TRAVEL Extra’s Sunday Supplement March 6 2016: Here we go again, Travel agent commission reduced




Morning flakes at Dublin airport, March 4 2016

Morning flakes at Dublin airport, March 4 2016

6 things to know about travel this week:

  • Registration open for Irish Travel Industry Trade Show
  • Falcon Holidays reduce commission to 5pc
  • Buoyant mood at biggest IHF conference in recent years
  • Travel writers visit The Soll in Tyrol
  • Brittany Ferries brief the press
  • Bressie speaks at Travel Counsellors’ Irish conference

Travel Extra TV

video of the week march 6 2016Our video of the week has seriously got the cute factor. This clumsy panda was a little too keen for these bamboo leaves. Watch here.

  • Introducing a new sport from our Canadian canine friends: Curling for dogs. Watch here.
  • A father and daughter have a close encounter with a shark. Watch here.
  • This barman at Finnegan’s Irish bar in New Jersey flips three pints of Guinness — and necks the last one. Quite a feat. Don’t try this one at home. Watch here.
  • A frightening moment: People swimming in Kiama rock pool, New South Wales get hit by a series of unexpected waves. Watch here.
  • Look at these naughty baboons climbing on top of a car at Knowsley Safari. Watch here.
  • When they were expecting a baby, this couple traveled from Tanzania to the USA to give birth in the states. They put together a photo collage of their journey. Watch here.
  • A spectacular meteor temporarily lit up the night sky in Scotland. Watch here.

Behind the Headlines

Trade show logoRegistration is now open for the Irish Travel Industry Trade Show, Thursday April 7, which has 112 exhibitors including a NEW Portuguese Pavilion made up of 18 companies, and has a waiting list. The one-day event will include a lunch hosted by the Spanish Tourist Board, the ITAA AGM sponsored by Travelport and a BBQ with entertainment sponsored by Aer Lingus. Registration for the Irish Travel Industry Trade Show is sponsored by Dublin Airport. April 7: 11am: Travelsavers and Worldchoice management meetings, 12.30-2pm: Spanish Tourist Board (Madrid and Iberia Express) sponsored lunch for invited Travel Agents and ITAA AGM attendees, 2pm: Opening of Irish Travel Industry Trade Show, 3pm: ITAA AGM sponsored by Travelport, 7pm: BBQ & entertainment sponsored by Aer Lingus.

Travel Extra’s Eoghan Corry will be speaking of the impact of the 1916 Rising on the travel trade at the time during the lunch which will follow the AGM of Skal in Radisson Blu St Helen’s on Tuesday next, 12.30pm. Lunch is €30 for members and €35 for guests.

chirs logan h&s copyFalcon Holidays reduced commission to 5pc for a further tranche of travel agents during the week. In a statement, Chris Logan, Falcon’s Head of Ireland (pictured)  said: “I can confirm that we have undertaken a review of the commercial agreements with our travel agent partners and have begun communications with them this week. The contents of these agreements are private and confidential between our two businesses. Travel agents are and will continue to be an important part of our distribution strategy and we are committed to working with them into the future.” Pat Dawson of the ITAA said the move made Falcon sales unprofitable, as a travel agent needs 7pc to break even.

IHF joe Dolan speaks 600

Delegates who gathered in Killarney for the biggest Irish Hotels Federation conference in recent years were in buoyant mood. A pre conference survey found 82pc seeing an increase in business so far this year compared with 2015 and 80pc reporting an increase in advance bookings for remainder of 2016. IHF issues raised this week included the don photographing stephen jim joe copyaverage insurance premium hike of 20pc for the hotels sector. New IHF president Joe Dolan (pictured above speaking at the gala dinner) called for additional funding for tourism marketing and product development, a capital budget of €300m for tourism-specific projects over a five year period and restoration of funding for Fáilte Ireland and Tourism Ireland. Picture shows Don MacMonagle photographing outgoing president Stephen McNally, keynote speaker Jim McGuinness and  incoming president Joe Dolan. Listen here to the speech of minister Paschal Donohoe at the gala awards.

aiden murphy with screenStephen McNally Joe Dolan 300Highlights of the conference were the Hotel Industry Performance and Trends featuring Tom Barrett of Savills, Sarah Duignan of STR Global and Aiden Murphy of Crowe Horwath (pictured) while Irish tourism’s two leading CEOs, Shaun Quinn of Fáilte Ireland and Niall Gibbons of Tourism Ireland shared a platform for the first time. Liveliest discussion of the event was for the was the OTA session with Jason Grist of playing the fall guy for the assembled hoteliers, engaging outgoing president Stephen McNally on the issue of commission. Helena Egan of Trip Advisor was victim to a delayed flight and missed the session. The IHF say 69pc of hoteliers are looking to take on additional staff over the next 12 months and 64pc of hotels and guesthouses increased staffing levels in 2015. Picture is of Stephen McNally and Joe Dolan.

paul carty president's award copyPaul Carty was the popular recipient of the President’s Award at the IHF conference in Killarney. Listen here to the citation and listen here to Paul’s acceptance speech. Picture is of Joe Dolan, Aggie Carty, Stephen McNally, Minister Paschal Donohoe, Tim Fenn and Paul Carty. See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.

Group Soll toboggan March 4 2016 copyThe Soll resort in Tyrol showcased its recent developments to a group of Irish travel writers. Soll anita laura_4979 copyis one of the most popular destinations for Irish skiers and this year’s developments include three new lifts: the €25m 10-seat Hartkaiserbahn, featuring a new restaurant and après ski facility, the Jochbahn , the quickest 8 seater on the mountains, and the Scherntannbahn, a six seater with child safety features. A new lift in 2016-17 promised to be “a special experience” says Anita Baumgartner of Skiwelt ski area, and a new offline navigation app will offer slope options and directions to skiers who are indulging the 280km of slopes. Anita is pictured with Laura Zoebele who conducted the media on a guided tour of the igloo village, which includes a 30-capacity wedding chapel , and eight room igloo hotel and a full service restaurant and bar. Anita says that while bookings form other markets slowed this winter, those form Ireland held up and even increased. Ireland holds a 5pc share of the market in the resort, behind Germany (43pc), Netherlands (23pc), England (10pc) and Denmark (6pc). Picture above shows the group tobogganing at Hoch Soll: Michael Cahill of 2FM, Niall O’Connor of the Irish Independent (obscured), Dave Gibson of 2FM, Cormac Battle of 2FM, Trudi Mason of AE Consulting, Victoria Gruber of Soll Tourism, Rick O’Shea of RTE, Eoghan Corry of Travel Extra, Siobhan McGarry of Downtown Radio, Joan Scales of the Irish Times, Aileen Eglington of AE Consulting (back), Annely Kohli of AE Consulting (front), Sharon Delaney of 2FM. And yes the parting glass was sung. See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.

an post shannon groupAn Post and Shannon Heritage hosted 25 journalists at an advance preview of the €10m GPO Witness History permanent visitor attraction at the GPO Witness History visitor center in Dublin, March 1 2016. The attraction, to commemorate the events of Easter 1916, is set to be opened March 25 by An Taoiseach, and March 29 to the public. An Post’s Head of Corporate Communications, Anna McHugh, says the attraction is the culmination of more than five years’ planning and hard work by historians, architects, construction, design, IT display and project teams. Picture shows Anna McHugh, General Manager of GPO Witness History Aline FitzGerald, and Head of Communications at Shannon Group plc Nandi O’Sullivan. See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.

wales eventThis St David’s Day, Jane Harris and Bethan Wicks of Visit Wales briefed travel journalists about The Year of Adventure, at Chapter One restaurant in Dublin. New attractions have been introduced for The Year of Adventure 2016, including a deep mine tour, a coastal wellbeing retreat in Aberdovey, star gazing in Snowdonia, and the re-launch of Cardiff Taste Tours. See more pictures here or connect to the album on Facebook.

Lisa McAuley Paul Charles Natalie_4604 copyLisa McAuley of Silversea hosted travel media at Chapter One with the news that Silver Muse is to call at three Irish ports, Waterford, Cobh and Galway in its inuaugural season in 2017, before its inaugural trans Atlantic sailing to Montreal in Canada. Silver Explorer, Silver Wind and Silver Whisper are to visit Ireland in 2016. Lisa said Ireland has grown “by double digits” as a source market for Silversea in 2016 and the cruise line was looking at the prospect of direct pick-ups in Ireland, which it discontinued some years ago, as it was anxious to promote bespoke cruise itineraries where possible. See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.

travel counsellorsGuest speaker at last weekend’s Travel Counsellors Irish conference in Powerscourt was Niall Breslin (Bressie), coach on the Voice of Ireland TV show and passionate mental health campaigner. As well as the 60 Irish-based Travel Counsellors, 55 business partners exhibited at a speed-marketing Pow Wow session. Sinead Lonergan from Westmeath was winner of the Best Newcomer Award, Picture shows Ciara MacConnell, Cathy Burke, Niall Breslin, Caitriona Kelleher, Bernie Whelan and Rachael O’Connell at the Travel Counsellors Ireland conference. See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.

mike berens brittany ferriesBrittany Ferries hosted the Irish media at Mulberry Gardens, where a French-style menu was served up as a piano player provided a sample of the music performed on sailings. Mike Bevens, commercial director (pictured), said that 2015 was the best year across all routes. Bookings are up 24pc. Routes are filling up quickly with passengers booking early this year. BAI Ireland GM Hugh Bruton told Travel Extra’s Conor McMahon that Cork to Roscoff is booking up fast, but there is still availability. Pont Aven is currently in dry dock, the last ship in the fleet to be fitted with scrubbers. Mike Berens claimed that after the €12m investment, which he likened to open heart surgery, she will be the most environmentally friendly ship sailing from Ireland.

ivan gonzalo esther group copyAer Lingus, Murcia and the Spanish Tourist Board hosted 45 agents and media at one of the best supported trade events in recent times to publicise Aer Lingus’s new 4w Murcia service between March 27 and October 29. Murcia has 50,000 tourist beds, 22 golf courses, four main cities and the famous Costa Calida coastline. Pictures shows Ivan Beacom of Aer LIngus, Gonzalo Ceballos of Spanish Tourist Board with Manuel Fernández-Delgado and Esther Garcia from Murcia Tourism. See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.

GTI catherine dermot derek GTI copyPicture shows Catherine Bookle, Dermot Curran, and Derek Keogh of GTI  at Artillery Wood cemetery in Flanders, they hosted a group of Irish media and travel trade to showcase tour relating to the centenary of the Battle of the Somme. Four-day tours are on offer from €667pp. It was a somewhat emotional tour with some members of the party being introduced to the graves of fallen ancestors. See the next print edition of Travel Extra for a full account. See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.

The CAPA Airlines in Transition Summit in Dublin this week will feature what pronises to be a lively discussion on whether FSCs can regain their short haul markets from LCCs (Travel Extra contends the answer is no). Gordon Wilson, President & CEO of Travelport is among the speakers, which will include Stephen Kavanagh, Conor McCarthy, Pat Byrne, Kevin Toland, Simon McNamara and Tony Tyler.

Travel Trade

Elaine Massey prize copyElaine Massey of Killiney Travel won Travel Corporation’s January & February agent incentive of €1,000 for her and €1,000 off her client’s holiday. The incentive was open to all bookings of Insight Vacations, Uniworld River Cruise, and Contiki Holidays. Elaine won for a booking with Uniworld River Cruise.

Riviera travel group 001 copyPicture shows agents hosted by Riviera Travel on board MS Jane Austen: Grainne Dunne of Riviera Travel, Paula Cross of Platinum Travel, Moyra O’Donoghue of Roscrea Travel, Lisa Warren of Killiney Travel, Karen Byrne of Best4Travel, Catherine Myler of Newbridge Travel and Stephen Sands of Riviera Travel. Riviera are launching four new all suite ships in 2017 to commence sailings in early April 2017 on the Rhine and the Danube named for authors: MS Emily Brontë, MS Thomas Hardy, and MS Oscar Wilde, and the 126 passenger MS Douro Elegance on the River Douro.

pamel brownlee h&s copyPamela Brownlee’s new brand Cruisesforyou will launch on Tuesday next with a programme of events that includes a live broadcast between 11am and 1pm on Mid West radio. Jenny rafter will be on hand with a consumer prize of a two night cruise ex Barcelona on June 5 on Royal Caribbean’s brand new Harmony of the Seas, which can be entered via

Celebrity Cruises is supplying their sales team with drinks props to use with agents in social media selfies for the chance win one of ten Prosecco hampers. Post their picture using the hashtag #CelebrityLovesAgents before March 31 to be in with a chance to win a prosecco hamper. Celebrity is offering training webinars and a selling guide tool kit for frontline agents. Celebrity incentives include free drinks packages and savings when booking an Oceanview category or above before May 3. Agents registered to the Celebrity Rewards scheme have the opportunity to earn a bonus £20 worth of rewards points when they make a booking for Celebrity Eclipse and Celebrity Reflection 2016 European sailings before May 3 2016.

Italia 90 was the theme of Topflight’s Copper Face Jacks Ski Trip to Arinsal, with the distinctive sound of Ole, Ole, Ole ringing through the Irish pub The Derby, and souvenir limited edition jerseys for the 200 participants.

BA and American Holidays are inviting agenrs to enter a competition to join seven mega-fams across the USA. Agents should register bookings made to the USA made with BA and American, complete the Megafam airlines badges and pass them to the USA Discovery programme.

SAS has signed up to Travelport Rich Content and Branding. Additionally, Travelport agents can now book additional ancillaries for the airline, paid bags and paid meals.

Classic Collection Holidays, headed up in Ireland by Niall McDonnell, are offering holidaymakers free access to the executive lounge at Dublin Airport for Summer 2016 bookings during the month of March. Lounge access for the full party travelling will be included free of charge.

The Mayor of Ards & North Down, Alderman Alan Graham, and Sandra Corkin, MD of Oasis Travel are pictured (centre) at the opening to the new Oasis Travel Bangor branch with the Bangor team (l-r) Jill McBurney, Heather Mitchell, Manager Lynn Jamison, Nicola Ferris, Melanie Harper and Deborah Stewart.Picture shows Sandra Corkin of Oasis Travel at the official opening (by the Mayor of North Down) of the chain’s new Bangor branch with the Bangor team, Deborah Stewart, Heather Mitchell, Manager Lynn Jamison, Melanie Harper, Nicola Ferris and Jill McBurney.

CLIA launched their travel agent programme into Spain.

Amadeus 2015 full year results revealed a 14.5pc increase in revenue and growth in both its Distributions and IT Solutions businesses. Air travel agency bookings are up 8.3pc to 505.0m. Passengers Boarded are up 7.5pc to 747.3m.

qantas pyjamas copyTravel agents can win the best business class pyjamas in the skies (yes, Travel Extra has tried most of them) in the Great Qantas Giveaway prize draw. Big prizes inlcude a pair of return Business Class tickets from London Heathrow to Sydney or Melbourne, £1000 worth of Qantas flight vouchers, £500 Love2Shop vouchers, £100 Love2Shop vouchers and the aforementioned pyjamas (pictured).

Jennifer Guiver of Santa Monica Travel and Tourism is highlighting the upcoming metro station opening in Santa Monica on May 20th.

Declan Hughes of Flycruisestay is working on a side project with the band Queen and the Tanzania Tourist Board to honour Freddie Mercury in Zanzibar (listen here).

Travel Department launched its 2016 opera programme. Once again, RTÉ Lyric fm’s Marty Whelan will return to Italy, introducing guests to operas in Lake Garda, Tuscany and Sorrento. See Deal Watch for more.

SAS signed up for Travelport’s travel commerce platform.


Rumours of the sale of the DIT Cathal Brugha Street campus to the Gresham may be premature. The 32-room Gresham has a large site with the footprint for 120 more rooms and has no interest in further acquisition. They did, however, take a look at the site, so is there a spot of liebensraum in north Dublin.’s hotel price index claimed Irish hotel prices rose 15pc in 2015 to €118 per night, with Dublin rates up 20pc to €129. Waterford was Ireland’s most affordable destination at €84 per night. The IHF says accounts for just 8pc of bookings in Ireland.

SHERATON HOTEL EDINBURGHBelmond appointed JP Kavanagh as GM of Belmond Grand Hibernian, the first luxury rail experience of its kind in Ireland, launching in August 2016. Kavanagh joins from Doyle Collection’s Kensington Hotel in London.

Lough Rynn commissioned PR firm Murray Consultants to put a value on the free publicity the hotel gained from the Brian O’Driscoll-Amy Huberman wedding “and it was in excess of €1m”.

Blathnaid McGroarty_4481 copyAlso at the IHF conference in Killarney. Dobiquity (website) offers four apps, a mystery shopper app, employee survey app, customer survey app and training feedback app which they say generate savings and ease quality control for hotels. Picture shows business development manager Bláthnaid McGorarty in Killarney.

Anantara celebrated their 15th anniverary, the first Anantara resort in Hua Hin, which opened its doors a decade and a half ago on 4 March 2001 and now have a portfolio of 35 luxury hotels and resorts in 11 countries around the world.

La Chartreuse a new 5-star manoir in Calès will open in June.

Hotel Kämp, part of the Finnish group Kämp Collection Hotels, became a member of The Leading Hotels of the World.

Hilton Worldwide scrapped its trial $50 anytime cancellation fee at selected hotels.

Hyatt Hotels launched a new brand, the Unbound Collection by Hyatt.


The World Travel & Tourism Council announced the programme for its Global Summit in Dallas, April 6-7, to tackle travel security, collaborative economy, oil price and exchange rate impacts and the balance between technology and human interaction.

Universal Orlando revealed the itinerary for their new ride Skull Island: Reign Of Kong is to start at a campsite of the 8th Wonder Expedition Company, follows beating drums to an ancient temple where passengers board a specially designed expedition vehicle to an enormous temple wall which opens into a labyrinth of caves where rider meet creatures of incomprehensible size and ferocity.

Rovaniemi the agreed (by treaty) home town of Santa Claus reported a record tourist season triggering new accommodation options. The existing 37 semi-detached cottages, 74 apartments the size of a large hotel room with a total of 296 beds, will be accompanied by 12 new cottages (24 apartments, 96 beds) this Christmas. For Christmas 2017, another 11 cottages (22 apartments, 88 beds) will be constructed increasing the total number of beds in Santa Claus Holiday Village to 480 by the end of next year, Arctic Light Hotel has become a Scandinavian icon since its opening and it will be followed by Arctic TreeHouse Hotel, Hostel Café Koti, and new glass igloos.

wendy wuTo coincide with the Kung Fu Panda 3 movie launch, Wendy Wu Tours has launched a dedicated private family tour to China, the ‘Family Panda Adventure’. Offers include a free BA upgrade available until March 14. Agents who book a tour flying with Emirates before March 31 can win a €100 Brown Thomas voucher.

Earth’s Edge is running a when to climb Kili? webinar next Wednesday, March 9th @ 7pm. Register here.

The pay-what-you-like policy at New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art will be spelled out more clearly under a settlement of a class-action lawsuit that challenged the museum’s $25 “recommended” admission.

Disney is following Universal’s lead by introducing a three tiered admission system – value, regular and peak.

There was a new warning of a possible terror attack in Germany.

Circle Line Sightseeing Cruises announced the arrival of two new ships.

Guinness World Records certified the world’s longest zip line in Puerto Rico.

NYC & Company directed tourists who enjoy Brooklyn Bridge to newly re-opened High Bridge, New York City’s oldest standing bridge, that connects the neighbourhoods of Washington Heights in Manhattan and Highbridge in the Bronx.

Cornwall’s patron Saint St Piran was celebrated with activities and events across Cornwall yesterday March 5.

Theme park operator Six Flags partnered with Samsung to open a virtual reality roller coaster.

A new app by the French weather agency warns skiers of the risk of avalanches in resorts in France and Andorra.

Alton Towers Smiler copyAlton Towers will reopen the Smiler rollercoaster in three weeks. It was closed last year after a crash left 16 people injured, five of them seriously.

Netflix launched a major promotion, offering those with a flair for taking pictures on Instagram $2,000 a week to travel around Europe visiting the sets of films and TV programmes available on the streaming service.

Food and Wine

Tickets are now on sale for the BBC Good Food Show Northern Ireland on October 14-16, one of the highlights of the north’s year of food and drink programme.

Guests on Celebrity Cruises’ European holidays during summer 2016 are invited to visit food markets and specialist producers in destinations accompanied by a chef from on-board the ship.


ryanairThere were some surprises as Ryanair launched their winter schedule from their new base at Belfast International, going head to head with EasyJet with seven new routes to Alicante, Berlin, Krakow, Lanzarote, Malaga, Milan and Tenerife, and Gatwick increased to five daily.

IAG Group traffic in February was up 15.8pc measured in Revenue Passenger Kilometres. Capacity rose 14pc. British Airways its to fly form Stansted from this summer, its fourth London airport. Aer Lingus’s RPK was 846 and ASK 1,168.

Ryanair’s cabin crew recruitment agency Dalmac is holding recruitment days in Belfast on March 8 and Dublin on March 11.

IMG_1377Ethiopian Airlines CEO Tewolde Gebremariam will be keynote speaker at the wings club in Dublin on Thursday. Picture shows Tewolde and Michael Johannes of Ethiopian’s Irish operation.

Dublin airport is sponsoring a three-day Hackathon at DCU’s Alpha Innovation Campus on April 15-17.

Ryanair February traffic was up 28pc to 7.4m customers, load factor up an impressive four points to 93.

CarTrawler was appointed exclusive ground transportation provider to Emirates.

London’s Advertising Standards Authority found that eDreams advertising on Google was “misleading” consumers and breached the CAP code. Ryanair issued an exulatory stement.

The Egyptian Government has reached an agreement with the central bank over paying foreign airlines on repatriation of earning.

Sarah Toal (20) from Beaumont Dublin was the winner of the Aer Lingus competition to Star in your own LA Story, run in partnership with TV3. Aer Lingus is offering a lead in fare of €299 each-way to celebrate the new 4w service which starts May 4.

turkish cargo feb 2016 copyPicture shows Adnan Cetinkaya of Turkish Cargo Ireland and Patrick Edmond of Shannon Aviation Services Centre with the first horses to arrive in Shannon on a scheduled cargo flight for many years. Turkish Cargo, which operates three weekly cargo services from Istanbul to Shannon which then continue to Chicago (once a week), Atlanta (once a week) and New York (once a week).

cityjet kinsale sevens copyCityJet was named official airline of Kinsale rugby sevens.

Dublin Airport was rated number one in its size category for customer service by Airports Council International.

An American official claimed that debris that washed up in Mozambique has been tentatively identified as a part from the same type of aircraft as the missing Malaysia Airlines Flight 370.

America’s big three carriers applied for Cuba flights.

England’s Civil Aviation Authority warned that a surge in air-rage incidents in the past few days and weeks could force the sale of alcohol on flights. Most spectacularly, an English stasg party.

An American Airlines flight attendant is facing charges that allege he started a fire in an airplane bathroom as the flight from Dallas approached Detroit.

Jet2 announced additional summer flights from Belfast to Ibiza.

Turkish Airlines announced a billion dollar level profit level for the first time in its history.

Ethiopian Airlines launched their new Summer schedule for Africa and US West Coast.

British Airways launched their new hypnotherapy channel, England’s first hypnotherapy sessions in the air.

It is official. The Red Arrows are coming to Bray aviation show.

Finnair will turn Runway 2 at Helsinki Airport into a catwalk for A Match Made in HEL fashion show.

A Dublin-bound Aer Lingus flight was evacuated at Paris after fireworks were discovered on board. They are thought to have been brought on board by a group of children on school tour.

Qatar Airways was awarded platinum status in the IATA fast track programme.

AWAS appointed David Siegel as chief executive. He will join in April.

IAG appointed Javier Sánchez-Prieto as chairman and CEO of Vuelling.

AWAS leased an additional B767-300ER to Boliviana de Aviacion.

Coitus in the clouds? A survey by Jetcost claimed that one fifth of cabin crew have joined the mile-high club.


Royal Caribbean unveiled its On Sale Now incentive available until May 2 and 2017 preview brochure for Irish holidaymakers. 2017 itineraries include: Independence of the Seas new Northern Europe sailings including new port Rotterdam, Jewel of the Seas new Western Med sailings from Rome, Vision of the Seas sailings from Amsterdam and a new Western Europe sailing Explorer of the Seas sailings and Radiance of the Seas new seven-night sallings including Alaska. On Sale Now savings offer up to €1,200 off suites and up to €600 off other staterooms.

Disney Cruises entered into a memorandum of agreement with the Meyer Werft shipyard in Germany to deliver two new 1,250 stateroom ships. The schedule calls for the new ships to be completed in 2021 and 2023.

National Ferry Fortnight which gets underway this weekend is placing emphasis on those who have yet to experience ferry travel, or haven’t taken a trip in recent years.

norwegian joyNorwegian Cruise Line named the first purpose-built liner for the Chinese market Norwegian Joy, translating into Chinese as 喜悦号 (Xǐ Yuè Hào). The new Breakaway Plus-class vessel will debut in China in Summer 2017.

AIDAprima, the 11th ship in the AIDA fleet, will commence seven-day round trips to Western European cities such as London, Paris, Brussels and Amsterdam in advance of its naming in Hamburg on May 7 as the climax of the 827th Hamburg port anniversary festival.

MSC Cruises launched a new wellness experience powered by technogym. Irish prices have not been finalised yet.


Loftus Hall 1Unusual anniversary of the week: The haunted Loftus Hall on Hook Head, Co Wexford is to celebrate its 666th anniversary with a restored walled garden, new interactive Visitors Centre and the Raymond Le Gros Norman Festival. Last year, Travel Extra’s Conor McMahon visited the house last Halloween night.

Center Parcs were granted permission by Longford County Council for the development of the €233m Center Parcs holiday village in Ballymahon. Planning application details here.

ITIC prepared a briefing paper on Brexit (an abbreviation of British Exit) saying it could have far-reaching consequences for Irish tourism if passed. A paper prepared in London this week stated that border and customs controls would be installed on the borders of the six counties should the “no” vote win on June 23.

Heritage Island launched their programme for 2016 including a new website which profiles member attractions and events, tour ideas and a new ticket shop.

Kathryn Thomas’s Pure Results Bootcamp is to open in a second location in Parknasilla in Sneem, Co Kerry from April and May in a second location to be confirmed from June to September 2016. Last summer’s bootcamp was on the Beara peninsula.

SALES BLITZ TO BOOST AMERICAN TOURISTSTwenty tourism companies took part in the Tourism Ireland sales blitz to Chicago, Boston and New York meeting with more 200 travel agents and 80 travel and lifestyle journalists. Alison Metcalfe, Tourism Ireland’s Head of North America said her ambition for 2016 is to grow visitor numbers from the United States by a further 7pc. Picture shows Billy Condon (centre), Ruth Moran (fifth right), Rachel Sweeney (fourth right) and Hillarie McGuinness (back, third left) at the ‘Jump into Ireland event in Boston.

SALES BLITZ TO BOOST CANADIAN VISITORS TO THE ISLAND OF IRELANDEleven tourism companies from Canada and Ireland took part in a sales blitz to Toronto, Hamilton and Ottawa. Picture shows Dana Welch, Tourism Ireland; Sinéad McGowan, Lough Eske Castle; Ron Lonsdale and Brett Walker, both Collette Vacations; Mairéad Cullen, Fitzpatrick Castle Hotel; Sinéad McDermott, Leitrim Tourism; Steve Royston, The Irish Tourism Group; Elizabeth Scanlon, CIE Tours International; Paul Shortall, Lough Erne Resort; Crothur Murphy, Crafted Ireland; Liam Griffin, Griffin Hotel Group; and Jonathan Sargeant, Tourism Ireland, at the ‘Ireland Always in Season’ workshop in Hamilton.

Caragh Nurseries in Caragh, Co Kildare highlighted the creation of their newly opened £10m spa garden at Galgorm Resort & Spa in Antrim.

Guinness Storehouse‘s tenth annual St Patrick’s Festival on March 16-20 (open 9.30am to 6.00pm) will feature live performances from their own house band; a daily céilí and evening performances by Dublin group Na Fíanna on the 16th, 17th and 18th (from 5pm). Visiting marching bands will pace the building on the 17th itself and there will be pop up entertainment outside and throughout the building across the festival dates. They are offering complimentary canapes paired with samples of new Guinness innovations throughout the festival.

Conferences confirmed for Dublin in spring 2016 include the World Institute of Pain, European Cities Marketing TIO Expert Meeting, Junior Chambers International European Presidents Meeting and the World Congress of Psycho Oncology.

Mayor of London Boris Johnson announced details of this year’s St Patrick’s Day Parade and Festival on Sunday March 13, including top Irish talent in Trafalgar Square and on the Tube network, a movie premiere, an Irish street food market and a Céilí.

A three-day Kerry in 1916 tour (€375pps) led by historians Tommy Martin and William Sheehan will feature guided excursions to Kerry’s landmark 1916 sites and evening lectures and discussions.

The Tourism Ireland float in the Sydney St Patrick’s Day parade will be led by Panti Bliss.

Dundrum on Ice, sponsored by Tesco Mobile, opens March 11.

Ciara Sugrue,Fáilte Ireland and Paul Carty, Guinness Storehouse with the Chinese tour operators in DublinA group of 100 tour operators and 15 media from China visited Dublin this week. Their itinerary included Trinity College, St Patrick’s Cathedral, the Docklands developments and the Convention Centre Dublin. Their whistle stop tour concluded with a tour of the Guinness Storehouse with Ciara Sugrue of Fáilte Ireland and Paul Carty (pictured).

A delegation of German business and conference buyers visited Dublin this week to tour the capital and visit Ireland’s Ancient East. Their itinerary included a networking breakfast in the Marker Hotel, where they med the Irish inbound trade and representatives from Fáilte Ireland and Tourism Ireland.

The LA Times listed Skellig Michael as one of its top film locations to visit.

Doolin Writers Weekend 2016 (8)The 4th annual Doolin Writers Weekend continues throughout today (March 5) with book launches, workshops and readings by leading writers including Joseph O’Connor, Lia Mils and Stephen Murray.

The GOP Witness History exhibition will be added to the Dublin Pass when it opens on March 29.

The National Transport Authority issued a limited edition, commemorative 1916 Leap Card, priced at €10 and offering 24 hours of travel in Dublin for a family of up to six people.

morrissey dublinHe was looking for a job and then he found a job — but heaven knows he’s miserable now. Former Smiths frontman Morrissey was spotted pouring pints in Dublin this weekend. No stranger to the city, Morrissey — whose solo hits include ‘Irish Blood English Heart’ —  was born to Irish parents in Manchester and is a cousin of Robbie Keane.

irish travel industry trade show banner

Deal Watch

Ethiopian Airlines lead in fares Dublin to Los Angeles are €427 (of which taxes are €300) and to Cape Town / Durban / Johannesburg / Nairobi €488 (of which €403 are taxes). Ethiopian flies 3w to LA and Addis Adaba.

Killester Travel launched three one day trip packages for Euro 2016, Sweden (June 13) €445, Belgium (June 18) €464, Italy (June 22) €415.

Air Transat lead-in fares in Spring include Dublin to Toronto €410pp (€283 one way) and Dublin to Vancouver (€730pp).

Ray Byrne’s four-star Mimozas Resort near Cannes is offering a three night stay in April from €357.60.

Lowcostbeds offers, 7 nights based on 2+2, depart May 30: 3* Rosen Inn, Orlando from €14pppn. 3* Rosen Inn International Drive from €14pppn. 7 nights based on 2 adults, depart May 30: 3.5* Westgate Las Vegas Resort from €20pppn. 4* Hard Rock Hotel, Las Vegas from €32pppn all inclusive. 4* Oasis Palace, Cancun from €64pppn all inclusive. 5* Secrets the Vine, Cancun from €160pppn all inclusive. Visit

Sunway offers: 7 nights self catering 2* Binimar, Menorca from €1,297 2+1, from €1,696 2+2, depart May 22. 7 nights self catering 3* Roc Lago, Menorca from €1,387 2+1, from €1,786 2+2, depart May 22. 7 nights B&B 3* Hotel Meridiana, Lake Garda from €749pp, depart June 4. 8 nights full board transatlantic cruise on Cunard Queen Mary 2 from €1,999pp incl. 3 nights stay in New York, transfer, flights and $70 on board credit pp, depart August 1. Visit or call 01 231 1833.

Sunway May deals, book by midnight Tuesday, deposit €100pp, €250 per family: 7 nights B&B 3* Summer Gardens Apartments, Bodrum from €289pp, depart May 7. 7 nights self catering 2* Vista Blanes Apartments, Menorca from €349pp, depart May 22. 7 nights self catering 2* Presidente Apartments, Algarve from €359pp, depart May 7. 7 nights self catering 3* Ola Bouganvilla Apartments, Majorca from €359pp, depart May 14. 7 nights self catering 2* Oasis Apartments, Lanzarote from €419pp, depart May 7. 7 nights self catering 3* Puerto Plata Apartments, Gran Canaria from €419pp, depart May 7. 7 nights B&B 3* Baba Beach Hotel, Bodrum from €299pp.  7 nights B&B 3* Dorisol Florisal, Madeira from €469pp. 7 nights B&B 3* Villa Linda, Sicily from €469pp. 7 nights B&B 4* Ambrosia Hotel, Bodrum from €399pp. 7 nights self catering 4* Vistamar Aparthotel, Costa Del Sol from €449pp. 7 nights B&B 4* Gloria Palace San Agustin, Gran Canaria from €549pp. 7 nights self catering 4* Sunconnect Los Delfines, Menorca from €1,396 2+2. 7 nights self catering 4* Paraiso Apartments, Algarve from €1,456 2+2. 7 nights self catering 3* Loco Blanco Apartments, Lanzarote from €1,634. Visit or call 01 231 1800.

falcon deal watchFalcon offers: #NRG deals: 7 nights self catering 2* Stamos Hotel, Rhodes from €399pps, depart May 5. 7 nights self catering 2* Sun Beach, Majorca from €299pps, depart Cork May 7. 7 nights self catering 2* Poniente, Ibiza from €529pps, depart May 26. 7 nights self catering 2* Mika Apartments, Crete from €389pps, depart May 29. 7 nights self catering 2* Laganas Hotel, Zante from €529pps, depart May 31. Other deals: 7 nights self catering 2* Laguna Park II, Playa De Las Americas, Tenerife from €309pps, depart April 8. 7 nights self catering 2* Green Park, Playa Del Ingles, Gran Canaria from €359pps, depart April 9. 8 nights self catering 3* Costa Sal Apartments, Matagorda, Lanzarote form €509pps, depart April 24. 14 nights all inclusive 3* Holiday Inn Resort, Montego Bay from €1,259pps, depart June 19. 7 nights all inclusive 3* Clube Alize, Marmaris, Turkey from €1,439 2+1 from €1,999 2+2, depart June 16. 14 nights all inclusive 4* Grand Bahia Principe Coba, Riviera Maya, Mexico from €1,689pps, depart June 20. Visit or call 1850 45 35 45.

thomson deal watchThomson offers: 7 nights full board Mediterranean Medley cruise on board Thomson Majesty from €999pps, depart May 17. 7 nights IFA Catarina Hotel, Playa Del Ingles, Gran Canaria from €579pps, depart April 16. 7 nights half board Catalonia Oro Negro, Playa De Las Amereicas, Tenerife from €429pps, depart April 15. 5 nights self catering Portonovo Apartments, Puerto Rico, Gran Canaria from €359pps, depart April 30. 7 nights half board Grecotel Eva Palace, Corfy from €639pps, depart May 20. 7 nights all inclusive Blue Bay Hotel, Turkey from €449pps, depart May 23. 7 nights all inclusive Riu Helios Bay Hotel, Bulgaria from €589pps, depart May 21. 7 nights half board Imperial Thalasso Hotel, Kos from €649pp, depart May 26. Visit or call 1850 45 35 45.

Click and Go offers: 3 nights 5* Boscolo Residence, Budapest from €299pp incl. return flights, airport taxes and charges, travel in April. 7 nights all inclusive 4* Alba Hotel, Sunny Beach, Bulgaria from €429pp incl. return flights, airport transfers, taxes and charges, travel in May. 7 nights half board 4* Royal Al Andalus Hotel, Costa del Sol from €469pp incl. return flights, airport transfers, taxes, charges and free wine with evening meals, over 50s, travel in May. 3 nights 3* Kyriad Disneyland Resort Paris form €449pp incl. return flights, airport taxes, charges and 4-day theme park tickets, travel in April. Visit or call 01 539 7777.

Travel Department opera offers with Marty Whelan: 7 nights Lake Garda, Venice and Verona incl. Verdi’s La Traviata from €1,169pp, depart July 21. 7 nights Sorrento Coast, Pompeii and Capri incl. Mozart’s Marriage of Figaro from €1,049pp, depart September 21. 7 nights Classic Tuscany ad the Puccini Opera festival including Puccini’s Madame Butterfly from 1,059pp, depart July 26. Visit or call 01 6371600.

Travel Department offers: 3 nights B&B Amsterdam from €449pp incl. transfers, guided city tour and flights, depart May 3. 3 nights B&B Valencia from €399pp incl. transfers, excursions and return flights, depart September 25. 3 nights B&B Bellevue Park Hotel, Riga from €329pp incl. flights, transfers and excursion, depart October 2. 3 nights B&B Porto from €379pp incl. flights, transfers and city tour, depart November 11.

Royal Caribbean double fun offers, first and second guest per booking gets all inclusive select drinks package included as standard, with 25pc off the cruise fare for third and fourth guests and up to US$400 onboard credit: 7 nights Arabian Gulf cruise on board Vision of the Seas from €2,019pp incl. return flights and $100 onboard credit, depart December 12. 13 nights Western Mediterranean cruise on board Navigator of the Seas from €2,029pp incl. return flights and $400 onboard credit, depart September 18. 7 nights Western Caribbean cruse on board Oasis of the Seas from €1,699pp incl. return flights and $100 on board credit, depart October 8. Visit or call 1800 555 604.

Tour America: 7 nights all inclusive Riu Cancun from €1,169pp incl. return flights, depart October 4. 7 nights all inclusive Now Sapphire Riviera Cancun from €1,199pp incl. return flights, depart October 4. 7 nights all inclusive Gran Caribe Resort & Spa, Cancun from €1,239pp incl. return flights, depart September 8. Visit

tourism ni deal watchTourism NI offers: 3 nights 3* Marine Court Hotel, Bangor from £210 per couple incl. evening meal and complimentary use of Oceanis health and fitness facilities, available until March 31, call 028 9145 1100. 1 night B&B 4* Killyhevlin Lakeside Hotel and Chalets, Enniskillen, available until March 24, call 028 6632 3481. 1 night B&B 4* Europa Hotel, Belfast from £47.50pps incl. complimentary cocktail on arrival, available until March 31, call 028 9027 1066.

irish ferries deal watchIrish Ferries is offering 3 nights B&B Best Western Tilington Hall Hotel, Alton Towers Resort from €599 2+2 incl. return car ferry crossing and 2 days at Alton Towers. Available until May 22. Visit or call 0818 300 400.

Contiki is offering 9 days European Magic tour from €1,377pps incl. flights, transfers, 8 nights accommodation and seven countries. Book by March 14, depart May 8. Visit or call 01 775 3803.

Insight Vacations is offering 9 days Spain and Portugal tour from €1,922pps incl. flights, transfers and 8 nights accommodation. Book by March 25, depart July 2. Visit or call 01 775 3803.

Uniworld Boutique River Cruises is offering 8 days Paris and Normandy river cruise on board the River Royale from €2,465pps incl. flights, transfers, meals, beverages and all shore excursions. Book by March 26, depart March 27. Visit or call 01 775 3803.

Topflight offers: 7 nights B&B 2* Pension Faistenauer, Soll from €469pps, depart March 19. 7 nights half board 3* Hotel Austria, Soll from €729pps, depart March 19.  7 nights B&B 2* Hotel Pension Konrad, Soll from €539pps, depart March 26. 7 nights half board 4* Hotel Austria, Soll from €599pps, depart March 26. 7 nights full board 4* Hotel Palace, Gastein Valley, Bad Hofgasteine from €1,129pps, depart March 19. 7 nights half board 4& Hotel Norica, Gastein Valley, Bad Hofgasteine from €1,159pps, depart March 19. All prices include return flights, return transfers, taxes and Topflight rep service. Visit or call 01 240 1700.

ITAA offers: 7 nights 4* hotel, Rome from €344pps, €1,448 2+1 incl. return flights, depart March 31. 8 days Castles Along the Rhine cruise with Uniworld from €1,930pps incl. meals onboard, captain’s welcome, farewell reception, gala dinners and unlimited beverages onboard, depart March 20. 7 nights B&B 3* Stella and Spa Hotel, Costa Barcelona Maresme from €1,444 2+1 incl. flights and transfers, depart March 20.

What we learned this week

Disney counts the number of times a candidate smiles during a job interview, if a candidate smiles seven times during the interview, they have a chance of getting the position.

See for more video.

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Upcoming events of interest to the trade

  • 2016
  • March 2-6 BTL, LIsbon
  • March 3-6 Utazas, Budapest
  • March 3-9 Travel South, Winston-Salem
  • March 9-13 ITB, Berlin
  • March 14-17 Seatade Global, Fort Lauderdale
  • March 16-17 Britain and Ireland Travel Show, Birmingham
  • March 17-20 Tur, Gothenburg
  • March 23-27 MITT, Moscow
  • March 26-27 Skål National Convention Ireland, Killarney
  • April 2-9 Mountain Travel Symposium, Keystone Heights
  • April 4-9 Meetings & Incentive Forum, Dubai
  • April 5-7 Rendez Vous France, Montpelier
  • April 5-7 WTTC Global Summit, Dallas
  • April 6-8 WTM Africa, Cape Town
  • April 6-8 World Tourism Forum summit, Istanbul
  • April 7 Irish Travel Industry Trade Show, Ballsbridge Hotel (formerly Jury’s Hotel)
  • April 7 ITAA AGM
  • April 11-12 Meitheal, RDS, Dublin
  • April 12-14 COTTM, Beijing
  • April 13 Sunway Trade Lunch
  • April 17-19 Germany Travel Market, Magdeburg
  • April 17-21 Virtuoso, Cape Town
  • April 18 NYC & Company Sales Mission
  • April 19-20 Eyefortravel Travel Distribution Summit, London
  • April 19-21 IMEX, Frankfurt
  • April 23 Irish Tourism Industry Awards
  • Apr 23-26 Routes Europe Krakow
  • April 24-27 Rendez-vous Canada,
  • Apr 25-28 Tianguis Turistico, Guadlajara
  • April 25-28 ATM, Dubai
  • April 28 Air Canada trade reception, Canadian Embassy, Wilton Place, 6pm
  • May 2-5 We Are Africa, Cape Town
  • May 7-9 Indaba, Durban
  • May 10-13 Trenz New Zealand
  • May 10-13 World Travel Fair Shanghai
  • May 11-15 Fitcuba, Havana
  • May 19-20 CLIA, Southampton
  • May 15-19 ATE, Gold Coast
  • May 19-22 Irish Open, Straffan
  • May 22-26 Meetings & Incentive Forum, Scottsdale
  • June 1-3 IATA world congress, Dublin
  • June 1-4 ILA Berlin Air show
  • June 8-10 TTM Plus, Bangkok
  • June 9 Thomson Discovery launch
  • June 18-22 IPW (Pow Wow), New Orleans
  • June 28-July 2 Meetings & Incentive Forum, Madrid
  • July 11-17 Farnborough Air show
  • July 17 Foynes Air Show
  • Sept 3-4 Air Waves, Portrush
  • Sept 6-8 Seatrade Europe, Santa Cruz de Tenerife
  • Sept 14-16 Travelmart Latin America, Iguassu Falls, Brazil
  • Sept 7-9, PATA Travel Mart, Jakarta
  • Sept 29-Oct 2 Top Resa, Paris
  • Sept 10-13 FITA, Santa Cruz
  • Sept 19-22, Adventure Travel World Summit, Anchorage
  • Sept 25-27 World Routes, Chengdu
  • Sept 26-30 Meetings & Incentive Forum, Madrid
  • Oct 15 NI Travel Trade Awards, Newcastle, Co Down
  • Oct 29-Nov 1 Skål World Congress, Monaco,
  • Nov 7-9, WTM London
  • Nov 10 Scottish Travel Trade Awards,
  • Nov 19-21 CLIA rivercruise conference, Amsterdam
  • Nov 25 ITTN Awards
  • Nov 29-Dec 1 IBTM World, Barcelona
  • 2017
  • Jan 20-22 2017 Holiday World. Titanic Exhibition Centre, Belfast
  • Jan 27-29 2017 Holiday World, RDS Simmonscourt, Dublin
  • Feb 19-20 2017 Fly Shannon show, UL Limerick
  • June 3-7 2017 IPW (Pow Wow), Washington DC
  • 2018
  • Jan 19-21 2018 Holiday World. Titanic Exhibition Centre, Belfast
  • Jan 26-28 2018 Holiday World, RDS Simmonscourt, Dublin
  • May 19-23 2018 IPW (Pow Wow), Denver
  • 2019 – 2024
  • Jan 18-20 2019 Holiday World. Titanic Exhibition Centre, Belfast
  • Jan 25-27 2019 Holiday World, RDS Simmonscourt, Dublin
  • June 1-5 2019 IPW (Pow Wow), Anaheim
  • May 30 –June 3 2020 IPW (Pow Wow), Las Vegas
  • April 24-28 2021 IPW (Pow Wow), Chicago
  • June 4-8 2022 IPW (Pow Wow), Orlando
  • May 20-23, 2023 IPW (Pow Wow), San Antonio
  • May 4-8, 2024 IPW (Pow Wow), Los Angeles

Previous editions of Travel Extra’s Sunday Supplement: 

Previous issues
February 2016: Holiday World issue
December/January 2015/16: Bridal issue
November 2015: Winter cruise issue
October 2015: Ski issue
September 2015: Accommodation issue
July/August 2015: Wintersun issue
June 2015: USA issue
May 2015: The Australia issue
April 2015: Summer Cruise issue

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