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HEADLINES – AVIATION – AFLOAT – DEALWATCH – FOOD & WINE – HOTELS – INTERNATIONAL – IRELAND – STRANGE WORLD – TRAVEL TRADE

 

Sunset over the Hudson at Shadows on the Hudson restaurant in, Ploughkeepsie, an hour from Stewart International Airport, Newburgh

Things to know about travel this week

  • Aer Lingus new title sponsor for travel awards
  • Airlines huff about change fees as Irma blows
  • Cruise lines cancel Florida itineraries
  • Ryanair’s Alitalia riddle?
  • Ryanair monthly passenger record hits 12.7m
  • Cork airport outgrows them all
  • ITIC ups its Brexit damage bill from 12m to 20m
  • Norwegian helps Irish tourists get to Woodstock
  • Aer Lingus Astral system gets a reprieve
  • Travel Extra TV.

Holy cow – even the cattle are on the moove as Floridians flee from Hurricane Irma. Watch a video from WKMG TV in Ocala as a cow heads down the highway.

Bird strikes can create havoc in the air. Watch flames erupt from a plane in this Time magazine video.

Aer Lingus launches its European winter sale, with fares from €29.99 here.

A bird’s eye view of Dubai as Emirates’ training academy gets its first two Cirrus SR22 G6 training aircraft.

Runway to runway: Etihad collaborates with British fashion designer Julien Macdonald here.

Get a drone-eye view of Ireland’s first floating boardwalk, which opened during the week at Acres Lake in Co Leitrim. The 600m boardwalk – between Drumshanbo and Carrick-on-Shannon – will serve as the final leg of the Shannon Blueway, part of an expanding network of recreational trails that offer walking, kayaking, and cycling routes in the State. See the album here and aerial footage here.

Behind the Headlines

Like a Mark Twain character whose death has been exaggerated, Aer Lingus’s longstanding and robust reservations system Astral is not to be replaced after all. This, and other developments in the travel technology sector updates on bedbanks, on the Australian market, and a cruise of Norway with Silversea all feature in the latest print edition of Travel Extra. See here.

The Department of Foreign Affairs updated its travel advice on Florida saying its ability to help Irish citizens may be lifted. It is not known how many Irish are in Florida as the governor ordered 5.6m people to evacuate, a quarter of the state’s population, while Hurricane IRMA passes for 30 hours from Sunday morning. Aer Lingus Miami flight departed two hours thirty minutes earlier on Friday in both directions and Saturday’s Orlando flight five hours early in both directions. Sunday’s Miami flight and Monday’s Orlando flight have been cancelled. For a list of these and related advice see here.The New York Times issued a ‘handy what to do in a hurricane’ bulletin here.

Airlines have been issuing conflicting advice on change fees, with a few waiving change fees only for September 12, others waiving change fees for travel to September 15 and more waiving change fees for travel to September 30.

Travel disruption is one of those instances where those who have booked with an agent are better off. Ciaran Mulligan of Blue Insurance has been reminding the trade that those who have sold Premier Plus policies have covered their clients for any accommodation fees affected by Hurricane Irma up to €1,000 per person. Consumers who have purchased ‘Travel Disruption Cover’ from Multitrip.com are also covered. Pictured right are before-and-after shots of the world-famous St Maarten airport, which was hit by the hurricane.

The Irish Tourism Industry Confederation said the €20m current budget stimulus package from the Government is now needed to vouchsafe tourism against Breat-imeacht/Brexit. ITIC had previously called for €12m to be made available but in its pre-Budget submission, called for an extra €8m. CEO Eoghan O’Mara Walsh said the extra €8m was needed not just because tourist numbers were dropping from England, but also because Midlands and Shannon regions needed a boost in their branding. “Last month was the first that we saw a monthly decline in quite some time.” ITIC also wants the State to spend €60m each year for a decade on developing new visitor attractions and  the special 9pc VAT rate to be kept. It says arrivals in July 17 are down 1pc, Britain down 6pc, Continent down 2pc, North America +4pc, rest of the world +8pc with Dublin Airport +6pc, Cork +6pc, Shannon -14pc. Watch here ITIC’s Eoghan O’Mara Walsh on what the sector needs next year. For Travel Extra report watch here.

Battle lines are already being drawn on the 9pc VAT rate, as Dublin hotels enjoy a boom due in part to a lack of supply of new rooms. While ITIC’S Mr O’Mara Walsh argues that the 9pc rate doesn’t just help hotels, it helps visitor attractions, car hire, etc, in the wider tourism sector, there’s opposition to it. The Social Democrats want the special rate phased out over three years back to it original 13.5pc, while it was reported in July that a Department of Finance briefing document advocated that Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe should increase the rate. Meanwhile, Irish Congress of Trade Unions Congress general secretary Patricia King said the 9pc rate represented a “de facto subsidy that had already cost the State some €2.2bn in taxes foregone”.

Well we can’t say we didn’t see it coming: there’s no more softly softly from Ryanair after months of moaning from their leading executives, including Michael O’Leary, that passengers have ‘abused’ their Always Getting Better programme by trying to squeeze two big bags onboard planes (watch Michael O’Leary’s warning here and comment about difficulties at the at boarding gate here). With space at a premium, a number of bags have been put in holds up to now, slowing down the departure process, and fuelling a source of angst for the airline. The new move means that only passengers with priority boarding, including Plus, Flexi Plus & Family Plus, will be allowed to bring two carry-on bags on to the plane. It’s just one of a set of complex new bag policy changes on all flights from November 1: Watch here Kenny Jacobs on the baggage policy change. Listen here to Travel Extra’s Eoghan Corry on Ryanair baggage policy.

What is Ryanair planning for Alitalia should their bid succeed? Kenny Jacobs said this week that they are it is serious about bidding for the short-haul operation and turning it into a separate division of Ryanair that might operate with a hybrid full-service, low-cost model. Michael O’Leary said last week that Ryanair is interested in taking over Alitalia’s long-haul operation as well. Kenny said now and the airline’s communications team concur they are only interested in the short-haul and are interested in feeding the long-haul operation if someone else buys that. The last time Ryanair bought another airline they closed it down. Not really, “we did NOT close Buzz down,” David O’Brien told Travel Extra. Watch here. For Michael O’Leary comments on Air Berlin at the press conference in Berlin, watch here. And for full Dublin press conference with Kenny Jacobs and David O’Brien, watch here.

Brand USA and Norwegian Air International hosted travel journalists from Ireland and Scotland at both their out of town destinations, Stewart International Newburgh and Providence, Rhode Island. The flight from Dublin was not uneventful, with a tech stop in Boston. Watch here an interview with Wade Lawrence, museum curator of the site of “Woodstock” (actually 70 minutes from the town), Max Yasgur’s meadow at Bethel Woods. Picture shows Eoghan Corry, Stacey Mullen, Jamie Buchan, Phil Lancaster, Gill Furmage and Jonathan Gough in the Trinity Brewhouse, Providence, Rhode Island.

Travel Trade

Agents and operators have had a busy week helping holidaymakers already in the Florida or Caribbean regions – or intending to fly out – in this freakish hurricane season. But they got to enjoy the lighter side of the Sunshine State as Holly Best and the Virgin Atlantic crew celebrated 25 years of the airline flying to Orlando in Florida. Prizes on the night in Dublin’s Morrison Hotel included round-trip flights to the theme park capital of the world, car hire for a fortnight in America, courtesy of Hertz Ireland, stays in Universal properties and in neighbouring Kissimmee. Picture shows Brendan White of Tropical Sky; Beverleigh Fly of BookaBed; Ciara Foley of Platinum Travel; Liz Wright of Tour America; and Jo Piani of Visit Kissimmee.  Watch here Holly Best taking time out for a thank you to the trade, with the event in full swing in the background.  See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.

Yvonne Muldoon, Director of Sales at Aer Lingus, Maria Sinnott, Business Exhibitions (organisers of the Awards), and Cormac Meehan, President of the Irish Travel Agents Association (ITAA); as Aer Lingus are named title sponsors of the Irish Travel Industry Awards 2018The Irish Travel Industry Awards, a mainstay of the industry’s calendar, have a new title sponsor, with Aer Lingus coming on board for the event – which will have a number of new categories when it returns in the new year. Pictured are Yvonne Muldoon, Director of Sales at Aer Lingus; Maria Sinnott, Business Exhibitions (organisers of the Awards); and Cormac Meehan, President of the Irish Travel Agents Association, at the announcement. Full story here.

Celebrity Cruises has just launched a massive sales and training blitz across Ireland as the clock counts down to the arrival of Celebrity Eclipse for her homeporting stint out of Dublin Port. Agent incentives include a competition to win a place obboard Celebrity Silhouette for a two-night cruise to Paris in April 2018 when making a booking between 5 September 2017 and 30 September 2017 for any of the Celebrity Eclipse sailings departing April to June 2018; social media competition to win up to 10,000 Celebrity Rewards points when agents post a picture by 8 September 2017 using #celebritylovesagents; range of collateral designed to support agents including new sales guides, pricing guides, and in-store marketing material featuring posters and flyers. Ten members of the Celebrity team are visiting 200 agents around Ireland, and Travel Extra caught up with Mandy Burrie, Sales Manager, Scotland and Ireland, and Nicola McNeish, Head of Sales for Britain and Ireland, in Dublin. Watch here Celebrity Cruises update on agents incentives. Watch here interview with Mandy Burrie and Nicola McNeish of Celebrity Cruises.

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The only thing faster than Hurricane Irma during the week was Tour America boss Mary McKenna, who cycled over 600km in five days for charity. Mary has raised €4650 so far for Crumlin Children’s Hospital in Dublin by cycling from Barcelona to Valencia in Spain. The fundraising move was to thank the staff at the hospital and in memory of Fiadh, who sadly passed away, and who was a daughter of Mary’s cousin. The link to the fundraising page can be found here.

The European Commission is investigating whether Lufthansa’s charge for GDS bookings, imposed two years ago, breaches EU rules. The German airline imposed a €16 fee on all GDS bookings in September 2015. The airline group has since claimed its bookings were largely unaffected. IAG-owned British Airways and Iberia plan to impose a similar GDS booking fee. November 1. The charge of €9.50 will be added to all bookings through GDSs.

Angela O'Rourke, Sales Development Manager, Holiday World Show, Business Exhibitions

Angela O’Rourke has joined the team at Business Exhibitions as it expands for the upcoming Holiday World Show at the RDS. Angela, pictured, has been appointed the Business Development Manager for the major consumer show.

Travel Counsellors Ireland’s 2018 Conference will take place on April 19 and 20 next year. The venue has yet to be confirmed, but it will be in Ireland.

Ethiopian’s Michael Yohannes is off to pastures new with the airline, and will be taking up the role of Country Manager for Britain. Full story on the departure, and arrival of Ireland’s next boss for the carrier here.

Picture shows Ebou Sinyan and Betty Sinyan who have been appointed by Simon tours to represent them in Ireland and promote holidays to The Gambia. Fewer than 1,000 Irish visit each year but The Gambia which is fast becoming the major tourism destination in west Africa.

Ciara Mooney of Freedom Travel is to move premises to larger premises on the Dublin road in Celbridge. Travel Extra’s Eoghan Corry will be opening the new offices on Saturday next.

Uniworld Boutique River Cruise Collection’s managing director for Britain, Kathryn Beadle, pictured, is to retire in November after three years in the role. No strangers to these shores, Kathryn’s replacement has yet to be announced.

CostSaver, operated by guided holiday operator Trafalgar is Sunway’s newest brochure offering escorted tours to the USA, Canada and Latin America from €114 a day for Irish travellers in 2018.

Contiki has launched its Europe Summer 2018/19 range, featuring 26 new and improved trips. It’s offering 10pc off early payments and a further 5pc off new mix and match deals.

Topflight and Today FM‘s ski trip is back for a 19th season, with Ian Dempsey and the crew hitting the slopes in Kirchberg in the Austrian Tirol on January 27 next. The trip is now available to book.

Strange world

Jim Fitzpatrick’s iconic image of Che Guevara was controversially included in an exhibition at Miami International Airport. The poster was part of the Irish in Latin America exhibition, sponsored by the Irish embassy in the US, to highlight the connection between Latin America and Ireland, and coincide with the opening of  Aer Lingus’ direct route between Dublin and Miami. Che Guevara was proud of his Irish Lynch heritage but Miami is voilently opposed to Cuba’s communist heritage. Watch here John Creedon talking to Jim Fitzpatrick about how the Che Guevara poster came about.

An EasyJet flight from Paris to Glasgow was delayed after a passenger spotted a scorpion on board. EasyJet said the aircraft, which was grounded at Charles de Gaulle airport, was fumigated as a precaution before it took off again.

Are you a lonely solo traveller? The Hotel Charleroi Airport, in Belgium, is offering guests a goldfish to make them feel loved during their stay, but animal rights activists aren’t happy.

Even the Tories can’t present a united front over Breat-imeacht. Conservative MP Charles Tannon, who describes himself as “pro-European” and “quite ashamed to be British in many ways” has applied for an Irish passport because of Brexit. His  grandmother was born in Dublin in 1895.

International

The US revised its travel trends to indicate a slowing down of inbound tourism, the so-called Trump slump. – with international visitor numbers down 700,000 during the first three months of the year compared to last year. The steepest drops were from the Middle East and Africa, while arrivals from Europe fell 10.6pc and Mexico 7pc.

Destinations around the world received 598m international tourists in the first six months of 2017 – up 6pc in the strongest half-year since 2010, according to the latest UNWTO World Tourism Barometer.

Tourism Research Australia says tourism revenue is up 7pc year-on-year in the first six months of 2017. Spending is being driven by record numbers of international tourists who are staying longer and spending more while visiting Australia.

The Caribbean is fearing an economic storm too following hurricane season. Over 26m  international tourists had been expected this year in the Caribbean, the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) projected before Irma hit. “Any disruption in the tourism industry is a disruption of our livelihood,” Caribbean Tourism Organisation spokesman Hugh Riley said.

A trend for them to keep an eye on in Bishop Street? In the US, performing arts attracted three times as many visitors as sporting events.

Rising tourism numbers aren’t a source of joy to everyone in Japan. Residents in the ancient capital of Kyoto have complained about “endless crowds, unknown neighbours and unruly behaviour” as a record 56.84m tourists visited the city in 2015 alone but one resident said the ancient capital was suffering “pollution by tourism”.

Israel is bracing for an expected Palestinian bid to seek full state membership next week in the UN’s World Tourism Organization, The Jerusalem Post reported. The Palestinian Authority’s of Tourism Ministry applied for membership for Palestine last year, and it is on the agenda at the meeting of the UNWTO General Assembly in Chengdu, China, which begins tomorrow.

The Irish soccer team was followed by 1,200 fans to their world cup qualifier in Tbilisi.

Picture shows Adam Ondra hanging upside down during the climb of the Hanshelleren cave in Flatanger – claimed by some as the world’s greatest climbing cliff.

Turkey has cautioned its citizens to take care when traveling to Germany, citing what it said was an upswing in anti-Turkish sentiment ahead of a German national election later this month.

A survey of 13,000 expats around the world by the InterNations networking organisation found that Bahrain is the number one place to go. It jumped from 19th place because of the friendliness of locals and the ease of lifestyle. Ireland came 45th, with our weather the biggest turn-off for foreign workers.

Wicklow walkers Roving Soles hiked the Zugspitz. Watch here Patricia Duffy’s report of the event.

Food & Beverage

Adriaan Bartels and Sean Smith (pictured) dished out six varieties of Irish oysters to invited guests to launch the Cliff Oyster Festival at Cliff Town House. Can you tell the difference? See the report here.

Nervy times for Irish restaurants, who will learn on October 2 whether they will one of the restaurants to receive – or retain – a prestigious Michelin Star for 2018. Galway’s Aniar and Loam, Dublin’s The Greenhouse, Chapter One and l’Ecrivain, House in Ardmore, Campagne and Lady Helen in Kilkenny, Belfast’s Eipic and Ox all retained their stars last year, as did two Michelin-starred Patrick Guilbaud’s, with Heron & Grey in Dublin’s Blackrock the big newcomer for 2017.

It is all a storm in a teacup, well, coffee cup as trouble brewed over another planned Starbucks coffee shop in the capital. A number of independent coffees shops  offered free beverages to customers on September 5 – in a bid to make them support local outlets – as the Seattle giant got set to open its 51st branch in Dublin.

Walsh Whiskey Distillery is to award a €1,000 bursary prize to the highest-graded student at Ireland’s only honour’s degree course in brewing and distilling, at IT Carlow. Picture shows  David Ryan of Carlow IT, Bernard Walsh Founder and MD of Walsh Whiskey Distillery, and Lisa Ryan pf Distillery Manager

The drop in British visitors could hit Ireland’s bars up to the tune of €70m this year, according to a report commissioned by the drinks industry and carried out by Dublin City University.

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Pizza chain Domino’s hosted the inaugural #DomiGoals event for the Barretstown charity at Tallaght Stadium. Irish celebrities teamed up to help publicise Domino’s relationship with Barretstown over the last 11 years and the near €300,000 raised to date with a further €15,000 at the event. Pictured are Soraiya Ryan, Richie Sadlier, Glenda Gilson, Danny O’Reilly and Stephen Byrne.

Aviation

Aer Lingus passenger traffic (RPK) was 10.2pc in in August, load factor was down 13 to 87.2pc and 1.2 points lower than July. Cargo carried was up 22pc. Of IAG group Aer Lingus did best in passenger volume growth. The Labour Court recommended Aer Lingus staff should be given a total pay rise of 8.75pc over 39 months, costing the airline just over €20m. Aer Lingus has vacancies for Aircraft Engineers at the Dublin Maintenance Base (EASA CAT A or B1 / B2 engineers). UCD Connections alumni magazine interviewed Aer Lingus CEO Stephen Kavanagh.

Dublin airport had the busiest August in the airport’s 77-year history, up 7pc and on course for 29.8m in the calendar year. Europe is up 7pc, transatlantic up 21pc, Middle East up 14pc domestic down 1p). Connecting passengers are up 42pc in the first eight months of the year.

Ryanair passengers in August were up 10pc to 12.7m passengers and load factor up 1 to a record equalling 97pc, rolling traffic to end July was 126.2m passengers. Ryanair continued its summer 2018 launches. It plans to grow to 37m passengers at Italian airports next year, adding add 4 new routes at Bologna to Bratislava (2w), Cologne (2w), Naples (daily) and Prague (3w), 9 new routes at Naples to Bologna (daily), Budapest (3w), Charleroi (4w), Dublin (5w), Krakow (2w), Malta (2w), Porto (2w), Thessaloniki (2w) and Wroclaw (2w), in all 28 routes, 2m annual passengers. Ryanair opened its new base at Memmingen, its 10th base in Germany (No 85 in Europe), and launched its Memmingen summer 2018 schedule with 6 new routes to Fez, Oradea, Seville, Stockholm, Thessaloniki (all 2w) and Warsaw (3w), and extra flights to Alicante. Ralph Anker’s Anna aero reported Ryanair had 17pc of the Spanish market in 2016, up in numbers but down in market share form 18pc in 2012. Ryanair is now within 2pc of the annual passenger count of Southwest Airlines, its original template when it adopted the LCC business model.

KLM increased its Amsterdam-Dublin summer 2017 schedule for the second time with 6 daily on Mon, Wed, Thu, Fri. KLM has become the world’s first airline with a verified WhatsApp business account. Passengers can now get around the world booking confirmation, check-in notification, boarding pass, flight status updates and ask questions in 10 different languages on WhatsApp via the official WhatsApp Business application. See how it works here.

A staggering $10bn has been wiped off the market value of the five biggest US airlines. The Standard & Poor’s index of the airlines fell around 7.5pc in August, as a price war that started between United and heavy discounters spread to more carriers and markets.

Cobalt extended its service on Dublin-Larnaca to year round, 2w in winter. Full report here.

Air Canada expects to announce new services to Montreal from Dubln and to Toronto from Shannon on Wednesday. Vancouver is to go to daily but there will be a slight reduction on frequencies to Toronto.

WOW air has announced a new 3w route from Keflavik to Dallas from May 23, with connections from Dublin.

Stobart passenger numbers through London Southend airport to end May were up 22pc to 482,000. It said it was “reviewing alternative structures for our airline and leasing business that can play an important part in the consolidation of the regional airline sector”.

America’s Department of Transportation won’t fine United over the much-publicised incident in which passenger David Dao was dragged off a flight. The incident last April went viral when a video was released showing Dao being dragged off an overbooked flight by airport security.

Former Ryanair Chief Financial Officer Howard Millar unexpectedly quit his role as group chief operating officer of global aviation management and finance firm Stellwagen last week, the Irish Independent reported.

Four members of Dublin Airport’s Fire Service brought home a total of seven medals from the World Police and Fire games in Los Angeles. Cian Delaney, Mick Gurley, Mick Bracken and Eric Flanagan represented Ireland at the games which saw over 10,000 firefighters and law enforcement officers from 65 countries compete in more than 60 separate events.

US budget airline Southwest is the best of a relatively bad lot of American carriers when it comes to delivering a high-quality experience to customers, according to a new UserTesting report. Spirit finished in last place.

Garuda Indonesia is to upgrade its Jakarta-London route to a nonstop service from October 31. The carrier currently flies to Heathrow via Singapore.

Schiphol airport has completed the renovations of its Holland Boulevard public area. The 24-hour space, located between departure lounges 2 and 3, features a renovated Rijksmuseum annex, serving as an introduction to 17th- century Dutch painting, and Nemo Science Museum.

Picture shows the 7th Future Travel Experience Global Awards winners, including representatives from Delta, Qatar Airways, Atlanta Airport, KLM, London Heathrow and Gatwick, Miami and Oslo airports outside the convention in Las Vegas during the week 8.

Bookings can now be made for Austrian Airlines’ premium economy on its long-haul flights. The service starts on March 6 next year.

Etihad is overhauling its Etihad Guest programme from October 8 and January 15. The number of miles needed for upgrades will increase and Guest Members who gain Silver, Gold or Platinum Tier status will now retain their status for only one year.

Shareholder advisory group Pirc urged Ryanair investors to oppose a number of key resolutions at the airline’s upcoming annual general meeting, including the re-election of most of its non-executive directors claiming that there is “insufficient independent representation on the board“.

CityJet is to discontinue flights from Antwerp to London City at end October 2017, leaving Dublin-London City as the only scheduled route operated in its own name.

The Dublin Airport Community Fund launched in June this year and is open to applications until 5pm, Friday, October 13.

Ulick and Des McEvaddy are aiming to exit Nama by the end of the year after securing money from a US bank that specialises in the aerospace sector. Loans secured on a site adjacent to the airport were considered by Nama for inclusion in a sale but the brothers are expected to repay the loans in full by Christmas opening the way to develop a third terminal on the site.

Cork Airport saw the biggest jump in traffic of all Irish airports in August, up 7.2pc, compared to 6pc in Dublin. Dublin then published its own figure of 7pc.

Shannon Airport will be Munster Rugby’s ‘Official Airport Partner’ in a three year commitment. The partnership, which makes Shannon the exclusive airport partner to Munster rugby, will also see the Shannon logo positioned on the players’ shorts.

Knock winter schedule is up 3pc in seat capacity with flights to eight different British airports. The airport will commence a €15m redevelopment over the next three years in passenger facilities and infrastructural and runway improvements, €4m worth of projects will be completed in 2017.

Six West aviation service provider based in Dublin appointed Matthew Gee as Director of Operations.

Portadown-based JW Kane Precision Engineering has won a contract to supply Safran with large machined parts for the A330 Neo engine nacelle. It is hiring graduate engineers.

The last of the US Big Three carriers has dropped on-board duty-free sales.  United Airlines said “we are unable to compete with airport duty-free vendors that stock much more merchandise”.

A position paper signed by airlines including Air France, KLM and Lufthansa said there should be no access to the internal aviation market without “full regulatory convergence”, and London’s Royal Aeronautical Society issued a gloomy perspective on Brexit.

Minister Pat Breen says the Gort-Galway section of the M17/M18 motorway, due to open ahead of schedule on September 27, has the potential to bring “more potential passengers” to Shannon Airport.

Magic before the storm: Keith Barry flew with Aer Lingus on the inaugural to Miami. Watch here.

Afloat

P&O Cruises‘ summer cruise programme for 2019 offers nearly 180 itineraries on eight ships to popular destinations plus longer “Discovery Cruises” to lesser-known places. For the first time P&O will feature the Arabian Gulf. Four new extended repositioning cruises will be added to the programme, sailing from Dubai to Malta via the Suez Canal.

Regent Seven Seas Cruises is looking to travel agents and past Regent cruisers for a name for its next new ship, debuting in early 2020. They are invited to submit name ideas between September 5 and 29, 2017. Names must be in English and fit in with Regent’s pre-existing naming conventions (start with “Seven Seas” and end with “er” or “or”).

Cunard has revealed itineraries for 2019 – including a return to Alaska for the first time in 20 years on Queen Elizabeth. The ship, expected to undergo a refurbishment in 2018, will offer a one-off sailing featuring Alaska as part of a 17 or 27-night Japan and Alaska voyage. The vessel  will then head south to offer a Panama Canal transit in July 2019 – a first for the line.

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Thomson Cruises has revealed plans for a special ’80s-themed music voyage called “Electric Sunsets” on TUI Discovery, departing Newcastle in England on September 1, 2018. Former DJ Sara Cox headline, with a guest appearance from Carol Decker of T’Pau, while Trevor Nelson will also headline.

“Official” construction has begun on Princess Cruises‘ fourth Royal Class ship with a steel-cutting ceremony at Fincantieri’s Monfalcone shipyard in Italy. Actual work began last November in Naples with the construction of a bow section. The as-yet-unnamed ship is scheduled for launch at the end of 2019.

Ireland

CSO figures indicate trips taken by Irish residents are up 7.3pc to 2.119m trips in Q2 2017.

Oliver Kirwan of Elite Event Management says that entries for Quest Achill yesterday were up 25pc to 1,000 from eight countries, the biggest ever event in Achill. Quest Killarney of Saturday October7 will be the biggest one day adventure race of its kind with an anticipated 2,500 participants. There are five routes to choose from, 13km more than last year, including a ‘duathlon’ for those who lack a desire to kayak. Watch here trans-Atlantic rower Gavan Hennigan from Galway, who hosted an information evening in Dublin this week. He is pictured with Travel Extra‘s Eoghan Corry.

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar got a blast from his Tourism Minister past as he marked a milestone in the €233m Center Parcs project in Ballymahon, Co Longford. The centre, due to open in summer 2019, has capacity for up to 2,500 guests. See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.

With British visitors melting away faster than his old snowman pal, it was perhaps apt that celebrated singer Aled Jones, of I’m Walking in the Air fame, is working with Tourism Ireland to promote the country across the water. Catch the full album here of Aled’s visit to Dublin. Catch the full story here.

  • One of the world’s finest travel journalists, Jen Savedra from Canada, caught up with Niall Gibbons. Read here.
  • Think you might have been one of the first Irish to take a working holiday in Australia during the mid-1970s? If so, Tourism Australia wants you to get in touch – with honours at stake. Full story here.
  • Watch here update on the Shannon blueway.

Hotels

Revenue was up, profit was up, but Ireland’s biggest hotel group, Dalata, sounded a warning about the danger of Brexit to Dublin hotels. Full story here.

The boom times aren’t back yet in the Kingdom, warned Kerry Hotels Federation spokesman Tom Randles. Lastt week’s Crowe Horwath Irish hotels report said room rates in the south-west had risen 10pc as the entire country recovered. Mr Randles said Kerry is still a challenged region which suffers from seasonality, while Brexit is also an emerging threat to the sector.

  • Belfast’s 119-room Titanic Hotel officially opens today. The luxury hotel incorporates the former Harland & Wolff Drawing Offices and Headquarters in Belfast’s Titanic Quarter.
  • The owners of the Clontarf Castle hotel in Dublin split another €1m dividend last year, as pre-tax profits there remained steady at €2.5m.
  • A hotel supervisor was punched in the mouth by a man who took exception to the bar being closed at a family party at Cork’s Ambassador Hotel, the Irish Examiner reported.
  • Club Med has announced plans to open its first resort in Sri Lanka. Club Med Ceylon all-inclusive resort is slated for a summer 2019 opening.

Deal Watch

Falcon offers: Dublin to Lanzarote, 7 nights self-catering 3* Tabaiba Apartments, Costa Teguise, from €369, depart January 28, 2018. Cork to Lanzarote, 7 nights all inclusive 4* Flamingo Beach, Playa Blanca, 4*, from €849, depart September 21. Shannon to Lanzarote, 7 nights all inclusive 3* Lanzasur Splash, Playa Blanca, from €659, depart October 2. Dublin to Ibiza, 14 nights self-catering 3* Apartamentos Del Rey, Portinatx, from €299, depart September 21. Dublin to Majorca, 7 nights all inclusive 3* Hotel Lagotel, Playa De Muro, from €659, depart September 20. Dublin to Crete, ‘young and lively’ #NRG 7 nights self-catering 2* Mika Apartments, Piskopiano, from €329, depart October 12. Dublin to Gran Canaria, 7 nights self-catering 3* Villa Del Mar, Patalavaca, from €399, depart October 12. Dublin to Tenerife, 7 nights self-catering 4* Collon II, Playa De Las Americas, from €459, depart October 13. Dublin to Tenerife, 7 nights self-catering 3* Globales Tamaimo Tropical, Puerto De Santiago, from €419, depart January 26, 2018. www.falconholidays.ie, or call 1850 45 35 45

ITAA offers: Dublin to New York with Aer Lingus, 3 nights 4* Wyndham New Yorker, from €499, depart February 2018 with ClickandGo.com: http://itaa.ie/2017/09/06/new-york-city-break-from-e499pp/  Dublin to Toronto, 3 nights 4* hotel, flights and transfers, from €789, depart March 15, 2018, for St Patrick’s weekend with John Galligan Travel. http://itaa.ie/2017/09/06/st-patricks-day-in-toronto-e789/ Dublin to Miami, 4 nights, and Aer Lingus flights with travelcheaper.ie, from €775, depart November 22 for Black Friday shopping. http://itaa.ie/2017/09/05/miami-direct-with-aer-lingus-for-black-friday/

Sunway offers: Dublin to Morocco, 7 nights self-catering 2*-plus Tilila Studios from €389; 2*-plus Intouriste Apts self-catering from €389; 3* Tildi Hotel B&B from €459; 3*-plus Argana Hotel B&B from €489; 3* Oasis Hotel B&B from €489; 4* Kenzi Europa Hotel B&B from €579; 4* Agadir Beach Club Hotel B&B from €689. All departures October 11. Dublin to Las Vegas and Cancun, 7 nights 4* hotels from €1549, depart February 2018. Dublin to Kenya, 7 Day safari Including flights, tax, lodges & safari tour, various meal basis and transfers throughout, from €1879, depart May 2018. Dublin to Barcelona, 7 nights onboard NCL Epic, including premium all-inclusive drinks and gratuities, from €999, depart October 22. Dublin to Southampton, 10 nights onboard Cunard’s Queen Mary 2, with 3-night post-cruise in New York, including flights, from €1380, depart November 5. www.sunway.ie

Topflight offers: Dublin to Adriatic Riviera, 7 days half board 3* Hotel Senior, Cattolica, from €519, depart September 16. Dublin to Adriatic Riviera, 7 days half board 3* Hotel Metropole, Rimini, from €569, depart September 16. Dublin to Lake Garda, 7 days B&B 3* Hotel Eden, Torbole, from €529, depart September 16. Dublin to Venetian Riviera, 7 nights half board 3* Hotel Portofino, Lido di Jesolo, from €599, depart September 16. Dublin to Sorrento, 7 nights B&B 3* Hotel Londra, from €519, depart October 15. Dublin to Sorrento, 7 nights half board 4* Hotel Eliseo Park, from €869, depart September 17. Dublin to Sorrento, 7 nights half board 4* Hotel Conca Park, from €799, depart September 30. Dublin to Sicily, 7 nights B&B Letojanni, from €569, depart September 23, Dublin to Sorrento, 7 nights half board 4*-plus Hotel Bristol, from €1269, depart April 1. Dublin to Sorrento, 7 nights B&B 4* Hotel Astoria, from €899, depart May 27. www.topflight.ie

Thomson offers: Dublin to Majorca, 7 nights onboard Thomson Majesty – Mediterranean Medley Decks 8/9 Outside Cabin full board,  from €869. Cork to Costa Del Sol, 7 nights all inclusive 4* Hotel Polynesia, Benalmadena, from €699pp, depart September 10. Dublin to Majorca, 7 nights self-catering 4* TUI FAMILY LIFE Coma Gran, Sa Coma, from €549, depart September 27. Dublin to Corfu, 7 nights self-catering 3* Roda Oasis, Roda, from €559, depart September 29. Dublin to Crete, 7 nights self-catering 2* Ourania Apartments, Gouves, from €369, depart October 1. Dublin to Tenerife, 7 nights self-catering 4* Colon II, Playa De Las Americas, from €469, depart October 20. Shannon to Lanzarote, 7 nights half board 4* Hesperia Lanzarote, Puerto Calero, from €569, depart October 2. Dublin to Campania, 4 nights half board 3* Hotel Tourist, Sorrento, from €449, depart October 16. Dublin to Tenerife, 7 nights self-catering 4* Colon II, Playa De Las Americas, from €499, depart January 5, 2018. www.thomsonholidays.ie, call 1850 45 35 45

Insight Vacations offers: Reductions on escorted tours booked before September 30, wth destinations including Best of California, WWI Battlefields, Road to Rome, Christmas markets and Best of Morocco. www.insightvacations.com

Uniworld Christmas market offers: Northern France and Paris cruise, from €2,709; Frankfurt, Nuremberg and German villages cruise, from €2,709; Danube Holiday Markets, featuring Budapest, from €2,989. www.uniworld.ie

What we learned.

Despite all our technological advances, it is still possible to lose all communication with the outside world. Just such a thing happened to the Caribbean island of Barbuda for a 12-hour period when Irma hit.

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