentina had the highest average spend of €128 per room per night in 2014. This is up 19pc on last year and 24pc above the Irish national average of €103.

Analysis by Highland Group offered answers to a ten-year-old conundrum: how to define boutique, lifestyle and soft brand hotel sectors. The definitions are:

  • Boutique: Unique in style, design-centric, either independent or affiliated with a smaller brand system, with 40 to 300 guestrooms.
  • Lifestyle: Prescribed franchised products that are adapted to reflect current trends.
  • Soft brand: Individualised hotels that give owners and operators the opportunity to affiliate with a major chain distribution while retaining their unique design, name and orientation.

select hotelsPicture shows hoteliers at a Select Hotels event: John Ryan of Ardilaun Hotel, Jo Denby and Caitriona Murphy of Whites of Wexford, Martha O’Connor of Royal Marine Hotel, Andrew Greenslade of City North Hotel, Aidan Ryan of Royal Marine Hotel, David Goode of Actons Kinsale, Amy Duggan of the Trident Hotel, Front Row: Una Young of Select Hotels of Ireland, Deirdre Twomey of Kilkenny Ormonde Hotel and Maria Kelly of the Ardilaun Hotel.

  • CEO of Best Western in England Richard Lewis has resigned and will be replaced by Rob Payne in an interim capacity.
  • JW Marriott’s 191-room Venice Resort had its soft opening ahead of its grand opening celebration on June 24.
  • Design Hotels opened the 10-suite G-Rough in Rome, from the creators of PalazzinaG housed in a 17th century bourgeois building.
  • Horwath HTL reported that the extended-stay segment not only has performed well and is gaining popularity among developers and investors.
  • AMResorts announced five new resort contracts in Dominican Republic (Secrets Cap Cana and Dreams Dominicus La Romana), Mexico (Breathless Riviera Cancun), Costa Rica (Secrets Papagayo Costa Rica) and Aruba for the first time (Zoëtry Isla Di Oro Arub).
  • Trivago in England says searches to Tunisia have fallen 22pc following the Bardo Museum attack.


The Egyptian visa requirement for individual tourists are still no clearer (beyond a clarification that package holiday travellers such as Sunway and Red Sea Resorts are not affected), two weeks after they were hastily announced. Egypt’s Tourism Office says that talks are currently in effect between Egyptian Ministry of Tourism, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and other relevant entities to discuss details on tourists’ individual visas travelling to Egypt. We are still awaiting a clarification for the queries in question.

photographing lion 588Kenya has called foul after several governments, including Ireland, said its coastal region was unsafe and there are reports that it will follow Thailand’s lead last year in setting up its own travel insurance scheme for tourists who still wish to visit. The Department of Foreign Affairs imposed an “all but essential” travel ban to Lamu County and Archipelago, Mombasa Island and within 5km of the coast from Mtwapa Creek north of to include Malindi, Watamu, and Kilifi, and even Tiwi, not including Diana and Moi International Airport. The update came after an incident which was not related to Kenya, the attack on Maka al Mukarama hotel in the Green Zone corridor of Somalian capital Mogadishu, by Al Shabaab insurgents who stormed a meeting attended by officials of Omar Sharmarke’s new Somali government. Kenya’s ire turned on its former colonial oppressor, citing London’s stricter blanket travel ban as a response, not to any threat, but to Nairobi’s refusal to renew a troop training deal unless London agreed to have its troops deployed to Kenya subject to Kenyan law. An unnamed tourism source thundered: I think there can be no doubt left now that they are using such advisories to browbeat Kenya into submission over so many contentious things. The London government is not a friend of Kenya. Tourists are still visiting even though travel to Kenya is made very difficult with no charters operating. Travel insurance is no longer extended in England to people who want to come to Kenya, so we are now offering such cover, either in advance or on arrival. This is a deliberate act of hostility, and it coincides with the upcoming Easter travel when many of their own High Commission staff had booked holidays at the coast. It is time to stand together as a region to counter such negative publicity and can only be categorised as hostile propaganda against us all here in East Africa.”

  • The Department of Foreign Affairs updated its travel advisory on Yemen to advise against all travel to Yemen and strongly urge all Irish nationals to leave Yemen immediately.
  • Bardo museum curator Moncef Ben Moussa says the museum will reopen today Sunday after a symbolic opening ceremony for select guests on Tuesday.
  • Universal Studios Hollywood said that Fast & Furious—Supercharged is to open on June 25.
  • Ski conditions were changeable across the Alps this week, heaviest snow was been southern Switzerland and western Italy. Unsettled weather is expected to continue through the rest of the week and into the weekend, with the potential for some good falls of snow in the northern Swiss and Austrian Alps.
  • Canary Islands is to host some of the toughest events on the world calendar, including: Magma Bike Marathon, El Hierro, April 18. TeideXtreme, Tenerife, April 19. Challenge Fuerteventura, April 25. Transvulcania, La Palma Ultramarathon from Fuencaliente lighthouse to Los Llanos de Aridane, May 9. Ironman, Lanzarote, May 23. Gomorra Paradise Trail, La Gomera, June 27.
  • Reuters reported private equity firm Centerbridge Partners is to buy US indoor water parks operator Great Wolf Resorts for $1.4bn including debt.
  • Enterprise Holdings and Redspot joined forces in Australia and New Zealand.
  • Travelport announced a new long term agreement with Polish travel management company First Class.
  • Austria will host the International Ski Travel market on March 14 and 15 2016 in the Aqua Dome complex, Otztal.
  • The Tunisian prime minister, Habib Essid, dismissed six police commanders, including one in charge of tourist security, following last week’s museum attack in Tunis.
  • The Italian National Tourist Board’s spring newsletter includes details on upcoming art exhibitions, music and opera events, sport and historical re-enactments. Read here.

Food & Wine

FIRE Restaurant and Lounge on Dublin’s Dawson Street is to remain open on Good Friday offering non-alcoholic cocktails, and non-alcoholic wines. The no alcohol on Good Friday rule which applies in Ireland has been the subject of complaints from the hospitality industry but is supported by current Tourism Minister Paschal Donohue.

  • Mel McNally’s Irish pub design and build Fadó group added the Fadó Midtown, Atlanta, to its portfolio.
  • The Kerrygold Ballymaloe Literary Festival of Food and Wine on May 15-17 held its first US launch at Studio 1 on Broadway in Manhattan. Speakers will include April Bloomfield, David Lebovitz, John Bowman, Patrick Holden, Tom Doorley and Valli Little.
  • Michael Riordan was appointed Executive Chef at Conrad London St James.
  • Galway Food Festival takes place April 2 to 6.
  • Italy selected Neapolitan pizza as its candidate for protection under UNESCO’s Intangible Cultural Heritage list.


Flybe at London City copyDublin routes to Southend and London City are both being dropped by Flybe from April 13, but Flybe’s route from Belfast City to London City is being expanded from four to five daily. Saad Hammet CEO of Flybe speaking to Travel Extra on the margins of the CAPA Airlines in Transition conference in Powerscourt said that “it was a fast moving environment, BA launched after us, City weren’t hedged with all the benefits that brings, it was a crowded market. We are re-calibrating but we are still committed to London City, We have increased frequencies from double daily to triple daily on Aberdeen, from four to five daily on Belfast and four to six daily on Edinburgh, You have to react to the changing environment. (listen here)” Paul Simmons, Chief Commercial Officer said passenger numbers “are below our projections and there are no signs of this situation changing, which has led to us taking this decision. Passengers who have booked to fly on this route are being contacted and offered an alternative flight or a full refund. We sincerely apologise for any inconvenience this may cause our customers.”

Aer Lingus’s new lounge at JFK Terminal 5 will open this week. The airline has been using a temporary facility since moving from Terminal 4 to offer faster connections with Jetblue.

aer lingus business class_0034Aer Lingus new business class seating is now available on four of the eight A330s (four 200s and four 300s) to be fitted with the new cabin with the further four being completed over the coming weeks. Current lead in fares valid until April 7 for travel from May 1 to October 31 include Dublin to New York €899 each way, Dublin to Boston €999 and Dublin to San Francisco €1759. Irish suppliers include seat manufacturers Thompson Aero, Botany Weaving for soft furnishings, Voya for the amenity kits and In-flight Dublin for in-flight entertainment including movies, box sets, TV, radio and music. Food suppliers include Burren Smokehouse Salmon from Birgitta Curtin, goat’s cheese from Siobhán Ní Ghairbhith of St Tola, Co Clare, Coopers Hill venison from Coopershill estate an 18th century manor house in Co Sligo, lamb and beef from Lambay Island and Toonsbridge mozzarella from Johnny Lynch. Picture shows Claire Sutton and Micheál Gannon showcasing the seat. View online the seat (see video here), materials (see video here), food (see video here) and lounge/ground enhancements (see video here). Business class load factor has increased to 72pc in 2014 from 67pc in 2013 reflecting the continued strength of our service and competitive pricing. The annual report  notes that time sensitive business passengers comprise circa 17pc of the total Dublin airport market, 3pc lower than the percentage of time sensitive passengers travelling on Aer Lingus services.

Donald Trump wrote a two page letter to Taoiseach Enda Kenny saying: “Aer Lingus, like the Irish shamrock and Guinness, is essentially Irish with a strong national identity which is very important to your country. It should not be given away to the highest bidder.”

alan joyce screen_8510Asked about the IAG bid for Aer Lingus, Alan Joyce said that he was in favour of consolidation but would not comment on the specifics of the Aer Lingus case: “We are big fans of consolidation. We think it is the right way for the air industry in general. It is way too fragmented. It will be good to bring certainty the future of Aer LIngus. One of the things that is clear here is how Aer Lingus, when you think of all the people who are working around the world in the industry. I don’t think you could say that of any other airline (listen here).” He also spoke about the turnaround at Qantas meaning that all units of the airline are now profitable for the first time ever (listen here) and the decision to divert European routes through Dubai (listen here).

Aer Lingus annual report listed five consequences for Aer Lingus if the proposed transaction  does not proceed:

  • As a stand-alone airline, Aer Lingus would not have the same growth opportunities and would be exposed to a greater degree of risk than in a combination with IAG
  • Reduced growth prospects and possible detrimental changes to Aer Lingus’ commercial partnerships could lead to lower than expected passenger traffic.
  • This may require additional restructuring measures, including reducing staff costs, beyond the savings currently anticipated in the-current CORE programme.
  • Aer Lingus’ share price may decline to a price below that offered by IAG.
  • In case the transaction fails because of the Irish Government’s decision to not sell its shares on grounds other than price, this may have a negative impact on the ability to attract shareholding.

stephen kavanaghAer Lingus’s annual report confirmed the airline’s Airbus A350-900 order for delivery of nine new aircraft between 2018 and 2020 (A350XWB or Regional variant) to replace existing A330s and expand capacity. From May an additional A330 aircraft will be leased for the peak 12 week 2015 summer season increasing long haul seat capacity by 13pc.

Aer Lingus’annual report noted that short-haul market is becoming increasingly seasonal, highly competitive on price and vulnerable to Euro-Sterling developments. The airline benefits from holding 55pc of the prime slot times including peak business 7 am slots and short haul capacity will be up 2.4pc in summer 2015 season. Share of the Irish short haul market including Aer Lingus Regional is 41pc.  Transatlantic continued to perform very positively throughout 2014 while increasing capacity by 23.8pc. Aer Lingus is to seek annual cost reductions of €40m and grow ancillary spend to a target of €23 per passenger.

  • Minister Paschal Donohoe said that the government would be renewing a round of funding for Ireland’s regional airports, in reply to a question from Irish Travel Trade News at the CAPA Airlines in Transition conference in Powerscourt (listen here).
  • Aer Lingus is to launch a new loyalty, recognition and reward programme later this year to replace the current “Gold Circle” frequent flyer programme, to be fully implemented from Q1 2016).
  • American and US Airways are to combine operations on April 8. The merged American Airlines resumed seasonal services from Dublin to New York JFK last week. American will also resume the former US Airways seasonal service from Shannon to Philadelphia on May 7th and from Dublin to Chicago O’Hare and to Charlotte on May 8th. Dublin-JFK (Boeing 757-200) departs at 8.55am while the return departs JFK at 6.50pm. From May 8 Dublin-Chicago (Boeing 767-300) will depart at 9.40am and the return departs at 6.10pm. Dublin to Charlotte (Airbus A330-200, the first time a widebody has been used on the route ) will depart at 9.30am and depart Charlotte at 6.10pm. From May 7th Shannon-Philadelphia (Boeing 757-200 ) will depart at 11.35am and depart Philadephia at 9.10pm. American Airlines also operates a year-round A330 service from Dublin to Philadelphia, with fully lie flat in business for the first time and seatback entertainment in economy.
  • The number of airline passengers carried annually will double to 6bn by 2030, Secretary General of ICAO, Raymond Benjamin told the 400 delegates from 71 countries who attended the Global Aviation Training Symposium in Malahide.
  • Stobart Air is to recommence services from Shannon to Birmingham from  June 18.
  • Citywing will recommence flights between Belfast City Airport and the Isle of Man and Blackpool from April 1st .

Shannon Delta March 2015 003Delta restarts its seasonal flight between Dublin and Atlanta tomorrow March 30 using a 225-seat B767-300. The daily flight, which complements Delta’s existing service between Dublin and New York-JFK, departs Dublin at 11:40am until April 6 and 11:10am from April 7 until October 24, returning from Atlanta at 8:36pm. Delta business class offers flat-bed seats with full 180 degree recline and direct aisle access, using Westin heavenly inflight bedding from Westin Hotels Delta offer 200 onward connections to destinations throughout the US and popular Mexican and Caribbean destinations such as Cancun. Picture shows Delta event for travel agents to make the return of seasonal flights from Shannon to New York-JFK, Siobhan Scanlan of Delta, Isabel Harrison of Shannon Airport, Sheila Brazil of Limerick Travel, Teresa Murphy of Delta.

  • SITA’s 2015 Baggage Report showed that the rate of mishandled bags in 2014 was 7.3 bags per thousand passengers, down 61.3pc from a peak of 18.88 bags per thousand passengers in 2007 and contended that the air transport industry has saved US$18bn despite a significant rise in passenger numbers to 3.3bn. Another SITA survey showed 63pc of passengers prefer to use their own smartphone, tablet or laptop for inflight entertainment.
  • The London based Balkan Holidays is adding an extra Sunday flight from Belfast to Bourgas between June 21 and August 2, using BH Air.
  • The free travel offer on Heathrow Express for children under 16 accompanied by a parent or guardian was made permanent and a sale fare introduced of £10 per adult ticket over Easter weekend.
  • SkyTeam were recognised as Alliance of the Year 2015 by Air Transport News.
  • Outgoing Ryanair CFO Howard Millar was appointed chairman of BDO accountancy firm.
  • Avolon announced the delivery of its first B787-9 to Virgin Atlantic, the first of four aircraft scheduled for delivery. This week, Avolon also delivered a B737-800 to Aeromexico, an A321 o Philippine Airlines and a B737-800 to Pegasus Airlines.
  • Ethiopian Airlines plans to increase annual revenue to $10bn over the next 10 years and increase the number of international destinations from 84 to 120. The carrier also hopes to expand its fleet from 80 aircraft to 140.
  • Travelport announced a new Travel Commerce Platform agreement with Greek carrier, Ellinair.
  • Etihad - Alitalia Graduate Management Program - PHOTOAlitalia launched a new graduate programme.400 candidate applied this year. 24 were selected for enrolment in the programme, which commenced in Etihad Airways’ Abu Dhabi hub on Tuesday. Picture shows the first participants with Wissam Hachem, Etihad Airways Vice President Learning & Development, and Fatma Al Ali, Etihad Airways Head of UAE National Development.
  • Flybe begins operating its summer schedule today, with 27 new routes and two new bases at Bournemouth and Cardiff.
  • American Airlines stopped selling duty free merchandise on international flights after a disagreement with inflight retail partner Duty Free Air and Ship Supply.
  • Finnair’s board of directors approved a €30m investment to add Wi-Fi to most of the airline’s wide body and narrow body fleet.
  • WCA announced that its 2016 global conference will take place in Abu Dhabi, from March 10 to 16.
  • Air New Zealand and Air China’s proposed alliance could see services commence as early as December this year.
  • Airbus celebrated the delivery of its 9000th aircraft — the first A321 to be delivered to VietJet Air.
  • Air France signed Jolco for the refinancing of one 2009-vintage A320.
  • Amedeo is rumoured to be in talks with two customers for some of its A380s in 2015.
  • SpiceJet settled out of court with five Irish lessors — B&B Air Acquisition, Steddell, Torodell, Xavierdell and Virgodell — over $16m in claims from unpaid dues relating to aircraft leases.
  • The refurbished viewing gallery at Belfast International Airport has received lots of social media attention from self-professed #AvGeeks. Hundreds of aviation enthusiasts have visited the gallery since it opened last month, enjoying the panoramic views of the apron and main runway. It is also possible for visitors to hear communications between Air Traffic Control and the cockpit, and there is a flight tracker displaying aircraft activity.
  • Quick Park is offering customers the chance to win €1,000 in cash: Book parking at Dublin airport online at quickpark.ie before March 31 to be entered into the draw.


Carnival Corporation, who already has 10 new cruise ships on order before 2018, is to add nine more ships to its fleets over 2019-23. Five ships will be built by Fincantieri at its shipyards in Monfalcone and Marghera, while four will be built at Meyer Werft’s shipyards in Papenburg and Turku. Carnival owns nine cruise brands: Carnival, Princess, Holland America, Seabourn, Cunard, AIDA, P&O, P&O Australia and Costa.

  • Stena Line completes a £6m refit investment programme of its Irish Sea northern corridor fleet this week when Stena Precision finishes its upgrade at Belfast’s Harland & Wolff shipyard. Seven ships have been upgraded by Stena Line over the last five months including Stena Line’s flagship vessels Stena Superfast VII and VIII which operate on the Belfast-Cairnryan service.
  • Rivercruise ship-launch champions Viking splashed back into action with another mega-launch day: naming 12 new river vessels in one day, eight in Amsterdam and four in Rostock, bringing its fleet to 60. Amsterdam was the venue of the naming of eight 190-passenger Longships while two more were named in Rostock as well as two scaled-down 96-passenger vessels customised for the shallow Elbe River. Godmothers were some of the longest-serving Viking employees. Viking, which launched 10 vessels in 2013 and 16 in 2014, has six new river vessels on order for 2016, with the option to build more based on demand.
  • Uniworld asked a descendent of Maria Theresa Princess Anita von Hohenberg, to name its newest river ship, the 150-passenger Maria Theresa at a ceremony in Amsterdam. Amenities include a swimming pool with floor-to-ceiling modesty glass that frosts over when passengers walk through the door to have a dip, the line’s signature Leopard Bar next door with its animal print interior, cinema, spa, fitness room and complimentary bicycles and Nordic walking poles. The Maria Theresa will cruise the Danube River with itineraries including the 14-night European Jewels voyage from Budapest to Amsterdam, springtime Tulips & Windmills and winter Christmas market cruises.
  • Avalon Waterways named the 128-passenger Avalon Tapestry II in the Normandy village of Les Andelys, one of four launches for the group this year. Tapestry II will join the 140-passenger Avalon Creativity on the Seine River. Avalon will launch two further river vessels in 2016, the Avalon Passion on the Danube and Avalon Imagery II on the Rhine, and new itineraries in Holland and Belgium.
  • China is to get a second of Royal Caribbean‘s three Quantum-class ships, Ovation of the Seas, when it homeports in Tianjin from June 2016. Currently under construction, Ovation will join Quantum of the Seas, Mariner of the Seas, Voyager of the Seas and Legend of the Seas in four different cities: Shanghai, Tianjin, Hong Kong and Xiamen.
  • AmaWaterways will build two more ships in 2017 and will begin operations in Bordeaux in 2016, basing AmaDolce there for 20 food and wine-based itineraries. AmaWaterways has ceased operations in Russia in 2015 and 2016, but launched its first ship in Burma and its second ship on the Mekong.
  • MSC Sinfonia has left Genoa to resume service following enlargement and enhancement at Fincantieri’s Palermo shipyard. Features include new clubs dedicated to younger guests, including the outdoor Spray Park with exciting waterfalls and water slides, more balcony cabins, more spacious public areas and a greater choice of restaurants. MSC Cruises, which has grown by 800pc in capacity since 2004, carried 1.67m guests and reached a turnover of €1.5bn, is forecasting an additional 10pc growth in 2015.
  • Norwegian Star, just out of dry dock has been retro-fitted with O’Sheehan’s pub (and 24-hour complimentary restaurant), despite the departure of Kevin Sheehan as CEO. Moderno Churrascaria, the Brazilian-style steakhouse, has moved to Deck 13 and an adjacent Sugarcane Mojito Bar added. Additions include a first at-sea Jimmy Buffet Five O’Clock Somewhere Bar while Ginza, formerly $15 per person, is now a complimentary dining venue. Enhancements include digital touch-screen signage; updates to the casino, photo gallery, pool deck and galley areas; window replacements; and new carpeting and flooring in passenger areas. Safety updates include a lifeboat and tender boat release systems upgrade; thrusters and stabilizer maintenance; and ballast and bilge piping replacement. Technical upgrades include silicone paint on the hull, along with an Azipod hydrodynamic upgrade to reduce fuel emissions and energy consumption. Norwegian Star will sail seven- to 14-night itineraries from Copenhagen throughout the Baltics and Norwegian fjords.
  • Disney Magic’s summer 2015 in Europe features “Frozen”-themed events, and the movie’s characters will be onboard doing meet-and-greets and taking roles in Disney’s original onboard shows. Disney Magic is to come to Dublin in 2016 as part of a 12-night Britain and Ireland cruise. Disney Magic will return to Norway and Iceland, as well as to destinations in Northern Europe and the Mediterranean. Dublin is to get 86 cruise ship calls this year with three further calls to Dún Laoghaire. A further 17 ships will dock in the bay and passengers will be tendered off.mark evans award

Ireland was represented by a winner at the CLIA cruise journalism awards at the Ham Yard Hotel in London. Mark Evans of , The Herald won the best river cruise feature for his Travelling like royalty on the River Queen.  Picture shows Mark receiving his award from Andy Harmer, CLIA  Director for Britain and Ireland and Kathryn Beadle, Managing Director of Uniworld.

  • Stena’s Car Holiday Report 2015 says one in four Irish holidaymakers are planning to take the car with them on holiday with France, England and Spain the top three destinations. Irish holidaymakers like to fill up their boots during the trip buying local delicacies, souvenirs and clothes to take home.
  • Crystal Cruises is introducing two itineraries for 2016 inclusive of flights from Belfast International, an 18-night Hawaiian Serenade fly/cruise round trip from San Francisco onboard Crystal Serenity. Departing May 28, 2016, and a ten-night fly cruise round trip from New York departing on October 2, 2016.
  • Two crew members working on board Royal Caribbean’s Splendour of the Seas were detained after customs officials discovered 15kg of cocaine worth $1m while the ship was docked at Buenos Aires.
  • Virgin Cruises appointed Stuart Hawkins as senior vice president in charge of new builds.

Deal Watch

  • Click and Go is offering full board on board the Queen Mary 2 New York to Southampton from €1,999pp incl. entertainment from Crosby, Stills and Nash on September 4 sailing or entertainment from the Blue Note Jazz Club on October 29 sailing. Prices include return fights from Dublin to New York, 7 nights transatlantic crossing, interior stateroom, daily white gloved afternoon tea, white star service, taxes and port charges, 1 night in a 4 star hotel pre or post cruise in New York and 20kg checked bag pp. Call 01 6371699 to book or visit clickandgo.com.
  • ITAA offers of the week: 8 nights Oceania Italian Cruise from Rome to Venice from €1,289pp incl. free gratuities, depart May 3. 7 nights Half Board Valamar Zagreb Hotel, Croatia from €794pps incl. return flights and transfers, depart May 19. 7 nights B&B Kalofer Hotel, Bulgaria from €399pps incl. return flights, transfers, 20kg baggage and resort rep service, depart May 30.
  • Irish Ferries is offering 3 nights B&B in the Best Western Tillington Hall Hotel from €429 for two adults and two children incl. return car ferry crossing and one full day at Alton Towers. Call 0818 300 400 to book.
  • Lowcostbeds offers of the week, based on 4 sharing, 7 nights, arriving June 25: 4* Baia Cristal Beach & Spa resort, Carvoeiro, Portugal from €11pppn B&B. 3* Ourasol apartments, Albuferia, Portugal from €12pppn self catering. 3* Siesta 1 apartments, Alcudia, Majorca from €17pppn self catering. 3* Golf Centre apartments, Roquestas De Mar, Costa De Algeria from €12pppn self catering. 4* Hotel Hesperia Sabinal, Roquestas De Mar, Costa De Algeria from €26pppn half board.
  • Sunway Lisbon coast offers: 7 nights B&B 3* Villa Gale Estoril from €649pp, depart June 20. 7 nights B&B 4* Vila Gale Cascais Hotel from €699pp, depart June 20. Prices include flights, return airport transfers, taxes, charges, 20kg checked in baggage pp and Sunway rep service.
  • Click and Go offers: 3 nights in the Mediterran Hotel, Budapest from €239pp incl. return flights ex Dublin, taxes and charges, travel in April. 7 nights self catering Panorama Apts, Puerto del Carmen, Lanzarote from €399pp incl. return flights ex Dublin, taxes, charges and transfers, travel in May. 7 nights B&B Corfy Holiday Palace, Kanoni, Corfu from €459pp incl. return flights ex Dublin and transfers, travel in May. 7 nights Bhundhari Spa Resort & Villas Samui Hotel, Koh Samui, Thailand from €999pp incl. return flights ex Dublin, taxes, charges and transfers, travel in June. To book visit clickandgo.com or call 01 637 1699.
  • Travel Department Supersaver offers, all include transfer on arrival, return flights ex Dublin, taxes and charges.:  7 nights B&B in 3* accommodation, Sorrento from €499pp, depart March 31 or April 14. 7 nights B&B in Hotel Arnolfo & Aqua Laetitia, Montecatini, Tuscany from €499pp, departs various dates in April. 3 nights at a 3* or 4* accommodation in Reykjavik from €349pp, departs various dates in April. 5 nights B&B 3* Best Western Hotel Astoria or 4* Hotel Novotel Montfleury, Cannes from €429pp, depart April 3 or April 17. 7 nights B&B Le Patio Des Artistes, Cannes from €499pp, depart April 2. 4 nights Valamar Club Dubrovnik Hotel from €499pp, depart April 20. 7 nights B&B Hotel Londres, Estoril, Portugal from €399pp, depart April 8. 5 nights B&B Hotel Vila Recife, The Algarve from €259pp, depart April 23 or from €299 depart April 8. To book visit traveldepartment.ie or call 01 637 1600.
  • Travel Department is offering 7 nights in Istanbul with Turkish Airlines from €999 incl. 4 nights B&B at 4* CVK Taxim Hotel and 3 nights half board at 5* Suhan Hotel in Avanos. return flights ex Dublin, taxes and charges, depart May 8.
  • Falcon is offering 7 nights All Inclusive Parque Cristobal & Siam Park, Playa de Las Americas, Tenerife from €2,099 for two adults and one child incl. flights ex Dublin, depart June 5. To book visit falconholidays.ie or call 1850 45 35 45.
  • Thomson couples’ deal to Tenerife: 7 nights half board Los Gingantes, Playa De Arena from €599pps incl. flights ex Dublin, depart May 22.
  • Globe Hotels is offering 5* Sandos San Blas Resort, Tenerife from €465 on All Inclusive basis, depart May 5. See globehotels.ie for more info.
  • Powder White late Easter ski deals: 7 nights The Locarno, Verbier from £349pp based on six people sharing on a fully catered basis, depart April 4. 7 nights La Grange de Marie, Maribel from £399pp based on 10 people sharing on a fully catered basis, depart April 4. 7 nights Chalet Fitzroy, Courchevel 1650 from £349pp based on eight people sharing on a fully catered basis, depart April 4. 7 nights Chalet Fritz, St Anton from £399pp based on 20 people sharing on a fully catered basis, depart April 5. Call +44 20 8877 888 to book.
  • Galgorm Resort & Spa in Ballymena offers: 1 night B&B Spring Escape from £99.50pp incl. a 3 course evening meal with bottle of house wine in one of three restaurants and use of Thermal Spa facilities. 2 nights B&B Spring Retreal in Superior guest room from £160pp incl. a 3 course evening meal, Afternoon Tea and use of Thermal Spa facilities. Valid from March to May 2015. Visit galgorm.com for more info.
  • Tourism NI offers of the week; 1 night La Mon Hotel & Country Club, Belfast from £79.50pps incl. two-course meal in The Mill Restaurant and use of country club facilities, available now until April 12, call 028 9044 8631 to book. 1 night B&B Lough Erne Resort, Ross Inner, Enniskillen from £118pps incl. a round of golf or Thai spa experience, available until December 31, call 028 6634 5766 to book. 1 night B&B Derry City Travelodge from £69 incl. two tickets for Cholmcille Walking Tours of Derry, available April 9 to 30, call 0870 1911 733 to book. 1 nights B&B Ballygally Castle Hotel, Larne from £65pps incl. 4 course dinner in the Garen Restaurant, available until June 30, call 028 28581 066 to book.


The Irish government’s tourism strategy proposes plans to grow overseas visitors to 10m per annum by 2025 (listen here), in theory increasing annual revenues from overseas visitors to €5bn* and result in an additional 50,000 jobs, bringing total employment in the sector to over 250,000. Currently 12 countries in Europe attract more than 10m tourists annually.

IRELAND GOES UNDERGROUND – TO INSPIRE MILLIONS OF PARIS COMMUTTourism Ireland launched a joint promotional campaign with online French travel agents Go Voyages to deliver 1,000 billboard ads in metro stations in Paris.

  • L’Irlande à Paris in the Irish Cultural Centre in Paris saw 35 Industry representatives from the Irish Tourism Trade meet face to face with French group tour operators, retail travel agents who book directly with Industry, French business tourism agents and corporate MICE buyers.
  • Clare Wellness Festival will place on May 11-17 in the Falls Hotel in Ennistymon.
  • Fáilte Ireland hosted 40 international golf buyers and media this week to attend the 2015 Golf Ireland Convention.

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

TRAVEL Extra’s Sunday Supplement: A sad end to the high speed dream



Boarding the Stena Superfast X in Gdynia

Boarding the Stena Superfast X in Gdynia

The headlines this week:

  • Superfast X: the first pictures
  • End to the high speed dream and Dun Laoghaire’s Irish Sea service
  • How IAG can encircle island-vision Enda
  • ConCATination brings Travel Centres Conference to Kilkenny at late date

Travel Extra TV

Video of week Feb 8Our video of the week shows the Stena team and Travel Extra inspecting the Stena Superfast X by basket ahead of its launch on the Dublin-Holyhead route on March 11. Watch here.

  • EasyJet uploaded a video showcasing its new livery. Watch here.
  • See Aer Lingus Regional‘s Fastest way to the USA promo from Bristol Airport. Watch here.
  • Captain van Dorst of KLM explains how autopilot works on a flight from Amsterdam to London. Watch here.
  • Martin Corr of Sound Moves shows his support for Heathrow expansion. Watch here.
  • Dramatic footage of the TransAsia ATR 71-600 jet crashing into a bridge in Taiwan received lots of media attention this week. 40 people were killed in the crash. Watch here.
  • Watch here Bloomberg’s contention that the Ryanair charm offensive is working.


IMG_0095 copyThree weeks to go to Stena’s launch of Stena Superfast X on March 11 and the ship was undergoing its final stages of refurbishment, in Gdynia, in the midst of transformation from the DFDS Calais to Dover vessel to the latest fleet flagship for Stena on the Dublin-Holyhead route. The key changes: decks eight and nine and most of ten are devoted to passenger facilities instead of the confined single deck facilities on Stena Nordica, which currently serves Dublin-Holyhead. It will have four times the passenger facilities, 1,200 instead of 300 and two kilometres of lane space. The new ship includes a signature spa but will not be open for the summer season until a specialist spa operation is established, similar to the spas on sister ships Stena Superfast VII and VIII which currently serve on Belfast routes.

IMG_0061 copyStena’s team called by Gdynia (is it just us at Travel Extra or does that sound like a Conal Gallen song?) this week to check on progress and found the passenger service areas in the final stages of preparation. Travel Extra was there to experience the delight of a transfer to the ship by basket. People fly to Orlando for lesser experiences.

She previously plied Hanko-Rostock, Rosyth-Zeebrugge, Patras-Corfu and Dover-Dunkerque. We look forward to her naming ceremony in Dublin on March 11.Picture shows  Orla Noonan of Stena, Kerry Prentice of Prentice PR, Diane Poole of Stena and Siobhan Jacobs of Yellow Door. See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.

Stena HSSHigh speed ferry services started with the 425 passenger, 88 car Stena Sea Lynx in summer 1993. During her first six months in service on the Dun Laoghaire crossing the total market grew by over 200,000 passengers and 40,000 cars. Nineteen years ago this week Travel Extra’s editor was among a team of journalists who visited Lysekil to see the ice bound future of ferry travel: the Stena Explorer HSS (High Speed Service): like a giant frozen paper airplane, looming from the fog in a harbour of floating broken ice, it could have been a prop from a Sci-fi film, swans and geese waddled along the ice and waiting for the sun to rise or the ice to melt. Stena president Bo Lerenius was looking nostalgic. This little port was one of the first used by Stena ferries thirty years ago. captain Andy Humphries from Holyhead showed how he was able to dock the ship without looking out the window. The craft was set to cut the journey time to Holyhead from 210 to 99 minutes and was the largest of the new generation of fast craft. She was preceded by Sea Containers Ferries Scotland SeaCat (which operated Dublin to Liverpool 2001-4) and was joined by Stena Voyager and the still operating Irish Ferries vessel Jonathan Swift. Slow ferries were passé, left to their own freight (apologies to bad pun police).

Stena HSS 004When fuel prices rose HSS proved thirsty, too thirsty for the fuel prices of recent years and the running costs turned Stena’s central corridor from a profit point to a break even situation. It was hoped that with falling fuel prices it would have returned for this year. It did not help that there were no senior personnel in Dublin in a position to argue the case after a restructuring over the past two years. The bean counters in Sweden could take the decision on a pure monetary basis. Internet speculation suggests the sale of Stena Explorer is unlikely due to her unique berthing requirements and it is likely she will be sent to be scrapped by Stena Recycling like her sister ship Stena Voyager.

dun laoghaire ferryportDun Laoghaire Harbour say expressions of interest are being sought from suitable providers to operate a seasonal ferry service on the Holyhead route. Local politicians carry much blame for all that went wrong. When the HSS first arrived the councillors put a limit of no more than 12 trucks per sailing through the port. This forced the company to look at Dublin Port for their freight and discovered that port dues were way cheaper than they were being charged in Dun Laoghaire, which led to the gradual transfer of all ships into Dublin Port. When Dun Laoghaire eventually changed their rates, it was too little too late.

On RTÉ television on Wednesday  Dun Laoghaire’s Harbour spokesman stated that they wanted the harbour designated as the cruise port. Dun Laoghaire delegates travel to Cruise shipping Miami every March but its problem is that none of the normal sized cruise ships can get into the port and taking people in by tender can lead to complications. 1822 Kingstown opens Apr 25 copy

A lengthy era comes to an end. How lengthy? Dun Laoghaire’s scheduled sailings with that commenced with the first sailing of the St Patrick under Captain JP Phillips on May 1 1822 (notice pictured). Dun Laoghaire was initially used for the Liverpool mail boats which were too large to enter Howth harbour and after 1824 the post office’s steam packets, the Aladdin, Harlequin and Cinderella moved their base to Dun Laoghaire to Holyhead (eight hour journey, 12 berths in the men’s quarters, eight in the ladies). The Howth service ended on Jan 22 1834.

15836704533_9e848bdab8_nEthiopian Airlines, to launch Dublin-Addis and Dublin-LAX on June 19, will bring their Dreamliner to Dublin on March 20. To celebrate the new route Ethiopian ambassador Lela-alem Gebreyohannes Tedla hosted Irish travel media at the ambassadorial residence in Dublin this week. Picture shows Teehaye Gebrekiden Mekonnen, ambassador Lela-alem Gebreyohannes Tedla, Michael Yohannes of Ethiopian Airlines and Hailu Neri Beza. See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.

willie walsh_9312It was a highly confusing week for anyone attempting to follow the slanty shamrock-shenanigans of the IAG-Lingus bid. IAG is keeping its cards close to its chest but may be moving towards a position where they would be content to buy holdings other than the government’s 25pc, leaving it with de facto control of the airline (despite some suggestions to the contrary last week). It makes sense for Ryanair to sell their 30pc holding to IAG to keep predators such as EasyJet at bay and make back the money they spent. Drury was engaged by IAG to help with their efforts to acquire Aer Lingus. Briefings will emphasis the IAG plan maintain connectivity from Ireland and deliver significant growth for customers (and cargo traffic), benefiting tourism and trade. The first meeting took place between IAG and the coalition advisors.

In public, portents are not promising. Bloomberg declared it an Irish Rebuff. Michael O’Leary said that the Government should adopt a more intelligent approach to the  sale of Aer Lingus stake. The F-word even entered the debate when the entire exercise was declared a fiasco in an editorial in the Irish Independent (who stringently oppose the bid). They editorialised that the debate signalled a return to populist politics as usual. Enda Kenny‘s interview on RTE’s This Week kicked for touch (listen here)

If IAG might have expected a more positive reaction to their guarantee not to sell Heathrow slots and not to cease using them on Irish services within five years (a better guarantee than slot-sensitive souls enjoy at present), they were wrong. This was not enough for most of the cacophony of protest. One North Dublin newspaper went all Kelvin McKenzie with their front page protest.eve o'driscoll michael keaveney

British Irish Chamber of Commerce voiced its support for the bid. Eve O’Driscoll and Michael Keaveney  joined Gina Quin as some of the few alternative voices  in the debate.

Pat Byrne, back as CityJet chairman (pictured speaking at the ITAA conference in 2006), said Ireland would be nuts not to accept the IAG offer for Aer Lingus, it would lead to job expansion and Enda Kenny is currently engaged in a strategy of protectionism which is harming Ireland’s business reputation and the contribution last Sunday suggested that the Taoiseach has an island mentality.pat byrne

Travel Extra pointed out (again) that Heathrow slots are yesterday’s news (listen here to Eoghan Corry on Morning Ireland) and that the government is in danger of being trapped into seeking guarantees that do not represent the interest of Irish consumers and tourism.

No representatives of the travel trade have been heard by the Transport committee nor any consumer groups — instead we saw more trade unions trotting out alarmist analysis and business groups some of whose analysis of aviation comes from the last century. Interestingly IAG’s statement was phrased to include Chambers of Commerce.

And the best quote of all? Back to Michael O’Leary. The country has much more things to discuss that the future of a small regional peripheral airline.

Elisabeta 'Lizzy' Cutka from Vienna in Sportgastein ski resort, Dec 16 2014The sun made an appearance this week across the Alps and the heavy snow finally let up giving some fantastic skiing conditions. In the last 48 hours we have seen at least 60cm of new snow across the Alps and French resorts enjoying a retour d’est. Snow is still falling in the Pyrenees, with the French, Spanish and Andorran resorts all reporting yet more snowfall. Norway and Sweden resorts have been enjoying sunny skies and good snow. Fresh snow is reported across the USA. Lis Cutka reports from Bad Hofgastein that Topflight’s Today FM trip was great: Really good fun with the Irish, they are partying sooo hard. The Coronas were brilliant really great band. By Thursday after the coronas there were not many people in the lessons, all in all we had a great week with great people.

Travel TradeIMG_2049

Travel Centres conference will take place in Lyragh, Co Kilkenny on Dec 3-5, a late date than has traditionally been the case.

  • The Tourism Authority of Thailand road show will visit Belfast on Feb 24, Cork on Feb 25, and Limerick on Feb 26. Three travel agents will each win fam trip places to Thailand.
  • Egle Godliauskais is to become Sales & Events Co-Ordinator and Holly Mason for The Travel Corporation team. Egle studied Tourism Marketing at DIT. Holly Advertising and Marketing Communications at ITT Dublin and since worked with The Irish Hotels Federation, Credit Union Ireland and DSPCA.
  • Hurtigruten appointed Cecilia Abert as Director for Ireland and Britain.
  • Thai Airways introduced their A380-800 on the London route.
  • Padraic Keogh from Padraic Keogh Travel is the fourth and final winner of Lowcostbeds’ ‘High 5’ trade promotion.
  • Air transport IT specialist, SITA named Murray Smyth VP Sales for Northern Europe, based in London.
  • JacTravel is planning to open an office in Dublin .
  • The Young Skål Symposium 2015 takes place in Rome March 11-14.
  • Air France KLM is recruiting for an Account Manager based in Dublin.
  • Ryanair is recruiting a Head of Corporates & Groups.
  • Lowcostbeds is recruiting an Ireland-based Purchasing Manager.stephen davitt missing
  • Stephen Davitt of Emirates has now been missing for two weeks. Laytown Gardai +35341 9827074. Here’s hoping.
  • Travelport and Abercrombie & Kent agreed a new long-term partnership.
  • Funway Holidays’ Valentines Day competition continues until Feb 14, winner announced Feb 16. To enter, agents must tweet why they love Funway using the hashtag #tweetheart.
  • Lowcostbeds are giving away five €100 vouchers. All bookings made between now and Feb 10 will be automatically entered into the draw. Winners announced this Wednesday, Feb 11.

Deal Watch

  • Uniworld Boutique River Cruises offers: 8 day all inclusive Bordeaux river cruise along the Garonne, the Dordogne and the Gironde from €1,629 incl. flights, transfers and taxes, depart March 29. 8 day all inclusive river cruise along the Danube, starting in Budapest, ending in Passau from €1,999 incl. flights, taxes and transfers, depart April 12.
  • Sunway offers: 4 nights Excalibur Hotel & Casino Las Vegas from €1,129pp incl flights ex Dublin, depart July 8. 3 nights B&B Fairfield Inn and Suites St Johns, Newfoundland from €699pp incl. flights ex Dublin, travel May 2015. 7 nights half board Ocean Paradise Resort honeymoon in Zanzibar from €1,259pp incl. transfers, flights ex Dublin, travel June 2015. 7 nights half board Sarova Whitesands, Mombasa Beach, Kenya from €1,099pp incl. transfers, flights ex Dublin and taxes.
  • Sunway offers to Agadir, Morocco, depart May 2, 9 or 16: 7 nights self catering 3* Intouriste Apartments from €349pp. B&B 3* Argana Hotel from €454pp. B&B 4* Kenzi Europa Hotel from €499pp. All Inclusive 4* Founty Beach Hotel from €699pp. B&B 5* Sofitel Agadir Royal from €999pp. All prices include flights, transfers, 7 nights accommodation, taxes, 20kg checked baggage and Sunway Reo service.
  • Sunway 7-night Junior Suite yoga surf and spa breaks to Paradis Plage, Morocco from €949pp incl. flights, transfers, taxes, 20kg checked baggage and Sunway Rep service.
  • Topflight 7-night ski specials: Austria — Niedarau from €339pps, Zell am See from €369pps, St Johann from €709pps. France — La Plagne from €835pps, Mérible from €569pps. Andora — Arinsal from €899pps. Prices include return flights, transfers, luggal allowance and rep service. To book, call 01 2401 700 or visit topflight.ie
  • Lowcostholidays Beach offers: 7 nights Rio Apts Algarve from €169pp, depart March 6. 7 nights THB Corbeta Lanzarote from €290pp, depart March 6. 7 nights Africamar Apts Majorca from €225pp, depart May 11. 7 nights Club la Costa World, Costa Del Sol from €225pp, depart May 11. 7 nights La Carabela Apts Tenerife from €289pp, depart May 11.
  • Lowcostholidays long haul offers: 7 nights Ramada Gateway Hotel from €689pp, depart March 8. 7 nights Hecienda de Castilla Cancun from €895pp, depart March  8. 7 nights Centra Ashlee Hotel Patong, Phuket from €878pp, depart May 9. 7 nights Harrison Hotel, Miami from €969pp, depart May 21. 7 nights Hotel Primaveral, Punta Cana, Dominican Republic from €922pp, depart May 8.
  • Lowcostholidays city break offers: 2 nights B&B Kavalir Hotel, Prague from €149pp, depart March 5. 2 nights B&B HUSA Pedralbes, Barcelona from €145pp, depart March 5. 2 nights B&B Hotel Amstel Botel, Amsterdam from €198pp, depart May 6. 4 nights Seton Hotel, New York from €829pp. 5 nights Arabian Park Hotel, Dubai from €589pp, depart May 6.
  • Topflight Tuscany options: 7 nights B&B Hotel Versilia Palace from €599pps incl. return flights, transfers, taxes and checked in bags. 7 nights Tuscan Countryside from €1,495 for two adults and one child incl. return flights, car rental, taxes and checked in bags. 7 nights Hotel Versilia Palace from €959pp incl. return flights, taxes, checked in bags, excursions with wine tasting, 3 course dinner on 3 of your nights. Call 01 2401 701 or visit topflight.ie to book.
  • Celebrity Cruises announced the 7-night Take Me Out to the High Seas 2016 Red Sox Fan Cruise, departing Miami January 9, 2016, with calls in San Juan, St Thomas and St Maarten aboard Celebrity Reflection.


Preferred Hotel Group launched a worldwide collection of exceptional villas, bungalows and condominiums.francis brennan john brennan

  • Hotels.com launched a new campaign promoting Thailand called Wai Thailand.
  • Wyndham Hotel Group bought Dolce Hotels and Resorts for $57m.
  • The 72-room Hen-na Hotel at Huis ten Bosch theme park near Nagasaki, Japan will open this summer. The hotel will be mostly staffed by robots. The uniformed robots — which will man the check in desk, clean rooms and serve meals — can speak Japanese, Chinese, Korean and English.
  • A hotelier is to be commemorated in an Irish ballad elevating the hospitable profession to the level of the patriots, lovers, sportsmen, and highwaymen. Or rather, two hoteliers. A song called the Brennan Brothers (listen here) will feature on the Corrigans’ new album called If your’re leaving walk out backwards so I’ll think you’re comin in. The lyrics? Now John and Francis Brennan/are two lads who know the game/the Park hotel in Kenmare/is where they made their name/they’ll go through every detail/on that there is no doubt/and when the boys are finished/you will find yourself booked out/ˇFrancis he will scour the place/and he will be frustrated/if your carpets are too shabby/or your curtains are outdated/it all about the little things/no detail is too small/you’ll be changin all the headboards/and paintin all the walls.


Irish visits to Spain were 1,291,434 in 2014, slightly up 1.7pc from 1,270,038 in 2013. The Canaries were again the most popular region with 32.7pc of total visits, 422,195.irish tourists to spain

  • Irish visits to Germany increased 21.1pc to November 2014.
  • Irish visitor numbers to Sri Lanka increased by 14.4pc to 5,163 last year, compared with 4,512 in 2013.
  • New York City was visited by a record 56.4m in 2014.
  • Las Vegas was visited by a record 41.1m in 2014, 1.4m more visitors than the previous high of 39.7m set in 2012. Omnia Nightclub at Caesars Palace is set to open its doors Thursday March 12.
  • Registration opened for the International Health and Wealth Conference on Oct 15 – 17, 2015 Portugal. Register here.
  • Tourism Malaysia predicts 30m arrivals in 2015.
  • Harbin city in China will construct a theme park dedicated to Russian culture. The Sino-Russian Friendship Park is expected to open in 2017.
  • Bloomberg reported that Google is considering launching a ride-hailing app to rival Uber.
  • Disney Parks and Resort promoted chairman Tom Staggs to chief operating officer.
  • Kirsten Dimond was appointed vice president of operations at Sands Expo Convention Centre in Singapore.
  • The Eiffel Tower is the top spot in the world for selfies. Analysing posts to Instagram, AttractionTix found that 219m selfies have been taken in front of the tower, that’s 1m a day.

Food and Wine

Miele has added chef Lucio Paduano of Manifesto restaurant to its line up of cooking demos in its show kitchen at Citywest. Paduano will be giving demos on Monday events, May 18 and 25. Other additions are Nora Cleere of the Journal of a French Foodie blog, Nikki Walsh; and Butler’s Pantry chef Niall Hill. See mielegallery.ie for the full programme.


Aer Lingus replaced Flybe on PSO routes between Dublin and Donegal and claimed they would increase passenger numbers on the route.

  • Ryanair reported Q3 profit of €49m,  raised its profit guidance to €840m-€850m, will pay a €512m dividend this month and announced a €400m share buy-back programme starting in February. Watch here. Q3 saw a 14pc increase in passengers and a 17pc increase in revenue.  Load factor was up 6 points to 88pc.
  • Dublin Airport numbers were up 14pc over last January. England grew by 10pc, mainland Europe was up 18pc, transatlantic was up 5pc, Middle East and North Africa was up 39pc and domestic up 29pc (to 69,000 passengers).
  • Aer Lingus reported what Merrion Capital called a mixed start to 2015. It confirmed a pattern of weak short haul and strong long haul. Aer Lingus carried 614,000 passengers in January, down 5.7pc compared to 2014. Load factor was up 2.4pc to 68.9pc, 2.4pc on long haul and 1.7pc on short haul. Long haul passenger numbers were up 22pc on January 2014
  • CityJet founder, Pat Byrne, is to rejoin the Board as Chairman.
  • Publicity coup of the week was WOW Air’s €149 flights to the US via Iceland. Skúli Mogensen appeared on RTÉ’s Morning Ireland to publicise the fares to Boston and Washington on his 3w flights. They are not the lowest ever (lowest direct was €99 from Continental to Newark in February 2010, lowest indirect was a €79 Air India via London) or even the lowest trans-Atlantic for this year (€129 direct to St John’s from Westjet, a Dublin Holiday World Show promotion). They are only €80 lower than Aer Lingus’s cheapest promotional fares. But it landed on half a dozen radio shows including the regional station news feed and got lots of online publicity.
  • Airtaxback established to recover tax fees and charges from unused flights is being merged with the international refund chasers airhelp.eu claiming refunds for delays or cancellations under EU Reg 261. Brian Whelan who has taken up the role of their country manager for Ireland and Britain says there is “a treasure trove being overlooked by Irish air passengers and to a certain extent the industry. Wouldn’t travel agents and tour operators rejoice if even half of the €52m in uncollected refunds was recycled into more holidays?
  • Dublin Airport and Aer Lingus launched a roadshow promoted Dublin as transfer hub in nine English and Scottish cities w over the next two months, highlighting connectivity offered by Aer Lingus and Dublin Airport and the ease of transferring through Dublin.
  • Shannon Aerospace Ltd was changed to Lufthansa Technik Shannon Ltd. The wholly-owned subsidiary of Lufthansa Technik AG has thus joined Hamburg, Berlin, Budapest, Malta and Sofia as one of the six European base maintenance facilities in name as well as in practice.
  • Passenger numbers at Europe’s airports grew by an average 5.4pc in 2014 according to the Airports Council International Europe,
  • The Aireon Alert Global Emergency Tracking Service Response Centre is to be located in Ballygirreen, Shannon, Co. Clare, The Aireon ALERT service, a global emergency tracking solution that will be provided as a public service to the aviation community, free-of-charge, will allow rescue agencies, air traffic control providers or airlines to request the location and last flight track of any 1090 MHz Automatic Dependent Surveillance – Broadcast (ADS–B) equipped aircraft in distress. It is expected that approximately 90 percent of the world’s commercial fleet will be ADS-B equipped in the near future.
  • Closing date for entries is Mar 19 for the second IAA Awards Ceremony will take place on May 28 at the Double Tree by Hilton on the Burlington Road (formerly the Burlington Hotel) in Dublin.
  • Aer Lingus reopened their voluntary redundancy scheme, which it expects to cut 150 jobs in its latest redundancy scheme.
  • SAS sold a Heathrow slot pair for $60m.
  • Flybe will add another daily flight from the airport to London City from next week. Newham Council greenlit an extended terminal at London City, a new taxi-way, an increase in the number of stands for aircraft from 18 to 25,an increase in take-offs and landings at the airport from 70,000 a year to 111,000, an extension of the airport’s reach from destinations in western Europe to Russia and North Africa.
  • Iberia launched a free service that allows passengers to check in online as soon as they have purchased their tickets.
  • The DAA raised €210,000 for Special Olympics Ireland, Jack & Jill Foundation and Cystic Fibrosis Ireland in 2014.pr98505_[2]_Walkingballoonspic2
  • Swiss International Air Lines renamed its Swiss European Air Lines subsidiary as Swiss Global Air Lines.
  • Singapore Airline’s new Premium Economy Class went on sale on Tuesday.
  • EasyJet unveiled new livery more orange with a bigger logo, and the dot com has been dropped.
  • Etihad reported 14.8m passengers in 2014. The airline’s cargo fleet carried 568,648 tonnes of freight and mail, up 17pc. Etihad acquired a majority stake in alitalia’s millemiglia flyer programme. Etihad Guest introduced a new payment feature onto its membership card. walletplus, powered by Visa, allows members to load travel money onto their Etihad Guest card and convert it to 11 different foreign currencies to spend whenever they are travelling abroad. Etihad offered a peek inside their private apartment with butler, double bed and en-suite bathroom in the sky and also began 787-9 operations. Etihad has appointed Linda Celestino as the airline’s Vice President Guest Services, taking over from Dublin born Aubrey Tiedt who has moved to a new role as Chief Customer Officer at Alitalia. Etihad reported that inflight Wi-Fi usage was up 80pc last year. There was a 60pc increase in the use of Etihad’s mobile network, and 50,000 hours of Live TV were viewed every month. Etihad will introduce a new payment feature to its Guest membership card. Walletplus by Visa allows members to load money onto their Guest card and convert it to 11 different currencies.
  • Ryanair ground handling staff were caught acting the mickey after drawing a penis in the snow at Dublin Airport. Robin Kiely quickly reacted, saying: “While our ground crew excel at industry leading 25 minute turnarounds, art isn’t their forte, as they’ve clearly forgotten to draw wings on their snow airplane.”
  • Having postpone plans last June, Wizz Air said it intends to float on the London Stock Exchange this year and raise €150m in the first quarter.
  • There was further comment on Qatar Airways purchase of a 10pc stake in IAG, showing it wants a serious relationship.with the new IAG.
  • The first Eurowings Airbus A320 takes off today.
  • Swiss is expanding its Business Class culinary offering on long-haul routes alongside its convenient “quick meal” option. New lounges will be opened in Zurich towards the end of the year. Business class travellers on European services will soon be able to enjoy more privacy and comfort, while an exclusive bus transfer will be available at selected airports.
  • Emirates’ President Tim Clark hit back at an effort by the three US mainline carriers to lobby the US government to roll back open skies with some Gulf nations, calling the airlines’ allegations sweeping and unfounded. He said reversing open skies would be s shame.
  • The Commission for Aviation Regulation published the Quality of Service reports for Q4 (October to December) 2014.
  • Air France CEO Alexandre de Juniac told Bloomberg that the entire European air transport industry is facing challenges of unprecedented magnitude.
  • Stockholm Arlanda is seeking US preclearance facilities.
  • Ryanair Pilots Group replied to Ryanair in an Open Letter. Danish unions threatened to drag Ryanair into labour court.
  • Ryanair and Aer Lingus won a court challenge against an EU state aid ruling on departure tax.
  • Ryanair reported strong passenger numbers carried in January set against declining fares. Ryanair reported record bookings on Brussels summer schedule. Ryanair’s summer bookings were up 12pc in Slovakia. Ryanair reported record bookings on Liverpool Summer 2015 schedule. Bucharest in April was the death knell for Tarom on the route. Ryanair conceded defeat in a planning row over the erection of a massive banner at its new HQ at Dublin airport. A London court will rule on Thursday on the Simon Polito direction to Ryanair to sel its stake in Aer Lingus. The decision is likely to be appealed further. Ryanair’s pan-European creative brief went to Dare. Travelution designed an infographic charting Ryanair’s online journey from take-off to cruising altitude.
  • Aer Lingus board is effectively down to 11 members from 13.
  • This will be the biggest March ever for the US travel Industry.
  • Saudia deployed an app for easy Wi-Fi access.
  • SITA unveiled new automated passport control kiosks at Abu Dhabi airport.
  • India said it plans to build a new airport in the India will build a new international airport in Dholera capable of handling A380 super jumbos, in the .western state of Gujarat as Modi targets Middle East traffic.
  • Bertie Ahern was appointed Non Executive Chairman of Seefin Aviation Ltd.
  • Pensioners mounted a challenge against Aer Lingus-DAA proposal
  • Ulster Aviation Society bought a Phantom jet to put on display
  • Former DAA PR executive (and previously business editor of the Irish Independent and RTÉ) Vincent Wall was announced as Newstalk business editor and presenter of Business Breakfast Show.
  • Michael McGrath raised questions about the future of Cork Airport (watch here).
  • The ERA opined that the new EU Juncker Commission lacks a vision for airline industry
  • Gulf banks are helping to underwrite region’s aviation boom.
  • An Aer Lingus flight landed safely at O’Hare after report of landing gear issue
  • French business-only airline La Compagnie launched with Ryanair as its role model.

Afloatsteel cutting

Construction on Royal Caribbean’s fourth Oasis-class ship officially began with a steel cutting at the STX France shipyard in Saint-Nazaire.

  • Royal Caribbean will add a classic dynamic dining option to Anthem of the Seas when it launches in April, following criticism of its new Dynamic Dining concept. The new option will allow cruisers who prefer a set-time experience to have dinner with the same tablemates and waiters each night. Royal Caribbean are offering all inclusive experiences with a free Select Drinks Package (worth €35pp per day).
  • MSC Cruises launched a new wedding programme which allows couples to legally get married onboard the MSC Divina. Prices start at $1,600 for a shipboard event and $2,200 for a shoreside event. MSC released images of MSC Sinfonia in dry-dock (watch here).
  • The inaugural sailing for the Bahamas Paradise Cruise Line was canceled due to a fault with the ship’s PA system.
  • Carnival Cruise Line will homeport Carnival Vista, its newest and largest cruise ship, in Miami.
  • A Royal Caribbean Grandeur of the Seas cruise was cut short after 10pc of passengers were struck by norovirus.


Bus Eireann’s Expressway fleet launched with over €9.2m investment in 20 new coachesExpressway coaches luxury fleet launch -4 copy

  • The Restaurants Association said that government proposals for calories on menus in restaurants are impossible to implement.
  • The European Golf Tour has appointed Duffy Rafferty Communications to handle the all-Ireland PR contract for this year’s Irish Open golf tournament.
  • Four Canadian travel writers visited pic 1 - CANADIAN TRAVEL WRITERS AT GLENDALOUGHIreland this week as guests of Tourism Ireland and Air Canada Vacations. The group’s itinerary, which was prepared by Fáilte Ireland, included a walking tour of Dublin, a tour of Glasnevin Cemetery, Temple Bar Tradfest and visits to Glendalough and Powerscourt House and Gardens.
  • Three Belgian journalists visited Wicklow this weekend as guests of Tourism Ireland and PEN PALS – BELGIAN JOURNALISTS VISIT WICKLOWRyanair. The group’s itinerary was designed by Fáilte Ireland and included a visit to Powerscourt House and Gardens, a guided tour of Glendalough, a tour of the Sally Gap and lunch in Laragh village. Picture shows Elaine McPartlan of Tourism Ireland with the journalists at Powerscourt House and Gardens.
  • A group of Irish and French tourism companies travelled to Lyon to meet 25 French agents and operators based in Lyon and the Rhône-Alpes region. The B2B event was organised by Tourism Ireland in conjunction with Lyon Airport. The Irish Ambassador to France, Geraldine Byrne-Nason, and the Honorary Consul of Ireland in Lyon, Bruno Boccard, IRELAND SAYS ‘BONJOUR’ IN LYONattended the event. Picture shows Florence Plantier, Lyon Airport; Monica Ramchandani, Aer Lingus; Mylène Campalto, Abbey Tours; Anaïs Leboeuf, Quartier Libre; Gillian Beare, Finn Lough Resort, Enniskillen; Mairéad O’Reilly and Grégoire Hermann, both Tourism Ireland; Elisa Souchard, Atlas Travel Solutions; and Gilles Fourgeron, Premier Travel.
  • The February/March edition of National Geographic Traveler features a cover shot of Ross Castle in Killarney under the headline 9+ MILLION AMERICANS TO READ EXTENSIVE TRAVEL FEATURE ABOUT KERRY‘Return to Ireland — A Journey Home’. The magazine features an 11-page feature on Kerry with words and pictures by travel writer and Hollywood actor Andrew McCarthy.
  • Former World Number One Lee Westwood, reigning champion Mikko Ilonen, Rory McIlroy, Graeme McDowell, Darren Clarke and Rickie Fowler confirmed that they will participate in this year’s Irish Open in Co Down, May 28-31.
  • The Literary Pub Crawl, Dublin features at number two on Lonely Planet’s top 10 literary walking tours of the world.

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