- Ex Diageo & Aviva marketeer to head up Bord Failte
- Christmas comes early for Dublin airport
- Len’s Christmas carol, the strkes that went away
- Nollaig shona agus athbhliain faoi mhaise ar ár léitheoirí agus ár lucht leanúna go léi (which basically mean Happy Christmas & have a great new year)
Travel Extra TV
- Happy Christmas and New Year from Travel Extra. Watch our faces of Irish travel video here.
- Westjet’s Christmas video tells the story on Fort McMurray (watch here). Not a patch on the classic from 2013 with the guy who asked for socks for Christmas — 46m views and still going strong (watch here).
- Aer Lingus’s home for Christmas video drummed up a lot of interest, racking up more than 44,000 views on YouTube. Watch here.
- Have a poke around the Emirates A380 onboard lounge in the 360º video. Watch here.
- Experience a 360º Uluru camel tour with Qantas. Watch here.
- See the making of Lufthansa’s first A350 XWB. Watch here.
- Tourism NI posted a guide to 48 hours in Belfast. Watch here.
- Aer Lingus reunited three families for Christmas. Watch here.
- How not to sell economy class to passengers (watch here)
- A Boeing cargo aircraft overshot the runway in Colombia. Watch here
- Aborted landing at Dublin airport. Watch here.
- A human flying drone. Watch here.
Behind the Headlines
The long overdue appointment of former Diageo and Aviva Marketeer Paul Kelly to head up Fáilte Ireland gives us an indication of the vision that feisty chairman Michael Cawley has for the former semi-state body.
Dublin Airport will be happy with the projection by Niall Gibbons of Tourism Ireland that inbound tourism will grow by just 1pc in 2017 after 10pc growth in 2016 (watch here. Despite the self-congratulatory release about having reached a record 27m customers this week and a projection of 83,000 passengers passing through the airport on Friday, (busier than any day at the airport between 2010 and 2015). With night works causing the cross-runway 16/34 while the main runway 10/28 undergoes construction works, waking up a whole new set of residents after dark (but offering amazing vistas over Drogheda and Layton was aircraft approach, watch here), the discussion on the parallel runway reopened with the Portmarnock residents raising the loudest objections, and complaints by the airlines about a shortage of wide body stands at peak take-off time across the Atlantic, the airport would like to see growth taper off for a while. In the meantime, they have applied for permission for another temporary pier to tide them over before the debate about Terminal 3 gets started.
The new pier, to be operational for summer 2017, will have capacity for nine narrow body aircraft with seven gates and a food and beverage outlet, located in front of the Aer Lingus cargo building. They also have planning for a new transfer hall, to be connected to T2 by bus. Passengers will walk to the aircraft, (as at the 200 gates). The facility will used for boarding during the first early morning wave of departures and for the last wave of arriving flights. Mixed mode will be possible at off-peak times using swing gates to separate arriving and departing passenger flows.
Belfast International, whose CEO Graham Keddle called for much needed investment in approach roads in a piece in the Belfast Telegraph this week, will reach 5.1m passengers having passed 5m on Wednesday, up 16pc on 2015. Belfast City will come around 2.8m, up 2pc, Cork around 2.3m, up 8pc, Shannon around 1.8m, up 4pc, Knock around 715,000, up 4.5pc, Kerry around 300,000 and Derry around 286,000.
The old Aer Lingus Gold Circle card is not of use as of Friday last, December 23, access to the Aer Lingus lounge at Dublin Airport is restricted to certain categories of Aerclub membership. “Confusion worse confounded” sums up the situation. It is the airline’s first major controversy of the IAG era as regular fliers, many of whom have taken regular transatlantic trips this year – found themselves in the lowest Green Tier of the new system, with no access to fast track security, lounges, priority boarding or even a physical loyalty card. The airline believes that the new scheme will be fairer to a broader range of customers, who can earn points by shopping in stores participating in the Avios scheme and rise through the tiers of the new scheme with regular flights on Aer Lingus from this point on. Expect the row to rumble on well into the new year.
Irish travel writers returned from Austria (mostly) intact last Sunday. To get the flavour of how Austria’s resorts are equipped to cope with a snow-shy December watch here a frenetic ski to mid station in Westendorf (yes, that’s Catherine Murphy sweeping by and Laurence Mackin of the Irish Times crashing), watch here highlights from St Johann, watch here highlights from Kirchberg, watch here highlights from Westendorf, watch here the mannequin challenge in Westendorf and watch here the mannequin challenge Kirchberg. Watch here Hans ‘Sam’ Steinkasserer speaking about ski product in Kirchberg and the importance of snowmaking. Pictures shows Oskar Reisenbauer of St Johann tourism and Aileen Eglington in St Johann. See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.
Seven months after he took office, Minister Shane Ross’s 8,000-word strategy for the Department of Toursm and Transport 2016-9 prioritises Metro North, a new runway by 2020 and even mentions a third terminal at Dublin Airport. The strategy promises to support development of Dublin Airport as an international hub and Cork and Shannon Airports as regional gateways for business and tourism purposes.
While hosting a group of agents at Club Med in Val d’Isere, Philiip Airey of Sunway ascended the scarey chair, the Leissieres lift ride to Le Fornet in the vast Espace Killy ski area, rated by some as the world’s scariest ski lift. Watch here. Tanya Airey is pictured sampling the Cub med hospitality. See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.
CSO figures show that outbound journeys from Ireland are up 5.84pc for the first nine months of the year to 5,484,000 from 5,181,300. Growth over the same 9-month period was at 10pc this time last year after three years of decline and three flat years. Outbound trips from Ireland in the first three quarters are still 8pc down on the peak year of 2008 and 15.9pc above the recessionary bottom of 2012.
Picture shows Hasan Mutlu who hosted the trade at Lansdowne Road during Leinster’s record win over Northampton.
From the ITAA: It was widely anticipated that the implementation of the new PTD Directive in Ireland, would get underway in 2016: stakeholders expected that by now, at the very least, a consultation would have been undertaken. Unfortunately, as the new year approaches, no information has been forthcoming from any official bodies in relation to the implementation process. At EU level, ECTAA is convening a PTD Workshop, in Brussels, during the first quarter of 2017. As a member of ECTAA, the ITAA will be participating in the PTD Workshop, along with other ECTAA members, representatives from the European Commission, the European Parliament, and Member States. If members have any queries in this regard they should contact Anne Dolan.
- Riviera Travel launched four new escorted tours for 2017/18: ‘The Heart of India by Luxury Train’, ‘Namibia’ ‘Northern Cyprus’, ‘Madeira, the Pearl of the Atlantic’, adding to the seven new tours previously announced for 2017.
- Five agencies won €100 One4All vouchers in the Betabeds Christmas bonus scheme: O’Donohue Travel Gorey, Killiney Travel, Skytours, 75 Talbot Street Branch, Dublin, Mc Guill Travel, Dundalk, and Donabate Travel.
- Paddy Casey has been confirmed to join the 2017 Copper Face Jacks Ski Trip with Topflight.
- Holiday World Show is running a travel writing competition among Transition Year Students. The winning entry will be published in Travel Extra.
- Thomas Cook pulled its Egyptian plans ex Britain for 2017.
A Canadian woman attempted to smuggle a cat in her handbag into Auckland.
- A court ruled that airlines in India are to be fined 50,000 rupees if their planes release human poo from toilets in the air.
- Delta Airlines says it’s looking into allegations of discrimination after a Youtube vlogger claimed he and a friend were removed from a flight departing from Heathrow airport for speaking Arabic. Watch here.
The number of visitors to New York city surpassed 60m for the first time and have reached 61.8m (13.1m international, 48.7m domestic), putting the city on course to overtake Orlando as America’s most visited city. Picture shows Tryphavana Cross, Tom Travers, Reginald Charlot and Mary Farrell at the 2016 Irish Travel Industry awards.
- The Eiffel Tower reopened to the public after 5 days following union talks.
- A Canadian tourist died and others were endangered in a siege at Karak Castle in the normally calm Jordan.
- Pope Francis confirmed he is to visit Fatima for the centenary of the Apparitions of Fátima on May 12-13 2017.
- Slideshow, If Mary and Joseph were to travel from Nazareth to Bethlehem today.
- A 10 year old girl died of cardiac arrest on a fight that was diverted to Shannon.
Food & Beverage
Copper Face Jack’s reported pre-tax profits of €5m last year, up from €4.9m in 2014.
Dalata announced it is to add 950 rooms to its owned and leased portfolio in its fourth quarter report. Dalata is to increase the bedrooms tally in Cork from 120 to 165 beds, on an existing part-developed hotel site on Lapps Quay between the historic 125-bed Imperial Hotel and the 191-bed Clayton (ex-Clarion) Hotel.
STR results to the end of November 2016 showing that RevPAR for the Dublin market has increased by 16.6pc for the 11 months to the end of November versus 2015. STR Global reported Dublin had a 3.7pc decline in occupancy to 78.3pc but a 3.8pc increase in ADR to €121.03. As a result, RevPAR was flat at EUR94.80. While this marked Dublin’s highest actual ADR for any November on record, demand declined 2.8pc compared with November 2015.
- Belfast is to get a new hotel behind popular venues El Divino and The Albany in the former war memorial building on Waring Street in the city’s Cathedral Quarter.
- Paddy McKillen Jnr and partner Matt Ryan have been refused planning permission by An Bord Pleanála for a four- to five-storey development comprising of 46 apartments, a gym, cafe, pub, restaurant and shopping centre on the site of Kiely’s pub in Dublin’s Mount Merrion.
- Galway’s four-star Radisson Blu reported a €4.2m profit.
- The Trump International Hotel Las Vegas agreed to recognise the unions to draw up a labour contract.
BA’s mixed fleet cabin crew St Stephen’s Day strike has been called off. A pre-Christmas strike was called off at British airport ground handlers Swissport. Listen here to Eoghan Corry speaking about the strikes on RTE’s Morning Ireland.
Dublin Airport passed the 27 millionth passenger mark for the first time. November passengers are up 9pc, Europe up 9pc to 916,000, Britain up 8pc to 833,000, Transatlantic up 18pc to 194,000 and ME/Africa down 5pc to 54,000
Santry-based Stobart Air, the former Aer Arann and operator of the Aer Lingus Regional service, made a €483,000 profit, the first time since 2010 that the business made a profit. Aer Lingus Regional will carry a record 110,000 passengers in December. Knock reported a record Christmas at airport, but Cork and Shannon are stil short of their mid noughties peaks.Friday December 30 will see the airline’s highest volume of Christmas traffic. Stobart are to launch 12 new routes from Southend, operating through its franchise arrangement with Flybe, from May 2017, Budapest 3w,. Milan Malpensa 5w, Venice 2w. Further routes to Cologne 6w, Dubrovnik 2w, Figari Corsica 2w, Lyon 4w, Perpignan 2w, Prague 5w, Reus 3w, Vienna 3w and Zadar 2w will be added at a later date.
Falcon Holidays have cut their Montego Bay charter from six to three rotations next summer.
Stobart are to fly Cork-Newquay 2w from May, using the time slots for Cork-Jersey according to the on-line timetable.
Belfast City Airport has been bought by venture capital company 3i from EISER Global Infrastructure Fund for £100m. Ferrovia sold I to EISER for £132.5m in 2008 and Bombardier sold to Ferrovial for £43m in 2003.
The Aviation Industry Corporation of China has acquired Armagh-based Thompson Aero Seating. Thompson Aero, which supplies seating to which counts Aer Lingus, American Airlines and Qantas, grew turnover by 25pc to £64.9m in the 12 months to June.
Ex Cityjet CEO Christine Ourmieres-Widener will become new CEO of Flybe on January 16 in succession to Saad Hammad.
Willie Walsh says IAG is to base 2 A330s in Barcelona from June to operate low cost long-haul services, either under a new brand, Aer Lingus, British Airways, or Iberia but definitely not Vueling which will remain short-haul. Initially 3 or 4 destinations could be served with Los Angeles, San Francisco, Buenos Aires, Havana, Santiago de Chile and Tokyo listed as candidates.
A survey by Which magazine rated Swiss best and Aer Lingus 4th of short haul airlines serving England, and Ryanair worst of short-haul airlines. The annual survey used to draw an angry riposte from Ryanair who were more reticent this year. Must be the Christmas or the AGB spirit or both.
The European Court of Justice ruled that Aer Lingus and Ryanair must pay back taxes of €16m.
Etihad Airways, citing “an increasingly competitive landscape,’ said it is cutting down its workforce as part of a restructuring scheme without indicating how many people will be laid off. Etihad’s staffing almost tripled to 20,292 in the past eight years, as its fleet expanded to 122 aircraft from 42. It employs 26,769 when including subsidiaries and employees abroad. The airline has lost $2.5bn in its purchase strategy, including, for a time a stake in Aer Lingus.
Despite fears for the 25-minute turnaround at a high security airport, Tel Aviv becomes a new Ryanair destination from March with a daily flight from Paphos, serving Israeli tourists to Cyprus.
- Shannon Airport is confident of increased growth in 2017 after announcing four new airlines in 2017, Kuwait, SAS, Lufthansa and Norwegian, the first time in over ten years that number of announcements has been made over a twelve month period.
- City of Derry airport launched a new website.
- East Midlands Airport avoided a multi-million-pound price-fix fine.
- American Airlines has won its long running antitrust lawsuit against Sabre Corp.
- Knock will process 30,000 passengers over Christmas.
- AerCap named Peter Juhas as CFO.
- Aer Arann was awarded the awarded PSO tender for Aran island flights
- Dublin airport’s lost pup found a new home.
Ferry services to Inis Mór will continue after January 4 after a row over passenger charges was sorted out. Half of the company’s €500,000 debt to the council will be written off, not counting upwards of €450,000 in court costs.
Storm Barbara caused the cancellation of three Irish Ferries rotations
Luxury river cruise line Uniworld is to launch a new brand U by Uniworld, designed for ages 18 to 40, and two 116-passenger ships, River Baroness and River Ambassador, to have a more contemporary look and feel.
Cruise Lines International Association forecasting 25.3m people will take a cruise in 2017, supported by the addition of 26 new vessels on oceans and rivers and new itineraries.
In all 74 companies and initiatives were shortlisted for the Irish tourism industry awards next February.
Fáilte Ireland reported that they hosted 1,000 representatives from print, broadcast and online channels in 2016, co-ordinating 400 itineraries with 4,000 Irish businesses across the country. The press trip highlight of the year was a visit to Skellig Michael by internaitional travel media. Picture shows Ben Groundwater from Australia and Riana Andrews on Skellig Michael.
CSO figures indicated that Ireland’s North American arrivals are up 18pc to November.
Failte Ireland’s new chief Paul Kelly is likely to be a very different CEO from his predecessors Jerry Dempsey, Tim O’Driscoll, Eamonn Ceannt, Joe Malone, Michael McNulty, Martin Dully, Matt McNulty, John Dully, Niall Reddy (acting) and Shaun Quinn. Frank Corr looks back at Paul Kelly’s predecessors as Directors of Bord Fáilte and Fáilte Ireland. See more from the Tim O’Driscoll family photo archive here.
Airbnb said 10,000 people will visit Ireland on New Year’s Eve .
The CSO published its analysis of the impact of Brexit, including a substantial travel and tourism section.
Sunway offers: 7 nights self catering 2* Intouriste Apartments, Morocco from €199pp, travel January. 7 nights self catering 3* Oasis Dunas Apartments, Fuerteventura from €299pp, travel January. 7 nights self catering 2* Monte Verde Apartments, Gran Canaria from €299pp, travel January. 7 nights self catering 2* Puerto Carmen Apartments, Lanzarote from €299pp, travel January. 7 nights all inclusive ski package at Club Med Val d’Isere, France from €1,950pp, depart January 8 2017. Visit sunway.ie or call 01 231 1800.
Thomson offers: 7 nights half board Hotel Belvedere, Salou, Costa Dorarda from €469pps, depart Cork May 28 2017. 7 nights self catering Cay Beach Princess Bungalows, Mapalomas, Gran Canaria from €489pps, depart January 14 2017. 7 nights half board Barcelo Santiago, Puerto De Santiago, Tenerife from €589pps, depart January 27 2017. 7 nights all inclusive Clubhotel Riu Paraiso Lanzarote from €679pps, depart January 22 2017. 7 nights half board Hotel Belvedere, Salou, Costa Dorada from €469pps, depart Cork May 28 2017. 7 nights self catering Bitacora Club, Puerto Del Carmen, Lanzarote from €439pps, depart Shannon May 29 2017. 14 nights all inclusive Riu Montego Bay, Jamaica from €1,759pps, depart June 8 2017. 14 nights all inclusive Ocean Maya Royale, Riviera Maya, Mexico form €1,829pps, depart June 28 2017.
Falcon offers: 7 nights all inclusive 4* TUI Magic Life, Marmari Palace, Kos from €2,159 2+1, from €3,489 2+2, depart June 3 2017. 7 nights half board 4* Hotel Florida, Puengirola, Costa Del Sol from €749pp, depart Cork December 29. 7 nights self catering 4* Cay Beach Caleta, Costa Caleta, Fuerteventura from €619pp, depart January 10 2017. 7 nights all inclusive 3* El Duque Aparthotel, Costa Adeje, Tenerife from €499pp, depart January 13 2017. 7 nights self catering 3* Monte Feliz, Bahia Feliz, Gran Canaria from €299pp, depart January 28 2017. 7 nights self catering 2* San Marcial, Matagorda, Lanzarote from €439pp, depart February 5 2017. 7 nights all inclusive 3* Laguna Park, Sunny Beach, Bulgaria from €479pp, depart May 29 2017. 7 nights self catering Laguna Park II, Playa De Las Americas, Tenerife from €379pp, depart May 29 2017.14 nights all inclusive 3* Holiday Inn, Montego Bay, Jamaica from €1,389pp, depart June 8 2017. 14 nights all inclusive 4* Grand Bahia Principe Coba, Riviera Maya, Mexico from €1,589pp, depart June 7 2017. Visit falconholidays.ie or call 1850 45 35 45.
Tour America offers: 10 nights Caribbean cruise on board Norwegian Epic from €1,199pp incl. 3 nights pre hotel stay in Orlando, car hire for port transfers, depart February 1 2017. 7 nights Arab Emirates cruise on board MSC Fantasia from €1,169pp, depart March 18 2017. 7 nights the Avanti Resorts, Orlando from €579pp incl. return flights, depart June 6 2017. 3 nights the Roosevelt Hotel, New York from €669pp incl. return flights, depart February 16 2017. 4 nights the Excalibur Hotel, Las Vegas from €669pp incl. return flights, depart March 2 2017. Visit touramerica.ie.
TDactive Holidays is offering 14 nights Thailand adventure from €2,549pp incl. select meals, hotel accommodation, excursions and transfers, depart November 1 2017.
ITAA offers: 7 nights 4* Marseilles Hotel, Miami from €949pps incl. private transfers, return flights, travel September 2017. 7 nights family camping at 3* Bi Village Campsite Croatia from €1,620 2+2 incl. airport transfers and 2 bedroom bellini mobile home, depart June 8 2017. 11 days Costa Rica from €3,070pp incl. return flights, accommodation, select meals and tour manager, travel between February and November 2017.
Tourism NI offers: 1 night B&B Lough Erne Resort & Spa, Co Fermanagh from £199pps incl. sparkling tasting menu in The Catalina Restaurant followed by champagne, valid December 31, call 028 (66) 323230. 2 nights B&B Bishop’s Gate Hotel, Derry from £135pps incl. dinner in the Gown Restaurant on one evening, walking tour of Derry city and a visit to the Tower Museum or the Siege Museum, valid until December 31, call 028 (71) 140300. 1 night B&B Bayview Hotel, Co Antrim from £65pps incl. Irish coffee or hot chocolate on arrival, four-course table d’hote dinner and voucher for Bushmills Distiller, stay Sunday to Thursday nights, call 028 (20) 734100.
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