TRAVEL Extra’s Sunday Supplement: Norwegian drop Cork and Shannon trans-Atlantic amid B737 Max meltdown



Irish travel writers visit the new Season 8 Game of Thrones location in los Barruecos Natural Monument, Malpartida de Cáceres, Extremadura, Spain, where they were hosted by Sara Rivero of the Spanish Tourist board.


Things to know about travel this week

  • Ireland has 4th most valuable passport in the world, says Nomad
  • Norwegian drop Cork and Shannon trans-Atlantic due to B737MAX groundings 
  • Ryanair summer market share at Dublin up to 38.3pc, Aer Lingus down to 34.9pc,
  • Easter pax up 6pc at Irish airports, 102,000 through Dublin on Monday
  • Europe responds to Trumps trade-mongering with sanctions against Boeing
  • Zombies in Tenerife? Pharmacologists say highly unlikely
  • Ireland’s Celtic Tigers defeat Britain in Stena international
  • Why there will be no black pepper at the Cliff of Lyons Aimsir restaurant
  • The wise people of European aviation tell us what we know already

Video Watch.

An Emirates A380 landing at Glasgow airport was caught on camera by residents. Watch here. With recruitment under way,

  • Aer Lingus shows what life is like for its young engineers. Watch here.
  • To mark its centenary year, British Airways releases a new composition based on the famous piece of ad music, Flower Duet. Watch here.
  • The story of Venencia, one of the Etihad Volunteers at the recent Special Olympics World Games in Abu Dhabi. Watch here.
  • Tourism Ireland has 10 Titanic things to do in Belfast. Watch here.

Behind the Headlines

Ireland has the fourth most valuable passport in the world, according to annual research carried out by the offshore consulting firm Nomad Capitalist, The 2019 top ranking passports are: 1 Luxembourg – 114 points, 2 Switzerland – 113.5, 3 Sweden – 113.5, 4 Ireland – 113, 5 Belgium – 113, 6 Italy – 112.5, 7 Portugal – 112.5, 8 Finland – 112.5, 9 Spain – 112, 10 France – 112.

As things stand, Cork and Shannon are both to lose their Norwegian Airways trans-Atlantic services for summer 2019 and the Dublin service has been cut back by 50pc. OAG filings for Norwegian transatlantic B737s for July show no Cork-Providence,  Shannon-Providence or Shannon-Stewart filings (3w, 4w and 3w last year), Dublin-Providence down to 4w from daily, and Dublin-Stewart down to daily from twice daily, probably driven by concerns of non-availability of B737 MAX aircraft. Mike Kelly’s photograph shows grounded Norwegian 737-Max 8 at Dublin airport .

Boeing’s MCAS fix and the positive PR feed from their test flights are not winning the confidence the aircraft manufacturer hopes. Even as US. Federal Aviation Administration said that a joint governmental review of the grounded Boeing 737 MAX will begin on April 29 and will include nine other aviation regulators from around the world, Canada’s astronaut transport Minister Marc Garneau airlines hoping to fly the Boeing 737 Max 8 in Canadian airspace must first train their pilots using a flight simulator. That call goes further than recommendations from US regulators as training procedures for the grounded plane come under continued scrutiny. Sadly, beleaguered Boeing has ramped up the behind the scenes briefing against Ethiopian Airlines pilots Yared Tessema Getachew and Ahmednur Mohammed, which has continued in US media. They are blaming the Boeing 737 MAX fatalities on pilot error, despite the fact that in the instance of two hull losses (and a near miss in a third case) the pilots were struggling with an aircraft that was trying to kill them just after lift off. Sounds familiar? English regulators merrily and repeatedly blamed pilot error when one third of its de Havailland Comets crashed in the 1950s. Boeing is facing into a crisis last seen when the DC-10 was in service 40 years ago. A trade war is all they need. At least Southwest CEO Gary Kelly is keeping faith, telling a chamber of commerce event in Dallas that he will purchase “hundreds” more 737 Max aircraft: “it seems like it’s a relatively straight-forward modification. We are obviously anxious to get the airplane back in service.”

Notre Dame‘s five year timetable for restoration after last week’s fire (in time for the Paris Olympics) sounds a tad ambitious. Conservationsts say it could take two years just for initial conservation measures, to monitor and dry the structure. Nantes Cathedral took ten years after a smaller fire in 1972. The parliament in Brittany in Rennes took five years to restore a smaller building after it was burned during a fisherman’s strike in 1994. Reims took 19 years to restore after its destruction a century ago and they are still completing it. Emmanuel Macron may need to talk first to the guys at Longford cathedral, which took five years to restore, as pictured by Tiernan Dolan.

Does scopolamine turn tourists into zombies? Another devil’s breath scare in Tenerife, where an Irishman allegedly emptied his bank accounts while under the influence of scopolamine, is being treated with scepticism by pharmacologists. Val Curran, professor of pharmacology at UCL’s Clinical Pharmacology Unit says “you get these scare stories and they have no toxicology, so nobody knows what it is.” The DFA advisory on Spain warns people to watch their drinks, just in case: The Spanish authorities have warned of date rape drugs, including GBH and liquid ecstasy, being used. Don’t inadvertently lower your alertness to these risks simply because you are on holiday. The USA travel advisory goes further, suggesting its use in Colombia is widespread: “usually men, perceived to be wealthy, are targeted by young, attractive women.” Really? The European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction says it has never had any mention of scopolamine being used in this way.

Travel Trade

Sunway and Constantinou Hotels hosted 38 key travel trade at Peploes in Dublin. Sunway’s Tanya Airey and Mary Denton are pictured at the event. See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.


Bookabed and Flexible Autos hosted 38 key travel trade at the Dean Hotel in Dublin. Picture shows Dean Dexter, Operations Director of Flexible Autos, is pictured with Beverleigh Hart, Colleen Butler and Lee Osborne of Bookabed, at the event at Sophies, Dublin, April 18, 2019 See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.

Travel Partners Group hosted 40 key travel trade from Cork at their roadshow in Cork. Picture shows Jason Whelan of Blue Insurances, Alan Sparling of ASM, Alan Lynch of Cruiseescapes/Travelesscapes, Brenda Roche of Cork Airport, prize winner Donagh McCarthy of Lee Travel, Olwen McKinney of Amadeus, Alana Byrne of MSC, Niall McDonnell of Classic Collection, Marie McCarthy of Irish Ferries and Lee Osborne of Bookabed. See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.

Princess Cruises launched what it calls a travel agent ‘promise’ to help reinforce its commitment to the trade, three guarantees that have been pledged by the Ireland business, including its sales, guest services and contact centre teams, to be on hand for agents seven days a week via Princess call centre with online chat facility,  to deliver profitable growth for its partners with additional incentives  including free sailings, monetary rewards, gifts and experience days and bring more agents on board to experience the brand during cruise calls to Ireland.

Ireland’s Celtic Tigers beat Britain 9-3 in the media golf team match at Druids Glen and Powerscourt sponsored by Stena Line, on April 9-10 2019. After a hard-earned 3-1 lead for Team Ireland in the opening day’s fourballs at Druids Glen, the home side won six of the following day’s singles matches at Powerscourt to run out worthy 9-3 winners. Picture shows the winning Irish team: Jonny MacCann of Off The Ball / Golf Weekly, Jill Kelleher of Stena Line, Dermot Synnott – Team Captain of Destination Golf, Ann Mooney of the Irish Sun, Eamon Gibson of the Sunday World. Front: Maurice Jay of U105FM / NI Golf Channel, Kevin Collins of Stena Line, Karl Doyle of the Irish Sun on Sunday and Eoin Murphy of the Irish Mail on Sunday. See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.

Audrey Headon and Shay Mitchell were the overall winners at the Travel Industry Golf Society outing to a sunsoaked Greenore where 33 members took to the tee for a singles stableford. The winners: Ladies overall: Audrey Headon.  Ladies long drive: Suzie Sheehan. Ladies front 9, Miriam Skelly: back 9, Ann Byrne;  Gents 1st place Shay Mitchell. 2nd place Clem Walshe, 3rd place Martin Skelly, Gents long drive: Dermot Merrigan. Nearest the Pin, David Conlon;  front 9, Jack Shiel; back 9, Dave Green. Picture shows Karen Maloney of Etihad, Jenny Rafter of Aer Lingus, Shannon O’Dowd of Etihad and Olwen McKinney of Amadeus recreating a four person Thelma & Louise chase though Greenore, and the winners with Olwen McKinney of sponsors Amadeus and TIGS captain Dermot Merrigan of Irish Ferries. See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.

  • The British Guild of Travel Writers AGM selected Simon Willmore as new chair. Picture shows Lindsay Sutton, Liz Gill, Paul Harris and Isabel Conway In South Carolina for the event
  • Visit Jersey will host travel agents from the north in the Clayton Hotel, Belfast on April 30.
  • Sad news: Violet Williams of River Valley park and Mickey Fin’s pub and brewery, former chair of the Irish Caravan and Camping Council and board member of Skal has died. Funeral is Tuesday 2.30 in Redcross. Violet is pictured with the most innovative place to stay award at the 2017 ITIC tourism awards.
  • For more images from our galleries See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.

Strange world

A toddler was dragged from a camper van by a dingo on Australia’s Fraser Island, before being recovered by his father with bite marks and a fractured skull. Fraser Island dingos are a unique species, one made a cameo appearance when Travel Extra visited Fraser Island after ATE 2016. Watch here.

  • A flight from New York JFK to Los Angeles turned back shortly after takeoff because it struck a sign and light on the runway.
  • Police tried to reunite cremated remains left at Ted Stevens Anchorage airport in Alaska with the traveller who left them behind in a Ziploc bag at a security checkpoint.
  • Norwegian Airways came under fire for requiring female cabin crew to wear high heels unless they had a doctor’s note.


Busch Gardens Tampa Bay much-anticipated new roller coaster Tigris officially opened, a 100kmh launched coaster with a 41m drop and a heartline roll which places it among the tallest inversions in the world, on the site of The Tanganyika Tidal Wave which closed in April 2016.

The mantra of trying to do everything better than the last thing is something I continue to explore, is what Universal’s  Mark Woodbury told the Themed Entertainment Association as he was presented with a Lifetime Achievement Award  by the co-founder of Universal Creative, Bob Ward. Previous award winers included Park Legendia, Chorzow, Poland, Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity and the Evel Knievel Museum in Topeka, Kansas. Dollywood won the theme park and Volcano Bay the water park award.

  • Petrol stations across Portugal began to run dry as a strike by 800 truckers over pay and working conditions left hundreds of gas stations closed.
  • The European Union vowed to protect their businesses from the Trump administration’s threat to allow lawsuits against foreign companies based in properties seized during the Cuban revolution, as Trump imposed new travel bans on US citizens preventing them travelling to Cuba.
  • Deauville in Normandy hosts an Irish literature festival taking place on 3-5 May.
  • The long awaited Empire Outlets in NYC Grand Opening Party and Shopping Spectacle takes place Wednesday, May 15.

Food & Beverage

There will be no black pepper at Aimsir, Jordan Bailey and Majken Bech Christensen’s new restaurant at the Cliff at Lyons, when it opens on May 8, such is their dedication to Irish ingredients. Jordan has come to the Ardclough, Co Kildare location from Esben Holmboe Bang‘s three star Maaemo restaurant in Oslo and is chasing Michelin status with the 24-cover restaurant currently being fitted at the canal bank location. The restaurant will use Irish only ingredients (black pepper does not come from Ireland), in a menu that Jordan says will be “led by the weather.” Tasting menus are set at €105 per person. Picture shows sommelier Majken Bech Christensen, Mercedes Bagnell and Eileen Timmons of the Cliff at Lyons.

The line-up for West Waterford Festival of Food from Friday, April 26th to Sunday, April 28th includes Michelin-starred Chefs Ross Lewis (Chapter One) and Danni Barri (Eipic), Maeve Walsh (Canteen), Holly Dalton (Gertrude Restaurant / 3fe) Paula Stakelum (Ashford Castle), Rose Greene (formerly of In de Wulf, Belgium), Lily Ramirez-Foran (Picado Mexican), Martin Shanahan (Fishy Fishy) and Peter Everett (Everett’s Restaurant), Judit McNally (Ormond Café), Nicola Crowley and Dvir Nusery (Mezze Middle Eastern), Marie Power (The Sea Gardener), Louise Clark (formerly Nude Food) and Tom Walsh (new executive chef of The Old Bank, Dungarvan).

Chez Mal Bar in Belfast’s Malmaison hotel has been revamped with custom-made neon artwork, metallic chandeliers, foliage and hanging plants and a new “Malchemy” cocktail menu inspired by the tale of Napoleon and Josephine and their time together at the Château de Malmaison.

  • Laura Chiavini and Marco Roccasalvo are to close Campo de’Fiori Bistro Market in Bray and return home to Sardinia.
  • James and Moira Doherty and James Keith of Sliabh Liag Distillers, producers of An Dúlamán Gin and Silkie Whiskey, acquired the Show Field in Ardara and plan to bring whiskey distilling back to Donegal.
  • The Lord Mayor’s Lounge at The Shelbourne Dublin has reopened.
  • Butlin‘s launched a new menu at The Diner
  • Universal ’s new Citywalk restaurant Bigfire opened.


Television architect Hugh Wallace led the design team for Prem group’s refurb of the Viking Hotel in Waterford. Picture shows Hugh Wallace of Douglas Wallace Architects with Viking Hotel Manager Darren Byrne and PREM Group CEO Jim Murphy.

The Europe Hotel & Resort Killarney opened a €3m staff accommodation development, a unique move to tackle the staff accommodation issue which is dogging the hospitality sector throughout the west of Ireland.

BoldData research maintains half of the world’s star rated hotels are located in Europe. Europe has 50.7pc, Asia 21.2pc, N America 13pc, Africa 3,8pc, S America 2.5pc and Australia/oceania 3.4pc.They listed 23,624 one star (5.9pc), 86,681 two star (21.6pc), 176,764 three star (43.9pc), 90,755 four star (22.5pc) and 24,923 five star (6.1pc). The number of 5-star hotels in Europe has doubled over the past three years: from 5.508 to 9.112 (Ireland has 42). Star ratings are notoriously inconsistent, there are twice as many in Britain as in France, where five stars is notoriously difficult to achieve. Although it is some time since the Bulgarian tourism minister told Travel Extra at WTM that most of the five star hotels in Sunny beach made their ratings up, Hotel Seven Stars Galleria in Milan, the Taj Falaknuma Palace in India, Emirates Palace in Abu Dhabi and the famous Burj Al Arab in Dubai each claim seven stars. It matters more in some markets than others, in the USA only 45,462 of 436,068 hotels are star rated. Star classification are being sourced from the Hotel (chain) itself, Amadeus, Galileo, Sabre,, HRS,,, Expedia and numerous other hospitality related sources. Download the report here.

  • What’s in a name? Edward Carson is new chair of Hastings Hotels, having served as its financial director since 1972.
  • Dublin’s Temple Bar Inn hotel is for sale for €45m with vacant possession, along with a ground-floor retail unit currently occupied by Tesco.
  • Dublin’s Westin Hotel unveiled a €500k upgrade to its luxury suites by Millimetre Design, featuring Irish handcrafted bespoke furnishings, tonal floor and wall coverings, and Carrara marble bathrooms.
  • NH hotel group presented its mood room, which it says is its room of the future, in Germany.



Easter passenger numbers will be a record: Dublin up 6pc to 390,000, Cork up 11pc to 70,000 passengers. Monday will be the busiest day with 102,000 passengers through Dublin. Dublin airport is on course for 34m passengers in 2019 if the 8pc growth rate to date is sustained. March traffic is up 8pc to 2.5m, Europe up 11pc, Britain up 7pc, Transatlantic up 11pc and  M East down 8pc. Picture shows Siobhan O’Donnell from DAA and Scout Group Leader Peter O’Kelly with the 120 Portmarnock Scouts at the opening of the new climbling wall in the den, supported by DAA.

Ryanair‘s market share at Dublin is now 38.3pc and Aer Lingus 34.9pc, according to the summer 2019 preliminary report by Airport Coordination, responsible for slots at Dublin Airport. Combined Aer Lingus and Ryanair is up from 71.0pc to 73.2pc. The report shows total air passenger movements up 3.6pc to 145,395, 5.3pc higher than the actual seats for summer 2018.  Seats cleared are up 4.7pc to 25.39m, 6.5pc higher than the actual seats for summer 2018. For the peak week, movements are up 5.0pc to 5,140, and seats up 6.5pc to 848,556. Ryanair is up 12.1pc with capacity share up from 36.1pc to 38.3pc, and Aer Lingus, who have four more peak week slot pairs than a year ago, up 3.5pc to 308,700 seats, with capacity share down from 35.9pc to 34.9pc. The 52 other passenger carriers, have a share of 26.8pc, down from 29.0pc:  3 British Airways up 10pc to 21,836 (2.5pc share), 4 Lufthansa up 14.9pc to 16,926, 5 American up 12.2pc to 14,070, 6 Norwegian down 17pc to 12,426, 7 Emirates up 9.4pc  to 11,032, 8 Delta unchanged at 10,052,  9 TUI Airways up 79pc to 9.450, 10 United down 4.5pc to 9,184, 11 Etihad up 20.0pc to 8,808 seats,12 Flybe down 41.5pc to 8,084.

Further to comments by Eamonn Brennan at the A4E conference in Brussels last month, the European Commission Wise Persons Group (yup, that’s the name) issued 10 recommendations to reduce delays on European Air Traffic Control reform by taking a central network management approach under Eurocontrol and implementing capacity contracts with national ATC providers. Europe suffered 19.1 million minutes of ATC delays in 2018, of which 60pc were caused by ATC staff shortages and 15pc due to ATC strikes, a figure due to double in 2019. Good luck with that, lads. Full report here.

Lisburn-based Causeway Aero Group, headed up by Michael Rice (pictured), became the first company in the north to receive money (£500,000) from the £30m Brexit Growth Finance Fund, set to directly lead to the creation of 17 new jobs specialising in stress analysis and design of aircraft structures and systems.

Willie Walsh told Oneworld’s 20th anniversary event that Aer Lingus is unlikely to rejoin the alliance any time soon as it is currently busy, having applied in December to join the existing transatlantic joint venture with American Airlines, British Airways, Iberia and Finnair. “That’s a complex regulatory process they have to go through and their intention is to focus on that at the moment.”

Predictably, Europe included aircraft parts on a list of $20bn worth of US products it could tax from early next year in retaliation for US financial support to Boeing, in response to Donald Trump’s tit for tat trade-mongering last week.

Dave O’Flanagan (pictured), Alan Giles and Dermot O’Connor‘s Dublin-based personalisation platform Boxever will work with Ryanair to bring together data from Ryanair’s digital channels, tools and databases to automate decisions about how to personalise each interaction. Boxover airline customers also include Aer Lingus, Air Baltic, Air New Zealand, Cebu Pacific, Emirates, Finnair, Jetstar, VivaAerobus, VivaAir and Volaris.

OAG reported the first summer decline in trans-Atlantic frequencies in five years, down -0.7pc, with capacity up 0.3pc. largely due to the failure of Primera Air and WOW air and the end of Air India and Kuwait Airways fifth freedom flights between Europe and North America. BA trans-Atlantic capacity is down 2.7pc. Norwegian trans-Atlantic capacity is up 27.9pc.

Delhi authorities were lobbied to deregister aircraft leased to India’s beleaguered Jet Airways by SMBC Aviation Capital, seeking the return of 4 B737s and Avolon, who are waiting on two B737-800s (not one, as previously reported by Travel Extra, sorry). Even as the last domestic fights were grounded on Wednesday the airline claimed : Jet Airways will now await the bid finalisation process by SBI and the consortium of Indian lenders, while creditors said that they are “reasonably hopeful” that a bidding process with potential investors for a controlling stake in the airline will save the company. Analysis of Naresh Goyal‘s attempts to save Jet Airways here.

  • Etihad plans to become the first Middle Eastern airline to operate a flight without any single-use plastics on board on ‘Earth Day’ in a bid to raise awareness of the effects of plastic pollution.
  • CSO Aviation Statistics show growth of 6.9pc in Q4 2018.  Kerry had the highest growth at  8.9pc but the lowest passenger headcount at 365,000.
  • Alain Bellemare of Bombardier says the continuation of its regional jet program hinges on whether the company can fill up the CRJ’s partly blank order book.
  • Air traffic handled by Irish air traffic control is up 3pc in January-March 2019 to 245,461 movements.
  • Cork passengers numbers increased by 11pc in the first three months and is on course for 2.6m passengers this year. Picture shows the inaugural flight from Cork to Nice this week.
  • Fly Leasing completed the sale of a portfolio of 12 aircraft, A320s and B737s with an average age of over 10 years, for an aggregate price of US$295m over book value.
  • Airbus’ oversize next-generation BelugaXL airlifter, due to enter service later this year, underwent crosswind training and rejected take-offs at Shannon as part of its certification process.
  • Finnair is to serve Guangzhou in China year round.
  • Steve Gunning (pictured), currently chief financial officer at British Airways will replace Enrique Dupuy de Lôme when he steps down from his role as chief financial officer and Board executive director at IAG’s Annual General Meeting in June 2019.
  • Stobart Group appointed Lewis Girdwood as Chief Financial Officer and Executive Director.
  • United extended the suspension of Newark-New Delhi to July 3 “due to seasonal winds and the continued closure of Pakistani airspace.” Ryanair announced
  • Preveza will be its 14th Greek airport, with a new weekly route to Budapest commencing in July.
  • Applegreen are to take on Shell Aviation and Texaco Valero for the €400m aviation fuel market at Dublin Airport with a new €16m fuel terminal
  • Limerick Institute of Technology and Lufthansa Technik Shannon announced a three-year undergraduate degree programme in aircraft maintenance engineering.
  • Indian Youth Ireland founder, Shashank Chakerwarti, organised a protest to campaign for direct flights between Ireland and India. Watch here Shashank speaking on the subject. 
  • Avianca Brasil will have 10 aircraft seized following a court ruling in favour of the Irish subsidiary of Aircastle to begin on April 13.
  • SMBC Aviation Capital Finance closed the sale of $500m principal amount of 3.55pc, five-year senior unsecured notes due April 2024.
  • Tunisia’s tourism minister Rene Trabelsi said the country is to open airspace to other carriers and said Ryanair had expressed interest for 2019/20 pending the open skies agreement. 
  • Zephyrus Aviation Capital appointed Daire Shiels as Finance Manager based in the Dublin office.
  • Regional aircraft lessor TrueNoord Netherlands appointed Michael Adams as European Sales Director, based in TrueNoord’s Dublin office.
  • Air France to provide free flights for those involved in the reconstruction of Notre-Dame cathedral.
  • A catering vehicle clipped the wing of a Thai Airways A380-800 in Paris, forcing the cancellation of TG931, stranding over 400 passengers


Luxembourg-based CLdN added a direct freight service from Dublin Port to Zeebrugge and Rotterdam with the 8,000 lane metre ro-ro MV Laureline, CLdN now accounts for 40pc of all units moved between Dublin Port and Continental Europe. Eamonn O’Reilly of Dublin Port Company says two and half times more goods move on direct routes from Dublin to the mainland than via the English landbridge.

MSC Cruises is to add Butcher’s Cut speciality restaurant to MSC Divina, MSC Fantasia and MSC Preziosa from May, replacing Eataly onboard Preziosa and Divina, and Tex Mex on Fantasia.

NCL opened bookings for 2021 with Norwegian Encore deployed to Alaska, Norwegian Joy to its new home port of New York City with sailings to Bermuda, Canada and New England, Norwegian Epic returning to Europe for seven-night Mediterranean cruises, Norwegian Dawn to the Greek Isles starting May 2021, Norwegian Getaway to Rome, sailing 10- and 11-night cruises to the Greek Isles and Italy, Norwegian Escape to the North of Europe featuring nine-night cruises to the Baltic region from May 2021.

Oceania Cruises unveiled its new 2020-2021 Tropics & Exotics Collection with 85 itineraries, 69 of them new, including 13 new voyages to Asia & Africa, 8 new voyages to South America, 7 new sailings to the South Pacific & Australia, 7 new Transoceanic journeys, and an extraordinary 30 new voyages to the Caribbean, the Panama Canal & Mexico.

  • Royal Caribbean is to introduce facial recognition technology with tech providers IDEMIA at the Port of Miami and Cape Liberty.
  • Jetline Cruise has launched in Ireland offering bespoke and exclusively built cruise holiday itineraries
  • Princess Cruises will homeport in Tahiti in 2020 for the first time since 2015.
  • P&O Cruises Aurora has been redesigned as an adults-only vessel with 28 new cabins added to Deck 8.
  • A fire broke out on the  Emerald Princess ocean liner as it was in dry dock in Victoria, Canada.
  • CLIA says British cruise passenger numbers came close to 2m in 2018, with separate Irish figures due in the coming weeks.


Fáilte Ireland’s big tourism initiative of 2019 continues to gather shape, the three month Taste the Island showcase for Ireland’s food and drink culture which takes place from September to November. Like a round of golf, an 18-stop roadshow commences next month to brief stake holders in advance of the event. Times are 9.30-2pm unless otherwise stated: , May 7 Donegal, May 8 Dublin (8-11am), May 9 Mayo, May 13 Meath, May 14 Limerick, May 15 West Cork, May 16 Kerry, May 17 Dingle (10.30-3pm), May 20 Cork City, May 21 Waterford, May 22 Kilkenny, May 23 Carlow, May 28 Clare, May 29  Sligo, May 30 Galway  June 6th Carrick-on-Shannon, June 11 Athlone, June 13 Lough Derg. For RSVP and detail email here.

Enterprise Ireland will host its annual Travel Tech Summit: ‘The Future of Travel’ in at Hayfield Manor, Cork with contributions by Jet Blue Technology Ventures, American Airlines, Lonely Planet, IAG (International Airlines Group), Radisson Hotel Group, Aer Lingus, and IHG. Companies short-listed for the Enterprise Ireland Pioneer Travel Tech Award to be announced at the event on the 17th April.  Companies pitching for this award include; Urban Fox, ServisBOT, Culture Mee, Moby, Travaplan and Meetings Booker. There are now 100 travel tech companies in Ireland, employing over 3,500 people.

Festival and events umbrella group AOIFE are planning pop up advice clinics to deal with funding and grant applications, setting up a new festival, revenue and sponsorship opportunities, cluster support and collaboration, risk/ health and safety and insurance issues, social media mentoring, programming ideas for different audiences, European networking opportunities and press and marketing. Monday, April 29th: Imperial Hotel, Dundalk, from 9:45am to 12:30pm, Ardee Hub, Main Street Ardee from 1:30pm to 3:00pm, Westcourt Hotel, Drogheda from 4:00pm to 6:00pm.Tuesday  April 30th Bric Café Warrenpoint 9.45 am – 11.30 am, Canal Court Hotel, Newry 12.00 – 2.00 pm. Wednesday, May 1: Island Arts Centre, Lisburn 11.00am – 12.30 pm, Jurys Hotel , Belfast 2.00 pm – 7.00 pm. Thursday May 2: Marketplace Theatre & Arts Centre, Armagh 2.30 – 4.30 pm. Tickets here. Picture shows Jan Briers, President of the EFA.  Barbara Kessler, Director Creative Europe, and Colm Croffy, Executive Director of AOIFE at the European Arts Festivals Summit in Lisbon.

Doolin in Clare joined Westport as a destination of excellence under Fáilte Ireland’s accreditation system after 120 frontline staff across 41 local businesses completed the course.

Bus Eireann route 350 ticket offers a combined boat trip with Bill O Brien’s Doolin Ferry Company along the Cliffs of Moher or to the Aran Island of Inis Oirr.

Limerick Tourism Development Strategy 2019 – 2023  set a target of 1.1m annual visits as the city claims it can position itself as the gateway to the Wild Atlantic Way. Full story here.

Dublin’s emigration museum EPIC was shortlisted for the visitor attraction category at the World Travel Awards alongside previous winners Spike Island, Cork and the Cliffs of Moher Visitor Experience in Clare. Dublin’s Convention Centre, the Sandymount Hotel, Teelings Whiskey Distillery and Fáilte Ireland have been nominated in other categories.

Belfast City Hall got a new stained glass window as part of Tourism Ireland’s new Game of Thrones campaign, the first of six installations to be unveiled over the coming weeks. Picture shows Niall Gibbons with the window.

  • A new Ireland documentary, Emerald Island, Passport to the World, was screened in 24 cinemas across Canada.
  • Tourism Ireland led a delegation of Irish tourism companies on a sales blitz to Chicago, Dallas and Boston.
  • Derek McGrath showcased the €90m redevelopment at Curragh racecourse (50pc over budget) to journalists. There are plans to include an irish horse racing museum in the next stage of development.
  • Picture shows Aubrey Irwin of Tourism Ireland, with Bollywood star Aamir Khan, who visited Titanic Belfast.
  • The Arts Council of N Ireland  reported that average ticket prices have risen above the rate of inflation over the last three years, warning the increase in price will turn more attendees away.
  • Hillsborough Castle Co Down re-opened to the public with an Easter offering called Be Our Guest.
  • The public has been invited to attend a drop-in event at the Causeway Hotel on May 9 to help kick-start a year-long study will assess the impact of tourism on the Antrim coast signature attractions, Giant’s Causeway and Carrick-a-Rede rope bridge, which is estimated to last 18 months and Heather MacLachlan of the National trust says  will focus on the opportunities as well as the impact of tourism.

Deal Watch

Sunway Escorted Tours. ‘Prague, Vienna and Budapest’, from €2,189pp. Depart 18th October 2019. Price includes flights ex Dublin, 20kg bag per person, taxes, 9 nights twin share 4*hotels, some meals and tours as per itinerary. Price subject to availability and change. . Sunway River Cruise:5* River Cruise ‘Douro Enticing’ fly to/from Porto. Price from €2219PP. Includes flight ex Dublin, return transfers,1nights pre cruise at 4* Mercure Hotel in Porto on a bed and breakfast and then 7 nights on aboard the New AmaDourolaunched in April 2019,twin share stateroom Cat E, full board, unlimited wine/beers at meals & daily.complimentary excursions. Price includes 50% saving on River Cruise. Not included gratuit.ies and port charges of €150pp. Subject to availability and change. Depart 6th, 13th, 27th July, 03rd and 10th August. . Sunway Club Med:Club Med Summer premium All Inclusive Sun holidays, Sandpiper, 4T, Florida. . Adults from €1445pp and children from €1019pp. Price includes flights ex Dublin, 20kg bag per person, resort transfer, superior room triple share,all-inclusive for 7 nights. Price includes a reduction of €427. Subject to availability and change. Depart 18th May 2019. Sunway Adventure Holiday:‘Inca Discovery’. Fly to Lima and return from Cusco. Price from €2,125pp. Includes flight ex Dublin, 20kg baggage per person, 7 Nights accommodation on twin share , some meals and tours as per itinerary. Price includes reduction of €169pp, tour must be booked by 30th April. Subject to availability and change. Depart 05th June 2019. Sunway Summer/WinterHolidays: Kusadasi -. 3* Esat Hotel. Bed & Breakfast . 7Nights from: €389pps. Departs 4th May. Lake Garda: 3*Camping Cisano & San Vito. Self catering. 7 nights from: €479pp. Departs May. Algarve:2*+ Bayside Salgados Apts. Self catering. 7 nights from: €299pp. Departs 4th May. . Sicily:2* Miosotis Apts. Self catering. 7 nights from: €399pp. Departs 1st May. Sunway worldwide. Florida –Orlando –Family Offer. From €545pp. 7 nights – Avanti the Palm. Includes: Flights, Taxes, Bags, Hotel, Room Only. Based on 2 Adults & 2 Children U12 sharing. Departing October 2019. Our Quote Ref: IV1050571. Sunway Cruise:Montenegro and GreeceFly Cruise – Norwegian Star. 7 Nights. Sailing from Venice. Includes FREE At SEA. Pick 2 : Premium Drinks, Speciality Dining, 250 mins Wifi or $50 per Shore Ex Credit. From €1289pp. Departs 25th August 2019 2019. Italy & France Fly Cruise:Emerald Princess. 7 Nights. Sailing from Barcelona. From €1159pp. Departs 31st August 2019. Short Italy and CroatiaFly Cruise:MSC Lirica. 3 Nights. 2 Nights Pre Cruise Stay. Sailing from Rome. From €799pp. Departs 21st July2019. Eastern MediterraneanFly Cruise:MSC Magnifica – 7 Nights. Sailing from Venice. From €799pp. Departs 19th May 2019. British Isles Cruise:Crown Princess – 12 nights. Sailing from Dublin from €999pp. Departs 9th June 2019. Spain & ItalyFly Cruise:Oasis of the Seas – 7 Nights. Sailing from Barcelona. From€989pp. Departs 26th May 2019. Rome to BarcelonaCruise:Celebrity Constellation – 10 Nights. Sailing from Rome. From €1740pp. Departs 9th June2019.

Topflight offers:Sorrento from the Italian Specialist. Sorrento(from Belfast): 4* Hotel Pergola. From €599pps, B&B. 31st May. 4* Hotel Conca Park. From €799pps, H/B. 31st May. Sorrento(from Dublin): 4* Hotel Astoria. From €669pps, B&B. 28th April. 4* plus Hotel Bristol. From €1049pps, H/B. 5th May. Sorrento(from Cork): 3* Hotel Metropole. From €889pps, B&B. 2nd June. 4* Hotel Astoria. From €919pps, B&B. 14th July. Ski. Austria (from Dublin): 3* Hotel Garni Schonblick, Soll. From €639pps, B&B. 4th January. 4* plus Hotel Norica, Bad Hofgastein From €1119, H/B. 7th March. Austria (from Belfast): 3* Chalet Alpina, St Johann. From £643, S/C. 21st December. Austria (from Cork): 3* Hotel Garni Schönblick, Soll. From €653, B&B. 21st December. Andorra(from Dublin): 4* Hotel Patagonia, Arinsal. From €629pps, H/B. 15th March. 4* Park Piolets, Soldeu. From €1019pps, H/B. 12th January. Italy (from Dublin): 3* Hotel Cecilia, Livigno. From €619, B&B. 4th January. France (from Dublin)4* Residence Village Montana, Val Thorens. From €728pps. S/C. 11th January. All prices above include return flights from airport as stated, based on 2 persons sharing, return transfers, accommodation for 7 nights, taxes and Topflight’s in resort service. Call Topflight on 01 240 1700 or 028 9752 1168 (NI). See or

Insight Vacations: New England’s Fall Foliage with Insight Vacations: 8 Days – Visiting: USA. from €3,109 per person sharing, including flights, transfers, and 7 nights accommodation in central locations, 7 included experiences, 7 breakfasts and 5 dinners. 20th September 2019. For more information log onto or call 01 775 3803. Venice and the Gems of Northern Italy with Uniworld Boutique River Cruises. 8 Days from Venice to Venice. Price Was: €3,331 per person sharing. €2,529 per person sharing, including flights, 7-night cruise in a riverview stateroom onboard the majestic River Countess, airport transfers on arrival and departure days, all meals onboard, unlimited beverages onboard, 6 days of excursions, all gratuities and more. 8th September/ Classic stateroom. Flight cost must be paid at the time of booking. Port charges excluded. Price includes Picture Perfect Discount. Book and pay in full by 31 May 2019. For more information log onto or call 01 775 3803.


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