Travel Extra’s Sunday Supplement June 30 2013: Yabba-Dabba Do!, Abu Dhabi Just Grew


Yabba-Dabba Do, Abu Dhabi just grew. Today marks the arrival of a bigger craft, the Boeing 777-300ER on the Etihad Airways service from Dublin to Abu Dhabi. The two cabin aircraft is the biggest aircraft in the Etihad Airways fleet, It can carry 412 passengers, with 28 fully flatbed seats in Pearl Business Class and 384 seats in Coral Economy Class, and increases capacity on the route by 34pc The Boeing 777-300ER will operate on the EY45 and EY42 flights into and out of Dublin each week, accounting for six out of the 10 Dublin services operated by Etihad Airways. An Airbus A330-200 will continue to operate on the four EY41 and EY48 flights.


James Hogan, Etihad Airways’ President and CEO (pictured), said: “Since launching flights to Dublin in 2007, Etihad Airways has steadily increased its capacity and flight schedule and to arrive at this moment – placing a B777 on the route – is a great achievement. Passengers can continue to enjoy Etihad Airways world class product and hospitality aboard our newest aircraft, and we look forward to carrying greater numbers of Irish air travellers to Abu Dhabi and beyond.” Pearl Business Class passengers enjoy their own privacy shell and 6 foot 1 inch full flatbed with direct aisle access from every seat. Etihad Airways’ Coral Class offers passengers one of the world’s most spacious and ergonomically designed economy cabin seats.

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Ciara Mooney of Freedom Travel has opened her third shop in Naas Co Kildare. Ciara’s company Freedom Travel, already has retail outlets in Celbridge and Leixlip.

BookaBed has appointed Dubliner Roy McCullagh in Sydney to head up the Irish online accommodation wholesaler’s launch in the Australia and New Zealand markets. Karl Tyrell, Managing Director of BookaBed, said: “The time is now right for expansion down under, MC Photo. 3 copyRoy is past chairman of the Australian Tourism Export council (New South Wales) and has worked with tourism brands including Cunard; Hilton; Starwood and Raffles. Karl Tyrrell MD and Owner of BookaBed said sales have been extremely strong in Ireland where we have around 95pc of all agencies regularly booking. BookaBed’s launch into the UK earlier this year has also driven significant volume and have gone from 180 agencies signed up in Dec 2012 to over 900 agencies by the start of June 2013. Since January they have taken on four new staff including the sales manager in Australia. Overall BookaBed have reported a 100pc increase in sales so far this year compared to 2012.Emirates' Teams compete with the Stars in Irish Open Pro-Am

Emirates, Official Airline of the Irish Open, hosted three of the Pro-Am teams who teed off in advance of the 2013 tournament at Carton House. Jimmy Lennox is pictured with Australia’s Brett Rumford at Carton House.BritishAirways787-0007 copy

Willie Walsh, CEO of IAG, British Airways‘ parent company (second from left) welcomed the airline’s first Boeing 787 Dreamliner to Heathrow. he airline is planning to serve Toronto with the 787 from September 1 and Newark, New York from October 1, subject to regulatory approval.Irish Golf Clubs Tee Off at Irish Open

Representatives from 65 Fáilte Ireland quality assured golf courses from across the country were given a great promotional platform to showcase what they have to offer, at the Irish Open in Carton House. Failte Ireland said satisfaction rates among golf tourists were 94pc and value for money at 83pc.. The agency says 163,000 overseas visitors played golf while in Ireland in 2012, each worth on average €1200 to the economy (two and a half times that of the average tourist).CorkAirport 027 copy

The New Yorker Bar opened at Cork International Airport Hotel. Picture shows Carmel Lonergan, Operations Manager Cork International Airport Hotel, Lord Mayor Cllr John Buttimer, Aaron Manswroth, General Manager, Deputy County Manager Cllr Derry Canty, Kylie Basnett, Sales & Marketing Manager at the Cork International Airport Hotel at the official opening.Simon Daly sept 2012 copy

British Airways Manager for Ireland Simon Daly is taking on extra managerial responsibilities from tomorrow July 1st, taking over Sales and Marketing for Jersey and part of the regional area of the UK, excluding the Greater London area, In addition to Ireland.

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Tad Seestedt from the Ransom distillery in Sheridan, Oregon launched Emerald, a “virtual Irish” whiskey which and latest product in the Oregon craft distillery revolution. The whiskey, which will go on sale in August, is based on an 1865 Irish mash bill and was previewed by food and travel writers, including Travel Extra’s Eoghan Corry, in Oregon this week. Ted is a fan of Irish whiskey and plans to bring some oats notes to his craft distillery. The team will mash, ferment, distill, and bottle one hundred percent of this product by hand at the distillery. Picture shows Art Tierce, Eoghan Corry and Ted Seestedt at the launch.

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Emirates appointed Valerie Murphy (ex-SAS Ireland) to its corporate sales team in Ireland. Valerie has over 23 years’ aviation industry experience, working in the areas of airline operations, sales and marketing, business development and key account management. A marketing graduate, Valerie will support Country Manager Margaret Shannon

The trade paid tribute to José Ramos at a reception hosted by Portuguese Ambassador, Bernardo Futscher during the week. Ambassador Pereira acknowledged the manner in which Jose managed to grow the number of visitors from Ireland during his five years as Director of the Portuguese Tourist Office in Dublin. The new Director of the Portuguese Tourist Office in Ireland is Filipe Silva, who will work from London as Director for Ireland and Britain.DublinZooMangabey03 copy

Dublin Zoo celebrated the birth of two white crowned hangabeys, born just two weeks apart to mothers Monifa and Malull. Dublin Zoo attracted 1,030,000 visitors in 2012, just 58,000 behind its rival for the status as Ireland’s most popular attraction, Guinness Storehouse

  • Croatia is due to join the European Union tomorrow, July 1. Holidays in the country are already considerably up on last year.
  • The ITAA announced a new look to the ITAA website offering the same content with an easier to read format. Log ins and passwords remain the same while the loading of specials offers facilities has been simplified for agents. The ITAA says the change was done with a view to attracting more general public to the site and the Association will be will be promoting the website to the general public.
  • King John’s Castle, Limerick re-opened to the public on Friday following a €5.7m refurb. A tower which affords the highest observation point in Limerick of the Shannon, previously inaccessible to the public, has been opened up. The Great Hall has been made accessible to the public for the first time, with a specially constructed stairway leading people down into the chamber with views of the river. Innovations include touch screen technology, computer generated imagery, 3D models, discovery drawers, a treasure hunt and a siege street. Visitors can try on historic costumes, 18th century dresses or chainmail tunics while costumed characters will roam the site. Treasures uncovered at the Castle during a series of archaeological digs, which began in early 1990, include a pistol dating from the famous 1642 siege period at the castle, a gold stirrup ring dating from the mid to late 13th century,
  • Fáilte Ireland’s Dublin Convention Bureau is organising its second annual ‘Meet Dublin in London’ this week at which 39 Dublin conference and business tourism operators will meet 125 MICE decision makers. The Dublin Convention Bureau is this year celebrating 10 years in operation and continuing to attract high profile events to the city. Over the last four years alone almost €200m of business has been secured for Dublin and a further €57m is being targeted in 2013. the convention bureau has just launched an online summer promotional campaign aimed at English conference organisers via digital marketing campaigns that will run until September. Website features the Dublin Convention Bureau promotional video.
  • Stena Line is to support to the international cycling race, An Post Rás na mBan – Ireland’s premiere stage race for women – the five-day, six stage event runs from September 11 – 15 in County Clare. The winner of each day’s individual stage will wear the distinctive Stena Line Stage Winner’s jersey. The race will be contested by teams from the USA, Denmark, Holland, Belgium, France, and the UK as well as all the top riders from Ireland
  • Ryanair celebrated carrying its 300mth British passenger with a ceremony at Liverpool John Lennon Airport
  • Universal Orlando’s Halloween Horror Nights on select nights from September the 20th to November the 2nd are to feature the new film release The Cabin in the Woods this year.
  • The Eiffel Tower was closed following a two-day walk-out in protest over pay and conditions.
  • British Airways say sparkling waters, a good curry dish and Cadbury’s chocolate are its most requested in-flight food. British Airways has introduced ‘altitude tea’ in partnership with Twinings, which is designed to blend effectively, as water boils at a lower temperature in the air. Requests for peppermint tea have soared and calls for sparkling water have also doubled.
  • Bus Éireann launched its summer tours of the West of Ireland with day trips to Killary Fjord, Kylemore Abbey, and Achill Island.
  • The Department of Transport asked the London Competition Commission to order Ryanair to sell up its 30pc share in Aer Lingus:
  • Amadeus said predictive “big data” has the potential to transform how travel companies deliver services to travelers. Harvard Business School professor Thomas H Davenport (right) interviewed davenportexecutives at 21 companies involved in one way or another in travel, representing a cross-section of airlines, hotel chains and technology companies. He said airlines were early adopters in technology, but “they have not done much for many years,” that the travel industry is at a ‘big data crossroads’, and that businesses must make big data a priority. The study cited xamples of how leading travel firms are making use of big data today: KAYAK‘s price flight forecasting model, which presents customers with the likely change in a flight’s price over a seven-day window, to Air France-KLM’s use of Hadoop. He said his exemplary airline is British Airways for its new personalised service and offers programme, Know Me, which tracks an usual amount of data on individual passengers, their preferences and travel history. To download a copy of the report and see an interactive infographic, See the New York times blog: Why the Airline Industry Needs Another Data Revolution
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  • Sunway USA is offering agents two opportunities to win €500 this Independence Day by emailing and registering for the competition and to receive your USA decorations pack to dress your shop for 4th July. When the shop is all stars and stripes take a photo and send it back to for a chance to win €500. Sunway USA will also give €500 cash to the agency who makes the most USA bookings on British Airways flights from June 28th to July 4th.


  • Indian food and travel TV show, Will Travel for Food, was supported by Tourism Ireland in filming at BrookLodge and Macreddin Village in Co Wicklow, the Baileys Farm in Tinahely, the “Art Tea” at the Merrion Hotel, the Irish House Party on Francis Street, Gallagher’s Boxty House in Temple Bar, Morans Oyster Cottage near Kilcolgan and Ard Bia at Nimmos restaurant in Galway and Bunratty Folk Park in Co Clare. The resulting programme will air to over 2m TV viewers around India later this year on NDTV 24x.

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  • Billionairess animal lover Madeleine Pickens has dedicated a 90 square mile ranch in Nevada in a bid to save the wild mustang of North America. A luxury guest house will open there in 2014 offering guests fine dining by famous western chef Robert McGrath, desert experiences and chances to encounter the beautiful wild horses up lose and personal.  Pictures shows Madeleine offering Travel Extra’s Eoghan Corry a preview of the project.
  • Carnival Cruise Line announced that Micky Arison is being replaced as CEO. Arison, 63, had held the post since 1979, and will continue as chairman of the board.
  • A rock face in an abandoned quarry in the Songjiang district, near Shanghai in China is to be transformed into a €400m, five-star Intercontinental hotel. Its centrepiece will be a 100-metre-high waterfall that will cascade from the hotel roof down to an atrium on the ground floor and be visible from bedroom windows. Two of the hotel’s 19 storeys with be submerged. The hotel is expected to open in late 2014, with rooms costing around €200 a night.
  • Delta Air Lines has closed on its deal to buy a 49pc stake in Richard Branson’s Virgin Atlantic Airways. The move stops short of a full merger of the two carriers. The tie-up is expected to bring pooled flight options and reciprocal frequent-flier benefits.
  • Golestan Palace, a walled complex in Tehran with extensive gardens and a pool; the historic monuments of Kaesong in North Korea, some of which date from the 10th century; and Mount Fuji were among 22 new sites granted UNESCO World Heritage status this week. UNESCO now lists nearly 1,000 places around the world as heritage sites, a designation that usually attracts increased funding for conservation and a rise in visitors.
  • Parisian Hotel Plaza Athénée’s is to shut for eight months to undergo a refurbishment. It will close on October 1, 2013, and reopen in May 2014.
  • Passengers arriving on a British Airways flight will be allowed to turn on mobile phones as soon as their aircraft has left the runway from Monday. Until now, BA has insisted they wait until the aircraft doors have opened.
  • The Fairmont Baku in Azerbaijan was opened by Fairmont Hotels & Resorts this week within the Flame Towers, the country’s tallest building complex made of three giant columns set on the highest part of the city of Baku. The 36-floor hotel offers picturesque views over Baku and the Caspian Sea.
  • The Shangri-La Hotel in Paris opened its new, botanically-inspired space, the Garden Wing, featuring a landscaped French garden. Each guestroom faces either the Art Deco-era Palais d’Iéna or the Eiffel Tower.
  • Tour operators say Lourdes is open for business despite what they claim are exaggerated claims made by the Association of Independent Tour Operators that it won’t be open to tourism this summer following recent floods. South-west France was hit by the worst floods in a century this month, leaving tens of thousands of pilgrims unable to visit. “The Rosary Basilica, the Grotto and its two nearby bridges plus the St Bernadette Church complex have already re-opened. Other places of worship will take longer, including the Pius X underground Basilica, St Joseph’s Chapel and the Baths.  Joe Walsh Tours carry the majority of the Irish pilgrims who travel to Lourdes each year.
  • United Airlines says 64,000 of its workers across the globe began wearing new uniforms last Tuesday. The new look, which “features accents of blue, gold, silver and gray,” will be worn by flight attendants and customer service agents. United pilots also will be getting new uniforms later this year. The pilots’ new attire will feature “the traditional midnight blue color with gold stripes and accents.”

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  • The National Famine Museum at Strokestown Park, Roscommon was officially re-opened on Monday by its Patron, President of Ireland, Michael D. Higgins. Picture shows President Higgins and his wife Sabina viewing some of the displays with Jim Callery and his wife Adeline.
  • Contiki Holidays ( launched its new USA & Canada 2013 – 2015 brochure with two new epic itineraries. The USA is now Con Tiki’s number one destination from Ireland and increases in sales of 30pc over last year, Contiki new itineraries include The Big West and The Powder Rush.
  • Abbey Travel launched its Germany v  Ireland on October 11th, for €495 plus €70 tax.
  • What we learned this week: When the temperature hits 51-52 degrees in a rental car the air conditioning in a rental car is unable to cope. Temperatures reached 54 degrees in Death Valley on Saturday, within a furnace roar of the record 58 digress it hit a century ago.


  • Lowcostbeds are offering seat-only’s (excluding bags) on their new charter to Palma for €119 on July 6th and 13th and €174 pp on July 20th
  • Ciaran Muligan’s Blue Insurances is offering discounts of 10pc off our Car Hire Excess cover
  • British Airways in Ireland seat sale will remain on sale until 16th July 2013. Travel is from 15th September until 27th March 2014.
  • Hilton HHonors is encouraging travellers to save with The Great Getaway by offering discounts of up to 40pc off room rates across its European hotels until September 1st
  • Europcar, Europe’s largest car rental company, has launched a competitive range of low, fixed cost portable wifi products aimed at reducing data roaming charges for its Irish customers both at home and abroad.
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