TRAVEL Extra's Sunday Supplement, surprises at the Irish Travel Industry Awards



Things to know about travel this week

  • Boom is back? Majority of travel agents expect more sales this year
  • Tourism Ireland aims to break record-breaking 2017 with new campaigns
  • Boost for Emirates and Etihad as Ireland ends visa red tape for UAE citizens
  • Cyprus looking forward to a season of direct flights with Ryanair as well as Cobalt
  • Dail calls time on Good Friday drinking ban
  • Emirates and Etihad ought to merge – Davy’s

 Video watch.

Liam Neeson in Aer Lingus video for Unicef

Aer Lingus interviews Unicef goodwill ambassador Liam Neeson about the charitable causes helped out. Watch here. Airbus has launched a phone app for fans of the Airbus A380 to explore the aircraft further. Watch here. Emirates takes you inside the new first class suites of the Boeing 777. Watch here. Etihad is enticing passengers to sign up to its frequent flier programme. For the first in a series of videos watch here. Qatar spent Four days showcasing its Airbus A350-900 and Qsuite business product at the Kuwait Air Show. Watch here. Tourism Ireland chases the weekend break market, hightlighting the appeal of four cities – Dublin, Belfast, Cork and Galway. Watch hereUnited Continental CEO Oscar Munoz speaks with CNBC’s Phil LeBeau about the company’s capacity growth and says the aviation sector generally is on the up. Watch here.

Behind the Headlines

Holiday World numbers are substantially up on 2017 according to organisers Edmund Hourican and Maureen Ledwith with one day still to go. At the Let’s Talk Travel with Eoghan Corry forum Fiona Penollar of the passport office said that the age profile of applicants for the passport card had changed dramatically since the card and traditional passport book could be applied for at the same time. Hasan Mutlu of Turkish Airlines said his airline was looking at extending its Dublin to Istanbul service to three times daily or using a widebody on one of the rotations when the new airport at Istanbul opens on October 29. Some in the high end bracket saying 80pc of all booking take place at the weekend of the Simmonscourt show See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.
Tourism Ireland launched its US strategy in New York, plus campaigns to attract more Germans and further promote the Wild Atlantic Way in the (still) key British market. Connect to the album here or on Facebook here. Inbound Irish tourism – plus carriers Etihad and Emirates – got a new year’s boost with Ireland’s decision to allow visa-free travel for Emiratis. Full story here or listen to Enda Corneille here or Tourism Ireland CEO Niall Gibbons here.
You could not throw a log book in Dublin this week without hitting an aviation finance delegate with two rival conferences in Dublin. Airfinance was in the Convention Centre and  Growth Frontiers is in The Shelbourne Hote, where Howard Miller lined up Bombardier and Boeing on the same forum for na lively question and answer session.

Travel Trade

Negotiations continued on the margins of Holiday World 2018 for the Irish Travel Agents Association conference 2018 with Philadelphia now the front runner for 2018 and Cordoba for 2019.
A night of glamour and some surprises at the Irish Travel Industry Awards in the Mansion House. Joanna Gomez of Travel Focus won the coveted Travel Agent of the year in the round room while the Travel Professional corporate award was won by the job-sharing Louise Dunne and Karen Ray of The Travel Broker, based in Clontarf, at the gala awards ceremony compered by Miriam O’Callaghan and attended by 530 trade representatives from Ireland and abroad.  MSC won the cruise category which had been dominated by Royal Caribbean since the awards were inaugurated in 2011, while Wendy Wu Tours and G Adventures were newcomers to the podium. Rebecca Kelly won the hard fought suppliers awards and MSC also won the supplier team award. Pictured, top, are Paul Kelly, Cassidy Travel; Orla Markey, Crystal Holidays; Darren Hutchinson, Strand Travel; Kerry McCarthy, Lee Travel; and Siobhan Dineen, Lee Travel, Pictured right are Sandra Mooney, Cassidy Travel; Alice Swords, Sunway; Antonio Paradiso, MSC Cruises; and Dawn Westmoreland Conway, Sunway. Full report with all the big winners on the night here.

Charlotte Brenner. of Falcon Holidays

is it a sign that the economic boom is back? The  ITAA quarterly survey (read here) indicates 85pc of travel agents surveyed by  said that they were optimistic for an increase in turnover on 2017, with 5pc anticipating an increase of more than 20pc. Three out of four agents said turnover rose in 2017. See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook. Charlotte Brenner of TUI said it is looking like a traditional January with the early booking mentality in the market for non families as well as families . We can see it with our lakes and mountains programme as well as long haul and adult only hotels seeing strong demand this week. Customers are quite savvy and availing of the free child places and money saving offers we have in place.

Mal Rogers of the Irish Post won the Travel Extra travel writer of the year award on Friday night. Picture shows category winners and sponsors Teresa Gancedo, Eoghan Corry, Catherine Murphy, Aoife Finneran, Isabel Conway, Angela Mullin, Vicente Torres. Front row: Denise Lavelle, Rachel Healy, Mal Rogers, Yvonne Gordon, Pol O’Conghaile, and Moira Hannon.

Pat Dawson, Bobby Kerr, Teresa Ganceda and John Devereux

ITAA Chief Executive Pat Dawson, Spanish Tourism Office’s Teresa Gancedo Nieto and Travelopia Managing Director John Devereux featured on Newstalk, as guests of Bobby Kerr on Down to Business, speaking of the advantages of using a travel agent. Listen to the show here.
Brian McCarthy’s Island Marketing was joined by hotel operators from the Maldives in showcasing two luxury hotels in the Indian Ocean destination. Connect to the album here or on Facebook here.
Cyprus‘s Ambassador to Ireland, Costas A Papademas, was guest of honour as trade and media were hosted in the Guinness Storehouse on Friday night by the island’s tourism authorities. The link provided by Cobalt, and the impending flights by Ryanair, will put Cyprus back on the Irish radar this year. Paphos’ regional board of tourism told the island’s Cyprus Mail newspaper that Holiday World “is a hugely important show and our participation is imperative as we have been absent for five years due to the lack of air connections between Ireland and Cyprus”. Connect to the album here.
Niall McDonnell’s Classic Collection Holidays has launched 01 5413003 as its dedicated number for agents with Italian Inquiries to its sales team for the country.
Insurer warned of the costs of ski accidents, citing one claim at a Canadian resort for €138,762.05 – the total bill for multiple injuries including collapsed lung and fractured vertebrae; total permanent disablement as a result of an accident.

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Strange World

The Queensland Tourism Industry Council wants forecasters to be less gloomy about the state’s weather. It said Australia’s Bureau of Meteorology should replace forecasts like ‘partly cloudy’ with ‘mostly sunny’ or ‘chance of rain’ with ‘likely sunny.’
Legalizing marijuana might help combat insecurity in some high-crime tourist destinations, Mexico’s tourism secretary suggested. Enrique de la Madrid said tourism is a key industry for Mexico and can’t afford to lose business due to drug-trafficking violence.
Frustrated passengers are being helped to relax at New York’s La Guardia Airport with therapy dogs roaming Terminal B gates every Friday afternoon.


Heavy snow has led to evacuations and more resort closures in some of Europe’s most popular ski resorts. French resorts, including Val D’Isere and Tignes, were closed on Monday due to extreme weather and some lifts were closed in the Chamonix ski area. More than 100 chalets in Chamonix were evacuated and hundreds of people were told to stay inside because of avalanche risks. Mayor Eric Fournier said five months worth of snow has fallen in just 45 days.
The police chief and mayor of Venice have pledged action after four Japanese tourists said they were presented with a bill of €1,100 for four steaks and a plate of mixed grilled fish, with water, the Ansa news agency reported.

  • The heavy rain that hit France for most of a week have stopped short of the record deluge that many feared would drown parts of Paris as the River Seine broke its banks.
  • California was hit by three earthquakes – all minor – in the past week.
  • A packed commuter train derailed near Milan, leaving at least three people dead and around 10 seriously injured.
  • Residents around an erupting volcano in the Philippines should prepare to flee to safer areas because of risks from huge debris that could be swept from slopes by heavy rains, state volcanologists said.
  • The sudden eruption of a volcano near a ski resort in Japan 110 miles from Tokyo killed one person and injured 17 others.

Food & Beverage

The move has divided opinion, but now pubs will be open on Good Friday, with the passing of the intoxicating liquor bill 2017. This year’s Good Friday falls on March 30.
Pub group JD Wetherspoon, chaired by Irishman Tim Martin, is to seek more sites for pubs in Ireland, with this country outperforming its bars in its main market, Britain.

Fáilte Ireland is to implement a new five-year strategy to change perceptions of Irish food and drink and move it “from being a pleasant surprise to becoming one of the compelling reasons to visit Ireland”.

Lyrath Estate in Kilkenny has introduced a new 120-seater casual chic bistro called ‘The Grill’. Situated on the mezzanine level of the triple height foyer, the restaurant serves a selection of steak and seafood, under head chef Fergal Phelan.
Supermac’s has announced plans to open six new restaurants in Ireland in the first half of 2018, bringing the company’s total number of outlets to 114 and creating 400 jobs.


Fianna Fáil TD Eugene Murphy claims that the hotel sector is “ripping off” customers, including politicians at the taxpayers’ expense, after midweek prices rose by €70 when he attempted to get a room in Dublin.

  • Developer Paddy McKillen Jr is believed to be one of up to 30 parties interested in operating the hotel in the old Clerys building in Dublin.
  • The Irish Hotels Federation and the Vintners’ Federation of Ireland has joined a group called The Alliance for Insurance Reform, campaigning for an end to what it calls “crippling insurance premiums” for businesses.
  • Galway City Hostel & Bar in Galway has been named Ireland’s best in the latest annual Hostelworld awards – dubbed the Hoscars. Find the full results from around the world here.
  • Irish Airbnb hosts earned €115m between November 2016 and 2017, according to a report by the company.
  • The Muckross Park Hotel in Killarney recorded a post-tax loss of €198,732. The five-star Kerry hotel, formerly owned by Bill Cullen and Jackie Lavin, said is on course to record strong earnings this year.
  • The Osprey Hotel has temporarily closed its spa for work on a €1.1m reovaton project. The new spa at the Naas, Co Kildare, hotel has been designed by celebrity architect Hugh Wallace, who featured in RTÉ’s Home of the Year show.
  • Joe and Margaret Scally of Cork’s Hayfield Manor Hotel have bought the former St. Mary’s Carmelite seminary in the suburb of Donnybrook for their first Dublin hotel.
  • Meanwhile, the Scally family has relaunched one of Ireland’s oldest hotels under its original name, the Great Southern Killarney, following extensive refurbishment and change of name from The Malton.
  • Dublin City Council has refused an application by Dublin’s Grafton Capital Hotel for planning permission to convert its basement into hotel bedrooms without any natural daylight.
  • Four Seasons Hotels has outlined its strategy for 2018, including a number of hotel openings and a new focus on residential developments. The group plans to double the number of its private residences over the next five years. Its portfolio of Four Seasons Private Residences, which includes villas and residence rentals, has grown to include 38 properties in 17 countries.
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Cork Airport Managing Director Niall McCarthy believes that Brexit could have a silver lining – the return of duty free for flights between Ireland and Britain.
Thousands of people working in Cork Airport business park, and passengers trying to catch flights, were caught in hour-long traffic jams caused by construction work at an airport roundabout which involves the creation of a multi-coloured paper-aeroplane sculpture.
Norwegian Air DY7042 flight from the United States to Denmark, with 266 passengers and crew on board, landed safely at Shannon Airport after crew declared a medical emergency when its captain fell ill. He recovered after treatment in a Limerick hospital.
EasyJet reported a 14.4pc jump in revenues to £1.1bn for the three months to December 31 2017 under new Chief Executive Johan Lundgren. Passenger numbers rose by 8pc to 18.8m in the same period. The airline looks to have benefited from the troubles of low-cost competitors, with Monarch collapsing, Ryanair cancelling flights, and Air Berlin and Alitalia going into administration. “Clearly there has been less competitive pressure on certain routes,” Mr Lundgren said.
Ryanair has filed a complaint to European competition authorities about a Polish airport company’s alleged refusal to expand Warsaw’s Modlin airport, the airline’s Polish base. The market leader has a 30pc share of Polish business, while state carrier Lot operates from Warsaw’s main Chopin airport.
Gulf carriers Emirates and Etihad should merge as the “most logical” solution to Etihad’s financial and strategic woes, according to a report from Davy Stockbrokers.
Cathay Pacific – which will launch a Hong Kong-Dublin service this summer – is set to announce a new route to South Africa’s Cape Town.
Ireland’s aircraft leasing industry contributes around €541m to the economy, and supports about 5,000 direct and indirect jobs, a report by PwC said.
Lufthansa has launched a new automatic check-in service for customers travelling on flights within Germany and to selected European destinations in the Schengen area.
Ryanair announced an open day for hotel owners and operators, offering them the chance to ‘Go Direct’ and to list their rates & availability on the Ryanair Rooms website. Ryanair Rooms Direct gives hotels access to 130m customers a year on the airline’s website.


Celebrity Edge has floated out of dry dock for the first time. The ship is under construction at STX France shipyard in Saint-Nazaire, France.
Celebrity Silhouette is to be tweaked for the British market when it arrives in Southampton – featuring kettles in cabins; more beers, gins and mixers, Marmite and HP sauce, plus a curry night.

For the fourth time in two months, a Carnival cruise ship failed an inspection due to sanitation problems, the Miami Herald reported.

P&O Cruises is to build a second 5,200-passenger ship, slated for delivery in 2022. It and its sister, due in 2020, will be the largest cruise ships ever built for the British market


The CSO reported overseas trips to Ireland in 2017 Q4 were up 6.2pc to 2.3m: with Britain up 0.9pc, other Europe up 12.9pc, and North America up 8.4pc.  Overseas trips by Irish residents in Q4 increased by 3.4pc.
Missing Irishman Anthony O’Sullivan (54) was found safe and well the Thai capital, Bangkok, following concerns for his whereabouts after he went missing.
Tributes were paid to two Irishmen – David Higgins (26) and Alex McGourty (19) – who died in a kayaking accident while on holiday in Ecuador.

The body of a 21-year-old Irishman has been found in a Vienna canal in a tragic accident. Ross Hanlon (21), from Athboy, Co Meath, went missing in the Austrian capital a week earlier.
An Irish woman has died falling from a balcony at her holiday resort of Koh Samui in Thailand. Louise Furey, from Glenties in Co Donegal, had arrived in the just days earlier with her boyfriend, Sam Bulmer.

The National Museum of Ireland has made a collection of early travel and tourism posters, used to promote Ireland in the infancy of the tourism sector here, available to view online for the first time hereThe posters form part of the National Folklife Collection and were previously on display at the museum in the exhibition Come Back to Erin: Irish Travel Posters of the 20th Century, which was curated by the late Dr Séamas Mac Philib.

Irish Rail said it’s pleased with the response to the introduction of “baby on board” badges for pregnatn women. Around 400 badges have been issued on a trial basis and the company says it is encouraging commuters to give up their seats for expectant mothers.
Ireland’s ‘mini Camino’ – dedicated to Saint Declan – has reopened. The 104km trail linked the ancient monastic city of Ardmore with Cashel in early-Christian times.

Deal Watch

Insight Vacations offers: Warsaw & the Baltic States escorted tour, 8 days visiting Poland, Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia, from €1859pps, including flights, transfers and 7 nights’ accommodation in the best locations, depart June 10. To avail of 7.5pc early payment discount, book and pay in full by  March 20, 2018. Flight cost must be paid at the time of booking. See or call 01 775 3803.
Sunway offers: Jewels of Italy escorted tour, includes flight ex Dublin, 6 nights twin share 3 & 4 star hotels, some meals and tours as per itinerary. Subject to availability and change, from €1499pp, depart September 23. 5* Melodies of the Danube River Cruise, includes flight ex Dublin, 1 x 20kg bag pp, port transfers, Category AB outside stateroom with French and outside balcony on  twin share basis for 7 nights, full board basis with unlimited wine/beers at meals & daily complimentary excursions. Not included gratuities, pre/post nights and port charges of €135pp, from €1969pp, depart March 23. Dublin to Morocco, 7 nights all inclusive Club Med Agadir 3*, from €1239pp, depart April 21. Golden Triangle’ Tour 8 days, includes flight ex Dublin, 7 nights twin sharing, meals and tours as per itinerary. Subject to availability and change, from €1089pp, depart May 8. Dublin to Morocco, 7 nights self-catering 2* Tilila Studio Apts, from €379pp, depart February/March. Dublin to Morocco, 7 nights B&B 3* Oasis Hotel, from €445pp, depart February/March. Dublin to Morocco, 7 nights B&B 4* Kenzi Europa Hotel, from €529pp, depart February/March. Dublin to Turkey, 7 nights B&B 3* Esat Hotel, from €325pp, depart April 28. Dublin to Las Vegas, 4 nights 3* hotel, from €389pp, depart select dates in late November/early December. Dublin to Cancun & Las Vegas  3 Nights Excalibur Hotel in Vegas on room-only basis and 5 Nights all inclusive 4* Occidental Xcaret, from €1189pp, based on May departure. Dublin to Canada, Rocky Mountaineer Train  – 7 Night Package, from €2179pp, depart April. Dublin to Africa, Kenya Safari  – 7 Night Highlights Tour, from €1998pp, depart May. Dublin to Dominican Republic, 7 nights all inclusive 3* Riu Naioba, from €829pp, depart May. Las Vegas, Miami & Cayman Islands Fly Cruise, 4 nights Las Vegas, 7 nights onboard MSC Seaside all inclusive, from €1495pp, depart October 1. Montenegro & Greece Fly Cruise, 7 nights all inclusive onboard Norwegian Star, from €1375pp, depart September 30 or October 7. Hong Kong Stay, Asian Cruise & Dubai Stay, 3 nights Hong Kong and 5 night cruise and 3 nights in Dubai, Ovation of the Seas, depart May 2.

Topflight offers: Ski – Dublin to Austria, 7 nights B&B 3* Landhaus Roscher, Mayrhofen, was €799 now €499pps, depart February 3. Dublin to Austria, 7 nights self catering 3* Kolpinghaus Apartments, Kitzbuhel, was €649 now €399pps (based on 4 sharing) depart February 3. Belfast to Austria, 7 nights half board 4* Hotel Neue Post, Zell am See, was £1111 now £999pps (based on 2 sharing), depart February 17. Dublin to France, 7 nights self-catering 4* Le Cristal d’Argentiere, Chamonix, was €604 now €514pps, depart March 10.Dublin to Italy, 7 nights half board 3* Hotel Valeria, Livigno, was €845 now €815pps, depart March 17. Dublin to France, 7 nights self-catering 3* Residence Le Cervin, Plagne Soleil was €649 now €599pps (based on 5 sharing), depart February 17. Topflight Italy: Dublin to Italy, Venice, Lake Garda, Verona & Cortina Escorted Tour, staying 7 nights, half board in 3* Hotel Miami, was €899 now €849pps, depart May 26. Dublin to Italy, 7 nights half board 4*plus Hotel Bristol, Sorrento was €1149 now €999pps, depart April 8.Dublin to Italy, 7 nights self catering, 4* Bella Italia, Peschiera, Lake Garda was €609 now €499pps (based on 6 sharing) depart March 31. Dublin to Italy, 7 nights half board 4* Hotel Madison, Cattolica, Adriatic Riviera was €779 now €699pps, depart June, call 01 240 1700 or visit your local travel agent.
TUI offers: Dublin to Fuerteventura, 7 nights self-catering 3* Caybeach Caleta, Costa Caleta, from €649pps, depart January 31. Dublin to Gran Canaria, 7 nights all inclusive 3* IFA Interclub Atlantic, San Agustin, from €589pps, depart February 1. Dublin to Tenerife, 7 nights all inclusive 3* Catalonia Punta del Rey, Las Caletillas, from €569pps, depart February 2. Dublin to Lanzarote, 7 nights all inclusive 3* El Trebol, Costa Teguise, from €619pps, depart February 25. Dublin to Tenerife, 7 nights self-catering 3* Globales Tamaimo Tropical, Puerto De Santiago, from €369pps, depart March 9. Dublin to Gran Canaria, 7 nights self-catering 3* Cay Beach Princess Bungalows, Maspalomas, from €439pps, depart March 8. Dublin to Lanzarote, 7 nights self-catering 2* San Marcial, Matagorda, from €449pps, depart March 4. Dublin to Mexico, 14 nights all inclusive 3* RIU Lupita, Playacar, from €1,519pps, depart June 4. Dublin to Mexico, 14 nights all inclusive 4* Grand Bahia Principe Coba, Riviera Maya, from €1,499pps, depart June 18. Dublin to Tenerife, Marella Dream Colourful Coasts cruise, Decks 4/5  Inside Cabin, Full Board, 7 nights from €759pps depart February 2. Cork to Lanzarote, 7 nights self-catering 2* Lanzarote Paradise Club, Costa Teguise, from €469pps, depart May 29. Shannon to Costa Dorada, 7 nights half board 3* Hotel Cala Font, Cap De Salou, from €539pps, depart May 18. Ireland West Airport to Costa Dorada, 7 nights half board 3* California Garden, Salou, 3*, from €649pps., call 1850 45 35 45 or visit a TUI store/travel agent.
Uniworld Boutique River Cruises offers: Remarkable Rhine9 days, visiting France, Germany, The Netherlands and Switzerland, from €2329pps, including flights, airport transfers, all meals and beverages, all shore excursions and 8 nights in a Category 5 stateroom on board the River Empress, depart July 12. Flight cost must be paid at the time of booking. Book before March 31, 2018, to avail of Our Best Offer Ever. Log onto or call 01 775 3803.
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What we learned





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