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Skillnets plans

Basket wars


e d a r T ER P PA


APRIL 2013


Cruising the Med Everything your clients need to know

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Page 003 News r 12/03/2013 12:32 Page 1



Spain wins on value

Survey of resorts in 40 countries puts Costa 2nd cheapest


esort costs are cheapest in Sri Lanka and Spain, according to the English Post Office’s annual Worldwide Holiday Costs Barometer. The annual barometer monitors the price of eight popular tourist items in 40 holiday destinations worldwide including dinner for two, light refreshments and suncream. Key findings: The annual barometer monitors the price of eight popular tourist items in 40 holiday destinations worldwide including dinner for two, light refreshments and suncream. Prices were mainly supplied by tourist offices of participating countries and tour operators. Key findings include: n Spain and Sri Lanka share the top spot for value of 42 destinations surveyed. n Turkey returns to the barometer top 10 after resort prices fell 16pc in the past 12 months; Portugal and Bulgaria also feature among the 10 cheapest destinations. n Falling prices in Bali and Vietnam have helped these fast-rising Far East destinations to overtake

indefinitely plans to fine drivers for failing to carry a breathalyser kit in their car, due to come into force on March 1.

NASA says that Autumn is the ‘best chance’ of seeing the Northern Lights in decade.

LUXOR Governor Ezzat Saad said that tourism not affected by the recent balloon explosion, and that no booked tours were cancelled after the accident. Egypt’s prime minister Hisham Qandil has temporarily banned hot air balloon flights in Luxor after the accident that killed 19 tourists. CHICKEN CHURCH The

Church by the Sea in Tampa Bay, Florida, became an internet sensation after people 'flocked' to see the face of a chicken within its walls.

Fancy a glass? Spain is winning the value basket Thailand and take fourth and fifth places in the Worldwide Barometer. n Prices have fallen 20 per cent in Egypt, thanks to the fall in value of the Egyptian pound and lower resort costs. As a result, the mid haul favourite has risen to 13th place in the barometer table - and is 45pc cheaper than its rival, Dubai. n The Algarve had the cheapest meal at €24.50. n The cheapest cup of coffee was in Sri Lanka (67c) and the cheapest bottle of local beer was in the Czech

Republic (€1) and the cheapest Coca Cola in Barbados (66 cent). n Sharm El Sheikh had the cheapest 1.5 litre bottle of supermarket mineral water at 25 cent. n Hoi An in Vietnam had the cheapest suncream (factor 15 at €1.74) and the cheapest pack of 20 Marlboro Lights cigarettes (80 cent) . n By way of contrast Seoul was most expensive for the three-course evening meal with house wine for at €140.

YOUR 8-ITEM HOLIDAY BASKET: HOW MUCH WILL IT COST IN 40 COUNTRIES? 02 Spain €45.04 01 Sri Lanka €33.37 03 Czech-Rep €47.25 04 Indonesia €47.34 05 Vietnam €52.57 06 Bulgaria €54.41 07 Portugal €54.42 08 Mexico €55.10 09 Hungary €56.86 10 Turkey €60.55

FRANCE‘s government has postponed

11 S Africa €61.09 12 Cyprus €61.99 13 Egypt €66.82 14 Greece €69.72 15 Gambia €71.52 16 Thailand €71.88 17 Croatia €72.25 18 Malta €74.35 19 Kenya €78.88 20 US-Orlando €82.22

21 Dom Republic €83.22 22 Costa Rica €83.25 23 Malaysia €84.32 24 USA-NY €85.65 25 Argentina €87.04 26 Brazil €96.99 27 Antigua €98.22 28 Japan €99.08 29 USA-LA €105.70 30 Barbados €106.30

Designed for you. Only from Thomson.

Weekly fly cruises departing from Dublin, Cork and Shannon.

31 Oman €109.81 32 Italy €110.73 33 St Lucia €124.83 34 Jamaica €126.97 35 Singapore €127.78 36 Mauritius €129.04 37 Dubai €129.30 38 Canada €134.96 39 China €135.14 40 N Zealand €138.13

has launched with a range of alternative places to sleep across Europe, from tree houses and windmills to bivouacs and barges.

IBIS launched a free app to show users to see how their night’s sleep has been transformed into an original digital work of art.

GLOBALGIG launched international network in the Ireland on March 13th with prices from €11.56 per month for 1GB of data. NOMA Renowned restaurant Noma in Copenhagen apologised after 63 guests fell ill with diarrhoea.

DISNEYLAND Paris is to extend its

anniversary celebrations until September 2013.

CUSTOMS England’s Customs in-

spectorate reported that officers ‘have been rooting through innocent passengers’ private possessions’.

OUIGO has launched low cost train serv-

ices from Marne-la-Vallée (the Disney station) to the east of Paris to Lyon, Marseille and Montpellier, tickets start from €10.


4 Return flights from Dublin, Cork or Shannon 4 27kg luggage allowance* (including hand baggage) 4 Accommodation 4 All tips and service charges 4 Coach transfers in resort 4 Entertainment 4 Port taxes 4 Meals

*On flights with Thomson Airways

BOOK NOW: • 1850 45 35 45 Visit your local Falcon Travel Shop • Travel Agent

Thomson is fully Licensed and bonded by CAR (TO 021).

Page 004 Knowledge r 12/03/2013 12:31 Page 1


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 Editor: Eoghan Corry eoghan.corry@ Publisher: Edmund Hourican Sales Director: Maureen Ledwith Accounts and Advertising: Maria Sinnott Picture Editor: Charlie Collins Chief Subeditor: Ida Milne Chief Features Writer: Anne Cadwallader Contributors : Eanna Brophy Marie Carberry Carmel Higgins Cauvery Madhavan Sean Mannion Ida Milne Catherine Murphy Cleo Murphy

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

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


3-7 News Where to go, how much to pay 6 Hotels: News 7 IHF conference: Tripadvisor trauma 8 Brochures: Reviews

10 Miami: City of the sea 12 Postcards: From the industry 16-23 Cruise: Med guide 2013, what your clients need to know 24-25 Chicago: Wind chill city 26 Afloat: HSS comes early

28-31 Flying: Aer Lingus 757 plan 33 Commercial feature: Derry 34 Awards: Rest of the winners 35 Global Village Inside the travel industry 37 Window seat: Our columnists 38 Pictures: Out and about

Selling cruise holidays


CRUISE & STAY Several cruise

few small things have changed in the business of selling a cruise holiday in the past year. Some companies have moved away from the position where the brochure price was a fiction. Prices on the market are now closer to reality than they have been since the earliest days of cruising.

BUDGET It is all about budget. This needs to be established at the very beginning of the conversation along with finding out their expectations of the trip. Spend time on expectations before you offer advice. If in doubt, sell from the top down. As Larry Pimentel, CEO of Azamara says, ‘your customers will soon tell you if that is not their budget.” CHANGE their

thinking. Common preconceptions about cruising may be turning some clients off, that cruising is for older travellers, that you spend all your time on the ship, that sea-sickness is an issue, and most of all that cruising is expensive.

LUXURY Sell the

dream. Point out all the luxury options for special occasions such as anniversaries. On all of the newer ships in the past 10-15 years, there is no such thing as steerage. All staterooms are well appointed, well above water, and have all the mod cons of 4 and 5 star hotels.

DRINKS packages

are all the rage. The top end ships include drinks in their all inclusive

Drinks packages have become an integral part of the cruise sell prices but most lines do pre-paid packages. A typical all round package with Celebrity Cruises is from $39 per day (all soft drinks, smoothies, speciality coffees, wines, beers and of course cocktails - an apple martini is calling ).

REPEAT Encour-

age your customers to discuss their next cruise with the 'future cruise consultant' on board there are lots of extras, and you can come back to your travel professional to discuss adding on flights, hotels or tours afterwards.

SWITCH SELL: Agents don’t get many clients walking through the door with a cruise brochure so they have to try to switch-sell. If clients want a city break, suggest a mini cruise. Cruising is the easy way to see the Caribbean in one holiday, visiting 10 islands in two weeks for instance. ONBOARD

spend items need to be clarified as many customers think the cruise

prices are so good. They think there must be a catch, usually this is not the case.

SHORE Cruises

try to allow passengers as much time ashore as possible, sailing at night and waking up in a new port. Warn that shore excursions can be expensive (although many cruise lines are offering these as commissionable extras) and that they can explore on their own. Find out what they want ashore, the big ships can only get in to a limited number of ports, smaller ships offer more variety and specialist options.


value and price. Show just how much prices of traditional cruises are dropping. There is lots of information elsewhere on this, but it is important to stress the per-day cost all inclusive which works out at €50 on Caribbean cruises.


fears can be assuaged by telling them modern ships are well stabilised but if you are concerned

choose a big ship and a cabin on a lower deck in the centre of the ship, where there is less movement, and cruise more sheltered sea areas such as the Baltic and Adriatic, which don't have big Atlantic swells.

FIND out the curren-

cies onboard, which can make a big difference against the current rate. Many of the big cruise specialists highlight this daily on their websites/social media.

KEEP them up to

date with new facilities, new ships, new routes, and direct pick ups from Ireland. Establish an ongoing relationship.


a river cruise or an extension to a cruise for a different experience. River cruises are raising standards quietly and quickly, in Europe and on the Nile.


usual destinations. The big cruise lines are going to Asia, Africa and Australia. Try Hurtigruten for Antarctica and Star Cruises for Asia.

lines offer land stays pre and post cruise. For those not sure they will like a holiday at sea, it could be the final clincher. Cruise-and-stay is especially popular with first-time and budget cruisers. Combining a week’s Mediterranean cruise with a week in a familiar Majorcan resort gets over the fear factor and means they can enjoy the best of both worlds.


Disregard what cruise lines say about average ages (it means little to a customer, although people on the mainland tend to cruise younger, the mid 40s in Spain and Italy versus 62 in England, with Ireland and the USA in between). The real clinchers for younger cruise passengers is the growing number of on board activities, sun cruises and shorter cruises.

GET proper training.

You will sell more effectively if you know what you're talking about. Detailed knowledge will help you identify the right cruise for each customer. Training webinars where you don’t have to leave the office are more popular. And read the monthly cruise pages in Travel Extra.


dents on cruise ships are nothing new. Statistically the risk of being caught up in one is miniscule. You are in more danger on your drive to the airport than on a cruise.

Page 005 12/03/2013 14:27 Page 1

© 2013 United Air Lines, Inc. All rights reserved.

From Ireland’s capital to America’s. The only nonstop service from Dublin to Washington, D.C.

Whether Washington, D.C. is your customer’s final destination or just a stop on their journey, our flights to Washington Dulles International Airport are conveniently timed for connections to over 300 destinations across the Americas. Our United BusinessFirst® cabin with flat-bed seats and United Economy Plus® seats help them relax with extra space and comfort whilst they enjoy the personal on-demand entertainment at their fingertips, allowing them to arrive more refreshed. For more information go to or contact your travel agent.

Flight schedule and equipment subject to change. Includes destinations served by United Airlines, Inc. and United Express.

Page 006 Hotels r 12/03/2013 12:37 Page 1



STARWOOD hotel group announced it was moving its global headquarter to Dubai (1,134 properties in 100 countries and 171,000 employees). Starwood plans to open 50 new hotels in Europe over the next five years, increasing its European hotel portfolio by 30pc. NAMA Aidan Murphy of Crowe Horwath

told delegates at the IHF conference that 80 hotels were currently in NAMA and 90 hotels in receivership out of a total of 856 in Ireland.

HILTON Worldwide is to expand its economy Hampton by Hilton and mid-market Hilton Garden Inn brands with 10 hotels in Germany and Austria. TALLEST The JW Marriott Marquis Dubai, the world's tallest hotel, has opened.

BUSHMILLS Dunes golf resort got the go-ahead at the High Court in Belfast.

Charlie Sheil, new GM of the Marker Hotel. The hotel is due to open 2 April,just as Dublin rates rise

Easter rising

FREE WI-FI 300 more Marriott hotels and resorts are to offer free lobby Wi-Fi this month. survey suggested one in

five global travellers say freebies are best in Irish hotels, Only 13pc of Irish travellers say they are willing to pay for Wi-Fi.

DUBLIN’s Morrison hotel’s rebrand, Morrison Reborn, has been launched.


that CSO statistics would soon be available.

Hotel price indices show 8pc increase in room rate


ublin has been placed ahead of Killarney for the first time in the Trivago hotel comparison site’s monthly index. In a separate survey by Ho-

Some day, air travel may be this good., which reflects its own website selling 10-15pc of hotel inventory, Killarney was still ahead of Dublin in price. said Irish hotel prices are up 5pc overall year-on-year to an average of €90 per night. Killarney’s average rate at €101. said the average price of a hotel room around the

TRIVAGO Donegal €116 Dublin €101 Killarney €98 Kilkenny €95 Galway €93 Derry €91 Sligo €90 Cork €88 Waterford €87 Belfast €84 Limerick €78

world rose by 3pc during 2012. The survey should be remarked it tends to deal only with 15-20pc of hotel beds. Michael Rosney of the IHF described the survey as a “cheap publicity” stunt that damages the industry on which it thrives. Trivago’s price comparison site reported that hotel prices in Dublin have increased by up to 173pc for St Patrick’s Day weekend. It said average Irish hotel prices are up 3pc on February, with Dublin up 13pc to €105, Killarney up 10pc to €98 and Galway up 8 per cent to €93. Donegal is the only destination showing a decrease down to €115 in March compared to €126

in February. The Trivago monthly survey rated Dublin exactly midway in its hotel price index of 50 European cities in 25th place with an average room rate of €104.88. Geneva was most expensive city at €238.64. Trivago rated Zaragoza as Europe’s cheapest city with a room rate of €60.80.

HOTELS.COM Killarney €101 (flat) Galway €100 (+3pc) Kilkenny €95 (-8pc) Dublin €90 (+8pc) Belfast €90 (+18pc) Cork €85 (+4pc) Derry €84 (+2pc) Sligo €82 (+3pc); Waterford €77 (+7pc) Limerick €67 (flat)


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

1 Geneva €238.64 2 London €167.96 3 Oslo €167.20 4 Paris €161.12 5 Milan €157.32 6 Stockholm €156.56 7 Venice €154.28 8 Rome €125.4 9 Frankfurt €125.4 10 Amsterdam €124.64 11 Cologne €123.12 12 Brussels €123.12 13 Istanbul €122.36 14 Copenhagen €122.36 15 Florence €117.04 16 Munich €116.28 17 Manchester €113.24

18 Hamburg €112.48 19 Barcelona €111.72 20 Vienna €111.72 21 Edinburgh €110.96 22 Salzburg €107.92 23 Cannes €107.92 24 Lyon €105.64 25 Dublin €104.88 26 Brighton €103.36 27 Turin €97.28 28 Sevilla €94.24 29 Berlin €92.72 30 Nice €92.72 31 Marseille €92.72 32 Prague €88.92 33 Madrid €88.92 34 Toulouse €88.16

35 Valencia €88.16 36 Liverpool €88.16 37 Granada €85.12 38 Leipzig €84.36 39 Lisbon €82.84 40 Glasgow €82.08 41 Bilbao €82.08 42 Dresden €80.56 43 Malaga €79.80 44 Athens €68.40 45 Bucharest €67.64 46 Riga €66.88 47 Budapest €65.36 48 Sofia €62.32 49 Warsaw €61.56 50 Zaragoza €60.80)

Page 007 IHF conference r 12/03/2013 12:34 Page 1



Hoteliers’ 3,000 job plan T

Entry level Irish workers ‘being excluded” by lack of training opportunities

he hoteliers of Ireland were in their most upbeat mood in four years as they gathered for their annual conference in Killarney. Michael Vaughan’s big idea at the conference was to provide 3,000 people a year with entrylevel employment. The hoteliers argued that entry level Irish workers were being excluded from the sector due to a lack of training opportunities. The inaugural president’s award at the IHF Gala dinner was awarded

Miriam O'Callaghan, Tim O'Connor, John Hennessey-Niland, Niall Gibbons and Shaun Quinn discussing the Gathering at the IHF conference to Martin Naughton for his role in bringing 35,000 Americans to the Navy-Notre Dame match in September. A spicy debate erupted over the role of OTAs and peer-review sites. CEO of

the German Hotel Association (IHA) Markus Luthe outlined how first OTAs and now search engines have moved from supplying search facilities to what he called “customer-napping.”

He told delegates: "We asked Google hotel finder where they get their rates, they said: ‘We don’t know.’” He also warned at how Google was selling a greater proportion of their

results to OTAs and to boost is own advertising: “This is a promotion tool and no longer a search engine. I call this the end of independent search on the web.” He concluded: “we are not against OTAs, we have to stop them taking over our customers, binding themselves to them.” Leo Varadkar told hoteliers the VAT reduction costs the Exchequer €350 million a year. “That’s a lot of money. What I need from you is evidence that this policy has worked, and the number of people employed

in the sector is increasing. What I don’t want to hear is special pleading about how the industry is in trouble. Every industry is in trouble.” Shaun Quinn at IHF said that road signage is “the number one negative” that Fáilte Ireland hears each year in its visitor attitude survey. So far, 75 hoteliers have contacted Tourism Ireland asking them to take Tripadvisor links off the newly launched Discover Ireland website and Niall promised a meeting with hoteliers to discuss the issue.



he liveliest moments at the IHF conference came after Sarah Mathews’ presentation on Tripadvisor when Simon Haden from Gregan’s Castle mentioned the A-word, ANONYMITY. Simon Haden: Last week in the New York Times newspaper, the CEO and founder of Tripadvisor Stephen Kaufer said that when he started the company his wife said to him: ‘Just keep it easy to use, and honest.’ And I’d just like to ask you where is the honesty in a company that publishes malicious and libellous re-

views of hotels, and when your company is offered evidence to the contrary, that you refuse to remove those reviews. When is your company going to make its reviewers identify themselves, because that is the only solution to this problem, and it is not going to go away (applause). And we realise that Tripadvisor is here to stay and that it has become very powerful and this is why it is an important issue for us. Sarah Mathews: I can empathise that if you get a bad review it is very hard to read. If you receive a bad review the

question is: have you reported it? Because the community only works if you report it. We have a team around the world that will investigate the review itself to find out what’s going on with it, whether it is genuine or not, and reviews if they are deemed to be not genuine have been removed. If in your case you are talking about a review that hasn’t been removed, we have a system of checks and balances in place to see where the reviewer is, there are a whole range of things we run. There is a whole range of things we

FROM THE WALLS TO THE WILD Call 028 7126 7284 or visit us at

look at. If the review isn’t right and you reported it, the investigation deemed it right, then of course it will stay on. Simon Haden: I’m sorry when you report a fake, suspicious, malicious review, you are given 500 characters in a box. When you get a reply you get an anonymous reply which is the culture of your company, with nothing specific to explain why the review is going to remain on your website. Sarah Mathews: In the help centre there are a number of documents to tell you why a review may stay on and why a

review is taken off. There is quite a lot of documentation in the help centre that will advise you why a review stays on. Miriam O’Callaghan: To be fair to you, you are only one person in the company. It is a huge, huge issue, and the fact that a lot of the time it is anonymous. Where people can post things and do not identify themselves, it can actually destroy your business. Sarah Mathews: Our reviews are mainly positive. The ones that are negative, there are different ways you can look at them.

Page 008-009 Brochures r 12/03/2013 12:38 Page 1



Anne Cadwallader’s Brochure Reviews

Roast Turkey

Olu Deniz in Turkey: A regular on the top beaches in the world list, it features on the Wings Abroad programme



If you prefer a standard hotel, Golden the Wings in Kusadasi is just the ticket or the Marina Hotel or Grand Onder. The Melissa Apartments even have an Irish pub. They are close to the famous Ladies Beach in Kusadasi and good value. The new Palm Wings Beach Resort is all-inclusive (including buffet breakfast, lunch and dinner, ice-creams, snacks, some local alcoholic drinks and non-alcoholic drinks 24/7). A week here in May (low season) will cost just €729 per person sharing. Altinkum is an up-and-coming resort with some archeological sites (Temple of Apollo, Temple of Athena etc) and some extremely modern-looking highrise hotels surrounding the golden beach. In short, if you’re looking for good value and a secure holiday company that knows the Irish market well in Turkey, look no further.


or the last 25 years, Wings Abroad/Peninsula Tours has been offering Irish holiday-makers good value holidays in Turkey and they’re not about to change tack now with a selection of resorts in Kusadasi, Bodrum and Altinkum. The manageable brochure includes a handy guide with such descriptions as Family Friendly, Close to the Centre, Young and Lively and All Inclusive or Full Board Plus. Some of the resorts were built specifically for the Irish market – such as Pine Club with its country-club ambiance and entertainment programme. Accommodation here can be in one-bed apartments or two-bedroomed semi-detached houses. There are also three-bedroomed private villas which sleep up to six people or superior villas with private pool (all detached and sleeping up to seven people) that include satellite TV and air conditioning.

coach and one cooking lesson. Further afield, much further afield, the brochure offers trekking tours of Peru to include Machu Picchu, a tour of Colombia, touring in Myanmar (including “the road to Mandalay”), a tour of Thailand taking in Angkor Wat and many others. China is very much an up-and-coming destination and Boutique Journeys will take you there for eleven days including visits to the Great Wall, Beijing, the Terra Cotta army, Shanghai etc for just over €3,000. Roughly the same amount gets you two weeks in India visiting New Delhi, the Taj Mahal, Jaipur and Agra (loads of other places too). You can add five days in Kathmandu and Nepal from a thousand Euro too. There are plenty of other destinations so, for those hard-to-please clients, Boutique Journeys is a brochure worth studying.


e all know what boutique hotels are all about and the kind of person that prefers them to anonymous high rises. Now there’s boutique travel for precisely the same reason. Boutique Journeys promises enriching small-group holidays in 15 countries with guaranteed departures including just a maximum of 24 guests. For those who feel they have “done it all”, the company goes that bit further. The experienced traveller is constantly looking for new experiences. They’ve done the beach/bar holiday in various exotic and far-flung locations and are reaching for something more elusive. Boutique Journeys offers holidays such as seven days sampling the culinary delights of Umbria or getting upclose and personal with the gastronomy of Provence. The latter provides the services of an English-speaking expert, six guided tastings, travel by luxury


ather watch paint dry or prefer to get your toenails pulled out? Chances are you’re not aged 18-30 and want a holiday where you dance all night and recover all day – but your clients might actually enjoy a Club 18-30 holiday. Recession or not, Club 18-30’s programme is expanded this year featuring Tenerife for the first time including its “Siam Park” (‘Europe’s most spectacular water park’). Ibiza and Crete have more options now to cater for the expected high demand with prices starting from a paltry €415 per person (Laura S’Atalaya on Ibiza) or €529 per person at the Parque Cattleya on Tenerife. Club 18-30 has been providing a particular niche market with what it wants for generations now – and are still sending party-goers by the thousand to Ibiza, Puerto Banus, Majorca, Zante and Turkey (amongst other hot-spots).


The brochure is half-mag, giving descriptions of what to wear (including the de rigueur vajazzle) and hints on how to “fake some abs” with tanning lotion. The hotels offer more than just the usual entertainment and they are all located close to the clubs and beaches that are the big draw for teenagers and twenty-somethings. The company promises to throw plenty of “killer parties” with guaranteed stellarline ups including “Thailand-style Full Moon raves on the beach, pumping boat parties and more fancy dress nights than Lady Gaga can handle”. MMMMmmmm. The Club 18-30 brochure has loads of details the kids want to know about such as how much you can expect to pay for cocktails, where the hippest dance spots are and what happens there (drinks in buckets, hot DJs – you can guess the rest). Don’t expect any old guff about nearby archaeological sites or art galleries, that’s all...

CLUB 18-30

am willing to bet that very few, if any, Irish tourists will open this year’s Topflight brochure offering Italian holidays and, straightaway, turn to see what’s on offer north of Lake Garda. Am I unique? Because that’s what I go straight to every year when the thumping Topflight brochure lands on my desk. And why? Because of memories, dear reader, memories … Long after the last drop of wine has been drunk and the last vestige of tan has disappeared. Long after the photos have curled up and the postcards been discarded, memories are all that’s left. When you pick a holiday destination, remember that. And the Dolomites and wine of the Italian province of Trentino north of Lake Garda will provide you with memories that you will treasure for the rest of your life. Mountains straight out of your childhood imaginings after reading “Lord of the Rings”. Valleys deeply-clad in forests. Cities wearing their classic Pal-

ladian architecture with a shocking insouciance. Restaurants offering pasta like you’ve never tasted before. Of course, that’s not for one instant to overlook the other parts of wonderful Italy that will provide you with memories for a lifetime. Venice, Florence, Sienna, Rome, the Amalfi coast, Verona, Milan – one could go on and on (not forgetting Pisa and the provinces of Tuscany and Umbria). Topflight are the undisputed Irish experts in Italian holidays. Whether you want a grand hotel experience or a simple rustic countryside villa – it’s here. City breaks, cruises, seaside resorts, combination twocentre holidays (Rome and Florence, for example), classical tours – they’re all within Topflight’s 220 pages. If some in your family want a traditional seaside resort holiday (complete with Italian gelati) while others want a few days browsing in world-class art galleries and museums, Italy has them both – but you need to speak to the experts and Topflight has them on hand.


Page 008-009 Brochures r 12/03/2013 12:38 Page 2



Anne Cadwallader’s Brochure Reviews


The USA has been added to Topflight’s expanding long haul programme


a n y people have always longed to travel to the USA or Canada but don’t know where to start? That’s where an Irish company in whose safe hands they can trust their precious holiday comes in. Topflight can advise people, whether they want to fly and hire a car to drive themselves or take a fully-escorted tour. Holiday park or National Park – most people need really expert guidance. When it comes to visas, insurance and all that boring stuff, which can make or break a holiday, they not only need expert guidance – they MUST get it. Topflight are just the people to provide it. There are some great ‘taster tours’ for


first-timers including Canada and the Rocky Mountains and the Great Western American Adventure Insight Premium Escorted Tour (15 days taking in San Francisco, Yosemite National Park, Carmel and Monterey, Santa Barbara, Hollywood and Los Angeles). Then there’s the new option – the Mauiva Air Cruise – using private airports to hop from city to city by air. Six days (five nights) takes you from New York, Niagara, Toronto and Washington DC or seven days (six nights) from LA, San Francisco, Yosemite, Las Vegas and the Grand Canyon. Stop your clients dreaming and start them traveling.


olour, cliffs, culinary arts, cutflowers, the Portuguese island of Madeira offers a year-round holiday destination that’s relaxing, sophisticated and balmy. Forget crowds and lager-louts. This island has been welcoming the betterheeled set for centuries and has the restaurants, hotels and excursions that appeal to the more, ahem, experienced. Whether it’s eating “espada” (a deepsea fish) in one of the hundreds of restaurants on the long harbour-front or relaxing in a world-class hotel and gazing out on the Atlantic Ocean, this is a holiday destination for those who want more than sand and sea. Topflight offers a small but perfectlyformed brochure on Madeira with much practical information inside about the

climate, calendar of events and attractions and hotels available year-round. The climate is particularly good for growing exotic plants and everywhere there are gardens stuffed with species you will never have seen growing anywhere else. There are walks along the ‘levadas’ which follow waterways and are generally free of steep climbs – so suitable for most walkers. And the capital, Funchal, has a harbour that attracts big cruise-liners and a cable car that takes you high above the roofs to mountain-top gardens. The hotels are comfortable and many have large terraces, high over the ocean, with splendid views for your pre-prandial cocktail. Madeira is a firm favourite with many people. Now’s the time for your clients to discover why.



am willing to bet that very few, if any, Irish tourists will open this year’s Topflight brochure offering Italian holidays and, straightaway, turn to see what’s on offer north of Lake Garda. Am I unique? Because that’s what I go straight to every year when the thumping Topflight brochure lands on my desk. And why? Because of memories, dear reader, memories … Long after the last drop of wine has been drunk and the last vestige of tan has disappeared. Long after the photos have curled up and the postcards been discarded, memories are all that’s left. When you pick a holiday destination, remember that. And the Dolomites and wine of the Italian province of Trentino north of Lake Garda will provide you with memories that you will treasure for the rest of your life. Mountains straight out of your childhood imaginings after reading “Lord of the Rings”. Valleys deeply-clad in forests. Cities wearing their classic Pal-

ladian architecture with a shocking insouciance. Restaurants offering pasta like you’ve never tasted before. Of course, that’s not for one instant to overlook the other parts of wonderful Italy that will provide you with memories for a lifetime. Venice, Florence, Sienna, Rome, the Amalfi coast, Verona, Milan – one could go on an on (not forgetting Pisa and the provinces of Tuscany and Umbria). Topflight are the undisputed Irish experts in Italian holidays. Whether you want a grand hotel experience or a simple rustic countryside villa – it’s here. City breaks, cruises, seaside resorts, combination twocentre holidays (Rome and Florence, for example), classical tours – they’re all within Topflight’s 220 pages. If some in your family want a traditional seaside resort holiday (complete with Italian gelati) while others want a few days browsing in world-class art galleries and museums, Italy has them both – but you need to speak to the experts and Topflight has them on hand.”

nyone who has not traveled to France on the blessed ship Pont Aven that sails from Cork to Roscoff should immediately rectify that lack of experience. The voyage past Cobh and out into Cork harbour past Spike Island itself is fabulous. Then, after a pleasant evening meal and a night sleeping in a snug cabin, you wake to the open roads of France spread out before you. Your holiday has truly begun. For those who are still concerned about driving on French roads, they are a doddle compared to ours. Road signs are clear, the quality of the roads themselves high by our standards and, before any time, you will find yourself deep in the French countryside. Before you grab the car keys and head off, though, you have to decide what kind of accommodation you want in France. And you must decide what ALL your group want, whether that be plenty of company or blissful isolation. There are three brochures to choose between from Brittany Ferries. There’s the Family Holidays one (obvious really – and it includes both France and Spain). There’s the Cottage and Villa Holidays one (again both countries included) and there’s the Hotel Holidays one (both France and Spain). Then there’s the Ferry Guide (much smaller and full of rather dismaying rows of timetabled ferry crossings – so I suggest you consult a travel agent to make sense of it). Kids normally just need other kids to

have a guaranteed great holiday and it doesn’t matter what language they speak. Just feed them breakfast and off they will toddle/ run/ scamper to spend long days with new friends. Does your family want to stay in a cosy chalet on a sea-side holiday site with loads of swimming pools as well as the waves to play in? Do you want a theme-park nearby, or fishing, or walks in deep forests? Or would you prefer a smart hotel where someone else does the cooking? Or a gite buried deep in the farmland near some ancient town or village or an apartment in the heart of a French seaside resort? Some words of advice if you are choosing a gite. Some French people don’t go in much for armchairs. If you choose a gite that is owned by nonFrench people, however, you will find the usual deep armchairs and pillowsizes that we are used to at home. Of course, the further south you go, the warmer the climate and Brittany Ferries has an option of sailing right down south to Santander or Bilbao in northern Spain. The ‘Picos de Europa’ are a mountain range as yet undiscovered by mass tourism from northern Europe (despite their name) and the beaches along the northern coast of Spain are superb. The Brittany Ferries brochures (one for hotels in France and Spain, one for cottage and villa holidays in both countries and one specialist brochure for families also in both countries) give you all the choice anyone could possibly want.




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iami feels, sounds, perhaps thinks like a movie set. Which movie? Let’s take Scooby Doo. In Miami you are in the middle of the set of Scooby Doo, and there is a Shaggy at every corner. Journeys along the seafront bring you through places so familiar that you feel like grabbing the remote control. The Art Deco buildings that were decaying in the opening sequence of A Scarface have all been restored to make them look gleaming and new like this was the 1920s again. The trip by bridge and causeway through the implausibly blue harbour makes you wonder if the technicolour people have been working overtime. In the evening the effect is exaggerated. A group of lawyers haggle for the pool table, cocktails and beers are downed and the conversation is lively with promise. Oceans breezes, Sunburns, Passion Pits, Passion Pits, King Kongs, Goombay Smashes, Electric Bananas, Planter’s Punches, Bushwhackers and the ubiquitous Mojito in its many manifestations. Miami was transformed in the 1980s into the sot of place all of us like to escape to. It was transformed, not by the guys who fly planes or design holiday brochures, but by the movie and TV companies.


Miami advice Eoghan Corry dons Don Johnson the stubble and heads west Eoghan Corry meets a finned friend in Miami Seaquarium


here is one mustdo in town. Miami Seaquarium offers a “swim with dolphins” experience whose memory will stay with everyone who has ever done it. Catch the fin and hold on, the world whips by. The dolphins were born in captivity, the defence against animal rights activists who decry

light BA845 departed Dublin Airport on time, my first time on BA’s Dublin to Heathrow service since their return to the route last summer. The airline gets tons of business from Ireland, about 500,000 transfers through Heathrow each year and since their takeover of BMI the livery can be seen here once more. T5 in Heathrow is a sea of calm, and the spacious business class lounge busy. T5 is like an airport in itself, with its own train to the satellite where we join flight B208 on gate C22.

the up close dolphin experiences. The names are Disnified, dolphins called Echo, Croix, Zoe and Cobalt are introduced by a trio of handlers, Shannon, Jenny, and Cristen. The complex offers fish, sharks, sea turtles, birds, reptiles, and manatees, water shows and the performing fish that you find in the big-buck wa-

terparks across Florida, California and a few other states. But the swim with dolphins experience is what we have come for. They robe you in blue wetsuits, and bring you to a pod where the dolphins are enticed to come round and inter-act with the next batch of paying guests, $139 per adult, $99 per child.

The park has been running since 1955. They say that getting tourists to play with dolphins named Croix helps fund their conservation efforts elsewhere. It too was a movie set, for Flipper. “Do not hit, bite, scratch or kick the dolphins” say the instructions before we begin. This is Miami after all.


BA’s business class orientates its seats opposing each other and that is where I find myself on flight BA 208 on a plush two year old Boeing 777 with the chance to bed down fully flat, after indulging in the food. Starters are crayfish on brown rice salad with pumpkin. Leading the choice of four main courses is beef or salmon. That’s not what they call it. The beef is Hereford fillet with béarnaise sauce, the salmon is Scottish seared salmon with lobster sauce. There is also gnocchi bake and roasted cornfed

chicken with pistachio. Dessert is triple chocolate delice or Barber’s cheddar, washed down by 2008 Château Clos Magne Figeac or Sebastian Pinot Noir from Santa Maria Valley. We make good time over the Atlantic but it is all swallowed up again in the dull regimented boredom of a two hour queue for immigration at Miami airport. Immigration queues are a worldwide hazard. It is just that America’s tend to be longer and extremely poorly managed, with an air of menace among the offi-

cials that is in stark contrast to the humour of the customers, many of them tired and overheated. A man in front of me is wrongly accused of jumping the queue pulled out and humiliated by a snarling official. Another person who complains they are in danger of missing a connection is presented to the police by an official who, again wrongly, complains that he was “trying to pick a fight.” And these are the Europeans – the South Americans get much worse treatment. There HAS to be a better way.


he further north you go, the more southern it gets, Frank Shena a local tour guide tells us. His brief summary of Florida politics is a highlight of the tour that takes in the planned parklands and art deco architecture of Coral Gables, the scattered little streets of the displaced at

By evening all the discomfort is forgotten amidst the warm sun and the cold beer. Funny how that ALWAYS happens. America is a fabulous country with some of the warmest hospitality and the rudest gatekeepers on the planet. I sample a new airline on the way back, business class in American, who are flying daily from Dublin to JFK this summer. Their lounges do not compare with BA’s, even at their Miami hub but the noise cancelling headsets are the coolest earpieces I have sampled in my airborne lifestyle.

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Familiar seascape: Blame Don Johnson little Havana, signs in Spanish and cigar shops at the corners, and the eclectic art collector’s show galleries around Wynwood. In Little Havana elderly men sit around playing at the tables in the

Maximo Gomzez Park domino club, drinking Cuban smoothies ($3.50) and Café ($0.75), at a corner stand Toby’s arepas is selling sweet corn and mozzarella ($6).


urnberry Isle golf resort is a rambling resort across the busy road from Aventura shopping mall, straddling two not overly difficult 18-hole courses. There are tennis courts,

a 24 hour pool (excellent for a hangover), and Alejandra from Velacruz regales me with stories of her native country over a long leisurely breakfast at Cascata Grill. The buffet is heaped with possibility, glowing

strawberries and raspberries, impossibly large blueberries and blackberries. The golf and the shopping are the attractions here, followed by more cocktails and a long leisurely evening sampling Vinny d'Amato’s

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

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specialities. . At the News Café the tuna teriyaki and shrimp stir fry ($18.95) taste Miami nice. We sit in the spring sunlight watching our movie set go by. I swear I saw Shaggy again.

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TB in Berlin saw the presence AT THE SAME EVENT abroad of both of our minsters for tourism, Leo Varadkar and Arlene Foster. This is the first time this has happened in the 11 year history of Tourism Ireland. Christophe Mueller was also there, hosting a dinner on behalf of Aer Lingus for 35 leading German tourism professionals, Tourism Ireland board members, representatives of other groups like


his year’s bookings for Brendan Vacations holidays in Ireland, mainly from North America, are up 20pc on 2012. Nico Zenner, the Belgian-born president of Brendan Vacations, who was in Dublin this week, cautioned that 2013 is young and “a mosquito might fall over in Dublin next week and suddenly Americans would stop travelling.” Nico said his major concern with Irish


tihad had a big month. They launched their global brand advertising campaign. With the theme The World Is Our Home, You Are Our Guest, the airline’s first major campaign in three years will be supported with TV, print, outdoor, and digital media advertising. The campaign explains how Etihad Airways draws inspiration from around the world to provide industry-leading ‘signature

ITIC’s Eamon McKeon, and the two ministers. The Irish stand was supported by 22 Irish tourism partners, including Aer Lingus, Irish Ferries, hotels, B&Bs,attractions and tour operators. Picture shows Brian Ambrose, chairman of Tourism Ireland, Minister Leo Varadkar; Minister Arlene Foster, Niall Gibbons CEO of Tourism Ireland and Howard Hastings, chairman of the NITB.

tourism is that money is not being re-invested in the hotel stock. “Keeping the hotel stock at a high standard is essential. The competition nowadays is not just from Europe but from Asia and South America.” Nico was joined by his colleagues, led by Catherine Reilly (pictured above with Nico), board members, hoteliers and guests at a reception to launch Boutique Destinations to the trade and press.

moments’ on the ground and in the air. That same day, their millionth passenger, Alacoque O’Connor, from Athlone, travelled on the Dublin route. The airline hosted travel and sports media in Croke Park for a poc fada competition. Irish Independent sportswriter Colm Keys from Meath won the poc fada event. Picture shows Dessie Cahill, Dave Walsh, Ireland manager of Etihad, and Galway all-star Joe Canning.


acienda, Senorio de Nevada (pictured above) is the vineyard where lunch will be served on the Saturday at the ITAA at its annual conference in Granada on 12 October. The conference is returning to Spain this year and will be hosted by Antonio Martin of the Andalusia tourist board, who has been a great supporter of the Irish trade. Francisco Tarifa Vice President


ore kegs, less flegs, was the response of one Belfast publican to the flag protest that devastated the city’s economy nighttime economy in December. Belfast has hit back. Anne McMullan and Fiona Ure from Belfast CVB and John Keane from Ardmore Marketing were in Dublin this week to promote their £1m “Backin’ Belfast” campaign, in which restaurants and hotels have


ryphavana Cross of Las Vegas CVA and Pat Reede of United hosted a group of agents on a fam trip to Las Vegas. They sampled some fine dining at the newest hot dining spot, Andrea's at the Encore, where the group was staying. It is a big year for Las Vegas with the city staging Pow Wow in June and a large delegation of Irish trade and media set to travel.

Granada Tourist Board says that Granada had a lot to offer the Irish tourist and he hoped the opportunity to stage the conference would tempt more Irish holiday makers to look further than the beaches of Andalusia. As for 2014, the plans are already under way and a long haul destination in the east is being discussed. ITAA CEO Pat Dawson said he would like the venue established a year in advance.

clubbed together to offer discounts of up to 50pc, prizes, surprises and other incentives to people to come to the city. “We needed to do something to get the restaurants and business going again. We started with our own citizens, and now we are extending it to visitors,” Anne McMullan said. “Now #backinbelfast is all over social media.” Room occupancy was up in January by 1pc but from a low base.

Pictured at the Encore: Bernie Fenton from Lee Travel, Edel Shanahan from American Holidays, Catherine Flanagan Travel Counsellor, Geraldine Leonard from World Travel Centre, Cora Munds from Topflight, Tryphavana Cross from LVCVA, Tracy McLoughlin from Tour America, Gillian Purser from Marble City Travel, Joanne McCabe from gohop and Pat Reede from United Airlines.

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Cathy’s Column


ood Food Ireland new features an Online Artisan Food Shop offering the best of gourmet artisan food and gifts and a food trip facility allowing foodies to select places to stay and visit. Users can download Irish recipes and order the ingredients online. Margaret Jeffares – who could talk for Ireland and frequently does so with eloquence - plans to develop a full online

booking site for food-based holidays Good Food Ireland (“run by five people in a shed in Wexford”, according to Margaret) today has some 600 approved providers including top restaurants and cafes, food shops, pubs and bars, cookery schools and food producers. Pictured from left: Deirdre Kehoe, Maurice Keller, Susan Kerr, James Doyle (head chef of Brasserie du Pont), Margaret Jeffares and Louise Kinsella.

Cathy Burke, General Manager at Travel Counsellors

Because You’re Worth It! On a recent drive to Donegal from Cork, I was taken back 12 years to spring 2001, when I travelled the length and breadth of the country on behalf of the ITAA, delivering training to Travel Agents and owners about introducing Service Fees. We didn’t really know it back then that the country was on the cusp of the Celtic Tiger boom and we had no inclination that our industry would boom as it did over the coming years.


arberstown Castle in Straffan launched its programme of medieval banquets for invited guests last night, with owner Ken Healy and manager Paddy Cullen on hand to greet guests from the trade and media. Tommy Monaghan (above) performed as the 13th century castle founder Nicholas Barby. Denise Flynn of DAMHSA directed the show, with songs by Orfhlaith Flynn and dance by

Neil Sullivan, Michael McHugh, Aoife Kennedy and Claire McDermott and music from piper Leonard Barry, bodhran player Philip King and Bernadotte Nic Gabhann. Seamus Cullen provided local history. The medieval banquet will be available to private groups of 30-170 people. Barberstown was a winner of the best castle venue category in the Weddingsonline awards.

For those of you long enough in the business to remember – the key message throughout the Service Fees Seminars, which quoted the famous beauty product ad campaign “Because you’re worth it”, really resonated with everyone back then. However, it took a while to convince many agency sales staff that they were worth it and more importantly have them feel confident enough to implement those fees. We had brainstorming sessions about adding value so that what we were selling became more than a simple transaction, it became an experience for the customer. Many great ideas were shared throughout those spring months and the good mood and positive outlook was infectious! Service fees became a reality in our industry. And then along came the “crash” and everything changed. Agencies closed down or downsized, staff were laid off as travel became a luxury that the travelling public felt they could do without, while they tried to manage other financial priorities. However, the start of 2013 has seen a renewed confidence within the travel industry; it feels like the travelling public are now saying – “Enough! I need my injection of Vitamin D, I need to see the world, I need adventure and excitement that only travelling to foreign parts can bring”. The surge in bookings in January and the steady increase in February confirms this.


iobhan Moore of Dublin Airport Authority and Martin King, TV3 launched The Big Welcome Competition at Dublin Airport allowing winners have the chance to bring six family members or friends home from anywhere in the world. Guests will spend a week in one of a number of fabulous heritage properties owned by the Irish Landmark Trust and can also avail of a voucher to the value

of €5,000 to extend their stay in any hotel registered with Complimentary car hire is also on offer as part of the package. To enter “The Big Welcome”, participants simply have to visit the Dublin and Cork Airport websites, and and register. Further information, the website of the Irish Landmark Trust.

But here’s what we need to remember; in terms of the service we provide as an industry nothing should change, we need to continue to provide a fantastic personal service that keeps those clients coming back again and again. But remember, in order for the customer to believe the fee is worth it, YOU as the sales person must believe you’re worth it. So we all need to ask ourselves the big question – am I worth it? Email:

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the trade’s favourite accommodation provider

But that’s not all, here are just a few more reasons why we think you should do business with us: • Competitive prices • 250,000 properties worldwide • 15% commission on accommodation • 20% commission on resorthoppa transfers when booked in conjunction with accommodation on

• Great travel agency staff incentives and promotions • Our new, V2 XML is now faster and still easy to integrate • Charter flight from Dublin - Palma, Mallorca for Summer 2013 (Call +353 1 524 2665) • Maximise your margin Limited London, Romanshorn Branch. Branch Registration Number: CH – 440.9.024.481.2 VAT Number: CH763279 Registered Address: Maria -Stader- Weg 4, 8590 Romanshorn Branch Switzerland.

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lowcostbeds sign up Travelsavers Lowcostbeds signed up Travelsavers as one of its preferred trading partners in Ireland and the UK. The agreement will see lowcostbeds providing Travelsavers members with a range of attractive commercials aimed at giving them a significant competitive advantage in their relative markets.

araffi Jack M ds and e t. tb n s e o f lowc agreem alshe o ign the Clem W ravelsavers s of T

Travelsavers Vice President Jack Maraffi said: “We are delighted to have added lowcostbeds as one of the growth of our members’ dynamic package business in Ireland. I am absolutely confident that this co-operation will provide Irish Travelsavers agents with a distinct commercial advantage in their local market place.” Irish Managing Director of lowcostbeds, Clem Walshe, said: “We have been reviewing our consortia position for some time in Ireland with a view to ensuring any agreement we entered into was going to deliver on increasing sales and profitability for both lowcost and the agency members.”

Mary King , General Manager, Ireland, an Travelsav ers d Grainne Caffrey, Sales Man ager, lowc ostbeds.

“The clear and transparent system that Travelsavers offer their members made them an attractive partner for us to do business with and we are really looking forward to ensuring that every agent in the Travelsavers group reaps the same commercial rewards that many of our key Irish trade supporters have enjoyed over the last two years.”

Watch out for 2013 Trade Competitions & Fam Trips Details coming soon! Limited London, Romanshorn Branch. Branch Registration Number: CH – 440.9.024.481.2 VAT Number: CH763279 Registered Address: Maria -Stader- Weg 4, 8590 Romanshorn Branch Switzerland.

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he ship that is the cruise industry is heading to a very happy place. One in three who booked a cruise last year were first timers. The cruise lines expect them to come back in the next 16 months. The message that the cruise industry has been preaching since the recession began is getting through. Cruises have a lower per night charge than a budget hotel. One in 15 packages sold in Ireland and eight packages sold in England is a cruise, compared with one in 25 nine years ago, but still a long short of its potential. There are more ships, more direct air links, more investment and more opportunities than ever before. Much of that action has switched to European waters.


hore excursions are the reasons that the Med has become the new Caribbean. Europe has an array of interesting cities a night sailing away from each other. Unlike Caribbean (or crucially, Alaskan) shore excursions there is lots to do and in some cities up to 20 different excursions to sell to cruise clients. Cruise companies who used to reposition their ships from the Caribbean to Alaska for summer first started to chose Europe instead in the early noughties. Then came cheaper trans-Atlantic


ou cannot but notice the TV, press and online adverts for cruise holidays. So what is delaying your clients? The top reasons for going remain the same. n Travel far unpack once n Value for money n Amazing Destinations n Floating resorts for all n Do a little or do a lot n Luxury fine dining In 2011 over 19m people of all ages took a

What your clients should know

Med men (and women)

Cruising has left other aspects of the travel industry in its wash The state of the art emfares and the first stirrings prices. of interest in cruise in EuSince 2006 the five barkation terminals at ropean countries. largest cruise ships in the these ports and the easy Shore excursions are a world were built in Eu- airport transfers made valuable revenue earner rope and brought across cruising more accessible for the shipping line, for the Atlantic to ply their than it had been before. Lorraine Quinn of ground handlers and for trade out of Fort Laudagents who sell ancillary erdale. Now two of them Royal Caribbean says product. Hence the num- are back, along with sev- that the ratio of Caribbean ber of cruise ships plying eral of the previous gen- to European cruises used their trade on the Med has eration of biggest ships in to be 70-30 and slowly changed to 60-40. Now it increased rapidly. the world. is exactly reversed, with The Irish clients who used to (paradoxically) ow the key ports 60pc of clients choosing get a Caribbean cruise of Amsterdam, Europe for their cruises. cheaper than a European Barcelona, Cit- Barcelona was singleone, have been watching tavecchia, Copenhagen, handedly responsible for this with interest. There is Palma de Majorca and much of this growth, parmore capacity on the Med Southampton are hosts to ticularly when the Aer and more packages to several huge ships at Lingus service tied in with cruise departures. sell, often at terrific once. According to John Galligan the most common cruise holiday, on ships market. fears of first time cruises that are now generally at Features that have is that they won’t like the least twice the size of the been put into place into people on the ship, the Titanic and house Rock today's cruising make food will be awful, there climbing walls, 400 seat most cruise ships innovawill be nothing to do, theatres, ice rinks and tive and exciting with they will hate it and will dozens of bars and each catering for all be stuck out in the sea, restaurants along with re- kinds of age groups. they will get seasick and laxation spas and state- Meaning whatever age the cruise lines won’t of-the-art fitness centres. bracket you come under cater for their special The average cruise lasts you can enjoy any activneeds. 7.1 days ity that suits you, from He says the key to havThe mindset that cruis- formal evenings with ing happy customers is to ing is for older people is dancing to clubs and sell the right cruise to the fast disappearing. Ships games rooms for children right person, by querying are being gauged towards and teenagers. what they like doing, families and a younger


what is their budget, are they beach or city types, what duration they want, do they want a long or a short flight or a direct departure, whether they are travelling alone, as a couple or as a group, and crucially what age they are. All of the cruise lines say the average age is falling. But the slide is barely discernible. Europeans however tend to cruise younger. Currently the average cruise age is the mid 40s in Spain and Italy, 51 in the United States, and 62 in England.


urope’s itineraries cluster around the principle cities Ajaccio, Ancona, Argostoli, Armonia, Barcelona, Bari, Catania, Civitavecchia, Corfu, Corfù, Dubrovnik, Genoa, Goulette, Ibiza, Istanbul, Izmir, Katakolon, Kotor, Livorno, Mallorca, Marseille, Mykonos, Naples, Palermo, Palma, Piraeus, Salerno, Santorini, Valencoa, Valletta and Venice, The access points to Athens and Rome can be grimy and industrial, as can the port areas of cities

like Genoa, but there are spectacular ports for entry and departure like Venice.


ntry level cruise for an Irish person has changed too. It used to be a small and older ship, including the ships from the likes of Fred Olsen that used to call to Dublin. Now it is more likely to be one of the biggies from Royal Caribbean, MSC, Princess or NCL. Another change is that the Middle East is now a base so that ships such as MSC Lirica and RCCL’s Brilliance of the Seas are repositioning from Abu Dhabi and Dubai rather than across the Atlantic. A big advantage of the cruise lines moving ships to Europe in the spring and back in the autumn to the Caribbean is repositioning cruises. These tend to be long on sea days and short on port calls, and can cost as little as $50 a day. Allow plenty of time, beware of bad weather on trans-Atlantic crossings and expect an older crowd.

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oyal Caribbean has named its two new 4,100-passenger Quantum Class ships Quantum of the Seas (autumn 2014), and Anthem of the Seas (spring 2015). Although destined at 167,000 to be the second largest cruise ships in the world compared with 154,407 tons for Freedom Class and 225,282 tons for the two gargantuan Oasis class ships, the Quantum class will carry less passengers (4,100) than the 4,370 passenger Freedom class (of which Independence of the Seas, is a frequent visitor to Cobh) and well below the 5,400-passengers carried on the Oasis class at full double occupancy. Royal Caribbean says the first piece of steel for the first of its two Project Sunshine vessels was cut this month at a shipyard in Germany. Royal Caribbean CEO Adam Goldstein says in a statement: “After three years of design and advance planning, this is the first step of the construction of the ship, and I look forward to seeing it all come together in the coming months. The new ship will be such a leap forward in terms of vessel design and guest experiences that we thought the name Quantum of the Seas was perfectly appropriate." “While the Oasis class ships have been a notable success, commanding premium pricing, the line needs a mix of different size ships to allow for flexibility in itinerary planning. Royal Caribbean currently operates 22 vessels spread among six classes that range in size from about 69,000 tons to 225,282 tons.

What your clients should know

Size matters Third ship in biggest in the world class to be built The 5,400 passenger Allure and Oasis of the Seas are the biggest ships on the ocean Apart from tonnage and passenger numbers, which suggest it will be similar to the Freedom Class in size but not in design, the line otherwise has released few details about the ships. The ships are being built at the Meyer Werft shipyard in Papenburg, Germany.



ust four giant cruise ships are due for delivery next year, the lowest total since the 2008. They will include the stylish Norwegian Breakaway, joint third largest ship on the seas with its sister Epic. This will be surpassed in late 2014 by two 4,100 passenger Project Sunshine ships from

Royal Caribbean which to be delivered six months apart, the second largest class of passenger ships behind Royal Caribbean International’s existing two giants, the 5,400 passenger Oasis and Allure. Norwegian Cruise Line will launch Project Breakaway Plus in 2015 to reclaim third place.

Eight large ships were delivered in 2007, four in 2008, eight in 2009, six in 2010, six in 2011 and seven in 2012. The number of international cruise customers is expected to rise again this year. Carnival ordered a 4,000-capacity ship, and Holland America a 2,660passenger vessel.


n MSC Preziosa - 3,502 passengers n Norwegian Breakaway - 4,028 passengers n AIDAstella - 2,192 passengers n Europa 2 - 516 passengers n Avalon Artistry II - 164 passengers n Scenic Jewel - 169 passengers n Royal Princess - 3,600 passengers n Le Soleal - 264 passengers


n Regal Princess - 3,600 passengers n Unnamed Viking Ocean Cruises - 888 passengers

n Norwegian Getaway - 4.028 passengers n Unnamed Tui Cruises - 2,500 passengers n Project Sunshine Royal Caribbean 4,100 passengers n Unnamed Costa Cruises - 4,000+ passengers


n Unnamed P&O - 3,611 passengers n Unnamed AIDA Cruises - 3,250 passengers n Project Sunshine Royal Caribbean II 4,100 passengers n Unnamed Viking Ocean Cruises -

Get closer to beautiful shores and dramatic coastlines ON A HURTIGRUTEN VOYAGE

888 passengers n Norwegian Breakaway Plus 4,200 passengers n Unnamed Holland America - 2,660 passengers


n Unnamed Carnival Cruise Lines 4,000 passengers n Unnamed AIDA Cruises - 3,250 passengers n Titanic II - 1,680 passengers n Third Oasis Class ship Royal Caribbean - 5,400 passengers

From the magnificent Norwegian fjords to the ice-filled bays of Antarctica, Hurtigruten is renowned for its voyages to some of the most remotely beautiful and dramatic coastlines on the planet. And this year, we’ve got even more reason to celebrate our history for the year 1893 saw the first Hurtigruten ship begin its course along the Norwegian coastline. 120 years later, Hurtigruten’s voyages and port-to-port travel have become an integral part of Norwegian coastal life. We’d love you to celebrate our anniversary with us on board! From winter’s Northern Lights to summer’s Midnight Sun, Norway is a fascinating destination to visit all year round. We also offer a choice of expedition voyages to the frozen lands of Svalbard, Greenland, Antarctica as well as a selection of European voyages that embrace the continent’s cultural traditions. And through programmes of enlightening, exciting and pre-bookable excursions the true diversity of the lands, histories and cultures can be fully appreciated. Get closer to the real Norway on a Hurtigruten voyage.

In search of the Northern Lights – Arctic Highlights voyage 6 days including direct flights from Belfast, departs on 30 January 2014

Sailing through breathtaking landscapes

To book please call 01


The magical Northern Lights


The mesmerising Midnight Sun

607 4420 visit your local agent

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ruise lines discovered long ago that a well fed passenger is a happy passengers, and the result is that people eat 20pc more when they are on a cruise ship. Hotel manager on Briliance of the Seas Marcus Zillman brought Travel Extra behind the scenes of the operation on the 2,500-passenger Brilliance of the Seas recently. The numbers are astonishing. The 280 wines on the wine list. The dish washing machines cost $160,000. Zillman remembers the time it took $1,000 to get new broccoli after batch had caterpillars (“we don’t describe it as broccoli we describe it as seasonal vegetables.” There is a pattern to what the customer eats. Zillman says: “the over indulgence starts in the first three days and then tapers off and the meal sizes are reduced in all the restaurants.” The food is prepared centrally for the first sitting, then the second sitting, the buffet (Windjammer in RCCL ships), speciality restaurants (although some have their own kitchen, such as the Portofino on RCCL ships) and at 8pm the night shift starts and bread is baked for the morning.


hey serve 14,000 meals a day, and the makings of 1,000 full meals are pulped and sent into the

What your clients should know

Preparing dessert for 2,500 passengers has a whole new challenge

Behind the scenes

The massive F&B operation for thousands of cruise passengers sea (the only thing they are allowed to dump). The ship speed when they dump must be six knots, as they roll along the pulped food is shot into the sea, and there are fish who apparently know when this is happening and gather for the feed. Depending on ingredients, they prepare one meal in the largest volume, the chef’s recommendation. About 50pc of people take the chef’s recommendation. The dessert hierarchy is soufflé, cheesecake and then crème bruleé. “We

wreck our heads trying to think up new desserts,” Zillman says. “But people just want the stuff momma used to make.” There are other patterns to watch. Burgers and pizzas are brought in for school holidays, when the ship first moved to Europe they ran out of lamb shank. The beer is calculated carefully too, 65 barrels for a twelve day cruise in Europe.


s t o n i s h i n g l y, ALL of the food is brought from the USA in container ships (“everything works better in the USA”) . Cruise ships talk about sourcing food locally, but the products are bought in bulk and frozen. Hence order meat, not fish. Frozen meat, fish, and vegetables are then loaded on to the cruise

Food preparations for multiple restaurants on the cruise ship and (on right) Marcus Zillman

ship, 18 pallets of them, meat, veg and fish come in sequence so that they can be moved in order and to make sure all the meat does not arrive at the same time. Serving the meals is a mini miracle, performed daily. Each waiter deals with ten guests in one sitting and 22 in another. Then they alternate back again. “We have 1,100 chairs

in the main dining room,” Zillman says. “It means that 1,000 people all arrive looking to be served in a 15 minute period. A bit like a banquet, but unlike a banquet you get a choice of three soups and three starters, ten main courses and seven desserts.” And then, three hours later, the miracle all happens again.

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What your clients should know

The good ship Deja Vu


ll cruise ships come from the same template, more or less decided by the previous generation of Americans for Americans, but now some afterthought is being shown to the rest of the world. The essentials are: n a big crimson-upholstered theatre at the front over two floors, n a big crimson-upholstered dining room at the back over two floors, n a long casino in between on one level (Disney is the only cruise ship not to have a casino)

n a shopping precinct between them on another level, usually the deck above the casino. The deck, where ship meets fresh air after 11 storeys in midsized ships and 16 decks in some of the bigger beasts, will have: n a spa and an indoor pool at the front, n an open air pool and poolside bars in midship deck with an upper deck area for beach beds, n a big informal buffet restaurant at the back. Once you have been on one, you will know your way around them all.


n top of that is an activity area (perhaps a rock climbing wall, a pitch and putt, and a soccer court) on the roof/deck. The decks in between shopping/casino and the pools have corridors of cabins that go on for ever. Big ships offer fewer inside cabins and more balconies. The premium brands now offer balconies with 90pc of their cabins. Cabins, no matter what the view, tend to be small and confined. There is no escaping this fact although most

lines now call them staterooms for image reasons. They are standard design as well, but Norwegian Epic had a neat departure when they built their cabins / staterooms with a

curve, in the form of a wave. Each ship has a well kept secret cabin or two, one on a turn that can be bought for the same price as the one next door but it

offers a little extra space. Knowing these secrets is the key to success as a travel agent.

cruise Did you know, that we provide many different cruise experiences throughout our portfolio of brands? Enjoy the world’s greatest cruises your way - choose from a 5* luxury river cruise along the Mekong, cruise the Mediterranean Sea or the Alaskan Glacier. Try a traditional junk-boat experience in Vietnam or live your adventure island hopping in Australia, Turkey or Croatia. Your cruise experience starts here.



SC Preziosa the 3,959 passenger Fantasia-class cruise ship owned and operated by MSC Cruises is to be launched in Genoa on March 23 in an elaborate christening ceremony. The ship is an enhanced version of her sisters, MSC Splendida and MSC Fantasia and identical to MSC Divina. Offerings include n a revised rear-lounge, casino and disco, n a new infinity pool for adults only, n An upgraded MSC

Aurea Spa, the 1,700square metre wellness area with sea views and a dĂŠcor of natural stones, wood and rich mosaics, Balinese massage, saunas, Turkish bath, n Aurea Spa Suites for Yacht Club members and are part of the Yacht Club complex. MSC Preziosa also features various improvements in order to keep guests entertained. These include the new "4D" cinema along with a Formula 1 simulator. The ship was originally

to be built for the Libyan state-owned company General National Maritime Transport Corporation, and named Phoenicia. Hannibal Gaddafi had a 120-ton shark aquarium integrated into the design.The maiden voyage will, sail from St Nazaire to Genoa. Between March and October, MSC Preziosa operates on Mediterranean cruises from Genoa. Preziosa will operate from Santos in Brazil in winter 2013-14.

Did you know, that we provide many different cruise experiences

Cruise experiences in Europe | Eastern Mediterranean | Egypt | Russia | Australia | Vietnam | Cambodia | China | USA | Canada | Galapagos Islands

To order your 2013 brochures, and for more information on events, competitions, agent training and more, email, or call us on 01 775 3803.

Reservations: 01 775 3838

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aking a voyage on a Hurtigruten ship along the coast is one of the best ways to appreciate Spring time in Norway - known locally as The Arctic Awakening. Deals on offer right now include ‘unspecified cabin’ rates. You can choose from a 6 night voyage north, 5 night voyage south or an 11 night round trip. Passengers can choose an inside or outside category but the precise cabin isn't allocated until you board. On selected sailings during April there is no single supplement and on board


credit o f 1200 Norwegian Kroner (about €160) per cabin for booking before March 31. Prices start from €1767 to include all flights and taxes, 6 night full board voyage north in a shared inside cabin and two nights B&B in a shared 3* hotel (one before and one after the voyage to fit in with flight schedules). Extra nights in Norway may be added, additional costs will apply. 01 - 210 8391 seel Hurtigruten in Ireland.


rincess new 3600-passenger Royal Princess, currently under construction, will enter service in June in the Med. Among the features will be a glassbottomed Sea Walk, extending 28 feet beyond the side of the ship 128 feet above the ocean; two fresh water pools flanking an island area between them; evening water and light shows featuring a computerized fountain with 85 water jets.. The cruise line offers a unique mix of big ship and small 68-passenger ship experiences, as well as some extended cruises which depart European ports. The line is offering 57 Europe cruise itineraries, from classics like the Grand Mediterranean cruise or Scandinavia & Russia cruises sailings to new 7-day Interludes and immersive land and sea cruisetours. The ships will call at more than 130


What your clients should know

European cruise ports, including Cephalonia in Greece and Waterford. Signature Princess two-day experiences offer more time in cruise destinations like Cairo and Giza, Egypt and St. Petersburg, Russia. Ciaran Carraher represents Princess Cruises in the Irish market. It works on net sales rather than commission. Seven cruise ships, including the new Royal Princess and intimate small ships, like the Pacific Princess.: n The 3,080-passenger Emerald Princess in Warnemunde n The 3,080-passenger Crown Princess in Southampton n The 680-passenger Ocean Princess in Barcelona, Rome and Dover n The 3,080-passenger Ruby Princess in Venice, Rome and Athens n The 680 passenger Pacific Princess in Venice and Athens



SC Preziosa will be christened in Genoa in March 2013 bringing the MSC fleet back to 12 vessels and will cruise the Mediterranean this summer from Genoa. It joins other ships in her class. The 3,502 Passenger MSC Divina launched last May the third in the Fantasia Class series. ,

Enhancements included an infinity pool in the aft of the ship. The “beach zone” adjoining the glass balustrade, offers a unique view of the ship’s wake fading into the sunset. Passengers in the expanded MSC Yacht Club can dine in their private restaurant. Rebecca Kelly, the business development manager of MSC in Ireland, has been active promoting the product with the trade. The cruise line is also introducing a new pricing policy this summer and agent promotions. MSC has introduced Aurea Spa Suites a aboard the 18-deck, 3959-passenger Splendida and sister ship Fanta-

sia, the flagships of the fleet. The suites, which are in proximity to the MSC Aurea Spa, will come with unlimited access to its thermal suite, private consultation with the spa doctor, a Balinese massage, a facial treatment, a solarium full-body tanning session, refreshments, and an additional array of spa services.

MSC has redesigned its casual buffet service. Under the direction of Italian food designer Paolo Baricella, new concepts of presentation and service are being rolled out in MSC's most-visited dining area. Additional fresh choices are being created, chefs will be on view as they create dishes in a visible kitchen. Décor is being refreshed speciality corners are being fashioned, fruits and vegetables will be sliced and diced in front of passengers, a carver will carve, bakers will bake at a bakery corner, and there will even be a Children's Corner. The whole MSC fleet will have the new buffet by mid-summer.

Silverseas on azure seas


niworld r i v e r cruises will launch another luxury ship, River Orchid, on the Mekong, and the S.S. Alexandra on the Danube. Uniworld ships ranked numbers 1 and 2 in river cruise ships, in the world in Condé Nast Traveller's 2012 Readers' Poll. Sharon Jordan Manager, Uniworld Boutique River Cruise, Ireland says;


"Both the #1 and # 2 slots were awarded to Uniworld, and not only that but we place five of our beautiful ships in the top 10 ranking – more than any other River Cruise Company! We have a highly trained on board staff in Europe and other destinations working hard to meet high expectations of our guests.”


day Mediterranean cruises at whichever port is most convenient for their vacation, Barcelona or Rome. The new flexibility will allow every passenger to visit every port, Rome, Florence/Pisa, Nice, Provence, Barcelona, without having to plan schedules around fourteen-day hiatuses or travel out of their way. Norwegian Sun sails from Copenhagen doing nine-day Baltic Capitals cruises and the only cruise itinerary with an overnight stay in St Petersburg, Russia. Norwegian Jade, cruising year-round in Europe, offers seven-day Greek Isles and Adriatic itineraries conveniently visiting premier ports like Santorini, Mykonos, Ephesus, and Athens, Greece and Dubrovnik, Croatia – ports that other cruise lines only offer on longer itineraries. At Le Bistro offering delicious French cuisine, every table has an ocean view. The 2,018-passenger Norwegian Spirit has returned to New Orleans. The Europe schedule for summer 2013 is: n The 2,018-passenger Norwegian Spirit from Venice, Malaga and Barcelona n The 2,402-passenger Norwegian Jade from Rome (Civitavecchia) n The 4,100-passenger Norwegian Epic from Barcelona, Rome and Marseille. n The 2,002 passenger Norwegian Star from Copenhagen.


orwegian has signed a contract with a German ship builder for a new 4200-passenger, 163,000 gross tons ship to be delivered late in 2015. It will be the largest in Norwegian's fleet. The same yard is currently completing two other new ships, the 4000passenger Norwegian Breakaway and the 4000-passenger Norwegian Getaway. The Breakaway is scheduled for delivery this April, while the Getaway will follow next January. The Breakaway will include three Broadway shows, a comedy troupe, dueling pianos, a celebrity restaurant, five water slides including the first free fall slides at sea, a three-level sports complex, a nine-hole miniature golf course, basketball court, rock climbing wall, studio cabins for single travellers, private-enclave suites, a 23,000 square foot spa covering two decks and featuring 22 treatment rooms, and more. Among its more exotic features will be a real ice bar — requiring guests to wear hooded coats and gloves to keep warm. It will be joining five NCl vessels in Europe, Norwegian Epic, Norwegian Star, Norwegian Spirit and Norwegian Jade,. The 4100-passenger Norwegian Epic has introduced the Blue Man Group, performing for the very first time at sea. The ship has 23 extraordinary culinary dining choices, many unique to Norwegian Epic. After a trans-Atlantic voyage on April 20 for 11 nights it offers seven-

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What your clients should know

A right Royal pedigree

Royal Caribbean look set to continue their dominance of the Irish market AMSTERDAM where the

HARWICH where the 2501-

BARCELONA where two

ROME where two RCCL ships,

1,950 passenger Celebrity Constellation will be based. Serenade of the Seas moves from Barcelona in winter to take over the Dubai programme from Brilliance.


oyal Caribbean’s summer programme is so successful that they are already planning to retain three ships in Southampton and Harwich in 2014, the 3,114 passenger Adventure of the Seas, the 3,634 passenger Independence of the Seas and the 2,501-passenger Brilliance of the Seas. Southampton is obviously designed to offer no fly cruises from England but Irish people have joined the ships there in increasing numbers using the Flybe connection from Dublin or Belfast or coming through Heathrow and Gatwick. Amsterdam is also retained as a Royal Caribbean option for 2013. The cruise line continues to dominate the Irish cruise market in every sense, collecting awards and taking market share. They have now started to use the tagline “Ireland’s favourite cruise line” and it is not idle boast. According to Royal Caribbean CEO Richard Fain, the Irish have the highest onboard spend and the highest satisfaction rating of any country. Irish guests really ‘get involved’ in onboard activities and enjoy facilities such as Broadway-style theatre shows. About 40,000 of the 60,000 cruises sold off the island are Royal Caribbean cruises. The Irish office dates to 1999 and has maintained double digit growth through much of its existence, including a record 34pc in 2008, the year we entered recession. The solid performance is down to the support provided by Lorraine Quinn and her team, a priceless asset to agents at a time when they spend valuable time navigating their way through automated telephone mechanisms when they need to sort out a problem for their clients. Lorraine says that cruising “continues to be a great value proposition compared to land alternatives.” Dominic Paul says: “the complexity of the cruise offering to consumers makes us comfortable with our trade

ROYAL CARIBBEAN partners. We see longevity in the trade model but the offering needs to continue to evolve. We are looking for more routes to reach non cruisers.” “We have made a huge fleet investment and not just new ships. As well as the €300m revamp of Royal Caribbean international ships and €120m revitalisations of Celebrity cruise ships, the line has invested in stronger partnerships with key travel partners.” “We don’t want to become a travel agent. We cannot give impartial advice. We cannot give competing quotes While some of the customers will always want to go direct to the principle,, we will continue to work with the trade. You can add a lot of margin and a lot of value to the customer experience by focusing on that.” “We are open for direct customers but we do not undercut the agent. The direct business will grow, and we are open for business to people who will come direct. But we will pass bookings over to the travel agent if customer wants.” Service to agents include the field sales team, staff incentives, toolkits, cooperative marketing, online marketing, ship tours and seminars. “The next few years will be tough,” Dominic Paul says. “Consumers will look for more value, for more inclusive and more differentiated experiences and will look for more online. Cruise lines will need to add value. Agents will need to own their space. Even though we are not out of recession people will still travel and there will be winners. But when you build ships you take a 40 year view.” Expanded capacity in Europe is centred in six ports: :

RCCL ships, the 2,974-passenger Liberty of the Seas and the 2501-passenger Serenade of the Seas will be based from April to October, as well as the 2,850 passenger Celebrity Equinox. The 2,886 passenger Celebrity Silhouette will sail an open jaw programme from Barcelona and Venice. Aer Lingus Barcelona flights have been timed to connect with the big ship sailings.


STOCKHOLM: Where the 2,435 passenger Vision of the Seas will have a programme ex Stockholm and Copenhagen.

passenger Brilliance of the Seas and 1,950 passenger Celebrity Infinity will be based. Royal Caribbean have a flights deal with Aer Lingus Regional to Southend. the 3114-passenger Navigator of the Seas and 2,076 passenger Legend of the Seas will be based as well as the newly launched 3,000 passenger Celebrity Reflection.


two RCCL ships, the 3,114-passenger Adventure of the Seas and 4,370-passenger Independence of the Seas will be based as well as the 2,852 passenger Celebrity Eclipse. Royal Caribbean have a flights deal with Flybe to Southampton.

Escape completely with Princess Cruises..

SOPHISTICATED OCEAN TRAVEL Discover a different world on board P&O Cruises..

tailor made holidays featuring 3 of the world’s top cruise lines. to book your clients, simply call thomas cook in dublin on 01 514 0336

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What your clients should know

Ships with everything

A new deal for agents from cruise companies The early morning departure from Venice is regarded as the must stunning seascape in Europe. here Seabourn Odyssey takes sail


ne important spin off from the arrival of too many big ships in a recession would be lower prices and signs of distress all round. This did not pan out at all as expected. The huge launches of the past ten years have increased the profile of cruising around the world. “Cruise lines performed better than anybody expected,” Kevin Sheehan CEO of Norwegian Cruise Line says. “We had a nerve racking period in 2009, when the cruise industry gathered to meet.” “Even as early as March 2010 at the same meeting everyone was joking how well we have performed. We all filled our ships through that period.” Prices were indeed low. To entice customers, cruise lines have cut prices by as much as 40pc, a lot even in an industry when full brochure price is seldom, if ever charged. Because of these discounts, more people are taking cruises: 19m in 2011, up from 12.6m in 2007 according to an industry body.

The market potential is vast. Even in America, only around 20pc of holiday makers have been on a cruise. The sheer size of these new ships gives everybody somewhere to hide.


ome of the companies are rethinking their strategy. MSC’s Lorenzo Diamantini says that MSC will change its approach to brochure prices in 2013. “This year in our brochure I wanted to create something totally different. I started to say, brochure price is fake. We need to change something. This year if you look at the brochure, the price is the cheapest one you can find in the market. “ “Some of the departures when we sell we are losing money. Some others, we need to make money. Some others on the market are selling the product at a much higher revenue and a much higher price. In order to put a product on the market at a certain price you need to be certain it is not going to be sold at a much higher price. We are putting priority at this

kind of price because that is what you do you want to compete.” ‘The biggest complaint we get from customers is about price when they see a lower price from another company. The other competitors are selling in a different way. The most important thing is the

Lorenzo Diamantini price. As long as they are getting it at a very good price the product does not sell by itself. “ “My feeling is that some of our competitors do not put down the right price, they are trying to hide the final price.”


oyal Caribbean have met the challenges with a range of agent incentives

and consumer offers. The agent incentives are on and the spring marketing campaign was drawn up by John Walter Thompson has hit the TV screens. “We want to show agents what people can experience on the ship,” Lorraine Quinn says. “Cupcake decorating all those things.” Jo Rzymowska admits 2012 was a tough year. “But considering the year it has been with everything thrown at us, starting in January with the Concordia incident. Over all we have held our own, in fact Celebrity has performed incredibly well.” By the nature of the itinerary and deployment changes, with a shorter season with Grandeur out of Palma, the Royal brand was down this year. Our overall capacity did not increase. That said, we get very good support from the Irish trade on the Caribbean with Oasis , freedom and Allure. Ireland & UK sales manager Jo Rzymowska says she wants agents to make sure they maximise the benefits of the campaign, including print and online. They can use the imagery and assets to

drive their own business.. She says she would like agents to run the TV ad on their websites. “Do as much as possible while we are on TV and doing as much of our activity, press wise as well.” A revitalised Serenade of the Seas is replacing Brilliance of the Seas in

paign, the TV is to be measured by brand awareness and leads to the website and feedback from agents from the increase of people going into agent shops, websites and telephoning them. We know exactly what we want to achieve. We know what volume we want, what revenue we want from this time frame. Everything we do with the travel agent investment in co-op marketing, in training and everything else.

A Jo Rzymowska Dubai. “For all of this year we have been doing tactical campaigns, led by price. This is a brand campaign. We want to explain what the product is all about. We have to get our prices up. We have to get our trade partners to work with us to get our prices up. The measurement of success for this campaign. because it is a through the line cam-

s recession hit, cruises can appeal to budgetconscious consumers by touting themselves as “all-inclusive” (even though many amenities, like alcohol and excursions, cost extra). Overall, the cruise industry did better in the recession than other bits of the travel business, like hotels and airlines, which have been battered by a fall in business travel. Cruise lines also hope their decision to invest in colossal ships may help them diversify their customer base without losing their traditional market of elderly customers.

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What your clients should know

Cruise companies have piled on the luxury for clients in all classes The industry hopes to attract even more customers in the next few years. Cruise lines are using lower prices to draw in younger passengers and families, as well as things like ice-skating rinks and cinemas. As a result of these efforts, the median age of cruise passengers in 2011 was 44, down from 53 in 2002.

population would bring numbers up to over 100,000 per annum. “Cruise companies have a lot of opportunity to develop the market place,” Michael English of Royal Caribbean says. Royal Caribbean say that a big rise in volume from Ireland could possibly see the first direct pick-ups from Cobh but that is still someway off.



ore importantly, an industry that was almost exclusively aimed at the American, and later the British markets, has spread its appeal. Europeans are cruising in larger numbers, about 33,000 Irish take to the ships teach year, more than 45,000 if some of the industry indices (historically regarded as optimistic) are to be believed. This has huge potential for growth. In England more people ski than cruise, in Ireland cruising is less than 70pc of the ski market. Even bringing the Irish cruise market from where it is now to the English level of 2-3pc of

re ships too big? “Ships are extraordinarily complex, sophisticated technologically advanced resorts.” Celebrity Cruises CEO Michael Bayley says. “Ships are not built to be the biggest ship. People get quite caught up in how big and why it is the biggest. Ships are really designed for the customer and the type of customer experience we want people to enjoy.” “The sea is a massive part of the world. We spend our live son the sea, make our living on the sea, take people on the sea for vacation, destinations etc. We see it

quite differently. “It is a huge world of ocean and there are surprisingly not that many cruise ships. the world.” “The world is 70pc water. A huge amount of the world’s surface is covered in ocean. But there are only 280 cruise ships on the planet. That is small. Las Vegas has 100,000 beds, that is nearly as big as the entire cruise industry. It depends on how you view the sea. “The design process and the building process is typically five years from the design to completion of the first ship in the class. That design is all based on customer demand.” “The business is doing well in terms of growth because of the demand of our customers. These businesses are profitable and they support businesses in all these economies.” “It is sometimes forgotten that nearly every cruise ship on the planet is built in Europe, whether it is in Italy, Germany, Finland and

France. The impact is hugely significant.” “The ships also bring massive impact in terms of their multiplier impact in emerging economies.”


he industry experienced other changes, many of which are not confined to cruising. Booking times came down to closer to the departure date. That meant that traditional revenue management tools were less effective. New web based systems are making the work of the travel agent easier, and life has been simplified for the consumer too. Instead of hundreds of different pricing codes the consumer has an easier time working their way through the options. Things have even improved more in 2012, and differences between the pricing and commission systems which apply to the English and Irish markets, as well as flight booking patterns have been investigated wince the anomalies were ruthlessly exposed during the ash cloud crisis in April

and May. Travel agents, deserted by airlines and then by traditional bucket and spade tour operators, have found in cruising a safe and profitable marina. Customers need, and have found, knowledgeable advice at the travel counters. As Sean Lemass might have said, the rising tide is lifting more than the cruise ships.


orenzo Diamantini of MSC also has a message for the trade in Ireland. “I think some of them need to be more practical, to show some initiative, some creativity. Not working with the cruise at this current. You have to create something. I am the tour operator I start to make the package, what about you? Hotel, flights, you have to create something. Do you just want to sell the package you are given?” “There are some people who are afraid. Do not so expect me to give the perfect product at the perfect price. Come to me and say “I want this kind of

pricing and this kind or departure.” “The promotion could be 100 passengers in one week, I will make some calculation and talk to my head office. In most cases I can do everything. Some of them are very good agents in my opinion. Some others are old style and they need to change. In the UK they decrease the commission a lot. The average in 1516pc now from MSC but it used to be easier. I do commission because it is easier, I can change some thing and put in bonuses.” “Ireland is something like Italy, that is why I understood this market much easier than the UK. Ireland is a very conservative country. The agents are close to the people. They know each other. The UK is 15 times bigger, but agents in Ireland.” “It was a big challenge for me, understanding exactly the people and the market, what do they really want. I know what I have to do. I have reached three quarters of the market. We are very happy.”

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alking on glass on the 103rd floor. It is safe as a house, or more likely safe as a 1,451-foot tall house, which is only as safe as your imagination will allow, but it still chills the nerves those of us smug enough to trust that 1970s construction in the USA is better than its Irish equivalent. Randy Stancik first came up with the idea of a glass deck on viewing floor of the Willis Tower twelve years ago. He didn’t tell this bosses what was happening until the designs were complete. Since the deck was installed, visitor numbers have gone from 1.1m to 1.6m a year at Willis, formerly the Sears Tour, once the tallest building in the world but now down to number eight. Just under 20pc of these are from overseas. They have revamped the queue system, upgraded the turned the old Sears office cafeteria into a 7,500 square foot gift store, where you can buy Lego models of the towers. The old visit to the Sears does not compare with a new one to the Willis. Randy talks about the glass deck and his beloved tower like a fa-

Upwardly mobile

Eoghan Corry finds Chicago has some presidential grandeur about it My kind of town ther about a particularly overgrown child. The towers have 992 toilets, Randy tells us. The pubescents love that.


hicago is more wind-chill city than windy city on the week we visited. We landed in temperatures of minus 10 aug-

mented by a bitter winter wind. It did not deter the joggers and runners on the waterfront, so I joined them for a walk by the lakeshore in the early morning. The wind is biting and the vista is icy, pure as moose-wilderness bearing down on the indus-

trial heartland of the mid west. Nearby a lip of ice being pounded by the freshwater waves of Lake Michigan. True Chicagoans revel in the chill. Someone added an extra M to the sign “Beware of falling ice.” My uncle Donal used to tell me of when he went to Chicago in



er Lingus press trip to Chicago featured writers from seven major Irish based publications to highlight the airline’s increased capacity to Chicago this summer.

HOTEL The group was ac-

commodated with lake views in the Drake Hotel, a classy venue centrally located between the lakeshore and shopping-magnet Michigan Avenue.

ATTRACTION visits included the Shedd Aquarium, and the Art Institute of Chicago. Signature paintings include the “American Mona Lisa,” American Gothic and the second largest collection of impressionist paintings

in the world.

HIGH RISE highlights of

the visit included the Hancock Tower, where the views extended for more than 50 miles on one of the clearest nights that hostess Jennifer Hessler could remember, and Willis Towers, eighth highest building in the world, and once the tallest.


highlights included signature mid-west steak from Benny’s Chop House, deep dish pizza from Lou Malnati’s Pizzeria, Italian fusion from John Coletta’s Quartino Ristorante and

chic gallery cuisine at Terzo Piano.


processed the passengers efficiently inbound and outbound. The airport anticipates 14pc growth this year, creeping back towards the 70m mark it last hit in 2008. Ireland provides O’Hare with 4.6pc of its international traffic. Declan Kearney of Aer Lingus said that most passengers to ORD (from the airport’s original location, Orchard Field) are transfer passengers and the airline wants to grow more destination traffic to Chicago.

the1920s, he would go out on a frosty night and spit and then wait to hear the clunk of the ice off the ground. Winter or summer, Chicago knows and cherishes its waterfront and uses it to create a unique atmosphere. It has 17 miles of beaches and in the all-too-short summer it exploits them. According to Warren Wilkinson of Chose Chicago, “the cityscape is unique. Water has such an influence on the city it has to be encountered close-up to appreciate it.” Lyndon Johnson‘s message to the unveiling of the controversial Picasso statue in the city in 1968 was that “art, beauty and open space are essential to a city.” It was as if, on that one move, as Picasso’s canopy was pulled clear of a shape that defied description by most of the thousands who came out to see, the city moved from the shadow of Al Capone and into the place it is today.


ome for the next few nights is the Drake Hotel, a classy venue centrally located between the lakeshore and shoppingmagnet Michigan Avenue (you know it is classy because there is a couch in the elevator). Room 437 has a fantastic lakeshore view. Moreover, in the morning, I am greeted to breakfast by the hotel’s Irish-born catering manager Ann O’Riordan, from Clane. Small world. The visit to the Hancock Tower (adults $27, children $21.50) took place on as crisp and clear a frosty night as I have encountered. The view went for more than 50 miles in each direction. It was one of the clearest nights that hostess, Jennifer Hessler, could remember. En route skywards the elevator announces it is the fastest in America, speeding us upwards through 1,330 feet at a rate of two floors a second or 20mph. Even on a clear night, the climbing of tall buildings to admire the view is not good enough to compete in today’s experiential tourism environment. The tower gets 550,000 visitors a year and is seeking 100,000 more. Hancock is planning a new attraction to mimic the tilt in the tower in Auckland.


he Art Institute of Chicago had launched a new app on the day we visited. It enables visitors to find particular paintings. Options include the half hour and one hour tour and the “impress your friends” tour, proof if it were needed that artists were always better at understanding the dark narcissism of human nature than the rest of us. People come to see the world’s second biggest collection of Renaissance art (in America’s second largest art gallery, there is

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DESTINATION USA a pattern here) and American Gothic, the “American Mona Lisa,” as our hostess Nora Gainer describes it, instantly recognisable to all from countless parodies, not least the opening sequence in Desperate Housewives. High culture and popular culture collide in every corridor of the gallery. You get the impression that the addition in 2009 of the much-lauded new wing designed by Renzo Piano has made the venue more glamorous but also somewhat disjointed. Nora is anxious that Irish people should bring their children. They have a variety of experiences to attract the young, artmaking, gallery walks, picture books, and other ways to satisfy the family. “Not many people realise what a family destination Chicago is,” she says.


amilies are big with the Shedd A q u a r i u m , Chicago’s biggest attraction with 2.17m visits a year. Here they house the world’s finest collection of finned beings, pacific white sided dolphins

(only four aquariums have them), belugas, sea otters and an Australian monkfish, the oldest fish alive in tankdom, who has lived here since the aquarium opened in 1934. They showed us magnificent luminous white (including jellyfish moody looking Red Irish Lords), and told us the sad tale of the rescued sea lion that head been blinded by a gunshot wound. Shedd has joined the American trend towards bringing visitors close and personal with nature. Our encounter is with a penguin who watches us with a curious eye. Eventually it does what penguins do best, and spatters one of the group, a precocious p-p-penguin whose principle party piece proved the promulgation of projectile poo.


he city of 5,500 restaurants is in the midst of a bacon trend, apparently. You can even get a Bloody Mary with bacon, Kara Carmichael of Choose Chicago says. Portions are big here. “I asked for a small breakfast,” Declan Kear-

The Ledge on Willis Tower ney of Aer Lingus says, “and they brought it out on a forklift.” The city’s signature is deep dish pizza, and we sampled from a city favourite. Lou Malnati’s Pizzeria make their deepdish from sausage with extra cheese and (what it calls “vine ripened” tomato sauce. Another signature offers spinach mix, mushrooms and sliced Roma tomatoes.

The chain which has grown to 35 restaurants since the first one opened on St Patrick’s Day in 1971. After another night of fine dining came to a close we went in search of the soul of the city, or to more exact, blues with the music lovers at Buddy Guy’s Blues Club. Cover charge was $10, drinks $3.50 and the music was laden with emotion as

thick as the fog that sat on the city outside.Those of us of west of Ireland mindset believe that fog is something that brings perspective, that gives each landscape its magnificent breadth. Warren Wilkinson of Chose Chicago says Chicago is “the most American of American cities” and essentially a “culturally deep destination”.

That depth is everywhere, in the art of the institute, the pooing penguin, Lou’s infinitely deep pizza and, more than anywhere else in the music of Buddy Guy’s as the night turned slowly and soulfully to morning. As the toilet-obsessed pubescents of the Willis Tower might say, “cool.” Not just cool, windchill cool.



Preferential treatment at O’Hare airport

he Aer Lingus flight to Chicago started with one of the easiest pre-clearance experiences I have ever had. In the early days of triple preclearance at Dublin Airport (customs and agriculture as well as immigration) there were long queues and, occasionally, missed flights, particularly in the mid morning period when four flights were scheduled to leave in rapid succession. This improved with the arrival of a new Port Director Matthew Davies, in September 2011, who took matters in hand. It helps that Chicago is a 1pm departure, but the walk down to flight EI125 was the most hassle free I have experienced under the triple-clearance regime. Aer Lingus premier class was being left behind for a while in the

race to flat-bed and increasingly complex IFE systems. The flight was just over 8 hours outbound, 7 hours 20 minutes inbound. They stuck to what they do best, and ramped up the hospitality so Premier is an extremely comfortable experience. Seats come equipped with power sockets; wifi will be introduced this June on their trans-Atlantic fleet of A330s. James Keaveney’s menu was innovative, seafood plate with slices of smoked salmon smoked trout and peppered BBQ salmon served with a mustard grain mayonnaise cherry tomato and lemon wedge. My main course was also a first, seafood pancake filled with lobster and prawns coated in a rich hollandaise sauce and served with spaghetti of vegetables (you can see a pattern here). Dessert a warm rhubarb crumble with a crème anglaise sauce. There was also a

choice of roast duck, loin of lamb or tortellini, and, for dessert, apple cinnamon and chocolate brownie minis. Wine was Ripa delle More 2009 from Tuscany and les Fief’s d’Aupenac 2011 from Languedoc-Roussillon in France, the whites an Alois Lageder Pinot Grigio 2011 from Italy and Chateau de Tracy 2011 from Loire. They also served up a stunning view over Sligo and Donegal to the right as we departed. You couldn’t put a price on that. The flight to the west coast used to have a magnificent view of the icefields of Greenland as we passed overhead. Hopefully we will be getting that again someday. n Aer Lingus will increase their services to Chicago to double daily this summer (EI123 at 1:25 & EI125 at 15:45)

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AFLOAT IRISH FERRIES reported passenger numbers up 1.1pb to 1.543m, car carriages up 0.3pc to 353.8m.

BRITTANY FERRIES will be providing free WiFi on the Pont-Aven on its Cork-Roscoff route from April and all other passenger ships across the fleet. It will be available in all public areas only.

UNIWORLD Boutique River Cruises has kicked off its 2013 European Team Meeting. The team is onboard Uniworld’s flagship river cruise ship, the SS Antoinette, and are busy prepping for the new season. There will be new developments in the year ahead. MSC Cruises is to base MSC Lirica in Dubai and Abu Dhabi next winter 2013-14 after experimenting this winter with a programme out of Sharm el Sheikh.

BRITTANY FERRIES says that Irish business is up 20pc year on year at this point and the French market inbound is up also up by 8pc for summer bookings.

CMV offer some long distance cruises from 32 nights in 2013 to include the Amazon and West Indies, in addition to the standard Fjords, Baltic and Iberian cruises in a 'Country House' style ambience onboard. CMV fleet have acquired the MV Astor which will offer positional voyages from/to UK via Capetown and Perth at fantastic value. The Travel Broker 018333921 are General Sales Agents for CMV. CELEBRITY Cruises say its Celebrity's World Tour 2014-15 will visit each of the seven continents.

CUBA cruise launched at ITB: a coastal cruise that visits famous beaches, 6 UNESCO world heritage sites and four national parks and preserves.

PULLMANTUR Cruise fleet is made up of older vessels from RCCL and Celebrity Cruises such as Sovereign, Monarch, Zenith, Empress and the company itself was bought by RCCL in 2008 and offers an all inclusive on board programme as standard. The Travel Broker 01-8333921 are General Sales Agents for Pullmantur. RIVER cruise bookings from England are

up 14pc, with the English sea-cruisers moving from the Caribbean to the Med in big numbers. Jane Archer reports that the Caribbean was down 21pc and the Med up 29pc.


keep three ships in England summer 2014: Independence and Adventure of the Seas in Southampton and Brilliance in Harwich.

MSC Cruises is launching a Dukan Diet cruise departing May 17 from €629pp and with flights from Dublin available. Weight-loss guru Pierre Dukan will join the cruise which he says is seven-night cruise is all about having fun, enjoying great food and taking advantage of the ship’s extensive state-of-the-art physical fitness facilities. A team of nutritionists, dieticians and a specialist physicians trained in the Dukan Method will be on-board.

Stena HSS Explorer in Holyhead

HSS returns early Spring season for Stena fast-craft


tena’s HSS Fastcraft has returned on Dún Laoghaire– Holyhead earlier than expected. The sailings resumed in early March and will run to Tuesday September 10. It reopens the cross-channel service from Dun Laoghaire to Holyhead which dates back to 1821. Fares are from €139 single for car

and driver. The Stena HSS Fastcraft caters for up to 1500 passengers and 350 cars. Offerings includes the Metropolitan and Barista coffee bar, Stena Plus lounge, free Wi-Fi, free movies and an onboard shop which offers a wide range of gifts, jewellery, spirits and fragrances with average prices which they say are up to 50pc cheaper than

the high street. Stena Line routes from Ireland to Britain include Dun Laoghaire to Holyhead, Dublin Port to Holyhead, Rosslare to Fishguard, Belfast to Cairnryan and Belfast to Liverpool (Birkenhead). The Irish Ferries fastcraft Swift continues to serve on Dublin Port to Holyhead all year round.



isney Fantasy won best large ship at the Cruise Critic Awards and also won in five other categories, Holland Am Noordam won best mid-sized ship and Azamara Quest best small ship. Englishbased cruisers differed in

their taste, choosing Celebrity Eclipse, Oceania Riviera and Azamara Journey. Disney Fantasy won the Large Ship Best Cabins, Best for Families, Best Entertainment, Best Public Rooms and Best Service categories. This is only the second time in the history of

the awards that Disney has earned a top spot in any ship category. Carolyn Spencer Brown, Cruise Critic editor in chief, said. "Disney's gone from being a niche line to one that's comparable to something like Celebrity or Princess." A mouse on the funnel



SC Preziosa, the latest addition to the MSC Cruises' fleet and the fourth and final addition to the Fantasia class ship, will be christened in Genoa on March 22. It will then set sail on her

first Mediterranean adventure. The ship is themed around preciousness, with her 18 decks named after precious stones and exclusive new wellness and beauty treatments available in the MSC Aurea Spa. Travellers on board can

enjoy an entirely original range of signature treatments inspired by precious minerals, a hematite-based Preziosa anti-age facial, which includes cleansing, exfoliation, a facial mask and the use of hematite cream, and rodochrosite-

based Preziosa purifying and anti-stress facial, a treatment created for its purification capacities and for relieving anxiety. MSC Preziosa will feature two unique dining venues: the Eataly Restaurant and the Ristorante Italia.

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Agents can win a night on Brilliance of the Seas

Royal anew

RCL launch Spring media campaign


CL Cruises is driving springtime demand for 2013 cruise holidays with a double-header of seasonal campaigns for the Royal Caribbean International and Celebrity Cruises brands have launched marketing campaigns for March. See More - Get More from Royal Caribbean and Limited Availability Unlimited Luxury for Celebrity Cruises are designed to drive Spring bookings and combine agent incentives and consumer offers backed by TV advertising. Royal Caribbean International’s See more - Get More message will feature in TV advertising slots across TV3, Sky, e3, E4, More 4 and other popular cable and satellite channels. The campaign highlights value-for-money consumer offers including cruising for €89 or less per person per day,

balcony accommodation from €119 per person per day and free flights from Dublin (with checked baggage allowance and transfers at destination) for selected sailings on Legend of the Seas from Rome (Civitavecchia), Italy. These offers apply to selected bookings confirmed before March 31, and are backed by a trade incentive with a daily prize offering three agents the chance to win a place for themselves and a colleague at the unveiling of the revitalised Brilliance of the Seas. The invite-only trade event on May 14 will be an overnight on board Brilliance of the Seas in Harwich, UK and will include the introduction of an all-new training module. Places will be awarded every day and agents enter by confirming a Royal Caribbean booking before March 31 and entering it on www.cruis- Agents should complete the automated form under the Royal Caribbean trade incentives menu. Celebrity Cruises’ Limited availability - Unlimited Luxury campaign offers agents the chance to win VIP package tickets to Wimbledon 2013 by confirming a booking for any 2013 sailing. Agents can enter the prize draw until April 30 supported by a range of consumer offers, including free Ocean View to Balcony Upgrades and reduced-cost Child pricing (the two offers can be combined for extra savings) for selected European sailings on Solstice-class ships Celebrity Eclipse, Celebrity Equinox, Celebrity Reflection and Celebrity Silhouette between May and September 2013. The campaign also rewards repeat guests enrolled in the ‘Captains’s Club’ loyalty program.

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Aviation with Gerry O’Hare

RYANAIR quoted NATS statistics to confirm its safety record, less than one eighth of the average for Level busts (when aircraft fail to fly at the level cleared to), one quarter the average for callsign confusion events (leading to recognition errors between pilots and ATC) and half the average all-airline level of failure to follow ATC procedure events (aircraft not following ATC procedures). FLY LEASING Colm Barrington’s

Fly Leasing reported it had 109 aircraft on lease to 55 airlines in 32 countries.

LONDON’s OFT has resumed an investigation into whether Ryanair's 30pc stake in Aer Lingus is anti-competitive within the English market. AEROMOBILE said it has already

transferred 25,000 text messages and 900 calls on flights to and from Ireland in 12 months.

The credit card charge is dead, long live the credit card charge

The €6 question

BRISTOL Airport and Aer Lingus Regional launched an advertising campaign encouraging South western English business travellers to fast-track their journey to the US through Dublin Airport. CUSTOMISED FARES reported that airlines could start offering customised fares to travellers based on how regularly they fly, where they live and their kind of trip.

LUFTHANSA pilots picked up the airline’s first Airbus A320 with sharklets, 2.4 metre-high extended wingtips in Hamburg Finkenwerder.

THOMSON Airways postponed its planned May 1 launch of B787 Dreamliner flights. Boeing said it expected the 787 battery to get safety clearance. The US National Transportation Safety Board released an interim factual report and 499 pages of related documents in relation to its investigation. MEGGITT says their Dreamliner battery charger has been given the all-clear after tests.

QUITO's new international airport opened, Mariscal Antonio Jose de Sucre.

PARC aviation said it has succeeded in increasing the volume of the business in its core airline pilot market. ASH DETECTION NUI Galway

and IIA Volcanic Ash Detection and Forecasting Initiative showed off new ash cloud detection and forecast system.

NEWARK The New York Post reported that an undercover agent with fake explosive device in his pants passed through two security checkpoints at Newark. ETIHAD hosted 450 representatives from

global leasing, financial markets and banking communities at financial roadshows in New York and London.

SINGAPORE Airlines and Virgin America have launched a frequent flyer partnership.

New admin fee replaces Ryanair credit card fee


yanair have changed their policy on credit card charges to comply with new regulations. They have dropped their former charge of €6 for each passenger, each way, on a credit cardbooking. Now they charge only a 2pc card fee, which is €0.88 on the average Ryanair fare. But the airline has now imposed an administrative fee of €u6, which it is imposing on ALL credit

card transactions. It means passengers are worse off after the intervention of the regulators. The airline also increased its fee for printing off a boarding pass at the airport to €70. The change also has implications for Cash Passport, Ryanair’s way of weaving their way through consumer regulations. They need to have one way of avoiding credit card charges. It used to be possible using Visa

Electron (still used by Aer Lingus for the same reason), not available in Ireland but available through the preload virtual card provider, Entropay. Last year London’s Office of Fair Trading took enforcement action against 12 airlines, changes to display and charging of debit and credit card fees. Ryanair committed not to charge more for paying by credit card than it cost the airline and to scrap additional fees for payment by debit cards.



stanbul Atatürk airport grew 20pc last year to a total of 45m passengers. Once smaller than Dublin, Ataturk is now the sixth busiest airport in Europe and is on track to pass Madrid into 5th place in 2013. Turkey’s airports handled 130m passengers in 2012; up


85pc since 2007. Turkish launched 30 new routes from Istanbul Atatürk in 12-months, and is set to overtake Delta at Atlanta for most non-stop destinations by the end of 2013. Turkey is now Europe’s sixth biggest aviation market in terms of airport passenger num-

bers, after Europe’s ‘big 5′ of England, France, Germany, Italy and Spain. At the current rate of growth, Turkey is likely to overtake both France and Italy by the end of 2015. The Turkish government will build a new $10bn, six-runway facility opening in 2017.

Murat Balandi of Turkish


ATA reported a record year for air safety: 6 crashes, 75 accidents and 414 deaths worldwide from 3bn passengers. There were no major accidents from IATA’s 240 members. Passengers have a one in 6.8m chance of

dying in an air accident, compared with a one in 8m chance of winning the Lotto. Globally, the crash rate for modern aircraft – defined by Iata as hull losses per million flights of western-built jets – was one accident every 5m flights.

IATA director general, Tony Tyler, said: "The industry's 2012 record safety performance was the best in history. Each day approximately 100,000 flights arrive safely at their destination. Nevertheless, there is still work to do. Every accident is one too

many and each fatality is a human tragedy." A passenger on a western-built jet in sub-Saharan Africa was roughly 10 times more likely to see the plane crash in 2012 than in Latin America, the next most dangerous region.

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Aviation with Gerry O’Hare

Toronto extended Year-round the goal of Air Canada Dublin service

AUSTRALIA launched their “best job in the world” 2013 version. The London telegraph listed 21 of the other best travel jobs in the world and also 15 of the worst travel jobs in the world, including cruise ship mortician and Ryanair PR manager. MINOAN

launched their Dublin-Oxford


FLYBE announced they will operate four

times weekly on the Waterford-Manchester route from Monday, May 22, using a Dash8Q400. Passengers can book on just one booking transaction to include the connecting flight from Waterford via Birmingham to Aberdeen, Dundee, Edinburgh and Glasgow, Guernsey, Paris CDG, Nice, Dusseldorf and Stuttgart.

WARSAW Modlin runway closure has

been extended until June 30, Ryanair will fly to Warsaw Chopin instead.

RYANAIR reported Feb traffic down

6pc to 4.20m (one day less than 2012), load factor up 1pc to 877pc, 79.3M passengers in 12 months, load factor 82pc.

The Air Canada Dublin-Toronto service will use a Boeing 767-300 aircraft “As well as benefiting from easy ir Canada has announced its following day. The airline will offer customers access to the city’s major commercial Dublin-Toronto service will run from May 18 to Sept 29, Economy Class and Comfort Plus centre and to its many tourism attracseats with Executive First business tions, our Irish customers can take adwith a daily departure at 13.05. class seating available on selected vantage of convenient connections to The airline will use one of the airdestinations across Canada, the line’s remaining 767-300 aircraft (the services. “We are pleased to serve the Irish United States, the Caribbean and others having been used to launch the new Air Canada low-cost brand market once again this summer. Latin America from our hub, Toronto Rouge), with fare prices from Toronto proves to be a popular desti- Pearson International Airport.” A daily year round service to €538.11 return inc. taxes. The return nation with both business and leisure customers in Ireland,” said Eamon Toronto remains the goal of Air AC894 will depart Toronto at 21.45 and arrive in Dublin at 9.45 Am the Flanagan, Air Canada, Sales Repre- Canada’s Irish operation. sentative Ireland.




he Department of Transport launched an “ Integrated Irish Aviation Policy Issues Paper” for consultation. The consultation process wil take six weeks before

the paper goes back for approval prior to adopting policy in 2014. The paper is designed “to commence a consultation with stakeholders in the aviation industry” as a

follow up to the first Aviation Policy Conference for Ireland held last December. The Department plans to publish an initial draft National Aviation Policy Statement in the second


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

half of 2013. In the meantime it says submissions from all interested parties are welcome. Closing date June 30 to aviation

AER LINGUS reported

Feb traffic was down 1.5pc to 648,000 in Feb 2013 (28 days) from Feb 2012 (29 days) load factor 87.3pc down 1pc.

€1.3M is the figure for Christophe Mueller’s salary, while Andrew Macfarlane earned €876,000, according to Aer Lingus annual report. The Irish Independent approved: “while Mr Mueller's pay packet is large, he has turned the company around and given it a sense of purpose that was lacking for years, if not decades.”

EMIRATES launched triple daily flights to Perth.

CORK airport announced a record 2m

seats would be available from Cork to 50 destinations for summer 2013.

WIZZ AIR confirmed they are to discon-

tinue Cork routes to Gdansk, Katowice, Poznan from April/May. Cork, at one stage served by nine airlines, is now increasingly looking like it be served by just two.

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Aviation with Gerry O’Hare

ALITALIA CEO Andrea Ragnett resigned after announcing heavy losses.

AER LINGUS & JetBlue Airways announced a code-share, expanding an existing interline partnership at JFK and Boston, indicating both airlines are happy with the tie-up. Aer Lingus’s move to T6 at JFK (the JetBlue terminal) has been scheduled for April 3. THE EU cleared a trans-Atlantic tie-up between BA, AA, American and Air Canada.

RYANAIR has threatened to reduce its Spanish flights by 12pc in protest at tax increases. Capacity will be cut in Madrid, Barcelona, Seville and Valladolid and it will stop flying altogether at the northern airports of Asturias and Bilbao.

AER LINGUS launched its US schedule from Shannon Airport for the summer season when EI135 departed Shannon for Boston earleir than last season. Flights will operate from Shannon to Boston four times weekly and to New York three times weekly. Aer Lingus has increased capacity from Shannon and Dublin this summer with an additional 112,000 seats available. BA British Airways announced a new code-

share agreement with Loganair to connect Donegal to London Heathrow

AER ARANN principle shareholders Stobart group announced a five fold increase in profit. AER LINGUS organised a business

class menu competition at the Catex catering exhibition in the RDS last week. The winning team will have their food served on board Aer Lingus aircraft.

UNITED said they were delaying their proposed Denver-Tokyo route and removing the Dreamliner from their expansion plans until June 5. The FAA said it is reviewing the 787 battery fix.

AIR FRANCE-KLM, which is cutting 5,122 jobs and renegotiating pay and conditions with airline staff, announced a €300m loss.

AIR FRANCE said they would decide in July whether to sell CityJet or whether to keep it within the group after a restructuring program

LUFTHANSA guided a €990m profit

and indicated they are set to order another 108 aircraft scheduled for delivery between 2015 and 2025.

UNITED expanded its new baggage delivery service to 36 US airports, BagsVIP customers can have bags delivered within 100 miles radius of arrival airports.

EL AL extended Economy Plus Service to its 767-300 Fleet.

QANTAS reported profit after tax of AU$111m, up 164pc with up 2pc to $8.2bn.

CROATIA Airlines is to connect Ireland to Dubrovnik with charter flights.

The great route giveaway would leave the stripped Aer Lingus with just three double-daily services

What was left?

Mystery of Ryanair’s Aer Lingus route giveaway


ith the EU having turned down Ryanair’s takeover plan for Aer Lingus and the airline now seeking redress in the courts, further questions are being asked about Ryanair’s proposals to remedy the competition issue that arise over the 46 overlap routes. Aviation analyst Ralph Anker estimates that Ryanair would have given away three-quarters of Aer Lingus’ Dublin operations and be left with a network of 30 European routes to airports such as Amsterdam, Düsseldorf, Geneva, Hamburg and Zurich. “These are airports which Ryanair has never served because it claims the costs are too high.” “If Ryanair bought Aer Lingus it mysteriously promised to give away (with cash) almost three-quarters of Aer Lingus's Dublin routes to Flybe Ireland and British Airways. This leads to the world’s second biggest

unsolved mystery: Was the EU Commission being completely truthful when it said this would really matter to consumers (or does it just not like Ryanair?)” Anker’s analysed the 46 routes, 33 from Dublin, nine from Cork and two each from Shannon and Knock. Ryanair’s proposed solution to this situation was to agree to handover 43 of those routes to a new airline, Flybe Ireland, while the remaining three London routes would go to IAG (the owner of British Airways). Anker says that the 33 former Aer Lingus routes from Dublin that Flybe Ireland (and British Airways) would initially operate represents some 73pc of Aer Lingus’ non-transatlantic scheduled seat capacity from Dublin and 55pc of Aer Lingus’ schedule seat capacity from Cork. Ryanair owned Aer Lingus would

be potentially left with 30 European routes from Dublin, plus transatlantic services to Boston, Chicago, New York JFK and Orlando. The Aer Lingus transatlantic routes Ryanair would have bought would have to rely on feed from far fewer routes – unless it was going to agree to codeshare deals with Flybe Ireland (its supposed new rival) and connecting services from Ryanair’s existing hub network at Dublin. Anker concluded that there could be an emotional reason for O’Leary to try to acquire Aer Lingus, “a simple ambition of some of Ireland’s most powerful men to own their national carrier. The airline business does this to people and, let’s face it, they’ve worked and saved hard and can easily afford a few luxuries without shareholder objection.” The full analysis is on



ufthansa will be offering 27 flights weekly from Ireland in summer 2013. In addition to 21 flights a week from Dublin to Frankfurt, Lufthansa will be intro-

ducing a Dublin to Dusseldorf service twice a week on a Saturday and Sunday, a Dublin to Munich flight three times a week on a Saturday, Sunday and a Wednesday and a Knock to Dusseldorf service on a Saturday. The summer

services begin in April and runs through to the middle of October. Lufthansa reported a 15pc increase in bookings from Ireland in 2012, and earlier this year took over all Swiss sales in Ireland.

Helen Fyfe of Lufthansa

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Aviation with Gerry O’Hare

Lingus 757 plan

Options for Shannon, Toronto and San Francisco

EMIRATES said it will add a second Airbus A380 service on the Dubai – Sydney route from 1 June 2013.

ETIHAD Airways completed their switch to Sabre Airline Solutions ‘SabreSonic’ customer sales and service system successfully, having closed their system down on Saturday last. Etihad Airways and Garuda Indonesia announced new codeshare flights.

SWISS will be offering up to nine flights

a week from Ireland in Summer 2013, Swiss will return to a daily Dublin Zurich service from March 19 with an additional service on a Saturday and Sunday throughout July and August.

ETIHAD is to upgrade Melbourne – Abu Dhabi capacity with a Boeing 777-300er aircraft from December 1.

FRONTIER said it is going to pull

flights from Expedia after failure to ‘reach agreement.’

KLM Royal Dutch Airlines has reduced

American based carriers have 100 seats less to sell on their Boeing 757 aircraft than Aer Lingus A330 he leasing of three 757s would to operate year-round at Shannon and be anxious to get the business, the free up Aer Lingus options for free up an A330 for operation to San ANA B787 service to Tokyo, its only North America, including a Francisco area (not necessarily SFO). long-haul service is currently susBelfast is not being considered for pended. year-round presence at Shannon, the trans-Atlantic services, even before The IDA is also believed to be anxintroduction of its first service to Canada since 1976 and the reopening Aer Lingus’ moved from Aldergrove ious that San Jose get the direct servto Belfast City airport last year. ice from Ireland. of a West Coast route. The airline has spoken to San Jose Aer Lingus says it evaluates multiEarly in February Aer Lingus and Oakland airport in the past, with ple business cases and commercial began negotiations with unions on its proposals to wet lease three 757 air- San Jose the favourite to get the new opportunities all of the time and that craft, which led to the proposals being service. San Jose is not renowned for the757 is one of a number of business connections, but the main points of cases currently under review. widely leaked. “The Aer Lingus transatlantic The proposal is just one of several Los Angeles and Las Vegas are schedule for 2014 will not be fioptions being considered by Aer Lin- served. Aer Lingus’ partner Southwest Air- nalised until June of this year, at the gus, with the goal of opening up the lines is currently the main carrier earliest. No decision has been made possibility of a Toronto service. The 757s would enable the airline serving the airport. The airport would at this point in time.”




ritish Airways have given a preview of its new A380 interior and announced that its first Airbus A380 will fly on the "Red Carpet Route" to Los Angeles. Tickets went on sale immediately for travel from 15 October 2013. There will be five A380 services

weekly. British Airways A380 will offer four cabins and a total of 469 seats. n The First cabin will offer 14 seats on the main deck and will showcase a new product, evolved from First cabin, exclusive to the A380. The new product design utilises the

space available to provide increased privacy and personal space. British Airways say more details will be available before the start of A380 services. n Club World will be situated on both the main deck (44 seats) and on the upper deck (53 seats). The upper deck will feature a

new 2:3:2 configuration in the centre of the cabin. n World Traveller Plus will be situated on the upper deck with 55 seats. n World Traveller cabins will be available on both decks, with 104 seats on the upper deck and 199 seats on the main deck.



inoan Air has launched its Fokker 50 services from Dublin to Oxford. The service will be twice daily on two days per week plus Sunday evening, expanding to twice daily

when it adds a second aircraft to the Oxford base on 10 May. Minoan Air’s Chief Commercial Officer Marcos Caramalengos points out that Oxford is 40 minutes from London. He says Minoan identi-

fied Edinburgh and Dublin as having some of the highest levels of demand from Oxford and had a good mix of business and leisure. “The market size matched the right level of frequency with our type of aircraft. Convenience was

also a key factor, uncongested facilities, short check-in times and quick access for the passengers to the aircraft to ensure fast turnarounds.” “These are important if you are trying to extract a slightly higher yield than

fares from Ireland by up to 34pc, to flights from Dublin and Cork via Amsterdam to more than 50 European destinations. Aalborg in Denmark is reduced to €229, a 34pc saving. Other savings include routes to Zurich, Vienna and Frankfurt, all reduced by 29pc. Fares to Barcelona, Lisbon, Prague and Venice all have a reduction in price of 26pc.

IAG reported a loss of €997m. The group

plans capacity cut of 1.9pc in 2013, with Iberia capacity down 10p-15pc and BA capacity up 2p. The Centre for Aviation reported that IAG labour productivity fell in 2012.

INDIA It was speculated that the Indian

government is to liberalise air bilateral agreements with key markets.

KINGFISHER Airlines has lost had

its international and domestic flying slots handed to its competitors by the Indian government

ETIHAD Airways has purchased three

pairs of Heathrow slots for US$70m from Jet Airways of India.

DELTA Air Lines has introduced Westin

Heavenly In-Flight bedding in all of its BusinessElite cabins throughout the world.

RYANAIR announced a 9pc capacity cut at Stansted on the day the airport came under new ownership, in protest against a 6pc hike in fees

SHANNON have lost Ryanair Bristol and Rennes routes for summer 2013.

UNITED Airlines have launched flights

from NY to Anchorage and Michigan, the first direct NY-Anchorage service.

VIRGIN said its new domestic AngloScottish airline will be called Little Red.

RYANAIR and Webloyalty teamed up to offer passengers 10pc discounts at online stores

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Aviation with Gerry O’Hare

SAS entered intensive talks about the sale

of its Norwegian unit Wideroe.

SHANNON Four new members have

been appointed to the board at newly independent Shannon Airport: Kathryn O’Leary Higgins, Liam O’Shea, Joe Buckley, and Kevin McCarthy, joining chairman, Rose Hynes, airport director Mary Considine and Pat Dalton on the board.

Knock future shock

IBERIA's performance cost Willie Walsh his annual bonus.

DUBLIN airport was used by 2.3m passengers in the first two months of this year, 1pc up on 2012. CSA The Czech government plans to sell a minority stake in Czech Airlines to Korean Air.

SAS said it is to sell off its ground handling business and use Swissport. EMIRATES opened its 35th dedicated lounge at Milan Malpensa Airport.

FLY LEASING Colm Barrington’s Fly Leasing reported it had 109 aircraft on lease to 55 airlines in 32 countries.

BA British Airways announced changes to flight times to destinations including Las Vegas and Orlando. BOSNIAN BH Airlines was grounded and faces possible bankruptcy over bank debt.

BOEING said its revamped 777 could be

ready by 2020.

DAA business park beside T2 was advocated, amid hopes that cargo will be allowed be cleared in Dublin in the same way as passengers are in the future.

IBERIA’s first strike caused the airline to cancel 431 flights, Vueling 316, Air Nostrum 433 and Iberia Express 101. Iberia plans to run 85pc of long haul flights, 62pc of medium haul and 47pc internal flights. RYANAIR announced a new route:

Dublin to Bologna in June 2013.

LEGROOM A TripAdvisor poll indicated 38pc of passengers want more legroom without paying any extra fares and 87pc favour a low price over inflight entertainment. AIRLINES IN TRANSITION

More than 24 Airline CEOs, COOs and CIOs are due in Powerscourt for Airlines in Transition conference on April 11/12.

ALBERTIS group suggested Belfast international airport would NOT be offered for sale amid its portfolio of airport sell-offs. AIR CANADA announced its Dublin-

Toronto service will run May 18-Sept 29, daily 13.05 using 767-300, prices from €538.11 return inc taxes.

BA and Cathay Pacific are to codeshare Australia services from March 31. CORK Airport launched their advertising

campaign to promote direct routes from Cork: Better Still.

Questions posed by Shannon debt deal The terminal at Knock: Shannon’s debt forgiveness and growth plan as left independent airports vulnerable


nock airport has called for greater transparency in aviation policy as it fights to retain its market share. Knock process 685,000 passengers in 2012, making it one of the more robust regional airports in Europe, but since then it has lost routes to Leeds, Beauvais and Hahn and the capacity on Birmingham and Manchester routes has been reduced. The airport management is watch-


ing the efforts of Shannon to increase passenger numbers to 2.5m. Connacht people feel the target can be achieved without there being an impact on the regional airports in Knock, Cork and Kerry. The question of the future of Ireland Airport West Knock has been raised in the consultation process that followed the Government’s decision to grant Shannon Airport independence and free it of its debt earlier this year.

The issue led to a high profile disagreement between Enda Kenny and Michelle Mulherin at a Claremorris hotel on the day a top level Fine Gael delegation was due to meet directors of Knock airport. Knock’s East Midlands Friday flight is changing to Saturday this summer. Flybe will restore the Tuesday and Thursday flights to Manchester from May 22, meaning the route will then be back daily for the remaining summer schedule.


he Centre for Aviation has published an analysis of trans-Atlantic traffic since Open Skies was introduced ten years ago, commenting that it has left traffic in the hands of fewer competing airlines. SkyTeam’s Air FranceKLM/Delta/Alitalia JV, Star’s Atlantic Plus-Plus JV and oneworld’s

BA/Iberia/AA/Finnair JV are all granted anti-trust immunity and the alliances control 83pc of North Atlantic capacity. “One of the consequences of EU-US Open Skies was to allow the granting of antitrust immunity to joint ventures among market participants that were previously competitors.”

“Open Skies meant that an EU carrier could be acquired by another EU carrier without fear of losing its US traffic rights, which are the most important intercontinental routes for most EU airlines. The merger of Austrian into the Lufthansa Group and the formation of IAG from BA and Iberia could take place.

ATLANTIC SHARE 1 Delta 13.5pc 2 IAG 11.9pc 3 United Airlines 11.3pc (AA + US 11.3pc) 4 Lufthansa 10.8pc 5 Air France-KLM 8.6pc 6 American 6.7pc 7 Air Can 5.7pc 8 Virgin 5.1pc 9 US 4.6pc 10 Air Transat 4.4pc



atar have dropped plans to open a Dublin route, something that had been under discussion. There are rumours of a forthcoming increase in seat capacity to the Middle East but the airline has ex-

pressed the belief that “three’s a crowd” despite the high yield performance of both Etihad (based in Abu Dhabi) and Emirates (based in Dubai) on the route, and of Turkish in channelling traffic through its Istanbul hub.

Since 2010 Qatar has emerged from the shadow of Emirates and expanded rapidly, catching and overtaking Emirates in the number of routes served. It has a fleet of 113 passenger aircraft, including five Boeing 787s, which

are currently out of service, and serves over 100 destinations worldwide. The airline is also increasing its international profile. In July 2013, Qatar Airways will become FC Barcelona's shirt sponsors.

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The Coach House Learmunt


erry~Londonderry is fast gathering a reputation as a world-class destination and a city that offers something for everyone, from the bright lights of the centre to the natural delights of its rural hinterland. With the UK City of Culture programme about to get into full swing, there is really no better time to visit this ancient and fascinating city. Whether you fancy strolling along the unique shops and galleries of the Craft Village and Cathedral Quarter, fine dining at a top class restaurant or hotel, sampling the varied and vibrant night life scene, taking in the historic sites or meandering through Faughan Valley's forest parks,, Derry~Londonderry has it covered. Why not start off by getting your bearings along the City Walls, which are being celebrated throughout 2013 as this year marks the 400th anniversary of their construction. A little known fact is that the man who designed them, Sir Edward Dod-

LegendDerry A big year for the North West

dington, also drew up the plans for the Brackfield Bawn fortification in the Faughan Valley, and both ancient sites are well worth a visit.


ome June this year, the city's Guildhall will reopen following a multimillion pound refurbishment inside and out. Among its new features will be a new state-of-the-art Plantation era museum. And if this whets your appetite, you can check out the living legacy of the Plantation by visiting one of the satellite villages in the Faughan Valley which sprang up during this period, such as Eglinton, Drumahoe and Claudy. These villages are great bases for a rural retreat and offer a laid back alternative to the city centre with their craft shops and friendly cafĂŠs serving up a

taste of local life. Nestled in these areas you will find a choice of top hotels, a range of four and five star self-catering cottages and apartments, as well as B&B retreats that offer an ideal base from which to explore both urban and rural Derry. With 24 accommodation providers, there is something to suit all tastes and budgets, including the Georgian elegance of the Beech Hill Country House Hotel, the relaxing White Horse Hotel, the delightful Belfray Country Inn or the charming Derry Farm Cottages. The Faughan Valley lies just minutes from the former army barracks and new public arena at Ebrington, and the architecturally stunning Peace Bridge, so you are never far from the cultural action on either side of the River Foyle. Once you've had

your fill of the host of festivals, exhibitions, music events and cultural carnivals the city has to offer, you can escape the crowds by venturing a few miles east of the bustling core and discover the wooded wilds of the city's flipside in the Faughan Valley. Get away from it all by roaming through ancient woodlands, where native flora and fauna like the red squirrel, the otter and the ancient oak that gives Derry its name can be found amid magical waterfalls, ponds, wildflower meadows and walled gardens.


ess and Oak Woods are among Northern Ireland's best kept secrets with numerous recently developed trails to suit all ages and all levels of fitness. A new visitor centre at Ness provides helpful hints

on what to look out for across this natural wonderland, including the highest waterfall in Northern Ireland. There are several other woodland areas kitted out with walkways and ripe for exploring. Just beyond Eglinton, Muff Glen Forest offers a beautiful walkway ideal for bird watchers, while woodlands Killaloo, Ervey, and Tamneymore showcase dramatic high cliffs, babbling brooks and waterfalls. The baby of the bunch is Burntollet Wood, which was recently introduced by the Woodland Trust, and in the summer you can wander through colourful meadows of wild barley, buttercup, clover, red campion, daisies and ragged robin. Learmount Forest at the foot of the Sperrin Mountains surrounds a Gothic castle built in

1830 by the historic Beresford family, while the mature Claudy Country Park incorporates a picturesque riverside walkway. There are also a range of gentle recreational activities on offer which match the serene surrounding. The tranquillity and superb salmon fishing offered on the River Faughan and its tributaries is second to none. Alternatively Oaks Fishery, just a few miles from the city centre, offers some of the finest trout and pike fishing from bank or boat available in Northern Ireland. Or why not go for a drive with Faughan Valley Golf Club. The 18hole, Par 69 course measures 5,453 yards and stands on naturally draining banks of the Faughan. Derry~Londonderry really is a city of contrasts within one compact and easily accessible area, so why not combine the urban buzz with the rural radiance of the Faughan Valley to ensure you get the best of both worlds during your stay

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All the award winners for 2013



atrina Mc Mullan won the prestigious Leisure Travel Professional of the year award. Katrina has over fourteen year experience in the travel industry. Her background is in accounts and she brought her commercial skills to the job of selling travel and her achievement in this aspect of her work speaks for itself. Katrina has worked in all aspects of retail travel as well as looking after corporate customers. She is widely travelled and in Europe, USA , the Far East and Australia. Since starting in the travel industry Katrina has kept abreast of the changes


Katrina McMullen of Navan Travel accepts the best leisure travel professional award from Vincent Harrison of the DAA and technological developments which are part and parcel of the job. Katrina’s interest in photography and social media have played an important part in the development of Navan Travel’s successful Facebook page.


he award reflects the growing interest in Barcelona, which has pulled away from Copenhagen and Amsterdam as a second tier citybreak destination outbound from the Irish market and is closer to the big three of London, Paris and Rome. With over 2,500 hotels on sale through the trade and flight connections through three major airports, it has become a familiar leisure break. Las Ramblas is as familiar to the Irish tourist nowadays as Temple Bar. Gaudi’s treasure trove city is not just a destination in itself, it is a gateway to a greater province, the Ryanair destination of Gerona is a jewel in itself, as is

Gonzalo Ceballos accepts the best European city award from Dave Walsh of Etihad. Tarragona south of the sunseeker paradise of Salou, Portaventura of the giant roller coasters and a cluster of villages that deserve more notice from tourists.



hona McCann of Fcm was awarded the Corporate Travel Professional of the Year. Originally form Co Offaly, Rhona previously worked as corporate reservations agent at Travelcare and as retail agent at Eugene Magee travel. Accepting the award Rhona said she was delighted to be a finalist and winning has been a career highlight "over the last 11 years, FCm Travel Solutions has given me every opportunity to grow as a travel professional within the company. From Corporate Travel Agent, to Team Leader to my current role, Reservations Manager. This is a superb place to work, and it is all down to the support of the people around me" Valerie Metcalfe MD of FCm said "Rhona is an excellent leader and always goes the extra mile”

Rhona McCann of Fcm accepts the best leisure travel professional award from Vincent Harrison of the DAA

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Inside the Travel Business

AER LINGUS held a recent meeting

with the ITAA in a bid to further relationships and establish the agents’ website portal. Pat Dawson says that he expected further progress to have been made on the issue but that agents are anxious to re engage.

THE ITAA is pursing credit card companies for a reaction to their appeal on double bonding. “We are waiting for the banks and credit card companies to come back to CAR, “ Pat Dawson says. “In the absence of any progress we will consider a legal case.” CAR The spring round of bonds is not expected to see any travel agency failures.

WINGS ABROAD local excursions are pre-bookable on their web site. The tours offer golf packages in Kusadasi and in Bodrum, diving packages in the south-west and two day packages to Istanbul from Kusadasi. The firm are adding more excursions every week.

TRAVEL CENTRES agent sales are 45pc ahead of last year, although market activity has slowed down of late. The consortium’s founder and CEO Dominic Burke says “2013 has started strongly with significant sales growth experienced across practically all market sectors during January and February. Even though sales are up dramatically in comparison to this time last year, we are more impressed with the degree to which members are beginning to grow their sales of ancillary products such as car hire, attraction tickets and shore excursions as these are helping to improve overall gross profit margins by on average, two to three percent. Our focus has been on margin rather than turnover and that mantra is beginning to bear fruit.” DELOITTE AWARD Blue Insur-

ances and Tour America both named among Ireland’s ‘Best Managed’ companies in the Deloitte Best Managed Companies Awards.

FCM Travel Solutions was presented with Great Place to Work Award in the Burlington Hotel Thurs night. FUN DAY Irish Travel Fun Day for

Pieta House and the Make-A-Wish Foundation will take place Sunday Sept 1 at ALSAA sports club, Dublin Airport.

ON HOLIDAY English agent-only bedbank On Holiday Group launched in Ireland with Brendan Mallon ex-Falcon as sales manager.

AMADEUS research suggested that long-distance rail traffic in Europe will grow to 1.3bn passengers by 2020. CALIFORNIA Mary McKenna MD

of Tour America was appointed to board of California Convention & Visitors Bureau.

BOOKABED Zoe Donohoe has

joined the Bookabed reservation support team.

NYCand Co have launched a new Brooklyn tool kit to assist the travel trade in promoting.

Pat Dawson and Clare Dunne: devised successful growth strategy for ITAA

ITAA hits 101

Membership increases fast with new fee structure


imear Hannon has become the 101st member of the Irish Travel Agents Association, further evidence that the drain on membership in recent years has been reversed. There are also 58 affiliate members, travel industry partners. The association hopes to raise its membership to 250 over the next 18

months. It will be writing to all non members with information packs about membership. The membership drive has also highlighted another issue – that of non-members and former members still displaying the ITAA logo at their shops. The increase is down to a change in the fee structure which was formerly based on turnover. It has now been

capped at €3,500 for larger firms and the minimum of €450 raised to €600, leading to larger firms like World Travel Cenbtre, BCDM and Club Travel rejoining the Association. “Some of the members have turnovers of 6-7m and it did not make sense for them to join under the old fee structure,” Pat Dawson CEO of the ITAA says.



hailand hosted their largest ever promotion for Irish tour operators and agents in Dublin. The day featured four separate presentations, a lunch, table top session with Product Managers, Panel Discussion with three speakers, and table top session with the Thai

private sector. Director of the Tourism Authority of Thailand Suraphon Svetasreni led the team of 30 hoteliers and ground agents, who were visiting Ireland as a followup to ITB in Berlin. The delegation included 10 Tour Operators, 20 Hotels, 10

Phuket Hotels, 16 from TAT Head Office and four from TAT UK. They hosted 40 Agents from the Irish trade and six trade media. Thailand attracted 59,894 visitors from Ireland last year, making it our number two long haul destination after Australia.

Suraphon Svetasreni



nthony Fannarino, customer services expert, was announced as speaker at Travel Counsellors conference at Fota April 18-20. The theme of the conference will be: ‘With us it’s personal.’

So far more than 30 have confirmed their attendance including ten airlines, seven hotel companies, four tourism bodies, four cruise products and seven tour operators including two escorted specialists.

Sponsors include, Dubai Tourism, RCCL, Blue Insurance, Do Something Different, Emirates, South African Tourism, Tourism Thailand, and One & Only. Cathy Burke says “it’s a great opportunity for them to meet our travel counsel-

lors and showcase their products. To find out the full line-up for the conference, travel counsellors will need to wait for the conference – we may have a few surprises up our sleeves.”

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Inside the Travel Business


sales are up by 250pc comparing to 2012, due to their partnership with the travel trade. Tayfun Gokpinar says “it is of course good for us, but more importantly, is that our trade bookings to direct bookings ratio reached to 80pc. Surprisingly enough, we are very happy with that. We committed ourselves that we were going to be next to the travel agents and support them as much as we can. They remain the most important element in the travel business.”

INSIGHT Vacations’ India programme is

being boosted by a new contract with Etihad. Insight lower prices for premium and luxury escorted tours of India, Nepal and Bhutan.

Thomas Cook has 34 branches in the north

Cook shops close

Thomas Cook chops northern retail, Dublin unaffected


homas Cook in England announced it was to close 195 of its 1,169 retail stores and shed 2,500 jobs without imparting any further detail. The Dublin operation, where 23 of the 73 jobs where shed last year, is not going to be affected. While Thomas Cook famously closed its 104-year-old Dublin shop amid a storm of publicity in August 2009, the group still has 34 branches

in the north: 17 under the Co-Operative Travel brand, 14 under Thomas Cook and three Thomas Cook Large Stores, at Abbey Centre, Castle Court and the Park Centre. There is no immediate indication of which of these are to close although it is likely as many as five could go. The group says stores that are to be closed are situated in areas where Thomas Cook have multiple branches in close proximity or in a small area,

It also proposing closing stores which are not meeting performance targets, It is reported that Thomas Cook's CEO Harriet Green is considering selling Thomas Cook Essentials, Thomas Cook Sport and Elegant Resorts as part of the tour operator's restructuring. Ski specialist Neilson and Gold Medal are already likely to be sold. Only Thomas Cook Sport is marketed by the Irish operation.



he issue of tour operators advising clients to book direct has been raised between the two major trade bodies in the country, the Irish Travel Agents Association and the Irish Tour Operators Federation. “Agents are beginning to wonder if this is a true partnership at all,” Pat

Dawson, CEO of the ITAA says. “Our president Clare Dunne in all her speeches talks about the business as being inclusive. But it was to be a two-way thing.” “Agents are concerned about the amount money being spent by some of the tour operators promoting direct sell in advertising. The advertise-

The book direct dilemma ments are not mentioning the travel agent at all, not telling people to book with their local travel agent.” “We are calling on ITOF to look at this situation.”



he Travel Professional’s Skillnet will resume in 2013 provides training and support for the Travel Sector. The proposed schedule of training for 2013 is currently under construction, under the direction of the new Network Manager, Fionnuala Carter. Fionnuala has a broad

experience in education delivery, management and development and is keen to hear from companies and individuals interested in partaking in training. Courses include: n Microsoft Applications, n VAT, n Managing Credit Card Security, n Health and Safety,

n Digital Marketing, Social Media, Digital Management Tools, n Presentation Skills, n Train the Trainer, n Back Office Systems, Simple Management Accounts, n Supervisory and Management Development, n Sales, Marketing and Customer Service

It is also planned to run a series of short Webinars to provide a quick and easy training solution and provide a platform to inform future training. To find out more about the Travel Professional’s Skillnet, contact Fionnuala Carter 01-4179696 or at

CONTIKI Philip McCann has joined team 1STS as Campus Brand Ambassador for the Contiki holidays brand, to work with the relevant Student Unions in making sure Contiki has a presence at key student events. He will also be rolling out Contiki’s Book with your Travel Agent for expertise and a discount campaign which will start in April. BOOKABED have introduced a new

Customer Relationship Management system and a new Live Chat feature that allows staff to track information more conveniently on bookings. It allows each staff member to see all of the correspondence for a booking and queries to be prioritised. The new live chat feature can be accessed directly from the Bookabed site and will allow for anyone to connect directly to Bookabed staff with any queries.


pointed Colin Rillie as key account manager for the six counties across the Royal Caribbean International, Celebrity Cruises and Azamara Club Cruises brands.


The ITAA is insisting that travel agents who dynamically package are covered by proper indemnity insurance. “We have insisted that the application must clearly identify a personal indemnity certificate,” Pat Dawson, CEO of the ITAA says. “It is vital that cover is there otherwise it could expose the business to a failure. Outside of the association many agents do not have proper cover.” Over 18 months, upwards of 200,000 has been paid out on claims by holiday makers who made claims after a dynamically packaged trip.

ISTS Naoise Walsh joins team 1STS in a

marketing intern position for 6 months working with Carole Carmody. Naoise will work on all 4 brands under the 1STS banner.


was the winner of media coverage worth 20k at the Holiday World show.

WINGS ABROAD started their

“Think Turkey” project and wil be marketing the slogan over the coming months.

60 agents attend the VAT conference before

the ITAA AGM on March 13. Pat Dawson of the ITAA says he hopes the event will clear up some of the anomalies faced by travel agents ver VAT, with often contradictory advice.

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The irrepressible Karl Moen, a great ambassador for Disney, and Captain Mickey

Busman’s holiday: Karl Moen

Every month we ask a leading travel professional to write about their personal holiday experience. This month: Karl Moen, Ireland manager of Disney


s a child I remember many fabulous family holidays. Most of them involved going by car. In Ireland I distinctly remember a fortnight in Rossnowlagh, Co Donegal in a leaky cottage on the cliff overlooking the fabulous beach. I think it rained every day and we had to place buckets in strategic places around the cottage to catch the water. The following year (1976) we travelled by car ferry to England and toured Devon and Cornwall. That summer was so warm that fires were breaking out all over the moors and we found ourselves driving down roads with the hedges on either side on fire. It


was a fantastic adventure for a young boy.

My first experience of a Disney park was in 1991 long before I worked for Disney. I travelled to LA on holiday and took a bus to see the original Disneyland Park in Anaheim. It truly was amazing. This is the park that Walt Disney designed so families could spend time together and forget all their everyday life issues. I remember being amazed by the detail of everything in the park. When Disneyland Paris opened in April 1992 I couldn’t wait to visit. Working for Aer Lingus at the time meant I could jump on a plane and travel to Paris which I did that September.


t has been a good spring for holiday sales, but what will that mean for later in the season? Last year agents and consumers found themselves between a rock and a hard place, or to be more precise between a beach and a hard place. They had big demand for sun holidays abroad, especially as grey clouds spent much of the summer hovering overhead, but the agents had nothing to sell and the con-

sumers found themselves paying

€3,000 for a typical 2x2 bucket and

spade holiday. No doubt the memory of that dilemma has driven the consumer to book earlier this year. Advance sales in January and the first two weeks in February were 25pc ahead of last year. Sales declined dramatically, as they did last year, after St Patrick’s Day despite the strategy of some bigger holiday companies of kicking in heavy hitting adver-

tising campaigns at this period. That leaves the agent with a dilemma. Advance sales have gone up but capacity has not. When a fresh group of holiday makers come in looking for their escape to the sun what will be left to sell? Growth in holidays is going to be steadier than the first few months of the year would suggest. But it is now time for the tour operators and airlines to start releasing some extra seats to the market.

Staying in the Western themed Cheyenne Hotel made me feel like I was a boy again playing cowboys and Indians. The Disneyland Park offered as much fun as its Californian counterpart with Space Mountain and Big Thunder Mountain offering big thrill rides. Having recently experienced a seven night cruise to the East Caribbean on Disney’s Magic cruise ship I think sailing with Disney Cruise Lines in the Mediterranean this summer would be my ultimate holiday. The whole cruise experience was fantastic and I loved the design of the ship as a 1930s Ocean liner. The idea of being able to visit various parts of Europe while having your room waiting in the bay really appeals to me.

IN YOUR NEXT TRAVEL EXTRA: Available to Travel Agents or online April 20 2013

AUSTRALIA ISSUE Ireland’s most popular long haul destination 2013 THEME PARK GUIDE

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

Shannon O'Dowd and Kirstin Skinner at the Brendan Vacations eve ning in Merrion Square

rnflight and Juthaporn Re Martin Penrose of Top rity tho Au rism Tou nor of gronasa, Deputy Gover ng Thailand event azi Am the at nd aila of Th

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

vel Shanahan from Tra Adrienne Keogh and Ed the in nt eve Thailand elmood at the Amazing blin Du tel, Ho ury Westb

Christine Fenton and Deirdra O’Hara from Cla ssic Resorts at the Amazi ng Thailand event in the Westbury Hotel, Dublin

Out and about with the Travel Trade

Ann Smurfit and Pisano de Ashton from the Ar- Eileen and Pat Sheahan, McSorleys Kil larney gentinian embassy at the inaugural medieval ball with Gobnait and Don O'Leary, Mills Inn , Ba llyv ou rney, at the IHF Gala Din at Barberstown Castle ner

Tracy Crowley, Audrey Joyce and Linda Collins from Travelmood at the Amazing Thailand event in the Westbury Hotel, Dublin

Pelin Mnarli from the Marker Hotel and Ann Marie Mahon of Brendan Vacations at the Brendan Vacations evening in Merrion Square

Vasco Conseicao and David Dent of Tour America with Brian Hughes and Aoife Gregg of United Airlines during the airline's recent I love United sales blitz

n MSC Cruises and Sharo Lorenzo Diamantini of an nd Bre ring Shop at the Jordan of One Stop Tou rrion Square Me in g nin Vacations eve

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

dy Travel and Brendan Robbie Smart of Cassi nd at the Amazing Thaila Barry of Discover Travel blin Du tel, Ho event in the Westbury

Margaret Ryan hospitali ty consultant, Catherin e Bo dley from O’Callaghan Will Walsh from Travel broker, Linda Tiernan and Hotels and Sean Reid Mo ran Bewleys at the Bre Roisin Carberry all Topflight at the Amazing Thaindan event land event in the Westbury Hotel, Dublin

Adrian Kelly of Hugh Jordan's, Brian McEniff of the McEniff Hotel Group and Damien Caldwell of Bunzl Rafferty Hospitality, at the IHF Gala Dinner

d allaghan, Luke Fitzgeral Ireland's Donncha O'C d an is, nn Ge Mc t Susan and Tom Court with pilo e y at Dublin airport befor igle Qu ife Ao ss ste air ho h ad to Edinburg Aer Arann flew the squ

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APRIL 2013 PAGE 39


d O’Callaghan hotels an Catherine Bodley from nBre the at ys wle ran Be Karen Moran from Mo in Merrion Square g nin eve s ion cat Va n da

Sandra Carroll and Liz Morgan of Brendan Va cations at the Brendan Va cations evening in Me rrion Square

nds Carberry and Cora Mu Orlagh Hogan, Roisin the in nt eve nd aila Th ng of Topflight at the Amazi Westbury Hotel, Dublin

Fiona Herald of the Gu inness Storehouse, Ró isín Wallace of Manor House Hotels and Mary Noon e Irish Country Hotels at the Brendan event

Out and about with the Travel Trade

Rebecca Kelly of MSC, Carole Carmody and Jessica Byrne of 1sts at the Brendan Vacations evening in Merrion Square

le Andre Bedford, Richard Harbourne and Margaret Declan Kearney of Aer Lingus with Jen Hoeltz to trip ss pre r Lingus Kelly from Travel Counsellors at the Amazing If VisitIllinois on the Ae Thailand event in the Westbury Hotel, Dublin go Chica

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

Paul Bates of Brendan Vacations, Catherine O’Reilly and Brian Kenn edy at the Brendan Va cations evening in Me rrion Square

rine Morrison and RayJackie Herssens and Lisa Byrne from TravelStephen Sands, Kathe mood at the Amazing Thailand event in the West- mond Lee from Riviera travel at the Amazing Westbury Hotel, Dublin bury Hotel, Dublin Thailand event in the

Ian Kavanagh of Heritage Island and Katie Farr ogan Travel accepts he Frances Grogan of Gr t rell of Merrion Hotels at the Brendan Vacations en rec m fro ys wa Air of US prize from Fiona Ryan evening in Merrion Square incentive ng oki bo ts’ en ag vel tra

Roisin Carberry of Top flight and Eoghan O'M ara Walsh of Heritage Isla nd at the Brendan Vacations evening in Merrio n Square

Denise Flynn and Ken Regan at the inaugura l medieval banquet in Ba rberstown Castle.

John Keenan from Taylor's in Treerock and Marie Slattery from Shannon Heritage at the Brendan Vacations evening in Merrion Square

David Hanahoe, John Hennessey-Niland of the American Embassy, Ma rk Holohan and Fran Mc Fadden of Bord Gais, at the IIHF Gala Dinne r

mett Kavanagh and Au Bernard Kavanagh, Em in g nin eve s ion cat Va ndan drey O'Brien at the Bre Merrion Square

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Travel Extra Apr 2013  

Cruise issue

Travel Extra Apr 2013  

Cruise issue