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Irish Ferries cuts steel


Children’s passports


MAY 2017


Wizardry of Oz

What your client should know about Australia 2017

PHUKET 24x33cm ING.indd 1

06/04/17 14:57

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Passport easy

Child passport raised to 5 years as forms go online

inister Charlie Flanagan says 30pc of Irish passport renewals will be made online in first year of a new online application scheme. Ireland’s new online passport application service is available to citizens who are over 18, currently hold an Irish Passport and are not changing the name on a current passport. Children’s passports wil now be valid for five years instead of three. Applicants will need a digital photograph, an email address and a credit/debit card to apply online. A standard passport book online costs €80. A large passport book online

APPLICATIONS BY MONTH Jan 56,254 Feb 67,307 Mar 73,804 Apr 90,772 May 96,324 June 80,975

July 66,612 Aug 54,686 Sept 48,203 Oct 41,776 Nov 42,391 Dec 28,014

AMSTERDAM Now Ryanair and KLM (4 daily) are competing with Aer Lingut. DOHA The big marquee new

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

HARTFORD Daily from Aer Lingus since September.

fastest growing market to Portugal in January after Brazil and the US with visits up 35.4pc and bed nights up 39,1pc, fastest growing to Central Portugal with guests up 335,5pc and bed nights up 250,7pc, second fastest growing to Porto & Northern Portugal with visits up 55,7pc and bed nights up 50,4pc, third fastest growing to Lisbon, with visits up 28,4pc and bed nights up 26,5pc, while visits to Algarve were up 23,2pc (bed nights 40.8pc) Alentejo up 18,9pc and Madeira up 9.5pc (bed nights 18.7pc).

SHENGHEN New entry regulations which came into effect in Europe’s Shenghen zone are expected to cause border delays. INDIA’s Ministry of Tourism announced

Fiona Penollar, Head Of Passport Reform, Minister Charlie Flanagan and Siobhan Watters, Passport Office reform team costs €110. A passport card costs €35. It is cheaper when you apply for a passport book and card at the same time. Turnaround time wil be the same as prevously, two weeks. Passport applications are up 23pc in 2017 meaning that Ireland wil be issuing an estimated 840,000 passports this year. The Deratment says

ICELAND New flights from Cork and Belfast, Iceland tourism has trebled in recent years.

KRABI One stop through Doha

from July,.

MIAMI Aer Lingus’s marquee route form the autumn opening up Florida and cruise opportunities.

MUNICH Ryanair and Tran-

savia now compete on a route dominated by Aer Lingus and Lufthansa.

DISCOVER CROATIA With great hotels from our exclusive collections like TUI SENSIMAR, TUI FAMILY LIFE, A La Carte & Platinum. Terms and conditions apply. Falcon is fully bonded and licensed by CAR (TO 021)

that foreign tourists, iincluding Irish, visiting India on the e-Tourist Visa (eTV) will now be entitled to stay in the country for up to two months and enjoy double-entry benefits.

WHO named the ten most dangerous places to drive: Eritrea (48.4 deaths per that online applications will free up 100,000 inhabitants), Dominican Republic time to deal with the more security (41.7), Libya (40.5), Thailand (38.1), Veneintensive issues of first time appli- zuela (37.2), Nigeria (33.7), South Africa (31.9), Iraq (31.5), Guinea-Bissau (31.2), cants and children’s passports. The target is that children’s pass- Oman (30.4). San Marino was listed as the safest. ports can be applied for online by 2019. To renew, applicants must FERRARI Land opened with its star have less than 12 month’s validity attraction the world’s fasest 112mph 367ft-tall roller coaster (also in Dubai). remaining on a current passport.


AGADIR Alrady served by Sunway, Air Arabia wil jin them on the route 2w in winter

PORTUGAL Ireland was the third

PHUKET New one-stop option via Istanbul from July

NAPLES New Ryanair aser-

vice commences 2w in winter.

PROVIDENCE Norwegian flights from four Irish airports.

SPLIT New Aer Lingus service

to Croatia.

WESTCHESTER the Stewart Intenrational hinterland.

CANADA Of 7,700 Canadian Working visas allocated to Ireland in 2017, 5,418 have been issued and a further 1,794 applied for.

FAROES Sheep View 360, which saw

the Faroe Islands enlist the help of its many (80,000) sheep to put the islands on the Google Street View map, won the Travel & Tourism Award at the World Media Awards 2017.

QATAR Mall of Qatar opened. VAL d’ISERE announced that work on Le Coin de Val (website), a giant 200 million euro (£170 million) redevelopment of the heart of the village, will begin this autumn.

MAY 2017 PAGE 4



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3 News Where to go,h ow much to pay 6 Hotels: News 8 Postcards: News from the trade 10 Canada: Access all areas 14 Australia: About the plate 19 Mexico: Sun, sea, sombrero 20 Normandy: The Seine also rises 22 Theme Parks: What’s new 24 France: News from Rendez Vous

28 Flying: Ryanair’s connecting flights 26 Afloat: Irish Ferries cut steel 33 Ireland: German market the key 34 Global Village Inside the travel industry 36 Window seat: Belnda Vasquez

The real theme spirit


pick the least crowded times. Note that tickets are not refundable or transferable and subject to availability.

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


Price systems can be complicated, and to make sure you are going to get maximum benefit, you need to do your sums and plan your time. There’s no point buying an expensive multi-visit pass, only to find that you use it once before it expires.


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


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


Getting the right ticket can be a roller coaster

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

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

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

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

when and where you have the option. The time saved makes it well worthwhile for the small outlay, particularly as the sun climbs or, in Orlando, humidity soars. It saves queuing time




and makes everyone less grumpy, and if you are paying for a day ticket, gives you an extra couple of rides for time spent queuing. There is a snag: Disney’s fastpass locks you into a particular ride. You cannot get a fast pass for another ride until a stated time. So gather fast passes for the most crowded rides early in the morning, and use the transport system to travel between them to do your rides. Tickets are multiple entry and the monorail is air conditioned, so it doesn’t take as much time as the queue would in the first place.

BOOK in advance and online if you can. Ticket specialists such as Attraction Tickets Direct can offer big savings. In Europe, most big attractions now offer internet booking deals, typically offering savings 10pc. Tickets are cheaper if booked at least 48 hours in advance. If you have internet access, you can

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

LONG -Term The

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

who don’t need to take children out of school.

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

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

PROMOTIONS BEWARE BeThese are a favourite device in theme parks, as with hotels and airlines, to boost low season capacity. Arrive in a big European theme park outside of school holidays in shoulder season you will not only enjoy shorter queues but lower prices too. This is a big advantage for anyone with pre-school kiddies or who have unusual discretion days, such as the traditional Punchestown closing for Kildare schools. Checking websites is the easiest way of finding one-off, seasonal deals. Offers include May reductions for those

ware of prices of up to $250 for a ticket if you haven’t taken up one of the discount schemes. There are over 75 different types of ticket types to Disney, so buying them is a complicated business. Watch out for places that have no-child discount like Discovery Cove. And be wary of attempts to up-sell. Merchandise can make a theme park visit very expensive indeed. After every ride you can purchase a photograph of yourself looking terrified for u6-u15. T-shirts at u15-u24 are close to rock-concert rates.

MAY 2017 PAGE 6


SIGNATURE Living Group is to

develop the derelict Crumlin Road Courthouse in Belfast into a luxury hotel at a cost of £25m million, the first of five planned hotels that it will bring to Belfast over the next three years.

HILLGROVE Colm and Audri Herron’s four-star Hillgrove Hotel in Monaghan was sold to iNua Hospitality.

CHANCERY ST Planning per-

mission is being sought for an eight-storey 249-bedroom hotel at River House on Chancery Street in Dublin’s north inner city.

MAYO County Council has granted conditional planning permission for a 46-bedroom hotel in Ballinrobe.

IRISH HOTELS award winners included Culloden for best luxury hotel, Dónal Minihane, of Hotel Doolin for best manager, Citynorth for best airport hotel, McGrory’s Donegal for best hotel bar, Amber Springs for best family hotel, Roe Park for golf hotel.

CLONGRIFFIN Gerry Gannon is seeking planning permission for a 209-bedroom hotel in Clongriffin. JURY’S

Inn international visitors were up 13.6pc in 2016.

PREM GROUP was appointed to manage the 36-room three-star Carnegie Court Hotel in Swords, CLERY’S Plans to redevelop Clery’s department store into a boutique hotel, which will see it become a ‘rooftop destination’ with the addition of restaurants and bars, are to go ahead after SIPTU withdrew its appeal.

MINOR HOTELS Marion WalshHédouin of Minor Hotel Group came to Dublin to promote new openings in the Algarve and activities across the group’s six brands. CLONSHAUGH Carra Shore

Group was granted permission from Fingal County Council for a 10-storey, 427-bedroom hotel in Clonshaugh near Dublin Airport.


plans for a 304-room Grand Central Hotel in Belfast are set to be approved, up from the original 200 rooms.

POWERSCOURT Shane Ross launched a multi-lingual audio guide at Powerscourt Estate in Enniskerry. CENTER PARCS appointed Daragh Feighery as the first General Manager of Center Parcs Longford Forest, Ballymahon ASHFORD

Castle appointed Lisa Toomey as Director of Food & Beverage, where she’ll join the five-star property’s team of 350 staff.

MAYNOOTH university campus which has 1,300 beds on offer has signed up as the main accommodation venue for next year’s World Amateur Team Championships in Carton House. HOSTELWORLD

as it pays €10m extra dividend.

shares rose 9pc

Rolf’s country house accepts the AA award for guesthouse accommodation

Ashford’s AA win


First win for worldwide Virtuoso champion

ayo’s Ashford Castle, managed by Niall Rochford, was named AA Hotel Of The Year for 2017 at a ceremony in medley in Dublin. The five-star hotel was presented with the award by Minister of State for Tourism Patrick O’Donovan at the annual AA Hospitality Awards. Rolf’s Country House in Baltimore, Co. Cork won ‘AA Guest Accommodation of the Year’, while the

The Talbot Hotel in Stillorgan, Dublin, picked up the ‘AA Courtesy & Care Award’ for customer care. Two restaurants won three rosette status Lady Helen in Mount Juliet and Gregan’s Castle in Ballyvaughan, and two won two star status, the Cliff House in Ardmore and Patrick Guilbaud’s in the Merrion Hotel in Dublin. The Red Carnation hotel has sen 75m in investment over the past

AA HOTEL OF THE YEAR 2000 Merrion Hotel, Dublin 2001 Aghadoe Heights, Killarney 2002 Sheen Falls, Kenmare, 2003 Hayfield Manor, Cork 2004 Killarney Park, Kerry 2005 Dromoland Castle, Clare 2006 Kelly’s, Rosslare, Wexford 2007 Harvey’s Point, Donegal 2008 BrookLodge, Wicklow

2009 Mount Falcon, Mayo 2010 K Club, Kildare 2011 Gregan’s Castle, Clare 2012 Knockranny House, Mayo 2013 Castleknock Hotel, Dublin 2014 Maryborough Hotel, Cork 2015 Powerscourt Hotel, Wicklow 2016 Maryborough Hotel, Cork 2017 Ashford Castle, Mayo

three year. The hotel enjoyed an exceptional year in 2016 with an occupancy rate into ‘the mid to high 90s’ between mid-May to the end of September. In 2015, Ashford Castle was voted as the world’s number one hotel by luxury travel network Virtuoso. AA Director of Consumer Affairs Conor Faughnan said “Ashford Castle is one of Irish tourism’s finest assets. It takes a lot to impress an AA Inspectors; they judge by the most exacting standards in the industry. Ashford Castle’s beauty is breath-taking and the investments made by its owners are evident throughout the Castle and grounds. What is more important though, is the standards of friendliness, professionalism and warmth shown by the entire team. Ashford Castle is a wonderful representation of everything that Irish tourism does so well.”



BRE reports seven hotels changed hands from January to March with a combined value of €26m, down on 14 for Q1 2016. Hotels on sale include Mount Wolseley for €14.25m and Athlone Springs Hotel for €3.5m. Other sales included the 104-guestroom D Hotel in

Drogheda and the 30-guestroom Clifton Court Hotel in Dublin. This is down from the 14 sales that totalled €47m during the same period last year. , Lisa Keogh, associate director at CBRE Hotels Ireland, says “the slowdown isn’t very surprising that the decline had been

anticipated” “The market is very busy behind the scenes as hotel assets are being prepared for sale and other sales processes are being conducted off-market,” she told Insider Media. “However, very few hotel properties have been formally launched for sale so far this year, which is

frustrating considering the weight of capital chasing opportunities in the hotel sector at present.” Last year, CBRE reported 65 hotels sold in the country for a total of more than €800m. For comparison, 2015 saw 63 sales for a total of €710m.


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MAY 2017 PAGE 8



he Association of Women Travel Executives inaugural event in Dublin was attended by 52 female travel professionals, 48 of whom have signed up to become members of the organisation. Chair of AWTE Ireland and former president of the ITAA Clare Dunne told delegates that AWTE was planning a “building your confidence in business” even with Maire Ní Gallchóir on June


he Spanish Tourist Board Valencia and Costa Blanca hosted by 45 Irish trade. Peter O’Hanlon of Trailfinders hilarious compered the event: “these holidays will be on the Budget Travel window in the morning with a 70pc discount, only kidding” (as Budget swept the prizes). The Valencia region attracts 145,000 Irish tourists year but its share of the market share to Spain has slipped from


he famous Huntingdon Beach bonfires were among the attractions showcased in Dublin in a series of meeting s by the Huntingdon Beach representatives from California and London, The resort, claiming the title of Surf City USA, is 40 minutes from LAX and 30 minutes from Disney and offers hotel accommodation about 20pc cheaper than central Los Angeles.

20, a networking event in the summer at a venue to be decided and a digital workshop in September. An website has been set up. Those who sign up for membership will have access to the English website and its facilities and access to event in England. Picture shows the committee of Lorraine Quinn, Niamh Waters, Clare Dunne, Yvonne Muldoon and Fiona Foster.

11pc to 9pc in recent years. A group of 14 Spanish hoteliers joined Valencia Region Tourist Board (Jose David Aledo), Costa Blanca Tourist Board (Paz Verdú), Alicante Tourism (Marina Campello), Visit Benidorm (Sergio Frau), Valencia Tourism (David Gomez).on the mission. Picture shows Kathryn MacDonnell with David Aledo of Valencia and Teresa Gancedo, director of the Spanish TB office in Dublin.

Sue Thomas outlined new hotel options which brings capacity to 2,200 and makes Huntingdon a good place to base yourself for the city and the theme parks, as well a the beach. pier and walkable downtown. And, of course, surf. “We are obsessed with our ocean.” Picture shows Sue Thomas, Kerry Miller and Annabel Herrick.


he fourth Irish Travel Industry Trade Show will take place in Hall 3 of RDS Main Hall Complex again next year on Thursday, April 12 - with a second travel trade show scheduled for Cork the following day. The one-day event is organised on behalf of the ITAA by Business Exhibitions Limited and offers travel agents and tour operators an opportunity to network with fellow professionals.


he WTC Selective Thriftway team of Aaron Bolt, Michael Holmes and Andrew Osborough won the Turkish Airlines Irish bowling tournament for third three years in a row. They will be travelling to the finals of the Turkish Airlines bowling tournament in Istanbul on May 13th to compete among 45 countries in 90 destinations.


ong overdue. The AA award for Hotel of the year, picked up by GM Niall Rochford at a ceremony in the trendy new Dublin spot Medley. NIall says “Ashford Castle has always been a very special property but Red Carnation. They have invested a lot of time, love, money and attention and it has culminated in this award tonight. The whole 75m project was not a re-

The trade show will be open to members of the Irish travel trade from 2pm to 7pm and will again include a sponsored lunch for travel agents, meeting rooms for travel agent buying groups and a post-event barbecue with entertainment. Picture shows Ana Celina Tavares of Portugal Tourism, Maureen Ledwith of Business Exhibitions and Teresa Gancedo of the Spanish Tourist Board at the 2017 show in the RDS.

The top finishers were 1 Selective Travel Belfast 825; 2 BCD Travel Dublin 687; 3 HRG Dublin 680; 4 Cassidy Travel Dublin 678; 5 World Travel NI Belfast 664; 6 Club Travel Dublin 662; Picture shows Onur Gul of Turkish Airlines and Önder Gençer with second placed team Kevin Egan, Rachel McKay and Kevin Smithwick of BCD Travel and Alper Kanburoglu of Turkish Air at the Dublin Coolock Leisureplex.

furbishment, or a renovation, it was a restoration of a great property. The spa is like an orangery, like all the great houses would have had. We have replaced 820 windows, we have re-leaded all the roofs, we have repointed all the walls, all the mechanical and electrical has been stripped out, It really is a fundamental change but is has secured the property for three generations.”

MAY 2017 PAGE 9



er Lingus hosted travel media for a question and answer session between Kathryn Thomas and Susanne Carberry on the shopping advantages of Aerclub loyalty scheme. While the months since November have been occupied with transferring 400,000 members of the previous Gold Circle scheme, described by Aer Lingus CEO Stephen Kavanagh as “neither driving nor rewarding loyalty, poorly


ravel Counsellors Irish headquarters team did not have far to go to host the group’s 2017 Irish conference. Fota resort hosted the group for the second time and it was a suitably lively affair. The 58 Irish travel counsellors and a few recruits and potential recruits were joined by nine airlines, three DMC’s, six cruise lines, five tourist boards, four hotel reps, six tour


he most interesting presentation at Taste of Tourism conference in the Culloden Hotel was from former Michelin inspector Chris Miller. Chris had 20 splendid pieces of advice for restaurateurs. Offer value for money. Work as a team and make sure your support team is as knowledgeable and as capable as you are. Make sure the communication between kitchen and front of house is working.

administered and not offering anything of real value” and dealing with their complaints about lounge access, Susanne stressed the ability for shoppers to earn points at partner outlets such as the Kildare Village and Supervalue. Picture shows Susanne Carberry, Dara McMahon, Paula Donaghy, Shona Kelly, Pauline Crowley, Roz Duff, Eoin McGirl and Colm Maher of Aer Lingus at the Aerclub loyalty scheme launch.

operators, two bedbanks, and six other parties for three days of networking sessions, sponsor pitches and a supplier pow-wow which worked with military precision. Jim Eastwood, from the famous Tyrone family,said he was looking forward to his new role with the company. Picture shows the Travel Counsellors Irish team, Rachel O’Connell, Ciara MacConnell, Cathy Burke, Bernie Whelan and Caitriona Kelleher.

The best service is unintrusive, good service is never having to ask for something. Let the guests eat with all their senses. Offer daily specials, it gives you a chance to get regulars happy and is a great way of trialling new dishes. Develop signature dishes. Offer something unique to the local area. Explain new and unusual ingredients. If a dish is not selling, take it off the menu. Don’t add an ingredient for the sake of it.

MAY 2017 PAGE 10



arks Canada is giving away free passes to Canada’s national parks, historic sites and marine conservation areas as part of the confederation’s 150th anniversary celebrations. The passes will be available at Parks Canada sites and through partners until the end of 2017. It is just one initiative as part of a €550m commemorative programme which kicked into action to celebrate the anniversary. Niagara Falls officially launched its Canada 150 activities at a flag raising ceremony on January 27, with former Toronto Maple Leaf Johnny Bower in attendance. Hundreds of musicians are expected to perform together in Toronto to set a Guinness world record for the largest rock performance. Toronto’s TO Canada with Love (the TO referring to the city’s nickname) offers a year-long programme of events. The city’s iconic 3D Toronto sign was fitted with a large illuminated 3-D structure of a maple leaf prior to 2017 at the end of the sign. Forty orchestras and 60 new commissions will be part of the Canada Mosaic music and arts progamme. Canada’s capital of Ottawa plans the 2017 Ice Cross Downhill World Championship, the 2017 Juno Awards, the 105th Grey Cup, and the 2017 Canadian Videogames Awards. Windsor, Ontario is erecting a 150-foot (45.7 metre) flagpole to fly a 60 feet by 30 feet (18 metres by nine metres) Canadian flag. Canada 150 in Quebec coincides with celebrations marking the 375th anniversary of Montreal, where projects include decorative lights for the Jacques Cartier Bridge and a new headquarters for the National Film Board of Canada in the Quartier des spectacles. A Canadian Arctic

The 150 Canada Club Canada celebrates a big anniversary in 2017

Gros Morne National Park a world heritage site located on the west coast of Newfoundland Aviation Tour will be a series of air shows across Canada’s North, with plans to visit close to 100 northern communities. The tour will begin in June at Alberta’s Rocky Mountain House Airport. British Columbia invested $8m in museums and heritage sites throughout the province. The City of Vancouver refers to anniversary celebrations as Canada 150+, to recognize Indigenous peoples in Canada who lived in Canada prior to Confederation. Nova Scotia celebrations will also include Rendez-Vous 2017, which will see tall ships visit 11 communities across the province over the summer. The province of Ontario is staging 350 Canada 150 events across the province The Canada 150 tulip, also known as the Maple Leaf tulip, is the official tulip of Canada 150 and was unveiled 9 May 2016, in Commissioners Park. The tulip was selectively bred with white flower and red flames, which resembles the flag of Canada. For Canada 150, the Canadian Tulip

Festival in Ottawa will plant 30,000 Maple Leaf tulip bulbs.


hen Brendan Behan was asked why he visited Canada he said that he had looked out the window of the Irish Press office in Burgh Quay and seen a big sign; Drink Canada Dry. “So I said to myself, why not?” There are 49 more reasons to visit each week this summer. A vast country of unexplored open spaces, Canada is a mixture of ultra-modern cities and forests, rivers, mountains and valleys that date back millennia. Signature attractions consist of natural treasures such as Niagara Falls in the east and the Rocky Mountains in the west. The edginess in the relations between Canada’s indigenous, English and French traditions give the country a unique feel. Canada is the second largest country in the world after Russia, a vast expanse of forests, lakes, snow-capped mountains and prairies. The tourist board pro-

motes Canada as a four season destination offering a selection of adventure holidays (hiking and skiing to climbing and whitewater rafting), city breaks, winter activities, touring holidays by car, coach and train, and wide open spaces.


oday’s Irish visitors to Canada appreciate the ease of access, the friendly, English speaking locals, the affordability with a favourable Euro-dollar ratio, the safety and the variety of products to suit all ages. Canada is a land of huge contrasts - from the rural prettiness of Nova Scotia to the bustling cities in Ontario’s Golden Horseshoe, to the spirit of the west in the Prai-

rie Provinces and the dramatic seascapes and maritime traditions of Nova Scotia and Newfoundland are all more accessible this year with 29 flights per week from Dublin to Canada. Officially bilingual, the main languages are English and French. French is mainly spoken in the Quebec region although you wil find the language across the entire vast country. Indigenous languages have also survived in pockets and can be discovered through folk music and interpretative centres.


s befits the world’s second largest country, the climate of Canada varies widely. The west coast is the most temper-

ate, with temperatures in Vancouver averaging 3-17C. The east coast has long, humid summers and heavy winter snowfall; Montreal temperatures average from -10 to 20C. The Prairies region, between the Rocky Mountains and the Great Lakes, has hot summers and cold winters, with little rain. The northern icecaps are permanently frozen. Canada’s multicultural society means a variety of cuisines are available in most cities. French, Greek, Italian, Indian and Chinese restaurants abound. Quebec has its own gastronomic tradition based on traditional French cuisine. On both coasts seafood is plentiful and affordable.


n 1 Notre-Dame Basilica Montreal, n CN Tower Toronto, n Capilano Suspension Bridge Park North Vancouver, n Parliament Hill and Buildings Ottawa, n Royal Conservatory of Music, Toronto, n St John’s Anglican Church, Lunenburg, Nova Scotia

n 7 St Joseph’s Oratory of Mt Royal, Montreal, n 8 Swallowtail Lighthouse, Grand Manan, New Brunswick n 9 Signal Hill, St. John’s, n 10 Peggy’s Cove Lighthouse, Nova Scotia Source: Tripadvisor

B:250 mm T:240 mm S:215 mm

Canada, full of natural wonders. When your clients fly to Vancouver or Toronto with Air Canada Rouge, they can connect with us to points anywhere in the vast and diverse landmass that is Canada. Venture to Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island, Sydney, Nova Scotia or Deer Lake, Newfoundland on the East Coast, or into the West Coast interior, to Kelowna or Abbottsford, British Colombia. One thing for sure will be the Canadian hospitality enjoyed along the way. Learn more at, trade support 1800 300 36212,

T:330 mm

B:340 mm

S:300 mm

MAY 2017 PAGE 12


Tundra birds Is Churchill, Manitoba the BEST Canadian destination?


Observing polar bears from custom fitted vehicles in northern Manitoba

he ice melts on Hudson Bay in July, transforming it from the world’s biggest skating rink back into a living sea with astonishing speed. This is the signal for scores of Beluga whales move with their young from the estuary of the Churchill river on to the bay. They are easy to find. “We will move. That should draw them,” says Mike Macri and starts up the throttle of the zodiac water craft. Most whale watching experiences tell

you to keep the engines down, to whisper and not to point. Belugas are different. They are curious. They like the sound of the motor and the motion of a zodiac on the surface. They come to see what visitors they have. There are teams of them, swimming past, below and beside, turning and looking up at me with those winsome eye. This is nature viewing on nature’s terms, like being let into someone’s living room One mother whale

nuzzles my toes and then guided her calf to do the same, snow white with puppy eyes, leaving us looking at each other wide-eyed in a way it was impossible to tell who was the tourist and who was the attraction. You cannot claim to have completely experienced whale watching or any diving experience until you hit the cold water of the Hudson and see these magnificent animals. There are 57,300 surviving beluga whales, and 3,500 of them in


n Vancouver VanDusen Botanical Garden Museum of Anthropology Queen Elizabeth Park n Quebec City Old Quebec Montmorency Falls Park Rue du Tresor n Montreal Old Montreal Montreal Botanical Gardens Mont (Mount) Royal n Toronto St Lawrence Market Distillery Historic District Edge Walk at the CN Tower n Victoria Inner Harbour Royal BC Museum Beacon Hill Park

n Niagara Falls Niagara Parks Butterfly Conservatory Queen Victoria Park Skywheel n Whistler Peak 2 Peak Gondola Whistler Blackcomb Lost Lake n Ottawa Canadian War Museum Rideau Canal Peace Tower n Calgary Glenbow Museum Heritage Park Historical Village The Calgary Zoo n Halifax Halifax Public Gardens Maritime Museum of the Atlantic Point Pleasant Park

western Hudson. The 600 in the Lawrence River have a higher profile, but these guys are worth coming to see. Mike loves his whales, and has been taking visitors to see them for 35 years. He revs up and springs into action when the report comes in of a two year old male polar bear near the coast. The bear is wandering out to the headland near the ancient fur-trading fort. The bear is oblivious to his aquatic viewers, and this is as good a sighting as we could imagine.


hurchill, Manitoba is a Hudson Bay port so far north there are no roads. Tourists can stay safe here from the roaming Polar Bears that have just come off the ice. According to Duane Collins the Canada parks interpreter co-ordinator there were 1300 polar bears in the western Hudson 40 years ago. Now there are 950, a significant proportion of the 1,400 who survive in Canada. Churchlll is the only place on the planet it is illegal to lock your car.

The reason is there are 950 polar bears around the Western Hudson and they cluster here because it is last place to freeze and first to ice up again. It has two must-do experiences. The first a

polar bear safari in a bus on giant tractor wheels, a huge tundra buggy invented here for the experience. There can be injuries. A local nurse told me of the photographer

CANADA 30-SECOND GUIDE n Getting there 29 flights per week from Dublin Halifax 1w (ASL) Montreal 1w (Transat) St John’s 7w (Westjet ) Toronto Pearson 24w (Air Canada Rouge 7, Aer Lingus 7, Air Transat 3, Westjet 7 via St John’s) Vancouver 3w (Air Canada Rouge) n What to buy Maple syrup from Quebec. Indian crafts ranging from the horn carvings of the west coast Haida to the soapstone sculptures of the Northwest Territories’ Inuit peoples. n Currency a euro buys approx. 1.45 Canadian dollars n Timezone Six zones, ranging from GMT -3.5 in the east to GMT -8 in the west. Daylight saving time (timezone +1) from April to October. n Related literature Girlfriend in a Coma, Generation X and other titles by Douglas Coupland. Surfacing, Margaret Atwood A young divorcee returns to the remote island of her childhood in Northern Canada to investigate the mysterious disappearance of her father. In the Skin of a Lion, Michael Ondaatje A mid-western Canadian farm boy leaves the backwoods for Toronto, where his life becomes linked to the building of the city’s waterworks. The Deptford Trilogy, Robertson Davies Three 1970s novels tracing the lives of three men from a small Ontario town, connected and transformed by a single childhood event. The Shipping News, E Annie Proulx. Celebrating frozen, unforgiving, desolation of Newfoundland.

MAY 2017 PAGE 13


who lost an arm when he leaned out of the buggy, oblivious to the bear that was directly below. With global warming there are three weeks less ice a year than was the case in the traditional cycle. Every week affects the weight of the polar bear by 10 kilos. Bears are hungrier, and hungry

bears are dangerous.


t was not a bear or a beluga that savaged my arm, but bugs. Millions of them. Up here the caribou can lose a pint of blood a day. At first the mosquitoes, the really dominant animal up here on the fringe of the treeline, seemed not as bad as we

suspected. A few minutes in the boreal forest was enough to finish that delusion and show us they had menace. They found us and descended on us, so much that the bussing sounds and the attack flight path comes to dominate the whole experience. They call it the Churchill Wave, the

hand flicking as you walk through the street. I wore my Coghlan’s bug jacket. The net keeps mosquitoes out but not their proboscis, and I soon have the scars to prove it. We travelled for a mile with a small sub-pack of Qimmiqs, which apparently are Canadian Eskimo Dogs, very dif-

ferent from the Alaskan Huskies.


avid Daley of Wapusk Adventures has spent his life working with these dogs and speaks their language. His favourite, Storm, broke his choke chain to protect another dog when a wolf came in to the

kennels and died in the process. David is a classic musher, closer to the dogs than his own family. He puts deet on them, which sounds bad idea until you think of the alternative. You can imagine what the early explorers had to do without deet.

Clockwise: Tundra vehicle, man versus mosquito, beluga whale spotting, polar bear alert and driving the tundra vehicle

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MAY 2017 PAGE 14



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

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



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


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

Humpback trail   Backpacker pyramid at Lake McKenzie on Fraser Island

Eoghan Corry on the traditional backpacker route

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


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

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


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

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

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

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


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

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

Eoghan Corry and Graham Howe jetski at Fraser Island

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


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

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

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

MAY 2017 PAGE 15



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

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

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

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

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country restaurant, ninety minutes from Melbourne, in one of Australia’s few spa regions, a place patronised by the local Djadja Wurrung people for tens of thousands of years as a sacred place with healing powers and more recently by Melbourne population in quest of health, wellbeing and, or course as befits the fusion food capital of the world, fine dining. A great French-trained chef, Anna Wolf, meets an artist and falls in love. He could build, and they found a plot of land on the edge of Lake Daylesford in 1979. What could possibly go wrong? The Lake House in Daylesford has come riding up the charts as one of the subcontinent’s great eateries. The restaurant now has a luxury hotel with 35-rooms, winning awards as Australia’s best regional hotel,. Anna’s daughter Larissa operate the front of house. “What has happened is that both the property and the town have evolved to become a destination in its own right. So now you have people just coming up for lunch.” “The vision was never to create a luxury hotel, it was to create a restaurant that was worthy of a journey, as the Michelin

Spa spangled A fine dining haven 90 minutes from Melbourne

Larissa Wolf-Tasker shows off the wine collection in the Lake House, Daylesford, 10,000 bottles and counting

Guide says.” That was the benchmark for Anna. She now has two chef’s hats, the Aussie equivalent and has become a champion of Australian food.


aylesford, like many towns in the Great Dividing Range north of Ballarat, had a short innings as a gold mining town. Founded by an enterprising Galway man, John Egan, in 1848, and he a party of searchers found alluvial gold in 1851 on ground now covered by Lake Daylesford initiating the local gold rush. By 1859 around 3400 diggers were on the local diggings. The post office opened on 1 February

1858 [5]and a telegraph office was opened in August 1859. The gold was gone within a decade, and a quartz mine kept the semblance of town economic life together A small nineteenth century tourism industry clustered around the spa springs, with 65 mineral springs, the Daylesford-Hepburn Springs region has 80pc of Australia’s known mineral water springs. Spa developments including Hepburn Bathhouse & Spa, Mineral Spa at Peppers Springs Retreat and Salus Spa, Lake House. The local delicacy is bull boar which is a sausage made from beef, pork, garlic and spices, named an en-

dangered recipe by the Slow Food Movement. It was not served up at the Lake House, instead we had slow cooked confit duck, apple and currant chourcroute, and 12hour shoulder of Flinders island saltbush lamb, roasted with Moroccan flavours, chick peas, Mount Franklin organic Musquee de Provence pumpkin, yoghurt/tahini dressing, parsley pine nut and coriander salad


arissa beams with pride as she shows us through the garden. “We didn’t go in with a grand plan. My mam is Russian, so you don’t plant anything that is not edible. All the ugly fruits, the apples

that look like they have bruising but are actually the most delicious to eat, she grew all those. Every time we turn over a rock we grow our own food.” “We grow some of our own food. We do what we need to do with the local markets, talking to the local farmers. All these restaurants that say we grow our own food in that patch out the back are lying. It is just not possible. Even for us.” “Our restaurant seats 40 seats to 100 seats. When we first opened we had a beautiful kitchen garden. We had our own vegetable patches. To grow enough food to feed a hundred people even if we were full just two days a week, we would

need 500 acres.” “People are fed by that by the marketing machine. In the country, you cannot fake that. We work with four organic farms who work in different climates around the region.” “They are the experts. They know the land. They know the seasons, they know what works. We know what we want It is easy to have a conversation with somebody that grows your food. We are fortunate, but it has been thirty years in the making. We trust them to grow great produce, they trust us to know how to cook it, and hopefully what ends up in the plate is a snapshot of the region.”


n The largest concentration of naturally occurring mineral water springs in Australia and the largest critical mass of holistic practitioners in the Southern Hemisphere. Treatments and therapies at one of the many indulgent Day Spas, picturesque main street, artists studios and galleries - including the famed Convent Gallery, award winning restaurants, cellar doors, provedore stores and coffee palaces. n Lake House: one of Australia’s best restaurants sitting on the shores of Lake Daylesford, try a wine tasting session in the 10,000 bottle cellar prior to a unique shared table lunch in the new waterfront pavilion. There are 33 rooms and suites set on six acres of waterfront gardens and the Salus Day Spa. Since 1984 the property has been

an icon of the region,+61 3 5348 3329 n The Chocolate Mill sources the best local and international ingredients and has selected the finest Belgium chocolate to create all natural hand-made chocolates and serves award winning hot chocolate in the cafe. +61 3 5476 4208 n Hepburn Bathhouse & Spa: promotes communal, shared rituals of traditional bathhouses in the region’s mineral waters. Explore the curative effects of mineral water, salt water and steam in their facilities which include an aroma steam room, salt therapy pool, relaxation pool, and spa couches submerged in mineral water with relaxation decks. : +61 3 5321 6000

Clockwise: The Lake House, chocolateer Nikki Starton , Eoghan Corry and Alison Beer of Tourism Australia n Eoghan Corry travelled to Australia courtesy of Emirates who fly double daily to Dubai and onwards to Adelaide, Brisbane, Melbourne, Perth and Sydney and of Tourism Australia

MAY 2017 PAGE 17


t feels all new and shiny, largely because it is. Hotelier Jim Cavill, invented the region, the Gold Coast, and the city, Surfer’s Paradise just as the gold was running out and the new fangled sport of surfing had been demonstrated in Sydney (on our side of the world. There are better places to surf, but the name was perfect if you are going to invent a plastic playground. Playground it became in the 1950s and 1960s, initially for visitors up the coast from Sydney and Melbourne or down 77km from Brisbane. By the 1980s the Japanese were coming in large numbers, loving the name, and the area evolved into something like Florida, complete with theme parks and short stay apartments and lines of fast food outlets and shops selling holiday bling. No self respecting back backer can return to Europe without having spent a few nights here. High Rise does not have to mean low end. It is a very aquatic playground. The Gold Coast


High rise Holidays T

great conversation, hospitality and the appreciation of that rare thing, time,


Surfer’s Paradise in Queensland: More than a stop on the backpacker trail

has nine times the combined waterway length of Venice and Amsterdam put together. The region has one of the highest number of registered water vessels in the world, 30,000. They might have called i the mosquito coast, but that would not look quite as good in the brochures.

he Surfers Paradise Meter Maids were introduced in 1965. Local entrepreneur Bernie Elsey opposed the installation of parking meters in Surfers Paradise. The maids were hired to top up expired parking meters and dressed in gold bikinis.

Meter feeding was supposed to be against the law but the headlines made the council tolerated it and used their meter maids as part of the grand marketing plan. . The meters are gone but the maids are still there. But there is another Gold Coast, not the one of schoolies’ week (Australia’s equivalent of the

Leaving Cert tip to Santa Ponsa) falls from balconies, GC600’s jelly-wrestling competition and Gold Coast Bulletin’s stories about couples having sex in the back of police cars. As happens when people gather, there are food markets and excellent restaurants, surprisingly good coffee and

t Paradox coffee roasters they roast daily onsite via their cherished Brambati roaster, sourced out of Northern Italy. The 5 metre tall roaster can be seen in action on a daily basis, dominating the corner of the building, with aromas float floating through the building. “You can see here the sacks on display, and people can watch the roasting process. Everything is exposed. There are no secrets. It’s about education, so that people are not intimidated by coffee culture,” Head Roaster Matt Trow says. “The more people are involved, the more they’ll be a part of it.” At Seascape restaurant we tucked into Pernod Bouillabaise snapper, prawns. Mussels, clams, and Moreton bay bugs. Restaurants here, as befits a famous playground, play with the ingredients and the flavours.


enture away from the high rise and there is much to do. A drive through the lush greenery of Tallebudgera valley or a visit to Tambourine Mountain is worth the time and effort. And a new beginning: the Gold Coast hosts the 2018 Commonwealth Games. Expect the image to change.

Tourism Australia launches Aussie Specialist agents programme in Ireland


hen you are selling a big country like Australia, it is all about itineraries,” Ricky Dunn of Tourism Australia said on a recent sales mission to Ireland He urges agent to sign up for the Aussie specialist programme, which is to be launched to the Irish trade last month. In England 3,000 agents registered and 2,000 qualified.

Ricky Dunn of Tourism Australia and Simon Mamouney of the Australian Embassy in Dublin “It is a very useful tour to help agents put together itin-

eraries for Australia. We spent a lot of money putting this together. There is a training component. You complete five modules, you get qualified, you can call yourself an Aussie specialist, which gives you a bit of credibility. “With the interactive map you can click on a city, get an itinerary, suggestions for activities around that location, fact sheets and trade resources,

there is a lot of useful tools. There are three core modules and two electives. It is tablet friendly or you can do it on your PC. There are a lot of freebies and incentives for agents who like to do their own trips to Australia. Ultimately it gives you more credibility to sell, it educates you and makes your job easier, so please have a look.”

MAY 2017 PAGE 18



Apostles Creed

lmost every village crossroads in Australia has a memorial to the fallen in the first world war. They have April parades and minutes’ silences to commemorate the lives lost at Gallipoli and Suvla Bay. When I asked Jidah Clark how many memorials there are to aboriginal fallen in the frontier wars of the 1860s, I was met with an incredulous look. “None,” he said. Not one. It might be added that 50,000 Australians died fighting for the empire, and 180,000 aboriginals died on their own lands. They may well never have existed. A complicated history for a complicated land.


hey do have 297 art sites in Gariwerd, centre of creation stories for many of the Aboriginal communities in south-western Victoria, around the areas where some of the worst of the massacres and poisonings took place. None of them get direct sunlight. The oldest rock paintings are the same age as the Lascaux paintings in France. Jidah had brought us to Billimina rock overhang was once a meeting place for the Jardwadjali people. There are others Gulgurn Manja. Manja, Ngamadjidj. Wando Vale is the Auschwitz of aboriginal culture. The British reduced the local population from an estimated 100,000 in 1788 to 3,500 in 1850. By 1917 the handful of survivors were concentrated on the two surviving mission stations Framlingham and Ramahyuck, largely against their will, and children were separated from their parents and placed in children’s homes or with white families.

Eoghan Corry on the great Ocean Route


The Twelve Apostles at sunset, the most recognisable limestone stacks in the world

t Brambuk Cultural Centre there is a visitor centre grasping at the remnants of the lost culture, there were once language groups 38 languages in the region, and 500 languages in Australia, all extinct or in terminal decline. The shop and reception is manned by whitefellahs, a grainy enlarged photograph represented the lost generation, their faces pixilated beyond anything recognisable like a medieval statue. Only one story has survived, the video tells us, as there are no blackfellas to give a tour. “The body parts of our people were collected and sent all over the world,” said Jidah Puundaa Yirneen Clark, to give him his full name. “There is a big military culture in Australia, ANZAC day and all that. They don’t recognise the

wars that took place in Australia. More people were killed and they were fought for a longer period, about 140 years, where are our heroes represented in the monuments in Canberra or anywhere else?


wimming in the ocean was once banned here,” Roger Sullivan says at the surfing museum in Torquay, an hour or so south of Melbourne on the road to the Twelve Apostles. “It was considered indecent.” Everything changed when the gospel of Duke Kahanamoku came from Hawaii and Australian designers introduced the short board to surfing, reducing 9 foot to 6 foot and the eight from 20kg to 5kg. First generation Malin man and triple world champion Mick Fanning, who survived a

near death experience with a shark last summer, is among those who are celebrated at the little shrine to one of the sport’s most famous beaches. Even when the wind comes from the Antarctic, rather than the tropics, Australians love their surf. Fanning’s father came from Malin. He once was asked if he had surfed on that beautiful coastline, the Five Fingers beach perhaps. “I have an arrangement with the sharks,” he said, “I don’t go into the water and they don’t come into the pub.” “The best surfer on the water is the one having the most fun,” Roger says. “You are tapping into an energy that is generated thousands of kilometers away. The

range of experience that you can have on a wave is great. You can be completely encircled by the water. It is pretty rare to encounter a surfer who is not smiling.”


t was an unforgiving coast. They have storyboard marking the sites of the most famous shipwrecks, Tom Pearse the cabin boy on the Lockhart and Eva Carmichael the Irish doctor’s daughter survived who survived three shipwrecks The coastline here is distinctive, the ocean fringed with white, the colours more subtle than we normally associate with Australia. Fragile as the landscape is the wildlife,

there are 28 endemic plants in the Grampians, struggling to survive the invasion. “It is a very different landscape,” Greg Clements says. “The sandstone makes the terrain soft, with those boulders coming down on it. The Otway snail is very rare, don’t step on one.”


ou come a long way to see something as beautiful as this. The Twelve Apostles may be the world’s most recognised limestone stacks. They will astonish you from the beach, the cliff top or a helicopter flight. We tried all three. You come to the end of the earth to be captivated and find it is worth the journey.

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

MAY 2017 PAGE 19



omeone in Darwin tried to sell me insurance against crocodile attack. It cost AUS$10, or Eu5, and then she said it only applied to my face, in case my face was damaged. “So it doesn’t apply if I lose a leg?” I asked. “If the croc gets your leg you won’t need insurance,” she said, reassuringly. Crocodiles have long been the headline act here around. People want to swim with them (they can, in Darwin’s Crocosaurus Cove). The guide book tells you: “If you do not see a warning sign, assume crocodiles are present.” There are two types of the crocodiles in Australia, salt water crocodiles and freshwater crocodiles. When you see a salty, you need to get as far away as possible form them. Fresh water crocodiles are different, In places like Katherine Gorge in the Northern Territory you can share a billabong with them. They look at you, eyes over the water, and you look back. Both of us are a bit scared If you want to swim in a billabong with one of those rectagonal “no swimming -danger crocodiles” warning signs, you can at your own risk. They assure me they check at the start of each season at Gubara billabong in case there are any salties here.


Wildlife file

Crocosaurus in Darwin, where you get up close and personal with fearsome Salties including some film stars


ea excursions in the world are fund in Australia. At Exmouth in Western Australia, you swim with whale sharks. It may be the best animal encounter on an y itinerary. Dolphins are all around

the country. Travel 20 minutes outside of Adelaide you can swim with them. A short distance from Brisbane you can see dolphins every night there and Tangalooma’s famous wild dolphin

feeding encounter is regarded as Brisbane’s best day trip. The quokka selfie has become a bit of a fad. On Rottnest Island, 25 minutes form Fremantle by ferry, you meet what the Aussies claim (with usual

modesty) is the happiest little animal on earth. The island is a carfree zone, and the best way to get around is by bicycle, which can be hired through the ferry company or once you’re on the island.


he Great Barrier Reef dive is a genuine must-do in an industry where the word is horribly overused. It is massive, the size of Japan, bigger than any national park. Each dive is full of surprises, full of wildlife, full of colour. The size of the attraction offers embarkation point all along the coast, Cairns and Port Douglas being the favourites, down to Lady Elliott Island, which may be prettiest of all. Note to agents: sell the Great Barrier Reef brief tour before your clients travel, because not only will you get commission but your guests will have a better time. If you book the tour for a client, you are going to send them with a company has been checked out and they will have a great time. Buy onshore on a backpacking trip, you may not go to the same part of the reef. The Barrier Reef is quite a political issue. Points you may need to want to make about the reef is that the areas to which you are going have been quite unaffected by the infamous bleaching. In the long term there are serious issues facing the reef, but tourism is generally of benefit to the reef. Every trip pays a reef tax which goes towards the conservation of the reef. And by sending people there you raise awareness.

Clockwise: Great barrier Reef turtle, Eoghan Corry jumps in for a Barrier Reef dive, cage of death at Crocosaurus in Darwin, crocodile feed in Cairns, and the quokka, allegedly the happiest little animal on earth

MAY 2017 PAGE 20

DESTINATION MEXICO Mexico’s Pacific coast is a world away from the glitz of Cancun, finds Mark Evans

Pacific heights


he Mexican Pacific resort of Ixtapa-Zihuatanejo has a split personality - and it really works to cater for all tastes. While the country’s eastern resort of Cancun, and the wider Riviera Maya, now attracts 35,000 Irish a year mostly thanks to direct package flights with Thomson - that area has the feel of a transplanted Florida, with all-inclusive hotels, high Western standards, and (still) plenty of American tourists. But Ixtapa-Zihuatanejo gives you a different flaour of a diverse country. Ixtapa was constructed as the west coast’s answer to Cancun, with sumptuous hotels, manicured surroundings and glitzy shops and a high-end

The view from La Casa Que Canta hotel - featured in a Hollywood movie - in the Zihuatanejo marina. Its next-door neighbour of Zihuatanejo has kept its distinct local flavour. Still a thriving fishing port, it’s got the feeling of a working town - and it’s all the better for that. If Cancun is pure Miami Beach, Zihuatanejo, with its rocky coves and glorious beaches, is a combination of sweeping Bay of Naples views and French Riviera indulgence. The downside? It’s a long way away (Dublin to Mexico City via London, Paris or Madrid,

then a one-hour local flight), but it’s worth it. Whether you want a family holiday in paradise, a honeymoon away from the beaten path, or a backpacking adventure, meeting real Mexicans, then it fits every bill. The town of Zihuatanejo isn’t overrun with tourists - it boasts lively markets, numerous stores selling local handicrafts, and there’s not a chain store or global fast-food restaurant in sight. Take a fishig boat expedition (it’s one of the top spots

Ixtapa Island sunbathing, top left; Mark Evans checks out one of the many American bars in Zihuatanejo; skipper Tim Sullivan; and the town port

on the entire Pacific coast of the Americas for game fishing), or switch off entirely with a boat excursion to Ixtapa island. If snorkelling is your thing, the diving is excellent. If you’re not a swimmer, you’ll see huge fish by the waterline (think sea bream-sized speciments swimming alongside you). If that’s too much, pull up a beach chair, order a margarita and a Mexican feast and no nothing. Absolutely nothing. Manana is a bit fast in these parts!

Beaches are fabulous - all offering something different, whether it be paragliding, scuba or just plain chilling. My hotel, Villa Mexicana (www.villamexicana. com) is a small boutique offering on the glorious Playa Ropa. It attracts a loyal following of North Americans escaping the cold winters there (the snow birds pleaded with me not to reveal their secret paradise bolthole) and it’s slap bang on the beach. (Think 30 seconds to bar and restaurant,

15 seconds more to the sands). Downtown is bustling, and the nightlife is good (Senor Frogs is great, with barmen and bouncers keen to teach the fairer sex how to salsa), but the vibe is chilled - think Italy, just a little less hurried. Life revolves around the sea, from the fishermen bringing fresh catches to restaurants to pleasure cruisers voyaging around the coves). I indulged in a sunset cruise on the Picante catamaran, skippered by Dublin-born Tim Sullivan. Sip a tequila or gin and tonic, and soak up the rays before a stunning sunset provides the highlight of the day (don’t forget to watch it with a nice sundowner cocktail). (www.picantecruises. com). Life is good in these parts - and cheap. Food is a steal, as is the drink, but bring enough pesos to keep you going, as cards are rare, and ATMs are in short supply. And if you don’t want to be adventurous, take to the all-inclusive lifestyles of the big chain hotels in neighbouring Ixtapa.But if you do, take time for Zihuatanejo - it’s friendly, welcoming and with enough exotic charms to keep you enchanted.0

Mark Evans travelled to Ixtapa-Zihuatanejo with the Mexico Tourism ( via London Heathrow/Mexico City with BA and Aeromexico to Ixtapa

MAY 2017 PAGE 21




ormandy could be the 33rd county of Ireland, like an extension of Wexford. The Normans who landed in Baginbun in 1170 must have felt they were coming home. The landscape is not mountainous or craggy like the west of Ireland or Brittany. It just rolls a little, as if it had worked out in advance how best to please the eye. It is also incredibly familiar. Generations of us now have rolled off the ferry into Cherbourg, or Le Havre in the old days, and driven through the place in many cases as fast as we could to seek the sun in the Vendee or further south. It was a mistake. Normandy is a holiday in itself. Lots to see.


ven Cherbourg which looks like the archetypical port town has a wealth of attractions that you will not see from the bypass past the customs post and on to the motorway. The first stop should be Cite de La Mer attraction, home of the retired nuclear sub The Redoubtable. The Redoubtable isn’t like the show submarines you come across in Philadelphia and Chicago with their cramped quarters where men were packed like sardines during the dark years of World War II. It is more like a 19th-century ironclad, spacious, if such a word can be used for a submarine, and full of surprise luxuries like tables to sit on and a lounge that would not be out of place on a modern cruise ship. Of course this was for the officers. The seamen were still doubling as sardines, even if their sardine tin was a bit more plush than their predecessors. It is a wonder that of 58 missions undertaken by this submarine with 3,000km range nuclear

Norman Immersion

Old place, new entrance, Mont St Michel’s bridge will restore the tidal marsh to their former glory missiles ready to fire, not a single shot was fired in anger. We may not be reading this if it had. The aquarium is the deepest in Europe, according to our tour guide, 11 metres deep beneath the ocean. But the real selling point is how they have recreated the days of emigration in their vast exhibition halls. People trekked from all over France and Europe to board liners in these very halls, and 1929 was the peak year. The most famous to call was the Titanic, too large to dock in the Cherbourg of the time, so they tendered the 281 embarking passengers out in separate boats for first, second and third class. The Titanic museum in Cherbourg doesn’t have the rides, bells and whistles of its Belfast counterpart but it adds a great sense of authenticity as it recreates the living quarters in a more accessible manner than Belfast does. The large halls, unchanged from their use as embarkation posts for the hopes and dreams of people who made

America what it is, are a sombre monument. Walking through Cherbourg with tour guide Didier Lecoeur, you are never far from being reminded of its sea. Where there is a port, there are prostitutes. They had their own box, discreetly curtained, in the Italian theatre, so-called because every amphitheatre of the 19th century was regarded as Italian by the nature of its circular design The prostitutes were at floor level, just under where the grandees sat, gawked at upwards by the middle class, and down from the working class sitting high in the Gods, fine dresses and jewellery to be gaped at. It was swarthy theatre, strong sailors were hired to pull the ropes to lift the curtains. France has an enlightened view of mistresses. Many a mistress held a marriage together is an old saying.


he road from Cherbourg passes the beaches and the graves of D Day. In Falaise you can come across something genuinely sombre, the

dedicated to civilian casualties in World War II. The people here suffered twice, under occupation and then under the Allied bombing which killed 80,000 of them, more than England’s blitz. Their cities were flattened and the ravaging of their heritage might be seen as a price to be paid for being landed on a front line they did not chose. The women were raped by unscrupulous British soldiers given free license to do so by their officers as they rampaged over a foreign country that they resented as much as the foe. It was a horrible time, and was written out of history by the triumphalist rhetoric that was piled on in the immediate aftermath of Hitler’s defeat.


or those who prefer their history more cut and dried and heroic, what better place to go than the D Day experience. There you have a simulation of a parachute drop over France on D

Day. They use a genuine troop transporter craft and shake the riders up Having listened to the briefing for your mission and having had the chance to look out the window at the squadrons of planes the anti-aircraft fire which was sent up to detract, in an attempt to recreate what must have been terror. There is a large collection of genuine artefacts, uniforms, flak jackets and the tales of made it and those who did not,, completes a short but memorable personalised immersion experience. Heroic histories didn’t tell us of everything that went wrong, the aircraft that lost touch with each other, that got lost, the men who mistakenly alerted the enemy to their arrival and the people who dropped in the wrong place. Our guide Jules Vernon told us sections from his great store of anecdotes. One word stood out in the conversation. Misdrop: landing in the wrong place. Boy, was the a BIG problem for a small word.

ont St Michel used to be every family holiday’s first stop in France after the ferry. It is tall and imposing, out of the flat salt marshes silted up by 100 years of Causeway. It can be packed and hot in high summer, which is when we visited most, but it is always intriguing. The little narrow paths to the summit, the endless steps to climb, the little churchyards, the nooks and crannies, the stunning Gothic architecture, the gargoyles, snarling crankily. In a place where nothing changes, everything has changed. The causeway has been removed, and eventually the silt will go to. The cars that were parked, nose to the monument, are parked 2.7 km away and visitors are shuttled or they can walk the pleasant walk over the bridge, having stopped down to the dam where the river is used to flush the marshes and try and try to restore them to their pristine beauty. The goal is to convert Mont St Michel back to an island, or as much of an island as you can expect, in these excessively tidal waters. They have spent 200m to get Mont St Michel surrounded by water 150 days a year rather than the 50 it once was. It makes the place even more medieval, more imposing and more authentic.


ur tour guide Anne Flora Marziou brought us on that rarity, a rooftop tour where the carcasses of seagulls have been deposited by the Falcons, and the views across the bay or worthy of an Abbott or a Knight. The bells will sound when you are there. Listen to the silence. Over a million visitors a year and it is always silent up there.

n Eoghan Corry flew to Paris with Aer Lingus and was hosted in Normandy by Atout France and Normandy Tourism

MAY 2017 PAGE 22



wo and a half major theme parks open for summer 2017. Ferrariland roared into action in Salou on the first week in April, sharing an entrance with Portaventura. Volcano Bay is Universal’s new water park, with innovations such as virtual queueing. ‘We researched the water park extensively before we opened it,” Dave Cole of Universal told travel agents on a recent visit to Dublin. “We wanted to know what people hate about water park, rather than what they like about water parks. They hated queueing. They hated carrying rafts up the stairs.” Volcano Bay will be more advanced than Wet ‘n Wild, the Universal-owned water park which was located across Interstate 4 from the main resort until it closed in December. Unlike many water park attractions, its signature 200-foot volcano it won’t have staircases for people to climb. Instead, riders will board inflatable canoe-shaped rafts with metal plates built into the bottom. Magnets will then pull them up to the top. Visitors will receive wristbands on which they can reserve times so they don’t have to queue. Promised signature

Erupting Two and a half major theme park openings in 2017 Volcano Bay, Universal Studio’s breakthrough water park

rides include Ko’okiri Body Plunge, a 70-degree fall through a drop door and 125 feet, Kala & Tai Nui Serpentine Body Slides, Punga Racers


1 Disney’s Magic Kingdom Orlando 20,492k up 6.0pc 2 Disneyland, Anaheim up 18,278k up 9.0pc 3 Tokyo Disneyland, Tokyo 16,600k down 4.0pc 4 Universal Studios Japan, Osaka 13,900k up 17.8pc 5 Tokyo Disney Sea, Tokyo down 13,600k up 3.5pc 6 Epcot Disney World, Orlando 11,798k up 3.0pc 7 Disney’s Animal Kingdom, Orlando 10,922k up 5.0pc 8 Disney’s Hollywood Studios Orlando 10,828k up 5.0pc 9 Disneyland Park Paris 10,360k up 4.2pc 10 Universal Studios Orlando up 9,585k up 16.0pc 11 Disney’s California Adventure, Anaheim 9,383k up 7.0pc 12 Islands of Adventure Universal Orlando, 8,792k up 8.0pc 13 Chimelong Ocean Kingdom, Hengqin 7,486k up 36.0pc 14 Everland, Gyeonggi-Do 7,423k up 0.6pc 15 Ocean Park, Hong Kong down 7,387k up 5.2pc 16 Lotte World, Seoul 7,310k down 3.9pc 17 Hangzhou Songcheng Park, 7,289k up 25.5pc 18 Universal Studios Hollywood 7,097k up 4.0pc 19 Hong Kong Disneyland 6,800k down 9.3pc 20 Nagashima Spa Land, Kuwana 5,870k up 4.3pc

competitive slide, Punga Racers splash slide and Maku Puihi six-person rafting adventure.


isney has slowly released details and artwork “Pandora: The World of Avatar not exactly a new theme park but half way there, a 12-acre land this summer at Animal Kingdom Imagineers have been recreating an elaborately themed, fantastical land, which is home to the blue Na’vi extra-terrestrial race. The land will include Flight of Passage, which gives people banshee rides over Pandora, and Na’vi River Journey, in which visitors will take journeys through a bioluminescent rain forest in canoes.

The extensive Avator zone is Disney’s answer to rival Universal Orlando’s richly detailed, interactive Wizarding Worlds of Harry Potter. Both are meant to increase dwell-time among visitors. A water park directly on resort property, should mean that Universal can keep visitors from wandering off to International Drive or Disney. Similarly, Disney wants to extend visitors’ stays at Animal Kingdom, viewed by some as a half-day park. To give people reasons to stay into the evening, Disney has been developing the “Rivers of Light” waterfront show with lights and music. Disney originally intended to launch the production in April 2016. But it has been delayed by technical

difficulties. For 2018 Disney is promising Star Wars Land. Game on.


he big European opening took place last month, the €100m Ferrariland, covering 75,000m2, themed to the Italian sports car brand in the PortAventura resort (but separate from PortAventura Park). It features new rides, a 250-room hotel, designed by PGAV Destinations, with restaurants, shops and car racing simulators. The entrance is adjacent to PortAventura Park’s main entrance. The Mediterranean theme is common to both entrances, with Ferrari Land will also be inspired by Italy, including

recreations of Venice’s Piazza San Marco and Rome’s Colosseum. The main ride of Ferrari Land is Red Force, a 112m tall vertical accelerator coaster that surpasses Shambhala: Expedición al Himalaya in Portaventura as the tallest coaster in Europe and will also be the fastest coaster in Europe. Other attractions include Ferrari Drop, Gran Prix and a flying theatre.


popular partner with the ferry companies form Ireland, Alton Towers big 2016 opening was virtual coaster Journey beyond on Galactica, based on the Galactica flying rollercoaster, where technology integrates the twists, turns and drops of the ride in

MAY 2017 PAGE 23

THEME PARKS 2017-8 taking riders into another dimension and space, with G-forces greater than a space shuttle on Nemesis, Oblivion’s vertical drop, the Smiler’s 14 loops and speed on Rita. Alon Tours has been developing its attractions for younger guests and new attractions come to CBeebies Land in 2017. -At The Furchester Hotel Live Show they can join Phoebe, Funella, Furgus, Elmo and Cookie Monster; or take the controls in a Vroomster on the Go Jetters Vroomster Zoom ride. The two new attractions join a line-up of attractions at CBeebies Land including Postman Pat Parcel Post, Mr. Bloom’s Allotment, Justin’s House Pie-O-Matic Factory and the In the Night Garden Magical Boat Ride. Alton Towers Resort


James Cameron, announces that he is working with Walt Disney Parks

now offers 50 rides and attractions including a Rollercoaster Restaurant. Chessington World of Adventures Resort offers 40 rides and attractions in 10 themed lands, a Zoo and Sea LIfe centre with over 1,000 animals and guests can come face to face with the Gruffalo


new for 2017, The Gruffalo River Ride Adventure will take riders on a riverboat journey with Mouse through the deep dark wood. As you splash down the lazy river, the story of The Gruffalo* will unfold in front of their eyes with twists and turns along the

way,, a world first Four fully themed Gruffalo hotel rooms opening the Chessington Safari Hotel, The Gruffalo Gift Shop, The Gruffalo Bites food outlet, character Meet and Greets and film showings at The Gruffalo Arena.


t Disney World Orlando, the $400m Avatar land is to open May 23 featuring: Avatar Flight of Passage, a flying augmented reality simulator attraction where guests will learn to fly with a mountain banshee (did the originators of bean-sí ever think that the Irish for female seer would become a theme park attraction). Na’Vi River Journey takes riders past “native” fauna and flora of Pandora. DisneyQuest is to close after July 3, 2017 and Resorts to create and will be replaced by AVATAR themed lands NBA Experience. Disney’s Hollywood Studios is to get an entire Star Wars Land in 2019 featuring attractions that send guests on a customised secret mission, and places them in “a climactic battle First Order vs the Resistance.

he trend in theme parks has been a move away from smaller attractions to the giant conglomerates. Of the top 25 theme parks in the world, seven are located in Florida, three in California, four in Japan, three in China, two each in Hong Kong and Korea, and four in Europe. Disney dominates market share, accounting for half of the total industry’s revenue in the US. The market can be volatile. Disneyland Paris has seen attendances fall by 9.5pc to 13.4m in 2016, a drop of 16pc from the 16m peak in 2012. Disney have been fighting back with a series of promotions, of which the most popular is the free to eat offer that has been revived to drive early bookings in 2017.

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MAY 2017 PAGE 24



usch Gardens in Tampa is renowned for having some of the scariest coasters in the business, ten themed areas (based on 19th century Africa). Signatures include Cheetah Hunt, Cobra’s Curse, Gwazi (SBNO), Kumba, Montu and SheiKra. Seaworld Orlando, divided into eight themed “seas,” and seven shows. Mako and Manta are the signature rides among five coasters and eight other rides. Kreken is to be transformed into a virtual coaster in 2017 to open Friday June 16. The sister water park Aquatica has 14 rides. SeaWorld Orlando says Infinity Falls, the World’s tallest river rapid drop, is to debut summer 2018. Disneyland Anaheim, the original of the species, consists of eight themed lands, and signature attractions such as attractions: Pirates of the Caribbean and Space Mountain were born here. Star wars land is coming to Anaheim in 2019.Universal Orlando, Race Through New York Starring Jimmy Fallon, the big opening for 2017, was also the first ride to be granted a virtual queue facility, where riders get an admission time and are free to wander the park. Skull Island: Reign of Kong opened in Islands

Smiler at Alton Towers of Adventure. Universal Studios Florida and Universal’s Islands of Adventure have opened 20 new guest experiences since 2010 including The Wizarding World of Harry Potter-Hogsmeade, Diagon Alley. On May 25, Universal will open Volcano Bay. Universal has been testing return times at its Despicable Me Minion Mayhem attraction. That indicates a shift in philosophy for Universal, which has typically not allowed visitors to skip lines without purchasing Express Passes starting at $50. That’s in contrast to Disney, which provides a limited number of FastPasses free of charge. Universal Holywood is a working a film studio and theme park with nine rides, seven shows, and a large outdoor play area. A truncated version of the Wizarding World of Harry Potter opened there last year, incorporating three shows and the Flight of the Hippogriff


1 Chimelong Water Park, Guangzhou, China 2,352k up 4.1pc 2 Typhoon Lagoon at Disney World, Orlando 2,294k up 5.0pc 3 Blizzard Beach at Disney World, Orlando 2,107k up 5.0pc 4 Paradise Island Nassau, 1,868k up 1.0pc 5 Thermas Dos Laranjais, Olimpia, Brazil 1,761k down 9.2pc 6 Aquatica, Orlando 1,600k up 2.0pc 7 Ocean World, Gangwon-Do, South Korea 1,509k down 5.9pc 8 Caribbean Bay, Gyeonggi-Do, S Korea 1,434k down 4.0pc 9 Aquaventure Water Park, Dubai 1,400k flat 10 Wet ‘N Wild, Orlando 1,310k up 2.0pc 11 Hot Park Rio Quente, Caldas Novas, Brazil 1,288k flat 12 Therme Erding,, Germany 1,235k up 23.5pc 13 Wet ‘N’ Wild Gold Coast, Gold Coast, Australia 1,200k flat 14 Shenyang Water World, Fushun, China 1,150k down 1.9pc 15 Tropical Islands, Krausnick, Germany 1,100k up 1 flat 16 Sunway Lagoon, K Lumpur, Malaysia down 1,077k 2.1pc 17 Schlitterbahn, New Braunfels, Texas,1,037k flat 18 Aquapalace, Prague 997k up 18.0pc 19 Atlantis Water Adventure, Jakarta, 970k up 1.0pc

and Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey rides. Seaworld Orlando will add virtual reality to its Kraken roller coaster this summer. It also introduced the Seven Seas Food Festival, which will run each Saturday until May 13. Knotts Berry Farm, the traditional theme park in Anaheim, offers 39 rides including roller coasters, family rides, children’s rides, water rides, and historical rides, The 1990 construct Boomerang closes in 2017: new this summer is Sol Spin, an adventure over 6 stories high where riders rotate in all directions on one of six spinning arms, and the iconic Soak City gets a minor expansion, as well as a new Boardwalk Barbecue restaurant. Ghost Town Alive has been brought back and VRCADE added. On Xcelerator riders accelerate from 0 to 82 mph (132 km/h) in 2.3 seconds and climb 20 stories into the air. Seaworld San Diego, the original Seaworld offers an animal theme park, oceanarium, outside aquarium, and marine mammal park, consisting of 26 animal habitats, 10 rides, 20 shows, 2 play areas, 4 special limited-time events, and 11 distinctive experiences, including controversial experiences such as swimming with dolphins. A new orca presentation opens this summer and the park will add five new attractions, including Submarine Quest, a dark ride that takes you through the sea while inside a submarine, a jellyfish themed Zierer

Waveswinger ride and three other family friendly attractions Legoland Orlando recently opened a Ninjago area, featuring a ride on which people can fire at on-screen dragons and enemies using hand gestures rather than joysticks.


lton Towers, Stoke, England is highly popular with Irish guests because of proximity to Holyhead, a three and a half hour drive from the ferry. New for 2017 is two CBeebies rides, Go Jetters Vroomster Zoom Ride, a spinning flat ride themed to CBeebies programme Go Jetters, the Furchester Hotel Live and the new CBeebies Land Hotel. Ten signature coasters provide the thrills. Smiler has a record 14 inversions, with Galactica, Nemesis offers G-forces greater than a space shuttle, Oblivion is known for its vertical drop, Rita for its speed, with adrenaline rides Octonauts Rollercoaster Adventure, Runaway Mine Train, Spinball Whizzer, SW8 and Thirteen all part of coaster-lore. There are six other rides, five attractions and 18 children’s rides. Rides available for early ride time for 2017 are Nemesis, The Blade, Oblivion, Enterprise and most of CBeebies Land. In March 2018, Gloomy Wood will be home to the SW8 wooden coaster. Legoland Windsor is England’s most popular theme park is a mixture of Lego-themed rides, models, and building

workshops. The park is split into 12 themed lands, incorporating various attractions, restaurants and shops. The “Return to Skeleton Bay” pirate stunt show is new for 2017. The Q-Bot queueing system cuts queue times. Chessington World of Adventure, just off the M25 south west London, theme park divided into ten themed lands. It has four coasters, five flat rides, thee water rides, 11 children’s rides, three shows, and five shows. New for 2017 is the rebranding of the Transylvania area into Wild Woods to tie with The Gruffalo River Ride Adventure. Market Square was re-branded to Adventure Point to tie with Chessington Adventure Tree Carousel. Existing signature attractions include: Vampire, Bubbleworks, Rameses Revenge, Dragon’s Fury, Kobra, Zufari: Ride into Africa and Scorpion Express. Thorpe Park, off the M25, west London: Timber Tug Boat opens in 2017. Signature attractions include Tidal Wave, Colossus, Nemesis Inferno, Stealth, SAW The Ride, The Swarm and Derren Brown’s Ghost Train. There are seven coasters, ten flat rides, five water rides and four other rides. There are eight themed areas..


isneyland Paris is Ireland’s favourite theme park by a distance, the seven on-site hotels clinching our affections. There are also seven associated hotels. It has two theme parks, Holywood Studios and the original Disney park that celebrates 25 years this year. The themed areas are slightly different from Orlando and Anaheim. Visitors can get a great view of the daily parade by booking a table at Walt’s restaurant. New for 2017 is Star Tours: The Adventures

Continue which takes passengers on an intergalactic voyage in 3D and Star Wars: Hyperspace Mountain, which replaces the original Space Mountain and three new parades new Parade Disney Stars on Parade, The Starlit Princess Waltz, and the nightfall Disney Illuminations. Top five attractions are, It’s a Small World, Space Mountain (to be renamed Star Wars: Hyperspace), Big Thunder Mountain, Pirates of the Caribbean, and Buzz Lightyear’s Astro Blasters Portaventura, Salouis hugely popular with Irish visitors because of its strategic location on the Costa Daurada. The signature coasters are Shambala and Dragon Khan . uropa Park, Strasbourg-Frieburg (located in Germany near the French border), is the second most popular in Europe, with five resort hotels and 13 roller coasters, including the iconic Alpenexpress Mine Train and the 2016 Ba-a-a Express children’s rollercoaster. Ba-a-a Express is in Ireland, is the children’s land, one of 18 themed areas named for European countries, with rides such as Dancing Dingie, a spinning boat, Dingle Bay, and Old MacDonald’s Tractor Fun, a sit down tractor ride, Other signatures include Euro-Mir, a one-of-a-kind, high-speed, Mack steel track spinning roller coaster, based around Russian space missions. High capacity rollercoasters and attractions meaning the park can accommodate up to approx. 60,000 guests per day. This year Europa-Park will develop land adjacent to the park entrance for Europe’s biggest flying theatre, Voletarium. In 2018/2019, Europa-Park are building a €140m water park and hotel. Heide Park, Hamburg offers nine coasters and


MAY 2017 PAGE 25


three water rides divided into five themed areas, signature coaster is Flug der Dämonen winged coaster The most recognisable landmark in the park is a 35 metre tall replica of the Statue of Liberty. Phantasialand. Cologne, started as a family-oriented park then added thrill rides. There are six themed areas. Signatures include a themed Mine Train roller coaster called Colorado Adventure, which runs among some mountains in the park’s Wild West section. Efteling, Rotterdam, added Symbolica dark ride this year. The 31 rides are divided four themed areas or realms. Signature is the doubleloop roller coaster Python (constructed in 1981) are located. Marerijk is the home to the Fairy Tale Forest and the Fairies of the Droomvlucht, Tickets cost 36.50


mid the key Spanish resorts, Siam Park, Tenerife offers twelve rides with a Siamese theme, and claims to be the most spectacular water attraction in Europe. Siam Park is the world’s first green water park. Aqualandia, Benidorm is twinned with the marine animal park Mundomar, which is immediately next door to Aqualandia, and shares the same free car park Terra Mítica, Benidorm has 25 rides and 15 shows in five themed zones. Luxor Hotel opened last year. In addition, the five Aqualands in Spain, one in Portugal, and seven in France, have introduced a fast pass system that allows visitors to join special queues and get preference on many of the rides. It costs €10 per person for the day. An attractive option for families on holidays in Spanish resorts, they are renowned for their use of the use of green areas and

Giants, Mysteries of the Unseen World and Wings of Courage.

N Entrance to Europe Park the natural landscape. Don’t fret about crowds, they are plenty of sun beds located around the main Wave pool and a special picnic area; they can be rented for €4 per day. Visitors are allowed to bring your own food and drinks into the park, as long as there are no items made of glass. The Speed Racer is the newest ride at Aqualand Torremolinos. Parque Warner 25 km southeast of Madrid, signatures include Superman: The Attraction of Steel with its floorless trains, Batman: The Escape inverted roller coaster, Coaster Express, a wooden coaster and Stunt Fall inverted boomerang with a vertical drop of 54.4m reaching a top speed of 115 km/h.


candinavia has an array of eclectic and unique amusement parks. Tivoli Gardens Denmark is the second-oldest operating amusement park in the world, after Dyrehavsbakken, also in Denmark. The 27 rides and four coasters include the signature Rutschebanen, operating since 1914. Newest attraction is Fatamorgana, which opened in 2016 and offers two separate seating arrangements, one milder version with two-seater gondolas, and a thrilling version in which riders are slung around at high speed while seated in a ring and facing away from the centre. Legoland Billund, the original Legoland park, opened on June 7, 1958 in Billund, Denmark

next to the original Lego factory and near Billund airport. It is aimed for younger children with 16 of the 41 rides themed for younger guests. There are four coasters and nine themed zones. Gröna Lund in Stockholm offers seven coasters, 14 other rides and 12 children’s rides. Signatures are Kvasten and Insane. Liseberg Gothenberg. Thirty rides include five coasters, the signature Helix opened in 2014. Loke a 27m tall Gyro Swing, opens this years. Next big opening, planned for 2018 is Valkyria, a dive coaster that will reach speeds of 104.9 km/h on a 700m track from a height of 47m. Gardaland, Verona, Italy offers a combined theme and water park with seven coasters and three water rides, four dark rides and ten other rides. Magic Mountain will be rethemed and renamed as ‘Shaman and will feature a Virtual Reality experience. Other signatures include Oblivion: The Black Hole, Raptor, Mammut, Blue Tornado and Sequioa Adventure.


n France Parc Asterix, 32km from Paris, signature attractions include OzIris, an inverted roller coaster, and Goudurix, a large steel multi-looping coaster. Puy du Fou historical theme park in the Vendée camping region offers 26 main shows, each running for approximately 130 – 140 minutes: the main show takes place

in the evening on a huge outdoor stage behind the ruined castle telling the story of the 700 years of history in the area. Newest is Le Dernier Panache which follows the destiny of a French naval officer in the American War of Independence. During April, July and August there is an after sunset show. Futuroscope, Poitiers, on the route to Biarritz, offers 22 science-themed attractions and shows including three 40-mnute Imax productions, Tiny

ew for 2017 in Six Flags in USA includes Justice League: Battle for Metropolis interactive dark ride, while Coming to Six Flags Over Texas, Six Flags Great America and Six Flags New England. The Joker 12-story, 90-degree hill, six inversion ride comes to Texas and New England. Wonder Woman Lasso of Truth comes to Six Flags America and Six Flags Discovery Kingdom. Thunder Rapids rocket blast water coaster comes to Six Flags Fiesta Texas. Spinsanity, a disc which spins first one direction and then another, comes to Six Flags St. Louis. Bonzai Pipelines duelling water slides comes to Six Flags St

Louis. The New Revolution Virtual Reality comes to Six Flags Mexico. Hurricane Harbor Oaxtepec opens in Morelos in Mexico, will be Six Flags’ 19th park. Fun Spot America will open a wooden roller coaster in Kissimmee with a barrel roll. New at Canada’s Wonderland, Toronto is Soaring Timbers (a Mondial Inferno) a new flat ride, and a Splash Works expansion in the form of Muskoka Plunge, a 60-foot (18 m) tall waterslide complex featuring four “trap-door” speed slides. The park is known for its variety of coasters, 16 of the 69 rides are coasters and two are water rides, in all there are 200 attractions (including games) Signature coaster is Leviathan.

MAY 2017 PAGE 26

AFLOAT SILVERSEA Irish agents jined the Silver Muse for its launch party in in Genoa,The smallest cabins on Muse measure nearly 400 square feet — unusually spacious for a cruise ship. Upscale restaurants include La Dame, a French restaurant created in partnership with Relais & Châteaux, and two contemporary Asian eateries. SILVERSEA revealed delivery dates of delivery dates of 2020, 2021 and 2023 for three ships the same size and shape as the 592-passenger Silver Muse.

NORWEGIAN Cruise Line increased service fees in all cabins, the third rate increase since February 2015. Standard cabins charges are now $13.99 per passenger, per day, up from $13.50 or the original rate of $12.50 in February 2015. A couple wil now pay almost $190 in service charges for a standard cabin on a one-week cruise. P&O Cruises raised its daily gratuity charge from £5 to £6 per day.

Eamonn Rothwell, Rüdiger Fuchs CEO of Flensburger Schiffbau-Gesellschaft and Andrew Sheen and David Ledwidge of Iish Ferries.


Cruisessay the 1,924-passenger former Mein Schiff will be renamed TUI Explorer when it launches May 2018.


Actress Joan Collins named Uniworld’s Joie de Vivre in Paris. The first public sailing takes palce today on Paris & Normandy itinerary on the Seine. With a length of 125 metres, rather than the typical 135 metres, the Joie de Vivre can dock in the heart of Paris in the shadow of the Eiffel Tower.

RIVIERA Joss Stone and Victoria’s Secrets Model Sara Sampaio named the Douro Azul, Douro Elegance & Douro Serenity ships in Porto, live on Portuguese TV. Riviera River Cruises commence weekly sailings on board the 5 Star Douro Elegance on Apr 4. UNIWORLD U by Uniworld changed

their target age from ages 18-40 to 21-45 the day before the line’s new website went live and two days before the brochure goes to print.

SILVERSEA are offering a four

night ultra-luxury no-fly sampler cruise from €1,369, departing Cobh Friday June 2 for four nights. disembarking in Bangor, Co Down.


Jade now offer 24hour free pub food at their Irish pub, O’Sheehan’s, and complimentary poolside food at 1950s-style diner Pit Stop.

SAGA Cruises’ new build 3,850-passenger Spirit of Discovery completed its journey along the River Ems from the Meyer Werft shipyard in Pappenberg.

CARIBBEAN Princess is to get new restaurants during its April dry dock, World Fresh Marketplace replacing the Horizon Court buffet, Salty Dog Grill replacing the Trident Grill, Planks BBQ in Cafe Caribe, Steamers Seafood, Slice replacing the Pizzeria, The Mix replacing Blackbeard’s Bar, and Coffee & Cones replacing Scoops. KILLALOE

River Cruises launched Ireland’s first gin cruise in Lough Derg.

Ferry cuts steel

Irish Ferries build designed for “seasonal’ business


The ferry is designed to replace amonn Rothwell of Irish Continental Group and Andrew Epsilon on Dublin-Cherbourg Sheen of Irish Ferries today & Dublin-Holyhead with capacity for cut steel on their new €144m cruise 165 freight vehicles & 300 cars on ferry, scheduled for delivery in mid dedicated car deck, 1,885 passengers 2018 at Flensburger Schiffbau-Ges- and 435 cabins to be built by FSG in selschaft in Flensburg, Germany. Flensburg. The vessel will accomIt will have a top FLEETFILE modate 1,885 passengers speed of 22.5 knots, and crew, with 435 cabins 1973 St Patrick slightly slower than and 2,800 lane metres of 1977 St Killian Epsilon, and meet Eurfreight (165 freight vehi- 1982 St Patrick II ope-wide emissions cles) with a dedicated car 1993 St Killian II standards. deck with capacity for 300 1999 Jonathan Swift The 50,000-tonne 1997 Isle of Inishmore cruise ferry maximum passenger cars. Irish Ferries says the 1998 Normandy capacity will be 1,216 cruise ferry will be de- 2001 Ulysses cars or 165 trucks with signed “to best meet the 2008 Oscar Wilde 3,500 lanemetres, with seasonality of our busi- 2013 Epsilon 2,800 lane metres 2011 Epsillon ness.” dedicated to freight

(165 freight vehicles) and a separate car deck with capacity for 300 passenger cars. Maximum speed with be 22.5 knots compared with 24 knots for the Epsilon. This compares with 500 passengers and 2,860 lanemetres for the Epsilon, 2,000 passengers and 4,101 lanemetres on the Ulysses and 1,440 passengers and 1,220 lanemetres for the Oscar Wilde. Eamon Rothwell said “This first steel cutting is more than symbolic and starts the practical construction of our new build. This investment underpins the confidence the Group has in both the freight and passenger tourism markets between Ireland, Britain and France."



tena Line revised its timetable on its Rosslare – Fishguard ferry service to reduce crossing times by 15 minutes. The ferry company now offers three day-time sailings and one extended overnight crossing from May 22nd. Crossing time is three hours 15 minutes and new departure times are 8am and 18.10, with return form Fishguard at 13.10 and 23.45.

Stena Europe service from Rosslare to Fishguard takes just over 3 hours 15

In a spearate development, Stena Line publication, A Sustainable

Journey the fery line claimed that hat fuel consumption and emission

levels to the air and sea have both decreased across their portfolio.



MAY 2017 PAGE 27


All inclusive move Norwegian package is aimed at ‘thirsty markets’


orwegian Cruise Line unveiled a new Premium All Inclusive product offering unlimited inclusive alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks, including a large variety of premium brands, as well as gratuities, rolled into the fare. The package is designed for Northern European markets.. Francis Riley, Senior Vice President, Sales & Operations at its Miami HQ, saying: “We won’t be doing it in North America - they’ve no problem with tipping and they don’t drink the same amount.” Premium alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks in all bars, lounges and dining venues during the cruise n Unlimited juices, water and soft drinks for children and teenagers n Lavazza coffee specialities during meals n One free bottle of water per person, per day in staterooms n Services charges and gratuities The cruise line, with revenues

MSC Cruises is to introduce a Flexi-Dining program -- similar to Royal Caribbean’s MyTime Dining on the 4,500-passenger MSC Meraviglia when it launches in June, followed by the 5,179-passenger MSC Seaside in December. It will then be rolled out across the fleet. It will allow passengers to select an evening time slot for their meal with the option to change it at anytime. ROYAL CARIBBEAN has introduced a non-refundable deposit for any suite bookings made as part of its NextCruise programme. CROISIEUROPE

Torga in Porto.

named Miguel


Fincantieri delivered the 4,250 passenger Majestic Princess.

BANTRY Bay Port Company will see Jeremy McKenna, Head of Sales for Ireland and Britain; Francis Riley, Senior Vice President of Sales & Operations; Dick Wilkinson, General Manager Northern Europe & MEA; and Christian Böll, Managing Director, Europe, Middle East and Africa, at the Norwegian Cruise Line media briefing of around $5bn a year, is adding a number of new ships to its 14-strong fleet, with Francis Riley telling the audience: “We have nine new ships - where do we put them?” With the

eight cruise liners calling to the West Cork area this summer.

CRYSTAL River Cruises postponed the launch of new vessels, Crystal Bach from June 18 to August 13 and Crystal Mahler from August 13 to September 30.

move to all inclusive, the company SPIRIT of Discovery will be the name of is expecting to solve that problem Saga Cruises 2019 build. by growing what remains a largely untapped market compared to the BELFAST has 88 scheduled cruise ship calls in 2017 United States.


Follow the sun to France this summer with Irish Ferries, with your own car and all the luggage you need for the perfect family holiday. You can start looking forward to it today with a deposit of just €100. But only if you book now at Travel. Together.

Book with a €100 deposit minimum 43 days before travel, final balance payable 42 days before departure. New bookings only. Subject to availability. Cannot be used in conjunction with any other offer. See for details.

MAY 2017 PAGE 28


Aviation with Gerry O’Hare

NORWEGIAN Air International CEO Bjorn Kjos told the Skift forum: “if you park aircraft half the day I don’t understand how carriers can make money. We focus on fast turnarounds.” HIs SVP Sales Lars Sande told the Capa Americas summit in Orlando that he anticipates adding more US markets with A321LR and instanced Europe to Seattle. He came up with the understatement of the conference: traditional airlines “don’t like competition very much. Other quotes from the conference: “tell me when oil will go down to $10 and I’ll tell you when the new Mexico City airport will open.” Aero Exec Director Eduardo Iglesias said new entrants are skipping Brazil in favor of Peru, Chile and Colombia and Argentina is ready for Norwegian to enter the market. RYANAIR added eight new 737-800 aircraft in March, following seven in both January and February, increasing the fleet to 384. Airlines started 460 new routes in the first three weeks of the 2017 summer season; Ryanair led with 100.

QANTAS revealed its next generation Premium Economy seat to debut on the airline’s fleet of Boeing 787-9 Dreamliners from October.

The Gold Circle lounge at Dublin airport

ALITALIA announced the successful

implementation of Travelport Rapid Reprice.

IAG results showed that Aer Lingus operating profit rose to €233m in 2016, 2017 Capacity for Q1 was up 15.8pc and up 11.8pc for full year 2017.

CARTRAWLER was appointed as

exclusive car hire and ground transportation partner to Jetstar.

SHANNON Duty Free Shop is planning a grand 70th anniversary celebration.


is to launch new Cork service in summer 2017.

EU Five non-European airlines have been

threatened with legal action for not compensating passengers for delayed flights to or from the EU. American Airlines, Etihad, Emirates, Singapore Airlines and Turkish Airlines..

EMIRATES is to fly daily to Phnom Phen in Cambodia via Dubai.

AVOLON Domhnal Slattery’s Avolon closed the deal on CIT’s leasing business, to become the world’s third-largest lessor, a deal worth US$10.38bn. They leased Boeing 737 MAXs to MIAT Mongolian Airlines. AGADIR

Air International CEO Weeks after Ryanair pulled the Dublin-Marrakech route, Air Arabia Maroc announced that they would launch Agadir-Dublin 2w from October on Wednesdays and Saturdays with flights from €70 one way.

NORWEGIAN Air International CEO Bjorn Kjos said Cork Airport’s runway may be 250 metres too short for his proposed flights to Stewart International NY. His airline sold 35,000 tickets for flights between Ireland and the US east coast due to begin on July 1.

Points protest

Aerclub brought to market amid lounge access spat


er Lingus changes to its loyalty scheme means that just 15,000 of its 400,000 members now have access to the airline lounges. Aer Lingus Aerclub members will require six trans-Atlantic flights or tow business class flights to gain access to the lounge under new regulations. Under the new regulations lounge access requires silver tier membership = 301 tier credits = >20 shorthaul one-way flights at Saver fares, >6 at Advantage fares, > 6 transatlantic flights at low fares, 2 at Business Flex fares. Platinum Tier to bring a fellow-traveller and/or use a partner airline lounge requires 601 points, which is double the above flights.

Assuming 1 Aerclub point = 1 Avios point, off-peak Zone 1 8,000 points (round trip RT) requires spend on Aer Lingus of 8,000 /3 = €2,700 on Aer Lingus or 8,000/1.2 = €6,700 in the shops. Gold Circle members have been complaining on social media that lounge access has been denied. Passengers will also have to weight up which carrier they book as there are some advantages for switching carriers,. Aer Lingus or BA for an Aer Lingus-operated Dublin-Paris flight. Aer Lingus says it is the first Irish airline loyalty programme to give its members the opportunity to collect Avios reward points not only ‘in the air’ every time they book flights, but also ‘on the ground’ and ‘online’ from a wide range of brands includ-

ing the retail, hotels and car hire, across Ireland, Europe and North America. AerClub members can use the Avios eStore when shopping with top brands such as Argos, Marks and Spencer and Currys, John Lewis, Debenhams, Hilton, to name but a few, to collect Avios points towards their AerClub account. Aer Lingus GoldCircle loyalty scheme transferred 400,000 members to the Aerclub scheme and they say an additional 1,500 are signing up every day to collect Avios points and turn them into reward flights with Aer Lingus. Interestingly the US airline partner is United and not Oneworld linked American.



he European Commission wants to scrap restrictions placed on EU airlines leasing planes and crew from US carriers, to resolve a long-standing dispute between the two sides. A dispute arose after the EU in 2008 imposed a seven-month duration limit, renewable once, on European airlines wet-leasing

from non-EU carriers. The United States retaliated by imposing similar duration limits on EU carriers wet-leasing from other EU carriers on their routes to and from the US. The Commission is now seeking a mandate from EU member states to negotiate an unrestricted wet-leasing agreement with the US the first such agreement the

EU would have - to resolve the impasse, but that has raised fears among some critics that airlines could use wet-leasing as a way to operate regular services with cheaper crews. Germany has opposed a liberalised wet-lease regime with the United States; most other member states are in favour. The European Cockpit

Association, representing pilots, fears that change could open up the possibility of unrestricted wet-leasing agreements with other countries with which the EU is currently negotiating aviation agreements, such as Qatar, Turkey and the countries forming the Association of Southeast Asian Nations.

MAY 2017 PAGE 29


Aviation with Gerry O’Hare

Cityjet’s next four


Bombardier CRJ900s to serve Scandinavia

ityJet has converted four options for Bombardier CRJ900s into firm orders, part of an order for six CRJ900s announced on Feb. 1. The transaction is valued at $467m million at list prices, now that all options have been exercised. Upon delivery, the aircraft will operate under wet lease in the Scandinavian Airlines SAS network. CityJet executive chairman Pat Byrne said. “The CRJ900 is proving to be an extremely reliable and popular aircraft in our Nordic operations on behalf of SAS Scandinavian Airlines. The confirmation of these orders—bringing us to 22 new CRJ900 aircraft in our fleet—further demonstrates CityJet’s belief in this aircraft as a key part of our wet lease growth Pat Byrne and Cathal McConnell of Cityjet strategy,” In January 2017, CityJet acquired This operates a fleet of 11 Since early 2016, CityJet has taken Cimber A/S, a regional airline in CRJ900s, most of which will be redelivery of 12 new CRJ900s—all Denmark and a former wholly owned placed by the new order. operated for KLMSAS. Travel Extra magazine HP ad_PRESS.pdf 1 06/02/2017 12:07 subsidiary of SAS.









TURKISH Dublin-Istanbul returned to double daily last month. Turkish airlines fleet is now airborne again after the winter although the carrier has delayed deliveries. These include 92 Airbus A321neos, 65 Boeing 737 MAX 8s and 10 737 MAX 9s that were due to enter service between 2018 and 2022. Aircraft deliveries will now drop from 34 to 10 in 2018, from 40 to 35 in 2019, and from 52 to 42 in 2020. There will be no changes for 2021, but 2022 will see an increase from 6 to 30 aircraft delivered. At the end of 2016, Turkish had a fleet of 334 aircraft. Turkish Airlines carried 35.5m international passengers last year, up 1.7pc and 27.3m domestic, up 3.8pc, but slipped into a loss. Irish bookings were down by 40pc. Load factor on international flights was down 3.3 points to 73.5. SHANNON Airport plans to change its status from a full time category nine to a flexible category nine airport in a bid to cut costs. Shannon Group started work on a €10m high spec office block.

CITYJET Sukhoi Superjets started

operating flights for Brussels Airlines, with the inception of the summer schedules.

AMERICAN Airlines’ Dublin to JFK

service offers lie-flat business class seats when it resumes April 13.

MAY 2017 PAGE 30


Connecting FR

FINNAIR’s board elected Colm Barrington as Vice Chairman. The Chairman called on the government to change the ownership rules for Finnair. Finnair’s vice president told Routes Asia that he wants to know from airports not just how many people live in a new market, but how many of them have passports. The conference was told that airports in Asia are facing same challenges as those in US. We have a reasonable fix to our problems: remove the cap on the PFC.

CARTRAWLER released a 13-page report “Cash is King: Revenue Now Rules Frequent Flyer Programme Accrual” which concludes that the distance flown has lost much of its relevance and 22 of 25 airlines use the type of fare purchased by the consumer to help determine the final tally of a member’s status. American, Delta, and United are unique because these carriers base mileage accrual on a combination of the price of a ticket and the member’s elite status.

ALITALIA approved a 2017-2021 business plan, designed to reduce costs by €1bn in the first three years of the plan with reductions in operating costs and manpower and increase revenues by 30pc% from €2.9bn to €3.7bn. Alitalia will add six new long-haul aircraft between 2019 and 2021 if targets are met, in addition to the two scheduled for in 2017 and 2018 and launch 10 new long-haul routes between 2017 and 2021.

KUWAITAirways is adding a London Stansted stop for WB New York svc in summer 2017 having ended its Shannon stopover. LAPTOP BAN Flight and cabin

crew equipment is exempt from the laptop ban imposed by Washington and London authorities on flights from named Muslim-majority countries. The UAE and Qatar are not on the London list.

AIR CANADAAdvanced Seat Selection is available for Air Canada Rouge passengers using an Economy Tango fare from Wednesday (booked in classes: K, A, L, T, S, G, W) for a fee, agents’ clients can continue to make seat selection within 24 hours of departure or during check-in at no cost. AIR TRANSPORT supports 63.5m direct and indirect jobs globally, generating roughly 3.5pc of the world’s GDP, the Airport Economics forum was told

FLYBE reinstated its Duty Free in-flight shopping on board flights to and from Jersey, Guernsey and Geneva. DUBLIN Airport announced Regus as

the first tenants to Skybridge House near T1

AIRLINES for America said the 10 publicly traded US passenger airlines collectively reported a pre-tax profit margin of 14.2pc in 2016, 0.5 points lower than 2015.

EU plans to relax rules on airlines’ transatlantic wet leasing deals rage.

VIRGIN America brand is to disappear in 2019 following its takeover by Alaska Airlines

Aviation with Gerry O’Hare

Latest Ryanair u-turn will test reservation systems


yanair’s Navitaire reservation system is to be put to a new test this summer as the airline changes its long standing policy and starts offering connecting flights. The flights are to be introduced at Rome as part of the so-called Always Getting Better programme. The facility was announced at a press conference in London and will be launched at Rome Fiumicino airport, with connections at other airports to be rolled out shortly afterwards. Family Extra becomes Family Plus, which the airline says offers more flexibility to change by sector and in-trip, as one of four booking categories to be introduced this month (April). Leisure Plus becomes Plus offering more flexibility to change by sector and in-trip ancillaries, Business Plus becomes FlexiPlus Business offering 50pc travel credit for cancellations while regular remains as the lead-in fare. Express Booking to be introduced from April will allow customers Express booking use pre-saved preferences to book in three clicks, using saved information about bags, extras, seat preferences etc. to be saved as a default in the user’s profile. For future bookings, these can be re-used allowing for a much faster booking flow. The function is now available for solo travellers, and is being rolled out to groups, families. Auto Check-In to be introduced from April will allow customers to check-in simultaneously for both sectors when return seats are booked and receive both boarding cards A Ryanair rooms facility to be introduced in April offers accommodation sourced from two new partners: Hostelsclub & B&Bs (five in total) offering guest-houses and Bed & Breakfasts across the Ireland, Brit-

Kenny Jacobs launching the Always Getting Better fourth year

ain and mainland Europe. Ryanair Transport to be introduced from May and offering choices of transfers and parking available at many airports, Stansted & Gatwick Express tickets all bookable in the app. Developments to be made available from My Ryanair in September include: n Cashback offers for customers who book hotels or car hire n Travel credits for use against future flights & extras n Users’ notifications inbox n Dual profiles allowing customers to create separate personal and business profiles Travel Content to be introduced from September include destination guides in the app and on website and bespoke written & video content in 5 languages in App. Enhanced Search Functions to

be introduced in October include multi-airport city search and a feeling lucky fare finder. Gift Vouchers in nine categories will be available. Ryanair say they are continuing discussions with Aer Lingus and Norwegian Airlines – and other potential partners – with a view to launching connections with 3rd-party airlines in late summer. We also plan to sell flights operated by other airlines on Ryanair packaged holidays, available in the Ireland, Britain, Germany and Spain, with remaining markets to be rolled out later this year. The Holidays package includes 3,4,5 star hotels in Mediterranean resorts and for city breaks, and offers full consumer protection. The Commission of Aviation Regulation says Ryanair are licensed to operate in Ireland under their German partner’s license.



ublin airport slot allocations for summer 2017 show Hainan Airlines has been allocated 4w slots from July for the much-speculated but unannounced Manchester route extension to Beijing. Ryanair market share at Dublin is down to 37.4pc from 40.3pc (capacity

down 1.5pc) and Aer Lingus down to 35.9pc from 36.7pc, including Aer Lingus Regional (capacity up 3.9pc). Aer Lingus has more and larger transatlantic operations but six fewer slot pairs. The combined share of the two big airlines is 73.3pc, down from 77.0pc

followed by British Airways with 2.6pc, American Airlines 1.6pc, Lufthansa CityJet, Emirates, United, Delta and Norwegian. Movements are up 4.6pc (allocations) and 5.4pc (take-up) to 136,457, seats are up 6pc (allocations) and 6.4pc (take-up) to 23.24m. Peak week movements

are up, 5pc and seats up 6.1pc to 787,722. The allocations include cancelled Ryanair routes to Leeds, Lodz and Almeria and an unannounced operation by Loganair from Dundee. Aer Lingus abandoned plans to launch Dublin to Porto this summer.


MAY 2017 PAGE 31


Aviation with Gerry O’Hare BRUSSELS Airlines will expand its leased SuperJet service from June 2017 CIT completed the sale of its joint venture stake in TC-CIT aviation

LONDON City airport validated ground operations on the CS100.

ASL Aviation Holdings is the new name for ASL Aviation Group. ASL Airlines Belgium detailed their expansion.

SHANNON Airport opened a special sensory room. The airport is seeking to cut costs to fund investment

WOODGATE Aviation secured an Air Ambulance contract BOEING released a blog on EI-FZK

Hasan Mutlu and Onur Gul, Turkish returned to double daily on Dublin-Istanbul at end of March

Summer scheds

Dublin increases routes and frequencies for summer


later Easter meant a more traditional return of summer routes to the schedules, with several new route launched. For summer 2016, 26 seasonal routes that resumed this week from Dublin, 16 from Ryanair, eight from Aer Lingus and one each from Eurowings and Transavia. Further flights to start from Dublin later in summer include new services to Providence and Stew-


Frequency increases included KLM Dublin Amsterdam from two to four daily, while both Etihad and Turkish return to double daily and are to remain so year round. Cork is getting new flights to Newquay, providence, Reykjavik and Zurich. Shannon gets new flights to Frankfurt, Providence, Stewart and Stockholm.


Barcelona, Aer Lingus, 4w, May 1 Bordeaux, Ryanair, 1w, June 3 Faro, Aer Lingus & Ryanair, 6w Carcassonne, Ryanair, 2w, June 4 Dusseldorf, Aer Lingus, 2w, May 3 Girona, Ryanair, 2w, June 3 Milan Bergamo, Ryanair, 2w, Jun 1 Madrid, Iberia Express, 2w, June 3 Newquay, Aer Lingus R, 2w, May Palma de Mallorca, Aer Lingus & Ryanair, 5w, May 1 Providence, Norwegian, 3w, July 1 Reus, Ryanair, 4w, June 2 Rennes, Aer Lingus, 2w, May 27 Reykjavik, WOW air, 3w, May 19 Zurich, SWISS, 2w, June 2 Verona, Volotea, 1w, June


art International from Norwegian, marque routes to Doha in June from Qatar and Miami in September from Aer Lingus and Norwegian flights to Stockholm from June 9. Frequency increases included KLM Dublin Amsterdam from the 26th and Turkish Airline’s Dublin-Istanbul which returns to double daily. Ryanair’s Dublin-Marrakesh service came to an end on Thursday 22nd and will not be returning.

Almeria, Ryanair, 2w Athens, Aer Lingus, 3w, April 29 Barcelona Reus, Ryanair, daily Bari, Ryanair, 2w Biarritz, Ryanair, 3w Bilbao, Aer Lingus, up to 3w Boston, Delta, 7w, May 26 Bourgas, Aer Lingus, 6w, April 28 Catania, Aer Lingus, 2w

Chania, Ryanair, 2w Corfu, Aer Lingus, 2w, April 29 Larnaca, Cobalt, 2w, April 8 Doha, Qatar Airways, 7w, June 12 Dubrovnik, Aer Lingus, 4w Dusseldorf, Eurowings 1w Girona, Ryanair, 2w Ibiza, BA, 1w, May 19 Izmi, Aer Lingus, 2w La Rochelle, Ryanair, up to 4w Marseille, Aer Lingus, 4w April Miami, Aer Lingus, 3w, Sept 1, Montpellier, Aer Lingus, 2w, Ap 28 Munich, Transavia, 3w, Murcia, Aer Lingus, 4w Nantes, Aer Lingus, 2w, April 19 Naples, Aer Lingus, 4w Palma, Ryanair & Aer Lingus, daily Perpignon, Aer Lingus, 4w, April Pisa, Ryanair, up to 6w Providence, Norwegian, 5w, July Pula, Aer Lingus, 3w, May 27 Santander, Ryanair, up to 3w Santiago de C, Aer Lingus, 3w Split, Aer Lingus, 2w, May 27 Stewart, Norwegian, 7w, July Stockholm, Norwegian, 2w, June 9 Tours Loire Valley, Ryanair, 2w Valencia, Ryanair, up to 3w

Vigo, Ryanair, 2w


Alicante, Ryanair, 2w Faro, Ryanair, 2w


Alicante, Ryanair, 4w, June Barcelona, Ryanair, 2w, June Bristol, Ryanair, 3w Dubrovnik, Concorde 1w June Faro, Ryanair, 4w Malaga, Ryanair, 4w Milan, Ryanair, 2w, June Reus, Falcon 1w June Tenerife, Ryanair 1w


Alicante, Ryanair, 3w Chicago, United, up to 7w, May 26 Faro, Ryanair & Aer Lingus, 7w Frankfurt, Lufthansa, 1w, April 29 JFK, Delta, daily May 5 Malaga, Aer Lingus, 2w, May 2 Palma, Ryanair, up to 3w Philadelphia, American, daily May6 Providence, Norwegian, 2w July 1 Stewart, Norwegian, 2w, July 1 Stockholm, SAS, 2w, August 1 Zurich, Helvetic, 1w, May 20

Boeing 737-800 Ryanair first flight. See also E195-E2 first flight.

NAC delivered an ATR 72-600, MSN 1398, to PT Garuda Indonesia on lease.

ATHLONE A permanent hangar is to be built in Athlone for air ambulances

AER LINGUS CEO Stephen Kavanagh was honoured as UCD business alumni of the year.

BROWN-Forman launched Slane Irish whiskey in Dublin and Cork airports.

ETIHAD says its double daily Dublin to

Abu Dhabi service which was increased from single daily will now remain double daily yearround, using a two-class Airbus A330-200 in 22-240 configuration. EY departs 09.30 and EY48 at 19.10. Etihad is expanding its Aer Lingus codeshare routes in Summer 2017.

DUBLIN Airport was named the

world’s 10th best in a survey by travel website eDreams behind Helsinki-Vantaa, Glasgow, Zurich, Munich, Frankfurt, Geneva, Bangkok, Tel Aviv and Oslo. Berlin Schonefeld was picked as the worst.

DUBLIN Airport secured planning permission to build a small solar farm that will help deliver 500m litres of water to the airport every year.

BOMBARDIER’s C Series jet was reportedly nearing approval for London City airport AIR BERLIN Michael O’Leary

told German weekly Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung that Lufthansa will buy Air Berlin within three years and talked up Ryanair’s target to double German market share to 20pc.

EMIRATES delivered three new Airbus A380s to three continents in one day, Casablanca, Narita and SaoPaulo. Emirates has 93 A380s in service and 49 on order. Emirates postponed its A380 visit to Dublin indefinitely. KLM’s summer 2018 schedule shows B787 Dreamliners replacing 747s on long-haul routes.

AERCAP signed up for PACE route and aircraft economic analysis software

u u

MAY 2017 PAGE 32


Aviation with Gerry O’Hare

CSO data indicates Cork’s main routes in 2016 were Heathrow 390,268 (up 1.56pc), Stansted 339,657 (up 6.14pc), Amsterdam 178,170 (up 2.77pc), Gatwick 120,691 (up 2.20pc) and Malaga 116,907 (up 8.65pc).

AERCAP fleet portfolio reached 1566 aircraft at end of 2016, with 99.5pc utilisation. Aercap posted a $1.04bn profit in 2016. Gus Kelly questioned the durability of aircraft manufacturers’ output plans. Aercap reported financial results for 2016 and authorised new share repurchase programme of $350m.

UNITED involuntarily denied boarding to 3,765 of 86m passengers on oversold flights In 2016,, according to the Transportation Department. An additional 62,895 people voluntarily gave up their seats. The US airlines most likely to remove you are 1 Southwest, 2 JetBlue, 3 American, 4 Frontier, 5 Spirit, 6 United, 7 Alaska, 8 Virgin, 9 Delta, 10 Hawaiian.

SHANE ROSS told the national civil aviation development forum that he thought he knew what the answer was on the question of whether the third terminal in Dublin airport should be privately owned. Toronto Pearson and Brussels Zaventem are the two airports in which Kevin Toland said policy was reversed after they had attempted to operate private terminals and failed.

RYANAIR’s 450th B737-800 arrived in Dublin bringing the fleet to 380 of which 70 have been returned to lessors or sold. The oldest remaining aircraft is EI-DAC which was delivered in Dec 2002. BRITISH Airways announced a weekly seasonal service from Dublin to Ibiza.

SCHIPHOL airport is to introduce

ultraviolet scanners.

BMI is to operate the Derry-Stansted public service obligation service when it is vacated by Ryanair next month, operating double daily flights instead of the previous daily service after a pledge of Government funding. CORK airport is to move the bulk of its food offerings airside in keeping with internatioinal trends.

UNITED Airlines opened a redesigned security checkpoint in Terminal C in Newark, used by passengers departing for Dublin on United, complete with dedicated Premier Access and TSA Precheck® security lanes and 17 automated screening lanes. BRITISH Airways announced Dublin to Ibiza .

FOYNES programme.

air show released its 2017

RYANAIR now asks 26pc of passengers to check in bags at the gate free of charge.

BELFAST Work began on a €2.9m retail development at Belfast International Airport.

AER LINGUS is increasing capacity

on the Dublin-Toronto route.

Level: A330 preferred over Boeing 787


IAG new brand

Willie Walsh says A330 options led to new brand

AG CEO Willie Walsh has decided to launch a new low-cost band, level rather than fill the proposed routes out of Barcelona using Aer Lingus as previously considered. Willie Walsh says “Aer Lingus probably is the low-cost transatlantic success out there. What is clear is that the opportunity here is to stimulate a new customer base, grow the market in a significant way.” “We’re convinced that the model works. We’re convinced that having looked at what Norwegian has done in terms of successfully unbundling the product, there is consumer appetite for that in a way that you know, five years ago we wouldn’t have believed possible. And we’re convinced that this is something we can do and be profitable doing it.” “To make the long-haul widebody,


low-cost work, you need feed. It’s not that you have strong point-topoint demand. You also need feed. Clearly that helps to point us into the direction of Barcelona where we’ve got a very significant shorthaul network with Vueling. “We also think that the A330 is a better aircraft because of the range of the aircraft which fits exactly what we have in mind. “It is cheaper in terms of ownership costs or leasing costs than the 787. I’m not saying the 787 is a bad aircraft. I’m just saying that the A330, particularly the high density A330-200 works very well in this segment of the market. And I think what drove us then toward a new brand was the on-board proposition.” It’s a two-class configuration with

economy and premium economy. We’re not trying to sell that premium economy as a business class product. There are no flat beds. So when we looked at all of this, we put it all together with the unique proposition that IAG has that something new can plug into our existing cost structures and take advantage of the scale of the group. Uniquely we have Avios our loyalty program, our loyalty currency that we can use. This is something we’re quite excited about and we think there’s very significant potential to expand this model beyond Barcelona, obviously, but into new markets around Europe, stimulating new traffic and new demand.


ripAdvisor reviewers named Emirates the Best Airline in the World in the inaugural TripAdvisor Travelers’ Choice Awards for Airlines - with rival Turkish Airlines named second in the European category. Emirates won four other awards, including Top Major Airline - Middle East & Af-

rica, Best Economy Class, Best First Class and World’s Best Airlines - Top 10. It beat Qatar Airways into the runner-up spot and Etihad Airways into 3rd place. Aer Lingus was voted ninth best in Europe, a category won by Aeroflot, with KLM in 3rd place, followed by Lufthansa, Swiss, Virgin Atlantic, Finnair and Aus-

trian Airlines. Icelandair was placed 10th, just behind Aer Lingus. Delta Air Lines took the price for the North American market. The awards highlight the world’s top carriers based on the quantity and quality of reviews and ratings for airlines worldwide gathered over a 12-month period.


1 Emirates 2 Singapore 3 Azul 4 JetBlue 5 Air NZ 6 Korean Air 7 JAL 8 THAI 9 Alaska 10 Garuda



er Lingus charges for bags on longer European routes, was the second in six month. The increase in the

cost bags since last November is 133pc and a 15kg bag will now cost €100 to take to the Canaries and back on holidays.

The last price hike was from €15 to €25 (each way for Spain) and this has increased from €25 to €35. Aer Lingus say that

58pc of short-haul customers travel on its thirty ‘near’ services, where it says prices have fallen.

MAY 2017 PAGE 33



he first thing that strikes you on arrival at Aberdeen airport is the vast amount of helicopters taking off and landing. This is the busiest heliport in Europe. Where you have oil rigs you have helicopters. High end luxury cars filing the car park. Scotland’s third largest city (of seven) is no ordinary place. It wears its wealth like a tartan, built on the revenue generated by oil. Oil remains the backbone of the local economy. “Welcome to the oil capital of Europe,” is a common greeting. Over 900 companies serve the energy sector in Aberdeen, employing around 40,000 people. At peak around 30,000 people work offshore, with 10 times that employed on dry land. Boom or bust, oil price rises and falls, Aberdeen keeps gushing. Locals will tell you that the Granite City has one of the highest concentrations of millionaires in western Europe.


or lunch at Eat On the Green restaurant in the beautiful village of Udny Green, out chef and host is Craig Wilson known to all as “The Kilted Chef”. He seats us at the chef’s table, one of a few private dining areas, it has a TV with a live stream of what’s happening in the kitchen. We are treated to some fabulous delicacies including Haggis

Whiskey & Oil

Damian Allen strikes malt in Aberdeen


A cottage in Footdee, Aberdeen’s fisherman’s village engulfed by city and container port

croquettes, slow roasted pork belly and succulent Angus Beef. Chef Craig has cooked for many dignitaries including actors Patrick Stewart, Sean Connery and soccer manager Alex Ferguson, who guided the local club to their high water-mark, surprise victories in the European Cup Winners Cup and European Super Cup in 1983.


he 200-year-old Glen Garioch Distillery is located in the village of Old Meldrum, 25km from Aberdeen, in the ‘Valley of the Garioch’ once famous for producing the finest barley in all of Scotland, “The Granary of Aberdeenshire”, The barley is of the highest standard. I should know. The glass of water our guide handed me to cleanse my palette proved to be full proof whiskey, 80pc, or as we describe it poitín. Talk about walking

into the middle of the movie. My mouth and throat was on fire and the rest of the group showed me the usual outpouring of sympathy, underneath the guffaws (I think). Glen Garioch is pronounced “Geery” in the Doric dialect of Aberdeen, a lose relative of Ulster Scots, and specialises in a series of small batch releases.


eter Walker showed us around the award winning Medrum House hotel, a 13th century Manor House which offers three different types of accommodation with individually styled bedrooms. Within the Cave bar is a whiskey club where members can store their finest Whiskeys for an annual fee of £175, once again we were invited to partake in some Single Malt tasting. Let’s just say it will be a while before I will be trying whiskey again.

ootdee, or as the locals pronounce it Fittie, located just outside the city is a part of Scotland that nobody thought existed. It was designed by the influential architect John Brown in 1809 to house the city’s fishermen. It has since been engulfed by the port, its small streets and houses out of place amid the stacks of container. We are now heading to another local success story “The Brewdog” brewery in Elton. We fearlessly don the safety gear and go exploring this vast new brewery

and do some sampling. Brewdog was founded by James Watt and Martin Dickie in 2007 in a garden shed. It has come a long way since then and later this year they are opening a 100,000 square foot facility in Columbus, Ohio. Yes. These two Scottish beer geeks are going to educate the yanks in the art of brewing real beer. Bye, bye, Bud


here are at least three ghosts rambling the sprawling corridors and five towers of the 800 year old Fyvie Castle, one of a chain

of fortresses throughout medieval Scotland.. It was once a seat of Robert the Bruce, a childhood home of the hapless Charles 1st and scene of a victory by Dungiven firebrand Manus Ó Catháin’s Irish regiment in the confederate wars. The enormous door swung open and we were greeted by Andrew Collins in his best tartan attire. Andrew’s ninety minute tour was extremely entertaining and he told the story of the resident ghost Lilias Drummond, known as the Green Lady, who came to eavesdrop on her widower husband’s love making with a new wife. In 1920 during renovation work the skeleton of a woman was discovered behind a bedroom wall. The remains were laid to rest in Fyvie cemetery, nut castle residents started to be plagued by strange noises and unexplained happenings. The skeleton was exhumed and replaced behind the bedroom wall, at which point the haunting ceased. Unless it was whiskey. After a few days in these parts, it is difficult to tell.


n St Machar’s Cathedral founded by a disciple of Donegal’s own St Columba who was told o build a church where a river bends in the shape of a bishop’s crozier, the 16th century ornate ceiling includes 48 heraldic shields. It is no longer really a cathedral, its proper title is high kirk. n Brig o’ Balgownie dates back to the 13th century, spans the river Don, commissioned by Robert the Bruce. n Craigievar Castle, pink hued preserved home of the Forbes family.

n Maritime Museum: worth visiting along with Aberdeen harbour, good for children with lots of information about Scotland oil rigs, entry is free. n Footdee (Fittie) Fisherman’s village located at the mouth of the Dee and Aberdeen harbour with houses, gardens and sweet ally ways to explore n Duthie Park Winter Gardens, tropical and arid houses, famous for its giant cacti and bromeliads n Linn O’ Dee, dramatic waterfalls, crevasses and ancient rock formations

Clockwise: Footdee sea wall, Fyvie Castle, Craig Wilson demonstrates how to cook scallops and Eat on the Green n Aer Lingus Regional operated by Stobart air flies 11 times per week. Dublin to Aberdeen with fares from €34.99 one way. Visit n The 4 star Altens Hotel which boasts a large swimming pool, gym and leisure club. The rooms were extremely comfortable with two large double beds. n Aberdeen Altens Hotel prices start @ €95 including full breakfast. n Eat on The Green, 2 course meals @ €45 and 3 course @ €52 n Brew Dog tours @ €18 n Meldrum House for prices visit

MAY 2017 PAGE 34


Inside the Travel Business

TRAVEL COUNSELLORS The winners of the Travel Counsellors awards at Fota were: Best cruise Douglas Hastings, Best Phenix Jeanette Coughlan, Best margin Jennifer O’Brien, Best dmc sale Mary Foyle, Best business increase Kathy O’Sullivan & Sue Cahill.

ITIC The Irish Tourism Industry Confedera-

tion report on Brexit asked for an extra 12m for state agencies.

MSC Claire Smith joined the MSC cruises sales team for the north of Ireland after a best ever booking day for the cruise line in Ireland.

CELEBRITY Agents can win €200 towards a night out in a new Celebrity Cruises campaign. Customers receive a free drinks packages, $300 on-board spending money, free Wi-Fi and the chance for free gratuities when booking an Oceanview category or above before May 3.

General view of Porto


became the first (and only), GDS to receive level one and level two accreditation from IATA on their NDC schema.

AMADEUS launched a rail merchant model providing travel agencies with a single link to sell multiple railways, including DB (German), RENFE (Spanish), SNCF (French, available in CESE* only), Trenitalia (Italian) and select eastern European rail operators, with more expected to join soon. Finnair, Skyscanner and SUPERBREAK incentive to win a

two night short break to London for two, including VIP tickets to see Take That at The O2 Arena runs until March 30th.

THAILAND Emma Arnott of the Tourism Authority of Thailand hosted 50 agents in Belfast, 58 agents in Dublin and 46 in Cork at their roadshows. Thailand reported 67,273 visits from Ireland in 2016, up 3.9pc and have overtaken Australia for the first time as Ireland’s most popular long haul destination.

CARTRAWLER partnered with American travel agent spoke to Bobby Healy,

Open the Porto

Travel agents conference goes back to Portugal


Planned Aer Lingus flights to Porto he annual conference of the the winelands and the hinterland. Irish Travel Agents Associ- Porto is also the third largest river- this year were cancelled after Ryanair increased the frequency on the Dubation will be held in Porto on cruise base in the Irish market. October 12 /15. lin-Porto route. Antonio Padeira and Ana ITAA CONFERENCE VENUES Celina Tavares will host the annual conference, beating 1989 Killarney 2003 Killarney off competition from Dubai 1975 Burlington 1976 Killarney 1990 Killarney 2004 Citywest and Andalucia. 1991 Limerick 2005 Citywest This will be the first confer- 1977 Killarney 1992 Limerick 2006 Santry ence to be hosted by Portugal 1978 Wexford 2008 MSC Poesia 1993 Killarney since the 1999 conference 1979 Tralee 1994 Tralee 2009 Portlaoise in the Algarve. The annual 1980 Ennis 1995 Killarney 2010 Malaga conference of the Irish Tour 1981 Limerick 1996 Benalmadena 2011 Seville Operators Federation was 1982 Limerick 1983 Limerick 1997 Ennis 2012 Istanbul hosted by Portugal in 2006. 2013 Granada 1998 Killarney The tourist board for the 1984 Waterford 1999 Algarve 2014 Quantum of the Seas 1985 Cork region would be to showcase 2000 Tralee 2015 Jerez the area of Porto and Northern 1986 Wexford 2001 Galway 2016 MS Antoinette Portugal to the Irish travel 1987 Limerick 2002 Newcastle 2017 Oporto trade, to include some tours 1988 Killarney

WENDY WU Tours MD Laurence Hicks has stepped down to pursue “other somewhat more modest business interests”.

CEASED English based short break tour operator Diamond Shortbreak Holidays ceased trading. . London-based Cheap Flights House, which specialised in long-haul flights and holidays, has ceased trading.

AMADEUS joined forces to boost conversion with assisted bookings. ENTERPRISE

Plus expanded in Latin America and the Caribbean.


appointed Philip Saunders as vice president, air commerce, EMEA.

AMADEUS announced a partnership with Chinese travel search engine iGola.

The incoming board of the ITAA: Paul Hackett of Clickandgo, Ben Greene of Arrow Tours, Martin Skelly of Navan Travel, Joe Tully of Tully’s Travel, Pearse Keller of Keller Travel, Mark Clifford of O’Hanrahan Travel, Des Manning of Manning Travel, Pat Dawson CEO of the ITAA, Front row: Clare Dunne of The Travel Broker, Valerie Metcalfe of FCM, Cormac Meehan of Meehan Travel Bundoran President of the ITAA, Des Abbott of Des Abbott Travel and Angela Walsh of Corporate Travel Management


MAY 2017 PAGE 35

Inside the Travel Business


a four night fam trip together with Kelair Campotel, Irish Ferries and Aer Lingus from May 27th to 31st. To be in with a chance of winning a place on the trip, Worldchoice agents can make a new KelAir Campotel booking between April 1st and May 5th inclusive. The fam was announced by Carol Anne O’Neill, Commercial Manager of Worldchoice Ireland.

The 12 finalists in the Blue Insurances win a car competition: Helena Kilduff from Skytours, Rose Kane from Kane’s Travel in Longford, Claire Mulligan from Clubworld Travel, Mandy Walsh of Travel Counsellors, Rita Gaughan from Limerick Travel, Kate McGillycuddy from Abbey Travel in Killarney, Nicola Quigley from O’Hanrahan Travel and Ross Waters from Tour America, Kathrice Canning from Cassidy Travel, Kristin Skinner of American Holidays and Caroline Riordan of Sol Travel

The blue dozen

Blue Insurances car competition up to 13 finalists


aroline Riordan of Sol Travel is the March finalist in the competition to win a Polo Magnifico run by Blue Insurances. Blue Insurance extended its ‘Polo Magnifico’ competition for one additional month and the final will take place on May 11 2017 at 7.30pm in Saba Clarendon Street, where one of their finalists will take home a brand new Volkswagen Polo. She follows previous finalists Angela Taylor from Oasis Travel,

Helena Kilduff from Skytours, Rose Kane from Kane’s Travel in Longford, Claire Mulligan from Clubworld Travel, Mandy Walsh of Travel Counsellors, Rita Gaughan from Limerick Travel, Kate McGillycuddy from Abbey Travel in Killarney, Nicola Quigley from O’Hanrahan Travel and Ross Waters from Tour America, Kathrice Canning from Cassidy Travel and Kristin Skinner of American Holidays. Monthly winners enter a draw

for a new Volkswagen Polo in a competiton organised by Ian Dack of Ireland’s Largest Volkswagen Dealership, Frank Keane Volkswagen and Ciaran Mulligan of Blue Insurances. Every five Blue Insurances policies sold each month automatically generates an entry in the monthly draw. Blue Insurances sent out a reminder to agents to have their own unique login to make bookings count for their monthly draw.



yanair Holidays came back online a month to the day on from its suspension, with German package travel specialist HLX Touristik, a division of Hapag-Lloyd Express acting as new provider. The Commission of Aviation Regulation confirmed that Ryanair can trade in Ireland under the German license granted to GmbH, established in Germany

and the Travel Agent behind Ryanair Holidays, which can operate as a Travel Agent in Ireland. HLX Touristik, which also powers the package trip platforms for Lufthansa and AirBerlin, was enlisted the help of existing partner World2Meet to run the service on its behalf through a white label. The new platform uses the booking engine of Peakwork and has access

restarted again in October last year through Expedia Inc-owned Hotels. com and Hotelopia, the consumer-facing wing of Hotelbeds.Similar to the first version of Ryanair Holidays, a limited rollout is expected for the relaunched Ryanair Holidays, currently live in Germany, Ireland and England, with Italy and Spain coming on stream in the coming weeks.


I IATA CE Alexandre de Juniac

to 20,000 hotels from the World2Meet bedbank. Ryanair Holidays was taken offline at the end of January this year, due to what it claimed was “illegal screenscraping and mis-selling” of flights by the company powering it, LogiTravel. Ryanair Holidays is part of a wider programme at the airline to become “the Amazon of air travel”. The new Rooms brand

ATA has introduced new financial criteria which started April. A webinar was organised by the ITAA to advise of the charge. Any new travel agent to IATA must have a

€40,000 bond in place for two years. Combined with paid up capital of €25,000 to the Commission of Aviation regulation it now costs €65,000 in bonding .

TRAVELFOCUS Nina Farrimond, Manager Trade Relations from South African Tourism, Anne O’Sullivan from Travel Focus and Audrey Headon from Headon Representation hosted 32 agents from the West of Ireland at a training session held in the Galway Bay Hotel. Nina told delegates that Irish tourism to South Africa in 2016 was up 18.3pc to is Final numbers are 30,545. Geraldine Dolan of Society Travel received her prize from Nina Farrimond of South African Tourism and Anne O’Sullivan of Travel Focus at the South African Tourism and Travelfocus roadshow

TOPFLIGHT’s mystery Italian fam trip was to Tuscany,with a Coast & Country itinerary including Montecatini Terme, Viareggio, Pietrasanta and Lucca. The group will also spend time in the Florence and Pisa. The final winners were Abbey Travel, Best4Travel and Clubworld Lisburn Road. They will join Lynne Casey from Fahy Travel, Colette Knowles of Manning Travel in Kilkenny, Noelle Looney of J Barter Travel in Cork, Rita Gaughan from Limerick Travel, Donna Kenny of Cassidy Travel Blanchardstown and Lisa Sprake of Oasis Travel, Holywood. MASSACHUSSETS

showcased their 2017 fare to Dublin trade at a roadshow.

AUSTRALIA Etihad, Tourism Australia and Virgin Australia hosted 75 agents at a table quiz in The Stone Leaf in Leeson St (the former Buck Whalley’s). Rick Dunne from Tourism Australia gave the eight-minute guide to the vast sub-continent and announced that the Aussie specialist programme was now available to Irish agents, Shannon O’Dowd reminded agents that Etihad will return to double daily on April 1st and Michael Fletcher said that food is now free on Virgin Australia (as oppose to the Virgin Blue days) and drink is free on a Monday to Friday happy house during fights. PHILADELPHIA

and American Holidays hosted travel trade and media at Chapter One to showcase American Airlines’ direct Dublin-Philadelphia service and the highlights of the city and district. Brian Hynes of The Travel Corporation won the trade prize.

TURKISH Airlines visited E travel to congratulate on their year to date sales performance.

AITO chairman Derek Moore said an EU directive preventing companies from passing credit card charges onto consumers threatens the survival of independent travel agents and tour operators.

u u

MAY 2017 PAGE 36


WINDOW SEAT Last month in numbers

u10.5bn Cost of Avolon’s acquisiton of

CIT’s leasing business

600m Number of visitors to Ryanair’s website in 2016, they now want to sell rival airlines 56.75m Number of bed nights spent by Irish abroad in 2016 according to the CSO

9.4m Number of passengers carried by Ryanair in March, up 10pc on March 2015 7.6m Number of trips by Irish in 2016 (CSO) 530 Number of Ryanair flights canceleld due to

striek action during March

36 Number of consecutive record months for passenegr figures recorded by Ryanair

26 Number of European restaurants in the annual top 50 restaurants list by Restaurant magazine.



ominic provides the words and Carsten the photography for this 112-page paperback souvenir book, a reminder that imagery stil rules in print in the age of the internet. The landscapes on offer should lead to more wordsmithery than is on offer here, instead the text is bared back to the basics. History as adjective, not as timeline or polemic, one, then another for each location, building extended captions rather than any attempt to match the landscape with descriptive ornamentation, details that can only be ascertained by application of shoe leather. We learn how Ambrose the

IRELAND’S BEAUTIFUL NORTH by Dominic Kearney & Cartsen Kreiger O’Brien Press

Pig became an icon of Strabane. If there is more, the reader will find it. The past, particulary the recent past, is negotiated with caution, “conflict has rarely been a stranger to Ulster”is used for ancient castles. Gentle descriptions celebrate rather than denigrate. Bundoran, we are told is “a town full of simple old-fashoined fun.” On Rathlin Island the lead in descirbes Robert Bruce’s predicament before his encounter with the spi-

der, “deposed by Edward 1, excommunicated by the Pope,his borthers executed and his wife and daughter imprisoned.” For Newtownstewart we learn that the ancestor fo Davy Crockett came from here and Joe Sheridan, inventor of Irish coffee, was born in the town. Dark Hedges was planted by the Stuarts to impress visitors, something that contextualsies the unwritten but assumed Game of Thrones connection neatly.

That family staple: waterlside and pool

Busman’s holiday: Belinda Vazquez

Every month we ask a leading travel professional to write about their personal holiday experience. This month: Belinda Vasquez Head of Ireland of Falcon Holidays, Crystal, Thomson and TUI group


grew up in a household where my parents were happy to stay local for holidays which meant I got to my teens not having travelled abroad. Now I wonderi if this is the underlying subconscious reason for my desire to work in the Travel Industry


and make up for all those years! Since I got the travel bug my holidays have changed significantly over the years to reflect my family life, from backpacking in Australia and touring around Cuba, I find myself choosing destinations a little closer to home now. Why? Well as a mammy to two children,

a seven and five year old, I haven’t yet braved a flight over five hours for fear of having to compensate those sat around us, due to disturbance from our little ones! Over the last few years, we have been regular visitors to the Canary Islands and most recently Tenerife. We can tell our holiday priorities are different now we have children. Making sure we get to the Children’s evening entertainment show on time takes priority and dictated where we ate, when we ate and if we had time for desert – at least we came back from the holiday with them both


irline fares should never have been as complicated as they were. One way fares simplified everything. Ryanair were champions of the one way fare from the time of its introduction. One way fares freed us from the tyranny of Saturday night stopovers and unwritten clauses designed to make life difficult for the passenger. They introduced return fares which were unrelated to the out-

bound fare. Sometimes it cost three times as much to come home as to go, but the consumer warmed to it. Especially when they discovered that canceling an outbound trip did not mean that the return was automatically cancelled, as is the case with most legacy airlines. Connecting through Stansted or elsewhere with two Ryanair flights became the passengers own responsibility. “Self-connecting” became a topic of conversation and

of airport annual reportage. Nobody is sure how many there are, because they are, by their nature, making their own decisions. What Ryanair did came at a price. We now deal with a bus company. Now Ryanair are going to do connecting flights. How is THAT going to work in the baggage hall? The more Ryanair strives to chase its target of 200m passengers, the more it looks like the airlines that it strove to replace.

able to tell the time! The pool is an everyday must for us and I get so much joy from watching them become more and more water confident. We always make use of the daytime activities too with the children playing tennis and football – with the occasional guest appearance from my husband – flip flops at football – his toes survived to live another day, just! We always come back feeling refreshed, relaxed and ready to book our next holiday. Where to next, well let’s see if we can break the five hour flight time!

IN YOUR NEXT TRAVEL EXTRA: Available to Travel Agents or online May 15 2017

USA ISSUE New routes for summer season CONNECTED CONNECTICUT River cruise special

MAY 2017 PAGE 37


of ay and Lorraine Quinn Dawn Conway of Sunw Celebrity Cruises event Celebrity Cruises at the Celebrity Edge of to celebrate the launch

Susan Kiernan of Ask Su at the Irish Travel Indust san and Lorraine Kenny ry Trade Show

gus and Sue Henrique John Keogh of Aer Lin ry the Irish Travel Indust of Visit Connecticut at Trade Show

Jason Vano, Paul Fitzge rald and Suzanne Cro ett of Flight Centre at ckthe tralia and Virgin Australia Etihad, Tourism Ausevent

Out and about with the Travel Trade

Tara Fitzgibbon, Julia Dau and Greyce Inacio of Club Travel Universities at the Dublin leg of the Turkish Airlines bowling competition

Marie Grenham of Grenham Travel and Clodagh Connolly of Corrib Travel at the Irish Travel Industry Trade Show

ula of Costa Sal Villas, Pa Geraldine McFadden ra Mooney Cia d an ie er. ap che vel Coughlan of tra Show the Irish Travel Trade of Freedom Travel at

Fra Simone Lima and Dawn Nolan of Abbey Travel at O’Tnces Grogan of Grogan Travel and Caroline the Etihad, Tourism Australia and Virgin Australia Tra oole of Fahy Travel at the Irish Travel Indust ry de Show event

Simon O’Neill of Oasis travel, Judith Hall of Thompson Travel Portadown and Sharon Fleming of Thompson Travel in Armagh

rraine Sharon Sheridan of Navan Travel and Katrina e Insurancesa and Lo Ciaran Mulligan of Blu s at Travel Counsellors McMullan of Navan Travel at the Irish Travel Inise dustry Trade Show Quinn of Celebrity Cru ce en fer con

Graham Hennessy of DS American Airlines, Fio D, Caitriona Toner of na Noonan of American Airlines and George Ba rter of J Barter Travel

Mark Evans of Travel Extra with Tareb Rifal, secrretary general of the UNWTO at Tianguis Turistico in Acapulco

Dee Burdock of American Holidays chair of Visit USA Ireland and Des Abbott of Des Abbott Travel at the Visit Orlando roadshow at Croke Park

mLas Vegas & NYC & Co at Tryphavana Cross of s nce ura Ins e an of Blu pany and Ciaran Mullig Trade Show ry the Irish Travel Indust

Elkie Bird and Karl Mo en of Disney at the Vis it Orlando roadshow at Croke Park

s ssic Collection and De Niall McDonnell of Cla vel at the Irish Travel Tra Abbott of Des Abbott Industry Trade Show

MAY 2017 PAGE 38


Out and about with the Travel Trade

S Colleen Butler of Bookabed and Lorraine Quinn Sales & Marketing/SA Alan Sparling of Airline and Kathleen McDaid of of Celebrity Cruises at the Irish Travel Industry ra with Caroline McNama Partners Sligo roadshowTrade Show vel Meehan Travel at Tra

Janice Gault CEO of the Ciaran O’Neill Presiden NI Hoels Federation and t tion at the Taste of To of the NI Hotels Federaurism Summit

rand Sharon Tiernan Mu Karen Morgan Murphy s at the Etihad, Tourism lor sel phy of Travel Coun stralia event Australia and Virgin Au

Kyoko Delaney and Ea mo at the Irish Travel Indust n Flanagan of Premair ry Trade Show

Jason Whelan of Blue Insurances and Lisa Nahedh of Travel Counsellors at Travel Counsellors conference

Karen Whyte of Ameri can O’Brien of American Ho Holidays, Amanda lidays and Kristin Skinn of American Holidays er

n Mack of Falcon Travel Gemma Fee and Sharo roadshow at Croke do lan Or it Omni at the Vis Park

Anne Patricia Grealish and Jill Scully of Neenan Travel Fa tte McCann, Dairine McGarrity and Nadin e rrelly of Travel Counsel with Minnie Mouse aat Travel Counsellors conism Australia and Virgin lors at the Etihad, TourAustralia event ference

Donna Olohan and Sean Alper Kanburoglu of Turkish Airlines with Bláithín Watson and Brenda Murray Flynn of Travel Counsellors at Travel Counsellors conference

l, wcomers Melanie Cahill Travel Counsellors ne wman at Travel CounselBo ne Sue Ryan and Dia lors conference

Caitriona Doyle of Tully’s Newbridge, John Booty Philip Airey, Mary De oimhe Harkin of Peter O’Hanlon and Ca arling of Airline Sales & of Wendy Wu, Andrea Westgate of Tully’s Carlow Sunway and Domin nton and Deirdre Sweeny of Sp n ic Bu Ala d an and Caitriona McManus of Tully’s Carlow ers find Travel ow the Irish Travel Indust rke of Travel Centres at Irish Travel Industry Sh ry Trade Show Marketing/SAS at the

Barry Hammond of Siu nw nessy of DSD at the Vis ay and Graham Henit Orlando roadshow at Croke Park

Fiona Noonan of American Airlines, Tara Magee of British Airways and Nora Lynch of Travel Counsellors at Travel Counsellors conference

ing Travel, Martin Skelly Des Manning of Mann ndan Barry of Discover Bre d an of Navan Travel Industry Trade Show Travel at the Irish Travel

MAY 2017 PAGE 39

Out and about with the Travel Trade


Sharon Jordan and Marissa Beck of The Travel Ciara Masterson, An na Quinn and Aoife Du onnor of Abbey Corporation at the Irish Travel Industry Trade nphy of Budget Travel at the O’C ura Ma d an eill Valencia region event gin Karen O’N Vir d an Show urism Australia Travel at the Etihad, To Australia event

Solange and Sabrina Vo at the Valencia region nsowski of Budget Travel event

yal Caribbean, Graham Michaela Banks of Ro Erica Oglesby of MSC Hennessy of DSD and Industry Trade Show vel Tra h Cruises at the Iris

Pamela Brownlee of Fly away Travel, Niall McDonnell of Classic Co llection and Olwen Mc Kinney of Amadeus at Tra vel Partners Sligo

Debbie Murray of Keith Caroline Quigley and ke lando roadshow at Cro Prowse at the Visit Or Park

Paulette Moran, Maure en Ledwith and Edmu nd Hourican of Business Exhibitions who hoste d the Irish Travel Industry Tra de Show

Lorraine Costelloe and Saeah McCarthy at Travel apes/Travelesscapes Alan Lynch of Cruiseesc tic Travel at Travel PartCounsellors conference an and Maria Harkin of Atl ners Sligo roadshow

Andrea lascu and Aoife Devine of Abbey Travel at the Etihad, Tourism Australia and Virgin Australia event

Carol Anne O’Neill of Wo Thomas McNally of Be rldchoice Ireland and dsonline at the Irish Tra Industry Trade Show vel

and Amy Fitzpatrick of A pair of Ciarans, Ciaran O’Neill President of the David O’Grady of E-travel event to celebrate s NI Hotels Federation and Ciaran Meyler of United TUI at the Celebrity Cruise Edge Wines at the Taste of Tourism Summit the launch of Celebrity

Ian McCarthy and Bettina Haltmayer of Clickandgo at the Irish Travel Industry Trade Show

Anne Dolan Legal advisor to the ITAA and Joe Tully of Tully’s Travel at the Irish Travel Industry Trade Show

Yvonne Tully and Elaine Travel at the Visit Orlan McManus of Budget do roadshow at Croke Park

ers and Catherine Gren Mary King of Travelsav ry ust Ind vel Tra h the Iris nell Whyte of ATTS at Trade Show


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