TRAVEL Extra’s Sunday Supplement: Can Spanish bedbank deal REALLY turn Ryanair into the ‘Amazon of travel?’

On board Uniworld Antoinette sailing the Rhine during the ITAA conference

On board Uniworld Antoinette sailing the Rhine during the 2016 ITAA conference


  • Things to know about Travel this week 
  • Qatar’s Dublin route still bogged down by A350 delays
  • Ryanair Holidays revives the ghost of Lowcostbeds.
  • Mary McKenna’s headline advice on hiring staff
  • American updates trade on Premium Economy & other matters
  • Cork to launch Boston AND New York as NAI finally gets license

Travel Extra TV

  • video-december-4Our video of the week is dramatic stuff. See this Emirates A380 crosswind landing. Watch here.
  • Check out Tourism Ireland’s mannequin challenge in Belfast. Watch here.
  • See this cute wombat enjoy his bottle. Watch here.
  • Kereama Te Ua performs a solitary haka in protest of the installion of a multibillion-dollar oil pipe at Standing Rock. Watch here.
  • See Emirates’ tribute to the shortest A380 flight, Dubai to Doha. Watch here.
  • Ever wonder how a surfboard gets made? Watch here.
  • Tourism NI’s Year of Food and Drink continues. Watch here.
  • See Ryanair’s video from the launch of Ryanair Holidays. Watch here.

Behind the Headlines

Bjørn Kjos CEO of Norwegian

Bjørn Kjos CEO of Norwegian

As departure delays go three years is as long as it gets to wait at the gate. When Norwegian Air International were suddenly awarded their license to operate to the United States at 11PM on Friday night, tt became clear that the landscape had changed, not just for Cork, anticipating its first transatlantic services, but for the entire aviation industry. The timing caught everyone by surprise. NAI reacted quickly to say they intend to get the Boston 4w service up and running by end June / early July with tickets on sale early new year. They must have wondered why the announcement was not last April when it appeared that all the hurdles had been cleared. The ball is back in Norwegian’s court and Cork is readying itself for the launch of both Cork-Boston and Cork-New York for summer 2017, subject to an aircraft availability. Norwegian originally planned to operate Cork-Boston 4w using a 186-seat B738. They promised a Cork-New York to follow and a Cork-Barcelona 4w feeder service.

Violete Bulc

Violete Bulc

Who dunnit? Violeta Bulc. The decision of the EU commission to seek arbitration on Norwegian’s application was what pushed it over the line. The Americans had 20 days to respond and with a regime change looming with new Transport Secretary Elaine Chao arriving on Capitol Hill, it must have seemed easier to concede the license for which all arguments against smacked of protectionism. Celebrations can only really start when we see if Norwegian intends to operate a meaningful service out of Cork and Shannon airports or whether this was just an attempt to establish a bridgehead against a hostile regulatory system and whether the Cork service was just a testing ground, using the lobbying skills of Irish America to get the flights in the first place. Time will tell. See roundup of reaction here. Watch here Eoghan Corry speaking about the development on RTE’s six-one television news. Listen here to Eoghan Corry speaking about the EU action on RTE’s News at One.

ryanair-holiday2Unbeknownst to Ryanair, they raised the spectre of the Lowcost group debacle when they announced they were moving into the package holiday business with Ryanair Holidays, or, as the newspapers who came along for the ride so eagerly reported, became ‘the of aviation.’ Kenny Jacobs told guests that Ryanair is prepared to invest its commission on holidays to optimise conversion and growth of the sector, brining down package holiday prices by 10pc. Ryanair threw not one, but TWO, Spaniards into the works. The bed banks, to which Ryanair awarded the tender were surprising both in the scale and the scope of their operation. Tomeu Benassar‘s Logitravel is well known in Ireland as third biggest outbound operator from Spain. World2meet is headed up by the wife of Paul Evans, who was chasing the Ryanair accommodation contract as CEO of Lowcost Beds before it went so spectacularly pear shaped last July and stormed the Irish travel industry for €400,000. Last December Patricia Roselló moved from Lowcostholidays to the NT incoming and New Travellers companies which had been acquired by the Iberostar group where she helped launch its new brand World2meet at Fitur in Madrid in January. She is daughter of legendary Spanish travel agent Rafael Roselló. She was joined by Mark Nueschen, former CEO of Global Met and previously in Hotelbeds. The group turned over €250m in 2015 in 15 holiday destinations in Spain. It distributes its products through 10,000 travel agencies in Spain with a substantial portfolio in the Middle East and Thailand. To add to the puzzle Logitravel are licenced for just 11,560 passengers from England. Ryanair drive a notoriously hard bargain, and previous accommodation contracts have ended up in dispute. Once penalty clauses kick in for not reaching targets the Ryanair website can be a very lonely place to have your brand. No doubt Benassar and Roselló are well aware of this.

six-one-newsRyanair has a licence from the Commission of Aviation Regulation by the school’s group business which was an early signal that something bigger might be afoot. Traditional Irish tour operators have been wary of airlines who dabble in their markers. Selling package holidays is a complex business and complexity has not been Ryanair’s forte in the past. See launch coverage here.

img_3266Take aways from the Irish Travel Agents Association conference held on board the River cruise ship Antoinette included:

  • Mary McKenna’s assertion that, when recruiting staff, it is not the skill set that matters but how they fit in the organisation
  • Sarah Slattery pointed out the value of authentic content in the babble of internet holidayspeak.
Cormac Meehan, president of the Irish Travel Agents Association speaking at the ITAA 2016 conference on board Uniworld Antoinette

Cormac Meehan, president of the Irish Travel Agents Association speaking at the ITAA 2016 conference on board Uniworld Antoinette

There was a surprisingly clear and frank discussion between suppliers and agents moderated expertly by Clare Dunne, where the suppliers did not hold back in saying they found agents unresponsive to promotions and incentives while agents repeated the mantra that there were not enough incentives and what used to be the only perk in the travel industry, the opportunity to travel, seems to have been whittled down over the years. ITAA CEO Pat Dawson contended that every European country, with the possible exception of Sweden, is as unprepared for the package holiday directive as Ireland is. Ireland is not alone in sitting on its hands waiting for the complex business of travel regulation to be pulled together. Ireland’s travel agents are proposing a tax per ticket to replace the existing bonding system. Social highlight of the conference was the perfect A hit right in the middle by Mary Denton and Rebecca Kelly as they sang Steve Perry’s Don’t Stop Believing (E, B, C#m,  A), and held the note as the musicians continued. All we missed was Joe Hogan (RIP) on the piano. The venue for the 2017 conference will be announced at the Irish Travel industry awards on January 26. Watch here video of the conference. See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.

Akbar Al Baker, CEO of Qatar Airlines, speaking at the CAPA ACTE aviation summit in Amsterdam, October 27 2016Qatar have slots to operate Dublin-Doha from March next and confirmed the route on Monday, as first reported by Travel Extra. A delay in A350 deliveries means there is no start-up date. Qatar need more A350s to release a B787 for the route. Watch here Qatar CEO Akbar Al Baker speaking to Travel Extra about the Dublin Doha service.

Travel Trade

Peter O'Hanlon, Loraine Cunningham and Volker Lorenz playing during the TIGS outing sponsored by Travel Extra at The Castle gofl club, December 1 2016Volker Lorenz and Tanya Airey won the TIGS event at the Castle golf club sponsored by Travel Extra, or as Shay Mitchell called it, the Travel Extra extravaganza. At the TIGS AGM Martin Skelly became TIGS captain for 2017 and Dave Conlon became vice captain and captain elect. TIGS President Peter O’Hanlon entered the second year of a two year term (“I have been asked to keep this meeting short so let’s start with Any other Business.”) Watch video report of the event here. Picture shows Peter O’Hanlon, Loraine Cunningham and mens winer Volker Lorenz playing the ninth. See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.

las-vegas-fam-grand-canyon-copyEthiopian Airlines, Las Vegas CVA and Visit USA hosted a fam trip to Nevada and Arizona at the Grand Canyon, Tony Flynn of Aer LIngus was showcasing the ease of connection into Vegas via Ethiopian’s early morning service. “Because we are so early in the morning we don’t clear immigration in Ireland. But I honestly don’t think we would take them up on the offer. Because we land so early in the morning there is only one other international flight arriving at that time. You are in and out of LA in an hour and a half. We work very closely with Virgin America. We get our customers into Las Vegas at two in the afternoon. Dublin Los Angeles Vegas is no different from Dublin London Las Vegas, you still have to take the extra flight. So try us. We have everything on offer.” Picture shows Lyndsey Martin of Clubworld, Yvonne Tully of Club Travel, Dee Burdock of American Holidays, Michael Doorley of Shandon Travel, Rachel Tracey of GoHop, Thomas McEvatt of Sunway, Tryphavana Cross of Las Vegas CVA, Tony Flynn of Ethiopian Airlines, Lorna O’Brien of Sunway and Clodagh Oxley of Visit USA. Watch here interview with Tony Flynn of Ethiopian. Watch here interview with Tryphavana Cross about developments in Las Vegas.

topflight-_-melissa-whelan-jill-russell-maurice-shiels-michelle-anderson-shauna-kelly-topflightTopflight entertained the Belfast trade at an après ski party in the ski-themed Baltic Bar on Wednesday celebrating the launch of the ski season with a focus on the Salzburg ski route from Belfast City Airport. The tour operator a complimentary bar, DJ, spot prizes, a ski-themed photobooth and some games on the night. Picture shows Melissa Whelan, Jill Russell, Maurice Shiels, Michelle Anderson and Shauna Kelly. See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.

colman-caitrionaCaitriona Toner of American Airlines briefed the trade on the airline’s plans for 2017 including the move to premium economy. From the US to Europe, customers travelling in Business Class and Flagship First are provided with a menu created by restaurateur Maneet Chauhan. Picture shows Caitriona with Colman Burke of Club Travel.. See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.

Departing on the Turkish fam trip to the Seychelles: Roisin Carbery from Tropical Sky, Jennifer O’Brien of Travel Counsellors, Onur Gul of Turkish Airlines, Siobhan Emma Doyle of Trailfinders, Sonya Walsh of World Travel Center and Usha Panicker of Club TravelPicture shows agents departing on the Turkish Airlines fam trip to the Seychelles: Roisin Carbery from Tropical Sky, Jennifer O’Brien of Travel Counsellors, Onur Gul of Turkish Airlines, Siobhan Emma Doyle of Trailfinders, Sonya Walsh of  World Travel Center and Usha Panicker of Club Travel.

Cork Skal Christmas President’s Lunch 2016 will take place on December 11 in  Fitzgerald’s Vienna Woods Hotel. Dublin Skal Christmas President’s Lunch 2016 on Tuesday December 13 in the Talbot Hotel in Stillorgan.consort_0286

  • Picture shows a group attending the Consort conference in Alicante. Peter Freidrich, Ciaran Mulligan, John McKibbin, Sandra Corkin and Murkesh Sharma.
  • Kenya regional roadshow comes to Dublin on December 6th with drinks, food and an exciting competition.
  • john-grehan-selfiesG Adventures, represented in Ireland by John Grehan, revealed 18 new itineraries for National Geographic Journeys for 2017. John is pictured at Machu Pichu en route to the company’s annual conference and with a friend he encountered along the way.
  • Amadeus released Graham Floater and Lisa Mackie’s report: Travel distribution is it really the end of the world as we know it? See report here. See debate here.
  • The Commission for Aviation Regulation renewed the expired license of Atlantic Sky Team Tours in Galway.group_2733
  • Picture shows a group of Irish travel writers hosted by Madrid tourism on a visit to Spain on the ground fo the royal palace at Aran. Sra Rivero of the Spanish Tourist Board, Sean Dunne of the Mail on Sunday, Yvonne Gordon, Eoghan Corry of Travel Extra, Edwina O’Connor of Lifeoffstuff and Emma Nolan of the Dublin GazetteWatch here video of Salamanca district in Madrid. Watch here Sean Retana, first generation Irish tour guide, explaining the basics of olive oil.

Strange world

  • It was estimated that NHS translators cost the NHS £9.3m in three years in Northern Ireland.
  • A dramatic advance in beaver evolution- an enterprising beaver wreaked havoc among the artificial Christmas trees in a shop in Maryland. He has been sent to a wildlife rehabilitator, presumably to learn the error of his ways. “Plastic. Wood. Plastic. Wood.”
  • A woman opened an emergency exit and jumped out of a taxiing United flight on to the tarmac after landing at Houston airport.
  • Airline regulations that alcohol levels of over 70pc alcohol by volume mean that Rivers rum from the Antoine Distillery in Grenada is simply too strong to travel.
  • A teenager dangled over the side of a Carnival cruise ship for a dare.
  • An airline kicked a disabled boy off a flight home from his first ever holiday because his service dog was too big.
  • A Guam judge sentenced a Korean Air passenger who pleaded guilty to fighting with a flight attendant who refused to serve him beer more than two years prison time.
  • A Lucky Air pilot in China was suspended after telling delayed passengers to mount a protest when a bigger airline was given priority by air traffic control.
  • David Tait. a columinst with Canada’s Travel Industry Today likened Michael O’Leary to Donald Trump.
  • A Mexican airline Interjet launched a FindMika campaign after losing dog. The dog has apparently been found. 
  • A British Airways could serve passengers a digital pill to monitor in-flight happiness.
  • A 700ft high Hindu temple in India is set to become the world’s tallest religious building and include a theme park.


  • The Australian government lowered backpacker tax to just 15pc.
  • Bikes outnumber cars for the first time in Copenhagen.marcelo-rech
  • Palma de Mallorca city on the Mediterranean tourism island of Mallorca is to be called simply Palma – again
  • Wynn Resorts says it’s joining a growing number of Las Vegas hotel-casinos by ending free parking valet service
  • Newark fast food workers protests for higher wages led to 26 arrexts.
  • Our sympathy to family and colleagues of Marcelo Rech, leading Brazilian journalist and victim of the Medellin aircraft accident.
  • GoEuro Citybreaks index rated Barcelona, Prague and Berlin as their top three. Bucharest was top for transportation, Kiev for accommodation, Belrin for nightlife, London for day activities and Barcelona for food and drink.
  • The city with the most tattoo parlours per capita was Miami Beach, USA with 28.48 per 100,000 citizens.

Food & Beverage

The Advertising Standards Authority for Ireland and Food Safety Authority of Ireland drew up guidelines on terms to describe their food in the marketplace, most notably Artisanal, Farmhouse, Traditional (your recipe or method of food preparation must be at last 30 years old) and Natural.

The Licensed Vintners Association claimed that insurance premiums for pubs have increased by 47pc over last two years, with one publican seeing their insurance premium rise by 81pc. Average premiums have increased from €17,000 in 2014 to €25,000 this year

JD Wetherspoons is to open a new three-floor pub in Waterford city in two buildings located on Broad Street and Arundel Square, removing the party walls between them, introducing pavement cafe areas at ground floor level and a new customer garden area on the first floor. JD Wetherspoons was granted permission to open a new €4m bar and hotel on Camden Street and sold five of its nine pubs in the north to the Granny Annie’s group for £3m.

  • Pimento Wine & Tapas, which opened in November 2015 in Carlow, is looking to open a second venue in Kilkenny,
  • Northern Ireland Hotels Federation award for Hotel Restaurant of the Year 2016 went to Lough Erne Resort.
  • Euro-toques Ireland named 23-year-old Maeve Walsh of Restaurant FortyOne at Residence as Young Chef of the Year 2016. Judges included two Michelin starred-chef Nathan Outlaw; Graham Neville of Euro-toques Ireland, Paul Kelly of the Merrion Hotel; and Wade Murphy of Limerick’s 1826 Adare,
  • Teeling Whiskey’s Global Brand Ambassador, Kevin Hurley was named Industry Legend of the Year at the Irish Craft Cocktail Awards. Teeling teamed up with Chinese distributor Summerage Fine Wines & Spirits to create a new oriental infused malt.
  • Esquires Coffee chain opened four new Dublin-based stores in the past eight months, a fifth store is planned for Talbot Street in first quarter of 2017.


The head of AIB’s hospitality division Owen Travers said AIB continues to be ‘very supportive of the Irish hospitality sector’ and has approved over €300m in loans to the hotel sector in 2016.

Marker Hotel GM Charlie Sheil was enrolled into the Irish Hospitality Institute’s college of fellows at its annual Founder’s Banquet and Hospitality Management Awards. Lifetime Achievement Award went to Peter Malone. Hospitality Manager of the Year was  Des McCann, Clayton Dublin Airport

  • Airbnb said hosts will need a license to rent their homes in London for more than 90 days a year, and homes in Amsterdam for 60 days.
  • Zanzibar which has planning permission for the development of an 89-bedroom hotel. on Dublin’s Ormond Quay is on sale for €10m having been on offer for €5m last August.
  • Ireland’s Travelodge franchise, taken over by Irish hotel group Tifco, nearly doubled pre-tax profits to €4.155m.
  • The 289 room W Hotel Las Vegas opened. “If there are two things in this world that were truly made for each other, it’s W Hotels and Las Vegas,” said Anthony Ingham, Global Brand Leader, W Hotels Worldwide. Carton House appointed Éanna Hassett as Director of Operations, Matthew Murphy as Executive Chef, and PGA professional David Kearney is the new Director of Golf.
  • Bedsonline announced total revenue growth in some markets of up to 200pc for its key product, accommodation, in the financial year ending September 30, 2016.
  • The five-star 192-bedroom Conrad Dublin hotel saw pre-tax profits double to €2.28m.
  • Mount Juliet pre-tax losses last year declined by 23pc to €1.9m as revenues increased by 5pc to €9.47m.
  • Shanghai-based Fosun Group is to create Fosun Tourism and Culture Group.
  • Marriott’s global brand officer, Tina Edmundson said eight of Marriott’s 30 brands are being designated luxury brands ahead of a major announcement on how the company’s 30 brands will be divvied up and categorised.
  • Property developer Johnny Ronan has applied for planning permission to press ahead with plans for a 141-bedroom hotel at Enniskerry, close to where Treasury Holdings, his former business, developed the luxury Ritz-Carlton hotel.
  • Radisson Blu hotel at Dublin Airport reported a 44pc profit rise.


Dublin’s summer 2017 slot allocations include Qatar’s planned service from March and Hainan’s prospective Beijing service via Manchester. A proportion of these slot allocations will not be taken up.

iceland-route-pic-2Pictured at the announcement of the new Icelandair 3w route from Belfast City Airport to Reykjavik to start June 2017 are Ciaran Doherty, Head of Co-operative Marketing, Tourism Ireland, Anne McMullan, Director of Marketing and Communications, Visit Belfast, and Ellie McGimpsey, Business Development Manager, Belfast City Airport.

Expect great access fares to Northern Portugal next summer. In response to Aer Lingus decision to fly Dublin to Porto Ryanair have increased their service from 2w to 5w for summer 2017.

  • The Avro RJ. aircraft involved in the soccer team tragedy in Medellin was formerly EI-RJK.
  • Aer Lingus transferred their gold circle members to a 4-tier avios system on Tuesday, meaning future points will be accumulated on revenue, not mileage.
  • The EU is to press airlines to sell €1 bottled water on board, voluntary, for now,
  • CityJet is to take delivery of 3 Sukhoi SuperJet 100 aircraft in the first half and five in all in 2017 funded by Vnesheconombank.
  • Aer Rianta International profits increased to €23.7m up 10.5pc.
  • CityJet reduced its losses from €30m in 2014 to €10m and said it was going to reshape into a profitable and sustainable operator. Pat Byrne said: “within two years we will be the largest regional wet provider in Europe, and we will probably be the number-two regional sized airline in Europe, just behind Flybe. We will carry about 1m passengers and 4m or 5m for other airlines.”Yvonne Muldoon of Aer Lingus speaking at the ITAA 2016 conference on board Uniworld Antoinette,
  • Kevin O’Malley, Betty McLaughlin of the Institute of Guidance Councillors, David Rook of Riot Games, Yvonne Muldoon, Director of Sales Aer Lingus (pictured), and Brian MacCraith, President of DCU  are among guest speakers at StudentLife Summit (website) sponsored by Aer Lingus will include US Ambassador to Ireland. Admission to the Student Life Summit is €5 and Teachers can register their classes at To celebrate its sponsorship, Aer Lingus is also giving away two tickets to any North American destination of your choice for teachers registering classes before December 19.
  • Profits at ground handling service firm Sky Handling Partner are up 26pc to €882k.
  • Ryanair launched their 86th base In Naples.
  • American Airlines flight attendants union called on the airline to recall its new uniforms claiming the garments are to blame for a string of health problems including headaches, rashes and respiratory problems
  • Spain’s EASA authorised FTEJerez to train multi-crew pilots for Aer Lingus.
  • See here Oireachtas Transport committee discussion with Dublin Airport Authority: Chairman Designate Pádraig Ó Ríordáin.
  • Flying in Ireland reviewed Public Service Obligation air services routes and capacity needs at Ireland’s State Airports.
  • Ryanair was involved in a subsidy row at Zadar.
  • Aer Lingus won Best Sports Team or Athlete Sponsorship at the Irish Sponsorship Awards.
  • Listen here Richard Curran interview with Aer Lingus CEO Stephen Kavanagh.
  • Newstalk podcast Michael O’Leary in the Midlands, and podcast with Henry McKean.
  • Vueling signed up for Travelport’s merchandising produce, Travelport Rich Content and Branding.
  • A life in aviation, watch Tony Fernandes CEO of Air Asia here and Akbar Al Baker CEO of Qatar here.


Jo Rzymowska, Pat Ward and Loraine Quinn at the Celebrity Cruises event in L'Ecrivain.Dublin’s first homeported big ship will be Celebrity Eclipse operating five rotations from April to June 2018 including a 10-night Ireland and Iceland sailing calling at Belfast, Reykjavik, Iceland; Akureyri, Iceland; Lerwick/Shetland, Scotland; and Cork, as well as offering an eight-night Norwegian Fjords itinerary. Eclipse, after eight years of homeporting in Southampton, will split its time between Dublin and Amsterdam. Celebrity Silhouette will replace Eclipse based out of Southampton from summer 2018. Picture shows Jo Rzymowska, Pat Ward and Loraine Quinn at the Celebrity Cruises announcement. Watch here interview with Lorraine Quinn.

  • Construction began of Oceanwide Expeditions’ newest cruise ship the Polar Class 6 vessel Hondius at Croatian shipyard Brodospli.
  • MSC Cruises steel cutting ceremony to mark the start of construction of MSC Bellissima, the second of the Meraviglia class of ships, took place at the STX France shipyard in Saint Nazaire. Construction of the new MSC cruise ship terminal begins at port of Miami.
  • Princess Cruises pleaded guilty to pollution charges and paid a $40m fine.
  • Royal Caribbean and Celebrity are to include Gratuities on cruises from Australia and NZ.
  • A Welsh woman was washed up near Lawrenny after falling overboard from the Irish Ferries Isle of Inishmore between Pembroke and Rosslare
  • Fred Olsen Cruise Lines launched its New Year promotional campaign with free upgrades to its all-inclusive drinks package for bookings of five nights or more, and a waiver of single supplements on some sailings for bookings made until March 1 2017.
  • Lindblad Expeditions‘ new cruise ship National Geographic Endeavour II sailed out ahead of schedule.
  • Rosslare Europort is to waive charges for cruise ships for 2017, 2018 and 2019.
  • Royal Caribbean’s North Star attraction has broken the record for being the “Highest Viewing Deck on a Cruise Ship.
  • Seabourn laid the keel for Seabourn Ovation. Seabourn received its newest luxury cruise ship, 600-passenger Seabourn Encore, from the Fincantieri shipyard in Italy.


titanic-belfast-ceo-tim-husbands-mbe-and-vice-chairman-conal-harvey-celebrate-titanic-belfast-being-crowned-king-of-the-worldTitanic Belfast became the first Irish winner of a World Tourism Award when they were named best visitor attraction at a marathon ceremony in the Maldives where 195 winners were named, following up their European award last month. Guinness won the European attraction award in 2015 and were shortlisted as a world finalist in 2016. Jumeirah at Etihad Towers was named the world’s leading hotel, Etihad the world’s leading airline and Changi Airport, Singapore the world’s leading airport. Norwegian Cruise Line won the large cruise ship award. The United Arab Emirates won 19 awards, three more were picked by Emriates airlines.

Viewing Platform Sliabh LeagueCounty Donegal was named number one in National Geographic Traveller’s Cool List: 17 for 2017, citing filming of the latest Star Wars movie in Malin Head and the county’s “weather-nibbled coast spotted with sea stacks, Blue Flag beaches and offshore-islands,” ahead of 2 Santiago; 3 Helsinki; 4 Greenland; 5 Peru; 6 Aarhus; 7 Canada; 8 Portland, Oregon; 9 India; 10 South Africa; 11 Iran; 12 New Zealand; 13 Seoul; 14 Sudan; 15 Düsseldorf; 16 Sicily; 17 USA. Picture shows viewing platform on Sliabh League.

  • Inis Mor’s beleaguered ferry service was given a stay of execution until January 4.
  • The Hidden Ireland collection of 32 country houses and 22 self catering properties launched a coffee table book.
  • Shane Ross hit back at his critics over his performance as tourism minister at the announcement of Tourism Ireland’s marketing strategy for 2017. The body anticipates 10.5m visitors to the island in 2016 and growth of 11.5pc and expects double digit growth again in 2017 despite some challenges. Watch here Tourism Ireland’s Jump into Ireland 2017 advertisement scheduled to go live in 23 markets and featuring scenes from scenes from Antrim, Clare, Dublin, Galway, Kerry and Mayo.
  • Ireland won ‘Best Luxury Destination’ at the Travel+Leisure India’s Best Awards 2016 in India.
  • A bogus taxi was intercepted and siezed while taking passengers to Dublin Airport yesterday.
  • The CEO of Belfast International Airport Graham Keddie launched a broadside against Tourism Ireland which is chaired by the CEO of Belfast City Airport, Brian Ambrose.

Deal Watch

thomson-deal-watchThomson offers: 7 nights self catering Protur Bahia Azul Apartments, Cala Bona, Majorca from €4459pps, depart Shannon May 6 2017. 3 nights half board Hotel Nerja Club, Costa Del Sol from €331pps, depart December 15. 7 nights self catering Cay Beach Princess, Maspalomas, Gran Canaria from €544pps, depart December 15. 7 nights all inclusive Clubhotel Riu Vistalmar Amadores, Gran Canaria from €1,069pps, depart December 24. 7 nights half board Hotel Barcelo Santiago, Puerto De Santiago, Tenerife from €539pps, depart January 13 2017. 7 nights half board Hotel Ifa Catatrina, Playa Del Ingles, Gran Canaria from €449pps, depart January 28 2017. 7 nights half board Hotel H10 Timanfaya Palace, Playa Blanca, Lanzarote from €699pps, depart February 5 2017. 7 nights half board Hotel Golden Donaire Beach, La Pineada, Costa Dorada from €679pps, depart Knock June 27 2017. 14 nights all inclusive Riu Montego Bay, Jamaica from €1,789pps, depart June 15 2017. 14 nights all inclusive Grand Sirenis Riviera Maya, Playacar, Mexico from €1,499pps, depart July 5 2017. 7 nights Mediterranean Secrets cruise on board TUI Discovery from €1,409pps, depart Shannon July 15 2017. Visit or call 1850 45 35 45.

falcon-deal-watchFalcon offers: 7 nights all inclusive 4* Hotel H10, Playa Meloneras Palace, Gran Canaria from €1,429pp, depart December 24. 7 nights all inclusive 3* IFA Interclub Atlantic, San Agustin, Gran Canaria from €489pp, depart January 28 2017. 7 nights all inclusive 3* Catalonia Punta Del Rey, Las Caletillas, Tenerife from €389pp, depart January 13 2017. 7 nights self catering 3* Globales Tamaimo Tropical, Puerto De Santiago, Tenerife from €389pp, depart February 3 2017. 7 nights self catering 3* Cinco Plazas, Puerto Del Carmen, Lanzarote from €419pp, depart February 5 2017. Lapland day trip from €559 per adult and €459 per child, depart December 16. 7 nights B&B 3* Sellas Hotel and Apartments, Sidari, Corfu from €429pp, depart May 19 2017. 7 nights self catering 3* Ouratlantico Apartments, Praia D’Oura, Algarve from €469pp, depart May 28 2017. 14 nights all inclusive 3* Royal Decameron Club Caribbean, Runaway Bay, Jamaica from €1,549pp, depart June 15 2017. 14 nights all inclusive 4* Grand Bahia Principe Coba, Riviera Maya, Mexico from €1,729pp, depart July 5 2017. 14 nights all inclusive 5* El Dorado Royale, Riviera Maya, Mexico from €2,469pp, depart June 7 2017. 7 nights 4* Holiday Village Kos from €2,319 2+1, from €3,249 2+2, depart June 10 2017. 7 nights all inclusive 3* Hotel Saturno, Alcudia, Majorca form €2,079 2+1, from €2,659 2+2, depart June 14 2017. NRG offer: 7 nights self catering 2* ICandy Apartments, Malia, Crete from €459pp, depart June 11 2017. Visit or call 1850 45 35 45.

tourism-ni-deal-watchTourism NI offers: 1 night B&B Charlemont Arms, Co Armagh from £99 per room incl. bottle of Prosecco on arrival, valid until December 31, quote Discover NI when booking, call (028) 37 522028. 2 nights B&B Westville Hotel, Co Fermanagh from £125pps incl. 3 course meal on evening of choice, available until December 31, call (028) 66 320333. 2 nights B&B Maryville House Tearooms and Boutique B&B, Belfast from £180 incl. glass of mulled wine and shortbread and festival afternoon tea, valid until December 29, call (028) 90 681510.

Sunway offers: 7 days 4* Trafalgar tour of the Best of the US Canyonlands from €2,459pp, depart May 30 2017. 8 nights self catering 2* Intouriste Apartemnts, Morocco from €399pp, depart December 30. 10 nights half board 4* Aqua Suites, Lanzarote from €1,599pp, depart Cork December 28. 7 nights self catering 2* Villa Florida Apartments, Fuerteventura from €769pp, depart December 29. 8 nights self catering 2* Oasis Apartments, Lanzarote from €909pp, depart December 30. 7 nights all inclusive 3* Marina Elite, Gran Canaria from €1,214pp, depart December 30. Visit or call 01 231 1800.

Travel Department is offering 7 nights 3* half board hotel accommodation Lake Maggiore, Italy from €919pp incl. transfers, excursions and taxes and charges. Travel May to October 2017. Book here or call 01 637 1600.

ITAA offers: 3 nights Beatles Magical Mystery Bus Tour, Liverpool from €165pp incl. accommodation at Days Inn Hotel, tour ticket and admission to the front stage of the Cavern club, depart February 5 2017. 9 nights Norwegian Fjords cruise with Eurovision winner Dana from €779pp incl. entertainment and a captain’s cocktail party, depart June 5 2017. 4 days 4* Mercure Nemzeti Hotel, Budapest from €769pp incl. return flights, taxes, transfers, 2-course dinner in Callas Cafe, half day sightseeing tour with lunch, guided tour of Hungarian Opera House, excursion to the Danube Bend towns with lunch and ticket to see José Carreras in concert, depart January 19 2017.

Topflight offers: 7 nights 4* Bella Italia, Peschiera, Lake Garda from €499pps, depart May 6 2017. 7 nights self catering 3* Villagio Verde, Sorrento from €529pps, depart May 7 2017. 7 nights half board 4* Hotel Majestic Palace, Malcesine, Lake Garda from €799pps, depart May 13 2017. 7 nights B&B 5* Hotel Diamond, Giardini Naxos, Sicily from €799pps, depart June 10 2017. 7 nights B&B 4* Hotel Milton, Rimini, Adriatic Riviera from €799pps, depart June 10 2017. 7 nights half board 4* Hotel Bristol, Sorrento from €1,099pps, depart April 30 2017. 7 nights all inclusive 4* Hotel Sandos Papagayo Beach Resort, Playa Blanca, Lanzarote from €879pps, depart May 7 2017. 7 nights B&B 5* Hotel Melia Madeira Mare, Funchal, Madeira from €799pps, depart May 11 2017. Visit or call 01 240 1700.

Insight Vacations is offering 8 days Easy Pace Russia tour from €2,229pps incl. flights, transfersand accommodation. Book by January 27 2017, depart May 14 2017. Visit or call 01 775 3803.

Uniworld Boutique River Cruises is offering 8 days Burgundy Provence cruise on board the SS Catherine from €3,049pps incl. flights, airport transfers, all meals and beverages and all shore excursions. Book by December 31, depart March 26 2017. Visit or call 01 775 3803. 

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