TRAVEL Extra’s Sunday Supplement December 20 2015: First Euro 2016 packages go on sale



Val D’Isere

Val D’Isere


Nollaig Shona to all our readers

EIGHT things you need to know about travel this week:

  • Stein travel first to release Euro 2016 packages
  • Beat layover boredom with ballet
  • First stage of Val D’Isere’s game-changing development
  • Irish agents hits the slopes in Val Thorens
  • Alps ski season reduced to the sound of running water
  • Feliz Navidad from Spanish TB
  • The force was strong at Tourism Ireland’s annual review
  • New drone rules come into effect tomorrow

Travel Extra TV

video of the week december 20 2015Our video of the week shows you how to beat airport boredom — with ballet. Santa Barbara’s State Street Ballet troupe experienced a five-hour layover at Denver International Airport and decided to kill some time by performing on the airport’s walking escalators. Watch here.

  • Qatar Airways’ inaugural A350 flightfrom New York to Doha aborted take off after the jet’s on-board computers applied the brakes. The flight took off two hours later. Journalist Zach Honig captured the moment on video. Watch here.
  • The Spire lit up as a light saber to mark the opening of the new Star Wars movie. Watch here.
  • Irish backpacker Roger Ryan Skyped his parents from Australia — so they could watch him skydiveWatch here.
  • Qantas crew recall the strangest requests they’ve had on a flight. Watch here.
  • Star Wars stormtroppers take the Etihad Airways simulator challenge on a B787. Watch here.
  • Tourism Ireland looks at the Irish connection to Star Wars: The Force AwakensWatch here.
  • Highlights from the Drones Data X conference in Westport. Watch here.
  • See what an airline ramp agent sees every day. Watch here.
  • Shocking footage of a hotel guest crashing his pickup truck into a hotel reception circulated on the web this week. The man allegedly had an argument with hotel staff about his bill beforehand. Watch here.
  • Bombardier celebrate the delivery of the 1,000th Challenger 600 series aircraft. Watch here.
  • Trials cyclist Danny MacAskill bikes across the rooftops of Gran CanariaWatch here.
  • See WestJet’s “Christmas miracle” promo. Watch here.
  • Best of Boeing 2015: Watch here.
  • The making of the first TAM Airlines A350 XWBWatch here.
  • Three of the 30 winners of the Ryanair 30 Names competition visited the carrier’s London Stansted hanger to come face to face…with their face. Watch here.

shannon show

Behind the Headlines

The first packages for Euro 2016 were released by David Slattery’s Euro 2016: €1989pps for three matches. The FAI will receive an allocation of 13,000 for Ireland’s first game against Sweden at the Stade de France, just 6,000 at the Stade de Bordeaux and 7,000 for the final fixture against Italy in Lille. Abbey Travel and Thomson Sport will have official ticket allocations from the FAi of ireland and Irish FA but other tour operators are planning excursions, including day trips, with most interest in Ireland’s opening match against Sweden.

Chalet company Skibeat hosted Travel Extra at La DailleLa Daille. Acquired by Topflight two years ago, Skibeat has a sizeable and loyal English clientele and employs two hosts per chalet – unlike competitor companies – an array of excellent cuisine, and the animated conversation each evening after dinner that characterises the chalet experience. Skibeat follows the Topflight training programme for its resort reps, and sees a higher satisfaction level as a result.

esfVal D’Isere has just seen the first stage of a game-changing development. Beginners can now take lessons up-mountain for the first time, atop the Solaise Express, where the famous button lift has been replaced by three magic carpets: Pim, Pam and Pum. The Solaise Express will be replaced next year in the next base of a €16m upgrade. Evolution 2000have taken up the English speaking market with enthusiasm. ESF, which employs 368 of the 600 ski instructors in the resort, has also taken to winning back the English speaking market: They now have a programme of 68 fluent English speaking instructors and guides. “We were complacent about the English speakers, perhaps because we were so big,” Benjamin Dubois says. “Now we are determined to break down the prejudice against ESF.” See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.

group val thorens meal

Definitely NOT a fam trip, a group of Irish agents skied Val Thorens this week. Picture shows the group at dinner in Tango Hotel, a property exclusive to Crystal Holidays. See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.

alpsSki conditions are under pressure across the Alps. A sprinkling of snow on Wednesday morning helped, but a warm westerly flow of Atlantic air that shows no sign of abating means that the excellent start to the season has been trimmed away to the sound of running water. All the skiing is on piste on softening snow and guided off-piste excursions have come to a halt, although a few fresh tracks could be found on Thursday in western Austria and eastern Switzerland at altitude. The Dolomiti Superski area in Italy is almost snowless. Scandinavia has seen some decent wintry weather. Bulgarian resorts opened yesterday. It has been an epic week for snowfall in CaliforniaColoradoUtahOregon and Washington, where a metre of snow fell, but the east coast of USA and Canada are having the worst start to the season in recorded history.

Tourism Ireland End of Year Review-5Tourism Ireland held their annual review this week, marking the end of a year that saw 7.9m visitors come to Ireland, an 11pc YOY increase. Tourism Ireland reported growth in all markets and highlighted a 10pc growth in the British market. The first phase of Tourism Ireland’s marketing campaign for Star Wars: The Force Awakens was rolled out in 14 markets: Britain, USA, Canada, German, France, Spain, Italy, the Netherlands, Nordic region, Australia, New Zealand, India, South Africa and the GCC. Activity includes: a separate page on; social media campaigns; and a major PR push. Fáilte Ireland’s domestic ad for the Wild Atlantic Way will be shown before Star Wars screenings in Ireland (watch here). Picture shows Minister for Tourism Paschal Donohoe and Tourism Ireland chief executive Niall Gibbons.

las vegas stripLas Vegas Strip beat the Guinness Storehouse to the title of the World’s Leading Tourist Attraction at the World Travel Awards in Morocco. Etihad Airways won the airline award and Changi Singapore the airport award. There was recent controversey about the awards when ICC Berlin, which closed on March 9, 2014 and is to be converted into a centre for Syrian refugees to Germany was named “Europe’s Leading Meetings & Conference Centre?

Travel Trade

spanish tb eventSpanish Tourist Board held their Christmas function with the trade. Picture shows Chris Logan of TUI Ireland, Gonzalo Ceballos of Spanish Tourist Board and Bettina Haltmayor of Click and Go. See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.

skal peace certificatePicture shoes Cassie De Pecca from IIPT Expedition 196 being presented with a declaration of peach certificate by Skal Dublin president Daragh O’Neill.

Travelport updated Smartpoint with integrated SeatGuru, which allows travellers to choose airline seats and in-flight amenities, and an improved hotel search function.

tara towersHotels

Dalata agreed to buy the Tara Towers hotel on Merrion Road for €13.2m.

Lucius Farrell appointed Deputy General Manager at Carton House

The Radisson Blu Hotel & Spa Limerick announced its ELITE team training programme for 2016.

ihg le grandIntercontinental Hotels Group opened the International Bordeaux-Le Grand Hotel.

Hilton Worldwide opened a hotel at Amsterdam Schiphol airport. Hilton Hotels & Resorts opened the Hilton Bournemouth.

Starwood CEO Adam Aron stepped down. The hotel company’s CFO, Thomas Mangas, will take over as chief executive on December 31.

DoubleTree by Hilton debuted in Colombia with the opening of the DoubleTree by Hilton Bogotá-Parque 93.

Crisiano Ronaldo is to invest €37m in Pestana hotel group to create four hotels with the CR7 logo in Portugal, Madrid and New York.

Indian five-star brand The Park Hotels took ownership of its first international property, The Sahara Palace, Marrakech.



walt disney securityWalt Disney World, Florida installed metal detectors and banned toy guns and costumes for over 14s after a visitor tried to bring a gun into the Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World last weekend.

The Ryder Cup is going to Italy. The next four Ryder cup venues are Hazeltine, Minnesota (2016), Le National, Versailles (2018), Whistling Straits, Wisconsin (2020) and Marco Simone, Rome (2022).

The US updated its terror alert system on Wednesday, unveiling a new “bulletin” category.

A museum dedicated to Johann Strauss opened in Vienna.

Chanel is to open a second boutique at London Heathrow.

jackie morieTheatre in Paris launched augmented reality glasses that translate musicals and plays for tourists that don’t speak French. Travel Extra’s Conor McMahon interviewed Jacki Ford Morie of The Augmented Traveller about the potential the technology has for tourism. Read here.

The tourism council of Bhutan announced the launch of a helicopter transfer service from Paro International Airport.

Irish based concierge provider Emerald VIP Services will offer services in Thailand.

Innsbruck became an ArrivalGuides destination partner.

The Moscow City news agency reported that Russian travel company Megapolis Kurort plans to launch holiday tours to Syria in 2016.

Food & Wine

burren food trail edenThe Burren Food Trail represented Ireland at a showcase exhibition of the EDEN 2015 winners in Brussels. Picture shows representatives from Burren Food Trail with Tina O’Dwyer and Donal Minihane.


ralph james iaaRules for drones come into force tomorrow (December 21), meaning drones weighing 1kg or more will have to be registered with the Irish Aviation Authority. Registration is free until February, when a €5 fee is introduced by the IAA. Picture shows Ralph James of the IAA.

Dublin Airport PassengersThe Irish Aviation Authority said it will handle more than 1.02m flights by year-end, up 5.3pc YOY. Last month, commercial terminal flights at Dublin Airport were up 9.8pc with an average of 491 daily movements, Cork down 1.3pc with an average of 44 daily movements, and Shannon down 9.2pc with an average of 43 daily movements.

DAA estimates that 925,000 passengers will travel through the Dublin Airport up to January 1, an increase of 18pc compared to last year. 

More than 2,200 children and adults met Santa on board the annual Santa Flights programmeat Shannon Airport.

pre clearance one millionUS Customers and Border Protection at Dublin Airport recorded its one millionth passenger this year: Philamena Linton from Malahide, who passed through pre-clearance this week before boarding a Delta flight to New York. Picture shows Philamena with port director Tish Lagerwey and Dublin Airport MD Vincent Harrison.

Courage (be brave), said a staff member to the lady at the desk admitting passengers to the 1 hour 40 minute security queue at Lyon airport.She needed to be. The queues were extraordinarily long and caused EI153 to leave 40 minutes late.

The United States and Cuba have reached an understanding on restoring regularly scheduled commercial flights

Firefighters at Fuzhou Airport delayed 30 flights after they accidentally sprayed the wrong aircraft with foam when an Air China B737-800 reported problems with one of its engines.

As always, Dublin Airport warned passengers not to wrap Christmas presents carried as hand luggage as they travel through the airport this week.

cityjet excelCityJet announced a two-year commercial partnership with ExCeL London convention and exhibition centre. CityJet placed an option to take delivery of six Sukhoi Superjet aircraft. The were rumours that the carrier is to be sold in an ongoing deal.

RJ85CityJet intends to renew its five RJ85s on contract with Air France, which expires at the end of 2017, and the carrier is rumoured to increase services from Dublin and Cork to Italy and Scandinavia.

qatar new jetQatar Airways’ private jet division, Qatar Executive, took delivery of its first G650ER jet.

Qatar will roll out on-board Wi-Fi across its fleet in a three-year deal with Ooredoo, free for the first 15 minutes, then  $5 for one hour, $10 for three hours or $20 for the entire flight. Qatar became the latest airline to ban hover boards.

Michael O’Leary confirmed that Ryanair plans to return to Belfast with a “large base”.

delta pyjamasDelta introduced pyjamas for business class passengers flying from LA to Sydney and Shanghai.

The air travel accord between the USA and Cuba will allow for up to 110 daily round-trip flights.

Virgin America ordered ten A321 Neo jets.

Southwest Airlines jet skidded off the taxiway at Nashville Airport, injuring eight passengers.

Tracey Curtis Taylor is flying Spirit of Artemis, a 1942 Boeing Stearman, from England to Australia, and arrived in Singapore this week from Malaysia, marking the half-way mark of the Southeast Asia leg of her journey.

The Times of India reported a fatal incident at Mumbai Airport in which an Air India technician was sucked into an aircraft engine.

BA updated its iPhone app to include a reward flight finder that allows passengers to find flights that can be book using Avios points.

The Irish Times reported that a Ryanair passenger who was scalded after a hot cup of tea landed in his lap during a flight was awarded a €38,000 payout.

ASL Aviation is raising €100m from two banks to fund expansion.


crystal-serenityCrystal Cruises will base Crystal Serenity in Norther American for more of 2017, with itineraries to Alaska, Canada/New England, the Caribbean and the USA’s coasts.

Norwegian Cruise Line announced its summer 2017 deployment, including three Alaska itineraries, Bermuda, Bahamas and Florida cruises from New York City, Boston to Bermuda sailings, Canada and New England cruises, and three- and four-night all inclusive cruises from Miami to the Bahamas.

Costa Cruises is to introduce its first humanoid robot in Q1 2016 on the Costa Diadema and AIDAprima. The robots are multi-lingual and claim to be capable of recognising human emotions.

MSC Cruises confirmed that it plans to develop a private marine reserve island in the Bahamas.

seabourn shipSeabourn’s ship Encore will include a sushi restaurant, redesigned public spaces and 300 works of art when she launches in 2016.

Princess Cruises’s Emerald Princess is undergoing an extensive refit ahead of its 2016 sailing, adding two dining venues and cabin upgrades.

irish travel industry trade show banner

Deal Watch

travel dept deal watchTravel Department is offering 7 nights half board Poiano Resort, Lake Garda from €859pp for a family of two adults and two children incl. flights, transfers and day excursion to the Gardaland Amusement Park, depart March 23 2016. Call 01 637 1600.

Stein Travel Euro 2016 packages: 3 match package covering Ireland’s group games, June 13 to 23, from €1,989pps. 2 match package covering the first two games against Sweden and Belgium, June 13 to 18, from €1,499pps. 2 match package covering the second and third game against Belgium and Italy, June 17 to 23, from €1,499pps. 2 day package with the second game against Belgium, June 17 to 19, from €799pps. Day return for the first game against Sweden, June 13, from €449 + €70 tax. Stein Travel will be laying on coaches to meet Aer Lingus and Ryanair flights in the days before and after each of the group matches. Visit

Celtic Horizon Tours is offering 1 night package ex Wexford to see Manchester Utd v Sheffield Utd at Old Trafford from €129 per adult and €109 per child incl. coach, ferry and match ticket, depart January 9 2016. €14 coach supplement pps for collection outside Dublin  Call 01 629 2000.

thomson deal watchThomson offers: 7 nights self catering Coma Gran, Sa Coma, Majorca from €1,569 2+1, and from €2,049 2+2, depart June 8 2016. 7 nights all inclusive Club Sirens Aura, Ibiza from €2,189 2+1, and from €2,769 2+2, depart June 9 2016. 14 nights all inclusive 4* Club Hotel Riu Tequila, Playacar, Cancun from €1,719pps, depart June 20 2016. 7 nights self catering Caybeach Princess Bungalows, Maspalomas, Gran Canaria from €439pps, depart February 13 2016. 7 nights half board Catalonia Oro Negro, Playa De Las Americas, Tenerife from €439pps, depart February 5 2016. 7 nights half board Coronas Playa Hotel, Playa De Los Pocillos, Lanzarote from €449pps, depart January 24 2016. 7 nights full board 4* Treasures of the Mediterranean cruise on Thomson Majesty from €1,119pps, upgrade to all inclusive for €10pppn, depart May 24 2016. Visit thomsonholidays.ieor call 1800 927 404.

falcon deal watchFalcon offers: 7 nights all inclusive 3* SuneoClub Thalassa Hotel, Lambi, Kos from €1,739 2+1, and from €2,619 2+2, depart May 21 2016. 7 nights all inclusive 3* Dunas Mirador, Maspalomas, Gran Canaria from €499pp, depart January 9 2016. 7 nights all inclusive 3* IFA Interclub Atlantic, San Agustin, Gran Canaria from €529pp, depart January 16 2016. 7 nights self catering 3* Tamaimo Tropical, Puerto De Santiago, Tenerife from €329pp, depart February 12 2016. 14 nights all inclusive 3* Holiday Inn Resort, Montego Bay, Jamaica from €1,619pp, depart July 10 2016. Visit or call 1850 858 229.

Falcon #NRG offers for 18 to 30-year-olds: 7 nights B&B 4* Ionis Art Hotel, Laganas, Zakinthos from €429pp, depart May 24 2016. 7 nights self catering 2* Odyssueus, Kavos, Corfu from €399pp, depart May 27 2016. 7 nights self catering 2* Deya, Santa Ponsa, Majorca from €329pp, depart June 19 2016. Visit or call 1850 858 229.

Click and Go offers: 3 nights 4* 987 Barcelona Hotel from €199pp incl. return flights, airport taxes and charges, travel January 2016. 7 nights self catering 4* Rosa del Mar Aparthotel, Palma Nova, Majorca from €299pp incl. return flights, airport transfers, taxes and charges, travel in April 2016. 7 nights 4* Riu Flamingo Aparthotel, Playa del Ingles, Gran Canaria from €439pp incl. return flights, airport transfers, taxes and charges, travel in February 2016. 7 nights self catering 4* Costa Sal Aparthotel, Puerto del Carmen, Lanzarote from €479pp incl. return flights, airport transfers, taxes and charges, travel in January 2016. Visit

Tour America offers: 11 nights cruise on Norwegian Epic from €885pp incl. return flights, meals and entertainment on board, depart January 13 2016. 11 nights Orlando and Caribbean cruise from €1,109pp incl. return flights, 4 nights Orlando and 7 nights on Royal Caribbean’s Freedom of the Seas, all inclusive on board, gratuities and car hire for port transfers, depart February 3 2016. 7 nights all inclusive Riu Cancun, Mexico from €1,599pp, depart March 5 2016. 7 nights Sugar Cane Resort, Barbados from €1,599pp, depart March 4 2016. Visit

Royal Caribbean offers: 7 nights Arabian Gulf cruise on Splendour of the Seas from €1,085pp incl. return flights ex Dublin, depart February 8 2016. 7 nights Western Mediterranean cruise on Harmony of the Seas from €1,589pp incl. return flights ex Dublin, depart August 14 2016. 7 night Greek Isles cruise on Vision of the Seas from €1,255pp incl. return flights ex Dublin and selected drinks and gratuities, depart May 7 2016. 7 nights Western Caribbean cruise on Freedom of the Seas from €1,409pp incl. return flights ex Dublin and selected drinks and gratuities, depart September 11 2016. Visit or call 1800 555 604.

Classic Resorts offers: 10 nights B&B in 4* hotels, Thailand from €1,335pps incl. taxes, 3 nights Bangkok and 7 nights Koh Samui, travel May 2016. 7 nights B&B 5* Long Beach, Mauritius from €1,349pps incl. taxes, travel May 2016. 7 nights all inclusive 5* Sandals Barbados from €2,669pps incl. taxes, travel between May and June 2016. 7 nights all inclusive 5* Moon Palace Jamaica from €2,629pps incl. taxes, travel May 2016. 10 nights in 4* hotels, Maldives and Dubai from €2,455pps incl. taxes, 7 nights Maldives and 3 nights Dubai, travel May 2016. Visit or call 0818 332 515.

Lowcostbeds Santa Ponsa offers for families, based on 7 nights, 2+2, self catering, depart June 25 2016:  4* Pirates Village Hotel from €29pppn. 3* Jutlandia family resort from €26pppn. Vista Club family resort from €17pppn. 3* Ola Bouganvilla from €14pppn. Visit

Topflight New Year ski offers, depart December 26, price includes return flights, return transfers, taxes and Topflight resort rep service: 7 nights self catering 3* Residence La Riviere, Chamonix from €419pps. 7 nights B&B 3* Pension Hochwimmer, Zell, Austria from €499pp. 7 nights B&B 3* Pension Siegelerhof, Mayrhofen, Austria from €599pp. 7 nights self catering 2* Manzano Apartments, Pas de la Casa, Andorra from €599pp. Visit or call 01 240 1700.

ITAA offers: 6 nights in a 2 bedroom Bali mobile home, Disneyland Paris from €1,280 2+2 incl. return ferry and 2 day park passes, depart March 25 2016. 7 nights all inclusive river cruise on the Danube from €2,856pp incl. flights, all gratuities, airport transfers and onshore excursions, depart April 3 2016. 10 nights in a 2 bedroom mobile home with decking, Brittany from €1,685 for two adults and three children incl. return ferry, depart June 15 2016. Visit

Celtic Horizons offers: 1 night B&B Man Utd v Swansea City package from €199pp incl. coach and ferry, accommodation in The Holiday Inn Express Manchester Airport and match ticket, depart January 2 2016. 2 nights B&B Aintree package from €299pp incl. coach and ferry, transfers, entrance into the Tattersalls enclosure at Aintree Racecourse and accommodation at the Holiday Inn Express Leigh, depart April 8 2016. 2 nights B&B Strictly Come Dancing the Live Show package from €319pp incl. return coach and ferry, accommodation at the Express by Holiday Inn Manchester Airport, coach transfers, half day visit to the Trafford Centre, had day visit to Cheshire Oaks and tickets for Strictly Come Dancing, depart January 30 2016. Call 01 629 2000.

irish open deal watchBA launched its World Sale: Las Vegas from €779, Miami from €724, New York from €679, Johannesburg from €182, Kuala Lumpur from €215, and Barbados from €320. See your GDS for more.

Tickets for the 2016 Dubai Duty Free Irish Open at the K Club, May 19 to 22, are available for €30 per day or €70 for season ticket. Book here.


ancient eastMinister for Tourism Paschal Donohoe and Minister of State for Tourism Michael Ringannounced €1m in additional phase funding for capital projects in Ireland’s Ancient East, made available through Fáilte Ireland’s New Ideas in Ancient Spaces grants scheme. The funding has been awarded to Laois Heritage Trails; Ros Tapestry, New Ross; The Clockgate Tower, Youghal; The Norma Way, Co Wexford; The Butler Trail, Co Tipperary; The Lifetime Lab, Cork City; Celtic Tree Experience, Co Carlow; Castle Saunderson, Co Cavan; Louth Adventures; Ireland’s Ancient Eats, Co Meath; Glaslough Heritage Trail, Co Monaghan; and 3D Viking Experience, Waterford City.

Dubline-panels-smallTwelve Interpretive Panels were officially launched along the Dubline walking trail by An tArdmhéara, Críona Ní Dhálaigh, and the Minister for Tourism, Paschal Donohoe.

TOURISM IRELAND AND VISITBRITAIN WIN GOLD FOR TOURISM CAMPAIGN IN THE MIDDLE EASTTourism Ireland and VisitBritain won an award at the Middle East PR awards in Dubai for their One Break, Two Cities campaign. Picture shows Sarah White of Tourism Ireland, Yasmine Rashed of VisitBritain and Niamh Walsh of Tourism Ireland accepting the award.

The London Telegraph included The Simpsons’ visit to Ireland in a countdown of the top 10 holiday episodes.

Ireland was named best European destination at the Travel Weekly Readers’ Choice Awards.

TOP FRENCH TRAVEL WRITERS ‘IN STEP’ WITH BELFASTFrench lifestyle and travel journalists visited N Ireland this weekend as guests of Tourism Ireland and Irish dancing production Irish Celtic Connections, which will tour France. Picture shows the group with Caoimhe Ní Mhuilleoir of Tourism Ireland at Titanic Belfast.

TOURISM IRELAND SCOOPS TOP MARKETING AWARD FOR GAME OF THRONES CAMPAIGNTourism Ireland won an award for its Game of Thrones campaign at the International Content Marketing Awards in London. Picture shows Alex Buckland of Publicis with Brian Twomey of Tourism Ireland.

Dublin Bikes saw the number of journeys increase 77pc in 2014.

BRITISH WALKING ENTHUSIASTS READ ALL ABOUT KERRY IN POPULAR MAGAZINEAran Island Ferries, which operates the sole ferry service connecting Ireland’s mainland to Inis Mór, confirmed that it will cease the service from January 16 2016.

six-page feature on walking in Kerry features in the January edition of English walking magazine, Trail.

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