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FALCON TWO NEW 2014 DESTINATIONS UR O Y SAN FRAN BACK ON THE RAD-AER FLIGHTFEST SKIES FILL OVER DUBLIN  ER UNESCO’s new list AzaQuest The new GDS age P PA

e e Fr

IRELAND'S PREMIER SOURCE OF TRAVEL INFORMATION SEPTEMBER 2013

Free

VOLUME 15 NUMBER 7

Beds & Technology Issue

Accommodation chameleons

page 002 13/08/2013 17:59 Page 1

Featuring:

Wedding & Honeymoon Destinations at Home and Abroad

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Page 003 News 13/08/2013 17:32 Page 1

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SEPTEMBER 2013 PAGE 3

NEWS

Unesco list 2013

Pilgrimage destination Coimbra among heritage sites

U

NESCO has added 19 locations to its list of World Heritage Sites include volcanoes in Asia and Europe, historic forts in Ukraine and Qatar, and a Basque whaling station in Canada. The University of Coimbra Alta and Sofia in Portugal, famous in Irish history as the alma mater of ecclesiastical figures such as James Warren Doyle (JKL) was added during the Phonom Penh session. At its meeting in Cambodia, the World Heritage Committee gave the nod to ■ the Red Bay Basque Whaling Station in Canada, ■ the Cultural Landscape of Honghe Hani Rice Terraces in China, ■ historic Monuments and Sites in Kaesong North Korea, Santa Clara Coimbra ■ Levuka Port Town in Fiji ■ the monumental water displays of ■ El Pinacate and Gran Desierto de Bergpark Wilhelmshöhe in Germany Altar Biosphere Reserve in Mexico ■ Hill Forts of Rajashtan in India, ■ Namib Sand Sea in Namibia ■ Golestan Palace in Iran, ■ Tajik National Park in Tajikistan. In the Sonoran Desert just south of ■ Medici Villas and Gardens in TusArizona and north of Puerto Peñasco, cany in Italy, El Pinacate is home to an amazing ■ Fujisan, sacred place and source array of natural phenomena, includof artistic inspiration in Japan ing three volcanic peaks and sand ■ Historic Centre of Agadez in dunes reaching 200 metres high. Niger, Among the black and red lava ■ Wooden Tserkvas of the flows to the east, and the shifting Carpathian Regionin Poland and desert sands to the west, live 540 Ukraine, ■ Al Zubarah Archaeological Site in species of plants, 40 species of mammals, 200 of birds, 40 of reptiles. Qatar, Three sites received extensions: ■ the Ancient City of Tauric Cher■ Mount Kenya-Lewa Wildlife sonese and its Chora in Ukraine and Conservancy in Kenya Five natural sites were added: ■ Maloti Drakensberg Transbound■ Xinjiang Tianshan in China ary World Heritage Site in Lesotho / ■ Mount Etna in Italy

EXPEDIA‘s annual Flip Flop survey of

holiday attitudes reported that 40pc of Danish women happy to sunbathe topless. German holidaymakers (17pc) are most likely to sunbathe nude, while the French (90pc) are most supportive of Speedos Brazilians (22pc) are more likely to wear them. Least likely to sunbathe topless were ladies from Japan and Malaysia. Indian beachgoers were found to be the most likely to spend their time building sandcastles. When Expedia asked, what scares holiday makers more at the beach, sharks or speedos, Speedos won.

PRICES The Irish Consumer Price Index indicated air fares were 12.2pc up on last year in July and travel by sea up 11.3pc. WORKAHOLICS A survey by global workspace provider Regus said 54pc of Irish business professionals plan to work during their summer holiday and 1/10 will spend three hours of each day working.

CSO figures released showed that the number of Irish people going abroad was up 1.4pc between April and June.

South Africa ■ Wieliczka and Bochnia Royal Salt Mines in Poland, an extension to the Polish Wieliczka Salt Mine, inscribed on the World Heritage List in 1978. Bam and its Cultural Landscape (Iran) was removed from the Danger List East Rennell (Solomon Island) was inscribed on the List of World Heritage in Danger along with the six World Heritage sites of the Syrian Arab Republic. The World Heritage List now numbers 981 in 160 States Parties to the World Heritage Convention. Fiji and Qatar had their first sites inscribed during the present session. The List numbers 759 cultural, 193 natural and 29 mixed properties.

LATEDEALS.ie said last minute holiday passenger bookings are up 12pc and that the average time between booking and departure is now 22 days on their site.

TGV is reducing prices for rail travellers who book ahead with a first class, high-speed service at roughly the same price as "no frills" air travel.

NINE out of 10 travellers around the world can’t leave home without a gadget, Visa claimed. The weight of the gadget (39pc) and internet capability (34pc) are important factors when deciding which gadgets to bring on holiday. HOTEL WEEK The third annual Hotel Week NYC is scheduled for January 312, 2014, a ten day event celebrating some of the City’s most prestigious hotels, at a fraction of the cost $100, $200 and $300 per night. CLOTHES A London-based survey suggested that 29pc of holiday makers hide their valuables under clothes at the poolside.

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Page 004 Knowledge 13/08/2013 17:33 Page 1

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SEPTEMBER 2013 PAGE 4

THE KNOWLEDGE Travel Extra Advertising & Subscriptions 6 Sandyford Office Park Dublin 18 (+3531) 2913708 Fax (+3531) 2957417 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 Marie Carberry Carmel Higgins Cauvery Madhavan Sean Mannion Conor McMahon Ida Milne Catherine Murphy Cleo Murphy Siofra Tobin Larkin 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.

CONTENTS

3 News The new UNESCO sites 6 Hotels: Lisbon sees big price fall 8 Postcards: California in Dublin

10 Spain’s Costa Brava: A rediscovery 12 London: East side story 13 Serbia: Back on the map 16 Accommodation: Rise of bedbanks 26 Afloat: Cruise and ferry

28 Flying: Ryanair fare drops 30 Ireland: An app tour of Dublin 34 Global Village Agent bookings up 36 Window seat: Our columnists 37 Pictures: Out and about

Dynamic is dynamite T

he number of hotel beds that are available to agents through the various booking agents is gargantuan. Some of the most successful travel agencies in the current market are those whose business model is based on dynamic packaging. All of the dynamic packaging agencies, big and small, have bespoke systems that can build millions of offers and options. So how does a perplexed agent handle these options?

CHOOSE your

market. Either find a niche area or find where the masses are going. If you cannot think of one, four-star all-inclusive is a good place to start. Aim for the general family and couples market.

DECIDE who you

are going to work with. It is sensible to deal with a handful of decent bed banks that you trust rather than plunge into the great unknown. No matter what supplier they are using nowadays, an agent can offer customers hundreds of thousands of hotel options at a click. Often, only a few dozen of those count in the Irish market. There are a small number of favourite hotels that crop up again and again on wish lists of Irish customers at the key destinations. Even the most exotic locations have only a few hotels that really matter to the Irish consumer.

DEVELOP your sales technique. Agents

A satisfied customer is a repeat customer can still persuade customers that they are the best place to book and that they shouldn’t worry that suppliers are named on the paperwork.

DON’T be afraid to talk price. Even though the internet is awash with direct offers, today’s technology means a good agent can tell every customer with confidence that they can find them the best price. When a customer looks up the internet, the price could be different to what it is in the next hour. If you look at a destination and find a good price, buy it or tell the customer to buy it. With dynamic packaging a price is likely to go up rather than down. GET the right tech-

nology. Better technology gives agents a lot more flexibility to offer a wider range of products. It is the key to how much product you can access and how quickly you can do so. It puts an agent in control of their business and, more importantly their margin.

CHARGES

Ask whether the bed bank is buying its own stock or whether it is buying from another bed bank. They may have different cancellation charges, and these could be passed on to the agent without you knowing it.

KNOW your cus-

tomer, and keep it that way. A direct seller can never get to know your customer as well as you do (and many have tried

and failed). No internet or online travel agent will know your local airport and its routes and its routes as you do, particularly if many operators don’t fly from there (departures from regional airports such as Kerry are cheaper than from main airports at this time of the year).

SHOW the value of

the flights you source for your customers by comparing them to more expensive ones earlier or later that day. The process if providing good value for money starts with the best flights. It convinces the customer that you can offer a better holiday at a better price.

FEES When you

charge a consultancy fee,

make sure it is clear in the price. Don’t impose your own amendment or cancellation fees.

SELL the extras. For such an obvious way to increase commission, suppliers say many agents still do not offer products such as transfers and car hire during consultations. Agents do not make the most of what they can do when the customer is in front of them. After sorting out the flights and accommodation, ask the simple question: what do you want to do? UPGRADES

Use a dynamic package to get a better price or give added value to the customer. The more you add, the more value you can give.

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Page 006 Hotels 13/08/2013 17:34 Page 1

www.travelextra.info

SEPTEMBER 2013 PAGE 6

HOTELS

LUXURY-Hotels.com survey named North Island Lodge in the Seychelles as the most expensive hotel in the world.

NEW YORK-based Blackstone Group has hired banks to lead an initial public offering of its Hilton Worldwide hotel chains, which owns Burlington, Conrad, Morrison, and three Hilton branded hotels at Charlemont, Kilmainham and at Dublin Airport.

ITIC said that Irish made a total of 13.6m trips away from home in 2012. 7m trips within Ireland and 6.6m overseas. Demand for overseas travel would appear to have bottomed out, with a marginal increase (+1pc) in the number of trips abroad last year. Hotels continue to gain market share of domestic bed nights, despite an 8pc decline in volume in 2012. LAKE Hotel in Killarney (50th place) &

River Lee Hotel in Cork (75th) was rated in the top 100 at the annual Expedia Insiders’ Select hotels survey. Hayfield Manor in Cork, Ashley Lodge in Blarney, Dylan Hotel in Dublin and G Hotel in Galway also ranked in top 1000.

HOTELS.com said searches for

Caherdaniel in the Ring of Kerry were up 119pc compared to July last year, Ballina saw searches rise by 84pc, Carrickmacross in Monaghan was up 61pc and Ballincollig in Cork was up 54pc compared to 2012.

DROMOLAND Inn appointed Christian Schmelter Sales & Marketing Manager .

Lisbon: hotel prices down 29pc in July

Resort price down T

Lisbon sees largest price decrease in Europe

rivago say that Hotel prices in nine of Europe's 50 most popular destinations have fallen by over 20pc in comparison to June. The largest decreases are found in Lisbon (down 28pc to an average of €94 per night), Is-

Some day, air travel may be this good.

tanbul (down 25pc to €109), Madrid (down 24pc to €77), Oslo (down 24pc to €139), Brussels (down 21pc to €95) and Paris (down 20pc to €175). London hotel prices are down by 17pc year-onyear, due to price hikes during the Olympics last year. One night in July will cost an average of €109, compared to 146

in June.Prices have also fallen by 20pc year-onyear, with one night in July 2012 costing an average of €137. Prices in Antalya and Marmaris, two coastal destinations popular amongst holidaymakers, have also decreased by 24pc and 14pc respectively year-on-year, despite being unaffected by the riots.

One night this month will cost an average of €87 in Antalya and €90 in Marmaris, compared to €114 and €105 respectively in July 2012. Low room rates are abnormal for this time of year, suggesting hoteliers have dropped their prices in order to encourage tourists to continue visiting the country.

EUROPEAN HOTEL PRICE INDEX €224 €134 €105 €91 €78 Geneva

Barcelona

Cork

Glasgow Hamburg

Alicante Budapest

€216

€132

€103

London

Killarney

Sligo

€90

€77

Berlin Marmaris

Madrid

€89

Valencia

Bilbao

€67

€87

Bucharest

Antalya

€66

€86 Leipzig Limerick

Puerto del Carmen Sofia

€84

€63 Granada

€210

€131

€102

Venice

Donegal

Lyon

€175

€125

€99

Paris

Rome

Alexandria

€174

€124

€98

Cannes

Munich

Cologne

€161

€123

€97

Nice

MIlan

Tralee

€154

€120

€96

Edinburgh

Hamburg

Derry

€147

€117

€95

Dresden Toulouse

Stockholm

Galway

€83

Sevilla

€145

€112

Brussels Waterford

Copenhagen

Dublin

€94

Cairo Hurghada

€61

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.

€144

€109

€81

Amsterdam

€80

Puerto de la Cruz Tenerife

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.

Florence Oslo

Belfast Istanbul Manchester Marseille

Lisbon Prague Riga Turin

€92

Puerto Rico GC

€54

Liverpool

€79

Zaragoza

Malaga

Source: Trivago.ie

A new era in coach travel: Now bigger, more comfortable and free Wi-Fi on-board

Some day, air travel may be this good.

€139 €132 Salzburg

€107 Vienna

Athens

€74

€62 Warsaw

€55

Page 007 News 13/08/2013 17:35 Page 1

www.travelextra.info

Dot.com cartel?

Germany maintains internet agreements are illegal

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rish hoteliers, particularly those resentful of clauses in some OTA contracts, are watching this month’s developments in Germany and England with interest. Germany's antitrust watchdog renewed its complaint on Thursday that Hotel Reservation Service Robert Ragge GmbH’s pricing agreements with hotels may harm competition and violates European and German competition law. The best-price clause in HRS’s agreements with hotels guarantees that the company would get the best hotel price, highest room availability and the best cancellation policies. The Federal Cartel Office originally issued a statement of objections against HRS in early 2012 and said Thursday that the new complaint would give the company a chance to reconsider its position on its best

Somebody in Connecticut has got the best rate sir price clause, which bars hotels from offering better deals to customers who book directly through the hotel or competing websites. The London Office of Fair Trading forced Booking.com, Expedia and InterContinental Hotels to give a formal commitment to relax restrictions so that online travel agent competitors to

discount hotels. There was some speculation that prices could fall as a result. Similar investigations are under way in Germany and France. Earlier this month French hospitality workers union UMIH accused Expedia and Booking.com of unfairly blocking hotels from offering lower rates through other res services.

SEPTEMBER 2013 PAGE 7

NEWS

TRIPADVISOR were eventually told by an English national newspaper that a top ranked restaurant, Oscar’s in Brixham, Devon, was non-existent.

IRELAND’s hotels are coping better than expected with recession. Aiden Murphy of Crowe Horwath said that just 4pc of Irish hotels have closed over the past two years despite the doomsday predictions in the 2008 Bacon report which claimed 15pc of Irish hotels would need to close to rebalance supply and demand. He reported that hotels in Dublin made 10,000 in profit per room last year,l although the Irish Hotels Federation points out that this is before finance costs are taken into account. Dublin hotels are operating at 74pc occupancy rate and 86.04 average room rate, although the west coast hotel rate is a less healthy 61.87, down on 2010 rates and well below the Dublin average.

ACCOR group is to offer free Wi-FI at all its Ibis Budget, Ibis, Ibis Styles, Novotel, Mercure, Pullman and M Gallery hotels.

JD POWER and Associates' annual survey of North American hotel guests says they are more satisfied with hotels than they've been in years, even as room rates and fees have gone up.

AFFORDABLE EXCELLENCE The Beacon Bar and our fitness center, now open! Comfort and value at New York’s friendliest hotel

The jewel of the upper West side

2130 Broadway at 75th Street • New York, NY 10023 Tel: 212.787.1100 • Reservations: 800.572.4969 www.beaconhotel.com

Page 008-009 Postcard 13/08/2013 17:40 Page 1

SEPTEMBER 2013 PAGE 08

POSTCARDS FROM THE TRAVEL SCENE

isit California’s Maddy Morgan (above) hosted a large number of the trade at an event in the Dublin Radisson Blue hotel this week. The turnout included leading ITAA officials and the major tour operators. The event coincided with the news that Aer Lingus wil resume Dublin-San Francisco direct on April 3rd next year. The route opens up the wine region to the north of San Francisco and the city.

V

Los Angeles has more museums and more theatres than any US city, and a thriving music and gallery. It enjoys 300 days of sunshine on average a year. In addition there are 3,400 new hotel beds under development in the nest two years. New LA hotels include the Wiltshire Grand which will have its hotel reservations check in 70th floor and pool on top of building on the 73rd floor.

elta Airlines celebrated 25 years of flying between Dublin and the United States this month. Delta’s maiden flight to Dublin in June 1988 was via Shannon from Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport and was operated by a Lockheed L-1011-500 wide body aircraft. The service initially started as five times weekly with a 12.05pm departure from Dublin, and a journey time of 10 hours. Today, Delta’s daily Dublin-At-

D

lanta route is nonstop and serviced by an Airbus A330-200 with a journey time of 8h 29mins. Perry Cantarutti, Delta Air Lines SVP-Europe, Middle East and Africa. said nonstop flights from Dublin and Shannon provide customers with convenient travel options to 200 destinations throughout the US, Latin America and the Caribbean, via hubs of New York-JFK and Atlanta

T

Carlos Moura, Jorge Botelho, Nuno Mendes de Almeida and Carlos Costa. The Dublin office was active in promoting Portugal long before some of its better known and better funded rivals. Jose Ramos is pictured with Bernardo Futscher Pereira, Ambassador of Portugal in Ireland and Filipe Silva, Director of the Portuguese Trade and Tourism Office in London and, since Jose is leaving, also in Ireland.

he departure of Jose Ramos from position of director of Portuguese Tourism in Ireland brings an era to an end. Jose has been a great friend of the Irish travel business since he came to Dublin. He is leaving this month and will be sorely missed. He follows a line of exceptionally talented Portuguese directors of the Irish office, most recently in reverse order

here was a surprise, from Falcon Holidays when they launched their summer 2014 programme. For the first time in many years they have added TWO new destinations to their holiday programme, two of them for summer 2014, Ibiza and Rhodes. Both will have weekly flights from Dublin Airport. Accommodation options including Holiday Villages, SplashWorld Resort, kids’ club property,

T

the family friendly resorts on Ibiza of Port des Torrent and Santa Eulalia, and a selection of self-catering and all inclusive properties and hotels. They will launch a Find the Falcon Family competition. Holidays go on sale from June 27th 2013. Picture shows the Falcon Holidays team, Carol Ann O'Neill, Helen Caron and Charlotte Brenner,

nited Airways brought agents on a fam trip to Chicago to celebrate the recent launch of the Shannon-Chicago route. The group of nine enjoyed gate-side champagne and cake resembling the iconic Willis Tower, before boarding the B757 to Chicago. The group explored the (not so) Windy City on foot, by Segway and boat. the group was treated to a unique Gospel Brunch on Sunday, an all-you-

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can-eat buffet of truly stunning proportions and hand-clapping,Picture shows Bernie Roche, HRG/Club Travel; Sarah Junker, Choose Chicago; Bill Schmitt, Choose Chicago; Wendy McCartney, American Holidays; Marena Rohan, Ace Travel; Kate McGillicuddy, Abbey Travel; Aoife Gregg, United; Ciara Donoghue, FCM Travel Solutions; Pat Reede, United; Pamela O’Loughlin, Limerick Travel,

T

Lin got the opportunity to travel to Ireland under the Ireland-Taiwan Working Holiday Program, in effect since January 1st. Their trip takes them through Ireland, England, Belgium, Holland, Germany, Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Finland, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Czech Republic, Austria, Slovakia, Hungary, Slovenia, Croatia, Italy, Morocco, France, Spain and Portugal. .

aiwanese youths Lin Ping-Yi and Wang Wei-Tung had a rousing send off on their 90-day motorcycle journey through 24 countries across Europe. Taiwan is anxious to boost its profile in Ireland over the coming months with travel, trade and investment promotions and the entire Taiwanese community in Dublin seemed to turn out to see the motor cyclists off on their odyssey.

Page 008-009 Postcard 13/08/2013 17:40 Page 2

SEPTEMBER 2013 PAGE 09

POSTCARDS FROM THE TRAVEL SCENE

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roatia has enjoyed a 31pc increase in visitor numbers from Ireland since January, Minister for Tourism Darko Lorenicin said in Dublin. There were 30,463 Irish visitors and 144,195 overnights in 2012, and the country is served by direct routes to Zadar (Ryanair 2w, resumed after a two year hiatus) and Dubrovnik (Aer Lingus 5w, up from 4w in 2012). There are also charter services from Tour operators Croatia Tours and Con-

corde Travel. The minister extolled the country’s 1,244 islands, upgraded hotels and 28 five star and 108 four star hotels. There are big plans for the Dalmatian coast with 15,000 beds to take pressure off Dubrovnik, which can be a bit crowded at peak. Picture shows Darko Lorenic, Croatian ambassador Jasna Ognjanovac and Director of the Croatian TB in London Tonko Rilovic. The Minister met with Aer Lingus to pursue the possibilities of direct services to Pula and Zagreb.

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nigo Ayuso, Voyage Sales Specialist, Cunard, welcomed travel agents to view Cunard’s Queen Elizabeth ship visit to Dún Laoghaire on a gloriously sunny morning. He mentioned that one guest had travelled with Cunard for some 2,900 days – and that the ship had many repeat bookings. Sharon Harney, Head of Sales and Marketing with Thomas Cook said the

Irish company has quite a few regular cruise clients. Picture shows Dawn Conway of Thomas Cook, Paula Coughlan of Dawson Travel, Lisa Croke of Marble City Travel, Linda Jones of Travel Boutique, Sharon Harney, Shirley Woods of O’Hanrahan Travel, Will Walsh of Travel Broker, Frances Grogan of Grogan Travel, Niki Stanford of Thomas Cook and Mairéad Hogan of Roscrea Travel.

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he folk from Florida’s Space hosted a dinner to extol the attractions of this 75-mile stretch whose sales slogan is “Orlando’s Closest Beaches”. A key attraction on the coast is Port Canaveral, the departure hub for hundreds of Caribbean cruises annually. Exciting developments at the Kennedy Space Centre were outlined by David McKee: not only has it got the last ever space shuttle – Atlantis – but

the Angry Birds have also landed. Visitors can now enter the three-dimensional world of these feathered fiends and play on seven interactive exhibits. Pride of place must surely go to the new $100m Space Shuttle Atlantis exhibit: which brings visitors nose-to-nose with the priceless spacecraft as only astronauts have seen it before – with its payload bay doors open as if it were floating in space.

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page 010 Costa Brava 13/08/2013 17:44 Page 1

SEPTEMBER 2013 PAGE 10

DESTINATION SPAIN

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he time has come for the Irish to return to the Costa Brava. There was a time when this most scenic and still lovely part of Spain was our premier destination for summer holidays abroad – mainly because it was as far as the planes could fly before refuelling. In fact, there are those who can recall the days (and late nights) when pioneering tour operator Joe Walsh chartered Aer Lingus Viscount planes that landed in Perpignan, then bussed his customers across the border to Spain.

Bravado

Eanna Brophy on the Costa Bravo

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hese days, Ryanair will fly you into Girona, a very handy jumping-off point – by hired car or plentiful public transport – to get you to the many picturesque coastal resorts to be found around every wooded headland. Calella, San Feliu, Lloret de Mar and other names are redolent of those early package-tour years. But the resorts have changed. With a few dishonourable exceptions, you won’t find many chicken’n’chips establishments or cafes/pubs offering “English Brekkie Just Like Mum’s”. Restaurants and bars feature Spanish/Catalan menus – and of course tapas, once an exotic mystery for visitors from these northern isles. The hotels, too, cater for a market more sophisticated than the packagedeal hordes of old (not that they wouldn’t welcome a few of those, too, in these recessionary times.)

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irona itself is well worth devoting some time to. When we were there the town was en fete for the annual “Temps de Flores” which attracts Maytime visitors from all over the region. What began as a small

Calella de Palafrugell flower show has blossomed into an event that takes over the whole town. Exhibitors vie with each other to come up with the most ingenious displays which turn up in every cranny of the old streets that wind through the Jewish Quarter, the porticoed main square and out onto the bridges over the river. If you’re staying in Girona, check out the Hotel AC Bellavista de Girona, http://www.marriott.com/hotels/travel/gr opa-ac-hotel-palau-debellavista/ a state-of-theart hotel whose big windows look down from a height on the town and the surrounding countryside. You also get a fantastic panoramic view of the mountains – if it’s not raining, as it was alas, when we were there. We comforted ourselves with dinner at Divi n u m http://www.divinum.cat/ a terrific restaurant in the

heart of Girona. They offer two tapasbased dinner menus, one for 35 a head and the more “gourmetish” one for 45. Both are outstanding – and if you don’t fancy what’s put in front of you, the next dish, and the next, are sure to be delicious. (Sophisticated note: I gobbled the lot).

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ne person you can’t avoid on the Costa Brava is Salvador Dali. When you read that name you get an instant mental picture of an eccentric gent with mad eyes and an even madder pointy moustache. The artist was his own trademark and both his art and his flamboyant lifestyle left a big mark, to such an extent that there are museums devoted to him in Cadaques, Figueres and in Púbol. We visited the lastmentioned, Castel Gala Dali http://www.salv a d o r dali.org/museus/pubol/en

_index.html a smallish castle which was the last home of his Russian-born wife Gala, who abandoned her husband and young daughter when she met Dali. Our guide, Sandra, brought the place alive with a sparkling lecture about this odd couple – but the house feels a bit haunted: maybe because Gala is in the crypt in the basement. (Salvador didn’t join her there as he had promised.) We soon shook off any morbid thoughts with a pleasant lunch in Restaurant Antic Casino at Pals http://www.anticcasinorestaurant.com – where many dishes featured rice, which, surprisingly enough, is grown widely hereabouts.

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hen we did a bit of the Camino – not the clichéd Compostella one, but the Camino de Ronda, a coastal track that winds up and down and in and out of the many coves that are such a distinctive

feature of the landscape. It brought us through Calella del Palafrugel to LLafranc, meandering through some of the prettiest photo-opportunities you could ever hope to see. Brava means “wild” or “rough”, but the pathways are for the most part easy for walkers: you don’t need to gear up unless you’re planning to camp out at night. We did no such thing. We stayed instead in the rather salubrious surroundings of the Hotel Aigua Blava at Platja de F o r n e l l s http://www.aiguablava.co m/ . You are not, as the saying goes, dealing with muck here: this is the kind of hotel where the guests when checking out are booking to come back the same time next year. On a rise, looking out over the sea and along the coastline, it’s a quirky combination of old world charm and modern efficiency, run by the same family for three generations over 75 years. The kitchen turns out amazing food. It’s one of the hotel’s star attractions, but yet there is an unfussy atmosphere in the dining room, whose staff are not only very welcoming, but are deeply authoritative on the food they are presenting. (And believe me, our little party challenged both the chefs and the waiters, such was the diversity of allergies and dietary preferences among us). Not me: again, I scoffed the lot. Breakfast next morning was on a beautiful sunlit terrace overlooking the sea – with an ample and varied buffet to choose from. The location alone would draw you back here; add the food and service and it’s no wonder the hotel is often full. Me too.

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ut there was still one more place to see. Begur. I’d never heard of it before (and there were many witty remarks along the lines of “Begur, this is a grand little town, bejapers!”.) We were shown around by Mercedes. No, we did not travel in one – this Mercedes was the young woman from Begur’s tourist office www.visitbegur.com . She spoke excellent English, and no wonder – she had once worked as an au pair for a year in Limerick. She didn’t sound in the least like the Rubber Bandits. But she did tell us about the Returned Yanks. That’s not what they call them there: they call them “The Indians” – people who left Begur for Cuba and the West Indies, made a fortune in sugar or other crops, and then came home. The big houses they built are now a town showpiece, as is the ruined castle that dominates the hill overlooking the town. Climb up there and you get a 360 degree view north to the Pyrenees and south as far as – well, as far as the eye can see. Down the hill, about two kilometres away, is the little cove called Sa Tuna. You can make your way there either by road or using one of the many walking trails in the area. We took a seaside stroll here, along the pineshaded cliff trail, before heading back to Begur for a last lunch in the atmospheric town square at the bustling restaurant Es Castell (the town features many excellent eating places). We sampled rock fish stuffed cannelloni, stewed squid salad with sweet red pepper vinaigrette, fish stew a la mariniere with red prawns, etc., etc. I don’t know how I managed the dessert.

page 011 13/08/2013 18:46 Page 1

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page 012 London Southend by marie 13/08/2013 17:45 Page 1

SEPTEMBER 2013 PAGE 12

DESTINATION ENGLAND

East to the West End

Marie Carberry takes the Aer Lingus Regional service to Southend

The view from the London Eye

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ancy a trip to London but don’t have the heart to go through Heathrow or Gatwick? Then London Southend may be just the route for you. Since its launch in May 2012, 55,000 passengers have used the Dublin to London Southend service, scheduled to facilitate a day return for business passengers, departing Dublin at 7:15am, arriving in London Southend at 8.50am and returning from London Southend at 19.30pm. It is also great for the short hop tourist. The door has barely opened on the plane and your luggage is spinning on the carousel and then it’s just a two minute walk to

Southend Train station for a 50 minute train ride to Liverpool Street Station. From there you can tube it to, well, just about wherever in the city you want.

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ur hotel, the Westminster Park Plaza, was as near to parliament buildings as you can get without actually sleeping in the House of Commons. It was also around the corner from the London Eye. The Eye is the tallest Ferris wheel in Europe and the most popular paid attraction in the UK. It was also the highest viewing point in the city until it was superseded by The Shard which has a

PLACES TO SEE

■ Tate Modern gets all the headlines but Tate Britain is second only to the National Gallery when it comes to British art. Visit www.tate.org.uk ■ The Science Museum features seven floors of educational and entertaining exhibits, including the Apollo 10 command module and a flight simulator www.sciencemuseum.org.uk ■ The Victoria and Albert Museum houses one of the world's greatest collections of decorative arts including

viewing platform at 245 metres. The Eye rotates at 26cm per second and a full revolution takes 30 minutes. From our pod we had wonderful views of the city including Westminster and Big Ben. As we neared the top Buckingham Palace loomed into view. We waved to the English Queen but she didn’t wave back as she had already left for her holliers in Balmoral.

L

ondon can be expensive but the good news is that there are lots of things you can do for free. The British Museum is one as is the National

ceramics, sculpture, portrait miniatures and photography. www.vam.ac.uk ■ London has some beautiful parks you can visit including Hyde, Richmond and Regents parks. ■ Many comedy clubs have no cover charge. For a listing go to timeout.com/london/comedy ■ The Royal Geographical Society in Kensington is hosting a free exhibition of the Travel Photographer of the Year 2013. For more info go to www.rgs.org

Portrait Gallery and the National Art Gallery on Trafalgar Square. Tracy Jones, PR with the National Art Gallery gave us a quick tour, pointing out some of the gallery’s most interesting paintings such as Bathers at Asnieres by Georges Seurat, painted with pin pricks of paint rather than brush strokes and Whistlejacket by George Stubbs, the most incredible painting of a horse that you will ever see. Tracy also showed us where Daniel Craig sat during a scene of Skyfall and also how Kempton Bunton, a disabled pensioner, managed to get in through a toilet window and steal a Goya back in the 1970’s. Also, for a fee of £8, you can visit the Vermeer and Music exhibition in the Sainsbury wing. The exhibition encompasses the music of Vermeer’s day played live as you stroll around admiring the wonderful paintings.

Running until 8th of September, it is well worth a visit

F

or lunch why not avail of the facilities of the National Gallery restaurant. The food is top class (the sole on the bone was one of the finest I have ever sampled) and, if you get a seat near the window, you will have a great view of a (very) large blue cockerel. Created by German artist Katharina Fritsch, the blue cock has ruffled quite a few feathers since its recent placement on the 4th plinth of Trafalgar Square where it will remain, as is customary, for the next three years. The sculpture seems decidedly out of place in the square but that, it seems, is the whole idea. There have been many comments as to its symbolism but the fact that the cockerel is the national symbol of France and the Trafalgar Square

itself is a monument to Britain’s greatest naval victory in the Napoleonic wars, then you can’t help but feel that the artist is being just a little mischievous. Whatever the reason, it gave Boris Johnson an excuse to engage in a couple of double entendres as he made the unveiling. The Westend is famous for its entertainment venues. If you have only one night then do yourself a favour and go and see the musical Once. An adaptation of the movie which starred our own Glen Hansard and including his Oscar winning hit, Falling Slowly, this is an exuberant, uplifting, funny and poignant story that gets a standing ovation every night. With a mostly Irish cast and knowing references to Fair City you cannot go wrong!

Since its launch in May 2012, 55,000 passengers have used the Dublin to London Southend service, scheduled to facilitate a day return for business passengers, departing Dublin at 7:15am, arriving in London Southend at 8.50am and returning from London Southend at 19.30pm. Aer Lingus Regional aims to grow the route by 20pc in the next 12 months.

Page 013 Serbia 14/08/2013 10:18 Page 1

SEPTEMBER 2013 PAGE 13

DESTINATION SERBIA

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t was late when we reached Belgrade and transferred to the Hotel Metropol Palace. On first impressions, the pace of the place was not fast. That is, unless you count the architecture. Most of the cities in this side of Europe look like they were built in a hurry. They usually were, after the killing spree of the middle of the last century. I remember Belgrade from the 1980s is for its greenery. It was a very pleasant and leafy place, designed to spice up the social realist monotony of its buildings like lettuce trimmings around burnt offal. I also remember its sprit. Or at least I remember it more clearly now. I had forgotten that until I encountered it again. We spent the evening of our arrival in the trendy Belgrade port area, with a line of teeming lively restaurants, full f laughter and music and that frenetic sense of having fun that you sometimes get in a society coming out of conflict. Beirut has it. Belfast has it. And Belgrade has enough to fuel your energy until daylight, a city of 100,000 students all seeking to celebrate youth and survival. We have a smashing time, literally. One of the waiters, trying to move a glass door, managed to let it drop and disintegrate into thousands of glass shards, which, happily, avoid my back despite the fact it happened directly behind me.

Back on the map Eoghan Corry on how a party put Serbia back on the tourist map Novi Sad’s clock, looking on the Danube, has its longer hand indicating hours and the shorter hand indicating minutes

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hat a fascinating city, and fascinating country. Serbia has got itself back on the map, reemerged from the twilight zone in which it found itself over the past two decades. The people are not sure how they end up where they did, pilloried by the international community and bombed by the Americans. They used to be the good guys who stood alone against fascism. Then they became the bad guys, like somebody flipped a coin. You can still see bomb damage in Kneza Milosa, concrete and glass beside the warped remains of warped steel like a Dali painting, and then more glass fronts, airy office lobbies and coffee shops.

GETTING THERE

■ Jat, soon to be Air Serbia, is the national airline of Serbia. There are good connections through Paris CDG with its partner Air France/Cityjet. Etihad Airways has unveiled plans to acquire 49pc of Jat Airways, which will be renamed Air Serbia. The Abu Dhabi-based carrier has also been awarded a five-year management contract for the airline.

It is surreal. Belgrade is good at recovery. Our tour guide Tanja Krkovic tells me Belgrade has been over run and destroyed 38 times in its history. It was bombed nine times in the 20th century alone. It is more than dearth and destruction. Tanja is an interesting raconteur, the man who jumped into the bear pit beside the fortress to escape his enraged wife, the Royal mistress who killed a wife, Black George who led the revolution against the Ottomans, and the two squabbling Royal families that contested the Serb throne for a century. Serbia was once bread basket to the European imperial powers, the birthplace of 17 Roman

■ There are other ways to go – through Budapest with Aer Lingus or Ryanair is a favourite for the Irish, followed by a four hour Geatours bus journey €30) to Novi Sad, or five hours to Belgrade. A taxi to Budapest from Novi Sad costs €130, which can make sense when people are sharing. Beware of delays at the border.

emperors including Constantin. After viewing the signature Kalemegdan fortress, ancient survivor of more wars than most people can name, we lunch in the magnificent restaurant Šaran looking out on the river Sava, drinking Dark Kiksicko beer from Montenegro near where the green Sava empties into the brown Danube. Russell Stenson of Serbian Tourism tells me the Hotel Bah has weekend packages for €349, including flights. Croatia has the beaches. The party erupted all around us and you could see several dozen reasons to come. Emotion everywhere, enough to party.

I

t was, in many way,s a party that put Serbia back on the map. Serbia’s second city, Novi Sad stages a music festival in one of the most spectacular entertainment venues imaginable. For a few nights every July the huge labyrinthine Petrovaradin Fortress, a massive Austro-Hungarian creation dating back to the 18th century when

this was the frontier where the Ottoman and Hapsburg empires collided and sparked off each other. The festival is called Exit, it offers 600 acts on 20 stages and it started as a student protest against Slobadon Milosevic. Snoop Dog is one of the first performers. An aggressive publicity manager warns us that his press conference will be called off if anyone asks him about being arrested or smoking weed. Nobody does Instead the music writers ask some of the most sycophantic questions I have ever heard. “What is your favourite song from your own set?” (“good choice’ when he replies). As the press conference ends Snoop Dog calls out: “smoke weed.” Tihana Putin from the Novi Sad tourist board and Jelena Galetin ofthe EXIT festival hosted a long lunch in another riverside restaurant, the Aqua Doria restaurant in Petrovaradin looking out on the Danube, drinking pitchers of Selaxia white wine from Fruska Gora. The lunch ends at 8pm which is a bit excessive

even by travel writer standards. But that is rock and roll.

A

fter the song it was time, naturally, for wine. Serbian wine producers, under orders form the Tito regime, used to emphasise quantity over quality. Not any more. We headed off to Sremski Karlovic’s Vinarija Kis in the historic ecclesiastical centre of Sremski Karlovci where there are 20 wineries, and sample their most well known products. They include Bermet, the Vermouth of Serbia. At the rural household “Perkov salas” on Fruska Gora, the farmer Mr Nikola talks of his 80 years of loving life. Wars, dictators, political systems, he has seen them come and he has seen them go. Song, women and wine, he says, endures.. The guide, Tanja Djurkic was a small girl when she had to flee her home in the dead It is a lot of emotion for a small place. Emotion everywhere, enough to party. That’s what survivors do.

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Page 016-025 Accommodation 14/08/2013 09:30 Page 16

SEPTEMBER 2013 PAGE 16

ACCOMMODATION SPECIAL

Sourcing places to stay A

ccommodation-only suppliers to the trade, also known as “bed banks” first emerged in 1999 and hit the headlines over the coming years as they led to an sharp increase number of agents using bed banks rather than selling traditional packages. The theory was simple, old style package holidays were dead. Agents wanted access to hotels, and in the cacophony of choice they needed someone to wholesale those beds for them. Traditional bed banks provide their services in three ways, acting as principal, agent or supplier. Some of the main players are;

AGODA Consumer bank specialising in securing the lowest discount hotel prices in Asia Pacific. Based in Singapore with operations in 13 other Asian cities, Agoda’s bed bank network includes 308,000 hotels worldwide.. BEDBANK.NET

Among

the original Med specialists in the business, offering 10,000 hotels, villas and apartments worldwide. Popular destinations include USA, Canada, Greece, Cyprus, Mainland Spain, the Canary Islands, Balearics, mainland Portugal, Madeira, Malta, Italy, Turkey, Egypt, Bulgaria, Croatia and the Caribbean.

BOOKABED BookaBed,

winner of the Travel Trade award for 2010, 2011 and 2012, launched in mid 2005 as a trade only accommodation supplier. It is entirely Irish owned and operated. It has grown and prospered since then under Karl Tyrrell and his team. Karl describes their progress as the result of “getting on with our jobs of trying to sell hotels at great rates and provide a great service to the trade.” BookaBed launched in mid 2005 as a trade only accommodation supplier. It is entirely Irish owned and operated. It has grown and prospered since then under Karl Tyrrell and his team, led by

Lee Osborne. Since January we have taken on four new staff and recently appointed Beverleigh Fly as General Manager to co-ordinate the Irish and International sales teams. Karl describes their progress as the result of “getting on with our jobs of trying to sell hotels at great rates and provide a great service to the trade.” BookaBed’s growth rates are phenomenal: 80pc in 2010, 60pc in 2011 and 100pc in 2012. Sales this year have been extremely strong in Ireland where we have around 95pc of all agencies. BookaBed’s launch into the UK earlier this year started slowly while deals where agreed with the major consortia there. “We are really seeing significant account wins and a large volume of bookings. We have gone from 180 agencies signed up in Dec 2012 to 900 agencies by the start of June 2013” Karl Tyrrell says, Bookabed appointed Roy McCullagh as Head of Sales for Australia and New Zealand in April of

Why YOU should think Globe

I

A message from Jeff Collins n today’s competitive Bedbank market, stick with the one you know.

Globe Hotels have been supporting the Irish Travel Trade since 2004. We are currently the preferred accommodation supplier to Travel Centres and Travelsavers with significant year over year growth with both consortia. We will launch a new Globe site later this year which will include added functionality and a faster to book process. We will offer more exclusive partners online via the globehotels.ie website than ever before with unique deals especially in the Middle East and Asia.

this year. Bookabed boosted their offerings further to the trade in 2013 with the launch of new online Group booking engine. This booking technology allows access to 1,000,000 global group coordinators and to their 40,000 hotel supplier partners speeding up the hotel bidding process for discounted group rates. This system continues to improve its offerings to increase the efficiencies of travel agents. Groups can take time to obtain rate proposals however the ability to co-ordinate directly with the hotel for any other requirements such as meeting rooms, dining options and local attraction prices. ■ Distribution: integrations into the major travel technology companies such as Multicom, Traveltek, Digital Trip, CSI and Dolphin Dynamics. They say this will strengthen distribution into new and existing markets. ■ Product: developing links directly from hotel chains such as IHG, Wyndham, and Marriott further strengthen-

With additional airline capacity available to these regions for Irish travellers, Globe Hotels wants the travel trade to capitalize on this opportunity for their clients. We will also offer more worldwide partners and unique offerings from other bedbanks. Direct contracts for clients favourite properties will continue to be an important part of our brand with exclusively negotiated added value elements passed onto our trade partners, e.g. the Cordial group with free room / board upgrades and spa options. Globe Hotels will continue to work as a trade only site offering 100% support to our travel partners. We are based in Dunshaughlin, Co. Meath with a team of experienced agents on hand to assist with all queries. We are contactable 24/7 with a 24 hour emergency phone number available to travel agents and their clients. When your clients are happy, you are happy. Jeff Collins

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SEPTEMBER 2013 PAGE 17

ACCOMMODATION SPECIAL ing our content and excellent pricing. August will see Dynamic Package tool bookable on our new site allowing agents the option to book low cost carriers along with accommodation and transfers in the one booking providing a one stop booking system for the travel trade. Bookabed say their aim is to continue to provide t”he best possible service, pricing and content to customers. “We are mindful that the business and the support that we have received has been built up on the back of the quality service we provide,” Karl Tyrrell says. “We pride ourselves on being personal, approachable, friendly and helpful and our number one aim is continue this approach while offering the largest choice of accommodation at competitive rates.”

BOOKING.COM The consumer bank considered to be Europe’s leading online hotel aggregator based on total room nights sold. Booking.com offers rates for any type of property, ranging from small independent hotels through to a five star luxury. The site is available in 21 languages and offers 335,459 properties worldwide in 41,000 destinations. It is

also taking on Tripadvisor with 23m reviews.

EXPEDIA says that half of the Irish Travel Agency community have already opted into their Travel Affiliate program. Expedia TAAP is supported in Ireland by ATTS Travel Representation Solutions. ATTS provide on the ground local contact for account sales and support to Expedia TAAP enquiries. The big advantage of Expedia TAAP is the commission for bookings made through the Expedia website. Agents have easy access to rates and inventory available through the huge buying

power of the global Expedia brand. “Reliability, security and price are the main attractions to the program,” says Mirco De Pellegrin who heads up the Expedia TAAP in Europe. “Agents are confident working with Expedia TAAP because they know we are a secure partner plus highly competitive. Commissions are paid automatically on a monthly basis so agents don’t have to invoice or chase unpaid commissions.” Expedia’s offers 220,000 bookable properties, Air/Land packages, Car Hire and Activities such as Transfers, Tours and Theatre Tickets. Top markets booked through Expedia TAAP include Orlando, Manhattan and London and

the program is seeing strong growth in Air/Land packages to Southern Europe. Directly contracted prepayable hotel rates and Expedia own dynamic-package deals can be tailored by the agent on behalf of its customers at the time of the booking providing great safety to the agency thanks to Expedia acting as the principal for these bookings. “We have made significant inroads in the market over the past 18 months,” says De Pellegrin. “Both product and pricing have proven to be very attractive to the Irish Travel Trade and we are in the process of rolling out a new back-end platform which will make reporting and processing of bookings

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SEPTEMBER 2013 PAGE 18

ACCOMMODATION SPECIAL even easier. We are looking forward to realising continued expansion in the Irish market as more agents discover us and begin to explore all that Expedia TAAP has to offer.” Expedia says 40,000 travel agents in 29 markets worldwide have registered for the Expedia Travel Agent Affiliate Program on www.expedia.ie/travelagents.

FLEXIBLE TRIPS

Thomas Cook owned operation headed by John Grehan which launched to both trade and consumer, offering dynamically packaged holidays, individual travel components and traditional package holidays. It uses scheduled airlines although holidays, flights, accommodation and other travel services offered via this Flexibletrips.ie web site are supplied by Thomas Cook Tour Operations. It offers 1,500 beach and city destinations and 70,000 hotels in Ireland, Europe and worldwide.

GETABED

Fast growing company with “ambitious growth plans” in place for the next 12 months under commercial director Tony Quinn and first generation Irish Kerry Sullivan. It is also one of the oldest, having been trading since 1991 and has built up a reputation for long-haul and city accommodation as well as beach resort properties. It has a dedicated Irish website getabed.ie.

GLOBE HOTELS

Trade only operation which are preferred suppliers to Travelsavers Ireland and one of three accommodation suppliers to Travel Centres. Founded in 2004, they have three exclusive suppliers, and future contracts are being signed only on an exclusivity basis. They will launch a new Globe site later this year which will include added functionality and a faster to book process. We will offer more exclusive partners online via the globehotels.ie website than ever before with unique deals especially in the Middle East and Asia.. “I know the Irish agents and what they need,” Jeff Collins says. Many agents already have TARSC back office systems which integrate with Globe.

GTA Hotels/Gullivers Travel Serv-

ice – perhaps the largest bed aggregator in terms of sheer geographic scale, GTA offers offer discounted hotel accommodation, tour guide and transfer services, unique experiences, city tours, excursions, attraction tickets and restaurants from more than 45,000 suppliers in 185 countries. They process 21,000 bookings every day and sell 12m room nights in more than 25 languages online and throughout the world.

HOLIDAY BROKERS

Beach hotels can turn up on several different bed banks at different rates part of On Holiday Group based in England, is the trade only bed bank from the English based On Holiday Group and has been trading since 2004, offering beach, city and ski properties but with a particular focus on Mediterranean beach resorts and growing to become Britain’s largest independent bed bank, carrying in excess of 650,000 passengers per year. Euro Rooms Direct provide an impressive range of accommodation options in EU destinations, as well as great service and incredible prices. They have been voted best accommodation only supplier 5 times by travel agents at England’s TTG awards, British Travel Awards and Travel Bulletin awards, as well as coming 16th in the Sunday Times Virgin fast track 100 companies Holiday Brokers & Euro Rooms have an impressive hotel portfolio across all major destinations, from short haul to long haul as well as cities, ski, villas and more. They have 50,000 hotels within the site and provide taxi and shuttle transfers in association with Holiday Taxis as well as offering a 24 hour emergency duty office. All bookings are live availability and bookable via the websites, direct connection XML or call sales support for more assistance and advice. Brendan Mallon launched the brand in Ireland last year. OnHoliday.ie say they have enjoyed a fantastic introduction to the Irish market place, with incredible support from travel agents throughout the island. Booking websites and brands are 100pc trade only. OnHoliday.ie work with bedbanks Holiday Brokers & Euro Rooms Direct. Holiday Brokers. They say that price,

product and service, along with a close relationships with the trade will allow them to continue our current rate of growth within the market place on both sides of the border.

HOTELBEDS offers 50,000

hotels across 147 countries and is in 100 source markets worldwide, selling exclusively to tour operators and wholesalers around the world. Owned by TUI its technology allows agents to maximise revenue through online distribution channels, view all new bookings, amendments, cancellations and rooming lists, query invoicing details, payment status, statement of accounts, payments in advances and deposits or contact them to solve any invoicing related issues.

HOTELOPIA – part of TUI Travel PLC empire (the world’s largest vertically integrated travel company), Hotelopia is a leading European hotel aggregator, offering discounted accommodations to both the business and leisure traveler at 40,000 hotels, in 2,800 destinations throughout Europe, North America, Latin America, the Caribbean and Asia.

HOTELS.COM Probably the largest and most widely recognised hotel aggregator in the world, The database of more than 70,000 properties worldwide includes bed-and-breakfasts, condos and all-inclusive resorts. Features of their travel affiliate program is an option for affiliates to cobrand their site, enabling them to “build on the trust and recognition consumers have for the Interactive Affiliate Network name (IAN also includes expedia, hotwire, tripadvisor, and a number of other leading online travel

sites) while retaining the look and feel of your own site.” The consumer brand offers reviews about many of the properties listed, destination guides that provide a wide variety of dining, shopping, sightseeing, nightlife, and cultural information for 220 cities, and website functionally like multiple language and currency options for better conversions, and 24/7 Call Center Support for ‘Special Internet Rates’.

HOTELS4U - A subsidiary of the Thomas Cook Group (Panorama, Sunworld etc), the first travel company in the world, Hotels4U is another bed bank that offers a wide array of hotel and apartment properties around the world (200,000 properties concentrated in Spain, The Canaries, Algarve, Turkey & Egypt as well as a wide range of city break hotels worldwide.hotels world-wide). INNSTANT TRAVEL

Darryl Ismail’s venture recruited staff familiar to the Irish trade such as Colleen Butler. Innstant’s advantage is higher commissions, 20pc in many cases, and exclusive deals with key hotel groups and early online booking discounts. Innstant Travel’s website, www.innstanttravel.com, offers 200,000 contracted properties in 14,000 destinations worldwide with up to same day availability and the company expects to create approximately 100 jobs over the next three years. The company provides travel inventory and XML solutions of its globally contracted rates to retailers and tour operators in the travel industry.

LOW COST BEDS are part of Lowcost Travel Group, launched by Paul Evans in England in

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SEPTEMBER 2013 PAGE 19

ACCOMMODATION SPECIAL

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More than 70 separate bed banks offer aggregated hotel product in European destinations and 120 worldwide 2004. Evans was familiar with the Irish market from his First Choice days when he worked with Bill Smith and Damien Mooney and recently appointed Clem Walshe to head up the Irish operation. It specialises in Majorca, Ibiza, Turkey and Egypt and is seeing growth in Malta and the Canaries. Walshe has added several specialist Irish (usually ex-Budget Travel) properties to the portfolio and has increased the level of support to Irish agents since Grainne Caffrey joined the team. Clem has since started the USA operation for Lowcost. The website enables agents to book, amend and cancel accommodation in 150.000 hotels worldwide via the web or a direct XML connection - allowing them to tailor make ideal low cost trips for their clients. . It also enables agents to filter results by criteria such as free kids and early-booking discounts. Users can also book transfers via sister company Resorthoppa, which it no longer wholly owns having sold to A2B Transfers in June 2012, but still works with. Lowcostbeds recently trebled the number of directly contracted hotels in the Caribbean, including 350 hotels on Jamaica. The group ran its first consumer TV advertisements in Ireland this year and a direct charter to Palma for a short summer season, changing its status to tour operator. It recently concluded a supplier agreement with Worldchoice Ireland. Both Lowcostbeds and Resorthoppa offer free cancellation and amendment, 15pc as a standard rate of commission and promises to price-match if agents find the same product cheaper elsewhere.

TRANSHOTEL

Spanish Grupo Transhotel consists of six companies related to the tourism sector, offering its portfolio of more than 60,000 hotels and all types of services throughout the world for 78,800 travel agencies worldwide.

MED HOTELS

In England this is Thomas Cook’s trade bed bank while Hotels4u is the consumer accommodation brand. Focusing on the mass-

market, volume end of the sector it says its Thomas Cook-ownership enhances its buying power and gives it access to exclusive deals. The trade brand has in excess of 118,000 properties, of which about 5,000 are directly contracted Mediterranean and worldwide beach properties.

MIKI

one of the largest and most experienced wholesale tour operators in Europe, and also one of the longest going having operated and developed systems for 30 years. They say the data they work with and the systems they provide are among the most effective in the industry.

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SUPERBREAK .com, Eng-

land hotel bed bank specialist. A subsidiary of Holidaybreak PLC, a leading UK tour operator, Superbreak currently offers 1700 hotels spread across some 400 UK cities and towns. Additionally they are growing their overseas offering, currently at 3,500 hotels.

TRAVELCUBE

The Kuoniowned online bed bank has a database of 30,000 supplier partners.in 54 countries worldwide with content sourced from 42,000 hotels and apartments, 5,000 private and shared transfers, 11,000 sightseeing tours and attractions and 300 online travel guides. It is considering weekly flash sales exclusively for travel agents. Groupon style deals will be negotiated by TravelCube's sister company GTA and its hotel suppliers, each of which will be available on its website for seven days.

VENERE Another online leader

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in the European hotel bed bank sector, Italy-based and Expedia owned venere.com offers 100,000 lodging properties ranging from 1 to 5 star luxury hotels.

YOUTRAVEL English based

but operates in Germany, Greece, Italy, Sweden, Ireland, Norway, Russia and France, its main focus is the Mediterranean, with a slight bias towards Greece and offers 4000 hotels. It sells via agents as well as direct to consumers. Youtravel offers agents a standard commission of 15pc.

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Page 016-025 Accommodation 14/08/2013 09:30 Page 20

A new personal travel concierge service for customers – and it’s free! Just like a personal, 24x7 travel concierge, Travelport ViewTrip Mobile automatically updates your customers’ travel itineraries on their Android and iPhone smartphones when you email their itinerary. It means you can effortlessly extend your service beyond the point of sale and encourage greater customer loyalty.

Automatic itinerary delivery Flight status and travel alerts Detailed airport guides City guides, maps and directions

Best of all, this is already available. If you’re using Travelport ViewTrip you can offer Travelport ViewTrip Mobile for free. Just direct your customers to register online and then download the app. They can be up and running immediately.

Location-aware information Currency converter

To get started visit www.travelportviewtripmobile.com or contact your Travelport representative.

Page 016-025 Accommodation 14/08/2013 09:30 Page 21

Travelport Mobile Agent

TM

Access your Travelport GDS anytime, anywhere on your smartphone or tablet Travelport Mobile Agent is a mobile application that offers q quick and easy mobile access to Travelport GDS cryptic sscreen and its functionality anytime, anywhere. T The application is available for download on Apple and A Android App Stores and can be installed on iPad, iPhone, iPod T Touch and Android devices. For more information contact your Travelport representative.

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SEPTEMBER 2013 PAGE 22

TECHNOLOGY

Travelport goes mobile T

ravelport which operates Galileo, Worldspan an Apollo GDS’s in Ireland, is 40 years old and evolving beyond the traditional GDS. Existing products such as Travelport Mobile Agent, enables travel agents to access and modify their bookings on the go. Travelport continues to invest in mobile and online technologies. Travelport Mobile Agent was developed by TTS, as a partner on the Travelport Developer Network, further testament to Travelport’s fundamental belief in an Open Technology platform. available on all three Travelport GDS cores, Galileo, Worldspan & Apollo. The mobile GDS access app is Travelport’s second offering in mobile travel technology after Travelport Viewtrip Mobile, the mobile app that puts travel information directly in the palm of a traveller’s hands. Travelport says the open technology platform means “richer, deeper content through more accessible distribution.

Sinead Reilly speaking at the Travelport leadership forum in Google headquarters in May. Below: Robert Smart and Tara Hynes have joined the Travelport team. speed-to-market and encourages the freedom to innovate and develop next generation travel tools and apps.” “This framework combines with our unique developer relationships to create new revenue opportunities and advances in travel innovation.” Sinead Reilly of Travelport describes this as “another illustration of Travelport’s sustained drive to improve value, effi-

ciency and productivity of travel agents in this day and age where a higher quality experience is imperative in generating customer loyalty.“ ■ Travelport Ireland has welcomed two new but familiar faces to the Irish Sales team. Robert Smart, previously from Cassidy Travel, joined Travelport in June as Key Ac-

count Manager with a wealth of experience from his 10 years in the travel industry. “I believe great customer service comes from building excellent relationships based on trust, understanding and attentive-

ness to the customer needs.” Robert explained. Travelport technology is what drew Robbie to the business. “Travelport is putting a lot of resources into how they want the future to be shaped. With innovations like uAPI and Travelport Universal Desktop, the ground work is in place for the next generation of travel applications. It is great to be part of that future.” ■ Tara Hynes joined the Travelport family in May of this year, as TeleSales Account Manager after 15 years in travel, predominantly in the airline world with American Airlines and British Airways. Tara will be based in the Travelport Dublin office and will be at the other end of the phone for customers and staff alike, to support and develop the Travelport vision in Ireland. Tara and Robbie complete a seven strong Travelport Ireland Sales team.

Amadeus moves the game A

madeus Fare Choice, has become the group’s signature product offering and in its own words “brings the power of online shopping to the travel agency.” The suite of Amadeus products is: ■ Amadeus Selling Platform is the world's most used retailing application for travel professionals helping them to increase sales with a single access to all fares and to the broadest content. It allows travel professionals to move faster and, thanks to streamlined business processes and personalised services, to exceed customers’ expectations. Amadeus offers a catalogue of services integrated into a professional selling interface, allowing travel professionals to browse and sell ancillary services on top of the base fare. ■ Amadeus All Fares provides a graphical low fare search so-

Trish O’Leary, Olwen McKinney and Volker Lorenz (right) who heads up the Amadeus team in Ireland lution within Amadeus Selling Platform to access, browse and sell a wide range of aggregated fare content. Public and private fares can be browsed and booked from full Amadeus content as well as for over 40 non-Amadeus airlines, all merged into a single display. All fares provides a fully integrated booking flow and

travel professionals can build complex itineraries and work more efficiently with the intuitive and time saving calendar option – a feature unique to Amadeus ■ Amadeus Ticket Changer is an automated solution which puts customers in control. It can service travellers’ change requests anywhere on the world in a matter of seconds,

giving them the right fare with the right penalty charge or reimbursement at any point of sales. This automated end to end solution helps travel sellers to significantly reduce their cost and better serve their customers, eliminating airline debit memos, 30 minute calls to your call centre, lengthy and expensive staff training and other factors associated with manual ticket reissuing.. ■ Amadeus Master pricer is designed to ensure customers “remain at the forefront of the industry with an arsenal of the most innovative online products. “ Amadeus Master Pricer is a revolutionary and comprehensive low faresearch solution available in the international online travel industry. Amadeus say the Master Pricer Standard offers the broadest and cheapest range of

fares,. “It is so easy to use that travellers will be able to find and select a flight in seconds.” Amadeus Master Pricer Standard allows flight comparison so your customers will no longer have to make multiple searches ■ Amadeus Agency Manager is designed to improve efficiency of agents by facilitating highly complex tasks and automating data flows to ensure both speed and accuracy. It helps to increase revenues through intelligent revenue management tools that guarantee fee collection and controls margins by giving visibility on performance. Amadeus say the advantage of Agency manager is that it can be highly customized and provided with dedicated travel back office system compliant with all local requirements or it can be used with third party back office solutions.

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TECHNOLOGY

The return of branding B

randing is back, Scott Field of Google told the Travelport leadership Forum at Google House in Dublin in May. He said that Google has tracked a major change in consumer search habits: “we are going for destination over brand.” In the last five years in England there has been a massive shift from destination queries to now searching for brand queries. He said that many of the brands were not Irish but there was an opportunity for Irish companies to come in to that market. Travel searches are up 15pc year on year in Ireland. But the new computer searches are not coming from desktop, they coming from mobile and tablets. “It is absolutely staggering the number of searches we are

Scott Field speaking at the Travelport leadership forum in Google headquarters in May seeing coming through on mobile devices.” “It shows how absolutely crucial mobilizing your online presence is. And that is going to

become more so.” Ireland is the seventh fastest in world internet travel searches. Our usage of 84pc is higher than average across EU

which is 65pc. He said the searches are being directed towards online channels which involves a lot of risk for threw travel trade but

also a lot of opportunity. Ireland itself is the second highest term Irish people are searching for. The trending information is publicly available on a search for Goggle trends. 23.5pc year on year Cancun has risen 100pc as holiday search this year. 14.2pc of people who once searched Spain are now searching 110pc Corfu 100pc growth Bali Google found that people searching for flu symptoms was a better indicator than doctor’s reports in predicting and analysing flu trends. We can pick up a flu epidemic two weeks faster than the World Health Organisation. If you can do that with flu, you can do that with travel, you can do that with destinations.

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TECHNOLOGY

T

he business of aggregating and del i v e r i n g comparative data on air travel has evolved as rapidly as the technology on which it depends. Travel was always at the cutting edge of technology. Airlines were the first big customers of the early computer networks. Irish innovators were among those who drove the technology. Some of the names survive from the earliest days, from 1959 when American Airlines set up the first computer network with remote terminals, eventually to become Sabre, and 1971 when United Airlines launched the system that would eventually form the basis of Galileo. Instant data was now available to the travel trade on a convenient terminal, but did not allow the agents to book tickets on competitor airlines. In Europe, this worked well with legacy flag-carriers. The United States was more complicated. With each airline operating their own database, the system needed to be aggregated and made interactive enough to take and recognise bookings. Aer Lingus, interestingly, went it alone with the Astral computer system which was sold on to other airlines.

Happy landings

How central reservation systems started as a slice of pie in the sky operation

Selling seats in the days of carbon paper Due to the high market penetration of the Sabre and Apollo systems, other airline groups started their own systems to gain market share in the increasingly lucrative computer reservation system market. Galileo and Amadeus both date from 1987: Galileo was formed by nine European carriers, British Airways, KLM Royal Dutch Airlines, Alitalia, Swissair, Austrian Airlines, Olympic, Sabena, Air Portugal and Aer Lingus. A

consortium led by Air France and Lufthansa developed Amadeus. Three years later, in 1990, Delta, Northwest Airlines, and Trans World Airlines formed Worldspan and Galileo was merged with United Airlines Apollo system in 1992. y 1992 four main intermediaries ran global distribution systems, Amadeus, Sabre, Galileo and Worldspan, providing the technology to travel web-

B

SCREEN GRAB: A 30 SECOND HISTORY OF TRAVEL TECHNOLOGY 1959 American Airlines set up first computer network with travel agency terminals (Sabre – the Semi-Automatic Business Research Environment), completed 1964. 1963 Trans-Canada Airlines bookings computerised. 1968 Delta Air Lines launched the Delta Automated Travel Account System 1971 Trans World Airlines set up the Programmed Airline Reservation System 1971 Apollo system launched by United Airlines, the system that would eventually become known as Galileo. 1976 Travicom the first multi-access central reservations system, founded by BA and British Caledonian, based on Apollo & eventually to become part of Galileo.

1987 Galileo formed by nine European carriers, British Airways, KLM Royal Dutch Airlines, Alitalia, Swissair, Austrian Airlines, Olympic, Sabena, Air Portugal and Aer Lingus. 1987 Amadeus founded by a consortium led by Air France and Lufthansa 1990 Worldspan founded by Delta, Northwest Airlines, and Trans World Airlines. 1992 Galileo merges with Apollo system (United Airlines). 1996 Ryanair takes inventory offline 2002 Aer Lingus takes inventory offline. 2001 Travel Distribution Services acquires Galileo 2006 Travelport formed agrees to merge Galileo with Worldspan 2010 Aer Lingus bring inventory back online, American Airlines attempt to take inventory offline for Travelport.

sites to search, price and book flights, hotels, cars, trains and cruises. Within three years airlines ways looking at ways of using the internet to bypass the high GDS charges. Worldspan and Galileo were both integrated into Travelport in 2006, when the four became three. A decade ago it was a common discussion point that these intermediaries would be driven out of the market, that airlines, tour operators, hotels and travel websites would somehow be able to combine to deliver their efficiencies to the travel agent, or even more ambitiously, to the consumer. American Airlines and others have tried to bypass the GDSs more recently and have the travel websites link directly to the airlines' own reservation systems to save cost. Europe proved a more complex market than America so the GDSs are more important here. Air France is good at selling its flights directly to customers in France, because it is the best known and most popular brand, but it needs the GDSs to bring

in business from travellers in Ireland. For Aer Lingus, the reverse is true. Ryanair took their inventory offline in 1996, Aer Lingus followed in 2002. While it is an option for a low cost point to point airlines to stay aloof from reservation systems, most two sector airline books are too complex for a simple internet engine, especially when issues like transfer times come into play. he “direct is better” argument is seldom heard nowadays and not just because airlines have had another think. The naysayers underestimated the cacophony of the new internet age. The business of selling and buying a holiday became, if anything, more complicated. Travel agent and consumer buying one both got more access to information, but the sheer volume of background noise drowned out the ability to make an informed choice. Meanwhile a whole raft of travel websites emerged who found it more convenient if the

T

airlines kept providing reservations via the GDSs rather than deal with them individually, to avoid the expensive process of having to create their own data streams. Further databases emerged feeding these websites. These databases were, in turn, bought up by each other or by traditional GDSs. ■ Amadeus is used by Air-Savings, Anyfares, CheapOair, CheapTickets, ebookers, Expedia, Flights, Jetabroad, Opodo and Tripsetc. ■ Travelport is used by BookIt.com, CheapOair, ebookers, Expedia, Flight Centre, Hotels, Hotwire, Orbitz (of which it owns 48pc), and Trailfinders. ■ Sabre is used by Lastminute.com, Priceline, Travel Guru, Travelocity (which it owns) and Zuji. Amadeus and Travelport came to dominate the Irish GDS market as Sabre almost opted out altogether, being left with 10pc of the Irish market. hen IATA introduced their New Distribution Capability last year,

W

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TECHNOLOGY

Who gets the cream? it sent a shudder through the GDS sector. But GDSs say that they already have products in the market with capabilities that IATA says its (NDC) will deliver. Cork based Fergal Kelly, vice president of content for Travelport, said that Travelport is already implementing the capabilities that are offered by NDC using readily available technologies and standards. “The technology barrier which IATA claims as the reason for NDC being simply implemented, does not exist,” Kelly said. Amadeus said that it, too, already has capabilities that NDC claims it alone would enable.

The cleverest cats of the technology age get the cream Amadeus added that it supports the goals of NDC “both philosophically and with the development of our own platforms, where most of these functionalities are already available.” NDC is an initiative to develop an XML-based language standard for travel agent distribution,

for the purpose of selling a wider range of airline products and services through travel agents. here are more lucrative ways that the airline and GDS industries can combine. More airlines are putting their ancillary products into GDSs, making it

T

easier for agents to book them. Airlines and GDSs are finally filling the "black hole of ancillaries, Jay Sorensen, president of IdeaWorks said recently. He said that Sorensen said that adding a la carte features to travel agency systems has been the "holy grail" of airline distribution. Some ancillaries have profit margins of 100pc. Amadeus currently sells ancillary services such as lounge access and checked bags and sports equipment for 14 airlines, through travel agencies in 45 countries, up from just 28 in 2012. Sabre is currently booking ancillary services for nine airlines, with

three more soon to be online and 21 more in the pipeline. Travelport's Agencia product enables retailers to sell all airline products, including its fare families.

Travelport offers ancillary products from four carriers, with more in the pipeline

Travelport team: Robbie Smart, Joanne Madden, Sinead Reilly, Tara Hynes, Naomi Byrne, Front: Catherine Brennan and David Conlon.

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AFLOAT

CARNIVAL Vista is the name of the

new Carnival ‘fun ship’ to be launched in 2016. CEO Gerry Cahill says the $155m makeover of the Carnival Sunshine (formerly Carnival Destiny) with all-new deck-top areas, expanded dining options and re-imagined entertainment spaces is to be repeated in other ships.

AZAMARA is offering a double upgrade when booking a 2014 Azamara Club Cruise sailing before 30th September 2013. BRITTANY

Ferries has installed free Wi-Fi on its weekly Pont Aven sail to Roscoff. www.brittanyferries.ie or +35321 427 7801.

MSC

Cruises has cancelled MSC Armonia’s 2013-2014 winter itineraries in the Red Sea and replaced it with itineraries departing from Las Palmas de Gran Canaria.

CELEBRITY

Cruises is introducing 30 new craft cocktails exclusive to Celebrity’s ships, developed through an alliance with artisanal cocktail developers Hawthorn Beverage Group, founded by cocktail creator Josh Durr.

ROYAL Caribbean

is launching a ‘drinks on us!” campaign starting August 1st, free unlimited soft drinks for children between 3 and 17 years old at all bars, lounges and restaurants and free wine while you dine, five complimentary bottles of wine per stateroom booking.

SILVERSEA cruises was cited for removing 15 trolleys of food from the ship's galley to crew cabins to avoid inspection on Silver Shadow in Skagness in June. Health inspection officers found a variety of both raw and uncooked food and ready-to-eat food on decks and on and under beds in a number of cabins used by crew. Silversea Cruises CEO Enzo Visone said "additional training is being provided for all food handlers and supervisors, butlers, cooks, waiters and bar staff to reinforce company procedures.” Visone also says the line has introduced an anonymous call system where members of staff can report failings of procedures to senior managers without fear. MERGER The Irish Coast Guard and

CUNARD Thomas Cook’s Sharon Harney told agents invited on board the Queen Elizabeth in Dun Laoghaire that two upcoming voyages on board the Queen Elizabeth include a 10-night Mediterranean cruise, departing August 31 from €1,189 per person, a 7-night Northern Adventure cruise from €1,019pp. Marine Survey Office are to merge.

PROJECT TRAVEL Former RTE journalist Leo Enright, has been confirmed as the guest lecturer travelling with Astronomy Ireland’s group tour to see the Northern Lights from December 1-6 organised by Project Travel. The cost is 1879 pp sharing an outside cabin (including flights, taxes and one checked bag) and the final booking date has been extended to Friday, August 16. The single supplement is 299.

CELEBRITY Cruises has released be-

hind-the-scenes footage of the ship build process of its Solstice-class ships in a new doc-

Splendour to the Seas in dry dock

From refurb to fab

Three RCCL ships to go sitting in the dock of the bay

V

ision of the Seas, Enchantment of the Seas and Navigator of the Seas are the next up for an Oasis-class upgrades in Royal Caribbean under their revitalisation programme. The ships will enter dry dock in November and December in Rotterdam and Cadiz similar to the upgrade underwent by Brilliance of the Seas in May. Navigator of the Seas which was built in 2002, is getting the most serious overhaul with new virtual balconies, FlowRider and speciality

restaurants Izumi, Park Cafe and Giovanni’s. Royal Caribbean group have invested $300m in the “Royal Advantage” renovation program. Radiance of the Seas, Splendour of the Seas, Oasis of the Seas, Liberty of the Seas and Freedom of the Seas all underwent updates. The refit of Legend of the Seas earlier this year cost $5m. Celebrity Century which was built in 1995 will get one of the most extensive makeovers in the industry. Celebrity Constellation was refurbished this spring with 66 new cabins

TWO QUANTUM LEAPS FOR NEW RCCL BUILD

R

oyal Caribbean marked two milestones in the development of its Quantum class of ships this month. Quantum of the Seas, scheduled to be delivered in the autumn of 2014, received its first block as the keel was

lowered and put into place. Anthem of the Seas, Quantum’s sister-ship, had its first piece of steel cut, the first step in the ship’s construction. Royal Caribbean says that Quantum of the Seas will be making its first eight-night west-

bound transatlantic voyage from Southampton on November 2 2014, arriving in the New York area at Cape Liberty Port, New Jersey, on November 10. The cruise line’s 2014 brochure includes 60 new itineraries worldwide.

(17 ocean view, 12 Interior, 37 AquaClass), new balconies for suites, basketball court upgrade, Apple PCs, retail store, WiFi, carpeting and new loungers. Cruise ship refurbishments and refits and the regular renovation of small and big passenger ships tends to be the best value-for-money strategy and a highly successful policy for major cruise line companies. A cruise ship overhaul takes from 15-days to a month, compared with three years for a new cruise ship.

CRYSTAL’S TOP TEN EXCURSIONS

C

rystal Cruises selected its Top 10 European shore excursions: ■ 1 A black truffle hunt in the Morella countryside in Castellon de la Plana. ■ 2 Backstage tour at the iconic Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao. ■ 3 Cycle tour of the Lustica Peninsula, past olive

groves and the Adriatic coastline, to a lunch of Montenegran local specialties. ■ 4 Classical strings in the Versailles-like ballroom of a Baroque ancestral palace during an exclusive Crystal-only concert in Palermo:. ■ 5 Making French bouillabaisse and a French im-

Steel cut for Quantum

pressionist art show deep inside a limestone quarry in Marseille. ■ 6 Learning to sail in Cartagena, with the magnificent Spanish coastline as backdrop. ■ 7 A private, off-hours view of Tintoretto paintings adorning one of six medieval Venetian "great schools."

■ 8 Salt flats of Lanzarote by dune buggy and scuba diving in Santa Cruz de Tenerife. ■ 9 Lunching and winetasting Explore Cinque Terre in La Spezia. ■ 10 Behind the scenes from locker room to dugout at Futbol Club Barcelona's famous Camp Nou Stadium.

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AFLOAT

Amazara ex Hibernia T

he old cliché had it that cruises were for the blue-rinse brigade, elderly aunts and rich spinsters. That went out with blue rinses (and rich spinsters) but the new cliché about cruising is that it’s for the young-at-heart and families, not just ‘old fogeys’. Neither cliché is actually true because it makes no more sense to generalise about cruising than it does about any other kind of holiday. There are as many cruise companies as the market dictates – which means every niche market is catered for. The new generation of Royal Caribbean mega-cruisers tends to attract family cruisers who want to surf, mountain-climb and golf on board. Nothing wrong with that. People who like the idea of swooping between decks in a glass lift and having a shopping mall on board to browse through. Royal Caribbean’s sister cruise line, however, Azamara, goes for a different customer. You could call them older, but I prefer to think of them as more experienced.

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eople who don’t like nasty surprises when they go on holiday. People who like to know that, if it’s hot outside, they can choose to be cool (without noisy air-conditioners) and, if it’s freezing, they will be toasty warm. People who like to know when they leave home that their holiday will be spent somewhere that will be safe, spot-

Gerry O’Hare accompanies Azaquest to his native Belfast

Azamara Club cruise hotel director Philip Herbert with the Azamara Quest on its first visit to Belfast. the guides here are just two Azamara cruise pool in Caribbean heat, all the while and then there are the Azamazing ships – the Quest and the Journey gazing from the deck towards the Pigeon evenings – special nights out with unforgettable shows and experiences. – and both are smaller, sleeker and more House and Dublin Port. The ship has all the accoutrements of A few examples: a “Dolce Vita” party manageable than the modern leviathans of her sister company, Royal Caribbean. a luxury cruise liner with a casino, cock- at the Villa Durazzo on the Monaco to It means their itineraries can be more tail lounges, theatre for evening enter- Vatican cruise, a “Three Tenors” concert varied (smaller ships need smaller tainment, a spa, a gym, a disco, a library on the Tuscany to Monaco cruise, a Sunso you don’t have to haul books away set Party on the Venice/Rome cruise. ports). If you want to ask yourself one ques- with you, an internet room (wifi avail- And you can bet your bottom dollar they will all be organised to the last detail. tion about whether this is the right able in all staterooms) and shopping. There is casual dining also if you want Service is what cruising is also all choice for you (or your clients) ask yourself this. When you’re sitting around the to snack/buffet in your shorts and t-shirt about. Your stateroom will be serviced pool with a cocktail, do you want to lis- and the main dining hall is half-way be- by one attendant and an assistant with a ten to a rendition of “Build Me Up But- tween the more upmarket fine dining cosy duvet, Egyptian cotton bathrobes tercup” or the sound of waves lapping and the casual option (there’s also the and slippers, 24-hour room service, a Pool Grill for pizza, hot-dogs and burg- daily news-on-board bulletin, compliagainst the ship? If “Buttercup” is your bag, maybe ers and the Mosaic Café for coffees and mentary shoe-shining, fresh-cut flowers and packing and unpacking of your suitAzamara isn’t for you. But if a blissfully pastries). cases. deep and clean towel placed on your No need to tell you that just about any f it offends you that you are asked sun-lounger and a waiter buzzing quietly not to wear tank tops, baseball caps, itinerary you can think of is catered-for. about offering to bring you more cockbathing suits or jeans in the dining A seven-night Tuscany to Provence voytails (in peace) is – then look no further. room or speciality restaurants, and not to age this autumn starts at £849 while a he ship has a variety of deck wander about in bare feet, this may not seven-night Baltic/Scandinavia and Rusplans to suit most purses and two be the cruise for you (although evening sia starts at £1,700 and a seven-night Vatican to Athens (Acropolis) starts at fine speciality restaurants, as a dress is never required). As you might imagine, the on-shore just £749. group of travel agents, tour operators and travel journalists experienced at the excursions are led by experienced tour height of the July heat-wave this summer, as the Azamara Quest sailed from WHAT’S NOT Dublin to Belfast. WHAT’S HOT There is the ‘Aqualina’ (inspired by ■ Absolutely wonderfully-comfort■ One day, someone will figure out the coastal cuisines of Italy, Greece, able sun loungers on deck – I tried how to get people onto a ship without France, Spain, and northern Africa) and them! queuing. the ‘Prime C’, a more North American■ No sense of being in a crowded ■ Please more itineraries taking in inspired restaurant serving beef and place or of people rushing about. Irish ports so we can avoid the flight fresh seafood with floor-to-ceiling ocean ■ Choice of whether to dine in a cabefore cruising. views. sual or more upmarket restaurant. ■ That dreadful sinking feeling when It was quite an experience to watch ■ Smiles everywhere on board – from you realise your cruise is at an end and people in swimming costumes around both fellow-travellers and staff you have to face real life again.

T

I

T Gerry O’Hare checks the view lessly clean and friendly – as well as exciting, exotic and intellectually stimulating (if they choose it to be). And people who like the relaxation that only knowing that your every bite and sip are paid for brings before you leave home – so no worries about ‘daily budgeting’ or anything so uncouth or indelicate …

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SEPTEMBER 2013 PAGE 28

THE FLYING COLUMN

ETHIOPIAN Airlines, the fast growing airline in Africa, has become the strategic partner of the new Malawian Airlines with 49pc equity shareholding.

Aviation with Gerry O’Hare

DUBLIN airport numbers were up 7pc in July to 2.2m passengers, first seven months up 5pc to 11.5m. July figures included Europe up 6pc to 1.2m, UK up 5pc to 653,000, US/Canada up 16pc to 221,000, Africa/Middle East up 19pc to 54,000, domestic up 14pc to 7,000. Shannon airport passenger numbers were up 9.4pc in July. Cork Airport figures for July show passenger numbers down 1.6pc and first seven months down 1.2pc. Dublin Airport’s busiest day so far this year was June 30th with just over 78,000 passengers. RYANAIR’s planned winter frequency

increases from Dublin include Stansted from 7 to 8 daily, Manchester from 4 to 5 daily, Birmingham and Edinburgh from 3 to 4 daily, Bristol from 2 to 3 daily, restoring service to 2005 levels. Dublin to London Stansted schedule was 10 daily in winter 2005 and 11-daily in summer 2005, Dublin-Birmingham was 5 daily in winter 2006, while both Dublin to Bristol and Edinburgh were 4 daily in winter 2007.

CIUDAD REAL's €1bn abandoned airport is to be sold after a bankruptcy report said no thought was given “to the investment needed to make the airport function".

JETBLUE announced a new first-class

cabin that will feature lie-flat beds, suites and hot food. The new lie-flat seats are expected to be fitted on new Airbus A321 aircraft beginning in the second quarter of 2014. Critics complained that JetBlue Airways will cut one inch of legroom from economy seats on transcontinental flights to make room for the new features. JetBlue also launched Bags VIP, a new concierge service option, provided in partnership with Bags Inc.

DELTA is to start JFK-Shannon services daily on 30 March 2014 after a winter break. This year’ season is 11 May-1 October.

ALDERGROVE airport Belfast was sold to Texas-based ADC & HAS Airports. The move could mean new investment for the airport, which badly needs a new terminal. AER LINGUS has branded EI-FCC

CITYJET has selected airRM to manage its seat inventory. as its Facebook craft, the #socialjet.

FLIGHTSTATS The latest Flight-

stats report gave three Asian airports, three European airports and four North American airports top-ten scores for their punctuality.

PASSENGERS have been sharing

their most unusual flying experiences on website wego.com including the pilot who pointed out his ex-wife’s house (and the car of the man she’d been having an affair with parked in his driveway) while bringing the aircraft to land.

UNITED reported a profit of $469m, a

38pc increase over the second quarter of last year.

The new Anna Livia lounge in Dublin’s Terminal 1 takes up the space of the two previous lounges

Lounge upgrade

Expanded Anna Livia opens in Dublin Terminal 1

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ublin Airport’s extended and refurbished Terminal 1 executive Anna Livia lounge opened this month. The design for the new lounge brings together the former Anna Livia lounge and the BMI executive lounge into one large unit. The extended lounge has seating for 110 customers. The food offering has been improved with cereals, yo-

ghurt, fresh fruit delivered daily, mini danish pastries, cheese and crackers as well as tea, coffee, wine and soft refreshments and hot soup from 11am daily. The refurbished lounge includes a business area with computers and wifi and a family room with children’s play facilities. Economy passengers to use the facility for a walk-in price of €20 for three hours.

The lounge, located beside the Security Screening area in Terminal 1, has increased in size with a new business and children’s area, an enhanced food offering with cereals, fresh fruit and soup on offer (following customer feedback). Entry for economy passengers remains at €20.

FLIGHTFEST’s 2-HOUR FLY PAST

lightfest will bring 30 aircraft through the city of Dublin on September 15. The aircraft will pass at five minutes intervals over a two hour period as part of the Gathering Ireland 2013. The aircraft will set off from Dublin Airport, into Dublin Port and up along the River Liffey, as far as

the Customs House. Other large commercial aircraft from Ireland and abroad will take part in the fly past, including the Boeing 737 and the Airbus A320, A321, A300, A330 and A340 aircraft. Participants will include the Irish Air Corps, England’s Royal Air Force, all of the major Irish airlines

including Aer Lingus, Ryanair, CityJet, Air Contractors, and Aer Arann (Aer Lingus Regional), international airlines such as Etihad Airways, a variety of helicopters, along with vintage aircraft such as the famous Vulcan XH558, B17 Flying Fortress and Catalina PBY-5A Flying Boat

The event is designed to celebrate the 26,000 jobs and €4.1bn contribution of the aviation industry to the Irish economy. Large section of the quays will be pedestrianised, with many family attractions and festivities available,

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been rejuvenated to provide our customers with greater space, and more services “where colour has taken the place of bare concrete” The three old departure lounges have been opened up into a single area. 120

square metres of space has been cleared to allow for 40 additional seats, bringing more capacity up to 340 searts. The security check areas have been enhanced with three checkpoint units, Next up is the refurbish-

ment of the interior, to deep- clean and brighten up all 90,000 m2 of the circular building's external facade. Terminal 1 is used by Aer Lingus at CDG.

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REFURB FOR LINGUS CDG TERMINAL

eroports de Paris says it is proceeding with the renovation of Terminal 1 at Paris-Charles de Gaulle airport after opening Satellite 5 in Terminal 1, after 18 months of work. The boarding area has

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Page 028-032 Flying 14/08/2013 16:13 Page 2

Dublin to New York. Start spreading the news. We now fly daily direct from the Emerald Isle to the Big Apple. So your American adventure begins the moment you step aboard your flight. For more information, contact your local travel agent.

AmericanAirlines, aa.com and the Flight Symbol logo are marks of American Airlines, Inc. oneworld is a registered trademark of the oneworld Alliance, LLC. Š 2013 American Airlines, Inc. All rights reserved.

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THE FLYING COLUMN

TURKISH Airlines Comfort Class now offers seat pitch of 45.7 inches (116 cm) and the seat width is 19.5 inches (49 cm). Each row has a 2-3-2 seating configuration

Aviation with Gerry O’Hare

BOOTS in Dublin airport’s The Loop

shopping area has moved further up the street towards Butlers

DUBLIN-based aircraft leasing group Avalon has delivered nine new aircraft valued at $540m. MINISTER Leo Varadkar said that

adopting the Cape Town Convention will boost Ireland’s €19bn-a-year aircraft leasing sector

RYANAIR announced extended direct coach connections to and from Stansted Airport with National Express.

ONBOARD FOOD A survey by Travelsupermarket.com singled out Ryanair and Easyjet for applying the biggest mark-ups in onboard food and drink. THE LOOP’s 27 food and beverage

outlets at Dublin Airport will host a week-long celebration honouring Irish producers and suppliers from September 27th to October 4th, with tastings, quick fire cookery demonstrations, celebrity guest chefs and festival menus.

EMIRATES said they will launch a private jet service served by an Airbus A319 that can seat up to 19 passengers. RYANAIR reported 92pc of 53,000

flights arrive on-time with less than 1 complaint per 1,000 passengers and less than 1 bag complaint per 2,000 passengers.

AIRBUS said it is investing $180m per

yearin its -200 and -300 program development. Airbus is increasing the -300’s maximum takeoff weight by five tonnes to 240 tonnes, extending its range by 400 nautical miles to 5,950 nautical miles with 300 passengers on board, the second upgrade for the -300.

AIR CANADA enabled the

Navan2Navan group to bring a Navan and Boyne valley promotional tourism trade stand at a fair in the "other" Navan in Ontario this week, August 8-11th.

DELTA will suspend Atlanta-Dublin serv-

ices from January 11 to March 22 , the first time in over 25 years of Irish operation that it has dropped Atlanta.

CITYJET‘s sale is “close” to conclusion, Air France-KLM CEO Alexandre de Juniac said at a briefing on the AF-KL Q1 results. However, Hans Rudolf Woehrl, co-founder of Intro Aviation, the prospective buyer, says whether or not there will be a deal also remains completely open," SWISS have a double daily service from Dublin to Zurich on Saturday and Sunday for July and August.

IAA is considering a cut in air traffic control cover at Cork Airport, ending its 24-hour landing capability and potentially impacting on the airport’s ability to grow business.

Ryanair fares are down even though sector length is longer

Ryanair fare fall

Average fare now €42 reduction of 4pc from 2012

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yanair’s annual accounts showed that the average fare was down 4pc to €42. This is 8pc down when a 4pc longer trip is taken into account) but revenue per passenger up 1pc to €58. More predictably, ancillary revenue per passenger was up 21pc from €13 to €16. Ryanair’s average fare was down 4pc to €42 (8pc down when a

4pc longer trip is taken into account) but revenue per passenger up 1pc to €58. Ancillary revenue per passenger was up 21pc from €13 to €16 Reserved seating, priority boarding, the controversial new €3 administration fee and 2pc credit card fee made up 26.5pc of revenue. Ryanair intends to keep on increas-

ing baggage charges until few people bring luggage that needs to go in the hold, CEO Michael O’Leary has said. At a press conference he defended the annual hike in baggage fees, said that some fees were going to increase further, threatened to price luggage out of the sky' and told passengers to take fewer clothes on holidays.

TURKISH AWARDS FOR WORLD PHOTOGRAPHS

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urkish Airlines reports an enthusiastic response to its international photo competition launched last month by In-flight Skylife Magazine. Bridges and People invites people to submit photos telling of the

bridges built between people, cultures, and civilisations. Prizes include Turkish Airlines’ flight tickets worth $15,000, $6,000, and $3,000, and 80 selected photos will be exhibited. Apply online o v e r

yarisma.skylife.com/en and upload their photos to the website before November 16th. Turkish recently won the Skytrax award for best European airline for the third year in a row.

MOMONDO: TUESDAYS 28pc CHEAPER

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survey by Momondo showed why Tuesdays are the cheapest day to fly. The comparison site Momondo tested 40 of popular flight routes and found for 58pc of them, the cheapest departure day was a Tuesday. For 28pc of the

routes, it was cheapest to depart on a Wednesday. And for the remaining 14pc of routes, it was cheapest to depart on a Monday, or Thursday. Momondo found that by departing earlier in the week, on the cheapest day of travel (between Mon –

Murat Balandi of Turkish

Thurs, depending on route), momondo found travellers can save 18pc on an average flight, this saving went up to 36pc on some routes. Departure on Friday, Saturday and Sunday costs 22pc more than the cheapest day’s price. Momondo is unique

among price comparison sites in that it is allowed by Ryanair to display their prices, but not a booking facility. Momondo’s mobile applications are available for free for iPhone, Android and Blackberry.

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Aviation with Gerry O’Hare

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Christophe Mueller announces the resumption of the Aer Lingus service to San Francisco

Back to San Francisco Aer Lingus returns to west coast

er Lingus will be using the United terminal at San Francisco airport, Terminal 3, rather than the international terminal, Terminal 1 when services resume next April 2nd. This and other details emerged this week after their much-leaked resumption of the San Francisco route that they last served in 2007-9 was confirmed at a press conference by Minister Leo Varadkar and Aer Lingus CEO Christoph Mueller. Among the other details to emerge:

■ 50pc of the San Francisco flight will be filled by transferring passengers ■ 14 major corporate clients have been signed up by Aer Lingus and signed up deals of up the three years in advance, led by Facebook. ■ Maintenance of the Boeing 787 will be by ASL, meaning Aer Lingus remains an Airbusonly fleet. The pilots will be employed by ASL, the cabin crew Aer Lingus. ■ EI146 Aer Lingus Dublin to San Francisco

will commence April 2 2014, five weekly at 12.20 landing 15.20, return 17.20 landing 11,35 following day ■ Aer Lingus Dublin– Toronto daily will commence Apr 21 2014 Boeing 757 in 12-165 configuration. Dublin Airport will have 224 flights to and from Dublin and North America per week THIS summer, even in advance of the San Francisco launch next year, which is more than either Gatwick or Manchester airports.

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the travel trade. British Airways is bringing its new Airbus A380 to Dublin’s Flightfest event on September 15 where it will join other aircraft in the two-hour fly-past of Dublin City Centre. Maximum passenger

capacity is 469 and the BA A380's first long-haul route is scheduled for Heathrow to Los Angeles from September 24. It will also serve Hong Kong and Johannesburg.

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SHANNON IS BA’s A380 DIVERSION STOP

ritish Airways has confirmed Shannon Airport as its preferred option as a diversionary airport for the Airbus A380. This follows a visit by the craft last month, at which Simon Daly hosted

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THE FLYING COLUMN

AER LINGUS passenger figures increased by 2.9pc to 1.14m in July 2013 compared to twelve months previously with transatlantic up 17.2pc. Donal O'Neill of Goodbody’s (which counts Aer Lingus among its clients) said the figures showed the airline had made some "very savvy decisions."

NORWEGIAN Lassek SandakerNielsen said Norwegian Air Shuttle is seeking to establish its long-haul subsidiary in Ireland. The Irish Aviation Authority has issued a temporary AOC for Norwegian’s long-haul operation, which launched amid some controversy on May 30, with two wet-leased Airbus A340s operating to New York and Bangkok from Oslo and Stockholm, and intends to use 787-7s on future services.

SPANISH safety investigators renewed a claim that “market competition” is forcing airlines to carry less emergency fuel. A Ryanair pilot claimed the routine carriage of 300kgs of extra fuel is discouraged.

RYANAIR The Daily Mail reported what it describes as a new Ryanair money making ruse: flight attendants are asked to claim they have 'no change left,' the instruction allegedly comes from an airline handbook. TURBULENCE It was claimed that a laser that detects air turbulence in the path of an aircraft could lead to smoother flights

VIRGIN Atlantic is offering economy and premium economy passengers the chance to upgrade on the ground on flights from Heathrow to New York JFK, Newark, Boston, Washington and San Francisco with limo transfers, fast-track security, Upper Class-tagged bags and access to the Clubhouse lounge. TAROM’s Dublin-Bucharest service is to increase from 3 to 4 weekly for Winter 2013/14. The Romanian airline reports a successful start to its Irish operation.

AMERICAN Airlines/US Airways got

the go ahead from Joaquin Almunia, EU vice president for competition policy to create the world's largest carrier. The two airlines have agreed to give up one slot at both London Heathrow and Philadelphia when their merger goes ahead. They have also promised to make other "commitments". The merger now has to be cleared by the US Department of Justice, which is reviewing whether the merger will impact on competition in the aviation market.

HEATHROW England’s Airports

Commissioner is wrestling with 120 proposals for dealing with London's air traffic problems, including a “drive-through airport,” an East London hub on the unloved Isle of Grain, and a Severn Estuary hub. Howard Davies has promised to whittle down the options to just a “handful” by December. Heathrow’s owners have proposed a three stage development to find room for another 100m passengers a year by 2030, a new runway to the south west, a revised northern runway, and a fourth runway to follow to the north where the M4 motorway is today.

Aviation with Gerry O’Hare

Pearl business class with Etihad

Abu Dhabi Abú

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Eoghan Corry travels to Thailand with Etihad

tihad have a proven record of commitment to the Irish travel trade since the launch of its Abu Dhabi service by its third generation Tipperary CEO James Hogan in July 2007 and, importantly, a track record in winning Irish Travel industry awards against very stiff competition. This year they increased their capacity by 32pc.This summer marks the arrival of a bigger craft, the Boeing 777-300ER on the Etihad Airways service from Dublin to Abu Dhabi. The two cabin aircraft is the biggest aircraft in the Etihad Airways fleet, It can carry 412 passengers, with 28 fully flatbed seats in Pearl Business Class (73 inch pitch) and 384 seats in Coral Economy Class (31 inch pitch), and increases capacity on the route by 34pc The Boeing 777-300ER operates on the EY45 and EY42 flights into and out of Dublin each week, accounting for six out of the 10 Dublin services operated by Etihad Airways. An Airbus A330200 will continue to operate on the four EY41 and EY48 flights. It sounded like time to take to the sky with the falcon. How have things changed? Etihad have the best check in location in Terminal 2, easily found to the left of the hall, but the first (and most obvious) advantage of using Etihad from Dublin is the spectacular lounge in Terminal 2. Over €1m was invested in some real estate near the 400 gates from which Etihad departs (usually the nearest gates on the right

hand side). It serves food in a café are and has a quiet zone and children’s play zone. Etihad raised the bar in setting lounge standards in Dublin, with Arabic mezze and baklava among the choices.

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n board there are a few clues that the flavour is as much Melbourne (Hogan’s home time) as Middle East, Victoria bitter on the beer menu, George Wyndham Founder’s Reserve Shiraz from Langhorne Creek on the business class wine menu. There are also a Segla 2008 Margaux (my preference in the reds) and a Wairau Hills Pinot Noir from New Zealand, and a New Zealand sauvignon blanc, a Burgundy, and, unusually an Argentinean white. The main course choices included chicken machboos with roasted cashews and smoked beef galette as a main, but I opted for the seafood skewer of seabass, scallop and prawn, and a duck salad starter. My journey came in two almost equal halves, 3,681 miles from Dublin to Abu Dhabi; and 3,091 miles to Abu Dhabi to Bangkok. It involved two of the fastest flights en route to Bangkok I have experienced, 6 hours 23 minutes from Dublin to Abu Dhabi and 5 hours 57 minutes from Abu Dhabi to Suvarnabhumi. The journey home, flight EY401 to connect with EY045, was even faster. The journey is 5 hours 37 minutes Bangkok to Abu Dhabi and 6 hours 19 minutes from Abu Dhabi to Dublin with a very pleasant two hour

stopover in the business lounge. Most spectacular is the level of service. As I get of the flight in Abu Dhabi one of the passengers tells me “these people are looking for you.” They were. I was greeted at the gate in Abu Dhabi by an Etihad hostess who brings me to the terminal 1 lounge to await my flight to Bangkok. One drawback on the Dublin service: cabin storage on the A332 is not very generous, even up front in business class. Another advantage: wi-fi that works.

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he expansion continues. James Hogan told the CAPA Australia Pacific Aviation Summit in Sydney this month that Etihad is to start a service to Perth from Abu Dhabi, repeating a commitment in Melbourne the previous week. He did not name a date but it is expected earlier than the original three year timetable. In addition Etihad plans to use its Airbus A380 aircraft from Sydney and Melbourne to Abu Dhabi and premium lounges at Sydney and Melbourne Airports from 2014 as well as additional flights from Melbourne and Brisbane to Abu Dhabi. On the corporate side Etihad is to increase its holding in Virgin Australia from 10pc shareholding to 19.9pc. Etihad is reported as close to taking a stake in LOT Polish Airlines. It is also likely that Aer Lingus will take over the ground handling for Etihad from November. Australia and Asia are getting closer by the day.

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DESTINATION IRELAND

App itinerary

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Dublin launches tour by mobile phone app

eo Varadkar launched a new mobile phone app for Fáilte Ireland’s Dubline tourism trail along a route from College Green to Kilmainham visiting Dublin landmarks. Stories along the trail include ■ Strongbow’s mini-me: Beside the colossal grave of Strongbow lies a peculiarity that has confused historians for centuries - a tiny grave of a man cut in half. leading to many tales about Strongbow's sidekick in death. ■ The Lucky Stone: Within St Audeon's church lies ‘the lucky stone’, a stone long thought to possess supernatural powers of good luck. It has almost been stolen several times, ■ Roland in the Deep: Deep in the vaults of St Audeon's church lies the tomb of Roland FitzEustace, rogue among rogues in the 15th century whose corrupt exploits made him famous. ■ The fight for City Hall: In 1916 Sean Connolly lead a small detachment into City Hall to occupy the building. Hemmed in by snipers, the story of the occupation is one of drama and tragedy as the small group of rebels struggled against the odds. ■ Dutch Billy, the statue of William of Orange which stood on College Green. Looted, muddied, attacked, exploded, the statue had a very colourful life ■ Liberty Belles - Once a month 12 childhood friends from the liberties meet to reminisce and chat. about their childhoods in 1940’s Dublin the church dances, discovering how babies are made, and their many misadventures. ■ Temple Bar Murders - On the foggy streets of 19th century Eustace Street, two policemen were

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almost back to 2009 levels, but is still 15pc short off the 2008 record. While British inbound tourist numbers, source of most of the decline, were once again down 1.1pc, the biggest volume growth (69,000 visitors) was from N America (+15pc), with growth from Australia/NZ (+17pc), Nordics (+13pc), Benelux (+10pc), France (+16pc), Germany (+7pc) and Eastern Europe (+7pc), with Spain up 2pc and Italy down 4pc.

MULLAGHMORE Head in Sligo was included in a list of USA Today’s “world's most surprising surf spots.” WHEELCHAIR Association was awarded the EIQA Able Tourism Award, the Q Mark for Accessibility . IWA’s National Holiday Centres are Cuisle which is located in the grounds of Donamon Castle, outside Roscommon town, the Carmel Fallon Holiday Centre which is situated in Clontarf, Dublin and Claddagh Court Holiday Centre in Kilkenny, were presented with the awards

ROYAL CANAL GREENWAY Leo Varadkar’s mid-year review of priorities for 2013 includes plans to ■ encourage cycling and walking and bring the Mullingar to Dublin section of the proposed coast-to-coast greenway to “shovelready status” ■ launch a new Active Travel Towns competition,” ■ establish bike-sharing schemes similar to Dublin Bikes in other regional cities

Laurence Foster who plays Dickens in Dublin, Deirdre Byrne of Fáilte Ireland, Lesley-Anne Carey of Christchurch; and Minister Varadkar at the launch of a new mobile phone app for Fáilte Ireland’s Dubline tourism trail along a route from College Green to Kilmainham killed by unknown assailants. Barry Kennerk recounts the tale of mystery and murder. ■ St Werburgh's ‘From riches to rags’: Once the wealthiest of churches and the place of worship for the ascendancy, everything changed suddenly for St Werburgh's in the 1798 rebellion and it swiftly fell from grace to become one of the poorest parishes in Dublin. ■ The Final speech of Robert Emmet: The passionate and fiery

final speech from the docks by Robert Emmet, as performed at the place of his execution on Thomas Street. ■ The Liberties Whiskey Fire: The Liberties was ravaged by a great flaming river of whiskey in the 1870’s, which caused massive confusion and drunkeness throughout the area.

Florianopolis in Brazil (where even the airport staff were described as "courteous") was voted the world's friendliest city, while Newark, New Jersey, was voted the most unfriendly. The full list ofTop ten Friendliest includes two cities in Bhutan: 1 Florianopolis, Brazil; 2 Thimphu, Bhutan; 3 Queenstown, New Zealand; 4 Charleston, South Carolina; 5 Paro, Bhutan; 6 Margaret

River, Australia; 7 Mandalay, Burma; 8 Kilkenny, Ireland; 9 Ubud, Bali, Indonesia; 10 Chiang Mai, Thailand. Top ten Unfriendliest; 1 Newark, New Jersey; 2 Islamabad, Pakistan; 3 Oakland, California; 4 Luanda, Angola; 5 Kuwait City, Kuwait; 6 Lome, Togo; 7 New Haven, Connecticut; 8 Detroit, Michigan; 9 Atlantic City, New Jersey; 10 Tangier, Morocco.

KILKENNY FRIENDLIEST IN EUROPE

ondé Nast readers voted Kilkenny the friendliest city in Europe, 9th in the world, In a great result for Ireland Dublin finished 12th in the world and Cork 20th, Colin Ahern the chairman of Kilkenny Tourism said this achievement "was no accident" and attributed it to the recently launched 'Visitor Welcome Ambassador' programme.

CSO figures show that inbound tourism is

SPORT The report on the feasibility of an Irish Museum of Sport has been received by Minister of State Michael Ring and is currently being considered.

GOOGLE's new ‘digital innovation centre, The Foundry, developed by Google at its Dublin Headquarters near Grand Canal harbour is expected to bring up to 15,000 extra overseas business visitors to the city each year when it opens in September. It already has more than 70 conferences scheduled. BRITAIN and Ireland will begin piloting a common travel visa for all non-EU countries later this year. Ireland already waives visa requirements for tourists who have a British visa from 17 non-EU countries since 2011, including China and India. A 21pc increase in visitor numbers prompted the Government to extend the scheme to 2016.

LEAP CARD In excess of 10,000 Leap cards were registered in June bringing the total cards in circulation to approximately 280,000. Additional products are being added and capping across all modes for users of the Leap Card is being worked with an intention to have it implemented in late 2013/early 2014. FÁILTE Ireland are calling on those working in Adventure Tourism,to register for the annual Fáilte Ireland Get Out There, Adventure Tourism Conference over two days on September 9th & 10th in the Falls Hotel, Ennistymon, Co Clare.

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GLOBAL VILLAGE

Inside the Travel Business

PACKAGE TL DIRECTIVE The European Union have updated their 1990 rules in what they say is an effort to bring the Package Travel Directive into the digital age. The proposals mean stricter controls on price surcharges (a 10pc cap on price increases), ■ a requirement to pass on price reductions in equivalent circumstances, ■ the right to cancel the contract, free of charge, before departure in the event of natural disasters, civil unrest, or similar serious situations, better information on liability, ■ better redress for any 'immaterial damage' suffered, in case of a spoilt holiday, ■ a single contact point if something goes wrong, a right to get their money back ■ be repatriated, if needed, in case the seller, the carrier or any other relevant service provider goes bankrupt while on holiday, ■ better information about who is liable for the performance of each service. The EU says that the new directive will give businesses a level playing field between different operators, abolish outdated requirements to reprint brochures, and save tour operators and travel agents an estimated €390m.

Antonio Martin: Hosting ITAA agents in Granada on October 10-13

Andalucia-ho

DOUBLE BONDING The ITAA is seeking a hearing form the Dail Committee on Transport to raise, among other issue,s the double bonding of credit card bookings. Commission of Aviation Regulation has written to the credit card companies pointing out that there is no requirement to bond credit card bookings as they are already bonded by CAR. Despite this, credit card companies require bonds from travel agents. In one case a travel agent has been approached by a credit card company looking for a €300,000 bond. “The government talking protecting jobs and this is anti jobs,” Pat Dawson of the ITAA says.

USA EXCHANGE Aereps Travel Management is planning a 'USA business card exchange' event in Dublin on Monday October 7th, and USA networking after work events for key Travel Trade sellers in Dublin on Monday October 7 and Belfast on October 8th. Destinations, airlines and attractions, all are looking forward to meeting with the Irish Travel Trade. jdonohue@aereps.ie or call Aereps Travel Management in Dublin on +353 1 6319604. CONTROL RISKS International SOS and Control Risks unveiled what it called state-of-the-art features for TravelTracker 6, designed to handle stressful events. It provides clients with the ability to quickly pinpoint employees globally and contact them for updates

THOMAS COOK reported its first third-quarter profit since staving off bankruptcy in 2011 and said it had sold 85pc of its planned capacity for the summer 2013 season. Thomas Cook Airlines is to use the German Condor model to restructure operations. THOMAS COOK has introduced two new brands, Sunwing resorts for families, Sunprime hotels for adults and a new range of smartline budget hotels and expanded SENTIDO and Aquamania hotels for summer 2014.

First mega fam trip for ITAA conference has filled

S

o far 89 suppliers and travel agents have signed up for the Irish Travel Agents Association conference in Granada between October 10th and 13th. Pat Dawson of the ITAA says he anticipates that over 100 will attend the event. A mega- fam trip organised in connection with the conference is almost full. The Association is seeking to fill a second fam trip. The plan is to create as many opportunities for agency employees to

join the managers and owners at the conference, something that was a feature of the ITAA conferences twenty years ago. The Association talked to airlines and ITOF to set in place an ambitious set of pre and post fams as part of the conference programme. “Our goal is that a lot of members and counter staff will be invited out to see the product.” Pat Dawson, CEO of the ITAA says. “In future we intend more regular fam trips as part of our conference

programme.” Antonio Martin of Andalusia Tourism, a big supporter of the Irish travel trade hosts one of the biggest annual events for the trade, an Andalucia evening in Trinity College in Dublin. The Irish Travel Agents Association is targeting 150 members by 2015 after signing up its 100th member earlier this year, One Stop Touring Shop. The current members represent 162 locations.

BOOKABED EXPANDS IN AUSTRALIA/NZ

B

ookaBed has appointed Dubliner Roy McCullagh in Sydney to head up the Irish online accommodation wholesaler’s launch in the Australia and New Zealand markets. Karl Tyrell, Managing Director of BookaBed, said: “The time is now right for expansion

down under, Roy is past chairman of the Australian Tourism Export council (New South Wales) and has worked with tourism brands including Cunard; Hilton; Starwood and Raffles. BookaBed’s launch into the UK earlier this year has also driven sig-

nificant volume and have gone from 180 agencies signed up in Dec 2012 to 900 agencies by the start of June 2013. Since January they have taken on four new staff including McCullagh as the sales manager in Australia. Roy McCullagh

WORLDCHOICE SEEK GM CONTRACT

W

orldchoice Ireland has called for applications for the position of General Manager which comes up for renewal at the end of November.

The successful candidate must have some experience in the travel industry, preferably in travel agency or tour operation sector and must display an ability to be creative, possess good

marketing, technology and negotiating skills. The candidate will be required to carry out agency visits around the country. They are inviting applications in confidence to

Worldchoice chairman michael.doorley@travel24 7.ie before August 12th. Applicants may also create their CV on www.rezoomo.com.

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SEPTEMBER 2013 PAGE 35

Inside the Travel Business

GLOBAL VILLAGE TRAVEL PROFESSIONALS

ITAA CEO Pat Dawson and President Claire Byrne with Sinead Reilly of Travelport.

Business up for 72pc ITAA members sold €967m worth of holidays in 2012

I

rish Travel Agents Association members say consumers "are returning to travel agents for expert advice and booking." They say the level of bookings has increased for the second quarter of the year, or stayed the same for 72pc of members compared with the same period in 2012. ITAA members sold 967m worth

of travel in 2012. In addition to this, the ITAA estimates outbound travel created 150m to the Irish economy with holidaymakers pre-holiday spends in airports and retail outlets. Pat Dawson, Chief Executive of the ITAA said “the most important statistic of all is that most of our members feel positive about the business year ahead. This is a very confi-

dent result for the travel industry, our members and clients.” The ITAA has reported another weekly increase in traffic to their new web site with 1,000 hits a week checking weekly travel agent deals. The ITAA say that their ssite is unique in that “it offers the Irish public a variety of every type of package holiday on sale in Ireland.

TUI SEES BIG DROP IN FRANCE, IRELAND FLAT

T

UI Travel’s Q3 results reported bookings were down 2pc, with France down 22pc and Germany down 5pc. Irish figures are not stripped out but are believed to have been flat, with some growth anticipated in 2014 with the return to two destina-

tions Ibiza and Rhodes. TUI says 47pc of its sales are online, up from 45pc a year ago, and 84pc of their summer programme is now sold. The company also said it had made an encouraging start to the 2013-14 winter season, with 21pc of its winter programme already sold.

Britain and Germany both account for a third of TUI Travel's revenues while France and the Nordic region each account for roughly 10pc of sales and Ireland 4pc. Falcon Holidays, headed by Helen Caron, and American Holidays are the TUI brands in Ireland.

E

year’s sponsorship package with the Abu Dhabi-based airline, a 10,000 cash sponsorship fund, new branded playing and training kit, mentoring, coaching and social visits from hurling celebrities, and regular fundraising prizes such

CLUBTravel’s Liam Lonergan reported that pre-tax profits were up 12.5pc to 4.42m and revenue up 2pc from 84.4m to 86.4m. On Budget Travel, the brand he bought in 2010, he said “we have improved the technology behind the brand, but are achieving less margin.” Numbers employed by the firm last year increased from 124 to 130.

ITAA members can affinal of an Aer Lingus trade promotion until the promoting until the end of October. They can avail of flight discounts by logging in to the ITAA website

BEST4TRAVEL Jeff Collins’ Wecanbookit has opened a fifth branch at Nutgrove Shopping Centre.

LOWCOSTbeds has expanded its reach into Canada, India, South Africa, Czech Republic, Slovakia and Poland and is now live in 45 countries having added Brazil and the Middle East earlier this year SKYTOURSTravel have opened a third branch at Private Villas, Marketing Network House, Argyle Square, Donnybrook, Dublin 4, and registered an additional trading names of Villa and Golf Holidays, Private Villas.ie and Golf.ie with the Commission of Aviation Regulation. CHIC Outlet Shopping launched a dedicated trade platform with new packages and partnerships with hotel booking companies.

Helen Caron

GAA CLUBS VIE FOR ETIHAD AWARD tihad Airways launched Raise The Bar 2013-14, offering GAA clubs who play a leadership role both on the pitch and in their community the chance to win their major prizes. The prize consists of a

Skillnet is currently recruiting for Job Seekers to take part in the Travel Professionals Essential Skills Programme which commences on Monday September 9th. This course runs for 20 days intensive training followed by 20 days job placement within a Travel Agency. 01 4179696, or fionnuala@itaa.ie. The next sessions are to take place will be: ■ Facebook: 10 Strategies to Grow Your Business on Facebook – Tuesday August 20th ■ Facebook Advertising: What You Need To Know – Tuesday August 27th ■ Linked In for Prospecting – Tuesday September 10th ■ Linked In: Your Company Page – Tuesday September 17th ■ Facebook 101 for Business Marketing Tuesday October 8th ■ Linked In 101 for Business – Tuesday October 15th.

as Etihad Airways flights and Hurling All Ireland Final tickets. The winning club will be decided by a public vote and the votes of the judging panel, Tipperary’s Nicky English, Micheál Ó Muircheartaigh and Des Cahill.

Previous winners of Etihad Airways' competition (formerly Best Club Under the Sun) incldue Clarinbridge in Galway (2011-12), Clonlara in Clare (201011), Portumna in Galway (2009-10), and Lucan Sarsfields (2008-09).

TRAVELPORT launched Search Control Console to give travel agents control over 35 variables in an itinerary, fine tune the relevant search results and “to capture business opportunities.” LIONS CLUB Liam Lyons, retired bank manager from Mitchelstown who now lives in Thurles has been chosen to head the 2,500 Lions who are members of 112 clubs in Ireland. Lions International claims to be the world’s largest humanitarian voluntary organisation with 1.4m members in 207 countries. FIRST Choice has launched a new all-inclusive budget hotel brand, SuneoClub.

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SEPTEMBER 2013 PAGE 36

WINDOW SEAT

Busman’s holiday: Ciara Foley

Yosemite and Grand Canyon: West coast favourites

Every month we ask a leading travel professional to write about their personal holiday experience. This month: Ciara Foley of Platinum Travel, chair of the Visit USA committee in Dublin.

G

rowing up in a family where my Dad worked for an airline, we were well used to not always going on exactly the holiday we had planned! We were very lucky to able to avail of Standby flights to Europe and the USA but inevitably we always had to brace ourselves that we may be “bumped” and have to head home only to try again the next day!

For small children that was tough – but it was the Norm! One abiding memory I have is asking my mother once when we didn’t make it Florida for the 2nd day running, and

heading home to our house was “will I have to go to school now?” Good ole mum said no and we got on the next day! It was all part of the adventure! Without a shadow of a doubt my favourite place to be is in the USA. If I had the chance, I would love to see every part of it! My favourite trip was our first fly drive across West Coast of the US 14 years ago. It was so poignant because as having never done anything like this before it opened up a whole new realm of possibilities. One minute you are in Yosemite National park, the next you are heading to Alcatraz after a day in San Francisco and then you hit the amazing coast down

FROM THE EDITOR’S DESK

H

ow seriously should we take Michael O’Leary’s summer utterances? In the case of his demand for no checked bags, very seriously indeed. Sometimes the publicity is carefully planned. More times he stumbles into it. And sometimes he means what he says. His record is more than 5,000 news articles that were generated by the proposal to close check-in desks in February 2009.In

comparison, charging for using the total, while it went viral, fell way behind with 3,800 articles. When he talked this summer about pricing baggage out of the hold, you get the feeling he meant it. Every airline dreams of not having to check in bags and pay baggage handlers, not to mention the bureaucracy of tracing the two or three bags that go missing, on average, on every flight. Ryanair wants the baggage free

business. He can get closer to his dream than the 80pc baggage free business he currently enjoys. But checked baggage wont; go away, it wil just go to someone else. That will mean more hassle for the airlines who still handle bags. That means more hassle and more costs for your clients. For every bag-free customer that Ryanair steals away, there is one that has to go back to the traditional airline. Bad news for everyone.

as far as San Diego! After you can finish with the Grand Canyon and some slots in Vegas! With towns like Monterey, Carmel & Santa Barbara all along the way, what was not to like! That was it, I had caught the bug and I knew I would want to come back for more! So we tried a few more and it was infectious – the more you see the more you want! And best of all, it doesn’t have to cost a fortune. I think what I like most about the USA is that every state is different and has something new to offer. The list is endless Will I get to see them all? That remains to be seen! However I won’t give up trying!

IN YOUR NEXT TRAVEL EXTRA: Available to Travel Agents or online September 15 2013

SKI & SNOW ISSUE Austria France Andorra Italy WINTER SPORT TRENDS

Page 037-038 pics r 13/08/2013 18:44 Page 1

Out and about with the Travel Trade

SEPTEMBER 2013 PAGE 37

MEETING PLACE

ht, Pat Reede of United Declan Power of Shannon Airport, Jane Reddin Tara Cooke of Travix International, Ca Cora Munds of Topflig rmel Aylat ca eri Am r Tou of hlin ug of WTC, Lisa Whelan of Carlson Wagonlit Travel, ward of King Travel with Jessica Byrne Airlines and Tracy McLa and Carnt Mary McKenna of Tour America and Cormac O'- ole Carmody of 1STS at the Visit Califo the Visit California eve rnia event Connell of DAA at the Aer Lingus announcement

Sarah Williams and An ne Marie Boylan at the launch of the new roo ftop Speedo Bar in the Gibson hotel

t hael Vaughan presiden Tim Fenn CEO and Mic of zil Bra y ration and Ton of the Irish Hotels Fede r Lingus San Francisco Ae the at vel Limerick Tra route announcement

At the Kissimmee eve n: Rene Kuzis, Osceo la County Tourism, Micha el Harfield Co Commissioner for Osceola and Finola Cunningham

d of the Gibson Hotel an Adrian McLaughlin; GM do ee Sp the of nch lau Rozanne Stevens at the r ba p fto roo

Niamh Doherty of Tou r America, Fiona Fitzge rald of USIT and Mark Jac kson of Tour America at the Visit California eve nt for the trade

Claire Doherty of Sunway and Sarah Hanson of Palm Springs CVB at the Visit California event for the trade at the Radisson Blu hotel

Ciara Foley and Austin Carroll at the July 4th event in the US embassy.

David Oâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;Grady and Michael Caslin at the Travelport Leadership forum inâ&#x20AC;&#x2C6;Google House

nch California, Hayley Fre Bethany Schuh of Visit of r ive Gu r nife and Jen of Los Angeles Tourism it California event Vis the at a rni lifo Ca Visit

Pamela Phelan receiv es her prize from Dawn Conway Thomas Cook

antic and Veronica Ah Terry Smith of Virgin Atl nt eve a rni lifo the Visit Ca erne of Tour America at tel ho Blu disson for the trade at the Ra

Roisin O Hea and Lou Conlon at the launch of the new rooftop Speedo Bar in the Gibson hotel.

Brendan White of Ameri can Sky, Veronica Aherne of Tour America an d Frank Kelly Canadia n Sky at the Visit Californi a event

Siobhan Buckley and Deirdre Murphy of Thomas Cook Ireland receiving the Wedding Journal award for best honeymoon

r Mary McKenna of Tou Veronica Aherne and liHo can eri Am inner of America and Kirstin Sk de tra the for nt eve a rni days at the Visit Califo

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SEPTEMBER 2013 PAGE 38

MEETING PLACE

d of Visit USA Europe an Ciaran Carraher chair liCa it Vis the America at Deirdre Maher of Tour de fornia event for the tra

Belinda Donegan and Claire Deegan of Budg et Travel at the Visit Califo rnia event for the trade at the Radisson Blu hotel in Dublin,2

d Catherine Amlin at the Catherine Brennan an forum in Google house Travelport Leadership

Dee Burdock of Ameri can Holidays and Frank Kelly of Canadian Sky at the Visit California event for the trade

CalMaddy Morgan of Visit Shannon Brooks and d an sco of San Franci ifornia, Hubertus Funke lifornia at the Aer LinCa it Vis of h hu Bethany Sc an te nouncement gus San Francisco rou

Ross Waters, Adam Fa rrell and Daniel McCluskey of Tour Ameri ca at the Visit Californi a event for the trade at the Radisson Blu hotel

Out and about with the Travel Trade

Lisa Pisaturo of Universal Studios California, Alison Nichols, Austin Carroll of Platinum Travel and Claire Doherty of Sunway at the Visit California event for the trade

Jennifer O'Neal, Karen Maher and Polly Bond of Tour America at the Visit California event for the trade at the Radisson Blu hotel in Dublin

Claire Dunn President of the ITAA, Pat Daws on CEO of the ITAA and Ch ristophe Mueller CEO of Aer Lingus at the Aer Lingus San Francisco route announcement

siice of the Irish EU Pre Gerald Angley of the off am ty pu de ey Niland US dency John Henness of t en rtm pa De the ll of bassador and Oliver Wa embassy July 4 event US the at ach ise Tao the

Ricardo Girarda, Lieke Munsters and Fouad Lakhal of e-bookers at the Visit California eve nt for the trade at the Ra disson Blu hotel Ingrid Doyle and Paula Cross of Platinum Travel at the Visit California event for the trade at the Radisson Blu hotel

can Holidays, Bethany Dee Burdock of Ameri t s Visit California and Pa Jochen Felsberger with Kate Flood, DAA Value Schuh and Andrea Sim a rni lifo at the Visit Ca Added Services Manager and Ruth Thewlis, DAA Reede of United Airlines Premier Services Manager at the opening of event Dublin Airport’s extended T1 Anna Livia lounge

Nicole Cisco of Clarion Suites, Rene Kuzis, Os ceola County Director Derek Dunne, Mandy Walsh, Richard Harbourne, of Tourism Development,Jacqueline Irizarr Andre Bedford and Jennifer O'Brien All Travel y of Westgate Resorts, Michael Harfield Coun Counsellors at the Visit California event ty Commissioner for Os ceola County, and Romm el Teranzo of Days Inn , Kissimmee

Donna Brogan of Dublin Convention Bureau; Eileen Timmons of TIFCO Hotels; Paula McCorry of Grand Hotel Malahide; Gillian Dowling, of the Gibson Hotel; and Emer Relihan of Dublin, CC at The Meetings Show UK in London.

Daly of British Airways Graham Bell and Simon rk travel trade to New Yo who brought a group of ht flig ect dir s ca’ of Ameri to celebrate the launch m daily 9a at K JF to blin from Du

9 page 039-040 13/08/2013 18:49 Page 1

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Travel extra sept 2013