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AWARDS SPECIAL THE TRAVEL  INDUSTRY PICKS ITS WINNERS THOMAS COOK WHAT WENT WRONG

Allure comes to Europe

Ryanair to rejoin GDS?

Travel writer awards

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U O Y

e d a r T ER P PA

IRELAND'S PREMIER SOURCE OF TRAVEL INFORMATION

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MARCH 2014

VOLUME 18 NUMBER 3

Travel celebrates its new champions

Top of the World


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Europe’s Best Airline

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Awaiting upturn

88pc of Travel Agents expect more business in 2014

survey shows that 40pc of Irish Travel Agents reported a drop in turnover in 2013 in comparison to 2012, whilst 36pc reported a small increase in turnover of between 0-10pc. The quarterly ITAA survey found that members were more optimistic about 2014: 88pc of travel agents expect an increase in turnover, 8pc expect that business will remain the same and 4pc are expecting a decrease in turnover. ITAA members reported that Turkey was the destination that offered the best value for money in 2013 closely followed by Spain and the Canary Islands. Looking to 2014, 56pc of ITAA members expect Spain to be their most popular destination of the year; the top four destinations for 2014 are expected to be Spain, Portugal, Turkey and the USA. The survey found that customer loyalty is strong with 52pc of business coming from repeat customers. The CSO overseas travel figures for 2013 found that Irish residents took 6,323,100 trips overseas last year, down 2,700 on 2012 and an enormous 25pc short of the 2008 peak of 7,877,400 - a fifth of the populatioin who no longer travel abroad because of the recession.

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NEWS

SUNWAY and Wings Abroad intro-

duced an extra shared flight to Turkey for summer 2014. The flight will operate from Friday May 23 until September 20. Sunway prices start from €479 for 7 nights in the four star Sea Pearl Hotel, Kusadasi.

DISNEY are highlighting their new Ratatouille attraction to open in Disneyland Paris in summer 2014. The park reportedly saw a decline of 1m visitors in 2013 but is still the fifth most visited attraction in the world.

UNIVERSAL Orlando announced that

Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts will be the signature ride in the new Diagon Alley to open this summer. Guests will be able to board the Hogwarts Express and journey between London’s King’s Cross Station (located in Universal Studios Florida) and Hogsmeade Station (located in Universal’s Islands of Adventure with views of London and the British countryside – as well as a few surprises. 2-Park admission is required.

IRISH EMBASSIES Looking at anagency window in 2008: 20pc stopped travelling

Pat Dawson, Chief Executive of the ITAA commented on the findings said “I am pleased to see confidence amongst our members in relation to travel in 2014, already, January has been a strong month with a high level of enquiries and bookings. Already our members are seeing trends emerge for 2014, including high interest in family camping holidays to France, Mediterranean cruises and

Icelandic Northern Lights experiences”. “I am not surprised that overall 2013 saw a drop in turnover for many travel agents, it mirrors the discussions I have been having with our members. The unusually good weather during the summer unsurprisingly had a negative effect on the numbers travelling abroad looking for sun.”

tourists from 180 nations (up from the current 11) will take 5-6 months but they hope to implement this initially at nine airports including Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai, Cochin, Hyderabad, Goa and Trivandrum,

“from the next tourist session beginning October." Electronic travel authorisation will allow foreign travelers to apply for a visa from home and receive an online confirmation in five working days.

INDIA MOVES TO VISA ON ARRIVAL

isas in India could be easier to acquire if local news reports prove accurate. Planning minister Rajiv Shukla said extending visa-on-arrival to

MARCH 2014 PAGE 3

are to open in Bangkok, Freetown (Sierra Leone), Jakarta, Nairobi (reopened), the Vatican (reopened) and Zagreb and open new Consulates General in Hong Kong, Sao Paulo and Austin, Texas.

THAILAND reported 26.7m visitor arrivals in 2013. The number of visitors from Ireland was 62,924, up 4.34pc Irish visits in January were up 18.65pc to 6,592. . ALGARVE will have a record 78

flights a week from six Irish airports in 2014, and Aer Lingus will use the A332/3 twice weekly on the route. Dublin has 17, Belfast International 12, Belfast City airport 7, Cork 4, Derry, Knock and Shannon 3 each, and Kerry 2. Lisbon will have 14 weekly and Porto 2 with Funchal now being serviced by Windavia's Sunday service.

GERMANY Irish visits to Germany are likely to reach 140,000 for 2013, up 3.4pc. MOROCCO is planning a new €9 departure tax that will take effect on April 1st.

DUBAI is to introduce a tourist tax from the end of March.

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THE KNOWLEDGE Travel Extra Advertising & Subscriptions 6 Sandyford Office Park Dublin 18 (+3531) 2913708 Fax (+3531) 2957417 Editorial Office Clownings Straffan Co Kildare Managing Editor: Gerry O’Hare gerry@travelextra.ie Editor: Eoghan Corry eoghan.corry@ travelextra.ie Publisher: Edmund Hourican Sales Director: Maureen Ledwith maureen@bizex.ie Accounts and Advertising: Maria Sinnott maria@bizex.ie Picture Editor: Charlie Collins pix@travelextra.ie Chief Subeditor: Ida Milne ida@travelextra.ie Chief Features Writer: Anne Cadwallader anne@travelextra.ie Contributors : Eanna Brophy eanna@travelextra.ie Marie Carberry marie@travelextra.ie Carmel Higgins carmel@travelextra.ie Cauvery Madhavan cauvery@travelextra.ie Sean Mannion sean@grafacai.ie Conor McMahon conor@travelextra.ie Ida Milne ida@travelextra.ie Catherine Murphy cathmurph@yahoo.com

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

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

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CONTENTS

3 News Where to go, how much to pay 5 Hotels: Ireland’s bargain beds

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6 Brochures: Summer options 6 Postcards: This month’s events 10 ITIA Awards: Some surprises 22-26 Flying: Double daily delight 26 Afloat: Allure comes to Barca

30 Ireland: Home holiday news 34 Travel Writer Awards: 2013 results 35 Global Village Inside the travel industry 37 Pictures: Out and about

Ensured insurance

any people have a fixation on price as the determining factor when choosing insurance. But there is a substantial difference between policies in terms of coverage, the level of excesses and what cover is available only as an optional extra.

BUSINESS

travel is not covered by 25pc of annual policies and is an optional extra for 28pc of them. Cover is standard with 47pc of annual policies.

SEPARATION A third of annual policies won’t provide cover for your children (or stepchildren) if they don’t live with you.

CHILDREN

travelling independently are not covered by half of all annual policies and other insurers are likely to regard children as travelling independently even if one parent puts them on a plane and the other collects them when they get off. They insist that children are accompanied by a responsible adult for the whole journey.

WINTER sports

bills for medical treatment abroad can be huge, despite this, a fifth of skiers don’t bother with insurance at all, while only a third of those who do buy a policy check that it covers them for winter sports. Just 30pc of annual travel policies include winter sports cover as standard, while 63pc offer it as an optional extra and 7pc don’t include it at all. Check the

Make sure that you didn’t miss the clause that cancels your policy

terms carefully. Some exclude off-piste skiing altogether, others insist that you have a guide, for example. Many policies restrict the amount of skiing you can do within the year.

AIRLINE failure

is covered by just 34pc of annual policies provide this cover as standard, while it is an optional extra for 4pc of annual policies; 62pc don’t provide cover at all. However, the elaborate bonding scheme does not cover most ticket-only air fares you buy direct from an airline.

EXCESS limits on your insurance can vary widely according from one insurer to another. Some charge no excess at all, but others charge

as much as €500 of a claim before you receive a penny from your insurance. With medical expenses the average excess is €85, with a range of zero to €600. For cancellation, the average excess is €80, with individual insurers charging anything from nothing to €300. For loss of deposit is the average is €40 and maximum €300; the equivalent figures are €80 (maximum €250) for lost baggage, €10 (maximum €120) for delayed baggage and €80 (maximum €420) for legal expenses.

AGE Three quarters

of annual policies have a maximum age of 75 years or less, and 27pc have a maximum age of 65 or less. It is essential

that any pre-existing medical conditions are declared to the relevant provider as failing to do so could invalidate the policy.” Cover might already be there from your bank as part of your current account. Although “packaged accounts” are much maligned, they can offer the elderly a cheap way to get travel cover. Even where insurers did not have maximum age limits, premiums are often so high as to be unaffordable. One policy has a maximum age of just 34.

LENGTH of holi-

day is important. Some policies allow you to be overseas for a maximum of 17 consecutive days, 45pc of annual policies limited trip coverage to 31 days abroad while

others will cover you even if you are abroad every day of the year.

BREAKING the

journey could invalidate your insurance, if you have a backpacker policy but need to come home for a few days, some insurers won’t cover you when you resume your travels. Coverage will automatically cease for 57pc of backpacker policies, regardless of whether or not you intend to resume their travels abroad.

PETS If your return

from holiday is delayed, will your travel insurance cover the cost of an extended stay in kennels for your pets? Forty-six per cent of policies provide such cover, with limits typically varying from €50 to €750.


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CAMDEN STREET Praguebased developer Jonathan Jackson received permission from Dublin City Council to go ahead with a new 143-bedroom hotel on Camden Street. An old chapel on the site will accommodate a hotel restaurant.

HOTELS

SALES Portmarnock hotel and 180-acre

golf links, purchased for €7m in 2005, was put on the market for €15m. Blarney Golf resort, built at a cost of €30m, was put up for sale with a dramatically reduced price tag of €2.5m. The 78 bedroom Oriel House Ballincollig hotel expected to sell for €6m.

WESTBURY Hotel was awarded the

“Best Business Hotel Ireland” in the Business Destinations 2014 Travel Awards, for the second year running.

LIDL said they contributed more than

€10m in revenue to the Irish tourism industry as 100,000 people experienced a Lidl break at hotels throughout the country.

DOYLE The Irish-owned Doyle Collec-

tion will open the largest townhouse hotel suite in London later this month in a €500,000 expansion of its four-star Kensington Hotel. Three-bedroom suite in four-star hotel in Kensington will cost up to €3,000 a night.

MICHAEL O’LEARY will speak

at the IHF conference in Trim on Feb 24-26,

STARWOOD launched a pilot pro-

gramme that allows guests with a smartphone to bypass check-in and use the device to open the door to their room.

DOONBEG Luke Charleton and David Hughes of EY were appointed as receivers to Doonbeg resort. Joe Russell told Clare FM that the resort business last year grew with accommodation sales up by 20pc and golf revenues up by 12pc and said expressions of interest included Charles Darby who has said the links course has greatness in it. PHOENICIA Hotel Malta announced a new twin-centre honeymoon package in Malta and Gozo, with five-star service, at €1,904 per couple for seven nights.

COSTA Hollywood is to open a $180m six-story, 304-room condo-hotel including gym, holistic day spa, upscale dining and shopping district, plus a rooftop pool deck overlooking the Intracoastal and Atlantic Ocean, expected to open late 2014.

FOREVER Resorts introduced #digitalvacation for the WiFi Weary.

Tripadvisor readers voted Harvey’s Point the 22nd best hotle in the world

Harvey’s points

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Donegal hotel top in ireland for second year running

elen and Brian Heaton’s Castlewood House in Dingle was rated the world’s best bargain hotel in the annual Traveller's Choice awards based on ratings and comments left on TripAdvisor. Castlewood is rated as a guesthouse rather than a hotel in the Irish rankings. Three Irish hotels featuring in the top ten among Europe’s bargain hotels: Doonmore in Innishbofin (8th) and Strandhill Lodge (10th, also ranked as a guesthouse by Fáilte Ireland). The €45-a-night Castlewood hotel also ranked 7th in the world and 2nd in Europe in the category of Small hotels. Deirdre McGlone's Harvey's Point Hotel (Deirdre is pictured) was named Number 22 hotel in the world number six in Europe, and Ireland’s top hotel for the second year in a row. The Tripdadvisor top 25 hotels in Ireland chart threw up a lot of famil-

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iar names but a few surprises as well (last year’s placing in brackets): 1 Harvey’s Point (1), 2 Killarney Park (3, also Ireland’s best hotel for luxury), 3 Europe Hotel, Killarney (19), 4 Hayfield Manor (2), 5 Castle Hotel Macroom (12), 6 Merrion Hotel (9), 7 Ballygarry House Tralee (14), 8 Inchydoney (7), 9 Ashford Castle (22), 10 Aghadoe Heights (13), 11 Cork Airport Hotel (new), 12 Adare Manor (17), 13 Killarney Lake Hotel (new), 14 Westport Plaza (15), 15 Monart Enniscorthy (new), 16 Castle Durrow (new), 17 Kelly’s, Rosslare (24, also Ireland best family hotel), 18 Ariel House Ballsbridge (16), 19 Crowne Plaza Blanch’n (new), 20 Brehon Killarney (new), 21 Castle Leslie, Glaslough (new), 22 Twelve Hotel, Barna (25).

23 Lough Eske (4), 24 Powerscourt Hotel (10), 25 Four Seasons Ballsbridge (11). Bay View in Clonakilty won Tripadvisor readers’ best Irish B&B. The Waterfront Enniscrone was fourth in the Irish bargain hotel top 25 chart. As part of the same process, Tripadvisor announced their 2014 world champions. Top Hotel in the World was the Grand Hotel Kronenhof in Switzerland, six miles from St Moritz, T Best Bargain Hotel was the aforementioned Castlewood House in Dingle, Akademie in Franschoek in the Western Cape was named the best small hotel (Castlewood was 7th in this category, and also best for luxury. Bindon Bottom on England’s Dorset coast was named the best B&B and Inn the Place in Koh Tao was named best for luxury and Cavallino Brianco near the Italian-Austrian border was named best family hotel.

SINGLE ROOMS ‘BAD FOR CONSUMER’

resident of the Irish Hotels Federation Michael Vaughan, JIM MANSFIELD the Brittastold the Travel Advice born founder of Ireland’s largest hotel, the 492Clinics at Holiday World room Citywest, died at the age of 75. 2014 that consumers BLLA The Boutique & Lifestyle Lodging should look at TrustYou, a Association says that boutique hotels are outwebsite which aggregates performing their branded brethren. Of the 73 user review sites from Triprojects under construction in New York for padvisor, Booking.com, 13,318 rooms, three are luxury branded hotels, Expedia and other sites. totaling 688 rooms, 18 are boutique independHe says this “levels the ents underway totaling 3,042 rooms. playing pitch.” He said that had been contacted by a TRIPADVISOR Tourism Authority he firm based in Bangladesh of Thailand is the latest tourist board website which offered to have to feature TripAdvisor content.

favourable reviews posted on Tripadvisor for 10c a review, and 1,000 favourable reviews for €500. He said: “Tripadvisor is not the best system, it is not the worst system.” Fromer IHF President Paul gallagher of Buswells told the Travel Advice Clinics that tourist board star ratings do not count for much anymore, in many European countries five star hotels would rate as four star in Ireland. Michael Vaughan said

that single rooms were bad news, not only for hoteliers, but also for consumers. “I worked for Jurys when we took over a hotel in Bristol that had 45 single rooms out of a total of 200. “Those rooms could not be sold at weekends so the result was everyone ended up paying more for their bedroom because those rooms could not be sold.” He said that there are lots of hotels that charge no single supplements especially off-peak.

He said that the British banking system took a hit of €2.5bn in investment in Irish hotels much of which has had to be written off. Paul Gallagher said that consumers were getting away with lower prices than hoteliers would like in the months of November, December, January even April. The cheapest weekend in an Irish hotel can be bought the first weekend after Christmas.


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OFF THE RACK

Anne Cadwallader’s Brochure Reviews

Sun weighed SUNWAY SUMMER SUN

unway is now the largest 100% Irishowned tour operator in Ireland and has over 20 years experience of taking us away in security and comfort from this chilly, wet island to the sunshine. Whether it’s an up-market premium hotel or a family-choice holiday – the one brochure includes all - including villas, weddings, budget choices and golfing holidays. That is not to say that Sunway is limited to just one brochure. Oh no – there are others specialising in river cruising (Ama Waterways), small-group adventure touring holidays for 18-39s, escorted tours, holidays in Florida, USA cities and Canada and Sunsail flotilla holidays (amongst others). The company offers Club Med holidays too. Anyone who’s tried one of them knows their resorts are great places for parents and children to relax – with a laid-back atmosphere for Mum and Dad (and great food and wine in a sophisticated setting) with bags of entertainment for the kids. The largest brochure (Sunway Summer Sun 2014) includes some of the best-known and most popular Irish-patronised hotels in Europe such as the Sol Timor Apartments in Torremolinos and the three-star Alay Hotel in Benalmadena which seems to have been there forever! Sunway also do weddings and private villas/townhouses. From page 16 onwards to page 23, there is a great selection of villas with pools, three-, fourand five-star (great value if you’re travelling in a group or if you’ve a large family). Sunway fly people to Portugal, Spain, Italy (Sicily and Sorrento), Turkey, Bulgaria, Morocco and Tunisia – so there’s plenty of newer destinations to choose from as well as the old favourites. There’s a choice of value holidays as well with lead-in prices from about €350pp in places like Sorrento, Lanzarote, Gran Canaria and Majorca. The company says they have hand-picked these holidays for those on a budget. You can add another digit for the “Superior Selection” of holidays a few pages further on in the brochure in hotels such as the Palacio Estoril, the Sheraton on the Algarve and the fabulous (or so I am told) Lopesan Costa Meloneras Resort on Gran Canaria. I’m a great fan of Club Med. I just love the laid-back atmosphere, great food always on-tap, spacious rooms and

great locations of their resorts. There’s a specialist Club Med brochure available so you can choose between a seeming endless range of exotic locations. Sunway also have a brochure dedicated to Florida, USA Cities and Canada so whether it’s the bright lights of Orlando or Las Vegas or the wide open and unspoiled countryside of the great Canadian outdoors, you will find it there. Adventure tours for young (and notso young) people aged between 18 and 39 feature in yet another Sunway brochure. “This is your planet” it announces with a map of the world pointing out exactly where you can go with the company – places such as Cuzco (Peru), Xi’an (China) and the Bazaar (Cairo). There’s another brochure on adventure touring for all ages featuring small groups going to out-of-the-way places where you will meet local people and have experiences that – very likely – most people on standard package tours try and avoid! Escorted tours for the, perhaps, slightly older traveler are the focus of another Sunway brochure promising to show you the world “from the inside” – and by world they do mean world (including Mexico, Africa, Asia and Latin America). Ama Waterways announces tours of a different kind – by river. There are themed cruises on offer within its covers such as a cruise in celebration of wine and another to celebrate chocolate. There is also a Jewish heritage cruise. Sunway is also big into sailing with one brochure offering holidays at sea all over the world including the Seychelles, Australia including Tonga and Tahiti and in the warm waters of the Caribbean (as well as in Europe including Croatia and Italy). Then there is an even more specialised sailing brochure focused entirely on Greece whose Ionian islands are, of course, amongst the most beautiful to visit in the world. Club Vounaki holidays include flights, quality yachts, tuition and watersports including windsurfing. For holidays at sea, choose the Sunway Worldwide Cruise brochure which will take you to Abu Dhabi, the Indian Ocean, South Africa, the Far East and beyond. Prices start from under €1,000 for an eight-night cruise of the Adriatic and Turkey.

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FALCON SUMMER SUN

Falcon holiday village in Majorca

ew to Falcon’s m a i n summer-sun brochure this year are the “party islands” of Rhodes and Ibiza – although that’s rather a misnomer as you can have a perfectly restful and tranquil holiday on both if that’s what you want. On the other hand, if you’re the parent of teenagers or young adults, and they want to party while you’d prefer to restup, both options are open on Rhodes and Ibiza. Both can be reached direct from Dublin so no hang-ups there. Falcon reports increased take-up of their “all-inclusive” holidays where all the pain comes when you pay for your holiday – after which you can relax knowing virtually everything – including your drinks – is paid-for. What the trade calls “differentiated products” are also on the increase. That means you have a fairly good idea of what kind of holiday your resort specialises in before you travel. Two such are “Holiday Villages” and “SplashWorld Resorts”. Lead-in prices start at €289pp with child prices from €119pp and, for a family of four, €999. All-inclusives start from €729 per adult and €369 per child with potential upgrades to all-inclusive starting at €27pp per night. On the island of Ibiza, for example, there’s the new Holiday Village Seaview Ibiza – an all-inclusive four-star resort with four restaurants, several pools (the main one with palm trees, a bar and seaview) and its own waterpark (with a Falcon Kids’ Club). The three-star SplashWorld resort on Rhodes has a waterpark complete with what they call a “Boomerango” that “whizzes you up and down at breakneck speed” along with a couple of

“kamikazes”. But for the oldies amongst us, I was glad to see one of my favourite hotels, the Seaside Los Jameos Playa on Lanzarote still features in the Falcon brochure. A spotlessly-clean hotel with great buffet food and poolside changing huts so you can slip out of your wet togs before a walk to lunch all go to make this the ideal holiday location. Needless to say, the firm favourites are also there on the Costa del Sol (such as the Sunset Beach Club and the Sol Principe Apartments) and the same goes for the Algarve (Hotel Pestana Delfim). If you want to strike out somewhere new, there’s Rhodes – a Greek island with both archaeology and large resorts to entertain and inform. Faliraki is the spot with the reputation for night life but Lindos is a lovely old-style Greek village so you get the best of both worlds. New this year to Falcon is the “SuneoClub” range of budget holidays on Ibiza, Menorca, Rhodes, Corfu and in Turkey where, for example, the Mirage World resort close to the beach offers entertainment, large pools, kids’club and free WiFi zones. Having recently visited the sleepy little village of Analipsi on Crete, I was interested to see the Stella Village resort there. Some of the very best sunsets I have ever witnessed I saw on the beach there as I downed a cocktail in one of the quiet little bars along the seafront. If you’ve decided to holiday in the “shoulder months” (ie spring and autumn) then the Egyptian resort of Sharm el Sheikh on the Red Sea Riviera is ideal as it’s guaranteed warm all year round. Family holidays, couples holidays, holidays for the older amongst us. All to be found in the Falcon holiday brochure out now.


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OFF THE RACK

Anne Cadwallader’s Brochure Reviews

Italianater

T

Maggiore in evening

TOPFLIGHT ITALY

opflight really specialises in Italy – a country which simply does not feature in many other holiday company brochures. And the choice is endless, from cruises, culture, camping, city breaks and culinary delights. My heart soars when I open up its brochure every year because I am certain I will find so many enticing options on the pages in front of me – and this year is no different. And I confess that I usually turn to the “Italian Lakes” pages first of all to see what Topflight is offering in my favourite region (recently shared with George Clooney who has a villa on Lake Como). My only advice here is to go either early or late in the season if you possibly can because, believe it or not, there are other Europeans who have also discovered the wonders of the lakes and they pour in here by their thousands. There are tailor-made holidays in the brochure so if your plans don’t fit exactly into one of the packages on offer, that’s no problem. Topflight really know Italy – they are passionate about it – and they’ll devise a holiday that crams

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MARCH 2014 PAGE 7

in what you want. You may want to combine going to the opera in Verona, or city sight-seeing in Florence, with a more traditional seaside holiday and that’s quite on the cards, no problem. If you’ve never been to Italy before, you may feel you just have to go to Rome for a day or two, again no problem. Cruise-and-stay is also included in the brochure – anything Italian is! Silversea is an Italian cruise line with a fabulous reputation and there are two cruise options in the brochure (Italy/Malta/Gozo or Italy/Montenegro/Slovenia/Croatia. If touring on land is more your thing, there are escorted coach tours which you can combine with a week (or more or less) in one place through the company’s tailor-made department. There’s a tour taking in the Dolomites – a spectacular landscape straight out of “Lord of the Rings”. There’s a great choice of speciality holidays from cycling, garden visits, wine-tasting and, new for this year, top quality golfing around Lake Garda and Tuscany. Wherever you go in Italy, your eyes, ears and taste-buds will find new experiences that you will remember forever.

INSIGHT VACATIONS

t’s a niche market – and Insight are the experts who deliver premium escorted journeys to wonderful places by road, rail and cruise. What they also deliver are memories, laughter and unforgettable experiences. The company has produced two brochures this season. One focuses on Europe including the Eastern Mediterranean and Morocco while the other takes in the USA and Canada including Hawaii and Alaska. Once you’ve chosen which brochure contains the holiday for you, the choices continue because the itineraries are wide. One thing you can be sure of wherever you go, an Insight expert will be on hand to ensure you get the most of your holiday. What’s the point of travelling long distances and then missing out on the kind of cultural experience you’re searching for? Why travel to Venice and miss a gondola ride? Why visit Seville and not see a flamenco dance? Why visit Vienna and not experience a waltz or two? Or go to Italy or Spain and not try out the best the local gastronomies and viticulture can offer? This is where an escorted tour comes into its own - providing the unforgettable memories and experiences that the

A

solo traveller would, very likely, miss out. Modern tourism began life around the mid-seventeenth century with the “Grand Tour” of Europe that every wealthy young scion of the British nobility considered “de rigueur” - an essential part of growing up. It’s updated now, of course, but there’s still nowhere in the world to compare with the variety and history of a European touring holiday. North America, of course, is different. Because of its vast open spaces, it can appear an intimidating place for the first-time traveller. An escorted tour is just the ticket as you will find your feet and can decide which parts of the continent you find most appealing for, perhaps, your first solo tour next time. Whether it’s a whirlwind tour of the cities of the East Coast (New York/Boston/Toronto) or a jazz-inspired tour of the Deep South (Memphis/Nashville/New Orleans) – Insight can take you there in style and comfort. Not forgetting Las Vegas, of course, the resort that knows no recession or austerity – or the west coast cities of Los Angeles and San Francisco along with Monterey and Santa Barbara (with a detour to Yosemite National Park).

TOPFLIGHT SKI

fter the w i n t e r Olympics, ski holidays are going to soar in popularity and, when booking your winter-snow holiday, surely top of the “Must Have” list is a friendly, knowledgeable and welltrained ski representative. You can buy just about everything else – but a friendly face is priceless. Topflight say all their ski-reps are continually trained, friendly and reliable. And if you’re in a strange country, doing something totally unfamiliar (ski) in a hostile environment (a seemingly precipitous Alpine slope) those are valuable commodities. Topflight has six countries in which to ski to choose from with thirty resorts and over 300 different hotels, apartments, chalets and other accommodation to choose between. If you want a home-from-home chalet experience with all your meals cooked for you and the personal attention of a chalet host – it’s available in La Plagne, France this year, new to Topflight. The ski holiday market is nothing if not competitive and this year Topflight is promising the keenest prices and value-added options. Even before you go, you can get extra value by booking a

course of four ski or snowboard courses. For the nonskiers, 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 who find that experience exhilarating, the choice in the Topflight brochure is endless. 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. But enough of these practical details – what you want to hear about is the romance of the deep, deep snow – the pretty villages, the comfortable beds, the gluhwein, the onion-domed churches, the après ski … Well, it’s all here in bucket-loads. Cutesy Alpine chalets, dazzling blue skies, large and impressive hotels, sleigh-rides, steaming outdoor heated swimming pools and more bars and restaurants than you could visit in a year. Bring it on!


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POSTCARDS FROM THE TRAVEL SCENE

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onzalo Ceballos of the Spanish Tourist Board office in Dublin and Agustin Garcia of the Spanish Tourist Board office in London came together to host the travel trade in Dean’s Restaurant in Belfast in advacne of the Belfast Holiday World show. Gonzalo told tour operators that 250,000 people had traveled from the north of Ireland to Spain in 2013 despite

B

arbados entertained members of the travel trade at Patrick Guilbaud’s lon the weekend of the Holiday World show. Vice president of marketing and sales Petra Roach and business development manager Devon Chase stressed that Barbados, best known for its 3,000 hours of sunshine each year, is also home to one of the most popular shopping and dutyfree districts in the Eastern Caribbean.

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opflight hosted an agent fam trip to the Three Valleys in France.

The group stayed in Meribel and Val Thorens and participated in Topflight’s annual toboggan race which was won by Tom O’Donoghue of Strand Travel. Apparently there is a pending stewards enquiry as some travel agents decided to jump the gun and take off before the whistle.

the fact that capacity had come down. Travel agents had done good business he said, because load factors were up, and thanked the trade for their support, “We are here to help you with whatever ideas you turn up with, please consdierus one fo the family.” Pere Granados, mayor of Salou explained how Salou had earned the reputation as the beach of Europe.

They talked about the nightlife on the island which includes wine and sports bars, and nightclubs that play jazz, calypso and reggae music. Devon Chase recommended that tourists sample some of Barbados’ rum at the food and rum festival, which takes place in November. Picture shows Gemma Lewis of Escape marketing with Devon Chase.

Picture shows Niamh Quinlan, Travel Counsellor, Tricia Mitchell of Topflight, Graham Hennessy of Topflight, Liz McVeigh of Century Travel, Caroline Kelly of Creation Travel Waterford, James Burke of Thomas Cook Newtownbreda, Claire Farmer of Century Travel, Tom O’Donoghue of Strand Travel, Andrew Shaw of Thomas Cook Newry and Jacinta Newman of Cassidy Travel Dundrum.

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EO of Falcon Holidays Helen Caron briefed media on Falcon’s summer options for 2014. Helen said that Falcon’s new destinations, Ibiza and Rhodes are selling well and the all-inclusive programme had been boosted by a January TV ad campaign, substituting for the annual January sale. Helen said Falcon/Thomson ustomers that told them that while they like to re-

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ravel Manitoba entertained a group of Irish travel media in Dublin with tales of polar bears and beluga whales, and the delights of Winnipeg and its environs. Guillaume Post spoke of the lifechanging experience of snorkeling with beluga whales in Hudson Bay. “That summer was quite speical, ot be in the water with the whales and interacting

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n a visit to Dublin, Vijay Dandapani highlighted the selling points of the group’s five Apple Core Hotel properties in New York. On two of the three boutique hotels they are adding rooftop bars which should be ready in August 2014. All fo the hotels offer free wifi, free local calls, free local calls, free continental breakfast and competitive hotel rates from $119 a night.

search their holidays online they then prefer to book their holiday with a travel agent. Reviewing 2013, she said that early sales had resulted in good figures over the year and served as a protection against a dramatic slowdown in sales during summer, Picture shows the Falcon team at the launch: Charlotte Brenner, Marta Stybaniewicz, Carol Anne O'Neill, Antoinette Young, Helen Caron and Niamh Kenny.

with live animals.” Picture shows the group from Manitoba Tourism who entertained travel media in Dublin: Lorne Perrin from Assiniboine Park, Dene Sinclair from Travel Manitoba, Tricia Schers from Frontiers North, Tara Stefansson from Lazy bear Lodge and Guillaume Post representing Travel Manitoba in London.

The hotels get 20pc of their business directly from applecorehotels.com. Vijay says “we have great rates becuase our distribtuion costs are so low. I pass the value on the the consumer.” There is free capucino in the lobby and menus are changed every six weeks. “It is a real value proposition.” Picture shows Vijay Dandapani, Brenda Fields and Fergus Dunipace at Cliff Town House in Dublin.


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MARCH 2014 PAGE 9

POSTCARDS FROM THE TRAVEL SCENE

Cathy’s Column

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oliday World Dublin celebrated its 25th year with a cake cut by Maureen Ledwith, Lord Mayor Oisin Quinn and Clare Dunne President of the ITAA (pictured). The event attracted 48,041 visitors, 47,050 consumers and 991 trade over the three days while the Belfast event attracted 28,410 visitors, including a ten year high on the Saturday and a six year high on the Sunday.

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lorida Governor Rick Scott told guests at Florida Huddle he would recommend increasing Visitflorida’s funding to a record $100m. This would make Florida one of the most visible states to increase marketing to international visitors and assist communities in attracting direct international air service to Florida Will Seccombe, President & CEO of Visit Florida and Chris Thompson, Pres-

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rian Stack of CIÉ Tours International (pictured with Vivienne Jump chair of CIÉTI) said sales in 2014 are up 21pc year on year. CIÉTI dispensed a record 80 awards to Irish and Scottish hotels and attractions in Dublin Castle last month. He warned that Irish hoteliers should be wary of trying to make back money lost in recession in one year. He said that Ireland and Scotland

Event organiser Edmund Hourican is hoping to expand the Dublin show again in 2015 after three years of retraction to occupy the left hand hall. The advice clinics will be relocated to a more open area beside the coffee shop. The boat show, not held since 2009 and originally scheduled for 2014 but postponed, may also return in 2015. Put the weekend of January 23 to 25 in the diary for 2015.

Cathy Burke, General Manager at Travel Counsellors

What a month! We’ve just celebrated our Best Ever month at Travel Counsellors Ireland since we launched in September 2005. 29 of our 52 Travel Counsellors also had their own personal best ever month (sales and earnings). And if that wasn’t enough, we’ve had a 22% increase overall compared to our previous best ever in January 2013. What a start! 6% ,1% %'2,4&84# ,4& #13)84# ,4& /!,/ 80 1%:%(/%& 84 /!% ,81 3$ positivity in this country of ours. It’s a feeling that the nation hasn’t experienced in a very long time and it is infectious.

ident & CEO of Brand USA hosted 200 buyers from 20 countries in Palm Beach County last month, including Liz Wright from Tour America (pictured) and Dee Burdock from American holidays The attendance at Florida Huddle was up 12pc on 2013 as a total of 345 companies with 595 delegates. The opening night gala was held at The Breakers Palm Beach and the closing event in downtown West Palm Beach.

It’s not just us though, Travel Counsellors around the world in the UK, Netherlands, South Africa, Australia, Canada and UAE had record sales in January too. Our sales were buoyed by a major sales incentive with more than 1,250 Travel Counsellors from our global network participating to )84 , /182 /3 "/ -.(8,7 9!% 95 91%,0.1%0 3$ /!% 5,18**%,4 84(%4/8+% in partnership with Virgin Atlantic, Sandals, Harlequin Hotels and Resorts. The challenge was played out through our intranet system and saw 32 global teams compete in multiple challenges each day over the four week period. I’m delighted to say that three Irish Travel Counsellors were on the winning team, Richard Harbourne, Sinead Daly and Donna Olohan. We also had three further Irish winners in a competition of the top sellers of our Directly Contracted hotels in our in-house dynamic packaging system Phenix. The prize here is a Travel Counsellor exclusive trip to Vietnam departing in March. Sarah McCarthy, Mary Foyle and Mandy Walsh were the top winners from Ireland.

combo tours are now the group’s biggest sellers. Brian Stack said CIÉTI normally has 75pc of its business booked by St Patrick’s Day. Niall Gibbons, fresh, from missions to the middle east and USA said Texas is now in the sights of Tourism Ireland with direct flights to Houston and Dallas Fort Worth top of the wish list.

Incredibly 12 of our TC’s did personal sales of over €100,000 each during January while the top 2 Irish Travel Counsellors sold in excess of €200,000. We are so proud of our brilliant team.

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DESTINATION

he last time I went to Sofia, my hotel had a neon sign saying: Proletariat of the world, unite. The city was green and fresh and spirited then, and that aspect of things has not changed. The shops and public buildings look the same, except that you don’t have to queue four times to buy anything. There are street markets which would do north Africa proud and, when I was there, boisterous protests to remind us they like to indulge their new found tolerance. The infrastructure has come on by leaps and bounds. Journeys to the countryside have been halved by the motorway system. By 2014 the metro to airport will be complete. City and mountains merge comfortably. “You should think nature when you think of Bulgaria,” Yulia Mihaylova says, “30pc of Bulgaria is Nature, in France it is 12pc.” At the Vitosha Nature Park they have 1500 types of vegetation, 150 different kinds of trees and bushes, and a rock canyon. It is almost in the suburbs of Sofia.

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he Rhodope is known for its waterfalls and caves, hilltop monasteries such as Asen fortress and Bachkovo monastery,

The fortress monastery in Asen

Rhodope’s secret

Eoghan Corry finds long life and happiness in Bulgaria’s mountains

gorges such as Tigradskoto and alleged wild bears that nobody gets to see. Maya Vileckova gives guided tours of the Devil’s throat, known for swallowing everything that goes into it in times of flood. “We have no stalactites,” she says “you are welcome back in 120,000 years when there are stalactites.”

Plovdiv’s storied Roman amphitheatre

Over in the Yagodinska cave Olga Karailieva shows us where couples can get married amid the dripping columns and the cave pearls. “We don't know how many divorces.” The mountains are craggy here, and the long canyon ends with the Greek border, once a frontier of the cold war. In the age of paranoia no

outsiders were allowed here. “They drew the border through living flesh,” tour guide Valeri Grigorov says.

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hey say it is the yoghurt. A quarter of the inhabitants of the little mountain village of Momchilovtsi in the Rhodope mountains of Bulgaria are over 85.

Ten of them are over 100. Mayor Maria Nikova has no idea why. Healthy living, she suggests, and yoghurt. The yoghurt is divine, the specialty of the area and a less discordant symbol of the Rhodope mountains than the famous local bagpipes. The village is a barometer of how life has changed in rural Bulgaria in the past 25 years. The villagers are selling their yoghurt to Chinas. There are three co-operatives selling the local potatoes. The village is picture postcard eastern European, named for the brigand ruler Momchil Yunak, who fought like a Robin hood figure against the Ottomans, and has a church with the longest name imaginable: "holy equal to the apostles em-

peror Constantine and his mother St Helen," most famous of the 24 churches and chapels. And a new breed of tourists have come to stay, snowboarders in winter (a day ski pass is 12 levs, €6), the mountain walkers of the summer to stay in local family hotels and dine on local delicacies such as the chicken soup cooked in a clay pot, served up by Maria Tsvetekova and cooked by her husband Ivan, washed down with Mavrud wine. This is the polar opposite of the old eastern bloc tourist product, giant custom built resorts with plastic food. If you fancy somewhere noisier and brasher, Pamporovo is 25km away.

Eoghan Corry visited the Rhodope Mountains as guest of the Bulgarian Tourist Board. He flew to Sofia with Lufthansa via Frankfurt.


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MARCH 2014 PAGE 11

ITIA AWARDS 2014

The winners of the 2013 Irish Travel Industry Awards gather for a group photograph in the Round Room of the Mansion House; back row: Patrick Cass and Jimmy Kealy of Jurys, Ray Scully of Crystal, John Keogh of Aer Lingus, Gonzalo Ceballos of the Spanish Tourist Board, Lee Osborne of Bookabed, Jon Knight of Silversea, Grant Daley of Universal Orlando, Paul Manning of Hertz, James McManus of Earth’s Edge, Reginald Charlot of New York, Sharon Jordan of Insight Vacations.Middle row: Gemma Guitart of Barcelona, Christine Rickard of Tour America, Pat Reede of United, Volker Lorenz of Amadeus, Lelia Gregory of Carlson Wagonlit, Dermot Merrigan of Irish Ferries, Mary Denton of Sunway, Trish O’Leary of Amadeus, Valerie Metcalfe of FCm Ireland, Recbecca Kelly of MSC, Karl Tyrrell of BookabedFront row: Lara Velasco of Lanzarote, Sara Rivero of the Spanish Tourist Board, Jennifer Callister of Royal Caribbean, Clare Dunne President of the ITAA, event MC Miriam O’Callaghan, Declan O’Connell of Lee Travel, Karen Maloney of Etihad, of Blue Insurances, Katrina McMullan of Navan Travel.

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eclan O’Connell’s Lee Travel won the Travel Agency of the year and Katrina McMullen of Navan Travel the travel professional of the year at the Irish Travel Industry awards. The prestige award, long haul airline was won (again) by Etihad. The big surprise of the night was the ski award which went to Crystal after successive awards to Topflight over 17 years of

To the Mansion born Industry celebrates the Oscars of Irish travel

success at the ITTN, Northern Ireland Travel News and two previous Travel Industry Awards. Tony Collins of Topflight was among the first over to congratulate Ray Scully on winning the award.

It has been a big year for Katrina McMullan, winner of the leisure travel agency representative at the 2012 industry awards and the Worldchoice travel representative award. Rebecca Kelly of MSC was a pop-

Cormac Breathnach, Joe McKenna, Conor Breathnach and Brian Farrell playing traditional Irish music at the Irish Travel Industry Awards

ular winner of the supplier representative award. In his acceptance speech Declan O’Connell said that his cruise programme of berths on board Royal Caribbean sailing out of Cobh had been a factor in his suc-

cess. Irish traditional musicians Cormac Breathnach, Joe McKenna, Conor Breathnach and Brian Farrell played for the guests as they arrived, a spell-binding start to the evening for both local

and international guests organised by John Devereux president of ITOF. Tanya Airey MD of Sunway was awarded the industry achievement award - NOT the lifetime achievement award, she was quick to stress.

Panoramic view of the Round Room as Tanya Airey MD of Sunway makes her speech accepting the industry achievement award


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ITIA AWARDS 2014 TOUR OPERATOR SUN & LONG HAUL: SUNWAY

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he 2014 Travel award ceremony was a triumph for the Sunway team. The Honorary award went to Tanya Airey in acknowledgement of her contribution to the Travel Industry in Ireland. Sunway also won the Tour Operator Sun and Tour Operator Long Haul awards. Sunway operates from a state of the art premises in Dun Laoghaire. The Sunway Travel Group employs 50 people in Ireland and over 70 people indirectly in Ireland and

overseas. Sunway offers more choice than any other tour operator with differentiated programmers for winter and summer sun, worldwide, Lapland, USA & Canada, cruises, escorted tours, adventure holidays, weddings and honeymoons, Club Med, River Cruises, Sunsail and Neilson Holidays. Sunway started as a travel agency in Main Street, Blackrock and has grown to become Ireland’s biggest 100pc Irish owned tour operator operating to 70 destinations

Tanya Airey MD of Sunway with her industry achievement award and (left) accepting the award from event MC Miriam O’Callaghan on left and ITAA President Clare Dunne on right

worldwide. The business was founded in April 1966 by the grandfather of the cur-

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rent managing director Tanya Airey (slogan: “we try harder,” two weeks in Spain from 51 guineas, excellent hotels, two weeks in Italy from 60 guineas, first class hotels, all rooms with private bath and balcony). Alongside him were Walter Creacen, who went on to open Curragh travel, Roy Beatty who took early retirement from Aer Lingus and Madeleine Kilbride who worked as MD. They chartered a flight to Portugal in 1968 for their first two week holiday, a steal at 56 guineas and introduced fortnightly departures to Ibiza in 1969. Tanya’s father Jim Furlong’ moved the company to another level in 1991 when he started

packaging Morocco through London in a deal with Royal Air Maroc. Nearly 1,000 Irish bought the product, which was exotic for the early 1990s and inspired Jim to run direct charters the following season, the first charter taking off on December 19 1992 just as the first Gulf War exploded into action. In 2006, Jim Furlong was awarded one of Morocco’s most prestigious national honours for his services to the north African country's tourist business. Morocco, then as now a one plane market, was the foundation for a tour operator business that moved into the more traditional Spanish and Turkish playgrounds.

Sicily was a market they developed in 1998. Their long haul operation grew rapidly in the mid 2000s and features 70 locations, specialising in India and Asian markets but also heavily featuring South Africa. Sunway previously won the Tour Operator Long Haul category in 2010 and shared the 2011 award with Classic resorts. In 2008 Tanya Airey was awarded Image Businesswoman of the Year in acknowledgement of the growth of the Sunway Travel Group under her stewardship. After the demise of Thomas Cook Sunway added a shared charter to Izmir for summer 2014.

Members of the Sunway team accepting the award for best long haul tour operator from category sponsor Paul Manning of Hertz and event MC Miriam O’Callaghan: Claire Doherty, Deirdre Sweeny, Tanya Airey, Philip Airey, Mary Denton and Jeanette Taylor.


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MARCH 2014 PAGE 13

ITIA AWARDS 2014

Katrina McMullan of Navan Travel accepting the award for ITAA Travel Professional from Clare Dunne President of the iTAA and event MC Miriam O’Callaghan

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ITAA TRAVEL PROFESSIONAL: KATRINA MCMULLAN NAVAN TRAVEL

t has been a great year for Katrina McMullan, ITAA Travel Professional of 2013, ITAA leisure sales professional of 2012, and Worldchoice travel professional of 2013. Katrina has been working in Navan Travel for 14 years and enjoy all aspects of her job, “in particular the interaction with customers and the challenges that brings in meeting their requirements.” “I love travelling and the job has given me the opportunity to travel to some amazing destinations, most re-

cently an incredible trip to India and China. This past year she was involved in the rebranding of the agency to Travalue.ie as Navan Travel developed the new brand through social media and online marketing with the help of the Skillsnet training courses, “Together with my colleagues I look forward to continue developing this brand over the coming year but more importantly with providing our customers with the service they have come to expect from Navan Travel.”

Lelia Gregory Carlson Wagonlit accepting the award for ITAA Corporate Professional from event Clare Dunne President of the iTAA and event MC Miriam O’Callaghan

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ITAA CORPORATE PROFESSIONAL: LELIA GREGORY CARLSON WAGONLIT

eila Gregory, a Carlson Wagonlit Travel Dublin section manager has been with CWT for just over a year won Best ITAA Corporate Travel Professional. Kyra Murray, operations manager, Ireland said Leila achieved “great things” in a year that saw changes to corporate travel booking methods with the introduction and adoption of online booking tools, while mobile technology and the way it is used in business travel has flourished. IN the last year CWT saw economy class travel increase, premium economy

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fall by 30pc and business class by 3pc. “She has united her colleagues, streamlined processes, activated training and strengthened knowledge across the team.” CWT Ireland say identifying savings is still the top priority for travel managers. The company is based in Donnybrook and says it can help clients cut your travel spend, keep your travellers safe, or simplify your business travel. ITAA Travel Professional: Katrina McMullan Navan Travel ITAA Corporate Travel Agency: FCM Travel Solutions

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MARCH 2014 PAGE 14

ITIA AWARDS 2014

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ITAA CORPORATE TRAVEL AGENCY: FCM TRAVEL SOLUTIONS

Cm Ireland has created a reputation for excellence in the delivery of travel services and has won the corporate travel agency award for three years in a row. FCm Ireland is also recognised as a company who place the quality of their workplace at the centre of their success, being named as one of Ireland’s best workplaces in 2012 and 2013. FCM is the only travel company to hold the Excellence Through People standard and highlight their investment in staff training as their key feature. They have been recruiting staff in Dublin in recent months and were pre-

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sented with Great Place to Work Award in the Burlington Hotel last year. Valerie Metcalfe heads up the Irish operation based in Abbey Street, upstairs from Abbey Travel and was a major contributor to industry and corporate events last year, including discussions on NDC at the IATA conference and the CAPA conference in Dublin. FCM say they were pleased to have received the award for the third consecutive year describing 2013 as “a very busy year” focused on technology and have “successfully grown our client portfolio while maintaining high service levels.” “Front line capacity has also grown

ITAA LEISURE TRAVEL PROFESSIONAL: CHRISTINE RICKARD TOUR AMERICA

inner of the ITAA Leisure Travel Professional award Cristine Rickard says her motto in life is “you are here for a good time. not a long time and you should live life, travel and enjoy every moment to the fullest.” She says she knew from an early age travel was what she wanted to do for a living. “My love for travel started as a child when my brother took me every Sunday afternoon “plane spotting” at Dublin Airport. I distinctly remember being in awe of the different sizes of planes, long and small, and the various colours of the planes taking off and landing. I was desperate to see if I could see the people through the small aircraft windows, wondering and imagining how excited they must feel. To this day, I still get excited when booking my own flights, accommodation and car hire. When I am organising peoples dream holidays I take myself mentally on the trip with them. When I turned 12 my sister, my best friend in the world, left Ireland and

moved to Europe. This was devastating for me but her departure from home helped me develop an appetite for travelling, new cultures, food, languages, and accents and by the time I reached 16 I was a frequent flyer and very passionate about travel. I started when Tour America was in its infancy 17 years ago. I started from the bottom up, stamping brochures, delivering the post, making the coffee and most importantly fetching the sausage rolls for the staff, still a treat today. I progressed through different departments within the company, working in the accounts department, moving into operations and quality control until I found my

speciality within the Sales department. Today I am one of the top sellers for a company with a solid client base. I continue to love travelling, love my job, my clients and, most of all, the staff in Tour America. In this industry I have been very lucky to visit a lot of amazing destinations and I still get the thrill of selling my personal experiences of different destinations to all of my clients. Tour America is such an amazing company to work in, the atmosphere and the buzz is infectious, our clients love coming back year on year as they feel so special and party of the Tour America family, we really do look after them.

Christine Rickard of Tour America on right accepting the award for best ITAA Leisure Travel Professional from Clare Dunne President of the ITAA and event MC Miriam O’Callaghan .

Members of the FCm team accepting the award for best Accommodation Provider : Brenda O’Keeffe, Clare Dunne President of the ITAA, Graham Aldren of category sponsors BA, Anne Martin, Valerie Metcalfe, MD of FCm Ireland, event MC Miriam O’Callaghan, Jim Tobin, Rhona McCann and Bláthnaid Brady.

through efficiencies achieved with innovative technologies. Industry focal points such as data protection and airlines’ New Distribution Capability are also high on our agenda as we commence another exciting and busy year. “FCm are proud to be recognised lo-

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cally in Ireland and also globally at the World Travel Awards held in December in Doha where FCm was voted the World’s Leading Travel Management Company also for the third year running.”

Members of the Insight Vacations team accepting the award for specialist tour operator of the year from category sponsor Paul Manning of Hertz and event MC Miriam O’Callaghan: Sharon Jordan, Carole Carmody, Paul Melinis and Shannon O’Dowd.

t has been an exciting three years since Sharon Jordan opened the Travel Corporation (formerly One Stop Touring Shop) office in Dublin, marketing the Insight Vacations, Uniworld River Cruise, Contiki (the teacher’s favourite with its focus on Australia and festivals (Contiki was a surprise top seller of 2013) and the Boutique Destinations products. Insight is a premium luxury escorted touring product, with groups of 24 and hotels which are of a high star quality and close to the centre of town. Having won the Tour Operator Escorted category in 2012, Insight won the Tour Operator Escorted and Tour Operator Specialist categories in 2013 while the sister brand Uniworld retained its award as best specialist cruise operator.

TOUR OPERATOR SPECIALIST & ESCORTED: INSIGHT VACATIONS

They handle Red Carnation in Ireland which has 18 hotels worldwide including (since June) Ashford Castle with a second hotel purchase to be announced. Boutique Destinations are marketing high-end bucket-list destinations in South America and other exotic places. They have some of the plushest offices in the travel trade, in a beautiful listed building in Merrion Square. Sharon and her team, which includes Carole Carmody and Jessica Byrne (and Shannon O’Dowd who is departing to join the Etihad sales team) have created a badly needed sense of excitement in the industry,

bringing chocolate, cupcakes and small gifts into busy agencies on key dates. Paul Melinis, who head hunted Sharon to lead the Irish team came to Dublin to enjoy the festivities and ended up on the podium with the team. For good measure, 1STS sponsored the pre-awards reception in the Cafe Enseine. “It is important for us to establish and maintain relationships. It is a complex message to get across to the consumer, and we could not have succeeded like we did without the support of the trade,” Sharon says. “We are growing, investing and are here to stay.”


Page 011-025 ITIA Awards 11/02/2014 15:46 Page 5

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ncreased air lift has meant that there is no sign that the 200,000 Irish going to Ireland’s favourite Canary Island each year will stop any time soon, leaving it ahead not just of its sister islands Gran Canaria, Tenerife and Fuerteventura but of entire countries, getting more visitors on its own than Greece. The CSO said passenger figures from Dublin to Lanzarote were back to pre-recession levels up 21.2pc last year. People go because of the guaranteed winter sunshine, absence of jetlag, the choice of charter and scheduled services available less than four hours of flight-time away and because it is around four degrees warmer than southern Spain. The reinvestment in

WINTER SUN DESTINATION: LANZAROTE

Gonzalo Ceballos of the Spanish TB and Lara Velasco of Lanzarote accept the wintersun award from Miriam O’Callaghan and category sponsor Murat Balandi of Turkish Airlines.

product and good value restaurants make it a long established favourite with the Irish. Off-peak season is the summer, which also suits the Irish market. Lanzarote is the most easterly and most exotic if the chain. Holidaymakers gravitate towards Puerto del Carmen, Matagorda, Playa Blanca and Los Pocillos but there

is a great deal to explore beyond and a smoking volcano to climb. Much of the landscape is volcanic and looks a lot like the moon. While all the Canary Islands have their extinct volcanoes, Lanzarote is the place to have a drop of the crater – literally have your food cooked by smouldering nature.

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he winning Car Hire Company Hertz say they experienced excellent growth and positive feedback from trading partners throughout 2013 which continues into the start of 2014 and they plan for further integration with the travel trade to ensure that all agents have a point of contact here in Ireland that can deal with any queries promptly. Paul Manning says “we see the Travel Trade as a valued partner now more than ever as customers turn back to their local Agencies for advice and value that they can trust when reserving their travel arrangements. Hertz also employs over 1,200 people in Ireland through their rental locations, head office in Wexford and our European Services Centre in

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MARCH 2014 PAGE 15

ITIA AWARDS 2014 CAR HIRE COMPANY: HERTZ

Swords, as Paul Manning says, “making us your local Car Hire Company for the road ahead.” “We are humbled to have been voted Best Car Hire Provider and promise to respond to this accolade with further improvements and promotions throughout the year. “We are constantly striving to improve our products and services through initiatives such as Hertz Gold Plus Rewards, Carfirmation,

Hertz Collections and many other offerings which are all designed to make the car rental process faster, easier and more pleasant. With Hertz your customers can choose from premium on-airport locations to multiple downtown locations throughout the world, transparent rates with no catches, competitive one way fees and much more, giving you more options when making your car hire reservation.”

Paul Manning from Hertz accepts the Best car hire award from Miriam O’Callaghan and category sponsor Declan Mescall of Travelbiz .


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ITIA AWARDS 2014

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Above and top of page: Members of the Lee Travel team accepting the award for Travel Agency of the year : Dympna Crowley, Branch Manager, Ballincollig. Sean Healy, Director, Siobhan Dinneen, Branch Manager, Youghal, event MC Miriam O’Callaghan, Declan O'Connell, Managing Director and Clare Dunne, President ITAA.

Maeve Slalom, Jason Whelan and Ciaran Mulligan of Blue Insurances (third, fourth and fifth from left) accepting the award for best insurance provider from event MC Miriam O’Callaghan and category sponsor Declan Mescall of Travelbiz

his is the second time that Lee Travel have TRAVEL AGENCY OF won the Travel THE YEAR: LEE TRAVEL Agency of the year and there was no doubt in Declan hon. O’Connell’s mind which measure in The project involved a full colour 8 summer 2013 led to the award. page A4 brochure, several pull-up For many years Cobh has enjoyed the stands, flyers and hand-outs and they enbest of Ocean Liners calling to its port gaged a PR company to get the message but frustratingly the people of Cork across. Lee Travel launched the project could never embark until 2013 when in the magnificent Port of Cork offices Lee Travel and Royal Caribbean did a and the Lord Mayor was present deal to allow passengers embark in amongst dignitaries, press and members Cobh for the first time. of the maritime community. Royal Caribbean needed guarantees Declan says the project was a great and a large commitment which Lee success with a total revenue of Travel provided and the result was two €500,000 and over 400 well satisfied visits of the Independence of the Seas to clients. “We were very grateful to RCCL Cobh in June and again in September for their cooperation and assistance with where the agency took 200 people to the the project and would welcome the opNorwegian Fjords for a 12 day cruise. portunity to repeat in the future.” Lee Travel also took the opportunity Previous winners of the Travel to fill the leg between Southampton and Agency of the Year award were Lee Cobh which gave over 200 people the Travel in 2010 (awarded January 2011), opportunity to enjoy a two night mini Tour America in 2011 (awarded January cruise from Southampton. The two 12 2012), and O’Hanrahan Travel in 2012 nights cruises were escorted by former (awarded January 2013). Irish Ferries executive Vincent McMa-

lue Insurances Ltd was founded by Ciaran Mulligan and Rowan Devereux ten years ago, with a vision to build an innovative company, leading the way in providing online insurance sales to customers in Ireland and Britain. The company has grown each year, over the past ten years, with turnover rising from €3m in year one to over €20m in 2013. Staff numbers have also increased year on year, growing to over thirty two staff in 2013. Last month, the company announced the buyout of its founding Director and shareholder, Rowan Devereux for just under €10 million. Specialising in Travel Insurance, Blue Insurances (including their Multi-

TRAVEL INSURANCE PROVIDER: BLUE INSURANCES

trip.com brand) has won awards each year from the Travel Industry in Ireland and Northern Ireland. Over the past number of years, the company has moved into other areas including Pet Insurance, Gadget Insurance, Car Hire Excess, Wedding Insurance and Motor Breakdown. They are looking to grow by over 50pc in the next few years with exciting plans for the future, including continued expansion into new markets in Ireland and the UK as well as expansion into overseas markets including India, the UAE, and

America. Next for the domestic market is the launch of Blue Insurances Bicycle Insurance product in February, sold under www.bicycleinsurance.ie. They are also expanding into the Home and Motor insurance, with an expected launch in Q2 2014. Whilst this market is very competitive already, Blue Insurances say that their main unique selling points, which are not available in the Irish market at present, will generate quite a stir in the insurance market.


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THANKS AGAIN A big thank you to everyone who once again voted Irish Ferries ‘Best Ferry Company’ at the recent Irish Travel Industry Awards 2014. This follows closely on winning the ‘Best Ferry Company’ at the Irish Travel Trade News Awards 2013. With our new ship and an even wider choice of routes, including Dublin direct to France, there’s more reasons than ever to enjoy our award-winning service in 2014.


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n award is WORLDWIDE THEME PARK: a good way to get UNIVERSAL ORLANDO an exciting year off to a start, and it is going the Autobots and the De- parks (Universal Studios to be an exciting year for cepticons to Universal and Islands of Adventure), a night-time enterStudios Florida. Universal Orlando. tainment complex Not that the home of Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts the Simpsons, Superman (CityWalk) with the Blue will be the signature ride and the Wizarding World Man Group, and three in the new Diagon Alley of Harry Potter needs any Loews Hotels (Loews innovation. Portofino Bay Hotel, to open this summer. Universal Orlando Hard Rock Hotel, Loews Guests will be able to board the Hogwarts Ex- consists of two theme Royal Pacific Resort. press and journey between London’s King’s Cross Station (located in Universal Studios Florida) and Hogsmeade Station (located in Universal’s Islands of Adventure with views of London and the British countryside – as well as a few surprises. Last year’s innovation was Transformers: The Grant Daley of Universal Orlando accepting the Ride – 3D opening this award for best worldwide attraction from event summer bringing the in- MC Miriam O’Callaghan and category sponsor tergalactic battle between Murat Balandi of Turkish Airlines.

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Members of the Bookabed team accepting the award for best Accommodation Provider : Lee Osborne, Fiona Farrelly, Karl Tyrrell, event MC Miriam O’Callaghan, Martin Skelly of Navan Travel representing the ITAA and Beverleigh Fly of Bookabed.

ookabed reported their best sales year in 2013 since the company was started up by Managing Director Karl Tyrrell in 2005. There were successful launches of the site in the Britain, Northern Ireland and Australia and great new additions to the site such as scheduled airlines and low deposit long haul flight and hotel packages which they say are proving to be very successful. More staff were re-

ACCOMMODATION PROVIDER: BOOKABED

cruited and changes were made to the site over the year. This was followed by a fantastic start to 2014, with an increase in sales from last year in excess of 170pc. Plans for this year include attractions being added to the site, Trip Advisor reviews, recruitment of more staff and a white label version of

Bookabed being available to agents as well as launches into other markets worldwide. "Being a trade only supplier and seeing such large increases in sales really is fantastic" said Sales Manager Lee Osborne, "we completely rely on the trade for business and would like to thank all agents for their continued support."

Thank you Voted ‘Best Airline to North America’ at the Irish Travel Industry Awards 2014.


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Beatrice Cosgrove from Etihad (on right) accepts the Best Airline worldwide award from event MC Miriam O’Callaghan and category sponsor Vincent Harrison of Dublin Airport Authority .

tihad have won the long haul airline category every year since the awards were instituted and each year has a story of innovation and expansion to tell. This year will be no different. will fly double daily from Dublin to Abu Dhabi from July 15, using alternating B777300ER (380 passengers, 40-340) and A330-200 (262 passengers, 22-240) and providing 8,988 seats each week.

AIRLINE LONG HAUL: ETIHAD

It is just the latest initiative to add excitement to the travel industry in Ireland since their launch in May 2007 has been one of the success stories of recent years. They were the first airline to move to T2 and opened the first lounge in the new facility. Etihad initially exploited the market developed by the short-lived

Gulf Air Bahrain service and has now flown 1m people out of Dublin. They want to develop a double daily service, although they will probably have collected a few more awards before then. Since Dave Walsh departed to head up Etihad’s operation in Kuala Lumpur European manager Beatrice Cosgrove has been managing a hard working team in Dublin.

Jimmy Kealy (left) and Patrick Cass (right) of Jurys accepting the award for best Ireland hotel group from Martin Skelly of Navan Travel and event MC Miriam O’Callaghan.

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IRISH HOTEL CHAIN: JURYS

aving diversified into the ten upmarket Doyle Collection hotels in five cities and the 32 Jurys Inns in Ireland, England

and the Czech republic, the group that grew from Dublin’s original Jurys Hotel bears little resemblance to what it used to be.

It continues to win awards from the Irish trade, in recognition of the group’s consistent delivery to travel trade customers.

he Marriott Brand continued its success story when it picked up the world hotel group award. The signature Marriott

brand chalked up its 500th hotel in 2012 included new lodging cobrand AC Hotels by Marriott. The overall group has 3,700 properties in 74 countries and

added a 17th brand in 2013, the Autograph Collection, a new brand comprised of luxury, independent, hotels in major cities.

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WORLDWIDE HOTEL CHAIN: MARRIOTT

Amadeus has a new look and a new logo, but our mission remains the same. We’re here to provide you with the best technology and the best supplier support team in Ireland. Who says so? You do.

Thanks for your vote Thanks for voting us Best Technology Provider 2014 and Best Supplier Support Team 2014 in the Irish Travel Industry Awards. To find out what Amadeus could bring to your business please contact Olwen on 01 879 2504 or Trish on 021 488 6870 or email sales@ie.amadeus.com or visit www.amadeus.com


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he surprise of the awards night was Crystal’s first triumph in the ski category, something that follows a period of being eclipsed. Ray Scully describes winning the award as “the icing on the cake after a tough couple of years. The Crystal team has worked hard to achieve this award. We listened to Agents feedback and implemented some key changes to the business.” “A ski holiday can sometimes be a complicated booking, with all the variables that include ski packs, groups, levels, snow conditions, it became apparent that we needed a flexible approach for the agent. So when things need to change we accommodate as much as possible. “We introduced an agent website to give full access of Crystal availability and Resort con-

Amanda Middler, Linda McCorry and Jon McKnight of Silversea accepting the award for best ultra cruise line from event MC Miriam O’Callaghan on left and category sponsor Maureen Ledwith of Holiday World on right.

ilversea Cruises operates six luxury, all-suite cruise ships that have changed standards at the top end of the cruise business. The Monaco based company was founded and is still owned by the Lefebvre Family of Rome. They started business in April 1994, with one ship, Silver Cloud, followed in January 1995 by Silver Wind., Since then they have bucked the trend, showing that there is still room for a caring, niche operator in a mass-market business with bigger and bigger ships. Silver

CRUISE COMPANY ULTRA: SILVERSEA

Shadow (2000) Silver Exlorer (2009), Silver Whisper (2001). Silver Spirit (2009) followed. An industry innovation was their Personalised Voyages option, allowing guests to choose their own embarkation and disembarkation port. Guests can board days before or days after a cruise begins, but they must sail a minimum of five nights. Silversea has added newspapers and lifestyle magazines to its to its onboard digital service that

provides streaming movies and live television broadcasts to passengers' mobile devices aboard its ships. The 296-passenger Silver Wind is undergoing a major refurbishment in Palermo. Suites, public spaces, and other dining venues received new carpeting, upholstery, and freshening. New tiling and deck furniture was added in the deck area, and the buffet was redesigned.

Thanks for making us No. 1

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Ray Scully and Orla Markey of Crystal on right accepting the award for ski destination of the year from category sponsor Paul Manning of Hertz and event MC Miriam O’Callaghan .,

t e n t . TOUR OPERATOR T h i s along SKI: CRYSTAL with an visit Agent Training program a new resort each year. has really enhanced the This has been a great relationship with our success as I am confident agents. The Crystal staff is that our team is now the paramount to everything most knowledgeable in we believe in and it was the market place. The Travel Trade has important that they knew gone through a very turthe product they were bulent couple of years but selling. We put in place the ‘Crystal staff Ski it was always my goal to Academy’ allowing all bring capacity back to the our team an opportunity pre down turn of 06/07 for them and their family figures. Without the to ski at least once a sea- Agent support it would son and ensuring they have been impossible for us to achieve the goal.”

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Universal Orlando® Resort wishes to thank everyone who voted us the winner of ‘Best Worldwide Theme Park’ at the 2014 Irish Travel Industry Awards. We are delighted to receive this award and we thank you for your continued support! This year promises to be another great year at Universal Orlando® Resort with the grand opening of our newest and largest hotel Universal’s Cabana Bay Beach Resort. Plus much more... Holiday Like You Mean It at Universal Orlando® Resort Cabana Bay Beach Resort © 2014 UCF Hotel Venture II. All rights reserved. Universal elements and all related indicia TM & © 2014 Universal Studios. All rights reserved.

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Gonzalo Ceballos of the Spanish Tourist Board and Gemma Guitart of the Catalan Tourist Board accepting the award for best European city destination on behalf of Barcelona from event MC Miriam O’Callaghan and category sponsor Murat Balandi of Turkish Airlines.

he European City Destination award reflects the growing interest in Barcelona, which has pulled away from Copenhagen and Amsterdam as a second tier citybreak destination outbound from the Irish market and is closer to the big three of London, Paris and Rome. With over 2,500 hotels on sale through the trade

EUROPEAN CITY DESTINATION: BARCELONA and flight connections through three major airports, it has become a familiar leisure break. Las Ramblas is as familiar to the Irish tourist nowadays as Temple Bar. Gaudi’s treasure trove city is not just a destination in itself, it is a gateway to a greater province,

the Ryanair destination of Gerona is a jewel in itself, as is Tarragona south of the sunseeker paradise of Salou (“the beach of Europe”), Portaventura of the giant roller coasters and a cluster of villages that deserve more notice from tourists.

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Members of the New York team accepting the award for best worldwide city : John Donohue of NYC & Co Dublin, Geraldine Traino, of Hotel Beacon, event MC Miriam O’Callaghan, Reginald Charlot of NYC&Co, Neslihan Cafer of Marmara NYC hotel and category sponsor Murat Balandi of Turkish Airlines. elling New York to WORLDWIDE CITY the Irish market is not as easy at first DESTINATION: NEW YORK seen, as familiarity brings problems of its own. from historical lows of nearly 300,000 continue John Donohue and his 2009 but competitive air to visit. team at aereps of fares and a series of innoInnovative promotions Michelle Prenter, Ailbhe vations by the city like restaurant week, Enright, and Gary Byrne tourism body kept the en- 25pc off room rates in (on the Las Vegas ac- thusiasm of Irish visitors January and February, count) have repeatedly from flagging through promotions with airlines won the best city world- 2011. and credit card compawide award. Where only 75,000 nies have kept the profile New York hotel prices people visited from Ire- of the city up. have strayed back up land in 2003, nowadays

Thank you for voting Silversea

BEST ULTRA LUXURY CRUISE LINE 2014 For the second consecutive year!

BEST ULTRA LUXURY CRUISE COMPANY

For more information or to book please call 01 611 0560 or email salesuk@silversea.com


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The travel agents trade is a ne of the very special one and I feel SUPPLIER REPRESENTATIVE: m o s t honoured to be a part of it. popular REBECCA KELLY Winning the Best Supplier awards of the Representative award at the night was MSC As with every industry there are Cruises Rebecca Kelly’s selection tough times and rewarding times Irish Travel Industry awards was so as supplier representative. but the rewarding times definitely humbling and such an honour as it comes from my peers and the peoShe started in the travel agents’ make it all worth it!” trade 15 years ago and says she has The aspect I love most about the ple I work with and have spent time loved it ever since! travel and travel agents trade is the building relationships with over the “It can be a very tough trade but selling. Events like the Holiday years. The response I have had since one that I feel very proud to be a World show bring out the best in part of. The relationship I have with me and sometimes when I walk into winning the award has been overmy agents is a special one and I al- a travel agency I feel like I could whelming and I want to thank each ways make it clear to them that they slip back in for an hour or two and and every one of the agents that can come to me with any issues or get stuck in – I definitely have a voted for me from the bottom of my heart. help that they might need. travel agent’s heart. I definitely am feeling loved.”

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Lauren Flynn and James McManus of Earth’s Edge (on right) accepting the award for best ITAA member website from category sponsor Graham Aldren, Clare Dunne of the ITAA, and event MC Miriam O’Callaghan

arth's Edge is IreITAA MEMBER WEBSITE: land's only fully licensed adventure EARTH'S EDGE travel company and the company run by the innovatheir tive James McManus won the inaugural upcoming trips and discuss their trainwebsite award for earths-edge.com.. ing and preparation with each other, this The company specialises in adventur- proved a very popular exercise and enous and challenging expeditions in some abled the groups to start bonding with of the most remote and beautiful desti- their team members before they even nations throughout the world. The expe- left Ireland! We also began posting regditions take guests off the beaten trail for ular updates from expeditions in remote experiences such as trekking a 6000 locations via sat metre peak, rafting down a remote river phones to our social canyon, cycling over media platforms.” the highest passes in the ‘In 2014 we are world what the comadding more exciting pany calls life changing expeditions to take experiences. our clients to the James McManus says Earth's edge! Watch winning the best ITAA this space.” member website award Earth's Edge ran “was a great testament to new expeditions to the amount of hard work Kenya, Morocco and effort we put into and the United www.earths-edge.com. We States in 2013. try to make the website as We also ran nuinformative and user merous expedifriendly as possible. Distions to playing descriptive images Kilimanjaro and and videos allows people to other classic destinaprepare properly for our extions like Everest Base Camp, the Great peditions as well as greatly enhancing Wall of China and the Himalayas with their web experience with Earth's Edge.” great success.” “In 2013 we focused on greater social “”We continued our efforts in being media integration creating events and customer focused and maintained our forums for each of our expeditions. This excellent record of safety and positive allowed our clients to converse about client feedback.”

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Rebecca Kelly of MSC accepts the award for best supplier representative from event MC Miriam O’Callaghan and category sponsor Declan Mescall of Travelbiz.

Sara Rivero (on right) and Gonzalo Ceballos (on left) of the Spanish Tourist Board accepting the award for best tourist board from event MC Miriam O’Callaghan and category sponsor Declan Mescall of Travelbiz. pain has been Ireland’s leading sun destination for seven decades with a consistent performance of attracting around 1.2m visitors since the industry first moved from pilgrimages to more exciting holiday escapades in the 1950s. Passenger numbers from Ireland to the end of November were 1,449,960 (from 1,761,131 available airline seats) suggesting figures overall will be up around 4.5pc and seats up 6.1pc. Yet Spain did not have a tourist office in Dublin until 2007. The industry was seen as having an ability to run itself. Since then all has changed. Things have moved on and tourism has become so central to their presence in Dublin that Spanish ambassador to Ireland Javier Garrigues was on hand to accept this prestigious award on behalf of his

TOURIST BOARD: SPANISH TOURIST BD SUMMER SUN DESTINATION: SPAIN

country. Spain’s frequent trade events in Dublin, often in conjunction with their regions, the fam trips guided by the effervescent Kathryn McDonnell, the hosting of the ITAA and ITOF conferences, the efficient and instantresponse press representation of Sara Rivero and the stewarded guidance of Jose Manuel de Juan for 2007-11 and, since

2011, Gonzalo Ceballos have helped bring new tourists to the country and disperse them into regions that they previously would not have considered. More importantly they have won the confidence of the industry to take an award that the industry voters might have considered sending to a less familiar location.

Gonzalo Ceballos of the Spanish Tourist Board and Spanish ambassador Javier Garrigues accepting the award summer sun award from event MC Miriam O’Callaghan and category sponsor Murat Balandi of Turkish Airlines.


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er Lingus won the best Airline to Europe award for the third successive year. The dependence of travel agents on services of Aer Lingus to sun and ski destinations as well as citybreaks reflect the many changes in the industry over the past three years. It started in 2011 when the CEO of Aer Lingus Christoph Mueller gave a landmark address to the ITAA conference in Malaga and signalled a change of direction by the airline. “The charter model,” he told travel agents, “is not broke.” He declared that the future was segmentation, with the lower cost base that competition with Ryanair had produced. By ignoring the trade, Mueller says, “Aer Lingus was leaving

AIRLINE EUROPE: AER LINGUS

money on the table.” Since then the airscape has changed. John Keogh and Ivan Beacom have heightened Aer Lingus engagement with the trade. Tour operators and travel agents have been using Aer Lingus scheduled services on routes, Topflight has chartered Aer Lingus flights and the awards from the trade have come back. What’s next? More en-

gagement with agents, apparently. Christoph Mueller told the IATA conference in Dublin last year that his airline aims to allow passengers to differentiate their journey by choosing the features they want. He suggested that travel agents could help the airline’s move “from being transport companies to retail organisations.”

John Keogh of Aer Lingus (on right) accepts the Best Airline Europe award from category sponsor Vincent Harrison and Miriam O’Callaghan.

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n unsurprising victory for the fourth year in a row. Austria is the birthplace of the Arlberg skiing technique, preferred by the Ski Club of Ireland teachers at Kilternan. It is a great spot for freeriding, and for skiers who like their skiing to come with chocolate-box pretty surroundings and loud, unpretentious après-ski. The country boasts four glaciers (Hintertux, Kitzsteinhorn, Stubai and Sölden) and some of Europe's most reliable snow in the Arlberg region. Irish favourite resorts include Söll, Westendorf for Kitzbühel and Leogang for SaalbachHinterglemm, appealing villages with attractive wooded slopes as well as stark glaciers while the après-ski is renowned. The Ski Amadé region might be Europe's largest

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ITIA AWARDS 2014 SKI DESTINATION: AUSTRIA

linked ski area, the 280km linked Skiwelt region can rattle 50km or more from you each day, but generally speaking Austria's resorts are relatively small. Even the larger resorts often incorporate several small villages in one valley, like Bad Gastein and Stubaital.

It can work to the advantage of families and those on a budget when a small resort is linked by lifts (or bus) to large, interconnected ski areas such as SkiWelt and the Kitzbüheler Alpen, as accommodation is often cheaper and familyfriendly.

Wilhelm Nest of the Austria Trade Commission accepts the ski destination award from category sponsor Murat Balandi of Turkish Airlines and event MC Miriam O’Callaghan.

THE MOUNTAIN IS EVERYTHING We’ve got it covered

T all the Travel Agents that Voted us as ‘Best Ski Tour Operator’ To w would like to Thank You for your support. we Call: 01 433 1080 or log onto: agent.crystalski.ie C


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Team from Amadeus: Diane Bouzebiba (second from left), Olwen McKinney, Volker Lorenz, Trish O’Leary, Stephen Brennan and Siobhan Boskett accepting the award for best technology support from event MC Miriam O’Callaghan (left) and category sponsor Declan Mescall of Travelbiz (extreme right).

his is the fourth successive win for Amadeus in both the best technology provider and best support categories. Amadeus Ireland has enjoyed a strong 2013 with fourteen customer renewals and five new customer wins throughout the year. The company is highly ranked in the EU Industrial R&D Investment Scoreboard, for investment in the travel and tourism sector for Research & Development into new technologies, investing Eu350m a year in R&D, and introduced Cruise Shop to Irish agents in 2013. Amadeus Cruise Shop was developed in consultation with local cruise specialists and it has been designed to help travel consultants convert enquiries into bookings by mimicking the way consumers think about cruise holidays. Amadeus in Ireland introduced enhanced travel itinerary documentation,

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TECHNOLOGY PROVIDER & TECHNOLOGY SUPPORT: AMADEUS

which is based on a customisable HTML format that will be launched to the market shortly, following a successful pilot with selected Irish agents in 2013. Volker Lorenz, who heads up the Irish operation says “it isn’t just about the bits and bytes. The best technology has a human aspect to it and the Amadeus Ireland team were delighted to be recognised as Best Sup-

plier Support Team at the Irish Travel Industry Awards. “My team in Dublin and Cork really love working with Irish travel agencies and it shows. 2014 is going to an exciting year full of Amadeus innovation with new mobile and online applications that are designed to help travel professionals meet the needs of 21st century travellers.”

Team from Amadeus: Siobhan Boskett (second from left), Diane Bouzebiba, Olwen McKinney, Volker Lorenz, Stephen Brennan and Trish O’Leary, accept the award for best technology provider from event MC Miriam O’Callaghan (left) and category sponsor Declan Mescall of Travelbiz (extreme right)

ven as the company is restructured, Royal Caribbean continue to dominate the Irish cruise market in every sense, collecting awards and taking market share. Jenny Rafter and Jennifer Callister now head up Royal Caribbean in Ireland, divested of the Celebrity and Azamara brands. She says it is “an honour that agents consistently recognise the passion, effort and the exceptional service that runs through the company and all of our dealings both with the trade and with our many satisfied guests.”

They use the tagline “Ireland’s favourite cruise line” and it is no idle boast. About 40,000 of the 70,000 cruises sold off the island are Royal Caribbean cruises. The Irish office dates to 1999 and maintained double digit growth through much of its existence, including a record 34pc in 2008. Last year thanks to Lee Travel, Royal Caribbean boarded its first direct passengers in Ireland. Innovations for 2014 include the launch of a new class with Quantum of the Seas while the 5400-passenger Allure of the seas will be

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Marie McCarthy and Dermot Merrigan of Irish Ferries accepting the award for ITAA Travel Professional from event MC Miriam O’Callaghan and category sponsor Maureen Ledwith of Holiday World

erial winner in the ferries category, Irish Ferries links with the travel trade go back generations and the company says they are delighted to still enjoy a fantastic working relationship with each other. Dermot Merrigan says “the last number of years of economic downturn have unfortunately been extremely tough on many agencies and ferry companies have been no different in that regard. I must admit though that I find it inspiring when I consider the fight that some members have had on their hands, yet they managed not just to come through such a difficult period, but have actually thrived thereafter. It’s goes without saying that the travel industry in Ireland has always been a hard-working, enthusiastic and energetic group of people, but it’s the closeness of this tightly knit community that I feel in many ways is our real strength. We at Irish Ferries very much

FERRY COMPANY: IRISH FERRIES

appreciate the fantastic support we receive every year from travel agencies all around the country and in return, we continually strive to offer them the very best service that their hard fought customers deserve.” The award to Irish Ferries is welcome recognition for a neglected sector. Over the last number of years, we have invested over Eu450m in new fleet and port facilities. They now have one of the most modern fleets in Europe including the luxurious Oscar Wilde on the Rosslare routes to Cherbourg and Roscoff, Ulysses, the Largest Car Ferry on the Irish Sea, the Dublin Swift which continues year-round on the DublinHolyhead route, the Isle of Inishmore on the Pembroke-Rosslare route, the newly acquired Epsilon on the weekly Saturday Dublin-Cher-

positioned in CRUISE COMPANY Barcelona during summer 2015. ROYAL CARIBBEAN The solid performance is down to Fain, the Irish have the highthe support provided by the est onboard spend and the Royal Caribbean team, a highest satisfaction rating of priceless asset to agents at a any country. Irish guests retime when they spend valu- ally ‘get involved’ in onboard able time navigating their activities and enjoy facilities way through automated tele- such as Broadway-style thephone mechanisms when atre shows. they need to sort out a probAgent incentives and trainlem for their clients. Jenny ing initiatives include the says that cruising “continues dedicated site www.cruisingto be a great value proposi- power.ie and the brand spetion compared to land alter- cific Facebook page for natives.” agents. According to Royal Caribbean CEO Richard

bourg route as well as the Dublin-Holyhead route on weekdays. Free wifi was added in 2012. Ferries are the secret weapon of the travel trade, offering (without baggage restrictions) multiple travel options on the Oscar Wilde from Rosslare to Cherbourg and Roscoff, the Dublin Swift from Dublin to Holyhead, the Ulysses from Dublin to Holyhead and the Isle of Inishmore from Rosslare to Pembroke. The Irish travel trade have been reminded that ferry services are central to their operations when fire and ice, ash and weather, came to disrupt holiday plans over recent years. Irish Ferries pay commission of 5pc on ferry bookings and 10pc on holiday bookings and they have a dedicated online booking facility for agents.

Jenny Rafter and Jennifer Callister of Royal Caribbean accept the award for best cruise line from event MC Miriam O’Callaghan and category sponsor Maureen Ledwith of Holiday World.


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Members of the United Airlines team accepting the award for best airline of the year to North America: Massimo Larini, Brian Hughes, Aoife Gregg, Pat Reede, category sponsor Vincent Harrison of the DAA and event MC Miriam O’Callaghan.

AIRLINE NORTH AMERICA: UNITED

Dulles International Airport. United has announced an increase in capacity in 2014, with the return of its nonstop summer service from Shannon to its Chicago/O'Hare hub, offering 90 extra flights when it runs from May 23 to Sep. 5, 2014, and a second daily nonstop service

f r o m Dublin to N e w

York/Newark, which will operate from June 6 to Aug. 19. The team of Yvonne Muldoon, Brian Hughes, Pat Reede and Aoife Gregg has been proactive in organizing events and stimulating interest among Irish travel agents.

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haron Jordan’s team at the Travel Corporation brought Uniworld from the margins to the heart of river cruise business in Ireland. It has won the Specialist Cruise Operator category for the second successive year. Uniworld was the best known and fastest growing of the Travel Corpo-

CRUISE COMPANY SPECIALIST: UNIWORLD

ration suite of products and even in 2013, when sales fell off a sale off a cliff in March and April, was 30pc up year on year. In 2014 it is moving into ultra-luxury (what it calls six star) and is going completely all inclusive to include gratuities and bar.

It is the ultimate off season product and important for agency sales in September and October. Uniworld have a popular programme in Italy and will be the only cruise line out of Ireland to offer Venice and Po River.

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nited has won the best airline to North America in the two years since the category was introduced. United, celebrating 16 years of serving Ireland this year, operates flights to its New York hub, Newark Liberty International Airport, from Shannon, Dublin and Belfast, as well as a nonstop service between Dublin and its Washington, DC Hub,

Members of the Uniworld team accepting the award for specialist cruise company of the year : event MC Miriam O’Callaghan, Carole Carmody, Shannon O’Dowd, Paul Melinis, Sharon Jordan, and category sponsor Maureen Ledwith of Holiday World.

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MARCH 2014 PAGE 26

AFLOAT

MSC Cruises’ launched six one-minute videos on the company’s YouTube channel, directed by Gianluca Bomben and produced by Carlo Concina.

POOL TRAGEDY A four year old

child drowned in a cruise ship pool on board Norwegian Breakaway renewing the debate over lifeguards on cruise ships.

Getaway named

STENA LINE have concluded to extend the charter agreements with for M/S Stena Superfast VII and M/S Stena Superfast VIII until autumn 2019.

MSC launched their Dubai-Australia itinerary, departing Dubai on February 21st 2015 and arriving in Fremantle, Perth on March 26th March, 2015.

WATERWAYS Ireland ended the public consultation process on new bye-law changes to houseboat moorage on Ireland’s canals. The cost of permits for an annual houseboat mooring fee are to rise to between €1,250 to €3,500 under the proposals. Waterways Ireland, Fáilte Ireland and the Midlands Regional Authority launched a free ‘Lakeland Treasures’ app for iPhone at Belvedere House in Mullingar..

MSC Renaissance Programme will see the

redevelopment of MSC Armonia, MSC Sinfonia, MSC Opera and MSC Lirica, will take Lirica class ships in dry dock for 38 weeks with MSC Opera out of action for the first half of summer 2015. As a result, MSC Cruises has decided to halt ex-England sailings for a year and will be dramatically increasing its flycruise capacity.

CMV has taken over TransOcean Kreuzfahrten and will now enter the German ocean and river cruise market for the first time.

IRISH FERRIES Holidays announced early booking deals for 2014 with savings of up to €312 at a selection of Haven Holiday Parks in Britain. Early Summer threenight breaks start from €289. Book before March 3. CORK-Roscoff traffic was up 13,2pc in

2013 to 41,655 passengers, Ouest France reported. Rosslare-Roscoff served by Irish-Ferries carried 33,903 passengers.

CELTIC LINK Ferries have amended

their schedule to allow more daylight sailing time at weekends. The ferry departs Rosslare an hour earlier and Cherbourg two hours earlier.

THOMSON Cruises launched their Irish summer 2014 programme with four new ports of call including Zadar, Croatia – one of the oldest cities in Europe. MSC are showing all the World Cup 2014 matches in the public lounges on board our ships from June 12th-July 13th.

TITANIC II is to keep third-class cabins (check out the Titanic centre in Belfast just to see how small they are). A Chinese park is to get a life size Titanic replica.

N

Norwegian Getaway before its trans-Atlantic journey

New NCL ship debuts in spectacular Miami ceremony

orwegian Cruise Line’s newest ship, the Norwegian Getaway was christened by the Miami Dolphin Cheerleaders at its home port in Miami. Pitbull charged up the crowd with his performance. The ceremony culminated with a crash of a champagne bottle onto the side of its David “Lebo” LeBatard painted hull. The Miami icon’s new vodka brand called Voli will be featured onboard the new ship, as well as across all

NCL ships. The Norwegian Getaway sailed out of Rotterdam in to Southampton before embarking on the journey to Miami. Irish travel agents D o r e e n McKenzie and Lauren Vallely were among the agents hosted on board. Unusually, 2,000 paying guests were hosted on the pre-launch cruise

around the Isle of Wight, high winds blowing the vessel into Welcome to France mobile phone message territory at one stage. Getaway is the first of four brand new super-sized ships which will launch in 2014. The Getaway also offers 28 dining options, and among its signatures is the Broadway show Legally Blonde playing in the theatre. There is a three-level dining and entertainment district called 678 Ocean Place, an Aqua Park that has five full size water slides, and a three storey sports complex with the largest ropes course at sea, a nine-hole mini golf course, rock climbing wall

CORK ROSCOFF TO GET GAS POWERED FERRY

B

rittany Ferries say the Cork-Roscoff route will be served by their new €270m gas-powered ferry when it enters service in spring 2017. The LNG-powered cruise-ferry is to be built

M

by STX France in St Nazaire with capacity for 2,474 passengers, 189 crew, 675 cabins and a garage capacity of 800 cars or mix (325 cars plus 80 freight units). The new ship will be a huge boost to the route

according to Hugh Bruton of Brittany ferries and will replace PontAven. She will have many of Pont-Aven's features, such as an indoor swimming pool, two cinemas, restaurants and pet kennels. Hugh Bruton

MSC HAVE BEST ONBOARD PRICES

SC offer the cheapest drinks at sea according to a survey by online comm u n i t y WWW.cruise.co.UK .

A bottle of beer on Celebrity Cruises, Norwegian cruise lines and Royal Caribbean will cost $5.50 but only €2.90 on MSC. Voyages of Discovery

have the cheapest glass of wine at £3, Fred Olsen the cheapest soft drink at £1.15 and Swan Hellenic the cheapest coffee at £1.20. Royal Caribbean have

the most expensive wine at $8 a glass, Windstar Cruises the most expensive soft drinks at $3.25 and Carnival the most expensive coffee, $5.


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AFLOAT

7 NIGHTS E

550

US, Spain, Britain and Ireland wil fill 70pc of berths on Allure in Europe

Barcabound

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Allure to summer in Europe in 2015

oyal Caribbean will be bringing the world’s largest cruise ship the 5,400-passenger Allure of the Seas to Europe in summer 2015 prior to its first call to dry-dock. Allure of the Seas will offer 22 seven-night cruises ex-Barcelona from May 3rd 2015 to October. Ports of call will include Palma de Mallorca, Marseilles for Provence, La Spezia for Florence and Pisa and Civitavecchia for Rome and Naples.

Passengers will also have the chance to join the ship in Civitavecchia for a week long roundtrip cruise. Dedicated trade packs will be delivered to agencies from February 12th 2014, with 10 agents at random receiving a special Golden Ticket. Royal Caribbean’s Ben Bouldin says he expects 15pc of the Allure sales to come from Ireland and Britain. He said that after Oasis’s mini season proved such a success sales went through the

roof, and it had emerged that Allure had its own fan base around the world prepared to travel to Europe to cruise. “We know in Ireland we have not necessarily had favourable deployment over the past twelve months, and we have been facing strong competition. “We are deadly serious about maintaining our position as Ireland’s favourite cruise line, “I want to ensure we maintain our position. There are a lot of exciting things in Ireland.”

2 ADULTS AND UP TO 4 KIDS

Book by 3 March for big summer savings! Book a Haven self-catering holiday to Britain with Stena Line and, not only will you have a great summer holiday to look forward to, but you’ll be able to take advantage of our huge early booking savings of up to €350 when you book by 3rd March. What’s the deal? • Return Mon – Thurs Superferry travel with your car for 2 adults and up to 4 kids • 7 nights in a 2 bedroom mobile home on a choice of 10 parks in Britain • Free entry to park splashzones • Free kids’ clubs and nightly shows with great family entertainment

Everyone deserves a break.

I

DUBLIN TO CHERBOURG

Epsilon is described as a no frills ferry service from Dublin to Cherbourg rish Ferries launched their Dublin to Cherbourg direct service with the no-frills ferry Epsilon, the second new ferry route to launch in

two weeks. LD Lines launched at the beginning of January from Rosslare to St Nazaire with return fares for a car and two passen-

gers of €199 without a cabin or €249 including cabin.

stenaline.ie/selfcatering 01 204 77 33 or see your travel agent.

Friday – Sunday travel, HSS and Stena Nordica travel supplements will apply. Subject to availability. Holidays operated by Stena Line Travel Group AB - Licenced and bonded T.A.0733 See website for further details. €15 service fee for telephone bookings.


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THE FLYING COLUMN

RYANAIR announced a surprise ninth new route from Shannon in 2014, to Poitiers. Poitiers is one of the closest-to-town airports in Europe (2.4km) which only had one domestic and one international route until Tuesday’s announcement. This is Ryanair’s ninth new route (five of them restarts) from Shannon this year, out of an airport total of ten. They will deliver more new passengers to Shannon the Gathering did to the island. Poitiers is the home of Futuroscope theme park which reopens Feb 15.

Aviation with Gerry O’Hare

AER LINGUS is bringing forward

the launch of the Dublin-Toronto route to April 14 which puts it first into the field ahead of Air Canada Rouge (May 1) and Westjet (June 15). Motorists joining the M50 ring road to reach Dublin Airport from the south and west should allow more time. The 80,000 motorists a day who pass through Newlands Cross on the N7 will face disruption for the next three weeks as traffic is shifted onto new lanes. The junction will be replaced with a flyover by spring 2015.

WESTJET’s Henry Nyzinski told the

Travel Advice Clinics at Holiday World 2014 that Westjet were to reload the summer 2015 schedules in to their booking system, confirming the Canadian airline’s return in 2015, and confirmed the season would start earlier.

RYANAIR reported in their quarterly results that their average fare has fallen to €48 and average revenue down 6pc to €53.

CORK routes to Krakow and Warsaw are not returning this summer.

SOUTHEND Canan Dobson (27) from Epping was the 100,000th passenger on Aer Lingus Regional, operated by Aer Arann, London Southend to Dublin route. Cork native Sinead Hurley was Ryanair’s 10 millionth passenger boarded at Cork Airport. RYANAIR said both themselves and

Boeing want Ryanair to be a launch customer for the B737 MAX (189 seats). Discussions with Boeing continue with weight and fuel consumption the key points but there will be no announcement for at least six months.

LUFTHANSA new CEO Carsten Spohr will take up the post on May 1. The former head of the passenger airline business said he is to lead the battle against low-cost carriers and fast-growing Gulf airlines. DUBLIN Airport was the second fastest growing airport in the EU last year in the 1025m passenger range behind Berlin Tegel.

LUFTHANSA will roll-out its inflight mobile phone service across its entire longhaul fleet of over 100 aircraft this year. RYANAIR carried 46.m passengers

January and 81.6m (up 3pc) in the rolling twelve month period. Load factor was unchanged at 71pc.

in

RYANAIR’s outgoing deputy chief Michael Cawley said the airline was no longer in talks with either Cork or Kerry airports about new services there, but remains open to suggestions on how it can grow at each.

Ethiopian has a proud reputation as one of the best airlines in Africa if not the world

5th freedom flux

F

Will Ethiopian Airline get to launch Addis-Dublin-LA?

ifth freedom rights will be crucial factor as Ethiopian Airlines seek permission to fly from Dublin to Addis Adaba and to Los Angeles from January 2015. Proposals to open a stopover route from Dublin to US destinations by Air India in 2010 led to a virulent campaign against the move by Aer Lingus. Speaking to Travel Extra at the sidelines of the 16th Annual Airfinance Conference in Dublin. Tewolde Gebremariam CEO of Ethiopian said Ethiopian Airlines hoped to launch Addis-Dublin-Los Angeles in January 2015. The route will, no doubt, meet the same opposition from Aer Lingus and others on fifth freedom rights as the proposed Air India stopover route did three years ago. Tewolde Gebremariam is unperturbed. “Currently we are working with DAA: we are working on a study together, the told them we want to fly Addis-Dublin-LA.” “Addis to Dublin is not enough, very little traffic we would need high

T

Ethiopian airlines CEO Tewolde Gebremariam and Michael Yohannes at the Airfinance Conference in Dublin

traffic from Africa to LA and also from Dublin to LA because there is a big Irish community in LA. I know Aer Lingus are flying to San Francisco, but the market prefers LA.” He said the talks were going well. “We have to justify the numbers. We have to make study and analysis on the ground. The Irish government and DAA are very encouraging.” “Dublin is very easy, LA is tough because of the slots. In the best case scenario January 2015, worst case July 2015.” Ethiopian is developing Addis Adaba as a hub and said the advan-

tages of connecting through Addis Adaba as a hub includes a 20-minute changeover. The transfers are easier and Ethiopian has been in operation since 1946. He said routes to China are stimulating growth, but the difficulties competing against Emirates and Etihad is that it is not a level playing field. He estimates that African open skies is still five years off. “Unfortunately it is not happening, This is what we need. African airlines, African governments and African union to copy what has been done in the European Union, unfortunately progress has been very disappointing. It is very sad. Governments protecting no airlines, they are still protecting when they have no airline, and ironically, governments giving more right sot non-African airlines.” He said he is looking at placing an order for 10-20 narrowbody jets to augment his fleet’s short-haul options and spoke of the transition from an all-Boeing fleet, mentioning that 50 craft is the tipping point for a twomake fleet.

DUBLIN AIR FINANCE EXCHANGE 

he Irish Stock Exchange launched a specialised platform for aircraft finance, listing debt instruments used in aircraft leasing, listing an initial 26 aviation financerelated securities with a value of close to €13bn, as well as equity listings for Ryanair and Aer Lingus.

The aim is to allow investors buy into the aircraft leasing business through trusts similar to those used to attract institutional and retail funds into property. Deirdre Somers said she wanted to combine Ireland's already world-leading position in aviation finance and the ISE's ex-

pertise in debt listings to make Ireland more attractive for aviation issuers. And investors. Eamonn Brennan, Chief Executive, said “there is huge potential for the Irish Civil Aircraft Register, including foreign leased aircraft, supported by the IAA’s effective and safety

regulatory oversight.” Ireland is home to 50 aircraft leasing companies. Joe Gill of Goodbody’s said that the move could embolden the leasing industry here, increase the scale of the sector and help create more jobs and economic activity for Ireland.


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THE FLYING COLUMN

T

Aviation with Gerry O’Hare

Back to Boeing

Air Contractors commence B757 services for Aer Lingus wenty years after decommissioning the Boeing 747 and launching the first Airbus two engine flight across the Atlantic, Aer Lingus launched the first of three B757 services, from Shannon to Boston. Aer Lingus CEO Christoph Mueller and Hugh Flynn of Air Contractors were on hand to see the service launch, two weeks late and with an incomplete paint job. It is the first time since 2009 that Aer Lingus has operated a year-round service between Shannon and the US. The craft, previously used by Finnair, has seen an impressive €2m refit that features seatback videos in economy, something that might give the economy class on the B757 an advantage over its opposition on the Canadian routes. The B757 has a configuration of 12-165 (compared with 24-248 on the A330-200 and 24-298

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Grainne Frawley, captain Leo Smyth, Christoph Mueller, Hugh Flynn of ASL's Group and Lesley Murphy at the launch of the Shannon Boston Aer Lingus daily flights. on the A330-300). He stressed the importance of JetChristoph Mueller said Aer Lingus blue and Aer Arann connections in transatlantic capacity will increase by making a year-round route viable as 24pc in 2014, following on from a the A330 was too big in winter. very strong year of growth in 2013. Fine Gael deputy Pat Breen said Aer Lingus and Aer Lingus Regional, the route was important because the operated by Aer Arann, have in- trans Atlantic visitor stays longer. creased the number of routes offered Rose Hynes chair of Shannon Airport from Shannon Airport to ten for sum- Authority said “this is something we mer 2014. have wanted for quite a while.”

yanair launched a group booking facility in the latest of a series of measures designed to move back closer to the trade. The terms are only slightly less rigid than before. The minimum number for a group is 20 (no maximum), quotes are valid for seven days, payment must be made in full at time of booking, 50pc of names are due halfway between booking date and outbound departure date, the

balance due 14 days in advance of outbound departure date and name changes within 14 days of outbound departure will cost €50 per person per sector Ryanair will launch a new service for business travellers in the coming weeks. Expected innovations include flex-fare option that would include features like fast-track through airport security, reserved seating and checked-in bags built into the seat price..

er Lingus launched three new pre-order BIA meal options for customers travelling on shorthaul flights, The menus were designed in collaboration with restaurateur Clodagh McKenna. Meals can be pre-ordered on aerlingus.com with the delivery on board if ordered in advance

■ the Power Me Salad (€7.50), ■ caramelised onion & leek quiche (€7.50) and ■ a children’s macaroni cheese meal (€5) made with Irish cheddar and served with an apple and grape fruit pot, a Lily O’Brien cookie and a kid’s fruit shoot.

LINGUS  3 OPTION MENU

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rect service again from Dublin this summer. Windavia will fly April 13 to October 5th every Sunday every Sunday at 11.55 with return prices from €349. +3531 8045104 or windavia@apg-ga.ie. Sata withdrew from the route to utilise aircraft elsewhere.

BRITISH AIRWAYS is to increase to unaccompanied minor charges effective after Feb 4 from $50 to $75 per direction within Europe and from $75 to $100 per direction long haul. RYANAIR ’s customer services man-

RYANAIR GROUP MOVE

A

FUNCHAL in Madeira will have a di-

ager Caroline Green told the Travel Advice Clinics at Holiday World 2014 Ryanair will change small booking errors outside of the 24 hour grace period for genuine errors.

TAROM are increasing capacity from Dublin to Bucharest to 6 flights weekly for the summer, having started last summer with three flights increased to four in October. TURKISH Murat Balandi told the

Travel Advice Clinics at Holiday World 2014 that Turkish Airlines, which have slots in Sydney Airport, will NOT be operating the route non stop from Istanbul.

RYANAIR

aims to close the 7 point seat factor gap with EasyJet by about 2 points per year.

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ENDA’S AVIATION PLEDGE

aoiseach Enda Kenny told the Global Airfinance Conference in Dublin that Ireland would continue to support aviation. The government in-

tends to introduce amendments to cater for new forms of financing, such as Enhanced Equipment Trust Certificates and Sharia compliant products.

Enda Kenny described the deal by Aengus Kelly’s AerCap as a huge boost to the aircraft leasing sector.

Please Please see see your your travel travel agent agent or or call call 01 01 6793958 6793958

www.aircanada.com/rouge/en/


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MARCH 2014 PAGE 30

THE FLYING COLUMN

TAROM are increasing capacity from

Dublin to Bucharest to 6 flights weekly for the summer, having started last summer with three flights increased to four in October.

Aviation with Gerry O’Hare

TURKISH Murat Balandi told the

Travel Advice Clinics at Holiday World 2014 that Turkish Airlines, which have slots in Sydney Airport, will NOT be operating the route non stop from Istanbul. Turkish Airlines Kobe v Messi selfie shoot-out video thas reached 138.3m views, 55m more than the next brand.

RYANAIR admitted they were

unashamedly copying what Easyjet does well, and instanced Farefinder. The airline aims to close the 7 point seat factor gap with EasyJet by about 2 points per year.

FUNCHAL in Madeira will have a di-

rect service again from Dublin this summer. Windavia will fly April 13 to October 5th every Sunday every Sunday at 11.55 with return prices from €349. +3531 8045104 or windavia@apg-ga.ie. Sata withdrew from the route to utilise aircraft elsewhere.

EASYJET introduced mobile boarding passes at Belfast International Airport, allowing passengers to check-in in 10 seconds.

RYANAIR say they will move ten aircraft to Athens, Rome and Brussels, mainly from Spain and five B737-800s will be hiredin May-Sep 2014 to cope with expansion. ETIHAD’s Beatrice Cosgrove told the

Travel Advice Clinics at Holiday World 2014 that May was the best month to get the best fares from her and other airlines.

NORWEGIAN AIR has finally

gained the permits to begin operating out of Ireland from next month. Regulation of its long-haul operations, documentation and planes will move from Norway to Ireland, giving it the right to fly using crews from outside Europe. Norwegian injected €39m into its Irish subsidiary, Norwegian Air International,

RYANAIR

say that while Google Flight Search has not yet been launched in Ireland, Irish passengers can still log on via google.com/flights. Ryanair say the partnership with Google Flight Search will allow faster access to its 1,600 routes.

TAXI Gerard Rooney from Portmarnock

processed the three millionth Easytrip transaction at the taxi system at Dublin Airport. The automated vehicle management technology was introduced in 2011at Dublin Airport to improve the management of taxi journeys.

LUFTHANSA reported its most suc-

cessful year ever in Dublin during 2013 with passenger figures of 369,676 beating the previous 2012 record by 6.75pc. Three quarters of Lufthansa passenger from Dublin were transfer passengers through Frankfurt and Munich with the top transfer destinations were Moscow, Kiev, Tel Aviv, Lagos, Sofia, Beijing, Caracas, Tokyo, Zagreb, Cairo, Graz and Minsk.

RYANAIR reached 50,000 followers in four months on its Twitter account @Ryanair.

Two tons of soil entered the Fairchild craft when it turned over off the runway at Cork

Approach errors

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Three years later the cause of Cork crash revealed

ine separate factors contributed to the February 2011 air crash at Cork airport. The 244-page report by Air Accident Investigation Unit into the tragic Fairchild SA 227-BC Metro III crash in Cork (Flight 7100 operated by Flightline SL for virtual airline Manx2), found that the crew continued with their descent below the decision height on all three approaches without having acquired the adequate

visual reference points. It lists other factors: ■ poor visibility, ■ uncoordinated operation of the flight and engine controls when goaround was attempted, ■ engine power-levers retarded below the normal in-flight operational range (an action prohibited in flight), ■ a power difference between the engines which became significant

when the reverse thrust was activated whilst airborne, ■ inappropriate pairing of flight crew members, ■ the fact both pilots were fatigued, inadequate command training and checking, ■ inadequate operator oversight by Spain's aviation regulator who was not aware that Flightline BCN operated in Ireland.

UNITED ADD SECOND DUBLIN-NEWARK DAILY 

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nited Airlines are adding 16,000 seats for Summer 2014 . The additional capacity will fly from June 6 to Aug 19 with 74 extra flights on a second daily

D

Dublin-Newark service, UA131 at 12:30pm arriving Newark 4pm. The return flight, UA130 leaves Newark at 10:25 pm arriving Dublin at 10:20 am the following day. The flights will be op-

erated by Boeing 757200 aircraft with a total of 169 seats – 16 flat-bed seats in United BusinessFirst and 153 in United Economy, including 45 Economy Plus seats with added legroom and increased personal space.

DUBLIN SEES GROWTH OF 6PC

ublin airport passenger numbers for 2013 were 20.2m up 6pc according to the DAA. The DAA said they were rebating €5.6m in charges to 40 airlines who grew traffic. Carriers to benefit were: Aer Arann, Aer Lingus, American Airlines, British Airways, Delta, Lufthansa, Norwegian, Turkish Airlines, Ryanair, SAS, Tarom, and

United. The DAA have extended the scheme by three more years to 2016. Last year saw the highest pay out of the three years it's being active. Transatlantic traffic reached 1.9m up from the 1.8m estimate back in August. Shannon airport reported 1,400,032 passengers flew through the airport over the course of the year, up from 1,394,781 in 2012, growth of just 5,351, but growth

United seatback video

nonetheless. The Clare people reported the increase was achieved despite a difficult start to 2013 as month-over-month passenger numbers continued to decrease in the immediate wake of the airports de-coupling from the Dublin Airport Authority. Chairwoman Rose Hynes predicted that growth will accelerate from March when airlines such as Ryanair and Aer Lingus

Regional launch a series of new services. Belfast International airport said passenger numbers were down 6.7pc to 4,022,479. Belfast City airport reported passenger numbers up 13.2pc to 2,541,721 and 36,867 flight movements. City of Derry was down 3.3pc to 384973. Cork had 2.3m passengers for 2013 down 3pc.


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THE FLY LYING COLUMN

Aviation with Gerry O’Hare

COMPENSATION During a debate on an extension to air passenger rights voted through the EU parliament it was claimed that only 2pc of people who could have claimed compensation for delayed and cancelled flights managed to do so. Under EC 261/2004, handbags and airport shopping will be allowed free of charge on all flights from next year, compensation for cancelled and delayed flights will kick in after just three hours and airline practices such as forcing you to buy a new return ticket if you do not take the first leg of the journey will be banned. Airlines consider the changes penal. FLYBE are adding a second Saturday

Stampede no more

F

But Ryanair slap on extra €5 charge for seat choice

Civilised check in at the Ryanair desk

rom the beginning of February seats on all Ryanair flights are allocated. The breakthrough comes with a catch: people who want to pre-select their seats pay €5 for the privilege.The pre-selection fee of €5 applies to standard seats, rows 6-15 and 18-31 and goes up to €10 for what it calls its premium seats, rows 1-5, 16, 17 and 32-33. Priority boarding has not gone away and carries another fee of €2.

Free allocated seats will not be available prior to 7 days before each flight departure. Ryanair says customers who do not wish to pre-select their seats can check-in during the period from 7 days to 2 hours (down from 4 hours) prior to their flight and they will be assigned an allocated seat at no cost. Michael O’Leary said in an interview that Ryanair’s partnership with Google would change the way people buy air tickets forever.

US AIRWAYS-AMERICAN MERGER GATHERS PACE

U

S Airways and American are to co-locate in Frankfurt. The US Airways ticketing and check-in desks will now be located in Terminal 2 Hall E, directly across from American Airlines, and flights will operate from gates

D1-D4. As part of the merger with American, US Airways will exit Star Alliance on March 30, 2014 to join the oneworld alliance. Customers can continue to earn and redeem miles on Star Alliance partner airlines until that date. US Airways operations at Kansas City Interna-

Bob Schumacher and Pat reede of United

Michael O’Leary explained the new policy: "we own the 81m pricesensitive people or the people who live around our airports in Europe. We now have to go after the 20m or 30m people, the people who'd say 'I'd rather pay an extra €20 or €30 more to fly with Aer Lingus'," he said. "With another 175 aircraft coming from next September, we need to move into this space."

tional Airport (MCI) have moved from Terminal A to Terminal C. On February 12, they will move from Terminal 1 to Terminal 3 at LAX. US Airways are to offer 50pc more Dividend Miles for every American Airlines flight.

U

flight to East Midlands from Belfast City and upgrade from a turbo-prop Q400 to an Embraer 195 and improve scheduling to Edinburgh and Glasgow from March 29. Ten aircraft are to be grounded in March and four more by the end of the summer 2014 season.

AER LINGUS Glenbeigh Construc-

tion won the contract the fit-out of the new Aer Lingus lounge at Heathrow Terminal 2.

CYPRUS The European Commission has opened an in-depth investigation to verify whether the Cyprus government’s €102m plan to restructure Cyprus Airways breach EU rules. RYANAIR

is to present a case study on the revamp of their online strategy at Travel Distribution Summit in London, May 22-23.

VIRGIN ATLANTIC is to with-

draw from Australia, continuing London-Hong Kong, but dropping the onward flight from Hong Kong to Sydney from May. Virgin blamed the weakening Australian dollar for its decision. Virgin Atlantic is the 12th European airline to exit Australia, leaving only BA.

AER LINGUS January numbers were

up 2pc to 651,000 passengers. including regional services. Long-haul passenger traffic rose 7.3pc to 59,000, while short-haul numbers were down 1pc to 513,000. Aer Lingus short haul was down 1pc, Aer Lingus Regional was up 21.5pc. Load factor was 71.7pc long haul and 63.5pc short haul.

HEATHROW is to allow aircraft to

land closer together to cut delays.

UNITED Airlines is to drop Cleveland as a hub airport and cut flights by 60pc.

Caitriona Toner who heads up US Airways in Ireland

2 DAILY TO NEWARK

nited Airlines are adding 16,000 seats for Summer 2014. Between June 6 and Aug 19 they will operate 74 extra flights on a second daily Dublin-Newark service, UA131 at 12:30pm arriving

Newark 4pm, return flight, UA130 10:25 pm arriving Dublin at 10:20 am the following day. The flights will be operated by a Boeing 757-200 with 169 seats, 16 flat-bed seats in Busines 45 premium economy and 108in economy.

RYANAIR

will triple its marketing budget to €35m this year.

PRIORITY pass have added 70 lounges

to their global network over the last six months

IAA said Ireland is to join with Sweden, Norway and Denmark to provide Air Traffic Control training to the global market. ATC technology providers will be launching a new Switching without having to think product at ISE in Amsterdam, February 4-6.

MILAN BERGAMO is closing for planned runway maintenance from May 13 to June 1 included. All airlines operating to/from Bergamo will reroute their flights to Malpensa.


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THE FLYING COLUMN

AER LINGUS TRANSFER

According to an investor report from Investec, 40pc of Aer Lingus long-haul passengers in 2012 were transfer passengers up from 33pc in 2010. (Aer Lingus mainline 17pc, Aer Lingus Regional 4pc, United/JetBlue 19pc).

AIR FRANCE unveiled a fully-flat business seat: the Zodiac Cirrus Aero Seat, similar to that used by Cathay Pacific and American Airlines. Air France will offer a 10w A380 service Paris-Abidjan next winter.

Aviation with Gerry O’Hare

Double daily delight

DUBLIN AIRPORT T1 plan 900sqm food & beverage zone in Dublin Airport Terminal 1, to be completed by mid-2015.

SHANNON Airport Authority is seeking a quality international Travel Retail group to manage its travel retail travel store. LUFTHANSA Dublin to Dusseldorf

is being increased from 2 to 4 weekly and Munich from 3 to 4 weekly with an A320 replacing the A319.

S7 Russian airline S7 are to resume their weekly flights between Dublin and Moscow every Saturday starting June 21 despite rumours that the service would be increased. Airbus A320 family aircrafts will serve this route. Tickets are already available.

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Emirates at Dublins airport

Eithad and Emirates both go double daily in autumn

here was astonishment throughout the aviation industry to the news that both Emi670 IN EUROPE According to rates and Etihad will fly double daily analysis of scheduled flight data by Anna aero, from Dublin to9 the middle east this there were 670 airports across Europe with coming winter. scheduled services in 2013. Etihad will go double daily on Dublin-Abu Dhabi from July 15 (up METRO NORTH The National Transport Authority was skeptical of a proposal from 10w), using alternating B777300ER (380 passengers, 40-340) and that a Dublin rail system could be built for A330-200 (262 passengers, 22-240) €1.95bn, around half the cost of Metro North in just 26 months and would be more extensive and providing 8,988 seats each week. than Metro North, describing it as “completely unreal and fantastical”. The alternatives being considered are the €4.1bn Dart Underground, €150m Swords-Dublin Airport to city centre line and €3.7bn Metro North.

RYANAIR are finalising their winter programme and there is a suggestion they will extend their booking period, currently at 240 days compared with 330 for Aer Lingus. IAA The Irish Aviation Authority launched

inaugural Aviation Industry Awards, inviting nominations in 18 categories including the outstanding contribution to Irish Aviation Award.

CAR The Commission for Aviation Regu-

lation published its quarterly Quality of Service report using information provided by the Dublin Airport Authority. The price cap is reduced due to breaches in the quality of service term by approximately 2 cents per passenger.

KERRY Business groups in Kerry have

begun a campaign to maintain Government support for the daily Kerry to Dublin service.

SAS launched a new generation of its loyalty programme EuroBonus. SAS carried 1.7m passengers in January, down 0.2pc.

FREE MEALS It was reported that a Chinese man ate 300 meals for free in Xi’an airport using one flight ticket.

The recent decision of Emirates to go double daily means Dublin will have 28 flights a week to the Middle East from September with Qatar waiting in the wings. Emirates second flight from Dublin to Dubai to launch Sept 1 will be a B777-300ER with 360 seats in 3class configuration 8-42-310 . EK164 will depart Dublin at 2220, arrive in Dubai 0855. EK163 will leave Dubai 1600 to reach Dublin at 2050. There are quite a few surprises in

Emirates top twenty destinations flying from Dublin: 1 Dubai 56,701; 2 Perth 28,505; 3 Sydney 12,208; 4 Melbourne 9,001; 5 Bangkok 8,588; 6 Manila 7,576; 7 Brisbane 6,900; 8 Hong Kong 6,005; 9 Singapore 5,706; 10 Cape Town 4,743; 11 Cochin 4,511; 12 Johannesburg 4,407; 13 Kuala Lumpur 4,120; 14 Adelaide 3,878; 15 Beijing 3,314; 16 Dhaka 3,191; 17 New Delhi 3,130; 18 Mauritius 2,952; 19 Auckland 2,762; 20 Chennai 2,696.

EU TAKE FIRST STEP TO ENDING AIRPORT CONFISCATION CARNAGE

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uty-free liquids in tamper-free bags bought at airports outside the EU, or onboard non-EU air carriers, will no longer be confiscated at EU airports. Provided these dutyfree liquids are packed in the security bag issued at

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the time of purchase, passengers may transfer with it at an EU airport onto a connecting flight. Until now, such dutyfree liquids, as a general rule, have been confiscated, as many cries of woe from Schiphol, Frankfurt, CdeG and Heathrow will attest. On Friday they took the first

step towards easing the liquids restrictions at EU airports, most passengers noticed no change at all as the measures are being introduced as part of a more ambitious plan to lift the ban on the carriage of liquids altogther. We wait with baited breath and empty glass

BA DUBLIN FLIGHTS TO MOVE TO T5

ritish Airways will move their flights from/to Dublin and Belfast City to Terminal 5 in Heathrow, to T5A, NOT the T5 satellite BA says this will mean quicker and smoother connections, access to previ-

ously unavailable destinations, a smoother transfer process to nearby T5a gates away or the T5 satellite accessible by shuttle train. Routes that open up include their 12 flights a day service to New York, the popular Miami service and

Tamper free outside EU

new A380 service to Los Angeles. BA are huge supporters of the Irish travel trade with 75pc of their business still coming from the trade, down only slightly from the 81pc prior to launching their eight flights a day

from Dublin to Heathrow in June 2012. BA offer up to six flights from Belfast. The move takes place three months after Aer Lingus move to Star Alliance’s newly revamped T2 at Heathrow on July 9


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DESTINATION IRELAND FÁILTE Ireland announced St Patrick’s Festival is getting €1m in festival funding, The festival for the first time in its history has created a three year theme and narrative for the Festival Parade: Past, Present and Future in the festivals of 2014, 2015 and 2016. Around 500,000 people turned out to watch the 2013 parade which included 6,000 participants from 45 countries. BUS ÉIREANN launched an option

for passengers of either printing off their ticket or displaying their e-ticket to the driver before embarking on their journey. On boarding the coach, passengers ensure the driver can clearly see their name, journey details and MAC number. The driver will then enter the MAC number and print out a ticket.

TITANIC Robert Ballard who discovered the wreck of RMS Titanic, will return to Titanic Belfast on March 20 for a public lecture and a unique ‘Evening With Dr Ballard’ White Star Line dining experience.

DARK SKIES South West Kerry has leo Varadkar and Niall Gibbons: Greening of landmarks has turned from a small idea to 80 projects

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Building blocks

€40,000 campaign generates millions in branding

he Greening of major landmarks He said the total cost of greening of landmarks for St Patrick’s Day on behalf of Ireland’s global branding is €40,000 and, according to Niall Gibbons CEO of Tourism Ireland, the best return on investment we ever got. A thirty second piece on NBC on St Patrick's Day 2013 which went coast to coast to 7m people in the United States generated publicity

worth €2.2m, according to Tourism Ireland. Niall Gibbons says “St Patrick’s Day is a critical day for us when we are thinking about branding Ireland. It is a fantastic platform. It comes at a critical time of the year when people are going on their holidays.” “A few years ago we started a little project called the global green project where we greened a few buildings around the world. We got a small bit of publicity about it. Last year’s icons

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included the pyramids of Giza and the statue of Christ the redeemer in Rio. “The benefit of that in England was for the first time ever the websites of the Times, the Guardian, the Observer, the Independent, Express, the Telegraph the Mail. all carried those photographs on the front pages of their websites on March 18th, it was publicity that you could not have bought.” “We certainly could not afford it.”

IRELAND STILL MISSING 1M BRITS

1 Britain 2,928,900 (+5.6pc); 2 USA 1,035,500 (+13.9pc); 3 Germany 482,900 (+7.7pc); 4 France 433,700 (+9.4pc); 5 Spain 263,000 (+3.9pc); 6 Italy 234,000 (-7pc); 7 Australia 171,000 (+12pc), 8 Poland 159,700 (-5.4pc); 9 Netherlands 155,000 (+8.4pc); 10 Canada 122,500 (+8.7pc), 11 Belgium 100,400 (+15.8pc); 12 Switzerland 76,700 (-5.2pc); 13 Sweden 75,900 (+1.7pc); 14 Austria 54,000 (+10.2pc); 15 Denmark 53,200 (+20.4pc); 16 Norway 52,700 (+2.9pc).

entral Statistics Office figures for 2013 indicate that the crucial British market is still more than a million visitors short of its 2006 peak of 4,060,000. The USA appears to have narrowly passed its record, achieved in 2007 of 1,073,000 which figure included Canada. All other top markets sent bestever numbers of visitors to Ireland in 2013, with the exception of Britain, Italy, Lithuania, Poland, South Africa and Switzerland. The figures showed inbound travel rose 7.2pc to 6,985,900. Surprisingly, the last quarter of 2013 showed no dip

in inbound traffic. Overseas visitors were up 9.9pc for the final quarter of 2013, Britain was up 12.5pc for the quarter and 5.6pc for the year, USA was up 11pc for the quarter and 13.9pc for the year. Australia passed Poland in seventh place in the inbound charts to Ireland. Of the 16 largest markets, 12 showed increases and four showed decreases in 2013 (see chart) In the regional totals, Australia, New Zealand and Other Oceania totalled 187,700 (+20.6pc), Asia and Middle East totalled 154,000 (+15.8pc), Central, South and Other Americas 55,200 (+13.1pc) and Africa 39,000 (-5.1pc).

received Gold Tier designation by the International Dark-Skies Association based in Arizona. Kerry is the first lived-in area in Europe or the Northern Hemisphere to earn this accreditation. Kerry County Council hosted the official award presentation to Julie Ormonde and her Kerry Dark Skies Committee by Christopher Kyba, European Director of the International Dark Sky Association.

FÁILTE Ireland’s Discover Ireland campaign will include three printed supplements which will be distributed in the national press and reach 4m readers.

EXPEDIA is to share any registered accommodation’s star Fáilte Ireland rating and accommodation descriptor (e.g. Guesthouse, Hotel, B&B) as it appears on Fáilte Ireland’s consumer site www.discoverireland.ie

FÁILTE Ireland launched a new Corporate Ambassador Programme to the delegates attending the Pendulum Summit in the Convention Centre Dublin, Ireland’s first international business and self-empowerment summit.

GUEST house sector is launching a rebranded campaign Guesthousesofireland.com with the slogan: places that stay with you.

BELFAST Waterfront’s new £29.5m ex-

tension will get underway this summer and complete construction work by December 2015, aiming to have a new conference and exhibition facility fully operational by summer 2016. Belfast City Council committed £11m to the project as part of its £150m investment programme and Minister Arlene Foster approved funding of £18.5m

TOURISM Ireland reached 2m fans on Facebook after attaining 825,000 new likes during 2013.

MONART Destination Spa launched a

custom built and custom designed Infrared-Pro Cabin at the Spa’s extensive Thermal Suite.


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TRAVEL WRITER AWARDS 2013-14

Heidi Drummond of the Maltese Tourist Board presents the travel writer of the year award to Pól Ó Conghaile of the Irish Examiner

Kevin Nolan of Topflight presents the Skiing award to Catherine Murphy (Sunday Business Post) for an article on St Anton

Murat Balandi of Turkish Airlines presents the Young Journalist award to Hiromi Mooney (Gazette Group) for an article on Salamanca

Marie Claire Porter of Sunway presents the Long haul award to Isabel Conway (Irish Examiner) for an article on Kenya

Clem Walshe of Lowcostholidays presents the online media award to Conor Goodman and Rosita Boland (Irish Times) for their campaign, Best Place to Holiday in Ireland series

Sharon Jordan of Travel Corporation presents the Broadcasting award to John Slattery (TV3)

John Spollen of Cassidy Travel presents the Short break award to Lucy White (Cara) for an article on Boston

Benet Presas of Salou Tourist board and Oriol Garcia of Portaventura present the Spanish Tourist Board award to Mal Rogers (Irish Post) for an article on Cadiz

Sara Rivero of the Spanish Tourist Board, Pól Ó Conghaile, Eoghan Corry editor of Travel Extra, Catherine Murphy, Isabel Conway, Mal Rogers, Spanish ambassador Javier Garigues, Jon Slattery, Susan Morrell, Moira Hannon, Rosita Boland, Hiromi Mooney, Lucy White and Gonzalo Ceballos of the Spanish Tourist Board at the Travel Extra Travel Writer of the Year awards

Pól Ó Conghaile wins writer award

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allinasloe born Pól Ó Conghaile was awarded Travel Extra Irish travel writer of the year for a record fourth time at an awards ceremony at Thomas Prior House sponsored by the Spanish Tourist Board and attended by Spanish ambassador Javier Garrigues. There was a record number of entries, 98. The event lived up to its name as the highlight of the travel media year with a large attendance from all mainstream media. The award winners were chosen by a distinguished panel of senior Irish journalists. The winners were: Ski and snow: Catherine Murphy freelance working for Sunday Business Post (article on St Anton) Category sponsor: Topflight Young Journalist: Hiromi

Mooney (Gazette Group) Article on Salamanca and Avila. Category sponsor: Turkish Airlines. Travel Book: Pól Ó Conghaile (for Secret Dublin) Category sponsor: Lowcostholidays New media: Irish Times, Best Place to Holiday in Ireland campaign. Category sponsor: Clickandgo, Broadcasting Jon Slattery/Ciara Whelan, TV3. Category sponsor: Insight Vacations. Home market Pól Ó Conghaile, freelance working for the Irish Examiner (article on Comeraghs), Category sponsor: Fáilte Ireland Northern Ireland: Moira Hannon of the Star (article on Causeway Coast). Category sponsor: Northern Ireland Tourist Board Spain: Mal Rogers of the Irish Post (article on Cadiz) Category

sponsor: Spanish Tourist Board Short break: Lucy White of Cara (article on Boston), Category sponsor: Cassidy Travel. Sun holiday: Susan Morrell (Sunday Business Post) Article on Gran Canaria. Category sponsor: Falcon Holidays Long haul: Isabel Conway (Irish Examiner): Article on Kenya. Category sponsor: Sunway Travel Extra Overall Travel Writer of the Year: Pól Ó Conghaile. Category sponsor: Maltese Tourist Board Previous winners were: 2002 Cleo Murphy, 2003-4 Pól Ó Conghaile, 2005 Kathryn Thomas, 2006 Muriel Bolger, 2007 Philip Nolan, 2008 Pól Ó Conghaile, 2009 Mark Evans and 2010 Philip Nolan 2011 Isabel Conway. 2012 Sue Morrell.

John Concannon of Fáilte Ireland presents the Home market award to Pól Ó Conghaile (Irish Examiner) for an article on the Comeraghs

Carol Anne O’Neill of Falcon Holidays presents the Sun holiday award to Susan Morrell (Sunday Business Post) for an article on Gran Canaria

Kim Purcell of clickandgo presents the Travel Book award to Pól Ó Conghaile for his book, Secret Dublin

Claire McCoy of NITB presents the Northern Ireland award to Moira Hannon of the Star) for an article on Causeway Coast


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Inside the Travel Business

MARCH 2014 PAGE 35

GLOBAL VILLAGE

TRAVEL COUNSELLORS

Ireland rearranged their 2014 annual conference to Wednesday and Thursday May 21-22 in the Lyrath Hotel, Kilkenny. Cathy Burke, General Manager of Travel Counsellors in Ireland says she is” looking forward to having an early summer event, celebrating the company’s success and sharing important news and updates” with the 52 Travel Counsellors, suppliers and destination specialists.

CHIC Outlets launched a suite of products

at Fitur including a new MICE strategy partnering with corporates to host bespoke events, groups meetings and incentives at the Villages.

Clare Dunne, outgoing president of the ITAA speaking at the awards ceremony in the Mansion House

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AGM April 3rd

Martin Skelly early front runner for ITAA presidency

he AGM of the Irish Travel Agents Association will take place on April 3rd. One of the tasks of the meeting is to elect a new president as successor to Clare Dunne of Travel Broker whose two year term comes to an end. ITAA Treasure Martin Skelly has been mentioned as a front runner but nomination papers for the position and for treasurer will not be submitted until March 4th. Martin Skelly served as intermittent president of the ITAA when Pat Dawson moved from President to CEO in early 2012.

Issues facing the ITAA at present include the issue of their relationship with tour operator whose online discounts, can amount to €150 for some packages. Wings Abroad are the only tour operator not offering online discounts. Pat Dawson CEO of the ITAA says that a travel agent needs a gross margin of 7pc to pay the bills before an agent starts making a living. He says tour operator margins of less than 5pc make it unsustainable for agents to support tour operators. The ITAA is also examining the structure of its board to make it eas-

CITIESCAPES REBRANDS AS TRAVEL ESCAPES

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lan Lynch is to rebrand Citiescapes as Travel Escapes. He says the new name “makes more sense as the name incorporates more of what we offer, cities only account for

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20pc of our tours.” The company will fade out their Citiescapes brand with immediate effect, having offered Escorted tours, River Cruises, Ocean Cruises and City breaks for 22 years. They will continue to promote the

brand Cruisescapes "as one of Ireland’s leading River & Ocean cruise organisers." There will be more cross marketing between the two brands. Escorted Tours are still expanding and Travel Escapes now have tours to all five continents.

ier for members to commit to board membership. Members of the new board are currently being elected at regional meetings. The venue and date (likely October 9-10) for the annual conference of the Irish Travel Agents Association will be decided before the AGM with four serious options being considered. These include a trans-Atlantic venue, a cruise ship option and a major European sun destination. the conference is unlikely to return to Spain. In the past the ITAA has avoided returning to the same country for a second successive year

RYANAIR EDGES TOWARD GDS DEAL

madeus and Travelport are the two GDS partners in negotiations with Ryanair as the airline edging closer to a deal with "at least one, but maybe not all," GDS providers to distribute its fares through travel agen-

cies. While it would be to the advantage of a GDS that would have exclusive access to Ryanair inventory, Sabre does not have the penetration in Europe. Pat Dawson CEO of the ITAA said he looked for-

Alan Lynch

ward to agents being able to offer full content with Aer Lingus and Ryanair for the first time in a decade. Ryanair said at its quarterly results presentation that its fares could be on the GDS channels by midsummer.

The fares will not be subject to the GDS payment system as all payment will be by credit card. Ryanair recently appointed its ex-head of sales and marketing for Europe Lesley Kane to head of groups and corporate travel.

FALCON Carol Anne O’Neill was ap-

pointed interim Head of Ireland for Falcon Holidays and Thomson, will assume responsibility for the management of the business in Ireland after transition period working with Helen Caron. Carol Anne has 28 years’ experience in the industry in both tour operating and retail. She has held senior management positions as Operations Director for Falcon Holidays, Commercial Director of XL Holidays and Head of Sales and Marketing for Wings Abroad and in both of the latter cases she started the companies in Ireland.

GETABED the London based bed bank appointed John McKibbin to the newly-created role of sales manager Ireland. John previously worked with Travelcube and Needahotel. APPOINTMENTS Shannon

O’Dowd of The Travel Corporation (formerly 1STS) is to take up the position of Sales Executive with Etihad Airways. Gary Byrne is the new Account Manager for the Las Vegas CVA in Ireland at Aereps, he previously worked at Falcon Holidays, Abbey Tours and Topflight Worldwide.

AEREPS John Donohue’s Aereps

Travel Management is doubling up their roadshow calendar in 2014 with separate dates in April and October. The Caribbean/Latin America roadshow starts in Dublin on Monday April 14th with a Business Card Exchange at 12 noon and a trade Networking After Work event at 6pm. It moves to Belfast on Tuesday April 15th for another Networking After Work event at 6pm. The Aereps Americas Roadshow comes to Dublin on Monday October 6th and to Belfast on Tuesday October 7th. Aereps say they will be bringing airlines, cruise companies, destinations, bed banks, hoteliers and other travel suppliers to meet over 100 members of the Irish Travel Trade.

TRAVEL CENTRES is to publish its own brochure on South America in partnership with Ecuadorean company Metropolitan Touring, one of South America’s largest DMC’s who participated at the consortium’s last two annual conferences. Travel Centres conference which takes place again at the Killashee House Hotel in Naas, on November 14th & 15th. SUNWAY research indicated that more holidaymakers are booking their trips with local travel agents instead of online.


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MEETING PLACE

Out and about with the Travel Trade

role Carmody of Travel Anita Thomas and Margaret Shannon at the Em- Declan O"Connell, Angela Walsh and Sharon Jordan and Ca Sean Healy of the winning tra ry Awards at riates event for the travel media to announce ust Ind vel Tra h Iris the vel agency Lee Travel Corporation at at the Iris h Travel Industry Award their double daily service to Dubai s the Mansion House

Fiona Foster, Emma Bu nbury and Sharon Lyn ch of Thomas Cook at the Irish Travel Industry Awards

esa Killiney Travel and Ter Margaret Fitzgerald of ry ust Ind vel Tra h Iris the Leaseca of Falcon at Awards

Brendan Smyth, John Rawl and Colin Grant of Air Contractors at the launch of the Aer Lingu s Boeing 757 service fro m Shannon to Boston.

Kelly and Michael George Barter, Caroline rld. Grainger at Holiday Wo

William McGonigle of Transaero with Hugh Fly nn and Con Murphy of Air Contractors at the lau nch of the Aer Lingus B757 service to Boston.

Grainne Caffrey of Lowcostbeds, Jean Cusack of am Bulut, Ann Marie Turkish Airlines team Niz Icon Travel in Waterford and Pamela Brownlee of d Onur Gul at Belfast an r Dalton, Onder Gence Flyaway Travel in Ballina at the TI Awards Holiday World show .

Ben Bouldin and Steve Williams of Royal Caribbean at the Visit USA workshop at Holiday World Dublin.

Chris Lee of the Tourism Authority of Thailand, Esther Smith of the Dominican Republic, Jeanette Taylor of Sunway and Isabel Oliveira of Malaysia at Holiday World travel advice clinics.

Rebecca Kelly of MSC Cruises and Paul Kelly of Cassidy Travel at the Belfast Holliday World show.

and Kristin Skinner of Brian Hughes of United ry the Irish Travel Indust American Holidays at Awards.

Andrea Hunter of Aer Lingus, Jackie Herssens of Lauren Vallely and Doreen McKenzi eon board the pre-launch cruise Travelmood with Ciaran Mulligan and Jason around the Isle of Wigh t of NC L Ge taway inaugural out of Whelan of Blue Insurances at the ITIA awards. Southampton.

Andrew Daines, Dominic Daly, Lisa Thomas, Ivan Beacom of Aer Lingus and Kevin Cullinane, of Cork Airport at the Vistflanders event in Cork.

at ita Thomas of Emirates Valerie Murphy and An d un Ro the in s ard Aw ry the Irish Travel Indust House Room of the Mansion


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MEETING PLACE

Tavares at the Algrave Ana Correia and Celina World Dublin Stand during Holiday

Orla Connolly and Sylvia Kane of Falcon with Peter Brazil of Limerick Travel at the Irish Travel Industry Awards

of Travel and Nan Shortt Sandra Corkin of Oasis s, ard Aw ry Travel Indust Carib Tours at the Irish . 14 20 January 23

Rosie Nugent of Cassi dy Travel Blanchardsto wn and Sarah Walsh of Fa lcon at the Irish Travel Industry Awards

Out and about with the Travel Trade

Eithne Cosgrove of the Hotel Westport and Biddy Veronica Aherne of Touramerica and Catherine Hughes of Westport House at the CI É Interna- Brennan of Travelport at the Irish Travel Industry Awards tional Tourism Awards in Dublin Castle

Amanda Byrne of Ameircan Holidays, Ivan Beacom of Aer LIngus and Isabel Harrison of Shannon airport at the launch of Shannon-Boston

rism Authority of ThaiJoanna Cooke of the Tou rry from Topfllight at the land, and Roisin Carbe Holiday World Dublin

Jospeh Nugent of the Passport Office, Kees Davison of the US embassy, Eoghan Corry and Caroine Green of Ryanair at Holiday World

John Donohue of NYC& Co and Geraldine Tre ino of the Beacon Hotel Ne w York at the Irish Tra vel Industry Awards

John Ruddle of Shannon Heritage and Neil Pakey CEO of Shannon Airport at the launch of the Aer Lingus Boeing 757 service to Boston

Ground Hotel, Joe Alba Pearson of the Old the and Mary Gleeson of Arkins Mayor fo Clare l na atio ern Int É CI the Old Ground Hotel at 14.. blin Castle, Jan 28 20 Tourism Awards in Du

ard Stephen Teeling and Jack Teeling announcing the Spanish Tourist Bo Kathryn McDonnell of rist plans for a new distillery visitor centre in Dublin’s Tou ca llor as of the Ma in Dublin and Xisca Tom Newmarket Square in The Liberties adrid Board at Fitur 2014 in M

Susan Kiernan of Ask Susan and Linda McCo rry of Silverrsea at the Iris h Travel Industry Award s

Beatrice Cosgrove of Etihad and Murat Balandi of Turkish Airlines speaking at the advice clinics at Holiday World 2014

Claire Docherty of Sunw ay, Lauren Flynn of Earth's Edge and Greg Evans of Philadelphia and Atlantic City at the Irish Travel Industry

rism Ireland, Michael Simon Gregory of Tou and Declan Power of Sh an Vaughan of the IHF e vic ser 57 B7 of the non Airport at the launch


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Holiday World 48,041 people were at Holiday World 2014 Were you amongst them? Dates for Holiday World 2015 Belfast January 16-18 Dublin January 23-25 Real information from Real People


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Travel extra march 2014