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Irish fans being greeted in Copenhagen airport with cups of Carlsberg, November 10 2017

Things to know about travel this week

  • Votes now open for Irish travel industry awards
  • Tim Husbands jumps ship from Titanic to Westport House
  • Ryanair announces four initiatives at Web Summit
  • Johan Lundgren to head up Easyjet
  • Ireland wins best stand feature at upbeat WTM in London
  • Training the big concern at Let’s Talk Tourism
  • Dalata aims to be biggest hotel operator in key cities
  • Dublin ranked 7th of 17 European cities for tourism spend
  • Dublin Airport on course for 29.6m 
  • Space man Chris Hafield visits Shannon
  • Sukhoi certification at London City delayed until 2019

Travel Extra TV.

  • Taking your shoes off is one thing, socks is another – British Airways gauges public opinion of inflight etiqutette. (Watch here).
  • Etihad Airways is celebrating its 14th birthday. Watch here how the Abu Dhabi carrier has grown.
  • Qatar Airways is appealing for Open Skies to remain, maintaining air links to the United States. Watch here.
  • Did you know Arthur Guinness was married in the building which now house Dublin’s Church Bar.
  • Tourism Ireland pays tribute to the capital’s historic buildings here.  
  • In what India TV describes as “yet another incident bringing embarrassment to the IndiGo Airlines”, its ground staff manhandled and dragged a passenger at Delhi Airport. Watch the report here.
  • It’s the airport where you can check in without talking to any staff. BBC News here reports on the new Terminal 4 at Singapore’s Changi Airport.

Behind the Headlines

There were 600 Irish from the outbound and industries among the 51,500 travel professionals from 182 countries and regions around the world and 3,000 international media at World Travel Market, buzzier than it has been in recent years. Forum issues addressed the concerns of over-tourism and a lively morning of discussion on sustainable tourism. Watch here Irish agents at WTM. Watch here Minister Brendan Griffin speaking at WTM, Watch here the Irish Stand at WTM, Picture shows Biddy Hughes of Westport House and Catherine Grennell-Whyte of ATTS at the event. See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.

A lively exchange on the issue of training for the hospitality industry, with a call to have a single overseeing body to certify training, and a keynote address by video from Peter Bellew of Malaysia Airlines were the highlights of the Let’s Talk Tourism conference in Killarney. Peter let the cat out of the bag on Boeing aircraft prices in his presentation, they cost €50m when you buy in bulk rather than the €100m list price used by Boeing. Picture shows Conor Hennigan and Margaret Cahill, organisers of the event. See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.

Travel Centres conference brought 150 agency owners, managers, staff and suppliers to the Mullingar Park hotel. Picture shows Ciara Mooney of Freedom Travel, Andrew Lynch of Travel Advisors and Pamela Brownlee of Flyaway Travel during the conference.  See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.

Surprise of the week is the move by Titanic CEO Tim Husbands to the Hughes Group’s  Westport House. Picture shows Cathal Hughes, Tim Husbands, Owen Hughes and Harry Hughes at Westport House. The Hughes brothers have completed the acquisition of  Westport House from the Browne family and want to grow the attraction to 1m visitors. Last week Harry Hughes was named EY Entrepreneur of the Year.

TripAdvisor added badges to its peer review listings warning potential visitors to do additional research on hotels or resorts which “may put guests at risk” The badges are not intended to be punitive, say TripAdvisor, and have been added to for example hotels where cases of sexual assault have been reported.

Travel Trade

Voting for the 2018 Irish Travel Industry Awards is open and member agencies can vote online until Friday December 8.  The awards, for which Aer Lingus are headline sponsors, take place in the Round Room at the Mansion House Dublin on January 25.

Pictured at the Alcazar in Seville on a Spanish Tourist Board group trip, Caroline Kelly of Travelnet, Elaine Hughes of O’Donohoe Travel, Alan Preston of Clickandgo, Lori Malesa of Clickandgo, Alan Lynch of Citiescapes, Kathryn MacDonnell odf the Spanish Tourism Office.

Don Clarke is joining Travel Solutions to provide additional support for the Northern Ireland Travel Agent network. He joins Robert Wilson, who won ‘Travel Trade Representative of the Year’ at the Northern Ireland Travel and Tourism Awards. Travel Solutions is expanding beyond its Belfast base and is offering ski holidays from Birmingham, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Liverpool, Manchester and Stansted to two Bulgarian ski resorts, Pamporovo and Borovets from January.

  • Amadeus Ventures invested in AVUXI.
  • Travelport partnered with Wanup, who offer a hotel portfolio, based on rating, destination and hotel style

Strange world

A Qatar Airways flight en route from Doha to Bali had to make an emergency landing after a female passenger found out her husband was cheating on her. The Iranian woman used his fingerprint to unlock his phone while he was asleep. Flight attendants were unable to calm the woman as she repeatedly hit him, forcing a diversion to India.

  • Orchid City and Spas launched weekend breaks for women going through a divorce, a crazy it says that started in the USA
  • Facing debts of more than €13.6bn, the city of Rome is reported to be considering pocketing the coins lobbed into the Trevi Fountain.
  • The mayor of Venice Luigi Brugnaro branded tourists who complained about being charged €526 for lunch in a restaurant close to St Mark’s Square as “cheapskates who did not even leave a tip”. “Someone eats and drinks in a restaurant, then says they cannot understand the language?
  • A man who lost his driving licence ouside a Flights Centre in Cheltenham was pranked by a travel agent who sent him a letter saying he’d booked a first class trip to the Maldives, costing over £5,000. Will Armstrong saw the funny side after being told it was a joke.
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A Travelport survey showed 85pc of travellers use peer to peer reviews when researching a trip, 33pc use voice search, using devices such as Siri or Amazon Echo and 50pc said the biggest pain point is time spent finding the best price. The survey indicated 54pc of business travellers add leisure days to a business trip,  53pc avoid hotels that charge for Wi-Fi and 57pc would be lost without their smartphone.  When at the destination: they use an average of 14 different categories of apps when travelling.

Sandals called claims by Antigua Prime Minister Gaston Brown that the resort group has been seeking to avoid its tax obligations “vicious, sustained and defamatory” and said Sandals Grande Antigua is the “most significant contributor to the economy“.

China has called on French authorities to take more action in protecting the safety of its visiting nationals after another mass robbery in Paris. In the latest incident a group of 40 tourists were tear-gassed and robbed in a hotel car park.

  • Travel site is seeking someone to be the face of the brand for six months, with VIP access to clubs and activities, all living expenses, and being paid $60,000.
  • The UAE Foreign Ministry advised Emiratis against travelling to Lebanon, whether from the UAE or other countries. It follows similar warnings from Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Bahrain in an escalation of the power struggle between Saudi and Iran in the region.
  • Deutsche Bahn is to increase rail fares between Berlin and Munich by 13.6pc on the ICE Sprinter service which will cut journey times between the cities by two hours to just under four hours.

Food & Beverage

Myles and Sharon Doyle, owners of The Porter House, Castlebridge, Wexford, won both the National Irish Pub of the Year and Best Local Pub at the Irish Pub Awards held at the RDS in Dublin and attended by over 300 publicans. The awards are a joint venture between the Vintners Federation of Ireland and the Licensed Vintners Association. Winners were: Innovative Pub of the Year Roadside Tavern, Lisdoonvarna, Co Clare; Music Pub Matt The Millers, Kilkenny City; Best Outdoor Space – The Terrace at Dinn Rí, Co Carlow; Outstanding Customer Service – Bog Road, Portlaoise, Co Laois; Tourist Pub – Stag’s Head, Dublin; Pub Personality of the Year – Johnny Quilty, The Goat, Clonskeagh; Local Pub – Porter House, Castlebridge, Co Wexford; Food Pub – Mickey Finn’s, Redcross, Co Wicklow. Connect to the album here.

Probably the world’s best soccer goalkeeper turned up in Dublin. Carlsberg Ambassador Peter Schmeichel was promoting the Danish beer partnering with the FAI to give every Irish football fan in Copenhagen a free pass to the Carlsberg Experience and a free pint before the away playoff game against Denmark.

The owners of London restaurant The Ivy have been greenlit to open in Dublin on the corner of Dawson Street and Molesworth Street.


Crowe Horwath and Cushman & Wakefield predicted  4,000 new bedrooms in Dublin over the next five years and said demand will need to increase by 15pc if current profit and occupancy levels are to be maintained.

Dalata  told investors that it hopes to add  8,000 bedrooms to its British portfolio over the next five to seven years and wants to become the biggest operator of three- and four-star hotels in 20 British cities using its decentralised structure to gain an advantage over competitors. Plans include a 300-bed hotel in Scotland. Dalata is aiming to take 10-15pc of the market in 20 targeted cities, including Liverpool, Edinburgh, Cambridge, York and Oxford. Picture shows Pat McCann of Dalata in Dublin, Photo: Mac Innes Photography Picture shows Michelle Hourican, ACCA Council Member, with Pat McCann.  See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.

  • Elena Baturina, at $1bn Russia’s richest woman , received €1.5m in dividend from the Morrison Hotel.
  • Revenue at Dublin’s Gibson Hotel, bought in recent months by Dalata Hotel Group, rose 7pc to €15.39m while profits fell 60pc to €807,000.
  • The Radisson Blu hotel at Dublin Airport returned to profitability, with pre-tax profits of €737,393 and promised a range of capital projects.
  • Castlegrove House, Co Donegal; Glenlo Abbey in Galway; Richard Corrigan’s Virginia Park Lodge, Co. Cavan; and Co Mayo’s Killadangan House are joining Ireland’s Blue Book bringing the total to 54.
  • Airbnb is among those interested in buying Wyndham Worldwide’s €1bn European holiday rental business. First-round bids are due this month.


Ryanair launched its Belfast summer 2018 schedule, with 14 routes in total including continuing the twice-weekly winter route to Malta. Its suspended Belfast-London service will be reinstated from 1st March, operating to/from London Stansted instead of Gatwick at a lower frequency. Full report  here.

Ryanair unveiled four initiatives at the Web Summit in Lisbon. Ryanair has launched Ryanair Tickets, in partnership with Coras, allowing customers to book tickets for London West End shows. It upgraded Ryanair Rooms website, launched in October last year, offering customers a wider choice of hotel, hostel, B&B, holiday villa and homestay options and launched a dedicated Chinese website. Improvements to its personalised MyRyanair product means passengers can now see their preferred and most recently searched routes, as well as recommended products and services based on the type of trip.

  • Passenger numbers at Dublin Airport are up 4pc to 2.6m in October. So far this year, 25.3m have travelled through Dublin Airport, up 6pc keeping the airport on target for 29.6m in 2017. Full report here.
  • CityJet’s Sukhoi SSJ100 SuperJet is likely to remain in the lease and charter markets until approved for the London City airport to return to regular scheduled flying, probably from 2019.
  • SIPTU Organiser Neil McGowan confirmed that 1,500 Aer Lingus members in Dublin, Cork and Shannon voted 53pc to 47pc in favour of a Labour Court recommendation which will see them get pay rises of 8.5pc over 39 months.
  • Aer Lingus has started using Boxever’s Customer Intelligence Cloud to harvest guest data, including historical, behavioural and purchasing insights to gain a holistic view across digital and offline channels.
  • Aer Lingus passenger traffic in October was up 6.4pc on September 16 with a passenger load factor of 81.3pc, down a point.
  • Ryanair extended its connecting flights service to Porto Airport from 03Jan18 for passengers travelling within the Schengen area.  Routes on the press release are not the same as those on the website.  Full report here.
  • Ryanair’s chief marketing officer Kenny Jacobs told a press conference at the Web Summit in Lisbon said the airline hopes to introduce an integrated system enabling customers to buy long haul tickets in the first half of 2018.
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A fund was set up by the European Cockpit Association to provide benevolent financial support to pilots, including those from Ryanair, who could find themselves in financial difficulty as a result of leading demands for collective bargaining rights at their airlines. Some Ryanair pilots claimed that management is unilaterally designating some normal rest days as annual leave days between now and the end of the year although management categorically rejected claims that it did not have enough pilots. Ryanair is suing three leaders of the Ryanair Pilots Group over an email circulated the email to 2,289 pilots in 2013 which it says falsely inferred the airline had misled investors.

  • Ryanair has been ordered by the High Court to make available for inspection certain documents which Channel 4 and an independent production company say they need to defend a defamation action by the airline.
  • Surf Air, which provides an all-you-can-fly service for a monthly fee, is to commence flights from Dublin next year. The airline operates in a number of European cities including London, Luxembourg, Munich, and Milan, and will expand to a number of destinations next year including Amsterdam, Brussels, Paris, and Geneva, as well as Dublin.
  • Iberia Express is to extend its summer service from Cork Airport to Madrid Barajas, in total adding 5pc more seats for 2018. Full report here.
  • Flybe flight BE331  was forced to land at Belfast International with no nose gear with 56 people onboard on Friday afternoon. The Bombardier Q-400 had taken off from Belfast City Airport and was due to fly to Inverness before being diverted.
  • Turkish Airlines posted a record operating net profit of $939m for the third quarter of 2017,  up 23pc. And revenue was up 23pc to $3.6bn. Full report here.
  • After recent pressures, Emirates Group announced half-year revenue up 6pc to AED 49.4bn (US$ 13.5bn), and profit of AED 2.3bn (US$ 631m), up 77pc. It says the results were due to capacity optimisation and efficiency initiatives, easing of strong US dollar, and steady growth. Full report here.
  • EasyJet has appointed Johan Lundgren as its new chief executive, replacing the long-serving Carolyn McCall.
  • Flybe half-year profits nearly halved after it was hit by higher-than-expected aircraft maintenance and IT costs.
  • A former executive at New York’s JFK Airport has been convicted of stealing from his employer and accepting bribes after awarding business contracts to catering, transportation, and aircraft servicing companies totalling more than $1.3m.
  • Knock is forecasting2pc growth to 750,000 passengers this year, Profits increased  fivefold to €642,788 in 2016 and passenger numbers  to 733,869.
  • Willie Walsh received a doctorate form DCU.


The Italian Government moved to ban large cruise ships from docking near St Mark’s Square in Venice.  Vessels larger than 100,000 tons will be required to dock in Marghera at an industrial port about 15 minutes from the historic city.

P&O Cruises is enforcing stricter rules on its short-break sailings, including introducing a ban on fancy dress, novelty and offensive clothing. Two-to-five night cruises will no longer be advertised as ‘party’ or ‘celebration’ cruises and the company is also restricting the amount of alcohol permitted to be brought on board.

Royal Caribbean Cruises is rolling out an app that it says will eradicate check-in lines, allow cruises to get drinks delivered to anywhere they are on the ship, and “transform” cabin ceilings into starry nights.

The first block of Spectrum of the Seas was lowered into position during at the Neptun Werft shipyard in Rostock-Warnemunde in Germany.

Meanwhile, Royal Caribbean has revealed three new features onboard Independence of the Seas following its refurbishment in April 2018. They include a chipper, an ice cream bar and a sports bar.


Irish tourism is up 3pc to end September, driven by a 19pc increase in North American figures.

Tourism Ireland exhibitors at WTM joined the British-Irish inter parliamentary council at the House of Lords for an event on Monday evening. Watch here Niall Gibbons speaking at the event, Watch here Minister Brendan Griffin (pictured),  Watch here Frank Feighan, Watch here Baroness Angela Harris Watch here Elgin Loane and watch here Conor McGinn who memorably opened the formalities.

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World Travel and Tourism Council ranked Dublin seventh out of 17 locations for tourist spend income in 2016. Overseas visitors spent  €9.2bn in Dublin. London, Istanbul and Amsterdam topped the list; with spends of €18.9bn, €17.5bn and €11.8bn.

Insight Vacations hosted 35 travel professionals from the Canadian Automobile Association, all specialists in driving holidays. The group’s trip was supported by Tourism Ireland and Fáilte Ireland. The group is pictured outside Ashford Castle in Cong, Co Mayo, with Insight Vacations’ Dorothy Switalska.

Joe Gill director of corporate broking with Goodbody Stockbrokers, argued here that Ireland risks the kind of over-tourism seen in cities like Dubrovnik as efforts continue to secure direct air links to China.

Cork Airport, Tourism Ireland and Norwegian launched a campaign in the Boston region to promote the direct service to Cork.

Tourism Ireland hosted a delegation of 120 senior travel and tourism professionals from 19  provincial tourism administrations in China.

A group of travel agents from New Zealand has been touring Ireland this week, as guests of Tourism Ireland, Fáilte Ireland and Qatar Airways.

Deal Watch

 Insight Vacations offers: Dublin to Germany, 8 days visiting country from €1949pps including flights, transfers and 7 nights’ accommodation in the best locations, depart December 3. Book  and pay in full by November 30 2017 . Flight cost must be paid at the time of booking. Log onto or call 01 775 3803.

Sunway offers: Dublin to Lanzarote, 7 nights self-catering 2* Acurio Sol  Apts, from €849, depart December 23. Dublin to Fuerteventura, 7 nights self-catering 3* Oasis Dunas  Apartments, from €819. Dublin to Gran Canaria, 7 nights self-catering 2* Monte Verde Apartments, from €799, depart December 22. Dublin to Morocco, 7 nights self-catering 2*+ Tilila Studios, from €549, depart December 23.

Topflight offers: Dublin to Austria, 7 nights self-catering 2* Pension Molnar, Soll, was €649 now €465, depart January 6. Dublin to Austria, 7 nights self-catering 3* Aurora Apartments, Bad Hofgastein, was €569 now €399pps (Based on 4 share), depart January 6. Dublin to Austria, 7 nights half board 4* Hotel Der Schmittenhof, Zell am See, was €878 now €728, depart January 6. Dublin to Andorra, 7 nights half board 3* Hotel Patagonia, Arinsal, was €661 now €541, depart January 7. Cork to Austria, 7 nights self-catering  3* Chalet Alpina, St Johann, was €559 now €529pps (Based on 4 share), depart January 13. Cork to Austria, 7 nights half board 4* Hotel Der Schmittenhof, Zell am See, was €747 now €717, depart March 10. Belfast to Austria, 7 nights self-catering 3* Chalet Alpina, St Johann, Austria, S/C was £462 now £437pps (Based on 4 share), depart January 13. Call 01 240 1700 / 028 9752 1168, see

TUI offers: Dublin to Gran Canaria, 7 nights half board 3* Barcelo Margaritas, Playa Del Ingles, from €1,069, depart December 21. Dublin to Lanzarote, 14 nights all inclusive 3* Be Live Experience Lanzarote Beach Hotel, Costa Teguise, from €1,119, depart December 31. Cork to Tenerife, 7 nights all inclusive 3* Catalonia Punta Del Rey, Las Caletillas, from €1,2299, depart December 24. Dublin to Verona, 7 nights B&B 3* Hotel Astoria, Garda, Lake Garda, 3*, from €554, depart May 26. Dublin to Verona, 7 nights self-catering 4* two-bed bungalow, Bella Italia, Peschiera, Lake Garda, from €2,127 (2+2), depart June 9. Dublin to Salzburg, 7 nights B&B 3* Hotel Obermair, Mayrhofen, from €523, depart June 6. Dublin to Salzburg, 7 nights half board 4*-plus Hotel Sport & Spa Strass, Mayrhofen, from €739, depart June 13. Visit, Call 1850 45 35 45

Uniworld Boutique River Cruises offers: Dublin to France, 8 days, from €1989pps includes flights, airport transfers, all meals and beverages, all shore excursions and 7 nights in a Category 5 stateroom on board the River Duchess, depart March 25. Flight cost must be paid at the time of booking. Book before December 31st 2017. For more information log onto or call 01 775 3803

What we learned.

Who knew that the world’s most famous modern day astronaut, Chris Hadfield, was a former boy scout? He made the admission as he  visited Shannon Airport. Hadfield brought the International Space Station into popular culture in 2013 when he performed the David Bowie classic Space Oddity while rotating around the earth and also served as an ambassador for Tourism Ireland after tweeting in Irish from space. Hadfield  is pictured with scouts from the 1st Clare Shannon Scouts, Rose Hynes, Chairman of Shannon Group  and Shannon Airport MD Andrew Murphy.



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