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HEADLINESAVIATIONAFLOATDEALWATCHFOOD & WINEHOTELSINTERNATIONALIRELANDSTRANGE WORLDTRAVEL TRADE

Cityjet founder Pat Byrne

Things to know about travel this week
  • Cityjet’s last standalone route franchised to Aer Lingus
  • Kilkenny named foodie destination 
  • Irish outbound travel drops in July
  • Stena Forerunner adds 10pc capacity on Dublin Belfast
  • Turkish bring the A330 to Dublin
  • No delivery date yet for WB Yeats ferry
  • Belfast International has new owners
Video watch.

Animal rights protestors purchased tickets and jumped in the pools at Spain’s Loro Parqueright before the dolphin show. Watch here.

Flash floods raged through Saalbach, one of Austria’s favourite mountain villages among Irish visitors. See here and here.

Milwaukee Irish Festis the biggest of its kind, and was featured recently in the Sunday Supplement. Aer Lingus was there too, joining Northern band Cuig who were performing at the event. Watch here.

EasyJet said it wants women to make up one in five of its new cadet pilots by 2020 as it launched its recruitment camaign with a promo based on Leonardo DiCaprio’s movie Catch Me If You Can. Watch here.

  • British Airwayscelebrates its upcoming centenary with Mary Parsons from Worcestershire who is also about to turn 100. Watch hereas they bring here to Ireland to meet her family.
  • Qatar Airways treats some children in Dohato celebrate the Eid festival. Watch here.
  • Etihad Airways goes behind the scenes at Milan Fashion Week. Watch here.
  • “Luxurious private suites. Fine dining. Onboard shower spas”: Emiratesshows off first class onboard the A380. Watch here.
  • Asylum tourism is a thing in Australia, and ABC News reports on why people are drawn to the infamous  J Ward and Aradale in Ararat. Watch here.
Behind the Headlines

Cityjet network in 2003

In 2006 Cityjet had a substantial network under its own brand (pictured).This week the last of its branded routes came to a halt, as it agreed a franchise with Aer Lingus on the Dublin to London City service it has operated since 1994,The leasing arrangement between the two airlines, an ACMI lease will see CityJet provide two Avro RJ85 aircraft, flight and cabin crew, maintenance, and insurance to Aer Lingus for the purpose of operating the route. The arrangement indicates CityJet could be a serious rival to Stobart as the operator of Aer Lingus Regional routes when that contract comes up for renewal.  CityJet commenced its London City operation in January 1994.  Aer Lingus Commuter operated the route with BAe 146 aircraft October 1999 to October 2003.  BA CityFlyer currently operates up to seven weekday flights on the route which are code-shared with Aer Lingus. Cityjet’s next step is to convince their partner airlines that livery does not matter, enabling them to send their wet lease fleet on more economical W-patterns, as per the next stage of Pat Byrne’s masterplan for the airline. Éist anseo le Eoghan Corry, eagarthóir Trave Extralar cursai taistil na seachtaine.

There was some creative naming of the papal flights during Pope Francissuccessful visit to Ireland, Ei1979 for the flight from Dublin to Knock, EI2018 for the return flight, and more standard AZ4000 for the inbound Akitlilia charter and EI2408 for the outbound flight to Rome. Watch here video of the papal air schedule and some images from Willie Dillon of the arrival at Dublin airport.

Stobart Airis removing two of three Embraer 195 jets from its Flybe franchised services out of Southend Airport just a year after introducing the aircraft. Four routes operated under the agreement – Milan Malpensa, Venice, Budapest and Prague will no longer operated by Stobart Air. A third Embraer jet owned by Stobart will continue to service Southend-Dublin a service that will be subject to competition from next year by Ryanair.

Irish Ferries revenue for Jan-June 2018 was up 0.7pc at €157.2m, but cash earnings (down 11.8pc at €26.1m, largely due to the lower lease revenue.  Cars and passengers carried were down 2pc and 3pc respectively. Performance was adversely affected by disruption of five weeks of schedules on the Dublin/ Holyhead route due to technical difficulties affecting the flagship vessel Ulysses and delays to WB Yeats, due to enter service with Irish Ferries during July 2018 on the overnight Dublin Cherbourg route. A cost of €7m from the WB Yeats delay and €6m from the Ulysses problems are to be taken in H2.  Irish Ferries said 88pc of customers were accommodated on alternative Irish Ferries sailings or via landbridge. The Group has not yet received a reconfirmed delivery date but the expectation is that the vessel will be delivered in late 2018. All contract payments made to FSG are covered by financial guarantees with 80pc of the contract price not becoming due until delivery.

Overseas trips made by Irish residentsin July 2018 were down 2.2pc to 905,400 having been up 9.5pc in June.  Good weather or bad statistics?

Travel Trade

Worldchoice launched a Fam Trip to Namibia with destination management company Obeo Travel and Ethiopian Airlines.  The 10 night trip will depart on December 6th with Ethiopian Airlines and will showcase the best of Namibia including Safari & Desert experiences and the coastal town of Swakopmund all arranged by Obeo Travel. The group will also get to experience what Addis Ababa as a destination has to offer on their return journey.

The Travel Corporation’s  Sharon Jordan, Brian Hynes and Marissa Beck joined 360 of their fellow Travel Corporation colleagues in London, where they launched Insight Vacations, Luxury Gold, Trafalgar and Costsaver trips for the 2019 selling season.

Topflight teamed up with Bellewstown Racesas the headline sponsor of the Best Dressed Competition on Thursday 30th August at the August Festival, won by Emma Jane Flynn from Termonfeckin who won a Topflight holiday for two to Sorrento!. The competition was judged by one of milliner Suzanne Ryan on left with winner Emma Jane Flynn and Maurice Shiels Sales Director of Topflight, always a winner in the best dressed category among his fans in the travel trade.

Watch here Sara Zimmerman of Travel Department speaking about the 2019 brochure launch. See more pictures hereor connect with the album on Facebook.

MSC sold 17,000 cruise packages in Ireland in 2017, and hope to grow that number in 2018. Watch here Antonio Paradiso speaking about the decade of MSC Cruise Line operations in Ireland. Watch here some of the celebrations on board MSC Meraviglia. Picture shows Rebecca Kellyof MSC with John Spollenof Cassidy Travel, President of the ITAA at the event. See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook or see official photo album here on Facebook.

ATTSare running a webinar week in September, October, November and December based , they say, on the positive feedback they got from our August webinar month. Contact via email: sales@atts.ie or call 01 882 8680. Agents are asked to keep an eye on their inbox for invitation links.

  • Jody Henson and Kirsty Dillury will be representing the state of Tennessee starting from the 1st September 2018.
  • Turkish Airlinesis offering the chance to win two tickets to Jason Derulo by following the link www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/mg3cdbq
  • The Atta Media Awards have been postponed until 2019 and the 31st August deadline has now been extended to 31 December 2018.
  • Caribtours,preparing to celebrate its 40th anniversary next year, launched its 2019 brochure in Ireland offering twin centre breaks across the Caribbean, Indian Ocean and Arabia, luxury escapes in Europe and America, best-sellers and new future classics. During September, Caribtours will give customers in Ireland the chance to save up to €300 on any 2019 holiday booked that month.
  • US-based online travel platform CheapAirrevealed it has been hit by an extortion attempt by cybercriminals who threatened to flood its pages with negative reviews.
Strange World

A 61-year-old man bitten by a sharkoff Cape Cod said he escaped by punching it in the gills after it clamped down on his leg.

  • Oui? No! French feminists have vandalised the new open-air streeturinals in Paris, labelling them sexist and discriminatory. Eco-friendly urinals have been placed in public spots in recent months as an experiment to counter Paris’s problem of pee-soaked paths.
  • The city of Myrtle Beachin the US has made over $22,000 in a single year by issuing citations for people using “lewd, obscene or profane” words in public.
International

The Inaugural Ceremony of the 4th India Day hosted by the Ireland India council in conjunction with The Office of Public Works has been moved forward to12.00 noon today at Farmleigh. Guests on the day include Hon’ble Seán Ó Fearghaíl, Ceann Comhairle, Vijay Thakur Singh, Ambassador of India and Frances Fitzgerald TD and former Tánaiste. Irish visitor numbers to India rose 10.5pc to 36,440 in 2016. The event is free for all. Watch here video report of the launch event.  Watch here Oireachtas Foreign Affairs committee deputy chair Bernard Durkanspeaking at the Ireland India council event. Watch here Prashant Shuklatribute to council member Eric Byrne. Watch here speech by Sean L’Estrange of Bank of Ireland. Watch here speech by Dr Jasveer Singh Puri. Watch here speech by Siraj Zaidi.Watch here speech by Manohar Lal Shorey. Watch herefull speeches and introductions. See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.

  • Balearic islands government launched ‘holiday rental check mallorca” – an app designed to check the legality of rental properties
  • Sixteen passengers were killed after a tourist bus heading to a resort in Bulgaria overturned and then plunged down a side road 66ft below the main route it had been on.
  • Passengers were forced to abandon ship in the middle of the night after thick smoke from a fire swept through the passenger decks of the Eleftherios Venizelos ferry, carrying 1,000 passengers and crew, from the Greek mainland towards Chania in Crete.
  • The craze for fining pebble-thieves has spread to Lararia Beach in Greece, where tourists who take the stones face fines of almost €1,000.
  • A Japanese tourist detained for an unspecified crime in North Korea has been freed.
  • A bear attacked and injured a 10-year-old boy out hiking with his family in Yellowstone National Park. His parents used pepper spray to fight off the bear, which is thought to have been defending its cub, the BBC reported.
  • Watch here the World’s top twenty water parks 2017. Watch here the World’s top 25 theme parks 2017. Watch here the World’s top twenty museums 2017
Food & Beverage

Irish Distillers plans to build a major new distillery – but not in its current Middleton site – to cope with the boom in Jamesonwhiskey worldwide, with Waterford and Youghal contenders, the Irish Independent reported. The report was later confirmed by the drinks giant.

Jamesonsold 7.3m cases to date in 2017-18 and is now in double or triple-digit growth in over 80 markets across the world where it has become a recognised brand name.

Newly-openedSlaneDistillery celebrated rolling out its first barrel. The inaugural cask contains new make malt whiskey using barley harvested on the SlaneCastle Estate filled into a sherry hogshead. Slane Irish Whiskey Co-Founders Lord Henry Mount Charles and Alex Conyngham are pictured in the Tack Room of the Slane Distillery. Photo: Marc O’Sullivan

Visitor numbers to distilleriesrose 6pc to 2,590,215 last year, according to industry group the Alcohol Beverage Federation of Ireland. It added that 13 whiskey distillery visitor centres are currently in the planning or development stage.

Kilkenny was awarded the key Foodie Destination 2018 title by by the Restaurants Association of Ireland, for actively promoting itself through food festivals, gourmet trails or farmers’ markets. Kinsalehas been named Foodie Town 2018 Participants from Kinsale are pictured with Liam Edwards, President of the RAI, and competition judges Zack Gallagher and Wendy Kavanagh, and Patrick Carey of sponsors FBD insurance.

  • English chocolatier Hotel Chocolat is preparing to follow up its entry into the market at Dundrum Town Centre with a new store at 1 GPO Buildings on Dublin’s Henry Street.
  • Sinead Ryan, Imperial Hotel; Alfonso Giugciano, Cornstore; Jennifer Lipinski, Oyster Tavern; Bryan McCarthy, Greenes Restaurant & Cask; and Ronan Marshell, CoqBull, at the launch of the Cork Gourmet Trail,which takes place on Saturday 22nd September. It will kick off at the Metropole Hotel at noon, before taking off on a culinary tour of some of Cork’s top restaurants. Photo: Joleen Cronin.
  • Dublin Chamberclaims that the hospitality industry will suffer the most under Irish Water’s “unfair and unsustainable” proposed changes to commercial water price.“Numerous prominent hotels have contacted Dublin Chamber due to the fact they are facing hikes in the region of 40pc over the coming years. The impact of any new tariff framework on Ireland’s tourist industry should be closely considered. With hotels reportedly facing a VAT increase in the next national budget, the implementation of Irish Water’s proposals would represent a very significant added financial burden,” it claimed.
Hotels

Dublin will still have ashortfallof at least 1,100 hotel bedrooms by 2020, Fáilte Ireland warned in a new report, is “An Analysis of Tourism Accommodation in Dublin”. Full story here.

Tourism NI’s annual report estimated that by the end of 2018, hotel room numbers are likely to break the 9,500 level which is the biggest growth period in a decade. There were 2,176k visitors to `Northern Ireland from overseas in 2017.

Economist Jim Power believes the Government should keep the 9pc VAT rate, arguing: “I don’t think that you should adopt a tax policy based on what’s happening in a few hotels in Dublin.”

  • Dalatahas acquired the lease of a London hotel currently under development. It will pay €100m for the property, which will have 212 room, and be branded Clayton Hotel Aldgate London.
  • Marriott Internationalis to bring the luxury St Regis brand to Australia, with the St Regis Melbourne due to open in 2022.
  • The Hong Kong-owned firm that operates the luxury Fota Island in Cork recorded a modest loss last year as the company further invested in the resort. In 2013, the Kang family purchased the five-star resort for a reported €20m.
  • Savills hotels and leisure division is quoting €45 million for the five-star Druids Glen Hotel and Resort, which includes a 145-bedroom hotel and a 349-acre estate with two 18-hole championship golf courses.
Aviation

Turkish Airlines brought the A330 to Dublin today (28/08/2018). The aircraft with the call sign TC-JIM with a configuration of 30 businesses and 190 economy seats. Could this be a common sight to Dublin for the summer of 2019?

Aircraft journeys are taking longer than a decade ago, according to a report that claims the change is down to airlines “padding” their schedules to create the impression passengers were reaching their destinations on time. Carriers are adding extra time to flight schedules, in some cases up to 30 minutes, to ensure they maintain punctuality and are therefore less likely to be liable for compensation payouts, the investigation by Which? Travel claimed.

Laudamotionis to double its Airbus fleet to 18 aircraft in Summer 2019 following the completion of Ryanair’s purchase of a 75pc shareholding in it from founder Niki Lauda.

The ghost of the Ryanair Pilots group of 2013 re emerged on Thursday in a series of events that panned out exactly as called by Travel Extra editor Eoghan Corry almost a year ago (listen to recap here). Enda Ryan president of the so-called Ryanair Transnational Pilot Group and Dirk Polloczek of the European Cockpit Association wrote to Ryanair on Thursday offering to become the one negotiating body for European pilots (a role which Evan Cullen of IALPA’s 95 pilots had claimed for themselves) with a core demand that pilots get contracts of employment governed by the laws of the countries in which they are based rather than Irish law. Éist anseo le Eoghan Corry, eagarthóir Travel Extra ar Adhmhaidin ar Raidio na Gaeltachta.

Datalex results for half year to end June 2018 indicate double digit growth across key metrics including commencement of platform revenue at Lufthansa and at the new South American loyalty coalition network customer, Multiplus, part of LATAM airlines group, both of which will go live in late 2018, and continued organic growth at existing customers. Report here and presentation here.

A review of Search and Rescue aviation operations recommended that the Department of Transport..

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Aer LIngus roadshow in Limerick, Feb 21 2018

HEADLINESAVIATIONAFLOATDEALWATCHFOOD & WINEHOTELSINTERNATIONALIRELANDSTRANGE WORLDTRAVEL TRADE

Ten Things to know about travel this week
  • Qatar to bring A350 on to Dublin-Doha route
  • Ryanair launch Dublin-Luxembourg 3w for winter 2018, extend Dublin-Seville
  • Flybe shares soar as Stobart launches take-over bid
  • Aer Lingus among star performers in IAG 2017 results
  • Etihad to reduce Dublin-Abu Dhabi from 14w to 12w for three months 
  • Thailand Tourism roadshow hosts agents in Belfast, Cork and Limerick
  • Aer Lingus roadshow hosts agents in Belfast, Cork, Dublin & Limerick
  • Tony Flynn to leave Ethiopian Airlines 
  • Domhnall Slattery’s fleet grows to 908
  • Hoteliers gather for Annual conference in Cavan
  • Travelport insists Sinead Reilly’s successor will be Irish
Video watch.

Air New Zealand’s latest safety video will be shot in Antarctica and feature Adrian Grenier. Watch here.

  • Qatar Airways unveiled its A350-1000 at a delivery ceremony at Airbus’s headquarters in Toulouse. Watch here. Airline CEO Akbar Al Baker may introduced the new aircraft or the A350-900 on the Dublin-Doha route, to replace the current Boeing 787 aircraft.
  • Emirates has extended its shirt sponsorship with Arsenal FC, making it the longest-running sponsorship deal in Premier League history. Watch here.
  • Etihad had a big shout-out to Kuwaitis, to celebrate the tiny Gulf country’s national day. Watch here.
  • Like Australia? Love flying? Qantas is set to open a flying academy to train new pilots. Watch here 
  • Tourism Ireland goes behind the scenes at Epic The Irish Emigration Museum. Watch here. 
  • Anyone remember when restaurant chain Hooters had an airline? Business Insider does and reports here on its demise.
  • Air France workers held industrial action, with pickets outside the airine’s Roissy headquarters. Watch here as AFP reports on the issue.
  • You’ll never criticise Dublin’s traffic again, after watching the two-day jam in touristy Hainan province in China. Watch here.
Behind the Headlines

Ryanair are to announce Dublin-Luxembourg 3w on Monday, continuing a trend where they are reducing their base at Hahn from 5 to 4 aircraft and adding to Luxembourg, where there is no passenger tax, and Frankfurt Main. The previously announced Dublin Seville will be extended to winter 2018 at a press briefing by Kenny Jacobs in Swords tomorrow (Monday). Dublin-Krakow is to increase to 9w and Dublin-Poznan to 5w.

Stow-bee or Fly-bart? Flybe shares soared by 36.2pc on Thursday amid Stobart takeover rumours, which would make the former British European Air the latest to become an Irish airline. Stobart’s initial challenge will be to refinance Flybe’s considerable dollar debt.

  • From Flybe: “Flybe confirms that it has not received any approach from the Stobart Group regarding a possible offer by Stobart Group for Flybe. Flybe shareholders are strongly advised to take no action at this stage. There can be no certainty that any firm offer will be made nor as to the terms on which any firm offer might be made“.
  • Then from Stobart: “As previously disclosed in October 2017, we have been reviewing alternative structures for our airline and leasing business that can play an important part in the consolidation of the regional airline sector. A number of potential structures have been considered including taking a non-controlling interest in a vehicle to acquire 100% of Flybe likely to be in cash. It is not possible to say, at this stage, whether a transaction will take place, whether a firm proposal will be made or, if it is, the form a transaction to combine the airlines might take. A further announcement will be made in due course.”

Flybe claims to be Europe’s largest regional airline and flies 53pc of English domestic flights, more than any other airline, 211 routes serving 15 countries from 80 departure points. It is the largest scheduled airline by air traffic movements at Aberdeen, Belfast City, Birmingham, Cardiff, Exeter, Isle of Man, Jersey, Newquay and Southampton airports.  Flybe operates a fleet of 81 aircraft – 56 Bombardier Q400, 9 Embraer E195, 11 E175 & 5 ATR 72s.

Duelling travel trade roadshows criss-crossed the country this week reaching exactly 500 individual travel agents with impressive efficiency. The Tourism Authority of Thailand, hosted by Emma Arnott and Sutanita Thavornchak, with 14 industry partners, hosted 45 in Belfast on Tuesday, 30 in Cork on Wednesday and 37 in the grand finale in Lana Thai restaurant in Limerick on Thursday, with the best food offering of any roadshow for a long time. For Thailand Tourism Roadshow in Limerick (watch here), Picture shows Emma Arnott and Sutanita Thavornchak. See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.

Aer Lingus roadshow, also with 14 trans-Atlantic industry partners, hosted 84 in Belfast on Monday, 177 in Dublin on Tuesday, 41 in Limerick on Wednesday, and 86 in Cork on Thursday.For Aer Lingus roadshow in Dublin (watch here). Picture shows Jenny Rafter, Ivan Beacom and John Keogh who hosted the event. See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.

For Aer Lingus Roadshow prize giving in Limerick with Sheila Treacy from Ace Travel and Frances Grogan from Grogan travel winning the big prizes (watch here). For overview of Aer Lingus Roadshow in Limerick Feb 21 2018 (watch here). Picture shows Ivan Beacom of Aer Lingus, winner of the flights to Flordia Frances Grogan of Grogan Travel, Gary Orr of Sky Hotels and  Dermot Lee of Aer Lingus. See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook

IAG Group reported strong results with ROIC 16.0pc (against a 15pc target and 13.6pc in 2016) and a lease adjusted operating margin of 14.4pc (as against 12.3pc in 2016). Aer Lingus capacity is planned to be up 8.6pc in January-March, 10.1pc in summer, and  9.7pc for the year driven by long-haul new routes and frequency increases. Group Revenue was €22,972m, up 1.8pc (of which €7,655m in England, down 3pc, €3,561m in Spain, down 2pc, €3,694m in the US, up 5pc, €8,062m up 6.5pc).  Revenue per ASK was down 0.8pc but unit costs were down 2.9pc. The group’s four airlines, Aer Lingus, BA, Iberia and Vueling performed well both operationally and financially. Capacity (ASK) was up 2.6pc and traffic (RPK) up 3.8pc.  Operating profit increased by €480m to €3,015m.  Exceptional items of €288m were mainly redundancy costs of €180m in Iberia and €108m in BA. Group net profit (before tax and exceptionals) was €2,781m, up 15pc.  The dividend for the year is being increased by 15pc to 27 cent per share and share buyback of €500m is to be repeated. Net debt (including lease capitalisation) was reduced by €400m to €7,759m. Short-haul revenues per ASK in Aer Lingus and Vueling were under pressure, both down about 3pc.  Employee costs per ASK at fixed exchange rates were unchanged for Aer Lingus but up about 3pc for Iberia and 9pc for BA and more than that for Vueling.  Selling and IT costs were also up by about 9pc, partly from the new distribution model which increased both expenses and revenues while allowing the Group to bring more direct access to the customer.  Willie Walsh is apparently confident that a comprehensive air transport agreement between the EU and London will be reached and that IAG and its airlines will comply with the EU and English ownership and control rules post-Brexit.

Travel Trade

Travelport is close to naming a successor to Sinead Reilly as Country Manager for Ireland, who has been promoted to the new role of Strategic Account Director for the Northern European Region. Simon Ferguson, Managing Director, Northern Europe, told Travel Extra in London that the company would be sticking to its principle of appointing an Irish person to the position.

Country Manager for Britain and Ireland Paul Broughton backed up the view, and said an Irish name – and a big Irish presence – is key for the travel tech company. Picture shows Simon Ferguson, Managing Director, Northern Europe, and Paul Broughton, Country Manager for Britain and Ireland, in London.

Travelport was speaking to Travel Extra ahead in London ahead of the Business Travel Show, Europe’s largest such event. The Irish were well represented, with Aer Lingus, Dalata and O’Callaghan Hotels attending the event. Pictured are Ciara Buckley, Global Account Manager, The Doyle Collection; Caroline Millar, Business Development Manager – Corporate, The Croke Park hotel; Paula Cogan, Director of Global Sales EU, The Doyle Collection; and Marilina Fourtoulaki, Sales Manger, The Bloomsbury. See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.

Skål’s postponed Irish AGM takes place in GMIT tomorrow at 3.30pm. Ewan Plenderleith will host the Dublin club AGM at 12.30pm on Tuesday March 13th in the Herbert Park Hotel followed by lunch.

Emirates announced the winners in the make 2018 a year to remember competition. First Prize, 3 pairs of return Business Class tickets to Dubai: Lynn Dempsey of Newbridge Travel, Nikki Atkinson of Travel Solutions and Kathryn McCarthy of Abbey Travel (pictured). Second Prize, 3 pairs of return Economy Class tickets to Dubai: Siobhan Collins of BCD Travel, Yolande Fitzpatrick of Selective Travel Management, Aisling Murphy of Keller Travel. Third Prize: 3 pairs of VIP hospitality tickets to see Arsenal: Luigi Di Marzo of  Usit, Aoife Jordan of Travel Leaders and Jamie Thomas of Travel Counsellors.

Amadeus released NDC-X, its response to NDC which it says will enable travel companies to evolve their travel distribution and merchandising to ensure that it responds to travel seller requirements, and that it has the right economics to drive investment. Amadeus classroom ticketing course March 7th and April 19th has spaces left and is seeking registrations.

Travelport released a product roadmap to extend its content offering to enable travel agency customers to access IATA and NDC content via Travelport’s platform which it says will offer industrialised connection for airlines that connects via NDC-standard APIs, a point of sale companion application for travel agencies that offers NDC-enabled content alongside the GDS workflow in Travelport Smartpoint desktop and, in time, a first fully integrated search, book and manage function, combining NDC-connected content and GDS content in the same workflow on Travelport product including Travelport’s API Trip Services.

Picture shows Emer Carroll and Louise Kenna of Cassidy Travel, Dundrum receiving their gift vouchers for booking Flexible Autos in January.

BA and Brand USA are offering an additional chance to win a place on Ireland and Britain MegaFam 2018. The top 10 sellers in the month of February 2018 will be entered into a draw to win their place on the trip. BA have raised the minimum age for someone travelling alone from 12 to 14 from May 1, and introduced an online form available from early April on ba.com that must be carried by the minor at all times.

The Irish Travel Agents Association called again for updated legislation to contract the fact that 85pc of travelling public remain unprotected by outdated bonding legislation. Registration is open for the Irish Travel Industry Trade Show on Thursday, April 12. Register here.

  • Etihad are recruiting for a sales agent.
  • Jet2 is recruiting two Trade Sales Executives to join its 16-strong Trade Team, covering the North West England, the north of Ireland and Yorkshire.
  • Europe Asia Global Link Exhibitions and the European tour operators association ETOA signed an agreement to strengthen the international presence of their respective platforms.
  • Celina Tavares has commenced in her role as director of the Portuguese NTO in the USA.
  • Visit USA met in Dublin to formulate plans for the year.
  • Wendy Wu’s staff incentives offer runs until February 25,
  • Tony Flynn is to depart Ethiopian Airlines for personal reasons.
  • Enter the year of the dog. Ambassadors gathered for a Chinese new year celebration. See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.
  • Spotted among the Irish at the Business Travel Show in London, See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.
Strange World

A pilot made an emergency landing in Vienna after a fight broke out over a passenger who allegedly refused to stop breaking wind. Two Dutchmen sitting next to the flatulent passenger reportedly asked the man to stop, but he refused and continued to break wind on the Transavia Airlines flight from Dubai to Amsterdam Schiphol.

Japan has launched First Airlines, dubbed the ‘world’s first virtual airline’ hub. Based in Tokyo, you sit in a real aircraft seat, get an official boarding pass and can expect the full on-board experience, complete with meals served by cabin crew while you pretend to be flying courtesy of virtual reality goggles.

The US Transportation Security Administration say 100 guns were seized at American airports, breaking a record for a single week.

International

Grace Bay in Providenciales, the main island of Turks and Caicos in the Caribbean was rated best beach in the world in the Tripadvisor reader’s choice award. La Concha Beach in San Sebastian was rated best in Europe.

  • Costa Rica had 4,321 Irish visits in 2017, up 8.6pc and  2,959,869 overall, up 1.2pc.
  • Mark Eyking, announced funding of $200,000 over the next two years in support of performing arts programme for the Celtic Colours International Festival from October 5 to 13 on Cape Breton Island.
Food & Beverage

Supermac’s MD, Pat McDonagh said the group will open a further six outlets in the first half of 2018 bringing the total to 114 and will spend €32m on Irish produce in 2018. Supermac’s are 40 years in business this year and since they started in Ballinasloe in 1978.

  • Despite Jamie Oliver’s decision to close restaurants in England, Gerard Fitzpatrick has been talking up the prospect of opening a 60—100 seat second Dublin outlet to join Dundrum.
  • Yum! Brands Inc’s KFC warned that a supply-chain breakdown that has shut more than half of its 900 English outlets would persist next week. About 80pc of the brand’s English eateries are franchised. KFC said it is working with new logistical partner Deutsche Post AG to solve the problem.
  • Morrissey’s is seeking offers for Celbridge House in Co Kildare by 3pm on Thursday March 15 and O’Dwyer’s pub in Stillorgan by 3pm on Friday March 16.
Hotels

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

  • Things to know about travel this week
  • Minister Griffin: “We’ll squeeze every cent out of Star Wars”
  • Jedi director pays tribute to Ireland with special movie
  • Brexit rows with London ‘won’t affect Irish tourism’ – Griffin
  • Emirates celebrates two millionth passenger on Dublin-Dubai route
  • Dublin Airport opens €22m facility to ease congestion
  • DAA loses another leader as Chairman says he’s stepping down
  • Princess Cruises to follow Celebrity Cruises’ lead and homeport in Dublin
  • Portugal cleans up at the World Travel Awards
Travel Extra TV.

Fresh from a slew of world travel awards (see full story below), Portugal has a new video promoting the country for 2018, watch here.

Smoking can seriously damage your reputation: A US passenger is accused of an air rage incident after being allegedly told to stub out a cigarette on a flight. Watch the drama here.

The Royal Caribbean CEO is looking to the future of cruising with high-tech onboard facilities. Richard Fain was speaking at an interview with Skift watch here. Airbus shows off its newly-delivered A380 to Singapore Airlines. Look inside the cabin here.

The view from the flight deck as a British Airways crew land an A380 in Johannesburg. Watch here.

Emirates celebrates Bahrain’s national day onboard a nighttime flight (watch here).

Gulf rival Etihad is not missing out either – watch its Bahrain tribute here.

KLM (watch here) shows off the hightlights of its year in the air and on the ground.

Former Miss Australia Erin Holland visits Dublin with Qatar Airways – but judging by the swanky Q Suite seat, she wasn’t flying direct from Doha to Ireland. Watch as she visits the sites of the city here.

Behind the Headlines

The reviews for Star Wars: The Last Jedi are mixed, but Tourism Ireland sees no Dark Side to the sci-fi phenomenon and how it’s putting Skelling Michael – and Ireland – on the map in new markets. Self-confessed Star Wars geek, the Junior Minister for Tourism, Brendan Griffin, was looking forward to that night’s Irish premiere in the Savoy cinema as he joined Tourism Ireland CEO Niall Gibbons for an end-of-year report delivered to the media.

Brendan Griffin, Junior Minister for Tourism, with Niall Gibbons, CEO of Tourism Ireland

The Minister saw no shame in the idea “to squeeze every cent” out of the Disney franchise, with Mr Gibbons saying the movie is worth an estimated €40m a year to Ireland in publicity. The media even got a sneak preview of a movie made by Star Wars director Rian Johnson to pay tribute to Ireland for allowing the filmmakers onto Skellig Michael, off the coast of Kerry for two days (all other shots were in Kerry or Malin Head).

In the movie, released on December 27, Mark ‘Luke Skywalker’ Hamill seemed most taken by the beauty of the area; Daisy Ridley, who plays Rey, a little less so, while robot R2D2 is seen being carried up hundreds of steps on the former monastic settlement. Watch here as Niall Gibbons talks about 2017 and hopes for the new year and watch here as Brendan Griffin sets out Ireland’s aims in the market and talks to the media watch here about his support for the 9pc VAT rate for hospitality and doesn’t see the Brexit rows as a threat. See the album here.

Dublin might not quite be Miami, but a second major cruise line is to homeport in Dublin in 2019. Princess Cruises is to base the Princess Caribbean in the capital for 11 itineraries, following Celebrity Cruises’ decision to homeport Celebrity Eclipse from May to June 2018 and Celebrity Refection will from May to June 2019 for five rotations each.

Travel Trade

Photo: Arthur Carron

Junior Minister for Tourism Brendan Griffin was a busy man this week, and also launched the 2018 Holiday World Show along with organiser Maureen Ledwith. Taking place at the RDS Simmonscourt from Friday 26th January to Sunday 28th January, it will feature the  show’s largest ever Home Holiday Pavilion.

“The continued growth of Holiday World Show and its Home Holiday Pavilion is evidence of the increasing appetite of Irish consumers for holidays at home, as well as the wealth of products on offer by Irish tourism providers,” Minister Griffin said. Maureen Ledwith, Organiser of the Holiday World Show, said, “Holiday World Show offers visitors the opportunity to meet with over 1,000 travel experts from across Ireland and the globe, book fantastic breaks and avail of special show-only offers. This year’s Home Holiday Pavilion is the biggest one yet, with a new Northern Ireland Tourism Village and Donegal Tourism, voted ‘the coolest place on the planet in 2017’ by the National Geographic, hosting the largest stand.” Holiday World Show 2018 will also include the largest ever ‘Visit USA Pavilion’, a new French Camping Pavilion, plus ‘Let’s Talk Travel with Eoghan Corry’.  www.holidayworldshow.com.

A busy week with the party season in full swing. Iberia dominated in Dublin last Thursday, with the Spanish Tourism Office hosting agents and media at the Spanish-owned Riu Plaza The Gresham, and the Portuguese Tourist Board hosting media at L’Ecrivain in Dublin.

The Spanish lunch, attracting dozens of agents, celebrated another record year for the country. The tourist office’s Kathryn MacDonnell said Irish figures were at 1.8m up to October, with another good year predicted for 2018. The event was hosted by the office’s head, Teresa Gancedo Nieto. Pictured are Laura Cordoba, Teresa Gancedo Nieto, Borja Bedoya and Kathryn MacDonnell, Spanish Tourism Office, with Gill O’Sullivan, King Travel. Connect to the album here, or on Facebook here.

Local neighbours Portugal hosted the media in L’Ecrivain, with the help of AE Consulting’s Aileen Eglington, with new Ambassador Miguel de Almeida e Sousa the guest of honour. The envoy, who took up the role here in October, was previously stationed in Rome and Tel Aviv. He said he’ll miss the friends he made in the Middle East, but has the sense of humour to thrive in his new surroundings in Ireland. The country is now celebrating after being named the World’s Leading Destination at the World Travel Awards, with other awards for Madeira (World’s Leading Island Destination) and Lisbon (World’s Leading City Break Destination). Pictured are Ambassador Miguel de Almeida e Sousa, with Celina Tavares and Antonio Padeira, Portuguese National Tourist Office. Connect to the album here or on Facebook here.

Emirates had a busy week too – with Ireland Country Manager Enda Corneille hosting agents in Cork on Tuesday night and media and celebrities like rugby pundit Brent Pope in Dublin the following afternoon. Mr Corneille revealed that the airline, which launched here in 2012 with the help of Lionel Richie, carried its two millionth passenger on the Dublin – Dubai route last week. The 1m passenger landmark was reached in December 2015. He also fuelled rumours that the double-daily service could expand in some form, but conceded to Travel Extra that Dublin Airport – which he says is busy with the Aer Lingus transatlantic boom – would not be ready to take the A380 “until 2019 at the earliest”. Pictured are Enda Corneille of Emirates with Megan VIrgo, Rachel Sherry, Sarah Tighe and Rochelle Flett, Grayling PR, at the Emirates brunch in the Dean Hotel, Dublin. Connect to the Cork trade night album here or on Facebook here. Connect to the Dublin brunch album here or on Facebook here.

Gulf rivals Qatar Airways have been busy too, with agents visiting Doha in recent weeks, and the media, including Travel Extra, following in their wake last weekend. The big promotion is a free night’s stopover in Doha for all passengers, with an extra night available for less than €50, with desert tours and city sightseeing trips also available through Gulf Adventures. The group got to visit the Mondrian Doha, St Regis Doha and InterContinental Hotel, and met Mondrian hotel executive Daniel Kiely, a former Senior footballer with Round Towers Lusk, who’s now one of the main movers with Qatar’s GAA club. Pictured are Ana Demic, St Regis Doha; Katie Smith, Hillsbalfour PR; and Barbara Casanova Fernandes, Qatar Airways in Dublin, in the St Regis Doha Presidential Suite, December 10, 2017. Connect to the album here or on Facebook here.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Travel Trade

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • Agents who liked a post on Travel Partners Group Facebook page can win a prize every Tuesday and Thursday until December 21. The eight partners will offer a €50 One4All Christmas shopping voucher, and comprise of Amadeus, ASM (representing SAS, ANA , OBEO Travel and Your Car Hire), Blue Insurance , Bookabed , Classic Collection Holidays, Cruisescapes, Irish Ferries and MSC Cruises.
  • Diane Risk of Belfast City airport and Andrea Hunter of Aer Lingus hosted travel agents on a flight from Belfast City Airport to London Heathrow, where they were met by Heathrow staff to explore the offering available to travellers as well as transfer options.
  • The Cork Skal event takes place December 10 at Fitzgerald’s Vienna Woods Hotel in Glanmire, Cork, €50 per person. 087 6709211 or .
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HEADLINES – AVIATION – AFLOAT – DEALWATCH – FOOD & WINE – HOTELS – INTERNATIONAL – IRELAND – STRANGE WORLD – TRAVEL TRADE

Things to know abut travel this week
  • Things to know about travel this week
Travel Extra TV.

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

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

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

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

Travel Trade

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

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

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

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

Pre-tax profits at the main Irish arm of Hertz rose by 21pc to €15.6m last year. But revenues at Hertz Europe Service Centre Ltd fell from €62.72m to €60.63m.
Strange world

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

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

A group of Indian farmers say they woke up shocked to find that their chartered train had sped 160km in the wrong direction. They were travelling overnight to the western state of Maharashtra after taking part in a protest rally in Delhi. The railway firm denies the allegations.

The Swiss town of Albinen, located in the scenic canton of Valais, wants to pay people €21,461 each to move there. The town has just 240 residents.

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

International

NYC & Company launched a $15m campaign called ‘True York City’ which will pair iconic sights with a deep dive into local neighbourhoods and their unique experiences. To showcase the campaign a new website was launched at nycgo.com/famousoriginal

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

Authorities in Rome have started classes for 750 taxi drivers to learn manners and English.

Caribbean nations hardest hit by twin Hurricanes will get more than $2bn to underwrite rebuilding efforts. At a donor conference held by the United Nations and regional organisation CARICOM, donor nations will give $1.3bn in aid and at least $1bn in loans and debt relief.

Food & Beverage

Breanagh Catering, which operates Copper Face Jacks on Dublin’s Harcourt Street, recorded pre-tax profits of €5.16m last year.

Conor Halpenny, a young chef mentored by Ross Lewis of Chapter One, won the Euro-Toques Young Chef of the Year competition presented by La Rousse Foods.

British pub chain owner Mitchell & Butlers – in which Irish horseracing names JP McManus and John Magnier have a combined 23,1pc stake – said Brexit and rising costs have created “unprecedented headwinds” for the pub industry.

Kevin Coppinger, who co-owns Corbett’s and Coppingers bar in Thurles with All Ireland winner Lar Corbett hit back at the storm over a Black Friday 99 cent pint promotion. He said pubs are being forced into cut-price promos to compete with cheap beer in big supermarket chains.

An Italian-themed restaurant is to open at the redeveloped Royal Hibernian Way off Dawson Street in Dublin 2.

Hotels

Hotel owner and operator Tifco plans to add 60 bedrooms in a five-storey extension to its Crowne Plaza property near Dublin Airport.

The company which operates the Shelbourne Hotel on Dublin’s St Stephen’s Green, Kennedy Wilson-owned KW Shelbourne Ops Ltd, recorded pre-tax profits of €3.9m last year.

Rugby coach Joe Schmidt lit up the Shelbourne Christmas tree, and greeted fans at the hotel during the week. Catch the album here on or Facebook here.

US President Donald Trump is feeling his own Trump Slump as average room rates have fallen by as much as 63pc in 12 of his 13 hotels. Hardest hit was Trump Las Vegas, according to  analysis by FairFX, the currency provider. The only one to see a rate rise? His property in Doonbeg, Co Clare.

The family of a small boy who died in an accident at an Atlanta hotel filed a lawsuit with Marriott International. The Westin Peachtree Plaza Hotel is facing litigation after the five-year old became trapped in a revolving track at the popular 73rd floor Sun Dial revolving restaurant.

MGM Resorts, owners of the Las Vegas Mandalay Bay hotel from where a gunman shot dead 58 people, is being sued by more than 450 victims of Stephen Paddock.

Managing Director Bill Kelly reports that occupancy rates at the Kelly’s Resort Hotel in Rosslare hit 92pc last year. He was speaking after new accounts show that pretax profits increased from €688,261 in 2015 to €772,282 in 2016.

Ireland’s largest hotel operator, Dalata Hotel Group, is to extend its existing lease agreement on the Ballsbridge Hotel until at least October next year. There is then the option to extend the lease further up to March 2019.

Photo: Robbie Reynolds

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

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

Glasgow Airport was closed temporarily after a towing vehicle hit a passenger plane getting ready for take-off. The incident happened in “freezing conditions” on Friday, November 24,  and involved a British Airways plane.

Builder John Sisk & Son is firm favourite to win a near €99m contract to build a hangar for Boeing that will house its  biggest aircraft at Gatwick Airport.

Monarch’s administrators have won their appeal against a British Court decision which prevented them from selling valuable take off and landing slots at Gatwick and Luton airports. EasyJet, IAG, Wizz Air and Norwegian Air Shuttle have all previously expressed an interest in buying the slots.

Domhnall Slatteru’s Dublin-based Avolon firmed up an order for 55 Boeing 737 MAX 8 aircraft and 20 Boeing 737 MAX 10s, and said it may order 20 more, in a deal probably worth more than $4bn (€3.4bn).

Aer Lingus cabin crew have been hailed as “absolute professionals” online by passengers after “awful turbulence” affected a flight from Boston to Dublin on Tuesday, November 21..

Dozens of flights to and from Schiphol Airport were delayed or cancelled because of a technical problem with air traffic control systems.

State-owned airline Air China suspended flights between Beijing and North Korea due to a lack of demand,

Insurers have agreed to pay €81m to settle claims that security lapses led planes to be hijacked in the 9/11 attacks. The settlement on behalf of defendants including American Airlines and United Airlines was described in papers filed in Manhattan federal court.

Gatwick restated plans for a second runway after reporting that the six month period to the end of September was the busiest in its history with passenger numbers rising by 5.1pc to 26.4m.

Air France KLM defended its new GDS booking fee, conceding that two-thirds of the group’s seats are sold through travel agents. Jean-Marc Janaillac, Air France-KLM chief executive, said the airline was forced to impose a fee to maintain its position against leading rivals.

Berlin Brandenburg Airport, originally scheduled for 2011 had its opening date put back a SEVENTH time – this time to mid to late 2020.

British Airways was criticised in social media for a new boarding policy which will see passengers with the cheapest tickets forced to board last. The airline claimed the new policy, which is being introduced from next..

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

Things you need to know about travel this week.
  • Tim Husbands jumps ship from Titanic to Westport House
  • Ireland wins best stand feature at upbeat WTM in London
  • Training the big concern at Let’s Talk Tourism
  • Dalata aims to be biggest hotel operator in key cities
  • Dublin ranked 7th of 17 European cities for tourism spend
  • Dublin Airport in cours for 29.6m 
  • Space man Chris Hafield visits Shannon
Travel Extra TV.

Taking your shoes off is one thing, socks is another – British Airways gauges public opinion of inflight etiqutette. (Watch here).

Etihad Airways is celebrating its 14th birthday. Watch here how the Abu Dhabi carrier has grown.

Qatar Airways is appealing for Open Skies to remain, maintaining air links to the United States. Watch here.

Tourism Ireland pays tribute to the capital’s historic buildings here.  

In what India TV describes as “yet another incident bringing embarrassment to the IndiGo Airlines”, its ground staff manhandled and dragged a passenger at Delhi Airport. Watch the report here.

It’s the airport where you can check in without talking to any staff. BBC News here reports on the new Terminal 4 at Singapore’s Changi Airport.

Behind the Headlines

Watch here Irish agents at WTM. Watch here Minister Brendan Griffin speaking at WTM, Watch here the Irish Stand at WTM, Picture shows Biddy Hughes of Westport House and Catherine Grennell-Whyte at the event. See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.

TripAdvisor added badges to its peer review listings warning potential visitors to do additional research on hotels or resorts which “may put guests at risk” The badges are not intended to be punitive, say TripAdvisor, and have been added to for example hotels where cases of sexual assault have been reported.

Travel Trade

Northern Ireland’s largest independent tour operator Travel Solutions is offering ski holidays from British airports for the first time. The operator already offers charter flight-based ski packages from Belfast and from January it will also offer departures from Birmingham, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Liverpool, Manchester and Stansted to two Bulgarian ski resorts, Pamporovo and Borovets.

Pic – Paul Mealey

Insight Vacations hosted 35 travel professionals from the Canadian Automobile Association, all specialists in driving holidays. The group’s trip was supported by Tourism Ireland and Fáilte Ireland. The group is pictured outside Ashford Castle in Cong, Co Mayo, with Insight Vacations’ Dorothy Switalska (front, second right)

A man who lost his driving licence ouside a Flights Centre was pranked by a travel agent who sent him a letter saying he’d booked a first class trip to the Maldives, costing over £5,000. Will Armstrong saw the funny side after being told it was a joke.

Strange world

A Qatar Airways flight en route from Doha to Bali had to make an emergency landing after a female passenger found out her husband was cheating on her. The Iranian woman used his  fingerprint to unlock his phone while he was asleep. Flight attendants were unable to calm the woman as she repeatedly hit him, forcing a diversion to India.

An English travel firm has launched weekend breaks for women going through a divorce. Orchid City and Spas says divorce parties are the new craze that started in the US.

Facing debts of more than €13.6bn, the city of Rome is reported to be considering pocketing the coins lobbed into the Trevi Fountain.

The mayor of Venice has branded tourists who complained about being charged €526 for lunch in a restaurant close to St Mark’s Square as “cheapskates”.

International

Sandals Resorts International has responded angrily to claims by Antigua Prime Minister Gaston Brown that the resort group has been seeking to avoid its tax obligations. It called the remarks “vicious, sustained and defamatory” and it said Sandals Grande Antigua is the “most significant contributor to the economy”.

China has called on French authorities to take more action in protecting the safety of its visiting  nationals after another mass robbery in Paris. In the latest incident a group of 40 tourists were tear-gassed and robbed in a hotel car park.

  • Deutsche Bahn is to increase rail fares between Berlin and Munich by 13.6pc – but the new high-speed line plied by ICE Sprinter rains will cut journey times between the cities by two hours to just under four hours.
  • Travel site Cancun.com is offering a nice travel job – being the face of the brand for six months, and being paid $60,000 for your efforts, as well as VIP access to clubs and activities as well as all living expenses.
  • The UAE Foreign Ministry has advised Emiratis against travelling to Lebanon, whether from the UAE or other countries. It follows similar warnings from Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Bahrain in cautioning against travel to Lebanon following the resignation of Lebanese prime minister Saad Hariri and fears of renewed violence in the country.
  • Travel industry chiefs in Britain have said plans by local councillors for a London tourism tax would be disastrous.
Food & Beverage

Myles and Sharon Doyle, owners of The Porter House, Castlebridge, Wexford,

Myles and Sharon Doyle, owners of The Porter House, Castlebridge, Wexford, won both the National Irish Pub of the Year and Best Local Pub at the Irish Pub Awards held at the RDS in Dublin and attended by over 300 publicans. The awards are a joint venture between the Vintners Federation of Ireland and the Licensed Vintners Association. The winners were: Innovative Pub of the Year – The Roadside Tavern, Lisdoonvarna, Co. Clare; Best Music Pub – Matt The Millers, Kilkenny City; Best Outdoor Space – The Terrace at Dinn Rí, Co. Carlow; Outstanding Customer Service – The Bog Road, Portlaoise, Co Laois; Best Tourist Pub – The Stag’s Head, Dublin; Pub Personality of the Year – Johnny Quilty, The Goat Bar & Grill, Clonskeagh, Dublin; Best Local Pub – The Porter House, Castlebridge, Co. Wexford; Best Food Pub – Mickey Finn’s, Redcross, Co. Wicklow. Connect to the album here.

Photo ©INPHO/Dan Sheridan

With football fever building up in both rugby and football, probably the world’s best keeper turned up in Dublin. Carlsberg Ambassador Peter Schmeichel was promoting the Danish beer partnering with the FAI to give every Irish football fan in Copenhagen a free pass to the Carlsberg Experience and a free pint before the away playoff game against Denmark.

The owners of famous London restaurant The Ivy have been given the green light to open in Dublin at a location on the corner of Dawson Street and Molesworth Street.

Hotels

Cathal Hughes, Tim Husbands, Owen Hughes and Harry Hughes at Westport House. Photo: Keith Heneghan

The Hughes Group, which run Westport House announced a high profile new CEO for the property – Tim Husbands, the Chief Executive of Titanic Belfast. Brothers Cathal, Owen and Harry Hughes of The Hughes Group have just completed the acquisition of the historic Westport House and estate from the Browne family. Last week Harry Hughes was named EY Entrepreneur of the Year.

Airbnb is reported to be among those interested in buying Wyndham Worldwide’s European holiday rental business. First-round bids are due this month for the travel company’s European home unit, which could fetch almost €1bn.

Demand for Dublin hotel rooms will need to increase by 15pc over the next five years if current profit and occupancy levels are to be maintained as extra capacity comes onto the market. That’s according to a new report by Crowe Horwath and Cushman & Wakefield which showed that about 4,000 new bedrooms are due to come on stream in Dublin over the next five years.

Michelle Hourican, ACCA Council Member, with Pat McCann of Dalata in Dublin, Photo: Mac Innes Photography

Dalata Hotel Group has told investors that it hopes to add an additional 8,000 bedrooms to its British portfolio over the next five to seven years in a bid to become the biggest operator of three- and four-star hotels in 20 British cities. CEO Pat McCann was speaking at a meeting of accountants in Dublin and said the Irish group has the edge over competitors across the water because of its decentralised structure. (Connect to the album here). He said  announcements this week, including plans to open a 300-bed hotel in Scotland and an investor day in London, are part of the company’s strategic approach to accelerate its expansion in Britain, It’s been reported that Dalata is aiming to take 10-15pc of the market in each of its 20 targeted cities, which include Liverpool, Edinburgh, Cambridge, York and Oxford.

Elena Baturina, Russia’s richest woman with a $1bn fotune, has another €1.5m in the bank this week from the Morrison Hotel after the Dublin property paid its owner a dividend in the booming Dublin market.

Pre-tax profits at Dublin’s Gibson Hotel fell by 60pc to €807,000 last year. But revenues at the hotel, bought in recent months by Dalata Hotel Group, rose 7pc to €15.39m.

The Radisson Blu hotel at Dublin Airport last year returned to profitability, with pre-tax profits of €737,393. Its owner, CG Hotels, said it intends to continue implementing a range of capital projects designed to enhance the 228-room property.

Castlegrove House, Co Donegal; Glenlo Abbey in Galway; Richard Corrigan’s Virginia Park Lodge, Co. Cavan; and Co Mayo’s Killadangan House are joining Ireland’s Blue Book of hotels, country house and restaurants next year. The new additions bring the total number of properties in the collection to 54, the highest since the Blue Book Association began in 1974.

Aviation

Iberia Express is to extend its summer service from Cork Airport to Madrid Barajas, in total adding 5pc more seats for 2018. Full report here.

Ryanair is back servicing the Belfast International to London route – except it’ll be flying to Stansted instead of Gatwick. A new route to Malta from the North was also launched. Full report  here.

Hopes of interlining with Norwegian..

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