Behind the Headlines: Travel news from this week’s Sunday Supplement

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Ryanair’s stunning results produced some small figures, and some big ones. The important one was the average fare, down marginally to €46. The big ones were the profit, up 43pc to €1,242m and the passenger numbers, up to 106m thanks to another 5pc increase in load factors. Read more here.

French Air Traffic Control caused eight cancellations on Thursday and then announced three more days of strike action on June 3, 4 and 5, this time in opposition to changes in French Labour law. The Euros are due to start on Friday of next week, June 10. Ryanair called on the EU to allow neighbouring countries ATC direct overflights of French air space in the event of strike action. Éist anseo le Eoghan Corry, eagarthóir Travel Extra, ar Adhmhaidin ar Raidio na Gaeltachta.

Mount Juliet Ireland v England 003

Martin Dempsey (41 points, playing off 12) and Ann Byrne (28 points, playing off 24) were the winners at the TIGS May outing, sponsored by Turkish Airlines at Mount Juliet Golf Resort on Thursday 26th May. The event attracted 70 golfers, including the team England players who were defeated 6-0 by their Irish colleagues in a match organized by team England captain Greg Evans, who described it as “a bit of a whitewash.”  Ireland’s captain was Pat Dawson with Volker Lorenz set to step into his golf shoes for next year for what both sides hope will be an annual event. Picture shows John Bowden and Colin Brodie of Team England with Martin Dempsey and Martin Skelly from Team Ireland. Team Ireland shirts were sponsored by Amadeus and Team England shirts were sponsored by Atlantic City and Expedia. See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.

Pete Mathers and Beatrice Cosgrove copyIrish visits are up 41pc to Abu Dhabi, Pete Mather of Abu Dhabi tourism told Irish travel media at an event this week. He said it is increasingly being seen as a stand alone destination. The season is year round with special children events and festivals organised for the school holiday months of July and August. The Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque was the rated the second most popular landmark for 2016 by Tripadvisor ahead of the Taj Mahal and Ankor Wat. Beatrice Cosgrove attended on behalf of Etihad, which is counting down to the new Abu Dhabi Midfield Terminal opening on July 7 2017 which will bring airport capacity up to 60m. She described a family holiday she had taken in Abu Dhabi with her children. See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.

vilbao gonzaloHiria, Ura y Natura (city, water and nature) was the theme when Bilbao and Bizkaia hosted the trade at Andrew Rudd’s newly-opened restaurant, Medley, on Dublin’s Fleet Street East. The Irish travel trade met with DMC Romotur, Bilbao Paso a Paso, Bitravel, North Incoming Service, STI, and Gobasquing; accommodations with 4 and 5-star ratings such as Gran Hotel Domine, Aranzazu Hotels, Ercilla Hotels, Zenit Hotels and the Ilunion Hotels; country home provider Nekatur; Bilbao Tourism Board and Bizkaia Tourism Board. Gastronomy specialities on offer included Txakoli wine and Pintxos, tapas style bites prepared by Daniel García and Jabier Gartzia, two of Bizkaia’s many Michelin-starred chefs. There are 29 Michelin starred restaurants in the Basque region with nine in Bilbao. Picture shows Joseba Ugarte, Territorial and Economic Development Department, Bizkaia Provincial Government, and Gonzalo Ceballos, Spanish Tourism Office Dublin at the event. See report here. See video hereSee more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook. See website of tourist board.

group fraser islandQueensland Tourism hosted travel writers on a tour of Fraser Island and Lady Elliot Island in the aftermath of Australian Travel Exchange. Watch here. Watch here a trip to Fraser Island with Colin Anderson and Gary Gaz Pearce. Picture shows group during a post-fam on 75 mile beach in Fraser Island: Eduardo Alves dos Santos of Mapa-Mundi in Rio de Janeiro, Brooke Hargraves of Fraser Coast Tourism, Jim Byers from Toronto, Nicole Cavazzuti from Milan, Graham Howe from South Africa. Front row: tour guide Gary ‘Gaz’ Pearce, Eoghan Corry, editor of Travel Extra, Brad Nardi of Fraser Coast tourism. See more pictures of Fraser Island here or connect with the album on Facebook. The group moved on to Lady Elliot island and saw the signature manta rays before diving and snorkelling the southernmost point of the Great Barrier Reef. See more pictures of Lady Elliot island here or connect with the album on Facebook. Watch here interview with Brad Nardi of Fraser Coast Tourism. Watch here interview with Maureen Murphy of Fraser Coast Tourism. Watch here interview with Ben Suddaby of Aquaview water activities. Travel Extra stopped by on NSW central Coast afterwards. Watch here a sunrise swim on Jenny Dixon beach. Watch here a cycle around Budgewoi Lake.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAFour of Ireland’s most renowned beaches lost their blue flags as 85 were awarded to Ireland’s beaches and marinas. See the full list on the Travel Extra website. Spain was awarded 577 blue flags, beating their own world record of 573 in 2014. One in five Spanish beaches will fly a blue flag this year. Tenerife achieved 15 Blue Flags. Algarve in Portugal won 88 blue flags. Europe’s annual bathing water report claimed that 96pc of monitored bathing sites in the EU meet minimum standards and bathing water quality has improved. See the full list of Ireland;s blue flags here.

Croisi Europe have a great agents prize in Travel Extra. Check out this link.

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