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Ron Gluckman of the New York Times looks out at the vierw from Southern Ocean Lodge, Kangaroo island, South Australia during a media visit prior to Australian Tourism Exchange in Adelaide


Things to know about travel this week

  • Record 370 agents at Travel Industry trade Show
  • Willie Walsh’s Battle of Clontarf as IAG raids the Vikings
  • How big is Ireland’s Midlands? Failte Ireland launches fourth brand (at last)
  • John Spollen succeeds to ITAA presidency
  • Downtown Marriott to host ITAA Philly conference
  • ATE to go to Perth in 2019
  • MSC Meraviglia to become Dublin port’s biggest visitor

Video watch.

MSC Armonia had a hard landing in Roatan. Watch here.

  • Royal Caribbean released a timelapse of Symphony of the Seas arrival in Naples. Watch here.
  • A train travelled for 13km without an engine in Titlagarh.Watch here.
  • The first look at Glasnevin’s iconic O’Connell Tower, open again to the public after 47 years after the internal stairs was demolished in a bombing by British paramilitary forces in 1971.

Behind the Headlines

Willie Walsh appears to have launched a Battle of Glasnevin against the Viking invaders to commemorate 1,004 years since the Battle of Clontarf. Shares in Norwegian Air rose 47pc in Oslo when IAG responded to newspaper speculation about its interest in Norwegian by confirming it had taken a 4.6pc shareholding in the loss-making airline, but was not talking takeover. IAG said no discussions have taken place to date, that it has taken no decision to make an offer at this time and that there is no certainty that any such decision will be made. A further announcement will be made if appropriate. IAG appear to be interested, the founders of Norwegian are not, leaving the board with a dilemma whether to act in the interests of the shareholders or the founders.

More details emerged about the 2018 ITAA conference in Philadelphia on November 23, as first reported by Travel Extra. It will be held in the Philadelphia Downtown Marriott. Getting the 100 agents and suppliers there is the next step with Aer Lingus and American Airlines both offering preferential rates. Greg Evans, a huge supporter of the Irish travel trade, was responsible for getting the details of the conference over the line overcoming some considerable obstacles along the way. The conference is likely to return to Spain to Cordoba in 2019 and to Portugal in 2020. Picture shows Greg Evans announcing Philadelphia as the venue watched by Pat Dawson CEO of the ITAA and John Spollen of Cassidy Travel president of the ITAA.

The fourth Irish Travel Industry Trade show continued its year on year growth with 370 travel agents. Picture shows John Spollen of Cassidy Travel president of the ITAA and Maureen Ledwith of Business Exhibitions at the opening of the show. Watch here images from the Travel Industry Trade Show. Watch herethe welcome address by new ITAA President John Spollen. See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.

Picture shows the new Board of the Irish Travel Agents Association, elected at Thursday’s AGM at the RDS: Joe Tully of Tully’s Travel, Pearse Keller of Keller Travel, Des Abbott of Des Abbott Travel, Pat Dawson CEO of the ITAA. Front row: Martin Skelly of Navan Travel, Clare Dunne of The Travel Broker, John Spollen of Cassidy Travel president of the ITAA, Valerie Metcalfe of FCM. John Spollen was unopposed as the new president fo the Irish Travel Agents Association

The fourth Fáilte Ireland regional brand was eventually announced by Tourism Minister Shane Ross, two years later than originally planned. Lakelands, Midlands and Shannonside were avoided in the title, the Hidden Heartlands, to cover a region form east Leitrim to east Clare, extending thorugh Longford, Roscommon and east Galway, parts of Westmeath, Cavan, north Tipperary and Offaly. Tourism region boundaries that divide counties have not work in the past and the first complaints were rolling in even before the end of the minister’s speech.

Australian Tourism Exchange will return to Perth in June 2019. South Australia hosted 400 travel trade and 84 media, including Travel Extra, on a series of fam trips this week in advance of next week’s Australian Tourism exchange, which returned to Adelaide after seven years. Tourism Australia CEO John Sullivan itemised the $18bn investment in tourism and, finally, inroads being made into the sub-continent’s dire shortage of hotel beds. Travel Extra visited kangaroo island and stayed in one of the world’s plushest hotels, the iconic 21-bedroom Southern Ocean Lodge which recently celebrated its tenth anniversary. Picture shows Ron Gluckman, Suzana Parisi, Phil Wright, Eoghan Corry, Pavia Rositi and Stefanie Bisping at Remarkable Rocks on Kangaroo Island.

Travel Trade

Matthew Tarrantis the new Commercial Manager for Qatar Airways to head up the airline’s Dublin operation. He previously worked with Travel department and then Flight Centres.

Travel Department appointed Deirdre Burnsas chair and completed their MML investment. Deirdre was previously the Managing Director of Boots Ireland, Retail and Supply Chain Director of Boots UK (part of the Walgreens Boots Alliance) and Retail Director & Omni-Channel Director of the UK mobile telcoms business, EE. Most recently, Deirdre has joined the boards of a number of UK and Irish semi-state and private companies, including An Post and McCabes Pharmacy Group.

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Topflight are offering a holiday to Italy with a partner and up to 2 children to four agents in a selection of their flagship properties including the 4* Majestic Palace Hotel in Malcesine and the Fattoria Castiglionchio in the idyllic Tuscan Countryside. Agents who book a Topflight Summer 2018 Italian holiday departing from Dublin, Cork or Belfast during the applicable booking before May 11 swill be entered in a draw. Agents whose clients book one of Topflight’s great for kids properties double their chances. Winners will be announced each Friday @ 3pm on Facebook Live via the Facebook Live via the Topflight Travel Agents Facebook Group. e-mail hereor call +3531 240 1700. The first winner will be announced at 3pm on Friday April 20th. Watch here as Shauna Kelly and Maurice Shiels talk the trade through the summer 2018 programme and Shauna gives details of the competition. They also revealed the mystery voice in Topflight’s radio advertising campaign.

Turkish Airways are giving prizes of tickets to the Leinster v Scarlets match on Saturday next 21st to agents who best describe why they deserve to go to the match. Email the answers here. If you mention TK in your comments you will get extra points. The draw will take place on the 18th of April.

Travel Partners Group new Table Quiz format roadshow and will be in Sligo on May 9th with spot prizes. Picture shows members of the Travel Partners Group who hosted 28 agents at an event in Cork: Dermot Merrigan of Irish Ferries, Alan Lynch of Cruisescapes/Travelescapes, Trish O’Leary of Amadeus, Brenda Rocher of Cork Airport, Erica Oglesby of MSC Cruises, Alan Sparling of Airline Sales & Marketing/SAS, Rebecca Kelly of MSC Cruises, Lee Osborne of Bookabed and Niall McDonnell of Classic Collection who hosted agents at the Travel Partners event in Cork. See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.

Cortina tourist board hosted a group of Irish media. Watch here.

JMG Cruises offered 4,500 berths for sale through the travel trade in their 2019 “NO FLY ” cruises from Dublin and Cobh offering with free coach transfers from selected locations around Ireland to and from the CMV Magellan. The new brochure to be delivered to members of the travel trade in the coming weeks will include the 2018 schedule also.

  • Los Angeles Tourism & Convention Board launched ‘L.A. Insider,’ online training tool for travel trade.
  • Air France-KLM group signed a private channel agreement with Amadeus as well as an agreement to cooperate towards an NDC connectivity between the airline group and the Amadeus Travel Platform.

Strange World

Remember THAT United Airlines video. A Chicago Department of Aviation former officer, James Long, is suing United saying he was scapegoated for the incident, not properly trained to handle passengers who misbehaved and that United “knew or should have known” that calling aviation officers to “remove a passenger who was refusing to leave their plane would require the use of physical force.”


Picture shows Geoff Ikin of Tourism Australia, Dominique Dryjski of Travmedia, Kim Moore of Tourism Australia, Natalie Miller of Tourism Australia, Tori Johnson of Tourism Australia, Kirsty Lucas of Trav Media, Lauren Michod of Travmedia, Emma Sturgiss of Tourism Australia, Nick Wayland of Travmedia (Front) Kim Moore of Tourism Australia,  Jess Ferro of Tourism Australia,  Steph Denmam of Tourism Australia and Araminta Burns of Tourism Australia who hosted International Media Marketplace in Adelaide Convention Centre.

A survey by Allianz Global AssistanceIreland suggested 44pc of travel insurance claims made by Irish holidaymakers in 2017 were due to a cancellation of their holiday, with illness or family bereavement the most common reasons why they couldn’t travel.

Food & Beverage

Declan Breen, David Fitzpatrick and John Nolan are to open 30NKD Pizza outlets in Ireland.


Developers INTU plans to invest £50m in Sprucefield Retail Park on the M1 and A1 junction of the Dublin-Belfast road to develop an 80-bedroom hotel.

  • Chartered Land amended their application for  the former Jury’s Hotelin Dublin’s Ballsbridge from 152 to 211 bedrooms.
  • The Millennium Istanbul Golden Hornopened


Aer Lingus withdrew from the 2016 Internal Dispute Resolution Board claiming it had become a “tool to frustrate and slow down normal business change which the majority bypassed and the few abused, had been bypassed in favour of the Workplace Relations Commission, and had not met for a year.”

Ryanair Marketing Executive Eimear Ryan, Ryanair Cabin Crew Ilona Vaiciuniene, Sam Kinsella and Iryna Yryuriv, and Dublin Airport Aviation Business Development Manager Brian Gallagher, at the route launch to mark Ryanair's new service to Paphos, April 9, 2018Ryanair cancelled plans to commence Rhodes-Athens in June and scaled down domestic flight schedule in Greece and closing its base in Chania, Crete, citing high airport charges. Ryanair issued new route announcements from Cagliari, Palermo and Pisa. Picture shows Ryanair Marketing Executive Eimear Ryan, Ryanair Cabin Crew Ilona Vaiciuniene, Sam Kinsella and Iryna Yryuriv, and Dublin Airport Aviation Business Development Manager Brian Gallagher, at the route launch to mark Ryanair’s new service to Paphos

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Icelandair B737 MAX Keflavik-Dublin is delayed due to late deliveries.  The route will be operated by B757-200.

Dublin Airport reported 2.3m passengers in March, up 3pc. Britain was down 5pc, Europe up 5pc, transatlantic up 24pc, other international routes, mainly Middle East up 30pc and domestic up 12pc. The number of connecting passengers was up 9pc. Dublin Airport will have four new airlines and 14 new routes/services this summer.

Picture shows Tom Keogh of Keogh’s Crisps and Enda Corneille of Emirates announcing a deal at Marketplace International, Bord Bia’s annual food buyer event in Dublin, that the north Dublin crisps will be served onboard Emirates flights around the world as part of the airline’s First Class Hot Sandwiches and Snacks service and as an accompaniment to drinks.

Wexford County Council CEO said €10-12m is required to restore Waterford Airport as a commercial entity. Conor McCarthy of Dublin Aerospace said the absence of a runway at Waterford Airport capable of catering for jet-engined aircraft effectively rules Waterford out of servicing a London slot “when the competition are all flying fast jets such as the A320″ although it “was fine when we had a dysfunctional road transport network. Waterford, without jet capability, is not going to have any possibility of success. It’s been tried and tested and clearly doesn’t work. A lot of the core infrastructure is there but you still need significant investment to get a 2,500m by 40m runway operational. The Government can’t/won’t do that on its own and that’s the challenge. Even with that done, you still have no guarantees you will attract an airline.”

  • Forsa trade union said the Irish Aviation Authorityneeds to hire20pc more air traffic controllers to address staff shortages, bringing numbers from 290 to 350.
  • Indonesiais  to sign a double-taxation treaty with Ireland to boost the aircraft leasing industry. Ireland has more than 70 such agreements, but not with Indonesia.
  • British Airwaysis temporary suspendingits B777 3w Gatwick-Oakland in winter 2018/19 season.
  • American Airlinesordered 47 new B787 widebody aircraft, 22 B787-8s to begin arriving in 2020 and 25 B787-9s to begin arriving in 2023, to replace American’s B767-300ERs, A330-300s and older B777-200s.
  • Dublin rose from 9thto 5that Amsterdam Schiphol in the ranking of passengers by route in 2017, up 15.4pc).


Irish Ferries chair John McGuckian told shareholders in the group’s new annual report that, despite the uncertainty regarding Brexit next year, “the economic outlook in our sphere of operations continues to improve. We look forward to another year of volume growth in our markets of operation.

MSC Meragivlia will visit Dublin on May 5 from Glasgow before continuing her route through Cork and Southampton, and finally returning to her homeport of Hamburg.

  • CroisiEurope launched Renoir in Paris before an audience that included representatives form the Irish travel trade.
  • Regent opened reservations for Seven Seas Splendor’s Inaugural Season
  • Oceania Cruises introduced 16 new cooking classes for the 2018 European season aboard Marina and Riviera.
  • Quantum of the Seas will move from Shanghai to Singapore in October 2019, Voyager of the Seas will return to Australia.
  • Tauck rolled out their refurbished European Treasures and Esprit.


Fáilte Ireland and the OPW approved €4.3m investment in four heritage sites to benefit, Blasket Island Visitor Centre in Kerry (total investment of €2.25m with Fáilte Ireland grant support of €1.69m), with a signature viewing point and interpretive galleries, to double visitor numbers at the Centre to 100,000, Céide Fields in Mayo (total investment of €1.15m with Fáilte Ireland grant support of €862,000) for new exhibition and interpretation space, Inis Mór in the Aran Islands, Galway (total investment of €600,000 with Fáilte Ireland grant support of €450,000) to upgrade of the existing Visitor Interpretation Centre at Dún Aonghasa and introduce interpretative information at Dún Duchathair; and Carrowmore in Sligo (total investment of €350,000 with Fáilte Ireland grant support of €262,500) for monuments at Carrowmore, and nearby ancient sites at Knocknarea and Carrowkeel.

  • Fáilte Ireland hosted 35 of golf tour operators to Killarney for 2018 Golf Ireland Convention to showcase of the country’s top-class golfing experiences. Picture shows Pictured at Dooks Golf Club are Mark Beckett, Adare Manor, Martin Donnolly, Fáilte Ireland; Paul Mason, Dream Golf Holidays, Scott Doane, Golf & Adventure Travel Expeditions
  • The ESB reopened Ardnacrusha to school and public tours this summer

Deal Watch

Dawson Travel and Lee Travel will have day trips and overnights trips to next Sunday’s Munster match ex Cork. Email here.

Insight Vacations offers: Glories of Greece 8-day escorted tour. From €2,309 per person sharing, including flights, transfers,  and 7 nights’ accommodation in the best locations. Flight cost must be paid at the time of booking. Guests who book any Insight Vacations trip between now and 27 April 2018 will also receive a free 1-night stay at The Lodge at Ashford Castle, bed and breakfast plus dinner at Wilde’s Restaurant, depart August 14. or call 01 775 3803.

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Sunway deals: Taste of Bordeaux river cruise, Dublin to France, includes flight ex Dublin, return port transfers, 7 night twin share an outside stateroom category D 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 €2759pp, depart May 24 or 31. Dublin to Cuba for 8-day Cuba Libre 8-day adventure holiday, includes flight ex Dublin, 7 nights twin sharing, meals and tours as per itinerary. Price includes saving of €139pp, tour must be booked by 30/4/18.  Price subject to availability and change, includes flight ex Dublin, 7 nights twin sharing, meals and tours as per itinerary. Price includes saving of €139pp, tour must be booked by 30/4/18.  Price  subject to availability and change, from €1459pp, depart July 14. Dublin to Algarve, 7 nights self-catering 2*+ Presidente Apartments, from €299pp, depart May 12. Dublin to Lanzarote, 7 nights self-catering 2* Cura Marina 2 Apartments, from €349pp, depart May 19. Dublin to Morocco, 7 nights self-catering 2*+ Tilila Studio Apartments, from €379pp, depart May 5. Dublin to Menorca, 7 nights self-catering 2*+ Vista Blanes Apartments, from €399pp, depart May 26. Dublin to Costa Del Sol, 7 nights self-catering 4* Sunset Beach Club, from €569pp, depart May 12. Dublin to Kusadasi, 7 nights B&B 3* Esat Hotel, from €299pp, depart May 12. Dublin to Thailand, Phuket & Bangkok Combination, 7 Nights Old Phuket Hotel and 2 Nights Mode Sathorn Hotel Bangkok, Price based on 2 adults sharing. Includes All Flights, Taxes, Bags, Transfers & Hotels on a B&B basis. Full details T&C’s available. Prices correct at time of print. – Sale Price used in costing, Deposit from €600p. Quote Ref: 123297 – Offer subject to flight class & room availability, from €1129pp, depart October.

Topflight’s Italian Offers: Dublin to Sorrento, 7 nights half board 4* Plus  Hotel Bristol, from €699pp, depart April 22. Dublin to Sorrento, 7 nights half board 4* Hotel Ascot from €929pp, depart May 13. Dublin to Peschiera, Lake Garda 7 nights self-catering 4* Bella Italia Bungalows from €349pps  (based on 2+4) depart April 28. Dublin to Malcesine, 7 nights half board 4* Hotel Majestic Palace from €5499p depart May 12. Dublin to Giardini Naxos, Sicily 7 nights B&B 3* Hotel Tysandros from €599pps. Dublin to Giardini Naxos, Sicily 7 nights half board 4*  ATAHotel Naxos Beach from €915pps was €1149 (2 adults & 2 children), depart June 9. Dublin to Taormina, Sicily 7 nights B&B 4* Hotel Ariston from €999pps, depart June 9. Dublin to Lido Di Jesolo, Venetian Riviera 7 nights half board 3* Hotel Portofino from €699pps depart June 9. Lido Di Jesolo, Venetian Riviera 4*  Hotel Cambridge Half Board, 7 Nights 26th May from €869pps was €949. Dublin to Sirmione, Lake Garda 7 nights self-catering 4* Garda Village from €549pps depart June 9. Dublin to Cesenatico, Adriatic Riviera, 7 nights self-catering 3* Camping Cesenatico €369pps (2 adults & 4 children) depart June 8. Dublin to Cattolica, Adriatic Riviera, 7 nights half board 4* Hotel Madison from €599pps depart June. Dublin to Tuscany Countryside 7 nights self-catering 4* Fattoria Castiglionchio from €499pps depart June 1. Cruise & Stay (7 nights Cruise / 2 nights Venice) 4* MSC Eastern Mediterranean Cruise & Stay Venice. Ports of Call – Venice, Italy • Bari, Italy • Mykonos, Greece • Heraklion, Greece • Corfu, Greece • Dubrovnik, Croatia • Venice, Italy. October from €1399pps., call Topflight on 01 240 1700 or visit your local travel agent

Uniworld Boutique River Cruises offers: Castles Along the Rhine8 8-day river cruise, visiting France, Germany, The Netherlands, Switzerland. Price from: €4,049 per person sharing, including flights, airport transfers, all meals and beverages, all shore excursions and 7 nights in a Category 5 stateroom on board the S.S. Antoinette. Flight cost must be paid at the time of booking, depart September 30. Flight cost must be paid at the time of booking. or call 01 775 3803.




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