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Avioi Anargyroi cave photographed during the Cobalt Air and Cyprus Tourism group media visit to Cyprus, March 4 2018

 

Things to know about travel this week

  • Water wonderland: Lough Derg Blueway officially launched
  • Counting the cost of Blizzard Emma
  • Ireland wins award voted on by 25m Chinese holidaymakers
  • Cobalt Air showcases its Dublin to Larnaca route.
  • Tourism Ireland scoops two more awards, in Berlin and Dusseldorf
  • It’s women and children first onboard Aer Lingus flights
  • Canterparcs Disney resort calls to Dublin to work with the trade
  • Comeback countries at ITB Berlin.

Video watch.

Check out here Burmese-born Irish travel writer Yolanda Zaw‘s epic leap on to her trusty steed (in a skirt) at Argonaftis Donkey farm Achna, during the Cobalt Air and Cyprus Tourism group visit to the Larnaca and Famagusta regions.

Airlines were pulling out all the stops for International Women’s Day, with Aer Lingus celebrating its female workforce watch here. CityJet interviewed an all-female crew watch here while British Airways brought together 61 women for its biggest ever all-female flight. BA1484 from Heathrow to Glasgow included female baggage handlers, pilots and cabin crew, loaders and push back teams, ATC, security and airport teams watch here. Emirates just had to go one better, with over 75 women getting its A380 from Dubai to San Francisco watch here. Etihad wasn’t going to be left out either and showcased its female team watch here.

  • Qantas was to the fore at Sydney’s colourful gay and lesbian Mardi Gras watch here. And Ryanair was publicising is ambitious plans to be greener and cleaner watch here. See Kenny Jacobs discuss the subject here.
  • Qatar Airways‘ outspoken group CEO Akbar Al Baker again slammed the blockade of his country by neighbouring nations at ITB in Berlin watch here while the airline unveiled its new routes at the German show watch here.
  • Cork Airport is touting its transatlantic services to the US east coast, with its ‘fly friendly’ message watch here.
  • While Chinese passengers weren’t too happy about Heathrow Airport shopping recently, KLM is pulling out the stops to keep the lucrative market onside, with special gifts watch here.
  • Here’s one from the old country – just for our America cousins. Tourism Ireland teamed up with chef Kevin Dundon and SuperValu to show how to cook Irish stew watch here. Finally, this snowboarder had a lucky escape from an Alpine avalanche watch here.

Behind the Headlines

Travel agents are dramatically out of pocket as a result fo Blizzard Emma. Agency time was tied up by rescue actions, which were lauded and acknowledged by many customers, but the staff time consumed was accompanied by a nearly unprecedented collapse in forward bookings, in some cases intake was down to 1pc of what is normal for this time fo the year. The aviation industry, which lost 600 flights, took a €12m hit. Delta, Emirates, Finnair, KLM, Lufthansa, Luxair, SAS, Swiss, Turkish & WOW all added extra capacity to Dublin to help clear the backlog.  Aer Lingus hired in from Titan Airways. Aviation commissioner Cathy Mannion advises customers to keep receipts of hotels and meals as airlines are liable to provide |reasonable accommodation” for passengers stranded due to the blizzard.

Cabin Crew Nicola Dempsey with First Officer Anne Kirwan, Cabin Crew Hannah Brady and Captain Kelly Dolan as Aer Lingus marks International Women’s Day today by offering Priority Boarding to all women departing on British and European flights from Dublin, Cork, Shannon, Knock and Belfast. Some 110 flights on Thursday 8th March will see female travellers along with any junior travel companions board their flight ahead of all other guests as a gesture by the airline to join in this global celebration recognising the achievements of women. Photo: Jason Clarke.The Travel Extra story on Aer Lingus giving women passengers priority boarding for International Women’s Day attracted a huge response from trade and public alike. It also led to some lively debate but captured attention. Cabin Crew Nicola Dempsey with First Officer Anne Kirwan, Cabin Crew Hannah Brady and Captain Kelly Dolan. See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.

The DAA said it cleared 400,000 tonnes of snow from Dublin Airport – that’s heavier than the Empire State Building – during the Beast from the East and Blizzard Emma. There was some excellent photo coverage of snow covered airports at Flying in Ireland.

Ireland’s ambassador to Cyprus Deirdre Ni Fhailluin met a media delegation who came to sample Cobalt Air’s Dublin-Larnaca service.  With the loss of air services Irish visits to Cyprus shrunk from nearly 70,000 to 3,500 and the Larnaca 2w service was the first step in getting it back. Limerick born David Lee heads up Cobalt’s marketing operation and asked the trade to support the winter service, while he expects the summer service to increase to 3w. Watch here interview with tour guide Thena Markidou who accmoaqnpined the group on an itinerary that included St Lazarus church, St Minas monastery, the Thalassa museum in Asia Napa, wine tasting donkey rides and, a first, a close up an  encounter with some of the most aggressive bees in the Med. Cobalt were showcasing their Larnaca route in advance to the arrival of Ryanair on the Paphos run after Easter. Watch here interview with Georgia Shoshilou of GS Ecophysis.Watch here interview with Antigoni Kapodistria of Cyprus Tourism. Watch here interview with Marina Mylona of Cyprus Tourism talks about inbound market from Ireland, Meet the 83-year-old George Pavlou and meet here his wife Dona Marie Pavlou of Our House in Vavla, Cyprus, The group visited St Lazarus Church in Larnaca (watch here), St Minas monastery, Larnaca, Cyprus, (watch here), To Plumin restaurant in Sotira (watch here). Watch here Yolanda Zaw’s athletic leap on to her trusty steed at the Argonaftis Donkey farm Achna. Watch here the full video report of the trip. Picture shows Aileen Eglington of AE consulting, Declan Mescall of Travelbiz, Deirdre Ni Fhalluin Irish ambassador to Cyprus, Eleanor Goggin of the Sunday Independent, Marisa Mackle Travel Writer, Paul Nolan of APG, Naomi Richardson of the Irish Independent, Yolanda Zaw of the Irish Daily Mail and (frpont) Eoghan Corry editor of Travel Extra, See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.

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ITB Berlin was the usual pandemonium, with 600 Irish among the 109,000 visitors and 10,000 exhibitors scattered around 28 halls, some on three levels, each elbowing through the horde, late for the next appointment. Egypt reported arrivals more than doubled in 2017, Tunisia reported tourist arrivals up by a third last year, Palestinian territories are tipped as an up-and-coming destination, and Israel, despite a tense security situation, has seen a spike in bookings following a high-spend promotion campaign. Europe was told it must learn to see itself as a single travel destination for the Chinese market, by Eduard Santander at one of the many discussion forums. Picture shows Niall Gibbons, CEO of Tourism Ireland; Christopher Brooke, Vice Chairman of Tourism Ireland; Tourisám Minister Shane Ross; Finola O’Mahony, Tourism Ireland; John Callely, The Dublin Liberties Distillery; and HE Michael Collins, Irish Ambassador to Germany at ITB.

The Airlines4Europe summit in Brussels claimed enhanced border controls caused a 300pc increase in flight delays last summer. For each passenger, the processing time at the border takes approximately 20 seconds longer than before. For each flight, that’s on average an extra hour of processing time. Air Traffic Control delays increased 6.9pc.  Willie Walsh succeeded Carsten Spohr as chair of A4E. Michael O’Leary predictably stole the headlines by threatening to ground aircraft as a result of Breatimeacht, “I think it’s in our interests, not for a long period of time, that the aircraft are grounded.” A4E claimed average air fares intra-Europe have fallen from €199 to €96 over five years. The association consists of Aegean, airBaltic, Air France KLM, Cargolux, easyJet, Finnair, Icelandair, IAG, Jet2, Lufthansa Group, Norwegian, Ryanair, TAP Portugal, Travel Service and Volotea, and plans to grow further.

Travel Trade

Jane Nevin, Arrow Tours

Jane Nevin, from Arrow Tours, is the winner of the February draw for a place on the Classic Collection Holidays five-star trip at the end of April. One more draw is still due, with agents automatically entered into the competition when they make a Classic Collection Holidays booking.

Travel Extra‘s Mark Evans updated Newstalk listeners about the aftermath of Blizzard Emma, and options for fleeing to the sun. And listen here he told presenter Dr Ciara Kelly why a travel agent could be your best friend in the event of a crisis.

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Susana Cordoso is the new Dublin director of Turismo de Portugal to succeed Celina Tavares who has been promoted to head up the USA office of Turismo de Portugal.

MSC Cruises, headed in Ireland by Rebecca Kelly, has a yearly family pass to Dublin Zoo up for grabs. To enter, make a booking on the last of MSC’s Summer flycruises and email your reference number to RebeccaK@msccruises.co.uk . Winner will be chosen at random on March 20. MSC are seeking a third person to jon Rebecca and Erica Oglesby on the team.

Hills Balfour joined forces with MMGY Global, which the companies say will expand their global reach and brings the agency’s total number of employees to more than 400 and overseas offices to four, including Madrid, Taipei, and now additionally London and Dubai. Picture shows Anastasia Sewell and Melissa Medeiros who hosted the Hills Balfour briefing for travel media in NoLita restaurant in Dublin.

The Spanish Tourist London Office launched Spain Specialist Programme a new training platform for travel agents, featuring 11 modules, each following a short questionnaire whereby on completion of all modules, agents will be rewarded with a Spain Specialist advanced certificate.  Agencies that complete the programme will also appear on the official tourism board website www.spain.info in the list of agencies specialising in Spain and will earn the right to use the “Specialist on Spain” logo on promotional materials.

Turkish Airlines are inviting agents to register here before March 16 for their annual Turkish Airlines Bowling tournament at Odyssey Pavillion Belfast  April 9, Leisureplex Coolock April 10 and Leisureplex Cork April 11, all at 18.30. This year 102 destinations from 51 countries are competing. The best team from each country will have a chance to represent their country in the Grand Final in İstanbul. To get in the mood, Dublin Airport defeated Turkish by 18 points in the third annual bowling fixture between the companies.

Skål Dublin club AGM takes place on Tuesday in the the Herbert Park Hotel, hosted by Skålleague Ewan Plenderleith. A drive to recruit a new younger membership wil be among the tiems on the agenda. Skål Kerry Annual President’s Dinner on Saturday 24th March in the Plaza Hotel, Killarney

Strange World

Qantas is urging staff to stop using gender inappropriate language that might cause offence to the LGBTI community such as “honey”, “love” and “guys”, while “partner”, “spouse” and “parents” are preferred instead of “husband and wife” and “mum and dad”.

  • A Bangladeshi passenger removed his clothes during the flight, urinated on his seat and watched adult videos on his laptop  during a Malindo Air flight from Kuala Lumpur to Dhaka. He .
  • Southwest Airlines is being sued by a passenger for ‘mental anguish’ after a flight touched down at Missouri’s Graham Clark Downtown Airport in Hollister instead of Branson Airport nine miles away.

International

The Department of Foreign Affairs advised Irish citizens to exercise a high degree of caution in Sri Lanka, to avoid demonstrations and large crowds, to exercise caution, follow local news for any information on unrest, curfews or travel restrictions and carry photo ID at all times.

Tolene van der Merwe, South African Tourism hub head for Ireland and Britain said Day Zero, a day when it was expected to impose even stricter restrictions on water supplies due to drought,  will not take place this year.

Blizzard Emma hit turnaround times for the issuing of Irish passports, the Department of Foreign Affairs said.

  • The US northeast is bracing itself for more storms early this week after heavy snowfall and storms caused flight disruptions and buried parts of Massachusetts under two feet of snow.
  • Keep watching the skies – especially if you’re abroad this week. China’s first space station, Heavenly Palace, is due to crash to earth this week. Ireland is safe, but it could hit the Americas, China itself, the Middle East, Africa, parts of Europe or Asia-Pacific, in a fireball, scattering debris over thousands of kilometres.

Food & Beverage

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Restaurants Association of Ireland AGM went ahead at Adare Manor, despite the weather, in an optimistic mood An optimistic (45pc of restaurateurs said turnover was up in 2017,  48pc expected better results in 2018). Speakers included Michael Ellis International Managing Director of the Michelin Guide (pictured), with the much-discussed chef shortage top of the agenda, 48pc of restaurateurs saying chef positions were difficult to fill. Outspoken CEO Adrian Cummins accused Tourism Minister Shane Ross of “letting the industry down” as it grapples with a skills shortage which it says is forcing restaurants to hunt for staff abroad to plug a shortfall of  8,000 chefs. The average restaurant has 19 full-time employees on the staff. 33pc have increased the number of employees and 30pc plan to.

Cork Airport Managing Director Niall MacCarthy saw off Cork-based chefs as they renewed ties with Newport in Rhode Island – which is twinned with Kinsale. It was the first time that they’ve been able to travel direct from Cork to the US, and used Norwegian‘s direct flight to Boston Providence. See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.

  • Ireland’s lowest pub (no need to fret Johnny Fox’s), Roche’s of Donadea, literally sinking in the Bog of Allen, has been leased to James Roche (no relation of the founder).

Hotels

Hilton Worldwide Holdings CEO Christopher Nassetta warned London’s hotel sector is getting gloomier as Brexit approaches.

  • Pre-tax profits at Windsor Surprise Ltd, which operates Cork’s Rochestown Park Hotel, rose fivefold to €1m for 2016.
  • India’s biggest hotel chain, Taj Hotels, has announced plans to help female staff by paying for fertility treatment as part of its commitment to promote equal opportunities for women.
  • Cypriot businessman Orestes Fintiklis, majority owner of a luxury hotel in Panama City has regained control of the building after a legal battle with the Trump Organisation.
  • Cross-border wedding bookings are one of the big concerns for hoteliers in anticipation of Breatimeacht/Brexit. Listen here to discussion with Travel Extra’s Eoghan Corry and Paul Diver of the Sand House Hotel in Rossnowlagh.

Aviation

Ryanair rolling annual passenger numbers reach 130m and numbers grew 5pc to 8.6m in February. Ryanair launched its winter 2018 schedule with 142 routes from London, six new routes from Athens,  new routes from Brussels Zaventem to Amman and Marrakech, eight new routes from Malta, nine new routes from Marrakech, 12 new routes from Paphos, five new routes from Prague, Tampere 2w to Budapest (year round) and Bremen (summer only) and two new routes from Thessalonika, Ryanair announced a new environmental policy with a voluntary option to make a donation to offset carbon emissions. Ryanair will now accept cards on the Discover Global Network, which includes Diners Club from 55 countries worldwide.

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Aer Lingus CEO Stephen Kavanagh reportedly said he would trial a co-operation agreement with Ryanair to offer connecting flights on each other’s services in the marketplace. If it is successful, we will live with the problems of success. If not, we will learn the lessons and move on. The service will be packaged by a third-party intermediary that will also offer passengers connection insurance to cover missed onward flights. The risk of having to compensate passengers for missed connections was one of Ryanair’s main reasons for shunning the idea of offering feeder flights for long-haul routes.

  • Loganair is to take over Glasgow to Derry when Ryanair discontinues the route on October 28.
  • Aer Lingus passenger numbers were up 6.6pc in February with load factor up 1.7 to 71.2pc, points.
  • The DAA plans to leverage data from tens of thousands of passengers in an effort to  boost the €400m-plus annual retail and ancillary sales generated at Dublin and Cork airports, it was reported here.
  • Airbus said that 3,700 jobs are at risk across sites in Europe as a result of its plans to cut production rates of its A380 and A400M aircraft.
  • Aer Lingus flights from Belfast International to Faro and Malaga next summer are to be operated by ASL B737, leaving Heathrow as the only Aer Lingus operated route from Belfast.
  • US negotiators offered a standard bilateral agreement in their initial negotiations for post-Breatimeacht aviation, these typically require airlines to be majority owned and controlled by parties from their country of origin. This will curtail the transatlantic operating rights of British Airways and Virgin Atlantic
  • Ed Sims is the new CEO of Westjet, replacing retiring Gregg Saretsk
  • Michael O’Leary was declared a dollar billionaire on the latest Forbes listing
  • Ryanair will replace the €30,000 charge for trainee pilots with a “sponsored” programme, under which pilots will pay €5,000 for training with CAE Amsterdam for cadets from flying schools with valid EASA (CPL) and frozen ATPL (Air Transport Pilots License).
  • Cork Airport has been shortlisted for a European-wide public vote to be named as a new route for German airline Eurowings, to be part of its 2018/2019 winter schedule and is currently running a very close second to Kosice. The public can vote here.
  • Ryanair took delivery in Dublin of three aircraft, EI-GJD, EI-GJE and EI-GDY, all in one day bringing fleet size to 425 Boeing 738s.
  • Norwegian Air International has applied for a scheduled international licence to operate a service between member states of the European Union and Canada.
  • SAS CEO Rickard Gustafson said SAS Ireland operations “got off to a flying start” in December with the four A320neos completing 800 flights and carrying 80,000 passengers.
  • Norwegian reported 32pc RPK growth in February with passenger numbers up 11pc to 2.3m and load factor down two to 84.3pc.
  • Turkish Airlines reported revenue of US$10.9bn in 2017, and net profit of $223m.
  • South Africa’s Auditor General says SAA may not be able to continue to operate as a going concern having  made a net loss of about US$471m in the year to March last.
  • Aer Lingus vacancies include an AIRLINE PARTNERS MANAGER who will play a key role in the programme to integrate Aer Lingus into the Atlantic Joint Business with American Airlines, British Airways, Iberia and Finnair; a network management analyst and EASA CAT A or B1 / B2 engineers.

Afloat

Irish Ferries reported car volumes are up 9.1pc in 2018 as the group reported a €89m profit. Watch here presentation of Irish Ferries results for 2018. The overall car market was up 1.7pc in 2017 to 807,400 cars, and sea passengers up 1pc to 3.13m passengers.

New captain Nicole Langosch (34), who will be in charge of AIDAsol. This makes her the first female captain in the AIDA fleet and highest-ranking woman on a cruise ship in Germany.

New captain Nicole Langosch (34), from Germany

Germany’s Aida Cruises has appointed its first ever female captain. Nicole Langosch (34) will be in charge of AIDAsol,  and the highest-ranking woman on a cruise ship in Germany.

  • Silversea is taking bookings for its historic 2020 world cruise on Silver Whisper, which will be the first ship to call at every continent.
  • Uniworld has been forced into a U-turn over the launch of U by Uniworld, billed as the world’s first cruise line for millennials. It says bookings are now open to those over 45 after pressure from agents and consumers. The brand launches next month.
  • Royal Caribbean and Celebrity Cruises are trialling a single log-in system for passengers using both lines’ website and apps.
  • As travel agents, airlines and tour operators stepped up to the mark to keep travellers moving during Blizzard Emma, Stena Line also did its bit to save a bride’s big day, getting her and her party to Ireland for the big day. Full story hereSee more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.
  • Avalon Waterways is shaking up its European river cruise fleet in 2019, adding a new ship, Avalon Envision, and retiring older vessels to standardise the passenger experience.

Ireland

With five days to go 245 sites and /buildings in 38 different countries are confirmed to take part in Tourism Ireland’s Global Greening initiative 2018.

Three counties have combined to create the Lough Derg Blueway which as officially launched this week. Listen here to Deirdre O’Shea speaking about Lough Derg Blueway at Dulbin Holiday World. See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook

Seven tourism companies from the island of Ireland joined Tourism Ireland’s first ever sales mission to Qatar. Lars Olsson, Stena Line, is pictured with Siobhán Naughton and David Boyce, both Tourism Ireland, during the  sales mission in Doha.

Ireland has been named the ‘best overseas self-drive touring destination’, at an awards ceremony in China. The awards were organised by travel giant Ctrip which has over 250m customers. Full story here.

In the first of two wins in Germany, Ireland was named ‘golf destination of the year’ at Rhein Golf in Düsseldorf, Europe’s largest exhibition for golf travel and equipment, beating competition from the likes of Scotland and Austria. Orla Kraft, Tourism Ireland, is pictured accepting the prize at the European event.

The GPO Witness History Centre is hosting an exhibition on the Irish Flag marking 170 years since the Irish tricolour was flown by Thomas Francis Meagher at the Wolfe Tone Confederate Club at 33 The Mall in Waterford city in 1848.

Expedia presented Tourism Ireland with its 2017 ‘campaign of the year’ accolade, on the Ireland stand at ITB in Berlin. Pictured are HE Michael Collins, Irish Ambassador to Germany; Niall Gibbons, CEO of Tourism Ireland; Tourism Minister Shane Ross; Wendy Olson Killion, Expedia Media Solutions; Christopher Brooke, Vice Chairman of Tourism Ireland; and Kathryn Alker, Expedia Media.

Belfast’s Titanic Quarter unveiled two iconic attractions – the Great Light and Titanic Walkway – to the public. The opening event was also selected to launch The European Year of Cultural Heritage 2018 in the North. Children are pictured releasing balloons at the opening of the Great Light and Titanic Walkway during the week. Photo: Justin Kernoghan/Photopress

Deal Watch

Click&Go offers: Dublin to Berlin, 3 nights in the 4* Berlin Mark hotel, from €229pps, depart April 2018. Dublin to Gran Canaria, 7 nights self-catering 3 key Cordial Mogan Valle Apartments, Mogan, from €389pp, depart May. Dublin to Lanzarote, 7 nights half board 4* Beatriz Playa & Spa Hotel, Puerto del Carmen, from €479pp, depart April. Dublin to Crete, 7 nights room only 5* star Lolida Beach Aparthotel, Agia Marina, from €399pps, depart April. Dublin to Barcelona for MSC Med cruise exclusive, 7 nights onboard MSC Fantasia, from €1,199pp (drinks upgrade available from €26pp per day), depart May 16. www.clickandgo.com or call (01) 539 7777

Insight Vacations offers: Highlights of Poland 10-day escorted tour, from €2,109 per person sharing, including flights, transfers and 9 nights’ accommodation in the best locations. To avail of Last Minute Deal discount, book and pay in full by 31 March 2018 . Flight cost must be paid at the time of booking, depart May 4. http://www.insightvacations.com or call 01 775 3803.

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Sunway offers: 7 days Jewels of Italy escorted tour, includes flight ex Dublin, transfers, taxes, 6 nights on twin share basis 3 & 4* hotels, meals and tours as per itinerary. Subject to availability and change, from €1509pp, depart June 10. Dublin to Europe for 5* Romantic Danube River Cruise, includes flights, return port transfers, 7 night twin share an outside stateroom with fixed window, full board basis with unlimited wine/beers at meals, sip and sail daily complimentary hour & daily complimentary excursions. Not included gratuities and port charges of €135pp. Subject to availability and change, from €2179pp, depart July 20. Dublin to Greece, 7 nights all-inclusive 4* Club Med Gregolimano 4*, from €1399pp, depart May 29. Dublin to Japan for 8-day Japan Express’ Tour 8 days, includes flight ex Dublin, 8 nights twin sharing, meals and tours as per itinerary. Price includes €283pp saving, tour must be booked by 31st March. Subject to availability and change, from €2959pp, depart May 30. Dublin to Menorca, 7 nights self-catering 2*+ Vista Blanes Apartments, from €399pp, depart May 26. Dublin to Menorca, 7 nights self-catering 2* Los Lenticos Apartments, from €399, depart May 26. Dublin to Menorca, 7 nights self-catering 3* Roc Lago Apartments, from €699 per adult and €199 per child, depart June 2 or 16. Dublin to Kusadasi, 7 nights B&B 3* Esat Hotel, from €499pp, depart May 5. Dublin to Venice for Croatia & Greece Fly Cruise, with 1 night pre-cruise stay in Venice, plus 6 nights on Rhapsody of the Seas, from €1209pp, depart June 8. Dublin to US for Las Vegas, Miami & Bahamas Fly Cruise, includes 4 nights Las Vegas, 2 nights Miami plus 7-night cruise onboard MSC Seaside, from €1596pp, depart September 23. Dublin to Italy for 7-night Montenegro & Greece Fly Cruise onboard Norwegian Star, premium all-inclusive included, from €1597pp, depart August 19. Dublin to Canada for San Francisco & Monterey Fly Cruise, includes 1 night pre-cruise stay in Vancouver plus 7 nights on Celebrity Infinity, from €1530pp, depart September 1. www.sunway.ie

TUI offers: Dublin to Verona, 7 nights B&B 3* Hotel Mirabello, Sirmione, from €643pps, depart May 26. Dublin to Salzburg, 7 nights half board 3* Hotel Jelovica, Bled, from €709pps, depart May 30. Dublin to Salzburg, 7 nights half board 3* Hotel Edelweiss, Kitzbhul, from €889pps, depart August 2. Dublin to Geneva, 7 nights half board 4* Hotel Golf Rene Capt, Montreux, from €1,265pps, depart June 5. Dublin to Gran Canaria, 7 nights self-catering 3* Cay Beach Princess Bungalows, Maspalomas, from €399pps, depart April 5. Dublin to Tenerife, 7 nights self-catering 2* Laguna Park II, Playa De Las Americas, from €319pps, depart April 6. Dublin to Lanzarote, 7 nights self-catering 2* Lanzarote Paradise Club, Costa Teguise, from €319pps, depart April 8. Dublin to Tenerife, 7 nights half board 3* Hotel Catalonia Las Vegas, Puerto De La Cruz, from €499pps. Dublin to Lanzarote, 7 nights self-catering 2* San Marcial, Matagorda, from €399pps. Dublin to Mexico, 14 nights all-inclusive 3* RIU Lupita, Playacar, from €1,519pps, depart June 11. Dublin to Mexico, 14 nights all-inclusive 4* Grand Bahia Principe Coba, Riviera Maya, from €4,229 (2+1), depart June 11. Dublin to Lanzarote, 7 nights self-catering 2* Lanzarote Paradise, Costa Tequise, from €389pps, depart May 14. Dublin to Gran Canaria, 7 nights self-catering 3* Cala d’Or Apartments, Puerto Rico, from €419pps, depart May 10. Dublin to Tenerife, 7 nights self-catering 3* The Harbour Club, Los Gigantes, from €399pps, depart May 11. Cork to Majorca, 7 nights all-inclusive 3* Globales Condes De Alcudia, Alcudia, from €429pps, depart May 12. Shannon to Majorca, 7 nights half board 3* Ferrer Isabel, Cala Bona, from €449pps, depart May 12. Ireland West Airport Knock to Majorca, 7 nights all-inclusive 3* Globales Hotel Santa Ponsa Park/Pionero, Santa Ponsa, from €629pps, depart June 22. Dublin to Tenerife, 7 nights full board cruise onboard Marella Dream for Colourful Coasts itinerary, Deck 6/7/10 Inside Cabin, from €749pps, depart April 13. Visit www.tuiholidays.ie, Call 1850 45 35 45 or visit a TUI Store/travel agent.

 Topflight offers: Dublin to Lake Garda, 7 nights self-catering 4* Bella Italia Resort, Peschiera (Based on 6 share) was €559 now from €399pps, depart March 31. Dublin to Sorrento, 7 nights half board 4* Hotel Bristol, was €1249 now fr €899pps (save €350 per person), depart April 29. Dublin to Sorrento, 7 nights self-catering 3*  Villaggio Verde, (Based on 4 share) was €629 now fr €549pps, depart May 6. Dublin to Sicily, 7 nights B&B 3* Hotel Tysandros, Giardini Naxos, was €721 now fr €599pps, depart May 26. Dublin to Adriatic Riviera, 7 nights self-catering 3* Camping Cesenatico, Cesenatico (Based on 6 share) was €549 now from €479pps, depart August 31. Cork to Lake Garda, 7 nights self-catering 4* Belvedere Village, Castelnuovo del Garda (Based on 6 share) was €673 now fr €499pps, depart June 9. Cork to Venetian Riviera, 7 nights self-catering 4* Principe Palace Suites, Lido di Jesolo (Based on 4 share) was €739 now fr €599pps, depart August 25. Belfast to Lake Garda, 7 nights self-catering 4* Happy Camp Butterfly Village, Peschiera (Based on 6 share) was £565 now fr £449pps, depart June 2. Belfast to Venetian Riviera 7 nights self-catering 4* Principe Palace Suites, Lido di Jesolo (Based on 4 share)  was £677 now fr £549pps, depart August 25. Dublin to Italy, 3 nights in Rome B&B and 7 nights in Sorrento half board, was €1699pp, now €1569pp, depart June 7. Dublin/Cork/Belfast to Italy, 7 nights on the Venetian Riviera half board and 7 in Lake Garda half board, was €1699pp, now €1549pp, depart May 26. 6* Silversea Luxury Mediterranean Cruise & Stay Rome, ports of Call – Rome · Corsica · Livorno · Portofino · Cannes · Marseille · Barcelona, plus 2 nights pre -cruise at 5 star Regina Hotel Baglioni in Rome, was €4800, now €3999pp, with $1000 per cabin of onboard credit, depart May 4. www.topflight.ie, call 01 240 1700 or visit your local travel agent.

Uniworld Boutique River Cruises offers: 8 days in Italy with Gems of Northern Italy river cruise, including flights, airport transfers, all meals and beverages, all shore excursions and 7 nights in a Category 5 stateroom on board the River Countess, from €2509pps, flight cost must be paid at the time of booking. Book before 31 March 2018 to avail of Our Best Offer Ever, depart July 29. www.uniworld.com or call 01 775 3803.

What we learned

Bees. All about them. See video here. Picture shows Paul Nolan of APG, Naomi Richardson of the Irish Independent, Thena Markidou tour guide, Patric Baird of NITN, Aileen Eglington of AE consulting, Marisa Mackle Travel Writer, Declan Mescall, Yolanda Zaw of the Irish Daily Mail, Eleanor Goggin of the Sunday Independent, Georgia Shoshilou of GS Ecophysis and (front) Eoghan Corry editor of Travel Extra Ireland photographed at GS Ecophysis bee keeping experience on the Cobalt Air and Cyprus Tourism group media visit to Cyprus,

 

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