TRAVEL Extra’s Sunday Supplement September 13 2015: Dublin’s Hotel Dilemma & A Pilot Hero From Meath


westjet aug 30

The ceramic steps of Caltagirone, Sicily

The ceramic steps of Caltagirone, Sicily – the feet modelling so professionally  for Travel Extra belong to Joanna Gomez of Travelfocus


4 things you need to know about travel this week

  • Ryanair’s whopping profit forecast
  • No sign of Executive’s Aran island helicopter
  • Irish Travel Agents muse the mosaics of Sicily
  • How to get driven to the aircraft door at Dublin airport

Travel Extra TV

Video of the week September 13 2015Video of the weekGonzalo Ceballos, Director of the Spanish Tourist Board in Dublin, is to host travel media to celebrate Spain’s millionth visitor from Ireland in two weeks time. Watch here an interview with Gonzalo in which he described the increase in Irish visits to Spain for summer 2015. More videos to come on Travel Extra TV.

  • Touching scene as Bernie Mills waiting for his wife Carol at Los Angeles International Airport (watch here)
  • Tourism Ireland uploaded a video to showcase design on the Wild Atlantic Way. Watch here.
  • Boeing introduces the 777X’s wings. Watch here.
  • The latest from Ireland West Airport Knock. AirportTV promises an insight into day to day operations at the airport. Watch here.
  • Jelani the Western Lowland gorilla bonds with a visitor to Louisville Zoo by looking at pictures of gorillas on the man’s phone. Watch here.
  • Porjai Jaturongkhakun’s dashcam footage shows a meteor-like fireball blazing across the sky in Bangkok. Watch here.
  • English weatheman Liam Dutton nails pronouncing Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch (phew, watch here).
  • Shaolin Monk Shi Liliang running on water for 125 meters in 50 seconds in Quanzhou City, China (watch here)


Executive Helicopters ec120The Aran Islands air contract has turned into a conradh crua-chasta ceangallach (confusion worst confounded). Chris Sheil’s service, Executive Helicopters, was awarded the contract but apparently are not ready. Aer Arann islands have been asked to continue the service for four months and the Government pushed back the deadline to mid-November as Executive may not be in a position to fly to and from Galway Airport. Expect Pádraig Ó Céidigh’s campaign to retain the contract to be ramped up in the coming weeks.

irish group copyCentral Sicily hosted travel trade from England, Germany, Ireland and Russia. Gusts participated in a workshop at the Frederico Ii hotel in Enna and were given tours of Enna (watch here), Caltagirone, the stunning mosaics some of the best in the world, of Villa Romano Del Casale in Piazza Armerina (for fans of white powder, it includes the oldest known representation of a skier), a UNESCO world heritage site, the stolen (and returned) 5th century BC Greek statue known as the goddess of Morgantina in the museum of Adrione, a pasta making session (watch here) and vineyard tour at Tenuta del Nanfro winery (watch here) and some memorable local hospitality, including a ceramics demonstration (watch here), pasta al Norma as explained during  lunch in the Riviera Hotel, Enna by Gisella Esposito (watch here) and wine tasting. Sicily is famed for its white wines and ancient grapes such as Minella Bianca, but red Aglianico and Primitivo have been winning some plates, and a cheeky Luoghi d’Incanto 2007 won the affection of Travel ExtraAnd yes, the Parting Glass was sung. Concezio Natale explained (watch here) how Best Holidays in Italy have added the cultural part of Sicily to their programme. Travel Extra interviewed tour guides Domenico Marino in Enna (watch here), Anna Terranova in Caltagirone (watch here), Tour guide Domenico Marino described the central plateau of Sicily as “a lake within an island (watch here).” Picture shows Diane Bowman of Hilary Murphy travel in New Ross, Concezio Natale of BestholidaysinItaly, Dominic Burke of Travel Centres, Joanna Gomez of Travelfocus, George Keegan of the Northern Standard, Pat Keenan, Shane Cullen, Eoghan Corry of Travel Extra, Bernie Burke of Travel Centres and, in front: Anita Valente from Bestholidays in Italy, See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.

paul Carty holding cupAs first reported by Travel ExtraGuinness Storehouse defeated the Coliseum, Buckingham palace and others to win best European attraction at the European Gala of the World Travel Awards. Watch here Guinness Storehouse manager Paul Carty of interviewed as he celebrates the selection of Guinness Storehouse as Europe’s top visitor attraction at the European Gala of the World Travel Awards 2015 in Sardinia. Picture shows Paul celebrating with the trophy. See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.

Speaking to Travel Extra on the margins of the Etihad event in Croke Park Aubrey Tiedt said the revamp of the Alitalia long haul fleet would be completed next July. Contrary to the image problems the airline suffered in Italy and Europe it was a resilient carrier but needed investment. Alitalia’s hub Rome also had infrastructural problems, not helped by two fires in recent months. When you are firefighting for a long time you get good at it. She said that the short haul product will be differentiated between the below three hour flights and above three hours.

etihad cabin crewEtihad’s Hibernophile team of Ireland manager Beatrice Cosgrove (listen here), sponsorship manager Patrick Pierce (listen here), Dublin-born former sponsorship manager, now with Alitalia, Aubrey Tiedt (listen here), Ray Gammell (listen here) and Jim O’Callaghan hosted 190 agents, corporate customers and elite and gold card members for lunch before the match. Watch here a video interview with Etihad’s Patrick Pierce, American born, but of Cork, Kerry, Roscommon and Galway ancestry, and bearing a historic name. Picture shows Etihad cabin crew members Katerina Zgomba, Julie Gee, Alma McCabe and Fiachra Carroll, Louise Wheatley of Etihad’s Dublin office and Patrick Pierce, sponsorship manager of Etihad. See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.

Travel Trade

Screen Shot 2015-09-12 at 22.00.27En route to Siciily this week, members of the Irish travel trade were hosted by the DAA platinum service (watch here video coverage of their experience, see here for brochure) and were granted access to the comfortable Alitalia lounge in Linate airport.

emirates team Oct 2015 copyLisa Rabbitte, Lynsey Lamont and Helena Sweeney have joined the Emirates sales team in Ireland. Picture shows Emirates team in Dublin: Helena Sweeney, Filippo Rocchi. Anita Thomas, country manager Enda Corneille, Lynsey Lamont and Lisa Rabbitte

Lowcostholidays’ blog was shortlisted for the Irish Blog Awards 2015. You can vote here before September 7.

silver shadowSilversea is offering agents the chance to win one of six places on a 9-night trip to Hong Kong with 2 nights accommodation in the Intercontinental hotel, return flights with British Airways, a tour of the city and a four-course meal on the Silver Shadow. To enter, make a confirmed booking on any 2016 before October 16 and email

Skal lunchPicture shows Eithne Fitzpatrick of Fitzpatricks Castle Hotel, Daragh O’Neill, Skal President, and Gerry Dunne, CEO of Dun Laoghaire Harbour Authority at the Skal Lunch, National Yacht Club Dun Laoghaire. See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.

Picture shows Yann Richard of Club Med with Dairine club med dinnerMcGarrity of Travel Counsellors and Erica Oglesby of Sunway at the Club Med and Sunway agents dinner in the Dylan hotel, Eastmoreland Place, Dublin. Club Med also hosted a press lunch in the same venue. Phil Shipman presented a number of products, including the Cirque du Soleil circus school at Punta Cana, Finolhu adults only villas and renovations at Cancun Yucata. See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.

msc cruises partyMSC Cruises held their summer party at Söder + Ko “Scandinasian” restaurant and bar on South Great George’s Street. Picture shows Rebecca Kelly of MSC Cruises with Ross Waters, Tracy McLoughlin, Ronanna Sindlerova and Daniel McCluskey, all Cruise Holidays. See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.

Topflight launched their new ski brochure. Call 01 240 1700 for a copy.

The 2015 ITAA annual conference in Jerez, Spain, October 1-4, is expected to attract 150 agents. Speakers include Stephen McKenna of Atlas Group and, digital marketing expert Juan Cullen, workplace wellbeing trainer Sheila O’Malley, Liam Lonergan and Alan O’Neill. See the Business Sessions programme.

  • British AirwaysBritish Airways is offering agents the chance to upgrade customers to First one-way on eligible Club World return fares booked until September 30 for departures until December 31.
  • Travelport signed Air Iceland up to its Rich Content and Branding.
  • Airline executive Sean Menke was appointed executive VP of Sabre Corp and president of Sabre Travel Network.
  • Travel Extra’s Eoghan Corry explained how prices for families were affected by the reopening of schools in the Irish Independent.


pat mccannPat McCann is raising €160m in the coming weeks to fund Dalata’s plans to build more hotels in Dublin city centre and is also in talks to buy assets from NAMA and the banks. He expects the Gresham, currently owned by Precinct Investments and controlled by Nama, to be put on the market within three to four weeks for €60m.

A question raised by the news of Dalata’s intentions, how many extra rooms does Dublin city centre need? Speaking to Travel Extra in the margins of the Guinness Storehouse event, Paul Gallagher of the Burlington estimated the city needs 5,000 new beds a year.

Trivago’s hotel price index for September 2015 shows month-on-month prices down 14pc across Ireland this month, with only Dublin (up 4pc) and Belfast (up 1pc) showing increases compared with August. Sligo saw the biggest decline down 22pc to €100, Galway was down 20pc to €111, Killarney down 20pc to €132, Dingle down 20pc to €99 and Kinsale down 20pc to €113. Thanks to euro slippage, Belfast (up 28pc and Derry (up 11pc) are both significantly more expensive year on year.

B 2141

B 2141

Xiu Lan Hotels, which operates Fota Island resort after buying it for €20m in 2013, recorded pre-tax profits of €113,842 in the 12 months to the end of September 2014.

aibnb officeAirbnb emailed Irish hosts asking them to lobby the Government in a bid to secure the tax reliefs available under the rent-a-room scheme.

Research by Trivago found that hotels in 11 destinations in England and Wales have increased room rates by up to 1,095pc during the Rugby World Cup.

Tokyo Disney Celebration Hotel will open at Tokyo Disney Resort next year.

Carlson Rezidor glasgowCarlson Rezidor will open a Radisson Red hotel in Glasgow in 2017.

Starwood Hotels & Resorts will open a third W Hotels property in LA in 2019.

Intercontinental Hotels and Resortslaunched a website for its club floor bookings.

Marriott International will open its first Edition hotel in Dubai in 2018.

Hotel Maritim Halle will house 740 asylum seekers.

Trump Hotel Collection will open a second Asian resort in Lido, West Java.

Starwood Hotels & Resorts announced two Aloft properties in Germany, Aloft Munich and Aloft Stuttgart.

global-isabelle-huppert-portrait-1DoubleTree by Hilton opened DoubleTree by Hilton Jacksonville Riverfront.

Carlson Rezidor opened three properties in Africa and Mauritius on the same day: Radisson Blu M’Bamou Palace hotel, Brazzaville, Congo, Radisson Blu Azuri resort and Spa, Mauritius, and Radisson Blu Poste La Fayette Resort and Spa, Mauritius.

French actress Isabelle Huppert is the latest addition to Mandarin Oriental’s She’s a Fan campaign.

Ritz-Carlton-brand-voiceRitz-Carlton unveiled its rejigged brand voice and logo, which will roll out across its 106 properties over the coming year.

Mandarin Oriental is to open in Beirut Central District in 2018.

Aloft Munich and Aloft Stuttgart became the Starwood brand’s first properties in Germany

The Irish Independent profiled the Irish staff at Fitzpatrick’s New York.

crowne-plaza-aberdeen-3514313705-4x3Intercontinental Hotels Group opened the Crowne Plaza at Aberdeen International Airport featuring 165 rooms and is linked directly to the airport via a covered walkway.

The luxury Marriott brand Ritz-Carlton is to get a new brand voice. The new website caters for executive floor bookings at Intercontinental properties

  • The Dylan Hotel recorded a €654k profit.
  • GN Asset Management bought Limerick’s South Court Hotel.
  • Blackstone is to buy Strategic hotels for $4bn, expanding its lodging holdings to include luxury properties such as Manhattan’s Essex House and the Ritz-Carlton in Half Moon Bay, California.
  • Profits rose to €2.1m at D4 Hilton hotel as room rates increase by 20pc.
  • A jump of 20pc in average revenue from rooms at the DoubleTree by Hilton hotel in Dublin 4 helped grow pre-tax profits eight fold to €2.15m.
  • Marriott Hotels is offering virtual reality headsets to guests.
  • Choice Hotels International’s Comfort Inn will be smoke-free from 2016, joining sister brand Comfort Suites.


Trolltunga 002Norwegian rock formation Trolltunga was described as “an accident waiting to happen” after a student fell to her death in a site that owes much its popularity to the rise of selfies and social media.

Cuba has seen a 17pc increase in tourists following an easing of relations with the US.

The Comedy Wildlife Photography Awardsshowcasing animals captured in unflattering and amusing poses has a closing date of October 1.

More setbacks for international travel links. Denmark suspended all rail links with Germany after police stopped hundreds of migrants at the border. Austria closed the motorway that leads from the Hungarian border to Vienna, and said train connection.

baubax jacketThe extravagant BauBax travel jacket, fitted with 15 pockets and a built-in neck pillow was named the most funded clothing item crowdfunded on Kickstarter after raising $1.25m.

  • Disney will break ground on the two Star Wards Lands in 2016.
  • Hertz is offering quadruple points to Nectar loyalty programme members.
  • Siegfried & Roy introduced four six-week-old tiger cubs at their Secret Garden and Dolphin Habitat at the Mirage Hotel & Casino, Las Vegas.
  • At least 107 people were killed and 238 injured when a crane collapsed at Mecca’s Masjid al-Haram.

Food & Wine

SECAD LAUNCH ARTISAN FOOD pic1.jpgSECAD announced their Artisan Food Enterprise and Innovation Strategy ahead of the Midleton Food Festival on September 12. Picture shows Casey O’Conaill of O’Conaill’s Chocolate,Sandra Burns of Joe’s Farm Crisps, Jane Murphy of Ardsallagh Goats Cheese, Ryan Howard of SECAD and Seamus Cunningham of Midleton Chamber and Midleton Food Festival.

NI Coffee festivalThe NI Coffee Festival takes place at T13 in The Titanic Quarter, Belfast on September 26 and 27. See Deal Watch for Tourism NI’s festival offer.

The 39th Kinsale Gourmet Festival takes pace October 9 to 11. There are still some tickets left for the opening event: a champagne reception and 5-course Taste of West Cork dinner at a Good Food Circle restaurant of your choice. See


Passengers at Dublin Airport copyAir traffic at Dublin Airport was up 11pc in August. There were an average 585 commercial movements every day. Cork saw a 1.3pc increase in traffic with an average 64 daily commercial flights. Shannon was down 21.1pc with an average of 56 commercial daily flights. The number of international arrivals and departures at state airports was up 6.6pc YOY, an average of 705 flights every day. Total flights in Irish airspace were up 7.4pc. There was an average of 1,776 daily flights. The busiest day was August 20 with 1,875 flights in Irish airspace.

Michael O'Leary conducts a press conference Aug 21 2014Investors gleefully ignored Michael O’Learyplea to avoid “irrational exuberance,” as shares in Ryanair shares hit an all-time high, up 10pc as a reaction to an unplanned trading update, Ryanair said it now expects profits to be 25pc higher than previous guidance and 40pc up on last year, between €1.17bn and €1.22bn in the 12 month period to March. The share surge added over €1.6bn to Ryanair’s market capitalisation. Ryanair planned to update shareholders on current trading at its AGM on Sept 24, but said July and August numbers are continuing into September. Ryanair cautioned that its full year result remains heavily dependent on close-in bookings in Q3 (currently 30% sold) and Q4 (currently zero visibility). Richard Curran noted: the airline that Aer Lingus offered to buy for just £25m in 1993 will make a profit of €1.2bn, €3.2m per day.

The Consumer Price Index for August 2015 showed air fares rose 7.1pc.

forget to disarm doorPictures posted on Twitter showed what happens when you forget to disarm aircraft doors.

A long awaited 25-year plan was circulated by Dublin Airport Authority to develop a 70-acre site into the new Airport City, though no planning permission or funding is yet in place. The DAA says “this is a 25-30 year project and if we delivered 60,000 sq metres of development in the first 10 years we would be doing well.”

Ryanair launched its 2016 summer program from Rome with 40 routes. CAPA analysedRyanair’s prospects in the German market. Ryanair announced a 74th base, in Santiago de Compostela, its 12th in Spain, with one aircraft in summer 2016.

Howard Millar has joined the board of ASL Aviation Group.

CityJet has struck a partnership with Falko Regional Aircraft to win “wet lease” contracts to provide aircraft and crew to fly short haul routes.

Ryanair successfully recovered the $5m that was subject of a fraudulent electronic transfer to a Chinese bank in April.

Dublin Airport is to open a new lounge for passengers travelling to the USA in 2016 which will be positioned after the US Preclearance checks.

Screen Shot 2015-09-12 at 22.06.24Shannon Group started a €21m redevelopment on the Shannon Free Zone in an effort to upgrade facilities to attract more international companies. There are currently 120 companies at the free trade zone, the world’s first when it opened in 1959, who between them employ about 7,000 people. RTÉ screened a new series Inside Shannon with due acknowledgement to Brendan O’Regan in the first episode.

Karolina JabczugaFormer Ryanair flight attendant Karolina Jabczuga lost an action against Ryanair as she claimed she was forced to leave the company in 2012 after being reprimanded for asking popstars Jedward for their autograph.

Hessian State Labour Court in Frankfurt am Main ended a strike called by Lufthansa pilots’ union Vereinigung Cockpit in a long-running dispute over pay, retirement benefits and cost cuts which disconcerted 140,000 travellers, overturning a previous ruling by a lower court. Pilots stopped long-haul flights Tuesday, extended it to medium and short-haul journeys on Wednesday and operations were back to normal on Thursday.


Deserved praise this week for Ian Callaghan, the Bellewstown Co Meath, co-pilot of the firestruck BA2276 which spectacularly caught flames on the runway of McCarran airport. Two of the 172 passengers who were successfully evacuated were from Ireland, Wayne McGuinness from Drogheda in Co Louth, and Grace Monks from Stamullen in Co Meath. Passengers were criticised for taking their hand luggage with them as they left the burning plane. Read Judith Woods in the London Telegraphrun for your life or risk everything.

irish group in VegasPicture shows Grace Monks, Wayne McGuinness, Stevie Taylor and Danielle Taylor outside Bellagio on their trip.. Captain Chris Henkey said he is unlikely to make a trip to Barbados, after which he was due to retire.

The Consumer Price Index for August 2015 showed air fares rose 7.1pc.

eamonn brennanIAA chief executive Eamonn Brennan joined the call for a parallel runway at Dublin with news that commercial take-offs and landings at Dublin Airport are up 11pc to 585 every day in August. The debate is stirring among objectors in Portmarnock and St Margaret’s.

Picture shows Smisek in happier times, in the centre with Nick Britton, Jim Summerford, Beatrice Cosgrove and Bob Schumacher, talking to Travel Extra in 2006.

United Airlines has named Oscar Munoz as president and CEO with immediate effect after Jeff Smisek stepped down from his roles as chairman, president and CEO as a result of a corruption allegation. Picture shows Smisek in happier times, in the centre with Nick Britton, Jim Summerford, Beatrice Cosgrove and Bob Schumacher, talking to Travel Extra in 2006.

Temel KotilTurkish Airlines CEO Temel Kotil said Turkish may strengthen its relationship with Deutsche Lufthansa AG.

Singapore Airlines premium economy roll-out was delayed, affecting only the carrier’s A380 fleet and not flights operated by B777-300ERs, but it covers a wide range of destinations, including London Heathrow.

Revenue officials seized €500,000 in cash at Dublin Airport under the Proceeds of Crime legislation on a 36-year-old Irishman attempting to board a flight to Brussels.

CAPA analysed the sale prospects for London City Airport commenting it was caught in a political game.

willie walsh_2664 copyAer Lingus shares are expected to be delisted from the Stock Exchange next week. Filed documents indicated Willie Walsh returnedto the board of Aer Lingus.

Aer Lingus chairman Colm Barrington’s Fly Leasing recently supplied a Boeing aircraft to Norwegian.

Screen Shot 2015-09-12 at 22.13.50Knock’s Ireland West airport launched the country’s first online airport TV channel, broadcasting its latest news and live events as they happen on a new online TV channel. Knock Airport had 80,000 passengers in August, down 22pc.

Some more nasty incidents involving America’s Transportation Security Administration have emerged: a screener has been charged with stealing a passenger’s $7,000 diamond watch at a JFK security checkpoint, and another pair are charged with selective groping of handsome men.

Irish software company Arconics said 22 jobs are to be created following the signing of a 10-year deal with Qatar Airways to provide its document management system.

Charee StanleyFlight attendant Charee Stanley claimed she was suspended by ExpressJet because of her refusal to serve alcohol due to her religious beliefs, saying she only realised in June that Islam bans serving alcohol, as well as drinking it

Screening staff at Toronto’s Pearson Airport called in a police bomb disposal unit Saturday night when they detected what they thought was an explosive device in a bag carried by a 15-year-old.

Cork Airport had 243,553 passengers in July, down 2.5pc.

christoph mueller h&s iata 001Malaysia Airlines ordered four A350-900s to be delivered between the fourth quarter of 2017 and the second quarter of 2018. Malaysia Airlines Berhad CEO Christoph Mueller will announce a reduction of its fleet in the next few days: We do not have the financial means to work with a bang. We can’t repaint aircraft and refurbish all seats overnight. What you should expect is a quick succession of announcements and quick cut-over dates where we will work on seats, caterers, in-flight entertainment and so onIn the next a couple of months we are going to renew the customer experience. We are considering a very light brand refresh so that our customers and employees can feel the fresh start.”

SAS-Arlanda-T5-lounge-4SAS launched a 5w Stockholm-Hong Kong route. SAS opened a refurbished lounge in Stockholm Arlanda airport’s Terminal 5 is now 1,400sqm in size and has two separate sections.

Austrian will resume Vienna-Shanghai 5w from Apr 4 2016, increasing to daily from May 3 using B777-200ER. Cathay Pacific added a 4w Madrid to start on June 2 .

Air Canada Rouge is to fly to Glasgow, Budapest, and Warsaw and resume a link to Prague last served in the 1970s, as well as its first route to Africa.

Stobart Air signed a deal with Flybe to operate a number of flights out of the Isle of Man.

The Irish Times profiled Roy Kinnear from Lurgan the new CEO of Air Seychelles.

Qatar Airways selected AeroDocs by Dublin-based Arconics as its CDMS.

Austrian Airlines appointed CarTrawler as exclusive car rental partner.

Malaysia Airlines signed an agreement to lease four A350-900s, to be delivered between Q4 2017 and Q2 2018.

etihad fare choicesEtihad Airways will introduce a new baggage policy in conjunction with its fare choices tariff structure, effective for tickets issued on and after September 14. Most routes will operate on a piece basis, meaning passengers are entitled to one, two or three bags, depending on their route and fare choice, and the cost of excess baggage will be reduced.

US passenger rights group Flyers Rights wants to ban airlines from further reducing the size of seats and legroom on aircraft.

Four airport workers were hospitalised after an old aircraft hangar collapsed at Newark Liberty airport.

Passengers departing from Dubai will be able to complete check-in on their way to the airport as part of a new service by Dubai Taxis and Dubai Airports.

Qatar Airways hit the 10m fans mark on Facebook.

Etihad animalEtihad and Abu Dhabi’s Ministry of environment and water hosted two days of workshops on combatting illegal wildlife smuggling. 

Flybe will wet lease two ART72s from Stobart Air.

Virgin America is offering Texas frequent flyers free Uber rides out of Dallas Love Field Airport.

From the “have not heard that one for a while department: Baldonnel’s case to becomeDublin’s second airport argued by Deirdre Conroy.

Jeff RubinJeff David Rubin was arrested on a JetBlue flight after he urinated on other passengers, their seats and carry-on items.

Watch here Minister Paschal Donohoe speaking to Travel Extra about his aviation policy for Ireland, addressing the parallel runway at Dublin and growth issues at Cork.


silverseas jacketSilversea Cruises partnered with outdoor clothing brand Haglöfs to create two jackets for guests on Silversea’s expedition cruises to Antartica, the Arctic, Chilean Fjords, Russian Far East and Sub-Antarctic New Zealand from June 2016. 

Holland America Line’s 740-passenger elegant explorer MS Prinsendam overnighted in Dublin on Monday,  completed with a demonstration for guests on how to cook an Irish breakfast. Carly Perkins, Marketing Manager at Holland America Line, hosted representatives of the travel trade on board at an evening event. Prinsendam is one of only a handful of cruise ships that can transit the Kiel Canal, due to her low height above the waterline.

Norwegian Escape will feature two boutiques, Lacoste and Carolina Herrera, when she debuts this November. 

danubeWaters are rising on the Danube River but stretches of the Elbe are still experiencing low levels, Viking is swapping ships and using Viking Beyla in Dresden and Viking Astrild in Wittenberg as bases for two itineraries, the ships are not expected to sail but all included excursions will operate by motorcoach from the ships.

Royal Caribbean signed into a Memorandum of Understanding with Miami-Dade County to build, finance and operate a $100m cruise terminal at PortMiami able to accommodate the line’s largest cruise ships to be completed July 31, 2018.

Regent Seven Seas and Oceania Cruises cancelled rest stops in Lesbos due to migrant concerns.

queen victoria cunardCunard’s Queen Victoria will transit the Amazon as part of a 120-night world cruise next year to become the largest cruise ship to visit the Amazon River. The ship will visit 32 ports in 17 countries and make two maiden calls – in Manaus and Santaren, Brazil.

  • Oceania Cruises is to host special sailings, one featuring the chef and executive culinary director of the cruise line, Jacques Pepin.
  • Chichagof Dream will join the Alaskan Dream Cruises fleet for the native-owned company’s 2016 season carrying 74 passengers in 37 staterooms.
  • CroisiEurope will offer small-group cycling tours as part of its river cruise packages beginning in 2016 on select sailings on the Loire, Garonne and Saone/Rhone rivers.
  • US Coast Guard says a fire broke out late Monday in the engine room of Carnival Liberty,which was docked in St. Thomas in the US Virgin Islands.  There were no injuries to passengers or crew, Carnival said in a statement.
  • AIDA Cruises and Costa Crociere donated €200k to refugee relief in Germany and Italy.

Deal Watch

Ethiopian has just launched a promotional fare on their Dublin – Los Angeles route.  Economy is €490 return, Business Class €2,134, both inclusive of taxes, book by September 22, travel before May 31.

pragueSunway is offering a 10-day escorted tour of Prague, Vienna and Budapest from €1,479pp incl. flights, transfers, 9 breakfasts and 3 dinners, coach travel and hotel service charges and tips, baggage handling fees and local taxes, depart October 30. Call 01 231 1856 or visit

Sunway Turkey offer, departing Knock: Flight only €299pp, depart September 19 or 26. 7 nights self catering 3* Golden Moon Apartments from €399pp, depart September 26. 7 nights self catering 3* Tuntas Apartments from €369pp, depart September 19/ €449pp, depart September 26. 7 nights all inclusive 3* Marbel Hotel from €459pp, depart September 19/ €479pp, depart September 26. 7 nights all inclusive 4* Palmin Hotel from €599pp, depart September 19/ €599, depart September 26. All prices include return airport transfers, taxes, charges and 20kg checked in baggage pp. Call 01 231 1800 or visit AmaWaterways River Cruise: 7-night cruise on the Danube from €1,589pp incl. flights and transfers, depart October 5. 7 nights Western Med Cruise on the Norwegian Epic from €825pp, depart November 15. 10 nights Western Med cruise on the Norwegian Epic from €799pp, depart December 9. 7 nights Winter Med cruise on the MSC Preziosa from €599pp incl. all inclusive drinks package, depart December 4. 7 nights International Palms Resort, Orlando from €619pp, travel May 2016.

Real Marina Hotel & Spa, the AlgarveClick and Go offers: 7 nights 5* Real Marina Hotel & Spa, the Algarve from €299pp incl. return flights, depart December 11. 7 nights 5* Senator Banus Spa Hotel, Costa Del Sol from €389pp incl. return flights, depart October 14. Over 55s offer: 7 nights 4* VIK San Antonio Hotel, Lanzarote from €549pp incl. return flights, depart December 4. Call 01 539 7777 or visit

Riviera Travel late availability offers, fully escorted tours ex Dublin incl. taxes and 20kg checked bag pp: 3 nights B&B Paris from €449pp, depart November 13. 3 nights B&B Bruges from €489pp, depart October 11. 4 nights B&B Berlin, Dresden, Meissen and Colditz from €659pp, depart October 19. 7 nights half board Lake Garda, Venice and Verona from €799pp, depart October 12. 7 nights half board Lake Maggiore, Orta and the Matterhorn from €1,139pp, depart October 13. 4 nights B&B Venice from €899pp, depart October 25. 4 nights B&B Rome from €779pp, depart October 1. Visit

Flora Palm Resort, HisaronuLowcostbeds last minute Turkey deals, 7 nights based on 2 sharing: 4* Flora Palm Resort, Hisaronu from €30pppn all inclusive, stay in September. 5* Omer Holiday Resort, Kusadasi from €37pppn all inclusive, stay in September. 5* Crystal Sunset Luxury Resort & Spa, Side from €43pppn all inclusive, stay in September. 5* Delphin Deluxe Resort, Okurcaler from €63pppn all inclusive, stay in October. See

Lowcostholidays Christmas markets offers: 2 nights B&B 3* Kavalir Hotel, Prague from €159pp, depart December 12. 2 nights B&B 3* Best Western Hotel Orion, Budapest from €145pp, depart December 12. 2 nights B&B 4* NH Museum Quarter Hotel, Amsterdam from €156pp, depart December 12. 2 nights B&B 4* Ibis Muenchin City, Munich from €260pp, depart December 12. 2 nights 4* Hotel Bellevue Vienna from €235pp, depart December 12. Visit or call 01 485 3835.

Stena Line offers: 2 nights 3* Travelodge Liverpool Central from €319 for two adults and two children. 2 nights 3* Travelodge Manchester Centre from €319 for two adults and two children. 2 nights 4* Novotel Birmingham Centre from €395 for two adults and two children. 2 nights 4* Hilton Bristol from €585 for two adults and two children, stay during October mid term break. Prices include travel by car from Dublin to Holyhead or from Rosslare to Fishguard. Visit or call 01 907 5555.

Tourism NI is offering 1 night B&B at the 4* Europa Hotel, Belfast from £120pp incl. evening meal to coincide with the NI Coffee Festival.


mervyn greene epic ireland_3531Travel Extra was granted a hard hat tour of the visitor experience in the GHQ building at the IFSC in Dublin’s north side, Epic Ireland, funded by the Downpatrick born former Coca Cola CEO Neville Isdell. The centre has a goal of 400,000 visitors and a top ten position among Ireland’s visitor attractions within three years. Work on the 22 galleries is advanced in the basement area under the CHQ building and the experience will open in May 2016. The storyline is primarily directed at English audiences. Picture shows Mervyn Green at the location before a briefing meeting with Travel ExtraSee more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.

center parcs longfordCenter Parcs unveiled proposed plans for their €200m holiday village in Newcastle Wood, Co Longford at a community meeting in Ballymahon promising 750 jobs in the construction phase and 1,000 employees when it opened “what would become the biggest tourism development in the history of the State.” Centre Parcs Longford Forest will feature 500 lodges including apartments and tree houses; a centre for indoor leisure activities, shops and restaurants; Subtropical Swimming Paradise; Aqua Sana Spa; a lake; outdoor sport and leisure facilities; and a nature centre. The park is expected to open in 2019 after a two year construction period, pending planning permission. They also say that most of the to be hired for the planned opening in 2019 will be local, with an emphasis on recruiting young people.

The first visitor access facilities at Wild Nephinclaiming to be Ireland’s wildest place, an 11,000-hectare wilderness opened in Mayo.

Cliffs of Moher Interpretive Centre, Shannon Airport, Dublin Airport’s Terminal 2Guinness StorehouseRitz Carlton Powerscourt, Croke Park redevelopment and Busaras (but not the original Desmond Fitzgerald terminal at Dublin) are among 80 developments chosen as “iconic” projects to celebrate the 80th anniversary of the Construction Industry Federation.

Miltown-Malbay-flood.-Pic-Anne-DunphySevere flooding reported in Milltown Malbay (pictured), Liscannor, Mullagh, Quilty and Lisdeen in Co Clare and  in Ballyvourney along with Goleen close to Mizen Head, Cork.

Many of the north’s private heritage sites open their doors to the public this weekend.

Ministers Paschal Donohoe and Michael Ring announced €1.2m in first-phase funding for capital projects in Ireland’s Ancient East, and €600k for the first stage of branded signage for counties in the region.

Waterford Harvest 8The 7th annual Waterford Harvest Festivaltakes place September 11 to 13. Highlights include the EAT Waterford Marquee on the Mall, Harvest Kitchen, Picnic and Play in the Park, Grow HQ Kitchen and WaterFood Heroes. See for more and follow the Twitter hashtags #WaterfoodHeroes and #Whatthefork.

Dublin – Tourism Ireland and Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Paschal Donohoe have launched a €12 million promotional campaign, to boost late-season travel to Ireland from around the world. The September to December period usually yields as much as 30% of Ireland’s annual overseas tourism business. PIC SHOWS: Huguanael da Silva Cardoso and Caroline Alves Praeiro (both from Brazil); with Tourism Minister Paschal Donohoe and Niall Gibbons, CEO of Tourism Ireland, in Trinity College, Dublin, at the launch of Tourism Ireland’s autumn campaign. Pic – Naoise Culhane Photography (no repro fee) Further press info – Sinéad Grace, Tourism Ireland 087-685 9027

Tourism Ireland launched a €12m promotional campaign to boost late-season travel to Ireland. The campaign highlights festivals taking place in autumn, including Dublin Theatre Festival, Belfast International Arts Festival and Cork Jazz Festival. Picture shows Huguanael da Silva Cardoso and Caroline Alves Praeiro from Brazil with Tourism Minister Paschal Donohoe and Niall Gibbons of Tourism Ireland at Trinity College, Dublin.

IRELAND SAYS ‘HOLA’ TO SPANISH TRAVEL AGENTSEleven Spanish travel agents visited Ireland as guests of Tourism IrelandAer Lingus and Special Tours coach tour operator. The group’s itinerary, designed by Fáilte Ireland, included a walking tour of Dublin, avid to Muckross House and Gardens, a jaunting car tour of Killarney National Park, a boat group around Dingle Bay and visits to Slea Head, Blasket Centre in Dunquin, Adare Heritage Centre and King John’s Castle. Picture shows the group with Pura Gimenez of Tourism Ireland at Muckross House.

Newry, Mourne and Down District Council host the Annual Famine Commemoration until October 4. Events take place in libraries, museums, arts centres and schools. The programme includes Songs of Loss and Emirgration, a seisiún exploring songs and poetry of emigration; The Great Hunger adaptation of Patrick Kavanagh’s epic; and Under the Hawthorn Tree event day at the Ulster Folk and Transportation Museum.

Upcoming events in LimerickLimerick Jazz Festival, September 25-27. Ranks: A Limerick Industry, September 25 to October 25. The Train musical by Arthur Riordan and Bill Whelan, September 29 to October 3.

GB TOUR OPERATORS CHECK OUT THE GOBBINSTourism Ireland hosted 13 coach and group tour operators this week. Tourism NI designed the itinerary. The group visited The Gobbins Coastal Path at Islandmagee, took a Game of Thrones tour along the Causeway Coastal Route, Guildhall, the Tower Museum and the Siege Museum in Derry and visited various hotels. Informal networking events local tourism businesses took play on board the SS Nomadic and Belfast and at the Walled City Brewery in Derry. Picture shows the group with Caroline Mulligan of Tourism Ireland at The Gobbins Coastal Path.

The Government scrapped plans for the Dart Underground project in favour of the Luas extension between Dublin city centre and Dublin airport.

CIAO DUBLIN! 6+MILLION ITALIANS SEE DUBLIN PROMOTION EACH DAY IN MILAN METRO STATIONSTourism Ireland joint campaign with eDreams to promote Dublin as a city break destination launched with a series of billboard ads in metro stations around Milan and on eDreams’ website.

Visitor facilities opened at the 11,000-acre wilderness area, Wild Nephin, Co Mayo.

Mediacon group200 delegates from production companies, TV networks and investment managers visited Dublin for the inaugural Mediacon summit. The event was organised by Leslie O’ Connor, former producer with RTE and Web Summit, and was supported by Fáilte Ireland, RTÉ, The Irish Film Board, and Enterprise Ireland. Picture shows Steve McCormack of Mediacon, Daniel Ravenet of Practical Innovation, Liam Campbell of Fáilte Ireland, Damon Berger of Full Screen and Patch May of Coconut Pete Productions and Cara Media.

‘TEEING UP’ IRELAND AT THE DEUTSCHE BANK CHAMPIONSHIP IN BOSTONTourism Ireland and Irish and American golf partners attended the Deutsche Bank Championship at the TPC Boston Golf Club in Norton, Massachusetts. Picture shows John McLaughlin of North and West Coast Links, Marie Duffy of Tourism Ireland, Jean McCluskey of Tourism Ireland, John Ferran of Ballyliffen Golf Club, Mike Brassil of Carr Golf Travel, Francis Hartnett of South West Ireland Golf, Mike O’Toole of Fairways to Heaven Golf Connecticut and Tim Willerton of Fairways to Heaven Golf Connecticut.

EAST MEETS WEST – AS INDIAN TRAVEL AGENTS PAY A VISITSeven travel agents from Mumbai, Chennai and Ahmedabad visited Ireland as guests of Tourism Ireland; Their itinerary, designed by Fáilte Ireland, included the Little Museum of Dublin, Trinity College, Malahide Castle, Galway city, Connemara, the Cliffs of Moher, Doolin Cave and the Irish National Stud. Picture shows the agents at the Spanish Arch in Galway with Kavya Chawla of Tourism Ireland and tour guide Maura O’Reilly.


Ireland’s Ancient East and The Gobbins Coastal Path were introduced to Dutch tour operators, travel agents and online travel agents at Tourism Ireland’s annual trade workshop in Amsterdam. Twelve tourism companies took part in the workshop with 30 Dutch travel professionals. Picture shows  Valerie Wilgar of Dalata Hotel Group meeting Maria Sukking of Buro Scan Brit.

Conor Ellie Electric PicnicPicture shows Travel Extra’s Conor McMahon with his girlfriend Ellie at Electric Picnic 2015in Stradbally. Ellie is a singer with the indie band Æ MAK, who performed at the Oxjam Tent and on Cathy Davey’s My Lovely Ranch stage. Æ MAK’s single ‘I Can Feel It In My Bones’ was shortlisted for RTÉ 2fm’s Play the Picnic competition (listen to it here). They play The Workman’s Club on September 19. Find them on Facebook.

And in the week that is in it, let us remember the 15 Irish who died on 9-11: Martin Coughlan from Cappawhite, Joanne Cregan, from Churchtown in Dublin, Sean Cummins from Finglas, Patrick Currivan from Dublin, Kieran Gorman, 35, from Lavagh, Co Sligo. Charlie McCabe from Roslea, Ruth Clifford McCourt from Cork, Ann Marie McHugh from Tuam, and those Irish by parentage Sean Canavan, a cousin of Co Tyrone Gaelic football stars Peter and Pascal Canavan, Sean Fagan from Cavan, Damien Meehan from Donegal, Sean Tallon from Donadea, Michael Judge, Brooklyn-born chaplain of the New York Fire Department, Eamon McEneaney, first generation Castleblayney, and New York born Timothy Stackpole.

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