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MEXICO TIANGUIS TURISTICO 2012 FRANCE NEWS FROM RENDEZ VOUS NEW ZEALAND NOW 1 STOP AWAY MSC Preziosa launched

Turkey: what’s new

Theme Parks

R U YO

e d a r T ER P PA

IRELAND'S PREMIER SOURCE OF TRAVEL INFORMATION MAY 2013

Free

VOLUME 15 NUMBER 5

The Australia issue

Big news from a big island

page 040 08/04/2013 16:27 Page 1

Marmaris Turkish Culture and Tourism OfďŹ ce Tel: +44 (0)20 7839 7778 | www.gototurkey.co.uk

www.goturkey.com

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NEWS

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Plastic problems

Cyprus says plastic is back after banking uncertainty

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yprus has reported that banks have now reopened and cash machines, debit and credit cards are working as normal. It ends a period of uncertainty, during which the Department of Foreign Affairs warned tourists to take cash with them to Cyprus "alongside appropriate security precautions against theft”. ATMs, debit and credit cards can be used as normal, say the Department. On the ground the story was a little different, with merchants worried about any money going into their account and turning down credit and debit cards. Cyprus was not a good place to be relying on plastic during the crisis. The banks closed for a period of more than a week but the ATMs, despite alarmist predictions, are well stocked. English travel commentator Simon Calder summed up tourist’s dilemma: the banking system has basically frozen. For what it is like to operate without plastic, ask any of the Irish fans who went to the Serbia-Ireland match in Belgrade in November 1998. Luckily not many Irish are in

A

FLORIDA state Governor Rick Scott

signed a bill allowing car rentals to drive without obtaining International Permit.

SCOTLAND's 2014 Year of Homecoming will feature an all-star concert to celebrate the opening of the Ryder Cup, a flotilla to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Forth Road Bridge, Europe's biggest brass band festival and a re-enactment of the Battle of Bannockburn. COPENHAGEN The new Copen-

hagen Den Bla Planet (Aquarium) has opened. Tivoli Gardens in Copenhagen is also to get a new daredevil ride for adults in the themed area called the Merry Corner.

AUSTRALIA’s new visa system for

business visitors came into effect on March 23rd. Gary Gray was sworn in as new Australian Federal Tourism Minister in Canberra.

PENRYHN the longest zip line in world (1 mile, 100mph) has opened at Penryhn Quarry, Bethesda, Wales. The Rock of Aphrodite has sign a crisis or two in its time Cyprus during the crisis. There are no direct flights to Cyprus from Ireland

until May 26th.

THE WORLD’S BEST ISLANDS

mbergris Caye, Belize was selected the best island in the world in Tripadviser Choice

awards. The island finished ahead of 2 St John, US Virgin Islands; 3 Bora Bora, French Polynesia; 4 San Juan Island,

Washington; 5 Santorini, Greece; 6 Isla Mujeres, Mexico; 7 Moorea, French Polynesia; 8 Koh Tao, Thailand; 9 Easter Island, Chile; 10 Nosy Be, Madagascar. Santorini, the only European island to make the top ten, was followed in

the European charts by 2 Cephalonia, Greece; 3 Capri, Italy; 4 Naxos, Greece; 5 Orkney Mainland, Scotland; 6 Gozo, Malta; 7 Zakynthos, Greece; 8 Jersey; 9 Isle of Skye, Scotland; 10 Fuerteventura, Canaries.

WINTER SUN 2013/2014

Early Booking Offers

NEW! Direct flight from Dublin to Tenerife

NORTH KOREA Regent Holidays in Bristol have reported an unexpected 400pc rise in demand for tours to North Korea. Alan Lynch of Citiescapes, who specialises in holidays to North Korea from Ireland says that he has lots of calls from people about his August excursion departing on August 19, and none have cancelled.

Featuring Lapland

CHEAPEST CITY The English Post Office City Costs Barometer said Budapest was cheapest city in its annual survey ahead of 2 Vilnius, 3 Warsaw and 4 Riga. ENTERPRISE car hire has opened branches in airports at Lisbon, Faro, Madeira and Porto. DUBAI recorded 10m visitors for the first time in 2012, 41,237 of them from Ireland. Dubai's Al Maktoum airport will launch passenger services in October. PRICELINE An American court ruled that Priceline has no fiduciary duty to tell customers that it often pays hotels less than the customer bids and keeps the difference.

NOW ON S ALE

BOOK NOW CALL:

1850 45 35 45 CLICK ON: falconholidays.ie

CONTACT: Falcon Travel Shops or your local Travel Agent Direct flights from Dublin, Cork and Shannon Airports

Terms and conditions apply. Falcon is fully bonded and licensed by CAR (TO 021)

Page 004 Knowledge r 08/04/2013 14:56 Page 1

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THE KNOWLEDGE Travel Extra Advertising & Subscriptions 6 Sandyford Office Park Dublin 18 (+3531) 2913708 Fax (+3531) 2957417

CONTENTS

3 News The latest travel trends 5 France: News from Rendez Vous 6 Hotels: Minding the net 7 WEF: The world tourism charts 8 Postcards: from the travel trade

Editorial Office Clownings Straffan Co Kildare Managing Editor: Gerry O’Hare gerry@travelextra.ie Editor: Eoghan Corry eoghan.corry@ travelextra.ie Publisher: Edmund Hourican Sales Director: Maureen Ledwith maureen@bizex.ie Accounts and Advertising: Maria Sinnott maria@bizex.ie Picture Editor: Charlie Collins pix@travelextra.ie Chief Subeditor: Ida Milne ida@travelextra.ie Chief Features Writer: Anne Cadwallader anne@travelextra.ie Contributors : Eanna Brophy eanna@travelextra.ie Marie Carberry marie@travelextra.ie Carmel Higgins carmel@travelextra.ie Cauvery Madhavan cauvery@travelextra.ie Sean Mannion sean@grafacai.ie Ida Milne ida@travelextra.ie Catherine Murphy cathmurph@yahoo.com Cleo Murphy cleo@travelextra.ie

Travel Extra takes no responsibility for errors and omissions. Distribution Manager: Shane Hourican shane@bizex.ie Origination: Typeform

Printer: WG Baird Limited Caulside Drive Greystone Rd Antrim BT41 2RS Contact 01-2957418 if you have difficulty getting Travel Extra.

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P

10 Australia: Who’s doing what 14 Australia: The handle on Broome 16 Theme Parks: What’s new 20 Disney: Two views of an anniversary 22 Turkey: Cities ancient and modern 24 Afloat: Michael Bayley’s Michelin Star restaurant plan

26 Afloat Extra: MSC Preziosa 28 Flying: Siim Kallas revolution 32 Belfast: Go directly to gaol 33 Westport: The west for action 34 Global Village Euro travel setback 37 Window seat: Our columnists 38 Pictures: Out and about

Go right, turn right

est way of finding oneoff, seasonal deals. Offers include May reductions for those who don’t need to take children out of school.

lanning a theme park visit can be a bit of a rollercoaster. How can you make your clients’ theme park trip a better experience for adults and children alike? Here are a few hints.

Many of the attractions within a region or within the same parent group also team up with one another to offer combined entrance at reduced rates.

AGE -specific theme parks can save money and stress. Legoland is the best for teenies, Disney for middle children and white knuckle specialists such as Universal, Cypress Gardens, Knott’s Berry Farm, Portaventura or Alton Towers keep the teenagers happy. But don’t be put off, every park has a teenie section, and Disney has a spectacular under sevens for free offer. The best rides are often found in lower profile legacy theme parks such as Knott’s Berry farm in Anaheim or Six Flags parks around the USA.

LONG -Term The

STRESSFUL 6

TURN RIGHT

Most people gravitate to the left when they enter a theme park. By going right and taking in your attractions anti-clockwise, you will beat the queues to the rides, particularly if you go early.

GO EARLY

Theme park queues lengthen and shorten in cycles. The early comer gets to do five or six extra rides because the queues are shorter. Something as simple as a baseball hat can gain you valuable midday time in the hotter parks such as Orlando and Portaventura.

BREAKFAST

Food in theme parks can be exorbitant, so eat well before you set out. Most theme parks won’t allow you to bring food, so work out the prices in the various restaurants in advance so that you won’t be ripped off. Very often the most expensive are strategically placed to capitalise on lunch breaks or the exact moment teenies are hit by the munchies.

FAMILY Tickets can save a surprising amount of money. A family of two adults and up to four children aged between six and sixteen can save around $30. The same applies to Duchas attractions at

Tutuki Splash in PortAventura home. Visiting in a group of two or three families is usually better value than just with your own. At some parks, a group of twelve or more qualifies for a ‘passport’ ticket offering savings of up to 30pc.

SUNDAY

Evening. This is when the resorts empty, as everyone returns home for work on Monday. When planning your trip stay an extra day and take advantage of the empty theme park and the short queues on Sunday evenings, particularly in parks that stay open late. Sunday evening in February is the best time ever to do Disney Paris, Ireland’s favourite theme park destination.

FAST-TRACK

when and where you have the option. The time saved makes it well worthwhile for the small outlay, particularly as the sun climbs or, in Orlando, humidity soars. It saves queuing time and makes everyone less grumpy, and if you are paying for a day ticket, gives you an extra couple of rides for time spent queuing. There is a

snag: Disney’s fastpass locks you into a particular ride. You cannot get a fast pass for another ride until a stated time. So gather fast passes for the most crowded rides early in the morning, and use the transport system to travel between them to do your rides. Tickets are multiple entry and the monorail is air conditioned, so it doesn’t take as much time as the queue would in the first place.

BOOK in advance

and online if you can. Ticket specialists such as Attraction Tickets Direct can offer big savings. In Europe, most big attractions now offer internet booking deals, typically offering savings 10pc. Tickets are cheaper if booked at least 48 hours in advance. If you have internet access, you can pick the least crowded times. Note that tickets are not refundable or transferable and subject to availability.

CALCULATE

Price systems can be complicated, and to make sure you are going to get maximum benefit, you need to do your sums and plan your time.

There’s no point buying an expensive multi-visit pass, only to find that you use it once before it expires.

COMBINE

Americans stay for shorter periods than Europeans at the major Orlando theme parks, so the owners offer us five day passes which can be incredibly good value.

Surveys show that maximum pressure on parents is exerted by children between six and nine years of age. Once you know you can prepare. Set limits in advance.

PROMOTIONS These are a

BEWARE Be-

favourite device in theme parks, as with hotels and airlines, to boost low season capacity. Arrive in a big European theme park outside of school holidays in shoulder season you will not only enjoy shorter queues but lower prices too. This is a big advantage for anyone with pre-school kiddies or who have unusual discretion days, such as the traditional Punchestown closing for Kildare schools. Checking websites is the easi-

ware of prices of up to $250 for a ticket if you haven’t taken up one of the discount schemes. There are over 75 different types of ticket types to Disney, so buying them is a complicated business. Watch out for places that have no-child discount like Discovery Cove. And be wary of attempts to up-sell. Merchandise can make a theme park visit very expensive indeed. After every ride you can purchase a photograph of yourself looking terrified for €6-€15. T-shirts at

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French connection

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endez Vous en France 2013 was staged in Toulouse, close to some of the major foiegras producing regions of France, as the guests were reminded each delicious meal-time. The event which was opened by tourism minister Sylvia Pinel attracted 680 exhibitors with the biggest presence from Paris and the host region, Midi-Pyrenees. Atout France hosted 900 international tour operators from 64 countries with a heavy emphasis on developing markets such as India and China, as well as 55 leading travel writers. The world’s most popular tourist destination, France (78m international visitors) is ahead of Spain (57.9m) in the European charts with Italy trailing back on 47.8m. While visitor numbers from Ireland to France slipped back to below 600,000 last year. Agnes Angrand, London based director of the Irish market (pictured at the event with Atout France Director Christian Mantei), said she was working to encourage French regional and tourist bodies to help rebuild the Irish market, which peaked at 780,000 visits in 2008. She pointed out that innovative marketing can yield results out of Ire-

Agnes Angrand and Christian Mantei land. “If I look at Disney, their results are not doing badly at all. The best we can do is to push for more awareness in the Irish market. France has a huge variety and something for everyone. More and more people want more than one type of holiday. They want a whole range of experience and emotion and France can offer that.” The hosts organised 44 pre-event fam tours for 425 international tour operators from 59 countries. Participants included Derry Cremen of Hello France, whose Cork-based camping operation now attracts 15pc of its bookings from outside Ireland, and Maria Madigan of Irish wine tours, who thoroughly enjoyed her

cycling tour along the Canal du Midi, stopping for an occasional taste of Gaillac on the way (to celebrate, no doubt, her son Ian’s appearance at out-half for Ireland against Italy). The Cite de l’Espace was venue for an exceptional opening night dinner and musical performance. Local producers hosted the guests on the second night, and Trevor Brennan’s pub, De Danu, was also visited by the small Irish delegation. Travel Extra’s Eoghan Corry toured the Airbus factory and the extensive aircraft collection which is to be housed in a new museum, opening March 2014. The event will be held in Clermont-Ferrand next year.

SEA FOR CULTURE IN MARSEILLES

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arseilles will host over 400 cultural events as part of its European Capital of Culture programme, to highlight young talented artists from Europe and the Mediterranean. The major exhibit is Painters and the Mediterranean, which will showcase the ways in which the avantgarde artists of the time, such as Van Gogh, Bonnard, Cezanne, Matisse, Picasso and De Stael, illustrated southern France between 1880 and 1960. The exhibit takes place simultaneously at Aix-en-Provence’s Musée Granet and Marseille’s Palais Longchamp. Other spectacles, concerts, parades, festivals, food tastings and more continue through the year. Contemporary architects, including top international names like Rudy Ricciotti and Frank Gehry, have designed new venues in Marseille, Arles, Aix and Aubagne. Some major renovations include a new building design for Aix-en-Provence’s Conser-

vatoire de Musique, the oldest academy of dance and music in France, created in 1849. In the town of La Ciotat, the Eden Theatre, the world’s oldest existing cinema, built in 1889, which once screened the Lumière brothers’ films, has reopened for the occasion. The entire seafront will undergo a cultural transformation, while the port will welcome more cruise ships. Some of the major new openings include: ■ MuCEM - the Museum of European and Mediterranean Civilizations which opened January 12, will showcase projects that bring together European and Mediterranean civilizations and cultures. Strategically located between the historic Vieux Port and the new Joliette urban district, the MuCEM is being designed by Rudy Ricciotti, who recently designed the new Cocteau Museum in Menton. The first exhibitions open in May. ■ The Silo d’Arenc, built in 1926

as a place to store and process wheat, has become the symbol of Marseille’s industrial past, and will be transformed into a new space where concerts will be held, and office space made available for technology and cultural organisations. ■ Regional Centre of the Mediterranean A space dedicated to cultural and artistic exchanges between Mediterranean countries, with exhibits, concerts, screenings and an underwater gallery. ■ Regards de Provence Museum, a former Station Sanitaire (maritime sanitary control station) built in 1948, redesigned to host exhibitions, historical documents and photos. ■ The J1, a new space that will welcome cruise ships and passengers right along the sea, the top floor will host major exhibitions, information centers and activities during the year.

NEWS LOUVRE-LENS, offering free admission. Just one hour and ten minutes by high-speed train, is a destination in itself, housing a spacious ultra-modern structure with over 200 masterpieces from the "mother" Louvre. MONT ST MICHEL new parking and visitor centre near the dam, from which visitors will be able to access the mount either on foot, by shuttle bus or horse-drawn carriage. The last step will be in 2014, with the completion of a new specially-designed causeway road, with at its end a foot bridge to the island, which will allow the tides and waters to move freely around the mount. CORSICA is anticipating a big year, as it hosts the start of the Tour de France - which is celebrating its 100th anniversary this year on June 29. The two main departments in the mountain on the sea, Haute-Corse and Corsedu-Sud, are the only ones in metropolitan France that never hosted the competition. ALPE D’HUEZ The summit of the famous Alpe d'Huez will be visited twice by the Tour de France for the first time in the history of the race. Cyclists have to accomplish 21 narrow switchbacks for 8.6 miles (13.8 km) at an average 7.9% gradient. MARSEILLE France’s first new national park in metropolitan France since 1979, and the first in Europe located in a suburban area just outside Marseille, Massif des Calanques is a spectacular wilderness area situated along 20 kilometres of Mediterranean coastline with fjord-like inlets on precipitous limestone cliffs looming over the sea. It offers over 140 threatened plant and animal species have protected status on land, along with 60 marine species.Already 1.3m visitors flock to the park each year. RADISSON Blu's newest hotel opened in Nantes in November. Housed in the former 19-century Court of Justice building, the hotel, boasting 142 elegant rooms, combines traditional elements with a contemporary style. Now guests can dine in the former court room. www.radissonblu.com/hotel-nantes ST TROPEZ’s 1930s, the Hotel de Paris was one of Saint-Tropez's very first hotels. Thanks to its visionary new owners and a chic new colourful design, the hotel, featuring 52 rooms and 38 suites, will finally be opening its doors again in February 2013. The improved and contemporary hotel will boast a suspended swimming pool that beams light over the atrium, a luxurious spa and gourmet bistro. TOULOUSE will host an exciting family-friendly piece on a new exhibition on the "Red planet" at the Cite de l'Espace. MEDOC The Marathon du Médoc, with 8,500 runners in costume running in the midst of the region’s harvest festival. The marathon receives 15,000 applications a year and can only accredit 8,500 runners. This year’s marathon is September 7.

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HOTELS

www.travelextra.info

Minding the net

TRIPADVISER founder Steve

Kaufer told the London Telegraph “we've done a very good service to the hospitality industry.”

GOOGLE estimated that the average

holiday decision involves 50 searches on the internet over 2.5 hours.

BRANDS TOP 10 The revised list

of the world’s biggest hotel brands sees the intercontinental group still holding top spot: 1 IHG, 2 Hilton, 3 Marriott, 4 Wyndham, 5 Choice, 6 Accor, 7 Starwood, 8 Best Western, 9 home Inns, 10 Radisson.

HOTELS.com released a much-publi-

cised survey showing that Russia has the most public holidays (40) and Mexico the least (19). Irish people have 29 paid and public holidays compared to 36 in Italy. The European average is 33 days.

INTERCONTINENTAL hotel group is to offer free internet to all loyalty scheme members. RAI The Restaurants Association criticised the "antiquated" law banning alcohol sales in restaurants on Good Friday.

PREMIER INN has opened a new

hotel at Stansted Airport.

BOOKINGS The global hotel industry reported leisure bookings year-to-date were up 4.5pc.

Warning to hoteliers about changing OTA tactics

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he clearest message to Irish hoteliers yet came from the Irish Hoteliers Federation Conference discussion on online travel agencies. Several speakers outlined the changing tactics of online travel agencies and new sites operaitng on principles that could be devastating to the industry. Markus Luthe CEO of the German Hotel Association told hoteliers of the most alarming developments including websites that cancel rooms already booked. ■ Tingo will automatically cancel a room that has already been booked if it finds a cheaper one in the same region. ■ Backbid will get hotels to compete against each other in bidding for a customer’s business. “There will always be one hotelier who is prepared to reduce his price.”

Some day, air travel may be this good.

A new era in coach travel: Now bigger, more comfortable and free Wi-Fi on-board Introducing a whole new departure in travel: the new Expressway fleet is ready for take-off. With free Wi-Fi, extra legroom and charging points for personal electronics, this makes how you travel intercity an easy choice. No expensive tolls. No rising fuel prices. No hassle with parking. Just frequent services connecting Ireland’s main cities and towns all day long, and you can work, rest and play while you’re getting there. Some day, air travel may be this good.

Mike Webster at the Irish Hoteliers Federation conference in Killarney. members only site which they take care within ■ Hallst.com enables enables customers to price search their OTAs customers to resell find cheap rooms withwill be found. rooms. Cancelon.com out it breaching the conMike Webster of Gulenables customers to sell tract terms with other liver told hoteliers that on rooms they no longer OTAs. Online Travel Agencies need. Another customer According to Luthe tactics had exploited wekgets the room and the this opens a whole new nesses in hoteliers’ pracoriginal customer gets area of peer to peer mar- tices, like contacting the money. keting with private rooms reception staff looking for ■ Hotwire.com offers being sold. extra discounted rooms. discounted rooms while He said that OTAs no Travelfruits.com is a longer trust their brands

EUROPEAN HOTEL PRICE INDEX APRIL Bilbao €12b €225 €152 €102 €79 Rome Brussels Cologne Geneva Leipzig €147 €123 €101 €253 €78 City Vienna Turin City Granada €146 €122 €100 €204 Istanbul Cannes City €76 Venice Malaga €143 €120 €99 €186 €75 City Hamburg Liverpool City Budapest Marseilles €140 €115 €178 Copenhagen Nice €74 €95 London Dublin Athens €137 €114 €176 €94 €73 Florence Frankfurt Oslo Lisbon Valencia €137 €113 €172 €93 €70 City Edinburgh Paris Berlin Budapest €111 €135 €171 Riga City Manchester €90 Amsterdam €69 Madrid Salzburg €133 €168 Toulouse Warsaw €110 City Milan €87 €64 Prague €131 €163 Dresden Sofia City €109 Stockholm Sevilla €85 €59 €129 €158 Glasgow Zaragoza €103 Barcelona Munich Source: €81 Lyon Trivago.co.uk

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Fáilte factor 9

NEWS

WEF ranks Ireland 9th friendliest destination

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reland finished in ninth place in the World Economic Forum “Effectiveness of marketing and branding to attract tourists“ chart: The World Economic Forum also ranked Ireland ninth friendliest country in the world. Ireland regained its place in the top 20 in the World Economic Forum’s key competitive holiday destinations chart, the one used by investors, analysts and financial institutions, while the Department was merrily pumping out

LEAST EXPENSIVE HOTELS 1 Gambia; 2 Nepal; 3 Bolivia; 4 Lithuania; 5 Nicaragua; 6 Ghana; 7 Egypt; 8 Moldova; 9 Latvia; 10 Guatemala

Hollywood star Tom Cruise examining his Certificate of Irish Heritage with the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs Eamon Gilmore and Mark Henry, Tourism Ireland.

Still as friendly as John Hinde’s time the good news that Ireland also did well in terms of policy Rules and Regulations (4th place); Environmental Sustainability (9th); Human Resources (11th); Tourism Infrastructure (12th); and Safety and Security (12th), Ireland was ranked 115 out of 140 countries for price competitiveness. Switzerland was rated the world’s most expensive destination by purchasing power parity in that chart,

FRIENDLIEST

LEAST FRIENDLY

1 Iceland 6.8; 2 New Zealand 6.8; 3 Morocco 6.7; 4 Macedonia, FYR 6.7; 5 Austria 6.7; 6 Senegal 6.7; 7 Portugal 6.6; 8 Bosnia Herzegovina 6.6 9 Ireland 6.6; 10 Burkina Faso 6.6.

1 Bolivia 4.1; 2 Venezuela 4.5; 3 Russia 5.0; 4 Kuwait 5.2; 5 Latvia 5.2; 6 Iran 5.2; 7 Pakistan 5.3; 8 Slovak Republic 5.5; 9 Bulgaria 5.5; 10 Mongolia 5.5.

MOST EXPENSIVE ON THE GROUND

1 Switzerland 2 Norway; 3 Australia; 4 Denmark; 5 Sweden; 6 Japan; 7 Finland;

8 Luxemburg 9 Iceland; 10 France; 11 N Zealand; 12 Canada; 13 Belgium; 14 Austria;

15 Netherlands 16 Ireland; 17 Kuwait; 18 Israel; 19 Germany; 20 Italy; 21 England.

COMPETITIVENESS 1 Switzerland; 2 Germany; 3 Austria; 4 Spain; 5 England; 6 USA; 7 France;

8 Canada; 9 Sweden; 10 Singapore; 11 Australia; 12 N Zealand 13 Netherlands 14 Japan;

15 H Kong 16 Iceland; 17 Finland; 18 Belgium; 19 Ireland; 20 Portugal/ Morocco.

Gambia was the world’s cheapest by purchasing power. Ireland ranked 38th in hotel price index ($113.3 per night for a five star hotel), 126th in fuel price index, 44th in taxation as incentive, and 79th in taxes and airport charges (cheapest to dearest).

BEST BRANDING 1 UAE; 2 Singapore; 3 New Zealand; 4 Austria; 5 Costa Rica; 6 Switzerland; 7 Barbados; 8 Iceland; 9 Ireland; 10 Rwanda.

CHEAPEST 1 Gambia, 2 Ethiopia; 3 Tanzania; 4 Uganda; 5 Cambodia; 6 Iran; 7 Tajikistan; 8 Malawi; 9 India; 10 Vietnam.

MOST EXPENSIVE HOTELS 1 Seychelles 2 Barbados; 3 Nigeria; 4 Switzerland; 5 Serbia; 6 Oman; 7 Qatar; 8 Ukraine; 9 Kuwait; 10 Singapore

TOM CRUISE CELEBRATES HIS IRISH FAMILY CONNECTIONS “I CAN’T WAIT TO COME BACK”, HE SAYS

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ollywood star Tom Cruise took a break in Dublin when he was here recently to promote his new film ‘Oblivion’, to celebrate his Irish family history. “I can’t wait to come back”, he said, as he received his Certificate of Irish Heritage from the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs, Eamon Gilmore. “It’s a great honour for me and my whole family – I can’t wait to bring it back to them and enlighten them on their history,” he continued. “I’m very proud to be Irish. There’s a pride in America of being Irish. I can’t wait to come back and I want to visit the land of my ancestors and the castle that they had.” Research commissioned by Tourism Ireland to mark The Gathering Ireland and Ireland’s “Family History Year” uncovered an amazing history, linking Tom Cruise to 12th century knights, 17th century rebels and a hero – Patrick Russell-Cruise who reinstated tenants on his Irish lands following evictions in the 19th century. Tourism Ireland is encouraging people with

Irish connections through out the world to follow in Cruise’s footsteps, to visit in 2013 and to explore and celebrate their heritage and ancestral links. Mark Henry, Tourism Ireland’s central marketing director, said: “In this special year of The Gathering, people all over Ireland are organising events to welcome home those with Irish heritage. We are calling it “The Gathering – Ireland’s Family History Year”. With an estimated 70 million people across the world claiming links or affiliations with the island of Ireland, Tourism Ireland is actively reaching out to the Diaspora this year. We are inviting them to visit Ireland, learn more about their heritage and explore the places their ancestors came from. For those with a deeper interest in their ancestry, there are more talks, seminars and clan gathering taking place in 2013 than ever before. Our message to the Diaspora throughout the world is that there has never been a better year to visit Ireland, to trace their ancestry and learn more about their Irishroots.”

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POSTCARDS FROM THE TRAVEL SCENE

opflight hosted agents at separate events in Belfast and Cork. Topflight brought out their largest ever Italy brochure this year and have expanded their operation there. Tony Collins says regional bookings are well ahead of last year, a good sign of market recovery. The north has driven very strong ski sales. “Superb ski conditions pre Christmas, and from mid January on, has skiers return to the slopes.

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It is good to see the skiers coming back, and particularly families, as well as groups, and people booked earlier this year, to secure both favourite destinations and hotels. Irish skiers are very driven by relationships, and that can be seen in repeat bookings, with Topflight.” Picture shows Tony Collins of Topflight, Trevor Ardies of Rosetta Travel, Liz McVeigh of Century Travel, and Terry Murphy of Terra Travel.

erala came to Dublin for a trade function hosted by Rani George, Director of Kerala Tourism and Debashish Chakravarti, Ambassador of India to Ireland (pictured above). Over 30 hoteliers, ground handlers and attractions were represented as well as the major airlines and the pick of Ireland’s long haul travel agencies. They included the stunning Vythiri

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Resort and the various eco lodges in what is increasingly been seen as the strongest branded region in India with an international profile that compares with many national tourist boards. The ambassador was a gracious host but announced that he had last been to Kerala in 1961. The big prize of two weeks in Kerala with flights provided by Emirates was won by Bernie Burke of Travel Centres.

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venture, medical tourism, luxury and singles travel. The fair attracted 500 exhibitors and 600 buyers from 42 countries. The event ran out of air and bed capacity. Many delegates had to stay in Cholula, Atlixco and Tlaxcala and the provision of extra charters did not succeed in getting all the registered delegates there. Time to move back to Acapulco?

exico’s major tourism event Tianguis Turistico moved inland, way inland for the first time in 2013. In keeping with the new Mexican Tourism Minister Claudia Ruiz (pictured above on right with Governor Rafael Moreno) who said that there is more to Mexico than beach holidays, and that the new government want to give a higher priority to tourism and to promote ad-

he Tourism Authority of Thailand brought 30 hoteliers and tourism interests to Dublin on Monday on their post ITB tour. Joanna Cooke served as MC for the evening, hosted by Suraphon Svetasreni Director of the Tourism Authority of Thailand and deputy director Juthaporn Rerngronasa (pictured speaking). Thailand attracted 59,894 visitors from Ireland last year, making it second

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most popular long haul destination out of Ireland after Australia. January arrivals were up 16pc to 6,107, suggesting 2013 could be even better. The attendance included the country managers of the major Middle Eastern airlines Dave Walsh of Etihad and Margaret Shannon of Emirates. Thailand’s new promotional video was launched to the Irish market. The big prizes was won by Kirstin Skinner from Travelmood.

he seven masters of the seven seas, the CEOs of seven major international cruise lines, all gathered for Sea Trades at the 29th annual Sea Trades Cruise Shipping Miami conference for what should have been a spell binding opening session. In fact, the session was anything but as none of the seven, Adam Goldstein of Royal Caribbean, Kevin Sheehan of NCL, Michael Bayley of Celebrity,

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Gerry Cahill of Carnival, Stein Kruse of Holland America, Pierfrancesco Vago of MSC and Manfredi Lefebvre d'Ovidio of Silversea Cruises said anything of note while 2,000 jet-lagged people looked on they hummed and hawed and skirted around the issues. Then someone asked Kevin Sheehan about his big one. Even that did not raise a laugh until Michael Bayley raised the issue again.

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to create a world record Sunday world record Riverdance line of 1,000 dancers lined up along the Dublin Quays, crossing Sean Ó Casey bridge and back over Sam Beckett bridge. John McColgan, pictured with Jim Miley above, said the Riverdance master class, organised by the latest male lead in the long running Irish dance show Pádraig Moyles would be an important part of the Gathering.

iverdance the Gathering launched their masterclasses on Thursday, and an open air concert in Merrion Square, one of the first events to target tour operators for an event associated with Tourism Ireland’s the Gathering effort. The week of lessons, events, a performance in Merrion Square and the beginning of the summer run on Saturday July 20th, will culminate in an attempt

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ut does it work in the acid of a mountain bog? Merrell faced one major question when they came to Dublin to present their outdoor gear to outdoor journalists. The technology of the hiking shoe has evolved massively since Merrell presented their first model in 1981. The signature model is Chameleon ventilator gore-Tex. A 2mm flexible plate in the forefoot offers cushioning and protec-

tion from stone bruises. For anyone who things it is just about keeping toes from being stubbed and feet from getting pierced by rocks, Merrell has news. Their most extreme trackers like a barefoot model that offers no protection whatsoever on a gravelly path. Travel Extra will return to the theme when the mountain bogs of Ireland have been trekked and re-trekked.

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unway, United Airlines and Fitzpatrick Hotels took eight travel agents to New York. They stayed in Fitzpatrick’s Grand Central, dined in Fitzpatrick’s Manhattan with John Fitzpatrick and in John’s Pizzeria and were hosted by Premium Outlets in Woodbury Common. The next day’s breakfast was in the Radisson Martinique, checking out the Statue of Liberty on a Circle Line

Cruise, and getting to see the control tower in Newark Airport. Picture shows Pamela Brownlee from Flyaway, Stephanie Nagle from Limerick Travel, Mike Shinnors from Ace Travel, Aoife Gregg from United Airlines, Gillian Page from Newbridge Travel, Sean Healy from Lee Travel, Karen Kelleher from J Barters, Michelle McMullen from OLeary travel and Sarah Hynes Vella from Sunway Travel.

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he six states that make up Great Lakes Tourism came to Dublin to meet key trade and media. “This is the most American of American regions,” Toby McCarrick, director of the body said. They hope to attract more fly drive tourists who will fly to Chicago and use it as a jumping off point to see the attractions, which include the nearest thing America has to a fairy tale island,

Mackinica island in northern Michigan. What’s to see? the sand dune shores of Lake Michigan, and lots of cars. Each state has a car museum, the Henry Ford Museum being the most prominent, the town of Pontiac IS a museum as is Indianapolis, even Wisconsin has a Harley Davidson museum. Picture shows George Zimmermann of Michigan Tourism and Toby McCarrick, Director of Great Lakes Tourism.

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rish tourism visits to Australia were up 4.3pc in 2012 to 61,300 from 56,800, and our island remains one of the top twenty visitor source markets to our furthest away holiday destination. We are also Australia’s second highest spending tourists when we travel there, making us a prime attraction for the Australian market. Ireland is the second highest country to apply for the second year of the Working Holiday visa, after the UK (up 22.6 pc to 3.749), Ireland is up 33.7pc to 3,735); Ireland is the sixth highest country for working visa applications, with 12,041 applications (up from 11,122) behind the UK, Taiwan, South Korea, Germany and France. This year, the Dublin-Dubai Emirates’ daily flight takes on added significance as the Dubai based airline has signed a deal with Qantas, opening up a new range of options to Adelaide, Perth, Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane. There will be 25 onward flights to Australia each day from Dubai. Qantas announced the Emirates deal in

Rock solid

Improved one stop flight connnections strengthen Ireland’s relationship with Australia

September, ending its 17-year alliance with British Airways. The arrangement, which includes switching the airline's hub to Dubai from Singapore for European flights, will en-

able Qantas to cut loss-making international routes and focus on its profitable domestic and budget operations. The most popular route down under is the one-stop op-

tion from Etihad to Sydney and Melbourne through Abu Dhabi. This service is adding 34pc capacity in summer 2013. From July 2 a 412 seat (28-384) B777-300ER will serve on its

six morning flights EY42, while the 262 seat (22-240) A330-200 will remain on four evening flights EY48. The airline is committed to operating double daily.

ANDREW McEVOY: HOTEL PRICES TO BE TACKLED

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levels not am genuinely optiwitnessed mistic about the since the year ahead and the 2000 Sydney overall direction our inOlympics. dustry is heading. We’re also Latest arrivals figures seeing a simdemonstrate solid and ilarly posicontinued growth, with t i v e international visitors bounce-back rising nearly 5pc in the out of Japan, past 12 months. another imI am delighted to see portant tradithe Irish are back, comtional market ing in numbers. Visitor for us. numbers from Ireland Andrew McEvoy: the W i t h in 2012 were 61,300, Hibernophile CEO of more than up 4,3pc from 56,800 in Australian Tourism 2011. Ireland is the proposed to his wife in 625,000 visitor arrivals sixth highest ranked Kinsale last year, country in terms of apChina now outranks Britain. plications for working visas. Given fierce international Whilst China will continue to competition, a persistently high be the engine room of growth, Australian dollar and economic other Asian markets will befragility in a number of our tra- come increasingly important ditional high volume markets, for us in 2013 and beyond this is a creditable performance. India, Indonesia, Malaysia, SinIt's especially pleasing to see gapore and Vietnam. Eight of a return to growth from the Australia’s top 10 visitor marUnited States. After a few diffi- kets now lie within the Asia Pacult years, the US market is cific rim. Our tourism industry is reapstarting to show signs of recovery. We've now seen growth at ing the benefits of this Asian

Century and Tourism Australia recognises this by substantially increasing our marketing activities in Asia’s new and emerging economies. Our efforts have been boosted by the four year $48.5m Asia Marketing Fund, which will be put to good work in 2013 as we continue to build demand from these critical, fast-growing markets. It’s not all so positive, of course. Europe, and the UK in particular is still doing it tough, but the Lions tour later this year should stimulate travel, as 30,000-plus fanatical Irish and British rugby fans follow their team across the length and breadth of our country. Closer to home, the most recent National Visitor Survey (September quarter 2012) shows domestic tourism in good health: trips up 4.1pc, nights up 4.5pc and spending up 7pc over the previous 12 months. We’ll be doing more to further build upon this momentum in 2013. Importantly, this balanced portfolio approach to our mar-

keting suggests the industry's Tourism 2020 target of doubling overnight visitor spending to up to $140 billion annually by the end of the decade is achievable and on track. We can’t afford to be complacent though. Significant infrastructure development and further improvements in access are still needed to hit these targets. We need a 54pc increase in international seats and a 25pc increase in domestic seats out to 2020. The good news is that we are hitting those numbers, and will work with our 20 airline partners over the coming year to further grow profitable capacity to Australia. In terms of tourism infrastructure, our capital cities need more hotel rooms while regional Australia needs better beds. Together with Austrade, we formed a new partnership last year aimed at attracting new investment and, while it’s still early days, some firm foundations have been laid. I am confident that 2013 will start to see some significant projects set

up. In terms of Tourism Australia’s core function – creating visitor demand for our country we will be continuing in 2013 with our international campaign, There’s nothing like Australia, launched in Shanghai in June 2012. The year ahead will see the campaign – now backed by more than 200 partners - further embedded in our global marketing push. Our program for 2013 also includes a major push to target the youth market, with the recent launch our Best Jobs in the World campaign, which has a strong focus on promoting the benefits of the working holiday visa. The Qantas situation towards the end of last year was an unhelpful distraction for the industry, especially at a time when Australian tourism is performing well, and it is certainly my hope that we’ll be able to get things resolved at the earliest opportunity in 2013. So, as ever, opportunities and challenges lie ahead - lots to build on from 2012 and much to look forward to in 2013.

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ourism Australia and Time Out have teamed up to deliver The Best Job in the World competition. Six of Australia’s states will each offer their own unique ‘Best Job in the World’ as a winning prize, including Park Ranger in Queensland and Chief Funster in New South Wales along with a salary package of AUD $100,000. The jobs were created following on from the success of the post Caretaker of the Great Barrier Reef – widely dubbed the Best Job in the World – which attracted 34,000 applicants when it ran in 2009. This year, job-seekers between the age of 18 and 30 who want something a little different will find six posts available in locations around Australia. The roles include Lifestyle Photographer in Melbourne, Outback Adventurer in the Northern Territory, Park Ranger in Queensland and Wildlife Caretaker in South Australia. Two of the more obscure job titles, which may raise eyebrows at future job interviews, are Chief Funster in New South Wales and Taste Master in Western Australia. Based in Sydney, the “funster” is a social commentator who goes to tourist industry functions in preparation for events such as the Sydney Festival, Mardi Gras and New Year’s Eve at the harbour. The Taste Master is a role for food-lovers who will promote produce in Western Australia, tour vineyards, seek out indigenous delicacies, learn how to

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rts and culture are the buzzwords for development in Tasmania, with the 2011 opening of MONA (Museum of Old and New Art) in Hobart, which saw more than 100,000 visitors in its first 60 days. The building’s subterranean design and the owner’s unconventional and rewarding curatorial approach makes it a must-see for any visitor to Tasmania. Entry is free. www.mona.net.au The city has also launched ArtBikes, free bikes that can be picked up and dropped off at out-

Best job in the world Six Australian states join in recreation of 2009 campaign

Swimming with a whaleshark at Exmouth make wine and beer, and write blog posts about it. Anyone who is enthusiastic and between 18 and 30 in the UK and Ireland can apply via australia.com/bestjobs. The jobs were created as a way of enticing young people from around the world to visit Australia and make use of

working holiday visas. “For many young people, Australia’s Working Holiday Maker visa programmes provide the economic means to fund travel plans,” said Andrew McEvoy, the managing director of Tourism Australia. “We recognise the high levels of youth unemployment in

Tasmania door art installations, and smArt maps for finding the best museums and galleries. A new public golf course, Lost Farm, has opened to complement the popular Barnbougle Dunes, and a new hotel (Lost Farm Lodge) is opening with it. And by next year, a new package will highlight Australia’s convict heritage, with tours of notable prisons in Sydney and Tasmania. The Great Walks of Tasmania offer seven

spectacular walks across the island state, trekking through World Heritage areas and national parks. Routes include the Maria Island Walk, Cradle Mountain Huts, Bay of Fires Walk, South Coast Track and Tarkine Rainforest Track. There are even specially designed camps for guests to stay at in some locations. An astonishing 40pc of Tasmania is World Heritage protected.

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Ireland and the UK, and encourage young people from both countries to apply for one of the roles and to find out more about experiencing our country on a Working Holiday visa.” In 2009, Ben Southall, the winner of the original competition, spent a year working in the Great Barrier Reef. Despite

new tourism task force and tourism body, Destination New South Wales, is in the works, according to Barry O’Farrell, the premier of New South Wales. The plan, he says, is to “bring together the expertise of Tourism NSW and Events NSW so that we have one body charged with marketing this state to interstate and international visitors.” Barangaroo will be a major new commercial and retail hub right on the harbour, with a luxury hotel and a boardwalk. A new Frank Gehry building will be the first

being stung by a jellyfish he enjoyed the job so much he is still promoting the region, as a “tourism ambassador” for Queensland. The campaign won several awards and is regarded as one of the most successful in the history to tourism marketing around the world.

New South Wales

in the southern hemisphere from the legendary designer. New tours include snorkel safaris, a Grand Pacific Drive using Ferraris, Royal Coast walks and tours of the Blue Mountains (right). Just an hour from Sydney, Tobruk Sheep Station lets families or groups experience an au-

thentic Australian lifestyle without getting too far from the city. In Sydney, an almost obligatory experience is the Sydney Bridge Climb, which takes visitors up to the top of one of the city’s iconic structures on tours that can run from 90 minutes, not including prep time.

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dventure travel company, World Expeditions, is launching semi-permanent campsites on the remote Larapinta Trail in the West MacDonnell Ranges near Alice Springs. The dining and living areas are designed to keep occupants comfortable in a climate known for its temperature extremes. The semi-permanent structures are also designed to allow the land to recover during the offseason. Cicada Lodge, Australia's newest luxury property in Nitmiluk National Park in the NT's Top End, has secured Indigenous renowned chef, Mark Olive, as chef de cuisine. Over the past 30 years Mark has become well

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he $600m Great Keppel Island resort project, the first new resort on the Great Barrier Reef for more than 20 years has received State Government approval. The first stage of the Great Keppel Island ecotourism resort will include a hotel, marina and airstrip. Tower Holdings plans to build the resort over 12 years with the first stages opening late next year/2014. The project has been widely touted as a chance to revive Queensland's tourism industry, The announcement follows more than seven years of negotiations and proposals between developer

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estern Australia takes up a full third of the entire continent, and is reinventing itself as a luxury destination. QantasLink has a new route between Perth and Exmouth, with return services every Wednesday, Friday and Sunday. The new flights offer access to the Coral Coast’s key attractions of

AUSTRALIA 2013 WHO’S DOING WHAT

Northern Territory

known for fusing native food and culture with contemporary lifestyle cooking. The signature dish he has developed for Cicada Lodge is Seasoned Crocodile Tail, with a mixture of native herbs and spices, wrapped in paperbark and cooked in coals in a large pit for several hours. Luxury Bamurru Plains has been transformed into an exclusive fishing lodge for the duration of the Top End's wet season, providing anglers with opportunities to catch prize Barramundi

during the area's prime angling season (February to April). Bamurru Plains safari camp is located near the western border of Kakadu National Park. The camp is accessible by charter flight or vehicle, and is a member of the Luxury Lodges of Australia. The Tali Wiru meaning beautiful dune in local Anangu language - dining experience is set to re-open for the season from 1 April 2013, now available on a daily basis for guests at Ayers Rock Resort until 15 October.

Queensland Tower Holdings as well as various levels of government. In Brisbane the Rydges Hotel Redevelopment on Grey Street, Southbank is about to undergo an $11m dollar redevelopment which will see a dramatic improvement of street level activation. The redevelopment follows the completion of the new Brisbane Convention Centre Expansion project, the new ABC headquarters and the upgrade of South Brisbane Station. These projects will significantly enhance

Grey Street’s walkability and street amenity Tony and Francine John, creators of the award-winning Emporium Hotel, are developing a second luxury Emporium Hotel Southpoint. Southpoint will be an iconic development at the entrance to South Bank. Chifley Hotel Brisbane is to upgrade and rebrand to Next hotel. The $35m refurbishment will see the hotel converted from its current 150 rooms into a 300 room new generation ‘NEXT’ Hotel.

West Australia

Ningaloo Reef and Coral Bay to more visitors than ever. Exmouth boasts one of the greatest visitor experiences, not just in Australia, but worldwide

where visitors can swim with whale sharks, and Kalgoorlie is “like Vegas without the neon.”

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ictoria's Great Ocean Walk is to be extended in 2013, allowing visitors to walk all the way to the iconic 12 Apostles. A new platform has just been completed at the finish of the Walk where walkers and sightseers can celebrate their achievements with the iconic view of the Twelve Apostles in the background. Works are already underway to extend the track as far as the Gibson Steps by November 2013 and the track will then be extended further to allow walkers to access the 12 Apostles by foot by the end of the year. In Melbourne the innovative grill house Little Hunter has just opened its doors in Little Collins Street. Little Hunter sources all its produce with care, and cure, smoke, and preserve all

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delaide and its suburbs have several new establishments that have started some buzz. The Stirling Hotel, renovated from a former pub, has opened as has The Manna of Hahndorf, 45 minutes from Adelaide. Kangaroo Beach Lodges are new luxury accommodations, and new helicopter flights are being offered to and around the island. Taste of South Australia, based in Adelaide,

Victoria their meat in-house. The restaurant will showcase the talents of US-born chef Gavin Baker. Writer, philosopher and entrepreneur Alain de Botton launched his progressive, thought provoking and enriching School of Life in a purpose-built space in inner-city Collingwood, Melbourne. The school is the first opened outside of de Botton’s London base, and offers a ten-week program of classes, sermons and workshops in life lessons such as ‘How to tap into your potential’ and ‘How to have better conversations’. These are all led by some of the most innovative and progressive thinkers that call Melbourne home. Pawn and Co has cre-

ated another cool addition to the ever-expanding line-up of eateries and bars on Melbourne’s eclectic Chapel Street. Eccentrically shabby, this new bar brings its own unique atmosphere to the trendy area by living up to its name – everything in the bar is for sale, from the 1940s taxidermy to its unusual collection of vintage furniture. As well as a quirky premise, Pawn and Co delivers an impressive food menu and range of cocktails. On stylish Fitzroy Street, Milk the Cow, a new licensed fromagerie, has opened its doors, offering an all-day and latenight cheese and wine experience that takes cheeseboards to a new level.

South Australia

focuses on the cuisine and wineries of the state, giving visitors an insider’s view of two industries that are invariably linked. New this year is the Taste of Adelaide Hills, which visits smaller towns in the suburbs of

the city, including Hahndorf. In Adelaide, owner Mary Anne Kennedy organizes walking tours of the city that revolve around the popular Farmer’s Market. You can get up close with Port Lincoln’s famous bluefin tuna.

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Broome with a view Eoghan Corry in the northern corner of Western Australia

Camel trek on Cable Beach. photograph by James Morgan

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o see the best bits of the northern outreaches of Western Australia, you need to take to the sky. Our Cessna is waiting for us on a red dirt airfield. Our pilot Yohan Chandiramani completes a runway inspection for animals before we take off for a flight over Cape Leveque and the vast Buccaneer Archipelago. The star attractions are the horizontal falls, water flushing through two narrow inlets as the tide rises and falls with a ferocity

that has created headaches for three centuries of sailing vessels. As we fly over the nude section of Cable Beach the pilot jokes: “we'll get lower next time to get those sweet back packers.” From up here you are reminded that Western Australia is a vast state on a vast sub-continent. At 976,790 sq miles, if it were independent it would be tenth largest country in the world just after Kazakistan. Our flight to a sheep station-

turned camel trek centre in Mount Augustus brings us over a different landscape. When the Fitzroy river floods it becomes the second largest in the world, 14km wide, so the land is surprisingly green. There I heard about the aborigine who was refused a passport because he was not Australian enough. Gudibul Butt and Bugily Bangu told me how it happened. They planned a big adventure from their Mount Ander-

■ Eoghan Corry flew to Australia with Emirates, who fly direct Dublin to Dubai daily 7 days a week and offer 70 onward connections a week to FIVE Australian cities: Perth, Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne and Adelaide since Nov 1. www.emirates.com 01-4773256. ■ Internal flight from Perth to Broome was with Qantas Airways: www.qantas.com.au ■ Ground arrangements were by Purely Unreal Kimberley Dreamtime Adventure(+61 8) 447 214 681 www.kimberleydreamtimeadventures.com.au ■ Broome Sightseeing Tours www.broomesightseeingtours.com (+61 8) 9192 0043 ■ Matso's Broome Brewer, www.matsosbroomebrewery.com.au (+61 8) 9193 5811 ■ Accommodation was at Eco Beach, Broome WA: www.ecobeach.com.au Tel: (+61 8) 9193 8015 ■ Cable Beach Club Resort & Spa: www.cablebeachclub.com (+61 8) 9192 0400

sen camel tour operation to Pushkar camel fair in Rajasthan. They all trundled into Broome post office to apply for their passports, where a stern woman told them that needed birth certs from both their parents. This was a problem, for many of the group had parents whose births had not had never been registered. “How do I know you are Australian?” she asked the disbelieving group. The matter was revolved just two hours be-

fore the flight was about to take off. Casper my camel responds to the lads shouting “husta” in their native language, Nyikina-Mangala, as we weave through bush tomato plants, waddle, eucalyptus and boab trees. Gudibul (“that’s my blackfellah name, the tourists call me TJ”) feeds him grass along the way. Rob Bamkin runs indigenous tours on behalf of the Jarlmadangah Burru community in Mount Augustus.

The place has a dark past. The aboriginal people were worked here in slave like conditions until 1967. They received no money, just their food and clothing. A hundred years after slavery as abolished in America it as still extant in Australia. Eventually, when the owners were required to close down they thrashed the place before they went. There is a toilet but when I flush before returning to the airplane I wash down a frog.

(left) Eoghan Corry fishing on Eco beach (Right) Bugily Bangu and camel

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ou can smell the silkiness of the ocean” says Edwina Kelsch as we approach Eco beach resort. Eco is an aboriginal word although it might have been dreamed up as part of a modern marketing campaign. The name may have been the inspiration for entrepreneur Karl Plunkett who set up his highend resort here, twice, after it was blown down by a 300kph cyclone in April 2000. They pride themselves on being eco-friendly down to the shampoo and soap. “You can tell from the smell from the sewerage system when people have brought their own soap in for a big event like a wedding,” Simon Murray, our host tells us. An owl comes to sit on the balcony with a doomed mouse dangling

Bugily Bangu (left) readies up the camels on the banks of the Fitzroy river (Right) Boab trees in Western Australia from his beak, the sounds of the waves beyond. Later I float on my back for a long time in the dark bay looking up at the Southern Cross and the milkspill of unfamiliar stars.

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aula O'Brien from Leighlinbridge welcomes us to Cygnet bay Oyster farm. She guides tourists through the facilities and brings them on boat rides across the azure bay. It is an astonishing place where the tide can run at

18 knots as a body of water four times the size of Sydney harbour piles in and out of the bay twice a day. There is just one main road in and out of here, and 2,600 islands to be explored in one of the emptiest places on the planet. Cable Beach resort lodges have the design and feel of a traditional pearling master quarters with the room in the middle of house to keep cool in summer. From the ocean bar we watch the

camels returning from their sunset trek. How do people get here? Fly from Perth or Sydney. They are campaigning to get direct flights from Singapore. Not a moment too soon.

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roome, rather app r o p r i a t e l y, sweeps a visitor off their feet. As befits the top westernmost corner town of Australia, nearer to Singapore than to Sydney, it has a strong sense of its own identity, a

small town always aware of its precious place in a big world. Precious is not an overstatement, because Broome is a town built on pearls. The most expensive pearls in the world still come from here. Pearl shops line Dampier Terrace, selling their wares, Linney’s, Kaili’s, Paspalay. The pearling masters who lived here were amongst the richest people in Australia in their time, utilising migrant Japanese and virtually en-

Faster, easier rentals from the name you can trust. Contact our dedicated Travel Trade team on 053 915 2500 or email Paul Manning at pmanning@hertz.ie or Shauna Mullery at smullery@hertz.ie Ryan’s Investments - Hertz International Franchisee

© 2013 The Hertz Corporation

slaved aborigines for diving duties - pregnant women were preferred because they had extra oxygen in their blood stream. They included Patrick Percy, who committed a murder in Cork as Patrick O’Sullivan before fleeing to the new world and becoming, of all things, a policeman. Drive a couple of hours in either direction, and you will find more beautiful and even more remote coastland.

hertz.ie

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THEME PARKS 2013

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heme Parks are a competitive business and the investment in big-bang attractions shows no sign of abating. There are 47 major new rides opening at the world’s major theme parks this year. The most exciting development in theme parks is the rumoured but not yet confirmed expansion of the Wizarding World of Harry Potter in Orlando as well as the possibility of Universal Studios Hollywood adding their version of Islands of Adventure's Wizarding World of Harry Potter themed area to their park. Antarctica: Empire of the Penguin opens May 24th at Seaworld. Transformers: The Ride-3D an immersive next generation thrill ride opening this summer at Universal Orlando Resort. Two complete new theme parks will open in the spring season 2013 in Istanbul and Sicily. Two others offer major accommodation upgrades. At Le Pal, Dompierre sur Bresbe in France guests will be able to sleep in lodges overlooking the savannah with African animals. In Southern Germany visitors can enjoy the experience of sleeping in a medieval knight's castle.

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isney Paris with 16m visits in 2012 is a year round attraction and easily the most popular theme park in Europe. It has extended its 20th anniversary celebrations until September and introduced a series of price promotions in the Irish market. These include the long lasting children under 7 stay and play for free promotion. The anniversary celebrations involve new entertainment, decorations and a night-time multimedia immersive sound and light show using the castle as a screen. Last month they premiered the

47 new roller coasters

Dragon Khan in PortAventura Disney Dreams show with two extra sequences, and showcased their revised parade.

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ort Aventura reported it had 40,000 Irish visitors in 2012, and record visitor numbers of 3.8m. The park has attracted 780.000 Irish visitors in the last 15 years since the opening. PortAventura had international market growth of 21pc in 2012. Shambhala won “Kirmes and Parks” best attraction of the year, and “World of Parks” best novelty of the year in 2012. Its new aquatic park, Costa Caribe, is to open in May. Highlights include the tallest free fall toboggan in Europe, the highest free fall slide in Europe at 31 metres tall (similar to a 12 story building), a multi-bump slide, and a racing slide, where up to six riders compete in a race against each other.

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arch is the month that Europe’s major seasonal theme parks reopened.

Efteling in Eindhoven, Legoland Windsor, and Alton Towers all reopened on March 9th, PortAventura, Legoland Billund and Europa Park opened over St Patrick’s weekend while Oakwood in Wales reopened on Mar 28, and Tivoli Copenhagen on Apr 11. The nearest thing Ireland has to a theme park, Tayto Park in Ashbourne, returns to daily opening on May 1st, but is open on weekends throughout the year. Disney, the champion Theme Park of them all have extended their 20th anniversary celebrations in Paris through to September and celebrated with a spectacular weekend party. In Orlando, where they have 98 separate theme parks, Legoland Florida announced its next expansion, World of Chima, will feature a water ride called the Quest for Chi. The Winter Haven park reopened its water park and, in the process, doubled the number of Lego blocks used in nearby figures and displays to 4m.

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edar Point in Ohio offers the year’s most expensive new attraction, at $30m, the 67mph Gatekeeper winged roller coaster. Iron Rattler opening in Six Flags San Antonio and Full Throttle in Six Flags Valencia California go even faster at 70mph. Three old school wooden roller coasters are being upgraded in the USA to carry their customers up side down. The original theme park, Knott’s Berry farm in California will have three new attractions. Highlights of a new theme park Etnaland in Sicily are The Storm which propels guests at 56mph, and Eldorado, a classic mine train coaster. Other attractions include a 60m high Shot and Drop Tower an interactive dark ride through a school, a new water ride, 4D cinema, a children’s land, and many more attractions for the whole family. The site is already home to an impressive 40-acre water park and a prehistoric park with 21 life-size dinosaur models

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urkey’s first modern theme park Vialand opened its doors on April 23 with 50 attractions including a 110 km/h fast-launched rollercoaster, a water coaster combining a rollercoaster experience with a water ride, and a family coaster. Attractions include a rapid river ride, drop tower, dark ride, and many more. The park is themed on the daily life in old Istanbul and features a large shopping centre right next to the park. Gröna Lund in Stockholm is celebrating its 130th anniversary in 2013, with Eclipse, the first StarFlyer in Sweden and, at 121m, the highest swing ride in the world. Also in Sweden, Skara Sommarland presents Big Drop, an 82-metre-long waterslide that features a 21-metre freefall with a trapdoor. Liseberg in Gothenburg will open a new children’s themed area, Rabbitland. Plopsaland in Belgium opens a similar area called Vicky the Viking. Särkänniemi in Tampere will open

Doghill, a new themed area based on the characters of the famous Finnish writer Mauri Kunnas. Bellewaerde Park in Belgium premiers Huracan a new indoor family coaster in the Mexico area of the park. Slagharen in the Netherlands will open a new themed area in 2013: the Jules Verne Adventureland with four new attractions. Also in Netherlands, Toverland will open the Magical Valley, a new themed area with eight new rides. At Futuroscope in Poitiers, Lady O is a spectacular new nighttime show using the lake of the park for lightshows on water screens, visual mapping, fountains, and pyrotechnics. Puy du Fou in Les Epesses near the Vendee debuts The Knights of the Round Table with magic and illusions designed by top magicians, Dani Lary and Bertran Lotth. According to Karen Staley, Vice President, European Operations for the International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions, "storytelling continues to be

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MAY 2013 PAGE 17

THEME PARKS 2013 more and more important for all parks. It is their goal to offer families the opportunity to experience together a unique adventure when stepping into a completely different world leaving the reality of daily life behind." ptions to save money on entrance tickets are also increasing. Exclusive to Attraction Tickets Direct (slogan: “real theme park tickets, NOT vouchers’) there is a third option. Orlando Freedom Ticket 573 per adult, 527 per child (aged 3-9). The pass gets you access to all major Florida theme parks, price works out at 52 per park. Standard on the gate entrance is usually $120 so you can see the saving. Great value combination tickets include: Orlando FlexTicket (5Park) 242 per adult 225 per child (aged 3-9). Orlando FlexTicket (6Park) 273 per adult 257 per child (aged 3-9). The Disney 5 Day Ticket is no longer available. Disney's 14 Day Ultimate Ticket 337 per adult 311 per child (aged 3-9). Attraction Tickets Direct opened a shop in Dublin three years and have reported double digit growth in ticket sales since. Spain’s PortAventura has proven a big seller for 2013. The Irish market is a very late market and cash driven, Steve Bradshaw of Attraction Tickets Direct says. The major Irish tour operators also offer discounted park passes.

£31.50 online price) SW7 Secret Weapon Seven, is their major attraction for the summer, an £18m 1,200m steel coaster with a 30m drop. Nemesis Sub-Terra last year’s big drop tower dark ride, it opened last summer. Another less publicised but spectacular innovation was Ice Age: The 4D Experience.

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DISNEY Paris continues its 20th anniversary until September with the night time multimedia immersive experience, Disney Dreams. Conceived by World of Colour creator, Steve Davison, the show features fireworks, water fountains, fire, music, lasers, lights, mist screens, pixel accurate projection mapping and

EUROPA PARK

Wizarding world of Harry Potter: rumours of a major expansion other special effects.

PORTAventura. At

€25m, the recently

opened Shambhala: Expedición al Himalaya is the most expensive ride yet at Portaventura in Salou, an hour south of Barcelona, and will be the tallest (76 m) roller coaster in Europe. It will also have the tallest drop (78 m) and longest hyper coaster track (1,650 m). The €12m Sesame Street “park within a park’ added a pre-school dimension to the park when it opened in 2011.

DISNEY Orlando

remains the world’s most popular theme park with 17.1m visitors. Rapunzel’s Tower has popped up in Magic Kingdom’s New Fantasyland. It stands high above a new restroom next to “It’s a small world” and near Haunted Mansion. Mickey and the Magical Map opens on May 25 and Princess Fairytale Hall in early summer with the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train due in 2014. Last year’s big opening was Storybook Circus with relaunched attractions such as The Great Goofini and Dumbo the

Flying Elephant, part of a refurb of Fantasyland. There are new accommodation options with the opening of Disney's Art of Animation Resort. Cars Land at Disney California Adventure Park will expand with four new features. Downtown Disney will be renamed Disney Springs as the result of a new expansion plan set for completion in 2016. The project doubles the number of shopping, dining and entertainment venues, and it includes two parking garages.

KENNEDY

Space Centre Visitor Complex introduced the Angry Birds Space Encounter, complete with real-world slingshots. Space Shuttle Atlantis its new $100m attraction opens on June 29.

SEAWORLD

Orlando continues its expansion with a completely re-imagined Penguin exhibit, Antarctica. The park is currently offering two days for the price of one ($80) and a Seaworld and Busch Gardens length of stay ticket ($110). TurtleTrek will replace

the existing manatee exhibit.

UNIVERSAL

Studios opens Despicable Me: Minion Mayhem, a hilarious simulator ride, in California, having opened last year in Florida. Transformers The Ride-3D opens in Florida this summer, a year after it opened in California. Four and seven day tickets offer savings. A seven day ticket is currently priced at $175 compared with $112 per adult online for a daily ticket. Buying multi-day tickets online gets you a booklet of vouchers worth $150. For about $25 you can skip queues on some attractions. Buying a meal deal ticket online also helps.

BUSCH Gardens new multi-launching roller coaster Verbolten opens this month on the old Big Bad Wolf location. A drop tower, the Mäch Tower opened in 2011. The park is divided into seven sections, each themed to a different European country. ALTON Towers

(www.altontowers.com,

between Freiburg and Strasbourg on the German-French border brings characters from the Brothers Grimm to a new area to reign over the fantasy world that lies between the picturesque “alte Elz” stream and Adventure Land. Quaint little houses at the entrance to the village, a magical glockenspiel, and an enchanted tower high above the rooftops join the expanded Enchanted Forest. The park will open a new Confertainment Center, a historic Eden Palladium indoor carousel, and a totally redesigned Magic Cinema 4D, in addition to last year’s offering Wodan Timburcoaster a new wooden rollercoaster. The park’s signature attraction is Blue Fire where the trains are launched at 100 km/h through various twists, loops, tunnels and hills.

LEGOLAND

in Billund has a new 6,000 sq m Kingdom of the Pharaos featuring an indoor Temple X-pedition an interactive treasure hunt through the temple’s dark interior. Last year it introduced a new steel roller coaster Polar X-plorer. The park’s Polar Land is bringing the North Pole and the South Pole closer together in a zone that will feature live penguins and a new restaurant. In Florida the former Splash Island water park which was part of the former Cypress Gardens is being refurbished with all existing rides being

rethemed to Legoland themes following the opening of Florida’s Legoland last year.

OAKWOOD

(www.oakwoodtheme park.co.uk, £22) The closest theme park to Ireland celebrates it 25th birthday and is a big seller for the ferry companies. Highlights include Speed, a roller coaster with a 97-degree drop and a classic 85foot-tall wooden roller coaster "Megafobia". Lost Kingdom has been rebranded as Fun Factory.

TIVOLI Gardens (+45 33 151 001; tivoli.dk) city-centre amusement park in Copenhagen is opening a new daredevil ride for adults in the themed area called the Merry Corner. Other impressive rides include the world's tallest chairoplane: the Star Flyer. The admission fee of DKK75 (€10) does not cover the park's rides, but a multiride ticket, price DKK195 (€26) entitles you to unlimited turns. SAS will fly you there. EFTELING

(www.efteling.com, tickets (€32-€69) The Aquanura watershow is the latest attraction at the Eindhoven theme park, while the Emperor's New Clothes has been added to the Fairy Tale Forest.

BLACKPOOL

Pleasure Beach: “Wallace & Gromit’s ThrillO-Matic” is Blackpool Pleasure Beach’s new ride for 2013! The dynamic duo takes thrillseekers through their most famous adventures with a number of loveable and not-so-friendly characters popping up on their travels! The riveting ride also features a shop where guests can buy Wallace & Gromit merchandise.

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1 HOUR SOUTH OF BARCELONA

PortAventura Resort

PortAventura Resort has become the perfect holiday destination for the whole family, an exciting world of emotions with 2 parks and 4 hotels. From the 6 worlds of the theme park to the exoticism of a brand new water park and amazing themed hotels; everything has been designed to transform your visit into a complete experience youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ll never forget. The resort is located by the Mediterranean Sea and just 1 hour away from Barcelona.

Shows

www.portaventura.com

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ADVERTORIAL

PortAventura Park:

Lots of fun in 6 fabulous worlds Join us in an unforgettable world tour to visit exotic places like China, Polynesia, Far West, México, Mediterrània or SésamoAventura, the home of Sesame Street characters in Europe!PortAventura Park offers more than 30 rides that will delight both adrenaline junkies and small children. Adventurers will find a great challenge in Shambhala, a 3 European record-holder roller coaster: tallest, deepest drop and fastest in its category. Visitors can also try Dragon Khan with 8 dizzying loops, Hurakan Condor a free fall of 100 metres or Furius Baco, PortAventura’s fastest roller coaster. And for children, PortAventura Park has great rides, shows, and games, and even a family area designed especially for them: SésamoAventura! PortAventura theatres are always open! Enjoy up to 15 unforgettable shows every day, from Can-Can dancing, acrobatics or even tribal dances of Polynesia. The streets of the park are full of music and life, with dozens of actors performing and dancing.

Rides

PortAventura Hotels:

Enjoy a unique themed experience in our 4 hotels**** Staying in one of the fabulous 4-star themed hotels is a unique experience. You can choose Hotel PortAventura set in the Mediterranean, the tropical experience of Hotel Caribe, the surprising Hotel Gold River, a trip back in time to join the American Wild West or Hotel El Paso, the all-inclusive hotel of PortAventura Resort with a Mexican theme that offers a sample of the colourful “ranchos” and the friendly hospitality of Mexican people. Hotel guests can benefit from many exclusive extras including unlimited admission to PortAventura Park and special shows in each hotel.

Hotel El Paso ****

NEW Costa Caribe Aquatic Park:

Discover the fantastic brand new water experience! Discover the new Costa Caribe Aquatic Park, with new attractions, new pools and new excitement for the whole family. The new pools will host lots of family interactive elements like a great pirate ship full of Sesame Street characters. The greatest attractions of the new area will include a Multi Bump Slide, a Racer Slide with 6 tracks where family and friends will compete with each other... but the star of this new water park will be the Highest Free Fall slide of Europe, 31 metres high!

+ 34 977 77 90 90

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DESTINATION DISNEY seven themed Disney hotels, a 27-hole golf course and, at 30,000 square metres, it is host to one of the largest entertainment complexes in the Ile-deFrance region, in the form of Disney village. Meanwhile, down at Sleeping Beauty’s castle, our guide Veronique, explained to us how ten different paint colours were used to coat the walls, all to create a unique colour that will stand out no matter what the weather and making that all important photo shot just perfect. The castle forms a perfect backdrop to the Disney Magic on Parade which is a transformed version of the traditional parade with new floats and fresh choreography. The music and characters are irresistible no matter what your age.

Disney Paris@20 By Marie Carberry and Ronan O’Neill

Philip Treacy was among the major designers who participated in a Disney anniversary fashion show

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he child was about three years of age and he could not believe his baby blue eyes. In front of him, living and breathing and with a smile wider than the Gap of Dunloe, was Mickey Mouse. Mickey, old pro that he is, didn’t disappoint. Going down on one knee, he opened his arms and the child never hesitated. Running in the embrace, he hugged and kissed Mickey as if they were old friends. Photos were taken and the child gave the thumbs up. It had been well worth the wait. This was Meet Mickey Mouse and for, parents of young children, it is a

must. Walt Disney knew what he was about. It really is all about making dreams come true. Mickey made my dreams come true as well and the photo of me in a pair of silver Minnie ears and my teenage son Rónan in a wizard hat is displayed proudly on the mantelpiece. Like Mickey, the photographer is a pro and the photos are of an excellent quality.

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didn’t feel quite the same on Space Mountain as I waited for the countdown. Strapped in with my eyes tight shut, I wondered what the hell I was doing there.

Too late we were propelled forward at the speed of light, through two corkscrews and one upside down loop, as we jetted through outer space. Space Mountain is the biggie in this theme park and it well earns its reputation as a thrilling, adrenalin rush rollercoaster that will leave you gasping with exhilaration. Disneyland Paris has extended its 20th anniversary celebrations until the end of September 2013 giving everyone a second chance to join the party. Since its opening in 1992 Disneyland Paris has welcomed more than 250 million visits making it Europe’s number one tourist destination. The

■ Marie Carberry and her son Rónan travelled to Paris courtesy of Air France which has daily flights from Dublin. Visit www.airfrance.ie ■ Accommodation was provided in Hotel New York, one of the seven themed hotels in the Disneyland complex and just a few minutes’ walk from the theme park gates. ■ Disney’s Sequoia Lodge hotel now offers a superior new category of accommodation: the Golden Forest Club. All guests of the Golden Forest Club benefit from exclusive services including a private personalised reception and Disney Hotel FASTPASS or VIP FASTPASS (suites only) ■ Guests staying in a Disney Hotel can enjoy up to two hours (Extra Magic Hours) to ride selected attractions in Disneyland Park. ■ For further information visit www.disneylandparis.ie

resort boasts two theme parks (Disneyland Park and Walt Disney Studios),

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t night the castle takes on many more hues as the centre piece of the 20th anniversary celebrations, Disney Dreams, a spec-

tacular night time show is played out. Awarded Best Overall Production in the Live Entertainment Excellence category at the prestigious IAAPA ‘Brass Ring Awards,’ this show is not to be missed. An extravaganza of light and colour bring the most famous Disney stories to life through projections on the castle and its surroundings. This summer the show will become interactive thanks to Disney Light Ears. Similar to the classic Mickey Mouse ear hat, these have one major difference. Using infrared technology and an iridescent light, they are synchronised to change colour with the rhythms and music of the show. We were lucky to get to try out this new addition. “Awesome” was the word that was generally heard as the lights changed colour and fireworks exploded to give an amazing finale to a fantastic day.

RONAN’S PERSPECTIVE

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couple of years ago I had visited Disneyland Florida which I really enjoyed so I was keen to check out if Disneyland Paris could live up to its sister park. Within seconds of stepping foot in Disneyland Park I was pleasantly surprised. The familiar sight of the castle, set at the end of Main Street, USA brought all those good memories flooding back. The great thing about Disneyland is that there is something for everybody. For the older children and teenagers there are many exciting attractions that you wouldn’t think would be in such a place like Disneyland which can be mistakenly associated with just younger children. I found these attractions really thrilling and I was ready for a sec-

Fastpass is a hit ond go instantly. The rides that I personally enjoyed most were: Space Mountain, Aerosmith Rock n’ Rollercoaster, Big Thunder Mountain, Hollywood Tower of Terror, RC Racer and Crush Coaster.

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or the younger children there is plenty to keep them entertained. Fantasyland is where all the “Disney Classic” themed attractions are set and attractions such as Peter Pan’s Flight, Sleeping

Beauty’s Castle and Alice’s Curios Labyrinth will keep kids happily entertained. I wholeheartedly advise guests to use the FASTPASS system to skip the long queues which is available on some of the rides, as waiting time can be as long as 75 minutes. The parks provide many restaurants and food stalls which mainly provide fast food like burgers and chips. There is also more sophisticated food available in the restaurants and bars and I can personally recommend the All You Can Eat buffet menus. In Restaurant des Stars you even get to meet Remy from Ratatouille - definitely the coolest rat in town. Overall, this was a very enjoyable holiday which went way beyond my expectations.

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Don’t let them do something daC. q\K KY\T DoSomethingDifferent.com p`V\ LJN\ FRJN ^JLKRT\NL Y`I\ ` YRUX]`F KR N\T\T_\NM SRK RS\ KR [RNZ\K+ e\ Y`I\ RI\N 2,000 high quality, worldwide aEracBons and excursions that can be pre-purchased. To give you total peace of mind, we indemnify all travel agents, act as principal and ensure all sales are covered by full public liability insurance. You’ll get a nice big commission too. tSK\N\LK\]% {`UU JL [RN ` ^Y`K RS A !77 !7 :7 :: RN IXLXK HHH+]L]`Z\SKL+^RT

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DESTINATION TURKEY

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he Germans are first to discover south west Turkey. They then fled east as the tourists from other countries arrive. The Irish did their own bit of exploring, but generally stay in the west and move into the little bits the Brits have left untouched. The further east you go, the further you leave tourists behind. East of Alanya, and away from the coastline in Cappadocia is the Turkey of the wildest imagination. But that is for the intrepid. You do not need to go far beyond the arrival airports of choice. We have been flying direct from Ireland to Izmir, Bodrum and Dalaman for four decades now, resorts like Kusadasi, Marmaris and Bodrum have entered the holiday vocabulary. Within reach of all of those places there is more Roman and Greek architecture than either Italy or Greece has to offer, with the added layer of Turkish hospitality on top.

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phesus is the headline act here when it comes to culture. The tour operators and cruise lines rate it, the locals selling genuine fake watches know it, and the result, on a hot August day, is not pretty. Part of Ephesus success is because the archaeologists cheated. The oft photographed library front is a rebuild. The much heralded discovery of early high rise comes with no strong visuals. On a big cruise ship day in Kusadasi, 30,000 will trundle over Ephesus an-

Time and Tide

Eoghan Corry explores the environs of Izmir The vertigo inducing theatre at Pergamum cient ruins. Come early on hot days, and bring a hat. There are the usual pillared temples, triumphal arches and theatre, but at Ephesus you also get a real feel for what life was like in Roman times: the rutted marble-paved streets lined with shops; clusters of ancient houses and mansions decorated with frescoes and mosaics; gyms, baths, exercise rooms, even a brothel.

THINGS TO DO

■ The Archaeological Museum of Izmir is South of Konak Square in Bahri Baba Park, with sculptures and antiquities discovered in Izmir and other neighbouring ancient cities. ■ Izmir is olive oil and wine country – Turkey is one of the world's largest grape producers, and Turkish wines can now take their place with the best

There are also period costume shows. If you want some real drama, listen to America cruise tour groups asking questions of exasperated guides. My favourite? “Where did all the cats come from?” Ephesus has a story for every pile of stones. Here they used to get slaves to sit on the marble toilet seats to warm them in winter.

PLACES TO SEE ■ Ephesus is beautiful in the late afternoon after the tour buses have left. Meryem Ev is where the Virgin Mary is said to have spent her last days. ■ Kordonboyu boardwalk is teeming with lively bars and restaurants, the best place to watch sunset in Izmir. ■ Saat Kulesi (Clock Tower) the symbol of the city.

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or a real treat, try Pergamum, an hour and a half out of Izmir, and the place medicine was invented. Galen came from here but they were already curing people before he left to make his name in Rome. The wealth of the city was built on olive oil, and, by Dionysius, were they wealthy in Pergamum. Most of the ruins stand on the acropolis, which has a spectacular situation on a spit of land rising 1,000ft above the plain and the modern city of Bergama (also worth visiting for its late-medieval Ottoman buildings). Our guide, a retired schoolteacher whose

name translates as “immortal” talks about how the Ottomans helped the Irish during the famine, and makes a genuine case that could be repeated anywhere around the world. Capital of the Attalid kings, it once rivalled Athens and Alexandria as a cultural centre. Its famous library (not rebuilt) was second only to Alexandria, you can see it along with the ruins of palaces, temples an amazing neckstrain-steep amphitheatre cut out of the mountain, and the foundations of the temple of Zeus. The goodies were taken to Berlin, the Germans gave the locals

some nice pine trees in return. The guide tells us that when Hadrian came to Pergamum he fell asleep two nights in a row at the theatrical performance, and as no one was allowed to leave before the emperor left at the end of the evening, the locals got a little cranky. On the third evening they started clapping their hands together to wake up the emperor. Hence the tradition of the round of applause that is designed, not to pay tribute to the actors, but to wake us modern day Hadrians up at the end of a boring show. Good story. We bought it.

■ Eoghan Corry flew to Izmir via Istanbul with Turkish Airlines 01 8447920 www.turkishairlines.com

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DESTINATION TURKEY

Hidden Istanbul

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t is easy to understand, as the Romans, the Byzantines and the Ottomans clearly did, that Istanbul is the centre of the universe. Tourists got to the Hagia Sophia and Blue Mosque and Topkapi palace to learn that. In the process they fail to understand that the Istanbuli universe has its own centre: Eminonu quay. It is a tram ride from the tourist attractions (not just the overground ones, check out the Roman baths) and here the throngs gather to cram the ferries bound every 15 minutes for the magical, mysterious Asian shores. They are coloured vividly with scarlet lifebuoys, and belch black smoke as they chug away from our continent. The 20-minute crossing to Uskudar costs about 50 cents. It can be a breezy pleasure, enhanced with strong tea in tiny tulip glasses. The skyline shines in every direction, billowing mosques, brandishing their towers like medieval bayonets, the silent Galata Tower, a relic of Genoese-colonial times; Topkapi lurking behind its veil of vegetation, the extravagant mansions and palaces that line the shoreline, and in the distance, the gatepost castles of the Bosphorous which reminded everyone that Constantinople was unstormable. The sunshine dances on the choppy surface of the Bosphorus. The mysterious Kiz Kulesi, a fairytale lighthouse on a

Eoghan Corry finds treasure beyond the Topkapi and Hagia Sophia

There are many treasures beyond the astonishing skyline in Istanbul rocky outcrop, sits near the shore. In the distance you can see the Princes’ Islands, a taste of holiday resort Turkey, a three euro boat ride from the city, like lumps of granite peering out in the Sea of Marmara. They are an enticing sight, sun resorts from the south east magically towed to lie within easy reach of the metropolis. Then before you have taken it all in, the engines go quiet. Welcome to Asia.

THINGS TO DO

■ Sirkeci Station is a Germanic masterpiece almost within the shadow of Topkapi Palace. For decades this was the way to arrive in Istanbul, aboard the Orient Express from Paris to Constantinople. The route still operates. ■ Salacak is hopping-on point for a quick boat trip out to the strange Kiz Kulesi (Maiden’s or Leander’s Tower). (It costs about €3) kizkulesi.com.tr

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n Athenian antiquity Uskudar was called Chrysopolis, the “city of gold”. It is a city in its own right, full of life and tradition. You can go to the endpoint at Fehnerbahce (the only major soccer club is on the Asian shore, unlike Galatasaray and Bezitkas) to walk the gardens and look back at Europe. Dominating the main square is the magnificent Iskele Camii, which was built sometime around 1557 by Sinan as a tribute to Mihrimah, daughter of

PLACES TO EAT ■ Kanaat Lokantasi (Selmanipak Caddesi 25), a clean, plain, brightly lit dining area. Big tureens brim with classic mezzeler (shared starters), including imam bayildi – aubergine, tomato, onions and olive oil, ■ House Café Ortaky (Salhanesi Sokak 1; tel +90 212 227 2639), the perfect pit stop for coffee or a shared bottle of Turkish rosé.

Suleyman the Magnificent. If you make it to Yeni Valide Camii you will find a peaceful courtyard to sit in with cats for company. As the evening light fades the buzz of Bagdot Street matches anything back acrosss the Bosphorous. Istanbul is not just a city of 2,000 mosques, 157 churches and 18 synagogues, but also home to some of the hottest nightlife in Europe. The hottest places are within easy reach of each other. Su Ada has the edge on the private yacht scene as it is offshore. It is vying to be trendiest night spot in Istanbul with Sortie (formerly Laila, recently renamed), and Reina (still, as its name suggests, reigning champion).

The rooftop 360 offers floor-to-ceiling windows opens out onto a huge terrace and, late at night, turns into one of the city's hippest clubs. The restaurant with the best view in town is Hamdi, serving inexpensive local produce made with the best local ingredients in the best location since 1970. Mustafa Bey’s family has built the place up and it is now a 500-seat business over three floors. The food is VERY specialist - minced meat pizza, yoghurt starters, and no one else serves pistachio kebab. Don’t miss it.

M

ost tourists stay in the nest of hotels around Taksim Square, an eclectic area, which mixes legitimate bars like the

delightful Biz Jazz Bar (it has GREAT live music and a bubbling atmosphere) with more sordid girly bars. There is lots to see and a short time to do it, so Guide Yirdiray Kirmizi quickly identifies the pace I like and we have 25 stops on a city tour to beat all city tours - five mosques, three churches, four parks, four viewpoints, three museums and other attractions all flash by at speed. We pay homage, in rapid fire succession, to the reliquary (Patriarchate at Fener), the beautiful (St Giorgio), the aesthetic (St Savior in Chora), the spiritual (Church of Panagia of Blechernae, leafy green and out of the way, a real treasure), the boring (Tekfur Palace), the over-rated (spice market) and the sublime, the huge underwater cisterns near Hagia Sophia, one of three must-dos in picturepostcard Istanbul, the first-stop venue alongside the Blue Mosque (still blue) and the Topkapi Museum, which has probably the most amazing single room of exhibits anywhere in the world, the sword of David, the staff of Moses, the beard of Muhammad and the skull of John the Baptist all in the same place. Never catch on, this ecumenism. ou can’t miss the departure point on Eminonu quay to Istanbul’s hidden treasure. The sultan’s resort island of Büyükada is a €3, thirty minute boat ride from the city and could be a distant Mediterranean red-tile hideaway. It being July, the place was teeming and while hiring a bike (€7.50) enables one to escape to a more distant beach it does not seem to shed the crowds. This is a taste of holiday resort Turkey, a mere three euro boat ride from the city.

Y

■ Eoghan Corry flew to Istanbul with Turkish Airways, who are increasing their service from Dublin to Istanbul from seven to ten weekly this summer.

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AFLOAT CARNIVAL Triumph’s problems con-

tinued. A high wind blew through Mobile, Alabama, tore the ship from its dock and blew a security guard into the Mobile River.

P&O Ferries, has re-launched its fast ferry

service between Larne and Troon, following a £500,000 investment to re-design and refit PandO Express.

CARNIVAL Cruise Lines cancelled 10

GERMAN CRUISE MARKET UP 9pc

T

he Cruise Lines International Association reported that 6.14m cruises were booked by Europeans last year. The number has doubled since 2004 when it was 2.83m. Over the past five years, the European cruise market thus grew at an average of

8pc. Four of every five Europeans chose to take a cruise in Europe. The British took 1.7m cruise trips in 2012, unchanged from 2011, Germans took 1.55m trips up 11pc, Italians took 835,000 cruises down 9pc from 900,000 (3rd), the Spanish took 576,000 cruises in 2012 down 18pc

from 700,000 in 2011 (4th), the French took 481,000 cruises up 9pc from 441,000 in 2011 (5th). The most notable trend was the growing success of cold water cruises in Northern Europe, with a 10pc jump in 2012 to 1.33m.

sailings on Carnival Triumph and two European cruises on Carnival Sunshine.

COSTA Cruises reports Easter bookings up 15pc on their post-Concordia figures in 2012 BRITTANY Ferries resumed its Cork-

Roscoff sailings on Saturday and will continue November 2nd.

IRISH FERRIES and Haven Holidays are offering 7-night breaks between May 28th and July 14th at a choice of 6 Haven Holiday parks. UNIWORLD’s Queen Isabel has been

christened by Hollywood actress Andie MacDowell. The Queen Isabel replaces the Douro Spirit, which Uniworld inaugurated in 2011. The Queen Isabel has a 118 passenger capacity with 18 junior suites at 215 sq ft. and two bigger suites at 323 sq ft on the top deck with full balconies and staterooms on the main deck will have French balconies. Public areas include a lounge with full-service bar, along with an outside bar, restaurant with an outside dining area, sun deck with swimming pool, and fitness and spa area. She will sail a 10-night Portugal, Spain and the Douro River itinerary.

CELEBRITY Cruises announced a

European programme for 2014 with six ships based in European waters.

VIKING River Cruises set a world record in Amsterdam with the christening of 10 new Viking Longships in one day. CRYSTAL Cruises said it was returning to Bruges and Amsterdam. IRISH FERRIES has extended its

‘Kids Go Free’ offer on its Irish Sea services to April 2nd.

ROYAL CARIBBEAN announced that Liberty, Navigator, Serenade and Splendour of the Seas will all sail the Med in 2014; Independence, Adventure, Brilliance and Legend will sail Northern Europe. CRYSTAL cruises said it is expanding

its sole occupancy programme for single cruisers.

PRINCESS Cruises have celebrated the float out of Regal Princess in Italy. UNIWORLD has been included in the

10 most luxurious cruise liners in the World. Uniworld won Best Luxury River Cruise Line at last year’s Cruise International Awards Excursions and guided walks are included in the price, along with award-winning cuisine and drinks with lunch and dinner.

World’s largest cruise ship Oasis of the Seas will be based in Barcelona for a short while in October 2014

Oasis is coming

World’s biggest cruise ship in Europe October 2014

R

oyal Caribbean announced that their biggest cruise liner, Oasis of the Seas is coming to Europe in autumn 2014 and will be based in Barcelona in October for three sailings prior to going into dry dock in the Netherlands. The ship will be calling to Southampton on October 15th. There are two trans-Atlantic sailings as well. Oasis of the Seas will leave Port Everglades in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, its home port since

December 2009, on 1 September 2014 on a 12-night eastbound transatlantic cruise to Barcelona. The world’s largest and most innovative cruise ship will offer a series of cruises from the Spanish port – two five-night roundtrip Western Mediterranean sailings and a seven-night sailing to Rotterdam – before heading to dry-dock in the Képpel Verolme shipyard in the Netherlands for routine maintenance. The ship will return to Port Ever-

glades on a 13-night westbound transatlantic cruise on 14 October 2014, departing from Rotterdam in the Netherlands and calling into Southampton on 15 October 2014 where guests can join the ship to sail across the Atlantic. Jo Rzymowska, Associate Vice President and General Manager, Royal Caribbean International, Ireland and UK says the sailing from Southampton is going to be "the hottest ticket in town."

CUNARD DRIVE T COOK GROWTH

A

ll three Thomas Cook cruise offerings anticipate growth in 2013, according to Niki Stanford of the Thomas Cook cruise division. Thomas Cook’s main cruise products are Cunard, P&O and Princess, ranked in volume of sales. Thomas Cook plans to continue to work with travel agents on a commission basis. It is a supplier to Travel Centres and Worldchoice and gets good support from the consortia. “A lot of agents have quite good cruise clients and are very aware of their needs. We give two options

Niki Stanford to agents, an early booking offer with no upgrades, and another offer for their clients that give them onboard credit and upgrade options . Niki says Cunard sailings are definitely of more interest to Irish people than in previous years. Cunard’s popular sail-

ings are the Queen Mary 2 out of Southampton. According to Niki “you do get that traditional feeling about the sailings, that this is the best ocean liner in the world.” Cunard are well known for their world, voyages. They also offer the smaller art deco styled Queen Elizabeth and the luxurious Queen Victoria. P&0 is a different line with seven ships. In total they offer everything from the small intimate adult only ships up to larger family friendly cruises. The P&O Azura is a larger, very very modern,

family friendly ship. P&O are also known for 12 -14 night cruises. The sailings are generally longer, from ten nights up , although the line offers four night party cruises. Niki says a popular choice for summer 2013 are the Strictly Come Dancing cruises based on the English television show, with two professional dancers on board. Princess offers a more relaxed different product on board 17 ships, with sailings out of San Francisco and is renowned for its Panama Canal and Hawaiian sailings.

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AFLOAT

A Michelin star plan M

Celebrity considers Dublin restaurant

ichael Bayley CEO of Celebrity Cruises was in more jovial mood when he came to London last month. He said Celebrity Cruises, which places high stock in its food and drink product, wanted their restaurants to be rated by Michelin but Michelin only awarded stars to land based restaurants. If that doesn’t change, Celebrity are considering opening a pop up restaurant to achieve a Michelin Star and then associate it with their onboard dining. The group is considering the equivalent of a pop-up restaurant in a major city, and Dublin is among the cities being considered. Speaking in London to travel writers this month, Michael Bayley said “at some point there has to be Jo Rzymowska and Michael Bayley in the Bulgair recognition that beautiful cuisine has to be served in Hotel in Knightsbridge something other than a land based restaurant. We are in discussion with them. If we fail in our discussions with concept. We did it in San Francisco, a very good marthem we will open a restaurant in New York City. We ket for us. We took over a restaurant. We invite 1,000 will get our Michelin star with our culinary staff and people, politicians, journalists, travel partners, valued our cuisine that we serve on board. We will get our customers, over a five day period.” “We give them lunch or dinner from Celebrity Michelin Star that way.” Separately Celebrity has been opening pop-up Cruises and they walk away delighted with the quality restaurants. “We have been doing the pop-up restaurant of service.”

It is rumoured that Dublin is being considered for a pop-up restaurant. Jo Rzymowska, Ireland & UK VP of sales says “watch this space.” Bayley took over as CEO of Celebrity Cruises last summer and says that his objective was to develop a strategy for the brand that was going to improve the business. He says the brand “was already in a good place. A lot of refinement has to be constructed.” “There is need to differentiate the product and brand. we have chosen four ways. Food and wine, entertainment are important, destination is critical. Technology is important. These are the elements we are continuing to refine and target towards our customers. In North America we are refining food and wine type activities. We are bringing more edgy entertainment which reflects our target audience, rather than the vanilla manila type entertainment.” He says new comedy acts feature jokes which make people feel uncomfortable but also makes them laugh, and there are more risqué show options.

HAVE ONE FOOT IN FRANCE WHEN YOU BOOK SUMMER NOW! Start looking forward to your summer in France today with Irish Ferries. For a deposit of just €100 you can relax, knowing that you’ll get the dates and sailings that your family require. You’ll also get a return trip to Britain absolutely free, so make sure you book today. ROSSLARE

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Book now and pay only €100 deposit on your 2013 trip to France. Book with a €100 deposit a minimum of 43 days before travel, for travel by 20 Dec 2013; final balance payable 42 days before departure. Complete a return trip to France on the Oscar Wilde between 1st June 2013 and return by 31st August 2013 and you can qualify for a free trip to Britain.

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MAY 2013 PAGE 26

AFLOAT SPECIAL: MSC PREZIOSA CHRISTENING

The MSC Preziosa in its new home port, Genoa

Pier Preziosa

View of the decktop pool area

M

Eoghan Corry reports from Genoa

SC gathered key cruise agents and travel writers for the christening of their new MSC Preziosa in Genoa, a ship originally commissioned by Colonel Ghadaffi. Sophia Loren, looking amazing at 79, launched the ship at a spectacular opening ceremony in

Genoa at 9.36pm local time on Saturday March 23. The buildup included a fabulous three-way foghorn and light show performance by three giant MSC cruise ships docked opposite each other, Opera, Splendida and the new Preziosa. Cruise line CEO Pierfrancisco Vago declared

that, with the launch of Preziosa MSC, MSC is now the third biggest cruise line on the world. “Last year we were put under a lot of pressure,” Vago said, “but we weathered the storm. A storm happens but after the storm the glory of sailing returns.” It was the most spectacular and best organised

of MSC's ten launches to date, avoiding the drags and over-runs which dogged some previous launches, and included a full orchestra performance of eight familiar cinema music sets by Ennio Morricone, conducted by the man himself. After that it was time to party The 80-year-old founder President &

MSC Preziosa arriving in Genoa

Infinity pool on the MSC Preziosa

The entrance to the longest waterslide on the waves

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MAY 2013 PAGE 27

AFLOAT SPECIAL: MSC PREZIOSA CHRISTENING

DISCOVER

GREAT DEALS

Sophie Loren christening the MSC Preziosa in a gala ceremony owner of MSC Gianluigi Aponte was seen leaving Graffitti's night club at 2.40am. Many of the Irish lasted even later. Lorenzo Diamantini and Rebecca Kelly hosted an Irish delegation which included Mary McKenna of Touramerica, Dawn Conway of Thomas Cook and Alan Lynch of Cruisescapes. The ship is as spectacular as the launch implied: it features the Doremi

Castle Aqua Park and Vertigo, the longest water slide afloat, a truly psychadelic experience, as we found out (sadly, Travel Extra’s Eoghan Corry was beaten in the race to be first travel writer down the chute by English blogger David Monk). Features of the ship include the first two Eataly restaurants at sea, and a whole host of new features in the luxurious MSC Aurea Spa. Sophia

Loren, looking splendid as always (at 79), performed the christening on Saturday. MSC say they aim to carry 1.6m passengers in 2013, having carried 1.4m in 2012. Picture shows Lorenzo Diamantini of MSC Cruises, Dawn Conway of Thomas Cook, Rebecca Kelly of MSC Cruises and Alan Lynch of Cruisescapes.

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stenaline.ie call 01 204 77 77 Attending the christening ceremony: Rebecca Kelly and Lorenzo Diamantini from MSC Cruises, Mary McKenna from Tour America, Alan Lynch from Cruisescapes and Dawn Conway from Thomas Cook

Britain by car fare applies to single Economy online fares valid on selected routes and sailings when booked a minimum 42 days in advance. Dun Laoghaire - Holyhead route is seasonal and operates up to 10 September 2013. €15 service fee applies to non-web car bookings. *Hotel breaks price is per adult per night based on 2 adults sharing, minimum 2 night stay for midweek travel from Dublin Port - Holyhead & Rosslare - Fishguard. Weekend supplements apply. Up to 2 children sharing adults room stay and travel free in selected hotels but pay hotel direct for any meals taken. Landbridge to Europe single fare applies to car + driver for travel on selected Irish Sea routes and sailings to Britain and onwards with DFDS from Dover - Calais. For fare validities and savings see our website for full details.

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MAY 2013 PAGE 28

THE FLYING COLUMN

Aviation with Gerry O’Hare

RYANAIR has added a twice weekly

Shannon-Alicante service beginning June 5.

ENGLAND's finance minister George Osborne disregarded the efforts to reduce the country’s penal aviation tax, after his Budget that long-haul aviation tax will rise again in April 2013 and again in Apr 2014. IATA January stats showed premium travel up 3.3pc year-on-year, economy class up 2.9pc. TAROM

Romanian are to start flying Dublin to Bucharest from May 1.

US AIRWAYS is extending its seasonal service from Shannon to Philadelphia (11.35am) which starts May 23 will be extended by a month to Oct 5 and the Dublin to Charlotte (9.30am) which starts May 6 will be extended by a month to Oct 6. US Airways have relaxed change-fees for some eastern US and Canada cities.

Now with more legroom

Going premium

RYANAIR

said a Dutch court decision to fine them 370,000 fine for hidden charges in breach of consumer law was "littered with errors" and they would appeal.

SWISS

are to phase out A340s in favour

of B777s.

DATALEX have reported revenue up 15pc to $32.4m. DERRY

The Sunday Life reported how a Derry airport security worker lost his job because he posed for a photograph with Nadine Coyle of Girls Aloud and posted it on a social networking site.

AIRLINES pleaded with Washington not to double TSA passenger security tax in their budget proposal.

AMERICAN Airlines said it is to Install Runway Overrun Safety Technology on aircraft. ANA

said it wants Boeing cash, rather than discounts, for 787 grounding.

KLM is to fit its first fully-flat business class seat in the B747-400 for July 2013 then another 22 aircraft. KLM denied rumours that is starting scheduled flights from George Best Belfast City Airport to Amsterdam. TURKISH Airlines reported that it has tripled its operating profit in 2012 plans 20pc seat growth this year. AMA waterways launched their 106-passenger Amaviuda in Porto on Friday, with Sharon Stone acting as Godmother. RYANAIR

accounted for one-third of all new routes in Germany last year.

BELFAST

celebrated the 400th anniversary of its first charter in April 1613 over the Easter weekend Mar 30-Apr 2.

BOEING

shifted to the tougher RTCA standard for their revamped 787 battery system.

Lufthansa adds in-between class, SAS rethinks strategy

T

he debate about the merits of premium economy has resurfaced with the news that Lufthansa is to launch premium economy in 2014, with seats of around 1920 inches wide, and 38-39 inches of pitch. The airline previously resisted the “in-between” category favoured by BA, United and Virgin, fearing (as do Emirates and Etihad) that it would dilute business class bookings. “We are introducing a fourth class now because our customers want it" Lufthansa CEO Christoph Franz said. Scandinavian Airlines (SAS) announced they are going the other direction, moving away from the

traditional airline class model with a new approach to its fares and cabins. They wil no longer have a three-class structure on their European routes and returning to a two fare structure from June this year. Instead of First, Business and Economy Class the airline will offer the SAS Go and SAS Plus options on flights in Scandinavia and Europe for passengers from June. SAS Go fares will include a checked bag and hot drinks onboard. SAS Plus will include two checked bags, SAS Fast Track, lounge access, meals and an alcoholic drink service. Its onboard concept will change with its food to be replaced by a café

selection available to all passengers. Presumably cabin staff will be aware of each passenger’s ticketing and catering. In a statement regarding the new concept, the airline said that it had devised the new products with their customers to “meet the increasing demand for smoother and more timeefficient journeys for both leisure and business passengers”. The changes are part of SAS’s 4Excellence Next Generation plan to turn its operations around, which has included job losses; contract negotiation and restructuring some departments.

LEGACY NOW MORE LIKE LO-CO’s

K

PMG’s 2013 Airline Disclosures Handbook, which reviews the financial reports of the world’s top 25 airlines and six of the largest low-cost airlines, shows that the cost gap between legacy and low-cost

carriers has narrowed from 3.6 to 2.5 US cents per Available Seat Kilometer (ASK) between 2006 and 2011. This is a reduction of over 30pc. The majority of this convergence happened in 2008 and 2009, mainly

due to aggressive streamlining by legacy carriers in response to financial crisis. The report says that the lack of convergence since 2009 indicates that the “easy-wins” in terms of restructuring had been taken and that the remaining cost

gap is more structural in nature. James Stamp, Partner at KPMG’s Global Aviation Team, said: “Price has become the key factor for customers when it comes to choosing a short haul flight”

EASYJET CLOSES CHECK-IN DESKS

N

early four years after Ryanair closed its check-in desks in 2009, Easyjet followed suit this month. All Easyjet desks will be replaced by bag-drop desks from April 30 but the air-

line says it has n plans charge passengers a fee if they forget to check in online, or charge to print boarding passes, but Easyjet hopes the facility will only be used in “exceptional circumstances.”

Ryanair recently increased the fee for printing a boarding pass at the airport from 50 to 70, but have reduced the time-limit in advance of the flight from four to two hours. This opens up the option of

passengers who do not have a working printer checking in online and then using the airport printing facilities provided by Irish company Surfbox in many European airports to avoid the charge.

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THE FLYING COLUMN

Aviation with Gerry O’Hare KLM has denied rumours that is starting scheduled flights from George Best Belfast City Airport to Amsterdam Schiphol airport at the start of the winter schedule. The flights were said to be operated by KLM Cityhopper. AER LINGUS load factor in March was up 2.4 to 79.9pc, long haul was up 2.4 to 84.4pc, short haul was up 4.7 to 77.3, passenger numbers were up 2.9pc to 757,000, long haul up 13.7pc to 83,000 and short haul up 1.7pc to 874,000.

Michael O’Leary and Ray Connor: Was it the deal of the century or a charade?

A $90m question

No indication how much Michael paid in record deal

I

'm paying higher prices, I'm just not allowed to say so," Michael O'Leary told the media in new York when he signed the much-anticipated deal for 175 new Next Generation Boeing 737-800 airplanes. He joked that Boeing executives got him drunk on St. Patrick's Day before the order. The deal would be worth $15.6bn at current list prices, Ryanair claimed. Others speculated that the discounts could be more than 53pc and one analyst speculated the price was $7bn. In the midst of the post-signing knockabout, O'Leary repeated his headline-seeking proposal, originally made three years ago, to charge for use of the one remaining front toilet. He quipped that Ryanair would donate those profits to "prostate cancer and incontinence research." Boeing’s Ray Conner said Boeing's "partnership with this great European low-cost carrier is of the utmost importance to everyone at The Boeing

Company, and I could not be more proud to see it extended for years to come." . Ryanair expects to get the first new planes at the end of 2014. O'Leary said about 75 of the new-order 737s would replace older airplanes, the other 100 would help the fleet to grow to 400 by 2019. Ryanair expects passenger numbers to grow around 20pc to 100m passengers by 2019, and workforce to expand from 8,500 to around 11,500. Analysts applauded. Stephen Furlong of Daveys said Ryanair shares will hit 7, Donal O'Neill of Goodbodys’ went higher to 7.25 (reached all time high of 6.30 on Tuesday). So did commentators. John Mulligan suggested the 175 aircraft could just be the start of a Ryanair spending spree. Stephen Trimble of Flightglobal speculated Ryanair would sign a deal to purchase 100 of the new 737 Max by the end of the year. Ryanair said they continue to eval-

CANADA

uate the benefits of Boeing’s 737 MAX aircraft which enters service in 2017. This was Boeing’s largest deal to date in 2013 and largest ever aircraft order from a European airline. It will keep their production line going for five months. Boeing say their NextGeneration 737 to be built at the new production rate of 38 airplanes a month. There were celebrations in Toulouse too as Airbus reported orders for 422 Airbus A32Xs in a one week period at the start of March, 200 by Lion Air in Indonesia, 117 from Turkish, and 105 from Lufthansa. Reuters profiled Rusdi Kirana’s rise from typewriter salesman to airline supremo. Tony Fernandez of Air Asia X questioned his rival Lion Air’s growth plan. Reuters reported that Delta are to purchase 20 each of Airbus A320 and Boeing 737

Dublin to Canada nonstop all summer long. Visit aircanada.com or contact Air Canada Reservations on 00353 1 679 3958 or your IATA travel agent.

RYANAIR are the innovators of summer aviation routes, accounting for 89 of 458 new routes launching in European summer schedule, four times the total of their nearest rival Norwegian. EMIRATES and Qantas are seeking more operational tie-ups. DELTA Dublin to Atlanta returned to

daily.

ARMAVIA Armenian National Airline has gone bankrupt and grounded flights ACI reported that passenger traffic at Europe's airports fell 0.2pc in February. DUBLIN airport reported that passenger numbers were up 8pc to 1.6m in March. A321NEO Aer Lingus will likely be the first airline with A321NEO ETOPS certification for transatlantic routes. LITTLE RED (Aer Lingus leased

A320 to Virgin) flights have started linking London Heathrow with Aberdeen, Edinburgh and Manchester. See Mike Kelly’s photo.

KENNEDY Space Center in Orlando unveiled the Angry Birds Space Encounter. TIGER Airways Australia's new service between Sydney and Cairns has touched down at Cairns airport AIR BALTIC is inviting passengers to create their own in-flight meal. STANSTED airport has introduced 60 minutes of free wifi internet use for all passengers

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MAY 2013 PAGE 30

THE FLYING COLUMN

Aviation with Gerry O’Hare

AIR LINGUS Regional is to increase capacity by 24pc (450,000 seats), add Manchester and Birmingham to network, start additional services to Bristol, Cardiff, Edinburgh and Glasgow and improve timings to London Southend. STOBART The board of Aer Arann owner Stobart Group has been overhauled for the second time in less than three months in a boardroom counter-coup that seems to make Aer Arann’s position more secure. NAAS The North America Aircraft Services has established its HQ at Shannon.

BA has ended its flight services between London Heathrow and Tanzania’s capital city of Dar es Salaam. DOHA DELAY The opening of

Doha Hamad International Airport was cancelled.

BA is to buy another 18 Dreamliners. The London Telegraph reported British Airways plan to buy A350s.

RYANAIR has opened a new Zadar base.

IBERIA/GOL Members of Iberia's

and GOL’s frequent flyer schemes can now earn and redeem miles on each other’s airlines.

LUFTHANSA say the next destina-

tion for their stylish 747-800 will be Hong Kong in April. Destinations to date from Frankfurt: Bangalore, Delhi, Washington and Los Angeles.

SAS have announced a new route from Copenhagen to San Francisco.

AER LINGUS and United an-

Jetblue’s sleek Terminal 5 home in JFK: Aer Lingus transfers are now easier since they moved there

The TGI T5 feeling T

Aer Lingus moves in to Jetblue terminal at JFK

ransferring through JFK just got easier. Aer Lingus flights now arrive and depart from JetBlue's Terminal 5 at New York's JFK. The move of Aer Lingus' New York flight operations from Terminal 4 at John F. Kennedy International Airport into JetBlue's acclaimed Terminal 5. Aer Lingus customers connecting to one of JetBlue's many destinations

across the U.S. will benefit from same terminal connections, one-stop ticketing and baggage check-in for travel on both airlines, from the U.S. to Europe. With the move to Terminal 5, the minimum connection time from European arrivals to US departures will be reduced to just about 60 minutes. Customers travelling to Ireland will enjoy connections as fast as 40 min-

WEIGHTY PLAN

nounced they will further expand their codeshare. United will codeshare on Dublin Manchester and Birmingham feeding the Aer Lingus Dublin flights to Boston, JFK, Chicago and Orlando. United Business/First Passengers can use the Aer Lingus Gold Circle Lounge at Dublin while Aer Lingus business passengers can use United lounges at 21 airports in the US.

S

CAPA said 15 CEOs will attend their Air-

lines in Transition conference in Dublin on April 11-13, IAG’s Willie Walsh, JetBlue's Dave Barger, Vueling's Alex Cruz, and Zhimin Ma fm Hainan.

DAA is investing

1m in refurbishment of one of the oldest elements of Dublin Airport, the 300-numbered boarding gates (Pier B)

WORLD ROUTES will be held in Africa for the first time on September 20-22, 2015, when it is staged in Durban.

BTS American BTS say that USA airlines

average passenger load factor is 83pc, highest level since 1945, carried 736.6m inc 83.4m international passengers.

IAA The Irish Aviation Authority won the Innovation Award at the Irish Logistics and Transport Awards.

utes. Aer Lingus will have their own dedicated areas within the terminal; including self-service kiosks; curb side check-in; baggage and drop-off for customers using web check-in. Terminal 5 offers 55,000 sq. feet of retail shopping, food courts, restaurants, free Wi-Fi, large children's play area, up to 15 security lanes

Samoan Air: Charging by the kilo

amoan airlines are going to start charging passengers by weight. CEO Chris Langton said rates range from $1 a kilogram – for the weight of the traveller and their baggage – on the airline's shortest domestic route to about $4.16 per kilogram for travel from

Samoa to American Samoa. “We have worked out a figure per kilo. This is the fairest way of you travelling with your family or yourself. You can put your baggage on, there is no separate fees because of excess baggage - it's just a kilo is a kilo is a kilo.

LINGUS T/A CHECK-IN BROUGHT FORWARD

C

heck-in for Aer lingus Trans-Atlantic flights has been brought forward by 15 minutes, and now closes 75 minutes before scheduled departure time. The close of checkin is still one hour in business class. Two Boston fights and

a Chicago flight will no longer pre-clear in Dublin. Flights EI137 and EI139 to Boston and EI125 to Chicago will have to go through immigration and customs on the other side. Chicago O’Hare, America’s second busiest airport, is not pretty when a

lot of trans-Atlantic flights arrive together. Boston Logan is better. The upside is that all Aer Lingus passengers travelling to New York (JFK) will ALL pre-clear US Customs and Immigration at either Dublin or Shannon airport. Notice at Dublin airport

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Aviation with Gerry O’Hare SHANNON Michael Cawley said the Algarve route out of Shannon brings the total number of Ryanair passengers from Shannon up to 485,000 passengers on 10 routes. Cawley confirmed Ryanair are NOT going long-haul. RYANAIR announced a partnership with English coach operators National Express enabling discounted tickets to be booked online. AER LINGUS is to increase Verona from two to three weekly for the summer. Air Europa will replace Iberville Shannon-Lazzarone service for Sunday. A boy was killed by a falling airport sign in Birmingham Alabama. QANTAS daily flights from Heathrow to Sydney and Melbourne moved from Singapore to Dubai. SAS announced they are redesignating Irish sales, Irish country manager Alan Sparling will becomes GRASP from June 1. RYANAIR picked up the WEFT tourism

report to call for an end to the government tax, claiming Kazakhstan, Mozambique and Rwanda are more competitive than Ireland.

Siim Kallas plan proposes to end the anomaly of the return leg of flights being cancelled

Some peace for pax Name changes and return legs targetted by EU

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here are two huge breakthroughs for passengers in Siim Kallas’ proposed new passenger rights regulations. Airlines may no longer charge for correcting misspelt names on tickets and they must honour the second leg of a round-trip ticket if a passenger can't use the outward half. They were hidden at the back of the document and, therefore, largely unreported. Brussels said the EU proposals were an advance in passenger rights, but the proposed rules will, in fact, weaken air passenger rights and make it harder to claim. The problem with current requirements on compensa-

Siim Kallas

tion for delays and cancellations is that they are disproportionately expensive for the airlines. If you are flying less than 155 miles, on a plane with fewer than 80 seats (Aer Lingus Regional) you now have no rights at all. Passengers will be entitled to compensation from airlines after delays of five hours, not three. The proposed rule change will make it a requirement for airlines to acknowledge receipt of a complaint within a week and provide a formal reply within two months (a survey carried out in Denmark showed that just 2-4pc of passengers entitled to financial compensation received it). Other changes: ■ Passengers who are left sitting on the tarmac for more than five hours will have the right to be let off, and if the tarmac delay is more than an hour the airline must provide air conditioning, use of toilets and water. ■ Mechanical failures onboard aircraft do not qualify as "exceptional circumstances", but natural disasters, such as the ash cloud crisis, and air traffic control strikes do.

■ Airlines will be obliged to provide stranded passenger with accommodation for a maximum of three nights, although this rule does not apply to passengers with reduced mobility, unaccompanied children or pregnant women. ■ Passengers on longer flights up to 6,000 miles will be entitled to compensation after delays of nine hours or more. Everyone else will receive compensation after 12 hours. The requirement to allow musicians to carry small instruments onboard got most press coverage than either of the two breakthroughs, with one story claiming musical instruments will now need their own passports. Despite Calder’s speculation that the EU had given way to airline lobbyists, the airline response was negative. IATA said the new rules for passengers could mean the loss of connecting flights and the Simon McNamara of ERAA said it proposed a disproportionate burden on regional carriers. Ryanair criticised the clause to force carriers to switch passengers to other airlines after a 12-hour delay.

AMERICA’s FAA announced that 149 federal contract AT towers will close beginning April 7, a further 24 are to remain open Flights have moved to new terminal at Queen Alia International Airport, Amman Alastair will replace some Iberville flights from Dublin to Remus. AER LINGUS will increase Rome to 12 weekly in June with 3 daily flights on Sunday and Malaga increases to 15 weekly with 3 daily flights on Sunday. DREAMLIKE Jim McHenry of Boe-

ing told a US Chamber of Commerce aviation summit in Washington DC on Thursday that he expects Dreamliner to fly "sooner rather than later." McHenry urged regulators reviewing battery problems on the company's grounded 787 passenger jet to let the plane back into service.

AIR Fragmentariness that

Alexandre de Jenica will take over as CEO from Jean-Cyril Simonetta on July 1. Iberia CEO Rafael Sanchez-Lozano has resigned "by mutual agreement".

AEGEAN Airlines has offered concessions to try to win approval for its second bid for rival Olympic Air. RYANAIR’s base in Paphos has helped the airport to grow by 26pc and break the 2m mark. AER LINGUS will reduce Warsaw and Budapest flights to three weekly in June (both cities were daily last June). EU has confirmed that carbon tax will not be imposed on intercontinental airline flights until April 2014. Irish born Aoife O'Leary of Transportation and Environment says UN action is the only way the airline industry can meet its own goal of achieving carbon-neutral growth in 2020 and cutting emissions 50pc by 2050.

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THE FLYING COLUMN

Aviation with Gerry O’Hare

AUSTRALIAN regulators have granted conditional clearance for the QantasEmirates alliance. AER LINGUS will add a sixth weekly flight to Palma on Saturday evenings in the summer schedule. AMERICA’s FAA said it is considering allowing electronic devices during takeoff. ANTRIM archaeologists have got funding

to excavate a site they describe as "little Pompeii."

AIR INDIA are to start services to Melbourne, Washington, Milan and Birmingham. SAFEST SEAT An aviation survey by the University of Greenwich found 90pc of passengers survive the average plane crash. The safest seat is in economy class, with your seat belt fastened, by the window, within a few rows of an emergency exit. AER Lingus CEO Christophe Mueller was appointed chair of An Post. MERGER The American/US Airways

merger has got the first stamp of approval from US judiciary.

THOMSON Airways said they are to introduce extra legroom seats on a range of short and mid-haul routes.

Aer Lingus craft in the Virgin Atlantic livery

Lingus goes red

A320s are chartered out to Virgin for new airline

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he first of four Aer Lingus A320s have been repainted in Virgin Atlantic colours in as services commence from Heathrow to Aberdeen, Manchester and Glasgow on Easter Sunday. Mike Kelly’s photograph shows 1st

ACI Airports Council International’s annual

aviation statistics indicated Istanbul is the world’s fastest growing large airport (up 20.2pc). Overall global traffic was up 4pc. Atlanta is still the world's busiest airport with 95m passengers (up 3.3pc), followed by Beijing (81m, up 4.1pc), Heathrow (70m, up 0.9pc), Tokyo-Haneda (66m, up 6.7pc), and Chicago-O'Hare (66m, down 0.1pc).

FINNAIR has launched a social check-in facility which allows the passengers to link their Facebook profile with the seat map. ETIHAD reported that ALL of their partners are profitable: Airberlin, Air Seychelles, Virgin Australia, Aer Lingus and Etihad Airways. The Centre for Aviation reported that Etihad is closest to pointing the direction for the new breed of airline partnership, with its cluster of profitable airlines including Aer Lingus. UNITEDAirlines say they are to offer revamped cabins and added flat-bed seating on premium service flights. CHARTER PASSENGERS

A survey by Geneva airport shows that charter passengers take a lot longer to go through security. It found 10-15pc of scheduled passengers carry prohibited items as against 33-50pc of charter passengers.

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Edinburgh and Manchester. The second is currently at Shannon being painted in the Virgin Atlantic livery and the other two are being prepared for delivery in Singapore.

AER ARANN PLANS RAPID EXPANSION

er Lingus Regional, operated by Aer Arann, will add 24pc in capacity to its Dublin network this year. Announcing further developments since its successful restructuring last month, Aer Arann, operating as Aer Lingus Regional, has announced the addition of two major UK destinations - Birmingham and Manchester - to its UK route network from Dublin. With the addition of these services, Aer Lingus Regional now provides a shuttle service to all the main UK cities from Ireland, with flights every two hours to the major UK cities. The addition of these services will also facilitate seamless transatlantic connectivity. Passengers flying with Aer Lingus Regional from the UK can now connect through Dublin to complete pre-clearance and customs, ahead of their onward journey to the

US. Combined with existing Aer Lingus mainline services to Manchester and Birmingham, these services will result in a significant increase in services to two of the busiest routes on the Ireland UK network. Services on the Dublin Birmingham route will increase from three to six services per day from 1 June while services on the Dublin Manchester routes will increase from three to five per day from 1 July. It is expected that the addition of these routes will result in an increase of 450,000 additional seats by the end of next year, bringing the airline’s route network to 24, with 550 flights per week. The airline will operate up to 15,000 flights across the six-month summer schedule. The airline also announced a new day return service to London Southend, the city’s newest hub,

Sean Brogan which delivers passengers into London at the earlier time of 8.50am, with an end of day return from London Southend at 19.30pm. Aer Lingus Regional operates three daily return services between Dublin and London Southend, which offers a direct rail link and speedy and frequent train services into London Liverpool Street, the heart of London, in less than 53 minutes

DELTA FIRST TO USE SMALLER LAVATORY

EASYJET said its new Recaro seats will be 26pc lighter. Easyjet launched a daily service to Moscow.

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SAS are returning from 3-class to 2 class fare structure from June this year, SAS Go (economy) passengers will still get free bag check-in and free coffee or tea.

Aer Lingus aircraft departing to Manchester on Easter Saturday evening repainted in colours of new airline Virgin Little Red. In total Virgin will operate four aircraft leased from Aer Lingus for routes from Heathrow to Aberdeen,

Can they be smaller?

irline toilets are about to get smaller. B/E Aerospace, a Florida-based manufacturer of aircraft cabin

products, has designed smaller lavatories for Boeing’s 737. Delta are among the airlines examining the development.

They say smaller toilets will allow four more seats in the economy class cabin.

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rian McKibbin welcomes me to jail. It is changing times at Crumlin Road Gaol in Belfast, which hosted its first wedding the day after St Valentine’s Day this year. The jail has been home to 41 functions, another 250 have been booked and now a third wedding has been booked. He estimates that the jail tour, of which the highlight is a visit to the condemned cell and reconstructed gallows, will attract 100,000 people this year and has already seen 20,000 people tramp through to sample its ghoulish atmosphere. They also do ghost tours. At night time people come to find if there are spirits around, to find the paranormal hotspots, or cold spots as they might be more aptly described. If anywhere is haunted, a jailhouse is. The condemned cell where they kept Tom Williams is the star attraction. There is a hidden door behind the shelves there where they brought him and tied the noose around his neck. They have reconstructed a gallows, Hollywood style and a coffin in a cell below, Gaol tourism is showbusiness. The governor’s office is much more authentic, and interesting, than the gallows room. This was one of the few places with a carpet in the prison. Being put on the carpet, for the staff or the prisoners, as through the history of the place both seemed to vie with each other in the level of criminality.

Captivating Eog han Corr y find s Belf ast boom ing in a Titan ic tail was h A strange marriage venue: Brian McKibbin outside Crumlin Road where visitor numbers are ahead of their wildest expectations

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he Metropolitan Arts Centre was acronymed into the MAC, like a perfume shop or a computer and it could pass for either. It is funded with money from the Tomas Devlin fund, in honour of a tragic teenager. The building is all triangles and long windows, peeping back at the Victorian architecture around. The MAC hosts a small Andy Warhol Exhibition, with lots of interpretative material around the cows and slogans and soup cans. The day finishes with dinner in a new Italian restaurant Coppi in St Anne’s Square. The room is noisy with orders and food being process and delivered like machine gun fire.

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o avoid, em, Lagan behind, and remind yourself what has happened in Belfast you need to stop by the river and Lagan mouth. I remember walking the Lagan banks in the 1980s, before the river bank was sent to the dry cleaners. The banks could not be bombed or burned, but they did a great rusted wasteland look that was symbolic of another war zone, the industrial war that Belfast lost, and then became the focus of the very first phase of the clean-up of the 1990s. Despite Seamus Heaney’s famous epitaph about hope and history, it was not and could not be thwarted by the peace dividend. What was the poem about time and tide? They started with

the tide instead, erecting a boon that removed the smell of the dried out river and trebled the value of riverside apartments. When they turned their attention to the decaying shipyards on the opposite side of the River Lagan from the city centre, where they built W5 and, last year the gleaming Titanic centre, wisely and luckily bearing a closer resemblance to the obstinate Iceberg than the ship it sank. The Titanic quarter is one of seven quarters in Belfast. The Titanic attracted 600,000 visitors in its first twelve month, beating its target by 25pc. But the demise of ship building has created something else,

something that is not likely to sink without trace. It left a paint hall vacant, the size of several film studios. They made City of Ember there in 2009. Now it is home of Game of Thrones. The artist Bill Drummond found Belfast has no twin city. He once added a sign to the “Welcome to Belfast” sign, “twinned with your wildest dreams.” Belfast of the movies does dreams.

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f one hotel defines the new Belfast it is the Merchant. It and the Culloden in Hollywood are the only two five star

hotels in the north-east. The experiences starts with lunch in the Cloth Ear, blocks of chips and fresh fish. A rival hotelier, the Hastings groups, models its chips on the Giant’s Causeway. Chipbuilding where shipbuilding once prospered. In keeping with the theme of my journey to Belfast I have porridge for breakfast. It is not really gaol-related, in the exquisite Merchant Hotel they have porridge with whiskey cream and honey. The Merchant achieved the high targets it has set itself in terms of offering a classy five-star product in its oddly-defined city space, shoe-horned between an old bank building and ell-shaped extension. We depart for a tour of Stormont, another area of Belfast tourism that was unthinkable 15 years ago. The chambers have been reshaped for the new politics, with a circle of cooperation and coalition where once there were hard-flat lines facing each other. It was built as a Little House of Commons, a shrine to imperialism. Now schoolchildren pass through the corridors, their laughter echoing in the hallway past the bulwarks of Lord Craig and the Sectarian architects of the statelet. Belfast has so much to smile about, and so many challenges to come.

■ Eoghan Corry stayed at the Merchant Hotel on his trip to Belfast ■ For more information see discovernorthernireland.com

View of the decktop Eoghan Corry tries the Merchant rooftop spa, the entrance hall to Stormont, and the lobby of the Titanic centre

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ike any standard tourism menu (beef, salmon or chicken), there are three main choices on offer on the loop drive from Westport to Leenaune. For a starter walk the town’s little streets and cross the bridges over the rushing river. The saddle the auto for the main course, just to put a little perspective on the visit ahead. My choice, and I feel smugly if mistakenly knowledgeable because I have taken other options on this road before, is to take the main road on way out and come back through Delphi and Sheefry Pass on the way back, the evening sunlight at play on the heathery mountain slopes. Sheefry Pass? Mam Shiofra, the gap into the world of fairies, lives up to its name. The road is narrow and the sheenwhite sheep give us the casual, slightly affronted glance of locals whose domain has not been much interrupted as the tourism season is about to begin. Mayo gets 267,000 tourists from overseas every year. More than half end up in Westport and a smaller proportion again navigating these narrow roads into the redheathered mountains in each direction. It should be more. Galway gets 933,000. International tourists, more than three times as many.

Worthy Westport Eoghan Corry hits the target on the Mayo coast Joy of hitting the target: Westport House counts archery among its range of activities

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he light is clear and crisp in the early morning (our visit was on a chilly Easter weekend), and the breakfast buffet in the Hotel Westport is offering a choice of whiting or kippers for breakfast? That is why we stay in hotels. A cooked breakfast is a luxury, a cooked fish breakfast a step closer to Valhalla or whatever the Westport version might be, one of those alleged islands for every day of the year in Clew Bay perhaps. Breakfast is a place to study how a hotel works and who its best customers are. The Hotel

Westport has been working on attracting families: and the queue at the coco pops stall is a testimony to their success. The children and their parents are the first of the shifts, surly teenagers come next, and groggy adults that overindulged in Matt Molloy’s or the other temples of tradition in the town later again. The good news is that most of them are heading just a couple of hundred metres down the green walkway accessed by a gate in the car park, for Westport House has rides and activities and culture aplenty for the most curious families. And very curious peo-

ple are known to come here. ew towns have as strong a connection with the big house as Westport town has with Westport House. Many of Ireland’s tourist-focused big houses are uneasy with their hinterland, exploitative history and delusions of grandeur imprinted on their frayed, leaking rooves. Not this one. The success story is due to one man, to the forceful PR of Jeremy Browne, Lord Altamont. Somebody offered £7,000 to buy the house – about a thousand pounds bit more than the marble staircase had cost to construct in

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1858. Jeremy said no. What happened next impacted every community in Ireland and its environment. He was a breadth of fresh air when he tackled the problem that his inheritance was losing £1,500 a year and placed Westport House at the heart of the fledgling world of Irish cultural tourism in 1960. It attracted 4,500 visitors in is first year and 65,000 a year by the outbreak of the troubles in 1969. It sounds modest, but his energy was to inspire tourism projects everywhere, up and down the country. It helped that Jeremy was an unashamed self

publicist soundbyte central in the 1960s and 1970s (else (“not all the money, nor al the architects, nor all the governments in the world, could ever build another Westport House”),: Westport is the Eden of big house tourism. The archery and combat games, the clay pigeon shooting and sawn boats in the lake are the culmination of Jeremy’s big ideas bursting out of a small town estate. Fossett’s circus supplied the animals for his zoo in 1972. The activities and the mini theme park followed in the noughties. Jeremy’s entrepreneurship is well documented. His wife Jennifer put up with the zoo until the more exotic animals were brought in and uttered the fateful phrase: “Either the lions go or I go.” Today when any Irish community thinks tourism, it always starts by looking up what Westport got up to. he house still resembles the yield of a magpie raid on an ancestors’ cupboard. Some of the artifacts are stunning national treasures, an example being the Republic of Connacht Banner carried by Jean Humbert from France in 1798 by, Pro Rege Sapie, Pro Patria Semper (for my King seldom, for my country often). The Brownes have a collection to be proud of

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Clockwise: four poster bed at Westport House, swan boats, Eoghan Corry re-emerges from a wet zorbing experience, zorbing and combat games

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GLOBAL VILLAGE

Inside the Travel Business

TRAVEL CENTRES are working on a new consumer marketing campaign to roll out across their 70-odd retail outlets in May and which will use social media channels. The grouping has secured buy-in from key supplier partners and is waiting on confirmation of one final partner before announcing the details. According to Dominic Burke of Travel Centres the initiative is being designed to drive new business to affiliated members during the coming months and “may become a regular activity on Travel Centres annual consumer marketing calendar, if it delivers on expectations.”

CLUB MED is launching a new brand campaign in 47 countries around the world in 22 languages.

HILLS BALFOUR team came to Dublin on behalf of their tourism and travel clients, which include Queensland, Chicago, Arizona and a new client, Sarawak. Rebecca Cleaver reported that the Best Job in the World promotion by Tourism Australia has had 500,000 applicants.

PROCON is to supply the ProTAS Back Office system for Atlas Travel corporate agency services in Dublin. INSIGHT Vacations is one of only three tour operators to include VIP access to the Vatican museums.

The Irish government is awaiting developments in Brussels before considering an airline bond

Euro snailpace

COMSCORE’s survey indicated that Ryanair.com attracts 14pc of travel website traffic in Ireland, and had 1m hits in January.

GREENLIGHT’s survey of hotel search engines showed Tripadvisor well ahead of its rivals, with 68pc of travel searches on Google, Expedia 26pc, and Marriott and Laterooms.com on 17pc each.

TRAVELPORT announced they would become the first GDS to offer access to American Airlines’ alternative content, as well as flights. VISIT USA: Beverleigh Fly has resigned as the chairperson of the visit USA committee Ireland. Beverleigh says her role in Bookabed has changed with the expansion of the company into new markets such as the USA, Brazil and Australia, “requiring more focus on my part and therefore I feel I cannot provide the time and attention that the committee deserves.”

1STS hosted the second leg of their Train and Dine Road Show in the Savoy Hotel Limerick City. AFFORDABLE Car Hire signed a new partnership agreement with ATTS.

WINGSABROAD has signed a supplier agreement with Worldchoice.

ANDY HARMER’s Association of Cruise Experts is planing a cruise expo in Dublin to include a visit to MSC Magnifica.

FREEDOM Travel are recruiting for a full time retail manager for Leixlip Branch. Minimum 3 years experience CV to ciara@freedomtravel.ie.

Travel protocol and code for agents set back

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he European Commission's long-awaited plans to revise the Package Travel Directive have been delayed again. A decision on whether and how to proceed with these plans is not now expected until the "late spring". At the end of January, chief executives of European travel companies met the EU commissioner responsible for package travel policy, Viviane Reding, to discuss their concerns about revising the directive. Ms Reding also met consumer organisations at a separate meeting on the same day.

The Commission is now examining three main options: modernising the current directive, leaving it as it is, or scrapping it entirely. The idea of scrapping the directive (and not replacing it) is new, and some consumer representatives have reacted with alarm to it. The European Consumer Consultative Group, a forum set up by the EC to consult national and European consumer organisations, said: "Scrapping the directive would entail serious consequences for consumers, including most probably a loss of consumer protection, in-

creased market fragmentation and unequal market conditions for consumers and businesses. It would also lead to major uncertainty as to the fate of national laws designed to implement the directive because the European legal base would be lost and national law could develop in all directions." ETOA’s position is that the current legislation has been rendered obsolete by new technologies and the advent of low-cost airlines. Consumer protection now exists in a limited and non-explicit field. So the Directive should be scrapped.

CAR MOVES ON PLASTIC BOND

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he Commission of Aviation Regulation is calling the credit card companies to a meeting to sort out the issue of double bonding on credit card bookings. Irish Travel Agents Association CEO Pat Dawson says this will be “one of the biggest breakthroughs in 20 years for the travel in-

dustry.” Credit card companies have insisted on separate cover outside the bonding system for the travel retail industry. “CAR is insisting credit card companies recognise the government bond,” Pat Dawson says. “Hence it will save agents a lot of money and financial pres-

sure. Many of the credit card companies withhold payment for a week or two.” “The question here is why we are discriminated against.” Because of separate payment securities implemented by the credit card companies the ITAA estimates that over 39pc of the

turnover of agents is double bonded. Travel agents have long protested that they have to cope with a labyrinthine and discriminatory bonding system which has not reflected the changes in the industry since it was first implemented in 1984.

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Inside the Travel Business

GLOBAL VILLAGE AIR FRANCE/KLM The Ireland and UK manager of Air France/KLM Henri Hourcade reiterated the airlines’ support for the travel trade at a lunch in Dublin on March 22nd. He said that the airlines have relaxed a lot of restrictions, even on lower fares to make it easier for clients of the agencies. An estimated 150,000 Irish air passengers transfer through Paris and 120,000 through Schiphol Amsterdam each year. HURTIGRUTEN hosted Niki Stan-

The ITAA team at the AGM: Fionnuala Carter, Pat Dawson, Clare Dunne, Jean Maxwell, Gary Melia

‘Get EI on GDS’ ITAA wants Irish to get same access as agents abroad

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he Irish Travel Agents Association has asked Aer Lingus for the same access to the former national carrier’s inventory as travel agents in Northern Ireland and abroad.

“We want Aer Lingus to put full content into the GDSs. It is beyond me how they got away with putting full content in to the north not put full content in south.” “It has cash flow implications. With the GDS agents get 2-3 weeks

or sometimes 4 weeks credit rather than instant money from the credit card.” “Aer Lingus have short memory travel agents kept them going in bad years.”

SKILLNETS PROGRAMME PLANS

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he first programme of ITAA skillnet courses has been launched by Fionnuala Carter. For queries email fionnuala@itaa.ie. The first part of the programme began in early April. ■ Tue 9th April 6pm-8pm Language Learning Open Night. ■ Wed 10th April 10am –

6pm Introduction to Credit Card Compliance ITAA Offices 8-9 Westmoreland St., Dublin 2 Members: 170 Subsidised: 21,0 ■ Wed 24th April Manual Handling Dublin Members: 50 Subsidised: 70, ■ Wed 1st May First Aid Refresher Dublin Members: 50 Subsidised: 70, ■ Commencing Tue 23rd April 9:30am Facebook Marketing Webinars for Irish Travel Professionals

Distance No Charge, ■ Tue 30th April To Tue 18th June 6pm-9pm Digital Marketing Diploma FETAC Level 5 Accredited Every Tuesday and Thursday Dublin Members Fee: 715 Subsidised Fee: 880 (Standard Fee: 1,500), ■ Tue 7th May To Tue 25th June 6pm-9pm Digital Marketing Diploma FETAC Level 5 Accredited Every Tuesday and Thursday Cork Members Fee:

715 Subsidised Fee: 880 (Standard Fee: 1,500), Fionnuala says there are loads more courses on the way, including Train the Trainer, Micro Soft Office, HR Management, Presentation Skills, Sales and Marketing, Customer Services and Social Media.

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out the normal travel agents which are medium sized,” Pat Dawson CEO of the ITAA says. “The big winners are consolidators growing all the time. The big boys who are being looked after.” “The change in the financial criteria is very forceful and is putting continuous pressure on agents” Dawson says. “We already have an efficient bonding

system.” “IATA is reacting to the situation in England where it is said they have lost 100 agents in the past twelve months and there are concerns about up to 20pc of agents in the last twelve months because of financial pressure. The process is getting much more difficult than the CAR process.” “We are still paying for

TRAVEL DEPARTMENT Brendan Breen, former Product & Customer Director, has taken taking over as Managing Director replacing Tim Williamson, who is moving back to the UK. Claire Stone will continue as Resources Director, with responsibility for HR & Operations, and Claire’s role will expand to include the provision of industry-leading training across the business. Sean Ryan is continuing in his role as Finance & Commercial Director, and will have responsibility for Management Information and IT in the business. Travel Department also announces three key internal promotions for Lisa Brougham who is taking on the role of Product Manager, Gillian O’Keeffe who has been promoted to Operations Manager and Josane Amaral de Lima who has been appointed Inventory Manager.

SUNWAY Niche holiday specialist James Fleming has returned to Sunway Holidays after 15 months in the UK. James specialises in niche holidays such as Club Med, cruise and river cruise holidays. James was with Sunway previously but moved to the UK in January 2012. AMADEUS and IAG have signed a new long-term content agreement.

IATA SEEKING WEEKLY PAYMENTS he Irish Travel Agents Association has expressed concern that IATA making changes to its payments schedules. Members are being moved from monthly to weekly or fortnightly and IATA are demanding audited accounts which raises an extra cost to members. “IATA is becoming a big boys’ club, and is pushing

ford of Thomas Cook Cruises in a Seminar at Sea for travel agents on a voyage from Tromso to Trondheim. Participants saw the Northern Lights twice and sampled dog sledging in Tromso. Niki says that the 2013-4 season is predicted as being the best opportunity for decades for tourists to see the Northern Lights. “A lot of people see the Hurtigruten service as a ferry,” Niki says. “It was a big surprise to sample just how luxurious the cruise ships are.”

the sins of our fathers. They need to take Ireland separately.” “We use the arguments were they when Malev went to the wall? The trust fund is frozen by IATA and it increasingly looks like the only people who will be paid are the lawyers. Why don’t they protect the agent? They want jam on both sides of the bread.”

SUNWAY Oscars Extravaganza on April 11th in Vanilla Nightclub in Donnybrook was hosted by RTE's Kathryn Thomas. Prizes included a holiday to California with British Airways flights, 7 nights holiday with car hire and €500 shopping voucher, an iPad mini from Amadeus, 7 nights All Inclusive in Couples Barbados and 7 nights B&B in the 4* Glaoria Palace, San Agustin Thalasso Hotel. TRAVEL COUNSELLORS conference sessions start at 08.45am on Friday April 18 in Fota. Keynote speaker is Anthony Iannarino from thesalesblog.com.

TRAVELPORT launched their new smartpoint App for Worldspan Go! promising automated processes to speed up reservations. and reduce call handling time.

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WINDOW SEAT

The waterslide to happiness in the Vendee

Busman’s holiday: Derry Cremen

Every month we ask a leading travel professional to write about their personal holiday experience. This month: Derry Cremen of Hello France

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panish apartment holidays, Disneyland, French gite holidays, boating trips, work trips, hiking holidays, luxury holidays, you name it, I've done it! But my all time favourite family holiday was back in 2003. We left Cork destined for Roscoff as a family of two parents and two children, aged ten and eight. The excitement had been building from the week before and as we packed the car that morning the anticipation of the ferry trip and sailing to France had us all in a great mood.

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When we arrived at the ferryport and saw this huge vessel waiting for us we were even more excited. The ferry was

luxury itself with fabulous cabins and wonderful facilities. The kids of course loved every minute of our sailing, as did the adults, it was where our adventure started. We arrived in Roscoff in the early hours of Sunday morning and experienced a very enjoyable drive to the Vendee Area with a stop enroute for a picnic, the drive to the Vendee isn’t very long and the weather in this area is normally very good. Le Clarys Plage, now 5 star, had everything we wished for swimming pools, slides, playground, sports facilities, kids club, bar and entertainment. Once we arrived the

FROM THE EDITOR’S DESK

hen the March and April winds blew cold, it led a surge of bookings for sun holidays across Europe, it opened our eyes to the state of the holiday industry out of Ireland. If the demand for holidays was to rise by a reasonably small margin, inspired by cold or other weather factors, our travel agents cannot sell them. They have nothing to sell. “Pub with no beer” syndrome which

started with the big capacity cuts of 2010, is now having a real impact on trading conditions. The holidays are not there. Or to be more precise, the beds are there but the airline seats are not easily available, at least not the one-stop airline seats that Irish holiday makers now expect from the trade. A few unusual trends have emerged. Charter seats are cheaper than scheduled seats to most sun destinations, a reversal of recent

trends. Flights from regional airports are a little more expensive than Dublin, which is also unusual. In England stories ran across the media , many inspired by enthusiastic ABTA PR, that there was a surge in bookings. In Ireland there is no corresponding rush to the sun amidst our wind-chill weeks. Even if the demand is there, there seems to be a shortage of availability until the summer schedules start in May.

kids were delighted with themselves, making new friends and giving their parents freedom to just relax. We loved barbecuing and enjoyed the laid back atmosphere of the site and as we had our car with us we were able to visit a number of the local sights. I can honestly say the accommodation in our Hello France Sauterne was perfect. I find the key to a good family holiday is to make sure the kids are happy and it will all fall into place for the adults. This is why after our 2003 trip to Le Clarys Plage, we have returned every year since, with our children, who are now young adults, it has become a somewhat of a tradition in our family, and one that I am sure will be carried on.

IN YOUR NEXT TRAVEL EXTRA: Available to Travel Agents or online May 13 2013

USA ISSUE What’s new in the West CHICAGO THE MOST AMERICAN CITY

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Director of the Tourism Dave Walsh of Etihad, raphon Svetasreni and Su nd Authority of Thaila ng Emirates at the Amazi Margaret Shannon of blin Du tel, Ho ury stb We Thailand event in the

Carol Kehoe from Roscr ea Travel and Andy Tomblin from Tropical Sky at the Kerala Even ing in the Radisson Blu ho tel

Out and about with the Travel Trade

ITAA CEO Pat Dawson, ITAA President Clare Dunne and Sinead Reilly of Travelport at the ITAA AGM which Travelport sponsored

as Cook and Rebecca Jackie Herssens and Lisa Byrne from TravelDawn Conway of Thom ziosa mood at the Amazing Thailand event in the West- Kelly of MSC at the launch of the MSC Pre bury Hotel, Dublin ion Genoa

nds Carberry and Cora Mu Orlagh Hogan, Roisin ury Zoe Durden and Steve Furey from PAB Travel at stb We the in nt eve nd at the Amazing Thaila the Kerala Evening in the Radisson Blu hotel Hotel, Dublin,

Cathy Burke of Travel Counsellors and Ed Bu rke of Twohigs at the Amazi ng Thailand event in the Westbury Hotel, Dublin .

broker with Lorraine Will Walsh from Travel from Sunway at the Dunne and Kathy Cashe son Blu hotel dis Ra Kerala Evening in the

Christine Fenton and Deirdra Oâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;Hara from Cla ssic Resorts at the Amazi ng Thailand event in the Westbury Hotel, Dublin

Lorraine Dunne and De irdre Sweeny of Sunw ay at the Amazing Thaila nd event in the Westb ury Hotel, Dublin

Robbie Smart of Cassidy Travel and Brendan Barry of Discover Travel at the Amazing Thailand event in the Westbury Hotel, Dublin

Naoise Walsh and Jes sica Byrne from 1STS at the Kerala Evening in the Radisson Blu hotel

rnflight and Juthaporn Re Martin Penrose of Top rity tho Au rism Tou of r no gronasa, Deputy Gover ng Thailand event of Thailand at the Amazi

Norma Tolefe, Joanne Coll of World Travel Centre, Dave Hayeems and Peter Tully of Trailfinders at the Amazing Thailand even

Katie Dineen and Sean Healy from Lee Travel at the Kerala Evening in the Radisson Blu hotel

Alan Darby and Madvini Reebye from PAB Tours at the Kerala Evening in the Radisson Blu hotel

rine Morrison and RayStephen Sands, Kathe travel at the Amazing mond Lee from Riviera stbury Hotel, Dublin We Thailand event in the

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MAY 2013 PAGE 39

MEETING PLACE

Out and about with the Travel Trade

annon O’Dowd from Tracy Crowley, Audrey Joyce and Linda Collins Alan Lynch of Cruisescapes and Mary Carole Carmody and Sh McKenna Blu son dis Ra the in ening from Travelmood at the Amazing Thailand event of Touramerica at the launch of MSC 1STS at the Kerala Ev Pre ziosa in Genoa. in the Westbury Hotel, Dublin, hotel

Eileen Penrose from Em irates with Geraldine Leonard and Norma Tol efe from WTC at the Ke rala Evening in the Radis son Blu hotel

Niki Stanford of Thomas Cook and Danny Giles of Hurtigruten at the seminar at sea trip to see the Northern Lights on board Hurtigruten

el Shanahan at the Adrienne Keogh and Ed tel, nt in the Westbury Ho Amazing Thailand eve Dublin

ret Deirdre O' Mahony from Heffernan's Travel who rd Harbourne and Marga Andre Bedford, Richa ng won a trip to Lake Garda at the Topflight table azi Am sellors at the Kelly from Travel Coun quiz in Cork with Graham Hennessy of Topflight Thailand event

Shannon O’Dowd and Sharon Jordan of One Stop Touring Shop at the 1STS training ses sion in Limerick

Jackie Herssons of Tra velmood and John Spollen of Cassidy Tra vel at the Amazing Th ailand event in the Westb ury Hotel, Dublin

ice in Dublin Director Taipei representative off ty Director Hsiu-Mei Harry Tseng and Depu (Shirley) Lin

Lisa Dobson and Micha el Doorley from Shando n Travel at the Kerala Ev ening in the Radisson Blu hotel

At the Great Lakes USA presentation in Dublin, Ciara Corcoran from Celtic Horizons and Mary Twomey from Chicago's Essex Inn

Maureen Ledwith of Business Exhibitions and Siripakorn Cheawsamoot, London Director of TAT at the Amazing Thailand event

Will Walsh from Travel Broker, Linda Tiernan, Roisin Carberry and Cora Munds all Topflight at the Amazing Thailand event

rnie Burke from Travel Dominic Burke and Be Evening in the Radisson Centres at the Kerala Blu hotel

Fiona Clarke and Rebe cca Cleaver of Hills Ba lfour, Áine Hegarty of the Mirror Group and Jasmine Rushton of Hills Balfour, who hosted a media lunch on behalf of Hills Balfour travel an d tourism clients in Dublin ’s Dylan hotel.

Ipad Skytours who won an Shane Cockburn from ne ain Gr h wit d competition Mini in the Lowcostbe Caffrey of Lowcostbeds

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Travel Extra May 2013