Travel Extra Sunday Supplement July 21 2013: Disney Paris gets closer (sort of)


The long-awaited announcement that VEA is to operate a shuttle from Beauvais to Disneyland Paris was less exciting when the details emerged. There are just two daily shuttles from Beauvais (9.30am and 7.30pm) and two from Disneyland (6.30am and 3.25pm), all via Charles De Gaulle.

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The journey takes approximately 2 hours 30 minutes., but it saves the hassle on an hour 20 minutes shuttle or train journey from Beauvais to Paris followed by another hour journey by RER back to Disneyland.

The 9.30am shuttle connects neatly with the 6.25am Ryanair departure from Dublin. There

are no shuttle options from Ryanair flights at 09.25 and 20:05. Fares start at €24 one-way (children under 3 are free) and there are family rates available. In contrast the VEA shuttle leaves each hour from Charles de Gaulle, which has eight daily flights, six from Cityjet to Terminal 2E, with a short walk to the shuttle departs and two from Aer Lingus to Terminal 1 which has an uncomplicated metro connection to the shuttle stop.

croatia group copyCroatia has enjoyed a 31pc increase in visitor numbers from Ireland since January, even in advance of its accession to EU membership on July 1st, Minister for Tourism Darko Lorenicin told Irish travel media at an event in Dublin. Increased capacity has driven this growth. There were 30,463 Irish visitors and 144,195 overnights in 2012, well short of its 45,920 peak in the early noughties, and the country is served by direct routes to Zadar (Ryanair 2w, resumed after a two year hiatus) and Dubrovnik (Aer Lingus 5w, up from 4w in 2012). There are also charter services from Tour operators Croatia Tours and Concorde Travel. The Minister met with Aer Lingus to pursue the possibilities of direct services to Pula and Zagreb. The minister extolled the country’s 1,244 islands, eight national parks and 11 parks of nature. Hotel stock has been upgraded and there are now – 28 five star and 108 four star hotels. There are big plans for the Dalmatian coast with 15,000 beds to take pressure off Dubrovnik, which can be a bit crowded at peak. Picture shows Croatian minister for tourism Darko Lorenic, Croatian ambassador to Ireland Jasna Ognjanovac and Director of the Croatian Tourist Board Ireland and Britain Tonko Rilovic at the function to mark Croatia’s accession to the EU in the Shelbourne Hotel Dublin.

taiwan bikerTaiwanese youths Lin Ping-Yi (pictured) and Wang Wei-Tung start a 90-day motorcycle journey through 24 countries across Europe today. Lin got the opportunity to travel to Ireland under the Ireland-Taiwan Working Holiday Program, in effect since January 1st. Their trip takes them through Ireland, England, Belgium, Holland, Germany, Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Finland, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Czech Republic, Austria, Slovakia, Hungary, Slovenia, Croatia, Italy, Morocco, France, Spain, Portugal.

dublin horse show launch 2013Orla Carroll, Fáilte Ireland’s Head of Marketing and eBusiness popped around to help Rosanna Davison at the launch of the Discover Ireland Dublin Horse Show. The show attracts around 100,000 visitors.

Dave Walsh Abu Dhabi day_7D_0084Dave Walsh Irish manager of Etihad (pictured) kept a hawk’s eye on proceedings during Abu Dhabi day in Croke Park a fortnight ago, with prizes, falconry display, and Formula 1 race car to showcase the Formula 1 Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. Previous Abu Dhabi days were held at Manchester City soccer and Harlequins rugby clubs. Check out who we met at Etihad’s Abu Dhabi day a fortnight ago at the Leinster hurling final in Croke Park. Connect with the album on Facebook.

Turkish Airlines’ In-flight Skylife Magazine has launched an international photo competition entitled “Bridges and People,” which invites photos telling of the bridges built between people, cultures, and civilizations. Apply online over and upload their photos to the website before November 16th, 2013. The first prize is Turkish Airlines’ flight tickets worth $15,000, second prize tickets worth $6,000, and third prize tickets worth $3,000. Another 80 photos chosen by jury will be exhibited.

new yorkAereps Travel Management is planning a ‘USA business card exchange’ event in Dublin on Monday October 7th, and USA networking after work events for key Travel Trade sellers in Dublin on Monday October 7 and Belfast on October 8th. Destinations, airlines and attractions, all are looking forward to meeting with the Irish Travel Trade. Supplier places are still available, email John Donohue directly at or call Aereps Travel Management in Dublin on +353 1 6319604. Picture shows John Donohue of Aereps at the Irith Travel Industry Awards with Gerry Traino and Tom Travers of Hotel Beacon, Reginald Charlot of NYC & Company, Mary Farrell of Top of the Rock Observatory, Denise Coyle of Kirby-Liberty Helicopters and Ann Murtagh of Fitzpatrick Hotels.

Worldchoice Ireland has called for applications for the position of General Manager which comes up for renewal at the end of November. The successful candidate must have some experience in the travel industry, preferably in travel agency or tour operation sector and must display an ability to be creative, possess good marketing, technology and negotiating skills. The candidate will be required to carry out agency visits around the country. They are inviting applications in confidence to Worldchoice chairman before August 12th. Applicants may also create their CV on

lake hotelLake Hotel in Killarney (50th place, pictured) & River Lee Hotel in Cork (75th) was rated in the top 100 at the annual Expedia Insiders’ Select hotels survey. Hayfield Manor in Cork, Ashley Lodge in Blarney, Dylan Hotel in Dublin and G Hotel in Galway also ranked in top 1000.

The leading hotels were 1 One&Only Palmilla Resort San Jose del Cabo; 2 Arenas del Mar Beachfront & Rainforest Resort Manuel Antonio; 3 Marrol’s Boutique Hotel Bratislava; 4 Banyan Tree Mayakoba Playa del Carmen; 5 Hotel d’Europe Avignon; 6 Capella Ixtapa Resort & Spa Ixtapa; 7 Welk Resort Sirena del Mar Cabo San Lucas; 8 Casa Velas Hotel Boutique & Beach Club Puerto Vallarta; 9 The Knight Residence Edinburgh; 10 The Leela Palace Bangalore Bengaluru; 11 Limelight Hotel Aspen Aspen; 12 I Hotel And Conference Center Champaign; 13 Hotel Haven Helsinki; 14 Palazzo Murat Hotel Positano; 15 Hotel Boutique Casareyna Puebla; 16 Hotel Certaldo Certaldo; 17 Hotel Teatro Denver; 18 Excellence Playa Mujeres Adults Only All Inclusive Playa Mujeres; 19 The Beloved Hotel Playa Mujeres All Inclusive Playa Mujeres; 20 O&B Athens Boutique Hotel Athens; 21 Hilton The Hague The Hague; 22 The Stafford London by Kempinski London; 23 Carnival Palace Hotel Venice; 24 Trump International Hotel Waikiki Beach Walk Honolulu; 25 Sofitel Luxembourg Le Grand Ducal Luxembourg.

Expedia’s annual Flip Flop survey of holiday attitudes reported that 40pc of Danish women happy to sunbathe topless. German holidaymakers (17pc) are most likely to sunbathe nude, while the French (90pc) are most supportive of Speedos Brazilians (22pc) are more likely to wear them. Least likely to sunbathe topless were ladies from Japan and Malaysia. Indian beachgoers were found to be the most likely to spend their time building sandcastles. When Expedia asked, what scares you more at the beach, sharks or speedos, Speedos won.

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Sales of sunglasses were up by 77pc amid Ireland’s heat wave. The Irish Independent commented that it is a worry that 16 rain-free days can leave us on brink of desertification,

Amid a spate of drowning tragedies, the Water Safety Council reminded us that an average of 140 people drown in Ireland each year but this will likely be up in 2013 after five drownings last weekend and a further three this weekend. CEO John Leech, said many Irish people said “even in the summer of 1995 we didn’t lose anything like this.”

There was great news this week for those trying to tempt tourists from emerging markets. Britain and Ireland will begin piloting a common travel visa for all non-EU countries later this year. Ireland already waives visa requirements for tourists who have a British visa from 17 non-EU countries since 2011, including China and India. A 21pc increase in visitor numbers prompted the Government to extend the scheme to 2016. The possibility of entering Schengen, however, is still a long way off. There also appears to be some resistance on the Irish side to cooperation where it has a competitive advantage (see Economic study in pdf format).

Trivago’s hotel price index for July 2013 was released showing Limerick has the cheapest hotels in the country, down 7pc since June to an average of €86, although year-on-year these are up 15pc since July 2012.. Dublin prices dropped 3pc since June to an average of €112. Galway is up 10pc to €117 (down 8pc year-on 0year), and Killarney up 6pc to €132 the highest in the country ahead of Donegal, up 4pc to €131. International hotel prices have decreased by up to 28pc month-on-month in key European cities, down 25pc in Istanbul, 14pc in Cairo and 18pc in Alexandria following disturbances.

John G O’Dwyer reminded us about the Camino de San Declan in a short article this weekend, one of dozens of Irish pilgrimage routes finding new popularity among walkers, Cosán na Naomh in the Dingle Peninsula, St Kevin’s Way from Hollywood to Glendalough (a separate path runs from Enniskerry to Glendalough), Ballintubber Abbey to Croagh Patrick, Lemonaghan in Offaly, St Mullins and island routes such as Skellig Michael, the Aran Islands, Inishmurray in Sligo, Inishcealtra in Clare, Monaincha in Tipperary and Saints Island in Lough Derg. There are dozens more. Is it time for the communities of Ireland to dust down their pilgrimage routes rather than wait for someone from Dublin to suggest it?

Travel Agents reacted angrily to an article in Woman’s Day magazine which listed “nine things a travel agent won’t tell you” for its 20m readers. More than 900 agents posted angry replies on the magazine’s website. The American Society of Travel Agents “expressed its concern about the extensive misrepresentations in the article.” The number of signatures on an online petition at asking the magazine to take down the article grew to more than 1,200. Cruise Lines International Association said it “is very concerned by, and takes issue with, the unfair and negative depiction of travel agents” in the article. Woman’s Day relented, and posted the following: “Helping readers find value is Woman’s Day’s main objective, and we recognize that travel agents provide valuable services that help women’s vacation dreams come true. We’re sorry if that didn’t come through in this article.”

The ITIC report on Irish travel habits says that Irish made a total of 13.6m trips away from home in 2012. 7m trips within Ireland and 6.6m overseas. Demand for overseas travel would appear to have bottomed out, with a marginal increase (+1pc) in the number of trips abroad last year. Hotels continue to gain market share of domestic bed nights, despite an 8pc decline in volume in 2012. The survey suggests that of those who book accommodation in advance, roughly two out of every three do so via the internet.. The report was summarised in the Irish Independent.

The Saudi government is asking those with compromised immune systems, pregnant women, children, the elderly, and “those suffering chronic illnesses, like heart, kidney, respiratory diseases, and diabetes” to skip the Hajj this year. Middle East Respiratory Syndrome, caused by the coronavirus, has hit mostly in Saudi Arabia. Of 82 infected with the disease, 66 have been in Saudi Arabia, and 45 have died. A June study of the new virus in the New England Journal of Medicine found the MERS virus to be deadlier than SARS, which killed 800 people in 2003. Ireland gets 500 of the precious 3m Hajj visas given out every year.

Wicklow Food and Garden Festival begins on Thursday July 25 with the Summerfest Street Party including a pop-up restaurant at the town hall, kids cooking workshops including pizza and pasta making, cupcake design and the grow it yourself initiative. Friday evening features the drawing room opera company. Over Saturday and Sunday July 27-28 exhibitors from all over Ireland will showcase food and garden produce alongside local restaurants and Michelin and 5AA Rosette award winning Jean-Christophe Novelli.

US Airways shareholders have voted overwhelmingly to approve the merger deal with American Airlines while American’s creditors and stakeholders will continue voting on the Plan of Reorganisation through July, and Bankruptcy Judge Sean Lane will preside over an August 15 Confirmation Hearing. The two airlines will remain separate companies until the transaction closes, which we expect to occur in the third quarter of 2013. The airlines would maintain the hubs currently served by both airlines, we will offer you more than 6,700 daily flights to 336 destinations in 56 countries. “While we remain competitors until the merger closes, we are engaged in substantial integration planning so that we will be well positioned to successfully combine our commercial, customer service, operations, and corporate functions after the merger is approved.”

Travelport has launched Travelport Mobile Agent for Worldspan app allowing agents to access and modify bookings via their iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch or Android devices, for Travelport-connected agents around the globe using the Galileo, Apollo or Worldspan GDS platforms are now able to download Travelport Mobile Agent. Since its launch in 2011, Travelport Mobile Agent has been downloaded more than 21,000 times. It is one of the first products to be made available globally as a result of the Travelport Developer Network, Travelport’s open platform allowing the developer community to showcase their solutions.

Bus Éireann is providing a Special Shuttle Service to and from the Galway races throughout the festival Buses will depart as required from Eyre Square West from 15:00 on Monday, 29th July, Tuesday, 30th July and Friday, 2nd August and will return after the races. The last service will depart the racecourse at approximately 21.30.

Kildare Village has partnered with Le Cool city guides, to create a map of insider hot-spots in Dublin city and district, illustrated by award-winning Irish illustrator Kitty Moss.

Waterford’s Tower Hotel receives Mark of Best Practice AwardWaterford’s Tower Hotel has received the Mark of Best Practice award from Fáilte Ireland’s Continuing Professional Development Manager, Liam Campbell. Pictured: Alicia Maguire, General Manager, The Tower Hotel from Liam Campbell, Fáilte Ireland; with Ellen Reidy, HR Manager. Businesses accredited with the Fáilte Ireland award have shown a 27pc higher gross operating profit than the Irish Hotel Benchmark.

Tribes Alive GalwayFáilte Ireland’s “Sharing our Stories” initiative has relaunched Tribes Alive, a 60 minute walking tour through the winding medieval streets of Galway’s Latin Quarter which visits nine of the city’s most historic landmarks including Blake’s Tower, Kirwan’s Lane, St Nicholas’ Collegiate Church, The Hall of the Red Earl and Spanish Arch. Advance booking though not essential is available through the Discover Ireland Centre, Forster St, Galway; or book online at Picture shows Ger Howard as a Cromwellian Soldier , Mary McHugh, Claddagh Fisherwoman, Eanna O Dowd as Wolfe Tone with Anne Melia of Failte Ireland West.

  • Visa issues are the biggest obstacle in the pursuit of direct services from Dublin to Serbia, Travel Extra’s Eoghan Corry was told on a visit to the Balkan state this week. He visited Serbia’s Tuscan-alike wine region and the vibrant rock festival of Novi Sad.
  • Emirates has been awarded ‘Best Airline Food and Wine’ by the readers of Frequent Business Traveler, an online publication written for and by affluent frequent business travelers.
  • Falcon Holidays continues their search across Ireland to ‘Find the Falcon Family’ to give a family the chance to win an all-inclusive week-long holiday to the beautiful Greek island of Rhodes, a new destination now on sale for Summer 2014. Families can enter this exclusive competition, which runs until July 31st, through the competition tab on the Falcon Holidays Facebook page by uploading a favourite family snap, whether on the beach, at the pool or out in the garden, and explain in less than 50 words why theirs should be the chosen Falcon family.
  • Norwegian Cruise Line confirmed an order for a second “Breakaway Plus” cruise ship for delivery in spring 2017.

It will be the largest in the line’s fleet, at 4,200 passenger berths alongside the first “Breakaway Plus” ship scheduled for delivery in October 2015.
  • The June 2013 STR Pipeline Report says 801 hotels totalling 132,208 rooms re due to open in Europe next year, led by Russia (11,590 rooms), England (9,214 rooms); Turkey (7,814 rooms); Germany (7,549 rooms); Netherlands (2,609 rooms); Poland (2,555 rooms); and Italy (2,140 rooms).
  • Spain’s inbound tourism is up 3.9pc year on year to the end of May 2013, to 19.8m international tourists. Catalonia registered 1.5m tourists (+6.3pc), marking its sixteenth consecutive month of growth, followed by the Balearicswith 1.4m tourists (+ 13.2pc) including seven of every ten visitors coming from England and Germany, Andalucia (+ 5.7pc) and Canary Islands (+ 8.5pc).
  • A survey by says Irish people have increased their summer holiday budget by an average of €350 per person in 2013 – a 58pc increase from 2012. Based on a YouGov survey the average expenditure for a summer holiday this year is €950 per person- a significant climb from the €600 allocated for holidays in 2012.
  • Internet security specialists Truste surveyed 25 global travel industry websites and says it uncovered 373 unique companies responsible for a total of 1,187 tracking occurrences. The data shows that EU airline websites have on average significantly more third party trackers (66) than US airline websites (40) and reveals a growing shift towards online behavioural advertising (OBA) which accounted for the majority (55pc) of third-party tracking across all the sites. The company said unauthorised tracking can have significant consequences for businesses, including lack of consumer confidence, lost revenue and poor site performance.
  • Sales managers for Kimpton’s hotels and restaurants in San Francisco, Philadelphia, Miami, Chicago, Washington DC, Boston and New York City have held training sessions on a sales mission to Ireland.
  • Both of the Jameson tourist attractions have recorded increases in visitor numbers in the first six months of 2013, the Old Jameson Distillery in Dublin had 263,080 visitors, up 15.2 pc on last year .and the Jameson experience Midleton registered 108,826 visitors 13.3pc up on last year.
  • Wexford Heritage Trail has launched featuring a variety of thirty-two different historical sites and attractions across the county including OPW sites of Ferns Castle, Colclough Walled Garden, Tintern Abbey, Ballyhack Castle and Selskar Abbey; National Parks & Wildlife Service managed Wexford Wildfowl Reserve, Wexford County Council initiatives of Enniscorthy Castle, National 1798 Rebellion Centre, Vinegar Hill Battlefield, Irish National Heritage Park, Duncannon Fort, Browne Clayton Monument and Hook Lighthouse (in association with Commissioners of Irish Lights), Enniscorthy town, Fr. Murphy Centre, Gorey Town, Johnstown Castle (Teagasc) and the Irish Agricultural Museum, Wexford town, Our Ladies Island, Loftus Hall, Ros Tappestry, Dunbrody Famine Ship, New Ross Town, Dunbrody Abbey, Oulart Hill, Kilmore Quay and Saltee Islands, Ballymore Historical Features, Wells House, Tacumshane Windmill, Craanford Mill and The Kennedy Homestead.
  • Gina Quin of Dublin Chamber of Commerce appeared on Morning Ireland to campaign for the 9pc VAT for tourism to be maintained.
  • Contiki’s Tall Tales from Thailand video was released to publicise the fact that Contiki Asia Trips Now On Sale for 2014.
  • Turkish Airlines have launched a new route to Aqaba in Jordan.
  • Lawyers for Concordia victims say that the sentences imposed this wee are too lenient of between 18 and 34 months for five defendants convicted of multiple manslaughter, negligence and shipwreck. The Captain Schettino trial is still under way.
  • Dublin Airport commercial terminal flights were up 3.9pc in June.
  • Ryanair launched an online chat facility for passengers that require additional help when booking special assistance on Ryanair’s Irish and UK website, as part of an improved PRM (passengers of reduced mobility) booking system to assist access for disabled passengers, reduced mobility passengers and carers.
  • Topflight hit 50,000 Likes on Facebook.
  • Lowcostbeds says it has trebled directly contracted hotels in the Caribbean, including 350 hotels on Jamaica.
  • Ryanair has announced that it is moving back from Warsaw Chopin Airport to Warsaw Modlin starting from September 3. Wizz Air has decided to stay at Modlin, which is just 8km from the centre compared with 35km for Modlin.
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  • This will be the busiest weekend ever for Aer Arann: 16,000 passengers on 328 flights.
  • Minoan has dropped its Dublin-Oxford service after just over 150 days of operation.
  • The Eason shops in Dublin Airport Terminal 1 will be taken over by WH Smith from October.
  • Michael Cawley has joined the board of Paddy Power as a non-executive director.
  • Center Parcs Elveden Forest in Suffolk has opened Venture Cove, a family water playground featuring a toddler pool heated to 30C, slides, fountains and viewing areas for parents.
  • Chicago O’Hare International Airport expects to open its new runway on October 17.
  • An Australian firm has unveiled an “invisibility” wetsuit which it claims will offer surfers, divers and snorkellers protection from sharks.
  • The Irish Government to introduce regulations allowing gardai impose €50 fines against cyclists who cycle on footpaths
  • Paris has opened Pajol a new youth hostel, There are also 99 bedrooms, a restaurant, bar and covered gardens at this renovated 1920s railway warehouse near the Gares du Nord and de l’Est. Dorm beds from €29.50 including breakfast
  • Abbotsford near Melrose in Scotland, the home of writer and friend of Thomas Moore Walter Scott, has re-opened after a £12m transformation that has restored the property to the writer’s original concept. Admission is £8.75.
  • Aer Lingus sources told John Mulligan of the Irish Independent that they fear Ryanair may sell its 29.9pc stake in Aer Lingus to allies who could later accept a fresh takeover bid. See the Aer Lingus submission in pdf format. Aer Lingus went to court in a bid to delay any other Ryanair takeover bid until February of next year.
  • Shannon reported its first passenger number increase in five years with 160,573 passengers in June, up 8pc. Shannon Airport Chief Executive Neil Pakey said: “We are also encouraged by the number of Shannon passengers now visiting Dublin. The regions we serve offer a distinct Irish holiday experience but the quality of our road and public transport network now also enables visitors to easily access Dublin for one or two-night stays while basing themselves here.”
  • Aer Lingus has hired New York-based Digital ad agency Rokkan to redesign its booking engine, enhance its Aer Lingus customer experience, and redesign their digital hub.
  • A snip at €30m, Lyons Demesne in Kildare is still looking for buyers
  • Cork’s €2.3m Sky Garden in Fitzgerald Park has been digging up controversy
  • The Irish Independent pointed out the benefits of BA loyalty card membership, pointing out that BA gold members get Elemis spa treatments at Heathrow and New York’s JFK Airport.
  • A London Post Office Travel Money survey suggested all-inclusive may be a false economy with many B&B packages including meals and drinks cheaper on average than all-inclusive alternatives. And that is before they mentioned the watered-down-gin.
  • Dublin Airport has hired KCAP to draw up a plan for development of a 70 hectare site adjacent to Terminal 2 at Dublin Airport for offices, research and development centres and manufacturing units.
  • A millionaire has built an 18th century pirate island in Cambridgeshire, including The Black Doubloon (fully working pub), Coffer’s Cabin (primary residence) and Lubber’s Locker (beach hut).
  • France’s new hotel rating system: has granted Raffles property Le Royal Monceau an official ‘Palace Distinction’ bringing the total number of Palaces to 13.
  • There is a new lead suspect in the identity parade for the Ethiopian Dreamliner fire in Heathrow last week, the lithium manganese battery in the distress beacon. See the Reuters factbox. The Air Accidents Investigation Branch is urging the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration and manufacturer Honeywell International to study changing the power source for the locators. The July 12 fire in a parked Ethiopian Airlines’ Dreamliner caused extensive damage to the rear of the plane’s fuselage, but no injuries. British investigators found that the fire coincided with the emergency locator transmitter, which is powered by a lithium-manganese dioxide battery that operates independently of the plane’s power system. 
  • Ryanair is to resume selling advertising on its aircraft. A bit like a F1 car, companies can have their brand featured on four different locations on the Ryanair aircraft, the inner and outer winglets, front fuselage and rear fuselage, for a 12-month period. Ryanair is also to rent out part of new headquarters in Swords.
  • London Telegraph share advice suggested €1.3bn of cash returns before March 2016 would still see Ryanair being debt free
  • Ryanair has threatened to reduce traffic by 17pc at Brussels South Charleroi Airport with the loss of 1m passengers per year and 1,000 jobs should a the regional Walloon Government €3 air travel tax be introduced from January 1 2014.
  • Crystal Ski issued its 2013 ski industry report suggesting that the outbound market from Britain was back in (very slight) growth. Unlike Ireland, which favours Austria, France (34.6pc) is Britain’s biggest ski destination with Austria second at 27.9pc. Crystal held a 34pc market share, followed by Inghams (17pc) and Neilsen (12pc).
  • Le Commissariat général à la stratégie et à la prospective has issued a report on the next 20 years of Aviation (full report in pdf format) says that Air France-KLM, British Airways-Iberia and Lufthansa will maintain their status while low-cost airlines will capture the short haul market and most of the historic European airlines do not survive.
  • Online hotel room-sharing program Easynest has launched a scheme offering to find someone to share the room and the cost of hotel rates which are based on double occupancy. Users create a profile with Easynest, list the destination and dates, and wait for a “host” (the hotel room booker) to contact you. Host and “guest” then agree on dates, costs and other particulars, and the guest pays the host directly. For now, the service is free, though the site’s founders say they’ll eventually charge a commission for the service.
  • The US Department of Homeland Security is defending its plan to establish a customs pre-clearance facility at Abu Dhabi International Airport. The US airline industry groups contend the facility will mainly benefit Etihad Airways.
  • Atlanta in Georgie opened its 200-foot-tall SkyView Ferris wheel on July 16, equipped with 42 climate-controlled gondolas that each hold up to six people. It is strategically located in Centennial Olympic Park, which provides passengers a unique skyline view of the city. Each ride, or “flight,” is four full revolutions, which add up to about a 15-minute ride. Skyview Atlanta also offers a VIP gondola that features leather seats and a glass floor to make your flight the “ultimate experience.”
  • Airbus say the A350 XWB MSN1 has performed well during the first 92 flight test hours since its maiden flight on 14 June.
  • Three Hungarian businessmen plan to launch a new Budapest-based full-service airline to replace collapsed flag carrier Malev. Sólyom (Falcon) Hungarian Airways expects to operate six planes by the end of September and grow its fleet to 25 aircraft by the end of 2014 and 50 by 2017, including 10 wide-body jets capable of long haul flights.
  • Mary Conway from Creation is competing in Celebrity Cruises’ Chef’s Challenge. Mary’s Chocolate Cake from Paradise, the only entry from Ireland, is up against entries from British multiples.
  • Air Berlin and Virgin Australia are to begin codeshare from August 1 to six Australian destinations beyond Brisbane, Melbourne and Sydney to six Australian destinations served by Virgin Australia
  • After the rejection of the pension proposals by Brendan Kennedy of the Pensions Board Clare TD Timmy Dooley rowed in to the pensions controversy by saying: Aer Lingus should come forward with “realistic funding proposals”.
  • River cruises were hit as German lock keepers staged a strike over proposed centralisation of the country’s regional waterways and shipping offices
  • The Austrians have opened a 1,200ft high bridge, called Skywalk above the Dachstein
  • Dublin-based 103 aircraft Fly Leasing announced its expansion plans.
  • Starwood Hotels is to expand its portfolio in Mexico by 30pc.
  • Asiana grounded its Boeing 777s in the US due to engine oil leak
  • Aegean Airlines and Ryanair will account for almost half of over 100 new routes at Greek airports this summer
  • Saad Hammad is to take over as CEO of Flybe from August 1, when Jim French, the current Chairman and CEO becomes non-Executive Chairman.
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  • MEP Jim Higgins (right) made the headlines by claiming that checking flights multiple times pushes up the fare because airlines and travel companies collect user data. Ryanair denied the claim.
  • says that European City breaks are bucking the summer booking trend, !and “are selling like hotcakes and I can only put it down to people being very happy that they’re getting their quota of sun at home,” according to Paul Hackett.
  • Jean Butler and Riverdance are attempting a Riverdance Longest Line World Record. Video footage will be forwarded to 20 countries around the world.
  • DoubleTree by Hilton have opened their first Polish hotel in Lodz.
  • New York restaurants are to offer discounts next week
  • Inland Fisheries Ireland says that 406,000 anglers last year were worth €555m to tourism and €750 to economy
  • Nicaragua has launched a free emergency hotline for tourists. Tourists can dial “101” if they need immediate attention because of an accident, loss of travel documents, or any other situation that requires immediate response.
  • Elaine Massey (Killiney Travel) is the winner of the top prize of a €500 voucher in the Lowcostbeds Happy Mondays’ promotion.
  • Airbus delivered its 1000th A330 to Cathay Pacific.
  • A Florida lawsuit claims that Carnival Cruise Lines Hot Tubs are infested with dangerous, flesh-eating bacteria.
  • Starwood Hotels is to expand its portfolio in Mexico by 30pc.
  • American Express Global Business Travel has appointed Champa Magesh as general manager for Ireland, Scandinavia and UK, replacing Anthony Drury.
  • The Australian Government is advising tourists to avoid parades in Northern Ireland.
  • Philippines Airlines has been removed from the EU blacklist, and is expected to resume European services in the autumn.
  • England’s Sun reports that Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie are looking into a wedding on the 49-passenger Hebridean Princess. The ship was built nearly 50 years ago as a car ferry and later converted into a small luxury cruise ship.
  • Marriott and United have announced a partnership that will give their most loyal customers reciprocal VIP perks in their hotels and on flights. The new “RewardsPlus” program will give Marriott Rewards Platinum Elite members, who spend 75 nights a year at Marriott hotels, Premier Silver status in United’s MileagePlus program. Conversely, those in United’s elite tiers above Silver – Global Services, Premier 1K, Premier Platinum and Premier Gold – will receive Marriott Rewards Gold Elite status.
  • Just what the interminable runway debate in London needed was Michael O’Leary to pop up to say that EACH of London’s three airports need a new runway, saying it was a “unique opportunity to finally introduce effective competition and excess capacity in London’s runway infrastructure”.
  • New York Justice Thomas A Dickerson’s legal tips for traveling abroad listed Ireland amongst the more despotic regimes in the world: ‘And Ireland, the land of creative invective, just passed a blasphemy law making it a 25,000-euro ($37,000) offense to say or print anything ‘grossly abusive or insulting’ about any subject held sacred by any religion.” (to add injury to insult, the exact same phrase was used in a 2009 edition of Conde Nast Traveller by Margot Dougherty).
  • Inger Olsen, Cunard’s first female Captain, took her ship home to her Faroe Islands birthplace when the Cunard Queen Victoria visited Klaksvik and Torshavn. She is lucky, Half way between Iceland and Norway, the Faroe Islands may be the most beautiful place on the planet.
  • The Bray Air Show takes place today, Sunday 1500-1700. To see the Iolar in flight in classic mode see this 16-minute video.impala cheetah
  • Trending video of the week is one of an impala finding a getaway car in Kruger National Park.
  • A Moneycorp survey of city sight-seeing tours has found Dublin fourth cheapest of 21 cities surveyed. New York was the most expensive and Paris the most expensive per attraction.
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