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Home Holidays: The big openings


Irish airports record year

Ryanair leads Europe


Luxury log Around the world in 64 pages





Reign of Spain

Record 1.8m Irish go south on holidays in 2016

reland continues to lead La Liga of inbound tourism growth in to Spain with a 37.2pc rise between November 2015 and November 2016 according to Spain’s Instituto Nacional de Estadistica, INE. Irish visits to Spain are up 22.7pc for the year so far to a record 1,742,615. The figure for November was 91.534, up 37.2pc on November 2015, The seasonal concentration of Irish tourism to Spain shows the importance of “high season” summer travel. Over 50% of trips by Irish residents will take place during the months of SPAINBOUND May, June, July and August. 2008 1,659k Six regions ac2009 1,458k count for 93.6pc 2010 1,176,198 of Irish visits to 2012 1,280,459 Spain: Canaries, 2012 1,189,070 Andalusia, Cata2011 1,270,038 lonia, Madrid, 2014 1,291,434 Valencia and 2015 1,377,965 Balearic Islands. 2016e 1.8m The big in-

WET’N’WILD End of an era, The USA’s oldest water park Universal’s Wet n’ Wild water park closed at the start of the year to make way for Volcano Bay.

PASSPORTS A record 733,060 Irish passports were issued in 2016 including 67,972 to people in the north and 64,996 to people in England, while 7,205 passports were issued at the consulate in New York. The months after Britain’s EU referendum saw a 41pc increase in applications from England and a 27pc increase from the north.

CHEAP SKI It was reported by Crystal Ski that Bansko was passed as Europe’s cheapest ski resort by Kranjska Gora Slovenia. J1 VISA Ireland and US agreed to ex-

tend the J1 visa programme for another three years, although fears lingered that it might be cancelled by president-elect Trump.

AUSTRALIA‘s government lowered its controversial backpacker tax to just 15pc.

BIKES outnumber cars for the first time in Copenhagen.

Natalia Bel of Visit Salou and Katerina Brohmstein of Gran Canaria

creases to regions, reflecting extra air capacity off a low base, are Galicia (up 75.61pc and Murcia (up 39.4pc).] Last summer Irish and Spanish airlines and charter tour operators

PORTUGAL Tourist Board reported 10.3pc growth from Ireland up to September.

placed 1.4m seats outbound to Spain. FATIMA Pope Francis confirmed he is Capacity of the airlines for Winter to visit Fatima for the centenary of the Appar2016-17 (Oct-March) from Ireland itions of Fátima on May 12-13 2017. to Spain is forecast at 830,185 seats. GUARDIANS Twilight Zone Tower of Terror attraction at Disney California Adventure Park closed onJanuary 2, to be replaced in Summer by the Guardians of the Galaxy-themed ‘Mission: Breakout.’ MUNICH Four airlines com- SEAWORLD Entertainment is partpeting with the arrival of Ryanair nering with Abu Dhabi-based Miral to develop and Transavia on a route domina Seaworld on Yas Island in the United Arab ated by Aer Lingus and Lufthansa, Emirates with a dedicated marine life research, watch for onward connections. rescue, rehabilitation and return centre. PORTO Aer Lingus are new NEW YORK The number of visitors on the route and Ryanair increased to New York city surpassed 60m for the first their service. time and have reached 61.8m (13.1m interSPLIT New Aer Lingus service national, 48.7m domestic), putting the city on to Croatia, Dubrovnik also gets new course to overtake Orlando as America’s most flights from Belfast and Zadar is visited city. already served.


AMSTERDAM Once served by just one airline form Dublin, now Ryanair and KLM are competing with Aer Lingus, expect prices to plummet. DOHA The big marquee new

destination for 2017, there is a visa free stopover available from Qatar airways.

HARTFORD Daily from

Aer Lingus since September a route that opens up New England.

ICELAND New flights from Cork and Belfast, Iceland tourism has trebled in recent years and it is easy to see why.

KRABI Used to be two-stop, now one stop through Doha from July, previously most people had to get an internal flight from Bangkok. MIAMI Aer Lingus’s marquee route form the autumn opening up west Florida and cruise opportunities.

THAT MOMENT TIME STANDS STILL On holidays designed especially for families

Offer is subject to availability, terms and conditions apply. Thomson is fully bonded and licensed by CAR (TO 021)




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3 News 6 Hotels: News 8 Brochures 10 Miami 12 Cruise ships

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28 Austria ski 30 Hartford 34 Holiday World 44 Flying 50 Cruise & ferry 52 Camping 54 Agents golf day

56 Global Village Inside the travel industry 57 ITAA conference 58 Window seat: Our columnists 60 Pictures: Out and about

Know before you go

t has been a whole three months since you last went on holidays? That is sooooh last year. Believe us, everything has changed in the meantime..

approach the food hall with free wifi and lots of power charge points.

APPS The Dublin

Airport app shows gate numbers, gate changes, check in numbers, baggage belt and an estimated time to clear security. Ryanair and Aer Lingus have both improved their online check in product to enable you to save boarding passes in Apple wallet and its android equivalent. The airport apps use Flighttracker24 to track locations of aircraft.


Dublin, 4am has become the new 5am. Dublin airport has brought forward the security shift times to 4am in a bid to beat the early morning gridlock at the airport with the 15 machines in Terminal 1 under particular pressure. Queue times for security at Dublin airport are regulated and penalties kick in if they extend beyond 30 minutes, so they do their best to move you along. If you are running late, present staff with your boarding pass and they will fast track you. For speediest throughput, use the queues to the right of the security area.

T2 has all the trendy destinations, Emirates and Etihad alternating on gate 407, the first on the right after you have descended Ireland’s longest escalator. Qatar will be arriving in June and Etihad will move

Passenges pass through Dublin airport

to the old 300 gates at T1 Gates 401-6 downstairs are blocked off for much of the day by US pre-clearance. The new 51st and Green lounge at the end of the pier is situated conveniently for the JFK and Chicago flights but for destinations like Orlando and Hartford you will have to re-ascend an escalator after exiting the lounge to reach your gate. Heathrow and Gatwick flights are always on the next nearest gates.

T1 Trans-Atlantic flights using T1 include Air Canada, ASL, Ethiopian and Westjet. Lufthansa, BA, SAS and some Aer Lingus flights are to be found at the 300 gates. Ryanair are at the 100 gates, a long curved walk from the terminals but there are retail and food options at the pier. Prices are the same as in the Loop. Cityjet and the charters are to be found at the 200 gates, where the process of separating arriving and departing passengers has begun.

does get crowded at peak times 5am-8am and DAA are adding capacity to fast track in T2 from January and T1 from July. There is also a separate VIP service which can be bought by commuters to celebrate special occasions such as honeymoons.


The airport unveiled 18 self-service bag drop units in T1 check-in Area 13 for use by Ryanair and three further self-service bag drop units in check-in Area 7 for common-use by other airlines. This is in addition to the 42 self service kiosks in T1 for Aer Lingus passengers which comprise 32 self-service kiosks and 12 self-service bag drop units. The 12 self tag units for Aer Lingus T2 customers are touchless bag drop kiosks, which remove the need for the passenger to interact with the machine beyond depositing the bag. The machine will automatically detect the tag and assess the weight of the bag.

FAST TRACK SHOPPING DAA has a membership system allowing parking in the short term car park and fast-track. Book on the website. Fastrack

The shop and collect facility can be used in either terminal.


The Loop shopping area on the approach to the 300 gates has been upgraded with a sleek new curved aisle and the approach to the food hall has been extended with more dining options.

LOUNGE The new airside 51st & green lounge for USbound passengers means they can clear CBP and then relax with a great view of aircraft around them. The Terminal 1 Anna Livia lounge has been extended to bring together the former Anna Livia lounge and the BMI executive lounge into one large unit with seating for 110 customers with facilities bringing it into line with the south side lounges in T2. Economy passengers may use the facility for a walk-in price of €20 for three hours. Etihad have the best lounge in the airport off the walkway from T2 to T1. It is actually closer to the 300 gates the airline will use in 2017, Aer Lingus have a two storey lounge next door while the Anna Livia lounge in T2 is accessible to Priority Pass holders. There are new relaxation areas in T1 at the 300 gates as well as a bay as you

US CBP The US border area has been rearranged to speed things up and four more officers deployed at peak. Since ESTA the only form to be filled is a customs declaration. Passengers travelling on an ESTA and US Citizens can use 18 self-service Automatic Passport Control kiosks reducing the time they spend with an US Officer to less than 30 seconds. All of Aer Lingus’s US-bound flights, including afternoon flights, now pre-clear in Ireland. The Ethiopian service to Los Angeles does not use CBP. PASSPORTS

The self service immigration gates at Terminal 1 are a bit daunting at first but passengers have gotten used to them and they work well, scan in your passport, then advance to the next gate and look at the camera. They are only valid if you have a chip in your passport and you are over 18.

BUSES The departures road to Terminal 1 has been upgraded. Aircoach, Airport Hopper, Ardcavan, Bus Eireann, Citylink, Gobe, Goldline, John McGinley, Kavanagh, Dublin Coach N7, Wexford Bus and Dublin bus routes are located at the back of the multi-storey car park and the coach park opposite T1. There are notices in the terminal locations by zone. If you arrive to T2 it is quickest to exit by the left hand doors .


France still leads

Turkey drops out of top ten world favourite destinations


nternational figures for the top ten tourist destinations for 2016, due for release May 2017 by UNWTO, are likely to show France 83.8m (down 0.8pc), USA 75.9m still in the lead amongst world tourism destinations, despite being down 2pc on 2015. It will be followed by Spain with around 75.1m (up 10.1pc on last year. The other top ten finishers are, China 59.4m (up 4.5pc), Italy 54.8m (up 8pc), Germany 38.1m (up 9pc), Britain 36.8m (up 7pc), Mexico 35m (up 9pc), Thailand 34m (up 14.1pc), Russia 30.4m (down 3pc) with Turkey 27.1m (down 31.3pc), dropping out of the top ten. Irish travel to Turkey has also been hit. While Turkish airlines dropped their Istanbul service from double daily to daily for winter, this will be restored to double daily in March. Irish holiday makers once had a choice of eight weekly charters to south-west Turkey. This will be down to just two weekly charters in 2017 to Izmir (a scheduled Aer Lingus flight operating with a charter license) and Dalaman. Figures should be treated with caution as some countries are slower than others in releasing statistics..

TOURISM LEADERS 1 France 83.8m (down 0.8pc) 2 USA 75.9m (down 2pc) 3 Spain 75.1m (up 10.1pc) 4 China 59.4m (up 4.5pc) 5 Italy 54.8m (up 8pc) 6 Germany 38.1m (up 9pc) 7 Britain 36.8m (up 7pc) 8 Mexico 35m (up 9pc) 9 Thailand 34m (up 14.1pc) 10 Russia 30.4m (down 3pc)


AMBASSADOR Brian T Burns as the new US ambassador to Ireland in succession to Kevin O’Malley. Brian T Burns was the leading fundraiser behind an effort to restore Marsh’s Library, in Dublin. He is the chief benefactor of the Irish Famine memorial in Massachusetts.

AIR INDIA is reserving seats specifically for women travelling alone, at no extra charge and they may be the first known airline to do so.

PARIS’s mayor unveiled plans to permanently pedestrianise the city centre.


was bitten by a crocodile after trying to take a selfie in Thailand.

ON BOARD A baggage handler isn’t saying how he ended up inside an aircraft’s cargo hold during a flight from Charlotte to Washington Dulles International Airport.

TITANIC A researcher suggested that an iceberg did not cause the sinking of the Titanic after all but faulty construction instead.

CATASTROPHIC DELAY Agnes Angrand of Atout France in London responsible for the Irish market and Christian Mantei, Director General of Atout France at Rendez Vous de France


virtual queueing. For the first time riders won’t have to carry their own rafts up the slides. Universal say the 18 attractions will include a multi-directional wave pool with sandy beaches, winding river, twisting multi-rider raft rides, speeding body slides that drop from the top of the volcano into the waters below Each area of the

park will offer resort-like amenities, such as concierge locations and lockers. There will also be themed restaurants and bars located throughout the park offering food and beverage options and volcano views.. The 200foot volcano, Krakatau, will lie at the heart of the park, inviting guests to venture through caverns and waterfalls.

A cat that escaped in the cargo delayed a flight for four hours, then the flight took off anyway when it could not be found.


England 1,836,000 Spain 1,740,000 France 550,800 USA 360,000 Italy 351900 Portugal 283,000 Germany 194,000 Wales 135,000 Netherlands 118,000 Scotland 109,000 Greece 74,000 Turkey 71,000 Thailand 66,000 Poland 66,000 Austria 59,000 Australia 58,000 Belgium 56,000


niversal Studios Orlando have confirmed the opening day for their third Orlando theme park will be June 1, 2017. Opening on the site of America’s original water park, Wet’n’Wild, the 28-acre Volcano Bay will offer 18 rides in four themed areas and promises to “redefine” the queue experience with




J APAN Rail PASS 7, 14 and 21-day Rail Passes with

available in ordinary (Second) and green (First) class for travel throughout Japan For information and tickets contact:

01-663 3933 7 Herbert Street, Dublin 2


HOTELS SAVILLS are seeking expressions of interest for the development and operation of a 402 bedroom,11-storey four-star hotel adjacent to Dublin Airport’s Terminal 2, The hotel has already received planning permission and will be the fourth largest Irish hotel when it opens in 2019. The new property will have a total floor area of 22,840 square metres and its own bar, restaurant, cafe and conference facilities. Construction on which will begin next October and result in the creation of 400 new jobs.

TETRARCH Capital, the owners of the 764-bedroom Citywest Hotel, the country’s largest which recently underwent a €13m upgrade, predicted double-digit growth in revenue and profit for 2016 after reporting pre-tax profits of €1.55m and revenues up to €22.8m in 2015. DALATA announced it is to add 950 rooms to its owned and leased portfolio in its fourth quarter report. Dalata is to increase the bedrooms tally in Cork from 120 to 165 beds, on an existing part-developed hotel site on Lapps Quay between the historic 125-bed Imperial Hotel and the 191-bed Clayton (ex-Clarion) Hotel. STR results showing that RevPAR for the

Dublin market has increased by 16.6pc for the 11 months to the end of November versus 2015. STR Global reported Dublin had a 3.7pc decline in occupancy to 78.3pc but a 3.8pc increase in ADR to €121.03. As a result, RevPAR was flat at €94.80.

BELFAST is to get a new hotel behind popular venues El Divino and The Albany in the former war memorial building on Waring Street in the city’s Cathedral Quarter. GALWAY’s four-star Radisson Blu reported a €4.2m profit.

TEMPLE Bar Hotel has been bought for €55.1m by global hotel operator The Ascott Limited.

CQ Hotels is to commence two expansion projects beside its Radisson Blu property at Dublin Airport: a six-storey extension to its existing property that will include 131 new bedrooms, and a new hotel.

RADISSON Blu got approval for a €60m limited service hotel near Dame Street.

TRINITY Lodge in three Georgian houses with 26 guest bedrooms on South Frederick Street was sold for €7m to the international hotel group.

SHELBOURNE Hotel grew revenue to €35m and reported pre-tax losses of €454,697.

TRUMP International Hotel & Golf Links in Doonbeg recorded pre-tax losses of €2.5m million last year as gross profits fell by 11pc to €3.68m when it was not operating at full capacity in 2015 and 2016 due to renovation work Appalachian Property Holdings has applied for planning permission for a €21m, 155-bedroom on the former home of Andrews Lane Theatre in Dublin. The theatre was sold for €4.4m in April 2016.

Carlow for value


Some surprises in the Trivago hotel awards

vlon House in carlow won the best value accommodation in Ireland as the price comparison website Trivago compiled their set of first hotel awards. Avlon was one of several surprises in the results across eight cateegorie.s Winners of the Tripadvisor and AA award Harvey’s Point was back on the podium, with two category wins as was Killeen House in Killarney, another serial winner in peer review and judged awards. Tom Donagher, Owner, Avlon House said: “all we try to do is give visitors to our home a comfortable stay in a warm environment with clean well-equipped en-suite room followed by a hearty breakfast from our menu. It is important to us in a busy world that guests’ quality leisure time is respected at all times, offering advice on request and privacy, tranquility and peace as standard.” The data for the B&B, 3-star, 4-star

Harvey’s Point: already tripadvisor and AA hotel of the year

and 5-star categories is taken from the trivago Rating Index (tRI), which 5* Merrion Dublin aggregates over 175 million hotel re4* Harvey’s Point Donegal views globally. 3* Killeen House, Killarney An algorithm is used to produce a Giuesthouse: Tides Ballybunion 100-point index score, which is upValue Avlon House Carlow dated daily to produce clear, transparBreakfast Ariel House Dublin ent and unbiased results. Service Killeen House Kerry The data for the Best Value, Accomm Harvey’s Point Donegal


Breakfast, Service and Guest Room categories was taken from a semantic analysis, in which guests’ online reviews were analysed to identify which hotels scored highest in these categories. For the trivago Awards, hotels with sufficient availability and at least 20 reviews were considered.


Albufeira €60 Amsterdam €145 Athlone €101 Aveiro €66 Bangkok €55 Barcelona €111 Barcelona €114 Basel €169 Berlin €93 Berlin €93 Berne €188 Bilbao €89 Birmingham €109 Blackpool €65 Bordeaux €106 Bournemouth €79 Braga €55 Brighton €101 Bruges €114 Brussels €109 Budapest €69 Cascais €109 Coimbra €57 Cologne €120

Copenhagen €165 Córdoba €82 Cork €108 Covilhã €83 Dingle €82 Dresden €87 Dubai €151 Dublin €131 Düsseldorf €116 Edinburgh €111 Estoril €60 Évora €74 Faro €61 Fátima €50 Figueira da Foz €66 Florence €97 Frankfurt €108 Funchal €94 Galway €86 Genf €226 Girona €85 Glasgow €107 Granada €84 Graz €99

Guimarães €65 Hamburg €112 Hannover €99 Innsbruck €118 Istanbul €58 Kenmare €99 Kilkenny €88 Killarney €107 Kinsale €100 Krakow €58 Lagos €62 Las Palmas €111 Las Vegas €130 Lausanne €180 Lille €99 Limerick €93 Lisbon €100 Liverpool €94 London €172 Lyon €107 Madrid €101 Málaga €88 Manchester €143 Marrakech €91

Marseille €81 Milan €116 Montpellier €88 Münich €122 Nantes €75 New York €307 Nice €86 Nürnberg €112 Oviedo €66 Palma €133 Pamplona €76 Paris €135 Peniche €54 Ponta Delgada €62 Portimão €45 Porto €75 Póvoa de Varzim €56 Prague €73 Reykjavik €191 Rome €91 Salamanca €69 Salzburg €117 San Francisco €183 San Sebastián €92

Santa Cruz €79 S de Compostela €66 Segovia €92 Setúbal €56 Sevilla €91 Sintra €76 Sligo €92 Strasbourg €165 Stuttgart €122 Toledo €86 Toulouse €85 Tralee €87 Valencia €75 Venice €121 VianadoCastelo €76 Vienna €106 VilaNova €70 Viseu €69 Waterford €85 Westport €90 Wexford €87 York €110 Zaragoza €64 Zürich €213


Your favourite airline lounge is getting BIGGER


urkish Airlines Lounge Istanbul”, already a world-class facility, has added another 2400 m2 to its existing 3500 m2, increasing the size by over 40pc in order to meet the needs of growing passenger numbers. Located in the departure area of Ataturk Airport, Istanbul, the expanded lounge adds a second floor to the existing space and connects them with a spiral staircase that integrates a global sphere, representing the worldwide reach of Turkish Airlines. The new addition creates additional space and increases the capacity of the lounge to over 1000 guests. The existing facility, which included a children’s playground, library, billiards area, prayer room and teleconference section, has seen an expansion of the rest and shower space as well as additional massage beds. The enhanced lounge caters to virtually every passenger need—whether that is to sit quietly or find activities that help to pass the pre-flight time. The lounge concept provides a wide range of activities and services that will bring additional satisfaction to customers with diverse requirements.


he lounge is operated by Turkish Airlines’ catering partner, TURKISH DO&CO, a group that has repeatedly won awards for providing Turkish Airlines’ passengers with the best meals in the sky. The same attention to detail and variety is evident in the multiple and changing varieties of food available to the lounge guests. Meals and snacks are provided as appropriate to the time of day and many items are cooked on site to ensure maximum flavor and freshness. Equally varied is the selection of beverages which provide something for every passenger’s needs. The lounge combines both mod-


ern and traditional design, a space able to provide traditional Turkish hospitality in a setting that offers the most modern conveniences, such free Wi-Fi access through the lounge.


he spiral staircase connects the two sections of the lounge and its design represents the connectivity that Turkish Airlines provides to its global customer base. It incorporates a tea garden reminiscent of those found in Istanbul and provides an experience similar to places in the city where both residents and visitors can enjoy a Turkish tea and bagel. If you wish to have heartier fare or wish to learn a bit about Turkish cuisine, the lounge provides unique tastes of Turkish and World dishes with a twist not found in other airline lounges. For instance, it includes pastries prepared according to the recipes from Vienna’s famous pastry shop, Demel. And there is a local corner where chefs prepare regional Turkish delicacies that appeal to both the eye and the taste buds under a classically designed copper range hood--including ‘Mantı’ and ‘Gözleme’. In another corner guests can sample famous specialties such as ‘Turkish

Pide’ and ‘Börek’; newly roasted in its special oven. Plus, throughout the lounge there are offerings of fruit, salads, appetizers and nuts as part of Turkish hospitality. For those wishing a bit more excitement, there is a miniature model of Istanbul through which guests may experience a virtual car rally as well as other game consoles and electronic diversions. In keeping with Turkish Airlines’ ongoing support of golf related events as ‘Turkish Airlines Open’, the lounge includes a realistic golf simulator for passengers interested in trying their skills while awaiting a flight. In short, the refurbished and expanded lounge offers, depending on one’s mood and needs, a place of quiet relaxation, a place to shower and revive, a place to snack, dine or watch food presentations, a spot for children to play and/or an arcade full of exciting and challenging electronic diversions. These are all integrated into a space that reflects both Ottoman and Seljuk architectural roots with different activities available in each colonnaded section. The wide range of activities and services transforms preflight or connecting time into its own special experience, unique to Turkish Airlines.

urkish Airlines invites you to come visit its new lounge and experience for yourself the very special environment that has been created to make your travels on Turkish Airlines even more memorable. Voted European Airline of the year for the past 6 consecutive years (2011-2016) and currently ranked 4th best globally. Turkish Airlines departs 10 weekly from Dublin Terminal 1 to Istanbul and beyond to 302 destinations in 116 countries worldwide which is more than any other airline. To support this extensive network, Turkish Airline’s modern fleet consists of 332 aircrafts (passenger and cargo).


four star airline, Turkish Airlines prides itself on its level of service quality which has been recognised with numerous Skytrax Passenger Choice Awards including: Turkish Airlines chosen as the “Best Airline in Europe” for the sixth consecutive years in the Skytrax World Airline Awards. (Source: Skytrax) Best Airlines in Southern Europe (Source: Skytrax) World Best Business Class Dining Lounge (Source: Skytrax) World Best Business Class On-Board Catering (Source: Skytrax)



Sun & snow



opflight and Italy are, quite simply, synonymous. Whether it’s a city break your clients want, or a family holiday at the seaside or a cultural experience in one of the country’s great cities, the Topflight brochure offers it all. The main destinations are Sorrento/ the Amalfi coast, Lakes Garda, Como and Maggiore, Rome, Sicily, Tuscany and the Venetian and Adriatic Rivieras. But Topflight also offers slightly less well-known destinations such as Puglia and Liguria with walking tours . I turned straight to Puglia - because I’ve never been there - and didn’t even recognise any of the main towns featured in the brochure (it’s in Italy’s


ne wonders, sometimes, if tour operators overdo it a little to entice customers. The “If Only” brochures have so many great photographs, one might be forgiven for thinking “Been there, done that” after reading it ... Just joking. But you get the point. The brochures are so lushly-illustrated, and heavy as a result, you wonder if it’s cost-effective. Page after page, for example, about Dubai with photos of the desert, the hotels, the beaches, the skyscrapers and the hotel rooms. Ah, the hotel rooms. Beds the size of snooker tables, bathrooms the size of football pitches, pools the size of small oceans. Health clubs, gyms, spas, tennis courts. This is luxury big-time. The brochure helpfully tells you that the fabulous Jumeirah Beach Hotel is located on Jumeirah Beach with views of one of the most famous hotels in the world, the Burj Al Arab to entertain you as you dine in one of its 19 restaurants and bars. Fancy a desert stay? There’s the Banyan Tree Ras Al Khaimah Beach or the Banyan Tree Al Wadi where you can


“heel”). Having perused what’s on offer here, I wonder how I’ve missed it. But the better-known cities are not overlooked either with holidays in, or close, to Rome, Venice, Verona, Florence on offer with a wide range of hotel types, all explained in detail helping you choose. I was also delighted to see that Topflight is offering a specialist tour of the Dolomite Mountains, surely somewhere few Irish people visit. The landscape here is spectacular (think “Lord of the Rings” meets “Harry Potter”) and can be yours on a one-day trip for just €55 from Lake Garda.


taste bedouin living amidst stretches of desert sand with views of camels, oryx and gazelles. In the former, each villa has its own plunge pool, beach cabana and bedroom with tented ceiling with complimentary shuttle service to the latter where there’s an 18-hole championship golf course in the desert oasis. Then there’s Mauritius, home of the world’s second largest barrier reef (after the Australian one) which protects its pristine beaches from the huge waves of the Indian Ocean. Having stayed for one unforgettable week at the Constance Bell Mare Plage I can unreservedly recommend it. As well as a brochure featuring Arabia, “If Only” has another (equally heavy) focussing on Asia and mainlining in India, Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, Bali, Malaysia, Laois and Singapore amongst other destinations. Palm trees, white sand beaches, infinity pools, top-class service - if that’s what you’re seeking, you’ll find it in the “If Only” brochures.

ust about any of your clients’ desires can be bought in advance of jetting off on a ski holiday. Any kind of accommodation from modern spa hotels to chic Alpine chalets. There are add-on extras such as skilift passes, ski-packs and ski-lessons. But surely when they come in to book their first ski holidays, top of your clients’ wish-list will be a friendly, knowledgeable and well-trained ski representative. They may not ask for it - but they want and need an understanding soul in resort who will guide them through their first days on the slopes. The Topflight 2017 ski and snowboard brochure makes it clear that all their ski-reps are continually-trained, friendly and reliable. If you’re in a strange country, doing something totally unfamiliar (ski) in a hostile environment (a seemingly precipitous Alpine slope) these are valuable commodities. Topflight in 2017 features all the

usual Austrian destinations but there’s also an increasing French influence with holidays in the resorts of Les Arcs and Tignes. There’s an expanded list in other French destinations too with 50 ski chalets in response to customer feedback. These are ideal for families or groups travelling together. In addition there is a simplified choice of ski-packs on pages 10-11 of the brochure offering all the essentials extras. For the non-skiers, holistic massages, reflexology, aromatherapy, steam baths, saunas and facials galore await those whose idea of hell is to zip down a steep slope covered in frozen water at 40mph. For those with children, the Topflight brochure gives you the low-down on the basics like insurance, tuition and equipment. It’s really all here with details on kindergartens, free lift passes and recommended resorts where both they and you can enjoy your holiday.

ou’d be an adventurous traveller if you visited India for the first time without expert advice and guidance and that’s what the Insight Vacations specialist brochure offers - as well as Bhutan, Nepal and Sri Lanka for good measure. The brochure offers holidays as short as three days (Mumbai) or as long as 20 days (The Grand Tour) where you are guaranteed luxury, local knowledge and expert guidance on the history and peoples of the sub-continent. From the wildlife (tigers) to the culture and religious festivals - how could you possibly understand or appreciate it all without (at least at first) someone on

hand to explain, engage and enlighten you? Cast aside all preconceptions of “Delhi-belly” and enjoy the luxurious accommodation and hospitality India has to offer. From the Himalayas to the Taj Mahal to snake charmers and spice markets, there is nowhere on earth like India. Insight Vacations also offer specialist brochures on holidays in Europe, the USA/Canada and South America. The five-star brand includes Uniworld Boutique River Cruises and the Red Carnation Hotel Collection.



zamara is the decidedly upmarket cousin of the cruise industry with 61 voyages in 2017 travelling to 64 countries in 207 ports around the globe. Cruises can be as short as four nights (the Grand Prix weekend from Nice in 2018) or as long as 23 (Mumbai to the Seychelles and Maldives). On the other hand, you could go the whole hog and travel from Sydney to London over 102 days, visiting 61 ports in 29 countries - truly a once-in-a-lifetime experience. More usual, however, are those who want either a relaxing Caribbean cruise or packing in as much culture as possible - say on a cruise around the Mediterranean taking in Spain, Italy and Greece.




The company offers holidays also in Australia (from Singapore), the Indian Ocean and Middle East (from Dubai) and in northern Europe (from Stockholm/Copenhagen). There’s hardly anywhere on earth you can’t cruise to. Azamara features what they call “AzAmazing Evenings” where the company tries to give cruisers a night they will remember forever with really stand-out experiences such as a night of Russian ballet, a night at the opera or at the Odeon at Ephesus. Prices vary hugely from interior state rooms to suites - so don’t dismiss this option because of it’s reputation, deserved, as up-market. It’s worth taking a look to see where you could cruise with Azamara.


Here, every piece comes with a bit of culture. Come discover more.


DESTINATION USA Aer Lingus’s latest direct destination

Miami nice


Best seen form the water

esque views from soaring ow far Miami has older every year. come in the past Miami was trans- windows, makes sure it two decades. formed in the 1980s into can compete with the best Tthink back to the 1983 the sort of place all of on offer elsewhere. Fontainebleau is home us like to escape to. It movie Scarface. The opening sequence was transformed, not by to the trendiest night club was a cavalcade of de- the guys who fill planes in Miami, Liv, which cayed grandeur. Some- with tourists or design grosses $40m a year, body in Miami must have holiday brochures, but by long queues of wannabes looked at the fading Art the movie and TV com- seeking admission at the whim of a doorman. Over Deco buildings and said panies. a bottle of Santa Rica we need to do something. n a city where history 2009 Pinot Noir Darragh Art deco provides the happens on screen, Moore from Swords demidriff to the swashbucktone hotel has more scribes the regeneration ling new Miami. The of the city even since he seafront buildings have than its share than any. The curving seafront is has arrived. all been restored to make His restaurant is a magthem look gleaming and the USP of the Fontainenew, like this was the bleau, strategically prod- net for ostentation. The uct-placed on dozens of five course tasting menu 1920s again. The implausibly blue movies including one of with Opus wines costs water and jet-set speed the Sean Connery James $295. Darragh doesn’t boat foam, all familiar Bonds and Scarface, mind. He has increased from our TV screens, its $1bn refurbishment the restaurant’s revenue now has a gentrified art which started with the from $7.5m to $9m in a deco finish. Scrubbed and opening of the 37-storey year. Kobi beef costs $30 an cleaned in white marble, Fontainebleau Suites the new Miami looks tower in 2005, pictur- ounce, he once sold 120 FONTAINEBLEAU A Miami Beach fine dining of the acclaimed Il Mulino landmark since opening in 1954, the New York, world-renowned ESPA at Acqualina, three oceanfront swimming Fontainebleau Miami Beach (www. pools, an AcquaMarine Kids Program is the biggest and a lavish, private beach club. and perhaps the most famous hotel on Miami Beach. Stomping grounds BILTMORE in Coral Gables has unfor Elvis, Frank Sinatra and countless veiled its elegant new $2.5m Biltmore Spa, located on the 7th floor of the other swinging celebrities during its hotel. The 12,000 sq. ft. spa offers an first heyday and renowned for its whimsical Morris Lapidus architecture array of body treatments and services in a luxurious and sophisticated resort and design, the resort recently opened a luxury tower and is in the process of setting. a $1bn expansion/renovatio. The 22TURNBERRY the 300-acre Fairmont Turnberry Isle Resort (www. acre complex will include 1,504 in Aventura, is ury guest rooms and suites, a 40,000 a 395-room property that is a world square foot spa, 11 restaurants and lounges, expansive pool complex and unto itself. The resort includes a marextensive meeting space. ina, two 18-hole championship golf courses, 19 tennis courts, two swimROSEWOOD Hotels & Resorts has ming pools and a 25,000 square-foot opened its first beachfront resort in pampering spa. Guests have access to the US Acqualina. The $300m resort a nearby beach club run by the resort. in Sunny Isles Beach has 97 rooms feature 118 residences and offers the


ounces in one night. We avoided the kobi (a previous encounter with it at Prime One contributed to a bill of $4,500), and started with a cold appetiser, lobster salad and octopus cooked on the grill followed by local snapper and Hawaiian butter fish. Nothing exceeds like excess, as the line goes from Scarface.


o get a sense of proportion, and a sense of place, stray away from the causeway and the skyline. Frank Shena from Miami Magic City Tours brought us through the highlights of the city and its hinterland, South Beach, the self-consciously arty Wynwood Design District, Little Havana with its angry exile rum and cigar culture, elderly men sitting around playing at the tables in the Maximo Gomzez Park domino club, the planned parklands of whitewashed Coral Gables, South Miami, Coconut Grove, and the Downtown. Downtown Miami was not a place where walking was advised when I first saw the city in the 1980s. In all my visits to the city I have never ventured into those mean streets. But then Miami

Vice became Miami Nice virtually overnight. They haven’t quite resorted Flager St to its 1920s glory but they are working on it. Better again, the elevated light rail system is entirely free, bringing people through the downtown in air conditioned comfort. The financial centre which did not have a single resident ten years ago is filled with locals traipsing through the bijou restaurants. The transit system did not exist until 2009. It too has trasnformed downtown.


t the river mouth they have put up a monument to the original owners for the land, the Tequesta Indians. Apparently it is still regarded as a sacred site but you would not find anything spiritual here along the shoreline the developers have come to play. “Unless you could dive into the sea from your balcony they would build another building between you and the sea,” Danny Costello, a second generation Tipperary man who runs cruises on the Island Queen tells me. The cityscape recedes in the balmy heat and there are clouds gathering overhead. At the News Café the

tuna teriyaki and shrimp stir fry ($18.95) taste Miami nice. We sat in the spring sunlight watching our movie set go by. Which movie? Not Scarface, Scooby Doo. In the late evening we made a break for somewhere to view the heartbeat of the city, the veins and inerts of its dive bars. If we could find a dive bar. 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, King Kongs, Goombay Smashes, Electric Bananas, Planter’s Punches, Bushwhackers and the ubiquitous Mojito in its many manifestations. Put on the style and the substance will come. Works for some.

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Ship off the old block


en new vessels are poised to be delivered this year, according to BRL Consultants. The orders include groundbreaking prototypes such as MSC’s eagerly awaited MSC Seaside and MSC Meraviglia, to Silversea Cruises’ new ultra-luxury flagship Silver Muse. Star Cruises’ World Dream is the second ship being built under Genting Hong Kong’s premium cruise line brand, while AIDAmia is to join sister


AIDAprima in being the first cruise ships to run on LNG dual-fuel. Viking Sky and Viking Sun are Viking Ocean Cruises’ third and fourth ocean-going vessels. Majestic Princess will join sisters Regal Princess and Royal Princess.. All cruise ships come froIf you think you have seen most of them before, you have. m the same template, more or less decided by the previous generation of Americans for Americans, but now some afterthought is

■ AIDAperla 3,250pax September ■ American Line 174pax ■ Lindbald National Geogr Quest 1000 pax June ■ MSC Meraviglia 4,500 pax May ■ MSC Seaside 5,300 pax November ■ Norwegian Joy 4,200 pax May ■ Majestic Princess 3,560 pax summer ■ Silverseas Silver Muse 596 pax April ■ Star Clippers Flying Clipper 300pax Nov ■ Star World Dream 4,200pax ■ TUI Mein Schiff six 2500 pax ■ Ventus Australis 210pax ■ Viking Sky 944pax ■ Viking Sun 944pax October


being shown to the rest of the world. The essentials are: ■ a big crimson-upholstered theatre at the front over two floors, ■ a big crimson-upholstered dining room at the back over two floors, ■ a long casino in between on one level (Disney is the only cruise ship not to have a casino) ■ 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: ■ a spa and an indoor pool at the front, ■ an open air pool and poolside bars in midship deck with an upper deck area for beach beds, ■ a big informal buffet restaurant at the back. Once you have been on one, you will know your way around them all. On 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 state-

rooms 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 LINE UPCOMING BUILDS ■ Lindbald National Geographic100pax 2020 ■ MSC Seaview 5,300 pax May

■ Unamed AIDA 6,600 pax ■ Blue Star Titanic II, 2,345 pax ■ Carnival Horizon, 3,954 pax March ■ Celebrity Edge 2,900pax September ■ Crystal Endeavor yacht ■ Holland America Nieuw Statendam 2,660pax Mar ■ Hurtigruten Roald Amundsen 600 pax June

■ Norwegian Bliss 4,260 pax summer ■ Ponant Le Lapérouse 180pax ■ Ponant Le Champlain 180pax ■ Unnamed Royal Caribbean Oasis class 5,400pax Apr ■ Seabourn Ovation 604 pax spring ■ TUI Mein Schiff 7 2500 pax ■ Viking Spirit 944pax


■ Unnamed Aida 6,600 pax ■ Unnamed Costa 4,200 pax ■ Unnamed Crystal Exclusive class ship 1,000 ■ Hurtigruten Fridtjof Nansen 600 pax June ■ MSC Bellasima 4,500 pax ■ Unnamed Norwegian, 4,260 pax summer ■ Ponant Le Bougainville 180pax ■ Ponant Le Kerguelen 180pax ■ Unnamed Princess Royal class vessel 3,560pax ■ Unnamed Royal Caribbean Quantum class 4,100pax spring ■ Unnamed Saga 540 pax ■ TUI Mein Schiff 8 2500 pax

■ Celebrity Beyond 2,900pax March ■ Unnamed Carnival 6,600 pax ■ Unnamed Costa, 4,200 pax ■ Unnamed China Xiamen, 2,000 pax ■ Unnamed MSC 4,888 pax, September ■ Unnamed Princess Royal class vessel 3,560pax ■ Unnamed Royal Caribbean Quantum class 4,100 pax autumn ■ Unnamed Virgin Xiamen, 2,800 pax ■ Unnamed Viking 944pax


■ Unnamed Aida 6,600 pax ■ Unnamed Disney, 2,500 pax ■ Celebrity Project Edge 3 2,900pax Oct ■ Unnamed Royal Caribbean Oasis class 5,400pax, spring


■ Unnamed Carnival 6,600 pax ■ Celebrity Project Edge 4 2,900pax Oct


■ Unnamed Disney, 2,500 pax


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omewhat sceptical, we boarded the flight in Dublin, lured by promises of a week in five-star luxury surrounded by palm trees and swimming pools with an infinite variety of bars and restaurants. Seven days later, we had to be dragged away from our Shangri-La and back into the real world. That’s what the Sensatori experience by Thomson Holidays offers you. A week or so out of normal life and into a world where there is no stress, no tension, no rain. Just sunshine, lovely surroundings and any food or drink that takes your fancy. And time. Time to read books. Time to chill out and listen to music beside the pool. Time to enjoy a restful pre-dinner drink overlooking the sun as it sets gently into the blue ocean. Time to lie in bed in the mornings and not worry about who is cooking breakfast. Time for a full-body massage in the spa - or a facial to really wallow in self-indulgence. We chose Tenerife because we were guaranteed sunshine in late September. And we got it. Enough to build up a tan but not enough to force you indoors out of the heat. Our room was spacious with plenty of room to store clothing and a vast bed. The shower was suitably powerful (and there was also a large bath and two sinks). The air conditioning worked noiselessly (or nearly)

Anne Cadwallader and Gerry O’Hare in Sensatori Tenerife

Inclusively yours The world renowned infinity pool in the Sensatori Tenerife

and the decor was what they call these days “funky”. Outside, we had our own small, shaded, patio and a four-poster “Bali bed” overlooking a green pool full of golden fish. The perfect place to rest after lunch and read a good book.


e ate mainly in the main buffet restaurant. Now, I’ve been to all-inclusive hotels with humongous buffets which, once you examine them closely, amount to relatively little (pink concoctions of mayonnaise, egg and salad being an example). The buffet at the Sensatori Resort, Tenerife,


■ The peace and quiet. No shouting. No rushing. No traffic. No invasion of privacy. You’re left on your own to find your own pace. ■ The hotel buffet which has enough choice for everyone, whether they are adventurous or not and you can eat well and healthily without putting on the traditional holiday avoirdupois. ■ The adults-only pool - where the only sound is of the gentle turning of pages and people clicking their iPods.

wasn’t the largest I’ve seen but it more than made up for that by the genuine choice you had on offer every mealtime. They would cook you steaks (turkey, beef etc) or mussels or lobster or any kind of chicken as you wait. I was on a diet and eating sensibly but I had mountains of salad, fish, meat and fresh fruit and put on not one ounce while I was away (despite indulging in plenty of gin-and-tonic, never mind the wine). My partner likes his food plain-and-simple and there were boiled spuds and steaks with full cooked-breakfasts and ice-cream of any variety for dessert. There are five swim-

ming pools in the complex (one so large it’s said no-one has ever swum from one end to the other) linked by palm-fringed walkways with the ubiquitous running water and pools full of koi carp. The hotel even has its own wild, white egret who stalks the fish, picking off the smaller ones to the great delight of onlookers, young and old. There is an adults-only pool (the “Tranquillity Zone”) and this is respected with no kids dive-bombing. Beside the pools, there are orange posts with buttons on them. On inspection, they were revealed to be facilities for calling a waiter to bring you a cool

drink without you having to lift yourself from your sun lounger and stagger a hundred yards to the nearest bar.


he hotel warns people not to “bag” loungers before breakfast and, uniquely of any hotel in my experience, people respect this so you don’t feel you have to rush down and throw a towel over a lounger before you go to breakfast. I particularly enjoyed our pre-dinner drinks, taken each night at the Ocean Bar overlooking the sun, setting slowly into the Atlantic. It was like having a massive


■ Some will find the four-hour flight a bit daunting. And the year-long rush of people at Tenerife Airport on the way home isn’t a pleasant experience after all that peace and quiet. ■ There are no beaches nearby to speak of - no long, white sandybeaches that some people really demand on holiday anyhow. ■ For more, see Anne’s video account of her holiday at Falcon Sensatori Tenerife Resort on:

Our founding editor Gerry O’Hare on assignment

cinema screen in front of you with a Technicolor sunset every night. The seats here are really large and comfortable. The music they play here was a combination of laid-back rock and jazzy songs and they light a huge gas fire, set in a bowl of lava rocks, in the centre of the bar as the final rays disappear. It is SO relaxing you could be tempted to forget all about dinner and stay the evening. There are a variety of speciality restaurants you can book (price mainly included if you are a Sensatori guest) with Italian food, fish and a Spanish tapas-and-wine experience. So that’s the food and drink taken care of, and the room and the swimming. What else?


ell, there is the island to explore, with Spain’s highest mountain, Mount Teide. There are market days and the volcanic landscape and small fishing villages to enjoy on a day, or half day, expedition. In this day and age, hotels have to offer wifi but sometimes it’s a bit dodgy and people huddle at reception to read their Facebook and Twitter. At the Sensatori, this was NOT a problem. Wifi everywhere. I emailed a photo of my feet from my sun-lounger to my colleagues at work back in Ireland from beside the pool. Sin not to. I confess, dear reader, than we eschewed the delights of Tenerife in order to get the full-on “chill out” factor. Yes, a week in the one place, no rushing about - just rest and relaxation and reading (and swimming, eating and drinking). That’s enough for me, one week a year at least.

■ Anne Cadwallader and Gerry O’Hare stayed at Falcon Sensatori reort as guests of Falcon Holidays, Your local travel agent, 1850 94 61 64, +4428 90 389 387 in the north or

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regular question for cruise ship captains is what is their favourite port. They sometimes say Santorini. Some say Venice for its seascapes. But the majority will talk about Stockholm with that glaze in their eyes. The vista coming into Stockholm from the sea would make Neptune’s trident open and shut. A huge array of islands lies before you with that great curiosity the single island that the birds flock on. And when you get there you find a city that celebretes its maritime culture with abandon.


bandoned. The most interesting museum in the whole of Europe, if not the world, that is a verdict that we apply rarely but that’s what we found at the Vasa. The story of the ship is an delicious and as tragic as the richness of the experience of visiting it. It is a slautory lesson for all of us who have had to cope with an accountancy department. The Vasa should have been an amazing partnership conveying Gustav’s soldiers off to the 30 years war to animate his status as a regional player, fighting the cause of Protestantism against Catholicism, a religious war which was really a proxy for the great power struggle between north and south, and the royal families of Europe.

eyes and ears and nose, rushing through all the senses with just the sight of it like a spray gun. Long after you have walked the trails across the rocks and pools and rrivulets and jumped from bank to bank and taken photographs of the little mirror pools, you can still hear that sound. Thor would struggle to outmuscle it.

Bright nights I

Eoghan Corry in Swedish Lapland

Storfossen, Europe’s biggest waterfall by volume

nstead the bean counters decided it was ten feet too wide. They didn’t want to cut back on the beautiful artworks that adorn the ship, thankfully for those of us who get to visit it nowadays. But, in its de-widened state, the first guest of wind blew the Vasa over, and it sank in the saline marsh and sat there for more than 300 years. The ship is now housed in one of the Museum Islands on Stockholm’s coast and that is where every visitor to Stockholm, whether they are interested in ships and history ore not, should spend a few happy hours.

Many of Stockholm’s great attractions, as befits a city where winters get cold, are indoor. But to celebrate the city it is important to take a stroll along the waterfront. Which waterfront? The watery choice is bewildering. Sweden can be an expensive country. There are ways and means to reduce the bill. Oddly enough HB ice cream turned out to be cheaper than it did at home.


he road system works but the regulations are intense and it is virtually impossible to visit the Swedish town, figure

out the convoluted party parking regulations and even when you think you have paid, to escape without a fine from the zealous local traffic department. When summer comes the days don’t stop, and everyone goes around on a sugar high, You find people wandering the streets in party mood at 3-4 AM in the morning. Fast-food outlets are jammed at 2 AM as if it was early afternoon anywhere else in the world. The light is omnipresent and intervention. One wonders if winters

wome with the equivalent downswing that summer brings with an upswing. We didn’t hang around to find out. People talked about minus 35 coming as easily as plus 35 does in the summertime on the Baltic beaches where we got chance to splash. And then, the thundering waterfall, Europe’s most thundering above all, if the guides are to be beleived. Storfossen splashes and churns the melting snow on a grand scale and wghen it peaks in June and July, cleans the


his is forest country. On the road from Lulea to Pitae you encounter a sight straight out of Straffan, Smurfit’s cardboard plant billowing white into the atmosphere above. The forests go on for ever and roadsign after roadsign tell you to watch out for the deer. That is easier signed than done. Many of the cars in the towns up here carry the tell tale signs of an altercation between elk and engine. One of the road accidents we came across had left blood everywhere like a horror film or aftermath of a Viking raid as imagined by Hollywood, but all it was was another elegy for another elk. How can they tell where Sweden ends and Finland begins, or Norway or the Pole, the rest of the world? This is a unique place, a blessed place

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Clockwise: View across Swedish Lapland, Stockholm afternoon, Scenes from the Vasa museum in Stockholm




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he Royal Palaces of Spain are all within a gallop of Madrid in an 18th century coach with horses, except the transportation systems have gotten better in the meantime. They are all unique and distinctive and oddly rural, considering they are so close to the capital of the empire on which the sun never set. What did kings do? They hunted. And then they built beautiful palaces on the sites of the hunting lodge they used to use. Some of Europe’s finest emerged first as hunting lodges and so it is with Spain. It helped that there was a game of “mine is bigger than yours” going on. Kings used to go to battle to kill each other, a tendency which had the unfortunate consequence of Francis I of France spending a couple of years as a prisoner the King of Spain in Madrid. From then on they sent their nephews and the human cannon fodder, their unranked peasantry to do battle instead. So they abandoned fortifications and started piling stones on stones. Francis the unfortunate warrior built Fontainebleau (Louis the sun king’s Versailles falls into the same category), Gustav the North

Spain’s royal palaces Eoghan Corry goes hunting for 18th century grandeur



The church where the funeral of Philip II was conducted, far from County Offaly which was named in his honour

Star king transformed Gripsholm Castle and Tre Kronor, Henry the defender of the faith built Hampton Court (or rather, purloined it from his unfortunate favourite-turned–villain Thomas Wolsey). Philip was something a bit better than all of them. He was an emperor, the Empire which the sun never sets. So he and his descendants built a little collection of hunting lodges turned palaces, five of them around Madrid.

hey have a new river project just below the Royal Palace in Madrid where you can gaze up at the 2,800-roomed building. And think, what would you do with 2,800 rooms? Wikipedia, which not a greater authority than our tour guide, claims 3,418 rooms. To tour the palaces of Spain’s kings is to uncover an entire dimension of the country which is essential to understand how Spain works . Other countries have a timeline


■ ARANJUEZ (40km). Monumental building surrounded by UNESCO listed historic gardens on the plain of the river Tagus, used as a seasonal residence by the Spanish monarchs from the 16th century onwards, ■ EL PARDO (15km). Habsburg era hunting lodge extended by Francesco Sabatini in the 18th century and decorated with frescoes and tapestries. It lies among the wooded parkland known as the Monte de El Pardo, one of Madrid’s largest natural areas. ■ LA GRANJA DE SAN ILDEFONSO (75km). Built on the slopes of the Sierra del Guaderrama by Philip V with the intention of retiring there amid recreations of the gardens he had known in his childhood at the French court.

■ MADRID. Imposing 18th-century edifice on a high site overlooking the river Mar. Filipo Juvarram Gian Battista Tiepolo And Anton Raphael Mengs were among the artists involved. ■ RIOFRIO (82km). Built on the orders of Isabella Farnese, Philip V’s wife, in 1752, among holm-oak forests in a rugged landscape with a mountainous backdrop that sets off the building’s Italian architecture. ■ SAN LORENZO DE EL ESCORIAL (48km). Erected between 1563 and 1584, this monumental building houses within its walls a monastery, a basilica, a royal palace and the mausoleum of the Spanish monarchs. It was built under the supervision of Juan de Herrera during the reign of Philip II.

of kings, but this one is different. The Kings were richer and more extravagant. Thanks to South America, they had more gold to spray around their throne rooms and bedrooms. Bringing back a king in 1976 seems like a strange move. When you see the Treasury that has been passed on from royal antecedents you can understand why so many Spaniards liked the idea. It was a yellow leaved autumn when we visited. We walked through the debris of nature in long circuitous avenues through the gardens of Aranjuez Palace, en route to the Casa del Labrador. The kings of Spain wanted to recreate the gardens of France and this was the result. Nobody can be sure why a race to build bigger and better palaces meant so much but an entire genre of tourism can prosper in its aftermath. Tourists collect palaces. Madrid province is a good place to collect quite a few of them.

newly accessible palace in Madrid and one worth visiting is the old post office. Like Dublin, the post office has a special place in Spanish hearts, it is called the palace of communications. From the rooftop here you have the best vantage point of the whole city. The church is tucked between taller buildings. You can sit out with red fairy lights wrapped around the trees of a terrace, and look down on the church. That is an amazing thing to do and watch. The eye does the exploring from up here. You can watch four lanes of traffic trying to turn and people trying to scramble across the road. One of the most astonishing things about Madrid is how well-lit are the buildings. The lights are shining like Nativity calendars on the windows. The skyline is not intrusive or American or tall, at all, although sometimes you

to spy American style giant flags flying high as they were in the reign of Philip II.


e went shopping; As you enter Las Rozas Village there is a large JOY spelt out in three giant letters. Elsewhere you will find LOVE and somewhere else HAPPY. Consumerism isn’t supposed to be happy, but people who have come this far they expect to be delivered some in a big designer sized cardboard bag with ropey handles. When we visited there were also reindeers and sleighs strategically positioned around the Spanish shopping haven remind them that consumerism is something that has its own feast day to be celebrated once a year.


ho are the new emperors of Spain, with palaces as grandiose as their predecessors? The purveyors of handbags and shoes, methnks.

■ Eoghan Corry travelled to Madrid as a guest of the Spanish Tourist Board ■ Dublin has 34 flights a week to Madrid, 11 Aer Lingus, 8 Ryanair and 5 from Iberia Express. Iberia Express fly to Madrid from Cork.




and. Lots of it was deposited it, thickly and small like an hour glass with lots of time, off the eastern seaboard of Australia when it had piled grain upon grain upon grain, slowly at first, then a little faster, it became an island. You won’t find any rocks on Fraser Island. Well, of course there is just one large rock which kept the first grains of sand in place. If the rock wasn’t here, no sand, no island. If the sand wasn’t here. No Great Barrier Reef.

It is a reminder of the scene in The Castle where the father decides that the only thing better than the serenity of nature is the sound of a six stroke engine at full speed.



owadays Fraser Island carries the unexpected accolade of largest sand island in the world. It has a surprising amalgam of vegetation, deciduous and coniferous, mangroves and trees, rain forest and all sorts of accumulated wildlife. Most of them arrived by bird or by swimming. Animals with stories. Aussie stories. Eurong (answer: “oh I’m wrong”). The antechinus marsupial mouse which copulates for 12 hours and dies. There is a similar process with humans. It is called marriage


our guide Colin Anderson compares his chosen subject with a giant compost heap, like on your garden. He makes it sound simple, everything just landed on top of the sand and started to grow.

Humpback trail Backpacker pyramid at Lake McKenzie on Fraser Island

Eoghan Corry on the traditional backpacker route

The glistening jewel of the crown, visible from the air as you fly in from Harvey Bay full, is Lake McKenzie. Perched lakes are a treasure peculiar to Fraser and McKenzie is the treasure of the treasury. It sits 100 m above sea level like breakfast bowl of pure fresh water on the picnic table. Most of the freshwater perched lakes in the world are found on Fraser Island. So it has come to pass that McKenzie is the


■ The weather is noticeably warmer than beaches even a couple of hours down the coast ■ Following the backpackers means great nightlife ■ Following the whales means great wildlife ■ Lady Elliot island is only accessible by air which restricts the numbers

one whether backpackers come to play along the lakeshore, pure pure water cooling in the autumn sun. Sand purifies. There are 4.2m litres an hour going through Ely Creek. Bogimbah Creek is even faster 5.3m litres


he best way to see the island is on foot. Get dropped off at one point and collectors as another and wander freely through the

forest. The island is 123 km end to end and there are 150km of walking trails so it is big enough lo lose yourself, if you are allowed. There are scarey dinosaur sounding placenames, like Valley of the Giants `(the approach from Cornwall’s break road is worth the trouble), and sharp climbs through steep vegetation. There are 32 different types of snakes of which only two are non-venomous so be careful where you put

your foot. Most people come to play on a beach called a 75 mile beach. It is only 58 miles long but the name was rounded up somehow. For an environmentally protected island this is a bit of a quandary. Four by fours and beach buggies, buses and pedestrians trundle back and forth like an urban highway. Two private air tour companies use it as a landing and take off strip.

here are 42 perched lakes Frazer Island a bit like a bird on a perch. It is a lake that sits on top of sound. There a shipwreck of the Moreno is one of the sites where people congregate. A freshwater Creek with 4,000,000 L an hour of pure water is also. There is a plaque to Shirley Blackman, 19371998, the last of the blackfellahs from Fraser whose home was logged out of recognition. The loggers came in 1880 and devastated the forests that used to sit here on the sand. Things have changed around so successfully that now it has UNESCO world heritage status, one of five in Queensland, due to the unique lake system and the forests, the only place in the world where rainforest grows completely on sand. Part, perhaps the biggest part, of the attraction of Fraser Island is the ease of access. Fraser Island is two and a half hours north of Brisbane airport. Drive the road to Harvey Bay, jump on the barge, and 30 minutes later you end up in Kingfisher Bay resort, one of two on the island. The reef is not far


■ Mosquitoes ■ Watch your step, of 32 types of snake on Fraser Island just two are non venomous ■ It can be crowded, this is a stadium stop-off on the backpacker trail north from Byron Bay ■ Lady Elliot island is only accessible by air which raises the price

■ Eoghan Corry travelled to Australia courtesy of Emirates who fly double daily to Dubai and onwards to Adelaide, Brisbane, Melbourne, Perth and Sydney and of Tourism Australia

Eoghan Corry and Graham Howe jetski at Fraser Island



DESTINATION AUSTRALIA away, and its sourthenmost island is the place where we ended out trip.


az the guide, Gary Pearce, tells jokes the whole way. Why don’t dingoes eat clowns? Because they taste funny. Why do terns travel in pairs? Because one good tern deserves another.

The humpback trail of the whales is now the hump trail of the backpackers, and one of the meeting grounds of choice is the Dingo Bar on Fraser Island. To understand backpackerdom you should come here and drink the beer served from a hatch like a Cumberland Street dole dispenser, to the toilets

marked mutts, bitches and (the disabled toilet) brawlers only. Dingoes are important to the neighbourhood. Fraser has one of the purest strains of dingoes left. The dingo has been breeding with dogs for generations, only those of Fraser islands retain the original DNA of the wild invaders from cen-

turies before.


ady Elliot island is accessible only by air, to land on the shortest commercial runway in Australia, 680 metres and counting. Here you find a unique border, between subtropical to tropical, where the coral reef begins and a new backpacker play-

ground presents itself. Megan Jacob brings us snorkeling and then on a walk through the rock pools with a scientific explanation for each discovery and an eye for the oddity, the moonrass that turns into a male. And, this being Queenland, a joke. “They don’t have a brain or a heart. A bit like

my ex boyfriend.” Later. “Octopuses have three hearts. Maybe I should date an octopus.” They mined guano here too, in 1863, and removed feet of guano off the island. Nature has lost the war all along the coast. The recovery is only beginning.

Clockwise: Fraser Island has the only rain forest that grows on sand, driving the 75 mile beach that is only 48 miles long, walking the rock pools at Lady Elliott island, jet skis at Hervey Bay and lounging in a fresh water creek on Fraser Island

Travel Extra HP Jan 2017.indd 1

05/01/2017 09:59




o, it appears that I’ve been cutting limes the wrong way my entire life. My habit of cutting them in half and squeezing out the juice is, apparently, not the way to go. You need to cut off the outside edges as if you’re making a square of the centre – that’s how you get the most juice for your buck. This nugget of wisdom was one of the many I garnered during a cookery demonstration with Village Rider (www., a company that typifies a new approach to tourism in Sri Lanka. They are all about the experience – I was encouraged to smell the spices, cut the onions, grate the coconut and, of course, taste the food. The whole point was to get involved, and getting involved was very easy. The excursion, like most of my itinerary, was organised by Red Dot Tours (, a DMC that is looking to innovate a more individual, personalised type of tourism. Their aim is to help visitors to see more of Sri Lanka – rather than just heading for the beaches and taking the odd excursion to the more popular sites. In this, they reflect the Sri Lankan Tourist Board’s ‘Beyond the Beaches’ initiative. The aim is that in helping tourists see more of Sri Lanka, Sri Lankan communities will benefit from the income that tourists bring. Sri Lanka – which translates as ‘Bright Island’ – is a very easy country in which to travel, easier than I ex-

Brightest island

Claire Rourke catches the colours of Sri Lanka Flying over Sri Lanka by air pected (I didn’t even need a plug adaptor) and the people are incredibly friendly and helpful.


s it was already approaching dusk when I checked into the sumptuous Kingsbury Hotel ( on Galle Face Road, I headed out to dinner at the Ministry of Crab (, which was less than a five-minute walk from the hotel. Housed in the former Dutch hospital, one of the oldest buildings in Colombo, it was opened in 2011 by Sri Lankan cricket legends Mahela Jayawardene and Kumar Sangakkara, and chef Dharshan Munidasa. I ate a rather magnificent giant freshwater prawn – described on the menu as an ‘OMG

prawn’ because of its size – that was cooked in a chilli oil and served with traditional kade bread, which was perfect for mopping up the sauce. As you may guess from its name, the Ministry of Crab specialises in crab dishes and you can order anything from a modest 500-gram crustacean to Crabzilla, a wondrous two-kilogram crab. The OMG chilli prawn was followed by a variety of crab and shellfish dishes, and it was not only one of the best meals I ate in Sri Lanka, but one of the best I ate all year. Darshan was a very amenable host who shared his reasons for opening his restaurants – mainly that so much of Sri Lanka’s seafood was exported to other parts of Asia that it was difficult to find a restaurant in Colombo that served it. The strict no-freezer policy


■ Bring some US$1 bills with you, they are very handy to use as tips. ■ Be aware of the time you travel. In the off-season, it may not be possible to surf or swim in the sea as the waves can be rough, so if this is important to you, check the best time to go for the area you want to visit.

■ If you have longer hair and like to tie it up in a towel after a shower, it may be worth bringing a small hand towel. All the hotels I stayed in had a full range of bathroom products, but all the towels were either quite small or very big.

ensures that all the seafood cooked here is very fresh. After dinner, there was enough time to head back to the Kingsbury, a hotel that exudes luxury, and enjoy a cocktail on the roof terrace. Made from coconut, arrack is Sri Lanka’s whiskey, and sipping an arrack sour while looking out over Colombo’s skyline was a lovely way to end the day. . innawala Elephant Orphanage is one of the most popular elephant sanctuaries in Asia. There is no doubt that the orphanage, which was founded in 1975, began with the best of intentions – to care for abandoned elephants – but during my visit, I felt distinctly uncomfortable. It seems to have lost its focus and the main reason for its existence now is tourists, who flock here in great numbers. There is even one elephant kept in position at an appropriate height so you can take a selfie with it. The orphanage is


spread over two sites. At the first, the elephants can be seen bathing in the river which is overlooked by restaurants, but the fact that some are chained detracts from the enjoyment of seeing these amazing animals. This area is reached by walking down a street lined with tourist stalls and shops – everything from the more high-end jewellers to clothes stalls. There are also touts on hand to sell you bananas to feed to the elephants, which is not good for the elephants and should be avoided. The second site is the actual orphanage where you can watch the animals being fed – you can pay 350 rupees (€2.30) for a ticket to feed the elephants yourself – but most sit and watch as the two baby elephants are led into a pen and fed milk from a bottle, before being walked around and fed in a different part of the pen so that all the tourists can get a good photograph. If you’re not comfortable with paying people who act like touts, don’t

let the handlers take your photograph. That said, a fee of one or two dollars/ euros is acceptable.


he main reason tourists visit Kandy is the Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic, though this is a working temple and, in the temple complex, there were more Sri Lankans than tourists. The temple itself has a number of buildings, all inside a main hall – a bit like altars in a church. The buildings are ornately carved and decorated, and you are free to wander around and soak up the atmosphere, which is enhanced by the constant smell of incense and flowers. A bell indicated the start of the puja, and brought those presenting offerings into a queue to hand over their flowers and food to the temple wardens who sat at the entrance to a closed-off alcove area that housed the tooth relic, which is kept in a series of caskets. As the doors to the alcove were opened and people started to hand over their offerings, there was a palpable surge as people vied to get a look at the casket. I did wonder as I looked at a small group of nuns dressed all in white who jostled for position to offer their prayers, what it must be like for them praying in this most sacred of places to have tourists around them taking photographs, not of them, but of their temple and their offerings – it must be like people photographing the church around you as you attend mass.


nternal flights are still something of a new concept, and the walk to the Polgolla Reservoir within Kandy’s Victoria Golf Club from where I boarded the sea plane for an internal flight on Cin-

■ Claire Rourike travelled to Sri Lank as a guest of Sri Lanka Tourism Bureau promotion (


DESTINATION SRI LANKA namon Air ( is not more than a track. As we buckled ourselves in and the engines started the propellers, the sound was straight out of an Indiana Jones film, and the flight was thrilling. It took about 35 minutes to fly to the south coast and gave a bird’s eye view of Sri Lanka’s diverse habitats and the numerous tea plantations for which the country is rightly famous.


alle is a town heavily influenced by the Portuguese when they were the main European settlers in Sri Lanka during the 17th century. The town itself was heavily fortified and Galle Fort is a one of Sri Lanka’s eight world heritage sites. The following mor-

Temple of the tooth and (right) buying offerings for the puja. ning, I drove to Mirissa and, as we entered the port, the maze of cars, tuk-tuks and vans was an indication of how many people go whale watching from here every day. The port was full of billboards showing a giant Blue Whale’s tail emerging from the water and this somewhat set

the bar for everyone’s expectations. Rather than going on one of the tourist boats, I headed out on a catamaran with Sail Lanka Charter (www., a company that was formed after the devastating 2004 tsunami to help develop the local

economy through boat building and excursions. The sea off Sri Lanka’s southern coast is incredibly rich in sea life – and is one of the best places in the world to see dolphins, sharks and many types of whale, not just the Blue Whale. The day spent on the boat was wonderful and

on the way back to shore as the sun finally started to shine, we dropped anchor and I had my first chance to swim in the Indian Ocean.


or my last day in Colombo, I enjoyed a tea tasting with TeaEli, a new company that has de-



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veloped a reputation for high-quality, unusual tea blends. Our host, and TeaEli’s founder, Dushyantha De Silva, was something of a tea sommelier, whose passion for tea was quite infectious. Sri Lanka has a lot to offer as a destination, and you can easily tailor your holiday to a specific interest, such as surfing or yoga. It still has the feel of a country that has yet to be discovered by the tourist industry, though the recent level of hotel building may change that. It is still, of course, possible to fly into Colombo and head to one of the luxury resort hotels for a beach holiday – and the beaches are spectacular – but it seems a shame to miss the opportunity to experience and enjoy everything that Sri Lanka has to offer.



Malt of the earth T Germany celebrates 500 years of pure brewing


Nikl brewery in Pretzfeld. Inset: The man who enacted the beer purity law in 1516,Hherzog Willlem aster brewers of Europe. This is the reputation of Germany has long enjoyed. Other countries brew more, even drink more, and play better in the champions league of marketing than the Germans, but the Germans can sit back, smile, and say we are the very Eden of brewing, the purest of the pure. This year was the anniversary of when Germany introduced its far famed purity laws. Herzog Willem was destined to become of the toast of beer drinkers everywhere when he introduced the Reinheitsgebot on April 23 1516. It wasn’t the partisans of the high stool that he had in mind. He wanted to make sure that wheat was used for making bread and not, as prone to happen, for making beer. Wheat was needed to feed the armies that criss crossed Europe in that and other centuries. Beer should be the after thought and the barley that could not be used for making bread should be devoted to that. He

did not understand that beer needed yeast. Nobody did. They thought fermentation was an act of God, and so, perhaps, it is. The beer purity laws only included three ingredients, hops, barley and water. We should be grateful for the purity laws because it set a standard for the rest of Europe to follow. Impurities were part of the food chain for much of the history of Europe’s stomach. Even urine could find its way in to the beer that was brewed 15 generations ago. Not in Germany. Where to start the tour? Bavaria of course.


n annual party that attracts 6m people and serves 7m litres of beer is difficult to miss. Munich’s enormous Hofbräuhaus and the city’s annual Oktoberfest, founded by a king that had an Irish mistress, have a justifiable reputation as the place to seek out German beer. But if you chose to avoid the crowds, beer is celebrated in an increas-

ing number of beer trails that criss cross Germany. The history of beer is layered into the landscape in a country where archaeologists have discovered evidence of some of the earliest evidence of alcoholic beverage. Germany is a place to let your taste buds lead the way.


ico Wagner, who operates a brewery in Weimar, says this was the first purity law, worldwide for any food group. “We don’t put things in other than malt, and yeast and hops and water. It is easy to understand It keeps the beer simple and pure. It is the technology and knowledge of our brewmaster that keeps our reputation worldwide.” His own family has an anniversary, 150 years in brewing. “Many of those nutrition related laws are so complicated and they take a lot of understanding. For example, if you want to understand the German wine law it will take you some time, believe me. The beer purity law is so simple, malt,

hops and water. Brewers had no control of the fermentation process in Herzog Willem’s time, brewers prayed for Pasteur discovered yeast 300 years later. Weimar has a beer purity law that is 500 years old. Other claimants are Nuremberg in 1293, Erfurt in 1351, and Weisensee in 1432. But the contest for the oldest purity law is relevant only in that these laws were only valid in the town limits. Herzog Willem enacted the purity law for another reason, beer sommelier Sandra Schmid says. “He wanted to secure the wheat for the bakeries and hence his decree that you could use hops, malt and water for brewing. He meant barley malt. He allowed a select few to brew with wheat.” “There is a beer revolution underway,” Sandra says. “There are many more brew styles. We now have traditional German beer styles and beer styles from all over the

world, like IPA’s, porters, stouts. The brewers barrel age the beers, they brew sour beers. We have a whole new beer revolution now.” “It is a matter of taste and a matter of expectation. Beer is always a thing to comfort people. Beer has its regions and its identities, its own personality.’ “Most people arrive by air and Munich is a good place to start. In the Bavarian valleys you will find the real treasury, the village breweries.”


e started with the biggest beer-related attraction of all, the Maisel world of beer, a sort of Guinness storehouse without the tower. Jeff Maisel of Maisel Brewery has 21 beers on tap of which Maisel Weisse is the most famous. It has a brewery tour and showrooms, and a pleasant evening set the flavour of what was to come.

here are rich pickings here for those with a taste for beer. Frank Nicklas says the Bayreuth region has 200 breweries and 1,000 types of beer. “It would take you three years to taste the different beers if you tasted a different beer every day.” The Frankische Schweiz region offers 70 private breweries and 600 beers as well as 300 regional distilleries. The county of Kelheim is considered as beer heartland, hops from the Hallertau region, north of Munich, malting barley and spring water. “If you want to get to taste Frankonian beer come to the region around Nuremberg and Bayreuth and in the small villages you should taste the local beer. Every one has their favourite brewery, dark, lighter, sweeter and bitter. Each village has its own distinctive brew. There is a village with 500 inhabitants near Bayreuth and they have four breweries.” Tiny Pretzfeld has 1,400 residents, four breweries and 71 beers, watched sagely by St Kilian from the Kirche dedicated to him. We stopped by the Nikl brewery where master brewer Mike Schmitt, David Branston and Johannes Haas lined us up for tasting. The tequila boc and delicious bourbon boc, the best ti8ng we tasted on the engire tour. he colour comes from the malt, and can come from roasting in high temper-


■ Eoghan Corry flew to Munich was hosted by.Gernany Travel ■ Aer Lingus operate a twice daily service from Dublin to Munich and a twice weekly service from Cork. One-way fares including taxes and charges start from €49.99. For further information visit


DESTINATION GERMANY atures or low temperatures. Maxmillian Krieger, an eighth generation brewer welcomed us to taste Rienhofer Hellen Vollbier (a beer for all night drinking), Kellerwichtel Amber (coloured and unfaded, smelling of malt rather than hops and sweet to taste), Rienhofer schwanen Weiss (smelling of banana), Riedenburger (a golden dark bitter porter with a smokey head), Dolden Sud (very hoppy and 6.5 alcohol) and Doleen Bock (very new wheat bock, dry hopped so the aroma not the bitterness enters the beer). “We need to split the starch and the ugar after one week. We dry the malt, which is important for brewing beer. The darker the malt the darker the beer. The higher the temperature of drying the brighter the malt.

documented history back to1050. The 18th-century church is a fine example of late Baroque architecture. We dined on sausage and cheese from the monastery’s dairy. You can stay in the 16 room St George guesthouse.

S Downriver on the Danube to Weltenburg Abbey In addition we have and 20m deep. smoked malt for smoked Danube kilometres are beer which tastes like a counted backwards. We piece of ham.” He passed were at Km2,417, 430km aorund malt from wheat off the source and 2,417 and barley for the group off the delta where it to taste. pours into the Black Sea. At 2850km the Danube is e took a cruise the second longest river from Kelheim in Europe. to WeltenIn olden days salt barburg Abbey on the Dan- ges were hauled upstream ube through a high stone to Ulm and Ingokstadt walled gorge, 80m wide and along the journey


we could see boat hooks along the wall, testimony to thousands of years of river trade. Around a narrow bend to Weltenburg Abbey, we were greeted by Frater Matthias and treated to the famous monastery beer. Although monks no longer manage the process, this may be the oldest monastery brewery of them all with a

tudent cities are more feminine, Claudia Dollinger as she conducted a tour of Bayreuth. She brought the story of Wagner to life, telling how Liszt used to play the piano with a very heavy hand, so heavy that he destroyed many pianos on his tour of Germany. Wagner, she said, always started with the poem and then wrote the music. We dined in beef braised in black beer and onions with cream savoy and parsley potatoes, served up in Gasthaus

Zum Weissen Schwan. Only female hops are bitter enough to put a taste in the beer, Michael Kuehnlein informed us. It figures.


hat distinguishes beer people, most of all, Nico Wagner says, is their forward planning. “We need four weeks to make a batch of beer, Nico Wagner says. “The problem is if people alike to drink a lot of beer and you are running short. The brewmater needs four weeks to get the next batch ready.” You cannot supply it th”e day after tomorrow. It is not possible”. German preparedness, structre and organisation may have all come from beer. Look what Herzog Willem started.

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big advantage of the new Aer Lingus service to Montpellier is that it gives tourists that dream option of starting in one part of the region and finishing in another. A flight to Toulouse brings you close to some of the most amazing heritage villages in Europe. Being badged by UNESCO is by no means a guarantee of your cultural authenticity, but many of these towns have being given that well-deserved international accolade. The jewel in the crown is Albi, the brick city. Its cathedral is visited by more people then all but two French cathedrals, Notre Dame in Paris and Strasbourg. Albi is different from the other two signature treasures of the Gallican church. It is an art gallery where the paintings and sculptures don’t stop then magic, they merge into the architecture of the building At each turn is another work of mediaeval artistry. After the cathedral a wander through the little streets sets the tone for entering the viewing spot over the river and the old bridge, one of the oldest in France, still conveying a traffic jam. Our hotel, the Hôtel Mercure, Episcopale City, was situated blissfully beside the bridge with river views over a weir filled with fish life.


bigger surprise was yet to come. The village of

Gold in the hills

Eoghan Corry explores the midi-Pyrenees Tour guides Anne Romiguerre and Marine Gil with the 10th century statue of St Foy in the treasury of Conques Conques, scarcely known outside of France, may be one of the most beautiful heritage sites on the planet. It has just 90 residents but attracts half a million visitors a year. They come to see the cathedral, bare walled by the stan-

dards of many in this region but right beside it is that rarity, to start rarity, a treasury that survived the revolution. The Treasury is now the property of the town but still held by the friars and Frere Jean Daniel, if you ask him nicely, will play one of his amazing works on the organ in the ancient cathedral.


he statue of St Foy spent the revolutionary years buried in the vegetable garden and now since serenely in a glass case with a wry smile.

It is much amused, probably, by the debates that rage around it about where it came from and whom it might represent, a Roman emperor, the death mask of Charlemagne, jewels from pagan times and Visigothic loot added to a dozen inherited style enhancements from difference eras and artistic styles. The statue or reliquary of St Foy is a cabinet of curiosities, it scarcely matters what lies inside this or the other reliquar-

ies in the Treasury. Somebody concluded recently that the true bone of St Paul in one of the reliquaries was in fact a rabbit bone, and as for the true Cross, could it be sacred Celtic yew like the foundation of St Foy’s reliquary. The fun doesn’t stop there. Past the naked winter vineyards and you reach Rozer for more cathedrals art, a big organ, and Bishops Palace with one of the most beautiful cloister gardens you will see north or

south of the Pyrenees. Arts and culture flourished here and, in that peculiar way brought about by having to recover after being visited by destruction in the Albigensian Crusade, gloriously misnamed, and the religious wars of the 16th century might have helped keep the painters and gilders with new focus and new opportunities.


ontpellier was a Protestant capital before

■ Eoghan Corry flew to Toulous with Aer Lingus and returned from Montpellier


DESTINATION FRANCE it fell to Louis XIV and one of the legacies of that war is the number of places where the refugees fled that re named Montpellier to this day, including a hill outside Dublin. It gives the city a 300-year-old edge in what many people regard as the modern art of marketing and branding. Even the word sug-

gests something special, sundrenched, and culturally adept. The city itself is a contrast to the ancient dark mountain stones of the hills to the West, its limestone is porous and yellow. The Arc de Triomphe from 1715 tells you much of what you need to know about the city. Its reputa-

tion was rebellious, resentful, dissident, and subversive, but it turned its loyalty back to Louis XIV and his successors. The Cathedral is sitting uncharacteristically below the little parkland hills around, a former convent converted for higher purposes, nearby St Anne’s now a museum and a network Gardens

surrounded by a yellow version of the Georgian architecture which will make Dubliners feel at home. A treasure is the mikve, ritual Jewish bath which dates back to the 12th century and is one of only three in Europe. For admission to this and to the 90 steps to the top of the artistry on go to the

tourist office for an official guided tour. Montpellier unlike other UNESCO centres, is not about old stones at all. it is about lively bars and the banter of young student conversation and activities. Its beaches to have shed their reputation for mosquito bites. Nowadays pink fla-

Clockwise: Conques rooftops, Judith Erdei photographing the bridge at Albi, two views of Conques, Albi cathedral and bridges

Increased frequency from Dublin From 26 March 2017, KLM will increase its operations from Dublin to four daily ights giving a greater choice when travelling to Amsterdam and the world.

mingos play in the preserved marshes of the coastline and along the shore you will find another cathedral, Cathedrale de Maguelone, this time with a Visigoth altar and an ancient slogan 15 km from the city. A cat decided to walk the pews while we were there. Sacred to all creatures.




t is a measure of how things have changed in the mountains that resorts compete nowadays on the scale and versatility of their snowmaking facilities. Making snow has become a skill and an industry on its own. The construction and maintenance of the white stuff has become a conversation point in the Tyrolean villages when we called in December. They talk about how early the resort can open. They talk about places where the snow is covered and preserved to keep through the summer. On October 22 Passduhrm opened with saved snow left over from the previous winter and saved by tarpaulin from the summer sun. It was not always like this. At a time in the not so distant past nobody fretted if there was no snow in December. The winter of 1985 was particularly snow shy. Older ski school instructors like Hans ‘Sam’ Steinkasserer can remember teaching people to ski on frost. “Nobody made much of a fuss about it then, when there was no snow there was nothing anybody can do.” Hans is known as Sam because 13 Hanses started on same day, but that is another story). But today’s generation of skiers need a lot of snow and they want now. Pre Christmas ski follows a pattern. Green Mountains with tracks of white like teardrops streaking down them, where the machines have kicked into action. As you ski you are

Ski runs for when the snow is shy Eoghan Corry on how ski resorts are finding new ways to tackle an old problem

a busy valley town with a wide range of mountain huts. It gets more snow than neighbouring Kitzbühel and the SkiWelt, and also has substantial snowmaking. Large, spread-out, and lively, Kirchberg shares its slopes with Kitzbühel. There are three ways into the slopes, all a bus-ride from the village. Westendorf is a quiet, attractive village with good local slopes for confident intermediates; it is slightly off the main SkiWelt circuit, but has easy access to Kitzbühel’s area - so it is an appealing base if you plan to spend time on both. It is a particular favourite of the Irish, a friendly family resort with gentle skiing, good local slopes for confident intermediates.


Cannons roar on the Tyrolean mountains ike they did in Napoleon’s time

likely to make eye contact with a farm animal in the adjoining field, a cow with a bell around her neck. When it is about to snow the sheep move up the mountain because they know something. And the deer move down because they know something too, It is quite surreal, but then again, what aspect of ski is not surreal.

e sampled three resorts to see how the snow making can change life on the mountain, St Johann and Kirchberg in Tirol and Westendorf in Ski Welt. The slopes of Kirchberg now have 800 snow making machines and 100km of water pipes. All the machines need is a spell of minus three to minus six degrees, de-

pending on humidity and, like magic, a white carpet will be cast on the moun-

tain side. The skiing is easy herearound. St Johann is

■ Eoghan Corry travelled on the Austrian Tirolean Ski Odyssey courtesy of Aer Lingus, to Munich from Dublin. Aer Lingus flies twice daily from Dublin to Munich and operates a weekly service from Cork. One-way fares including taxes and charges start from €54.99. During the winter season Aer Lin-


■ St.Johann is an excellent choice for beginners and Families, with gentle blues and intermediate red slopes. ■ Kirchberg, with 170 kms of piste has a great choice of blue, black and red slopes and is a perfect choice for intermediate to advanced skiers. Kirchberg also has access to the Ski Welt area – which gives another 280 kms of piste.

■ Westendorf is part of the Ski Welt, one of the biggest interconnected ski areas in Austria with 180 kms of piste. ■ The Kitzbuehler Alpen All Star Card gives skiers the flexibility of skiing in another area close by, regardless of which resort you choose in the area. Beginners can use local ski passes. ere

igh mountain ski is one of the most pleasant of all activities because the amounts of scenery at your elbow clears the clutter and dust out of even the most stressed out head. Low mountain skiing has a subtly different but equally stunning impact. Somewhere beyond the pole that lifts the snow making machine aloft, is the normal world to which we all we must

A lift passes over grass and trees,



Clockwise: How green is my valley, travel writers in Kirchberg, Eoghan Corry samples the air and a ski station view. return, but not quite yet. There is a graceful long red to navigate first.


rtificial snow is crunchier and heavier and has a duller sound than mother nature’s version. It is not necessarily less pleasant to ski on, although purists might disagree. Colorado fine powder, or salty Whistler cake-icing ■ One night in the Hotel Adler costs €70,00 with breakfast per person. ■ Free guides or tours from Tourist board office such as a town tour. during the season ■ The Tourist board of the region Brixental offers many tours, for example we offer a free town tour every Monday in summer and hiking tours in summer. In winter we also have a lot of offers for our guests: For example snow-shoe hiking for beginners and for those at an advanced level. Moreover, we offer winter hiking and a romantic horse-drawn carriage ride to a traditional inn, where the guests could enjoy a hearty portion of cheese dumplings (costs €26,00 per person). Also ice-climbing for beginners and those at an advanced level is offered in Kirchberg.

it is not ours. But in the era of global warming it does the trick. It can get icy and ice plays games with the man made stuff a little differently than it does on the natural. Late afternoon is always going to be ice time when the sun comes out and we get their blue ski skiing the of the documentary channel. It is a small price to pay. There are also other activities offered, like curling, torch-lit hikes and cross-country skiing. The most of these activities are free, guests only have to pay the hire fees for snow shoes, transport costs, etc. ■ For tobogganing you have to pay the lift card and the hire fees. The hire fee for each toboggan is €8,00. The lift card for one day costs €29,00 per person, for the night run it costs €20,00 per adults. A single ticket for the Gaisberg lift costs €13,50. ■ Lift pass area Kitzbuehel-Kirchberg for 6 days: Super Savers Season (until 11.12.2016 and from 18.04.2017): €205.00 Saver Season ( and €230.50 Peak Season (24.12.2016 – 11.03.2017): €256.00


he Irish are popular here, says the head of Kirchberg for the Tirol Tourist Board. Christoph Stockl. It is not just the statistics, it is the attitude. Germans stay 3.5 nights the Irish stay seven, “The Irish business is small but the local hospitality community love it. Irish people don’t just go to ski, they go on a ski holiday.” Lift pass area SkiWelt Wilder Kaiser-Brixental (Westendorf) for 6 days: Low Season ( & €200.00 High Season ( 2 3 . 1 2 . 2 0 1 6 10.03.2017): €235.00 Kitzbueheler Alpen All Star Card for 6 days: Low Season (until 23.12.2016): €246.00 High Season (from 24.12.2016): €265.00 ■ ski school for one week, Group lessons adults, 4 hours per day: 1 day: €65,00 3 days: €165.00 extension for 1 day (after 3 days): €30.00, total costs for one week: €285.00 Private lessons: half day 2 hours: €155.00 3 hours: €210.00 4 hours: €226.00 5 hours: €239.00

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DESTINATION USA NEW ENGLAND AIR MADISON BEACH Hotel 94 West Wharf Rd., Clinton 203MUSEUM 36 Perimeter Rd, 245-1404 `set on the scenic Connecti-

Windsor Locks 860-623-3305 features 100 aircraft ranging from early flying machines to supersonic jets with 65 aircraft are on display in three large exhibit hangars and in an outdoor display area (open depending on weather).

YALE New Haven 149 Elm St, New Haven, CT 203-432-2301 Yale College students conduct the tours starting at the Yale Visitor Centre at 149 Elm Street. Hear about Yale’s rich 300-year history and aspects of student life at several of Yale’s twelve residential colleges and check out the cobble stones imported from Dublin. The tour also includes the Gothic Sterling Memorial Library, Yale’s largest, and the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library

MYSTIC SEAPORT : Largest maritime museum in the world noted for its collection of sailing ships and boats, and for the re-creation of the crafts and fabric of an entire 19th-century seafaring village. It consists of more than 60 original historic buildings, most of them rare commercial structures moved to the 17-acre site and meticulously restored. Between 1784 and 1919 600 vessels were constructed along the Mystic River. Signatures include the Charles W Morgan, the last wooden whale ship in the world, 50 exhibits and a 19th-century seafaring village. MYSTIC AQUARIUM

55 Coogan Blvd., Mystic 860-5725955 With habitats featuring sharks, stingrays, jellies and lots of touching, the back of a docile shark at Shark Encounters, the cool water at our Discovery Lab and learn how to hold a crab, relax as translucent jellies gently float around you. Signatures include penguins and California sea lions, green sea turtle,


25 Atheneum Square, Hartford 860278-2670 noted for its collections of European Baroque art, French and American Impressionist paintings, Hudson River School landscapes, modernist masterpieces and contemporary works.


House Museum 351 Farmington Ave, Hartford 860-280-1337 25-room Victorian home where legendary author Samuel Clemens (Mark Twain), lived with his family from 1874 to 1891 and wrote his greatest works, including The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. Collections include some 50,000 items belonging to the author and his family.

cut shoreline near a private beach and walking, biking, kayaking, fishing and bird-watching options. Explore downtown Madison, featuring boutiques, restaurants, specialty shops and even an old- fashioned movie theatre. Tour a local winery, enjoy live theatre or visit one of the historic New England villages nearby.


meadow St, Simsbury 860-651-6700 In the hills of the idyllic Farmington River Valley, casual comforts of country hospitality meets refinements of modern hotel travel.

Hartford of the matter

New Aer Lingus Connecticut route

WINVIAN FARM , 155 Alain White Rd., Morris 860-5679500 A 113-acre private, luxury resort in the Litchfield Hills of Connecticut containing 18 individualized cottages and one master suite, a private Relais & Chateaux, AAA 5-Diamond Hotel & Restaurant which utilised 15 architects on the project. Each cottage has its own unique design as an homage to Connecticut, CLINTON CROSSING Outlets, Clinton 20 Killingworth Turnpike, Clinton savings of 25pc to 65pc off every day prices featuring more than 70 designer and name brand outlet store, located along the Connecticut Shoreline, outdoor village centre conveniently located on I-95 en route to Boston or New York. Enjoy es.


One Mohegan Sun Blvd, Uncasville, CT 860-862-5309 created in 1996 by the Mohegan Tribe of Connecticut, (not to be confused with the Mohicans of James Fenimore Cooper) slogan of the labyrinthine casino is: a world at play and a world to its own. Three casions, the Kids Quest/Cyber Quest family entertainment facility, a day spa, convention centre and meeting facility, a state-of-the-art Poker Room, three entertainment venues with seating from 300 to 10,000. Attractions include an indoor 55-foot waterfall, water wall, the world’s largest indoor planetarium dome and the Wombi Rock, a crystal mountain.



Shopping 350 Trolley Line Blvd., Mashantucket 860-312-4860 Largest resort casino in North America, Foxwoods offers a vast array of gaming in six casinos; AAA Four-Diamond hotels, restaurants from gourmet to express, world renowned spas, awarding-winning golf, state-of-the-art theatres, and exclusive retailers, including 80 Tanger Outlet stores.


Mark Twain homestead in Hartford artford Connecti- who travels could suffer cut has a feel prejudice, a slogan emabout it, a place blazoned on the wall of people have to search to the visitor centre which is find and, consequently, Hartford’s most enduring find themselves. It is the attraction, would agree centre of several little only too much. universes. Much of the insurance industry of the world revolves around artford is a gatewhat happens here. It is way, the airline not exactly the mid point promotions tell between New York and us, to New England of Boston it is close enough the yellow leaves. It is to embrace the culture of also home to some of both of those. the great academic inAnd when you enter stitutions, Nearby New the billiards room in the Haven is home to Amerhome of Samuel Clem- ica’s second most famous ens, where, as Mark University, Yale. Twain, he wrote his Students conduct the greatest works, you al- tours here and in one of ready have a sense of the courtyards there are why he loved the town he cobblestones that were called home and observed imported from Dublin. In the world so succinctly the visitor centre Nancy from here. It is close Franco tells the story of enough to everywhere how somebody once told and far away as well at her how to adjust her the same time. Now it coffee cup. Now he said, is closer to Dublin. Aer I taught at Yale. Yale is different from Lingus will increase the frequency of its flights European universities in March. Mark Twain, which are older and just who held that nobody as grandiose. Buildings


built in the 1930s were given a finish to give a centuries-old feel to them, like the pointyheaded academics had read too much Sheridan Le Fanu and yearned for some gothic backdrop. Where universities in Europe, all of them, have been infiltrated by one religion or another, Yale is gloriously secular, religiously so, if a pun can be excused. The great God of knowledge is the one that is worshipped here and every aspect of the architecture and culture is designed to remind students of this. American college culture is hugely familiar to us from film and TV. One of the secret frat house buildings has the highest water bill in the state. One can only imagine what the induction ceremonies are like. Mark Twain did not come here by accident. The house next door is a clue. Harriet Beecher,

Aer Lingus flight to Hartford continues through the year and increases to daily in march. Best prices on aerlingus.som


DESTINATION USA author of a publishing sensation Uncle Tom’s cabin, was a friend and mentor. One can only imagine the conversations when they stopped in to each other’s homes for a cup of sugar or held elegant dinner parties with by candle light, shadows cast on the elegant decorations overseen by Louis Comfort Tiffany.. What would it be like to be a guest there?. Thanks to Beecher and then Twain, Hartford was for a while the publishing capital of the USA were the emperors on the dust cover gathered to find out what will be the next best thing. For a while, Beecher was. Then Twain was, and many other writers gathered her to draw from the well of creativity, or the happy accident of being acquainted with a commissioning editor. Your correspondent

Laura Barber of Shandon Travel, Laura Burke of Budget Travel and Shirley Webster of Cassidy Travel take a selfie at Mystic aquarium suffered from an OCD like obsession with another of Hartford’s great scribe scions of. Wallace Stevens. ere you will find some of the best examples of the sycamore wood hospitality that is the pride of America’s north-east. The beautiful Madison Beach hotel overlooks at a beach where the sun bounces up from Long Island Sound each morning. It was December and Travel Extra had to


have the early morning swim. It was bracing and wonderful. The mayor of Madison came to because and joined in some collegiate ballad singing until the early hours with Madison Beach hotel’s proprietor, John Mathers. That is the sort of thing that happens when Aer Lingus comes to town.


he downside is that being halfway between Boston and New York means

the prices can be driven up quite spectacularly. Some of the plush resorts are sharing $1,400 a night. The escape to the countryside is a premium product when it is just two hours at a New York. Six hours from Dublin and it doesn’t seem as good value. Oddly, considering the power of New York and Boston culture, the attractions of the region are not well publicised on our side of the pond. Google Hartford activTRUSTED BY IRISH HOLIDAY MAKERS FOR OVER

ities and you will get offers of an array of day trips to New York. The reality is that Hartford and New England are top end attractions by international standards. And for those who’ve already tripped to the big cities, they can find lots to do. The attractions of the area would make a neat Wallace Stevens poem. Mystic has two of them, the seaport creation of a 19th-century American whaling haven, straight out of Moby Dick. They even have one of the last whale ships that sailed under canvas. The Mayflower II is their other star attraction. Down the road at Mystic aquarium, there is no doubting who the other star attraction is. the Beluga whale that manages to splash water over the top of the glass on top of teenagers.

Mystic aquarium prides itself on endangered species and animals that cannot be seen in many other locations. Outlet shopping fans will find two of the amazing malls where prices are cheaper than some of the countries that produce the clothing in the first place. Two of the largest casinos outside of Vegas, complete with all the paraphernalia of eating and entertainment. The attraction of playing poker through the night when drink stops being served at 1am may be lost on some Cheltenham veterans. But where there is big money is also big entertainment option and big shopping opportunities. The $10 buffet at Mohegan Sun stays open 24 hours and is a nice place for steak for breakfast

Experience the best of

La Dolce Vita.


Direct flights from Dublin, Cork & Belfast VOTED BEST SKI TOUR OPERATOR REPUBLIC OF IRELAND


Top: Jenny Rafter of Aer LIngus in the New England Air Museum Clockwise: approach to Hartford, Mystic seaport, Teresa Ginnell of WTC in the Wadsworth sunrise at Madison beach

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Abbey Travel Adventures Abbeyglen Castle Hotel Acorn Insurance Advantage Austria Aer Lingus Air Transat

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Alabama Tourism N5 Algarve Tourism Bureau D1/E1 Aluna Vacances - Ardeche (Sunelia) B5/C5 Amber Springs Hotel and Health Spa Z8 American Holidays M4/N3 An Post A1 ANA - All Nippon Airways G5 Andalucia Tourist Board P7/Q6 Aquatica L6

Artique Mirage Decor Ashdown Park Hotel ASL Airlines France Atlantic City CVA Attractions of Snowdonia Axencia Turismo De Galicia Bahamas Tourist Office Barbados Tourism Marketing Inc Barcelona Is Much More Basque Country Tourism Board

TBP X7 S7 L5a U4/W5 P7/Q6 N10 M11 P7/Q6 P7/Q6

Belmare Travel Benidorm Berrua - Cote Basque (Sunelia) Bespoke India Travel Best Holidays In Italy Bike'N Ride Holidays Bill O’Brien's Doolin Ferry Co Blue Insurance/ Botswana Tourism Organisation Bradley International Airport

D3/E4 P7/Q6 B5/C5 K5 Q1 L2 X2 S2 G6 N7

Brian McEniff Bundoran Hotel Burren Yoga & Mediation Centre Bush Gardens Tampa Bay C'est Si Bon Cambrils Tourism Board Camping Le Bois de Valmarie Camping La Bretonniere Camping La Garangeoire Camping l’Hippocampe

T12 X4 L6 D2/E2 P7/Q6 R3/S3 A19a A21 B2/C2 A19a

Camping Camping Camping Camping Camping Campiss Canadia Canary I Canet-e Carlow T Caribbea Carrickc Castello Castilla Castleco Castlero Catalan Causewa Borough Celebrit CenterH Charles China Na Clare To Classic R Clayton Clickand Club Me Cobh He Cobh To Col. D'ib (Sunelia Commod Connect Consorz Cottage County K Crown T Cruise & Cruise.c Cuba To Cyprus T Czech To Dawson DB / Rai Deep So Departm Derry Vis Destinat Destinat Devils Ed Discover Discover Discover Discover Discover Discover Domaine (Sunelia Domaine (Sunelia Domaine Domaine - Ardech Dominic Donegal Donegal Donna B Doolin2A Dubrovn e-travel. Eagles F Researc Embassy Embassy Embassy Embassy



T12 X4 L6 D2/E2 P7/Q6 R3/S3 A19a A21 B2/C2 A19a

Camping Le Pin Parasol***** A21 Camping La Sirene A19a Camping Sequoia Parc A20 Camping Village de la Guyonniere A21 Campings In France D2/E2 Campissimo D2/E2 Canadian Affair R9 Canary Islands P7/Q6 Canet-en-Roussillon Tourism Board "Q1a Carlow Tourism W10 Caribbean Tourism Organisation N10 Carrickcraft Z5 Castellon Tourist Board P7/Q6 Castilla y Leon P7/Q6 Castlecourt Hotel Resort U3 Castlerosse Hotel & Holiday Homes X13 Catalan Tourist Board P7/Q6 Causeway Coast & Glens Borough Council T7 Celebrity Cruises G2 CenterHotels N8 Charles Taylor Trading G13/F14 China National Tourist Office H4 Clare Tourism W2/X4 Classic Resorts J4 Clayton Hotels W1 Q7 Club Med H2 Cobh Heritage Centre U9 Cobh Tourism U9 Col. D'ibardin - Cote Basque (Sunelia) B5/C5 Commodore Hotel Cobh U9 Connecticut Office of Tourism M7/N6 Consorzio Sinergia Italiana Q1 Cottage Pride TBP County Kildare Failte T14/U14 Crown Tour LLC J7 Cruise & Maritime Voyages L11 L12 Cuba Tourist Board M10 Cyprus Tourism Organisation H3 Czech Tourism S12 Dawson A2 DB / RailShop S6 Deep South USA N5 Department Of Foreign Affairs & Trade N12a Derry Visitor & Convention Bureau K4/S4 Destination Quebec R9 Destination St John's S9 Devils Edge Shirt Co D8 Discover Boyne Valley U12 Discover Bundoran T10/U11 Discover Mayo W17/X16 Discover New England M7/N6 Discover Newport Rhode Island M7/N6 Discovery Cove Orlando L6 Domaine De Champe - Vosges (Sunelia) B5/C5 Domaine de la Dragonniere - Herault (Sunelia) B5/C5 Domaine Du Logis D2/E2 Domaines Les Ranchisses - Ardeche (Sunelia) B5/C5 Dominican Republic Tourist Office N9 Donegal Bay Waterbus T10/U11 Donegal Tourism T10/U11 Donna Bella H13/H14 Doolin2Aran Ferries W4 Dubrovnik and Neretva Tourist Board J14 R1/S1 Eagles Flying/Irish Raptor Research Centre T12 Embassy of Argentina K2 Embassy of Chile J3 Embassy of Slovakia S14 Embassy of the Republic of Lithuania F1

ENIT - Italian State Tourist Board D3/E4 Z6 Equinox Education Services G9 ESE Communication D2/D3 Ethiopian Airlines F6 Europcar X5 Exodus Travel J12 Explore St. Louis L8 Explore Worldwide H8 Family Resorts and Campsites In Italy A23 Fanad T10/U11 Federacion Campings Comunidad Valenciana P7/Q6 Fermanagh Lakeland Tourism S5 Fitzpatrick Group of Hotels M3 Flight Centre S8 Y1 Florida's Beaches P5 Folgaria Ski Dolomites Q1 Follow The Camino M12 Forever Lifestyle L15 Frank Keane A31 Friuli Venezia Giulia Tourist Board Q1 Gateway To Sliabh Liag T10/U11 Gites De France Morbihan and Marne F3 Glasnevin Cemetery Museum T1 G8 Gran Canaria P7/Q6 Grand American Adventures M8 Great National Hotels & Resorts Z2 Greater Fort Lauderdale P5 Greater Miami Convention & Visitors Bureau P5 Greek National Tourism Organisation B2/C2 Harvey’s Point T10/U11 Heritage Island - Ireland's Premier Attractions T1 Hertz Rent A Car Outside Hidden in Spain Q5 Holiday Green - Var (Sunelia) B5/C5 Hotel Altstadt Vienna R13 Hotel Beacon NYC M1 Hotel Metro M1 Hotel Westport Z4 House of Waterford Crystal U2 Hurtigruten Q9 Ibiza Tourist Board P7/Q6 Illinois Tourism K3 Independent News & Media India Tourism J9 Inishowen Tourism T10/U11 Insight Vacations R7 Interlude - Ile de Re (Sunelia) B5/C5 Intrepid Travel G10 Ion Body Armour Ireland K11 Irish Golf Review Z3 Irish Travel Agents Association (ITAA) A3 Jamaica Tourist Board L13 Japan Airlines G5 Japan National Tourist Organisation G5 JMG Travel L11 Kansas/Oklahoma Travel & Tourism L7 KBC Bank M15 Kilkenny Tourism X10 Killarney Tourism W14 Kissimmee St Cloud Convention & Visitors Bureau P3 L'Atlantique - Sud Bretagne (Sunelia) B5/C5 L'Escale Saint-Gilles - Sud Bretagne (Sunelia) B5/C5 L'Hippocampe - Haute Provence (Sunelia) B5/C5 La Loubine - Vendee (Sunelia) B5/C5 La Pointe Du Medoc - Medoc (Sunelia) B5/C5 La Ribeyre - Auvergne (Sunelia) B5/C5

Lac De Panthier - Bourgogne (Sunelia) B5/C5 Lakeside Hotel Killaloe W3 Lanzarote Tourist Board P7/Q6 Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority L3 Laura Lynn Foundation D5 Le Clos Du Rhone - Camargue (Sunelia) B5/C5 Le Fief - Loire Atlantique (Sunelia) B5/C5 Le Malazeou -Ariege (Sunelia) B5/C5 Le Ranc Davaine - Ardeche (Sunelia) B5/C5 Le Soleil Fruite - Drome (Sunelia) B5/C5 Leitrim Tourism Z9 "Les Logis D‘orres - Hautes Alpes (Sunelia)" B5/C5 Les Pins - Pyrenees Orientales (Sunelia) B5/C5 Les Trois Vallees - Pyrenees (Sunelia) B5/C5 Les Tropiques - Pyrenees Orientales (Sunelia) B5/C5 Little Windsor F13 Louisiana Office of Tourism N5 Lyrath Estate Hotel X10 Made R2 Mahlatini Luxury Travel G7 Maine Office of Tourism M7/N6 Malaysia Tourism Promotion Board G1 Maldron Hotels & Partners U1 Malta Tourism Authority P10 Marche Region D3/E4 Massachusetts Office of Travel & Tourism M7/N6 Mexico Tourism Board K1 Michigan Tourism K3 Mid & East Antrim Borough Council T5 Mid Ireland Tourism X1 Mid Ulster District Council T3 Midleton Park Hotel & Spa Z1 Mississippi Tourism N5 Missouri Tourist Board L8 Mobile Massage TBP Moroccan National Tourist Office L9 Mourne Mountains & Ring of Gullion T4 MSC Cruises Q8 Muckross Park Hotel & Spa Z11 Must Have Accessory B14 New Hampshire Travel and Tourism M7/N6 New York Pass M1 New York State Division of Tourism L4 New York Wheel/Empire Outlets M1 Newfoundland & Labrador Tourism S9 Newpark Hotel Kilkenny (Flynn Hotels) X10 Nire Valley County Waterford W13 North American Representatives L2 North Cyprus Tourism Centre K7 North Wales Tourism U4/U7 Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL) P9 Nuevo Mundo K2 NYC & Company M1 Oceania Cruises Q12 Ontario Tourism Marketing R9 Oranmore Lodge Hotel Conference & Leisure Centre W14 Oriel House Hotel Cork Z1 Orlando L2 E12 Palmistry & Tarot F11 Parla Di Mare - Corse (Sunelia) B5/C5 Partenaire Lac De L'Uby (Sunelia) B5/C5 Partenaire Le Bois Fleuri - Pyrenees Orientales (Sunelia) B5/C5 Partenaire Mas Des Lavandes - Herault (Sunelia) B5/C5 Passport Service P8 Pennsylvania L5a

Perla Di Mare - Corse (Sunelia) B5/C5 Perpignan Airport Q1a Perpignan Tourism Board Q1a Philadelphia VCB L3a PhoneWatch J16 A30 Play Florida Golf L2 Polish National Tourist Office R14 PortAventura World P7/Q6 Princesa Yaiza & Fariones Hotels P6 Pristine Mountain Adventure J11 Pure Results Bootcamp W9 Qatar Airways G4 Radisson Blu Farnham Estate Hotel Cavan T6 Radisson Blu Hotel & Spa Sligo T6 Rathlin Island & Cape Clear Island Z10a Region Of Valencia P7/Q6 Residence Lisa Maria - Corse (Sunelia) B5/C5 Reykjavik Excursions N8 Riu Hotels & Resorts S10 Riverside Park Hotel X9 Riviera Travel Q4 Rockefeller Centre M1 Rocky Mountaineer S8 Romanian National Authority for Tourism K4 Roscommon Tourism Z10 Royal Caribbean International R1/S1 Rubina Resort - Espagne (Sunelia) B5/C5 Saint-Cyprien Tourism Board Q1a Salou Tourism Board P7/Q6 Salzburg Tourismus R13 San Francisco Q3 SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment L6 Secrets of India Tours J10 Select Hotels of Ireland Z13 Seychelles Tourism Board J5 Shannon Ferries X3 Show Promotions B16/C16/C17 SilverLine Cruisers X5 Silversea Cruises Q7 Simon Shopping Destinations P4 Sirene Holidays A19a Smilebright E8/E9 Sole-Mates H12 Spanish Tourism Office P7/Q6 Spring Hotels R10 Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau J6 St John's International Airport Authority S9 St Petersburg/Clearwater P5 St Vincent and The Grenadines K9 Stena Line N12 Sunelia Vacances B5/C5 Sunway Travel H1/J1 Surf Snowdonia U4/W5 Taipei Representative Office in Ireland H6 Talbot Hotel Carlow Z1 Talbot Hotel Stillorgan Z1 Taste With Gusto D4/E5 Tenerife Touriam Corporation P7/Q6 Tennessee Tourism N5 Texas Tourism M2 The Beaches of Fort Myers & Sanibel P5 The Connacht Hotel X14 The Dragon Trip H5 The Earth Trip K5 The Gobbins Coastal Path T5 The Lake Hotel Killarney U8 The New Hampshire Ski Group USA M5 The Outing/Lisdoonvarna Matchmaking Festival W2 The Safari Expert G8 The Talbot Collection Z1

Tipperary Tourism X11 Tirol Tourist Board R13 Tiroler Zugspitz Arena R13 Topflight R13 Tour America G2 Tourism Northern Ireland R4/S4 Tourism Thailand H7 Trabolgan Holiday Village T8 Trailfinders P2/Q2 Tralee Chamber Alliance X12 Travel Department Y2 Travel Escapes N11 Travel the Unknown M14 Travel Trade Tickets and Tours L2 Travelmood N2 TrekAmerica M8 Tunisian National Tourist Office J2 Turismo De Santiago De Compostela P7/Q6 Turismo Torino & Provincia Tourist Board Q1 Turkish Airlines R12/S11 Turkish Culture and Tourism Office R12/S11 Uganda Tourism Board G7 Umbria Region D3/E4 Unique Japan Tours G5 Universal Orlando Resort L5 Universal Studios Hollywood L5 Uniworld Boutique River Cruises R6 USIT L10 VARSEJ - Luxury Guided Vacations In Italy E3 Vermont Department Of Tourism M7/N6 Villaggio Dei Fiori - Italie (Sunelia) B5/C5 Visit California Q3 Visit Florida P3 Visit Kentucky Association N5 Visit North Carolina N4 Visit USA Ireland P1 Visit Wexford Z8 VisitFLANDERS F5 Vorarlberg Tourismus R13 Waterways Ireland Z12 Wien Tourism R13 Wendy Wu Tours J8 WestJet S9 Westport Plaza Hotel U3 Westtoer Tourism F5 White Mountains Visitors Bureau M7/N6 Wicklow County Tourism Z7 Woodlands Park X12 WOW Air N8 Youghal Tourism T9

CARAVAN & MOTORHOME SHOW Cosy Campers Smyth Leisure Donaghey Motorhomes Hymer Motorhomes Dethleffs Motorhomes Knaus Motorhomes Carado Motorhomes Willerby Holiday Homes Happy Campers Irish Caravan & Camping Council Country Caravans Belfast Rushin House Caravan Park Vans 4 You Whiterocks

CM11 CM8 CM14 CM14 CM14 CM14 CM14 CM1 CM8 CM7 M17 CM10a CM2 T2 B12

List correct at time of going to press



JAN 27-29 2017


O The Low Down


Friday 27 January 1.00pm – 6.00pm Saturday 28 January 11.00am – 5.30pm Sunday 29 January 11.00am – 5.30pm Trade Only: Friday 27 January 10.00am – 1.00pm How Much: Adults €7 OAPs €4 Students €3 Children Free Family Price: €14 2 Adults & ALL their children DART: Don’t forget that the DART has great family rates on Saturday and Sunday. How Many: 40,000 visitors Who’s there: 2,000 travel experts from 55 countries, tour operators, travel agents, hotels, national and global tourist organisations, airports, airlines, theme parks, bus, coach, car, rail, camping, travel services, adventure holidays, ferry and cruise companies, caravans and motorhomes, Where From: ■ Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland ■ Europe and the Mediterranean ■ The Caribbean ■ The Americas ■ Africa and the Middle East ■ Asia and the Pacific ■ Caravans and motorhomes ■ Wedding and honeymoon destinations ■ Adventure Holidays ■ Tour operators Official Opening: Friday 27 January at 2pm Official opening by Shane Ross TD, Minister for Tourism Saturday 11.30 opening Home Holiday pavilion by Minister Parick O’Donovan Website: Over 55s Show: Explore the ENDLESS OPTIONS for Over 55s Hotel-based holidays in Ireland Sun holidays at special senior rates luxury holidays Cruise bargains, including over 55s only cruises Trekking & walking activity holidays City Breaks Extras Taiko drummers sponsored by Japan National Tourist Organisation, Failte Ireland Virtual Reality bringing the Wild Atlantic Way to Life, Free Yoga Classes from Kathryn Thomas Bootcamp, Holiday Photo Competion winners display and Art Competition for primary Schools supported by Aer Lingus. Next Year: Belfast 19-21 January 2018 Dublin 26-28 January 2017

n behalf of the Irish Travel Agents Association (ITAA) I would like to welcome you to the biggest, brightest and best Holiday World yet! This year we have 250 exhibitors representing a veritable A to Y of national and international travel opportunities. Tour operators, travel agents, resorts, hotels, airlines, ferry companies, railway companies, cruising companies, national and regional tourist organisations are all here, under one roof, to give you first hand and first class information on almost any destination on the planet. Ireland is exceptionally well served with airports, north and south, Cork, Shannon, Connacht International, City of Derry, Belfast International, Belfast George Best and Dublin. There are no excuses any

more not to travel. In real terms travel has become less expensive and more accessible. The key to a great travel experience is planning and you can start that process here at the Holiday World Show. This year we have access to 1,000 travel industry experts who have travelled here to be with us to make their information available. This year, in addition to the more traditional holiday options we have more activity and adventure based holidays represented. As an island state we have to be adventurers. Travel is an integral part of our history and development as a nation. It is also very important to our economy in terms of employment and income generation. Remember, all the destinations and holidays featured over this weekend are avail-

able to book with your ITAA Travel Agent – all ITAA Agents are fully licensed by the Commission for Aviation Regulation and bonded for your protection. ITAA Agents have the knowledge, experience and online resources to offer you an excellent, complete personal service. If you need assistance before, during or after your holiday, your Agent is ready, willing and able to help. I hope you enjoy your visit to Holiday World. Relax, explore and ask plenty of questions. You can look forward to a wonderful holiday in 2017. We are looking forward to working with you!

Cormac Meehan President ITAA

Lothar Muschketat of Eaglesflying, Alaska the American bald headed eagle, Minister Michael Ring and Maureen Ledwith of Buisness exhiibitions


Travel + Leisure: Angra dos Reis Brazil, Belfast, Belgrade, Bermuda, Cambodian Coast, Cape Town, Cincinnati, Devon, Guayaquil Ecuador, Hamburg, Hampi India, Helsinki, Honolulu, Indianapolis, Jackson Hole, Jebel Akhdar Oman, Jerusalem, Jura France, Kanazawa Japan, Lake Lucerne, Laos, La Paz Bolivia, Madagascar, Málaga, Montevideo, Montreal, Nashville, Nicaragua, Noosa Heads Australia, Norfolk Virginia, Okavango Delta Botswana, Oslo, Panama City, Paros Greece, Perth, Philadelphia, Pisco Province Peru, Provence, Queenstown New Zealand, Rotterdam, Rwanda, Salta Argentina, Santo Domingo Dominican Republic, Seychelles, Suzhou, Tamuda Bay Morocco, Tofino British Columbia, Turin, Valle de Guadalupe Mexico, Veracruz Mexico Fodor’s: Aarhus, Alaska, Antigua, Bordeaux, Canada;s National Parks, Cape Town, Chiang Mai, Cyprus, Denver, Edinburgh, Helsinki, Hokkaido, Hong Kong, Kiev, Laos, Lima, Madagascar, Marfa, Medellin, Minho, Oaxaca,

Saxony, Washington DC, Wellington, Yorkshire, Lonely Planet Countries 1 Canada, 2 Colombia, 3 Finland, 4 Dominica, 5 Nepal, 56 Bermuda, 7 Mongolia, 8 Oman, 9 Myanmar, 10 Ethiopia Rough Guides: 1 Myanmar, 2 Nepal, 3 iceland, 4 Italy, 5 Mexico, 6 Sri Lanka, 7 Colombia 8 Indonesia 9 Ireland 10 England. Lonely Planet sights 1 Temples of Angkor, 2 Great Barrier Reef, 3 Machu Picchu, 4 Great Wall of China, 5 Taj Mahal, 6 Grand Canyon, 7 Collosseum, 8 Iguao Falls, 9 Alhambra, 10 agia sofia, 11 Fez Medina, Morocco, 12 12. Twelve Apostles, Australia, 13. Petra, Jordan, 14. Tikal, Guatemala, 15. British Museum, England, 16. Sagrada Familia, Spain, 17. Fiordland National Park, New Zealand, 18. Santorini, Greece, 19. Galapagos Islands, Ecuador, 20. Museum of Old and New Art, Australia Afar: Barcelona, Italy, Hawaii, Charleston, Cuba. Tour operator award Wilderness Travel,



The 360 show A

highlight of the Holiday World show will be Fáilte Ireland’s virtual reality experiences along the Wild Atlantic Way that can now be accessed publicly via apps or on desktops. The tourism authority will be showcasing its new 360° views of the Wild Atlantic Way which will add another level of

immersion when visitors research the destination. The headsets feature four activities Horse-riding on Streedagh Beach with Ursula Schweizer O’Connor from Island View Riding Stables, cycling the Burren with Patrick O’Regan from Burren Way Mountain Bike Tours, surfing with champion surfer Ollie O’Flaherty off the Co

Clare coast and climbing Sea Stacks in Donegal with Iain Miller of Unique Ascent, all available on virtual reality apps including LittleStar and Samsung Milk VR. The experiences can also be viewed in 360° videos which allow viewers to tap, click or drag the video to change their viewing angle and see what’s happening around

them. These can be viewed on desktop and mobile Fáilte Ireland is also using 360° technology to provide visitors with an immersive view of 15 key Wild Atlantic Way Signature Discovery Points: Malin Head, Fanad Head and Sliabh Liag in Co Donega, Mullaghmore, Co Sligo, Downpatrick Head, and

JAN 27-29 2017

Keel Beach in Co Mayo, Derrygimlagh and Killary Fjord, in Co Galway, Cliffs of Moher and Loop Head in Co Clare, Skellig Islands and Blasket Island, Co Kerry, Dursey Island, Mizen Head and Kinsale, Co. Cork Each signature point on the map can be viewed from an overhead satellite view which can be rotated

and manoeuvred with a mouse or keyboard websites as well as on VR Headsets, Google Cardboard. The VR and 360° experiences were commissioned by Fáilte Ireland and filmed early last year using a combination of drone; custom built mounted back packs and go-pro equipment.



JAN 27-29 2017


alking hotel rooms? It is not the only innovation that has been shaking up the travel industry in the past few months. Here we look at some of the astonishing new trends in the world of travel.


The line between leisure and business travel is blurring further. More people are exploring the world by working business hours at their day job on the go and then exploring in their time off. Top destinations include New York, Paris and Brussels. Where there’s a wifi there’s a way.

Trends in travel

Your hotel room just answered you back


and breakfast Legalised cannabis will see destinations such as Alaska, Colorado, Jamaica and Uruguay capitalise on their newly legalised spliff tourists.


Cyber concierges and assistants are popping up on websites across the travel industry. Radisson Edwardian Blu’s concierge Edward will direct you to local restaurants. Lufthansa’s Mildred will help you find the cheapest flight. Others using chat bots include Aeromexico, Booking. com, British Airways, Expedia, Hyatt Hotels, Icelandair and Skyscanner. These bots interact in written form via instant messaging platforms such as Facebook Messenger. KLM’s will tell you when it’s time to check in, ping you a boarding pass or change your seat. But only if you ask nicely.

CO-LIVING . Based on the principle that “we are only as good as the people we surround ourselves with” co-living websites have started in major cities offering access to lounges, gyms, cinemas, spas, restaurants, themed dining rooms, kitchens, roof terraces, libraries, games rooms, offices and hot desks. Examples include:

Concierge in Ahwahnee, can an app replace all this?, WeWork,,,,, livezoku. com, and


or conscious hospitality A nonprofit Green Rooms hotel opened in London’s Wood Green in June. 11 Howard in New York supports emerging business and charitable organisations. A former floating prison from the Netherlands took up a new mooring in Royal Victoria Docks, near London City airport, in September 2016. All profits from the luxurious new Good Hotel will be reinvested in training schemes for unemployed locals. People over Profit organised a crowdfunding campaign to kickstart flights between England and Indian cities of Amritsar and Ahmedabad this year. If successful, profits from the carrier will be distributed between various charities.


Fashion room service. The W London Leicester Square introduced its “Walk Out Wardrobe” concept in partnership with online rental site in summer 2015. Guests staying in suites can order specific items in advance or call down to have a rail of outfits brought to their room free of charge (other travellers pay from £29 for hire).


Enthusiasm for digital wallets that can store boarding passes and loyalty cards is extending to payment facilities from Paypal, Apple Pay, Google Android and new competitors such as Chase Pay and Samsung Pay. JetBlue and Emirates partnered with Apple Pay in 2014, now Airbnb, British Airways, Delta, Easyjet, Expedia, Marriott and Uber have joined them. In November, Qatar Airways announced it was integrating Apple Pay for the purchasing of flights through its mobile app, enabling fingerprint touch ID or passcode to do away with 16 digit credit card numbers and expiry dates. Worldpay anticipates US$647bn of consumer payments will be via e-wallets in 2019, US$412bn via debit

cards and US$577bn via credit cards, with plastic dropping from two thirds to half of all transactions.


Fatcats are chasing the MICE again: Meetings and Incentive travel is back on the rise, with shorter travel times and multiple meetings into one event. Belgium, Britain, France and Germany are the most popular destinations for international association meetings, while the US, South Korea and Singapore are the most popular globally. Average Mice budgets fell fromUS$3,659pp in 2008 to US$2,397 in 2014 but recovered to US$3,165 in 2016.

GREEN Tourism: Protecting the planet and eco-tourism may well continue to inspire travel choices but the other kind of green will prove popular in 2017. HAND LUGGAGE

Already 22pc of passengers are willing to travel hand luggage only and it is lower on airlines like Ryanair. The next siege is of storage space, although the jury is still out on the advisability of Spirit (2010) and Fron-

tier’s (2014) decision to charge for overhead storage space. From 2017 United will insist that their basic fare passengers must fit a single item of luggage under the seat on front of them.


travel search is moving beyond text alerts for airfare sales, getting a price from their favourite voice-based internet device, and finding a flight through Facebook Messenger to travel planning on the go. Nowadays 60pc of demand comes from portable devices.


picnics New EU legislation just enforced (December 13) highlighted awareness of the high sugar and salt levels in airline food. British Airways is the latest all-inclusive airline to announce charges for food on board. Airport shopping malls (or, increasingly, shopping malls with an airport attached) have seen the growth of buy before you fly eateries and higher end food offerings such as Marquette in Dublin airport T1 and Wrights of Howth in Terminal 1 and 2, YO! Sushi in Heathrow

T2 has an app for passengers to place orders while going through security, then pick up their prepared box of aircraft food. Steaks on a plane indeed. The service is now available at all of Heathrow’s restaurants across all terminals. Buy before you fly options are also growing in popularity, ordering food online on such as Aer Lingus’s Bia menu.

TRUMP Slump.

Expect restrictive policies will cause holiday makers to consider switching to an alternative destination, such as Canada.

VOICE activation: Apple’s Siri, Amazon’s the Echo, and Google’s Cloud Speech API have introduced the concept. Starwood’s Aloft hotels in Boston and Santa Clara introduced the world’s first voice-activated hotel rooms. A simple “Goodnight” will turn out the lights, while “Good morning” will switch them back on. The room temperature and speakers can also be controlled by Siri via an iPad provided. Other prototypes allow guests to book a taxi and set a wake-up alarm.




JAN 27-29 2017

t will be an exciting year ahead with a major new theme park opening, a solar eclipse and a Lions tour. What is happening in 2017:

THEME PARKS: Universal Orlando Resort opens Volcano Bay Water Park early next summer, featuring an innovative water ride called the Krakatau Aqua Coaster. New wearable technology allows users to queue virtually. Disney opens a new land at Animal Kingdom in Florida called Pandora -The World of Avatar, attractions include a multisensory ride called Flight of Passage and a water ride. At Disney Anaheim Twilight Zone Tower of Terror will be replaced by Guardians of the Galaxy - Mission: Breakout Expect free-fall and

other ride experiences. Universal Orlando will open a ride in Spring themed on a wild race through New York City against Jimmy Fallon.


Finland marks 100 years since independence from Russia in 2017. Canada celebrates 150 years since its colonies were

united under the Canadian Confederation, and Montreal marks its 375th anniversary. Alaska celebrates the 150th anniversary of its transfer from Russia to the US.

Join us for a Thai Night

Tourism Thailand invites travel agents to join us for an entertaining evening, where we will be bringing together some of our finest hotels, airlines, destination management companies and tour operators for two unmissable events in Dublin and Cork. These entertaining nights will include ‘workshop style’ speed dating, with tasty Thai food, chilled beer, wine and soft drinks, plus relaxing Thai massages and a free prize draw to win a Fam trip to Thailand. To register, e-mail your name and contact details to

In Russia, it is 100 years since the revolution that toppled the czar and led to communism. Germany marks 500 years since Martin Luther’s 95 Theses.

EVENTS The pope visits Portugal in May to mark the centennial of a miracle in the town of Fatima, where three children had a vision of the Virgin Mary in 1917. A pilgrimage of another type is to New Zelaand to follw the Britisih and Irish Lions from June 3-July 8 to Whangarei, Auckland, Christchurch (most beautiful of the festinatoins, match is on June 10), Dunedin, Rotorua, Hamilton, Wellington and back to Auckland.. Cape Town sees the opening of the Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa in September. On Aug 21, a total eclipse of the sun lasting for more than 2 minutes will darken afternoon skies across a narrow strip of the United States stretching from South Carolina to Oregon, as well as Ireland and Scotland.

You’re invited to our Thai Nights Dublin 22 Feb Cork 23 Feb

Win a Thai Fam trip Enter the free prize draw at either of our Thai Nights and you could win a place on a Fam trip to Amazing Thailand. Want to learn more about Thailand? Start your online training today at To hear about the latest news and events, follow us on Facebook at


To attend the evening you must be working within in the travel industry and residing in UK or Ireland. Fam trips operate off-peak season and will include flights, accommodation and some meals. Errors and omissions excepted.




uinness Storehouse had 1,647,408 visitors in 2016, up 10p, and Cliffs of Moher 1,427,166, up 14pc. What is surprising is what a small proportion of domestic visitors attend the two main attractions depend on. The Storehouse breakdown was Britain 27pc and US: 23.7pc. Netherlands saw the biggest increase (thanks to Ryanair going to Schiphol?) 41pc, Switzerland was up 23pc, Canada up 26pc, China up 24pc and Spain up 21pc. At Moher Independent Travellers (FIT) visitors, including walkers, cyclists and those travelling by car or public transport, grew at a rate of 13.5pc while group visitors grew by 15pc. Katherine Webster said the majority of people look to visit between 11.00 a.m. and 4.00 p.m. “and consequently, our facilities have at times struggled to cope with the numbers during the peak season. :”We introduced offpeak pricing for prebooked groups who come outside of these times in 2014 but it takes time for tour operators to be able to change their itineraries. This was one of the reasons we saw higher growth from this segment as our extended opening hours in the summer allowed above average

JAN 27-29 2017

Four Irish tourist attractions now have 1m visits

Numbers soar at lead Irish attractions Paul Carty of Guinness Storehouse and Lord Iveagh increases outside of the peak.” US visitors grew by 23pc and German visitors are now in second place exceeding domestic Irish visitors. Dublin zoo had 1.12m visitors and exceeded the million mark for the sixth year in a row. The Book of Kells is now Ireland’s fifth most popular attraction with 890,000 visitors in 2016. It was perennially ranked at number two to the zoo until the turn of the century. The British market grew to 6.4pc of all visitors from 4.6pcz in 2015. National Gallery was up 5.1pc to 755,577. IMMA, who reported

BATTLE FOR NUMBER ONE 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016

Guinness 485,939 640,720 738,000 764,118 780,851 858,504 948,577 1,038,910 1,019,166 930,000 1,025,677 1,087,209 1,156,985 1,269,371 1,498,124 1,647,408

Dublin Zoo Moher 601,000 N/A 607,000 624,000 772,322 650,000 731,705 789,465 746,291 760,906 754,208 911,876 900,005 940,455 932,000 808,310 898,469 763,758 963,053 720,574 1,001,083 809,474 1,030,000 873,988 1,026,611 960,134 1,076,876 1,080,501 1,105,005 1,251,574 1,427,166 1,251,574

580,000 visitors commented: “we had unprecedented growth the previous year and expect

to return to more stable growth.”

IRELAND’S LEAD ATTRACTIONS 1 Guinness Storehouse 1,647,408 2 Cliffs of Moher 1,427,166, 3 Dublin zoo 1.12m, 4 National Aquatic Centre 1.05m, 5 The Book of Kells 890.000, 6 National Gallery of Ireland 871,000, 7 Giant’s Causeway 834,000 8 Tayto Park 766,000 9 Titanic Belfast 620,000 10 IMMA 580,000. 11 Botanic Gardens 564,000 12 St Patrick’s Cathedral 543,000 13 National Museum Kildare St 479,261 14 Ulster Museum 455,000 15 Fota Wildlife Park 445,000 16 Doneraile Wildlife Park 441,000 17 Science Gallery Trinity College 436,000 18 Farmleigh 418,000 19 National Museum Collins Barracks 411,391 20 Blarney Castle 408,000

EUROPEAN RAIL WITH VOYAGES-SNCF For all of your leisure and business rail requirements across Europe TGV (high speed trains in France) Thalys (Paris, Brussels, Cologne and Amsterdam) TGV Lyria (France to Switzerland) Eurostar (London to Paris and Brussels) TGV France-Spain (France to Spain) Renfe (Spanish trains) Deutsch Bahn (German trains) Italo (trains in Italy) TGV France-Italy (France to Italy)

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major brand launch for the Midlands and Lakelands will be the highlight of Irish tourism in 2017. The brand will join the wild Atlantic Way, Ireland’s Ancient East and Dublin: Breath of Fresh Air among the country’s promotions. There will also likely be a realignment of the boundaries of the existing brands. Tourism Minister Patrick Donovan has expressed his hope the local authority infrastructure can be used for tourism, especially council offices in the small towns of Ireland which will replace the expensive and largely discontinued network of tourism information offices. While Tourism Ireland expects irish inbound tourism to slow in 2017 to 1pc growth, the Irish Tourism Industry Confederation is more optimistic and is anticipating growth of between 3pc and 5pc. Inbound figures for October from Britain, our biggest market, were down 1pc and Tourism Ireland feel this is likely to turn into a decline of 3pc in calendar year 2017. Tourism Ireland CEO Niall Gibbons says “we

To the waters and the wild

Ireland’s fourth brand to launch in 2017

Until now, Ireland’s boat hire industry has been stranded by Failte Ireland’s three-brand strategy

went to Oxford economics and asked them just to give us the scenario and have factored that in. Niall Gibbons played up some good news in his projections for 2017. More spend and the fact that the mainland has replaced Britain as Ireland’s biggest inbound tourist market, particularly France and Germany, with Italy and Spain also performing IRISH INBOUND 2016 strongly. Overall numbers he expects to grow Britain 5,082k by 1pc but spend will England 4,081k be up 4.5pc. By facScotland 783k toring in a much lower Wales 217k capacity growth in North America 1,598k 2017 analysts expect US 1,386k that the double digit Canada 212k Mainland Europe 3,351k Germany 661k France 532k Spain 382k Italy 348k Netherlands 242k Nordics 230k Poland 195k Austria 63k Switzerland 123k Other areas 656k Australia NZ 213k Total 10,623k All island figures as estimated from Q3 returns

JAN 27-29 2017

growth enjoyed by Irish tourism is at an end. At a recent ITIC briefing Paul Gallagher predicts Irish tourism will create 50,000 extra jobs by 2025 and said the 9pc VAT rate is as important to tourism as the 12.5pc corporate tax rate is to FDI) The CEO of ITIC Eoghan O’Mara Walsh pointed out the importance of investment in that most tourism assets in Ireland are state owned. Paul Gallagher also spoke about Dublin’s hotel bed shortage as a hand-brake on tourism growth for the country as a whole

Eoghan O’Mara Walsh and Paul Gallagher of

Car Rental in the UK & Ireland Call 1800 99 22 55

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JAN 27-29 2017

A travel nation

Irish among least likely to change travel plans in unrest


Sydney is Ireland’s most sought after desgination that does not have a direct connection, followed by Johannesburg

Advance booking is essential. Pre-book your tour today online:

Tel: +44 (0) 28 9337 2318 Follow us on

Excite your senses at Northern Ireland’s most spectacular cliff path walk

This project is part-financed by the European Union’s INTERREG IVA Cross-border Programme managed by the Special EU Programmes Body

oliday World 2017 once again highlights the fact that we are a nation with one of the highest propensities to travel in Europe. Every Irish person travels six times a year, three and a half times higher than the European average. Of the Irish population 82pc traveled abroad at least once in 2015. This puts Ireland in fifth place behind Iceland (91pc), Sweden (87pc), Austria (84pc), Luxemburg (83pc). It is likely Ireland lies in sixth place, as Norway, who were not part of the survey, were also likely to be placed ahead of Ireland with around 90pc of the population travelling abroad. New Zealand is the only country who travel abroad proportionally as often as the most travelled European countries. This is according to the Preferences of Europeans towards Tourism survey, which previously placed Ireland second (85pc) to Norway (90pc).

Ireland is fifth in Europe among the short break (up to four nights) takers (74pc), tenth in Europe among those who took a holiday of between 4 and 13 consecutive nights away, (72pc) and 14th among those who took more than 13 nights away (38pc). Of the 18pc who did not travel abroad, 45pc of this group cited financial reasons, down 4pc on 2014, 14pc cited health reasons, 27pc said they had no motivation to travel, and 21pc did not have free time. Another 5pc said that facilities for people with disabilities was a factor and 2pc cited administrative problems, such as obtaining a visa.


ust 12pc of Irish said they changed plans in 2015 because of security concerns. European countries most likely to change their travel plans due to militant threat in 2016 were Turkey (70pc), Moldova (65pc), Slovakia and Greece (72pc). Irish people changed their plans for the fol-

lowing reasons (multiple answers possible): ■ Militant threats 3pc ■ Recent militant attacks 4pc ■ Political instability 2pc ■ Refugee situation 2pc ■ Level of crime 2pc ■ Natural disasters 1pc ■ Other 1pc Irish people are the third most likely to buy their holiday or flight online among European countries. Denmark is most likely at 60pc, followed by Finland (58pc0 and Ireland (55pc). ■ Online commercial 55pc ■ Online individual 17pc ■ Telephone 17pc ■ Travel agency counter 11pc ■ People you know 9pc ■ Holiday location 5pc ■ Airline counter 4pc ■ Spontaneous 7pc More than 55pc of Irish booked their tourist services such as flight/ ferry and accommodation separately from each other, 19pc bought package travel holidays and 16pc bought all inclusive holidays (there may be a problem with the definition here).



JAN 27-29 2017

Hotels and self catering paid accommodation hosted 65pc of them, 25pc stayed with friends and relatives. 3pc used their own property or second home and 3pc a shared economy host such as Airbnb.

His other contributions, and the contributions of his contemporaries to the evolution of the tourism product are not so well known: from his hotel management school came an Irish association with the hospitality industry worldwide, from Bunratty the inspiration for what is now termed cultural tourism.


he survey took place over January 18-23 2016 and 1,000 Irish respondents were among 17,070 interviewed throughout Europe. Fewer than one in six Irish people travel to seek out nature, one of the lowest rates in Europe, perhaps because they have so much at home. Irish reasons for travelling given when four category answers were allowed (with European average in brackets): ■ Sun and beach 37pc (39pc) ■ Friends and relations 38pc (38pc) ■ Nature 15pc (31pc) ■ Citybreaks 23pc (27pc) ■ Culture 20pc (26pc) ■ Welnness 7pc (13pc) ■ Sport related 11pc (12pc) ■ Events and festivals 14pc (9pc) The Irish are the 15th most likely people to go on sun holidays in Europe, and the fifth most likely to travel for events and festivals, after Latvia, Cyprus, Finland and Malta.


hen asked why they would go back to a destination 40pc said because of natural features, 36pc said because of activities and services available (the second highest total in Europe for this category), 35pc for quality of accommodation, 32pc for cultural and historical attractions, and 29pc of Irish people said because of price, down 6pc on 2015. Accessible facilities for people with special needs was relevant to 6pc of Irish holiday makers. The decision was based

Dublin (second line) on the departure board in Dubai on how tourists are welcomed among 21pc of holiday makers. The decision for Irish people was based on the following survey opt-ins (broadcast, which is very high in Ireland, was not included as a potential source of information) ■ Recommendations of friends 54pc ■ Review websites 40pc ■ Personal 30pc ■ Social media page 16pc ■ Supplier websites 15pc ■ Newspaper 10pc ■ Travel agency counter 9pc ■ Guidebook or magazine 8pc


hat travel broadens the mind is as true today as when it was penned by Mark Twain in Aer Lingus’s newest trans-Atlantic destination, Hartford. People who travel extensively cannot be prejudiced Tourism spreads economic largesse unevenly and in contrast to the industrial sector, to the rural and coastal areas most likely to be affected by peripherality and depopulation and where agricultural conditions are often poorest. Tourism impacts disproportionately on less developed countries. Outside Europe, tourism is the most sustainable form of aid you can give a developing country, bringing propensity to everyone from the porter to the taxi driver to the

hotel manager to the government. Africa, the world’s poorest continent gets just 2pc of world tourism. Bringing that up half a percentage point would mean more than a year’s aid allocations. Within Europe some of the biggest tourist numbers are attracted to the poorest countries and the ones most affected by economic downturn, such as the Mediterranean sunbelt.

continental routes pass through Irish air traffic control and they have a track record of rising to various challenges down the years, such as 9-11. Much of the modern airport and aircraft experience was invented in Ireland. Duty Free shopping was invented in Ireland by Brendan O’Regan.


ur travel agents and tour operators have set the highest standards with regard to customer care, the consumer legislation is only catching up with these standards and attempting to impose them on the aviation industry. The travel business is one of the most regulated consumer retail sectors. But even in advance of regulation the travel industry had set up a standards regime of its own

to make sure customers got compensated in the event of a business failure. The business of selling holidays was among the first to embrace technology and be transformed by it. Many of the developments being embraced by other service and retail sectors are old hat in the travel business. They are good at supplying all the information that the customer needs in an easily accessible format. Airlines, hotels and holiday companies are all vying to be at the cutting edge of information technology. This attention to detail has meant that the traditional holiday package and the charter flights that carry the package holiday makers are very much alive and well. Come along and see for yourself.


ir traffic works both ways, as the home holiday industry has found. Outbound air routes are crucial for inbound tourism, aircraft are filled in both directions (tourism ministers sometimes forget this, their focus is often on inbound tourism). Ireland can offer one of the most educated audiences on the planet when it comes to international travel. We have one of the most developed markets for travel services, appropriately for a nation that is the headquarters of the world aviation business. half of the world’s fleet of leased aircraft is managed from Ireland, the very concept was invented here by Tony Ryan and his colleagues. Ireland’s international success in airport management has been celebrated by a plethora of recent awards. Most of the traffic on the world’s busiest inter-

Visit Mid and East Antrim Mid and East Antrim is a vibrant, beautiful place with dramatic landscapes and historic sites to surprise every visitor.

Plan your visit at

MEA Tourism Travel Extra QTR Page.indd 1

06/01/2017 13:24




t might be a guy thing. The high pitched whine of a race track is one of those glorious sounds that turns us all into little boys on Christmas morning. At the Autódromo Internacional do Algarve, better known as the Portimao Circuit, you get to do all the cool Top Gear things, a timed lap through chicanes, spinning on a wet road, and the drive around the racing track with a driver telling you to bank hard left and right. It was exciting and it was dramatic and it was Portugal. It also helped that we were brought to the track by helicopter, piloted by Inigo renom , swooping over the coastline as if we were hawks, perusing the blue sea and crashing waves into the signature yellow sandstone of the coastline cliffs for a tasty morsel.


ugo Nascimento of Algarve tourism was the instigator of the this trip and, conicidentaly, the fastest driver at the track, perhaps because he did it before, says “we have the best beach destination in the world, and I have travelled the world. It is one of the most affordable destinations in Europe. There is much more to do. Hugo is a champion of the mantra that there is more to the Algarve than a beach. To prove his point he brought 17 travel writers and travel agents, including Amy Murphy of Ros-

Action Algarve

Eoghan Corry gets the al-drenaline treatment Helicopter view of the Algarve coast and (below) bakery in Alte etta Travel, to sample some of the activities to be found within an hour of Faro, one of the best served holiday gateways from Ireland. The willing victims were treated to culinary and wine experiences, a cookery lesson, a helicopter ride across the crumbling cliffs and glowing headlines of the coast, a drive on the Algarve racetrack, a swim with dolphins experience at ZooMarine, a segway tour of Lagos city, and a two star Michelin restaurant. The trip was well irrigated with Portuguese wine, and a Fado performance on the final night from Argentina Freire. It is a proud province, the proudest in Portugal. Algarve is so different that until 1910 the mon-

archs were known as kings of Portugal AND Algarve. Prince Henry the Navigator based himself her to start the maritime adventures that eventually became the Portuguese Empire. The ships came back laden. Consult the cookbook, the Algarve of fine dining and culinary milestones. At Hans Neuner’s Ocean, the two-star restaurant in the VILA VITA Parc Resort, we were served up two pre starters, clam with eucalyptus and sea snails with caviar, a starter (John Dory with leek) a shoulder of pork main course and truffles with raspberry dessert. We got to stop to pick our food at a market in Loulé to cook it ourselves in a cookery school. The

market place in Lule was only built in 1907 but has a much older feel to it. It draws on the Moorish architecture from older buildings of the region but inside is the hubbub of modern Portuguese life. Markets are not what they used to be. The Artisan foodstuffs tend to come in bottles with clear packaging and labels that were dreamed up modelling school. The clothes have a made in China label on them. But some things can never be changed. For 50 metres on each side of the aisle the fresh catch from the coastline is laid out in shiny appetising mouthwatering heaps of fish.


he pace can be as fast as the drive around the Portimao sciruit, or as slow as a stroll along the 300km Via Algarviana, the Great Pedestrian Route (GR13) which connects Alcoutim to Cabo de São Vicente. We were brought on a jeep tour of the hinterland, up tiny tracks to the signal towers of the mountains. The roads are

bouncy and gravelled, as if Salazar was still in power and nothing had changed in Portugal. One wrong turn here and you could be lost for an aeon, here where aeons count for little. The battered Moorish fortresses on the hills look on as if they had not been witness to one of the great stagings of European history drama, past Castelo Baderne, one of seven castles that adorn the arms of Portugal, keeping watch in case the Moors might return. Nope, just tourists. As you leave the coast and head for the hills the parched earth changes in colour. There is more moisture here. We cross arid rivers that flow for only two months of the year and the soil turns, if not African red earth, to a deeper shade of pink.


ver a hill on this baked landscape you come to Alte, one of the picture postcard villages for which the word picture postcard was invented, in an Artisan bakery where

we tasted custard they had black and white images of long-lost rural life on the wall, except when you look around it was not so long lost after all. Where is the waterfall in that photograph? It will be back in February when the rains have filled the rivers again. There is always a lot of activity in the morning in the villages. Tractors parked, cobblestones, white walls painted in bright colours, a cross at the crossroads as it should be, open doors where old men sit and watch the world go by. Legend alert. A lady was en route to mass in Santa Margarita when she caused the church to be built here instead, and shorten her journey. We passed Benafim, named for a Moorish prince who planted the signature almond trees of the Algarve,


t is not quite Kavanagh. The hills are not hungry but green and lush and above the arid red, vines and olives competing for the sunlight and the drops of moisture that come by when the tourists are not looking. Hunchback olive trees and youthful kerabs, green and enthusiastic, embracing the beauty of the landscape around. An abandoned windmill sits hawklike atop one mound, its big grinding stones cast aside. Another has been turned into a white limestone new windowed dwelling, a small chimney with its own Chinese conical cap and a conical cap for the tower as well. The sounds are of cocks crowing and dogs barking and then the rumble of military aircraft doing contour flying over the cauldron hills, Serra do Caldeirão, symbol of other cauldrons and how close to home they have come.

Eoghan Corry ftravelled with Aer Lingus who fly 21 times a week to Faro



E-visa required

Canada introduces eTa akin to the USA’s esta system


ince November Irish visitors have to apply for an Electronic Travel Authorisation (eTA) in order to board their flight to Canada. For Irish citizens to get an eTA it will cost CAD $7 (€4.80) and they can access the visa application form online. Most eTA applications are approved within minutes of applying and are valid for three years (the USA charges $14 for ESTA and it is valid for just two years). Canadians with dual citizenship must now use a Canadian passport to enter the country and will need a valid Canadian passport to board their flights to Canada. The new conditions do not apply to those who have dual Canadian-American citizenship. Dublin will have 34 services a week to Canada in summer 2017, to Halifax (ASL Europe 1w), Montreal (Air Transat 1w), St Johns (Westjet 7w),


Australia Canada India New Zealand Oman

Qatar Sri Lanka Turkey UAE USA

NYC & Company announced its nonstop

NYC winter campaign that includes celebrated promotions NYC Restaurant Week® (Jan. 23–Feb.10), NYC Broadway WeekSM (Jan. 17–Feb. 5) and NYC Off-Broadway WeekSM (Feb. 27–Mar. 12), alongside the first-ever NYC Attractions Week (Jan.17–Feb.5).

USA Irish visitor numbers to the USA

up to July reached 241,605, down 3pc in the first seven months of 2016. The July total was down 12.6pc to 40,776, having slipped into negative from March on. International numbers are down 2.7pc to date with large drops from Canada (down 6.7pc), Britain (down 9.7pc) and Japan (down 10.2pc) in July.

SHENGHEN The EU Commission

proposed a new European Travel Information and Authorisation System for non EU passport holders visiting the Schenghen region. Authorisation will be valid for 5 years,

ZIKA EMERGENCY OVER What was all that about? The World Health Organization declared the end of the Zika emergency. Measles on the other hand, is still with us: an estimated 134,000 children died of it in 2015.

REPUTATION The Reputation InStar attraction in Churchill Manitoba

stitute ranked Dublin the 20th most reputable city in the world. Sydney finished ahead of Vienna, Zurich, Toronto and Stockholm.

Toronto (Aer Lingus 7w, Air Canada Rouge 10w, Air Transat 4w, Westjet via St johns 7w) and Vancouver (Air Canada Rouge 3w).


PARKS CANADA is preparing for an increase in visitors this year as people across the country and around the world request free annual passes to explore the nation’s natural treasures as part of Canada’s 150th anniversary,

Going abroad this summer?

SECOND largest country in the

world after Russia, a vast expanse of forests, lakes, snow-capped mountains and prairies. Signature attractions consist of natural treasures such as Niagara Falls in the east and the Rocky Mountains in the west.


The edginess in the relations between Canada’s indigenous, English and French traditions give the country a unique feel.

FOUR season destination with adventure holidays (hiking and skiing to climbing and whitewater rafting), city breaks, winter activities, touring and wide open spaces.

WEST COAST is the most

temperate, temperatures in Vancouver average 3-17C. The east coast has long, humid summers and heavy winter snowfall; Montreal ranges minus 10 to 20C.

PRAIRIES region, between the

Rocky Mountains and the Great Lakes, has hot summers and cold winters, with little rain. The northern icecaps are permanently frozen.

FOOD Quebec has its own gas-

tronomic tradition based on traditional French cuisine. On both coasts seafood is plentiful and affordable.

Know your Air Passenger Rights Visit us at Holiday World Stand Y1

Or visit our websites to find out more!


THE FLYING COLUMN NORWEGIAN Coincidence? Norwegian NAI permit came exactly three years after it first applied (December 2, 2013). There was much speculation about where flights to the Boston and New York region (rather than airport) might be destined, Rhode Island ramped up its efforts to be the “Boston region” airport for NAI’s Cork flights.

IAA Flights handled by the IAA to Nov-

ember 2016 stood at 1,026,000, up 8.6pcon the same 11 months in 2015, overflight traffic movements are up 8pc to 315,698, North Atlantic Communications flights are up 8pc to 440,761 and terminal movements are up 10.5pc to 269,431.

AERCAP delivered their first Airbus A320NEO aircraft to China Southern Airlines. Aenghus Kelly sold $4.3m worth of shares.

COLOGNE Bonn Airport expanded its

low-cost long-haul network with Eurowings with a new weekly service to Havana and additional links to Windhoek and Montego Bay.


is to partner with the Dublin Tech Summit The two-day event next February will bring together global leaders in innovation, technology and business to shape the future of global trends and technologies.

CITYJET chairman and CEO Pat Byrne said CityJet would move on to other initiatives having called off the 80m acquisition of Stobart, including the acquisition of another European regional airline and a major wet lease deal.

LUFTHANSA are to increase Dub-

lin-Munich from daily to 13w from March. Andreas Koster, new three-country manager for the airline, based in London, told journalists in Dublin that 80pc of passengers on the route were inbound to Ireland. Prominent transfer destinations include Beijing, Shanghai and Tokyo in the Far East, and Moscow, Sofia and Belgrade in Eastern Europe. Lufthansa faces competition from Aer Lingus, Ryanair and Transavia on the route.

UNITED are not to use a Dreamliner as originally scheduled during a cross-over period next spring. The schedule would have offered Ireland’s only first class trans-Atlantic service albeit for a period of ten days. AER LINGUS Stephen Kavanagh

told an Aer Lingus conference call we do not have that level of demand that justified the reinstatement of (premium short-haul, but we are looking at something like Vueling has done with the centre seat free in the first number of rows.

STOBART Padraig Ó Céidigh doubled his Stobart Air stake to 10pc

PORTO Expect great access fares to

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


is to press airlines to sell €1 bottled water on board, voluntary, for now,

Aviation with Gerry O’Hare

The deal on Doha


Staggered times for daily Qatar flights

atar’s service from Dublin to Doha, first revealed by Travel Extra, will commence June 12 with staggered morning and afternoon flight times. These will suit transfer destinations such as newly added Krabi and the lucrative Sydney route. Outbound from Dublin QR20 is at 8.50 on Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday and 15:25 on Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Sunday, return QR19 at 01:25 on Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday and 07:20 on Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Sunday. Arrival times in Doha are 18:05 and 00:40, arrivals in Dublin at 07:25 and

Akbar Al Baker CEO of Qatar



yanair confirmed that they flew 116.8m passengers during January-December 2016, and have overtaken the Lufthansa group to become the largest airline in Europe and fourth largest in the world. The Lufthansa group reported 109,670k passengers in 2016, up 1.86pc on 2015 and finishing for the first time behind Ryanair’s 116.8m by a larger margin than previously predicted. IAG carried 94.9m to end November, including Aer Lingus figures of just over 10m, and Air France/ KLM 89.9m. Ryanair plans to carry 200m passengers by 2024. The sluggish growth is a result of the impact of strike action by Lufthansa unions. Load factor was 79,1 and the number of flights 1,021,919. ASK was 286,555 and RSK 226,633. Lufthansa carried 62,418k (up 0.1pc), Swiss 17,972k (up 2.5pc), Austrian 11,385k (up 5.1pc) and Eurowings 18,430k (up 8.8pc). Speaking to Travel Extra at the Lufthansa Digital Forum in Frankfurt, Lufthansa CEO Carsten Spohr said he had a very positive board meet-

ing and had identified the year 2017 when Lufthansa would move forward with new digital products to guide passengers through the airports and the flight experience. He paid tribute to Ryanair’s achievements joking with Travel Extra that he had “no secrets from Michael O’Leary. Lufthansa is expected to boost the high-performing Eurowings leg of its business, adding Brussels to

that sector and taking over Air Berlin routes to fight Ryanair in the key domestic German market. Ryanair traffic in December grew 20pc to 9.0m customers. Load factor rose three points to 94pc and rolling annual traffic to Dec grew 15pc to 117m customers. The Lufthansa group passenger total to November was 102.6m compared with 107.78m for Ryanair. Lufthansa has since ac-

quired Brussels Airlines which had 7.1m customers to November. Ryanair has been larger than the combined Air France/KLM and BA/ Iberia groups since 2009. Internationally Ryanair ranks behind American, Southwest, Delta and China Southern in passenger numbers. Michael O’Leary recently created media waves with his plan to make air travel free within 10 years

RYANAIR ANNUAL PASSENGER NUMBERS 1985 1986 1987 1988 1989 1990 1991

5k 82k 322k 592k 644k 745k 651k

1992 1993 1994 1995 1996 1997 1998

945k 1.1m 1.7m 2.3m 2.9m 3.7m 4.6m

1999 5.3m 2000 7.0m 2001 9.4m 2002 15.8m 2003 23.1m 2004 27.6m 2005 33.4m

2006 40.5m 2007 49m 2008 57,5m 2009 65.3m 2010 72.7m 2011 76.5m 2012 79.8m

2013 81.4m 2014 85.4m 2015 101.4m 2016 117m

RYANAIR MONTHLY PASSENGER NUMBERS 2016 Dec Nov Oct Sep Aug Jul Jun May Apr Mar Feb Jan

9m 8.8m 10.9m 10.8m 11.5m 11.3m 10.6m 10.6m 9.90m 8.5m 7.4m 7.48m

2015 Dec Nov Oct Sep Aug Jul Jun May Apr Mar Feb Jan

7.50m 7.71m 9.68m 9.55m 10.40m 10.14m 9.50m 9.50m 9.00m 8.5m 7.4m 7.48m

2014 Dec Nov Oct Sept Aug Jul Jun May Apr Mar Feb Jan

6.02m 6.35m 8.40m 8.50m 9.40m 9.10m 8.30m 8.20m 7.80m 5.20m 4.50m 4.60m

2013 Dec Nov Oct Sept Aug Jul Jun May Apr Mar Feb Jan

5.00m 5.20m 8.00m 8.00m 9.00m 8.80m 8.00m 7.90m 7.40m 5.40m 4.20m 4.40m



Aviation with Gerry O’Hare

Growth spreads

6 new routes for Dubin, 4 each for Belfast & Cork


here will be 16 new air services from Irish airport in 2017, with a 17th still awaiting confirmation. Dublin sees six new routes, including the marquee routes to Doha with Qatar and Miami with Aer Lingus. Belfast International and Cork airports will get four new routes each, while Belfast city airport gets a route to Keflavik. A service from Cork with Wow and Belfast City with Icelandair means that Iceland will be served from four of the seven main airports on the island. Shannon will have new seasonal services to Frankfurt and Stockholm. Derry gets a new service to Palma, but loses its key Stansted service form Ryanair in March. Knock has no new routes scheduled. Belfast International Airport says it is talking to three airlines to see if it can replace the cancelled service to

18 NEW ROUTES 2017 BELFAST CITY Keflavik Icelandair June 1


Cancun June 28 Dubrovnik Easyjet May 14 Faro Ryanair June 1 Girona Ryanair March 27


Keflavik Wow May 19 Newquay Aer Lingus Regional May 6 Verona Volotea May 27 Zurich Swiss June 2


Palma ASL June 26


Niall McCarthy of Cork airport and SkĂşli Mogensen of WOW air

Newark. A route from Dublin to tel Aviv, due to be twice weekly and to launch in late summer, has not yet been confirmed. Hainan have applied for slots

in Dublin for a long-awaited Beijing service but the route has not been confirmed for 2017. It is likely to be B:215 mm an extension of an existing ManchesT:215service. mm ter

Doha Qatar June 12 Inverness Flybe Sept 1 Miami Aer Lingus September 1 Munich Transavia, April 11 Porto Aer Lingus Mar 26 Split Aer Lingus Mar 27 Tel Aviv TBC


Frankfurt Lufthansa April 29 Stockholm SAS August 1

S:215 mm

FILE: AC16-AH3-29_Dublin Sauce Designer: Patrick Mech Size: 215 mm x 149 mm

Extra copy.indd

PP: Dennis Soler SD: Patrick AD: Rasna Jaswal CW: None

Created: 12-22-2016 12:13 PM Saved: 12-23-2016 11:20 AM Printed: 12-23-2016 10:14 AM Print Scale: 76.2%

COLOURS: Cyan Magenta Yellow Black

T:149 mm


Studio #: JWT #: 1141401 Client: Air Canada rouge Job Name: Dublin Travel Extra

B:149 mm

S:149 mm

Photographers name: None Usage info: None



Aviation with Gerry O’Hare

AER LINGUS announces it is to

boost its capacity across Cork routes for next summer with a fifth flight daily to Heathrow and two extra weekly weekly rotations on Faro and Malaga, and an extra weekly rotation each on Alicante, Barcelona and Amsterdam.

CAR announced a decision on a process for consideration of supplementary capex allowances and a provisional price cap at Dublin Airport.

CITYJET is to open a Brussels base in

2017. Cityjet is to operate the new SAS route from Stuttgart to Stockholm.

ETIHAD Airways and Lufthansa Ger-

man Airlines,announced the conclusion of a codeshare agreement. The arrangement is set to start in January 2017, subject to government approval. A wet-lease agreement between Lufthansa Group and airberlin – in which Etihad Aviation Group indirectly holds a 29pc stake – was announced..

VIRGIN as to suspend the Heathrow-Chicago summer service, The airline said that as of 17 December 2016 their automated rebooking system will begin re-protecting customers onto alternative flights. AERO

Inspection won the 2016 MRO Achievement Award.

STOBART appointed ex Easyjet exec Warwick Brady as Deputy CEO.

TIPPERARY Tim and Padraig Hanly applied for planning permission for a grass runway and aircraft hangar at Erinagh and Capparoe, Nenagh, Co Tipperary.

POLITICO listed Michael O’Leary as one of the 28 people who will shape Europe next year. O’Leary told a German newspaper he wants a 20pc market share in Germany and to work with Lufthansa. Michael O’Leary told a group of university students in Trinity College: “When I opened up a shop on Christmas Day I didn’t double the prices, I want to put that rumour to bed... I tripled them.” IATA This year will see the highest ever

profit generated by the airline industry despite IATA’s lowered profit forecast for 2016 to US $35.6 billion almost $4 billion less than it predicted in June. IATA said it expects the industry to make an even smaller profit of $29.8 billion in 2017.

AIRLINE and package holiday company and Jet2holidays, which flies from Belfast International Airport, ditches card fees for all bookings paid for with a credit card, debit card or AMEX.


avoided a multi-million-pound price-fix fine.

AMERICAN Airlines has won its long running antitrust lawsuit against Sabre Corp. AERCAP named Peter Juhas as CFO. AER ARANN was awarded the

awarded PSO tender for Aran island flights

DERRY airport launched a new websit

The 27m question


How much more growth can Dublin sustain

he number of passengers transferring through Dublin increased by 23pc last year to a record 1.2m. Passenger numbers at Dublin Airport increased by 11pc to a record 27.9m last year - and 2.8m passengers more than the previous record in 2015. Dublin Airport has moved ahead of its rivals as the fifth larges airport in Europe for North American connectivity in 2016 after Heathrow, Paris, Frankfurt and Amsterdam. During the peak summer season, the airport had 48 flights per day to and from 11 cities in the United States and five Canadian destinations. The airport expects growth to slow in 2017 as it prepares to construct a

parallel runway. Runway capacity Passenger traffic to and from conhas been described as a handbrake tinental Europe, the airport’s largest on growth by aviation analysts, but market segment, increased by 11pc to planning restrictions may mean that a record 14.2m in 2016. The number of passengers travelthe airport can handle fewer flights ling between Dublin and with two runways than English destinations also it can with one. IRELAND’S There are also plans reached record levels in AIRPORTS 2016, with traffic increasfor a third terminal IN 2016 where the customs ing by 12pc to 9.9m. building now stands. Belfast International reDublin 27.9m Short-haul traffic ported growth of 15pc in Belfast Int 5.15m 2016 and expects to grow increased by 11pc Belfast City 2.8m last year, with almost to a record 54m in 2017 Cork 2.07m with the addition of four 24.3m passenger takShannon 1.68m ing short-haul flights new routes. Knock 734,031 to and from Dublin Cork airport ended Kerry 300,000 seven years of decline Long-haul passenDerry 286,000 with a return to growth of ger numbers rose 12pc 8pc. to more than 3.6m.



he European Court of Justice upheld a decision by the European Commission in 2011 that lower air tax rates in Ireland for shorter flights, including on some services to Britain, between 2009 and 2011 were illegal subsidies. Ryanair that originally brought attention to the issue in July 2009, by arguing that Ireland’s air travel tax favoured some of its competitors. “The difference between the lower and normal rates of the Irish air travel tax constitutes unlawful aid,

which must be recovered regardless of the benefit the airlines actually derived from the aid,” the ECJ said. The ECJ explained that the advantage did not centre on the airlines being able to offer more competitive prices, but on the fact that they paid less than the standard rate and could— in theory—have charged €8 more. Ryanair said it had been expecting today’s ECJ ruling. It said the ruling requires it to pay some €12m to the Government on behalf of its passengers

who paid the lower rate of travel tax. Aer Lingus is liable for about €4m. Of the Aer Lingus total, it’s thought that about €1m is attributable to Aer Arann, as it operated Aer Lingus Regional services. Aer Arann, now Stobart Air, was also thought to have a separate liability, but the issue is complicated by the fact that the carrier went into examinership after the travel tax was introduced. Stobart Air continues to operate Aer Lingus Regional services. Last year, the European General Court overturned

the Commission’s ruling. An appeal, on a point or points of law only, may be brought before the Court of Justice against a judgment or order of the General Court. Various legal proceedings are being taken by Aer Lingus and Ryanair against the Irish Government. Questions have ben raised on how the ECJ ruling is consistent with the Westminster Air Passenger Duty which varies substantially with trip length.



Aviation with Gerry O’Hare CITYJET reduced its losses from €30m in 2014 to €10m and said it was going to reshape into a profitable and sustainable operator. Pat Byrne said: “within two years we will be the largest regional wet provider in Europe, and we will probably be the number-two regional sized airline in Europe, just behind Flybe. We will carry about 1m passengers and 4m or 5m for other airlines.”

SKY Profits at ground handling service firm Sky Handling Partner are up 26pc to €882k. Ryanair launched their 86th base In Naples.

Self-tag success


attendants union called on the airline to recall its new uniforms claiming the garments are to blame for a string of health problems including headaches, rashes and respiratory problems

Self tag machines at Dublin airport

Aer Lingus says new system has been a success


ix months after its intrudction Aer LIngus says that self-tagging has speeded up the passenger check in experience at Dublin Airport’s Terminal 2. Aer Lingus installed 40 self-service Express Bag Drop kiosks in june just as the airprot entered the busy summer period. Their new Express Bag Drop ser-

vice enables travellers to self-tag and check-in their bags once they have their boarding card printed or downloaded to their mobile device. The airline says that in a matter of minutes or even seconds Aer Lingus guests can complete the check-in process, deposit their bag and proceed swiftly towards departures. The keys steps in the Express Bag

SPAIN’s EASA authorised FTEJerez to train multi-crew pilots for Aer Lingus.

Drop process include: ■ Place bag on the scales Scan boarding card ■ Attach luggage tag to the bag ■ Place bag on the belt Aer LIngus tried self-tagging in the basement area of Terminal 1, Area 14, back in 2007 but was quickly abandoned.

RYANAIR was involved in a subsidy

row at Zadar.

AER Lingus won Best Sports Team or

Athlete Sponsorship at the Irish Sponsorship Awards.

VUELING signed up for Travelport’s

merchandising produce, Travelport Rich Content and Branding.

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Aviation with Gerry O’Hare

BELFAST City Airport was bought by venture capital company 3i from EISER Global Infrastructure Fund for £100m. Ferrovia sold to EISER for £132.5m in 2008. Bombardier sold to Ferrovial for £43m in 2003. THOMPSON AERO The Avi-

ation Industry Corporation of China has acquired Armagh-based Thompson Aero Seating. Thompson Aero, which supplies seating to which counts Aer Lingus, American Airlines and Qantas, grew turnover by 25pc to £64.9m in the 12 months to June.

BARCELONA Willie Walsh says

IAG is to base 2 A330s in Barcelona from June to operate low cost long-haul services, either under a new brand, Aer Lingus, British Airways, or Iberia but definitely not Vueling which will remain short-haul. Initially 3 or 4 destinations could be served with Los Angeles, San Francisco, Buenos Aires, Havana, Santiago de Chile and Tokyo listed as candidates.

WHICH magazine rated Swiss best and Aer Lingus 4th of short haul airlines serving The Aer LIngus lounge in T2 Dublin Airport, Aerclub members have had privileges withdrawn England, and Ryanair worst of short-haul airlines. The annual survey used to draw an angry riposte from Ryanair who were more reticent this year. Must be the Christmas or the AGB spirit or both. ETIHAD Airways, citing “an increas-

ingly competitive landscape,’ said it is cutting down its workforce as part of a restructuring scheme without indicating how many people will be laid off. Etihad’s staffing almost tripled to 20,292 in the past eight years, as its fleet expanded to 122 aircraft from 42. It employs 26,769 when including subsidiaries and employees abroad. The airline has lost $2.5bn in its purchase strategy, including, for a time a stake in Aer Lingus.

Access denied

Aer Lingus and SAS change rules on lounge access


ounge access at Dublin airport has become a contentious issue in recent weeks thanks to moves by Aer Lingus to restructre their points system and by SAS to cancel agreements with third party operators. Aer Lingus transferred their gold FLYBE Ex Cityjet CEO Christine Our- circle members to a 4-tier avios mieres-Widener will become new CEO of system on Tuesday, meaning future Flybe on January 16 in succession to Saad points will be accumulated on revHammad. enue, not mileage. Aer Lingus Gold Circle members TEL AVIV Despite fears for the 25-minute turnaround at a high security airport, who do not qualify under the new Aerclub four-tier structure lost their Tel Aviv becomes a new Ryanair destination from March with a daily flight from Paphos, serving Israeli tourists to Cyprus.

SHANNON Airport is confident of in-

creased growth in 2017 after announcing four new airlines in 2017, Kuwait, SAS, Lufthansa and Norwegian, the first time in over ten years that number of announcements has been made over a twelve month period.

lounge access on December 23rd. Even Aer Lingus personnel are unclear as to what is happening clients with accumulated Gold Circle points. The trade is the even more confused. In theory Gold Circle points are allocated for two years of their club membership. From the airline’s point of view this will give them obvious points and an opportunity to redeem them across a range of products. Gold Circle members are unclear as to whether the points are to be redeemed within specified calendar

periods, and despite taking to social media to vent their spleen, this is as yet unresolved. At the start of the year SAS business class and EuroBonus members lost their lounge and fast track access at Dublin and nine other airport last Sunday with a further 35 to follow on February 1 (see full list here). The airline says it is cancelling third party contracts to concentrate on “a continued improvement of SAS’s own offering.”



antry-based Stobart Air, the former Aer Arann told a Liverpool court that RYANAIR and operator of the Aer legal claims against the airline under the EU Lingus Regional serdelay rules must be filed in Irish courts. vice, made a €483,000 FALCON Holidays have cut their Mon- profit, the first time since tego Bay charter from six to three rotations 2010 that the business next summer. made a profit. Stobart are to launch STOBART are to fly Cork-Newquay 12 new routes from Sou2w from May, using the time slots for thend, operating through Cork-Jersey according to the on-line timetable. its franchise arrangement with Flybe, from ’s Flybe Cardiff route is down to CORK May 2017, Budapest 1w from June.

3w,. Milan Malpensa 5w, Venice 2w. Further routes to Cologne 6w, Dubrovnik 2w, Figari Corsica 2w, Lyon 4w, Perpignan 2w, Prague 5w, Reus 3w, Vienna 3w and Zadar 2w will be added at a later date. Southend airport has been owned by the Stobart Group, parent company of Stobart Air, since December 2008. Irish carrier Cityjet

recently been ended discussions with Stobart Group regarding the potential acquisition of Stobart Air.

Mark Anzur CEO of Stobart

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AFLOAT INIS MOR Ferry services to Inis Mór will continue after a row over passenger charges was sorted out. Half of the company’s €500,000 debt to the council will be written off, not counting upwards of €450,000 in court costs. UNIWORLD Luxury river cruise

line Uniworld is to launch a new brand U by Uniworld, designed for ages 18 to 40, and two 116-passenger ships, River Baroness and River Ambassador, to have a more contemporary look and feel.

CLIA Cruise Lines International Asso-

ciation forecasting 25.3m people will take a cruise in 2017, supported by the addition of 26 new vessels on oceans and rivers and new itineraries.

CARNIVAL Corporation allocated a new 4,200 passenger ship, previously earmarked for P&O Australia’s fleet, to the Carnival brand in late 2019 as a Vista Class vessel. Carnival Splendour will got to P&O instead. SIR BANI YAS private island in the United Arab Emirates was officially opened and 39 ship calls are booked the island’s maiden season.

CELBRITY restructured its specialty dining package based on how many meals you want to buy.

VIKING Cruises celebrated the float out of Viking Sun. OCEANIA Cruises are introducing an

evening tapas option. You can even learn how to make the tapas yourself while at sea, in case you get nostalgic at home for your holiday.

CELEBRITY Cruises is bringing out a dedicated selling brochure for their Wave promotion.

CARNIVAL Dining times on Carnival Glory and Carnival Conquest have been changed to 6 pm and 8pm., rather than 6pm. and 8:15pm. Passengers with set seating who show up more than 30 minutes late for their assigned dining time will be asked to eat in the buffet.

TURKEY Holland America, Cunard Line and P&O Cruises cancelled all 2017 Calls to Turkey CARNIVAL has raised its prices for

bottled water for the second time this year to $4.50 (plus gratuity if ordered on board), having banned passengers from bringing their own bottles on board since July 2015

CMV’s 800-passenger Marco Polo will offer a series of itineraries from Cardiff in 2017, including Norwegian Fjords and Spain, Portugal & France voyages; plus a special summer Gardens & River Seine cruise from the port.

HAPAG-Lloyd Cruises said 184-passen-

ger expedition ship MS Hanseatic will remain in its fleet for an extra six months until the end of September 2018.

Celebrity Eclipseis to home port for a mini season in Dubin April to June 2018

Year of an Eclipse Step up for Dublin with 5 Celebrity rotations in 2018


n a game changer for the cruise industry in Ireland, Celebrity Eclipse is to become the first big ship to homeport in Ireland next year. The 2,850 passenger ship will operate five rotations from April to June 2018. Itineraries include a 10-night Ireland and Iceland sailing calling at Belfast, Reykjavik, Iceland; Akureyri, Iceland; Lerwick/Shetland, Scotland; and Cork, as well as offering an eight-night Norwegian Fjords itinerary. Eclipse, after eight years of homeporting in Southampton, will split its time between Dublin and Amsterdam. Celebrity Silhouette will replace Eclipse based out of Southampton from summer 2018. Celebrity Cruises will have five ships in Europe for 2017-2018, Celebrity Reflection, Celebrity Equinox, Celebrity Constellation, Celebrity


Eclipse and Celebrity Silhouette Celebrity Cruises already features Dublin and other ports throughout Ireland in its European deployment, including an overnight in July 2017. This is the most significant increase in its investment into Ireland in the history of the global business. Dublin Port hosted 180,000 cruise visitors from 100 cruise ship calls In 2016, of which four were cruise ship turnarounds where the ship begins its sailing and guests embark. The port uses a €6m economic impact figure based on Southampton Cruise Tourism report 2004 which states that each passenger that joins a cruise ship via the Port of Southampton generates £380 to the local economy. £380 spend per head of 2,800+ guests for five turnarounds equates to £5,320,000 or €5,852,000 based on exchange rate of £1 to €1.1

Celebrity Cruises has a fleet of 12 ships with two new ships on order, scheduled to join the fleet in 2018 and 2020, and a further two ships on option. The cruise line is part of Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd, the second large cruise business in the world. Celebrity Cruises’ Solstice-class of ships are the newest in its fleet, all introduced between 2008 and 2012. In addition to luxury guest accommodation, designer boutiques, extensive bars and restaurants, they also feature a real grass lawn on the top deck. With extensive awards particularly for its food and wine, Celebrity Cruises boasts the largest and rarest collection of wine at sea and a host of exclusive restaurants on-board all overseen by a Michelin-starred executive chef.


everal cruise lines are sailing direct form Ireland over the coming 18 months. CMV and Fred Olsen have scheduled direct sailings form Ireland in 2017. Cruise Maritime Voyages and James McGinley Travel from Gortahork are selling cabins on CMV Magellan on five direct departures from Dublin in 2017, the fjords on June 5, Iceland on June 14, Spain, Portugal and France on June 26, the Seine on July

James McGinley and Tom Maher are organising five direct sailings from with free coach transport 7 and Scotland and the Faroes on July 14. Lead-in prices start from €719 for an inside cabin on the Seine trip. Fred Olsen have two

departures form Belfast, April 30 to Norway’s Fjords, May 8 to Scotland and one from Killybegs to Canada on July 30. Royal Caribbean did

allow a group chartered by Lee Travel in Cobh to board three years ago. The venture was partially successful but Royal Caribbean’s own pricing policy did not help the initiative. Ben Bouldin thinks that, while Royal’s basing a ship in Ireland is not going to happen anytime soon, putting Ireland on a repositioning cruise itinerary is “a real possibility” in 2018.


Another big year


Dublin port to get 133 cruise ship calls in 2017

red Olsen’s Boudicca became the first call of the 133 cruise ships that are scheduled to call (so far) to Dublin in 2017, 125 to Dublin port and eight to Dun Laoghaire. Dublin port hosted 112 cruise ships in 2016. One of the unknowables is about Britain’s exit from the European Union is the effect on the cruise market and the viability of basing sheds in English ports such as Southampton, Dover and Harwich. Dublin is to build a new cruise terminal a few years after the proposed demolition of the Alexandra Basin to enable larger ships to come in and turn. They are hopeful that ships will begin to use Dublin as a home port, largely because the airport is just 20 minutes from the cruise terminal. Ireland is also an attractive destination for tourists who wanted to do pre

AFLOAT OCEANWIDE Construction began

of Oceanwide Expeditions’ newest cruise ship the Polar Class 6 vessel Hondius at Croatian shipyard Brodospli.

MSC The steel cutting ceremony to mark the start of construction of MSC Bellissima, the second of the Meraviglia class of ships, took place at the STX France shipyard in Saint Nazaire. Construction of the new MSC cruise ship terminal begins at port of Miami. GRATUITIES Royal Caribbean and Celebrity are to include Gratuities on cruises from Australia and NZ. A Welsh woman was washed up near Lawrenny after falling overboard from the Irish Ferries Isle of Inishmore between Pembroke and Rosslare

FRED OLSEN Cruise Lines

launched is offeringfree upgrades to its all-inclusive drinks package for bookings of five nights or more, and a waiver of single supplements on some sailings for bookings made until March 1 2017.

LINBLAD Expeditions’ new cruise ship

Boudicca in Dublin

and post nights as part of their cruise. Nowadays Ireland get this roughly 60pc of the number of American

tourists that go to the neighbouring island.

National Geographic Endeavour II sailed out ahead of schedule.

ROSSLARE Europort is to waive

charges for cruise ships for 2017, 2018 and 2019.

In association with

05 June 17 9 nights Fjordland Splendour

NO FLY CRUISING Holidays from Dublin

14 June 17 12 nights Iceland’s Land of Ice & Fire 26 June 17 11 nights Spain, Portugal & France 07 July 17 7 nights Summer Gardens & River Seine 14 July 17 7 nights Scottish Highlights & Faroes


€719 pps

For a brochure call 074-9135960 or contact your Local Travel Agent

For a brochure call 074-9135960 or contact Local Travel Agent JMG Travel, your Gortahork, Co. Donegal Tel: 91Gortahork, 35201 • Email: JMG074 Travel, Co. Donegal Tel: 074 91 35201 • Email:

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f you are to pick a mid point to follow Ireland;s endeavours at Euro 2016, the Loire Valley is the place to base yourself. It is most famous for the castles and vineyards, but the river is the best bit. Not that the Castles are losing any of their clebrated charm. Chambord is amongst the finest, built on a curve the Cosson which flows into the river Beuvron which flows into the Loire a kilometre later. The castle is a showpiece, even in the vanity competition of Loire chateaux. Francois 1 built it as a hunting lodge, adorning it with Salamanders and a signature double helix staircase and whatever could be gleaned form the creative fervour of the French master masons. They say Leonardo da Vinci was in the Loire valley to help it along the way in 1516. Despite all the loving work and the artistry, bits were left unfinished. As our guide said: “if we were to worry about completion we would never begin anything.”


or each of the stadium chateaux, filled with tourists listening to audio guides, like Chambord, there is somewhere smaller and equally intriguing nearby, like Talcy. We are the only tourists in Talcy’s Italianate Renaissance mansion. The Auberge du Chateau

Vive le camping

Famous for castle shuch as Chambord, the Loire valley is five hours from the ferry port at Cherbourg

nearby has no English but one of the warmest welcomes in France. Our big trip was to Tours and its amazing cathedral. The small streets are full of amazing local shops, a bulwark against the homogenised shopping streets of Europe. I particularly like the gingerbread in the window of Hansel and Gretel patisserie. The ribbon of castles along its banks can be a distraction, but it is important not to miss the star of the show, perhaps the star of France itself. I swam the Loire at dusk. The level is low in

August and the river full of racey whirlpools and playful splashing. The logs and tree trunks of last winter have lodged along the shallow bits and there are sandbars that change shape and location according to the snowmelt of distant Alps. The Seine is a bigger celebrity, the Rhone wider, the Canal du Midi the package holiday icon, but the Loire remains central to understanding what France is about, its longest river (1,013 km, just made it to four figures) and still deliciously moody, despite the centuries of attempting to

tame its intemperance.


ieux what a scorcher. We baked, in the sunsoaked, not the patisserie, sense. This heat was so intense there was only one solution, long drives in the air conditioned car with the temperature turned down as low as it can go. The little town of Beaugency combines everything that is great

about the Loire region. One of Le Plus Beaux Detours de France, its church has light streaming in sideways, much as it would have when they annulled the marriage of Eleanor of Aquitaine here and sparked off the hundred years war. My daughter Constance found an antique shop where she bought Bulletin de Theraputique from 1883, three euro and she is reading it from

cover to cover. Each day starts with a odip in the Loire, surprisingly fast flowing for a river that is so big and already so far from its source. This region of France is very different from where I have been before, big farms with the harvest in full flow. The key is to go off the main roads and drive the small country by-ways, along country path where cars have to stop and yield to each other, in and out of village after village with its markets square and its block-sized church. The hanging baskets of flowers and shutter-protected windows go on for ever. There is a statue of Joan of Arc in every market square. You can see a pattern here. Beaugency has the best Joan of Arc statue, with her banner and lance, positioned so red-faced tourists are almost forced to take their pictures up her skirt. The picture postcard village has a small stream running down the middle of tits main street, culverted and then opening like a porpoise coming up for air. In Chateaudun we found a delicious town of which few have ever heard and sat in the open street where the coffee and ice cream were more

■ Eoghan Corry travelled to France with Irish ferries on their direct service from Rosslare to Cherbourg ( and Roscoff. ■ He stayed with Canvas holidays on their campsite at Chateau des Marais, where Canvas Holidays has 30 pitches

Clockwise: Beauce Drive, Beaugency, sunflowers in Beauce, a Beaugency homestead, Canvas have 30 pitches at Château des Mairais



Canoeing on the Loire,

expensive. Passers by nodded knowledgeably, as if to think “those tourists, so easily fooled.” We explored another ancient castle with another storied tributary of the Loire rippling by. There were also some self-indulgent diversions along the trail of South Leinster saints Fiachra/ Fiacre, Irish saints who


set up their stall along the Loire. Their fame spread across France and still lingers, as much as at home. Fiachra is the patron saint of STDs which is a complicated tale in itself. La Vendosmois near Le Mans was named for Saint Osmana. Cerota was her servant, of an Irish royal family.


ach campsite in France has its rhythm, and the rhythm varies from site to site, region to region. There is a general pattern to affairs, common to them all. The early morning swim with the Germans and Parisians (there is never an English speaker in the deepest pool before 10, and

the modern pools ARE deeper (ours in Chateau des Marais in the Loire Valley was 2.5m deep). Then shortly afterwards the queues of daddies in at the breakfast baguette shop (85 cent, so fresh the yeast is humming), the comings and goings of cars en route to local markets and sights, the enthusiastic queues of


ampsites are graded like hotels, four stars for the best facilities, more than one pool, slides, play areas and onsite dining. Note that sites in France are graded up to four stars: most bigger operators use three and four-star sites. If you prefer canvas, on-site tents normally have a kitchen, fridge and electric light.


significant number of Irish people, about 35,000, go camping each year (Irish campsite families still have on average one child more than English families). This is a fraction of the numbers who go to sun holidays in apartments, because camping has a bad reputation for a certain generation of Irish people More Irish people are using fly-drive because of cheap air fares. Irish cus-

Domaine de la Foret tomers are going much further afield, and Italy is a favourite destination. Italy is growing very fast, Garda and the Laguna of Venice are now regular camping stops for iris people. Campsites in Slovenia and Croatia are being used by Irish people for the past three years. Numbers in these places are small in

these places compared with France, where the Vendee is still king, Brittany is popular and the Dordogne growing very fast. the traditional cycle of Irish campers is that the first time they go camping their holiday is in Brittany, usually at a site close to a direct ferry service to Cherbourg or Roscoff.

The second holiday is traditionally in the Vendee, a four hours drive from the ferry. Having got there you have got much better weather, the most sunshine on the west coast and more than some Mediterranean spots, and lots of safe sandy beaches. It has as many sunshine hours as the Cote d’Azur. It is not as hot

cyclists, each a veritable Nicholas Roche or Dan Martin and the troops of kids off to the Whoopi Club. This is followed by the heat-exhaustion of mid afternoon and the splosh of laughing children and sunburned parents in processions down the water slides. I love waterslides, the long and the windy ones, but they are put together for agile children travelling at speed, not the middle-aged and pot-bellied 90-kiloer who bumps along unevenly, feeling the rim between each section on their sunburned skin. Then the evening, pizzas from the camp takeaway, Liverpudlians laughing in the bar, the

muffled microphone sounds of a quiz or karaoke session, teenagers with bicycles flirting and admiring each other in whispered phrases that need no translation despite their multi-lingual nature, barbecues outside the caravans and tents, the voices raised a notch with every bottle of great value local wine that is emptied. Until the night when everything goes quiet, darkness descends and the last Liverpudlian is coaxed out of the bar: “I’ll put it in a plastic cup for you.” The crickets sing their love songs, the Loire goes pouring by and all in the world seems right.


■ The picture postcard town in Beaugency featured restaurants such as Le Martroi and Chez Henry. ■ Blois restaurants included Hôtel Restaurant Côté Loire, L’Orangerie du château, Au rendez-vous des pêcheurs, ■ Orleans restaurants included Chez Eugène, Restaurant Les Toqués, Restaurant La Dariole, and La Parenthèse. but they get just as much sunshine. One surprise about the west coast of France is that the amount of sunshine decreases and the amount of rain increases as you go south. The third year’s holiday is traditionally a two centre holiday, Vendee and the Dordogne or Vendee and the Loire. Overall, the Vendee is the primary destination for Irish holidaymakers and their accommodation of choice is mobile homes.


rish customers are most likely to use mobile homes,, perhaps because they have been conditioned by Irish weather. You can save a lot of money staying in a tent. Operators report that 20pc of customers do not use their landbridge ferry option, including the growing fly drive market and those traveling with

the slightly more expensive Irish and Brittany ferries. Most of the major camping tour operators now have a linen hire service, recognising the number of people who now fly drive. If you don’t like the mobile home the new eco-caper can stay in a treehouse at resorts like Chateau des Ormes campsite in Dol-de-Bretagne Irish people are taking their holidays later than they used to as well. The peak date for Irish holiday makers used to be June 23rd, before England got its school holidays. UK Ireland Denmark Holland and Germany used to travel at different times. which helped keep prices down. In recent years the Irish moved out of June into July all this has begun to change.



Volker Lorenz overall winner with Martin Skelly and Maureen Ledwith TIGS president Peter O’Hanlon, ladies runner up Loraine Cuniningham and Men’s winner Volker Lroenz approach the ninth green during the Travel Extra golf event Tanya Airey receives the ladies overall prize from Martin Skelly and Maureen Ledwith

Volker’s victory Fog leads to sun for Travel Extra’s 12th golf day

Clem Walshe receives the nearest the pin prizefrom Martin Skelly and Maureen Ledwith

Loarine Cunningham receives the ladies runner-up prize from Martin Skelly and Maria Sinnott


wo new Travel Extra golf champions, Gerry Headon playing off 21 with a great score of 39 points and Emer Farrell, playing off 19 with 37 points, triumphed at the eleventh edition of the Travel Extra TIGS golf event at the Castle in Rathfarnham. The Volker Lorenz and Tanya Airey won the TIGS event at the Castle golf club sponsored by Travel Extra, or as Shay Mitchell called it, the Travel Extra extravaganza. At the TIGS AGM Martin

Skelly. Afterwards the AGM of TIGS was an opportunity to reflect on a successful year Martin Skelly is the new TIGS Captain and Peter O’Hanlon enters his second year as President of TIGS. Dave Conlon is the new Vice Captain to succeed Martin Skelly next year. President Peter O’Hanlon entered the second year of a two year term (“I have been asked to keep this meeting short so let’s start with Any other Business.”)

Previous winners gents: 2005 Tom Mulcahy 2006 Jimmy Lennox 2007 Bruce Crehan 2008-9 Jimmy Lennox, 2010 Con Horgan 2011-2 Louis O’Toole 2013 Martin Dempsey 2014 Tom Coade 2015 Gerry Headon 2016 Volker Lorenz Previous winners ladies: 2008 Audrey Headon 2009 Niamh Byrne 2010 Lorraine Cunningham 2011 Rachel Treanor 2012 Ann Byrne 2013 Mary Stillman 2013 Tanya Airey 2015 Emer Farrell 2016 Tanya Airey

Tom Coade receives the category 1 prize from Martin Skelly and Maria Sinnott

Dave Conlon receives the mens back 9 prize from Martin Skelly and Maria Sinnott

Edmund Hourican and Maureen Ledwith of Travel Extra with Declan Power of Shannon airport, new TIGS member

Barry Walsh, Liam Kelly, Joe Tully and Des Abbott playing the TIGS outing sponsored by Travel Extra at The Castle gofl club, December 1 2016

Miriam Skelly receives the ladies front 9 prizefrom Martin Skelly and Paulette Moran

Dave llongest drive prize from GillianConlon Lowry receives with Paulette Moran and Tanya Martin Airey Skelly, Maureen Ledwith and Tom Coade

Travel Extra team: Eoghan Corry, Edmund Hourican, Maureen Ledwith, Conor McMahon, Anne Cadwallader and Gerry O’Hare

Refreshments at the tenh: Cristina Sirbu serves up a platter to Louis O’Toole, Joe Tully and Graham Aldren

Marian Benton receives the ladies back 9 prizefrom Martin Skelly and Maria Sinnott

Bill Smith receives the mens front 9 prize from Martin Skelly and Paulette Moran

Andrew O’Riordan receives the visitors prize from Martin Skelly and Paulette Moran

RDS Hall 3, Ballsbridge

Presented by



• Airlines

• International Hotels/Resorts

• Airports

• Insurance

• Attraction Tickets

• Media

• Bed Banks

• National/Regional Tourist Organisations

• Car Rental • Cruise Companies • Ferries • Financial Services including Credit Cards

• Technology and Communications Companies • Theme & Leisure Parks • Ticketing Agents

• Golf Resorts and Related Services

• Trade Associations

• Ground Handling

• Tour Operators

An initiative of the ITAA supported by Travel Centres, Worldchoice and Travelsavers

Travel Agent Proprietors, Managers and Frontline Travel Professionals.

PROMOTION OF THE SHOW A comprehensive promotional programme will ensure a high turnout of travel agent proprietors, managers and frontline travel professionals.


• Travel Agents

• Health Resorts & Spas





RDS Hall 3 Anglesea Road Ballsbridge Dublin DO4 AK83 Ireland t. +353 (0)1 668 0866 w.

Wednesday 22nd March 2017 2.00pm – 7.00pm

The Irish Travel Industry Trade Show is organised on behalf of The Irish Travel Agents Association by Business Exhibitions Limited 59 Rathfarnham Road Terenure Dublin D6W AK70

Maureen Ledwith - Sales Director t: +353 (0)1 291 3700 e: Paulette Moran - Sales Manager t: +353 (0)1 291 3702 e: 107838 TRADE SHOW 2017_V3.indd 1

9/1/16 4:15 PM



Inside the Travel Business

CSO figures show that outbound journeys from Ireland are up 5.84pc for the first nine months of the year to 5,484,000 from 5,181,300. Growth over the same 9-month period was at 10pc this time last year after three years of decline and three flat years. Outbound trips from Ireland in the first three quarters are still 8pc down on the peak year of 2008 and 15.9pc above the recessionary bottom of 2012.

SUNWAY’s weekly charters to Alghero, Malaga and Palma from June 3 will use Cityjet’s Superjet SS-100. According to Philip Airey of Sunway the arrival fo the 100-seat aircraft on the Irish charter market has brought down prices and made routes more manageable, rather than the 180-seat alternative. RIVIERA Travel launched four new escorted tours for 2017/18: ‘The Heart of India by Luxury Train’, ‘Namibia’ ‘Northern Cyprus’, ‘Madeira, the Pearl of the Atlantic’, adding to the seven new tours previously announced for 2017.

FIVE agencies won €100 One4All vouchers in the Betabeds Christmas bonus scheme: O’Donohue Travel Gorey, Killiney Travel, Skytours, 75 Talbot Street Branch, Dublin, Mc Guill Travel, Dundalk, and Donabate Travel. PADDY CASEY has been confirmed to join the 2017 Copper Face Jacks Ski Trip with Topflight. THOMAS COOK cancelled its Egyptian plans ex Britain for 2017.

CAR The Commission for Aviation Regu-

lation issued a new travel agent licence to Island Marketing whose new Irish operation is to be headed up by Brian McCarthy, marketing three resorts in the Maldives: the 5-star Kandolhu Island Resort and two the 4-star resorts, Kuramathi Island and Maafushivaru Resort.

JAMAICA Tourist Board hosted travel agents at the annual White Affair at the Hilton Rose Hall resort in Montego Bay. To qualify to be invited on the annual White Affair, agents must log their Jamaica bookings on www. Agents that record the most bookings are then invited to participate. and Jet2holidays stopped charging credit card fees for all bookings paid for with a credit card, debit card or AMEX, the first company to offer customers fee-free flight and holiday bookings with any of these major cards or through PayPal. KLM’s trade competition prizes to launch

their new Dublin-Amsterdam twice daily service (soon to be four daily) were won by Qi Luo of Club Travel, Raquel Cristina Diaz of CTM and Teresa Ginnell of WTC

WTC Keith Graham’s Selective Travel Management/WTC won the £5m University of York travel budget and £500,000 budget for York St John University. CLUB Travel, Centre Travel, in Dundalk and Manning Travel in Kilkenny were the prize winners in the Flexible Autos Worldchoice Ireland Conference competition.

Comrac Meehan and Pat Dawson at the ITAA conference

Directive delay

No word on package holiday legislation a year later


welve months on and very little seems to have happened with the package holiday dir-

ective In a presentation to the ITAA conference, Pat Dawson said we have been trying to ascertain who is going to take charge of this very important piece of legislation. that has not been decided yet. We are members of ECTAA and share problems with them, and they are telling us that Sweden is the only country that has done anything in progressing this item. The new directive says that customers have to be accommodated for three nights instead of two as was the case until now. Travel agents and tour operators will be liable for three times the cost of the package in the case when a complaint is successfully upheld against them.

Pat Dawson told delegates “the issue of linked travel will have a big impact on airlines. One airline already has a travel agency license and others will have to go that way.” “From 2018 a travel agent in any European country can operate in any of the 27 European countries. “If you are in Bulgaria you can get a travel agents’ license for one euro. In many countries, it is the tourist board who issues licenses.” “Ireland is heavily regulated but other countries are not. The good news is you can sell in 27 countries with your Irish license, but the bad news is that agents from all of the 27 can trade in Ireland.” This will come down very quickly on all of us and we need to have the ducks lined up. We saw what happened with Lowcost and this is a model very similar to what is going to happen in all European countries.

A statement from the ITAA said: It was widely anticipated that the implementation of the new PTD Directive in Ireland, would get underway in 2016: stakeholders expected that by now, at the very least, a consultation would have been undertaken. Unfortunately, as the new year approaches, no information has been forthcoming from any official bodies in relation to the implementation process. At EU level, ECTAA is convening a PTD Workshop, in Brussels, during the first quarter of 2017. As a member of ECTAA, the ITAA will be participating in the PTD Workshop, along with other ECTAA members, representatives from the European Commission, the European Parliament, and Member States. If members have any queries in this regard they should contact Anne Dolan.



elinda Vazquezis the new Head of Ireland for Falcon, Thomson and Crystal, where she will assume responsibility for the management of the TUI business in Ireland. She takes over form Chris Logan, and was previously, currently Head of ancillaries and commercial business development for TUI London office,. She will work together on a transition plan with

current Head of Ireland Chris Logan, who recently took up a new role as Managing Director of Crystal Ski and Thomson Lakes and Mountains in London. Belinda joined TUI in 1998 starting her career in the Yield sector working across various destinations in both Early and Late Trading, and then moved into a role managing the Canaries where she built up experience in Product & Purchasing.

Before taking on her most recent role as Head of Ancillaries, she worked in Aviation Planning, and has also worked in distribution and technology roles. The Falcon and Thomson brands are in the process of being integrated into TUI’s worldwide brand as evidenced by the decision to change the name of the cruise ships Thomson Discovery to TUI Discovery.

Belinda Vasquez


ITAA Conference 2016


Rhine & reason

Clare Dunne with Mark Clifford and David O’Hagan in the background

Agents reveal all on riverboat talk with suppliers


here was a surprisingly clear and frank discussion between suppliers and agents moderated expertly by Clare Dunne at the 2016 ITAA conference on board Uniworld Anointette. Trade suppliers did not hold back in saying they found agents unresponsive to promotions and incentives while agents repeated the mantra that there were not enough incentives and what used to be the only perk in the travel industry,

the opportunity to travel, seems to have been whittled down over the years. ITAA CEO Pat Dawson contended that every European country, with the possible exception of Sweden, is as unprepared for the package holiday directive as Ireland is. Ireland is not alone in sitting on its hands waiting for the complex business of travel regulation to be pulled together. Ireland’s travel agents are pro-

posing a tax per ticket to replace the existing bonding system. ■ Social highlight of the conference was the perfect A hit right in the middle by Mary Denton and Rebecca Kelly as they sang Steve Perry’s Don’t Stop Believing (E, B, C#m, A), and held the note as the musicians continued. ■ The venue for the 2017 conference will be announced at the Irish Travel industry awards on January 26.

Top: Cormac Meehan President and Pat Dawson CEO of the ITAA listening to presentations, Middle: Yvonne Muldoon of Aer LIngus, bottom Sharon Jordan of the Travel Corporation

TAKE-AWAYS FROM THE IRISH TRAVEL AGENTS ASSOCIATION CONFERENCE PAT DAWSON We are all in this club. MARK CLIFFORD There was a period CLARE DUNNE Money is not the biggest We are only strong if we work together. We have 256 travel agency licenses in the country and we are totally splintered. And when we are splintered, we do not drive as one.

MARY McKENNA Everyone is talking

about the lack of staff, unemployment has gone down to 7pc.

HOLLY BEST As an agency you probably have two suppliers in every day of the week. Maybe that is not the right approach. Maybe we should be looking at doing something together.

MARY DENTON Travel agents account

for 70pc of our business. We need them and training is very important.

REBECCA KELLY The same travel

agents come for training all the time. We are trying to engage with you but we do need you to engage back.

BRIAN HYNES Geographical regions

down the west are an opportunity for agents and suppliers working together in partnership.

MARK CLIFFORD There is a scattered approach to training. It is not co-ordinated.

there for eight or ten years when there was very little new staff coming on board and very little training being done. We need a more co-ordinated approach to training staff, not blanket courses or broad courses. Our needs are very specific.

DAVID O’HAGAN A supplier spending a couple of hours in the office is an excellent way of letting you see them sell a holiday as well. I thought a couple of hours in the office was invaluable. Our clients would know an expert was coming into the office. They would really engage with them and engage with us as well. REBECCA KELLY When we say to

agents: why don’t you book and use your commission, we are told “that is not allowed.”

MARK CLIFFORD I am two hours form Dublin. For me to send someone for training is a day away from the office. Webinars are the way forward for training purposes. CLARE DUNNE We don’t get many opportunities to meet each other agent to agent.

SARAH SLATTERY The person who has been there is going to sell much better and much easier than the person who has not been there.

motivator for our staff. Outside of our industry other people use travel as a motivational tool, And yet, in our industry, we don’t use it as a motivational tool. We don;t use it to motivate our staff and it would be so useful for us the more people travel the better it is for agencies. Now there is not any concessions.

PAT DAWSON We are not a commercial

organisation. We do not pick and chose suppliers. That is the consortia. They’re commercial, we’re not.

CLARE DUNNE There is nothing like

an agent experiencing the product for themselves as the client does, it is different from a fam trip, there is very little chance of that happening now.

REBECCA KELLY You agents are our

ambassadors, and we need you to tell us. You are the ones who need to push it. If you don’t understand the concept of a campaign, tell us.

HOLLY BEST You are in a better position than we are. You know your customers. We don’t.

MARK CLIFFORD One Facebook page for all the industry to communicate would be a help.

CLARE DUNNE We have communications challenges. Our inboxes are full.


WINDOW SEAT Last month in numbers

116.78m Number of

passengers carried by Ryanair, now Europe’s largest airline, in 2016

10.62m Number of island of Ireland in 2016

tourists who visited the

1,647,408 Number of visitors to Guinness Storehouse in 2016, Ireland’s leading attraction

€849 Qatar;s fare to Sydney as it enters the

Irish market with a sale in advance of its July launch


Increase in number of tourists from Ireland who travelled to Spain in 2016, more than any other country

17 Number of new routes from Irish airprots 2017 7pc Proportion of domestic visitors to both the

Storehouse and Cliffs of Moher



ords fail the North Sea us how To Blass ends his book. Which begs the question, what is the pint of writing a book about it if that is the case? But that is being a bit unfair on himself. He does a good job of conjuring up a grey and dour body of water, “the Cooling Marshes, Whalebone Marshes, Cliffe Marshes, Fobbing Marshes, Allhallows Marshes, Lee Marshes”. We learn that the Dutch name their dykes so that the closest to the sea are wakende (waking) dykes; the next are slapende (sleeping), “and in the event that these both fail

The Naked Shore: Of the North Sea by Tom Blass (Bloomsbury)

only a dromende (dreaming) dyke stands between tsea and oblivion.” Another tale (can this be true?) is that herring was once so important to life that it became name for money: Baltic herring were called easterlings in England. This eventually became a “sterling,” as tithes and taxes were paid with it. He writes of “a flock of golden plover moved in from the sea, flying low with the sound of rustling skirts” And he describes a part of East

Anglia as “a quiet mecca for sailors who enjoy poking and nuzzling at its estuaries, the Stour, the Twizzle, the Deben and the Ore.” The fishermen and those who made their living from the sea are being replaced by less interesting retired people. It is as much a loss for the reader as for the author. And contributes to a loss of structure for the book. I am not sure where the opening trip on a cargo boat ends. And another thing, regional accents is ALWAYS patronising.

Busman’s holiday: Cormac Meehan Every month we ask a leading travel professional to write about their personal holiday experience. This month: Cormac Meehan president of the Irish Travel Agents Association


or many years the only time that suited my wife, Maureen, and I to take a break was late December to early January. For some unknown reason, flying through JFK and, again, through Hartsfield/Jackson in Atlanta, we always looked at the departure boards for some, apparently, exotic sounding locations. The one that caught our eyes was Jacksonville (JAX), Florida, and we promised that we would hit that airport the following year. Hiring a car in Jacksonville was fun, in spite of the fact that it was in north Florida, there was a Deep South feel to the place with accents and Stetsons. Heading down the coast we explored every lane in the vicinity of A1A and


I 95 south as far as Miami. Our favourite stretch of that part of US Interstate and Highway was between the very venerable historic city of Saint Augustine (the oldest city in the USA) and the most trendy Spring-break capital of Daytona Beach. I suppose it was a very early version of our very own Wild Atlantic Way and Maureen and I felt very much at home with the ocean surf and those wonderful Ron Jon surf shops playing the most atmospheric music of Jimmy Buffett’s Margariteaville. Just south of Saint Augustine on A1A we tended to stop at a great bikers bar and diner called the Sunset Grille, with a background of Don Henley tracks we gazed in awe at the range of Harleys and Honda Goldwings which were just as diverse as the ages of the bikers and their career backgrounds The Conch restaurant on Anastasia

View of St. Augustine from the top of the lighthouse on Anastasia Island Island, just beyond the famous lighthouse, was another favourite with its private dining gazebos over the lapping Atlantic lagoon. We usually finished up at the lovely pink gin palace at the north end of Daytona Beach which had variously been branded as Hilton, Adams Mark or Marriott over the years. Maureen and I will never forget giving up our place in a restaurant queue to a lovely elderly couple from Chicago who were anxious to dine early before a Frank Sinatra concert at the spectacular Ocean Centre in Daytona Beach. We exchanged business cards and within two days they tracked us down to our hotel to invite us to their home at the Spruce Creek Fly-in Community, each


rish airport numbers are soaring, but a million of the people passing through our airports have arrived on a flight from somewhere else two hours earlier. That is not necessarily a bad thing. Transfer passengers coming through Dublin make routes viable that would not otherwise be liable to pop up on our departure boards. The future is transfer. Nobody would have foreseen a situation where Iceland had more North

American connections than Ireland has but that is what happened when Icelandair and WOW both went into the trans-Atlantic business. Dublin now has 23 trans-Atlantic services, including some double services by two airlines to one city. Keflavik is to add Miami, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh and Tampa in 2017 bringing its trans-Atlantic services up to 27 routes to 22 cities, of which 20 are year round. And that with a native population

the size of County Cork. With cities like Anchorage, Calgary, Denver, Detroit, Las Vegas, Minneapolis, New Orleans, Pittsburgh, Portland, Salt Lake City, San Diego, San Jose, Portland and Seattle on the departures board, then we would REALLT be in the transfer business. Iceland shows that there is nothing like competition to increase the trans-Atlantic options for the consumer.

home backed on to a runway capable of landing a 737 Boeing. Their immediate neighbour was a very young, slim, genial and competent pilot called John Travolta. We joined them all for Dinner in the community clubhouse where our host insisted on taking up his usual chair at the corner of the table where he could survey all the room’s occupants and entrants .We exchanged Christmas and Thanksgiving cards for many years promising to return. We read of Fred’s death years later as we spent some time in Chicago, he was a leader in the Holiday Inn hotel franchise in the USA for over 50 years. My he rest in peace. Our favourite, as the song says. is: “somewhere on A1A”!

IN YOUR NEXT TRAVEL EXTRA: Available to Travel Agents or online Febraury 20 2017

AWARDS ISSUE Irish travel trade salutes the 2017 champions SPRING TRENDS

page 039 12/05/2016 12:10 Page 1

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Out and about with the Travel Trade

Joanne Hegarty of Wa ck Frances Madden, Anne Donnelly and Pearse llace Travel with Audre ish Wall and Marissa Be y Headon of Headon Co Keller of Keller Travel at Worldchoice 2016 conEgle Godliauskaite, Eil ce en fer nsu con A ITA at ion rat Mullan of Navan Travel lting and Katrina Mcference in Seafield, Co Wexford of The Travel Corpo at ITAA conference

Mary McKenna of Tour America and David O’Grady of Etravel at the American Airlines event

Miriam Skelly of Navan Travel and Deirdre Sweeny of Sunway at ITAA conference

and John Appleby of Flight Centre, Rhona McCann of ders/Malahide Travel Alan McAra of Travellea the AA trade event FCM and Brenda Morgan of BA at the American at David O’Neill of CWT Airlines event

Jeff Collins and Geral dine McFadden at Wo rldchoice 2016 conferen ce

Ameirca and David Mary Mckenna of Tour r Alliance Sta at l ave Etr of O’Grady

Jackie Coakley and Ra ya Santagati of Shando n travel at Worldchoice 2016 conference

City Travel and Derek Tom Britton of Marble vel Waterford Tra d an Str Pheasey of

Michael Yohannes of Eth Sparling of SAS at Sta iopian Airlines and Alan r Alliance

rey TBI and Mary Lyne form Blackpool Travel at ITAA O’Donohue travel in Go Yvonne O’Donohue of savers at ITAA conference and Mary King of Travel

Maurice Shiels of Topflight and Maria Hyland of Atlas Travel at the American Airlines event

Holly Best of Virgin Atl antic, Le Osborne of Bookabed and Maura Doran from O’Leary Travel in Wexford at Wo lrdchoice conference

Philip Airey and Mary Denton of Sunway with Jeff Collins of Globe Niall McDonnell of Classic Collectionat the Star Alliance event

d Kathleen Ca Seamus Cosgrove an ce en fer con Travel at ITAA

rr of Cill Dara


Out and about with the Travel Trade

c Resorts and Agatha Fiona Dobbyn of Classi lines at the American Tothova of American Air Airlines event

Josie Carrigy of Arrow Teresa Gancedo Director of Spanish Tourist To Clifford of O’Hanrahan urs with Jo and Mark Board office in Dublin and Kathryn McDonnel Travel at ITAA conferen ce trade relations at Worldchoice 2016 conference

Erica Oglesby of MSC an bott Travel at ITAA con d Des Abbot of Des Abference

Joe Tully of Tully Travel ce way at ITAA conferen

Jennifer Callister of Royal Caribbean and Paul Hackett of Clickandgo at ITAA conference


and Mary Denton of Su

Cormac Meehan of Me ehan Travel Bundoran, president of the ITAA, Cla Broker and John Gallig re Dunne of The Travel an of JGT

McGibney of CruiseeAlan Lynch and Celine ce en scapes at ITAA confer

Pauline Grenham of Gr enham Travel and Ro se Kane of Kane’s Travel Longford at Worldcho ice


r of rtz and Jeanette Taylo Eamonn Roche of He ence Sunway at ITAA confer

Eamonn Roche of Hertz and John Sisson of Dub- Tara Magee of BA and Philip Airey of Sunway the American Airlines at lin Airport at ITAA conference event

Nora Desmond and Jim Tobiun of Premier Travel Bepi Gaidoni of BCD Travel an d Clare Dunne of The Travel Broker at Sta at ITAA conference, r Alliance

Mary Foyle and Sarah McCarthy at Travel Coun- Joe Tully of Tully’s Travel and Da ve Hennessy of Tropical Sky at the Am sellors conference in Manchester erican Airlines event

Colman Burke of Club Travel and Helen Fyfe of Lufthansa

onne O’Donohoe of Thomas O’Donohue, Yv and Tom O’Donohue of rey O’Donohue Travel Go d at Worldchoice 2016 for Strand Travel in Water



Out and about with the Travel Trade

Paul Dawson of Dawson Travel and Holly Best of Ciara O’Brien, Rachel Volante, Em er Thomas na Toner of Virgin Atlantic at Worldchoice 2016 conference and Stephanie O’Sullivan of itrio Ca d an vel Tra s Travelopia at the Aer Joe Tully of Tully’ Lin gu nt s Ha eve rtfo de tra rd roa AA dshow American Airlines at the

Rachel Goss and Sharo Travel with Carol Anne n Harney of Cassidy the Aer Lingus Hartford O’Neill of Worldchoice at roadshow

and VInCathy Keller of Keller Travel; Siobhan McClean John Devereux of American Holidays American the at rt po Air blin Du of Keller Travel and Anita Gately of Keller Travel; cent Harrison of Airlines event

vel and Ciara Lynch of Bepi Gaidoni of BCD Tra nagement at the AmerMa Colman Burke of Club travel and Caitriona Toner Bláithín O’Donnell of Air Canada, John Hu WTC/Selective Travel rley of Dublin Airport and Susan nt of American Airlines at the AA trade event eve s Kiernan of Ask Susan ican Airline

Joe Tully of Tully Travel Navan Travel at World and Martin Skelly of choice 2016 conferen ce

ra Magee of BA at the Brenda Morgan and Ta nt American Airlines eve

Rita Cosgrove and Eu ge Travel at ITAA conferen ne Fanning of Cill Dara ce

Valerie Metcalfe of FCM and Ger Keogh at ITAA conference

Jack Maraffi of Travelsavers with Eileen and Jim Vaughan of Justsplit at ITAA conference

Clodagh Connolly, Kaspars Kiblenieks and Annette Hynes of Fahy Travel at Worldchoice 2016 conference

tels/Best4travel, Caroline Jeff Collins of Globe Ho and Frances Grogan of O’Toole of Fahy Travel ence Worldchoice 2016 confer at Grogan Travel Tuam

Rebecca Kelly of MSC an the ITAA at Worldchoice d Pat Dawson CEO of 2016 conference

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Possibilities Unlimited

Come visit us at stand M4/N3 at Holiday World RDS for some exciting Holiday Deals

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Travel extra feb 2017  

Holiday World 2017 issue of Travel Extra

Travel extra feb 2017  

Holiday World 2017 issue of Travel Extra